Welcome FUSION readers!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Blogging Break

**Scroll down for 2 updates to this post.**

Where to begin? Hmmm...

I'm taking a blogging break.

I've been praying about this for months now. The Lord started nudging my heart a while back about how much time I spend blogging. However, in typical Staci fashion, I was fighting it (read: Him) tooth and nail. I like blogging. I like deal finding. I like helping others, but it has become increasingly evident that I need to take a break. I've actually been walking around all week trying to write this post in my head. All the while, I've been asking the Lord to confirm this decision for me. I asked Him to scream it loud and clear about which direction I should go. To blog or not to blog. This is the question. Let's just say that this has been a doozy of a week (er, months) and this morning was the last straw. Ok, Lord. I hear ya.

When I first started blogging, I did it for me. I kept blogging because it was an easy way to keep my family, friends and church members in the loop about the deals I would come across. I eventually felt the nod to start teaching classes since some folks learn better that way. Teaching classes was actually the only time that I really asked God's opinion. I kept blogging because I thought classes & blogging went together. Somewhere in the middle of all that, my reasons changed. Blogging became an escape for me. On days when I felt like I could do nothing right as a wife or mother, I could at least talk about couponing. I knew I was good at that. On days when things weren't so peachy at home, I could escape with my laptop and scour the web for deals and share them. It made me feel good. It still does. Even after I moved past the point of escape, I continued blogging out of perceived obligation. I had come this far, why stop now. Other folks are depending on me. Lately, it has become a chore. We have had a lot going on in 2010 and my blogging schedule has kind of complicated that. I honestly don't want to stop blogging, I just wish I had more time.

My daughter will be starting full time at a Montessori school this fall. I am super excited for her but I feel like this is the last summer I have left of her being little. I want to enjoy this summer with her. I want us to do fun things together and not be stuck at home because Mommy has to get out the latest batch of freebies or type up the Publix matchups. I also work part-time as a medical transcriptionist. Between that and blogging, it's like full-time hours. I've been trying to do it all and my quality of life is starting to suffer. Let it be known now and forevermore that I am not a super mom!

To be honest, it really doesn't make sense to me why God is asking me to change THIS area of my life. I know that other people find my website beneficial and things are finally starting to take off and grow. I also just got invited to attend an exclusive blogging conference with lots of opportunities. Besides, couponing makes me feel good. However, there is one thing I know for sure. Sometimes God's ways don't make sense to my feeble human brain. Through experience, I've learned that His timing and His path are much better than what I would chose for myself. As I grow, the Lord continues to show me that Staci can't fix it. Blah! Just so you know, this totally goes against my innermost being. I'm a fixer. I'm a planner. Darn it!

A few months ago my husband and I declared that this year we would SIMPLIFY. I don't know that I have been holding up my end of the bargain. By ignoring God's gentle nudges, I've probably been making it worse and I am humbled by this realization.

For now, I will still be couponing in my own life. Couponing is a way of life and I don't think it will ever change now that I've sipped the kool-aid. I will still be teaching classes but I'm gonna cut out the day-to-day blogging part. I still like to share, answer questions, and help newbies so it may not be uncommon to see something occasionally show up on here, Facebook or Twitter. I'm still here. I just need to breathe. I need to focus on what God is trying to show me. I need to spend both quality and quantities of time with my family. Ideally, I am hoping that once Skylar starts school this fall I will have ample amount of time on my hands and I will be back in full force, but only if God gives me the a-okay this time.

A wise friend of mine recently told me that if two choices both look good, you should choose the one that you can un-do if things don't work out. I can always start blogging again but I can't get back precious moments and time lost with my family. I also want to make the choice that will glorify the Lord the most. This is one of those times where it doesn't make sense to me but I'm gonna trust Him and follow the lead of the Holy Spirit. Then, I'm gonna stand back, watch His provision cover me and let Him soak up my praise for His awesomeness.

Update (06/01/10): I just wanted to say thank you to every one who has been so supportive and encouraging of my little blogging break. You wanna know something really cool about the whole thing? I posted this just 4 days before the Nashville Flood started and my neighborhood was one of the worst hit areas. Now, I could have NEVER known what we were in for, but the Lord knew. He always knows. He knew that I absolutely, positively could not have maintained my blogging schedule while the waters rose and then later as the demolition of homes all around me began. While we, miraculously, did not sustain any damage to our home (Praise You Lord!!), we had plenty of opportunities to serve others. I am so thankful for His protection during that weekend (there were some scary moments) and thankful that He could foresee the future and saved me from any extra undue stress. I still miss blogging but I am enjoying extra time with my family. I am really looking forward to this fall and getting back into the groove. I hope everyone has a fantastic summer!

Update (07/07/09): The Lord has confirmed my decision once again. Today, it dawned upon me that I was supposed to be on my way to Colorado to attend the Savvy Blogging Summit. There is absolutely no way that I would have been able to board that plane this morning. You see, some very dear friends of mine lost their child earlier this week. I would have never been able to leave town knowing that they need my support and my help right here at home. I am so thankful how the Lord goes before us AND behind us. He knows what is coming when we don't. This decision never made sense to me in the beginning but it is becoming increasing clear. Thank you Lord for always having my best interest at heart and for protecting me from things unseen. Forgive me when I doubted your plan and fought your nudging in the beginning. I am grateful for the time and ability to be able to serve my friends in love.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Weekly Deals 4/25-5/1

(Me with my crew and a peek of the dress from Kohl's)

My hubby's sister got married this weekend and there were festivities galore like moving furniture, decorating, dinners, lunches, pictures, un-decorating, more furniture moving, packing up, more eating - oh and the wedding itself of course! After all that fun, I'm pooped. Plus, as the official photographer, I have lots of pictures to edit.

I guess I'm trying to explain why I didn't get a chance to get this week's deals matched up for ya. However, I'm not gonna leave you hanging so I want to share some of my favorite blogs that you can go to for this week's matchups.




Happy shopping!


Friday, April 23, 2010

Freebies 4/23

Check out this list of FREE stuff! Don't forget to check out other FREEBIES posted every Friday. Hurry, some offers go fast! Be sure and follow me on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook to get quicker notifications about Freebies. This post is a wrap-up of Freebies found during the week.

Some of the Earth Day Freebies are still valid. View them here.

Sharpie or Uniball Pen - 1st 260 entries everyday until June 30th
Tote Bag - For Teachers ONLY
Pampers Gift To Grow Code - GTGSPRINGFREE10

OLDIES BUT GOODIES: The following FREEBIES have been posted before but in case you missed them they are still valid (limit 1 per household).

Kotex Sample Pack - Choose 1 of 4

SHOPTEXT: Standard messaging charges apply
Text SAMMY to 467467 to receive an 8 oz. Deep Conditioning Hair Treatment

Gillette Fusion Pro Glide Razor - They are giving away 1,000 a day.

Also, every Friday is MEGA Swagbucks day! You can earn 10, 20, 50 or more Swagbucks with just one search! Sign up for Swagbucks now or go here to learn more.

Special Freebie Finding thanks goes to Southern Savers, Faithful Provisions, Keeping The Kingdom First.



Thursday, April 22, 2010

Coupon Booklet - Shrecktacular Savings

I found this coupon booklet today at the front of aisle 9 in my local Publix (Hermitage, TN). All the coupons below are manufacturer coupons which expire on 6/13/10.

$1.00 WYB 2 Betty Crocker Supreme Brownie Mix
$1.00 WYB 2 Select Cheerios
Bisquick or Bisquick Heart Start Baking Mix 40 oz. +
$1.00 WYB 2
Select General Mills Cereals (2 coupons)
$1.00 WYB 2
Green Giant Frozen Bagged Veggies 19oz – 24oz
$1.00 Any Flavor
Yoplait Go-Gurt Yogurt
$1.00 WYB 2
Fruit Roll Up Mini Rolls Fruit Flavored Snacks
$1.00 WYB 2
Pillsbury Refrigerated Baked Goods
$1.00 WYB 2
Pillsbury Sweet Rolls or Grands! Sweet Breads

*WYB = When You Buy


Shopping Trip - Saved 90%

Here's what I bought this week. I purchased $265 in groceries for $27 at a savings of 90%!

WALGREENS & CVS: (-$9.93) Oh what a week at Walgreens! The vitamins were a HUGE MONEY MAKER and I used the overage from those to purchase soda, printer paper, aspirin & still had some to spare. I also picked up a Green Bag Tag at CVS for FREE.
KROGER: ($18.52) I bought pizzas (0.75), egg roll wrappers (2.65), grapes (0.99 lb), cilantro (0.99), pudding (FREE), frozen veggies (0.25), salad mix (FREE), milk (2.29), Chef Boyardee (0.63), bread (0.78), gum (0.45).
PUBLIX (15.36): At Publix I bought reusable bag (FREE), smuckers (1.50), dessert (0.50), Benadryl (MM), steamers (0.70), granola bars (0.32), bathroom cleaner (FREE), laundry cleaner (FREE), Draino (3.04). My cashier at Publix today was the coupon police (AGAIN) and suppressed my bonus coupons, which cost me $2. I've decided to send an email and ask about this since he is the ONLY one who does this and it is very frustrating. I'll keep ya posted on what I find out.
FOOD LION ($3.28): Not pictured is my quick trip in for Bagels & Purity Milk.

Regular Price: $264.99
Savings: $237.76 or 90%
Actual Cost: $27.23

I visited Walgreens a lot this week. I made a point to purchase no more than 3 bottles of vitamins at a time in order to leave some for another coupon shopper. However, it kinda helps that I gave my manager a heads up on this deal a few weeks ago and he ordered plenty. When you include the tax, I still had a $45 PROFIT after coupons and Register Rewards. I turned right around and used most of these to get a month's worth of soda for hubby and still had some left over which I used at Publix. I also didn't feel bad about a few splurges this week and the ridiculously expensive Draino that we needed wasn't as painful. Thanks to Walgreens & Nature's Bounty, I am definitely back UNDER budget for the year. Whoo Hoo!!

How did you do this week? Leave me a comment below.

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Groupon: Collective Buying Power


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Earth Day Freebies & Deals

Happy Earth Day! In honor of the day set aside for awareness for our environment, retailers have put out some great deals for you. Some of these are FREE and some are just plain good for the environment. Be sure to call ahead to make sure that your specific location is participating.

Terracycle - Mail in 5 plastic bags to get $1.00 towards a reusable one (via Target)
Walgreens - Printer Cartridge Refills for $1 - Color or B&W (look for coupon in ad)
Disney Store - Get a youth-sized Friends of Change baseball cap when you bring 6 empty water bottles or soda cans into the store.
Earthbound Farm - Get a FREE reusable bag when you take their Kitchen Quiz.
iTunes - Download Planet Earth episode through 4/26.
Babies R Us - FREE reusable bag with purchase (need coupon) + 25% clothes & shoes you fit in the bag.
Pottery Barn Kids - Earth Day Celebration with activities for kids in stores.
Red Gold - FREE reusable tote bag with purchase of product. (See 2/7 or 2/28 SS for a $1.00 WYB 3 Red Gold products coupon)
Books-A-Million - Get FREE coffee when you bring your reusable mug + FREE bookmark & seed packet. Also, bring your reusable tote and get 10% off anything you fit inside (need coupon).
Discovery Education - This one is for Teachers ONLY. Get a FREE tote bag.
Spring Hill Nursery - Get $20 off $20 puchase with code 414217 (shipping extra).

What are you doing today to reduce, reuse, recycle?


Kohls Cash Starts Today!

My sister-in-law is getting married this weekend and I am under strict instructions from my Mom to buy "something new and colorful." You might be thinking... "aren't you too old for her to be bossing you around?" Well, in this case, she's buying and I am happy to oblige if it means I get new clothes. (Thanks Mom!) When you are on a strict budget like we are, new clothes for mommy are few and far between. If the rarity does occur for an adult clothing purchase you can bet your booty that I will stretch those shopping dollars as far as I can.

The timing for this event worked out nicely because today is the beginning of Kohl's Cash. For every $50 that I spend, I will earn a $10 coupon to be used on a later shopping trip. Naturally, I will be looking for something on sale and I also plan to use this 15% off coupon to stretch my budget further. You can even get a $5 Kohl's coupon by signing up for their Sales Alert Newsletter. You can use these coupons & earn Kohl's Cash both in-store and online.

With all these combined, you should be able to score some pretty good deals and get you some new clothes to start the summer. Hurry, the Kohl's Cash offer ends on April 26th. As for me, I'm looking for "something colorful" for the wedding this weekend. Any suggestions on which dress I should buy?



Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Food Lion Deals 4/21-4/27

Here are my favorites for Food Lion this week To see full-ad matchups, click on the logo. If you come across a good deal, please post it in the comments.


Ground Chuck, $1.97 lb.
Coke 2L, $0.99
Navel Oranges, $0.44 each.

Campbell's Chicken Noodle or Tomato Soup, $0.50
-$1.00 WYB 2 Campbell's printable (only valid on tomato)

Peter Pan, $1.66
-$1.50 WYB 4 ConAgra printable
*Total is $5.14 or $1.29 each.
>There is also a $1.00 WYB 2 in the Rediscover Your Balance home mailer (makes it $1.16 each)

Del Monte Fruit Bowls, $2.00
-$1.00 Del Monte Chillers printable or 4/18 RP (if included)
*Total is $1.00

Hamburger Helper, $1.00
-$0.75 WYB 3, 3/7 SS
*Total is $2.25 or $0.75 each.

Coffee-Mate, $1.66
*Total is $0.91

Bird's Eye Corn on the Cob, $2.00
-$1.00 WYB 2 Bird's Eye printable or 4/18 SS
*Total is $3.00 or $1.50 each

Lender's Bagels, BOGO @ $1.99
-$1.00 WYB 2 Lender's printable
*Total is $1.00 or $0.50 each.

Maxwell House Coffee, $2.50
-$1.00 WYB 2 Maxwell printable
*Total is $4.00 or $2.00 each

Groupon: Collective Buying Power


Publix Deals 4/21-4/27

Here are my favorites for Publix this week. If you come across a good deal, please post it in the comments.

PENNY ITEM: Wednesday 4/21 ONLY with $10 purchase (before coupons) is Publix Paper Towels.


Red Seedless Grapes, $1.29 lb.

Jack Daniel's BBQ Sauce, $1.08

Pepsi 2L, $0.88

Pillsbury Toaster Strudel, $1.08
*Total is $0.08.
>You can also use this $0.55 printable to get them for $0.53.

Nature Valley Granola Bars (Value Pack), $2.75

-$0.40 (doubled) Nature Valley printable or printable or 4/18 SS

*Total is $1.95

Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Pasta, $0.90

-$1.00 WYB 2 Ronzoni printable

*Total is $0.79 or $0.40 each.

Knorr Sides, $0.75

-$1.00 WYB 3 Knorr printable

*Total is $1.25 or $0.42 each.

Betty Crocker Cookie Mix, $1.34

-$0.40 (doubled) Betty Crocker printable or 3/28 SS

*Total is $0.54

Nabisco Teddy Grahams or Honey Maid Grahams, $1.50
-$1.00 WYB 2 Nabisco Back To School Calendar
*Total is $2.00 or $1.00 each.

Cheez-Its, $1.65
-$0.75 Cheez-Its printable (Duos)
*Total is $0.90.

Yoplait YoPlus 4 pk, $1.25
-$1.00 YoPlus printable or printable or 3/21 or 4/18 SS
*Total is $0.25

Edwards Pie or Singles Desserts, $1.25
*Total is $0.25

Green Giant Steamers, $1.20
-$0.50 (doubled) printable - sorry, print limit reached
*Total is $0.20
>You can also use the $0.40 (doubled) Q from 3/28 SS (makes them $0.40)

Shout Stain Remover, $1.50
-$0.55 off, 3/21 SS

Scrubbing Bubbles Cleaner, $1.65
-$0.75 off, 3/21 SS

Del Monte Fruit Chillers, $1.66
-$0.50 (doubled), 4/18 RP or printable
*Total is $0.66

Stouffer's Entrees, $2.50
-$2.50 Stouffer's printable (for family size, if included)

Nabsico Chips Ahoy!, $2.50
-$1.00 WYB 2 Nabisco School Calendar
-$1.00 Food Lion printable (if your store considers a competitor)
*Total is $2.00 or $1.00 each.

Cascadian Farm Organic Granola Bars or Cereal, $1.99
-$1.00 Cascadian Farm printable or printable (need 3)
-$2.00 WYB 2
Publix printable
*Total is $0.97 or $0.33 each.

Benadryl 20-24 ct, $3.99
-$5.00 WYB 2, 4/11 RP
-$1.50 from Green Advantage Flyer (need 2) - HURRY! exp. 4/23

Scotties Tissues, $0.99

YELLOW ADVANTAGE FLYER: These deals are valid until 5/7.

Ronzoni Smart Taste Pasta, $1.25
*Total is $0.50

Emerald Trail Mix, $1.50
-$1.00 off 3/14 RP
*Total is $0.50

Vanity Fair Napkins, $1.97
-$0.50 (doubled) 3/14 RP
*Total is $0.97

Quilted Northern Tissue, $3.99
-$0.50 (doubled), 3/14 RP
*Total is $2.99

Smucker's Uncrustables 4 pk, $2.00
*Total is $1.00