Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Birthday to my wonderful wife Michelle.

Happy Birthday to my wonderful wife Michelle.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Is Extreme Couponing Affecting How Stores Accept Coupons?

You knew it wouldn't be long before stores had to make changes to their current coupon policy. I have always been a coupon user but never to the
extent that the people on the popular TV show Extreme Couponing go to. I admire the people on TLC's popular reality show, where they are spending 40 hours a week cutting coupons to get $1000.00 worth of groceries for dollars, but this practice might be causing more harm than good in the real world. Here is an example of extreme couponing from a post I did earlier in the month.

On the retail front, some big retailers -- wary of couponing copycats -- are pushing back on former coupon allowances for ordinary shoppers. The problem, stores are coming across people who are not playing fair, those people who are trying to get $600.00 of groceries for $1.00 are really going to extremes. Stores are finding that people are copying coupons, which is not valid. And people across the country have been reporting that their Sunday paper that is delivered to them is missing the coupon inserts. And thefts at the corner coin operated newspaper racks are up.

• At Rite Aid, shoppers can no longer combine buy-one-get-one-free coupons or promotions -- a strategy that, in the past, allowed customers to get two free items. The chain is also limiting the number of coupons a shopper can use per item to four, as long as there is enough stock. Before, the store accepted "multiple identical coupons for multiple qualifying items."

• Target now forbids "stacking," the act of combining manufacturer and store buy-one-get-one-free coupons, in order to receive both items for free.

Across the country Frys / Kroger stores have a great policy on accepting all competitor coupons. This really is a great deal, you can present those $5.00 or $10.00 off your order from other stores and use multiple coupons. That savings is huge, but to be honest I have been worried that soon that policy would vanish because of the increased use of coupons. Everytime I go shopping I always double check the Frys policy to make sure nothing has changed since my last visit.

Below are some major grocery stores, and links to their coupon policy.

Remember always check the coupon policy before shopping at a store, and to be safe, print it out and bring it with you.

Costco. While I am not a member of Costco I was curious as to what their policy is on coupons. Since there is no information anywhere on their website about coupon use, I wanted to get a response directly from Costco. And here it is:

Dear Joe,

We appreciate you taking the time to email Costco Wholesale.

Costco Wholesale does not accept general manufacturer coupons. We have our own coupons and promotional offers, which are distributed to members in the mail and at our locations at various times throughout the year.
We are able to offer consistently low prices because our buyers negotiate the best deals with our vendors. Manufacturers often will simply ‘load’ the cost of a coupon program into the original pricing of their product. We will not permit our vendors or buyers to do this since there is no advantage to the member.

Thank you for your interest and please let us know if there is anything else we can help you with.

Thank you,

Costco Wholesale Corporation

Saturday, June 25, 2011

What to do? Maybe a talent show or movie night...

Summer is here and kids are already enjoying their summer break. So they have probably already come to you saying they are bored. I grew up in California and summers were nice, maybe on a hot day it was 90, but the evenings were cool. Here is a great idea for kids and families to enjoy the nice summer evenings (unless of course you live in Arizona like we do).

Backyard Movie or Talent Show

The idea is the same. You set up rows or chairs with an aisle down the center, just like in the movie theaters. Or if you have a nice lawn lay

out some old blankets. Set up a card table or even some boxes and make that your snack table. Maybe bake cookies or serve popcorn and lemonade.

If you are showing a backyard movie its pretty easy. Check with your friends or family have a projector you can borrow. They hook right up to DVD players. Hang a white bed sheet in the backyard, the sheet becomes your movie screen.

You could keep the white sheet up and use as a backdrop for the talent show. You would be surprised as to who would participate in a talent show. Maybe the kids, your 80 year old neighbor and even the dog. I grew up holding talent shows on my street and they were so much fun (and yes I can laugh at the pictures that exist of me in the talent shows, even this one in all pink).

What we would do is go door to door and leave a flyer at each house in our neighborhood. The flyer would state we were having a talent show and anyone who would like to watch or participate could do so on a particular date and time. It was so much fun, and talent shows turned into lip sync and actual plays. There is always something to do during the summer, help your kids bring out their creative side.

More fun summer ideas all summer, check back often and follow our twitter feed to stay up to date.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Father's Day Gift

This is the gift my daughter made me for Father's Day! This hobby she loves is called Decoden. It's a complicated but really beautiful way to craft. You can go into your local craft store or check online for info on decoden.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

Make a Bee Catcher...For Free!

It's bee season. They are everywhere. Most people will buy sprays, which are not great to have around if you have children in your household. Or the other alternative is to run from them like a crazy person. I have a great suggestion that my grandma told me about when my daughter was first born and we had a huge bee problem in our backyard. In fact my grandma still uses this method to keep the bees away.

Items you will need:

1 Empty 2 Liter Soda Bottle
About 12-16 inches of rope or chain
1 Pair of scissors
Dish Soap
Meat (more about that later)

First remove any labels from the 2 Liter Soda Bottle. Take the scissors and cut a hole about 3 inches by 3 inches right in the middle of the bottle. Then on the other side of the bottle but another hole 3 inches by 3 inches. Now remove the cap from the two liter bottle. A good pair of scissors will work just fine, but if you have a drill around the house you can use that as well. If you are using scissors press down right in the middle of the lid with the scissors till a small hole appears. The caps are not that strong and a pair of scissors will work just fine. You don't want a huge hole, just big enough to pull the rope or chain through.

You can use whatever you have around the house for the next part, I used a small chain (they can be purchased at your local home improvement store for about $1.00) I pulled the chain through the cap and brought it down to where the two hole are in the two liter bottle. See the picture.

Use a pair of pliers and open the last chain that is hanging in front of the hole, open it enough so that it resembles a hook. The cap should screw back on just fine. The rest of the chain is what you will use to hang from a tree or your house. If the chain feels like it is moving a lot from the bottle cap (because of the hold you created to get the chain to go through) take the bottle cap off and either tie a piece of string to the chain inside the cap so that the chain can't move.

Next add 2-4 drops of dish soap to the bottom of the 2 liter bottle. Then fill it up with a 1/2 cup of water. Next you want to hang a piece of meat to that hook you created. The meat will hang right in the middle of the two holes that you cut out. You can use any kind of meat. Leftovers from dinner, piece of hot dog, etc. The bees are attracted to the meat, but once they fly into the container to get to the meat, they become trapped in the soapy water.

A good rule is, when you have about a dozen bees empty the soapy water in the trash and start over with a new piece of meat and fresh soapy water. Yes, this does kill the bees. But think about how much safer it is for

the family. No more dead bees on the lawn or patio so that people step on them. And you don't have to worry about the toxic spray around the children in your family. This is a great free way to get rid of bees in your backyard.

If you have any questions on how to put this together, email me or @greetingstogo.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Great Chore Chart For The Kids

Chores are not always fun, but why not make it a little more exciting. The chart they use to keep track of the chores they have completed should be fun and easy to use. You can set up a weekly reward if they complete all the tasks, that is up to you. Maybe an allowance or a trip to the movies. The chart I made has the instructions on it. The best way to print it is on magent paper (can be found at Target, Walmart and even some dollar stores). Magnet paper is inexpensive and can be used later on for other projects or gifts. Like my post for Father's Day.

Click on the picture, save it (right click and save as) and print it. If you have a problem email me and I will send you a PDF file of it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Fun Father's Day Craft

This is a great fun and free project you can do with items you have around the home. And it's a perfect gift any age child can make for their father.

I did this project with my 2 year old nephew. I think that crafts are a fun way for kids to improve on the eye hand coordination.

What you will need:
At least 3 to 4 popsicle sticks
Any color paint you have around the house
Newspaper to cover the floor
Paint brush, if you don't have one your child can finger paint
Photograph or print a picture with your color printer and paper
Regular glue will work but a hot glue gun is better
Glitter (Optional)
Magnet (Optional)

For this project I laid out old newspaper on the kitchen floor, gave him a paint brush and squirted out some paint onto the newspaper. I let him paint the popsicle sticks the best he could. I also put the some cardboard down because if he got paint on that I could use that as the backing to the picture frame. When he had covered enough of the popsicle
sticks with paint, we both held the bottle of glitter and he sprinkled it wherever he wanted on the popsicle sticks. Whatever glitter he got on the paint will dry once the paint drys. After a few hours, I glued the popsicle sticks together using hot glue (we had started with 4 popsicle sticks but he really got into painting and somehow cracked one of the

popsicle sticks while painting them) so instead of a square frame, we made a triangle. Kids love glitter, he loved to look at it while it was hanging up in the kitchen. I actually printed a picture online and printed it with regular printer paper. I cut the picture and a piece of cardboard the same shape as the picture frame. I glue them to the frame and then used the hot glue and stuck a magnet onto the back of the frame.

It's a perfect gift any child can make. Maybe instead of a picture your child would like to include something they painted or colored.

Have fun, and Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

No Talking At Movie Theater!

Alamo Drafthouse, a local chain of dine-and-screen movie theaters in Austin, Texas, has long waged a war against impolite moviegoers. And the latest customer to object to their firm rules against talking and texting during an evening out has become the unwitting star of a PSA released by the company on Monday.

According to Tim League, the Drafthouse's founder, the woman in question was warned twice about texting during a screening, and then, in accordance with company policy, was escorted out without a refund. "I don't think people realize that it is distracting," League told The Lookout. "It seems like nothing, but if you spend as much time as I do at the movies, you realize the entire theater sees it and it pulls you out of the movie experience. It's every bit as intrusive as talking." What this lady did not consider when she left this nasty voicemail that it would create more buzz for the theater and free publicity.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Consumer Vs. Bank

Saw this story about a couple in Florida, who received a foreclosure notice from Bank of America. The twist is the couple paid cash for thier home and did not have a mortgage.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Great Coupon Newsletter Site

While checking my Email this morning I came across a newsletter I get on coupons, and thought I should share it.

We all love a great deal, and I have always loved coupons. However I have not mastered the way to use them like the people do on the hit TLC show:

But there is a really helpful website out there that all you really have to do is sign up. The form is just asking for your email, a password and state you live in. You will receive Email's from them listing deals and specials in the weekly ad's from stores in your area. It's very organized and if you are looking for the best deals in your local supermarket or drug store this site is for you. If you have coupons already cut out, it tells you where you can purchase those items and save even more, sometimes get the items for FREE. One of the things I love is supermarkets that use loyalty cards let you load coupons directly onto those cards. And you don't even have to purchase your Sunday paper to get coupons. Don't forget those same coupons are mailed once a week between Tuesday and Thursday right to your mailbox.

Don't get confused by their main page, it looks really busy, however once you sign up the emails they send out are clear and easy to ready. It's a great FREE helpful tool for people to save money.

Visit Coupon Mom

Here is a video of Coupon Mom showing you how to use her site:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Polymer Clay?

For the past few months my daughter has turned into quite a gifted sculpture artist. She has been crafting Polymer items.

Polymer clay is a man-made material that will not dry out when exposed to air for a long period of time, but bakes in your home oven at a fairly low temperature to a hard, often pliable surface that can be painted and decorated.

It's such a cute way for kids to show a very creative side of themselves. And the clay and other items (such as paint) are very inexpensive. My daughter started just making figurines. Now she turns them into jewelry, pencil toppers, ornaments and cell phone charms. Her sculpting is awesome, and I can see her doing this same type of sculpting as a career, whether in a bakery or crafting her own art pieces.

I'm really impressed with her, because she studied all about it and has been practicing and perfecting her pieces all on her own. One of the coolest things she has shown me is how you can use regular white silicone (yes the type you use in home repairs) to decorate your clay pieces.

If the kids are looking for something fun to do this summer, why not try polymer clay projects. Polymer clay can be used by kids ages 5 and up. The younger set can start with sculpting their pieces and then you can bake them for them. As they get older ages 12 and up, they can then add items such as paint and silicone decorations. Packs of clay can be found anywhere, such as Michaels, Hobby Lobby and Walmart for about $1.29 a pack.

Check out Family Fun for polymer clay ideas

More clay ideas

Research clay lines here.