Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Healthy Food on a Budget

This list of foods offers maximum nutritional bang for the buck$$$

dried beans
cabbage, broccoli, and carrots
ground turkey
whole chicken
bulk whole grains-oats and brown rice
quart size plain low-fat yogurt
Thin crust pizza dough, add tomato sauce, veggies, ground turkey & cheese

(list as per PARENTS nutrition and fitness for life program)

Do you have missing money?

It only takes a couple minutes to check if you have any missing money at http://www.missingmoney.com/  I just found $36.70 that will be sent to me within 90 days!!!  Yay for me...hopefully YOU can find some missing money too!!

Monday, June 27, 2011


Lemons are not just reminders of summertime, they have many uses!

1.  Gargle with lemon juice and water to kill odor-killing bacteria OR suck on lemon wedges that come with your water at a restraunt to fend off after-dinner breath.

2.  Rub half a lemon on botched sunless tan lotion job.

3.  Mix lemon zest/juice, sugar, and olive oil to make a body scrub, works great on rough elbows/knees.

4.  Squeeze onto avacodo, or cut up fruit to keep it from browing.

5.  Rub down your chopping block with half a lemon to sanitize.

6.  I decorate with them...I put a single lemon in each of my glass candle holders on the table, fill a vase with lemons and limes as a centerpiece. 

7.  Rub on fingernails to whiten.

8.  Add 1/2 cup lemon juice to a load of laundry to whiten and brighten.

9.  Let's not forget the homemade lemonade...Juice 12 lemons into a quart of water and a cup of sugar...yum!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sign up to win $25000 towards college with Johnson's

Enter Johnson's Fun in the Sun photo contest to win a video camera or $25,000 towards a college scholarship. 

"make a promise...
to pause, reflect, and recognize the everyday
joy that is already there in your
day-to-day life."
(Johnson's advertisement)

Save on Family Fun

Visit some museums by checking out TARGET'S "Arts & Culture" site  They will fit the bill for you to learn about other cultures all across our country! 

Bank of America customers get to visit museums for FREE the first weekend of each month, so be sure to check out http://museums.bankofamerica.com/

Check your local movie theatre for FREE weekday children's flicks!  Ours shows them weekly!

Check out the Kids Bowl Free website to take the family bowling!

Your local library probably holds FREE kids entertainment and reading rewards programs!!!

Local church's hold Vacation Bible School...it's a wonderful way to get your kids involved in your church community...they always have fun themes, crafts, and neat activities that your kids are sure to enjoy :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Grilled Tortilla Sammies

The chicken didn't thaw in time for tonight's grillin' plan, so I just threw together a super easy dinner!  I rubbed a tiny bit of evoo on two tortillas, topped with turkey, Swiss, red onion, avocado, and tomatoes.  Rolled em' up and smashed them down in the panini (George Foreman) grill....yummy and easy dinner!

Keep hair accessories un"tangled"

Taylor has all of these little hairclips...It is so difficult to find the matches when they are all in a basket...I just hung a ribbon in the bathroom and started clipping the bows and hair clips on it...now I can SEE them all, pick the ones we want, and find the matches easily!  Taylor wants us to use yellow yarn and pretend it's "her hair", braid it, hang it for us to put her clips on...actually, we may try it!

The ribbon I hung is NOT near this pretty,
but this is a great way to make it look
like a decoration too!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Kid Friendly Banana Pudding

When we have a banana or two that gets too dark, we will make banana bread or pudding with it to keep from wasting fruit.  Today, we decided to make pudding:

1-2 boxes instant vanilla or banana pudding
1/2 box vanilla wafers

I usually put 1/2 less milk than the pudding instructions call for when using two boxes.  Sometimes I put the pudding and milk in a zip loc bag and let my kids shake it til it's ready, or it's fun to let them do the 5 minutes of whisking!

I let the kids cut the bananas with butter knives or plastic knives.

Placing the vanilla wafers all over the bottom of the dish is fun for the kids too! 

Place the wafers in the bottom of the dish, layer some bananas, then cover with pudding...you can layer all ya want!  I like to end with wafers because it's pretty!!

My Mom never used instant pudding, so we would cook our pudding and have it warm...that's the way I REALLY like it!  With the kiddos involved, I just use instant, it's good too!   :)

Spending to Save...the Earth

This time I am spending money, instead of saving money...But I am Saving the Earth!  I upgraded my trash pick up to include recycling.  It is costing me $4.50 per month and that includes a roller cart.  I do not have to separate any of the recyclable materials, just toss them in the canister...I cannot believe how much trash can be recycled!!! 

Actually, by adding this service I am "saving" on time...I have been sacking my recyclables and driving them to my Sister's house.  Much more convenient now!  It's also making me more organized because I love to throw out papers that I don't need! It's a win/win :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Homemade Stain Remover

I love BORAX!  It is very versatile and easy to use...invest $3.00 in a box on your next shopping trip and you won't be dissapointed.  You can find it in the laundry section at the store, usually on the bottom shelf.  I use it as carpet deodorizer, laundry detergent, laundry brightener for whites, and homemade stain remover.

To make the stain remover just dissolve 4Tbs of Borax into 1 1/2 cups warm water in a spray bottle and treat those stains!  IT WORKS!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Kid Project- Make your own Ice Cream!

Thanks to my FAMILY FUN mag, I found this great idea..."Ice Cream in a Bag"  I love to Make our own Butter, but THIS is awesome!  You do NOT need an ice cream maker, just some plastic bags. 

Mix together in a pint size ziploc bag:
2 Tbs sugar
1 cup half and half
1/2 tsp vanilla

Place 1/2 cup of salt (course, rock, or table) in a gallon size ziploc, then fill 1/2 way up with ice cubes.   Place the smaller bag inside the larger and make sure they are sealed. 

Start shaking!!!  It will take about 5 minutes...you can just eat it right out of the bag!  YUMMY and refreshing!

250 FREE business cards

Visit VistaPrint to get 250 FREE business cards!  This is great for the summer...all you teenagers who want to babysit or cut lawns...get those cards to promote your business!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Organize your Bills

I have a binder that I keep ALL essential bill-paying items in.  It has a zipper pocket that has stamps, envelopes, checks, pen, little calculator, and debit card for the account that all my utilities are paid out of.  It also has the most recent utility bills that are due along with a calendar with DUE DATES written out.  I have notebook paper inside that I record what was paid, the date, and confirmation number.  This is the only way that I can keep track of the finances and be sure my bills get paid! 

Also, when there is a tornado warning and we have to go to the basement, this folder usually goes with me.  It has everything I would need in case ALL my papers got destroyed.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Before you head out to grab a bite to eat, check out http://www.restaurant.com/  You can score gift certificates for half price...Why NOT grab one before you go???

In Need of the Geeksquad?

Before you haul your pc in to the shop or call in the Geeksquad, check out http://www.geekstogo.com/  It just may save you a service fee !!!

Fitness Videos on your PC

Visit  Exercisetv.com to check out endless workout videos that you can download onto your pc.  It sure beats purchasing the dvds!!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Household Purchase Policy

If your house is anything like mine...it is hard to cut the clutter!  I have decided on a household purchase policy...   

Before I buy something, we'll say...a pair of shoes, I ask myself which pair of shoes that I will get rid of...kinda like making a spot for the new ones!  It is really hard sometimes, but it does help me keep clutter at bay!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Avoid Checking Account Fees

I have two accounts at US Bank, I got a letter stating that they will start charging a fee for all checking accounts as of June, 2011.  If you have direct deposit, they will waive the fee.  Also, by going in and talking to the banker, they will waive the fee on the other account if I do an automatic transfer of $25 per month from one account to the other!  That is great, because I have to put money into the account to pay bills anyways!  Talking to the banker saved me $22 per month!  Can't hurt to ask...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Food Inventory Day

Once a month, I do a food inventory day.  I dig through my deep freeze, pantry, and fridge...I write down the items that are inside...I take time to sit down and plan meals around what I already have.  I usually purchase meat in bulk, so I almost always have meat that needs to be used.  It's a great way to cut grocery costs for that week AND use up foods that have been forgotten about!

Obviously MARvelous

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A weekly "no spend" day

I am going to have a weekly "no spend" day!  I think I will make it for a Tuesday, we usually do a playdate throughout the summer and I take a homemade lunch, bottled waters (refillable of course!), and fruits for snacks.  These are things I already have and will not need to go buy on Tuesday!  Plus, the kids are so worn out that I couldn't take them anywhere TO spend money!  Tuesday has become my "no spend" day!!! 

Pictures As Back Splash

My kitchen doesn't have a back splash, so when I'm at a yard sale and find some cute pictures, I grab em' and place them in my kitchen to add color!  These latest pictures are paintings on canvas with a kitchen/cooking theme...they were only $1 each and I LOVE them.  I am going to put a layer of Scotch guard over them to protect them from the elements of the kitchen! 

Busy Mom's Tips Tuesday Blog Hop

Monday, June 13, 2011

Save on Prescriptions

Before filling your next script....check out these two sites.  They compare and give you the best place nearest you to get them....yay!


Kid Project- Make your own butter

I LOVE doing this with the kids!  Pour some heavy whipping cream into a small sealable tupperware container OR ziploc bag...let the kids shake to their hearts content (and maybe then some) until you notice a ball forming inside...then shake some more!  (consider it the exercise that we will need to work off the BUTTER we're gonna eat! LOL) The ball will be the butter and all the clearish liquid around it is the whey.  Pour off the whey and spread that real "homemade" butter on some little crackers!  YUM!!!

Score Some Snacks

With the kids out of school, there's alot more snacking going on at my house!  I found some great sites to visit to score some great treats for the summer...

Join Godiva's Reward Club to get FREE chocolate, shipping, and coupons for chocolate!

Sign up to host a chocolate tasting party at lindtusa.com  (if you get chosen, I want an invite! LOL)

Next time you visit Panera Bread Co, grab a rewards card and sign in at mypanera.com to get some great bread co treats!

Join DQ's Fanclub to get FREE blizzards, coupons, and taste tests of new flavors!

If you live near a Dunkin Donuts  sign up to get special treats, promos, and coupons!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

iPhone for Baby

If you have a baby AND an iPhone...you may want to check these cool baby apps out!!!

Baby piano
Peek-a-boo barn
talking Tom
Baby GO
Baby Geek
Wheels on the bus

Miller Bottle Tops for Vets

Miller will donate 10 cents for every bottle top you save for the Vets.  This is awesome!  You can either send them in OR visit Miller's Website for drop off locations!  There were tons of locations that I can take them to in my area...a local Walgreens, Schnucks, several gas stations....super convenient!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Summer on Schedule

Summer has officially started at my house!  I have been wondering how on Earth I'm going to make it through 10 weeks of craziness....the kids fighting, the messy house, us all being together 24/7....well, I made a summer schedule.  My second grader got to write it all out and is excited to "follow" it!  (he even left a little blank spot to the right of each numbered item to put a check mark, when we complete it! LOL)

The list that is working for us so far reads:

Summer List
1.  Breakfast / T.V wake-up time
2.  School work / craft time
3.  Chores and cleaning time
4.  Snack / FREE time
5.  Outdoor time or Errands
6.  lunch
7.  Nap or down time
8.  Free time
9.  Help with and eat dinner
10. Get ready for bed
11. Game and/or book
12  Bed

I know that it looks too structured, BUT there is lots of open/FREE time included.  I let them wake up and relax with some TV while I make them breakfast.  After breakfast, while we're still at the table, we dig out some "school" work.  This has been a word search and spelling puzzle book for Blake and a preschool sticker workbook for Taylor.  So far, they get started on the learning stuff and don't want to stop to help out around the house!  Go figure!  But since they know that as soon as we get the house picked up and their laundry put away...it can be FREE time and snack, they do a great job, and pretty quickly too!  If we have to go places then #4 and #5 usually run together or if we stay home, we swim or walk the dog before lunch.  After lunch is downtime for Blake and nap for Taylor.  They have been "getting quiet" pretty quickly because they know that the sooner they nap, the sooner they get to have MORE free time! After dinner, I have them go ahead and get ready for bed with baths, brushing of teeth, and pj's.  They do it with ease b/c they know that they get to play a game and read books afterwards.  The quicker they do the stuff that has to be done, the quicker they get to do what THEY want!  It works out for all of us!    Blake wakes up each morning and checks the list for the day...he loves to check things off.  He has even been asking me what chores I'd like him to do so that he can check it off....loving it  :)

Both kids busy at school time!

Sunday Blog Hop Shibley Smiles

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Give RepairPal a try

I have had more auto issues this year than ever before in my life...I'm loving that I can check out RepairPal  before taking my truck to the shop.
RepairPal can help you diagnose your vehicle's problem.  For instance, your vehicle is making a slapping noise under the hood.  When you type in symptoms/sounds, RepairPal will direct you to possible causes, such as your timing belt  , define the part and it's importance, help you locate the right part,  and give you a reliable estimate for the purchase of the part.

If the problem is something that you cannot repair yourself, then  RepairPal can find and rate an automotive repair center near you, giving unbiased rates for parts/repairs. 

You can also use RepairPal to check out the make and model of a vehicle you are considering to buy.  This site gives you detailed information about problem reports, Q&A, recalls, and reviews.  I would definitely check out RepairPals Car Info Tab before purchasing my next vehicle.

Overall, RepairPal is a ONE-STOP auto site, offering FREE info for all your automotive needs!

Salt in a Sock

My friend, Melissa, taught me an awesome trick to help with earaches...

In the past, the second that one of my kids said that their ear hurt, we piled in the car and headed for the doctor to get antibiotics for an ear infection.  I honestly thought that that was the ONLY thing to do when a child's ear hurt...well, since my friend told me of her earache "home remedy", we do this first and have saved several trips to the doctor. (plus unneeded antibiotics)  Which = $$$$ saved too :)

Place 1/2 cup salt in the end of a sock, run under warm water, and hold on child's ear.  The salt draws moisture out of the ear canal and the warmth on the outer ear is soothing!  My son used to be leery of a sock on his ear, but now that he knows it will help, he even asks for one when he feels the ache coming on!!

This remedy will also work in a pinch, like in the middle of the night, before the Tylenol has kicked in...it's worth a try...trust me!
Two nights ago, Blake had an earache and since he was already on antibiotics, I went directly to the kitchen to fix a "Salt Sock" for him...I ended up putting an ace bandage around his face to hold the sock in place while he slept...now THAT would have been a picture! LOL!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Crystal Clear Pool Water

For years, we struggled with balancing our pool water.  We'd take a sample to the pool store and they'd sell me several buckets/containers of different supplies to clear it up...big time and big money!!

Thanks to my cousin, we now just use Vertex.  Pure liquid chlorine. Approx $15 for a case of four jugs (lasts more than a month).  We use test strips to make certain that the chlorine levels are safe, but other than that....we relax, save money, and get to enjoy beautiful water! If the pH get off, you can use baking soda (from the pool isle) to level.  Thank You Vertex!!

Busy Mom's Tips Tuesday Blog Hop

Thursday, June 2, 2011

My Simple Mojitos or Fo-jitos

I do make Mojitos from scratch but, I decided to do a bit of expirimenting.  Making mojitos is hard work and takes alot of time to juice all those limes.  I finally found the most wonderful way to make a super easy mojito!!!  You take Simply Limeade and just mix it with your favorite vodka or white rum, add a sprigg of mint and a lime wedge and "ta-dah"...you have a wonderful, refreshing little cocktail!  Perfect for the hot days of summer :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Grey Goose Wanna Be

I am a fan of Costco anyways, but after a friend of mine from party of five told me that they carried vodka from the same distillery as Grey Goose...I became their biggest fan!  We love Grey Goose but one 750 ml bottle can run around $28.  I decided to give the Kirkland Signature Vodka a taste test, using my sister, who is a vodka enthusiast...she couldn't tell the difference.  She loved it and since you can get a humongous 1.75 ltr for only $26.99.. we are sold!  

Salmon's on the Menu

I have never liked salmon, too fishy for me.  Thanks to a friend, I tried the Atlantic skinless salmon from Costco and cannot believe how much we all love it!  We sprinkle it with Cajun seasoning and serve with roasted broccoli or sauteed zucchini and rice pilaf or bulgar with veggies from Meal for Real ...YUMMY!!!

This seasoning is mild enough for the kids
but extra can be sprinkled on for us adults!

THIS is the ONLY salmon that I can eat,
the kids love it and ask for this meal!

Delicious and Healthy