Christmas Deals Starting On PPP + $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

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Congratulations to th02… for winning the giveaway, and thanks so much to every one who entered! 

I’m so excited about the Christmas deals that we’re starting to see in full swing! We just moved everything over to our fun Christmas logo (isn’t it just cute?), and hope it makes things oh-so-easy for you to navigate this Christmas season.   Hopefully this helps things run a little more simply (and penny-pinched, of course) in your home, and you can easily navigate the deals as well as frugal decorating ideas, recipes, and easy ways to donate to your local food banks this time of year. Here are a few tips to help things go more smoothly ~ amazon Click the Amazon button at the top of the page to take you directly to the Amazon Lightning Deals so you can see what’s on sale each day foodboxClick the “giving” photo to go directly to easy items to donate to Holiday food boxes this year meals Click the “food” photo to take you right to penny pinched meal ideas (note: if you’d before to go to current meals by date, click the recipes button just underneath that food picture and you can see most recent posts from the food category) decorating Click the “home” photo to see frugal home decorating ideas (watch for more of those these next few weeks!) gift Click the “Christmas gifting” photo to see current best gift giving deals


Black Friday AdsOnline Shopping Deals
Gifts for Him Gifts for Her Gifts for Kids
Food Box DealsTechnology Deals


And you can use this logo on the right sidebar to easily navigate gifts for him, her, online shopping, Black Friday ads and more. Whew! ;)  

(oops – I almost forgot we started 25 Days of Christmas Deals for Dad series  tonight too. Did I say whew?) ;)

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So, are you ready to get started saving this Holiday season? I thought it would be fun to start things off with a $50 Amazon Gift Card, so leave a comment on this post to share the one thing you’re  most hoping to save big on this Christmas.

Who’s ready? Leave a comment to share the one thing you’re watching for a deal on, and we’ll get the season started!

Winners will be chosen Friday morning (11/7/14) at 9 AM Central Time ~ good luck! This giveaway is not sponsored by Amazon or Facebook ~ just a gift from me to thank you for reading. Good luck!

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Target Halloween Clearance 30%-50%



Here are some items Target had on clearance this weekend – I was there on Saturday so hopefully some of these are still available for you!  If you were able to go yesterday or today, we’d love to know what kind of clearance deals you’ve found while shopping Target.

Fall and Halloween Items 30% OFF Price $1-$3:









Candy 50% OFF:


M&Ms $1.52

IMG_4821.JPGOreo’s $1.50

IMG_4820.JPGHershey Candy $1.50

See all the top deals at Target this week, and create your Target shopping list before you shop.

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My Goodwill Finds


I hate selfies. Like, HATE selfies. And I even hate the hand on your hip look, but it does make you look skinner. And I like looking skinnier. Just wanted to get all that out there before even starting the post. ;)

I think I have a Goodwill addiction. 


Because my children have afternoon activities several days a week near a local Goodwill store, I happen to sneak it at least once (twice?) each week and am loving finding little treasures occasionally. I don’t buy very much when I go (and often leave empty-handed), but I’m loving having another easy way to save!


Here are a few of the fun things I’ve found the last few months. . . 


1) The orange sweater in the picture above: Lands End, $3.

2) The denim jacket in the pic above: Ann Taylor Loft, $5. (I have a denim jacket that I wear all the time that I paid $49 for at the Gap several years ago but it’s a very dark wash. I was thrilled to find this lighter one!)

(Note: I’m so fickle about what I like in clothing and have no sense of style at all – so for me shopping Goodwill for a few clothing items is a great way to change out styles without busting our clothing budget. I’ve probably only purchased 5 or 6 items at Goodwill so far and brought them home for a good washing before wearing, but I’ve bring pretty pleased with my finds!)



3) These silver plated dishes, each $1. I’m hoping to fluff up our dining room for Christmas using silver and white along with fresh greenery from our yard, so I thought these would be a few fun additions.


4) Maple ladderback chair, $2.50. It’s in pretty rough shape but I think a little wood glue can sturdy it up, and I’m not sure how I’ll refinish it. I like the basic color of it as it is (and a few folks have cringed as I’ve painted furniture recently), so I’m not quite sure how this one will end up. But, for $2.50 I couldn’t pass her by. ;)


5) Wash basin stand, $6. This is the one I’m not so sure what I was thinking, and I very well may paint it to see how it fluffs up and then even try to sell it (even in a yard sale!) I thought it might be fun to add to our guest bedroom, and when I saw this almost exact one sold for $165 on Etsy I figured it was worth the chance. (This is definitely a replica piece so I won’t feel bad painting it one bit ~ and it may turn out okay in the guest room to hold towels if I can figure it out? We’ll see.)

6) File Cabinet, $3. Okay, I really really really don’t like this one at all, but when we moved we left behind our office with built in filing cabinets, and my husband said we really needed at least something to get us through until we build new cabinets here. I’ve hemmed and hawed about how to set up my office and just haven’t figured it out yet, and with Christmas season fast approaching I know it’s not going to get settled on until next year. So, for $3 I can live with these, and we can at least organize some of our things that have been packed away in boxes. (I’m seriously thinking about painting it blue just so it makes me happier ~ but really, everything in my house can’t be covered in blue, right?)


So, there you have it. I promise we’ve got plenty of room for these items (I don’t want to start feeling like a bad episode of Hoarders!), and because I’m not emotionally tied to any of it I’ll be okay to donate it right back to Goodwill when they’re finished serving their purpose here.


Have you found anything fun at Goodwill or other thrift stores recently? I’d love to hear about it – leave a comment to let me know! You can also see what I fluffed up last week at Goodwill ~ yup, I’m loving that store. ;)



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163 Christmas Ornaments For $50 (But Who’s Counting?)


(These pictures do not do these items justice – I promise when they’re on the tree it’ll look so much better but I hurriedly took the pics with my iphone before the kids got home from school!)

Dollar Tree Christmas decorations are out in full force, and I scored big this week! I made a quick run in just to see what they had, and came out with a small Christmas haul. ;)


Everything in our new home is very pale and neutral, and while I’ve loved our last Dollar Tree Christmas Tree, I knew those colors wouldn’t work here. I found this beautiful silver and white tree over on Pinterest, and am working towards switching over to those colors this year (while sticking to a budget!) A few days ago my sweet husband made the mistake of saying “I can’t wait to see how you’re going to decorate here this Christmas” which for me clearly meant “You get to buy anything you want to decorate as long as you don’t go really nuts.”;)


So, for a whopping $50, I scored ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY THREE ORNAMENTS for our tree. I’m not quite sure where it’s going to go or what else we’ll need, but I’m thinking we’re already just about there! (We’ll also have our normal family tree, but this one’s my perfect little decorating tree – ’cause you just can’t get enough Christmas around here.)


Here are a few fun things I noticed while shopping (all for $1, of course.) 



(I love those reindeer!)






Do you use Dollar Tree decorations at home on your tree? I’d love to hear your favorite finds – leave a comment to share!

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Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Ideas For Older Kids


After sharing with you all about how my seven-year-old’s perspective changed recently after working on her Operation Christmas Child Shoebox, I put together a list of ideas to pack in those shoeboxes for older children (as littler ones are pretty easy to buy for!) Many of them can be found at the Dollar Tree, and would be easy, inexpensive gifts to give.


For Older Boys:

  • Tools – hammer, screwdriver, wrench or pliers, duct tape, measuring tape
  • Fishing supplies – add in a small fishing kit, fishing line, hooks
  • Binoculars
  • Kaleidoscope
  • Plastic Magnifying Glass
  • Watch
  • Handkerchief
  • Collapsible water bottle
  • Harmonica

For Older Girls:

  • Small sewing kit
  • Clip on earrings
  • Bracelets
  • Barettes
  • Coin purse
  • Sticky notes
  • Watercolor paint set
  • Yarn
  • Colored Sharpies, highlighters or markers
  • A friendship bracelet with extra string so they can make more
  • Ink pad and stamp set


Also, here are a few ideas that Operation Christmas Child shared on their site as far as suggestions for all ages (as well as some items not to include):

  • TOYS: Include items that children will immediately embrace such as dolls, toy cars, stuffed animals, kazoos, harmonicas, yo-yos, jump ropes, balls, toys that light up and make noise (with extra batteries), etc.
  • SCHOOL SUPPLIES: pens, pencils and sharpeners, crayons, markers, notebooks, paper, solar calculators, coloring and picture books, etc.
  • NON-LIQUID HYGIENE ITEMS: toothbrushes, bar soap, combs, washcloths, etc.
  • ACCESSORIES: t-shirts, socks, hats, sunglasses, hair clips, jewelry, watches, flashlights (with extra batteries), etc.
  • A PERSONAL NOTE: You may enclose a note to the child and a photo of yourself or your family. If you include your name and address, the child may be able to write back.
  • DO NOT INCLUDE: Used or damaged items; war-related items such as toy guns, knives or military figures; chocolate or food; out-of-date candy; liquids or lotions; medications or vitamins; breakable items such as snow globes or glass containers; aerosol cans.


National Collection Week for Shoeboxes this year is November 17-24, 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.


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What other suggestions do you have on items to donate in Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes? I’d love to hear them – leave a comment to share!


Looking for more posts like this? Here you go:


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Laurie’s Fresh Thyme Market Trip: I Love This Store!


Goodness, can I just tell you how much I’m loving our new Fresh Thyme Market here in Columbus? I went this morning and took advantage of their double ad Wednesday (meaning you get to enjoy last week’s ad savings as well as the savings for the new ad which starts each Wednesday), and was so pleased with my trip.


I know this is a market that’s still only available in a few cities, but if you have one near you, you’ve got to take advantage of their special sales each week. They’re regular prices are pretty high (from what I’ve seen), but their sales are really sales, so it’s worth stocking up.  I also love that they offer great sales on some of their organic items, which make for just incredible deals on those compared to other stores.  While I didn’t purchase all organic items today I did get quite a few this week, which you can see highlighted with the * in the picture below.


Here’s what I bought . . . 

  • 5 packages strawberries $1.25 each
  • 2 packages blackberries $.88 each
  • organic celery $.99
  • (2) 3 lb bags organic apples $3.99 each
  • organic carrots $.99
  • 2 organic lemons 2/$1
  • 1 tomato $.72
  • 2 bunches green onions 2/$1
  • 2 green peppers 2/$1
  • 3 pears $1.26
  • 3.5 lb rump roast $10.35 ($2.99/lb.)
  • 2.89 lb boneless skinless chicken breast $5.75 ($1.99/lb)
  • 2.94 lb cut up whole fryer chicken $5.86 ($1.99/lb – this had a tag showing $.99/lb which is why I bought it – wouldn’t normally pay that  much)

Their chicken is on sale 50% off this week (making it $1.99/lb.) and is minimally processed. I haven’t seen prices anywhere close to these on produce anywhere else in our area, so I’m thrilled to have this option to shop for whole foods!


Do you have a Fresh Thyme grocer in your hometown (or another store that offers similar sales occasionally?) I’d love to hear your thoughts as well as other tips on saving on organics and fresh foods - leave a comment to share! You can also check out all the sales at Fresh Thyme each week over HERE.




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Michael’s: Save 70% Off Halloween & Fall Items




Michaels is having a huge clearance sale on some fall and Halloween items, and there are so many fun items included in the sale! You can also save 50% off any one regularly priced item when you print your coupon over HERE. If you have any parties going on at your child’s school or other activities, this is an easy way to save!  Here’s a peek at what I found today . . .




After clearance pricing $2.99


Fall Berry Wreaths just $4.49


Foam Capek kits just $.87


Halloween Baking Supplies as low as $.59


Halloween Crafting Kits just $2.69


Halloween Baskets $2.99


Fall Decor just $3.09


Ashland Accents as low as $1-2 after 70% off sale


Baskets on clearance 50% off – as low as $4-$5

And here are just a few fun finds I noticed in the dollar bins (love those!)




Have you found any great deals on fall products at the craft stores? Leave a comment to share your finds!

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How My Seven-Year-Old’s Perspective Changed





Can I just promise you what a blessing giving is?


Last Friday night, as I was packing for a trip, my seven-year-old snuck around our closet and came across some hidden treasures for our Operation Christmas Child Shoebox. (Remember when I found a bunch of clearance items at Target last month to give? Yup, she found it too.)


Her eyes lit up, and she was so excited because she just knew she’d hit the new-toy-jackpot. I explained to her though that the treats weren’t for us, but rather for us to share with kids who might not have any Christmas without them.


Oh my. That girl was mad.


She didn’t get it, and absolutely knew she was deserving of every trinket in the box. Honestly? She was a wee bit irate that none of it was for her. (And, honestly? I was a wee bit irate with her for not getting that she needed absolutely none. of. it.)


I stopped my packing, pulled her up in my arms, and tried to explain a little bit more about the program and who would be receiving those tiny gifts. (Even though we’ve filled Operation Christmas Child Boxes for years, she still needed the reminder.)


Then I grabbed my laptop, and we sat down in the middle of the floor of my closet and watched a few of the Operation Christmas Child videos.


My girl’s heart changed. completely.


I encouraged her to separate the items into a few different boxes, and goodness, watching her expression soften and change to excitement for someone else’s gift melted this momma’s heart.


“They’re gonna love our stuff,” she said.


“I’m glad that I’m helping this year,” came next.


And finally “My heart just feels so happy right now momma.” 


She then decided to spend a little of her own money to buy them a few extra gifts this year. ;)


Folks, I have no idea where your finances are at right now, but if you’re in a place where you do have some extra to give, I encourage you to find just the right place to share this year. Whether it be packing a box with your kids for Operation Christmas Child, donating to a local food pantry, or even just giving of your time to help someone in need, you will be blessed more than the one you’re giving to will. Promise.


As a family we’ve struggled a bit recently with gratitude, and there’s nothing like giving to someone else in need to completely change our perspective. And, while I think traveling on mission trips to share the good news with others is wonderful, I also believe there are seasons in our lives when there is simply so much good we can do right here at home. With the power of the internet, our children can get a glimpse of ways to give abundantly to those who live in a completely different world than our own.


Looking for more posts like this? Here you go:







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Five Items I Was Surprised To Find At Aldi


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I made a quick run to Aldi today, and was pretty surprised that they carried quite a few items I didn’t know they had! I’ve always picked up fresh produce and string cheese there (they consistently have the best price on string cheese), but there were some new items that caught my eye today.  Here were the things I noticed that you may have missed too . . .



1. K-Cups priced at $4.99/12 or $.41 each (compare to $.31 per K-Cup at Amazon)

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2. Lots of gluten free options (LOTS!)


3. Coconut Oil (great price!)

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4. Organic Cereal (Simply Nature Organic Walnut or Tropical Mango Passion $1.99 per box) as well as quite a bit of Organic Produce (I haven’t priced it to be sure this is a great deal compared to your local grocery store ~ I would love to hear your thoughts on it if you normally shop organic)



5. Whole Wheat Flour ($2.29 – I forgot to take a picture!) and spices/seasonings (I actually knew this one, but didn’t want you to miss it – they have tons for just $.99 which is a great way to save!)


What other items do you purchase at Aldi that help your family save? I would love to hear them ~ it’s been a few weeks since I’ve been to Aldi so I was thrilled to stock up on whole wheat flour and fresh produce easily this week. Love that store! ;)
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What’s Your Family’s Favorite Meal?



I shared this over on Facebook this morning (and a few folks seemed interested), so thought I’d share our Cracker Barrel Copycat meal at home for any non-Facebook readers here! It’s not exactly like Cracker Barrel, but tastes just as good. (And, you’ll save quite a few pennies . . . and my bet is a few calories too?)


I snapped this picture from my phone – it was all I had time for before my family gobbled it down!

Here’s what we had:


Not all that fancy, but after dinner my fourteen-year-old said “we need to have dinner at home like this more often.” And, as fast as these days are flying by right now, I’ll take it. ;)  If you’re up for making dumplings from scratch these Homemade Chicken and Dumplings are just the best (really), so you may want to try those out too.


Did you have anything yummy for dinner tonight? I’d love to hear what your family’s favorite meals are too.


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