Tuesday, October 27, 2009

PartyLite Review and Giveaway

It’s no secret that I’m a candle addict. I was extremely excited when I got the chance to review the candles for PartyLite. If you know nothing about PartyLite candles you need to know they are NOTHING like the candles in Wal-Mart. PartyLite candles are packed with scent!

The scents are available in several different sizes and broken up into different categories: Fruits & Citrus, Edible & Spicy, Floral, Fresh & Clean, and Herbal & Woodsy. I promise, there is something for everyone.

Although I love candles from all of the categories, I lean more towards the herbal & woodsy scents. The Plum and Cognac & Tamboli Safari were certainly among my favorites. So were the Champagne Pear and Tuscan Vineyards.

Joyce Leicthy, our PartyLite Consultant is doing a Giveaway through Taking Time for Mommy. She is giving away the Antique Bronze refillable candle holder (pictured above) AND the Bestburn Iced Snowberries Candle refill.

Be sure to check out the special offers page, there are 28 Fabulous Gift Ideas up to 75% off

In order to enter our giveaway you must (One entry Given for each you do)-

1.Head over to Joyce’s site http://www.partylite.biz/sites/JoyceLeichty and come back here and comment which product is your favorite
Extra Entries given for these -
2. Follow this blogspot & comment that you do
3.Follow this blogspot on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/time4mommy & comment that you do

4.Tweet about this giveaway & comment that you did (this can be done daily)
5.Blog about this giveaway & comment that you did with a link, so we can check it out!
6.If you Join PartyLite as a Consultant or book a show with Joyce, you will receive 10 entra entries!
This giveaway will end on November 20, 2009 Please Be sure to leave your e-mail address with each comment and leave seperate comments for each entry! Good Luck!
Contest is Now Closed! Winner will be announced shortly....

Free Holiday Music (Limited Time Only)

Free Holiday Music (Limited Time Only)
by Laquita Bergeron

Glade is offering free holiday music until January 10, 2010.Enter 12 digit UPC to receive your free holiday music downloads:
Just enter a UPC on the site and download away!Here are the UPC's for you
Bayberry Spice UPC 046500708633
Homemade Gingerbread UPC046500709715
Peppermint Crush UPC 046500708466
HollyBerry Wreath UPC is a walmart exclusive item and so far not online...
Note: People are reporting that if you use the back button once you download a song,you can download the others as well without having to come back the next day. [you may have to clear your flash memory to get this to work]http://glade.gotdownloads.com/
LaQuita Bergeron is a mother of two beautiful spoiled children. She is a stay at home mom that works from home as a transcriber. She is also the owner of EveryDayMoms Social Network

Tawdra's Couponing Adventure: Part 4

My Couponing Adventure: Part 4: Putting It All Into Practice By Tawdra Kandle

You might recall that my goal was to actually get out there and use these lovely, valuable coupons this week. So. . .here’s my weekly log:

SUNDAY: I came home from church and grabbed the Sunday paper out from under my husband’s very nose. I spread out on the living room floor, first separating all the sections I needed (coupons, ads, comics. . .). Wow! Three coupon circulars this week—Red Plum, Smart Savers and one from General Mills. Cool. I pulled out my business envelopes and clipped my coupons, organizing them into the newly labeled envelopes. The next step was pulling up Tanya’s website. I scanned the CVS and Walgreens specials and copied/pasted the ones I liked onto a Word document. I glanced at the Publix sales, which had begun on Thursday and wondered if I might somehow make it in there before the sales ended. Just in case, I also copied and pasted some of those onto my list. The new Target specials weren’t up yet.

I was pretty excited too because I’d received two Target ad books in the mail last week. The coupons in there were awesome, and one of the books (not both. . .hmm, I wonder why??) had a $5 off any $50 order as well as a $5 off $25 of school supplies. So I’m pretty psyched to see the Target deals this week and figure out which ones I can maximize.

I had hoped to get to CVS today, but we’ve had some glitches. It’s not a normal week in my household, since we’re in the midst of sending two daughters off to visit family and friends in California, and we also spent the weekend outfitting a new pantry and moving everything into it. All that means that I didn’t get to CVS or Walgreens.

I was reminded of another obstacle we face in reaching total coupon bliss. My family has more than one shopper. My husband will run out to the grocery store, or my daughter will. . that doesn’t help our grocery budget. And then last night my daughter and I ended up making a late evening run to Publix. I wasn’t coupon ready—we only needed lemons—but it made me think that we need to come up with a plan for avoiding these quick runs to the store.

MONDAY: So this morning I’m glad I didn’t make it to CVS yesterday—in my email, I received a $5 off any purchase of $25 or more at CVS but only on Wednesday this week! Hoorah! Now I can plan to go that day and know I’m really going to clean up. Time to sit down and match my coupons to my list for this week. I know, I should’ve done it yesterday. . .but it didn’t happen. One of the things I’m determined is that I won’t fall prey to coupon guilt. I won’t feel bad if I don’t get it all done. Otherwise I’m afraid that I’ll end up ditching the whole thing.

TUESDAY: I had to go to Target today anyway, so I made a plan and used my coupons. It was fun! In some ways, it’s hard to tell how much I’m saving, since I’ve been buying some stuff that isn’t on the couponing plan. My daughters are going away for two weeks, and I had to buy them some necessities. Still, I noted that with my coupons and including a gift card I earned, I saved over $50.

WEDNESDAY: Today was my day to use the CVS coupon. I worried it wasn’t going to happen, since we had to take the girls to the airport, but we did manage to stop on the way home. I stuck carefully to my small list, and I bought a Revlon mousse foundation, a pack of Sharpie Highlighters and razor refills. I added quickly in my head and realized that I would be short the $25 needed to use my coupon. Going down the makeup aisle, I noticed that my daughter’s favorite makeup was on sale, 40% off. I chose some eyeshadow and headed for the register. Following Tanya’s advice, I held onto all the coupons until everything was rung up. I first submitted my $5 off coupon, then my other manufacturers’ coupons, and finally, my Extra Care Bucks earned a few weeks ago. I was thrilled beyond measure when the cashier announced that I only owed tax! My total went from over $30 to $1.56.

Okay, it’s not quite the $400 to $22 I’ve seen, but it’s a start! The only negative of this trip was that I didn’t earn any ECB’s (Extra Care Bucks) because the offer for one item had ended yesterday.

I also stopped by Publix and hit their sale last minute (their new sales begin tomorrow). I bought ice cream, salad dressing and water ice BOGO (buy one, get one free). I had coupons for the salad dressing and water ice, and I could use one coupon per item, even when it was free. I also took advantage of Publix’s “buy theirs, get ours free” offer (buy a name brand item and get the Publix brand free) and bought graham crackers, cereal bars and cashews. I had coupons for the graham crackers and nuts, too!

On the down side of the Publix trip, the muffin mixes that had been on the web site as being on sale and BOGO were not either at this Publix. I had coupons for them and so went ahead and bought them. Also, because I brought my husband, I ended up having more items in my order than I had planned! My total at Publix went from $57.51 to $41.37. Not great, but considering everything in my cart, not too bad either.

Lessons learned: Make sure of the dates for special sales and offers. Ask about items that aren’t marked according to the list (my muffin mixes!). Don’t take husbands or young children to the store.

I know tomorrow is supposed to be my Publix day again, with the new sales, but with two of my loyal babysitters out of the loop and in California, I think I’ll call it a week.

Next Week: Can This Really Be a Way of Life?
Tawdra Kandle is stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of four children who range in age from 8 years to almost 20 years. She and her husband of nearly 22 years live in central Florida, where he is in seminary. Tawdra spends most of her precious free time writing and reading, and she loves to travel.

Guerilla Mom Tactics

Guerilla Mom Tactics
by Tawdra Kandle

Being a mom has got to be one of the hardest jobs in the world. It’s rewarding, yes. . .fulfilling, and sprinkled with some of the brightest and most wonderful moments possible. But it’s also gut-wrenchingly, heartbreakingly tough.

So it only stands to reason that every mom needs to have a few tricks up her sleeve. These are not the kind of things you read about in parenting magazines. These little tidbits are shared between frazzled moms over coffee or passed on from mother to daughter in confidential talks.

I have a few of my own. Hey, you don’t have four kids—one of them nearly twenty-one—and hold onto your sanity without some guerilla tactics. I don’t recommend all of them for everyone, and some are only to be used under extreme duress. But I’ll share a few of them with you. Shhhhh. . .

The first thing you have to remember is that the bond between siblings is sacred. You don’t mess with it. . .unless it’s absolutely necessary. I will admit that I have, once or twice, coerced information from one child about another. It’s usually just to confirm a hunch I already have. I don’t like it—I want my kids to be friends and to trust one another—but sometimes it’s safer to go in with as much information as possible.

I also discovered something a little disturbing with my youngest child. I realized a few years ago that when he is grumpy or less than motivated to do his chores or school work, there is one thing that will change his mood. And that’s the presence of a sibling who is even grumpier. A sister who gets in trouble for her attitude? Why, you’ll practically be able to see your reflection in my son’s halo. Suddenly he is very attentive and the absolute sweetest child you’ve ever met. With this knowledge, it is entirely possible. . .although I admit to nothing. . .that I may have coerced a sibling into feigning a snarly mood. This hypothetical event would only have happened when I was at the end of my rope, of course.

My most recent discovery has the faintly unsavory air of bribery, although I choose to call it a business proposition. A certain daughter of mine had expressed a need to make some money for the holidays. At the same time, I was growing less and less tolerant of a younger child’s messy room. I was trying to train this child to keep his/her room in order, but it is an uphill battle. There were times when I just wanted to see the floor without clothes and toys covering it and the drawers closed.

I hit upon a plan. I clandestinely approached child who needed money and offered her the job of keeping her sibling’s room relatively neat. But part of the agreement was that she could NOT disclose this agreement, because I knew if messy child was aware that a sibling was being paid to help him/her with his/her room, he/she would take advantage of that fact and not work at all. May I just tell you that this agreement is working out brilliantly? And I really don’t feel even the least bit guilty.
Yes, we moms need these tricks. Sometimes they’re the only things that get us through the week. . .or the day. And we can comfort ourselves with the reality that one day, we’ll share these little secrets with our grown children and laugh.

Just not within hearing of the grandkids.
Tawdra Kandle is stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of four children who range in age from 8 years to almost 20 years. She and her husband of nearly 22 years live in central Florida, where he is in seminary. Tawdra spends most of her precious free time writing and reading, and she loves to travel.

Fall Clutter Control in your Closet

Fall Clutter Control in Your Closet
By: Marilyn Bohn

An aunt visited us a few years ago just after we had our living room carpet replaced with blue carpeting. As we visited she said she didn’t like the color blue. I was amazed that anyone could not like the color blue. After all the sky is blue and the ocean is blue.

Now I have no room to talk as I don’t’ like the color brown—in textiles anyway. I like beautiful wood. I think I have finally figured out why I don’t like this color.

When I was a little girl all the girls (including me) wore ugly brown (I think they were actually dark tan) long socks to school. We didn’t wear pants to school then and my legs would get cold where the socks ended and flesh was exposed.

I would grumble and complain that I had to wear them when it got cold. The only time I was happy to have them is on Christmas Eve because we would put out a sock for Santa to fill and then I would search for the longest sock to be filled.

I always hoped when they were packed away for summer they wouldn’t come back.

This is the time of year when winter socks, clothes, scarf’s, gloves, mittens and coats need to be rotated into the closet. Clutter control begins with taking out the clothes that are worn in the summer and replacing them with winter clothes. As a professional organizer I recommend doing this an orderly fashion.

Step 1: Take out all of the clothes in your closet that you wear only in the spring and summer. Look at each one of these items and evaluate them before packing them away. Ask yourself these questions:
·Do you still like them?
·Do they need mending?
·Do they fit?
·Are they stylish or do they need to be remolded or donated?

This is the first step in clutter control. Now neatly fold them and place them in containers that have lids. Move these to another closet if you have room or place on a shelf in your bedroom. To make more space clothes can be rolled instead of folded.

Step 2: Take out all of your winter clothes from the bins and closets where you hung them. Next shake out the wrinkles and iron if you must. These clothes go back in your drawers or hung up in the closet.

Also hang up the fall and winter coats. Take your light jackets and put in another closet until warm weather returns. If you kept clothes you no longer like or are sure you won’t wear again now is the time to get rid of them. Donate to a charity so others can enjoy your generosity. That is what I wished would have happened to those ugly brown socks I had to wear.

It isn’t your grandmother’s (or great grandmothers) closet any more. There is a lot more to clutter control than she was thinking about in her day. We have more clothes and accessories than she ever had. To make room in our closets for our clothes we need to rotate them in and out as the seasons change.

It would be nice if the weather was either hot or cold but it doesn’t happen that way. There are warm days that require cooler clothes and then the next day it is cold. This is typical fall weather so as you pack away your cool weather clothes keep out one to two shirts and short pants that you can wear while the weather is making up its mind what it is going to do. You can always remove them from your main closet and drawers when the weather settles and pack them away with the rest of your clothes.

Now is a good time to sort through your jewelry and see if you want to keep it all or update your wardrobe with new pieces.

Rotating clothes for the seasons makes more room in your closet, keeps you on top of clutter control and reminds you what clothes you do have to wear.

Article Source: http://www.wahm-articles.com

Marilyn is a professional organizer who works with women and seniors in clearing clutter and providing organizing tips. Visit her website www.marilynbohn.com for free organizing tips on her blogs, articles and videos.

Sticking to your Work out

Sticking to your work out
by Carolyn Lawrence

Having trouble sticking to your work out regiment? Try adding a partner. Having someone with you while you work out can help you to stick to your program; while it manages to help you remain accountable. In other words, by having a buddy, you are less likely to cheat.

According to a survey conducted by 24 hour fitness by StrategyOne, eighty per cent of individuals in a fitness program will stick to it if they have someone join them. Is it because there’s misery in company? No, of course not! It’s because having a partner to help motivate and inspire you to stay on track, stick with you program, even when it gets difficult.

So what happens if you can’t find anyone to join you in person? There are plenty of sources to find online partners as well. Beachbody offers an online fitness forum that is free to join, where individuals can log in to work out, schedule virtual work outs with others across the country, visit forums to discuss weight loss and get help with diets.

FitDay offers a wonderful food journal that can help you count calories, record food intake and create visual graphs to show your progress. Gimme20 is another fitness forum that offers help in building a work out program, reaching out to others within the Gimme20 community to help motivate, and has a great library of articles on diet, exercise and fitness.

However you find motivation, one of the surest ways to maintain your work out program is to find a friend. Even if you and your work out buddy are just going for walks on your lunch break, 20-30 minutes of walking a day can help strengthen your heart, lungs and help burn off any stored of stress and excess calories. Besides, working out with a buddy is one of the best ways to relieve stress. Think of all the venting you can do while exercising! You’re killing two birds with one stone.
Carolyn Lawrence is a fitness coach for Beachbody, inspiring and motivating individuals on the road to health and wellness. A lifelong sports junkie, Carolyn is currently getting certified as a weight management and life coach to become a greater value to those who need her help. Visit her blog http://www.fitologybycarolyn.com/ for more advice.

Monday, October 26, 2009

How To Make Apple, Banana and Pumpkin Butters

Canning - How To Make Apple, Banana and Pumpkin Butters
By: Shelly Hill
During the fall months, I look forward to going to our local orchard and purchasing some fresh fruits and vegetables. After I get home, I enjoy getting out my water bath canner and canning supplies, and making up a few batches of various butters.
Canning is a lot easier than it sounds and making butters is great for beginners. You can find various cookbooks out in the marketplace or you can search various online websites for instructions on how to do water bath canning.
I like to process my butters in 4 ounce sized canning (mason) jars, but if you have a larger family, you can certainly use the 8 ounce size. You always want to start out with good quality fruits and/or vegetables and use clean, sterilized mason jars which are specifically manufactured for home canning.
Here are the 3 recipes that my family enjoys making.
Apple Butter 16 cups applesauce
1/2 cup vinegar
3 lb. granulated sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
In a large bowl, combine all of the above ingredients together, stirring well. Transfer the mixture to a large baking dish. Place dish in a preheated oven at 300 degrees and bake for 3 hours. Remove mixture from oven and ladle into hot, clean and sterilized canning jars. Process jars in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.
Banana Butter
3 cup bananas, about 8 to 10 bananas
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup maraschino cherries, finely chopped
6 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 (6 ounce) bottle liquid pectin
Peel and slice bananas into a large bowl. Using a masher, mash bananas down. Measure out 3 cups of banana pulp and place into a large saucepan. Stir in the lemon juice, chopped cherries and granulated sugar. Bring to a full rolling boil and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the liquid pectin. Ladle into clean, hot jars. Process jars in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.
Pumpkin Butter
3 1/2 cups fresh mashed pumpkin or canned pumpkin purée
2 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 lemon, juice and grated rind
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup tap water
Tip: If using fresh pumpkin, mix with brown sugar, lemon juice, ground ginger, cinnamon and allspice in a large bowl. Let stand at room temperature 8 hours or overnight.
Transfer to a large stock pot, add 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat, stirring often, for 40 to 60 minutes, to desired consistency. (With canned pumpkin, mix ingredients in large saucepan; bring to a boil and simmer on low about 20 minutes, to thicken.) Pour mixture into hot canning jars, leaving 1/2-inch head space. Ladle into clean, hot jars. Process jars in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.

Article Source: http://www.wahm-articles.com
Shelly Hill has been working from home in Direct Sales since 1989 and is a manager with Tupperware. Shelly enjoys cooking, baking and canning foods for her family and friends. You can visit Shelly online at my.tupperware.com/Ravish30 or her recipe blog at wahmshelly.blogspot.com for additional free canning recipes.

Thrifty Tips

Did you know if you slice potatoes like medallions and lay them on your eyes like you would a cucumber they help bleach out the dark circles under your eyes!

The BlackBerry Diaries Review

Book Review for The BlackBerry Diaries
Adventures in Modern Motherhood
by Mandie Stevens

Toddlers and technology – Not So Different!

Owning a Blackberry® smartphone is a little like adding another child to your family. The device is constantly buzzing, poking, and distracting its owner from whatever it is she’s trying to accomplish. It bears an uncanny resemblance to the uncooperative two-year-old hanging off mom’s leg at the Motor Vehicle Office. And is that holster really any different from a Baby Bjorn? Still not convinced? Consider:

They both “start up” the minute you visit the washroom.
They both go off in the middle of the night
They’re both heartier than you think, but sometimes the slightest thing can lead to a complete .
Kathy Buckworth is an award winning writer, television personality and public speaker, with numerous publishing credits in both national and local magazines and newspapers. She is the only two-time winner of the Excellence in Humour Writing Award, (2006 and 2008) presented by the Professional Writers Association of Canada. Her monthly column, "Funny Mummy" appears on websites across Canada and the U.S., as well as in print. She is the parenting expert on Slice Television’s Birth Days, and appears regularly on CBC, CTV, Global and CityTV. Also, she is a frequent guest on television talk show programs, talking about the Myth and Reality of the SuperMom. Her blog http://www.blackberrydiaries.net/ is followed by fellow BlackBerry Moms, and many Moms share her humour and life through her Twitter updates. She is recently took an Improv Course at Second City in Toronto just for "fun.”

As a former social networking I could certainly relate to the obsession with the BlackBerry. My sense of humor greatly differs from Kathy's and I thought some parts were a little inappropriate. If you are easily offended this may not be the book for you. I did findmost of the book very funny and there were parts that were hilarious! She had me rolling on the floor laughing. If you are looking for a fun light read, I recommend grabbing a glass of Merlot and curling up with this book.


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Tawdra's Couponing Adventure Part 3

My Couponing Adventure: Part 3—The Plan’s The Thing
by Tawdra Kandle

Now that I had conquered (or at least tamed) the art of organizing my coupons, it was time to make a plan for actually using them.

In my past attempts, this part was my downfall. To be perfectly honest (and the experts admit to this), serious couponing requires serious time, even beyond the clipping and organizing. There are so many stores, each offering their own sales and specials every week. If you intend to stockpile shop, you really can’t afford to miss a week.

So I would always find myself trying to fit in all of the stores and then being frustrated when I couldn’t sustain the weekly routine of hitting two grocery stores and two drug stores. I was also disappointed when the big deals were already gone by the time I made it to the store (this is particularly true of drug stores).

This time I determined to make it work. I started out by visiting the Coupon Queeny’s website and checking out the weekly specials at our local stores. Deciding that the key to making this work long-term is starting out slow and manageable before ramping it up, I chose to focus on one grocery store and one drug store. I copied and pasted the applicable offers onto a Word document so that I had my shopping list on the fewest pages possible.

Once the list was printed, I tackled coupon matching. I flipped through my well-organized coupons and found the ones that went with each sale. Coupon Queeny suggests obtaining as many multiple coupons as possible through buying extra newspapers or picking up as many blinkies as possible, but since I’m such a newby, I don’t have much of a stockpile yet. I did have several copies of the brand-name facial tissue coupon that I found on the Internet, so I paper clipped them onto my list along with my other coupons.

Coupon Queeny also tells us that it takes about four weeks to have the coupons you need at your fingertips, so I’m trying not to be too disappointed when I don’t have all of the ones she references on her lists.

As I made my plan, I was forced to muse upon the obstacles I face as a coupon maven. First of all, there is the aforementioned time issue. I’m a homeschooling mom of four. Planning and executing our school days occupies me almost full-time. I’m also a wife, a writer and a homemaker, and at the moment, with my husband in school, I’m juggling most of the household responsibilities. Making time to save money is a big obstacle.

And then there are the smaller problems. One of the things the Coupon Queeny recommends is losing brand loyalty. She points out that we can save much more money if we’re willing to buy whatever brand is on sale. I understand that; I’m a big believer in buying generic brands for some products. But I do have my favorites! I’m picky about paper towels and toilet tissue, among other things. How much am I willing to give up to save some bucks?

There is also the question of integrity. Using coupons is certainly not illegal. I understand that the manufacturers issue the coupons to stimulate sales and that the retailers are reimbursed. But I have to admit that I wonder if using the coupons to this extreme is quite. . .honest. Pulling multiple blinkies from the machines in the stores makes me feel a little guilty. What if there aren’t enough for everyone? What if I’ve taken more than my share?

I found a possible solution around the time requirements. It turns out that while the major drugstores (CVS and Walgreens) run their specials and sales from Sundays through Saturdays, our local grocery store, Publix, runs its sales from Thursdays through Wednesdays. So if I plan to hit CVS and Walgreens on Sunday afternoons, when the sales are new (and hopefully there are still products in the stores) and then go to Publix on Thursdays. . .well, that just might work.

As for the brand names, I’m going to try to make small changes. There are some areas where I’m willing to compromise and others where it’s going to be harder.

The integrity question. . .that’s a tough one. I’m willing to use the coupons that I can find and to use the ones on the computer. And I’ll grab some blinkies when I’m shopping, because the manufacturers put them there for me. But for the time being, I’m not going to do anything that makes me feel I’m abusing the system.

This week, I saved some money by shopping at CVS, using the coupons with the sales and earning over $20 in Extra Care Bucks to apply to next week’s shopping. I had to go to Target to pick up prescriptions this week anyway, so I made sure to bring a list and my coupons. I saved a fair amount.
But I know I can do better, and I’m looking forward to organizing tomorrow’s coupons into their envelopes and making the plan for this week.

Next week: Part 4: Putting It all into practice
Tawdra Kandle is stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of four children who range in age from 8 years to almost 20 years. She and her husband of nearly 22 years live in central Florida, where he is in seminary. Tawdra spends most of her precious free time writing and reading, and she loves to travel. She is also a staff writer for

Tawdra's Couponing Adventure Part 2

My Coupon Adventure
Part 2: The First Steps: SO MANY COUPONS!!
by Tawdra Kandle

I came home from my coupon class just bursting with good ideas and money saving wisdom.
I couldn’t wait to put it all into practice!

But the first steps are often the hardest. I had to undertake the monumental task of organizing my coupons.

I used to keep my coupons in one of those handy little organizers. If you’re only a recreational couponer, that’s perfectly adequate. However, if you are seriously coupon planning and using all the websites, a better system is needed. One site had suggested not clipping the coupons at all; rather, you keep them intact and organize the inserts in a larger accordion folder by date and type.

For instance, the two popular inserts in my newspaper are Red Plum and Smart Source. Using this system, I would file each insert under either RP 7/31 or SS 7/31. Then when I’d check the websites and see that a coupon I need was in the Smart Source insert from July 31st, I’d know exactly where to look for it. I wouldn’t need to flip through my categorized Qs.

Coupon Queeny Tanya offers a binder organization system. She even sells it at her classes and through her website. The night I was there, those binders were snatched up like hotcakes. I’m sure they work well, but they didn’t look like my style. All the coupons had to be put into these little windows, like a baseball card book! I couldn’t imagine doing that every week.

As I mused over my own system, though, I decided to tweak it slightly. So this morning I sat down on the living room floor surrounded by coupon inserts, store fliers and envelopes. I went through my older coupons and put the expired ones in a pile. (Interesting note: give your expired Qs to military friends—commissaries and post exchanges accept expired coupons for 6 months past their dates. Or donate them to a shelter, as they are also frequently able to use them.) Then I began clipping coupons from each insert. As I did, I organized them into category piles which I fastened with paper clips. After I finished each insert, I put the coupons into a business sized envelope marked with the type of insert (Smart Source or Red Plum) and the date of issue.
This has a few advantages for me. First, it eliminates the coupons I don’t need and won’t use. Although the Coupon Queeny recommends clipping all coupons, there are things that I know my family simply won’t use and that would be difficult to donate to food banks, churches, etc. I admit I might change that thought later, but for now, my main goal is to get this system working for my family.

I also made up a separate envelope for blinkies, those coupons that roll out of little blinking machines at the grocery store. I had many store specific coupons, and so I added envelopes labeled just for those stores (one for CVS and one for Publix, for instance).

One of the most interesting things I learned from Coupon Queeny was that Publix, one of our grocery stores, accepts coupons from competitors. This was a revelation! The closest grocery store to us is a small Winn-Dixie. We use it for quick last minute pick ups, and we often earn register coupons for $10 off a $50 order. However, I almost never use them. Now that I know I can take these same register Qs to Publix, I’m excited! That’s like someone giving me ten dollars. And so I tucked those into my Publix envelope.

I did have some coupons that defied organization. These were stray coupons from here or there that didn’t have a date or issuer, coupons that came from products I’d bought or those that arrived in the mail. I used my old coupon organizer and placed them there according to category. I hope I remember to check that little wallet of goodies when I’m planning my lists.

It makes me happy to have my little money-saving slips of paper ready to use. Tonight I started hitting the websites to see what’s on sale this week. . .
Tune in next week for Part 3: The Plan’s The Thing.

Tawdra Kandle is stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of four children who range in age from 8 years to almost 20 years. She and her husband of nearly 22 years live in central Florida, where he is in seminary. Tawdra spends most of her precious free time writing and reading, and she loves to travel. She is also a staff writer for

Tawdra's Couponing Adventure Part 1

My Coupon Adventure
by Tawdra Kandle

Chapter One: The Class

Coupons are not new to me. I grew up with a mom who clipped them and used them. . .well, sporadically, at least. She was an enthusiastic clipper, but she frequently left them sitting on the counter instead of taking them to the grocery store.

In my life as a wife and mom, I’ve always clipped coupons, too. I always loved the little rush I got when I really saved money or when coupons allowed me to treat my family to some little treat that might otherwise be out of our reach. But I was far from a pro.

One of my homeschool groups started discussing coupons and shopping savings a few weeks ago, when one of our members did an interview with Coupon Queeny Tanya Senseney, a local mom who is a certified coupon pro. Tanya took our homeschooling friend shopping. She purchased over $400 of groceries. After coupons, she paid about $22. After hearing that (and seeing the pictures to prove it!), some of us decided to attend Tanya’s coupon 101 class.

I will admit, I was a little skeptical. When I’ve read about other coupon fanatics, they seemed to save money mainly on things like highly processed food or convenience items. I wondered if I could feed my family healthy food or buy my usual favorites while still using coupons.

Tanya’s class was organized into several sections: the first was an overview of coupon use, an explanation of terms that she uses throughout and how to plan your coupon use. (Note to reader: I hate to do it, but I have to really overuse the word ‘coupon’ in this article. There’s no way around it. Real pros sometimes substitute the letter Q for coupon, but that might be confusing. Bear with me!) After that, she went into the details of shopping in several specific stores.

The Basics:

What I’m sharing here is a gross oversimplification of the whole process, but I’m trying to cover the main points.

The first step is to obtain your coupons. There are more sources out there than you might guess! Of course, the prime source is the Sunday newspaper. Tanya suggests buying several newspapers in order to get duplicate sets of coupons, but she also gives some alternative ideas, such as visiting recycling bins to rescue coupons that have been tossed by those less motivated to save. (I myself recalled that frequently members of my online Freecycling group offer their coupon fliers for free each week. Hmmmm. . .)

As it turns out, many stores also put out free consumer magazines that contain coupons. And the weekly sales ads that arrive in the mailbox each week often have them, too.
Then there are the ‘blinkies’, peelies, tearpads and winetags—all found in store on or near various products. And we haven’t even touched on the Internet printable coupons.

Planning It Out

Now that we all had learned how to get our hands on these precious little pieces of paper, it was time to learn how to maximize them. The weekly ads are key to this process: checking what’s on sale and then matching that to the best coupons is really the heart of true couponing. There are plenty of websites that actually do this for you, and this is a huge relief to anyone who has tried to do it on her own.

Tanya gave us some excellent guidelines, too. She clued us in on which local stores do price matching—bring all the sales ads to the store, and the cashier will match the lowest price you can prove. She cautioned us to always, always bring a list to the store and stick to it! It’s also imperative to watch the cashier; few will purposely miss scanning a coupon, but it’s possible for those little slips to stick together sometimes. Keep your eyes open.

This brings to mind both an advantage and a disadvantage that we have in Florida. The disadvantage is that double couponing is almost non-existent. (For the uninitiated, double couponing is when stores double the face value of the coupon presented. For instance, a twenty five cent coupon doubles to give you fifty cents off.) The advantage is that nearly every grocery store bags the customers’ groceries, allowing that shopper to keep a closer eye on the cash register.

We also learned about the practice of stockpile shopping. It’s not a new idea, but few families are actually doing it. Instead of shopping for weekly or even monthly needs, stockpile shopping means buying what is on sale (and also has a good coupon, in the best of all worlds) in a large quantity. Ideally, after about a four week shopping cycle, you have built up enough inventory that you can shop the sales exclusively.

And What’s More. . .

We ended the evening by learning about two specific national chains and how to maximize the opportunities to save there. CVS and Walgreens both offer special incentives and reward programs. When combined with coupons and sales, these programs are even more amazing.

We left the class that night with a great deal of information about and enthusiasm for couponing and saving money at the grocery store. My girlfriend and I had bought along our daughters to the class, in the hopes that we could draft them into joining our couponing adventure. While the girls were impressed by the savings and ideas, they were slightly less excited than the moms were about putting it all into practice.

Could we do it? Can I do it? I was determined to try. Come along, won’t you, as I embark upon my great coupon adventure. . .

To Be Continued

Coming next issue: The First Steps: SO MANY COUPONS!!

Tawdra Kandle is stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of four children who range in age from 8 years to almost 20 years. She and her husband of nearly 22 years live in central Florida, where he is in seminary. Tawdra spends most of her precious free time writing and reading, and she loves to travel. She is also a staff writer for www.takingtimeformommy.com


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