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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Book Deals

Image result for free book clip art

I love reading...I love words....I love to escape from the day-to-day overwhelming life that I sometimes lead.

So a trip to the library is like a day a spa for me. Weird, I know.

I have a collection of my own favorites, and now that my children are beginning to read them I have found a few more that I need to add to my collection. But, books are expensive. I found this awesome website that you can score great books at a great price and I had to share! Half.com is part of ebay, and it's awesome for finding contemporary, classic, text, cook, and other books for a great deal--like .75 cents for "The Giver" by Lois Lowry. The shipping is pretty cheap $2-4 per order, but when you add it up, it one of the cheapest places to get books.

My other favorite place is library overstock sales. These huge sales happen every quarter where I live, but they always have something for sale. I pay about $1 for books on tape, $1 for dvds, .10 cents for books and .5 cents for magazines.

Here's a great article with more ideas on saving money on all kinds of books--if you've got college kids or kids that really love reading-- for sure check it out. In fact, everyone just check it out--an electronic reader is great, but will never replace the printed word in my world.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How to Get the Best Deals


I did an awesome job of tracking our Christmas spending...in fact, Christmas was paid for in full, BEFORE Christmas even came!  And believe me, Christmas was awesome and everyone got what they needed AND wanted. How did I do this? A little careful planning, and know when to shop for what.

Depending on your circumstances, you can save a lot of money shopping early for things at online and in store sales. Many clothing stores have quarterly sales, where it's a good idea to pick up things for the upcoming seasons next year if you have growing kids. Other stores like Target, Wal-Mart and K-Mart have huge clearance sales on toys in July and January. Electronics and Appliances are discounted around each President's Day, and some places will even pay your sales tax.


Here are a couple of helpful links to help you plan when to buy things to save a little time and money. Do you have any other tips? If so, I'd love to hear them!

Consumer Reports Guide
My Tips for Saving Money All Year
Frugal Living Calendar

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Chile Verde 2015

Chile Verde is my "go to" dish in every restaurant we ever visit that offers it. Who serves the best? Well I love Salsa Leedos and the Rio Grande's versions, but I have to say, it's not that hard to make at home, and you can put it in your crockpot. Try this version of mine, named "Chile Verde 2015" because I've been trying to master it for years, and I think I'm pretty close this time. Let me know what you think!



2015 Chile Verde

3 lb. pork roast, boneless
2- 4 oz.  cans of diced green chilies (or Anaheim’s if you like it hot)
1 c. red salsa (habanero if you like hot)
1 28 oz. can Green Verde enchilada sauce
1 med. Onion diced
1 Tbsp. garlic, minced
2 packages of pork gravy
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1-2 tsp. cumin
1-2 tsp. oregano
Cilantro and pepper to taste

Mix one packet of the gravy with the 1 c. of salsa; set other gravy packet aside.
Put all the ingredients in a lined or sprayed crockpot; cook on low for 8 hours. When it’s done cooking, take out and shred the meat. Mix the second packet of gravy into the remaining juices; add shredded meat and serve over rice or with tortillas.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Bona Floor Wet Cleaning Pad Review

As a Smiley 360 member I get to try stuff for free and review it. This week's mission 
was to use Bona Hardwood Floor Wet Cleaning Pads, and I have to say, they work 
great. They take up the dirt quickly and don't leave residue behind. 
 
I love the packaging, which is easy to store because it's in a slim, resealable bag,
and doesn't take up a lot of space. It was worth trying, and I think I'd use them
again, though I haven't seen them in many stores yet, I am sure they are on the way! 

Give them a try, and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Food For Thought

The Spaghetti Metaphor

This post is maybe a little more "out there" than my normal posts, but I really felt like I needed to share it with the world, in hopes that it may help someone out in BlogLand. This year it's my goal to listen to the Universe (or the Spirit, promptings, God, intuition, etc.) a little bit more, and be cynical a little bit less. Why? I'm not really sure, but I know we all have the power to make a positive impact, and I guess I just feel like it's time for me to do things a bit differently. I just want to make my mark, the way I believe it needs to be made in this crazy world. 

The other day I was having a literal low blood sugar moment. Ironically having low blood sugar often opens my mind to understanding things a little more clearly--strange phenomenon, but it happens a lot. I'd been struggling earlier in the week with several things including my darling children and a very long Christmas vacation, and I'd just about had it. I was nearly ready to give up, when in a moment of clarity I thought about spaghetti. I know, I'm such a foodie that I even solve my problems with food based metaphors.

Here's my thought: When spaghetti is uncooked, it's raw, brittle, unyielding and is often not easy to break. While some of those qualities are good, if we want to eat the spaghetti, we have to break it to get it into the pot and cook it, so it becomes soft and edible. Are you with me? 

Spaghetti only becomes soft once it's submerged into hot, boiling water. After a few minutes in the hot water, it fulfills its purpose, becoming soft so we can eat it.

So how does that connect to the real world? Or to fulfilling my destiny? Or making a positive impact on my children, family and the world?

When I (we) can be stubborn and unyielding like uncooked spaghetti- we also split, break apart, snap, etc. And like spaghetti, if I (we) don't allow myself into the hot water (trials, being tested, having bad things happen, etc.) I will never achieve my purpose in life. Your purpose is different than mine, however, I believe we each have unique reasons for being on Earth, and are given unique experiences that have the potential to make a powerful, positive impact. 

 This year my goal is to become a little more liked cooked spaghetti: to yield a little more, bend without breaking, create a little more flexibility for myself and toward others, and to create a little more beauty in my world.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

What's Your Resolution???

Do I have a Resolution--no, but I do have goals. All the time, every day I have goals. Some are little and ridiculous like wait until 10 a.m. to start drinking my Diet Coke. Some are huge like getting dinner on the table, or making it to an extra practice for my kids. Some days it's just to survive. We Roll With It.

Many people crave organization--I do. I freak out a little if things aren't "right" in their proper place. OCD much?? So for those of you craving a bit of calm to your chaos, check out these links to help you get organized in 2015.

BHG List 2015
Simply Kierste 2014 List
Katie's Tips & Tricks

Have a Wonderful 2015!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Comfort Food 2015- Mac 'n' Cheese

Hope your New Year was celebrated with those you love and that you made some good memories. This past Christmas season was one of the best times my little family has had in years. We had a lot of fun, football, food, family time and really took time to reflect on all the positive things we did as a family this year.

Where we live, it's frigid cold--like so cold my back door was frozen shut. I hate the cold, the snow and the ice--but here we are, so we make snowmen out of snow --until we can make lemonade from fresh lemons again.

Here's an easy, delicious, family friendly recipe that is pure Comfort Food....maybe a "Best Comfort Food" recipe section needs to come to my blog...maybe that's a Resolution I can keep.

Crockpot Mac and Cheese Comfort Food
1 1/2 c. milk
1 can Evaporated Milk
1/4 c. melted butter, cooled
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix these together and pour into lined or buttered crockpot.

Add 3 cups of cheddar cheese (or any cheese you like) and 8 oz. of uncooked macaroni
Cook on High for 30 minutes THEN lower the temperature to Low and cook 3 more hours.

Serve with French bread and a salad.