Saturday, March 24, 2012

Experimenting with Extreme Couponing: Day 1 results - I am $1 richer and have lots of new stuff!




Wednesday night I received my first set of coupons from one of my friends. I went to Jill’s site and read her Deal of the week post for this week and learned so much!!! Here is what I got so far!
Walgreens
I got 2 packages of Carefree panty liners and 3 pots of Neosporin for better the Free – I will be getting $2 profit in the mail!!
·         Carefree was regular at $1.69, for sale at $0.99 and I got 2 coupons for $1 off – so they were free
·         Neosporin was $13.99, on sale at $12.99 – use a $2 coupon so I paid $10.99 +tax, but also got a rebate by mail for the $12.99 – so I am making $2!!
·         Total purchases without coupons and sales could have been $17.37; instead I got it all free and about $2 in my pocket!


Target
I got 2 nail clippers, 2 tweezers (which I needed) and a pot of Lysol wipes for $0.20 (which is less than the tax)
·         I had 2 coupons for $5 off 2 Revlon tools purchases – I got 4 things that added $10.20 – only paid $0.20 cents
·         I paid for the Lysol full price $2.69 and will be using a rebate by mail for up to $3.00 so it is free
·         Total purchases without coupons and sales could have been $12.89 and I got it for $0.20


Jewel-Osco
I got 2 free bananas for the kids! Go to any Jewel Osco and register your kids to their kids club. Every time they go shopping with you (until August) they can choose a free banana or a free apple only by showing their club card!
Dominick’s
I am about to get 2 2L diet Pepsi for $0.70.
·         2L Diet Pepsi cost $1.99, but with their super coupon they are on sale at $0.88. I have 2 coupons for $0.55 off, so I will be paying $0.35 each
·         Total purchases without coupons and sales could have been $3.98 and I will pay $0.70
After buying all of the above I am still $1 in profit!  So far so good don’t you think?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Experimenting with Extreme Couponing




I have recently received some information on extreme couponing and I got very curious! There was a story of a 24 year old that spends about 3 hours a week organizing her coupons and only spends about $25 a month in groceries – saving over $1,500 or more every month. It is funny because I always wondered how was this done and finally got some idea.
So I am doing an experiment for the next 2 or 3 months and see if I can do this and debunk my previous misconceptions about extreme couponing:
·         It is too time consuming! Who has time to spend hours on end sorting coupons?
·         It takes over your house! Why do all these ladies end up with rooms and rooms full of stuff that they may not even need.
·         You will spend more on gas that what you will save!
The first thing I will do is record my timing and use the resources I was told to reduce the time to no more than 3 hours a week:
·         www.jillcataldo.com – She posts the “Deals of the week” for Chicagoland every Monday and even tells you where to find the coupons – she does the work and you just follow what she tells you to do.
The second thing is to solve the pantry overload. If I end up with hundreds of products I will give some to my friends and the rest I will donate to my favorite charity pantry: The People’s Resource Center.
And finally for gas (particularly now that it is over $4.45 a gallon) I found all the supermarkets and drugstores that are on my way to places that I have to go to weekly, I will go to visit those on my way to the gym, and the kid’s activities – so no extra gas will be consumed.
I sort of started this yesterday and I am already seeing some benefits – about $40+ worth of stuff for about $0.20 so far! Not bad for a beginner!
So this is what I have done so far and you can do too if you want to try this out with me:
·         E-mail your friends and ask them if they get the Sunday papers. Ask them if they can give you the coupon booklets (you will need a few coupon booklets). The ones you are looking for are the Redplum and the Smartsource as well as the supermarket fliers. Be sure to share your bounty with all the friends that help you. I asked my friends as I did not want to commit to 3 or 4 subscriptions to the paper before knowing if this was going to work, if it does, I will be buying my own newspapers!
·         Go to www.jillcataldo.com or a similar couponing side from your area and check the deals.
·         Join all the loyalty programs from the supermarkets near you and request their online coupons
·         Go and check out the prices at your regular supermarket and write them down, particularly for things like meat and produce. I found out that I buy in autopilot, not really knowing how much things costs and was surprised to realize that the meat I buy at Costco is not necessarily cheap – I thought that I was getting a deal by buying in bulk but my local supermarkets have offers at a better price and I will not need to overload my freezer!
·         Join all your preferred manufacturers’ online sites – they often give you coupons: I joined ConAgra, P&G, Unilever, Kraft, General Mills, and Frito Lay amongst others. Check to see if they have a Latino site and join that too.
·         Cut the coupons you will need and go shopping!
Keep an eye on my blog; I will be documenting the results!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Time to Fertilize the Grass!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Scotts®. All opinions are 100% mine.

This year I want to try to get my grass going strong. As you know I love my vegetable garden, and my flowers, but the grass in my house is a mess. My husband was supposed to be in charge of that! he was supposed to do the fertilizing, mowing etc. Well, he did the mowing last year, but somehow forgot to do the fertilizing and the weed treatments!! As a result, we ended up with bold patches, weeds and just not green enough grass. To top it all up, I tried to remedy the situation by applying the last step of the Scotts system in the fall. Well I did it wrong and my rotary spreader broke and all the fertilizer went into a patch of grass..... it got all burned..... sad grass, that is what I have.

Now, I will make it into happy grass. You know me... when I get determine to do something I do it!. For starters I have my eyes on a new system from Scotts called the Scotts® Snap® Spreader System. I saw it on their website and it looks very easy. It has a bag that locks into the spreader and voila. You walk and it spreads! No mess, no overflow, no heavy lifting of crazy bags. I sooo need it. Here is one of the testimonials that convinced me.

I also joined their Snap perks on Facebook - Maybe I am lucky and win the $25 instant prize so I can buy the equipment - they do have a couple of big prizes too - a trip to a game and a ride mower, but I am not interested on that! I just want the Snap System to review and to use and to get my grass in check!

Well let's see, if I win or convince Scotts people to let me try it, you will be getting the detailed reports of how to use it and how it works. If I do not win, you will have to go to their website and see it there! and I may just return to my crazy bags.... I still have some left over from last year - I am so hoping that I may not need to use them!

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Dukan Diet: List of 72 foods allowed during the Attack Phase and on your Protein only days

This is the list of the 72 foods that are OK to eat during the attack phase of the Ducan Diet. I am also adding my own list at the end of each category – again, on my list I am putting foods that worked for me and that even though they are not strictly on the diet, they did allow me to stick to the diet as I did not feel as deprive and have a few more choices for those hard attack days.
Meats, Fish, Poultry, Eggs, Fat Free Dairy, Vegetable Proteins:
1.      Beef Steak
2.      Fillet of Beef
3.      Sirloin Steak
4.      Roast Beef
5.      Rump Steak
6.      Tongue
7.      Bresaola – Dry beef
8.      Veal Escalope
9.      Kidney
10.  Calf’s liver
11.  Veal Chops
12.  Cooked ham slices – no fat – no rind
13.  Cooked Chicken Slices – no fat – no rind
14.  Cooked Turkey Slices – no fat – no rind
15.  Fat reduced bacon
16.  Game – Venison, Pheasant, Grouse
17.  Rabbit
18.  Dab/Lemon Sole
19.  Dover Sole
20.  Fish Roe (Caviar) – Cod, Salmon, Herring, Mullet
21.  Cod
22.  Grey Mullet
23.  Hake
24.  Halibut
25.  Haddock
26.  Monkfish
27.  Mackerel
28.  Plaice
29.  Pollock – Coley
30.  Trout
31.  Salmon
32.  Sardines
33.  Red Mullet
34.  Sea Bass
35.  Skate
36.  Sea Bream
37.  Smoked Salmon
38.  Swordfish
39.  Tuna
40.  Whiting
41.  Turbot
42.  Clams
43.  Cockles
44.  Calamari – Squid
45.  Crayfish
46.  Lobster
47.  Prawns
48.  Gambas
49.  Mussels
50.  Oysters
51.  Scallops
52.  Whelks
53.  Shrimp
54.  Dublin Bay Prawns
55.  Seafood Sticks – Surimi
56.  Chicken Livers
57.  Chicken
58.  Guinea Fowl
59.  Ostrich
60.  Poussin
61.  Pigeon
62.  Quail
63.  Turkey
64.  Hen’s eggs
65.  Quail eggs
66.  Skim milk
67.  Virtually fat free quark
68.  Virtually fat free fromage frais
69.  Virtually fat free cottage cheese
70.  Fat free Greek yogurt
71.  Fat free natural yogurt
72.  Tofu
Remember that you can use spices, garlic, onion(only a little onion), soy sauce and vinegar.
Now for my list – please note that these items may not work for you and may lower the speed of your weight loss, but for me they make my life easier!
1.      Pork – trim all fat
2.      Lamb – trim all fat
3.      Low fat – 2% cheese – Mozzarella sticks, Cheddar, Swiss, Cream cheese
4.      Prosciutto – trim all fat
5.      Salami – only sporadically
6.      98% Fat free sausages – Hebrew National
7.      Other sausages – only sporadically
8.      Light Mayonnaise
9.      Reduced fat sour cream
10.  2% milk
11.  Soy milk – only once a week
12.  Whey protein powder – no carbs formula
Enjoy your diet!! You can make really good meals with these ingredients! Also you can check my other tips on how to succeed on this diet as well as recipes, by going to my Dukan Diet page - click here!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I am going Spanish Shopping! what do you think?

I thought I have tried every trick and strategy to help my kids be bilingual, but I realized last weekend that I was totally wrong. There are so many things I am still to discover and that I am still to try.

I was travelling for work with some colleagues, it was quite interesting. There were 6 of us in the trip, and we looked like the United Nations! 3 Americans (1 living in the UK), 1 French (living in the US), 1 British (living in in France) and 1 Venezuelan. Each one of us with a fantastic story to tell. How did we end up all living in so far away from home? and how do we cope with it? How do we get our kids to speak English, French, Spanish?

So well it looks like there are still so many more things to try  - we all tried the music, the pretend we do not understand unless they speak in our native language, the TV, books, you name it. But there were things that some of us have tried that others have not. I will be posting some of the new ideas during the next few weeks, but here is idea #1 - my favorite so far and one that I will start this weekend.

Go shopping with your kids. Some of us do this routinely (I do not!) My husband and I divide and conquer and one of us goes shopping while the other entertains the kids - this makes the shopping trips efficient and FAST!! However, it made us miss some bonding time as well as important teaching time. Yeap - teaching time. And here is how.

Grocery Shopping: Go around the supermarket and every time you grab something to put in your cart let the kids know the item name in Spanish - they may know some of them but surely they will not know them all. Make a game with them to see who can remember the most names or something similar. If they can name something new they like without you telling them, then buy it for them. In no time they will have great vocabulary and will be able to cook you a dish in Spanish!!!

Do the same while going cloth shopping, and use colors and sizes as well as item names. Like "look at this big blue pants" and challenge them to find things - Who can find me a small red t-shirt? and things like that. Make it fun, use competition if they like to compete, use small rewards if they like that.

I am going to try it this weekend - hopefully they will enjoy it! and I get to do my shopping too.


Disclosure: I will receive discounted tuition from Language Stars as compensation for this post. However all facts and opinions expressed in this post are true and my own. Language Stars have not asked me to write about anything in particular, only my true and honest opinion about my experience with their program.  This post have not been edited by a third person.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I am going to Hispanicize 2012!!!

Thank you! I am so lucky to be able to go to Hispanicize 2012. I was selected as 1 of 100 Latino bloggers to receive a free pass to the conference thanks to Hispanicize 2012! I found out about the contest via my friend and fellow Latino Blogger Mama Contemporanea. I applied with a lot of hope and I could not believe my eyes when I got the e-mail a few days later letting me know I have won.
So why am I so excited you may ask, well first of all because I will have the chance to see a lot of my Latino bloggers friends, some of whom I have met personally and some that I have not had the pleasure yet. I will also be able to learn a lot more about blogging and about what makes Latino bloggers tick.
You see Hispanicize is an event focused on Latino trends and trendsetters in social media, entertainment, marketing and media.  The event is a partnership of the Hispanic Public Relations Association (HPRA), Hispanicize and the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). Some of this year's sponsors are McDonald’s, Clorox, Wal-Mart, Diageo and Univision amongst others. The conference is a launch pad for creative endeavors, new products, technologies, marketing campaigns, films, books and more targeting Latinos.

I cannot wait to be there!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Gardening Season 2012 has officially started!


It is that time of year again in where I get the seeds out and start planning my vegetable garden for the year.     I love March as it promises warmer weather and the flowers start to show up (well at least the brave ones!). As usual I started my seeds.

This year my husband is building me a seed growing station comprising a table, a growing lamp and heat pads! I can't wait! Well literally I could not wait or my seeds will not be ready on time so while he is busy at designing, I already planted the first seeds of the season.

To do so, I gather some old containers and trays, some organic seed soil, a lamp from my bedroom and my cold season seeds and started to plant.



First fill your containers 1/2 full with seed starting mix. Put a spoonful or so of vermicompost (click here to see what this is? and how to make your own). Continue filling until 3/4 full with starting mix. Put containers on tray and water the mix.


Then put your seeds in according with the specified depth, cover with a thin layer of solid and water.


I planted onions (seeds above), Kale, Lettuce, Broccoli and a couple of hot season plants (only because I want them big by the time they go out) Brandywine Tomatoes Heirloom and Aji dulce - a Venezuelan pepper that I cannot find here in the US!! I cannot wait for this one  - I will introduce my kids to the most amazing pepper flavor ever!!!

Mark your seeds so you know what you have planted and cover them with a plastic dome. Put your light on and voila. I have my table on a sunny place so I am only turning the lamp on from 7am to 9am and from 6pm to 9pm to simulate a longer day.




Do not forget to check my old posts about seeds and planting - they are all in this page (click here)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Dukan Diet: Oat Bran Porridge!!! So easy - so delicious!


I know this is not an exciting photo and it certainly does not give justice to the delicious dish it was!!! You see, I have been in the search for Oat Bran recipe ideas and have truly started to love this stuff! I was on twitter and @JosaYoung was talking about oat bran porridge. I had to know how to make this, particularly with the Scottish roots in my household.

She told me to get a lot of water to boil, add 2 tbs of Oat Bran and a little salt and cook until thickened. That was OK, but if you know me, you know I needed to change that! so here is my version that was so good even my kids asked me for more!

Ingredients (for one serving):


  • 1/2 cup of 2% milk (you can use skimmed too)
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp Oat Bran
  • Pinch of salt
  • Stevia to taste (optional - I did not use it as I do not like sweet porridge)

Mix all the ingredients in a pan and boil for about 8 minutes.



 Turn the heat off and let it cool for about 2 minutes.

You are done!! You can also microwave it for about 3 minutes and rest for 2 minutes.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dukan Diet: Easy Ham and Eggs Puffs - Fastest breakfast ever!


Since I started my Dukan Diet I have been having a high protein breakfast every day. It is truly the best thing you can do as you get all the energy you need for the day. I have gotten into a routine that involves making myself a ham and low fat cheese omelet everyday. I use egg beaters instead of real eggs and for some weird reason I have not gotten bored of them. 

Last week I was browsing through Pinterest and found a link to these wonderful puffs (or whatever else you want to call them). The original recipe is from Disney's family fun website, but I gave it my own twist and make it Dukan approved!

What I love about the puffs is that you can make them on Sunday and freeze them and then I do not need to cook every morning, simply take a couple of them put them on the microwave for a minute or so and voila! The fastest breakfast ever!

So here is how to make them:

Ingredients:

  • 1 small carton of egg beaters
  • Ham
  • Low fat cheese
  • PAM olive oil spray
  • Muffins or cupcake pan 



Pre heat the oven at 350F. Spray the muffin pan with PAM


Pour Egg beaters into each one of the muffin molds - about 3/4 full


Add chopped ham and cheese on top of each egg circle


Put in the oven for about 30 minutes. Keep an eye of them after 25 minutes - they will puff up quite nicely.


Remove from oven and enjoy!!


Sooo Yummy!!!
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