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Monthly Archives: August 2009

August 27, 2009

Ask a Teacher: How do I save all the memories

How do I preserve my child’s work?

I know that your child will come home with a lot of papers. I know this because I used to make up the assignments. I am now on the other end of the process and trying to figure out the best way to honor my son’s progress. I came up with a system that works for us. I thought I would share.

On Friday when Matthew brings home his work we are going to place it in a sheet protector in a binder. I will try to gather a variety of subjects to showcase his academic growth. When we select the artifact we will laminate it. I have a personal laminator available at Sam’s club $24.95 and the sheets are about $7.00 for 25. There are also self adhesive laminating sheets for a similar cost and you do not need a machine.

You can do this for less money by taking pictures of your child’s work. You can use those picture and make a book of all your child’s artwork using a service like Snap Fish. They have super coupons out there. To find them go to Deal Taker. This is where I find ALL my online coupons. I mean take a minute it could save you a couple of bucks or more because it is not what you SAVE but what you Spend so spend less to buy the things you are already buying.

I also have taken a poster board and folded it in half and stapled around the edged to make a large artifact holder. I am going to slip in a index card detailing Matthew’s reflection on his work. This is a great way for your child to feel good about themselves and their work and it makes getting rid of the rest of the work less traumatic.

As a teacher I encourage you to set aside some time once a week to review your child’s success. We all work for something whether it is money, alternate services, praise, or something that we find rewarding. A child no matter what age needs your support. If you start this process early it will affirm the importance of education. This artifact collection system will allow you to bridge the gap between school and home. It will allow you to make comparisons and sight specific progress. The best praise is one that is specific. “Wow, Matthew I see that now you can write your name using a capital letter.” This will make Matthew feel great knowing you noticed his progress. The memories we make are priceless and keeping a record of them will be a treasure your child will have forever in their hearts and in their hands.

Amee

August 24, 2009

Learning the Coupon Language

This cheat sheet is brought to you by our pal GINA!

For all my newbie frugal friends, I thought I would share some of the terminology you will commonly see and what the abbreviations or terms mean. It can get quite confusing and I myself am still learning. This list is by no means all inclusive and I would love to hear form you if you have something to add.

Here is an alphabetical list of some of the terminology you will run into out there in the world of frugal living.

BOGO, B1G1F: “Buy 1, Get 1 Free”

Blinkies: coupons found in the little red boxes with blinking lights near the products in the grocery store

BTFE: Box Tops for Education

Catalinas: these coupons are typically generated at check-out for specific items, or to be used as cash on your next purchase.

CPN: coupon

ECB: Extra Care Bucks, these are printed on your receipt and can be used like cash at CVS, must be used with your CVS card, and other rules apply

FAR: Free after rebate

IP: Internet printable coupon

MFC, MFR : manufacturer’s coupon, I have been spelling this one out but will use the abbreviation from now on. These come from you guessed it manufacturers and are mostly found in your newspaper

MIR: Mail in Rebate

Peelie: coupons found stuck on product packaging that you peel off

P&G: Proctor and Gamble coupon insert from newspaper

OAS: “on any size” Some coupons specifically state on them that they can be used on any size product.

OOP: out of pocket expense, how much you actually paid for something

Overage: when you save more than the items costs, store policies vary and you may or may not get to “keep” your overage

RP: Red Plum coupon insert from newspaper

RR: Register Rewards: Walgreens version of the ECB (see above) spendable like cash at Walgreens, earned by purchasing specific products

SS: Smart Source coupon insert from newspaper

Stacking: Using a MFC with a store cpn or other deal on the same item (doable at CVS, Walgreens, and Target quite easily)

Store coupons : Store specific coupons

Tear Pad: pad of refund forms or coupons found hanging from a store shelf or display

V, Valassis: Same as Red Plum

WSL: while supply lasts.

WYB: when you buy

Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV): This one is new to me and basically means that your savings may be different then what is posted because of regional variances such as sale prices and cpn availability.

Hope this helps and let me know if you have some to add to my list, I will do an updated post with your additions.

August 16, 2009

Stockpile Organization

Stockpile Organization

 

Due to my recent shopping adventures to Harris Teeter, my pantry was in need of  stockpile organization. One of the secrets to saving money, is to stockpile. This means to buy extra items your family uses regularly when the items are at their rock bottom price. We all know that Harris Teeter triples or Kmart super doubles allows for a plethora of stockpiling opportunities! I would like to share some tips to make stockpiling easier and more efficient.

Stockpile organization

First of all, only stockpile items your family uses regularly. Just because an item is “cheap” or on sale, does not mean you need to buy several of them. This is a lesson I have had to learn the hard way. I can tell you first hand that I have had to throw out a lot of expired food over the years. Over buying, is not saving money.

There is also a cycle to sales. For example, I know that Proctor & Gamble puts out a coupon insert once a month. Usually the stores will have some sort of sale that coincides with the coupons. If I miss a sale item this week, I don’t stress because I know the sale will come around again in a few more weeks.

Now, my family eats a ton of granola bars. My husband loves them and eats them daily. They are also handy to take in the car or throw in the diaper bag. Granola bars are one item we stockpile when the price is right. My suggestion is to take the granola bars out of the boxes and put them in a plastic container. This will save space and make it easy to grab and run! This same idea can be done for any snack prepackaged items.

Another item we stockpile is condiments. Those who know my husband, know that he loves condiments and sauces! We go through a ton of ketchup and salad dressing, or “dippers” as my household calls it! My suggestion for keeping these items organized is to place them in a small basket. It is easy to pull the basket out to see what you have. You can also write expiration dates on the cap top with a sharpie.

A trick I learned from my brother-in-law, is to write with a sharpie the expiration date on the outside of boxes. Many times a box will get pushed to the back of the pantry. If you have the dates readily visible, you will make sure to use the product before it expires. I also make sure to check expiration dates before I buy the product at the store. You would be surprised how many times I have picked up an item that is expired or about to expire.

For bath and body products, I have limited myself to a six month supply. What Amee and I have started doing is, giving away a lot of these products. With the drug store deals, we get a ton of bath and body products for free. We now donate most of these items or give them away to you all! There is only so much free toothpaste and razors that you can use! We encourage you all to donate your items if your stockpile limitations are reached.

See more of our stockpile organization  and clever storage solutions.

August 10, 2009

Coupon Tips & Tricks

money making mondayCoupons are like money; at least that is how I feel. I look for coupons everywhere I go. Internet printable coupons are increasingly popular. Madame Deals posts links to printable coupons as often as possible.

Sometimes, you will get an error message when you go to print the coupon. Have you ever seen the message “install coupon printer” when you have already installed it? It is frustrating when you need or want a certain coupon but then can’t print it. I happened to come across a way to fix this problem. I was reading the comments on a Southern Savers post and Derek replied with a solution to the  coupon printing problem.

Ever run into a link that someone has posted that is the actual “bricks” URL (not the website it was extracted from) and you can’t print it? Wanna know why? It’s because they extracted it on a computer that was using an internet browser which is NOT the one you’re currently using.

Can you fix that?
Apparently you can. There are two little letters inside a bricks URL that tell the bricks if you are on Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Safari on a Mac (like me). Most bloggers seem to be on PCs, so for me running into a coupon I want to print from someone’s blog link was always frustrating. Now, from tracking down comments on several blogs, I’ve figured out how to change the URL in my browser to be the one I want and VOILA I can print the coupon.

Internet Explorer on a PC Bricks:
http://bricks.coupons.com/Start.asp?tqnm=qekofot7951146&bt=wi&o=54287&ci=1&c=GM&p=8dH6Da9X

http://bricks.coupons.com/Start.asp?tqnm=qekofot7951146&bt=vi&o=54287&ci=1&c=GM&p=8dH6Da9X

Firefox on a PC Bricks:
http://bricks.coupons.com/Start.asp?tqnm=qekofot7951146&bt=vg&o=54287&ci=1&c=GM&p=8dH6Da9X

http://bricks.coupons.com/Start.asp?tqnm=qekofot7951146&bt=wg&o=54287&ci=1&c=GM&p=8dH6Da9X

Safari on a Mac Bricks:
http://bricks.coupons.com/Start.asp?tqnm=qekofot7951146&bt=xs&o=54287&ci=1&c=GM&p=8dH6Da9X

Find a link you can’t print, look at the url. Change those two letters (that I’ve identified in the above URL) to wi or vi for Internet Explorer, wg or vg for Firefox, and xs for Safari, and it should print. (For the either or choices, try one and if it doesn’t work try the other)

Thanks Derek!

Another coupon tip: Every wonder what week the coupon insert was in the paper (if you have not cut your coupons yet)? Look at the spine of the coupon insert and the date will be printed on it. It is very tiny print but it is there!

Renae

August 6, 2009

Ask a Teacher

school-bus-resized

The Morning Routine

It just dawned on me as I was buying my son’s new backpack for kindergarten, because “Mom, Diego is so preschool”, that school is almost here. I am excited for my son to begin his educational journey. I am not excited for the crazy twist that this will put in our morning routine. We have also decided that our son needs to take responsibility for his things. So, I suggest a visual schedule. I also suggest you make this with your child so they have ownership of their chart. This will also save you a lot of time asking those questions like  have you done… do you have… what should you be doing? I do not guarantee it will reduce all the redundant questions but it will help your child become empowered. You can allow them to change the order of their tasks to provide for further choice making opportunities. Does it really matter if they make their bed before brushing their teeth or after?

Here is an explanation

What is it?

Definition from Healing Thresholds

Here is their Link to learn more

visual schedule is a set of pictures that communicates a series of activities or the steps of a specific activity. Visual schedules are meant to help children understand and manage the daily events in their lives . Visual schedules may be created using photographs, pictures, written words, or physical objects. Ideally, they communicate clear expectations for the child and decrease the need for constant adult involvement in the activity . Most visual schedules are introduced with adult guidance that gradually decreases with time .

I used to use these schedules when I taught children with Autism. However, they are valuable for any child who can’t read, requires cues, or needs reminders.

My plan is to take pictures of the tasks he needs to accomplish before he leaves for school:

1) Picture of his bed made

2) Picture of a toothbrush

3) Picture of school clothes

4) Picture of the hamper (this will be a large photo)

5) Picture of breakfast

6) Picture of lunch bag

7) Picture of homework

8) Picture of backpack with all the needed items in it

9) Picture of shoes

10) Seasonal items: rain coat, winter coat, hat, mitten or special item

11) stars,  stickers, stamps, pictures (will be used to show task completion)

12) Based on where your child is, select a way to show order: you can use the numbers 1- however many tasks you have defined (10 for me) soon I will replace my numbers with 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, then I will do first, second, third, and finally I will transition to actual times like 6:00, 6:05, 6:10.

visual schedule_0.content

What do you need to make your own schedule

Several pictures these can be homemade or actual photographs or clipart

Card stock or poster board

Velcro dots (this is so you can change the order of your schedule)

Laminate the chart , reward pictures, and task pictures, measurement or order of events (can be done at staples or they make self laminating sheets they are $6.00 for 20 at Sam’s club ( with the leftover sheet use them to laminate special artwork, love notes, or your child’s favorite picture)

I would divide my board in thirds

1st order of the events

2nd  picture of the task to be completed

3rd column is where your child or you places the completed marker ( This is the stickers, stamps, or pictures that you have laminated to some completion)

Amee

August 4, 2009

Helpful Uses for Cornstarch

I am always looking for other ways to use products that I have around my house. This means that my dollar goes farther because I am not having to purchase a variety of items to do one specific job and my storage areas are not cluttered with half-used products. So, today, I am posting some uses for corn starch. Some of them my grandmother used, and some I have tried myself. Hope you are able to find something helpful!

Helpful uses for Cornstarch

Helpful uses for Cornstarch

Little Known Uses For Corn Starch

Cure athlete’s foot.
Sprinkle Corn Starch on your feet and in your shoes to absorb moisture and reduce friction.

Clean a carpet.
Sprinkle Corn Starch on the carpet, wait thirty minutes, then vacuum clean.

Make spray starch for clothing.
Mix one tablespoon Corn Starch and one pint cold water. Stir to dissolve the corn starch completely. Fill a spray bottle and use as you would any starch. Be sure to shake vigorously before each use.

Substitute for baby powder and talcum powder.
Apply Corn Starch sparingly when diapering a baby. Corn starch is actually more absorbent than talcum powder, but apply lightly since it does cake more readily.

Help rubber gloves slip on easily.
Sprinkle Corn Starch inside the gloves.

Shampoo your hair.
Corn Starch can be used as a dry shampoo. Work into your hair, then brush out. ** I have also used plain baby powder.

Detangle knots.
Sprinkle a stubborn knot with a little Corn Starch.

Make fingerpaints.
Mix one-quarter cup Corn Starch with two cups cold water, boil until thick, pour into small containers, and color with Food Coloring.

Absorb excess polish from furniture.
After polishing furniture, sprinkle on a little Corn Starch and rub wood with a soft cloth.

Clean silver.
Make a paste with Corn Starch and water. Apply with a damp cloth, let dry, then rub off with cheesecloth.

Remove grease or oil stains from smooth fabric.
Apply Corn Starch to the spot, wait twelve hours, brush off, then launder as usual.

Give your dog a dry shampoo.
Rub Corn Starch into your dog’s fur, then comb and brush out.

Clean stuffed animals.
Rub Corn Starch into the toy, let stand for five minutes, then brush off.

Prevent pastry dough from sticking to the cutting board and rolling pin.
Sprinkle the cutting board and rolling pin with tasteless Corn Starch before rolling out the dough.

Clean a deck of playing cards.
Place the deck of cards into a paper bag, add four tablespoons Corn Starch,and shake briskly. Remove the cards from the bag and wipe clean.

Soothe skin irritations.
Apply a paste made of equal parts Corn Starch, zinc oxide, and castor oil.

Thicken gravy.
Corn starch has twice the thickening power of flour. When a gravy, sauce, soup, or stew recipe calls for flour, use half as much corn starch to thicken. One tablespoon of corn starch equals two tablespoons flour.

Also check out our other tips:

15 Uses for Coffee Grounds
11 Talc Baby Powder Uses That You Should Know
10 Uses for Baking Powder
Epsom Salt Uses