Friday, May 31, 2013

Newer Picture of my Jalapeno Plant

There are about 6 #jalapeno peppers on the plant.  I had to stake it because it was leaning over due to the windy weather we have had this year.  Or do you need to stake them anyway?  Either way, my bell peppers are going to need staking too.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Estate Sale Treasure Hunt

I'm so excited about attending a local #estatesale this Saturday.  Wish me luck finding some great deals.  I only get to go to one of these about once a month (if that often).  I have this one on my calendar..... watch for updates if I get any cool stuff.  Of course the sale starts tomorrow; but I owe, I owe, so to work I must go.

(Not sure how this hash tag thing works, but I'm going to give it a try.)

For my local friends:

Address is: 
2056 North Ranch Est. Blvd
New Braunfels.... just of County Line Road

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Saved $41.05 At My H.E.B. Grocery Store

This may not be huge savings by some extreme couponer's standards; but for me its a pretty good deal.  And I didn't buy anything my family didn't need.

In a previous post I mentioned receiving $10 catalina coupons for purchasing $30 of P&G products ($60 between two transactions).  Sunday was my day to cash those catalinas in.

In my first transaction:  I purchased a variety of grocery needs with no manufacturer, or store coupons.  Items like bread, milk, produce, and meat.  The total before coupons was $49.41.  Less $10.87 for 22% savings.

The second transaction:  Again, a variety of grocery needs with some manufacturer coupons and store furnished manufacturer coupons.  (I would list then; but that might bore my readers.)  The total before savings was $77.21.  Less $30.18 for 40% savings. 

Overall grocery savings of 33%.

Not bad for an avid; but not extreme couponer.  I get most if not all of my coupons from newspaper inserts and preprinted coupons at the grocery store.  For other ideas on where to get coupons; check out a my previous post here.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fresh from my garden.

WOW - My garden has really taken off.

The above picture is my first mini-harvest from my Spring Garden.  After heavy rains and flooding in my area, I was very nervous about how my garden would make out.  In actuality, my backyard looked like a swamp.  Thankfully nothing seemed to suffer; as a matter of fact, the garden is BOOMING.  I guess I raised it enough so it didn't drown.  

I picked these veggies Sunday morning; and prepared a tasty combination of the yellow squash; zuchinni, jalapeno, and some green onion (also home grown).  Sliced and diced everything up into a bowl and seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Coated with a dash of olive oil and let it sit for a few hours before popping it in the oven to be roasted.  Roasted in 400 degree oven for about 30 minute; then kept warm at 200 until we were ready to eat.  I'm having the leftovers for lunch today.  Yummmm

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Great Revlon Deal at CVS Beginning 5/26

I always pay very close attention to special deals on Revlon cosmetics.  Especially Colorstay Foundation.  I've used this particular brand/formula for quite a while and although I have tried others; nothing works better for me than this.  Last year with a combination of high value manufacture coupons and Extra Care Bucks (ECB) I was able to buy 4 bottles for almost nothing.

The CVS ad that comes out on Sunday May 26, has a great deal.
My specific deal:
  • Purchase 2 Colorstay Foundations @  $9.49 each = $18.98
  • Use 2 Revlon foundation coupons for $2.00 off each = $4.00
  • Adjusted total:   $14.98 (this is my out of pocket)
  • Receive:   $4.00 ECB (extra care bucks)
Its like getting them for $5.49 per bottle.  I just really hope they aren't out of my shade.
Thanks to I heart CVS for posting the upcoming CVS ad....

Zuchinni Success

Zuchinni Success

When I was young; I hated anything green.  My children seem to take after me on that issue.  But, after learning different ways to prepare vegetables (other than boiled like Mama did); I am looking forward to sauteing, roasting, or steaming my veggies once I begin to harvest them.  I hope someday my children will give vegetables a try.  It isn't very healthy to skip all or most of the veggies.  But I'm not a parent who forces her children to eat their vegetables.  That happened to me as a child; and I still remember gagging from trying to eat; ok maybe it isn't funny; and maybe its too much information.   But I'm sure you get the point.

The above picture was taken a few days ago; and was looking pretty good. 

This one was taken Thursday evening.  It amazes me just how quickly they grow.  I think this one will be ready to pick in a couple of days.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Where I Get My Coupons

I recently read a blog post that shared ideas of where to get extra coupons.  So I thought why not share additional places that I have picked up coupons in the past..... I doubt these are unique spots and you may have read similar posts on other blogs.

  • Hospital - if you know someone who works for your local hospital; just ask if they get courtesy newspapers and if you could possibly get the coupon inserts from those papers.
  • Paper Retriever Dumpster - this one is a little difficult; because in most areas dumpster diving is considered illegal.  If it is not illegal in your area; be sure you have on old clothes, and/or a step ladder, and/or something to extract the coupons.  It would be a good idea to wear gloves too.
  • Friends - I have a couple of friends who bring me coupons on a regular basis.  Others have good intentions but do not always follow through.
  • E-Bay - I have gotten coupons off ebay before; but only once.  The savings definitely outweighed the cost; so it was a good buy.  The standard to remember is that you are not buying the coupons; but are paying for the clipping service.
  • Internet - I have printed these in the past; but I don't use them often.  Several businesses do not accept internet coupons; and there are restrictions regarding how many you can print  (2) per computer.
  • Mail - I used several coupons for FREE McWraps that I got in my snail mail.  Always check your junk mail; there could be some money there... lol
  • Amazon - Great deals on products from Amazon.  Check out the links below.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Yellow Squash Update

While preparing to write this post; I kept trying to think of ways to bring humor into my writing.  I guess I have too much logic; 'cause I couldn't think of anything funny to say about yellow squash. 

So here goes the logic of the yellow squash:

I started these little babies in paper pots made from newspaper in or around the end of February.  They sprouted really quickly and I was quite happy with my new little green thumb.  On Good Friday I planted them in my raised garden.  (Although I tried one in a grow bag; that little sucker didn't survive.)  But these little beauties are doing quite nicely. 

I was a little concerned about whether I would have to hand pollinate them; but so far they must be pollinating on their own.  Its been a very windy Spring; so perhaps that's done the trick.

After taking this picture, I picked this little guy up off the ground very gently and tried to give him a little support from another stem.  I think that will discourage potential disease.

This picture is from a different view.  Very excited and proud of my two little yellow crookneck squash plants.

Don't forget great gifts for Dad!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Single Solitary Tomato...Thus Far

This is an update on one of the 7 tomato plants I have planted this Spring.  So far, I have only one single tomato coming out.  It looks quite nice.

If you look closely some of the leaves have brown spots and some yellowing.  Since I am a beginning gardener, I don't know if this is a disease or a pest.

This particular tomato plant was planted in a grow bag.  The growing medium is Schulz Garden Soil; which I am preferring more and more as my other plants are doing quite well.  I am in zone 8B so I water almost daily and feed weekly.  All of my tomato plants have the brown spots and yellowing leaves.  They get an average 5-1/2 - 6 hours of direct sunlight per day; and indirect (shade) several hours per day.

What could I be doing wrong?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Can This Tomato Plant Be Saved?

I am at a loss and in mourning over the impending death of this tomato plant.  It suffered extreme duress after being beaten severely by storms (heavy rain and hail) a couple of weeks ago.  I have tried to revive it by pinching off the dead leaves and adding more growing medium to the container up and around the stem.  Watered lightly since I was told it got too wet.  I just don't know if it will survive.  Before the storm it was looking really nice.  I wish I had moved to a protected area before the storm; but regretfully I did not.

If an experience gardener can provide input, please advise if I should continue trying to revive this plant, or give up.

Monday, May 20, 2013

I Have Blogger's Block

I'm sure you have all heard of "writer's block", well since I'm a new blogger and just practicing my writing skills; I guess you could say I have "Blogger's Block".  I've read other blogs that list many subjects that bloggers can write about when they have a loss for words or content.  I think I'm a bit of both; but only because I didn't take pictures of my garden over the weekend.  Its doing fairly well, some plants better than others; but writing about them today just doesn't seem feasible.  So.......... if you are an experienced blogger; what do you write about when you get blocked?

Happy Monday!
Have a great week!


Friday, May 17, 2013

Yellow Dye in Food Products..... Eliminate it, or Not?

I've never paid much attention to scientific research on dyes, chemicals, and other ingredients in the past.  But for some reason the last few months I've really become more concerned about what is in the processed foods I buy.

So I did a little research after hearing negative comments about yellow dye.

According to sources on Wikipedia;
"The use of tartrazine was banned in Norway,[26] and was also banned in Austria[26] and Germany until the ban was overturned by a European Union directive.[27][not in citation given] The United Kingdom's Food Standards Agency in April 2008 called for a voluntary phase-out of tartrazine, along with five other colorings, because of a reported link with hyperactivity in children.[28]"
This concerns me because I have a child with ADHD.  He takes medication every school day to help him focus on his schoolwork.  I have begun a personal pledge of removing yellow dye (esp. #s 5 & 6) from our diet.  And guess what?  One of our most favorite products contains yellow dye #5.  That being "Hamburger Helper - Cheeseburger Macaroni"..... I wonder if we will miss it.  I know I miss the ease of preparing dinner in a short amount of time; but I think our health may just be a little more important than convenience.

I can't say that I or we have removed all products containing yellow dye from our diet; but I am sure working on it.

What do you think?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

CVS 25% Off In Store Purchase Thru 5.19

Here's another CVS offer.  25% Off in-store purchase.  It doesn't mention a minimum purchase; but does not include sale items.  If your an Extra Care Card holder; be sure to check your email for this offer.  You can print the coupon; or have it sent to your card. 

This offer expires May 19; so get yours fast!

The 30 % offer I received last week was used to purchase a 50' pocket hose.

Retail price:  $19.99
Discount:       $5.99
Total:           $14.00
Sales Tax:      $1.15
Total paid:    $15.15

Coupons..... where are they now?

I've been a bit disappointed in the coupon inserts over the past several weeks.  I wonder if the coupon craze of the past couple of years has lead to the decline of quality product/manufacturer coupons.  I'm sure there are people who use the products I'm seeing coupons for; but there isn't much for me and my family. 

I'm still stocked up on a few items that I don't really need more of; but I haven't even seen many coupons on those products.... like toothpaste, shampoo, soap.  Not seeing much of a savings anywhere.  Perhaps the coupon policy changes have had an affect on this as well.  No store(s) in my area doubles coupons, most stores do not allow for stacking store and manufacturer coupons.  Minimum purchases are going up.... so what's a single parent on a budget to do?  Eat beans and rice?  I think not.  I consider myself fortunate; but there are many families who are less fortunate and struggle to get by.

Could I have lost my interest?  Or could the coupon craze be declining?  Either way; I'm not going to waste trips to CVS, Walgreens, or grocery stores to save a buck.

I do have two $10 catalinas that I will be using in the next few days; so that's $20 off $60 (two separate transactions).  I just wish I had more manufacturer coupons for stuff I actually use.

Have you noticed changes in the coupon inserts lately?  Share your thoughts.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

CVS Beauty Club Members - $5.00 Coupon off $25

If you are a CVS Beauty Club Member;
be sure to check your email for $5 off beauty purchases of $25 or more. 
I got it this morning.

Stack it with manufacturer coupons for an even bigger savings.

New 2 U Resale Store - - Benefiting Meals on Wheels / Comal County

The New 2 U Resale Store is located on Landa Street in New Braunfels, Texas.  This store formerly known as "The Comal County Senior Citizens Thrift Store" serves Comal County and beyond.

They offer book, furniture, clothing, housewares, music, decor, among many other wonderul previously loved items.  I visited the store on Saturday; but unfortunately had to be somewhere else relatively quickly, so I did not make a purchase.

Proceeds from New 2 U benefit the Meals on Wheels program and other Senior Social programs.  As an individual with an aging parent in another city, I am one who supports programs for our seniors.  My aging parent is on Meals on Wheels; so I am very greatful for all that is done to support this program. It is often said "it takes a village to raise a child".... well it also take a village to take care of our seniors.  Will you help?

For more information:

Friday, May 10, 2013

Don't Waste Your Wastes -- Compost 'em by Bert Whitehead

Have you ever gone to an estate sale?  Have you gone but not have any idea what you were looking for, or even if you were looking for something.  I guess since I've been on this gardening kick; I went to an estate sale about a month or so ago looking for gardening supplies on the cheap.  By the time I was able to go, many items were already sold.  But..... I stumbled upon this book.

This has been a very informational guide that has given me great hope in composting success.  Since I'm so "cheap", I only paid 75 cents for the book and have gotten really good ideas on how to create an effective, inexpensive compost pile without making my yard look like a mess.  I already have a tumbler; but as soon as I start locating slightly damaged trash cans, I can build my own compost bin with just a little effort.  Some of the other suggestions are a little to labor intensive for lil ole me.... :) 

This is my personal copy and is NOT for sale.  But if you would like a copy, check here:  At the time of this posting there were 27 available on

Happy Gardening,

Thursday, May 9, 2013

What Should I Do with this Little Table?

Recommendations Wanted

Hello all, I bought this little side table over a year ago to repurpose for my home.  Well guess what?  I never got around to doing anything with it.  It sits in is the living room, next to the recliner.  I have boring white walls, chocolate brown sofa, loveseat, and recliner, decorating is primarily of western theme. What color would you recommend for this little vintage table?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Becoming Debt Free

In 2008 I began a journey to become debt free (except my mortgage).  I was pretty successful; but in just under a year I decided I needed a new or used vehicle.  So I bought a used 2006 Mercedes for $16,000.  Put $3,000 cash down; and traded in my Mazda 626.  So my note was around $10,000not including the extended warranty.  Within a month of taking the Mercedes home it began to have problems.  One thing led to another and I ended up trading it off for a brand new Mazda Tribute (2010).  I was upside down on the loan before I even signed the papers; but I couldn't handle the mechanical problems I had with the Mercedes.  I eventually got the balance of the extended warranty money back; but was a nightmare.

Its been close to 3 years of budget busting; but I am determined to pay the Tribute off early.  So I'm back on the debt free journey again.  I read the book below as well as "Money Makeover" by Dave Ramsey.  I'm here to tell you it works (if you follow the plan, and stick with it). 

My personal copy.

Here's how you can get an updated copy!

Or check out "The Total Money Makeover"

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A little more gardening......

Grow Bag and Self Watering Containers

Pictured here are the other two gardening methods I am trying as mentioned on my "Gardening" page.

As of today, only one container plant is still living.  A recent storm resulted in a pretty overwhelmed cucumber plant that just gave up.  The other container has a very nice developing tomato plant which I started from seed.  Its almost time to add more growing mix for a sturdy stem.  I learned how to put the self watering container together by watching videos on Youtube and by researching multiple search engines.

In the back area are two other tomatoes planted directly in Schulz Garden Soil bags.  They appear to be doing well. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Backyard Raised Bed 5.5.2013

Pictured above is the raised bed portion of my garden.  Currently this part of the garden consists of: 

  1. in the foreground there are 6 sweet bell pepper plants, 2 zuchinni ,4 marigolds, one living potato, and green onions that you can't really see;
  2. in the back area is 1 jalapeno, 2 yellow squash, 2 marigolds, 4 tomatoes (hard to see on the left), and 3 cucumber (to the right). 
I designed the planting layout so that the squash would be to the west of the garden so they would be less likely shade the smaller plants.  However, now that Spring has sprung; I determined over the weekend that the neighbors house and large tree shades the entire garden area in late afternoon and evening.  Perhaps by full summer the shade will be a blessing.  It seems the garden gets just shy of 6 hours of full sun per day.  I just hope that's enough to give my family a least a little harvest.

Comments welcome.


Friday, May 3, 2013

H.E.B. P&G Roundup ... get $10 Coupon with $30 Purchase

Yesterday I visited my local H.E.B. for a special P&G Roundup deal they have a few times a year. 

I took advantage of this deal by purchasing 4 bottles of Tide @ $7.54 each for total of $30.16 ($30 minimum).  I used 4 of the $2.00 off yellow "M" coupons to bring that total down to $22.16.  I bought a few other items as well; so my total out of pocket was a bit more.

After checkout I was rewarded with my $10 catalina. 

Now that may not be the best deal on laundry soap; but I've developed quite a fondness for Tide.  So for me it is a really good deal.

The $10 catalina can be used between May 15 - 28 on purchases of $30 or more.  I'm a little concerned about it being a "B" coupon; because H.E.B. has changed their coupon policy by not allowing the stacking of coupons.  I will more than likely apply that coupon for items like meat and produce.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Jalapenos growing in my raised bed.

This is my first Spring garden; and I'm happy to say the jalapeno pepper is doing really well.  This is the only jalapeno pepper plant I bought as a seedling.  It was planted in late March (Good Friday).  The soil in the raised bed is Schultz Garden Soil for Flowers and Vegetables.  I water almost daily and I sprinkle a weekly feed mix once a week.  The weekly feed mix consists of the "Mittleider Method" nutrient mix with 13-13-13 fertilizer and epsom salt.  I'm very excited about my little peppers and look forward to figuring out what to do with them.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

FREE McWrap Coupon.... all used up

I got this in the mail a couple of weeks ago.  A co-worker brought hers to me as well and today I will use my last one for a free McWrap. I recommend the chicken and bacon. Who doesn't love bacon right? With ranch dressing on the side. Yummy!

CVS Trip 4.30.2013 - Only Paid $.60 Out of Pocket

I had really good savings at CVS on Monday. 
What I Purchased:
  • 2  Lady Speed Sticks @ $2.49 each with Card
  • 1 Zyrtc 10 MG Tab 5 Ct @ $6.00
  • 1 Gallon Oak Farms Milk @ $3.49
Total:  $14.47

Coupons I used:
  • CVS Coupon $2.50 off 2 deo
  • MQ $6.00 off Zyrtc
  • MQ BOGO Lady Speed Stick $2.99
  • 25% CVS Coupon $.88
  • Oak Farms Milk $.50
  • ECC  $1.00
Total Saved:  $13.87

My total out of pocket for this transaction was $.60
That's a great bargain in my book.

Introduction to Blondie's Bargains

Hello, and welcome to Blondie's Bargains blog.  This blog is intended to share my adventures in saving, whether it be home, gardening, couponing, thrift shopping, or any other accomplished effort. 

I am a single parent of two with a full time job; a home with a big yard.  My interests change so one day posts may be about gardening, the next day they may be about couponing.  The next... who knows.  My wish is that I had more time to spend on craft activities; but taking care of those I love is quite time consuming.  I hope you enjoy my little stories and I welcome comments (positive please lol).

My original blog with blogspot was under the name BlondiesBoutique; however, I have given up my business interests to concentrate on family.

God Bless,