Friday, February 29, 2008

Frugal Friday: Avoid Gym Fees

This is my first Frugal Fridays post. Check out the other Frugal Friday ideas at Biblical Womanhood.

I used to think the only way to workout was join a gym and sweat like crazy! I was wrong. The only thing a gym did was cut into my savings. I purchased a few pieces of exercise equipment that I can use at home and have saved LOTS! My gym membership was running $75 a month (for the family - couldn't leave the kids at home by themselves) - $900 a year being wasted. I spent less than one month's membership fee on all my exercise equipment.

I have incorporated fitness DVDs, hand weights, exercise bands, resistance bands, jump rope and stability ball. Many of the items were purchased at Wal-Mart of Target but you can also find the items on Ebay and Craigslist. You could also create a post on Freecycle requesting these items. So, you could actually end up getting some items for free if someone is looking to get rid of theirs. Another place to check is your local Goodwill (or other thrift store).

There are also some benefits to working out at home...
No cost to join
No travel time

More time to workout (LOL...but without having to pack up the kids, the car and travel to the gym it would allow you to have more time)
Can listen (and sing along) to own music or watch TV while exercising (I could do this at my gym but I had to have my headphones on...)
Can use workout videos with friends
Can involve other family members
Can exercise any time at home

On top of all that, you can even get books from your local library that have great exercises in them. My favorites are: 101 Ways to Work Out on the Ball, 101 Ways to Work Out with Weights, and 101 Ways to Burn Fat on the Ball. Check them out and let me know what you think.

Day 19, Food and Exercise Log

Happy Leap Day! I had hoped that my youngest son was going to be born on leap day four years ago. My due date was February 29th, baby, instead we had a baby shower!

Tim Horton's Iced Cappucino (made with white milk)...

Banana Bread

Smart Ones Pizza Calzone

Cinnamon Bread

Banana Bread

Overall thought: I have a problem with bread! I really need to cut back on my carbs!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Few Freebies

Just thought I would post a few freebies that I found today.

Traumeel - safe, effective, natural remedy ideal for all ages, including children and seniors. Temporary relief of muscular pain, joint pain, sports injuries and bruising.

EAS - The essential core in performance nutrition for hard-training fitness enthusiasts and athletes. Offer code - 4118

I have a few more that I will post later today or tomorrow - be sure to check back.

Free Sample - Green Energy Tea Fusion

Green Tea Energy Fusion is more than just tea. It is a fusion of healthy, all natural green teas and energizing herbs & extracts from around the globe. It is scientifically formulated to support your metabolism in taking potential energy, stored as fat and carbohydrate, and turn them into fresh supplies of focused energy. Now all you have to do is rip, pour, go... It's made with 100% Natural organic ingredients.

Healthy, Natural Energy To Go!

Click here for your free sample. Note: they do ask for a company name.

Day 18, Food and Exercise Log

I think making the banana bread was a mistake. Even though I gave most of it away, I am eating what's left. I'll have to start giving it all way or immediately put it in the freezer.

Bowl of fruit
Slice of banana bread

Lunch (not so good):
Friendly's Turkey Club and French fries
Mint Chocolate Chip Sundae (small version)
*I can explain: I had to pick the little one up from my sister's house so she could go to work. She kept him this morning so I could go to work for a few hours (Thanks a bunch sis!). He couldn't go to daycare today because of the fever yesterday (hate that rule). After I picked him up, we went to lunch with my mom. We don't eat out much so I don't think it a lunch like this will happen again anytime soon.

2 pieces of pizza

Exercise: 2 miles walking on treadmill, hand weights

Overall thought: I walked 2 miles on the treadmill while reading. I had originally started out on the couch but felt the need to get moving so I did... It was a great feeling. I remembered to take my vitamin yesterday and I think it brought me a burst of energy. I might finally be over everything and ready to move on with this thing called "diet"!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

WFMW: Earn Rewards for Purchasing Pamper Products

I'm alway checking out all the great ideas over at Work for Me Wednesday but I've never partipated. I thought I'd give it a here goes.

Do you purchase Pampers products whether it’s diapers, wipes, or training pants? Are you earning rewards for purchasing those products? On every product, there is a Gift to Grow code. The diapers, training pants and swim diapers have a small white label on the inside of the packaging. The code for the wipes is printed directly on the product.

Sign up, enter your codes, earn points then redeem them for rewards! It’s that easy. You will be required to pay shipping and handling on your rewards.

I participated in the Pampers Points back in 2000. I earned so many points I had gifts for my son for Christmas and his birthday. If you have friends that are using these products but they don’t want to take the time to enter the information or don’t want to participate, ask them to save their empty packages or at least the white labels for you.

Someday I hope to not be able to partipate in this program! I've been a proud member for 8 years already!

CortiSlim Energy Punch Tablets

Instant energy - anytime, anywhere...sounds good to me. CortiSlim Engery Punch tablets can provide the same lift as an energy drink. They're chewable and come in amazing fruit flavors. Sounds better than an energy drink already.

Sign up for the CortiSlim Club to get your free packet of Energy Punch tablets!

Day 17, Food and Exercise Log

I hope I can make it through the day without getting a call about a sick kid. Both of them were dropped off at daycare this morning.

Slice of banana bread

Slice of banana bread

**Had to venture home from work again for a sick kid.**

Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich

Fettucini Alfredo

Overall thought: I really need to start making a weekly menu. It would help to make sure meals are balanced and healthy. Working from home with a sick kid has been hard since I'm one that gets a routine down and sticks to it. Over the past week, my schedule has been all messed up.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Free McSkillet Burrito - Thursday and Friday

Just thought I would pass this's got too many calories for me!

Get a McSkillet Burrito (with sausage) free with purchase of a medium or large drink! Available during breakfast hours only.

As always, price and participations may vary. Limit one per customer.

Walking 10,000 Steps A Day

I've heard a lot of talk over the years about walking 10,000 steps a day can help you lose weight and good for your health (improved fitness). What's the distance of 10,000 steps? Approximately 5 miles, depends on your stride. I was amazed since I had never considered all the walking I do on a daily basis as being calories burned. ( I don't know what I was thinking...)

I've purchased a pedometer to track my steps each day. I'm not sure how many steps I take on a daily basis so for the next 3 days I am going to track them, average them, and set a goal for March. I've already thought of ways to increase my daily steps.

~Use the stairs instead of the elevator
~Park further out in the parking lot (my kids won't like this one)
~Walk around the house while on the phone
~Get outside and walk! (if the weather ever changes...I'm not walking in the frigid temperatures)
~Walk to the corner store, if I need something small
~Walk on both 10 minute breaks at work
~Walk the path at lunch, at least twice a week (when the weather warms up)

Can you think of any others? I don't have a dog otherwise I'd be nice and take it for walk.

Recipe: Banana Bread

I made Banana Bread!! I LOVE Banana Bread! Those that know me, know that I like just about anything that's banana...right down to banana flavored Laffy Taffy! I'll even share the recipe that I used.

Banana Bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda

Sift those ingredients together in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine:
3/4 cup melted butter (sometimes I use less)
2 cups of sugar (sometimes I use less of this too)

Mix until smooth. Then add (to your wet ingredients)
4 beaten eggs
2 cups mashed overripe bananas (I ALWAYS use more)
2 tsp vanilla extract, optional
1 cup walnuts, optional (can add them to the top too)

Then mix wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until mixed.

Pour into 2 greased loaf pans (9x5 work well). Bake for 35 minutes - 1 hour (depends on the size of your loaf pan). You can even use the mini muffin or regular muffin pans.

Remove from oven and let cool (or be like me and sneak a piece as soon as you set it down).

Note: The optional items were not added to this just depends on my mood! I've been pretty busy today working from home, caring for a sick child and cleaning the house so I wasn't digging in cabinets to find stuff.

Backing Up Your Computer Files

I had a friend that lost all her little boy's pictures that she had saved to her computer. The only ones that she was able to find were those saved on MySpace and picture websites (not sure where she had uploaded them to). So, that brings me to this post.

Save and save often!!

1. Make your own backup.
You can pick up a mini hard drive for pretty cheap. They can usually store anywhere from 128MB to 120GB (might even be bigger than that).

2. Store a backup on the web.
This isn't may favorite option but it really depends on the security of the website you are using. On i-drive, you can get 2GB for free, Carbonite has a yearly fee of $49.95 (they do offer a free trial), Moxy has a monthly fee of $4.95.

3. Your internet service provider
Check with your internet provider. Verizon gives you 10MB of personal web space.

4. Copy files to CD or DVD.
This is probably the most time consuming and expensive.

I usually back my files up on my own. As I type this email, I wonder if that's the best way being as things can be destroyed by fire or flood.

Day 16, Food and Exercise Log

I'm at home again today with a sick kid! I need to try to do some work that way I can justify not using a whole personal day...

Bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (someone stole MY cereal...The MR!?!)

Toasted Turkey and Cheese sandwich

100 Calorie Pack Girl Scout Cinna-Spins
A slice of Banana Bread (Yummy...)

Chicken Finger Wrap (not from McDonald's...I made it myself!)

Exercise: Not any "formal" exercising but I was on the move all day.

Overall thought: I can't wait until Spring!! I think (hope) things will be better once the weather warms up and we can all get rid of all the illnesses that we have.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Girl Scout Cookies

Ok, there is one thing that I splurge on each year and it's Girl Scout Cookies! They have arrived! I only bought 4 boxes this year. I always by the Thin Mint cookies and freeze them for summer. We eat them while we lay in our pool. Since we are going to the beach this year, we might have to take them along with us. I also got the 100 Calorie Packs of Cinna-Spins. They aren't bad. I actually bought them for my boys.

I just had to share...I would have really liked for the little Girl Scout to deliver them but she had to go to school today.

Weighing In #3

Well, I wasn't too surprised when I got on the scale this morning and I had lost 6 pounds! I know most of that has to do with being sick this past weekend. I really look for the scale to stay the same next week or even go back up some.

I think I'm going to go back to tracking points on the Weight Watcher system. I'm not having much luck these days with getting the weight off. I had lost 40 pounds in 4 months last year when I was following Weight Watchers.

Now to dig out the Weight Watcher information and get to counting!

Day 15, Food and Exercise Log

Wow I'd have to say "I feel a lot better". I wouldn't say that I am 100% better but I feel good. I can say today won't be a good food day since I will be trying to eat more than I did this weekend.

Hostess 100 Calorie Pack Cinnamon Streusal Coffee Cakes

Girl Scout Cinna-Spins 100 Calorie Pack

Toasted Turkey and Cheese sandwich

1/2 Turkey and Swiss sandwich
1/2 bowl of Potato Cheese Soup

Banana Popsicle - only 35 calories and it was pretty good

Stability ball exercises, hand weights, crunches

Overall thought: I was glad I was able to eat solid foods today! I really needed more calories than what I took in but I'll hopefully be there in the next day or two. I even threw in some light exercise last night.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Day 14, Food and Exercise Log

I won't say that I am 100% better but I don't feel as bad as I have for the past two days.

1 piece of French Toast

Couple bites of Philly Cheesesteak sandwich (my favorite and I couldn't eat it - how sad!)

Soft taco with meat (drained and dried) with cheese.

Again, I am still drinking a lot of liquids to keep hydrated...I'm still iffy about eating anything.

Overall thought: Well, I felt better as the day went on so I thought I would attempt eating some real food as I have to return to work. If I had a little more energy (which I hope to tomorrow), I might try fitting some low impact exercises resistance bands.

Super Savings Saturday

I'm a day late posting but I wanted to share the deals that I picked up this week. In our neighborhood, we have two Walgreen stores. I visited both of them to pick up Jane make-up and a few other items.

This is the first trip and the worst of the three. The cashier was didn't take off two of my $2 Jane coupons. I had even questioned the amount and she checked the coupons. After paying and reviewing my receipt, I asked for my coupons back. We counted them and since the Jane items were free they couldn't give me my money back.

My total on this purchase was $7.53

This is the purchase from our other Walgreen's store was only $.11!!

One more stop at Walgreen's (the same as the first trip) for this $.59 purchase. There was a pack of gum that was purchased too but my son wouldn't give it up long enough for me to get a picture.

And to think this make up will be on sale again at Walgreen's the week of March 9!! I'm excited and so will my someday-to-be daughter-in-laws and nieces when they get their Easter baskets!

I did make one trip to CVS this week mainly for the Huggies deal. I'm hoping this will be the last time I have to purchase any form of pull ups!

This order was $14.14 oop and earned $21 ECB!

On top of all that shopping, Sunday was the day that I did our grocery shopping at Kroger. Since the beginning of the year, I have been trying to do grocery shopping every other week to go along with my pay days. I'm slowly getting it down, if I could remember the extra loaf of bread and the gallon of milk versus the half gallon. I'm also getting the total down too. I was spending more than $100 every week at the grocery. I have our total down to $100 every other week!! That's $50 a week to feed two growing boys, a hardworking man and myself!! It may not be the best but I am proud of it!!

Day 13, Food and Exercise Log

I'm posting this late as I have been sick! I really didn't eat much yesterday since I wanted to avoid anything coming back up.

Toasted turkey and cheese sandwich

A small square piece of pizza

I have been drinking as much liquids as I can.

Exercise: If you burn calories when you sleep, they I probably burned quite a bit.

Overall thought: I should have probably tried some Chicken Noodle soup but the thought off that makes my stomach turn. I think as long as I keep the liquids going I'll be alright.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Coupon Insert News!

The new Proctor & Gamble P&GbrandSaver coupon booklet will be in the paper on Sunday, March 2. It will have $101 in savings (perfect for CVS shopping)!

Find out here if your local paper carries the P&G Brand coupon booklet.

Also, if you have a Kroger Plus card, make sure to visit the P&G eSaver site to add coupons to your card.

Target Coupons

Target is one of my favorite stores. I was out on their website today and found some new coupons. They weren't where I normally get the Target coupons.

Nice & Easy Perfect 10 Hair Color @ Target - $5 off (expires 4/30/08)
- There was a coupon in the paper as should be able to stack them.

Save on toys - $5 off $25 purchase (expires 10/1/08)

Day 12, Food and Exercise Log

I really don't like having to shovel snow before I leave for work!! This is the second time this week. I'm beyond ready for Spring!! I guess I shouldn't be complaining since it helped me burn some calories!

Tim Horton's Iced Capp (made with white milk)
1 chocolate chip oatmeal cookie - it was awful but I had nowhere to spit it out
English Muffin with grape jelly

Small Shamrock Shake from McDonald's
Smart Ones Calzone (Yummy! It's 6 WW points.)

I'm not feeling well so I wanted to stick with liquids just in case!

Well, that was it for the day I went to bed as soon as I got home from work and slept until 8am!

Overall thought: Thank goodness I had gotten a flu shot in the fall otherwise this would be must worse!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Birthday Clubs

Do you sign your children up (or yourself) for birthday clubs? Most of them will give send coupons for free meals, discount or other coupon. I've signed my children up for a few but not everyone out there. If we don't frequent the place or there isn't a location close by, I don't bother.

Here's a few links to some of the ones I've signed up for...
Bob Evans
Cold Stone Creamery
Toys R Us
Children's Place
Moe's Southwest Grill
Red Lobster

Are you a Busy Body?

Sisterly Savings is giving a way a Busy Body Book (BBB). No, not one of those books like an "Idiots Guide to being a Busy Body". It's the solution to scheduling chaos!! It has 5 vertical columns (one for each family member - perfect). You can track and plan for each family member side-by-side rather than lumping it all in one square on your calendar or writing in different ink for each family member and forgetting who is which color. There's even room for notes, shopping lists, daily thoughts. It has pockets for coupons, permission slips, receipts. Oh, I really want and need one of these!

Check it out here...and get registered!

Day 11, Food and Exercise Log

Well, I got up and moving this morning. The kids rooms got cleaned up this morning and the laundry was started before I left for work. The fiance is sick...or he thinks he might be. Hopefully he goes to work and doesn't lay around the house all day.

Tim Horton's Iced Cappucino (made with white milk)
English Muffin with grape jelly

- eating bananas plain makes me hungry...anyone else?
2 servings of Peanut butter filled pretzels (yummy!)

Flatbread sandwich

20 grapes

Salad, baked pork chop, baked beans, pears

100 Calorie Ice cream sandwich

Exercise: There wasn't any "formal" exercise; however, I was constantly moving from the time I got home until I went to bed...about 5 hours.

Overall thought: If I could figure out a breakfast combination that would hold me over until lunch, I think it would help me. The rest of the day doesn't really seem to be a problem especially since I have been cooking dinner.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

How does free money sound?!?! Something like Chang Ching!?!

I was out checking out blogs and stumbled across Frugal is Fabulous. If you haven't checked out this site, you should...lots of good stuff. I even ordered Victoria's Secret stuff off a post she had. Then there was a post for free money from MoneyNing! The guy got married on February 9 and is giving away $1500.

Check it out here and get signed up but you need to hurry!!

12 Quick Ways to Burn 100 Calories

1. Spend 40 minutes dusting your house
2. Play Frisbee for 30 minutes
3. Go on a 15 minute hike or brisk walk
4. Iron clothes for 40 minutes
5. Jump rope for 9 minutes
6. Rake leaves for 18 minutes
7. Climb stairs for 10 minutes
8. Practice Tai Chi for 23 minutes
9. Vacuum all the floors in the house for 35 minutes
10. Practice yoga for 17 minutes
11. Go grocery shopping for 25 minutes
12. Dance for 20 minutes

Weight Watcher Smart Ones

I've gone back to my Weight Watcher Smart Ones. It's easier to determine the point value when it's written on the box.

If you are one that likes Smart Ones, following the Weight Watcher program, or looking for something different to eat...give 'em a try.

Here's a link to a coupon to save on them as well!

Day 10, Food and Exercise Log

New day! Let's see if we can make this the best in the 10 days! My fiance was supposed to get up and leave the house this morning before 5 am. I don't like people to cut into my shower time so I got up and at 'em this morning. The shower started at 4:30 am. I was ready, lunches ready, bags packed, beds made, laundry started, dishes done and car cleaned off (wasn't expecting the snow) by 5:40 am! I was on a roll!!

Breakfast casserole - scrambled eggs, bacon, onions and green peppers (thanks to my lovely sister)

I had brought an English muffin but forgot the butter and/or jelly. I couldn't eat it plain!

Snack: Hostess 100 Calorie Pack Banana Streusel Muffins

Smart One Chicken and Cheese Quesadilla (only 4 Weight Watcher points!)

20 Grapes
1 String Cheese

Baked Chicken
Green beans

Snack: 100 Calorie Ice Cream Sandwich (only had 1.5 g fat - I think it was Slim-a-Bear?!)

Exercise: Housecleaning, chasing kids, walking, free weights, resist-a-bands

Overall thought: Wow! I can tell a difference when I take my vitamins! The fiance was feeling sick so I had to do stuff where he wasn't since I am trying to avoid getting sick. Eating today at work didn't see to be too bad being that I was bored or should I say unmotivated all day...which is normally what causes me to eat (lots)!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Fun and Free Clinics for Kids!

UPDATED: The photo below are a picture of two of the projects my 4 year old made at the Lowe's Build and Grow Clinic. It's pictured with the Lowe's apron and goggles that each participate receives at their first workshop. With each project, the kids get a patch with that projects name. I just need to figure out how to get them on the Lowe's apron. Sis, can you help me out here?!?! These two are the toolbox and goofy golf.

If you are like me, you love spending time with your kids. If your kids are anything like mine, they love to build things. So, why not take them to Lowe's Build and Grow Workshops? It's free and allows you to spend time with your kids building something. The workshops are held twice a month - second and fourth Saturday of each month.

I take my younger son while my older son goes with his grandpa. (He spends every other weekend with his grandparents and it happens to fall on the same weekend as these events.)

The upcoming clinics are:

Bird/Squirrel Feed - Saturday, February 23 10-11am
Periscope - Saturday, March 8 10-11am
Goofy Golf - Saturday, March 22 10-11am
Ant Farm - Saturday, April 12 10-11am
Land Sail - Saturday, April 26 10-11am

Not all locations require you to preregister but you can at the
Lowe's Build and Grow website. I have also found that you do not have to arrive at 10:00am. They host the clinic for the full hour. The first week we went we made a toolbox and it seemed that everyone showed up at 10:00. Two weeks later, we went to make a Valentine's mailbox waited until 10:30 and it wasn't as busy...but it could be different for every Lowe's.

Day 9, Food and Exercise Log

My youngest son has strep throat so I will be at home today. The day hasn't started off too good with my eating and exercise plan but it WILL get better.

Breakfast: 4 small Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Snack: handful of cheese crackers (like Cheez its)

Lunch: Turkey Deli Creation

Snack: Snicker's Valentine Heart

Dinner: Chicken Patty, Corn, Mashed Potatoes

Exercise: Walking

Overall thought: Even though I didn't eat that great, it's definitely better than where I was a couple weeks ago. I really need to focus on exercise. I did find out what my slump was...not taking my vitamins. With everything that's been happening in the family and getting a call about my little one being sick yesterday, I have lost track of just about everything. I don't think I've taken any vitamins since last Thursday...not good!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Free Stuff!

Back in December, I was off work for three weeks (vacation). I might add that it was great! While I was off work, I spent a lot of time on the internet - shopping, job hunting, and researching different topics. I came across many websites that you could request free samples, coupons, contests or what not. I even hit a few blogs that had links to free stuff or contests. With that said, you could probably only image how many offers I signed up for.

Well, here's a couple pictures to show what's arrive in the past couple weeks...

Day 8, Food and Exercise Log

I woke up this morning with heart burn which isn't ever good.

Breakfast: 1 Donette (grabbed the first thing I could find so I could take my Tums)
Hostess 100 Calorie Pack - Banana Streusel Muffins

Snack: English Muffin with grape jelly

I switched my breakfast and snack this morning. Monday mornings are pretty busy so I didn't have time to wait in line for the toaster.

Turkey Deli Creation

Snack: 3 Hostess Donettes (white powdered)

Dinner: Hamburger Helper - Philly Cheesesteak

Fitball - 30 minutes

Overall thought: Just could have been better. If I wouldn't have fallen down the stairs at my mom's on Sunday night. I probably would have done more exercise but I am still very sore!

Weighing In #2

Well, the scale didn't budge which is good and bad. It could have increased which is what I was expecting since this weekend I didn't do too well. Now that I've been the grocery I hope this week will have better food choices. I also would like to fit more exercise into my schedule.

Let's hope for a better week and at least a 2 lbs weight loss!

Day 7, Food & Exercise Log

Well, it's a little late posting this but here's what yesterday was like.

Breakfast: Two blueberry pancakes with blueberry syrup

Snack: 3 Donettes (white powdered)

Dinner: Mini Super Burrito (half of it)
Chips and chili con queso

Exercise: None

I cleaned the house - scrubbed floors and the bathroom. Yesterday was grocery day too.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Day 6, Food and Exercise Log

If today goes good, I'll be surprised. I got woken up this morning by my crying mother! There are some family issues that we can't get information on or take care of until Tuesday. It's very upsetting and stressing at the same time!

English muffin with egg and cheese (my fiance made it...he must know that I eat more when I am upset and/or stressed...thank you love!)
Tim Horton's Iced Cappucino (made with white milk)

Hostess 100 Calorie Pack Banana Streusel Muffins

Turkey sub (Subway)
1 Chocolate chip cookie

None...we went to a party that I had forgotten about. No alcohol consumed!

Overall thought: Even though I didn't get any exercise in, I am happy. I usually eat a lot when I am stressed and/or emotional.

Friday, February 15, 2008

What do you do with unwanted or expired coupons?

Over at Money Making Mom's, Crystal had posted a question about clipping coupons which brought me to this post.

I've ran into a lot of people that throw away unwanted and/or expired coupons. I collect them even the ones I find on store shelves! As weird as it might sound, I do it for a good reason. I send these coupons (manufacturer's coupons only) to overseas military families. The Commissary and BX/PX allow military members and families on the base to use these coupons.

It's a great way to help military families stretch their budget! For more information about this program, check out the Overseas Coupon Program.

God Bless!

Day 5, Food and Exercise Log

It's Friday! For some reason I am ALWAYS so hungry on Friday's. I thought I would try to fight off the hunger pangs early.

Toasted English muffin with three strips of bacon (before leaving the house for work - about 6am)
Tim Horton's Iced Cappucino (made with white milk)

A handful of trail mix...mostly raisins and peanuts

Black Forest Sandwich (turkey, bacon on pretzel roll) and fries (lunch @ Fox & Hound)

A handful of trail mix...mostly raisins and peanuts


Exercise: None

Overall thought: Friday's normally aren't a good day as far as my food choices. I think today was pretty good. With eating the sandwich in the morning, it helped keep me from eating everything. Like I said earlier, I am always hungry on Friday's.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Tax Tips that will save you Money

Now I'm not a tax professional even though that would probably be a pretty good profession to be in this time of year.

1.Out-of-Pocket charitable contributions
You should keep as accurate records as you can. If you are donating an item, take a picture of it before you get rid of it. Also, if you drive your car for charity, you get like 14 cents per mile!

2. Don't forget about education deductions
I'd have to say this is one that I used to forget until I had already filed but it all worked out (refer to #5). Two deductions you may want to check into include deducting up to $4,000 per student for tuition and fees. Taxpayers can also deduct up to $2,500 per return for interest paid on student loans.

3. Take advantage of energy credits
New windows? New exterior door? New furnace or air conditioner? If you did any of these things in 2007, you could be in line for a credit. It might not be a huge chunk of cash, but unlike a deduction, tax credits reduce/increase the bottom line dollar-for-dollar.

4. Remember to include your Social Security number
By forgetting it, your tax return will be delayed which means less time drawing interest on it!

5. It's not too late...for at least three years that is.
Unless you are super organized, keep everything and write everything down, you are probably going to forget something. You have three years to file an amended return.

Now, I have a question! Why can we only file an amended return for as far back as three years but the government can audit us back five? It happened to me 7 years ago at the city level and I still don't have an answer.

Update: You can also file your federal for FREE at TaxAct!

Tax Rebate Check - When's Yours Being Mailed?

In case you were wondering...

Here's the table that shows when you should receive the additional money IRS is handing out to everyone this year. Well, I guess it's not to everyone but those that qualify.

Economic stimulus payments will be issued according to the last two-digits of the main filer's Social Security number. People who use direct deposit also will be among the first to receive the payments starting May 2. Paper checks will be put in the mail starting May 16.


Last two SSN digits: Payment will be transmitted:
00 through 20 May 2
21 through 75 May 9
76 through 99 May 16


Last two SSN digits: Payments will be mailed by:
00 through 09 May 16
10 through 18 May 23
19 through 25 May 30
26 through 38 June 6
39 through 51 June 13
52 through 63 June 20
64 through 75 June 27
76 through 87 July 4
88 through 99 July 11

Refer to this site or this one for more information on the amount to expect!

Day 4, Food and Exercise Log

With it being Valentine's Day, I am going to avoid chocolate or at least try my best.

Tim Horton's Iced Cappucino (made with white milk)
Toasted English Muffin with peanut butter

Fruit Gushers
couple pieces of candy (3)

Chicken sandwich
Value Strawberry Shake (Burger King)

Fruit Gushers (I love these things!)
A bit or two of cupcake and then dropped it on the floor so I wouldn't eat anymore (LOL)

2 pieces of home cooked pizza

None - upset stomach

Update on exercise:
I did get 100 crunches in and about 30 minutes of fitball!

Overall thought: I could have done better today. I really need to get focused otherwise on Monday morning that scale is not going to go the way I want it to.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Awesome Giveaways @ Mod*Mom!!

Ok, you're going to have to act FAST! I was surfing through blogs and came across a fabulous Valentine's Day Giveaway - 75 prizes! If you want to enter, go to ModMom and get registered! Maybe I will win something else this week!!

I won!

The local tv station was giving away tickets to Disney on Ice - Finding Nemo. I decided to hop on their website and register. I believe it was a contest where you could register as many times as you wanted - to better your chances. I forgot about the contest after that day. Until I had a message on the answering machine, "Hello! This is Sasha with XX letting you know that you were one of the winners of the Disney on Ice family four packs." I don't know who was more excited my kids or me!

Day 3, Food and Exercise Log

It's day 3 and I am hungry! I think it's the weather or maybe the dinner I threw together last night.

1 piece of sausage
Tim Horton's Iced Cappucino (made with white milk)


Pasta with turkey sausage (leftovers from dinner last night)

100 Calorie Pack - Oreo

Pork Roast, Potatoes, Carrots, Mushrooms

Gusher's Fruit Snacks

Elliptical - 50 minutes (4.25 miles, 625 calories)
Free Weights

Overall thought: My thoughts are about the same as the last two days - need to make sure you have healthy food around the house. I get paid tomorrow so we will be off to the grocery after work. I found some "specialty" fitness classes that I am going to look into taking. The classes at my current gym are taught my non-certified fitness instructors. They're just people that had been taking the classes for a couple months. I need someone that actually knows what to do and how to target problem areas (thighs, butt and abs!).

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Postage Rates on the Rise

It will cost you a penny more for a first-class stamp starting May 12. For those of you that don't mail a lot of letters, bills or cards, this probably won't affect you too much. However, if you want to save some money, purchase a book of "Forever" stamps. They are being sold at the current stamp price ($.41 each) and will still be good once the stamp price goes up to $.42. You won't have to purchase $.01 stamps either!

Day 2, Food and Exercise Log

It's day 2 and I've already given in to the Tim Horton's Iced Cappucino. There's good and bad to having one of these. The good - it's less calories, fat and sugar than Starbucks. The bad - I will want another one by the end of the week.

Tim Horton's Iced Cappucino (made with white milk)
Toasted English Muffin (dry - ugh!)

3 - Triple chocolate cookies (I only have a few more of these sitting at home)

Turkey sandwich

NutriGrain Apple Cinnamon bar (on the way to the gym)

Pasta with Turkey Sausage

2 - Triple Chocolate Cookies (I threw out the rest)

Does spending 30 minutes scraping ice off your vehicle count as exercise?
Other than the shoveling and scraping, I had no other exercise.

Overall thoughts: My first thought is...we need to go to the grocery!! I suggest making sure you have healthy items on hand when you start a diet or as I call it, lifestyle change. I've had so many problems trying to come up with things to eat since we don't have much food in the fridge and freezer. As far as the exercise, I really need on it!

Snow, Sleet & Whatever else is falling from the sky

Well, we didn't get quite as much snow as they predicted. I was really hoping this would be that one good snow before winter is gone. We barely had any snow. Roads weren't bad on my commute this morning. Most of my commute is on the highway, today was no different. There was one exception - the "I'm scared to death" drivers. I came across plenty of them this morning. There was one lady that game over right in front of me, nearly missing the front in of my vehicle. She may not have seen me when she came over but she saw me when I passed her! I think she went into panic mode when the snow turned to sleet.

Now, they are just calling for more snow and sleet with the snowfall totals drastically being cut to 4 inches. Some people may think I'm crazy but I would really like to see a BIG snow accumulation before winter ends. Sleeping in and spending a day at home versus coming to work sounds like a great idea to me!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Day 1, Food and Exercise Log

Ok, it's day 1 and I think it's going pretty good so far. I haven't been outrageously hungry but I did miss my Tim Horton's Iced Cappucino this morning. There really hasn't been any exercise as I have been at work since a little after 6 this morning.

Starbucks Frappucino (refridgerated drink)
English muffin with a tablespoon of peanut butter (maybe a little less pb since I didn't use it all)

Triple Chocolate cookie (I'm trying to avoid a headache this afternoon - chocolate withdrawal)

7 mini meatballs (on a hot dog bun)
Yoplait Light Fat Free White Chocolate Strawberry yogurt

Afternoon Snack:
Someone stole my orange!! So, I had to eat the other two Triple Chocolate Cookies that I brought. They weren't as fattening as the Pop Tarts that I found in my desk drawer so I guess that was a win! I'll have to bring some snacks in with me tomorrow.

Bologna sandwich

50 minutes on the elliptical (4.15 miles, 615 calories)
Free weights

Overall thoughts:
My overall thoughts about today are that I could have made better choices on some of my eating; however, with very little food in the house it's next to impossible. You can't eat something you don't have! As far as exercising, I thought I did pretty good. I was going to walk on the treadmill once I put the kids to bed but I wasn't feeling very well. We'll try again tomorrow.

Weighing In

Today is the true start of my diet. Actually, let's call it a lifestyle change. I don't particularly like the word diet. I will document everything I eat and all the exercise I can squeeze it. My plan is to eat better, exercise more and lose more weight as the weeks go by...

Last Monday, I started the prep week. I didn't want to drive right into a major lifestyle change. So, I took it slow. I didn't keep track of what I ate but I did eat better than I had been. I worked out three nights at the local gym...which really made me feel good when I was done. My downfall this week wasn't chocolate or coffee - it was alcohol. I had some drinks with friends on Friday night and then we had a few yesterday. It wasn't anything major; however, it needs to be cut out or better drink choices need to be made.

Now, I did get on the scale this morning to see how the week went. I was pretty good being that I lost 3 lbs! However, my khakis were tight on my thighs this morning. I hate tight clothes. I think I would have rather had the 3 lbs back than clothes that are tight.

My plan for this week is to workout at least four days for an hour each, make better choices in my food selection during the week, and improve my weekend choices all together. Well, see how it goes - I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Super Savings Saturday 2/9/2008

It's Super Savings Saturday again!

Today, Crystal over at Money Saving Mom asked how many stores do we shop at each week. Well, for me, it depends on what I need to purchase. Normally, it's three stores - CVS, Target and Kroger. Every now and then I will venture to Walmart and Walgreens. I'm not one to travel to 6 different stores to save a couple dollars unless I drive past the stores. With gas prices (even though they are down to $2.73 this week), I stick the stores where I can get the most stuff and great deals.

This week I did not go to Kroger and Target. The last time I went to Kroger for groceries I picked up enough for two weeks. I am trying to get my grocery shopping on track with my pay checks since I only get paid twice a month. Next week will be a trip to Kroger. This week at CVS we made two trips - one on Sunday and one on Friday.

Here's what I got yesterday...for $1.94 (earned $29 ECB).

There are two things missing. Since I had my assistant (my son) with me, I bought him a root beer and Reece's peanut butter egg.

No shopping for me today; however, I did provide my sister with some transactions for her trip to CVS. I can't wait to hear back from her. With my help, she will get lots for just $2.65 oop!

Check out all the other great savings at Super Savings Saturday over at Money Saving Mom!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Rascal Flatts Concert

Ok, I'm sitting here wondering who I can tell this, who do I decide? Who better than EVERYONE! I purchased Rascal Flatt concert tickets back in October for their February 17th show. I hadn't purchased VIP tickets before so I wasn't sure why I hadn't received anything or heard anything. I decided to do some research. I don't get my tickets until the night of the show and I have to be the one to pick them up from Will Call. I found out I was #27 on the VIP list. According to the lady I talked to...these could be awesome seats. Now, I just need to make sure my fiance wants to go. I would hate to have to sell these tickets!!

We have seen them in concert before but we haven't seen Kellie Pickler. Maybe that's what I can use when he says "We've already seen and even at that venue."

UPDATE: Concert was postponed to Saturday, May 10th - Mother's Day weekend. I like the thought of a Saturday night versus a Sunday night concert.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

How many times can you shop at CVS and Walgreen's in a week?

Over the past month, I have really gotten into shopping at CVS and Walgreen's. I work 30 miles from home and drive past 3 CVS stores everyday. I've never noticed these stores until I read other blogs and people were saving so much money and/or making so much money off their purchases. That's when it really hit me. I can do this too!! My first couple transactions were so-so...but this week was pretty awesome!

It started on Sunday...
First transaction
2 - Robitussin $6.00 each
2 - Advil PM $4.00 each

Used $4/$20, $2/$10 CVS coupons
2- $2 coupons for Advil PM
2 - $3 coupons for Robitussin
$4 ECB

Total OOP = $.70

Second transaction
2 - Playskool Wipes
1 - Stayfree Clean Ultra Liners
1 - Arm & Hammer Toothpaste
1 - Handy Snack - Cheese and crackers
2 - Hershey candy bars

Used $2/$10 CVS coupon
1 - $.75 Stayfree coupon
2 - $1 Playskool Wipes coupons
1 - $1 Arm & Hammer toothpaste coupon
$6 ECB

Total OOP = $.50

From that day on, it was nothing but more savings and rebates. We are pretty well stocked on our health & beauty products now. I even stopped yesterday to pick up the Ice Mountain water they had on it for free!! I ended the week with $50 in ECB's!!

To end the week, I went to Walgreen's to get Valentine bags for the kids Valentine's. Unfortunately, they didn't have the bags I needed but they Huggies Shea Butter Body Wash clearanced. I love this stuff! I use it on the little one and myself! So, how much was it??? Drum roll please...$.39 a bottle! So I picked up all they had - 8 bottles. Also, on the clearance cart was KY Touch Massage, why not pick it up for the fiance's Valentine gift?!? It was only $1.19. I walked out of Walgreen's paying $4.61...probably what I would have paid for one or two bottles of the Huggies Body Wash.

Check out all the other great savings at Super Savings Saturday over at Money Saving Mom! If you're new to CVS and Walgreen's, check out her CVS 101 and Walgreen 101. You'll be glad that you did...and so will your wallet!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Frugal February Challenge

Angie over at Thirfty Florida Mama is challenging everyone to save their change (pennies, nickels, and dimes). This change will be used to make a frugal purchase which will in turn save you more money. Sounded like a good idea to me so I decided to participate.

My goal is to save enough change to purchase a few compact flurorescent light bulbs (I have been eyeballing them for a while now) and some energy film for the windows. I'll have to think of some other things just in case there's money left over - like a high efficiency shower head to save money on water and energy bills.

Go over to Angie's blog for more information on the "Frugal February Challenge".