Healthy Living on a Budget - The Coupon Project

Living Healthy on a Budget: Frugal Fitness & Healthy Eating Post Round-up!

Healthy Living on a Budget - The Coupon Project

Healthy Living on a Budget - The Coupon Project

A week from today, Tuesday October 15th is the premiere of NBC’s The Biggest Loser, Season 15! I could’ve sworn it was supposed to be tonight October 8th. Did they change it, or maybe I’m just losing my marbles. (EDITED TO ADD: I didn’t lose my marbles. They pushed it back a week to make room for a 2-hour special of The Voice.)

I don’t know about you, but I always get so inspired watching the Biggest Loser. It’s a good reality check-in about how I’ve been doing with my diet or exercise (or not been doing). For fun, I thought I’d go back through some of my very best posts related to fitness and eating well on a budget to share with you today.

Frugal Fitness

Think you need fancy workout equipment or a gym membership to get fit? I’d argue you don’t. Here are a few posts to get you started in your exercise journey for less.

Eating Well for Less

It seems that so many these days are touting special over-priced product, supplements, or packaged meals as necessary to eat right and lose weight. Remember that the weight loss industry makes billions every year. I believe the truth to eating well is going back to what we know to be true – a diet consisting of mostly whole foods and lots of veggies. I have shared a number of posts over the course of this blog on how to do this – without breaking the bank.

My Favorite at-home Workout DVDs

I can vouch for these Biggest Loser-trainer workout videos because I own them. I’ve included an Amazon link for each, along with today’s price. Note that the prices are subject to change at any time, without notice.

  • Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred (Amazon: $9.00). I’d recommend this one if you haven’t worked out in awhile and just want to kick-start stuff. It really does work! There are three workouts that get progressively more difficult. You only need a yoga mat, and a couple hand weights. As the workouts are only 20 minutes long, it’s a good one to add to your workout DVD collection. A great workout to do on days you are short on time. 
  • Jillian Michaels Burn Fat, Boost Metabolism (Amazon: $7.29). I recently discovered this workout and like it for the single fact that there are no weights involved! All you need is a yoga mat (or hey, a beach towel would work, too). While it’s a longer, 45-minute workout, I didn’t feel it was as intense as other at-home workouts I’ve done. I do like Jillian’s circuit-style approach to her workouts – just when you get tired of one exercise, she’s onto another.
  • Bob Harper: Inside Out Method Super Strength (Amazon: $7.29). This is one of my very favorite workout DVDs! It’s not for the faint of heart – it’s definitely challenging. It’s also longer – about 66 minutes from start to finish. Even so, some days I’ll pop it in and do 30-40 minutes of it. Still a crazy good workout. It took me several attempts before I could finish the thing! If you’re looking for at at-home workout that really pushes you – pick this up!
  • Bob Harper: Inside Out Method Cardio Conditioning (Amazon: $6.29). This is a pretty brutal cardio workout! Like the Super Strength workout above, it took me several attempts until I could finish it. There are lots of fast jumping jacks, squats, and other moves that will burn the calories off you.
  • Bob Harper: Inside Out Method Yoga Warrior (Amazon: $10.97). I really enjoy this hour-long yoga workout! It’s great for the days I want a slower-paced workout. He offers up modified versions for many of the moves for beginners, but I found with the exception of a crazy Bird of Paradise pose at the end, I was able to complete most of the poses, even without tons of experience doing yoga.

I like having several great workout DVDs in my home library and I keep my yoga mat and hand weights in my family room for easy access. While I don’t always feel like working out, having these things out and accessible makes it easier for me to choose to do so.

Will you be watching the Biggest Loser tonight? What are some of your favorite tips or resources for eating healthy and/or working out without spending a lot of money?


Fred Meyer Coupon Deals 9/8 – 9/14: Organic Coconut Oil, Legos, Broccoli & More!


Fred Meyer Ad 9/8

Here are the best deals I could find at Fred Meyer starting Sunday, 9/8 and running through Saturday, 9/14. As always, make sure to check out Fred Meyer e-coupons site for ecoupons you can load to your Rewards card!

If you’re finding this post prior to the new ad cycle, you may wish to check out the deals good through today only (9/7).

My favorite deals have been highlighted in red. 

Honeycrisp Apples

Kroger Cheese
$1.50 each with in-ad coupon (limit 2)
Select Varieties, Including Bars, Shredded & Slices, 6-8 oz

Broccoli Crowns

Fresh Foster Farms Split Chicken Breasts

Fresh Foster Farms Grill Pack Fryer

Fred Meyer Large Eggs
$1.25 each with in-ad coupon (limit 4)

Eggo Waffles or Pillsbury Frozen Breakfast
$1.50 each with in-ad coupon
Stack with $1/2 Eggo coupon from 8/4 Red Plum
OR $1.50/1 Kellogg Family Rewards (requires 1,000 points)
Bottom line: as low as FREE

Quaker Life, Cap’n Crunch or Chewy Granola Bars
$1.67 each with in-ad coupon (limit 6)

Kivu Bulk Coffee
$6.99/lb each with in-ad coupon (limit 2 lbs)

[Read more…]


Fred Meyer Labor Day Doorbuster Sale Ad: Sept 2, 2013


Fred Meyer Labor Day Doorbuster Ad

Welcome! Please note that if you are finding me on October 10-11, 2013 – you will want to check out the current Fred Meyer 2-Day Ad. The post below was for a prior sale. While you’re here – make sure to check out my Fred Meyer category. I post weekly Fred Meyer deals, unadvertised finds in the store, special events such as Black Friday and more.


Fred Meyer Stores will be having a Doorbuster sale on Labor Day, Monday September 2nd from 7am – 1pm, with a few deals good all-day.

There are a few coupons on the Labor Day ad you might want to note:

  • 25% off Apparel, Shoes & Accessories for Men, Women & Kids (7am – 1pm only!)
  • Save $20 on any mix of $100+ Home Electronics, Music, Movies & Video Games (7am – 1pm only!)
  • 20% off Vacuums & Steamers (good all day)

There are also a few coupons in this week’s ad you might want to bring with you:

  • 10% off Housewares & Home Fashion (can’t combine with another bonus coupon & can’t use on clearance/Priceblasters)
  • 15% off Apparel, Shoes & Accessories for Men, Women & Kids (if you end up shopping after 1pm)

Good 7am – 1pm ONLY

Everyday Living® Bath Towel $2.99 (50% off)
Use the 10% off Home coupon from the weekly ad
Bottom line: $2.69

Twin Pack Bed Pillows $5.99 (50% off)
Use the 10% off Home coupon from the weekly ad
Bottom line: $5.39

All FoodSaver Bags & Accessories
Save 50%
Use the 10% off Home coupon from the weekly ad

All Garden Décor
Save 50%

[Read more…]

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Roadtrip Report: Kids of the Wild West, Another Capital, and Singing Cowboys

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roadtripreportMy family and I are still on the road, exploring sites and having a great time! In my last report I shared with you how we’ve been stopping by state capitol buildings to explore.

After leaving Boise, we headed onto Utah. Now the most direct route would have likely been to head to Pocatello and cut straight south. But of course, we didn’t take that route! Instead, we went to Twin Falls, going south into Nevada (so that way the kids could say they went to Nevada) and east into Utah. This meant driving across the Great Salt Lake Desert which was an interesting experience. Here are some sites we saw along the way…

DSCN2876 (800x600)Twin Falls…just outside of Twin Falls, Idaho.

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I call this shot: “Kids of the Wild West.” It was taken right outside of Twin Falls, Idaho.

[Read more…]


Kudos 365: Instant Win Prizes, Offers, and Sweepstakes for Local Businesses (Seattle area)



Today I’d like to share with you a different kind of site that delivers prizes and special offers from local businesses… and it’s free to join! It’s called Kudos 365, and right now it’s geared for folks in the greater Seattle/Western Washington area. (But stay tuned if you live elsewhere, they do hope to expand in the future.)

How Kudos 365 works for Members

You can sign up for free by either submitting your email and a password you create at or by texting your zip code to 425-967-8365. Kudos 365 asks for your email and zip code so they can deliver you offers for your neck of the woods, and your information is always kept private. You can use Kudos 365 easily from your computer or mobile device. If you opt to use your mobile device, there’s no app to install; just head to their website.

I recently decided to sign up to see what kind of prizes and offers I could find available for my area. One special drawing really caught my eye:


That’s right! Kudos 365 is giving away two 100-level tickets to see the opening game at the new Husky Stadium (UW vs Boise State). As a UW alum, you bet I entered this giveaway. Entering was really easy too – just click the “play to win” button on the link provided. You can enter daily to up your chances as well.

Here’s another way of improving your chances of winning instant games: refer your friends to Kudos 365. You can invite friends easily through your account page. Something I found interesting was that if a Kudos 365 member wins an instant prize, an identical one is offered to their friends. The first friend in their network to claim it, gets it!

The site is still very much ramping up, so when you log onto the site you won’t find a ton of prizes and special offers just yet. However, by signing up now, you’ll be able to be prepared for them when they hit the site. If the UW drawing is any indication? I think we’ll see some pretty stellar stuff happening at Kudos365 in the near future!

Through the instant win games and prizes, you have the opportunity to try out local businesses you might not have known about otherwise. It’s also an opportunity to be rewarded by local businesses you frequent! Unlike other daily deal sites, there’s no vouchers or coupons for you to buy – just chances to win prizes, and offers you can redeem at local businesses. Pretty simple.

How Kudos 365 works for Businesses

If you’re a local business (Seattle area) looking for a place to reach customers, you might want to take a look at Kudos 365! Unlike some daily deal sites that come with steep expense or legal constraints, Kudos is cost-effective and quick to set up. Even more, your offers can be integrated with social media sites such as Facebook. There are no contracts or subscriptions to worry about and you can cancel at any time.

Currently, businesses can use Kudos 365 for FREE making it a great time to test it out with nothing to lose. Later this year, businesses can expect to pay a modest $50 set-up fee to post an offer plus $1 per day the offer is run. (For example, an offer run for 60 days would cost just $110.) If you’ve looked into advertising an offer for your business on a daily deal site, you’ll understand that this is a real bargain!

If you are interested in posting an offer for your business at Kudos 365, just click on the “For your Business” link from the homepage.

Want to learn more about Kudos 365? Just check it out for yourself! If you’re a business and have additional questions, email the Kudos 365 team at They are nice and quite responsive.

You can also connect with Kudos365 on Facebook and Kudos365 on Twitter.

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

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Blueberry Picking at Charlotte’s Blueberry Park (Tacoma)

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One of my most popular posts last month was about Charlotte’s Blueberry Park – a public park in Tacoma that boasts a couple thousand blueberry bushes. And the berries? Are free for the pickin’! (If you missed the post and live in the Tacoma area – go back and check it out!)

When we scouted the park out in mid July, it was definitely on the early side of blueberry season. We decided to wait and let summer do it’s thing for awhile before heading back. Yesterday I decided I couldn’t stand it any longer, so away to the park we went!

So here’s the current blueberry status: there are plenty ripe, for the picking! This would be a great time to go. But there were also many unripe berries, so even if you went in a week or two, you’d find plenty to pick.

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If you’ve never been, you might be concerned that this place would get busy and then “cleaned out.” But honestly, there are sooo many bushes and soooo many berries, it’s almost overwhelming. I wouldn’t worry too much about that.

I wanted to show you how much I picked in about an hour’s time with a little help from the kids:

DSCN1392 (800x600)This is roughly 6 cups of blueberries. I had wanted to stay much longer, but honestly the kids were getting restless and it was hot. I had hoped to pick two or three times that amount. I might try going another time next week perhaps by myself or with my husband so we can get the job done!

If you’re planning on going so you can can up some syrup or jam, I thought it might be helpful to give you a rough idea of how much time you’d need to set aside. I’m going to guess in that one hour, I picked about 5 of the 6 cups. I was also moving at a decent pace, even with the kids.

Generally, plan on getting around 5 cups of blueberries per person, per hour picked.

To give you further idea, the Blue Book of canning (Amazon link) calls for 9 cups crushed blueberries to make 3 pints of jam. The recipe for blueberry syrup from the same book calls for 8 cups. If you work with the end in mind, you can begin to think about how much time you’ll need to set aside (and how many extra hands you may need to bring!).

DSCN1387 (800x600)Of course, some of the blueberries didn’t exactly make it home, either! If you’re there to get some serious work done, you might think twice about bringing tiny kids (or just set more reasonable expectations). As I already mentioned, my kids lasted about an hour and I made sure we ate lunch prior to picking. I did ask my kids what they preferred picking – blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries – and they both agreed – blueberries! There are many berries at levels they can reach, no thorns, and it’s a pretty park.

As for what I’ll be doing with these blueberries? I’ll likely freeze them for later or make blueberry jam for our buttermilk waffles. My son also begged me to make him a blueberry smoothie, so some already got used up for that! We’re also still talking about the awesome blueberry ice cream we made with the berries from our last Charlotte’s outing.

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Related Posts:

I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve discovered this park from last month’s blog post. What did you think? I’d also love to hear any tips for blueberry picking or ideas for what to do with all those berries!


Zulily: Canning AND Lego Sales Happening Today


Wow! There are some pretty nifty sales happening at one of my all-time favorite daily deal sites, Zulily!

CanningSaleFirst, they are having a Home Canning Essentials sale with some super cute canning jars and accessories that totally have me swooning! There is really a LOT happening in this sale, so I’m just going to share a few things to give you an idea of what you’ll find. This sale is one part practical, one part just plain cute!

canning1Sauce maker, 3 qt: $42.99. Perfect for making tomato sauce, apple sauce, and the like. Separates juice and pulp; BPA free. Retails for $74.



One-cup preserving jar (set of 6): $11.49 (reg. 16). These would be just lovely to put up some of your favorite jam or other treats for holiday gifts!



Jar Label Kit: $8.99. Includes 24 paper jar covers, 24 sticky labels & gift tags with coordinating ribbons. Retails for $13.

There is also a Lego Sale happening at Zulily right now…



I found books, clothing, storage options and more! It may be worth checking out if you have Lego fan(s) in your house!

I have seen similar sales in the past at Zulily and can tell you that stock does tend to go quickly as these are popular items. Head on over to see what you can snag.



Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream | The Coupon Project

Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream Recipe

Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream | The Coupon Project

Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream | The Coupon Project

Last week, I shared my discovery of a local park that has over 3,300 blueberry bushes… that locals are welcome to pick from for FREE. However, we timed our visit a bit on the early side and only managed to pick about 3 cups worth of blueberries in an hour. (I’m told we should wait another couple weeks then there will be blueberries galore!)

Charlotte's Blueberry Park, Tacoma | The Coupon Project

My son had the brilliant idea of turning our blueberries into homemade ice cream! It sounded delicious and easy enough. Besides that, my husband received a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker a couple years ago as a gift from his mom, and we need to put it to more use!

I found a very simple recipe over at However, a warning: while this recipe is indeed easy to make, it requires an abundance of patience. This can be difficult if you have little ones (or bigger ones) chomping at the bit for homemade ice cream! I promise you this ice cream will be worth the wait.

DSCN0731 (800x648)Ingredients

  • 4 cups of blueberries, fresh or frozen*
  • 4 cups half & half
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tbsp water

* We only had 3 cups of blueberries, so I substituted with 1 cup of frozen strawberries from our strawberry picking trip last month. It turned out delicious, which leads me to believe you could really work with any combination of berries you see fit – raspberries, blackberries, tayberries, etc.

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Bring the berries, sugar, and water to a boil. Then reduce the heat and let simmer until the berries are soft.

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This part took me about 10 minutes or so.

DSCN0748 (800x600)Strain out the seeds and skins. I did this put putting it through a sieve with a large bowl underneath. I then took the back of a spoon and pressed and pressed the mixture to squeeze out every bit of goodness I could. While it might be a little OCD, I then Vitamix’d the juice just to puree any bits of skin or seed that might have snuck through.

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The result is more or less sweetened berry juice.

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Whisk in the four cups of half and half. Now if that seems really fatty to you, I suppose one could cut it with skim milk. Or perhaps make a dairy-free version using almond or soy milk. (I just didn’t try either and can’t verify what the final result may be.)

DSCN0754 (800x600)Refrigerate the mixture overnight. While you’re at, put the drum to your ice cream maker in the freezer.

DSCN0755 (800x714)The next day, pour the mixture into the frozen ice cream maker drum. I found it to fit just perfectly!

DSCN0757 (600x800)I then turned my Cuisinart Ice Cream maker on for about 15 minutes (currently selling for $56 on Amazon). This ice cream maker is one of those gadgets that’s fun to have around, but I get you might not want to run out and spend $50 for right now. Consider adding it to a wish list for Christmas or your next birthday. It’s also a nice thing to have if you like ice cream but would like more control of the ingredients involved.

Now…. time for yes, more waiting. I removed the mixture from the drum and put it in a freezer-safe glass container for a couple hours.

Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream | The Coupon Project

The result? Definitely worth the wait! For the complete instructions along with reviews and modifications, please see

How to make Blueberry Ice Cream | The Coupon Project

Have you ever made your own ice cream before? Any other ideas for modifying today’s recipe?

Other berry good related posts you might enjoy:

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Grocery Outlet: My Finds & (2) $25 Gift Card Giveaway

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I decided to pop into my South Tacoma Grocery Outlet store today to see if I could find some fun deals to share with you. As usual, I didn’t leave disappointed. If you’ve yet to check out a Grocery Outlet store? I encourage you to do so and see what you’ll discover!

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A bag o’ nectarines for $1.50! Did you know that all the produce sold at Grocery Outlet is by unit, and not weight? This means you’ll know exactly how much you’re going to spend at checkout.

DSCN0657 (600x800)High-quality anti-aging skin care for $4.99. Elsewhere you’d pay as much as $45! I should point out that deals like these are the norm in the health and beauty section at Grocery Outlet. You’ll always find nice stuff for less… and no coupons required.
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Check out the brands I spied in the cosmetics section… Burt’s Bees, Almay, and Physician’s Formula!
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I found a number of pestos, tapenades and the like down the spices and condiments aisle. The ones pictured were all $1.99 and retail for $4-5 elsewhere. Incidentally, the Classico Basil Pesto is excellent and I featured it in a stuffed chicken pasta recipe at Grocery Outlet’s Bargainista Blog.

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There were some really great deals in yogurt today! As some of you have pointed out, it is a good idea to pay attention to expiration dates at Grocery Outlet. Sometimes they are passing on discounts to the shopper because the food is running close to expiration. In this case, the $0.99 Greek yogurt and the $0.99 kids Organic yogurt were a good 6 days off from expiration. In my book, that’s plenty of time for a family to finish off a 4-pack of yogurt! Another tip is to freeze the yogurt in ice cube trays and save it for smoothies.

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Cheese! I truly think Grocery Outlet has some of the best deals in cheese – in particular shreds like this Romano blend for $1.99.

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See this cereal? I paid $1.99 for it and it’s the secret ingredient in the July Bargainista Blog post I’m working up. You’ll have to stay tuned to see what I use it for… and no, I’m not making a bowl of cereal.

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Check out these large 28 oz cans of tomatoes for just $0.99! I want to say the expiration was at least 1-2 years off, too.

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Canned pumpkin for $0.99. That’s really hard to beat this time of year!

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If you like smoked salmon, have you checked out Grocery Outlet? My South Tacoma store always seems to have it stocked and for about 50% less than the cost you’d buy it elsewhere.

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Sunflower seeds for $0.79!
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This seemed cute: Apples to Apples, the Jelly Belly version for just $1.99. Might make a fun gift for a game night!

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Terry’s Dark Chocolate oranges – $0.99! These were at about 6 months from expiration dates. This is one of those seasonal items, and even if you were lucky to find it at your grocery store, you could expect to pay closer to $3-4!

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Annie Chun’s Grab’n Go Seaweed snacks for $0.50 each.
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Hot Dog buns for $0.50 each. You could potentially freeze some of these for a later-summer barbecue. 
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Luvs Diapers for $5.99.

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Alexia Parmesan Lemon Waffle Fries for just $1.29. Sometimes Grocery Outlet sells items that are only seasonally sold at other stores, are “limited edition,” or perhaps varieties that just didn’t sell as well elsewhere. This explains why you might find Gingerbread Men cookies in May or watermelon flavored yogurt. Not sure you’ll like it? My Grocery Outlet has a 100% money back guarantee – and they’ll even sometimes let you sample before you buy. Just ask your store for details!

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Grapes, 2 lb container for $2.99. These are great grapes – we bought some last month!

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Some off-brand Macaroni & Cheese for $0.39.

DSCN0675 (800x623)I wanted to take a moment and share that through the end of July, Grocery Outlet is running an “Independence from Hunger” campaign. The campaign is to bring hunger awareness to our attention as well as provide some practical ways we can support our communities. At my store, you could make a $1 cash donation (or more, if you’re so inclined!) or buy a $5 bag of groceries. Donations will be made to area food banks. Make sure to see your store for details.

If you’re new to Grocery Outlet? You should know that each store is independently owned and operated. This means that you might find the layout, stock, and items vary from store to store. Because Grocery Outlet gets deep discounts from manufacturers and stores for their items, they do not allow coupons. I know this may be disappointing to my couponers out there, but it’s also refreshing to shop at a store getting low prices without having to remember your coupons. Grocery Outlet does put out store coupons from time to time and I encourage you to sign up for their weekly ads for access to those!

Enter the Giveaway

Two lucky Coupon Project readers will win each with a $25 Grocery Outlet gift card! The gift card can be used for anything in the store – from the health and beauty items, produce, even the wine department!

To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post. For fun, tell me your thoughts about Grocery Outlet…. perhaps share a great deal you’ve seen, maybe a deal that stands out to you on my list above, or let me know if I’ve managed to convince you to visit a Grocery Outlet yet! Limit one comment per reader, please.

This contest will run through Thursday, July 18th at 12pm PST. The winners will be randomly selected from all comment entries left and notified shortly thereafter via email. (So make sure to leave a valid email address you actually check)!

Good luck!

Disclosure: Grocery Outlet provided me a gift card for the purposes of today’s post as well as the (2) $25 gift cards to be given to the randomly-selected blog reader winners. No other compensation was received in exchange for this post. For more information on how this blog makes (and does not make!) money, please visit my Disclosure Policy.


Late June Gardening Update: Beans, Beans, Raspberries, Sunflowers and Bugs!


My garden has really started to explode, thanks to the heat – can you believe it’s supposed to hit 93°  here in Western Washington today? (And all of us without air conditioning say EEK.)


Here is a view of my garden right now! In the front are onions on the right, plus pumpkins trailing behind, corn, and berries.

DSCN0540A look at one of my mini pumpkins. I planted three bushes this year – one in my raised bed, and two in my backyard, up along the fence. Yes, I know, I know, I probably should not have planted this in my raised bed, but so far, I’m just letting the vines trail outside the box. I do get the sense that they will take over the world pretty soon… we should have lots of fall decor come October!


This would be my first go at edamame. So far, they all came up and are looking pretty happy. However, I’ve read that they are heat lovers, so I’m not sure what kind of pods I’ll get out of it. (This may be a one-time thing!) I will say, the 90+ degree weather we’ve been having can’t hurt!

DSCN0543Raspberries are ready! This morning I picked a huge bowl of them, and I’ve picked about 3-4 pint’s worth over the last week. Raspberries are one of those things I love, but don’t so much love paying money for in the store ($3-4 for one small container? YIKES!). I’m currently drinking some in my smoothie along with garden-grown beets, collards, kale and blackberries I picked locally (for free!) last summer. I’ve also managed to freeze a few batches for later use. Raspberries spoil quickly, so you do have to make a decision quickly about what to do with them!

DSCN0544Did you know you could grow black beans in your garden? Yes, you can! These black beans grow as bush beans – you just let the beans dry inside the pods. I successfully grew dry shelling beans last year and loved the fact that there’s no fancy preserving to be done when they’re ready. Just open them up, and dump them in a jar. Easy peasy. I noticed my first bean flower this morning, so I should have some pods on these pretty quickly. Anyone done these before?

DSCN0549This is a whole mess of stuff you’re looking at! In the front is a Roma tomato. This year I’m growing 7 Romas and 5 various heirloom tomato plants all in containers. In the box planter is a row of sunflowers, carrots, and then peas. I’ve also got zinnia, alyssum and collards in there. I think this is likely a *bit* crowded, but live and learn. I probably should just ask my husband to build me some more boxes. Or move to a farm.


Here’s a view standing from the back of my garden. Oh how I love when the garden gets “big” like this! Many of the plants are taller than my children now, so it has a “jungle” feel. To the left, you see the raspberries and mint. To the right, White Russian and Lacinato Kale plus the black beans. The box in front of that contains pink popcorn – another variety I’ve selected primarily for the fun of it this year.

DSCN0391 (800x600)Few things make me happier in the garden than spotting one of these little guys! Ladybugs are totally beneficial – they eat aphids and other garden pests. I spotted this one on my carrots and noticed another one today in the same bed, atop one of my sunflowers. That particular sunflower did have aphids at one point – guess what? Didn’t see any aphids today!


Speaking of insects: does anyone know what this is? Some sort of beetle? You can’t really tell from this photo, but it was actually mating with another one (oh my!) on a raspberry.

DSCN0554My herb planter has really taken off! I currently have pineapple sage, cilantro, rosemary, oregano, thyme, hyssop, and alyssum growing in there.

I also recently received my fall and winter garden seeds from Territorial Seed and will be sharing more about those plans soon.

What do you have growing in your garden right now? Any plans?

Make sure to check out my Frugal Gardening page for even more gardening ideas and updates!


Fred Meyer Ad 6/30 – 7/6



Here are the best deals I could find at Fred Meyer for the week starting Sunday, 6/30. Remember to check their e-coupon site for coupons you can download to your Rewards card.

As always, my favorite deals have been highlighted in red.


Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast

Whole Watermelon

Boneless Petite Sirloin Steaks

Coca-Cola or Pepsi, 24 pack
$5.49 each with in-ad coupon (limit 2)

Fred Meyer Milk or Orange Juice, 1/2 Gallon
$1.25 each with in-ad coupon (limit 4)

Lay’s Potato Chips
$1.88 each with in-ad coupon (limit 2)

Kroger Cheese
$1.50 each with in-ad coupon (limit 6)
Select Varieties, Bars, Shreds, 6-8 oz, Natural Slices, 6 oz or Individually Wrapped Slices, 16 ct

Country Oven Bread or Buns
$1.50 each with in-ad coupon (limit 6)

[Read more…]

AMC Summer Nights: $3 Movies

AMC: $3 Movie Summer Nights – to benefit Autism Research

AMC Summer Nights: $3 Movies

AMC Summer Nights: $3 Movies

Here’s a great offer with a great cause! This summer, select AMC Theaters will be hosting $3 Movie Nights. All showings are at $10 10:00 pm and proceeds will benefit the Autism Society. Sounds like a win-win to me!

Here are the dates and shows:

The Dark Knight Rises: June 24-26
Django Unchained: July 1-3
The Amazing Spiderman: July 8-10
The Hunger Games: July 15-17
Olympus Has Fallen: July 22-24
Oz Great and Powerful: July 29-31
G.I. Joe Retaliation: August 5-7
Oblivion: August 12-14

For more information, and to find participating local theaters near you, please visit AMC’s website.


Four Book Club Worthy Books I’ve Read So Far in 2013


I don’t know that you’d call me an avid reader, because I’m not one of these people that always has to have a book in my hand. But being a part of a book club for the past several years (I think we’re actually going on 6 or 7 this year!), has really forced me to continue to read instead of just watching lame reality TV shows (although truth be told, I do have a soft spot for reality TV shows).

I’ve read several excellent books over the past few months and I wanted to share them with you in case you were looking for a recommendation. Any of these would be excellent choices for a book club! Note that the links below are Amazon links, but you could always check these out at a library, too. That’s what I did for 3 out of 4 of them myself!


The Orchadist

I actually just finished this book last night, so it’s fresh in my brain. The principal character, Talmadge, leads a solitary, routine life caring for an orchard near Wenatchee, Washington during the turn of the century. His life is changed when two pregnant, runaway girls take refuge in the orchard. The book has such rich, memorable characters and meaty themes that would lend themselves well to a book discussion –

  • What solitude and silence mean – when they are comforting, and when they are troubling…
  • What it means to rely on someone else – does it suggest weakness, vulnerability…
  • What it means to be a family – and can a family be forged through unlikely encounters and relationships…

I love how the characters are shaped by the land they inhabit. Sometimes it’s a place that brings tranquility, and at other times it’s transformed into something deeply haunting. I can’t wait to discuss this book later this month; it’s really meaty! It’s also pretty easy to get into.



Unbroken is the amazing, but true WWII survival story of  Louis Zamperini. Against all odds, Louis survives an airplane crash into the South Pacific, encounters with sharks, long periods of hunger, and being taken as a prisoner of war by the Japanese. The book reads like fiction, and you’ll have a very hard time setting it down. Louis’ story gave me a new appreciation for not just those who serve in military today, but those who served in WWII – at a time when aircraft technology was still very much developing and the risks were staggering to just be in a fighter plane, period. I found his account to be an inspiring story of one person’s resiliency in the face of danger. This is actually my favorite book we’ve ever done in our book club. (And that’s saying a lot… we’ve read many books.)

thegreatgatsbyThe Great Gatsby

I read The Great Gatsby before, but it was in high school and I couldn’t honestly remember it too well. I knew I wanted to read it a second time before the movie came out!

The setting for this book is just stunning – Long Island at the height of the roaring 20’s. The central figure, Jay Gatsby, is a man paralyzed by the past and his love for a woman who lives directly across the water from his mansion. She’s in reach, but out of reach. There are many rich themes in the novel, making it another excellent book read choice!

  • What does the American Dream mean – both during a time like the ’20s and now…
  • Is it possible to recapture the past? Is this optimism or foolishness?
  • What causes us to form judgments of other people – what causes those judgments to change? And is it possible to truly reserve judgment of someone else?

If you’ve never read it, I do recommend it. (And then I also recommend seeing the movie. I think DiCaprio did an excellent portrayal of Gatbsy!)

thehelpThe Help

So actually my book club read this a year ago, but I bailed that month. After I kept hearing them mention how good it was, I decided I better go back and read it. I’m so glad I did. I feel this is a very relevant, important book to read and I most certainly give it my hearty recommendation!

The book is set in Mississippi during the ’60s, at the emergence of the start of the Civil Rights movement and is written from the perspective of several women – black maids as well as the white women who employ them. A story like this is definitely a risk on the part of the author – what you want is characters and not caricatures, but I feel she was entirely successful. At the end of the novel, you see that what’s needed for racial equality is more than policy – it’s compassion and understanding.

Poignant, heartfelt memorable, and worthy of discussion. Recommend, recommend.


What’s on my list to read next? Well, our book club doesn’t meet for a few days yet, so I’m thinking of squeezing Wild in at the recommendation of many of you!

If you are looking for more great reads, make sure to check out my list of favorite books I read in 2011 and favorite books I read in 2012.

What are you reading right now?


Acopoco: FREE $5 Credit, FREE shipping = FREEBIES!




UPDATE: I’m hearing from a number of you as well as other bloggers that orders have failed to be received. It sounds like the company has been largely unresponsive as well, which makes me extremely hesitant to recommend them. You will see NO further postings promoting this company unless they do a complete 180 at this point. Sorry, friends.

Hooray! I love it when I stumble upon a HOT deal like this! Sign up for Acopoco and you will receive a FREE $5 new customer credit to be used on the site. What does Acopoco sell, you ask? Tons of stuff, including…

  • Beauty, Wellness & Personal Care
  • Grocery & Food
  • Home & Kitchen
  • And more!

Even better… Acopoco offers FREE shipping, no minimum! This means that you could use your $5 credit for something $5 or less…not pay shipping, not pay anything! SweetDeals4Mom recently took advantage of this offer herself and here’s what she promptly received:


She writes: “I found the box of Potato Flour while I was shopping with my $5 and it just arrived today. I did not pay one penny for it. Of course, there are so many other ways to spend the $5 to get something you may want or need. If you like organic and gluten free foods, you’ll want to check out the grocery & food section.”

I’d love to hear what you find at Acopoco. Leave a comment below!

PS once you’ve signed up for your Acopoco account, make sure to share your personal link with your friends and tell them about the site. When they sign up, you’ll earn $5 more credit – and they don’t even have to make a purchase, either! Super easy way to earn some credit to offset your grocery expenses this month!


DIY: Make a Drawer Organizer for less than $5



My handy pal Susan is at it again! Susan is one of the most creative people I know – and she has an amazing knack for completing her projects on a dime. Today she’s sharing how she made wooden drawer organizers for $4.50!


For all of you frustrated by not being able to find that last bobby pin or favorite necklace in the jumbled mess of a bathroom drawer, I have a solution!  I recently built some wooden drawer organizers for our bathrooms.  It was simple and frugal.  Total cost was about $4.50, time taken was about 30 minutes, and I organized 2 drawers in the process.

Here are the “before” pics:

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Yes, I realize how dirty the drawers look…I’m quite embarrassed by it.  But, it doesn’t take much to fix that.  The great part is that you can tailor the sections in the drawer to your needs.  Just inventory your drawer to decide what needs its own space.  Then, take a sheet of paper and draw out a mock up, including measurements, of where you want the sections to be placed in the drawer.  I made a section for nail polish, toothpaste, hair bands, and deodorant (just in case you were wondering, that green container is my homemade coconut oil deodorant).  In my kid’s bathroom drawer, I just made sections for toothbrushes, toothpaste, and flossers.



Doesn’t that look great? It makes me feel good to organize.

Now, get ready to be really excited!  I also figured out how organize my bobby pins so that they will no longer be orphaned in the drawer.  All it takes is a little bit of cardboard. Here’s how to make the drawer organizer with bobby pin holder:


  • 1/4″ x 2 1/2″ craft wood (I used oak; a 36″ piece cost $4)
  • Wood glue
  • Miter saw, circular saw, or hand saw
  • 8 1/2x 11 inch cardboard (I used a cereal box)

1) Cut the craft wood using the measurements you decided upon for your particular drawer and set up.  You want to be sure the slats are snug up against the sides of the drawer.

2) Position the wood pieces in the drawer to make sure everything fits snuggly, and to make sure the items in the drawer will fit as you have planned.

3) Apply a thin line of wood glue to each piece of wood to attach together.  I didn’t glue the partitions to the drawer itself, just to each other.  That way, they are easily removable.  But, you could certainly glue it into the drawer if you prefer.  You may need to hold the pieces in place for a minute or two to make sure it holds.  Let the glue dry completely.

4) Make the bobby pin holder by cutting the piece of cardboard 2 1/2 inches wide (see picture below).  Then, cut off a 2″-3″ piece, so that you have two pieces (one short and one long).  Using scissors, make a cut in each of the pieces just halfway through.  You will then put them together at the slit, creating a standing “T.” Simply place that in the drawer where you have made a space for it.  I didn’t use any glue here because it fit perfectly in the slot I made for it.  But, again, glue is certainly an option if you prefer.

Bobby pin holder

That’s it; not very difficult. The organizer is a lot of bang for the buck, and serious satisfaction level each morning when you go to do your hair or nails. You could easily use the same method to make organizers for your silverware and utensils in the kitchen.

Here’s the completed drawer organizer with bobby pin holder:



And the before and after shot, side by side:

Drawer Organi

Thank you so much for sharing, Susan! I think the finished product is fabulous! Want more of Susan’s work? You need to check out her $20 DIY Planters and garden raised bed posts!


Safeway NW Coupon Deals 6/5-6/11 ~ Fresh Express Salad, Philly Cream Cheese, and FREE Capri Sun



Here are the best deals I could find at Safeway for the week starting 6/5.  If you’re new to shopping at Safeway, be sure to familiarize yourself with their coupon policy and be sure to read my latest post on how to stack coupons using the Just4U program!

This week, get a 30¢ per gallon Gas Reward when you spend $50 or more on groceries in a single transaction.

My favorite deals have been highlighted in red.

Rancher’s Reserve Boneless Beef Top Loin
Sirloin Steak or Boneless Beef Loin Ball Tip
Petite Sirloin Steak
Buy 1, Get 1 FREE

Eating Right Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
Buy 1, Get 1 FREE

Rancher’s Reserve Boneless Beef Round
Sirloin Tip Roast
Buy 1, Get 1 FREE

Pork Shoulder Blade Steak
Buy 1, Get 1 FREE

Waterfront Bistro Large Raw Shrimp

Fresh Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Fillets

Signature Cafe Family Size Pizza

Open Nature Variety Bread

Cheez-It or Keebler Club Crackers

Chobani Greek Yogurt $1.00
$0.30/1 printable coupon
Bottom line: $0.70

[Read more…]


Coming this Sunday (5/19): THREE Inserts + TNT Sunday Subscription Offer!

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It looks like we should have another stellar coupon weekend hitting this Sunday with 2 SmartSource and 1 Red Plum inserts! Coupons and their values may well vary by region, but here are a few of the many coupons that we might look for in this Sunday’s newspaper:

  • $1/1 Activia 4-pack
  • $1/1 Crystal Light Drink Mix
  • $0.55/1 Edge Shave Gel
  • $1/1 Hidden Valley Dressing
  • $1/2 La Victoria Products
  • $0.55/1 Skintimate Shave Gel
  • $1/2 Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce (this is on sale for $1 at Albertsons right now!)
  • $0.25/1 Heinz Ketchup (rare)
  • $0.50/1 Maruchan Bowl or Yakisoba (usually cheap at WinCo)
  • $1/1 Star Olive Oil
  • $0.75/1 Sunsweet Dried Fruit
  • $0.50/1 Jolly Time Microwaveable Popcorn
  • $0.50/1 Wonderful Pistachios
  • $1/1 & $3/2 Banana Boat Suncare Products (excludes lip balm)
  • $1/1 $ $3/2 Hawaiian Tropic Suncare Products (excludes lip balm)
  • $1/1 Wisk Laundry Detergent

For an entire list of the preview coupons, please visit Sunday Coupon Preview.

News Tribune Sunday Subscription offer (Tacoma area)

I recently reported that the News Tribune has put out a new Sunday subscription offer! Please note that this is not the same terms as the one I used to promote here at the blog.

Here’s what you need to know about the new offer:

  • Pay $52 for 52 weeks or $39 for 26 weeks (works out to as low as $1 per paper)
  • You need to pre-pay the full amount up front
  • You can buy up to 9 of this offer if you want more than one paper!
  • Offer is for new TNT subscribers only – and for select zip codes only (please see this post for the exclusions!)

Yes, this is the same price you’d pay at the Dollar Store for your TNT Sunday paper, but without the hassle of having to drive there and get it! I’ve personally enjoyed a subscription to the TNT for a couple years now and it’s made a HUGE difference for my couponing just knowing that my inserts will be there on my front doorstep come Sunday! I should also mention that the TNT does include the Red Plum inserts too.

Signing up is simple. Just call The News Tribune at 1-800-289-8711 or The Olympian at 1-800-905-0296 and ask for the special you saw at The Coupon Project. If you sign up by tomorrow (Friday) 10 am, you’ll be eligible to receive this Sunday’s paper delivered (on 5/19).

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A Look at my Garden: Week of May 13 + Bonus Reader Garden Tour!

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As part of the Frugal Gardening series I launched this month, I’m providing you with a weekly update on my garden progress. For past reports as well as money-saving tips for gardening, please visit my Frugal Gardening page.

I’m starting to have some of my bulbs emerge that I shoved in the ground a couple months ago. The funny thing is, I don’t rightly remember everything I planted! This makes it extra fun when I see strange and beautiful plants come up like the one pictured above.

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I do know that this is a hosta! I just love the shape of the leaves and the dew drops on it. Hostas actually grow fantastically well in shade, so if you’re looking for a beautiful shade-growing plant, consider planting some. There are many varieties and colors to choose from as well.


Here’s how my garden looks as of this morning. I have to say, I’m feeling so positive about this year’s growing season – much more than any previous year. We’ve already begun to make salads and smoothies from it. This is my fourth year gardening and I have to say, you really do learn what works, what doesn’t, and to accept that some things are out of your control (weather, anyone?).

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This would be fennel. If you look closely you can see the classic bulb shape at the bottom. I’ve read they can be tricky to grow, but so far, so good. The only thing I’ve noticed is they don’t much like the wind. I might have to mound up a little dirt closer to the bulbs to protect them a bit. I plan on using the fronds in salads and for garnish. I also hope to harvest a few bulbs for roasting (they are delicious – almost remind you of licorice!).

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Pictured here is one of my favorite wild lettuce mixes, some garlic chives, arugula, and a big floppy garlic leaf. I love this lettuce because it’s got a great, light texture and it seems to resist bolting. I planted a second batch of it a week or so ago and that’s just starting to emerge, too.

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Lacinato and White Russian Kale and a couple rows of crazy big bok choy. I’ve been smoothie-ing the bok choy and may stir fry some this week, too. It’s starting to bolt so I’ll need to get it eaten up in the next few days. I also have a row of radishes coming up behind it that aren’t very happy getting smacked by the giant leaves.

100_8494 (800x600)Now that’s a leaf!

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These two heads of butter lettuce need to get picked and eaten. My daughter said she’d eat some tonight in a salad, and that works for me! (Remember, she’s my picky eater!) In general, I prefer cut-and-come again lettuce, but I do enjoy butter lettuce and I also knew that I wasn’t going to be growing anything in this space until May, so I had no problem growing something that would be fast to mature and entirely removed. (Incidentally, I’ll be devoting this box to edamame. Stay tuned!)

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Bolting parsley. I think this is the year I’m going to make a concerted effort to save some of my own seeds.

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That would be a beautiful sage blossom! I am thinking it’s time I process some of it before the taste changes. My preferred method for herb saving is to freeze in ice cube trays with a little water. I feel that drying herbs, while standard practice, changes the flavor markedly. Once you’ve had FRESHLY picked herbs from your garden, it’s really hard to want to use dried herbs.


Guess what I am seeing on my raspberries? BEES! Sure enough, upon closer inspection, the berries have begun to open! Exciting!

100_8496 (600x800)The peas are growing fantastically well, too. Incidentally this year I’m trying a new product on my garden – it’s called Boogie Brew. I ended up buying the compost tea, the sea minerals, and worm castings package. I also got this water filter from Amazon for my hose to remove the chlorine. I usually am not vigilant about fertilizing but I have to say after a couple treatments of this stuff + the sun, my garden is really taking off.

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So yesterday afternoon was a VERY windy one around here! At one point I looked out my window to see the cages had blown right off my tomato plants and a couple plants were laying sideways! EEK!! I quickly ran out and shoved as many containers as I could manage in the greenhouse. The others I just did my best to adjust the cages. I think we lost a couple stems, but I’m pretty sure the toms are saved. PHEW!


I have a whole mess of stuff in the greenhouse right now: pumpkins, 5 heirloom tomato plants, a pepper plant, nasturtium, alyssum, zinnia, basil, chamomile, parsley, a and couple hyssop plants. I’m in the final stages of hardening off many of these plants. However, my basil did so poorly in my garden last year I’m tempted to just keep the basil in the greenhouse along with a few other herbs.

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On Saturday, my kids and I spied three “batches” of baby yellow spiders. These are the same kind I had last year and it was great fun watching them all over the garden throughout the summer. I tell ya, having a garden can be such a fun experience for kids (and adults!). You learn to really observe things you may have otherwise passed by. The next day I had the kids go back out in the garden and see if they could discover where the baby spiders had gone. We found them in the garlic, the onions, the mint…and we found they had a particular penchant for making their webs on the trellises. My camera is not the best, but you can see one above on my sweet pea obelisk.

I have something else to share with you today! Reader Janelle emailed me last week with some pictures of her garden! I am always delighted to share these with you to provide additional perspective on how one might grow food:

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Janelle writes:

Here are pics from small yard garden. The larger box is about 7×4, the smaller about 3×2.  There are pics from getting started and current.  I have lettuce, broccoli, carrots, peas, celery, beets, and two kind of tomatoes in the large one. Have a zucchini in the ground between the boxes. Have Rosemary, oregano, chives, cilantro, and radishes in the small one. In pots I have strawberries, mint, basil, and parsley.

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I am not a very experienced gardener but everything is doing great!  I live in the Portland area.  I love your blog and your garden! – Janelle

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Janelle, I adore what you’re doing here. I think it’s inspiring to see that one needn’t have a whole lot of space (or even experience!) to get started. I sure didn’t have any when I started either, and you really do learn as you go (or as I like to say, learn as you “grow!”) Best wishes on a bountiful 2013 growing season!

What’s growing in your garden right now? If you’d like to be featured on an upcoming garden update, please send your pictures and a brief description at angela @ thecouponproject dot com. 

This post is participating in:


Fred Meyer Founders Day Sale Ad 2013


foundersdaysaleadHooray! This upcoming week at Fred Meyer is the Annual Founder’s Day sale with fantastic prices across the store. These deals start Sunday, May 12th and run through Saturday, May 18th. Remember to check the e-coupon site for coupons that you can download to your Rewards card.

My favorite deals have been highlighted in red.

Ribeye or New York Steaks

Tillamook Cheese, 2 lb 
$4.29 (limit 1)

Fuji, Gala, Cameo or Braeburn Apples, Anjou Pears or Navel Oranges

Country Oven Bread or Buns
$1.25 each with in-ad coupon (limit 4)

Tillamook Butter
$1.88 each with in-ad coupon (limit 2)

Dreyer’s Ice Cream
$2.50 each with in-ad coupon (limit 2)

[Read more…]


Frugal Gardening: Tips for Gardening with Kids



Last month I launched a series on Frugal Gardening. Watch for new posts each Monday and Friday and an update on my own garden each Tuesday through the month of May. I created a Frugal Gardening page so you can refer back to previously published posts.

Why I involve my Kids

Gardening is one of those household tasks that is both fun and rewarding to involve your kids in. We have included our kids from the very beginning, when we ripped up the front yard to make way for the garden.

In fact, check out how little my daughter was when we started our massive re-landscaping project…


And then toddling around with big brother…


And here she is now, almost 5 years old. Among her favorite activities? Help Mama in the garden, of course!

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Gardening is more than just another chore we do day in and day out. Think about it, you do the laundry this week? No doubt the same pile of clothes will face you next week. The awesome part about working in the garden is that it’s far from monotonous. The radishes you planted a week ago are now sprouting. The bees start to buzz around the berries as they begin to open, something that wasn’t the case even a few days ago. Finally it’s time to pot up the tomatoes and peppers. There is always something new to do and you get to enjoy watching the plants grow that you care for. And then? You get to eat them!

Caring for your own food and appreciating the cycles of its growth is a neat experience for kids and their families to share alike. Today I’d like to give a few basic ideas for how I’ve involved my own kids in our garden.

Six Simple Ideas for Gardening with Kids

After considering what’s worked for us, I thought I’d share six ideas for how you might involve your kids in gardening.

1. Include them in the selection process. Each year, I love to sit down with my seed catalogs, a notebook, and a pen and begin to consider what to grow in my garden, and where. This is a perfect opportunity to ask your kids what kinds of vegetables they’d like to grow. I always tell my kids to select things that they will eat! So only pick okra and brussels sprouts if you’ll eat it! My daughter is a pretty picky eater, so I always plant her favorite shelling peas. She loves to eat these fresh, right out of the pods.

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2. Grow things that are fun to watch and eat. This brings me to tip #2 – grow things that are just plain fun to watch grow and eat! Runner beans are easy to grow and their vines grow quickly up trellises. I love the idea of growing food that’s taller than my kids, too – try sunflowers or cornstalks for fun. We also have expanded the herbs in our garden to include four kinds of mint (chocolate mind? Hello!), pineapple sage, and a hyssop plant that smells just like a frosty mug of root beer. Make room for at least a couple vegetables that will capture your children’s imagination. In the same vein, why not try to plant a few things that will attract butterflies, hummingbirds, and other creatures your kids will enjoy watching?

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Pictured above: radishes are a great choice for kids because they grow very quickly and are easy for little hands to harvest.

3. Pick up their own gardening tools. I really want my kids to feel that this their garden, too, and that I value their help! I love picking up inexpensive “tools” for my kids. This time of year is excellent for finding $1 buckets and shovels at Target. We also found a plethora of kid-sized gardening tools at the Dollar Tree a couple weeks ago. I store my kids things right next to mine in the greenhouse.

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4. Give them a space of their own. One thing you might consider is giving your children a section of your garden or a container for their own. This can be a great way for them to learn what’s involved with the process. I did this last year and my daughter choose peas and rainbow carrots and my son chose strawberries and radishes.

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5. Celebrate the harvest together. I think the best part about gardening is when we get to enjoy the results as a family! I recall a couple years ago harvesting these HUGE garlic heads and my son just thought it was the most amazing thing ever! I love the look on their faces when they see how those little seeds grew into something amazing and nourishing.

How to Harvest Garlic

6. Visit a farm or farmer’s market together. I love taking my kids to plant sales, farms, and farmer’s markets so they can learn more about where our food comes from and the kind of fruits and vegetables that are out there. For fun, I’ll ask them to identify different veggies we may see (is it mint? chard? kale? peas?).

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The rewards of involving my kids in the garden have been many. My son insists he will eat everything we grow this year “in a big salad.” Even picky eater little sister told me this morning she’d eat some lettuce at dinner tonight! My kids love going to the Farmer’s Market and accompanying me to plant sales and nurseries. Gardening with Mama is among their favorite activities (in fact, my son asked to help as soon as he got home from school today). The kids have a fun and safe place to dig for worms, inspect for insects, or hunt for new seedlings.

But the best thing of all? Are the memories we’re making together.

What additional things have you done to include your kids in gardening?


Zulily: Children’s Learning Games from $6.99 (think budgeting, grocery shopping, and more)


While poking around on one of my favorite daily deal sites, Zulily, I noticed a cute sale called WCA that features really cute looking children’s educational games! These would be perfect to teach the next generation of couponers.

Check it out:

game1Grocery Cart: $13.99 (reg. $22.99). Here’s a description of the game: “Players build important life skills by comparing ads, making correct payments, keeping accurate records and reconciling cash on hand with shopping records in this game of smart grocery purchases.”

game2Budget: $11.99 (reg. $22.99). Here’s a description of the game: “Real-life economics has never been more fun! With every trip around the game board, each player plans a budget and receives $2,000 to pay for housing, insurance, investments, groceries and more. An accurate projection equates to a payday bonus, and the person with the greatest wealth at the game’s end wins.”

game3Coins Count: $9.99 (reg. $16). I particularly loved the object of this game: “Make money management fun! Players will be familiarized with coins and dollar bills and earn experience making small purchases, handling change and earning money for a charity. The first person to donate $5 to the food bank wins!”

There are several others with themes including grammar, math, and more and prices starting at $6.99. Head to Zulily to check out the sale!


Frugal Gardening: DIY Planter Box for $20



I recently launched a new spring series called Frugal Gardening. You can watch for new posts in this series each Monday and Friday and an update on my own garden each Tuesday. In case you missed them, you can go back and read previous posts and updates on my Frugal Gardening page.

How to Build your Own Planter Box

My pal Susan recently told me she was planning on building some planter boxes for blueberry plants in her backyard. Not only is Susan frugal, she’s also really handy, so I asked if she’d be able to document what she did so I could share it with you! (You might recall this post from awhile ago where she built her raised bed garden!) Note that today’s project will involve some tools and a little know-how.

She told me that she decided to model her boxes after these she spotted at Home Goods selling for $49.99:

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With that, I’ll give you Susan’s notes….

Supplies list (for one planter):

(1) 2″x2″x8 feet long (for legs)
(4) 1″x4″x8 feet long (for sides) [if you are building 2 planters, you can use 7 of them, you just have to be careful about your cuts)
(1) 1″x2″x2feet long for the cleats…or you can use the leftover 1×4 for the cleats (I just used a scrap from my garage)
Miter saw
(80) 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws
kreg jig
(6) 1 1/4″ screws
stain or paint of your choice

Cut list:

2×2- cut (4) 23″ pieces for the legs


Step One. This first part might sound tricky, but it’s actually quite simple. Set your miter saw 7.5 degrees to the left of center.  Cut the following utilizing this angle (which will give your planter box that nice taper).  The important part is to make your first cut, then flip the board over, measure the distance for your next cut from the longest point of the wood, and then do your next cut.  This will make the ends taper in at the bottom.  Remember, measure twice, cut once!

  • 1st 1×4- cut (4) 16 3/8″ and (2) 13 3/8″
  • 2nd 1×4- cut (4) 15 3/8″ and (2) 14 3/8″
  • 3rd 1×4- cut (2) 14 3/8″, (2) 13 3/8″, and (3) 12 3/8″
  • 4th 1×4- cut (1) 12 3/8″

If you did it correctly, the cut pieces will look like this:

13 - 6

(You may also want to cut ends of the legs at the 7.5 degree angle to assure they will sit squarely on the ground once assembled.)

Step Two. Put your miter saw back to zero degrees. Using the leftover 1×4, cut (3) 11 3/4″ pieces to use as bottom support for the dirt. Make 1×2 cut (2) 11 1/4″ for the cleats.

Step Three. Now you can begin to assemble the planter box! Start by building the sides. To do this, use your Kreg Jig set for 1 1/4″ screws, drill two holes at each end of each board. Lay out one leg and the 5 appropriate side slats (one of each length), making sure that the angle is smooth, and no edges jut out on either side. (I had to trim down a few of the boards shown in the picture to get a snug fit….that’s why measuring before you cut is so important!) Measure 3″ up each leg and make a mark to guide where the first slat will be attached. Put a 1/8″ spacer under the slats so there is a nice, even 1/8″ set back from the front of the leg (I used a scrap piece of board for this.) Attach slats to leg using 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws, then attach second leg. Build the other side the same way with the last two legs. Attach the rest of the sides using the same method and pocket hole screws.

Here’s how one side will look with the boards added:

IMAG0628 (451x800)

Once you put all sides together, it will look like this:

IMAG0625 (539x800)

Step Four. Attach cleats: put cleats flush on bottom of 2 sides using 1 1/4″ screws and wood glue.

Now it’s coming together!

IMAG0634 (1)

IMAG0633 (451x800)

Step Five. Lay the support boards (I used scrap wood, not the 1x4s as in the instructions) down using the cleats to support; no need to secure these in place. You may want to drill extra drainage holes in the bottom.

13 - 7

Step Six. Sand and paint or stain as you wish.

Step Seven. Lay weedblocker cloth down in bottom.  I also stapled some plastic just around the inside (not bottom) to protect and extend the life of the wood.

Step Eight. Fill, plant, water, and watch it grow!

I built two planters; each one cost about $20 to make and took me approximately 2 hours (excluding paint/stain time).

Here is the finished product, used as blueberry containers:
IMAG0657 (800x428)

Note from Angela: I think they turned out fantastic, Susan – and I think they look exactly like the one you saw in the store you wanted! Check it out:

plantercompareJoin me on Monday for another Frugal Gardening feature – and make sure to check out my Frugal Gardening page for additional ideas!

photo 4 (1)

Albertsons: Planters Peanut Butter $0.99 + other unadvertised deals

photo 4 (1)

Before I share this deal – I have to give a HUGE shout out to reader Liz. When she learned of my surgery this week, she got to work and she’s been sending me all kinds of deals to keep this blog from growing tumbleweeds! THANK YOU LIZ. You pretty much rock.

Liz shared the following deals she spotted at her local Albertsons with me. You know the drill – prices and availability at your own store may vary and can change at any time.

photo 3 (1)

SoftSoap $1 each
$0.35/1 coupon from 4/7 SmartSource (limit 4; expires 4/27 – tomorrow!)
Bottom line: $0.65
(Liz, not sure where you got the $0.50/2 printable – I’m not finding it though. Please share if you’re reading!)

photo 1 (1)

Albertsons Natural Spring Water, 24-pack $2.99
$1.50/1 coupon found in pharmacy booklet (Liz writes she did not get a prescription filled, but just asked – your results may vary)
Bottom line: as low as $1.49

photo 4 (1)Planters Peanut Butter $1.99 
$1/1 – $1/2 coupon from 4/7 SmartSource
Bottom line: as low as $0.99

I think the peanut butter has got to be my favorite deal! I consider anything $1 or under to be stock up price and we rarely see a stockup deal anymore!

If you’re planning a trip out, you might want to see what else is on sale at Albertsons this week.

Thanks, Liz!

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More Fred Meyer 50% off deals: Purex, Finish, Cascade!

photo 1

The other day I shared with you a great deal on Finish Geltabs for $1.25. Well looks like there are a few other 50% off deals happening you might want to take a look at too!

photo 1

Purex Laundry Detergent: $2.74 (through 4/27 only)
$0.50/1 printable coupon 
Bottom line: $2.24
(please note the $1/1 coupon from the 4/28 Red Plum is for the 128 oz size)

photo 2

Cascade Complete Action Packs, 26 ct $4.07 (reg over $6)
$0.50/1 – $1/2 coupon from 3/31 P&G
Bottom line: $3.57

I don’t normally buy Cascade. Is this a good price? Thoughts?

photo 4

Cascade Jet Dry Rinse Agent $2.36
$0.50/1 – $1/2 coupon from 3/31 P&G
Bottom line: $1.86

If you’re making a trip out, make sure to check out the Finish deal as well as other Fred Meyer deals happening through tomorrow.

Thanks, Liz!


Unadvertised Safeway Finds: Arm & Hammer Power Packs $1.99!


Reader Liz is back at it again! Check out these awesome deals she spotted at her local Safeway this week:


A&H Crystal Power Paks plus Oxiclean $2.99 (through 5/7) – Reg. $6.99
$1/1 coupon from 4/14 SmartSource
Bottom line: $1.99


Through 4/30, La Victoria Salsa is on sale for buy one, get one free. Now you cannot use a manufacturer’s coupon towards a free item, so that means you can’t even use a $1 off 2 coupon on a buy one, get one free sale. But I did come up with a scenario that should work!

Buy (4) La Victoria $3.29 
Buy one, get one free (through 4/30) – so, 2 will be free
$1/2 coupon from 3/17 SmartSource
Bottom line: $5.58 for all 4 ($1.40 each)

If you’re planning a trip, do make sure to see the other Safeway deals on sale. A huge thank you to Liz and other readers for sending in deals like this while I’m on the mend from my surgery this week!


Frugal Gardening: If I could only grow one thing…



This week I launched a new spring series called Frugal Gardening. You can watch for new posts in this series each Monday and Friday and an update on my own garden each Tuesday. In case you missed them, you can go back and read previous posts and updates on my Frugal Gardening page.

Today I’d like to talk about the one thing I’d grow if I was just starting out, had limited space/money/time and/or wanted to get the biggest bang for my buck. HERBS. Here’s why…

  1. Herbs can be easy to grow. Some herbs are what some folks like to call invasive (or weeds), but I don’t think that’s a very pleasant way to describe them! I added some mint to a container several years ago and it takes a real beating and keeps coming back year after year. I don’t fertilize it, worry too much about watering – and yet, it grows and grows. If you’re concerned about an herb taking over your yard or garden, just pot it or contain it in some fashion.
  2. Some herbs are perennial. This means that they’ll keep coming up year after year! This is a scenario where you might want to purchase some healthy starts versus seeds. I purchased a rosemary plant last week and was happy to pay $3.49, knowing it’ll grow in my garden this summer and I can pot it and bring it indoors over the winter.
  3. Herbs can be propagated.  That’s a fancy way of saying you can make more plants! I was able to successfully divide my oregano into two plants and am working on doing the same with my sage. Once the rosemary starts to take off, I hope to do the same there. Herbs can be propagated by cuttings (something I’ve yet to dabble in), or by simply separating out roots or new shoots. My mint came from my parents’ yard (by transplanting a single plant from their patch) and my sage and oregano came from my friend Susan’s garden (she simply divided some roots for me). Learning how to do this is a great way to save on the cost of future seeds and plants!
  4. Herbs are easy to preserve. Herbs are among the easiest edibles to store. You can dry them (by hanging upside down or using a dehydrator like this Nesco one I own – Amazon link), but my favorite method is to chop them finely and store in ice cube trays in water. Once frozen, pop out the cubes and toss in a freezer bag and label. When your recipes call for a little bit of fresh mint or cilantro, you won’t have to buy an entire bunch at the store!

100_1709 (537x800)5. Herbs are versatile. It’s so important to grow things you actually know how to use and enjoy eating! Herbs can be used in MANY delicious ways – to season soups and stews, to top sandwiches, in green smoothies, to flavor beverages and make teas. Adding herbs to your favorite recipes is a healthful way to add flavor when you’re trying to reduce salt and/or fat intake too.

6. Herbs don’t require much space. Herbs are a perfect choice for the urban gardener because they are some of the easiest plants to grow in containers or even in sunny windowsills. Some are so beautiful and fragrant, you can easily tuck them into your landscape, too!

7. Herbs can be expensive to buy. Since the topic of this series is frugal gardening, consider the cost of herbs! Many are sold in small packages for $2-3, and often aren’t even the best quality. If you cook with fresh herbs frequently, growing your own can be a cost savings.

The Herbs I’m Growing this Year

The first year of my garden, I completely neglected herbs (except for the mint) – what a crying shame! The next year I caught on, and every year since I’ve made more and more space for these delicious, easy-to-use edibles. I thought I’d share what I’m growing this year, and then I’d love to hear what you’re growing, too!


Mint. As mentioned, I didn’t pay for my mint, but took a shoot out of my parents’ yard. One shoot is all it took! The stuff does grow easily and heartily, so consider thoughtfully where you’d like to put it. I use it in water, mojitos, and some salad recipes. I love just smelling it and sometimes I’ll eat a leaf or two fresh out of the garden. I love this picture I took this morning. The mint plant on the left looks like he’s smiling and waving his hand at me!

chamomileChamomile and Lemon Balm. This year one of my goals is to grow my own tea. I was intrigued when I found organic chamomile seeds at Territorial Seed. It sure sounded like it was easy to grow and so I’m giving it a try! I’m growing a couple plants as starts and I’ve direct sown some additional seed into a deck planter. So far it seems to be growing rather easily. I plan on dehydrating the flowers for the tea. I suppose the added benefit of the flowers is pollinators, which will be beneficial to the rest of the garden. The lemon balm has not germinated yet, but I hear it grows a lot like mint, so I’ll be giving it its own container.

oreganoOregano. This is the plant I got from my friend Susan’s yard. It is a perennial, so this is actually the second year it’s been in my garden. The leaves smell fantastic and I use them on sandwiches, pastas, soups, and roasts. Very fragrant and easy to care for.

parsleyParsley. I’m growing a flat-leaf Italian parsley and I love it so much! Not only is it fantastic flavor for soups and casseroles, I like to actually throw big bunches into my green smoothies as it’s very nutritious. I have a couple plants that survived from last year, but they are starting to bolt. (I don’t mind when this happens as it attracts the bees, plus I can save the seed.) This year I’m planting a whole mess of it because I found it was my favorite herb to freeze and I ran out of it a couple months ago.


Basil. Nothing beats the aroma and taste of freshly picked basil leaves! Admittedly, I have not had a good run growing basil in my garden in the past, but this year I’m determined! PNW gardeners should be aware that basil is a frost-sensitive, annual herb, so do take care about planting it out too early. It needs heat. This year, I’ve started my basil as seeds (and I plan on adding a few more). Basil of course can be used to make pesto, but I find it’s also delicious in smoothies with fresh strawberries, or eaten raw in salads and sandwiches. (Here’s my Caprese Salad recipe in case you missed it.)


Rosemary. I purchased this small Rosemary plant from Fred Meyer last week for $3.49. From what I’ve read, Rosemary is one of those herbs that can be tricky to grow from seed. That was enough for me to justify the cost to just buy it as a plant. Rosemary is one of my favorite herb smells! I love it on roast chicken or in soups. It’s nice when combined with other herbs such as parsley and oregano.


Sage. This is another one of those amazing smelling herbs you won’t regret having in your garden! It’s happily growing next to my oregano and I love just rubbing the leaves and smelling my hands. It’s a perennial herb and tastes great in many savory dishes.

I also have some cilantro seeds germinating away up in my bathroom (turns out, the bathroom makes a great environment to germinate seeds!). Cilantro is one of those herbs I cook with frequently and can’t live without, so into my garden it goes!

Now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear about your favorite herbs to grow. I hope I’ve convinced at least a few of you to try to grow these amazing edibles!


Fred Meyer Ad 4/21 – 4/28



Here are the best deals I could find at Fred Meyer for the week starting Sunday, 4/21 and running through 4/28. Remember to check the e-coupon site for coupons that you can download to your Rewards card. You might also be interested to see the deals good through today, Saturday, 4/20.

If you are new to Fred Meyer, you might want to read my post on how the Fred Meyer Rewards and Fuel program works. There has been a bit of a change: you can now redeem up to 1,000 fuel points off in a single transaction for up to $1 off per gallon!

My favorite deals have been marked with a ******.

**Large Navel Oranges

**Fred Meyer Milk or Orange Juice
$1.25 each with in-ad coupon (limit 4)

Fresh Lean Ground Beef (80/20)
$2.48/lb sold in a 3-lb roll

**Powerade, Full Throttle, Fuze or NOS
$0.69 each with in-ad coupon (limit 6)

**Country Oven Bread or Buns
$1.33 each with in-ad coupon (limit 6)

Lay’s Potato Chips
$2 each with in-ad coupon (limit 4)

Big K Soft Drinks
$2.25 each with in-ad coupon (limit 4)

Foster Farms Ground Turkey Breast, 20 oz 
$4.88 each with in-ad coupon (limit 4)

Tyson Boneless Chicken Breasts, Frozen 2.25 – 2.7/lb bag
$5.99 each with in-ad coupon (limit 4)

Flipz Chocolate Covered Pretzels
$1.25 each with in-ad coupon (limit 4)

MD Bath Tissue, 12 double roll or 24 regular or Sparkle Paper Towels, 6 roll
$4.50 each with in-ad coupon (limit 2)

Post Honey Bunches of Oats Cereal
Save 50% (ad says “save $1.69 or more)
$1/2 coupon from 3/10 SmartSource
Bottom line: ~ $1.19 each

Save 50% (ad says “save $1.89 or more”)
Bottom line: ~ $1.89

Franz Bread
Save 50% (ad says “save $2.40 or more”)
Bottom line: ~ $2.40

**Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce or Ken’s Dressing 
Save 50% (ad says “save $1.12 or more”)
$1/2 – $1/1 Ken’s Dressing coupon from 3/10 SmartSource
Bottom line: as low as ~ $0.12

Green Giant Canned Vegetables
Save 50% (ad says “save $0.75”)
Bottom line: ~ $0.75

Nabisco Premium Saltine Crackers
Save 50% (ad says “save $1.50”)
Bottom line: ~ $1.50

**Birds Eye Voila Skillet Meals
Save 50% (ad says “save $2.50”)
$1.75/1 printable coupon
Bottom line: ~ $0.75

Pepperidge Farm Desserts
Save 50% (ad says “save $1.40 or more”)
$0.40/1 – $1/2 3-Layer Cake coupon from 4/7 SmartSource
$0.40/1 – $1/2 3-Layer Cake coupon from 2/10 SmartSource
$1/1 Cookie Cake coupon from 2/10 SmartSource
Bottom line: ???

Breyers Ice Cream
Save 50% (ad says “save $2.75”)
Bottom line: ~ $2.75

Purex Laundry Detergent
Save 50% (ad says “save $2.75”)
Bottom line: ~ $2.75

Boneless Chuck Roast

Colossal E-Z Peel Prawns

Local Fresh Foster Farms Whole Fryer

Trident Gum
Buy one, get one free
$1/2 coupon from 3/17 SmartSource

[Read more…]

liketwicecredit Snag free credit for cute clothes!



There is a site I just discovered and wanted to tell you about: it’s called, and right now you can snag a FREE $10 credit to the site. The credit can even be applied towards shipping which makes this freebie extra awesome!

At, you can both buy second-hand clothing and sell clothes you have that you no longer want.

Once you’ve signed up, you can refer your friends so they can get a free $10 credit too. If they end up selling on the site, you make an extra $10 referral credit – so you could potentially make $20. I just signed up and check it out:



I had the credit instantly in my account!

In checking out the clothing, I found many name brands at reasonable prices! Combined with the $10 free credit, you should be able to snag a great deal!


Shipping is free on orders of $49 or more.

I’d love to hear what you’re able to snag!