Refinishing Furniture

I have recently started remodeling and trying to decorate.  Frugal fashion has been my motto.  I want things to look really good and put the smallest dent possible in my pocketbook.

This time around I decided to refinish a dresser that my brother-in-law gave me.  This dresser is over 20 years old and had some wear.  The good thing is that it is solid wood.  It is hard to find furniture that is made like that today.  So I did a Google search and watched some YouTube videos and learned how to white wash.  It was incredibly easy and turned out great!

Here is the before picture:

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As you can see, there are some water spots on the top.  You have to make sure you sand them completely down.  Use a wood grade stand paper.  I am not going to whitewash this part so it needs an even sanding.

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Once the sanding is done, use a damp cloth to clean off any dust.  I used this Minwax Polyshades to refinish the tops.  I have used this before on my bathroom cabinets and it works great!  It has the stain and polyurethane in one easy step.

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Brush it on evenly and let dry completely.  Put on a second coat if necessary.  Doesn’t this look amazing?

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Now for the fun part…..whitewashing!  You need 2 parts paint to 1 part water.  For this I used 2 cups of paint and 1 cup of water.  I dumped it straight in the jar and shook it until it was well mixed.

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Before you start, do a very light sand on the surface you will paint.  You don’t need to sand it deep, use a fine grain paper and just brush it across the entire surface.  You are simply helping the surface accept the paint.

Put a very small amount of paint on the brush.  You can always add more, but it is hard to get it off if you use too much!

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Brush the paint on to the surface and swipe it until it is a light coat across the surface.

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That little amount of paint did  this entire bottom part of the mirror.  Just keep brushing until you get the look you want.  Continue until the entire piece of furniture is complete.

20130819-082642.jpg20130819-082651.jpgThis turned out great!  It looks even better in person. 🙂

Cheap Diapers on Amazon!!!

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I have posted about Amazon in the past.  It is one of my favorite ways to shop….I don’t even have to leave the house!

My babies are no longer in diapers…….YEEEEE HAW!!  About a year before the last time I had to change one, I learned about Amazon Mom.  It is free to join and it saves you 20% on diapers when you “subscribe and save.”  You simply sign up for them to send you a shipment on a regular basis.  (every two weeks, monthly, bi-montly, etc…)  The best part is that before a shipment goes out, they send you a confirmation email letting you know.  If you don’t want the shipment you can just skip it and it doesn’t cost you anything.  You are never obligated to buy any of the diapers.  And the best part……you get free 2 day shipping on diapers and wipes.  No more Wal-Mart runs for diapers 🙂

I found that this was the cheapest way to buy diapers.

This gets even sweeter!  Right now they have a promotion going where you get an extra $25 credit when you purchase certain diapers.  This could mean some FREE diapers for you.  And……if you are going to have to change stinky diapers, free ones are always better!

Here is the link for the promotion:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/mom/signup/info?ie=UTF8&refcust=6IPFLTSND473OEEKB46NAL7AWU&ref_type=generic

Happy Wiping 🙂

Frozen Fruit Smoothies

This frozen fruit smoothie is a regular in our house. It’s yummy and super easy to make.  Of course their are so many variations you can try I originally found this recipe on the Food Network site and adjusted slightly .  I’ve found this one is a favorite among my three kiddos.  We tend to drink more of these during the summer because fresh fruit  is abundant and prices are great.  I slice my bananas and place them on a cookie sheet, freeze them and bag them up (if you use frozen fruits, their is no need to add ice).  If your looking for a great way to freeze your berries check out our recent post on Extending the life of Summer fruits .

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1 frozen banana, peeled and sliced

2 cups frozen strawberries or raspberries

1 cup milk

1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt

1/2 cup freshly squeezed or minute made orange juice

2 to 3 tablespoons honey or to taste or 2 tsp. of sugar or splenda.

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Put all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.  Pour into glasses and serve!  This makes for a great hot summer night treat!

How to Save 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

Texas Pile-On

When I reflect on my childhood days, back when we had to roll the windows up and down with our bare hands, twirling in circles was acceptable and the only password I had to remember was “open sesame”, Sigh…OH TO BE A CHILD AGAIN.

Food has always been the center of our family gatherings.  Some of the best days of my little life were spent surrounded by aunts, uncles and cousins.  We were and still are blessed to have a large family (my dad has seven brothers and sisters) and we were fortunate growing up, to live in the same small West Texas town.   This also meant we shared many of meals together and most of our holidays together.  So what do you feed a small army?  The famous family recipe we call “The McBride Texas Pile-On”.   If you’re looking for the best meal to feed a crowd, this is a recipe you need to stash away. It’s sure to please any crowd and each guest can bring a side.

Black Bean Salad with Corn, Red Peppers, Avocado & Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette

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This recipe was inspired by my sister in law, who brought this over for our Friday night cookout last weekend. It quickly made it to our new summer favorite.  It was DELICIOUS we couldn’t stop eating it!  It’s the perfect dish for summer entertainment and it gets better the longer it sits.  In fact, when you make this salad you want to have plenty of time to let it sit while the flavors meld together.  I have to admit, this salad involves a lot of chopping and takes some time to put together but it’s TOTALLY WORTH IT!  It’s a super frugal recipe for the summer because you can find most of the ingredients on sale SCORE!  Definitely since fresh corn is in during the summer, and if you have a few more minutes go with fresh.

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What you need:
2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
3 ears fresh cooked corn, kernels cut off the cob
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced shallots, from one medium shallot
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
9 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon lime zest (be sure to zest limes before juicing them)
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
2 Hass avocados, chopped

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Combine all ingredients except for avocados in a large bowl and mix well. Cover and chill for a few hours or overnight. Right before serving, add avocados and mix gently, being careful not to mash avocados. Garnish with a more chopped cilantro if desired.  Serve at room temperature in a clear glass bowl and it’s absolutely stunning ENJOY!

Copycat Starbucks Raspberry Swirl Bread

We all love Starbucks, right?  But let’s be honest, those $5 price tags can sure add up quickly.  I recently posted  a wonderful recipe for    Copycat Starbucks Iced Lemon Pound Cake  and after trying their fabulous Raspberry Swirl Bread the other day, of course I wanted to try my hand at making my own.  I’ll will say, it took more time to prepare this delicious bread than I thought but it was totally worth it.  When I thought about all that money I saved  (I even had enough to freeze for later) It made for a sweet and frugalistic deal.
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What you will need for the Raspberry pound cake:
¼ cups Milk
3 whole Eggs
¼ teaspoons Raspberry Extract
1 teaspoon Vanilla
¼ teaspoons Almond Extract
½ cups Raspberries
1-½ cup Cake Flour
¾ cups Sugar
¾ teaspoons Baking Powder
15 Tablespoons Butter, Softened
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Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9×5 loaf pan with non-stick spray.  In a medium sized bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, and raspberry, vanilla and almond extracts. (Raspberry extract is optional but is a great addition if raspberries are not available or are very ripe—it just adds touch of flavor). Set aside.20130717-125620.jpg

Set a mesh strainer over a small bowl. Use a spatula to push and mash the raspberries through the strainer. The seeds and pith will be left behind and the raspberry juice will be in the bowl. Set aside the raspberry juice and discard the seeds and pith.

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Sift flour, sugar and baking soda into the bowl of a stand mixer.Fit mixer with paddle attachment, and turn on low. Add in softened butter and mix on low until the flour/butter mixture has combined. It doesn’t have to be completely smooth, but just make sure majority of flour and butter has been mixed together. Slowly pour the eggs/milk mixture into the stand mixer in a steady stream. Continue to beat on low or medium-low until thoroughly mixed.20130717-124011.jpg

Remove stand mixer bowl from mixer and pour about 1/3 to 1/2 of the batter into a separate bowl. Into the smaller bowl of batter, stir in the raspberry juice.  Alternate pouring the two batters into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing out the batters with a spoon between each addition. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove pan from oven and set it on a wire rack. Let bread rest in the loaf pan for 10-15 minutes, then turn it out of the pan and allow bread to complete cooling.

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Super Moist…

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For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

¼ cups Butter, Softened

¼ cups Cream Cheese, Softened

1 cup Powdered Sugar

In a bowl using a stand or hand mixer, beat together softened butter and cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add in powdered sugar and combine until smooth.  Spread frosting over the top of the cooled pound cake. Let it rest, then slice and serve.  Enjoy!

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