Talk to me about Instagram

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Instagram So I started playing and posting on Instagram last night. Some of you have posted Instagram links in comments, so I know you’re playing there too — if you’d like to follow, you can find my very small (but soon to be growing) Instagram here.

So I’m curious:

  • Who here is using Instagram for couponing?
  • What hashtags do you search? I know about store names as well as #chicagocouponers #chicagocouponing #chicagocouponingcommunity — what are other good ones to search and use?
  • Who do you follow?
  • What other tips do you have?

Yes, I’m entering 2012 here, lol — I’ve been so busy on Pinterest and Facebook and Twitter and the blog that Instagram has been on the back burner for some time, but we’ll get there.

What I did on my summer vacation — My brother got married!

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You might have noticed it was a little quieter than usual here last weekend — although Trish and Zack did an admirable job helping to keep things humming along (thanks, guys!). We were all out at my brother’s wedding in beautiful Monterey, California for several days, so I thought I’d share some of our trip photos with you.


No one was prouder of his uncle than Mr. 7, who doesn’t get to see his idol often enough — my brother just got back from another overseas tour, so it’s been a while! He was also very, very impressed by both the medals and the sword, as well he should be. :)


And here’s me and MashupDad. We clean up pretty well, no? lol, and I did end up wearing this dress I found at Nordstrom Rack, which was a better choice for the occasion than my first try (which I actually wore to the rehearsal dinner).


And lest you think the kids are always photogenic and smiling, here are the expressions you get when they have been waiting in fancy pants for too long for a photography session to begin. But isn’t the background gorgeous? The wedding was outdoors on a hotel plaza on Monterey Bay.


… Where this crazy large seagull kept following my Mom around. Who, by the way, has lost 75 lbs over the past year and a half — doesn’t she look amazing? Go Mom!


We did of course also make time to visit the world famous Monterey Bay Aqarium, and here’s Mr. 7 posing with my other brother under a school of sardines! His family lives in California, so we also got to visit with them a bit on this trip — it’s not often our scattered family is able to get together in one place.

If you ever make it out there yourself, do be sure to leave plenty of time for their amazing jellyfish exhibit!


And did you know that the San Jose airport has a piano? Junior High Guy sat himself right down and played everyone a tune, because he rocks.


I’ll leave you with a more casual photo of the newlyweds, who are now off on their honeymoon — and wish them both all love and happiness!

Update on the girls — Our chickens 19 days later

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So here’s just a quick update on our girls! I took these pictures yesterday, so 19 days after our last update. They’ve grown QUITE a bit in a little less than three weeks — MashupDad has had to raise up their water and food a couple of times already — and you can see how nicely their feathers are coming in.


Mabel here is still the boss, although Fingers is starting to challenge her quite a bit. Nuggets is the runt, but the friendliest. We gave them a few crickets yesterday and Fingers grabbed them all, leaving none for the others, lol. Mabel was not pleased with that state of affairs, but we’re going to start letting them outside soon to grab their own bugs.

What have you learned from other readers lately?

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I was just sitting here feeling all warm and fuzzy about the way you guys are so willing to share info, deals, tips, and more — like today, I was looking at Mandy’s comment about how she freezes fresh garden herbs: I just wash them and shake off the water a little and put them flat in a plastic bag and freeze. When I use them, I just break off a chunk the size I need, chop it while frozen or let it thaw a min. or two and use it. Some bags freeze so well that I just crush the bag a little and they crumble into chopped herbs. It works great with all my herbs. I either chop green peppers and make a flat layer in a plastic bag and break off a chunk, or cut them in quarters, freeze on a cookie sheet and put the frozen pieces in a bag to freeze. I wash my tomato’s and cut out the stem, then freeze them whole. The skin slips right off if you run them under a little cool water. I throw them in soup and chili whole, and they disintegrate into the sauce.

Well, that’s way easier (and takes up way less space) than the garden ice cubes I was making, so I’m giving it a go today. (Thanks!)

And that got me wondering: What’s the most useful tip you’ve picked up lately from another reader, whether that be a deal, a household tip, a coupon, an in-store find, a product recommendation, or ?

Meet our new girls: Nuggets, Fingers, and… Mabel

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So MashupDad recently got it into his head to build a chicken coop in the back corner of our old detached garage. Yesterday he brought home our three new additions, which the boys have named Nuggets, Fingers, and… Mabel. Mabel is the big one and the boss — and Mabel had darn well better not turn out to be a boy! Apparently this young they have a 90% accuracy rate, so cross your fingers that Mabel is not a Mark. ;)


The original plan here was to get pullets, but the boys are enamored with the chicks we ended up with. (Again, keep your fingers crossed about Mabel there.) She’s an Ameraucana, while Nuggets and Fingers are Golden Sex-Links.

MashupDad picked the chicks up at The Feed Store in Summit. They are little enough that they won’t start laying for months, so no eggs for us any time soon! I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.


So here’s the coop that MashupDad built — I’m pretty darn impressed! I’m trying to get him to write a bit more about how he did it, so please encourage him with me. He also cut a door through to the outside with a plywood cover that goes up and down on a pulley system (hopefully well covered, since we do have coyotes, foxes, and hawks around here), and will be adding a run for when the chicks get older.


So we’ll see how it goes! Any of you guys keep chickens? What tips do you have for us?

Happy 4th of July — Our day in photos + Mambo Sprouts booklet

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Happy 4th of July! How did you guys spend your day? Hope you were busy with family and friends and didn’t mind the lack of deals this afternoon, since we were up at my mother-in-law’s for the holiday. (Yes, her development has a pool, so the boys had a grand old day..!)


And look what she’s got going on the light right by her back patio door. This dove eyed us suspiciously the whole time, but didn’t move a feather.


And on our little detour through the O’Hare Oasis, McDonald’s was quite happy to let us know how great Happy Meals are for family time. We did not, however, buy any. I think that we had some pretty good family time today nonetheless… :)


So on the way back we passed right by the new Fresh Thyme Farmer’s Market in Deerfield, and of course I had to stop in. I got the cheap corn and watermelon, some of their fresh made sausages to grill tomorrow, organic strawberries (Driscoll’s, so used survey coupons!) and a couple other things. They had stacks of these Mambo Sprouts booklets, and here are the manufacturer coupons they contain, all exp. 10/31.

  • $1.00/1 Acure bodycare item.
  • $.75/1 Back to Nature item excluding mac & cheese.
  • $.50/2 Clif Energy bars.
  • $1.00/1 Kit’s organic fruit + nut or fruit + seed bar.
  • $1.00/2 Clif Kid multipacks.
  • $3.00/1 Neocell.
  • $1.00/1 RW Knudsen juice product.
  • $.50/1 Angie’s or Angie’s Boomchickapop.
  • $.75/1 Vegenaise.
  • $1.00/1 Zevia six pack.
  • $3.00/1 Garden of Life Kind Organics.
  • $1.00/1 Harvest Bay item.
  • $1.00/1 So Delicious frozen dessert.
  • $1.00/2 Horizon mac & cheese, snack crackers, grahams, or sandwich crackers.
  • $1.00/1 Lifeway frozen kefir pin, box of bars, or box of push ups.
  • $1.00/1 Lifeway 4 pack Probug pouches or blast.
  • $.50/1 Luna or Luna protein bar.
  • $5.00/1 Natural Factors.
  • $.55/2 Tazo iced tea bottles.
  • $1.00/1 Once Again 16 oz jar.
  • $1.00/1 Organic Valley block cheese 8 oz+.
  • $1.00/1 Organic Vally Organic Balance 11 oz or 4 pack.
  • $1.00/1 Organic Valley Organic Fuel 11 oz or 4 pack.
  • $1.00/1 Pacific Organic beans.
  • $2.00/1 RiceSelect couscous or orzo product.
  • $2.00/1 Irwin naturals.
  • $.55/1 San-J Asian cooking sauce.
  • $1.50/2 Silk half gallons.
  • $1.00/1 Swerve granular or confectioners 16 oz bag.
  • $1.00/2 Tasty Bite products.
  • $1.00/2 Three Twins pints.
  • $.75/1 Santa Cruz organic 32 oz lemonade ($1.99 minimum purchase).

See? Coupons. Now we’re topical again!

More appropriate for an evening wedding?

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I know, I keep asking you guys for advice these last couple of days — but if I can’t ask you, who can I ask?! lol

So anyway. My brother is getting married this summer, and it’s going to be a fairly large and formal late afternoon + dinner affair with the theme “black and white.” Courtesy of Nordstrom Rack, this is a fancier dress than my last attempt — so once I fix the sash and add jewelry, good? It’s kind of sparkly, too, although you can’t tell from this photo. Oh hey! Here it is on the Nordstrom site, but it was a lot less at the Rack. ;)

Doe! A Deer! In Our Back Yard!

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Got home from our little shopping expedition this morning and was putting stuff away when Mr. 7 started yelling: There’s a DEER IN OUR YARD! Sure enough — never seen this before in all the years we’ve lived here!