dogcostumes $20 off $50 Halloween Costumes (New Customers)

dogcostumes (dba Shopping)

If you are a new customer to, you can use coupon code HALLOWEEN20 to save $20 off your purchase of $50 or more on Halloween costumesSome of these would ship for free as wel.

Here are a few things I found to give you an idea:



Gretel Dress (Girls): $19.94



Child Musketeer Costume: $28.55 + FREE shipping


Annie Costume (Girls): $29.25




This code may be used once per customer and is good through September 30th only. Shop early for the best selection!


*REMINDER!* Buy Costumes: Orange Tuesday Sale – Save 25% Sitewide (9/2 only)



EDITED TO ADD: I am bumping this post I initially shared with you yesterday to remind you – this sale is live today only (9/2!).


Heads up! There is an awesome sale happening tomorrow only (Tuesday, September 2nd) at They are calling it an Orange Tuesday sale and they will be offering up 25% off the entire store when you use coupon code AFCDOrangeTuesday at checkout.

Additionally, they will be offering over 50 Pumpkin Busters (basically really good deals). You can combine these deals with the 25% off to maximize your savings. Believe it or not, Halloween is technically next month now, and this is a great opportunity to shop early and snag a great deal. even offers Frozen costumes, but most costume retailers are predicting a sell out this year! (So another good reason to shop early!)

I wanted to give you a few ideas of what kinds of costumes and savings you can expect to find at



Boys’ Optimus Prime: $29.99 (reg. $44.99)
Use coupon code AFCDOrangeTuesday to save an extra 25% (9/2 only)
Your price: $22.49



Boys’ Ninja Costume: $16.99 (reg. $26.99)
Use coupon code AFCDOrangeTuesday to save an extra 25% (9/2 only)
Your price: $12.74



Pet Hot Dog Costume: $14.99 (reg. $29.99)
Use coupon code AFCDOrangeTuesday to save an extra 25% (9/2 only)
Your price: $11.24

Remember, this sale will be happening tomorrow only at I encourage you to check the site out now to see what they have to offer and plan what you might want to buy.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by All opinions are 100% my own. For more information, please see my Disclosure Policy

DSCN7678 (600x800)

World Market: Fun Finds for Celebrating the World Cup!

DSCN7678 (600x800)

DSCN7678 (600x800)Last Friday, my son and I had an hour to kill while my daughter attended a birthday party. We were near the Tacoma Mall so I suggested either Toys ‘R Us or Cost Plus World Market. Guess which store my son chose? Yup – World Market! (Have I said yet that my son is AWESOME?!)

One of our favorite parts of the store to peruse is the food section. They have food from all kinds of countries! Granted, some of these are not cheap, but they sure make a fun, different kind of treat! Here are a few of the goodies we spotted:

[Read more...]

Northwest Railway Museum

Father’s Day Freebies and Deals 2014

Northwest Railway Museum

Father's Day - Freebies, Discounts & Deals!

Father’s Day Freebies and Deals – 2014

Father’s Day is coming up soon! We’ve rounded up a big list of Father’s Day Freebies and Deals 2014 to give you a heads up on many ways to save.

Whether you’re a dad or have a dad you want to show some love to, you’re bound to find something of interest in this list. (And please help us and other readers out by leaving a comment if you know of any other freebies or deals – thanks in advance!)

National Father’s Day Freebies and Deals

free printable Father's Day cards

Free Printable Father’s Day Cards
If you’re on a tight budget, check out 15 different free printable Father’s Day cards that you can just print and send.

Free Zoo Admission
50+ zoos are offering free admission to dads on Father’s Day.

Amazon – Father’s Day T-Shirts for $8.10 Shipped
Get Dad a Best. Dad. Ever. T-shirt for as low as $8.10 shipped from Amazon. I’m not sure if these will get to you in time for Father’s Day, but the sentiment is good any time of year. :)

Americna Girl Father's Day craft

American Girl – Free Father’s Day Card Craft
Girls ages 8 and up can make a free handmade Father’s Day card with matching envelope and write a special message to Dad on the inside. This event is going on this weekend (June 13-15).

Applebee’s – Gift Card Bonus
Get a free $10 digital bonus card when you buy $50 in gift cards at Applebee’s for Father’s Day.

[Read more...]


Food Holidays: 365 days of culinary celebrations


Do you know that there is a different food holiday just about every day of the year? Some of these mean freebies and offers, while others are just plain fun to celebrate!

When I got into couponing and saving money on groceries, I began to get interested in tracking food trends. One of the things I noticed is that sometimes companies offered freebies, discounts, and coupons coinciding with food holidays.

For instance – June 6th is National Doughnut Day and Krispy Kreme will be offering up a free doughnut! Another one to watch is September 29th – National Coffee Day – where many retailers may offer free cups of coffee or other discounts. (And if you like coffee – don’t forget Jan 20th, National Coffee Break Day; Jan 25th, National Irish Coffee Day; April 7th, National Coffee Cake Day; July 26th, National Coffee Milkshake Day; and Sept 5th, National Coffee Ice Cream Day!)

Some of these celebrations though – are just plain fun. You could even use them to inspire a new quirky family tradition or meal. If Sweet Potato Awareness Month or Fruitcake Toss Day can’t make you smile, what can?

Before I share this list – a huge, HUGE thank you to my lovely content developer Laura who agreed to this crazy post request and painstakingly assembled it for your enjoyment.



Bread Machine Baking Month
California Dried Plum Digestive Health Month
Fat Free Living MOnth
National Candy Month
National Egg Month
National Hot Tea Month
National Meat Month
National Oatmeal Month
National Slow Cooking Month
National Soup Month
National Wheat Bread Month
Prune Breakfast Month


2nd Week: National Pizza Week
4th Week: National Irish Coffee Week
4th Week: National Meat Week


January 1: Apple Gifting Day
January 1: Bloody Mary Day
January 2: National Cream Puff Day
January 3: Chocolate Covered Cherry Day
January 4: National Spaghetti Day
January 5: National Whipped Cream Day
January 6: Bean Day
January 6: National Shortbread Day
January 7: Fruitcake Toss Day
January 7: National Tempura Day
January 8: English Toffee Day
January 9: National Apricot Day
January 10: Bittersweet Chocolate Day
January 11: Hot Toddy Day
January 11: Milk Day
January 12: Curried Chicken Day
January 12: National Marzipan Day
January 13: National Peach Melba Day
January 14: National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day
January 15: National Fresh Squeezed Juice Day
January 15: Strawberry Ice Cream Day
January 16: International Hot & Spicy Food Day
January 16: National Fig Newton Day
January 17: Hot Buttered Rum Day
January 18: Peking Duck Day
January 19: National Popcorn Day
January 20: National Buttercrunch Day
January 20: National Cheese Lover’s Day
January 20: National Coffee Break Day
January 20: National Granola Bar Day
January 21: New England Clam Chowder Day
January 22: National Blonde Brownie Day
January 22: National Soup Swap Day
January 23: National Pie Day
January 23: National Rhubarb Pie Day
January 24: Lobster Thermidor Day
January 24: National Peanut Butter Day
January 25: National Irish Coffee Day
January 26: National Peanut Brittle Day
January 26: National Pistachio Day
January 27: Chocolate Cake Day
January 28: National Blueberry Pancake Day
January 29: National Corn Chip Day
January 30: National Croissant Day
January 31: Brandy Alexander Day



Berry Fresh Month
Canned Food Month
Celebration of Chocolate Month
Great American Pies Month
National Cherry Month
National Fiber Focus Month
National Fondue Month
National Grapefruit Month
National Heart Healthy Month
National Hot Breakfast Month
National Snack Food Month
Potato Lovers Month
Sweet Potato Month

[Read more...]

Best Dad Ever t-shirts

Best. Dad. Ever. T-Shirt as low as $8.10 shipped from Amazon – many different colors available!

Best Dad Ever t-shirts

Best Dad Ever t-shirts

There are just ten days left until Father’s Day, and if you’re still scratching your head trying to come up with a suitable gift, here’s an option: Amazon has these Best. Dad. Ever. T-shirts priced as low as $4.35 plus $3.75 for shipping.

Choose from fourteen different colors in a wide range of sizes (although note that not all size/color combinations are available). I love these! Just a heads up: your order may or may not arrive in time for Father’s Day, but it’s worth a shot at this price, in my opinion.

Need something else to throw in with your gift? Here are some low-priced options from Amazon, all of which ship free with Prime:

Just Me and My Dad (Little Critter)

Just Me and My Dad (Little Critter) for $2.36

Best Dad Ever 13Oz Coffee Mug Great for Father's Day or Birthday

Best Dad Ever 13-oz. Coffee Mug for $7.57

The Berenstain Bears We Love Our Dad!

The Berenstain Bears: We Love Our Dad! for $2.71

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know

Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know by Meg Meeker

Head to Amazon to pick up your Father’s Day t-shirt and any other add-ons!

Lunchbox Laboratory dads eat free

Dads Eat Free at Lunchbox Laboratory on Father’s Day

Lunchbox Laboratory dads eat free

Lunchbox Laboratory dads eat free

Dads with ‘staches (real or fake) eat free this Father’s Day at Lunchbox Laboratory. This is a local-to-me restaurant (locations in S. Lake Union, Bellevue and Gig Harbor) and it is sooooooooo good!

Don’t have a ‘stache of your own? No worries – they’ll have one for you to wear during your meal. Offer is valid on Sunday, June 15 only.

What other Father’s Day freebies do you know of? We’re rounding up the best deals we can find and will post them in plenty of time for the big day.

Brides Across America

Memorial Day Freebies and Deals 2014

Brides Across America

Memorial Day Freebies and Deals - find FREE admission, save on restaurants, military discounts + more!Memorial Day Freebies and Deals – 2014

Memorial Day is coming up this Monday, May 26th and we wanted to be sure you were aware of the various deals available both nationwide and in the Seattle area.

Just a reminder – Memorial Day is a day to remember those who have died in service to our country. While it’s obviously very worthwhile to thank all who have served, this day is not the same as Veterans Day which is in November.

That being said, there are plenty of freebies and deals available to active duty military as well as veterans, and even some for regular old folks. Please leave a comment if you know of any others and we’ll add them to the list.

National Memorial Day Freebies and Deals (+ Military Discounts)

24 Hour Fitness
Receive free all-club access from May 23-26. It appears that this offer is valid to all guests, not just military.
Get free access to select military records on through May 26th.

Blue Star Museums

Blue Star Museums
All active duty, National Guard and Reserve military personnel and their families can get free or discounted admission to select museums from Memorial Day through Labor Day as part of this program.

Military members save an extra 15% on select PCs and tablets this Memorial Day.

Disney Parks
Check this page for the latest Disney Parks Special Offers available to military.

Free Photo Book
Send a free photo book to anyone stationed abroad, courtesy of USO.

Free Welcome Home Banner lets you create a free Welcome Home banner for military friends and family.

Brides Across America

Free Wedding Gown
Brides Across America partners with bridal salons across the country to give free wedding gowns to military brides twice a year.

[Read more...]

Applebee's bonus card

Mother’s Day Freebies and Deals 2014

Applebee's bonus card

Mother's Day Freebies & Discounts - Huge List!Mother’s Day Freebies and Deals – 2014

In case you haven’t gotten the memo, Mother’s Day is just around the corner! We’ve rounded up a big list of Mother’s Day Freebies and Deals 2014 to give you a heads up on ways to save.

Whether you’re a mom or have a mom you need to treat to a day out, you’re bound to find something of interest in this list. (And please help us and other readers out by leaving a comment if you know of any other freebies or deals – thanks in advance!)

National Mother’s Day Freebies and Deals

Free Zoo Admission – A whole slew of zoos nationwide are offering free admission for moms on Mother’s Day.

Free Printable Mother’s Day Cards – Don’t want to buy a card? Check out these free printable Mother’s Day cards on

Free Sight Word Reader – Educents is offering a free download of this “I Help My Mom” interactive sight word reader. Gift Cards, Pack of 3 Cards - Free One-Day Shipping

Amazon – Spend $45 on gift cards for Mom or another recipient (hey, that can be you!) and get $5 bonus credit via email. Check out this post for all the details.

American Girl – Girls ages 8 and up can make a free Mother’s Day card this weekend from May 9-11.

Applebee's bonus card

Applebee’s – Buy $50 in gift cards, get a free $10 digital bonus card.

Bonefish Grill – Give $50 in gift cards and get a free $10 bonus card for yourself now through June 15.

Caribou Coffee – Celebrate Mom with a BOGO offer on May 11 – just show this offer on your phone or print it out.

Chili’s – Buy $25 in gift cards and get a free dessert for a limited time.

Half Price Books – Get a free $5 bonus card with each $25 gift card purchase through May 11.

Hooters – Bring Mom in for a free entrée valued at $10 or less with the purchase of a drink. Mom must be accompanied by one of her “super awesome” kids.

Mom's coupon book

Lakeshore Learning – Kids ages 3 and up can make Mom a free Mom’s Coupon Book on Saturday, May 10 from 11am-3pm.

LongHorn Steakhouse – Buy a $50 gift card for Mom and receive a $10 off bonus card to use on your next visit. This offer is available in-restaurant only.

Lowe's flower delivery truck

Lowe’s – Kids can make a free Flower Delivery Truck at Lowe’s on Saturday, May 10 at 10am. You’ll need to register in advance as space is limited.

National Public Gardens Day – Many public gardens around the country are offering free or discounted admission on May 9 (see below for locations in WA).

Olive Garden – Treat Mom to a $50 gift card and you’ll get an extra $10 bonus card through June 29.

Outback Steakhouse – Get a free $10 bonus card when you buy $50 in gift cards through June 15.

P.F. Chang’s – Receive a $10 bonus card when you purchase $50 in gift cards through June 15.

Panera Bread – Get $10 to use at when you purchase $50 or more in Panera Bread eGift Cards.

Mother's Day card station

Pottery Barn Kids – Stop by the week before Mother’s Day (starting May 5) for a free Mother’s Day Card Station to make Mom or Grandma a one-of-a-kind card.

Starbucks – When you try the new Teavana Oprah Chai Latte on Mother’s Day, Mom will get a free one, too. Also, don’t forget that you can get 50% off Frappuccinos at Starbucks from 3-5pm every day through May 10.

T.G.I. Friday’s – Give a $25 gift card and get a $5 Bonus Bites card for yourself.

[Read more...]

Earth Day 2014

Earth Day Freebies 2014

Earth Day 2014

Earth Day Freebies & Coupons 2014

Tuesday, April 22 is Earth Day, which means you can snag some great freebies and offers out there! Please note that these offers are good on select days only and some may be while supplies last. As always, I encourage you to phone ahead to inquire if your store is participating (or to check on quantities left) before making a special trip out.

Amazon: Download a free interactive Earth Day children’s storybook. It’s also available to download for free on iTunes.

Care2: Check out a number of free Earth Day e-cards you can send to a loved one.

Caribou Coffee: Buy this Earth Month tumbler and get unlimited coffee refills for free all April long.

Disney Store: Bring in 5 plastic bags and receive a FREE Disneynature Bears reusable tote bag.

EVOS: Come in for a free organic milkshake on April 22, no coupon or purchase necessary.

GlassDharma: Take the quiz (click on the straw’s badge) to get a free glass straw.

National Parks: Get free entrance to all National Parks from April 19-20. For more information and to see the list of parks, please visit the National Parks website.

Pottery Barn: Stop by for an eco-inspired treasure hunt the week of April 21. Find all the clues and you’ll get a free plantable bookmark while supplies last.

Wegmans: The first 300 customers in the store on April 26 get a free reusable bag with plastic bag trade-in.

Whole Foods Market: Save 50% on 130+ eco-friendly cleaners. More details here.

If you’re aware of an offer I’ve missed, please feel free to share by leaving a comment. Thanks!

Mother's Day Under $25 - 1

Mother’s Day Gifts Under $25

Mother's Day Under $25 - 1

Mother's Day Under $25 - 1


Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for $25 or Under!

Mother’s Day is just one month away (May 11, in case you don’t already have your calendar marked). If you’re stumped by what to get the mom in your life, I’ve rounded up several Mother’s Day gifts under $25. Take a look!

 Opi Nail Lacquer 10 Piece set, Take Ten Mini Kit (currently $20.25)

Conair Foot Spa with Bubbles & Heat (currently $19.09)

Authentic Pigment Snap-On Large Canvas Tote (currently $20.32)

Eco Bath Body Gift Basket Set (currently $17.95)

Apollo Pink General 39-pc Tool Set (currently $19.99)

Clinique 8 Pcs Spring Skin Care & Makeup Gift Set (currently $20.99)

Silky Soft Pashmina Scarf Wrap Bright Colors (currently $11.99)

Faceted Lucite Graduated Rhinestones Necklace, 18″ (currently $19.99)

Classic Gourmet Food and Snack Gift Basket (currently $24.74)

Women’s Red Gingham Trim Apron (currently $15.99)

What other Mother’s Day gift ideas do you have?


*UPDATED* Best Prices on Ham at Grocery Stores for Easter


Best Ham Prices for Easter

Best Prices on Ham at Grocery Stores for Easter

Are you planning on serving ham this Easter? If so, you might be interested in the best prices currently available. I decided to take some time to round up the current prices I could find for stores in my area (that would be Puget Sound, Washington).

Remember when comparing ham prices, that there are different cuts of ham. Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples when scouting down the best price.

This list was updated on Wednesday, 4/16.

Spiral Sliced Ham Prices

  • Fred Meyer: $1.88/lb (through 4/19)
  • Fred Meyer: Save $10 on bone-in Spiral Sliced Ham with in-ad coupon (through 4/19)
  • Safeway: $1.99/lb, bone-in, limit 2 (through 4/22) – no change in price from last week
  • Albertsons: $1.88/lb Smoked Cure 81 (through 4/22) – down from $2.49/lb last week!
  • QFC: $1.88/lb Hormel Cure 81 (through 4/15)
  • Top Food & Drug: $1.97/lb
  • IGA – Brown’s Point: $2.29/lb (will open 4/15)

Shank Portion Ham Prices

  • Fred Meyer: $1.49/lb (through 4/19)
  • Safeway: $1.29/lb for Smoked (through 4/22) – no change in price from last week
  • WinCo: $1.68/lb (current as of 4/14)
  • IGA – Brown’s Point: $1.29/lb (will open 4/15!)
  • Albertsons: $1.29/lb (through 4/22)

Butt Portion Ham Prices

  • WinCo: $1.88/lb (current as of 4/14)

Smoked Ham Prices

  • Safeway: $1.29/lb Smoked Rump (through 4/22) – no change in price from last week
  • Safeway: $1.29/lb Smoked Shank (through 4/22) – no change in price from last week
  • Albertsons: $1.29/lb Smoked Shank (through 4/22)
  • Albertsons: $1.99/lb (through 4/22) – down from $2.49/lb last week

Other Ham Prices

  • QFC: $0.99/lb Cook’s Portion Ham, bone-in, limit 2 (through 4/22) – no change in price from last week
  • Top Food & Drug: $2.99/lb Hempler’s Black Forest Ham (through 4/22) – no change in price from last week
  • Top Food & Drug: $3.79/lb Hempler’s Gourmet Half Ham (through 4/22) – no change in price from last week
  • Top Food & Drug: $4.99/lb Haagen Belling’Ham Spiral Sliced, Boneless (through 4/22) – no change in price from last wee
  • Metropolitan Market: $4.99/lb Korubata Ham (through 4/22)

Reader Comments

A couple readers chimed in with helpful price information:

I just picked up an Archer Farms spiral (half) ham at Target for $1.99/lb plus I got an additional 5% off with Cartwheel. There’s also a glaze packet included. It helped round out my $10 off $50 grocery coupon. –  Dora

QFC has both butt and shank pieces for .99/lb! The brand is Cook’s and there is a limit of 2. Definitely the best price I have found!
The weekly ad is good through today (4/15) but I wouldn’t be surprised if they kept the sale going until Easter. – Brenda (Note from Angela: yes! I think QFC tends to have great prices on meat like this. You can see I’ve noted that sale under the section listed “Other Ham Prices” and yes, it does continue through 4/22!

I will continue to add to this list as I’m able.  Please let me know if you’re aware of a store or deal I’ve missed – I know Costco is not on this list, but I will work to get those prices, too.

What is your favorite store to buy ham from? For those that may not purchase ham regularly – do you have any recommendations on the type/portion of ham to buy?


Tax Day Freebies & Offers 2014


Tax Day Freebies - get free stuff to celebrate completing your taxes!

Tax Day Freebies & Discounts for 2014

Tax Day is right around the corner, and you’ll be able to snag some freebies, coupons, and offers to “celebrate” the event. I’ve listed the ones alphabetically I was able to find, but please leave a comment on this post if you’re aware of another one. Also note that some of these do not apply for our region. As always, head to their websites to check on individual store locations.


Remember: most of these offers are only valid on Tax Day (Tuesday, April 15th). Some may have restricted hours you can redeem the coupon, too. So please, read the fine print of any offer you want to use and as extra insurance, you may want to call your local store or restaurant to make sure they are participating.

Arby’s: Print a coupon for a free snack-sized curly fries to use on April 15.

Boston Market: Get two half chicken individual meals for $10.40, no coupon necessary

Bruegger’s Bagels: Buy a Big Bagel Bundle for $10.40 with the coupon found on their Facebook page from April 12-15.

California Tortilla: Say “Taxes Shmaxes” to your cashier to get free chips and queso with any entree purchase.

Chevys Fresh Mex: Now through April 15, you won’t have to pay tax on your order when you show or print this coupon.

Great American Cookies: Free Original Chocolate Chip Cookie per customer at participating locations. No coupon necessary.

HydroMassage: Schedule a free HydroMassage experience with coupon from April 14-18.

Living Social: Save $5 off your purchase of $15 or more. Today only.

Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt: Fill your cup for $4.15 with the coupon that will be available on their Facebook page.

Schlotzsky’s: Buy chips and a 32 oz. drink and you’ll get a free small “The Original” sandwich.

Sonic: Half price teas, drinks, and slushes all day long. More information at their Facebook page.

Please share if you are aware of additional offers!

Easter Spot-the-Differences

25 Easter Basket Fillers Under $5

Easter Spot-the-Differences

25 Easter Basket Fillers Under $5

Need some ideas to fill your Easter basket? I found 25 items priced at $5 or less.

Whether you need items to fill the Easter eggs themselves or to fill up the Easter basket, you’re sure to find something of interest here – check it out!

Easter Spot-the-Differences

Easter Spot-the-Differences (currently $1.33)

Glitter Easter stickers

Glitter Easter Stickers (currently $1.35)

Easter stencils

Easter Stencils (currently $1.38)

Easter button earrings

Easter Bunny Cute Button Earrings (currently $1.99)

The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story  Berenstain Bears Living Lights   Mike Berenstain, Jan Berenstain  9780310720874  Books

The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story Paperback Book (currently $2.76)

Magic wand

Magic Wand (currently $2.83)

Mr. Bubble Bubble Bath

Mr. Bubble Original Bubble Bath (currently $2.85)

The Night Before Easter  Natasha Wing, Kathy Couri  0038332150858  Books

The Night Before Easter Paperback Book (currently $3.04)

Crayola washable crayons

Crayola Washable Crayons 16-Pack (currently $3.49)

Action Bible Songs CD

Classics: Action Bible Songs CD (currently $3.99)

Crayola seasonal egg chalk

Crayola Seasonal Egg Chalk (currently $3.99)

Duck   Goose, Here Comes the Easter Bunny!  Tad Hills  9780375872808  Books

Duck & Goose, Here Comes the Easter Bunny! Board Book (currently $4)

Silly Putty

Original Silly Putty (currently $4.12)

Easter egg puzzle

Easter Egg Puzzle (currently $4.27)

Happy Easter, Mouse!  If You Give...   Laura Numeroff, Felicia Bond  9780694014224  Books

Happy Easter, Mouse! Board Book (currently $4.28)

light up bicycle streamers

Handlebeams Light up Bike Handle Streamers (currently $4.29)

Goody ouchless ponytail holders

Goody Ouchless Tiny Terry Ponytail Holders 42-Pack (currently $4.35)

kids paint smock

Painting Smock (currently $4.52)

hatch and grow ducky

Hatch and Grow Ducky (currently $4.63)

webkinz rabbit

Webkinz Rabbit (currently $4.80)

[Read more...]

25 Festive St. Patrick's Day Crafts

25 Festive St. Patrick’s Day Crafts

25 Festive St. Patrick's Day Crafts

25 St Patrick's Day Crafts

St Patrick’s Day Crafts you can do with Kids

Looking for some inspiration for St. Patrick’s Day? Check out this round-up of 25 St. Patrick’s Day Crafts!

Potted Rainbow Craft // Mom On Timeout

“Lucky” St. Patrick’s Day Printables // Mom On Timeout

Leprechaun Hats Craft // Mom On Timeout

St. Patrick’s’ Day Banner // A Night Owl Blog

St. Patrick’s Day Wreath // A Night Owl Blog

Painted Wood Shamrock Tutorial // Six Sisters’ Stuff

St. Patrick’s Day Rainbow Wreath // Crafts n’ Coffee

Beer Bottle Candle Holders // Practically Functional

St. Patrick’s Day Coloring Page Printable // Scribbleprints

How to Catch a Leprechaun Craft // The Suburban Mom

Fruity O’s Rainbow Color Craft // Hands On As We Grow

Bell Pepper Shamrock Stamps // Learn Play Imagine

Wee Little Shamrock Men // Sweet and Lovely Crafts

Clover Leaf Lei // Simple as That

How To Make Leprechaun Feet // A Differentiated Kindergarten

St. Patrick’s Day Decoration // Rockabye Butterfly

St. Patrick’s Potato Stamping // No Time For Flashcards

St. Patrick’s Day Rainbow Handprint Craft // B-Inspired Mama!

Simple Leprechaun Dress Up // Paging Supermom

Shape Leprechauns // Reading Confetti

Felt Shamrock Hair Accessories // Molly Moo

Shamrock Plant Markers // Domestic Goddesque

St. Patrick’s Day Hat // Simple Crafts

Button Rainbow // Rainy Day Distractions

Paper Plate Leprechaun Craft // All Kids Network

And, if you’re looking for some good ideas for food – how about a rainbow fruit platter for the kids?

Easy St Patrick's Day Idea: Create a Fruit Rainbow | The Coupon ProjectEasy St. Patrick’s Day Idea: Create a Fruit Rainbow!

And how about Skittles Infused Vodka for the adults?

How to Make Skittles Infused Vodka | The Coupon Project

How to Make Skittles Infused Vodka

Valentines Day Coupons, Freebies, and Offers

Valentine’s Day – Coupons, Offers & Freebies 2014

Valentines Day Coupons, Freebies, and Offers

Valentines Day Coupons, Freebies, and Offers

Friday, February 14th is Valentine’s Day and you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to show your special someone a little LOVE!  Here are some of the best freebies and discount deals that I was able to round up for you. Did we miss something? Please leave a comment so we can update the list.

As always, I encourage you to phone ahead to make sure your local store or restaurant is participating and to confirm any details such as if additional purchases are necessary.

Restaurant Offers

Applebee’s: Buy $50 in gift cards, get a free $10 digital bonus card.

Buca di Beppo: Buy $50 in gift cards, get a $10 coupon from 1-800

Godfather’s: Offering a heart-shaped pizza and a heart-shaped Strawberry Dessert Streusel. Price may vary by location.

Krispy Kreme: Buy a dozen doughnuts and get 12 FREE Valentine’s Day cards, each containing a coupon for 1 FREE doughnut.

Lindt: Stop in for a FREE Lindt HELLO Strawberry Cheesecake chocolate stick

Papa Murphy’s Pizza: Get a heart-shaped pizza for $7-$8, depending on your location. Visit Papa Murphy’s to find a store near you.

Qdoba: Get BOGO entrees (one must be a Queso entrée) when you pucker up and kiss a special someone.

Starbucks: Get BOGO lattes 2/14 between 2-5 pm.

Additional Offers

Frecklebox: Get FREE printable Valentine’s cards for kids.

Groupon Goods: Right now, there is a special “Valentine’s Day” section on Groupon Goods full of great last minute offers including wine, jewelry, or last-minute date night ideas.

Michaels: Stop by for FREE family craft time events on 2/10 and 2/12.

Recyclebank:  Get 20% off an order from for just 25 points (normally 50 points).

Smilebox: Customize these Valentine’s Day trading cards with photos and text and print for free.

Target: Has lots of great coupons, including
$1/1 Hershey’s Friendship Exchange Snack-Size Candy 12.8-16.8 oz. Bag printable coupon
$1/1 Lindt Valentine’s Day Hello Bag or Heart 2.8 oz.+ printable coupon
$1.50/2 M&M’s Candies 9.34 oz.+ printable coupon

Veggie Tales: Has select Veggie Tales DVDs on sale for $6.97 (reg $12.99 and up).  Visit their website, click on DVDs on the menu bar and then Sale to find these deals!

If you are aware of a coupon, freebie, or promotion we’ve missed, please leave a comment!

Want more Valentine’s Day ideas?

Plus, make sure to follow my Project ~ Valentine’s Day for even more Valentine’s Day recipes, decor, and ideas.


Cardstore: Flat Valentine’s Day Cards & Invites – $0.99 each through Friday!

It’s not too late to order Valentine’s Cards! Order online through Cardstore to create personalized Valentine’s Day cards and customize with your recipient’s name and photos. From there, Cardstore can send the card to you, or even better – directly to your recipient.

Through Friday only, you can take advantage of these offers:

What I think are particularly cute are these custom photo cards for kids! There are 4 photos per sheet, and these are eligible for the $0.99 promotion!

Remember, these offers are good through tomorrow only (Friday, 2/7). Head to Cardstore to make your Valentine’s Cards!

Ghirardelli Valentine's Chocolate Squares

Valentine’s Day Gifts for Teachers – 10 Ideas Under $10

Ghirardelli Valentine's Chocolate Squares

Valentine's Day Gifts for Teachers - 10 Ideas under $10

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Teachers

Want to brighten your teacher’s day with a Valentine’s Day gift this year? I found ten items for under $10 – check it out!

Ghirardelli Valentine's Chocolate Squares

Idea #1 – Ghirardelli Valentine’s Chocolate Squares (currently $4.17)

Teaching Is A Work Of Heart Teacher's Coffee Mug

Idea #2 – Teaching Is A Work Of Heart Teacher’s Coffee Mug (currently $8.09)

Angel for Teacher Pin

Idea #3 – Angel for Teacher Pin (currently $8.32)

12 Valentine Pencils

Idea #4 – 12 Valentine Pencils (currently $2.99)

Presto Electronic Timer

Idea #5 – Presto Electronic Timer (currently $3.97)

Hand-Blown Glass Red Apple

Idea #6 – Hand-Blown Glass 5″ Red Apple (currently $7.99)

Apple Memo Pad

Idea #7 – Apple Memo Pad (currently $4.10)

Insulated Lunch Box Cooler Bag

Idea #8 – Insulated Lunch Box Cooler Bag (currently $7.95)

SlimMate Plastic Storage Clipboard

Idea #9 – SlimMate Plastic Storage Clipboard (currently $6.81)

It's Not All Flowers and Sausages  My Adventures in Second Grade  Mrs. Mimi  Books

Idea #10 – It’s Not All Flowers and Sausages: My Adventures in Second Grade (currently $7.18)

What other ideas do you have? Let me know!

25 Awesome DIY Valentine's Day Ideas for Kids | The Coupon Project

25 Awesome DIY Valentine’s Day Ideas for Kids

25 Awesome DIY Valentine's Day Ideas for Kids | The Coupon Project

25 Awesome DIY Valentine's Day Ideas for Kids | The Coupon Project

Follow my Project ~ Valentine’s Day board on Pinterest for many more ideas!

Looking to do something fun and different with your kids for Valentine’s Day? Check out the following cute DIY ideas!

Fingerprint Valentine’s Card // Celebrations

DIY Secret Message Valentines // Craft, Interrupted

Knighted Valentines // Craft, Interrupted

S’mores Mason Jar Valentines // A Night Owl Blog

POPCORN Teacher Valentine // Staying Close To Home

Boy Valentines: Free Printables // Someday I’ll Learn

Secret Message Valentines // Formula: Mom

DIY Minecraft Valentines // Club Chica Circle

DIY Valentine’s Mailbox Craft // Parent Place

I Like You “Berry” Much Valentine // The Nerd’s Wife

Handmade Valentine: DOH You Want To Be Mine? // The Nerd’s Wife

Free Valentine Printable // Good Gravy Designs

DIY Hidden Message Valentines // Formula Mom

DIY Heart Shaped Crayon Valentine // Simmworks Family

3 Awesome Valentine Card Printables // About a Mom

Mouse Valentine Tutorial // 7 On A Shoestring

I a-s’more You! Valentine // TSJ Photography

“Blowing Kisses Your Way” Bubble Valentine (With Printable) // The Mother Huddle

Heads or Tails Valentine // The Mother Huddle

Love Bug Valentines // DIY Cozy Home

Will You “Chews” To Be Mine? Valentine Tutorial // It Happened Like This…

DIY Bouncy Ball Valentine // Fabulessly Frugal

“My Heart Bursts For You” Valentine Printable // Itsy Bitsy Paper

Nerdy Valentines // No Biggie

I’d Love To “Hang Out” With You {Clothespin Valentine Tutorial} // Simply Kierste

Valentine’s Day-themed bento lunch // The Coupon Project (that’s me!)

Want more “pin”spiration? Make sure to follow my Project ~ Valentine’s Day Pinterest board!



Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Him – 25 Creative Ideas Under $25


Valentine's Day Gifts for Him: 25 Creative Ideas under $25 | The Coupon Project

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Him

Looking for a unique, yet budget-friendly Valentine’s Day gift for your man this year? Look no further… I’ve got tons of ideas for you!

Ear BudsIdea #1 – Panasonic Ear Buds (currently $7.18)

Art of Shaving

Idea #2 – Art of Shaving 4-Piece Set (currently $23.58)

Whiskey StonesIdea #3 – Whisky Stones (chills drinks without diluting!) (currently $6.99)

O'Keeffe Hand CreamIdea #4 – O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream (currently $6.99)

vday5Idea #5 – Camera Lens Travel Coffee Mug (currently $7.99)

Best Husband Ever T ShirtIdea #6 - Best Husband Ever T-Shirt (currently $16.99+)

Fire Starter

Idea #7 – Bear Grylls Survival Series Fire Starter (currently $10.72)

[Read more...]


FREE Christmas Movies to Stream for Amazon Prime Members


I always have to watch Christmas movies this time of year! If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can take advantage of a few FREE Christmas movies available on Amazon Instant Video!


An American Christmas Carol: retelling of Dickens’ classic set in Depression-era New England. I watched this last night and honestly thought it was going to be cheesy, but really loved it! If you love a Christmas Carol, I recommend this. Heartwarming!


National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Funny movie in the series of Griswold “vacation” movies. I will add I watched this last year and hadn’t seen in quite some time and found there were a couple scenes that you might want to be wary of if you have small children around. (Maybe better for once they are in bed.)

jingleallthewayJingle all the Way.  Description from Amazon: “It’s right before Christmas and high-powered businessman Howard Langston is fighting a shopping war in order to buy his son the hottest action figure of the season — Turbo Man.”

planesPlanes, Trains & Automobiles. OK, so this one isn’t Christmassy per se, but it always makes me think about the holidays! It’s the funny story of a man trying to get home for Thanksgiving and all the mishaps that follow him when an unlikely travel partner tries to “help.”

christmaslodgeChristmas Lodge. Description from Amazon: “Mary Tobin has wonderful memories of family gatherings at the Christmas Lodge. When she arrives for a weekend vacation, she quickly realizes that the lodge that she loves has fallen into serious disrepair. With a lack of funds and a looming deadline, she not only restores the Christmas lodge’s charm but finds love along the way.” (I’ll admit it, I’m adding this to my playlist now. Looks cute!)


A Christmas Snow. This looks like a good one to watch after the Christmas Lodge. Here’s the description, from Amazon: “”A Christmas Snow” is a heartwarming story about faith, hope and restoration with a silver lining. After a fluke winter storm right before Christmas, Kathleen (Catherine Mary Stewart) finds herself trapped in her own home with two unlikely guests, Sam (Muse Watson) and Lucy (Cameron ten Napel).”

fireplaceFireplace for your Home. Here it is! That fireplace to put on your TV with Christmas music!

liberaceLiberace’s Christmas Special. Also going on my playlist.

lawrenceLawrence Welk Christmas Shows. Covers the years from 1958, 1959, and 1966.

miracleThe Miracle on 34th Street. A Christmas classic.

santams3Santa Claus: Mystery Science Theater. If you didn’t think Santa Claus could be creepy or boring, watch this.


Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. I love this movie – and it’s a crying shame it’s not a Christmas classic! Basically, the people of Mars are upset that Santa doesn’t visit their planet so they come up with a plan to kidnap Santa. The special effects are AWESOME. This movie was actually riffed by Mystery Science, but it’s not free. You will just have do your own riffs. Best watched with a big group of friends.santaclausSanta Claus: the Movie. OH MY GOODNESS. I totally forgot about this one, until now! Remember this ’80s gem where Dudley Moore plays the elf named Patch? I think I am going to watch this tonight.

joyeuxJoyeux Noel: Merry Christmas. Description from Amazon: “Based on the true story of three armies in the bloody trenches of World War I – and the miraculous Christmas Eve truce they unexpectedly forge.” This one got really strong reviews!

allstarThe All-Star Christmas Show (Bob Hope). 50 stars come together for a special Christmas Show. (If the picture isn’t clear, these “stars” aren’t likely to be current celebrities. Heads up!)


Jack Frost. The sweet tale of how Jack Frost became human so he could fall in love.

mrmagooMr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol. Animated version of A Christmas Carol! Very cute.

veggietalesVeggie Tales: The Little Drummer Boy. The Veggie Tales uncover the real story of Christmas.

If you are not an Amazon Prime member? You can sign up for a FREE 30-day trial. This will give you instant streaming access to these and thousands of additional FREE movies and TV shows as well as free 2-day shipping on most items across Amazon.


Home Depot: Save at least 25% on Holiday Decor + FREE shipping on many items!


There is a great deal happening at Home Depot right now on holiday decor! Most of it is already discounted (up to 40%), plus you can use coupon code HOLIDAY25 to save an extra 25%! However, Queen Bee Coupons noted that in some instances – particularly on sale items, the coupon code seems to be taking off closer to 40% than 25%.


Take this for example: 7.5 ft. Pre-Lit LED Wesley Mixed Pine Tree with Multi-Color Lights was $179.00, but it’s on sale for $107.40. When I added it to my cart and used coupon code HOLIDAY25, the price dropped to $62.65 + FREE shipping! That’s a whopping 65% off!


Here’s another good example:


This 4.5 ft. Pre-Lit Artificial Wesley Pine Potted Tree with Clear Lights was $59.98, but it’s marked down to $41.99. Use coupon code HOLIDAY25 and the price drops by 15% – nearly 40% – to $26.99. Notice that even though shipping is supposed to be free for orders of $45, it’s showing free on this one:


Shop all the holiday items and see what you can find.

Regarding shipping – while it seems to be free on many items sitewide, in many instances, you can also opt to pick-up in store. You might wish to go this route if you’d like to have the items to decorate your house for Christmas now, or want to make sure you receive them in time for Christmas.

Thanks, Queen Bee Coupons!

Best Prices on Holiday Dinner - Ham, Turkey, Roast, Seafood

Best Turkey, Ham, Roast, Lamb & Seafood Prices at Grocery Stores: Just in time for Christmas Dinner!

Best Prices on Holiday Dinner - Ham, Turkey, Roast, Seafood

Best Prices on Holiday Dinner - Ham, Turkey, Roast, Seafood

While most people opt for turkey on Thanksgiving (or maybe ham), Christmas dinner can vary greatly from table to table! Just the other day I posed the question on Facebook: “what you eating?” and I got answers ranging from oysters to tamales! I still wanted to offer up a round-up to help track down the best prices on a variety of main-course meats and seafoods for you. This morning, I scoured the ads for a number of Puget Sound area stores and have compiled them for you below.

The first thing you need to pay attention to is “good through” dates as these are varying greatly from store to store:

Top Food & Drug: 12/24
Winco: Subject to change at any time
Fred Meyer: 12/21
Safeway: 12/25
Albertsons: 12/25
Metropolitan Market: 12/24
Grocery Outlet: Subject to change at any time
Tacoma Boys Markets: 12/24

Second, make sure you are comparing apples to apples when reviewing this list! It’s not fair to compare a $2.99/lb bottom round roast with a different cut that’s been dry aged. Obviously, a fresh, free range turkey is going to be spendier than a frozen conventionally-raised one.

Best Ham Prices, Christmas

  • Safeway: Smoked Shank Ham $0.99/lb (limit 1; while supplies last)
  • Safeway: Spiral Sliced Half Ham $1.99/lb (limit 1; while supplies last)
  • Safeway: Hormel Cure 81 Boneless Half Ham $3.99/lb (while supplies last)
  • Albertsons: Hormel Cure 81 Smoked Spiral Ham $1.77/lb
  • Albertsons: Cooks Smoked Shank Portion Ham $1.47/lb
  • Albertsons: Steakhouse Choice Beef Rib Roasts $6.97/lb
  • Winco: Cure 81 Bone-in Half Spiral Ham $1.76/lb*
  • Winco: Bone-in Shank Portion Ham $0.98/lb*
  • Top Food & Drug: Cook’s Spiral Sliced Half Ham $1.97/lb (limit 1)
  • Top Food & Drug: Cook’s Shank Portion Ham $1.29/lb (limit 1)
  • Metropolitan Market: Korubuta Ham $4.99/lb (I’ve sampled this before and it’s AMAZING!!)
  • Grocery Outlet: Spiral Sliced Ham $0.99/lb
  • Trader Joe’s: Spiral Sliced Half and Quarter Hams $3.69/lb

* Winco prices can vary greatly by location. These were the prices found at our local Winco store last weekend.

Best Turkey Prices, Christmas

  • Albertsons: Fresh Jennie-O or Foster Farms Turkeys $0.99/lb
  • Safeway: Safeway Select Fresh Turkey $1.69/lb
  • Safeway: Fresh Butterball Turkey $1.99/lb
  • Safeway: Fresh Nature Open Range Turkey $1.99/lb
  • Winco: Frozen Turkey $0.68/lb*
  • Winco: Butterball Frozen Turkey $0.98/lb*
  • Top Food & Drug: Butterball Frozen Turkey $1.29/lb
  • Top Food & Drug: Fresh Butterball or Jennie-o Turkey $1.99/lb
  • Metropolitan Market: Free Range Turkey (fresh) $2.89/lb

* Winco prices can vary greatly by location. These were the prices found at our local Winco store last weekend.

Best Roast Prices, Christmas

  • Safeway: Rancher’s Reserve® Beef Ribeye Roast $5.99/lb
  • Safeway: Rancher’s Reserve® Beef Round Sirloin Tip $2.99/lb
  • Safeway: Rancher’s Reserve® Beef Loin New York Strip Roast $4.99/lb
  • Safeway: Open Nature(TM) Frenched Lamb Rib Roast (imported) $11.99/lb
  • Albertsons: Steakhouse Choice New York Roast $4.97/lb
  • Albertsons: Steakhouse Choice Boneless Beef Top Round Roast $5.99/lb
  • Albertsons: Steakhouse Choice Boneless Beef Bottom Round Roast or Boneless Beef Eye of Round Roast $4.49/lb
  • Fred Meyer: Whole New York Holiday Roast $3.47/lb (today only 12/18 – save $10 off $20 roasts!) (limit 1)
  • Fred Meyer: Rib Eye Roast $5.88/lb (limit 1)
  • Fred Meyer: Boneless Bottom Round Roast $3.48/lb
  • Top Food & Drug: Rib Roast, bone-in $6.97 (limit 1)
  • Top Food & Drug: New York Roast, boneless $6.97 (limit 1)
  • Top Food & Drug: Eye of Round Roast $2.99/lb
  • Top Food & Drug: Bottom Round Roast $2.99/lb
  • Top Food & Drug: Sirloin Tip Roast $2.99/lb
  • Top Food & Drug: Top Sirloin Roast $4.99/lb
  • Metropolitan Market: Locally Grown Dry Aged Beef Rib Roast $16.99/lb
  • Metropolitan Market: Dry Aged New York Strip Roast $16.99/lb
  • Trader Joe’s: Full Cooked Prime Rib Roast $15.99/lb
  • Tacoma Boys Markets: Angus Standing Rib Roast $9.99/lb
  • Tacoma Boys Markets: Angus Standing Dry Aged Rib Roast $11.99/lb
  • Tacoma Boys Markets: Kobe Petite Sirloin Roast $6.99/lb

Additional Meat Prices, Christmas

  • Safeway: Pork Loin Crown Roast $3.99/lb
  • Safeway: Open Nature(TM) Whole Semi-Boneless Leg of Lamb $4.99/lb
  • Albertsons: Fresh Leg of Lamb, bone-in $5.99/lb
  • Albertsons: Fresh Leg of Lamb, boneless $7.99/lb
  • Top Food & Drug: Fresh Leg of Lamb, semi-boneless $7.99/lb
  • Top Food & Drug: Rib Rack $2.69/lb
  • Top Food & Drug: Lamb Rack $9.99/lb
  • Metropolitan Market: Naturally Raised Leg of Lamb, bone-in $7.99/lb

Best Seafood Prices, Christmas

All seafood is previously frozen unless otherwise indicated.

  • Safeway: Large Cooked Shrimp $7.99/lb
  • Safeway: Fresh Dungeness Crab (cooked) $4.99/lb
  • Safeway: Live Pacific Black Mussels (subject to availability – call ahead) $4.99/lb
  • Safeway: Extra Jumbo Raw Shrimp $9.99/lb
  • Safeway: Fresh Norwegian Atlantic Salmon Fillets $9.99/lb
  • Albertsons: Wild Large King Crab Claws $8.99/lb
  • Albertsons: Wild Large King Crab Legs $14.99/lb
  • Albertsons: Wild Lobster Tail $4.99/lb
  • Albertsons: Scallops $7.99/lb
  • Albertsons: Raw Shrimp $8.99/lb
  • Albertsons: Cooked Shrimp $10.99/lb
  • Albertsons: Wild Sockeye Salmon Fillets $10.99/lb
  • Albertsons: Wild Snow Crab $6.99/lb
  • Fred Meyer: Wild Alaska Snow Crab Clusters $8.99/lb
  • Fred Meyer: Wild Alaska Sockeye Salmon Fillets $12.99/lb
  • Fred Meyer: Wild Colossal Mexican All Natural White Shrimp $12.99/lb
  • Top Food & Drug: Lobster Tail, Wild $5 each
  • Top Food & Drug: Elliott’s Crab Cake $1
  • Top Food & Drug: Kulshan Wild Sockeye Salmon Fillet $12.99/lb
  • Metropolitan Market: Wild Caught True Cod Fillet $8.99/lb
  • Metropolitan Market: Wild Lobster Tails $6.99
  • Metropolitan Market: Large King Crab Legs $19.99
  • Metropolitan Market: Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Fillet $12.99/lb
  • Tacoma Boys Markets: Salmon Fillets $7.99/lb
  • Tacoma Boys Markets: Wild Lobster Tails $9.99 each
  • Tacoma Boys Markets: Large King Crab Legs $13.99/lb

Another tip for good seafood at low prices would be Hmart. I could not find an ad for the Washington area, but they have a huge selection, including many fresh and live options.

Are you aware of a great deal on turkey, ham, roast, or seafood I’ve not listed? Maybe at another store in the area I neglected to include on my list? Please feel free to leave a comment below for other deal-seeking readers!


Free Personalized Video Message from Santa!



You can create a FREE personalized video message from Santa through Portable North Pole! I did this last year for each of my kids and it was a big hit! Simply enter some information about the recipient of the video (are they naughty or nice? what special gift are they hoping for this year? which state do they live in?). I just finished up this year’s messages, which I’ll play for them when they get home from school today.

Please note that you’ll be able to watch the video for awhile, but a download will cost you. There are other paid options for this service, but they are pretty obvious. I just stuck with the free options for my video messages.

Head to Portable North Pole to create your own messages!



12 Days of Christmas: Frugal Makeover Edition


For 2013, the total cost to buy your True Love all the items listed in the 12 Days of Christmas would run you a whopping $114,651 (source: Huffington Post). When I heard this figure the other day, I accepted that as a challenge to redo the 12 Days… on a budget. With that, here’s the new, improved, and 99% discounted version for my frugal-loving pals.

1st Day of Christmas: Partridge in a Pear Tree

2013 Cost: $199.99


How about instead of one partridge – you get an entire Partridge Family CD – for the low price of $7.29 on Amazon? As far as the pear tree goes, you can buy a pear rootstock at Raintree Nursery right now for just $3.50 (or as low as $1.85 each if you bought 25+).  Sure it may not be a lush pear tree full of fruit, but how would you seriously gift that to your True Love anyways?

New Cost: $10.79
Savings: $189.20!

2nd Day of Christmas: Two Turtle Doves

2013 Cost: $125.00

Think twice before gifting live birds for Christmas! I mean, all you’ve really done is given your True Love a responsibility to feed, care for, and shelter a new pet. If Turtle Doves are anything like pigeons, they’ll be pooping everywhere, too. Plus, $125 is lot of money, especially if you’ve already plunked down $200 for another bird and a tree.

I found a real deal for you for Two Turtle Doves… it’s this exciting Kindle book called (wait for it…) Two Turtle Doves. And it’s only $0.99!


New Cost: $0.99
Savings: $124.01!

3rd Day of Christmas: 3 French Hens

2013 Cost: $125.00

Seriously? More birds? Anyhow, I’m pretty sure the last thing any reasonable person wants to do is plunk down 125 smackers on three birds for a Christmas gift.


Well the good news is I found these adorable plush French Hens from the Audubon Society for just $6.99 each on Amazon ($20.97 for the set of three). They even make an authentic french hen sound when pressed, so I doubt your True Love will be none the wiser.

New Cost: $20.97
Savings: $104.03!

4th Day of Christmas: 4 Calling Birds

2013 Cost: $599.96


How about instead of 4 calling birds for $599.96 you buy 4 bird calls for $24.40 on Amazon ($6.10 each)?

My Cost: $24.40
Savings: $575.36

5th Day of Christmas: 5 Golden Rings

2013 Cost: $750.00


Let’s face it: solid gold is expensive. One easy workaround is to simply buy 5 gold-plated rings. A quick search on Amazon produced this frugal option – a girl’s gold-plated crystal rose ring for the low price of $5.28. You could  buy 142 of these rings versus 5 of the fancy pants ones. Think about it.

My Cost: $26.40
Savings: $723.60!

6th Day of Christmas: 6 Geese a-Laying

2013 Cost: $210.00


At this point, maybe you should just buy your True Love a farm to put all these birds! Instead of real live actual geese that will lay eggs all over your living room, how about this charming garden banner for the low price of $9.99 on Amazon? As a bonus, all 6 geese are displayed on the banner which means you’ll only need to buy one. Score!

My Cost: $9.99
Savings: $700.01!

7th Day of Christmas: 7 Swans a-Swimming 

2013 Cost: $7,000.00

Thank goodness this is the last of the days of Christmas where the gift involves fowl! And it’s a good thing – those 7 swans will run you a whopping $1k a pop!


I think your True Love and 6 of his/her closest friends will have a much more enjoyable time on these inflatable swans. They are $36.59 each right now on Amazon.

My Cost: $256.13
Savings: $6,743.87!

8th Day of Christmas: 8 Maids a-Milking

2013 Cost: $58.00

I’m beginning to wonder how some of these figures were calculated. Really, $58 sounds like a steal for 8 maids a-milking to me whereas the swans sound wayyyy overpriced. But of course, I knew I could top $58. I asked my husband for help on this one and he reminded me of this fun candy:


I found 1 lb bag of Milk-Maid Candy for $9.99 on Amazon (as an add-on item), but I suspect you could find it cheaper elsewhere. Maybe WinCo carries it in the bulk bins? I’m unsure how many candies are included in a 1 lb package, but I’d venture to say there are at least 8 pieces.

My Cost: $9.99
Savings: $48.01!

9th Day of Christmas: 9 Ladies Dancing 

2013 Cost: $7,552.84

At $7,552.84, that’ll run you $839.20 per lady dancing. I’m curious what kind of ladies are doing the dancing, and for how long. I’ve got to believe you could go to your local shopping mall or grocery store and easily convince 9 random ladies to do Gangnam Style for you for even a small fraction of $839.20. Heck, I’d do it for $25. (Note to everyone reading this if you find me in your local shopping mall or grocery store.)


Perhaps more enjoyable (and coordinated) than random ladies in a shopping mall dancing to Gangnam Style would be to see the classic Nutcracker Ballet performed by Pacific Northwest Ballet at McCaw Hall. Believe it or not, you can buy discounted tickets right now on Goldstar for nearly 40% off! Tickets start at $25, so as low as $50 for you and your True Love to have a special night out.

My Cost: as low as $50
Savings: $7,502.84!

10th Day of Christmas: 10 Lords a-Leaping

2013 Cost: $5,243.37


I’m guessing it’s going to be pretty hard to find actual Lords that are available to stop by your True Love’s house and leap around. (Do we even have Lords in America?)

Instead – how about this charming Blackberry Phone cover for $8.45 on Amazon?

My Cost: $8.45
Savings: $5,234.92!

11th Day of Christmas: 11 Pipers Piping

2013 Cost: $7,552.84

I find it funny that the cost for 11 Pipers Piping is the exact same cost of 9 Ladies Dancing. What are the chances of that? Now my daughter just so happens to be named Piper and she loooveeesss tootin’ away on her recorder. Recorders are very inexpensive to buy and are guaranteed to provide maximum musical enjoyment for your True Love.


I found this cute pink recorder for $4.99 on Amazon. All you need to do is purchase 11 and find 11 cute little girls named Piper willing to play them. (I’m sure my Piper will oblige.) Of course, if you can’t find 11 girls named Piper, chances are any 11 random kids will work just fine for this not-to-be-forgotten Christmas gift.

My Cost: $54.89
Savings: $7,497.95!

12th Day of Christmas: 12 Drummers Drumming 

2013 Cost: $2,854.80

The 12th Day of Christmas ends with a bang – but it doesn’t have to end by going $2,854.80 in the red.

drummerThis cat drum toy is $4.44 on Amazon (and hey, it even ships free!). Yeah, I recognize that it doesn’t entirely look like a cat, but it’s definitely got a drum, and that’s the main point of the 12th Day of Christmas.

My Cost: $53.28
Savings: $2,801.52!

Ready for the final tally? Drumoll, 12 strange cat drumming toys please….

Before Cost: $114,651 
My Cost: $526.87
Total Savings: $114,124.13 – a total savings rate of 99.5%!

So there you have it. You don’t have to take out a second mortgage to make the 12 Days of Christmas possible for your True Love this year. You’re welcome.

The Elf who Fell off the Shelf

The Elf who fell off the Shelf

The Elf who Fell off the Shelf

The Elf who Fell off the Shelf

It’s December 5th and our Elf on the Shelf is laying face down under the dining room table. He’s been there since December 2nd.

I bought him last year – in late November – on a whim. I’d seen some elf talk on Pinterest and Facebook and mindlessly purchased one for our own. Gosh, I couldn’t deprive my kids of this neat Christmas tradition, could I? Everyone else was talking about Elf on the Shelf, posting about it, pinning crafty ideas with him. Apparently I needed one. Thank goodness it arrived just before December 1st – a narrow scrape. Phew.

At first, it was fun coming up with fun places for him to hide and having the kids hunt for him first thing in the morning. But two weeks later, I was beginning to have some issues with Elf on the Shelf:

  1. Sometimes, I would forget to hide him the night before. I’d remember when the kids came downstairs only to find Mr. Doodlehead in the exact same place he was the previous morning.
  2. Other times, my hiding place was a little *too* good, wasting valuable morning time and risking my kids getting off to school on time.
  3. I began observing the elaborate adventures other elves were having (via my Facebook newsfeed, Pinterest, and blogs) and began to feel woefully inept.
  4. Quite frankly, the whole thing started to creep me out a little bit.

In a fit of frustration, I wrote the post I Suck at Elf on the Shelf: A Month of Terrible Ideas.

This year, with a grudge and a sigh I fished out Mr. Doodlehead from the garage and read the blasted story to my kids. They’d forgotten we’d named him Mr. Doodlehead entirely, so I asked if they wanted to rename him. They came up with the name Michael Mike Vanson, which somehow seems creepier to me than Mr. Doodlehead.

My daughter asked, “Mama, the Elf isn’t real is he?” To which I said, “no, Sweetie, he’s not. But he’s a really great story, right?” Now haters gonna hate, but sorry, there is no way in God’s green earth I want my daughter to believe we have a creepy little Elf making mischief around our house and flying to the North Pole every night. No way I’m telling her that’s real just because some author came up with a brilliant marketing idea. (As you can see, I’m having even deeper issues with this whole thing as we go.)

It was at this point I figured, the cat’s out of the bag, so why should it be *my* responsibility to hide Michael Mike Vanson each night? So this year I told my kids let’s make a game and YOU take turns hiding it. So that night, my daughter hid Michael Mike Vanson and the next day my son found him in the playhouse. That night he hid him under the dining room table, which was a terrible spot because he’s pretty much in plain view and we found him before the night was out. And he’s been there since December 2nd and guess what? NEITHER OF MY KIDS HAVE SAID A WORD ABOUT IT SINCE.

There is a point to all this post and it has to do with traditions.

We associate traditions with the holidays and they are indeed a wonderful way to create memories with friends and family. But the Elf on the Shelf has taught me a valuable lesson – make sure they are traditions that are going to matter to you. Especially take care before starting a time-consuming, money-sucking tradition just because 13 of your Facebook friends are posting about it or because Pinterest boards are telling you to do it. I made the mistake and now look. I have a sad little $30 toy laying face down under my dining room table.

The other day I asked my Facebook pals’ thoughts about Elf on the Shelf, and someone sent me a very cool link about a new tradition called Kindness Elves. While I love the idea behind this – there again, I think it’s so important to ask yourself before spending the time and money involved in creating a new tradition like this – is this truly what *I* want to do this holiday season or just a really great idea? Do I have the time and resources to add this to our schedule? Or, is there another activity that I think would be a better fit for my family this year? Do we need to do something EVERY.DAY. until Christmas, or could spending a Saturday helping at a soup kitchen or wrapping presents for the toy drive be just as meaningful?

This goes beyond elves too. Ornament exchanges. Secret Santas. White Elephant Gift Exchanges where you give ridiculous presents. Cookie parties. If you find value in these activities, by all means – yes, continue them – even Elf on the Shelf! (So please don’t hear me just dissing Elf on the Shelf – if this is a meaningful activity for your family, I can’t knock that.) But if you’re finding yourself going, “gee – it’s time to _______________” again and sighing heavily, maybe it’s time to change things up. The holidays are a time to reflect on what this season is all about and often, less activity is more.

So maybe Michael Mike Vanson will end up as a kitschy ornament on our tree this year – or better yet, maybe next year I’ll start an Elf Adoption Program to match gently used elves with families that will appreciate them.

25 Free Christmas Printables | The Coupon Project

25 Free Christmas Printables

25 Free Christmas Printables | The Coupon Project

25 Free Christmas Printables | The Coupon Project

Ready to decorate for Christmas? I’ve got a nice round-up of 25 completely FREE printables! Make sure to click through to the links below to print the ones you want.

Oh Holy Night Printable // Second Chance To Dream

Starlight Mint Mason Jar Lid Printable // One Creative Mommy

Nativity Printable // The 36th Avenue

Fabric Gift Tags // Practically Functional

Can Of Snow Printable // How Does She

Subway Art Printable // Sew Muchado

Christmas Gift Tag Printable // Kelli Murray

Holiday Greeting Tag & Pocket Printable // Eat Drink Chic

Chalkboard Art Christmas Printable // Second Chance To Dream

Dr. Seuss Grinch Christmas Printable // Ali Lily

Let It Snow Christmas Printable // Balancing Home

Santa Party Circle Printable // The Sweet Spot Candy Bar

Christmas List Printables // Craft Interrupted

Ugly Sweater Holiday Card // Love vs. Design

Christmas Tree Poem Printable // Oh Boy! Oh Joy!

North Pole Coloring Page // Free-N-Fun Christmas

Joy To The World Printable // A Night Owl Blog

Christmas Photo Banner Printable Kit // How Does She

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year Printable // The 36th Avenue

Christmas Coloring Pages // The Kidz Page

Holiday Owl Coloring Page // Free-N-Fun Christmas

Christmas Subway Art Printable // Craftily Ever After

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Printable // 52 Mantles

Be Merry & Bright Printable // Jen’s Favorite Cookies

Come Let Us Adore Him Printable // AKA Design

Want even more Christmas love? Make sure to check out the round-up of Homemade Christmas Gift Tutorials:



Happy Thanksgiving: A Collection of Stories that Captured my Heart in 2013


In the last few years, I’ve become a collector of amazing news stories. With all the glum and scary things in the world, it’s nice to be reminded from time to time that there are still people that are good at heart, that miracles still happen, and that there are still many wonderful things to be thankful for.

Here are just a few of the stories that put a smile on my face this year.


A mom gets the chance to hear her daughter’s heartbeat one last time - (watch video in that link)

danceA courageous breast cancer patient stages a dance party with surgical staff minutes before her double mastectomy  - (watch video in that link)

A dad weeps with joy to learn his son has received a passing grade


A robber apologies 12 years later – and the shop owner offers grace and forgiveness: full story at King5 

loveA love story you won’t soon forget – told in pictures


A man is reuinted with his foster mom at 32 years – and adopted - (watch video in that link)


Anacortes stages a parade for cancer-free child


A 5-year old boy who has been suffering from leukemia gets to be “Batkid” for a day and saves San Francisco

carA son surprises his dad by reuniting him with his first car - that he owned 24 years ago!


A police offer provides a final act of kindess – minutes before he is shot and killed - (watch video in link)

From my family to yours, may God richly bless you this Thanksgiving!

PS would you consider adding to my collection? If you know of a great news story, please leave a link in the comments below. Many thanks!


Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas


Homemade Christmas Gift IdeasOver the course of my blog, I’ve shared a few tutorials and recipes that would lend themselves well for Christmas and holiday gifts! Here are some of my favorites:

Homemade Sugar Coffee Scrub.  Easy and quick to make. Would make a nice gift for a hostess or teacher.

Homemade Spa Gifts in Jars. Additional ideas on the homemade bath salts and scrubs. Easy to customize and very simple to make.

Candied Fruit Tutorial.  I’ve candied ginger, pommelo, and citron (Buddha’s hand). While they all turned out great, citron is my absolute favorite!

Mommy & Me Aprons. Requires basic sewing ability and equipment.

NOEL Boxes. Cute decor for your home or creative gift wrap idea!

Brownie Mix in a Jar. Easy and inexpensive to make. Another good option for a teacher’s gift when paired with box of cocoa!

Peg Doll Nativity Set. Beautiful homemade gift idea!

Christmas Almond Bark. A nice treat to bring to a holiday party.

Homemade Coffee Liqueur Recipe. For the person that has everything.

Fruitcake Recipe. Because what would Christmas gift giving be without a fruitcake? Warning: this recipe takes at least a couple weeks to make and requires copious doses of brandy. Not frugal. Not quick. But, delicious!

Miniature Mince Pies. These things … are amazing. If you’ve never thought of making this traditional recipe, or you think mincemeat just sounds wrong, you need to take a second look. STAT.

Figgy Pudding. Another forgotten about, brandy-laced dessert from Christmas Past. It’s time to bring it back, baby!

Soup Mixes in Jars. An easy, inexpensive food gift idea that doesn’t involve sugar or butter.

Candles in Baby Food Jars. Simple way to repurpose old baby food jars. Easy.

Vintage Snowglobes. Adorable snowglobes using old jars. A fun one to do with the kids. Warning: these might turn out a little *too* cute and you might not want to part with them. (Speaking from experience here.)

Pear Vanilla Bread. Deliciously different sweet bread! Would make a nice gift for a teacher, hostess, coworker, or friend.

snowglobeWill you be making your own gifts this holiday season?


25 Easy Thanksgiving Crafts for Kids



Are you looking for some fun crafts to put together with your kids this Thanksgiving? If so, I’ve got a nice round-up of 25 different kid-friendly Thanksgiving crafts for you to consider!

For the full tutorial for any of these, simply click through to the blog listed below. And in case you missed it – don’t forget to check out my easy Mayflower Craft Tutorial!

Scrappy Pumpkins // Mom on Timeout

Free Thanksgiving Printables // A Night Owl Blog

Pilgrim Turkeys // Mom on Timeout

Thanksgiving “Gobble” Wood Craft Tutorial // Six Sisters Stuff

Pom Pom Turkeys // Mom on Timeout

Gratitude Turkey Craft // All For The Boys

Turkey Napkin Rings // Craft Interrupted

Tulle Thanksgiving Wreath // A Night Owl Blog

Stained Glass Fall Leaves // Mom On Timeout

Paint Chip Turkey Craft // The (mis)Adventures of a “Born Again” Farm Girl

Thanksgiving Pictionary Game for Kids // Somewhat Simple

Free Thanksgiving Printables // Glued To My Crafts

Fall Subway Art Printable // Mom On Timeout

Turkey Treats // The Crafty Blog Stalker

Thankful Thanksgiving Tree // Mama Smiles

Spin Art Turkey Thanksgiving Craft // 2 Big, 2 Little

How To Make Indian Corn // Boy Mama

Paper Roll Turkey // Mess For Less

Turkey Handprint Apron // Kids Activities Blog

Bottled Turkey Craft // The Iowa Farmer’s Wife

November Sensory Tub // Counting Coconuts

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie Play Dough Recipe // 2 Big, 2 Little

Fall Leaf Thanksgiving Place Cards // Crafty Crow

Turkey Finger Puppets // The Educators’ Spin On It

Potato Print Turkey // No Time for Flash Cards