Sunday, May 30, 2010

Menu Plan Monday, it's back!

After a busy few weeks, graduations, brothers becoming doctors, out of town job interviews...I'm getting back on track with the menu planning.

Monday: Even though it's a holiday, we did our cookout on Saturday. I'll be doing Crockpot Chicken.

Tuesday: Shredded Chicken Tacos, Freezer Refried Beans, and Spanish Rice

Wednesday: Trying a new recipe Pork Chops Deluxe

Thursday: Leftover Buffet

Friday: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks

Saturday: Grilled Cheese sandwiches and veggies

Sunday: Breakfast for dinner!

Usually, hubby has a gig on Saturday and Sunday evenings so, I make C and I sandwiches or we have leftovers from the week.

Have a great week everyone!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Children's Place

I did a post a few weeks ago about needing new kids clothes and some different ways to save money on them. Today, I was out and about trying to find some summer maternity clothes and I wandered into The Children's Place. I used to be a die hard Carter's fan when I was buying new clothes but, I found The Children's Place last summer.

Carter's has some great sales but, The Children's! They have sales starting at $1.99. Today, I found some great things for C for the fall and winter and also for Baby Girl. Every item I bought was 3.99 or under with the exception of one super cute denim dress and bloomers for $7 that I just couldn't pass up! I also received some 15% off coupons for my next purchase. You can also Like The Children's Place on Facebook and spin their wheel for extra coupons.

As far as finding maternity clothes for me...not so much. Ugh, only 10 more weeks!

Another cool thing happening right now for moms in DFW, a friend of mine started DFW Mom Swap/Buy on Facebook. It's a great place to list any of your gently used baby and kids items that you would like to sell or swap for other items. You can also find gently used items. If you are in the DFW area, you should definitely check it out.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friendly Friday!

Here's a great way to find new blogs and bloggy friends! Thanks to Xenia at Thanks, Mail Carrier, Christi at Frugal Novice and Charla at Healthy Home Blog for hosting Friendly Friday! Each week they will host Friendly Friday where you can link up and meet other fun blogs. They also feature 3 bloggers each week. Head on over to their blogs and play along!

And I'd Like to Thank...

Kristen over at Just Thinking for giving me the Versatile Blogger Award! This is my first award so, it's pretty exciting for me. In order to accept the award you must...
  • Thank the person who gave you this award.
  • Share 7 things about yourself.
  • Pass the award along to 15 or so bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic!
So, thanks again Kristen!! And here are my 7 things...

  1. I love to sleep. If I could sleep in until noon every day I would be the happiest person on the planet. This doesn't work very well with having an 18 month old!
  2. Cooking is one of my passions. I love finding new recipes and trying them out. My latest adventure was homemade Oatmeal Creme Pies, like the Little Debbie ones. They were amazing. I'll share them later!
  3. I have 3 tattoos. Two on my back, a moon with a little star and a sun. The other one is a Horned Frog on my left ankle. The Horned Frog was my school mascot at TCU. Go FROGS!!
  4. I was in marching band from 9th grade until I graduated college, and I am only now starting to understand football.
  5. I was born in Pennsylvania but, I have lived in Texas since I was 4. I grew up north of Houston and have lived in DFW for 11 years. I'm a Texas girl at heart.
  6. I hate being pregnant! After Baby Girl is born in August we are done. I never wanted more than two kids but, the whole being pregnant thing made it official for me. I'm not a fan of sleeplessness (see #1), living in my bathroom, and stretching my body in odd ways!
  7. I have an irrational fear of fish. I'm afraid they will jump out of their bowls or aquariums and flop on me. Ugh, it makes me shudder just thinking about it.
Okay, I'm only going to pass this to two people because I think it makes it more special so,
Monica over at Organized Chaos!! and
Stephanie at Sand and Starfish

Have a great day everyone!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Survey Companies?

Lately, hubby and I have been thrown a few unexpected expenses. We have an emergency account set up just for times like these but, it still feels like a kick in the pants when I'm trying to pay off debt and pay back my emergency account at the same time. Let's just say my plan to have a major debt of ours paid off by February has been moved back a little. But, I'd rather be safe with the new tires on my car than have to drive 250 miles hydroplaning and having to take side streets through Dallas like I did last week!

Anyway, back when I first started staying home with C I was looking for ways to make a little extra money from home. I would see all of these "Take my survey online and earn cash" ads and I was always really skeptical. I need some extra money but, I don't need a computer virus or some crazy guy calling my cell phone. So, I did some research and read a lot of blogs and I decided to sign up with a few of them.

A year and half later the one I like the most is Opinion Outpost. The surveys aren't unbelievably long and you usually qualify for most of them. They operate on a points scale, every 10 points is $1 and they pay out an actual check after $5. I usually wait until I hit about $25-$30 before I request a check. I've gotten 3 checks from them and then I stopped doing the surveys for a while. They still emailed me opportunities and today I went back over there. I discovered that I still had $15 unclaimed and still had survey opportunities so, I did some! It's a pretty cool deal, if you have time during nap times or in the evenings to just sit down and take a few surveys.

They also have a refer a friend program. For each friend you refer that starts doing surveys you get an additional 20 pts or $2. If you're interested in signing up for Opinion Outpost please follow my refer a friend link I don't think you'll be disappointed!

Another program I just came across is Cashcrate. I just signed up with them yesterday so, I'll let you know how it goes. So far, I don't like them as much as Opinion Outpost.

Some tips with survey companies:
1. Make sure they're legit. A lot of times you can google the name of the company and scam and you can find out.
2. Check peoples' blog posts and discussion boards for companies they recommend.
3. Some companies will pay you to sign up for credit reports, credit cards, and other things... a lot of times credit reporting agencies will charge you money after a trial period, you also probably don't need another credit card! It's my policy to not sign up with any product or company that wants my credit information.
4. Don't sign up for anything you don't feel comfortable with.

Friday, May 21, 2010

DIY Step Stool

Recently, C and I have been battling it out over brushing his teeth. He refuses to let me help him but, he won't do it himself. Every night before bed I cringe as we get ready for our routine. He screams when I go anywhere near his mouth with the toothbrush. He loves to brush Mom and Dad's teeth though. So, my mom suggested getting him a little stool to stand on in the bathroom so that he can see himself in the mirror. I wanted a really cute step stool but, the ones I found were anywhere from $40-$100, it was crazy!

So, I thought I can do this myself. I'm sort of crafty! Here is what I came up with...

I found this stool at Hobby Lobby for $7.99, it is a natural wood stool. I forgot to take a picture of it before I painted it.

The paint I had was paint left over from when we painted the nursery, a light blue and navy blue. I painted the whole stool with the light blue paint.Hobby Lobby also has these cute wooden cut-outs that are already painted for $.67. You can use them for all kinds of stuff. I bought four of them, two whales and two octupi and using crazy glue, once the paint was dry, glued them to each side.

On the top of the stool I free-handed the letters for C's name. His full name is Christopher but, that's a little long so, I just did Chris. This is the one thing that the next time I make one of these I'll probably use a stencil for. I used a pencil to draw the letters then painted them in with the navy blue paint. I bought a white paint pen to outline the letters once they were dry.

For about $14 I made a cute little stool all by myself and saved at least $40.

C loves his stool but, still won't brush his teeth!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Getting Married?

If you are getting married or have a major event requiring decorations or centerpieces coming up and you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area you HAVE to check out High Fire Designs.

High Fire Designs is owned by one of my favorite people and co-author of my other blog 2 by 2. Amanda is a very talented artist that has branched out into the world of wedding decor. The coolest thing about High Fire Designs is that they help you decide what kind of decor to use based on your color scheme and ideas and then they come up with a personalized centerpiece which you can rent from them. You give them your thoughts and they make it happen beautifully, they do all the work for you! No worrying about buying more stuff or breaking the budget for centerpieces.

You can see some great pictures of their work if you check out High Fire Designs on Facebook or you can head on over to their new blog for inspiration and money saving tips on decor.

I Won!!

I'm so excited! I finally won my first giveaway...not only that I actually won two different giveaways in two weeks. A lot of times I'll enter giveaways and forget about them or I'll enter one for something like an Ipad and be really sad when I lose. But, both of these giveaways were super cool.

The first one was over at Sand and Starfish. Stephanie was doing a "Random Giveaway" and I love random stuff! Here is a picture of the fun stuff she sent me.
There was a really cool hummingbird feeder that I'm going to make my husband hang on our one tree in our back yard. Also, four really cute cards that Stephanie made herself...I immediately used two of them as thank you cards. Definitely stop by and check her out, right now she's doing an awesome Smoothie a Day series....yumm!

The other cool giveaway I won was part of Quirky Momma's Toy Guide giveaway. I love Quirky Momma's blog she has all kinds of activities to do with your kids that promote learning. I was so excited about winning toys for C that I made my husband open the package while I was out of town. Here is a picture of the bee puppet and the Cahootie that I won.
C loves the puppet already and the Cahootie will go in our closet of games and gifts until he is a little bigger.

You should definitely stop by both of these ladies' blogs and check them out!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How to Make Money Blogging Series

There are millions of bloggers out there today. Most of them are doing it for friends and family but, there are tons out there with a niche...crafting, couponing, cooking and so on. A lot of people have questions about how to make money from their blogs...I have them too!
This morning I was looking through my blog reader and I stumbled across Little People Wealth's How to Make Money Blogging Series. She will be doing a 5 week series about how to make money blogging. She also has, my favorite, prizes! Head on over there to check her out and you can also link up your blog to get some advertising and win fun things!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


My friend and old roommate from the best apartment ever has started a new blog. She is a born and bred Texas girl living in DFW with her new Aggie husband. She loves to make food and I think she might have a Twitter obsession. She also hits the gym so often you might hate her a little bit but, I owe her some cupcakes for finally starting her blog so, maybe that will throw her off a bit :-) Go visit her at A Certain Shade of Crazy as she overshares her crazy life with us!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Menu Plan Monday...sort of

This week I am out of town spending time with my mom and attending my little brother's graduation from Optometry School. My little brother is a doctor!! Anyway, I won't be making a menu this week for my family since I'm on "vacation" but, I thought I'd share the recipe for the AWESOME spaghetti casserole I made last week. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures because I'm on my mom's computer but, I'll update those next week. I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day!

Spaghetti Casserole
This is a great recipe because you can basically add or change whatever you want in it and it will still be awesome!

1 lb ground beef (this past time I used ground Italian Turkey Sausage)
24 oz tomato sauce
1/2 onion chopped
3 cloves garlic minced
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Pkg spaghetti noodles
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 16 oz can diced tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350

In a medium skillet heat olive oil and sautee chopped onions and minced garlic for about 10 minutes. Start water boiling for spaghetti noodles. Add meat to skillet and cook until brown.

Once water is boiling, add spaghetti noodles and let boil for 8 minutes.

After meat is browned add 16 ounces of your tomato sauce and stir, add salt and pepper to taste I also like to add garlic powder and basil

Drain spaghetti noodles and spread half in the bottom of a casserole dish. Layer with meat sauce and cheese. Then layer with the rest of the spaghetti noodles. Top with diced tomatoes, the rest of your tomato sauce and cheese.

Place in oven for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted.

Serve with a yummy green salad and garlic bread.

Substitutions and additions:
I like to add some chopped pepperoni, yumm! I have also used ground turkey instead of ground beef. I like to make my own spaghetti sauce but, if you are running short on time, you can substitute premade sauce instead of the tomato meat sauce. You can also add mushrooms, olives, whatever veggies you like to your sauce to sneak them in there!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Quick Tip

I am OBSESSED with cereal. I love it. I eat it for breakfast, for dinner, for snacks. I am a cereal junkie. It's just so easy. Cereal is one of the things that I am crazy about stockpiling. If I find an awesome deal where cereal is under $1.50 I will stock up. Sometimes I'll have 10-12 boxes of cereal in my pantry. It kind of freaks out my husband.

So, this week I was super excited to see that Albertsons is having a great cereal deal. Now, I live in Dallas and Albertsons is known for having slightly different sales across the nation so, please check your local Albertsons ad before you go cereal crazy!

This week at Albertsons Kellogg's Rice Krispies, Froot Loops, Apple Jacks, Corn Pops, and new Cinnabon cereals are $1.29 each with a 10 box limit. What isn't advertised is if you buy 3 boxes you get a $2.00 coupon for your next visit to Albertsons, if you buy 4 a $3.00 coupon, and if you buy 5 or more boxes you get a $4.00 coupon. I was so excited!

Also, right now if you spend $25.00 you can get a half gallon of Blue Bell ice cream for $2.98 instead of the usual $6.00 which is awesome for a pregnant lady!

I just wanted to share my exciting find. Feel free to share anything awesome you come across especially if it involves cereal or ice cream!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

I came across I'm an Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday about 6 months ago. When I was working and before C we would eat out at least 3 times a week. I look back now and I think "Oh my gosh! Think about how much money we wasted eating out!!" If you add that up, let's say 3 times a week at $25 a meal. That's $75 a week for 52 weeks... that's $3900!! Think about what you could do with an extra almost $4000. Crazy.

So, when we went down to one income we needed that extra money. I started looking for ways to save and one of the first things to go was eating out, insert sad face here. I started first by using Hamburger Helper meals and premade foods and realized that wasn't saving much money either. I had to come up with a food budget and stick with it. I had to find a way to make meals that are good too. I started searching recipes and blogs for ideas. Generally, I like to cook and I'm pretty good at it. I just hate to make things that take forever.

Then I stumbled across I'm an Organizing Junkie. She has great reasons for menu planning and it works, not only to save money but, to save time in the kitchen. Check out her 13 Reasons to Menu Plan. I started menu planning immediately after I came across this. I would plan out my meals a month in advance, make my list, cut my coupons and go shopping. I managed to keep my grocery budget at $250 a month. It was awesome but, I got burnt out. So, I started doing it in 2 week increments instead of 1 month. This helped a lot. I stuck to my budget and I have the freedom to move the meals around in the 2 week period if I need to.

Each Monday, I'll start posting my menus for the week and I'll start linking the related recipes.

Monday: Pork Chop Surprise
Tuesday: Chicken Breasts and Veggie Pasta
Wednesday: Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Thursday: Spaghetti Casserole
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Homemade Pizza and Breadsticks
Sunday: Leftovers

For more information and recipe ideas head over to I'm and Organizing Junkie to check Laura out!