Monday, February 27, 2012

Go West, Young Man...

Well, the word's out. Shortly after school lets out here in Virginia, the Hargises are packing up and retracing our steps all the way back to Davis Monthan AFB in Tucson. There have been a few people here who can't understand WHY we would be excited about going back to the desert and it's 110* summers. Here are a few reasons....

Waking up to a sunrise that looks like this
And sitting outside in the evening to a sunset like this.
The smell of the rain on the desert. It's like nothing you've ever smelled
REALLY putting the Jeep through it's paces
Ahh, Mt. Lemmon
There are other places and faces we will be glad to see as well. Paige is excited to be old enough to volunteer at the Reid Park Zoo and my life has gone on long enough without an Iced Teagee. But most of all, we have missed.....

Hello Love-ah!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Coupon Brag

Did a little bit of couponing today. I went to Target and our local Farm Fresh. Here's what I bought...

2 Quarts of Stonyfield Farms Organic Milk
- On sale for $3.99 ea.
- 2x$0.50/1 manufacturer's coupons, doubled by Farm Fresh
Final Price - $2.99 ea.

2 Boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios
- On sale for $1.99 ea.
- 2x$0.50/1 manufacturer's coupon doubled by Farm Fresh and 1x$1.00/2 manufacturer's coupon
Final Price - FREE! I actually made $0.02 on this one.

2 International Delight Coffee Creamers
- On sale for $1.79
- 2x$0.55/1 manufacturer's coupons, doubled by Farm Fresh
Final Price - $0.69 ea.

2 Boxes Pop Tarts (I ONLY buy these when I have a coupon)
- On sale for $1.99
- 2x$0.70/1 manufacturer's coupons, doubled by Farm Fresh
Final Price - $0.59 ea.

Knorr Homestyle Stock (This stuff ROCKS!)
- 1x$0.65 manufacturer's coupon, doubled by Farm Fresh
Final Price - $2.39

100 oz. Tide Detergent
- On sale at Target for 11.99 with a freebie
- 1x$0.50/1 and 1x$1.00/2 (combined with the Downy) manufacturer's coupons
Final Price - $10.49 plus a Freebie

77 oz. Downy Fabric Softener
- On sale at Target for $5.99
- 1x$0.50/1 and 1x$1.00/2 (combined with the Tide) manufacturer's coupons
Final Price - $4.49

Maybelline Baby Lips - If you haven't tried this yet, you MUST!
- On sale at Target for $2.99
- 1x$1.00/1 store coupon printed off
- 1x$2.00/1 manufacturer's coupon
Final Price - FREE! Made a penny on this one.

Mossimo Boyfriend Tee, which I practically live in
- On CLEARANCE for $5.60
- 15% off Target mobile coupon
Final Price - $4.76

I also had 2x$5.00 Target gift cards that I got earlier in the week when I bought coffee. paper towels, and toilet paper.

My total for all of this was $24.71. That is less that the original price of the detergent and milk alone. All of this will be used in the next 60 days. In fact, the shirt will likely be used tomorrow. Happy Happy Happy!

Only Summer...

Only my Summer can take

Purple sequin boots....

A giant flower, would you call this purple or pink?

A tie-dyed t-shirt and pink leopard print suspenders.....

And actually make it work. I love this kid! :0D

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What We've Been Up To

It's been a busy week or so around here since my last post on Valentine's Day. Nothing major just a lot of little here and there stuff.

The girls have decided to take up tennis. They start official lessons next month, but we have been taking them out to the courts at Langley when it's nice out. I know NOTHING about tennis, so I pretty much just shag balls.

We FINALLY had our first snowfall of the winter....
Nothing shows snow like a black dog!

Followed by some more freakishly warm weather.

Since we were about the ONLY people not going out of town for winter break, we did a little dog sitting. This is Diesel's new buddy, Drake.

And most importantly, we welcomed home a great friend from Afghanistan. We are all happy to have Ghost back home safe and sound.

I have been further exploring the world of couponing, but that is for another post at another time. There are lots of big things on the horizon for the Hargises - Easter, Disney World, Birthdays, and maybe even a new adventure. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

We had a lovely Valentine's Day here at the Casa. I went overboard, as usual. :) Den and I decided that trying to celebrate Valentine's Day out and about with the masses just wasn't our speed. So, we had some good friends over for dinner and just had a really nice evening. Before that, though, I had to send my girlies off to school in their Valentine's Day finest. (Of course)

Summer needs no urging to dress up. She came up with this one all on her own. Might I say we have gotten a LOT of mileage out of this pettiskirt.

Paige, alas, seems to have outgrown cutesy holiday outfits, so she went with pink and wore a heart necklace as a nod to the occasion.

As I mentioned above, I have the teeniest tendency to go overboard. I can't seem to help it, so as long as others benefit from my insanity, I'll just keep on keepin' on. Summer needed a Valentine's card receptacle of some sort for her class celebration. I will throw in here, that I am trying to use up some of my scrapbooking supply stash, so I jump on any chance I get to do so. We were going to decorate a shoe box, but then we ran across this little basket at Walmart and decided that 1.) It was WAY too cute to pass up and 2.) If we packed it away carefully, she could use it again and again. I had the letters and the LOVE sticker in my stash and my mother-in-law sent me the giant flower back around homecoming to make the girls mums. Didn't get around to that one because football/fall soccer season is INSANE around here. For her valentines I was originally planning on doing something else, but the basket turned out so cute and I had all the supplies to make these, so we did these instead.

And now for the GOODIES!!!! I made mini doozies from those icky little Pillsbury holiday cookies, some frosting, and sprinkles. Those cookies are vastly improved by icing and sprinkles. I also made an asssortment of rice krispies treats. These were for the teacher appreciation treats at Summer's school.
We started the day off with cinnamon rolls with pink frosting and strawberries cut into heart shapes (these were not, because the girlies ate all the cut ones before I could get a picture). The girlies each got a chocolate rose from mom and dad.
I made pink cupcakes for our Valentine's Day dinner.
Side and desserts - a big green salad, strawberries and pink yogurt dip, and the cupcakes.
And the main course - heart shaped cheese and pepperoni pizzas, and a thin crust white pizza, because that's what I wanted. The mini-pizza was a cheeseless pepperoni for Paige.

That's all the pictures I got though. Once our company got here, I was having way too much fun to take any more. I tried to get a few of the 4 kids, but they wouldn't be still and pose for me and I didn't feel like chasing them. Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Oops I Did It Again...

I had such a great experience couponing at Farm Fresh yesterday, that I decided to try it today at Food Lion, the other grocery store in town. Now, I have noticed in the past, that Food Lion's sales are hit and miss. This was definitely a miss week. There just wasn't a whole lot in there that we needed. I did manage to catch a few good deals, though.

2 boxes Orville Reddenbacher's Natural popcorn - $6.38
2 2-liter bottles of Dr. Pepper 10, on sale 4/$5.00 - $2.50
2 x $1.00/1 box popcorn and 1 2-liter soda coupons - $2.00 (store coupons)
2 x $1.00/1 2-liter soda coupons - $2.00 (manufacturer's coupons)
1 x $1.00/2 boxes popcorn coupon - $1.00 (manufacturer's coupon)
$3.88 for all 4, or $0.97 each

Duncan Hines cake mix, on sale 4/$5.00 - $1.25
1 x $0.35 coupon - $0.35
$0.90 for the cake mix, that will be the base for some Knock You Naked Brownies

2 Pillsbury Cinnamon rolls, on sale 2/$4.00 - $4.00
1 carton eggs - $1.89
1 x $1.00 coupon - $1.00
1 x Free eggs with purchase coupon - $1.89
$3.00 for all 3, or $1.00 each

I had another $1.00 in coupons and I picked up 2 cartons of strawberries that were on sale for $1.88. Between my MVP card discount and my coupons, I saved $18.66 and paid $19.61, another savings of almost 50%. Yay me!

The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame

Yesterday, I accompanied Summer's 3rd grade class on a field trip to the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. Let me say, it was one of the best field trips I have ever been on. If you have the chance to take a trip down there, it is definitely worth your time. They offered a very nice balance of teaching the kids about teamwork and simple machine, allowing them to tour and interact with the exhibits, and letting them burn off some energy.

These are Summer's two good friends in her class, Ellie and Jessica. Together I call them The Gigglers. You will probably see a lot of them on here because if it is during school hours, these three are inseparable.

This is the media area of the Hall of Fame. It displays the work of Virginians who have been important to the world of sports reporting, whether it be print, video, radio, or online media. This exhibit was super interactive and the kids even got the chance to record themselves announcing a football game and then hear it played back.

For one phase of the tour, the kids went into a "classroom" where they got a lesson on simple machines and how they are encountered in every day life. The lesson ended with a game show type activity with Acti-Voter controllers that was a lot of fun.

Bryce, Fisher, Jackson, Gabe, and Andrew. The three in the middle are the boy version of the Gigglers. All six of them generally sit at the same table, which makes for a very lively lunch period.

Some love for The Admiral!

There is even a NASCAR exhibit at the museum, whose centerpiece is an actual race car driven by Ricky Rudd (Hands Off Kiddies!). Then the tour guide whipped out a bag of tokens and the kids all got to take a spin on the simulators.

After finishing the tour of the exhibits, it was time for the kids to burn off some of that energy!

Summer managed a six and a half foot vertical jump in skinny jeans!
Climbing the steps of Fed-Ex Field on the elliptical.

Basketball! This guy has the best job in the museum!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Glimpse of the Madness

After watching a couple of episodes of Extreme Couponing on On Demand and since one of our local grocery stores doubles coupons on Wednesdays, I decided I would try out some of their ideas. I sat down last night with Farm Fresh's sale ad and my coupons and started pairing things up. This afternoon I headed out with list and coupons in hand to see how well I could do.

I got everything in the picture above for $111.31! Even better? I saved $109.39 in coupons!!!!!! I could hardly believe it. I mean, seriously? Almost 50%.

Here's some of the highlights.
1 each Johnsonville Brats, Italian Sausage and Breakfast Sausage - $11.07
2 x $1.00 off coupons (1 was $1.00 off with purchase) + 1 x $0.75, all doubled - $5.50
$5.57 for all 3, which comes out to around $1.85 each

4 Progresso Soups, on sale for $1.00 each. (I LOVE their vegetable soups) - $4.00
1 x $1.00/4 coupon, doubled - $2.00
$2.00 for all 4, which comes out to $0.50 each

2 Del Monte Fruit Naturals, on sale for 2/$3.00 - $3.00
1 x $1.00/2 coupon, doubled - $2.00
$1.00 for both, which comes out to $0.50 each

2 Coffee Mate 32 oz. creamers, on sale 2/$6.00 - $6.00
1 x $1.85 coupon and 1 x $1.10 coupon - $2.95
1 x $1.00 coupon at the register, doubled - $2.00
$1.05 for both, which comes out to about $0.52 each

2 9 oz. Ken's Salad Dressings (I use them to marinate chicken), on sale for $1.00 each - $2
1 x $1.00/2 coupon, doubled - $2.00
Both were FREE!

2 cans of Blue Diamond Almonds, on sale 2/$5.00 - $5.00
1 x $1.00 coupon + 1 x $0.60 coupon, doubled - $3.20
$1.80 for both, which comes out to $0.90 each

2 Degree deodorants, 1 Dove deodorant, and 1 Dove body wash - $16.98
1 x $.075 coupon + 1 x $1.00 coupon, both doubled, + 1 x $1.50/2 - $5.00
1 x $5.00 coupon at the register - $5.00
$6.98 for all 4, which comes out to about $1.74 each, plus there was a free trial size body wash attached to the large one :-)

2 x Planters Nut-Trition granola bars, on sale 2/$5.00 - $5.00
1 x $1.00 + 1 x $0.75 coupons, doubled - $3.50
1 x $1.00 coupon at the register, doubled - $2.00
Farm Fresh paid me $0.50 to buy these

2 Emerald Breakfast on the Go Granola packs, on sale 2/$5.00 - $5.00
1 x $0.75 coupon, doubled - $1.50
1 x $1.00 coupon at the register, doubled - $2.00
$1.50 for both, or $0.75 each

2 x Ragu Organic spaghetti sauce - $4.58
1 x $1.00/2 coupon, doubled + 1 Free with Purchase coupon - $4.29
$0.29 for both, or about $0.15 each

Lady and the Tramp DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack - $25.99 (Birthday present for one of Summer's friends)
With purchase, I got a free jar of Ragu spaghetti sauce, a free package of Bread du Jour Italian rolls, and a $1.00 off Johnsonville Italian Sausage coupon, which doubled.
I also had a 1 x $5.00 coupon for the movie, so my total savings on this bundle was $11.29.

3 Yoplait Light 4 packs, on sale 3/$6.00 - $6.00
3 x $0.75 coupons, doubled - $4.50
1 x $1.00 coupon at the register, doubled - $2.00
Farm Fresh paid me $0.50 to buy these

2 Starkist Albacore Tuna pouches, on sale 2/$3.00 - $3.00
1 x $0.50 coupon, doubled - $1.00
1 x $1.00 coupon at the register, doubled - $2.00
Both were FREE!!!

1 x Solo cups + 1 x Solo bowls, on sale 2/$5.00 - $5.00
1 x $0.75 coupon, doubled - $1.50
1 x $1.00 coupon at the register, doubled - $2.00
$1.50 for both, or $0.75 each

4 Palmolive dishwashing liquids, on sale 2/$3.00 - $6.00
2 x $1.00 coupons, doubled - $4.00
2 x $1.00 coupons at the register, doubled - $4.00
Farm Fresh paid me $2.00 to buy these

2 Peanut Butter Cheerios, on sale 2/$5.00 - $5.00
2 Ocean Spray fruit snacks, on sale 2/$5.00 - $5.00
1 gallon milk - $4.29
1 x $1.00 coupon + 2 x $0.50 coupons + 1 x $0.60 coupon, doubled - $5.20
1 x $2.00 coupons + 1 x $4.50 coupon (free milk) at the register - $6.50
$2.59 for everything

2 Nature Valley granola bars, on sale 2/$6 - $6.00
2 Fiber One granola bars, on sale 2/$6 - $6.00 (I know, we eat a LOT of granola bars)
1 gallon milk - $4.29
1 x $0.75 coupon + 2 x $0.40 coupons, doubled - $3.10
1 x $2.00 coupon + 1 x $4.50 coupon (free milk) at the register - $6.50
$6.69 for everything

2 Kraft salad dressings, on sale 2/$5 - $5.00
1 x $0.75 coupon, doubled - $1.50
1 x $1.00 coupon at the register, doubled - $2.00
$1.50 for both, or $0.75 each

2 Club Crackers, on sale 2/$6.00 - $6.00
1 x $1.00 coupon, doubled - $2.00
1 x $1.00 coupon at the register, doubled - $2.00
$2.00 for both, or $1.00 each

2 Welch's 64 oz. juices, on sale 2/$6.00 - $6.00
2 x $1.00 coupons, doubled - $4.00
1 x $1.00 coupon at the register, doubled - $2.00
Both were FREE!!!

I had an additional $10.00 in coupons, but they didn't pair up for any spectacular deals and this post is long enough, so I'll spare you the details.

So, to recap, I ended up getting 2 bottles of salad dressing, 2 gallons of milk, 2 pouches of tuna, 2 bottles of juice, a jar of spaghetti sauce, and a package of Italian rolls for free, and I actually made $3.00 in overages. WOW!!!! I don't know if I will make this a regular habit, because the planning and shopping were a little time consuming, but it was definitely fun to take my couponing to that next level and save a TON of money.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Weekly Savings Roundup

Here's my savings round-up from last week!

Food Lion - I saved $9.20 with my MVP card and $2.15 in coupons for a savings of $11.35
Ulta - I saved $2.00 with my Ulta card and $7.50 in coupons for a savings of $9.50
Commissary - I saved $24.74 in coupons
Rite Aid - This one was a big saver again this week! I saved $56.95 with my Rite Aid card and $41.00 in coupons, for a savings of $97.95! PLUS I got a $20 rebate on Paige's toothbrush that will count toward another week's total.
BX - I saved $3.00 in coupons and I got a $.05 bag credit for a savings of $3.05 BUT I hit their 75% off sale on clothes for the girls and saved $209.96!
Justice - I cashed in my $25 Fun Card for a savings of $25.

That brings my grand total savings for the week to $171.59 and my total squirreled away for next year's vacay to $298.30!!!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

File This Under Thrifty

My sweet friend Shannon, Facebooked me the other day about some friends of hers that are making their own laundry detergent. You can read about it here. I have to say, I am intrigued. I am kind of a laundry detergent snob. I have tried all the supposedly "eco-friendly" brands and haven't been happy with any of them really. None of them make my clothes smell nice and they aren't soft enough. The savings promised in this blog post is awfully tempting, though, SO I am going to give it a whirl. I'll post about it here if it turns out to be as awesome as promised.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Haggis With A Side of Awesomesauce

I have been promising this post for a few days now, and I finally have a minute to sit down and write it. It's been a busy week for me. Tuesday was my MRI and I started Physical Therapy yesterday. Hopefully some answers are around the corner. This is not about me however. This... is a post about my guy. :)

I kinda like this guy that God put in my path one day. The nearly 15 years that we have been together have been filled with ups and downs (literally :)). We've been apart a lot, but it makes the time we have together that much better.

He makes me laugh. A LOT. He hates having his picture taken and does everything he can to be a goofball when the camera comes out in hopes that I will give up. HA! Our photo albums are filled with pictures like these. It makes me treasure shots like the one above, where I catch him off guard with a real smile all the more.

He needs the water like he needs food and air. It quiets his soul and gives him peace.
Even when it's 37* with 15 mile an hour winds.

He's an AMAZING father because he's a kid at heart. He has no qualms at all about whipping out a pink tie-dyed plastic shovel and...
Digging some beach chairs in the sand.

He's a modern day Renaissance Man. His bachelor's degree is in Cartography and GIS (essentially mapmaking), but he decided to get his masters in Health Sciences, specifically Emergency Management. This came in the mail last week.

In addition to finishing his Masters (above) and fighting an uphill battle (below), in the last few months he has...

Built a bed because we couldn't find the perfect one.
Painted a picture because he was having Daddy-Daughter night with Paige and that's what she wanted to do.
Refinished our perfectly nice Tres Amigos rustic pine dresser because I thought it didn't go with the new bed. It now looks just like a dresser that I fell in love with at Coastal Accents on the way back from the Outer Banks.
He also can completely rebuild a car from the ground up, can do incredible calculations in his head, and can pretty much handle anything you throw at him.

Oh yeah, and he can fly this....

What I love most about my guy, however, is his compassion, his sense of duty. He walked away from an opportunity to fly the U2 to stay in a staff job for 6 more months because he couldn't leave the A-10 community behind without giving them everything he had. Unfortunately, he walked into a battle that had been lost before he even got to the fight. By now, many of you have seen the article that has rocked the A-10 family. If not, you can read about it here. For the last six months, Den has been fighting this with his heart and soul 24/7, probably pissing off quite a few people along the way (at times, me included). I can not even express how devastated he is. In his mind, this came down on his watch, so, despite everything he worked to save, he failed his A-10 brothers and, even worse, the eighteen year old kid on the ground a world away from home with a gun in his hand. The image in his mind of that kid is what has been driving him and it kills him that everything he had just wasn't enough.

Of course, there are lots more reasons I love my guy. I find new ones every day. He's the best friend I've ever had. He's the axis that keeps our little world spinning. He's totally and completely awesomesauce.