Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fall Wreath

     Fall is finally here! The cool fresh air is so refreshing and is making me super excited for the up coming holiday season! I decided to use a neutral pallet for the wreath and use a grape vine base. I mixed together a glaze of brown, black, and silver paint, water, and glue and used a sponge paintbrush to coat the drab brown vines. I didn't want anything too over the top, but I wanted to make the vines more than they were. Then I spent the next hour watching Youtube videos on how to make burlap rosettes. I tried and tried and finally gave up. My burlap kept fraying and pulling apart every time I twisted it around to make a petite and round rosette. So, I decided to just go with the flow and twist the burlap, use lots of hot glue, and make some puffy roses. They turned out okay, but if I was to do it again, I would have bought muslin and used muslin instead of burlap! I then decorated the roses with pearls gluing them down with hot glue. I then moved on to the numbers. I first painted the wood numbers with black paint. Then I went over the black with a watered down white pearl paint. After they were dry I hot glued on some pearls. I let everything dry overnight before assembling.
     The next morning, my son and I put everything together. Yes, I let my two year old help decide where the roses and numbers were going to be placed. I let him put the number five on, that is why it a little crooked but it looks perfect to me! 


Update: I just hung my wreath for this fall, 2013, and it is still looking great!

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Stress Free Coupon Shopping

     I used to be a coupon shopper with a big binder filled with coupons that took up the entire child's seat in the grocery cart. I used to spend my days hunting for deals, clipping coupons, and planning my outings. It was extremely time consuming especially at first. Then I had my son. Motherhood set in and my days were filled with burp clothes and snuggles with my new baby. I still clipped coupons, but no longer had the full drive to seek out deals. After a year of trying to figure out what worked best for me as a mother and couponer I have decided to skip the binder, skip the inserts, and just order the already clipped coupons that I need. Yes, I might miss a deal or two by not having all the coupons on hand, but it maintains my sanity and saves me a ton of time. It takes about 10 minutes to read through the sales ad from top to bottom and decide what is a good enough deal for me to order coupons for and what isn't. Then I order my coupons which takes another 5-10 minutes. The coupons then arrive in the mail about 3-4 days later leaving me with 3-4 days to shop the grocery store's sales ad.  Once I have the coupons I go to the grocery store and use that as my grocery list and only buy what I have a coupon for. I spend about 20 minutes in the grocery store picking up the items and going through check out. Easy peezy lemon squeezy!
     I no longer clip coupons, stress about deals, and worry about filling my stockpile. Now I order clipped coupons from a clipping website, the day the sales ad starts at my local grocery store, for all the items I plan to buy that week that are on sale. I order my coupons from CouponDede and so far I am pleased with the service. I have ordered from one other place before and they take longer. I only buy items that are both on sale and have a coupon (not including fresh items like milk and veggies). I also only buy items that we will actually use. Just because it is free doesn't mean that you need it and just because there is a coupon for the item doesn't mean that it is a good deal.
     Each grocery store has their own set of coupon rules. I only grocery shop at Harris Teeter and Costco. I buy my fresh items at Costco and I buy almost everything else at Harris Teeter. Paired with the right sales and coupons I can get a majority of grocery needs for more than 50% off the original price. I use SouthernSavers to view coupon matchups for Harris Teeter. After I see what is on sale for the week and what has a coupon to pair with it then I order the coupons I need for the week. I order the coupons Wednesday and they arrive to my house by Saturday. That gives me Saturday through Tuesday to use the coupons before the sales end.
     This week is Super Doubles Coupon week at Harris Teeter where all coupons $2 and under get doubled. I ordered my coupons this past Wednesday with the knowledge that most Couponers would be at Harris Teeter clearing the shelves at 7am Wednesday morning. I went shopping on Sunday after the shelves were restocked and picked up only what I had coupons for. Harris Teeter's coupon policy states 20 coupons per day max get doubled and you can use 3 like coupons in one shopping trip so I make sure to get exactly what the rules state with each shopping trip so there is no drama at the check out line.

Here is what I got yesterday:


4 Lysol Bathroom Cleaner $4.55 each : On sale BOGO rings up at $2.27 each
Used: (2) $1/2 Lysol coupon 

6 Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner $2.75 each : On sale BOGO rings up at $1.37 each
Used: (3) $1/2 Lysol Toilet Bowl coupons

8 Nissan Noodle Cups $0.59 each : On sale BOGO rings up at $0.26 each
Used: (2) $1/4 Nissan Noodle coupons

3 Ken's Dressing $3.45 each : On sale BOGO rings up at $1.72
Used: (3) $1/1 Ken's Dressing coupons

3 Dawn Dish Soap on sale for $0.99 each
Used: (3) $0.50/1 Dawn coupons which

6 Honey Bunches of Oats $ 3.55 : On sale BOGO rings up at $1.77 each
Used: (3) $1/2 Honey Bunches of Oats coupons

3 Welch's Juice on sale $2
Used: (3) $0.75/1 Welch's coupons

My total BEFORE coupons and sales was: $84.21
My total AFTER sales and my coupons doubling was: $14.98 (with tax)

Back in my crazy couponing days I would NOT have thought that spending $15 at Harris Teeter was a good deal. I strived to get as close to $0 as I possibly could. If I walked out with a cart full of groceries for $0.10 than I was happy. Now I am happy just to spend less than $1 on a box of cereal. Some items were free (the dressing, soap, and noodle bowls) and other items were cheap enough that I would rather pay $0.37 for toilet bowl cleaner than the original sticker price. Overall, I am happy with my new way of coupon shopping. No more wasted hours clipping coupons and it is completely stress free! :)

Do you all have any questions? If so, ask away!