Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sharing a Favorite Cookie Recipe!

Were doing some baking today, with the idea of emphasizing giving this Christmas. Were starting with a favorite family recipe, posted earlier on this blog.


We like these because they taste good and because theyre good for us or at least better than most cookies can be!

Friday, December 14, 2012

ThredUp: $15 credit for new users – today only!

ThredUp’s great offer is back – today only!

Today is a great day to start using ThredUp, if you haven’t signed up yet. First-time users get $15 off their purchase today only! (That’s instead of the regular $10 credit for first-time users.) Sign up via this link and use promo code HOLIDAY15 during check-out.

ThredUp is an online consignment sale, offering gently-used brand-name kids clothing for amazingly low prices. If you’re new to the site, keep in mind that inventory changes constantly; you’ll want to check back often to see what’s been newly added!

I’ve personally been very pleased with items I’ve ordered through ThredUp. It’s been a great way to fill in gaps in my children’s wardrobes. I’ve even gotten several items new with tags – at 70% off!

If you’re not new to ThredUp, you can still get a good deal with free shipping – today only! Use promo code HOLIDAYSHIP at check-out. (Normally, there’s a $6.95 flat shipping rate – or shipping is free with orders of $40 or more.)

What are you waiting for?!

(You can read more about ThredUp in an earlier post.)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cardboard & Paper Nativity Set

For years we’ve been concerned that our little people learn to give at Christmas instead of focusing on getting. Our “giving” ideas have included drawing pictures and baking cookies for extended family. So, we’re especially excited about this year’s project, highlighting the Reason for the Season:

Cardboard & Paper Nativity Set!

You can likely make this set with materials already on hand:
  • TP rolls (Yep! That means “toilet paper” rolls!)
  • construction paper (or other colored paper)
  • wrapping tissue (the kind that “fills” gift bags)
    (You could also use fabric scraps.)
  • colored pencils (or markers)
  • scissors
  • glue & tape
We used TP rolls of various sizes. (You could also use paper towel rolls, cut to desired lengths.)

To make the baby, cut a TP roll in half and then in half again and tape the new, small roll closed:

Draw “faces” on paper and trim to fit. Color the features and glue the faces on the cardboard rolls:

Wrap the baby in white wrapping tissue and fold long end back:

Trim paper “tunics” and “head-dresses” to fit Mary and Joseph. Attach the “clothes” with glue:

For the manger, cut a cardboard roll lengthwise and trim to desired length. Cut along the upper edges to give the look of straw:

Making this set can give great cutting, gluing, taping, and coloring practice to young students, too.

We’re working on a more elaborate version for one family member who collects Nativities. (We’re hoping that because she doesn’t use the internet very much, our secret will be safe!) Stay tuned...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Recipe for Chocolate (Spinach!) Smoothies

We have a new favorite snack at our house: “Green” Smoothies, fondly referred to as “oo behpahp” by our two-year-old – his way of trying to say jugo especial (or “special juice” in Spanish). When the Little Man hears the blender, he races into the kitchen, exclaiming: “Oo behpahp! Oo behpahp!”
Our favorite is the Chocolate Spinach Variety. The “recipe” makes about four 1-cup servings and can be easily modified:
1 or 2 medium bananas (preferably frozen)
handful of fresh spinach leaves (I put in plenty: about 1 cup!)
1 Tbsp olive oil (to add a creamy texture)
1 to 2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract (important to help bring out the natural sweetness of the bananas)
1 to 2 Tbsp honey
1 cup plain yogurt
½ cup almond milk (or whole milk)
6 to 8 ice cubes (optional)
Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Using our Ninja Blender, we pulse a dozen or so times and then blend continuously for about 30 seconds.

This is a wonderful way to get little people to eat raw spinach! Our first-grader wants to try out the recipe on unsuspecting cousins: If you don’t know you’re getting a spinach smoothie, you’d probably have a hard time guessing it’s a main ingredient!

Ebates: Get $5 credit & a $10 gift card!

Have you signed up for Ebates yet?
Ebates is a great way to get cash back for shopping you’re already doing anyway – and there are currently lots of online sales with the holidays fast-approaching...
If you sign up right now, you can choose a bonus $10 gift card (to Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, or Macy’s). That’s in addition to the $5 credit you get for signing up.

I know Ebates works. I chose the $10 Target gift card when I first signed up. I’ve also gotten a “cash back” check and have another one pending – for shopping I was doing anyway! Those percentages “back” really do add up little by little...
You can sign up by clicking this link!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

ThredUp: $15 Credit Extended Today!

ThredUp (an online consignment sale, offering gently-used brand-name kids clothing for amazingly low prices) has extended yesterday’s Cyber Monday offer one more day! First-time shoppers get a $15 credit! (That’s instead of the regular $10 credit for first-time users.) Sign up via this link and use promo code CYBER15 during check-out to get the $15 credit.
Since yesterday, I learned that the $15 credit cannot be applied toward shipping, but there is no required minimum purchase.
You can find a number of items priced from $2.00 to $4.00 on ThredUp, so you should be able to get as many as three items for around $6.95, which is the flat rate for shipping.
You can read more about this deal in yesterday’s post.

Monday, November 26, 2012

ThredUp: $15 off for new users today only!

Today, Cyber Monday, is a great day to start using ThredUp, if you haven’t already. On Cyber Monday, first-time users get $15 off their purchase! (That’s instead of the regular $10 credit for first-time users.) Sign up via this link and use promo code CYBER15 during check-out.
ThredUp is an online consignment sale, offering gently-used brand-name kids clothing for amazingly low prices. If you’re new to the site, keep in mind that inventory changes constantly; you’ll want to check back often to see what’s been newly added!
I’ve personally been very pleased with items I’ve ordered through ThredUp. It’s been a great way to fill in gaps in my children’s wardrobes. I’ve even gotten several items new with tags – at 70% off!
Normally, there’s a $6.95 flat shipping rate – or shipping is free with orders of $40 or more. But right now you can get free shipping on your first order by using promo code: SHIPNOV12.

Update: If the site won’t allow more than one promo code, you’ll have to decide between paying for shipping (usually a flat $6.95) or getting only $10 credit (instead of today’s $15) by using this link and promo code SHIPNOV12 to get free shipping.

What are you waiting for?!
(You can read more about ThredUp in an earlier post.)

Friday, November 23, 2012

KitchenAid: $449 Mixer as low as $172

Here’s how you can get the KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer ($449.99 value) for as low as $172:

These are going fast! The seven colors above are available
as of this posting...
The advertised price is: $399.99, but...
  • Use coupon code (CCYT115) to subtract 20% (i.e. $80).
  • Get $90 in Kohl’s cash (for spending $320).
  • Go through ShopAtHome to get 5% back: ($16 = 5% of $320)
  • Submit the KitchenAid rebate and decline the $12 magazine offer (see the fine print) and get $42 back in rebates.
Get the mixer for $172 (plus applicable tax and shipping surcharge of $7.50).
You can also try these options:
  • Use coupon code (BLACKFRI) to subtract 15% (i.e. $60). (You should still get $90 in Kohl’s Cash, i.e. $15 back in Kohl’s Cash for every $50 spent.)
  • Go through Ebates to get 6% back: ($19.20 = 6% of $320)
  • Use a rewards debit or credit card to get even more back and get a better deal.
Thanks to MoneySavingMom for posting!

ING Direct: Open a Checking Account & Make $125

There are certainly ample opportunities for spending on “Black Friday” weekend, but here’s an opportunity to make some money!
I signed up last year, so I know it really works!
You can make $125 when you open a new ING Direct Orange checking account between 11/23 and 11/25.
  • Open the account and make 10 purchases within 45 days with your debit card (which will be mailed to you). You’ll want to deposit enough to make the 10 purchases.
  • Your $125 bonus will be automatically deposited on day 50.
And here’s an opportunity for your children: Each child can make $10 when you open a Kids Savings Account; ING Direct will automatically deposit $10 in each child’s account who is a new customer.
When you open an ING account, email your friends about the deal with a special referral link ING will provide you so you can earn another $100 if two friends open new accounts! (The normal referral bonus is $10, so the extra is part of the Black Friday promotion!)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

ThredUP: online consignment shopping

We love seasonal consignment sales! But finding everything we need – or even that one specific item in just the right size and color to complete an outfit – can be difficult...

Thankfully there’s ThredUP, an online consignment shop I recently discovered. From my experience, this virtual store specializes in top name brands in excellent condition with a wide variety of children’s clothes, currently starting at $3.00!
Right now, ThredUp is celebrating its newly redesigned website by offering customers $5.00 off until Sunday, November 18! Just use promo code SHOP5 at checkout.

In addition, first-time shoppers get a $10 sign-up bonus! So, check it out – and tell your friends. You can get a $10 credit for each friend who signs up through your referral link and makes a purchase.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Starbucks: Buy 1, Get 1 Free Holiday Drinks!

If you’re a Starbucks Fan, you’ll want to put “The Buy One, Share One Event” on your calendar:

Participating stores will give a second beverage of equal or lesser value free when you buy one. This offer is valid from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. on November 15 thru 18.

Thanks, My Frugal Adventures!

Monday, October 29, 2012 FREE $10 e-Gift Card

Until tomorrow (10/30) at midnight, you can get a FREE $10 e-gift card to use on’s website!
Here’s how:
Go to Restaurant.coms page on FaceBook and click the “Like” button.
On this promotion tab you’ll have to fill in basic info (name and email and zipcode).
(OR you can “play the game” and search for it on their timeline! Look for this icon:)
You will get the $10 e-gift card by email within 24 hours.
Gotta love an opportunity to eat out for free (or almost free, depending on what you order)!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Shop at Home!

Have you signed up for Shop at Home? Do it! You’ll be able to check out great coupons, deals, and cash back opportunities!
I’m currently excited about the following deal now available on Shop at Home:

The deal works like this:
You get 24% off one Pampers Cruisers Diapers Super Pack (with the option of Free Store Pickup)!
The current list/website price is: $24.94
The Daily Deal Cash Back Reward is: $6.00
So, your reduced price is: $18.94 (plus tax)
Plus, you’ll get 3% more back for making this Walmart purchase through Shop at Home! (That’s $0.57 for this purchase.)
Keep shopping through Shop at Home (especially with the holidays approaching!) and watch those little extras add up: Once your cash back reaches $20, you’ll get a check in the mail. If you do some shopping online anyway, those pennies will add up more quickly than you might expect!

Friday, October 26, 2012

“Story Time” at Barnes & Noble

Entries on this blog have ranged from bargains and money-saving tips to product reviews and educational ideas. Because our current life of travel involves what I like to refer to as “road-schooling” I plan from time to time to post about adventures we enjoy along the way – especially when those experiences involve bargains and freebies!
This past summer our Little Lady participated in a reading program sponsored by Barnes & Noble – and she was very pleased to choose Fancy Nancy: Fancy Day in Room 1-A as her reward!

She quickly became a Fancy Nancy fan!

When we went to our local store to redeem the book, we discovered that B&N has “story time” – several times per week! As our travel schedule allows we’ve been participating on Thursdays (our day to concentrate on reading in our “road-school” program) and now and then on Tuesdays as well.
The B&N staff members are enthusiastic and energetic in encouraging the children in attendance, making reading fun – and often including a hands-on activity that complements the books read that morning. Crafts have ranged from a simple coloring page to creating a fuzzy sock puppet!
Some of the other excitement we’ve enjoyed has included:
decorating a mask
a surprise visit by Curious George
decorating with autumn themed beads

We also learned about and subsequently signed up for the Barnes & Noble Kids’ Club. It’s free, and there are some nice perks, too:
  • As a “warm welcome to the club” when you join, you get a coupon for 30% off the list price on any one kids’ book or toy.
  • You also get a $5 reward for every $100 you spend on kids’ stuff online and in stores.
  • Your children get coupons for a free cupcake or cookie from the B&N cafĂ© that can be claimed anytime during birthday weeks.
  • You can sign up for monthly email newsletters, featuring even more savings. (So far, I’ve received coupons ranging from an extra 15% to 30% off one item. These can be handy when shopping for books for birthdays!)
You can join the club in store or online.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Consignment Sales!

It’s fall – and fall and winter consignment sales are underway. We’ve learned to dress our little people for (a lot!) less by shopping at consignment sales – and by consigning clothes, too!
If you live in the Greater Greenville area, you can check out the semi-annual "Here We Grow Again" Consignment Sale, going on this week.
We love this sale! We’ve had great success dressing our children – in quality clothes – for great prices. When you consider how well name-brand clothes tend to wear, and wash (and resist stains!), and keep so that you can re-sell them, the savings are really multiplied!

Check the website ("Here We Grow Again" Consignment Sale) for all the details...
And if you don’t live in the Upstate area, I still have good shopping news for you!

ThredUP is an online consignment sale I recently discovered. From my experience, they specialize in top name brands in excellent condition.
ThredUp is currently offering a free $10 credit toward any purchase when you sign up through this link. In addition, you can use code SHIPOCT12 to get free shipping on any order!

Right now ThredUP has a variety of children’s clothes priced from $2.00 to $5.00! By using your $10 credit and free shipping code, you can get something free or almost-free!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Recipe for Pasta Frola: A Typical Dessert in my Uruguay

Pasta Frola is a typical merienda (tea time) treat in Uruguay (and neighboring Argentina). Lemon zest and quince jam give this “pastry” a refreshing flavor – and the lattice top makes an inviting presentation.

½ cup sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
11 Tbsp (150 grams) butter
½ tsp vanilla
½ tsp lemon peel, finely grated [You can substitute orange zest.]
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup dulce de membrillo (quince jam) [You can substitute raspberry jam or strawberry jam.]
1 Tbsp water
Cream together sugar, egg, egg yolk, and butter. Add vanilla and lemon peel (or orange zest).
Mix well.
Add flour and baking powder.
Mix well.
Reserve one-third of dough for decorative lattice top. Spread remaining two-thirds of dough in 8x8-inch glass baking pan.
Beat dulce de membrillo (or jam) and water with a fork until smooth. Spread on top of dough in pan.
Lightly flour and then roll out strips of pastry and lay in crisscross pattern on top of jam. [Because the dough is delicate and rather hard to handle, I laid out strips in one direction and then gave only the appearance of a lattice, “cutting and pasting” strips instead of actually going under the first rows of strips.]
Bake at 375F for 25 to 35 minutes.

¡Buen provecho! (Enjoy!)
(I used raspberry jam this time.)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Goin' Bananas!

We were recently given a huge bag full of very ripe bananas! They were perfect for baking, but there wasn't time in my schedule to make up a huge batch of banana bread in one sitting. So, I made several batches of banana puree to freeze and use as needed instead.

I started by peeling and cutting the bananas and putting them in the blender. (Ten to twelve medium bananas fit at one time.)

I used our Euro-Pro Ninja Master Prep Blender and Food Processor. Because it has double blades, I didn't have to add any liquid to help the blending, although I did add one tablespoon of lime juice per batch (to keep the bananas from turning brown).

It's a great tool for healthy eating and saving!

Using a measuring cup, I divided the banana puree into one-cup and one-and-a-half cup containers. I also froze some puree for snacks for our Little (banana-loving!) Man.

Now I can thaw the puree in exact amounts for two of our favorite recipes: Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins and Banana Split Bread!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Here We Grow Again!" Consignment Sale

We dress our little people for (a lot!) less by shopping at consignment sales – and by consigning clothes, too!

Upstate Readers:
Stop by the semi-annual "Here We Grow Again" Consignment Sale, starting next week: Wednesday, February 29 through Saturday, March 3.

We love this sale! We've had great success dressing our children – in quality clothes – for great prices. When you consider how well name-brand clothes tend to wear, and wash (and resist stains!), and keep so that you can re-sell them, the savings are really multiplied!

Check the website ("Here We Grow Again" Consignment Sale) for all the details...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Starbucks Coffee: Target Deal!

There's a great deal on Starbucks Coffee at Target this week!
(Thanks, My Frugal Adventures!)

Buy two bags of Starbucks coffee (11 to 12 oz) – $7.99 each
Get a $5.00 Target gift card
Pay $5.49 per bag (after gift card)

Make the deal even sweeter:
Use two $1.00/1 Starbucks coupon (expires 03/05)
(These were distributed when Starbucks promoted their new Blonde and Medium Roasts and are reportedly still available at some Starbucks locations.)
Pay $4.49 per bag (after gift card and coupons)

You can also "roll" this deal:
Use the gift card from the first transaction to purchase two more bags of coffee – and you'll get another $5.00 gift card!

The Amazon deal on Eight O'Clock Coffee is also still on!

Friday, February 17, 2012

FREE Italian Ice at Rita's – on 03/20

Italian Ice Fans: Mark your calendars!

On Tuesday, March 20, from noon to 9:00 p.m., all open Rita's locations will be celebrating their annual First Day of Spring by giving away 10-oz. cups of Italian Ice – one per guest!

No coupon needed! Just show up!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Cloth-Diapering through Hard Water Issues

We’ve been using cloth diapers (as full-time as travel and follow-up recovery have allowed) on our Little Man for one year now. What do I think? I love ‘em! I love the way they fit! And we’ve experienced very few leaks – and certainly fewer and far less dramatic than with disposables!

There have been challenges, of course, with the biggest to date being the “hard water” issues we encountered last summer (winter, really!)  while living in South America for three months.

Besides the steps I took while still living with hard wateronce I was back in the Upstate with my regular washer and set-up, I subjected the diapers to multiple hot rinses. (We don’t have an HE machine, so “hot” for us means about 120 degrees.)

I was amazed at how “cloudy” the water looked when I first started:

This was the first hot rinse – I hadn't added any detergent.

After each rinse cycle, the following “drum-full” of water looked clearer than its predecessor had. A half dozen or so rinse cycles later, I was finally satisfied that the diapers had been thoroughly rinsed. (I actually ran wash cycles – with no detergent – followed by rinse cycles.)


The end result was that the diapers were much softer and fresher-smelling – leading me to conclude that our theory was correct: The hard water had caused detergent build-up. And I’m very thankful that hot water rinses provided a relatively easy and inexpensive fix!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Eight O'Clock Coffee: Amazon Deal!

My DH loves dark coffee! And the darker, the better!

Right now you can get an amazing deal from
  • The 4-pack is on sale for $16.37 and qualifies for FREE Super Saver Shipping!
  • Select the Subscribe & Save option for an additional 15% off.
    (Remember that Subscribe & Save is flexible! Per, you can change your order status – and even cancel your enrollment – at any time!)
  • Pay only $13.91 (i.e. $3.48 each bag)
Thanks, Jungle Deals & Steals!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Still bargain-shopping...

Though our life of constant travel doesn't lend itself to my posting on this blog nearly as often as I used to do, I still am very much interested in finding good bargains!

Free or almost-free deals at drugstores (especially CVS, Walgreens, and Rite-Aid) are always exciting! And though I no longer post very many specifics on those, there's a lot you can learn if you're new to "CVS-ing" (or bargain-shopping in general) by clicking on my hyperlinks (or labels on the right-hand side of this blog).

Online sales through ebates and Shop at Home are also highlights. For example, I still can't get over how easy it can be to "dress for less" – especially when it comes to children's clothes.

If you live in the Upstate, you may want to check out the "Here We Grow Again!" consignment sale. The dates for the Spring & Summer Sale will be February 29 through March 3. (You can read details on the HWGA blog.)

Cloth diapering (or "CDing" to avid readers of diapering blogs!) has become another great interest of mine, and I plan to continue journaling on that topic. Using cloth may be the single greatest mode of savings for our family – even though our current life of travel isn't always conducive to CDing. (And that's why diaper deals, especially at CVS and Walgreens and Target, are still of great interest to me!)

We've been using cloth diapers for almost exactly one year now, and I'm planning to post another update soon...

Other random deals that excite our family include birthday deals – especially freebies! In fact, we're right now cashing in on some of those...

So, happy bargain-shopping!