21 Easy Tips to Saving Money

There is definitely a sense of satisfaction from going to the store with nothing but a few dollars and a handful of coupons and coming home with a sack full of stuff:)   Sometimes I even have more coupons than groceries!  Playing the “coupon game” is a fun challenge with some great benefits.  For Russell and I it’s allowed us a little more freedom in our budget to do fun activities with the kiddos.  It’s also allowed us to share our savings and blessing with others.  We’ve been able to take some of our savings and donate to our local food bank.  The great thing about using the couponing technique is we can give so much more.  It’s a great feeling.  If your interested in learning how to save on your shopping experience, check out our links below and give it a try!   Who knows…you might look this excited the next time you grocery shop:)DSC_0168_edited-1

Kroger mega event savings
Budget strategies for saving meat
Amazon Prime is it worth it?
Grocery Sale Cycle
Shopping like a pro at Target
Frugal club bargains
How to save money when eating out
Bidding on Hotels and Priceline
Frugal Family Fun
How to Save 50% on Groceries
Photo Deals
Free Books!!!
Cheap Airfare
A Word about Thrift Shops
27 ways to make your Groceries last as long as possible
Remodeling on a Budget
Strategic Shopping
Diaper Deals
Online Coupon Codes
Groupon Deals and Savings
Kohl’s Rewards

 

Frugal DIY Teacher Appreciation Gifts

Next week is Teacher appreciation week at the kiddos schools and we wanted to post a few of our favorites from the past years we’ve done.  It’s always exciting to find cute frugal gift ideas for the those special teachers who shape the minds of our children.  There really are no words to express gratitude for all they do.  So don’t forget to send a note or gift of appreciation to the teachers in your life.

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Magnet Board 3

Homemade Magnet Fabric Bulletin Board

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Color My World Thank You Gift

M&M

M&M Teacher Appreciation gift

photo(142)Brownie and Cookie Mixesfinished crossHomemade Cross20130710-194931.jpgMod Podge Photos (on Canvas)
Do you have any you want to share? We would love to hear about them!

Resurrection Rolls

I wanted to write a quick post for you who are looking for a great Easter recipe to do with the kiddos.  I found this recipe last year and plan on making these a part of our Easter tradition.  As we make them, we talk about the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!DSC02742

Ingredients needed:
Crescent rolls
Melted butter
Large Marshmallows
Cinnamon
Sugar

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Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.  Give each child one triangle of crescent rolls.  Explain that the crescent roll represents the cloth that Jesus was wrapped in.
Read Matthew 27: 57-61.DSC02730
Give each child a marshmallow.  This represents Jesus.  Have him/her dip the marshmallow in melted butter.  This represents the oils of embalming.  Then dip the buttered marshmallow in the cinnamon and sugar.  This represents the spices used to anoint the body.  Then wrap up the coated marshmallow tightly in the crescent roll (not like a typical crescent roll up, but bring the sides up and seal the marshmallow inside.)  This represents the wrapping of Jesus’ body after death.

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Place all in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove rolls from oven and let them cool slightly.

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Now the kiddos can then open their rolls (cloths) and discover that Jesus is no longer there! HE IS RISEN!!!! (The marshmallow melts and the crescent roll is puffed up, but empty.)  ~ Now read Matthew 28:1-10DSC02741
Enjoy your warm rolls as you rejoice at the good news of Easter!

Cheeseburger Casserole

This recipe was adapted from Paula Dean and  it was super easy.  (A great one to do with your kiddos)  My three gobbled this up, and Russell and I thought it was pretty darn good – and will certainly make this again.  I’m sure you can have fun with this and add your favorite toppings.  I added corn because it sounded good.  This is even better the next day!

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1 lb. ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 (28-oz.) can chopped tomatoes, with juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces wide egg noodles
Cooking spray
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, cook the ground beef over medium heat, stirring to break up the lumps, until all of the pink is gone from the meat.  Add the onion and the green pepper, (I cut them into very small pieces so my kiddos don’t see them:) and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

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Add the tomatoes, with juice, and the Worcestershire sauce, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to low. Simmer the mixture for about 15 minutes.

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Fill medium pot half full of water. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Bring the water to a boil. Stir in the noodles and boil for about 8 minutes, until tender.  Return the noodles to the pot. Pour the tomato mixture over the noodles and stir until blended.  Put the noodle mixture into a baking dish that you have sprayed with cooking spray. Top with cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Enjoy! 

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Easy Cheesy Spaghetti Casserole

Simple Whole Roasted Chicken

I found this recipe in my all recipes magazine and it looked so good.   What I like most about making recipes like this is you can eat it throughout the week.  I made a chicken salad for lunch one day and used the rest in our favorite Chicken and Noodles over Mashed Potatoes.   I found the whole chicken on sale at Market Street for .88 cents a lb. and couldn’t wait to give this a try.  It was CRAZY good!

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2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (4 pound whole chicken
5 cloves garlic, crushed

In a bowl, mix the salt, sugar, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Rub the chicken with the mixture. Cover chicken, and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Stuff the chicken cavity with the garlic. Place the chicken, breast side down, on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce heat to 450 degrees, and continue roasting 15 minutes. Baste chicken with pan drippings,(I forgot to do this and it was still good) reduce heat to 425 degrees F, and continue roasting 30 minutes, to an internal temperature of 180 degrees. Let stand 20 minutes before serving.

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If you like this recipe, you might like these!

Whole Chicken Crock Pot

Chicken and Dumplings

Creamy Chicken Primavera Bake

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

Freezer Friendly Creamy Chicken Casserole

 

Washing Soda

Yesterday I went to Wal-Mart with the intention of picking up a box of washing soda to make some detergent. I went to my usual spot and mindlessly grabbed this box. OOPS…..

20140224-195810.jpgWhen I got home I realized I had grabbed the wrong box. I ended up with a massive box of good old baking soda. Seriously? I was determined not to be discouraged. I remembered  reading a post a while back about how you can cook baking soda to make washing soda. So that’s what I did. It was awesome!!

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I measured 2 cups of baking soda and spread it thin over a baking sheet. You don’t want to pile it on, keep it as a thin layer. The key to converting the baking soda is to evaporate the water. There is a lot of chemistry involved but that is the bottom line!  The thicker you pile on your soda, the longer it will have to cook to get rid of the water.

Set your oven to 450 degrees. Cook the soda for about an hour, turning with a spatula every 10 minutes.

20140224-195818.jpgYou will notice a difference in the texture when it is ready. It will be dull and have a very fine texture.  You can store it or use it right away to make all kinds of detergents. (Like this one, and this one and this one!!!)

 

Copycat Sonic Red Velvet Molten Cake

 

red velvetDuring Valentines this year Sonic had this beautiful, calorie filled Red Velvet molten cake. Oh. My. Gosh. It was amazing…..and Inspiring. Before I took the last bite, I was determined to copy the recipe. I was NOT waiting an entire year to experience this dessert.

I dug up an old recipe for red velvet cake and went for it! Here is what you need:

FOR THE CAKE

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 TBS cocoa powder

1/2 cup melted butter

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup milk

2 eggs

1 tsp red food coloring (My cake was NOT deep red like most red velvet cake, but I just couldn’t bring myself to put in the 2 TBS of coloring that was called for in this recipe. It still tasted amazing!)

2 tsp water

1 tsp white vinegar

Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Syrup

Vanilla Ice Cream

Whipped Topping

 

FOR THE CUPCAKES:

Sift together the flour, sugar, soda,cocoa and salt. Set aside

With an electric mixer, combine softened butter, oil, milk, eggs, food coloring, water and vinegar. Slowly add the dry ingredients. Mix on medium for 2 minutes.

Place baking cups in a muffin tin and fill each one about 3/4 of the way up with batter.  Bake on 350 for 18-20 minutes.

While that is baking, make the cream cheese frosting.

Once our cupcakes cool, you are ready to go!

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I put my cream cheese frosting in a piping bag to make it pretty. If you don’t have one, you can just spread it on the plate with a knife.

 

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Place your cupcake upside down on top of the frosting.

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Pour some of your chocolate syrup on the top.

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Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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Finish with a dollop of Whipped topping. (OK, so I didn’t put the cherry on top. I don’t like cherries…they remind me of cough syrup. I know, I am weird. For all of you normal people out there, a cherry would be a nice addition.)

ENJOY! 🙂

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