Yes, I’m a coupon idiot

I admit it. I have no clue about couponing so I am joining up with the Coupon Challenge. Hopefully, I will learn something new.

Are you tired of it yet?

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Aloha Friends!

I have to tell you, I can’t take it any more.

We have a heated race for the Governor here in Illinois and both sides are slinging mud. I would vote for the third person just because the top are so obnoxious.

My question for you is, has the political mudslinging started where you are yet? Are you being bombarded by the commercials?

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Pink Ride A Unicorn Child Costume

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Things I’m Dying to See Made Over

I just had to share this from Oprah.com. And of course I added a few myself.

1. Nurse’s uniforms-If they really wanted us to feel better, they’d stop with the pastel hearts and cartoon puppies.  I’m just happy to be done with those hideous hats.

2. The remote control- agreed- there are too many useless buttons. And what about making a universal remote that really is a universal remote???

3. Airplane coffee- Oprah doesn’t like- I’ll just not try it.

4. State Capitals-  Sounds like a makeover would cost some money.

5. Women’s Halloween costumes- They should just add any female over 12 because all of these costumes are so floozy-esc.

6. Corporatespeak- Huh?

7. Hotel bedspreads- yuck! I just hope they are cleaning these things before I get there!

8. Plastic packaging- aw- who doesn’t like popping those great bubbles?

9. Grocery carts- this one is mine- give me a cup holder or two and a cart that fits around those tight stands at Target!

10. Please, make over your cable line-up. Why must I cruise through blank and unattainable stations to reach the digital stations?

11. Make over every shampoo and conditioner containers and add a pump. Oh, and add some kind of coding to like bottles for us blind in the shower people.

12. Make over those stupid covers on ketchup bottles etc. The ones that you don’t know are there until you go to squeeze and nothing comes out so you have to unscrew the doggone cap to punch a hole in it!

What to do with your pets if there is a disaster

Ever wonder what would happen to your pets if there was a disaster?

I just read this:

Pets are often full-fledged family members, so any family emergency plan must include them to be truly complete.

Additions to Your Emergency Kit and Go Bag

  • A recent photo of your pets in case they get lost
  • Sturdy leashes and/or carriers
  • Pet food, water, and bowls
  • Cat litter and box
  • Pet toys
  • Contact information for veterinarian
  • Medical information and records
  • Any necessary medication
  • Plastic bags for clean-up

If You Evacuate, Take Your Pets

The single most important thing you can do to protect your pets if you must evacuate is to take them with you. Even if you think you may be gone for only a few hours, take your animals. Once you leave your home, you have no way of knowing how long you’ll be kept out of the area, and you may not be able to go back for your pets. Transport your pets in carriers or on leashes during an emergency to help them feel more secure.

Do Not Forget ID

Your pets should wear up-to-date identification at all times. It is a good idea to include on the tag the phone number of a friend or relative outside your immediate area.

Find a Safe Place Ahead of Time

Because evacuation shelters generally don’t accept pets except for service animals, you must plan ahead to ensure that your family and pets have a safe place to stay. Don’t wait until disaster strikes to do your research.

  • Contact hotels and motels outside your immediate area to check policies on accepting pets.
  • Check with friends or relatives outside your immediate area. Ask if they would be able to shelter you and your animals or just your animals. Make a list of boarding facilities and veterinary offices that might be able to shelter animals in emergencies; include 24-hour telephone numbers.
  • Ask your local animal shelter if it provides foster care or shelter for pets in an emergency. This should be your last resort, as shelters have limited resources and are likely to be stretched to their limits during an emergency.

If You Don’t Evacuate

If your family and pets must wait out a storm or other disaster at home, identify a safe area of your home where you can all stay together. Keep dogs on leashes and cats in carriers, and make sure they are wearing identification. Have any medications and a supply of pet food and water in watertight containers, along with your other emergency supplies.

As the Disaster Approaches

Don’t wait until the last minute to get ready. Bring pets into the house and confine them so you can leave with them quickly if necessary. Make sure your disaster supplies are ready to go, including your pet disaster kit.

In Case You Are Not Home

An evacuation order may come or a disaster may strike while you’re at work or out of the house. Make arrangements in advance for a trusted neighbor to take your pets and their disaster kits and meet you at a specified location.

When You Return Home

Whether you have taken shelter at home or evacuated, your home may be a very different place after a disaster. Don’t allow your pets to roam loose. Familiar landmarks and smells might be gone, and your pet will probably be disoriented. Pets can easily get lost in such situations.

Be patient with your pets after a disaster. Try to get them back into their normal routines as soon as possible, and be ready for behavioral problems that may result from the stress of the situation. If behavioral problems persist, or if your pet seems to be having any health problems, talk to your veterinarian.

For Additional Information

Prepare Your Home and Family: Pets – American Red Cross

Animals in Disasters-Center for Public Safety and Justice

12 tricks retailers use to make us spend more

I just read an interesting piece from Women’s Day about shopping scams.

Here are 12 tricks to know about.

1. The Tactic: Beautiful Ambience
Retailers know that as much as 70 percent of all purchases are unplanned! They want you to linger as long as possible, so they create an atmosphere that’s inviting to the store’s target audience.

2. The Tactic: Colored Walls
Stores use certain colors according to the audience they’re trying to reach: Younger people tend to like bold colors; older people prefer softer hues.

3. The Tactic: Carpeting
Carpeting subtly directs you deeper into the store by creating a defined path for you to follow. outsmart it! Create your own path. Step off the carpet and shop for the items you came to buy.

4. The Tactic: Strategically Placed Merchandise
“Some retailers insist on displaying their most expensive items up front. It makes everything else seem inexpensive afterward,” warns Robert Cialdini, PhD, author of Influence: Science and Practice. With sale items, it’s a kind of double trick. We get pulled in by the promise of a sale, but once we’re inside, those sale items often aren’t clearly displayed or as desirable as we thought. But, because we’ve already mentally decided to buy, we often buy something else. outsmart it!

5. The Tactic: Easy Access
Research shows that if you touch something, you’re more likely to buy it. That’s why products like stuffed animals and candy are placed within easy reach of children at the grocery checkout, and soft blankets or cozy sweaters are positioned strategically on low tables at a store’s entrance. outsmart it! Hands off. Don’t touch the merchandise even to look at the price tag unless it’s something you’ve planned to buy.

6. The Tactic: Spacious Shopping Carts
A cart frees you to touch more things.Forget the cart. Or at least opt for the smallest one.

7. The Tactic: Shrinking Products
This one often goes unnoticed.  Know your weights and measures as well as your prices. Pay attention to the unit price listed clever retailers on the shelf (the cost per ounce, for example).

8. The Tactic: The Food Court
Of course it’s convenient, but it also keeps you at the mall so you’ll do more shopping. outsmart it! Leave the mall once you have what you need. If you do eat at the food court, leave right after.

9. The Tactic: Milk In the Back.
This trick is as old as they come, yet it will get you every time if you’re not mentally prepared. Supermarkets typically put the quick pickup items of milk and eggs way at the back of the store. This forces you to go through the store, exposing you to all kinds of other items that might grab your attention. Or bring only enough cash for what you need.

10. The Tactic: Cosmetics Near Shoes
These are the two top purchase areas for female mall shoppers. Retailers know that while you’re waiting for the clerk to bring shoes to try on, your eyes will wander.

11. The Tactic: Helpful Salespeople
Who doesn’t like a helpful sales clerk?

12. The Tactic: Clever Wording
Stores count on the fact that most people assume words like “Special!” or “Hot Deal!” mean the same as “On Sale!” Don’t believe it. A big display of picnic food items with a sign announcing, “Summer Blowout!” is not necessarily filled with great bargains.

Read more

Recommended Back To School Purchasing

School Supplies for Elementary or Grade-School Students
If you’re like me, you got the lists but still question the purchases.
I found some wonderful resources that helped me.

Walmart.com
Kindergarten
Summer is coming to an end and it’s finally time to send your little one off to school. Make it a success by getting your child everything he or she needs to start the school year off confident and prepared. We’ve also added a short list of optional items for classroom use. Many schools run out of these important supplies halfway through the school year and greatly appreciate help from parents if there’s room in the budget.

Necessities:

Backpack
Lunchbox or insulated lunch bag
School supply box
Crayons
Water-soluble glue (no glue sticks)
Safety scissors
Washable markers
Pair of gym shoes (to keep at school)
Optional:

Big box of facial tissue
Package of baby wipes
Disinfectant surface wipes
Roll of paper towels
Closable baggies
Paper plates
First and Second Grades
By the time your child reaches first and second grade, he or she is getting accustomed to making new friends, learning new things and adjusting to the school calendar. Make sure when you pick out school notebooks and backpacks, your child has a chance to choose ones that reflects his or her individual style. He or she will want to give a great first impression at the beginning of the year, and you can help by providing as many options as possible to pick the “perfect” items.

Necessities:

Backpack
Lunchbox or insulated lunch bag
School supply box
No. 2 pencils
Pink erasers
Crayons
Water-soluble glue or glue sticks
Safety scissors
Washable markers
Binders and pocket folders
Wide-rule spiral notebooks and/or notebook paper
Optional:

Box of facial tissue
Disinfectant surface wipes
Antibacterial hand soap
Roll of paper towels
Closable baggies (gallon or quart)
Third Through Fifth Grades
Your child may still be your baby, but during this time he or she is going to want to pick out products that show maturity and independence. These are your child’s last years of elementary school before the big jump to middle school. At this stage, children start learning how to use a ruler and erasable ball-point pens.

Necessities:

Backpack
Lunchbox or insulated lunch bag
Binders and pocket folders
Wide-rule spiral notebooks and/or notebook paper
Small zippered bag for pencils
Erasable ball-point pens (blue or black)
No. 2 pencils
Red felt-tip pen
Highlighters
Box of colored pencils
Crayons
Glue sticks
Pointed scissors
Ruler
Box of gallon-size closable plastic bags
3″ x 5″ index cards
Optional:

Disinfectant surface wipes
Boxes of facial tissue
Roll of paper towels
Make sure to pick up extras of items your kids might go though rapidly. Before school starts is the perfect time to stock up on underwear and socks. Some other must-haves include juice boxes, bulk snacks and brown paper bags for lunches. Buying these things in advance can make your child’s (and your) transition into the school year that much smoother.
For more good stuff-
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Facts about Walmart

I recently did a huge back to school shopping at Walmart.
When I got home, I found this in my email box.

1. Americans spend $36,000,000 at Wal-Mart Every hour of every day.

2. This works out to $20,928 profit every minute!

3. Wal-Mart will sell more from January 1 to St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th) than Target sells all year.

4. Wal-Mart is bigger than Home Depot + Kroger + Target + Sears + Costco + K-Mart combined.

5. Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million people and is the largest private Employer, and most (the majority) speak English.

6. Wal-Mart is the largest company in the history of the World.

7. Wal-Mart now sells more food than Kroger & Safeway combined, and keep in mind they did this in only 15 years.

8. During this same period, 31 supermarket chains sought bankruptcy.

9. Wal-Mart now sells more food than any other store in the world.

10. Wal-Mart has approx 3,900 stores in the USA of which 1,906 are Super Centers; this is 1,000 more than it had 5 Years ago.

11. This year 7.2 billion different purchasing experiences will occur at a Wal-Mart store. (Earth’s population is approximately 6.5 Billion.)

12. 90% of all Americans live within 15 miles of a Wal-Mart.

Back to School Shopping

Well, it’s that time of year again. Time to get ready to go back to school. I’ve got so much shopping to get done and really all I want to do is sit by the pool and enjoy the summer.

Luckily, my state has a tax-free shopping day next week.

Ever wonder how much we spend on Back-to-School?

Back-to-School Shopping costs $7.2 billion family clothing stores alone. Bookstores in last year took in $2.5 billion according to Monthly Retail Trade and Food Services.

How much will I spend this year?

They say that clothing is the biggest expenditure. A National Retail Federation study of 2010 anticipated consumer trends for back-to-school items shows the average American family will spend $606 on clothes, shoes, supplies and electronics, which is up from the average of $548 spent last year

First Lady Promotes “Let’s Move”

A short while back, we heard about First Lady Michelle Obama and her attempt to fight childhood obesity.

“In the end, as First Lady, this isn’t just a policy issue for me. This is a passion.
This is my mission. I am determined to work with folks across this country to change the way a generation of kids thinks about food and nutrition.”
- First Lady Michelle Obama

The Let’s Move! campaign, started by First Lady Michelle Obama, has an ambitious national goal of solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation so that children born today will reach adulthood at a healthy weight. Let’s Move! will combat the epidemic of childhood obesity through a comprehensive approach that will engage every sector impacting the health of children and will provide schools, families and communities simple tools to help kids be more active, eat better, and get healthy.

Mrs. Obama began a national conversation about the health of America’s children when she broke ground on the White House Kitchen Garden with students from a local elementary school in Washington, DC. Through the garden, she began a discussion with kids about nutrition and the role food plays in living a healthy life. That discussion grew into the Let’s Move! campaign.

At the launch of the campaign, President Barack Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum creating the first ever Task Force on Childhood Obesity to conduct a review of every single program and policy relating to child nutrition and physical activity and develop a national action plan to maximize federal resources and set concrete benchmarks toward the First Lady’s national goal. The Task Force’s recommendation focus on the four pillars of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign:

empowering parents and caregivers
providing healthy food in schools
improving access to healthy, affordable foods
increasing physical activity.
This problem can’t be solved just by passing laws in Washington. It’s going to take all of us—governors, mayors, doctors, nurses, businesses, non-profits, educators, parents—to tackle the challenge once and for all, so Let’s Move to end the epidemic of childhood obesity together.

According to the CDC, Key Strategies to Prevent Obesity

The percentage of children who are obese1 has more than doubled, and among adolescents the rates have more than tripled since 1980. Obesity is a risk factor for health conditions such as diabetes and is associated with problems such as poor self-esteem. The good news is that schools can help students and staff adopt healthy eating and physical activity behaviors that are the keys to preventing obesity.
Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The prevalence of obesity among children aged 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. The prevalence of obesity among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increased from 5.0% to 18.1%.1,2

Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.
Obese youth are more likely than youth of normal weight to become overweight or obese adults, and therefore more at risk for associated adult health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.

Find out more about Let’s Move

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