In collaboration with Tide, GE and Coca-Cola, Target stores will give away 1.5 million reusable bags with purchase on April 18, the first day of Earth Week. Their exclusive reusable bag is made from recycled plastic bottles. NOTE: Quantities limited; no rain checks. Limit one per guest. It’s right on their website, if you want to read more about it 🙂
Do you Facebook? Twitter?
A lot of companies are reaching out to people on these media networking sites and offering FREE coupons or promos, exclusively there. Some are instant coupons that you can print off, some are mailed to you.
Just look at this:–>Become a fan of Kraft on Facebook and then you’ll be able to sign up for coupon for a free box or cup of Kraft Cheesy Explosion Macaroni and Cheese. The coupon will be mailed to you within 6-8 weeks.
Is there a company you love but very rarely see a coupon for that item? do a quick search for them and watch their posts for upcoming offers.
Some companies also have special sampling programs like Kraft that has the “First Taste” program. Go to http://www.kraftfirsttaste.com and sign up! It is the best place to get the inside scoop on the latest Kraft products, be one of the first to try them, and tell them what you think…they send you coupons for different products!
In the world of double coupon, many stores make you have a minimum of sales before they start to double for you — FREE coupons let you fill up the minimum total, then they scan your store card, then they take off the double coupons and FREE coupons and you end up spending almost nothing!
Know of any others site for FREE coupons? Feel free to share!
It is OK to have sweets– if they are homemade
When we make things at home, the first ingredient is NOT high fructose corn syrup, it’s good old fashioned sugar! We can use whole wheat flour instead of white, etc.
I made two different snacks yesterday, with Ms Sarah’s help (of course!) By getting the kiddos involved, it does two things for you. 1) creates memories for them that will last a lifetime and 2) save you a few physical steps! You have lots of opportunity to make comments like: yes this will be sweet – but not as sweet as YOU are! (And then steal a kiss!)
First we made “cracker candy”. It’s her job to line the jellyroll pan with the club crackers (you can use saltines or even cheese-its). While she does this, I put a cup of sugar and 2 sticks of butter in the saucepan and stir until bubbly. My hot mixture gets poured over the crackers and then the pan is moved into a preheated, 400* oven for just five minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle about a cup of chocolate chips over and let sit a minute. The heat of the toffee will melt the chocolate and you can spread (frost) it. Sprinkle a few chopped nuts or, in our case, about a fourth of a bag of toffee bits. It should look like the above picture. Pop it in the fridge for an hour or so to cool, then pop out of the pan and break it apart and dig in. I warn you, my husband calls this “candy crack” as he eats it until I take it away and hide it, LOL!
Let’s break down cost:
Crackers – FREE
Butter – $.30 a stick
Sugar – bought on sale with double coupon, I roughly figure I used $.12 of it
Chocolate Chips – FREE
Toffee Chips – FREE
SOOOO, we made the whole pan for under $.50 and it should last at least a week. (As long as my hubby doesn’t find it, LOL)!
Get out that big Tupperware bowl, and dump in 9 cups of Chex cereal- we used Rice Chex!
In a microwave safe dish add 1/2 a stick of butter, 1//2 a cup of peanut butter, 1 cup chocolate chips and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Zap a minute and stir to combine all ingredients. (you might need to zap an additional 30 sec or so).
Pour the mixture over the cereal, cover the bowl and shake it all up! This will coat the cereal evenly with the chocolate mix. FYI -Ms Sarah is an EXCELLENT shaker! Open it up and check, then add a cup of powdered sugar. Seal the bowl and shake again…then pour it onto something where you can spread it out for a bit – I spread it out over two of my large pizza pans.
When it’s cool and looks like my picture, you can put it into the cookie jar or, in our case, smaller, portioned sized Tupperware containers that I can tuck back into the cupboards and just drop in a lunch or picnic bag!
Let’s break down cost:
Chex cereal – FREE after sale price and double coupons
Peanut Butter – $.50 a jar after sale price, coupon and Register Rewards – I used about 1/8 the jar for a cost of $.07
Butter – $.30 a stick and I used $.15
Powdered Sugar – a 2# bag for $1 (not fantastic) and I used about 1/6 of it – $.17
This snack costs under $.50 and made 10 cups worth! HOW it goes in as 9 cups of cereal and comes out 10 cups of treat always cracks me up.
Two yummy treats for just under $1 and in under 30 minutes. My assistant was SO PROUD to take a piece of the candy to her daddy because she helped make it!
What are YOUR favorite treats to make?
I have a little girl and yes, that means she is a fashion junkie! Little people grow so fast that what fit them LAST summer no longer fits THIS summer…everything from sandals to swimsuits needs to be replaced. Granted, stores have sales, but resale events and garage sales are SOOOOO much cheaper!
When your kid is only 3, they grow so fast that things don’t really have time to wear out…so used clothing is usually in pretty decent shape. You can SELL your outgrown items and then take that cash to invest in new things to wear.
This weekend is the Half Pint Resale event in Madison. It is like a children’s consignment store that is only around 2x a year – and just for the weekend. I hang and tag a bunch of Sarah’s outgrown toys and clothes to sell (this year, five bins full!) and refresh her wardrobe with larger sizes.
When you sell something, you are letting the organizers have 25-35% of the purchase price. Keep in mind two things: you can price things higher than you would for a garage sale AND they have a 50% off sale the last few hours of the event.
They all usually have different shopping “times”. The first group is those that volunteer to help during the event, then comes the time for the the people that consign things (sell their stuff),then the general public for two days…that last day, has the 50% sale at the end of it. I usually volunteer so I can get in on the beginning of the sale – where you are getting first crack at everything!
Before you shop, you need to do an inventory. If you don’t know what you have, you can’t possibly know what you need! Check your wardrobe for shorts, T-shirts, dresses, jeans, jackets, raincoat/slicker, sweaters, socks/tights, sandals, dress shoes, etc. What do you need to fill in the holes? Make a list! If you are shopping for shoes, it’s also a great idea to trace your child’s foot on a piece of paper so you can quickly see if the potential new shoe at the sale would be too small (most sales don’t let ya bring the kiddos in).
This time around I was looking for dresses, sandals, black dress shoes, a slicker, and a few T-shirts. I *DID* add a couple of shorts/Capri pants and toys to my final haul. I got 25 pieces of clothing, 2 pairs of shoes, 3 toys and all for under $100! The only thing my daughter needs through Christmas is undies!
When you volunteer, you also get a feel for what the other people price their things at AND if your stuff is selling or not. I already know that my kid’s rocking chair, tricycle and most of the toys have sold…but I might be picking up that pack N play at the end of this weekend…
Enjoy a sampling of what I bought, I will update you with what I got back in my check for selling things – it usually comes about a week after the sale is over.
Some more dresses for church and the red one for the holidays!
A little Gymboree…
Some new swimsuits for the backyard pool this summer…
And a red, perfect condition, Lands End slicker that was only $5!!
Until next time…look around your home, can you turn some of your stash into cash?
Checking out all the sales fliers this week, chicken looks like the big deal. Hyvee has split breasts for $.88 a pound which hands down, beats the other stores!
What to do with chicken? I plan on getting about 20 pounds of it and doing the following:
Make a light breading of flour and seasoning salt. Rinse off 5 pounds of chicken breasts, pat dry, roll in breading and place on baking sheet. Bake at 350 for about an hour. You now have plenty of baked chicken for lunches, picnics or a nice Sunday dinner! Keep in mind, depending on the size, this could be 4-6 breasts as they are bone in. We aren’t talking about 20 breasts cooked and staring at you in the fridge
Bake five pounds of chicken breasts on a jelly roll pan with a little water in the bottom. Cover with foil and bake at 300 degrees for about 2 hours. Remove from oven and let chicken cool. Pull off skin and take a fork, shred chicken off the bone, and put into a Thatsa Bowl. Package in Medium Shallow Vent ‘n Serve container for a meal that feeds 4. Repeat this with another pan of chicken…
Four to five pounds can go in the crock pot/slow cooker and rip on low for 8 hours. Do the same as with the oven, cool and shred! Keep in mind you can do this overnight – so you are prepping family meals while you sleep!
Now, what are you going to do with all that shredded chicken? I already had chicken chili and chicken enchilada recipes on here for you in previous posts…here are a few more ideas:
-For fajita chicken -> 1PKG.taco seasoning to two cups water in a Quick Shake and shake well. Pour ½ cup of liquid over each of four containers of chicken from previous recipe (in vent N Serves). Freeze containers. Pull one container out & zap in a 1½QT. Tupperwave container with one sliced onion and one sliced pepper until meat is warmed up and pepper is tender.
-For chicken taco salad, warm taco chicken and pour over chips, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, sour cream, etc.
-For chicken stroganoff, add chicken to cream of chicken soup and 1 cup of sour cream. Heat in Vent ‘n Serve. Pour over noodles or rice. Add can of mixed vegetables for variety.
-For Chicken Noodle Soup, add a quart of chicken broth, bag of frozen veggies and bag or Reames frozen egg noodles to about 2 cups of meat in a large pot. Add a pinch of marjoram and simmer for about 10 minutes then dig in!
-Biscuit roll-up. Take meat/cheese, egg/cheese, vegetable/cheese or whatever your prefer. Place 1½ TB of mixture between 2 halves of a biscuit. Pinch edges together & bake per biscuit instructions.
-Shredded Chicken w/ BBQ sauce – 1 C ketchup, 1 C BBQ sauce, 1 TB brown sugar, 1 tsp mustard. Pour over shredded chicken.
And one of our favorites…CRANAPPLE CHICKEN
1 can (8 oz.)whole berry cranberry sauce
1 1/2 tsp. butter
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 can (13 1/2 oz.) pineapple tidbits, well drained
2 cups Chicken Mix
Combine cranberry sauce, butter, brown sugar and pineapple. Arrange chicken quarters in 1¾ Tupperwave Casserole. Pour cranberry pineapple sauce over chicken. Place dish in microwave oven and cook 4-6 minutes, Makes 4 servings. Great with Rice!
Any favorite chicken recipes? Please share!
The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,775 groups with 7,090,000 members across the globe. It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer (them’s good people). Membership is free. To sign up, go to our website (http://www.freecycle.org), find your community by entering it into the search box above or by clicking on “Browse Groups” above the search box. Have fun!
Basically, there are four types of posts: Offer, Curb, Pending, Taken.
Offer is when you have something you want to get rid of, you add the name of the item, details and city it’s located in…people reply directly to you and you choose who it goes to.
Curb is when you have something on your curb – like someone who cleaned out a rental unit. Again the name of the item, details and location are mentioned.
Pending is used to let the group know your item is no longer available as a pick up has been arranged.
Taken is used when the item is gone.
I have done some basic “spring cleaning” and gotten rid of stuff that I didn’t want to price/tag for a sale AND I also have really scored! I have gotten books for my daughter (boxes full!), books for me, a cover for our patio set, canning jars, clothes for my daughter and more!
There are also “WANTED” posts — you can post something you are looking for…and see if anyone has it. I had posted that I wanted packing peanuts (dh is selling a few things on Ebay) and had 3 replies real quick, netting 5 garbage bags full!
Occasionally, you will see some new person who doesn’t really “get it” post that they want an IPod, or Wii — this isn’t a form to just stock up on free stuff — it’s a give and take thing. Many will NOT let you have their item if you haven’t freecycled something yourself in the last month or so.
Until next time – check it out and see if there is a group in your neighborhood! It’s like garage sailing but you don’t leave your house until you know what you are getting and, best of all, it is FREE!
A few weeks back, boneless skinless chicken breasts were on sale. I threw it all in the crockpot, added a small can of lemonade concentrate and let it rip on low for 8 hours. Then, I shredded it and broke into smaller packages for the freezer…tonight I pulled one out and made dinner!
Take a couple of cans of enchilada sauce (or make your own)…I like this brand and like to get it at the local Mexican grocery.
Take 1 can, and stir into the chicken. I used 1 large breast, shredded – which was about 2 cups of chicken.
Take a tortilla, add some shredded cheddar and a row of chicken mix down the center.
Roll up, tucking the ends in as you go and put into the baking dish. I can usually squeeze 8-10 into a 9×13 pan.
Cover with the remaining can of sauce, add a hand full more cheese and bake at 350 until bubbly on the top. We like to serve it with sour cream and corn.
All in all, it uses 1 chicken breast, 1 cup shredded cheddar, 1 package tortillas and 2 cans of sauce…My cheese was free and so was the corn and the tortillas, $.75 for each can of sauce and sale chicken means this dinner ran me about $3.00 AND we have a single serving of leftovers packed away in the fridge for dear hubby to take to work later this week! That makes 4 servings for $3 – a frugal meal that is VERY yummy!
This is a fun, and simple gift to give for Easter — we did a half dozen of them this year. I get the jars from freecycle (you will learn about that soon!) and the Peeps are 75% off clearance from last year. Keep in mind that they are basically just marshmallows and keep beautifully in Tupperware! The rest are simple – you need:
1 sleeve of graham crackers
(or about 1 + 1/3 cup of crumbs)
1 + 1/4 cup M&Ms
1/3 cup brown sugar
Turn the graham crackers into crumbs, layer 2/3 of them in a 2QT canning jar (wide mouth works best. Place peeps, standing up, facing outside around the inside of the jar. Press them up against the glass but don’t squish them. Carefully spoon remaining crumbs in the center of the jar to support the bunnies, pressing down to keep it snug. On top of this pour 1-1/4 cup Easter M&M’s, then spoon the brown sugar into center of M&M’s, gently pressing with a spoon.
Dress up the jar how you wish – we just added Easter fabric and make a tag that says:
EASTER BUNNY (or Peep) S’MORES
Empty the jar contents into a bowl. Snip the bunnies into bits with kitchen shears or cut up with a knife. Return the bunny bits to the mixture. Mix well.
Melt 1/4 cup butter; add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour this over the dry ingredients, mixing well. Pat into a greased 9″ square pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.
*Option – leave bunnies whole; combine remaining ingredients and place the bunnies on top; then bake as directed.
This is such a simple thing to do and very inexpensive! I love how it teaches children the real story of Easter, not just a bunny bringing a bunch of candy and crap to the house. (even though he is coming to our house tonight…)
Easter Story Cookies
To be made the evening before Easter
1 cup whole pecans
1 tsp vinegar
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 300 degrees (this is important, don’t wait till you’re half done with the recipe!)
Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was Beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19:1-3.
Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp vinegar into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30.
Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:10-11.
Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27.
So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar.
Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16.
Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3.
Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60.
Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed. Read Matthew 27:65-66.
GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22.
On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter, Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matthew 28:1-9.
If you choose to do this, please share how it went over
She won our blog giveaway! I know Karen is a facebook pal of mine — she can just PM me her mailing addy and her goodies will be on their way!
***for those of you that did not win, trust me, there will be more goodies coming soon!