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Usually I write about coupons. Not today. Something happened at my house yesterday and you moms need to know about this stuff. I know a lot of our readers out there have younger kids. For those of you with kids in the middle schools, I have something to tell you. I overheard my son last night (he’s 14), talking to a buddy on the phone. He told his friend he was going to try the Cinnamon Challenge.

My son thinks he wants to take a challenge where he attempts to swallow a heaping tablespoon of cinnamon. My first reaction is to tell him it will chemically burn his mouth. My fiance tells him it will cause convulsions (not so sure on that one) and my older son tells me it will cause vomiting. Joy. I looked up some videos on YouTube just to see. They look harmless to start with. Some folks cough it out right away. Lots of folks don’t. The one I saw showed the last person over a toilet bowl very sick.

Needless to say, both jars of cinnamon are in my purse today. My son tells me he is not stupid, so I ask why does he say he wants to do these things. Just to be cool is my guess. His answer was silence and hostility (typical teen behavior). We will be having more and more discussions on what we watch on YouTube and peer pressure.

Have you heard of this? Know anyone who has done it? I would love to hear from you. Until then, the cinnamon at my house lives in my purse. The things we do to keep our kids safe.

This week I tried some of those drugstore deals and learned some things along the way. We use the Thermacare products in our house frequently. When I saw that I could get a Register Reward from Walgreens when I bought 2 I was happy. I also had 2 $3 off 1 2 count or larger product. Perfect. Took my coupons in, bought my products and got my register reward. Total out of pocket for that was about $6 for about $12 worth of stuff.

I figured if I would go back later in the week and get a couple more. Wrong. Doesn’t work that way. I was certainly allowed to buy the product (no harm there), but it did not generate a second Register Reward. It turns out since I tried to pay for the new Thermacare products with the Rewards I had earned earlier in the week, the register kicked it back. No rewards. 1 per family. I learned my lesson. Read the fine print. I still bought them because we use them. I just know now that the drugstore is only going to let me get a couple.

I also had to add a small item because their coupon policy states that you need to have as many items as coupons even if you are stacking them. I only had the 2 Thermacare and something else I wanted and had a coupon for. That was only 3 items. I had 2 Register Rewards (which apparently they count as a coupon), a Walgreen’s coupon and a manufacturer’s coupon. The grocery stores don’t do this so I was a little surprised, but store policy is store policy. Make sure when you do these that you get a copy of the store coupon policy before you go. That way you will have less issues at the register.

I would love to hear from some local shoppers who also coupon and if any of you have figured out how to do these drugstore deals.

Just a little shortie today…..I went to ShopRite on Saturday to pick up some more cereal. They had a ton right by the front door. How convenient! The sale was 4 boxes of General Mills cereal for $6. I bought 2 Cinnamon Toast Crunch (normally $3.49) and 2 boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios (normally $4.39). I also picked up 4 cans of Chef Boy R Dee Ravioli. Those run $1.12 each. I had 2 coupons for 50¢ off 1 for the Cinnamon Toast Crunch. These doubled. I had 1 coupon for $1.00 off 2 Honey Nut Cheerios. Not doubled :(. Then I had a 50¢ off 4 cans for the Chef Boy R Dee. This doubled. Between the sale price, ShopRite Price Plus card discounts and my coupons I paid $5.52 for my groceries. I saved $17.00 on that trip. I am more motivated than ever to keep this up. We have lots of cereal for the boys and my wallet is that much fatter. 🙂

I put together one of my coupon trips last night and did pretty well. Between 2 major grocery stores I managed to buy $246.94 of groceries for $112.64.

It took me about 5 hours to put the trips together just to start with so beware, it does take time and effort. I buy at least 2 newspapers a week for the manufacturers coupons they offer. I also print some from 3 major coupon websites. I use coupons.com, redplum.com and smartsource.com. You can search for the products you want and print only the ones you need.

These coupons can be used in conjunction with the store coupons. This is called “stacking” and is what will help you to get the most bang for your buck. I also used 2 different “loadable” websites. You register your store card, go through the coupons you want, add it to your card and clip nothing. Just add the product to your list and it comes off at the register. One is Cellfire.com and the other is SavingStar.com. The combination of careful planning, some clipping time and a detailed list saved me $134.30.

As for what I bought, everything is stuff my family uses. I don’t buy it just because it is discounted. I got a several jars of spaghetti sauce, 4 feminine products, several boxes of cereal and eggs just to name a few. I also did not clear any shelves and followed the limit guidelines. This saves time and possible issues at the register.

I also must thank the blogger that I follow for all of the great info I get from her or I would never be able to do this. Kudos to livingrichwithcoupons.com for her awesome matchups. Check her out. Like her on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter.

There are also several other bloggers that I follow. Go to one of my earlier blogs and you will see a list at the bottom of bloggers to check out.

I happened to be on yahoo this morning just before I wrote this and read this nice little piece. Check this link out for some rules and regulations of couponing.

My loot from Wal Mart

I have recently entered the rather intimidating world of couponing. I have tried for years with no success. I would clip and then forget. Now, thanks to the internet and an awesome group of mommy coupon bloggers, I am learning how to take some pretty decent money off of my grocery bill.

I used Freebies2Deals, a blogger located in Utah. She did the legwork for this shopping trip and I did not do too bad. She went to her local Wal Mart, checked out what was there and then posted the deals she found. She matches up the coupon you will need to score your deal. If it came out of a circular, she tells you the company that puts it out and the week it ran. If it is an internet coupon, she gives you the link. She generously posts this information on her blog and then lets everyone know via Facebook. I “like” a number of these mommies on my FB page and I have saved quite a bit by following them.

I had to include this pic of Sparky my coupon companion. He decided to get into the loot shot since he helps clip them!

These women post deals for most of the major drugstores and food store chains that are in their regions. They also offer lots of advice on their sites, hold classes, have videos you can download, contests to give away all their swag and discussion boards too.

So, in conclusion, here is a pic of my Wal Mart score. I paid $18.31 for $36.43 worth of groceries. The couple of freebies I got were travel or trial sizes, but they were still free and for products I had not yet tried. We will use them for sure. I also went through her list of 88 items and pared it down to what I would use and needed. I am not into taking stuff just because it is free or close to it.

Check these chicks out and you can save some money too.

Couponing to Disney
Saving Cents with Sense
Free at Last (Or at Least Cheap)
Mojo Savings
SwagGrabber
SwagBucks Facebook and website
(a note about SwagBucks: this site offers lots of great stuff. You can actually earn money called SwagBucks on this site and redeem them for all kinds of things. The money is easy to earn too.)

I had the privilege of being invited to a media only event this weekend at Bethel Woods featuring The Family Stone. We were part of an interview with the band members that will be part of an exhibit later. They started out as Sly and the Family Stone and appeared at Woodstock oh so many years ago.

The band members were great. Very down to earth and you can tell they love what they do. The trumpet player, Cynthia Robinson, had a funny story about Sly and some bologna they tried to eat on the way to the ’69 show.  I have some great pics and some video too. Check out this video and see if you remember….

Click here if you want to see the pics.

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My son and I have seen signs for the Native American Festival around this time for years. We finally got around to going and it was fascinating. The dancers were awesome. The native dress is stunning. The beadwork and feathers are exquisite. I found the dances inspiring.
There was some great food there too. Buffalo burgers have a great taste and are not super greasy. I would skip the buffalo tacos though, the flavor was boiled out of the meat. My suggestion, boil down that pot likker and let the flavor seep back into the meat.
There were booths galore. If you love silver jewelry, this is the place to be. I actually purchased a pair of feather earrings myself. They are rather beautiful I think.
Last, but not least, they had birds of prey there. The owl is stunning. We did not get to stay for the show, but I have seen one before and they are truly a sight to behold. If you missed it this year, it comes to Anthony Wayne State Park every August.

Dr. Praeger’s recently sent us some frozen foods. They are geared towards kids and are all natural. I found that the kid in my house would not eat them but the adults loved them. We tried so far…the littles spinach, littles sweet potatoes and the California burgers. They are a bit of a pain, to this mom anyway, to prepare. They have to be broiled for 8 minutes per side. I found flipping them a little tricky as they are very soft in the middle and tend to break. The taste is just fine though. They have very little seasonings so the natural flavors are allowed to shine. The products are gluten free for those with allergies. You can buy them at most grocery stores in the organic section. If you don’t mind not being able to microwave these little treats, I say run out and buy some.

I love the look of polished nails, I just can’t stand nail polish….now what?

 Enter Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips. They come in really cool patterns like leopard, zebra, lace and denim just to name a few. They are really easy to put on. You just clean your nails and apply the strips. They give you the orange stick and file you will need for that in the kit. As soon as you stick them on the nail, it is done. No dry time at all. It takes a couple of hours for them to get really hard but then they last for up to 2 weeks. I have managed to go about 10 days before they chipped and needed to be replaced. I love these things. They are great for new moms because you can actually do a couple of nails, tend to the baby and come back if necessary. Get them at your local drugstores and most of the superstore chains too. Try them, you will love them. They run around $8-$10 box.

We recently got some Shrinky Dinks into our office. So I took them home and we played with them. One of our sales associates came over to join the fun. We remembered these from when our older kids were little and thought they were lots of fun. We wanted to see how they had improved on this cute little craft. You draw on it, cut it out and bake it. They shrink down to about ¼ of the size that they started out. They have different kinds of plastic now: clear, opaque and one you can color on both sides. Pretty cool, but nothing spectacular. Felice and I remembered the old ones coming with stencils. These just came with all kinds of instructions. More than I wanted to read, so I really only skimmed most of it. So….no stencils, use your imagination. I made really lame stuff but my 21 year old son came in and wanted a try. I now have a very cool batman symbol pin to wear. He made a 3D guitar that he put together. Very cool. You are limited only by your imagination and that of your child. On that happy note, the sky’s the limit so have fun.

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