Monday, May 31, 2010

Giveaway: Sam’s Club Gift Card & Snacks

We have a Sam's Club membership and have found they are generally cheaper for wipes, milk, and some snacks. We also love looking through their book section as they have wonderful prices and a great selection for kids.

Today I have giveaway for a $25 Sam's Club gift card and a club sized box of Nature Valley Trail Mix Fruit & Nut bars. These granola bars can be purchased at Sam's Club and they are one of my favorite on the go snacks as they actually fill you up since they are full of better for you ingredients such as almonds, cranberries, and honey.

To enter the giveaway and for additional entries:
1. Tell me what your favorite snack or bargain is at Sam's Club (mandatory for entry).
2. Follow me on Twitter - @LifeWithLess 
3. Subscribe to this blog via RSS or email.
4. Post about this giveaway on your blog and leave a link in the comments section. 

Giveaway ends at 9 pm CST on Monday, June 7. Winner has 72 hours to contact me. If I do not hear back, another winner will be drawn.

*MyBlogSpark and General Mills provided me with a gift card and Nature Valley bars also. No other compensation occurred.

Back & Better Than Ever

Thank you for allowing me to take a blog break last week. My husband was out of town and I was taking care of some details for my oldest son's therapy and I knew I couldn't give my blog the focus and attention that it needed. The break did me some good as I didn't feel pressured to put something up. Also, over the weekend we visited my in-laws in the land of no internet (yes, places like this still exist) and the internet fast was good for all of us. I didn't completely fast from the computer though as I used some quiet time to write several blog posts that have been swirling in my head for awhile now. Speaking of which, stay tuned for a giveaway starting later this afternoon.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Short Blog Vacation

I'm taking a short blog vacation this week and will be back next week.  Be sure to come back Monday as I will have new content and a giveaway next week.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Kool-Aid Cake

This is a fun cake because you can change the color and the flavor to match the season or your child's favorite color.  My son likes to make these as cupcakes.

Kool-Aid Cake

2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs 
1 cup milk
1 packet Kool-Aid - any flavor

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the dry ingredients, including Kool-Aid.  Add wet ingredients.  Stir until well blended.  Pour into 8" or 9" square pan or muffin tins.  Bake 50-60 minutes for cake, 20-25 minutes for cupcakes or 12-15 minutes for mini cupcakes.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ask the Local Readers: Price Cutter

I keep seeing requests for coupon match ups for Price Cutter but I have yet to find a consistent blog that offers them.  Although I'm not really a deal blogger, I've been thinking of offering a top 5 or the best deals matchup for Price Cutter.  While I would love to create an entire list of deals, I know my current time limits would not allow that.  Would anyone be interested in this?  Please leave a comment or email me to let me know your thoughts.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Email Subscription Now Available

I've had several requests for an email subscription to this blog so I've made one available.  If you are interested, please sign up using the box in the upper right of this blog.  You will receive an email each evening with any posts from that day.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tornado Tips

It is tornado season around here and unfortunately that means we will be taking shelter quite often.  Last week alone we had to take shelter once and were warned we might have to on another occasion.  Taking shelter with a small child can be interesting as they are either super scared or can't figure out why you took them away from their play time.  I've gathered a few tips over the years so I thought I would pass them along.

Wear shoes.  Ok, this is my mom's tip.  As a child, we always had to run to the backyard neighbors house when the sirens went off.  If a storm was even predicted we had shoes nearby or on.  I have a basement now but I still put shoes on everyone in case something does happen so that we won't be climbing out of ruble barefoot.

Bring snacks. You may only be in the shelter for a few minutes but it could turn out to be a long time in there.  Bring a sippy cup and a few snacks for the little ones and a bottle of water for you because a snack can always help pass the time.

Keep your laptop handy. If you have a laptop, keep it charged so that you can use it during a storm.  When the kids are occupied I use it to watch the weather and keep up with friends on Facebook.  If the kids aren't distracted though I find games for them to play online.  My oldest recently discovered what a tornado was and he now freaks out every time he hears the word.  Last week I got him interested in a game and he completely forgot about the tornado while we were hanging out in our shelter.

Prepare for a long night.  If it looks like it is going to be a long night of storms, bring pillows and blankets to your safe area.  I realize some of you are hanging out in a closet and there isn't really any room to sleep but I suggest keeping the family together in a nearby location so that it is much quicker and easier to get in your shelter when needed.

Do you have any tips for surviving a tornado and/or keeping your family entertained while you take shelter?  Feel free to leave a comment with some of your favorite tips.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Food Friday: Diet Coke Cake

This is a fairly well known recipe but I run into people all the time who have never heard of it so I thought I would post it.  You can use any combination of cake mix and soda flavors and these make good cupcakes too.

Diet Coke Cake

1 box cake mix
1 can of Diet Coke

Mix cake mix and soda (I usually use just a bit less than a full can), pour into pan and cook according to directions on the box.  Ice with your favorite icing, powdered sugar, or fresh fruit.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Savings With Shoe Carnival

Shoe Carnival is offering a great buy one, get one 1/2 off sale right now.  On top of that, you can get a surprise coupon for additional $5, $10, or $15 discount.  This could make for some inexpensive summer shoes if you need some (and what girl couldn't use a new pair or two of shoes?).

How We Paid For College Without Loans

People are always shocked when they hear we paid for my husband's college out of pocket - no loans were involved.  All of this was while we were (and still are) living on a very limited income.  Here are a few of the things we did in order to afford school:

Sold items from our house: The first two semesters, we went around our house and found items to list on Craigslist.  It helped clear out some clutter and pay for a good chunk of school.  We also have had two garage sales in the two years he was in school.

Took on an extra job:  My parents own their own business and have always hired someone to clean their offices.  I took over when my husband first had his job cut back.  About six months into it is when my husband decided to go back to school so we moved that income to our college fund.

Surveys: They do not pay a ton but I had done surveys off and on for years.  I started setting aside time each day to work on them and after awhile we had enough to pay for many of his books.

FAFSA: This is the form you have to fill out in order to get many scholarships and for government aid.  The first year of school we did not receive anything but these last two semesters we were given a grant.  The second semester was actually a higher amount than the first semester this school year and came as a huge surprise to us.  We thank God for looking out for us in this area.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

We Made It!

Just a quick note to let you all know my husband is officially done with college!!!!  It has been a long two years and a very difficult last semester but I am so proud of him.  

When we were first dating he mentioned that he would like to finish his degree some day but he did not really need it for his profession.  He has three medical licenses and an associates degree but he always wanted the bachelor's degree.  When the economy sank, he saw that as his opportunity to finish his degree and make himself more marketable.  It has been a tough few years but it I'm proud of my husband for sticking it out.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Food Friday: Meatloaf (Makes 2)

I mentioned last week that I have a meatloaf recipe that makes two meatloaves and I wanted to share it with you today.  This recipe came from a friend.  She brought this to a Sunday School potluck and my husband really liked it.  At that point I knew I had to get the recipe because he rarely tries something new and likes it.  I usually serve one for dinner and freeze the rest for another day.  I've also been known to freeze it in individual slices so that I have a quick meal ready for the kids.


3 lbs hamburger (the leaner the better)
2 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
2 tsp pepper (more or less to taste)
2 Tbsp dried minced onion
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 slices of bread, crumbled

Mix all ingredients together with your hands, then split in half to make two loaves.  Form the loaves in a 13x9 pan.  Make them as flat as possible or the middle will not cook but the edges will be dried out.  Top with sauce.


3/4 cup ketchup
6 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp Worstershire sauce
2 Tbsp mustard

Mix all together and spread over meatloaves.  Cover pan with foil and bake at 375 for 45 minutes to an hour.

I like to make a little extra sauce and use for dipping.  Kids seem to enjoy dipping and this is a great dip to have on hand.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mom's Nite Out Is Almost Here

Just a quick reminder that Mom's Nite Out is this Thursday.  For my local readers, stop by the mall from 6-9 pm to enjoy Godiva samples, a fashion show, demonstrations, and prize drawings.  There will also be swag bags for the first 200 people.  This event is for moms of all ages so feel free to bring your mom or friend and enjoy a fun night out.

For those who cannot attend, there will be a virtual event on Twitter. You will need to RSVP and follow the hashtag #MomsNiteOut in order to participate.

I would like to thank Pizza Hut and Mom Select for helping me enjoy the night out even more by Takin' Care of Dinner.  I was given a $25 gift card in order to feed my family for dinner Thursday night.  My husband couldn't be happier as Pizza Hut pepperoni pizza is his favorite pizza.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Garden Update

I mentioned a few weeks back that we have a very random garden this year.  The seeds have started sprouting and so far it looks like we are going to have an abundance of lettuce.  I think I see some tomato sprouts too but I'm not positive that is what is growing.  They need to come up a bit more before I can tell.  I'm dreaming of fresh veggies this summer and can't wait for things to start growing. 

It has been fun having my oldest child involved too this year.  He has been asking every day to look at his carrot seeds and see if they are growing.  I'm hoping he will eat them too when they are ready.  Having children involved in the garden is a great way to get them to try new foods.

Speaking of gardening, if you have not signed up for the Home Depot Gardening Club, I highly recommend it.  They send a newsletter by email that is filled with great articles.  Also, a few times a year I receive coupons by mail.  Seeing as gardening can be a bit expensive coupons are a great way to help out.  Click on the box below to sign up.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Freezer Cooking Update

I'm not quite done with freezer cooking for this month but I have made a lot of progress.  If I had one long chunk of time it would make things easier but I take the moments as they come.

On Friday I made french toast sticks and hashbrowns.  I only did a small batch of the hashbrowns as I want to see how my husband likes them first.  If he approves, I will make more soon.

This weekend was busy as my husband was on call so I wasn't able to cook anything until today.  This morning I made porcupine meatballs and ground beef pasties.  Neither of these are things my husband would eat but I've been wanting to try them so I made them in order to have a quick dinner on the nights that he is gone.  Tonight, I made a meatloaf and I made the recipe that makes two.  One is in the freezer and we ate the other one for dinner.  I plan on sharing that recipe with you all soon.

I still hope to make banana bread, turkey enchiladas and roasted chicken.  Those will be made later this week as time allows.  It feels good to have a few things in the freezer though and my kids are already enjoying the french toast sticks.

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