10 Best School Supplies to Pack in Operation Christmas Child Boxes


Note: in the pictures I included Elmer’s glue, however that will be removed from shoeboxes because it may leak. Thanks to Jillian on the PPP Facebook page for letting me know!


I’m so excited about this! With Operation Christmas Child Shoebox filling just around the corner, this is the perfect time to start gathering back to school supply deals that you’ve scored the last few weeks to pack in your boxes. This is one of our family’s favorite ministries, as it helps my kids learn ways to give to those in need across the world.


Reagan and I spent a few minutes this morning packing up a box, and thought it would be fun for you to see what we included. Click HERE or above to watch the video (sorry about the sound clicking in and out ~ we’ll work on that!)


Here’s a peek at what back to school supplies to pack . . . 

1. pencil sharpener

2. pens, pencils and colored pencils

3. small notebook and index cards

4. glue sticks

5. highlighters and markers



6. kid scissors (regular scissors for teenage boxes)

7. mini stapler

8. 3 hole punch

9. master lock (especially for teenage boxes)

10. school supply box (you can fill the box with school supplies to make more room in your shoebox)



National Collection Week for Shoeboxes this year is November 14-21, and if you’re not sure where to drop off a box in your area you can go HERE to find a local collection site. They do ask that you also give a donation of $7 per box to cover the cost of shipping – learn more about that over HERE and donate online as well.


What other school supplies do you plan to pack this year in your Operation Christmas Child Shoebox? I’d love to hear your ideas ~ leave a comment to share!

Looking for more on how to pack an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox? Head on over HERE for more ideas and tips!

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7 Things You Need To Know About The New American Girl Rewards Program

secrets to thenew American Girl Rewards Program!

American Girl Stores have recently launched their American Girl Rewards Program, where your loyalty to the AG brand will surely pay off! For each dollar you spend you can earn points, which can then be redeemed for all sorts of American Girl Doll perks.

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{Costco sometimes carries American Girl items during the Christmas season ~ definitely watch for those!}

Now, the best way I’ve found to save on American Girl items is to shop their huge sales a few times a year (I always post those here on PPP), or watch for deals on American Girls in private Facebook selling groups that are local in your area. You can also always watch for American Girl Savings online, and taking advantage of the new American Girls Rewards Program and really help you rack up.



So how can you make the most of the new American Girls Rewards Program? Here you go:

1. Sign up.

Sign up for the American Girl Rewards Program online or in store. It isn’t a complicated task and takes just seconds. Just enter some basic information and you are all set to start earning points on your purchases.

2. Use your membership number at checkout.

Whether you’re shopping in store or online, don’t forget to enter your account number so your points can be added to your account. Even if you forgot your number or don’t have it on hand, you can easily pull it up by logging into your AG account.

3. Make at least one purchase a year.

Your points will stay in your account as long as you make one purchase per year. If you don’t, your points will vanish ~ don’t let that happen! Instead, be sure you are using your account when you shop and getting credit for your purchases.

4. Use your member number even on clearance and restaurant purchases.

Your member number can be used when you purchase clearance items and even when you eat at the café! Be sure anytime you spend money at American Girl you are using your member number so you can get points. The only item you can’t earn points on is gift cards, but everything else is free game.


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5. Turn gift cards into points.

Did your child get an American Girl gift card for a birthday or holiday? You can still use it at check out and earn points on your purchase. Whether paying cash, charge, or using a gift card, you’ll still earn points on your purchase.

***Don’t forget ~ Costco frequently has $100 in American Girl Gift Cards on sale for $79.99, so grab your gift cards at Costco then use them at the American Girl Store!****


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6. Know your rewards.

It’s motivating to know what perks you are working your way towards, so make sure you know how their point scale works. For each 200 points you earn you’ll get a $10 gift card.


Point categories are tiered so you can get even more perks with the more points you earn, including birthday gifts for your child, exclusive sale access, members only surprises, and so much more.

7. Check your email.

As a club member you will get perks and special announcements sent to your email. Be sure you check those emails so you don’t miss any information that is coming your way. You can opt out of these emails at anytime, but they are excellent for being in the know.

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Have you heard of other ways to save at the American Girl Store? I’d love to hear them, leave a comment to share

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My Favorite Menu Planner (Ends Tonight!)

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I’m so excited about this! My friend Tiffany from Eat at Home Cooks is offering her Monthly Menu Plans on sale right now (as little as $4.08 per month), when you use the code SUMMERSALE at checkout, but it ends TONIGHT!

I’ve made many of Tiffany’s recipes and loved them, and I love that she’s put them all together with easy lists and simple instructions to make grocery shopping and menu planning so much simpler. I actually just signed up myself for 3 months and after looking round at the menus I am in LOVE.

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I printed off our menu plan for next week (INCLUDING recipes & grocery list) in about 2 minutes, and I can’t wait to try it out. I purchased the 3 month subscription for just $17, and am curious to see how my family likes it. It is such a huge time saver, that I know I’ll love using it!

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 I chose the Whole Food menu plan for next week, but you can select ANY of the menu plans she has, including a traditional recipe plan and even a slow cooker option. The best part is that once you sign up you have access to all of the menu plans, so this is such a great way to dry out different recipes and see what your family loves!
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Head on over HERE to download yours, and if you’ve tried Eat at Home menus in the past I’d love to hear your thoughts. Go HERE and be sure to use the code SUMMERSALE at checkout to get started!




Find more top retail deals.


This post contains affiliate links which help support this site.  See my disclosure policy to learn more.




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13 Deals You Can’t Miss at Costco This Month (Ends 8/28/16)



Okie dokie folks, besides the Costco whole chicken you should probably pick up every time you shop Costco, here are a few more items that just started in the Costco sale ad which may be worth picking up this month.



Just like any grocery store, you really do save more at Costco when you’re willing to shop their monthly sales ad (which is really just their coupon book that runs each month.) Here are the items I think are worth grabbing before 8/28/16.


Costco Best Deals Ending 8/28/16

1. GoGo Squeez Applesauce, 20 ct 3.2 oz cups – $8.99

  • Use $2.50/1 Materne GoGo SqueeZ Organic Applesauce Variety – Costco Monthly Booklet (Valid from 8/4/16); Includes 20/3.2 oz Only; No Limit (exp. 08/28/16)
  • $6.49 after coupon

2. Ziploc Sandwich Bags, 500 ct – $8.99

  • Use $2.00/1 Ziploc Sandwich Bags – Costco Monthly Booklet (Valid from 8/4/16); Includes 500 ct Only; Limit 5 (exp. 08/28/16)
  • $6.99 after coupon 

3. Dannon Danimals Smoothie Variety Pack, 36 ct 3.1 oz – $10.39

  • Use $3.00/1 Dannon Danimals Smoothie Variety Pack – Costco Monthly Booklet (Valid from 8/4/16); Includes 36/3.1 oz Only; No Limit (exp. 08/28/16)
  • $7.39 after coupon

4. Capri Sun 100% Juice Variety Pack, 40 ct 6 oz pouches – $9.99

  • Use $2.50/1 Capri Sun 100% Juice Variety Pack – Costco Monthly Booklet (Valid from 8/4/16); Includes 40/6 oz Only; Limit 4 (exp. 08/28/16)
  • $7.49 after coupon or $1.87 per 10 pk

5. Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats, 54 ct – $10.99

  • Use $3.00/1 Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats – Costco Monthly Booklet (Valid from 8/4/16); Includes 54 ct Only; Limit 6 (exp. 08/28/16)
  • $7.99 after coupon or $.15 per treat

6. General Mills Fruit by the Foot, 48 ct – $12.59

  • Use $3.30/1 General Mills Fruit by The Foot Variety – Costco Monthly Booklet (Valid from 8/4/16); Includes 48 ct Only; Limit 4 (exp. 08/28/16)
  • $9.29 after coupon or $.19 each

7. Tyson Panko Breaded Chicken Tenders, 5 lbs – $13.99

  • Use $3.50/1 Tyson Panko Chicken Nuggets – Costco Monthly Booklet (Valid from 8/4/16); Includes 5 lb Only; No Limit (exp. 08/28/16)
  • $10.49 after coupon

8. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner, 18 pk 7.25 oz – $14.89

  • Use $3.60/1 Kraft Macaroni & Cheese – Costco Monthly Booklet (Valid from 8/4/16); Includes 18/7.25 oz Only; Limit 5 (exp. 08/28/16)
  • $11.29 after coupon or $.63 each (Publix has Annie’s Macaroni & Cheese free this week)

9. Glad 13 Gallon Odor Shield Trash Bags with Febreeze, 140 ct – $16.99

  • Use $3.80/1 Glad Odorshield with Febreze Trash Bags – Costco Monthly Booklet (Valid from 8/4/16); Includes 13 gal 140 ct Only; Limit 5 (exp. 08/28/16)
  • $13.19 after coupon or $.09 per bag

10. Charmin Ultra Strong Bath Tissue, 30 ct super rolls – $18.99

11. Finish Powerball All-in-One Tabs, 115 ct – $17.49

12. Bounty Advanced Select-A-Size Paper Towels (12 Roll) – $19.99

  • Use $3.90/1 Bounty Advanced Select-A-Size Paper Towels – Costco Monthly Booklet (Valid from 8/4/16); Includes 12/117 Sheets Only; Limit 1 Per Household (exp. 08/28/16)
  • $16.09 after coupon or $1.34 per roll

13. Tide Powder Laundry Detergent HE, 254 oz, 180 loads – $29.99

  • Use $6.00/1 Tide Powder HE Laundry Detergent – Costco Monthly Booklet (Valid from 8/4/16); Includes 254 oz 180 ld Only; Limit 1 Per Household (exp. 08/28/16)
  • $23.99 after coupon or $0.09 per ounce 
Always a deal



Milk $1.89 per gallon This beats the price I’ve seen at Kroger lately, but I got 3 gallons of milk for $1.49 yesterday at Aldi, so if you don’t have a Costco membership you can still easily save.




Bananas $1.39 for 3 pounds or 46¢ per pound



Costco Rotisserie Chicken $4.99 which comes out to about 5 cups of shredded chicken ~ stock up price!




Perdue Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast 10 lb. bag $23.99 or $2.39/lb. If you love Perdue chicken breast, the Costco price isn’t awful, however you’ll get a better price when buying fresh chicken (Fresh Thyme and Sprouts has it for $1.67 this week), and Kroger regularly puts their frozen boneless skinless chicken breast on sale for around $2.20/lb.




Organic Spring Mix 1 lb. $4.49 – no coupon but a very good price



Not a deal



Smucker’s Uncrustables are $10.95 for 18 and just not a good price at 60¢ each. You may find them at a better price at your local grocery, or take a few seconds to make them at home ahead of time and freeze! 




Curious what else to buy at Costco? Check out this list of my favorite 15 items to buy at Costco every single day. Here are a few more posts you may want to check out:



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Sam’s Club One Day Only Sale

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Today’s the day!

Sam’s Club Shoppers: don’t miss this! This Saturday only (8/6/16), Sam’s will be hosting a one day sale with dozens of items priced at their lowest prices of the season! Here are a few of the best deals I see:


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  • Up to $200 Off Apple iPad Pro
  • Shark Rocket Upright Vacuum $139.98 (this one looks to be priced at $199 at Amazon, so this is a great deal!)
  • Ninja Blender $89.98 (regularly $129)
  • $200 gift card when you activate a Samsung GS7 or GS7 Edge

Take a peek at the complete sale ad over HERE!


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Curious if a Sam’s Club membership is worth it for youSee what I think is worth buying at Sam’s Club – when it’s basically free after the gift card savings, it’s definitely worth it!

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New 21 Day Fix Group Starts 8/15/16 & It’s On SALE: Join Us?


See more on the 21 Day Fix benefits I’ve seen over HERE. 


If you’ve visited PPP very often,  you know I’ve spent forever worrying about my weight.


After losing 75 pounds in college (twenty years ago?!), I’ve managed to keep most of the weight off within 20 pounds, but the way I look at food has always been a wee bit skewed.



But last January I decided to do the 21 Day Fix wholeheartedlyand I’m so glad I did.


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In 3 rounds I’ve lost 13 pounds, which I know isn’t crazy-amazing-fast-weight-loss, but since I was really fighting just to  maintain at my top weight prior to this, it was a huge win to me. (Honestly I wimped out a wee bit during round 2, so I’m thrilled to have these 13 pounds off!)


I even maintained my weight loss on our 9 day vacation without stressing over my food, because I think my brain has just changed the way it think about what I eat. (And by losing those pounds more slowly, I really feel like they’ve been easier to keep off!)


I love that.


However, what’s been even more exciting is watching a few ladies join me too.


We’ve had over 100 ladies in our private 21 Day Fix group, and these girls are phenomenal. Almost all of them have lost over ten pounds in just two rounds, and a few are pushing a twenty pound weight loss.


They’re incredible and so inspiring!!!


We’re starting a brand new group this month (8/15/16), and would so love for you to join us!  Here are a few of the nitty gritty details (limited space available):


  1. Group will start 8/15/16 as a “prep week” to get all your supplies ready.
  2. Beginning 8/22/16 and running through 9/11/16 we’ll do the 21 Day Fix, including exercising every day.
  3. We’ll learn to eat the right way, knowing that eventually chocolate chip cookies aren’t completely off the list, but they’re a special treat, not the main course.
  4. Each day you’ll get daily encouragement in our private Facebook group (I love this group!) We’ll talk about menu planning, exercise, healthy habits and more each day.
  5. I’ll be your cheerleader (and I’d love for you to cheer me on too!) I’m fighting for you, I want to see you WIN at this.  I know you can have success!
  6. There is a fee for this group but I wholeheartedly believe it is worth EVERY PENNY (to get more info sign up HERE.) You’ll get the 21 Day Fix Menu Plan, 2 DVDs of 21 Day Fix Workouts, 21 Day Containers, and a 30 Day supply of Shakeology ~ it really is worth it and nothing else out there has worked and been worth it for me! I promise I would not recommend this if I didn’t totally believe in it and if you’ve struggled with your weight this is worth it. 


If you’re interested in joining me, hurry over HERE to get started (watch for an email from me shortly and be sure to confirm the first email to get more information.)

This group is open to only a very limited group of ladies who sign up first (sorry guys!) ~ I can’t wait to get started! Head on over HERE and let’s see what 21 days can do for you. 🙂

If for whatever reason you have a hard time getting more information, send me an email at contact @ passionatepenny pincher.com (leave out spaces) and we’ll get you signed up. So excited about this and can’t wait to start!



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25 Days of Thrift Store Makeovers Day 15: Coffee Table or Side Table


I so love thrift store makeovers, and there are so many fun ideas hopping around online!


Hurry on over to Not So Newlywed McGees to see how they turned this old coffee table into an upholstered ottoman.   The transformation is incredible ~ go HERE to see what you think!

See more Thrift Store Makeovers:


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Sauder Shoal Creek Desk ONLY $98


If you’re looking for a good deal on a desk for your home office – this is a great deal!

Right now at Walmart.com this Sauder Shoal Creek Desk in Jamocha Wood is only $98 (Reg $199!)

  • Designed with a warm, casual style
  • Drawers are made with metal runners and safety stops
  • Lower drawer holds letter-size hanging files
  • Contains a grommet hole for cord management
  • Organizer hutch with full shelf and cubbyhole storage
  • Created with engineered wood with a laminate finish
  • Has soft nickel-finish pulls
  • Sauder office desk has a 5-year limited warranty
  • Quick and easy assembly with patented T-slot drawer system

Find more top retail deals.

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Amazon Prime Members | $9.99 Dog Treats Sample Box ~ Get $9.99 Credit!


For a limited, Amazon Prime Members who purchase this Dog Food & Treats Sample Box for $9.99 will get a $9.99 credit towards the purchase of dog food products! It’s like getting the sample box for free after credit! (Your credit will be applied to your account 7 days after your order ships and you’ll get an email about how to redeem it).

And check out these other Sample Boxes you can grab for essentially free after credit:


Note: Many of these are now unavailable – but one or two are still in stock and doesn’t hurt to check!

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Love Amazon? Don’t miss my list of 16 items you should be buying on Amazon.

See more Amazon Deals, and remember when you subscribe and save to 5 or more items in one month, you’ll also save an additional 15% on all of your subscribe and save purchases.

This post contains affiliate links.  See my disclosure policy to learn more.

Join Amazon Prime for one month free – Watch Over 40,000 Movies for free plus get free shipping on thousands of items


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Laurie’s Fresh Thyme Trip: How I Saved $40 On Groceries Today (Without Clipping A Single Coupon)

Laurie’s Fresh Thyme Market Trip: Spent $20.84, Saved $40.25

Curious how I saved $40 today on groceries without clipping a single coupon? Watch over on Facebook Live in just about a minute (or watch the replay later in the day), to see what I paid. Those cherries and strawberries were a steal! 🙂



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