Where Is the Week Going--Garage Sale Update

Friday, May 29, 2009 by Jen · 2 comments
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I feel pretty removed from the computer this week--I guess it's a nice break for me--shakes things up a bit! It's a gorgeous week here in the Twin Cities--perfect for hanging outside at the garage sale.

I do love reading every one's comments about cleaning products (on Thursday's post). I'm now going to check out the cheap off brand "oxyclean" at the Dollar General (thanks BabyGoodBuys), and I'm going to mix up some dish soap cleaners for my bathroom (thanks Lois)--this will help with all of my toothpaste globs--not my globs--my kid's globs. I hate it that they have to spit all over the place--on the faucet, and do I clean this up often? Of course not! If you came to my house right now, I'd hate for you to see my bathroom, but enough going on already! I can't wait to look closer at the comments and take more of your advice!)

Just wanted to give you a garage sale update. The garage sale is still going on today, Friday, and Saturday morning, so no computer for me after this post. Here's the good and the bad:

-- I bought a Kitchen Aid stand mixer from my friend for $60--awesome deal (it doesn't fit under her cabinets on her kitchen counter and is too heavy to bring out every time needed) (good)

-- Much of my garage sale proceeds will go to pay for my mixer (bad)

-- When you mark most of your kid's clothing at a dollar or less, it takes a while to earn a lot of money. We didn't have a lot of big ticket items, so I think in the end, our overall $$ earned will be low--still trying to decide if it's worth it. . . it might be! (good to give others clothing at great price, bad for earnings)

-- I should take better care of my clothing when I'm done with it. My friend brought all of her sale clothes nicely laundered, folded in bins--and it looked so nice! Mine--thrown in plastics bags--came out all wrinkly! If I have another garage sale again (which I might next year, I need to come up with a better storage system). (Good--something to improve on)

--Wednesday is turning out to be the big "garage sale" day in my neighborhood! If I do this again, an all day Wed sale might work better than a Friday sale. (could be good)

--Homemade chocolate chip cookies (made with my new mixer:)) and sweet rolls were great treats to sell at the sale--what a deal at only 25 cents. (yummy good)

--I'm tired! Garage sales are work--they take organization, planning, and time. This sale really is taking over my entire week. (This is not necessarily good or bad--it just is)

-- A neighbor who I don't know really well came to the garage sale and offered to let me sell her baby car seat and crib mattress from her recent baby (child is now 3) and keep the proceeds--she just wants to get them out of her garage! It turns out that I can really use the car seat and perhaps even the mattress if it is in better shape than the one I have, so now I only need to buy a stroller--hopefully a matching one--and not an entire travel system. This is pretty awesome for me--thanks neighbor. (not just good--awesome)

--It's been fun talking to friends and all of the different people checking in at the sale from the neighborhood. And Grandma is helping--which makes it fun for the kids and me as well! (g00d)

--We sold my daughter's smaller Princess bike (I was sad to see it go) and are able to put that $$ towards her cool, new 20" bike (new to her, found in good shape on Craigslist)--after the difference, only cost us $10 out of pocket (good)

That's my update! Thanks for reading, and I do hope to return to some more typical posts (but definitely interesting and not ordinary:)) soon!

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What Are Your Top Three Cleaning Products?

Thursday, May 28, 2009 by Jen · 8 comments
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How many cleaning products do you really need? Are there any products that you can't live without? Since I have made the conscious decision to spend less and use less, I have definitely stopped buying a lot of extra cleaners. I would love to use less toxic, natural cleaners, and I try to do so whenever it works for me.

The problem is--I don't like to clean a lot--it just doesn't happen in my house for some reason. So I need a cleaner that really does the job, does it well, and lasts for a while. Here are the three cleaners that I basically use for everything, and that right now, I couldn't live without. What are the three cleaners you couldn't live with out???

Comet -- I use this for everything I need to scrub in my bathroom and kitchen--toilets, grimy tiles in the shower, kitchen countertops, getting out stains. Even though I think toilet bowl cleaner works a bit better (lasts a bit longer) than Comet, Comet is more reasonably priced--and then I only have one thing to buy! I can usually buy on sale for 50 cents a can or at least under $1.

Dish Soap--I use this for washing dishes and everything else I can think of--bathrooms, laundry stains, what else? I like to use it for general cleaning and wipe downs in my bathroom, because I think it's a gentler cleaner than a lot of the "bathroom" cleaners that are out there--and I can grab it right off my kitchen counter. If I have a big clothing stain, I will put some right on the stain (be careful doing this if you have a front loader high efficiency and worry about suds), and a lot of times it really helps. I am not brand specific and I can usually buy on sale with coupon for under $1.

Window Cleaner--I use either Windex or a store brand window cleaner--on mirrors, windows, and to shine the bathroom sinks. I now use scrunched up newspaper as the "towel" and it works awesome! I'm tempted to try a more natural cleaner--vinegar for example--like Amy does HERE, but I'm not there yet.

I admit I have a few other cleaners on hand (like Goo Gone--great on laundry stains, glass top stove cleaner, Oxyclean (for my cat's hair ball issues), and dust polish (not for the furniture, for my husband's motorcycle). But if I had to pick three, if I could only buy three, I would have to stick to my above three choices--cheap products that do the job! What would be your top three?

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Best Cereal Bars Ever!!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009 by Jen · 3 comments
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Now that summer is here, I HAD to talk about my family's all time favorite summer treat -- Special K Bars! We love them and they are so yummy! If you have never made these, you really have to make them this week--seriously! They are easy to make, inexpensive, and perfect to bring to any summer gathering.

I still call them Special K Bars (because that's what I grew up calling them, and I'm not going to change), even though I now most often make them with Rice Krispie cereal, or you could use corn flakes as well. My husband's family calls them Rice Krispie Bars--which I refuse to do--because those are marshmallow treats. Some might even call them Scotch a Roos--I don't know why.

I think these might be a regional treat, because my sister, who now lives in North Carolina has brought these bars to her local gatherings, and most people have never had them--and are AMAZED by them--they are that good. Can you tell I'm rather opinionated about these bars?

So finally, Read Entire Post for the recipe. I hope your family might enjoy these as much as we do!

Special K Bars
1 C white corn syrup (don't skimp--I might add just a bit more than this)
1 C sugar
1 C creamy peanut butter (I've just started using natural peanut butter in the recipe, and it works just fine)
6 C Rice Krispie cereal (or Special K or corn flakes)
1/2 pkg butter scotch chips
1/2 pkg chocolate chips

(Spraying each pot, bowl, and pan with cooking spray makes for easier clean up.
In medium bowl, bring corn syrup and sugar to a boil. Add peanut butter just until melted and mixed in. In a large mixing bowl, measure out cereal.

Add hot peanut butter mixture, stir well, and spread in a 9x13 inch pan.

Melt chocolate chips and butterscotch chips in microwave (I stir every 30 seconds until melted).

Spread over top of bars. Let cool and cut! Enjoy!

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Budgeting Articles

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 by Jen · 0 comments
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Here are a few recent articles that I enjoyed dealing with budgeting, spending money, and living the frugal lifestyle that might appeal to your "budgeting" spirit. Enjoy!

Budgeting 101 Series -- Christina at Northern Cheapskate has put together a great series on Budgeting with a list of some helpful resources--check it out!

Learning the Right Approach--This post, by Michelle at Leaving Excess, interests me because it talks about the value of paying cash for a large home improvement project (something my family needs to work on). It's about fiscal responsibility--a great feeling! Check out her final, new laundry room project HERE.

Extended Warranties -- I would never buy an extended warranty, but Motherhood Moment talks about a way to make them really work for you that I never thought of before--don't know if I could do this, but it's a great idea!

Hip to Be Frugal Article HERE -- I really enjoyed this very funny article (perhaps because I see myself in it) by Good, True and Beautiful

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Why Have a Garage Sale? The Benefits

by Jen · 3 comments
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Like I mentioned before, it's garage sale week at our house. I had great intentions of planning ahead and getting everything done and ready early for this sale--but. . . didn't happen. It's a good thing we were home a few days over this past holiday weekend! We had gorgeous weather, the kids played outside and helped while I did lots of planning, organizing, and pricing.

I haven't held a sale at my own home in a long time, and they really are a lot of work! So why have one? Even though the preparation and planning is pretty involved, and even though the sale is going to take over my life this week, I still think it's worth it to have a sale. "Read Entire Post" for a few "benefits of having a garage sale" that come to mind:

  • Make My Garage Sale Fund -- I love to go to garage sales and shop--you can get great, gently used items for pennies (really quarters or dollars, but not many of them). I set a bit of money aside each week to use at sales, but I have already depleted this money on baby items. So, I will use all of the money I earn at my garage sale for my "Garage Sale Fund." This is the money I will use to shop this summer, and when it's gone, my garage sale shopping days are over! Works for me!
  • Declutter My House -- I am still going through the last rooms and closets finding items to sell on my sale! It feels great to clean out my house and to make a bit more room in closets and cupboards! It's a great excuse to let go.
  • Give Items a Second Life--What's the saying, "One person's junk is another person's treasure." By selling the things my family has outgrown, doesn't want or need, I am giving these items a second life, a second use. And I'm glad they will go to someone who might use them instead of the landfill. Reusing is good for our Earth! You are doing your part when you garage sale--now isn't that something to ponder?
  • Involve My Children -- My children are excited to sell cookies and lemonade at the sale and to earn the profits. We have had a lot of discussion about selling toys we don't play with, and I think I am winning them over--especially since they are "earning" the money from the toys they sell, which they think is pretty cool! We get to talk about reusing and giving to people who will really use the items--and we have hands on practice with money and making change--great learning lessons for our family!
  • See my Friends -- A few friends are putting items on the sale as well. It brings them over to my house for a chance to connect, visit, and enjoy each others company. Even though there's some work involved, it will be a fun social week.
So there you have it -- the reasons I am holding my garage sale this week! I'll keep you posted as to how it all works out in the end! If you have held a garage sale before, please leave a comment and share your garage sale experiences. Thanks for reading!

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Shopping List Round Up

Monday, May 25, 2009 by Jen · 1 comments
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Because it's garage sale week at our household, and because of the Memorial Day weekend, I am not going to do much shopping this week! So, sorry, I'm not going to be talking much about shopping and coupons this week--hope you'll join me again next week for talking deals and coupons!

So just in case you are interested, I decided to do a "Shopping List Round Up" for a few shopping lists and coupon match ups that I read for the following stores: Cub Foods, Rainbow, Target, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, and Menards. Hope these might help you plan your shopping this week!

I will have some posts on some frugal fun ideas this week--at least they are interesting to me--and might be to you as well. Have a great week!

(Just an aside: Thanks Mom for bringing all of the fruit and great food to our house this past weekend! Makes it easier not to shop and spend. And by the way, garage sales are work! It's going to be all about the sale this week at our house--I'll let you know if it's worth it.:)

Shopping List Round Up

Cub Shopping List -- HERE,

Rainbow Shopping List -- HERE

Target Shopping List -- HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE,

Walmart Shopping List -- HERE,

Walgreens List -- HERE, HERE,

CVS List -- HERE,

Kraft Coupons Reset again-- 1:40 pm on Monday. Read details HERE
Last week, a reader had a hard time printing the Kraft coupons. Perhaps this post might help you print some more Kraft coupons.

Menards Free After Rebate HERE -- Here's a list of the things you can get free at Menards after rebate. I was especially interested in the Model Magic clay for $10--a decent price to start with. We recently used this clay in my daughter's class and it was a lot of fun--great for a summer craft project!.

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Frugal Focus

by Jen · 1 comments

Cents in the Cities is now part of Frugal Focus, "a passionate group of people bringing together the very best content on Frugal Living and celebrating living well on a budget." Check out Frugal Focus to find lots of topics and great content and posts from some of the best "money saving" blogs around!

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This Is Me -- a Slower Week

Saturday, May 23, 2009 by Jen · 0 comments

This is me, this is me, this is me and my energy! ~Laurie Berkner

(So I was supposed to post this "write what's on your mind post" on Sat, but didn't quite finish. Here it is on Monday night--better late than never."

So it's been a slower blogging week for me this week! I think I needed a bit of a break after all of those Cub posts! I did do some fun shopping at both Rainbow and Target. I also hit Cub and Target. I'm trying to keep to a smaller grocery budget right now, so I'm finding it a bit of a challenge--can't do all of the deals. If I do, I'll use up all of my grocery money for next week, which makes it hard to shop for the deals next week. No coupons in the Sunday paper this weekend--can't say I'm too disappointed. I sometimes like the slow shopping weeks--it's a nice break. And I can get so much done around the house when I'm not running around to all of the stores. . . . (Read Entire Post for more)
Not Sleeping
One thing about being pregnant is I feel so scattered right now, and I feel like I can't get anything done--yes, I'm blaming this on the pregnancy while I can! At least I have an understanding husband who knows how I work. The worst thing about it is my sleep patterns are all messed up--not sleeping well. Sometimes I go to bed really late, and then am sluggish the next day. When I go to bed at a decent time, I'm up by 4:30 AM and can't sleep, so I go down to the computer and get my blogging done, or I might fold a load of laundry. Or even if I go to bed late, I'm still up early. Makes for tired days--I know this is preparation for when baby comes, I know, I know. . . It's all good.

Memorial Day Weekend
I swear that we are one of the only families that stays home for Memorial Day Weekend. My husband is painting in our family room project. The kids and I will be outside, playing and pricing garage sale items. It's supposed to be a nice weekend, so will be good to be outside. We had the last of the dry wall sanding yesterday, so can't wait to wipe everything down and be rid of the dust--construction is messy! My Mom's going to also spend a day with us, and will probably head out to the MN Arboretum again and have a barbecue sometime. A nice low-key weekend for us.

Garage Sale
So of course I had plans to be really prepared and have all of the garage sale stuff and organized and labeled. And I really haven't done any of it. It's really OK because we have all weekend to focus on it, but I do wish I could have done some of it in advance. It's going to be fun--looking forward to it!

Bread Maker and Baking
So I've had a lots of fun using my new breadmaker. Made a few loafs of bread--yummy, and also made pizza dough for the first time. We had homemade pizza last night, which was very tasty.

That's it for now. Happy Memorial Day weekend!

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Lovin' My Library--Home Improvement Resources

Friday, May 22, 2009 by Jen · 2 comments
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(My Old Kitchen)

Today's Lovin' My Library post is also a Handy Husband post! Since my husband is married to a librarian (yep, that's me), he, OF COURSE, knows the value of using the library for needed resources.

My husband is also a "do-it-yourself" kind of guy, and is always tackling large projects. Thankfully, he has a great resource in his Dad, who gives him lots of tips and advice, but he is also an avid user of library books and online resources to help him take on a new and unfamiliar area of home improvement. (OK, so I admit I usually find the resources for him, but not always! And he really uses what I find!) Read Entire Post to see a picture of my NEW KITCHEN and to read how the library has helped us in our home improvement endeavors:

(My New Kitchen--the result of blood, sweat, tears, and library resources)

Last summer, we took on the huge project of refacing our kitchen cabinets. Here's my post with more info--in case you are interested! The major home improvement store's refacing program didn't give a lot of information. Local library to the rescue!

I found this great book called Refacing Cabinets: Making an Old Kitchen New, and we checked it out over and over again! It was invaluable! It provided the details on how to really do the finishing touches--on how to make the job look like it was professionally done. It was a lot of hard work, but we LOVE the final result!

This spring, we have been remodeling half of our family room into an enclosed room, and my husband has been tackling framing and drywall--new projects to him--and he is doing it all himself -- using Drywall: Pro Tips for Hanging and Finishing, and Interior Walls: Framing, Drywalling, Trimming. These resources, again, are giving him ideas about what tools and supplies are best to use for our situation--free and invaluable resources!

Here are a few of my tips for finding home improvement resources at the library:

1. Search and Reserve --Do a search at home in the online library catalog. Reserve the titles that interest you, and pick them up at the library when they give you a call or email. This allows you to plan ahead before you buy supplies and invest in tools.

2. Find the Call Number and Browse the Shelves -- When at the library, do a search in the catalog and find the call number of the book you really want. Even if the book isn't at your library branch, go to that section of the library shelves and browse the titles. You are bound to find related books and more general home improvement books in the library. For example, the call number of the dry wall book sitting in front of me is 643.7 I. If I were to go to that section right now, I would find lots of home improvement books in the general area!

3. Talk to Your Librarian--I know they are kind of scary sitting at that library desk, but they are really there to answer your questions! Really! Tell them about your project and what you are looking for, and they most likely will be able to point you in the right direction--even lead you to the resources you need--how easy is that! The librarian is kind of like the guy you ask at Home Depot (and they actually have a degree in how to do their job!). You ask at Home Depot for information and tools. . . why not ask at your library?

Thanks for reading about our home improvement and library experiences! The library resources work for us! When I get time, I might post a few pictures of my husband's dry wall work as well--just in case you are interested. Hope you can make it to your local library sometime soon! Oh, and don't forget to check out some of my other Handy Husband Tips and Lovin' My Library posts!

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My Money Saving Blogs!

by Jen · 3 comments
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Cents in the Cities is all about sharing resources. I am only one mom with one shopping, saving, and living perspective. I am trying to write about the things that are working in my life to live well and save money--so if what I write interests you, I hope you'll keep reading!

There are so many great resources and blogs out there that I use to gain information, so I thought I would share with you what I read. All of the Money Saving Blogs that I read are listed HERE, or go to the "LINKS" section in my navigation bar (top of web page).

I was so tempted to share what I love about my favorites, but I'll let you pick and choose what works for you. "Read Entire Post" for some of my personal preferences when reading blogs. Thanks for reading!

1. Use a Blog Reader to Read and Manage Your Blogs
I never knew such a thing existed until a librarian friend recommended some YA book review blogs and mentioned that she managed them through a reader. I use Google Reader, but there are others out there like Bloglines, Netvibes, Newsgator, My Yahoo, and I'm sure there are others of which I am unaware. If you use one of these or another blog reader, please leave a comment and share your recommendations--thanks!

Basically what you do is you go to your blog reader, and you subscribe to the RSS feed of the blogs you like to read. You can do this by typing the name or URL of the blog into your reader, and it will find it. Or you can go to each individual blog and find their RSS feed on their site.

Then, instead of using your bookmarks (or typing in URLs) to jump from blog to blog, you have access to them all in one place--how awesome is that! I organize mine into folders like "MN Blogs," "Deal Finders," "Frugal Living," and then other categories I have unrelated to shopping and saving. You have different ways to view the blogs as well--you can click on individual titles or just read only the new postings! Using a blog reader has changed that way I access information online--I love it!

2. Read for a Personal Voice
I like to find the deals and freebies just like everyone, but my time on the computer is limited, and I don't always have or take the time to focus on them. And I want more from a blog than someone who is trying to "educate" me on how to save. I do use those blogs because they can provide great information, but I have to gather the bits and pieces that I know will work for me--have to do things my way.

The blogs I keep returning to are the ones that provide the "deals" information, but also add some personal touches--that share from their experiences, that talk about their lives, and that want to communicate with me--they leave me a comment/email, and I do the same. I love hearing about what works for someone else in their own home and family--I'm drawn back to these resources over and over. OK, so I will share two of my current favorites--The Finer Things in Life and Northern Cheapskate.

3. Select Fresh Voices
There are a lot of "expert" or "experienced" money saving blogs out there that do a great job of sharing the deals and advice--I include many of these in my Links lists. But as I am reading from my blog reader, I often find the same deals over and over, which is fine but a bit boring--the reader allows for quick scanning. But I am also on the lookout for blogs with "fresh" ideas, that might approach things with a sense of humor or a different perspective. I love a blog that will make me laugh, where I might see a glimpse of myself, and that might make we go, "Wow--I never thought of that!" A few of my current favorites are Simply Things Family, Good True and Beautiful, and Leaving Excess,

4. Local Connection
I started Cents in the Cities in February 2009 because I wasn't finding many blogs that talk about shopping and saving at my local stores. Since I have been doing this for a few month now, I am finding a few more and making some MN Connections. In my Links list, I have starred (**) those sites I know which have a MN author. Hope this might help you make a MN connection as well!

That's it--all of my opinions on reading blogs. If you like what you read at Cents in the Cities, I hope you might add me to your blog reader. Thanks!

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Garage Sale Treasure Map

by Jen · 0 comments
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It's garage sale season, and I love it! Thanks to FreetobeFrugal, I have found this garage sale finding tool--it has strong possibilities of being a great resource! (OK, so it's called Yard Sale Treasure Map, but in MN, we call them garage sales--or at least I do.)

When I usually want to find a sale, I go to the "garage sale" section of Craigslist and type in the town--I live in the NW corner of my city, so I usually shop in two other bordering cities, so I search for their names as well. This is a great way to find local sales!

The Yard Sale Treasure Map allows you to type in your address and, using Craigslist, it generates a map for you of all your local sales. You can click on the sale number for a quick description, and you if you click on the sale heading, it takes you right to Craigslist! How cool is that!

I'm still getting used to this tool, and I say it has potential, because earlier in the week I tried to use it, and not a lot of sales came up in my area, but today there are quite a few. Hope it might help you find the sales that interest you--happy garage saling!

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My Rainbow Shopping This Week--Great for Me!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 by Jen · 4 comments
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I couldn't resist sharing my Rainbow shopping trip with you this week. I did three transactions and got all of this food for a total OOP of $36.20--awesome for me. My total savings/discounts was $78.25. This trip was worth the time and planning.

So I planned to do three scenarios, and then of course I changed my mind last night and worked out only two. But then when I got to the store, I couldn't pass up the Banana Boat BOGO suncreen, so I ended up doing 3 transactions. I recently inherited a bread maker, so I also added some bread flour and whole wheat flour to my lists. And I bought ice cream and root beer for a special treat (did I tell you I'm pregnant--what a great excuse for ice cream). All in all great shopping for me. Here are a few things I learned on my trip:

1. I went through the self check out three times, and this worked great--of course it was quiet in the store. The cashier just had to come over each time and do my coupons, which was fine. (In the past, I've felt guilty doing more than one order in a row--I hate getting that "look" from the cashier, but I decided I needed to get over this if I wanted to save my time and my money. And it was just fine!)

2. I tried to use the Rainbow Kool Aid coupon in two of my transactions, and they wouldn't let me do it more than once--one per family--should have known this!

3. I bought Wacky noodles for $1 each, and my $.75 coupon did double two times, so I got overage--I was surprised.

4. I bought 2 Baby Ray BBQ sauces, and I gave her the $1 manufacturer coupons first. She said the store coupon wouldn't work, but she did scan it, and it did take more off. So you might have trouble depending on the cashier.

5. I bought 5 Hidden Valley Ranch packets, but the $3 manufacturer coupon from the Rainbow ad didn't come off automatically--she had to do it manually.

6. My store was already almost out of the Kraft Deli cheese (I got two of the last ones) at 10 a.m. this morning, and the Kraft shredded cheese was in low supply!

7. My favorite deal this week was the Banana Boat sunscreen. I paid $9.59 for 2 (BOGO) and I used 2 $1/1 coupons from SS 5/3, when doubled equaled an additional $-4, so total OOP for 2 was $5.49--a great deal! And since I had no sunscreen in the house, an awesome deal for me.

Thanks for reading my shopping ramblings.

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Great Kraft Shopping at Super Target

by Jen · 2 comments
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I'm so glad I used my Kraft coupons at Target this week--there were some great deals. I got a lot of products for only $4.51, and then I used a gift card, so no OOP for the entire picture. I posted a coupon match up a few days ago, and I just wanted to update you on what I found in the Twin Cities. I found great sale prices on Kraft dressing and mayo, on wheat thins, and on blueberry Kashi waffles. I didn't find good prices on the Ritz crackers, and the shredded cheese was regular price--no deal there for me. Hope you have some luck with your own shopping.

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MN Landscape Arboretum--Beautiful MN Weather

by Jen · 1 comments
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Life and shopping have gotten in the way of my blogging schedule, but so it goes. I thought I would share some pictures from the MN Landscape Arboretum. On Monday night, we had a wonderful afternoon out there with a perfect picnic supper.
We did miss the peak of the crab apple trees (it was windy the week before) but it was still beautiful out there.
If you haven't been, I'd recommend checking it out! They have great children's programming on the weekends.

Don't forget that you can use the library Museum Adventure Pass, or during the summer, I think they offer free admission on Thursday evenings (I know they have offered this in the past, so check out their website to make sure before visiting!)

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New Appliances -- New to Me

by Jen · 1 comments
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On Mother's Day, I was telling my family that I was shopping for a new blender, food processor, and that I was trying to find a bread maker at a garage sale! Well it turns out that my mother and sister-in-law had appliances that were sitting in their cupboards gathering dust! And they offered my their small appliances--how awesome is that! Beggars can't be choosers, so I've accepted the harvest gold blender--doesn't bother me at all as long as it works (haven't tried yet), and it's a chopper, not a processor, but it will definitely work for me right now! And maybe I should start setting aside a little money each week for some future small appliance purchases. . . maybe! It's great to get free stuff! Thanks family--I love you--for more reasons than just the small appliances:)

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Best of Cub -- 5/16 thru 5/23

Tuesday, May 19, 2009 by Jen · 3 comments
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Here are my favorite coupon match ups for Cub this week. It's a pretty good week, and there are, again, a few match-ups using the printable Kraft coupons that are out now. If you have a pet, there is a coupon deal mainly on food with quite a few coupons (buy $15 in participating products, get $5 off order).

There is also a $5/50 Cub Coupon Here -- an online coupon for $5 off your order of $50 (thanks Karen). Don't forget, if you spend $50, you can earn a $10 off $100 coupon to use on your next shopping trip. "Read Entire Post" for the match ups. Have a good week shopping at Cub!


Blueberries or Blackberries, $3.49 BOGO

Mushrooms $1.50
Green Peppers $.68/1
Sweet Corn B6G6


Gaymont Yogurt $2

Land O Lakes Orange Juice, 64 oz $2

Velveeta $4.49
$1/1 HERE or HERE

Cool Whip $1
$1/2 HERE or HERE
$.50 each (when you buy 2)

Dannon DanActive or Activia Yogurt $2
$1/1 in SS 5/10 or $1/1 printable

Kraft Cheese, shredded, chunk, cubes, stick $.188
$1/2 HERE or HERE

Kraft Singles $1.77
$1/2 HERE or HERE

Dannon Yogurt $.50
$.60/6 or $1/10 in SS 5/3, SS 3/15 (exp) or B6G1 coupon in SS 2/1 (exp)

Digiorno Pizza, $5.50
$1/1 HERE or HERE

Coffee Mate Liquid Creamer $2
$.50/1 in SS 1/4 (exp)
$1.50/1 and $1/1 printables HERE

Buy 10/$10 Banquet Meals, get two FREE


Gold N Plum Chicken Breast, $6.99
Gold N Plump Chicken Thighs, $5.69
$1.50/1 HERE (use 2 coupons) ($1/50 coupon is on the family pack) (don't forget $1 coupon from Strib a few weeks ago)
$3.99/2 Chicken Breast (using 2 coupons)
$2.69/2 Chicken thighs (using 2 coupons)

Ground Beef, 85%, 3lb pkgs, $2.29 lb

Ball Park Franks, BOGO
$1/2 in RP 4/26 (exp)

Hillshire Farm Smoked Sausage BOGO
$.55/1 in RP 4/16 or $.65/2 in RP 3/8 (exp)

Other Groceries/Household

Mardi Gras Napkins, 250 ct, $1.50

Bush's Baked Beans, $1.28 (limit 2)

Nabisco Honey Maid Grahams $2.50, Kraft Jet Puffed Marshmallows, $1, Hershey's Chocolate Bars, $6 pack, $3, (FREE)
Use Cub coupon in ad and $1/1 Honey Maid HERE and HERE
$2.50 for all

Kraft Miracle Whip or Mayo $2.48
$1/1 in SS 4/26, $1/1 HERE and HERE

Lay's Potato Chips, $3.49 BOGO

Pet Product Catalina: Buy $15 Participating Products, Get $5 Off Grocery Order
--Meow Mix Dry Cat Food, $3.99, $1/1 in RP 3/1 (exp)
--Pup-Peroni Dog Treats, $3, $2/1 printable HERE or HERE, $1/1 in RP 3/1 (exp)
--Milk Bone Dog Biscuits or Mar O Snacks, $3, B1G1 in RP 2/1 (exp)

Pillsbury Brownie and Cake Mixes, $1
$.35/1 in RP 5/17, RP 4/19, RP 1/11 (exp)

Scotties Facial Tissue, $1
$.50/3 in RP 5/10, RP 4/19, RP 3/8

Glade Aerosol Spray, $1
B1G1 Coupons in SS 5/10, SS 4/19, SS 3/15 (exp)

McCormick Grill Mates Marinade $1.
McCormick Grill Mates Spice $1.75
McCormick Grill Mates Rubs $2.69
$.50/1 coupon in RP 5/3 and RP 4/19

General Mill Cereals $2
(Trix, Cocoa Puffs, Golden Grahams, Cheeios, Total)
$1/3 coupons in SS 5/3, SS 4/3 (exp), SS 3/8 (exp), GM 2/8,
$1/1 Total Coupon HERE and HERE or HERE

Post Cereals, $2
(Honey-comb, Cocoa Pebbles, Fruity Pebbles, Alpha-bits)
$1/2 coupons in SS 3/1 (exp) or SS 1/25 (exp)

Pop Tarts $1.79
$1/2 coupons in RP 4/5, RP 2/22 (exp), RP 1/8 (exp)

A1 Steak Sauce, $3
$1/1 coupon HERE or HERE

Nabisco Ritz Crackers $2.50
B1G1 Coupon in SS 5/17, $2/2 in SS 1/25 (exp) or $1/1 HERE or HERE

Nabisco Snack Crackers $2
B1G1 Coupon in SS 5/17
$1/2 Wheat Thins or Triscuit coupon in SS 3/15, $2/2 in SS 1/25 (exp) or $1/1 HERE or HERE

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Cracker $1.50
$1/2 coupon in SS 3/1 (exp)

Nabisco 100 Calorie Packs $2
$1/1 coupon HERE or HERE

Lawry's Seasoned Salt $2.29
$.50/1 in RP 5/17 or $.50/2 in RP 4/5

French's Mustard $1.78
$1/2 coupon in SS 5/10

Hershey's Syrup $2
$1/2 coupon in SS 5/17

Del Monte Tomatoes $1.25
$.40/1 in RP 2/8 (exp) or $1/12 in RP 2/8 *(exp)

Barilla Pasta $1.25
$1/2 or $.50/1 in SS 3/29 (exp) or is SS 1/4 (exp)

Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Pasta $1.50
$1/2 in SS 3/8 (Exp)
Jell-O Pudding or Gelatin, $.67
$1/ 3 pudding and 1/2 gallon milk coupon in SS 2/8 (exp) or $1/1 HERE or HERE

Purex Laundry Detergent $2.50
$1/2 coupon in SS 3/5, $.50/1 printable HERE

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My Rainbow Scenarios

Monday, May 18, 2009 by Jen · 4 comments
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Based on the coupons and time I have this week, I have decided to do three orders at Rainbow. My total OOP for all three orders should be under $30. Check out my Rainbow coupon match up for coupon locations.

When doing multiple orders, I try to do these things:

1. Use any Free Product manufacturer coupons I have to reach $25 but to bring my OOP down below $25.
2. Use BOGO specials to bring my OOP down
3. Try to get my order as close to $25 as possible.
4. The best plans don't always work out, so I will have extra coupons on different products--just in case I need something else.
3. Make sure to hand the cashier my highest value coupons first.

"Read Entire Post" for my scenarios--hope they might help you with your own Rainbow shopping. Thanks for reading!

Order 1

Ken's Dressing, $3 (estimated)
2 Strawberries, $3
2 Banana Boat Sunscreen, $16 (estimated)
8 Kool Aids, $.72 (using Rainbow ad coupon)
2 Kraft Deli Cheese Slices $4
2 Jello Puddings, $1.32
Total Before Coupons: $28.04
Q - Free Ken's Dressing, -$3 (estimated)
BOGO Banana Boat, $-8 (estimated store sale)
Q 1 Doubled, Banana Boat, $-2
Q 2 Doubled, Banana Boat, $-2
Q 3 Doubled, Kraft Cheese, $-2
Q4 Doubled, Kraft Cheese, $-2
Q5 doubled, Jello Pudding, $-2
Coupon Total: $-21
OOP: $7.04 ($28.04 - $21)

Order 2
Ken's Dressing, $3
4 Tombstone Pizzas, $12
5 Hidden Valley Ranch Packets, $6.25
2 Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce, $1.76 (using Rainbow ad coupon)
3 Wacky Mac, $3
Total Before Coupons: $26.01
Q Free Ken's Dressing, $-3
Q Hidden Valley Ranch, $-3 (manufacturer Q in Rainbow Add--buy 5 products)
Q 1 Tombstone Pizza, $-2
Q2 Tombstone Pizza, $-2
Q 3 Wacky Mac, $-1.5
Q 4 Wacky Mac, $-1.5
Q 5 Wacky Mac, $1.5
Q Sweet Baby Ray's, -$1 (not doubled)
Q Sweet Baby Ray's, -$1 (not doubled)
Note: Since the Sweet Baby Ray's sauce is only $.88, I don't think my $1 coupons will double, so I am going to give the cashier my Wacky Mac coupons first, because they might double and perhaps give me overage.) I'm not exactly sure what the cash register will do--not sure if Rainbow will give me overage.
Total Coupons: $-16.50
OOP: $9.51 (26.01 - $16.50)

Order 3
Kashi Waffles, $3 (estimate)
Quaker Granola Bars, $4
3 Edge Shaving Gels, $3
2 Popcycles, $1.96 (using Rainbow ad coupon)
1 Kraft Deli Cheese, $2
2 Jellos, $1.32
2 Newman's Salsa, $4
2 Butters, $2.56
8 Kool Aids, $.72
Roundy's Sour Cream, $.88 (using Rainbow Ad coupon)
Dr. Pepper, $1.50
1 Strawberries, $1.50
Total Before Coupons: $26.44
Q Free Kashi Waffles, $-3
Q Free Quaker Products, $-4
Free Dr. Pepper, $-1.5
Q1 Edge Shaving Gel, $-1.5
Q2 Edge Shaving Gel, $-1.5
Q3 Edge Shaving Gel, $-1.5
Q4 Kraft Deli Cheese, $-2
Q 5 Jello, $-2
Coupon Total: $-17
OOP: $9.44 ($26.44 -$17)

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Best of Rainbow -- 5/17 thru 5/23

by Jen · 4 comments
Filed under:

It's a huge coupon/deal week at Rainbow Foods--especially if you use the Kraft printable coupons available HERE and HERE. Rumor has it these coupon databases may have been reset again, but not sure if this is the case today (Tues 4/19), but it might be worth a shot, so you can try printing them again--remember you can print them twice at each database.

There are tons of free items and great deals--I'm overwhelmed! I've listed my favorites below, and in my next post, I'm going to spell out my scenarios for how to reach $25 and get the most for your money. This is a week where it's definitely worth it to do at least 2, maybe 3 orders. Good luck with your Rainbow Doubles this week!

The best prices listed for each item assumes that you will double your coupons on Wed. You can also read this post for Rainbow policies and shopping tips.

Strawberries, $1.50
Watermelon, seedless, $3.99
Sweet Corn, B6G6 Free
Mushrooms, $1.50

80 % ground beef, 3 lb pkgs, $1.89 lb
Deli Ham, Patrick Cudahy, $3.99 lb

Oscar Mayer Hot Dogs 2/$3
$1/2 coupon in SS 5/10 and 4/19
$.50 each (assumes doubled coupon)

Johnsonville Brats $6.88
$1.50/1 in SS 5/3, 4/5, 3/29

Johnsonville Smoked or Cooked Sausage Links $3
$1/2 in SS 5/3
$2 when you buy 2 (assumes doubled coupon)

Sour Cream -- $.88 (Rainbow coupon)
Milk, gallon, $1.74
Butter, $1.28

Kraft Deli Style Cheese $2
$1/1 coupon in SS 5/17

Kraft Shredded Cheese $2
$1/2 HERE or HERE
$1 each (when you buy 2 and double coupon)


Kool Aid $.9
Rainbow ad coupon, limit 6

Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce, 18 oz $.88
Use Rainbow ad coupon (limit 2)
Use $1/1 in SS 5/10

Wacky Mac $1
$.75/1 in SS 5/10
FREE (assumes doubled coupon)

Jello Gelatin and Pudding $.66 each
$1/2 HERE
FREE (assumes doubled coupon)

Roundy's Baking Chips $1.66 each

Newman's Own Salsa, $2
$1/2 HERE and HERE
$1 each (when you buy 2; assumes doubled coupon)

Kraft Miracle Whip or Mayo $2.75
$1/1 HERE or HERE
Kool Aid BOGO ($3.49/2)
$1/1 HERE or HERE (use 2 coupons)
FREE (assumes doubled coupons)

Kraft Wheat Thins or Triscuits $2
$1/1 coupon HERE or HERE

Kraft Salad Dressing $1.66
$1.50/1 in SS 3/29 or $1/1 HERE or HERE
FREE after doubling

General Mills Cereal
Buy 3 participating at regular price, get coupon for 1 free gallon milk
Coupons in SS 5/3 and 4/19

Buy 5 Participating Products, save $3 on your purchase
Use $3 manufacturer coupon in ad

Banana Boat Sunscreen BOGO FREE
$1/1 coupon in SS 5/3 (use 2)
Save $4 when you double 2 coupons

Edge Shaving Gel/Cream $1.50
$.75/1 in SS 5/17


Kemps Frozen Yogurt 2/$5
$1/2 coupon in SS 5/10 and 3/29
2/$3 (assumes doubled coupon)

Tombstone Pizza $3
$1/2 coupon HERE or HERE
2/$4 (assumes doubled coupon)
(Buy 4 pizzas, receive one gallon milk coupon at register)

Go here If you are looking for more Rainbow coupon match-ups. Thanks for reading.

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Best of Target --5/17/09 thru 5/23/09

by Jen · 4 comments
Filed under:

(Update: I've been to ST this week, and I've made a note if the price was higher at my store--hope this helps.)
I haven't shopped Target deals for a while, so I thought I would start this week with Target. I usually don't go to SuperTarget until Friday, and what happens is I spend all my budgeted money by then, so I never make it there--not smart! This week--I'm getting the deals! Below are my Target top picks--don't forget you need to use BOTH a Target and manufacturer coupon to get the best price.

Also, I just started using the Target Coupon Generator at Organic Grocery Deals, and I love it! It's all text and very clear! Thanks for reading!

Nabisco 100 Calorie Snacks (cookies and crackers)
Sale Price: $1.93
Coupons: $1/1 printable HERE or HERE
Target Coupons: $ 1/1 Target Coupon HERE
Final Price: $FREE

Ritz Cheese or Peanut Butter Crackers
Sale Price: $2 (**Higher price at my store)
Coupons: $1/1 printable HERE or HERE
Target Coupons: $ 1/1 Target Coupon HERE
Final Price: $Free after coupon

Sale Price: $.99 lb (**Higher price at my store)
Target Coupons: $1/1HERE
Final Price: $free (when you buy 1 lb at a time)

Kraft Salad Dressing
Sale Price: $1.59
Coupons: $1.50/1 in 3/29 SS or $1/1 printable HERE or HERE
Target Coupons: $1/2 HERE
Final Price: $Free (or $.09 each) when you buy 2

Kraft Barbecue Sauce (18 oz)
Sale Price: $.99 (**Higher price at my store)
Coupons: $1/1 printable HERE or HERE or $.75/1 from 5/3 SS
Target Coupons: $
Final Price: $Free or $.24

Wheat Thins
Sale Price: $2.04 - 2.49
Coupons: $1/1 printable HERE or HERE; B1G1 coupon in SS 5/17
Target Coupons: $1/2 HERE
Final Price: $.02 to $.25 (when you buy 2)

A1 Steak Sauce
Sale Price: $2.09 (**Higher price at my store)
Coupons: $2/1 in SS 5/10
Final Price: $.09

Kashi Frozen Waffles
Sale Price: $1.79 (on price cut at many stores)--YES on Blueberry ones
Coupons: $1.50 HERE or HERE
Final Price: $.29

Ritz Crackers
Sale Price: $2.50 (**Higher price at my store)
Coupons: $1/1 printable HERE or HERE or B1G1 coupon from 5/17 SS
Target Coupons: $1/1 HERE
Final Price: $.50

Kraft Mayo
Sale Price: $1.99
Coupons: $1/1 in SS 4/26 and $1/1 HERE or HERE
Target Coupons: $1/2 HERE
Final Price: $.50 (when you buy 2 and use coupons)

Target Baby Body Wash
Sale Price: $1.25
Target Coupons: $.75/1 HERE
Final Price: $.50

Quaker True Delights Bars
Sale Price: $2.50 (on price cut at some stores--didn't check the price)
Coupons: $1/1 HERE
Target Coupons: $1/1 HERE
Final Price: $.50

Electrasol Tabs
Sale Price: $3 (one price cut at many stores)
Coupons: $2.50/1 in 4/19 insert
Target Coupons: $
Final Price: $.50

Pup-peroni treats
Sale Price: $2.39
Coupons: $1.50/1 HERE
Target Coupons: $1/2 HERE
Final Price: $.39 (when you buy 2)

For a complete listing of Target Match Ups, check out Deal Seeking Mom.

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Cub Gift Card Winners!

by Jen · 1 comments
Filed under: ,

Thanks to everyone who left a comment and entered my Cub Gift Card Giveaway! I used Random Integer Generator to select these 5 winners:

kellystrei@ (comment 65)
Jinxy and Me (comment 24)
bharguth@ (comment 6)
jamjar691@ (comment 11)
thecitygirl74@ (comment 60)

Congratulations to these 5 winners!! If you are a winner, I have sent you an email requesting a mailing address so I can send off the gift card! If I don't hear from one of these winners within 48 hours, I will select a new winner! Thanks again for reading Cents in the Cities--I appreciate it! "Read Entire Post" for the winning comments!

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Why We Shop at Cub -- End of Cub Week

by Jen · 0 comments
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I couldn't resist ending my Cub Foods Week by summarizing all of the comments many readers left about how they shop and save at Cub! For many of you, Cub is one of your favorite stores, and one person even commented, "Cub Foods Rocks!" It is definitely one of the main places I shop, and I will continue talking about the best sales and coupon deals at Cub each week! Please leave me a comment or email if you are looking for something specific about Cub Foods, and I'll see what I can do! Thanks for reading Cents in the Cities! "Read Entire Post" for Cub Comment Summary:

Why We Love Shopping and Saving at Cub:

  • Coupons -- Stacking manufacturer and store coupons--great savings!
  • Expired Coupons--many accept expired up to 3 months
  • Fresh Produce -- mentioned over and over
  • Ads are easy to read; prices are clearly marked; good deals easy to spot; and don't run out of ad/coupon specials.
  • Open 24 hours--convenient
  • Saving on Gas --earning Holiday gas coupons
  • Great Meat Specials -- BOGO Free chicken and meat, reduced meat
  • 3 day sales
  • Bagging my own groceries
  • Prescription Sale --Earlier in the year earned $30 with a new/transferred prescription
  • Bakery -- Special occasion cakes on the fly, and survey coupon that prints for free french bread
  • Good Catalina deals throughout the year
  • Sales on Products I need and use every day
  • Kid Friendly--free apples, free cookies, family free check out with healthy items displayed
  • Bulk Spices (I added this! I love their low prices!)

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This Is Me -- Always Regrouping

Saturday, May 16, 2009 by Jen · 1 comments
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This is me, this is me, this is me and my energy! ~Laurie Berkner

Interestingly enough, I don't feel the need to go on and on today, but I probably will anway. This is my post where I allow myself to talk (write) as I want with very little editing. It's been a pretty good week! The weather in MN is beautiful! I love this time of year when the Crab Apple trees are blooming. I hope we make it out to the MN Landscape Arboretum to see their huge orchard of blooming trees--I loved it last year! Here are a few of my random thoughts about the week and what I'm doing to regroup for next week--always regrouping.

Construction Dust
For the last two months, we have been remodeling--turning 1/3 of our family room into a separate room, and my husband is doing all of the work himself. He took two days off this week (from his real job) to do the drywall sanding. Even though he did an awesome job creating a plastic barrier to keep the dust contained, I have drywall dust everywhere! And he's not done sanding yet. I'm trying to decide if it's worth it to even clean at all--just live in a thin layer of dust a few more days until all the sanding is done, and then I'll do a more complete cleaning. At least most of the dust is downstairs and not in my kitchen. Oh the joys of construction!

Cub Foods
This week at Cents in the Cities, I've been talking about Cub Foods all week, and I'm giving away gift cards tomorrow! It's been really fun to read all of the comments and to actually have people comment on my site. That's all this blogger wants--a little interaction, a little conversation! I've been to Cub twice this week, and stocked up on some meat, used a few Kraft coupons to sweeten the deals on deli meat and Oscar Mayer hot dogs. I'm trying to stock my freezer again, so I'm building up to that next week!

Garage Sales
I went a garage saling both Wed and Thursday afternoon, and I found lots of great stuff! I found a few major baby items I was looking for at great prices--makes me feel good! We passed on a 20 inch bike for my daughter, and now we wish we had bought it--went back but it was gone--bummer! This will be one of the main items I search for as the garage sale fun continues. But alas, my garage sale budget has been depleted, so now I have to have my own sale in order to have a garage sale budget once more. It's a good thing too that the money is lacking--I need to stay home and price my own stuff. Sale is the week after Memorial Day--I'm sure I'll be talking about it. I love garage sales. A few tips--take your Mom--Grandma will take care of the kid's, "Can I get this?" Another tip--if at all possible, don't take your kids--we end up buying stuff (junk) that we really don't need!

So I'm feeling very pregnant at 28 weeks (although I did some math this week, counting back from my due date, and it looks as if I'm only at week 27--don't care--I'm calling it 28). I'm working very hard to NOT complain, but I might do so here! Actually, besides not sleeping well, things are going great! I love feeling all of the acrobatics in my belly--what a moving baby! There's nothing better than a moving baby jabbing you in the ribs--seriously! My other kids want to feel it too, but haven't been able to yet. It's a very exciting time for us--lots of anticipation.

Technical Details
I love the technology behind the blog--dealing with the HTML. It can be very frustrating and time consuming, but it's fun to work out a solution for a problem. I was very excited to add the code to number my comments on a post entry--very cool! Should make the end of my Cub giveaway pretty easy!

I have been having a few unresolved issues with the way Cents in the Cities might be displaying in Internet Explorer--the content is visible, but sometimes the sidebars won't appear until you click on a post. At least on my computer. I was happy to see that it was working correctly on the library computers, so I'm hoping it's just me.

Always trying to figure out what I'm doing with this blogging thing. I want to do coupon matches for both Cub and Rainbow, but they take me so much time! I'm just a slow poke! So for this upcoming week, I'm going to focus on the best of the best. I'm only going to talk about the best deals at each of the stores I plan to shop at. And then I think I'm going to post about how I am making my grocery budget stretch by buying those products and preparing food for my family. That's the plan this week--always good to have a plan!

I'm feeling the need to stock up, to fill my freezer, to bake more. I'm going to make a plan for freezer meals before baby comes (see, I'm always planning). I'm also going to do a few projects with yeast (I'm scared of yeast)--pizza crust, pretzels, using a bread maker. I really enjoy talking about what's happening in my kitchen, so I want to do that more--in relation to the weekly deals.

I want to make the bloggin about my food/shopping planning for my family, so I can kill two birds with one stone! Think it will work? . . . there's potential.

So I guess I did have a few things to say--always do! Still trying to get my weekly posts under control--have you heard of bullet points Jen? Lists are good--just keep it short! or at least shorter, or not too long. I'm working on it! If you made it this far, thanks for reading. The writing makes we ready to regroup for another week!

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