Monday, February 22, 2010

Publix, Where Shopping Is A Pleasure

I have a confession to make. Up until a few months ago, I thought anybody who shopped at Publix was wasting her money. Their stores are always very nice and it just always seemed to me like an "upper-end" store. Who carries your groceries out to your cart anymore without even asking? However, I have been proved wrong. Very wrong.

About a year ago, I became what some would call an extreme couponer, but what I would classify as frugal (my husband says I'm crazy!). A lady came to talk to a group at our church about the advantages of couponing. Sure, I got a Sunday paper and I clipped coupons, but not that many. This lady talked to us about how to get products for free! Free? How can you walk out of any store with something free? I was a bit skeptical at first, but now that I have been couponing for almost a year, I know that I can get several things for free at one time!

I still was a snob about Publix until I began reading the Southern Savers blog. Jenny, who operates the blog, lists the weekly ad of most southern grocery stores and the coupon match-ups each week (I have no idea how she has the time or patience to do so, but I'm very thankful). As I started reviewing the ads and the coupon match-ups, I realized that Publix really has the best deals. Why do I like Publix so much now?

· Buy-One-Get-One Free Deals (BOGO). This is when at item is 50% off essentially and you can buy one or both items and use a coupon on each item you buy. Great deal even without a coupon.

· Store Coupons. Publix issues coupons they can be used in their store and "stacked" with a manufacturer coupon. For instance, Huggies diapers are on sale for $8.99 and I have a manufacturer coupon for $2 off and I have a Publix coupon for $2 off. That makes the diapers $4.99 - a great deal!

· Competitor Coupons. Publix accepts competitor coupons, although not as many as they used to accept. Who can blame them? They are losing money when they accept another store's coupon.

· Friendly Service. They really have the best service of any grocery store I know. They are always ready and willing to help with anything in the store and cheerfully take my groceries to the car.

Let me give you a quick example of how I saved on chicken and beef broth this weekend at Publix. Progresso Chicken/Beef Broth was BOGO for $2.59 (1.29 each). I bought 4 cartons. I used (2) $.50 manufacturer coupons that doubled to $1.00. One manufacturer coupon of $1 off when you buy 2. And one Publix store coupon $1 off when you buy 4 Progresso products. Basically, $4 off my purchase of $5.18, which made it $1.18. Divide it by 4, and I spent about $.30 on each carton and it is normally $2.59 a carton!!

Have you ever tried Publix? If so, what was your experience? Do you have a favorite grocery store? Or do you just buy what you have to get when you need it and could care less who has the best price (that is Josh's philosophy and one of the many reasons I do the grocery shopping!)?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Brotherly Love

Since today is Valentine's Day and my valentine is sick in bed, I thought I would post some pictures of my two little sweethearts. It is so fun to watch Thomas and Josiah interact with each other. Right now it is fun ... ask me again in a year and I'll probably tell you how it is fun and challenging, but right now it is great!

In the past couple of months, Josiah has become very aware of Thomas and he watches everything that Thomas does and loves to "play" with Thomas. In return, Thomas loves being the center of attention. Josiah laughs at almost anything Thomas does and Thomas tells me all the time, "Mama, I funny." Well, to Josiah he is a regular comedian!

Thomas has also realized that this little person isn't just for mama, but he is a playmate and that is exciting! He likes to "teach" Josiah how to play with his toys or "read" to him. It is fun to watch him take care of Josiah and love on him. Of course, Josiah thinks that Thomas hangs the moon!

Josh and I both look forward to watching them grow up together and to have a close relationship. Both of our siblings are over a decade apart from us (Josh's brother is 12 yrs older; my brother is 13 yrs younger) so we both grew up as essentially only children because our siblings weren't around as we were growing up. Sometimes it makes me sad not to have a brother or sister close in age, as many of my friends do, because those sibling relationships are so close and unique.

Here are a few pictures of our sweet boys together, who we pray will one day be the best of friends!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Busy With Birthdays

The last couple of weeks have been busy with celebrating birthdays! At the end of January, my brother-in-law celebrated his 40th (pictures to follow). Last week, we celebrated birthdays three days in a row: mine, my mom's 50th, and a good friend's 30th! My posts have been non-existent because I have been busy. I'll admit the blog is the first thing to go during busy weeks and days because it is by far the least important thing on my to-do list. Taking care of my family and my home is the most important task the Lord has called me to do and I have learned that means I can't do everything I want to do all the time.

With all that said, I wanted to share the fun cake I made (with my sweet husband's help) for my brother-in-law's birthday. Since he was turning 40, it was only appropriate to do an Over The Hill cake! The cake turned out much better than I expected, especially since I started off with problems.

A few weeks ago, Crisco sticks, which I use to make icing, were on sale and I had a coupon (of course!), so I decided to stock up on them, but I bought butter flavor instead of original. At the time, I thought this would be a great idea and would make the icing taste even better. The icing tasted great, but the butter flavor Crisco also had the color of butter and when you try to mix black food coloring with a butter color, it isn't gray but an ugly green color! I tried to turn it gray for a while and eventually it turned a dark gray color that I used for a border, but my mother-in-law was gracious enough to buy some original Crisco sticks and everything turned out great!

I'm not good enough to go into the cake decorating business (ever seen Ace of Cakes?), but I do enjoy making cakes for my family. What do you think?