Family * Travel * Food

Lemon tree update and a bargain

Remember my post about planting a Dwarf Meyer lemon tree in a pot? Well check out how big it has gotten in the past 7 weeks!
After 7 weeks:
Of course I will not see any lemons until maybe next year if I am lucky, but I am thrilled with the fact that it is actually growing! I was worried since I paid so little for it but so far so good.

Here is my bargain of the week- Every year I buy a Mandevilla so that I can have flowers blooming throughout the summer. Normally I would have purchased it by the first of May. This year I decided I did not want to pay $20 for a plant. I am glad I did not get it at that time. Last night Dwayne and I were doing some work in the front yard and we had to make a quick run to our local home improvement store for a couple items. We both noticed that there was an abundance of plants on clearance. The garden center lady informed us that all clearance plants were an additional 50% for that day only. I found my plant that was originally $22.48 marked down to $11 and with the extra 50% off it ended up being $5.50! I was so happy! It is really big and all that was wrong with it was one little branch was broken. I pulled that sucker off and voila, new pretty pink mandevilla :-)
Shelly, Mom Files

6 Ways To Save Like An Extreme Couponer

With the start of TLC's latest "Extreme Couponing" season, it's a good time to review some basic tricks that these coupon pros use. Read on for six ways you can save like an extreme couponer.

1. Start Small
Don't try to go extreme all at once. Take it step by step, rather than show up at a checkout with 50 coupons and little idea what you're doing.

2. Never Pay For Coupons
There are some things in this life you just shouldn't pay for, and a coupon is one of them. Paying someone to clip or organize your coupons defeats the purpose of living frugally. Instead, surf Sunday newspaper ad supplements for coupon savings; ask your neighbors for their unwanted papers; or dive inside a recycled dumpster or two. Also, free online coupon sites like give consumers access to a multitude of coupon codes and printable coupons for thousands of merchants.

3. Get Organized
A little organization can go a long way. Always create a shopping list and have your coupons and shopping strategy organized before you even enter the store. Use an expandable coupon binder to sort coupon inserts by date, categories and expiration dates. Transfer to a small couponizer only those you'll need for a specific shopping trip.

4. Location, Location, Location
Where you shop is a key factor in making the best use of your time and coupons. Only shop at locations that allow coupon stacking and combining coupons with in-store offers. Don't be afraid to call and ask about policies before you show up. You don't want to wind up embarrassed at the checkout line with a handful of useless coupons.

5. Loyalty Rewards
Always take advantage of club membership rewards. These programs are usually free and have many savings perks, like rewards points, cash back programs, and double points for every certain amount you spend.

6. Don't Be Greedy
This is often where extreme couponers cross over into the world of hoarding. Only shop for items you actually need, products you can stock up on that aren't perishable, and those you can donate. Remember, a bargain is only a bargain if you can actually use the purchase. If your pantry has expanded into your living room and the kids are sleeping on rolls of toilet paper, you've probably reached hoarder status.

This information came from: Consumer savings expert, Andrea Woroch. For more information, visit or you can also follow @AndreaWoroch on Twitter to receive daily savings tips.
Shelly, Mom Files

The sting of food prices

Lately I have been feeling like I go to the grocery store and get some great deals yet I come home with nothing. I am a coupon user and a sale watcher but yet I feel like I am still not coming out on top. I did a little research and it turns out that the average family of 4 (although we are 5) spends about $500-$1,000 per month on groceries. The $500 side is for the thrifty families who use coupons and shop sales. This is all so crazy. I am sure most of you feel the same way. If you want to eat healthier you really have a lot of work to do. I love to have salad with meals but have you seen the cost of produce lately?? A bag of lettuce costs about $4 and you get mostly air! I have learned that my local grocery store marks down that kind of stuff according to expiration date. If I make a salad that day I often can get the same bag of lettuce for about $1-$1.50. I sat down yesterday for about 30 minutes clipping coupons according to a sales paper and once I did my shopping trip I got $110 of food items for about $70. Sadly I still feel like I got very little and I will still end up going to the store by Saturday. I almost wonder if ordering out a few days a week would work out to the same cost. Hmm. What about you, are you feeling the sting from the cost of food?
Shelly, Mom Files

Snow/Ice Day #4

So we have been home ALL week. The ice just did not want to let up and our school district is out this Friday and Monday of next week. This makes 10 days in a row out of school! My girls really wished they could have gone back. I think they were losing it by day 2. Thankfully the sun is shining and I suspect I will be hearing a non-stop dripping for most of the day. We plan to get out and do a little bargain shopping and get some fresh air. I don't mind being home most days but when you are confined and can't go anywhere then I get crazy. The part that makes no sense to me is how come I can't seem to get anything done? I do my usual everyday cooking and cleaning, but I really have not been utilizing my free time very well. I am not normally a big TV watcher but that seems to be all I have been doing. I have enjoyed sleeping in a little later though. I guess we will be back to business next Tuesday. The girls will be taking their mid-term/final exams that were originally scheduled for this week. They have been studying together so I feel they should do even better. Poor girls, they miss school and their friends. We will make the most out of the next 5 days.

Has anyone been stuck inside because of the winter weather? How are you holding up?
Shelly, Mom Files

Linens 'N Things deal (and my wish list, hint to the hubby)

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Linens 'N Things. All opinions are 100% mine.

I wanted to share a great online exclusive coupon offer from Linens 'N Things that will give you free shipping on any order that is over $26 (through June 1, 2010) when you use the coupon code : MOMBLOG . This code is just for bloggers and readers! It actually came in on time for me since I have a wedding gift I need to purchase and the recipient is registered with them. Our local store actually closed down several months ago so this gives me more flexibility to send a gift without breaking the bank on the shipping. I just love the vast selection of items they offer for bed, bath, kitchen, home and outdoor furniture and decor. Seriously, I could go nuts over the kitchen gadgets alone. I have my eyes set on the Rachel Ray Lazy Spoon and Ladle Set. Hmm, I really want the cookware set too! I think it will be something to add to my wish list :) I am going to have to check out their clearance tab on the site to see what bargains I can find. Have you ever purchased anything from If you could pick any item or items what would you want?

Visit my sponsor: Linens 'N Things

Shelly, Mom Files

Not your average teenagers

Our family went away to Atlanta for the weekend for a little R&R. We packed up the car and the kids and were off on a road trip! We ate out a few times which is rare for us so it was nice to not have too cook and clean. The girls were thrilled to hang out with their cousins and William just wanted to run wild. As long as he was outside, he was happy! Dwayne and his uncle Mike took all the teenagers shopping. Since my kids were the guests they let them pick where they wanted to go. Of course the junior Shellys wanted to go to Kohl's. They were gone for a few hours so this was a good time for Willie to come down from all the physical activity he participated in ALL day. He was fed and bathed and very calm. The kids finally returned and my girls walked up to me (Kohl's bag in hand). I figured they convinced Dwayne to buy them something. Turns out I was completely wrong. They handed me the bag and told me it was for me and to open it up and see what I got. I was really surprised and said that they should not have done it and they insisted that for all I do for them I deserve something nice. I got a shirt that I wanted, black flip-flops and a couple undies. All of the sizes were exact but the part that made proud was that they bought everything on sale or clearance. Also they used their own money. Dwayne offered to pay for it or even reimburse them but they would not take the money. They wanted to do this for me. Words can't express how special that made me feel and how proud I am of how they did something so selfless. What sweet girls and not your average teenagers. I know they will be great wives and mommas some day ...many, many years from now!!) I LOVE MY DAUGHTERS SO VERY MUCH!!!
Shelly, Mom Files

Another amazing deal

Here are two more reasons why I will never pay full price for anything. I went to one of my favorite stores today just to look around and these items for William caught my eye. It's a stacking cup set with a bath squirty toy and a bowl and lid set for on the go snacks. The regular retail price for these items came out to $13.00.

As you can see the clearance price was way under retail.
Don't you just love it?

Well it gets even better. Not only did I get the great low clearance price but they also qualified for the store sale of buy one accessory get the second half price. I ended up spending $1.93 (tax included). It doesn't get any better than that!


Oh how I love a good deal!

Look what I found today at one of my favorite shopping spots. This cute necklace was originally $18. I picked it our for my older daughter since it has all of her favorite colors in it.

Lucky for Chardie she has a smart mom who never pays full price. Check out the price tag!

That's right....90% off baby!! I just love clearance shopping. I get so excited over finding steal like this. We bought a few other necklaces and earrings for back to school and spent under $20! Dwayne will give us a thumbs on this one since y'all know how much he loves holding on to his money!
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