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!
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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!