The Great Outdoor Weekend ~ Sept 28 & 29

Does the feel of sunshine on your face or the wind whispering through the trees make you smile? Well the end of this month might be for you! All of Cincinnati various parks, companies, and local attractions are coming together for the annual Great Outdoor Weekend. Is there something that you have been wanting to try but putting off because of time or money? This is your weekend! It is an awesome opportunity for the outdoor (or wanna be) enthusiast.

                                                         O’Bannon Creek Loveland Ohio

One of our family’s favorite places to visit is the Cincinnati Nature Center. The actual center itself has displays of local flora and fauna. The center also houses an interactive children’s play-scape that is always a favorite for the little ones. There are miles of hiking trails to enjoys the beauty of the woods, ponds, and creeks. For those that are concerned there are a few paved trails for easy wheelchair and stroller access. This weekend they will be hosting several events at the center including (but not limited to)  bird banding, hawks/owls/falcons…oh my!, and s’mores and more in the play-scape. The Cincinnati Nature Center is definitely something you don’t want to miss!

                                                     Little Miami River

Do you enjoy being out on the water? Here are a few ideas for you:

      

Great Miami Rowing Center

Row G.O.W.  It’s never to late to try rowing! With people taking part in the sport from ages 12 to 90, you should never feel like you missed your chance to get involved.

 

Izaak Walton League

This is a basic introduction to canoeing. Participants will learn how to select the proper equipment, maneuver the canoe with different strokes, and what supplies and equipment are needed.
 
Mill Creek ReCreation Celebration: Canoe Outing (w/ Mill Creek Yacht Club)

The canoe outing is part one out of our three-part event on Saturday, September 28. The event is free of charge; paddlers will receive a Mill Creek Yacht Club t-shirt. 
 
Kayak the Little Miami

ODNR Watercraft staff will take 4 trips of 8 paddlers from the Ikes Lodge to Lake Isabella on Ocean¬Ē Kayaks, a unique and forgiving open-cockpit type kayak.
Come early to reserve your spot! Reservations are required in advance.

For information on these events and more check out http://www.cincygreatoutdoorweekend.org/

 
 

                                               

Cincinnati Zoo: Visitor Appreciation Days

We took the opportunity this past weekend to enjoy the zoo and see the new African Safari exhibit. I have to admit that it was a beautiful park-like setting. While it is now open, don’t believe that it is complete yet.

These pictures were actually taken this winter. Our trip this past weekend was spur of the moment type deal, and I didn’t grab my camera. We are blessed to have been given a family pass to the zoo, which allows us to make these types of family outings. If you don’t have a pass to the zoo, then you are in luck! August 23,24, and 25 (2013) the Cincinnati Zoo is offering half price admission and parking for visitor appreciation! I hope you take advantage of the offer ūüôā

Walgreens: Huggies on sale $3.99-$5.49

While I cloth diaper for the majority of the time I do like to have disposables on hand as well. The church workers appreciate it and it is nice for long(er) trips. So I am excited that Walgreen’s is having such a good sale on Huggies this week! Here are the deals:

Huggies Little Movers Slip On diapers (on sale w/ card) $9.49
$2 off Huggies Little Movers Slip On (In store coupon)
$2 off Huggies Little Movers Slip On (coupons.com)
Total: $5.49

Huggies Natural Wipes (on sale w/card) $5.99
$2 off Huggies Naturals (In Store coupon)
Total: $3.99

Do you shop at Walgreen’s? How much do you typically spend on diapers?

Target: Free School Supplies and other deals

So Target is quickly becoming my favorite store. I mean it was already my favorite store, but it is really becoming my favorite store, if you know what I mean. It has taken me a little bit to understand how coupons work with Target, so I am going to share what I have learned.

1. Target allows 1 manufacture coupon + 1 Target coupon per item.
2. On top of these coupons you can use Target Cartwheel to get an extra 5%-30% off
3. If you have a Target credit card you get another 5% off. Don’t want a credit card? No problem you can register your bank card with Target to still get the extra 5% off.

This ladies and gentlemen adds up to significant savings. Sometimes even free items! As always plan your trip ahead as much as possible. Here are today’s deals and steals from my trip to Target:

2   Method dish soap (sale) $2.96/each
1   Method Glass Cleaner    $2.99
1   Method Bathroom Cleaner $2.99
5% off Target Cartwheel -(.30)
Buy 3 get 1 free Target online coupon- (2.96)
Total: $8.64 for all 4 Method products
 
 2 (24ct) Up&Up Crayons  $0.25/each
 2 (10ct) Up&Up Markers  $0.75/each
 2 Up& Up Colored pencil sets $0.75/each
 (2) Buy 2 Up& Up school supplies listed get 24 ct Up& Up crayons free (Target online coupon)
 (2) $1.50/2 any Up& Up school supplies (Target online coupon)
  Total: FREE
 4 Mead 5 Star Portfolio Folders $0.50/each
 (2) $1/2 any Mead Five Star Products (Target online coupon)
 Total : Free
3 (10ct) Bic Crystal Pens $0.99/eac
$1.00 off any Bic Stationary products coupon (paper from 2 Sunday’s ago)
$1.50 off any 2 Bic Stationary products (Target online coupon)
Total: $0.50 for all 3 packs
4 boxes of Quaker granola bars (8 ct) $2/each
(2) $1/2  Quaker products -($2.00) (Target online coupon)
Total: $6.00
                      
 Target Backpack (on sale) $9.00
 $5 off any back pack when you buy 4 Quaker products (Target online coupon)

 Total: $4.00

So what good deals have you found this week?

Girl’s Night on a Dime

One thing that almost all women need is bonding time with their girl friends. A chance to let loose, talk to your hearts content and just be. In this hectic society that we live in finding time and money to make this happen can be difficult. Whether you are married, single, working, not working, we women need to have connection with our friends.

I had been having a blah day, just tired and over emotional. Nothing happened to cause it to be a bad day and in all honesty it wasn’t a bad day. I spent the afternoon exchanging text messages with a friend who was also having some stuff going on in her life. I sensed that we both needed some time away. So with a few quick phone calls to hubbies we arranged to go out.

It wasn’t anything glamorous but it was fun and well needed. We headed out to my gym where we soaked our worries away in the hot whirlpool, chatting and laughing. Then enjoyed (separate) hot showers. If you are a mother, you can understand how priceless it is to have a shower with out children interrupting. If you are married you also understand how wonderful it is to get a hot shower (and you didn’t even have to race your spouse to get it!) Actually that is one of the things I love most about my gym, I look forward to my showers after working out, it feels like a reward!

Afterwards we headed to Starbucks for a drink. Aside from the amount of gas to drive, that was the only money we spent, less than $4 each. We didn’t need to go shopping or out to eat, honestly if it wasn’t so late I don’t think we would have gone to Starbucks so we could continue talking. Both of us ended the night feeling completely refreshed having a chance to just get away from all the responsibilities that our lives entail. For me at least it gave me renewed energy to face the rest of the week.

What do you enjoy doing when you hang out with your friends? Do you find that you spend a lot of money when you hang out with them?

How to get rid of fruit flies naturally

I don’t know when or how, but our house was invaded by an army of fruit flies. They didn’t take long to start multiplying! I must have brought them home with something from the store or the farm. A week ago I was telling a friend about my problem and she told me how to get rid of them. At first I was a little skeptical but out of desperation I finally gave it a try

It’s a little hard to tell but there are 11 of those little buggers dead in that bowl. So what was my friend’s tip? I combined dish soap, apple cider vinegar, and water. That’s it! I filled the bowl up left it on the counter and a few hours later, Voila! So thankful for my dear friend. I can’t wait to tell her how well it worked.

New Target Deals 7/28/13

After checking out the target ad and the target coupons, I made yet another trip to Target. So here are the deals that I got today:

2 up & up 24 packs of crayons @ $0.25/each (on sale)
2 up & up bottles of glue @ $0.25/each (on sale)
– combined with $1.00 off any 4 up & up school supplies mobile coupon = FREE!!!

Annie’s Cheddar Snack Mix $3.39
– target online coupon $0.50 off combined with manufacture coupon $0.50 off = $2.39

Right Guard $2.99
-target online coupon $2.00 off = $0.99

Target pasta sauce $0.97 (on sale)
Target pasta $1.00 (on sale)
-Target online coupon $1.00 off when you purchase both target pasta & sauce = $0.97

Target 6 ct bagels 2/$2.50 (on sale)
-combined with target online coupon $1.00 off any 2 (6ct) target bagels = $1.50

Target Ice Cream $2.79 (on sale)
– target online coupon $1.00 any 1.5 qt ice cream = $1.79

Target Organic Raw Wildflower Honey $1.98 (on clearance)

Deals this Weekend 7/27/13

 So my family was in need of a few things and in want of a few others this weekend. Have you ever done that? Stopped to evaluate a purchase to decide if it is a need or a want? I am trying to get in the habit of that, although it can deflate your shopping bag if you are truly honest with yourself. Not that it isn’t ok to get wants, it’s just when you are on a budget they might be less often.

So here are a few of our wants:
1. A new swim suit  for our oldest daughter. She currently has one that fits really well and the others are getting small. Since we are going on vacation in less than 2 months (excited to share our trip!) we wanted her to have 2 suits. One for the ocean and the other for the pool. We were able to pick up a cute one at Old Navy for just $5! It was an awesome deal and our bank account was happy for only a small dent.

2. School Supplies- You might be thinking, wait aren’t these necessary? Yes and no. We already stocked up on school supplies a few weeks ago. This trip our daughter wanted to purchase a small composition notebook so she can keep a journal. As we walked into Walmart we were greeted with a list of suggested donations for a local organization that gives children in need school supplies. Mindful of our budget here are a few items we picked up to donate:
6 pocket folders with clasps $0.15/ each
2 composition books $0.50/ each
4 packs of 24 crayons $0.25/each
2 packs of #2 pencils $0.47/ each

Even though it was just a little bit it was nice because it sparked a great conversation with 2 of our children (the 3rd is still a baby). We explained why we were purchasing them and talked about how blessed we are. Which in turn also lead to talking about gratefulness. I love taking these little life moments and using them to teach!

Our needs:

1. Underwear for our middle child. He has almost out grown his underwear, so when we found a 7 pack of licensed characters at Target for just under $6 we grabbed them up!

2. Groceries. I picked up a few of our groceries and was able to get some great deals! Annie’s mac and cheese was on sale 10/$10, croissants for $1.79, (2) 16 packs of tortillas for $0.69, (3) Applegate Sunday Bacon $2.49 each, and finally a free tube of Colgate toothpaste! Yes FREE! Kroger’s had a online coupon that you can load onto your plus card for a free 4.6 tube of Colgate toothpaste!

3. Winter Clothes– Thanks to some shopping a few months ago I bought some winter clothes for the baby and our son at Gymboree (on clearance!) I spent enough on them to earn Gymbucks. This weekend is the last weekend to redeem them and I was able to purchase 4 new pairs of pants for $25 for our 7 year old.

So what great deals do you score this weekend?

Welcome to Happiness on a Dime

Daises are such a cheerful and whimsical flower! Pure white petals full of promise, surrounding a sunny yellow center. These happy little flowers seem common place next to exotic lilies or romantic roses. Yet these flowers never fail to bring a smile to my face. I’m a daisy type person. I may seem common place, but I have a lot going for me. So why do I fall into the trap of keeping up with the lilies and roses (aka The Joneses)? It to took me a long time to figure that out and I am guilty of forgetting sometimes. What I have learned is that trying to be something that you are not can breed discontentment. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live life like that. This blog is dedicated to my learning how to live a cheerful, happy life, even if it is only on a dime!

The Concrete Serengeti ~ Part 1 on Frugal Mealtimes

Today at graftedvine we are going to observe the lioness as she stalks her prey.

As of late there has been a scarcity of food, and increase in hunting parties, crowding into her domain. She has to always be on guard.

Alas she see her prey! She stealthily moves on  padded feet careful not to draw attention to herself.

Then she waits for that opportune moment, settling her weight on her haunches. Muscles tightly coiled ready to spring into action.

That moment comes and in her full glory she pounces on her prey!

Satisfaction wells up within her as she carries her prize back to her cubs.

So does that happen in real life? Sure it does! The main thing missing is the lioness doesn’t hunt alone.¬† If you’ve ever watched a hunt, they always travel in a pack! Right now the headlines are trumpeting the drought that is happening in the US. The economists are saying that we are going to start feeling the effects of the drought in our wallets and our bellies. Have you started to feel that yet? Today we venture into the concrete¬†Serengeti to try to figure out ways to effectively save money, while getting the most nutrition for our $$.

1. Coupons– well duh! Grafted you are a little behind the times here, super couponing¬†has been the rage for a few years now! Or then I get the other side….well¬†we only eat organic foods. Did you know that most organic¬†companies have coupons on their website? Check it out!¬†I love getting coupons from Applegate and other brands. The down side to couponing¬†is that you can actually spend more with coupons if you aren’t careful….whoa…whoa!¬†Wait a minute here! Back up the crazy train! Spend more using coupons? The whole point of coupons is to SAVE money. Well stop for a minute and look at that coupon that you just clipped for the razzle dazzle cereal. If you didn’t have the coupon would you have bought that cereal anyway? No? With the coupon is it cheaper than what you would normally buy? ¬†I think as consumers, especially here in the states we are sometimes¬† make that a lot of times sucked in by the idea of getting a deal that we don’t stop to really think about the big picture.

2. Shop only the perimeter of the store. ¬†You’ve probably heard this before, but the food on the perimeter of the store is a lot healthier for you. All that stuff in the middle? Cheap convenience food, which when you get right down to it, is not cheap. Say what?!?! You heard me, it isn’t cheap! If the vast majority of the world is able to live with out that food, and live healthy lives, can’t you? Yes it is yummy, but most of that stuff is full of non food items. Powdered coffee creamer…silicone with your coffee anyone? Um, no thanks I’ll pass! Most of the stuff you find in boxes or cans are filled with fillers. When you take out all those fillers and preservatives, there isn’t much left. So the whole crux of the matter is you are actually spending more money, while being led to believe that you are spending less. True there are exemptions to the rule i.e. rice, beans, canned tomatoes, rolled oats, nut butters. No I am not listing broth, cereal, or other canned veggies.

3. Manager Specials. So how else can you save by shopping the perimeter of the store? Most supermarkets have mark down bins/ shelves on the outside. Apples for $0.29/ lb? $0.99 for 4 LARGE russet potatoes, etc. Typically there is nothing wrong with these items. I spoke to the produce manager at my store, he said that there may be 1 bad or bruised apple in the bag. They can’t sell it that way, so they remove the 1 apple, repackage it and sell the rest for $0.99. So that bag of apples that way $1.99+ is now half price because of 1 apple. I’ve gotten bags of clementines for more than half off because the skin was slightly mottled. The fruit was still perfectly good, it just didn’t LOOK pretty. Of course you have the meat markdowns¬†and markdowns¬†in the milk and cheese section. Did you know that you can freeze all that stuff? Ask your manager when they do the markdowns, they’ll be happy to tell you what day they mark stuff down. After all they’d rather sell the stuff at a lower price than to have to chuck it, making no money at all. It economics people….supply and demand! I personally love the scratch and dent section at our local grocery store!

4. Bulk buy, but only when it makes sense! So you were hunting for those elusive mark downs that I was telling you about. Uh huh! Caught you, you savvy shopper you!¬†On your hunt you found several bags of onions marked down to an irresistible price. What’s a savvy shopper to do? You know that you can’t use them all up right away, so what’s a girl to do? Well if you have freezer space available that is one option, depending on the produce you could can the item. Or even do it the old fashion way and ferment it. When in doubt it is better to pass up any items that you can’t reasonably use before they go bad. After all, it wasn’t much of a deal if you have to throw the food away.

Up next….getting cultured! Great DIY foods that you can make at home and save $!