Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Feeling Like a Proud Momma…

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

Here are my proudest moments on my blog for 2007! If you are a new reader, this can give you a little insight into what I truly love to share about- saving our family money!

I just want to thank everyone who has provided encouragement to me in the past year. Your comments, emails, and feedback on our site and our community help me to run things more smoothly. I have made some of the best friendships of my life and learned so much from our community of bloggers.

I have so many plans up my sleeve for 2008! We are making some investments into creating an even better community here and I have been spending the past few weeks outlining my hopes and dreams for our little corner of the internet. I hope you will enjoy some of the improvements that we will make and will continue to share and teach me things! Thank you all for making this year so successful for us!

Homemaking Highlights

Frugal Carpet Steaming
The Amazing Dishwasher
Happy Homemaking the Homemade Way
Creating a Kid Friendly Office
Making a Safe Haven for Baby
Organizing Your Laundry Room
Organizing Your Pantry & Cupboards
How I Finally Cleaned Out My Closet
Caring for Stainless Steel Appliances
Making Our Home More Inviting

Crafty Highlights

Bubbly Magnets
Cheap Dry Erase Boards
Painting Mugs
Frugality Births Creativity
Eat Your Heart Out, Martha (Or How to Make a Diaper Cake)
Feeling Like a Professional Florist
Elegant Photo Albums

Kitchen Highlights

Iron Chef Mom Challenge
Iced Peppermint Mochas
Storing Homemade Bread & Bread Ingredients
Best Birthday Cupcakes in the World
Best Homemade Nonstick Spray in the World (hmm…I really liked that phrase this year!)
Oatmeal Waffles with Honey Butter
Overcoming My Fears: Canning

Frugal/Money Highlights

My Month of Savings Series
Disposing of the Disposable Items
Overcoming My Fears: Gardening
Simplifying Gift Giving
Wrapping Gifts
Thrifty Graduation Gifts
Frugal Baby Gifts
Frugal Wedding Gift Ideas
Frugal Housewarming Gifts
Overcoming My Fears: Cutting Hair
Overcoming My Fears: Mowing
Where to Get Free Wi-Fi
Going Without Prescription Coverage: A Self Discovery
Ding Dong: Did Someone Order Groceries?
Reducing Plastic Bag Consumption

Mommy Highlights

Lessons Learned from a Day Trip to the Museum
Teaching My Kids to Say Thank You
A Homemade Kind of Birthday
Ornament Decorating Fun
Enjoying the Last Days of Summer
Happy Fall!

Professional Highlights:

Interview with THE Jessica Seinfeld
CBS Early Show
My Trip to San Francisco
My husband winning us a trip to Las Vegas
Serving on the Advisory Board for Divine Caroline
Being Interviewed for the New York Times
Appearing Weekly for our local CBS-affiliate (WSBT)
Writing weekly for Frugal Hacks
Writing Monthly for Michiana Family Magazine
Speaking periodically to local mom groups about how to save money
Launching
the Aldi Queen Blog

Launching The Mother loot Blog

Free Sweet Tea in January

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

A good Southern sweet tea is hard to come by out here in the Midwest and very few places in our area serve or offer it. The closest we can get is usually that nasty Lipton tea in the soda machines. Blech! Don’t you folks in the South feel so sorry for us? (*sniff, sniff*)

Our local McDonald’s though has now added sweet tea to their menu and every Tuesday, in the month of January, you can swing by to pick up a free sweet tea. No purchase necessary!

After that, a 32 ounce sweet tea will be just $.99, making that a super sweet bargain for this frugal momma! Here’s hoping it is an improvement that rivals their excellent coffee improvements they have made!

*Note: Check to see if your McDonald’s is offering the same campaign. I know all Michiana locations are offering it in our area.*

Santa Spotting

Tuesday, December 25th, 2007

We went to a friend’s holiday open house and Santa happened to stop by to see the children. As we were too sick to make it over to see our amazing mall Santa (he truly is!), we decided this was a perfect opportunity to get the kid’s special visit in with Santa.

Pictured here is how polite our son is… some of the time anyway! He is raising his hand and saying, “Excuse me, Santa! Santa, excuse me! I need to speak with you”

Ethan quickly plops down in Santa’s lap and talks his ear off. A last minute change of plans occurrs where his original plan of getting a Monster Truck was now changed and he wanted a Hummer Truck that he could ride in (price tag of $300). He says Santa told him to write it all out and he would see what he could do. Unfortunately, Santa already shopped and Santa did not have $300 in the Santa fund to spend. What can I say? Our Santa is cheap.
Emily is watching Ethan talk with Santa and is really excited to see him. I mean, you can just see it in her face. I know that this is the year that we get that amazing shot of her with Santa. This will not be a repeat of last year. She is going to look so cute on Santa’s lap….Oh! We are getting excited now. I hand her over to Santa and all of a sudden…
Santa looks at me and says, “Oh no! There is something wrong with this one” (All pictures can be expanded for real-life detail and trauma we invoked on our child)

Better luck next year, I say! Merry Christmas, everyone!

Cheeseburger in Paradise

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007
I couldn’t resist? I apologize if the song is now stuck in your head.

Since we have been sick, I have been all about simple cooking and quick dinners. I have had this recipe in my “to be tried” pile for quite some time, and it seemed like the perfect meal for this busy time of year.

Unfortunately, I can’t add this one to the Aldi Queen blog. It contains two non-Aldi ingredients- shell pasta (which could be subbed with a rotini or elbow mac from Aldi) and a can of cheese soup (currently not available at our Aldi).

Regardless, this is a quick and easy pantry meal. It is like Hamburger Helper, but definitely has more of a distinct flavor than those flavor pouches that come in a box.

The best part about this dish…only one pan to clean up! That is why skillet dinners get two thumbs up in our house.

Enjoy a stress-free night of cooking!

Cheeseburger Pasta

1 lb ground beef

1 (10 1/2 ounce) can cheddar cheese soup
1 (10 1/2 ounce) can beef broth

1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup ketchup

2 cups medium-size pasta shells

Brown the ground beef. Add all other ingredients and heat to a boil. Cook over medium heat 10 to 15 minutes or until done, stirring often. (Amy’s Note: This took a little over fifteen minutes for me, uncovered)

When Do You Have the Talk?

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Wow, I have been reading a sea of blog entries on teenage pregnancy since the whole thing with the Spears family has come out. Ironically, the feel-good movie of the year is, “Juno” which also deals with the issue of teenage pregnancy.

As a parent of children under five, I have not had the big talk yet. I am really curious who out there has had the talk and at what age you discussed this? Was it you and your husband together? Did the conversation stem from a particular circumstance or was it just something you decided to talk about with your child? Did you talk from the heart or did you tackle the discussion with some learning materials?

I guess what I am asking is, what can we as parents do to help prevent our children from being a statistic?

I don’t say this to stir up controversy, but only to understand how other parents have dealt with topics such as these!

Good News for Wii Shoppers

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

Although I admit the Wii is not necessarily the most frugal purchase, people are definitely on the lookout for them this holiday season. Unfortunately, people are forking over hundreds and hundreds of dollars for their game systems and it makes an expensive system even more expensive than it should be.

GameStop & Nintendo are teaming up to make sure shoppers get their Wii game system and are now offering rain checks on the systems. This means, instead of you standing in line for hours on end only to find out the store has run out of systems, you can take your raincheck and go home to be with your family.

The rain check program—available only through GameStop stores—will “guarantee” that consumers can get a Wii after Christmas. On December 20 and 21, consumers can purchase a Wii rain check (“while supplies last”) for the full $249 price. The Wii systems must be picked up by January 29.

Of course, these will not be ready for the holidays, but a promise of a Wii could be all wrapped and tucked under the tree. How great is that?

**Special thanks to my hubby for the tip**

More Great Shopping Deals

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

I am trying to post these as I run across them for holiday shopping! I hope these are helping and let me know if you would like me to continue posting them.

This Webkinz Chihuahua is marked down to only $5.95, originally priced at $19.99. I hear it is the latest craze, although I don’t know anything about these since my kids aren’t old enough yet.

This retro Radio Flyer Rocket was originally $74.99 and the price is now listed at $35.00. Apparently it dipped just a tiny bit below that, but I didn’t catch it when it did that. It is still a great deal though.

I am not sure if the orders will be here by Christmas or not, without paying extra to ship it, but some of us are probably already stockpiling for next Christmas (or birthdays!)

Happy holidays everyone and I hope you are scoring all of the best deals for your holiday shopping!

Shopping Deal for Tween Mommies

Monday, December 17th, 2007

Barbie Girl MP3 Players were extremely marked down on Amazon.com. Normally priced at $79.99 on their site, these are now $19.99 plus they are eligible for free shipping!

If you are looking for an MP3 player with more holding power, the 1GB version is marked down to $29.99 (versus the original $99.99 price tag).

Apparently, these are running for at least $50 in the stores, so it sounds like a great deal for tween moms everywhere.

I hope this helps someone out there!!

New Camera- Day One

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

Love, Love, Love the new camera! Obviously, these are our first pictures from it, but I am having a blast pretending to be a photographer with it. My kids enjoy being my little models too so it makes it even more fun.

In this picture, you can see that our tree is up, but still not decorated. Emily is really into destroying things right now and waiting until the last minute to hang the ornaments just makes my day a little easier. I did wrap and put the tree up, but am daily handed shredded gifts that she has lovingly tore apart for me. Maybe practicing opening gifts with our Christmas countdown wasn’t such a good idea? I will get the ornaments up, but our tree might look a little strange with none on the bottom this year. All in good holiday fun though, right?

The second picture is of Emily in her super cute sock monkey pajamas that she got for her birthday. I am sure these will be making an appearance on Christmas day since it has been rumored that Santa will be bringing her a sock monkey this year.

This was the night we gathered the kids up to take them on a tour of the Christmas lights in a nearby neighborhood. Ethan thought it was funny to go in his pajamas…Emily was less impressed since she takes Ethan to school sometimes in these.

This was a fun year to see the lights since Emily really got it this year. She kept saying, “Oh, WOW!” while Ethan was far less enthusiastic (“Are we done yet? Is it almost over?”) I can see how this age gap might bring on some new challenges as they get older.

Oh, and have I introduced you to my third child yet? She is a new addition the family and I love her so! My best girlfriend presented me with a brand-new purse (and matching shoes, no less!) for our gift exchange. Only a girlfriend who knows me so well would present it with the price tag still ON so she could show me what a most excellent deal she scored on this purse. And it was a most excellent deal, even better than any deal I had run across this year.

I just love the festive pom-poms and the knitted look on this bag. The brown boots that match are equally rockin’ and make me feel like a superstar momma!

Don’t we all deserve a little of that once in awhile?

Operation: Sterilization

Saturday, December 15th, 2007

Today was spent sterilizing everything in our house, thanks to a bad case of the stomach flu. It used to be that I would get sick and my mom would change my sheets, hold my hair back when I got sick, and get all of that sick food out (Jello, Sprite, hot soup, etc…) Boy, do I miss those days! Nothing makes you miss your mommy more than when you get sick as an adult. Can I get an, “Amen”?

I stripped the beds and washed them in hot water, ran the sterilization program on our dishwasher for all of our dishes, killed the carpet germs with my super UV powers, steam cleaned the hardwood and bathroom floors, and sterilized the bathrooms with some of those homemade cleaners in my closet. If a winter storm wasn’t brewing outside, I would be whipping all of these windows open to do a little airing out of the house.

Would one call this obsessive compulsive or just high-maintenance? I am not sure, but I hope that we can prevent another family member from suffering from this plague. Each meal, my husband thinks it is going to be his last. Isn’t it amazing how differently you look at food when you think you might get sick from it?

On another note, I completed all of my holiday baking on the day I got sick. I am thinking I am going to be pitching my six 9×13 pans of goodies that I made. This almost makes me sick all over again, but I don’t want my gift to be the gift that keeps on giving (If you know what I mean?) I don’t think I have the energy or the funds to make a second batch of stuff so I might have to skip the goodies this year…which makes me really sad.

Side Note: I get tons and tons of emails about what I use to clean our hardwood floors. I bought a Bissell Steam Mop and it was BY FAR one of the best investments I have ever made for caring for our house. They had discontinued selling these, but they recently came out with another model of them and it looks to be the same, just a different color. It has replaceable terry mop heads that you can just throw in your washer. I bought extra of them because I use them so often. If you have difficulties carrying for your floors, this makes the job a lot easier. Amazon doesn’t have them in stock right now, but a quick Google search should come up with some other stores that sell them.

If anyone else has hardwood floor advice, please share! Who can’t use a little help when it comes to this household chore?