Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Coupon Insanity and Food Storage

Smith's, my favorite place ever, has a monthly promotion where they round your coupons up to a dollar. This is a big deal because, if you play your cards right, you can get tons of free, or nearly free, items.

Here's what I got for FREE today:
8 Yoplait Greek Yogurts
4 toothbrushes
4 toothpastes
4 Weber Seasoning Packets
1 Dial Handsoap

Everything else pictured was $.25-$1.00, except for the milk and cheeses (which were still on sale for well under $2). Plus I got some gourmet pita bread which, at $3.50, truly felt like a splurge.

All of these items rang up at $186 but after my coupons and fvc, the total came to $86. Not bad, eh?

Now most of this stuff I'll either freeze or run downstairs to food storage. I know our food storage doesn't look like much now, but I was able to get all this stuff without paying more than my usual grocery bill.
I just started this collection six month ago. I put it off forever because I never felt like we had enough money to spare (with babies, houses, and surprise expenses). Food storage is one EXPENSIVE commandment. I love couponing because I can still be obedient without breaking the bank.

Plus, there's that added benefit of having a supply in case there's an emergency. Oh, that too.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Me and My Llama...

I have a confession to make. I hope you still like me afterwards. I hope I don’t totally repulse you. But here it is: until today, I had not visited the dentist is seven years.

You are resting your head between your knees, blowing out rhythmic puffs of air to keep yourself from vomiting, aren’t you?

Even though you are totally grossed out, I feel much better now that it’s out in the open. Phew!

Why, you may ask, did you put it off so long? Well, I’ll tell you: I have tooth enamel of steel. Seriously. I have a contract with a local jeweler that when I croak, I’ll bequeath him my teeth so that he can more efficiently cut his diamonds. Rocket ships are built with materials less durable than my friendly chompers. I have had only one fluke cavity my entire life, and I swear that it wasn’t really a cavity, but a desperate attempt by my mouth to fit in with the mouths of my peers.

But even if one does have incredibly talented teeth, one still must pay their dues in the dental chair, right? At least that’s what society would deem “hygienic.”

After much haranguing from my social conscience, I finally set up a family dentist day in which I received my first dental cleaning since I got married, Ryan’s first dental appointment since before his mission, and the cubs’ first dental appointment since, like, ever.

And it was fun. I forgot how much I like the dentist. I liked listening to the hygienists swoon over my teeth and marvel at how they practically repel bacteria. I liked hearing the gasps as I told them how long it’d been since my last visit (they proclaimed my mouth looked like one that had just returned for its six month cleaning). I liked how slippery-smooth my teeth feel as I slide off the chair. And I loved the goodie bag I received, which contained my very first tongue-scraper. A good tool, that.

And yep. I was cavity-free.

But the best part of the family dentist day was watching my kiddles also enjoy their experience. They were not scared, not one bit, and especially enjoyed getting their spit suctioned from their mouth. I always liked that part, too.

I was informed that they also have teeth of steel. Good cubs.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Adventures in Colorado (Part 3)

Nothin' beats fishin' with Grandpa Tom. My mom did it when she was little and now it is my turn.
Watch me practice.
Yep, fishin' is fun, but the best part comes after the fish has been caught....
Looking at the guts!
Now, that's what I'm talking about!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Great Produce Challenge

Thanks to my friends Katie and Janelle, I have discovered another excellent way to save on the grocery bill. Would you believe I got all these goodies for fifteen buckaroos? I did! I swear it! A few weeks back I joined a local food co-op (Bountiful Baskets, if you're interested) and have been enjoying the fruits thereof ever since.

The fabulous price tag does not come without a catch. Each week, I have to request a basket of produce at a very specific/sometimes inconvenient time and pick up the basket at an equally specific/ sometimes inconvenient time.

Also, the fruits and veggies I get each week are a surprise! Last week I was thrilled with every single item, but this week... well, there was eggplant involved. What more can I say?

Oh, but the mystery of it all! With it, I have invented a little game that I like to call "The Great Produce Challenge." My goal is to create interesting recipes to coordinate with my surprise fruits and vegetables and hopefully develop a tolerance for vegetables usually loathe. Last week, I made a fabulous stir fry and learned, that if diced within an inch of its life, zucchini is actually freakin' awesome. Broccoli too!

Other things I made: stuffed peppers, banana bread, Caesar salad, smoothies, fruit salads...

Another part of the challenge is to put ALL of the produce to good use. Since there is so much of it, this is a challenge indeed. I always make a sizable dent in the produce (alongside the produce I've purchased at the grocery store), but have had to chop, freeze, and can certain items to make up the difference.

As for the eggplant, I believe the compost pile qualifies as putting the produce to "good use." Don't you?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Adventures in Colorado (Part 2: Cousin Joy)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Adventures in Colorado (Part 1)

Sure, us Lee cubs might look all cute and innocent....

but don't be deceived....

Okay, maybe you, Santa, be deceived, but everyone else know this: we are children of danger.

We laugh in the faces of spiders and possibly-rabid snakes (and, yes, I am wearing a FUBU shirt)...

We allow ourselves to be launched onto slip-n-slides...

And we are glad...

Real glad...

And not only do we laugh in the face of bugs and snakes, but we ride them. "Consider yourself conquered, large, yellow, spotted bug."

We also ride really big, really fast, really dizzy-making rides that really should have height requirements, but don't.

After the Swinging Pirate Ship and The Cyclone, all other rides seem rather dull. We are adrenaline junkies, us.
Even when running though the sprinklers...

...we go big and we go rude.

So while we, Lee cubs, might look tender and fragile....

At least we don't resort to sissy couponing to get our thrills.

Thank you, Gramma Aidy, for making all of our wildest dreams come true!!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

My New Skill: and it's Not Nunchucks.

If you think jumping out of a plane, plummeting toward the earth, and then pulling a string only moments before splatting your guts all across the mountainside is a rush... you've never handed a cashier a stack of freshly-clipped coupons and watched your grocery bill reduce by half.

Until you've done it, you simply haven't lived.

I can often be seen exiting Smiths leaping heavenward and clicking my heels in the air.

Would you like to see today's grocery excitement? Alright, buckle your seat belt, my friend.

All these items rung up as $83.00. After scanning my Fresh Values Card and then handing the Coupon Scrooge (AKA the cashier...more about him later) my hefty stack of clippings, my total came to.....dthrdthrdthtdthrdthrdthrrrrrr....


When I got home, my heart dropped when I realized that I had forgotten to hand the Scrooge my four Weber Marinade coupons worth 50 cents each. I had to make a conscious effort not to dwell on that little mistake because that is the sort of thing that'll send an avid couponer to the loony bin.

Now today's shopping success wasn't even close to my most spectacular, but a pretty typical example of what I am able to do each week with my couponing skills. No doubt, I'll be posting more pictures of future grocery triumphs as my fancy is tickled. Sorry.

A few extra thoughts on coupons.

Coupons can be used for good or they can be used for evil:

-Just because you have a coupon for a product, does not mean you are getting a good deal. In fact, 95% of the time, you are better off purchasing the generic brand. ONLY purchase a product if it is on super-duper, life-altering, amazing sale and you have a coupon for it. There are many websites that compile store sales, rank items according to sale's value, and list a corresponding coupon. I use Grocery Smarts.

-Couponing can lead to a toxic diet. Just because you can get Hamburger Helper for 25 cents a box, doesn't mean you should. Down with processed foods! Use your coupons for household items, yogurts, cheeses, condiments, cereals, girly products, lunch meats, whole grain breads, and occasionally Betty Crocker Warm Delights. By doing so, the bulk of your money can go to fresh produce and meats.

-Get four Sunday papers. You'll receive four sets of coupons and can stock up when items go on sale. You should see my food storage! Woooweeee!