Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I was a BIG winner! You could be next!!

So a few weeks ago I told you all about Instant cash, don't remember it here is the post. At that time I hadn't won anything, but that all changed last night. Every week there is a drawing and you get entries based on the number of "tickets" you get from all the surveys you fill out for the week. The drawing is random, and guess whose name was pulled from the hat. Well the title of this post gives that info away, it was ME!! I won $250 and my friend Michelle got a matching prize because she recruited me. So if that doesn't convince you to sign up I don't know what will.I cashed in my prize last night and woke up this morning to 250.00 in my paypal account, doesn't get much better than that. I promise these aren't those 400 question surveys, in fact you can do 5 surveys at a time and they are 3 questions each. It seriously takes about 3 minutes to do them. They are fun! And you can win lots of money, if you are lucky like I was last night. So Thank you Michelle for the referral, and thank you Instant cash for the $$$$$$$$!!!!!! I

If you want to sign up, use my referral code so that if you win, I win too. It is a great way to take care of your friends.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Great Craft ideas for kids

I love Michael's for craft ideas and projects. Occasionally we head in and do a craft in the store, usually it cost $5 for the kit, but you get to leave the mess there which is a plus. Rarely they have free projects and demos as well for the kids, but I haven't seen these much lately. I was just looking to see if they had anything planned for this weekend and instead found these projects to do at home. I haven't looked at them all yet, but I did find this one that is really cute and very cheap to make. Butterflies and Dragonflies!!! We are going to modify them and glue the wings to popsicle sticks instead. We probably won't get them done until tomorrow, so I will get some action shots then. Here is the link.

I am also a huge fan of the Lowe's Build and Grow program. On the 28th I am going to send DJ out w/ the girls to build Yard Mobiles. I figure he is going to need something to keep them busy that weekend, I will be away at a women's retreat. YAY ME!! But the girls love to get out their aprons and eye protection, grab a hammer and build these cute kits. So that will be a great project for them to do together (and a good time for dad to see what I do when I have to take all 3 of them by myself).

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Another alternative to Dishwasher detergent

I have used this recipe as well and I like it a lot for washing dishes. I think the salt adds an abrasive that helps get things clean.

In a plastic container with a firmly fitting lid, mix:
1 cup borax (20-Mule-Team Borax, available in any supermarket)
1 cup baking soda
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup citric acid (available in brewing stores among other places--if you haven't tracked it down yet but must try this formula, use two packets of Lemonade-Flavored Kool-Aid, ONLY lemon, or you'll dye your dishwasher! and ONLY unsweetened Kool-Aid!)
30 drops citrus essential oil--lemon, grapefruit, orange, tangerine, or a mixture
Put all of it in the container, shake it up.
To use, put a tablespoon or so into each cup of your dishwasher. I've found I no longer have to use the scrubbing cycle but can get by fine with the short cycle, thus saving even more money. On average, it looks like this is about 8 cents a load compared with Cascade at 22 cents a load. Compare it with EcoVer or Seventh Generation and it's a steal. I have also started putting some of this in a shaker canister--the one I have we got at a restaurant supply, it's aluminum and was made for popcorn salt. I use it to clean my sink and anything else that I'd normally use Bon Ami on. Works great, and the essential oil makes it smell fantastic.

Cream Soup Base Mix

I made this a while back and it has been such a great thing to keep stocked in the pantry. What an easy and inexpensive alternative to cream soups. I also want to add that I have never found the dried vegetable flakes so I just don't use them, I am sure they would add more flavor, but this is great w/o it.

  • 2 cups instant nonfat dry milk powder
  • 10 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup mashed potato flakes
  • 1/4 cup chicken bouillon granules
  • 2 tablespoons dried vegetable flakes
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper

  1. In a food processor or blender, combine all the ingredients; cover and process until vegetable flakes are finely chopped. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place for up to 1 year.
Editor's Note: Use as a substitute for half a 10-3/4-ounce can of condensed cream of chicken, mushroom or celery soup. For half of a can of soup, in a microwave-safe dish, whisk together 2/3 cup water and 3 tablespoons soup mix. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 2 to 2-1/2 minutes, whisking occasionally. For mushroom soup, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup sauteed sliced mushrooms. For celery soup, add 1/8 teaspoon celery salt or one sauteed sliced or chopped celery rib.

Cleaning to save money and the enviornment!

All those chemicals, they can't be good for us or the enviornment. Plus they cost so much money. Why spend so much money on cleaning supplies when you can use a few basic things and clean your whole house. So what do you need?

Baking soda, Washing soda (also called soda ash or sodium carbonate) vinegar and Borax. I promise you can clean your whole house with those 4 things.

Lets start in the kitchen. Washing dishes in the dishwasher, mix equal parts of baking soda and borax, add 1 Tbls of the mixture to the machine. Put vinegar in the rinse-aid compartment and start 'er up!

Use that same Washing soda and Borax mixture (or use baking soda--Washing soda can be found in the laundry detergent isle) to wash your laundry, 2 Tbls will do the trick. Vinegar makes a great fabric softener. Add it to your downy ball or the fabric softener dispenser of your washing machine. I promise your clothes won't smell like vinegar when they are finished.

Now for the hard stuff. Got soap scum in your bathtub. I have found that the easiest way to get rid of it is to pull on some rubber gloves (my skin is super sensitve) pour a handful of Borax in one hand and rub it all over the tub. The powder does the scrubbing, you are just pushing the stuff around and you can feel where you have or havent been (even w/ the gloves on). When you are finished rinse it all out and spray w/ vinegar to get rid of any water spots. Do the same for any sinks and vinegar is great for shining up the faucets and cleaning mirrors. A spray bottle of vinegar and water also make a great substitute for that daily shower spray.

Back to the kitchen, sprinkle baking soda in the sink and add a little dish soap (like seventh generation) and scrub that around your sink, counter top or stove top to get rid of and greasy grimy buildup. Baking soda followed by a rinse of vinegar will help keep your drains from getting stinky and are also good at breaking up the burnt on food in your oven.

Now to the floors. Want to freshen up your carpet? Sprinkle on baking soda, let it set for a few minutes and then vacuum up, soon the room will be fresh and clean. To mop I swear by adding a cup or so of vinegar to a bucket of hot water, nothing cleans a floor better, and did you know vinegar will kill germs, so feel free to use vinegar and water to wipe down your counter tops and cutting boards.

I guess the only thing left (that I can think of as I write, I am sure I will think of more later) is dusting. Add 1 tsp olive oil to 1/2 c vinegar. Mix in a small bowl and then apply w/ a soft cloth.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Free Science website

So this may be old news for some of you, who knows but I am so excited we found this. S. loves to do science experiments so I was searching for one she could do today and came across this site, and it is FREE to sign up. Of course they also have a version that you can pay for and get more stuff, but you can access a lot just through the free stuff.

If you do one of their experiments you can type in your results and then they will give an explanation for why you saw what you did. And they have online instruction and help available. We will be on this site often I have a feeling. I am so excited! I hope S. is too.

Today we are doing a penny cleaning experiment. On the site they say to use vinegar or lemon juice. We decided to try both of those as well as ketchup and just soapy water. The pennies are soaking now.

After the pennies soaked for about 15 minutes (it was supposed to be 5 but we forgot what time we started them). The picture is kind of hard to see, but well that is ok, that way if you do the experiment we haven't give it all away (hopefully).

On the website you can enter your own results and your own explanation and then find out what the results were supposed to be and why it happened. Then you get a little certificate saying you completed the experiment. Some experiments require a kit, but there are several that do not. I just found another one where you can copper coat a nail so I think we will try that one soon. I will be sure to post about it when we do. :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Answer surveys get chances to win $$$$

Some of the surveys are serious, some are just for fun. But when you play you earn tickets for drawings to win $250 each week. Have I won anything yet? No, but I know people who have, and your odds get better if you get others to sign up under you. So sign up, using this link and you will give me a better chance to win. Oh and if you win, I win too, they will prize match the person who invited you. So once you sign up, invite your friends and increase your chances too. What the heck it is just for fun.

MMMMM, the Pie

So I actually made the pie and even though I didn't think to get pics of the girls helping me stir it up, I did take a pic of the final product (and a few drips from the cooking process--oops).

So the recipe is the in the previous post, but let me give a few tips, all of these came from the recipe review on After cooking the pudding I cooled it in a water bath in the sink for a few minutes, just until it was warm to the touch. Stir all the time to avoid that film that can develop on cooked pudding. After pouring the pudding into the pie shell, I put a piece of saran wrap on the surface of the also to avoid that skin. After it cooled in the fridge I pulled the plastic off and took the pic, and it looks soft, creamy and beautiful. We sampled the spoon when we were done and it is definitely yummy.

Just incase you haven't see the recipe yet. Here is a pic of the ingredients (Pioneer Woman style--gotta love her blog).

Maybe you are wondering what else have we done today. Well the girls decided (after helping me put ice water in the sink to cool the pudding) to see how fast ice would melt. So we did a little experiment. We put one piece of ice on a plate outside and kept one piece on an identical plate inside. While those pieces of ice sat, in a boring old plate, the girls took other pieces of ice and drew on the sidewalk, an activity that is much more fun when it is really hot outside, not so much today. The outside ice melted in 24 minutes while the inside ice was eaten when the outside ice was brought back in. Haha! so much for scientific, LOL, but we did figure it would have taken the inside ice at least an hour to melt since it was still pretty big and only had a small puddle around it.

So now you know what we have been up to. Exciting or not, that is our day. :) I spared you the details of our grocery shopping trip, be thankful for that. :-D

Monday, March 9, 2009

Homemade Chocolate pudding

Oh I have been wanting to make a chocolate pudding pie, FOREVER. And to be honest, boxed pudding just doesn't do it for me, like it did when I was a kid so I started looking for a good homemade recipe. I haven't tried this one yet, but from reading the reviews I can't wait to give it a whirl. And it seems like a very simple recipe, with simple, good ingredients. I found this at After I make this I will be sure to post an update, an maybe for once I will get a picture too. :D


  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 3/4 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. In a saucepan, stir together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt. Place over medium heat, and stir in milk. Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat, and stir in margarine and vanilla. Let cool briefly, and serve warm, or chill in refrigerator until serving.

My poor baby and those darn escalators

Last night we were out and decided to go to Barnes and Noble to use a gift card I have been hogging since before Christmas. I was really hoping to buy myself some books, but well you how it is when your a mother, the kids always end up coming first.

So anyway, we head into B&N and of course someone has to find the potty, which is upstairs (conveniently w/ the kids books). We decide to take the escalator up, even though the girls are all a little scared of them. "1, 2,3 step" and B. steps out but the others stand still (like normal) so I hop on behind B and dad gets the other girls on. First G then S, while he is getting S on, G (she is only 2) loses her balance or tries to step down and takes a header down the escalator steps. The best we could tell she fell 4-5 steps, those hard and very sharp steps w/ the grooves. After I turn to see what happened, I turn back to see R. climbing further ahead of me, which wouldn't have been a big deal except she was reaching out with her hands for the next step. Instinctively, I start to panic and imagine her little fingers getting stuck and I start hollering for her to stand up. UGH, panic mode kicked in, but she stood up and got her hands out of the way just as she reached the top step. My heart almost stopped. So, poor G. is scraped up from head to foot, front to back. She really did a number. Poor dad, feels like a big jerk, scoops her up and takes her straight to the bathroom to look her over. I can hear her in there, "I want mama!" and feel helpless, because the other 2 have headed into the girls bathroom for the potty break that brought us upstairs to begin with. So I follow them in, all the while wanting to hold my baby.

By the time we get out, dad and G are checking out the books and doing just fine. G has a big scrape on the side of her face and lots of bruises this morning, but I think she will survive. But if you are wondering, we took the elevator back down and I spent all but $3 of my gift card on the girls. Next time I am going to B&N by myself.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Some new penny pincher Dinner recipes

Aren't we all looking for ways to keep our grocery bill low and still feed our family hearty meals. Well I have a couple great casserole recipes to share today that will do just that. And are delicious as well. The first one I kind of concocted from a few recipes based on what I happen to have on hand that night. I called it Tater Tot Frittata and if I do say so myself it turned out really good. The second is Cheddar Cheese and chicken casserole, and is a great way to use up leftover chicken and rice.

Tater Tot Frittata

1/2 a bag of Frozen Tater Tots
6 eggs
2 Tbs milk
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c cottage cheese
1/2 c chopped onions (other veggies would be good too, like chopped peppers, spinach, broccoli)
1/2 c cheddar cheese

Preheat oven according to Tater Tot directions (I think mine said 425). Spray a 9x13 pan w/ oil and place tater tots in a single layer. Bake tater tots until done (about 15 min) following package directions (don't forget to gently turn them so they don't stick).
While tater tots bake, saute the veggies to soften.
In a med. size bowl whisk eggs, milk and seasoning together. Stir in cottage cheese and cooked veggies.
When tater tots are cooked pour egg mixture over tots and then top w/ cheddar cheese. Reduce heat to 375 and bake until eggs are completely set, about 20-30 min.

** I will say that you might beable to make this w/o baking the tots first, but I personally like them browned up a bit first. You could also panfry or deep fry them if you prefer, but I don't like to fry them (less fat that way).

Cheddar Cheese and Chicken Casserole

2 c cut up cooked chicken
2 c cooked rice
1/3 c chopped red bell pepper (any color would be ok, red for interest)
1-4oz can of chopped green chilies (optional)
1/2 c sour cream
1 8 oz pkg of Finely shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350

Combine Chicken, rice, pepper, chilies, sour cream and 1/2 of the cheddar cheese. Place in 1-1/2 qt casserole dish.

Bake uncovered 25-30 min. Top w/ remaining cheese before serving.

**this recipe comes from the back of a package of Borden brand cheddar cheese, go to for more recipes.