Friday, October 31, 2008

Tinker Bell DVD and Blu-ray™ Sweepstakes

Play the Tinker Bell Sweepstakes at Disney Movie Rewards for your chance to win One Million Dollars!

You can play the instant win game once per day until January 31st. One Instant win per person

::Prizes include::

~ 1 Grand Prize: Trip for 4 to Walt Disney World® Resort FL.
~ 5 First Prizes: A year's worth of flowers
~ 10 Second Prizes: Nintendo DS Lite console and Disney Fairies: Tinker Bell
~ 10 Third Prizes: CDI Talking Tinker Bell Flower Top Café
~ 50 Fourth Prizes: Disney Fairies: Tinker Bell game for Nintendo DS
~ 50 Fifth Prizes: Playmates Fairies “I Can Fly Tinker Bell” Doll
~ 100 Sixth Prizes: Disney Publishing The Hidden World of Fairies book
~ 10,000 Seventh Prizes: A code for a Disney Enchanted Call from a character

The Wal-Mart Triumph

I just finished the Wal-Mart Triumph by Robert Slater. This was certainly an interesting read. Slater is the first author to have actual permission from Wal-Mart to write a book on Wal-Mart and you can tell. I think the old CEO, Glass must have proofed it for him before publication since he has all this free time now.

Now don’t get me wrong I love Wal-Mart as you’ve seen by some of my post. Unlike some of my friends I have no qualms about shopping there. With my education background I have done a lot of case studies on the big W and feel they like McDonalds are suffering from Big Brother syndrome, but that’s another post for another day.

Even with all that on the side of Wal-Mart this is by far the biggest pro Wal-Mart book I’ve ever read. The recent scandals of sex discrimination and unpaid lunches get barely any mention at all. In a chapter regarding the company’s image these two mega blemishes are barely noted. In fact if I recall correctly they share a sentence at the end of the chapter.

When I finish a book I have two options, if it’s worthy of shelf space I keep it to one day add to our library. Those not space worthy get thrown in a tub and posted on If you think you’d be interested in reading this book you can find my copy on the swap.

One book down – thirty-seven to go

Not only is today the day of candy but today is the day B.P. turns 4. (Shown as Dogzilla above) I can't believe he's already this old. I still remember the day we brought our little puppy home, we drove through four states and 8 hours each way to pick him up. During the first few months he didn't want to be touched or basically have anything to do with us, since then (with lots of love) he now runs our home. He's our 30 pound lap dog who thinks he has his own pillow on the bed (ok, honestly he does). But really, how can you say no to that face?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

National Vampire Awareness Day - TODAY!

Just a reminder today is...

Check out the details HERE or see my post yesterday for ways to rid your home of vampires.

Pizza Hut Midnight Club Instant Win & Sweeps

Play the Pizza Hut® Midnight Club LA Instant Win and Sweepstakes for you chance at some great prizes. You can enter once per day until November 10th so hurry and get entering. One prize per person.

::Instant Win Prizes::

25 Fifth Prizes: T-Mobile Sidekick LX.
20 Sixth Prizes: Five Four "Fall" Jacket
10 Seventh Prizes: Parrot MINIKIT compact and portable Bluetooth hands-free speakerphone.
30 Eighth Prizes: Midnight Club LA RC car.
100 Ninth Prizes: Midnight Club LA Hat
200 Tenth Prizes: Midnight Club LA T-shirt

::Sweeps prizes include::

1 Grand Prize: A Midnight Club LA Saleen Mustang 302.
2 First Prizes: A set of TIS Rims.
5 Second Prizes: A set of Pirelli P-Zero tires.
10 Third Prizes: Xbox 360 Pro 60GB Video Game Console System
10 Fourth Prizes: Parrot MINIKIT compact and portable bluetooth speaker phone

How to set a good goal

All over the net I see people setting goals, whether it's finances or personal we’re all working towards something. Setting goals is great – I do it all the time. I’m a big list maker, I see each item as a mini goal for the day; although, I never get the whole list done, it seems my pen is bigger than my energy level. Still I do love to cross things off when they’re completed.. I mean who doesn’t right?

This year like most I set a few new year resolutions for 2008
- Pay off our credit card debt… check
- Read 50 books in 08
We were really focused on paying off the cards but not so much with reading books. This is where the problem started.
To date I have read 12 books in 2008. That means I have 38 books to go for an average of 9.5 books each remaining month in 2008. I think we can bet I won’t be crossing this goal off on December 31st. But why?

It wasn’t a lack of books that kept me from readings as you can see from just one library sale. It was because I didn’t follow the golden goal setting rules. I know these rules, but by failing to implement them I allowed my goal to fail. It was the end of August before I realized how far I was from my 50 book goal. By not running the stats when the goal was started I had no idea how many 50 books in a year really was.

::The Rules of Goal Setting::

Setting a goal and then creating smaller goals to help accomplish your main goal is a smart way to finish everything on your upcoming '09 resolution list. I think it's safe to say we all set big New Years resolutions only to see a portion of them fail. How many people say: “I want to lose 30 pounds this year” and then do nothing to help their goal along? What about eating healthier or exercising? If I could wish away the pounds you can bet I’d weigh 120.

First Step: As a mental point when creating a goal always use strong action words: I will, can etc. Using strong accomplished words is an easy way to help get your mind on the right track.
Example of a better goal: “I will lose 30 pounds this year.”

But just saying it isn’t enough for the pounds to fall of you must set yourself up to succeed by supporting the goal with mini goals.

Step Two:
Using defined ranges for your goals will help bring them into perspective and make you more aware of what needs to be done in order to accomplish them.

For example a goal of: “Walk the dog more” is pretty open. If you walked the dog once in 07 and twice in 08 you’ve technically reached your goal, but probably not like originally intended.

After using this rule our weight goal will now look like this:
“I will lose 30 pounds this year by eating 1200 to 1500 calories a day and exercising 3 times a week (mon/wed/fri).”

Now that you’ve set your reasonably defined goal find a way to track it and keep yourself accountable. And don’t forget to reward yourself when you reach milestones. For example with our chosen goal you could reward yourself after losing every 5 pounds or after exercising every day your suppose to for a month. It's all up to you.

In my situation had I had the number and known I needed to read about 4 books each month I could have easily completed this goal. Now if only I can follow my own advice in 09.
Lets see how it will work:
“In 2009 I will read a minimum of 50 books by averaging at least 4 a month.”

To help me reach this goal I plan to write down every book I read and reward myself with a special treat (dinner out, movie, free time) each time I hit a mini goal. I'll do a small reward for each month I read 4 books and a larger goal if I hit the half way mark on time.

What will your 2009 resolutions be and how do you plan to help yourself accomplish them?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

National Vampire Awareness Day!

We all know what October 31st is but do you know what October 30th is?

It's the day Best Buy has declared National Vampire Awareness Day!

No not those types of vampires... these don't want to suck your blood, but they are sucking energy and money out of your home.

Vampire Power is the electricity that electronics and appliances use while they are switched off or in standby mode.

These energy vampires come in all shapes and sizes and I can almost guarantee you have at least one in your home. The biggest offenders include:
~ Plasma TVs
~ Computers
~ Game Consoles
~ DVD/VCR players
~ Cell phones
These items can waste up to HALF the energy they consume. In fact it's been shown that when a computer is left on all the time (like ours used to be) it can use as much power as an energy efficient refrigerator!

Think your home is vampire safe? Watch out because vampire power can sneak up on you and adds up quick. Here are some facts straight from

~Roughly $4 billion annually across the United States is spent on electricity lost to “vampire power,” according to the International Energy Agency.

~40 percent of all electricity used to power electronics in the average American home, such as TVs, DVD players and computers, is consumed while these products are turned off, according to the Department of Energy.

~Each watt of vampire power costs about one dollar per year - if you have 25 power vampires consuming an average of seven watts each, they will cost you $175 per year and emit about 900 kilograms of carbon dioxide.

~The average microwave consumes more power when it is not in use.

~The average American home has approximately 20 to 40 electronics plugged in that abuse vampire power.

~The electricity vampires prey upon is significant and can cost up to 10 percent of an average household’s monthly electric bill.

But fear not there are ways to protect yourself from these vampires. And they smell better than garlic (unless you like that smell... yuck). Best Buy suggestions for reducing vampire power include:

Use a power strip:
Plug your chargers into a power strip and when you’re not using those chargers, turn the power strip off.

Get unplugged:
All of your chargers (cell phone, MP3, laptop, and even electric toothbrushes) continue to draw electricity even when the device is not charging. When the device has been completely charged unplug the charger from the wall.

Turn your computer off:
Completely shut down your computer and printer when not in use. If you are unable to do so, at least make sure the computer goes into a low-power sleep, standby or hibernate mode. And watch out for those screen savers; graphic intense screen savers can actually waste power.

Look for the Star: Upgrade electronics and appliances to Energy Star-rated models, which draw less power than the average when in “off” mode.

Take a few minutes tomorrow and rid your home of any vampires, it could save you almost $1000 a year in energy cost.

Want to learn more about the vampire epidemic visit and have a Happy and reduced energy Halloween this year.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More CVS 10/27

So I did end up stopping at CVS yesterday after I got out of work. I just really wanted to run the Medicine deal again and pick up some more candy. I stopped at a different store than the one Sunday, but once again they didn't have the $.99 Advil or Bic Shavers, so I wasn't able to use any $/$$ coupons.

I did pick up the following items
2 Butterfinger bags @ $1.50 ($3)
~ Used 2 - $1 off bag coupon
4 Soy Joys @$1 ($4)
1 Sudafed @ $4.50
2 Tylenol @$6 ($12)
~ Used -$1 off and $1.50 off coupon
2 Halls 30 ct bags @$1.50 ($3)
Spend $19.50 for the Medicine deal + the extra $.50 I spent on Sunday

I Paid with $10 in ecbs, $1.42 on CVS GC and $10.97 oop. I earned $14 in ecb ($4 soy joy & $10 Medicine deal)

Here is my total break down for the week...
So in total my trips come out like the following

Total Merchandise: $71.28 - ($49.57 in cold meds)
EBC's before: $18.12
Ending ECB's: $14
OOP: $10.97

I saved 75% on the cold meds and 85% on my total shopping trip. In total I "spent" $15.09 ($10.97 oop & $4.12 in EBC's) It's hard to think that I actually spent a significant amount of money at CVS this week, but using $12.20 of my own money to purchase $49.57 worth of meds isn't something I'll complain about (especially since I'm already using them).

Monday, October 27, 2008

Free Tacos - Tuesday 28th

Don't forget tomorrow (10/28) is your chance to receive a FREE taco from Taco Bell!

Jason Bartlett the Tampa Bay Rays shortstop stole second base during game 1 of the World Series earning all of us FREE tacos.

You can get your free taco by vistiting a participating Taco Bell restaurant on 10/28 from 2pm until 6pm. One taco per customer and no other purchase is required.

Check out the details HERE

CVS 10/26

In between the book sale, a craft show, and grocery shopping we did find a few moments to stop at CVS for this weeks deals.

Once again they were all out of half the items I needed so I was unable to use my $10/$50 which was disappointing because I can never come up with enough stuff to use them. The store we stopped at was all out of the Bic shavers and the $.99 Advil.

I was able to pick up these items...

2 Butterfinger bags @ $1.50 ($3)
~ Used 2 - $1 Candy bags
1 Kashi GoLean Crunch @ $2.50
~ Used $2 off coupon (so excited I got to use my coupon before it expired)

Buy $20 get $10 Medicine Deal

1 Sudafed PE $4.50
~ Used $1.50 off coupon
2 Halls 30 ct @ $1.50 ($3)
~ used $.50 off and one $.35 off
1 Tylenol Sinus $6
~ Used $1 off
1 Airborne $7
~ Used $2 off
Spent $20.50 on this deal, $15.15 after coupons and received $10 ECB

Total CVS Trip

Total Before coupons: $26
Coupons Used: $9.35
Paid with ECB: $9.66 and $7.04 on GC
OOP Cost: $0
ECBs earned: $10

I lost $6.70 in ECB's but paying about $5 for all the cold medicine (cheaper than the cost of just one package) and $.50 for each bag of candy isn't a bad deal. I'm thinking if I start to feel a little better I may stop by again tomorrow after work and do it one more time.

Yearly Savings: $392.09
Fall Spending: $2.41

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Coupon Disappointment

My week is still in disarray and now I'm adding a cold to the equation, but I will have a CVS run posted tomorrow.

Until then I'm so disappointed in my weekly coupon inserts. We live in a fairly large city but we always seem to miss out on the free item coupons and ours often have a lower dollar value than expected.

For example today there was suppose to be a $1 off Palmolive coupon, but ours was only for $.25 such a disappointment.

Even cheaper free food at Meijer this week

Wait is that title even possible?
Yes, yes it is
Read my original post HERE on how to get Taco Bell Salsa and Jell-O.

The items are even more free this week since Jell-O is on sale for 5/$3 ($.60 each) and the Taco Bell products are 20% off. So if you haven't used your Mealbox coupons yet get out there and use them this week!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

More good shopping

With the little free time I did have this week I was able to score a few good deals. There was the 58% savings at Kroger and the following...

Target - Barbie Rebate
I stopped by Target (even though I said I wouldn't shop there again) because I wanted to finish out the Barbie deal and be done with it. Check my post HERE to see comparable prices on the select merchandise that's available for the $50 mir.

I bought the last Barbie item I needed at Target. In total Barbie merchandise I spent $101.89 (plus tax) and will receive the $50 gift card saving 49%. I ended up with 2 Diamond Dolls, one Glitter flying horse, and the My house play set. Which means I am also now done Christmas shopping for my little sister and Niece!

Target Clearance
While at Target I also found some great clearance items.

Sorry the picture is blurry, but as you can see I purchased two lunch Tupperware containers. I've been looking all over for these but didn't want to pay an arm and a leg. I picked these up for $2.08 a piece. The large yellow containers were 2 for $3.48, I plan to put my salads and such in them for the upcoming Christmas gatherings. I saved 30% and am so happy I finally found the lunch containers.

Free Target reusable bag
And lastly while at Target I received 5 plastic Target bags (for FREE :). I plan to use these to send away for the FREE reusable Bag I suppose I'll keep the dog - he is pretty cute.

Meijer Freebies
I also stopped at Meijer to buy the cheap sugar (more frosting) and picked up 6 more FREE Jell-o packets and 3 more Taco Bell Salsas.

I'm also making a quick trip to CVS today. I missed out on the free Sun/Mon deals because we were still working on the bathroom but I think I'll be able to come home with a good trip anyway.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Good Kroger Trip 10/24

I haven't done a ton of shopping lately, but I was able to stop by Kroger this week for their great 10/$10 sale.

I was able to get all of this for $21.36 saving $36.96. Anytime I save over 50% on groceries I'm happy.

Here's the break down

2 loaves of bread @$1
8 Green Giant Boxed Veggies @1
~ Used (4) $.50 off 2 (doubled to $1)
4 Can of Campbell's soup @ $1
~ Used $.40 off 4 (doubled)
4 Sunny D's @ $1
~ Used $.55 off 2
1 Turkey Hill Tea @$1 (b/c I'm now hooked after trying it for free - see coupons work)
1 Country Bob's All purpose Sauce @$3.99
~ Used FREE coupon after finally finding the product
6 Hamburger Helper @$1
~ Used $.75 off 3
6 Puffs Pluss
~ Used (2) $1 off 3

Total Before Coupons: $57.32
Coupon Savings: $ 12.39
Plus Card Savings: $23.57

Total: $21.36

That comes out to $.66 an item for a 58% total savings!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Politics can be fun

Are you a member of the Lion Brand Yarn Website?

If you're a crafter and not a member you should be. Membership is free and the website offers some great patterns for free as well. Patterns can be found for crocheting, knitting, and various other projects. Whether you're experienced or just beginning your craft journey, you can find something at Lion Brand.

Today in my email newsletter they highlighted two free political crochet projects. No matter who you plan to vote for this November you'll find these finger puppets adorable. You can crochet Obama and McCain.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Free Target Reusable Bag

With as hectic as my week is looking I'm stealing borrowing post from other great blogs out there to keep you entertained.

So today make sure and stop by Coupon Cravings to find out how you can receive your FREE Target reusable tote bag.

Today is also Freebies 4 Mom's blog birthday. Make sure to visit her for the chance to win some great giveaways.

As for a bathroom update it looks like we'll be done by the end of this weekend... right on schedule, even with all the problems we've encountered. I'll make sure to share with you the amazing transformation and the sizable hole in our dinning room ceiling (not part of the remodel). And I promise all the post that were scheduled for this week will still happen just probably a week later.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Big Barbie Savings

Just a warning my blogging may be a little slow this week - Updates later

Until then I have a GREAT deal to share. While reading the blogs today I saw on The "Cent"sible Sawyer a $50 rebate for a $100 spent in select Barbie merchandise. At first I was a little weary but after checking prices I think this can be a great deal.

Below is a spreadsheet of prices for the promotion products.
I checked Walmart, Target, and the Toys R' Us web sites for these prices

If you can match prices with stores for the items you want to purchase you can save almost 50%.

I have to buy gifts for my younger sister and niece so this is the combination I plan to use.

2 Diamond Dolls from Walmart at $19.94 each
1 My House from Walmart at $34.97
1 Glimmer Flying Horse at Target for $26.99

My total will come to $101.89 (plus tax)

I'll send in for the $50 rebate and save 49%

You can find the rebate form and other information the Barbie Bucks Program page.

It looks like the girls in my family will be having a Barbie Christmas this year!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A couple weeks worth of freebies

~ 2 Receipe books (gooseberry patch)
~ Airborne sample
~ Lots of magazines
~ Free poster from Redwood Creek
~ Geotrak CD
~ Kotex sample
~ Dove shampoo samples

Friday, October 17, 2008

Budget Bathroom Remodel - day one

If you’ve been following me on twitter (Yes, that’s right I’m now on twitter) you know we started a three day budget bathroom remodel today (Friday).

Of course every project has issues and we’ve already hit a few but it's coming along nicely so far.

We had lovely fake brick on the walls with garden wall paper, it was like using an out house in there.

Here is a before picture of the brick and some of the wall paper.

Our walls after the demo

Here's another of our old vanity, toilet, and crappy tiles. I forgot to get a full before picture sorry.

I’ll keep you updated on the progress tomorrow and do a full cost break down when we’re done. Today’s projects cost no money as it was all demo.

Regarding twitter: I LOVE it! I’ve only been on a few days and I’m already addicted. I can’t believe it took me this long to sign up. Now I’ve just got to find where everyone gets those cute bird twitter icons for their blogs, until then you can follow me with id: onourway.

More free food at Meijer

I always get so disappointed when I see the great deals bloggers are getting at stores like Safeway and Shoppers. All we have around here are Meijer and Kroger, which haven’t been all that excellent in sales lately. When I first started couponing it was great, but lately not so much. Anyway, every once and a while we do get a great deal and by great I mean FREE of course.

Right now you can get free Jell-O and Taco Bell Salsa or shells at Meijer.

I walked away with all of this yesterday and made $0.16
You can find these money making coupons on Meijer’s Meal Box program website If you go to the specials tab and then page three you’ll find a $1.50/2 Jell-O and another $1.50 off Taco Bell coupon. The coupons are good until 11/15 so hopefully I'll get back to get some more.

Here’s how it all works out

6 Jell-O’s @ .64 ($3.84)
2 Taco Bell Salsas @ 1.85 ($3.70)
1 Taco Bells shells kit ($1.30)

Total: $8.84

Coupons: $9.00
3 - $1.50/2 Jell-O
3 - $1.50 on any Taco Bell Salsa or Dinner Kit

There has been some discussion on the net if you can use this coupon to purchase just the shells since the box doesn’t say kit on it. I asked at Meijer and was told since the coupon has a picture of the 12 shells box they included that as a kit.

Friday Find - Little Paper Dog

I found another great project to work on in the future at Little Paper Dog. The Blog author Michelle Lewis is a graphic designer from Utah and she has some great post and etsy store.

Her most recent project a Pincushion Jar is adorable and takes minimal supplies to create. The jars don't only keep your pins handy but buttons, thread, anything you might need for the project your working on. The best part, it's simple enough even I can do it.

The next time I'm at Goodwill I plan to keep my eye out for some little jars to do this project with. I think they'd be a great gift for the crafties in my family.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wranger Little Big Town Sweepstakes

Wrangler Little Big Town Sweepstakes Ends 11/24/08

One entry per person

One (1) Grand Prize: A $500 (US) Wrangler Jeans & Shirts gift certificate; a Little Big Town autographed guitar; One (1) pair of non-exotic Tony Lama boots; one (1) autographed Little Big Town 'A Place To Land' CD. ARV: $764.97 (US).

One (1) First Prize: A $250 (US) Wrangler Jeans & Shirts gift certificate; one (1) autographed Little Big Town 'A Place To Land' CD. ARV: $264.97 (US).

One (1) Second Prize: A $100 (US) Wrangler Jeans & Shirts gift certificate; one (1) autographed Little Big Town 'A Place To Land' CD. ARV: $114.97 (US).

Seventeen (17) Third Prizes: One (1) autographed Little Big Town 'A Place To Land' CD. ARV: $14.97 (US) each.

Homemade Frosting

I experimented with homemade frosting the other day. I always thought making home made frosting was hard but its actually really easy. My first batch started out more like a glaze than a frosting but then I found this really easy recipe.

1 Stick butter
3 Cups Confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. milk
Food coloring

Cream 1 stick of softened butter and 3 cups of confectioners sugar

Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons of milk, then cream until smooth. Add desired food coloring.


Total time to make frosting was less than five minutes

We had all these items on hand except the sugar which cost less than $2 on Meijer and will make many more batches of frosting. I love being able to say I made homemade frosting and it was cheaper to make than to buy it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Closet Space

I’ve been reading I’m an Organizing Junkie lately and have felt motivated to get some areas of our house under control. Matt and I set a goal to reduce our material possession by 30% in 2009 so I figure why not get started a little early.

I don’t have a before picture of my closet but let me tell you it wasn’t good. When we moved in three years ago my closet was just four walls and a bar for hanging clothes…very inefficient. We took a weekend back then and put in all the shelving to maximize the area, but over the years I’ve let it slip a little lot.

It only took me an hour during a Law & Order rerun and I was able to reorganize my clothes to not only reclaim the space but also to get rid of quite a few things. Some of the items will be donated and others I plan to use in future upcycle projects.

Here are a couple pictures of the finished project.

Top hanging shelf with rolled sweaters and hat space on the side.
(And yes, we’re Spartans – Go Green!)

Lower hanging shelf with folded polos and sweatshirts

Shoe, purse, and scarf storage

This little space holds quite a bit when clean and organized. Or course I still have nothing to wear.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Big Craft Fail

I loved doing the chunky crayons so much (I still don’t have a name for them) I wanted to see what we could make out of molds. I tried candy molds and ice-cube trays both to get different shapes.

These crayons are cute, they are but this will be the end of this craft. It took me forever to melt the crayons in a tub and then a huge mess to try and pour the liquid wax in the molds since I couldn’t directly put them in the oven like I can with the muffin trays. The chunky crayons aren’t messy to make at all but these molds will have me cleaning a messy kitchen for a month. We ruined 2 potholders, a cookie sheet, spoon, and dish - to make less than 20 crayons.

I also had to go out and buy new crayons for this project since I couldn’t mix broken colors together like I could with the chunky crayons. As you can see 2 molds into the project we gave up and I turned the left over crayons into Chunky Crayons.

I've seen some of these crayons for sale on Etsy using what looks to be the exact same mold, but I have no idea how they did it without creating a huge disaster.

As crafts go this one is an epic fail.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sweeps for the Week 10/13

Here are some of the sweeps for the week. Most of them can be entered daily so make sure to keep checking back for the chance to win more great prices.

Instant Wins
~ Red Robin - until 10/14.
~ Lysol "fact or Fiction?" Until 11/3
~ Ban - How I chill - until 11/15. More HERE
~ Oreo Double Stuff until 12/1

Just Plain Sweeps
~ Circuit City - Ongoing
~ Woman’s Day Magazine. - Many Ongoing
~ Home Magazine - Many Ongoing
~Enter the Redbook get everything you want Until 1/15. More here

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Take a hike...

Yesterday Matt and I took BP for a walk in his favorite park during our no spend weekend. He loves this place and so do we.

Turning trees near the lake. I love their reflection on the water

I love the colors in this picture

The friendly snake who stopped to say hello - adorable

Turtle sunbathing in the lake

Who doesn't love cat tails?

Colorful tree with mushrooms

Fall is the one season I love in Michigan - but I'm not ready for winter.

I've been Tagged!

I’ve been tagged!

When I received my first tag from My Precious Pennies I was seriously giddy. Its so exciting to know people actually read this thing and maybe kind of like it.

Sadly though I don’t have anything awesome to share like My Precious Pennies (I am not a figure skater or coordinated in any fashion) so you’ll have to live with these seven little facts about me.

* I am currently growing out my hair so that I can donate it. Hopefully it reaches ten inches by Christmas or else I might go crazy and start pulling it out (Its way too long for my normal liking).

* People often ask if the blog name jirafaestrella has any meaning or if I just picked random letters. Jirafaestrella makes more sense if spelled Jirafa Estrella which translates to giraffe and star (respectively) in Spanish. My two favorite things… the profile picture makes more sense now huh?

* I have extreme arachnophobia. As in I see a spider five feet away and I start to hyperventilate. I also know the exact incident that created this fear, and no it wasn’t the movie.

* Surprisingly even with my hatred of spiders, I love other creepy crawly things like snakes, mice/rats, and even lizards. We used to have an albino gecko and I would love to own a snake, but they are difficult to take care of, Matt says no.

* I can’t count on one hand how many times I changed my major in college, maybe not even two hands. I started out in Psychology and finished with a Human Resource Degree. In a way they’re very similar; as in I listen to people complain all day. :)

* I sometimes worry my mailman secretly hates me because I get so many free samples and magazine subscriptions.

* And number 7 – I am now on Twitter! You can find me under id: OnOurWay
I’m still working on getting a profile up.

I have issues I know… and now for those I’m passing this tag on to

1. Blogging away Debt
2. Retirement a Fulltime Job
3. Leaving Excess
4. Mom is Broke
5. The Domestic Scientist
6. Joys of Home
7. Oh Fransson

A little bit of everything for your blogging pleasure.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Find - House of Whimsy

Have some old place mats lying around? I know we do, in fact I just threw four of them in our upcycle bin.

What am I planning to do with them?
Honestly I had no idea, but then I found The House of Whimsy Blog.

Now I plan to turn them into some cute place mat purses. Check out her post HERE for a great tutorial to make your own. You can pick up the place mats and handles at Goodwill making it a cost effective project as well.

These would be a great Christmas or birthday gift for someone special.

She also has a great Halloween decoration post HERE you should check out while your there.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Another No Spend Weekend

Just a reminder, this weekend the 11th & 12th, Matt and I plan to celebrate a No Spend weekend. you can read more HERE. I would love to have others out there participate in this experiment with us, if you plan to have a no spend week(end) in the future let me know in the comments.

I think it would be great to share some ideas with other no spenders. I'm hoping this weekend will allow us some time to focus on cleaning our house before our big bathroom remodel next weekend!

Big savings by turning off the lap top

Matt and I have started saving money by simply turning off my laptop during the day when I’m not home. The idea is a simple one but until I read I didn’t even think about the fact it was on all day or how much it was costing us.

I used smallnotebook’s calculations to figure out our usage and cost.

Laptop uses 1.9 amps
1.9 x 120 = 228
/1000 = .228
x 1 = .228
x .08 = .02 an hour

It only cost 48 cents a day to run my laptop which doesn’t seem like a huge amount, but just by turning it off when I’m at work it will save us 38 cents a day, for a total savings of $138.70 a year! And all I have to do is turn off an appliance when not in use.

Total Energy Savings by making small changes: $246.34 a year
Clothesline: $107.64
Laptop: $138.70

What would your savings be?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pumpkins revisited

Remember the not so adorable pumpkins from yesterday?

They look a lot cuter painted in silver right? Pumpkins like these run about $5 a piece at other stores like Wal-Mart and Target. I got these four for $1 a piece at the General Dollar and a can of spray paint for $1.12 at Wal-Mart.
Total cost for project: $5.12.

I saved a whopping $14 by making them myself rather than purchasing the set elsewhere. I used these great pumpkins as displays for the craft fair last month and am now using them for some fall decorations around the house.

Super simple to make and cost effective

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Aren’t these pumpkins cute?

Ok so maybe not.

But check back in tomorrow for a pumpkin update, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Chunky Crayons

Chunky CrayonsThis week’s upcycle craft projects are Chunky Crayons. I know these have been floating around the internet for a while, but I wanted to give them a shot. I used some of my old crayons ands a tote from my little sister. Here’s how the first few colors turned out. I really like them and they’re easy to make. Six easy steps actually

Step 1: Take paper off crayons
Step 2: Preheat oven to 265 degrees
Step 3: Break into small pieces no larger than one inch
Step 4: Put chunks in muffin pan
Step 5: Cook until melted (4-8 minutes)
Step 6: Cool on counter or in freezer

Color away!

I hope to get some packets listed on my etsy store - GreenCycle soon, so keep checking back.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sweeps for the Week 10/6

Here are some of the sweeps for the week. Most of them can be entered daily so make sure to keep checking back for the chance to win more great prices.

Instant Wins
~ Red Robin - until 10/14.
~ Lysol "fact or Fiction?" Until 11/3
~ Ban - How I chill - until 11/15. More HERE
~ Oreo Double Stuff until 12/1

Just Plain Sweeps
~ Circuit City - Ongoing
~ Woman’s Day Magazine. - Many Ongoing
~ Home Magazine - Many Ongoing
~Enter the Redbook get everything you want Until 1/15. More here

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Expired Coupon Reminder

Just a reminder its that time again.

Time to clean out the expired coupons from our books and send them off to military families who can use them for up to six months after they expire.

This month I'm sending mine to:

Family Services Program
Unit 5134, Box 80
APO AP 96368-5134
Osan, Korea

Remember it cost the same amount to mail a letter to a military base that it does in the US. We normally end up spending 80 cents to a dollar, but its a heavy envelope.

And make sure to claim $0 when you fill out your customs declaration as coupons aren't worth anything until used.

You can check out my original post HERE for more directions.

Where are you sending your expired coupons this month?

Cvs 10/5/08

Sorry about not posting yesterday, I was engulfed in a great book (more on that later).

Anyway, I thought this week was going to be so-so CVS week so I almost didn’t go but now I’m so glad I did. They had the Breeze monitors for a $10 money maker. Which when I made my scenarios the first time I wasn’t going to buy, they I was, then I wasn’t, I finally decided I’d pick one up to donate, but when we got there today the shelves were empty. Isn’t that how it always goes?

Here’s what we were able to pick up

1 Colgate Freshmax @ 2.99 (earn $2 ecb)
1 Vitamin Water @ 1.59 (picked up the wrong size)
1 (120 ct) D – Vitamins @2.99 (earn $2.99 ecb)
1 Bic Soleil Razor @ 5.99 (earn $4 ecb)
1 Always Infinity @ 4.98 (earn $4.98 ecb) - Looks like this is actually a limit of 2
2 Schick razors @ 1.98

Total before coupons: $ 20.52

Coupons Used:
$3/15 cvs coupon
$2 Bic Soleil Razor
$1 Colgate Freshmax
$2 Schick Disposable razors

Paid with $12.54 in ecbs and 2 cents oop (tax)
Earned: $13.97 in ecbs for next time

Matt also printed a $10/50 coupon from the scanner but I don’t know when I’ve ever had a total anywhere near $50 so I’m not sure we’ll be able to use it. Even though I purchased the wrong size vitamin water and didn’t earn the ecb’s (don’t shop with a huge headache), we still made out well and I was finally able to locate where everyone gets the Schick razors for 99 cents.

In the end I ended up making $1.43 to shop at CVS this week, it would have been a bigger money maker if I could have picked up the monitor and purchased the right size Vitamin water, but free money is still free money right?

Year to date savings: $368.96

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday Find

On most blogs out there Friday is known as freebie Friday, the time during the week when bloggers highlight the best free finds of the week. I tried to keep up with this trend, I really did, but there are so many great blogs out there listing their freebie finds I didn’t want to rehash the same material since they’re already doing it so well. To see a list of great freebies stop by Freebies4Mom, Mommies with Cents and MomAdvice.

I want to do something different and start using my Fridays to highlight a great post, craft, or money saving tip I’ve found on the web during the course of the week. I have so many great things bookmarked, my list is filling up. I figure it will be kind of like Momsadvice’s notebook entries but I won’t ever be able to list as many as she does considering she has a great list every week.

Today I would like to highlight a blog I found this week Joys of Home. It’s full of decorating ideas and cheap projects all supplied from thrift and dollar stores. Joys at home is the next Martha I swear. I spent two hours looking through all her archives so don’t click on the link unless you have an afternoon free. And keep checking back I plan to steal borrow some of her amazing decorating ideas in the near future.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Organizing Our Cupboards to reduce cost

Take your cupboards from messy to efficient in a few easy steps

I won’t lie Matt and I are not good about eating at home. I think our monthly budgets and fast food spending show that. With our current work schedules we often choose fast over healthy most days.

Another reason we find it hard to eat at home is half the time I don’t even know what food is actually in our cupboards. They used to look like this. I’m embarrassed to say we would end up throwing a lot of food away sometimes a year or more past its expiration date. We just didn’t know what was up there. During our No spend weekend we took some time to clean out our cupboards and rearrange them. They are now much more organized and make it easy to see exactly what products we have. First we went through all our food and threw away the expired items then I organized our boxed items by type and date as you can see. To keep it simple for us I wrote the expiration date on the front of each box for easy reading. This will help us see what foods we have available and let me know what items I need to stock back up on when they go on sale. I actually thought we had Hamburger Helper coming out our ears and didn't buy any the last time it went on sale, in reality we're down to three boxes. If I wouldn't have realized this we would have run out and I would have ended up buying it off sale. We will also always know when our food is getting ready to expire. By putting the closest expiration date in the front we can make sure we’re eating our stuff before it goes to waste. What’s the point of saving money on food to just throw it away two years later?

Eating what we have on hand before buying McDonald's is an easy step to becoming more frugal for my household.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Soemthing Wicked This Way Comes - Book Review

I read Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury a few weeks ago, but have taken this long to write a review because I just don’t know what to think of it. I’m still processing at this point. Something Wicked is about two young boys and their adventure when a mysterious carnival arrives in town in late October.

I really like mysteries and suspense and I suppose this would fall in that category. Also weird, creepy, crazy. The style of writing used can make it hard to figure out what's going on at times.

I borrowed this book from a friend, but had it been mine I would not list it on paperback, although I won’t be buying it either so I’m not sure how much help that will be with my rating system.

You Look Awfully Like the Queen - Book Review

A quick read You Look Awfully Like the Queen: Wit and Wisdom from the house of Windsor by Thomas Blaikie is full of quotes and stories from the royal family.

There are some funny incidents inside and it’s a quick read. As in an hour or two. Its 112 pages but they're really only a quarter of a regular sheet and its an easy read.

I probably would have kept his book but someone was waiting for it on so I went for the easy credit.