New This Week


New Super-Couponing Tips column: Unlimited printables — too good to be true?

“What do you think of these IP [internet printable coupon] fairies on Instagram? …you can go to the IP fairies and buy those coupons online and they’ll email them to you for 20 cents per coupon or $1 per page…”  


My deck stain report: One year later

I detailed my deck refinishing project in 2015 and had high hopes for the deck stain I chose. Since that time, I’ve had curious readers writing to ask how my deck currently looks. How did it weather over the past year?  


Giveaway: Win a Disney Princess soundtrack CD!

Is there a Disney Princess lover in your family? Have you heard about Disney’s newest Princess, Elena of Avalor? She’s got a new television show on the Disney Channel, and I’ve got an Elena Of Avalor soundtrack CD for a lucky fan…  


How does my garden grow? With stinky deer spray

Are you growing a garden this year? A new pest recently entered our yard: a beautiful doe who loves to eat our green bean and soybean plants. Don’t get me wrong — she’s a very pretty deer, but…  


Does anyone else do this?

Whenever I have a tube or bottle of scented lotion or sunscreen, I don’t toss it out when it’s “empty…” because it usually isn’t. It’s often really surprising just how much is left inside the package…  

Shopping and Savingnext >< prev

Coupon Matchups: Target Deals of the Week 7/24/16 – 7/30/16


$1.19 Purell hand sanitizer, $1.95 Brownberry bread, $2.12 Oreos, $2.97 Listerine mouthwash, $3.82 Kleenex 4-packs, $4.32 GoGo Squeez applesaue pouches, $4.77 Quilted Northern bath tissue, $5.49 Coppertone sunscreen  

Coupon Matchups: Walgreens Deals of the Week 7/24/16 – 7/30/16


.82 Kleenex, $1.49 Speed Stick, $1.49 Irish Spring body wash, $1.49 Suave Professionals haircare, $1.55 Kellogg's cereals, $1.55 Kellogg's Pop-Tarts, $1.66 General Mills cereals, $1.99 Colgate mouthwash, $1.99 Palmolive  

Coupon Matchups: CVS Deals of the Week 7/24/16 – 7/30/16

CVS pharmacy

FREE Colgate Total mouthwash, FREE Gatorade, .17 Puffs, .66 Dawn, .75 Speed Stick Gear, $1 L'Oreal Advanced haircare, $1.49 milk, $1.50 Ben & Jerry's ice cream, $1.50 Garnier Whole Blends haircare, $1.75 Softsoap body wash  

School Supply Deals: Office Depot & Max 7/24/16 – 7/30/16


.01 Office Depot index cards, .01 Office Depot mechanical pencils, .01 Office Depot pocket folders, .01 pencil boxes, .50 Crayola colored pencils, .50 Kids' scissors 2-packs, .50 Office Depot rulers, .50 Stellar poly 1-subject notebooks  

School Supply Deals: Staples 7/24/16 – 7/30/16


FREE Bic pens, FREE Bic Xtra Fun pencils, .50 Staples pencil box, .75 Hype highlighters, .75 Pentel high polymer erasers, $1 Bic Wite Out 2-pack rollers, $2 Staples 3-subject notebooks, $3 Expo dry erase markers with eraser  

Rebate and Coupon Deals: Menards 7/24/16 – 7/30/16


Menards 11% rebate is back this week: $2.66 AND1 athletic socks, $3.05 Clorox Outdoor Bleach, $8 3 or 4-shelf kits, $8.89 Designers Image horizontal shelf, $10.67 Fundamentals resin shelf kit  

School Supply Deals: Five Below 7/23/16 – 7/30/16

Five markers

.50 Comp books and portfolios, .50 Dixon pencils, $1 3-ring zip pencil pouches, $1 Kids' safety scissors, $1 Post-It pads, $2 binders, $2-$4 Quartet dry erase boards, $3 Fine Line 30ct. markers, $4 Quartet 12ct. dry erase markers  

Coupon Matchups: Jewel-Osco Deals of the Week 7/20/16 – 7/26/16


.41 Haribo gummy candies, .50 Hamburger Helper, .68 Yoplait Greek yogurt, $1.09 Ritz and Chips Ahoy, $1.50 Dannon LIght & Fit 4-packs, $1.75 Oreos or Teddy Grahams, $1.99 Cloralen bleach, $2 Blue Bunny ice cream  

Coupon Matchups: Meijer Deals of the Week 7/21/16 – 7/27/16


.49 Suddenly Salad, $1 Dole Fruitocracy, $1.17 Old Orchard juices, $1.19 Mott's applesauce cups and FREE Secret Life of Pets movie, $2.45 Silk milk and FREE yogurt, $2.54 Jimmy Deal breakfast sausage, $2.49 Kraft Mayo  

It’s July: Summer’s over.


Summer officially began on June 20th, but at least as far as one retailer is concerned, summer is apparently over -- less than two weeks later! Yesterday we went to Meijer and were greeted with this sign...  

Current National Catalina offers: July 2016

Epson Catalina

National Catalina offers for July 2016 include Cottonelle bath tissue, Mars ice cream treats, Gerber, Huggies, Tradewinds, Windex, and more...  

Expired coupon inserts to remove from your files: July 2016

coupon inserts

July is here! Here's a list of all of the coupon inserts that have expired within the last two months...  

Meijer Mperks: Have you signed up?


If you shop at Meijer and aren't taking advantage of the discounts available through Meijer's Mperks ecoupons, you're missing out on savings on everything from groceries to clothing! It's free to sign up for Mperks...  

“Unicorns” in the wild: A new name for counterfeit coupons


"I know you say never to buy coupons, but the CIC says if they have the gold foil strip, they are real. I have bought some online and they have the gold CIC hologram, and they worked at the store. As long as I stick to the gold ones, I'm okay right?"  

Current National Catalina offers: June 2016

Epson Catalina

National Catalina offers for June 2016 include Dove body wash, Tradewinds Iced Tea, Ice Mountain bottled water, Aveeno, Kikkoman, L'oreal and more...  

Expired coupon inserts to remove from your files: June 2016

coupon inserts

Can you believe it's June? Here's a list of all of the coupon inserts that have expired within the last two months...  

Shippers beware: My UPS Store lost package saga


I recently had an issue shipping a package from my local UPS Store, and the saga that ensued seemed so incredible to me that I wanted to share it with you. I had done some work for a colleague that was extremely time-sensitive...  

CVS/pharmacy says goodbye to long receipts

CVS pharmacy

Do you love or hate CVS' long paper receipts? (I have to confess, I actually like them, because I never lose them in my purse!) If you're not a fan, though, CVS has announced that you'll soon have the option to choose a digital receipt...  

Walmart eliminates price-matching from 500 locations


Price-matching fans, your days may be numbered if you ad-match at Walmart. Walmart has announced that as part of an overall price-lowering strategy, they will eliminate ad matching at 500 store locations...  

Thanks for more bargain bed pillows, JC Penney


I never let a good $10-off-$10 coupon go to waste (and neither should you..!) JC Penney is particularly good about sending these out, at least to me – and they never fail to get me in the store...  

The return of the Trial-Size Dawn detergents


You may remember that last year, I reached out to Proctor & Gamble to inquire why some 9-ounce bottles of Dawn dish detergent were marked “Trial Size,” while other identically-sized 9-ounce Dawns were not...  

Sweet Blue Bunny $1.67 ice cream deal at Jewel


Here's a fun deal that will please ice cream lovers all over Chicagoland! Buy two Blue Buny novelties and one tub of ice cream ($7.) Use two $1 coupons from the 4/24 SS and the Buy 2 Get 1 FREE coupon. Pay $5 for everything!  

Expired coupon inserts to remove from your files: May 2016

coupon inserts

May Day! If you have any of the following inserts in your files, you can pull them out and recycle them - all of the coupons inside each insert have expired...  

Current National Catalina offers: May 2016

Epson Catalina

National Catalina offers for May 2016 include Carnation Instant Breakfast, Cascade Platinum, Gerber baby foods, Huggies, Klondike, Off, Pledge, Ragu, Solo, Tradewinds, Zest and more...  

Home and Stylenext >< prev

A wasp-free climber and swingset makeover

wasps everywhere swingset

For whatever reason, wasps have decided to make our children's backyard swingset their home. The number of wasps living in every concealed crack and crevice in this thing was astounding...  

This weed torch is my new favorite garden tool


Every year, our family plants a vegetable garden, and every year, despite my best intentions, there comes a point in time when the garden becomes more than a little overrun with weeds...  

Our #DisneySide @Home Celebration: Disney sent a party to our house!

Mickey Mouse cake

Disney selected our family for a DisneySide at Home party! Disney sent a box of party supplies, treats, party games, prizes home decorations, goodie bags and gifts for our guests. We picked a date, invited friends and family...  

Summertime chores? These kids are cleaning up.


I enlisted the help of my boys to clean up some areas that seem to get dirty and grungy no matter what we do. They were actually looking for chores to do, so I tried to pick some semi-enjoyable ones...  

My black leather trenchcoat

My black leather trenchcoat

I've owned this black leather trenchcoat for more than 17 years, but the coat is older than I am. This coat has a story, and this seems as good a time as any to tell it...  

Goodbye to the wedding dresses

wedding dress

One of my friends reached out and said she didn't want to keep her wedding dress anymore. She wasn't sure if it was worth trying to sell it. "You're good with money -- do you think it's worth anything?"  

My love for old Corning Ware dishes

Corning Ware

If I ever wrote a second blog, it would be an ode to my favorite cookware, Corning Ware, and all the things I do with it. My mom got me hooked on Corning Ware when I was a 20-something setting up my first house...  

Meat Claws are my new favorite kitchen tools

meat claws

I picked up a pair of Meat Claws recently and couldn't wait to try them out! I am a sucker for kitchen gadgets, and the package promised that they would "shred meat easily." My sons told me I looked like Wolverine.  

Reminder: Wash your reusable shopping bags


Here’s something I admittedly don’t do often enough: Wash my reusable shopping bags. I actually do prefer using reusable bags when I shop, because I think they’re much stronger than the thin plastic ones...  

Our daughter’s college journey: Weighing costs and education


"Have you shared any tips from shopping for colleges with your oldest daughter?" I've been receiving a few emails and messages asking about the path we chose for our daughter's education. and I'd be happy to share...  

My quest to find a great deck stain: Bond’s One Time

deck stain

As anyone with a deck knows, they are not maintenance-free. This time around, I wanted a deck stain that would last for many years without the disappointing results of the last stain I used...  

Welcome to my summer office


One of the best parts of blogging for a living is being able to set my own hours and work from just about anywhere. I have a setup that I've nicknamed my "summer office," which is ready for summertime fun...  

Foodnext >< prev

Sweet & Tangy Lemon Chicken

Lemon Chicken

This one's a family favorite in our house -- the kind of food that everyone runs to the table to eat once I serve it up!  

A year’s worth of Survival Soup for under $300? I tried it.

survival soup cup

“Have you seen the recipe for a survival soup for preparing for disasters? It says you can store a year's worth of soup ingredients for four people for under $300..."  

Recipe: Ridiculously Easy 5-Minute Tortilla Soup

tortilla soup

This "Ridiculously Easy 5-Minute Tortilla Soup" is one of my favorite slow-cooker recipes to make! Aside from opening cans and dumping them into your slow cooker, you can have this simmering in a pot in less than five minutes...  

Octopus Flowers, “Cobra Skin,” and Watermelon Tuna: My gastronomic dining experience

Cobra Skin

Chef Adam Melonas prepared a gastronomic dining experience that lasted over three hours. Adam specializes in progressive cuisine, or what some call molecular gastronomy. It is an art of presenting foods in ways you've likely never seen...  

Recipe: Campfire Dutch Oven Apple Dump Cake

Campfire dump cake

Dutch ovens are great for making "Dump Cakes," meaning, you dump everything into the oven, close it up, and let it bake. My boys made their own Dump Cake during our weekend campout -- so simple and so delicious...  

The Most Perfect Hawaiian Pizza

Coconut water pizza crust

When we visited Kauai in August, everyone in our family was enamored with the pizza we enjoyed in Hanalei. It featured a multigrain crust made with coconut water. For this recipe, I wanted to incorporate coconut water and coconut oil...

Artisan Bread in 5 minutes – make it at home!

Artisan bread

This week, by reader request, I added a Recipes section to the Forum here on the blog. And, reading the recipes readers have been posting inspired me to share this one with you all. Around fall of last year, I came across this Instructable online for “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.” It seemed [...]

Making a jar of cake-mix “upsizer”

Cake Mix Upsizer

It's getting difficult to find a cake mix that hasn't been reduced from 18.25 ounces to 15.25 ounces. This week, two things came up that made me want to work on a solution of sorts to this issue...  

Travelnext >< prev

Driving across South Dakota

Beautiful South Dakota

Our RV tour's scheduled stops for the day included a visit to the Mitchell Corn Palace, an on-your-own lunch, and an ice cream social at the legendary Wall Drug, which my boys were very excited about...  

Three days in the Dells: A weekend away that’s close to home!


Ever since I was a child, I've enjoyed going to Wisconsin Dells for vacations, long weekends or short getaways. Our family recently spent a long weekend in the Dells, and there are truly so many things to do in this area...  

Visiting the Mall of America

Mall of America

The Mall of America is home to the largest indoor theme park in the United States, Nickelodeon Universe. There are 30 rides inside the mall, as well as a high ropes course and a mini golf course...  

The All American RV Blogger Tour: Indiana to Utah


I and 15 other bloggers took part in the All American RV Blogger Tour! This was a first-of-its-kind event designed to send bloggers on a cross-country journey from Indiana to Utah...  

Devil’s Tower and a drive to Utah

Devils Tower

Our campground host let us know we'd likely see both wild turkeys and deer outside our cabin windows in the morning. My husband woke up and stepped outside onto the deck, where he took this photo...  

My must-have when traveling with carry-on luggage


One of my favorite travel tips when I’m traveling with carry-on luggage? Always take a second, lightweight tote bag with you that’s slightly larger than the “personal item” you carry on. You just may need it to comply with the airlines’ “One carry-on, one personal item” rule. I typically travel with a rolling carry-on suitcase [...]

Top ways to save on your Walt Disney World vacation


I'm always happy to answer questions on where to stay, resort amenities and dining. Learn about Disney resort rooms for under $100 per night and a special "Buy 4, Get the 5th day FREE" offer on park passes - just $64.59 per day!  

Taking the RV from Indiana to Minnesota


We woke up to a sunny day in Middlebury, Indiana. The KOA campground we stayed at has a lot of amenities to enjoy, including mini golf, bicycle and paddleboat rentals. They had a large swimming pool...  

What’s in your trunk? Three things to carry at all times…

Trunk backpack

I believe everyone should be prepared, even minimally, for a situation in which you may not reach your destination due to weather or other complications. What's in your vehicle's trunk right now? At a bare minimum, I recommend you carry...  

Our 2015 Walt Disney World trip – Part 2: Staying on-site, staying off-site, and tips for buying Disney souvenirs up to 70% off


We split our stay between Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and the Downtown Disney Hilton Lake Buena Vista. You also won't want to miss these tips for buying Disney parks merchandise and souvenirs up to 70% off... 

Our 2015 Walt Disney World Vacation – Part 1: MagicBands, Memory Maker, park days and downtown days


My family and I were privileged to head back to Walt Disney World for the Flower and Garden Festival. So much has changed since our previous stay at Walt Disney World five years ago...  

Day-pack essentials for theme park trips

Swiss day pack

Whether our family's headed to Disney, Universal, Six Flags or another destination, I always bring what my family affectionately calls my "black backpack" on all of our theme park trips. I don't like carrying a purse when we're in theme-park commando mode. A few years ago I discovered the perfect small, yet durable sling-style backpack...  

Make Thisnext >< prev

Building a kitchen countertop extension


Our daughter's new apartment really only has one issue -- limited counter space and no place to put a microwave or other small appliances. I got the idea to build a countertop extension for her kitchen...  

Our ultimate one-minute theme park tailgating setup

tailgating at six flags

Our family has had a fun summer of enjoying days at the zoo, water parks, and theme parks. My kids actually look forward to our lunchtime tailgating, as we can completely set it up in under one minute...  

Pooh to Pikachu

Pooh to Pikachu

This year, when I asked my son what kind of cake he wanted, he said "Pikachu." The popular Pokemon character is certainly cute, but how to best capture him in cake form? Many of my cakes take shape...  

Easy kids’ craft: Make a can candle

Can candle

I believe I was around 7 or 8 years old when we made tin can candles, and so I did a quick web search to see if my juvenile memories of it were correct. Incredibly, I couldn't find anything online about how to make these...  

Mending my family’s clothes: How to fix worn jeans “invisibly”

Worn jeans

While I could put patches over these ripped knees, I also don't want my kids to be self-conscious of an obvious repair job. I want to share how I've been able to extend the life of my sons' jeans by patching them invisibly...  

How to make a large utility tote for less than $20

How to make a utility tote

If you've been wanting a large utility tote without spending too much, and you have minimal sewing skills (like me!) read on and learn how you can make your own large utility tote from one yard of fabric for less than $20...  

The eighteen-year-old quilt

T Shirt Quilt

I came up with the idea to make a quilt for her eighteenth birthday. And for the past thirteen years, I've been saving our daughter's favorite shirts as she outgrew them. Everything from T-shirts and sports jerseys to pajamas...  

Here’s an idea for leftover wax from your wax melter


The wax melt packaging recommends that you pour the melted wax back into the clamshell packaging to dispose of it. Being frugal, I couldn't simply throw the wax away. So, we're reusing it in a creative way...  

Making a jar of cake-mix “upsizer”

Cake Mix Upsizer

It's getting difficult to find a cake mix that hasn't been reduced from 18.25 ounces to 15.25 ounces. This week, two things came up that made me want to work on a solution of sorts to this issue...  

Make your own “Slushy Magic” at home!


To recreate the Slushy Magic effect, it's important to understand how it works. Each cup comes with three plastic ice cubes filled with salt water. Salt water freezes at a lower temperature than plain water does...