Monday, September 27, 2010

Shopping- First experience with coupons! Target

I have a friend who's been known to walk out of a store with practically not paying a dime!  I've always been impressed with this but when we've asked her for this knowledge, she said it was too complicated to teach which leads me to believe it's either really hard.....or she thinks I'm kind of an idiot.  Considering my first experience, I think the latter is the case LOL.  I'm not talking- oh, here's a coupon for something I want...I'll hand it to the cashier!  I want to take it to the next level to save some major cash!!!!

A few weeks back, my friends Dawn and Buffy attended a FREE Coupon Class hosted by Heather at Queen Bee Coupons (also on Facebook). If you have the chance to go to one of her classes- GO.  She covered lots of things from doubling, rebates, to virgin brain was a little overwhelmed! She got me on the right track and I started clipping my first coupons.

Along the way, I came across another blog at (also on Facebook) which had a few coupon matchings for Target that I needed.  I decided to start small instead of hitting the grocery store so we went there on a Friday evening.  One of the coupons she had was a "match-up" where you use one coupon from the store, and another from the manufacturer and you will get Kraft Dressing for about .04 a bottle.  Maybe it's where you live but mine came up to .54 but who cares- great deal!!!!

With my little stack of coupons (which felt HUGE handing over to the cashier!), I ended up paying $42.78 but SAVED $20.99!!!  Then I saw my photo of what I bought....looks so tiny!  Not sure if I got "the best deals" compared to other stores but I just needed a few things, and I wasn't going to run all over town!

I'm having a hard time reading my receipt.  First of all, not all the coupons went through so the gal had to double check about seven (ugh) so those are just grouped on the bottom.  Also, I guess I'm confused if sometimes coupons cannot be used during a sale?  It's not clear looking at the receipt because on one item it was off the sale price, but on others (ex: the PF Chang's) , it took the coupon off the ORIGINAL price.  Huh.
Also, I wasn't going for the whole idea of walking out the door spending the least amount possible.  For example, I could have purchased the smaller Q-Tips, used my Target AND MFR coupon (was on box) and saved another $1 to impress you but, per tip, it was cheaper to buy the larger box.  Make sense?  It's not a good contest to win if you end up spending MORE for things!!

The PF Chang's was a splurge (but I got it for about 1/2 price!) that I had wanted to try since we were just there for Happy Hour.  Also, my hubby got testy over the Hershey Kisses but I had a $1 coupon off and I wanted them for myself- I mean- as giveaways to school staff, etc.  Also, the bread was a good deal- ending up at just .49!  I used the "match-up" method on the PF Chang's, Dressing, Granola Bars and then the rest were regular coupons.

When I asked my family what they thought about this whole coupon experience, my 16 yr old said "It's embarrassing!  NObody should have to use coupons"  (well, in a perfect world sweetie!), and my hubby who went along with me, said it wasn't that bad but he wasn't the one that had to clip coupons for days!  As for myself, I am going to try this for awhile.  Think I'd rather have a sore hand from the scissors than have to go to "work"  ;)  Thanks for all your help gals!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Recipes- Brunch with The Hungry Housewives at Jody's

Whenever The Hungry Housewives get together for meetings or just to visit, we take turns hosting and then provide the meal that day.  This time it was Jody's turn and here are the recipes from older cookbooks she had.  YUM.

Beefy Tortellini Soup
4 servings 332 calories per serving
2 medium carrots
1 med onion
1 TBS olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed through a press
1/4 lb lean ground beef
2 1/2 cups beef broth
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 tsp basil
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 lb fresh cheese-filled tortellini (about 2 cups)
1 med zucchini
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (opt)
  1. Cut the carrots into 1/4" slices and set aside.  Coarsely chop the onion.
  2. In a medium saucepan, warm oil over med-high until hot but not smoking.  Add onion and garlic and stir-fry until the mixture begins to brown- about 3 min
  3. Crumble in the beef and cook, stirring, until the meat is no longer pink- about 3 minutes.
  4. Add the beef broth, water, and crushed tomatoes.  Cover and bring the mix to a boil over med-high heat.  Add the carrots, basil, and pepper and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the tortellini and cook until al dente, 10-12 min or according to package directions.  
  6. Meanwhile, halve the zucchini lengthwise and then crosswise into 1/4" half-rounds.  Three minutes before the tortellini are done, add the zucchini to the soup.  Continue cooking, uncovered, until the zucchini is crisp-tender.  Serve the soup with Parmesan cheese on the side if desired.

Baby Spinach Salad With Raspberries & Candied Almonds
Serves 8 152 Calories per serving
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 TBS corn syrup
1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
Pinch ea salt and cayenne pepper
12 cups baby spinach (12 oz)
1 cup raspberries
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 TBS granulated sugar
2 TBS raspberry or white wine vinegar
1 TBS sesame seeds, toasted, or poppy seeds
Pinch ea salt and pepper
  1. In small bowl, toss together almonds, corn syrup, sugar, salt and cayenne until coated.  Spread in single layer on parchment lined baking sheet
  2. Bake in 325 over,stirring occasionally to break up clumps, for about 12 minutes or until golden and sugar is bubbly
  3. Let cool completely on pan on rack and then break into pieces (can make ahead:  store in single layer in airtight container for up to 5 days).
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, vinegar, sesame seeds, salt and pepper (can make ahead:  refrigerate for up to 1 day)
  5. In bowl, toss spinach with the dressing and then sprinkle with candied nuts and raspberries (Jody served the dressing and toppings separately) 
Jody had yummy bread (store-purchased) to go along with the soup.  I have NO idea how she does it- she's one of the thinnest women I know but is always serving us carbs!!!  Must be a Canadian thing ;)

Mimosas (ahhhhhh) and fresh, cut up fruit were also served. 

For dessert, we had coffee and coffee cake (from a Krusteaz mix- they're the BEST!).  Thank you Jody!!!!  Next time is at my house...........don't expect this nice LOL

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Flick- Four Christmases (released 2008)

Did you know Christmas is in about 90 days?  Made me feel like watching a holiday movie!  Was disappointed though....

This is a story about a self-absorbed couple named Kate (Reese Witherspoon from Legally Blonde) and Brad (Vince Vaughn from The Break Up) that lies to their parents every holiday so that way they can go on vacations instead of being home with their families.  Because like Brad says, "You really can't spell FAMILIES without LIES".

NOT my favorite Christmas Movie.  My husband and myself actually have four extra family households, too, so I can understand their whole concept on stretching yourself thin on the holidays but this was a day that lasted waaaaaay to long.  How could they have seen all four groups in one day without having set leaving times?  And yes, I know families can be mean but each of theirs goes to the extreme so it actually is more silly than funny.

During the course of this "day", they find out that they really don't know each other very much which is not surprising since they spend all their time as a couple being overly-barfingly-romantic.  In the first few scenes, you expect one of them to start sputtering cutsey names to go along with their thoughtful surprise gifts....and in the conversation about going on their trip to Fiji, you wonder if she's pretending to be somebody she's not by just saying what she thinks he wants to hear (course that could be a small clue to issues later on).

I did enjoy the family members (can't believe Grandma said what she would like to give as a present!) with Brad's dad (Robert Duvall) reminding me of somebody in my extended family.  I did NOT like the church scenes.  Tacky.

Favorite part of the movie:  Was their quotes!  Too many to list them all but I like this one because I LOVE me some McD and have done a ghetto review on Sizzler: 

(when getting cruddy comp for cancelled flight) "Would it be possible to take us out to Sizzler and then to McDonald's as dessert?"  

and then the other: (talking about having kids) "We have no plans for the future....we would've ended up living in some home playing bingo- in Florida.  But now we can live with them!"

**********************SPOILER ALERT************************

Wasn't it weird that when they were at Brad's mom's house for dinner, only ONE of the brothers came over?  And why did they have to go to Kate's mom's AND dad's when they mom came back over later to be at the Dad's?? Also, who doesn't tell their parents that they are having a baby...let alone that they're pregnant?  I get the tie-in closing with the comedy angle but made me like them less!  ....AND- I know it's "just a movie" but new-born babies can't projectile vomit!  JUST SAYING!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Eatin' Out 'N' About at P.F. Chang's China Bistro ~ Bellevue, WA

525 Bellevue Square Bellevue, Washington 98004 and look for them on Facebook!

Our first visit here was because of a gift certificate.  My friend Tara was a romantic person who thought that my husband and I didn't date enough.  Considering we had the card for about nine months before going- she was correct!  I almost decided to use it to go out with girlfriends but when Tara passed away last December, we chose to honor her by going together on Valentine's Day.  Since then, we've been here a few times with this last visit paid via gift certificates received for my husband participating in the Seattle Rock N Roll 1/2 Marathon.

One of the BEST things about this particular P.F. Chang's is the location- connected to the mall!  We like to park on the far side so we can get our exercise walking across the entire place.  Which means we get to window shop!
Though we usually just share a mandarin tea, Dave was celebrating his game ending season for his baseball team and ordered a Mac And Jack's (wasn't on menu but they had it).
Their Happy Hour is mainly discounted appetizers.  I had a coupon for a free app but decided to save it for another day since the Pork Won-Tons were on special for just $3 for 8
A condiment tray of mysterious sauces comes automatically to your table.  During a previous visit, the waitress mixed us up a concoction but our waiter this time didn't offer and then we totally forgot about using them.
Today we had our youngest with us so we were seated waaaaaaaaaaay in the far back, but it had a huge window seat so it was perfect to keep him occupied.
Just ADORE these ceiling lights.  I would put these up all over my house if I could!
Dave's Sweet and Sour Chicken
The food is served in a way that you help yourself.  This is great if you want to share....bummer if you're me because I can't get what I REALLY want (hubby has long list of no-eats).  Though to be fair- he told me we didn't have to share but I was wanting some of what he got!
My Mongolian Beef with a side of brown rice
The beef had a nice taste and wasn't tough at all.  It was good but I liked Dave's chicken better- the breading has a nice texture.  Not soggy or overcooked.  My one complaint is their kid menu.  LOOKS yummy.  SOUNDS yummy....but not to a 4 yr old who just wants fries!
Isn't it funny how happy fortune cookies make us???
Dave's: "Tomorrow will be a productive day.  Don't oversleep".  Well, that was a bunch of bull- we vegged on the computers all day (with the exception of a short trip to Winco).
Mine: "You will enjoy doing something different this coming weekend"  Wonder if that means we're FINALLY putting in our floor???????
Corbin's: "No obstacles will stand in the way of your success this month".  Well, considering he's only 4 yrs old, I guess there won't be much stopping him!
YUMMY!!!!  Nothin' like leftovers..............and I call dibbs! :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Eatin' Out 'N' About at Mama Stortini's ~ Kent, WA

240 W. Kent Station St. Suite 104 Kent, WA 98032 and FB (Puyallup location)

For Hungry Housewife Jody's birthday, she wanted to do dinner and a movie so we went to Kent Station which is one of my FAVorite places for a date night.  There are little shops, great restaurants, a movie theater, and the atmosphere is comfortable even late at night.

Since we came there to do Happy Hour, we ate in the bar area.  We didn't want to eat at the bar height tables, so they put two tables together but "couldn't find a third" so they used a round table.  Made it a little uncomfortable for the person on the edge but we were glad to be seated all together.
Jamaican Breeze

Dawn drinking her Raspberry-Lemon Drop

Gotta love Happy Hour Drinks!
MY FOOD! Grilled Chicken Skewers with Warm Pita & Fresh Cucumber-Garlic Sauce.  Not sure if it was, but it felt "healthier".  Pita was REALLY good...loved the sauce.
A couple of the gals got Parmesan Crusted Zucchini Crisps.  These were THE. BEST. food of the night!  YUM.
Stephanie had the Chop-Chop Salad (not shown) and the Happy-Hour Fettuccine with Tomato Cream Sauce (and obviously a GENEROUS helping of grated Parmesan!) which she said was "perfectly al dente"
Jody ordered the Toasted Five Cheese Raviolis
Heather's Tillamook Cheddar Burger- HUGE!
BIRTHDAY GIRL JODY opening her presents
It took them forever to get Jody her complimentary BDay dessert but you can't complain when it's free!  Was good though with ten women, most of us are too anal to share a dish of ice cream LOL.  We were very happy with our waitress who was gracious enough to seperate our recipets AND split Jody's meal evenly on all of our bills.  THANK YOU!
Off to watch Eat, Pray, Love!  See our blog about it from 9/3/2010 at: THH Blog Review on Eat, Pray, Love

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Flick- the ugly truth (released 2009)

This rated R romantic comedy is about a morning show producer named Abby (Katherine Heigl from Grey's Anatomy and Knocked Up) who is forced to work with a new obnoxious segment host to help with ratings.  Mike (Gerald Butler from {YUM} P.S. I Love You) stirs things up and makes Abby confront her view on relationships.  To show that she's not romantically challenged, she takes Mike's advice on a budding romance with her new neighbor.

Though a little on the raunchy side (vibrating panties?) it is sweet watching Mike fall in love with Abby while helping her to make the neighbor fall for her.  Personally, I didn't really like this movie.  Though Mike is adorably delicious, you can can tell he's an Ass because he's -obviously- been hurt by some woman.  The whole movie is based on the fact that men just want to have sex and woman are all delusional about men.  And you can't really argue against any of it because then they'll just say they've been proven right!  

Best part of the movie:  the elevator scene- very passionate and the look on her face when the door closes is priceless...

*****************************SPOILER ALERT*****************************

Ummmmmmmmmmmm...............not much to spoiler...this movie is pretty easy to read.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Shopping- A Picket Fence Sumner, WA

1006 Main Street Sumner, WA 98390
Look for them on FB and

I just adore this shop.  I wish I would have taken more pics- missed showing any of their fabulous jewelry and all their watches!
First of all, they sell coffee (which is always nice- every store should do it just for my convenience!) and they sell bulk style candy so will be walking out that door with at least a treat!

Lots of items for gift giving- the cards at the front door were hilarious!
Large line of Vera Bradley handbags and accessories 
There are many holiday items already on display
OF COURSE- I adore any apron!  Wish I would have purchased this one :)

Sure there's a story behind this guy hanging out in the back LOL
TONS of purses!  No matter what your style, I'm sure you'll find something to your taste.
At first glance, I wasn't sure if I liked their website (needs more pics and first page doesn't grab your attention) but the "about us" tab is cute and their "specials" tab is clever (like the question part!) so make sure to check it out.  There is so much to look at- perfect place for unique Fall decorations and you can get a jump on your Christmas shopping!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Eatin' Out 'N' About at The Iron Grill Mongolian BBQ ~ Covington, WA

To celebrate our friend Heather's 40th Birthday, she wanted to go shopping at Kohl's and since Iron Grill was within walking distance, a few of us went there for dinner beforehand.  Having never been here before, we weren't sure what to expect but the employees were all nice, the place was clean, and the prices were good (what more could you ask for in casual dining???).
So- pick a bowl, decide on a meat (Dani paid extra for the shrimp- wasn't worth it!) and then tell them your drink (they even had beer!).
With bowl in hand, go through the buffet and pick out veggies, noodles, and then make your own sauce... AHHH- the pressure!
Note:  there IS an extra charge for over-loading the bowl! Whoops- didn't know that haha. The food is cooked in full view (though not in front of you like at Benihana). 
When they give you the finished plate (can get to-go), they give you a free side of steamed rice.  The whole thing was SOOOO good!!!  
Heather opening all her presents!!!  Always the best part of the evening. Can't wait to see what you do with what's in that little black envelope.....
Love.  This.  Photo.  The joy on your face is adorable :)

WHAT I BOUGHT!  Well, only the purse is from Kohl's (so Dani- IS it shallow to want it because the Vera Wang label is showing?  LOLOLOL).  I love how the strap doubles to make it shorter.  I also bought collapsible black cotton storage containers that Dawn decided to not get (Only $2 a piece on do you pass that up?).   Thanks girls for letting me stop by Payless for their sale (nothing like a disposable shoe!)- I adore these denim ones though I generally don't buy denim for accessories. Since it was BOGO, of course I had to get two things!  I'm liking the silver flats...though a little less since after having them hurt my feet the next day...  Anywho- HAPPY BIRTHDAY HEATHER!  thanks for letting us spend the evening with you.
BTW- that's my new floor we're putting in!