Friday, September 28, 2012


This week I pulled both my personal profile and blog page from Facebook. Some of you may have seen my status updates informing of this decision and some may not have.

I won't go into specifics concerning this decision but you can be assured that I didn't have any negative experience that prompted this action.

In the meantime, I do still plan to keep my blog up and running. If you'd like to subscribe so you don't miss an update, you can subscribe by email or become a follower. Both of these options are on the right sidebar of my blog. Or you can subscribe via a reader. Google Reader  is my favorite and keeps all the blogs I read in one place!

As always, thank you so much for continuing to read and comment here at Mary Ann's House. I appreciate it and it means a lot to me!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

More Coupon Savings

As I mentioned in this post, I'm making a bit more of an effort to use some coupons again to help me rebuild my pantry without buying everything at regular retail prices.

I had gotten more store coupons from my last trip to Bi-Lo so made a quick trip to see what I could find!

This time I had Baby Boy-who is-not-really-a-baby-anymore (18 months!) with me, so it was important to make the trip quick!

I'm not a fast grocery shopper but taking the littles certainly speeds me up which is a good thing! I like getting it done and going back home!

We picked up a few needed produce items and then these things:

  • Disposable cups-- FREE with $1 store coupon. These are often needed for our Fellowship gatherings.
  • Jug of water--FREE with $1 store coupon. This will be put with our emergency supplies. 
  • Sandwich bags-- 39 cents with $1 store coupon.
  • Shout-- $1.15 with $1 store coupon and 55 cent doubled manu. coupon. This would have been better had I waited for a sale but still a super price for something we use regularly. And now I have an extra for later!
While I really don't have a desire to be a super Coupon Queen, especially right now--there are so many other things I'd rather spend my time on-- using some coupons for needed items really is helpful to the budget!

Do you coupon regularly? What have you gotten for a good price recently?

Monday, September 17, 2012


Our new home is county instead of city so we aren't included in city trash pickup. Instead of paying for a private company to get our trash, we've opted to take our trash and recycling to the dump ourselves.

We live only about 5 minutes from the dump so this has worked out quite well so far. Admittedly, it does take a bit more effort to gather all the trash together to take somewhere than setting the can at the curb. 

A few ways we've reduced the trash and made things a bit easier:
  • Composting food scraps. I'd gotten out of the habit of consistently adding to our compost bin. Since moving, we've started this back up. I keep a bowl on the counter and then empty every day. Super easy. I'm also adding some to our garden plot to amend the soil. We have a septic system so no garbage disposal, so if not composting, these things would go right into the trash, not only creating more garbage but a lot more stink!
  • Recycling. The trash and recycling center provides a blue recycling bag. Almost all recyclables can go in this bag eliminating the need for sorting. They accept almost everything except for styrofoam. Recyclables in the trash can tend to fill it up very quickly so this keeps the actual garbage amount down.
  • Outside trash can. I keep a can outside for diapers and other smelly stuff. We normally only have one bag of household trash per week. I'd have to empty it more often if diapers were included so they get their own can plus it gets them out of the house! At the end of the day, I tie up the grocery bag of diapers we've accumulated and cart it outside.
  • Passing stuff on. Egg cartons go to the guy we've been buying eggs from. Another lady at the farmers market uses the plastic clamshell containers to package up her produce. I add those items to our market bag through the week and take it with us to disperse among the appropriate vendors. 
  • Reusing and repurposing. Individual applesauce containers make good little paint cups. There are oodles of uses for toilet paper rolls and cardboard. Glass jars can be reused. So I keep some. Not all. If I kept everything hoping to find a use for it one day, we'd be buried in a sea of recyclables. And we don't want that. I keep a few things if I have a specific use in mind and send the rest to recycling. Super simple.
  • Reducing the use of disposable items. Using plastic or glass containers instead of so many plastic bags, lidded bowls and pans instead of always having to cover with plastic wrap or foil, cloth napkins and rags instead of paper towels and napkins are some of the ways we reduce our trash. We don't do this perfectly by any means but the little things we are able to do add up to savings and less trash! 
By implementing these tips, we typically only have to make a trip to the dump every couple of weeks! 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Recent Frugal Stuff

I always enjoy reading when others post about ways they are being frugal and saving money on a daily basis. So I thought I'd share my own list of ways we've been able to save money recently or use what we already have creatively!

I know most of us are interested in making the most of our dollars and stretching them as far as we can these days. So maybe this will help!

  • A friend gave us some garden veggies: already sliced cucumbers and a couple small tomatoes. I made a Creamy Cucumber Salad with these and served it with lunch 2 days.
  • When folding clean sheets, I noticed the hems on the pillowcases had come loose. A few minutes at the sewing machine and they were mended and should last for a long while. 
  • Made some new snacks using ingredients I usually have on hand. Frozen banana bites and Grapesicles!
  • A roll of brown paper was left here when we moved in. On a  rainy day, I taped a large piece of it to the kitchen floor and let the kiddos color all over it.
  • We received a "Welcome to the neighborhood" coupon pack. Most were not things we would use, but we kept out a coupon for a free haircut which Andy used this week!

  • I've been sewing lots of aprons to sell locally and in my Etsy shop. I've challenged myself to come up with fun fabric combinations using what I have in my stash rather than running to the store to buy more. I've had to get more creative than usual but have come up with some really cute ones, I think! I've done quite a bit and could still sew happily from my stash for quite some time!
  • Used store coupons to get a few needed items for free or nearly free!
  • Marinated some beef in leftover garlic dill pickle juice for a stir fry. Very yummy. I've also been putting cucumber slices in leftover pickle juice to brine for a few days and making my own pickles! Not quite the same as "real" pickles but tasty! This is old-school frugality at its finest; I hate to throw pickle juice away.
  • I've been composting all of our food scraps minus meat and dairy. Since we started our fall garden, I've been digging holes and putting some right into the garden--free fertilizer!

  • Made this cute fall pumpkin with stuff I had on hand then realized that I didn't have a cinnamon stick for the stem. My first thought was when to run to the store to buy some but then my eyes fell to some sticks in the backyard--so I used a stick for the stem instead. Totally free!
  • Our house has a hard time staying cool. But with the little bit cooler weather, we've been able to turn off the ceiling fans! A small savings.Still using the A/C of course but soon we'll be able to turn that off too!
  • I've said no to quite a few purchases resisting the urge to upgrade when I have something at home that works just as well! More money saved plus less clutter! 
What frugal stuff are you up to these days? 

**This post is part of Frugal Fridays over at Life As Mom! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pinned It, Made It: Band-Aid Get Well Cards

I pinned this get well card idea a long time ago because they were so cute and hysterical! Recently, I needed a get well card and thought of this which was perfect for the recipient!

Ok, so these could technically be a kid's craft but so funny and I know many adults who would get a kick out of these! So when I got out the supplies to make a card, I made several to add to my card box.

Super fun and simple!

I added some of my own touches such as little stick figure arms and legs and even tried to come up with my own band-aid jokes and puns.

I may not have done so well with the latter. But it was fun!

**This post is part of Pinned It, Made It Monday at Country Girl at Home. 

**My intention was to post this Monday but as you can see that didn't happen! Happy Wednesday everyone!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Time To Fill Your Shoeboxes!

It's that time again.

Time to start thinking about what you want to pack in your shoe boxes.

Collection week is about 2 months away: November 12-19, 2012!

I've been squirreling a few things away all year but just today pulled out the boxes and sorted the items into each one. Now I know what I need to fill them in!

And as usual, our girl box is already much fuller than the boy box! Always seems to happen that way--maybe because I love buying girly stuff?!!

 **If you'd like, you can see this video I did last year about filling our shoeboxes. 

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


I'm trying to make a bit more of an effort to use some coupons again for things I know we will use. Using just a few coupons can help to give our grocery budget a little more wiggle room. Plus after not using coupons or shopping the drugstore deals for a while, our grocery and personal care stash is starting to dwindle a bit!

We don't need 20 tubes of toothpaste since we only use 2-3 a year but buying an extra 1 or 2 of needed items as back-up is nice. And when bought on sale, saves us a good deal of cash!

I got a pile of store coupons from the grocery store last weekend so I used some of those on this trip. Most were very general coupons like $1 off any laundry purchase or any oral care purchase. I like coupons like that!

Here's what I got: 

Mustard- 39 cents with doubled 30 cent manu. coupon.
Canned vegetable- 49 cents with 20 cent e-coupon loaded onto store loyalty card.
Cereal- FREE with $1 store coupon. This will be a good snack for the little ones.
Toothbrush- FREE with $1 store coupon and doubled 75 cent manu. coupon.
Body Wash-FREE with $1 store coupon.

We also had gotten a $3 off any purchase coupon from CVS for my husband's birthday so he kindly gave that to me to use! Upon entering the store, I scanned his Extra Care card and received a $2 off any CVS brand body wash, so I was able to combine the two coupons for a good deal.

Body Wash
2 pk. bar soaps
Sale- Buy 1, get 2nd 50% off.
Used $5 in store coupons.
Paid 30 cents for both!

Do you use coupons? What good deals have you gotten recently?

Monday, September 03, 2012

Pinned It, Made It: Grapesicles

In the interest of trying another cheap and easy snack idea from Pinterest this week, I chose to make grapesicles.

I read the directions this time but wouldn't have had to; no hidden stuff I couldn't see in the picture! :-)

I'd gotten some big red grapes at Aldi so I washed, dried and threaded them on wooden skewers. (Used some shorter skewers I had.) I then laid them on a waxed paper lined pan  and froze.

I'd heard of eating frozen grapes as a snack but hadn't tried it and wasn't sure I would like it. Not a fan of trying to chew big frozen chunks! Too cold and makes my teeth hurt!

I do like these grapesicles! The grapes are small enough  and they begin to thaw rather quickly so they're not too cold to chew.

Pretty tasty and fun! And who doesn't like eating things off of a pointy stick!?!

Verdict: Win!

**This post is part of Pinned It, Made It Monday! over at Country Girl At Home.