Monday, September 30, 2013

Monthly Challenge: Sour Cream & Chive Mashed Potatoes

Monthly Challenge: Cooking From My Cookbooks

Sour Cream & Chive Mashed Potatoes
Source: 50 Best Mashed Potatoes by Sarah Reynolds, page 15

Since I have a bunch of cookbooks, I decided I need a monthly challenge to get myself motivated to cook something new.  I have whittled down my cookbook collection from it's high point in 2003-2004. However, it is still a bit out of control for a person who hardly ever uses REAL LIVE COOKBOOKS.

I do occasionally use the cookbooks to meal plan and cook.  But, I am a very visual person.  Most often, I decide to cook something after seeing in prepared by someone else.  I love blogs, Pinterest, Facebook posts and The Pioneer Woman's TV show for inspiration.

This particular recipe is pretty much what you would expect.  I made the mashed potatoes in the KitchenAid Mixer with the paddle attachment.

Here is Sarah Reynolds' recipe:

2 LBS of potatoes, peeled and quartered
3/4 CUP of sour cream
3 TBS of butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 TSP salt
1/4 TSP fresh ground pepper
1/4 CUP snipped chives

Boil the potatoes for 15-20 minute.  Drain them but, reserve 1/4 CUP of the cooking water to use later if they are a bit too dry after mashing.

Put the hot potatoes back in the pan and mash them until smooth.  Add the sour cream, butter, salt and pepper.  Mash until fluffy.  Stir water in, if necessary (it wasn't for me).  Add chives, stir and serve.

Here is my review:
These were simple and yummy mashed potatoes that were exactly what you would expect from something titled Sour Cream & Chive Mashed Potatoes!  I even used freeze-dried chives and found them to be very tasty.  We reheated them twice after the initial meal and they were good both of those times, as well.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Weekly Menu: September 30, 2013

Monday - Crockpot:  Pineapple Glazed Ham with beans or egg noodles and a veggie from Six Sisters

Tuesday -  Fish:  Parmesan Tilapia, dinner roll, Garlic Rubbed Roasted Cabbage from Everyday Maven and maybe another carb like rice or mashed

Wednesday -  Garlic Baked Shrimp inspired by Normal Cooking (I use Stove-top tho because we LOVE it - don't hate), veggie or a salad or Veggie Spiral by Recipe by Photo

Thursday -   Chicken, a veggie and Mom's Awesome Cheesy Potatoes from Marvelous Recipes

Friday -   leftovers

Saturday -  Fish: Mediterranean Tilapia, dinner roll, Seasoned Roasted Potatoes from Cook Glee with a veggie of some sort (frozen broccoli maybe but we are having broccoli on Sunday)

Sunday -   Crockpot: Chicken Broccoli Alfredo from Six Sisters over egg noodles or linguini

Look at my menu!  Every day accounted for and sides are even included!  I've got my grocery list together and I will pick up some ingredients when I do my Ibotta trip tomorrow.

If you haven't had a chance to check out the About Section of the Weekly Menu, please check out now for info on sides & veggies.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

HBO Renews Boardwalk Empire for a 5th Season

I am so happy to share that Boardwalk Empire will be back next summer for a 5th season on HBO!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Jack & Juliette's Favorite Things (almost 4 years old)

Toys for 4 Year Olds: Lincoln Logs
Another blogger recently updated us with her twin girls' favorite things.  And, yet another blogger does an annual "Toys That Get Played With, by ages" that I look forward to every Fall.  I though it would be fun to do my own list, too. 

Jack & Juliette are almost 4.  To my great surprise, Juliette is our little athlete.  She loves soccer, baseball and most of all basketball.  She also enjoys crafts and coloring and paint.  Luckily, they can paint at preschool.  I limit the amount of paint that we do at home because I am continually cleaning enough messes as it is.

Jack loves trucks, cars, trains, planes, helicopters and more trucks!  He has a couple of rugs in his room that have roadways on them that he utilizes in his play.  He also enjoys puzzles and connect-the-dots.

Both kids like to play on the computer and enjoy Apps like Dora, The Magic School Bus and a drawing App.  They have a Diego game for Wii that they will both play occasionally.  I wonder if it's time to introduce them to Nintendo's Super Mario Brothers?  Thankfully both kids love to be read to.  I hear stories of 3 year olds who can read, but, me & Dad do the reading around here for now.

Here are the Top 10 Toys that get played with (in no particular order): 

1.  Lincoln Logs:  We have actually had these Lincoln Logs for a few years but, they are just now becoming favorites.  I am happy that they are finally interested because Lincoln Logs were one of my favorites as a kid.  You can build the buildings on the box and instructions or you can make whatever you feel like making that day.

2.  Talking Soccer Ball Net:  This net is great but my kids both like toys that DO NOT TALK.  Whoops!  I actually knew that but chose this net anyway.  You can take the batteries out and it will be silent.  I like the praise when you get a goal, but, apparently J&J do not.

3.  Bikes:  J&J are really, REALLY, REALLY into riding bikes. Jack wants to ride pretty much every single day.  Juliette likes to ride, too.  But, after a few minutes she usually moves onto another activity.  We are getting them Scooters for their birthday.  I am curious if the Scooters will be the new favorites or if the bikes will continue to rule the driveway.

4.  Mickey Mouse Clubhouse:  The Big Splash DVD:  One show that both kids can agree on is The Mickey Mouse Club House.  This particular disk has Pluto's Bath episode which is a particular favorite of both kids.

5.  Mighty Machines:  Jack loves to watch TV.   He will even watch the news, the weather and my TV Shows.  We really limit TV but he still has his favorites like Mighty Machines.  If Mighty Machines gets removed from the Streaming Netflix line-up, we might have a revolt on our hands.

6.  Hungry Hungry Hippos: We have the traditional version of HHH.  But, I know they have a travel version and if I were to buy this again, I would be this version because the marbles STAY INSIDE.  We have 2 dogs and a kitten so watching marbles fly around the house is a bit stressful for this Mama!

7.  Legos:  Who doesn't love Legos, right?  We have a lot of fun with Legos but I feel like the kids still need some more coordination skills before they are able to do Legos without an adult.  We have a boy starter set and a girl starter set.

8.  Mega Blocks & Table:  I actually thought that we had Duplo's brand blocks.  But, as I wrote this post, I realized that we actually have the Mega Blocks Table and Mega blocks to play with.  I thought that once the Legos came out the Mega Blocks would be history.  However, J&J really enjoy building towers and competing over who will build the tallest tower. 

9.  Guitar & Keyboard:  The kiddos received these play instruments for their last birthday and they really love to jam.  I was nervous about the noise when they first got them!  But, they just rock out for 10 minutes or so and then they move onto something new. 

10.  Barbie Pool: Actually, this is called the Barbie Glam Pool!  We bought this last year sometimes.  We brought it camping with us and both kids played with it a lot!  Jack especially loves to play with Barbie in the pool!  He usually prefers brunettes so I was surprised that he likes Barbie so much.  And, yes, I know that he will really appreciate this post someday!

You can see my Amazon Affiliate links in this article.  I was not paid or provided with free products to write any of this. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

HDA for Renuzits at CVS

This week at CVS, scan your Extracare Card and get a coupon for $1.50 off of 3 Renuzit Air Freshners.  They are on sale for $0.87 each.  You can get them for $0.37 each after coupons.  Not a bad price at all.  We use these mainly in the basement where our cat litter box is.

"Cupcake" Pineapple Spears from Edible Arrangements - Product Review

We were out running errands and as I pulled into a parking space, one of the kids spotted a sign for Edible Arrangements with a cupcake on it.  If you have ever eaten an Edible Arrangement, then you know that these are fruit, sometimes fruit with chocolate, but NEVER cupcakes!  After we finished our errand, we walked into the store.  The very nice and patient lady explained that they were actually slices of pineapple that were shaped like cupcakes that were then dipped in chocolate.  YUM.  We brought 4 home for that night's dessert.  They also had samples of the chocolate dipped strawberries and tuxedo dipped bananas.  It is definitely worth stopping in at a real live edible Arrangements store.

You can see that Juliette is quite pleased with the appearance of her cupcake, especially the sprinkles.  She was actually not fond of the chocolates though.  She does like pineapple and ate some of that.
Jack seems to think that I am trying to take his cupcake pop away.  I'm not.  He liked how it looked and he liked the milk chocolate.  Jack did try the white chocolate and was not a fan.  The chocolate is pretty thick on the pineapple.  It took the kids some effort to chomp through the chocolate and get to the pineapple.
Here is my opinion:  I LOVED these!  They are $3.95 each and they are much bigger than I expected.  I loved both types of chocolate and the sprinkles.  I thought the pineapple tasted great and I would include these in a fruit bouquet that I sent. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Some TV Tidbits

Mistresses the steamy summer soap will be back next summer for a 2nd season!  I'm psyched because THAT is my kind of summer show.

Army Wives has been cancelled by Lifetime.  Some kind of wrap up special is due out in early 2014.  I am satisfied with that.

Ibotta Deal at Target - September 25, 2013

I bought Green Giant Frozen Broccoli for $2.99.  I came home and submitted the receipt and scanned the product's UPC code for a $0.75 cash back offer.  This brought my total to $2.24 for frozen broccoli, which is a staple in our house.

Since this was the 4th time in a row that I bought at least 1 Ibotta deal product per week, I finally earned the Steady Eddy bonus!

Also, a hot Ibotta deal alert is out for a gallon of milk, any brand.  Get $0.75 cash back.  Hurry tho, it expires 9/28!  (I bought 3 gallons yesterday so I will be running out on the 28th to redeem this).

Product Review - Sea Cuisine Tilapia

We have tried both the Mediterranean Tilapia and the Parmesan Crusted Tilapia.  I believe there is one more flavor that we have not tried yet.  It's called something like Black Bean and blah-blah Tilapia.  I do not like black beans so I just say no.

If you like Tilapia, then both are incredible!  The biggest bonus for me is that they stay in the freezer and can go from frozen to oven without defrosting.  Since I often have nights where we need dinner and I don't have a dinner plan, these come in handy for me.  They also come in handy if you have something defrosting or planned, and then you add additional people into the dinner mix.  You can just preheat your oven and go.

The flavor of both fishes is exactly what I like: low fishy taste and smell and lots of flavor from the um... flavorings.

The Parmesan package is $14.99 for 6 servings while the Mediterranean is less at $12.99 for 6 servings as well.  I should mention that my pricing is from our local BJ's Wholesale Club.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cake Mix Cupcakes That Taste Homemade

1 Box of cake mix (skip Angle Food Cake, Pound cake and anything with pudding in the mix)
4 eggs
1 cup of Buttermilk (I know that you probably don't have another use for this but it's worth buying)
Follow the amount of veggie oil or butter asked for on the box

Those 4 changes make for some yummy cupcakes!  If you use a good mixer you will get at least 24 standard home-baker sized cupcakes.

We made butter yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting this afternoon.  J&J love to help me bake.  They listen pretty well and seem really interested for almost 4 year olds.  So, we try to bake together every month or so when summer is over.  If my recipe looks familiar that is because it is from the authors of Hello Cupcake!.  This is one of my all tome favorite baking books.

It was the first day of fall so here we go!

Ham & Potato Casserole - Crockpot Recipe

I made this for the first time:
Yes, it's from Six Sisters Crockpot Freezer Cooking.  I made so many yummy dinners based on their recipes and directions.  Next time I do it, I will blog about it.
This recipe is ham and hash brown potatoes and some other stuff.  You can add veggies to this easily.  The part I found surprising was that you add instant stuffing to the top of this casserole.  My only suggestion is that this recipe needs more cheese!  I did use store brand cheese, maybe a better brand would help?

Monday, September 23, 2013

What Have You Been Using Since Google Reader Went Away?

What Have You Been Using Since Google Reader Went Away and, do you like it?

I started out using Bloglovin.  It was OK but not awesome so I switched to Feedly after some other bloggers mentioned that they liked it.  I like the fact that you can add categories.  What I don't like is that it's hard to figure out how to mark the stuff that you have read as read, and not mark everything as read.

If I have time to explore, I would like to check Bloglovin out again as I have had noticed a couple of updates to the program in my "program updates" for applications.

So, please share what you have been using and what features you like best!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Weekly Menu - September 23, 2013

Monday - leftover Crockpot BBQ Cranberry Chicken from Six Sisters
Tuesday -  Fish
Wednesday -  Buffalo Chicken Ring
Thursday -   leftovers
Friday -   Tortellini in Chicken Broth
Saturday -  Scallops or Fish
Sunday -   Crockpot Sweet & Tangy Meatballs in the Crockpot from Six Sisters

If you haven't had a chance to check out the About Section of the Weekly Menu, please check out now for info on sides & veggies.

Someone knew about my side dish problems!

OK which one of my friends knows about my side dish problems?
Someone gifted me this awesome little book book ages ago.  I was just digging around in my cookbook storage cabinet and I dug this guy out.  I was planning to start preparing for one of my monthly cooking challenges.  I think I may use it tonight because I am planning mashed potatoes to go with the green beans and crockpot meal I have cookin'.

The monthly cooking CHALLENGE is going to be to cook something from one of the cook books I already own (not a blog or Pinterest or Facebook or a food package recipe).

TV Update - September 23, 2013

I wanted to wrap my head around the shows that I am watching so far this Fall.  I also have some comments on the shows that I have watched since the last time I posted about TV (last Wednesday).

Breaking Bad - series ending (Sun 9/29)
Dexter - series has ended (Sun 9/22)

Ray Donovan - season ended (Sun 9/22)
Devious Maid - season eded (Sun 9/22)
Boardwalk Empire - watching now
Hell on Wheels - watching now
Duck Dynasty - watching now
Bones - taped & zoom thru (no longer one of my favs but, it tapes automatically so I tended to keep up with it even if it takes me a while to go thru the shows).
Sleepy Hollow - watching now
The Great Food Truck Race - watching now

2 Broke Girls - watching when it premieres (this Monday the 23rd)
Hostages - watching when it premieres (this Monday the 23rd)
Revenge - watching when it premieres (Sunday the 29th)
Homeland - watching once it premieres (Sunday the 29th)
The Goldbergs - watching once it premieres (Tuesday the 24th)
Revolution  - watching once it premieres (Wednesday the 25th)
Nashville  - watching once it premieres (Wednesday the 25th)
The Crazy Ones - watching once it premieres (Thursday the 26th)
The Michael J. Fox Show - watching once it premieres (Thursday the 26th)
The Vampire Diaries - watching once it premieres (October 3rd)
The Originals - watching once it premieres (October 3rd) (will be moving to Tuesday, I believe)

Here are my comments:
  • Thank Goodness that AGT is over because I have too many shows!
  • What is Hello Ladies?  I need to U-Tube it and find out.
  • I will update this in a couple of weeks because there are still more premieres in October
  • What will I be giving up?  2 shows have series finales which really helps with my TV viewing
  • Will my husband read this and have actual PROOF of my TV addiction?

Maple Dijon Glazed Chicken - Crockpot

I took this out of the freezer last weekend.  It was part of the Crockpot freezer cooking from Six Sisters that I am obsessed with.  They have done 2 articles with 18 recipes, I believe.  I made a bunch and froze them per the directions on the website.
My pic above is how it looked in my Crockpot.  I think it had a bit too much liquid and I think that next time I will put less mustard and less maple syrup but will keep the ratios the same as in the recipe because the flavor was really good.
Another option would be to put the Crockpot on high and try to evaporate some of it.
I served this with egg noodles and corn or peas, I can't even remember which.  I think that fresh carrots would work well in the Crockpot, too.
I was not compensated by SixSisters, Crockpot or anyone else for my post.  I have some Amazon Affiliate links scattered through many of my posts.  If you have any questions, just ask.  I read the comments before they are posted and I now have a blog email address, too.  (Shannon at ABD dot com).

Friday, September 20, 2013

Fish, it's what's for dinner

I should do a product review on this frozen tilapia soon!  It is so tasty and so easy.  I am not vey comfortable with coking fish.  It's a lot easier for me to buy it frozen and then just cook it.  I have gotten a lot more comfortable with fish over the past few years and now I sometimes defrost the frozen fish and jazz it up before I cook it.

Here was our dinner from the other night.  Mediterranean Tilapia, Scalloped Potatoes (please don't be impressed as these are from my friend Betty), dinner roll and Szechuan asparagus.  We probably do not need 2 carbs with dinner but for once I had some spare time so I through some frozen rolls in the oven.

Can anyone share a favorite side to serve with Tilapia?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ibotta Deals - September 17, 2013 at Target

At Target I bought regular Oreos.  At first I thought the deal was only for Double Stuff Oreos but it turns out that both original Oreos and Double Stuff Oreos qualify for the Ibotta deal.  By doing 2 Ibotta tasks I qualified for $0.50 back on my purchase of these Oreos. 

I also qualified for 1 week of purchasing a Ibotta product in the Steady Eddy Bonus and the Cash Cow Bonus.  The Cash Cow Bonus is a tough one because you have to purchase over $200 worth of products after all discounts and coupons have been applied.  I just waited until I had a bunch of things to purchase like animal supplies and kid birthday gifts.  Then, I just added my 1 Ibotta purchase into my shopping cart to earn the bonus.

Now, I am working towards PayPal Bonus #3.  For this bonus, you have to transfer $100 from Ibotta through PayPal.  Working towards that $100 is going to take me quite some time!  Maybe there are some great Holiday deals coming up to help me out.

TV Update - Thursday September 19, 2013

One of my favorite TV columns does a weekly TV post with snip-its of the past week's TV show's gossip and questions.  Since I really like that format I will try my own version here.

I am really enjoying Ray Donovan.  I find myself choosing it first when I look through my DVR'd shows.  Before this show started there were a lot of people saying it was just like the Soprano's.  It does have a lot of parallels and may not be an original idea but it does keep me watching!  I like the dynamics between the brothers and the half-brother.  I like how we are learning how the wife was communicating with the Dad while he was in prison.  I do not like the Boston accents.  Hopefully we see more of the Dad's ex- girlfriend/baby Mama and more of Ray's assistant.  She has quite the story, I bet.

AGT (America's Got Talent) is another favorite.  I never watched this show before Howard Stern came onboard as a judge.  I didn't abstain because I thought I wouldn't like it; quite the opposite is true.  I just had too many shows in the mix.  My husband is a big Howard Stern fan and he wanted to give it a shot last season.  I am so happy with the winner of this season!  The final 2 were actually my 2 favorites, too.  I won't spoil who won yet since it has been less than 24 hours since the live finale.

The premier of Sleepy Hollow was finally on TV.  I will definitely keep watching for now.  It gave off a Grimm vibe which surprised me, in a good way.  I like Grimm and I am pleasantly surprised that it keeps getting renewed.  I hope that Sleepy Hollow gets to air at least 5 or 6 epis before a decision is made.

I am looking forward to some of next week's premieres and will check back in with you all to see what you are watching.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Weekly Menu - September 16, 2013

I am still working on making sides and veggies more interesting.  Someday I want to plan the entire week and not have any TBDs as well!

Monday - Maple Dijon Chicken in the Crockpot from Six Sisters Freezer Crockpot cooking
Tuesday -  Fish
Wednesday - Stuffed Shells
Thursday -  leftovers
Friday -  Scallops
Saturday - TBD
Sunday -  TBD

If you haven't had a chance to check out the About Section of the Weekly Menu, please check out now for info on sides & veggies.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Beef & Onion French Dip Sandwiches

Mmmmmmmmmmm, YUM!

As planned on the weekly menu, I made these delicious beef sandwiches.  I got the recipe from Six Sisters.  The only thing that I changes was that I added ONIONS!  I added 1 package of Lipton French Onion Soup mix and I diced up 2 whole onions.  Next time I will dice up 4-5 onions because there were not enough for us.

The Lipton soup made the au jus really tasty so I'm glad I added it.  But, any more than 1 packet would be too salty.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Any Soldier Boxes - September 2013

Today we organized our boxes, supplies on hand and shopping lists to get some items to ship to US Soldiers via the website for the organization Any Soldier.

Great things to send anytime are books, CDs, magazines, DVDs and phone calling cards.  I have also sent feminine items in almost every box to a unit with females.  You can use the site to look up soldiers who participate in the program.  Most of the time, one soldier will sign up and then distribute the items within their unit.

Our first soldier requested HBAs (Health & Beauty Aids), laundry supplies and microwaveable foods.  We didn't send food this time because you really have to put it in a separate box so that they HBAs don't smell like food and the food doesn't taste like HBAs.  Here's what we sent to the female soldier and her group of men & women:

7 boxes of Band-aids
2 packages of fems
1 body wash
3 mini hair sprays
1 package of wipes that expand when wet
1 razor refills  -Quattro
4 Chapsticks
12 Toothbrushes
1 package of teeth cleaners
1 package of dryer sheets
2 packages of laundry soap Power Paks

Our second soldier said that he had everything that he personally needed.  But, that there were soldiers who NEVER receive care packages!  I thought it was great that he took the time to point that out.  I bundled up some magazines and DVDs with ribbon and put a little Thank You (for your service) note. He also mentioned that he needed some educational and craft supplies and some Frisbees.  Here is what we sent to the male soldier and his group:

10 packages of crayons
multiple pens & pencils & permanent markers
1 glitter glue (it was on his list!)
2 Frisbees
3 DVD & Magazine care packages for other soldiers (I put a simple ribbon around them).

I went to the Post Office and was happy to see that the Flat Rate for the Medium Priority Mail boxes was still $12.35 per box, regardless of weight or destination.  The boxes are considered to be shipping to the US since they go to APO addresses even though they may actually be going to another country.  I filled out the custom forms and paid about $37 in postage for the 3 boxes. 

A special thanks to my hubby for his help and his DVD, book and pen donations!

Explain this Ibotta thing to me?

I have posted twice about my Target Ibotta trips now.  I know some of you may want some nitty-gritty explanations.  I am not sure whether these awesome Ibotta deals will last or not.  I am hoping that they do continue so I think it is worth taking the time to document and explain them.

Here's what you NEED:
  • A Smartphone with a working camera
  • The Ibotta App (it's free)
  • A PayPal Account
  • Access to stores that are participating in the program like Target, CVS, Stop & Shop, Walmart, or Whole Foods.
I have mentioned this in some other posts, too.  But, I'll explain my current deal philosophy:
I am not currently a hard-core couponer with a big stockpile.  I'm not currently in a position to only pick up items when they are free or money makers.  My current coupon and deal posts will be best for people who are currently paying FULL PRICE for items that they need in their household.  I would make a list and then go shopping.  Sometimes I would have an occasional coupon for an item we use and sometimes the item we needed would be on sale.  But, most of the time we paid FULL PRICE for an item.

Years ago I was a hard-core couponer.  I had an awesome stockpile and I would not have been happy paying the prices I am now blogging about.  But, the reason I now pay these prices is because I no longer have an awesome stockpile to draw from and I don't have a lot of coupon sources anymore.  Today's stockpile consists of items from our latest warehouse trip (we have a BJ's Wholesale near by where we get decent prices on things we use everyday).

I'm not working right now so it was time for me to reduce our 2nd largest household expense - food and HBA's. 

Here are my 2 biggest tips to those just starting out:
  1. Stop being brand loyal for at least 90% of your grocery/HBA purchases.  This is hard!  I understand that you like what you like.  But, the best way to get deals and save money and build a good stockpile is to let go of the thoughts that you have to buy 1 specific brand and 1 specific size.  For example, I prefer BJ's Wholesale brand Paper Towels in Select-A-Size.  Last week I was able to get another brand of paper towels for less money per roll than the BJs brand.  I bought them to build my stockpile and to cross that item off of my shopping list.
  2. Find a way to get more coupons.  You can print coupons on a printer, use your smartphone, clip inserts from the Sunday paper, ask friends and family for their coupons, sign up online, contact manufacturers and ask for some coupons and so on.
Last week I visited my favorite deals and coupon website hotcouponworld.  Some of the posters were talking about their weekly deals and they were mentioning their Ibotta bonuses.  I read-up and signed-up for Ibotta.  I then made my shopping list and dug out my coupon binder.  I didn't have many coupons so it was easy to organize. 

You have to do the Ibotta tasks before you go shopping in order to qualify for the cash back.  Take the time to go through al the deals and choose which you will buy before you leave the house.  I also recommend that you do the tasks for a couple of "maybe" deals because the store may not have the items for you to purchase.  If you can't purchase the item then you can't get the cash back.  It is important to note that if the Ibotta deal is on 2 products, then you have to buy the 2 products during the same shopping trip at the same store.  Example, $1.50 cash back if you buy Scott Paper Towls and Palmolive Dish Soap.

Then, I went to Target for Deal #1 and Deal #2 purchased on 2 separate days.

Let's talk about a specific Ibotta deal:

$5 Autumn Stock Up:
Redeem at least 2 offers per day on 2 separate days for a total of 4 offers or more to earn an extra $5 bonus.

These are the items that qualify:
  • Kleenex tissues
  • Scott TP
  • Pull-Ups
  • Goodnites
  • Depends
  • Poise
  • U by Kotex
  • Viva PT
  • Huggies Wipes
  • Huggies Diapers
On Trip #1, I bought Huggies Wipes and Huggies Diapers (amongst other things).  On Trip #2 I bought Kleenex and Scott TP (and other things, too).

  • Just for doing the tasks (prior to shopping) I get money off of each purchase.  Please note that these amounts have to be estimates because I can't locate them in the Ibotta App anymore (because I submitted my receipt):
  • Kleenex tissues ($.50)
  • Scott TP ($.75)
  • Huggies Wipes ($.75)
  • Huggies Diapers ($1.25)

  • So, buy these 4 items and then submit you receipt and your UPC scans to Ibotta and earn:
    .50+.75+.75+1.25 = $3.25

    • Then, you earn $5 for the fall stock up sale above.  As long as you follow the requirements and buy 2 items on 2 different days before the deal expires, you will get the $5.  So you earned $3.25+$5 = $8.25 on items that you needed anyway and would have paid FULL PRICE for.

    • Finally, you purchases also count towards some other bonuses, too.  Ibotta will keep track of all of your purchases and will show you the percentage complete for each bonus.  Here are the additional bonuses you may qualify for by purchasing the same 4 items that I bought:
    1. The Scott TP and the Kleenex count towards the $3 Freshen Up Bonus.
    2. The Huggies Wipes and Diapers count towards the $2 Hug Your Baby Bonus.
    3. All 4 offers qualify towards the $20 for 10 Offers Bonus.
    4. All 4 offers qualify towards the $10 Share the Love Bonus.
    5. Any of the offers qualify towards the $1 Steady Eddy Bonus.
    6. All 4 offers qualify towards the Money Bags Bonus (I'm not sure that this has a monetary value, though).

    Having manufacturer or store coupons would reduce your OOP (Out of Pocket) total, too.  I just didn't have any.  I'm happy to help with questions or planned deals.  Just leave a post or drop me an email.

    If you are interested, please consider using my Ibotta link:

    I was not compensated by Ibotta, Target or anyone else for my post.
    If you click on my Ibotta link and sign up for Ibotta I will receive some kind of Ibotta monetary bonus.  I gave you a link to my favorite coupon website Hot Coupon World but I am not compensated by them either - except in the form of all the deals and knowledge I received from that site over the years!

    Sunday, September 8, 2013

    My Very Own - Fall 2013 TV Preview

    I love this time of year!  Most people say this sentence and they mean that they love Fall or they love back to school.  But, not me.  I mean that I love planning which new shows I will watch and organizing my TV Grid. 

    I pick some shows to give up and some shows to start watching.  If the new shows make the cut, then they might get added to my TV viewing grid.  I only have 2 DVRs (haha, I know - 1 too many, right?) so I have to be selective.  Plus TV viewing takes time!  My husband just recently switched from working nights to working days again.  It's wonderful to have him home but I may have to cut down on my "Shannon Only Shows" in order to be able to watch our "Together Shows".

    Some of our "Together Shows" are The Little Couple, Duck Dynasty, and The Walking Dead.

    Examples of Shannon Only Shows would be The Vampire Diaries, Hart of Dixie, True Blood, Revenge, Bones and Two Broke Girls.

    I found that many of my shows are starting late this Fall - some are not premiering until October.  Two favorites are starting up soon:  Boardwalk Empire (TONIGHT) and Sons of Anarchy (Tuesday the 10th).

    Here are 5 shows that I am going to give a shot:

    1.  The Originals, premiering October 3rd - a spin off from the Vampire Diaries.  This show may have too much Claus for me.  However, I will give it a chance.

    2.  Sleepy Hollow, premiering September 16th - why am I even attempting this show?  I don't really know but I.can.NOT.stop.myself.  Now that my fourties are fast approaching, I really enjoy history.  I also like drama and mysteries.  I am *hoping* that it lives up to my expectations.  If not, it premieres early so if it isn't making the cut, I can pick another show to take it's place.

    3.  Dracula, premiering October 25th - King Henry from the Tudors stars in this new show.  I like the subject matter and the star so I will give it a chance.

    4.  The Michael J. Fox Show, premiering September 26th -  I feel like I must give this at least 1 night's viewing.  The night it premieres, we actually get 2 episodes.  My husband is also interested so we shall see if it makes the cut.

    5.  The Tomorrow People, premiering October 9th - I am reading a lot about this show and it is getting a lot of buzz.  Everyone suggests watching previews online or on U-Tube to get the best idea what it's about.

    As of today, I don't have any shows that I am definitely giving up.  If it's renewed, I may stop watching Army Wives.  The decision will be made based on how many new shows I keep. 

    Fall shows that I am DEFINITELY passing on are We Are Men, Ironsides, and Once Upon A Time in Wonderland.

    How about you guys?  What are you looking forward to for returning shows and new premieres?


    Weekly Menu - September 8, 2013

    I have been really inspired by Six Sisters Stuff since we returned home from vacation.  I made a bunch of their crock-pot freezer meals and stored them in our upright freezer.  You freeze them in gallon Ziploack bags, stored flat.  So, even if you just have 1 conventional freezer, you should be able to store at least a few freezer meals.  I would like to do a post about their crock-pot freezer meals soon.

    I really need to work on making sides and veggies more interesting.  Pinterest helps with that, for sure!  We usually end up with a simple veggie and some kind of side.  Lately, I have been doing rolls/bread as our carb side dish.

    Monday - leftover beef sandwiches from Sunday's French Dip Sandwiches
    (I actually made this right after our grocery store trip (it wasn't frozen)).
    Tuesday -  Ham and Potato Casserole in the Crock-Pot
    Wednesday - leftovers
    Thursday -  Fish
    Friday -  Out to Dinner
    Saturday - Stuffed Shells
    Sunday -  TBD

    If you haven't had a chance to check out the About Section of the Weekly Menu, please check out now for info on sides & veggies.

    Friday, September 6, 2013

    2nd Target Ibotta Shopping Trip 9/6/13 ($38 transferred from Ibotta):

    This was my second Ibotta trip.  I figured out that after my last trip, I am close to completing 2 more bonuses.  I looked through my coupons and didn't have too many to match to the Ibotta deals.  But, since I haven't been couponing or stockpiling lately, I decided that it was worth stocking up on some paper products.   I had toilet paper, paper towels and tissues on my BJs Wholesale list anyway.

    I was working towards the $5 Autum Stock Up and the $20 for 10 offers deal.  My first Target Ibotta shopping trip helped me fulfill some of these shopping requirements.  I looked at my bonuses and realized that I had to buy 7 deals to earn $25 in bonus money plus the coupon cash value for buying the 7 items.  I made my list and headed out with my 3 year old twins to Target! (Hopefully the Mommy friend that we saw at Target wasn't too traumatized by us when we were in "deal" mode).

    Here's what I bought.  It turns out that I qualified for some additional bonuses that I didn't even expect!

    Viva paper towels, 12 giant rolls $17.19
    Soft soap 8.5oz (not the smaller more popular Softsoap size) $1.84
    Kleenex 4pk (3pk would qualify but my store didn't carry them) $5.69
    Scott Toilet Paper, 9 double rolls $5.79
    Cottonelle, 12 big rolls $6.49
    Cottonelle, adult wipes $2.49
    Kleenex hand wipes (these are NEW and are paper towel substitutes) $2.99
    Poise, fems $4.84
    U by Kotex $3.99

    Total $53.82 (includes MA Tax at 6.25% - unprepared food is not taxed in MA)

    Let's talk about the subtractions:
    -0.05 Target coupon for brining my own bag
    -2.56 for using the Target Redcard Debit Card (if you shop regularly at Target it is SO WORTH getting one of these).
    TOTAL OUT OF POCKET: $51.22 (apparently Target registers have a rounding issue)

    I submitted a copy of my receipt via my Smartphone to Ibotta.  Then, I scanned all the applicable bar codes.  You can see that since I am new to Ibotta I am only buying products for the deals during one transaction.  Then, I buy the other stuff that finds it's way into my cart in another transaction so that I don't lose my mind.  Within an hour, I was notified that my receipt was accepted and I received $38 from Ibotta.  I did a Paypal transfer to get the actual cash.

    $51.22 - $38 (from Ibotta) = $13.22 out of pocket

    And, just a reminder, if you had a nice selection of coupons, you could have easily got this total down lower.  I only had 2 small weekends of inserts so my coupon selection is low right now.  Since my stockpile of household items is also low, I decided to just jump into some deals.  Now that I have a small stockpile, I can wait to buy duplicate items until I am able to get the free, get paid to buy them or get them when they are at my rock-bottom price.

    Here is a picture of my purchases on our kitchen table.  Remember, don' put your stuff away until your Ibotta submission is accepted.


    If you are interested, please consider using my Ibotta link:

    I was not compensated by Ibotta, Target or anyone else for my post.
    If you click on my Ibotta link and sign up for Ibotta I will receive some kind of Ibotta monetary bonus.

    First Ibotta Shopping Trip

    Target Ibotta trip 9/4/13 ($22 received from Ibotta):

    I just learned all about Ibotta!  There is a special promotion now called Share the Love.  If you redeem at least 5 offers within the first 2 weeks of registering, then you earn an extra $10.  That offer motivated me to check it out and sign up.  It expires soon though so, if you are interested then get moving now!

    You complete little tasks to receive cash back after you buy each item.  They are not coupons.  It's real money that you can transfer to your Paypal account.  The tasks usually consist of watching a short video, Tweeting something about the product, Facebooking about the product or answering a trivia question.

    I like to have some ready to eat food in the freezer for those times when someone is starving and needs to eat ASAP or when we don't have anything in the house to bring to work for lunch.  The Ibotta deals that were catching my eyes were for freezer stuff and baby stuff.  Sounds good to me so off I went to Target!  I was able to go shopping alone for this trip.  It turns out that it is really easy to do Ibotta deals because all the info you need is on your cell phone while you shop. 

    Here's what I bought:

    Huggies wipes, $10.99
    Huggies Diapers, $19.59 (Target GC deal WYB 2)
    Huggies Pull-Ups, $22.49 (Target GC deal WYB 2)
    Barilla Plus Pasta, $2.14
    Ore-Ida Potato Wedges, $2.14
    2 Bertolli Frozen Meals for 1 $3.29 x 2 = $6.58
    Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sandwiches, the Healthier ones were on sale this week, $5.00
    Totinos Pizza Roll,s $2.99
    Simply Potato Hash Browns, $1.67
    Chobani Kids Tubes 16ct, $4.99
    Red Baron Frozen Pizza, $3.34

    Total $83.12 (includes MA Tax at 6.25% - unprepared food is not taxed in MA)
    **This may seem high to those without kids in disposable diapers - but this trip included boxes of diapers, wipes and pullups.

    Let's talk about the subtractions:
    -0.00 Target coupon for brining my own bag (dang, they didn't give me the $0.05/bag discount)
    -3.62 for using the Target Redcard Debit Card (if you shop regularly at Target it is SO WORTH getting one of these).

    Also, I received a $10 Target Gift Card (GC) for buying 2 boxes of diapers.  I won't reduce my out of pocket to $69.50 though, because you can't use the GC in the same transaction that you earn it.

    I submitted a copy of my receipt via my Smartphone to Ibotta.  Then, I scanned all the applicable bar codes.  You can see that since I am new to Ibotta I am only buying products for the deals during one transaction.  Then, I buy the other stuff that finds it's way into my cart in another transaction so that I don't lose my mind.  Within an hour, I was notified that my receipt was accepted and I received $22 from Ibotta.  I did a Paypal transfer to get the actual cash. 

    $79.50 - $22 (from Ibotta) = $59.50 out of pocket
    Plus I have a $10 Target GC to use another day.

    And, just a reminder, if you had a nice selection of coupons, you could have easily got this total down lower.  I only had 5-6 random coupons in my coupon binder, so my coupon selection is low right now.  Since my stockpile of household items is also low, I decided to just jump into some deals.  Now that I have a small stockpile, I can wait to buy duplicate items until I am able to get the free, get paid to buy them or get them when they are at my rock-bottom price.

    If you are interested, please consider using my Ibotta link:

    I was not compensated by Ibotta, Target or anyone else for my post.
    If you click on my Ibotta link and sign up for Ibotta I will receive some kind of Ibotta monetary bonus.