Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Book Review: Anne Bradstreet

One of my favorite past times is reading, but it can be expensive to keep buying new books. I love getting books from the library, but I also enjoy being a part of Book Sneeze. Book Sneeze gives me free copies of new releases in exchange for my honest evaluation and review - a win-win situation!

While on vacation, I read this new biography of Anne Bradstreet, by D.B. Kellogg. Bradstreet was one of the first female poets in America in the mid-1600s. I was drawn to this book because I have really liked Anne Bradstreet's poetry since being assigned to read a few of her works in high school. I am normally not a fan of poetry, but something about Bradstreet has always stuck with me.

I enjoyed that this book gave historical background about the Puritans and the struggle that settlers in the new world faced in the 1600s because it helped to show how amazing it was that Anne Bradstreet was able to produce such a large body of work. She was responsible for caring for her household and her many children, all while living in new towns that were built up on the American frontier right before her eyes. Additionally, Anne often suffered from serious illnesses, many of which confined her to bed. Many of her most famous works were created as a means to teach her children, and required a great deal of research. My favorite poem, To My Dear and Loving Husband, shows the depth of the love that Anne and her husband shared, which is something that can often be overlooked about many Puritans in those days.

I think this book gave me greater motivation to be a wife and mother who is constantly looking to serve my family well. We have so many luxuries that the early American settlers did not posses. The life of Anne Bradstreet is a great example of the impact one ordinary person can have on her family, and the legacy that life can leave for generations to come. This is a great book, a quick read with high quality content, and I give it a 5 out of 5!

I review for BookSneeze

Disclosure: I was provided with a free copy of this book by Thomas Nelson and Book Sneeze in exchange for my honest evaluation and review. All opinions are 100% mine.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Snapfish photo deals

Snapfish is running a ton of photo deals right now, and many of them are good for several weeks!

The Fall sale ends this Friday, 10/1, but until then you can save big! Use the code FALL40SALE to save 40%. This makes prints just 5 cents each!

Use the code babybook to get a free 20 page 5x7 photo book. Shipping will be $1.99. This offer expires 10/31.

Use the code BABIES to get 20 free 4x8 flat photo cards. Shipping will be $5.99. This offer expires 10/31. Usually you can make any type of photo cards (do not have to be "baby") but I have heard that it may not be working for all cards.

Use the code ISTOCK75 to get 75 free prints. Shipping will be $4.42. This offer expires 11/30.

Remember to go through a cash back site when ordering...both Shop at Home and Ebates offer 7.5% cash back on all Snapfish purchases!

I have not tried any of these yet (but I'm planning to!)...let me know if you have any trouble!

Thanks to Deal Seeking Mom and Babycheapskate for the reminders on these!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

U-Pick Apples!

My family has really enjoyed all of the seasonal produce that we've been able to pick this year. We've picked strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, and this past weekend we went apple-picking (and raspberries!)! We went back to Chestertown, Maryland, where both of us went to college, to visit Lockbriar Farms again.

If you live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland or the nearby Delaware area like we do, this is a great spot to visit! The drive is beautiful, and the farm is family owned:

(And if you are not local to Lockbriar Farm, be sure to check out to find local U-Pick in your area!)

We planned on just picking apples, but found out when we arrived at Lockbriar that there were strawberries and raspberries available as well! We finished off our pint of raspberries quickly, and have really been enjoying the apples. Lockbriar provided us with a great apple picking basket to use while we walked through the orchard, and our daughter loved helping put apples in the basket!

Lockbriar's apples are $.99/pound. Location, hours, and other information can be easily found on their Facebook page! And remember, Thrifty Living is on Facebook too!

Do you have apple-picking plans for the weekend now? You should!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Free Avocado Coupon on Facebook - today!

We love avocados! Here's a great freebie on Facebook. Like The Amazing Avocado on Facebook, and this afternoon you will be able to print a coupon for a free avocado. The coupon is redeemable at any grocery store that sells Mexican Hass Avocados (which is most!).

Visit the Amazing Avocado on Facebook!

And while you are on Facebook, why not become a fan of Thrifty Living too!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Stocking up this week: Gold Medal Flour

Gold Medal flour is on sale at Acme this week for $1.49 per 5 pound bag. This in itself is a great price, but to make it even better, if you buy 6, you save $.50 per item, making them just $1 a bag! I do a good bit of baking, so I will be stocking up on some flour this week!

The flour is included with several other items that you can mix and match to buy 6 and get the discount. Read more about Acme this week at Moms Need to Know.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Food Waste Friday

I've been participating in Food Waste Friday with The Frugal Girl for a while now; I go through our fridge (and freezer) on Friday and toss anything that has gone bad. I also take a look at what needs to be used up so that it does not go bad and try to work that into our meals over the next few days. This has really helped us to throw out less food (and so we're actually buying less because we're using what we've already bought!).

Our food waste this week is pretty minimal! There's a bit of cream cheese dip from several weeks ago and a handful of raspberries that went bad before I noticed them. We've been cleaning up some leftovers, so I think we are in good shape for next week too!

How does your fridge look this week?

We are planning to go apple picking this weekend! Do you have any fun plans?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Online Survey Update: Opinion Outpost

I've mentioned before that I enjoy having a little extra spending money by taking part in online surveys. I just got a check from one of my favorite companies, Opinion Outpost, this past week. I like to wait until I have $20 saved up in my account before requesting a check, and I am usually able to make the $20 in 2 months or less.

I've been doing a lot less with online surveys this summer because I've been so busy, so this one took me a little longer to accumulate. I really enjoy that I get to give my opinion on new products that are not out on the market yet! I don't know how many times I've seen a commercial for a new product that I heard about months ago because of a survey. Opinion Outpost has also given me the opportunity for a few in-home product tests, which I love!

Read more about the other survey companies that I use in this post!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Amazon Fall Blowout Sale

Now through September 24th, Amazon is holding a Fall Blowout Sale. To see all of the things that are on sale right now, click here. If you've been redeeming your Swagbucks for Amazon gift cards, you might be able to find a really great deal!

Amazon has another great deal for parents and caregivers of children, called Amazon Mom. As a member of Amazon Mom, you will get a free trial of Amazon Prime (free 2-day shipping) for 3 months, as well as 30% off select diapers and wipes (using subscribe & save). You'll also be able to personalize your account with details about your children, which will allow Amazon to send you emails with deals that will fit your needs. Read the complete FAQs here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Recipe Flop

One of the biggest ways that our family saves money is by making our own meals instead of buying ready to eat meals or going out to eat. I post a lot of recipes that we use and enjoy on a regular basis, and usually they turn out great and look appealing. But it doesn't always happen this way.

If you make the majority of your own meals, you've probably seen a recipe that looked great and then tasted "blah" or just didn't look like the picture. I found a recipe for Goat Cheese Empanadas in my August issue of Real Simple. It looked really easy, and I thought I could modify it slightly for my family.

Instead of using goat cheese, I filled half of the empanadas with mozzarella cheese and pizza sauce, and the other half with Velveeta cheese, black beans, and salsa. My problems first started because I overfilled the crust, which made them really hard to seal. Since they did not seal very well, the empanadas came out of the oven looking like this:

and this:

Really, from these pictures they don't look too terrible, but I thought they looked horrible when I pulled them out, and of course were nothing like the picture in the magazine! We went ahead and ate them anyway, and they actually tasted really good. Now, if I make these again I have a better idea about how much (or really, how little) I can put in each empanada to make them come out a little prettier. And really, how they look doesn't matter as much as how they taste!

So the next time you end up with a recipe flop, I hope you'll see it as a learning experience instead of a failure! I know I needed this reminder that what I cook doesn't have to be perfect to be right for my family!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Yoplait whips! giveaway winner

Congratulations to commenter 5 (Andrea) who said My favorite is the yoplait whips key lime pie. It's the best! The Key Lime Pie flavor was a favorite of many of you!

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Food Waste Friday

I've been participating in Food Waste Friday with The Frugal Girl for a while now; I go through our fridge (and freezer) on Friday and toss anything that has gone bad. I also take a look at what needs to be used up so that it does not go bad and try to work that into our meals over the next few days. This has really helped us to throw out less food (and so we're actually buying less because we're using what we've already bought!).

Well, its another really good week! My daughter and I finished off some strawberries at breakfast this morning that were getting wrinkly on the outside. I was a little worried that they had gone bad when I pulled them out of the fridge, but only one had a bit of mold.

Despite their wrinkled appearance, they were still quite delicious!

I'm not entirely sure how we have continued to have relatively no food waste each week, since I have not done anything special to prevent waste recently. I think it has just become such a habit to know what needs to be used up each week and work towards using all of our leftovers!

How did you do this week? Any tips for using up leftovers?

Remember the giveaway that ends today at midnight!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hurry! Pinecone research sign up is open!

Pinecone Research is my favorite survey compnay! Their surveys are very straightforward, you never screen out after investing time into a survey, and they pay $3 per survey (and pay you after each survey, via check or Paypal). They only open for new sign-ups once in a while and it never stays open hurry! Click here to sign up!

You can also read about the other survey companies that I use and recommend in this post!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

DIY: Wood Refinishing

We're in the process of transitioning our daughter to her "big girl" room so that the nursery will be ready when our baby comes in just a few weeks. My husband's grandfather (Grandad) gave him his desk many years ago. We've had it in our house, but mostly used it as storage in our office. But, since the office is now another bedroom, we needed to find a new home for the desk. I thought it might make a nice dresser in our daughter's new room.

Here is the desk/dresser before:

It has 3 drawers, and the top "drawer" opens up to be the desk part:

It had been well used for many years, so there were plenty of dents, stains, and blemishes, like this one:

I got a spray-on stripper to take the varnish off. I did one side of the desk myself, but I was so thankful for help from my mom on the rest because I have been so tired lately! We got the whole thing stripped and then sanded it down:

After being sanded, the desk looked so different! The orange-y color was the old finish, and the wood underneath was fairly light.
I had some blue paint that I got free from Glidden last year, and I wanted to use this to accent the drawers.
While I painted, my mom put on a dark stain on the rest of the desk:

The last step was to add a varnish to seal everything really well. We did one coat of varnish, let that dry, then used a very fine grain sandpaper before adding a second coat of varnish.

And the finished product!

I LOVE the way it turned out! We painted the walls in my daughter's room yellow, so the blue and the dark wood really add a beautiful accent to the room. One thing I wanted to do to make things a little more special was to get some new knobs. I saw a DIY project some time ago that had white drawer pulls with black numbers on a refinished dresser (I can't find the site now, but I will keep looking to link back to them!), and I really wanted to do something like that. My mom ended up finding these vintage knobs in a shop in Old Ellicott City:

Here's a close up:

I think they are awesome and really just the finishing touch that I wanted for this project! Remember that stain on the inside of the desk? It's totally gone now!

And one more picture, just because I LOVE how this project turned out!

My mom and I have both gotten bit by the refinishing bug now, I think! While it was a lot of work, we ended up with a beautiful piece of furniture that is personalized. I am looking forward to telling my daughter the story about this project, and it will be really special for her to get to use something that was her great-grandfather's. He passed away when she was just a few weeks old, so this will be a way to pass memories down to a new generation!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Yoplait whips! review and giveaway!

I got a fun package in the mail recently courtesy of MyBlogSpark and Yoplait whips! It contained a coupon for a free Yoplait yogurt product as well as these:

(a cooler/tote bag and ice cream pop making set)

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you probably know that I enjoy making my own yogurt, and have done so for some time. But there are times when I've suffered from yogurt burnout...I've gotten bored of my homemade stuff, and through the pregnancy had times when I really craved store bought yogurt. At the top of my list of store bought yogurt is totally Raspberry Mousse by Yoplait whips! So when Yoplait told me that a great way to cool down during the summer heat is to pop a yogurt container in the fridge overnight I was all about it. My Raspberry Mousse yogurt was A-MAZ-ING; an icy and refreshing treat.

I'm all about being thrifty, and homemade yogurt is way more cost effective than the stuff in the store, but I also enjoy indulging every now and then. Yoplait usually has several coupons and sales out there, so while I don't make a habit of buying yogurt at the store, I am by no means a "homemade yogurt only" person!

My daughter and I made good use of the cooler tote bag on a recent picnic, and while I haven't gotten to make the freezer pops yet, they will be used this week!

MyBlogSpark and Yoplait have given me a prize pack just like I have to giveaway! If you would like to enter in this giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me about your favorite yogurt. Please make sure that your blogger profile has your email address, or leave your email in the comment so that I can contact you if you win!

This giveaway will remain open until midnight on Friday, September 10, at which point a winner will be chosen via

Disclosure: I was provided with a Yoplait whips! prize pack by MyBlogSpark and Yoplait in return for my honest evaluation and review of the product. All opinions are 100% my own.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Food Waste Friday

I've been participating in Food Waste Friday with The Frugal Girl for a while now; I go through our fridge (and freezer) on Friday and toss anything that has gone bad. I also take a look at what needs to be used up so that it does not go bad and try to work that into our meals over the next few days. This has really helped us to throw out less food (and so we're actually buying less because we're using what we've already bought!).

This week I opened up a cute little jar of strawberry preserves to make a sandwich for my daughter

and discovered this:

MOLD! Yuck! I guess when I was given this jar I must have opened it and then forgot, because it has been sitting in my pantry for several months, just waiting to be used. I am very sad to have to toss it, because it looked like it would have been really tasty jam!

How did you do this week? Any "oopses" like me?
I'm planning to be back blogging this weekend to bring you another sweet giveaway, so be sure to check back! Happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Smarty Pants sale gets bigger!

I posted last week about Smarty Pants, the local children's resale store that is sadly going out of business. Smarty Pants has announced that all clothing is now 75% off, and this Saturday you can fill a bag with clothes for just $15! Right now they primarily have summer clothes out on the racks, so this is a great chance to get stocked up for next summer. I was told by the owner that fall clothes will be stocked once the summer ones have moved, probably by the middle of this month.

I stopped by and found some great deals last week, which I thought I would share with you!

A Melissa & Doug magnetic puzzle for $5!

Children's place jeans for $2

A Gap outfit for just $4!
And some very cute summer dresses from Old Navy for $2.50 a piece!

I also found some newborn Carter's onsies...$1.50!

I've been feeling the fatigue of only having a month and a half to go before our baby arrives, but I am planning to keep posting on as regular of a schedule as possible! I've got a few projects that are nearing completion to share with you, as well as another giveaway (hopefully next week!)!!
Related Posts with Thumbnails