Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tuesday Tip - Purses!!!

I am a purse freak, before my frugal days I had quite the expensive purse stash. I still have them all in a plastic storage tote hoping that one day they will be called "vintage" and they will once again grace my shoulder in style... I won't hold my breathe! These are my favorites:But until those old expensive purses are back in style I will stick with my bargain bags. I found this FABULOUS bag at Target on sale for $13, normally it was $29. Yeah I love bargain bags, especially in animal print!!!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Menu Monday

Whew, after a busy weekend of birthday parties for my daughter I am exhausted and stuffed. As I write this post I could go for a week without eating... too much birthday cake and ice cream for me.

Monday: Leftover Chicken Stir Fry, I tried the Green Giant Szechuan frozen kit just added chicken. Yummy and easy!

Tuesday: Make your own meal - my husband will be traveling so most likely sandwiches or spaghetti o's for me and the kids

Wednesday: Baked Ziti double batch, I am taking some to a friend who just had a baby. Here is my recipe for a single recipe:

1/2 package of Ziti Noodles (cooked)
1 Can of spaghetti sauce
1 small can of tomato paste
1 pound of cooked ground beef (lean)
Mozz cheese

Mix the everything but the cheese together, top with cheese then cover with foil then bake 350 for about 30 minutes.

Then enjoy!!

Thursday: Grill burgers and baked tator tot's

Friday: Frozen fish from the fish fry a couple weeks ago, yes I will bake and not eat frozen

I need your help, I am in a cooking rut and need new recipes, please share your favorites!!!

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Freebie Friday & Birthday Wish

I have a special birthday wish to my oldest daughter today.
Happy Birthday Sweet Kate!!

My friend Brandi is a photographer B4 Photography, she is very popular in the Dallas/ Ft. Worth area. We were very lucky to have her do a photo shoot of Kate. Take a look at her website. If you are looking for a FABULOUS photographer Brandi is your girl. She does amazing professional high quality work. Check her out

Birthday Freebies we've received :

On to the Freebie's of the week:

Free sample of forest oils- if my allergies would not go crazy with the smell of fresh cut wood I'd have it in the mail.

Free Zyrtec sample- speaking of allergies, this is a great allergy medication. I used it for years. So maybe I will get a sample of the oil...

Free Bake Sale Starter Kit- this is a great freebie for mom's. It seems that every group or school does a bake sale. Good way to start :)

Free Cottonelle Sample- this is my favorite TP. I normally by Scott Ultra Plush but I am always looking for Cottonelle coupons.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thrifty Thursday - Get Carded

I love to get carded when I get rewarded!

FREE Frequent Shopper Program with Saver Cards- save some money by signing up for these programs. I simply took a look in my wallet to find lots of savings.... yes my wallet is fat!!

CVS Extra Care- 2% rebate on in store and online purchases. Get extra bucks. Many other frugal blogs do lots of CVS shopping. I am just learning about this. My blog friend Lindsay has this down, check out her frugal blog. (yes our blog names are similar... what can I say great minds think a like)

Office Depot- 1% back on most purchases. 10% back on ink, toner and printing services. We use this card for my husband's business expenses. We get a gift card every quarter for at least $15

Staples Rewards- get rebates similar to Office Depot. Earn 10% back in rebates for ink, paper and toner. (I don't have this one after seeing my OD card I thought I would check for you Staple customers)

AMC Theaters- The movie watcher program you can earn points for movie ticket purchases and get points for snacks or tickets.

Restaurant Cards- one of our favorite local restaurants (La Hacienda) has a punch card you get a punch each time you visit. Then after so many punches you get a free entree up to $20. Check around at some of your local favorites and see if they have frequent diner programs. Our local Cici's pizza also has punch cards.

Kid to Kid- this franchised resale shop has punch cards for purchases. When you reach the end of the card you get $5 or a certain percentage off of your next purchase.

Starbucks - they have a reward program you can sign up for with a gift card. They give you special rewards when you make a purchase with a gift card. (Many other local coffee shops have reward punch cards for frequent customers, ask next time you are in)

Grocery Store Cards- almost every grocery store has a frequent shopper card. I have at least 3 in my wallet. I always use, if you don't have a card expect to pay more.

Best Buy - I forgot about this one until last night... my wonderful husband came home with a Wii for the family. Photos coming soon.... Total splurge but it was worth it. The kids were up at 6:30 am ready to play. Join this program for rebates on dollars spent.

Did I miss a reward program? Leave a comment and tell me your favorite reward card program!

PS.... one of my bloggy friends April is having a giveaway on her blog for a custom wooden sign. Take a look and enter.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wasteless Wednesday

If you've been reading a while you know I try to diet, well actually loose a little weight. Five pounds to be exact. I workout 5 times a week regularly but I eat kinda bad. I seem to maintain my weight and stay the same on the scale. I have firmed up due to my kickin classes by my favorite instructor Laura at Lifetime Fitness.

So today my tip is don't waste your money on diet pills that don't work.... I found some that do work!

DISCLAIMER... I am not giving medical advice do not sue me if this does not work. Consult a doctor before taking diet supplements.

OK now I can share... I found this stuff at Wallyworld (wal-mart) I bought a small box with 15 pills for $4. I thought I would try because it was cheap.

Honestly it works!!! I lost 3 pounds in 2 weeks with changing nothing else. It does not make me jittery or nervous. It gives me a little extra energy so I don't feel like I need a nap. It also curbs my appetite. I don't want to eat as much.

I take one pill around 9:30 am then I take another one around 2:00 pm with a full glass of water.

My friend Misti is also taking them and loves the extra energy. My bloggy friend Nicole found a coupon and she is going to try them too!

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tuesdays Tip - Pantry Purge

Last week I was watching Oprah, I found myself inspired by The Clean Up Your House Tour with Peter Walsh . I was in shock with some of these messy homes. Really, how can you live in such a mess. But then again I am the mom who's kids clean baseboards with wet wipes (remember this post)

Then I was blog surfing and I found this post from Thrifty Decor Chick she made her pantry look so inviting.

This was a sign... it was time to reorganize my pantry. I turned this......

In to this more organized version of a pantry:

I went out hunting for bargains. I looked at Dollar Tree... nothing. I looked at Bed Bath & Beyond... too expensive. Then I went to good ole Wallyworld (Wal-mart)... bingo!

What did I do?

  • I found plastic containers for $2 and glass jars for $2 and $3 for saltine crackers, cheese crackers, diet granola bars, brown sugar and bread crumbs. I plan to get more for my flour and sugar.
  • I was also searching for something to hold the kids snacks at their level so I found a plastic bin that normally holds scrapbook paper. Take a look perfect snack bin for granola bars, gummies and breakfast bars.
  • Shelf riser.. (not sure what to call it) it added another row for me to organize my plastic bags.
  • I organized the bottom shelf for all the goodies for the little one's to reach. Now they know where to get the snacks and no empty boxed in the pantry.

    Look at all the extra boxes I got rid of.... off to the recycle bin

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Menu Monday

Family night yesterday was extra special. I made Baked Light Chicken Parmigiana. It was so good. How do I do it? Let me share....
  • 1 pound of chicken breast- I trim really well, I can't eat anything with red or fatty. (Did I tell you I am a picky eater?) Then I pound it to flatten.
  • Marinate for 2 hours in Italian salad dressing
  • I dip the chicken breast in Italian bread crumbs since they've been marinating in salad dressing I don't need to dip in egg this makes it light.
  • Bake on foil cookie sheet at 375 for about 20 minutes, I cut to make sure it is cooked.
  • Top with spaghetti sauce and mozzarella cheese and bake another few minutes.
  • Serve with Spaghetti and Tomato sauce.

The rest of the week we will be eating (My theme should be Tex-Mex, can you tell what I was craving when I planned our meals?)

Monday- Leftover Mexican Lasagna and Chips and Guacamole (I crush the avocado's and add pace salsa... simple and delicious)

Tuesday- Not sure, Kate is performing at the school talent show. Probably take out on the way.

Wednesday- Taco's, rice and beans

Thursday- leftover taco meat for Nachos, (Mommy taco salad)

Friday- Kate's slumber party, ordering pizza. I think the girls making pizza would be a huge mess so splurging on take out pizza. So worth it!!!

For more recipes check out

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Frugal Landscaping

What a busy weekend we had... more like lots of hard work. We finally after 2 years at our new house did some landscaping.

This is a photo of the house before we bought it, our first time looking at it back in April 2007. It needed some work.
Another before photo... right before we had the exterior painted. You can see the paint samples by the garage. We hired a contractor to paint for us we were not about to climb on the roof and latter to paint. (It was winter the grass was dead)

After.... March 2009. The house exterior has been painted. Yes I know something huge is missing the tree branches. Here in Texas the Crape Myrtle tree's have to be trimmed back during the winter and in the summer they grow big and flower. I will take another photo when they bloom it looks deadly right now. Early spring is not the best time to take a photo nothing has bloomed yet... the grass is barely green.

Now for a closer look at what we did. We removed all the weeds... I've been focusing on the inside for so long I was neglecting the front.

We then removed the Lilly's they weren't blooming looked like big weeds. We planted Oleanders $22 each at Lowe's, Azalea's on sale $3 each at Lowe's, Blue Spruce (free removed from a pot) This is what the azalea's will look like when they bloom:
Oh the Oleanders are my favorite I can't wait for them to bloom like this:
Not understanding what the blooming crepe myrtle will be... just like this except white blooms
OK back to the other side of the front, under the Holly tree. We planted Indian Hawthorne (Sale $4 at The Plant Shed) and Caladiums ($1.99 each The Plant Shed).

So how did we do it frugally?

  • We worked with what we had already. We would have LOVED to rip everything out and start new but that would a lot.
  • We bought the smaller to medium size plants. The worker told me the small one's are just one year behind the larger one's that are almost triple in price. OK... this is a test of my patience to watch them grow.
  • We went to 2 stores. Lowe's and Home Depot are cheapest for mulch. I watched the sale's for the items I wanted to plant.
  • Our front needs a big oak tree, we are hoping to have one in this year. We will not purchase a baby tree. It would take decades to grow by then we will be gone. We most likely will wait for fall to plant the new tree (another tip from the gardener we spoke to, trees in our part of Texas are dormant during the fall and winter).
  • I did my research of what I liked by driving around and looking at landscaping I liked.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Working Weekend

What a busy weekend we are having... it is Saturday evening and I've already:
  • Cleaned out and organized my pantry (post coming this week)
  • Went garage sale shopping
  • Bargain shopped for new landscaping
  • Planted new landscaping for the front yard
  • Oh yeah and I pulled a ton of weeds

I am exhausted!

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Freebie Friday

Frozen Minute Maid Products- sign up and get coupons for free stuff. I loved those triangle push up Popsicles when I was a kid. Do they still make those?

Free Charmin Toilet Roll Extender- I don't buy the extra big rolls because, well you know I am too cheap I don't want to buy a special paper rod. Now I get one for free!

Free Shaker Cup and vitamin sample- free vitamins send me some!

Toby the Train coloring book- my kids love coloring, this makes a great activity book to keep in the car.

Free Spatula from Weber grills- YEAH! I love free cooking tools. Grill season is beginning!!

Free Tote bag- check this super cute bag below... really a free bag like this for signing up. I sure hope I get one because I LOVE IT! This would be the best freebie EVER!

Free Bra for taking a survey- so I did this one. It says it is from the Oprah magazine. It asks where you purchase bras and your sizes. Then at the end you give an address. Kinda weird I am thinking so someone out there knows my size and address hope it isn't some weirdo's. After the survey it does route to Oprah's magazine site.

New Review and Giveaway site- my favorite blogger McMommy has a new site. This girl is hilarious, her blog brings a smile to my face everytime a read. She so would be my friend in real life. OK... I sound blogger wierd now! Check her out, she has some giveaways to enter.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thrifty Thursday

So Spring time is almost here.. that means spring dresses and new clothes. Somehow I need to get new clothes every year for myself and the kids. We've been out browsing and buying here are some of my faves.

Starting with Little Girls... because they are the most fun to shop for. We got these 2 dresses at Wallyworld (Wal-mart) for $5 each. Super cute, Little Miss modeling her new clothes!

For the Pre-teen... look at this cute sun dress from Aeropostale, only $16. This is my oldest daughters favorite store right now. We are able to find good deals. Sign up for their email club for special online only sales.For the Little Dude.... Children's Place is one of my favorite stores for kids. I love the clean look of little polo style shirts. This shirt is only $12.50 . Join the birthday club and get a special coupon for your child on their birthday.

Stuff for Mommy... I don't know about you but I despise trying on clothes especially with the kids. Shopping for myself entails a babysitter (dad) for the kids. Since Dad is watching the kids... Target 1 mile away is my shopping destination. This dress I have in black, it goes perfect with some cute sandles and a long chunky necklace. Only $19

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wasteless Wednesday - Chuck E. Cheese

We ventured out to Chuck E. Cheese yesterday, yes it was crazy crowded due to the spring break crowd. Dad even met up with us. We had a great time. Little Miss loved her second trip, last time she was only 1 month old.

Typically this is not my choice for lunch but the kids LOVE it. I have many memories as a child at these types of place, so my kids filled up their brains with memories today :)

Of course we had coupons... I signed up for the email club and get coupons once a month. (Here is a treat our March coupons)Plus we got extra tokens... how... let me share
  • Bring in your child report cards and get free tokens
  • Birthdays, get tokens equal to your child's age. Kate got 12(birthday next week)!
  • Extra tokens with my meal deal.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesdays Tip - Pillowcase Dress #2

The pillowcase dress was a hit last week! So here we go round two! One of my readers who is also a friend of mine from high school made her own dress. Take a look, way to go Hollie @ The Drama Mama! (I took the photo from her blog, she even wrote about her creation yesterday). I love hearing my tips put into practice so I had to share with all of you!!

My friend Adrien came over today and look what she brought Madeline.... a pillowcase dress... 2 to be exact. She made a special one for Madeline's 2nd birthday party so that one is a secret for now.

Madeline loved her new pink and zebra dress (Adrien knows my style :) she twirled around danced to show off. I even put her down for a nap in it and came up to see why she wasn't sleeping, well Little Miss decided to take off her dress she untied the ribbon. Too cute!

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Menu Monday - Yum Recipe!

Spring Break this week! That means a busy week with the kids at home!

Monday- Frozen Pizza (I am all about easy, we are getting Kate's photo's taken by B4Photography today)

Tuesday- Jen's Mexican Lasagna, here is how I do it:
What you need:
2 cans of red enchilada sauce
1 package of flour tortilla's
1 pound ground beef
1 small can of corn
1 can of black beans
1 package of shredded cheddar cheese
Optional: diced red and green peppers
  1. Cook and drain the ground beef
  2. Return beef to skillet add corn, black beans, and peppers (I usually add garlic powder and ground cumin to season)
  3. In a 9 X 13 glass cooking pan add a little enchilada sauce
  4. Start layer with tortilla's torn in big pieces
  5. Layer 2 beef mixture
  6. Layer 3 top with cheese
  7. Layer 4 top with tortilla's
  8. Layer 5 top with enchilada sauce
  9. Continue layers until you run out of space or meat. Top the very top with tortilla's and enchilada sauce and top with cheese
  10. Cover with foil and Bake 375 for 35 minutes or until bubbly. I use a convection oven so cooking temps vary.
  11. Enjoy! We serve with chips and guacamole. This freezes really yum! I usually make a double batch and put on in the freezer.

Wednesday- Grill Burgers outside and French Fries (It is going to be 85 degrees!)

Thursday- Eating out with the kids or spaghetti and meatballs (frozen one's)

Friday- My dad is making his specialty of frying fresh fish, grilling corn and baked potato's

For more recipes check out

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Freebie Friday

Bath & Body Works- Free True Blue Spa Travel Size item with any purchase.

Emergen C drink mix- fizzy drink sample. Lots of good nutrients inside.

Free Wedding Catalogue- great for anyone planning a wedding.

Free Sun Crystals- this is the new stevia sweetener. I will give this a try.

Free Letter from the Easter Bunny- really?? What would the Easter bunny say? You can pick from several options then print on the computer.

Kids Eat Free This weekend- at select Steak and Shake locations. I am so addicted to their Yogurt Strawberry & Banana's shake, so yum!

How about some giveaways! Here are some great one's I found for you :)

Custom Picture Frame Giveaway- one of my great readers is hosting this giveaway. Hurry because it ends today at NOON! HURRY!

Pediped Shoe's Giveaway- House of Blue is hosting this fabulous giveaway. Check it out for details.

Freebies 4 Mom is hosting some great giveaways, visit there site and click on sweeps.

  • Children's Book Llama, Llama giveaway- This is an easy entry just fill out your contact info :)
  • Yo-plait gift pack with a tote bag and other samples. This looks like a great one.

Classy Mommy- she always has great giveaways. This week she has:

  • Variety of Children's DVD's
  • A pearl necklace
  • $100 gift certificate to Toys R Us
  • New Jogging Stroller

Bella Bowz Sale- my friend Jenny who has done the bow giveaways is having a pre-maternity leave sale. This is a great time to get a bow if you didn't win one. Check out her site!

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thrifty Thursday

This week is flying by so fast, I can't believe it is Thursday already!
One of my FABULOUS readers Elizabeth emailed me about a mixed up link for a freebie. I sent her the correct link for her free popcorn. Which brings me to the rest of my wonderful readers. Here is your link for free AMC movie theatre popcorn

Yesterday was a dreary rainy day so I decided to pull out my sewing machine for some crafty time. Adrien inspired me to do some sewing after the post yesterday. I did some browsing on and found ideas. My Little Miss has some plain shirts so I decided to embellish them with some extra fabric I had. So I created these two shirts for FREE.

How did I do it? Pretty easy if you know how to work a sewing machine.

  • First I cut a square of fabric for the backing.
  • Second I pick out the next layer. For the cross I fold the fabric in half and draw half a heart same for the cross. When you open it up you have an identical side.
  • Then I sewed the 2nd layer on the backing
  • Finally sew the finished embelishment on the fabric. I used a zig zag stich. I am not the best seamstress, so my lines are not perfect. I did this for fun and I can't wait for Little Miss to wear her new shirts!

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wasteless Wednesday - Pillowcase Dress

I've got a very talented friend, Adrien. She always amazes me with her creations. She finds something then she just makes it! The best part is it looks completely FABULOUS! She has always inspired me as artist. Take a look, at her pillowcase dress! She made this out of 2 extra pillowcases she found around the house. Then she put her signature artist touch on them.

Can you believe it is reversable?
Wanna make one? Here is the video she watched to learn how to make this dress.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday Tip

Save a Bunch... Pack a Lunch

My husband works out at the gym MWF, on those days I pack him a lunch. It is a fast way for him to eat in the car after his workout but it also saves us more money. I typically pack him a turkey sandwich, chips, fruit and granola bar.

School lunches are going up in price. At my daughters school they typically cost $3 a day which is $15 a week or $60 a month. Wow, that adds up! She packs her own lunch many times she wants leftovers or soup. It typically costs me about $1.25 for her to take her lunch each day.

Funny fact about me... my mom packed my lunch until high school I had a peanut butter sandwich, nacho Doritos and a Little Debbie snack cake EVERYDAY for 10 years. Can you tell I am a picky eater??

We have a zoo membership to our local zoo (complete splurge). We go about once a month. It is so temping to just buy a meal but we pack a lunch with lots of extra snacks. It saves us at least $15 each trip.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Blog Design Giveaway!

One of my good friends is hosting a free blog background and header giveaway! Go enter!!

You also have to check our her blog. She is the most devout mommy blogger! I wish I had her decidation to my family blog. I always enjoy looking at her photos and the daily outings of Milla. Sometimes we are lucky and are featured when we have playdates.

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