Archive for the ‘Money & Finance’ Category

Apron Full of Giveaways 05.06.14

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

mustache apron

Source: LJs Custom Creations,  $22.00

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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Freebie Friday May 2, 2014

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

freebie friday Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! We would like to thank Couponing 101 for assisting us with our freebies each week for loads of deals, savings, and freebies!

This week on MomAdvice we have an incredible spanish heritage lentil stew from our food contributor, Diana, that you can make just how you want! I’m also sharing how to make Mexican black beans in your slow cooker for Cinco de Mayo (or any time!) and a quick and fabulous Mother’s Day gift idea – how to print out Waterlogue pictures and frame them. I’m excited to share not one, but two amazing author interviews on books I’ve loved – Margot by Jill Cantor and our April book club discussion of The Bear. On this week’s edition of  It’s the 3 Little Things I’m sharing what’s making me happy and hope you’ll share yours, too!

Of course you’ll also find our weekly notebook, filled with inspiring DIY food, decorating and craft ideas, and you’ll want to check out all the contests you can enter on our weekly round-up of great giveaways!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Health & Beauty

Listerine Mouthwash Sample

Garnier Fructis Marvelous Oil Sample

Herbal Essences Body Burst Sample

Olay Sensitive Body Wash Sample

Entertainment

Mother’s Day Craft Ideas for Kids eBook

The World’s Best Street Food eCookbook

Printable Monthly Meal Planner

May Slow Cooker Menu Plan

Strawberry Printable Pack

Frozen-Themed ABC Printable Pack

May Writing Prompts

Transportation Pre-K Pack

American Revolutionary War Pack

This Week’s Freebie Events: May 3 - 9

3rd - Home Depot: Build a Flower Planter, 9 am – 12 pm

3rd - Lakeshore Learning: Create a Schoolhouse Craft, 11 am - 3 pm

3rd - Toys R Us: Lego Star Wars Building Event, 12 – 2 pm

3rd & 4th - National Museums: Free Entrance to Museums for Bank of America Card Holders

 

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Slow Cooker Mexican Black Beans

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Slow Cooker Mexican Black Beans from MomAdvice.com.

For years I have been wanting to make beans in the slow cooker, but was intimidated with the process. Beans in the slow cooker though are surprisingly easy and frugal to create in large batches for your family. Today I wanted to show you a foolproof and delicious recipe for Slow Cooker Mexican Black Beans for all of your Cinco de Mayo fun, or as a frugal side dish for your next taco night. Today’s cooking tutorial is going to take you through the in’s and out’s of how to cook beans, how to freeze them, and then in the comments below you can share your views on bean preparation. Everyone has a theory, a trick, and a recipe. Let’s share what we know works best for us!

Bean Cooking 101

How to Cook Dried Beans

Why Should You Trouble Yourself With Dried Beans?

There is true convenience in grabbing a quick can of beans for your dishes out of your pantry. Although it is still a frugal staple, dried beans are oh-so-much cheaper and they have much more flavor than the canned variety. Dried beans typically cost two to three times less than canned beans and they have the added benefit of less sodium, more flavor, and can save you a lot of room in a small pantry. Did I mention that they can be made while you are sleeping in your slow cooker? Now that’s a beautiful thing.

When I posted that I was working on this on Instagram, many people commented on their techniques as well as their failures in cooking beans. I guess I am not the only one a little intimidated by the process. Now that I have made them though, I will be making this a regular habit because it saves me a lot of money and is a very filling protein for someone who is on a gluten-free diet and always hungry.

A Little Sorting Never Hurt Nobody

Once you purchase your beans, make sure you sort them out. Arrange dried beans on a sheet pan or clean kitchen towel and sort through them to pick out any shriveled or broken beans, stones or debris. This is not an all-day affair, just a quickly peek and move on to the next steps.

Rinse It, Rinse It Good

Always make sure you rinse your beans really well before beginning. Make sure you also rinse them well after our salt brine (below).

Slow Cooker Mexican Black Beans from MomAdvice.com.

To Soak or Not to Soak

Sounds like a great Shakespeare line, doesn’t it? I know that many people skip the soaking process and opt to just throw them right into the slow cooker after a rinse.  I always consult the experts when it comes to cooking and according to Cook’s Illustrated, quick soaking can be effective, but their proven method of soaking beans in a brine, yields a bean that a girl can really be proud of.  Just as a brine on a bird can yield tasty results, beans can benefit from salt too. The salt soak prevents magnesium and calcium from binding to — and, subsequently hardening — the cell walls on your beans. When people  complain that they can never get the beans to soften, you can be assured that a brine can help with that, while maintaining the shape of your beans.

Cook’s Illustrated recommends, for 1 pound of dried beans (about 2 cups) dissolve 3 tablespoons of salt in 4 quarts of water. Add the rinsed beans and let them soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours. (If you’re short on time, quick-soak the beans: Place the beans in a large heatproof bowl. Bring 2 quarts of water and 3 tablespoons of salt to a boil. Pour the water over the beans and let them soak for 1 hour before draining and rinsing.)

As far as salting goes for your beans for seasoning though, it is advised to wait until the end and salt once they are cooked and season to taste. You also want to be sure that you are rinsing that brine off before you get started with your recipe.

Slow Cooker Mexican Black Beans from MomAdvice.com.  Cook Them Low & Slow

Since beans need to be cooked low and slow, the slow cooker is ideal for cooking your beans. Once you have rinsed these after the salt brine, add them to your slow cooker along with liquid and seasonings of choice and turn your slow cooker on Low and head to bed.  Skip the addition of anything acidic though because the acid can prevent those beans from breaking down and it’s all about getting these beans to break down.

I cooked mine in my Ninja Cooker and set it for six hours and it set’s itself to warm after that.  The beans should take roughly six to eight hours to cook and slow cookers can be the ideal tool for cooking them. According to The Kitchn, it’s adviseable to pick a slow cooker that fits best with the amount of beans you are cooking. They advise that for small batches of beans, a pound or less, to rely on a 3 1/2-quart or smaller slow cooker. If cooking 2 pounds or more, you can use your 7-quart slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Mexican Black Beans from MomAdvice.com. Freeze Those Beans

Once the beans are done, divide them up into two cup portions in freezer bags and put them in the freezer.  You can now enjoy the savings all month long and enjoy these beans as a side or accompaniment to any of your favorite Mexican dishes.

I hope this tutorial helps and I can’t wait to read your own tips for cooking beans in the comments below! These would be delicious paired with my favorite 10-minute fish tacos, our chicken enchiladas (made with homemade enchilada sauce), my roasted corn salsa, and a tall margarita or mojito…just in case you are looking for a few great dishes for Cinco de Mayo!

Slow Cooker Mexican Black Beans from MomAdvice.com.

SAFETY NOTE: If you are cooking kidney beans, boil them for 10 minutes before cooking. This neutralizes a toxin called phytohemagglutinin that can cause acute digestive distress.

Slow Cooker Mexican Black Beans
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Be sure to read our Bean Cooking Tutorial before you begin! These beans make the perfect side dish for any meal!
Ingredients
  • 1 pound dried black beans
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, or 2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes (ADD AT THE END)
Instructions
  1. Follow the instructions for sorting, rinsing, brining, and then rinsing again as I have outlined above.
  2. Put the drained beans into your slow cooker, then add the chopped garlic, broth, cumin, and chili powder. Stir well to combine.
  3. Set on LOW for six to eight hours in your slow cooker (see above for recommended slow cooker sizes based on pounds).
  4. Once they are done, stir in diced tomatoes and season.
This post contains affiliate links.

What’s your favorite way to cook beans? Any tips, tricks, or techniques that work well for you?

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Apron Full of Giveaways 04.29.14

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

MommyandMe Apron

Source: Mommy & Me Set, Debz Doodles,  $35.00

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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Freebie Friday April 25, 2014

Friday, April 25th, 2014

freebie friday Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! We would like to thank Couponing 101 for assisting us with our freebies each week for loads of deals, savings, and freebies!

This week on MomAdvice we have a fun springtime DIY watercolor and digital art printable from our craft contributor, Sarah and 3 rainbow science experiments that are sure to amaze your kiddos in honor of the new film, Legends of Oz. On this week’s edition of  It’s the 3 Little Things I’m sharing what’s making me happy and hope you’ll share yours, too!

Of course you’ll also find our weekly notebook, filled with inspiring DIY food, decorating and craft ideas, and you’ll want to check out all the contests you can enter on our weekly round-up of great giveaways.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

 

Food & Drink

Seattle’s Best Coffee Sample

Health & Beauty

7-Day Dial Lotion Sample

Finish Dishwashing Detergent Tabs Sample

Suave Natural Infusion Shampoo Sample

Pet

Healthy Weight Purina Cat Chow Sample

Entertainment

My Starbucks Rewards Bonus Star

VeggieTales Silly Song Snack Pack MP3 Download

Online Chore Chart for Kids

The Promise of Security eBook by Beth Moore

Found Adrift: 40 Days of Recovering Grace eBook

Jesus and Scripture eBook

Angry Birds Kindergarten Printables

ABC Cursive Cards

This Week’s Freebie Events: April 26 - May 2

26th - Lakeshore Learning: Create a Storytelling Sailor Puppet, 11 am - 3 pm

26th - Michael’s: Create a Handmade Mother’s Day Card, 12 – 3 pm

 

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Apron Full of Giveaways 04.22.14

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

linen apron

Source: Linen Life Ideas,  $28.75

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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Freebie Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday, April 18th, 2014

freebie friday Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! We would like to thank Couponing 101 for assisting us with our freebies each week for loads of deals, savings, and freebies!

This week on MomAdvice I’m so excited to be featuring another recipe using Mama Francesca grated cheeses – this time for an easy and impressive appetizer – Cheese Dusted Olives – yum!

You’ll also find my tips for how to stain a picnic table that makes it like new, plus a wonderful parenting post from our contributor, Mary Carver, all about taking a mom timeout. Can I just say I relate? A-hem… And make sure to check out our new Friday feature each week – It’s the 3 Little Things – this is where I get to share 3 things that I’m loving right now, and I hope that you’ll join in, too, by linking up your favorite things!

Of course you’ll also find our weekly notebook, filled with inspiring DIY food, decorating and craft ideas, and you’ll want to check out all the contests you can enter on our weekly round-up of great giveaways!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Food & Drink

Seattle’s Best Coffee Sample

Health & Beauty

Suave Professionals Natural Infusions Shampoo Sample

U By Kotex Sample Pack

Entertainment

The Truth of the Cross Audiobook

My Monster Burrufu Children’s eBook

Printable Easter Fun Kit

Mini World Pack

Brown Bear Printables

Zoo Scavenger Hunt Printables

Number Coloring Pages

40 Day Easter Journal & Activity Book For Kids

Daily Cleaning List Printables

Printable Pre-K Easter Pack

This Week’s Freebie Events: April 19 - 25

19th - Lakeshore Learning: Create a Sunny Days Light Catcher, 11 am - 3 pm

19th & 20th - National Parks: Free Admission to National Parks all weekend

 

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Apron Full of Giveaways 04.15.14

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

goldfish apron

Source: Boojiboo,  $28.75

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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Freebie Friday April 11, 2014

Friday, April 11th, 2014

freebie friday Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! We would like to thank Couponing 101 for assisting us with our freebies each week for loads of deals, savings, and freebies!

This week on MomAdvice I’m excited to start a new occasional author-interview series, Sundays With Writers by interviewing Suzanne Fedfearn – I know you’ll love this new series as much as I do! We’ve also got an amazing recipe for Thai Coconut Chicken Curry from our food contributor, Shaina, as well as How to Deal with Unexpected Expenses AND Income from our money contributor, Kelly. You’ll find a very special guest post for those looking for Gluten Free Easter Treats as well as How to Make a DIY Terrarium and How to Style Bookshelves – two easy decor updates to refresh your home for spring!

And of course you’ll find our weekly features – It’s the 3 Little Things, where I share the 3 things that I’m loving right now (with a linky that you can join, too!), my Notebook, always filled with inspiring DIY food, decorating and craft ideas, and a ton of contests you can enter on our weekly round-up of great giveaways!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

 

Food & Drink

Seattle’s Best Coffee Sample

Health & Beauty

L’Oreal Paris Advanced Hair Care Sample

Hydroxycut Gummies Sample

Arm & Hammer Truly Radiant Toothpaste Sample

Pet

Purina Healthy Weight Cat Chow

Entertainment

Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide To Money eBook

A Method For Prayer eBook

Rainy Day Pre-K/Kindergarten Pack

Flower Learning Pack

Easter Printable Pack

Spring Sentence Scramble Pack

Plants and Garden Literacy Sample Pack

Easter Blessings Lapbook

This Week’s Freebie Events: April 12 - 18

12th - Lakeshore Learning: Create a Write & Wipe Schedule, 11 am - 3 pm

12th - Lowe’s: Build a Recycling Truck, 10 am

12th - Toys R Us: Attend the Lego Movie Building Event, 12 – 2 pm

 

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Money Savvy: How to Deal with the Unexpected

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

From our money & finance contributor, Kelly Whalen.

When it comes to budgeting and financial planning it can be a challenge to deal with the unexpected or fluctuations. Budgets often only allow us to work within set parameters like a regular monthly income and monthly expenses. What happens when you’re hit with an unexpected repair bill to the tune of $1,000 or you get some extra income (for example in the form of a tax refund) that’s more than $100? Most often this is when your budget can fail. It’s when even the best laid financial plans get derailed.

We’ve covered your regular budget, and we’ve discussed putting the ‘personal’ in your finances by finding what you value, but now it’s time to consider how to deal with those ups and downs that life is sure to throw your way.

How to Deal With Unexpected Expenses.jpg

Unexpected expenses are no fun for anyone. While they can not be avoided, they can be dealt with without causing too much frustration and difficulty with your budget.

How to Deal with Unexpected Expenses

Let’s start with what unexpected expenses are and are not. Funds to cover the below costs should be in your checking account or a savings account attached to your checking account (for ease of access). This account is not your emergency fund.

Unexpected expenses are NOT:

  • Regular bills. You can and should budget for your monthly, quarterly, and yearly bills with your budget.
  • Typical spending. For instance if spending $300 each Spring on new clothes for your family is your average then that should be included in your spending budget.
  • Replacement items. Whether you need to replace your car in 3 years or by a new coffeemaker this season you can and should plan for replacing items your own. Setting up a separate savings account for these items is a great way to ‘self-insure’ (and save money on extended warranties).
  • Regular maintenance. We know cars need regular maintenance. You should build that cost into your spending. At times you will need to decide if it’s worth repairing or replacing something (for instance spending $200 to repair a vacuum cleaner when you can buy a new one for the same cost may not make financial sense).
  • Deductibles. Your insurance policies lay out your out of pocket costs, so have funds on hand to pay the deductible when and if needed.

Unexpected or emergency expenses are things like:

  • Repairs, both big and small, such as replacing a broken window or fixing a leaking toilet.
  • Health related expenses such as emergency medical or dental expenses for you or your family members.
  • Travel costs related to death or illness in your family or extended family.
  • Displacement costs due to power outage/weather (for instance having to evacuate due to an impending hurricane).
  • Job loss or loss of regular income.
  • Pet expenses related to pet illness or injury.

The unexpected expenses above should be covered by your emergency fund. Ideally you should have a minimum of one month saved for emergencies if you’re paying off debt, and you should work towards saving a full year’s worth of expenses (note: not income, but expenses).

Planning ahead for emergencies and expenses is not exactly fun, but having a plan in place will offer you some peace of mind when you do encounter a tough (and expensive) situation.

How to Deal with Unexpected Income

How to Deal with Unexpected Income

Extra income can be exciting or paralyzing. For some you’ll see it as a nice way to treat yourselves to that handbag you’ve had your eye on or a weekend getaway with the family. For others it will disappear into your checking account and paralyzed by what to do with your funds it will just sit in your account. Of course there are those of you who will also see it disappear in your checking account as you suddenly ramp up your spending because you can suddenly ‘afford’ more.

The key to dealing with extra income is to have a plan. Whether it’s $50 or $50,000, by creating a constantly changing lists of ‘extras’ you can make sure your money is spent (or saved) well.

Here are options to consider for extra income:

  • Consider taxes: This is always first when you have extra income. For smaller amounts it’s unlikely to make a difference, while larger dollar amounts mean you must explore what you’ll owe in taxes (if anything).
  • Have Fun: Take 10% and use it for something meaningful or fun for you and your family. You may simply treat the family to a dinner out on the town, or you might buy new board games to enjoy at home for years to come. Whatever you value spending extra on – now is the time to do it.
  • Save: Whether you need to beef up your emergency fund or you are saving up for long-term goals, consider using most of the funds to increase your savings.
  • Pay off Debt: If you are in debt make sure you have a one month emergency fund in place and then tackle those debts.
  • Give 10%: We can’t always give back as much as we’d like, so take 10% and donate it to a cause or nonprofit that you support.
  • Head to your list(s): I’m a BIG list lover so I recommend creating a list of items you want, things that need to be replaced, and those bigger ticket items that you’d like to get done. I keep a list on hand of items we want that aren’t necessities, like a new quilt for our master bedroom, and eventual replacements, like a new cutting board for the kitchen. I also keep a more expensive list of eventual home improvements like creating a deck in our backyard or buying new interior doors.

While having a plan in place doesn’t guarantee you no stress it will certainly make the unexpected easier on your bank account.

How have you dealt with emergencies or extra income? Did you have a plan in place?

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