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Before and After Downstairs

November 16th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Hey! So I finally got around to posting completed photos of the downstairs!


Before Sliding Glass door to the outside

Before Outside area




It’s perfect. I love it all! I hope I can find someone to live in it that loves it as much as I do!

Love and Thanks so everyone who helped make this happen for me.

Who Needs “Extreme Couponing”? Just Take What You Need…

July 11th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

….for Free! :)

Last night I hosted a Coupon 101 summary and a “Favorite Things” party. Below is what we went over for the couponing. Enjoy!


Northwest Couponing Websites:

(in order best to worst as decided by me)




Sometimes I check:




All the NW bloggers talk to each other. So around the holidays they will tell you what blog is going to focus on what store. Like Thrifty and Thriving specializes in Target deals.


Coupon Acronyms:

BOGO/B1G1 = Buy One Get One

BOGO 50% = Buy One Get One Half Off

MQ = Manufacturer’s coupon

OOP = Out of Pocket (actual money you will spend out of your pocket)

GC = Gift Card

OYNO = On Your Next Order

MIR = Mail in Rebate


Manufacturer’s Coupon (MQ) = Coupon that are for a specific product, supplied by the manufacturer.

Store Coupons = Coupons that are from certain stores. ex: Safeway, Target or Fred Meyer (You can use a store coupon and a MQ on the same item – the store is supplying you with a discount as well as getting reimbursed my the manufacturer)

Printable Coupon = Coupons you can print of the Internet (some store have policies regarding whether or not they will or will not take certain printable coupons).

 Blinkie = Coupons found at the store in those little red machines with the blinking light. The are usually found directly by the products.

Catalina = These are coupons that print out after you purchase something. Sometimes they are for money off a product, or good for a certain amount of money off on your next order (OYNO).

 eCoupons = coupons that can be loaded to your store loyaltly card.

 Peelie = Coupons found on the actual product that you can peel off and use at checkout.

 Tearpad = Coupons near products that are on a tearpad, you can tear them off and use at checkout.

Double Coupons = Some stores will double the value of any manufacturer’s coupon (MQ) up to a certain amount. Ex. $.50 off coupon will become worth $1.00 when doubled.



There are some people that file their coupons according to the date they came out, then when they need a certain coupon, they look up the date and insert type to find the coupon they want.   This is why I list the coupons like this:

1.00 coupon from 3/28 SS insert

Here are the abbreviations for those insert that you see listed with the coupons:

SS = Smart Source

RP = Red Plum

P&G = Proctor and Gamble

GM = General Mills



RR = Walgreens Register Rewards

ECB = CVS Extra Care Bucks

SCR = Rite Aid  Single Check Rebate

Twice the Value Coupons = Albertson’s version of “double coupons”, you will need to have this coupon in order to double a coupon (up to $1.00). These are not available all the time, they show up in the ads a couple times a month. Usually there is a limit of 3 per trip.


Extreme Couponing:

1)                  Check the blogs and see if there is a deal you want/need. (it’s not a bargain if you don’t need it or won’t donate it)

2)                  Once you find something you want, it will look like this:


3)  Get as many of that coupon as you can. Grocery Stores put out their coupons in the Tuesday Food Day Oregonian (which is free for anyone, even non-subscribers) and everyone else has their ads in the Sunday paper. If you are reading this before August 30th 2012, click here.  If it’s the same day as the coupon came out – then go to Starbucks, raid the Fred Meyer pile of ads or steal your vacationing neighbor’s paper. My friend Kerra admitted that she dumpster dives with her soon-to-be-husband, but I’ve never needed any additional coupons that bad :)


Other things to look out for on the blogs:

  • Free Magazine Subscriptions
  • Free custom cards
  • Great sales going on at various websites (Kohls, sharing spree, lands end etc)
  • Free online product opportunities (like my facial care basket and/or nail polish kit)

Don’t Get Burned:

  • If you sign up for a 30 day trial – set up a reminder to cancel it immediately and set 2 or 3 of them.
  • DOUBLES: if you have a double from Albertsons, they are numbered 1-3 and they have to be used in that order. If you grabbed 3 newspapers – you can’t give them 3 coupons with the #3 on it. Also, you can use 3 per transaction – so just put a bar between your piles of stuff. No one cares, they can move to another aisle if they are in a hurry.

Organization of Coupons:

  • I do mine by month and by coupon insert in manilla envelopes.
    • Example: March SS and March RP
    • I only cut out the coupons as I need them.
  • There are a lot of people who cut them out and organize by category but I find the coupons harder to find them when the blogger use a the date the insert was published.


  • Inserts are never given out on actual holiday weekends, so it’s always best to check in the two weekends before the holiday for the best coupons/deals.
  • Between the Monday before Thanksgiving and Xmas for kitchen gifts, shoes and clothes.
  • July-August for office supplies.
  • Weeks up to Easter for Candy.
  • End of June for outdoor/picnic stuff and food.
  • Tillamook cheese only really goes on sale during anniversary sales (Fred Meyer, New Seasons, etc)


Just Try It!

You won’t really understand how easy this is until you try it. You may mess up a couple times before you get the hang of it – but everyone does. and STOP being worried about the people in line behind you. They can move lines if they want. Checkers don’t care how many people they get through their line – they are paid hourly. And who know- if you back the line up long enough – maybe another check stand will open and the people behind you will ultimately SAVE time. I’m just saying – don’t spend money you dont’ have to just because you are worried about the strangers standing in line behind you. That’s silly.



Home Performance Building Conference & Expo

April 9th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Did you know that in my 9-5 job I plan an annual conference? Probably not. Since I never mentioned it here.

Anyway, if you are a DIYer. a student or a contractor interested in doing a better job for your homeowners then you should prrrroooobably sign up. Just click on the logo below to sign up. Use the code “Performance” during check out to bring the price down for a very special OnAGreenstring Price.


Hope to see you there! Ask for me when you come!

New Brakes. Oh Joy.

April 5th, 2012 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Hey World.
I’ve been MIA because I have been hibernating during the rainy and miserable Oregon winter. After this post, I might retreat once again. But while I’m awake I thought I would provide some helpful information that I have found in the last month-  I had to get new tires; so I came across this article about how to make sure you aren’t getting ripped off.  It has a couple good links and some “cocktail conversation” level information that helped me to make an informed decision.  Since it helped me – I obviously assume it is going to help you too. So here you go!
Signing off until the sun comes back out -
—————————————————————————— contributor

Boy, do people like to vent about brake jobs.

When the “10 Tips for Keeping Your Money in Your Wallet” column launched last month, many readers wrote in to share frustrating experiences involving brake jobs done on their vehicles. Jackie Herndon of Atlanta reminisced about the time a mechanic waved her over to her car – (“I call it the ‘you-need-more-money wave,’ ” she wrote) – and told her she needed new rotors, even though she absolutely did not.“Well, I take a look (I might as well have been looking at an alien) and of course I don’t let on that I have no idea what I’m looking at,” Herndon recalled. “I then turn to the mechanic and say, ‘Is there a special on today – are you giving rotors away for free?’ He looked taken aback and said, ‘What?’ I calmly said to him, ‘If you’re not giving rotors away for free, put the (brake) pads on and let me get out of here.’ … He sputtered, saw I meant business, placed the pads on at the agreed-upon price – and I drove away from there and for the next two years without needing pads or rotors.”

Way to go, Jackie! Granted, that’s not to say you’ll never need new rotors, because someday you might. But that time around you didn’t, and it would have been a shame to spend money on parts that didn’t really need to be replaced.

All the feedback about brake jobs prompted me to ask my brother, Eric Coffey, to provide some insights about this important and potentially confusing area of car repair. Eric has worked in auto service in the Tampa Bay area of Florida for more than 10 years. Here is his advice along with tips from other sources, including the excellent automotive Web site

1. Educate yourself. Go to this Web site – – and spend five minutes learning what these terms mean: disc brake assembly (which includes rotors, brake pads and calipers); drum brake assembly (which includes drums, brake shoes and wheel cylinders); brake hoses, and master cylinder. A brake job usually involves replacing the brake linings (which means replacing the brake pads and/or shoes), resurfacing the rotors and/or drums, adding new brake fluid and bleeding the system as needed, and looking for other worn components.

2. Know when to wonder. In many cases, rotors and drums can be resurfaced rather than replaced altogether. Mind you, sometimes they really will need to be replaced if they’ve become worn beyond specific safety limits. Other potentially necessary repairs could include the rebuilding or replacement of failed calipers, wheel cylinders or the master cylinder. But as a general rule, ask for reasons and evidence if anything other than your brake pads or shoes need to be replaced and the rotors or drums need to be resurfaced.

3. Don’t be duped. One common sales approach involves calling attention to differences in a vehicle’s brake-pad wear. One side may look more worn than the other, and you may be told that this could indicate a hydraulic system failure. However, such uneven wear is usually normal. It happens when you stop your vehicle under different conditions, such as when you are turning. Be aware that no major system component replacement is typically needed to correct this. Get a second opinion if someone tells you otherwise and you’re concerned about it.

4. Ask about fit. Some shops routinely sell less expensive, generic brake pads to reduce cost. That’s fine – and safe, too – but just be aware that such pads don’t necessarily fit every vehicle well and, as a consequence, they may make excessive noise. To avoid this, you can opt for factory brake pads designed specifically for your model of vehicle. Such pads are typically available through dealerships.

5. Stay on high alert. Some shops across the country routinely and aggressively promote deep discounts on brake jobs. For instance, you may be intrigued by a $99 front- and rear-axle brake-pad special, as Jackie Herndon of Atlanta had been. If you want to take advantage of one of these deals, be prepared for the possibility that the store may try to sell you new rotors, calipers or other parts. Don’t automatically cave in and agree to have such work done without making sure it’s absolutely necessary.

6. Make your signoff a requirement. When you drop your car off at a shop to have your brakes checked out – or anything checked out, for that matter – say that you would like to receive a phone call with a cost estimate before any work begins. Politely clarify that nothing should happen until you’ve authorized it first.

7. Shop around. When you’re told what kind of brake repairs you may need and how much those repairs may cost, take good notes. Then quickly call three or four other shops and ask how much they would charge for the exact same work. Try a variety of businesses, including independent shops, chain outlets and dealerships.

8. Check the store’s reputation and complaint history. Once you’ve zeroed in on a shop, visit the Web site of the Better Business Bureau ( to see how many consumers have complained about the repair shop. You also can contact your state’s consumer affairs department or attorney general’s office about the company’s track record. To find contact information for your state, click here ( ).


9. Know when to give the green light. For the sake of convenience, you could authorize the shop that’s holding your car to do the work if its price seems fair enough and its reputation is sound. No matter where you go, though, ask whether the repairs come with a written warranty, and say you’d like to keep or at least see your old parts if some parts will indeed need to be replaced. (You may be charged an additional fee if you want to keep your calipers, master cylinder or shoes rather than simply inspect them.)

10. Wrap things up. When the time comes to pick up your car, look the bill over carefully and make sure everything matches up with the estimate you had been given and the notes you had taken. If you spot anything you didn’t authorize, speak up about it.



NOW – How sustainable are brakes you might be wondering……. welp. Here is a paragraph that I found during my search, and a link to the rest of the article. I don’t know yet how this translates to Oregon but at least its a topic that is being talked about:

In 2010 Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law Senate Bill (SB) 346 – powerful legislation that phases out copper from vehicle brake pads to make the state’s urban waterways safer for salmon and other species, save cities billions of dollars in potential environmental cleanup costs, and enable manufacturers to provide safe, reliable brakes for drivers. The legislation, and the process of developing it, shows that Californians can protect clean water and have a strong economy – and that when business, environmental and government stakeholders work together, our state legislature can approve meaningful environmental legislation. Read the rest.