Our Trip to Atlanta and This Weekend's Activities

Last Saturday we packed the kids up and headed down to Atlanta for the day. Over the past few months I have been stockpiling my Coke Rewards points in hope to save enough for all of us to visit the World of Coca-Cola museum for free. Thanks to my friends family and my WTE mamas, we made our goal! The kids had a great time at the museum and then at the Georgia Aquarium. I found a great deal on tickets to the aquarium ($15 each) so we were able to take our whole family to both the Coke Museum and the Georgia Aquarium for $60.00!

Gabriel was not so sure about the Coke Bear

View in the tunnel

Liam seemed to think that the tunnel was pretty awesome

Everyone had a great time and, aside from Gabe's meltdown between the Coke Museum and the Aquarium, it was a pretty awesome trip.

The big kids were at their nanny and papa's this weekend. Friday night we worked on the cake for Elizabeth's shower. The icing and I did not get along and it turned out sort of splotchy, but it tasted good!

Yesterday Chris had to work and I attended the shower. Last night we went to the Greenville Road Warriors game with some of our friends and had an awesome time.

Today I got up early and did some couponing at CVS and Walgreens. I did really well (I only spent $1.92 for a basket full of stuff at Walgreens). Chris and I hit up Rita's for free ice day and then went to Old Navy to get jeans for Gabe. We did really well there too and only spent $26 on three pairs of jeans (usually $16.50 each). We bought Gabriel's birthday present at AC Moore (with a coupon, of course) and then went to Bruster's to give blood. It was Pint for a Pint Day which means you get a free pint of ice cream for donating blood. We waited in line for about 30 minutes. Once we got inside the Blood Connection bus, I picked Liam out of his car seat to discover he was wet all the way up his back. We had to leave since there really wasn't anywhere to change him. The nice lady gave us a voucher for ice cream anyway. :)

We're saving money. Now what?

We're saving money on groceries. Yay! Now what? We've decided to spend more on groceries. No, we aren't buying more groceries. We've decided to start purchasing organic meat and milk. We may add veggies in the future but we are baby stepping right now. Besides, the local market will be starting up again soon, as will the farm across the street from our neighborhood, so we'll probably buy most of our veggies from those places.

Before heading out to spend my savings, I did what any good couponer would do. I checked out the websites for both Earth Fare and Whole Foods and signed up for their emails. I also "liked" them on Facebook. Earth Fare has a wonderful deal. If you sign up on their website, they'll give you a coupon good for one chicken, a pound of baby carrots and a pound of mashed potatoes at no cost with a ten dollar purchase. I also found some Seventh Generations coupons.

Here's what I bought:

Total before coupons: $48.72
Total after coupons: $27.94
Savings: $20.78 or 43% ...not too shabby!

Stein Mart Boutique Event

As many of you know, my mom works at Stein Mart. She called me this morning to share that the Greenville Stein Mart is having a Boutique Event beginning today and running through Saturday. They will be introducing their Spring line up and will have giveaways, drawings and other fun stuff. Go check it out!! Before you do, make sure you print your 20% off coupon! (You can click "No thanks" on the pop-up and still enter your zip code to receive the coupon.)

I Puffy Heart Couponing!!!

Today was my first real attempt at extreme couponing. I made two trips - one to Walgreens and one to Publix. I did really well and I'm very excited to share my results:


Pediacare Fever Reducer - $6.99
$-2.00 mfc coupon
$-5.00 store coupon
= $-0.01

Pediacare Allegery - $7.49
$-2.00 mfc coupon
$-5.00 store coupon
= $0.49

Russell Stover Easter Egg (no coupon but Cadence begged for it) $0.59

Purchases before discounts = $15.34
Coupons & Savings = $-14.00

TOTAL = $1.34

Savings of 91%


Townhouse Crackers - $3.79
BOGO @ $1.90
$-1.00 coupon

Townhouse Crackers - $3.79
BOGO @ $1.89
$-1.00 coupon

Vlasic Dill Pickles - $2.89
BOGO @ $1.45
$-0.55 coupon

Vlasic Dill Pickles - $2.89
BOGO @ $1.44
$-0.55 coupon

Birdseye Steamfresh Broccoli x 3- ($1.79 x 3 = $5.37)
On sale for $0.89 each = $2.67 for 3
$-1.00 off of purchase of 2 coupon
$-1.00 off of purchase of 3 coupon
$0.67 total or $0.22 each

Sargento Shredded Pepper Jack - $3.99
On sale for 2 for $4.00
$-1.50 coupon

Phillips Crab Cakes - $8.99
BOGO @ $4.50
$-2.00 coupon

Yoplait Smoothie Mix - $2.99
On sale for 2 for $5.00
$-1.00 coupon
$-1.00 coupon

Voskos Yogurt - unsure of original price
On sale 10 for $10
$-1.00 coupon

Kellogg's FiberPlus Cereal - $3.89
BOGO @ $1.95
$-1.00 coupon

Kellogg's FiberPlus Cereal - $3.89
BOGO @ $1.94
$-1.00 coupon

Cabbage - $0.99lb (x 3lbs)
On sale $0.29lb (x 3lbx)
no coupon

Butterball Turkey Sausage Patties - $3.49
BOGO @ $1.75
$-0.75 coupon

Yoplait YoPlus Yogurt - $2.00
BOGO @ $1.00
$-1.00 coupon

Yoplait YoPlus Yogurt - $2.00
BOGO @ $1.00
$-1.00 coupon

Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil - $6.65
BOGO @ $3.33
$-1.00 coupon

Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil - $6.65
BOGO @ $3.32
$-1.00 coupon

Marzetti Simple Dressing - $3.49
BOGO @ $1.75
$-1.00 coupon

Shell Gift Card - $50.00
On sale $40.00


Purchases before discounts = $127.67
Coupons & Savings = $-68.07
Subtotal = $59.60
Gift card = $-50.00

Savings of 94%

Want to get the same results? I printed my lists from Southern Savers. The Publix deals started today and are good until Tuesday. The Walgreen's deal is good until Sunday. Most of the coupons were printable from their site.

I'm probably not going to go into such detail in the upcoming weeks, but I just had to share my first experience at extreme couponing. I'm addicted!!!

Goals for This Week

It's Sunday night and time to start thinking about the week ahead. I've blogged a lot today. Congrats and thank you if you've kept up! It's okay if you haven't though, I understand. The past few weeks have been a bit crazy and I am learning from the craziness and setting a few goals for myself for the upcoming week.

1. My bedtime is no later than 10:00 p.m.
2. I will get up early enough to make sure everyone has time for a good breakfast.
3. I will spend at least 30 minutes per evening working on laundry or housework.
4. I will stay focused and work as diligently as possible at my job during the day, but when the work day is over, I will focus solely on my family.
5. I will pack Cadence's lunch every evening instead of during the morning.

I'll update again at the end of the week.

Our Trip to the Inn at Merridun

My mommy is making dinner right now so I thought I'd take a minute to tell you about the trip that she, Daddy and I went on this weekend. We drove up to Union and stayed at the Inn at Merridun. The Merridun is one of Mommy and Daddy's favorite places to visit and they've been there several times. They enjoy the amazing food that the innkeeper, Miss Peggy, prepares and they love getting away from it all and relaxing in the large rooms there.

When Mommy first told me we were going to the Merridun, she said that some people say that it is haunted. I was like, "Excuse me!?!"

Then I was like, "Ghosts!?!?!"

Then Mommy assured me that if we encountered any ghosts, they would be friendly and I had nothing to worry about. She also said that we'd be going shopping while we were there and I was like, "Oh! Well if that's the case, let's go!"

We arrived late on Friday night. Miss Peggy was waiting for us and served Mommy a big piece of lemon cake with whipped cream and raspberry sauce and Daddy and huge piece of chocolate coconut cake. Mommy and Daddy enjoyed their desserts before we headed off to bed. The next morning after Mommy and Daddy enjoyed a three course breakfast, we drove to Gaffney and hit up the outlets. I am the proud owner of several new onesies, rompers and a swim suit from Carter's. Daddy got a new pair of shoes from Timberland. Mommy got a new diaper bag from Coach. I'm not exactly sure why, but she was really excited about that bag.

So much so that she told me to post another picture of it. Whatevs...

Saturday night, Mommy and Daddy enjoyed a four course dinner of soup, salad, crab cakes with green beans and mashed potatoes and chocolate pecan pie while I slept. They had another three course breakfast this morning before we drove back home. We had a wonderful time this weekend shopping and just spending time hanging out at the Inn. I can't wait to come back!

My Couponing Journey

I have decided that I have two new hobbies: brewing beer with my wonderful hubby and extreme couponing. I have begun following an eight-week instructional guide on the blog Living Well, Spending Less. Today begins Week 2 and my first shopping assignment. I was to pick up three items using a combination of sales and coupons and should not pay more than 40% of the retail price for the items.

Round 1: My first trip wasn't so great. I did not have the correct coupon for the first item (Oscar Meyer basic lunch meat was on sale and I had a coupon for Deli Fresh lunch meat). I picked up my remaining two items and checked out. Publix accepts competitor coupons; however, the Publix closest to my house does not recognize Target as a competitor. *Sigh* so item #2 was a no go as well. In the end I only ended up reaching my goal of 60%+ savings on one item. I went home, determined to learn from the experience, and tried again.

Round 2: I chose my three items (Boca crumbles, NY Style bagel chips and Marie's dip) and found my coupons. I had to search a bit for the dip, but I found it. I went to check out and... success! Details below:

Boca x 2: $3.79 each before sale/coupon
$1.60 each after sale/coupon

NY Style Bagel crisps x 2: $2.69 each before sale/coupon
$0.60 each after sale/coupon

Marie's Lite Ranch dip: $3.49 before sale/coupon
$0.75 after sale/coupon

Choosing the items, locating the coupons and finding the items in the store was definitely time consuming. Hopefully, I'll get faster.

The Calm After the Storm

Last night we had a very violent thunderstorm. I was in the grocery store with the kids and the rain on the roof was deafening. One of the managers was kind enough to sit with them while I ran out in the storm to pull the van up to the entrance. The parking lot was a river and, although I ran as fast as I could to avoid the storm, I was soaked. My shoes and socks were drenched and you could have rung my jeans and shirt out like a wash cloth. The manager and a bag boy held umbrellas over us while I loaded the kids into the van as fast as I could. I ran quickly around the van, jumped in and drove home. I don't even think I thanked the manager and I do feel bad about that. Cadence and Gabriel thought the storm was fun and enjoyed seeing Mommy get drenched. I did not think it was so fun. The storm continued throughout the night and this morning the world had a "new" feeling about it. The trees were still dripping and there were puddles everywhere but the air felt fresh. It was a new beginning.

Yesterday's storm made me think of something that happened to me recently. Over the weekend I got caught up in my own "storm" with a mommy group that I have been a member of for the past year. It was stupid really, but it happened. Some of the members were kind enough to hold an umbrella over me while the rain pounded down around me. Others seemed to think the storm was fun and enjoyed seeing me get drenched. I did not think it was fun. The storm continued for a day or so but then I left the mommy group quickly so the storm would stop. I didn't think even think to thank them for their support over the last year or say goodbye and I do feel bad about that. It seems to have quieted for the most part and I hope it stays that way. I'm enjoying the fresh new air.

I'm hoping that I will now have more time to work on things that I've been neglecting. My poor house could use a makeover (or a grenade) and I really need to sort through the kids' clothes to get them ready for spring. Spring! With Spring comes more fun activities. I'm looking forward to my involvement with some charity events through my local paralegal organization. I also hope to go on a few family camping trips and start running again once I find a jogging stroller for Liam. Regardless of what I do, I plan on spending my time focusing on what really matters: my family and I.