Archive for December, 2008

Going Without Prescription Coverage

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

(originally aired: October 14, 2007)

I debated a long time about whether or not to post this, but I figured it might help someone else out there so I thought I would share my experience.

When my husband started his new job, we started a ninety day lapse in insurance coverage. We have purchased a temporary policy with a high deductible, but we are going without some of the perks that we had with our old policy. One of those perks was a reimbursement program on my prescription drugs.

I do want to begin by saying that the medication I was on was not working for me. I have IBS and I have depression and the drugs that my family physician had me on were not helping me at all. If there was a side effect listed with the medication, I had it. I am one of those people who experiences terrible side effects, which makes me hesitant to ever fool around with a good thing when it comes to my medicine. Unfortunately, since I have had Emily, I have not found that magical sweet spot where I have felt good and we have been bouncing me around on all sorts of medicines and no relief from either ailment. When my stomach medication was pulled by the FDA due to people dying from complications, I threw my hands up in the air and knew that I needed to make a change.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, so I talked with a girlfriend who is a firm believer in homeopathic remedies. My feelings towards these types of treatments have always been disbelief. I will admit it, I have always considered many of these remedies a waste of money. Her sister-in-law has three homeopathic practices and a long line of happy clients, so she said she could ask her some of the things that I could take after I explained everything that I was looking for, what wasn’t working, and so on. I remember thinking that if it sounded too “weird” or “out there” that I would not take them.

Another important element to me was that I was not paying more for my treatment than I was for the prescription drugs. Always the frugal girl, I wanted my treatment to be affordable, but also to feel better.

My friend gave me a list of what she had suggested and none of it was strange or unheard of. For my stomach, one of her recommendations was a cup of hot water with lemon before bed (how frugal is that?) She also had a substitute for my anti-depressant and a few items that would boost my immune system.

I have been doing this for about a month now and I have never felt better in my life. My constant tiredness and that cloudiness that I felt is gone and I am feeling more like myself than I have ever felt before. I am amazed at the difference that I feel and how I react towards my family. I am experiencing no side effects and I see a noticeable difference in myself. I feel like me again and it has been a long time since I have felt that way.

The icing on the cake is the extra $200 that will be sitting in my account each month. My new medicines only cost me $50 each month! What a savings!

If medications aren’t working for you, homeopathic remedies might be worth looking into. My depression and stomach problems were mild, but were having a negative effect on my life. With care from an expert in the homeopathic field, you might be able to relieve yourself of your symptoms and keep a little extra money in your pocket at the same time.

If you do have to take medications though, my articles on going without health insurance and my article on going without prescription coverage might provide some help! I also blogged on treating ailments when you are without coverage or are looking for the cheapest way to treat sickness.

Have you ever substituted homeopathic remedies for prescription drugs? What are your feelings towards these types of remedies?

A Yearly Recap: ’08 Edition

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Here are my proudest moments on my blog for 2008! I hope that this helps our newer readers get acquainted with what great things our site has to offer. It is also so great for me to reflect on what has been accomplished this year with our site.

I will not lie, I worked harder than I have ever worked before on my blog and website. With hard work though comes great rhythm, more consistency to my work, and a deeper sense of commitment to my readers. Without you and your comments, of course, there would be nothing to work towards. I look forward to your comments more than I can say- it means so much.

2009 is going to be a great year, I can already feel it. I have great dreams of success and ideas for how I can make this year better. My only hope is to continue to grow our community and that the site continues to inspire you.

Without further adieu, here are our highlights of the year!

Homemaking Highlights

Our New Workspace
Patio Renovation on a Budget
Dressing Up the Front Step for Fall
Gardening for Fall
Finding Beauty in the Ordinary
There are Holes in My House Where My Clutter Used to Be

Crafty Highlights

I Learned to Knit
Rainy Day Survival Kit
Sponge Ball Bullseye
Inexpensive Wall Art
Being a Crafty Parent When You Just Aren’t
Rainy or Snowy Day Scarf
Project Linus Security Blanket
My Hostess Gifts This Year
Round-Up of Homemade Hostess Gifts

Kitchen Highlights

Vanilla Scented Granola
Homemade Pitas
Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
Adventures in Breadmaking: Artisan Bread in 5
Cracking the McDonald’s Coffee Code
Piggy Pancakes
Fast Peanut Butter Cookies
Fast Coffee Cake
Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Enchilada Sauce
Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea
Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Our Favorite Cocoa Mix
Lovely Little Birthday Cake

Frugal/Money Highlights

Our Debt Free Party
35 Ways to Save On Your Grocery Budget
Vrooming Through Our Debt
This American’s Dream
Leaner Ground Beef for Less
Snow Days for a Frugal Family
Getting to Know Your Dishwasher

Mommy/Family Highlights

Just Call Me Ticketmaster
We Need to Work On Our Letters
Family Night: Earth Hour
Something Exciting is Happening
Summertime Planning
Dad’s Day Out & Mom’s Day In
And My Heart Breaks…
At the Car Wash
At the Car Wash Part II
Popcorn Fun
An Olympics Family Night
My First Notre Dame Game
A Family Day at the Pumpkin Patch
Making Simple Holiday Memories

Professional Highlights:

Becoming the Home Management Expert for the Kenmore Team
Listed in the Top 10 of the Top 100 PF Blogs
Listed as One of the
Top Ten Most Powerful & Influential Women In Social Media

The MomAdvice Big Give for Faith Mission
Suave Glamour Reel Moments PR Trip
Being part of the Walmart 11 Moms
Visiting the Walmart Headquarters
Speaking on a panel for the ad:tech conference
Demoing crafts & recipes at the American Baby Faire on behalf of Kenmore
Guest Blogging for Martha Stewart
Guest Blogging for the Right@Home Team
Serving on the Advisory Board for Divine Caroline
Writing Monthly for Michiana Family Magazine
Editing for the Family Bliss channel
Public Speaking Engagements for Churches & Mom’s Groups on Saving Money
Meeting Paula Deen

An Apron Full of Giveaways 12.30.08

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

Welcome to our round-up of contests and giveaways! I love sharing all of the contests with you and getting to see what everyone is giving away on their site.

Be sure to enter to win a year subscription to GoTrybe to get your kiddos moving and shaking. This contest will end tonight at 8PM EST. We also just started two new giveaways focused on family safety. One giveaway offers a trio of child safety products to help keep your little ones safe. The other, a year membership to Family Safety Report to help keep your family safe. I am loving that a 24 hour nurse is included in this subscription. That is a hotline I would use often in our family!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Christmas Movies).”

Please let me know if you have any questions and good luck to each of you! Happy holidays, everyone!

To enter, please follow the links below. (photo credit: jek in the box)

Homemade Play Dough: A Play Dough Recipe Round-Up

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

We had a birthday party to attend last week for my sweet friend Michelle’s daughter. I had recently bookmarked a chocolate play dough recipe, from A Foothill Home Companion, in my notebook entry that I thought would make a fun birthday gift.

I love to make play dough for my kids and usually use my Fruity Play Dough recipe, but I wanted to try something different for this party. Although this play dough wasn’t as pretty as my usual colors, the fact that it smelled like a little bit of heaven seemed to trump it’s, less than appealing, shade of brown.

This play dough smells divine. In fact, both the kids came upstairs and begged for some of the chocolate cake I was making. It was quite disappointing to see that it was only play dough that I was cooking and a batch that wasn’t even for them.

We packaged this up with a set of pretty cookie cutters and a copy of the recipe so that their family could replicate the recipe in their own kitchen.

I love to make gifts like this for birthday gifts because it is affordable and a gift that they can use more than once. Ethan drew his own birthday card for the birthday girl complete with a princess tiara and money… because that is apparently two items that princesses possess. Having him make the birthday card added a special touch and saved on the cost of a store-bought card.

Here are some other fun play dough recipes:

Pumpkin Pie Play Dough (@ Like Merchant Ships)
Homemade Play Dough (@ Skip to My Lou)
Play Dough Tips & Tricks (@ Organizing Connection)
Edible Play Dough (scroll down a bit)
Perfect Play Dough (@ Family Fun)
Natural Play Dough Recipes (@ Nature Moms)
Gingerbread Play Dough (@ Recipezaar)

What is your favorite birthday gift to give or a favorite gift that your child received for their birthday?

Redbox Code: 12.29.08

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Today’s Redbox code is 545DZ9. This code can be used all day until midnight at any Redbox location.

In addition,Redbox is giving free movie rentals at Walmart Redbox locations.
These are good on Sunday’s only for one free rental.

I hope these codes help make the holidays a little brighter- Merry Christmas!

Week 5 (Sunday 1/4/09) – 11moms4uA (good for that day only)

Go to to find a redbox location at a Walmart near you.This promo
code is valid at redbox locations in Walmart stores only and cannot be redeemed online. Promo codes are valid for the first night of rental only. Your credit or debit card is necessary to redeem your promo code, and will be charged $1 plus tax, if applicable, for every subsequent night after the free rental period. Promo code is not transferable, not for resale, and cannot be combined with other offers. Limit 1 promo code per transaction.

Side Notes:

– If you want to rent more than one movie for free, bring more than one credit/debit card. You can use the same promotional code, you just will need different cards to charge it to. The charge will be zero as long as you return your movie on time for the next day.

– When entering in your free movie code, you need to enter it FIRST before picking the movie. On the very first screen, click the, “Rent with Promo.” Enter in the above code and then make your selection- the amount should then total zero.


Don’t forget to enter our giveaways! We have a Go Trybe One Year Membership This contest end at 8PM tonight!

For a full list of great giveaways, visit our apron full of giveaways linky list and check back tomorrow for a nice fresh list for the week. Happy Holidays and Good Luck!!

My New Year’s Resolution for 2008: Simplify

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Each year I make a list of resolutions for the New Year and I am usually pretty good at keeping to my resolutions. My resolution this year is really only one goal with a few subcategories… to merely simplify my life.

I have great ideas for how to implement my goals and would love if you would join me on my journey this year. These are the three main categories for my goals this year.

Simplify my life by bringing in more organizational strategies and reducing the clutter.

Simplify my life by gaining more control over my finances and committing to at least one no spend month this year.

Simplify my life by making my self-care a priority this year.

There are so many elements to this and with the new goal in mind, I am planning to take you on a journey by sharing how I work towards my goals of simplifying the routines in my life.

I have thought a lot about how I could take you on this journey with me and an opportunity has arisen to begin my own podcast show in this new year through Blog Talk Radio. Starting in January I will be broadcasting through an Eleven Moms channel through Walmart where we can each have our own show or partner up on shows with one another.

My show will be The MotherLoad Simplified where I will be sharing ideas and be interviewing other great bloggers on how I can reach my goals towards simplifying routines like home organization, beauty care/fashion, simplifying the dinner hour, and simplifying the family finances. I think it will be a great way to engage with our readers in a new way and will showcase our goals for the New Year. This new adventure will be starting sometime in January and I will keep you posted as details develop. Of course, I will be blogging my journey too and keeping to our website themes of basic home management.

What is your New Year’s Resolution(s) this year? Is there something you would like to simplify in the upcoming year?

(photo credit: Ani)

Meal Planning Monday: 12.29.08

Monday, December 29th, 2008

Here has been our menu plan for the past two weeks with recipes!

1. Deli Sandwiches With Chips (for shopping day)

2. Herb Baked Tilapia, Rice, & Corn

3. Roasted Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, & Peas

4. Rotini Pasta With Turkey Meatballs & Garlic Bread

5. Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole Over Egg Noodles (Scroll Down to View)

6. Sloppy Giuseppes With Oven Fries (Scroll down to Meal #8)

7. Ground Beef Tacos With Tortilla Chips

8. Italian Chops Over Spaghetti

9. Yeast Waffles with Orange Juice

10. Chicken Enchiladas With Homemade Enchilada Sauce

11. Skillet Chicken & Ziti with Broccoli & Homemade Breadsticks

12. French Bread Pizzas

13. Chicken Parmesan Over Spaghetti

14. Chicken Wings, Celery with Ranch, & Cheese Quesidillas


Please visit “I’m An Organizing Junkie” for a round-up of great menu plans!

Freebie Friday: December 26, 2008

Friday, December 26th, 2008

Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! I hope you all are enjoying the holidays with your families. A big thank you to Heather, from Freebies 4 Mom, for sharing her freebie list with us. I am so thankful for her friendship and for partnering up with us each week. Please visit her site for all the latest and greatest in the freebie world!

Health & Beauty
Vaseline Intensive Therapy Lotion (enter Alaska sweeps)
Pantene Pro-V (Walmart)
Escada Moon Sparkle fragrance
Degree Men deodorant

Dunkin’ Dark Coffee
True Lemon
Splenda with Fiber

More Magazine 10 free issues (StartSampling)
Robb Report 1 free issue (StartSampling)
Field & Stream 12 free issues (watch ads at AdPerk)
Paper Plane by Scala & Kolacny Brothers free music download

Home & Garden
Lysol Healthy Habits Kids Activity Booklet
Velveeta Game Day House Party

Upcoming Freebie Events:

1 – Free Diet Dr. Pepper
3 – Home Depot Kids build Helmet Bookends 9 to noon
10 – Lowe’s Kids build a Time Capsule 10 – 11am

Amy’s Notebook: The Merry Christmas Edition

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

Merry Christmas to you & your families today! Please enjoy the day with your families and thank you for your friendship!

I am in love with this block calendar (@ Lark & Lola)

I think this cake plate is beautiful (@ elsie marley)

These sewn envelopes are a creative way to wrap gifts (@ Wild Olive)

I love this ornamental wreath made from wire hangers (@ Eddie Ross)

This holiday garland made from recycled holiday cards is so cute (@ craft stylish)

I think my kids might have trouble not eating it, but this chocolate play dough sounds like so much fun (@ A Foothill Home Companion)

I want to learn needlepoint and this post inspired me to try it (@ Grace Violet)

This hot cocoa bar of goodies looks wonderful to keep us warm this winter and this peppermint popcorn would make great gifts (@ Dukes’ & Duchess)

This texture box is such a genius idea (@ The Felt Mouse)

These festive handprint onsies are darling (@ chica shmica)

This knitting wreath is so stinking cute (@ Craftster via Craftzine)

I am bookmarking this tulle tutorial (@ Design Mom)

This celery stamped gift wrap is beautiful (@ Make)

I love this idea for wrapping cookies and might have to try this next year (@ Purl Bee)

This candy cane snowflake bark would make a great little hostess gift (@ Diary of a Crafty Chica)

Here are ten more great gift wrapping ideas (@ Mighty Girl)

I am in love with these ornaments filled with scrap paper (@ The Hybrid Kid)

This gingerbread biscotti looks so delicious (@ Annie’s Eats)

A Clark Kind of Holiday ’08

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

We opted to celebrate our Christmas this Sunday instead of waiting until the actual Christmas because we have so many family festivities to attend. The kids love getting their presents a little early and I love keeping them busy as we prepare for all the hustle and bustle of the season.

Our annual cinnamon roll Christmas tree was made for the children to devour it. It is so simple, but the entire family loves it and looks forward to it each year. To make it you just need two containers of cinnamon rolls and make a shape into the tree. Serve with oodles of hot cocoa and watch the children bounce off the walls in delight and sugar-infused fun.

Sometimes it is hard to say what the favorite present is, but this year there were two clear winners with the kids. The first one… the infamous superhero cape. I got Emily a princess cape, but she wanted to try on brother’s cool cape instead. Ethan has pledged his loyalty with Batman forever and I am sure we helped seal the deal with a Batman Lego Set & a Batman Shake & Rattle Car, but the kid hasn’t taken the costume off since he got it. He has been pretending to fly around the house rescuing us all from the unnecessary evils of the world.

The other true winner was the Baby Alive Doll. We aren’t giving her the food and things like that, but I love that she can make the baby pretend to go potty since she, herself, refuses to go on the potty. I am hoping it will bring her inspiration, but until then she can play with her baby. She loved this baby so much that she refused to open the rest of her gifts. “Emily, do you want to open one of your presents?” “NO, MOMMY. YOU STOP! I WANT TO PLAY WITH MY BABY.” Ah, the joys of turning three!

I will definitely share our favorite presents of the year after all of the present opening has been done and will write them down for gift ideas next year for our blog.

After all the presents were opened, they grabbed their new sleeping bags and pillows from their bed and camped out to rest. They watched their new box set of Max & Ruby Christmas specials and enjoyed a leisurely afternoon after all the festivities.

Merry Christmas, everyone!