Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Upcoming freebies

Just so we'll have something to look forward to:

On Jan. 14, go to http://www.suave.com/nomics/index.html. Everone who registers on this site that day gets a coupon for a free bottle of Suave shampoo or other hair product, body wash or body lotion.

On Jan. 16, go to http://www.quakertruedelights.com/. Fat Wallet's forum is reporting that we'll be able to get a free sample of the cereal bar.

Another deal:

OK, it's not a freebie. But the folks at H&R Block sent me a CD of Tax Cut. (Thanks guys, I really want to start thinking about income taxes at Christmas .. not.) Normally, the deal is, load the disk, then give them a credit card number so you can unlock the software.
But in this box, I found a coupon for a $10 rebate on my purchase of Tax Cut for federal and state taxes. Now, most of the office-supply stores and big-box retailers offer some kind of goodie with a purchase of tax software. (last year we got a nice music CD)
So, I'm thinking ... buy software at store with the best add-on, then use coupon to get $10 back. That should make tax time a bit less painful!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

It ain't over yet

Work schedules and nasty weather have forced us to spread out the family Christmas celebrations. Which is why I'm wrapping presents on Dec. 27!

I have stayed out of the stores so far, though I have to make a return, and grab some coupon deals before they expire.

It also looks like I'll need to pick up a roll or two of wrapping paper for next year. I'm wondering, with all the discounts I'm hearing about, if there will be anything left?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

From my house to yours, may you enjoy the happiest of holidays!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Use-it-up Chrismas

Like everyone else, I suspect (and hope), we've been trying to cut back in ways big and small this holiday. The biggest thing has been to use items we already have, rather than go out and buy new stuff.

What we haven't bought:

Wrapping paper: Last year was the first time in several years I didn't pick up a roll or two of paper at the after-Christmas sales. We still have plenty to take care of this year's gifts. (Though I may need to hit this year's post-holiday sales).

Cards: We committed to using the leftovers from the past several years. When we ran out, we dipped into our paper stock and did a few computer-made cards. Also, we expanded our use of e-cards. (at least to those we know actually look at their e-mail.) About a third of our list went electronic this year. I'm hoping to expand that next year.

Presents: Calendars are a "usual' present from us. This year's were made with the paper we had on hand and were stapled, rather than sent out for binding. Also, I used our gift pantry to provide some nice add-ons for some folks on our list.

Decorations: Yeah, well, I sort of cheated. I bought some inexpensive ornaments on vacation this year. But instead of buying new ribbons for our outdoor light fixtures, I used some that I had bought for another craft project (which I never started).
Somehow, I also managed to coax our tree lights back to life, (maybe it was just a loose bulb) saving us the expense of replacing them.

And the nicest thing -- besides saving money -- using things up gets them out of the house!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Over the hump, we are

At least I hope so. The way things have been going, you'd think Christmas was next week.

I'm declaring my shopping done. The tree is up and decorated, finally. The cards are out, finally. Now I have to wrap.

The stores here were madhouses, as one might expect. (not helped by bitter cold over the weekend, and snow/freezing rain predicted for Tuesday. The supermarket self-serve machine was unhappy that I bought adult beverages, and even more unhappy when my doubled coupon was more than the price of my frozen veggies. It all eventually worked out - the clerk's override gave me the overage.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Possible WAGs deal

Sunday's Walgreen's ad (in Central Indiana, your mileage may vary) offers a free shaving cream (Gillette Satin Care or Fusion) with the purchase of Fusion or Venus razor cartridges. The 12/14 P&G insert has a coupon that offers a free Gillette shampoo with the purchase of Fusion cartridges. Another coupon offers a free body wash

So it seems you could buy the cartridges and get a free shaving cream and shampoo to go along with it...

Update: I decided not to go for the deal. Paying $12.49 for the blades isn't worth it .. even with shampoo and and shaving cream thrown in.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Quick, need a photo?

Need an 8x10 photo? A Christmas gift perhaps? Walgreen's is offering a free 8x10 if you order online and use the code FREEGIFT at checkout.

I've gotten photos through Walgreen's and the process is fairly easy. And you usually can pick up the photo at the store.

The offer, however, is only good through Saturday, so hurry.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Adventures in Cooking

We haven't gotten the hang of this slow cooker thing yet ...

We recently tried a very nice pork stew recipe. Followed directions (Well, sort of. Instead of parsnips, we used turnips and rutabaga and sweet potatoes.) Loaded up the cooker with meat and veggies and turned it on.

Unfortunately, our cooker was smaller than what the recipe had intended. ... I walked into the kitchen to find that the liquid had overflowed the cooker and was dripping onto the counter. I ladled out some of the broth, which helped ... for a while.

After about the third ladling session, we realized that this wasn't going to work. So the stew was transferred to a dutch oven and finished on the stove. It still tasted pretty good. And we learned an important lesson: Don't overload the cooker, LOL!

The recipe:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday: Batteries

I've found a good use for those batteries that get pulled out of cameras, radios and the like. You know, the ones that still have some juice .. just not enough to power the original device.

Anyway, I've been using them to power my Christmas decorations .. the lighted gingerbread house, the plastic candles that sit in the window. The batteries have plenty of juice to run these low-level devices. And when they die, well, you know they've been used up!

Certainly better than breaking out new batteries, or throwing out half-used ones.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

To the rescue!

When last we chatted, I mentioned that the living room curtain rod broke and would need to be replaced. But DH came up with a frugal solution!

What broke was a L-shaped plastic bracket that held the front and side pieces of the rod assembly together. Of course, you can't just buy a new plastic piece. And apparently, the contraptions are built differently anyway.

So DH decided to bend a coat hangar into a L-shaped piece that approximates the bracket. A bit of duct tape to hold it together ... and it works! It's not the tightest fit, and it's certainly not elegant, but hey, the curtain covers it very nicely. And neither of us plan on tugging on the curtains, LOL!

Admittedly, it's not a permanent fix, but for the moment it saved us $$. More importantly, it saved us the time and aggravation of buying and putting up a new rod. Hooray!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas is on the way

Took advantage of a mild day ... around 50 F here, to help DH get up the Christmas lights outside. Well, OK, he did the biggest part of the work. Not many folks are putting up lights this year .. don't know if time or money is the problem.

Can't do the tree yet ... the curtain rod holding up the living room curtains gave up the ghost, so it has to be replaced before we do anything else. Love those unexpected expenses! (not)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bye, bye Mr. Pumpkin

We dismembered the second of our two pumpkins, and the grand total was:

  • 8 cups of puree

  • 1.75 cups of roasted pumpkin

Not quite as much as our last pumpkin, but it's certainly enough to work with. That batch so far has made 3 pies, a pot of soup and a batch of waffles.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday: Rollling out dough, II

Another hint on rolling out dough:

If you use wax or freezer paper, tack it to your counter with a bit of masking tape. It keeps the surface from scooting out from under your rolling pin!

But please don't try this directly on a varnished surface ... there's always the possibility you could hurt the finish. (It does work on tablecloths, though :)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Patience, grasshopper

I was really bummed earlier this week when I went to Walgreens. I saw a deal that, with coupons, would give me a box of Celestial Seasonings tea for 75 cents! Unfortunately, their selection was pretty lean ... nothing I wanted to drink, even at that price.

But patience, or disappointment, paid off. This week, Kroger has the same tea at $1 a box. So, with my $1 coupon, it's free tea!

Any my 55-cent coupons will bring 45-cent-a-box tea as well! Woo hoo!

Update: Well, I'll get 45-cent tea eventually. Had to get rain checks ... the shelves were bare!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Arby's freebie

Just got an unexpected freebie from the local Arbys ... the restaurant is handing out coupons for a free small curly fries between now and Friday (12/12). 1 coupon per person. Doesn't mention anything about a purchase.

Apparently, they have a lot of coupons to get rid of ... the clerk stuffed more than a dozen in the bag!

I can't find anything on their Web site that says if this is a local or national deal, but it might be worth popping into your local Arby's to find out!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Reclamation projects

I've been busy trying to "reclaim" a couple of items lately:

The first is a string of Southwestern-style beads I bought several years ago on vacation. Loved the necklace, but unfortunately, it broke, so it's spent the past couple of years in a drawer. I pulled it out the other day and thought, "Hey, maybe I can restring this."
So far, I've learned a couple of things:
  • Copper wire is not a good stringing medium. It's nice and stiff, but the finished product doesn't lay right.
  • Tiny beads can - and do - escape, no matter what kind of container I put them in.

I finally got smart ( I hope) and bought silk cord, complete with a threading needle, at the craft store. This should also allow me to use the original clasp, too. I'm half finished with the stringing .. we'll see how it goes.

The second item is a long-sleeve T-shirt that DH pulled out of his shirt drawer. He hasn't worn the thing forever .. it had yellowed, and there was an odd stain all over one sleeve.

So I used the trick I learned when I was selling vintage linens ... I crushed a dishwaster detergent tablet (normally, I'd use powder, but I didn't have any), dissolved it in a bucket of hot water and put the shirt in to soak.

I've found that dishwasher detergent does a great job of whitening fabric and removing set-in stains, so I have high hopes for the shirt. We'll see how that goes, too.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday: Rolling out dough

Since the holiday baking season is upon us:

If you're rolling out pie crust, or pastry dough, If you don't have a large cutting board, or a plastic rolling sheet (I don't know if that's its real name, I just made that up ;) use a sheet of freezer paper, waxed side up. I find it's a lot sturdier than waxed paper.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

November freebies

A little better than October ...

Post-it easel paper
Post-it notes
Bear Naked granola
Folger's coffee
Immodium tablet
Dove shampoo/conditioner
John Freida shampoo/conditioner
4 Crest Whitening Expressions
3 Jergens lotions
bag of Yesterday's News cat litter
4 Green Giant Steamers (FAC)
Vaseline lotion
Orville Reddenbacher popcorn
Orville Reddenbacher popcorn cakes
2 Powerade FAC
1 lb cheese (from pitch-in at work)