Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Art of Couponing: BIG Deal Update

So, I just had to check in for a minute and tell you about an amazing deal at CVS right now. I just bought TWO bottles of clean and clear brand body wash for 99 cents + tax! Yes, that is over 92% off. I think I'm converting to purchasing more household products at CVS...

Here is how I did it:
This week at CVS (until April 2), I bought 3 pepsi 12-packs for $10 and got $2 Extra Care Bucks back to use on another purchase.
Tonight, I walked in with that $2 ECB & a coupon from the Sunday paper (you can probably track it down online) that was for Buy 1 Get 1 Free clean and clear body wash.
Until April 2, CVS has clean and clear body wash on sale for 2.99.
When you combine the 2.99 price, B1G1 free, and $2 off you end up with .99 plus tax.

So instead of paying 11.98 plus tax, I paid .99 plus tax.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Dinner at Our House: Baked Onion Rings w/ BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Well, it's getting close to the end of the month and I really need to hit that magic number for trying new things. I thought I'd try something easy. I found this recipe online for baked onion rings and thought it would go well with a burger or some kind of sandwich. When I saw BBQ cause on sale at Publix for B1G1 free I thought, might as well make BBQ Chicken Sandwiches. Mom still had some leftover chicken in the freezer, so this was a pretty cheap meal.

First of all, making BBQ chicken is super easy in the crock pot. You put in frozen boneless chicken breasts, add sauce of your choice, cook on low 6 - 8 hours or high 3 - 4 hours (well roughly based also on how much you put in...). Anyways, that isn't the new that I want to highlight...

I want to tell you about the baked onion rings. I'm not really an onion ring kind of gal. I don't readily eat an onion unless it's cooked in an Asian dish. But, I'm trying to explore new things. So tonight I opted to try the baked onion ring.

Onion rings out of the oven.

Don't you love this paper plate?
They were pretty good. However, when it says out of the oven, it means it. Don't wait around to eat these. When they got colder I ate them with a little ketchup. I did like that they tasted fried, even thought they were baked. They had a very nice crunch and I'm a gal who loves her crunch.

I used the following:

2 medium onions, sliced into rings
1 1/2 cups low fat buttermilk
1 1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
cooking spray

First you need to soak the onion rings in the buttermilk for 1 - 2 hours. (Thanks, Mom, for helping with that)
Next, you'll put them into the crumbs and shake them around. I did a few at a time in a plastic container. *tip* Don't use all your breadcrumbs at once. The buttermilk makes it clump up. Use a little at a time to coat the rings.
Lay them all out on a lined pan. Spritz with cooking spray.
Bake at 450 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes depending on how hot your oven gets.
Pop them outta the oven and into your mouth.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Art of Couponing: Weeks 1 & 2

I decided on March 7th to take control of my finances and learn how to coupon. I was mostly inspired by one of my Auburn friends, Jaclyn. She has started an amazing blog and I really really encourage you to check it out. I got an idea from her to start tracking how much I saved using coupons. I mean, I was skeptical. How much do you really save by using a .40 cent coupon? [actually, I've learned that at Publix you'll save .80 cent because they double all coupons under .50]

So, I'm happy to report that on my last four grocery related trips I have saved the following using deals + coupons:

Trip #1 to Publix - 19%
Trip #2 to Publix - 21%
Trip #3 to Publix - 28%
Trip #1 to CVS - 33%

It may not seem like a lot, but you'll notice each time is a little more. I'm learning how to do this and it is working. Let me share one deal that I just got at Publix:

Weight Watchers Frozen Treats (regularly $5.29 each)
Currently, they are B1G1 free. So, that makes them $2.64 each (because it's basically 50% off).
I also had a $1.00 coupon from the internet.
I should have paid $10.58, but instead, I paid $4.29. That's a savings of almost 60%.

And that is honestly the trick. Shop at Publix (or a store with similar deals) and add the coupons on top.

Now, I know that people say..."but that's takes time, and my time is worth money." It was a little time consuming at first, but only because I was reading trying to figure it out. It really only takes a few minutes each day to check online for new deals (have them emailed to you if you want- I've created my own coupon-only email address) and clip from the Sunday paper.

I spent more time blogging right now than I did on clipping coupons.

Sophie is 2

Yesterday, Tim and I went to visit the birthday girl Sophie. Sophie's parents are good friends from undergrad (and actually, some of high school too). Here are a selected few photos I took of the day:

Sophie playing with the Kinex we bought Jacob

She is very precise.

Jacob and his Kinex.

He's going to be an awesome engineer or something similar one day.

Tim got a call on the pink phone.

PRESENT! Notice the crazy green and purple ones...

Tim helped build the pony.

Sophie is waiting...

Jeez Tim! Get it together already!!


Sophie opening our gift #1...



Gift #2...

Still working on it..'s a Paris Hilton style teacup piggie tote bag!

Win. She is carrying the pig. Never mind the babydoll.

Cakey cake indeed.

Had to throw this one in...
Overall, a fun day. My goal was to win the birthday (minus competing with the parents). I thought combing her interests of girly+princess+pigs = win with the teacup piggie and princess tote. Seriously, the pig is named princess...time will tell if tea cup pig wins out over babydoll and buzz.

Oh, and I only have slight baby fever for those wondering. It comes and goes. But, we still have the priority of house then kids.

Caturday Saturday: Late Edition

So, I actually took these photos for Caturday Saturday...but they are only just now getting posted...sorry for the delay! Me and the cats were wrapping gifts for a birthday party for a 2 year old (Pictures of that soon!).

Scooby attacking the paper. You can see Jackson and Elliot are interested in the gift (btw: it was a teacup piggie).

Scooby wanted me to wrap her...

I finally cut off a piece for them.

Elliot has her own piece.

Watching intensely...

Jackson helped me curl the ribbon.

Friday, March 25, 2011

UWG Media Day 2011

Mass Comm Alumni Social AFTER Media Day 2011

This past Wednesday I took the day off from work and headed up to my alma mater, University of West Georgia. For the FIRST time, I was actually on the other side of an event called Media Day. Media Day is the premiere event for the Mass Communication DEPARTMENT (it used to be a program when I was there, but now it is its own department).

In the past, I was a student (obviously) and I attended to network with professionals. One year, when I was in my Intro to PR class with Ms. Reid, I helped plan the first ever internship fair at Media Day. Last year, I taught public speaking in the department, thus I was able to work more behind the scenes at Media Day both on the committee and as the Student Volunteer Coordinator for Media Day. Finally, this year I was on the other side. I really liked coming as a "professional."

It was nice to meet the students coming through the program. I enjoyed their questions. I thought I'd write a short bit about that in case someone in their shoes stumbles across this post. I found myself saying this a lot:

*To work in public relations you have to be more than simply "a people person." While being social seems like an obvious job requirement, it isn't the only one. You have to know how to talk to people, know how to LISTEN to people, have a good memory or system for remembering people and their preferences...and about a million other skills and traits.
*Event planning is more challenging than Samantha Jones, or any other TV personality, makes it out to be on TV. For good or for worse, having a simple catered lunch can sometimes be a political ordeal. Which refers back to my first tip of knowing people and their history/preferences etc.
*Never think you are too important to do something like make a pot of coffee, you have to stay humble and gracious.
*Of course I stressed the value of good writing, but I feel like they hear that one a lot. But, I reminded them that their professors aren't just saying that to say it. Learn to write!
*Intern, intern, intern, or volunteer, volunteer, volunteer! I regret not doing any internships in college. Sure I did a lot of volunteer work that also had elements of public relations in it, but it would have helped if I actually had done more internships.
*And of course I stressed the value of working in the nonprofit sector or education fields. Sometimes when you look for jobs you only look for the titles of "public relations practitioner" or "communication specialist" when really jobs have some creative and interesting titles. You really need to explore the job descriptions out there. I also recommended and for finding jobs in education and nonprofit work.

Of course, the disclaimer is this, I'm by no means an expert. I only know what I know. But, I am truly blessed right now with an amazing job that I love, a great boss, and some co-workers that I feel have become some of my dearest friends.

In addition to the actual event, there was the alumni event that I posted a photo of up above. I truly love these people. UWG Mass Comm is like a mini-family and seeing these folks felt like a family reunion. So I'll leave you with the few photos I took:

Nichole and her husband. She's so cute when she's emotional- actually, I think she sneezed...

Here she is. She's so beautiful! If you need encouragement for WW, she's is your gal. She was definitely part of my motivation and inspiration to get it in gear.

This is what happens when Matt Kent and I try to take pictures...

This is what happens when someone else does it for us.

I love all of you!!! See you next year at the 31st annual Media Day!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Restaurant Review: Old Siam

I realize that I haven't reviewed this place yet, but we did enjoy trying it out this month. We went to Old Siam before a hockey game this month. I had NEVER had Thai food before in my life. I always hear "it's spicy, really spicy" when people describe it. But, I also know it similar to Chinese food, and I like spicy Chinese why not try it out?

First of all, this place has AMAZING SERVICE. Props to our young gal server who was extremely kind and accommodating. She asked if it was our first time and we said yes, and she even asked if it was our first time eating Thai and we said yes. She asked us questions about what we like and don't like and her recommendations were perfect.

Tim had the Spicy Basil Chicken and I had Red Curry Pineapple Chicken. Both were delicious, but I was more of a fan of Tim's dish.

All in all, it was a great evening. The service was good, the setting is cute, the food is great and we tried something new- and liked it!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Caturday Saturday

Elliot found a new spot when Papa brought home the new TV stand... 
Look at this face she made when I shut her in...

How much is that kitty in the window?

Humans *sigh*

Elliot had a guest nap on the back porch.

The kitty was sleeping under the patio table- perhaps for shade from the heat.

Dinner at Our House: Creamy Basil Chicken tossed in Angel Hair Pasta

I forgot to post this one. Sorry, I plan on playing catch-up this weekend. Last week I made a variation of this recipe.

Dad's plate had all the veggie options too.

This was a closer shot of the pasta.

  • 6 ounces angel hair pasta
  • 1 12 oz. can evaporated skim milk
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons basil
  • 1/4 cup shredded fresh parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons shredded fresh parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 -3 chicken breasts cut into pieces

Cook pasta according to package directions.

For Chicken:
Cook chicken in a sprayed skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground pepper, garlic and basil to season. Sit to the side.

For sauce:
Stir together milk and flour. 
Stir in garlic and basil. 
Cook and stir over med. heat till mixture is bubbly and thickened. 
Cook and stir 1 minute more.
Add 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Stir till cheese is melted.
Cook 1 minute more.
Toss pasta with sauce and add chicken.

All in all it was ok. It was almost too sweet from all the basil. It needs something salty or spicy with it. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dinner at Our House: Tortilla Pie aka Fiesta Lasagna

 I have to preface tonight's post with a shout out to my friend Megan. I just posted on my facebook that I was making a tortilla pie to which she said: "Megan: I thought you hate pie."

Ha! I do actually hate dessert pies, so she has a point. But, since I altered this recipe I feel I now have the right to rename it, so I'm dubbing it: Fiesta Lasagna.

Anywho, I saw the recipe in my Taste of Home book but thought it looked a little complicated with all the chop this etc. Mondays can be crazy days so I got the idea to substitute a jar of salsa for some of the ingredients. It worked out well. I'll link you the original, but I'll post what I actually did.

Looks a little messy but it is so so so yum I promise. This is actually dad's plate. He had Spanish Rice and a garden salad.
1/2 pound lean ground beef (93% lean)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 jar (16 ounces) Salsa (your choice of heat, we used Mild)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
dash of garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
4 low-fat flour tortillas (8 inches)
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese

Season your beef in a large nonstick skillet with the chili powder, ground cumin and throw in a dash of garlic powder.

Cook the beef and chopped onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the salsa. Heat til you get a little bit of a boil then reduce heat. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese.

Place one tortilla in a 9-in. round baking pan coated with cooking spray. Layer with half of the meat sauce, one tortilla, all of the ricotta mixture, another tortilla and the remaining meat sauce. Top with remaining tortilla; sprinkle with Mexican cheese.

Cover and bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

For those on WW (old points, sorry I'm to cheap to pay for meetings and learn new points) a 1/8 serving is 4 points and a 1/4 serving is 8. Tonight mom went for 1/8 and I went for a 1/4 because I was starved! Either way, for all the yummy gooey cheesy-ness it's a great way to spend the points.  

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Caturday Saturday

Yup, got a big update today for... CATURDAY SATURDAY!
Milking the blanket
Look at his grin...
Then he tucked himself in.
And later he pulled more covers on.
Then he buried his face too.
Then Dad must have snored or something to wake up little Jackson.
I found them later in the week all curled up in a ball.
Then as I was taking photos Jackson writhed around posing.
Isn't this face precious?
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