biggest couponing trip ever

**UPDATED! I went back and spent $5 (I think I got shaving cream) and I got the 2nd $10 giftcard… and when I say I spent $5 I didn’t really spend a whole $5. My total came to over $5 but with coupons it was closer to $3! YAY for free $$$
Let me first start by saying that I am not the best couponer in the world, and I’m sure that what I did today could have been done better if I had more time to think about. But considering trips I’ve done before- I really hit the jackpot today! I am a CVS sissy. I’m too scared to spend more than $10 there. I have on a rare occasion spent over $30 (on a spend $30 get x amount of extra care buck rewards), but I rarely spend over $5… and I still do fairly well.
In the month of October I actually had $50 left over in my food/toiletries/everything that goes in or on our body budget- which is RARE. I really think it’s because I’m finally getting to the point where I have a stockpile and I am using things in the stockpile instead of going out and spending money on items at full price. I have been seriously couponing since April and not so seriously couponing for over 2 years and I have NEVER had money left over at the end of the month (and I know it’s legit because I do cash, so no need to keep up with receipts).
So here is what I did at CVS today- yes I spent a good bit OOP (out of pocket), but I did have the roll-over from the month of OCT (this trip was technically out of NOV. budget).
and I only did 2 transactions. From the pictures it might look like I did more, but I took the pictures to break down the categories- not necessarily by transactions.
The deal these past couple of weeks has been spend $30 on select items get a $10 gift card. Our stock was running low on toilet paper and paper towels (well I thought it was, until I went to actually put these away- and we still had 10 rolls of toilet paper from the last trip in May-oops, but I only had 3 rolls of paper towels left).

All in all my total before coupons = over $55. I only spent $35 OOP (that’s $20 I saved just with coupons) and got back almost 2 $10 giftcards- I say almost because I made a slight mistake on the toothbrushes you’ll see in the next few pics. I thought the toothbrushes counted toward this, so my total was actually $5 short to get the 2nd giftcard… but no worries I’ll go back this week, spend $5 and get the remaining $10 giftcard. So in the end I’ll spend $40 OOP (still $20 savings) and get 2 $10 giftcards which in my head/budget is like getting all this for $20!

The Covergirl cosmetics had a GREAT deal. I scanned my card at the magic red card machine and it gave me a coup that said spend $20, get $5 off any face purchase. I used that PLUS 1 -$2.50 off 2 products, 1 -$1.00, and 1 -$1.00 AND the items were BOGO 50% off. So all total for the Covergirl stuff I actually paid $13.50 for all that, which we know in the makeup world is good (when the bronzer alone on a regular day is $9.99).

Next up…ExtraCare Bucks

Razor was $11, cartridges were $17… I had a -$5.00 coupon when I bought both a razor and cartridges, and then I got $5 back in ECB. It was like getting both for $18 which is like the regular price of cartridges (but I got 2 extra cartridges in the razor pack).

Listerine was $3.99, -$2.00 coupon, and $2 ECB back and it was FREE. Toothbrushes I got for $1.25 each- hello Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes! I think I had 2 -$0.75 and I got $1 back for each toothbrush.

Total ECB with my green bag tag included was $10 to apply to my other transaction. My receipt was seriously 5 feet long.

And finally… FREEBIES!

Who doesn’t LOVE free?? I stuck the listerine in here because it was technically free with the ECB. The Dawn I had alot of $1.00 off coups. Some from the P&G mailers, and the hand renewal had a special coupon. Also the shaving cream is $0.99 and I had $1.00 off any Gillette shave cream (no size limit).

And now… really great deals.

Jif and Welch’s was 3 for $5. I had coupons for the Welch’s. Herbal Gel was $2.97 – $1.00. Tuna was 4 for $5 even though I only bought 3. And the gum I went hoarding coupon crazy… oops. I had 3 buy 3 packs of trident gum, save $1.00. So I got 9 packs for $6. Not bad.

All in all I spent around $80 OOP and then I’ll finish that giftcard deal spending $5 more. So $85 plus I got $20 giftcards back= $65 spent today. Not bad at all. I NEVER spend that much at CVS, but considering the razors alone were $18 and the toilet paper plus paper towels was $20, I think I did well!!
Here is little man in his costume :) He had some serious bed head from his nap…

and here he is helping mommy…

and we ended the day with a great finger painting picture!

Hooded Towels & some paint talk

I know hooded towels don’t make many people happy- but they really tickle me pink!

Baby towels are pathetic with a toddler. Luke’s head has always been too big for baby hooded towels, and baby towels are ridiculously thin. I went online and looked at tutorials of how to make my own hooded towels. I really wasn’t into buying a bunch of terrycloth and making a towel from scratch. I figured there was a way to make one from a regular adult sized towel. I also talked to a lady at our “Little Dresses for Africa” party and she had made a bunch and clarified everything that I read online. I also had a friend ask if I knew how to make them which put the fire under me to actually learn how!
So here is the finished product. I searched etsy for a design idea. I already had a grey towel (a total embroidery FAIL) that I needed to figure out how to use and I went and bought a matching handtowel. I went with the shark simply because it was cute and the tip of the hood looks like a fin. Also I had some ric-rack and buttons laying around. After a quick tutorial here I slowly made my way through the project. You have to sew the handtowel together end to end and then slowly attach it to the center of the larger towel.

We use this towel ALL THE TIME and I really need to make more because it has held up so well. I hate it when I have to use a regular bath towel for lman because I just LOVE this one so much. Next I have a black one (from an embroidery FAIL again, and I plan to make a lime one- maybe dinosaur).

Well, we can check Josh’s 10 year reunion off the list! We spent the weekend in Mississippi and Alabama visiting family and friends. Jason (Josh’s brother) made a trip up from Gulf Port and we had a really great weekend with him and Josh’s dad. It was great family time and although Luke’s nasty sinus infection reared it’s head again and we ended the weekend with Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease- it was still a great weekend.

Incase anyone is too scared to google HFMD- here is what little man is suffering with- blistery hands. Poor baby.

He actually has a fairly mild case so far because a main symptom of HFMD is blisters in the mouth and so far he doesn’t have any. He was grabbing his throat last night, but it has not affected his eating and drinking, so I’m not too worried. It seems that when it rains it pours.

Other things going on- Josh is quitting his night job so he can spend more time at home. Yes the  $$ was nice, but we don’t need it. It would be nice to pay off some debt faster (it’s how we paid off the deck) but it’ll be even nicer to have him home every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday night! :)

Lot of things happening in such a short amount of time. I am in the middle of a few of my 101 in 1,001 projects. I am half way through spraying our patio set in Oil Rubbed Bronze (ORB) by Rust Oleum.

Why spray paint the patio set you say?? Because of RUST. Hate that stuff. Sorry for the horrible focus… wow

The old finish is on the right, new on the left. It was still wet when I took the picture but the ORB is BEAUTIFUL… really sparkly.
I also started painting the trim in the house. I am going to do this v.e.r.y slowly working one door at a time and one room at a time. As I go I am taking all the door knobs off the doors and the doors off the hinges and painting them both (knobs and hinges ORB. I really just need to finish the bathroom stripes project so I can clean up in there before I make any more messes. But I am a tackle 3 projects at once kind of girl. It’s just how I’ve always been.

This is what all the trim in my house looks like:   Polkas have a place- but not on my walls and doorways!

This post is waaaay longer than I expected it to be, but alot is included! I can’t wait to look back and see all the improvements we’ve made!

Family Pictures

We had family pictures taken by the wonderful Suni C! We absolutely LOVE her work and she did our family portraits this year and last, my maternity pictures and Luke’s newborn pictures. Here’s a flashback:


1 year:

and this year:

This year I really wanted pictures taken at the train station. As a kid, my dad and I took trips by train (to New York and Washington D.C. just for the experience) and I think it’s really unique that there is an Amtrak station in Toccoa- seeing as there’s only 3 stops in GA! (Atlanta, Gainesville, and good ole’ T-Town). Also the station doubles as a military museum and so the station is absolutely beautiful in a timeless/colonial yellow, red, and green. Perfect for fall!
So here are some of the best one’s I could choose- and it was reallllly really hard to choose. Suni can seriously do miracles with the camera!\

and just for the record- we are not brainwashing Luke with the flag. He absolutely LOVES flags. He finds them wherever we go. Maybe doing his nursery in a flag theme up his chances of LOVING flags (and having a daddy that fought for our country doesn’t hurt either!)
but this was totally spur-of-the moment to include the flag in pictures- like while I was unbuckling him out of his seat he spotted the flag in the front seat and threw a tantrum til I let him carry it spur-of-the-moment. And, no I usually don’t just carry a flag around in my car- this boy is absolutely spoiled and LuLu gave in and bought him a flag at Lowe’s a few weekends ago and it was still in my car…sigh
And you may wonder how in the WORLD you get a 22 month old to cooperate for pictures… He had the biggest tantrum of his little life in the bathtub about 30 minutes before pictures, but you would never guess it from pictures! Mini M&Ms were our lifesaver… and seriously… mom’s who claim to never use bribery are totally lying. Notice the little tupperware ‘loot’ in the grass… this was such a sweet moment where they were watching a squirrel.

I am for sure having this
and this...
put on a canvas. I mean I may be a leeeeetle biased, but his eyes make my heart melt.

And it is so rare that Josh and I actually get a GOOD picture taken together- and this totally sums up how I feel about this man. Safe, protected, and warm…

So I feel like I’ve accomplished alot with getting these photos made- 2 canvases out of the deal, and our Christmas card picture!

Yard Sale Signs... total innovation

Not to get your hopes up when you read the title… when you think of innovation you think of Thomas Edison, Alexander G. Bell, Eli Whitney (who by the way is my great great great 13 times down the line cousin…) Henry Ford, etc…

But I was pretty proud of the burst of innovative-ness I had this past weekend. We planned to have a yard sale… LOVE yard sales by the way. It is seriously an awesome way to make fast cash in T-Town. Where I’m from you’re lucky if you make $5… here though people are serious about yard sailing…

So everyone knows that to have a successful yard sale you have to advertise. I put an ad in the paper (which I unfortunately left off the date and time… oops). I figured I needed to put signs out- which I usually do really last minute (like morning of last minute.) I went to get supplies and WHO KNEW that fluorescent posters cost $3.99 EACH! Now really in the grand scheme of things $3.99 isn’t much, but it was the principle of the matter that I needed 4 signs and this $3.99 posterboard was going to turn into more than $16! Hello…. my point is to make a profit. Oh, and I also needed stakes which would run about $1 each (I only needed 3 of those though).

After picking my jaw off the floor of the poster board aisle, I figured there HAD to be a better way. I perused the office supply aisles and came upon FOLDERS… in neon (well, bright) colors! Genius!! And at $0.77 a pop, the price was right. And these aren’t the cheap, glorified cardboard folders… they are plastic and durable… trust me, I’m a teacher and I know a good folder when I see one.

I figured I could open the folder, and attach the stake with a staple gun, and be good to go. I rushed home to put my idea into action and it came together perfectly. Also, I planned to do all this Thursday night but we seriously had a lake wind advisory, so I figured it wouldn’t be a good night to see how my signs did- even if the folders are durable.

Here is how they looked:
I opened the folder, laid the stake down (and the stake had an adhesive strip on it), and I was even able to attach the brad from the folder in a hole that was pre-drilled in the stake. While I planned to use the staple gun to attach it to the stake, we were out of staples- so I had to go to plan B- spray adhesive. It worked beautifully and the signs held up through Friday night and all day Saturday. You might notice that when we hammered the stake in the ground the plastic folder ripped, but it didn’t compromise the sturdy-ness and it didn’t happen to the other 2 signs I made.

All in all we made $225 in 1 day and sold 2 big ticket items (our beloved kitchen table that was recently replaced by an amazing $25 deal round table, and my old bed). I think my signs did the trick (or at least that’s what I’m trying to convince myself of)… and they turned out really cheap… and they are reusable!!!

**UPDATE: These signs lasted us 3 years and we had at least 2 yard sales a year! Totally worth the "investment" and not having to make signs before each sale!

Here’s an update for how I am doing on the 5 things I wanted to accomplish this month:

1. His 10 year HS reunion <—– this is this coming Friday!

2. A yard sale
3. Finish my bathroom project (painting glossy stripes on the wall) <1/2 way done- the hardest part is for sure over.
4. Do some Christmas planning/sewing/ 2 year party planning. We were blessed to have our anniversary, Lman’s birthday, and Christmas all fall in the 10 days before Christmas… talk about chaos. <–I have invitations and Christmas cards waiting to be ordered as soon as we get our family pictures CD from the photographer!
5. Hopefully squeeze in some time to go to a pumpkin patch.

So far so good! I feel great about getting so much accomplished this month and it’s only half way over! Here are some pics from the pumpkin patch! It was more like a hayride through the pumpkin patch, but he loved it.

Oh that little face is just SOOOO squeezable!

Fall is officially here!

I think it’s safe to say with this cooler weather that it’s officially Fall. LOVE this time of year. It’s so refreshing to have the windows open blowing fresh air in and it’s so nice to know we made it through another summer with our a/c unit. It’s seriously on it’s last leg.

Here are some Fall things that we’ve been doing:
I made this shirt for a great little girl. Idea came from Pinterest and I just recreated it with some fabric/buttons I already had.
I am so into interchangeable canvases for the seasons! I LOVE this because it is all our fingerprints… the big ones are Josh’s, medium are mine, and itty bitties are Luke :) He loved this activity. We signed the back and put the date and it represents our family and how we are NOW! Love it. Also gotta give Pinterest the shout out b/c I found this idea there too. Most of them were used in place of a guestbook at a wedding.

The Thankful Tree. Enough said. I am going to take this a step further when Lman is older we’ll all write what we’re thankful for on each of the circles of paper.
Although I’m taking a small sewing break, I figured I’d show a couple orders I’m finishing up. These 2 are for another sweet little girl. So fun to make little girl shirts!!

We still need to go to a pumpkin patch and get our pumpkins! I think Luke will really enjoy that. I can’t wait to share my bathroom paint project that is coming along alot more slowly than I’d like.

Lman is fighting a cold, but other than a snotty nose and coughing-til-he-vomits, he seems ok. I guess colds go hand in hand with cooler weather.