Archive for February, 2010





One of S’s favorite books is The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. She mostly just loves sticking her fingers through the holes in the book (if you haven’t read this book, the book has holes where the caterpillar has “eaten” through certain foods, it’s really clever). I guess she actually WAS listening to us when we read to her because she seems to have picked up on the “cocoon” part of the caterpillar’s life. I thought it was a little too soon to start a science lesson with her in which she learned of the stages of a butterfly’s life, but maybe not. Spying the Cadbury Egg on table, she immediately wanted to “old dit!” I thought it was just for the novelty of holding something different…but all of a sudden she said “CU-CUN!”  Somehow we managed to catch it on tape, along with some fish lips at the end…




Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Now that March is nearly here, my thoughts have been drifting to warmer temperatures and exciting things like summer vacation, the beach, swimming lessons, splash pads, the zoo and all other sorts of warm-weather activities that little S can enjoy this summer.

Of course,  my mind also drifts to thoughts about what little S will WEAR for said water events. I’d already found the perfect suit for her at The Children’s Place, I was just waiting for a good sale to come around. Yesterday I got a nice little email in my inbox saying that TCP was offering FREE shipping (still good through today!) (enter code FSFEB2010), along with a 15% off code (SPRING22A), so I made my move. Soon, S will be the proud owner of this adorable little suit:

As soon as I saw it, I knew it would be perfect since my mom bought her a blue cover-up at the end of last season.  I also bought these swim shoes for walking in the lake (our lake has clams and snail shells) or days at the beach when the sand gets too hot:

So, our little lady will be all decked out in BLUE this summer. A nice change I think from the pink from last summer…here’s a pic of our bathing beauty from last summer:

 Oh, this pic reminds me…I’ll still need to be on the lookout for a cute sunhat.

S is officially 20 months old today (and will probably be TWO when she actually gets to wear all the swim apparel I bought!)

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Pictured above are all FREE things I received this week.

3 Atkins Chocolate bars…in really yummy flavors like Chocolate Caramel Mouse and Caramel Chocolate Peanut Nougat.

FREE box of Excedrin. I can’t remember where I signed up for this one. I got a coupon in the mail good for any box of Excedrin up to $5.99. The only thing I can currently find is a coupon for $1.00 off HERE.

FREE sample of Yogi tea.  I can’t find anything about this free sample anymore. I got the Skin Detox and the Green Tea Blueberry Slim Life (supposed to suppress appetite). Mine came with a coupon for $1.00 off any two boxes of tea.

FREE box of Tampax Pearl. I have now gotten three boxes of these for FREE at Copp’s. I always seem to purchase something that prompts the catalina machine to print me a coupon. 🙂

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Weekly $avings 2.22.10-2.27.10

*I decided to post my weekly savings as the week goes on…that way if any other savvy savers want to take advantage of these deals, they still have some time to get out to the store before the week is over*


I was excited to go to Target and get a few deals with the new weekly sale.

The FREE things in the photo are:

  • Scotch Fur Fighter (takes pet fur off of furniture). It was on sale for $3.99 and I had a $4 off coupon.
  • Gillette Body Wash 8.2 oz size. $1.99 ea. Had coupon for $4 off any 2.
  • One of the Crest Pro Health toothpaste was free (sort of made my own BOGO Free deal with a combo of Target coupons and manufacturer coupons) They were $2.99 on sale.

All the Gerber stuff was 10% off and I used two $2 off when you buy $10 Target coupons. I don’t think we will need to buy S any puffs for a long time.

The Ritz crackers were on price cut for $2.50 (at my store just the reduced fat and the wheat varieties were on price cut).  I scanned them just to make sure (first time using the price check scanner…whoo hoo!) and I had a Target coupon that I paired with a manufacturer coupon to get $3 off.  So, each box was just $1!

The Reece’s pieces I got for .49 cents (after pairing a Target coupon w/ a manufacturer coupon). These are coming with for our next movie date!

The Hello Kitty toothbrush wasn’t a great deal, but S needs a new one. They were on sale $1.99 and I had a .50 cents off coupon.

The Tim Tams (which are so yummy btw!) were on sale $2 ea. I had two $1 off coupons, so each package was just $1!

There were a few other deals I wanted to find, but I was a little disappointed when I found my store didn’t carry something or wasn’t at the price others were finding it for (following the blogs clues me in to all the deals!), but I was happy nonetheless with all my finds!  🙂 

Total w/o coupons: $47.69

Total w/ coupons: $24.69

SAVED $23 in paper coupons!

**Also, I purchased the $13.69 box of Target Up&Up diapers and I got a $1.50 catalina for my next diaper purchase**


I had some register rewards that expired on Tuesday, so I made a stop at Walgreens on my way home from work.

I did two transactions so I could roll the register rewards.

Transaction #1:

Excedrin Menstrual Complete $2.50

Had coupon for $2.00 off

Total w/ tax: $0.64.  Plus I got a $2.00 register rewards.

Transaction #2:

Glad trash bags priced at $5.99. Used $1.00 coupon from February Savings booklet. Also a 55 cent peelie from the box. Total: $4.44

Tuf paper towels had a coupon for 2/$1, so they were .50 cents each. I can always use extra paper towels in my classroom!

Lady Mitchum was $1.99 ea. with ad coupon. I also had two manuf. coupons for $1 off…so I got each deodorant for .99 cents!!  Awesome considering they are regularly priced at $5.29 ea.!!

Cover Girl makeup would have cost me $11.98, but I got it for $1.99 (had a $2.50 coupon off of two items and a B1G1 Free coupon, plus they were B1G1 50% off). Yeah!

Walgreen’s aspirin was FREE. I got sent a mailer from Walgreens when I switched pharmacies and the coupon was in the mailer…along with some other cool coupons that I plan to use at a later date!

I used the sidewalk chalk and the candy for my filler items. Sidewalk chalk was $1 and I’ll put it in S’s easter basket. As for the candy, there was actually another Cadbury egg and Reece’s egg, but I may or may not have eaten those on the way home. Candy was 2/$1 w/ ad coupon.

Total without coupons: $ 38.12

Total w/ coupons (and $4.00 in register rewards): $9.05

SAVED $27 in paper coupons!


I am a Hallmark Gold Crown Member and had received a coupon in the mail for $5 off of any $20 purchase. I feel like I get the most mileage with these sort of coupons when I buy the 99 cent cards…I love to send out cards to my friends and family for birthdays, anniversaries, etc., so these are great to have around. The other cool thing is that I earned points on the $15 I spent on cards today, which will eventually get me a coupon for a certain dollar amount off.  I once got a coupon for $9.00 free merchandise.  So, I can buy some of the more expensive cards or cute gift wrap and get them for free! 🙂 Saved $5.

Grocery shopping at Copps. We were out of milk and I had the day off, so I made my shopping list a little early and did it today.  Some highlights from this purchase were getting two Fresh Express salad bags for 48 cents each. They were on sale $1.98 and I had two $1.50 off coupons. I also scored some free tilapia fillets by PAYING ATTENTION. The wine I had already put in my cart (picked up two bottles of Columbia Crest that were on sale) had an endcap display and some of the bottles on the display had hangtags for $5.00 off any meat, seafood purchase when you buy two bottles of wine!  How’s that for a great deal…the wine I was already going to buy got me free fish…and I wouldn’t even have known about it if I had just walked on by the endcap. Also, I was able to get two packages of Jennie-O ground turkey for a $1 a piece when I submit for the $5 rebate (they were 2/$7). I forgot my coupon for the Kraft Mac & Cheese deal.  I can get 6 boxes for .49 cents a box!  I’ll have to make another trip, but that’s ok!

Total without coupons: $123.48

Total w/ coupons: $81.98

Saved $23.00 in paper coupons

Filled up the tank and saved $2.10 with my fuel perks.


Saved $11 at Kohls using a 15% off coupon and other free $5 for giving them a different email address.

Saved $2.00 using a car wash coupon I got from washing our other car.  It’s so nice to have two clean cars…they were so dirty from all the winter grime!


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I was searching for a recipe that I could use my new Oilerie garlic infused olive oil and balsamic with and I think I found the perfect one! The other great thing about this recipe is that it is WW friendly…only .5 pts per every 2 crostini! I doubled the recipe for our lunches this week. What could be easier than throwing everything in a blender? Really, the only “work” involved in this recipe is slicing and baking the crostini (which really didn’t take too long when I made them on Saturday night).

Here’s the recipe from Gina’s website:

White Bean Crostini
Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 17 • Serving Size: 2 • Calories: 33 • Points: .5 ww pts

For the White Bean Spread:

  • 2 cups Cannelini or Northern Beans
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme (I used some dried thyme to save some $)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt and fresh pepper


  • 8-1/2″ piece of baguette (4 oz), sliced into 1/4″ pieces
  • garlic clove
  • olive oil spray
  • extra thyme for garnish
  • balsamic vinegar

Cut the bread into 1/4″ thin slices. You can toast these in the oven with a little olive oil spray at 400° turning once until toasted or grill them. I used my George Forman grill to toast them with a light spray of olive oil. Once the bread is toasted, lightly rub it with a garlic clove cut in half. Now your bread is ready to top. (I toasted mine in the oven and skipped the rubbing of garlic part since I was using garlic-infused olive oil. I just brushed the oil on with a pastry brush since I don’t have an oil sprayer…yet.)

Pureé in a small blender or magic bullet all the ingredients for the white bean spread. If it’s too dry you can add a little more water.

Top each piece with 2 tsp of white bean puree and garnish with fresh thyme. THE BEST PART: Drizzle with a touch of balsamic right before serving. YUM!!!!
Makes 34 pieces.

UPDATE: J just sent me an email at work saying “Yum!” I guess it’s a winner!

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Weekly $avings: 2/15-2/20

Spending a romantic weekend away was wonderful, but coming home late Sunday afternoon left me a little behind on the weekend tasks I usually complete like grocery shopping and meal making. Luckily, I had the day off on Monday, so I was able to do what I normally do on the weekend on Monday.

S and I made our way to Copp’s for some grocery shopping. I’m not sure if it’s because I now have a nice little stockpile of items in my pantry or if I just made some easy meals this week that don’t require a lot of ingredients, but I only spent about $75 in groceries and saved a lot using coupons ($13.00 worth of paper coupons). I also save more using my Roundy’s card, but I don’t count that in my overall savings because I like to see how much I’m saving simply by cutting coupons!


Daddy had an evening school engagement, so S and I decided to hit the town and enjoy a ladies night out. I had a coupon for a free Craft 2 dinner at Qdoba (spent $1.60 for the soda I was required to purchase, but saved $5.99 on the meal). I can’t say I understand the big draw with Qdoba. My meal was so bland and the way they just slopped it together in the assembly line was less than appetizing…I’m definitely glad that I didn’t PAY $5.99 for my meal!  I would have been very disappointed.  S didn’t really care for sharing my meal, so she munched on her cereal bar and her goldfish crackers.

After our um, food, we headed to SuperTarget for a diaper run. I’m so bummed that my beloved brand of diapers (Pampers) has decided to cheap out and start making sub par diapers…I guess I wouldn’t have such a problem with it if they were charging less for the diapers, but the price is still the same! Because of this, I’m switching to the Target Up&Up brand.

I also picked up some FREE cheerios with my $1.oo of Honey Nut Cheerios coupons, I was able to get two of the snack cups for free! My coupon savings was $2.30 at Target.

Oh, I also saved $3.20 filling up the gas tank with my Roundy’s Rewards card on this trip.


Picked up J’s dry cleaning and saved $.75 a shirt. (saved $5.25)

J watched S while I did some errands.  I went to Walmart (Yes, I really did.  And no, I didn’t like it) to pick up some Yo Baby Meals for S (she LOVES these! and it’s a great way to sneak her veggies in). I wish my grocery store carried these!  There were reports that these were $1 at Walmart, but the one I went to was charging $1.08. I bought 5 because I had 5 $1.00 off coupons. I also picked up a bottle of Kids n’ Pets which I have a rebate form for, so I will end up getting it for free. Saved $10.

Grocery shopping again…saved $10 in paper coupons. Nothing that exciting on this trip.  Got some SOBE lifewater for $.50 each because they were $1 and I had a BOGO coupon.


It was the day I had been waiting for…FREE Pretzel day at Auntie Anne’s. We all headed to the mall to get our free pretzels. I had the original and J and S enjoyed the cinnamon sugar. We got three free pretzels!  I don’t know how much we saved because I didn’t look at the price of the pretzels.

Yes, we are dorks, but here we are enjoying the pretzels:

Here’s the stuff I got for FREE at the mall:

4 Hallmark cards FREE (promotion for 1 free Kids card, $3.00 off coupon for being a rewards member) (saved $4.00)

PINK perfume sampler at Victoria’s Secret (had coupon for signing up for PINK nation)

FREE Sephora face powder (coupon)

FREE Travel size lotion at Bath & Body Works with ANY purchase (coupon). I bought a $1.50 hand sanitizer (used gift card to pay). (saved $5.00)

Then I went to JC Penny and used two $10 off coupons. I got all these toddler clothes for $18.00.

Whew!  After all that shopping, we were ready to eat. We tried a new sub shop, Silver Mine Subs and used a BOGO coupon for our sub meals. Saved $9.00.

Approximate Total weekly savings: $87.74

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Freebies in the Mail

I’ve been signing up for lots of free stuff by mail. I love checking my mailbox when I get home from work to see what little surprises are waiting for me! If you sign up for freebies by mail, I would recommend creating an alternate email address and use that for freebies so your regular mailbox doesn’t fill up. 

Here’s what was waiting for me in the mailbox this week:

Insulated Cooler Pac (I can’t remember where I signed up for this one)

Sample of Dream Water (I got mine for free.  Looks like they are charging $2.50 shipping now)

Rachel Ray’s Dog Food (my sample also included a coupon for a FREE 6 lb. bag)

Mariani Dried Plums

Uni-Ball Pen

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After taking this picture of S with her head full of springy curls (after a nice bath), I was reminded of this nursery rhyme:

There once was a girl, who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead
When she was good, she was very very good
When she was bad, she was horrid.

That last line makes me laugh.  I guess I haven’t seen S in her HORRID stage yet…but we’ve seen some previews of what the terrible two’s might bring (or the terrible THREE’s that my mommy friends tell me are worse than the two’s!). A few small temper tantrums here and there (why on earth would mommy want to put me in my jammies at 7:30 and take me away from my beloved Elmo show?) and she’s been practicing her vehement NO!’s when we ask her practically anything. “S, do you want to put on your apple shirt?” NO! “S, do you want a new diaper?” NO! “S, do you want to go for a ride in the car?” NO! I don’t think she really knows what she’s saying NO! to, she just likes to say it.

As far as being GOOD is concerned, she does that part pretty well. Recently she’s started picking up her books after she reads them (I hope this behavior continues!) and puts them back on the shelf. She’s also very loving and hands out kisses and hugs freely to both her stuffed animals and to us.

I never imagined I’d have a daughter with a head full of curly hair, but I love it! I think it only add to her charm. 🙂

S is one week shy of 20 months.

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We didn’t do much the last day of our stay in Door County…my body is still programmed to wake up by 7:00 a.m. at the latest (because usually there is a little toddler up by then!), so I didn’t really sleep in, but enjoyed taking a leisurely shower and watching some TV in the morning. We checked out of the hotel and made our way back to Fish Creek to partake in the glorious breakfast at The White Gull Inn. They are famous for their coffee cake and the flavor of the day was BLUEBERRY, so we ordered a slice while we looked over the menu and enjoyed our coffee.


You can also find the recipe HERE.

As if our caloric count wasn’t high enough, we both ordered the DOOR COUNTY CHERRY STUFFED FRENCH TOAST (Two golden brown slices of egg bread, with pockets of Wisconsin cream cheese and Door County cherries). I’m not a huge cherry fan, but hey, we were in DC, so I decided to try it. And I wasn’t disappointed, it was fantastic!

I recommend getting here before 9:30 if you don’t want to wait for a table. We were seated right away (arrived around 9), but when we left there was a huge line out the door of people waiting for breakfast.

Our bellies stuffed just like the french toast, we drove back to grandma and grandpa’s house to meet our little lady. I thoroughly enjoyed my time off of mommy duty, but I was so eager to hug and kiss my little lady! She was all smiles when we arrived and seemed to enjoy her time with gamma and gampa.  I think they both wore each other out because S slept the whole way home and my parents told me they took a nap on Sunday afternoon!

Well, that about sums up our mini get-away to Door County. J and I had a great time and are very thankful that my parents could watch little miss S and C-dog for the night!

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We first went to T Ashwell’s a few years ago to celebrate my dad’s birthday. Our meal was fantastic that evening, one of those that stays in your memory for a long, long time. J and I always longed to go back and enjoy a fabulous meal and we got our chance over Valentine’s Day weekend.

The restaurant is located in Ellison Bay (almost at the tip of Door County). When we arrived for our 7:30 reservation, we were greeted by the old farmhouse decked out in white Christmas lights. It looked so pretty. And from the parking lot, you could hear the sounds of the piano playing jazzy tunes.

It was nice and cozy inside the restaurant and we were seated at a tiny table for two near the fireplace. The bartender/maitre d makes a mean cosmopolitan, so we each ordered one.

We ordered the French Pate Tasting (Slices of classic country style pork pate & duck, prune & cognac pate served with cornichons, Dijon mustard, crostini & beet sorbet) for an appetizer. The pate was very good, and the beet sorbet was very interesting. Nice way to clean the palate in between bites.

As happy as we were to be dining at T Ashwells, we commented that we actually enjoyed the pate plate at Sardine in Madison much better.

After our salads, the entrees arrived. I ordered the halibut and J ordered the rack of lamb. He’s been wanting to try lamb for some time and was glad to have the chance at T Ashwell’s.

My entree was good, it had a crab/panko mixture on the top which was very tasty. I wasn’t sure about all the little “extras” on my plate. There was a sweet pea puree, and something with roasted garlic on top. They didn’t really seem to go with the rest of the meal. While there wasn’t necessarily anything wrong with my entree, I didn’t feel like it was as spectacular as I was hoping for.

Unfortunately, J was not impressed with his rack of lamb. He ordered it medium, but he felt it was more like medium rare. He also didn’t care for the sauce it came with. Bummer!

While we weren’t totally happy with our meal, we did enjoy the wine and conversation and being able to slow down and enjoy our meal instead of scarfing it down while S was demanding our attention.  We ordered a bottle of an Australian Shiraz “Strong Arms”. 

We opted to not order dessert and enjoy some chocolate covered strawberries back at the hotel…it was a tough choice between the creme brulee or strawberries, but considering they don’t serve espresso at T Ashwell’s we decided to just head back to the hotel. What is creme brulee without espresso??

Unfortunately, T Ashwell’s did not meet our expectations this time…nor did it even come close to the memories we had from a few years ago. I really want to give them a higher rating, but I can only offer 4 out of 5 wine bottles for this one. We didn’t leave completely disappointed though because we were able to enjoy a meal together and that really meant a lot to us. Plus, I’m always willing to give T Ashwell’s another shot. It will just have to be after May because they are closing after this weekend for a few months (non-busy season in DC).

Stay tuned for the final day of our weekend, which includes breakfast at The White Gull Inn.

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