Saturday, August 29, 2009

Happy First Birthday, Lincoln!

Today is Lincoln's first birthday. I'm not gonna lie. It's definitely gotten overshadowed by our recent move. In fact, I can't even upload lots of adorable pics of him because they are all on our desktop computer that still isn't set up yet.

We did have a joint celebration for both the boys before we left--but again with the no pic thing. You'll just have to believe me on that one.

But let me tell you, in spite of the lack of hooplah, we really love this kid.

Here's one cute pic I was able to track down!

I think most Moms understand that fear that you won't be able to love a second child as much as the first. I struggled with that feeling right before Lincoln was born. But, I quickly discovered that there is a whole new space in my heart to love a second child. It's funny how that works. It's the same love but completely different. Does that make any sense?


I love how Lincoln:

  • says hi to us every time we come into the room.
  • works so hard to copy what we do and say. He makes the best silly face ever.

  • already says ball, uh oh, night night, daddy, book, and no (all in his own little way!)

  • snuggles with his bunny at night--thankfully it wasn't long after this post that he learned that sleeping is fun. I am one grateful Mama!

  • giggles with his brother--Griffin makes him laugh like no one else!

  • wants us to hold him. I know this won't last long, so I'm trying to soak it up now.

  • loves to be outside. It's a great cure on his grumpy days...which do happen on occasion!

Lincoln Parker, we are amazed that it was a whole year ago that you waltzed into our lives. We are excited to watch you grow and learn and become who God created you to be. How we got so lucky to be your Mommy and Daddy is a mystery to us--but we are so grateful that God placed you in our lives.

We love you. Thank you for taking this whole crazy phase of life all in stride.

We'll make it up to you next year, ok?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Griffin!

Today, Griffin turns 4.

The progression of childhood is sneaky. The minute you think you've finally mastered one stage, the next one arrives. I'm trying to remember how Griffin moved from the stage of sleepless nights and baby bottles to big boy beds and pop tarts. When were Baby Einstien and the Wiggles replaced by The Incredibles and Spiderman?

When did he move on from being this precious helpless little thing...

to this fearless one...

with the BIG muscles...


and the BIG brothers' heart?




When did he become this little man?


Griffin,
I will always treasure the days of 'Bootball' and 'Melmo'. But I'm loving the days of "Shimby Me Timbers" and 219 questions as well (most of the time...). I know one day I'll wake up and you'll have moved on to other things. So for now, I am soaking up the era of the ABC song and eskimo kisses, afternoon naps, and nighttime lullabies (with the occasional "Shot to the Heart" medley mixed in.) You remind me often that you are a Big Boy, but you will always be my Little Man.

We love you more than we know how to put into words.
Love, Mommy

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Next Step in Our Journey

A little over a year ago, I wrote this post after Wes was laid off from his job. In it, I shared this picture of a card that I had made for Wes the week prior to the lay-off.

We chose to tape the card to our bathroom mirror as a constant reminder of our promise to stay the course even when the course seemed uncertain and downright frightening.

Months passed. The card fell off the mirror. We stuck it back up there. It fell off again. We got more tape and slapped it back on. More months passed.

At times, I felt tempted to just toss it when it fell to the ground. The course seemed too hard to follow. Too confusing. Too unknown. When we made this promise we had no idea that it would be over a year before we had any idea what the next step in our journey would be.

I am so grateful to share with you that this week Wes accepted a job as youth pastor at Grace Bible Church of Souderton, PA.

If you know Wes, you know that he is a man of many talents. But, primarily his gift with teenagers is extraordinary. He has a way of reaching them that is unlike most others that I have seen. They are drawn to him and he is able to speak truth into their lives with both grace and boldness.

Over the course of our journey (which actually began shortly after we married 7 years ago), Wes has struggled with his call to youth ministry at times. We have been tempted to throw in the towel and walk a completely different path. The call to ministry felt too hard to follow. Too confusing. Too unknown. At times, it was so tempting to just find an office job and be done with it.

But there was no getting away from it. Over and over again, through a number of circumstances and people speaking into our lives, it's been made clear. Wes is made for youth ministry.

Once we were sure of this, the next step was to find a church. This proved to be much more difficult than we anticipated. There were so many factors to consider. Philosophy? Vision? Mission? Leadership? Location? (Both of our families live here, so the thought that we might have to move far away from the grandparents has been difficult.)

We have been in process with Grace for several months now, and we are confident that this is where we are supposed to be. We already have great respect for the leadership and feel a kinship with the people there. (The fact that it is only 2 1/2 hours away AND only 15 miles from my brother's family has also helped!) We are SO EXCITED!!

(That's not to say that there isn't sadness mixed in as well as we prepare to leave our family and friends here in NY. However, I think this is a post for another time. I've got some tears saved up for that one.)

Thank you for your love and support along this journey. We know that the journey doesn't end here...it simply picks up in another location. We will continue to run the course that God lays out for us.

We are confident that He will show us how.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Better Late than Never...

I could tell you all about how busy we are.

How we just got back from camping.

And how we are going again this weekend.

And how much laundry I need to get done.

But I will spare the details. I'm guessing you are pretty busy yourself. It is summer after all.

So in lieu of my top 6, I will share my ONE goal for this week:



1) Spend LOTS of quality time with my family!
How's that for a list?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Super Griffin to the Rescue!

"Mommy, can I get dressed? I need to put my Super Hero clothes on!"

It's how we start most mornings here in the Ehret household. The Super Hero phase has begun and is going strong. If he's not Super Man, then he's Spider Man. Or Bat Man.

Griffin and his cousin Natalie at our church picnic

The other day he told Wes, "You stay here. They usually pick up the trash in an hour." (a la Mr. Incredible to the Bad Guy).

So when Papa Doug asked Griffin to be his sidekick in a special skit at our outdoor service at church, it was a no-brainer. Of course he could help Papa by donning his alter ego for a few hours. Helping is what Super Heroes do best.

Papa and Griffin saving the day

I, being the Super Hero's Mommy, was too busy feeling all proud and stuff to think of taking a video of this occasion. However the Super Hero's Aunt did. You can see it here.

So, this begs the question:

"If you could have any Super Hero power, which one would you choose?"

I used to think mine was flying.

Now, I think it's the ability to wash, fold, and put away tall piles of laundry in a single bound.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Lovely List Day

Daddy and Griffin boathing with our friend Dean

Wow. This week has flown by! In the past week, we've been busy, busy, busy. There's been swimming and boating and playing with friends and grilling and birthday partying and roasting over fires and swinging and going to the park--sheesh. I think I need a nap!
Really, summer has finally arrived here in upstate NY and it is a beautiful thing!

I did find time in the midst of all of our fun to accomplish most of my list as well. I had lots of fun keeping track of Griffin's sayings this week. Here is one of my favorites:


"My brain told me to smack Lincoln."


Stay tuned for more to come!

And in keeping with my commitment to post my goals every Monday, here are my top 6 Goals for this Week (in no particular order):
  • Get those pictures printed that I was supposed to last week. =)

  • Continue to work on reading with Griffin.

  • Run. (Even if it's only once. Gotta start somewhere!)

  • Make those bran muffins I've been meaning to for weeks now!

  • Attempt to eat only from the pantry (a.k.a. the freezer) this week.

  • Make some down time for my husband.

No excuses in not completing them this week. Griffin is gone all morning at a local VBS=lots more free time for me!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Hi. Have we met?

Wow. What a crazy ride that past few months have been. I am LOVING Cha-Ching on a Shoestring, but I miss you guys! While I do get jazzed about the money that I saved at CVS last week, I also greatly care about many other things.

So, if you don't mind, I'd like to re-join you here on My Front Porch. Let's go grab some lemonade, shall we? I have so much to tell you.

But before we get all comfy, I need some help. (That's what friends are for, right?) I'd like to start sharing some of my goals for the week with you every Monday. I figure it's a great way to keep me accountable, plus wouldn't you just love to hear about it?! So here goes...

This week, I would like to:
1) Take the boys to the library.
2) Spend quality time with some friends.
3) Do a better job of chronicling Griffin's sayings. (There are so many--and I forget if I don't write them down right away!)
4) Work on getting some pictures printed to be put in albums.
5) Work with Griffin on reading.
6) Post some pics of the boys!

That's it! Those are my top 6 Goals for the Week. Feel free to check up on my progress!

Now, onto the fun stuff. I think I'll get started on number 6 right now. Our boys have had some great firsts over the past few months that I wanted to share. Lincoln has learned to crawl and is now pulling himself to a standing position. His big brother still loves him very much. Let's hope this continues!


AND Griffin was in his FIRST wedding.
He was the ringbearer in Wes's cousin's wedding. I'm not gonna lie. I was one proud mama. He took his job very seriously. Although he did get a little antsy during the wedding and at one point wandered over to the bridesmaid's side. But don't you always hope that ringbearer does a little something to steal the show?

Ok, friends. I think I'll save the rest for later. Stop by again real soon! I can't wait to get caught up with you!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Hiatus

I like that word, don't you? Go ahead. Say it out loud. Hiatus. Just kind of rolls right off the tongue, doesn't it?

Sorry...now why was I writing again? Oh yes, to talk about my My Front Porch hiatus.

Just wanted to let you all know that I'm taking a brief hiatus from writing at My Front Porch. I just need some time to learn the ropes at Cha-Ching on a Shoestring. But I will be back!

I need a place to share my stories that don't necessarily belong on my money-saving blog. Stories about things like my three year old asking me yesterday: "How did God make me? Did he stick his head inside your belly and make me?"

Yep. I'll be back.

Did ya check it out yet?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Let's Get this Party Started!


Cha-Ching on a Shoestring is LIVE!
We're moving Money Saving Monday over to our new place--
you won't want to miss the fun!
Head on over now and join the party!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tick...tick...tick...tick...




Saturday, April 18, 2009

CVS 101 Week of 4/19/09


We are back in action this week with CVS 101. If you are a newbie CVSer, I will detail some great transactions you could make. Then go ahead and check out all of the deals at CVS this week below to help you plan your strategy!

If you are new to CVSing, you can go here for a quick tutorial. See right sidebar for coupon lingo definitions.


Here are three transactions I would recommend for a newbie CVSer:

Transaction #1:

Buy:

(2) Crest Pro Health Toothpaste 4.2oz, Rinse 250ml,Oral B Floss 27-55 yds or Super Floss 50ct, $2.88
$1/1 Crest Rinse 440ml or larger (4/30/2009) P & G 4/5/09
$.50/1 Crest Toothpaste, 4.2 oz.+ (4/30/09) P & G 3/15/09
$1/1 Crest 4.2 oz or larger (4/30/2009) P & G 4/5/09


Pay: $3.76 (with coupons) - $5.76 (without coupons)
Receive: $4 ECBs


Transaction #2:

Buy:

(1) Edge Infused Comfor
t or Hydrate Shave Gel, $2.89
(1)
Bayer Aspirin Quick Release Crystal, $2

Use: $4 ECBs

Pay: $0.89
Receive: $4.89 ECBs

Transaction #3: (SUNDAY ONLY)

Buy (3) Aveeno at $6 and (1) at $7
Use $4/$20 Beauty Purchase coupon (expires 4/19)
Use $10/3 Coupon and $2/1 Coupon
Update: You may not be able to use the $10/3 coupon on the lower priced Aveeno. If you can print out two of the $2/1 coupons on your computer and have someone else print two out, you could still save $8 with coupons. With the beauty purchase coupon and the ecbs, you will only spend $3 for four Aveeno!

Use: $4.89 ECBs

Pay: $4.11
Receive: $5 ECBs


Here are the best deals that I see for this week. You can go here to see all of this week's deals. (Please note that coupons listed are not available in all areas.)

ECB DEALS:

NEW Edge Infused Comfort or Hydrate Shave Gel $2.89,
Get $2.89 ECBs
(LIMIT 1)
Free after ECBs !!!

NEW Bayer Aspirin Quick Release Crystals $2,
Get $2 ECB (
LIMIT 1)
$1/1 Bayer Aspirin Product, 24ct+, exp. 6/30/09 (SS 3/22/09)
Better than free after coupons and ECBs!

Crest Pro Health Toothpaste 4.2oz, Rinse 250ml,Oral B Floss 27-55 yds or Super Floss 50ct, $2.88
$1/1 Crest Rinse 440ml or larger (4/30/2009) P & G 4/5/09
$.50/1 Crest Toothpaste, 4.2 oz.+ (4/30/09) P & G 3/15/09
$1/1 Crest 4.2 oz or larger (4/30/2009) P & G 4/5/09


$10 ECB WYB $25 of ANY Aveeno Skin Care, Hair Care or Sun Care Products (LIMIT 1)
$1.00/1 Aveeno product (excludes cleansing bars and trial sizes) exp.7/5/2009 (SS 4/5/09)
$1.50/2
Aveeno Products (excludes cleansing bars and trial sizes)exp. 7/5/2009 (SS 4/5/09)
$2 Printable
$2/1. $5/2. $10/3 Aveeno printables

Tresemme 3/$10
Get $5 ECBs, (Limit 2
)
$1 Printable (print 3!)

$2 ECB WYB Act Rinse 18oz 3.79 (Limit 2)
$1/1 Act Total Care 18 oz , exp. 7/20/09 ( SS 4/19/09)

Other Sales Items:

Rimmel Lip Products, psa $2.99 (BOGO)
$1/1 Rimmel Kiss & Stay Lipgloss, (RP 4/19/09)
$1/1 Rimmel Face, Lip or Nail Product, (RP 4/19/09)
$0.49 ea. after 2 coupons!

L’Oreal Eye Shadow or Liner, psa $3.89 (BOGO)
$2/1 L’Oreal HIP Eye or Eye Product, exp. 4-26-09 (V 2/1/09)
$1/1 L’Oreal Lip product, exp. 4-26-09 (V 2/1/09)
$2/1 L’Oreal make-up, powder, blush or concealer, exp. 4-26-09 (V 2/1/09)
$2/1 L’Oreal HIP Eye or Eye Product, (RP 4/19/09)
As low as FREE after coupons!


Friday, April 17, 2009

WE HAVE A WINNER! (Make that TWO winners!)


And the winner of our $10 Amazon.com Giveaway is:
Kimberly!!

Who was referred by:
Joy at My Reasons to Blog


I have sent you both an e-mail. Congratulations!


Stay tuned for more information on when Cha-Ching on a Shoestring is GOING LIVE!
(hint: it's VERY soon!)


Thursday, April 16, 2009

How We Got Here, Part 3: Wes's Edition

How We Got Here, Part 1

How We Got Here, Part 2: Kaley's Edition


I suckered Wes into asked Wes if he'd be willing to write a guest post. I wanted him to share his side of the 'How We Got Here' story and I knew he would not disappoint.


My wife has a way with words. On the contrary I only have a bad way with commas. I once got a 40 on an English paper in college due to my unabashed misuse of commas. To this day I am gun-shy when it comes to using them so I would suggest taking one BIG BREATH before trying to read the story of my life.


"I grew up frugal."


It is what I know, it is how my parents taught me to live. My Pop worked very hard to provide enough income to keep my Mom from having to work. When my brother and I started school my Mom worked part-time jobs that would allow her to get back home before the school bus dropped us off. We didn’t have a lot, but we certainly had enough. My parents were the dog; they wagged money like it was their tail.


First off, I learned that lots of people throw away money and that I shouldn’t be one of them. There I was at the horse show hanging around the trash bin after lunch (isn't every little spendthrift into dumpster diving?), like a cat ready to pounce. They would walk up and toss it in, before it could hit bottom I had snagged it. It was in my plastic bag, and my eyes were peeled for my next victim. Don’t they realize that with a little bit of effort and some sticky fingers they could have a nickel to call their own? I wasn’t about to tell them. The masses threw those can deposits away before recycling was cool, so I snagged them and turned them into video games.


Coupons, packing your lunch, hand me downs, washed out sandwich bags, hatching your own chickens, patched up pants… they all rang up as dollar signs in the Ehret household. A trip to the grocery store meant that poor lady at the register had to double and triple my Mom’s manufacturer coupons, whoo hooo FREE FOOD! Mom drove around in her Chevette, hunting the supermarkets for deals like Dirty Harry hunted bad guys with his .44 magnum.


A little extra time and effort clipping coupons was my Mom’s way of sticking it to the man, or woman in most cases. She stretched our $80 a week grocery budget like it was nobody’s business. It is only in looking back that I’m able to marvel at it now. My mom was willing to do the UNIMAGINABLE (clipping coupons, using buy-one-get-one deals, she bought in bulk, and exercised restraint) to increase our food budget by upwards of 25%. I’m glad she did too, because we loved that dish of ice-cream during The Cosby Show.


Secondly I learned that Kids = Slave Labor...I mean ‘Hard work can save a lot of money’. Growing up to us meant some chores intermingled with Scooby-Doo and WWF Wrestling, or maybe it was the other way around. My brother and I were scrawny but we could pull weeds, shell peas, and toss firewood with the best of them thanks to our plantation-owning parents.


Gardening, splitting firewood, raising chickens for the eggs, and milking goats all rang up dollar signs and exercise. News flash--when you grow some of your own food and chop your own wood for heat you don’t have to pay someone else nearly as much to feed you and keep you warm. Rather than seeing it as grueling work, we saw it as a way of controlling where we spent our money. We could hand it over to the “the man”, or our dirty fingernails and a little sweat could be turned into a new cd player, a swimming pool, or a week at camp. A little effort really does go a long way.


Thirdly, I learned the satisfaction of doing it myself –vs- paying some schlub to take my money. My first bike was a nice repainted compilation of bike parts, the greatest of which was a beautiful cushy white banana seat. My Pop spent a few hours putting that bike together for me to learn to on. I also looked on as he snubbed the Maytag repair man by figuring out how to re-wire our washer for the price of parts. Pop took on things he had no business fixing, he’d tinker around and a day later it was good as new.


Fourthly, I learned that a budget is a very good companion. Every Thursday evening, like clockwork, my Pop was at the kitchen counter with his checkbook and a stack of bills. He had it all worked out--what bill to pay when and which account to take it from.


“That money is already spent," he’d say as he pointed to a lump of cash sitting in the ledger book. He knew the car insurance would need to be paid every six months so he saved every week and when the bill came due he sent that “already spent money” in to pay it.


I didn’t appreciate it as much then as I do now, but my Pop was exercising some serious wisdom right in front of me. Wisdom says you don’t spend money that you don’t have, save for an emergency, save for a rainy day, save for something of quality even if it takes a little longer.


These formative years of frugality laid the groundwork for 'How I Got Here'.


TO BE CONTINUED...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Swagbucks, How I Love Thee...

Search & Win

Have I mentioned how much I love Swagbucks? I've considered writing poetry to it, I love it so much.

Some of you have asked if there is a 'trick' to earning more Swagbucks. Yes. There is.

You see, you will most likely only earn 1-3 Swagbucks per day, and they will randomly be rewarded to you. So if you do an online search every day, you should easily earn your first gift card ($5 for Amazon.com) within the first month or two.

BUT the real earnings come when you get others to join you in your Swagbucks love. Then you can just sit back and let others do the work for you!

There are a few ways to get others to join you.

  1. ASK them. After signing up here, click on the 'Promote' button at the top of the page and send everyone you know an e-mail. (Hey--who doesn't do online searches? Why not give people a chance to earn free stuff just for doing what they normally do?) You can also e-mail them from your personal account, but make sure to use the referral link that they give you on the 'Promote' page or you won't get credit!

  2. If you have a blog, ya just gotta blog about it! Again, after signing up here, click on the 'Promote' button and then 'Promote banners'. Use the referral link and banners in your blog post to make sure you get credit. Then sit back and watch the savings come in!

**This may go without saying, but be sure to download the toolbar once you join. That's how you'll be on your way to Swagbucks heaven!

Let me know if you have any questions! Go here to find out more about what this Swagbucks craze is all about.

HAPPY TAX DAY!!!

In case you forgot, TODAY is tax day! If you haven't gotten those taxes filed, you have until midnight tonight. You can do it!

Once they are done, it's time to celebrate! There are several super fun freebies being offered today, including a free cookie from Subway and free bites from Cinnabon--ohhhhh yeah! I am there.

Deal Seeking Mom has the scoop (including a free scoop of ice cream) right here.

Images of Easter, part 2

tracing griffin's hand.

to create this lovely lily for the grandmas.

my handsome boys.

and my other handsome boy.

wes's deee-lectable cheesecake.

egg-dyeing, of course.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Free Reynold's Wrap

In honor of Earth Day, Reynold's Wrap is offering a FREE roll of their recycled aluminum foil. Go here to sign up. The rebate will not be available until April 22, but you can sign up for an e-mail reminder now. Quantities are limited.

Just in time...we're almost out!

Thanks, Thrifty Homemaker!

Images of Easter, part 1

mrs. pattycake's easter eggstravaganza.

the hunt.

buddies.

yummy.

seder dinner.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Money Saving Monday: The Spring Break Edition

For many of you, this week is Spring Break. Your kids are home from school and you may be feeling a bit like this:

Perhaps some good deals will ease your stress? I'm here for YOU.

In the Keeping Your Kids Occupied department:

  • For your princess-loving litte girl: how about a free Precious Places DVD? Go here to order yours today!

  • Thinking ahead about summer break? Go here to find out how your kids can bowl free all summer long! You can sign up to get two free games of bowling for every child in your family every day for the entire summer. How fun is that? (Go here to find participating locations.) Thanks, Jaycie!

  • Did you know that Garmin has a program that allows you to upload Audiobooks for you to listen to on those long trips? Go here to find out more and to download a free Marley & Me audiobook!

  • For those of you in my area (Binghamton, NY), have you checked out the BOOKS Reading Rewards Program? I LOVE it! About the only thing that will keep my three year old occupied for long periods of time is reading. How cool that he can earn free stuff just for doing what he loves!

  • If you are not from my area, you may want to find out if your school participates in the Pizza Hut BOOK IT program. You can also enter a fun BOOK IT contest here until midnight tonight!
In the You Deserve a Break Today department:
  • Did you know that Walmart gives away a free music download every week? Go here to get yours today. Then keep checking back weekly to build your collection!

  • How about some free chicken wings? Go here to get your coupon for 6 free wings from Buffalo Wild Wings! (Offer expires April 30.) Apparently this coupon is no longer working. How about $3 off on your next visit to Boston Market instead? Go here to sign up!
And finally...in the FREE DIAPERS department

This past week I have found deals all over the place for free samples of diapers. Listen...every bit counts when it comes to saving money on diapers, so I thought I'd share the love. Here's what I found:

  • Go here to find out how you can complete a phone survery and earn a free sample of diapers (and possbily $10 as well!)

  • Go here to request a free sample of Huggies Pure and Natural diapers from Walmart.

  • Go here to request another free sample of Huggies Pure and Natural diapers.
Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

I hope you are enjoying this very special holiday with your family and friends. I am planning a day full of celebration, worship, and lovin' on those who are dearest to me.

I will be back next Sunday with my regular CVS 101 post. So as not to leave you hanging this week, you can check out this week's CVS deals here, this week's Walgreens deals here, and this week's Rite Aid deals here.

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Family and Friends Giveaway: $10 Amazon gift card

Tick...tick...tick...tick...


Do you hear that? It's the sound of time ticking away
before our new blog opens sometime SOON!
(If you haven't heard the news, go here to find out more.)


We have another contest for you and this time, we're asking for your help to SPREAD the word about the opening of Cha-Ching on a Shoestring.

HERE'S THE DEAL: The winner of this contest will receive a $10 Amazon.com gift card. But here's the catch: If YOU are the person who referred the winner, you will also receive a $10 Amazon.com gift card! That's right--it's a two-for-one deal!

So, here's what YOU need to do. If you haven't signed up here for notification of the opening of Cha-Ching on a Shoestring, then go ahead and do it now. Then, leave a comment saying that you signed up and you will automatically be entered into the contest.

Once you have signed up, start telling your friends and family about it! Send them an e-mail. Give them a call. Sign your husband up! Take a coffee break and go tell your co-worker to sign up. Twitter about it. Post it on facebook.

And, of course, if you have a blog, then BLOG about it! (Go ahead and copy and paste my button if you'd like.) Consider it your giveaway for the week. (Money Saving Mom has a Giveaways Galore post going on here right now. Leave a linky for your blog! It's a great way to get traffic!)

Ok, just to be sure we are on the same page, here's what you need to do:
  1. If you haven't signed up yet, sign up here. Then leave a comment letting me know you've signed up. If someone else sent you here, MAKE SURE YOU LET ME KNOW WHO IT WAS!! If you are the winner, the person who referred you will also win!
  2. If you are already signed up, then start sending others to this post. You will be entered into the contest once for every person who indicates you as their referral!
In order to give you plenty of time to get the word out, we will leave this contest open for a whole week. It will end Thursday, April 16 at 8 pm. EST.

Any questions? E-mail me at: kaleyehret@hotmail.com.

GOOD LUCK!

219.

No, it's not my golf score (although that's quite possible.) Nor is it my bowling score (I wish.)

Just for fun, I decided to keep a running tally of how many questions my three year old asks me in a day. Yesterday the total was 219.

And I didn't even start counting until 10 AM...and finally gave up at dinner time. Plus he had time for a 3 hour nap (must be his barrage of questioning wears him out).

How is that possible?

It's quite impressive, really. I started counting when we were on our way to help a friend whose car was in the shop. The rapid-fire technique is his favorite. "Why is her car broken? Did she break it? Who's going to fix it? How did she get it to the fixer place? How are they going to fix it?"

Is this normal?

My favorite question of the day:

"Why do I have a chin?"

I mean...how do you answer a question like that?

You are probably wondering if I answer every question. I would estimate I get an answer in every 5th question or so. His .02 second response time requirement before asking the next question doesn't allow me to prepare my answers as I'd like.

I just keep reminding myself that someday I will miss his interrogative little self. When the only question he asks becomes, "Can I have the car to go hang out at my friend's house?", I will look back at these question-filled days with longing, I'm sure.

And seriously, why do we have chins?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

CVS and Upromise


My philosophy when I go to CVS is that I want to get the most that I can for the very smallest amount of money possible. Typically, I will walk away from CVS with $40-$50 worth of stuff, having spent less than a couple of dollars out of pocket.

There are two exceptions where I am willing to pay slightly more money out of pocket.

1) If the deal is on something that we absolutely need and I know it will be more expensive elsewhere (i.e. diapers!)

2) If I know I will get a large amount of extrabucks in return.

This week, both were the case.

Which is why I spent twenty-three whole dollars this week. Here's what I got:

(3) 12-pks of Diet Coke (used $1/1 coupon from MyCokeRewards)
(1) package of Huggies wipes (used $1.50/1 coupon from mailer)
(1) package of Huggies diapers (used $3 coupon from coupons.com--no longer available)
(1) package of Huggies pull-ups (used $3 coupon from coupons.com--no longer available)
(1) can of Pringles (used $1/1 coupon from P&G's Year of Savings booklet)
(1) bag of Easter grass
(1) Skintimate Shaving cream
(1) Colgate Max Fresh (used $1/1 coupon from SS 3/29/09)
(2) Easter baskets

Used $10 off $50 purchase coupon from CRT (cash register tape)

Total after coupons: $23.15

ECBs received: $23.26 (woohoo! $.11 more than I spent!)

However, I am kicking myself because I didn't activate my Upromise eCoupons until after I made this transaction. There is an eCoupon for $1.50 when you purchase a pack of Huggies diapers. Sigh.

If you haven't signed up for Upromise yet, I highly recommend it if you are starting to shop at CVS. I was a Upromise member for 3 years before I started CVSing and didn't earn a dime. But since I so often buy name brand products at CVS now (for almost free!), I've discovered that those products often earn me money at Upromise as well.

Once you sign up, be sure to go to the eCoupon section on the side. By activating these monthly, you'll have another way of earning a little more 'bang' for your buck!

In fact, right now there is a great Beech Nut promotion here plus if you sign up here, you will receive printable coupons for Beech Nut products. AND on top of all that, this month there is an eCoupon for Beech Nut products. My hungry 7 month old is already doing his part to help save for his college education!

Update: Wait...I just realized that I DID sign up for the eCoupons in time. My Upromise account was just credited for $1.50! That makes a girl happy. PLUS...have any of you seen the B1G1 free peelies on Beech Nut cereal? My Walmart has them! This deal just keeps getting sweeter!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

life.

a trip to the maple festival on a beautiful day.


fried dough. yummy.

tasting fresh maple syrup.

a visit with great grandpa.

and great grandma.

cute.

cuter.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Grieving.

In light of the recent tragic events in my hometown of Binghamton, I've opted to forego the regular Money Saving Monday feature to write what is on my heart.

This past summer, I sat in an airplane across the aisle from a woman who was clearly distraught. After spending several minutes wrestling over whether I should speak with her, I finally did. I leaned over the aisle and whispered that I didn't mean to pry, but did she need to talk?
She smiled grimly through her tears and shared with me that her mother was dying and that she was worried that she wasn't going to get there in time to say good-bye.

As she opened up to me about her story, the tears began to flow...both hers and mine. As she wept, I wept. Her pain was raw and, in that moment, what I had to offer in response was my grief. The affirmation that what she felt was real and valid, and she was not alone. I wanted to do more, but I had nothing more to give.

Last night, I attended the prayer vigil in remembrance of the 14 victims of this weekend's massacre. I saw your faces--the faces of the families of the victims. I marveled at the number of different hues of skin, all telling the story of your countries of origin: Haiti, China, Pakistan, Brazil, the Philippines, Vietnam, United States, and Iraq.

I watched you as you passed by and wished I had something to offer. Although it was only a glimpse, I had the sense that you have felt this kind of pain before. That this kind of horror was much more familiar to many of you than it should be.

But then, this time you are far from home. I tried to imagine how it must feel to experience such deep loss in a place that is not home. I wondered if you are longing for home now.

And I wept. All I had to offer in that moment was my grief. The affirmation that what you feel is real and valid. And that you are not alone.

In the middle of the onslaught on Friday, there was a low, long rumble of thunder. Strange for this time of year. But for me, it was a reminder that there is a God who grieves with you as well. He has a Son who has experienced deep agony in a place that is not His home. He is fully acquainted with grief. He affirms that what you feel is real and valid. He has felt it too.

And although I do not know you, I grieve with you. It is all that I have to offer in this moment. In this place that is not home, may you know that you are not alone.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

CVS 101 (Week of 4/5/09)

If you are a beginning CVSer, you can go here for a quick tutorial on how to get started.

Don't let this overwhelm you! Feel free to ask lots of questions. It can be confusing at first, but you'll get the hang of it!

To get you started, I'm going to suggest two transactions that will get you the most ECBs for your money. You can go with my suggestion or create your own. Scroll down to find more deals this week at CVS. (Hint: There's a good ECB deal on Huggies diapers and wipes this week!)

Transaction #1:
Buy:

(1) Colgate Max Fresh or Max White, $2.99
Get $2 ECBs (limit 1)

If you have coupons saved, there are two Colgate coupons. (See right side of screen for coupon lingo definitions!)
$0.75/1 Colgate Adult or Kids Toothpaste, exp. 5-31-09 (SS 2/22/09)
$1.00/1 Colgate Toothpaste, exp. 4-18-09 (SS 3/29/09

(1) Skintimate Shave Cream, $3.49
Get $3.49 ECBs (limit 1)

FREE after ECBs!

(1) Excedrin (20 to 24-ct.), $1.99
$1/1 Excedrin printable
$2/1 Excedrin printable
$2/1 Excedrin printable
FREE to $0.99 after coupon!

Total spent: $5.48 to $7.00
ECBs received: $5.49

THEN, I would ask if I can do another transaction (which I do ALL the time) and buy this:

(1) Easter Grass, $.79 ea. Get $.1.58 ECBs

(2) Bamboo Easter Baskets, $1.99 ea.
Get $3.98 ECBs


Use ECBs from previous transaction.

Total spent: $.07
ECBs received: $5.56
(This deal is good only on Sunday and Monday!)

Here are the rest of the good deals I see this week, thanks to Deal Seeking Mom!

Leave me a comment and let me know how it goes for you this week! What kind of deals did you work up?!


2 Day Sale Sunday & Monday only


Easter Grass $.79
Get $.79 ECBs (limit 2)
Free after ECBs (after Monday, no ECBs)

Bamboo Easter Baskets $1.99
Get $1.99 ECBs (limit 2)
Free after ECBs! (after Monday, no ECBs)

:: ECB Deals

Skintimate Shave Cream, $3.49
Get $3.49 ECBs (limit 1)

FREE after ECBs!

Colgate Max Fresh or Max White, $2.99
Get $2 ECBs (limit 1)

$0.75/1 Colgate Adult or Kids Toothpaste, exp. 5-31-09 (SS 2/22/09)
$0.75/1 Colgate Toothpaste, exp. 4-18-09 (SS 3/29/09)
$0.24 after coupon and ECBs!

Lindt Truffles, 2/$6
Get $1 ECB (limit 5)

$1/1 Lindt printable
$1.50 ea. after coupons and ECBs!

Coke 12-packs, 3/$11
Get $3 ECBs wyb 3 (limit 1)

$1/1 Coke 12-pack (MyCokeRewards)
$1.67 to $2.67 after coupons and/or ECBs!

Covergirl
Get $10 ECBs wyb $20 (limit 1)

$4/1 Covergirl Simply Ageless Fountain (P&G 4/5/09)
$1/1 Covergirl, (P&G 4/5/09)
Cheap makeup after coupons and ECBs!

Baby Products Deal
Get $10 ECBs wyb $25 (limit 1)

  • Enfamil/Similac, 2/$10
  • Huggies Jumbo, $10
  • Huggies Wipes, $5
  • J&J Baby Bath, $2.99
  • Playskool Diapers, $10.99
  • Playtex Cups and Accessories, 25% off
  • CVS Mega Pack Diapers (34 to 52-ct.) or Kids Pants (40-ct.), $10
  • Enfamil or Similac Ready to Feed 32-oz. (excludes Alimentum & Nutramigen), 2/$10
  • CVS Soft Cloths (72 to 80-ct.), 2/$4

$1/1 Similac Powder, any 22 oz.+, exp. 4-30-09 (SS 10/12/08)
$1.50/1 Huggies Diapers, exp. 4-19-09 (SS 3/1/09)
$0.50/1 Huggies Baby Wipes, any 64ct+, exp. 4-5-09 (SS 1/11/09)
$0.50/1 Huggies Baby Wipes 64ct+, exp. 5-24-09 (SS 3/1/09)
$2/2 Johnson’s printable
$0.75/1 Mail-in Rebate Caregiver’s Marketplace
Prices vary after coupons, MIR, and ECBs!

:: Other Deals

Excedrin (20 to 24-ct.), $1.99
$1/1 Excedrin printable
$2/1 Excedrin printable
$2/1 Excedrin printable
FREE to $0.99 after coupon!

Revlon Cosmetics, psa $1.99 (BOGO)
$1/1 Revlon Color Cosmetic Product, exp. 4-7-09 (SS 12/7/08)
FREE after coupons!

Glade Air Freshener, $0.99
BOGO Glade Spray, excludes air infusions, exp. 4-25-09 (SS 3/15/09)
$0.50 after coupon!

Glade Carpet Deodorizer, $1.50
$1/1 Glade Carpet & Room Odor Eliminator, exp. 4-4-09 (SS 2/22/09)
$0.50 after coupon!

Schick Intuition Plus Razors, 2/$9.99 (BOGO)
$4/1 Schick Intuition or Intuition Plus Razor, exp. 5-3-09 (SS 3/22/09)
$0.99 ea. after coupons!

For this week's Walgreens deals, go here.


For this week's Rite Aid deals, go here.