Monday, November 30, 2009

Drive-by blogging

Hihowareyou? We'refinejustreallybusy. I'msureyouare,too. Hopeyouhadahappythanksgiving. Hereisagreatrecipethateveryoneshouldknowhowtomake.

And I'll even use punctuation.


1 c. white sugar
1 c. light corn syrup
1 c. peanut butter (creamy, please)
Rice Krispies--I used about 10-11 cups, 7 or 8 might be enough.
2 c. Chocolate and/or butterscotch and/or peanut butter chips

Put cereal into large bowl. In medium saucepan, combine sugar and syrup. Bring to rolling boil, then remove from heat. Add peanut butter and stir until combined. Pour over cereal in large bowl and stir to coat. Press into buttered/sprayed 9x13 pan (when I used 11 cups of cereal, I needed all of my 15x10 cake pan).
Melt chocolate/flavored chips in microwave, stirring every minute, until melted. Spread over cereal mixture in pan.

print grocery list

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Day Away

My dear Mother-In-Law gave me an evening away yesterday. I got to drop off the kids at her house at 2:30 pm. and didn't have them all back until about one o'clock this afternoon. Granted, I did pick up 3 of them to drive to a dentist appointment this morning,but she still kept the others! :)

What did I do with my 'time off'? Well, dh was at a job training/class, so I went shopping! My friend and I traveled to the nearest large town/small city to do take advantage of some Target and Walgreen's sales. Now, I was driving, and it wasn't pretty, so we didn't exactly make good time on the traveling part and it was 12:30 a.m. when we returned home! Talk about some serious shopping!

We stocked up on some major sales for Thanksgiving. Did you know that Walmart has turkeys for only $.40/lb? The limit is 2, and we each got our limit. At that price, I couldn't afford not to get that. Even chicken rarely gets lower than .69/lb around here, and it's so nice to roast a turkey and freeze a bunch of leftover meat for easy meals later on. When I don't have time to look up recipes specifically written for leftover turkey, I simply use it as I would use precooked chicken in favorite family dishes such as chicken/turkey pot pie, noodle soup, or a rice or stuffing bake.

Can't wait for Thanksgiving! What are some of your favorite side dishes for the big feast?

Williams-Sonoma style for $3.00!

Check out this blog post for a beautiful craft that won't break the bank and would make a wonderful gift. It's so pretty, I want to make a million of them and give them to everyone I know. And keep a set for myself. :)

Thank you for sharing, Melissa!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Great Photo Deals!

I just ordered my Christmas photo cards for FREE from Seehere. Get 50 free cards plus FREE SHIPPING! Use the code freebies4mom-1109 when you checkout. You might be able to add other gifts or prints to your cart as well to take advantage of the free shipping--I meant to try but forgot in all my excitement! LOL

Also, go HERE to find out how to get 100 free prints from Snapfish--today only! Thanks, Amy!

Free Mini Makeup Kit at E.L.F.--my review

Over at e.l.f. cosmetics, they're having a promotion that you might be interested in--get a FREE mini makeup kit with ANY purchase. I was so surprised when I first checked out this website--there are MANY things that are only $1! Most of their individual cosmetics and tools are--from makeup brushes to lipstick to bronzer and eye shadows. They have cute stuff for teenagers and more sophisticated stuff for adults.

Just add any item to your cart (or as many other items as you'd like!) and use the code LOYAL when you check out. It will add the mini makeup kit to your order for free. You will have to pay shipping on the order, which was 6.95. But I was pleasantly surprised to find an extra lip gloss in my order as well as the makeup kit, with a label calling it a 'gift from e.l.f.'. Sweet! I'm saving it for a stocking stuffer, so can't review that item yet. :)

I just got my first order from e.l.f. last week. I was really pleasantly surprised! I was worried that the makeup would be of poor quality, but so far I've been really happy with it. I had read some reviews saying the makeup didn't stay on very long, but that has not been the case for me. When I wash my face at night, I still see plenty of eyeshadow on the cloth. Also, the lip color seems to stay on pretty well. It's not an all-day formula, but I still notice color several hours after application.

I also like that there are several matte colors and some glittery colors of both the eye shadows and the lipsticks. There is only one blush and one bronzer, but the colors seem neutral enough that most people could use them. I personally really like them both. There is also a dark brown brow powder, which is something I've never used before, so that's fun.

My personal favorite, though, is the sparkly clear lip gloss to go over any lip color or wear alone. It's shiny and makes my lips feel great, and that little sparkle is just fun. There is also a white cream eyeshadow, which you're supposed to apply to the inside corner of your eyelid, to make your eyes look more open and 'awake'.

All in all, I've been really happy with this product, and the fact that it was FREE is super sweet. I'm considering doing this deal again, since there are a few other e.l.f. products I'd like to try for myself, and I could give the compact as a gift.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Click To Give

Here is an easy way to help several different charities. Just click and the advertising money that is generated from the site goes to that charity. You can click once a day--why not?

Click to Give

Creative recipe

What to do when you're out of bread for sandwiches at lunchtime:

Bean and cheese quesadillas

1 can refried beans
12-16 oz cheese (cheddar or colby jack for us)
some chopped onion (from freezer)
chopped green pepper (from freezer)
1/2 cup (more or less) salsa

Mix all together. Spread about 1/3 c. on flour tortilla. Top with another tortilla. Microwave or grill/fry until melty. Yum.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

In the world, but not of the world

I'd like to share a post by a fellow blogger, Ashley at Frugal Coupon Living, who reminded me today to remember God in EVERY area of life, even shopping and couponing.

I've surprised myself a few times as I shop with coupons, finding great deals. Sometimes I get greedy, wanting to get as much as I can when I find a great bargain. I've been guilty of clearing a shelf here and there, leaving little for others to enjoy.

But I've also been fortunate enough to be able to share many of my great finds with others. I'd like to encourage you all to share your blessings as well. This time of year is difficult for so many families. I'm sure that even those of us with small bank accounts have an abundance of something--whether it's time, talents, willing hands, or material blessings. Let's not forget to share that abundance with those who need it.

Read Ashley's post here.

"And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased."
Hebrews 13:16--New International Version of the Bible

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Family Photo Fun

I like to have group photos of my kids--who doesn't? But...what. a. CHORE!

I've been putting it off for several weeks now, so today I just bit the bullet. Got the kids their breakfast and asked them to go find shirts that were blue or white, and blue jeans to go with.

The girls got excited. The boys started groaning. :)

Found clothes and arranged the shirts on the couch to find best options, so when we actually went outside (I love natural light for photos), we could get right to it.

Trimmed boys hair above ears (they needed it!), combed and washed faces. Missed one, though, and didn't find out until photo shoot was 1/2 over. sigh.

Fixed girls' hair, got baby washed up and dressed, went outside to finalize the location.

I originally planned to hang a sheet from our deck and put the kids on the ground in front of the sheet. Well, the sky was dark and it had apparently been sprinkling for a little while, because the ground was wet.

I didn't want muddy photos.

Looked around for other options and noticed our old, dilapidated shed. A perfect rustic backdrop for casual family photos!

Got the kids arranged and started shooting. I used the 'burst' mode to capture 3 shots at a time, hoping to increase my odds of getting a good one.

Took over 50 photos.

Not one photo with everyone looking at the camera and smiling.

Maybe next year.

Stockpile Secrets

A friend recently asked me, "Where do you keep all those groceries?" When you buy 36 boxes of cereal, they don't exactly all fit on the top of the fridge. :) So, I've had to get a bit creative, and I imagine I'll have to hunt up some more 'hiding places' for my stockpile as it continues to grow.

The first thing to do when starting a stockpile, is to clean and organize the spaces you already use. My cabinets and pantry had become so disheveled and cluttered that I didn't think I could fit much more in them. But re-organizing and throwing out things that were unusable or unwanted, made a world of difference! It's amazing how much space you can free up after this step.

I also paid my dd (with video game time :) to clean off the big shelf my husband built for me in our laundry room.

And then there are a few things just shoved wherever they'll fit. :)

A few tips I've gleaned from others:

Items do not have to be stored in traditional locations. Canned goods can fit under couches/beds/other furniture. Try putting your bed on risers and using under-bed storage boxes.

Do you have unused cabinets up high or down low in your house? Stash extras there, then replenish your 'regular' cabinets as needed.

Can you or your spouse install some extra simple shelves in an out-of-the-way location in your home?

What about a garage or storage shed? If the garage is attached, that would be perfect for canned goods, or bottles of laundry detergent, shampoo, bar soap, an other items that animals wouldn't be tempted by. You just want to make sure that liquid items wouldn't freeze. Dry goods would be fine in these locations as well, as long as they were sealed up in plastic totes or buckets to keep pests out.

If you have a basement, that's another great place for a shelving unit to store items.

If you don't have these extra spaces available, what about finding an extra corner or shelf in a closet in your home? Can you declutter unneeded items to make room for your stockpile?

These are just a few ideas--get creative and work with what you've got! Stockpiling is an important part of saving as much money as possible on groceries and household items. You'll be seeing the savings add up in just a few weeks.

Cool New Site

Just a heads-up: there's a new site that pays you every time you go to Facebook, twitter, yahoo, and lots more popular sites. Every click adds up quickly! Check it out here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

$2/1 Welch's Sparkling Grape Juice -- $0.50 at Walgreens next week

$2/1 Welch's Sparkling Grape Juice -- $0.50 at Walgreens next week

Here's a great coupon to save for Walgreen's next week!

Today's Shopping Trip

It went well this morning. Baby boy woke me up at 6:30 to nurse, so I was up in time to get to the store as soon as it opened. Everything was well-stocked and there weren't too many shoppers (though more than I'd expect at that hour!) Here was my haul:

The cheese (8 pounds!), Purex, and potatoes were on the one-day sale. The trash bags and aluminum foil were just because we (really!) needed them. The rest of it was a special deal the store was running. They put a coupon in their ad for $5 off any 10 Smuckers products that are on sale in their ad. That includes Crisco, Hungry Jack, Smuckers, Jif, Pillsbury baking, and Eagle brand milk. I've got tons of coupons for these items, so I will probably be going back again. The Pillsbury cake mixes AND frosting tubs are only .38 each after the $5 coupon, so I will definitely be getting some of those on my next trip--I don't think you could make cake and frosting from scratch for much less than that!

And guess what I spent on all that? I figured up that the cheese alone would have cost at least $20 at Aldi.....But my total was only $26.26. Not too bad! Now, I *did* use a $6 coupon that printed out from the cereal deal a couple weeks ago (and I tallied that against the cost of the cereal), so really, my total was $32.26. Still a pretty good deal considering what I got. And it feels good to shop at my local grocery store once in a while instead of having to drive for an hour. :)

Hope some others are getting some good grocery deals this week, too!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cheap cheese at Hy-Vee Friday!

Our local grocery store, Hy-Vee, is having a one-day sale tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 13. There are just a couple of items that I was really interested in:

Hy-Vee shredded cheese, 8 oz., 10/$10. This is just $2/lb--a great price by itself. But combined with a printable coupon for $1.50 off ANY 2 lbs. of cheese, brings it down to just $1.25/lb. It doesn't get much better than that around here! And let's just say, my family kinda likes cheese. :)

**I'm really sorry, they've taken down the coupon I printed a few weeks ago, or I would link you to it. Check at least weekly, and print any coupons you might use immediately! They only allow a certain number to be printed, and when they're gone, they're gone! They also reset the coupons each month, and add new ones every week. It's worth a few minutes of your time each week.

Another HOT deal at Hy-Vee is the Purex laundry detergent for $1.99. This is the smaller 50 or 60 oz. bottles, but it's the 2x concentrated kind. It's an excellent price for laundry detergent, especially paired with the 35 cent coupon from the Sunday paper a couple weeks ago, making it 1.64/bottle.

If you like Hamburger Helper, that is .88/box, combined with the abundant .75/3 coupons makes it .63/box. Not bad!

So if you're near a Hy-Vee, stock that freezer with some cheese! I see lots of quesadillas and homemade pizza in our future!

The Grocery Game--Final Review

OK, I promised you all a review of this program, and I just realized I never really summed up my experience.

First of all, I think this is a great *idea*. It would be nice to have a place to help you maximize your coupon saving at your local stores, without you having to do all the work yourself.

My first impression after signing up for the free 4-week trial (here) was 'wow, this lady has developed quite a brand for herself.' Her name and photo are all over the site, and she has some other site/message board besides the grocery game, which she promotes in banners/buttons all over the site. She seems to be a talented marketer.

There is the main product, The List, as well as forums to discuss or ask questions about couponing in general. Discussion involving specific deals or references to specific items on The List seems to be frowned upon.

I printed off the list the first three weeks of my trial, and it was a time saver to have that part all done. However, I felt that she neglected several deals that I wanted to take advantage of. My local store usually runs major sales Thurs-Sat, with the occasional 1-day sale on Fri or Sat. Well, the owner of this website encourages shoppers in my area to wait until Sun-Tue. to shop, to be sure to get the maximum savings from coupons in the Sunday paper.

Also, the list owner assumes that you will only buy one copy of the Sunday paper each week. This keeps a person from maximizing sales for Buy-1-get-1-free items.

Personally, my feeling is that a person needs at least 1 Sunday paper/insert per 2 people in the family, though I've often seen it recommended to get 1 paper per person. Currently, I buy 4 each week for my family of 10 and it's working out well. I can see that I may need to buy more as the kids get older, though.

I was especially disappointed in The List for Walgreen's, as it didn't seem to take into account the register rewards that are printed for certain items each month. These rewards are actually coupons that are like 'Walgreen's money'--you can use them on anything in the store. I felt that this lack of information was a huge disadvantage. I like to visit the forums at A Full Cup for my Walgreen's 'strategy' every week or two.

So, all that said, I cancelled my Grocery Game subscription before my trial was over. I didn't even print out the list on the 4th week. There is a Hy-Vee forum at A Full Cup where I can see a shopping list with coupon match ups for free (and they include coupons from other sources besides the newspaper, as well). That site also has a coupon database so you can easily search for coupons for any product you want, and it tells you where to find those coupons. Very helpful and a huge blessing to this busy mom!

I hope this helped someone, and happy couponing to all! :)

Surveys and E-mails

Along the same lines as my post from yesterday, I just wanted to share some other ways I've been 'working' from home lately. I feel very blessed to be able to help my family financially from home. My dh and I are working on paying off credit cards (our only debt besides the house) and this is really the only feasible way I can do it. It's really not feasible for me to work outside the home--my kids need me during the day, and in this small town, there's no gainful employment to be had in the evenings.

So, first of all--Swagbucks! If you're not signed up there already, why not?!? LOL If you ever use Google or to do searches, this is the SAME THING! You simply go to and do your search from there. Or, to make your life even easier, install their toolbar and search with it, wherever you are on the web. You randomly win 'swagbucks' when you do searches--not every time, but I average a swagbuck in my first 3 searches of the day, then maybe another one or two later on in the day. I easily average 2 swagbucks a day, and they often put out codes for extra ones through the toolbar, blog, twitter/facebook, etc.

As your bucks accumulate, you can spend them in their swag store on fun merchandise or gift cards! I personally have gotten a $5 gift card from for every 45 bucks I've earned. I've gotten 4 so far, and will probably have another one by the end of the month. It took me a while to realize that I could use their search a LOT more than I used to, and earn a LOT more than I used to. Now, when I want to go to a website, I just type the main title or name into the search box to try for a swag buck. When I want to go to Amazon, I just type 'amazon' in the box and let it search, then click on the link. Just takes an extra second, and my earnings have increased.

Also, they have programs where you can trade in old cell phones or video game for swagbucks, or shop online through their links to earn swagbucks according to how much you spend at those sites. Lots of ways to earn and get FREE STUFF! Be sure to use my e-mail ( scrapcat79 at yahoo dot com) as your referral, then tell all your friends so you can get more swagbucks, too!

As far as surveys go, I've signed up for several sites so far. I haven't qualified for many surveys yet, but I keep trying, LOL. Here are a few of the sites I'm using in case you want to check them out:

Inbox Dollars -- earn points just for reading e-mails and they have occasional surveys as well.

Reward Port -- same deal, but they send a lot more e-mails so more points are accumulating.

ZoomPanel --surveys only.

The first two are the main ones that I really seem to be racking up the points with. Now, no one is going to get rich doing this stuff, but if you have easy access to the internet at home, and you can spend a little time doing something productive every day, it adds up. My time for surveys has been limited, but it's very quick and easy to look through e-mails and click on links to earn points.

Just a tip, in case you haven't read through Money Saving Methods yet. Set up a separate e-mail account for these things so you don't clutter up your personal inbox. In fact, Carrie recommends setting up separate accounts for surveys, paid e-mails, offers, and other stuff that she does, so you don't get distracted by surveys when you're supposed to be completing free offers, etc.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My first product review online!

If you haven't joined ExpoTV yet, you might want to check it out. They offer invitations to do video reviews of products you already use or might want to try, then you earn points when you upload your video reviews. I've only done one review so far, but now that I've got that under my belt, I look forward to doing more!

Check it out for yourself! If you decide to join, my user name there is many2knit4 And, here's my video (excuse the lack of make-up, please!)...

See all Skin Care reviews at Expotv

In my mailbox.....

The other day, I opened my mailbox to find several samples awaiting me, as well as several envelopes. I love getting freebies in my mail! It's so fun getting packages without having to pay for them, lol.

I got some *ahem* feminine products, a sample of an omega-3 supplement (which got squished by the USPS and unusable, but it smelled good--really!), a children's book about asthma, and a $25 Target giftcard! Yes, that's right--free! Woo-hoo!

I've been reading the blog, Money Saving Methods lately, and wow--is she chock-full of information! She has saving and making money for her family (from home) down to a science, and she has a passion for teaching others how to do the same. I've been so blessed by her information already, and I look forward to slowly implementing more of her methods as I am able.

I received the giftcard by signing up for one of those 'free trials' of a certain buying/shopping service. They offered it as a free gift just for signing up and giving the service a try. Carrie at MSM teaches you to be very organized in trying these free offers. Use a planner to write down the date when the free trial ends so you can cancel before being billed (if you decide it's not for you). Write down the phone number right there as well, so it's handy. Make sure you read all the fine print when you first sign up so you can be sure to meet all the requirements, and keep records of everything you do.

This particular offer was very easy. It's the only one I had going at the time (wanted to 'get my feet wet' first), so I could keep better track of things. I simply filled out the online form and waited for the 'welcome kit' to arrive. Then, I had to fill out a simple reply card and send it in promptly (before the free trial ended), to receive my gift card. Most of these offers require that you be an 'active member' before sending your incentive. Therefore, you can't just sign up, then cancel immediately and expect to receive anything. That's where your planner comes in to remind you of what you need to do and when.

I was so excited to actually get the gift card in my hands! Now I feel more confident about signing up for other offers as well. I still plan to go slowly with this (I'm not very organized! But I'm trying!), but every little bit helps.

Go check out Money Saving Methods--you'll be surprised at how many ways there are for you to financially help you family from home!