November 18, 2009

Vanilla Beans

In the past I have made vanilla "extract" by soaking a vanilla bean or two in alcohol for a few weeks (I used vodka but you can also use rum). This make a great gift if you can find some cute containers. You can also put a vanilla bean in with some sugar to make vanilla sugar. Not to mention all the other yummy things you can make like real vanilla ice cream!

Anyway, I want to make some more extract. So after asking around and doing a little searching I found a great deal on vanilla beans. I can get 26-28 beans for $18 (including shipping). If you have ever seen how much vanilla beans are in the grocery store you'll know that is a great deal!

I'm just not sure I can use that many beans! Is anyone interesting in splitting the order with me?

Cheap Chex Cereal

Piggly Wiggly has Chex cereal on sale this next week - starting Wed - through Tgiving - for .99 a box and there is a $1.00 of 2 coupon on that Pillsbury/General Mills flier we just got this past Sunday - you can only buy 3 at a time so I plan to cut out the coupons and put them in my purse and will use them each time I stop there (which is multiple times a week).

November 15, 2009

FREE-Mom's Guide to Surviving the Flu

Crystal at Everyday Food Storage (and her family) were recently hit hard by the flu. She put together an awesome, FREE flu resource (A Mom's Guide to Surviving the Flu) full of information on taking care of yourself and your loved ones if you get sick this season. I pray that you all stay well... but just in case... download her helpful booklet here.

November 11, 2009

Free Bread Baking E-book

I just got this in my inbox... a free ebook download from the Urban Homemaker. I bought my grain mill and mixer from the Urban Homemaker and really enjoy her recipes. The book is called a Beginners Guide to Baking Bread. This ebook is free today only... click here to get to the download page. If you sign up for her newsletter you can also download another free ebook called Steps to the Best Bread.

November 9, 2009


If you are interested in getting in on the games deal at Toys R Us, don't wait! Jerry stopped by for me on the way home from work this evening and he said some of the games are already gone. I'm sure they'll get more in stock, but obviously the word is out!! :) It is a GREAT deal!

heres a code for 50 free photo cards woohoo

You can order 50 free 4x8 or 5x7 photo cards including free shipping using the coupon code freebies4mom-1109 at SeeHere by Fujifilm. There is no catch, this truly is a freebie and I'm able to bring it exclusively to my Freebies 4 Mom readers thanks to SeeHere. I ordered my 50 free 5x7 photo cards and my order total of $39.50 was slashed to $0.00 with that coupon code. This coupon code expires on November 30 so you have plenty of time to design your free photo cards.

Amanda Haigh

November 8, 2009

Seven Games for Under $4!!!

Just in case you didn't already hear about this deal, I thought I'd mention it here. Toys R Us has seven classic Hasbro kids games on sale for $3.99 this week. If you spend $25 or more on Hasbro games you get a $10 TRU gift card. PLUS there is a rebate for $2 back on all the games on sale! So if you get one of each game you will pay $27.93 out of pocket, get a $10 gift card, and a rebate of $14 making the end price $3.93 for SEVEN games!

Even if you have some of the games already stock up for future birthday gifts or this could be a great way to donate some toys on a budget!!

If you want more details see this week's TRU ad in the paper or head over to Common Sense with Money.

Festival Deals and Recipe

This week is Festival's annual 50% off McCormick spices and extract sale. While I usually just get the cheap 50 cent spices elsewhere, I usually take advantage of this sale to stock up on maple and clear vanilla extract. If you want nice white frosting for cookies and cakes (GBAMOMs!) use clear vanilla! I use maple extract to make my own "maple" syrup.

Nestle baking chips are on sale 2 for $3 and there are tons of coupons available as well. You should be able to get these for about $1 each. No limit, so stock up!

There are coupons for $.88 eggs, $.98 butter, and $.98 flour too. Limit 1. Unfortunately.


Just in case you are interested here is my "Maple" Syrup Recipe. I found this recipe in a kids cookbook when I was a kid! Unless we splurge and get the real stuff, we have never bought syrup! This recipe has saved me a ton of money over the years!

Easy Maple Syrup

1 cup boiling water
2 cups granulated sugar (or 1 c. white and 1 c. brown)
1 t. maple syrup extract

Optional: 1-2 T. butter (or butter extract)
1 tsp. vanilla

Bring water to a boil. Add sugar. Boil for a few minutes. The longer you boil the thicker it will be. Remove from heat and stir in maple extra. Serve warm. Store in fridge in a container that is microwaveable to make it easier to reheat.

[Shelly's super fast method: Boil one cup of water in the microwave. Stir in sugar (I always use white). Add maple extract and mix well.]

Shopko Express Doubles

Shopko Express is doubling coupons up to and INCLUDING $2 through November 13th. (No internet printables.) There should be at least a few things that are free or nearly free. If you run across any great deals share them here!

November 4, 2009

November Home Depot Kids Workshop

The Home Depot Kids Workshop for November is the 7th. So head over to make a tile trivet. No registration necessary, just show up between 9am and noon.

November 1, 2009

Zenni Optical

GUEST POST by JERRY (Shelly's husband):

I've worn glasses for over thirty years.  Wow, I feel old!  At this point eyeglasses are an essential part of who I am.  I realize that sounds silly, but when you have had such an obvious accessory for so long it just comes to be part of your identity.  People have asked me about getting contact lenses, but I wonder if this would change me in some very real way. 

So as a pretty much lifelong eyeglass wearer, I am always on the lookout for a deal on glasses.  Well, it appears the online commerce revolution has finally come to the corrective eyewear industry in the form of Zenni Optical.  Zenni is an online only retailer of prescription glasses and general eyewear.  They have complete single vision lenses including frames starting at the incredibly low price of $6.95.

I was a little nervous about such low prices.  Would the quality be acceptable?  Would the frames fall apart in shipment?  I recently received my first pair of glasses from Zenni and for the most part it has been a positive experience.

My total cost for new glasses was $25.90 including shipping.

I picked out a stylish (at least Shelly thinks so) pair of half-rim frames very similar to my old pair of glasses that were $8.00.  Zenni does consider certain prescriptions to be extra strength.  The order page on their website will tell you if your prescription is considered extra strength.  These prescriptions have an additional $9.00 charge.  While this more than doubles the $8.00 glasses, $17.00 is still quite an improvement over typical retail prices.  I have one of those prescriptions that is usually greeted by a "wow" when someone at an eyeglass store puts in my order, so my glasses were subject to the $9.00 charge. The total cost for my glasses was $17.00 and shipping and handling was $4.95.

The other $3.95 came from the purchase of some clip-on sunglass lenses that I added to my order.  Unfortunately, Zenni hasn't yet applied their revolution in eyewear to the area of clip-on lenses.  These clip-ons are stereotypical of what you would think of when you hear the word.  They are larger than my frames, so they stick out on either side.  They also have two black clips where they attach to my glasses.  I think these will have to be put away until I start driving a Cadillac, collecting Social Security, and eating supper at 4:00.  Oh well, you can't win 'em all.

So for my $25.90 I got a complete pair of glasses, the clip-ons, a Zenni optical lens cloth, and a space-age looking plastic case.

The frames available at Zenni seemed to be similar to what you would find at most retail eyeglass sellers.  The ordering process requires you to fill out the detailed information from your prescription, so when you see your eye doctor, be sure to get a copy to take home.  There are two pieces of information that you will also need that you don't normally find on your prescription.  The first is the distance between your pupils.  You can measure this at home by following the directions at Zenni's website, or you can ask your eye doctor for this information as this is something they measure during a routine eye exam.  The second item is the size of your frames.  The frames on Zenni are listed by their dimension in millimeters.  I wasn't sure what size frames I needed, so I measured my current frames and could see that they matched many of the frames available on Zenni.

Purchasing glasses online means that you have to adjust them yourself at home.  I used a guide we found online to help with the adjustment and so far I have to say they fit pretty well.

While the quality of the frames will be determined by how well they hold up over time, the quality of the lenses doesn't seem to be an issue.  My prescription had a change this time and I could see things more clearly from the moment I put the new glasses on.

So with the exception of the $3.95 I wasted on the ridiculous clip-on sunglasses I am very happy with my Zenni Optical experience so far.  I will keep you up to date if anything changes or if I have any problems in the future.  If you have any questions, let me know.  If you wear glasses and you like saving money give Zenni Optical a try.