Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Old School House Magazine Subscription Deals (and offer for free 6 month subscription)

I have not subscribe to this magazine yet, but have been meaning too.  I have heard great things about it and now that I am homeschooling, I am sure it will come in handy with lots of tips, ideas, and encouragements for me.  I just found out that they are offering a free 6 month subscription to their magazine if you share about the current deals they have going on right now on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and/or email.  I have also posted the deals for you below to read about. They sound really good!  (If you are interested in finding out about the free subscription deal, check out their Facebook page with all the details).  Thanks to Money Saving Mom for the tip!

Current Deals:


"The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine has been a favorite resource for homeschoolers for years. The pages of our magazine holds informative and encouraging articles written by homeschool educators and parents like you. Because we want to spread the news far and wide about homeschooling, we are on a quest to reach 25,000+ paid subscribers by the year's end. We have three fabulous options for a REALLY great deal on our magazine, as well as some freebies, until January 2nd!"

Will you choose option A?


Option A is a 
one year subscription (normally $25) for $7.95 to anyone in the U.S. or Canada. What a great gift idea for only $7.95! Consider buying several subscriptions for friends and family members. AND, any $7.95 purchase will result in a GIFT for you--choose any digital TOS Planner-FREE.       
  
Will it be option B?
 
We have lowered the price on the 
ONE YEAR subscription with the Cranberries & Cream tote and the E-Book: Cranberry Christmas, all for$19.95., U.S. and Canada only. 


 Or will you choose option C?
  
Finally, we are offering our two-year subscription (U.S. and Canada) on sale for $37 with Cranberries & Cream tote, a Schoolhouse Planner of your choice, plus the E-Book: Cranberry Christmas
Whatever option you choose, you get freebies and a great deal! So which option, and freebies, will you choose? A, B, or C?

 
All subscriptions will start with our beautiful, 200 page Winter issue. Offer good on new subscriptions, renewals, and gift subscriptions in both the U.S. (overseas military included) and Canada.

And remember, shipping is always free at the Schoolhouse Store! (U.S. only)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Scotch Thermal Laminator for $16.99 shipped from Amazon

Hey homeschooling moms!  This is for you!  I just found out about a great deal, I mean, fantastic deal, from Amazon for a Scotch Thermal Laminator for just $16.99 (regular retail price $80.49).  It is the deal of the day for today, so act fast.  I know this will be very handy for all my homeschooling needs.  I am so excited!  I guess it is a Christmas present to myself!  And if you have an Amazon Prime or Amazon Mom membership you can get free, 2-day shipping!  Thanks Money Saving Mom!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

My free cards from Shutterfly

I LOVE Shutterfly!  Have you figured that out yet?  Well, I just ordered my 50 free folded 5x7 cards (so excited they were included in the deal) and it was a savings of $71.50!  I was so excited about the card I picked out.  It is one of their new "story" cards, so I was able to write my Christmas letter right in the card.  What a fabulous idea!  No extra printing this year so I can save on printer ink and paper.  I'll be sending this particular card to friends and family who are far away.   And I also got a promo code for free shipping, so that saved me a lot too.  So it was a $0.00 total!  Just what I like!  If you need cards, take advantage of the deal for bloggers.  Read about it here!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Holiday Cards from Shutterfly

I know I have been talking about Shutterfly a lot lately, but I can't help it, it is by far, my favorite photo processing company.  I have been a customer for over three years and have been so satisfied with the quality of the prints, photo gifts, photo cards, and photo books.  The customer service has always been top-notch.  If I have ever had a problem the customer service team has always handled it quickly and to my satisfaction.

To all you bloggers out there, Shutterfly is offering you 50 FREE Holiday Photo Cards for submitting a review about their products.  The offer ends December 15th.

I just started purchasing photo cards from Shutterfly over the past year, and the variety of designs and layouts has impressed me a lot.  They are very easy to make (less than 5 minutes sometimes), yet the beauty of them makes people think I spent hours putting it together.   The quality is like none other I have seen.

We had our family portraits taken a few weeks ago, and I was able to purchase the CD with all the images.  It was very easy to upload them to my Shutterfly account.  I am very excited to make my Christmas cards over the next few days.  You can easily search the hundreds of designs by size, price, number of photos per card, and even style.  There are so many to choose from, that I may have to make more than one! A few of the religious styles I am interested in are Blessed Elegance,  In His Name, The Three Wise Men cards.  They all will work great with our photos and include messages about the true meaning of Christmas.

So check out Shutterfly for all of your photo card needs, you will not be disappointed!

Disclaimer: I received a code for 50 free 5x7 folded or flat cards from Shutterfly for writing this review on my blog.  All opinions are unique, honest, and my own.

I got my $25 credit for Shutterfly!

Did you read my post about the free $25 credit from Shutterfly for sharing a project on your blog?  Well, I just got the email giving me my special offer code for the $25 off one order.  Yippy!   Read the post and try it for yourself!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Festive Family Fall Greeting
Unique party invitations and greeting cards by Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Free $25 credit from Shutterfly!

Do you have a blog?  Well, I just found out (thanks, Freebies 4 Mom) about a great and super simple way to try to score a $25 credit to your Shutterfly account.  All you need to do is share a photo card that you made on your blog and then email the link to Shutterfly.  Did you see the Thanksgiving card I posted?  That's part of this offer.

Here are the steps:

1.  Log into your Shutterfly account.
2.  Click on "My Shutterfly"
3.  Next, click on "View My Projects"  (if you have them, otherwise you'll have to make a card).
4.  Click on the dot/circle underneath the card you would like to share.  Don't click on the card/picture itself.
5.  On the next page follow the prompts to give a title and description.
6.  Click on the "Share Project" link on the right hand side.
7.  You can then either share through Blogger or embed a widget to your blog.

It's that simple.  You will get a message that it has been shared.  And then don't forget to email shareproject@shutterfly.com and let them know you posted it and give them your actual blog link.  I just got my email back from Shutterfly and they will process my entry and let me know if it qualifies.

I hope it works for you!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cheap (nearly free) Christmas Cards

So, I was debating if I should wait to see if Seehere.com would offer free cards again like last year, but I had heard about some good deals from Snapfish so I went ahead and ordered some.  If anyone does here about the Seehere.com offer, please let us know.  It was in November that they came around last year.  Not sure if any of you acted on the opportunity to get a $10 credit last week from Snapfish, but you can use that money for your card orders.  I used these two codes, BABIES and BABYMAIL, in two separate orders to get a set of 20 4x8 cards, $14.99 value, for free.  You just have to pay for shipping which is $5.99/set.  I believe these codes expire on Oct. 31st.   Thankfully, my $10 credit applied to the shipping charges, so after each order, I only paid $3.48 out of pocket for 40 Christmas cards.  Yeah!   I am also going to use many of my Pampers points from the Gifts to Grow Rewards program to get a free set of 25 cards from Shutterfly too.  So I will be well on my way to having my Christmas cards taking care of for less than $5!  Not bad!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Frugal Birthday Cakes: Part 2-Free 1st Birthday Cake



Some of you may already know this, but you can receive a FREE cake for your child's first birthday from Acme!  Thankfully, I have known about this for the past four years and have gotten free cakes for all three of my boys.  You usually need to give the bakery at least 24 hours notice and when you pick up the cake, you show them your child's birth certificate.  You can get a free 1/4 sheet cake, or use the coupon (I think it's for about $15.99) towards a larger cake or a cake with a photo on it.  I prefer to do the photo cakes, so I usually get a 1/4 sheet cake with a picture of my child on it, and pay only $7.  Not bad in my book.  And for a grocery store cake, I think Amce makes the best...if you get the whipped cream icing!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Frugal Birthday Cakes: Part 1-Homemade Cakes

I've been meaning to post this for awhile, but I am just getting to it now.  Over the past few years, I have learned to love making homemade cakes for my boys for their birthdays.  I consider it one of my "labors of love" for my boys when it comes to their birthdays and parties.  Birthday cakes can be very expensive if you want something fancy to go with your theme, but I have found many ideas and tips online to help me make some adorable cakes over the past few years.  Yes, I'll admit they are probably not as cute or perfect as a true baker or cake decorator would make, but my children would never know the difference.  They are always so excited to see the special cake that "mommy made" for them.  :)  And, yes, they are time consuming, sometimes very time consuming, but to me, the delight and excitement on their face when they see the finished product makes it well worth it to me!  I have found that Betty Crocker cake mixes are the best and they taste so delicious, if you follow the directions, exactly.  My husband taught me that.  If it says beat for 2 minutes at low speed, you should literally time it for two minutes.  My husband's cakes always turn out so good, and I asked him how he does it, and he tells me, "I follow the directions."  Go figure!  Sometimes its worth it not to cut corners or improvise.  I probably spend less than $5-$7/cake (maybe less, rough estimate, depending on what ingredients I have on hand at the moment), but sometimes a little more, if I purchase a special cake pan or need new colors for the frosting.   Definitely less than a custom made cake from a bakery or even a grocery store.  Cakes at Costco are about $15.99 (1/2 sheet cake) and about $14.99-19.99 (1/4 to 1/2 sheet cake) at Acme.  I like having some special Wilton cake pans on hand for future cakes and to let other people borrow if they so desire to try to make their own cake.    At some point I think I will use a 50% of coupon at Michael's and get a pack of 10-15 colors/dyes so I have a nice variety on hand for my frosting.  My decorating skills continue to improve each time I try it.  I have a great recipe I will post soon of the butter-cream frosting I use.  It works great when chilled a little.

I thought I would show you some pictures of the cakes I have made for my boys over the years.


This was my first attempt at a cake for my first son's second birthday back in 2007.  An Elmo cake.  I did need to purchase the Wilton cake pan for this one.   My mom helped me a lot with this cake.  


I will always cherish this picture!  He ALMOST bit off Elmo's nose that night!  :)


This one below was for EVB's 3rd birthday.  He wanted a "James" cake instead of a "Thomas" cake.  With the Elmo cake we learned that the red icing can taste a bit bitter, so we used some spray red dye for this cake, but it did not work out very well at all.  I would stick with regular frosting.  We also made some cute cupcakes to go with this cake.  Again, my mom helped me with this.  It was pretty tough decorating it.  We used a Wilton cake pan that is very difficult to find.  I don't think they sell it anymore at the craft stores.  Thankfully, she had a friend who let us borrow it.



These were the James and Thomas cupcakes.  My mom found these adorable, eatable eyes!  


This one below is a dinosaur cake, actually a "Buddy" cake from the PBS show Dinosaur Train.  We didn't have a big party for my son's 4th birthday, but because of this cake and some decorations from the Dollar Tree he told me "this was the best birthday ever."  He made me feel like the best mom in the world!  See, birthdays can be frugal and lots of fun!!!  


I used two round cake pans and when the cakes were cooled, I cut out pieces of the dinosaur and put it together like a puzzle.  We made a really cool orange color by mixing red and yellow food coloring and used peanut M & M's for his eyes, mouth and toe nails.  My son was so excited that it was the same color as "Buddy."


Doesn't he have the best smile?



The cake below was definitely the hardest and most time consuming cake, but well worth it.  All those little stars!  It took forever to ice it that I thought my arm was going to fall off!  My second son loves, loves sports, especially basketball.  He had asked for a basketball cake for almost a year!  I got a Costco cake for him for his second birthday (too pregnant and tired at that time to make one) and ever since that time he wanted another basketball cake for his 3rd b-day.  I discovered that Wilton sold a sports ball cake pan.  I found it at Michael's and had a coupon for it.  I think I paid $5-7 for it.  
I can't remember. 
 I thought it was a great thing to buy since I have three boys and they all love sports and balls.  I'm sure I'll have the opportunity to make soccer balls, baseballs, golf balls, etc. in the future.  Practice makes perfect right!  I made this cake twice for two separate parties.  The second time was a little bit easier.  You make two halves of the ball and then you put them together with frosting in the middle.  I found that making a 
9 x 11 iced cake to put underneath it helped relieve my fears of it "rolling" off the table.  Warning, it is very unstable!  I do love the way it turned out though and NVB was thrilled to say the least!







Now, this cake below was the simplest one I have made so far.  It was a last minute decision to put together.  I had a cake mix and chocolate frosting in the pantry, so that made it even easier.  I made a batch a cupcakes, then once cooled, I arranged them into the shape of the number one, and iced it.  It made for a perfect first birthday cake for our third son when we had a little celebration on his actual special day.  My big boys helped me decorate it.  He then got a free cake for his party the next day. 
More on that later.


Do you have any experience making cakes?  Any ideas for frugal birthday cakes?  Stay tuned as I will be posting the frosting recipe soon and also a way to score free first birthday cakes!  

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Homeschooling has begun!

This is our first official week of homeschooling at our house!  I'm so excited for this new adventure for our family.  I'm so aware of my need for God as I take this new step of faith.  I feel very unprepared and inadequate, but I know He will help me.  I'm going to try to share my experiences with you as the year progresses.  I am very new to all this and have so much to learn.  I hope my experiences may help you too.  I've found some other helpful blogs and moms along the way that I will share with you in future posts.  Pictures of my boys may be an added bonus too!  Anyway, I wanted to start off this series by saying I HIGHLY recommend The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling by Debra Bell.

This book is for anyone who is even thinking about homeschooling or is just getting started.  It was recommended to me, and I am only about 4 or 5 chapters into it, but I think it needs to be on everyone's shelf.  It has been so helpful in answering the questions/concerns like "why to homeschool," "the pros and cons of homeschooling," "having a vision/goals," "setting up a daily routine/schedule," and so much more. I think it will be a great reference book as time goes on too.   It has been so helpful to me especially since my husband and I have no experience with homeschooling.  I honestly wish I would have purchased it last year, so I could have had a year of so to prepare mentally for what we are doing now.  But I guess better late than never.  So, even if you only have kids under three at home right now, check out the book.  I don't think you will be disappointed. The $20 investment is well worth it.  I wish someone would have told me about it when my first was only three!  More to come soon....

Delicious Black Beans and Rice Recipe

I'm always trying to find new ways to eat even healthier and be more frugal with my cooking.  A dear friend was visiting a few weeks ago and she shared with me her experience with going gluten-free because of some food allergies she has discovered.  She shared with me that her and her husband were making some "beans and rice" meals and were realizing how much they could save eating more like that.  My husband and I love black beans, so I was on a mission to come up with something.  I knew cumin worked well with black beans from my black bean burger recipe.  I've been buying red peppers from Costco lately and thought those would go nicely too.  A little onion, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper too.  I'm excited to say I actually made up my own recipe and I paid attention tonight so I could share it with all of you!  It is delicious, very filling, nutritious, gluten-free, and so cheap to make.  It could be a main dish or used as a side.  My youngest son loved the mashed black beans and rice with the peppers too!  If you try it, please tell me what you think!

Black Beans and Rice

1 cup uncooked brown rice (following package directions for preparing) (not the 10 minute, instant stuff)
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 of a medium onion, finely chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. cumin (more or less depending on how much flavor you want-I actually used a tiny bit less than two full tablespoons)
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Prepare brown rice according to package directions.  Spray a skillet with cooking spray and heat up 1 Tbsp. olive oil on medium heat.  Once oil is hot, add onion, garlic, and peppers.  Saute until tender.  Remove from heat and wait until rice is all done.  Mix the veggies in with the rice and add the drained black beans. Stir in cumin, salt, pepper, and an additional 1 Tbsp. of olive oil.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

HOT! Amazon Diaper Deal! Diapers for 2 cents each!

If you haven't heard about it already, I will tell you about a fantastic diaper deal at Amazon.com!  If you get Parents magazine and/or Parenting the Early Years magazine you can look for the 20% off coupons in the August and September issues.  They are orange post-card like coupons.  I found three different coupons in my three magazines (each one starts with a different letter, W, A, and X).  You can actually stack all three coupons!!!  To make the deal even sweeter, join the Subscribe and Save program to score an additional 30% off plus free, 2-day shipping!  The Subscribe and Save program is free to join and you can cancel at anytime.  Unless of course you want to get diapers from Amazon on a regular basis.  I plan on canceling mine after my first order is delivered.  What's even cooler about this deal is that my magazines were free too!  Do you have these magazines laying around in your house?  Do you need diapers?  Let me know what kind of deal you get?  I think there is even a Pampers coupon floating around on Amazon.com, however, I really rushed through my order and just went with the Luvs. You may be able to make it an even sweeter deal with the Pampers.  And remember to use an Amazon gift card if you have any from Swagbucks!


Here's what I got:
Luvs Diapers, size 4, 180 count




Item(s) Subtotal:$35.54
Shipping & Handling:$22.56
Promotion Applied:-$10.66
Free Shipping:-$22.56
Promotion Applied:-$7.11
Promotion Applied:-$7.11
Promotion Applied:-$7.11
-----
Total Before Tax:$3.55
Sales Tax:$0.00
-----
Total for This Shipment:$3.55
-----




A big thank you to Money Saving Mom and Babycheapskate for this deal.  This is a great way to stock up at only 2 cents a diaper.  Even for us that use cloth diapers, you can't pass this up!



Sunday, August 1, 2010

Price Adjustments

Is that a familiar term to you?  Well, I have known about price adjustments for years and its another way I try to save some extra money while shopping.  A price adjustment is when a store will give you money back (one time per receipt) when you bring in your receipt, usually within a specific time period, if any/all of the items have gone on sale or even further sale.  For example, all of the Gap affiliate stores (Gap, Gap Kids, Baby Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic) will offer a one time price adjustment within 14days of the purchase date for any item, regular price or sale.  I was so excited when I went to Old Nay a few weeks ago, showed the associate all the receipts that happened to be in my wallet and found that some of the items I purchased while on vacation had been reduced further.  I was just under the two week time frame too and I got $9.99 back!  The Gap stores are my favorite places to get price adjustments because I love that they offer it on sale items too and you can almost guarantee that within two weeks they will mark things down again. Now, is it always convenient to drive back to the mall to get the adjustment, that's for you to decide.  Here's a tip, give the store a call ahead of time and go over your receipt with the associate in order to find out if anything can be price adjusted before making the trip.

Kohl's and The Children's Place are two other stores that I have experienced price adjustments.  However, their policy is a little bit different than Gap.  These stores offer, one-time, price adjustments within two weeks of the purchase date on regular price items only (not clearance).  I do believe though at Kohl's if an item is on sale, not clearance, they will offer a price adjustment if the price changes within the two weeks.  For example, you buy a picture frame during a 40% of sale, and then it goes to a 50% off sale, I do believe you can get the price adjustment, if its within two weeks.  Kohl's has excellent customer service.  They always want to make you happy and get you the best price.  But remember, if an item is on clearance, I do not think you can get a price adjustment.  At The Children's Place, the item has to be a regular priced item that then goes on sale in order for it to be eligible for a price adjustment within two weeks.  No sale or clearance items are eligible.

A new store I found this summer that offers a great price adjustment policy is Dick's Sporting Goods.  A few weeks ago we purchased a new tube for our boat that retailed $150.00.  I know that sounds like a lot, but they are expensive and the one we got can fit up to three people and seems very sturdy. And let me tell you, its awesome and had made for tons of fun memories already for our family...even for our three-year-old! Anyway, this one was actually mis-marked and they honored the advertised price of $124.99.  While we were checking out, I remembered that I had a $20 off/$100 or more purchase coupon in our Entertainment book.  However, I didn't have it with me.  I asked the manager if there was any way I could apply the coupon to this purchase at our local Delaware store once we got back from vacation. He told me yes and that I would have 30 days to bring in my receipt for the adjustment.  Well, I went back to our store, explained I had made the purchase in New York, but now wanted to use my Entertainment coupon.  They said no problem.  Score!  So, the cashier proceeds with the transaction and tells me I'm going to be refunded like over $50.  I was a little confused because my coupon was only for $20.  She told me the raft was now on sale for $99.99 and because I was in Delaware now, the computer would also automatically refund me the New York state tax.  I couldn't believe it, and all I had to show her was my receipt and the coupon and we ended up saving $75.00 off of the original retail price after it was all said and done.  I asked what their price adjustment policy was and they said 30 days.  Good to know!

Do you know of any other stores that offer price adjustments?  What has been your experience?  These have been my most recent experiences at these stores.   I may of may not have the most accurate price adjustment information for each store.  If you know of any other helpful information about this topic please do share.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More Tomatoes--Homemade Salsa!

The tomatoes just keep coming and coming.  I bring in 20-30 everyday!  Its quite overwhelming.  My mom just told me last night that her neighbor actually freezes whole tomatoes to use them in the winter to make sauces.  Apparently after they defrost the skins peel right off.  Anyone try that before?  I think I may try it because I really don't have time to make homemade sauce every week.  But homemade salsa, that's a different story.  Its much easier and for hot summer days, chips and salsa is a refreshing snack.  Over the past few months we have been enjoying a delicious and all-natural Garden Salsa from Costco, but its not exactly that cheap.  I can now make my own and its quite delicious too!  Its a friends recipe.  Here's what you need (what I used):

15-20 diced Roma tomatoes (or a combination of different kinds)
1/2 bag of frozen corn (about 8-10 ounces)
1 small jalapeno pepper, diced (more or less depending on how much spice like)
4 gloves of garlic, minced 
1/4-1/3 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
1 12 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
1/4 fresh lime juice (or lemon)
1/2 large onion, diced
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the above and enjoy!  You can change the amounts above according to the taste you like.  I actually put most of the stuff (except the corn) into my awesome food processor (picture on the right from Amazon) and it made it so quick and easy.  It yielded about 8 cups for me.  I put it in Mason jars and its kept for over a week now in the refrigerator.  

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

TOMATOES and my homemade sauce experience.


Oh, my....my garden is doing fabulous!  I have harvested over 100 Roma and regular tomatoes in the last week and there are loads and loads more to come!  I can't believe it!  And you know the really funny thing? My husband and I don't even like them very much.  We better start liking them right?!?  Don't get me wrong, I love them in sauces and salsas and they like, but not raw in a salad or on a sandwich.  I made my first batch (well more like 2-3 times the recipe) of my own sauce on Saturday. It turned out quite tasty, but it was really labor intensive.  Peeling and seeding 40-50 little tomatoes took quite some time.  For a mom of three young boys I can't make that a regular thing on my "To-do" list.  I used some last night and have frozen the rest.  This is the basic recipe I used, but I didn't have the Burgundy wine.  I will try to add it next time.  I realIy enjoyed all the different types of veggies in it.   I may try to post more pictures and details at another time (haven't uploaded them yet).  I would love to learn how to do some canning so I could make some more sauce and also can some salsa for the winter months.  Tonight, I am going to make some homemade salsa that a friend made on Sunday (with some of our tomatoes).  I just got her recipe.  Itw as delicious and I have been craving it all day.  I'll let you know how that goes!  How's your garden?  Any ideas of what I can do with all these?  And I will pass them along to any of you local gals if interested. I'm still up for that veggie swap!   I have found so much joy blessing others with them!


Here's some pictures from the sauce making:


                     Placing the tomatoes in boiling water to be able to peel and seed them easily.



















The ice bath to cool the tomatoes prior to peeling and seeding.



All the other veggies used for the sauce, diced and ready to go in the food processor.




The pureed veggies starting to simmer in the pot.





The finished sauce after 4 hours of simmering.  Yummy!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Poor Man's Crab-cakes

Since I have an abundance of zucchini I was very excited to get this recipe from my neighbors a few weeks ago.  I love crab-cakes and I love zucchini.  So, this is a recipe for zucchini crab-cakes, minus the crab.  I have made them twice already, and the second time I made them, I quadrupled the recipe (I have tons of zucchini).  They are sooo delicious. Two big thumbs up!  They are very easy and freeze beautifully, so now I have about 6-8 meals in my freezer.  Its a great addition to my freezer meals collection.  I am loving my food processor.  It makes shredding all this zucchini a cinch. 


I ended up shredding 10 cups of zucchini when I quadrupled the recipe!


After all the zucchini is shredded, you mix it with breadcrumbs, a beaten egg, melted butter or margarine, Old Bay (this is what makes them soo good), and some minced onion. 



Next, I formed the patties/cakes and placed them on a tray and put them in the freezer for about 20 minutes to set.  If freezing for another meal, just keep them in there a bit longer, before placing them in a Ziploc bag or wrapping them in plastic wrap.  They do not need to be cooked ahead of time if using as a freezer meal.  Otherwise, take out of freezer after 20 minutes and put in frying pan with a little oil to cook.


Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until browned on both sides.  


DELICIOUS!  

Here's the recipe details:

Poor Man's Crab-cakes

1 beaten egg
2 1/2 cups grated/shredded zucchini (leave skins on)
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. melted butter/margarine
+/- 1 Tbsp. Old Bay
1 Tbsp. minced onion
a little oil for frying

Mix together and form patties. Chill for 20 minutes in the freezer. Pan fry in frying pan for about 20 minutes, until browned well.



Friday, June 25, 2010

Acme Trip: $15.56 OOP, 90% savings

Yes, I got all of that for only a $15.56.  I think it should have been about $115.00!  I only paid 10%!  Wow!  This trip to the Acme included 19 packages a yogurt multi-packs, 6 boxes of cereal, and, well,  you can see the rest.  There were some incredible Catalina deals going on at Acme this past week (ended yesterday) and the two different offers could be combined.  That's never happened to me before, at least not the kind of sweet deals like these were.  If you spent $20 worth of General Mills products you got $5.00  taken off instantly.  And they also had a "dairy deal" going on.  If you bought 5 of the eligible products (which almost all were GM products too), you got a $5 Catalina certificate to use toward your next purchase.  I did my own version of the dairy deal twice in two different transactions, which was also a GM deal yielding me $15 each time.  I carefully planned all my three "deal" transactions with all my necessary coupon match-ups (there was a coupon for every single item).  Then my 4th transactions was a few miscellaneous things, i.e. grapes, bananas, salt, and the bagged cereal.  They ended up over charging me for the grapes and when I went back to the store, they refunded me, so they were free.  I rolled each Catalina into the next transaction as well.  My boys were very helpful.  It was so cute.  My oldest son carefully picked out all the GoGurts and would ask, "Mom, is this on one sale?"  He then helped me count them all out to make sure we had the right amount for each of my transactions and we made sure all the coupons were there.  All three boys did very well for me, and the 4 transactions went through perfectly.  Yeah!  Very satisfying!  I am looking forward to sharing some of this yogurt with two families we know.


Thanks goes to Mindi at Moms Need to Know for posting about these great deals and including the coupon match-ups.  Its so easy, if you know where to look.  There are sooo many people out there who do the hard-work for you.  When I want to do an Acme trip, after I have taken a look at the circular myself and reviewed what coupons I have, I always check Mindi's site, put Acme in her search box, and find the weekly deals and coupon match-ups that she has put together.  Then I print any other coupons I may need, organize my specific transactions, and off I go.  Its great!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

How does your garden grow?

I just had to do a quick post and show you all what I picked in my garden today. I had not checked on it since Friday afternoon and I went out today and found all this:


Isn't that quite amazing! 10 zucchini and 6 squash! Zucchini bread, Poor Man's Crab Cakes (new recipe that I will be trying tomorrow), oven fried zucchini, and grilled veggies here we come!! I love it! My $30 investment has definitely been worth it! Oh, and we have a few red raspberries already!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

FREE books for children in the MOT area!

That got your attention right? Well, today I was driving through town with my boys and passed the Millbranch park where there was a large crowd of adults and children hanging out. Of course, my oldest son's interest was peaked and he begged me to stop to see what was going on and why all the kids had popsicles. I really didn't want to stop, but I was feeling bad that they had been in the car for awhile and I wanted them to get their "60 minutes of physical activity a day." To my surprise (it always seems like the Lord wants to bless me when I least expect it), there was a "Book Mobile" going on sponsored by Silver Lake Elementary School. The women leading it said "2 books for everyone!" They gave me 2 colorful library book bags and we (even the baby) got to pick some books...for FREE! I found 8 wonderful children's books, including a new copy (large version) of "Brown Bear, Brown Bear", one of our favorites. I also found about 4-5 that will be great home schooling story/educational books, like one about penguins, sea turtles, science on the earth and sun (it had the wrong cover on the outside), trucks, and one about the Wright Brothers. I thought these ones would be great additions to our library for when we start home schooling more seriously in the fall.

So here's the scoop for you my dear readers in my area...apparently this has been going on for several years. Some local school teachers (I think) go around to 4 different parks in the area a few days each summer and give away books. The books are donated by other people in the community. I believe most of the books are used, however some of the ones I got today look almost new. I told the ladies that I know lots of moms with small children, so she said she would pack up a lot of board books for next week's "Book Mobile."

The four parks are:
One on Lake Street
Millbranch Park
Middletown Village (the park near the daycare)
Silver Lake Park

Dates/Times:
Tuesday, June 22
Tuesday, July 13
Tuesday, July 20

I know they are at Millbranch at 1:30 on the dates above and then they head to Middletown Village around 2:00, and end at Silver Lake Park.

They also have free popsicles for the kids to enjoy! It was awesome! I plan on going again if anyone wants to join me and make it a play date at the park.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

How does your garden grow?

I have been meaning for several weeks now to post an update about our garden. You can see the beginnings of our garden here from late April. It is now doing fantastic! Way better than I ever imagined! I really think a lot of our success has to do with the heat we have had and all the tips from my neighbors, like using the organic manure. Just last week we got home from vacation to see all this:



The yellow squash and zucchini are exploding...literally! And my pumpkins and butternut squash, that I started from seeds, are doing so well too. The peppers are holding on and look like they may bloom in the next week or so. The tomatoes are blooming and our first ones have started. I added some mulch around the raspberries and I think it gives an overall cleaner, nicer look to my garden. Watering is key. Hopefully our well won't dry up this summer with how hot it is already. My boys loves checking out the plants each day and seeing how much everything has grown. I am looking forward to being able to bless our friends and neighbors with some of these veggies as well this summer.

Our peppers:


Pumpkins or Butternut Squash--I'm not sure? I mixed them up!


One of my proud gardeners admiring the tomatoes!
I was so excited to pick these today and I look forward to making some oven fried zucchini tonight with our pulled pork!


I love gardening! Anybody want to have a veggie swap this summer with me?





Thursday, May 27, 2010

Snapware Glasslock Containers

Here is a picture of the containers I was telling you about in my post about Make-Ahead-Meals. I highly recommend them! They are great because they can go from the freezer, to the microwave, to the oven! The lids are great too, since they snap so tightly. I found these at Costco about 3 months ago for around $20-22 (with a coupon). If they still carry them, I think they retail for around $30.



Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend making memories with your families!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Strawberry Picking (Part 2) and Strawberry Pie!



My family and I are so excited about the strawberry picking season that is in full swing here in Delaware! You can read about our first u-pick adventure at Filasky's here on my family blog. This local farm is open from about 7 am each morning until 7 pm each night and if the weather stays just right, we have about 6-7 weeks left according to the guy I talked to last week. The boys and me and some friends went back this past Friday and the strawberries were even sweeter and better than the week before. I got about 5 pounds at $1.85/pound. They are a little cheaper at the Giant this week ($1.66/pound) and Walmart, but you can't beat picking them yourself, making memories with your children, and supporting the local farm. I consider it money well spent. I have frozen most of them for using in smoothies and one of my favorite desserts, strawberry pretzel salad!



I was so excited though to try to make a version of the classic Eat N Park Restaurant Strawberry Pie. (A favorite for the Pittsburgh, PA folks!) My friend and I decided we would do it together that afternoon while the kids played. I found this recipe and I think it turned out great! It was soo delicious! I bet it cost me about $3-4 at the most to make.

Here are some pictures of some of the steps in the recipe:


Half of the berries arrange in the pie shell.



Mashing the second half of the berries.




The strawberry/sugar mixture and the cornstarch mixture.


After pouring the glaze over the strawberries.



After being chilled (not long enough) with yummy cream! It was sooo good!


Strawberry Pie II (Allrecipes.com)

1 9 inch pie crust, baked (I used a deep dish and would recommend that)
1 quart (4 cups) fresh strawberries
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
3/4 cup water
1/2 heavy whipping cream (I just used regular whipped cream)

1. Arrange half of the strawberries in a baked pastry shell. Mash remaining berries and combine with sugar in a medium saucepan. Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water. Gradually stir cornstarch mixture into boiling strawberry mixture. Reduce heat and simmer mixture until thickened, about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour mixture over berries in pastry shell. Chill for several hours before serving. In a small bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. Serve each slice of chilled pie with a dollop of whipped cream.

My tips for success:
  • Though I wasn't planning to use it, the 9-inch deep dish pie shell worked great as there were a lot of strawberries and strawberry mixture. I think it would overflow more easily in a regular pie shell.
  • I did use whole strawberries as shown in the picture, but I think I may slice them at least in half next time to making it a little easier for the kids to eat.
  • Make sure you chill it for at least 3-4 hours. I was so excited to eat it, that after about 2 hours, I cut into it and it wasn't solidified enough. Oooppps!