Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cooking from Scratch - Make Your Own Peanut Butter

One of the things I was on my soapbox about in this post  was the high price of peanut butter.  There is not much to making peanut butter so you are getting just the picture above.  I know, my creativity is just too much for you isn't it?  Well, here is how you make your own peanut butter:  find some peanuts that you like, put them in the food processor (or blender), and blend until smooth or as chunky as you want.  I did need to add about a teaspoon of vegetable oil to get the peanut butter as smooth as we like it.  I bought dry roasted unsalted peanuts that were mu local store brand.  I paid $4.79 for 2 lbs of peanuts and I am expecting that to make me 3 small or two large jars.    I also bought some natural almonds and made some almond butter.  I believe I bought the bad they sell at Aldi for $5.00 to use as a test bag, and now that I know it works I might look for a source of natural almonds that I can buy in bulk.  The almond butter is a little thicker than peanut butter but I love it on a whole grain english muffin for breakfast.  It keeps me full for hours! 

The other factor to include in this is I can make more healthy nut butters.  For example I can add ground flax, etc to get more omega 3's.  It may be a way to sneak some vitamins in if you have picky eaters.  You can add sugar if you want to, I don't, but I know your children may not eat it without sugar.  After eating it once or twice I really did not notice the lack of sugar anymore.  Maybe you can add some and decrease it with each batch until the family is used to it?  I store the butters in a glass jelly jar or larger canning jar in the refrigerator.  I have not tried to can it in a water bath yet but plan to try, i will have to let you know how that works out. 

If you give it a try please leave us a comment!

Make it Yourself Monday-on Thursday!

I think you all know by now I am not the most consistent blogger, and I started school this week which is making me even more tired!  Yes I started school on Tuesday, I am going back to college to be a pastry chef!  I am so excited! 

Anyway the picture above is from my niece's 5th birthday party.  She loves Strawberry Shortcake and I offered to make her cake.  I looked online for ideas and found mostly character cakes made from character pans but I wanted something different.  Between the two of us we settled on a cake that looked like a strawberry with a Strawberry Shortcake doll next to it.  I decided to surprise her and make Strawberry's house.  This is not an exact replica, but she knew what it was and she loved it, and I had fun making it for her. 

Not to discount my work, but it was not very difficult to make.  I spent about 5 hours on the entire cake- including the sheet cake underneath(more pictures to follow).  I decided to make the strawberry by cooking a cake in a glass bowl - you can use a mix or make it from scratch.  This actually came out quite well, he cracks on the top as the cake cooked naturally formed the cake into a fat little strawberry shape.     Then I bought a small bucket of red fondant from Michael's, and I used those 40% off coupons in the paper.  Also, every time I make a purchase it seems to spit another coupon out, and no one seems to have an issue with me going through the line a few times.   Fondant is not as hard as I thought- you warm it in the microwave according to the package directions and roll it out- I used a regular rolling pin, not a  special fondant pin.  I made sure it was large enough, and laid it over the strawberry, then I cut excess off the bottom,  and smoothed lines with warm water.  I used a simple leaf cookie cutter for the leaves, and rolled yellow fondant into tiny seeds with my fingers- that took the longest!  Then I just let my imagination get carried away! I used candy from the dollar store and from my sister's stash to decorate.  All I did was look up a photo online of the toy, and used my niece's toy as a model, and did my best.  I used little raspberry candies for bushes, and tiny butterfly sprinkles in different spots on the flowers and leaves.  Tootsie Rolls cut in half and dots are the walkway.  Next to the house I rolled some blue fondant into an uneven shape and laid it out as a pond.  I made a little fish from yellow fondant, and a lifesaver raft.   I also took a stick of gum, rolled it on top to make a headrest, and made a raft for Strawberry Shortcake to swim in her blueberry pond!   I am not quite comfortable yet making characters out of fondant or frosting, so I used my niece's doll as a decoration. 

Are you still scared?  Don't be.  This is a great way to wow your child and you do not need to spend a lot of money.  If you keep a well stocked pantry of  ingredients or cake mixes bought with coupons you can save money right from the start.  My sister keeps a basket of all of the candy the kids get from parties and goody bags, and you can do that too.  You can purchase frosting and other items at stores like Michael's, Joann's, and AC Moore with weekly 40% off coupons.  It takes just as much preparation in advance as it does to shop your regular weekly store deals.

As for fondant, I discovered this past week that if I have trouble molding it myself, I can use a cookie cutter, or a candy mold.   

This past week I made a Winnie the Pooh cake for a baby shower.  I was really stressing about the Pooh Bear.  What I decided to do was buy a large 3 inch teddy bear cookie cutter for 99 cents and color fondant with food coloring, and not roll it out.  I used the cookie cutter to cut the bear thick and then I added more fondant for his tummy and his snout.  I used the bear cutter again to cut some red fondant left over from the strawberry to cut out Pooh's red shirt.  I used left over yellow to make tiny bees, just by rolling them with my fingers, and placed them on with a toothpick.   I used black writer icing for the stripes, and some white fondant to make wings.  I used a giant cupcake pan to make the beehive -I just used the top part of the cupcake and frosted it yellow! 

Now, had I thought a little more in advance I learned I could color my fondant with frosting coloring, and pop it into a candy mold to make flowers, leaves, etc.    That is the point of this, you learn as you go!  I encourage you to try some fun, creative new ideas for Halloween or the Holidays, and use the Wilton website for inspiration and assistance.  I will post more cakes and ideas as I go....good luck!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

New Pampers Gifts to Grow Codes!

There are two new codes for your Pampers Gifts to Grow  account.  these should add 30 points to your account: 


Monday, August 30, 2010

Lifestyle Changes= Couponing Changes

I won't spend a ton of time repeating what I wrote in the post below labeled Make it Yourself Monday, but I will encourage you to read my thoughts and get a little more perspective on why I am making some changes in life.   I've been struggling for a few months with the balance between couponing and buying healthy foods for my family.  Yes, there are coupons for healthy food, but not a lot for the foods I want to buy.  For example, I like to eat peanut butter with no sugar.  I have been buying it from health food stores, or farmer's markets, at a cost of $7.50 per jar.  I have also purchased Skippy Natural which is low in sugar for almost $4 per jar.  It took me some time but I figured out I could make my money go farther by purchasing bulk peanuts, with not salt, for about $7.50 and make several jars of peanut butter!  Most coupons for peanut butter are 75 cents off two, not saving me much money and it still has a little sugar so I am not even getting exactly what I want.  I am stretching my food dollars and getting healthy, fresh, wholesome food at the same time.  Most of the time it is as simple as searching on Swagbucks for a recipe and then I can earn points toward gift cards at the same time!  

Another great way I have been saving money this summer is shopping at the farmer's market!  How tired are you of me preaching about this?  I've been able to buy produce in bulk for cheap and have been canning it to have for winter when prices on produce are sky high and they are shipped from hundreds of miles away.  Don't you just hate it when you buy lettuce at the store and it is rotten in two days?  It makes me crazy! I may as well throw money in the trash!  You can also do this by purchasing fresh produce on sale at the grocery store and canning it.  Check out Fresh Preserving's website - there are a ton of recipes and I was surprised to find I do not need to add salt to most vegetables to preserve them!

For me, I am able to spend less time clipping and organizing coupons, and shopping for deals.  I spend less time because I am not traveling from store to store all the time.  That may not be a benefit to you, but it is important to me.  I still seek out great deals on other products, like shampoo, toothpaste, cold medicine, etc.  Much like couponing though,  once I master cooking from scratch and canning, I plan to begin making all natural cleaning products from scratch,  as another layer of this natural lifestyle I am trying to achieve. 

I hope that you will join us and learn a few new things!   Oh, and by the way, in order to make my own peanut butter I just place peanuts in the food processor and process until they turn smooth-and you can make them as smooth or chunky as you like! 

Make it Yourself Monday Homemade Vanilla Extract

I, along with my sister have, have been making a conscious effort this summer to buy organic from the local farmer's market.  It has been really wonderful but it has sparked something in me to start eating more organic and homemade products.  A few months ago I saw the maker of the documentary Food Inc. on the Oprah show.  Oprah discussed the fact that our foods have so many preservatives, and added hormones & antibiotics than the food our grandparents ate.  This really stuck with me.  The last time I felt really well and healthy I was eating organic foods, and meats with no added growth hormone I lost 50 pounds, and slept like a baby!  If the thoughts above are not currently a high priority for you, let me appeal to your money-minded side, which is really what this blog is all about!  I decided to make a small jar of vanilla extract as a test, and if this comes out well, I am going to be using it to give as gifts for the holidays, most likely in some gift baskets with other homemade items like peanut and almond butter.    I used a canning jar since we have so many but you can find many jars at garage sales, thrift stores or Dollar stores. 

I took a whole vanilla pod, split it lengthwise, and cut  it into several pieces.  I estimated an entire pod based on recipes I had seen, like one vanilla bean to 3 tablespoons of vodka.  That was not enough for me to make.  I added almost a full  canning jar of  Grey Goose that had been given to us as a gift.    Now, I just shake the jar every day for 4 weeks, after that you can strain it and bottle it. 

Since I estimated I will taste it after 4 weeks and add more vanilla beans if needed.  This will give me plenty of time to have this ready for Holiday gifts.  Here are a few recipes that can fit multiple needs.  Enjoy! 

 I will be posting the "recipe" for my almond and peanut butters as well.....


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What Are you Waiting For???? Join MyPoints already!!!!!!!!!!

I have been earning money through MyPoints for a little over a year now.  Above are two gift cards that I redeemed point for last year and the bonus FTD gift cards that came with them. I would estimate that in about 30 days time I earn enough points for one $25.00 gift card or two $10.00 gift cards.  It does not stop at CVS and Wags either!  You can redeem points for Pottery Barn, Old Navy, and all of their friends! 

So how does it work?   This is the best part, you have a few ways to earn points.  First, they will send you emails and when you click on the link to read the advertisement you get 5 points.  Second, they offer surveys.  Most offer 50 to 60 points for completing and 10 if you take the screener and do not qualify.  I earned 50 points tonight on surveys that I did not qualify for!  Third, you can print coupons off of their site and get points for each one you use!!!!!!!!!  I am talking coupons like you find on, not restrictive-the-store-is-50-miles-away-coupons.   Fourth, you can go to their site, find a store you want to shop at, and earn points per dollar for shopping online through MyPoints!  Finally, you can download their toolbar and use it to search instead of Google, etc., and get points for that! Could it be any easier?  It is like they are just handing points to you people!  I mean, get on the bandwagon already!  Here is a sample of what I earned today:

My Account

Manage your MyPoints account

Account Balance

Member Since:

(This week's 5 most recent activities.)
View: go go

  1. Pending (09-18-10)

    Michaels BonusMail Download Coupon
    +15 Points
    Questions about this transaction? See all related transactions. | Contact member services.
  2. Pending (09-18-10)

    MyPoints SurveyMail Non-qualifier
    +10 Points
    Questions about this transaction? See all related transactions. | Contact member services.
  3. Pending (09-18-10)

    MyPoints SurveyMail Non-qualifier
    +10 Points
    Questions about this transaction? See all related transactions. | Contact member services.
  4. Pending (09-18-10)

    MyPoints SurveyMail Non-qualifier
    +10 Points
    Questions about this transaction? See all related transactions. | Contact member services.

    I am saving my points- hah, no pun intended-for Christmas shopping.  I think I will redeem at the beginning of November.  The last time I redeemed points the cards arrived within days.  I almost forgot to tell you, you really have to keep me on track!  MyPoints has now added a PrePaid Visa card, so you can shop at multiple stores!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    So, I do have one little favor to ask you to pay forward??? Post a comment here or send an email to and let us send you an invitation to join?  

    Hellloooooooooooooooooo??????  Did you hear me?  Send us an email or post a comment!  Then invite your friends to join so you can earn even more points!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It pays to call Customer Service

Look at my brand new food processor! She retails for $99.99!  I got her for free! Yes FREEEEEEEE!  Thanks to my ingenious husband!  Last summer I bought a much less gorgeous model on clearance for $30.00.  The box was damaged and I knew it had been returned but I took a chance.  It worked! We were so thrilled!  At Christmas time I took it over to my sister's for what must be the 1oth annual Cookie Baking Day, and it would not start!  I brought it home and told my hubby and as most men would, he assumed it was user error.  I put it away and did not think of it again.  Two weeks ago I wanted to use it, and, surprise surprise,  it still did not work.  Hubby tried it, and well, he must not know how to use a food processor either.  He took out the manual and called Oster and we did not have a receipt but these come with a two year warranty-which we also had no paperwork for.  Unfortunately, Oster does not make that model anymore so we were just going to have to make do with a shiny, beautiful new model, with her attachment for making juice, and french fries, and an extra blade, and the little spatula, and they all come in this cozy little attachment container (pictured below).    Yes, those are canned Green Beans behind it- on sale at our local Price Chopper for $1.29 per lb this week.  Oh, and in the picture above?  I made my own homemade peanut butter tonight!  The can of peanuts was $3.49 at Target and will make about 5 jars!  The added benefit-I can add as little sugar or other additives as possible!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Free Breast Cancer Walk Sneakers for Me (Hooray!)

So you may have read my blog post here about how I'm a 5-year breast cancer survivor and I'm going to be walking 60 miles for breast cancer this Fall and all of that. Each week Susan G. Komen sends it's walkers a training email and last week mine said it was time to purchase a 2nd pair of sneakers to start breaking in for the walk (only 9 weeks away!). Well, cut to the quick, there just isn't enough money in the budget right now to spend around $100 or so on good, quality walking sneakers. The ones I've had my eye on, a pair from New Balance, designed specifically for walking and with this walk in mind AND being raved about 3-day walkers on all the 3-day blogs and sites are averaging anywhere from $75-$100....and here's me, racking my brain, where am I going to find an extra hundred dollars this week? Eureka!!
A few months ago, I did a 3 day focus group survey for 20/20 Research panel and was paid with a $100 Amazon gift certificate. I looked up the sneakers on Amazon, ordered my size and used my gift certificate with no money coming out of my weekly or monthly budget! My new pink sneakers are on their way. I can't wait to try them out. I also did another focus group survey for 20/20 Research a couple of weeks ago and am awaiting my $75 payment! If you have never looked into Focus Groups as an extra way to make money, you might like to try it out. I did have to spend time legitimately answering questions, reviewing a product (or, actually the idea of it) and responding to different marketing ideas for it. But I got to do it all from the comfort of my couch, during time I would have been watching tv or waiting to pick up a child from preschool...totally worth it for $100! 20/20 sends me screeners several times per month - sometimes for points toward earning different gift certificates, etc. and sometimes for the big lengthy focus groups that pay a lot. I learned about Research/ Focus groups from Carrie at Money Saving Methods here.
This post is linked to Life As Mom's Frugal Friday here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

House Party Fisher Price Perfect Playdate Party

I received this in my email at 4PM today so hurry up and sign up here!  If selected your
kit will contain the following:
  1. 5 new Fisher-Price toys:
    • Go Baby Go!
      Stride-to-Ride Dino
    • Laugh & Learn
      Learn & Move Music Station
    • Laugh & Learn
      Learning Kitchen
    • Lil' Zoomers
      Spinnin' Sounds Speedway
    • Stack 'n Surprise Blocks
      Musical Croc Block Wagon
  2. 10 Brillant Basics
         Rock-a-Stack® Toys
  3. 10 Fisher-Price Day and Night
         Diapers sample packs
  4. ...and much more!
New to House Party ?  They promote various products by sending you free kits and coupons to share with your friends in exchange for having a party to show off the products- it completely free of charge!  My Sister had a Ziploc party last year and we gave away a free pack on the blog.  So we can vouch for its authenticity and the fact that there are no fees to you!  You need to host the party on the date specified or close to it, and take photos or videos and upload them to the House Party  site.  Good Luck!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Free-Gifting from Vocalpoint

Did anyone get this sample in the mail last week from Vocalpoint?
When you open it up, it holds 3 of the new "skinny" diapers from Pampers and bunch of Pampers coupons.
A $3 off Cruisers and 3 $1.50 off coupons, too!

My thrifty Shop Without Money Sister, Stephanie, (who has no use for diapers right now), threw this diaper sample, mock purse & all into a friend's Baby Shower Wishing Well last week. What a great idea! (The idea is that these new Pampers are so skinny you can ditch the diaper bag and carry a skinny & fashionable pure). If you haven't registered with Vocalpoint, you can go here  to sign up. They send free samples all the time, just for a little -and I do mean Little - participation on their site!
What are your free-gifting ideas?

This post is linked to Life as Mom's Frugal Fridays here.

Tulle Flower Corsages for the Ballet

Last week was my first time at the New York City Ballet at SPAC (Saratoga Performing Arts Center), a large outdoor concert venue in our city. I've always wanted to go to the Ballet but have never quite made it up until now. The reason? My 5-year-old is obsessed with anything ballet, ballerina, tutu or ballet slippers. Just loves 'em. And is getting ready to take her first dance lessons. Well, this evening turned out to be another great night of Entertainment Without Money. It turned out our Entertainment book had some wonderful coupons - the first Get A Complimentary Ticket when another Ticket is purchased (Adult Lawn tickets were $18) and An Adult goes Free when taken to the Ballet by a Child. Price for a child's ticket was $5. Well, by the time we finished getting our gaggle of girls together, this became an Girls' Night Out. It was also American Girl Night at the Ballet so there were fun crafts and activities for the girls to do before the ballet and complimentary iced tea for iced tea parties on the lawn. Ella and I were able to go for $5 for the both of us. Everyone else who attended paid anywhere from $5 for 1 or 2 or $9 for a single adult. Both of Ella's grandmas attended as well as both of her favorite Aunties. Plus several friends with their Moms. It was such a fun evening....but before we went I decided to do something special for the night. At first it was only going to be for the little girls but I ended making them for all the grown-up Girls, too. So I can't credit any ONE single person with this idea or not credit anyone with this idea either. It is a conglomeration of reading many, many crafty/frugal/creative blogs all winter long. Here is what I came up with:
First I bought some tulle at Wal-mart. A yard of white and a yard of hot pink for 97 cents per yard.
When I came home I folded my tulle in half and in half again and again and again and again and then I cut circles out of it. I was trying to save time so I tried to cut as many circles as possible with each cut.

Then I layered the circles on top of one another alternating pink and white here and there. All of my circles were not the same size and my alternating wasn't quite perfect either. Tulle is a little slippery to work with and this was my first time so I did the best I could.

Next, I made little piles of tulle circles and picked them up with a tweezer. I held them above a lit votive holder to melt the edges a little. It crinkles up the edges and makes the tulle sit a little "puffier." Be careful not to hold the tulle too close to the flame as I did on my first time around. I started a small tulle fire in my votive holder and burnt tulle really stinks up the house!

Okay, so I got them a little melty and crinkly and then I took out my package of buttons. I bought a pack of these pastel buttons at Wal-Mart for $1.97. There are something like 150 buttons in a pack.

I just picked a button, stuck it in the middle, and hand-sewed the button to the middle of my circles. Sewing it made them gather up a little, too, giving them a slightly more 3-D effect. It took me all of an hour and half to make these, cost me about $4 in materials, lots of which I have left over and I made 18 corsages. These are the end result.
And here's a picture of us all wearing out corsages ~
Steph, our Mom, and me (Ella made me a wear a dress)
Some of the girls have their dollies wearing them instead!
My Mother-in-law & Sis-in-law

A double your pleasure post: craftiness and thriftiness all in one. I'm so proud!
This post is linked up to
Join us Saturdays at for the weekend wrap up party!
Show Me How at It's a Blog Party

The Girl Creative               Making  
 Made by You Mondays @ Skip to My Lou

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Farmer's Market Bounty

For the first time in a long time, today I hit the local Farmer's Market...and boy was it hot. Why I was finally inspired on a day that our local thermometer read 103 degrees here in upstate NY, I don't know, but I'm glad I went. I got everything pictured above (+1 runaway zucchini that I cannot find) for $7! Fresh and locally grown.
Here's the breakdown:
4 cucumbers @ 50 cents each
2 zucchini @ 2/$1.00 (and they were some big zucchini)
2 yellow squash @ 2/$1.00
6 ears of corn @ $3.00
Yes, I know I could have purchased cucumbers at Walmart for just 50 cents each....but see I went there to do my regular shopping after I left the Farmer's Market and the cucumbers there were much smaller in size. The zucchini and yellow squash in our area has not dropped below $1.99/pound and I know that one of those zucchinis alone is over a pound and I only paid 50 cents for it! We are grilled vegetable fiends here in the summer so believe me, it will get used!
Here are just a few good reasons for shopping at local Farmer's Markets:
*One government study estimates that our produce travels 1300 miles before it hits our local supermarket shelves. Shortly after produce is picked, it starts to lose moisture and nutrients and begins to decay. (Probably why grape tomatoes and peas eaten right off the vine taste SO MUCH better than store bought).
*In an attempt to keep fruits and veggies looking fresher as they travel to you, stores use wax to seal in moisture. That wax holds dangerous chemicals that we should not be ingesting. Unless you scrub or peel that produce (most evident in peppers and apples), you are ingesting icky stuff and if you do peel or scrub, you are losing more nutrients...there's a lose/lose situation.
*Fruits and Veggies grown locally are in season. They are often picked withing 24 hours of coming to market, sometimes within a few hours.
*Shopping at local farmer's markets allows you to ask the farmer's questions about their produce. Often, you'll find lots of organically grown at the Farmer's Market. Sometimes small, local farms cannot afford to be organically certified though they do follow organic practices. Also, since local farmers usually live on their surrounding land, they are more interested in keeping the land clean, healthy and safe (unlike some corporate farmers who don't care if they pollute the land with pesticides and chemicals). If you don't see a sign stating the farm is organically certified, just ask. The farmers are often happy to talk to you.
*Variety, variety, variety! Today I saw a basket of cousa. It's a Mediterranean type of zucchini, the woman told me, with a stronger flavor. It looked like a little ball of zucchini. I think I'm going to try some for my next trip. My mom swears by the purple and yellow carrots you can buy there. I've never seen purple carrots at my local grocery store, have you?
*Supporting the local economy is never a bad thing!
To find a Farmer's Market near you, go here.
By the way, what do you think happened to my runaway zucchini?

This post is linked to Life As Mom's Frugal Friday

Free Summer Movies start Today

Regal Cinemas is offering FREE movies for the munchkins again this summer. You can check their website here for a location close to you (state by state searches) here. Here's what's playing in my area:
Clifton Park Center 8

22 Clifton Country Road
Clifton Park ,NY 12065

Charlotte's Web (G)
Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimarron (G)

Rugrats The Movie (G)
Kung Fu Panda (PG)

Wallace and Gromit (G)
Bee Movie (PG)

Shrek The Third (PG)

Pirates Who Don't Do Anything (G)
Barnyard (PG)

Tale of Despereaux (G)
Igor (PG)

Doogal (G)
Bratz (PG)

Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (G)
Akeelah And The Bee (PG)

The selections are mostly the same, the schedule varies a little from theater to theater. If anyone would like to leave a review of any of the movies in the comments, that would be awesome! My kids are 5 & 8, so I'm wondering which ones will be great for both of them!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Home Made Simple

This offer is no longer available! Sorry!
Sign up for Home Made Simple newsletter and be among the first to know about special offers, samples, coupons, and sweepstakes offers from brands like Cascade®, Dawn®, Febreze®, Mr. Clean®, and Swiffer®. They really do offer great coupons, both online and by snail mail. I often pair them with CVS sales to get great deals like next to free Dawn dishwashing detergent, Febreze sprays and Swiffer refills. Watch for extra buck deals to pair with your Home Made Simple coupons!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Kids Bowl Free for the Summer IS BACK!

If you didn't get an opportunity to try out this program last year, you have another chance. We signed up for this program and got to take advantage of free bowling a few times. I'm sad to say there's not a Bowling Alley particularly close to us this year but the site says to keep watching as locations are added daily. Basically, you sign your kids up and they can bowl up to 2 free games at your selected Bowling Alley every day this summer. You will get coupons by email each week. You can also purchase an inexpensive Family pass so parents can bowl, too. Read all about it here and look for a participating location near you!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Quick, Thrifty Flag Day/4th of July Craft

A couple of weeks ago I went to the Dollar Store with the kids. I like to be creative and what I really like to do is COPY OTHER CREATIVE PEOPLE'S IDEAS. So, it was quite unusual that an idea would strike me for my own Dollar Store Craft as I was walking around the store. All in All, my craft project cost $6.
First I purchased a wreath form for $1. Then I spotted 3-packs of leis in red, white and blue for just a buck. I practiced wrapping the leis around the wreath form right in the store to see how they would look.

I was trying to decide cheesy or crafty and tested it out on a store clerk who said she was crafty and she seemed to like it. I thought it still needed something. I guess an entire winter of reading crafty decorating blogs somehow embedded themselves in my head because then I saw this:

And knew that I needed it! Plus, it already had a little hole cut in the top and a tied ribbon looped through. I just untied it and tied it onto the wreath. I wrapped 9 leis around the wreath form and stuck the little straw things between the flowers right in between the wreath "spokes." I didn't even use any hot glue. If it starts to fall apart I will grab my hot glue gun and adhere it more firmly but small child was running around the living room and it wasn't worth my sanity to pull out the hot glue gun tonight. So, $6 and about 15 minutes of my time. I think it looks cute.
This post is linked to:
 Show and Tell Green


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pampers Gift to Grown Program

Join the Pampers Gift to Grow Program and start earning points for free products.  Each package or Pampers contains a code that you can enter online to receive points for free toys, diapers, magazines subscriptions and gift cards.   Start your account off right with these:


I have been entering codes and have 105 points.  Also, those $2 off coupons from last weeks P&G insert that makes for free wipes should add some additional codes for you.   

I am not sure how I will use mine yet, but I see that you get a Barnes & Noble gift card, so if I don't use them for children or baby shower gifts I will use them for me gifts!

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Frugal Failure becomes another Failure & then a success!

I am trying really hard to eat healthy and be frugal.  I have not been doing any Once a Month cooking but I have been cooking for two weeks or several meals at a time on Sundays.  This past week I made Quinoa and when I went to eat it it was a bit overdone.  Last night I decided I would spread it on a baking sheet, and bake it on low for to see if I could salvage it.   I sat down to catch up on some blogs.......enter failure stage 2.  I forgot about my Quinoa for almost an hour!  When I checked it it was not burnt, but very brown and crispy.  I tried a little, it was crunchy...I like crunchy.  I crave chips all the time.  So I put it away as I was determined to save it now.  Suddenly today it came to me- I could bake it again with some seasoning and make chips out of it!  So I took some fresh rosemary, garlic, parmesan cheese, and a little olive oil and egg white, salt and pepper, and rounded them in a teaspoon, flattened them like a cracker with the bottom of a drinking glass, and voila! They are sooo good.  Oh, and my camera is not working so if I can figure it out I'll take a picture of the crumbs for you......Never stop your best not to waste anything.....

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I'm A Buzzmama! Win Coupons!

We're editing to extend the date for the drawing. We have 5 coupons and only 2 commenters. That's what happens when you haven't blogged in a while. So bear with us, commenters, as we open the drawing for another few days.
A while ago, like 2 months ago, I applied to be a Mabel's Labels Buzzmama. The program sounded cool for people like me who are constantly striving for organization in their lives...somehow I can never seem to stay on the Organized Ball. So I heard about this program that Mabel's Labels was offering and I applied. They accepted me as a Buzzmama. And they sent me the cool, stylish organizing swag in the photo above! Being a Buzzmama means that I share information about their products and I can earn all kinds of interesting free products from them just for sharing their info with you (and sharing your opinions with them - the good, the bad and the ugly!). And....they've given me coupons to share with my friends. Blogreaders, do you consider youselves my friends? I do! I think we're all friends here....
Blog Button BigBut first, let me share with you some of the awesome labels I've been reading about in my kit. Check out that picture above - they sent me all that stuff for free for becoming a Buzzmama. And check out those personalized labels. Yes, I  "designed" them but I was very excited when I read they are dishwasher and microwave safe! They are so much prettier than using a sharpie on your tupperware items or baking dishes - you know, the ones you often bring potluck meals in to other's houses and mark so you are sure to get them back! They also have "My 411 Wristbands, " disposable wristbands you can have printed with yours and your child's first names, your cell phone number and your child's allergies and any other special needs they may have. Great for waterparks, amusement parks and when you're dropping your kid at a Birthday party or other special event where you won't be present. I also love that these little labels are so stylish.
Okay, how to WIN a coupon! You can check out their site here to see which labels you like best. Come back and leave a comment about which product you would like best and why. I'll use to select a winner for 5 different coupons. Make sure you leave an email so I can get in touch with you for your mailing info!
Coupons are:
Get $5 off any Neat Freak Combo
Get $6 off when you order any Camp/School pack
Order 1 set of Custom Bin Labels and receive a set of Curbsides FREE
Receive 20% off your next order of return address labels
Receive 10% off your next order of LOL sticky labels

Leave your comments by midnight eastern standard time, Wednesday, June 30th, 2010. I can't wait to hear your thoughts!


, No, I haven't been missing in action, I've been busy in action...the 2nd half of the school year has been crazy, crazy, crazy! Two in school has been quite a challenge and that has been one second grader and one pre-k kid. Come September we will have a 3rd grader and (sob, gulp, I just can't stand it!) a kindergartner. Yes, my baby is going to kindergarten (though for a long time she thought she was going to a Candy Garden). Now, I'd love to be one of those people is who SO awesome at multi-tasking 24/7...but I learned a few years ago that my mind and body just don't always respond well to that. So I had to take a little break from blogging to attend to school field trips, cub scout stuff, my Creative Memories business. I have also been working on something BIG...something I don't think I've ever shared on the blog before...this year I will be celebrating my 5 Year Anniversary of being Breast Cancer Free! And to celebrate I've decided to do something BIG! Last year, I was reading some breast cancer stuff somewhere along the internet, and I came across this amazing sounding event - The Susan G. Komen 3-day Walk for A Cure. Yes, it's a 3-day Walk. It's a 60 mile walk over 3 days. So I've been training. I've been walking miles upon miles since the end of March, early April...something like that. It's all becoming a blur. I walked 10 miles between Monday and Tuesday this week. And I've been fundraising. Each walker must raise at least $2300 to participate....but when I first read about this event, I felt like it was my destiny. That sounds corny but I don't know how else to word it. You see, I was diagnosed at the age of 32. I was 6 months pregnant. I found a lump under my arm, which I didn't understand at first, meant cancer had already spread to my lymph nodes. 3 to be exact. I thought I was going to die. And, obviously, I didn't. But it was a long, hard year and a half. A preemie was extracted by c-section. She was 3&1/2 pounds and lived in the NICU for 5 weeks. A lumpectomy and lymph node dissection was performed 2 days later. Another lumpectomy 2 weeks after that. I had an icky drain hanging from under my arm for weeks. I could barely hold my own baby because of the pain under my arm. Then started the chemo. Ugh. Ugh. And more Ugh. (I am not one of those women who looks stunning with no hair!). Then radiation. Like the worst sunburn you've ever had. On your boob. And under your armpit. Ouch! And then 52 weeks of biologic therapy after that. Every week, getting IV infused to help keep my agressive cancer from returning (thank you Herceptin!). So...after all that...what I really wanted to do was NOT think about breast cancer for a while. As long as you can not think about it when you still have to visit the oncologist every 3 months and take tamoxifen on a daily basis. So anyway, I spent the next little while kind of avoiding cancer thoughts, getting to know my baby more, spending QT with my toddler and trying to put everything back together that I felt had fallen apart while I was going through treatment. But really...not that much had fallen apart...very little had fallen apart...because I had this great network of friends, family and neighbors who did a lot for us. No, they did EVERYTHING for us. They dropped off groceries. They dropped off meals. They drove me to chemo. They kept me company at chemo. They took my toddler on playdates. They sent a cleaning lady. They held a benefit and gave us $$ to pay our bills so Joe could take some time off work. They sent cards. They flooded Ella with baby gifts ~ clothes and diapers and toys and everything a baby girl could need whose Mommy just didn't have the time or energy to shop for her. They set up her nursery and filled her drawers with clothing. They took the crib from Joey's room and put it together in Ella's room. They put together Joey's new toddler bed. All while I was still in the hospital. We were blessed and lucky and thankful. And so while I tried to put cancer out of my head for a while, I couldn't put my friends out of my head. About halfway to 5 years, I thought, I'm going to throw a party when my 5 years comes. I'm going to celebrate and I'm going to invite all  my friends so I can truly and properly THANK them for all they have done. Then some more time passed and I thought, well, maybe I should pass around a donation bucket during the party, so we can send some money off to another family going through cancer treatment that needs it. Then...I saw the Susan G. Komen 3-day Walk for the Cure. $2300 minimum fundraising goal. 60 miles over 3 days. Sleep in tents, pee in port-a-potties, no hair dryers or curling irons. And I thought, the complete opposite of what my normal self would think, I thought; OH MY GOD, I NEED TO DO THAT! Even more bizarre, I WANT TO DO THAT. I felt like this was a way I could give back to the breast cancer community some of what has been given to me. And I just feel a pull toward what I feel is going to be an amazing experience. So while I've been blogfully neglectful, I have not been laying on the couch, eating bonbons, reading chic lit and scrapbooking to my heart's content. (Don't worry, I'm still throwing that huge party - now it's a Celebration & a Benefit for the Walk! Yes, I've been busy booking bands and entertainment and lining up raffle gifts and food donations along with training and my other fundraising!).
So we sisters said we were going to veer off the DEALS path occasionally in 2010 to blog a little about life and let you into ours, and hopefully get to know each other a little better this year (get to know you, we already know each other pretty well). So here I am, blogging about life. And trying to get back on track with blogging more. I've still been deal seeking, bargain hopping & salvation army shopping! I've been working on some thrifty decorating projects which I hope to share over the coming weeks (soon as the weather gets nice enough to hold some of my spray paint to my projects) and I've been following Ana from Knock-Off Wood all winter. Have you seen that blog?? If not, you are in for a real treat!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pinecone research panel is now open...!!!!!!!!!!

This online survey company pays $3 per survey, and they last about 20 minutes.  They are one of my two favorite sites.  I have been taking surveys for Pinecone Research for almost 2 years now and have never had one issue having the money deposited into paypal.   On three occasions I have received product to actually use for about a month and then logged back in to report on my findings!   Click here to sign up!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Glade Relaxing Moments Coupons

Get $2 off and 3 Glade Relaxing Moments  coupons.  If you haven't joined the Right At Home  mailing list click on the link to get coupons like this delivered to your inbox!

Earn a Free $25 Rite Aid Gift Card

Sign up for a Rite Aid Wellness+ card and qualify for a $25 gift card with a $50 purchase of participating products, or a $10 card with a $25.00 purchase of qualifying products.  Get all the details from the Rite Aid website.  You can also earn an additional $5 gift card by using yourWellness Plus card.  Happy shopping! 

Enfamil Family Beginnings

Sign for Enfamil Family Beginnings  to receive free products and coupons such as a carryall and possible a one week supply of Enfamil

Redbox- Free Movie Monday


Join the redbox text club and receive a promo code for a free movie on the first Monday of every month

June 4th is National Donut Day

Friday June 4th is National Donut Day! Dunkin Donuts is giving away a free donut with any drink purchase!
If you have a Krispy Keme near you go here to see how to get a free donut and for a list of participating stores.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Home Depot - $5 off 1 Gallon Cans of Paint


Home Depot is offering a $5 rebate on one gallon of paint or $20 off of a 5 gallon pail through May 31st.  Exclusion apply- go here for details and to download a rebate form.