Pampers Points to Grow

We're a Huggies family but on my last trip to Kroger the Catalina machine spit out these codes:
9GY96NW9R33DJJ9 - 10 PTS

Grocery Adventures

First of all, this trip to Kroger was supposed to be for two items. Yes, two! Then I remembered there were 10/$10 sales going on and I picked up a flyer. Maybe I shouldn't have done this. I'm not sure it would have mattered because the major derail came when I opened up my coupon caddy and noticed that I had a coupon from Nabisco for free cookies or crackers which took me down an aisle I hadn't intended to be on. But I found gold when I got there.

Part of the 10/$10 sale that wasn't included in the flyer is the Barnum Circus reclosable animal crackers! Seriously, what kid - and hence, what parent - doesn't love these!!! Normally priced at $2.58 bags are now $1. So, I stocked up.

I had already stocked up on $1 toilet paper and then remembered that I was going to go to the dollar store to get little paint brushes. Instead I went to the office supply section of the store and it turns out that art brushes are 10/$10 this week at Kroger!! Got the brushes and saved myself gas for the trip across town.

So even though I didn't have a list when I went into the store and I let the serendipity of my coupon caddy lead me astray it really was the need to buy food [pie shells for quiche and biscuits for chipped beef] and diapers that were the greatest expense.

And to say that I didn't have coupons isn't quite right. I got a box of Triscuits for FREE from Nabisco. I got $2 off Huggies that were already down to $8.99. I got $1.50 off the biscuits and I had several electronic coupons loaded to my loyalty card that I didn't even remember were on there. That's the beauty of the electronic coupon - load them on and they'll be ready whenever you get there, whether you planned the trip or not.

I didn't hit my goal of 45% savings but I got to 37% without really trying and that's not bad for a chilly morning in April. How about you? Have you had serendipity shopping adventures lately?

The Farm has Come In!

Most gardens are just beginning to push their way out of the ground but we're lucky enough to be eating more greens than Popeye right now!

How has this happened? Have I stumbled on some magnificent gardening version of the island on Lost that allows veggies to grow in variable plot lines? No, I paid a farmer to grow them for me.

Once again this year we've joined a local CSA and bought a share of a farm. Many CSAs give you a steady share of the yield all through the harvest but ours allows us to pick and choose what we want to 'buy' with our credit. I like this method because we have fewer dead veggies in the crisper at the end of the week but it does require that we stretch ourselves sometimes.

This week we went to the 17th Street Farmer's Market to pick up our veggies and Comfort announced to Farmer Charlie that she wanted rutabagas. Seriously. Now, I'm pretty sure she heard about rutabagas from watching 'Olivia' on Nick, Jr. and that she doesn't actually know what one is but she was ready to get one. Farmer Charlie said he didn't have any but he'd like one, too, and he talked to her about them while we picked out lovely heads of lettuce, bags of spinach, and a bunch of radishes. Then she points at the chives and declares that we should try them because they are pretty. And they are with their lovely purple flowers.

Finding a CSA isn't hard although at this time of the year many may not have shares left. Check Local Harvest for CSAs in your area. Also, you can also find farmer's markets listed as well. If you can't have veggies fresh from your own garden buying veggies grown locally is the next best thing and definitely a Cool Idea!

Happy Earth Day!

It's warming up again here in Richmond after a cool and raining couple of days. It just goes to show you that Mother Nature has her own plan.

In case you haven't found something to do to mark Earth Day yet why don't you hop on over to the Kroger site to make your own reusable bag. Log in using your loyalty card and you'll get a free reusable bag, too!

Another bonus... this week reusable bags are 2 for a $1 at Kroger. Just another nice way to celebrate Earth Day.

New Cellfire Coupons

Take a gander at what's available then pop over to the Cellfire bar on the right hand column to log into your account. Coupons load directly to your loyalty card. It's that easy!

Green Giant® Frozen Boxed Vegetables Save $.50 -Save $.50 when you buy TWO any variety Green Giant® Frozen Boxed Vegetables.

Hamburger Helper® Save $.75 -Save $.75 when you buy THREE any flavor Hamburger Helper®, Tuna Helper® OR Chicken Helper® Home Cooked Skillet Meals.

Cheerios® Cereal Save $.55 -Save $.55 when you buy Original Cheerios® cereal (the one in the yellow box).

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Save $.55 - Save $.55 when you buy Cinnamon Toast Crunch® cereal.

Betty Crocker Potatoes Save $.40 - Save $.40 when you buy any flavor Box or Pouch Betty Crocker® Potatoes (Except Potato Buds®).

Yoplait® Yogurt 32oz Save $.55 -Save $.55 when you buy any flavor 32 OZ. Yoplait® Yogurt.

Betty Crocker Warm Delights Save $.50 -Save $0.50 when you buy ONE any flavor Betty Crocker® Warm Delights® Bowls OR Betty Crocker® Warm Delights® Minis Bowls.

Wanchai Ferry® Save $1 -Save $1.00 when you buy any flavor Wanchai Ferry® Dinner Kit.

Yoplait® Fiber One® Yogurt Save $1 -Save $1.00 when you buy any flavor Yoplait® Fiber One® Yogurt Multipacks.

Yoplait® Delights(tm) Yogurt Save $1 -Save $1.00 when you buy any flavor Yoplait® Delights Yogurt Multipack.

Pillsbury Sweet Rolls OR Grands Save $.40 -Save $0.40 when you buy any TWO Pillsbury® Sweet Rolls OR Grands!® Sweet Rolls.

Will I Become a Martin's Shopper?

The short answer is, "I don't know." But I went to the unveiling and Grand Opening of the Carytown Martin's today to see what it would be like.

Of course, comparisons are going to be made so let's just put that out on the table right now. Martin's is moving into the Ukrop's stores, hoping to keep the Ukrop's customers and we want to know what will change and what will be the same.

Here's what I noticed.
  • Stores will be open every day of the week from 6am-Midnight. [Ukrop's stores were closed on Sundays.]
  • Beer and Wine are in the stores already. [Alcohol has never been sold in a Ukrop's store. Ever.]
  • Hard to find reusable bags. [Ukrop's went reusable very early. Remember Bin Shopping?]
  • I'm gonna assume the picture of the Ukrop's church isn't there anymore either but I didn't stop to check. Seems likely though, right?
  • Very nice produce section, even if not as varied as the Carytown store's usually is. My guess is they'll be more uniform from store to store, which is different from the way Ukrop's stores were.
  • Not sure I saw a sushi counter, but I might have missed it.
  • Ukrop's Kitchen items are still present!!! You an still get Dinner for 2, Duchess potatoes, chicken salad, pimento cheese, and whatever your favorites are, too- like the bakery items. These just happen to me some of mine.
  • The Organic section is virtually unchanged as is the coffee bar with wifi. I spot checked the area and it seemed untouched.
  • You can still get your groceries carried to your car. No worries.
It was a very nice event today. They had cake and coffee and were handing out flowers to the women. They also had several stations set up so that there was very little wait time in getting your new Martin's card - however, please remember that if you have Fuel Perks you'll still need to use your Ukrop's card until they run out.

I think most people were in the store out of curiousity. I overheard several conversations to this effect. The gentleman in line in front of me came to see if his English Muffin bread was still in stock. I told him I'd done the same - showing him the Duchess potatoes I'd picked up along with a loaf of bread for lunches. "Many things have been able to figure out how to make but these defy me," I told him. "I've tried butter, sour cream, cream cheese in many permutations and none of them taste right." He told me his wife's secret to mashed potatoes which "she's famous for" and in turn I passed along my flower. Even if they don't taste exactly the same I had a great conversation this morning and I'll have a fantastic story to pass along when they do work.

So, Richmonders we have a new store in town. It'll probably feel like going to visit your cousin. Sort of familiar but a little bit different. Good news is that the floor pattern is the same so at least you won't get lost. And I think that's a cool idea. Enjoy.

Small Shopping

Spring Break is over and after I dropped Comfort and Joy at school I walked to the store. Yes, it's a lovely day in Richmond today. The sun is shining. Birds are singing. Pollen is flying through the air. Well, you can't have everything - this is Richmond in the springtime.

We love the fact that our neighborhood is built for walking. After dinner walks. After rest time walks. After church walks. Where-ever walks. And today it was a 'to the grocery store' walk.

But being me I had to do some multi-tasking. I grabbed my iPod so that I could listen to the soundtrack for my book, found a grocery list for the dinner I'm making for friends tonight, and walked the 5-6 blocks to the grocery.

Of course, I can't do this when it's time to do a major stocking up trip but I used to do the weekly shopping like this when the girls were in the stroller. I'd go 2-3 times a week and I found that $30 worth of groceries was what would fit in the storage compartment under the jogging stroller.

Now that they're walking I take them less but we still make some trips together. My trip today consisted of one very heavy reusable bag. It would have been lighter but I bought a quart of milk from the local creamery that was on closeout for $.50 and these come in glass bottles. So even though my total was only $17.10 my bag felt heavier.

Now I'm off to begin the dinner preparations, opening the windows and enjoying the wonderful weather while I can. Definitely a Cool Idea!

BABIES! Check out the Trailer

BABIES! documents the first year of life of four different babies in four different locations around the world. Check out the trailer and see what it's all about:

Birkenstock Maintenance

As part of my spring cleaning this week I've just finished the first part of getting two pair of Birks ready for Spring! Two pair down. Two to go. Woohoo!! That means - No More Socks!!! Yeah!!!

Yes, spring appears to be settling in here in Virginia and it will be time to put socks away for good - at least for me. Comfort and Joy will still have to wear tennis shoes to school but my toes are painted [Pink Flamenco, thank you very much] and I'm ready to ditch the socks until the weather turns cold in the Fall.

And Birks are my go-t0 daily shoe. They are not only comfortable but they offer great support. I got my first pair of Birks when I had a pinched nerve in my foot and had to wear custom orthotics. I found that the only shoe that offered the same relief as my orthotic was Birkenstock. So Birks became my dress shoe and I still have my first pair. Sure they have new trends and a new footbed but the straps [which are the expensive part] are the same ones I bought in 1997!

So how do you clean your Birks?
1. Need to freshen up the footbed? For a quick footbed clean just dampen a washcloth and wipe out the dirt. Rinse the washcloth over and over until the water runs clean. Let air dry. The leather will feel stiff when you put it back on but it'll get better once your body heats it back up. I promise.

2. Does your footbed need some serious maintenance? For a major footbed cleaning you'll want a nail brush, a wash cloth and the Birkenstock footbed cleaner or some diluted baby soap [hand soap might work, too]. I dampen the footbed to get any dried dirt or grass out of the way then take your dampened nail brush and go to it. You want to loosen the dirt but not grind it in - so rinse the brush repeatedly. After a few minutes I use the washcloth to wipe out the residue until the water runs clean. * I've only used Birkenstock's footbed cleaner but it appears to just be a diluted soap which doesn't foam very much which is why I think baby shampoo might be a good substitute.

3. Keep your cork in good shape and it will treat you right! The cork is what keeps the shoe stable but as we walk and live the covering wears off. I have the 'official' cork repair and it's nothing but a pot of glue with a great brush attachment. So after you've cleaned your footbeds and let your shoes dry be sure to get some glue and seal the corks of your Birks. Not only will your shoes look brand new again but they'll have more support and continue to give you years and years of wear.

The actual Birkenstock cleaning kit also includes nubuck and seude cleaners and leather protection sprays. I've never actually used these. I always use the footbed cleaner and cork sealant though and my shoes are going strong after years and years of daily wear which is a perfectly Cool Idea!


Is there anything cuter than a baby? Or more likely to make you smile? Now, just in time for Mother's Day, Focus Features is releasing a film that documents the first year of four babies in four different parts of the world. Here's a sneak peak at the little one from Namibia.

Ponijao lives in Namibia with her family, including her parents and eight older brothers and sisters. Ponijao’s family is part of the Himba tribe, and lives in a small village with other families, following traditions including speaking their own (Himba) language. The men in the Himba tribe are generally off looking after the cattle and searching for grass, so Ponijao is most often with her mother and other female relatives; she plays, eats, and is bathed through the traditional method of mixing concrete red ochre with oil. Ponijao’s favorite things to do are dance and play with other children in the tribe.

Over the next few weeks I'll have more information to share about the other kids that are part of BABIES! I hope you'll find it interesting and as captivating as I have.

Piling it Up!

Free magazines create piles in the house. It's a fact. Yes, I do read them as fast as I can and I have some that I pass on to friends. [Hi, Leanne!] But it's a fact that there are only so many hours in a day and right now I have a growing pile of magazines.

I hear some of you say - just chuck them. Sure, I could do that. But there is a method to my madness. Some of them I want to keep for Discovery collaging. I didn't really get into this when I took Lani's class in January but I want to delve into it deeper later so I'm holding onto some magazines for that reason.

So in the interest of Spring Cleaning I'm turning to my magazine piles today. I found a great box and I've gone through the living room, the hallway, the dining room and the kitchen looking in all the places where piles of mail sometimes lurk to make sure that I found all of the magazines. Now I have a box full of magazines. A very full box of magazines.

I'll keep going through them and reading the articles - and cutting out the great coupons - but the ones that I'll be keeping are now in a manageable and tidy place. Whew!

Coupons reset

The bar is reset for April. Sadly, I don't see a reprise of the $3/1 Huggies coupon but if you need to restock on cereal or yogurt I think you're in luck. Also, there are some great coupons for holiday related cookie dough.
Hop on over to the bar and print them now before they're gone!!