*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"

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday Tips - Uses for Vinegar

White distilled vinegar - I never remember using it at our house growing up, at least not in the kitchen. But I have found many uses for it around my house and wanted to share some of those tips with you.

First, I'd like to direct you to the website vinegartips.com - 1001 Uses for White Distilled Vinegar. There are many I've never tried but might have to try in the days to come. Vinegar is cheap & non toxic which makes it great to use around the house.

Here are some of the ways I use white vinegar:

- In the kitchen: to make "buttermilk" for a recipe when I don't have any. I will add a bit of vinegar to milk and use it as buttermilk in a recipe. Helps to make great waffles!

- In the laundry room: I don't use fabric softener in the washer. Instead, I use vinegar. Apparently, it help rinse off the soap residue on fabric (which is what causes fabric to not be soft). I've never had it damage clothes or make them smell funny for that matter!

- Around the house: whenever I see that hard white calcium or lime deposit around the sink, I get a rag and soak it in vinegar. Then I lay it on the affected area for 15-20 minutes and when I remove it and scrub at the deposit, it comes right off! It's also good for cleaning the coffee maker, or the shower head when it's full of calium deposits.

Well, those are a few of my tips. Do you our readers have any "vinegar" tips? We'd love to hear them!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Monday Meals - Strawberry Banana Breakfast Pops

Who says Popsicle's just have to be for a special treat?! These are a healthy and yummy breakfast Popsicle that will make you the coolest mom ever . . . I mean a Popsicle for breakfast that's just awesome!

Go here for the recipe! All you need is strawberries, banana, yogurt, milk and vanilla. We made six of them using this recipe and the little dixie cups pictured. It is so easy to unwrap and serve. Delicious on a warm summer morning!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Check out five below!

If you have been down East State Street lately, you may have noticed a few new signs for a store called five below. From the name of the store I had no idea what type of store it was. Well, everything in the store is $5 or below! Duh!

Check out their website here!

They have lots of great deals. One item I found was summer workbooks for kids to keep them busy and help them not to forget everything they learned all school year long - $4! Big thick workbooks!

Just remember - everything in the store may not be a good deal but lots of items are a great deal! It's just like the dollar stores - not everything is a good deal at a dollar but many items they carry are still great deals.

So, checkout five below and see what you think! Lots of toys, games, tshirts, flip flops, partyware etc.

Freelance Friday - Emergency Preparedness List

With all the severe weather that has been going on this past week, I've definitely been thinking more seriously about having a "real" emergency kit on hand. We already some things we could use, but I want to be more deliberate about being ready.

Here are some of the helpful lists I've found online:

The official ready.gov list
One by the National Hurricane Center (similar to the gov one)
One by DazzlinDonna

Do you have any tips for an emergency kit?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wacky Wednesday - Lemons and Babies

Sorry about the delay in this posting! I didn't realize I still had it in draft mode!

I have to admit - I love lemons . . . in fact, some of my favorite candies are the sour kind. I wonder if my daughter will have the same love for sour things. Well, whenever I decide to give her her first lemon, I'll be sure to have the video camera on!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Meals - Go Out to Eat!

Today's meal is a bit of a cheat, I admit. But I wanted to bring up the fact that there are many coupons and specials out there for eating out. Sunday's papers often have coupons for some restaurants (regular ones are Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Popeye's, Culvers, etc). You can also sometimes find coupons online though those are much rarer. If you sign up for a restaurant's particular "email club" they will often send you coupons for free appetizers or desserts on your birthday or other special occasions.

Then there is Groupon where you can often get gift certificates to local restaurants for 50% off! Today's Rockford Groupon deal is 50% off a gift certificate to Thai Hut: $10 for $20 Worth of Lunch at Thai Hut (or $15 for $30 Worth of Dinner). 

If you don't have a Groupon account yet (it's free) but would like to you can sign up here. There is no obligation to buy anything, but signing up gives you the opportunity to see all the good deals out there!

Wondering it's worth signing up, and if there are enough good deals to be had? Here are a few past Groupon deals we've posted about!

Redbox - 3 movies for $1

Angelo's $10 for a $20 gift certificate

Personalized jewelry for 50% off

(Please note that the Groupon links in this post are my referral links. If you are not comfortable with that, you can sign up here on your own).

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Up to 5 FREE cards from Shutterfly

Use the code CARD4GRAD at Shutterfly and get up to 5 free cards like the one in the previous post FREE pay $.99 Each for Shipping. That is a great deal for a personalized Father's Day or Graduation card.

5x7 Folded Card

Chalkboard Heart Dad Father's Day 5x7 folded card
Send special Valentine's Day cards from Shutterfly this year.
View the entire collection of cards.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Freelance Friday - 10 Reasons to Switch to Glass

This is a great article on 10 Reasons to Switch to Glass. In our household over the last few years we have made the switch to using Stainless Steel and Glass for some of these very reasons!

Good deal on coffee K-cups

I'm out and about so can't do a full post, but if you go to this link on CommonSenseWithMoney you'll find a good deal on K-cups!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wacky Wednesday - Bulletin Bloopers

Here are some funny church bulletin bloopers I found on Thom Rainer's website. The top five are:

5.  Charlene Mason sang "I Will Not Pass This Way Again," giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
4.  Next Sunday is the family hayride and bonfire at the Fowlers. Bring your own hot dogs and guns.
3.  The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment, and gracious hostility.
2.  For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
1.  Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale. It's a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don't forget your husbands.

Read the rest of them here

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday Tips - Declutter/Organize Your Home in 5 Minutes a Day

Go here to MoneySavingMom's blog to find out how to get a free Organize-athon pack. I downloaded it myself and although I haven't been able to be faithfully do one every day since I started (we went away on vacation), I have found that these are very do-able tasks. Who doesn't have 5 minutes . . . and who doesn't want to be better organized?

Tell us about your methods to stay organized! Have you tried this 5 minutes a day method?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday Meals - Once a Month Freezer Cooking

Sorry this isn't once specific meal, however, here is a GREAT resource if you are interested in Once a Month Freezer Cooking or if you are looking for some great meals you want to cook ahead and freeze for later:

Once a Month Mom! Take some time and browse the site. She puts EVERYTHING . . menu, shopping list, recipes, labels, podcast all together for you. She even tailors the meals around what is in season and what should be on sale at the supermarket that month.

It is easily adapted to fit your family needs. I have never done a complete day of Freezer Cooking for the whole month but I have used recipes that I double and freeze one for later in the month.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

New Target Printable Coupons

Check out some great new Target printables . . . print them now before they disappear quick!

$3 off Mossimo's women's apparel item
$2 off Women's top
$2 off Women's sunglasses!!! (I am all over this one!)
$1.50 off Hanes Premium men's item

$.50 off 12 oz. Target Cafe Archer Farms smoothie . . mmmmm!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Freelance Friday - Free Stockpile List

If you've been to our advanced couponing class, you've heard about my "price list" idea where you write down the base price for everything you buy regularly so you can know if a "sale" is truly a good deal.

MoneySavingMom has posted about a free downloadable "Stock-up Price List" that you can customize! What a great idea!

Also check out her other free Household Management Downloads.

Thanks MoneySavingMom!

Toddler Thursday - Alphabet Letters

If you are working on letters with your toddler/preschooler, the website No Time for Flash Cards has some great Alphabet Letter Crafts. Use the letter to create a craft that starts with that letter. Adorable!

(Scroll down and browse all the activities on the right hand sidebar.)

Then you can save them in a 3 ring binder and make an alphabet book for them to play with later.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wacky Wednesday - Talk about a road block!

 Ducks walking across the Kohl's parking lot, in Altamonte Springs. (Photo: Trisha Tamm)           
Found this cute picture at 13 News Florida's website. They had it up as a "write your own caption" picture. I think you our readers can come up with a better caption than what was posted on the site! So give it your best shot. "Caption away!"

Target: Free or Very Cheap Sally Hansen Nail Polish

There are two new coupons for Sally Hansen Nail products that will make this FREE or almost free at Target.

Sally Hansen Nail Polish, prices start at $1.99
Use $1 off 1 Sally Hansen Nail Care printable(under personal care)
Use $1 off 1 Target Sally Hansen product printable (under beauty)

Check out the rest of this weeks Target deals from Stretching a Buck here!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

$1 Printable coupon for McDonald's

Click here to print a $1 off coupon for either the new frozen strawberry lemonade, McFrappe drink or real fruit smoothie at McDonald's! I am a sucker for a fun beverage . . . that's a meal to me! The new frozen strawberry lemonade's right now are $1.59 so that would be a great $.59 treat on a warm day like today!

Tuesday Tips - Top 5 benefits of Menu Planning

My least favorite job as a housewife is meal planning/cooking/grocery shopping. This article, Top 5 benefits of Menu Planning, is a great reminder as to why a menu plan either for the week or two weeks or a month at a time is a sanity saver.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday Meals - Ask the Readers About Salads

OK! Spring is here (kind of), and summer is on its way. It's salad time!!! What is your favorite salad to make - simple or complicated, we want to hear all your ideas! Post your recipes in our comment section! And to get your appetite going, here is a picture of quiche with a mixed greens and raspberry salad! YUM!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Glade Spray $.89 at Target!

Here are two great coupons combined at Target to get the new Glade Spring Scents Premium Room Sprays for $.89.

Glade Spring Scents Premium Room Sprays - $2.89
Use 2 $1.00 off 1 Target printable coupon here (under household) AND
Use 1 $2.00 off 2 Glade Spring Collection printable here
Get 2 for $.89 each OR

Use 1 $1.00 off 1 Target printable coupon here (under household) AND
Use 1 $1.00 off 1 Glade Spring Premium Room Spray from SS 4/3
Get 1 for $.89

Friday, May 6, 2011

Another free 8'x10' collage!

Remember yesterday's post about the free collage? Well there is another code you can use for a second one! Just type in FORMOM and choose in-store pickup and you've got yourself another free collage. With a 2 month old, I'm loving these deals!!!

1/2 price Frappuccinos at Starbucks!

Check out this deal starting May 6th at Starbucks.

Freelance Friday - Spring Cleaning Microwave Tip

This is a fast and easy way to clean your microwave. . . .

Put a squirt of dishsoap in a coffee mug and fill halfway with water. Put the cup in the microwave for about 3 minutes . . unless your microwave is crazy caked on dirty then probably 4 or 5 minutes would be better.

This will steam clean your microwave oven. Just take a rag and wipe it clean . . . plus it will smell fresh too!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Free 8'x10' Photo Collage

Get a free 8'x10' Photo Collage Print when you order online at Walgreens and choose in-store pickup! Just use the code FREECOLLAGE at checkout and choose to pick up at your nearest Walgreens, and pay nothing! What a great Mother's Day gift idea!

Toddler Thursday - Proper Scissor Grip

School Sparks Blog has a great post on how to make sure your child is using the proper grip when using scissors!

Dollar Doublers from Wifr!

Check out the two Dollar Doublers being offered at Wifr.com!

$5 for a $10 gift certificate to Dandy Donuts
- an adorable local shop on E. Riverside with delicious soups, bagels, coffee and special donuts! (138 remaining and a little over a day to purchase)

$80 for 4 areas cleaned from Amazing Carpet Cleaners - I have used them a couple times and recommend them. Usually with a coupon you can get three rooms for $89. My son loves them because the logo is a superhero with an A instead of an S. (29 remaining and a little over 2 days to purchase)

Mega Event Sale at Hilander!

There is a Mega Event Sale going on at Hilander starting today! Buy 10 items (mix and match) get $5 off instantly at checkout. There are lots of items that are at their stock up pricing!

Check out the deals here!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wacky Wednesday - Ask!!

Have you ever read the blog GirlTalk? Go check it out! And for today's Wacky Wednesday, check out their funny post! This story should teach all of us to not be shy about asking for directions.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Target Deals through May 7th

Here are some Target deals this week:

Stretching a Buck's Target deals

Check out the free (after coupon and gift card) John Frieda Foam Hair color! (under personal care)

My favorites:

Aquafresh kids toothbrush - FREE (under ongoing deals)

Degree Regular size deodorant - FREE (under ongoing deals)

Nivea Body wash for men & women - $.04 (under ongoing deals)

Tuesday Tips - Mother's Day Idea

Our Best Bites has a super cute idea for a Mother's Day gift. If you have a "no sharp edges" type can opener, this project will be even easier!

Monday, May 2, 2011

*Hot* Goldfish Coupons

Go here to print two (per computer) $.75 off 2 Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers! There are on sale at Hilander right now for $1!

That is a great coupon and a great sale = stock up price!!

Print them before they are gone!

CVS deals for the week

Go here to MoneySavingMom to see the CVS deals of the week.

Monday Meals - Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

For the first time ever in our almost 15 yrs of marriage we were in our own home for Easter. Since our awesome ham was taking up all the room in the oven, I tried a make-ahead crockpot mashed potato recipe that was so easy and yummy! It really made getting the food on the table quickly after church so easy.

15 medium potatoes, peeled & quartered
8 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese, room temperature
1 c. sour cream
2 tsp. onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
4 T. butter
1/3 c. chopped chives

A day or two before in a large pot of boiling water over med-high heat, cook potatoes until tender; remove from heat and drain.

In the same pan or in your Kitchen-aid, mash potatoes until there are no lumps. Add cream cheese, sour cream, onion powder, salt, pepper, and chopped chives. Dot with butter.

Cool mashed potatoes slightly, cover and refrigerate. The prepared mashed potatoes may be made up to a week ahead of time.

Take the prepared mashed potatoes out of refrigerator about 3 1/2 hours before serving time. Place in crock-pot. Cover and cook on low heat for approximately 3 hours stirring once or twice.

After potatoes are warmed through add some additional dollops of butter before serving.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Get money smart in 2011 - May

Here is this May's installment of get money smart in 2011!

Back up financial and other data. Use an external hard drive or even a thumb drive to back up your data. It's easier to do than you think!

Get ready for garage-sale season. Look through your stuff and set aside items to sell. Plan your own sale and join forces with some of your neighbors. If you decide that you can donate items instead, remember to make an itemized list and save your receipts for next year's tax return.

Find missing tax refunds. Don't have yours yet? Go to www.irs.gov and click on "Where's my refund?" on the home page.