My Living Room Furniture Deal and How I Saved More



I want to share something with you very quickly today.  If you’re planning to buy new furniture in the near future, I hope it’ll be useful to you and help you save some money.  It saved me nearly two hundred dollars on the same set I could purchase at two different places!

When we moved into our house, we needed a new set of living room furniture.  Bargain hunter that I am, I wanted a really good deal, but I didn’t want another set from Big Lots…which is usually the lowest price option when they have a 20% coupon.  My store only ever has brown furniture, though.  I’m so tired of chocolate brown.  Not to mention, all of it seems…oversized.  If you have a small room or just don’t like bulky furniture, that’ll drive you insane as well.  I don’t mind it, necessarily, but it wasn’t what I was interested in buying.  I had decided to make a change and I started with Value City Furniture.  They often have very low priced  furniture sets. Obviously, I have small kids who are hard on furniture, so I didn’t want to pay a lot.  It didn’t take me long to find a few that I liked well.  Yay, me!  From there, I went to the Art Van Clearance Center.  I found a Carson rocker/recliner there for $177.  And then, I looked around some more online.  Here’s what I found:

The Trocadero 3 Piece Living Room Set(shown above) at for $1139.97.

My semi-eagle eye noticed that this is exactly the same as the Stoked 3 Piece Set at Value City Furniture for $1139.97.

The difference?  A coupon paired with free delivery.  Sold!  Now, they’re not offering the exact deal that I got right now.  It typically coincides with big holiday sales, but they do have a discount offer now if you’re looking.

Through today (8/31) is offering 20% off a furniture purchase with the code 20LABORDAY.  Delivery applies.  When I made my purchase, delivery was free and I had a coupon.  You’ll want to wait for this if you can.  Believe me, I will let you know the next time that pairing is available.

Value City Furniture is currently offering free delivery.  This can vary considerably.  Depending on the distance of a store from your home and the amount you’re spending, you can likely save quite a bit.  But not better than 20% and free delivery.

So, here’s the current breakdown as well as the total I paid with both discounts:

This is my cart at for the furniture I bought (currently 20% discount, but no free delivery):



This is my cart at Value City Furniture (currently free delivery but no discount):


What I paid when I purchased with the double discount:

$1036.11  – They were offering free delivery and a 20% discount as well.  If you have time on your side and can wait for the combo, it’s the best deal.  If you need to purchase sooner, depending on the amount you plan to spend, you’ll score a better deal with and a 20% savings offer.  Every little bit helps, so make sure you’re maximizing your savings wherever you can!



Michigan Renaissance Festival: $3 Off Admission or Free Child Ticket Offer!



The smell of incense.  Fairy dust.   Jousting.  Turkey legs.  Pickle insults.  Axes, purses, dresses and honey are just a few of the wonderful goods you’ll find…along with lots and lots of laughs.  Yes, if you’ve been to the Michigan Renaissance Festival, these are very familiar, smile inducing memories.  They are to us, too.  Each year, we round out our annual birthday celebration for the kids on Labor Day weekend with a Monday trip to the Renaissance Festival. It’s a tradition.


If you’ve never been, you’ve got to take a time-travel adventure into the 16th century at the 37th annual Michigan Renaissance Festival! Join Queen Elizabeth in a jubilee! Inside the turreted gates, visitors enjoy the sights and sounds of a 17-acre village, complete with building reproductions of Renaissance shops, taverns and a magnificent castle. Continuous entertainment takes place on the streets and on 17 themed stages; featuring full-contact armored jousting, comedy and theater shows, music, games, people-powered rides and so much more! Fabulous food and more than 300 artisans displaying their gallery-quality works complete the experience! The festival runs on weekends and Labor Day from August 22nd thru October 4th! Festival Friday will be October 2nd this year.

And my fellow Michiganders, I happen to have a money saving deal just for you!  Don’t Make Me Nuts readers save $3 Off Gate Admission! With this Coupon, receive $3 off an Adult Admission or a FREE child ticket with the purchase of an Adult Ticket. Not Valid with any other offers.  August 22nd thru October 4th, 10am – 7pm, Rain or Shine! FREE Parking.


Michigan Renaissance Festival

12600 Dixie Hwy
Holly, MI 48442

Sam’s Club: FREE Rotisserie Chicken and $5 Gift Card with Membership Purchase! (New or Renewal)



Need a deal on a Sam’s Club membership?  Through April 1st, new or renewing Sam’s Club members can receive a free Rotisserie Chicken and $5 Sam’s Club gift card with an annual membership purchase.

Fill out the form here and you’ll receive an email with a voucher for your deal.  Bring the voucher to your local Sam’s Club Membership Services desk and you’ll receive your freebies when you purchase your membership!


Thanks, Tara!

Snap by Groupon: New Money Saving Opportunity!




If you’re a fan of cash back apps and programs, you’re going to love this new money saving opportunity from Groupon!  It’s called Snap and it’s most similar to Checkout 51 in that:

1.)  You can redeem the offers at any store.
2.)   You can sign up and view your offers online or via the app.


Snap Cash Back Saving App



As for how the program works, it’s simple and familiar.

1.)  Browse their offers for those that appeal to you.
2.)  Buy the corresponding items in store.
3.)  Take a picture of your receipt to receive your cash back credit.

When you reach the $20 threshold, you can request a check payment.





It’s absolutely worth signing up.  I have 31 offers including a $1 cash back offer on a gallon of milk, $3 on Huggies diapers, $2 on Huggies Wipes, $1/2 Clorox Cleaning Products, and many more useful opportunities.

The best part is that you can stack these offers together to save more!

Here’s a great deal on milk at CVS good through 10/4:

Country Fresh Gallon Milk $3.09 (prices and brand vary regionally)
$1 ECB on 1 (lim 2)
$1 Cash Back on Gallon of Milk  (Snap) 
$1 Cash Back on Gallon of Milk (Ibotta)
Final Price: 9¢ – It’s a moneymaker if you have an offer from Checkout 51, too!


My LeapPad3 Review: What’s New and Different!




The undisputed heavyweight champion of children’s learning, LeapFrog, has a new lightweight contender in their corner.  Lightweight?  Oh yes, but I mean that only in the most literal sense in that the new LeapPad3 is the lightest of all LeapPads, weighing in at 0.85lbs.   Every other aspect of this little learning machine is as much the heavyweight you’d expect and more because it has several new  inspired updates to enhance learning and engagement.

With that in mind, I was recently given the opportunity to review the new LeapPad3 and I have to say that we’ve had the best time with it!  My daughter has been working with it for the last few weeks and she loves it.  It has enhanced her word recognition as an early reader, as well as engaged her more in math.  I’ve been having a lot of trouble in that area with her, in particular, so I’m thrilled to see her taking an interest in that subject.  And thanks to my perspective as a homeschooling Mom (and previous version LeapPad owner), I’m going to give you the scoop on all the new features the LeapPad3 has to offer.    So, let’s get started!

This isn’t a new feature, but it’s one of the most important and definitely worth noting.  The LeapPad3, along with all LeapFrog tablets, is extremely durable.   We take it with us on our way to the store all the time and, as expected, it fell off my daughter’s lap once, out of the sliding van door, and onto the asphalt.    While I certainly don’t recommend trying this out yourself, it did withstand the drop.  Gosh, this is so crucial, as kids are just naturally forgetful and clumsy.  My daughter forgot she had it on her lap!  It happens, you know.  Thankfully, it wasn’t a crisis.

Interest Integrated Learning
From an educational perspective, I love the vast selection of over 1,000 educator approved games and apps that take advantage of a child’s interest in various TV shows and movies.  My daughter LOVES My Little Pony (Math), Disney’s Brave (Science) and Tangled (Reading), so convincing her to play these learning games wasn’t necessary.  She wants to play them, and she’s learning along the way.    Plus, she can use all of her old cartridges with the new LeapPad3, so it’s a seamless transition to the new one without having to sacrifice her favorite old games.

Maggy and the LeapPad3

Safe Web Browsing
My favorite feature, however, is absolutely  the Kid-Safe Wi-Fi and Web Experience using LeapSearch.  Children have access to a web browser if Wi-Fi is enabled and they can search for videos to watch.  I readily admit that I’m all too familiar with the YouTube minefield.  It doesn’t much matter how restrictive you set it to be, controlling content shown to your 5 year old is challenging.  I love that I don’t have to pre-screen everything she watches with the LeapPad.  It has already been done for me by LeapFrog’s own experts, so she can watch all sorts of animal videos, look at pictures, and visit websites without worry.

Tailored Games
The games available to use on the LeapPad3 are intuitively geared to your child’s learning level for a frustration free experience.  This is the most instrumental aspect of learning, hands down, because children can become so easily discouraged.  I have yet to see my daughter struggle with any of the games she has played to this point, and I don’t have to hover to help her understand what she’s doing.  It’s all explained as if I’m telling her what she needs to do – step-by-step.

Rechargeable Battery
For me, this is another huge upgrade over our original LeapPad!  I don’t have to buy batteries anymore.  The new LeapPad3 has a USB or AC rechargeable battery that stays charged through 6+ hours of continuous use.

Maggy and the LeapPad3

Stylus Not Necessary
My daughter is so used to using the old LeapPad that when she began, she immediately used the stylus.  This is not necessary as the screen is now capacitive and highly touch responsive.  It didn’t take her long to figure that out, but she also liked the idea of feeling that she was using a pen and had good control of it.

Finally, I want to point out another feature that we did NOT use –  the Peer-to-Peer Play.  Kids can connect with other friends using the LeapPad3 to play the Pet Chat and Pet Pad Party apps.  Both are available for independent use, but it’s nice to have that shareable feature.

In summary, the integration of kid safe Wi-Fi, improved touchscreen, and rechargeable battery are what set this LeapPad3 apart from its predecessors and make it a necessary upgrade, in my opinion.  If I hadn’t received this for review, I’d have absolutely purchased it on my own.  The expansive library of games and apps support, enhance, and reinforce ideas  to solidify concepts and bridge gaps in understanding using kid friendly vehicles.  And it does so in a much more intuitive way than before.  It’s seamless and that is huge around here.


Disclosure   While I received no financial compensation for this review, I received  the LeapPad3  from LeapFrog and MomSelect as part of a promotional program to assist me in this review.  The thoughts and opinions here are completely my own.

Plated: How My Meal Turned Out Tonight!

Plated Baba Ghanoush with Zaatar Bread

Earlier today,  I promised you an update on my first order from Plated!   As I mentioned last week, I chose two Baba Ghanoush with Za’atar Bread for my husband and myself.  I planned a kid friendly meal for my little ones knowing my kids wouldn’t eat this under any circumstances.

As you can see above, I was given everything I needed to put it together except olive oil and salt.

I prepared the yogurt with cheesecloth, chopped the cilantro, garlic, and sliced the lemon and eggplant.

Roasted Eggplant

From there, I seasoned the eggplant and roasted it in the oven.  When it was done, I scooped the eggplant pulp out and mixed it with the seasonings.  Then, I used the same pan to bake the bread with the za’atar seasoning.

I used only one baking sheet to cook the entire meal.    The preparation was minimal to average, but not at all difficult. 

Baba Ghanoush with Zaatar Bread from Plated

My husband and I each had a serving like this – 8 wedges of Za’atar Bread, a dollop of Labneh, and a huge scoop of Baba Ghanoush!

It was so good.  We felt like we were eating out!  To top it off, it was completely meat-free!  I would definitely order it again.

Learn more about Plated and how you can get two FREE Plates with your first order!

Plated: I Got My Order!



If you’ve been around here any length of time at all, you know I love to cook.  I have ever since I was a girl.  My Aunt Maxine did too.  She bought me my first subscription to Taste of Home magazine back in around 1994ish.  She also bought me a Sunset Magazine Cookbook that I still have – although I don’t think I’ve ever made any of the recipes featured.  For some reason, it seems to me that I thought they were a bit much – oysters, wine, and all that.  That’s a lot of money to shell out on one meal, and you already know I don’t like to spend money.

But, just by buying me those two things, she helped steer and solidify my love of cooking and baking.  It’s a connection with her that I carry with me to this very day.

So, all of this to say, you know I like cooking and baking.  And you know I mentioned Plated to you a week or so ago.  Well, I got my first order today, and I want to show you the unpacking pictures!   I was kind of worried about the freshness/spoiling factor.  You know me, I worry about everything.   I talked with their customer service department, and stalked their Facebook page like a mad woman prior to ordering.  Both made me feel very good about it.  Their Facebook page has lots of nice comments.  Only then, and after I ordered, did I tell you about them.    I mean, you already know that I wouldn’t tell you about something I: A.) Don’t believe in.  B.) Wouldn’t/Haven’t ordered myself.

OK, so my not-so-fabulous FedEx driver doesn’t read much because he missed the arrows and “UP” designations all over the box and tossed it on the porch on its side.  Whatever.  I’m home.  I retrieved it quickly, muttering to myself about incompetent people – as I generally do in these circumstances.

So, I scurried into my kitchen and opened the box….

Plated Box

The contents were very cold and wrapped in this cold wrap bag with 3 frozen packs around the meat.  Nice…very nice…

Plated Box Contents

Each of the different foods are individually wrapped and labeled.  Know what I love most about this?  It’s vegetable heavy with only a reasonably sized serving of both meat and bread.  This is what got me to order in the first place.

Now, you can’t really see it because I didn’t unwrap the packages.  At the top of the picture, there is a package with various condiments and seasonings – Tahini, Greek Yogurt, Rice Wine Vinegar, and more.   Shopping for each of these items would have cost me more than I paid for all 4 meals here.  So far, I’m really quite pleased with it, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating!  I’m going to be making one of these meals today to see how it turns out.  I’ll take all sorts of pictures for you from piecing it together to the final product.  Fun, huh?

Learn more about Plated and how you can get two FREE Plates with your first order!

LEGO KidsFest: Our Experience! (Review)

LEGO KidsFest 1

Friday night, my family and I went to the LEGO® KidsFest  and had an excellent time! It was held at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan which has a huge open expo center area that was filled with so many displays.  We didn’t even have time to see them all!  My daughter was most taken with the LEGO Friends Heartlake City display.  There were pretty pink snake-like tables with wells sprinkled all along it.  The wells were filled with LEGO Friends pieces for the children to construct their own house, bakery, stable, you name it.  We spent a LOT of time here.

LEGO KidsFest 2

My daughter just couldn’t tear herself away.  Oh my, she just had an excellent time building and rebuilding with pieces she has never seen before!

Cinderella LEGO KidsFest

And if you’ve got a Disney Princess fan, this is a must see station!  They’ve got several – SEVERAL – castles already built for play that are perfect for teeny princesses.  My daughter had a wonderful conversation going between LEGO Rapunzel and  LEGO Ariel, and she was thrilled to have her picture taken with Cinderella.

My son, on the other hand, had a very specific mission in mind.  He was very hopeful that he’d see a Minecraft display.  That, for him, was the only (HUGE) drawback – no Minecraft display.  He LOVED the LEGO City and Chima areas that allowed him a hands-on look at some of the sets he doesn’t have, so he really see what he’s missing.  Oh, and the list is long…

There just isn’t any possible way I could tell you all about the life size figures they had (R2D2, Darth Vader, Spiderman, Buzz, Woody….) and the display areas they had, the tower building challenges, as well as the reasonably priced toys and apparel available for purchase.  It’s a FULL event, jam packet with every LEGO imaginable.

The event is completely sold out for the remaining sessions in Michigan.  Since this is a tour, there are upcoming shows in Canada, GA, TX, VA, and IN.    If you plan to attend any of these, buy your tickets early!  They’re sure to sell out!   I highly recommend it, though.  It was such a fun time for our whole family.

Disclosure I am a U.S. Family Guide Blogger.  While I received no financial compensation for this, I received four complimentary tickets to the opening night session on Friday, April 25, 2014 from 4-8:30pm and two tickets to give away to a lucky reader.  The thoughts and opinions here are completely my own.

ALDI: Freebies & Cheapies 3/30-4/5!




Old Stuff
1.)  ALDI does not accept coupons.
2.)  ALDI ads are regional and start and end dates vary, so you’ll want to make sure any competitive offers are available in your area before you attempt to price match.  I’m in Michigan and used zip 48329.

And now the matchups…

This List Has Expired
General Grocery