Harvest Sunset 3 column

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Packing, Playing Princess & More Packing!

Well we survived our trip to New York and had a great time visiting family! I did manage to come home with a cold though which does not work well for packing. On top of that I got food poisoning Monday night and am still recovering. Not fun!!! Yesterday I was pretty worthless but today we did make a dent in our never ending list of things to do.

Of course you can always count on kids to bring fun to any situation. Keira loved playing with the boxes & helped me out with some packing while Callie napped.

Keira in her "house"

Later, to get some sunshine, we took some boxes outside and made a princess castle. I was the witch and she was Snow White :)

Then we had a little chick-fil-a picnic for lunch then it was back to Packing!!

Tomorrow we close on the house. Kind of bitter sweet! I hope all goes well but I am definitely sad to leave our first house! We do have a few more days to finish moving though. That will help me get my closure and say my goodbyes!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Celebrating Earth! My Goals & a Few Free Ways to Participate

This year is the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Earth Day is celebrated every year on April 22. It was started back in 1970 by US Senator Gaylord Nelson as way to encourage environmental awareness and appreciate our Mother Earth.

I admit in previous years I haven't paid as much attention to this celebration as I would like to. However, throughout the year I do participate in keeping our Earth beautiful by recycling, reusing, sharing, gardening etc. There are several ways I would like to improve.

These are my goals this year:
1)ALWAYS recycle when possible. I am usually good at this but sometimes can be a bit lazy!
2)Use less "throw away" storage; For example, instead of sandwich bags for snacks & lunches, use other washable storage containers I have on hand. I have been doing this most of the time this past yr. Saves $$ too!
3)Switch to Environmentally Friendly cleaning products. These are not only better for the environment in general, they are better for our family's physical health. There are several great brands out there. Right now I am trying Seventh Generation Multipurpose Cleaner & Clorox Green Works.
4)Carry my reusuable water bottle to the gym & stop buying bottled water.
Got a cute steel container at Old Navy for $5.
5)Bring my reusable shopping bags with me to all grocery and drugstore trips.
6) Unplug electrical items not in use.
7)Start my garden!! Very excited about this. It will have to wait until we move so it will likely be a Fall/Winter garden this year.

Here are a few deals/activities that I wanted to share:

Pottery Barn Kids is celebrating with free Earth Day activities in their stores at 11am & 3pm. Check your local store to make sure they are participating.

Join the Home Depot Garden Club for coupons and gardening tips. Right now they have a Buy One Tree get one Free coupon! Also the Sunday ad mentions the current promotion: Buy One Get One Free all vegetable, herb & flower seed packets. Perfect time to start that garden!

Walgreen's is currently running a promotion offering 22% off all Earth friendly products. In addition, they are donating 30% of those sales to the World Wildlife Fund. And don't forget, stop by your local Walgreen's store & get your black ink cartridges refilled for $1 on Thursday, April 22nd only! See store ad for coupon.

It's National Park Week which means entrance to all 392 National Parks is FREE!

Visit EPA Event Page for more events in your area.

Go out and enjoy the day! Make it beautiful!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cleaning out Clutter & Packing!!

I've been following a long over at Money Saving Mom with the Clear out the Clutter Challenge. I'm sure we all have clutter that we need to get rid of from time to time. Me especially, since we are packing to move next week! I haven't been able to follow on the same schedule as her. However I did work on one of the girl's bedrooms today. I only have a picture of the closet, which is bad enough, but you don't even want to see the room since it is being torn apart and packed up! Here it is before I started:

I don't have an after because it is still not finished! And most of it will be in boxes for storage with the exception of what is going to grandma's for two months til our house is ready! We did get one LARGE box of items to donate, a trash bag full of old, worn out items and several boxes for storage. I have a feeling I will be doing even more "Clutter Clearing" when we move in. With Keira in the room with me, it's very challenging to get her to let go of things. And I admit, I am a sucker at times!  With that said, I leave you with the most adorable photo below. She has a thing for stuffed animals. She didn't want to get rid of any or send any to storage. I had her choose a couple favorites and the rest went into a box. All on her own she hugged each one, told them good bye and that she would miss them and placed them gently in the box. Awww!!!! My sweet girl!

Walgreens Week 4/18-4/24: Clearance Deals!

I made my weekly trip to Walgreen's on Sunday. Got a few advertised deals but then 2 things I stumbled upon in the clearance section! A few of the Free advertised deals were already gone since I went in the afternoon.

(2) Fiber One Bars- $1.99ea with Walgreens ad coupon
Used $.50 off 2
Geisha Mushrooms- 2 for $1 with ad coupon
Dawn- $.99 with ad coupon
Used $.50/1 from P&G 4/4/10 insert
Energizer C Battery 4 pk- $5.99 sale price (missing b/c they are in the baby's music machine!)
Used $1/1 from 3/28 SS insert & got $1 Register Rewards back
And here were my other fun deals:
Packing tape- regularly $6.49, clearanced 75% off for $1.62
Awesome since we are packing and using A LOT of tape!
Home Charging Station- regularly $19.99, clearanced for $4.99!!
Between my husband's 2 cell phones, mine, our camera etc there are always things charging and I can't stand looking at all those cords. This way they can be plugged in & charging  but the wires will be discreetly hidden. It even comes with it's own power strip. Definitely using it in the new house to keep it looking good!!

My total after coupons was $16.69 plus tax
Used $4 Register Rewards from last week
Total OOP- $13.35
Value of items purchased - $49.00! 72% Savings!

Not too bad and I recevied  $1 Register Reward to use for next week.  For a complete list of weekly deals and coupon match-ups, visit Southern Savers. She even gives you the option of a printable shopping list! Love it!

We've Got Progress!

While it seems not much has been going on in the new home front, it looks like things will be picking up quickly. I got a call yesterday from our builder to let us know that the foundation has been poured! Yeah for progress! I drove by yesterday afternoon to check it out myself.

Follow the little concrete path they made and up at the top is the foundation for our home! A little hard to see, but it's there :)

They hope to have the lumber by the end of the week. From what I have seen with a few other houses, once the lumber is delivered, the house is framed in a matter of a couple days. God willing of course! It is April after all.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Weekend

We had a busy weekend filled with kids birthday parties, packing and hanging out with friends. Actually it was more of the other two and not much packing. I must set myself a goal to actually get this house packed before we have to be out by the 30th!! I'm starting to stress. Not to mention we are going to NY this weekend for a family wedding. Can we say CRAZY!?!

Here are a couple photos of the girls from the weekend. A little blurry-I took them with my phone & Callie won't stay still! They had such a great time at their friends birthday party on Saturday. Keira also went to a "Princess" themed party on Sunday. Hope to get some cute photos from that!

Speaking of birthdays, both of theirs are right around the corner!

Time is flying! Can't believe Callie will be ONE next month!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Target: Earth Week Begins-Free Reusable Bag

Earth Week begins! Today, April 18th stop by any Target store and receive a free reusable shopping bag with any purchase!

Not going to Target today? Just check out your local Sunday (4/18) Target ad where you will find a postage paid label to use for this deal: Mail in 5 Target plastic shopping bags and they will send you an e-coupon for $1 off another reusable bag, normally priced around $1.49.

For every reusable bag you use, you receive 5 cents off your order.

I don't know about you, but I am tired of saving plastic bags to recycle! They are piling up in my garage! But I refuse to just throw them away. I am trying to get better about bringing my earth friendly bags with me!

More details and other Target Earth day offerings here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cooking with Caroline: Oven Roasted Chicken

I'm in no way an expert cook, so I thought I would share my kitchen experiences, good & bad in hopes it will encourage others to try cooking new things as well.
Last night I had a dear friend and her kiddos over for dinner. My husband is out of town so it was a fun time for just the "girls" and our little ones. I have had this chicken in my freezer waiting to be cooked. Since we are moving soon I'm trying to eat everything up!!

And, first I must confess, this is only my 2nd time cooking a whole chicken. The first time I sort of cheated and used the crockpot. I say cheated since it just requires you to toss everything in, turn it on and it go, for hours! And after 4 hours or so it's obviously done.

For this chicken I started with a recipe from Martha Stewart here. I changed it up a little to fit what I had on hand. No fresh Thyme so I used dried and sprinkled it all over the chicken. Stuffed the cavity with onion, garlic & lemon. I did not have any kitchen twine to tie the legs together. I wonder how much difference this makes in taste? Someone please enlighten me!!!

Also the recipe recommends an instant read thermometer which I don't have but now wish I did. I couldn't quite tell if it was done after the specified time, so I had to cut into it and put it back in a few times. I am paranoid of meat not being fully cooked and feeding it to others!! Hopefully with future cooking I can get myself a thermometer!

Here is my before:

Another thing going against me was my ancient oven!! I think it is original to the house, built in 1980, and heats 75 degrees ABOVE the set temperature. We have known this since we bought the house but never quite made it to getting a new oven. So we always guesstimate and lower the temperature approx 75 degrees from what a recipe calls for. Sometimes this works fine, other times it is a disaster!!

Here is the proof of my OLD oven:

And here is the chicken after:

The skin came out nice & crispy and the meat was still juicy!! Overall I think it was a success. Hopefully with future chickens I can make some progress :)

I served it with Roasted Potatoes & Carrots.

Easy directions:
Slice the vegetables about 1/2 - 1 inch thick and put them in a medium sized baking dish. Sprinkle salt & pepper all over and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in the oven uncovered approximately 30 min until tender.

These came out quite good! The carrots almost tasted like sweet potatoes since they had carmelized some. My daughter who hate carrots actually liked them! I'm thankful we have leftovers so I didn't have to cook tonight!

What have you been cooking this week? Please leave a comment to share!

Walgreens Savings: Week 4/11-4/17

I made a quick trip to Walgreen's this week. Didn't need much but they did have a freebie and found two other great deals.

Kashi cereal- on sale 2 for $5, used 2 $1.50 0ff coupons from my Vocalpoint home mailer
Carefree liners - $.99 using an in ad coupon
Schick Hydro Shave Gel $2.99, get $3 RR (Register Rewards)
Coppertone SPF 15 oil free sunscreen-found clearanced for $2.99 (these are regularly $8.99+
Not pictured- a Princess kite for my daughter $1.99 & bubbles $.79 (see what happens when I take my 3 yr old shopping with me!!!)

Total after coupons $11.75
Used $10 RR from previous week
Spent $1.75 OOP (out of pocket)
Got $3 RR for next week!

*FREE* "U" by Kotex Sample & $1 Donation

I saw this on the Today show and checked it out online. Kotex is launching a new campaign along with their new product "U" to encourage girls and women everywhere to be more comfortable with their bodies and talking about related issues.

The new line comes in all sorts of fun colors. Sign up for a free sample here.

Also click on "Join the Cause" here and sign the Declaration and Kotex will donate $1 to support social change with their partner Girls For Change.

Monday, April 12, 2010

CVS-My shopping trip today, only $.50 spent!

Another quick and easy trip to CVS for a few things we will use or can pass on to someone else!!

Here is what I got:
Dial Nutriskin Body wash $5.49 (get $4.50 ECB)
Dove Conditioner $4.49 (get $4.49 ECB) *free* plus moneymaker with coupon
CVS toilet paper roll 2 for $1
Not pictured- M&M's $.99 and snack bag of cashews $.99 (I was starving!)
Total before coupons $12.96 plus tax

Used $1.50 Dove haircare (RedPlum 3/28-newspaper coupon insert)
$1 off any CVS paper product (spits out at coupon queue at front of store)
$10 ECB from last week.
Total OOP(out of pocket) $.50!
Got back $5.49 ECB & $4.49 ECB to use next week!

CVS Savings!

One of the ways I LOVE to save money and even make money is by shopping at my local CVS and Walgreen's store. This is a little late, but for last week's ad I got a great deal at CVS! They were running a baby promotion where you get $10 ECB ( Extra Care Bucks) when you spend $25 on baby items (excluding formula). Since we always need diapers I decided to take advantage of the deal. But what made it even sweeter was the CVS coupons I happened to have! The week before when i checked out I got 2 awesome coupons I used on this deal. One was for $2 off $10 baby purchase and another was $4.50 off a Pampers big box.

As you can see pictured, here is what I got:
Pampers Big Box diapers $19.99
(2) J&J Bubble Bath & Wash $2.99 ea
Total $25.97 (before coupons)

Used $2 off $10 baby Q
$4.50 off diapers big box
$1.50 Pampers Cruisers (got out of previous diaper packages)
(2) $1.00 off J&J baby item (from newspaper insert)
Total after coupons $15.97

Lastly, used previous Extra Care Bucks I had earned for $13 and paid only $2.97 plus tax out of pocket!!

Then got another $10 ECB to roll for next week! Love it!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

New House-Getting Started!

Finally!!! We have been patiently awaiting this day to arrive, the builder has started on our new house! With our other home on it's way to being sold, it's nice to see we really will have some place to live, eventually. Hubby drove by there Friday and they had started the plumbing. Not much to look at but for us it's definitely a start!

Our *very hopeful* close date is June 30th, however we are realistic this is probably not going to happen. They have got a lot of work to do!

Hope to post pictures of a little more substance very soon :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Home Inspection Day

We put our house on the market at the end of February and are relieved to say we now have a contract!! This morning we had the inspection for the buyers and are now anxiously awaiting the results!! With a house built in 1980, you never know what they may find.

It seems like just yesterday we had our inspection when we were buying the house 7 years ago. I remember funny things the inspector said, where I sat outside thinking "this could be my new neighborhood" and hoping all went well!! Time really does fly. Now 7 years and 2 kiddos later, it is time to move on. We have simply outgrown this house. But oh how I will miss it!! The trees especially, the girls swing in the front yard, the squirrels and birds that play in them, the leaves in the fall, the shade in the summer, and then just the coziness of our house and the pride we take in all the work we have done to it. Moving out will defnitely be bittersweet.

As much as we will miss this house, I am praying for only minor repairs needed on this inspection report so we are able to move and hopeful it will turn out ok !!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Welcome :) I hope to use this blog to stay connected with friends and family and also make new friends along the way! This journey many of us are on as parents and mothers is a bit tricky to navigate at times but sharing it with others makes it a better learning experience. I would like to have some organization to my blog and not just a bunch of ramble but forgive me if it goes that route from time to time!!! I want to share my life as a mom and what helps me and my family whether it be money saving deals, cooking tips, gardening or family fun.

A little about me, I have 2 beautiful girls, ages 3 (almost 4) and 10 months. I have been married for 6 years to an awesome guy, who I met at age 13!! Long story-maybe one day I will post it. I work 2 days a week in banking and the rest of the time stay home with the girls!! It's such a blessing to be able to spend the time with them that I do, although I am not going to lie, it can be extremely challenging!! I would love it if every mom who wanted to was able to stay home. I hope that maybe I can help someone achieve that goal by sharing my experiences with you.

More to come... in true Southern dialect and in honor of Paula Deen... "Come back y'all!!!"
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