Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Favorite Recipe: Corn Casserole

Also called corn pudding, corn spoonbread, or even corn cake, this recipe has been a favorite, often showing up at extended family potlucks!

Mix together dry ingredients* and set aside:

1 cup bread flour (or all-purpose flour)
1 cup yellow cornmeal
4 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

In another mixing bowl, mix together:

1 can (15 to 16-oz) whole-kernel corn (undrained)
1 can (15 to 16-oz) creamed corn
3 eggs
½ cup corn oil
½ cup (melted) butter
1 cup plain yogurt (or sour cream)*

Combine dry and wet ingredients. Mix well. Pour into ungreased 1.5-liter (1.5-quart) glass bread pan (or casserole dish) and bake at 350 degrees F for at least one hour – until firm and top is golden brown. (May take longer than one hour.)
Awesome as left-overs, too!

Enjoy! (We surely do!)
*Frugal Notes:
  • The original recipe calls for Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix. My dry-ingredients substitution has worked marvelously – and will undoubtedly continue to serve us well in other areas of the world where Jiffy Mix doesn’t even exist!
  • I regularly substitute plain yogurt for sour cream – with great success!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Educational Freebies from Little Learning Lovies

Little Learning Lovies is offering some great educational freebies right now.

Two of my favorites are:

FREE -- PreWriting Set 1 -- PreK --- SAMPLE
pre-writing fun for my eager "K-2" student

FREE SAMPLER - Addition Clip Cards -- Farm Theme
fun addition practice for my rising 2nd grader

Download these and more -- totally free -- at Little Learning Lovies! (On the home page, go to "Free" in the left column.)
Don’t forget to enter the $50 giveaway, ending tonight, March 29, at midnight! Click here for complete details.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Little Learning Lovies: April Packs over 70% off!

Beginning in April, Little Learning Lovies will be introducing a new set of monthly packs, each centered on a particular theme. All products contained in each “Lovie Pack” will be brand new, never-before-released games and activities. You’ll be able to purchase each pack for only $14 – but their retail value will always be $20 or more and contain at least eight different games and activities!
Here’s the exciting news for all us Bargain Hunters: To start off this project with a bang, Little Learning Lovies is offering the option for you to pre-purchase the April Pack(s) for over 60% off!
I’m personally very excited about April’s “Farm Time” theme in both the “PreK to Grade 1” and “Grades 1 to 3” Packs. Click on the farm picture above to get a sneak-peek of some of the games and activities included in the April Pack.
Now through March 31, you can pre-purchase the packs for only $8.50 each. Or do as I did and buy both the Little Lovies and Tiny Lovies Packs for only $12 – i.e. only $6.00 each!
Plus, I’m especially excited to offer coupon code b1g1 (all lowercase) to the readers of this blog, so you all can get an extra 10% discount! But don’t wait – these offers are valid only through March 31.
Happy shopping – and learning!
And don’t forget to enter the $50 giveaway, ending on March 29. Click here for complete details!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Today: FREE Italian Ice at Rita’s!

Happy “official” First Day of Spring!
Stop by Rita’s to celebrate with a FREE 10-oz cup of Italian Ice!

(You can read details in an earlier post, including a link to join Rita’s Birthday Club!)
We went mid-morning – and even saw a local news channel taping the event!


Monday, March 18, 2013

Intro to "Little Learning Lovies" & Giveaway!

Very recently, I learned about Little Learning Lovies, and I'm excited about the wealth of material available on the site, especially for pre-K through 3rd grade!

Little Learning Lovies (an online store with its accompanying blog) is run by a mother, teacher, and homeschooler to four daughters who (in her own words) "do a great job of keeping her creatively inspired."

Little Learning Lovies :: Where Love and Learning Live Together!
Often, products are offered for free in downloadable form. (Downloadable, instead of printed, material in my opinion is especially helpful for those living overseas!) And you can keep up with special offers and other news via the Little Learning Lovies Blog.
New material is constantly being added, so you'll want to check often. You can even request that material on specific subjects be created! How's that for service?
I'm very excited to tell you about a great giveaway today: Enter via the Rafflecopter form (below) for an opportunity to win $50 to spend at Little Learning Lovies!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The giveaway ends at midnight on 03/29.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Counting Apples Printable Set (60 pages) FREE!

We’ve been taking an eclectic approach to teaching our toddler some pre-school basics. In reality, his best teacher is his “Best Big Sister” – who, incidentally, says she wants to be a K-2 teacher when she grows up! That said, we’re constantly amazed at what our Little Man picks up as he listens in on what his sister is learning, finishing first grade and starting second.
We’ve worked a little on numbers and counting, so I was especially excited to find this counting freebie!

You can get the Counting Apples Printable Set (60 pages) free by using coupon code freehomeschooldeals. This offer is valid through March 20, 2013.
You can read all the details over at Free Homeschool Deals.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

"Here We Grow Again!" Consignment Sale

It’s almost spring – and spring and summer consignment sales are underway. We’ve learned to dress our whole family for (a lot!) less by shopping at consignment sales – and by consigning clothes, too!
If you live in the Upstate, you can check out the semi-annual "Here We Grow Again" Consignment Sale, going on this week and next. Doors will open to the public on Friday, March 15, at 9:00 a.m. (That’s tomorrow morning!)
We love this sale! We’ve had great success dressing our children – in quality clothes – for great prices. And I’ve learned over the past three years that name-brand clothes tend to wear, and wash (and resist stains!), and keep so that I can re-sell them – and so savings really get multiplied!

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

If you don’t live in the Upstate, I still have good shopping news for you: Check out an earlier post for tips on Saving on Clothes – including tips for saving by shopping online!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

FREE Italian Ice at Rita's – on 03/20

Mark your calendars: The official First Day of Spring is only one week away. Stop by Rita's to celebrate with a free Italian Ice!
On Wednesday, 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!
Happy Spring!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

DIY: A Simple Resurrection Object Lesson

Resurrection Sunday is just around the corner!
Three years ago, I posted A Simple Resurrection Object Lesson – a truly simple, Do-It-Yourself project that can help make the true meaning of Easter come alive for little ones as they participate in telling the story of Jesus’ Resurrection!

Click on this link to read all the details!


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Scotch Thermal Laminator: now only $29.78 at Amazon!

The Scotch Thermal Laminator 2 Roller System (TL901) is on sale (for 63% off!) at – for only $29.78 (originally $80.49)!
Right now, the Scotch Thermal Laminator rates “#1 Best Seller” in Office Presentation Laminators (with 734 customer reviews).
This is a great tool for teachers or those who do crafts or work projects requiring laminating – like missionary teachers!
There are also discounted prices right now on the Scotch Thermal Laminating Pouches that go with this device:

100-Pack Scotch Thermal Laminating Pouches (8.9 x 11.4 inches)
Perfect for 8.5x11-inch papers & 8x10-inch photos!
Right now, $16.50 (usually $24.68)
Perfect for 5x7-inch photos!
Right now, $3.97 (usually $5.63)

20-Pack Scotch Thermal Laminating Pouches (4.37 x 6.06 inches)
Perfect for 4x6-inch photos!
Right now, only $4.88

Choose the Super Saver Shipping option at check-out and save even more!
You’ll want to act fast to take advantage of this great deal, keeping in mind that Amazon prices tend to change.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Recipe for Greens & Rice Casserole (Modified)

I recently modified the recipe for the Greens and Rice Casserole, using one pound of fresh spinach I had frozen and adding grated carrot. We were pleased with the results!

This really does make a great meatless meal!
I also cut the original recipe in half:

1½ cups frozen spinach, cooked (measured after cooking, not before)*
1½ tsp dried onion
¼ tsp “Mrs. Dash” seasoning (optional)
½ cup carrot, grated
1½ cups cooked whole-grain rice (measured after cooking, not before)
1½ cups shredded cheese (1 cup medium cheddar + ½ cup mozzarella)
½ cup “broth” from cooking the spinach
3 eggs, beaten
½ tsp salt (optional)
*One pound of fresh spinach equals approximately 1½ cups cooked. I used Taylor Farms Organic Baby Spinach from Sam’s Club. (Definitely great quality!)

In a small saucepan, cook the frozen (or fresh) spinach in about one cup of water until tender. Reserve at least ½ cup of the “broth” for baking. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Pour into an oiled 8x11-inch (or 9x13-inch) baking dish.
Bake at 325 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, until set in the middle. (Test with a fork.)

  • I sprinkle a generous portion of extra (mozzarella) cheese on top!
  • Next time, I plan to increase the grated carrot to one whole cup.
  • I’m still hoping to try this recipe with chopped or grated zucchini instead of greens...

Friday, January 18, 2013

Amazon Mom Appreciation Event

If you haven’t already done so, now is a good time to join Amazon Mom so you can take advantage of the Amazon Mom Appreciation Event:
The Amazon Mom Appreciation Event is an exclusive 20% off promo code: BABY2013 good for savings on thousands of eligible baby products in select colors and styles, for up to $100 in total savings.
Qualifying Amazon Mom members can use the code on eligible items from January 18, 2013 until 11:59 PM PST February 1, 2013. To shop the event, simply add qualifying baby products in select colors and styles to your shopping cart on or before February 1, 2013, and then enter promo code BABY2013 at checkout to apply the discount.
Do note that if you join Amazon Mom or Amazon Prime after this promotion has started on January 18, 2013, you will need to wait 24 hours for the promo code to become active.
You can learn more about Amazon Mom via this link.

ThredUp: $10 off your first order – until 01/21!

In yesterday’s post (Saving: On Clothes) I mentioned ThredUp, my favorite online consignment site.

Well, ThredUp has extended their latest offer until Monday, January 21. New customers get $10 off their first order by using coupon code SAVE10 at checkout.
Prices start at $2.99 per item, so you should be able to get as many as three items for around $6.95, which is the flat rate for shipping. (Or shipping is free with orders of $40 or more.)
ThredUp is an online consignment sale, offering gently-used brand-name kids clothing for very good prices. Many are even NWT: New With Tags! 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...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Saving: On Clothes

Go shopping for clothes and save money – and time!
Can that happen? We think so! And I’m sharing ways we’ve been able to save (a lot!) when buying clothes, especially for the kids.
I now (almost exclusively) shop at seasonal consignment sales. Our favorites are:
I’ve also shopped at WeeCycled Wear once and was very pleased with my finds.
These sales are well-organized. (I’ve even gotten my dear hubby to go with me!) And we’ve found great (name-brand!) clothes for the whole family. The links above are for sales in my area, now gearing up for spring and summer clothes sales in the next month or so. If you don’t live in the Upstate, do a quick “Google” search for local consignment sales in your area.
If the dates for the seasonal sales don’t coordinate with our (travel) schedule, I shop at local consignment shops. My favorites are:
Again, the links are for sales in my area, but do a quick online search for similar shops in your area. Or ask other moms at church, etc. That’s how I found out about Kids & More!
I shop online to “fill in gaps” for items still needed but not found at consignment sales or shops. My favorite online consignment site is:
Right now (through January 18 extended through January 21!) use coupon code SAVE10 at check-out to get $10 off your first order at ThredUp!
Whenever possible I shop through either Ebates or ShopAtHome to get a percentage of cash back. Every little bit really does add up! I’m currently expecting over $30 in cash back from ShopAtHome and about $7 from Ebates. (You can read about Ebates in an earlier post: Get $5 plus a $10 gift card when you place your first order!)
I click through either Ebates or ShopAtHome (whichever is offering a higher percentage of cash back) when I shop online end-of-the-season clearance sales, especially at The Children’s Place and Gymboree.* These are typically quality clothes that wear (and resell!) well. I’ve found clearance sales to be a great way to shop ahead for birthdays, too. Just this past summer I found Olympic t-shirts for the nephews for an average of $2 to $3 each! And I’m excited that online-clearance-sale-shopping-for-birthdays is something I’ll still be able to do when living out of the country!
*Clearance at Gymboree is especially good when you can pair sales with GymBucks, and The Children’s Place has recently developed a rewards points program.
You might want to check out the clearance sales going on right now at The Children’s Place and Gymboree!
I shop at outlet malls for items typically not found at second-hand sales (i.e. underclothes and socks).
I include needed clothing items on Christmas and/or birthday wish lists. Admittedly, said lists are right now authored mostly by me, and I can take advantage of the fact that our kids are still too young to object to getting undershirts from grandparents for Christmas!
And some practical tips I’ve picked up along the way...
Before going online or to a sale, make lists of needed items. Then look for items that will coordinate with other items on your lists or with items you already have. I learned this lesson late (as I was “buying ahead” for our move overseas), so I’ve been especially thankful for current online sales that included some child items needed right now!
Unless you’re saving clothes for younger little ones, resell clothes (as your kids outgrow them) through local consignment sales (where you’ll get a higher percentage by doing the tagging yourself) or take them to a local consignment shop (where you’ll get a lower percentage by simply dropping them off). Save and then use the profits to offset future clothing purchases.
Avoid going to the mall to “just look!” This probably goes without saying. And I admit that it’s easy for me to say because I just don’t like going to the mall unless I’m going for a specific purpose (like taking a specific list and going to spend GymBucks I’ve already earned). But avoiding the mall is probably the top way to avoid becoming discontent.
What are your ideas? How do you save when shopping for clothes?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Favorite Recipe: Tomato Bread

An experiment just over three years ago resulted in a favorite recipe for our family: Tomato Bread! (Click the link for the recipe.)
It’s a pleasing pumpkin-color – and is very yummy! (I need to take a picture to post.) I recently (and successfully!) substituted cooked, mashed acorn squash for the pumpkin puree.
I most recently served this bread with Lentil & Ham Soup, and we took the leftover bread as a snack on a recent trip. It’s also great as sandwich bread – just put your imagination to work!

Recipe for Lentil & Ham Soup

Right before Christmas we were given a ham bone. I had lentils on hand so I looked up my recipe for Lentil & Sausage Stew, compared it to a recipe for Split Pea & Ham Soup, and came up with this one! We enjoyed this simple yet hearty soup, served with homemade Tomato Bread.*
I made one huge batch and froze the rest for later. (It freezes well.) The following recipe, paired with homemade bread, easily makes two meals for our family of four. (For a smaller batch, divide the recipe in half.)

3 cups dried lentils
12 cups water
1 Tbsp dried onion
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt (optional)
4 to 8 medium carrots, grated (approx. 2 to 4 cups)
(I like to add lots of veggies!)
1 meaty ham bone

Rinse and drain lentils. Put lentils and water in a large pot and bring to a simmer. (Add onion, thyme, and salt.) Add ham bone and then cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until lentils are tender and ham is “falling off” the bone. Remove the bone and chop (or break up ham pieces to desired size). Add grated carrots and simmer 15 minutes more before serving.

Garnish with freshly ground pepper, freshly grated carrot, etc.

(Yields approximately ten 1-cup servings.)

*Tomato Bread pairs perfectly with this soup!