Monthly Archives: September 2008

September Freebies

Here is what I got completely FREE during the month of September. Click here to read a previous post explaining each category.

Publix Mystery Coupon Items:
potato chips
2 pkgs Publix brand “Oreo” cookies
coffee brick
6-pk bottled water
peanut butter

CVS Extracare Bucks With Sales and Coupons:
2 bottles Suave shampoo
2 bottles Suave body wash
CVS Plaque Detecting Oral Rinse
CVS lip moisturizer
4 Right Guard deodorant
Soft & Dry deodorant
Adidas deodorant
2 Colgate toothpaste
2 twin-packs Gum toothbrushes
Goody’s headache powders
2 bottles St. Ives moisturizer
Nivea for Men body wash

Great Sale Prices Combined with Coupons:

2 jars dill pickles (these really cost me 10 cents a jar, but that’s so close to free that I just had to list them here)

5 pkgs Cottonelle bath tissue
Sara Lee hot dog buns
9 bags frozen veggies
3 cans Muir Glen tomato sauce
4 large Dove chocolate bars
5 dozen eggs
3 2-lb bags sugar
2 boxes sugar cubes
2 boxes oatmeal
2 boxes Lipton tea bags
6 boxes drinkable yogurt 4-pks
half gallon orange sherbet
4 pkg Ballpark franks
3 Pillsbury brownie mixes
2.25 lb red grapes
jar of bouillon
2 boxes Smart Taste pasta
Reach toothbrush
2 GUM toothbrushes
2 tubes Colgate toothpaste
3 small bottles Purell hand sanitizer
2 small cans Edge shave gel
Sunsilk shampoo

(Also, I could have had 2 tubes of free Airborn if I had remembered to pay for it with my Rite Aid gift card!)

Full Rebates:
1/2 gallon Mayfield milk
Pert shampoo
Lypsyl lip moisturizer
Nivea for Men body wash

Free Deals:
Cedar Plank Frozen Eggplant Parmesan
Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice Cajun Style
3 loaves Sara Lee Soft n’ Smooth wheat bread
Pillsbury cake mix
28 sheets scrapbook paper
scrapbook paper storage tote
2 scrapbook paper envelopes
set of acid free pens

5×7 print

Given to Me:

lots of chili peppers


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Bartlett pears are delicious this fall; I think they are the best we have had in years. I can’t keep the fruit drawer stocked.

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My Best Deals of the Week

Mystery Coupon item, 6-pk bottled water, 1 cent
3 jars (18 oz) Smuckers preserves, sale $2, 35 cent coupons doubled=$1.30 ea
2 Welch’s Grape Juice 6-pks, $4.09, $1/2 store coup, (2) $1 coupons=$2.59 ea
Good Belly drink 4-pk, BOGO, $1 coupon=$1
Vlasic dills, BOGO, $1 coupons=40 cents ea
4 Grain eggs, $2, 55 cent coupon=$1.45
2 Motts 6-pk applesauce, 3/$5, 40 cent/2 coupon doubled=$1.27 ea
3 jars baby food, 3/$1
4.5 lb fresh pears, 99 cents lb
Fantastik spray, BOGO, $1 coupon=40 cents
I asked for rainchecks for:
Land o Lakes spread, BOGO, 55 cent coupons=40 cents ea
24-oz Golden Blossom honey, $3.99, 75 cent coupon=$3.24
another Good Belly drink 4-pk, BOGO, $1 coupon=$1


I had a coupon for $20 in free groceries when I transferred a prescription. For the $20, I got:

7 frozen veggies, $1 ea
2 Danactive yogurt, $2, $1 coupons=$1 ea
3 Activia yogurt, $2, $1 coupons=$1 ea
half gallon Country Club orange sherbet, 99 cents
4 pkg Ballpark franks, 99 cents, 50 cents/2 coups dbld=49 cents ea
3 Pillsbury brownie mixes, $1, 40 cent coups doubled=20 cents ea
2.25 lb red grapes, $2.85
Kroger bouillon, $1.49
I also got 2 pkgs Cottonelle bath tissue, 99 cents, 50 cent coupons doubled=free


Adidas deodorant, $4.99, $1 coupon, earn $4 ecb’s, paid with $4 ecb’s
Nivea for Men body wash, $4.99, earn $4.99 ecb’s. I paid with $4 in ecb’s and $1 plus change on my gift card.

I’m not loving Walgreen’s at the moment because the register wouldn’t take my Register Rewards for no reason a few weeks ago, but I had a RR expiring and I wanted the Nivea body wash with a full rebate. So, my purchases:
Nivea for Men body wash, $4.99, full rebate
Sunsilk shampoo, clearance $1.12, $1 coupon=12 cents
Reach toothbrush, $2.99, $1 mfg coupon, $1 Easy Saver coupon=99 cents
Paid with $5 Register Rewards and $1.65 in rebate money
Total OOP: nothing

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Harris Teeter Triples

I read on a blog on Wednesday or Thursday that Harris Teeter was having a TRIPLE coupon bonanza this weekend. Normally I ignore info about Harris Teeter since we don’t have that chain of markets anywhere nearby. But we were heading to Charleston on Friday for a competition, and the hotel where we stay is right next door to a Harris Teeter. I borrowed the blog info to match my coupons, drove the six hours to Harris Teeter, and this is what I came back with:
2 boxes Dixie Crystals sugar cubes, $1.39, 55 cent coupons tripled
3 2-lb pkgs Dixie Crystals sugar, $1.39, 55 cent coupons tripled
2 lb Dixie Crystals brown sugar, $2.39, 55 cent coupon but register wouldn’t triple it
2 small canisters Quaker oats, $1.50, 50 cent coupons tripled
2 small boxes Lipton tea, $1.19, 75 cents/2 coupon tripled
2 tubes Colgate toothpaste, $1.50, 75 cent coupons tripled
2 travel size Edge shave gel, $1.50, 75 cent coupons tripled
2 GUM toothbrushes, $2.29, 75 cent coupons tripled
3 small Purell hand sanitizers, $1.50, 60 cent coupons tripled
Hillshire Farms sliced turkey, $4.49, 55 cent coupon tripled
Two items we needed for Saturday lunch but I had no coupons for:
Vitamin Water, 99 cents
8 oz sliced Provolone cheese, $2.99

Value of items: $42.62
My total including tax (1.5 % higher than we’re used to): $4.84

There was a limit of 20 coupons per household per day. I made these purchases on Friday, and I used only 19 coupons. I planned to stop at Harris Teeter again on Saturday before heading home, but we took a different route and didn’t see another store.

The toiletries, oatmeal and tea will all be donated to charity.

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An Organized Home: Step 6

Baby Steps to an Organized Home:

Seasonally Re-Evaluate

Just as no home stays tidy on a daily basis, no home stays organized from year to year. My home needs a seasonal (every few months or so) going over to quickly re-evaluate storage areas. This is the time to reorganize cupboards, drawers, shelves, and closets and to get rid of the broken, worn out, outdated, and repetitive items. Here is what I do:

1. I pull out, throw out, and wipe out.
2. I put away what doesn’t belong there.
3. I pare down what I don’t need.
4. I decide on new or different storage containers if needed.
5. I arrange the keepers neatly back in place.

You will notice that this is the short list of how to get organized in the first place, my steps 1-4. Yes, the same thing needs to be done over and over again, except that it should be the quick version from now on.

Here is an example from my own home; a little reworking of two of my kitchen cupboards:This is a corner cupboard next to the stove and below my main counter work area. The door is only 12″ wide and very difficult to reach into. But I’m hoping to fit more casserole dishes inside because the current storage for my microwave-safe casseroles will become toy storage for baby grandson.

This is the high cupboard above the refrigerator. It doesn’t have much in it.

1. I pull out, throw out, wipe out:I emptied both cupboards onto the kitchen counter, then I wiped the shelves clean.

2. I put away what doesn’t belong there:I decided these items could easily be stored above the refrigerator, rather than in the more convenient lower corner cupboard. Even though it is hard to reach above the refrigerator, most of these pieces are used only seasonally so they don’t need to be taking up the lower cupboard space.
3. I pare down what I don’t need:On further thought, I decided I don’t use these pieces enough, or like them enough, to keep them around any longer. Most will go in the garage sale boxes; one is trash (can you guess which?)
4. I decide on new or different storage containers if needed:
In this case, I don’t need any storage containers since this was mainly a reorganization project.

5. I arrange the keepers neatly back in place:The corner cupboard now holds all my casserole dishes and baking dishes: 5 glass and ceramic casseroles, 2 bread pans, 3 9″x13″ baking dishes, 1 roasting pan, 6 pie plates, 3 round cake pans, 2 rectangle cake pans, 3 mini muffin pans, and 2 cast iron skillets.

The cupboard over the refrigerator now stores my seasonal pieces: a bundt pan, a springform pan, a chafing dish, a decorative ceramic mold, a Swedish cake pan, 5 mini loaf pans, a gingerbread house mold, a ceramic shortbread mold, and a bag of Tupperware popsicle molds. With a step stool, I can easily access them for the one or two times a year that I use them.

Every time I go through this process, the hardest step for me is #3, paring down what I don’t need. I still struggle with keeping and accumulating too much. It’s an emotional thing to get rid of what I no longer need: What if I need it later? What if someone I love might need it later? What if I never find one again if I need it? Eventually, I learned that I should keep only two types of items: Items that are used at least once a year, and very special mementos. The rest I make myself let go of, and I found my life to be more calm and less stressful. I much prefer it that way.

My two final thoughts for you:

Remember, there is not one “right” way to organize. Find a method that works for you and do it. Don’t be concerned about others’ methods or opinions.

It’s OK if your house looks lived in. After all, you really do live there. Don’t get caught up in magazine pictures that show spotless homes.

Now, go, enjoy your clutter-free home!

Previous posts in the series:
My Story
Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4
Step 5

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An Organized Home: Step 5

Baby Steps to an Organized Home:

Declutter Daily

There isn’t a home anywhere that stays orderly by itself. Picking up, putting away, and decluttering needs to be done every day.

You don’t have to do all the decluttering by yourself (unless you live alone). Involve the whole family in decluttering. Make it a game, such as race to see who can put away the most in ten minutes (set the timer), or race to see how fast each person can put away 20 things that don’t belong to him or her. Another day, give children specific jobs, such as “pick up all the trucks”, then “put all the books on the shelf”. Or, don’t serve dinner until the family room is in shape.

When the Professor and I were first married, we both worked nine-to-five jobs. I had a longer commute, so I left for work first while the Professor was still asleep. I usually got home first too, arriving home about 20 to 30 minutes before he did. Every evening, I walked into a home in serious disarray. At first I was annoyed, but then I decided to have a race: Would the Professor get home before I had the house tidy, or would I finish the house and be getting dinner ready before he got home? The Professor didn’t know about the game; I played alone. But I began to look forward to getting home so I could start playing.

I always began at the front door: Mail in the mail divider on the desk, purse on the hook. Then I raced through the house opening the curtains because I think a dark, closed-up house is dreary and depressing. Back in the living room, I ran as I picked up books, dishes, towels, old mail, pillows, and clothes. I distributed them to their rightful places. Then to the dining room I went, to scoop up dishes, food, mail, books, and anything else out of place. Those I distributed to their rightful places. Quickly to the bathroom: towels hung, bath mat up, hairbrushes and toiletries in the cabinet, clothes to the laundry basket or closet. Next the bedroom to make the bed, collect the clothes, books, mail, magazines, and dishes. Into the study for the same. Lastly, the kitchen, where I unloaded the dishwasher, reloaded it, put away food, wiped the counters, and finally, began dinner preparations.

Sometimes I won the game; sometimes the Professor won. But I got the job done, quickly. And I had fun while I did it.

I learned to work quickly; I learned many jobs take just five to ten minutes. This was not the time for house cleaning, but only the time for decluttering. Cleaning and decluttering are not the same thing. I also learned that, with limited time, it was best to minimize our decorative items. I didn’t keep decorative pillows on the bed, nor did I keep open shelves of knicknacks. I threw out last month’s magazines when the new issue arrived. We dealt with our mail every evening. We had a mail sorter, and we designated one slot for bills to pay, another slot for receipts we needed to keep.

Now, I have a daily routine to tidy my house. Each morning, after I get back from walking, I quickly move through the house, just as I did many years ago as a newlywed.

I begin in the master bathroom. I hang towels and the bath mat, put away toiletries, hairbrushes, and pill bottles, toss dirty clothes in the hamper, and wipe up loose hair with a damp tissue. Into the bedroom, I make the bed, open the blinds, hang up clothes, reshelve books. Down the hall, I peek in the kids’ bathroom. Usually I don’t do much more then hang the bath mat, and I ignore their bedrooms.

In the dining room I might find books, shoes, old mail, musical instruments, and crumbs on the table, all of which I quickly deal with. The living room is often tidy, but I always open the blinds, and usually I need to replace the sofa pillows to the position I prefer.The family room seems to always have a lot of clutter. After I open the blinds across the back of the house, I collect shoes, phones, mail, dishes, books, socks, CD’s, newspapers and magazines. All get put away. (Sometimes “away” is dumping on the owner’s bed. My children really are old enough to take care of their things without a reminder from Mom. I always hope the bed dump will remind them of what they are supposed to do. I can dream, can’t I?)

Lastly, I deal with the kitchen. Dishwasher unloaded then reloaded, air drying dishes put away, sink scrubbed, food put away, counters sprayed and wiped, stove scrubbed.Because I do it every day, and because I work fast, this usually doesn’t take even 10 minutes every morning. A dream I have is that all the tidying would be done last thing in the evening so that I could wake up in the morning to a spotless house. But it’s only a dream…

Come back tomorrow for the final post in this series..

Previous posts in the series:
My Story
Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4

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I finally finished our 2006 scrapbook! it’s been a work in progress for a LONG time. Now onward to 2007, then 2008, then Heather’s wedding, and baby Luke’s album. And the college kids should have school albums too…

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