Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Free in March

Here is what I got completely FREE during the month of March. Click here to read a previous post explaining each category. I think this is my longest list ever!

Publix Mystery Coupon Items:
frozen pizza
microwave popcorn
2 cans Progresso soup
2 bags tortilla chips
paper towels

CVS Extracare Bucks With Sales and Coupons:
Irish Spring body wash
St Ives body wash
Johnson's Buddies soap
Secret Flawless deodorant
Dry Idea deodorant
2 tubes St Ives apricot scrub
3 bottles Garnier Fructis shampoo
Herbal Essences shampoo
Gillette Fusion razor
Schick Intuition razor
2 tubes Crest Pro Health toothpaste
Colgate toothpaste
Aquafresh toothpaste
Vitamin E
CVS moist wipes refill
2 Cottonelle moist wipes refills
3 pkgs cotton rounds
4 cans Campbell's soup
Hefty trash bags
Paas egg coloring kit

Great Sale Prices Combined with Coupons:

4 cans Del Monte tomatoes
4 boxes Betty Crocker potatoes
4-pk Danactive yogurt
Raisin Bran cereal
Smart Start cereal
2 boxes Unfrosted Mini Wheats cereal
2 jars Pace picante sauce
3 small boxes Knox gelatin
2 Kraft salad dressing (8 cents each)
Crisco pan spray
No Yolks noodles
3 boxes Sambucol
2 Colgate toothpaste
twin-pack Oral B toothbrushes
Vaseline Intensive Care lotion
2 Garnier Fructis shampoo
2 St. Ives Elements cleanser
2 Reach toothbrush twin packs
2 Reach floss
2 Listerine mouthwash
Schick razor
Skintimate shave cream
Aquafresh toothbrush
Aquafresh toothbrush/travel paste pack
2 pkgs Kotex
2 boxes crayons
4 bottles Glass Plus (25 cents ea)

Spent Free Gift Cards (from transferring rx):
4 gallons milk
1 gallon orange juice
2 lb frozen fries
2.69 lb grapes
3 lb onions
1.5 lb tilapia
5 lb ground chuck
peanut butter
3 cans refried beans
8 lb apples
2 grapefruit
2 avocados
fresh pineapple
6 bags froz veggies
4 cans pineapple tidbits
sour cream
Charlie cologne spray ($1.24 on clearance at Walgreens; used gift card)

Full Rebates:

Walgreens pain reliever
Wal-Zyr tablets

Free Deals:
Publix reusable shopping bag
Kroger reusable shopping bag
CVS reusable shopping bag
Rita's Italian Ice
7 lb Smart Balance butter blend
1 gallon milk
Publix BBQ sauce
Publix pasta sauce
Publix spicy brown mustard

Cascade Rinse Aid
Softsoap body wash

Given to Me:
Publix tortilla chips

Friday, March 27, 2009

Mock Toffee

With spare saltines on hand, I've been trying to fine tune my recipe for Mock Toffee. The results have been variable so far; crisp and crunchy one time, then more like shortbread the next. I think it's a function of the length of time the syrup is boiled, and how hot the oven is when baking. I have enough saltines left for two more batches.

What is Mock Toffee, you ask? It's a blend of butter and sugar boiled together, then poured over a base of saltine crackers. This is baked until golden, then chocolate is spread on top. It's a rich, delicious treat; and inexpensive, especially when the saltines and butter were free!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Easter Tree

I put together a very easy Easter tree this afternoon.

First I collected a handful of branches which had fallen in our back yard over the winter. I trimmed the ragged ends, then pushed them into a block of oasis. I made sure that the branching ends were aimed outward to look more natural. Some rocks on top of the oasis stabilizes the base. Lastly, I hung our assorted decorated Easter eggs and other ornaments. To help the tree look less like a dead branch I created little tissue paper puffy flowers and taped them to most of the branch tips using floral tape.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Celebrating Green

Happy St. Patrick's Day! On the menu for dinner tonight: Shepherd's Pie, salad, and green jello squares, with shamrock shortbread for dessert.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Tour of Collections

The Charm House is hosting a "Tour of Collections" today. I thought it would be fun to show what I collect. My earliest collection was china teacups, which began when I was given several as gifts as a young girl. Later I bought a few, and then my mom gave me most of her collection. Now I have about 18 or 20.
Another collection begun early: china teapots. I don't have as many of these as I have teacups, but we use them a lot more. The Professor makes a pot of tea in one of these pots almost every day.
Here's most of my vintage sewing items in a shadow box. The wood darning egg belonged to my grandmother. I have several other collections, but no photos of:
white linens and lace
vintage hankies
vintage baby dishes
silver baby cups
souvenir plates
Christmas angels
I'm also thinking of gathering up some of my French items from our year of living in France. Perhaps I'll make a shadowbox for that too.

Kroger, Publix, and CVS

During this week of "not-so-hot" deals at many stores, I was able to find some deals for my family. Kroger isn't advertising it well, but they are continuing the "Buy 10, Get $5" from the last two weeks or so. Sunday's ad did make a small mention of it, but it failed to mention all that is included in the deal. Although this isn't everything I bought at Kroger this week, here is how I worked the deal (Note: I listed the price as AFTER the 50 comes off each item when I buy 10, not the shelf price. Then my coupons came off after that).
Deal #1 Kroger Buy 10, Get $5:
2 Activia drinkable 4-pks, $1.99, $1 Q on ea
2 Sargento cheese, $1.49, 80-cent Q on ea
1 Dannon plain yogurt quart, $1.99, no Q
1 Shedd's Spread, 99 cents, 50-cent Q
1 Daisy sour cream, $1.50, no Q
1 Lay's Kettle chips, $1.99, no Q
2 Betty Crocker potatoes, 99 cents, 80-cent Q on ea
Total OOP: $8.21

Deal #2 Kroger Buy 10, Get $5:
2 Scotch Bright Nail Saver sponges, $1.50, $1 Q on ea
6 Scotch Bright scrub sponges, 50-cents ea, 75 cents off 2 Q's
2 Ken's Steak House dressings, $1.49, $1/2 Q
Total OOP: $2.74

I also had a coupon for a FREE reusable shopping bag when I bought any two General Mills products listed on the coupon. I used the Betty Crocker potatoes to fulfill that. Other things I bought included marked down bread, marked down doughnuts, and lots of produce.

At Publix my best deals were:
Mystery Coupon item (tortilla chips)
Bonus size Zip Loc snack bags, $1.99, $1 Q
Thomas' English muffins, BOGO $1.50, $1 Q
Get a FREE reusable Publix shopping bag with purchase of any 2 items listed on coupon. I chose 2 bottles of Dawn dish soap at $1.99 each because it tied with Bounty as the lowest priced item on the list. I had 2 $1 coupons for Dawn. So I paid $1.98 for 2 bottles of Dawn and 1 shopping bag.

At CVS I got a few freebies:
Irish Spring body wash, $4.99, earn $4.99 ecb's, 50 cent Q
Colgate, $2.99, earn $2.99 ecb's, 75 cent Q
Aquafresh toothpaste, $1.85 on clearance, $2 Q from CVS machine
Dry Idea deodorant, $2.99, earn $2 ecb's, $2 Q

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mint Chocolate Snaps

Every Christmas I add a candy cane to each Christmas stocking, with crook poking over the cuff. And each Christmas, most of us never eat the thing. Each year I promise myself I'll find a recipe or two using crushed candy canes; a recipe that we would like to use repeatedly. By March I have forgotten all about those candy canes rattling around in the depths of the pantry. And then comes Christmas again.

This year, however, was different. I conquered the recipe search: I found five (5!) possibilities in my recipe books. And, surprise, the first one I tried is a winner. These are Mint Chocolate Snaps from a Southern Living Christmas Cookies book I won at a Southern Living at Home party.

Mint Chocolate Snaps
1 (6-oz) pkg chocolate chips
1/2 c plus 1 1/2 T shortening
3/4 c sugar
1 egg
1/4 c light corn syrup
1 t peppermint extract
1 t vanilla
2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
4 average size candy canes, crushed

Melt chocolate chips in top of double boiler over simmering water. Cream shortening, gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add chocolate; beat well. Add egg, syrup, and flavorings; beat well. Combine dry ingredients and blend into chocolate mixture. Stir in crushed candy canes. Shape dough into balls, roll in extra sugar, and place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 for 12-13 minutes. Cool on racks. Makes about 4 dozen. We like these best after they sit in an airtight container overnight. It brings out the peppermint flavor.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Garage Sale #2

Heather and I had another garage sale this past weekend (Sorry; no pictures! We were too busy). I didn't have all that much to sell this time around, other than three large pieces of furniture. Sadly, none of the three sold. But most of my other stuff did very well, and Heather's sales were fabulous.

Here are a few ideas we used that turned out well for us:
1. We priced all clothes at $1, except dresses, which were $3.

2. The Professor rigged up a great rod for hanging clothes. He installed heavy hooks in the garage ceiling, and one hook in each end of a wood closet pole. A 4-foot chain connects each hook to a rod end. During the sale, the rod holds hanging clothes at chest height. At the end of the sale we hook it out of the way close to the ceiling. Next sale, we will simply lower it and hang our next batch of clothes.

3. I dug up my excess iris bulbs, bagged them in paper bags, and sold them for $2 and $3 depending on the size of the bag. I had to repeatedly dig up more and more. All pure profit, since I have to divide them anyway. They are consistently a brisk seller.

4. We cleaned out our stashes of extra toiletries and sold them. Wow! They flew out of the garage! Most items we priced at $1; a few at 50 cents, and nice razors at $3. We made about $150 on toiletries alone. By the end of our sale we had perhaps 10 items left. Since all these were free by working the CVS and Walgreens deals, it was pure profit.

5. We neatly arranged everything by categories and spread it on tables. When we ran out of table space, we used the driveway and sidewalk. As space became available on tables, we moved things up to the tables. We did this because most people don't really like to bend over to poke through piles of junk on the ground.