CFO Logo

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Evening Coffee: Are you staying up til midnight?

I'll be fast asleep at midnight, and hopefully our neighborhood will continue to be quiet and not celebrate with many fireworks. My sleep is precious, lol!

Common Sense with Money has details on how to get Earth's Best diapers for $3.50 (and possibly as low as $1.50) per pack. I've never tried these myself, but back when my kids wore diapers, I was willing to try any brand if it was cheap or free. For my friends who are expecting their second or third child, I've been buying packages of cheap diapers to give as a baby shower gift - I know that the second time around, I appreciated such practical money-saving gifts more than any other.

Get printable coupons for $1 off any one Bertolli Frozen Meal, $1 off any one Shedd's Country Crock Side Dish, and $1 off any one Axe Shower Gel or Detailer Tool. (Via Printable Grocery Coupons and Deals.)

Growing Up Gabel shares a recipe for Granola Cupcakes.

Hilarious: Above the Law has the Five Best Motions of the Year, including a motion to continue so the lawyers can attend the BCS championship game.

Fabulessly Frugal reports that you can get price adjustments at Old Navy and Bath & Body Works.

Pioneer Woman's recipe for Delicious Cheddar Puffs strikes me as a good way to use up any leftover artisan bread.

Coupon Geek is giving away a $100 Amex gift card and a Halls gift set. Ends 1/4.

Blisstree is giving away a $100 Amex gift card. Ends 1/4/10.

Prissy Green is giving away a Robe & Slipper Set plus a $100 AMEX Gift Card. Ends 1/5.

Labels:

Two recalls yesterday: Wooden toys & Play Yards

If you think you have the following item(s), click through to the CPSC press release for more details:

Wooden Toys Recalled by Kendamaspot Due to Violation of Lead Paint Ban - Click through a photo of a different color style.


Dorel Juvenile Group Recalls Play Yards with Bassinets Due to Suffocation Hazard - Click through for photos of additional styles.


Stay on top of recalls by signing up for recall notifications by email at the CPSC web site.

Labels:

2009 in Review: Sweet Success!

I had only one financial resolution in 2009: to pay off my student loans and become non-mortgage debt free. We actually achieved this goal back in April, so I turned my attention to other goals – namely, paying off the mortgage.

My financial goal was really the only tangible goal I had. It's hard to measure my success for goals like being a good wife, mother, daughter and friend, being a kinder person, etc. All I can really say about those goals is that I'm ending the year feeling pretty good about myself.

Overall, though, I'm very happy to say good-bye to 2009. It seems like it was the year for health scares, and I hope neither of my children has to spend another night in the hospital for the rest of their lives. Here's to a very healthy and happy 2010 for all of us!

Labels:

Morning Coffee: Happy New Year's Eve!

There are just a few Toy Lightning Dealsat Amazon today, but some of them look great, like Melissa & Doug at 7 and 8 a.m. PST, and the LeapFrog Text & Learn at 10 a.m. The last deal is scheduled for 4 p.m. Disclosure: I'm an Amazon affiliate, so any purchase you make after entering Amazon through a link on Chief Family Officer supports this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Get a printable coupon for 15% off your in-store purchase at Payless Shoes or $10 off a $50 online purchase. Expires 1/17. (Via A Thrifty mom.)

Get printable coupons from Whole Foods. I haven't printed these myself so I'm not sure if they're store or manufacturer coupons. (Via Bargain Briana.)

Common Sense with Money explains how you can get three months of Amazon Prime for just $1.

Fabulessly Frugal reports that you can get a $25 gift certificate and a $10 gift certificate from Restaurant.com for just $2.

Bargain Briana reports that there will be a printable coupon for $5 off 5 Healthy Choice Frozen Meals at midnight.

Become a Facebook fan of Subway and be entered to win a $50 Subway gift card. (Via A Thrifty Mom.)

Mommy Snacks explains how to get a Picture People portrait package for $9.

There are new General Mills coupons at Eat Better America and Pillsbury. Registration is required for both sites, and the coupons are the same, except that Pillsbury also has coupons for Trix ceral and Pillsbury Savorings. (Via Printable Grocery Coupons and Deals.)

This weekend, there will five coupon inserts in most newspapers, and one of those coupons is reported to be for $2.50 off Finish dishwasher detergent, which usually results in free or extremely cheap detergent. I am going to pick up a few extra papers this weekend. To see all of the coupons that will be in Sunday's paper, click on the banner:

Banner via Escalate Media Affiliate Network

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and/or referral links, and may refer to items that were sent to me for review. However, all opinions are my own. You can read Chief Family Officer's full disclaimer and disclosure policy here.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Afternoon Coffee: Random Goodies

Get a printable coupon for $1 off Desitin Diaper Rash product (FF or IE). (Via Printable Grocery Coupons and Deals.)

Get a free sample of Prilosec OTC from Walmart.

Become a Facebook fan of Nexxus and get a printable coupon for $2 off Nexxus hair care.

Residents of selected countries can get a free subscription to Lego Magazine. (Via Swag Grabber.)

Once a Month Mom has her best recipes of the year if you're looking to stock your freezer.

A Thrifty Mom explains some coupon basics, including why you can use two coupons during a Buy One, Get One Free sale. I would just add that if the second item rings up free, the register may beep on the second coupon and the cashier may not want to accept it. I usually don't mind explaining to a cashier, the nicest way possible, why it's proper for them to override the register – but sometimes I'm feeling totally non-confrontational, so I always like to know when coupons may beep so I can decide ahead of time how I want to proceed.



Banner via Escalate Media Affiliate Network

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and/or referral links, and may refer to items that were sent to me for review. However, all opinions are my own. You can read Chief Family Officer's full disclaimer and disclosure policy here.

Labels: , , ,

Ralphs: 12/28/09 - 1/5/10

Note: This summary of deals is based on the ad I get in Los Angeles, where Ralphs stores double coupons up to $1 (one like coupon per transaction). I don't list all of the deals, only what I consider to be really good ones. If I missed any, please let us all know in the comments. In addition to the coupons listed, you can also add electronic coupons to your Ralphs Rewards card at these sites: Shortcuts.com, Cellfire.com, P&GeSaver.com, Softcoin and Upromise. If you give Ralphs your email address, they may also send you emails with e-coupons that are exclusive to your card.

The ad that arrived in yesterday's mail looks a lot like the ad that was with Sunday's paper. You can see those deals in this previous post. There are only a couple of new deals:

First, there's a P&G deal: Buy $25 or more of participating items and get 500 bonus rewards points. That's the equivalent of 20%, but even with the 20% discount and coupons, I just don't think any of the items are worth mentioning because you can find them cheaper in other sales.

Second, there's a Pepsi deal: Buy six 2-liter bottles of Pepsi or Diet Pepsi for 79 cents each (limit 4 offers per household). The bottles are $1.25 each if you don't buy six.


Banner via Escalate Media Affiliate Network

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and/or referral links, and may refer to items that were sent to me for review. However, all opinions are my own. You can read Chief Family Officer's full disclaimer and disclosure policy here.

Labels: ,

Morning Coffee: Lots of new coupons at Coupons.com

There are a lot of new coupons at Coupons.com, including L'Oreal, LeapFrog software (great if your kids received the hardware for the holidays), and Hasbro. Disclosure: I'm a Coupons.com affiliate, so clicking through from CFO and printing coupons supports this site at no cost to you. Thank you!

Amazon's Toy Lightning Dealstoday include several Fisher-Price toys throughout the day, Ben 10 Alien Force at noon PST, and Baby Alive at 4 p.m. Also, the Video Game Deal of the Dayis "Star Wars the Clone Wars: Republic Heroes" for the Xbox 360 only. Disclosure: I'm an Amazon affiliate, so any purchase you make after entering Amazon through a link on Chief Family Officer supports this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

According to user Coinperson at A Full Cup, selected Whole Foods are having a one-day sale today. Click through for a list of participating stores in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Utah.

A few months ago, I linked to a chilling story about Jani, a young child with schizophrenia, and her parents' struggle to help her. The LA Times now has a new update.

There's a new link for the Home Made Simple coupon booklet (it was new to me, at least). I've used a bunch of these coupons this week playing The Drugstore Game, so I definitely recommend requesting a booklet every chance you get. (Via Tia's Saving Cents.)

Price Chopper is offering printable coupons on its Facebook page (click on the coupons tab).

Swag Grabber reports that Snapfish has a clearance deal on selected photo gifts. You could find an exceptional deal if you have to present a birthday gift to a grandparent in the next month or two. (Alas, the next grandparent gift I have to give is in May, so the photos will be outdated by then.)

Baby Cheapskate reports that The Children's Place Monster Sale has started, but that the "extra 50% off" will kick in around mid-January.

Bargain Briana has details on how to get $10 off a hair cut at Ulta. I didn't even know they have salons in the stores, but it looks like the one I sometimes pass has a salon and that prices start at $45. Not bad!

Swag Grabber reports that Barnes & Noble is having a text book sale.

Test drive a SmartCar by December 31 and get a $25 Target gift card by mail. Offer details here, and dealer locator here.


Banner via Logical Media

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and/or referral links, and may refer to items that were sent to me for review. However, all opinions are my own. You can read Chief Family Officer's full disclaimer and disclosure policy here.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Evening Coffee: Catching Up

Common Sense with Money has details on how to make $13 at Walgreens on Bayer blood sugar meters. The deal is good through January 30, and the Register Rewards expire two weeks after they print, so you can time your meter purchase with the weekly deals you really want. Preview upcoming deals at I Heart Wags.

Get printable coupons for Green Works cleaning products. (Via Printable Coupons and Deals.)

Get a free sample of Whites Premium Dog Food. (Via Swag Grabber.)

Money Saving Mom and Life As Mom are hosting an Eat From Your Pantry Challenge for the month of January. They are trying to keep their grocery spending to just perishables, while creating meals using food that's stocked in their pantry.

If you shop at Meijer with coupons, take their survey, which is reportedly about doubling coupons, how much you use coupons and if you would stop shopping at a store that discontinues doubling coupons. You may also win one of 10 $50 Meijer gift cards.

Mom It Forward is giving away a $250 Visa Cash Card from State Farm. Ends 12/31.

My Money Blog shares a scary story about Oppenheimer's shenanigans with the 529 accounts it manages.

Pampers
Banner via MySavings.com

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and/or referral links, and may refer to items that were sent to me for review. However, all opinions are my own. You can read Chief Family Officer's full disclaimer and disclosure policy here.

Labels: , , , ,

My First Artisan Loaves

Here's my first update on the bread-making adventure:

Unfortunately, it never occurred to me to take a picture of my first loaf on Sunday, and the rolls last night all got eaten up, so I don't have anything to show you. However . . .

I'm a believer!

The 5-minute method really works. It's super easy to cut off some dough, shape it, let it rise, and bake it. I've just been using a baking pan with parchment and it's worked fine, although I do want to experiment with the different suggestions I've gotten. Thank you for the comments and emails!

The best part, of course, is that the bread is amazing – there's a very crunchy crust, and a soft, chewy crumb (that's what the authors call the interior). I'd been worried that the crust would be too tough for the boys, but they devoured 1 1/2 rolls each last night. The authors say repeatedly that the bread should be allowed to cool completely before cutting but I don't know if that'll ever happen in this house. The warm bread with butter is just so alluring.

I realized on Sunday night, after I'd baked my first loaf, that this bread just might be my savior when the boys are older. I've already mentioned that I can see the day when they're eating machines, and I'm thinking that a fresh loaf of bread (each!) will probably keep their tummies full and content. Homemade bread is pretty cheap to make – I'll have to break down the price sometime, just to see exactly how cheap.

I found a giant plastic food storage container that was part of a set we received as a gift a couple of years ago, and it's serving me well as the perfect dough container in the fridge. It's big enough to hold a full 6-3-3-13 recipe, if we end up eating that much bread. (For the first batch, I followed the master recipe in the book, which calls for half of the 6-3-3-13 amounts.)

Once I've got the master recipe down, I'm going to try some of the other recipes in the book, which call for different types of flour. And I'm sure that I'll eventually pick up the authors' new book Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients.I prefer whole grains, and I would prefer that my children eat whole grains too. Especially if they're eating a whole loaf a day!


Disclosure: I'm an Amazon affiliate, so any purchase you make after entering Amazon through a link on Chief Family Officer supports this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Labels: , ,

My Walgreens & CVS Scenarios This Week

I had an $8 Register Rewards coupon and $9.99 in ECBs that I had to roll over this week, or they would expire. ("Rolling over" means using RRs/ECBs to buy items that generate more RRs/ECBs that can be used in the future.)

Unfortunately, there weren't any great deals in the ads that got me excited, so this was the best I could do, buying things that we will actually use:

Walgreens

5 Mr. Clean Magic Eraser 2-packs $2.50 – used 5 75 cents/1 from Home Made Simple Booklets
2 Cascade dishwasher detergent $3.99 – used 2 $1/1 from Home Made Simple Booklets
1 Playtex Hand Saver gloves 99 cents with in-ad coupon

I was lucky enough to have 5 coupons from the Home Made Simple coupon booklets to use on the Magic Erasers, which are part of a deal to Buy $20, Get a $5 RR. (You can also spent $10 and get a $2 RR.) The Cascade was also part of that deal. I bought the gloves because I'll definitely use them, and I needed a filler item so that I could use my $8 RR. (You must have at least as many items as manufacturer coupons, and RRs count as a manufacturer coupon.)

After taxes, my out of pocket total was a little over $9 – higher than I would have liked, but I'll use all of the things I bought. And I received a $5 RR to use on my next purchase, so I was satisfied with my transaction.

You could also try the scenario at Common Sense with Money to get Olay Regenerist, Olay Quench, Crest and Tide all for free. Mercedes also explains how to get cheap Revlon concealer and foundation.

CVS

Colgate Total $2.99, get $2 ECB – used $1/1 from All You (not sure what issue)
Scope Outlast $3.49, get $1 ECB – used 75 cents/1 from 11/29 P&G (there's also one in the 12/27 P&G)
Gillette Fusion razor $8.99, get $4 ECB – used $4/1 from 11/29 P&G (expires 12/31)
Huggies wipes tub $3.49 – used 50 cents/1 from 11/15 SS & $2/1 CVS coupon from scanner a couple of weeks ago
2 Dawn Hand Renewal dish soap 99 cents – used $1/1 from Home Made Simple booklet

I paid $2.57, of which $1.85 was tax. I received $7 in ECBs to use next time. I decided to do the Olay Regenerist rebate at Rite Aid rather than CVS, because the profit would be greater, and I figured out how to minimize my out of pocket there. We'll use all of the items I bought at CVS, so it works out.

It turns out that there's another freebie at CVS this week: 3-packs of Ivory soap are on sale for 99 cents, so they're free after the $1/1 coupon in the 12/27 P&G insert.

Home Made Simple
Banner via MySavings.com

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and/or referral links, and may refer to items that were sent to me for review. However, all opinions are my own. You can read Chief Family Officer's full disclaimer and disclosure policy here.

Labels: , ,

Morning Coffee: Last Chance on Magazine Deals at Amazon

Through December 31, Amazon has magazine subscriptions with instant $3 discounts,$5 discounts,and $10 discounts.You can get Los Angeles Magazinefor $4.95 (lowest price I've ever seen – I'm going to renew our subscription), Vegetarian Timesfor $7, Food Network Magazinefor $10, and All Youfor $16.95. Disclosure: I'm an Amazon affiliate, so any purchase you make after entering Amazon through a link on Chief Family Officer supports this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

It looks like another good day for Toy Lightning Dealsat Amazon. There's a Melissa & Doug cake set deal right now, a Fisher Price Little People set at 9 a.m. PST, a Matchbox set at 10 a.m., and Connect 4 Spongebob Edition at 1 p.m. The last deal is supposed to be at 4 p.m., but yesterday I noticed that there seemed to be a mystery deal added at the end of the day so I have to see if that's a regular thing they do.

Get a printable coupon for $1 off Borden Organic Milk. I'm not sure where this is sold, though – maybe it's an east coast thing?

Download four free cookbooks from Delicious Living Magazine. (Via Swag Grabber.)

Get a printable coupon for $1 off Johnson's Baby Shampoo (FF or IE). (Via Money Saving Mom.)

Download the Fantastic Mr. Fox soundtrackfrom Amazon for $3.99 right now. The movie's gotten such rave reviews, I'm surprised that it's a box office disappointment, revenue-wise.

A Thrifty Mom has links to Colgate coupons.

Common Sense with Money has a roundup of free samples.

Use this printable coupon to get a free Fresco Taco from Taco Bell. Coupon expires 7 days after printing; offer expires when 1 million coupons are redeemed.

Become a Facebook fan of Wheat Thins and get a printable coupon for $1 off any Wheat Thins snack. You may need to have the SmartSource coupon printer installed on your computer to print. (Via Swag Grabber.)

You know mainstream media like CNN had to be lying when they say they don't pay for interviews. Gawker has the scoop on how they get away with it.


Banner via Escalate Media Affiliate Network
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and/or referral links, and may refer to items that were sent to me for review. However, all opinions are my own. You can read Chief Family Officer's full disclaimer and disclosure policy here.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, December 28, 2009

My Rite Aid Scenario This Week

As I mentioned earlier today, Fabulessly Frugal posted a full coupon match up of this week's Rite Aid deals, and included a $9 moneymaking scenario on Olay Regenerist. I didn't want to pass that deal up, but I also wanted to keep my out of pocket expenses to a minimum. I have my $20 Holiday Gift of Savings certificate that I can use if my total after coupons is over $20, so I had to come up with a scenario that totaled just over $20 after coupons. This scenario is only good through 12/31, since that's when many of the coupons expire - that's fine for SoCal, since our Rite Aid deals go Friday through Thursday, but keep that in mind if your store sales go through Saturday. Here's the scenario I came up with:

5 SoyJoy bars $3, get $3 SCR - use 2 Buy One, Get One coupons from 11/1 SS
Oral B Cross Action Power Brush $5, get $2 SCR - use $3/1 from 12/27 P&G
Kotex pads $2.99, get $2 SCR - use $1/1 that came with a free sample
2 Gillette deodorants 2/$8, get $2 SCR - use 2 $1/1 from 11/29 P&G or 12/27 P&G
2 Gillette body wash 2/$8 also?, use 2 free body wash when you buy deodorant from 11/1 P&G
2 Olay Regenerist cleansers, Buy one at $7.99, get 2nd 50% off - use 2 $3/1 from 11/29 P&G, submit for $15 mail-in rebate
Scott Natural flushable wipes $1.99 (it occurred to me recently that I could use the "adult" wipes for the kids if they're a better deal) - use 50 cents/1 from 11/22 SS (expires 1/2)
Ayr Nasogel $6.49 (this isn't a deal but it's something we use a lot of around here and Rite Aid is the only place that carries it)

Total before coupons: $49.45
Total after coupons, $5 off $25 purchase coupon from Red Plum (near the bottom of the right column) & Gift of Savings Certificate: 75 cents plus tax

Will receive: $9 in Single Check Rebates, plus $15 from the Olay rebate, so approximately $20 profit on the whole transaction

Home Made Simple
Banner via MySavings.com

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and/or referral links, and may refer to items that were sent to me for review. However, all opinions are my own. You can read Chief Family Officer's full disclaimer and disclosure policy here.

Labels: ,

Ralphs: 12/27/09 - 1/5/10

Note: This summary of deals is based on the ad I get in Los Angeles, where Ralphs stores double coupons up to $1 (one like coupon per transaction). I don't list all of the deals, only what I consider to be really good ones. If I missed any, please let us all know in the comments. In addition to the coupons listed, you can also add electronic coupons to your Ralphs Rewards card at these sites: Shortcuts.com, Cellfire.com, P&GeSaver.com, Softcoin and Upromise. If you give Ralphs your email address, they may also send you emails with e-coupons that are exclusive to your card.

There was a mini-Ralphs ad with yesterday's LA Times, which includes some good deals. Prices are good through next Tuesday, so I'm not sure if there will be a regular ad in tomorrow's mail.

Coupon Deals
Lean Cuisine Entree $1.78 - use $1/3 printable coupon (FF or IE); pay $1.45 each

Knudsen sour cream $1.77 - use 60 cents/1 from 12/13 RP; pay 77 cents

Other Deals
Whole Lobster Tails (frozen) $5.99/1

Frozen Wild Caught pre-portioned Pacific Salmon Fillet $3.99/lb ($4.98/1.25-lb package - an excellent price for wild caught salmon)

Whole Tri-Tip Roast $1.99/lb

Fresh whole chicken 69 cents/lb

Hass avocados 3/$1 (this is a great price; I've only seen lower at Jons)

Roma tomatoes 69 cents/lb

Lay's Potato Chips or Doritos Tortilla Chips $1.98 each when you buy 2

Minute Maid Orange Juice $2 (this is a stock up price if you're partial to Minute Maid)

Pepsi 12 packs, selected varieties - 4/$10 wyb 4


Banner via Escalate Media Affiliate Network

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and/or referral links, and may refer to items that were sent to me for review. However, all opinions are my own. You can read Chief Family Officer's full disclaimer and disclosure policy here.

Labels:

Morning Coffee: I found some good deals

One of the Targets I went to yesterday had the Rayovac batteries on 50% off clearance in the Dollar Spot. I used $1/2 coupons from the 11/8 and 12/6 SS to make them free. The coupons beeped, and I'm not sure why, but the cashier overrode them.

Today's Toy Lightning Dealsat Amazon includes some great items: the Melissa & Doug Responsibility Chart at 7 a.m. PST, a Strawberry Shortcake playset at 8 a.m., K'Nex at 9 a.m., a well-reviewed cash register at 2 p.m., and an Erector set at 3 p.m. The last deal is at 4 p.m. Disclosure: I'm an Amazon affiliate, so any purchase you make after entering Amazon through a link on Chief Family Officer supports this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Also, the 99-cent Dawn dish soap sale at CVS includes the Hand Renewal variety, so if you have the $1 off coupon from the Home Made Simple mailer, it will be free. It didn't even beep for me.

Over at Ebates, the Daily Double store is JC Penny, which is giving 5% cash back (instead of the usual 3%). You can use code HAPPY15 to get $10 off a $50 purchase or $15 off a $75 purchase, or code CHEERS99 to get 99-cent shipping per item. (I'm pretty sure you can only use one promo code per order.) If you shop at JC Penny, consider signing up for their JCP Rewards program to earn points - for every 250 points, you'll get a $10 certificate. To learn more about Ebates, read my original review. If you sign up through my referral link, we'll both get a bonus when you make your first purchase within 30 days!

The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety has released their latest crash tests of booster seats. As Tyler gets closer to outgrowing his Roundabout, I'm going to take a close look at the Britax Frontier, which was one of the Best Bets. (Via Baby Bargains Book Blog.)

Fabulessly Frugal has the Rite Aid deals this week, including a $9 moneymaker on Olay Regenerist after mail in rebate. (More on that later today.)

Tia's Saving Cents has $5 Walgreens scenarios.

Get a printable coupon for $2 off Honey Nut Cheerios.

Northern Cheapskate explains how you can be smart with gift cards.

Vocal Point
Banner via MySavings.com

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and/or referral links, and may refer to items that were sent to me for review. However, all opinions are my own. You can read Chief Family Officer's full disclaimer and disclosure policy here.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cowboy & Wills Giveaway Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered the Cowboy & Wills book giveaway. Congratulations to the lucky random winner:

Some Lucky Dog (someluckydog@*****.com)

Lucky Dog, I've sent you an email, and you have 48 hours to respond with your name and address.

Labels:

Morning Coffee: Lackluster After-Christmas Sales

I did indeed hit the mall early yesterday morning, and I found Target's holiday clearance section was mobbed. I picked up a box of holiday cards, since I'm picky about those and I wanted the best selection, but for other items, I'm going to wait for the discounts to hit 75% and see what's left. Other stores weren't nearly as busy, and the selection was completely decimated at some stores. The Children's Place was fine, but Macy's and Baby GAP/GAP Kids were practically bare in some areas. In fact, there were so many empty racks at Baby GAP that I asked if the store was closing, but I was told that they were simply low on stock and not getting their next shipment until Tuesday. My overall sense was that there isn't going to be much of a selection this after-Christmas season, and that the deals aren't going to be astounding. I managed to find three pairs of pants for the boys at GAP Kids, but they weren't on sale - I only bought them because we really need them, and I used the 20% off coupon that I mentioned a few days ago.

Today's Toy Lightning Dealshave already started at Amazon. The current item is the Vtech - V.Smile Cyber Pocket, which has a list price of $70 but is going for just $20 - I think I'm going to pick one up to have on hand as a birthday gift. The last deal today is at 4 p.m. PST. Disclosure: I'm an Amazon affiliate, so any purchase you make after entering Amazon through a link on Chief Family Officer supports this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

A quick update on the bread-making: I looked at a couple of stores yesterday for a baking stone, but couldn't find one small enough to fit in my top oven. I may go the Alton Brown route and hit the hardware store - I'm hesitant only because I doubt my ability to pick a tile that's both food and oven-safe. I'm thinking of getting two of these 7-inch by 10-inch Pizza Stones, though I hesitate to buy on Amazon because many of the pizza stone reviews (of all the different kinds) complain about breakage. I'm going to make my first batch of dough tomorrow, and try baking it on a cookie sheet. We'll see how that goes.

Common Sense with Money has a money-making scenario on Oil of Olay Regenerist at CVS. I might do it since I have $10 in ECBs that I need to roll over by the end of the week, and I'm not interested in much of the ad.

Download the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" for free from Blackberry. (Via Common Sense with Money.)

Mommy Snacks has details on a new Con Agra products rebate.

A Thrifty Mom shares her recipe for White Chocolate Chex Mix.


Banner via Escalate Media Affiliate Network
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and/or referral links, and may refer to items that were sent to me for review. However, all opinions are my own. You can read Chief Family Officer's full disclaimer and disclosure policy here.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, December 26, 2009

How was your Christmas? Mine was all about Artisan Bread

My Christmas yesterday was fabulous, thanks to my wonderful husband who gave me the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking.

I'd read about this book in several places, including Growing Up Gabel. The concept was so weird, I couldn't quite wrap my head around it, which is why the authors' web site just wasn't getting it done for me. But now that I've read the book, I understand and I can't wait to try it.

Here's the concept in a nutshell: Mix together one big batch of dough until just combined. Without kneading, let it rise for a couple of hours, then store it in the fridge. When you're ready to bake, cut off a piece of dough, shape it, let it rise, and then bake it.

The master recipe is based on the proportions of 6-3-3-13: 6 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of yeast, 3 tablespoons of salt, and 13 cups of flour. It's supposed to be a very wet dough, and will become a little tangy - like sourdough - the longer it sits in the fridge. The baking instructions involve using a pizza peel, a baking stone, and a pan of water to create steam in the oven.

I like to bake in my temperamental small top oven (to minimize energy usage), so I'm going to have to do some experimenting to see what works. I'm anticipating quite a few misses, but my plan is to eventually have a routine going where I mix up the dough every one or two weeks, and then bake up a small loaf every day or two.

The authors have a newer book out called Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day: 100 New Recipes Featuring Whole Grains, Fruits, Vegetables, and Gluten-Free Ingredients.Once I've mastered techniques in the original book, I'm going to pick this one up because I'd really prefer to be eating whole grains.

I'll keep you updated as I experiment with bread-making. I'm planning to get started this coming week :)

Disclosure: I'm an Amazon affiliate, so any purchase you make after entering Amazon through a link on Chief Family Officer supports this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Labels: , ,

Morning Coffee: Year End Deals at Amazon

I'm heading out to the mall this morning to check out the trend in after-Christmas sales. (And to buy my boys pants. What is with boys and holes in the knees?!)

If you'd rather shop from the comfort of your own home, Amazon's got a Year-End Salegoing on right now. The Toy Lightning Dealshave already started; the last one will be at 4 p.m. PST. At 1 p.m., there's a Melissa & Doug puzzle set that's gotten good reviews. Disclosure: I'm an Amazon affiliate, so any purchase you make after entering Amazon through a link on Chief Family Officer supports this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

If you're a Borders Rewards member, check your email. I received $5 Bonus Bucks, though the catch is that I have to spend them by year's end.

Through Saturday, January 2, you can get 4x6 prints for 9 cents each at Walgreens Photo with code 9CENTS. And today only, get 70% off desk calendars with code JOY365.

Get a free sample of Nicorette gum from Costco (membership not required) - click the "free sample" box in the "Product Details" section. (Via Free Snatcher.)

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and/or referral links, and may refer to items that were sent to me for review. However, all opinions are my own. You can read Chief Family Officer's full disclaimer and disclosure policy here.

Labels: , ,

Friday, December 25, 2009

Musselman's Holiday Gift Pack Giveaway Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered the Musselman's Holiday Gift Pack giveaway. Congratulations to the lucky random winner:

Katie M. (katie_mm*****@yahoo.com)

Katie, I've sent you an email, and you have 48 hours to respond with your address.

Labels:

Morning Coffee: Merry Christmas!

Regardless of whether you celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a wonderful day today, full of love and joy and all of the things that make life good. Here are a just a few goodies to think about if you're in the mood:

Amazon's Year End Toy Salecontinues today, but there are only two Lightning Deals - the LeapFrog Tag Junior Book Pal at noon PST, and Funny Bunny at 2 p.m. Disclosure: I'm an Amazon affiliate, so any purchase you make after entering Amazon through a link on Chief Family Officer supports this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

User hismom at A Full Cup shares a money-making Rite Aid scenario for the week of 12/27.

Common Sense with Money has links to some good printable coupons, including Aunt Jemima and Contadina.

The Happy Housewife shares her recipe for caramel corn.

As I mentioned last night, I loved Avatar, and I'm also the daughter of a foreign language teacher. So I found this LA Times article on the creation of the Na'vi language for the aliens in the movie fascinating. (Via LA Observed.)

Cool Baby Kid is giving away a $50 Safeway Gift Card. Ends 12/31.

Dealicious Mom is giving away an ERGO baby carrier. Ends 12/28.

Swag Grabber explains how pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and caregivers of infants and children up to age five, can receive assistance from the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and/or referral links, and may refer to items that were sent to me for review. However, all opinions are my own. You can read Chief Family Officer's full disclaimer and disclosure policy here.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Two Paragraph Review: Avatar

I've seen only rave reviews of James Cameron's new movie, Avatar - all A's, not even an A- from anyone. But still - I couldn't help but be skeptical of the freaky blue people and the avatar premise seemed weak. Plus I was genuinely offended by the blatant promotion of the film in a recent episode of Bones, when the geeky trio of men are so excited to see the movie that they camp out in line for the best seats at a special screening.

But we had babysitters, and I wasn't about to inflict New Moon on my husband (I love you too much for that, honey!). So I was surprised at how much I liked Avatar. Even though it was over 2 1/2 hours. The story is good, the special effects are truly tremendous, and it didn't even seem overly long (though I did have to run out in the middle for a quick bathroom break). I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll just say that if you have three hours to spare, go see Avatar.

Labels:

Start Thinking About After-Christmas Sales Now

I love checking out any kind of sale, but after-Christmas sales have a special place in my heart because you can do some serious stocking up. I've found that you can get some amazing deals on wrapping paraphernalia, like paper, ribbons, tissue, and gift bags. I buy some of these items when they get marked down to 90% off at Target, usually during the first week of January. I'll pick up one or two holiday-themed rolls, but I also grab a roll or two of paper that's not obviously for the holidays to use year-round. In fact, after Christmas is the only time of year that I buy wrapping items. It's also a good time to buy holiday-themed decorations for the next year, if there's something you really like that's not marked with the year.

Other items will be more hit and miss, but with a little luck, you can scoop up good deals on toys and gift sets. I like to buy things that will make good birthday gifts throughout the year. I'm curious to see if retailers will be desperate enough to go for steep markdowns, or if they had ordered so little before the holidays that there isn't anything left to mark down after Christmas. (Obviously, I hope not!)

After Christmas is also the time to start looking for clearance sales on clothing. Baby Cheapskate has a list of dates for when children's clothing stores will start their markdowns.

Labels: ,

Afternoon Coffee: A few last minute holiday items

Amazon is having a $9.99 Clearance Blowout and Athletic & Outdoor Shoe Closeouton shoes through December 31. Shop now for the best selection. Disclosure: I'm an Amazon affiliate, so any purchase you make after entering Amazon through a link on Chief Family Officer supports this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Download a couple of Christmas songs by Andrea Bocelli and Sugarland for free, courtesy of Oprah. (Via Freebies 4 Mom.)

More music: Right now, you can download Susan Boyle's album, I Dreamed A Dreamfor $3.99 at Amazon. (Via My Good Cents.)

Get free coffee or tea at Peet's Coffee & Tea all day today. (Via Free Snatcher.)

Get a subscription to Every Day with Rachael Ray for $4.99 from Tanga with code ee78. (Via Coupon Geek.)

Nestle Nesquik singles are $1 at Pavilions (and probably Vons) right now, so they're free after the 50 cents/1 coupon from the 11/1 RP doubles.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and/or referral links, and may refer to items that were sent to me for review. However, all opinions are my own. You can read Chief Family Officer's full disclaimer and disclosure policy here.

Labels: , ,

Morning Coffee: Best Last Minute Gift Ideas

Need a gift at the last minute? My first recommendation - because it's what I would want - is an Amazon.com gift certificate:you can email it or print it out. If you're not comfortable with the gift card route, you could order a gift subscription to a magazine the recipient would enjoy all year long - Amazon has some holiday magazine deals,including Food Network Magazine for $10 after instant $5 discount, and quite a few $5 subscriptions,including Health and Golf. If you have a chance to get out of the house today, pick up a copy of the current issue, wrap it, and give it to the recipient with a note about the subscription. Disclosure: I'm an Amazon affiliate, so any purchase you make after entering Amazon through a link on Chief Family Officer supports this site at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Is it the last day for Amazon's Holiday Toy Lightning Deals?I actually just noticed that it's the "Year-End" event, so the deals may continue for another week. Today's deals include a couple of board games - I didn't know they even have a Star Wars: The Clone Wars edition of Monopoly (4 p.m. PST). I hope I remember to check in to see the Lightning Deal price - the current price is $19.99, so I'm hoping for less than $8. The deals start now and the last one is at 5 p.m. PST.

PampersPampers Gifts to Grow has revised their rewards program, but it's essentially the same deal: you enter codes, which convert to points, and then redeem your points for prizes. The biggest revision has been in the calculation of points, which have been multiplied by 10 to avoid fractions (as I recall, some codes were worth 0.5 or X.5 points). Sometime last year, they began including shipping and handling into the point total, so you don't have to pay separately for that anymore, which is nice. I noticed that there seem to be more choices for rewards right now, so if you haven't checked your account in a while, it might be worth a visit. While you're there, use codes welcome2village and HappyHolidays10 to get 10 points each. Links via MySavings.com.

IKEA will have one day deals starting December 26 through January 3. You can preview them here to decide what day(s) to go. You may also be able to get free food for the kids on those days (selected stores only).

Get a free sample of Huggies Pull-Ups from Costco (membership not required).

Growing Up Gabel has recipes from 1972 for a Swedish Tea Wreath and Cinnamon Bread.

Common Sense with Money discusses Walgreens' (lack of an) official coupon policy.

Get a printable coupon for $1 off College Inn Chicken Broth 32-oz ( FF or IE). (Via Printable Coupons and Deals.)

That Went Well is giving away a $100 Target gift card. Ends 12/26.

Realm of Prosperity has a list of types of credit card charges – think things like speeding tickets and *cough* adult items – that could have negative repercussions with your credit card issuer. (Via Wisebread.)

All Financial Matters crunches the numbers to show what a depressing decade the 2000's were in the stock market.

Skimbaco Lifestyle is giving away a $25 VISA card. Ends 12/26.


Banner via Escalate Media Affiliate Network

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and/or referral links, and may refer to items that were sent to me for review. However, all opinions are my own. You can read Chief Family Officer's full disclaimer and disclosure policy here.

Labels: , ,