Saturday, December 31, 2011

A recap of some really good posts you may have missed

Hello and Happy New Year to all of our wonderful fans and readers! Karen did her post to thank all of you for supporting us, I wanted to do kind of a Top 10 of previous posts that you may have missed but were really good, I wanted to thank you as well and wish you a happy and prosperous 2012.
Here's some of my favorites:

Happy New Year!

Wishing you a very Happy New Year! May 2012 be a year of good fortune and love to you all. Michelle and I are so grateful to all of our awesome fans. 2011 has been so much fun and we are so excited to see what 2012 holds. We really value all the support, ideas and positive encouragement. As of this moment we are 3 people away from reaching 500 Fans! We love what we do and hope you love our ideas. 

Get a free 7 day pass to 24 Hour Fitness

Try out 24 Hour Fitness for free, click here to get a 7 day pass to any 24 Hour Fitness, this also includes their exercise classes. This is great you can check it out without any commitment.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Holiday Themed Cocktails

This one is called The Grinch, looks delish! Go Here for the recipe.
"Then he slunk to the ice box, he took the Who's feast, he took the Who pudding, he took the roast beast, he cleaned out that icebox as quick as a flash, Why the Grinch even took their last can of Who hash"

This one is called The Rudolph, a couple of these and you will have a shiny nose. Go Here for the recipe.

Fabulous non-alcoholic Raspberry Punch for your New Year's Party

Looking for a delicious recipe for punch for your New Year's party, I make this one every year for my Daughter's birthday or for a get together when I need a non-alcoholic drink, everybody always raves and asks for the recipe.
Here you go Raspberry Punch:
1 6oz can Frozen Lemonade
1 Cup Sugar
4 cups Water (Cold)
1 pkg Raspberry or Black Cherry Koolaid
One 2 Liter bottle 7up (Cold)
1 Package Raspberries or Frozen Raspberries
Put Lemonade in punch bowl, put in Koolaid, Sugar, Water, mix all ingredients VERY WELL, you want the sugar to be dissolved. Once mixed then add 2 Liter bottle of 7up, mix well, add Raspberries to float on top (it's better if they are frozen to keep the punch cold).
Enjoy, thanks to Angela who gave me this recipe year's ago!!!!

If you are looking for something with alcohol check out my homemade Hot Buttered Rum post from November.

Fruit Dip Perfect for New Year's Party or breakfast the next day

This fruit dip is absolutely one of my favorites, only 2 ingredients and so delicious I could seriously eat it by the spoonful without any fruit!
Just one 8oz package cream cheese (let it sit for a little bit to soften)
One 7oz jar of marshmallow cream
Mix together until creamy and there are no cream cheese lumps
Eat with any kind of fruit, I prefer granny smith apples because the sweet and tart are a perfect combination.

Get Cash for your old iPhone even if it's broken

Did you get a fancy new phone for Christmas? If you are looking for something to do with your old iPhone check out They pay money for your iPhone whether it's working or not, you'll know exactly how much you'll be paid before you mail in your phone, they provide a prepaid postage envelope. I would love to have a fancy phone we don't even have texting on our phones, don't ask it's a long story! Anyway I think this is a great deal, you get a little cash and they either refurbish your phone or they make sure the hazardous materials in your phone don't end up in a landfill somewhere, they are also teamed up with Kids in Need Foundation and will make a donation.
Old iPhone = Cash in your wallet! Click Here
iPhone Into Cash

Thursday, December 29, 2011

How I saved over $900 per year!

I saved $907.88 per year by making a few phone calls and re-arranging my home service packages. It was easy! Here's how I did it! 

What I paid for before:
Cell Phone – 2 phones ; 1000min limit (no text)
Home phone – had VOIP and it WAS a good deal but deals change!
Cable – had expanded basic, no movie channels
Internet – Locked in price for life for 8 MB speed
Garbage – Included 32 gal trash, 96 gal recycle and 96 gal yard waste

Here is what I switched to:
Cell Phone – Switched to an unlimited minutes family plan plus text (My provider gives a 25% discount for employees of the company I work for, ask, it can’t hurt)
Home Phone – Canceled, now that I have unlimited minutes I don’t need the home phone
Cable – reduced to limited basic cable (local channels only) bundled with Internet 12 MB – call around, I had asked in the past and it wasn’t economical but I kept calling and found a promotion.
Garbage – Switched to a 20 gal can along with the same recycle and yard waste.
Netflix – Added streaming Netflix which includes Thousands of movies and TV series. There is an UNLIMITED choice programs.
  •             Call your service providers, ask what other options are available. Keep calling as deals change and    new promotions come up. Additionally I know several people who call and threaten to cancel their cable, the cable company gives them a discount in order to maintain their business. 
  •       Recycle more and you’ll find you have much less trash. See the article I wrote earlier. 
  •       It was really hard at first to reduce our cable choices but we've adjusted and with Netflix we now find we’re addicted to new programming. 

      The $900+ amount is BEFORE all the taxes and fees. You know with phone and cable taxes and fees can reach up to $20 per month. Now with a lower monthly rate the taxes and fees are less therefore I am actually saving MORE than the $907.88

     Make some phone calls and let us know how much you reduced your bills!! Happy Saving! 


My shopping score: All this for $10.70

Remember my post yesterday about how I try to make every dinner for $5.00 or less for all of us, this is a prime example of how to do it.
Here's what I got:
3 pkgs of marinated pork tenderloin 1.5lbs each
1 package marinated chicken breast 1.5lbs
1 pkg all natural spinach & feta chicken sausage
Regular price before club card and discounts $44.11
minus club card and 50% off discount (they are dated for the beginning of 2012 so they were marked down 50% you just have to use them or freeze them before that date)

Grand total $10.70
That's the meat for 5 meals so that's $2.15 per meal for the meat then you add a side and a vegetable and there's your $5.00 meal.
I love when I find scores like this!!!!!

Free Android Apps from Amazon

Check out this huge list of  Free Android Apps from Amazon.
You know you want to play some Angry Birds!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Coffee Ice cubes

This is so simple, if you have leftover coffee just fill an ice cube tray and the next time you want to cool down your coffee without diluting it, throw one in or use in iced coffee so when the ice melts it's not watered down.
If you are a coffee lover like me, check out my post how to make your own homemade Vanilla Flavored Liquid Coffee Creamer.

My dinner for less than $4.00...Split Pea w/Ham Soup!

When I tell some people that I try to make all my dinners for for around $5.00 they think I'm crazy but it can be done. I feed my Husband, 4 yr old Daughter and myself, we don't eat a bunch of garbage I make most meals from scratch and they usually include a meat a starch and a fresh vegetable, we eat a lot of fish and chicken breast, some turkey burger and some steak now and then. It's not $5.00 exactly every time, a little more or a little less depending on what I make but with a little planning it's fairly easy.
Tonight's meal was split pea w/ham and a sourdough baguette, here's the breakdown:
Ham bone w/ham left from Christmas $1.00 (probably less but just a guesstimate)
Bag of split peas .98
Celery .25
Onion .25
Carrots .25
Baguette .89
Total $3.62
As you can see from the pictures below there was quite a bit so my husband has lunch for tomorrow at work and my daughter and I have lunch for tomorrow at home.

I put it all in the crockpot for 8 hours and voila' split pea soup!

I think I annoy my husband when I breakdown the cost of every meal, he really doesn't care but I live for this kind of stuff, I get a rush knowing I saved us money just by doing a little bit of planning and by shopping smart at the grocery store.

Are you a member of Totsy?

Have you signed up for Totsy yet? Totsy offers Moms and Dads access to brand-specific sales up to 80% off retail. They have clothing and gear for kids ages 0-7, prenatal care, baby gear, travel accessories, toys, DVD's, educational materials. They also have Women's clothing and shoes, maternity clothes and items for the home. To sign up for Totsy all you need is your name and email address, then you have access to blowout sales up to 80% off. Free shipping on your first order, if you've ordered from them before use coupon code: Thanks10 to get an additional 10% off.
Click this link Totsy or on the banner below. Check out some hot prices I found.

Girls Toddler Bermuda's $4.00

Boy's short sleeve guitar tee $5.25

Junior Wool Trench $15.00

Homemade liquid flavored coffee creamer

I love my coffee in the morning, I live in the Pacific NW and that's all we do is drink coffee right? I have to have my liquid coffee creamer with my coffee, I think Coffeemate is my favorite but International Delight is usually cheaper, I refuse to pay full price so I try to stock up when it's on sale and I have coupons but it still ends up being more than I want to pay so I decided to make homemade flavored coffee creamer. Here's what you need for vanilla flavor:
1 Mason Jar
14oz can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
14oz Milk (1%, 2%, whole, it's your choice)
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Just put all the ingredients in the jar and shake very well! Keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

So I have to say I didn't love it, it wasn't bad it was just different. It doesn't have the same taste as the store bought kind,  must be all the chemicals MMMMMM Chemicals!! It seems like you need to use a lot more of it to get the same results as the store bought kind, I used 1% milk, maybe if you used whole milk it might have a creamier consistency and the sweetened condensed milk leaves kind of a different aftertaste. If you've never had the store bought kind you might think it was great but if you are used to the real stuff you may be disappointed. I would at least try it and see what you think, the ingredients aren't expensive and who knows maybe you might absolutely love it, for me I think I'm going back to buying the real stuff.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Cutest Christmas Table!

I know Christmas is over but I had to share, my very talented neighbor let me use her photos. She did all this herself, can you believe it? I'm sure her kids absolutely loved it!

Her attention to detail amazes me!!

Have you joined Swagbucks? You can earn free stuff even cash!

Have you joined Swagbucks yet?  You can earn extra cash just for searching the internet, no gimmicks, no credit card required. I've been a member of Swagbucks for a couple of years, once you sign up you just do your regular internet searches from their site and you earn Swagbucks then you can redeem them for gift certificates, or even cash deposited into your Paypal account. I've been redeeming my Swagbucks for Amazon E-Gift Certificates, I don't have to wait for anything to be mailed I just get a code to enter on the Amazon checkout page, it's only 450 Swagbucks for a $5 Amazon Certificate. You can also shop and earn Swagbucks from the site to earn more but you don't have to, they also have random codes for free Swagbucks that you can find online. You aren't going to get rich but if you can get a few freebies here and there without spending anything than why not?
Click on the banner below and check it out!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Canned Beans vs. Dried Beans

Canned beans vs. Dried Beans
If you’re like me you may be intimidated by the thought of cooking dry beans. I’ve heard that they take forever so I just opted for the canned product. My local Winco store has a great bulk section and while I’ve been enjoying the super prices for spices and baking products, I kept noticing all the dried beans. Curious, I did some homework on the subject and found all the great benefits of cooking my own beans not to mention the awesome savings!!!

My favorite food in the world is turkey tacos. At the recommendation of a friend I would always add a can of black beans to make the meat go a little further as well as add some needed fiber to our diet. I decided to try to cook my own black beans.

Beans are super healthy for you; they are high in protein, low in fat and high in soluble fiber which helps to remove the bad cholesterol before it gets absorbed. They can help to reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer.  

Typically canned beans contain water and salt but most contain Calcium Chloride (to keep them from getting mushy) and some even add sugar. Almost all the cans are lined with BPA. The canning process also reduces the nutritional value of the beans.

So you’re dying to know how much can you save!!! Typically canned beans cost between $.60 - $1.50 per 12-14oz can. At my local Winco dry beans in bulk are around $0.90 per lb. 1lb makes approx 6 cups of beans. That means $0.15 or less per cup!!! That’s a huge savings and by preparing your beans in advance you always have them on hand and are more likely to throw them in your dish and add a boost of nutrition to your meal.

Now how EASY is it?
  • Buy dry beans in bulk for the best price, rinse the beans, then put in a bowl and cover with water. Make sure to put enough water to have 2-3 inches of water on top as the beans will absorb the water. Soak overnight or 6-8 hours. Note: you don’t have to soak the beans but it will reduce cooking time as well as leach out carbohydrates which our bodies cannot digest. This will reduce the gas!
  • Boil the soaked beans in water until tender – typically 40 minutes. Some people like to season the beans but it is not recommended that you salt the beans until AFTER they are cooked if at all.

     * I do all this while washing dishes or working in the kitchen so it’s really no extra time at all.
  • Once the beans are ready just package them into portion sized containers. (I use all those Ziploc storage containers that I've scored cheap with coupons.) Throw them in the freezer! When you are ready to use them they thaw in seconds in a colander under warm water. They’re already cooked so they just need to be warmed in whatever dish you are using them in. Or eat them cold in a salad.

So now you know, cooking your own beans is easy, better for your family, saves you money and best of more gas!!!! 

I could so do this for New Year's!

I know we still have a little bit of time but I thought this arrangement would be so fabulous for New Year's, it looks so simple I think I could even do this. Check out the other these other cool arrangements at Our Italian Kitchen

Did you get a Kindle for Christmas?

  Did you get a Kindle for Christmas? Here is a link to:
 100 Kindle Books $3.99 or Less from Amazon.
Check out this list of Free Kindle Books from Amazon.

Kids eat free at IKEA starting TODAY!!!

I know just want you want to do is more shopping after Christmas but if you are out and about and lucky enough to have an IKEA where you live you can feed your kids for free, no adult purchase necessary, kids 12 and under. Offer valid Monday December 26, 2011 - Sunday January 1, 2012.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Do you have a mountain of toys like this?

Do you feel like you have a mountain of toys like this in your living room? I feel like I do and I only have 1 four year old and she is so overwhelmed with everything she doesn't even know what to play with, in fact earlier today she had her choice of 8 million things to play with but she wanted to play with those air filled pouches that they use to pack fragile boxes, (by the way that's what she's getting next year for Christmas). Anyway the point of my story is that a couple years ago I got the best advice ever, you take some of the toys they get from Christmas or their Birthday (obviously when they are sleeping or not looking otherwise they lose their mind) and you put them away somewhere and then bring 1 out per month or whatever you think, so they get to enjoy each toy so much more instead of just having a huge pile that they are sick of after a week. I don't know how much longer I will be able to do this, right now my daughter is 4 and doesn't realize that I took things that she opened earlier today, I'll try to get away with it as long as I can but I'm sure with older kids when it comes to toys they have minds like steel traps so forget that idea.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!


Too funny not to share, my daughter licking frost off her swingset, (I swear I didn't prompt her).

Friday, December 23, 2011

Don't forget to make Reindeer Food

If you leave cookies and milk for Santa you have to leave some food for the reindeer to nibble on while they're waiting outside.
Here's all you need:
Sparkling Sugar
 Some recipes say to use glitter but I read that it was harmful to small animals that eat it. To add a little excitement for the kids, use raisins as reindeer poop for the kids to find on Christmas morning.

Grandma's Mixer

I've been baking all day with my 4 yr old daughter, the KitchenAid mixer that we have used to belong to my Husband's Grandmother before she passed away. It sat for a couple years after she passed and then a couple of years ago we were visiting family and I saw it, nobody else wanted it so I took it. I have been using it like crazy ever since I got it, and my daughter who is only 4 is learning how to use it and loves to help me. I think Grandma would be so pleased that it was being used by someone that truly loves it and that her Great Granddaughter is learning how to use it, who knows maybe it will be hers someday.

We made some Pumpkin Bread


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