Thursday, January 20, 2011

My favorite Mac and Cheese recipe

Today happens to be National Cheese Lover's Day AND National Coffee Break Day. Wow. Two of my favorite foods! In honor of this, I am posting my favorite homemade mac n cheese recipe, which happens to bear the name of my favorite president. (This doesn't include my friend Stephanie's famous Stinky Mac, but I don't have that recipe.)

Ronald Reagan's Favorite Macaroni and Cheese
1/2 pound of elbow macaroni (approx 2 cups)
1 teaspoon butter
3 cups of grated sharp cheddar
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 tsp of dry mustard dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot tap water (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 and butter a shallow 8 or 9 inch casserole.
2. Cook macaroni until slightly firm, drain, then mix with butter and all but 1/2 cup of cheese.
3. Transfer to casserole pan.
4. Beat together milk, egg mustard salt and pepper; pour mixture over casserole and top with leftover cheese.
5. Bake for 45 minutes until slightly crusty and brown. Serve hot.

My kids devour this; I have to make a double batch now to feed my crew of seven.

Here a couple freebies for you:

Free sample of the new Covergirl Luxe foundation:

Free Maggi soup sample:

Free Lacoste fragrance sample:

Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Snow Cream, 50% off Amazon gift card and 70% off Bliss & Co.

Here's a fun recipe for you (bear with me Southern friends...honestly, Northerners don't eat this and think you are wierd for doing so...)

Snow Cream. Yep. Just what it sounds like. Ice Cream made from snow. There are many recipes, here's my fav:


1 gallon snow
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk ( I use less, judge as you mix)
Add a little nutmeg for an egg-nogish flavor

Collect fresh fluffy (white) snow and mix away. You can experiment with different extracts. Die-hard snow cream fans mix in a raw egg (I know, I know, salmonella....I'm just telling ya, this is what the die hards do), use real cream or half and half, and never eat the stuff that falls in the first 10 minutes or so--something about cleaning out the air toxins...I admit it, when I first moved here, I thought this was crazy, but it really is remarkably tasty. My theory: in the South there's no plow trucks to get rid of the stuff, so they eat it instead! Interestingly enough, while I never had this growing up, my mom did drizzle real maple syrup over snow on occasion. Yummmmm.

And I'm totally into (for the week at least) another deal site that's been around for some time: Much like groupon, they offer deals depending on the area in which you live, and also like groupon, occasionally they have deals that are good anywhere. This one ends in the AM on the 20th, so I hope you get in on it because Amazon rarely gives 50% off gift cards. Here's the link:

And if you are a triad friend, Bliss and Company, a high-end salon in High Point, is offering 70% off. Go get 'um:

Hope these links work for you!

Today I finally sent in the claim to get a partial refund on my airfare to/from Maine when my mom died. I purchased flight insurance for that very reason. Now let's see how much of a hassle it becomes...

Time for bed...I worked the graveyard shift last night.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A new year...Here's to Amy Dacyzyn and Nehemiah

Ahh, a new year off and running. It's been a busy one so far for our family, but beyond blessed. It goes without saying that I didn't reach my goal of blogging every day for a year, but that's not a bad thing. I had nearly 300 posts and have met many new frugal friends along the way, and I'm certainly not finished. In fact, I'm going to be revamping my blog/website and will continue to write about frugal living and my ongoing quest to apply God to every area of life. Today I was reading in the book of Nehemiah. I've always loved that man and look forward to meeting him someday. It took courage and unwavering commitment to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and he had a myriad of enemies, but he persevered. At one point, after the walls are rebuilt and about 50,000 Jews are back inside the gates, he calls for Ezra to read the law (the Bible, as they knew it then). It says the people gathered and listened to the law for a quarter of the day and spent another quarter of the day in confession and in worshipping God. Must admit, I haven't done that for awhile. My life is crazy at times, but I understand the need to keep Christ preeminent in everything, even when I fail miserably. With Nehemiah I pray simply, "Now strengthen my hands."

What does that look like today? Well, here's a picture of my "study/craft room/the-room-that-everything-gets-dumped-in;" I'm ashamed to even post this considering it was very neat and organized 6 months ago. Admittedly, the rest of the downstairs stays relatively clean because of this room, but I can do better, and I will. I must begin to get all the tax info written down and I still need to send my Christmas cards. So you see, I don't have it all together!

In the mean time, I am more inspired than ever to pay off the mortgage early (as is, we have 8 years and 9 months left on our 10 year refi) and give as much as I can. I often go back to my favorite guru of frugality, Amy Dacyzyn, when I want inspiration for all things tightwad. I just found this 5 minute 2010 interview, so worth your time. LOVE her home...check it out: .

Here's to a new year!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Seven new fab freebies!

Free sample of Nexxus Pro Mend:

Free sample of Always pads, tampons AND liners:

Free pet food sample:

Free ob tampon trial pack:

Free sample of Flexitol foot cream (look to the left of the screen):

Free sample of Advanced No Slip 3D Crest whitestrips:

And if you haven't done this yet, two free trial issues of All You DO NOT have to put in your credit card info to get the free issues. This is one of the only magazines I pay for because it has over $50.00 worth of coupons a month:

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fabulous Freebie for You!

Free sample of Nature Made Chewable Vitamin D:

Free sample of Cell Anti Aging cream:

Coupon for free Enfamil soy formula

This coming Sunday Jan 9, at 8 pm EST, 5000 Tide To Go pens will be given away on their Facebook page at 8pm EST, 7 pm CST, 6 pm MST, 5 pm PST

Free ream of paper at Office Depot...see how here:

And be on the lookout for lots of great after Christmas deals at your favorite stores. I often find items with special holiday packaging marked 75-90% off...and you can still use coupons. My fav example this week: big packs of Hersheys kisses and M&Ms at WAGS for 67 cents!

Happy Deal Shopping:)!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

How I saved money this weekend...

Back from vacation, the frig is empty and Aldi is closed. What to do?? Make a quick trip to the super WalMart of course, but I only bought enough to get me through until tomorrow. I had a great coupon for $3 off the Kashi Crunch (which came in a freebie pack, btw), so I only paid 28 cents. I don't typically like Kashi, but this was good! Also had coupons for 2 free bottles of Excedrin. There was a full bag of dog food in the mail (the new ONE, also a freebie I posted earlier) and my ever-so-thoughtful friend Gail brought us a meal Saturday night. I used Mickey D gift certificates for lunch today (a gift from my sis). Normally we avoid eating out on Sunday, but we had an unexpected last minute clarinet lesson and couldn't come home after church.

I also put away all the Christmas decor, made a double batch of muffins to use this week, and sewed new covers on our bed pillows.  The old ones were stained but the stuffing was good, so I cut the covering off and sewed on an old set of white cases. I went for a run (cheap exercise) Saturday, and Mike and I walked for 1.5 hours today. Noodle and veggie soup tonight. Watching a movie from the neighbor right entertainment!

Tomorrow...lets talk about New Year Resolutions....

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year from me (and Dave Ramsey)

Wow! It's a new year and we are back home in NC with everyday access to the internet again...time to get back to some serious savings. As I was cleaning out my inbox, I happened upon this awesome article by Dave Ramsey. Just what we all need to start out the New Year ( I do need to get that will done....):

11 Weird Things To Do In 2011 (By Dave Ramsey)

Everyone has their own definition of what "weird" means. To us, it means having some—or actually a lot—of money, because so many people are broke! If you could keep hundreds of extra dollars a month instead of paying credit card bills, car payments and your alma mater, would you want to become weird?

If you're tired of being normal (aka broke) like everyone else, here are some ways to get started on your journey to weirdness!

1. Set a solid foundation.

Without a proper start, big plans will eventually crumble. We are here to help you along the way during this weird year that will carry through the rest of your life. Find out how to set a solid foundation.

2. Bring out your inner bookworm!

According to The Literacy Company, 90% of learning is based on reading. You would think that Americans would read a lot, right? Well, about 27% of adults read no books at all in the past year. Set yourself apart from the majority by reading a few beneficial, nonfiction books this year! Here are some suggestions from Dave's library.

3. Take baby steps with meal planning.

Food often costs more than you think. Plan your meals ahead of time to eat healthier and avoid hitting up your favorite fast-food spot five times a week. It's not a daunting task when you get help from eMealz for just $5 a month! (Tricia note....I would NEVER pay for this service, you can do it on your own)

4. Compare yourself to the Joneses—really!

The Joneses are broke. They're in debt and don't have money for emergencies, retirement or college. Do you really want to be like them? Doubtful. So compare yourself to them and determine what you need to do so you aren't like the Joneses.

5. Practice saying no!

There are so many good things to do, but you can't do it all. Learning to set limits in your life will actually allow you to do more, whether it's with your time or money. Plus, you'll be better at those things you do since you aren't rushing around trying to cram a bunch of stuff into your schedule.

6. Surprise!

Who says giving to others only has to take place at Christmas? Challenge yourself to continue giving like no one else throughout 2011. You'll be amazed at how much better life is when you give to others!

7. Dream.

Just because you're a responsible adult who's all grown up doesn't mean you have to stop dreaming. But don't just be a dreamer; do something about it! Determine what's stopping you from making your goal a reality, and challenge yourself to overcome it.

8. Sacrifice.

Most people cringe at the "s" word. But sacrifice doesn't mean you have to live in a cave and never have fun. Maybe you need to pick up an extra job or cut out a monthly treat from your budget to get closer to achieving your goal. Think of something you can give up, and commit to following through this year.

9. Get a will for real.

About 60% of Americans die without a will. So what's the big deal? That means that when you die, everything you owned is either left to the government to divvy out, or your relatives will fight over your belongings. Avoid that heartache by creating a will. Stop procrastinating and just do it! makes it easy for you to leave this legacy for under $30.

10. Quit your J-O-B.

Don't love your job? Then quit it! Find your passion and do work that truly matters to you. Yes, even in this economy you can quit your job—just be smart about it. Think it through. Have a plan, and be wise about your decisions. Consider this.

11. Pass on the weirdness!

It's cool to be weird! Tell others about your journey to weirdness and how you're changing your life for the best. Send them our weekly email challenges, pass along your budgeting knowledge, or invite them to a free Financial Peace University class. Dave has so many resources available for you and your friends that there's definitely something for everyone.