Using CVS Offers to Your Advantage! How I Paid $5.47 for Over $50 in products!

I have posted about it before, and I am a huge fan of CVS. They have their CarePass, which is pretty inexpensive ($5-ish a month or $48/year if you pay for it all at once).  One of the perks is you get a $10 ExtraCare Bucks each month, for a total of $120 per year. I posted about it before but I got more information here, and overall I think it’s a pretty great deal.

You probably also remember one of the reasons that I love CVS is they have Pharmacy and Health Rewards. When you fill 10 prescriptions at their pharmacy you receive a $5.00 ExtraCare Bucks that you can spend any place in the store.

With the number of prescriptions my family has, we earn a $5.00 ExtraCare Bucks every two months. Which is pretty decent. Between the CarePass, and Pharmacy and Health Rewards, we usually have between 10 and $15 in “free“ money to spend at CVS at any given time.

I went in this morning to go pick up a prescription and noticed that they had a lot of snacks on sale/marked down, and with ExtraCare Bucks rewards. I quickly scrolled through my CVS app and noticed I had six dollars off any purchase of $30 or more and my $10 CarePass ExtraCare Bucks, and a $5.00 Pharmacy ExtraCare Bucks Reward.

Knowing that we needed both cereal and snacks and I walked up and down the snack/cereal aisle and quickly set upon a plan.

  • Chips Ahoy and Oreo cookies are 2/$7 or 2/$8 (depending on the product) this week. When you buy two select, you’ll receive a $2 ExtraCare Bucks (limit one per person/account). My kids loved both Oreos and Chips Ahoy, so I picked two of each.
  • We were also out of Motts fruit snacks, and they are buy one get one free so I snagged two boxes as well.
  • Rice crispy treats are buy one get one free, so I grabbed two of those.
  • Cereal was on sale buy one box get one free with select Kellogg’s varieties, so I grabbed two boxes as well.

Now, this may look like a lot of junk food, but this is about three weeks’ worth of stuff to go in lunches (and about 2 weeks worth of cereal for me). The cereal is for me, but the rest is going to go in kid’s lunches or be available for snacks- I portion out the snacks and put them into the snack box in the cupboard. I will be hiding about half of it so that they don’t know we have tons of it and just mow through it.

As you can see by looking at the video about and all the stuff I got, it’s a pretty substantial amount. I ended up paying $9.47 out of pocket, and I received $4.00 back in ExtraCare Bucks.

$2.00 for purchasing to select Nabisco Oreo cookies, and a second $2 ExtraCare Bucks for purchasing two chocolate bars, cookies, select chips ahoy, or premium crackers.

Making my grand total after ExtraCare Bucks $5.47. That is one heck of a deal. I’ve also submitted my receipt to Fetch Rewards for points, and to Receipt Hog for points!

And I was in and out of the store in less than 20 minutes (including time to wait in line to pay). Doing drug store deals doesn’t have to be long and tedious. And sometimes it’s a small deal.

It’s worth the time to download the CVS app, join the ExtraCare club to save money, and join CarePass. You’ll find deals weekly (or monthly in my case when I go in). You’ll be saving money in no time!

It’s Girl Scout Cookie Season… 3 Recipe Ideas!

And that means cute little faces outside local stores, coming door to door, or like my kid, asking you politely on her mom’s blog to buy please buy Girl Scout Cookies from her personalized GS Cookie website here.

There is a really tasty new variety this year, adventurefuls, but like so many things in life right now, they are out of stock due to supply issues. You may be able to find them from a girl in your area.

Once you’ve got your hands on the cookies, there has to be more than eating them as is, right?

Yup, here are a few ideas that were brainstormed recently by some of us GS Cookie fanatics.

Thin Mint Brownies: Mix up your favorite brownie batter (either from a mix or scratch, your choice), and crumble 12-15 cookies (about 1/2 -3/4 of a sleeve). Mix into the batter, and bake per directions. Crunchy, minty bits in each bite.

Lemon Ups Cheesecake parfaits: I made these last week and they are BOMB.

For the no-bake cheesecake filling: Cream 1 8 oz. brick Cream Cheese, fold in 1 tub of Cool Whip, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.

In a parfait dish (like this one), layer, Lemon Ups cookies (I cut each one into 4 pieces and scattered them across the bottom), then the cheesecake mixture, then a layer of sliced strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries (any combination), and repeat until the dish is full. Top with any remaining berries.

Refrigerate 4-6 hours, allowing time to set up (I made mine the day before I needed to serve it to give it enough time to set up).

If you have a hankering to use your Samoas, You can substitute those in for the lemon cookies and use strawberries or raspberries only (blueberries just don’t mesh well with Samoas).

We’re making Samoas Cheescake cups next week. Using the same no-bake cheesecake filling recipe above, line the wells of a cupcake pan with aluminum cupcake liners (like these). At the bottom of each, place a Samoas cookie. Fill the remaining space in the cup with the cheesecake filling. Top with half a Samoas.

Drizzle the top with caramel syrup and store in the fridge 4-6 hours before serving.

Dream Dinners: Send a Dinner Care Package to Your Friends and Family

This is such an amazing idea- I love it! As many of you know, we lost my dad a little over a week ago, and so many people have reached out to support my mom. One of the ways is with a hot meal.

If you have someone with a loss in their family, or they are recovering from an illness, or maybe they’ve added to their family, bringing a meal is a great way to help.

Dream Dinners has a great option for February. It includes a complete, cook-from-frozen, vegetarian meal with no prep work:

Spinach & Artichoke Ravioli Bake Garlic BreadHope's Cookies

Available in 2 sizes. The medium bundle serves 2-3 and the large bundle serves 4-6. Ordering is easy, just email at lamesaca@dreamdinners.com, and Marsi’s amazing staff will work with you to schedule a pickup.

Want to send more than just one meal? Send them a Meal Prep Starter Pack with 3-6 freezer meals! For just $99, you’ll provide them with delicious, easy meals that they can thaw and enjoy any time they need a break. Marsi and her team at the La Mesa Dream Dinners location offer home delivery and can bring it right to their door for you. You can order a Meal Prep Start Pack online at DreamDinners.com.

If you aren’t in San Diego, it’s cool! There are Dream Dinners locations in 21 states, and many of those locations offer local delivery too!

La Mesa Dream Dinners: Restaurant Week Deal Special Offer!

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OH MY GOSH Y’ALL! Check out this amazing offer! La Mesa Dream Dinners is participating in 18th Annual Restaurant Week with a special offer for you. This is a great way to participate in Restaurant week without leaving home.

Special Offer Price $35 – Serves 3: For a limited time you can purchase 1 medium meal from the selection below. The Dinner package includes Garlic Bread and a 6 pack of Hope’s Chocolate chip cookies to bake at home.

The staff will assemble and freeze your meals for you to pick up and take home to cook.

Choose from the following menu:

Maple Glazed Pork RoastThai Coconut Shrimp over Jasmine RiceChicken and Pasta with Lemon & Artichoke Sauce
  • Maple Glazed Pork Tenderloin
  • Chicken & Artichoke Pasta
  • Thai Coconut Shrimp  over Jasmine Rice
This offer is not available online -please call/text 619-460-6800 or email lamesaca@Dreamdinners.com to place your order.

The staff will contact you for an appointment to pick up your meals at our curbside service.

I think we’ll be getting the Chicken and Artichoke Pasta- What option are you going to choose?

Recipe: Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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The kids have been begging for homemade cookies lately, and I’ve been busy with other stuff, so I haven’t had tons of time to make cookies.

I dug through the cupboard last week and realized that I had all of the ingredients except baking soda. I used the last half box I had to deodorize the kids bathroom.

So I turned to an old favorite, Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes Flapjack & Waffle Mix. and because of the other ingredients, I used a smidge of baking powder (please remember that soda and powder are not interchangeable in recipes- it has a lot to do with the other ingredients and their pH/chemical makeup) and the cookies turned out perfect!

Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes Flapjack & Waffle Mix contains leavening, so the added baking powder was just a little *bump* to make sure the cookies didn’t come out flat.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • One stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth preferred
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white/granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups Kodiak Cakes Power Cakes Flapjack & Waffle Mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quick oats, uncooked
  • 2 cups of chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and peanut butter.
  3. Add sugars one at a time and mix until fluffy.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until incorporated fully.
  5. Mix in baking powder, salt, flour, and oats. Once all are blended into the dough, add chocolate chips.
  6. Drop tablespoon-sized dough balls on cookie sheets that have been greased or are lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking pad.  I prefer silicone baking pads.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.  Let cookies rest 1-2 minutes before transferring to the cooling rack.

This recipe makes approx. 3 dozen cookies. If you are allergic to peanuts, you can substitute sunbutter or your favorite nut butter. Do Not use Nutella- It contains a lot of sugar and other ingredients that will throw off the chemistry of the recipe and you won’t get yummy cookies.

12/1/2020: Celebrate Santee’s 40th Birthday with Treats & Fireworks!

My hometown, Santee, CA is celebrating their 40th birthday this Tuesday, December 1, 2020.

No birthday is complete without treats, and there are lots of locations throughout town giving out yummy goodies!

OFFICIAL SWEET TREAT STOP LOCATIONS
Visit any of our Sweet Treat Stop locations on Tuesday, December 1 to enjoy a sweet birthday treat on behalf of the City of Santee. (while supplies last)

OFFICIAL SWEET TREAT STOP MAP

Santee City Hall – 10601 N. Magnolia Ave, Santee • Gourmet sweet treats handcraft by Lantern Crest‘s Executive Chef Mario Esparza, Chick- fil-A • Brownies, Baklava King, Inc. • Variety of baklava  Drive-thru map (11am – 6pm)
Bagel & Donut Bar – 9720 Mission Gorge Rd Ste E, Santee • Kids – 6 donut holes and Adults – 1 classic bagel with cream cheese (6am – 8pm)
Baklava King, Inc. – (off site distribution of treats at Santee City Hall) • Variety of baklava
Chick-fil-A Santee – (off site distribution of treats at Santee City Hall) • Brownies
Dairy Queen – 70 town Center Parkway, Santee • Small soft serve cone vanilla or chocolate (11am – 8pm)
Eccentric International Chefs – 8925 Carlton Hills Blvd, Santee, CA 92071 • Mini cupcakes, mini cookies & macaroons (4:30am – 4pm)
Go Get Yogurt – 9802 N. Magnolia Ave, Ste 1, Santee • Special birthday size frozen yogurt with one topping of customer’s choice (11am – 9:30pm)
Honey Donuts – 10718 Woodside Ave, Santee  • Donuts, coffee, hot chocolate, muffins or cookies (24hrs)
Kravings Fruit Bar – 9740 Mission Gorge #D, Santee, CA 92071 • Dessert TBA (10:30am – 8pm)
Mary’s Donuts – 8959 Carlton Hills Blvd, Santee, CA 92071 • Donuts (24hrs)
NatSweets – 8840 N. Magnolia Ave #150, Santee • Chocolate chip or birthday cake cookie or a scoop of ice cream (9am-5pm)
The Coffee Corner – 235 Town Center Pkwy Ste A, Santee • Mini acai bowls & Belgian waffles (7:30am – 4pm)
The Cupcake Store – 9225 Carlton Hills Blvd Ste 7, Santee • Mini cupcakes (10am – 5:30pm)
Whipped Cake Shop – Pathways Church Parking Lot 9600 Carlton Hills Blvd., Santee • Gingerbread cheesecake bites (10am – 6pm)

 

In addition to treats, there will be fireworks! At 7:00 p.m. two simultaneous LIVE fireworks shows will be launched from Town Center Community Park and West Hills Park. If you have pets, make sure they are safely inside.

And both park locations where the fireworks are being shot off will be closed to the public- remember to view the fireworks somewhere safe and socially distant. 

Baking for the Holidays with Truly Grass Fed (Tryazon Party Opportunity)

Truly Grass Fed is back for the holidays with a new Tryazon Featured Party opportunity, featuring their distinctively creamy and uniquely delicious cheese and butter. No matter what kind of holiday baking you plan to do, Truly Grass Fed is the perfect addition. Because Truly Grass Fed doesn’t just pair with food, it #PairsWithYou.

They have 300 hosting spots open for this opportunity! Those chosen will receive a party pack with a variety of Truly Grass Fed products to showcase and sample with friends and family at an in-person or virtual party! Truly Grass Fed will be holding a competition for the best Holiday Baker too!  Learn more and apply here: https://www.tryazon.com/baking-for-the-holidays-with-truly-grass-fed-party/
If you haven’t heard of Tryazon, it’s a Word of Mouth Marketing company that partners with brands and individuals. I’ve hosted a few events with Tryazon before- it’s always a fun time!
I applied, and fingers crossed that I get this one! My family and friends love to cook and it would be a fun way to spend some time (even if we are socially distanced). Plus- Who doesn’t love cheese?

Today is National Dessert Day!

My kids are ready to celebrate! I’ve found some freebies and low-cost deals for those of you looking for some sweet deals (see what I did there??) and some of our family recipes if you are in the mood to cook.

 

If you are trying to stay on budget, here are a few of our family favorite dessert recipes:

 

If you’ve discovered any other awesome deals or freebies for this National Dessert day, please leave it in the comments below!

8/16/2020 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpgI’ve started doing weekly meal planning on Sundays. It’s easier to do it while I’m writing up the weekly calendar/schedule and prepping the snack box for the week.

I’ve been buying snacks in bulk and only putting weeks worth out in the snack box. It keeps us out of the stores, and its healthier. I’ve been doing this for about 2 months, and I’ve gotten really good at hiding the extra snacks.

I took the kids with me to the grocery store today, and while we picked up a few extra things, overall we were good and stayed within our budget. I did forget to buy cat litter, though, so I’ll be off to Target tomorrow morning.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids (they love the Kodiak Cakes Mix).  I also keep sandwich Ziploc bags of other frozen fruit on hand to make the kids smoothies when they request them (a few times per week). Berries, peaches, and mangos are pretty popular. recently the Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunches will be whatever the kids want for the time being (Peanut butter sandwiches and baguettes toasted with garlic butter are high on the list as of late). I may make up a cheese pizza and serve that for a few lunches during the week with apple slices (or apple sauce), cheez-its, and milk (as well as some sort of dessert- I made these cookies over the weekend, and they make a good lunch dessert)

Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

School starts for us on Wednesday. We are distance learning for the foreseeable future, and while I never imagined I’d be teaching Kindergarten and Special Ed 4th grade at the same time, here we are. The kids are still excited about going back to school, seeing friends via their class Zoom meetings. I am going to try and organize a socially distanced Pokemon hunt with Pokemon Go for some of our classmates and friends who play.

  • Sunday:  Leftovers
  • Monday  Stuffed Peppers, garlic bread, fruit
  • Tuesday: Salad and Sandwiches
  • Wednesday: Stir Fry veggies and chicken
  • Thursday: Pizza Night (pizza and salad or fruit)
  • Friday: Salad and Soup
  • Saturday: leftover fiesta

Please stay safe you guys! The sooner we flatten the curve, the sooner life can go back to normal- whatever that means.

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?

Michael’s: Valentine’s Day Makers Fest (2/8/2020)

IRC23123_VMF_AdultTShirtLooking for something fun to do this coming weekend? Check out your local Michaels Craft Store!

  • Date: Saturday, February 8, 2020
  • Time: 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Come make a Lots Of Love Vinyl Decal Shirt: Come punch designs out of vinyl to create a Valentine’s Day T-shirt. Buy the shirt, and the supplies to decorate it will be provided!

Other crafts going on include on 2/8/2020:

  • Valentine’s Day Cards: Create cute “love bug” or pretty watercolor cards to give loved ones! FREE, all supplies included.
  • Sweetheart Cookies: Learn easy ways to decorate Valentine’s Day Treats. FREE, all supplies included.
  • Fabulous Friendship Bracelets: Make these beaded bracelets to give to your BFF for Valentine’s Day! FREE, all supplies included.

Michael’s has all sorts of fun free and low-cost classes coming up for kids and adults. Find out about classes near you here.