Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tasty Tuesday-Breakfast Cookies

You can have cookies for breakfast!!! This is a great recipe that your kids will love. My kids really liked the breakfast cookies from Quaker, but they were a little pricey and you only got 5 in a box. I went searching and found this recipe

3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup (1 small jar) strained carrot baby food (I sometimes use 1/4 cup canned pumpkin that I have left over from pumpkin bread)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup bran cereal flakes
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup walnut pieces, lightly toasted in a dry skillet for 2 minutes, until fragrant and chopped

(I leave out the raisins and nuts because my daughter is allergic to nuts and add 1/2 cup chocolate chips instead)Place rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Combine butter, oil and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on high speed, scraping down sides if necessary, until sugars have dissolved and mixture is light in color, about 1 minute. Add egg, carrot puree and vanilla and beat an additional 30 seconds. Add flour mixture and beat an additional 30 seconds. Add oats, flakes, raisins and walnuts and mix over low speed just until incorporated. Dough will be slightly sticky and less cohesive than traditional cookie dough. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using between 3 to 4 tablespoons of batter, form a ball and place on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining batter, leaving about 3 inches between cookies. Wet hands and use palm of hand to flatten cookies until about 1/4-inch thick. Bake for 12 minutes, until cookies are fragrant but still soft. Let cookies cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Coupon Communities

I have been a member at A Full Cup for a long time now, and I have to say it has been incredibly helpful. When I was just a beginner at coupons, so many wonderful people helped answer my (what I realize now were silly) questions. It really set me on my path to learn more about couponing, and then later to start teaching others how to save in my community.

Besides that (and a lot of other things), they offer a fun thing called 'Coupon Trains'. They are vary on how they work (since they are run by individual members) but they have the same basic idea. It's a group of members that agree to send an envelope chock full of coupons that you want - and you send an envelope out to someone with coupons they want. It's a great way to get multiples of those coupons you really use all the time - all for the cost of a stamp! And if you don't want to join a train, you can just post up trades with other members!

And I love their coupon database! When I do my match ups for Weekly Deals, that's the database I use for about 95% off it!

It's a great site, and if you're just getting into couponing or are a seasoned veteran - you should still check out A Full Cup!
P.S. - These opinions are my own and I'm not being compensated to brag on them. I just wanted to share one of my favorite resources!

If you ever have any questions about coupons, or what to see some hot deals, be sure to visit me at my blog, SavingObsession.com!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Amazing Toy Story 1 & Toy Story 2 movie deal!

I'm sorry for not posting this sooner, but you have until Saturday that you can do this!

If you own Toy Story 1 or 2 (dvd or vhs) you can join http://www.disneymovierewards.com and enter their bar codes. When you enter the bar code you can get a coupon for which ever movie you entered for $10 off the dvd/blu ray combo pack. If you can get both, here's an awesome deal for you....

Go to Toys R Us (with both coupons!)
TS1 and TS2 combo packs are $29.99. But for purchasing BOTH at the same time you'll save $13 off of each! Plus you'll have your coupons. So this is how it will look:

TS1 combo pack - $29.99
TS2 combo pack - $29.99
Total before discounts/coupons - $59.98 + tax
Minus - $26.00 (for buying both)
Minus - $10.00 (TS1 combo pack coupon)
Minus - $10.00 (TS2 combo pack coupon)

Total after coupons - $13.98 + tax! (or $6.99 each)

That is AMAZING for a DVD/Blu Ray Combo pack!!! That's saving over 75%!

But wait! There's more!

Each TS combo pack comes with a code for a FREE MOVIE TICKET to go see Toy Story 3! So if you got both movies, you'll have $17 in free movie tickets! Making everything wash out to be FREE!!

P.S. - if you don't own the Toy Story movies to get the bar code, ask friends or family. That's what I did. Each coupon can be printed a limit of 2 times! So what I did was my friend gave me her codes, I printed (2) TS1 coupons and (2) TS2 coupons - then went and did our deal (part of the dvd awesomeness) for her. So it was coupon sharing love! Want to see how I did my deal? Click HERE!

Need help understanding this? It's ok - I know it's a little complicated, but worth it and you'll totally get a couponing rush! So please feel free to come HERE and ask questions!


 Want to see how I did my deal? Click HERE!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thrifty Thursday

Please check out our great What a Deal forum at My Great Retreat!
While there, don't forget to join our 2010 Savings Challenge!
Also, check out this thread that lists some great coupon sites!

Great Huggies coupons!! (you can print each of these 2 times) They expire on Apr 5
coupon 1
coupon 2
coupon 3

Free Photo book
just pay $8.99 shipping thru 3/31  Enter code AFFLGB when checking out!

GREAT deal on an Ergo baby carrier

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What A Deal! April-June Blog Advertising Spots Now Available!

Every three months or so, we're going to feature a new type of business, blog, site to advertise on top of the normal advertising spaces. Just a way to pay special focus to all kinds of sites out there and offer discounted pricing.

So April-June, we're going to focus on blogs. Want to drive more traffic to your blog? Then join in and get this spot!

If you want to advertise on our site but are wanting to advertise something other than a blog, please click here for our rateshttp://www.mygreatretreat.com/showthread.php?tid=19

We will have the following available. First come, first serve.

If you prepay for all 3 months, there will be discounted pricing:
*Option 1 pricing will be $10.00 instead of $11.25
*Option 2 pricing will be $8.50 instead of $9.00
*Option 3 pricing will be $5.50 instead of $6.00

If you have any questions, or are ready to get your spot reserved, please PM me.

Month of April Spots:
(OPTION #1) $3.75
3 spots available in the very top header (This is prime advertising space!)

(OPTION #2) $3.00
2 spots available right above posts/threads

(OPTION #3) #2.00
4 spots available on the footer of each page

Month of May Spots:
(OPTION #1) $3.75
3 spots available in the very top header (This is prime advertising space!)

(OPTION #2) $3.00
2 spots available right above posts/threads

(OPTION #3) $2.00
4 spots available on the footer of each page.

Month of June Spots:
(OPTION #1) $3.75
4 spots available in the very top header (this is prime advertising space!)

(OPTION #2) $3.00
2 spots available right above posts/threads

(OPTION #3) $2.00
4 spots available on the footer of each page.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Win It Wednesday: Dee's Bugaboo Boutique

This week's giveaway is for Dee's Bugaboo Boutique cards. Enter by 9pm CST tonight for your chance to win!

Click here to enter.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Where's Your Focus?

focus: 5 a : a center of activity, attraction, or attention b : a point of concentration... Merriam Webster dictionary

Today I want to talk to you little about focus. When I'm taking a picture I ask this question often... where's your focus? Usually, I'm taking portraits of my kids and so I want my focus to be on their face and more specifically on their eyes. Since people are generally who we want to focus on in our photos that's usually where we want our focus to be but sometimes we want it elsewhere to draw our attention to the story behind the photo..

Every camera is different and therefore your settings are different but in general every camera has a focus point which is normally in the center for p&s cameras or you can have from 3 to several focus points in higher end p&s camears and dSLRs. Your goal is to use that point to get the most tack sharp focus exactly where you want your focus to be... Many cameras allow you to pinpoint your focus area, press the button down halfway and then you can move the camera around to get the composition you want before pressing all the way down to take the shot and your focus will stay on the object or person that you had locked in the focus on.

In my photos I want to bring your attention to something... so most of my photos will focus on a child's face and more specifically the face... but sometimes I want to tell a story with my photo so I'll focus on that storytelling part of the photo... take this photo for instance... I want people to see how messy my sweet boy is... I have the focus on his messy hands after eating but you can still see that it's him who is being the messy boy. So, I set my focus point to focus on his hand and I set my aperture pretty wide so that the rest of him is blurry but you can still tell it's him.
Here's another example, again of my sweet boy... this time focusing on the fact that he bent the drill bit, so I took a picture of his hands playing with the drill and my focus is on the hands not his face or even his whole body or the whole scene... can you tell he's my little trouble maker?
Normally, this is what my photos look like... a picture of my child with the focus on their face and more specifically on their eyes, although in this photo, I could have told the story by focusing on the ASL "I Love You" sign but chose to focus more on my sweet girl by focusing on her eyes showing how happy she is
and here is another one not focusing on the face but focusing on something on his face to show the story... my child has a snotty nose and he's reaching for kleenex... is that what you see with this photo? Is your attention drawn to the snotty nose?
OK, here's your assignment... take a picture that tells a story, drawing our attention to something or some place using the focus point(s) on your camera. Post the photo here in this thread for us all to see.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tasty Tuesday: Blueberry-Almond Granola

This recipe comes from one of our members, Kristin! Thanks for submitting such a great recipe.

Do you have a recipe you love and want others to enjoy too? Post it in our Cookbook forum.

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 T vegetable oil
2 T honey
1 cup dried blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 350*. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss oats, coconut, and almonds. In a small bowl, stir together oil and honey. Pour over oat mixture and toss. Bake, tossing occasionally until lightly toasted, 16 to 20 minutes.

2. Place mixture in a large bowl and stir in blueberries. (To store, keep in an airtight container, up to 1 month.)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Win It Wednesday: Saving Obsession!

This week at Tuckers Take Tennessee there is an awesome giveaway going on. Saving Obsession has donated one of her adorable binders. Its perfect for coupons and comes with coupon items that make your grocery shopping trip easier on you!

Come check it out and enter! Winner will be chose after 9pm CST tonight. (3/3/10)

Monday, March 1, 2010

MGR Monday: March 1, 2010

MGR has lots going on in March and we want to make sure you know about it all! It's madness!  

1. Weekly Auctions. We just concluded our first MGR auction. Micael won an adorable custom vinyl wall hanging from one of our members, prariestorm! Make sure youre around and checking out the upcoming auctions. They will be in the Coffee Talk forum!  

2. Co-ops: Carey has some great co-ops planned. We just concluded "Naturally Pampered" and "Everyday Minerals". Some of the upcoming ones are: CraftMonkey (applique tee's), Prairiestorm Designs (vinyl lettering), Little Painted Polka Dot (adorable stamped jewelry and gifts), Frontier, A Time To Dye, and many more! Check out the co-op forum for more details!  

3. ATTENTION ALL SITE SUPPORTERS! You now have a forum just for you! If you are a site supporter, please make sure you can see the forum. Instead of sending out PM's to all the site supporters about when their account is up for renewal, we've created a forum for you to subscribe to. (I got this idea from a friend on another forum and am so thankful for it!) :) If you aren't already a site supporter and would like to know the perks that come with being one, click this link: http://www.mygreatretreat.com/showthread.php?tid=118  

4. We are looking for a Resident Designer. Please click here if you are interested. http://www.mygreatretreat.com/showthread.php?tid=4008  

5. 7 Days Left to get in on the special for banner advertising. Click here for more details: http://www.mygreatretreat.com/showthread.php?tid=3957  

6. MGR has social icons for you to share on your blog, website, etc! Click here to get the coding for them! http://www.mygreatretreat.com/showthread.php?tid=4015  

7. Make sure youre a follower and read the MGR blog! http://mygreatretreat.blogspot.com  

8. Subscribe to the MGR tweets! http://www.mygreatretreat.com/showthread.php?tid=3682  

9. As always, you can become a fan of MGR on Facebook. Just type in "my great retreat" and join.  

10. There are TONS of great ways to win prizes on our forum right now. (1) Picture Play Contest, (2) Blog Assignments, (3) Scrapbooking Assignments, (4) Photography Assignments, (5) And the newest is the Chat For Fun Contest (located in the contest forum). Great prizes!  

We hope you have a great March and hope Spring reaches you very soon!  

MGR Team
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