Friday, December 3, 2010

FRUGAL FRIDAY: In the kitchen

I missed Frugal Friday last week because I was busy with cakes.  Today I made sure to set some time aside for some tips.

We waste so much food here in America that it's just a sin.  There are so many ways we could cut back on our waste and save money at the same time.  Winter is a great time to make homemade soups and homemade bread.  With Thanksgiving just last week, what did you all do with your turkey carcass?  And might I just add...what a strange word carcass is!  If you're like myself and my mother-in-law, you put it in a pot, covered it with water and boiled it to make some great homemade turkey stock!  I don't use recipes for my soup, which makes my sister terribly nervous. HA!  I just don't.  So for you recipe lovers, here's a recipe for Day-After-Thanksgiving-Turkey-Carcass-Soup.    You can also use your ham bone (my favorite!) and chicken carcass.  I'm not particularly fond of using beef bones but some love it.  I just don't enjoy the flavor.  Another thing I like to do for stock just enhances your meat stock or if you're vegetarian, it's great veggie stock.  I wash my vegetables before peeling and save peelings and ends of onions (skin and all),  garlic skins, carrot peel and ends, zucchini ends, celery ends and leaves.  The list really is endless.  As I get little bits of scraps, I stuff them into a Ziploc bag and store it in the freezer until I've got enough to make stock!  Brilliant!

Milk on the verge of the expiration date is not something that ever happens in my house.  Some days, we go through an entire one day!  My boys are definitely milk drinkers.  Anyhow, don't throw it away!  Make pudding and have dessert.  Better yet, since I'm a cake baker, I save the scraps of cake from leveling and sculpting and such to make trifles.  Cube the cake and freeze for the perfect time.  My entire family loves trifles and they're so simple.  You can find tons of different combos for these desserts but our basic is layers of cake cubes, pudding in any flavor, bananas, cool whip and repeat.  How easy?! 

Banana's go bad very fast.  If you've got a banana or 2 getting a bit too freckled for your taste, they're probably perfect for bread or muffins.  No time to use it right away?  freeze the entire banana, peel and all!  Make sure that you put them in a bowl to thaw because they do give off a lot of liquid and they will be very mushy...but again, perfect for bread!

That's all for now.  Happy cooking and have a great weekend!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Upcoming Review From CSN Stores!

I love being a preferred blogger for CSN Stores.  It allows me to offer giveaways and host product reviews on a monthly basis.  For Christmas this year, my family has decided to fore go the presents and take a trip to Florida to visit family and go to Disney!  We are very excited!  Having 3 boys, something that would come in handy for us is children's luggage .  We usually just pack out things in one large suitcase on wheels and many different bags.  I think the kids would enjoy having luggage of their own.

Visit CSN Stores for all your holiday shopping this season.  They offer free shipping on tons of different items and they have a price guarantee.  If you see any particular item on a different site for less (including shipping), email them using the special link and get a special code for the lower price!  I love that!

Stay tuned for my review.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Frugal Friday! Energy Costs

Well, as promised, I'm trying to get back into my Frugal Friday series.  I'm in the middle of 3 cake orders for tomorrow so today's tips will be short. 

Recently I had NYSERTA come in and do some energy saving things in my home.  This was a free service to us because we received HEAP last year to help pay for our heating bill.  I feel like I basically know what it takes to cut down on my energy bill but they did give me some interesting information as far as putting numbers into the equation.  It costs, on average, .17 per hour to run your electric dryer!  WOW!  With the amount of laundry I do, that adds up very quickly.  I'm guilty of being very lazy in this area.  I do have a clothes line outside but really, I can only use it in the spring and summer.  I have a retractable clothes line in my bedroom but that holds like 1/4 of a load!  I honestly don't have room for those wooden drying racks so other than the dryer, what's a family to do?  I'm thinking of hanging another indoor line and at least hang half of each load.  I also learned that you use more energy using a dryer if you aren't cleaning the lint filter after every use.  Obviously, it runs longer if the lint filter is clogged.

They also changed 16 light bulbs to the super energy efficient compact florescent bulbs.  They produce the same amount of light and use a whopping 75% less energy than a regular bulb.  Over the life of one CFL (compact florescent light bulb) you can save up to $70!  Multiply that times every light bulb in your house and that's a decent amount of money  back in your pocket!

So here are some frightening numbers for you as far as average costs to run different things around your house.  The numbers are based on NY State average electricity cost of .16/Kwh.  Appliances obviously vary so these are ballpark estimates.

42" HDTV:  6 hours per day = $7.01/month
Radio: 6 hours per day = $1.44/month (listen to the radio for that "white noise" instead of the TV!)
Computer: 6 hours per day = $7.82/month
Fish Tanks: $14.03/month
Waterbeds: $16.77/month
Swimming Pool Pump:  12 hours per day = $150.69/month!!  My brochure says we run these much longer than needed and suggests a timer.

Did you know that you can lower your heating bill by 1% for EVERY DEGREE you lower the thermostat for an 8 hour period!  Hello!!  Get some extra blankets and turn that heat down at night!  This is the example given:

Lowering your thermostat from 70 to 68 for a 24 hour period saves 6%
Lowering your thermostat from 68 to 60 when away from home or sleeping for 8 hours saves an additional 16%

These savings add up to 22%  and for every $1000 you use to heat your home, that's a savings of $220!!!  Holy Cow!  I really think I need to be better about this at night!  I freeze all winter long so I'm guilty of not turning it down.  I think I'll change my plan since we're not applying for HEAP this year. 

This one hits home for me as a SAHM with a cake business...on average it costs .17 per hour to run my gas stove!!!  Puts my costs more into perspective and makes me think twice about what I'm charging for cakes!

I've got more info but no time.  I hope some of this info helps you and gives you the desire to change!  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

CSN Stores $35 Coupon Code Giveaway!

Head on over to my cake blog and enter for a chance to win a $35.00 coupon code to use on your next purchase from CSN Stores!  Giveaway ends on 11/5 so hurry over!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

CSN Stores

If you haven't had the chance to visit CSN Stores from my previous posts, you're surely missing out.  I'm happy to be working with them again for another review.  It's been a busy summer so those reviews will be coming up now that the kids are in school again.  CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from from coffee table to fantastic fitniss equipment to cookware.

Stay tuned for my review and in the meantime go visit one of the 200 CSN Stores and shop!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Oh so far behind!

I've been MIA again.  I guess it's just my blogging style to post in spurts..sorry!  It's been such a busy, busy summer that I honestly haven't had time to sit and write.  We've done summer camp, short vacations, swimming lessons and I've been incredibly busy with cakes.  I'll be back for a bit as I've got some reviews to share with you!  Stay tuned....

Monday, July 19, 2010

Wilton Giveaway

Head on over to my cake blog and enter for a chance to win 2 great Wilton products.

Surrounded By Boys Wilton Giveaway

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

5 minutes for me

As you know, I've been pretty much absent for a couple of weeks.  I've been crazy busy with cake orders, the end of baseball season and school and everything else in between.  I had a total of 11 orders between the last two weekends.  I'm so thankful!  But that also means less time to spend on my blog.  I have to say that I've been missing it and sort of feel guilty.  I have a feeling such will be the case the rest of the summer.  I'd like to get back to my Frugal Friday's at least because I know a few of you were looking forward to it.  So, this is what I've been up to....  I didn't take pics of all of the work since some was repeat of other cakes and plain cupcakes.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Frugal Friday 6/11

This turned out to be a busy week since I got 2 large last minute cake orders.  I hope you all enjoyed my first edition of Frugal Friday last week.  Earlier in the week before my 2 orders came in, I thought to myself that I should write my post for Friday just in case and I never did.  Big mistake!  So, I'm taking a break from caking to bring you some more tips.

This week...IN THE KITCHEN!

Homemade Stock

I have to say that nothing tastes quite as good as a homemade stock when making soup.  And I know what you're thinking..".stock?  I'm NOT making my own stock.  There are so many good ones on the shelf of the grocery store!"  Not only is this a better tasting stock but you control what goes in!  And, not only are you getting a great tasting stock, you're also cutting down on household waste!

Here's what you do:

Every time you get ready to use a vegetable, wash the outside thoroughly, even onions and garlic.  Get yourself a freezer container or baggie and every time you peel a vegetable, stick the peelings and ends that get cut off into this container in the freezer.  When it's full, add it to water and boil it.  Strain and voila! stock!
You can use anything you like in it.  Carrot peelings and ends, zucchini ends, pepper tops, onion and garlic skin, green trimmings (collards, escarole, etc), celery tops and bottoms, mushrooms, broccoli and cauliflower stalks, honestly the list is endless!

No more expensive extract! (Citrus)

I'm a baker so I know how expensive flavoring extracts can be and lots of them don't even really taste good.  If you do any baking with orange or lemon extract, stop buying them!  Before you peel that orange to eat the inside, use a microplane grater and get all that flavorful zest off!  EVERY time.  Keep your zest in a small ziploc baggie in the freezer and each time you eat an orange, get that zest off.  And the same with lemons.  Zest it before you cut it open and save it in a ziploc bag.  Each time you need lemon or orange flavor for a recipe, pull out some and stick it in your recipe!

That's all I have for today.  I know it's not fabulous but I'm actually in the middle of making 2 last minute cakes.  I'm making a 20" standing Dewar's bottle and a club penguin cake, both for the same family.  They've been very time consuming and not very cooperative..sigh.  Until next week....

Monday, June 7, 2010

Who's leaving the plastic baggies at the store?

And the winner of the PB Green Re-usable Lunch Set chosen by is.....

Keira!  Congrats Keira, I'll email you shortly with contact info so you can order your new lunch set.

Thank you to PB Green for working with me on my first giveaway!

You've gotta speak up!

For quite some time now, when I receive a product that's damaged in any way or not up to standards, I contact the company.  You've gotta speak up when you spend your hard earned money on something and end up not being able to use it.

Recently, I had purchased Wilton gum paste on 3 separate occasions at Michael's and AC Moore.  When I opened them, all three of them, I found that the top portion of the gum paste was already hardened and un-usable.  Now this stuff is expensive and there's not much in the package, so when you're having to cut a portion of it off to get to the usable stuff, that's upsetting! 

I got on the phone with Wilton customer service and guess what they did?  They replaced all three bags!  Nice, right!  It came via FedEx in less than a week.  Now that's how a company should react to such problems.  Thanks Wilton!

Last Reminder!

Tonight at 9 pm EST the PB Green giveaway ends.  Don't miss your chance to win a re-usable lunch set including 2 snack bags and a sandwich wrap!  Enter here ------->PB GREEN GIVEAWAY

Friday, June 4, 2010


I'd like to start a weekly post to share tips on how I try to be more frugal.  I'm hoping that you will learn something new and it will help you and your family.  What better day than "Frugal Friday"!! 

And so, here's the first weekly installment of Frugal Fridays.  I'll be asking for guest bloggers from time to time to share your ideas so if you're interested, please email me at!

This week I'd like to talk about your dirty laundry.  A while back I gave you the recipe and instructions, complete with pictures, on how to make your own laundry detergent.  Don't worry, it's really easy!  You don't need to be Suzy homemaker to do it, I promise. 

So how much does a bottle of Tide cost these days?  Like a hundred bucks?  No, seriously, it's really expensive and it's one of the worst ones out there as far as polluting the environment.  Check out this article from to read all about it.  

So let's say you pay $12.00 for a 64 load bottle of Tide.  The 64 load estimate is for small loads.  Do you only fill it to the bottom line?  Let's even say you do.  That's .1875 cents per load.  I'm guessing you only get more like 50 loads and therefore pay more like .24 cents per load.

The recipe I shared with you HERE, cost .71 cents for 64 loads!  That's a whopping .01 cent per load!  If you need me to post the breakdown I will but trust me, it's accurate.

So I ask you, will you please try a batch or 2 of this?  You won't be disappointed!  I do an average of 10 loads per week so it costs me .10 cents per week to wash my clothes.  If you use Tide, you're spending $2.40 per week, $124.80 per year.  Mine costs me $5.20 PER YEAR!  I know it doesn't sound like a lot, but if you add that to 5 or 6 other things you save over $100 on, you've just freed up an extra $500 or more per year!

I hope you're inspired.  It's cheap and green!

NOTE:  From reading several other reviews on homemade laundry detergent, I've decided to use Ivory soap next time as several posts have reported color fading from using the Fels Naptha.  I have not experienced this color fade as of yet.

PB Green Giveaway Ends Monday 6/7 at 9 pm EST

A reminder to all you wonderful followers, that my PB Green Giveaway will end in just 3 days.  Be sure to visit the post and enter for your chance to win a FREE set of re-usable snack bags and a sandwich wrap in a pattern of your choice!  These are wonderful high quality items that you shouldn't be without!

BUY THEM! PB Green Bags

Please stop by the post and enter!  And please visit PB Green Bags to see her beautiful items!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wordless Wednesday!

Mama's little apprentice?  Looks like my 22 month old's gearing up to take over my cake and cookie business one day!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

PB Green re-usable snack bags and sandwich wrap giveaway reminder

Just a reminder to enter for a chance to win a re-usable snack bag and sandwich wrap set from PB Green.  Your odds are good as there are only 19 entries right now!  You get to choose which pattern you would like to have for yourself. 

Enter Here-------------------------->PB GREEN GIVEAWAY

Please do not enter any comments for contest entry below this post.  You must visit the original contest post to leave your entries.  Thanks!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Orginazational Genius, I'm NOT

I'm desperate to be more organized and I don't even know where to start.  We've got so  many things in this house that just don't have a proper place.  In every room!  We've got the junk collector in my bedroom, aka my giant desk.  In the kitchen, it's a large junk bowl.  The living room, it's the bottom shelf of the end table.  The dogs room/laundry room it's the large filing cabinet.  I could go on and on.  I need help and I need it FREE!  Who has tips for me?  I don't know where to start!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wilton Giveaway (sadly, not here)

Please visit Two of a kind, working on a full house and enter to win a set of Wilton UltraGold Bakeware valued at $180.00.

Being a cake decorator, just the name Wilton gets me going.  So many products I couldn't live without!  Who better to win these than an avid cake decorator!?

Go ahead, visit Wilton and see all the fabulous products I dream of!  If only my pocket book said yes.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Family Reunion

This weekend my family gathered together for our annual BBQ. We don't all make it each year but we try. We have such a good time, I wish we could do it more often. We joke and laugh. We eat and drink. We chase kids and take walks to the river. We enjoy the sassiness of our beloved eldest member and cherish each moment with her. We talk about chocolate and the restaurant we'd love to open together. We make precious priceless memories that I'm thankful for. God has blessed me with a wonderful family.

So to each of my family members: I couldn't have hand picked a better family! I love you all very much and feel incredibly blessed to have each and every one of you bunch of smart alecks! Until next year........

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Stay tuned for my 1st giveaway!

I'm very excited to announce my first review and giveaway! This is something I've wanted to do for a while and it's finally becoming a reality. I'm joining the mommy-bloggers-giveaway club!

Head on over to PBGreen for a sneak peak at what's on it's way!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I love little boy hands!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Precious Moments

I just love these moments with my babies!

I'm feeling awfully lonely over her at my blog. Where are all my commenter's? I miss you!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Al's Big Buys 4/18-4/24

I didn't take pics for you and I've certainly been slacking on the blog lately. I guess I haven't been inspired to write. It's a rainy Sunday and I should be getting the family ready for church. Instead I sit here on the laptop, waisting time. This week at ShopRite I got $248.92 worth of groceries for $112.12, a savings of $136.80. Here's the deals worth mentioning.

Chock Full O Nuts coffee on sale for $1.99 minus my doubled .75 coupon for a total of .49 per can.

Nexcare Bandages on sale for $1.49 minus my doubled .55 coupon for a total of .39 per box.

V8 V-Fusion on sale for $2.50 minus my doubled .75 coupon for a total of $1.00 per bottle.

Betty Crocker Cake Mix & Frosting on sale for $1.00 each minus my doubled .75 coupon (off the purchase of one mix and one frosting) for a total of .25 each (don't worry cake customers, I don't use box mixes or jarred frosting on my orders, they're all from scratch.)

Skippy Peanut Butter on sale for $1.99 minus my doubled coupons for .60 for a total of .79 each.

Reynolds Recycled Foil on sale for $1.99 minus my doubled coupon for .75 for a total of .49 each.

Keebler Cheesecake Middles Cookies on sale for $1.99 minus my doubled coupon for .55 off for a total of .89 each.

Perdue Chicken Nuggets on sale for $1.99 minus my doubled coupons for .75 for a total of .49 each.

Marcal Napkins on sale for $1.49 minus my $1.00 coupon for a total of .49 each.

Lays BBQ Chips on sale for $1.69 minus my $1.00 coupon for a total of .69.

Yoplait Greek Yogurt on sale for $1.25 each minus my b1g1 coupon for a total of .62 each.

That's about it. I'm actually hoping for a week of no-good-deals so I can have a break! Or a week of lots of free stuff.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday

God made the ultimate sacrifice for you and for me when his one and only son died on the cross to save our souls. Today is Good Friday and it commemorates the crucifixion and death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Take some time today to thank God for what He did for us! Happy Easter to you all!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday (on Thursday)

Why is he so happy you ask?
Well, because of this, of course!
Our brand new car! (that seats 6 so the boys won't be squished anymore!)

Friday, March 19, 2010

A Friends of Gevalia Offer Awaits You

Join us for our special Friends of Gevalia offer and enjoy a premium coffee kit including a stainless steel coffeemaker, scoop and a pound of Gevalia coffee-Just $12.95 (a $100 value!) Gevalia’s guarantee-you’ll love your coffee or it’s free!

Friday Follow!

MckLinky Blog Hop

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Al's Big Buys 3/13-20

This was a good week for coupons. I got $244.20 worth of groceries for $75.73. I'm starting to run out of places to store all my stuff! There's always underneath beds..HA! I've also earned my free ham and my sisters. Here's what I got.

18 cans Chock Full O Nuts Coffee $1.99-.75 (doubled) coupon= .49 each (This isn't included in the above total because it was from last week. I didn't get a chance to post my savings for last week but just wanted to mention it.

16 International Delight Creamer .99-.55 (doubled) coupon= FREE

32 Barilla Whole Grain & Piccolini Pasta .99-.75 (doubled)= FREE

35 (yes, 35) Quaker True Delight Granola Bars $1.99-.75 (doubled)= .49 each

40 Nesquik Chocolate Milk $1.00-.40 (doubled)=.20 each

1 Huggies Overnights Jumbo Pack $8.99-$1.50=$7.49

2 Huggies Wipes $2.49-.50 (doubled)=$1.49 each

1 Frito Lays BBQ Chips $1.99-.55 (doubled)=.89

4 Mens Suave Shampoo $2.00-.50 (doubled) $1.00 each

10 Keebler Wheatables $2.50-$1.50=$1.00 each (plus I have a mail in rebate for $10.00 back on 10 so they'll be free)

2 Tropicana OJ $2.50-$3.00 off 2= $1.00 each

1 Breyers True Inspirations Yogurt $2.49-$2.49 coupon=FREE
1 Baby Spinach and 1 Baby coupons but worth mentioning..on clearance for .50 each and there was enough to split with my MIL.

I'm not done yet, I'll be getting 8 more pasta, 20 more Nesquik and 10 more Wheatables on Saturday. Sometimes I have too much and need to make multiple trips. The list above isn't all I got. I also got lots of fruit, dog food, soda for the hubby, graham crackers and some other stuff.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Taking Inventory

Recently I've read several blogs that list their inventory and I always find it interesting to see what other families are buying and are able to stock up on. So here's what's in my stockpile (and this is not my entire stock of food, just the items I have stockpiled)....

In the pantry:
53 boxes assorted cereal (Post, Kelloggs, GM)
7 Kraft BBQ Sauce
10 Krustaez Pancake Mix plus a giant bag from Sams Club
6 Solo Plates
2 Solo Cups
1 Solo Bowl
21 Progresso Soup
29 Lipton Soup Mix (Beefy Onion, Onion, Savory Herb & Garlic, Vegetable, Noodle Soup)
10 Ritz (Wheat, Vegetable, Snowflake)
27 Ragu Pasta Sauce
6 Wheat Thins
6 Triscuits (Cracked Pepper & Olive Oil, Rosemary & Olive Oil)
20 Hefty Trash Bags (Kitchen size and Lawn & Garden size)
11 Hefty One Zip
4 Mt. Olive Pickles
4 Mt. Olive Relish
19 Quaker Mini Quakes assorted flavors
29 Hamburger Helper assorted flavors (after these are gone I plan on coming up with
homemade versions of these not-so-healthy dinners)
7 Planters Big Nut Bars
5 Fiber Plus bars
31 Boxes Ronzoni/Barilla pasta
7 Orville Redenbacher's Popcorn (I found a recipe for homemade microwave popcorn!)
6 Cheez-Its
9 Marcal Small Steps Tissues
14 Kraft Mac & Cheese
31 Peanut Butter (Skippy)
22 Coffee (Melitta, Foldgers & Chock Full O Nuts)
6 Pepperidge Farms Goldfish
10 Wheatables Nut Crackers
15 Quaker True Delights Granola Bars
In the kitchen:
13 Finish dishwasher gelpacs (I've been working on my stockpile of this for over a year!)
33 College Inn Broth (beef, chicken, turkey, vegetable)
12 Lysol Pourable
7 Lysol AP/Bathroom Cleaners
2 AP Greenworks Cleaner
3 Greenworks Dish soap
In the laundry room:
5 Bounce Dryer Bars
10 Clorox Bleach
13 Spray N Wash
3 6 packs Fruit2O
In the bathroom:
19 Olay Body Wash
31 L'Oreal for kids Shampoo
11 Softsoap Handsoap
2 Softsoap Body Wash
9 Colgate Toothpaste
18 Colgate Toothbrush
10 Garnier Fructis (Hairspray, Shampoo, Conditioner)
17 Lysol Bowl Cleaner
26 Shampoo/Conditioner (Citre Shine, Finesse & White Rain)
4 Edge Shave Gel
12 Schick Quatro Titanium Reusable Razors
4 Speed Stick
6 Lady Speed Stick
106 rolls Marcal Small Steps Toilet Paper
13 Wetones Canisters
20 Nesquik Chocolate Milk
In the freezer:
40 Oscar Mayer Bacon
36 Birds Eye Steamfresh Veggies
3 NY Texas Toast Lite
6 NY Garlic Bread Sticks
4 Butterball Turkey Bacon
8 Butterball Chicken/Turkey Strips
13 Tony's Crispy Crust Pizza
19 Birds Eye Boxed Veggies
Keep in mind when you read the numbers that I do have a family of 5. I also donate to the food pantry at my church and often give items to family and friends. I can't pass up a great deal! My stockpiled items are all either free or very close to free!
Share your stockpiles and comment back so I can read it!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Strawberry Bandit!

Today I was on Facebook chatting with my sister as I often do. Today I noticed it was unusually quiet. Having a toddler around that has 2 older brothers to mimic doesn't make for a quiet household by any means. This is what I saw when I turned the corner from the living room to the kitchen.

*NO* I didn't even hear the chair move. I swear. *YES* I left him on the chair so I could get my camera. He's my third, what can I say.

Just look at those little bites. Cute right? I guess he had to taste each and every one to make sure they were okay.

And at almost 20 months he was even smart enough to pull off the stems and leaves! (Now if I can teach him to make it to the garbage.....)

I guess this was the winner since it's half gone!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

UGH, so sick!

My husband works at a school (germ city), the same school that my 2 older boys go to. He came home Thursday from work complaining of a sore throat. By 7pm he was down and out on the couch with the shakes and a fever. He only got about an hour's worth of sleep all night. He went to work the next day much to my dismay. By noonish he was home and having his mother take him to urgent care. $45.00 later he was home toting his giant horse pills. I never understood that! You have strep throat, can barely swallow your own spit and they expect you to take these giant pills the size of a small child!

Yesterday I knew I was getting it. Midday I started feeling my glands swelling and by 8ish that night I took my turn on the couch. What a horrific night! I haven't been that sick in a long time. Fever, sore throat, swollen glands, bad bad headache, chills, body aches, name it I had it. I barely slept. One thing I do often when I have body aches and can't seem to get warm is to let the hot shower beat on me. I did that 3 times last night. Then I'd get into bed and cover up with my 2 comforters (on top of my flannel pj's) and wake up in a cold sweat. It was miserable.
Today I went to urgent care myself. I was hoping I could just go in and tell the doc that my husband had been in the day before and he wouldn't do a throat culture and charge me an extra 20 bucks. No such luck. He said to me after looking at my throat that he was giving me an antibiotic either way. So why do the culture? I don't get it.
I just have to say that WITH health insurance if we all get this that co-pays and antibiotics for 5 of us would be $225! OH DEAR LORD! Please God, don't let the kids get it. Not only do I not want them to feel this way, that's a LOT of money! How ridiculous is that?
Oh well, I'm going to shower and lay in bed.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Conversation Starters!

So it's been a very long time since I've done a conversation starters with Zobmondo so here goes.

Here's the question:
Would you rather...
For the rest of your life, choose the same drink and the same meal to ingest every time you eat
have someone else always choose what you eat?
My answer?
I've gotta have some variety folks! Let them choose what I eat. I'll just have to learn to be more adventurous. What's your answer?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

KitchenAid..such a love-hate relationship

I broke down a couple of years ago and bought myself a KitchenAid Professional 600 6 quart mixer. I was so excited I couldn't stand it! If you know mixers, you know that I paid a pretty penny for this baby. I didn't mind because I wanted one so badly.

For an entire year I was thrilled with it aside from the volume of it. Lets just say you can't talk on the phone next to the machine when it's running. It's claim to fame is that it can mix up to 14 cups of flour at a time. I'm a huge homemade bread/roll/cinnamon bun/pizza dough/soft pretzel fan...anything involving yeast, really. My mixer gets a workout but it's okay because it's a KitchenAid, right? Heavy duty, right? Huh! That's what I thought. Literally 2 weeks after the one year warranty was up the stinking thing stopped working right in the middle of mixing dough. The motor ran but the mechanism wouldn't spin. Gears stripped. PERFECT! *SIGH*

I called KA customer service and much to my surprise they replaced it with a new machine! I was very impressed and my faith in the company was renewed.

After doing much research about my problem, I found TONS of others with the same problem! I guess they started making the gear box with plastic parts rather than the all metal that they claimed. At this point I figured it's all good because I've got a new one coming and another full year warranty on it.

Here we are 1 year and 3 months after I received this new mixer and guess what happened? Yup! Right in the middle of a batch of pizza dough. I cannot express to you how aggravated I was and still am. Not realizing it was 3 months past the warranty date I called KA again. The lady in customer service was very pleasant. She allowed me to explain what happened, put me on hold and when she came back on the line she explained to me that they would send me a refurbished model with a 6 month warranty.

Now am I supposed to be happy? afraid? I guess both? I'm very happy that they are sending me another one knowing that the warranty was outdated. I'm very scared that the gears will strip again. Part of me wants to sell it on EBay and buy a different brand. I just don't know. I do know that this should NOT be happening. It's not like I bought some cheesy floor model from WalMart! I suppose what I'll have to do is mix my dough and then knead by hand? I'll have to think of it as therapeutic.........

Al's Big Buys 3/2/10

So I had planned on taking a picture for you of my groceries this week and completely forgot. I don't know why, but I find it interesting to look at people's grocery pics. Here were the deals I got this week. SR is doing "dollar days" this week so they offer money towards your next shopping trip when you buy specific items plus free reusable shopping bags.

I want to first start by telling you of the opening conversation with myself and the young cashier. He said "Hi, how are you?" Me "Good, how are you" Him "Good and you?" I just thought it was slightly amusing. Then as he was scanning my coupons he called me a coupon warrior. That's a first..ha!

Oikos greek yogurt was on sale last week from $2.49 to 1.00. My store only had 3 kinds, plain (bleck), vanilla and strawberry. I was only able to get 8 because they didn't have enough in stock, so I got a rain check. Yesterday I used the rain check and got 32 more for free with my $1.00 off coupons. So in all, I got 40 of them for free.

Motts was the first dollar days deal I got. Their juice was 2/4, buy 5 and get $5.00 off your next shopping trip. I got 6 for $12.00 minus the $5 off my next trip = 6 juices for $7.00 plus a free bag.

Lysol toilet bowl cleaner on sale 2/4. I had coupons for .75 off each making them .50 each. I checked them out in 2 batches of 5 so I could get 2 dollar days deals with them. In all I got 10 for $5.00 and got $10.00 to use on my next order and 2 free bags. They paid me 5 bucks to take the cleaner and bags!

Green Works cleaners on sale 2/5. I got 3 dish soap and 2 all purpose cleaner minus my .50 off coupons, making them $1.50 each. Then I got $5.00 off my next shopping trip plus a free bag making them .50 each.

Perdue Turkey Meatballs (my favorite) on sale for $2.21 minus my .75 off coupon making them .71 per box. BTW, I used Perdue ShortCuts Chicken coupons on these.

Clorox bleach on sale for $1.69 minus my .50/2 coupon made them $1.19 each, plus a $5.00 off your next order coupon making them .36 each and I got another free bag.

Bounce Dryer Bars on sale for $4.00 each minus my $1.50 off coupons made them $2.50 each. Then I got a $5.00 off my next order for a total of $1.50 each.

In all I got $160.27 worth of groceries for $60.58, a savings of 62%!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

High Speed and a Shiny New Laptop!

So here on my road (you'd think I was in the middle of absolute nowhere!) we JUST got hooked up to cable last week..right in the middle of our blizzard. If you've recently switched from dial up to cable internet, you know exactly how my family and I feel. I can say honestly that it used to take me 20 minutes or more to upload ONE photo to the internet! I'll admit that we've been a little obsessive since it's so new to us. It still feels strange when I'm on the internet and the phone rings.

Anyway, we're elated and I can't wait to get my projects started that required high speed internet. I've stumbled upon digital scrapbooking and I'm looking forward to trying it out. I've always loved the way a well-put-together scrapbook page looks but lets face it, scrapbooking can be ridiculously expensive! Never mind storing all the tools, glues, marking pens, paper, embellishments...the list goes on and on I'm sure.

One of the things I need to get started in my new endeavour is a better laptop. I'm working on a laptop that was given to my son by his Aunt Heidi and it's good for surfing the internet and whatnot, but isn't good enough for the programs I want like Photoshop. husband being a LAN tech, helped me pick out a new one on a budget.

I searched for days and days and went from buying refurbished with only a 90 day warranty to getting a really good deal from I'm very excited to get my new one. Anyone looking for a good laptop for the money check out this deal from OfficeDepot.

Who knows? Maybe I'll start blog design!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


My car during the heaviest part of the storm.

Our clothesline in our back yard.

My car the day after.

Across the street from my house.
We got a total of 14 1/2 inches for this round. We have another 10-20 inches on its way tonight and tomorrow. I love it! As long as we don't have to go gets closed, the kids AND the hubby get to stay home and I don't work so we get to stay home and enjoy the beauty of winter.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Al's Big Buys 2009 End Report

This is a little late but better late than never. I'm lovingly known as the coupon queen by several of my friends and my family. I stumbled upon it by accident one day while browsing EBay. I had always wanted to coupon but there were so many each week in the paper that were worthless to me so I never really did it. Until that one day.

What I do, basically, is on Friday's my local grocery store posts sales for the following week. I pull their circular up in one tab and EBay in another and compare sales to coupons available. YES, I buy coupons. In future posts I'll give you little tips that you can try that have worked for me.

So last year I decided to start saving my receipts from this store to keep track of how much I've actually saved. I don't have 100% of my receipts but probably 90%. Keep in mind when you see the numbers that I'm feeding a family of 5, 4 of them being male who are hungry all the time, and 2 dogs. I consider this part of my "job" as a stay at home mom.

I probably spent around $300-400 on coupons but they saved me a WHOPPING $4254.71! I got $8871.18 worth of groceries for $4616.47. I think that's awesome! I could probably not shop for 6 months and not run out of any toiletries, frozen veggies, cereal, paper products, spaghetti sauce, canned stock, and many more items.

I get very excited on Friday afternoon's when the circular posts and look forward to all the money I'll save this year!

Monday, January 25, 2010

My 4 Month Hiatus

I'm not sure why it's been so long since I last posted. So much has happened and I've had many perfect things to write about.

Anyway, I'm back. I decided that if nothing else, my children might enjoy reading these in the years to come. I've missed reading posts of my favorite bloggers. I get incredibly inspired by many of you, thank you.

Til tomorrow....