Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Week's Worth of Savings

Boy! What a week this one has been!

It's been fast and furious...canning tomatoes, freezer jam, youth spaghetti supper at church, more soccer camp for the oldest (2 states away this time so the Head of My Household went with her), two therapy sessions, a weekend with Granny for the youngest, and a much needed and enjoyed weekend with my middle daughter, including the new Twilight movie, Eclipse.

 The middle daughter and I took stock of our smart shopping for the week and feel pretty good about what we were able to accomplish at Office Depot, Walgreens and CVS.

Here are my freebies (after rebates) from Office Depot this week:

When I brought these items home earlier this week, my youngest immediately confiscated the blue file crate.  I guess it won't be a file crate after all since she's already organized some of her toys in there :)
Did I mention that the items in the above picture were FREE?
Who doesn't love FREE?

Then, on to Walgreens.
My middle daughter and I did this transaction on Friday.
Smooth as silk.
The highlighter 5 packs were a $.49 Walgreen's special.
I couldn't pass those up.

The Colgate toothpaste was free, and I even made a dollar on the deal (on sale for $3.49 - $3.49 RR - $1 manufacturer coupon = me ahead by a dollar).
My toothpaste coupon paid for 2 of my highlighter packs :)

The 6 pack of Expo washable markers was on sale for $5.99 - $1 mfr coupon - $3 Walgreens coupon = Expo markers for $1.99.

The Chex Mix was on sale for $1.50 each - $.55 mfr coupon = $.95 per bag.

I rewarded myself by buying a $1.99 calculator to add up all the $$ I'm saving :):)

Then, on to CVS...

The first thing I want to tell you about this purchase is that it cost me $4.98.

Oh, yes it did.

Between sale prices, coupons, $2 each made on the Celsius product and the Biotrue, a B1G1 promotion, and some fo the ECB's earned from last week's CVS trip, I was giggling when the cashier gave me the final price.
AND, I earned $7.99, $2.99, and $2 in ECB's for future purposes :):):)

Please explain to me why everyone doesn't use coupons??

I think I helped convert one fella when I ran back into CVS before my middle daughter and I went to the movie.
I needed some of this.

Now, there's no need in me going into all the reasons that I needed this product and needed it right then.
Suffice to say that my almost 42 year old stomach has decided after a lifetime of happy memories, including purple onions, x-tra hot salsa, and greasy hamburgers from Sonic, that it does not wish to be my friend anymore.

The best part of this story, however, is that even though I was in a rush...ahem...
I knew I had a coupon for Pepto!
My binder was right there in the back seat so I flipped right to the coupon and took it inside with me.

The Pepto was $6.49 - $1 mfr. coupon - $5 ECB's from a previous purchase = me getting relief so I could enjoy the movie with my kid for $1.27
As I was leaving I heard the nice man who was behind me in line asking what in the world I had just done to get the Pepto for that price.
He didn't even know about the beautiful red CVS card!!!

The last thing we did before returning home tonight was hit two more Walgreens.
Does it give you any indication of the "rurality" of the town I live in to find out that in order to go to the movies, we have to take a 25 minute drive to the nearest large town?

Anyhoo, more Chex, more highlighters and Expo markers.

Do you see the big highlighters???
$.09 each.
Can you tell that I'm a teacher?

Two more tubes of free toothpaste, Ziploc bags for which I had a Walgreens and mfr coupon and Dawn dishwashing liquid bc honestly I just get distracted by the cute little seal on the bottle.

I'm a pushover for that kind of stuff.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm such a busy little bee!

I really feel like Ma Ingalls now!!

I've "put up" 6 pints of stewed tomatoes and 14 pints of peach freezer jam!!

This is the very first time I've ever done something like this, and I swear I almost feel more sense of accomplishment than when I finally finished my dissertation!
Thank goodness the garden bounty didn't take 8 years!!!

I've always been a little scared of the canning process.
Something about the whole botulism thing really gives me the creeps...
Go figure!

But, one of my really good friends who's like a big sister to me, and one of my bosses as well, told me there's really nothing to it and all would be well if I just followed a few simple rules.

The first thing I did was peel my tomatoes.

Now, I'll be honest.
This sounded like a horribly boring and tedious job to do.
But when you drop those babies into boiling water and that skin splits, you take them out and dunk them in ice water, that skin just slides right off.

Now, I love tomatoes.
I think I might have mentioned that before.
If not, you might have guessed it since I planted 25 tomato plants this summer.
The smell of these beauties as they are opened and cut into hunks is just absolutely fabulous!

I crushed mine pretty well because I know I will be using them in soups, spaghetti sauce, etc all winter.  I don't mind a big bite of tomato, but my kids will turn their nose up if the bites are too big. 
When I have to buy tomatoes, I usually buy the diced tomatoes.
Since this was my first batch, I simply added a little salt and pepper to taste and stewed for about 20 minutes.


I filled my jars and left a 1 inch space at the top.
Then I placed those jars into a bath of steaming, almost boiling water for about 10-15 minutes.
I turned the heat off then and just let the jars rest.

While those tomatoes were luxuriating in their sauna, I thought about all those peaches on my counter.
I remembered seeing a recipe for freezer jam from Sandy at The Reluctant Entertainer, and then she linked to a recipe for peach freezer jam from Christy at A Southern Plate.
What did I ever do without the blogging community???

I went on over and read through the simplest instructions imaginable...even for a beginner like me!

I smooshed my peaches with a potato smoosher.

I added 4 cups of sugar for every 3 cups of peaches...YOWZA!!
Mixed all that up and let the sugar and peaches intermingle.
Then I dissolved the jell stuff (I used Sure-Jell because that's what I remember my mama using).
I poured the Sure-Jell into the smooshed peaches and sugar...
poured the peach, sugar, jell mixture into the sterilized jars...


The crushed, stewed tomatoes are on the left and the peach freezer jam is on the right.
This was Monday night's work...

and this...was tonight...

I am exhausted.
But, it is that GOOD kind of exhaustion!

Can you believe that I still have more tomatoes??
and peaches??

Whoa Nelly!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Bountiful Harvest

What about the cucumbers and peppers?

Please take note of the eggplant sized cucumbers that hid themselves under the massive heap of cucumber leaves.

I also picked peaches today from my dad's trees when I made another marathon trip to my alma mater...this time to pick up my firstborn from soccer camp.
This was my haul:

Jam anyone?  Peach cobbler? Peach Salsa? Peach Ice Cream?

With all the money I've been saving with couponing, I splurged and bought myself this little happy today....
because I will have to have a panic attack if any of this beautiful food goes to waste.
Tomorrow should be an interesting day ;)

It's official.
I've become Ma Ingalls :)