Friday, February 26, 2010

My CVS Deals

Man, did I have fun this morning! I have been learning all the tricks about shopping at CVS. I've been checking my coupon blogs, looking at the weekly ads, and matching up my coupons with current sales. I just wanted to post a picture of my purchases and break down the cost and savings, so here it goes...

First of all, I have an "Extra Care Card" which gets scanned before every transaction. There are certain products each week that generate Extra Care Bucks, or "ECBs" that can be used like cash on future purchases (which can mean a 2nd transaction that same day...or 2 minutes later, as I did this morning.)

Transaction #1

Clean and Clear Blackhead Scrub $5.50
Clean and Clean Deep Action Cream Cleanser $5.79
Clean and Clear Deep Action Scrub $5.79
Colgate 2in1 Kids Toothpaste $3.29 on sale for $2.99 with card.
Lady Speed Stick $3.49 on sale for $2.99 with card.

Total: $23.06

I had a special coupon I received in my e-mail for $4 off a $20 purchase, so I was able to use that first. I had a coupon for $.75 off Colgate, I had two $2.00 of 1 Clean and Clear, plus I had 2 ECBs generated from my prior visit to CVS 2 weeks ago, which then brought my total down to: $12.31

There was a deal going on to receive $5 ECBs when you purchase $15 worth of Clean and Clear products, which I did, then the Colgate gave back $2 ECBs, and the Lady Speed Stick gave back $2 ECBs as well. So I got $9 ECBs to spend on my next transaction, which I did right away. I just told the cashier I would be doing 2 separate transactions.

Transaction #2

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal $4.29 on sale for $1.99 with card
Bioluxe Shampoo $9.99
Bioluxe Conditioner $9.99

Total: $24.27

There was a Buy One Get One Free for the Bioluxe, so I got both products for only $9.99. I also had a $1 off 1 General Mills cereal, so I got a box of cereal for $.99! Super deal! Then, I used the $9 ECBs I had just generated, which brought my total down to: $2.54. How sweet is that?

So I spent $15.92 total out of pocket for 3 Clean and Clear products, toothpaste, deodorant, a box of cereal, a bottle of shampoo, and a bottle of conditioner. I was pretty pumped, and I think I'll keep getting better at this coupon game!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

They're Here!

My parents have officially moved to Wisconsin! Despite a small snow storm, they were able to get everything moved in on Monday. We went over for dinner on Tuesday and then went home a little while later...from their house. Then we saw them again...the very next day! I'm loving this! It's not sad to say good-bye anymore, because I know I'll see them in the next few days instead of the next month or so.

I've been fighting off a nasty cold, which knocked me on my be-hind yesterday. My parents took Ella over to their house for the afternoon so I could take a nap while Nate napped. I did just that, and it was wonderful! It worked out quite well, seeing that it took Joe TWO HOURS to get home from work last night due to more snow. I can tell that Ella is loving it too. I don't think she quite grasps the fact that "Gigi and Poppa" now live only 7 minutes away and that we can pretty much seem them whenever we want. My mom is so good at finding fun things to do with Ella. I'm pretty sure being a teacher has something to do with it! Here's a picture of my mom and Ella doing one of their many "projects."

Nathan has been sick as well. He's finishing up a course of antibiotics for another ear infection. Our pediatrician gave us the name of an ENT for us to see since Nathan has had several ear infections lately. Ella has an appointment next week with the pediatrician because it seems like she is having a difficult time hearing. I thought at first it was just typical 3 year old behavior...not listening, saying "What?" and "Huh?" constantly. But it seems to be more than that. She doesn't respond very quickly when her name is called and repeats things back incorrectly. I'm hoping it's just fluid in her ears or wax build-up, and it can be fixed easily. It's so frustrating, for both Joe and I, and for Ella.

In one week, I will be flying to Columbus, Ohio to visit my friend Andrea for a few days. She is Ella's Godmother and my oldest friend. We've been friends since we were in Kindergarten. She lived right down the street from me until 5th grade, when she and her family moved to Ohio. We've kept in touch, at first through written letters and phone calls, a few visits here and there, then e-mail. Joe's parents are coming for the weekend to watch the kids and help out Joe. I hope they're ready for some non-stop action! Now that Nathan is running, he and Ella are on the move constantly! Ella is already talking about going out in the snow with Grandpa. I am just thrilled to be able to go and visit Andrea all by myself, so we can actually talk and catch up...and gasp I might even be able to relax a little! I might have to look that word up in the dictionary.

Here's a picture of Ella holding Nathan on her lap. She loves her little brother!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Movin' On Up!

My parents will be closing on their new house in Waukesha, WI, on February 22nd. One week from today! Click here to see some pictures of their new house. The only thing that is different is the price, and there isn't any wallpaper in the dining room anymore. (Thank goodness!) I told Ella today that Gigi and Papa would be coming to Wisconsin this Friday and wouldn't be going back to Michigan to live anymore. She said, "Thank you mommy!" I am so excited to have them close by. The new house is on the boarder of Waukesha and New Berlin, about a 7 minute drive from our house! I'm sure it will be an adjustment for everyone, but I think it is the best situation for everyone. Now they will be able to see Ella sing at church, come to her tumbling class, attend future sporting events or dance recitals, and the same goes for Nathan too! Not to mention the free babysitting...

I have a new obsession. Clipping coupons. I just started reading many blogs regarding "couponing" and have now made it my personal goal to save as much money as possible on groceries and personal care items. I'm trying to learn the ins and outs of our local grocery store, Pick 'N Save, and also the drugstore, CVS. I was told to pick two stores and really become familiar with their policies and rewards programs. So that's where I'm starting. Currently, the blogs that I check regularly are:


My Milwaukee Mommy

Commonsense with Money

Mommy Snacks

Coupon Saving Game

I'm learning to check sales at stores like Target, Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS, then seeing if I have a manufacturers coupon (MFR), then checking to see if I have a store specific coupon. For example, I went to Target today and purchased all of this for $5.30. I had a $1.00 MFR coupon for Vaseline Clinical Care lotion and I also had a Target $1.00 coupon for any brand lotion. On top of that, it was on clearance for $4.22! So, I only paid $2.22 for a bottle of lotion!

My best deal of the day was these 2 cosmetics by NYC for $.94 total!

Again, I had a $1.00 MFR for NYC cosmetics, and then a Target $.75 coupon off any cosmetic. The lipstick was $.97 (which I thought was $1.72, but rang up as $.97) and the nail polish was $1.72. So $2.69 for the 2 items, minus the 2 coupons I had, brought the total cost down to $.94! Nice deal, huh?

After looking through the Walgreens flyer from the Sunday paper, (which I bought for $1.00 at Dollar Tree), I discovered that there were many items on sale that I also had a coupon for. I bought all of this for $10.35.

That's 2 full size boxes of Kellogg's ceral, 3 boxes of kleenex, 3 Chapsticks, 2 boxes of baking soda, and 1 container of flushable Cottonelle wipes.

It's actually kinda fun seeing how much money can be saved. From what I've been reading, couponing is like a game. There is a ton of money to be saved if you know all the rules, tips, and tricks. The blogs I've been reading do all of the work for you. They tell you what's on sale at certain stores and then match up coupons from the paper or online. I've only been at this for about a week, but I feel like I'm slowly getting the hang of it.

I had to work over the weekend, so it wasn't as busy as last weekend. On Friday, we got together with some couples from church for drinks and appetizers. We had a ping-pong tournament and Joe came in 2nd. Way to go babe! I taught Sunday School on, you guessed it, Sunday morning. I don't get as nervous anymore and I'm beginning to enjoy doing it. But, I don't know how teachers do it on a daily basis! They must be saints. Nathan's Godparents, Brian and Jenny offered to watch the kids yesterday evening, so Joe and I could go out to dinner. We gladly accepted and had a nice Valentine's dinner at a restaurant not too far from our house.

And now it's onto another week!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Busiest Weekend Ever!

We had a non-stop weekend. It was a blast, but completely exhausting! On Friday evening, our friends Alison and Sean came over for dinner. Ella and Nathan were on their best behavior. Haha, just kidding. They were nuts, as usual. Ella LOVES to show off when new people are around. And when I say "show off" I mean jumping on the couches, running around the house, and wrestling with her brother. Alison and Sean are in the midst of the adoption process. They hope to adopt a little boy from Ethiopia in the next few months. I can't believe how extensive the adoption process is. They have so much paper work to fill out, have to get medically cleared by a physician, get a home study completed, and so much more! If only we all had to do that before we became parents!

On Saturday, Ella and I ventured downtown to the US Cellular Arena to see "Disney on Ice: The Princess Collection." When we arrived, there were little girls EVERYWHERE, wearing their princess outfits. Ella wanted to know why she didn't have on a princess didn't even occur to me to dress her up! She did have on a princess t-shirt. That counts for something, right? Of course there was princess gear for sale, which Ella caught onto immediately. She picked out this beautiful spinner thingie for the low, low price of $20.00. That's right folks, I handed over $20.00 for that. I am such a sucker.

Oh was worth it. When the lights went down and the show started, I got tears in my eyes. I know...silly, right? I'm not sure why it happened. I think it was because I was so happy to be sitting there with my daughter. My daughter. It still amazes me sometimes that I am a mother and that I have this smart, funny, beautiful daughter, who is now old enough to go with me to movies and shows, and have actual conversations with me. (Who also learned the phrase, "I hate you," and used it appropriately on Joe the next day.) I yeah, I think it just hit me at "Disney on Ice" and I got all choked up.

The show was about 2 hours long and Ella did pretty well. At intermission, Ella had to go potty, just like every other little "princess" there. All of the Women's bathrooms had lines down the hall, so some women started lining up at the Men's bathroom, which was still out the door and down the hall. At this point, Ella started holding herself and spinning in circles because she had to go so bad. Some nice ladies let us go in front of them, but there was only ONE STALL. One lady told me to just hold Ella over a sink and let her go. I couldn't do that. I thought Ella was going to pee right on the floor, right then and there. Then a woman in front of us said, "Here, let us make a wall around the urinal and she can go there." So, that's what we did. Ella squatted, with my help, and peed in a urinal. And then all the other mothers had their girls do the same. It was hilarious! And also disturbing. Why weren't there more Women's bathrooms???

After we got home, we drove up to Appleton to spend the afternoon and evening with our friends Paul and April. It's always nice to let Nathan and Jackson play together. We went to Monkey Joe's first, where Ella climbed and slid and ran and jumped! Nathan and Jackson were a bit leery at first, but then they warmed up and had a blast climbing around in the toddler area. We went to Applebee's for dinner, where Nathan threw his cup across the room and Ella feasted on a giant chocolate chip cookie sundae, even thought she "wasn't hungry." We spent the night at Paul and April's since we were headed to Green Bay the next morning for our nephew Harry's baptism and 1st birthday party. But first, April gave Nathan a much-needed haircut. He looks so grown up! And guess who's going to be a big brother??? No, not Nathan...calm down. Jackson! Congratulations Paul and April! Click here for the 1st view of the little peanut!

Harry turns 1 on February 10th, and I can't even believe it. He is such a sweet baby and I wish we could see him much more than we do. He was baptized on Sunday and then Julia and Greg had everyone over for a nice lunch to celebrate. It was nice to see our family and Ella always loves to spend time with her cousins.

It was the busiest weekend ever!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Time with my Little Man

While Ella was at preschool this morning, Nathan and I went to Tumbling Tykes, just the two of us. He had a blast playing in the ball pit, jumping on the trampoline, sliding down the slide, and playing in the sandbox. He threw a fit when we had to leave to pick up Ella. It was nice having a little time to spend alone with Nathan. It's not often that we get to do that. Check out the pictures of this happy boy!

Nathan is learning how to feed himself with a fork! Listen to some of his vocabulary too!