Saturday, May 28, 2011


Just a warning...this is going to be a long post!! Ok, so as some of you know I am a coupon-er. I've always couponed some. I get the Sunday paper and would casually cut any coupons that I know I would use the products. But, like I'm sure most of you think, it's usually not a good deal. It's still cheaper to buy generic even if you use a coupon for the name brand. This is true if you casually coupon. I now have become what some would call an extreme couponer. I hate that the stupid TLC show has turned that term into a negative thing. Everyone (including me a little) thinks those people are crazy hoarders who buy excessive amounts of things they can't possibly ever use. I'm sure some of them are like that...but others of us do the same thing, but in moderation. I also think that they do things on the show that isn't technically "coupon legal" just to make it look better for the show. But, I digress...

After watching a couple episodes of that show, I said to Trey, I feel like I'm missing something. So I got online and googled extreme couponing...oh my word...this has become a HUGE deal now. There are thousands of websites showing you deals, where you can print/buy coupons, it is crazy. I stumbled across The Krazy Coupon Ladies website ( The website is run by two of which was on the show Extreme Couponing. It was like I had been enlightened! That website makes it so easy. They do all the searching for you. Match the weekly deals at each store with all manufacture/store coupons available and tell you what to get when. They have a huge online coupon database sorted alphabetically so you can print any coupons for items you need/want/see a good deal for. I was immediately hooked. Their basic principles are this: buy items only when on sale and you have coupons to match with. Most of the big stores (Target, Walgreens, CVS) will let you use 1 manuf coupon and 1 store coupon per item. They also run periodic deals where you buy a certain item and get a gift card/store credit to use on your next purchase. When the stars align you get a sale, gift card deal, manuf coupon, store coupon all available for a product and you end up getting it free, almost free, or PAID to buy the items. It can get pretty complicated, and it is pretty time consuming, but for me it has become a hobby. An outlet for something to do while I'm staying home with Charlie (and any future children) so it is actually really fun for me. It is so exhilarating walking out of the stores with great deals! I could go on and on, on how the process works, but if you have any specific questions, just let me know. I've gone "all in" as they say and I now get 5 Sunday newspapers delivered to my house, I have a giant 3 ring binder of sorted coupons, and I am constantly on the iPad looking for deals/match ups. I do this because (a) I have the time and energy (b) I am wanting to stock up on household/toiletry items that I know we will use. But, you can always do it on a smaller scale.

Ok, so now the fun part. I want to brag a little about the deals I got this week. Part of the fun is telling anyone who will listen all the awesome deals I got! I'll try and explain the deals and what I used to get them. Just FYI, most of the deals expire today and you have to have newspapers from the last month or some for some of them. Also, if you are thinking about getting started...tomorrows paper won't have coupons b/c it's a holiday weekend, so don't waste your money on a paper. As far as where I got all these coupons...most of the MQ I got from the paper, but some I got online through various websites (,, and some I got on Facebook for "liking" the manufacture company. The CVS or Walgreen SQ come in the weekly ads they print you can find them in the store or in the Sunday paper. The Target SQ I get on

Here is my legend for the explanations. RR(register rewards, store credit for next purchase) MQ (manuf coupon) SQ(store coupon) EB(extra bucks, store credit for next purchase) GC(gift card)

Initially I was really reluctant to do the Walgreen/CVS deals. They are more "hardcore" couponing than the other stores. A lot of time you have to do multiple transactions and they give you "register rewards" (RR) on some items that you have to use on a separate purchase. It's definitely the more complicated of the couponing stores...but boy is it worth it. I also don't like that, since they are SUCH good deals, the stores are almost always out of stock. I have 3 Walgreens and 3 CVSs pretty close to my house, so I've learned I just have to shop around and wait for restocks. They will give rain checks...but that is just one more thing to keep up with so we will see how it goes. I got lucky and went back yesterday and they were stocked up on most of the items I wanted. Here is the break down...

Pure Silk shaving cream 2 @ $1.99 each - $3.98
RR back 2 @ $1.50 each
Net price $0.98 for both

Nexcare band aids 3 @ $3.49 each - $10.47
Peelie sticker on each box for mail in rebate up to $3.99 - sent off for $10.47 rebate
Net price FREE for all three

Scunci hair bands 4 @ $2.00 each - $8.00
RR back 4 @ $2.00 each
Net price FREE for all four

Complete Contact Solution 5 @ $7.99 each - $39.95
5 MQ $1.00 off each
5 RR $8.00 off each
Net price -$5.05 for all five. This is my favorite, I got paid to buy it!! This is where it paid off to have 5 papers! :)

Listerine Zero 1 liter 1 @ $6.49
1 MQ $1.00 off
1 SQ $3.00 off
Net price $2.49 (this is my "worst" deal but Trey loves that stuff so I had to get it)

Gilette Fusion Proglide Power Razor 1 @ $9.89
1 MQ $4.00 off
1 RR $5.00 off
Net price $0.89!

Total original price $78.78
minus coupons $13.00
Net out of pocket $65.78
RR to use on future deals $56.00
Rebate to be rec'd $10.47
Net price for all $-0.69!!!

So yes, I had to pay some money out of pocket, and I have to wait for the rebate, but in the end I will use the RR for future deals like these and it will all net out to this price. I actually broke some of these up into different stores/transactions and mixed and matched the RR so my actual out of pocket was lower than the $65.78, but you get the idea.

This store is the same idea as Walgreens. Same process with the store credit back, but they call theirs EB instead of RR. Also, this picture doesn't include everything I got b/c some of it is in Trey's car and some of it I have rain checks for, just FYI. Oh and the EB rewards are limit 1 per CVS card. The reason I got 2 is b/c Trey and I both have a CVS card.

Suave body wash $2.00 each & deodorant $1.00 each(some not pictured)
The deal was spend $10 on Suave get $3 EB
8 body wash & 4 deodorant - $20.00
4 MQ B1G1 free body wash - this actually rang up giving me $3.00 credit (max on coupon) per body wash so that was a pleasant surprise - minus $12.00
4 MQ $0.50 off deodorant - minus $2.00
EB - $3.00 for each transaction - total $6.00
Net price FREE for all 12 items!!!
This is where it pays off to have 5 papers or I wouldn't have the 4 MQ each to do this much.

Purex detergent - $1.98
1 MQ $1.00 off
Net price $0.98

2 packs Trident Vitality Gum - $0.99 each(not pictured)
2 EB $0.99 each
Net price FREE for both!

So my faith has been restored in Walgreens/CVS. A couple things to note. They both have a rule where you cannot use more coupons in a transaction than items purchase...regardless of price of item or if you are using 2 coupons on 1 item you have to purchase a "filler" item...I usually try to find an item I get free or cheap with register rewards b/c they don't require an additional coupon. Also, you cannot use the RR or EB from one purchase to purchase the EXACT same deal as you received it for, but you can switch off transactions to roll them.

Total original price $23.96
minus coupons $15.00
Net out of pocket $8.96
RR to use on future deals $7.98
Net price for all $0.98!!!

Walmart is a little different. They don't have store coupons or any RR/EB/gift card deals. But, they do have pretty much the lowest prices, and they will price match any exact item from a weekly add. Here are the few items I got this week...

Wilkinson 4 pack disposable razors $0.97
1 MQ $1.00 off
Net price -$0.03!!

Tylenol Precise heat pads $5.97
1 MQ $5.00 off
Net price $0.97!

Finesse Conditioner $2.87
1 MQ $0.55 off
1 M Rebate included in paper $2.87 off
Net price -$0.55!

Ivory soap 4 pack $0.97
1 MQ $1.00
Net price -0.03!!

Total original price $10.78
minus coupons $7.55
Net out of pocket $3.23
Rebate to receive later $2.87
Net price for all $0.36!!

Now Target is my favorite store in general...long before I was couponing. I prefer it immensely over Walmart for grocery shopping/household shopping. I do most of my couponing here except for the outstanding deals at the other stores. They run regularly what are called "gift card promotions" where if you buy a specified item/items/amount you get back a $5 GC so it's just store credit back. They have a LOT of SQ on their website that you can pair with MQs and GC deals to get really great deals.

KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce $1.67
MQ for $1.00 off
Net price $0.67

French's spicy brown mustard $1.19
MQ for $0.50 off
Net price $0.69

Kraft dressing 2 @ $3.38 for both
1MQ for $1.00 off 2
2SQ for $0.55 off 1
Net price $1.28 for both or $0.64 each

2 boxes Playtex tampons $6.89 each - $13.78
When you buy 2 get $5.00 GC
1 MQ for $3.00 when you buy 2
Net price $5.78 for both or $2.89 a box (that's about half the price of generic!)

Up & Up (Target store brand) pantyliner $0.89 each - $3.56
4 SQ for $0.75 off each
Net price $0.56 for all 4 or $0.14 each

2 Suave lotion $2.69 each - $5.38
1 MQ for B1G1 free - deducted $3.00 (max coupon allowed)
1 SQ for $0.75 off 1
Net price $1.63 for both or $0.82 per bottle!

Sure deodorant $1.50
MQ for $1.00 off
Net price $0.50

Aquafresh training toothpaste (for the Charlie boy of course) $2.89
MQ for $1.00 off
SQ for $0.75 off
Net price $1.14

2 boxes of Loreal hair dye $8.99 & $7.94 - $16.93
1 MQ for $5.00 when you buy 2
2 SQ for $3.00 each
Net price $5.93 for both or $2.97 each! I dye my hair a lot b/c of the grays so I was excited!

1 Olay lotion $5.06, 1 Olay soap $0.97, 1 Secret product $0.97 - $7.00
1 MQ for $4.00 off when you buy an Olay lotion, Olay soap, AND Secret product. This coupon did not say excludes trial sizes, so I got the cheapest Secret & Olay soap from the travel section.
Net price $3.00 for all three items!

Total original price $57.28
minus coupons $31.10
Net out of pocket $26.18
Minus $5.00 GC to use later
Net price for all $21.18!

So that's it...for this week. It was pretty time consuming and I'm still getting the hang of it all. I am by no means a professional at this. I'm pretty excited, I mean how often does a hobby SAVE you money, right??

Oh and one more tip, anytime you can, get the SMALLEST sized product the coupon allows...this always gives you a better deal per oz/item, etc. when using me I've done the math!! Oh and even if you get items free you have to pay sales tax on the pre-coupon total. When I'm doing all these calculations above, they don't count sales tax b/c I didn't want to take the time to figure that out :)

Hope everyone enjoys my little hoard...I mean stockpiles of items...something tells me I'm just getting started!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Charlie update!

Oh my poor neglected blog...

I could give you a huge list of excuses (some of which are very merited) as to why I haven't blogged about Charlie since his 15 month birthday...but I'll spare you. I am forcing myself to sit down and do this now before something else comes up and I have another excuse. I was planning on doing quite a few blogs catching up on pictures and trips and such, but I went through all the pictures and wrote down a list of all I wanted to post and is extremely daunting. Instead, I am going to upload all pictures to Facebook since it's uploader is much more user friendly. On blogger I can only do 3-5 pictures at a time and well I have about you do the math. I don't have the time, will, or patiences to do that tonight. I will get the pictures up on Facebook and I will do a quick 18...err almost 20 month Charlie update. But, the wet your appetite here is one of my favorite recent Charlie pics...

Oh, so much has changed since my last update. For one thing...he's walking...make that running now!! We were a little worried he might never do it, but promptly on his 17 month birthday he decided he would. At his 18 month check up he was 23 lbs 5 oz and 31 inches. He is in about the 10-25% for both. The kid just won't put on any weight! Might be the fact that all he eats are fruits and vegetables and is running around non-stop all day. He is just a little guy height and weight wise.

Like I said he is walking and running and climbing and anything else he can do! He is becoming a lot more verbal as well. I'm teaching him to use his words instead of grunting, pointing, raising his hand (his own made up sign language for yes or I want that), etc. He has recently learned to say "more" and "please". He can say a lot of other words too...the ones I can think of off the top of my head are, dog, Bella, Pongo, Mama, Dada, Pops, Nonnie, Minnie, duck, thank you, did you see??, ball, Yay!, Where does it go?, block, set go!, and teeth. I know there are more, but that's all I can think of right now. He's also learned to kiss and hug. He will pat on the back when someone hugs him. He is SO good at it's almost a little scary. We got him a new puzzle and I showed him 1 time how to do it and then he did it all by himself...even rotated and fliped pieces to put them in the right spot.

He is on a pretty great sleep schedule now. He gets up anywhere from 7-8 then takes a nap from 12:30-3ish, then goes to bed between 7:30-8. We have a great sleep time routine so he just lays right down and goes to sleep, no crying or fighting it at all.

He is still a pretty picky eater, but he is branching out some. He will eat chicken sometimes, but that is really the only meat he will eat. He does eat some of the toddler Gerber meals which have little pieces of ground beef in them and he doesn't seem to mind those, but if I give him plain ground way! He loves pizza, any and all vegetables, any and all fruit, cheese, salad(yeah weird healthy kid I know), and of course any sweets(except cake). He loves ice cream and chocolate.

He has been pretty healthy for the most part except this last week. He caught a virus which ended up being diagnosed as Hand, Foot, and Mouth (weird name, but it's b/c that's where the rash shows up). Here's the story: So we got home from Georgetown two Sunday's ago. He was totally fine until mid-morning Monday he started running a fever. It got pretty high at some points...anywhere from 101-103. We were pretty nervous so I called the dr. and they said just to keep doing tylenol/motrin and come in if it doesn't go down. Well Tuesday morning he woke up fever free, but I did notice a small rash on his left cheek. I called the dr. again and again they said, just watch him, but come in if he gets a fever again or acts "sick" or the rash gets worse. Well he was acting totally fine all day. That was also the day I watched Drew Lovelace (Charlie's friend, son of our best friends Aaron & Melissa)...more on that later. So Wednesday he woke up and the rash had spread...A LOT. It was all over his butt, legs, feet, hands arms, face, and ears. I went ahead and took him in to the dr. He hadn't been running anymore fever and had been acting totally normal...he just looked TERRIBLE. Initially, they couldn't diagnose it b/c the rash pattern did not fit any one particular thing. They tested for chicken pox and herpes, but both were negative. They sent me home saying it was some virus and it will just take time to clear up. Well, in the meantime...Drew started running a fever of 103 and woke up the next day with no other than a rash! His was much milder than Charlie's and Melissa's dr. diagnosed it right away as Hand, Foot, and Mouth. That was one of the options my dr. mentioned, but Charlie's was just way more severe a rash than usually happens with that. So in the end, it seems that was what it was. He still has some rash patches all over, but they are lightening up everyday. Crazy.

So that's the facts. I can't believe he will be 20 months old next month...something about it being 20 instead of a teen number makes him feel so big! He does new things everyday and I'm continually shocked by how much he understands and learns so quickly. When I was looking through pictures for this update I could not believe how young he looks just 3 months ago! He has changed so much. It really makes me miss having a little baby! He is such a sweet heart. There is nothing better in this world than hearing him yell "Mama!!" and give me a kiss and pat on the back. He is more precious than gold and I am unbelievably grateful to be his mother and get to spend every day with my sweet boy.

PS- Head over to Facebook later to check for new pictures!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Disney World May 2011

Ok so I had really good intentions of sitting down and getting TOTALLY caught up with blog posts I need to do. I haven't updated since January so that includes 2 trips to Disney World (spoiled much?), 2 Charlie haircuts (also in DW) a trip to Atlanta, GA which included the Georgia Aquarium, Easter, and other various posts. Well...the ONE night I decide to do this...Trey doesn't bring his laptop home from work...which has all the pictures on it. wet your appetite, I happen to have a few pictures from the latest Disney trip still on the camera which I have uploaded to my laptop and will therefore be able to share...enjoy! Oh and stay tuned for said blog posts...

Ok, so we decided to take ONE MORE Disney trip. This is Charlie's 4th time to go...(ridiculous)...we've gone so many times because we bought annual passes back in May of last year when my whole family went and we knew we were going to go with the Bowen's in October for Charlie's it made sense financially. We also have a time share so hotel is taken care basically any trips we took through May 15, 2011 all we paid for was flight and food...and trust me...that is a Disney trip you just can't pass up. Plus...Charlie will turn 2 this year which means we have to start paying for his flight (gulp!) so I have a feeling our traveling days are slowing WAY down. This is the first Disney trip we've been on where Charlie could was...different. It was nice in the fact that he could walk around with us at the hotel and the parks sometimes and we didn't have to carry him every where. It WASN'T nice in the fact that he wanted to walk...everywhere...all the time. Which is just impossible for bus/logistic/safety reasons. So we had our fair share of temper tantrums...from us all :) It was also the first trip that he really seemed to react to things...he would smile at and clap along to music...he even watch the whole show of Mickey's Philharmagic (a 3D glasses wearing show) which thoroughly amused the nice older lady sitting next to us. As Disney loving parents...let me tell you this just melted our hearts. Overall, it was definitely the most challenging Disney trip we've taken, but one of the most fun.

So, like I said, I don't have all the pictures, but here are the few I have. We waited in line one day to get his picture taken with the "main" characters. We've never done this with him so we weren't sure how he would react. He did pretty good. This is basically how it went with each character...I would walk him up to them (he would be smiling from ear to ear), try to let him go so he would stand with the character...he would promptly scowl, wriggle, and try to run away...I would come back and pose with him to get a decent picture, then move on to the here is what we ended up with...

Mickey was first. We got better as we went along so we don't have any walking up pictures here, but Charlie was smiling so big. I was like, yes!, he is going to love it...but as you can see...not so much...

The typical Charlie scowl...
The pushing Mickey's hands away...
The, I'm out of here!
Pluto was next. He particularly loved his nose and whiskers...

BUT...when I stepped back...

Much better with Mommy there...
Minnie was next. Charlie loves's actually pretty funny b/c she is the only one whose name he says (Ninnie actually)...well sometimes he says Dond-dold and sometime he says Key! for Mickey...I think :). In the first few pics she is playing can't really tell but he is smiling SO big.

Then...I stepped back...this is actually one of the better pictures we got of just him.
And he's out of there...

Now, I'm not sure what it was but he HATED Donald...I don't know if he was just over it at this point or what but there was NO smiling with Donald...

He actually started to cry here a little...
Still not sure about this guy...
The best we got...
Goofy was last. At this point I could tell Charlie was I didn't even attempt a walk up and I think Goofy is too tall to bend down so far :)
Oh and you may notice that he has his hands in his mouth a lot. That's Charlie's sleepy/comfort habit. If he is tired or really upset he puts his hands in his mouth...he doesn't chew on them or suck on them or anything...just holds all his fingers in you'll notice he was getting pretty tired at this point...

And finally here is our "traditional" trip picture in our engagement spot with a #4 for Charlie's 4th visit. It's not a great picture b/c we had to get a random stranger to take it and Charlie was really tired, but you get the idea :)