Free Summer Fun — Part 3

Posted on July 23rd, 2014 by Freebie Felicia

free summer fun


It’s been a few weeks since I last posted on some of the fun (and free!) activities we have done with our children. We have visited our local fire station and stood just yards away from a plane taking off at a local private airport. Both of those activities were fun for our entire family and left our children with such an interest and excitement that we have checked out books on fire engines and planes to read from the library. And, we have read them over and over again 😉

It’s July and the heat has been seriously turned up in our neck of the woods. Seriously. So, while we do still make early trips to the playground and hop into the little kiddie pool in the backyard, we also look for indoor (air conditioned) activities. So, we visited our local pet store.

We saw dogs getting groomed. We enjoyed looking at all the fish in the multiple very pretty aquariums. And, hamsters. Oh, did they enjoy those hamsters spinning round and round and round again. It was cute for the first spin or two for mom and dad. But, I’m sure our children could have watched those hamsters all day long.

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The children had a blast. And, before we left, we purchased a few crickets. It turns out that my husband and the children discovered a frog in the backyard the night before we went to the pet store. So, the bag of crickets was “food” for “Froggy.”

And, yes, they fed Froggy that night. It was such an exciting day for them! What a wonderful reminder of how easy and inexpensive it can be to participate in fun (and maybe even educational) activities with young children during these hot summer months.

It wasn’t like going to the zoo. But, we had fun, stayed cool and were still back home before lunch.

What fun, free activities have you discovered this summer?

Sprouts Deals This Week

Posted on July 2nd, 2014 by Coupon Cathy

SproutsAre you ready for the Fourth? Fourth of July week at Sprouts means savings on fun summer food and snacks. The deals are always good on produce. But, this week Sprouts has additional savings on frozen treats, cold drinks and snacks. Check out this week’s hot deals for this coming holiday weekend.

Limes — on sale for 10 cents each (That’s a great price!)

Russet or Red Potatoes — on sale for 48 cents per pound

Red or Yellow Mangos — on sale for 48 cents each

Sweet Leaf Iced Tea — on sale for $1 per bottle
Buy three and use one $1 off 3 Sweet Leaf Iced Tea coupon (Mambo Sprouts)
Final Price: $0.67 per bottle

Hass Avocados — on sale for 77 cents each

Popchips — on sale for $2 per bag
Use 55 cents off Popchips coupon from the 6/29 Smartsource insert
And submit for this 50 cents Ibotta rebate
Final Price: $0. 95

Broccoli Crowns — on sale for 98 cents per pound

Zucchini or Yellow Squash — on sale for 98 cents per pound

California Grown Navel Oranges — on sale for 98 cents per pound

So Delicious Frozen Dessert — on sale for $3 each
Use the $1 off So Delicious Frozen Dessert coupon from the 6/15 Smartsource insert
And submit for this $1 Ibotta rebate
Final Price: only $1.00!

Organic Celery — on sale for $1.25 per bunch

Sweet Red Cherries — on sale for $1.48 per pound

Outshine Fruit Bars — on sale for $2.50 per box
Use one $1 off Outshine Fruit Bars coupon
Final Price: $1.50

JC’s Pie Pops — on sale for $3 per box
Submit for this $1.50 Ibotta rebate
Final Price: $1.50

Beanfields Bean & Rice Chips — on sale for $2 per bag
Use one 50 cents off Beanfield’s Bean & Rice Chips coupon
Final Price: $1.50

Farm-Fresh Whole, Split, or Cut-Up Chicken — on sale for $1.59 per pound

Fresh Assorted Pork Loin Chops — on sale for $1.99 per pound


I love summer fruit but I can be a sucker for ice cream on a hot day too! What are you favorite Fourth of July snacks? Chips, ice cream or good ol’ fashioned fruit? 

Free Summer Fun – Part 2

Posted on June 16th, 2014 by Discount Debbie

free summer fun

I wrote last week about a fun trip our family took to the local fire station with our three year old son and five year old daughter. It was free, so much fun–even memorable–and free! You can’t say that about most activities for children in the summer. But, we are having fun finding more fun and free or really cheap things to do with the children this summer.

So, this is another edition of “Free Summer Fun” as a public service to you! 😉

My son, like most other boys his age, is crazy about cars, airplanes and big machines of any kind. He was already fascinated by all these vehicles before he saw his now-favorite movie ever: Planes. He can usually hear an airplane at such a distance that it’ll be a minute before any of the rest of us hear or see it.

It just so happens that we live near a very small private airport. My husband decided we would simply drive over there and ask if we could look at an airplane. (Note: I would NEVER have thought of driving into a private airport!) As it turns out, they were thrilled for us to visit. And, we got there just as a plane was about to take off.

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So, we got to stand just outside of the runway to watch the plane take off.

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We were SO CLOSE! It was just as excited for me and my husband as it was for the children. And, it was yet another very happy day for one three year old boy. What’s great is that five year old girls can be amazed by watching a plane take off too!

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What free unexpected adventures have you taken your children on?

Free Summer Fun

Posted on June 12th, 2014 by Discount Debbie

free summer fun

This is the first summer that I feel like my children are now both old enough that we can get out and do some fun things. The only problem is that a lot of the lists I see for free or inexpensive things to do with children in our city are not very close to where we live.

So, we are looking more locally for things to do with the children. I hope to post throughout the summer about the various activities and events we participate in. But, for now, I thought I’d share something we did this week that was a big hit.

Visiting A Fire Station

The children are still talking about this. I’m convinced it was the happiest day of my three year old son’s life. Who needs Disney World when you can get into a fire engine?!


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We were actually headed elsewhere when my son spotted the fire engine (because it’s what he does). And, because we had already talked about taking a tour of a local fire station this summer, we stopped over.

The firefighters there were very friendly and welcoming. They were happy to show us around and let the kids get into the truck. They talked to us about all the different parts of the fire engine.


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They showed us around the station.


look at the fire truck


Did I mention that it was my son’s happiest day ever? 😉

Before we left, one of the firefighters gave the children two hats – a pink one for my daughter and a red one for my son.


fire station hats (480x640)


And, he gave them a bag full of cool stuff for them. It included a coloring book, a craft book, a sticker, a tattoo, a pencil, and a fire-engine shaped eraser. Needless to say, they are still playing with all of these things.


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Check out the tattoo!


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What a fun and even meaningful time to see and connect with our local firefighters.


What fun and free trips have you taken this summer?

What’s On Sale This Month

Posted on June 3rd, 2014 by Discount Debbie

Did you know that your local grocery stores and drug stores have sales cycles. And, did you know that there are specific items that go on sale every month? Furthermore, can you believe that it’s already June?! Well, this month you can find lots of great summer deals. Check out this month’s sales and clearance items.

National Dairy Month. I bet you didn’t realize that June is National Dairy Month. I don’t think we have that on our family calendar 😉 Look for deals on milk, milk-cereal combos, ice cream, cheese, butter, eggs and yogurt. Sometimes, stores will display the “discount” by offering a store coupon for those products. So, keep your eyes open for either discounts or coupons on all dairy products.

Fourth of July. Expect to find deals on all things related to summer cook-outs, especially Fourth of July. That’ll include: Hot dogs, hamburgers, buns, barbeque sauce, ketchup, charcoal, salad dressing, potato chips, dips, mustard, mayonaise, relish, ice cream, popsicles, frozen treats and soft drinks.


Seasonal produce. This is my favorite. We like to eat the fruit and veggies that are in season and, therefore, on sale! So, be looking for sales on apricots, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cherries, corn, cucumber, eggplant, grapes, honeydew, nectarines, peaches, potatoes, raspberries, red onions, summer squash, strawberries, sweet Vidalia onions, tomatoes and watermelon.

Summer Stuff. Summer stuff includes insect repellent, sunscreen, outdoor furniture, shorts, sun hats, beach toys, lawn mowers, barbecues and grilling utensils, swim wear, kid pools, sandboxes and sandals.

Gardening. Well, for those of us whose temperatures have already started lingering in the 90s, our gardening season is just ending. For those of you who live in places where people can actually enjoy being outside and do some gardening in the summer, be sure to check out deals on plants, flowers, seeds, watering cans, plant food, soil, weed killers, mulch, compost buckets and water hoses.

Clearance. Clearance this month looks more like an early preparation for fall and winter: jackets, sweaters, umbrellas and rain boots as well as wreaths from Memorial Day.

Are you in the market for any of these June deals?

Staying Cool With No AC

Posted on July 2nd, 2013 by Discount Debbie

We live in the northwest where it doesn’t really get hot. Maybe a month out of the year we’ll hit mid 80’s to lower 90’s. When it hits the 90’s it gets pretty miserable and every year I have to incorporate my “no AC” tricks. With these tricks we can get a little relief from the heat.

1. Windows open at night, closed during the day. It seems weird to shut the house up, but at night is when it’s usually cooler, so opening up the house is best then. But then you want to keep that cooler air in, so during the day when it’s the hottest, you want the windows clothes. Make sure you shut all the blinds too.

2. Turn off all the lights. Your lights don’t put out a lot of heat, but keeping your rooms dark will help with the temperatures.

3. Don’t cook! No seriously don’t cook inside your house. An oven is amazing at heating a house in the winter and will do the same in the summer. Stick to your crockpot, grill and microwave.

4. Cold shower. This is my favorite method. This is best when you are super hot. Hop in the shower and turn it as cold as you can and stay there. Allow your body temperature to lower and you’ll feel so much better. Don’t make it a quick shower though, it takes some time to cool down.

5. Drink lots of water. Your body will stay cooler if it’s well hydrated, so drink up!

What are your best tips for staying cool?

Finding Deals at Garage Sales

Posted on June 28th, 2013 by Discount Debbie

It’s garage sale season where we live. Have you been hitting the roads in search of awesome deals? Some of my most favorite items have been from garage sales, but you have to be smart about finding good deals. If you know how to do it, you can walk away with a steal! Here are our best Thrifty Diva tips!

1. Keep a list of what you are looking for. Sometimes it can get overwhelming when you go to a dozen yard sales. Make a grocery list of the things you are looking for and check it out before each garage sale.

2. Hit the rich neighborhoods. Let’s face it, rich people buy nice stuff. They have garage sales too and they usually price things even cheaper because they just want to get rid of stuff.

3. Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. People are used to negotiating at garage sales. Just be prepared for a no and don’t get your hopes up, but it never hurts to ask. It also helps to try and make deals at the end of the day. People are trying to get rid of stuff more quickly then.

4. Buy kids stuff! This is my favorite thing about garage sales. Kids items are usually gently used and priced to move!

5. Don’t be afraid to go back. You don’t have to make decisions immediately. You can always come back when prices may be lower or you can negotiate. Just remember your item may not be there, but you could get it cheaper.

6. Budget for the day. It’s easy to go crazy at garage sales and spend more money than you need. For some reason that “I need this” gene kicks in and you come home with a lot of stuff you didn’t need. Take $20 in case with you and don’t get any more. People may be more likely to cut you a deal if you only have a certain amount of money.

Thrifty Tip: Homemade Bug Repellent

Posted on June 14th, 2013 by Discount Debbie


It’s that time of year. Bug season. Oh, I mean, summer 😉 I hate bugs, especially mosquitoes, which ought to be the state bird in my neck of the woods. While I hate those little critters, I get nervous about using dangerous chemicals around the house, especially around the children. So, this summer, I’ve decided to do something a little different. I’m making homemade bug repellent. I’ll tell you that I haven’t tested it yet. But, I’m getting recipes from people who have. And, I thought I’d share them with you in case you have the same concerns about bugs and commercial bug repellent.

Recipe #1. This is supposed to be a fantastic bug repellent. However, pregnant and nursing moms won’t be able to use this one because of the catnip oil. But, if you are not pregnant and not nursing, here’s the recipe you want.

    • 8 oz apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, or vodka* OR a dry oil such as jojoba
    • 15 drops lemongrass essential oil (which can also be used to open up sinus and breathing passages, soothe torn or strained ligaments/tendons, heal ringworm, add shine and lustre to damaged hair, and as calming massage oil)
    • 15 drops eucalyptus essential oil
    • 15 drops lemon essential oil
    • 15 drops citronella essential oil
    • 15 drops catnip essential oils (studies have shown catnip to be 10x more effective than DEET)

Recipe #2. Safe for pregnant (after first trimester) and nursing moms.

      • 8 oz apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, or vodka* OR a dry oil such as jojoba
      • 60 drops geranium or lemon essential oil

Notes: This formula contains oils which are generally considered safe for children and pregnant/breastfeeding women. However, depending on the age of your child they may need to be diluted.

Recipe #3

      • 8 oz apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, or vodka* OR a dry oil such as jojoba
      • 45 drops of peppermint oil – It’s supposed to be very effective and smell fabulous (note: avoid if you have epilepsy or are pregnant)
      • 15 drops lemon oil (or rose geranium oil to repel ticks)


Mix ingredients in a spray bottle and apply liberally. Store in the fridge when not in use.


How do you keep the bugs away during the summer?

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