Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stocking Up This Week: Yardley Soap

The bar soap I use for my homemade laundry detergent is on sale this week at Walgreens for $.69 a bar! There is a coupon in the circular that will allow you to get up to 3 bars at this great price. You can regularly get Yardley soap for $1 a bar at Dollar Tree, but at this price 3 bars will only cost you $2.07.

I'm planning to get 3 and then make a "triple batch" of laundry detergent. I put my detergent in an old mayo container and then I have enough to last me a good 2-3 months!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cyber Monday Deals

Did you shop on Black Friday? I am not a Black Friday shopper, mostly because the Friday after Thanksgiving has always been a time for visiting with family, and with my sisters spread down the east coast, we took the time to hang out at home instead of at a store!

There are a ton of Cyber Monday deals out there, and I am most excited about the Lightning Deals on Amazon.

Amazon reveals new products at discount prices in limited quantities, and many of the great sales sell out in the first 5 minutes. I'm a huge believer that the best deal is not the most heavily discounted item, but the item that is on your list for the price that is in your budget! Amazon does give a hint about many of the upcoming lightning deals, and some of the bigger ticket items have more information (like a 3rd generation iPod touch for under $300).

Having a membership to Amazon Prime (free 2-day shipping with no minimum order) can be a big help in deciding to take advantage of lightning deals under $25 because shipping could make the sale price inconsequential. You can get a free membership to Amazon Prime by joining Amazon Mom!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Shutterfly Christmas Photo Cards

Just a few more days until Thanksgiving! I am excited to get to spend the time with lots of family. The end of November also means that Christmas is right around the corner.

Shutterfly is running a promotion where bloggers can get 50 free photo cards in exchange for a review. This past weekend we took some family pictures to put on our Christmas cards, and I am so excited to start picking out some special cards. Shutterfly has tons of great options, and I was able to pick a favorite quickly...I actually may end up with 2 or 3 favorite cards! You really should check out the options for square cards as well. They are a nice modern twist on the traditional Christmas card. I'm a big fan of this Merry Christmas square card.

I have used Shutterfly many times in the past to make photo cards, and I've always been impressed with how simple and easy the process is on their site. The quality of the photo cards is great too. Not only is the turnaround time quick before they come in the mail, but I think they always come out better than they looked online. Our families have enjoyed being the recipients of these special cards too.

If you are a blogger and interested in getting 50 free cards as well, just fill out this form!

Disclosure: Shutterfly provided me with 50 free photo cards in exchange for a review of their 2010 photo card products. All opinions are my own.

Friday, November 19, 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!).

It was a rough week for our food waste...I've got part of a cheese block, some sliced cheese, a bit of bagged lettuce, and a few grapes. My husband and daughter got hit by a nasty stomach bug this week, and though I escaped most of the effects, I did not do much cooking beyond noodle soup, rice, and breakfast foods. The good thing is that the fridge is pretty empty, so it should be easier to keep on top of the food waste this coming week!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thrifty Dining Out

Last week my husband and I enjoyed dinner out at Olive Garden for $8! How did we manage this? With a gift card earned through online surveys and a coupon from the Sunday paper!

I recently cashed out points from My Survey for a $25 gift card to Olive Garden. My Survey is one of the three survey companies that I've been able to keep up with during this busy season of life. I like that I do not "screen out" of any surveys, and that most of them are less than 5 minutes long. I also like that my husband can be registered through my account, and will occasionally be sent surveys as well.  The only downside that I see to My Survey is that since most surveys are short, the compensation for them is usually small also. I qualify for a few larger surveys, and those are what help build my point total more quickly.

If you want to sign up through my referral for My Survey, just click here!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday Paper Goodies

Do you subscribe to the Sunday paper? I love that my coupons are delivered to my house every week, which saves me a trip to the store to grab the paper. (If you don't want a subscription, most Dollar Tree stores sell the Sunday paper for just $1)

The Delaware News Journal is running a promotion through the end of January where you can get the Sunday paper delivered for $1 a week, plus a $10 gift card to Wawa! You must pay via "easy pay" which bills you all at once for the year, and the offer is only valid for households that have not subscribed in the past 30 days. Previously this offer has only run for a month, which meant there was not enough time to cancel a subscription at a more expensive rate and then re-subscribe, but this time you have over 2 months, so I think that would work. For more information go to the News Journal or call 1-800-801-3322 (promo code: X-FS).

Check the back page of the USA Weekly magazine that comes in the Sunday paper for a coupon for two free 5x7 HP photo greeting cards at the HP Kiosk (located at Walmart). I have not used the HP photo Kiosk yet, but I plan to now. There are also more coupons available on their website.

This week's edition of the News Journal also had the reader's choice awards for the best businesses in Delaware. Many of the businesses that were voted best offered coupons also, so it is worth a quick flip through that special section of the paper.

Did you see any other goodies in the Sunday paper this week? Feel free to share them with us!

Fiber One giveaway winner!

Congratulations to Maura, commenter number 3 (chosen via random.org) who said her family would like to try the Chocolate Mocha granola bars!

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Friday, November 12, 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!).

The only thing that I tossed today was some ricotta cheese. I had a huge tub from Costco that I used to make lasagna and some crockpot ziti, but I never made time to put together the final lasagna. I did take a picture, but I'm not able to upload it to the blog right now for some reason.

Enjoy the weekend! And remember that today is the last day to enter to win a $25 gift card to Safeway and some great Fiber One products! AND you can get a free cup of coffee at Burger King during breakfast hours today -- happy Friday!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Free Photo Cards from Shutterfly

Shutterfly is offering a free 5x7 folded card or stationary card when you use the code CARD4U.

Are you on the Shutterfly email list? I received a promotional email from Shutterfly this week with a code for 5 free 5x7 cards. The code is unique to me, so you will need to check your email for your code!

Shipping is not free, but should be minimal. I've made these cards before and they are really simple and turn out wonderful!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Homemade Cinnamon Sugar Biscotti

One thing that I've been having a harder time finding time for with a newborn is baking! I really love to have homemade bread with dinner, my husband got addicted to my homemade scones (a pregnancy craving of mine), and we love many other homemade treats. Since it had been a few weeks since I'd baked, I had been sitting on this recipe from Annie's Eats, just waiting for the free time! The biscotti was really simple to make, with minimal hands-on time and great results!
(I ended up taking very few pictures because the process was so quick)

Cinnamon Sugar Biscotti
For the dough:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the topping:
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Preheat your oven to 325 so that it is ready to go. Mix the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl, then set aside. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer on medium for about 3 minutes.

Once the butter/sugar mixture is fluffy, add in the egg and egg yolk, allowing them to get mixed in well. Add the vanilla and allow to blend. Then, on low speed, add the flour mixture gradually. The directions said to use parchment paper on a baking sheet and form the dough there. I did not have parchment paper, so I just greased a baking sheet. I also formed the dough on my (greased) counter and then transferred it to the baking sheet. Form your dough into 2 logs about 9 inches long and 1 and 1/2 inches wide. Mine did not look pretty, but they still turned out great.

Brush the dough with the remaining egg, then top with cinnamon sugar. I ended up mixing the egg with the cinnamon sugar, and brushed that mixture on all at once, and it worked well, so I would probably do it that way again!

Bake for 40-45 minutes until the dough is firm to the touch. Allow the logs to cool enough to handle, then cut diagonally into pieces. I used a cutting board for this and then placed the pieces back on the baking sheet. I also brushed them with the egg-cinnamon sugar mixture again. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.

This was delicious still warm with a cup of hot chocolate, but has also been great with my morning coffee and with tea. Its basically like a crunchy, wonderful Snickerdoodle cookie!

This would make a wonderful gift (think Christmas already!). I would put a few pieces in a little plastic bag with a cute ribbon and stick the bag in a cute mug with some coffee, tea, or hot chocolate for a cute and tasty gift!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Free Coffee Fridays at Burger King

Every Friday in November Burger King is offering a  FREE 12 oz cup of Seattle's Best coffee! The offer is valid only during breakfast, but no additional purchase is necessary!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fiber One Review and Giveaway

I was recently given the opportunity to try some Fiber One products, provided to me from Fiber One via My Blog Spark. I received coupons for Fiber One cereal and Fiber One granola bars as well as a $25 gift card to Safeway. We went to the store and decided to try the Frosted Shredded Wheat cereal and the Chocolate Mocha chewy granola bars.

We tasted the Chocolate Mocha granola bars first, and they were amazing! Even my daughter (who is not yet 2) loved them, though she does have a thing for coffee :-) My husband and I have enjoyed the Fiber One Chocolate and Oats chewy bars in the past, but we both agreed that the Mocha was way better! The Fiber One Frosted Shredded Wheat cereal was similar to other shredded wheat cereals, though the pieces were thinner. I prefer this thinner size shredded wheat, but my husband said he didn't have a strong preference either way. Our daughter loved the cereal too.

As much as we loved the Chocolate Mocha granola bars, I will still make homemade granola bars the majority of the time for our family. My husband did suggest that I try a Mocha variation inspired by the Fiber One bars, so I plan to work on that soon!

Win it!

The folks at My Blog Spark have provided me with a prize pack to giveaway! One reader will win coupons for a free box of Fiber One cereal and a free box of Fiber One granola bars, as well as a $25 gift card to Safeway! To enter, leave a comment on this post letting me know which Fiber One product you would most like to try if you win. Fiber One cereals include Honey Clusters, Raisin Bran Clusters, Carmel Delight, and the one we tried, Frosted Shredded Wheat. Fiber One granola bars include Oats & Chocolate, Oats & Peanut Butter, Oats & Carmel, Oats & Strawberry with Almonds, Oats & Apple Streusel, and the one we tried, Chocolate Mocha.
Please make sure that your email is visible in your blogger profile or leave your email in your comment so that I can contact you if you win. The giveaway will close at 9pm (eastern) on Friday, November 12th at which point I will choose a random winner.

Disclosure: I was provided with a $25 Safeway giftcard as well as coupons for free boxes of Fiber One cereal and Fiber One granola bars from My Blog Spark, Safeway, and Fiber One. All opinions are my own.

Friday, November 5, 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 it has been a few weeks since I reported on our food waste for the week, and in large part we've done a good job of using things up instead of throwing them out! This week I did a closer inspection and found several things that needed to be tossed, many of which were pretty fuzzy, which is probably why I forgot to take pictures of everything.
I did salvage some celery and several tomatoes from my garden by chopping them up and freezing them. I'm planning to put the celery in some soup next week and using the tomato for some pasta sauce!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Toys that get played with

Have you ever gotten a toy for your child that ended up collecting dust? BabyCheapskate puts together a list every year of "Toys that get played with" months after being received. The list is compiled from hundreds (thousands?) of readers, and we thought it was really helpful in thinking about toys for our daughter last year.
Check out the lists for toys that get played with by kids 6 to 12 months old, 13 to 24 months old, and 25 to 36 months old. Later this week BabyCheapskate will have information on toys for 3, 4 and 5 year olds.

Some of my favorites from the lists include Playskool Explore and Grow Busy Ball Popper (6-12 mo), Fisher-Price Stride-To-Ride Lion (6-12 mo), LeapFrog Learn & Groove Musical Table (6-12 mo), various Fisher-Price Little People sets (12-24 mo), and Melissa & Doug Farm Wooden Puzzle sets (12-24 mo).

Do you have any favorite toys that your kids have loved long after receiving them? We will probably see some good sales again this year, as retailers look to get people shopping!
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