*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, March 30, 2012

Freelance Friday - Help with lunches

If you have to pack a lunch for your kids going to school or for you or your spouse for work, this is a great place to get some good ideas for lunches. I know if I had to pack lunches every day, I would get into a rut. This would definitely help me get out of that rut! Go check it out!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Toddler Thursday - Scripture Cookies

This is a fun baking project with your kids. Scripture Cookies! You look up scripture to determine what ingredient to add. This would be a fun recipe leading up to Easter!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday Tips - Photo Thank You Cards

Writing thank you notes is something that I require myself and my children to do. Not a text, not an email but a written thank you note. Before my kids could write I would ask them what they want to say and write for them. Then as their skills progressed they draw a picture or just sign there name and now my daughter can do them on her own.

I love Mummy Deals idea here of photo thank you cards
. When my daughter turned one, we took pictures of her with each gift and mailed it to the giver of the gift with a note. They were adorable, plus just a postcard stamp! There are always photo deals out there and photos are much less expensive than a card.

Just a fun simple way to show your gratitude!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday Meals - Alfredo Sauce

So we've tried a few alfredo sauces, and I have to say that Olive Garden's is still our favorite. I have yet to find another restaurant sauce, store bought one, or recipe that matches or even comes close to the yummy-ness of Olive Garden's sauce.

So I'd like to ask you, our readers: do you have a recipe (or have you found a store bought sauce) that comes close to being this tasty? Here's one I found online lately from Budget Savvy Diva- I have yet to try making it, but it does sound pretty good!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Freelance Friday - Pink Slime

Okay . . . I am not sure how many of you have heard about the "pink slime" in meat these days but here is a link to a website that will tell you if your grocery store carries meat made with "pink slime". This is just to make you informed not to freak anyone out. We always need to be aware or what we are buying and what it contains.

Definition taken from Coupon, Deals and More:
“Pink slime” results from grinding together connective tissue and beef scraps normally used to make dog food or for rendering. The grindings are then treated with ammonia hydroxide, which kills pathogens such as E coli and salmonella. The term pink slime was first coined by microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein in 2002.

Freelance Friday - Eyebombing

Have you heard of Eyebombing?! Eyebombing . . . Humanizing the world, one googly eye at a time. Check out the website here . . . you can also Like Eyebombing on Facebook. This might be a fun activity to do with the kids. Pick up some googly eyes from the dollar store and have a little fun.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wacky Wednesday - Spring

OK, so with all the talk of gardening on the blog yesterday, and with the beautiful weather we've been having . . . well, I hope no one gets offended, but I thought this was funny!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tuesday Tip - Starting your garden

Do you have a garden? I do! I have what is called a raised, square foot, or compact garden. I did quite well with it 2 summers ago (as in, I remembered to water it and it grew like crazy). Last year, not so much - I had an infant and forgot to water it a lot. It still produced some good stuff like lettuce and herbs, but I wasn't happy with how much I "wasted" (went to seed or went bad).

 Garden in Summer 2010

This year I'm determined to do better. I think I'm going to have a little box garden for my now 1 year old daughter so she can go out and water the garden with mommy. We'll see how that fares!

This beautiful weather in the midwest definitely has me thinking gardening! Here are some tips on when to start some indoor planting and when to transplant your seedlings! Click on the picture and it will take you to a helpful site! Happy gardening!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Munchies - No Bake Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

We posted a yummy granola bar recipe here last year. While those are yummy they are more of a crunchy granola bar. They are a big hit at our house and easy to make but this week we tried a no bake granola bar that may be more our speed.

I whipped these up one day while we were also getting ready for school, eating breakfast, you know the usual morning routine and we still made it to the bus on time! That tells you how easy they are.

These no bake granola bars are a must try! The whole family will enjoy them!! I love that there are only 7 ingredients.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

This week's coupon match-ups and deals

Here are this week's deals and coupon match-ups!

CVS by MoneySavingMom

Walgreens by MoneySavingMom

Be sure to scroll down to the end of her post - she has a bunch of links to other sites where CVS and Walgreens deals are posted!

Target by My Frugal Adventures
(again, be sure to scroll down - these are all the deals she keeps finding!)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Freelance Friday - Free Printable Handwriting Worksheet

Is it me, or does it seem that the art of handwriting is dying? With all the electronics we have, typing seems to be the "talent" to have. But for me, there's still nothing like a cool pen and some nice stationary or notebook - nothing against technology, but I'm a paper and pen girl! I look forward to teaching our daughter how to write.

Here are some cool printables for parents with young children. Not only can you print out these great handwriting worksheets for print and cursive, but you can customize it to say whatever you want: your child's name, a favorite phrase, or whatever you want! Go check it out!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Toddler Thursday - Marshmallow Shooter

The kids and I made these adorable and fun marshmallow or pom pom shooters to play with one recent rainy day! We had everything needed on hand and used our hula hoop to shoot through.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesday Tips - Great Grocery Printables

The New Frugal Mom has a great list of FREE printables to help you get organized with your grocery shopping. Grocery shopping/meal planning can be very frustrating but it is an important tool in saving money and time. I have my favorite printable on the fridge and during the week I add items we need. Then I sit down every Wednesday and make our menu and add the rest of the items to the list. Thursday is shopping day . . . I get everything we need until next Thursday. This really makes my least favorite task simple!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Meals - Calico Beans

I'm going to share a family recipe - it seems that whenever I make this and bring it to a gathering, I later get asked to bring it again. It's a favorite in our house!

Hat tip to my mother-in-law for sharing this recipe with me many years ago!

1 can of kidney beans (15 oz)
1 can of butter beans (15 oz)
1 large can of pork and beans or baked beans (28 oz)
1/2 lb of ground beef, cooked
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of ketchup
1 tsp of dry mustard (or I just use regular mustard)
1/2 tsp of liquid smoke

(the original recipe also calls for the following, but I don't put any of it in mine)
1 small onion, diced
1/2 lb of bacon, cut

Cook in crockpot on low for at least 4-5 hours. (Or original recipe calls for cooking in oven @ 350 for 1 hour).

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Friday, March 9, 2012

Freelance Friday - Consignment Sales

Check out this great post from Baby Cheapskate about scoring big at Consignment Sales. She has some great tips and tricks to a successful shopping trip. Also, there are 3 links to sites which allow you to search for sales in your area. I found 2 sales in my area just up the road, one this month and one next month!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Toddler Thursday - Barista Dramatic Play

If you know me at all then you know there are obvious reasons I am posting this toddler activity! Here is an adorable idea for dramatic play with a great recipe for COFFEE Playdough. Thanks Tot Treasures for the idea and the recipe!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Munchies - Rainbow Cupcakes

One project I have for the month of February is to organize our photos. Usually, when I download the photos from the camera I organize them right away . . . however, time got away from me and I have 2 years of photos to organize. When I was organizing I came across these photos that reminded me of a cute recipe the kids and I made . . . rainbow cupcakes.

Make a white cake from scratch or a box. Divide the batter - we divided it into 5ths so we could have 5 colors. Then layer the colors one at a time and bake! This made the cutest rainbow cupcakes . . . sorry I do not have a finished picture but trust me they were adorable. We passed some out at school and they were a huge hit!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Toddler Thursday - Habitat Sorting

I love this idea from No Time for Flashcards! Create habitats and sort the animals by where they live.

Then you can go to 1+1+1=1 and print some free Mommy & Baby Animal Matching pages!

Kroger's Comforts Brand (and a free coupon)

As some of you know, I sometimes take surveys and I also sometimes try out products and write reviews about them. One of my favorite places to to try out products and "bzz" about them is BzzAgent.com - I've been with them a long time!

The latest thing they sent me to try was Kroger's Comforts for Baby Brand. I received wipes, sippy cups, and coupons for diapers.

I loved everything! Let me start by saying this: when our local Hilander/Kroger got bought out by Schnucks, they clearanced all the Kroger brands including Comforts for Baby Brand. I stocked up on wipes refills, fruit puff snacks, as well as veggie puff and cheese puff snacks. My daughter and I loved everything we tried (yes, I do eat some of her snacks - she likes to share!). The puffs are very flavorful (even more so than some Gerber brands I've tried), and the wipes are thick and gently on the skin.

So when I had the opportunity to join this campaign and try some more Comforts for Baby Brand products, I jumped at the chance. I find their products are as good (if not better) quality than brand name ones, and their prices are cheaper. Granted, I can find more coupons for the brand name products sometimes making for a better deal when paired with a sale - but from what I can tell, everyday price is better with Comforts Brand.

OK, if you've stuck with me this long - here's the freebie. If you are a reader that has a Kroger or affiliated store in your area (sorry Rockfordians, that doesn't include us anymore), I have a coupon for a free package of Comforts Brand diapers and five coupons for 20% off diapers, formula or wipes! First one to ask me for it gets it! Leave a comment and then email me your address so I can send you the coupons. Do it quickly though! The coupons expire March 29th!

VoilĂ ! That's all for today. Please note that I was not compensated for this review other than the free products I received to try out. I'm a BzzAgent that likes to Bzz about products I like - all opinions are my own!