Tuesday, December 29, 2009
With the impending (and then not-so-impending) sale of my house, the holidays, and just stay-at-home toddler raisin' in general, I haven't been able to blog as much as I'd like to. When I think of it...and by think of it, I mean look back at my post archives...my blogging frequency tapered off right about Rayna's one year birthday and her transition from two naps to one. Back in the good ol' days of two naps, the morning nap was my time to do computer stuff and blog. The second nap was my time to maybe scrape myself together, eat lunch, clean, etc. Now that there's only one nap the blog has taken the back burner.
And that's fine, really. I'm not someone who is going to plop my kid in front of a movie all morning so I can electronically hob-knob with blog friends. I do take pride in the fact that Rayna & I have really full days of playdates, meeting friends and family and other totally off-line activities. Yet why do I feel a lot of guilt about not squeezing in the time to write more here?
That was a rhetorical question, but really I have an answer. I feel guilty because I started my blog as one venture and it has meandered its way into something completely different. And I keep lamenting that "my blog really sucks" as a "deal" blog. This is where I need to be brutally honest with myself: I am not your sole source of deals, freebies and coupons (and if I am, then dear, you should think about expanding your horizons!) When I first started out I couldn't find another blogging soul who was posting Acme deals. Every weekend I would agonize over my need to get my Acme deals post up in & it took me hours and hours of my time. Then this summer I found Mindi's blog Moms Need to Know and not only was she putting up an Acme deals post every week days before I would, hers was way better than mine. So I fizzled out the Acme deals.
I guess I'm rambling on to level with you and myself that I am not a super "deal blogger". If you want a lot of really great posts about deals, freebies, coupons, etc. then start reading Money Saving Mom or Common Sense With Money, or like I mentioned for you Acme shoppers, Moms Need to Know (check the links on my Resources page). If you've read here for a while you also know that I'm not "super giveaway girl". I actually can't stand doing giveaways and reviews, but I'll do them once in a while if they are relevant to me.
So what am I? I'm a first-time, stay-at-home mom who loves to nab good deals & try to stretch our money as far as possible. I'm currently a girl on Weight Watchers, menu planning, trying out new recipes & trying to be overall "greener". I'm a Lost fanatic who could talk your ear off about theories and easter eggs for hours and hours. I'm constantly trying to scheme new ways to find more time to read, do cross-stitch (you can say it, dork!) and occasionally get out for happy hour with the girls. And all of that my friends is what you can expect to hear about on my blog. So be warned, you are going to hear a bit more from me about me in 2010.
And just by saying all that, I have released a lot of completely unnecessary weight off my shoulders. =)
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Anyway, the blog For the Mommas has a tentative list of the coupon insert schedules for 2010 (when the coupons will be in the newspaper). I find this helpful, as I don't have a newspaper subscription (I can't stand having the newspaper lying about the house, which is what inevitably happens) so I just buy the paper on Sundays.
In case you didn't know, there aren't coupon inserts on the weekends of holidays (Easter, Memorial Day, etc.) so you don't have to bother with getting the paper those days.
Click here to read the schedule over at For the Mommas.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
The website says this offer will end when 1 million coupons have been redeemed, so try to use your coupon soon so you don't miss it.
Friday, December 25, 2009
Merry Christmas to you!
I'm sending this from my phone at my family's little celebration. I hope you are spending this day with the ones you love!
Monday, December 21, 2009
Well recently someone from Save-a-Lot emailed me to let me know about their holiday dinner for four people for under $15 promotion and I wanted to pass it on to you.
For under $15 a family of four can eat a full holiday meal including a Sugardale ham, fresh sweet potatoes, Fresh Express salad, a Mrs. Smith's pie and a lot more! Click here to check out the deal on Save-a-Lot's website. Even if you aren't interested in the family meal deal, be sure to check out the $5 off a $20 purchase coupon on that same page!
This would be a great low-cost way to give a meal to a family in need, too!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Hill's Science Diet dog treats sample
Beech-Nut Starter Kit with coupons for free products
Breathe Right Extra 2 free strips
Free subscription to Baby Talk magazine
Get 2 Free issues of Family Circle magazine
Current samples from Walmart:
Pampers Extra Protection diapers
Huggies Little Movers diapers
Benefiber's new orange powder
Prilosec OTC heartburn medicine
This one requires a phone call, but is great for us "local" people: Turkey Hill is giving away a free 2010 calendar with coupons. Just call 1-800-693-2479
Eat Better America is also giving away a 2010 calendar also with coupons
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
When you make one batch of them, the mixing, chilling, shaping, baking and icing don't seem like much for the delicious finished result. But when you make 108+ of them, you realize that Pillsbury sugar log cookies could easily sub in for the actual cookie. So for those of you who want to save a serious amount of time but still want a lemon cookie, I say, skip the whole recipe down to the icing and use whatever sugar/butter cookie you want. No one will know!
And why does this lemon cookie "work for me" today you ask? Because I won both prizes for 'best taste' & 'best presentation' I'm so proud! :D Here's a pic of our little spread, let's see if you can spot my lemon cookie(s):
And without further ado, here is the recipe, courtesy of Real Simple:
Glazed Lemon Cookies
Makes 48 cookies
Hands-On Time: 20m
Total Time: 1hr 45m
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, plus more if necessary
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
With an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. Add the egg yolks, vanilla, and salt and beat to combine. Gradually add the flour, mixing until just incorporated.
Divide the dough in half and shape into 1 1/4-inch-diameter logs. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 350° F. Slice the logs into 3/8-inch-thick pieces and space them 1 1/2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until lightly golden, 16 to 20 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.
In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners' sugar, lemon juice, and zest until it forms a thick but pourable glaze (add more lemon juice if necessary). Dip the top of each cookie into the glaze and let set, about 15 minutes.
Note: I rarely have been able to make a log and just slice these. I usually have such crumbly dough that I have to make a ball, chill it and then shape them. Does anyone know the science of this? Butter too cold or something?
Anyway, they actually do work for me ;o) check out the other cool stuff on Works for Me Wednesday!
Monday, December 14, 2009
For more on Angel Food you can visit their website here. Personally, I think that Angel Food looks like a viable option for many families. The price is definitely reasonable, and they are able to pass on savings to the community through their bulk buying power. What looks especially appealing to me are the "add-on" packages that can be added on to the monthly Angel Food box. There is a produce add-on package that costs $22 additionally and would really round out the package. Click here to check out what is in this month's box and the add-on packages.
Since I had never heard of Angel Food before, I did a little bit of research and apparently this charity is not without controversy. I am not judging the charity founders, but it appears that there are some high salaries & kick-backs going on, which is distracting to the actual mission of the charity. I am not so sure what my opinion is on all of that, especially as I don't know enough of the goings-on to make any kind of judgment, but I did just feel that I had to mention it. You know I like to read the blog The Simple Dollar and Trent has written a very thorough overview of Angel Food Ministries, the ethics of using this service and the business aspect as well. I recommend reading it if you would like to know more.
My bottom line is, I think this is a great idea for many families to pick up lower cost food options in a convenient manner. The distribution is once a month and seems to be pretty hassle free. While I think the Angel Food boxes are a great deal, I personally am not going to use this ministry as I really try to control what my family eats (the quality of Rayna's food in particular, and lately with me currently doing Weight Watchers). Using sales, menu planning and coupons, I am pretty happy with my current grocery spending.
If you have any thoughts or have used this service before, I'd love to hear them in the comments!
I did pretty well at my weigh-in last week (down 1.8 lbs) but I'm not so sure I'm going to be so successful this week ;o) I had dinner out with a friend, a cookie-swap & an impromptu dinner at Don Pablo's Saturday night. Why is it so hard to order 'healthy' Mexican food?? Also, I have to say, from my menu plan last week the Chicken & Macaroni crock-pot recipe for Friday was a bummer. I learned that if you leave elbow noodles in a crockpot for 6 hours they will completely disintegrate into a pastey goo. Who knew?!
So this week I'm trying some new stuff. If the magazine recipe turns out well, maybe I'll post it up =) Here goes:
Monday- The new January issue of Family Circle has a recipe for Unstuffed Cabbage and I figured the points out to be 5 pts. per serving without counting sides. I also just found the recipe online for you, here.
Tuesday- Another FC recipe for the month is Oriental Glazed Chicken, also 5 pts. not counting rice but including the cabbage slaw.
Wednesday- Healthified Mexican Pasta Skillet (7 pts.)
Friday- Linguine with Red Clam Sauce (this is just the canned kind; its only 2 pts. per serving for the sauce)
Sunday- I have shrimp in the freezer that I don't know what to do with, but I've been wanting to make a "different" pizza (maybe shrimp and spinach?). I found this recipe for Whole Wheat Pizza Dough that you can make up and keep in the freezer; I think I'm going to make the two the recipe yields, only use one and then freeze the other crust for another time. I put the recipe into the WW Recipe Builder and the points (using 2 cups of whole wheat flour, not 3) makes 2 crusts at 11 pts. each. Then you can figure out how much of the crust you are going to eat and divide the points.
Be sure to check out the other menus over at Menu Plan Monday!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
This is a really quick little tip for you. I picked this up from a magazine a while back and it definitely saves time in the morning (or if you are organized, night) when making lunches.
All you have to do is get a container that holds all of the stuff you use to make sandwiches, and keep those items in it. Then you only have to make one trip to the fridge. :) And I know what you're thinking, Bay's sandwiches are lame. Please. Marc is just grateful to have a lunch. :D
Check out the other tips on Works for me Wednesday!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Monday- Thin sliced porkchops with shake & bake - 3 pts. for 4oz.
Tuesday- My old standby Springtime Pasta (I really do eat this almost every other week I think) It makes 6 servings at 6-7 points each (depending on which garlic & herb cheese spread you use)
Wednesday- The first Meatloaf recipe mentioned here except I use half ground turkey and half beef, eliminate the brown sugar and it's only 3 pts. per serving (6 servings)
Thursday- I'm going out to dinner with a friend (woohoo!) so Marc will be eating Springtime Pasta leftovers =)
Friday- Creamy Chicken & Mushrooms Macaroni casserole (While you are there, there are tons of great recipes on her site) 5 pts. per 1 cup serving
Sunday- Bruschetta Chicken Bake (another old standby ;o) 6 pts.
Be sure to check out the other menu plans over at Menu Plan Monday!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Tomorrow December 3rd from 4-7 PM I will be at Red, White & Brew in Mt. Holly, NJ as a vendor for their Girls' Night Out shopping event. Since I am a Couponizer Coach, I will be there selling The Couponizer, which makes a great gift--perfect for the eventual $20 white elephant exchange ;o)
Red, White & Brew is a really cool shop in historic downtown Mt. Holly that is a boutique wine, beer & spirits shop. I just stopped in today and they have a great selection of little-known wines that are very affordable (which would also make great gifts!).
There will be a variety of women/mom-preneurs available to shop from (which I don't even have to say is so much better than shopping at mass retailers). So if you are in the area, please stop by & check us out!
Monday, November 30, 2009
I know that I've mentioned Ebates before in the past, but I just thought I'd point it out to any new readers.
If you are going to make *any* online purchases, I highly recommend going through Ebates. You will get a % of your purchase back in cash (a check is mailed every few months). This is like free money! The best part is you can still use your coupon codes. Just scope out a coupon code you want to use (or if you don't have any, Ebates will suggest some), sign up or login to your Ebates account, click the link to the store you want to shop in and then proceed as usual! Ebates will give you credit for the purchase just by clicking through their link.
If you click here and sign up, we both get $5 (thanks!) & last year when I signed up Ebates also sent me a bonus $5 gift card to Target out of nowhere in the regular mail as a thank you for signing up. I don't know if they still do that, but I was just so amazed how easy & rewarding it has been for me to use Ebates.
Also, don't forget to check out Retail Me Not for any coupon codes that might help you in your online shopping!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
My house isn't sold. This is the second time we have had our buyer fall through shortly before closing. And honestly, it sucks.
It would be one thing if we just didn't have any interest on our house, but instead we get showings galore, people who "love" the place and a couple of first-time homebuyer single guys that think they want to buy a 100+ year old house. Instead my hopes get up, I waste tons of time and energy and it is pretty much for nothing.
I'm complaining and yet I'm also not, because today is the day before Thanksgiving. I am SO thankful to have a house. A safe, (relatively)warm house for my family that, as much as I complain about it, is actually very nice. I'm thankful for my awesome family and friends and for the health of us all.
Recently, I posted about how I went to NYC for the Aiming Low event. Aiming Low's founder, Anissa Mayhew (one of the "bloggy rockstars" I mentioned) was just recently struck down with two debilitating strokes. I have been broken hearted that the amazing, vibrant woman whose funny words I love reading & I had the pleasure to meet in person just weeks ago is in the hospital just fighting to be able to open her eyes.
If that doesn't put things in perspective for a whiner like me, I don't know what will. I have been touched and amazed at the outpouring of support for Anissa & I would be totally remiss if I didn't point my readers in her way so that you can add your prayers to the thousands who are believing for a miracle.
Anissa's husband Peter is posting updates on her recovery at Anissa's old blog Hope 4 Peyton. (And why is it called Hope for Peyton? Because Anissa started that blog to chronicle their family's struggle with her daughter Peyton's recovery through childhood cancer) If you are so inclined, please consider donating to the family who clearly have a long road ahead of them. Here is a link to information about a PO box being set up and here is the link to a button if you would like to donate via Paypal (I can't get the button to work right here on my site). I'm sure that no amount is too small; imagine if everyone gave $5, how quickly that would add up!
And while you're at it, if you're on twitter why not follow Anissa's 'celebrity' crush Ralph Macchio & tell him that Anissa sent you ;o)
Friday, November 20, 2009
Lately at least. I wanted to give a little update as to why I have been so bloggy absent. As you are probably already aware, we are in the process of selling our house & this time it looks like we might really be closing sometime in the very near future. This has had me in the tailspin of packing, cleaning, vacating the house with kid and dog in tow, etc.
And now I'm sick. Blah. The past couple of nights I haven't been feeling so hot (actually, that's wrong as I've been fever-y and definitely hot) and I think I've finally deduced that I have strep throat. The enormously swollen tonsils with white patches (ew, sorry!) were what gave it away.
So now I'm on some strong antibiotics, but the packing and frenzied moving activities are still continuing (hopefully! Keep praying! I know the market is bad, but really? It is just so much harder to sell your darn house these days).
I should be back into the swing of things soon.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Well you already know I'm always behind on my blog posts, but I just had to put this up...eventually! Two weeks ago (actually it was the same day as my Mrs. G's blogger event with Electrolux) I went all the way up to NYC for a super-fun event hosted by Aiming Low & Hp.
Since I normally don't travel 10 miles outside of "my zone" I had to drag one of my dear girlfriends to come with me. It was quite an adventure for me and Blaire since this involved actually taking mass transit. On our train was a costumed (I hope) guy dressed completely as Christian Bale in American Psycho: full business suit, clear poncho *covered* in blood (his face was also covered), and he was carrying a briefcase and some type of weapon (was it a chainsaw or an axe? We couldn't really tell). Anyway, since Halloween was quite a few days away we were a little extra spooked about the dangers of NYC!
We made it off the train and hopped in a cab to the hotel. While we were there, we got some free food, free drinks, met some really cool people 'in real life' & ogled products from Hp, in that order. Here's me and Blaire at our table (You already know I take horrible pictures, but the horrible-ness of these is because they are from my phone)
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Recently I bought the Jessica Seinfeld cookbook "Deceptively Delicious". I bought this because as a toddler, naturally, Rayna wants to eat ZERO vegetables. Since you make veggie purees to mix into the recipes, I was left with a *ton* of purees and I want to only make one or two of these recipes at a time to start with. Most of the recipes call for either 1/4 or 1/2 cup of puree, so I froze some of the purees in 1/4 cup pieces by measuring out 1/4 cup of puree into a lightly sprayed muffin tin:
For more tips on saving time in the holiday season, check out Works for Me Wednesday!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Last year I wrote a blog post about ways to give back a little during the holidays. It was also the first time I had heard about Operation Christmas Child and I made two shoeboxes using a lot of the excess items that I get for free by 'working the deals.'
- Toothpaste & a toothbrush
- A coloring book and pack of crayons
- A small wooden game
- A pair of sunglasses
- The ubiquitous Johnson's Buddies soap (click the link there if you don't know why they are so popular; you can almost always get them for free!)
- A baggie of lollipops
- A pair of flip-flops
Monday, November 2, 2009
This past Wednesday I was able to attend a lovely event for local bloggers being held at Mrs. G TV & Appliances in Lawrenceville, NJ. I was invited by my twitter-friend Hilary Morris, the author of Mrs. Mo's New Jersey blog, whom I actually had the pleasure of meeting a little while ago at another NJ-blogger event. Hilary is the "assistant coach" of the Mrs. G "Very Important Blogger" series--a series that Mrs. G CEO Debbie Schaeffer put together to educate us bloggers on a variety of topics and products. The event was eye-opening for me in a bunch of ways, as I was able to confirm that I am completely behind the times in household technology!
Being the epitome of a "mommy-blogger", I could only make this particular date and time if I could bring Rayna along, so the two of us got in the car and made our way to Mrs. G's in the rain. After a rocky drive (my little ol' Toyota does *not* handle in the rain and I decided to trust my gps instead of my sense of direction) we made it a little late to the event. But better late than never right?!
Even though I could talk about laundry forever, the group was ready to move on to the Electrolux cooking appliances. Let me just say that the Mrs. G showroom is gorgeous, and the kitchen appliances are set up in little designer kitchen "vignettes" that will inspire you (read: make you wish you had them). The Electrolux Icon series was fabulous. Check out the convection oven about to cook our lunch:
Electrolux rep and chef Leigh Donadieu made us salmon, brussel sprouts with pancetta, tomato bisque and chocolate fondue (don't be jealous) using the convection oven and an induction stove. Here she is explaining the convection oven:
I can at least say that I have heard of a convection oven. If you aren't familiar, it uses air to cook your food much faster than the standard oven that uses only a heating element. What is the benefit to you? Not only does your food cook faster, but the food cooks more evenly. Have you ever tried baking 3 sheets of cookies at one time? No, because you know the cookies on the bottom rack would be burnt to a crisp while the others vary in done-ness. The convection oven will cook those 3 sheets evenly. As a side note, Leigh cooked the salmon and the brussel sprouts in the same oven and the veggies did not taste like fish!
If you asked me, I would have just thought this was a regular electric stove. I have always used gas, so that is what I prefer, but the safety issue with a gas stove and a toddler is ridiculous. I am militant about kitchen safety, but with gas leaks, fires starting, etc. this nervous mama always fears the worst. This is where I almost flipped out: Induction technology uses the power of magnetism to cook your food. Unless your pot is on the stove, the burner doesn't get hot. Joe picked up the pot and put his hand on the burner. Nothing! Imagine you had half of a frying pan on the induction top. You could cook on egg in the half-pan and on the other half of the same burner have a raw egg. I was just blown away. Did you even know about induction cooking? Leigh said that Electrolux also carries a combination electric and induction cooktop, but that once people start cooking with induction, they wish they had just gone 100%.
The Electrolux refrigerator was our last stop. Here is Joe showing us the fridge (and the awesome bottom drawer that holds 3 cases of soda):
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
As usual, I have been busy-busy lately and I've been wanting to catch up on a few posts that I just need to blog about. So here is the first! The winner of the "If Your Kid Eats This Book..." giveaway is....Sarah!
Congratulations Sarah =) You should have an email from me, if you didn't receive it then please let me know.
Thanks to everyone who entered!
Friday, October 30, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Queen Mother Blog is now 1 year old! The actual birthday was two days ago...yeah, I know...I'm such a slacker I missed my own blog-iversary!
Looking back over the last year, I'm pretty happy. Since my first post, I have set out to try to encourage and help my family and friends (both "real life" and the new, online ones) to get started saving money while passing along my random rantings, recipes and whatever else passes through my head and I have enough time to write about.
And the time! I knew that a blog takes a lot of time, but I didn't realize just how hard it would be to carve out that time. When I started blogging, Rayna was about 6 months old and still took two naps. I would work on the blog during the morning nap and then in the afternoon nap try to accomplish everything else I needed to. Since she went down to napping only once a day, my blog gets pushed aside a little (especially times like this; attempting to sell my house is a crazy time-sucker!).
But...I still love it. Thanks so much to anyone who reads my blog. I love, love, love you all and hope you stay tuned to another year of me! ;o)
Friday, October 16, 2009
That darn Nor'easter here in Jersey is raining out my plans to go pumpkin picking this weekend. :( But I wanted to pass along a great website to find pumpkin patches in your area. Visit PumpkinPatchesandMore.org and you can search for family-friendly farms offering corn mazes, pumpkins, etc.
Just wanted to pass this along as I found a few places that I had never known about before :)
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Coupon is one per customer and according to Money Saving Mom, is probably only available for a very limited time!
I have tried the frozen purees, cereals, bites and puffs from HappyBaby and Rayna has enjoyed almost all of them (except for the Gobble Gobble which she flat out refused). Can't wait to use this coupon on some cereal!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
-Become a "loyal subject" and follow my blog
-Subscribe to my blog by email or feedreader
-Add my button to your site (leave your link!) - 5 extra entries!
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-Tweet about this giveaway by posting: Check out and enter the "If Your Kid Eats This Book" giveaway @queenmotherblog http://bit.ly/kidseatbook Gr8 resource for new parents! - 1 entry per tweet!
Friday, October 9, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
This week at We are THAT family the Works for Me Wednesday posts are themed with cleaning tips. This makes me very happy, because I love cleaning tips. Who isn't looking for ways to get done with cleaning faster? When I first started reading WFMW was when I learned the whole "microwave a bowl of water" trick to loosen the grime in the microwave and make cleaning easier. Later on I tell my mom my newly-gleaned nugget of wisdom for microwave cleaning, she says 'oh yeah, of course.' Well maybe the world knew that, but I didn't.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Since it's the 1st of a new month, the printable coupon sites have restocked their coupons! Be sure to print yours before the best ones are gone (each coupon has a print limit, and once they reach that limit, they're gone!). Click each one to go to their site.
Coupons.com - The $0.75 off cereal coupons are great, because at Acme they double to $1.50 off 1 box!
UPromise coupons (I really need to start using these! They don't come off your total purchase price, but go automatically into your UPromise account, so it is like free money that you get even using your other coupons)
Print away and Happy October!
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I love to save plastic grocery bags and reuse them for little trash liners, lunch bags for hubby (he eats a pretty big lunch, lol) and of course, for dog poop disposal. A long time ago my mom taught me to keep the plastic bags in an empty tissue box. I love that, because then you aren't spending $10+ at Bed, Bath and Beyond for a bag holder and you give something a new life.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Labels: random bay
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
This week at Staples HP Multipurpose paper is $4.99 with a $3.99 rebate, making the final price $1 a ream! This offer is limit 2. I use up a bunch of paper printing coupons ;) so I was just about out of paper when I saw this in the circular. I went yesterday and picked up 2 reams and the rebate process is very easy. "Easy" is their motto after all! The rebate receipt will print with instructions on how to submit online (like RiteAid) and it only takes a few seconds.
Click here to check out the Staples weekly ad.