Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Some of My Honest Favorites

We have moved to a new home! Come visit us at Capturing Inspirations at!

Summer is a great time to catch up on some reading. I have always been a bit of a nerd in the book department, so occasionally I will share one that has really made an impact on me. I received The Honest Life: Living Naturally and True to You written by Jessica Alba, for a Mother's Day gift this year and it has become one of my most highly recommended books to anyone looking for a great reference to eating healthier, organizing, entertaining, and general education about all the toxic substances that you may be unaware of (and great alternatives to any toxic brands we use).

This is also where I found the baby food recipe that I use for my daughter and she loves it. It's simple, easy, and nutritious. It makes baby food delicious and wholesome. I make a big batch and freeze the other half to save for later when life gets crazy busy.

Jessica also gives a simple recipe that she makes for her children for a quick and nutritious breakfast drink. You use a cup of frozen blueberries, handful of spinach, and cup of almond milk and then blend. It's so delicious and filling. My son loves it with a frozen banana blended in as well. Anytime I can sneak in a veggie in his food like spinach I am all about it.

I had discovered that since I became a mom, I have developed a deep passion to providing the healthiest way of life for my family. In food and the products we use. I am far from perfection, but have improved tremendously now that I have the knowledge. Ignorance is not bliss. As ridiculous as it sounds, when I would spray a harsh cleaner and expose myself to the chemicals, I wouldn't think much about it. But when I see my children press their delicate baby faces against the glass that I just cleaned with a cleaner that contains ammonia, that keeps me up at night. Not because of the smudges (those tiny hand and lip prints are adorable), but because I exposed them to harmful chemicals in their little growing bodies. And what about myself? If I want the best for them, how about taking better care of what I use so I can be around as long as possible to enjoy life with them!? There has got to be a better way. And there is!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Chipping Away Student Loan Debt

My husband and I after we received our diplomas - 2006
Me and my parents on grad day - 2006

Chipping clearly is the correct term here. As a stay-at-home momma, most days we are scraping by. Regardless of my current situation, I have decided to get a little crazy with paying off my massive student loan debt. It has been haunting me for way too long.

I recently got inspired by rereading a book called The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey. This book is near and dear to my heart, since it is the book that created our personal radical move toward eliminating debt to enable me to become a stay-at-home mom. However, the ominous emails from Sallie Mae come every month and we pay it on time and then forget about it until the next month rolls around. Sound familiar?

Well...this month I happened to check on things beyond the monthly due date and see how we must have caused a dent in the school debt by now. I mean, it's been almost 7 years since I've graduated! Much to my surprise, it was as if the debt grew. Which it did. Thanks to interest. It felt like a "one step forward, two steps back" scenario.

A very rude awakening occurred when I saw the estimated date of when the debt would be paid off. I'm pretty sure I almost fainted. Lets just say, for a few years we will be paying for my son (who's currently 2 1/2 years old) AND MY COLLEGE at the same time!!!

Unless, I do something about it.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Publix Shopping Trip 7/26 $119 Worth in Groceries for $32.29

We have moved to a new home! Come visit us at Capturing Inspirations at!

I have a few things to mention in today's post. My weekly savings trip is in with a Pinterest Challenge update! Lots of goodies to share with you all! Brace yourselves!

The great thing about couponing is if sales aren't too stellar for the week, you've usually got a few items stocked up to get you by. I'm hoping next week deals are better for my family. There wasn't a whole lot that I was excited about, so I decided to mix my full weeks shopping in with the best deals (keep in mind, I purchase all my produce from a local market...and I buy a LOT of fresh produce). All is not lost, though. Always some great deals to be had.

All for $32.29!

7/26 Publix Shopping Trip 73% Savings!

Here's my shopping trip breakdown: (for coupon lingo explained, see my coupon key page)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Publix Running Out Run In Rebate Senario

Here's a quick Publix Running out Run in Rebate scenario for you to see an example of how you can use coupons AND a rebate to SAVE BIGTIME!

I love to compare one item at regular cost vs. my OOP total. Here you can see I purchased all these items - after rebate - for less than a package of diapers. Yesssss.

Rebate Scenario...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Publix Shopping Trip 7/18 $58 Worth in Groceries for $6.81!

$58 Worth in Groceries for $6.81!
I'm getting better at my coupon shopping trip breakdowns just for you! If you haven't noticed, I have added links to where you can get your printable coupons to save you time and hassle hunting for them yourselves. If you don't want to miss my weekly breakdown deals remember to subscribe by email on the right hand side of my site.

Publix is currently running a rebate for when you spend a total of $30 for specific products (that's before coupons) and you get mailed a $10 Publix gift card. Not a bad deal if you plan on getting these items anyway. One thing to remember about coupons is to stick to what you would normally purchase. Couponing is a marketing strategy to hook you into buying a product. If you go overboard it defeats the purpose. Just a reminder. However, if you can score 10 particular items for .10 cents each then who cares. Go overboard! Just remember me and share your good deals too!

 If you'd like more information on the Publix rebate and would like the rebate form click here.

So here's the breakdown of this week's first shopping trip (I will do a "rebate" trip tomorrow)...

Something to Smile About

We have moved to a new home! Come visit us at Capturing Inspirations at!

Being a stay-at-home-mom has taught me a bit about frugality and being coupon savvy in order to keep my sanity in the shopping department of life. Whether it is groceries or clothing, shoes or make up. It has allowed me to hang on to a few of my old favorite products and continue to indulge in the occasional Starbucks as I did when I was a "working" woman.

I have been holding out for the coupon stars to align for me to be able to make this specific deal happen. Finally that time is now. Or at least until the 7/31/13 expiration date.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sunday Funday

The weekend was in full swing and I was fully enjoying the summer sun by the pool. I got a brilliant idea to try out my second pin on the Pinterest Challenge. It just made an already relaxing afternoon that much more fun.

These were a refreshing treat and tasted just like they were ordered from a swim up bar at some fancy resort. Absolutely fabulous.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

DIY Honey Cinnamon Facial

I have been gathering ingredients for a few Pinterest recipes to try this weekend. I have a feeling that these are going to be a home run. Strawberry mojitos, Watermelon-lime slushies, Tuscan pasta, how can these NOT be a hit out of the park? I will let you know.

The first pin I was able to check off my list  is one I tried out the other night. It was a recipe, only not one to eat. It was strictly for beautification purposes. It is a DIY facial.

After a busy day with the kids, nothing beats some relaxation time in the evening. I thought I would try out my first pin from the Pinterest Challenge and give it a go.

Here's the pin from my "Spa at Home" board...

Honey Cinnamon Facial 

This is a simple DIY facial mask that uses things you can find in your own pantry.

Ingredients for the facial: Honey, cinnamon, nutmeg

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What is Ibotta?

"I bought a....Ibotta?" Huh?? Well, actually Ibotta is free. You don't need to buy it. It's a free app you download on your smartphone that lets you earn cash on many different products.

I have noticed that a lot of people I talk to about coupons are unaware of Ibotta. There is not a whole lot posted about it online, it's fairly new. But I'm confident it will become a major player in the money saving market. Ibotta is a great way to boost your savings at the grocery store and also at large chain stores like Target, Walmart, and newly added Whole Foods. It takes just a few moments to "earn" money from the offers they provide.

How Ibotta Works

Ibotta has offers that they update frequently throughout each month. If you see a product you are interested in, it will ask you to complete a task. Don't fret, the tasks are super simple and take hardly any time or effort at all. For example, one task might be to take a quick poll, or learn a fact. Once you complete a task, it will keep track of the amount of money you "earned" and hold it for you until you redeem the cash. You get to redeem cash first by buying the product, showing proof of purchase through a receipt, and then it will give you the money.

Once you purchase the products you selected on your list, you snap a photo of your receipt with your smartphone, upload it and it deposits the cash you earned into an account. You can then withdraw your money from that account into your personal PayPal account. It's SO simple. The great thing about this app (well, besides earning extra money) is it takes you through each step very simply so you aren't scratching your head figuring out what to do next.

You will then get an alert stating the amount of money you earned and will also give you opportunities to earn bonuses. Pay attention to the bonuses, because these can add up quickly. Which is a good thing if you like extra money in your account.

I have taught a few coupon classes and Ibotta is something that I always wish we had more time to discuss. I believe it to be a way couponing will progress in the future.

What You Need For Ibotta

A smart phone - to download the app. To download the app, click here!

A PayPal account - so you can collect your earned money (easy to set up if you don't have one)

Why Ibotta is so Exciting

You can use your manufacturer coupons and stack it with your store coupons AND use an Ibotta deal. This means you can save EVEN MORE on items offered with Ibotta. They are always changing up their deals, so there are many opportunities to save.

So there you have it! Give Ibotta a try and see how you like it. As I mentioned, it's a free app, so you don't have anything to lose...well except money you give away to the grocery store. I always appreciate it when we can hang on to a little more of it.

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup

This recipe warms your soul. It's delicious. It's filling. It has been a family favorite for years. We add lots of corn chips in ours for some crunch, but the soup is fine all on its own. If you appreciate tortilla soup, you will simply love this recipe.


2 lbs of boneless chicken breast, shredded
1 can of enchilada sauce
1 can of diced tomatoes (petite diced)
1 medium onion, diced
1 can of chopped green chilies
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 cups of water
1 can of chicken broth (14.5 oz)
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. of chili powder
1 tsp. of cumin
1 package of frozen corn (10 oz)
1 Tbsp. dried cilantro
Salt and Pepper to taste
For garnish, corn chips, 2 cups of shredded cheese, and sour cream)

Cook chicken in the broth with some onioni, garlic and salt and pepper. Boil for twenty minutes. When cool, shred the chicken and add broth mixture to slow cooker with all the other ingredients. Cook on high for 4 hours or large pot on the stove and cook for 2 to 3 hours. Add garnish and enjoy!

Publix Shopping Trip 7/11

LOTS of free items in today's shopping trip. I love it when that happens! I got $82 dollars worth of groceries for close to $10 bucks!

I'm pretty sure we are going to be smelling good in this house. Plenty of body wash to go around. I stumbled upon this body wash deal and then soon discovered their was quite a controversy surrounding this coupon for using it to buy the body wash. Although Clairol is the manufacturer of Herbal Essence, the coupon was intended for the hair color care products, not the body wash. I read someone explaining that on Clairol's Facebook page the wording on the coupon wasn't correct, but they were still going to honor the coupon for body wash and other Clairol products. That's all I need to know. Say no more. As long as I can use them. Here's the snippet from the Facebook discussion:

"Clairol Thanks for asking. It was our intent that the coupon be used for $5 off of any 2 Clairol hair color products only. We understand that the wording of the coupon does not clarify hair color and want to reassure you that we fully take responsibility and will honor the redemptions. However, we hope that our original intent of offering $5 off of any 2 Clairol hair color products is recognized, so that we can continue to provide value offers in the future. Thank you for reaching out for clarity. ^Renee"

Well, Renee, even if value offers come up in the near future, we are probably still going to be all set on body wash for awhile. But thank you!

$82 Worth in Groceries for $10!


Here's the breakdown...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pinterest Challenge: My Top Ten Pins

Here we go!
It's time to kick off the Pinterest Live Your Dreams Challenge today!

If you missed the information about the challenge go here to read about how you can join in on the action!
I hope you enjoyed going through your pin boards and finding some fun things to try out. In my own endeavors I discovered that some pins where connected to the ever disappointing "page cannot be displayed" or an etsy site where, to my dismay, wouldn't be teaching me how to make that specific project (I do love etsy, however, wasn't quite what I was needing). This gave me an opportunity to weed through some pins and note the ones worth keeping around. Of course I didn't make it through all four thousand of them, but enough to give myself a little pat on the back.

I also heard that there is a new Hobby Lobby in town and I just couldn't resist taking my little ones to check it out. Oh man. That place is great. I felt like I was in a Vegas casino, staying longer than I anticipated and when I left, the sunlight was so bright it stung my eyes. I can't wait to go back. Only when I do, I will have a list.

Ali sporting the fire hat.

Hobby Lobby is a HUGE store.
Keep small children close to you, because once you blink they are gone!


I am ready to get started on this month's challenge! I know it will be a learning experience for us all and it will be interesting to see what we take away from this experience.

Here are my ten pins! Remember to comment below listing your ten!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Publix Coupon Deals 7/8

Ran into Publix tonight with the kids and grabbed a few more of my favorite deals. I am planning on making one of my favorite crockpot dishes tomorrow, tortilla soup. I needed a few things for the kids and took advantage of some great coupons to use before they expired. Here's what I came up with...

$58 Worth in Groceries for $28

Here's the breakdown...

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Pinterest: 10 Days to Living Your Dreams Challenge

This time of year the lull of the summer starts to set in. Fourth of July festivities are over and things begin to quiet down. It's from now until Labor Day where you can catch up on projects around the house, go on family trips to the beach, kick back, relax and bask in the hot summer rays.

However, my personal reality is with two kids running around (well, one running and one crawling very fast), it's hard to get some down time. You also might not feel so relaxed at work or simply feel stuck in a rut with your daily routine. You may be trying to think of fun things to do to keep your kids busy or interesting ways to occupy your own time. Whatever your reasons, I have a fun idea for those willing to try and are ready to shake things up a bit. I decided to create a fun little challenge to motivate myself into refocusing on some things that I've been wanting to accomplish. This challenge involves a favorite pastime of mine called Pinterest.

Friday, July 5, 2013

7/4 Publix Shopping Trip: $53 Worth in Groceries for $5!

We have moved to a new home! Come visit us at Capturing Inspirations at!

I hope you all had a fabulous Fourth of July holiday! We had a busy day of fun spending time with friends and swimming in the pool. I had 6 bucks cash to take to Publix and got over $50 worth in groceries (the breakdown is below). Lets just say, we didn't need to go out for ice cream. Ben & Jerry's was quite a steal and I had a very happy family when I came home with an assortment of pints. We are getting stocked up on pasta sauce and pasta around here! I need to have the family over for a spaghetti dinner soon to make some room in my pantry for next week's haul.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Stocking Spree Publix Coupon Booklet

We have moved to a new home! Come visit us at Capturing Inspirations at!

Here it is! Coming soon to a mailbox near you!
Well, if you have signed up to get it. If not - here's your chance! This booklet is really too good not to mention. I look forward to getting this booklet in the mail every few months. It typically has high value Publix coupons that you can pair with a manufacturer coupon to save big time (check out my blog post about money makers if you haven't yet!) A lot of my best shopping weeks are when I get to use these coupons. If you don't have a Publix near you, maybe you know someone who does! Pass on this info (use the 'email link' or Facebook button at the end of my blog to let them know) - I'm sure they will thank you! Who doesn't appreciate saving a little $$$ :)

You do need to sign up for it to arrive in your mailbox if you haven't already.

See what's in the booklet

Click the link below to take you to the site to sign up:

Stocking Spree Coupon Book

Money Maker Coupon Deals and How They Work

We have moved to a new home! Come visit us at Capturing Inspirations at! 

Money-makers are a rare gem in the couponing world. When you see these coupons paired with a great deal, the products usually fly off the shelves. It’s very exciting and very easy to add to your shopping trip in order to bring down your overall total expense.
I recently put together a great money-maker deal at my local grocery store just last week. It wasn’t even paired with a sale. It was done by using ONLY coupons. Here’s how I did it:
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