About Me

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Life is beautiful whether you're soaking in sunshine or caught in a thunderstorm. I take the beauty of life for granted too often. I have a supportive husband who I don't want to live life without, a beautiful son who is always reminding me of the simple things that really matter, and an independent daughter who is teaching me to throw schedules out the window and live in the moment. My day is made when free samples fill my mailbox. I love discovering a new product and sharing it with others. I hope you will enjoy reading my posts and will share your stories with me as well.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Walgreens Trip - Spent $9.12 and saved $16.15

I spent $9.12 at Walgreens this week and saved $16.15. I also received $4 in Register Rewards to be used on my next shopping trip. 

Best deal were the hairbands on sale 2/$3 with $3 back in Register Rewards making these FREE!.  The Huggies wipes came up on sale for $1.15 (unadvertised on the shelf) and I had 50 cents manufacturer's coupon and $1 Walgreens coupon so the wipes came out to be FREE also!  Butterball Chicken broth was 2/$1 with in-ad coupon.  Bounty Paper Towels were on sale for $5.49 with $1 back in Register Rewards.  I also used $1 manufacturer's coupon to make my final cost $4.49 for a 6-pack. 

My biggest expense on this trip were the breast milk freezer storage bags.  They were $6.99 and I used $2 Walgreens coupon to make final cost $4.99 for 25 bags.  I'm thinking it might just be cheaper to use Ziploc freezer bags for storing breast milk.  Any ideas from those who have stored breast milk in the freezer before?

Did you find any great deals at Walgreens this week?  Feel free to add the link to your blog in the comments section!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

10% off your next order at Shutterfly

 Use code DPSU-EVJW-RRXS-V8SXR9 to receive 10% off your next order at Shutterfly.com
This code expires on August 31, 2011 and is only valid for one-time redemption per member per household.  Taxes, shipping, and handling will apply.

I used Shutterfly for Bradley's birth announcements and for thank you cards for Ty's birthday party.  They did an excellent job!

Just Another Day in Paradise

One of three laundry baskets in our house

Ok, so I'm not a huge country music fan but the song Just Another Day in Paradise by Phil Vassar was in my mind all day yesterday.  I could go on and on about everything that didn't go as planned yesterday but the biggest problem was my dryer went out.  You know the lint dryer vent that is supposed to be cleaned out like every other load?  I guess it would help if I actually remembered that step and didn't break the heating element every 6 months.  I remembered as I went to pull out the damp clothes from the dryer and realized they didn't dry.  You don't even want to know how thick the lint was in that dryer vent.  So until my wonderful husband can fix it, looks like my laundry will be piling up...very quickly!
What my laundry room looks like now.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Melissa & Doug Toys as low as $7.99

Zulily.com has some great sales on Melissa & Doug Toys and up to 75% off Book Boutique.  You can get the Melissa & Doug Alphabet Nesting and Stacking Blocks for only $7.99, originally $12.00.  You can get the Nursery Rhyme Board Book Box Set for only $7.99, originally $20.00. Check out all their other great items here.

These items are selling quickly, the one item I had my eye on sold within an hour. 

Use code FAMILY10 for an additional 10% off your order!

Quotes from Foster Children

Most of you know that I'm a huge advocate for foster parenting.  I've been a foster parent for almost 7 years and I can honestly say I wouldn't of lived my life any other way.  All 22 children that have come into our home have blessed me and taught me more about life than anyone else. 

I went to our monthly foster parent meeting last night and wanted to share some quotes I read from children that have been in the foster care system.  Read these quotes and think about how you might be able to help a child in the foster care system even if you can't be a foster parent yourself.  These children need us and need to know that their community cares about them.

“We are normal kids in abnormal circumstances.” Former foster youth, Maine

“They were like, ‘You’re 16. You’re going to go off to college in a couple of years, why do you want a family?’ It’s about my entire life, it’s not just about my childhood. I want to know that I’m going to have a place to come home to during Christmas breaks. I want to know that I’m going to have a dad to walk me down the aisle. That I’m going to have grandparent for my children.”  MARY, Former foster youth, Tennessee

“I don’t think they (people) understand how it feels not being able to say mom and dad. … (G)oing through foster care, you don’t get to say that, you know, that often. And if you do trust somebody enough to say that, who knows how long they’ll stick around.”
Former foster youth, Iowa

“I felt like, you know, parents were torn away from us but it was even more hurtful for me to be torn away from my brothers and sisters. It wasn’t my fault or their fault. It was out of our control. And we shouldn’t have had to be separated like that.”
Former foster youth, California

“I wish I had someone with me, you know, like a mentor, for my entire life. I mean, I’m fine with all the changes in my social worker but … I never really met someone in the system or someone, (a) mentor, that was with me my entire life.”
Former foster youth, California

“When you have a family, you have everything. You are lucky to have parents and you should always remember that. When I won the Youth Spirit Award, it was exciting. And I have won many awards and things at school, too. But every time I walked up to receive my award, there was no family there to see me get it. Other kids had a mom or a dad to watch them get their award. It should have been a happy occasion. But for me … I wish I had a family there for me.” ANNA MARIA, former foster youth, Connecticut

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mama Zone Natural & Biodegradable Baby Wipes for only 3 cents each

Right now you can purchase Mama Zone Natural & Biodegradable Baby Wipes (case of 12) for only $35.88 (originally $47.88) from Abe's Market.  Use coupon code Hersh to receive an additional $10 off your purchase.  Shipping is a flat $3.99.  Your total with shipping should come to $29.87 for 960 wipes.  This coupon code expires on Friday, July 29th.

Grocery Shopping...Saved $52.32

I went grocery shopping this morning with both the boys.  I only had about 3 hours of sleep last night so I was a little concerned about how the trip would go and if I would overspend.  But I stayed within our budget and spent $56.87 and saved $52.32.  Being organized is the key to successful grocery shopping especially when taking children with you.  I had already browsed the circulars so I knew what was on sale and what I was going to buy.  My coupons were clipped and I had them in a separate envelope so I wouldn't have to go rummaging through my large coupon binder.  Some of my favorite deals were Brach's candy for 15 cents, Chinet plates for 57 cents, Mount Olive pickles for 34 cents, Arm & Hammer detergent for $1.69 and Smart Balance eggs for 99 cents.  I was able to stock up on some chicken breasts, ground turkey, and steak that were all on sale or on clearance.  So it was a great shopping experience to Ingles and Bi-Lo this week!

Monday, July 25, 2011

CVS Deals - Spent 24 cents and saved $33.99

This was one of my best CVS shopping trips in a long time!  I spent a whopping 24 cents for all of these items and saved $33.99.  I also received $7 ECB's to be used on my next purchase.  Total year to date I've saved $783.42 at CVS. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tomato Pie Recipe

Bridgette from Blessings Multiplied has given us a nice variety of fresh vegetables the past couple of weeks.  Mike has really enjoyed having the fresh spinach and tomatoes on his sandwiches for lunch and he actually snacks on the green beans like they were potato chips.  I found this recipe for tomato pie over the weekend and since Mike has never had it before, I had to make it with the fresh tomatoes and basil Bridgette gave us.  It turned out to be a real winner and we will definitely be making this often!  FYI - this recipe has several steps to it along with having the dough in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  This isn't something you want to try to make 30 minutes before supper.

Ingredients for Tomato Pie:
Sour Cream Pastry
4 medium tomatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh basil
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Sour Cream Pastry Ingredients and Directions:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sour cream

Stir together first 3 ingredients in a bowl.  Cut shortening into flour mixture with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas.  Add sour cream; stir with fork until combined.  Gently gather dough and wrap in plastic wrap.  Chill 1 to 24 hours.

Directions for Tomato Pie:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare Sour Cream Pastry.
Place tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels; sprinkle with salt.  Let stand 30 minutes.  Pat dry with paper towels.  Stir together next mayonnaise, basil, and 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
Roll Sour Cream Pastry into a 13-inch circle on a lightly floured surface.  Fit into a 9-inch pie plate, fold edges under and crimp.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown.  Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese over bottom of crust.  Arrange tomato slices over cheese in crust; spread mayonnaise mixture over tomatoes.
Bake at 350 degrees for 34-37 minutes.  Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Friday, July 22, 2011

How can a one year old little boy make such a huge mess in less than an hour?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Two More 20% off coupons for Gymboree

Here are two more codes for 20% off your entire purchase at Gymboree.com

11J8FTZSPF83916 - expires on August 31, 2011

12D6Q2D05999240 - expires on August 7, 2011

 You can also save $15 off your purchase of $60 or more with coupon code 12GP46DG5T92294.  This coupon expires on August 7, 2011

I'm so glad I don't have a girl because I would spend all of our money buying their cute outfits.                                                

I love this ruffled shirt!  It would be adorable paired up with a white skirt.

$10 off at Land's End and Free Shipping!

Use code PARENTSA11 and pin 8355 to receive $10 off and free shipping on your next purchase of $50 or more at Lands' End.  Check out their adorable back to school clothes!

Figuring It Out...

Six weeks ago today, I came home from the hospital with Bradley. I could of never imagined what life was about to be with two babies 11 months apart. Being foster parents, we've had many children come into our home, sometimes 2 and 3 at a time. So I thought it would just be like those times. I was very wrong. 

I wasn't prepared for the fact that my body had experienced something so extreme that I would be in pain for almost six weeks. I'm not a very emotional person so I wasn't prepared for myself being able to cry for no reason at all. I didn't know how draining breastfeeding can be. You know when you have the flu and your body feels fatigued and drained? That's how it feels when breastfeeding. I knew Ty would have jealousy issues but I didn't know it would take six weeks for him to come around to liking his baby brother. I think he's finally realizing that Bradley is here to stay whether he likes it or not. I had five weeks of different family members at the house helping me. I was very grateful for their help, but I needed to figure this "Mommyhood" thing out by myself. 

In the past week, I've learned that my days are not going to go as I want them to. I'm a huge planner and I like for things to go my way. With two babies, it's not going to work my way. They make my schedule and control my day. I'm realizing that being a great Mother to these boys is the most important thing I can do. It doesn't matter if my sink is full of dirty dishes or if the carpet doesn't have vacuum lines on it. As long as my sweet boys feel loved and taken care of, that's all that matters in my life. Everything else gets tossed aside for now. I have to cherish these moments while I can. 

The song posted below I first heard at a Mother/Daughter tea banquet when I was about 12 years old. I didn't realize how meaningful it would mean to me today especially since the special moments with my own Mother are over. I can only remember the memories I had with her. I hope this song is a great reminder to you of how we just need to make each day count and cherish every moment!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Grace" by Laura Story

One of my friends posted this song on her Facebook wall this afternoon. It was my first time hearing it and was such an encouragement to me that I wanted to share it with you all. God's grace to us is so amazing when we fail to love him like He loves us.

Walgreens Deals Week of July 17th-23rd

Clairol Natural Instincts Hair Color - on sale 2/$12 with $2 back in Register Rewards.  I used $5/2 manufacturer's coupon to make my final cost $2.50 a box.

Morton Salt - 2/$1 with in-ad coupon

Gas-X - on sale $4.99.  Used $2 instant in store coupon along with $1 manufacturer's coupon to make my final cost $1.99.

Motions Hair Products - on sale 3/$10 with $4 back in Register Rewards to make my final cost $2 per bottle.

My total out of pocket cost was $11.61 with a savings of $31.93.  I also received $6 back in Register Rewards to be used on my next purchase.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Save 30% at Lane Bryant

Are you tired of shopping yet?  If not here's one more code for Lane Bryant! Use code 000303545 to save 30% off your entire purchase at LaneBryant.com
This code expires on July 22, 2011.

Don't forget as you shop online, always checkout through Ebates.com in order to receive additional cash back.  At Lane Bryant, you will receive 3.0% cash back.  Every little bit helps and adds up in the end!

Save $10 at HauteLook

Use code SUMMER2011 to save $10 off any order of $50 or more at HauteLook.  This code expires on July 31, 2011.  They often run great specials and last year I bought a couple Christmas presents from this site.

Today Only! Extra 15% off regular, sale, & clearance prices at JCPenney

Save an extra 15% off any regular, sale and clearance prices when you use coupon code VIPMODE.  This code is only valid for today and only for online orders.  JCPenney.com has lots of clearance items at great prices and this 15% off will make the deal even better.  Their website seemed very slow to me this morning but it might of just been my computer having the Monday blues.  Let me know if you find any amazing deals!

Free Huggies Diaper Sample from Target

With two babies in diapers, I'm all about a free sample of Huggies Snug & Dry Diapers available from Target.  Click here to request a sample to be sent to you.

Paula Deen's Peach Cobbler Recipe

My sweet neighbor, Margaret, gave me a huge bag of peaches last week.  It's been so great to have friends and neighbors give us fresh veggies and fruit the last several weeks!  I made Paula Deen's peach cobbler recipe with some of the peaches and it was pretty good.  My husband loved it since it had more of a cake texture rather than a crispy crust like I prefer.  Overall, I would definitely make it again especially since it was very simple to make.

  • 4 cups peeled, sliced peaches
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • Ground cinnamon, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the peaches, 1 cup sugar, and water in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Put the butter in a 3-quart baking dish and place in oven to melt.
Mix remaining 1 cup sugar, flour, and milk slowly to prevent clumping. Pour mixture over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon fruit on top, gently pouring in syrup. Sprinkle top with ground cinnamon, if using. Batter will rise to top during baking. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.
To serve, scoop onto a plate and serve with your choice of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Save $10 on all Carter's diaper bags from Babies R Us

Use code 945162 to receive $10 off any Carter's diaper bag from Babiesrus.com
I came across this cute diaper bag for a girl for only $23.99 after coupon.  This offer expires on July 21, 2011.

The secret to light and fluffy scrambled eggs

Ok, so maybe you already do this when you make your scrambled eggs but we recently discovered that when you whip the eggs in a blender before cooking them, they turn out super light and fluffy.  We just use our baby food blender for whipping them but this would also work with any blender.  Whip the eggs for about one minute before pouring them into the skillet.  You will never want to go back to hand scrambling your eggs again!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Clothing Sale at Kohl's - Women's Shirts Shipped for only $4.19!

There are some great sales at Kohl's right now.  You can purchase this shirt originally $14.00 for only $4.19 including shipping. 

Use coupon code FREEMVC for free shipping and code SAVENSUMMER for 30% off your purchase. These codes expire on July 20th.  Let me know if you are able to find any other great deals!

Free Portrait Package & 40% off at Olan Mills

 Click here to print a coupon for a free portrait package and 40% off at your local Olan Mills Studio.  The portrait package includes 1 8x10, 2 5x7's and 8 wallets.  The 40% applies to purchases $69.99 or more.  I don't think we will be buying that many pictures but I'm definitely going to schedule an appointment for the free package.  Ty needs his one year old pictures so this comes at the perfect timing!

Homemade Croutons Recipe

So I might just never buy store bought croutons again.  I made my own croutons yesterday and they were incredible.   They were surprisingly simple to make and so delicious!  

Old Bread, any type - I actually used Hot Dog buns that were leftover from Ty's birthday party.
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut bread into cubes.
In a large bowl, toss bread cubes with enough olive oil to lightly coat.  I used approximately 1/4 cup for 6 hot dog buns.
Add Kosher salt and black pepper and toss until cubes are coated.
Put bread on baking pan that is lined with aluminum foil for easy clean up.
Bake bread in oven for 20-30 minutes until bread is golden brown and crunchy.

Homemade croutons can last up to two weeks stored in a plastic container or bag, unrefrigerated.

You can also add your own spices to add a variety of flavor to these croutons.  I'm going to try basil and Parmesan cheese on my next batch!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Cutest Shoes for Ty and Bradley

My friend Serah from Honeysuckle and Cupcakes emailed me a picture the other day of these adorable shoes for our boys.  Both of us have husbands who are HUGE Red Sox fans and we have been converted into fans ourselves.  Parents magazine also advertised these in this months issue along with a 15% off code.  To receive 15% off at Skidders.com use code SKID15.  I'm thinking these would make great Christmas gifts for the boys......

Paula Deen's Strawberry Pretzel Salad

It's Coffee Club/Luncheon time at Mike's work today so I've been super busy this morning!  I made Paula Deen's Strawberry Pretzel Salad and it turned out perfect.  The reason I like her's better than other recipes is because she adds crushed pineapple to it.  It adds extra flavor and is the perfect dessert on a hot, summer day!

2 cups crushed pretzels
3/4 cup melted butter
3 tablespoons sugar, plus 3/4 cup sugar
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1 (8-ounce) container whipped topping
1 (6-ounce) package strawberry gelatin dessert mix
2 cups boiling water
2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
For the crust, mix the pretzels, butter, and 3 tablespoons of sugar.  Press this mixture into a 9x13 pan and bake for 7 minutes.  Set aside and allow to cool.
In a mixing bowl, beat together the cream cheese and 3/4 cup of sugar.  Fold in the whipped topping and spread over the cooled crust.  Refrigerate until well chilled.
In a small bowl, dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water and allow to cool slightly.  Add the strawberries and pineapple and pour over the cream cheese mixture.  Refrigerate until serving time.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bradley Moment

How come babies are so cute when they yawn? 

20% off at Crazy 8 and Gymboree

Use coupon code 11WHQ164WS83806 to receive 20% off your entire purchase at Crazy8.com  
This coupon expires on July 31, 2011.

Use coupon code 110D5CG8CV84112 to receive 20% off your entire purchase at gymboree.com
This coupon expires on July 31, 2011.

With back to school clothing sales right around the corner, you might be able to score some great deals on kids clothing!

Walgreens Trip - Spent $13.81, saved $20.78

I made two different transactions at Walgreens since I didn't want to spend so much out of pocket at one time.  Here's what I bought:

First Transaction:  Infusium Conditioner - on sale for $5.99 with $4 back in Register Rewards.  I used $1 manufacturer's coupon to make my final cost 99 cents.

Walgreens Razor on sale for $3.99 with $3.99 back in Register Rewards making my final cost FREE.

Total spent out of pocket was $9.58 including tax.  I saved $5 and I received $8 back in Register Rewards.

Second Transaction:  Electrasol Gel Pacs - on sale $3.49 with $1 back in Register Rewards.  I used $1 manufacturer's coupon to make my final price $1.49.
Glad Cling Wrap - on sale $1.99 with in-ad coupon
Hyland's Teething Gel - on sale for $5 with $5 back in Register Rewards making final cost FREE.
GUM 2 pack Toothbrushes - on sale for $2 with $2 back in Register Rewards making my final cost FREE

Total spent out of pocket was $5.25 since I used my $8 Register Rewards from first transaction.  I saved $15.78 and received another $8 in Register Rewards to be used on my next purchase.

Monday, July 11, 2011

75% off Boxed Greeting Cards at CVS

I went into CVS this morning and found boxed American Greetings kids birthday cards 20 count box on clearance for $2.00.  This makes it to be only 10 cents per birthday card!  I'm not sure if every CVS has these on clearance but the CVS on the corner of Wade Hampton Blvd. and Suber Rd still have 3 boxes left.

Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

I made this cream cheese frosting to go on the butter cake I made for Ty's birthday party.  This frosting was so delicious and I will definitely be making it again.  I'm thinking it would go perfect on my homemade cinnamon rolls!

Two (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream together cream cheese and butter until creamy.  Mix in the vanilla and then gradually mix in powdered sugar.  Store in the refrigerator after use.

Ty's First Birthday Party

We had Ty's 1st birthday party this past Saturday.  My husband and I are huge Red Sox baseball fans so it was natural for us to have a baseball themed birthday party for Ty.  We made our own invitations and Mike came up with some great ideas for it.  Here's what they said:

You're Invited to Ty's Big League Debut
Game Day:  Saturday, July 9th
First Pitch: 5:30 pm
Location:  Genovese Ball Park - Our Home Address
Concessions:  Fenway Franks, Cold Drinks, Homemade Ice Cream
Claim Your Tickets:  my email address and phone #

We served food that they would have at the ball park such as hot dogs with toppings of chili, cheese, relish, chow chow, jalapenos, coleslaw, and banana peppers.  I also had nachos and cheese and watermelon available.  For dessert, I attempted to make homemade ice cream but the ice cream didn't set so I had my father-in-law run to the grocery store to pick up Blue Bell ice cream instead.  I made a chocolate cake with peanut butter icing and a butter cake with cream cheese icing.  I picked up some cake toppers at Wilson's Five and Dime Store.  Here's a picture of the cakes:

For the party favors, I picked up Big League chewing gum, sparklers, Babe Ruth candy bars, baseball cards, baseball tattoos, squishy baseballs, peanuts and a baseball notepad.  The only other item I really wanted to put in the bags was a box of Cracker Jacks but I couldn't find them in the couple stores I went into and ran out of time to keep looking.

Mike had the great idea of putting the party favor bags in this adorable wagon a friend made.

Ty had a great birthday party and got spoiled with a lot of gifts!  Thanks to everyone who came out and helped us celebrate Ty's first birthday!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Back to blogging again....

So I've taken a very long break the last 3 1/2 weeks from blogging.  But I have a very good excuse....Bradley Michael Genovese was born on June 6 at 2:22 pm.  I never thought it would take me this long to get into a routine but newborns completely consume your day.  Throw in an almost one year old boy who is very curious and always getting into something, and you rarely have time to take a shower, let alone brush your teeth.  I'm very thankful for all my family and friends who have taken time to stay with me and help me through this adjustment period.  I'm very grateful for the 13 meals that have been delivered.  Cooking supper was just about the last thing on my mind so a huge thank you to all those who provided meals the last 3 weeks.  I'm hoping to slowly get back into blogging between changing diapers, washing bottles, sorting through piles of never ending laundry, and everything else that has to be done. 

Enjoy the pictures of Bradley!  (By the way for those of you who are wondering why I never post any picture of Ty, due to the safety of Ty, until his adoption is finalized, we are not allowed to post any of his pictures on the Internet.)