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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Really good week at Publix !

Gosh, I haven't posted a grocery trip in a while here! : )  This was one of my best ever Publix trips - I was able to stock up on so many things!

It is hard to see it all, so I'll give you the lowdown:

3 bags of Sargento shredded cheese
3 bags of fresh veggies
fresh apples
fresh pears
huge bell pepper
2 Crescent rolls
4 Green Giant frozen veggies
3 pizza crusts from the deli
12 cans of Hunt's tomato sauce
1 can mushroom pieces
Dill pickles
Progresso Bread Crumbs
2 cans evaporated milk
12 Yoplait yogurts
2 Land o Lakes spreadable butter
1 greenwise 4 pack toilet paper
2 Scrubbing Bubbles bathroom cleaner
Linguini (fresh refrigerated kind)
3 Wishbone salad dressings
2 lb tub of Sorrento Ricotta cheese
Publix brand saltines
2 8-packs Lance Sandwich Crackers
1 loaf fresh french bread from the deli
fresh roll from the deli
Acne Free kit for Katie
Clean and Clear for Katie
ROC complete lift serum for me

total spent: $32.24
total saved $103.47
or 76%

I had some amazing coupons this week: a $5 off $30 purchase from the paper, a $5 off 20 participating items: Hunts, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Progresso, $1.50 off deli bread when you buy Hunts Tomato sauce, $2 off 2 Scrubbing bubbles store coupon paired with $2 off 2 peelie on one of the cans (totally free!), $1.50 sargento store coupons, paired with 40 cents off 2 mfr coupon, and the last 3 face items were clearance ~ and I had $2 or $3 off coupons, so the most expensive item was only $1.75! Most other items had coupons or were B1G1, and I even had a $3 catalina from Kroger to use.  This shopping trip is one example of why I L-O-V-E Publix! Truly!! They make my $100 a week grocery budget streeeeeeeeetch so far!!
What was your best deal this week?  I love hearing them!!

Linking up to these hops this weekend:


Shibley Smiles Sunday Blog Hop

ZarBee's All Natural Cough Syrup Review & Giveaway!!

UPDATE!!! February 26, 2011
Good evening! Just used to pick my two winners!!

For the bottle of ZarBees - the winner is comment # 10 - Swhitaker99 (just emailed you!)
and for the To-go packets from ZarBees the winner is comment #6 - Libby! (don't see your email address, but will post it on my FB post where we communicated before! : )

Please send me your mailing addresses within 48 hours so I can have my husband mail these from work to you!
Thanks so much for entering the contest, and I've got a Purex giveaway coming very soon so check back here on the blog often!
~ Aimee

I tend to be a little protective when it comes to medicating my kids.  I don't like to give them a lot of over the counter medicines ~ have you seen the list of ingredients? Have you watched the news to see all the recalls?  I just don't like medicine, unless it is really and truly necessary! 

Living in Georgia, where the weather fluctuates constantly during the Fall, Winter & Spring, we get lots of colds and coughs.  So for a few years, I've made my own cough syrup for David. (To be honest, Katie is almost 17 and doesn't like my version - she prefers Dayquil & Nyquil for her colds these days - *shudder*)    You can find my recipe under the tab above for herbal remedies, it's called Aunty Aviva's Cough Syrup Blend.  But I will warn you, not only is it time consuming to make, I have to go to downtown Atlanta, then to Tucker and Stone Mountain to get all of the herbs I need for it! I used to buy them in bulk so I wouldn't have to take a day traveling all over Atlanta to find everything I needed!  It has honey and herbs that are good for cough and respiratory issues - such as slippery elm, coltsfoot, mullein and more.  David loves the flavor, and it does help control his coughing quite a bit. 

Then one day, another blogger (I truly don't remember who it was - I believe it was last summer and I wasn't blogging like I am now) mentioned ZarBee's.  I did some research to find out more, and liked what I read.  A few days later, ZarBee's announced a "try it" deal for something like $3 a bottle - so I bought one online to try at home.  It was a honey-based syrup, like my homemade version, which was a big plus!  Honey is very soothing to scratchy throats, and is purported to boost immunity.  A few weeks later, both kids had a summer cold, since it was back to school time and there was lots of germ-sharing going on!  We had purchased the lemon flavored ZarBee's and the first time he tried it, he honestly didn't care for it.  (It doesn't have the artificially sweet flavors of some of the medicines you will buy, but it does have a pleasant taste!)  I kept giving him the syrup as needed, and before long, he loved the flavor! He didn't need a water chaser to get it down, and most importantly, it controlled his cough.  We had found our new cough syrup!

ZarBee's was developed by pediatrician and father, Dr. Zak Zarbock.  He created ZarBee's so he could have a safe, effective and natural remedy to recommend to his young patients. (Because it contains honey, it is ONLY for children 12 months and older). It was wonderful to find a medicine that you can feel confident giving to your kids, knowing it is safe and will actually do what it claims to do!   (It works for adults too!)

It is made with a blend of Dark Honeys (rich in anti-oxidants), water, natural flavors, Vitamin C, Malic Acid, which is a natural fruit acid that may boost immunity, Zinc and Tartaric Acid.   That's a small and all-natural list of ingredients compared to some of the big name OTC medicines you'll find at the drug store!!  It's also gluten-free, dye and preservative free, contains no alcohol, and it comes in lemon, cherry and grape flavors. As I mentioned before, the lemon is David's favorite!

I love that the company offers Ask a ZarBee's Nurse on Twitter. If you have a medical question about your kids, you can send a tweet and get a response back! It's like having your own nurse on call 24/7!!

You can find ZarBee's at many stores, or online.  Check out the store locator for the location closest to you.  And keep an eye out at for $1 or $2 off coupons - they offer them fairly often! 

Now for the giveaway details!
ZarBee's sent me two bottles of their All Natural cough syrup in natural grape flavor: one to try and one to give away!  They also sent some "to-go" packs, which are great for carrying in your purse!  I will draw two winners this time:  One person will win the 4 oz bottle of ZarBee's All natural cough syrup - natural grape flavor, and one person will win 3 "to-go" packs of ZarBee's All natural cough syrup - natural cherry flavor!

Contest will run through 11:59 pm EST Friday, February 25.  You have several ways to enter, so good luck!

Mandantory Entry:
Visit ZarBee's on Facebook and like their page, then leave me a comment saying you did with your FB name.  This will be verified at the time I draw winners, and if the mandatory entry wasn't completed, another winner will be picked!

Additional entries:

Follow me on FB and leave me a comment with your FB name.   1 entry

Visit the ZarBee's website, then leave me a comment stating what you like the most about their All Natural Cough syrups.  1 entry

Follow my blog via GFC, leave me a comment saying you are.  1 entry  (link on right sidebar)

Follow me on Twitter, leave a comment with your Twitter ID.  1 entry

Follow ZarBee's Ask a Nurse on Twitter, leave a comment with your Twitter Id. 1 entry

Sign up for my feed, then confirm it via email.  1 entry  (link on right sidebar)

Tweet about this contest, leave me 2 comments with the url to your tweet. 2 entries

Post a link to this contest on your blog, leave me two comments with the url to the post.  2 entries

Please leave your email address in EACH comment so I can reach you if you are the winner!
Winning entries will be drawn on Saturday, February 26, and winners notified by email over the weekend.  Winners will have 48 hours to respond back, or a new winner will be drawn.
I will mail the prizes within one week of receiving winners' mailing addresses. *Usually prizes are mailed by the sponosring company, but these prizes were mailed to me.*
Once I drop the two winners' packages off at the post office and into the care of the USPS, I can't be responsible for lost or stolen mail.

Thanks for entering my contest, and thank you to ZarBee's for the two prizes!!

UPDATE ******As I was finishing up this review, I saw this new bottle swap promotion on their site.  It does involve a little work on your part, but basically, post a picture showing you getting rid of your old cough medicine on their Facebook page,  then buy a bottle of ZarBee's, and send the receipt to them - they  will reimburse you for the cost!   You've got to purchase your ZarBee's by next Friday, February 25 and the receipt must be received by them by March 31.  Check out all the details on the bottle swap here.

Disclaimer:  ZarBee's provided me with two bottles of their cough syrup - one to try and one to give away, as well as a package of to-go packs to test and give away.  All opinions in the review are my own honest opinions, and not influenced by the free products.  I contacted them about sponsoring this giveaway, that is how much I love and believe in their product!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Crustless Calzone Casserole ~ low carb Italian feast!! : )

Several years ago, Randy & I were eating low-carb, and craving pizza.  Our local pizzeria made us a delicious "crustless calzone" that fit our eating plan, and it was so good! I made my own variation and we enjoy it when we want something filling but not carb-y (is that a word?! lol).

Yesterday at Publix I got a great deal on lots of Italian food staples, so I decided to make this family favorite for dinner.  I served it with steamed beans,steamed broccoli & carrots, plus a loaf of crusty bread dipped in olive oil. It was an amazing meal!

Crustless Calzone Casserole ~ serves 6

1 32 oz tub fat free ricotta cheese
liberal sprinkles of Italian seasoning, parsley, onion & garlic powder
1/2 cup cheese - I usually use mozzarella, this time used cheddar
1 pkg meatballs and/or pepperoni
1/4 c cheese for topping casserole
1 cup marinara sauce

Mix the seasonings with the ricotta cheese, add in 1/2 cup shredded cheese, combine.  Spread ricotta mixtue into greased casserole dish, top with meatballs or pepperoni slices.  (Sink them about 1/2 way into the cheese mixture).  Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 - 40 minutes until cheese is bubbly.  Remove from oven, spoon marinara sauce over the top, then sprinkle with the cheese. Replace in oven for about 5 minutes or until cheese on top has melted.   Rich, filling and delicious!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's beginning to feel like Spring here, so I'm decorating like it is!

I've been stalking the glassware aisle at the local Goodwill and I finally found what I was looking for ~ another cheese board & glass dome set! I ADORE these!! I've found a couple of the glass domes by themselves, so this was a treasure! And it was so big ~ much bigger than the last one I found there, and only $4.94.   Time for another Goodwill Trash to Treasure makeover!  I needed something lighter-colored, so I bought some antique white spray paint at Wal-mart and got to work!

Before - just your average cheese board & dome....kind of scratched up too....

Here's how it looks now ~ I added some robins egg/nest vase filler I got at Target with my free Rx gift cards
but it's only $3.99 so I'd have gotten it even without the free gift card! 
It turned out to be so cute and exactly what I had in mind -a perfect centerpiece for the kitchen table! (please excuse the tablecloth - haven't gotten my Spring one on there yet!)

I even repurposed some tree branches from this Christmas project!  I really love the simplicity of this ~ isn't it sweet?! And the color - so nice, such a bright change from winter's darker shades.

Afterwards, I had so many pieces of the filler items leftover in the box that I spruced up my dollar store hurricanes with them, too! I am still looking for the perfect ribbon to tie around the base of each of them.

I'm ready for Spring to hurry up and get here!

Linking up with:

Katie's Nesting Spot

Stuff and Nonsense

Friday, February 11, 2011

First attempt at making fruit leather for the kiddos.....

and it was, well, not great! Not a total failure, but still have a ways to go. 

Rachael Ray Show recipe:
2 cups dried fruit, such as cherries or apricots

2 cups hot water

4 tablespoons honey

Yields: Makes about 30 roll-ups

Preheat oven to 200˚F with rack in center.

Place fruit in a bowl, and cover with the water. Microwave for 5 minutes to plump and soften. Drain, and reserve liquid.

Place fruit in a food processor, add honey and process until mixture is very smooth and easily spreadable. If it is too thick, add some of the reserved cooking liquid.

Cover two 10-by-15-inch baking sheets with plastic wrap. Divide puree between the sheets; spread in a thin, even layer with an offset spatula. Then sprinkle with seeds, optional.

Let dry in oven until mixture is firm but slightly tacky, about 5 hours.

Peel fruit leather from plastic wrap, and cut into 1-inch-wide strips using a pizza cutter. Roll tightly into cylinders, and serve.

Seems fairly simple, right? first mistake was not reading this recipe correctly.  Somehow, I totally missed the part that said DRIED fruit.  Yeah, probably pretty important!   I didn't notice it til I was putting this post together and cut the recipe from her page!! DUH!!!!!!!!

So back to the baking: I used 1 cup each of two fruits we got last summer.  I had peaches from our trip to Charlotte last July.  Dad took us over to South Carolina to a fab peach stand and what the kids didn't eat, I cut up and froze.  The other fruit I used was those yummy blueberries we picked in Watkinsville in July  ~ yummmm!

I processed them each seperately, mixed with a spoonful of local honey and some of the water I soaked them in. (duhhh - why does fruit need to soak in water if it isn't dried?! lol  I was tired when I made this - yeah, that's my excuse! : )

Once I had a thick puree, I spread each fruit seperately on half of a baking sheet lined with foil.  Then I baked it at 150 degrees for 2 hours, then 200 degrees for 4 hours.  It was still a little mushy in the center, so I ended up tossing some of it, but David and I cut it the rest into strips with the pizza cutter and rolled it up. 

The blueberries kind of separated and made a lacy, uneven leather.  Next time they need to be pureed with another fruit - I may try a few other berries with them ~ strawberries, blackberries perhaps? 

The peach leather is beautiful! The ends have a blue-ish tint from the blueberry puree next to them during the drying.   David said they are both delicious, and he is taking them for snack today at school.  I only got a couple strips out of this batch due to the soggy middle, but I will try again soon!!

Lessons learned - read the directions completely!! I would use the same recipe, but less water, no soaking, and definitely cook at 200 degrees the entire time.  I am going to be checking out goodwill and craigslist for a food dehydrator, too!!

Have you ever made fruit leather? If so, please share your recipe with me!! : )

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Have you heard of SocialSpark?

I just signed up with them ~ they hook you up with advertisers who will pay you for blog posts about their products and services!! What a great way to make some extra money via paypal!  Please click here to join, and I will get credit for referring you.  Thanks so much ~ let's go make some money!!  (It took me less than five minutes to have my blog set up with their website.  Very easy to set everything up!!)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dollar Store Decorating ~ Ballard Designs Inspired Paint Chip Mosaic Art

Happy Wednesday!! I'm back with another super easy and super cheap Dollar Store decorating idea!
I was visiting blogs a few weeks ago when I was housebound with shingles, and I found this blog where Jennifer had made the most gorgeous artwork out of paint chips, inspired by a $279 Ballard Designs item!!

I have a small area in the family room that needed a pop of color. Our family room is painted a deep, rich brown called Library Pewter from Sherwin Williams, and it's like a cave in there.  I'm about ready for a lighter wall color, but this is what we have to work with now!

I already had a tacky Dollar Tree picture on canvas that I bought to paint over and use for something.  I also had sponge paint brushes from the dollar store, mod podge, burnt umber and gold acrylic paints, I just needed the paint chips.  When I finally got to go out of the house without worry of exposing someone to chicken pox, I met a friend at IHOP in Buford, and ran into Home Depot next door to grab a handful of paint chip cards in blues, golds and browns.  BUT....these weren't squares, they were rectangles. DARN IT!

When I got home, this is what I had to start my project with:

Dontcha love that bird picture? Still, a buck for a canvas is a deal!! I have a few more of these stuck away for other projects!!  You have to look at things and imagine their potential when you are shopping, whether at Goodwill, a thrift store, or Dollar Tree.

So to begin my artwork, I cut out 1" squares of the colors I liked the best - I chose golds, chocolate browns and robin's egg blue for the most part.  I got 3 squares per color.

First I painted the canvas with the burnt umber, and dabbed some gold around the edges of the canvas.  After it dried, I played around with the paint chip squares to get them in a pattern I liked.  I didn't have spray adhesive, which is what the tutorial suggests, so I used glue.  Next time I will start at the edges and work my way into the center, but this time I just worked from one side to the other.  The way I did it, the paint chips aren't perfectly lined up, but hey, live and learn!

After they were glued on and dry, I added a coat of burnt umber paint (I used what I had on hand - in the tutorial Jennifer used stain).  I wiped it off with a paper towel, then added a little more to some of the lighter chips to distress them a little more.  I wanted it to be dark enough to look good on the wall, but still pretty and colorful.  Once that dried, I added two coats of matte mod podge.  They added some funky texture to this piece.  Finally, I added a coat of gold metallic paint, which I also wiped off with a paper towel.  Here's my finished artwork ~

It's not perfect, but I LOVE it!! It's just the pop of color and texture I was looking for.  It's hard to see all of the different colors in this photo because my flash just highlighted the gold paint!  But you can see the texture and that's my favorite part of it!

Here is a shot of it without the flash - the colors aren't the same in real life, but it gives you a better picture of the distressing and the colors....

 I will be making a few more of these - one for Katie's bathroom, and maybe one for the master bedroom.  They are really easy to make, it just takes time cutting out the squares and waiting for it to dry! 

Check out Jennifer's blog for her step by step tutorial!! She did such a great job and I'm so happy I found her blog!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Blog Hop time!

Busy week, everyone is feeling better (kids both back at school, Randy back at work), so I'm being crafty!! I have another Goodwill Trash to Treasure makeover coming up this week - just finishing it up today!

In the meantime, I'm linking up with a few bloghops throughout the week!

To-the-TOP Tuesday

Free Hot Samples

Katie's Nesting SpotHookingupwithHoH

I'll add more throughout the day!! If you are stopping by for the first time, I'd love for you to follow my blog, Twitter, Facebook and feed ~ just leave me a comment about how you are following me and I'll return the favor to you! : )
Thanks for stopping by ~ y'all have a wonderful day!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dollar Store Decorating ~ Valentine's Day Dessert Stand

I was at Dollar Tree last week scoping out some Valentine's Day decor and getting my usual things: salt & pepper grinders, pop-up foil sheets, drink mixes to add to bottled water, and batteries for the Wii remote.  While I was there, a solid black plate caught my eye. (can y'all believe I forgot to take a pic of the plate before I wrote all over it?!)  I had just purchased a gold paint pen at Michael's, and I knew I could jazz this plate up!  A few minutes later, I spied this candlestick holder on the candle aisle and I knew they were meant to be together!  It's gold with black splatters - perfect for what I had in mind now!

At home I wrote one of my favorite quotes  "Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much" around the plate with the gold metallic paint pen.  At the bottom I added a bunch of doodled flowers and hearts.  Then I grabbed the brush-on super glue and here's the final result!

Plate  $1
Candlestick Holder $1
Glue $1
Paint Pen $1.99 before 40% off coupon at Michaels
Total spent:  under $5 for a super-cute dessert stand! It's going to get a lot of use here!!

Linking up with:
 Made by You Monday

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Are you a Dish Network Customer? Check out 8 FREE premium channels for a YEAR!

Earlier this week, I was looking at what was showing on HBO on our program guide and I noticed that there were channels available above 309 (the last of our HBO channels).  Channel 340 is Encore, and 349 had the following message on it:

We're celebrating 30 years in say thanks, we're giving you 7 Starz premium movie channels and
Encore East at no additional cost until February 2012.

The Starz Channels are from 350 - 356.   The kids and I have already watched several great movies on these new FREE channels - Alice in Wonderland, The Last Song, and more!  So if you are a Dish Customer too, make sure you check channels 340, 350 - 356!!

A fabulous freebie for Super Bowl Sunday!! (Thanks Mr. Peanut!)

Mr. Peanut is giving away 25,000 samples of Planter's Flavor Grove Almonds on Super Bowl Sunday at
6 pm EST!  If you are lucky you'll receive a coupon valued up to $3.49 so you can sample these almonds for yourself!  To get your coupon, head to the Mr. Peanut Facebook page and "like" them,  then click the Game Day Tips tab for all of the details of the giveaway!!  Good luck!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Who's the winner of the Thirty-One Gifts giveaway?!

Good morning! I just drew the winner using ~ the first two comments were not entries for the contest, so I used numbers 3-60 to draw a number.  I couldn't get the entire widget to copy, but here is the copied text:

True Random Number Generator

Min: 3

Max: 60

Result: 23

Congrats to Melissa from !!

I've sent her a message, and she has 48 hours to contact me with her choice of prize and mailing address.  If for some reason she doesn't respond, I will draw another winner.   Just heard back from our winner ~  Melissa chose the Small Lunch Tote in Onyx Medallion!

Thanks to all of my new readers for taking time to visit and enter the contest ~ I've got more great giveaways coming up!  In fact, watch for a ZarBee's giveaway next week - just in time for cold and flu season!

Again, congratulations to Melissa and a BIG thank you to Deanna for sponsoring this giveaway!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tomorrow is Groundhog Day ~ What will General Beau Lee find outside his mansion?

Here in Georgia,  we have a groundhog named General Beau Lee who comes out of his white-columned Southern mansion at the Yellow River Game Ranch to see if he will spy his shadow.  This furry little weather forecaster has 94% accuracy in predicting the weather on Groundhog Day!  It's the one day of the year he has to work, and media from around the globe call the hotlines to find out General Lee predicts!!

If he does see his shadow tomorrow, that means we've got at least six more weeks of the nasty winter weather we've had thus far.  And if he doesn't see his shadow, then we should have spring temperatures within the next six weeks!! (** fingers crossed that he doesn't see his shadow - pretty please!!**)  General Lee's annual forecast will be on local tv and his prediction will be announced on Twitter, as well!

If you are a local, you can get into the Yellow River Game Ranch for free between 6 and 8 am tomorrow morning to watch General Lee firsthand!

UPDATE!!! He didn't see his shadow - so Spring's coming soon!!