Category Archives: shopping

Back-to-School #CleanCouponing Twitter Chat

Back-to-school time is nearly upon the typical American family, and preparing children for this transition is no small test of parental endurance!  Could you possibly fill the class supply list for under $50?  Why did the teacher ask for the impossible-to-find brand of #2 pencils?  Why did Johnny have to outgrow every pair of shoes during the summer?  Should you choose school lunch or pack your own?

pile of books with one book open on empty green  school board background

Join a back-to-school themed #CleanCouponing chat on Thursday, July 23 from 9 to 10 pm Eastern time, when @CleanCouponing and @FlourSackMama host this monthly chat on Twitter.

Please help me spread the word by copying and tweeting this:

Join me for Back-to-School #CleanCouponing chat with @CleanCouponing & @FlourSackMama Thurs, July 23, 9 pm ET!

We’re inviting public/private school parents, homeschooling parents, and any parents who wants to share tips and encouragement about this annual rite of passage.  We’ll cover some tips on stocking up with supplies, encouraging schools to be wellness-minded and eco-friendly, and green back-to-school ideas that could save you money.

Please follow guest panelists @Mike_Schade who is Mind the Store campaign director for @SaferChemicals@Langford_Mom who can speak to homeschooling, mom Tamara at @LeadSafeAmerica, Spit That Out author @PaigeWolf, former Kindergarten teacher @IrishRed02 and @CleanAirMoms_TN!

Five #CleanCouponing Back-to-School tips…

May #CleanCouponing Twitter Chat is a Safe & Healthy Garden Party

*Enter here for a great #CleanCouponing giveaway by Naturepedic!

Spring cleaning, school-end festivities, summer planning, garden parties — who’s ready to a sunny celebration of all things #CleanCouponing for this warm-season transition?

You are invited to join the next #CleanCouponing Twitter chat with a Garden Party theme that is all about choosing healthy, safe products for our families!  We’ll get the latest on #MindtheStore efforts for retailers to vet product ingredients before they try selling those products to you.  We’ll catch up on the efforts to improve public policy on safer chemicals – which ultimately affects what goes into all our homes.  We’ll have tips on steps you can take right now to spring clean your home of some toxic chemicals.

Clean Couponing May Chat

We’re honored to host as special guests at this garden party both Women’s Voices for the Earth and the coalition Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families!  We’ll update you on the latest #MindtheStore news and more.

We’re also excited about some enthusiastic and knowledgeable blogging panelists who’ll be joining the conversation to share how they’re tackling safer chemicals issues in their own homes and lives. Of course, you are invited too!

Just show up on Twitter next Thursday, May 14 at 9 pm Eastern time and use hashtag #CleanCouponing to take part in the conversation.  I’m working on some related giveaways for you.

I’d really appreciate it if you could help spread the word about this by inviting everyone you know. Here is a suggested tweet:

Learn what @women4earth & @SaferChemicals R doing for you!  #CleanCouponing Garden Party May 14, 9 pm ET by @CleanCouponing @FlourSackMama!

Here’s to More #CleanCouponing in 2015!

Are you fed up yet with the rush to save a dollar at the grocery store, only to find you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the box of food-like stuff you bought with your coupon? I used to revel at how many dollars I “saved” when I clipped coupons for name brand products.

Baby with Ring

Then I realized I was frugal with more than money.  Parenthood awakened a new sensibility about caring what was in the products I would buy to feed, clothe and care for my babies.  The more I learned, the more frugal I became about values like health, quality and reducing wasteful plastic packaging.

#CleanCouponing is not the traditional way of looking at couponing.  It’s about sometimes clipping coupons and sometimes saving money, of course.  But it’s more than that.  It’s about finding a way to balance all of the values you and your family choose for yourselves along with living in the real world of finite resources for grocery budgets.  It’s about doing what works for you and about being creative enough to stretch a dollar without compromising nutrition and health.

Once each month in 2015, we’ll continue our #CleanCouponing Twitter chats or parties hosted by Flour Sack Mama of the parent Flour Sack Mama blog.  We’ll feature leaders in all areas of #CleanCouponing from food and home to fitness and family and beyond.  If you’re a blogger who would like to enlist for the panel of one of these chats, or a nonprofit that would like to be featured, or even if you’re interested in sponsorship, you can give us some input here in this quick online survey.  The survey is also a chance for you to share which #CleanCouponing topics you are interested in seeing in 2015.

Thanks to all of the special guests, blogger panelists and sponsors who’ve supported the beginnings of our #CleanCouponing chats in 2014.  Here’s to an even better year of #CleanCouponing for all!

Traditional food

#CleanCouponing Holiday Food edition Twitter Party November 20

Ready for Thanksgiving?  How about winter holidays beyond that?  Do you use traditional recipes for Hannukah?  Do you always prepare cranberry sauce just like your grandmother used to make it?  Are you wondering how to pick the best turkey?  Tired of turkey and looking for alternatives?  What about GMOs in your holiday dinner?

Roasted meat with garnish and cowberry pie on festive table

Let’s talk turkey and more when we gather on Twitter for the next #CleanCouponing Twitter party to talk Holiday Food!  The event is set for Thursday, November 20th from 8 to 9 pm.  Follow along with hashtag #CleanCouponing and if you ask or answer questions, be sure to use the hashtag as well so everyone can have a conversation.

Follow current and former #CleanCouponing panelists here via Twitter list.

We’ll be joined by some special guests from the Pollan Family Table cookbook.  Plus, we’re hosting special nonprofit guest Center for Food Safety.  Be sure to enter here to win a cookbook from the Pollans or a $50 gift card from Flour Sack Mama.  Plus, add your Twitter handle when you RSVP to the event below.  Looking forward to chatting on Thursday!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Group running on beach jogging

You’re Invited to a Strong, not Scared #CleanCouponing Party!

*Special event post sponsored by Rustic Maka and Santa Barbara Bar in order to bring you more quality content and giveaways.

You’re invited to a special Strong, not Scared edition of our #CleanCouponing Twitter parties!  Chances are you’ve heard some scary statistics, like one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer or one in three women will be diagnosed with some type of cancer in her lifetime (chances are one in two for men).

While society may be awash in a sea of pink marketing gimmicks, especially in October, we’re focusing on cancer prevention.  Two organizations that make an earnest effort to help women understand environmental causes of cancer will be our special guests on October 23rd, available to answer questions and point you to practical resources.  We’re honored that both the Breast Cancer Fund and Women’s Voices for the Earth will be joining us at 9 pm Eastern, 6 pm Pacific for this latest #CleanCouponing Twitter party.

Clean Couponing Oct 23 Twitter Party

One personal connection for us here is Anne’s effort to raise $500 for the Breast Cancer Fund via this direct fundraiser for the organization.  It’s in memory of Anne’s mom who was lost to another type of cancer, and in honor of so many others who’ve been coping with the disease.  We appreciate your helping get the word out.

How does wellness and cancer prevention tie into the #CleanCouponing theme?  At this companion to the Flour Sack Mama blog, we say we’re frugal with more than money. That means that while we’re always looking for a discount to share with you, we know you often shop with other values in mind.  Particularly this month, we know you’re getting wiser about products flashing a pink ribbon that instead might contain cancer causing chemicals.  Informed consumers know that’s no longer acceptable.  So, we want to bring you some alternatives and a Twitter chat where everyone can share ideas and even talk about your favorite brands.

A couple of our favorite brands that have made this particular Twitter event possible in October are the scrumptious Santa Barbara Bar and the artisan body care company Rustic Maka.   Check out those links for generous giveaways from both both brands.

Here are the special #CleanCouponing discounts for you:

At the Rustic Maka website use code “Clean15″ for 15% off your order.

At the Santa Barbara Bar website use code “SantaBarbaraBarClean” for 15% off your order.

These discount codes expire January 17, 2015.

Be sure to follow our special guests @BreastCancerFnd and @Women4Earth, our sponsors @tastySBbars and @RustickMaka, co-hosts @CleanCouponing and @FlourSackMama and this diverse mix of Twitter party panelists: @TheHousingHour, @ChooseWiser, @AFewGoodJens, @ginabad, @AlmostTruth, @massgreendad.

Here’s a button-sized graphic in case you’d like to add it to your site and link back to this page.

Oct 23 Twitter party button

For now, RSVP below for the #CleanCouponing Twitter party and tell your friends about it. Let’s not be scared of those statistics.  We are not powerless.  We’re also not settling for a month of pink without real emphasis on prevention. Let’s empower one another by sharing information and staying strong for ourselves and those we love!

Wraps Lunch CC

Rock the Lunch Box Back-to-School Ideas & Giveaway!

*This is a sponsored post in cooperation with Organic Valley, Stonyfield Organic & other Rock the Lunch Box brands, bringing you yummy content plus a giveaway!

We’re all inundated with back-to-school deals this time of year, matching prices and clipping coupons.  But is it really a good deal if the product isn’t a wholesome food we’d normally feed our kids?

Because at Clean Couponing we’re frugal with more than money, we’re looking for real food.  Even when we buy packaged, processed foods for convenience, we’re scanning for recognizable ingredients without a bunch of fillers, preservatives or artificial colors.

Melon Ball CU

An entire spectrum of colors is available when lunch planning starts in the produce aisle, garden or farmers’ market.  Those are all great places to get kids involved.

I asked my young daughter to draw her dream lunch for school.  She spent a lot of time designing a very pretty tote, then she clearly indicated she likes strawberries, milk and chocolate.  While I’m not promising candy bars at lunchtime, I can agree on chocolate milk sometimes, IF it’s organic milk from Organic Valley’s dairy cooperative.

Kid Art Lunch CC

Chocolate milk is a part of the healthy lunch we created along with other foods from Rock the Lunch Box participating brands.

Most importantly, my daughter helped me choose fresh carrots, cherry tomatoes and a bell pepper from the produce section and picked green beans from our little organic garden.  She really likes watermelon, so I tried mixing that up with cantaloupe since they’re priced low at the end of summer.  Another time, we’ll put strawberries in her lunch box; and when we can’t find great deals on fresh fruits, we’ll use frozen.

We created a mini-wrap using tortillas from Rudi’s Organic Bakery, leftover pasta sauce, turkey and bell pepper.  She had a little ranch dressing for dipping her crisp vegetables, and a colby jack cheese Stringles from Organic Valley.  Plus, we cut a circle of Rudi’s gluten-free bread and added almond butter for a high-protein addition to her lunch.  It’s likely the Annie’s chewy granola bar and Honest Kids juice will get saved for her snack later in the day.

Wraps Lunch CC

You’ll find hundreds more fun lunch ideas plus cool coupons at rockthelunchbox.com. Getting dollars and cents off wholesome foods you’d want your kids to eat:  that’s what we call “clean couponing!”

One lucky Clean Couponing or Flour Sack Mama blog reader will win a Rock the Lunch Box toolkit, featuring a Laptop Lunches Bento and free food coupons, a $50 value!  Enter via the Rafflecopter form here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We tried another Rock the Lunch Box combination at the Flour Sack Mama blog!

Thanks to the fun #RocktheLunchbox brands for food samples & lunch gear.

This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. All opinions are my own.

Weinervention dogs & squash

Family #Wienervention Cookout with Applegate & Friends

*Posting in cooperation with Applegate, to bring you more yummy content!

Will your family’s end-of-summer cookout include fun food like hot dogs or healthy foods like grilled veggies?  We shouldn’t have to choose, should we?  Maybe your family, like mine, includes some of us who could live with less meat, AND those like my hungry husband who thinks it’s not a cookout without meat on the grill!

Is there a compromise?

Weinervention dogs & squash

Applegate is helping our family work through this meaty issue with a #Wienervention. Instead of having to adopt a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy to have a picnic, we can add all-beef hot dogs to the menu along with garden-grown heirloom tomatoes and squash.

These hot dogs come from humanely raised animals that haven’t been fed regular doses of antibiotics or growth hormones.  They’re minimally processed, not “cured” like most hot dogs, which avoids suspect preservatives like nitrates possibly linked to cancer.  Their ingredient list is meat and spices — no fattening corn fillers.

Family-style wienervention clean couponing

Here at Clean Couponing, we’re not exactly saying you should consume hot dogs every day; but if you choose processed meats, look for “cleaner wieners” like these!  We love the idea that with a #Wienervention we can ease family members like stubborn carnivorous husbands (ok, he eats a few vegetables) toward a more wholesome approach to food.

Hubby and the kids all agreed these wieners have great flavor!  Our fun #Wienervention kit included some yummy toppings and gear.  Did you know that Applegate weiners and Rudi’s buns can create a gluten-free hot dog experience?  Pretty good, huh?

I would personally like to see Applegate go one step further and be able to assure us that the livestock, even in their “natural” line, has not been fed genetically modified grain. Currently, that assurance only comes if you choose their “organic” varieties.  But as far as grocery store food goes, Applegate is far ahead of other deli meat makers.

If your family needs a #Wienervention too, you can visit the Applegate website for coupons plus enter to win a year’s supply of “cleaner wieners!”

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Is Palm Oil Healthy For Your Family? Dr. Weil Weighs In

So, you’re reading more ingredient labels and watching out for things that don’t sound like food.  You may be delighted to read about an ingredient like an oil that at least sounds naturally good for you and the planet.  The following guest post from Rainforest Action Network helps clear up some confusion about palm oil.

by Ashley Schaeffer Yidliz, Rainforest Action Network

Mother Ashley Schaeffer Yidliz with baby boy

Ashley Schaeffer Yidliz of Rainforest Action Network

Now that we’ve added trans fats to the list of ingredients to look for – and avoid – in supermarket labels, and the FDA is poised to ban them from the food supply altogether, we’re good, right?

Not so fast, warns Dr. Andrew Weil, America’s leading expert in integrative medicine.

Conflict Palm Oil is often used to replace those artery-clogging trans fats. It makes a good substitute because palm oil, like partially hydrogenated oil, is solid at room temperature. But is it actually healthy? Continue reading

SamplesZoeganics1

Giveaway: Zoeganics Offers a Fresh NEW Approach to Clean

*The following is a sponsored post for Zoeganics, but my opinions are always my own!

We’re thrilled to have woman-owned green business Zoeganics co-sponsoring our March #CleanCouponing Twitter party on March 6!  If you’ve been concerned about toxins in typical cleaning products but underwhelmed by non-toxic choices on the store shelf, this may be the new product you need to try.  Zoeganics shared five new cleaning products for us to try at home, and we want to let you know how they worked for us.

KitchenTableFlourSackMama

We’ve all discovered in recent years that the freshly cleaned house smells we grew up with were often deceptively toxic.  Back in the day when I learned about keeping house from my grandmother and mother, who knew we were all breathing in fumes unkind to our lungs and potentially exposing ourselves to nervous system damage, DNA damage and cancer?  I learned that chlorine bleach and, used separately, ammonia products, were my two most useful tools  around the house.  As recently as my youngest daughter’s toddler days, I was still cleaning up bathrooms with bleach products, until the night when she struggled to breathe and thank God we had a rescue inhaler nearby. Continue reading

HoneyDewNaturalsGiveaway

Why CleanCouponing.com Prefers Rafflecopter for Sponsored Giveaways

RafflecopterCrewCleanCouponing

(L to R) Rafflecopter Product Manager Jared Polivka with Rafflecopter Co-Founder Greg Goodson

You’ve been following all your favorite blogs, including FlourSackMama.com and our NEW CleanCouponing.com.  You’ve been seeing occasional fun giveaways, but some of you have been hesitant to enter.  Here’s why you should go ahead and try it!

When bloggers make connections with brands that are a good fit for their niche, for instance #CleanCouponing, it may be something that you’re interested in.  In the case of Honey Dew Naturals sponsoring our February #CleanCouponing Twitter party, the products we’re giving away are from a line I’ve personally reviewed, and I love them.  I appreciate that this family company discloses all of their ingredients and uses non-toxic ingredients mild enough for their own young children.

We prefer using Rafflecopter to run giveaways like this because it provides a third party service that is convenient for everyone.  It’s reputable and used by over 100,000 bloggers.  I recently had the opportunity to meet Rafflecopter co-founder Greg Goodson, who helped start the Boulder, Colorado company.  ”We saw folks trying to run a giveaway and the way they were running giveaways was just very inefficient. So we said to ourselves, ‘we think there’s a need for a product that would make it easy to run a giveaway on your website and blog.’ ” explained Goodson, “That was three years ago.  We’ve been doing that ever since.” Continue reading