Friday, February 26, 2010



I hinted on Friday that Amy was going through her products to find one as a prize, and the time has finally come for the


Are you excited?! (I'm a little jealous I can't win this myself!)

The product you'll be winning is the "Quick Shake", and here is the picture of it that she sent me on Facebook:

You can check this out on Amy's Tupperware site (Yours will be blue but it is shown in red on the site.)

The "Quick Shake" is extremely versatile and can be used to make:

- gravy
- salad dressings
-baby formula
- diet drinks
-scrambled eggs
-puddings basically it does a LOT for you! :)

Even if you already have one, think about how great this would be as a wedding shower gift!

So let's get down to business!

You have FIVE ways to enter!

1. Leave a comment stating your favorite Tupperware product (either a product you currently own, or a product from Amy's site).

For additional comments:

2. Become a follower of my blog (or leave a comment telling me you're already a follower!).

Remember, you don't have to have a blog to be a follower - all you need is a FREE Google account!

3. Blog about this giveaway (if you don't have a blog, you can leave a comment stating another favorite Tupperware product).

4. and 5. If you order from Amy's site, you can leave two extra comments here telling me you've done so!

***** PLEASE make sure that if you don't have a blog, I have a way to contact you! (Leave an e-mail address in the comments.) I would hate to give your prize away if you won because I can't find you again!***


I'm going to explain exactly how to enter because I remember that I was so confused when I entered my first giveaway!

Here's an example of how to leave comments:
1. My favorite Tupperware item is the _____

2. I follow your blog and you're my favorite writer. (haha)

3. I blogged about this giveaway here: _____


3. I don't have a blog, but my 2nd favorite Tupperware item is _____

4. I ordered from Amy today!

5. Second comment telling you I ordered!



Comments will close Friday (3/5/10) at 5 pm and I'll announce the winner on Friday night sometime!

Buying Groceries At the Drugstores

**** Be sure to check out my post above for a Tupperware giveaway you can enter to win! ****

In the past two weeks, I've really gotten back into the drugstore game (see the list on the right side of my blog for the frugal links I use daily). I used to get nearly all of our toiletries at CVS for basically free 2-3 years ago, but then the economy turned and CVS got a lot stingier with their deals. Anyway, the past two weeks they've been too good for me to pass up and I'm pretty thrilled with the stuff I've been able to snag!

I never used to shop at Walgreens, but I started this month and I really like it! I've made a couple "newbie" mistakes, but I think after 3 times of shopping there I've finally figured out my kinks! Here's what I got this week (clearance candy was a filler item).

(Scroll to the bottom to see how much I paid!)

One thing I want to point out is that you shouldn't overlook grocery purchases at the drugstores! I've already written about how Target has become a favorite place to shop for groceries on the cheap, and CVS and Walgreens are no exception.

For instance, this week there was a sale at CVS for Bumble Bee Tuna for $.49 a can. There were $1/5 internet coupons floating around, but I found two cans at my CVS with peelie coupons on them for the same price. Limit was 10, so I got ten cans of tuna for $2.90 - $.29 each! That's cheaper than Aldi's! (If you think you could never get used to Chunk Light tuna, like I used to think, I encourage you to look at the ingredient list
on Chunk White tuna - it might change your mind!)

At Walgreens, there was a deal for Hunt's tomato sauce for $.39 a can. This is not cheaper than Aldi's ($.25), but still a great price - especially since I needed filler items - this worked out perfectly! (I would have bought more but the limit was 3.)
I always scan the food aisles in CVS while I'm there - you can combine a food item on clearance with a manufacturer's coupon for a great deal!

Also, pay attention to other great deals, even if they're NOT Extra Bucks or Register Reward items! I have never shopped at Rite Aid in my life, but I saw that this week Kleenex was on sale for 88 cents a box. Combined with my $1/4 coupon, that made them only 63 cents each! That falls below my price goal for 70 cents per box of tissues. I don't live near Kroger, Harris Teeter, Shop Rite, or any other amazing grocery store - so in my part of the country this is a great price. (I shopped at Kroger in college and the first year we were married - in my opinion it's the best grocery chain! They always had markdowns on fruits, meats, and organic items. I miss it!)

Like I said, I made two rookie mistakes this week at Walgreens, but overall I'm still satisfied. I'm still learning!

So, do you want to know how much I spent on the above picture? $2.65, plus I was given $6 RR back!

And want to know why the Olay is circled? Because thanks to the $15 rebate I'm sure you've seen all over the internet (I did an Olay deal a few weeks ago, too), I'm getting a $15 check in the mail, which makes it all more than freeeeee! :)

Music to my ears, baby!

P.S. Check out Amy's blog - she posted about a Tupperware item that I think is pretty neat! She said she wants to do a giveaway soon so stay tuned!

*Update: the giveaway is above - go enter!*

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Easy Baked Potato Casserole

As I wrote in my last post, every Sunday my entire family of in-laws gets together to eat a Sunday meal after church. We all have an assigned food group that rotates each week. This week my job was "Starch" and I saw this recipe in my Family Circle magazine and decided to give it a try. I'm just gonna warn you, though...

Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole
{Photo Credit:}

it's not fat-free, heart-healthy, good-for-you, or low in calories.

And it's definitely not Weight Watcher's approved.

In other words,

it tastes really good. :)

Creamy, cheesy, potato goodness - perfect for church-potluck types of things or when you just want to be bad. lol

I couldn't even get a real-life picture of it because my husband's family scarfed it down and there were no leftovers when we got home.


Steam 'n' Mash Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole

1 bag Ore-Ida Steam 'n' Mash Russet Potatoes
{this is equivalent to 24 oz of mashed potatoes, in case you're not lazy like me and didn't feel like washing and peeling a huge bag of potatoes using regular potatoes}
2/3 C evaporated milk
2 T butter

4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 C sour cream
2 tsp dried chives
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

1 C shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 C real bacon crumbles {I used 7 slices of turkey bacon instead}

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray 9x9" baking pan with cooking spray
{I doubled and used a 13x9 and an 8x8 b/c I don't have a 9x9}.
Microwave Steam 'n' Mash Potatoes according to package directions. In medium bowl, mash cooked potatoes, milk and butter. Stir in remaining ingredients, except shredded cheese and bacon, until well combined. Spread mixture in baking pan; top with cheddar cheese and bacon crumbles. Bake for 25-30 minutes of until heated through.

Mmmmmm enjoy!

Sunday Blessings

I've decided to change my "Week in Review" to "Sunday Blessings" - since it is kinda the title of my blog, after all! Instead of recapping the week (which is probably a snooze-fest for the rest of you, haha), I'm going to list a few things that blessed my heart over the course of the week. It might be tiny, huge, spiritual or not, but I think that part of the beauty of life is learning to find the joy and blessings in every part of it.

I completely understand that not all of you reading this believe in God like I do, but there is a verse in the Bible that I think anyone, Christian or not, would love to live life by. Jesus said He came so that we could have "have life, and have it abundantly" {John 10:10}. Another translation of the Bible reads, "and have it to the full." Isn't that a fabulous thought? That God wants us to experience life so deeply that it is about to overflow? I love it, and I love that verse.

If and when my blog grows a little bit more, I think it might be neat to have a Linky party so that we could all share the blessings of our week and be encouraged by others through it. Definitely a possibility in the future!

So here are some things that blessed my heart this week:

1. My son's personality is really starting to blossom and it just thrills my heart. He does this really cute thing where he'll just reach out and pat your face and smile at you. I love, love, love do-it-a-million-times-more love it.

2. I had sweet potato fries at a friend's house and they rocked my world. I haven't had them in years! Lindsay, I'm not kidding - I bought two sweet potatoes today! Oh, and spending time with good friends is always great, too. :)

3. Getting back into the CVS-game and starting Walgreens. Our budget is so tight it squeaks and saving money in this way is not only fun but incredibly fulfilling.

4. Spending time with my extended family - my father-in-law is the pastor of our church, and every Sunday we have a big Sunday lunch together. There are 18 of us now in the family, and it's nice to hang out with them and laugh. I am soooo thankful that I get along with my sisters-in-law and mother-in-law because I know many women struggle with those relationships and I don't take that for granted.

Looking forward to the last week of February, because it means Spring is just around the corner!

Hope you all had a blessed week, too!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Help with Meal-Planning

When I was doing the Eat From the Pantry Challenge last month, I really had to stretch my creativity when it came to cooking. Since I was barely shopping, I had to look into my pantry and just make it work!

I decided to help myself along in the process by creating dinner-time lists. I've seen this idea in its most basic form in books and around blog-land (as I'm sure you have too), but never quite like this. It totally works for me and I thought I'd share it in case it helps one of you!

In the front of my recipe binder, I've made lists of every major "meat" category and the standard ways I like to cook those meats for dinner. The list only includes tried-and-true favorites - things I know that I can turn to. As I try new recipes (and we approve of them), they get added to the list.

This has been really helpful in preventing that 5:00 burnout!

My categories are currently:

- Chicken
- Beef (multiple forms)
- Pork/Ham/Bacon
- Turkey {for my recipes that taste better with or call for ground turkey}
- Seafood
- Meatless

Some of the recipes are in two categories - for instance, "Mac 'n' Cheese" is under meatless and the ham category because I usually put chopped ham in it but it stands alone fine as a vegetarian meal.

I put a dot by the recipes that need to be put in the crockpot, so I can easily see that option at a glance.

I'm loving this system and I don't see any reason why I'll ever stop using it!

February Review: Week 2

Luke turned 7 months old this week! It is amazing to see the changes that are happening in him. He is so alert and aware of his environment - he likes to reach out and grab everything he sees, especially when those things are not his toys. :) Just last night I was holding him at the desk while I checked Facebook, and he opened the desk drawer, pulled out the computer headphones, and started eating them! haha

He also just started pulling himself up by holding on to something. We were visiting my parents this weekend, and my Dad asked if we knew he could do that because Luke had done it for Dad! For all I know, he's been capable for weeks but I just never thought to hold out my fingers for him to use.

He is discovering his "voice" more and more as the weeks go on - he's always been very vocal but he's trying out new sounds a lot now. It's really cute!

We went to a wedding this past weekend for my cousin in Providence. Luke was so good because he loves to watch people, and he definitely loves attention - especially from women! Chris had pulled the car up to the hotel to check in, and some women walked by the car - they saw Luke in the window and started laughing. I looked behind me, and sure enough, there he is, hamming it up and flashing his cutest smile for them. Oy! I am in trouble in a few years, that's for sure. :)

Luke had his first wedding and his first hotel stay this weekend! Here's a pic of the three of us at the wedding:

And the next morning - my first Valentine's day with my boy! His shirt says, "Mommy's Little Heartthrob."

All in all, it was a great time - I love weddings! And I love my two men. :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Fabulously Frugal Wedding Gift Idea

I think we've all been there, and some of us have been on both sides: the wedding gift.

I know many people who give $100+ as wedding gifts (and let me tell you, I looooved having those people at our wedding!), but that is just not a reality for us right now. Our budget is tight since I'm at home, and that forces me to get creative and really stretch the money that we do spend on our friends and family's weddings.

I usually shop from the bridal registry for the bridal shower, but I feel a little more flexibility when it comes to the wedding gift. I will say this: if you're coming up with your own gift for the bride and groom, please be sure you have a sense of their style/colors, etc. Some of my favorite gifts from our wedding ended up being gifts that didn't come from the registry, but on the other hand, some of the "creative" gifts we got were things that I've never used or gotten rid of (just being honest here!).

Since my cousin is getting married this weekend in Providence, I thought I'd show you the gift I created for them - for less than $10!

I know my cousin's fiancee fairly well, and she's only a few years older than me, which helps. I also know that she loves the color brown because I made sure to look at a lot of the other things she registered for, so I know that this gift will fit in nicely in their home.


I decided to frame their wedding invitation.

{Disclaimer: I am sure that I am not the first person to ever give this as a gift, but I do know that the idea popped into my head one day. So I promise I'm not intentionally ripping someone off!}

The tricky thing is, their invitation was 7x7 - not your standard frame size. So, I figured out a way to make it work!

I bought this frame at Marshalls for $7.99. It has two mats on the inside, so you could choose your size. I kept the one with the 8x10 opening.

I started out using this paper, but I just couldn't get it to work. Plus it added too much of a fall element to the frame, and they have a winter wedding, so I scrapped it (haha! get it?!).

I found a great piece of chocolate brown scrapbook paper
at Michael's for 99 cents (I love the detail).

I just taped the invite to the paper, then taped the paper to the back of the mat and trimmed it to fit (I chose to tape rather than hot-glue because a) I didn't want to take a chance that the invitation would bubble, and b) She can change the scrapbook paper out later if it fades or she wants a different color.)

I have neither the time nor the inclination to edit my photos, which is why you see the big pieces of brown paper taped over their last names and the event location. :)

A simple yet classy gift that is about as personalized as you can get - that definitely works for me!

I'm not sure if you can tell from my amazing photo, but there is a faint brown "G" in the middle of the invitation that I absolutely love.

I am also including a brown frame for a honeymoon picture (on sale at Kohl's for $5.99), two candles that smell a-ma-zing from Kohl's (sale prices: $4.79 and $5.99), and a "G" (their monogram) on clearance at HomeGoods for $4. All combined, this gift is costing less than $30 since everything but the big frame was on sale.

I hope they enjoy it - I had fun creating it! Now I need to find our wedding invitation and do one for my own house!

Linked to the following parties:
Frugalicious Friday @ Finding Fabulous
Thrifty Thursday @ Tales from Bloggeritaville
Frugal Friday @ Life as Mom
Works for Me Wednesday @ We are That Family
Show and Tell Friday @ My Romantic Home
Transformation Thursday @ The Shabby Chic Cottage
Saturday Nite Special @ Funky Junk Interiors
Show and Tell @ Blue Cricket Designs

Sunday, February 7, 2010

February Review: Week 1

As I sat down to write this post, I thought for sure my week had been SO busy. But then I went to review my calendar and realized I'd really only done a few things! haha! Sometimes, as a SAHM, I feel like my days are so busy with errands and housekeeping - but then to write it out, it appears that I did nothing! Well, I'm sure all of you (with kids, especially) know that's not true.
In the beginning, when I had my son and I was recovering from my c-section, there were days that I got nothing done - my husband was working and I was just on the couch all day because I was supposed to let my incision heal. There were days that I just repeated to myself over and over: "I sustained my son's life today. I sustained my son's life today." Sometimes that was my only accomplishment but I felt that it was worthy. :)

Anyway, here's the last week of our family life - pretty slow, but that's how we roll. :)

Monday - Went to the doctor and found out that Luke's lungs sounded great and there was no need for hospitalization. What a huge answer to prayer!

Thursday - Taught another voice lesson - I am so enjoying that time to teach, and it helps when you have a great student. Chris's mom watched Luke for us for a few hours so that we could get some time alone - we went to Barnes 'n' Noble and it was blissful. It also helped that my barista made me an amazing coffee. Mmmmmm.

Saturday - Went to another estate sale and then to a bunch of local consignment shops with Lindsay - they were having a great sale where everything below $10 was $1 and everything above $10 was $2! It was so much fun. I found a Banana Republic 100% leather purse with the tag on - for two dollars! I'm going to try to sell it on ebay. I figure I can sell it for $3 and still come out ahead. :)

I trimmed Luke's hair for the first time because I didn't feel like having it cut again and I figured I should at least try it. It was kinda like giving a wet fish a hair cut but thankfully it didn't turn out too bad!

Sunday - Went to Lindsay's son's 1st b-day party. It was very surreal to be there because I remember so vividly her being pregnant and then getting the call that he was born, and then holding his little body in my arms. I can't believe he's old enough now to eat cupcakes and ice cream!

This has been a much easier week as far as Luke goes because he has been SO much happier now that he's not sick. He has actually been a lot of fun and I'm beginning to notice that he's interacting more with me when we play - it's starting to feel more like we're playing "together" rather than me entertaining him. It's so nice.

Well, there's the week!

Monday, February 1, 2010

My French-Inspired "Mantel"

I use the word mantel loosely above because I don't actually have a fireplace. Nope, just a found-on-the-side-of-the-road entertainment center (ha! I use that word loosely, too!) that houses our tv and accessories. My husband and I don't have cable, so we couldn't really justify spending a bunch of money on entertainment center. Although that's not to say I don't wish all the time that we had something nicer.......

Moving on!

As I went through most of my Valentine's decorations this year, I realized that most of them were incredibly cheesy and just weren't "me" anymore. I only saved about two or three things. My mantel has just a hint of the pink and sweetness needed to make it "Valentiney" without being overkill.

Even though it needs to be spray painted come spring, I am in love with this great Eiffel Tower I found at a thrift store last week, and it gave me the "Frenchy" idea.

I went through my stash of ribbon and saw this pink piece of tulle and wrapped it around my candle holder, securing it with a straight pin.

The XOXO acessory was from TJ Maxx a year or two ago and one of my fave finds ever (only $7.99!). I added my strand of pearls around the bottom to girly it up a little bit more.

I took my $1 apothecary jar and filled it with white and pink vintage buttons from my stash. I put a piece of dried hydrangea in it and cut out the word "France" from a piece of 25-cent scrapbook paper I got this week on sale at Michael's.

It's funny how you can put anything in glass and it adds such a touch of elegance to it!

All combined, it makes me feel like I'm in a little French ballerina's dressing room every time I look at it. Simple and girly without being overkill - works for me!

Find more great "mantels" every Friday at Beth's party!
Also, find other pink ideas at Pink Saturday at How Sweet the Sound!
Check out other great home ideas at Finding Fabulous!

I Got My Thrifting Fix!

I had the week from you-know-where last week (helloooo sick infant), but I was able to get out for a few hours, which definitely preserved my sanity. I met my friend Lindsay for lunch and then went to get my hair cut. (I don't know about you all, but if I was going to kidnap someone, I'd definitely kidnap a hairdresser. It is THE most relaxing thing in the world to sit there and have someone run their hands through your hair! lol )

Anyway, on my way to get my hair done, I happened to pass by a thift store. I've been to this one before and not been too thrilled wtih it, but there were little 50% off signs stuck all over the grass and the parking lot was full so I decided to go inside.

I'm so glad I did because I found some fabulous items!
(Pictures are dark, sorry!)

I have been looking for juice glasses and these were perfect for 15 cents each! I have been on the hunt for a salt shaker and was so happy to find these cute vintagey-looking ones for 30 cents for the pair. They have that old-school glass writing on the bottom which I love.

Frames were 45 cents each.

I was thrilled when I saw this "B" - our monogram- it was if God was smiling down on my whole trip. :) (It was 45 cents, too)

I know most people probably put these photo boards in their kitchen or office, but it will go perfectly in our bedroom (colors in there are blue or brown). I have it above my dresser and it is the perfect place to put notes from my husband or movie ticket stubs and other sentimental items since I have finally admitted that I'm not a real scrapbooker! {$2.47}

I have been on the hunt for this book ever since I heard someone read it to the kids at my church in college. It's a wonderful book with beautiful illustrations and I can't wait to read it to Luke someday! {$1.24}.

I am in looooooove with my new Eiffel Tower (tag on the bottom says Target). It goes so well with my Eiffel Tower clock and it was only $2.47! It needs to be spray-painted, but since I live in the beautiful, sunny Northeast that will have to wait a few more months.

{On my way home, I popped into a Dollar General to look for something and ended up walking out with these adorable mini-ornaments for 10 cents. These are great for filler next year! I would have bought a bunch more but I'd used my cash at the thrift store and I refused to use my debit card for a purchase less than $1. :) }

On Saturday, Lindsay and I went to an Estate Sale and I scored again!

Plate rack (also needs to be painted, but fabulous for parties!): $4

Adorable oil painting of sailboats: 50 cents

4 Corningware Ramekins: $2

Apothacary jar: $1 {see this post to view the jar}

Suitcase (we don't have any and end up taking 80 gajillion tote bags when we go to CT to visit my family): $5 {it's outside in the car and I refuse to go out in the cold just to get it! :)}

It feels sooooo good to be out and about getting great deals again! Yard sale season cannot come fast enough!

Find other fabulous found and created home items at Finding Fabulous on Friday, check out Thrifty Thursday at Tales from Bloggeritaville,
and Super Savings Saturday at Money Saving Mom!