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Life is good, I take it for granted too often. I have a fabulous, supportive husband and a beautiful son who is always teaching me the simplicity of life. My day is made when samples fill my mailbox. I love discovering a new product and sharing it with others. I'm addicted to coupons and every penny counts. I hope you will enjoy reading my posts and will share your success stories with me as well.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

CVS Deals Week of October 4-10

It's been a couple weeks since I made a CVS trip and there were a couple of great deals this week and coupons I needed to use so I made the trip.  I should have split this transaction into two but the cashier was a grumpy little man and I didn't want to make his day any more complicated.

My total out of pocket was $30.23, I saved $33.53 and I received $12 back in ECB's to be used on my next purchase.  The Tide laundry detergent (100 oz) came to be just $6.94 after a coupon and ECB's.  The deodorant was free after a coupon and ECB's.  The body wash was $2 each after coupons and ECB's.   The lotion was a little pricey at $4.39 each after coupons and ECB's.  But normally priced at $8.79 and with the dry winter season right around the corner, I needed to stock up!  And the makeup was the most expensive at $6.29 after coupons.  I was almost completely out of powder so that was a necessity.

Homemade Whipped Body Butter

I made my first batch of homemade whipped body butter.  I can't believe I just said that.  I feel like a character off Little House on the Prairie!  Except they wouldn't have owned an electric mixer.

I have recently joined a group that will send you products for $1 or less in exchange for writing a review.  You can learn more clicking here. You need to be an Amazon Prime member in order to join.  

I received my first pound of organic raw unrefined shea butter earlier this week.  At first I was like what the heck am I going to do with this?  But after googling several uses for it, I thought making the body butter would be a fun experiment.  And surprisingly the body butter turned out fabulous and both Bradley and I love how soft it makes our skin.  Mike is not a fan of lavender but you can change the scent to whatever you prefer.

1/4 cup raw shea butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup almond oil
20 drops essential oil of your choice (I used lavender)

Measure out all ingredients into mixing bowl.  Use the whisk attachment and whip for 5 minutes.  Store in container or jar and use as often as you like.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Personalized Book from Hallmark Review & Giveaway!

Anybody that knows Bradley knows that he loves books.  We will check out 15 books at the library, go home and have all 15 books read in an hour.  Children's books are my weakness at the local bookstore.  We feel like we hit jackpot when we score books at yard sales.  You can never have too many books!  

I was so excited to have this opportunity from Hallmark to review their personalized children's book.  And you also have a chance to win a personalized children's book thanks to Hallmark's generosity! 

We have been online shopping so much for baby girl recently that Bradley just assumes that every package delivered to the house is for his sister.  He was so happy to know that a package came in the mail just for him!  He's just now getting into superheros so to see a Batman book with his own name on the cover just made his day!

These personalized books are so easy to order.  Click here to see all the books Hallmark offers.  Personalizing the book is super simple.  Just type in your child's name, who the book is from, click on the the child's hair, eye, skin color, and hair type and then you're done!  It took me longer to figure out what book I wanted to choose....they have so many great options!  The books are very well made, hardcover with beautiful glossy pages that have vibrant colors.  The shipping time was very impressive.  I had the book in less than a week!  These books can make fabulous Christmas presents!

Would you like a chance to win one of these books?  Take a minute to visit Hallmark's website, pick out the book you would want and leave me a comment with the title of the book.  One winner will be chosen on Friday, October 16th to win a free personalized book with free shipping!  Giveaway ends at midnight on Thursday, October 15th.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Our First Homemade Tomato Sauce Experience

One of our friends gave us a bag of tomatoes last week from her garden.  I don't eat just plain tomatoes (and Mike can't eat all of these) so I knew I would be making these into sauce.  But I've never done it before and I didn't watch my Mom can tomatoes enough to remember how she did it.  So I googled a couple different ways to do it and then Bradley and I combined a couple of the ways and came up with our own.  It worked.  And we had fun.  We made one little jar of tomato sauce!  I never knew how many tomatoes it takes to make sauce!!

A bowl of bright red gorgeous tomatoes!

After washing the tomatoes, I dropped them in boiling water for about 2 minutes.  Just long enough for the skin to crack.  

Then we placed the tomatoes in ice water which helped the skins peel off easily.  Bradley was such a big helper peeling the tomatoes!

After they were peeled, we just used a potato masher (it didn't work that well) to mash the tomatoes.  I ended up just using my hands at the end.

 After the tomatoes were smashed, we strained the juice and I forgot to take a picture of all the seeds.  There were hundreds of seeds which made straining the juice difficult.

I simmered the juice on low for 4 hours until it thickened into sauce.

And Bradley now has his first jar of homemade tomato sauce!  

Monday, October 5, 2015

Our Weekend Recap

I almost feel bad about posting pictures of our weekend when my friends in SC were having major flooding and awful weather.  I'm so glad they are all safe and I'm sure they will really appreciate the sunshine in a whole new way this week!

This weekend was full of using Groupons, coupons and gift cards.  I also started my low carb diet for my gestational diabetes and it was hard.  I had no idea how many carbs were in some of my favorite foods!  Logging everything down, timing our day around pricking my finger and checking my blood sugar, and having to say no to certain foods was more difficult than I thought it would be.  By the end of Sunday night, I was in tears and feeling frustrated.  The verse "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength" came to me this morning and I'm going to post it on my fridge this morning.  I know with God's help, I can get through these next 13 weeks.

We started off Saturday morning with going to The Victoria Mansion with a Groupon I had purchased several months ago.  The guided tour was just 45 minutes and I was so proud of the way Bradley behaved.  He only touched one thing (and only Mike saw it) and stood so patiently and listened to the tour guide.  Everyone was impressed that this 4 year old little boy was so good!  Touring the Victoria Mansion was really fun and I was impressed with the painting and woodwork that was in the mansion.  The only sad part was cameras were not allowed inside the house so I can't share any of the beauty with you.  After our tour we had lunch at Old Port Sandwich Shop using another Groupon.  This was our first time to this little sandwich shop and the sandwiches were delicious.  We had a $10 Sports Authority coupon that had to be used on Saturday so Bradley found himself a winter hat he's very excited about wearing.  We watched some football on Saturday afternoon and then headed to some friends house for supper on Saturday night.  It was a very fun and relaxing night!
Bradley and me in front of The Victoria Mansion

 This was such a gorgeous mansion!  I just wish you could all see pictures of the inside.
Eating lunch at Old Port Sandwich Shop.  Watching them drink sodas in front of me was harder than I thought it would be.  Everyone knows cream soda goes perfectly with a sandwich!  And Bradley was being goofy and refused to show his face for the picture.

We went to church on Sunday morning and had a great service.  We are feeling more at home at this new church and excited about joining a small group and getting to know more people.  I had a Panera Bread gift card so we ate lunch there after church.  I also had $25 in coupons and Kohls rewards so we headed there to buy Bradley a heated mattress cover for his bed.  He told us he stayed very warm in his bed last night.  Our upstairs heat doesn't work right now so it was a little nippy at 62 degrees.  We came home long enough for me to check my blood sugar and Mike to load up our bikes and then we headed to The Eastern Trail.  I only lasted 30 minutes bike riding but it was nice to get some fresh air and exercise.  Sunday night consisted of laundry and watching some old reruns of Dr. Quinn.

 My little buddy loves Panera Bread as much as I do!

 Bradley insisted on helping Daddy carry the bag.
Mike told Bradley to stay right by the car while he unloaded the bikes and this is the pose Bradley comes up with.  The little guy is a hoot!

We saw a seal for about 8 seconds but it wasn't enough time for me to grab a picture.

 The four of us!

 So many beautiful spots on The Eastern Trail!

 Selfie time with my hot husband!

 This is such a relaxing and peaceful trail to ride.

Bradley loved riding in the woods.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dresser and Picture Makeover

So I might be a newbie at refinishing furniture but after completing 3 projects, I'm ready to have my own HGTV show!  I'm realizing this might just become a new hobby for me and it will keep me busy this winter...if caring for a newborn isn't busy enough.

We found this $5 dresser at a yard sale earlier this month and I had Mike double check it to make sure it was something that would actually last and not fall apart.  There's nothing fancy about it.  But we needed a dresser for the baby and I knew with some TLC, it would work. 

 The before look.  Mike had to reinforce a couple of the drawers but we used some leftover wood laying around. A secret to making drawers slide in and out smoothly is to rub bar soap on the edges of the drawer.  Works like a charm every time!

Sanding is finished, now to start painting!

 Painting is finished, now to dry!

I bought the drawer knobs off Ebay and they match perfectly with the wall paint color!

I grew up with this picture in my room.  My room colors were peach and blue (not my choice) so just imagine this picture in a bright peach frame.  I forgot to take a picture of the before frame.  It was pretty hideous but apparently those colors were trendy 25 years ago, or at least that's what Mom always said.  I took this picture to Michaels and they selected a new mat for the picture and I painted the frame white. 

I had a hard time capturing the picture because of the glare coming thru the window and off the ceiling light.  This was the best shot I could get.  But I'm so happy with the way it turned out and I think it's pretty cool that our baby girl will grow up with the same picture that I grew up with...just updated colors!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Rocking Chair Makeover and Bradley's Trip to Build a Bear

We bought a rocking chair at a yard sale a couple weeks ago.  We had to ignore the disgusting Yankee logo and see the potential in the chair without the logo.  I knew it would be perfect for baby girl's nursery once it was sanded and repainted.  And for $5 I couldn't pass it up.  I'm so happy with the way it turned out!  

 The chair before the makeover.

 He helped wash the chair after I finished sanding it down.

 I LOVE how it turned out!

Then we took Bradley to Build a Bear so he could pick out a stuffed animal for his sister.  He chose a rabbit which will go perfect in the room (details later) and he was absolutely adorable showing so much love stuffing the bunny and getting her ready for his new baby sister.  He's seriously going to make the best big brother!

 He's warming the little heart in his hands before it goes into the bear.

Giving the heart a sweet kiss!

The bunny now has a heart.
Seeing him kiss the bunny was so sweet!
 Making sure the bunny is all clean before she goes home.

 He wanted the bunny to "talk" to baby sister.

 What a sweetheart!