eating well and looking good for less

Sunday, May 8, 2011


I am just totally unenthused about shopping this week. Last week the three-day triple coupon promo at Pathmark took up a huge amount of my time, and it was fun. This week they're running a great doubles promotion, and looking at the matchups online, I can't find anything I want. I'm sure if I took my coupons and wandered the store, I could find some deals, but eh.

I have a $4 OYNO cat from Acme which is expiring today, and I can't find any hot deals there, either. I guess I will pick up some produce with that.

Then there's Rite Aid: I hopped in on that awesome Duracell battery deal before it got pulled (17 packs at $2.24 a piece, plus eight Revlon tools, plus some free Uncle Ben's), and I thought that the battery purchases combined with a couple of prescriptions got me to Gold. Nope, 991 points. So close, yet so so far. Augh! I want 20% off on my newspapers!

The ad this week, however, is totally uninspiring.

Despite the fact that I could have happily skipped Rite Aid this week, I needed my papers, so I printed out a $3/15 and the Breathe Right coupon, and headed out to the store. The first big surprise was that the Breathe Right strips were on sale for $3.99, but the coupon still took off $5.99, and on top of that I got a $1 Up. The first Rite Aid I visited only had three copies of the paper left, but those copies had the Tylenol Precise coupons in them. I am not a huge fan of the Precise patches, but the cream is okay.

I went to the second store, and got their last two copies of the paper, too. I guess everyone went out early to buy their papers because of Mothers Day, huh? I bought three tubes of the pain relief cream and a 20oz drink for myself. So all in all, I expected a lackluster week, but it was a lot better than I'd hoped. For just over $4 I got five copies of the paper (normally $1.75 each), three Tylenol Precise creams, one box of Breathe Right, and a drink. All I really wanted were the papers. How does it work out that I buy more to spend less? Not that I'm complaining. :)

Plus, with those Tylenol coupons, I will definitely be at Gold, as soon as the points hit my account. I feel like an athlete who has won at the Olympics, and instead of feeling elation, feels disappointment. What am I going to work towards now? They need to create another level, like Platinum! And whenever you walk in the store, they play music and drop streamers on your head! Yeah. Well. Or not.

I need a new challenge. Oooh! Maybe I'll take up parasailing now.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The smell in my house this morning pulled me out of bed

After the Pathmark shopping trip, our freezer was FULL. My husband took it upon himself to clean it out and make some space, a task which he apparently took very seriously. Especially the part that involved finishing off two cartons of ice cream.

He also pulled out a huge 19+ lb turkey that I picked up over the Thanksgiving holiday, and I cooked it for dinner last night. It felt kind of weird, cooking a massive bird like that on any random Tuesday. I felt like I should cook up a ridiculous number of sides, and have a feast! I settled on a nice salad and a leek and cheddar gratin, made with the McCain sliced Purely Potatoes. It was pretty good. The sliced potatoes soaked up a bit too much liquid, and became really creamy. They'd be awesome in any sort of recipe like mashed potatoes or home fries, but they didn't have the bite I like in a gratin.

After dinner, I pulled all the meat off the bones, and tossed the bones into my pressure cooker, along with lots and lots of vegetables. I also started some chicken stock in my crockpot. My stock pot got carbonized cooking up some liver and rice, and it didn't seem worth the effort to clean it, when it always burns everything all the time because it's a cheap pot. I got so annoyed that I put it in the recycling bin. Anyway. I set the crockpot to low and turned the heat on the pressure cooker (uncovered) to low and cooked that for a few hours, before I went to bed. This morning my house smells unbelievably amazing! The stock smell pulled me out of bed!

I need a new stock pot, though. One that won't burn on the bottom even when it's filled to the top with liquid!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Cleaning house

The Pathmark triple coupon event really made me miss using a binder; it would have been so nice to go to the store, binder in hand, just looking for deals. Instead I had to look online to see what other people were getting, pull the coupons, cut them all, and go to the store. Then at the store I invariably found something else that would be a good deal, so I put it on my list, headed home, got the coupons, and went back. Because of the limit of ten coupons at one time, I still would have had to make just as many trips, but the pre-shopping prep probably would have gone a lot faster.

I'm not willing to spend all that time cutting coupons and organizing my binder, though! I did decide that when I need a coupon, I will pull out all the matching pages from all the inserts, cut every coupon on the page, and file all the unused ones in the binder. That way I don't have half-cut pages floating around, driving me nuts, and any coupons I don't use in the store can also be filed. It also gives me a place to put blinkies and peelies and tearpad coupons and catalina machine coupons and things from mailers and all those other bits which never have a place to go and so pile up on my desk and in my kitchen and on my dresser.

Last night I gathered up everything I could find in the house, cleared out my binder, and filed everything away. Today I am afflicted with a migraine and am feeling generally useless, so I tackled clearing out the file cabinet where I have my older whole inserts sorted by date.

I turned this:

Into this:

and of course, put that into my binder. And then, I could put all my newer inserts into the file cabinet, cleaning up the visual clutter on my desk a lot. Yay. Honestly, clutter that's hidden doesn't bother me all that much, but I can't deal with visual clutter!

Now, if only I could figure out what to do with all my old receipts... I don't like to throw them away, because a.) I donate items and keep receipts for tax purposes and b.) sometimes rebates come up weeks or even months after I've purchased something. But my receipts are a crazy mess, everywhere.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pathmark Triple Coupon event!

Holy shopping trip, Batman! Wow, that was fun. Tiring, but fun. This weekend, three days only, Pathmark was running a triple coupon event. They tripled all coupons, including OYNO catalinas, with a face value up to and including $1. Half the store was free. The other half of the store was incredibly cheap. Needless to say, we shopped that place until we dropped. I focused mainly on getting things that we always use or were totally out of, for as cheap as possible, rather than chasing every freebie. Even then, it was completely overwhelming.

We spent around $50 out of pocket, and according to my receipts, the shelf price of these items was around $485, for a savings rate around 90%.

12 cartons Silk Almond and Soy milk
approx. 9 lbs chicken breast
approx. 3 lbs ground beef
15 packages of tortillas
13 boxes Gorton fish products (crunchy breaded fillets, grilled tilapia, salmon, pollock)
two bottles McCormick peppercorns
two bottles McCormick garlic powder
one bottle McCormick chili powder
one bottle McCormick Lemon Pepper seasoning
one bottle McCormick Mesquite seasoning
two tubs Bestlife Buttery Spread with Olive Oil
four Marzetti salad dressings
four squeeze bottles Welch's Grape Jelly
two bottles Classico pasta sauce
ten bags Pennsylvania Dutch Noodles
four boxes Post Great Grains Cereal
two boxes Splenda
four packages Kraft Big Slices swiss cheese
six bags McCain Purely Potatoes
21 Dannon Greek yogurts
6 packs Dannon DanActive
13 International Delight coffee creamers
two bottles Simply Orange juice
two quarts Land o Lakes half and half
two bottles Heinz ketchup
two dozen eggs
green peppers
four rolls Reynolds recycled foil
one roll Reynolds parchment paper
two boxes Cascade
two bottles Ivory hand soap
three tubs Charmin flushable wipes
two bottles Dawn dish detergent
three Cadbury cream eggs

My fridge is full, my freezer is full, but I still need to go shopping to buy vegetables! I used up the last sad celery bits and the last carrot yesterday, making soup. All that shopping, and I still have to go shopping! Ha.

I have never seen so many coupon shoppers in one place in my life, as I saw this weekend at Pathmark. Everyone, and I mean everyone, had fistfuls of coupons. I saw coupon inserts scattered in carts, coupons in envelopes, coupons in binders, coupons stuck on shelves. Coupons coupons coupons coupons. There was lots of talk about Extreme Couponing. Shockingly, most of the stuff I was going in for was well-stocked. I heard plenty of complaints online that everything was sold out, but I did not have that problem at all.

I've heard that they're doing a doubles event next week, doubling coupons with up to a face value of $2. Oh dear. Another weekend spent at Pathmark, then?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dear Kohl's, I love you.

Here is the awesomeness of Kohl's. We have been needing a new trash can for a while. To make a long story short, ours was busted. I am loathe to spend a fortune on a TRASH CAN because it is a CAN which you fill with TRASH and I don't understand why a trash can must cost over $100 because it's a CAN which you fill with TRASH.

But ours was a useless, broken piece of junk and I got tired of messing with it and getting annoyed every time I needed to put trash in it, so on Monday we went to Kohl's and bought this here fashionable can, normally $139.99, priced on sale at $97.99. Still expensive, but since I had $10 in Kohl's Cash and a 30% off coupon, it was $62.38. Still expensive, but much better. At least, I thought! Until today, when I just happened to check the website to see that it was on sale for $69.99!!! After the 30% discount it would have been $48.99. Minus the $10 KC, it would have been only around $40.

I checked on the website and found that Kohl's has a price adjustment policy, so I hopped right on over to the store, expecting a problem. I mean, I used KC, I used a coupon, I bought multiple items on my last visit. Do they prorate the KC and divide the value between the different items I bought? What about that 30% coupon? Are they going to give me a hassle? Would I have to do something sneaky, like buy the other trash can in the store, then turn around and return it using the old receipt?

No! The cashier scanned the receipt, punched in the 30% discount, turned around with a big friendly smile, said, "This is the amount that will be refunded to your charge card," and that was it. Wow, their CS rocks. That was so much easier than I expected!

Kohl's, keep on treating me this way and I may just stick with you for life. :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I can't decide if getting a Kohl's Charge was the best or worst thing ever

No, just kidding. Clearly it was the best thing ever.

Kohl's sent me a $5 email coupon, plus a 30% off coupon, plus we finally got a statement, so we had to go to the store to pay our bill. I figured that I would scope out the clearance racks, to see if there was anything there for ME this time. Since my "baby" was born, I have purchased new clothing for myself twice. And my "baby?" He is four. I gained weight, lost weight, lost a lot more weight, and then all my shirts mysteriously had tiny holes appear in them. Where are all these pinholes coming from? Just about every shirt that I actually like to wear has a hole in it. Does my washing machine have little nails stuck in it somewhere? And my pants keep sagging and slipping down, which is wildly unattractive.

I found some shirts which look gorgeous on me, and two new pairs of smaller pants. Oh, they're pretty tight in the waist, but they fit and they're smaller than I've worn in, um... gee, most of my adult life, I guess. Also, they look amazing. I'm not really a girly kind of person, and I mostly don't think about my appearance, until I do, at which point I am invariably surprised at how nice it makes you feel to look, well, nice.

My husband also picked up another shirt for himself, plus we finally got a bedskirt for our new mattress set, which we bought in January. My poor box spring has been exposed since then. Early Bird Specials + 30% discount, that's a great price. Better than I've seen anywhere else, and now my bed doesn't have its guts exposed.

I felt a little bad about spending the money, because I have a fairly tight budget and also a fairly aggressive credit card repayment strategy (my credit card is the only interest-charging credit account we have left, woo woo), and every dollar I spend on other things is a dollar I won't be able to send to my card in the future. But. It's nice to have clothing that fits and looks good.

I need to get some aluminum foil. We ran out a few weeks back and I haven't noticed any great sales on it, so I've been doing without. Hope there will be a good sale in the upcoming weeks!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Walmart, Ugh.

I went to Walmart the other day to pick up the Candyland and Operation games that were on sale, and it was easy, fast, and the deal went just as it was supposed to go. So, when I got a TON of Nivea coupons today, I figured what the heck. Walmart is supposed to be getting more coupon-friendly, and the body wash will be free, and I am planning a big donation trip, so why not.

I picked up five bottles of mens' and five of womens', for a total of ten, plus a package of socks for the kid. I expected my total to be $5.88, the price of the socks. Instead, it was $8.28. Uh, what? After I got the receipt, I saw clearly what happened: Walmart charged me sales tax on the body wash. 24c a bottle. Aaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrgh. You know I would not pay 24c a bottle for body wash, right? The total tax was almost the cost of another whole bottle of body wash.

According to my state's tax code, "Amounts representing on-the-spot cash discounts, employee discounts, volume discounts, store discounts such as ‘‘buy one, get one free,’’ wholesaler’s or trade discounts, rebates and store or manufacturer’s coupons shall establish a new purchase price if both the item and the coupon are described on the invoice or cash register tape." In other words, if a coupon reduces the price of an item, sales tax is calculated based on the price paid after coupon. If the price paid is zero, then zero sales tax is owed.

The item and coupon are clearly described on the cash register tape, and therefore Walmart is in error charging me sales tax, and owes me $2.40. You try explaining this fact to Walmart's sole customer service employee, without having a copy of said tax code in hand. She clearly could not do anything to help me. Even if she knew the tax law, she wouldn't have been able to do anything to help me. I felt like such a tool. It was embarrassing, honestly. Why did I even bother going over to ask her about it? What on earth did I think would happen? They were probably rolling their eyes and laughing about me when I left. Whatever, the law is the law.

I would never have bought the body wash if I'd realized that they were going to charge me sales tax on it. Should I return it? Since they now have my $30 worth of coupons, would they give me $32.40 in cash back?

I feel more upset about this than I should. I feel like I've been ripped off! Perhaps because a retailer as large as Walmart ought to be charging tax in accordance with local laws? Perhaps because I truly would not have purchased the body wash, had I known, and would have saved my coupons to use at stores where I actually like to shop, and where I know the tax would have been computed properly? Perhaps I am just nuts, and $2.40 is not worth getting upset over?


I did find color photo ink cartridges for my printer on clearance at Target, though, for only $7 and change, 75% off their regular price of $30. That was pretty nice! I only bought two. Maybe I should go back and pick up a few more. I mean, $7, you can't beat that.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

More wipes! More! MORE MORE MORE!!!

I look upon my box of flushable wipes, and it fills me with a deep satisfaction. What does this say about my life, and my psyche? Nothing good, I am sure.

Last night when I was at Pathmark I noticed a bin filled with 75% off batteries, including Rayovac, so I came home, clipped my coupons, and headed back there today. I also picked up more wipes, because if the catalina machine is giving me $1.50/3 every single time I scan my savings card, and the catalina keeps on rolling, they obviously really, REALLY want me to buy more wipes. And... I gotta tell you, I am down with that.

Flushable wipes are about a million times easier for kids to use than toilet paper, and I never find great stock-up sales on this kind of item, so I usually end up burning some Extra Bucks on CVS-brand toddler wipes. Seriously, parents, you know how kids have no idea how much toilet paper they need, and then they pull off half the roll and clog the toilet and you're going through $85 worth of toilet paper and a couple of plungers a week? Flushable wipes. The answer to all your problems.

Well, unless your child, like mine, pulls all the wipes out and throws them around the house. But. At least he doesn't throw them all in the toilet.


I wanted to get larger packs of Rayovac, and I wanted to get Rayovac AAs, but the 12-pk of AAA was the biggest I could find. Gave up looking and got the 24-pk of Kodak -- $3.75!!! -- plus two smaller packs of AAA, because that was what there was. Also, bananas from the reduced produce rack. They look fine to me, but cost half of what the other bananas cost...

After my first transaction, the machine printed out yet another Scott coupon, so I went back and bought some more. The cashier was amazed at this deal, when I explained it to her. She said she was going to go get some, just to get the $5 OYNO coupon. I would have gone back and done it once (or twice. or maybe more) again, but my son, whose name surely should have been Wackadoodle McNoodle, was getting a bit wild, so we left instead. Maybe I'll go out tonight, maybe not. I love doing catalina deals! They're crazy addictive. When there's an awesome rolling cat deal for something we regularly use, I honestly have trouble stopping.

Have you been watching Extreme Couponing? Man, that show is cracking me up. Everyone is buying Maalox. I know, I know, they're using the coupon because it was one of the highest value qs available at the time, so it made the numbers look good. But... they're all paying for Maalox. What a waste of a good coupon. Maalox was free with overage at both Rite Aid and Target. Why would you pay 50c a bottle for Maalox, when you could earn $1.50 a bottle buying Maalox?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I need to be more vigilant about taking pictures before I put everything away

I wanted to get out to Target today, not only to buy things I needed (Kandoo wipes, tortillas), but also because it's been raining for days and we are so bored of not being able to go to the park and ugh, we had to go somewhere.

I knew that Hasbro games were on sale at Target, but I tossed my circular and didn't feel like digging through the wet recycling bins to find it, and my computer is being really slow and irritating so I just left my Hasbro coupons at home. Whatever. When I got to the store, I decided that I did want to buy a game, and guess what? Someone had left that whole page from the toy circular right on top of the game I wanted to buy! How cool is that? I took the Connect 4 q and moved the page over to the Cuponk display. Thanks, Target Coupon Fairy! :)

So, anyway... I wanted tortillas because when we have leftovers in the fridge, one of the things I like to do is to throw it all together in a pot and make a big batch of burritos. Little bits of meat, leftover kale, cooked veggies, chopped fresh veggies, mostly empty jars of salsa, cooked beans, whatever. Into the pot it goes, with refried beans, chopped tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, spices, and cheese. Kitchen sink burrito. Tastes way better than it sounds. I was going to pick up peppers at Target, but they were $1.50 EACH. Wow! No flippin' way!

Got six packages of Kandoo wipes, one Hello Kitty coloring book, one Connect 4 game, and two packages of tortillas. The total came to $13.92 before taxes. I can submit the receipt for the Hasbro/free Tombstone pizza rebate, and get a free pizza out of it, too.

Since I still needed green bell peppers, we went to Pathmark across the street. I got a two pound bag of peppers (six or seven peppers in it), for $2.99. The markdown produce cart had whole, sliced cantaloupes for only 69c, so I got two of those, too, since it's the kid's favorite fruit. Then I picked up four more of the packages of Scott wipes, to see if the cat rolled. My total after coupons was $4.83, and the cat did indeed roll, so I earned back another $5 for future use.

I don't have any more 50c/1 Scott coupons, but I do have a $1.50/3 that printed out from the machine, so I might go back and do the deal once more. Even with the less great coupon, it still comes out to 37c a pack, which is a great price, and flushable wipes are so much easier for little kids to use.

Too bad, the Market Pantry tortillas are seriously not good this time. They're very thick, and even after being heated they don't so much roll up as bend until they crack. Like wrapping a burrito made of very thin drywall?

*sigh* Is it the weather? I just feel so down today. :(

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Boursin-style" cream cheese spread

You know how you put cream cheese in the freezer and then it comes out all crumbly and useless for spreading on bagels? I've had some bricks of cream cheese languishing in the freezer for a long time, for just this reason. Last night I took one out and made some "boursin-style" cream cheese for use on my bagels. I put it in quotes because I didn't have any fresh herbs to put in it, so I guess it's not all that authentic. But it's darn tasty.

I took about two tablespoons of butter and melted it in a tiny saucepan with two cloves of chopped garlic and some freshly ground black pepper, to infuse the butter with pepper and garlic flavor and slightly cook the garlic, so it wouldn't be quite so pungent. (This is also my secret for amazing garlicky mashed potatoes. Melt the butter with the garlic, then heat the milk to just under scalding in the garlic/butter mixture.)

Then I put the rest of a stick of butter my food processor, along with the brick of cream cheese and the melted butter, and processed until smooth. I added just a little salt, and it's so good! It tastes almost exactly like the boursin-style cream cheese spread that they sell at Whole Foods.

After I put the cream cheese spread away, cleaned up everything, and put all the food processor parts in the dishwasher, I looked in my pantry and saw sun-dried tomatoes staring me right in the face. OH! I should have added those! That would have been even better. Alas.

I hope this solves the yucky crumbly cream cheese problem we've faced in the past. I can't even tell you how many times I've passed up a good cream cheese deal because I find it gross after freezing.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The best laid plans of mice and me...

I wasn't terribly impressed with the circulars this week, were you? Every store has one or two fantastic loss leaders or OYNO deals on things that I both need and want, and not much else in the way of deals. I don't like to shop more than one or two supermarkets and one drugstore a week (it's just too much hassle with a preschool kid who doesn't want to go shopping at all anymore), but since no one store stood out from the rest, and since I had CVS and RA rewards expiring this week, I figured, whatever, I'll just hit them all.

I meticulously planned out a shopping trip for all the stores along one three mile stretch of the road. Easy and efficient, right?!? Rite Aid worked out well. I spent 25c and got my papers and three bottles of body wash.

Up next: CVS. They only had one Freshmatic kit in stock, so I just bought what they had. The best thing about CVS is definitely the way their system tracks your purchases. I appreciate that so much. I got bubbles, Diet Coke, and AirWick there.

Then: Pathmark. We are almost out of flushable wipes, and they work so well for little kid butts, you know? The Scott catalina deal was calling my name. I went in to the store and found... a big empty hole on the shelf where the flushable wipes should have been. It was as though they had been surgically removed from the shelf. Fortunately, the hard tubs were not tagged as being part of the sale (even though they were included), so I managed to get four of those. I suspect that if they had been properly tagged, they all would have been gone, too. What's up with that? The markdown produce shelf was pretty well stocked today, so I also picked up about four pounds of bananas, a package of mushrooms, and a couple of pounds of tomatoes. Spent about $8 out of pocket, got back a coupon for $5 OYNO. I'm probably going to try rolling it into the Scott deal again. Hopefully it rolls!

Finally, we headed to the last stop, ShopRite, the store where I wanted to do the most shopping. The parking lot was a madhouse. We both took one look and made the unanimous decision that no amount of cheap butter was worth battling the hordes in that store on a Sunday morning. They'll buy all the butter, the stock guys will restock all the butter, I'll go back midweek, midday, and we'll have the store to ourselves and all will be well.

But then. Then we decided to go to another CVS. Except... we realized that we couldn't think of a single CVS anywhere near where we were, because they're all on the other side of the city. My husband kept saying, "Oh! I know where there's a CVS!" and I would drive there and then when we arrived, it would be a Walgreens or a Wawa or a dirt lot with weeds growing in it. The gas tank was low and we decided to fill it, which cost over $50. Oh, my. We ended up driving around for about 45 minutes, just to pick up one stupid air freshener, with the kid in the back seat whining the whole time about how much he wanted to go to CVS and buy some chocolate milk, and no matter how many times we told him that we were going to CVS, he wasn't really buying the story.

And guess what? When I finally did get to CVS, they didn't have any chocolate milk!!! And then we had to go to Rite Aid to get chocolate milk, and snacks, because I realized that it was after 2 PM and I hadn't eaten anything all day and was getting awfully hypoglycemic and shaky and finding it difficult to drive, so I needed a snack break.

So, to recap. Planned shopping trip very well. Drank coffee and then forgot to feed myself. Threw all shopping trip plans out the window. Drove in giant circles in confusing suburban wasteland. Ate potato chips in a Rite Aid parking lot. Um, yeah, that's about it!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Well, if there's an extended government shutdown, at least we'll have enough cereal to avoid starvation. :)

After dinner last time (that chicken and cauliflower recipe was amazing, by the way), we decided to go and pick up some cereal from Acme after all.

I bought twelve boxes of cereal -- Corn Flakes, Crispix, and Rice Krispies. I paid $14 total for one dozen boxes, but also got four coupons for a free gallon of milk valued up to $4.29, plus I submitted the UPCs for two Kellogg's gas card rebates totalling $20. I had to put out some cash, but I guess it's a money maker deal, if you count the milk and the rebates.

Good goodness, do we have a lot of cereal right now. The best part is, it's all healthy stuff! I swear, if there is ONE teeny tiny itty bitty box of sugary cereal hidden behind all the Special K and Cheerios, Mr Four detects it like some kind of preschooler heat-seeking missile and refuses to eat anything else. I tell you, if we told a bunch of four year olds that Al Qaeda was hiding a vast store of Cocoa Puffs, the war would have been over before it started.

I think I'll make chicken parm for dinner tonight. Mmmmm. Chicken paaaaaarm.... Commence drooling now.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Plans for dinner

I woke up this morning and realized that it's Thursday, meaning that it's the last day of the Acme sale week, and I still haven't gotten any Kellogg's cereals there. In addition, a couple of my ShopRite OYNO coupons were expiring tomorrow. I decided to go to Acme, then maybe ShopRite if the kid could tolerate it. On the way towards Acme, I thought, "What am I doing?!?" No way that kid will hold up well through trips to multiple stores. I don't need cereal and I don't need milk, and my cereal coupons are not even that great. Why am I wasting precious shopping time today?

So, I hung a right and headed towards ShopRite instead, where I used my soon-to-expire coupons to pick up some ingredients for dinner, some more milk, and a few other things.

91c total, saved $31.22, for a total savings of 97%.

Used two free milk coupons (but the price of milk went up by 11c a gallon, so I still had to pay 2c a gallon, ha ha), $1.50/3 Nescafe, two 55c/1 International Delights, and $14 in OYNO coupons. I only need to spend $1.69 more to get my free Easter food. Will I go for the lasagna or the turkey? I dunno.

Anyway, I thought I would make the roasted chicken and cauliflower recipe from the April 2011 issue of Everyday Food, so I bought a whole chicken and the tomatoes. I hope it's tasty!

Maybe I'll go to Acme tonight, if we feel like it. I'd like to pick up more cereal, just so that I can stick the extra milk in the freezer and submit the UPCs for that gas rebate, but if not, no big loss, I guess.

Monday, April 4, 2011

No P&G?

I sent my husband to Rite Aid yesterday, while I called up my credit card company to see if I could get them to reduce my interest rate or upgrade my card. No go with my company. The most I managed to get out of them was a $20 credit to my account. I promise you, they will see the light by the end of the year. Because if not, I'm opening a better card and then closing this one. :)

Anyway, sent him to Rite Aid. I haven't really been feeling the drugstore love these past few weeks. I have just about all the health and beauty items that we need for a long, long time, so for me to want to go to the drugstore, something would have to be a really good deal. I had a $5/1 Gillette razor coupon from the booklet that P&G sent out, and I needed my weekly papers, and with the $3/15 survey coupon that was a pretty good deal.

The husband picked up one of those Gillette Fusion bonus packs -- the ones that have a razor, two cartridges, shaving gel, face wash, and some sort of lotion. It wasn't on sale, but was instead the regular price of $10.99, which actually worked out even better. Since our Wellness card is at silver, we got 10% off, paid $9.89, used the $5 coupon, and got $5 in Ups back. Total was $3.17 for the the razor and four papers (normally $1.75 each).

I currently have 773 wellness points, and should have 780-781 after yesterday's shopping trip hits the system. Only 220 to gold!

Not a single one of the four papers he bought had a P&G insert! I was thinking about ordering a set, but the only coupon I particularly want is the Pampers Kandoo, so, whatever.

*yawn* Sleepy.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Guess what I bought?!?

Hint: it was milk. And cereal. We have "are you mentally ill? why do you have so much cereal?!?" amounts of cereal in the house right now. I am pleased with this.

$1.44, and I didn't use ANY product-specific manufacturer coupons! I had a Shop Rite store coupon for the free container when you buy three Kellogg's cereals, a free milk coupon, and $18 worth of various OYNO coupons. According to my receipt, I saved $38.04 or 96.2% on this shopping trip.

I wanted to make hummus yesterday (the food of the gods, *sigh*), but we didn't have lemons and we ran out of olive oil earlier in the week. I use olive oil for everything, even baking. It's my go-to cooking oil. Running out of olive oil is like running out of... of... of, um, I have not had enough coffee this morning and so a brilliant simile eludes me. Like running out of something that I really need. Yeah. So mainly, we went to the supermarket to get some olive oil and lemons. But since I was there, I figured I may as well do the cereal deal once again, since even without any coupons the value of the milk and container exceeds the purchase price of the cereal. Plus, now I have nine boxes of cereal towards the ten I need for the Kellogg's gas rebate.

Without coupons, I paid $1.99 for each box. Each box earns me the equivalent of $1 in gas, $1.27 in milk, and 99c in containers, for a total of $3.26 in product/value earned per box. Ha ha! Awesome.

Marshmallows, because what do you do when you have a wall of Rice Krispies? Duh.

In other news... My master plan, which I've been working towards for quite some time, is to get all credit card debt paid off, get my husband's credit score way high, apply for a good rewards card, and then start using credit cards strategically in order to earn rewards. I am a big fan of credit, guys. You aren't going to see me cutting my cards into little pieces or freezing them in blocks of ice! No way. We don't have spending problems, and I think that when used carefully, credit cards are a fantastic tool, and a whole lot safer to use than debit cards. And YES, let's get it out of the way: credit card companies are big entities whose sole purpose in existence is to remove money from your account and put it into theirs, and they're really, really good at it.

But... You know how much I love gaming a system? I mean, did you read the this post? Because if you did, I think you know the answer to this question. When used carefully, to purchase items which you were going to buy anyway and which you have the ability to pay for, credit cards offer the opportunity to save and/or earn mucho bucks. Plus, from a practical standpoint, I'd rather have someone steal my credit card number and wipe out the credit card company, than steal my debit card number and wipe out my bank account. Sure, you're gonna get the money back eventually, but which one will be more of a hassle?

So, yesterday I had my husband call up and request a lower interest rate on his credit card, which currently has a very low balance. The first rep claimed he couldn't help. Husband was about to give up, but I made scowly faces in his general direction, so he put on his work voice, asked to be transferred to someone else who could help, and got a more senior rep. The second rep also couldn't or wouldn't help with the interest rate, but DID offer to waive/credit the past three months worth of interest (since our balance is so low, does this mean that they'll owe us money?), plus he upgraded the card to a no-annual-fee rewards card. Score! It pays to ask!

My master plan continues apace!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Maybe we could start bathing in milk

I went to another Shop Rite location this evening, to pick up a few more boxes of Rice Krispies. I have some Kellogg's coupons that are expiring tomorrow, and I wanted to use as many of them as possible before they're just so much more recycling for the bin.

With my various coupons, these massive boxes of Rice Krispies are costing me $1.32 a box. Ugh, I would nevvvvvvvvvvver pay that much for cereal, if they weren't giving me free milk. 2% milk costs $3.70 a gallon here, and since we have state-mandated minimum pricing, we do not get discounts. If I subtract out the cost of the milk, the boxes of cereal come out to just 6c each. That is some pricing that I can get behind, let me tell you.

Which is why I have a just opened gallon of milk in the fridge, two gallons in the freezer, two more catalinas for a gallon of milk each, plus more Kellogg's coupons to take to Shop Rite, plus next week Acme is running a Kellogg's cereal/milk catalina sale. I know that for some people, five gallons of milk wouldn't get them through a week, but we are not huge milk drinkers around here. We pretty much only cook with it, or put it in cereal. One gallon could last a week and a half or longer. I am going to have months -- no, years!!! -- worth of milk by the end of next week. And my cereal cabinet is overfull. I've had to start stashing cereal on top of the kitchen cabinets again.

Maybe I could just turn my basement into a corner store. :P

Last of the Shop Rite Dollar Days!

It's the last week to redeem Shop Rite's Dollar Days catalinas, sob. Next week I might actually have to pay money for food. Well, no, probably not. But... it's a distinct possibility that at some point in the future the catalinas will run out and I might have to pay money for food.

I was reading a discussion on coupon usage on a big consumer information blog site. The comments were cracking me up, particularly the ones from someone who claimed that "extreme couponers" would never show you their totals, because there is no way it's possible to get your spending that low without lying, cheating, stealing, or otherwise engaging in unethical behavior. Uh, you are so wrong it's hilarious, Internet Dude. This one is for you.

Total cash OOP here: $3.65. It would have been lower, but the registers only accepted one of my three $1 off fruit when you buy Kellogg's cereal coupons (I guess the coupons attached to the cereal, which I was hoping wouldn't happen). Plus the register didn't take off my 60c/3 Green Giant cellfire coupon.

I earned back a catalina for free milk from the cereal, plus a $4 OYNO from the coffee. I think I should have gotten a $4 cat and another $2 cat. Unless I wasn't. I have to contact Catalina Marketing to see if they can fix that. I was supposed to get some additional $2 cats, but CS printed them for me.

So, here's how I did this thing:

(3) Rice Krispies, $1.99
(5) Green Giant frozen veggies, 99c
(3) Eggland's Best Eggs, $1.77
(18) Athenos Greek Yogurt, $1.49
(1) Rubbermaid LockIt container, $2.98
(6) Nescafe Taster's Choice coffee, $1.29
(1) Klondike popsicle bars, $1.99
1.49 lbs grapes, 99c/lb ($1.43)
3.23 lbs bananas, 49c/lb ($1.58)
2.29 lbs Bartlett pears, 99c/lb ($2.27)

(1) $1/2 Rice Krispies
(1) $1/1 fruit when you buy Kellogg's cereal
(1) $2.99 off one household container (Shop Rite supercoupon)
(1) free Green Giant frozen veggie
(2) 50c/2 Green Giant frozen boxed veggies
(3) 50c/1 Eggland's Best eggs
(18) free Athenos Greek Yogurt (I think the cashier hated me a little, at that point)
(2) 75c/1 Nescafe
(2) B1G1 free Nescafe
$15 in Dollar Days catalina coupons
25c reusable bag discount

Total paid: $3.65
Saved: $86.09

I am glad that I finally found that Greek yogurt. I've been carrying around the coupons since Athenos sent them to me in December. They expire tomorrow, and I've never been able to find the yogurt for sale ANYWHERE. This is the first time I've seen it in any store, anywhere. If the coupons weren't set to expire and I could find the yogurt easily, I would have bought the yogurt maybe four at a time. Sorry, Poor Cashier Who Had To Enter 18 Free Item Coupons Manually. I didn't want to do it to you.

I also stopped at a couple of Rite Aids. I have a small stack of Gain coupons that I want to use before they expire, and I wanted to pick up some more Rice Krispies. I paid a total of $1.14 for four boxes of RK and three bottles of gain (and a strawberry milk the kid drank in the car). I used the $3 Gain coupons, plus more of those $1/2 Rice Krispies qs.

My OOP was low because I blew some Ups on the cereal, but I figured it was worth it, because it means I have seven boxes towards the Kellogg's $10 gas rebate. That is, until I actually read the gas rebate and saw that it's only 10oz boxes or larger, and all the boxes I bought at Rite Aid are 9oz. *groan* I could have used those coupons on the Kellogg's sale at Shop Rite, and they would have gone a lot further. The boxes of RK at SR are 18 oz, and you get a free milk and a free container when you buy three. Oh well. I needed something to absorb the overage on the Gain qs, and at least I'll get the extra Wellness points.

Note to self: in the future, READ THE FINE PRINT FIRST.

Monday, March 28, 2011


I signed up for yet another one of those daily deal sites which are springing up all over the place. Today I received an email with an ad for 94% off a two night Las Vegas hotel stay, plus a gift certificate, plus a prepaid credit card. Wow, that sounds like an awesome deal, right?

Yeah, except the fine print starts off weird and gets progressively weirder. You must be in a certain age range. You must have a certain income range. You must be married, engaged, co-habiting, or in a significant relationship, you must have matching ids... You must both attend a 90 minute sales presentation. Ohhhhhhhhh. I seeeeeeeee.

You want me to pay you $20 to come and listen to a sales pitch? I guess if you can avoid buying stuff you don't want, and you can find cheap airfare, you'll still come out ahead because of the restaurant GC and the Discover CC, but still, buying the rights to sit in a hotel room for 90 minutes listening to someone sell me something I don't want, this is not what I expect from a daily deal website!

I have never done the timeshare presentation thing, but I have to say, getting a cheap or free vacation sounds pretty sweet to me. Sitting through an ad presentation, on the other hand, does not. Have you done it? Is it worth the hassle of the presentation?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

More of that healthy food that you can't buy using coupons

Quick little Acme trip. I don't really want or need anything from the drugstores this week, but I had to get to Acme for the pasta and frozen veggies, and I needed to pick up my newspapers.

I spent $8.98 -- more than I was planning! All the frozen veggies (a dozen boxes) were free after doubled coupon, and the five boxes of Ronzoni pasta were also free after $1/1 coupons. My son was begging for yogurt, which was not on sale and cost $2.99, that 2lb steak was $4, the pair of cantaloupes cost $2.99, and the papers were $1.75 each. I used the three $1.50 OYNO catalina coupons I had left from buying all that tuna last week, to get my cost down to $8.98. My receipt says that I saved over $53.

(Okay, I will grant you that frozen cheesy broccoli probably does not count as "healthy food," but we have purchased -- for free after coupons, of course -- two dozen bags and boxes of frozen veggies in the past week, and I really didn't need MORE peas and corn. So, why not try cheesy broccoli?)

I normally buy my papers at Rite Aid, because I get 10% off, plus I can use my Ups to pay. Oddly, this week at least three quarters of the newspapers I checked either didn't have any coupon inserts in them, or had April 3rd's Smart Source. How weird. I guess maybe they ran out of this week's SS inserts and just filled the papers with whatever they had on hand. Does this mean a shortage next week, too?

Yesterday Mr Husband and I opened up a Kohl's charge card and hit the clearance racks. I've been hearing about Kohl's for quite a while (and since the previous owners of our house were Kohl's shoppers, we've been tossing those percentage off coupons for years!), but this is the first time we've ever shopped there. He was in desperate, desperate need of new clothing for work, and it's a Kohl's Cash earning period, so I figured what the heck.

He got almost an entirely new wardrobe, although he still needs a few more pieces. By using our newly opened Kohl's charge, we saved more than $30 (!!!) off the price we would have paid using cash, plus we earned that KC for future shopping trips. The receipt claims that we saved almost $425 on the clothing we bought. Uh, yeah, but who goes in to Kohl's and pays $80 for a cotton sweater?!?

I wish I had understood how KC was calculated; I asked an associate on the floor and he told me that how much you earn was based on the pre-discount price, but apparently he was mistaken, so we lost out on an extra $10 in KC when the cashier swiped the discount coupon. Oh well. We spent less, which is good, but if I had realized, I would have either made sure we bought those shoes he was looking at, or put back the clothing I picked out for the kid.

Dear Kohl's: Send me 30% off coupons. I promise to put them to good use.

I also bought some FoodSaver bags, which are on sale this weekend. They were still not cheap, but since I bought several multipacks, I paid $5.70 a roll instead of the normal retail of $11.99 a roll. I used up my last FoodSaver bags a little while ago, so I tossed my freezer food in ziptop freezer bags, and now I'm noticing ice crystals -- future freezer burn!!! -- on those items. Freezer burnt food is wasted food, and wasted food is wasted cash! So, I ponied up and paid the money for the big boxes of FoodSaver rolls.

I haven't had a very busy weekend, but I've spent the whole time just wanting to crash. Bedtime is early tonight!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's been an awesome month for catalinas

Too bad I don't have any pictures of my shopping trips. We've all come down with some sort of plaguey fluey awfulness, and by the time we get home from the store, we shove the stuff into the fridge and then collapse on the floor, without taking photos. Well, looking on the bright side, I have lots and lots of cold and flu medicine! Too bad none of it seems to work. :)

Acme's highlight was the Starkist tuna pouch sale and catalina. $1 per 2.6 oz pouch, with either 50c/1 or 75c/2 coupons, with $1.50 catalina for each five pouches you buy. I ended up with 36 pouches. I would have bought a lot more, but I ran out of coupons.

Shop Rite, that place is just amazing this week. It's week three of Dollar Days redemption, and they keep on having more and more sales and catalinas to roll.This week I bought a dozen eggs, a dozen bags of frozen vegetables, a dozen packages of Nescafe, two lbs strawberries, two lbs pears, two cantaloupes, mangoes, garlic, three lbs apples, two cartons of OJ, four bags of yellow rice, and a box of lemon lift tea bags (awesome for my sore throat).

Shelf price was $75 (seriously wtf $75!!!), I spent $7.99 and $19 in catalinas ($2 Dial, $2 Purex, plus my $15 in Dollar Days), and earned back another $12 on the coffee. I have enough coupons to get nine more boxes of coffee, but it may be a double dip starting on Friday, so I'm going to hang on to the coupons in the hopes that I can earn A WHOLE LOT MORE. Like, spend $2.61, earn $17. Woo.

I love a good catalina deal. Even my husband gets into it. Last night he asked me, "When can we go back and earn some more money buying vegetables and coffee? Huh huh huh? Let's do it now!" Married life is thrillsville, eh?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

This one is for the "coupons make you eat junk food" crowd

I am ridiculously pleased with my shopping trip today. I just couldn't get it together enough to get out to Rite Aid on Sunday, so I didn't expect much in the way of sale merchandise to be left in the stores. However, I have two sad onions and no coffee, so I needed to get to the supermarket today, and since all my Ups were from the J&J deal and were expiring at the end of the week, I figured I might as well stop at Rite Aid. Well! Score!

Three different Rite Aid locations, plus Shop Rite.

First I stopped at Walmart, which was a bit of a waste because they didn't have a single thing I was looking for. Rite Aid is on the other side of the parking lot, so Mr Four and I walked over. They didn't have any tuna, but I did spent $1.93 and get a gallon of milk, two bottles of Gain, the Veet cream, Keri lotion, the Thermacare wrap, and a bottle of juice drink (not pictured, as Mr Four was busy wearing most of it on his face). Spent $4 in Ups and didn't earn any back, but I submitted the Keri for a $6 SCR.

Then I drove to the supermarket. There's a Rite Aid next door, so I stopped in there and found four cans of tuna, another two bottles of Gain (I had more coupons, but left bottles on the shelf), and that bottle of Pepsi. I was thirsty. :) Spent $4 in Ups, $1.18 in cash, and got $4 in Ups back from the tuna.

Shop Rite: cashing in on last week's Dollar Day deals. I was a bit disappointed that they didn't have any of the 99c Reach toothbrushes for the catalina deal, and I didn't get overage on the Excedrin coupons, but that's okay. I still got a 3.8 lb beef roast, 3 lbs onions, 2.6 lbs of bananas, 1 lb asparagus, 1 lb strawberries, a can of coffee, two boxes of Excedrin, and five reusable bags for $1.89. I used all of my Dollar Days catalinas for this week, along with one of my two $2 Ziploc catalinas.

I managed to convince the kid to stop at one last Rite Aid on the way home. Jackpot! They had SO MUCH TUNA!!! I bought a dozen cans of tuna, four cans of sardines, and another bottle of Gain, paid with $16 in Ups and 93c cash, and got back $16 in Ups. I wanted to buy every last can of tuna on the shelf, but I couldn't do it. I just couldn't do it. I left a bunch.

I want more tuna! Have you priced that stuff lately? Ouch! I missed out on the Subscribe and Save Amazon deal, and I love tuna, so I am thrilled that I was able to pick up 16 cans today. I just wish I could get even more.

All in all, today I spent $5.93 in cash on items which had a shelf price of $112.52 (a savings rate of almost 95%), submitted for a $6 rebate on the lotion, rolled my expiring Ups, and, oh yeah, got all that stuff pictured up there.

Not sure how Rite Aid is calculating points with their in-ad coupons this week, but even if they're not counting the Thermacare or Veet coupons, I should have just under 600 points when these receipts clear. I am aiming for gold by the end of April! 20% off, here I come, woo woo woo.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I broke the store. Okay, not really.

ShopRite has been running their Dollar Deals promo for the past couple of weeks, but yesterday was the first time I managed to get to the store. It's set up a little differently from most catalina deals -- you buy a certain number of qualifying items from a manufacturer, and get $12 in OYNO coupons, in the form of four $3 coupons to be used over a period of four weeks. The out of pocket for a lot of the transactions was higher than I'd like, and since the cats can't be used immediately, there's no rolling. Also, there's a limit of one deal from each manufacturer, per customer.

However, a lot of the items that were included were pantry staples (tea, olive oil, vinegar, apple sauce, Splenda, canned tomatoes, evaporated milk, pickles, Ziploc bags, etc) and many of them were items that I needed, so I accepted the fact that I would actually have to spend money (BAH!), planned the best trip I could, and went out yesterday. Too bad I missed out on the first week, with the apple sauce and tea. Oh well.

Oh, yeah, I also really wanted that cheese. It was 99c per 8 oz block, which is my stock-up threshold. A price around $2/lb is the best regular sale price I can usually get on it. I have read on other sites that people are able to get cheese for 75c/lb! Not me, no way. Sometimes I can get blocks or bags of Kraft cheddar for around $1.50/lb by stacking store and manufacturer coupons at Target, but it's rare. So, seven pounds of cheddar and Monterey Jack for my freezer. We were down to one 8 oz bag of shredded Kraft. What can I say. Kids love cheese.

So, here's the photo. Not pictured: one lemonade. Fruit snacks and lemonade both represent bribes used to shut the screaming child's mouth while in the store. He SAID he wasn't hungry before we left. Clearly he was mistaken, since the minute we got into the store he wanted to eat everything he saw.

Total spent: $64.39
Received: $64 in OYNO coupons, plus five coupons for free reusuable shopping bags, worth 99c each

When the coupons started coming out of the machine, the cashier was kind of amazed (I'm not sure whether in a good way or a bad way! ha ha) and the bagger repeatedly expressed her vehement belief that the catalina machine must be broken, because it was not supposed to do that. Yeah, it printed out 29 (!!!) coupons. I don't suppose that happens often.

Here are the deals I did. It was all in one transaction, but I'm splitting it up for the sake of clarity.

15 cans of Hunts tomato paste, 3/$2
No coupons. Paid $10, got back $12 plus free bag

7 cans Carnation evaporated milk, $1
3 16oz bottles Coffee-Mate, $1.24
$1/2 x1 on the CoffeeMate, no coupons for the Carnation. Paid $9.72, got back $12 plus free bag

four jars Vlasic pickles, $2
four boxes Duncan Hines brownie mix, $1.29
55c/1 x4 on the pickles, 50c/1 x2 on the brownies. Paid $7.16, got back $12 plus free bag

SC Johnson:
six boxes Ziploc bags, various sizes, $2.50
$1/2 x3 on the Ziploc. Paid $12, got back $12 plus free bag PLUS an extra $2 x2 catalina for a total of $16 back

four boxes Planter's Nut*rition bars, $2.50
one package Philadelphia Cooking Creme, $1.49
$1/1 x4 on the Planters, $1.50/1 on the cooking creme. Paid $5.99, got back $12 plus free bag

So, all in all on the Dollar Days deals I paid $44.87 and got back $64 in cats, plus five free bags. I gotta say, even getting back $20 more than I put out, spending that much money on that little amount of food makes me shake my head in distress. Not my favorite catalina deal ever, but I am looking forward to using the $15 per week to pick up fresh fruits and veggies through the month of March. I also bought:

Cheese: 14 blocks at 99c a block: $13.86
Coffee Mate 32 oz: $3.99, used Facebook coupon for free CM up to $3.99
Bananas: 3.77 lbs at 69c/lb: $2.60
Lemonade: 79c
ShopRite fruit snacks: $1.50

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

My baby is most definitely not a baby...

because his fourth birthday was yesterday. *sniffle* He's so big! And he was so happy about his birthday. He saw this owl-shaped cupcake cake in a magazine, and from that point on he was adamant that he must have that cake. So, we had to make a supermarket trip to pick up all those candies. I still have a few boxes of cake mix (from the fabled October GM catalina deal at Acme), and about a million cake frostings (what on earth am I going to do with all that frosting? it's not even that tasty), but I needed to buy pretty much all the candy.

I was so pleased with myself because I went to Acme and used my $10 OYNO from ConAgra, along with a few other coupons, to get pretzel rods, pretzel sticks, chocolate sprinkles, coconut flakes, Grasshopper cookies, Junior Mints, a bottle of root beer, and two dozen eggs -- for 32c. Thirty two cents! My husband informs me that when I saw the total on the register, I did my money saving dance and sang a song. I didn't know I had one. He says I do. When I scanned the first bag of pretzels, the catalina machine popped out a coupon for a free soda when you buy two bags of snacks. Oh, look, it just so happens that I *have* two bags of snacks, how about that? Hey Hubs, run back there and grab a soda as fast as you can! Then when I scanned the soda, it popped out another coupon for free soda. Woo.

Then we headed across the street to Rite Aid, to pick up some circus peanuts and caramel creams for the eyes. I was looking for jelly roll candies, and unstale circus peanuts. Er. Every circus peanut in the four different stores I shopped was hard as a rock, and no one had anything but peach jelly candies. I made an executive decisions and switched out eyeball ingredients. Anyway, my total cost for the ingredients for this awesome cake was $2.24, and I still have enough candy left over to sustain a sugar high for days or possibly weeks.

So look, here's the cake:

Best. Cake. Ever.

The kid loved his birthday party; you should have seen the look of joy on his face when everyone was singing to him. And we didn't go too overboard with the presents, so he seemed to appreciate and enjoy every single one of them. You know how that goes -- they get so many presents that it's totally overwhelming and half the stuff gets tossed into a pile and never seen again. I can't stand that. I'd much rather have a limit on the amount of gifts, and have him love every single one, than have him get a hundred gifts that he doesn't even play with.

I got a couple of different kinds of J&J soaps, shampoos, lotions, and bubble baths at RA yesterday.  Not anything excessive. Maybe one bottle of bubble bath, two bottles of lotion, three shampoos and two body washes? I dunno, something like that. The point is, there was enough baby shampoo to choose the yummiest smelling kind. So, my husband gave the kid a bubble bath, and then washed his hair, and I ask you, what did the child's hair smell like after the bath? Lavender? Apples? Anything at all from J&J? No, he smelled like my husband's Gillette 2 in 1 Shampoo & Body Wash. Ha ha ha ha ha! He's a manly little four year old.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I can't believe I spent almost $44 yesterday. Where did it go?

A few days in the hospital left me feeling completely out of sorts. So weird. I think the kid was upset with me for not being around. Whenever he got upset over something and started crying, if I tried to help him he would yell and scowl and turn away from me. When I asked him why, he said that he was sad that I didn't come to Nanny and Pop-pop's house to get him. Aww, baby. I'm sorry. A bump in the road, that's all.

I decided to go shopping after all. I didn't want my Ups to expire, plus the coupons for free Coke that I ordered back in mid-December finally arrived. I was not expecting them to take so long!

First we went to Rite Aid. I spent 98c OOP, spent $26 in Ups, and earned $21 back in Ups. They didn't have any of the Ziploc containers, which I would have preferred, nor any of the Dove deodorant for women, but I wanted the Degree more, since my husband was asking me to pick up some up just a couple of days ago.

I was going to buy a 12-pack of Coke using one of the free coupons, but the cashier couldn't get the register to accept the correct amount, so he called over the manager, who, in a somewhat testy fashion, told me that they don't accept the free 12-pack coupons. That's kind of weird, since it's clearly NOT a fake IP coupon, right? But, no problem, I can just take them somewhere else. Then my Colgate coupons beeped, and the cashier said that he was told that when the qs beeped, they were told not to accept them. Don't know about that, but since it was a pair of piddly 35c/1 coupon and the toothpaste was free after Ups anyway, I didn't think it was worth arguing.

I handed over my Ups, and got my total down to 98c. The register froze up and required a void override, or something like that, so the cashier had to call the snippy manager over again. She took one look at the receipt and said, "Why are there so many coupons? Oh, because she has that many. Are you kidding me?" She then keyed in her approval, once again said, "Are you kidding me?!?" and pretty much stomped out of the store for a cigarette break. Ha. Whether a manager or cashier is feeling snippy has absolutely no bearing on me, because I follow the rules and I KNOW I am not doing anything wrong, illegal, unethical, or immoral. I am gonna keep on doing what I'm doing (and furthermore, I'd be happy to teach YOU how to do it too), but that kind of behavior from a manager is pretty ridiculous. At one point in my life, getting that kind of bad attitude from someone probably would have embarrassed me or made me feel self-conscious and nervous, but instead, my husband and I were cracking up over it as we left the store.

 I can't believe that this paltry amount of food cost $15.39. That's absurd. I used my $8 catalina from last week, and two Coke coupons (I forgot to put the other pack of Coke in the picture) and the mushrooms had a $1 off coupon on the front, and it still cost that much! It does not make me feel any better that my savings came out to 72%. All that tells me is, some people pay way too much for food. Seriously.

Anyway, I took my Rite Aid-rejected Coke and Colgate coupons to CVS, and bought them there instead. I also can't believe how much this purchase cost. I messed it up. My cash OOP on the first transaction was an unholy $8.90, plus I paid with $5 in Extra Bucks. I earned $10.58 back in Extra Bucks. Greeting cards are ridiculously expensive ($8.98 after the coupon). It's the kid's birthday in a week, so my husband found the perfect card for him. Then the red machine printed out a coupon for $1/2 greeting cards, so I got a Valentine card for my husband, too. On the way out the door, I realized that I had completely forgotten to get the papers, so I grabbed them and paid for them in cash, another $3.50. That's a total OOP of $12.40. That is just way too much. Oh well.I should have used the $3 EB from the Coke to pay for the papers, but I didn't think of it.

The last transaction, the Acme ConAgra cat. I said that I wasn't that interested, but I guess I can't resist the siren call of a good cat deal. I spent $12 OOP so far, but I still have a $10 OYNO cat in my wallet for upcoming purchases. No coupons used (though when I came home I found that there is a coupon for Pam cooking spray, but oh well). The first transaction, I bought six hot cocoas and four ketchups, paid $10, and got a $10 OYNO back. The second transaction, I did four cocoas, three ketchups, and two Pams, which cost $2 after I handed over the $10 cat from the first transaction. Then I got the new $10 cat. $12 for this stuff is too expensive, but if you need to spend OOP at first, cat deals always look kind of wonky until you roll them a few times.

I'm crunching the numbers for a few more transactions. More cooking spray, because I really hate greasing baking pans, and maybe some canned roasted tomatoes or some soup for the husband to take to work or a bit more ketchup? Or maybe I won't bother, and will just use it for fresh produce.

I also bought a package of Girl Scout cookies. Tagalongs, yo. Good stuff.

Today, I am using my peppers and my mushrooms to make stuffed peppers, yum. Can't wait.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A title would require organized thoughts

I was going to post all about my trip to Pathmark on Tuesday, in which I bought eight boxes of cereal for 80c, and then got back an $8 ONYO cat. It was pretty awesome. I still had a ton of coupons left to get more Chex and Cheerios, so I was going to go back the next day, but instead the abdominal pain which had been bothering me all week went supernova in my belly, and eventually I ended up getting sent to the hospital and spent the rest of the week there, which sort of waylaid all my plans for shopping, life, and everything else. Diagnosis: maybe some sort of acute colitis, thankfully resolving now. Hey, also, what happened to my house while I was away? No one was here (kiddo was with the grandparents, husband was at work or the hospital with me, dogs were mostly in their crates), so how did it get so danged messy? I came home and it looked like a disaster zone! Stuff piled high on every surface, dirty laundry everywhere, dirty dishes in the sink, dog barf on the rug. What. The. Heck. Happened. Oh, and did I forget to mention that while I was in the hospital, everyone else came down with some horrible stomach bug which left them exploding from both ends? Wow, I really hope that this is not in my very near future.

I have $28 worth of Ups that are expiring at the end of the week, but since I was in the hospital for half the week, I didn't plan my trip out ahead of time. I have absolutely zero energy for going to one store, let alone five, but I'm afraid that if I don't go today, all the deals will be picked over and gone and I won't be able to roll the Ups. $28 is too much to lose, especially when I want to pick up some of the J&J baby stuff next week. I don't want to have to start over from zero! Well, from $3, because I got $3 in Ups from shopping at RA this week. (I didn't go until Tuesday, and I mostly got SCR items.) Either way, starting from $0 or from $3 means multiple transactions to minimize OOP, and have I ever mentioned how much I hate doing multiple transactions?

There's a big ConAgra promotion at Acme this week, and everyone is so excited about it, but honestly the only thing I find even remotely interesting is the hot cocoa mix. Oh, ketchup. I do need ketchup. We just emptied our last bottle without realizing it. The stockpile demands ketchup! Maybe I will go later in the week. I do know that even though a lot of the stuff would be great for donation, I am not going to spend every day in there or do more than one or two transactions. I just don't have it in me. I want to crawl back into bed and stay there for the rest of today, at least.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Pathmark, wooing us back?

I haven't been back to Pathmark since the change in coupon policies led to the Giant Cash Register Debacle of 2010, in which I had to spend half an hour fixing coupon issues with the cashier and half the store managers. It was Not Fun, and it did not entice me to spend any more time or money in their store, when Acme is happy to accept my coupon business and Food Basics is cheaper on essentials like produce. The GM catalina this week looks really promising, though. What's the coupon atmosphere in Pathmark like these days? Is it better than it was over the summer?

Because free cereal plus an OYNO cat, well... it's very appealing. :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

In which I drive back and forth, back and forth

I finally stopped at Target this morning, to pick up those freezer bags I needed. I figured I would try freezing my stock in bags, instead of in plastic containers. I filled the bags, then laid them flat on a baking sheet and put it in my freezer. I hope that they'll freeze relatively flat and then stand or stack nicely in my freezer. My freezer filling progress, incidentally, is coming along quite nicely. I still have to get to the meat market, to see what I can find there, but the freezer is probably halfway full by now, with all sorts of great stuff. Cheese, butter, deli turkey, ground turkey, sausage, a little beef roast, ice cream, vegetables, chicken bones (enough for two more batches, about 20 more cups of stock!), chicken and vegetable stock, a turkey, all kinds of meals and treats I've cooked up and stashed away for lazy days... I wonder, do I need to make a little sheet showing what's hiding in the bottom of the freezer? It's getting harder to know exactly what's down there, now that it's more full.

Anyway. After Target, we went to ShopRite, for ground turkey and London broil, and then to the Rite Aid next door (again, eek), because I needed to pick up disposable cups. I don't really care that they cost more at Rite Aid than they did at Target, since at Target I would need to spend my own money on them, and at RA I could burn some Ups. But, when I did the math I completely forgot about my 10% silver discount, so I handed over too many Ups, and when the cashier scanned the last one, the system rejected it. Of course, having been scanned, it would no longer work at any other store. I called CS and they're going to send me a replacement, yay. I took all my stuff out to the car and then I realized that I'd forgotten to get milk. Well, that won't do. Little people loooooove milk. Headed back in, got milk, left.

But wait! On the way home, I realized once again that I'd forgotten something, this time coffee, so I stopped at another Rite Aid location a mile down the road. (Once, my husband and I tried to think of as many Rite Aids as we could that were within, say, five or ten miles. I think we reached two dozen before we got bored of this exercise and decided the correct answer was, "Plenty." There are four of them within a 3.5 mile stretch on this one road alone.) Mr Almost-Four and I hopped out of the car, got our coffee, and drove towards home. We made it a whole mile and a half before Mr Almost-Four realized that he'd left Mommy ZhuZhu somewhere in a store. Oh no! Because I am an awfully nice mom, we turned around and went back to both Rite Aids. No Mommy ZhuZhu in the coffee store, but it turned out that she'd been hiding in the candy display at the disposable cups and milk store. The cashier had found Mommy ZhuZhu and put her up by the register, in case her owners came back for her. Mr Almost-Four was very, very happy to get her back. Shh, I was too, but don't tell; it'll ruin my street cred.

Once I got home, I discovered two things. One, I forgot to get coffee creamer. Two, the Butterball turkey coupon has reset, so I can buy two more pounds of ground turkey. WTF on the first one (how many items can one person forget on one shopping trip when they've been in FIVE STORES?!?!?), yay on the second one. More 79c/lb turkey for my freezer!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

More ice cream? Sure!

We had to go out and buy cat food last night, for the aforementioned reason that when the cats are out of food, they start eating the house instead. Oh, and coffee! We ran out of coffee. Nooooooo. Since we were out anyway, I decided to pick up the coffee at Rite Aid, along with some more ice cream. Got four cartons of Edy's, plus one tin of Maxwell House. The total came to $15.46. I paid with $15 in Ups, and 46c in change, and while I was digging out exact change, the cashier was mentally rolling her eyes and inwardly laughing, like, "It is the end of the day and I cannot wait to go home, get off my feet, and not have to deal with these cheap-o customers who are paying me with PENNIES," ha ha. I got back $28 in Ups, 4 $2 Ups for the ice cream and one $20 Up for purchasing $100 worth of qualifying products, so that's a profit of $12.54. I need to have a bunch of parties at which I serve lots and lots of ice cream and pie now.

Other random deals of the day: did the ThredUp deal on Deal Pulp. Since I used my $5 signup credit, it only cost $1. Should be great, since the kid recently went through a big growth spurt and needs plenty of new clothing. Something like 8000 other people have purchased this deal, so I'm wondering what kind of stuff is going to be available on ThredUp for a while! Slim pickin's, or major bounty?

Also finally used my Wild Dill $35 credit, that I bought from Eversave way back in November. (Or was it October? Well, it was a while ago.) I got the green recycling truck, the red dump truck, and the Sprig Toys seaplane, all for the kid's upcoming birthday. I can't believe he's going to be four years old. I hope he likes the toys as much in real life, as he enjoyed watching them in the videos.

Yesterday I baked more banana-filled foods. I did a couple of loaves of banana nut bread, using the recipe from The Family Circle Cookbook. I have no idea if this book is in print anymore; the copy I have is an old, battered hand-me-down from my grandmother, with marked pages and food stains and scraps of paper that fall out whenever you're not looking. The banana nut bread recipe wasn't what I was expecting! It was delicious, of course, but very unlike my mom's recipe, which is moist, dense, and chewy, with lots of banana flavor and lots of black specks of banana sprinkled throughout. This one was lighter and fluffier, more like a pound cake. My husband said it tasted more like a spice cake with a hint of banana. It smelled heavenly, and had an amazing crust! Don't mind the fact that the loaves are totally different sizes. I didn't bother weighing out each pan. The bigger one is more impressive, though, don't you think?

I also made a couple more loaves of banana feather bread, this time using whole wheat instead of white in the sponge. It was too cold in my house, and I think I made the dough a tiny bit too dry (I always forget to add a bit more water when I make it with wheat, oops), so it rose very slowly. By the time the bread was ready to go in the oven, it was after 11 PM and we just wanted to go to sleep. As a result, I wasn't paying very close attention to the baking process, and it was, um, let's say "aggressively browned." Not burnt, exactly, but definitely darker than I would have preferred. Hopefully the bread will have an interesting and complex flavor profile, and not taste like ashy death. I haven't been all that satisfied with my bread baking lately. It's all boring, utilitarian loaves. Sandwich loaves. Pizza dough. Oh, well, I was really pleased with the cloverleaf dinner rolls, I have to say. They were astonishingly good. Anyway, I feel like I need to take a day or two, try some new recipes, some new flavors, some new techniques, and turn out some challenging artisanal loaves.

I've gone through one and a half of the three bags of bananas, but I still have probably seven or eight more pounds of mushy bananas, which are growing mushier with every passing hour. I need to either bake like a crazy woman TODAY, or freeze them now. Any great ideas? I've already done white bread, wheat bread, banana nut bread, and three varieties of banana muffins. And I am down to the last bag of all purpose flour. I knew I didn't buy enough at the last sale! My husband laughed at me then, because while I was saying, "I don't have enough! I don't have enough," I had 40 or 50 pounds of flour in the cart, but I was sure I would run out. And look, I have. Although I still have around 18 pounds of bread flour, I am going to have to pick up some all purpose by the weekend.

Also made a big pot of turkey chili yesterday. I was craving it, and man, it was soooooo good. Started off with two pounds of ground turkey, dropped it in the pan to brown.

 Got to add some spices. What's in there? Salt, pepper, cumin, ground chipotle, chili powder, Mexican oregano, cocoa powder. Added a couple of cloves of garlic (maybe five or six), and two chopped onions. Mmm. Mixed it all up, tasted it, added more of some ingredients, then dropped in a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes, plus what was left from another 28 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes, plus a can of tomato paste. I know tomatoes are not traditional in Southwestern chili, but I'm a city slicker, don'tcha know.

I can't stand the taste of raw tomatoes in chili. I am one of those who feels like, the longer it cooks the better. Two hours, at a minimum. Four hours, even better. I cooked it for two, maybe 2.5 hours, until the tomatoes dissolved and the whole mess darkened and it tasted gooooood. We ate the chili with cheese, sour cream, and some of those cloverleaf dinner rolls. I wanted to make corn bread or drop biscuits, but by that point every baking utensil was dirty and I didn't want to wash them, so I just took the easy way out and reheated the rolls which I'd previously stashed in the freezer. We still have a ton left today, so maybe I will turn it into chili mac tonight. Or, I could cook some rice, mix it together, and freeze up another batch of burritos. Hmm, not sure!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Still no Red Plums.

It snowed last week -- a lot -- on the day that our Red Plum inserts and circulars are normally delivered. The side roads are still surprisingly awful. I'm beginning to think that we're never going to get those RPs, and that they're just going to skip a week. This is really sad, because at this point I am thinking that my only options are to skip the week, or buy the normally free inserts from a service. And it will cost even more than usual, because I would have to buy both sets of Red Plums, instead of just one.

I'm especially peeved about it because that RP has all the Unilever qs which I would have been able to use at CVS this week, for the pasta sauce and mayonnaise, both of which are items we are out of. And I also need those cat litter coupons. Tidy Cats Scoopable is the only kind we use, and it's expensive. The Tidy Cats q is selling for a ridiculous amount on eBay, though. I'm sorry, but I am not paying 40c per coupon! I don't care if it has a face value of $1.50. That's too expensive. Much too expensive.

So, here's hoping that they deliver the circulars some time, but I don't think it's gonna happen. Oh well, you win some, you lose some, I guess.

I think that after yesterday's Rite Aid trip, it is definitely time for me to thin out the stockpile and take a trunk full of donation items. Well, maybe later in the week, when hopefully more of the snow is gone and driving down the city street is not more like driving down an unpaved mountain road that happens to be covered in giant ice chunks. (You think I'm kidding. I'm really not kidding. The smaller roads are a mess!)

I made two huge pots of chicken stock this weekend, but I don't have any freezer containers for them, so I have to get out and buy something so that I can freeze them in the next day or two. I mixed up some burrito filling and put some tasty burritos in the freezer. I also baked up three loaves of bread, three batches of banana muffins. Banana peanut butter, banana chocolate chip, and banana walnut chocolate chip.

Trying to decide whether I should make turkey chili for dinner, or eat something else and freeze both packages of ground turkey. Hmm.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Wowzers, I love Rite Aid

I skipped Rite Aid last week, because we were all feeling poorly, but I was really looking forward to this week. The kid is sleeping over with my parents, so my husband spent most of the morning scooping up the deals, together, alone, without having to worry about entertaining my little guy. It was great!

We went to five different Rite Aid locations, all within convenient driving distance of our home and the bank (where we had to go to deposit a check anyway) and the supermarket. Not every location had everything I wanted, especially for the Heart Healthy deal, and anyway, it's very unneighborly and thoughtless to wipe out the stock at any one store.

I started off with $42 in Ups, and my $20 Gift of Savings certificate. I hadn't shopped at Rite Aid at all since the Winter Rewards promotion started, so my balance towards the $20 Up was zero.

I'm not going to post each transaction, but my total cash out of pocket was $7.86. I now have $54 in Ups, and I have spent $89.07 towards the $100 for the Winter rewards program. I submitted the $19.99 Neuragen and the $7.99 Complete contact lens solution for SCR, for a total of $27.98 back in cash. I think I'm going to start picking up some SCR deals every week. I love the idea of getting a check back!

Here's what I got:

ten copies of the local paper
Excedrin 24 ct
Complete contact lens solution
Afrin -- three bottles
Colgate toothpaste -- three tubes
Stayfree pads -- 16 packs of various types
Huggies diapers
Hartz dog biscuits -- 8 boxes
Viactiv calcium chews -- five boxes (so excited to try this product!)
Dixie plates -- two packages
Edy's ice cream -- eight cartons

The total dollar amount that I paid was $7.86, and the shelf price of all this stuff was $323.48, for a total savings of 97.5%, not factoring in Ups or SCRs. If I wanted to get more ice cream, four more packages would cost $11.96, but earn me the $20 Winter savings Up, plus four more $2 Ups for the ice cream itself. We're not huge ice cream eaters around here, though, so getting more for the sake of earning money seems kinda selfish. It is nice to have ice cream in the freezer, though, especially my husband's favorite kind. :) I have to check next week's ad scan and see if there's anything great in there, and if not then maybe I'll go back later in the week and pick up a few more cartons of mint chocolate chip.

Just to put it in perspective: I paid LESS for all that stuff, than that one package of diapers would cost, even on sale. I'm not a newbie at this, but that just never gets old for me, really.

We also stopped at ShopRite and picked up two pounds of Butterball ground turkey. After the 75c/1 coupon that they just put out, it was $1.53 for both packages. I foresee turkey chili in the near future. And, pretty cool: when we were checking out, the catalina machine spit out a coupon for a free box of Lean Pockets. Hey, thanks, Catalina Marketing!

Friday, January 28, 2011

It's a good thing last week was a slow coupon week...

because I have not left the house since last Saturday. Or Friday? I don't know; it all runs together. I know all my loyal readers (I have loyal readers, right? Maybe just one? Hello? Is this thing on?) wondered where I was! Over the weekend, while clearing out some clutter from the basement, I must have pulled something in my upper back, because suddenly I discovered that I couldn't turn my head without excruciating pain. The next day, we all came down with some kind of horrible stomach flu/fever/food poisoning/I don't know what thing, so we were basically confined to bed for the next couple of days. We're still not fully better, even now. Then there was a big snowstorm, followed by some cold wet hail, followed by an even bigger snowstorm, so there was a lot of shoveling, which was not the most fun thing ever because the amount of nutrition I've taken in over the last week has been minimal, and the whole walking around thing keeps on giving me trouble. And here it suddenly is, Friday and a week later.

You know what the saddest part of all this is? (Well, sad in a First World Problems sort of sense, in that it's not really sad at all.) In all this week, we've barely even eaten from the stockpile at all, except for cereal. Everything I made for the freezer is spicy, and even thinking about it still sets my stomach churning. My stockpile is all baking supplies and canned pumpkin and pasta and canned tomatoes and mayonnaise. You know, real food. There's nothing premade.There's nothing that I can even bear the thought of eating. Even eggs. *barf* I have a whole bunch of chicken parts that I was planning to use to make stock, but I didn't get around to doing it yet, so I didn't have any of that. (Note to self: make stock before the weekend is over. Today, if possible.) And do you know how much those little single-tube packages of saltines and bottles of ginger ale cost at the convenience store? Holy crap. Clearly, Sick People Food is an area in which my stockpile could use some massive improvement.

I really need some vegetables and some cat food and litter, but the roads are terribly icy and impassable without 4WD (or at least they were yesterday when Mr Man took the car out for a spin around the block and took fifteen minutes to get back). I think I'm going to attempt to get out today, anyway, even if it's just to Food Basics or the produce market, for some fresh fruits and veggies.

Usually our Red Plum inserts are delivered with the upcoming week's circulars on Thursday. We didn't get them yet, I suppose because of the snow. I'm getting all itchy waiting for them, especially for that Rite Aid ad! I hope they won't just skip the week, because I hear it's supposed to be a pretty good one for coupons. Two Red Plums, that's always a nice thing.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Words do not really express how ridiculous I find this shopping trip.

I didn't particularly want to head out to Rite Aid tonight, but the kids drank all the milk today, and if there's no milk in the morning when my niece gets here, there may be bloodshed. I wasn't sure where I was in regards to Resolution Rewards (spend $100 on qualifying items, get a $20 Up), since my tally did not print on my last receipt, so I figured while I was out, I would check around the store and see if I could find any of the items which are included in the promotion. Turned out my favorite store had a lot of them, and when I checked out, my Resolution Rewards total was at $94.91. Yes! I didn't think I was going to be nearly so close, since last time the tally printed on my receipt it was at $46.08. I was pretty surprised to learn that Ups weren't subtracted from the total, like they are with wellness points. I could have gone back into the store to pick up a few more bags of chips, but honestly, that's kinda embarrassing. So I went to another store a mile up the road, instead.

Is this not the most laughable set of items to purchase, ever? Or, as my cashier said, "It's a before and after!" Yesssssssss... *hangs head in shame* Oh! The milk isn't in the picture! I bought a gallon of milk, too, and then put it in the fridge before taking the photo. It was the whole point of going out!

First store: 3 bags of TGIF Potato Skins, four cans of chili, two boxes of Zantac, one bottle of Maalox, gallon of milk. Paid $7.34 OOP, $10 in Ups, $5/1 Zantac x2, $5/1 Maalox. Everything except for the milk added to my Resolution Rewards total, which was pretty much why I bought it. Well, that and the fact that all the food was free. Earned back $12 in Ups. I could have used more Ups and paid less OOP, but all of my Ups are $1, and that's a lot of little tiny sticky pieces of paper to count and spread out all over the counter and they take a million years to scan in and anyway, I was earning $12 back so whatever.

Second store: needed to get $5.09 worth of items included in the promotion to earn my $20 Up! But they didn't have some of the items I wanted, and I somehow managed to lose my shopping list, then refind it in my purse (which is not large) as soon as I left the store. How does that happen? Anyway. Four bags of chips, one bottle of Maalox. Paid 72c OOP, used $4 in Ups and $5/1 Maalox coupon. Earned back four $1 Ups for the chips, and got my $20 RR Up, for a total of $24 Ups earned in this purchase.

Therefore, tonight I spent a total of $14 in Ups and $8.06 in cash, and earned back $36 in Ups, for a profit of $13.94. On a heartburn party in the making.

Finally, lasagna.

Yes, I finally made up two pans of lasagna this afternoon. One has mushroom and spinach, and the other has smashed up meatballs in the sauce, for a slightly meaty lasagna. I do not know why I did this. I grew up on no-meat lasagna, and think meaty lasagna is kind of weird. I guess I just didn't want to waste the few meatballs and the bit of sauce left over from yesterday's dinner. Anyway. I'm going to bake one for dinner tonight, the veggie one, I think, and put the other in the freezer for later.

Here's the weird thing: I bought two boxes of Shop Rite brand lasagna noodles last week, because I didn't have any in my stockpile. The noodles in the first box were at least a full inch longer and half an inch wider than the noodles in the second box. Isn't that weird? Isn't there some kind of international lasagna noodle standardization commission, which oversees the production of all lasagna noodles and ensures that they are all little noodly clones of each other? ...What do you mean, no? Well. Guess that explains my wackadoodle noodles.