Search This Blog

Thursday, March 31, 2011

No Foolin'

Tomorrow all Smith's stores are giving away one free 2.5 to 3 oz bag of Frito Lay chips to each customer. No purchase or coupon necessary!! Take your family and get a cheap treat for lunch. The offer is good April 1 from 3-8 p.m.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Deal of the Day

We had a great weekend celebrating the twins birthday. They celebrated for a whole week between friends and family. Their friend party was a huge success and then of course we celebrated with family. Thanks to all of you who came and supported our girls. They got some really cute dresses and shoes, books, a new backpack and jacket. They were spoiled and loved every minute of it. We also spent some one-on-one, or two-on-two time with them by having a special dinner with just the four of us, while the little ones went to visit Grandpa and Grandma. We had steak, crab and shrimp and went to Marble Slab for ice cream. It was great to have a quite place to talk to them, review the past and think about all the fun they have to look forward to this year.

I really hope that in 3 or 4 (or 2) years when they disagree with us for something, and think we are unfair, they will remember how fun we were and how much we love them. I am hoping they aren't horrible teens. But I like to prepare for the best and expect the worst, knowing we will land somewhere in the middle.

Onto more memories that I'd like to share. We all know summer is coming and that means sun (finally), water parks, pools, sand, sunscreen and fun! If you have the pleasure of getting to spend most of the summer out of school with your kids then you are likely looking for cheap fun. Have I got a deal for you!

Hollywood Connection is offering their full day pass, a $20 value, for $5 on You can purchase as many as you want and they are good until Sept. 30, 2011. AND I HAVE AN ADDITIONAL CODE!!! TXT15 gets you an extra 15% off!!! This code is good toward any citydeals purchase.

Yeah!!!! Cheap summer fun. I got a little too excited at this deal and had to share it with everyone. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Is this why fish eat their young??? She is in such trouble when someone responsible gets home!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Free Meals and Bowling

Today only, March 22nd, you can get a Free Kids Meal with the purchase of any adult entree. Plus, if you join the Chili’s Email Club you’ll receive a coupon for Free Chips and Queso! Yum!
Be sure to call and ask if your Chili’s Restaurant is participating before you head out.
Thanks Dad and

Also visit this site “Kids Bowl Free” Summer!  Participating bowling centers around the country will let kids play 2 Free games each and every day through the summer.
Each bowling center will have their own age limits and shoe rental information.  Some will require a shoe rental purchase. However, the games are completely free!
And, if you have members of your family that are above the age limit, you can purchase a Family Pass.  The Family Pass will get you 2 Games per day for up to 4 adult members for only $24.95.  That price is for the whole summer!
Since each bowling center is different, check their registration page for individual information.  And also check the FAQ section if you have more questions.
Thanks Melea at!

Note from Katie: FYI kids in the Jordan School District will receive a punch pass for this near the end of school, but it still may be a good idea to sign up at the above link.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I NEED a Diet Coke

I scored some awesome deals today. And with running to get any awesome deal comes a 4 year old and 1 year old that I have to bring along for the fun. Today we went to Smith's Mega Sale for FREE, yes FREE Ronzoni and American Beauty Pastas. Free how? Coupons which you can find here Print off the coupons twice for all the Ronzoni and American Beauty pasta and head to your local Smith's. When you buy any 10 packages of the Smart Taste, Healthy Harvest or Garden Ronzoni and/or the American Beauty pasta you receive an instant $5 credit from Smiths. Combine this with the coupons found on the website link above and you will pay .20 cents tax for all 10 boxes.  You'll want to print the coupons twice so if the store doesn't have stock of one variety of pasta, you can still get your free pasta by purchasing a different type that is included in the sale. There were also Smart Source coupons for the Ronzoni in the 3-6 newspaper.

So back to needing a Diet Coke. Danni informed me she had 3 babies in her tummy: a snake, a crab and Freddy from Scooby Doo. "How did they get in there?" I asked. We've been having some age appropriate detailed conversations with our 10 year olds about sex and I was just curious if our precocious 4 year old was paying attention. She said, "Duh mom. They just crawled in my mouth and landed in my belly. How do you think they got there?" I couldn't say much since I was laughing with relief.

Then D. proceeded to walk over to the baby and stick her finger into the baby's mouth. When the baby bit her, she erupted into a horrendous scream. She looked at the baby like she was a monster....uh, duh Danni what did you think would happen??? I wanted to say that, but didn't. A Barbie ice pack and a Samoa cookie later, all was well. And the baby went down for her nap. I am breaking my rule of "one can per day" and having a second D.C. I don't even know what to say except thank goodness for my vices to keep me from tearing my hair out!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Party Time

We had such a blast with our girls and their friends last night. Picture eight 10 year-olds, four hours and lots of excitement. It really was fun. I paid Jack $1 and some "treasures" to be Captain Jack Sparrow, leader of the Amazing Treasure Hunt game. We played a game that was a combo of The Amazing Race and Minute to Win It. The girls got clues and some clues had ROADBLOCKS. A ROADBLOCK was a Mintue To Win It Task that they had to complete before they got an envelope with the next clue. Jack's job was to make sure each guest completed their ROADBLOCK, and then hand them the note with the next clue. Check this pic out...

Fierce Pirate Jack Sparrow

We had a great time and they found the treasures. I also made Red Velvet cupcakes with Cherry Almond Butter cream frosting. I added chunky yellow sprinkles to the frosting before I piped it on to the cakes, so it looked like there were little golden nuggets in the frosting.

This is the party searching for clues. They did a great job working together to figure it out. Pretty amazing for girls this age. We also played an unwrapping game. I wrapped a small gift under 12 layers of paper. Each layer was different so the guests could tell which layer was the one they were trying to unwrap. The trick to the game is that they could not use their hands or fingers, only swords (butter knives) to get their layer off. Each guest had 20 seconds to try and get off the layer and the last one to get the last layer off won the prize. It was fun. We then had pizza and watched "National Treasure" to round out the night. I hope my girls remember this for a long time.

On another note, I received a present too. I am a product reviewer for a company called Bzz Agent.and get packages every once in awhile to review and talk (bzz) about. I got one from Glade today.

Right away I can tell you I was excited to do spring cleaning. Each product smells so good. I love the Scrubbing Bubbles toilet gels. I have used them for about 2 years. I also love Lemon Pledge and have used it for a long time. The other products, the candle, plug in and Shower foam, are new to me and I am excited to try them. If anyone needs valuable coupons to try these products, email me and I will get them to you. They sent me a ton. I love trying new things!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

Birthday Freebies

I love reading other money saving deals and websites. Freebies2Deals is one of my faves. Thanks Melea for the list of other birthday freebies you can read about here. Great link to birthday fun for you and your kids.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Let Me Explain

Why did I change my Blog Name??

Because I have learned a few things blogging the past few months and it has more precisely defined who I am as a person, wife, mother, friend and blogger. Mental health pros say writing is therapeutic, I agree. I now have a clear focus, at least for this part of my life. This project for me is kind of like a "day pass" from an institution. I am with little people more than big people and it's my way of connecting to the outside, adult world. I am not regretful that I need a "day pass." My life is the type of life I've chosen, essentially. I love it, most days. I am lucky and blessed to have so many wonderful and inspiring supporting family members and friends in my life. This blog is for you as much as it is for me.

The content will not change much, but hopefully there are enough helpful hints and entertaining stories that you will come back to check us out, and pass our link along to your friends. After all, who doesn't want a good deal, save money and time and figure out a way to cohesively meld your family and friends together? This blog SHOULD NOT make anyone feel guilty about what they are not doing. It SHOULD give you easy tips to incorporate new ideas to make your life more fulfilling and fun. Please read it with that in mind.

It is my uncensored and unsolicited opinion that our world is too loud and messy. We value money over memories; things over time. I won't stop this crazy spin out alone, but I hope to make it easier for me, and you, to find ways to make real connections with those people and things that really matter.

Ok, now that is off my chest, onto a "relaxing" Sunday. Thanks for following our stories.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Blog Name Change

I am changing our blog name from Larsen Chronicles to Time Over Things.

The new site address is

Please change your bookmarks and cookies to find us. Thanks Katie

Once Upon A Time

If you know me at all, you know I am a bookworm and word nerd. I love to read and write and be creative. I want to share a story with you today.

Once upon a time there was a smart, sassy, possibly stubborn, head strong girl. She went to college, got her degree and while she'd dated a lot, the fish weren't biting. Or if they were, they weren't the kind of fish she wanted to be catching. Or more likely, she was fishing in the wrong ponds, and didn't really know what she wanted. (Remember this is a fictional story. Ha, ha, ha)

One day she met a prince who was the brother of a close friend. He'd just returned from an intense two year battle in a far off land. The prince's sisters were very convincing that this girl should date their brother. After several moments of uncertainty, the girl agreed to ONE date. After all, she had big plans to move to another far off land and start her career.

So the ONE date took place. The prince was shy and inexperienced around girls, and forgot how to tell time. He was 45 minutes late for the ONE date. The girl tried to leave, but his sisters made their case to wait patiently. After a strange first date, she was hooked. Although she'd likely never admit it--too stubborn.

He was also hooked, and not too proud to admit it. He pursued the strong willed girl until she could no longer resist his romantic took about 6 weeks. Once things were serious, she thought one last test was needed to prove this friendship was going somewhere that would be worth giving up her dreams of moving to a far off land. One night she laid it all out for him. All the very worst parts of her, all her mistakes, misgivings, misfortunes and such. When he didn't even blink an eye or get up and run, it was clear he and she were meant to be.

After a few months of perfectionist planning the two were married...and 12 years later are still living happily (mostly) ever after.

Happy Anniversary babe. It's been a great ride!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Awesome Salsa

My dad is one of the best fresh salsa makers ever. I don't know what his secret is, but he's awesome, and he shares it with us.

The other day I was looking for something my kids would eat besides hamburger and cheese on their tacos. I was thinking, they like black beans and corn. I wish they would eat more veggies or Papa's salsa.

So I came up with this awesome salsa.

1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can corn, rinsed
1/2 to 1 c. of your favorite salsa--fresh, bottled, whatever
1 tsp. cumin
2 tsp.onion flake

Mix it together and chill
That is so simple. All my kids love it. We use it as a garnish for everything Mexican. It's like a little taste of Cafe Rio in my own kitchen.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

New Button...Again

Use this button and paste it onto your blog for quick access to my blog. The code to copy is on the front of my blog on the left side, under my button icon. If you are using blogger you can add my button as a Java Script/HTML gadget. Feel free to pass my site along to others.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Party Time!

I really need to learn to look at a calendar and do math.

Historically March is a busy month for us. We got married in March, the twins were born in March, we bought our first house in March, we've purchased 2 cars in March and I have 2 nephews born in March. This year is busy during the month of March.

Our kids get friend parties on the even years of their birthdays. This year the twins are 10!!! Double trouble turning double digits. They are having a Treasure Hunters party. I've got lots of fun things planned and had to show off the invites.

I printed off a cute invite telling the girls' guests their special treasure hunting skills were needed to find long lost treasures. Then I burned the edges of the paper to make it look old. The extra white paper is sensoring private info. FYI.

Then I put the invite into a glass rootbeer bottle and put a cork attaching the note with a string, so it would not get stuck in the bottle. I love this idea and think it turned out so cute!

The other fun thing we did...ok, only the kids and I thought it was fun. Andy about killed me. I painted all the kids hands and let them make art for our playroom. I am framing these and hanging them on the wall....eventually. It was fun and the kids didn't want to stop. Even Lexi got to paint. It was bath night, luckily for me. "A family that plays together, stays together." Sorry it was messy. Think about the memories they will have. Isn't that why we do half of what we do as parents? Think about it.....

Have a great day!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

5 for 6 under $7

A few of you have asked how to plan decent meals on a tight budget.

Having a menu and list is important, and of course coupons help. An easy way to save money and time, get your menu done easily and NOT use coupons is to shop your local ad and buy what's on sale. For those of you lucky enough to live around me here's a list of dinner ideas based on the Peterson's ad for this week. I usually spend about $7 to feed a family of 6--the baby eats tiny portions, so for now, she doesn't count. For basics I have on hand like sugar, flour, seasonings and dressings I usually factor in a small amount-like $.10 to $.25 because I buy in bulk.

Here are 5 dinner ideas to feed 6 people for about $7
Chicken Pillows
1 can chicken $2.50
1 pkg. light cream cheese $.99
1 pkg. chicken gravy $.33
1 lb. red potatoes for either fried potatoes or potato salad $.59 for potatoes; for salad you likely have 1 c. mayo and 6 eggs and seasonings. So, total for salad $1.70.
1 lb steamed broccoli or cauliflower $.89
1 lb. sliced apples or oranges $.79 to $.99 cents/lb
Total meal for 6: $7.20

Chicken Burgers
1.5 lb. ground chicken $3.15 (mix with one egg to bind patties and seasonings)
1 pkg. buns $1
garnishes/sauces-on hand. I'd figure $.50 for all 6
Homemade potato fries-using red potatoes $.59/lb (I cut the potatoes into strips, mix in 1 Tbsp. olive oil and seasonings and bake at 450 deg. for 45 min.)
2 cans of canned peaches $.88 cents/can
Total for 6: $7

Roast Chicken dinner
1 4 lb. fryer- $3.50
1/2 lb. red potatoes (.30 cents)
1 c. carrots- (usually on hand, but if you have to buy them they are $2 for a 2 lb. bag and you'll use 1/4 bag. $.50 cents)
Pasta Roni sides $.88--To feed 6 you'll need 2
Apple sauce canned $.69--you'll need 2
Total to feed 6:$7-$7.44

Pork Ribs
2 lbs. pork ribs--serving size 1/3 lb. per person-$4
Steamed broccoli (.89/lb) and 1/2 lb. carrots (.50)
2 Sliced fresh mangoes- $1.78
Biscuits (canned)-.99
Total for 6:$8.16

Frozen Pizza
2 Palermo pizzas-$.2.69 each
Garlic bread $1 (I just buy a loaf of French bread and add seasonings)
Carrots with ranch -.50
Apple slices (3 apples) $.99/lb
Total for 6: $7.87

You can apply this same meal planning to any store ad. I find Peterson's and Harmon's to be a bit more expensive. If you shop at Wal-Mart their prices are lower and they'll match any local ad--bring your ad. Of course if you use coupons, that takes the cost down too.

Hopefully this makes your planning and preparation easier. Making your pennies stretch is going to be the way of life, if it isn't for you already. It's my goal to get as much as I can for as little as I can, but I am not going to extremes to save money. If I have to drive 10 miles to save $2 on an item, I am using more in gas and precious time, and to me it's not worth it. I'm getting creative this year...stick around.

Monday, March 7, 2011

March's Scrapbook post

1. What am I eating for dinner today?  Brats and Beans
2. Who was the last person I talked to on the phone? Andy
3. What color did I wear today? Hot pink
4. What was the last good thing I read? MSN article about tainted alcohol wipes-very interesting
5. What's one goal I have accomplished this week? Finished plans for girls' 10th b-day party and Abby's sundress.
6. What's one thing I need to work on? Finishing Syd and Lexi's dresses
7. Today's best thought? We are credit card debt free!!
8. One word to sum up today is? Accomplishment
9. One worry or concern? Many overwhelming tasks this month
10. Favorite thing I did this week? Hand print art with the kids

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Someone should warn you about....

Yesterday I had a mom/daughter teaching moment with a side load of guilt. I know teaching my kids how to become responsible is part of parenting; what I didn't count on was all the guilt that can come with the job. Someone should have warned me! Seriously, the looks on those little faces when they've made a mistake and have to carry out their punishment seems as bad for me, no worse since I handed down the punishment, than it is for them. There was a certain incident at our house over the weekend, and let's just say the twins are going to be the only 10-year-olds on the block that can tape and mud a wall. They had some privileges taken away, realized their mistake, made restitution and were sad. Lesson learned I am sure, but the sorrow was overwhelming for yours truly. Guilt sucks! I am hoping this experience is a stepping stone to responsible adulthood for them, someday.

Don't want to leave this post on a downer, so I will throw some more great money saving ideas your way. I am sure most of you are familiar with the phrase, "too much month at the end of the money." Here are a few cheap meal ideas that can help you stretch your pennies to make it to next payday, without going out. These are based on average low price, without coupons.

Tuna Noodle Casserole
tuna .49 cents per can (I use 2 cans, but you don't have to)
noodles $1 (16 oz. pkg.)
1-2 cans cream of whatever you have soup (I have tried mushroom, chicken and celery and they all work, /69 cents a can)
1 c. peas (.40 cents)
1/2 c. cheese (.20 cents)
random toppings if you like/want them--chow mein noodles, almonds, etc.

I serve this with a loaf of wheat bread (.50 cents) and some fresh fruit and a spinach salad.
Total cost of meal and sides:$5.50--or less w/ coupons; feeds 6-8 adults

Spaghetti and meatballs
1 pkg. noodles ($.49 on sale, $1 reg.)
1 lg. can sauce ($1)
15-20 meatballs (apprx. .10 cents per meatball premade)
garlic bread ($1)
jello (.50 cents)

About $6.50 on average; feeds 5-6 adults

Breakfast Ideas

Eggs (about .10 cents per egg); add some toast for .07 cents a slice.

Popover pancakes, German Pancakes, Yorkshire puddings, etc (uses basic ingredients you should all have, but I'd guess you can feed a family of 6 for about $2)

Crepes--again, flour and water basically---fill with whatever you have--fresh or canned fruit, sugar and butter, leftover meats, lunch meat--you can make a dozen for $1 or less.

Breakfast burritos--eggs, cheese and meat/veggies. About $1 for 10 flour or $2 for 10 wheat tortillas. You can serve 10 for $5-6.

Barbacoa Pork
Pork roast $5 (check for sales)
1 can Dr. Pepper (.21 cents)
1 c. water
1 bottle bbq sauce ($1.50)
cumin/ chile powder
1 can diced chilies (.50 cents)
Tortillas or salad ($1)
black bean and corn salsa ($1)

This feed a lot --I'd say a 4 lb. roast would feed 8-10 adults. Total meal cost under $10 with sides.

Remember that mealtime should be fun for you and your family. Try serving meals in fun ways (picnic, outside, crazy utensils), or on special dishes. I really find that kids eat better if they help with the preparation. Cooking, although often a chore, can be a great teaching tool. I find I reduce my stress when I know what I am making during a week, so I have stuff ready to go and less likely to go out and get something.  Find the meals that work for your family. You can often substitute expensive ingredients for less expensive ones (ie use ground ginger instead of ginger paste or root) and still achieve the flavor you want. Meals can be simple to prepare and still delicious and fun. Andy and I often have to remind each other to KISS IT. Keep It Simple Silly! This is the year to decrease your stress and enjoy living.