*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"

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Toddler Thursday - Caps for Sale



Check out our friend Johanna's blog post about the book Caps for Sale! We love this book at our house too and I was amazed to see all the fun and very creative ideas she had just from picking up a book.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wacky Wednesday - Science According to 5th & 6th Graders

Science Sillies from 5th & 6th Graders:

  • The spinal column is a long bunch of bones. The head sits on the top, and you sit on the bottom.

  • It is so hot in some places that people there have to live in other places.

  • Momentum is something you give a person when they go away.

  • Mushrooms always grow in damp places which is why they look like umbrellas.

  • The four seasons are salt, pepper, mustard, and vinegar.

  • The alimentary canal is located in the northern part of Indiana.

  • Thunder is a rich source of loudness.

  • Some people can tell what time it is by looking at the sun, but I never have been able to make out the numbers.

  • When planets run around and around in circles, we say they are orbiting. When people do it, we say they are crazy.

  • One of the main causes of dust is DIRT.

  • A monsoon is a French gentleman.

  • To keep milk from turning sour, keep it in the cow.

  • Genetics explains why you look like your father, and if you don't, why you should.

  • Water vapor gets together in a big cloud. When it gets big enough to be called a drop, it does.

  • There is a tremendous weight pushing down on the center of the Earth because so many people are stomping around there these days.

  • The cause of perfume disappearing is evaporation. Evaporation gets blamed for a lot of things, people forget to put the top on.

  • You can listen to thunder and tell how close you came to getting hit. If you don't hear it, you got hit, so never mind.

Submitted by SandyD


(found on this website)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tuesday Tips - Measuring medicine cups


Here is a tip that I use when my kids are on medicines. I really don't like those plastic cups or little syringes that come with children's Tylenol or Motrin or antibiotics. Why? I might prove my craziness here but they gross me out - you can't really clean them well, they are plastic, you can't tell them apart if you have more than one child taking a medicine - they are little germ infested cups.

So, my tip - purchase a mini glass measuring cup like this one on the right.

I have one in red for my daughter and one in blue for my son. I can keep them separate, run them through the dishwasher and they are glass. Love them!

You can find these at Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond or kitchen supply stores.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Monday Meals - 5 meal chicken

Want to make 5 meals with 5 chicken breasts? JessieLeigh shows you how to do just that.

I normally don't buy bone-in chicken breasts because I've figured out that by the time you throw out the bones, it's not much cheaper per pound than the boneless chicken breasts on sale - plus it's more work! However, you can't make stock for chicken noodle soup without the bones! Either way, this great meal plan can also be used with boneless chicken.

Enjoy!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Freelance Friday - Whole Coupon Inserts


Take a look at Whole Coupon Inserts - a website that just sells you whole coupon inserts. If you are interested in a coupon from the Sunday paper, take a look and see if they have that specific insert and request it for a small fee or a packet of inserts for a larger fee. They are really reasonable for the amount of coupons you will receive.

From what I hear they ship quickly - here is their shipping policy.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Toddler Thursday - Printable Growth Chart


It's amazing how fast our kids can grow before our eyes! Sometimes the only way I can tell is when one week a pair of pants fit perfect and the next week they are two inches too short.

Our friend Sara posted an adorable growth chart that you can print and assemble yourself! A huge vintage tape measure . . . so cute and fun!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday Tips - Lower electric bill (with children in the house!)


I though that this reader tip highlighted on MoneySavingMom a few weeks ago was a great one! It's never too early to use incentives to teach your kids some good financial savvy and save yourself some money in the process! (OK, maybe it is too early when they are newborn like mine is right now!)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday Meals - Chicken Broccoli Foil Dinner

Chicken Broccoli Foil Dinner

1 pkg stove top stuffing for chicken
1 1/2 c water
6 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves
4 c broccoli florets
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c bacon bits
1/2 c ranch dressing

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine stuffing mix and water; spoon evenly onto centers of 6 large sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Top each with 1 chicken breast and broccoli. Sprinkle evenly with cheese and bacon bits, then drizzle evenly with dressing.

Bring up foil sides. Double fold top and both ends to seal each packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside. Place foil packets in single layer pan.

Bake 25 to 30 min. or until chicken is cooked through. Remove packets from oven; let stand 5 min. Cut slits in foil with sharp knife to release steam before opening.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Freelance Friday - Book Reviews

{Guest post by Danita Ellis}

My name is Danita Ellis and I love to read. Our house is filled with books...don't believe me? We have dedicated two rooms in our house to books...a children's library and my husband's and my library. We have
over three thousand children's books (thanks to my education background and teaching first grade for two years) as well as well over one thousand adult books. Most of the adult books are my husband as he is an avid reader as well. Books as I am sure you all know are expensive and it was costing us a pretty penny to keep up our hobby. I was alerted to the fact that people reviewed books for publishing houses and received free copies of the books as 'payment' if you will. The only thing they ask you to do to is give an honest review.

A friend of mine Karen posted a review on her blog and so I sent her an e-mail asking her where she signed up to review. She told me about the Bethany House Publishers website. I went to their website and signed up immediately. Bethany House is a really easy review company to get in with but they are kind of sporadic in their books that are available for review. They send you an e-mail with the books that are available for review and you choose your books from there. Sometimes they will have a publish review by date but most often they don't.

After I was reviewing for Bethany House for a while I decided to look into other places so I Googled book reviewing. I found BookSneeze. Booksneeze allows you to review for Thomas Nelson Publishers and Tommy Nelson Publishers. They are very easy to sign up with. They have a strict one book at a time review policy, all that means is that you can only have one book at a time to review. Once you post and publish your review for the book you have you can request another book.

Most publishing houses request that you publish your review on another website other than you blog as well. Amazon.com and Christianbook.com are the most popular places and the easiest to publish your review.

All of the publishing houses I review for can be found on my blog and all of them should be linked to the application page if they are accepting new reviewers.

My favorite places to blog for now are Booksneeze, Tyndale, Water Brook Publishers, and Pump Up Your Books.


What do you need to have to review books?

--time

--a blog (some places require up to 60 previous entries on your blog before they will accept you as a blogger for their Publishing house)

--a love for reading

--space to house your books

--an organized system to keep your posting dates in order so you don't miss any postings deadlines.

I probably have more books on the go to review than what most people can handle. I review one to two books a week. I try to do a lot of kids book since my daughter is 5 and my son is 3 months. Free kids books are always in order around our house :) I keep a spreadsheet in Excel to keep my life organized. See below for an example. Everything is color coded and specific. Without my spreadsheet I would be lost!! It helps me know which books I need to be reading and which ones come next.

(click to enlarge)


Now you may be asking...what do you do with all the books once you have read them. I do not keep them all that is for sure. I keep a lot of the bible study books I review if they are any good. I do not keep any of the novels if possible. I have a few places I use to unload unwanted books :)

My first places is Bookjingle. This is a company that buys text books and other books within a certain time frame. They will buy novels if they are not too old (usually within the first three months after publication) They are a wonderful company. They pay you up front for the books they are buying from you and they pay for you to ship the books to them. If they are no longer buying a title I want to sell I usually list that title on Amazon or give them away to friends.

God has been very good to allow me to review books and has given me the time to do something that I love. He has also allowed me to make a little bit of money doing it. I did not find out until Bookjingle until about six months ago but in that time I have made about $200 on the books I have reviewed and then sold to them. I have also made money selling books on Amazon. This is just another little way I as a mother and member of our family can make a little extra income. It doesn't make much money but it makes enough for me to get a few extra things that are not in our budget.

I also do product reviews...but that is another post :) Check out my blog from time to time for reviews and giveaways!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wacky Wednesday - Spring Cleaning

With Spring being just around the corner, spring cleaning starts! Is this how you feel about spring cleaning?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Monday Meals - Meatball Soup

Meatball Soup! You will need a batch of Meatballs from last weeks post ready to go for this recipe.

1 - 15 oz can garbanzo beans (chick peas), rinsed & drained
1 - 14 oz can beef broth
1 - 14 oz can Italian-style stewed tomatoes
1 1/2 c water
1 c sliced fresh mushrooms (I have used canned too)
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/4 c orzo pasta
1/2 to 1 (1o oz.) package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained (we use a whole pkg.)
Meatballs! - one batch cooked and ready to go

In large saucepan, stir together garbanzo beans, broth, undrained tomatoes, water, mushrooms, and Italian seasoning. Bring to boiling. Add pasta. Return to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10-12 minutes or until pasta is tender. Stir in spinach and meatballs. Cook for 1-2 minutes more or just until spinach is wilted.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Freelance Friday - Paper Back Swap

If you have some extra books that you are looking to get rid of or "swap", check out the website Paper Back Swap.

List all the books you want to "swap" and when someone requests your book, print a label, pay for postage and receive a free credit to pick your own book you want for free. Read "How to Swap books" here.

Happy "Swap"ing!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wacky Wednesday - Kids Say Funny Things

I found this website where you can find lots of funny things that kids say. Thought you might enjoy some of these!

A little boy opened the big and old family Bible with fascination, and looked at the old pages as he turned them. Suddenly, something fell out of the Bible, and he picked it up and looked at it closely. It was an old leaf from a tree that had been pressed in between the pages.
"Momma, look what I found!" the boy called out.
"What have you got there, dear?" his mother asked.
With astonishment in the young boy's voice, he answered: "I think it's Adam's suit!"

Submitted by Cicec


One summer evening during a violent thunderstorm a mother was tucking her small boy into bed. She was about to turn off the light when he asked with a tremor in his voice, "Mommy, will you sleep with me tonight?"
The mother smiled and gave him a reassuring hug. "I can't, dear," she said. "I have to sleep in Daddy's room."
A long silence was broken at last by his shaky little voice: "The big sissy."



Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tuesday Tips - Reader tip about lettuce

If you're used to buying lettuce in a bag or if you only need a little bit of bell peppers for a recipe, this might be a good tip for you! Thanks to reader Kristin C. for sending it in! Although we don't have a Pick-n-Save in town, I'm going to check my local Logli to try this out!

"When you want fresh lettuce for a steal, buy it off the Salad Bar Line at Pick-n-Save!

REALLY!

You can load up a plastic tray with fresh, cut & washed romaine, spinach and baby salad greens for a lot less than whatever is in those "questionable" Dole bags for $3 or $4. Even if the Salad bar is $4.89/lb your plastic clam shell will ring up around only $1. (Psst....It's adding the heavy stuff like watermelon and pineapple that will weigh you down. :)

This is also a great idea for when you need just a few slices of red peppers for a recipe, and it costs $2 to buy a whole red pepper. You'll end up paying only 50 cents or so.

Hat Tip: Kim G."

Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday Meals - Meatballs!

Meatballs! Everybody loves homemade meatballs and these are easy and extra delicious. Make a double batch and freeze some for later.

2 beaten eggs
1/4 c milk
1 box of stovetop stuffing
1/2 c finely chopped onion
2 tsp salt
1 lb of ground beef

Mix all ingredients together well. Shape into 1 in balls. Bake at 375 for about 25 min.

Next Monday a great recipe for Meatball soup!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

New Walmart Coupon Policy in writing!

This could be a game changer for Walmart. Check out their new written coupon policy. It has some interesting changes! Some highlights:

  • They will accept competitor coupons with the a specific price listed.
  • Catalina coupons clearly labeled as "manufacturer coupon"
  • Change or overage will be given if a coupon exceeds a purchase!
Be sure to read the whole policy so you are well informed. I highly suggest printing a copy and carrying it with you! Download and print it here.

Thanks to Deal Seeking Mom for the specifics!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Freelance Friday - Time Management

Are you like me? Do you struggle with time management and schedules? Depending on the week, I usually find myself throwing all scheduling out the window, or I make myself a slave to it. Sound familiar? I need a happy medium!

As I write this post well in advance (11 days in advance, because I'm trying to work ahead on my posts since a baby will be coming into the household anytime this week - and I am well aware of what babies do to schedules), I think that this "system of thinking" about time management has come at a perfect time in my life. I think that by implementing this "system of thinking" I will tend to be less frustrated when my days don't go as planned . . .

Curious yet? Go check it out here - it's a simple system, but one I could have used well before now. We'll see if I can somewhat implement it into my life in the next 11 days. I'll try to let you know how it works even with a newborn! (If I can stay awake long enough!)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Toddler Thursday - Introducing the Alphabet.


Here is a great an interesting article from School Sparks blog with 3 tips on introducing the 26 letters to your child. I am not an elementary school teacher, just a mom working on skills with my preschooler, so I found this article very helpful.

I guess I have already done it all wrong this year, but we can try again next year when he is 4! My 6 year old has survived and thrives in school so whatever I am doing must be ok. Now I have a little better insight.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Wacky Wednesday - English As a First Language

I totally get and love this video! If you're an English teacher, or English is your first or second (or third) language, click here and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tuesdays Tips - Jelly Telly


Have you ever heard of Jelly Telly? It is a ministry of Focus on the Family which provides a fun safe online site for families. The creator of Veggie Tales is involved and here are a few of the updates:

Check out the New Features of JellyTelly.com!



- Access to hundreds of your favorite JellyTelly videos whenever you want, currently for free.
- Animated episodes of Focus on the Family's acclaimed series Adventures in Odyssey®.
- Grownups Blog and Resource Center.
- "The Buzz" ... a live moderated conversation between users online.
- Coming soon: more videos, games and new shows!

AND guess what?! It's now FREE!! Enjoy!

Get money-smart in 2011 . . . March!


Here is March's installment of Get money-smart in 2011! (Catch up on February's here.)

  • Get money back on medical costs. Submit last year's flexible-spending-account bills for reimbursement by the March 31 deadline (for most plans)
  • Read your creditcard terms. Look for new charges like annual fees. Not happy with your card? For better offers, try bankrate.com, cardratings.com, and lowcards.com
  • Tidy up your paperwork. When you're doing your spring cleaning, clean out financial files, too. Shred bills and account statements more than six years old.