Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wasteless Wednesday:Car Makeover

I have 3 children and I drive a mini-van. No, I do not wear "mom jeans". I try to be an stylish mom, yes skeptics it's possible in a mini-van.

OK, so my car is not always clean. The kids have a hard time cleaning their room so the car is no exception.

Fast and cheap tips:
  • We do a once a week clean out when we get gas. While I am at the pump everyone pitches in to pick up papers, cups and trash.
  • Once a month I get the household vacuum out and attack the car. I usually find lots of broken gold fish and cheerios.
  • When I need a wash I go to the $5 drive thru washes. It's cheap without the vacuum and scent. The kids enjoy staying in the car as we go in.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bow Contest Winner

Congrats to Mommy of Multiples you are the winner of the Halloween Bows! Looks like your girls can share the bows.

Please send me your address to

Thank you to Chasity at Doodle Bug Bows for the great giveaway!

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Texas State Fair Deals

When I think of the Texas State Fair I think yummy fried foods and Big Tex!
This photo was taken at the fair a few years ago. Can you tell Will was a little hot and tired?
The dates of the 2009 fair are: September 25 to October 18

If you don't have coupons the fair prices add up really fast.

Dr Pepper $3 Tuesdays: Every Tuesday, bring an empty Dr Pepper can and enter for $3.

Dr Pepper $5 after 5 pm: Bring an empty Dr Pepper can to any State Fair admission gate after 5 p.m. and enter for $5.

Kroger “Three for $1″ each Wednesday: Admission is $1 for each visitor bringing 3 cans of food for area food banks.

Coca-Cola $4 Thursday: Bring an empty 20 oz. bottle of a Coca-Cola product and enter the Fair for $4 admission.

FREE Thursdays for Senior Citizens: Senior Citizens 60 years and older get in to the State Fair FREE each Thursday.

FREE Thursday admission with a Cinemark Theater ticket stub.

Any Day—McDonald’s offers $4 off General Admission: You can pick these up at McD's they are on the liners and at the counter. We picked up some of these yesterday at Will's party.

Visit the official state fair site

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Monday, September 28, 2009

Menu Monday

Our meals on the go were a big hit last week! The kids enjoyed their own meal containers. They were more excited about these meals than driving through McDonald's.

Monday- to-go-meals in the car. Chicken tenders (big Tyson bag) and chips.

Tuesday- Grilled Burgers (getting hubby to cook)

Wednesday- Sadler's Brisket, Tator Tots and Steamed Veggies (we didn't eat it last week)

Thursday- Take out pizza from Little Cesar's only $5 each! They have replaced my wal-mart frozen pizza's.

Friday- My parents are watching the kids so Josh and I get some dinner together!

Doing my best to provide fast and somewhat healthy meals. I've got some great crock-pot recipes but my mind lapsed when I made my grocery list and went to the store.

Guess what they are building an Aldi (spelling?) in my town. I have NO idea what it is other than a grocery store. I just see tons of deals on other frugal blogs. Any more info ladies?

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Free Food & Target Blow out!

I love free food! Especially spicy stuff. Check it out, free Sweet Fire Chicken from Panda Express today.
I was at Target today shopping for Will's birthday. Looking for a transformer he HAS to have. They have like 100 different one's. Of course he wants the hard to find cement mixer. Luckily they had 1 left!

Plus, I found all school supplies 75% off! I picked up a nice backpack for $3. I am saving it for next year.

More deals:

  • 30% off college bedding (twin beds) most sets were $16

  • 90% off summer outdoor

  • 50% off most children's summer clothing

  • 70% off some great summer shoes

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Halloween Bow Giveaway

I've got some great friends who make bows. As a mom of a little girl, you can never have too many bows!

I was contacted by Chasity one of my readers about a bow giveaway. Her bow company is Doodle Bug Bows. What a small word, we go to the same church and have mutual friends! I look forward to meeting her in person soon.

She donates 100% of her bow profits to a charity. Love this, she changes the charity every month!

The winner gets this fabulous bow plus,

This set of two piggies.

To enter the contest simply leave a comment.

To get an extra entry:
  • Become a follower, then a leave another comment
  • Post the giveaway on your blog, then leave another comment

The contest end's Monday, September 28th.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Free Chipotle!

Oh my how I love Chipotle! I get the veggie burrito. Let me share my heavenly meal: black beans, rice, corn salsa, cheese, lettuce a little sour cream and guacamole on the side. I crave this ALL the time.

Let me tell you I haven't been in months. Why, because my kids complain. But now I don't care if they complain because on Sunday's they are FREE!

Fingers crossed they will get the Chipotle fever like mommy!

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Menu Monday

First of all I have to show off a photo of my girls. These girls have such a special relationship. Kate is 10 years older than Madeline but they adore each other.

My BFF Adrien took these photos the other day when we were visiting.Good news! This week I plan to eat. Last week was crazy hectic and I had a bit of a food breakdown. We ate out 5 times. Yes 5 times and it was wonderful! This week I am prepared.

I am trying more easy partially pre-cooked meals. Yes I know that is bad for my cholesterol but I need meals FAST, really fast!

Monday: Meals in the car. I purchased Ziploc containers with dividers. Little wrap sandwiches with tortilla's around chicken nuggets. Side of fruit and chips.

Nacho's with Oscar Meyer pre-cooked southwest chicken. Super easy and good! Keeps me away from Chili's Classic Nachos I just make my own.

Chicken Stir Fry. I am trying out a Wanchai Ferry dinner kit, I had a coupon. We got the Kung Pao chicken. All you add is the chicken. This saves me from stopping at Pei Wei.

Brisket and Tator Tots. I purchased the package of Sadler's BBQ Brisket. We love this stuff we're from Texas Yall!

Pizza Night. We are starting our new religious education small group at our house. We will pick up Little Cesar's Pizza $5 each for a large.

Next week I plan to make some crock pot meals. Calling all crock pot recipes!!! Please send them my way!

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Favorite Recipe - Mexican Lasagna

I am a little late posting my "Go-To" recipe from Kelly's Korner. Better late than never right? Somehow that is becoming my new motto.

This is a recipe I made up, enjoy!

I live in Texas and we LOVE our mexican food.

Jen's Tex- Mex Lasagna
Here is how it's done:
What you need:
2 cans of red enchilada sauce (I use Old El Paso brand)
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

Cook and drain the ground beef

Return beef to skillet add corn, black beans, and peppers (I usually add garlic powder and ground cumin to season)

In a 9 X 13 glass cooking pan add a little enchilada sauce

Start layer with tortilla's torn in big pieces

Layer 2 beef mixture

Layer 3 top with cheese

Layer 4 top with tortilla's

Layer 5 top with enchilada sauce

Continue layers until you run out of space or meat. Top the very top with tortilla's and enchilada sauce and top with cheese

Cover with foil and Bake 375 for 35 minutes or until bubbly. I use a convection oven so cooking temps vary.

Enjoy! We serve with chips and guacamole. This freezes really yum! I usually make a double batch and put on in the freezer.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thrifty Thursday - Christmas gifts already?

It is never to early to prepare Christmas gifts... especially free ones.

Brandi (a friend who is an exceptional photographer and in high demand in the DFW area) forwarded me this great deal for a free photo book. PERFECT family gift! Had to do a little shout out for B4 Photography!

We did photo books last year for the grandparents it was a huge hit!

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Keepin It Real - Frugal Jen

I've been reading some blogs for a while and I've found out that not everyone is as truthful as they seem. I want to take a day to tell you a little about me. I am just Jen... no fakeness just real.

As a mom of 3 I try my best to save money and live a frugal lifestyle. Why???

I am a stay at home mom so we live off one income. I do have a Marketing degree but I gave up the rat race to be at home with my kids. My husband has a great job and works in the financial services industry. So yes, we save a lot and believe in the cash system. If you can't pay for it now then don't buy it.

Yes, I admit I do get jealous of friends who make the same amount of money but live it up. Credit card debt.. none of that here. But sometimes.... I wish I could sneak in the safe and get the card and go crazy!

We have a modest home in a nice suburb town. Sometimes... well a lot I wish I had a huge brand new home like many of my friends. Yes, I am admitting my faults.

Keepin it real....

We take vacations every summer. Yes, we went to Europe this summer but it is part of my husbands compensation package. But... we pay taxes... a lot of taxes for the trip. Kinda of like we get a 40% off coupon.

I purchase lots of home goods and accessories at Kirkland's, Hobby Lobby and during the spring and summer... garage sales! You already know I love to spray paint things!

I pay an outrageous amount (in frugal terms) for my family gym membership but it has replaced mothers day out for my children.

Sometimes when I am at the garage sales I end up at someones house from the expensive gym.. I pull my hat down and put on my sunglasses. Darn it... everyone recognizes my little girl in the squeaky shoes.

We all try to dress nice. No, being frugal doesn't mean we look like we shop at good will. I find accessories like chunky necklaces spice up a $8 Target top. My favorite splurge shop is white house / black market.

I recently splurged on new eyeglasses. I spent $350 for coach frames. Yes I thought I might get my frugal card taken. However it was HSA eligible! Check them out in the photo... simply fabulous but not frugal fabulous.

I haven't always been frugal. In college my parents paid for my credit card bill and let's just say I thought I was a big baller (umm I just had to look up how to spell baller)!

I did own a Lexus SUV but I bought it 1 year old. I now roll in a mommy van with toddler hand prints on the windows.

Just keepin it real here....

Now you keep it real and tell me a little about you!

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesdays Tip - More Spray Painting Projects!

I was mourning the loss of the American Traditions Oil Rubbed Bronze (ORB) Spray Paint.

I am glad to announce I found a replacement!!

Now I can finish painting the door knobs down stairs. I found these great containers at Kirkland's. Only problem I did not like the gold tops.
A little spray paint and metallic glaze... perfect!
I removed the lids and sprayed them.
It gave almost a black look so I used some metallic craft paint to antique it a bit. The lid on the left was glazed the right one was only the ORB spray paint.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Menuless Monday

This is how I feel... whatever, I am not listening....
Last week we received my daughters schedule for all her after school activities. How in the world does everything fall into the same days? We are completely 100% overbooked. Something has to give and I hope it's not my sanity!!! Any tips from you seasoned over committed moms?

Monday: Sandwiches in the car on the way to dance from tennis competition... can someone invent a car meal replicator with organic food? HA!

Tuesday: Thinking Wendy's somehow as I am picking my husband up from the airport and also magically taking my daughter to dance at the same time. I HAVE NO IDEA!!

Wednesday: Do we really have to eat? Another day of events. Think we are fasting until Thursday.

Thursday: Finally a meal at home!! We are going to celebrate and Cheese Ravioli and Meat Sauce with garlic bread.

Friday: One kid gone but the rest of us will eat Pizza at home and watch a movie.

Seriously my friends. I don't know how I am going to get through this. I am a very planned and organized person. I HATE eating meals on the go. I refuse to turn to fast food everyday. I can't do it! HELP I think I am drowning......

Hey the positive is... if I am not eating I will lose those extra 5 pounds fast. Too bad the kids have to eat.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Freebie Friday...It's Back!

NoDoz- College flashback! Get your free sample for those days you can't stay awake.

Free Slim Fast Bar- Try a 100 calorie snack bar. The chocolate chip meal bars are so yum!

Magic School Bus Book- The EPA is giving away this book.

Huggies Little Movers Diapers- Get your free sample from Wal-mart.

Coffee- Free Tasters Choice sample. Please don't take with the NoDoz!

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Winner Is.....

Congrats to Annie she is the winner of the Fisher Price TRIO Building Set!

Thank you all for entering!

If you didn't win and would still like to purchase this great set here is a $5 off coupon.

My kids are still playing with it everyday, we love this product. I give 2 thumbs up!

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wasteless Wednesday - Bad Food?

Have you had this happen?
You are getting ready for dinner and you pull out an ingredient and to your surprise it is bad! Maybe smelly chicken or off colored meat.
Wait don't throw it away yet.....
Pull out the packaging and write down some important information:
  • Expiration date and sell by date
  • UPC Code cut off if possible if not write it down
  • Write down any other production numbers
  • Find company website

Once you've got this info simply pull up the company's website. Click contact and report a bad food item. 99.9% they will mail you a coupon for another item (usually worth more than you spent, this time you can get the supersized box) or send you a check for the amount you spent.

Sometimes you luck out and get a package full of coupons!

Think twice before you just throw it away!

If you are highly motivated take your receipt back to the store and get a new item that day. My receipts are usually thrown away or lost after my grocery trip.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Spray Painting Plastic

Anyone else out there in a constant state of craziness? Long weekends are supposed to be spent relaxing. Maybe laying out by the pool or taking naps. Not at my house!

We had a big development in our home.... we put up the baby crib and the changing table. Yes, my little miss is now officially a big girl! *sniff, sniff*

Let me share the happenings... First we found this. Yes, our little ballerina is stretching but she can also get out of the crib.

So I got up in the attic to get this old blue bear bed.

Can you believe this was Kate's toddler bed? Will also used it.

Yes, we don't like to get rid of things. Functional and free people!

But.... I cannot put my pink princess in a blue bear bed. So, that means pink spray paint!

Did you know they have special spray paint for plastic?

Well too bad the colors are NOT pink!

So I opted for a clear primer. After I did a coat of that I used the regular Valspar Pink spray paint! I did about 3 coats.

Can you tell she is excited about her new bed?

The finished product and my little miss asleep in her bed. After 5 minutes of crying at the gate she climbed in and went off to sleep.

Yes, I know her lovie is on her head don't worry she can still breathe. This is how she sleeps.
Verdict: It worked! However it did chip in a couple places.

Easy touch up.... nail polish in the same shade!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for the FREE Fisher Price TRIO Building Set.

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fisher Price TRIO Giveaway!

Look what arrived yesterday.... a Fisher Price TRIO Building Set!

We've anticipated the arrival for several days. This is my first product review and giveaway.
Look at the excited little ones. Ready to play!

Madeline (2) also enjoyed playing. The pieces were just the right size for her little hands. They snap together with ease. It didn't take long for Will (5) to find the directions and start building. The directions were very easy for him to follow.
At the end of the play session this is what I found...
My favorite part (as a mom) is the plastic storage container. Nice and neat organized storage.

Kid bonus, the lid is a building surface to display their creations.

Look what I found at 7am this morning. Will was ready for some playtime before school.

I visited the Fisher Price site. I think the TRIO Cargo Loader might be a birthday purchase.

One lucky commenter will receive their very own Fisher Price TRIO Building Set a $20 value!

Enter now by leaving a comment below! The contest ends on Wednesday, September 9th.

Extra Entries:
  • Post the contest on your blog then leave a comment telling me about the post
  • Become a follower

If you can't wait here is a $5 off coupon! The offer expires 10/1

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Birthday Coupon Overload!

I've posted here and here about birthday and email clubs. My birthday is next week and my inbox is overloaded with free birthday meals! Whoo Hoo!

Let me share:

Baskin Robbins- Free Scoop of Ice Cream
Red Robin- Free Burger of my choice
Pei Wei- Free First Taste Menu Item
Pappadeux- Free Desert with purchase of Entree
On The Border- Free Dip Trio or Brownie Sundae with entree purchase
Spaghetti Warehouse- Free Spaghetti Entree and a Spumouni Sundae
Papa Murphy's- Free cookie dough with pizza purchase

Wow! I am going to have some good eatin!

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wasteless Wednesday - Laundry Room

My laundry room is finally done!!

Remember this post when I spray painted them black?

As I was blog hopping last week I visited Heather's Blog and saw her finished laundry room. It inspired me to finish decorating mine.

I went shopping around my house. I found 2 unused prints and an entertaining trio.

Since I am a muralist I had to paint on the walls. Money spent $0!

I needed to hang up my swiffer and the broom so I just used long nails.

No expensive fancy hard
wear needed.

Yes... I need an new broom it is so ugly!
I want one of those animal print ones from Kirklands.

So long, farewell ugly laundry room!
Now if only I enjoyed doing laundry....

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tuesday Tip - Reader Feature

I get so excited when readers email photos or share frugal tips. Jessica emailed me about this set of wonderful shelves she found for her daughter for $13. She got them online from ABC Distributing. So cute for a little girl!

I visited her blog I absolutely love the title: Babydolls and Lightsabers. Very creative and fun! Stop over and tell her hi!
Thank you Jessica for sharing!

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