Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Guest Post

I have a guest post today over at Thrifty & Chic Mom. It takes my Waste Less Wednesday posts and reviews the ones I have done so far. Check it out here.

Also, do not forget to enter my giveaway for Three Redbox Codes. The contest ends tomorrow (Wednesday) at 9 p.m. CST.

Don't Panic - The Economy Will Turn Around

I've been listening to a lot of talk radio since yesterday afternoon (my husband is a talk radio junkie) and I'm sick of hearing the doom and gloom of our economy. Yes, we are in tough times but the world is not going to end. If you look back at history, there have been several economic downturns but people eventually came out of it. This is just another bump in the road of history.

Many years from now, you can tell stories to your grandkids of how you survived the great economic bust of 2008. You can tell them about the fun things you learned to do at home because you had to get creative to save money. You can tell them how your family grew closer together during the hard times. You can cook some of the new recipes you learned how to make or show them how to grow a garden because that is what it took to feed your family. My point is, life will go on, and you will probably be better for it. Our world became money hungry and this bump in the road is simply correcting that. No, I do not enjoy living on the very limited income we have right now but I have learned some wonderful lessons from it that I hope to pass on to my child and future grandchildren. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.


As a mom, many of us are trying to find a way to make a little extra income. About a year ago, I found Hits4Pay. You simply click on an ad and wait for your account to be credited. Most ads are worth 2 cents. I know that doesn't sound like a lot, but you aren't doing a lot either. If you take the time to get affiliates, you can earn off of them too. I've received several referrals simply by posting my link on message boards I visit. It is not a ton of money, but you can cash out at $25 and they give you $10 simply for signing up. With Christmas around the corner, I know some of you could use a little money so I thought I would pass this site on to you. To sign up, click the banner at the top of this post.

Edited: I changed the banner so it would fit better within my blog layout.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Freezer Update

I did my normal grocery shopping this morning and did not buy any frozen food! It absolutely killed me to walk past the reduced priced meat and the two aisles of frozen food, but I did not venture down those aisles. For dinner tonight, we are having grilled pork tenderloin (from my freezer stash), some kind of frozen veggies, baked potatoes, and homemade bread.

My in laws gave me a huge container of honey that someone gave them so I'm looking for ways to use this up before it goes bad. I also came home with two bags of apples. These are baking apples so I'm looking for ways to use them too. On Friday, I will share my favorite apple crisp recipe, which can be made ahead and frozen. Earlier in the apple season, I made several of these and froze them so I can have fresh apple crisp all winter long. Feel free to share any ideas you have.

Project Clean Out Freezer

So, I'm driving home from the grocery store last week thinking about the great frozen purchases I made (Healthy Choice dinners for under a dollar!) when it suddenly hits me, I have a very full freezer and it is almost the holidays. My wonderful in laws give us 1/4 of beef every year for Christmas. It takes up 1 1/2 shelves of my freezer. Every other year, we celebrate Christmas on Thanksgiving due to MIL having to work one of those holidays each year and this year is one of those. So, I have just under two months to find room in my freezer for this wonderful meat. To make matters worse, I usually start baking bread and cookies in late Oct. for the holidays. I was already wondering where I was going to put it when I remembered I needed room for the meat. My challenge to myself is to not buy any frozen food unless it is the cheapest I have ever seen it until after the holidays. I told my husband we will be working our way through the freezer starting this week. Anyone have any great recipes for ground beef, pork tenderloin, pork cube steak, and beef roasts (besides an actual roast - neither of us will eat it the traditional way)? I can easily use the frozen veggies as I go through those like crazy. I think I have a few dinners I made ahead in there so I will use those up soon and that will give some room too. I'm sure you will hear posts over the next few months on Project Clean Out Freezer. And yes, I'm serious about those recipes - feel free to leave me a link to your favorite recipes.

Also, don't forget to sign up for my first giveaway - Three Redbox codes.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Short Break

I'm leaving in a few hours for a short trip to the inlaws and they (gasp) do not have internet access. They live in a small town with only dial up and since it is so slow, they decided to drop it. I'm taking my computer though because I have several blog articles developing in my head so I plan on using the time to write and then I will post the articles over the next several weeks. In the meantime, feel free to enter my first giveaway for 3 Redbox codes.

Food Friday: Overnight French Toast Casserole

I first discovered this recipe last fall when I needed to bring something to MOPS for brunch. It is super easy and very frugal. I love that it is made the night before so all you have to do is pop it in the oven that morning.

In case anyone is wondering why I have no food pictures, my camera is on the fritz. It is rare that I can get a decent picture. If I ever get one, it usually gets posted. On my Christmas wish list this year is a new camera.

Overnight French Toast Casserole

½ cup butter or margarine
12 slices white bread
1 cup brown sugar (you may want to reduce to 2/3 cup)
1 tsp cinnamon
5-6 eggs
1 ½ cups milk

Melt margarine in a 9 x 13 baking pan. Put 6 slices of bread in bottom of pan. In a bowl mix 1 cup brown sugar with 1 tsp cinnamon. Sprinkle 1/2 of this sugar mixture over bread. Add another layer of 6 slices of bread. In a bowl, whisk eggs with milk until well blended. Pour over bread layers. Sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake covered at 350F 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking 15 minutes or until set and browned.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Red Box Giveaway

As promised, I'm hosting my first giveaway! This is to celebrate the start of fall and the increased traffic to this site lately. The prize is three redbox codes which are good through Dec. 31, 2008. For those who have never heard of redbox, it is usually located at McDonald's or a grocery store. You can rent new release DVDs for $1.00 a day. To see if there is one in your area click here. I like to visit the redbox near my house to get date night movies or entertainment for my child. My husband and I like to have a date within our house after the wee one is in bed and these cheap movies make for a great date night.

To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment about a great winter family activity you enjoy doing. I have a very active toddler and winter can become hard on both of us with being stuck inside each day. I'm looking for new ideas to keep us entertained since winter is just around the corner. I occasionally will get a redbox as a treat when the weather is nasty and our little monkey has a blast watching something new. So, leave me an idea and I will enter you in the contest.

This giveaway ends next Wednesday, Oct. 1 at 9 pm CST. I will randomly choose a winner at that time and they have 48 hours to contact me to claim the prize. If I find an idea I particularly love, I may even choose two winners.

To receive more entries:
1. Subscribe to my feed and leave an additional comment stating you subscribed.
2. Post about my giveaway on your blog.

Edited: This contest is open to those outside of the U.S. as long as you have a redbox and they accept codes. I will email the codes to you, rather than mail them though.

Tree Update

It took 8 hours, but the neighbor's tree is gone. The stump is still there and they plan on removing it Monday. Other than my yard getting trashed, the house and fence are safe. They had to bring the boom truck through our yard because of where the tree was located. I approved this since it is saving our house from major destruction.

I'm planning on hosting my first giveaway starting tonight or tomorrow so stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Falling Trees

Want to know what I'm doing right now? I'm sitting in my dining room catching up on blogs while watching the neighbor's tree come down. This tree died in the 2007 ice storm. It sits right next to our fence and leans toward our house. We had another ice storm (although not near as bad) this winter and we thought the tree was going to fall on our house. I'm glad to see the tree go, but I'm a little nervous about my house and fence. A different tree trimming company cleaned up the neighbor's trees after the 2007 ice storm and they broke part of our fence. They fixed the pickets but never came back to fix the cross beam. Luckily, we have great neighbors and they are doing everything they can to make sure our house is safe. It is kind of fun to watch the tree come down but a little scary too.

Wasteless Wednesday: Bread

For all of my new readers, every Wednesday I pick one common household item and show you how you can reuse it in order to waste less. Feel free to send me an email or post a comment for ideas for this weekly feature.

Today, we are going to talk about bread. First of all, I buy most of my bread from the bread outlet and then freeze it. I know I will always have bread and buns available by doing this. Sometimes I have problems using up the thawed bread before it starts to get stale though. Here are my favorite ways to use up stale bread:

Bread Crumbs - Put bread on a cookie sheet and bake at a low temperature until crusty, make sure not to burn it though. Once cooked, crumble up or put in a food processor to make finer crumbs. These can be stored for weeks and make a great coating for chicken or potatoes. You can make your own version of Shake n Bake by mixing various spices with the bread crumbs.

Croutons - Cube the bread and toast in the oven similar to bread crumbs. Feel free to season them before or after. My favorite is to rub garlic on them.

French Toast - This is best made with stale bread so that it will soak up all of the egg mixture. This is our favorite Saturday morning treat and it is very cheap to make.

Feed the animals - If you have a lake or zoo nearby, this is a fun treat for kids to feed the ducks.

Feel free to add your favorite way to use up stale bread.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Secret Weapon

I've found a secret weapon - peanut butter crackers. It used to frustrate me when we would be at a play date and my child would fall asleep on the way home, only to wake up a little while later starving because he had slept through lunch. He would then be cranky because he had not taken a long enough nap. I recently discovered peanut butter crackers are easy to carry around in his diaper bag for occasions like this. Today, I gave him a few on the way home from co-op and when he fell asleep just minutes from home, he had a full belly. They are portable and easy to eat in the car. I'm sure he will catch on to this at some point in time, but for now, I'm enjoying longer nap times and a happier child when he does wake up. Who knows, I might get adventurous and try cheese and crackers next time.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Treasures In My Mailbox

I thought the mail was never coming today because it did not arrive until 6:15! It is normally here early afternoon so I was beginning to think it was a holiday and no one told me. I found treasures when I opened the mailbox though. First, there was the book I won from Coupon Cravings. It is a signed copy too! Next, was a free cookie from Kashi that I signed up for last week. I learned about this cookie from Freebies 4 Mom. Finally, I received an insert from Procter & Gamble because I filled out a survey from them a few weeks ago. If I find treasures like this each day, I won't mind going to the mailbox (it sure beats bills!).

Childcare Co-op

I joined a childcare co-op a few weeks ago and today was my first day to play. This co-op is held at a nearby church and it costs nothing as long as you work at it every other time. My first working experience was two weeks ago (we only meet every other week) and although it was exhausting, it was a great way to meet other moms. I really looked forward to today though because I knew I had three solid hours to myself. I spent the time doing my CVS, Walgreens and Dillons runs. To make it even more enjoyable, I used my SwagBucks Starbucks gift card and enjoyed a delicious caramel machiatto while grocery shopping. I never splurge on nice coffee and I certainly don't have one with a child in the grocery cart so this was a wonderful treat.

Once I was done shopping, I put everything away and enjoyed a few minutes to myself in my house. It was so quiet and weird but I liked it. The best part of the whole morning - no guilt. When I need a break or want a date night, my parents are our babysitter. I love having them help, but I always feel guilty about getting a break and rush through things so they can have some free time too. I had no guilt whatsoever today though because I knew I had already worked my shift for this month. It was wonderful to have me time without guilt.

If there are no co-ops in your area, start one with a friend. This group is made of only six moms so it doesn't have to be a large group. Try trading Friday nights with friends so you each can have a date night. Trust me, you will be a much better mom for getting that small break.

Win Prizes for Searching

I've mentioned SwagBucks before but I wanted to bring it back up today because I was able to use I prize I won off of it. SwagBucks is a search engine powered by Google and Ask.com. You win points for searching and can use those points for prizes. To join, click here. I've received Starbucks and Amazon.com gift cards simply for doing something I do every day - search the internet. I used my Starbucks card this morning to enjoy a wonderful cup of coffee. I'll share more on those details later this afternoon, but I thought I would remind you of this great search engine first.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Food Friday: "Stuffed" Cabbage

I love how I schedule posts and they don't show up. Check out my post below on getting organized for Christmas. This was supposed to go live yesterday but somehow didn't - sorry to those of you that I told yesterday to come check it out.

Today's recipe is another crockpot recipe. I went to the Taste of Home cooking school last night and they mentioned this is the best time of year for cabbage. This recipe immediately came to mind. This is another one of those favorite recipes that I can no longer make when our son is home because it contains rice and he is allergic. It is yummy and super easy though so I had to share it with you.

New World "Stuffed" Cabbage

1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
2 tsp prepared yellow mustard
2 Tbsp Splenda or Sugar Twin (to taste, I prefer much less)
1/8 tsp black pepper
6 cups shredded cabbage (can use cole slaw mix to save time)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup uncooked instant rice

In a large skillet sprayed with butter-flavored cooking spray, brown meat. Spray a slow cooker with cooking spray. In prepared crockpot, combine browned meat, tomato sauce, mustard, Splenda, and black pepper. Add cabbage, onion, and uncooked rice. Mix well to combine. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Mix well before serving.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Christmas Organization

Modern Mommyhood is hosting the 12 Weeks of Christmas carnival every Monday, starting October 6. Check out the link on the right hand side of this blog each week to see what others are doing to prepare for Christmas.

I know it seems early, but this is the best time to start thinking about the holidays. Life isn't near as busy and you have time, so get started now in order to enjoy the holidays this year. The easiest way is to break down the tasks. Here are a few of the tasks I plan to do before the holidays:

Make a gift list: I make a list of everyone I want to give a gift to and then brainstorm ideas for them. This is simply a jumping point for gifts but it helps to brainstorm before jumping right in. Remember, not everyone you know needs a gift.

Surf the internet for ideas: Surf for fun crafts and yummy food in order to plan what you will make and what you will buy.

Begin making homemade items: If you are making crafts, start making things now - it is much more likely to actually be done by Christmas if you start now. If baking, make a plan of attack. I'm known for my pumpkin bread and I get a ton of requests around the holidays. I usually start in Oct. with making a few loaves when I have time. By the time Dec. comes around, my freezer is full of bread and I don't have to worry about finding time to cook. Cookies and a few other sweets freeze well too.

Schedule: If there are traditions you do every year such as baking day, Christmas parties, etc, start scheduling them in the next month or so. This way you ensure actually getting to the tradition instead of waiting until the last minute when everyone is already busy.

Pick a place to store everything: I have a place in one of my closets where I store all gifts. It makes it easy to find everything when it comes time to wrap. I also plan on creating a place in my garage pantry to store non-perishable food items I buy ahead for Christmas lunch. It is much cheaper to buy when things are on sale and a little at a time than to wait until you actually need it.

Do you feel overwhelmed now? Don't let it get to you. Sit down with a nice cup of coffee and make your plan of attack, then start working it one item at a time. Before you know it, Thanksgiving will be here and you will be able to sit back and enjoy the holidays.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Waste Less Wednesday: Paper

As much as our society is trying to get away from using paper, there is still plenty of it that comes into my house each week. Here are some ways I reuse it before putting it in the recycle bin:

Use for coloring: My child loves to color but not in coloring books. I save paper from work and let him color on the backside.

Messy projects: Craft projects are fun but can be messy. To protect my table, I put scrap paper on the table.

Filler for shipped packages: Every now and then I get in an eBay mood and sell a ton of items, but I usually run out of filler for my boxes before I'm done. Shredded paper makes a great filler. I find it works best if you stuff it in a newspaper wrapper to create little pillows.

Print on the back: If I'm printing something for my eyes only, I put used paper back in the printer and print on the unused side. We buy a lot less paper now that I've started doing this.

Lists: My husband says I'm the queen of lists so I use envelopes and paper from junk mail to write my lists on.

How do you reuse paper or what do you do to reduce the amount of paper in your life? Feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email.

I Won!

I love to enter contests but I very rarely ever win. I entered a blog contest over at Coupon Cravings (www.couponcravings.com) and won Greatest Secrets of the Coupon Mom! Stay tuned for my Waste Less Wednesday post coming this afternoon. It is time to got to MOPS and I didn't get a chance to write it last night.

Edited: Sorry I cannot get links to work, I will have to play with them when I get back from MOPS.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Guest Post

I recently wrote a guest post on Moms Rules about planning ahead in order to save time and money. Please check it out and the rest of the site while you are there - Mina shares some great insight on money and being a mom.

Helping Houston

Many of you are wondering how you can help those in need in Houston. I'm noticing several places are starting to hold money and food drives to help out. An easy way to show your help is to go through your stockpile and donate some food or household items. I purposefully pick up extra items when I can get them for free or next to nothing just for times like this. If there isn't a food or supply drive in your area, feel free to donate to your local food pantry. Many areas around the country will be housing hurricane victims and could use this extra food.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Grape Jelly

It is never too early to start thinking about Christmas presents. Over the next few months, I plan on featuring several easy and frugal ideas for Christmas gifts. Today, I urge you to check out this post from Owlhaven on how to make grape jelly. I always assumed it was hard and time consuming but this seems very doable. If anyone decides to give it try, let me know. Next time I find grape jelly on sale, I might give this a try. If you watch garage sales or freecycle, you can get jars for super cheap and new lids can be purchases at most major grocery stores. Homemade food, either by itself or part of a large basket of items, is usually a hit at the holidays. It makes good birthday presents too.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Food Friday: Peking Pork Chops

I'm not a huge pork fan but this is my absolute favorite way to eat it. You could easily substitute chicken if you do not eat pork. This recipe originally came from the Weight Watchers recipe search many years ago so it is healthy too. Another bonus is it is a crockpot meal so you can fix it early of a morning and have a wonderful dinner when you get home. If you are going to be gone all day, use frozen pork chops so they aren't mush by dinner time. Also, this easily can be cut in half if you have a smaller family.

Peking Pork Chops

6 pork chops
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 cloves garlic, mashed

Trim excess fat from pork chops. Place chops in crockpot. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over pork chops. Cook, covered, on low for 4-6 hours or until tender (can go 8+ hours if start with frozen or have a timer on the crockpot).

5 points per serving if using 4 oz chops, 7 points if using 6 oz chops

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Waste Less Wednesday: Crayons

Crayons are taking over my house and it seems like they break in two seconds flat. I hate to throw away a new crayon though so I turned them into crayon cupcakes. Our son thought they were a blast and I was able to reuse something that most people would trash. My mom used to make these for me when I was little and I loved using them.

To make these, peel all of the wrappers off the crayons. This is a great project for kids since they seem to love to do this anyway. Then, take all of the broken pieces and put in cupcake liners in a muffin tin. You can sort by color or put a rainbow of colors in for a fun new crayon. We chose to do one color per cup since we are working on naming colors right now. I also used the mini muffin tin because I didn't have enough of each color for the regular sized one.

Put in crayons in the oven at 250 degrees for 10-15 minutes. You will know they are done when all of the wax has melted. Let cool for about 30 minutes and then pop out of the liner. This is what ours looked like:

While searching online for tempurature to bake these at, I came across several articles saying they put red and green in one cup for holiday crayons. This could be an easy way to have something special at Christmas or another holiday or it could even be a fun stocking stuffer.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Another Carnival

It looks like my posts are making it around the blogosphere now. Check out my second carnival here. This one focuses on the family and the various aspects of family life such as finances, cooking, having fun, etc.

Emergency Fund

With all of the hurricanes lately, I've been thinking more about being prepared for life's emergencies. It usually only takes one emergency to teach you how to prepare but why not start preparing now. I once went nine days without power thanks to an ice storm. I thought I was prepared but I learned several lessons during that time and now I am much more prepared if something like that should ever happen again. Today, I'm going to talk about being prepared financially.

An emergency fund is simply that - a fund to be used for life's little (and sometimes big) emergencies. Dave Ramsey says to start with $1,000 and then build it up to 3-6 months of living expenses once debt is all paid off. He also states that once you begin living on a budget (more to come on that subject at a later date), many of life's emergency are no longer an emergency. They can simply be worked into the budget for that month. I totally agree with that theory. We have an emergency fund of about six months living expenses (not total expenses, simply what is needed to get by) and this is why I didn't totally panic when I found out my husband's hours had been cut. We immediately started working odd jobs to help out and calculated how long we could survive on the small salary and emergency fund. You know what? - we have only touched that fund twice since last fall. We calculated we had enough to make it until May, June at the latest. It is now September and the fund is still mostly there. It hasn't been easy, but we have changed our lifestyle to cover this emergency.

I also didn't panic when I woke up to a flooded house because I knew I had that emergency fund in place. Yes, insurance covered the damage but there was still a deductible and a few expenses that were not covered (i.e the refridgerator). I was upset and stressed for awhile, but I knew I could afford to put my house back together. Of course, it helped that Uncle Sam gave a little stimulus check this spring to help out my emergency fund and that went straight towards my deductible.

Does it seem overwhelming to come up with this money? Don't let it be. Start by putting back a little extra each month. To give the fund a little boost, sell something on eBay or Craigslist. Once you start working on the fund, it isn't as overwhelming as it seems.

Are you looking for a great place to keep this fund? My suggestion is ING DIRECT. I've had my emergency fund there for over a year now and I couldn't be happier. Remember, you want to have your money in a place where it is easily accessible, but not so easy that you can use it for non-emergency items. To sign up for ING DIRECT (which currently has a 3% interest rate), click on the banner in the right side of this blog.

My challenge today is to start that emergency fund so you will be more prepared when life's next emergency rolls around.

Monday, September 8, 2008

First Carnival

I'm participating in my first carnival this week. Click here to go to Tiny Prints and check out the other participants. This one is for green living and features my Waste Less Wednesday post from last week.

Free Vitamins

I love freebies but there are a ton of other sites out there listing all of the freebies so I only plan on listing some of my favorites. This sample of Nature Made vitamins is one of those great freebies. By signing up for the free samples, you will receive a free 14 day supply of vitamins. There are several to choose from but my favorites are calcium and the multi-vitamin (available in complete and for her). I requested this freebie last month and received it in about two weeks so I know it works.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


I love to read, but it has taken a backseat since having a child (unless you count kids books). I cleaned out a couple of rooms in my house on Thursday and came across several books that I want to read. These are random books that have been given to me over the past few years - some parenting, some fiction, some non-fiction. I decided to put them in a pretty basket and work my way through them instead of letting them collect dust in my house. I've always used my child as an excuse but it is really me. Yes, I have limited free time, but I know I waste a good chunk of it each day. I can get lost on the internet everyday for hours and not even realize the time has gone by. Instead, I plan on taking 30 minutes each day (nap time or after bedtime) to read. I've already begun and I'm really enjoying my unplugged time (no TV or computer). Sometimes it is the simple things in life that we forget about and need to get back to. Has anyone read any great books lately I should add to my list?

Friday, September 5, 2008

Right At Home

I've been a subscriber of Right at Home for awhile now and it is a good resource for coupons and household tips from SC Johnson. The newsletter comes to your inbox so you don't have to remember to check the site often. Check it out here (sorry, link has expired) to subscribe and start saving today. This is the company that brings you great household items such as Windex, Ziplock and Scrubbing Bubbles.

Also, don't forget to click the ING DIRECT banner on the left side to sign up for a great online savings account. It is currently paying 3% interest which is much better than any local bank around here.

Food Friday: Banana Bread

If you've been freezing bananas, this is a great recipe to use them in. When I have time, I make several loaves at once and freeze them so I always have fresh bread on hand when company comes or I'm asked to bring food to something. This recipe is courtesy of old faithful Betty Crocker.

Banana Bread

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup mashed banana (3 medium)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 tsp finely shredded lemon peel (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

1. Grease the loaf pan (I use one medium or several small ones). In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp salt. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture; set aside.

2. In another bowl combine the egg, bananas, sugar, cooking oil, and, if desired, lemon peel. Add egg mixture all at once to dry mixture. Stir just until moistened. Fold in nuts if desired.

3. Spoon batter into the prepared pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven 50-55 minutes or till a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, cool on rack.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Target Savings

I just got home from Target and they have some great deals on back to school supplies and basic household items. All of the items they stocked for college students is now at least 30% off, if not more. Although I didn't buy any, I saw sheet sets for $10, decorative organizational baskets for $10-15, hampers and laundry bags for $2-5, etc. If you need basic household items, this is the time to stock up. Some of these things make great Christmas gifts too so think ahead and see if this would work for anyone on your list.

On another note, I'm not too happy with Target right now because they wouldn't take any of my internet coupons today. They've always taken them but decided today to change the policy to not taking them unless the scan. I've never had an internet coupon scan at our Target, it always has to be entered, so I guess my Target days will be even less now.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Waste Less Wednesday: Plastic Bags

Plastic bags from the grocery store and other places seem to bread in my house. Although I now use reusable bags for most of my grocery shopping (except the times I forget and leave them at home), I still seem to have an abundance of bags. Some grocery stores (I know Wal-Mart and Dillon's do) now have a place to recycle them just as you enter the door. In case you are like me and forget to take them when shopping, here are some other great ways to reuse those plastic bags.

* Donate to a flea market or food pantry. Every few months, my family and I load up and spend a day hitting the flea markets. Several along our path accept used bags and are grateful when they see us coming through with the bags. This saves them the expense of buying bags.

* Use as trash can liners.

* Use to line the tray when painting. It saves a ton of time and frustration to do this because then you can just throw away the bag and the paint tray is still clean.

* Save several for your next garage sale. Customers will be happy to have a bag to carry all of their goodies home in.

* Take a few on vacation to store dirty clothes or dirty shoes in so the rest of you items stay clean.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

New Flooring

I've been away for several days because we were putting new flooring in our house! Hang on, because this will be a long post of pictures. We were saving for new floors and had planned on purchasing them this year but when my husband had his hours cut, this savings was put on hold. We figured new floors would have to wait until at least next year and we were fine with that. Our carpet is only four years old but with a toddler and a dog, it was looking pretty bad. Our plans changed this year though when we experienced a flood. On May 1, we woke up to hear water running into our basement. Something had broke on the refrigerator in the middle of the night and the water was quickly flooding our upstairs and working its way through the ceiling to the basement. The even worse part - we had just changed insurance companies a week and a half before. We were labeled as suspicious for several days and almost had our insurance suspended but God had other plans. We were blessed with a great insurance adjuster who took one look at the fridge and knew we weren't suspicious. Here are a few pictures from that day. The first is the area by the fridge. The side panel of cabinets was ruined and has to be replaced (we are waiting for the cabinet company to fix this). The carpet all around this area was flooded and it was quickly heading down our hall. The kitchen floor started molding by the fridge a few days later.

This picture is of our basement. We caught it before it ruined too much of the carpet but they still had to take two large patches of padding out. It took 6 fans, 2 dehumidifiers, and almost a week to dry out our house. Thank goodness for ServPro because they helped us minimize the damage. We were put up in a hotel for several days due to all of the fans in our house.

It took us several months to find a drywaller to fix our basement ceiling. With the exception of this and the cabinet, we have done all of the work our self. This brings me to pictures of this weekend. This first ones shows our house Friday night, before we pulled up the carpet. Please pardon the massive mess on the counters and floor - it is usually much cleaner than that. We have been living with no padding on our carpet near the kitchen and in the hall for months now.

This one shows part of the carpet up. We pulled all of the carpet upstairs except for the bedrooms.

This final picture shows our new floor. The floor is now in the living room, dining room, two halls and kitchen. We have not moved all of our furniture back as my husband and his dad did not finish the floor until late yesterday and then we both had to work today. Tomorrow's project is to find my house again and then enjoy the new floor. It is so nice to have the new floor and not have to vacuum every day or clean up all of the spills my toddler has. Later this week, ServPro will be back to fix the carpet in the basement. It will be nice to finally have my house in order again after living in a construction zone for months.

I hope I did not bore you with my long post but I thought it would be nice for you to have a glimpse into my life. Next time we decide we want to upgrade something in our house, I pray we don't have to go through something as stressful as this flood but I do thank God for the insurance money as it helped provide our new floor.

Back from a Break

We had a super busy weekend and I didn't get a chance to update this blog. Hopefully tonight I will have some time to download pictures and show you why I was so busy. In the meantime, enjoy this link to a great article from My Money Blog on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs combined with Personal Finance.

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