*Saving you some money in the Rock River Valley*

Welcome to our blog! While a lot of our deals may be specific to the Rockford area, you'll find many deals that are also good nationwide! We hope that our blog will be fun, informative, and that it will help you SAVE SOME MONEY!

Read here about our "Coupon Ethics"

Monday, February 28, 2011

3 Redbox codes for $1

I did this Groupon deal back in December and it's been fun to be able to go to Redbox when we feel like it and get a movie by just using a code!

Well the deal is back again: get 3 Redbox rental codes for $1. That's 3 for the price of 1! If you're shy about trying out Groupon because you're not sure how it works (and I can assure you, it's easy-peasy and wonderful), this is a good deal to start with.

So go here to Groupon and get your Redbox codes! If you're new to Groupon, you'll have to sign up with your email. Type in the city you want deals for (they have Chicago and Rockford for Illinois), or the closest city to you.

Happy movie watching!

Mamapedia Deal!

Some of you may remember when I posted a deal from Mamapedia in January. They are very similar to Groupon and really do have great deals for moms.

I was pretty excited about the deal that popped up yesterday. With us expecting our first (she was due last week but has decided to wait a little longer) and our church nursery having many new babies in it, I thought labels for her bottles and stuff would be a good idea.

I thought that some of you might also like this Mamapedia Sweet Deal: $10 for $20 Worth of Organizational Labels from Mabel’s Labels. These labels are dishwasher and microwave safe. They have all kinds of cool colors and designs. If you send your kids to school, these would be good to have for their lunch boxes and various other items. The possibilities are endless!

To make the deal even sweeter, you can use the coupon code "FRIENDS20" (expires 2/28) to get an extra 20% off, taking the price down to $8! (The $20 certificate will be emailed to you. Please note that it does not cover shipping, which is $3.95 - still a pretty good deal!)

So go check out Mabel's Labels, then if you decide you need some of these labels, go here to Mamapedia to purchase your very discounted certificate!

P.S. - If you're not interested in the labels, but find another Mamapedia deal you like, you can use the "FRIENDS20" coupon code on that deal. For example, this photo-to-canvas print would make a wonderful gift at $39 . . . but an even better one at $31!

Monday Meals - DIY Croutons

DIY croutons! Instead of paying good money for dried, seasoned bread, why not use that day old bread (for french bread) or the leftover "drying out" bread to make your own croutons?

Amy at Finer Things has a quick and easy way to make your own croutons! Her recipe is a little less time consuming than this next one . . .

But this one sounds so yummy because it's made with butter!


Friday, February 25, 2011

Freelance Friday - Coffee for Haiti

Mist Valley Coffee is donating 50% of their profits for the month of February to support Haiti.

There are a few more days to order coffee from Mist Valley Coffee and support Haiti! Check out the details here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Toddler Thursday - Salad Spinner Art

Last summer both of my kids took an art class through Rock Valley College and had a lot of fun. One of our favorite art activities we learned in class involved a salad spinner. Maybe you have a salad spinner and never use it; well, here is the perfect chance to get it out. If you don't have one, they can be found in any store: Target, Walmart, and Bed Bath & Beyond. I suggest checking out the Dollar Tree too!

We put a paper plate in the bottom of the spinner. Then we squirted paint colors one at a time, put the lid on and spun it! Then repeated. It was so much fun because each time your project looks different.

Check out this post on Confessions of a Homeschooler as they used a salad spinner to create spring flowers!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wacky Wednesday - Google Map This!

Want a chuckle? Go to Google Maps and type in "Chicago IL to Japan." Then scroll down the directions to number 34 - and have a good chuckle! Seriously???

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tuesday Tips - DIY Cute Barrettes

Since we're expecting our first baby girl, I've been going a little crazy on the "Martha Stewart" front! The latest thing I've been having fun with is making barrettes using alligator clips. It's fun to make because I know I can use them right away by clipping them to a baby stretchy headband, and I can use them when she's older and has more hair!

Here's the website where I first got the idea (it has step by step instructions) . . . and here are some of the barrettes I've made! I spent just over $4 for the alligator clips (pk of 25), the headband, and the 3 flowers. The rest (ribbon and bling) is just stuff I had around the house. I can make lots of barrettes with that!

Great Target Coupons!

Check out the Target printable coupons here for their Up & Up Products. I have been happy with the Up & Up Products I purchase from Target and it is awesome they put on so many coupons . . . here are a few to look for and print:

$1 off an Up & Up Oral Care item - that means free floss, almost free toothbrushes or mouthwash

$.75 off Up & Up feminine care products - pantiliners are less than $1 regular price

$1 off Up & Up facial care product

$1 off Up & Up cleaning product - look for something you usually use . . . bleach, spray cleaner, they have it all.

$1.50 off Up & Up diapers

$1 off Up & Up pain relief - ibuprofen is usually around $1; acetaminophen a little more

$5 off a pair of women's jean - shop the clearance racks!

These are just a few there are others available . . . just browse through each category and see what works for your family!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Meals - Taco Soup

Taco Soup! This is a deliciously easy soup from one of my favorites sites . . . Our Best Bites.

Here is the recipe . . . good for you and so easy! We like to substitute black beans instead of kidney beans because we love our black beans.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Coupon Class this Saturday!

Don't forget to come to the East State Street Rockford Public Library this Saturday the 26th for Couponing 101! We will be there teaching the class from 11-12pm!

The class is free and open to anyone even if you don't live in the Rockford area! More details here.

Spend $20 on Magazines at Amazon, get $10

Amazon.com is offering $10 back (to spend on any at Amazon) when you spend $20 in their Magazine department through the end of the month. Check out the details here.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

$10 off Amazon Baby Coupon!

In the March 2011 issue of Baby Talk (a free magazine) there is a $10 off coupon for Amazon.com. The purchase must be in the baby store but that includes clothes, shoes, diapers, etc. . . . I was able to order a pair of boots for my six yr old in the baby section!

The first two people to email us can have one of these coupons! The coupons expire 3/31/2011. If you do not get this free magazine at home, they can also be found at Babies R Us.

This coupon can be combined with the 20% off diaper coupons as well! They over lap by a week.

If you have a baby in diapers Amazon.com is pretty much hands down the cheapest way to purchase them, plus they are delivered to your door free with Amazon mom.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Toddler Thursday - File Folder Fun

Check out this website for some File Folder Fun! These are easy to create and fun ways to learn. There are all sorts of age appropriate File Folder Games for numbers, math, alphabet, color recognition, anything you need.

You can also create lapbooks - same idea too! Here is a link to some videos on creating lapbooks on You Tube.

For Valentine's Day I created one for our small group of preschoolers. It is very simple and very basic.

This is the cover. They can color it and I have photos of each child to glue on the front.

Here is the inside. A booklet of the song Jesus Loves me with pictures they can color. The hand prints are to reinforce Left & Right and then goes along with Be Careful little hands what you touch . . . Then the booklet on the right has instructions and shapes to glue on and color.

This is the back of the folder. We will trace the letters that are lighter in color and discuss what the bible says about love. . .

This is the first folder I have created. It was fun to assemble and now that I have done it once hopefully it will be a lot easier and quicker to put others together in the future! I love the Alphabet Hearts here and plan on making this one next!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wacky Wednesday - Math

I personally love math, but I agree with this lady: math word problems should involve coupons!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday Tips - It's Tax time!

Well it's that time of year again . . . tax time . . . we all have to do them, so here are two sites that show you where you can e-file your taxes for free.

Federal Taxes - www.irs.gov/freefile and when you are done there . . .

Illinois State Taxes

and since I am a Packers Fan . . . Wisconsin State Taxes

Monday, February 14, 2011

1000 free AT&T rollover minutes

AT&T is offering 1000 free rollover minutes to their iPhone customers. Just text the word "YES" to 11113020. I checked all over to make sure this isn't a scam, and found multiple places like this that confirmed that it is legit!

Monday Meals - Queso Dip

So this is not a meal in itself - but it makes a great appetizer. I really should have posted a few weeks ago for Super Bowl Sunday! If you like the queso dip at Chili's, you'll probably like this! It's super easy.

Cheesy Queso Dip
1 jar of Cheese Whiz or equivalent (15 oz)
1/2 can of beanless chili (or with beans if you prefer)

Warm in the microwave 30 seconds at a time, mix, and keep microwaving until well heated. Or double the recipe and put in a crock-pot!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Free Year of Online Kids Books!

Check out MightybooksJr.com here and get a FREE year subscription to their onine service - regularly $99! The have online animated books that are read aloud to your child.

You do not have to enter any credit card information. Just simply register here and enter the coupon code learntoread and the payment box will disappear!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Freelance Friday - Ask the Readers

My husband and I will be celebrating our 15th wedding anniversary next January. We are planning on a warm exotic vacation of some sort and we would love you input on a couple things!

First, where is the best place online to find travel deals? We generally just do smaller vacations in the states surrounding us and find hotel deals through Groupon or Priceline, but for a bigger package vacation do you have any recommendations?!

Second, do you have any recommendations on a great location that is warm, sunny, quite, and an "in my view" a little slice of heaven?! We just want to be able to relax, read some books, enjoy being together and mix in few activities on a beach somewhere.

We would love your suggestions and advice!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Toddler Thursday - Weelicious

Do you have a picky eater or do you want some creative new recipes to serve your children that the whole family will love?! Weelicious is a great website full of family friendly healthy recipes. She has videos too!

I love that she has features where you cook one day and use the leftovers to create supper for the next two days! For instance, check out her Chicken Fajitas Program here - all three recipes are listed on her website.

Weelicious - Fast, Easy & Fresh baby food, toddler food & recipes for the entire family!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wacky Wednesday - Psalm 23 Southern Toddler Style

This little girl's southern accent is WAY too cute! And this video also makes me look forward to some day being able to teach our daughter some scripture passages (both in French and English)!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"Adopted for Life" free audiobook

I always love seeing what ChristianAudio's free monthly download is. This month was especially exciting for me: it's Russell Moore's "Adopted for Life." I just finished reading this very book last month and I highly, highly recommend this book to everyone - whether you are adopting, have adopted, know someone who has adopted, or know nothing about adoption (that should cover everyone, right? :)

This book deals with the theological aspect of adoption as well as giving you a window into the world of someone who has adopted (I found myself nodding in agreement often). I will forewarn you: the first two chapters are quite long, but don't let that get you bogged down. It's well worth the read (or the listening ear).

So go ahead and download it today! After all, it's free - and you can listen to it while you clean the house, or ride in the car, or before going to bed. Enjoy, and tell me what you think of the book!

Tuesday Tips - Valentine's Day Homemade Crafts

Need some ideas for Valentine's Day? There are plenty of ideas out there in "internet world." Here are just a few from my favorite sites!

The Frugal Girls
Kisses in a Jar
Homemade Cards & Notes
Free E-Book of Crafts for Kids

Money Saving Mom
Printable Coupons
DIY "Love Bundles"
Valentine Wreaths (for the more ambitious ones out there)

You've only got one week left! Happy (pre-one-week) Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Monday Meals - White Chili

This time of year a great Chili always sounds so yummy! Well this year I decided to branch out and try a white chili. I must say I like it even better than regular chili.

I got this recipe from the Peak Sports Club Newsletter. Every month they put in a few recipes that are healthier options and this one is yummy!

White Chili
3 cans great northern beans DO NOT DRAIN
1 can Rotel tomatoes DO NOT DRAIN
2 c chicken broth (16 oz.)
1 lb cooked, diced chicken (I put the chicken in a mini crockpot with chicken broth on High for a few hours)
1 med onion diced or 2 T. onion flakes
1/2 tsp cumin (or if you don't mind the heat 1 tsp)
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Worcester sauce

Mix all together. Cook in slow cooker for one hour. Then add 1-2 cups shredded monetary jack cheese. Heat until warm . . . the longer the better!

Groupon & Swagbucks Update!

I just wanted to give an update on this post regarding Groupon and Swagbucks!

It looks like the Groupon for Barnes and Noble isn't available anymore on Swagbucks; however it doesn't mean you won't be able to earn Swagbucks when you buy Groupons or even Living Social deals. Whenever you see a Groupon or a Living Social Deal arrive via email that you are interested in purchasing you must first go to you Swagbucks account and click on Earn then Daily Deals and you will see the Groupon or Living Social deals listed click on them to purchase through Swagbucks and it will tell you how many Swagbucks you can earn!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Earn Swagbucks when you buy Groupons!

I love Groupon and Swagbucks and if you aren't a member of both of these you are missing out on some great deals! In order to get in on this deal you need to be a member of both. Go here to join Groupon and go here to join Swagbucks. Then follow the below instructions to earn Swagbucks while you purchase your Groupon.

The featured Groupon deal right now is spend $10 get a $20 Barnes and Noble Gift Certificate. Go to Swagbucks and click on Earn then Special Offers on the top toolbar. Then find the Groupon deal for Barnes and Noble listed and click on it to purchase and you will receive 312 Swagbucks for purchasing the deal.

A $5 Amazon gift card through Swagbucks is 450 Swagbucks so you are pretty close to snagging a $5 gift card too for free!

The Swagbucks show up within 24 hrs.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Freelance Friday - Grace & Truth Conference

OK, so I may be biased, but I think that our church's Grace & Truth Conference is the best ladies' conference out there! This April 29-30th is our church's 5th annual conference, and I have enjoyed it every year! We get treated to delicious food and snacks (served by the men in our church), hear wonderful truths from God's Word, and enjoy lots of fellowship with other Christian women from all over the country.

Last year we had Elizabeth George and Holly Stratton as our conference speakers. This year Holly will be with us again (she's a favorite and has been at all of our conferences), and joining her will be Wendy Alsup and Carol McCulley, both Christian authors. We're in a for a treat!

Be sure to check out the website. You can even listen to some of last year's sessions!

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Toddler Thursday - Bible Story Printables

Here are two great sites for Bible Story Printables for your preschooler and elementary aged children!

First, Christian Preschool Printables - this is for your preschoolers! They have lots of coloring pages, tracing pages, lap books etc.

Second, Bible Story Printables - this will work for you preschooler too but is geared more toward older children. They have Bible verse pages that are traceable, worksheets, Bible minibooks and more!

Both sites are FREE and are a great resources to help us busy moms hide God's Word in our child's hearts!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wacky Wednesday - Play Dough

Because of copyright issues, I can't post the comic strip directly on our blog, but here is a link to the strip in question. Since you are reading this blog, I KNOW you will appreciate this funny cartoon!

Printable Huggies Wipes Coupon

Go here and print 2 coupons for $.75 off Huggies wipes. There is no size restriction and this is a manufacturer coupon which prints without a Target logo . . . so it can be used anywhere.

The small travel packs are usually $.97 and tubs are around $1.99 at Walmart and Target which make for some cheap wipes. Your target price for wipes should be around $.02 a wipe - that is a stock up price. Most times it is better to buy smaller packages or the tubs with coupons than a large refill bag. Manufacturers want you to buy the refill bags and want you to think it is the best deal but most times the price per wipe is more.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Website for Rockford Parents!

Looks like there is a new website for Rockford parents. It has book reviews, coupons, calendar of events, local chatter forum, art projects and other local information. Not a lot a yet but it looks like they are trying to build readership. Check them out here!

Tuesday Tips - Art Photobook

Do your kids love art and drawing and creating projects?! Mine do, especially the oldest. When she entered Kindergarten last year, art projects came home on a weekly basis. We proudly display them until the next project comes home but then what?! There is no way you can hang on to every single project they create or you will end up buried under a mound of paper, paint, cotton balls, and yarn. Before we would take down an art project I would take a picture of it then . . . . gasp . . . I would throw them away.

Now, I don't want my children to think I don't value their work and beautiful creations so for Christmas I put in my daughter's stocking a photobook I created of all of her art projects from her Kindergarten year. It was a HUGE hit as she sat and looked through all her beautiful creations.

The bonus about photobooks is that there is usually an online code to get a photobook free: from Shutterfly, Walgreens, Wal-mart, CVS, Kodak, Snapfish and the list goes on. Generally, you just pay shipping and even then sometimes that is free too! For our book we paid around $4 and it is a nice great quality photobook!

Does anyone else have a great tip for storing your children's precious artwork?! Leave a comment and let us know!

February - Get money smart in 2011

Remember our January - Get money smart in 2011 well here is February's installment.


CHECK ONE CREDIT REPORT! Go to www.annualcreditreport.com and order a free report if you haven't done so in the past year. Choose from Experian, Equifax or TransUnion at the site.
BE SURE YOUR STUFF IS COVERED. Double check and update your homeowners or renters insurance policy, especially if you have pricey new toys.
GET YOUR MONEY BACK! Are you do a tax refund this year? File your return as soon as possible. And you might want to adjust your withholding so that Uncle Sam keeps less of your paycheck each month.