Super Savings Saturday: I took the week off from shopping (almost!)

Aside from buying ingredients for the various items I cooked for our three Thanksgiving dinners and purchasing a few other staples, I took the week off from my usual shopping. In fact, I didn’t even plan a menu–something that is incredibly uncharacteristic of me.

I’m not even exactly sure what I was thinking. Well, come to think of it, I don’t know that I was thinking at all! Let me tell you, I learned very quickly that skipping menu planning is not a good idea. We ended up going out to eat more than I care to admit and spending some money unnecessarily because of my lack of organization and preparation ahead of time.

We did have some extra money in out “Dates and Eating Out” envelope and we did have some extra money leftover from some other categories that we used to fund these “splurges” this week, but still, I know that even just a little bit of time spent to prepare at the beginning of the week would have saved us a nice chunk of change.

I learned my lesson and I’m hopeful I will remember this week if I’m ever tempted to “play hooky” from menu-planning again. Maybe it can be a lesson to the rest of you all, too. Learn from my mistakes: don’t skip the menu planning–it’s a very important part of keeping the food budget low!

How’d you do this week? Post about the deals and
bargains you were able to snag this week or other ways you saved money
on your blog (with pictures, if possible!) and then come back here and
leave your link below. **To make it easy for everyone to navigate quickly through the links, your link must link directly to your Super Savings Saturday post.**

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I'll be taking a short break from blogging to enjoy Thanksgiving with family and friends. Today we're having a baking day to prepare for Thanksgiving and then we're attending three different Thanksgiving gatherings over the next few days. I'm looking forward to lots of delicious food (did I mention how hungry I've been in my second trimester?!), good conversations, and family fun!

For those who snagged some great deals or plan to snag some on Black Friday, I'll be back with our usual Mr. Linky round-up on Saturday morning so you can shared what you scored. And blogging will resume as usual on Saturday.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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Guest Post: Frugal Fall Family Fun


photo by Brian Hathcock

Guest Post by Kate from Cincinnati Cents

Fall is such a magical time of year for children. Trees seem to change right before their eyes, bursting into brilliant hues of red, yellow, and orange. The warm air of summer has subtly been replaced with cooler, crisper mornings. Children are amazed by their power to create a frosty cloud when breathing into the cool fall air. It is a season of change, and with that change, comes a limitless supply of family fun that will last until the first snows of winter.

Pumpkins are wonderfully symbolic of harvest time, and most children have an amazing fascination with them. For young children who are not quite ready for the carving experience, paint is a creative option.  Don an old t-shirt, lay out newspapers on the table (I’m sure we all have plenty lying around), and pour paint into old yogurt cups. Voila! You have the perfect recipe for creativity. Cheerful faces can be painted on to adorn your child’s pumpkin, and their creations will last right through the Thanksgiving season.

For older children, carving a pumpkin is always a memorable experience. From the first cut into a pumpkin, the kitchen is filled with the fresh smell of autumn. The seeds that are scooped out can be washed and set aside for later roasting. They make a yummy treat after the hard work of creating a perfect pumpkin.

The designs for pumpkin carvings are limitless. There are several online sites that offer free downloadable templates, with everything from very traditional pumpkin faces, to popular characters, and intricate scenes. Once the pumpkin is carved to satisfaction, a candle can be placed inside, and you have a one-of-a-kind autumn decoration.

Autumn leaves offer a great potential for creativity as well. Placed under paper, children can create rubbings of the leaves they find. Unpeel the paper from your child’s crayon, and rub the side of the crayon against the paper. Children are often amazed that the texture and shape of the leaf magically appears on their paper. As an added learning experience, older children can then identify their leaves, and label them accordingly.

Colorful leaves can also be torn and arranged on a sheet of waxed paper in the shape of animals or other objects of your child’s liking. Once your child is satisfied with his or her creation, place another sheet of waxed paper on top of the leaf design. Carefully iron the creation on low heat. The leaf project will need to cool for a few minutes; afterwards, punch a hole in the top of the waxed paper, slip a string through, and your child will have a unique fall creation to hang up.

Fall projects can also be created through the use of “puffy paint”. Mix equal parts of white shaving cream and white school glue. Add in various colors to create a multitude of options for projects. I often use Kool Aid to color our puffy paint, as it is inexpensive, and forms bright hues. Children can then use this “paint” to make puffy pumpkins or fall leaves (be sure to use heavy paper, as this paint is very thick).  When finished, glitter can be sprinkled on top to give the project a shimmery effect. These should be laid flat to dry for 24-48 hours, depending on how thick the paint is applied.

Of course, if you do not feel creative this Fall, that’s perfectly alright, too. Grab a rake, pile up a mound of leaves, and turn the clock back a few years. Jump with your children and let the leaves fly. It’s amazing how much fun it is to be a child again!  Enjoy your Fall!

Katie is a homeschooling mother of four. She blogs at Cincinnati Cents,
where she shares money-saving ideas, deals, and frugal activities to
enjoy as a family.

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Blog Poll: Will you be hitting the sales on Black Friday?

Just for fun, I created a poll to see how many readers here are shopping on Black Friday and how many were planning to stay home. I hit Black Friday sales last year for the first time and was pretty unimpressed, though the whole experience was rather enlightening (you can read more about it here).

This year, I'm strongly considering staying home but I haven't made up my mind completely since there are a few things we've been needing to buy and if I'm in the mood for an adventure, I might just go for it. We'll see!

What about you? I'd love to hear whether or not you are planning to go out and your thoughts on whether shopping on Black Friday is a worth it. Take the poll below and then have fun discussing your opinions in the comments section!

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CVS: Screaming Black Friday deals (November 27-29, 2008)

Alrighty, folks, I promised you I'd give you the run-down on the CVS Black Friday deals and are you ever in for some good deals! I haven't much lamented the fact that we said goodbye to CVS when we moved a few months ago, but I have to admit I'm definitely wishing I could run out and snag these deals at CVS. However, since I can't, I'm hoping plenty of you can.

The great news is that these deals start on Thanksgiving day, not the day after Thanksgiving, so make sure and carve out a little time before you actually carve that turkey, to make a quick run to CVS:

Here's a run-down of the sweet deals, with thanks to The Thrifty Mama for her help in compiling these. These deals are all good Thursday through Saturday (November 27-29, 2008). My guess is that many stores will sell out fast so I'd advise shopping early on Thursday:

Buy 1 Colgate Total Toothpaste at $2.99, Get $2.99 ECBs (Limit 2)
Use $1.50/1 printable here or $1/1 from the 11/02 SmartSource insert
Free plus overage after coupon and ECBs

Buy 1 Aussie Hair Care at $2.99, Get $2.99 ECBs (Limit 2)
Use $1/1 from the 10/12 P&G insert
Free plus overage after coupon and ECBs

Buy 1 CoverGirl Smoothers pressed powder at $5.99, Get $5.99 ECBs (Limit 1)
FREE after ECBs!
Limit 1
Use $1/1 from the 10/12 or the 11/2 P&G inserts
Free plus overage after coupon and ECBs

Buy 1 CoverGirl Smoothers liquid makeup at $7.99, Get $7.99 ECBs (Limit 1)

Use $1/1 from the 10/12 or the 11/2 P&G inserts
Free plus overage after coupon and ECBs

Buy 1 L’Oreal Colour Juice sheer lipgloss
at $6.99, Get $6.99 ECBs (Limit 2)

Use $1/1 printable here
(You'll have to register and go through a survey to get the coupon.)
Free plus overage after coupon and ECBs

Buy 1 Sally Hansen maximum growth plus
nourishing nail color at $3.79, Get $3.79 ECBs (Limit 1)

Use $1/1 from the CVS Beauty Book
Free plus overage after coupon and ECBs

Buy 1 Johnson's Soft Lotion at $5.69, Get $5.96 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use $1/1 printable here or $1/1 from the 11/2 RedPlum insert
Free plus overage after coupon and ECBs

Buy 1 Bic Soleil Single Razor with 2
Cartridges at $5.99, Get $5.99 ECBs (Limit 2)
Use $3/1 from the 11/2 SmartSource insert
Free plus overage after coupon and ECBs

Buy 1 Garnier Nutrisse Cleansing Towelettes
(25 ct.) at $5.99, Get $5.99 ECBs (Limit 1)

Use $1/1 from the 11/9 RedPlum
Free plus overage after coupon and ECBs

Buy 1 Maybelline Mineral Power Liquid
Foundation at $8.99, Get $8.99 ECBs (Limit 1)

Use $3/1 from the 10/26 RedPlum insert or $2/1 from the 09/21 RedPlum insert
Free plus overage after coupon and ECBs

Buy 1 Magnavox Universal Remote or Philips
Headphones at $6.99, Get $6.99 ECBs (Limit 2) Free after ECBs

Buy 1 Gatorade (20 oz.) at $1.49, Get $1.49 ECBs (Limit 3)
Free after ECBs

Buy 1 Hershey's King Size Milk Chocolate
Bar at $1, Get $1 ECBs (Limit 1)

Free after ECBs

Buy 1 5-Hour Energy at $3.99, Get $3.99 ECBs (Limit 1)
Free after ECBs

Buy 1 Schick Quattro Razor or Trimmer at $7.99, Get $6 ECBs (Limit 1)
Use $2/1 printable here or $4/1 in the December All You magazine
Free after coupon and ECBs (and free plus overage, if you have the $4/1 coupon!)

Buy 1 Playtex Gentle Glide Tampons
at $3.99, Get $3 ECBs (Limit 1)

Use $1/1 from the 10/5 SmartSource insert
Free after coupon and ECBs

See all Black Friday deals at CVS along with the ad scans here.

Since the deals are so spectacular, I'm posting a Mr. Linky below for you to share your deal scenarios or pictures of what you purchased. Remember that links not going directly to your blog post on Black Friday CVS deals will be deleted in order to keep things efficient and easy to navigate.

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