*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"

Friday, April 29, 2011

Freelance Friday - Coupon Fraud

Someone a few weeks ago mentioned to us that they were glad to see our "Coupon Ethics." (If you haven't yet read our "Coupon Ethics" post, please do so here).

I was also glad to see The Frugal Find's excellent post on Coupon Fraud. Take a minute to read it and get familiarized with tips on how to recognize fraudulent coupons. Then go out there and coupon away!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A few Hilander deals starting today!

Here are a few deals that start today at Hilander:

Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers - $1

Kid's Crest or Regular Crest Toothpaste - $1
Use $1 off or $.50 off coupon from P&G insert

Kraft 2% Milk Cheese Singles - $1.79
Use $1 off printable here

Reach Toothbrushes - $1
Use MANY $1 off or .50 off coupons from recent inserts (about 6 of them)

Listerine Pocket Paks - $1
Use $.50 off coupons from recent insert (3 of them)

I will post a link later in the week when it is updated with deals for our area!

Toddler Thursday - Dry Erase Fun

We love dry erase boards in our house . . . in fact we just wore our last one out and are on the hunt for a new one.

We use it to practice spelling words, play word games, write sentences, and just practice our handwriting and drawing skills. It is great not to "waste" paper and perfect that there are now washable dry erase markers too!

Here is a fun review game for your little one involving a dry erase board practicing letter and number recognition.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Target & Huggies Deal

Target has a great Huggies deal this week!

Buy 3 packages of Huggies at $8.99 each and get a $5 gift card!
Use this $3 off printable coupon to make the packages $4.32 each after coupons and gift card.

The same deal is running if you are partial to Pampers however, there is not a great coupon like for the Huggies.

.31 cents night at Baskin Robbins

Wednesday night from 5pm - 10pm Baskin-Robbins is offering their .31 cents scoop night. Check out all the details here. It is in support of America's Firefighters!

Also, to get an even better deal there is a BOGO free printable coupon from Facebook here.

In the market for a car seat?

BabyCheapskate has a great post on car seat deals to be had. (Am burping baby right now, pardon the lack of pictures/graphics).

Tuesday Tips - 10 easiest vegetables to grow

This year I am starting my first official full blow garden! I have never been successful at keeping plants or vegetables alive but I feel this is gonna be my year. Usually, I just try pots in various sunny places in the yard with a few pieces of produce but not much.

This year we are putting together two small 4x4 raised garden boxes with fresh soil. The frames cost us approx. $8! We found some great scrap lumber that was on clearance at Menard's for .69 a board! Then I was trying to think of what I should attempt to grow.

Here is a helpful article of the 10 easiests vegetable to grow! I'm definitely starting with most of these especially the peas!!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Great Crib Deals

Walmart is having a great deal on the Lauren Crib with bonus mattress. It's the crib we got for our daughter a few months before her birth and we love it (pictured here in "Natural"). It's very solid and classy looking. It also can convert to a toddler bed and then a headboard for a double bed. Not sure how long this deal will last, so take advantage of it before it's gone!

Thanks BabyCheapskate!

Monday Meals - Hat Tip to a Friend's Recipe Blog

My husband and I got to experience first hand some of the results of these recipes! Our friend Jenni made us two meals after we got back from the hospital with our daughter. They were both a hit: the Tator Tot Casserole and the Almost Lasagna! This past week I bought the ingredients for the Tator Tot Casserole and I'm looking forward to making and eating it!

Hope you get some good ideas for meals this week! Enjoy!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Toddler Thursday - Teaching your Tot without breaking the bank!

Here is a great article on Teaching your Tot without breaking the bank! This is a good reminder that you don't have to buy the entire educational supply store just to teach your child some of the most basic skills!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday Tips - A great organizing blog

Do you like being organized? Do you like being organized in a fun and cute way?

Here is a blog I really enjoy, IHeart Organizing . . . actually, truth be told, I wish I were the one writing it, only because it would mean that I was really organized. Sigh - but that's OK. I'll enjoy Jen's helpful tips and household binder pdf printables (and some good organizing tools she has for sale) and work my way to being organized . . . sometime in the next year! :)

Hope you enjoy her blog as much as I do! Check out her "Before and After" section too!

IHeart Organizing

Monday, April 18, 2011

For my gluten-free & organic loving friends

The Frugal Find has a great post about some great deals to be had on Bob's Red Mill organic and gluten-free products. Some of the products are up to 50% off on Amazon.com

Grab these deals before they're gone!

Monday Meals - Quinoa and Black Beans

Here is a great recipe for quinoa and black beans (we love black beans). The only adjustments I made were using 1/2 the cumin they recommended and added fresh chopped cherry tomatoes. Delicious!

If you have never cooked with quinoa, it is very easy and very versatile. I am looking at using it in a breakfast dish soon!

Friday, April 15, 2011

New Gluten-Free Udi Coupon

Here's a coupon for $1 off Udi gluten-free products - remember to hit the back button to print it a second time!

When I was on my short stint of a gluten-free diet, I have to say that Udi bread was the best gluten-free bread around. Hilander has started carrying some of their products, so it's easier to find now than it used to be.

Thanks for the head's up The Frugal Girls!

Mother's Day Photo Gifts Specials

Because I'm a new mother (my daughter turned 6 weeks old on Wednesday) my radar is up on cool gifts with which I can use the oodles of pictures of our baby. Here is a couple of things I've found at babycheapskate.com (because I'm a new mother, I also only have time to link to the posts speaking of these special rather than list the all the details out myself! :)

Shutterfly free Mother's Day photo card (babycheapskate) - expires 4/28

Snapfish B1G2 free photo books (babycheapskate) - expires 4/18

Freelance Friday - A new magic product?

I am reading more and more about creative thrifty ladies that are using spray paint to make (or make-over) wonderful projects. It seems like spray paint would also be easier to use/apply than paint in a can. Hmmm, I'm going to have to find something to spray paint. Come to think of it, I did spray paint some candle holders for our wedding.

Here are some of the cool projects I've found on some of my favorite sites:
A re-purposed frame by Jen at IHeartOrganizing: go see what she did with it!

Some wonderful Easter decorating by BubbaChic:

What a cool way to organize your tools by IHeartOrganizing reader Tami!

And Jen at IHeartOrganizing scores again, this time with vintage keys . . .

So I've learned a couple of things . . . I think I'm gonna love working with spray paint . . . and I love Jen's blog! What about you? Do you like spray paint? Have you seen some cool projects using spray paint? Tell us about it here!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Resurrection Eggs

One of our favorite traditions at Easter is going through our box of Resurrection eggs. We made our own out of an egg carton, Easter eggs we already owned and things we had around the house. We drew our own top on construction paper with three crosses and put together our own eggs filled with a sponge, a nail etc. that remind us of the days leading up to the empty tomb. We included a verse or saying regarding that item.

You can buy them from the amazon link above or do a google search and assemble your own for free! The local christian bookstores usually carry them this time of year too.

Children's Place Free Shipping & 15% off

Children's Place is doing it again: free shipping on any order today only! If you order today, not only will you get free shipping, but it's guaranteed you will get it in time for Easter! Just use coupon code FSSPRING2011.

There are also some 15% off coupon code, though I haven't personally tried them yet. Here are a couple that seem to work for people:
A6D2011 - this is the one I used

I can't go check it out now, but I'm going shopping later today on the site! Hope I can find something cute for cheap!Update: I did find a cute dress for a wedding we are going to in May and a cardigan for the fall to go over all the short sleeved 6-9 month clothes we have! The bonus was that I had some money in Paypal from my survey taking, so my OOP was about $6!

Toddler Thursday - Dyed Coffee Filters

When discussed the letter V in our homeschooling preschool group we did a fun vase craft.

Materials needed: 3 sheets/colors of construction paper, coffee filers, q-tips, glue.

Cut out a vase from construction paper - we used something like this for a pattern.

Use green construction paper and cut out a few stems.

Glue the vase and stems onto another piece of construction paper.

Then the extra fun part:

Grab the coffee filters and let your child color them with markers. Make circle designs or lines, etc. Then take a Q-tip, dip it in a little water, and put it on the coffee filter where you used the markers. It give the coffee filters a tie die affect. See an example here.

Then make your filter into a flower and attached it to the stems!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wacky Wednesday - Chocolate

Since we're talking about chocolate, did you see this Sunday's "Baby Blues" comic strip? I agree with the mother, do you?

Because of copyrights I cannot post the comic strip here, but here is a link to their website - then just pick Sunday, April 10 from the pull down menu!

Easter Dinosaur Eggs

These are adorable and easy. Dinosaur Eggs!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

Easter Crafts

With Easter fast approaching we wanted to post some Easter Crafts and activities for you and your family to enjoy.

Of course, desserts are a great place to start! Here are two desserts my kids and I will be attempting for this Easter. The real shocker they both involve chocolate cake. :)

The first recipe is from Bakerella, Spring Chicken Cakeballs!

The second recipe is from No Time for Flash Cards, Easter dirt cupcakes!

Monday Meals - Helpful Ingredient Tool

No recipe today, but a tip that might help you in those "what do I make" days, or "I only have these 3 ingredients in the fridge" days.

Allrecipes.com has a wonderful little tool that I've been known to use in a pinch - their "ingredient" tool. Just type in what ingredients you have on hand (and you can even type in things you DON'T want included) and their search engine will pull up recipes that you can make! How cool is that?

What will you search for today?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Freelance Friday - Bread Baking

Do any of you our awesome readers bake there own bread on a regular basis and have a great recipe you want to share?! Baking bread is something I want to start doing on a weekly basis and not purchase store bread for our daily consumption. Not due to frugality, because I can always get a great deal on bread but just because I can control what is going into our bread.

I don't have a breadmaker, so I am looking for a recipe I can mix up in my trusty Kitchen aid!

This is the recipe I used for my first two loaves - it is yummy but I am looking for something that is more of a sandwich bread.

I would appreciate any recipes you want to throw our way!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Toddler Thursday - Personalized ABC book

One thing toddlers love to look at are pictures of themselves and family. Totally Tots has a great idea for a personalized ABC book.

I have done a couple variations of these books and to this day my 6 yr old will pull hers out and look at all the pictures from when she was a baby.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tuesday Tips - Online Coupon Classes

Since we have some new readers of our blog, I wanted to bring up "The Frugal Find" free online couponing class again (I mentioned it here at the beginning of January).

If you want some motivation to watch the videos and start couponing (or get going on it again), read Julia's post here first. If that doesn't motivate you, I don't know what will!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Monday Meals - Hash Brown Egg Breakfast

This is a great easy breakfast dish done in a crockpot. Perfect for Christmas brunch or even breakfast for dinner!

Hash Brown Egg Breakfast (crockpot)

1 pkg (32oz) frozen cubed hash brown potatoes, thawed
2 c cubed fully cooked ham
1 1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
12 eggs, beaten
1 c milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Layer a third of the potatoes, ham, cheese, green pepper and onion in a greased 6 qt crockpot. Repeat layers twice, In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper; pour over top. Cover and cook on low for 3 1/2 - 4 hrs. or until thermometer reads 160 degrees.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Freelance Friday - Ask the Readers About Kids' Clothes

Now that we have a new baby girl in our lives, I'm going to have to start shopping for clothes for her. Well, actually, we have been so blessed with gifts of clothes that it may be a few months before I have to start down that road! What a blessing.

This is where we want you to chime in and give us your tips and tricks to kids' clothes shopping.

- Where do you find the best deals on new clothes?

- What are the best thrift stores / resale shops around the Rockford area for kids' clothes?

- What do you consider good prices? (I'm sorry but I have a hard time paying $20 for a sweater for myself, let alone one for my daughter that she can only wear for a few months).

- What brands (gasp, yes let's get brand snobby here) do you find last longer / wear better?

Can't wait to hear your comments! Fire away!

Get money-smart in 2011. . . April

Here is April's installment of Get money-smart in 2011. (Check out March's post here.)

  • Avoid a tax penalty. If you can't file by April 15, use Form 4868 to get a six-month filing extension. You'll still have to pay what you owe, or it will cost you more later.
  • Look for travel deals. Start making summer vacation plans to take advantage of discounts for early bookings. Websites such as Airfarewatchdog, FareCompare, Priceline, and Travelocity will send you an alert if prices for your itinerary drop.
  • Don't blow a tax refund. Use it to boost savings, paw down debt, or put it toward a big-ticket purchase.