Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Printer Update

It turns out that I'm going to be getting my printer for only $20! That's pretty awesome in my book. Let me tell you how . . .

See my post from last week about how I was able to get the printer for $40 after rebate. My wonderful new used printer was supposed to arrive on Tuesday. Well, I got an email saying it was to be delayed a day. I'm super excited to get my new printer, and I don't want to have to wait longer, so I made sure to stay home all day anxiously awaiting my delivery. And you know how it is. They always show up when you're in the bathroom or getting dressed. So I've been on guard all day long ready to run to the door at any moment. No delivery. No email updating the shipment date or anything. So I called the number from the original email. It was a problem with UPS, they hadn't communicated with me or with Staples, but it was listed on their tracking website as to be delivered on Thursday. Great, another whole day of waiting around. Because we all know they don't come early in the morning. They wait until 4:45 just so you have to stay home all day.

So, the nice customer service woman with Staples took $20 off of my order for the inconvenience! Yay! Although under normal circumstances, a day of staying home would cost more than the savings would be worth, since I'm unemployed and working on building up my business, there wasn't really any opportunity lost. So I get my printer for $20 after rebate. I'm pretty thrilled. And hopefully my printer will be here tomorrow.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Baby Momma with a Business

One of the difficult things about being a business mommy is allocating time for work. And I don't just mean hopping onto the computer to get a few things done. Or even turning on my wax pots and pouring some candles. I mean the professional aspects. Making phone calls and sales calls. And going to networking events. Those are the types of things that as a business woman, it's hard to have the time and the confidence to jump into that aspect. I can't just wait until my husband is home to take over baby duty to go out on sales calls. Business owners just wouldn't be in the mood to be talking to me at that time of day.

One of the things that I'm trying to transition to is the idea that as a business mommy, there is nothing wrong with taking my baby with me. Dawson is very sociable and well behaved. And a great big flirt. And being a business mommy . . . mommy is half of my title. I really think that most people I will be talking to would be perfectly fine with me having Dawson on one hip and my free samples and promotional package in the other hand. Afterall, I think a big chunk of small business owners are in business for themselves because they want to have control over their own lives to a big enough degree to accomadate personal needs. Although I will say that I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful little monster that can be perfectly happy entertaining himself for a few minutes while I do other things. And I bet inside of a small art gallery, he will be mesmerized looking around at things from the safety of his stroller that he won't even care what I'm up to. And if Dawson isn't quiet while I'm on the phone, I'm not going to stress about that either.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Super Deal on a Laser Printer

Ok, I wanted to make sure I did a test drive on this deal before sharing it. My prior post specifies how it is cheaper to use a laser printer. There is a great deal on a nice laser printer at Staples right now. Here is the link to the printer:

Notice that it will cost 99.99. I added on a pack of highlighters for $1 just to bring the total over a hundred dollars. That makes me elgible to use a $20 off of a hundred dollar order. Use coupon code 72382. So once you've received your rebate, that makes the actual price only $50. But wait, it gets better. After checking out, you should get an option to enroll in the Staples Identity Theft Program. This will give you an additional $10 back on your order. So a nice laser printer for only $40! Just be sure to cancel your membership in the identity theft program within the 30 day trial period and you won't be billed anything.

Once you have completed your order, there is a link to click that will direct you to the form to fill out for your $30 rebate. The order number is automatically entered! All you have to do is input a rebate code which is listed on your receipt. Two words. E. Z.

Don't forget to go through Mr. Rebates. You'll get 2% back. And that's on the before rebate total! And you should also get points for the Staples Rewards club on the before rebate amount too.

Save Money Printing

Printing costs are a huge issue if you are a couponer or a small business owner. The cost of paper and ink will kill you if you aren't smart about it. And for small business people, all of the additional types of paper you need for advertising is pretty expensive too.

Probably the cheapest and easiest way to save on printing is to purchase a laser printer. I recommend a basic black and white one for printing coupons, shopping lists from The Grocery Game, personal notes, letters, etc. You can get A LOT more pages out of a laser printer than what you can with a laser jet. My favorite brand of printer is Brother. There are usually really good deals on Brother laser jets. And all it takes is replacing your color and black ink cartridges once to equal the cost of the new printer. I'm looking for one with wireless printing so that I can print to the same printer regardless of what computer I'm on. I would love to have a color laser printer too, but my budget doesn't allow for that right now. One of my favorite things with a laser printer is that you can use highlighters without the ink smearing. One very important thing to note, replacement toner is pricey. But it lasts so much longer that it pays for itself. The printer I'm looking at also has several different capacities for the toner cartridge. The first time I replace it I will probably buy the small one. After that I will be getting the big one. Based on the yields, I bet I could get the large one to last a whole year. And it's still less than a hundred bucks. Add that in with a good deal that includes $20 off a hundred dollar purchase, and that makes it a huge money saver over ink jet replacements.

If you're stuck with an ink jet for now there are still a couple things you can do to save. Set your computer to print in economy mode. Everything will print lighter, but it saves on the ink. One problem is that with coupons, the bar codes don't usually scan, but that's the cashier's problem. If you want your ink jet to last a long time, don't try to save money with refilled cartridges. They aren't good for the printer. But if you have a printer that you're ready to get rid of like I do, go ahead and use the cheap cartridges. I don't care if it breaks, and any additional use I get out of it in the meantime is great.

For small business owners, another huge way to save on printing costs is to use Vista Print. Not everything is cheaper, but a lot of things are. I will never print my own business cards ever again. Between buying the special paper, having half of it get jammed up in the printer, and using all of the ink to print, purchasing them online is truly a much better deal. Then you end up with a much nicer looking, professionally printed card too.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Prescription Problem Update

Well, I lost this one. Pretty much, I decided that arguing with the insurance company wasn't worth my time. But I do have to give some credit to Meijer Pharmacy. They directed me to a website where I could print out a voucher for a free sample of 14 pills of my prescription. Yay! So that should hold me over well enough until I can get a full month's supply. It's not quite a full supply for this time period, but it's enough that I won't have health problems. So yay! Not an ideal situation, but far from the worst case scenario. Boy was it stressful though. I will always check my prescriptions as soon as they're filled from now on.

Wednesday Wisdom

If your eyes are blinded with your worries, you cannot see the beauty of the sunset.

This is a new category I decided to start. I find that with as busy as I keep myself, it's easy to forget what's important. Thinking over a saying or quote helps me to think about my life in a slightly different way. This particular one is so true. How many times have I been so lost in my thoughts and even though I'm looking right at it, I don't even see a beautiful sunset? Too many times to count. That was mostly during my commute home from work, so that isn't exactly an issue at this moment. But I do get side tracked with other things and forget to enjoy my son or my husband. Yesterday I had a break during the day while my aunt whisked my little one away for a day of spoiling. I was all over the place trying to get things done while I had the free time. Then when he was home, it was hard to change tracks. I didn't notice until my husband pointed it out that Dawson was being fussy because he hadn't had enough mommy time.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Grocery Shopping Prowess

My prior post showing the great shopping day I had was made possible by doing a lot of the things that I talk about on this website. The most important part of the plan is to buy several Sunday papers a week for the coupons, and also to subscribe to The Grocery Game. I recommend subscribing for Kroger and Meijer, which will cost a total of $15 every 3 months. The first month is only $1 to test drive it. After that you will be hooked. I know I was. If you sign up for Grocery Game, then please use my email address, as your referral. They do the coupon to deal match ups for you which saves a ton of time.

As I mentioned in posts earlier today, I also manage my prescriptions in order to get free money when I buy them. Meijer, Walgreens, Target, K-mart and Rite Aid usually have something going on. Meijer had a lot of prescription coupons in the Entertainment Book this time around. I hope they do that again for the next edition. Target and Meijer will give you coupons for new prescriptions. Walgreens and Rite Aid will only do transfers. Pay attention to the rules, and be very careful about keeping track of where you filled everything. If you get your prescriptions cheaper through mail order, then obviously this wouldn't work for you. If it's only a little cheaper, you might want to analyze if getting them filled at the stores and getting the extra money to shop with would be a better savings. Sometimes it also may be cheaper to ask your doctor for a prescription for something even if it's available over the counter. Prenatal vitamins are a good example of this. With my insurance, it costs about the same OTC or RX, but it makes a big difference when spending the money gives me extra money to shop with.

Shopping Trip 7-20-09

This one is a combined shopping trip for Meijer, Kroger and Walgreens. I spent a total of $8.40
out of pocket. I got $71.68 worth of merchandise. This time it wasn't all groceries because there weren't that many sales on things that I needed. But since I had several coupons for dollars off on my next order, I decided to get a few extras that I did need. This also includes some office supplies for myself and some school supplies to donate.
So here's the list. 6 jars of banana peppers, 5 bottles of Kraft dressing, 3 bottles of Sunny D, 2 bags of Quaker tortilla chips, 6 bars of Johnson's baby soap, 4 tubs of Country Crock butter, a pack of cheese slices, a 20 oz Mountain Dew not pictured because I drank it in the car, 10 notebooks, 1 pair of scissors, 2 packs of Crayola markers, a pack of 2 snack catcher bowls for Dawson, a turtle neck onesie for Dawson, a sippie cup water bottle converter, 2 10pk of ink pens, 4 5pk of mechanical pencils, 2 2pk of pens, 1 nice pen, 8pk of thick sharpies, Johnson & Johnson first aid kit, and 2 sample sizes of Nivea hand cream.

Time Out Tuesday

Ok. Mind shift. No money, business or savings talk. Just me and my life. Well. My life is a bit weird right now. In addition to the withdrawal problems I mentioned in the prior post, I'm also running on very little sleep. I'm CONSTANTLY working. I can't stop. My schedule is to play with Dawson while hubby is at work, do house work and making candles and stuff once hubby gets home, then when hubby goes to bed, do my computer work. So where does sleep figure in? It doesn't.

Dawson is out on the town with my aunt today, so I get a break. And when I say a break, that means that I get to go out and run my errands, come home and make phone calls. And the withdrawal from my happy pills is starting to make me jumpy and nervous. I'm going to be a lot of fun for a couple weeks. I'm as tired as can be, but when I lay down to sleep, I just end up thinking of all of the things that I could be getting done. And I think I might be pregnant. So throw in real or perceived hormonal differences on top of all that. Yay. Boy, you guys are in for a treat if I am. Increased hormones for an extended period of time did not work well for my personality. I think that's probably a polite way of putting it. Mostly I just slept. And complained. But I had this really fun trait where I could get mad at anyone I wanted, but if they argued back, or merely defended themselves from my attack, then I would cry uncontrollably. Then I would cry harder because I knew how horrible I was being and felt bad about it.

Prescription Problem

I've run into a fun (not) little problem with a prescritption I'm taking. It's turning out to be a major headache and will most likely be throwing my medical expense budget out of whack. With the problems I'm having to get it straightened out, I think it's important to write about. But before I tell you the story, let me just say that you should ALWAYS make sure your prescriptions are listed on the label correctly when you get them filled.

There is a particular medication that I'm on that I've been on for several years. I've been on the same dosage of it for about a year. But my doctor only gives me prescriptions for a month or two at a time because she wants to make sure she gets me in for all of my appointments. It's a name brand drug, so it's one of the higher copays for me which is $25. And I always transfer it around with my free money coupons from either Meijer, Target, or Walgreens.

Last time I got it filled, I got my free $15 Meijer coupon as usual, which is one of the ways I keep my grocery costs so low. But I didn't notice until two weeks later when I was running low on pills that they had given me the wrong amount. They had filled it for one pill a day when I'm actually on two a day. So I called the pharmacy and found out that it was my doctor who made a mistake when writing my prescription. No problem. I called the doctor and they called it in correctly.

So here's where it gets messy and confusing and whatever else. My insurance company, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, would only fill two weeks of the prescription since I already had the previous two weeks filled. Except they want me to pay another co pay. Then when I'm ready for a refill, I'll only have two weeks left on the prescription. So another copay for just two weeks. So when I get my next prescription after that, they would only give me another two weeks. So I'm doomed to be paying $50 a month for a medication that should only be $25. I've already reached the end of my options for arguing with Meijer. So now I get to start the argument with my insurance company. Then after that, the department of insurance. All because I didn't verify that my prescription was correct when I had it filled.

Now I will say one thing. Meijer Pharmacy did not do their job correctly. I don't know their specific policy, but most places now try to avoid people like me transferring their prescriptions back and forth for free gift cards by telling you that it's best to keep your prescriptions under one roof for better service so the pharmacist can keep an eye on your medications in case something looks wrong. Since this prescription is always "new" with my doctor writing it out each time with no refills, I've been able to pretty much keep it at Meijer. And they've even told me since this problem started that they can see on my records that my prescription has always been for two pills a day. So why didn't THEY catch it?

Ultimately, I think I'm just screwed. My options are to either resign myself to paying a double copay every month for the rest of my life, or let my health suffer for two weeks and stop taking my medicine. So actually, I'm taking one pill a day. At least that way I won't go through total withdrawal. I'm going to keep trying to work on getting it fixed. Maybe I'll be surprised and someone will actually fix things. I'll be happy enough if they'll just give me a full month's supply for the copay. Then the problem will be fixed going forward and I will have only made one extra copay.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Muffin Tin Monday - Revised Schedule

A couple weeks ago I posted a schedule. Bad, bad idea. For me anyway. I am now throwing it out entirely. Not to say that I won't do the things on the schedule. Just that I'm not the kind of person that can stick to a schedule like that. Especially with something that I tap into my creativity a lot to do. I just totally freeze up trying to think of ideas on topic, then end up not posting anything. Then I feel bad and try to catch up. But then I'm still frozen up on topic one, and then trying to get topic two underway too. So that just isn't working for me.

I had all sorts of super ideas for my Muffin Tin Monday thing when I first decided to do it. Now, my muffin tin has been sitting on the stove trying its' hardest to inspire me, and all I see when I look at it is that I really should scrub at it a bit harder to see if some of the spots will come off, except that I'm worried it will mess up it's teflon coating. I think Dawson has been able to use it more creatively with his spatula these past couple weeks than what I have.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Scam Alert

Truthfully, I was enjoying myself reading this very entertaining blog and trying to find something . . . anything to link to that would be appropriate to my topic. So here's one. Don't waste your money with Universal Subscription Agency, Inc.

See post here:

Wow. Here's another link about this magazine company. I don't have any personal knowledge of them, and you can't believe everything you read online. But I do know that I get a gazillion magazine subscriptions for free, and others are usually ten bucks or less. I have a handful that I sell for my Southern Living at Home business, but those are mostly $20 for 2 years. So that still falls into the $10 category.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Deal on Cincinnati Enquirer

Only at the location on Rte4 and Liberty Fairfield . . . you can sign up for the Cincinnati Enquirer subscription and get $15 in free Kroger gift cards! The representative is scheduled to be there all weekend. Hurry out and grab yours! I'm saving my cards to see next weeks sales since I already did my big shopping trip this week. I'm excited about getting groceries for free for a week!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Blog World

You know, when I first heard about blogging, I thought it sounded pretty pointless and stupid. Then I found all of the deal shopping and couponing information. Now as I expand my horizons following links and looking for additional blogs to read, I'm amazed that I didn't latch on to this concept much sooner. It is amazing to read some of the stuff out there. I found one blog, by women, completely about cleavage. In my opinion, it's in a classy, feminist, being proud of what you have sort of way. So it's cool. Then on another blog I was reading about a woman's experiences in her childhood. Yet another one discusses some issues of motherhood in a completely candid and hilarious way. That blogger actually has a book coming out really soon. I have to post links to some of these blogs soon. I need to put them in a whole different section because they have nothing to do with my normal topics. But my point is that there is tons of free reading out there. A lot that is very interesting and real. The blog world is amazing once you've gotten sucked into it.

Sugar Rimmed Desserts

I love this idea! This is a super simple and cheap way to add some flair to a simple dessert. It looks spectacular, and it's classy and easy. Check out the details here:

Quick Update

There is a coupon for $5 off of $25 at Walgreens on Thursday and Friday. See the Hip 2 Save link on my sidebar to get the lowdown.

I went on a grocery trip to Meijer tonight. With coupons . . . I got two giant bags of Purina One dog food, two boxes of Cheerios, 2 boxes of Jello (impulse buy, they have margarita and strawberry daquiri flavors now) and 3 boxes of Electrosol dishwasher tablets. All for under $10.

$5 Walgreens Challenge (a little late . . . but not too late)

Ok. I've been putting this off, so I'm posting it now and getting on with my life! The main reason I've been procrastinating is because the $5 challenge isn't the best deal this week. The diaper and wipe sale is the best deal. But there are some other nice prices that I'm going to take advantage of. Tonight I'll be going to do the following:

Transaction #1

Listerine or Reach 3 for $9
use $3 off 3 MQ and receive $3RR
Total $6

Transaction #2
Lindt Chocolate Bars 2 for $4
use $1 off 2 coupon = $3

Use $3 RR from above
Total $0

Total OOP = $6

Ok, so it wasn't under $5. But it's a spectacular deal, and if you've been doing Walgreens deals, then you should already have another RR to use to make it less that $5. But eat your chocolate, brush your teeth, then tell me if you're happy or not. ;-) I looooooove the chili chocolate bars that Lindt makes. I can't really taste chili, but after the chocolate melts in my mouth, there's a bit of an after hotness. Just enough to make it sexy.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Awesome Beer Rebate!!!

Ok. It's hard to find info on beer rebates, so I try to keep y'all tuned in to the deals. I was doing just a quick run to Kroger, planning to grab a couple items, and a pack of beer. Well, after I grabbed my couple items and was picking out the beer, what did my little eye spy? A $20 rebate on my favorite brands!!! So here's the scoop. You need to buy 2 6-packs of Smithwicks, Harp, Guiness, Smirnoff, Red Stripe, or Parrot Bay. Then spend $50 in groceries on the same order. Then you get $20 back with the rebate!!!

It was difficult for me to spend $50 at the store. And I didn't have all of my coupons with me. So I opted for some items that never have coupons. Like meat and produce. And I just walked in the door to post this, and I will be filling out my rebate and getting it to the mailbox right away so I don't get side tracked.

One extra tip here. Since I was unprepared for a $50 trip, and my brain wasn't functioning well enough to do the running total like I usually do. (Something with the excitement of seeing the rebate kind of fried my circuits a bit. Pretty bad when I don't have to even drink the beer to get buzzed!) So I filled my cart full of things I needed that never have coupons. There were a few luxury items. Like Wheatsworth crackers. I love them. But they're pricey and I've not seen coupons on them. However, I also can never remember what they're called, so I haven't been able to search for coupons online. I will now! I also chose this time to stock up on batteries and cat food. I would have grabbed diapers too except I just couldn't do it without my coupons. Then when I checked out, I used the self scan. I kept an eye on my total while I scanned. I knew that I had $11.50 worth of coupons, and $10 worth of Mega Sale Savings that wouldn't come off until the end. So basically, I wanted my total as close to $70 as possible. So I scanned most of my items, then had the cashier take off the coupons. Then I was a couple dollars short, so I added a couple more things. Once my total showed $50 after coupons and discounts, I added on the beer. Mission Accomplished. I had to put back a few items. More than I expected. But I've been a grocery store cashier before, so I've paid my dues.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Time Out Tuesday

Ok. I'm behind schedule. Again. No big surprise. But I am only one person, and a business mommy, so life can be pretty hectic. I spent my morning making phone calls today. Trying to find places to set up my candle booth to sell. No luck today. I'm trying to find some different sorts of places and not just festivals. I also had to call my bank and get a fraud issue taken care of. I swear, I'm not exaggerating. My credit card number has been stolen like six times in the past two years. The person at the bank said that it could be anything causing the problem, and not anything that I'm doing wrong. It's very frustrating. But by now I don't freak out when my card gets declined. I just assume that someone has stolen my money. I call the bank, go in to sign a paper, and they put the money back in the account. Stressful and infuriating, but not a tragedy.

Dawson was a total cutie today. He is all of the time, but today he was extra sweet. I guess because I was awake before he was and he didn't have to cry for me. I love it when he gives me the cute puppy look. The one where he looks up all innocent and waits for me to acknowledge him, then smiles so big.

I'm trying to introduce a bit more structure into our days. He's only 14 months, but I've decided that I'm going to home school him. So I want to get both of use to a good schedule. I'm finding some really interesting resources to use for home school. I plan to approach it not as home school exactly. More like college. He'll have different classes on different days of the week. He'll have an art class here, a science class there, a day trip to participate in a program at the zoo. All sorts of stuff. My number one reason for wanting to home school is just because of all the bad and dangerous things going on in public schools that we hear about these days. But also because I was so freaking bored in school. I don't want him to have to be bored when I have so much going on at home that he can learn from, and so many different things that I like to go out and take part in. I would rather turn a camping trip into an opportunity to learn science and conservation and physical fitness and geography. So many ordinary things can be easily turned into wonderful learning experiences. And more than just keeping him from being bored, I believe that creating that kind of a learning environment for him will instill life long learning in him.

So that covers my moment of personal thoughts for this week! And I promise that I'm going to get caught up on my blog topics for the week.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Walgreens Deals

I'm still figuring out my $5 deal . . . but in the meantime, I wanted to share how great I did on a different deal today. I really needed baby wipes. I was completely out and had to buy them at full price (gasp) earlier in the week. So when the Walgreens deal came up today, I was ready to go. If you spend $20 in Huggies wipes (or diapers) then you get back a $5 RR. So I had enough coupons to get 8 packs of wipes for $20, then I used a coupon for 75 cents off of each box. This equaled $ 14 OOP and then I got a $5 RR for use tomorrow. So all in all, $9 for 8 boxes of wipes! And I don't just use my wipes for baby bottom. I use them to wash my hands when I'm out and about. I use them in the basement when I'm making candles and I want to wash my hands without running upstairs. I use them when I'm outside and getting hot and sweaty to wash my face and neck to freshen up a bit. On top of that, I love reusing the wipe boxes for other things too.

Office and School Supplies

Now is the time of year to start stocking up on school supplies. If you have a small business, be sure to stock up on some things that you need for yourself too. Becky at Nickels N Dimes (link on sidebar) works very hard to list all of the great back to school deals. Check out her blog for specifics.

Some of the things that are very important to stock pile is paper, folders, pens and pencils. These are all things that you can get for next to nothing this time of year. But if you go to buy a spiral bound notebook in January, you could have to pay close to $3 for one. If you end up going over board and buying more than you need, then just donate it once you no longer have a need for it. Better to have too much at a super cheap price than not enough and have to get it at a high price.

I will be posting my $5 Walgreens Challenge later today. Be on the lookout.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Awesome Freebie!

Not really free per se . . . but awesome nonetheless.

See this link for details. I'm going to call to check out the details, but if you volunteer for 8 hours, then you can get a hotel room for free or for half price (not sure what the requirements are for free vs. half price.) This is great! I'm planning to set up a date night for me and hubby at a local hotel. It may be close by, but if I can get my mom to watch the baby, then it will be a nice getaway for us.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Time Out Tuesday

Wow. The title today is definitely appropriate. I've been up all night with my little screamer. Dawson is almost 14 months old. He's normally very laid back and a wonderful baby. He hardly ever cries. And he almost always sleeps through the night. Tonight, not so much.

When he first woke up, I went into his room to comfort him. To no avail. So I brought him into bed with me and my hubby. Crying, crying, crying. No fever. He's eaten plenty. His diaper is clean. But he squirmed, cried, rocked, cried, etc. He kept reaching for the edge of the bed and looking down and crying. Finally, after screaming unconsolably forever, he swung his legs over the edge of the bed and got down. As soon as the booger was on the floor, he picked up a toy and was perfectly happy. He just didn't want to be on the bed. That's a new one.

He played on the floor happily for a while, then he started getting tired, so we put him back in bed. And of course, the crying started again. I don't usually let him cry for long. If he's crying, it means he needs something. But tonight has been totally different. I told my husband that Dawson must have read my mind earlier when I was thinking about a second baby for a few minutes. (Even bought a couple newborn outfits that were on sale for a dollar each.) So I guess Dawson decided it was his job to make me say that he's enough all by himself. LOL.

Muffin Tin Monday

Well, it's a little late. But better late than never. And I don't have a picture, but I want to get this posted before another week goes by.

I made Margarita Cupcakes! They were delicious. I used the recipe here:

I changed the frosting slightly. I was out of regular margarita mix by the time I made the frosting, so I used strawberry margarita mix instead. I also added a bit of tequila to the frosting.

The cupcakes were a bit odd. But I really enjoyed them. Everyone else that tried them loved them too. I will probably make them a couple times a year. Also, since I knew that not everyone would eat them, I kept everything in the fridge. I frosted half of them for a party, and I've still got the other half, which I will munch on whenever I feel the urge.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Entertaining 101

This past weekend we had family staying with us from out of town. I love to fix meals and party food and do the whole displaying it nicely thing. So I thought that I would offer some tips.

There are 2 things that can be stressful when having parties. One is time. The other is money. Personally, I've found that time is usually the more prohibitive one. Therefore, I find as many ways possible to save time when it's party time. This weekend I did this in a few different ways. I baked margarita cupcakes (Muffin Tin Monday post coming soon) on Thursday and put them in the fridge. I made up the frosting, and put it in containers in the fridge. The only last minute thing I had to do was put the frosting on the cupcakes and put them in a pretty dish. They tasted fresh, and the frosting when on much more smoothly being cold.

The other thing I did was buy pre made items. The breakfast casserole from GFS was wonderful. Once it was cooked in the foil pan it came in, I scooped it out and served it in one of my pretty dishes. DO NOT feel guilty about serving pre made items rather than making them yourself. If you have determined that time is your normal party prohibitor, then using pre made items to be able to have a party is just the way you have to do it. So long as the food is good and everyone has a good time, then just accept it. Put your extra touches in how you present it. If people don't like it, then they can bring their own dishes. Parties are about having fun. Not about giving yourself a headache.

If cost is your main party prohibitor, then start planning your party a few weeks in advance. Holidays are generally good times to stock up on certain foods. I bought a ton of hot dogs a couple weeks ago because it was the cheapest I've seen them all season. A few packs in the fridge, the rest in the freezer. If I had wanted to, we could have easily grilled out hot dogs along with some other things to throw together a nice party on a small budget. Also, making home made dishes is generally cheaper than buying pre made ones.

Generally, I tend to combine the two. I opt for a few homemade things, and a few pre made ones. Any way you choose to do it, parties can be doable and less stressful with just a little bit of planning.


Well, I promised more posts and a schedule, then I took a week off. Sorry everyone. The holiday weekend threw me off. Plus, I was just drawing a blank last Monday, and there is a total lack of good deals at Walgreens this week for yesterday's post. But I'm back.

This week Meijer is having a Meijer brand sale. This is great for those of you that don't like to bother with the coupons. You can get the store brands on sale below their normal low prices. Personally, I won't be going to Meijer this week because I do the couponing and am able to get name brands much cheaper than store brands. There is a coupon in the Entertainment book for a coupon for $15 off your next purchase if you get a new or transferred prescription filled in the pharmacy though. I may use that to get plants or mulch.

K-mart is doing their Super Double coupons this week. Coupons up to $2 will be doubled. In my personal experience, I've found that K-mart prices are high, so super doubles bring the prices down to normal for the most part. I've only been able to find a handful of items that end up being great deals. And those items typically sell out pretty quickly.

I'm still waiting for the Kroger list to update on The Grocery Game. Nothing stood out to me on their ad. I'm stocked up though if there aren't any deals, so I may just skip shopping this week.

I got some great deals at GFS on Saturday. No sale items, just their normal prices. We had family staying over, so we got a 10 pound thing of roast beef deli meat. We had them slice it for sandwiches, and it was only $30. $3 a pound! And it was delicious. Half of it is in the fridge, and we stuck the other half in the freezer for later. We also got 2 breakfast casseroles that were $10 each. This order totaled $50, so we were able to use our $5 off of $50 coupon from the Entertainment book.