Happy Spring!

Ahh....spring is in the air here in the Pacific Northwest!  I have no doubts that the rain and cold weather will return to taunt us, but for now, we are enjoying the brief sneak of spring with some mild temps and breaks of sunshine!  Of course, what would spring be without the crud going through our house which it is right now!  Congestion, coughing, sneezing, sinus headaches --- the whole deal is pounding the kids right now.  Thankfully, they are resilient and strong and will be done with it before you know it.

Some things to take card of ----

First off the winner of my challenge to go check out Jordan's Blog is.....Ann!  Ann if you drop me an email to theholmescrew@comcast.net, I will mail you off some scrappin' goodies!  Thanks to everyone who went over and checked out her blog.  I really am extrememly proud of my girl!

Next a design to share with you...

Finally, another story for you about couponing and being a super saver....

The biggest hurdle to get over when you decide to be an excessive coupon saver is the attitude that you get from most of the checkers.  Don't get me wrong, there are some fabulous checkers out there at many different stores who are helpful, encouraging, and happy that you are working the system to save money.  In fact, I have found that if you take the time to plan well, are extrememly happy and confident, and engage them in conversation, they immediately come over to your side and the transaction goes well.  But then there are those checkers that act like you are a criminal - they act like you are stealing directly from them!  These folks always make me crazy and sad, in fact.  I wish they could understand that it's a way of life for those of us that need to save some money for our families and that we aren't doing anything wrong.  I for one, go to the extreme to make sure I am doing everything right and that I'm not getting more or less than is legal. 

Anyway, I digress..... this is a story of an amazing checker.  I was at Target last night.  Now Target has their own coupons that you can print out from their site --- when you combine these with regular manufacturer coupons, you can sometimes get great deals!  So last night, I did my shopping and proceded to the cashier and handed her a huge stack of coupons.  She didn't even flinch.  In fact, she started out by scanning a coupon she had at the register from a previous customer that didn't want it. It immediately took off $1 from my balance.   Then I watched my balance go up and up and up to almost $50.  Then I watched my balance go down as she ran the coupons - down to about $5.  I was just about to run my Target gift card through the scanner when she hit the subtotal button and another coupon printed out of her catalina machine.  She immediately backed the transaction up and scanned that coupon too!  It took off another $3 and made my grand total $2.18 - almost all of which was tax!  I thanked her and she just smiled and told me to have a great day!  She was great!

Here is my picture of my transaction and some of the details:

Huggies Diapers - size 1 - baby shower gift - $8.00 less $2.00 coupon and $2.50 Target coupon - $3.50
Toddler Socks - $1 each less four $1 Target coupons - FREE
Hanes t-shirts - 2 pack - Clearance priced at $2.68 less $1.00 Target coupon - $1.68
Secret Clinical Deoderant - 2 for $4.98 less $3.00 and $2.00 coupon - FREE
Light bulbs - Clearance priced at $1.64 each - less three Target coupons for $1.50 each - $0.14 each
Excedrin - $3.64 each - lesss $3.00 Target coupons and $0.75 regular coupons - FREE
Target Ibuphrofen - $0.97 a box with four $1.00 Target coupons - FREE
Soft Scrub - Sale for $2.49 each - less two $1.50 off Target coupons and two regular $1.00 coupons - FREE
Granola Bars - $1.00 box less $1.50 off three Target coupon and three $0.50 regular coupons - FREE

Less the mystery $3.00 and $1.00 coupons the cashier scanned!


Date Night & Coupon Morning!

It's a rare occasion that I find myself alone in the house on Saturday night with only one of my kiddos --- but last night was just that occasion.  It was just Luke & I and so we decided a date night was in order!

We started out here for Luke's favorite Chicken McNuggets:

Did a little Halo MegaBlocks shopping here:

and then hit the theaters for a little Johnny Depp....I mean Rango:

We had a great evening together --- just chillin' and chattin'!


Okay, so I've mentioned before that I have started extreme couponing --- so I thought I'd share with you what a typical Sunday morning run looks like!  Most of the time, I hit Rite Aid, Walgreens, and one or more grocery stores in the area.  Today I hit QFC in addition to the Rite Aid and Walgreens stops.

Here is a recap of what I spent:

Subtotal before tax........................................................... $ 15.53
tax (you pay this on total before coupons............................... 5.15
Total Out of Pocket Expense ........................................... $20.68

In addition to the out of pocket expense, I used $17 in Up Rewards coupons at Riteaid  and $4 in Register Rewards at Walgreens.  For those of you that aren't aware --- these are both like cash.  I would normally add these in to my out of pocket expense, but today I rec'd more back than I used.  I came home with $18 in Up Rewards from Riteaid and $3 in Register Rewards for Walgreens.  So this was a wash.

For that $20.68 I purchased $219.63 worth of stuff for a savings of over 90%!  I was careful today to only buy things that we would use:

Here are some closeups and details:

The Airwick Room Deodorizers were 2/$7.99 with 2 $4 coupons --- FREE
The Gain Fabric Softener was $2.99 with $3 coupons --- FREE
The Resolve was $1.99 with $ 0.75 coupon and $1 Up Reward --- $ 0.25
The Lysol Wipes were $1.99 with $0.50 coupons and $1 Up Rewards and $1/2 Rebate --- FREE
The Osteo BiFlex was $9.99 with $6 coupon and $1 Up Reward --- $2.99
The Garnier Hair Products were 2/$7.00 with 2 $1 coupons and $5 Register Rewards --- FREE

The Smart Water was $1 with $0.75 coupons --- $ 0.25
The Triscuits/Wheat Thins were $1.99 less $5 when you buy 10 with $1.00 coupons --- $0.49 a box
The Franks Red Hot Sauce and BBQ Sauce was 3.99 with FREE coupons --- FREE
The Annies Macaroni & Cheese was included in above promotion with crackers --- $.049 a box

The Flossers were $2 with a @ Register Reward --- FREE
The Butterfinger Snacks were 2/$1.00 with $1/2 coupons --- FREE
The Easter Snickers Eggs were 2/$1 with $1/2 coupons --- FREE
The gloves were on sale for 2/$1.00 --- $1.00
The toothbrushes were on sale for $0.99 each with $2/2 coupons --- FREE
The M & M's were 2/$3.99 with 2 $1 coupons --- $0.99 a bag
The Mouthguard was regularly $32.99 on sale for $19.99 with a $5.00 coupon and $15 Up Rewards --- FREE

The Chex Mix was on sale for 3/$4.00 and I used $1 coupons --- $0.33 bag

The best thing about today's shopping trip is the MOUTHGUARD.  I have needed one for a very long time and the thought of paying the dentist $350 or so for a custom fit one was killing me.  So my dentist suggested I pick up one at the drug store until I felt like I could afford the custom one.  That was 4 months ago and I still hadn't purchased one because even $33 seemed like an expense to me. Last week, I was going to bite the bullet and buy one when I saw the notification that they would be on sale this week!  And FREE on top of that!  That was totally a GOD thing and I am so grateful! 


A Reprieve from the Storms & a little giveaway!

Life has settled down around our house and the Pacific Northwest this week.  Well, at least I hope it has! 

-The stormy weather has ceased and there is even a bit of bright skies peeking out from behind the white clouds today.  That always lifts my spirits.  Even the Cherry Blossoms are starting to bloom.  Sweet....

-The flu bug has left the Holmes house and didn't even do to much damage all considered.  Everyone is healthy and happy and ready for spring!

-Baseball is in full swing and even though Austin isn't on the field yet, it is fun to watch his team play.  Chase & Luke have finally been able to get some practices is and jamborees should finally get to be held this weekend. 

-My creativity is creepy back ....slowly.  I'm not sure where it went but I hope it enjoyed it's vacation! 

A couple things for My Mind's Eye Challenge #21:

-Couponing is going great and my only complaint is the extra pounds I have put on enjoying all the great food that is stocked in the house right now.  It's amazing how fast I went from speding almost $1000 a month on food and toiletries to $300 a month.  What's even more amazing is that we are eating much better and have a huge stockpile of toiletries to tide us over!

-The bathroom remodel is progressing - slowly but surely.  I can't wait for garage sale season to get here so I can decorate it!  I am loving the chocolate/teal/white combination and I'm thinking I'm even going to throw some yummy yellow in there!

What else?  Oh, I don't know.....life is so busy around here, I feel like I could go on forever updating everyone on everything.   But there is no time.  Jordan has her own blog now and her updates are another peek into life around the Holmes house.  In fact, her latest post gives a peek into our house about 15 years ago!  I really want to encourage her to continue blogging, so I would love it if you all would pop on over to her blog and leave her a comment!  It's a fun read, and she would be thrilled to have some feedback!  If you are so inclined --- become a follower, that would be even better!  If you do that, come on back here and leave me a comment and I will give one lucky commentor a fun scrappin' prize!  How is the 24th for a deadline? 

Jordan's blog is called --- Tales of a Wanna-be Hipster --- go check it out!  I have faith in all my followers to take the challenge - you won't be dissappointed!


Blog Hop Recaps!

Oh my ---thank you so much for all your wonderful comments on the blog hops over the last few days!  It does my heart good to read all your nice words!  For the Best Creations Blog Hop, the winners will be announced today over on their blog and the Reminisce Blog Hop winners will be announced tomorrow on their blog!  Be sure to visit them to see if your name is on the list!  A special "good luck" to all my blog followers! 

In other fun scrappin' news, don't forget about the monthly sketch challenge over on the Imaginisce blog! Melinda Spinks designed us a fabulous card sketch to play with!  You have till the end of the month to play to qualify for some amazing prizes!

I can't get enough of the bee hive paper in the BERRYLICIOUS line --- so here is another card using that cute bee and Melinda's sketch:


Currently the weather here in Washington is rain, rain, rain and more rain.  The creek is over it's banks, baseball is put on hold and the skies are continually bleak and grey.  Normally by this time of the year, the lack of sunshine and activity is starting to really get to me and the depression is on the edge.  However, this year, all I have to do is remind myself of all the people suffering in Japan right now and I know I have cause to be grateful. 

"Lord, thank you for the rain - thank you for your protection on my family - thank you for your strong power to lean on and be comforted by.  I pray for all those people suffering because of the disaster in Japan.  May they call out to You so You can carry them through.  In Your name, Amen."

Borrowing these great works from a friend - thanks, Krista!

Some people woke up this morning to a typical morning.
Some woke up to life-changing devastation.
Some did not wake up at all.
Lord, please comfort people of Japan and protect them, and help me to wring joy out of every typical morning.


Best Creations Mini-Book Blog Hop!

I'm so glad you are here today!  I have the details for you on another fabulous blog hop that you don't want to miss!  Head on over to the Best Creations Blog for the specifics.  Basically, all the desginers created their own version of this quick & easy mini-book and you get to HOP to their blogs to check them all out!  Leave a comment for everyone and then hop back to the Best Creations Blog and leave a comment for your chance to win! 

Our mini book starts with only one piece of 12 x 12 paper cut into three 4 x 12 strips. then we fold them all and glue them together.  All that's left is the embellishments and photos!  So stinkin' easy!

I am using the "Travel Forever" Line for my mini book!  I didn't add photos to mine because I am going to use it as a little gift for a friend that is taking a trip!

Have fun hopping along - Your next stop is Debbie Sherman's Blog!


If you are looking for the Reminisce Blog Hop --- just check out the post below!


Reminisce Blog Hop!

Are you here for the first ever REMINISCE BLOG HOP?  If you are, then you are in the right place!  Didn't you just love the fun stuff over on Andria's blog?  But if you just happened upon my blog this morning --- then you are in for a treat!  Hop on back to Andria's blog and start there!  You will be directed to the next stop on the blog hop at the end of each designer's post!  For a complete list of details and participating blogs, you can visit the Reminisce Blog!   There are going to be some fantastic prizes as always and you definitely don't want to miss out!   The blog hop starts today, March 9th, and runs through Midnight CST on Sunday, March 13th. To have a chance to win a prize, just leave a comment at each stop and then a comment on the Reminisce Blog telling us about your blog hop experience.(Please be sure to use exactly the same name in each comment).  Then return to the Reminisce Blog on Tuesday, March 15th and find out if you've won!

A while back I shared with you my layouts created with the adorable Monkey Adventures line - but today I want to share with you a mini-book and frame that I did also! 

The next stop in your blog hop is the blog of the amazing Lynne Forsythe!

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my stuff!  Before you hop along to Lynne's Blog, be sure to leave me a comment! 


Wish me Luck!

I'm sending off my Design Team application to Jillibean Soup this evening.  I've never had so much trouble sending off an email before.  I know it's because I want it to be perfect.  Jillibean Soup is a company that I have been following since they first started and I just love everything about them!  Not only are their products amazing, but Jill and all the wonderful ladies that work with her are too!

But, I just need to push the send button and leave it in the Lord's hands!  I would love to hear what you think about my submission though! 

Here you go:

And one more layout that I found that I haven't shared yet --- this one is all My Mind's Eye and was done for one of their monthly challenges:

New England Scrapbook Co's March Box!

The Company Kit Release for March is here! You can find all the important information ave on their blog - keep your eyes open for the buying information because you will want to get this COMPANY BOX before they are all gone! 

The box this month was so versatile!  I loved that I could scrap both new and vintage photos -- it was the perfect combination of gorgeous products! You can see all the designs from the team over on their FLICKR page!

That is my grandmother on the left - isn't that just an amazing photo?  Definitely one of my favorites in my stash of family pics!

Yes, I scrapped Jordan's graduation picture AGAIN!  I can't help it, I am just drawn to this picture!

and here are a couple of cards for you:

This Wall Hanging...


Imaginisce March Challenge!

Hey all you crafters out there!  Don't forget to check out the new monthly challenge over on the Imaginisce Blog!  You will find all the information you need over there, but here are the basics!

March Madness Card Sketch Challenge
Let's see if we can go one better than the college basketball and have 70 entries vying for our biggest prize:
i-top package
valued at $75
or a range of popular collections to the same value

The rules:
Use Melinda's sketch,
and incorporate the following game plan into your completed card using atleast 75% Imaginisce products:
1. Three Patterned Papers
2. Three Colors
3. Three Embellishments
(It's all about three's - well March is the third month)


Back in the Swing of Things!

Ahhh.... do you know what that is.... a stress free day.  Yep, absolutely nothing on my calendar today except my self-imposed to-do list.  Nice and easy and carefree!  I have had nothing but fun since the first of the year, but it has been non-stop deadlines and I am so looking forward to a week with nothing to worry about besides housework, baseball and school!  Yippee!

Guess what else happens on the first day of the month?  A new kit release from Dixie PiecesThis month's kit, DOT-A-LICIOUS, was right up my alley with bright colors, old school images and embellishments and my all-time favorite alphabets from Bella Blvd and October Afternoon!

Isn't that fun?  You can find all of the Design Team creations over in the gallery, but here are a couple of mine:


Learning to drive

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