Thursday, April 30, 2009

13 Teas I Love

I love tea. It is so delicious and there are so many varieties out there. I don't know how anyone could ever get tired of tea. Life without tea would be a sad, sad thing.

Since I love my tea so much, I thought that for this Thursday Thirteen I would make a list of 13 different teas that I love. So, here they are:

  1. Ceylon Neeraja Black Tea at Teavana - I use this to make my regular year round iced tea. Oh how I love my iced tea.
  2. Queen of Babylon White Tea at Teavana - A delicious white tea blend with pomegranate seeds, sour cherries, sweet carrot bits, apple and pineapple pieces.
  3. Lemon Blueberry Passion Tea by Timothy's - I love to drink this hot at work.
  4. Irish Breakfast Decaf Tea by Twinings - I drink a glass of this hot every morning at work.
  5. Organic Chamomile Tea with Lavender by Traditional Medicinals - I like to drink a glass of this hot on afternoons when things are starting to get overwhelming. I also drink it when my tummy gets upset.
  6. Christmas Eve Herbal Tea by Stash - A delicious caffeine free blend of mint and spices.
  7. Blood Orange Tea by Eastern Shore Tea Company - This is a flavored black tea and it's delicious.
  8. Cupid's Arrow Tea by Eastern Shore Tea Company - A delicious blend of cherry, vanilla and almond in a black tea. Yummy!
  9. Yellow and Blue Tea by Harney and Sons Tea - A blend of chamomile, lavender and corn flowers.
  10. Calm Tea by Tazo - An herbal blend of chamomile blossoms, hibiscus flowers, spearmint leaves, rose petals, blackberry leaves, peppermint leaves, safflower, lemon balm, lemon grass and natural flavorings.
  11. Country Peach Passion Tea by Celestial Seasonings - Hard to find around here, but so peachy and delicious.
  12. Raspberry Zinger Tea by Celestial Seasonings - Makes a wonderful raspberry iced tea.
  13. Spearmint Lavender Tea by Treleela - A unique taste, but one that I love.

I do have lots more teas in my collection, but these are some of my favorites. Are there any teas that you love and would like to recommend I try? I'm always on the lookout for new interesting teas.

For more Thursday Thirteen, head over to Happy to Be At Home. Or the Thursday Thirteen site.

Freeze Dried Fruit Snacks

When we were at Costco the other day I saw these bags of freeze dried fruit from Brothers All Natural. I decided to give them a try because of the fact that they are 100% natural fruit with no additives and no preservatives. The ingredients list is literally only 100% freeze dried fruit of whatever variety is in that bag.

In case you can't tell by the little hand grabbing the bag in the picture, my daughter loves these snacks too. I think they are great because they are delicious and they almost melt in your mouth. My daughter is only 17 months old so I do still worry about choking.

The only thing I'm not crazy about is the price. On their website, the price for the 24 pack is $21.99. That works out to $0.92 per bag. I paid $12.99 for a 20 pack at Costco. That works out to $0.65 per bag. That's a little more then I like to spend on a snack for Pumpkin, but I love the product and it's worth it to get such a healthy snack for her.

For those people out there with allergies or special diet needs, these snacks are peanut/tree nut free, gluten free, soy free, dairy free, vegan and kosher.

My daughter loves these so much that I definitely see us buying these again and again. That is, unless I figure out how to freeze dry fruit snacks myself. Ok, that isn't very likely. So thank you Brothers All Natural for providing such a healthy snack for my daughter.

For more Things I Love Thursday, head over to The Diaper Diaries. This week they're giving away an Evenflo Comfort Select Breast Pump, so if you're interested in winning one, head over there and check it out.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Cheerios Party

So, you say you want to have a Cheerios Party? Well, here is how you can have your own, in 2 easy steps.
Step 1: Head to Costco and buy the biggest box of Cheerios you can find.
Step 2: Invite all your best friends over, throw the Cheerios on the table and have fun!

For more Wordless Wednesday check out these sites:

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday - Tub Toy Storage

My daughter, like most toddlers, has tons of tub toys. And as any mother will tell you, they make it crazy trying to clean the tub and keep order in the bath. So to help corral the tub toys I picked up some small storage containers at the dollar store. I love these because they are stackable and they have holes so the toys can dry.

As you can see, hubby and I also use the tubs to store our shampoo and body wash. This makes it much easier to clean the ledge next to our tub. When we're ready to clean we just move the containers. Once everything is clean we put them back.

These tubs will get a bit dirty after awhile, much like the tub toys. So I periodically throw all the tub toys and containers in the dishwasher to clean them off. I just set the dishwasher to the gentle cycle and air dry. Everything gets clean with minimal work from me. I love it.

For more Works For Me Wednesday, head over to We Are THAT Family.

Time Management

One thing that I seem to have issues with is time management. What can I say, there just aren't enough hours in the day to get done everything that I want and need to do. I know I'm not the only person with this problem, but when you're in the thick of it and feeling overwhelmed it can sure feel that way.

Anyway, in an effort to get my time management under control, I am starting a new system for allocating my time. For the next few weeks I'm going to try assigning different tasks to different nights. This way I can spend the precious time after my daughter goes to bed and before I go to bed concentrating on one thing instead of running around like a nut trying to get done as much as I can. (I can vouch for that method not being the most efficient)

I haven't finalized my schedule yet, but as an example I would spend Monday night working on my blog, Tuesday night cleaning up the house, Wednesday night sewing and so forth. Has anyone out there tried a system like this before? If so, how did it work for you? Or do you have another system that works for you? I would love to hear thoughts and ideas on this. I know I can't be the only person out there with an issue like this.

For more Talk About It Tuesday, head over to the Lazy Organizer.

Tackle It Tuesday - Purse Clean Out

This weekend I hurt my back while moving my daughter's play house. So when I picked up my purse to head out shortly after that, it became very obvious that my purse was way too heavy. For some reason, my purse seems to become this black hole; items go in, but don't come out. And why is it that the item you want is always on the bottom?

In the picture on the left you can see my purse and all of the junk that I had in it. Here is the list of what it contained:

  • notepad
  • pen
  • lip balm
  • plastic knife
  • journal
  • Prevention magazine
  • small notebook
  • makeup bag full of stuff
  • cell phone
  • camera
  • wallet
  • assorted papers and receipts

It was easy to eliminate most of the stuff from my purse. In the picture on the right you can see what was left when I was done cleaning it out.

  • notepad
  • pen
  • lip balm
  • plastic knife (hey, I have a toddler)
  • wallet
  • cell phone
  • camera
  • envelope of checks that need to go to bank

Even though the wallet stayed, I did clean it out. There were even more receipts in there that came out and I emptied out the change. My purse is much lighter now. I love it.

I do want to note that even though my keys aren't pictured here I do carry a good sized ring of keys with me when I leave the house too. It just didn't wind up in the picture because they are stored elsewhere when I'm home.

Fore more Tackle It Tuesday, head over to 5 Minutes For Mom.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Free Redbox Rental - April 27 Only

The code for today's FREE Redbox rental is:


Remember that you can use this code once per debit/credit card, so if you have multiple cards, you can get multiple rentals. You can read about my previous experience using these codes here.

Come back every Monday for the weekly free rental code. This code expires at midnight tonight.

Menu Planning Monday - April 27

What a long and busy weekend. We did manage to get a lot done around the house this weekend, but I still have so much to take care of yet. At least we have our menu plan for the week. For the most part I'm still not assigning dinners to specific nights. There are two exceptions this week. One is for family game night at our house Friday night and the other is for Baskin Robbins $0.31 scoop night. Yeah, we're having ice cream for dinner that night. It's not a healthy dinner by any means, but it should be a fun dinner.


  1. Hot Cut Sandwiches
  2. Hot Dogs & Macaroni and Cheese
  3. Meatloaf
  4. Pizzadillas
  5. Tuna Melts
  6. Ice Cream (Wed is Baskin Robbins $0.31 scoop night)
  7. Pulled Pork BBQ (Fri for Family Game Night)


  1. Cereal
  2. Granola Bars
  3. Bananas
  4. Apples
  5. Muffins
  6. Yogurt


  1. Kashi Frozen Meal (had a free coupon)
  2. Turkey Sandwiches
  3. Leftovers

To see more delicious menu plans, head over to Org Junkie for all the Menu Plan Monday links.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Works For Me Wednesday - Yogurt

Right now I'm on a two week course of antibiotics. This is not fun for me because the antibiotics are making me very nauseous. And anyone who has had to deal with several days of nausea in a row knows how not fun that can be. The only thing that I have had help with this antibiotic induced nausea is yogurt. Don't get me wrong, I'm still nauseous, but it isn't anywhere near as bad.

If you're going to try this, make sure that you get yogurt that specifically states that it has live active cultures. If the package doesn't say that, try another brand. The way it was explained to me is that the antibiotics kill off the good bacteria in your digestive tract along with whatever bacteria you're taking them to fight. The yogurt helps to replenish that good bacteria and improve how you feel. And for the ladies out there, eating yogurt while you're on antibiotics also helps prevent yeast infections caused by antibiotics. Thank goodness I love yogurt because I'll be eating it every day until these antibiotics are gone.

For More Works For Me Wednesday, head over to We Are THAT Family.

Wordless Wednesday - Berger Cookie Edition

Because I love Berger Cookies, Pumpkin got to try them for the first time recently. Just like mommy, she loved them!
Of course we needed milk to wash down the chocolatey goodness!

For more Wordless Wednesday, head over to 5 Minutes For Mom and Mom Dot

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Homemade Covered Dog Treats

My dogs love it when we treat them to those nice dog treats that are covered in "icing." Of course the main thing they like is licking off all the "icing." Since those treats are rather pricey I decided to start making some of my own. These treats are oh so easy to make and my dogs love them.

To start I buy a box of Milk Bones or whatever Milk Bone style dog treat is on sale. Then, I melt down Yogurt Chips in the microwave. Once the yogurt is smooth and melted, simply dip and swirl the treats to coat one end. Lay the dipped treat on a wax paper coated cookie sheet. Once all treats have been dipped, place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator until the yogurt is set. They do not need to be refrigerated once the yogurt is set. I store mine in a dog treat "cookie jar" on my counter.

You can also use Carob Chips or Peanut Butter Chips when making these treats. I have used all three at different times and my dogs love them all.

I buy my chips at a local store that carries candy making supplies. They are in the store with the chocolate chips. If you don't have a candy making store nearby you can check online or possibly a grocery store. I'm thinking the Reece's Peanut Butter chips for baking might work for this, but I haven't tried it.

Just remember that chocolate is toxic to dogs so make sure that whatever product you buy does not contain chocolate. Carob, yogurt and peanut butter are all ok unless your dog has specific allergies to those products.

Note: You can also use this yogurt coating to make your own yogurt covered raisins, yogurt covered pretzels and so forth. The possibilities for these coatings are endless. Yummy!

For more Talk About It Tuesday, head over to The Lazy Organizer.

Top 10 Sewing Projects I Want to Complete

Since I have been wanting a sewing machine, this year hubby got me one as an Easter gift. I have been playing around with it making some simple projects and practicing my stitches. It has been way more years then I care to admit since I last used a sewing machine. Anyway, I am so exciting to have the machine that I keep thinking up projects that I want to use it for. Since I am still new at this, it was important to narrow down my never ending project list.

So here it is, the list of the top 10 sewing projects I want to complete:

  1. Handkerchiefs (we need to start saving money on tissues)
  2. Cloth Napkins (I can never find ones that I like for a price that I like)
  3. Table Cloth (Naturally my table cloth needs to coordinate with my napkins)
  4. Tote Bag made from an old T-Shirt
  5. Reusable Produce Bags
  6. Reusable Sandwich Wraps
  7. Pocket Bibs for Pumpkin
  8. Making some clothing repairs (pants that need hems repaired, seams that need to be resewn and so forth)
  9. Lunch Bags
  10. Cute clothes for Pumpkin
For more Top 10 Tuesday Lists, head over to Oh Amanda.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Free Redbox Rental - April 20 Only

The code for today's FREE Redbox rental is:


Remember that you can use this code once per debit/credit card, so if you have multiple cards, you can get multiple rentals. You can read about my previous experience using these codes here.

Come back every Monday for the weekly free rental code. This code expires at midnight tonight.

Menu Plan Monday - Week of April 20

We had a busy weekend where I actually did some real grocery shopping for the first time this month. We spent two hours at Costco. Pumpkin enjoyed it because she worked her way around to every sample station they had setup. Of course after two hours of shopping she was done. She wound up falling asleep before we were out of the parking lot.

Previously I was asigning certain dinners to certain nights. This week I decided to try just listing out the meals and letting them happen on whichever night. It seems like we were never having the meals on the assigned nights, so why bother assigning them?

A lot of these meals are already partially made. Last night I cooked up the taco meat, the chicken chili and cooked up a whole chicken and separated it for all the chicken dishes. The meatloaf has also been made and formed, but not cooked. It's in the freezer and will be cooked up in the slow cooker later this week. It was a busy night last night with all that cooking and mixing, but hopefully it makes for an easier week of dinners. By the time we get home on weeknights, Pumpkin is literally screaming for food and it can be very stressful trying to put together dinner with a screaming child. Never mind trying to give her healthy snacks that won't ruin her dinner.


  1. Chicken Chili
  2. Chicken Cheddar Flat bread
  3. Tacos
  4. Meatloaf
  5. Chicken Melts
  6. Creamy Bow Tie Pasta (From Taste of Home Magazine Apr/May 09)
  7. Cheese Omelets
  1. Cereal
  2. Granola Bars
  3. Bananas
  4. Apples
  5. Oatmeal


  1. Kashi Frozen Meal (had a free coupon)
  2. Deli Creations Sandwich (had a free coupon)
  3. Leftovers

I tried to link to the recipe for dinner #6 Creamy Bow Tie Pasta, but Taste of Home requires you to be a subscriber to view this recipe. If you are, you can go to their site and search on the recipe name to see the recipe.

To see more delicious menu plans, head over to Org Junkie for all the Menu Plan Monday links.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I'm Joining the Spring Cleaning Party at Simple Mom


Lately all my energy has been going into fighting a cold and sinus infection. AS a result, the cleanliness and organization of my house have suffered. So when I saw that Simple Mom is having a Spring Cleaning Party, I jumped at the chance to join. You can look forward to posts of my cleaning and straightening around our house. Here are the topics and the days for posting:

  • Monday, May 4 – A Clean Sweep
  • Tuesday, May 5 – The Living Room, Part 1
  • Wednesday, May 6 – The Living Room, Part 2
  • Thursday, May 7 – The Kitchen, Part 1
  • Friday, May 8 – The Kitchen, Part 2
  • Monday, May 11 – The Bathrooms
  • Tuesday, May 12 – Pumpkin’s Room
  • Wednesday, May 13 – My Office
  • Thursday, May 14 – The Master Bedroom
  • Friday, May 15 – The Front Entry

For the party the topics for May 12 and 13 are the kid’s rooms part 1 and part 2. Since I only have one child I decided to dedicate one day to her and the other day to the other bedroom which we are using as an office.

If you’re interested in participating too, head over to Simple Mom to read her post on the Spring Cleaning Party. I know I’m looking forward to a cleaner house. Now I just need to get better so I can clean properly.

JC Penney Rewards

I've written before about the JC Penney Rewards Program. I love it because I'm a Penney's shopper anyway and this free program lets me earn $10 certificates for doing the shopping I do anyway.

Here are some brief highlights on the program

  • Earn $10 certificate for every 250 points you earn in a month. Your points do reset every calendar month.
  • Earn 1 point for every dollar you spend.
  • Clearance merchandise does not count.
  • Get a 25% bonus of points earned if you use your JC Penney Charge Card.
  • Take advantage of monthly special earning opportunities to earn bonus points.

Here are the items you can earn bonus points on in April. You earn 50 bonus points for your first purchase of an item in each category. Only your first purchase counts and clearance merchandise doesn't count.

  • Buy a JC Penney 100% cotton reusable shopping bag for $1.99
  • Purchase an American Living product
  • Purchase an east5th item
  • Purchase a Stafford product.
  • Purchase a Cooks JCP Home item.
  • Purchase an Arizona item.

Personally, I plan to purchase the reusable shopping bag for bonus points. I don't know if I'll purchase any of the other items. There isn't really anything that I need right now. I do have an addiction to reusable shopping bags though. They are just so handy.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

This week the Ultimate Recipe Swap over at Life As Mom is having a favorite cookie theme. Lately our favorite cookie is White Chocolate Macadamia Nut. I found this recipe awhile ago on the Cooks Recipes site. These cookies are delicious. The first time I made these they disappeared in two days. Hubby keeps asking me to make them again too.

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (12-ounce) package or 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1 to 2 cups macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375*F (190*C).

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer at medium speed, cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Gently stir in flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the white chocolate and macadamia nuts.

Drop cookies by rounded tablespoonfuls onto a non-stick cookie sheet (or lined with parchment paper) about 1-inch apart.

Bake for 9 to 12 minutes or until lightly golden, turning cookie sheet around after 5 minutes to ensure even browning.

Transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool completely. Store in airtight container.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

For more delicious cookie recipes, head over to the Ultimate Recipe Swap Cookie Edition at Life As Mom. And if you like finding new recipes, don't forget about the Virtual Great American Bake Sale.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Free Magazine Subscriptions

There are a few free magazine subscriptions available right now. These are all from Rewards Gold and are no commitment, no credit card required offers. I've gotten lots of free magazines from these guys and never had a problem.

Free Music - Week of April 14

Sorry I haven't been posting much this week. I've been fighting a cold for the last two weeks and I think the cold is winning. Tomorrow I actually have an appointment with the doctor for it and those of you that know me, know how much I dislike going to the doctor. Ugh! Anyway, here is the free music listing, a day late, but it is finally up. Yeah me!

Here are the songs I found this week:


  • Single of the Week - "Ain't No Rest For the Wicked" by Cage the Elephant
  • Discovery Download - "I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked" by Ida Maria
  • Video - "Boy Like Me" by Jessica Harp
Walmart "Falling Away" by Jupiter Rising

Amazon Music The featured free songs at Amazon change each time you refresh the page so you'll have to head over there and check them out. They have the largest selection of free music I have seen from a reputable source. Click here and then scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the free songs.

CNET has a new free song featured every day. Plus you can look at some of their previously featured songs and still download them for free.

Blender has their April Mix available here. It contains songs from 15 new bands, including the following:

  • "Golden" by Marco Benevento
  • "Stop Stomp Stompin" by The Coathangers
  • "Microphone" by Coconut Records
  • "Tail & Mane" by Cryptacize
  • "Andrew" by Crystal Antlers
  • "Floating Down a River" by Jason Damato
  • "Fear" by Benjy Ferree
  • "Cable TV" by Fol Chen
  • "Hazel" by Junior Boys
  • "The Last Kiss" by Aidan Moffat & The Best-Ofs
  • "For My Children's Love" by Finley Quaye
  • "everytime" by Mike Relm
  • "deux TIGREs (feat Ingnue)" by The Shanghai Restoration Project
  • "Tourniquet" by Sholi
  • "Trash" by The Whip

That's all for this week's free music. Come back next Tuesday for another free music post.

Monthly Budget - Works For Me

I've written before about how I use to keep an annual budget and the problems I had with it. So this year I decided to start keeping a monthly budget. This method is working so much better for me and it keeps me much more conscious of my money.

Near the end of the month I sit down and review my budget for the current month and how reality compared to the budget. Then I start working on my budget for the coming month. A lot of our expenses are the same from month to month (mortgage, insurance, Internet, etc), but there are also a few that vary. When I'm putting together my new budget I find it easiest to use my previous month's budget as a template. I can look at the last budget, see what areas we over or under spent in and adjust the budget accordingly.

I have personally found it so much easier to keep up with my finances when I review our budget monthly. Having an annual budget left too many gaps and places for money to slip through. Now that I'm checking the numbers monthly I know pretty quickly when money starts slipping through the cracks. Monthly budgeting definitely works for me.

For more Works For Me Wednesday, head over to We Are THAT Family.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Free Redbox Rental - April 13 Only

The code for today's FREE Redbox rental is:


Remember that you can use this code once per debit/credit card, so if you have multiple cards, you can get multiple rentals. You can read about my previous experience using these codes here.

Come back every Monday for the weekly free rental code. This code expires at midnight tonight.

The Virtual Great American Bake Sale

I previously posted about the Virtual Great American Bake Sale. Well, it’s now going on and you can get copies of the ebooks for a donation to Share Our Strength. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of these ebooks will go toward Share Our Strength's Great American Bake Sale program. Funds raised through Great American Bake Sale are donated to after-school and summer feeding programs--food programs that many kids depend on when school is not in session.

The Great American Bake Sale is a program of Share Our Strength, a national organization working to make sure no kid in America grows up hungry. The ebooks are a compilation of recipes from submitters across the blogosphere and beyond. The ebooks are available for purchase based on any donation amount of the buyer's choosing.

Kate over at Stolen Moments Cooking has done a wonderful job putting together these ebooks and coordinating the Virtual Great American Bake Sale. So don’t forget to head over to her post on the Virtual Great American Bake Sale. There you will find links to all the blogs that submitted recipes for the sale. And while you’re there, check out some of her recipes. The ones I have tried have been delicious.

The recipe I submitted for the Virtual Great American Bake Sale was my Banana Cake with Banana Icing. This is one that is a favorite in my family. It is also a very banana-y cake. Yum!

Following is the information on the Virtual Great American Bake Sale from Kate. Please note that all of this information and the links have come directly from her.

The Complete 2009 VGABS Recipes Ebook

Features all 170 of the submitted recipes. Many of the recipes include pictures.

On the checkout page, manually change the amount (USD) field to your donation amount.
Add to Cart

Shopping cart courtesy of E-Junkie.

Because we know file size may be an issue for some, the below ebooks have split the 170 recipes into 4 categorized ebooks so that you can choose just 1 or 2 of your favorites, if you'd prefer. Just like for the Complete ebook, many of these recipes include pictures. And again, they are available for purchase based on any donation amount of the buyer's choosing.

Muffins & Breads

Features 24 recipes.

On the checkout page, manually change the amount (USD) field to your donation amount.
Add to Cart

Cookies, Candy, Cakes, Bars & Brownies


Features 50 recipes.

On the checkout page, manually change the amount (USD) field to your donation amount.
Add to Cart


Features 49 recipes.

On the checkout page, manually change the amount (USD) field to your donation amount.
Add to Cart


Beyond Baked Goods (Appetizers, Breakfast, Main Dishes, etc.)

Features 47 recipes.

On the checkout page, manually change the amount (USD) field to your donation amount.
Add to Cart

Menu Plan Monday - Week of April 13

This morning I feel like I'm suffering from an Easter hangover. We hosted Easter dinner at our house yesterday so we have lots of leftovers. Plus I decided to use the ham bone to make stock last night. Now we have tons of veggie soup and ham stock. I will post more on that later this week. For now, here is my menu plan for the week.

  • Sunday: Easter Dinner - Ham, crab imperial and lots of sides
  • Monday: Ham and Veggie Soup
  • Tuesday: Spaghetti
  • Wednesday: Omelets (didn't have these last week)
  • Thursday: Ham Melts
  • Friday: Game Night at the Parent's
  • Saturday: Leftovers

Sorry I don't have any recipe links this week. I got away from trying new recipes for a little while. Now that I've gotten a new cooking magazine with lots of yummy sounding recipes in it, I plan to start trying new recipes again. So look for some links next week.

To see more delicious menu plans, head over to Org Junkie for all the Menu Plan Monday links.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Just for that someone who said they always see Pumpkin with a cupcake. This week there is no cupcake. Just Pumpkin and one of her cars.

For more Wordless Wednesday, head over to 5 Minutes For Mom and MomDot.

Automatic Savings - Works For Me

Building up an emergency savings account is very important. I think we all know that, but there are plenty of people out there who have problems getting their money into a savings account. When the money is sitting there in your checking account it's so easy to just spend it. Especially with the prevalence of debit cards. To help prevent that problem we have automatic transfers setup on our bank account. We have one automatic transfer that moves money to our Christmas Club account every pay and another one that moves money to our savings account every pay. Once the money is out of my checking account I no longer even think about it. To me, that money is already "spent."

Do you have automatic transfers setup on your account? If not, what are you waiting for? Most banks let you set them up online and you're already online so get over there and do it. Even if your money is tight, you could manage at least $10 a pay, couldn't you? Just start somewhere and increase the amount as you can. Every little bit helps.

For more Works For Me Wednesday, head over to We Are THAT Family.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tackle It Tuesday - Filing

I hate filing. There, I've said it. Filing is just one of those things that I do not like to do. There are so many other things that are so much more fun. Anyway, I had not done any filing this year and as you can see by picture my to be filed piled wasn't even neat anymore. Trying to hide the pile under my laptop case didn't work either. We all still knew it was there.

So this weekend I decided it was time to get caught up on my filing. I started by picking up all the paperwork from the floor and sorting it. Some of it was just junk that needed to shredded. That was easy to take care of. The rest got sorted and filed. I do have a good filing system when I bother to use it so it really wasn't too bad getting it filed once I had everything sorted.

It feels good to finally have the filing caught up. Hubby was even impressed. Of course he didn't believe I had actually done the filing until he went and checked for himself. Men!

For more Tackle It Tuesday, head over to 5 Minutes For Mom.

Learning To Sew Again

Lately I've been growing more and more frustrated with my inability to find some basic products that are exactly what I want. For example, I've been wanting to make the switch over to cloth napkins, but none of the napkins I find in the store are what and I want. Then I came across this tutorial to make your own reusable sandwich wraps. I would love to have some of these. That's when I decided that it was time for me to learn to sew again.

It has been many, many years since I have sewn anything on a sewing machine. I have done the occasional mending or button sewing by hand, but nothing on a machine since middle school or so. As a result, I feel like I'm starting all over again and I'm having a hard time picking a machine. There are so many out there and the amount of features on these machines are unbelievable. But I don't feel like I need a lot of features. I just want to be able to do some basic sewing, things for around the house, clothes for my daughter and so forth.

Right now I'm leaning towards getting the Viking Emerald 116. It doesn't do a lot of fancy stuff which suits me fine. It is a little more then we wanted to spend, but I would rather get a quality machine up front. Does anyone have any experience with this machine? Or even recommendations for other basic sewing machines that are affordable? I want something that will last for years and not have lots of problems. I'd also prefer that the machine be easy to use since I haven't sewn in so long.

I'm looking forward to trying my hand at sewing again. My plan is to start with some basic items like handkerchiefs and cloth napkins. Hey, you really can't any more basic then sewing a square. Then I'll move on to some more fun projects. I'm excited to be able to make things the way I want them and with the materials I want.

For more Talk About It Tuesday, head over to the Lazy Organizer.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Free Redbox Rental - April 6 Only

The code for today's FREE Redbox rental is:


Remember that you can use this code once per debit/credit card, so if you have multiple cards, you can get multiple rentals. You can read about my previous experience using these codes here.

Come back every Monday for the weekly free rental code. This code expires at midnight tonight.

Menu Plan Monday - Week of April 6

I don't know what it is, but we can't seem to escape sicknesses around here lately. Last week it was a stomach virus and this week it's a head cold. This is so crazy, and it's playing havoc with my menu planning. Let's hope that now that Spring is here the sicknesses will go away.

  • Sunday: Dinner Out
  • Monday: Kielbasa
  • Tuesday: Pork Chops (still looking for a recipe)
  • Wednesday: Omelets
  • Thursday: Chicken Melt Sandwiches
  • Friday: Chicken Salad Wraps
  • Saturday: Leftovers

Just like last week, I'm still looking for a recipe for the pork chops on Tuesday night. This time I'm looking for something simple because I'm not up to a lot of cooking with this head cold Pumpkin gave me. So if you have a good pork chop recipe you would like to share, please let me know and post a link to it if possible.

For the chicken melt sandwiches on Thursday I am going to try to imitate a delicious chicken sandwich I get from a restaurant near work. It's a grilled chicken breast with ham, cheese, lettuce, tomato and honey mustard on a kaiser roll. Last time the honey mustard I tried was all wrong, but I have a new one and I am ready to try again. I love this sandwich so much, I would love to duplicate it. (I still haven't gotten to this even though I've been trying for three weeks now.)

To see more delicious menu plans, head over to Org Junkie for all the Menu Plan Monday links.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Free Samples Are Wonderful

Happy Friday everyone. I just wanted to remind you to head over and check out all the free samples at Walmart. Their free samples change regularly so it’s worth checking out. Right now their freebies include:

  • Jergens Natural Glow Lotion
  • Crest Advanced Seal Whitestrips
  • Cottonelle
  • Parents Choice Formula
  • Kotex
  • Gain Scent sample
  • GoodNites Sleep Boxers
  • Always Infinity
  • Rachel Ray Nutrish Dog Food

Here are some other current free samples you can request:

We love free samples in our house. They’re a great way to try a new product without spending any money. Plus a lot of the samples come with coupons so if we really like the product we can save money buying the full sized version.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The April No Spending Challenge

For the first week of April I've decided to do a no spending challenge. During this week I cannot spend any money on anything that we do not need. If the challenge goes well I may extend it to the whole month. I wanted to give myself a shorter term first though to see how I do.

Here are the rules that I've set for myself:

  1. No spending unless the item is needed.
  2. Before spending make sure there is not an item that we already own that could be used as a substitute.
  3. Gift cards are the same as money. The same rules apply to gift cards as to cash for this week.

As you can see, I've made the rules for myself fairly simple. This is the kind of challenge anyone could do. Just adjust the rules as necessary for your situation. I will post an update letting everyone know how I did at the end of the week.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Monthly Shopping Help

This week is the backwards edition of Works For Me Wednesday. That means that we post a problem and other respond with thoughts for solutions.

This month I have decided to try out once a month shopping. Normally I go to the grocery store and plan out my menu once a week. In an effort to save myself some time and money I decided to try switching to going to the store once a month. And by that I mean I am planning to one big shopping day a month. During that day I will do ALL my shopping (groceries, household supplies, etc). Obviously I will still need to pick up things like milk and possibly bread a little more often then that so I will allow a quick trip to get any perishable necessities, but that is it. My goal is to stay out of the stores because if I’m not in the stores then I certainly can’t spend money there.

So, my question is, what tips do you have for monthly shopping or monthly menu planning? Please post your answers or links to any good posts about this in my comments.

For more Works For Me Wednesday Backwards Edition, head over to We Are THAT Family.

Month End Summary - March 2009

It's always interesting to see my totals for the month. Tracking all of this stuff just seems to suit my OCD nature. This month I added categories for You Data earnings, Swagbucks Earnings and My Points earnings. I love these programs because they are great ways to earn a few extra bucks without a lot of effort. I will be posting more information on these programs in the near future.

Here are my totals for March:

  • Coupon Savings: $153.58
  • Found Money: $0.65
  • My Points Earnings: $10.00 JC Penney gift card
  • Rebates Received: $5.70
  • Rebates Submitted: $17.09
  • Swagbucks Earnings: $5.00 in an Amazon Gift Certificate
  • Upromise Deposits: $4.20
  • You Data Earnings: $5.29

I don't think I did too badly for March, but I'm hoping to do much better in April. I haven't really been doing a lot of rebates lately because the ones I'm finding aren't for products that we use. And I've heard that April is the last month that Walgreens is offering their Easy Saver Rebates so after this month I will probably have even less coming back in rebates. It seems to be getting harder and harder to find the deals.

Now that it's the beginning of the month, don't forget to go print your new online coupons and load the new coupons onto your cards at Upromise. In April I want to see my coupon savings numbers and rebate numbers both go up. Let's see how I do.

Wordless Wednesday - Cupcake Love

Umm, homemade cupcakes!
For more Wordless Wednesday, head over to 5 Minutes For Mom.