Saturday, November 12, 2011

Shutterfly Christmas Cards!

Once again, I am here to rave about and give ten thumbs up to Shutterfly and their awesome holiday card collection.  And, of course, all the other fun stuff like calendars, photo books, photo gifts, and more.  I must say again, I love their photo books.  People rave about them when they come over and see them on display.  The custom path options, allow you to customize every aspect of each page.  It is incredible!  

Now back to the cards....I was at a Shutterfly HouseParty today (thank you Meredith) and got to see, first hand, real samples of some of cards in the new collection.  I love all the beautiful, clever, cute, fancy (all of the above) designs.  There has to be a perfect card for everyone out there.  And, you can customize them too, with options like changing the amount of pictures, the text, and the layouts.  I discovered last year, that they offer "story" cards, where you can actually write your Christmas letter in them.  I am hoping to find another one like that this year!  I browsed the website recently and have come across some fun ones...the problem will be narrowing it down to one (or two)!  Here is a look at a few that caught my, if I could only get my pictures to look this good too!  
Hearts and Home 5x7 Folded Card (this could be a "story" card for those letters you like to write)

Here is a religious one that has a nice design:
Blessing of Christ

And the flat cards are really nice and are available in a variety of sizes, styles, and designs.  You can even put pictures on the back!
Top Ten Reasons Card

And here is another option for those who like the Christmas letter idea, but don't want to include an extra piece of it all on the card!
Holiday Letter Christmas Card

I hope you enjoy browsing the website too and can find the perfect holiday card for 2011.  Check out Shutterfly for all your holiday photo wants and needs.  You will not be disappointed!  Oh, and right now, the cards are 40% when you use the code CARD40 (not sure when it expires).

I must also let you know that Shutterfy's customer service is top-notch.  I tell you that from experience.  I have called them at least a dozen times for as long as I have been a customer and they have always been very friendly and have taken care of my issues promptly and to my satisfaction.

(By the way, these opinions are all my own.  I am entering a promotion to see if Shutterfly likes my blog review of their holiday cards.  If I am chosen, I will get 25 free cards.  I was not otherwise compensated for this review).

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Photo Cards from Shutterfly

Faith Love Family Religious
Unique designs that are as unique as you. Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Free Chick-Fil-A Breakfast Entree on Saturdays in October if you wear PJ's

Chick fil A script red sm 300x170 Chick fil A script red sm
Every Saturday this month, wear your pajamas, and stop by your local Chick-Fil-A for a free breakfast entree!  I went this past Saturday with my boys and we got $10 worth of food for free!  Gotta love Chick-Fil-A for their great food and excellent customer service!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How does your garden grow?

It has been so long since I have posted anything on here, but I am very excited to say that we have another wonderful garden this year!  My boys have been very excited about the garden and actually enjoy going our with me to check on our fruits and veggies and to help me pick them.  We always are amazed at how big some or our zucchini get.  My zucchini and yellow squash have exploded even more so than last year.  I realized this year that they don't need much water and I definitely don't water at night or on top of the leaves. This was a big mistake last year.  I have already harvested at least 4 dozen and have given many away.  We have made several loaves of bread, 4 dozen muffins, over fried zucchini, and Poor Man's Crab Cakes (I posted about these last year...they are delicious and very easy).  I have also shredded some and froze it for future use in breads and muffins.

My tomatoes and peppers are doing well too.  Last year, my peppers never made it, so I am happy that all four of my plants are doing fabulous.  New this year...cantaloupe...and we have one that should be ready by the weekend!  My boys are very excited about it.  I planted a small strawberry plant that was on clearance for only $2 at Lowes.  I got a couple strawberries from it, but look forward to it doing better next year.

And I am super excited to report that my raspberries are AMAZING!!!!  I have probably triple the plants I had last year (they spread like crazy and I must give some away) and half of them have already started harvesting.  I have picked a small container of raspberries everyday for about the past two weeks already....and we still have the rest of the summer and fall to enjoy them!
This year's garden was very simple to put in since I did all the prep work last year when we started.  My neighbor picked up all my plants for me (except the raspberries since they were already there) for only $7!  Another friend gave me her left over manure, so I used that along with the soil from last year.  All in all, everything is going well.  I just need to make sure the tomatoes and peppers stay watered since they seem the most sensitive to all this heat.  How is your garden growing?  What are you most excited about?  If any of my local friends would like to swap crops I would be very up for that!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Shutterfly: Free Cards for Father's Day!

I love Shutterfly so much...I think most of you know that by now.  They have the best deals/discounts, best quality for prints, books, and gifts, and great customer service.  I just got done making several photo gifts, cards, and collage prints to give out to our family members for Mother's Day (very late) and Father's Day.  Right now, you can also get 5 free photo cards just in time for Father's Day (or any other occasion you may need them for).  Use the code DADCARD at the checkout to get your free cards.  Shipping and handling will be extra, unless of course you spend $30 or more at use the copse SHIP30 to get free shipping!  Both of these codes expire on June 9, 2011.  (I just posted a sample of the card I made). 

I just love Shutterfly to pieces!!! Free Cards!

5x7 Folded Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Free Ebook: 31 Days to Clean (today only).

I just found out about this free ebook offer that ends at midnight tonight.  The book is called 31 Days to Clean:  Having a Martha House the Mary Way. I am very excited to read it as I can use a lot of help in this area....managing a home in a God glorifying way.  It looks really good!  The author, Sarah Mae, has a really inspiring blog too that I look forward to exploring more. 

If you want a copy too, just Twitter, Facebook, or blog about this new ebook by tonight at midnight and let Sarah Mae know you did through email with your link.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Frugal Birthday Cakes: Part 3-The best frosting!

I started this series on frugal birthday cakes a long time ago.  You can read Part 1 and Part 2 if you would like.  Part 1 shows you some of the cake I have made in the past.  The most recent one, is the Spaceship cake you see above that was for my oldest son's 5th birthday, Toy Story party.  Isn't it great?  More details on that one later.

I have been meaning to post this recipe for frosting for a long time.  Sorry.  This is a recipe my family has been using for years and we even know the baker who invented it.  She is the one who made many of our cakes for various birthdays, showers, and even rehearsal dinners for our family's weddings.  This frosting is very smooth and creamy and not too sweet.  It works great for decorating cakes.  The key to this recipe is to make sure that the evaporated milk is very cold and that you beat the frosting for a good 10 minutes (or even more).  I also put the frosting in the refrigerator at various times while I am decorating a cake to make sure it doesn't get too runny.  It freezes well too and tastes great with animal crackers!  I don't know about you, but our family loves to dip animal crackers in frosting!  Yummy!  Let me know if you try it and what you think.

Butter Cream Frosting

1 cup Crisco
1 cup (2 sticks) Blue Bonnet or Parkay margarine (cold)
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup very cold canned evaporated milk

Blend Crisco and margarine together.  Add powdered sugar.  Add vanilla.  Gradually add the 1/2 cup of evaporated milk and beat on high for at least 10 minutes.  

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

ACME deals get even better!

I just wanted to post real quick that the cereal and milk deals at ACME just got even sweeter.  Now, you can get fee, or really cheap fruit too!  I was there yesterday picking up my Kellogg's cereal and free milk and discovered that some of the boxes of cereal had "peelies"  (sticker coupons on the boxes) on them for $1.00 off fresh fruit purchase when you buy two participating boxes of Kellogg's cereal.  So I picked up 4 boxes of Pops and 2 boxes of Froot Loops since they were are included in the deal.  I got four of the peelies, but only used three yesterday.  SO, for only $7.97, I walked away with 6 boxes of cereal, 2 FREE gallons of milk, a 4 pound bag  of navel oranges (sale price $1.99) and 3 bananas with all the sales, deals, and coupons.  It was like getting the fruit for free too!  Yeah for ACME!

Monday, April 4, 2011

DIY: Family Handprints Wall Hanging (final picture)

This is a picture of my family handprints wall hanging I showed you how to make last year.  I got them hung up about two months ago...finally!  They are hung in my homeschooling classroom. Don't you love the green walls too!  I love it!  It was a great upgrade to the room and makes it so cozy!
Check out my post from last year on how to do this easy, creative, inexpensive, family handprints wall hanging.  It will make for a great decoration and a great keepsake!

Well, I just copied my post from last year to make it easier for you all to read (from March 2010):

I am super excited to share this "Do It Yourself" project that I just finished last night. Well, almost finished. Now, they just need to be hung on the wall. I take no credit for this idea though. Back in November, I was at a friend's house (she did it herself too) and that is where I got the idea. And she found the idea from here. So, what is it? You take blank, framed canvases, paint them a solid color-use acrylic paint, and then do a handprint of each of your family members on each one. My boys were so excited to help me with this project. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been painting the 5 canvases with 2-4 coats of paint, depending on the color. I picked bold, bright colors, since I will be hanging them in our classroom. Last night, we had a great family evening together, painting out hands and then doing our handprints. And if we messed up, baby wipes worked great to repair them. I must say, I think they turned out awesome. What do you think? So you're probably wondering the cost...well, here it is...$2.79 for each 8 x 10" canvas (about $14.00 total) at Michaels and about $0.75 per small (not the smallest) bottle of paint and I have a lot left over.  I did get the canvases in a 3-pack that was on sale and during a sale when I could use an additional coupon.  So under $20 for a beautiful wall display and great family memory! It would have been $39.99 for the kit from the site I referenced above and that's only for four. I am so thrilled about it! Hopefully we will get them hung up soon for all to see. Even our cute little 6 month old got to participate.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cereal Deals and FREE Milk!

Our local grocery stores here in the Delaware Valley have been having some great deals on cereal and offers for free milk when you buy a certain number of boxes.  Today, I just got back from Giant with 4 boxes of General Mills cereal and a gallon of milk for only $4.36 total!  Here was the deal:

Purchase 4 boxes of GM cereal, any variety/size and get $6 off instantly at checkout.
I had 4 coupons (one per box) from online ( and from the Smart Source section (or  of the Sunday paper (it was either this past Sunday or the one before), that were all doubled, giving me another $4.20 off.   I tried to pick the best coupons for the least expensive cereals.

It was like getting each box of name brand cereal for $1.09/box and a free gallon of milk.  In case you can't make it to Giant tonight before the sale ends, no worries, the deals continue this week at Acme, starting tomorrow, April 1.

Select Kellogg's cereals (and Pop Tarts) are on sale, 3 boxes for $5, and on top of that you can get a FREE gallon of milk with every three boxes purchased (note: any variety of Kellogg's works for the milk deal, but only a select few are on sale).  Kellogg's coupons are a little bit harder to find than General Mills ones, but I just signed up today on the Kellogg's website and found some coupons on there.  I printed two of the ones for $1.00/3 boxes because it looks like that coupon includes the same ones on the Acme deal (3 boxes for $5).  So, starting tomorrow you should be able to get 3 boxes of cereal for $4 and a free gallon of milk (or 6 boxes and 2 gallons of milk for $8 if you print two coupons).  This deal will make each box only $1.25 and you will get free milk!

In case you didn't know this trick, just click the back button after you print one coupon and then you can print your second one.  There are other coupons available on the website too for other Kellogg's varieties.   Anybody know where there are any other Kellogg's coupons floating around?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Parents Magazine for only $1!

Barnes and Noble (  has PARENTS Magazine on sale for only $4.97.  Use this code: K4M8W9D and get it for only $1.  This magazine has had some hot coupons for lately, so it is well worth the $1 investment.  And don't forget to order through and get 4% cash back.  Thanks to Money Saving Mom for the heads-up!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Homeschool Freebie of the Day!

Are you homeschooling your children?  Do you plan to homeschool in the future?  Do you love free stuff?  Well, I have a site I want to tell you about.  I recently discovered Homeschool Freebie, a site that offers free homeschool resources to homeschooling families.  They offer a "Freebie of the Day" each and every day of the week, Monday-Friday.  The best way to find out about the upcoming freebies is to be on their email list.  I get an email every Sunday with the upcoming freebies.  You can read more about this site here and join the email list here.  If it is something you are interested in, you need to download the PDF that day, as it may not be offered as a freebie again.  I have already downloaded some great resources to add to my own collection.  I am excited about this week's freebies of the day, The Big Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock (Part II--bird study and fish study is also available for download today).  And I am pretty sure that each day this week will be a new freebie in this series.  This looks like it will be very helpful for future science lessons with my boys!  Happy homeschooling!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Black Bean and Quinoa Burritos

As promised, I wanted to share this recipe that I made up a few weeks ago with Quinoa with all of you.  You can read more about this nutritious stuff here.  

Here's what you need:
1 cup Quinoa
2 cups of water
1 beef bouillon cube
1 Tbsp. oil
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 onion, minced
approx. 1 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 Tbsp. cumin (give or take a little)
salt and pepper to taste
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
6-8 tortillas
Cheddar cheese 
Salsa  (optional)
Sour cream (optional)

Soften the veggies in the oil.  Add water, Quinoa and bouillon cube.  Bring to boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes until the Quinoa is fluffy.  Remove from heat.

Mix in spices and beans.  Heat the tortillas in the microwave for 20-30 seconds or in a large frying pan with cooking spray over medium heat for a couple of minutes until warm, turning once.  Fill each tortilla with about 1/2 cup of Quinoa/bean mixture (give or take) and add desired toppings.  Wrap it up and enjoy!!!  (This mixture can also be combined with ground beef or turkey to stretch your meat, but it if very filling without the meat).  We actually prefer it without meat.

And I am very happy to report that you can freeze them and use them for later meals.  They are great for lunches too.  After you fill the tortillas, wrap them in a paper towel and then a piece of aluminum foil.  Place in the freezer.  When you are ready to eat them, unwrap the foil, but leave it in the paper towel.  Microwave on High for about 60-90 seconds.  Enjoy!

Let me know if you try them and what you think!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

New Rite Aid Surveys: $3 off/$15 purchase

If you are a Rite Aid shopper you will be happy to know that there is a new customer satisfaction survey that prints on the bottom of some of your receipts.  When you complete this new survey online, you will be eligible for a coupon for $3 off a $15 or more purchase.  Usually at the bottom of the receipt there is a code for a phone survey that enters you into a contest to win $10,000, but occasionally you may get this new code for the online survey.  Honestly, I rather do the online survey and get the coupon. In my last three visits to the store, I got two opportunities for the coupon survey.  You must complete it within 14 days and use your coupon within fourteen days of completing the survey.  I don't know for sure, but I think you are only eligible for the coupon up to 3 times per month.  Have you gotten any yet?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Quinoa-Gluten Free and Very Nutritious!

Have you ever heard of it?  Well, it is our family's new favorite side dish and is a great alternative to rice, pasta, and couscous.  My husband has had to make some significant dietary changes lately due to some health issues and we were very excited to find Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) at our local Costco.  We were hesitant to buy this highly nutritious, gluten free seed because of the price, about $9.50 for a 4 pound bag.  (The are 42 1/4 cup dry servings per bag making it about $0.22/serving).  But after trying it for the first time back in January, we are hooked.  We are big fans of this yummy stuff.  Yes, you can probably get a 1 pound bag of non-instant brown rice (instant stuff is quite a bit more) at Walmart for about $1.50 (about 7 cents a serving), but it probably doesn't expand as much as this Quinoa does nor can you say that it is a great source of protein (5.5 grams per 1/4 dry serving), contains all 8 amino acids which is very good for you vegetarians out there, fiber, B vitamins, and iron (18%).  I couldn't believe how much the one cup expanded the first time I made it.  I made it into a pilaf with some veggies and walnuts and there was probably enough to serve 6 adults a nice size serving.  You get a lot of bang for your buck!  It is well worth the investment for a healthier alternative to rice and such.  And the good!  It is very filling and has a "nutty" kind of flavor.  My husband actually frowns now when I make rice instead of Quinoa.  You can serve it as a side dish with veggies, with soup, add it to chili, and mix up for a filling for your burritos and tacos.  I am so excited to say that I actually have made up my own recipe for Black Bean and Quinoa Burritos that I will be sharing soon.  Have you ever heard of Quinoa?  Do you like it?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Homemade Ice cream/Snow cream

Last night, we finally made homemade ice cream out of snow.  It was super easy, fun, frugal, and quite tasty.  It was a great thing to do as a family as well.  My boys loved it!  Here's the recipe:

1 large bowl/pan of fresh, clean snow
1 can of evaporated milk
1 cup of sugar
2 tsp. of vanilla

Mix everything together (pour milk in last) and eat immediately.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Walgreen's Diapers $1.50/Jumbo Pack!!!!

Get them while you can!  I just got back from Walgreen's and I couldn't wait to post about a deal going on right now (today is the last day) on diapers.  You can get jumbo packs of diapers for only $1.50/pack.  That's 5 cents/diaper for size 5 and about 4 cents/diaper for size 4.  It would be even less per diaper if you get the smaller sizes.  So here's what you do...go and pick up two jumbo packs of the Walgreen's diapers, they are on sale for $6.99 AND are but one get one free.  Next, go to the pharmacy counter (that's where to go at the Main St. Walgreen's in Middletown) and get the "Infant Care" coupon booklet.  Inside you find a coupon for $2/pack of Walgreen's diapers.  Give it to the cashier with your diapers and you will actually get $4 off because you have two packs.  Yeah!  $2.99 out of pocket for at least 54 diapers (size 5).  I got four packs today (did two transactions) and only paid about $6.  And, by the way, if they are out of the size you need, get a rain check and save your coupons.  They don't expire until 12/2011.  I ended up getting a rain check too, so I can go back and buy some more size 5's soon.  If you can't find the "Infant Care" coupon booklet ask an associate/manager for help.  Even though I use cloth diapers most of the time, this deal was well worth it for me for the times I do use disposables (i.e. at night, trips, etc.).  And I don't know much about Walgreen's diapers, but again, at that price, if I use more than usual, I am fine with that!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Favorite Sugar Cookies

Cookies are one of my weaknesses, especially delicious sugar cookies.  Well, after several years of trying different recipes, I think I have a favorite and I want to share it.  I found it last summer on a recipe forum website from a fellow "Yinzer".  It didn't call for vanilla though, so I changed it, because other recipes that I have tried have vanilla in it.  They actually remind me of Eat 'n Park Smiley Face Cookies.  Some of you may not know what those are, but they are some of the best sugar cookies in the world from a restaurant chain in Western PA.  I had so much fun making Valentine's Day cookies with my boys on Monday and then giving them away to a bunch of people at our local YMCA.  Sugar cookies are great year-round, not just for Christmas.  I prefer them with icing too, but you can leave that off and just decorate them before you bake them. And do you know the secret to shiny icing?  Corn syrup!  Enjoy!  Save yourself some money and make cookies and give them away as gifts (or to cheer someone up) instead of buying something.  Your kids will love having some special treats around too!

Yummy Sugar Cookies

1 cup sugar
1 cup shortening (I used butter flavored Crisco)
1 cup milk (I used whole this time, but any is fine)
2 eggs, beaten
4-5 cups of flour (I started with 4 and then added more since the dough was still sticky)
6 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons vanilla

Cream sugar, shortening, milk, vanilla, and eggs.  Add flour and baking powder.  Chill dough for 30-60 minutes to make it easier to work with.  Roll out the dough onto a floured surface and use cookie cutters for desired shapes.  Place on un-greased (they work with greased too) cookie sheet and bake at 400 for 13-15 minutes, don't over-bake.  Let cool completely on wire rack before icing and decorating.

1 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp. milk (I tend to use a little extra, if it seems to thick)
2 tsp. light corn syrup
1/4 tsp.vanilla

Stir powdered sugar and milk until smooth.  Beat in corn syrup and vanilla until smooth and glossy.  (I usually double it).

Friday, February 11, 2011

Homemade Pizza Perfected

I am so sorry it has been awhile since I have posted.   Not so sure anyone even stops by, but if you do, thank you!  Life with three young boys is really keeping me busy!  Anyway, a long time ago, I think back when I started this blog, I wrote a post about homemade whole wheat (not entirely whole wheat) pizza.  Oh, here's the link for you to check out, in case you missed it before.  I am happy to say that after over two years of making this pizza, I have some tips to make it even more delicious.  We eat it almost every Friday night and we never seem to get enough of it.  Seriously, try the recipe from Cooking Light .

Tips for a perfect pizza:

1.  The recipe says to have the "warm water" be between 100-110 degrees.  Yes, I actually use my candy thermometer to measure the temperature and make sure it falls within the range.  That is the best temperature to activate the yeast properly, at least I think so!  My friend laughed at me when she found out I did that, but then she tasted our pizza and agreed it tastes quite good.

 2.  If using a pizza stone, heat the stone in the oven before baking the pizza.  I usually leave it in the oven for at least 5 minutes.  I don't heat up my cookie sheets though, just the stone, since it seems to take a little longer to get hot.
3.  Sprinkle some corn meal on your pizza stone and/or cookie sheet, before putting the crust on it.
4.  Try to roll out (or do the fancy hand thing like they do in the pizza shops) the dough as thin as possible for a crisper crust--that's what we prefer.
5.  Be careful not to use too much sauce as it will make the crust mushy...just a light/thin layer.
6.  I bake the crust first for about 7-9 minutes and then I take it out, put the toppings on, and place it back in the oven for another 8 minutes, until the cheese is melted completely.

Enjoy!  I really hope you enjoy this pizza as much as we do.  If you get in the habit of making homemade pizza you can save so much money and you realized it tastes so much better.

I recently made my own version of a white veggie pizza and I thought I would share that with you too!  I follow the same recipe for the crust. For the sauce I used about 4 small cloves of garlic (minced), 3-4 Tbsp. olive oil (give or take a little), 3-4 tsp. Italian seasoning, and a few dashes of salt and pepper.  Mix together in a small bowl and brush over the pre-baked crust.  Add any veggies you like.  I used steamed broccoli and spinach.  Next, I sprinkled with some mozzarella and feta and baked it for an additional 7-8 minutes, or until cheese is melted.  I just made another tonight and it was great!

Do you have a pizza recipe you prefer?  Any tips for a great pizza?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

$20 Amazon gift card for only $10!

I just read about this deal, thanks to Money Saving Mom!  You can get a $20 amazon gift card for only $10!  What a great deal!  Here is my referral link if you would like to use it.  If three people order it, mine could be free!  There is only 1 hour left.  Offer expires at 8:00 AM EST.  You can also shop through Swagbucks and earn 280 Swagbucks.  Just think, more ways to earn Amazon gift cards!  Enjoy!