Saturday, February 28, 2009

February ReCap

Here are my totals for the month (minus one or two receipts that were for small increments):

Total before sales and coupons: $355.01
Total sales: $62.05
Total coupons: $151.44
Total after coupons with tax: $99.96

This will hopefully get better. I was still starting the Easy Saver Catalog thing at Walgreen's and had to establish the initial "investment". I think I'll do much better this month.

Rebates received: Sure Deodorant ($1.98), Bayer ($4.10), and Peter Pan ($4.12). The value of all these went back into our grocery budget. I did not send off for any rebates in the month of February.

I received 19 freebies including: free Kids Essentials Boost pack, one free Nabisco product Q up to $4.49, one free Planter's Snacks Q up to $5, one free Kraft cheese product Q up to $3.99, Q for a free box of 100 calorie Oreo Mini-Cakesters, 2 Pamprin samples, a Q book from Proctor and Gamble, via Bzz 4 free entrees from the Guiltless Gourmet Menu and Chili's, Quaker Mini Delight Chocolate Drizzle sample, Orahealth Canker Melts sample, Q for free Suave product up to $3, $11 in Q for Mars products (I will be able to get two huge bags of candy for free), free sub from Quiznos, sample of Cottenelle moist wipes, a Q for a free frozen entree from Kashi, and magazine subscriptions from Family Fun, More, Cosmopolitan, and Woman's day.

I read 8 books. A little slow for me, but it was a shorter month!

I read 18 magazines.

Because of my ankle, exercise wasn't the greatest. We did do a bunch of hiking on our trip to Big Bend. Hopefully March is much better for me.

Walgreen's Easy Saver Problem

I checked the staus of my rebate claims online this morning and there was a problem. The computer system apparently didn't recognize the RFN of one of the receipts. That's $4.00 and the $0.40 extra for putting it on a card that might not be back on my card! I called the number listed in the FAQ section and the guy told me that the call center and the automated center are on different systems. I was told to remove that receipt and claim the rest and then in a minimum of 15 days call back when the information should be in the call center's computers. Anyone else had this happen?

Friday, February 27, 2009

BZZ report for Chili's Guiltless Gourmet Menu

As part of the Bzz program, I received 4 coupons for a free entree from the Guiltless Gourmet menu at Chili's restaurant. Check out this link to see a description of the Guiltless Gourmet menu and nutritional info. I scheduled a meal out for tonight so we took advantage of two of the coupons. We each got something different.

James got the GUILTLESS CARNE ASADA STEAK. On the Chili's website menu it is described as "Sirloin steak with our signature carne asada rub, flame-grilled and topped with house-made pico de gallo and a lime wedge." James said the steak was very good although small (it's guiltless gourmet James!). He also liked the steamed veggies (seemed like it was mostly broccoli) that came with it. His only complaint was that there was no rice or other kind of vegetable offered with the meal. He said that at a cost of almost $13 he didn't feel like the meal was worth the price tag, regardless of the taste.

I had the GUILTLESS CHICKEN PLATTER. That is code for a grilled piece of chicken on a bed of rice served with a side of steamed vegetables. My meal was good. The chicken was cooked just right. It kind of tasted like it was dipped in soy sauce or teriyaki sauce. I had to ask for some barbeque sauce just to give it a little more flavor. The rice was pretty good, but it had these weird chunks of celery or something like that in it. I just picked those and the carrot bits out and ate it. James at my steamed veggies. I would say that for around $8.59 this meal is okay for a restaurant meal. I would probably order this again.

After those relatively healthy meals, I decided James and I needed to split a white chocolate molten cake and it was awesome!

One weird thing was that the manager came over and asked me where I got the coupons from. He wasn't suggesting they were fake, he was just curious because corporate HQ had sent out an email notifiying the franchises to be on the look out for the coupons. I explained the Bzz program to him and he seemed intrigued. I should have given him my blog URL!!! As soon as he left, I told James that the manager would check back with us to ask how the food tasted. Sure enough, right when we finished the entrees there he was!

If you have questions about our experience, leave me a comment!

Who wants to be the first?

Who wants to be the first to follow my blog? I follow several and it's an awesome way to keep track of all the blogs! Thanks for considering it.

Pictures of the foster dogs we're babysitting

As previously mentioned, we are babysitting some foster dogs while their actual foster dad is on vacation. I would like to introduce you to two wonderful greyhounds!

Nell is a wonderful lady whom I don't know much about. She is a saluki/greyhound mix and is a little older. She has wonderful spunk and is very inquisitive. Nell has cancer, and unfortunately may be considered unadoptable. She has tumors on several places on her body. Despite this, she goes through her day pain free and is a generally happy dog whom I am enjoying having in the house.

Account has got to be the happiest dog I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She always wants attention and is right next to you the minute you stand up. Her tail is wagging all the time. . .it's almost like it has it's own battery pack! For this picture, she was originally laying down on some pillows, and I said her name to get her attention. The next thing I know she is at my feet "woo-woo-ing" (a cute vocalization) and flopping from standing to sitting to laying down. What a love bug!
If you are interested in adopting these girls, or just curious about adopting a retired racing greyhound please check out Greyhound Pets of America Central Texas. There are many more rescue groups, this is just the particular group we volunteer with.

What else to cut?

I've been trying to figure out ways to lower our costs around the house more than we already have. There are a few caveats. . .

1. I won't do anything to save money that effects my dogs (spoiled rotten beasts) well being. They are creatures of habit and I don't want to break that routine for them.

2. There are a few brands of things that I am going to stick with because I have found them to be better than others as far as expense versus product. For example, where I live Gold Medal's Organic flour is the best organic flour for the price I have to pay.

I guess over the next couple of days, I'll post any new ideas I come up with. The problem is that I feel like we have already cut so far back, but I know we can do better.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Is anyone out there? Does anyone read this? Am I just "talking" to myself?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I'm surrounded by dogs!

Most of you know that we have 4 greyhounds of our own and foster one. Our last foster, that wonderful boy Kramer, got adopted before our trip so we agreed two babysit to other fosters while their foster dad goes on a trip. Account and Nell were dropped off today and now I have a house full of beasts. I'll take pictures when they calm down, but they are cute.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Deals from today, despite a grumpy cashier at Walgreen's

Walgreen's- despite a rude cashier, I managed to get some good deals. She was rude about my using coupons and making two transactions (I left the store and then came back). I politely explained the company policy to her, and then ignored her rudeness. Of course, being me, the more I thought about it the more it upset me. If it happens again, I'll contact Walgreen's, but it could have been a one time thing.

Transaction 1:
2 - Reynold's Wrap Foil - $1.59 each for a total of $3.18, used 2 $1 MQ and a WAG Q that brought the price down to $0.89 each = $-0.22 (profit)
2 - Stayfree products - on sale for 2/$4 - used BOGO Q and $2 MQ = Free
2 - Russel Stover eggs (fillers) on sale for 2/$1 = $1 (Only one pictured, guess where the other one went!)

Total before sales and coupons = $10.16
Total sales = $1.98
Total coupons (WAG and MQ) = $7.40
Total OOP with tax = ZERO (used WAG gift card for $0.84)

This transaction was a 92% savings!!!

Transaction 2:
2 - Reynold's Wrap Foil - $1.59 each for a total of $3.18, used 2 $1 MQ and a WAG Q that brought the price down to $0.89 each = $-0.22 (profit)
4 - Valentine's bags originally 4/$1, on clearance for $0.24 total (I know that mathematically doesn't make sense, but it is how they rang up.)

Total before sales and coupons = $4.18
Total sales = $0.76
Total coupons (WAG and MQ) = $3.40
Total OOP with tax = $0.03

This transaction was a 99% savings!!!

I originally had just purchased two bags and ended up having a refund of $0.10, but the cashier was being a toot as previously mentioned, so I just bought two more bags.

Walmart - I could have had a ZERO balance here today, but wanted to take advantage of a few expiring Q.

2 - Nabisco 100 Calorie packs - normal $2.98 each or $5.96 total, on sale for 2/$4 - $1 internet Q = $3
8 - Yoplait Light yogurt - $0.53 each (never went on sale the entire time I had Q) or $4.24 total - 2 $1/4 internet Q = $2.24 ($0.28 per yogurt)
2 - Glucerna Cereal - $3.94 each or $7.88 each - used 2 $5 internet Q = $-2.12 (profit)
1 - Suave shampoo - $3 - $3 Suavonamics Q - FREE
1 - Kotex pantiliner - $1 - $0.75 MQ = $0.25
1 - Lemon - $0.20

Total before sales and coupons = $22.28
Total sales = $1.96
Total coupons (WAG and MQ) = $15.75
Total OOP with tax = $4.84

This transaction was a 79% savings!!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Menu Monday

So my menu is going to look a little protein lacking this week (in regards to meat) since we lost everything when our freezer died while we were on vacation last week.

Monday - Black Bean Soup and homemade Corn Muffins (from freezer)

Tuesday - Gallo Pinto (using leftover black beans)

Wednesday - Potato soup and Peasant Bread

Thursday - James will have to fend for himself because I have crisis responder training

Friday - I have a coupon for a free meal out, we'll use it here.

Saturday - Homemade pizza

Sunday - Hamburgeres with homemade buns and chips

I think I am going to make some mini lemon corn cakes for dessert sometime.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Big Bend National Park Trip Feb 2009 Day 4

Our last full day in the park was spent hiking a 14 mile route. We started by hiking up to Emory peak which is the third highest peak in TX at 7832 ft. The entire first 3 hours were spent going uphill at a pretty steep grade.
Here's where we ran into our first "Lion Warning" sign. We never saw any lions, just like we never saw any bears.

This picture was taken at the half way point to the base of the Emory Peak trail.

Here we are finally on the Emory Peak trail, and have been for about half an hour. We kept thinking we were getting closer but it always looked far away. At the base of those rocks, the trail disappeared and we literally had to rock climb to the top. This was definitely the hardest trail we did on the whole trip. It was so steep! The view from the top, once we made it there, was so amazing. I could turn 360 degrees and see desert and mountains for miles! The climb down was interesting, but we made it safely.

We stopped for lunch on the South Rim and looked out at mountain after mountain. It was so beautiful. From Emory Peak, we took Boot Springs Trail to get to the South Rim. It took us about an hour and half to two hours to get from Emory Peak to South Rim

This picture was taken on the back side of the trail from South Rim called Laguna Meadows. I was just amazed at how blue the sky was that day. When we climbed to the top, we climbed up the other side and I leaned over the rocks and took pictures pointing down of these cliffs.
It took us about 7.5 hours to do the entire hiking trip. The last part, Laguna Meadows back to the Chisos Lodge, is very frustrating because of the constant switchbacks around several mountains.
After the hike, we went back to the room and rehydrated. We greatly underestimated the amount of water we needed for the trip. After we drank what felt like 5 gallons of water and Gatorade, we decided to head back out and visit some ruins. We saw the adobe ruins of Sam Nell's ranch house. The Nell family had planted fig and pecan trees on their plot of land. There were also two remnants of windmills. We also went and looked at the bunkhouse and foreman's house left when the Homer Wilson ranch was taken over by the government to make the National Park. It was pretty amazing to see these old buildings and two horse corrals that were still standing. I love to look at old buildings. (I would have liked to spent more time at the Terlingua ghost town on day 3, but it wasn't in the cards.)
The last couple of days were spent visiting our families. We had a great, relaxing trip and I can't wait to go back.

Big Bend National Park Trip Feb 2009 Day 3

Day 3 brought us to Terlingua, TX. We went on a raft trip down the Rio Grande.

This picture was taken at sunset from the Terlingua ghost town. Apparently this was an old mercury mining town, but when they quit mining, everyone left. Now there are houses with people living in them interspersed with the deserted remnants.

We took the raft trip through the Big Bend River Tours company. We had an awesome experience with this company, specifically with our guide pictured above. Yvette was a terrific person and guide. She was so friendly and knowledgeable. She made us laugh so many times. The water on the Rio Grande is really shallow right now, so Yvette ended up rowing (sorry if I'm not using the right terminology) the entire trip. We got to eat on the Mexico side of the river for lunch and it was very pleasant. This trip also served as a training trip for several people learning to be tour guides for spring break. Although I might have the spellings of their names wrong, Kelsey, Sarah, Tara, Chuck, and Ryan were very friendly and fun throughout the course of the trip.

This is the view of one of the canyons we went through during the course of the day. So tranquil. Through out the day we saw Aoudads which are bighorn sheep at the top of the mountains. We had also seen a little herd of them crossing the road earlier in the day.

The tanker pictured above ran off the road which was more than 100 feet above the wreck. The road is very steep (downhill) and curvy. Because of the terrain, it was impossible to remove the wreck so it has just stayed there for years. We also saw the wreckage of a car that had also driven off the road and a cross marking where a woman during a bike ride lost her brakes and went off the road.Add Image

At the end of the trip, after loading up the rafts, we took a picture with Yvette. I would definitely use this company again for another trip and will absolutely request Yvette as our guide.

Big Bend National Park Trip Feb 2009 Day 2

Day 2 we woke up to a very cloudy, windy and cold day. We changed our plans and decided to take the Lost Mines trail in the morning.

The start of the Lost Mines Trail doesn't look to bad, but just around the bend the pavement ends and it turns into loose rock. The trail is ALL uphill until you get to the top. Most of it is a gradual uphill, but some is very steep. We hiked over 5 miles and climbed about 1000 feet.

This picture was taken at about the halfway point. It was much colder, cloudier, and more windy at this point on the climb.

I'm sitting on a single large rock that is like an outcropping. I had to climb out there. I couldn't even see a foot off the rock, but I know it was a sheer drop. In the afternoon we hiked a trail called the Chimneys trail that was about 5 miles round trip. The trail is in the desert portion of the park and is relatively flat. It took us out to some rock outcroppings that were supposed to look like chimneys and had been used in the past by Indians. While there we saw Indian pictographs and grinding stones.

This picture was taken at the end of our last trail of the day, the Burro Mesa Pouroff. Apparently when there is water, it pours off of this cliff. I scaled the wall first and looked into that "cave" at the top. Then James climbed it as well. This trail was about a mile, but we veered off of it and probably ended up walking about 2 miles.

On our way back to the lodge we saw this pack of javelinas on the side of the road.

Big Bend National Park Trip Feb 2009 Day 1

James has been trying to get me to go to the Big Bend for a long time and since I am pretty free to do whatever at this point in my life, I finally agreed. It was an awesome trip. I took a ton of pictures, but am having to pick only a select few to post.

Day one was mostly spent in the car for a very long time!

This is when we first got to the park. Isn't it just beautiful in the background.

This is me trying to get a bear-proof trashcan open. They had these and bear-proof boxes all over the park. We never saw a bear, but it was fun looking for one the whole time.

This is the view of Casa Grande (the mountain) which was one of the mountains surrounding the basin our lodge was in. We stayed at the Chisos Mountain Lodge in the Chisos basin. It was an okay hotel, if a little sparsely furnished. The cool thing was that it was ranked as an eco-friendly hotel. We couldn't hike up Casa Grande because they had it closed for peregrine falcon breeding.

This was the view from our first hike at the basin. On day one we used the rest of daylight to hike the Window Trail. Going out was all downhill and coming back was all uphill. This is called the window because you can see the desert basin from there.

I taught myself how to work the timer on my camera to take this picture of us. We played around here for awhile and then hiked back to the lodge. That evening we went to an interpretive program put on by one of the volunteers. The program was on vegetative changes from the start of the national park (when it first became a park) to current time. It was amazing how some areas had changed so much and others hadn't changed at all.
The Big Bend National park had several interpretive programs every day while we were there.

2/22 Walgreen's


1 - Newspaper (not pictured) = $1.60
1 - Walgreen nutrional drink on sale for $4.00. Will get $4 rebate so this was free
1 - One a Day vitamin @$8.49 - $1 MQ - $6 ESC = $1.49
1 - Softsoap body wash on sale for $3.49 - $1 MQ - $1 ESC = $1.49
3 - Pringles - on clearance for $0.45 each = $1.35 - $0.30/3 = $1.05

Total before sales and coupons = $24.86
Total sales = $5.93
Total coupons = $9.30
Total OOP with tax = $9.75 (-$4 rebate = $5.75)

Shopping after a week out of the game


4 - Hershey's candies @ 2/$4 on sale= $8 - will get a rebate of $5 so actual cost = $3
2 - Twizzler candies @ 2/$3 = $3 - part of rebate deal listed above
2 - Maybelline mascara @ $3.99 each - $7.98, BOGO 50% = $5.98 - 2 $1 MQ = $3.98 for 2
2 - Soleil razors @ $4.99 each on sale - $9.98 - 2 $2 MQ - $2 ESC = $3.98 total for 2

Total before sales and coupons = $38.52
Total sales = $9.56
Total coupons = $20.00 ( I used $12 RR)
Total OOP with tax = $7.53 (-$5 rebate = $2.53)


2 - Ritz Bits @$2.99 each, but were BOGO = $2.99 - $2MQ = $0.99 for 2
1 - Softsoap on clearance for $1.39 - $0.35 MQ doubled = $0.69 but the register took off the doubled $0.70 and the original $0.30 so the actual total was $0.39

Total before sales and coupons = $8.77
Total sales = $4.39
Total coupons = $3.05
Total OOP with tax = $1.36


We just got back from a week long vacation - more on that later - only to find out that sometime while we were gone our large freezer in the garage either switched the breaker, or there was some kind of power outage and it never came back on.

Over $800 worth of food gone just like that. Ouch.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Okay, I've jumped on the swagbucks bandwagon. It is a really cool search engine where you can randomly earn points for the searches that you do. Once you get X number of points you can trade them in for "prizes" like gift cards. I've only heard good things about it and have been using it for about a week. If you are interested, use this link so that I can get rewarded for referring you. Happy searching!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Response from HEB

The customer service manager from HEB called me yesterday afternoon. She was very apologetic and surprised that the two employees that gave me problems actually caused the problems. Hopefully they get the additional customer service training that they need.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Today's Mail

Look what I received today:

Three free magazine subscriptions: Family Fun, More, and Cosmopolitan
Free coupon for Dr. Pepper
Sample of Crest white strips and $10 off coupon
It was a good mail day!

The dreadful HEB transaction

Here's the transaction from the episode I blogged about below.

Bananas - $0.93
2 - Horizon Organic yogurts (not pictured) - $0.75 each for a total = $1.50
2 - Suave Spray Gel (James told me this morning he needed some, so I couldn't wait for sales) - $2.25 each for a total = $4.50 - $1/2 MQ = $3.50
2 - Hospitality Cocoa Crunch cereals - normally $2.50, on clearance for $0.99 for a total = $1.98
1 - Boost Kid Essential drink - $10.99 - $10.99 MQ = FREE

Total before sales and coupons = $22.92
Total sales = $3.02
Total coupons = $11.99
Total OOP after tax = $7.91


I went to HEB today to pick up a couple of items and had the worst experience. I emailed the company via the contact us link on their website. Here's what I wrote:

"I have been a loyal HEB customer for over 20 years; however due to events that transpired today at my local HEB, I may never shop in another HEB store again.

At about 1:15 PM, I went to check out at a register manned by a new cashier named Kayla and a bagger named Israel. Kayla rang up my purchases, including a Kid Esentials Boost drink package selling for $10.99. I handed her my coupons, including a $1 off 2 Suave style products and a direct from the Manufacturer coupon worth up to $14.99 for the Boost drinks. The first coupon did not ring up so Kayla asked Israel how to proceed. He went over, grabbed the coupon out of her hands and entered the information for that coupon. He did not explain the process at all. She then scanned the Boost coupon and he literally grabbed it out of her hand, walked away saying, "I need to check if we can accept this." I explained that it was a manufacturer coupon and all he had to do was enter the amount because it had scanned. He gave me an ugly look and walked away. He was gone for over 5 minutes with no explanation. By this point, I am mortified and feel like I am being treated like a thief for trying to use a coupon. Kayla also seemed very embarrassed and kept apologizing to me.

After five minutes, Israel walks to a register behind us to manager Connie where they spent the next three minutes staring, reading and discussing the coupon. Neither one of them has acknowledged me or Kayla at this point. I leave the line and walk over to them and again explain that it is not an internet coupoon, but one directly from the manufacturer and that it did in fact scan the first time and just needs the value punched in. This time I receive ugly looks from both Connie and Israel and no acknowledgement at all. Finally, manager Connie tells Israel it is okay to use the coupon.

He walked back to the register and typed it in, with no apology to me for the rude behavior or any explanation to me or Kayla, and gets a message that because the coupon is over $10 a manager needs to override the transaction. He calls out across all the customers for Connie to come over, and she instead sends a lead cashier whose name I did not get. This employee did not offer an apology or explanation or even look at me. She couldn't complete the transaction either and called over to Connie who finally came to the register. Connie proceeded to try to complete the transaction, erring twice before overriding the transaction. In this entire episode, the only thing she said to me was, "I guess it would have worked the first time if I had read directions."

I want to again expressed that I was and still feel hugely embarrassed by this entire episode. I also want to express that the only person who apologized or tried to supply an explanation was Kayla, who had to deal with this on her first day as a cashier.

I sincerely hope you address the value of customer service with manager Connie and bagger Israel, or you will continue to lose valuable customers."

I normally expect this kind of thing from Walmart, but not HEB. Anyone else had this happen in an HEB?

No menu plan this week.

This week is crazy busy, so meals are going to be quick and last minute. We have a lot of frozen goods, so I'll just pull something out each day.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Deals for today.

I have to make this quick because I got called into work for another person. I hope she feels better. I hit Walgreens and Walmart this morning for some quick deals.

Transaction #1
Newspaper (not pictured) - $1.60
1 - Windex - on sale $2.50 - $0.40 MQ = $2.10 (will receive $1 rebate)
1 - Fantastik - on sale $2.50 - $1 MQ = $1.50 (will receive $1 rebate)
1 - Ensure 6 pack drink (yes, I actually like these) - on sale $6.99 - $3 MQ = $3.99 (will get $6.99 rebate)

Total before sales = $16.37
Total sales = $2.78
Total coupons = $4.40
Total OOP w/ sales tax = $9.49 (after rebates total cost = $0.50)

Transaction #2
1 - Gillette Fusion Gamer Razor - on sale $8.99 - $4 MQ = $4.99 (received $6 RR so if deducted, I actually made $1.01)

Total before sales = $9.49
Total sales = $0.50
Total coupons = $4
Total OOP w/ sales tax = $5.40 (actually made $0.60 after $6 RR)

Transaction #3
1 Gillette Venus Embrace Razor - on sale $8.99 - $2 MQ = $6.99 (received $6 RR so if deducted I actually paid $0.99)

Total before sales = $9.49
Total sales = $0.50
Total coupons = $2
Total OOP w/ sales tax = $7.57 (actually cost $1.57 after $6 RR)


1 - Pillsbury Cinnamon roll - on sale for $1.88 but rang up as $1.54 (I forgot to use my $0.30 Q)
3 - Pillsbury brownie mixes - on sale for $1 each - total = $3
3- Johnson Buddies - $0.97 each - total = $2.91 - $3/3 MQ = actually made $0.09
2 - Charmin to go (for an upcoming trip) = on clearance for $0.75 each - total = $1.50
1 - Kotex pantiliners - $1 - $1 MQ = FREE
1 - Mini powdered sugar donuts (not pictured) - reduced to $0.60

Total before sales = $11.85
Total sales = $1.30
Total coupons = $4
Total OOP w/ sales tax = $6.91

For the day:
Total before sales = $47.20
Total sales = $5.08
Total coupons = $14.40
Total OOP w/ sales tax = $27.72 (if I deduct rebates and RR the total for today would be = $6.73 for a total savings of $40.47!)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Response from Powerade/Coca Cola

The following is the response I received from Powerade/Coca Cola in regards to the email I sent them about how awful Powerade Zero tastes.

Thank you for contacting The Coca-Cola Company. We are always grateful to hear from our loyal consumers and are glad that you took the time to share your comments about POWERade Zero.

As a consumer-oriented Company, your feedback is extremely important to us. Although we regret that you and your husband were disappointed in the taste of POWERade Zero, we certainly appreciate your taking the time to sample the product.

Again, we appreciate your loyalty and patronage. If you have additional questions or comments, please feel free to contact us again.

Industry and Consumer Affairs
The Coca-Cola Company

I think it is a pretty bland letter and will probably not be supporting Powerade anymore.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Our "little" lap dog and results of today's appointment

Daisy loves the papasan chair and is really stubborn about getting in it. . .no matter who is already there. Tonight she decided to cuddle with her Daddy.

My appointment went well. Apparently the problem is not really my ankle, that is a symptom of a weak hip flexor? I am super sore from treatment and have another treatment next week. Hoping things are better next week. BTW, I was told no running for this week. Complete and total BUMMER!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I caved in

I finally caved in about my ankle. I am going to see my friend's husband who is a neuromuscular therapist. I'm hoping that he can give me some kind of treatment to help the ankle out. I'll tell you how it goes tomorrow.

On a related note, I did run three miles today. It was really slow and a little painful to start, but it got better towards the end. Even though it hurt a little, it felt good to be running again.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Yo-Plus Yoplait Yogurt

Check it out the It's Hip to Save! website for a link to a high value coupon for Yo-Plus Yoplait Yogurt. Then check out this link for a rebate form for the same item. I think this could be a money-maker for some people.

Look what I got in the mail today!

On the left is a huge pile of coupons my mom sent. On the right are a couple of manufacturer coupons I received. They include:

1 FREE Boost Kids Essential Supplemental Drink Multipack up to $14.99
1 FREE Nabisco Product up to $4.99
1 FREE Planter's Product up to $5
1 FREE Kraft cheese up to $3.99

The last three items were from a game I played online to win coupons. I won on the 5th day of playing.

M&M Premiums

DO NOT waste your money on these. They are very expensive and DO NOT taste good enough for the expense. I tried the almond variety and they tasted like stale, wet almond M&Ms. I will definitely stick with the non-premium almond M&Ms!

Menu Monday

Last week was bad. We didn't go out to eat, but we also didn't eat much with both of us having and recovering from the stomach virus. We'll hopefully do better this week.

James smoked up a brisket, a chicken, and a turkey over the weekend which is why there is so much meat on this week's menu.

Monday - Beef in a blanket and chips

Tuesday - Chili pita pizza

Wednesday - Chicken and pasta with broccoli and Parmesan muffins (freezer)

Thursday - Turkey quesadillas

Friday - We may go out to eat with my swim friends, if not LO

Saturday - Baked BBQ chicken empanadas

Sunday - Turkey and stuffing

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Mountain Biking at South Shore

We went for a mountain bike ride at Lake Bastrop today. Because people had other things to do, we didn't do the whole trail, but it was fun anyway.

My friend Raymond (in red) and his son Peter went biking. Peter is a total kamikaze! Oh to be young again. Raymond is an awesome rider also. I pale in comparison!

James fixing a flat before we even started biking. The tire ended up going flat about a mile into the ride and he walked back and took a bunch of pictures while the rest of us rode.

Raymond and me coming over one of the many bridges.

Me blazing by James! Yeah right!

Another WAGs trip and Dollar General

We made two more quick trips today. I wanted to get James some more of the Starbucks truffles.


4 - Glade Scented candles - $3.49 each for a total of $13.96 - 2 $1.50/2 MQ = $10.96 - will get $4 back from WAG rebates so final cost $6.96 or $1.74 each. (I am not going to use these yet. I am going to watch and see if they go on sale this month and return them or get the difference if they do.)
2 - Starbucks truffles - 2/$10 - ESC Q $6.00 - 2 $1 MQ = $2.00
1 - Wrigley gum - $1.19 because amount was less than Q total

Total before savings - $24.06
Total sales - $0.10
Total coupons - $21.00 (I used 2 $5 RR)
Total OOP with tax = $2.96 (But remember I am getting $4 in rebates so I actually made $1.04 off this transaction.)

Dollar General (I almost never shop here, but their ad was in the coupons and I looked at it. Here's what I found.)
2 Softsoap hand soaps - $1.75 ea - on sale for $1 ea for a total of $2 - 2 $0.35 MQ = $1.30 for 2
2 Softsoap shower gels - $2.50 each - 2 $1 MQ = $3 for 2
2 Colgate toothpaste - $1 each - on sale for $0.85 each for a total of $1.70 - 2 $0.75 = $0.20 for 2

Total before savings = $10.50
Total sales = $1.80
Total Q = $4.20
Total OOP with tax = $4.85

WAGs deals

We hit Walgreens very early this morning. I think I did okay, but I made a rookie mistake in regards to RR. It was my first time ever receiving them and I didn't consider the other rules when I rang up my purchases. It will work out though. I did find one surprise deal!

Transactions 1-4 (This was my mistake. I should have rang all of them up together and received $20 RR back on one ticket instead of 4 $5 RR. Oh well, live and learn.)

4 - Dry Idea Clinical Strength Deo/Antiperspirant - $7.99 on sale for $5.99 = total $23.96 received 4 $5 RR back for a total of $3.96 for 4

Transaction 5

Newspaper (not pictured) - $1.60
2 - Quaker Oats Granola bars - sale for 2/$4 - $1 MQ = $3 for 2
2 - Kellogg's pop tarts - with WAG coupon = 2/$3 - $1 MQ = $2 for 2
2 - Starbucks truffles (THIS IS MY FIND!!!) - on sale for 2/$10 - used ESQ to make it 2/$4 - found a box of MQ for $1 each, so price came to $2 for 2 ($1 a box for Starbucks truffles!!!)
2 - M&M Premium candies - on sale 2/$7 - ESQ of $1 - 2/$1 = $4 for 2 boxes (these were a treat since I had heard how good they are)
1 - Garnier Nurtrisse Wave spray -$3.49 - $1 MQ = $2.49 - ES Rebate = free + $1 money maker
1 - Zucol lozenges - $7.99 sale - $2 MQ = $5.99 - ES Rebate = free + $2 money maker
1 - Thermacare trial size - $2.49 sale - $1 MQ = $1.49 - ES Rebate = free + $1 money maker
1 - Secret deodorant - with WAG Q = $1.99 - $0.25 MQ = $1.74
2 - Ricola lozenges - WAG Q made them $1.29 each - 2/$1 MQ = $1.58
1 - Revlon Creme Lip Gloss - $9.99 - ES Rebate = free
1 - Splenda Granulate sugar - $2.99 sale - $3 MQ = free
2 - Nature's Bound Fish Oil tablets - BOGO for $9.99 - 2 $1 MQ = $7.99 for 2

Okay, so if I did this right here is how the total breaks down:

Total original cost - $132.53
Total sales - $26.77
Total coupons - $37.95 (Includes $10 RR, and I still have $10 RR left)
Rebates coming back to me - $23.96
Total OOP = $43.85 (It should have been $33.85 but I had my rookie mistake with the RR and forgetting about the # of coupons rule). 67% savings

I don't have a gift card yet because I am waiting to receive my first one. I could have gotten another free after rebate item, but I would never use it so I didn't get it.

Brazos Bend State Park

James decided that he wanted to go to Brazos Bend State Park yesterday. When I say decided, I mean he sprung it on me at 8 in the morning. We loaded up Kramer and Mary and made the 2 hour drive down there. It is an awesome park. Because the beasts were with us we didn't get do experience as many of the trails as we would have liked, but the babies had great time.

The alligator on the left is actually very large! It looked like it had just eaten a deer. We later saw another huge one, but my camera battery ran out of juice on this picture. BTW, I had never seen an alligator in a natural habitat until yesterday. It's awesome!

Me and a huge oak tree!

There are definitely alligators there. Doesn't James look rustic?

2011 Challenge = Support Local Eateries

Read about our 2011 Challenge here.