Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Just Don't Get It....The One Where I Rant

Sometimes I think I was born on this planet by mistake.
Or maybe I was just born in the wrong century or country or something!

I just don't get it.....
I just don't get people.

I have a refrigerator that works sometimes and other times it decides it would rather not work properly.
So, since it's only 5 yrs old and replacing it would be quite expensive AND not as good for the environment as repairing it(which might also be cheaper than replacing), I am trying to find a local appliance repair person to attempt to fix it.

Now you would think....maybe this is where I get into trouble, projecting rational thoughts onto other beings of the human race...lol...that if you are in business for yourself, and you make your living and earn your money by being an appliance repair person, that you would do things to get repair jobs so you can earn that money.
"Doing things" would include like returning telephone calls from potential customers.
People who WANT TO give you money for your skills.
ESPECIALLY in this sluggish economy where most everyone is complaining non-stop that business is so slow and they don't have enough work to make a decent living.

You would think.....huh?

I have had ONE whole repair person return my calls.  
And that call went like this.....

Ring ring ring....
Daughter-"Hello?"
THEM-"Yah, you called about your fridge?"
Daughter-"That was my mom, just a minute, I'll put her on the phone."
*Daughter hands me the phone.*
Me-"Hello?"
Silence on the other end.
Me-"Hello?"
More silence on the other end.
Me-"HELLO!?"
More silence on the other end....but I can tell the line is open and 'live' because I hear breathing...
Then 3 seconds later the line goes CLICK and disconnects.

So I hang the phone up and stand and wait for them to call back.....and I wait and wait some more.
And the next day comes & they have yet to call back.
Now you would think....uh oh....there I go again "thinking" lol....that if the connection on their end was bad that they would call back?

You would think....
But no, I end up calling AGAIN and leaving my message again.

I swear, every time I have to find someone in the trade industries(construction or handyman repair, appliance repair, electrician)-the trades were people are self-employed, I run into these kinds of problems.
Problems like not returning calls, not showing up when they say they will, never showing up for appointments at all, and a whole host of little annoyances that you can overlook if they are good at their job and get it done.
I swear, if someone wanted to make a great living in this country and had a skill people would pay them decently for, all they would have to do to make a fortune would be to be halfway polite and actually show up and be ready to work!
Courtesy, integrity & showing up SOBER will make you a rich man!!

I am beginning to think that a lot of people who just don't want to work more than they have to, to support their lifestyles, go and buy a pick-up truck and have a sign put on the door that they are in *fill in the blank* business.  It sounds better than calling yourself an unemployed bum who doesn't WANT to work or can't handle working for someone else.  (I am NOT talking about unemployed people who get laid off due to the recession or something and who want to work but can't find a job.)

Oh....the one exception I have found in the trades are the plumbers.  For some reason the ONLY guys we have ever had work for us that were top notch in skills and in human decency were plumbers.

So I am being forced to buy a new fridge....it's either that or let our food spoil.
Or divorce my Hubs and find a new one that is handy....real quick!lol

All I want to know is this.....
 Where is NORM when I need him???!!!

Have you ever had any luck with hiring self-employed folks to work for you? 
Or have your interactions been unsatisfactory like mine?

Sluggy

I Finally Did It.....I Sewed Something in 2010!


One of my goals for 2010 was to get to my piles of sewing projects.
Well, I forgot to mention in my post about last week that I finally did sew something....woohoo!!

Of course, it wasn't anything exciting though and it wasn't anything from the pile of unfinished projects.
Just hemming #1 son's new jeans and patching up a rip in an older pair of pants for him.

But hey!....I'll add these to my project list so I can check something off !!lol

4 pairs of jeans hemmed....CHECK!
1 pair of jeans patched....CHECK!

There!
I feel a sense of accomplishment wafting over me....ahhhhhh!

Hubs also tried on 2 pair of pants that have been sitting in the closet for a couple of years so I could pin and hem them.....and they don't fit anymore!
I can send them to Salvation Army & mark those off my list of things to do too, right?lol
OK!...I am building momentum here now!! ;-)

Go me! ;-)

Sluggy

Monday's Rite-Aid Trip.....Pencils, Notebooks and Book Covers, OH MY!

 I drug my hot self out to Rite-Aid after dinner last night.  The place was a freaking zoo!  Hardly an empty parking space outside the store and jammed full of frantic moms inside on the school supplies aisles pawing through what was left on the shelves.....yes, a sure sign that today was the 1st day of school in my town.lol
After snapping up a portfolio for #2 son back in the regular school supplies aisle(I didn't even attempt diving into the mayhem on display in the seasonal school aisles!), I headed to the hair color section and then the baby section, before stopping at the drink cooler next to the registers.
Here is what I picked up....


3 x Garnier HerbaShine Hair Color on sale $5.99=$17.97
2 x Sobe Drinks on sale $.99=$1.98
1 x Butt Paste on sale=$3.99
1 x Portfolio(for #2 son)$1.83-with 20% wellness discount=$1.83 *not pictured*
SubTotal....$25.77

Coupons Used
1 x $5/$25 from Newsletter I signed up for in Jan. IPQ from PDF=$5.00
3 x $3/1 Garnier HerbaShine IPQ(coupons,dotcom)=$9.00
1 x $2/1 Garnier HerbaShine AdPerks/VV IPQ=$2.00
1 x BOGO Sobe IPQ(from Sobe Game)=$.99
1 x $3/1 Butt Paste AdPerks/VV IPQ=$3.00
1 x $2/1 Butt Paste ManuQ=$2.00
Coupon Total....$21.99

Also used....
1 x $1 +Ups(from Doritos)
1 x $2 +Ups(from Coke packs)
$3.00

$25.77-$21.99=$3.78-$3+Ups=$.78 OOP put on free Rite-Aid gift card so ZERO OOP



This Transaction....

Total Spent....$.78 (put on free Rite-Aid gift card)
Value of Items....$39.73
SCR qualified for...$0.00
+Up Rewards earned...$5.00(Garnier)


MONTHLY TOTALS-September Rebate Period

Number of Transactions......2
Total Spent....$9.45 put on free Gift Cards/Certificates so ZERO OOP
Value of Items purchased....$81.10
SCR qualified for....$0 in cash and $0 in Gift Cards
Other Cash....$0
Additional Non-Cash Rewards....$0
+Up Rewards spent....$11.00
+Up Rewards earned....$8.00

Total 'Spent'...$9.45 on gift cards
Total Cash I'm getting Back=$0
Total Gift Cards I'm getting=$0
+Up Rewards left to spend=$9.00


Sluggy

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Rest of Last Week....Reserve my Padded Room Please!

When last we saw our intrepid blogger, she had been forced to drop a big wad of cash at the mall for assorted teens Back-to-School clothing needs on Wednesday.
Wednesday night Hubs and I took #1 son and his English buddy out for #1 son's Birthday meal(the bday is in July but he hasn't been home until now since before July).
They wanted steak so it was Lone Star Steakhouse.
This was after having massive hunks of hamburgers for lunch at Red Robin.
Egads!

So Thursday started out with a bang.
See this stupid beagle?
She decided to make a run for it to freedom while I was trying to clip her to the tie-out cable.
She had back problems last winter and Hubs put that blue harness on her, changing it out for her collar.
Of course, he neglected to move her tags(rabies, license, name & phone number)from the collar to the harness so there was no way to recover her if she didn't come home on her own.
Just great!
And she indeed did NOT come home.
Daughter is her owner but she didn't seem to care one way or another if the dog came home.
And she did next to nothing to find her.....

The rest of Thursday was more shopping(new boots for #1 son-he goes to school near Lake Erie so there is deep snow for 5 months of the year there) & restocking #1 son with toiletries(a la the stockpile).  He found everything he needed/wanted, so it cost me NOTHING!!  That was awesome....

I went grocery shopping and spent an eyeball popping $81.28!!!  I can't remember the last time I spent that much money in one fell swoop on groceries.  I got a little weak in the knees when the cashier told me the total.lol   And again, I didn't use a single coupon....but I did save $65.61, mostly on some markdown meats.

Kallaum volunteered to make us dinner on Thursday.....a proper Baked Chicken dinner.  Chicken, mashed potatoes and assorted 'veg'(that he boiled the shit out of!lol).  Of course the crowning glory of all these dishes was gravy(which I made)ladled over everything.  Kallaum doesn't seem a fan of  'veg' but if you smother it in gravy he'll eat it. ;-)
I had hoped he would make some Yorkshire Pudding....he's from Yorkshire so that would be cool, right?lol  Maybe next time he comes to visit next summer since he does plan on returning to work at the camp in 2011.

Friday was a lazy day....still no sign of the missing beagle....getting #1 and Kallaum's laundry done and packed up, then loading up Hubs car once he got home from work.
I roasted corn on the cob and cooked assorted meats on the grill.  #1 son & Kallaum each ate...
2 ears of corn
2 steaks
3 hot dogs
1 or 2 hamburgers(1 ate 1, 1 ate 2 but I don't recall whom ate which amount)

Honestly, I don't know WHERE they put it all!!!lol

Then we had #1 son's belated Birthday Cake....

Of course, the teens started eating the cake BEFORE we got a chance to put a candle on it and sing.lol

Blowing out a candle on a 2/3 eaten cake just isn't right, is it?

Saturday morning at the crack of 7.....
Packing the last few things.

And posing for a final photo for the Long Suffering Mom....
And then, they were gone....
And I went back to bed.  Geez, last week just wore me out. lolol
Saturday and still no missing beagle sightings, plus the fridge that I 'fixed' is broken again, so I got to haul all the frozen foods I had hauled into the upright freezer, back into the freezer of the fridge the previous week, back from the fridge/freezer into the upright freezer again!
My fix was only a temporary measure and I need to call a proper repairman to replace something in the appliance.
Bleh!!!

Sunday morning Hubs called up to the SPCA and guess who was there?
Yep.....the runaway beagle.
So he went and bailed her out($$$!) and promptly put the tags onto the harness.  Someone had dropped her off at the shelter late Friday, so after running wild for 1.5 days, she got to enjoy the barking madhouse of the SPCA for another 1.5 days.
She got home and collapsed in the dog crate and fell dead asleep.

Here is what a goofball dog looks like zonked out and snoring for 6 hours.
I thought I was one dog closer(1 down, 2 to go)to actually fixing up my living/dining room.....it was a let down but I'm glad she's safe.

To sum up last week....
it was crazy with activity(for me at least!)
it was expensive(massive amounts of meat and BTS shopping to the tune of $250 doesn't come cheap!...not to mention impending fridge repair)
it was hectic with all the cooking and cleaning
it reeked havoc on my sleep schedule(nocturnal teens will do that to ya!)


But I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat......well, except for that runaway beagle part.


Sluggy

How a 14 Year Old goes Back-to-School Shopping

What's that sound?

Don't you hear it??



It's.......QUIET!!!

#1 son is back at college and the 2 teens left at home are back in school today.....YIPPEEE!!

Now if I could find someone to take 3 dogs Monday through Friday, I'd be all set!lol

Since #2 son was going back to school today, I went to Rite-Aid Sunday to do some back-to-school shopping "#2 Son Style". 
Sunday was the 1st day of the new September Single Check Rebate Period as well.

If you are a 14 year old boy, here is what you consider Back-To-School shopping......

3 x Coke 12 packs on sale 3/$9.99=$9.99
2 x Doritos on sale $2=$4.00
4 x Hormel Chili on sale $1.25=$5.00
4 x Sobe Drinks on sale .99¢=$3.96
2 x Sunday papers(for the coupons of course!)=$2.20--with 20% wellness discount
SubTotal....$25.15

Coupons Used
1 x $5/$25 AdPerks/VV IPQ=$5.00
1 x $1/1 12 pk Coke AdPerks/VV IPQ(from July)=$1.00
1 x $.50/1 Hormel Chili AdPerks/VV IPQ(from July)=$.50 *There is a new $1/2 VV Q one available this month.*
2 x $.55/2 Hormel Chili ManuQ/IPQ(on Hormel website)=$1.10
2 x BOGO IPQ(from Sobe Game)=$1.98
Coupon Total....$9.58

Other Coupons Used
1 x $5 Rite-Aid Q-sent to replace +Ups that didn't print=$5.00
2 x $1 +Ups=$2.00
Other Coupons Total....$7.00

$25.15-$9.58=$15.57-$7.00=$8.57+$.10tax=$8.67 OOP put on 1 Gillette Razor Survey Gift Card & 1 Rite-Aid Gift Card(both were free)=ZERO out of pocket!
I earned +Up Rewards of...$2(for 3 Cokes)& $1(for 2 Doritos)=$3.00 +Ups.


MONTHLY TOTALS-September Rebate Period

Number of Transactions......1
Total Spent....$8.67 put on free Gift Cards/Certificates so ZERO OOP
Value of Items purchased....$41.37
SCR qualified for....$0 in cash and $0 in Gift Cards
Other Cash....$0
Additional Non-Cash Rewards....$0
+Up Rewards spent....$8.00
+Up Rewards earned....$3.00

Total 'Spent'...$8.67 on gift cards
Total Cash I'm getting Back=$0
Total Gift Cards I'm getting=$0
+Up Rewards left to spend=$7.00

Not a moneymaker yet but at least #2 son is stoked.....and stocked!lol

Sluggy

Back to Rite-Aid Saturday & End of August SCR Period Totals

Even though I still have about 300 rolls from that massive collection of Marcal TP left that I amassed last year, the call of cheap Cottonelle and Scott TP was indeed strong enough to lure me into Rite-Aid on Saturday before the sale ended.
Oh, I am such a weak, weak woman.....

So I went and bought this....
3 x Cottonelle 12 roll packs(the last 3 packs in the store) on sale $6.49=$19.47
10 x Scott single rolls on sale BOGO=$6.45
2 x Mountain Dew sodas @$1.19 w/20% wellness discount=$2.38 *Not Pictured*
SubTotal....$28.30

Coupons
1 x $5/$25 purchase AdPerks/VV IPQ=$5.00
1x $1/1 Cottonelle Manu.Q=$1.00
2 x $.50/1 Cottonelle IPQ=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Cottonelle AdPerks/VV IPQ=$1.00
1 x BOGO Mtn. Dew=$1.19
3 x $1 +Ups Rewards=$3.00
Coupon Total....$12.19

$28.30-$12.19=$16.11 OOP put on free Rite-Aid Gift Card so ZERO Out of Pocket
SCR qualified for...#10($5)&#148($5)=$10.00
$16.11 on gift cards, get back $10 in cash...works for me!lol

I then had to buy back-to-school supplies for the kids.  My daughter had decided that the ONLY notebooks that were acceptable to her this year are the Mead 1 subject ones with the portfolio pocket inside.  These babies run $5.99 but Rite-Aid had a BOGO50% off sale going so I decimated my stack of free gift cards, bit the bullet and bought her some....no photos since she grabbed them as soon as I got in the door last night.

6 x Mead Notebooks BOGO50% off(Every pair was $8.98)=$26.94 *ouch*
1 x Crest 3D Toothpaste on sale=$2.99
SubTotal....$29.93

Coupons
1 x $5/$25 Purchase IPQ(PDF file from newsletter in Jan. I signed up for)=$5.00
1 x $1/$10 Back to School Items Wellness CRT Q(printed on the previous receipt)=$1.00
1 x $1/1 Crest Toothpaste ManuQ=$1.00
Coupon Total....$7.00

$29.93-$7.00=$22.93+$1.35 tax=$24.28 put on various free Rite-Aid gift cards so Zero OOP
I earned SCRs for the toothpaste($2.00) & the Mead items($4.00)=$6.00

Total Spent for both Transactions....$0.00 out of pocket($40.39 on gift cards)
Value of Items purchases....$91.08
SCR qualified for...$10/$2/$4=$16.00
+Up Rewards earned=$0
+Up Rewards spent=$0

MONTHLY TOTALS-AUGUST Rebate Period

Number of Transactions......5
Total Spent....$50.95--$41.96 put on free Gift Cards/Certificates so $8.99 OOP
Value of Items purchased....$186.67
SCR qualified for....$23.99 in cash and $0 in Gift Cards
Other Cash....$0
Additional Non-Cash Rewards....$0

Total 'Spent'...$8.99 in cash
Total Cash I'm getting Back=$23.99
Total Gift Cards I'm getting=$0
+Up Rewards left to spend=$9.00


$8.99-$23.99SCRs= Overage of $15.00 for August!

I know someone will want to smack me for saying this but.....August was one of my WORST OOP months!  I know, I know....I MADE $15 in August and consider this my worst month.  Sounds crazy, doesn't it?lolol

Sluggy

Rite-Aid Throwback.....2 Transactions I Forgot

I found a receipt and photo from before we went on vacation.....

This was 7/29/10 so the 1st week of the August SCR Period.
2 Right Guard Deos on sale $2.50 ea.
2 Rite-Aid invisible Tape 3 packs on sale BOGO $3.49
2 Suave Pro Shampoo 20% off wellness discount $2.23 ea.
2 Sobes *#2 son had drank 1 of them already* on sale $.99 ea.
1 ACE Bandage 20% wellness discount $4.79
1 Glad Kitchen Bags on sale $5.99
1 Ramen Noodles Pack of 6 on sale $1.00

Total before Qs was $26.71.
Qs came to $20.49(including $4 in-ad for the ACE product, 2 free Suave 'Poo Qs, $5 off $25 Q).
Used $6 in +Ups also.
$26.71-$26.49=$.22 + $.22 tax=$.44 OOP put on free Rite-Aid Gift Card.
I got some +Ups back but I can't remember now what for or how many...for the Sobes and the Glad bags?
I did qualify for a $3 SCR for the Tape too.

We stopped at a Rite-Aid in Keene NH on the way to Maine and I bought this.....


Sssshhh....It's a Christmas present.  It was on sale for $9.99.  While I didn't have a coupon it did generate a $2 +UPs and I'll get a $2 SCR as well, so basically this $17.99 gift will cost me $5.99 in the end.
Nice, huh? I used a $1 +Ups I had in my wallet(didn't bring my coupons on the trip)when I paid so it was $8.99(no sales tax in NH!)OOP since I didn't put it on a gift card.

Total Spent for both Transactions....$9.43($.44 put on Gift Card) so $8.99 OOP
Value of Items purchases....$58.38
SCR qualified for...$2(Coffeemaker), $3(Tape)=$5.00
+Up Rewards earned=$5?
+Up Rewards spent=$1.00

MONTHLY TOTALS-AUGUST Rebate Period

Number of Transactions......3
Total Spent....$10.56--$1.57 put on free Gift Cards/Certificates so $8.99 OOP
Value of Items purchased....$95.59
SCR qualified for....$7.99 in cash and $0 in Gift Cards
Other Cash....$0
Additional Non-Cash Rewards....$0

Total 'Spent'...$10.56($1.57 on gift cards)
Total Cash I'm getting Back=$7.99
Total Gift Cards I'm getting=$0
+Up Rewards left to spend=$20.00


Because I used cash for the coffee maker I may actually have to spend my own money this month at Rite-Aid when all the figures are tallied.
Oh, the horrors!lol


Sluggy

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pip Pip, Cheerio & All that Food!

Oh, it's just been a Festival of Teenagers here lately.
Between pre-school & grocery shopping, mountains of laundry, cooking non-stop to keep these bottomless pit teens fed, toting 1 to practices, hemming jeans and now packing up 2 of the teens so they can be hauled back across the state, I've had little time for myself or what "I" want/need to do.

First #1 son Matt and his buddy Kallaum from England arrived on Sunday.  Oh, how I do enjoy last minute house guests!  At least the house got a half-decent cleaning on Saturday because of it....


Kallaum hails from "jolly ol' England"-Yorkshire to be specific- if my post title didn't give that away yet.
It didn't take 1 hour before these two were stretched out on the sofa surfing the web with a chaser of cable tv blaring in the background(2 things they haven't done in the last 8 weeks while working at camp).
I have decided that except for the accent, these 2 teens are just alike.....well, except the English model doesn't seem to eat many vegetables.  I did get him to take 1 bite of home grown collards however on Sunday....the meat in the dish seemed to help him keep it down.lol

The last 4 days have basically gone like this.....
1.Teens sleeping until noon or later.
2.Teens rousing and rummaging through the fridge for food.
3.Teens occupying the bathroom for the next 2 hours.
4.Teens sitting in front of either computer of tv screen or on cell phones.
5.Teens going to A-see friends, B-go eat out, or C-go shopping(usually with parental units money).
6.Teens coming home to eat again.
7.Repeat #5.
8.Teens coming home again.
9. Repeat #4.
10.Teens eating again(usually around 1-2 am)
11.Teens finally going to bed(usually around 3am-except the English model retires earlier).

And get up the next mid-day and do it all over again.
Oh, and maybe throw in an odd chore or two in between, as long as it doesn't take too long and they can squeeze it into their busy schedule.....pronounced "sshedule".

Monday evening I got bonus fun!
Daughter had a friend sleeping over as well, so I got 5 doses of teenage hormonal drama from Monday evening to Tuesday evening!!

True to form, the 4 older teens roused at the crack of noon(the youngest was already up due to an orthodontic appointment), so I cooked breakfast for lunch.  It was totally a self-defensive measure on my part.  Had I not cooked food, I fear they would have eaten me!

It only took.....
12 waffles
6 pancakes
3 fried eggs
2 cans of corned beef hash
8 strips of bacon
8 biscuits
1 package of Smithfield ham

Kallaum had real maple syrup for the 1st time at this meal.
 8-)
It's possible I forgot something.....but I can't remember that far back in the week.
Here they are after  devouring everything on the table......I believe they are zombies, mesmerized by some clip on YouTube.....


Wednesday was back-to-school shopping....dear Lord!.....I was forced to go to the mall for the 2nd time this year and fork over cash!  I never go to the mall willingly.
The zombie teens have eaten out my brain.....

Sluggy

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Another 2010 BORING BLOG BOX of FUN GIVEAWAY is OPEN! Box #3 POST 3

This is the 3rd Sluggy's BORING BLOG BOX GIVEAWAY for 2010!

It's time again for a Boring Giveaway.
I run a Boring Blog here so why not giveaway boring stuff, right?

Just to recap, I put things in the box(mostly what I have gotten for free or almost free)each week and when the box is filled we draw a winner from all the entries received.  The stuff can range from HBA, food, toys, collectibles, home decor or books.  Someday if enough people click on enough ads and this blog makes some cold hard cash, I may add a gift card, so get to clicking already!!lol

Here is what went into the Box today.....


1.  4  2-packs of One A Day Vitamin Drink Mix
2.  1 bag of Chex Mix
3.  Glade scented oil Candle Holder Tin
4.  Glade 3 pack of scented oil candle refills
5.  St. Ives Apricot Scrub sample

If this is your first time, please go read all the rules for these Giveaways on THIS POST.

Please NOTE--You MUST be a follower to enter the Giveaway.  If you aren't one, just click on the "Follow" button on the right hand side of my blog to become a follower---->


TIME TO ENTER.....

I entry per person on this POST.

When I post again about this BORING BLOG BOX GIVEAWAY, entries on this Post will be CLOSED and you can post on the New Giveaway Post and enter again.  I hope this isn't too confusing. ;-)

Here are the ways to get UP TO 2 EXTRA entries PER POST.....

1. Put my blog on your blog's Blogroll.  Leave an extra comment for this entry on THIS POST only with the URL of your blog. If I'm already on your Blogroll, say so in an extra comment.
2.  Blog about this Giveaway on your blog or on a Message Board.  Leave an extra comment for this entry on THIS POST only with a link to your blog post or the message on the board.

You can do each of these 2 things once per post, so that's a total of up to 3 entries per person per post.
(*Sorry M & F...no daily entries this time because of the vacation.*)

Again, you can enter on this post until I put another Giveaway Post up and then you need to enter on the NEWER Post.
FYI if you are new here....it generally takes 4 weeks to fill the box, so there will be 4 posts(give or take)about this Giveaway where you can enter to win up to 3 times.

Any questions?  Just email me at slugmama@yahoo.com

Oh yah, I pay for all the stuff in this giveaway and nobody(business or person) gives me stuff or pays me to hold them or promote their products.  I even pay the shipping just because I loves ya'll and....and.....that's how I roll!  ;-)

Happy Entering!! 

Sluggy

Rite-Aid Reminder and New Value Videos for September


My Rite-Aid Corporate Mole has let me know that the new Value Videos for September are going live on August 29th, Sunday.
Here is a sneek peak at the list of Videos....

Rite Aid Video Values – September Video Offers
Videos for the Sept. program must be watched 8/29/10 - 9/25/10
September Coupons Expire 10/23/10

As Seen On TV- Save $20
$2.00 off As Seen on TV Neckline Slimmer
$1.00 off any As Seen on TV Vita Grass for Cats & Dogs
$1.00 off As Seen on TV UGlu Super Adhesive Tape
$1.00 off As Seen on TV Yoshi Blade Ceramic Knife
$1.00 off any As Seen on TV HD Vision Ultra Sunglasses
$1.00 off any As Seen on TV Crazy Critters Stuffing-Free Fox or Raccoon Dog Toy
$1.00 off As Seen on TV Bark Off Ultrasonic Training Aid
$1.00 off As Seen on TV HeelTastic
$2.00 off As Seen on TV Slap Chop
$1.00 off As Seen on TV Sure Clip Nail Clipper
$2.00 off As Seen on TV Water Jet Power Washer
$2.00 off As Seen on TV Big Top Cupcake Silicone Bakewear
$1.00 off As Seen on TV Kangaroo Keeper
$2.00 off As Seen on TV Emery Cat Board
$1.00 off As Seen on TV Wonder Hanger

Baby Care- Save $15
$3.00 off any Boudreaux's Butt Paste, 4 oz. or Zilactin Gel or Toothache Swabs, 8 ct.
$2.00 off any Rite Aid tugaboos Infant Formula, 23.2 - 25.75 oz. Powder
$1.00 off any Rite Aid Baby Wipes, 64 - 72 ct.
$1.00 off any Huggies Diapers, Pull-Ups or Goodnites, Jumbo Pack
$1.00 off any Similac Infant Formula, 23.2 oz. Powder or PediaSure
$1.00 off Lysol Disinfecting Spray, 6 oz.
$1.00 off any Playtex Baby Bottles, Cups or Accessories
$1.00 off any Johnson's Baby Care, 14 - 15 oz. or Desitin Product
$3.00 off any Avent Baby Bottles, 9 or 11 oz. or 4 oz. 2 ct.
$1.00 off any Children's Advil Product
$0.50 off any Gatorade, 20 oz., 4-Pack

Rise & Dine- Save $4
$1.00 off any 2 Nabisco Brand Cookies or Snacks, Single Serve or Peg Bag or Maxwell House Coffee, 34.5 oz. or Yuban Coffee, 33 oz.
$0.50 off any Nature Valley or Fiber One Cereal Bars, Multi-Packs
$1.00 off any 2 General Mills "Big G" Cereals
$1.00 off any 2 Kellogg's Raisin Bran, Frosted Flakes or Froot Loops Cereal or FiberPlus Chewy Bars
$0.50 off any Gatorade, 20 oz., 4-Pack

General Merchandise- Save $99
$4 off $20 Purchase when you earn 20 video credits 8/29/10 - 9/25/10
One FREE FlavoRx Flavoring for Children's Liquid Medications from the Pharmacy (Value $2.99)
$5.00 off $25.00 Non-Prescription purchase* when you watch the Rx Services video
$5.00 OFF $25.00 Non-Prescription Purchase* *When You Watch the wellness+ Video
$2.00 off Green Dot Prepaid Visa or Mastercard Activation Fee (excludes NASCAR Visa)
$1.50 off any Polident Denture Cleanser, 78 or 84 ct. Tablets
$1.50 off any Sensodyne Toothpaste
$1.50 off any Aquafresh iso-active Toothpaste, 4.3 oz.
$1.00 off any 2 Dove Chocolates, 2 oz. or larger
$1.00 off Hibistat Antiseptic Wipes, 15 ct.
$1.00 off any Reach Total Care Toothbrush
$1.00 off any Listerine Mouthwash, 500 mL or Listerine PocketPak, 72 ct.
$2.00 off SmartMouth Mouthwash, 16 oz.
$1.50 off Efferdent Denture Cleanser Tablets 120 ct. or Plus Mint 108 ct.
$2.00 off any Natural Dentist Mouth Rinse, Peppermint Twist or Anti-Gingivitis, 16.9 oz.
$0.50 off any Wrigley's Orbit Gum, 14 Piece
$1.00 off any 3 Kleenex Facial Tissue, Anti-Viral 75 ct., Ultra White 85 ct., Assorted 100 or 184 ct. or White, 200 ct.
$1.00 off Kleenex Viva Paper Towels, 8 Pack Regular Rolls
$1.00 off any AirWick Imotion Scented Oil, Freshmatic i-Motion Ultra, Freshmatic Ultra Freshmatic i-Motion Compact or NeutraAir Freshmatic Kits
$1.00 off any Lysol Hand Soap Kit
$1.50 off any Mucinex Product
$0.30 off any Libby's Tropical Canned Fruit with Splenda
$1.00 off any 2 Hormel Compleats
$1.00 off any 2 Spam or Spam Lite, 12 oz.
$1.00 off any 2 Hormel Chili
$2.00 off any Garnier Nutritioniste Skin Care Product
$1.00 off any Benefiber, ex-lax or GasX Product
$1.00 off any Pilot FriXion Pens, 2 pk. or Highliters, 3 pk.
$2.00 off any Maybelline Cosmetics Product
$3.00 off any L'Oreal Double Extend Lash Boosting Mascara, Serum or Kit
Buy 3, Get 1 Free Any Powerade, 32 oz.
$0.30 off any Uncle Ben's Ready Rice, 8.8 oz. Pouch
$1.00 off any OXY Clinical Product
$2.00 off $6.00 purchase of any Sanford Sharpie's Product
$1.00 off any Garnier Fructis Shampoo, Conditioner or Styler (excludes Trial Sizes)
$2.00 off any Garnier Hair Color
Buy 1 Photobook, Get FREE Order online, pick-up in store (Retail value $24.99) Use Promotion Code AUGBOOKWhile supplies last!
$1.00 off any 8-Hour ThermaCare Patches
$1.00 off any Hershey's Bliss, 8.6 - 9.6 oz. pkg
$0.25 off any 2 Hershey's select Candy Bars; includes Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, Kit Kat, Hershey's Milk Chocolate or with Almonds Chocolate Bar
$0.50 off any 2 York Peppermint Pattie, Peter Paul Mounds or Almond Joy, single
$0.50 off any Trident Gum, 18 Piece Pk.
$0.50 off any Scunci Expandable Ponytailer or Clip
$7.00 off Nicorette Lozenges, 72 ct. or Nicorette Mini Lozenges, 81 ct
$3.00 Off Banana Boat Sun Care Product
Buy One get One Free- Any Pepsi
$0.75 off any Mott's Juice, 64 oz.

While I personally thing the AS SEEN ON TV ones are useless, when paired with upcoming Rite-Aid sales, some of the other ones are worth the effort watching to get some coupons that will bring down your OOP totals on those sales items.
So be sure to watch some before September is over.

I'm especially happy about the THREE $X off $XX Videos/Coupons!  Not only are there TWO different  $5 off $25 Coupons available, but there is a $4 off $20 Coupon to earn....sweet!! 
Pair one of these with other Coupons available for a lower out of pocket on your order.

Also, the August Videos will be going away so make sure you watch those this week so if those items go on special in September, you have the coupons in your account bank to print off for later.

Sluggy

And the Winner is.....

Instead of using Random Number Generator, I had our English house guest pulled a name from a hat....well a slip of paper from a whole bunch of slips of paper from an empty wipes box really.
Anyway, the Comment # he picked was #12, making the winner Frances!

Frances said...
Holy cr@p! How have I not entered this??? I would want to try the Dr. Zevia. I love Diet DP. fperkins2000 @ yahoo.com
 Congratulations Frances!!

Please email me your contact info. within the next 48 hours.
Thanks to everyone who entered and I'll be posting a new pile of things for the Boring Blog Box o' Stuff Giveaway later today so stay tuned....

Sluggy
 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

LAST CHANCE for Zevia Giveaway!

Today is the LAST DAY to enter my ZEVIA Natural Soda Giveaway!!!

Go check it out HERE.

Sluggy

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Ultimate Multi-Tasker...My Mobile Solar Oven

Last month, in the midst of our heatwave of  "Aught Ten", I decided to try something totally out of the box.

This box.....


Meet my newest kitchen gadget.......


My new solar oven...aka as a 2003 Dodge Caravan....my Car/Oven Multi-Tasker!

Why not put the heat that builds up inside to good use since I wasn't using the car that day?

So I set to making up some chocolate chip cookie dough and plopped it onto an aluminum foil lined cookie sheet and placed the sheet on the dashboard of my car in full sun.

I also placed my oven thermometer next to the pan so I could check the actual temperature inside the car.
Pan and thermometer safely inside the car, I shut the door at 11am. and told the kids hanging out at the house that day not to open the car for ANY REASON!

Here's the pan after an hour baking.....

And here it is a couple of hours later.....
The dough has spread out and each cookies is ringed by liquified butter.....yum!lol


Two more hours and we have this.....
The butter has reabsorbed(or evaporated?)and the cookies have plumped up slightly.

And here is what we got after 6 hours of solar baking.....

They are paler than normal since solar doesn't 'brown' stuff like a regular oven but they are cooked and hard.

Since my oven thermometer never registered more than slightly hotter than 150 degrees, I did throw this pan of cookies into the normal oven for a good 5 minutes after snapping this photo.
I know....kind of defeats the whole purpose of the off-the grid thing, right?lol

My recipe had raw egg in it and I didn't want to risk the chance of a salmonella chaser with the chocolate chips so a few minutes above 180 degrees was worth doing.
The next time I will try a no-egg recipe instead now that I know my mobile oven's flaws in the temperature department.

And the verdict?
The kids gobbled these babies down and declared them delicious!

Next time how about a pizza too and a pitcher of sun tea?

Sluggy

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mrs. Fix-It & Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?


 From the annals of "It's Always Something"......

Well, the refrigerator has decided to have a nervous breakdown.
It's having "issues".
Too bad I can't medicate it....that would be the easy thing to do.

I noticed the fridge part wasn't very cool the other day and the ice cube trays in the freezer weren't making solid cubes(they were a bit wet).  Then I noticed there was ice build-up on the back wall of the freezer.
I did some internet searching and it sounds like the auto defroster thingy is dead or frozen.  (This also will keep the cool air from flowing into the fridge part.)  So I'm attempting to thaw it out and see if the freezer starts making things cold again.
Oh where, oh where is DJ when I need him SonyaAnn?lol

In the meantime, we've plugged in #1 son's mini-fridge from his dorm room and I've thrown all the frozen foods from the freezer part into the standing freezer in the garage.  Thankfully we have eaten down on the frozen stuff this month!  Even so, the dogs will still be having a FEAST for dinner tonight!!lol

Hubs just wanted me to go buy a new fridge when I told him last night that something was wrong with ours.
He's that way.....just replace things, don't bother fixing them.
I went shopping online to look for a new fridge just in case it comes to that.
We have a small, odd space for our fridge so I have to shop by size basically, then color, then price.
I found 1 fridge that will fit that's black.
It costs $2,300+......
ACK!

Now you know why I am trying to breath life back into the one we have!lol
Plus it's only 5 years old.....

If this fix seems to work, I'll be calling the appliance repair guy.  I'd rather pay him a couple hundred bucks instead of Sears $2,300, ya know?


We are also getting a house guest on Sunday.
#1 son is bringing home a friend from the camp he worked at this summer.  He was a fellow counselor.
He is from Great Britain.  They get a lot of international students working at this camp.....England, Spain, Turkey.....

And this 'chap' has nowhere to go next week.
There is no work at the camp and his flight home isn't for another week, so he's basically homeless as of Saturday.
So #1 son wants to bring him home to stay with us and then Hubs gets to haul the both of them back to the western part of the state the following Saturday, so #1 can move into the dorm and his friend can get his flight home.
So I have a non-working fridge and a stranger coming to stay for a week whom I have to feed.
I have a feeling he'll be getting a lot of take-out meals.
Yes, come to America and stay with a 'typical' American family and eat Pizza, Tacos and Chinese.....typical American food!lol

I'm off to go think of ways I can embarrass my son in front of his friend.....it's a long standing fine family tradition in this house.

If the fridge can't be saved perhaps I can set it up on blocks in the front yard(since we don't have a junk car to do that to).
Or I can walk around in overalls and nothing else and cook him possum and squirrel and other 'critters' for dinner and say "ya'll" a lot....oh wait!, I already do that last thing.

Or go on and on about the tyranny of King George or lambaste English cooking....if you can call it cooking & do my Eliza Doolittle impersonation all week. ;-)
Ah Gaaaaaawwwwn!

Oh, so many choices.....

Sluggy

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Is it Just Me?....

.....or does anyone else think that the Coupon inserts for the last 3 months or so have been one big SNOOZE?

Not only are the values pretty low on most coupons but there are NOT a lot of coupons for food!  9 out of 10 coupons are for HBA or other non-food products.  And most of the food coupons are for junk food!  Well, there is ALWAYS a high proportion of junk coupons anyway....

Or is it just that manufacturers hate my region of the country and won't give us useful coupons in worthwhile denominations?  (Except for those toothpaste coupons which we always get tons of and for large amounts....)

Or am I just a whiney, unsatisfied, bored woman who enjoys complaining? lol

This time last year I was in my glory with the awesome sales and multiple catalinas at Acme(though I did have to travel a piece to get to an Acme)....



What I got at Acme in 1 week last August...the refrigerated stuff(milk, yogurt, etc) isn't pictured.  $58.81 OOP(most of that OOP was for the 1st order before I had Cats to roll)for $1,014.91 worth of food and toiletries.

And here's just 1 WEEK of my haul during the multiple Double Coupon Events at Kmart last year.
From Aug. 16-22.....


Total spent $16.86 OOP for $585.50 worth of items.  And that's not counting various manufacturer's rebates, free movie tickets, etc. I earned.  I logged a lot of hours inside my local KMarts last year....this year I think I've been there twice to buy clothes for assorted kids and haven't used a single coupon there.

Of course, some of the products I bought last year we've since sworn off of.....like Pop-Tarts, paper plates, pudding cups, house fragrance thingys, energy drinks, etc. so if I was to redo these trips there would be less bought.

I look at these photos and get nostalgic for the hunt & the thrill.....who says frugality is dull?

And then I remember how tired I was after those weeks were over and I get an overwhelming urge to go nap!lol

Last year was all about multiple large trips concentrated into 1 week.   The Acme trips were made in 2 days, going through the register up to 9 times in a day....it was truly a full day's worth of work planning and executing.  The KMart trips were spread out over a week's time for each Coupon Event Sale, but I'd make 2 or 3 smaller trips a day and sometimes hit multiple stores in 1 day.  Both methods were tiring and intense, but after the 2 days or the week of trips I could go for weeks and months without shopping(besides picking up a few necessities during any given week).
If I had to label it, last year was the "Year of Manic/Depressive type of Shopping".   Immense hauls in a short period and then no shopping for long stretches in between....if you don't count Rite-Aid.lol

This year has been about more frequent very small shopping trips for deals and catalinas.  My local stores haven't had anything approaching Acme or KMart deals of last year, nor has Acme or KMart. These little shops haven't been as lucrative as the mega-shops or as exciting, but they also haven't worn me out or taken the hours of strategic planning(=hours out of my day)either.
Weis would run 1 or 2 Cats with some things I wanted(ketchup or cooking oil or dog food, etc.) but usually there were no good coupons to pair with the Cats(or the Coupons would come out the week AFTER the Cat deal) so you would still have sizable OOP even after rolling the Cat a few times....thus higher OOP, so you don't stock up on as much.
You'd still get a deal but not as good as those megas of last year.

Since I have a stockpile, I guess I'd be happy with the type of shopping of this year(smaller hauls and a bit more OOP) as long as a big honking MEGA haul opportunity rolls around 2 times a year to augment my usual shopping.

So what do you prefer? 
Those large shopportunities spread out over the course of a year or smaller cat deals more frequently during the shopping year?

What have your shopping habits been like this year?
Have they changed since last year?
What kind of deals would you like to see that you don't?
If you use coupons, are you using more or less than you did last year?
Are you buying different products from what you bought last year or about the same?

Can you tell I am bored and avoiding doing what I should be doing today?lol

Sluggy

Bloggy Buddies are Giving Stuff Away.....Go Enter!

A few of my fellow bloggers are currently holding Giveaways.
And you know what that means, don't you?......You can win FREE STUFF! ;-)

Go check out A.Marie's Giveaway HERE for Yoplait Splitz.

Go check out Marilyn's Giveaway HERE for Pillsbury Sweet Moments.

Go check out Noreen's Giveaways HERE for Staples, HERE for Breyers Ice Cream & HERE for Seventh Generation.

And mention that I sent ya.... ;-)

Lots of goodies to win!

Sluggy

Meal Plan....What's a Meal Plan?.....Leftovers, Using What You Have & Less Shopping

 *The one where I ramble on about meal planning changes and leftovers.*

This week has got me swimming in circles here in regards to meals.
Though I haven't been adhering to a regimented Meal Planning for a couple of months, I was still cooking off of a loose framework, using what I picked in the garden or found for a good price at the farmstand/market as a guide.  Basically I pair some protein in the freezer with the fresh veggie du jour.

In a few short years, it will be down to Hubs and I for meals here.  #1 son is back to college soon, Daughter leaves for college next fall and 3 yrs after that #2 son follows.

For now, Daughter has started a new job(but still working some at the old job too)so most nights she isn't home.   #2 son is still doing Band Camp this week, so he's been gone from 9am until 8pm through this Friday and he doesn't want to eat when he gets home.  So that leaves Hubs and I most nights to eat alone.

Something I struggle with is not preparing too much food, which leads to food waste.  I find it hard to get use to cooking for 2 or 3 people when I am so use to cooking for 5.   I've used this week to try to prepare myself for cooking less amounts of food and also a narrower range of foods for the week, since once the kids are out of the house, I won't need to prepare as much food for a meal.

Hubs and I, unlike the kids, are perfectly happy to eat the same meals over and over again during the course of a week.  This along with cooking less amounts should help cut down on food waste and food expenditures in the years to come.

Here's what I've served since Saturday evening.....

#2 son had a sleepover here Sat. so I made them pigs in blankets and chili(all from stockpile).  I had a BLT(stockpile bread & bacon and tomatoes from the garden) and Hubs & Daughter ate leftover Pork Enchiladas from last Friday.  I way over made on the pigs in a blanket so there are 6 left over along with a whole bowl of chili.

Sunday was pancakes and bacon for breakfast & Chinese take-out for 4 for dinner.  Usually we eat half of the Chinese food since it's just so much food, and save the other half for subsequent meals....so there is Chinese leftover.

Monday I had eggs for Breakfast.  Daughter and I had leftover Chinese for lunch.  Dinner for 3, was BBQ chicken thighs-I made a package of 5(freezer/stockpile sauce)and salad(garden).  There is 1 piece of chicken leftover.

Tuesday I had a BLT for lunch, Daughter had the last Pork Enchilada.  For Dinner I cooked up a package of freezer ground beef and made Stuffed Yellow Squash(like Stuffed Peppers but with Squash)since we had 4 squash sitting in the fridge from the garden...I used 3 and made 6 halves.  I made wild rice medley with it.  There are 2 halves of squash leftover as well as 2 servings of rice.

Wednesday I had a bagel for Breakfast.  Daughter had raw veggies and salad dressing dip for lunch. Hubs was out of town for dinner(he ate a hamburger on the road-billed to his job) &  Daughter had work and didn't eat so I took some leftover ground beef that didn't go into the Stuffed Squash dish, a jar of pasta sauce and whipped up 1/2 a box of rigatoni.  I ate a serving of that for lunch and then another serving for dinner too.  There is 1 serving left.

At this point the leftovers are.....

6 pigs in blanket
1 bowl chili
Hub's Chinese food
#2 son's Chinese food
1 BBQ chicken thigh
2 servings of stuffed squash and rice
1 serving of rigatoni w/meat sauce

Thursday I'll probably have another Bagel and then a BLT for lunch....fresh tomatoes here still so I could eat that every day and not tire of it.lol  For Dinner, Hubs and I will have leftovers...if I had to guess, Hubs will choose his Chinese food and I'd pick the stuffed squash & rice.  If one of us wants the chicken or rigatoni, I'll prepare a salad or a veggie mix from the freezer.  Daughter is working again so she'll eat at her job or eat her brother's leftover chinese food that's still in the fridge before she leaves.

Friday is the Band Picnic/Preview.  I need to make something to take but am still at a loss about what to make. If I thought the kids would eat sour cream cucumber salad, I'd make that as I have a plethora of cukes here.lol   I guess I'll make a pasta salad since I have pasta, peppers, onions, salad dressing, celery, carrots and I can put cukes in it too.  Or I can add tuna in too and turn it into fancy pants tuna salad. ;-)
I'll have whatever is still leftover for lunch(or another BLT!) and when #2 son comes home at noon he can eat the leftover chili and hot dogs.  We'll be eating at the picnic for dinner.  If Daughter doesn't go she's on her own and will make something for herself.

Saturday we'll see what is still here in terms of leftovers and either finish those up or see what we can feed to the dogs if no one wants that particular item.  In this way, we start off Sunday with no leftovers to be forgotten and go bad in the back of the fridge next week.
I also only had to "cook" 4 days(not counting making BLTs).

Through Wed. I've used for the week.....
2 packages of hot dogs
2 tubes of crescent rolls
2 cans of chili
1 package of pancake mix
1 package of bacon
3/4 loaf of bread
3 tomatoes
1/4 head of lettuce
5 chicken thighs
big bunch of leaf lettuce
3 yellow squash
1.5lb. ground beef
1 qt. of home canned tomatoes
1 onion
2 packages of rice mix
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1/2 box pasta
3 eggs
2 bagels
1/2 package of cream cheese
1/2 lb. grapes
2 cups of mandarin oranges
6 celery stalks
4 carrots
1 gallon of milk
some butter
some syrup
some mayo
some salad dressing

I've only spent $3.32 this week for a gallon of milk.
#2 son has taken $5 a day(for 3 days=$15) and assorted snacks/drinks from the stockpile to Band Camp for meals.  Tomorrow instead of $5 he gets a certificate I won for 4 free hot dogs to a local joint he can walk to from school and he'll share it with a buddy.  The buddy will buy their drinks and leave the tip.
The Chinese food came to $36 for 4 people plus leftovers.  The eating out comes out of the entertainment budget so I'm not figuring that amount in.

So far that means I've spent $18.32(with the $5 a day for #2 son)on 26 meals this week.  We will get at least another 6 meals/servings out of that amount of food.
Since the store sales suck this week I won't be stocking up on anything but I'll buy milk again for another $3.32, making my week's grocery shopping total $6.64 for milk and $15 for #2 son's Band lunches.

Next week, #1 son returns from working at camp for the summer and Band Camp is over so unless Daughter is working, we are back to 5 for dinners.  I think I'll do an actual Meal Plan for next week.

The following week, #1 son leaves for college, so we'll be down to 4 or 3 for dinner(depending on Daughter's schedule).
It's always changing around here lately.....

Sluggy

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

More Garden Goodies.....And a New Resident



The weather was a might cooler yesterday so I ventured out into the garden beds to weed and pick some veggies.
And the green squash on the left is our LONE Zucchini.
Imagine that....non-prolific zuke!!lol

This Harvest--
TOTAL....4lb. 7.3oz.

Garden Harvest Weight Total to date....33 lb. 8.22 oz.

I updated our Butternut Squash count. We lost one(it never grew beyond it's infancy stage and now it's rotting on the vine), so if the survivors continue to mature we'll have 9 butternuts in the Fall.
I had Hubs put little squares of foil under the ones that are laying on the ground, just to keep them from contacting the soil and all the nasty bugs living in there that might want to snack on them.
Here's one of the biggest ones.  It's turned that pale tint of yellow they are suppose to be....



Our largest specimen is still this color.....


All I can figure is that it's shaded by various plants so it's not getting direct sun exposure.
Or it could be an alien life form badly disguised as a squash and here to take over the planet.
You decide......

We have a young rabbit running loose in our backyard. He loves to hang out in the un-whacked weeds around the pool or under the towering fir trees next to the dog run.

But I found this new resident yesterday enjoying snacks in the side garden bed......
Can't see him?
Try this shot.....look for the EARS.....


Ok, how about this one?


Yep, it's another baby bunny about 4 inches long. I had seen him over the weekend in there too. He's so small he can squeeze right through the bird netting we use for fencing.
He really enjoys marigolds and green beans......*sigh*

So what's happening in your garden this week?
Do tell!

Sluggy 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Frugal Vacationing.....or Buying Groceries for Fun!

We try to be frugal even on vacations. 

We go to places that we are within driving range of instead of flying.  If it's a very long drive(2 days or more), we will rent a car if we can find a deal.  I figure if the trip is going to pack on the mileage to the vehicle I'd rather do it on someone else's car, not mine.
We stay at campgrounds that have RVs to rent set up already on the property or that have cabin rentals.  It's much cheaper than hotel rooms(nice hotel rooms, not cesspool hotel rooms), especially if you have a larger crew that won't fit into 1 hotel room.  It's also more economical because these kinds of set-ups offer cooking facilities so you don't have to spend a fortune eating all your meals out....unless you want to do that. ;-)

The drawback to renting RVs or cabins in most places I've found require a week's stay.  That's fine if you want to stay put for the whole week.  But I grew up in a family where we didn't stay put on vacations, my father moved us every day or two no matter...I still have nightmares involving Kettletown Park in CT when I was 9 or so.  Having grown up with this routine I find I get itchy feet and want to move on every few days.  Hubs on the other hand wants to hunker down in one spot. 

Another drawback is that campgrounds, if they are full, are crowded with people and the spaces are generally close to one another.  So it can be noisy but most have quiet hours and the places I've been usually do enforce them. 
But if you like being around people, campgrounds are for you.  It's very easy to get to know your neighbors if you want(and good if you have kids since they can find someone to play with easily).  And if you don't want to, just close your RV door and hike up the A/C.lol

The last way we save money on lodgings is to stay with friends or family.  A free bed for a night or two can help the vacation budget go much further.  And sometimes you luck into free meals as well. ;-)  But don't overstay your welcome or impose on your hosts and try to help out or at least take them out for a meal or pay for groceries.

We also find things to do that are cheap or free of cost.  It's just as enjoyable to do a free thing as it is to pay to do something, unless they only thing you are interested in is amusement parks and shopping.
The bridge observatory wasn't free but combined with the entrance to the military fort and the "Paranormal Fair" that was being held that weekend at that state park, it was a great deal for the money.  Both museums we visited were free(though the Penobscot one took freewill donations), as was the sightseeing we did and walking around the farmer's market(which had free live musical entertainment).
The internet can be a boon for information on free and cheap things to do wherever you find yourself going on vacation.

And speaking of shopping,  one of the most popular things people do on vacation is shop.  This would be why outlet malls have sprung up everywhere considered a vacation destination in this country.  You can't go anywhere people summer without being near an outlet mall!  There is a stretch in southern Maine on Rte. 1(Kittery and north of there)that is just ridiculous with outlet stores.  Like Wiscasset, it's a nightmare of a stretch of road to navigate in the summer.  We avoid southern Maine because of it.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to go to the Tom's of Maine Outlet Store in nearby Kennebunk because of this non-stop traffic.

Buying souvenirs is a vacation tradition going way back.  When the kids were small we'd give them each some money that they could spend on whatever they wanted.  Sometimes this worked but usually they spent it the first day or two and then whined for the rest of the trip for more stuff.lol  So we tried giving them a portion of their vacation money each day to spend or save up for something nicer.  This worked out much better for them and my patience.lol
Souvenirs for me was usually buying a t-shirt for everyone.  I learned not to buy them at the souvenir shops though, but to find the local drug store or discount store or even grocery store as many would carry souvenir items and at a much lower price.  On a trip to Atlantic Canada once I bought souvenirs at the local Walmart....and they were on clearance to boot!lol  Souvenir shop shirt=$25US equivalent.....Walmart shirt=$4US equivalent.  And the quality the cheap shirt was on par with the pricey shop's shirt.

Though I've changed from a recreational shopper in the last 4 years to a "I only shop out of necessity" shopper, I do shop for pleasure on vacation.  I'm a discount/clearance shopping from waaaaay back and I enjoy checking out the local discount stores while on vacation. 
So one of my activities in Maine was shopping.
Ok, I did buy some postcards, a piece of fabric and some shirts(for the kids), but the main thing I shop for on vacation is food.
Yes, I travel 500 miles to buy groceries!LOLOL

But I seek out unusual foods at a cheap price that I can't get at home.
I'll buy locally, like the wild blueberries I carted home.
All 3 quarts ended up in the freezer, since I had that virus when we got home and didn't feel up to making jam.  I may still take some and make a jar of jam at some point this Fall.

Here is some of what else I brought home from Maine....

The suet was one of the Marden's finds. 
Two of the discount stores carried a large selection of Bob's Red Mill items, including the Pastry Flour I like.  I'd pay double at the local health food store here for Bob's line.

I found large bags of dried cranberries for $3 each.  The instant coffee was $2.99 at Marden's.  The maple syrup was on sale for $14.99 at Reny's...I got 3.  The coconut milk was under $1 a can.  The Daughter loves coconut rice so I stocked up on those.
Ocean State Job Lot had these dehydrated mushrooms for between $1.75-$2.25 a package.  Not just regular old button mushrooms but Shiitake, Enoki, Woodear, Porcinni, as well as a few other varieties that cost an arm and a leg in the grocery store.  My favorite was a mixed Medley of types in a package.  I heart mushrooms....
I also stocked up on my favorite native Maine yellow eyed beans.  They look like a black eyed pea but have a yellow eye(duh!lol)and are a bit smaller.  It's the traditional bean used for making baked beans in Maine.
While you can't get them here in PA, they sell them in the grocery up there! 
My last find was 1lb. bags of wild rice from Minnesota.  Not a wild rice mix but straight wild rice.  I can use this and make my own wild rice mix with brown rice.  These were $3 a bag.  I've never even seen it sold like this before anywhere I've lived.

In all I spent $133.48 on groceries to bring home(not counting the suet since we aren't eating that!lol).  If I could have figured out a way to freeze lobsters and cart them home I would have.lol

All totaled we spent right around $1,000 on this trip.  I can't be exact on the cost since Hubs doesn't always give me the gas receipts when he pays cash so I'll have to live with an estimated cost.  If we had eaten out less and used that food I brought to cook we could have shaved off $100 or so.  But I am good with what we spent for 7 days of peace and quiet and fun. 
Just the hotel bill alone could have been $1,200 if we had stayed at the Holiday Inn so I think we did this trip fairly frugally.

Do you have any tips for being frugal on vacation?  Please leave a comment and let us know your secrets!


Sluggy

What I Did on My Summer Vacation.....Part Four--The End!

This is Part 4 of my Summer Vacation Travelogue.  Catch up on Part Three HERE.

Monday was Hubs day to do what he wanted most. And what he wanted most was to explore history. Specifically,  some Native American history.
He's been interested in learning about the history of indigenous peoples since I've known him.

So we set out for Orono Maine, to the University of Maine's Museum.  They have a nice, well presented permanent collection on the Native Americans of the Maine region: the Penobscot, the Passamaquoddy, the Maliseet and the MicMac.
As a bonus over the next 3 days, there was suppose to be a full sized wigwam constructed in the art gallery space, by Native children, coordinated by former Penobscot Nation Chief and birchbark artist Barry Dana.
The local tv news report about it is located HERE(it starts after the motorcycle store ad).
Unfortunately, when we were there they were just bringing in the materials and no one was there to build it yet so we didn't get to be a part of that experience.

I am a crafty type person, so something they had at the museum that interested me was a video/interactive presentation by Native American master basket makers. There were videos of them talking about their craft and demonstrating aspects of it.
You can view the videos online HERE.  There are also videos of woodcarvers as well.

After a good hour there we got back into the car.
Two years ago we had been up here as Hubs wanted to see the Penobscot Indian Museum over on the Penobscot Tribal lands by Old Town.  The Museum was closed that time.
Since we were about 2 miles away I suggested we drive over and see if they were open.  We had come 500+ miles....might as well try since we were so close, right?
Hubs gave me an argument at first but I insisted in that way only a wife can, that we go.
So he threw up his hands, figuring it would be a goose chase again.

And he was wrong!

The Museum was open and he finally got to check it out.  It is housed in the old Government Indian Agent's office so it's a bit small.  But you wouldn't believe the amount of items and displays they have crammed into the building!  It's chalked full of photos, newspaper articles, and Penobscot items.  They even have 2 full sized birch canoes on display.  One is approx. 100 yrs. old and the other is over 200 yrs. old.  As there was no one else visiting at the time, the museum director, Mr. James Neptune, was able to chat with us at length on many of the items on display and answer our questions.  We only stayed about an hour but there was so much to see we could have been there all day and still not taken in everything.  Many of the items on display had been in private collectors' hands but were donated back to the museum where they can be appreciated by many.
I really enjoyed talking with Mr. Neptune.  He is an artist in many media as well as a writer and an activist....a true Renaissance man.  We found many things in common to talk about and we commiserated on the eBay scene as well.lol

He even consented to posing for a photo with me in the Museum's foyer. 
I take fond memories of the day with me....it was a pleasure to connect with Mr. Neptune.

Me & the Penobscot Museum Director, James Neptune, at the museum on Indian Island, The Penobscot Indian Reservation.  The Island is in the Penobscot River just off shore of what is called Old Town Maine.

On Tuesday morning, Hubs and I packed up at the campground and headed out to my friend's house outside of Augusta.  We made a quick stop in Waterville to check out the new Marden's store, for some discount shopping, and then a quick lunch across the Kennebec River in Winslow Maine.
While I didn't get a photo of my friend Brenda this trip, here is the one we snapped 2 yrs. ago...
And here is her backyard.....

Her property is right on the water.  Dusk brings alot of skeeters(that love to dine on me!)but otherwise it's lovely and peaceful.

We spent that evening and most of the next day just sitting and visiting.  There was also some drinking and eating.lol  Nothing very interesting except to us.

Of course Tuesday through Thursday turned out to be 3 of those hot and muggy days that they do get in Maine.....figures, right?  I'm there so it gets hot and muggy...lol  Brenda doesn't have A/C at her house.
She does have an awesome spa room she built onto the house with floor to ceiling windows.  Most of the day with the ceiling fan going, that room was nice and cool.

Hubs and I did wander off on Wednesday afternoon to Gardiner to check out the farmer's market at the Common in town.

The Wednesday Farmer's Market in Gardiner Maine.  It was hot enough to pop corn.
I spent most of my time sitting on a park bench to the left of the red wagon on the left in the photo(with the open door). That wagon belonged to an ice cream vendor that made a luscious ginger ice cream. Mmmmm.
 We bought home to Brenda's some fresh organic veggies and homemade hummus.

On Thursday Hubs and I had decided to head to the coast...Rte. 3 to Belfast, down the coast via Rte. 1 to Camden and Rockland and Wiscasset and up Rte. 27 to Gardiner and back to Brenda's place.
The weather however, did NOT consult us!  We hit Belfast and after some more discount shopping at Ocean State Job Lot, we drove down the hill into Belfast by the harbor...into a thick fog that obscured any lovely ocean views we had set our hearts on seeing and photographing for you all.
So much for sightseeing along the coast and some lovely photos.....

So we just kept going and hoped that the weather would clear(which it did not).  Stopped for lunch at a little joint called Nana's Kitchen outside of Rockland.  Not very impressed with the food or the prices(a gussied up shack with tourist prices).  We had a funny thing happen though when we were getting out of the car.  Two ladies were getting into the car parked next to us with Maine plates.  They saw our PA plate and asked us where we were from in PA.  Turns out one of them used to live literally 2.5 miles down the road from the development where our last house was/is in PA back during the time we lived there!  What a small small world it is....

So we drove through Rockland(the fog was still rolling in)and continued on.  It would have been nice to hit the Wyeth Museum while there but our timing was again bad since Thursday was the first day of the yearly Lobster Festival held in Rockland.  The traffic was miserable and getting worse with all those extra tourists in town for that event.  We hit one of those roadside seafood sellers out on Rte. 1 for some lobsters to cart back to Brenda's for dinner.
We also stopped in Edgecomb on the way back to Brenda's and bought 3 quarts of wild Maine blueberries to take home to PA(I should have bought more!).  August will find entrepreneurs along Rte. 1 in Maine selling berries, pies, seafood, you name it!  The prices are ridiculously low so it's always a good idea to have a cooler in your car when you hit the coast.


This is the celebrated Red's Eats at the corner of Rte. 1 and Water St. in Wiscasset Maine. I took this from the car stopped in the summer long gridlocked Rte. 1 traffic heading into town, westbound from the bridge over the Sheepscot River.  Wiscasset is a quaint little town.  The woman who founded and still ran the Maine State Music Theater(then the Brunswick Music Theater)back when I worked there had her summer home here so I've been here quite a few times.  I still mourn the loss of the old relic Schooner ships on the banks of the river that were still there in the 1980's.(There were various pushes back then to refurbish them before the sea reclaimed them but nothing was done and they disintergrated over time.)

The traffic traveling through Wiscasset in the summer months has boomed since then, as this is the direct route to most of the coastal points that lie east... but it's still a 2 lane road here.  Between the road going through the center of town and the speed restrictions and the Red's traffic, traveling on Rte. 1 here is a nightmare in the summer.
I've eaten at Red's a few times over the years....the last time in 1998.  I hear the food hasn't changed a wit since then and the lobster rolls is still most excellent.

We all dined on fresh lobster that evening.  Brenda made us wear the silly bibs and use her lobster napkins, plates and wooden mallets.  Hey, if it means I get to eat lobster, I'd wear clown shoes and a g-string.  Of course, if I did, no one would have much of an appetite anymore.lol
Sluggy looks a hot, atrocious sweaty mess but she finally gets her lobsters.  Don't we look like a couple of mental patients here?lol

We headed home bright and early Friday morning, again taking the back roads to the Interstate in VT, through MA and down into CT.
The next time we go through CT I'll need tranquilizers.
What.
A.
Nightmare.

It's been 2 years since I've been through CT and I can't believe it, but it has gotten so much worse!  The people drive like lunatics....Seriously!
Hubs has to drive to Hartford for business on a regular basis.
I don't know how he does it and doesn't have an accident.
The drivers are unbelievable and you NEVER see a policeman!

We almost were in an accident too.
A car, 2 car's ahead of us got cut off by some maniac flying up the left lane....we were traveling in the center lane.  He cut off that car trying to get over to the righthand lane to the exit.  The car spun out, hit the concrete median, blew 2 tires and blocked the left and center lane.  The guy inside looked fine(in shock but fine).  The idiot who caused the accident just kept going!
So the car in front of us and Hubs sped up to catch the idiot driver's car(at least get the license plate number). We both boxed him into the emergency lane and made him stop before he got to the exit ramp.  I got on the cell and called the police to report the accident since the interstate was now down to 1 travelable lane.
We couldn't stay there and keep him until the police arrived since the traffic would have smashed into us so we left after we got the plate number and I made the call.
I think I was still shaking when we arrived home hours later.

As an added bonus, at some point traveling on Friday(probably at one of the places we stopped to eat) I picked up a virus bug.  I got to spend the entire night and half of the next morning puking my guts out.  Seven trips to the "porcelain god", seven.  I spent Saturday sleeping all day and most of Sunday too. 
But I lost 5 pounds!lol
My ribs were sore for a solid week.
Not a good end to our vacation but I'd do it all over again if I could.....well, except for that puking part.

I hope you've enjoyed my little narrative on our summer vacation. 8-)

Sluggy