Monday, June 27, 2011


(These freebies were given to the local food pantry) The week before they were given to the homeless shelter in San Antonio. This coming basket will be given to the military.

I have been couponing for over 22yrs ever since I got married & went overseas. I went to the commissary for the first time with my lil budget of getting grocery's & discovered a barrel full of coupons they had for the spouses. I spent over 30min going thru the barrel desperately trying to get enough to be able to buy more grocery's.

Through the yrs I slowed down on couponing till it was time to try to get out of debt, then I went hog wild on collecting coupons again. After getting out of debt I slowed down again on collecting coupons. Recently 9 weeks ago frustrated that my grocery allowance hadn't gone up in yrs & we were trying to eat better I again went back to couponing. Yes It feel like a yo yo life w/coupons.

This time I had found a wonderful book called "The coupon mom" lil did I know this was a classic and in high demand this book. She took me to her site a long with other sites where I looked up deals. It was so much simplier then it was in my old days of trying to look up deals. They did it for you. The facebook local forums told me any deals they might have found while shopping in San Antonio. It was a another world opening up for me.

A lot of people asked me after I told them how much I saved that payday, "Well how much did you spend? Well I would say, "all of it!" All my allowance which is $125 a week for a family of 4 sometimes my dad too including non food & food goods. Last payday for instance I saved $99 with coupons, to me that's $99 extra stuff I bought that week & stayed within my budget.

Ive been keeping track of all the money I have been saving with coupons including the freebies and Husband gently reminded me not to forget to add in the cost of paper & ebay coupons I bought those two weeks. Darn! Rats! I almost forgot, it seemed fair cause why would I be doing this if I am breaking even or losing? So I had to recalculate it still came out pretty good. In 9 weeks I have saved w/coupons over $604.74 or $67 each week :)

I know I can do better the first of my ebay buys were bad I didn't know how to bid correctly so I spent to much. I have gotten better since then :) Hanging out with my coupon group has really helped too, learning new techniques and trading coupons.
I've been able to buy extra to donate to the homeless shelter, the local food pantry & now I am getting 4 boxes to go overseas.

The couponing world is good.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Care packages for Soldiers

When my husband was in the army he lived off of most of our care packages cause he said the Army hired local vendors & the food wasn't good sometimes even making them sick. So between my family & his he lived off our pacakges. Once's I sent him a Mexican feast of taco shells, canned beans, salsa I knew he had the cheese from the MIR kits. Of course word got around & I couldn't find a taco shell for the life of me at the commissary anymore lol

Time's have changed and the care package ideas are great now. I am going to paste some of the ideas down just in case their websites go down & it will be a shame to see it all gone but I will give credit to where credit is due. If you haven't at least sent one care package out to our soldiers this year please consider doing that. If you don't have time to fix one try or or

First and foremost - letters of support & encouragement along with pictures of friends and family. (include your name, address, phone number, & email along with a "what can I send you" note if you want to hear back from them).

Use Priority large boxes that you can request from the post office for free! Has no weight limit so the price is always going to be $12.95 to send. This has a logo for the "Support our Soldiers" & it will go faster the post office person said when they see this logo. Also grab form 2976-A you don't have to list every single item I don't just list all the big items or any liquid like soap.

If you must send food items with other non food items make sure its very well packed. Tape the soap bottles close. I usually put mine in double zip lock bags just incase something leaks. They say if you put something that smells it might make the food smell too ;( ick.

Please check with the soldier on what they request b4 sending stuff they don't need like a video if they don't have a video player or microwave food if they dont have a microwave. Number one thing I see them request so far

2. To go Gatorade & lemonade to go drink mix
3. Beef Jerky
4. Number one snack they request is protein bars or girl scout cookies!

You can do theme boxes too!
Birthday boxes!
Halloween, Christmas, Valatine, Thanksgiving boxes

Remember no PORK products because of the country they are in.

DVDs (recently released pre viewed DVD movies are fine, TV shows on DVD are great too), music CDs, & CD storage books Coffee, coco, tea, hot cider mix (powdered flavored creamer, too) - not liquids Mugs (unbreakable like camping gear is better) Microwaveable non perishable just-add-water foods like soups and mac-n-cheese

Snacks - candy (not too melty), chocolate, trail mix, granola bars, gum, cookies, nuts, popcorn, chips, etc (Entenmann's Products were specifically requested)Slim Jims, jerky, pre cooked vacuum packed meats, & canned chicken - NO pork items Canned fruit (pop top is best - not the ones with foil lids), canned veggies (the kind you would eat.)

Hair brushes deodorant (the guys like Old Spice Red Zone) lotion (body & face) Beanie Babies, etc - for the soldiers to pass out as good will gifts to the local children Room deodorizers/air fresheners and scented candles (nothing too melty)
Nail files & nail clippers (nail polish for the girls)Toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash, & floss Hair bands & barrettes for pony tails Razors & shaving cream girls like "Venus" disposable razors, guys like Mach 3 and Mach 3 Turbo Refill blades)

Tampons & pads
Magazines (mostly men's mags, not too old), books, word game books
Playing Cards, board games, chess, checkers, ect.
AA batteries (they have access to all other sizes)
Blank cards, stationery & pens
Baby wipes - for when there's no water
AT&T phone cards for phoning home
Black wool knit caps
Black wool or leather gloves
Black wool socks or insulated boot socks
Black t-shirts (air force)
Brown t-shirts (army/marines)
Black underwear
Foot powder
Shampoo, conditioner, Leave-In Spray conditioner
Twin size sheet sets and pillows

Shower to Shower body powder
Jelly beans
Disposable camera
Rice Krispie treats
Altoids or mints
Beef jerky
Snack mixes
Sunflower seeds
Chewing gum
Long-distance phone cards
Little Debbie’s snacks
Ziploc bags (for keeping things airtight, watertight, and fresher)
Jaw breakers
Poker game
Playing cards
Music CDs
Toothbrushes & toothpaste
Inflatable pillow
Cookies or muffins in individual packages (Big bags often fill with dust if not eaten right away.)
Canned food items
Spices (crushed red pepper), salt, pepper
Smoked oysters and sardines
Squeeze butter
Pringles chips
Individually-wrapped licorice
Microwave popcorn
DVD movies
Ramen noodles
Macaroni & cheese
Disposable shower towels
Olives, pickles, peppers (Be sure to add lots and lots of bubble wrap around these items.)
Cereal bars/granola bars
Microwave pasta that doesn’t need refrigeration
Bed pillows (these were a hit with my nephew!)
Hot cocoa mix
Soup mix
M&M’s (plain or peanut)
Magazines (these don’t have to be brand new)
Koozies to keep water
bottles and cans cool
AA batteries
D size batteries
Air fresheners (…like stick-ups, F’breeze. My personal favorite is Citrus Magic in the pure linen scent.)
Canned air to blow dust out of electronics
Stress relief squeeze balls
Sewing kit
Baby wipes
Board games
Shoe laces for gym shoes and boots
Brown t-shirts
Boot socks
Hand warmers
Inflatable seat cushions
Juice boxes and drink pouches
Ink pens
Notepads of paper
Word Puzzle books
Air activated heat wraps for sore muscles
Foot massager
Icy hot patches
Microwaveable plates, bowls, paper plates
Foot powder
Paperback books
Gift baskets filled with lots of useful items and packaged as a present
Video games (Nintendo Wii, Playstation, Xbox)

Baby Wipes
Phone Cards
Hand Warmers
Foot Warmers
Tooth Brushes
Body Wash
Body Spray
Beef Jerkey
Comic Books
Travel Size Games (chess, checkers)
Deck of Cards
Memory Cards (i.e. PSP's)
Memory Sticks
Suntan Lotion
Non Carbonated Drinks (Propel)
Uniform T-shirts (which can either be ordered on line
from AAFES or bought at the PX)
Pictures From Home
Thumb Tack (to hang the pictures)
Hard Candy
Blue and Black Pens
Fly Paper (some areas where the soldiers live have lots of flies)
A multi-tool or really good folding knife
Sun Glasses
Digital or Disposable Cameras
Travel Size Packets of Laundry Detergent
Powdered Drinks, especially Gatorade
Blank Writable CD's
Crossword Puzzles, Word Searches, Soduku

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Duct tape prom

Well my homeschool daughter was invited by one of her anime friends to his high school prom. She has always liked the movie, "Pretty and pink" so I had always figured she would make her own dress from a thrift store since she is so talented with her sewing, but never did I imagine what she decided to do instead.

Miranda started sewing at a very young age. I wasn't her teacher, I could barely sew on a button instead our homeschool co-op offered a beginning course in sewing then later on more advanced. In highschool I put her in an advanced sewing class for kids interested in becoming fashion desinger's thru San Antonio community schools. Miranda was more interested in flower arranging and running her own business but still she took the course wanting to improve her sewing skills.

After asking my husband for permission to take my daughter her date came back with a flyer he got from school, from the makers of DUCT tape they offered scholarships to any students willing to go to their prom in duct tape and made the top 10. I can tell you even though I was willing for her to buy an old dress & fix up the idea of creating a dress from duct tape was a shocker to me. Yes her whole outfit is made from duct tape!

She showed me previous contest's and what they wore and I warmed up to the idea a bit. She drew up a few pictures decided on a color (duct tape has many colors!) then began to design, cut & sew. Took two weeks for both of them to create their outfits. I will always remember fondly watching H2O (mermaid show) til 1am in the morning helping her cut tape out. I have to admit it wasn't too expensive either.

Her date and her went to the prom I would like to show his picture too but I don't have their permission to do that so I won't; However I will show you the flower she made for him above and hers. He wore mostly black but he did have the same silver and blue colors to match on certain parts of his suit.

She even managed to put her finger nails the same color and her shoes as well. Unfortunately they didn't make the top 10 so they won't be winning any scholarships which was starting at $4000! Each...but it was a great learning experience for them both & everyone at school loved their dress/suit that they asked to take picture with them and of them.

Another plus that day was my niece from California was visiting us. She had just finished cosmetology school so she did her hair and make up for her cousin. That was really sweet of her and she did an awesome job as you can see.

My daughter has grown up to be a beautiful woman I am glad to have taught her the value of a dollar to not be afraid to do and try new things. That will be a night she will always remember I am sure of it.