*Thrifty Thursday* Fun Freebie & have stress free Holidays

I hope everyone out there in “blog land” is doing well this week!  Are ya relaxin a little? Takin good care of yourself? What? You say your stressin over the holidays? Well, say no more! Several years ago a friend got me hooked on www.flylady.net I am still a “flybaby” and proud of it! Maybe one day I’ll move up the ladder but I can be a slow learner sometimes. This is a great site to help you get and stay organized, even when my A.D.D. is kickin in?!? If you need help with running the household you can find ideas and how-to’s here! It has been invaluable tool for the Karoly house. They are giving away a totally free book this month too!

Go to: www.realforme.com/flylady Click on the “well-being for dummies” and fill out your info for this totally free, totally awesome book.

Are you making any gifts for the holidays? Need some ideas? Here are a few websites that you can get lost in for all the ideas you can handle! These are my very favorites!

http://www.thediydish.com/  

http://www.craftster.org/ 

http://blog.craftzine.com/

Last but not least… http://www.etsy.com/

There are many, many more sites…if you have a favorite, please share it!

Roku TV UPDATE!

A few weeks ago I blogged about our Roku player and how we use it instead of Cable or Satalite tv. We have had it working wonderfully for this whole time! In fact, I’m thinking this has got to make cable a little nervous. It really is a great thing! We have had no problems getting exactly what we want to watch, when we want to watch it. We are debating about hooking HuluPlus up and that would cost $7.99 per month, but I’m waiting to see if there is another way to watch current episodes of cable shows. We are still getting caught up from last years episodes that we have missed through Netflix, that may take us awhile. Loving YouTube and other websites on our Tv! Anyone else out there have this or another streaming player? Let me know what you think of yours.

December 2, 2010 at 6:45 pm Leave a comment

*TooT Tuesday* Upcycled Notebooks and Book Christmas tree

I have a few teens on my Christmas list this year. They always seem to be the hardest to come up with ideas for me. I made these personal, upcycled notebooks last year and they loved them. Ok, so maybe a few adults will be getting them this year…we’ll have to see who’s on the good list. They are really simple and cheap to make. Actually, they are kind of addicting! Here is all you need:

  • Cereal boxes, record covers, vhs covers…if it’s made of cardboard, your good!
  • Paper cutter
  • Zutter book binder (or anyother kind of book binder)
  • no bookbinder? Office Max binds books inexpensively

We all like to decorate for Christmas! These days who has the money to spend on all those fancy decorations? I would rather make most of my own anyway…get the kidos help and you all can whip up one of these great Christmas tree books!  As  a kid I remember making phone book Christmas tree’s, where you fold the pages back and then add paint and glitter till your heart is content. These are simular, only difference is your cutting instead of folding.  All you need to do  is cut a template out of a closed book. Dab some paint and glitter, after its been cut, on the cut ends. Glue the front and back pages together…and whalla!  You have yourself a pretty little tabletop Christmas tree. Leave it like that or dress it up a little, the kiddos will love helping decorate it!

December 1, 2010 at 1:39 am 1 comment

**Thrifty Thursday on Saturday…CANCEL YOUR CABLE!!

I am STOKED!! When Doug lost his job last year we ditched cable tv to cut back on all of our expenses. Tv has not been fun since. We live next to Mt. Pleasant here in Lancaster and nothing comes in. On the rare occasion that we have a channel come in, somewhat clearly, it simply takes a truck to drive by and we are scrambled once again. Needless to say, our tv has not heard graceful language over the last year. Since Doug went back to work I have been tempted to go back to cable or satellite or anything…but I promised myself that we needed to be out of debt first. Until I happened to come across this site: http://www.cancelcable.com/  This site is awesome! Tells you everything you need to know about ditching that satellite/cable monthly bill!.

So here is what we have done:

1. Bought a Roku Player and Digital Antenna (that’s hooked up in our attic)

2. Signed up for Netflix($9.99 per month)

3. Sit back and enjoy the tv once again!!!

Seriously! The one thing that we did hate about cable, besides the monthly bill, was the fact that we would sit down and watch anything just because it was on. We always had to wait for our favorite shows to be on. NO MORE!!! Now we get to watch Hulu.com, YouTube.com, yep pretty much what we want to watch and WHEN we want to watch it!!! I’m officially LOVIN’ IT!!!

Our total Cost:

$99 for the Roku player (www.roku.com)

$35 for the HD Antenna

We will be paying $9.99 per month for Netflix

So for $120 per year, we get all of our favorite shows, movies, and many extra’s.  We also went to Bestbuy and they do have some really neat digital players and tv’s that have the digital capability already built-in. We simply didn’t have an extra $1500 for the tv or $300 for the neat tv web browsers.

***Update 11/21/10::: If all you want to used is Netflix, there are cheaper ways than to get this box. This box allows you to use Netflix, Hulu (for all of the regular tv shows), and many, many other websites for streaming video and radio. I’ve been asked if you can watch current football games (OH..) , and my answer is… I’m not totally sure yet? We have found a ton, just not  a current way to watch live sports…ie. that’s what we also have the antenna for. Live news, weather, sports.

Ok…so here is the totally FREE way to do this whole thing! Go to: http://www.boxee.tv/  Download the software and walla!!! you have instant tv with nearly everything from around the globe to watch!!!

November 20, 2010 at 8:49 pm Leave a comment

Thrifty Thursday***

Sorry All…I thought that I would have everything tested and working so that I would have the post ready for this weeks Thrifty Thursday. As it turns out we’ve been sick and haven’t had the time to get everything done so that I can give a proper review of the product that I’m going to talk about. If it works great then it will save us hundreds if not more per year!! So be sure to tune in on Saturday for the review!!!

In the mean time here is some thrifty tips:

*Next Weds the 24th is half off central Ohio Thrift stores (Ohio Thrift is my fav!) If you’re not in Central Ohio…call your thrift stores and see if they do this.

*Did you know that freezing your candles for an hour before using them makes them last longer?  Do any of you do this?

*Reduce your milk consumption; substitute dry milk in cooking, homemade cocoa mix, and in half and half for drinking coffee or tea. You can’t taste the difference!

*Easy kitchen fixes: if you run out of powdered or brown sugar no worries, here is a cheaper way! For powdered simply put regular sugar in your food processor. For brown sugar, add 1 T. of molasses to approx. 1/2 cup of regular sugar. Easy peasy! I usually make my own anyway…just cheaper!

*If you’re an avid reader you will love http://www.paperbackswap.com/index.php  You get to swap books for free with other members!!! I love free books!! If your done with a book, instead of it collecting dust…trade it in for another!

Let me know if these small tips help or if your interested in saving mulla in a particular area, maybe we can all share some great ideas here. Please be sure to visit again on Saturday, I’ve been so excited about this simple little way of saving and even more excited about sharing it!!!

November 19, 2010 at 1:28 am Leave a comment

*TOOT Tuesday* Homemade Jelly from bottled juice

Ok, so I’m a little late on getting this weeks toot out. I’ve been feverishly working on Thrifty Thursday’s post. I’m so excited! So be sure to tune in to *Thrifty Thursday this week!!!

Today’s toot is making your own jelly very inexpensively. If you’re a busy mom, like myself, then I’m sure you go through many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The problem is that jelly can really add up in price, at around $2.00 to $4.00 per jar for the typical grape jelly multiplied by however many jars a week you go through. Not to mention that most of the store-bought jellies are loaded with sugar! Well there is a cheaper way…

Here is what you will need:

1-32 oz bottle of 100% Grape juice

1-32oz bottle of 100% Apple juice

1-2 boxes of low sugar fruit pectin

Sugar (the amount varies according to which fruit pectin you use, it will be on the package)

Canning Jars and lids

Step 1: Wash the jars (in dishwasher if you can) *start boiling a small pot of about 1-2 cups of water to sterilize the lids

Step 2: Start boiling the juice in large pot

Step 3: Check the directions with the pectin on how much sugar you will be adding to your jelly and get it ready. Don’t do like me and have everything else ready and going and then need to work out the math at the last second!

Notes about pectin: I usually add about 30% to 50% more pectin (just open another pack and add a little) or else the jelly is runnier than I like. With a little practice, you’ll find out exactly how much pectin to get the thickness you like.

 

Step 4: Add the sugar to the boiling juice and let it dissolve…then add the pectin. Let it boil for a few minutes. (unless the directions on the box say differently)

Step 5: Testing for Jelly thickness.

I keep a metal tablespoon sitting in a glass of ice water, then take a half spoonful of the mix and let it cool to room temperature on the spoon. If it thickens up to the consistency I like, then I know the jelly is ready. If not, I mix in a little more pectin (about 1/4 to 1/2 of another package) and bring it to a boil again for 1 minute.

Step 6: Fill the jars and put the lids (that have been boiled for about a min.) and rings on them. Quickly put the jars upside down and leave them like that overnight.

You can turn them over after they have totally cooled (this saves you the step of boiling the jelly to seal)

Experiment! Try different kinds of 100% fruit juices and spices…my next batch is going to have jalapeno in it or maybe cardamom. Once you get the basic recipe down along with the type of pectin you use, the combo’s of flavors can be endless!

Making Jelly this way cost about .40 cents per pint compared to $3.00 per pint in the store!!!

Wrap them up pretty and give as gifts!

November 17, 2010 at 5:51 am 1 comment

*Thrifty Thursday* Save some Nugget in your Budget

I so love being thrifty, and totally believe that will never change about me…even if some meteor landed on our roof with a quazillian dollars! Sure, I may hire someone to fix our roof instead of doing it ourselves but I will always be frugal…It’s fun!  A friend told me about a website this week that I didn’t know about, I know, a thrifty site that I haven’t been to…Amazing isn’t it…It’s great! It’s http://moneysavingmom.com/ Not quite the same as some of the other coupon sites because this one lets you match the local store deals with your coupons or coupons that you can print! Another great one is http://www.bargainstobounty.com/ So far between these two sites I have received many free items from both Giant Eagle and Kroger. There are plenty more bargains, but I just found out about this site a few days ago…give me some time, will ya?

I have people asking me all the time where do I find all of the coupons that I use. Well besides the ones that we all come across in the newspaper or bag thingy that you get on your door every weekend. I do get a few off of coupon websites, but to be honest those really aren’t my favorites. I find a ton in grocery stores…look next time, they are all over! Ask clerks. Stores have them and may or may not be on top of keeping them out for customers. If you get magazines, sometimes books have them. Train yourself to have a “thrifty eye”. One of my favorite websites that I have saved hundreds @ is www.vocalpoint.com  If you sign up on this site, they send you hundreds of coupons and free samples. It does take about a month before they start sending them to you and they don’t overload you with a bunch of stuff you don’t need or want. Take some of their surveys on new products and you get to try them free! It’s a symbiotic relationship…you try stuff free, get plenty of coupons and they get to see if you like it or not.

Ps. Organize all of those great coupons in a 3 ring binder with clear baseball card inserts…or do like I do and get a scrapbooking picture organizer from Hobby Lobby, who btw has 40% off this week, here is their coupon:  http://www.hobbylobby.com/assets/dynamic/_weekly.coupon/2010_46_coupon.gif

ps. Half price books is having a coupon sale this week. Here is the website for coupons: http://www.halfpricebooks.com/hpb945-110810s.html

Here is another coupon for Old Navy, Gap and others…you get 30% off and they give 5% of what you spend to the leukemia foundation (win, WIN) http://gap.p.delivery.net/m/p/gap/giveandget/emp/share.asp?id=13630381596&sms_ss=facebook&at_xt=4cca45bec253ce22%2C0

Ok ya’ll, I’m gettin lonely…show some love! If ya know of any coupons or sales going on Post em! Or just post somethin so I don’t feel so lonely out here in blog land😦

November 11, 2010 at 4:12 pm 4 comments

*TOOT Tuesday* Invisable bookshelf & My favorite, Lofthouse Cookies

I don’t know about you but I love, love those crazy Lofthouse Cookies that are so stinking expensive…I think they average around $4.00 per dozen. I have looked all over the internet for a recipe that even comes close and have wasted many baking hours only to be disappointed with the results. Well, not anymore! Here they are and I hope that you will love making them just as much as I do for the holidays…They will surely be a hit with everyone!

Ingredients

2 cups Jiffy baking mix
2/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup milk
5 tbsp Crisco Shortening(I use butter flavored)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees…Grease baking sheet. Mix all ingredients and spoon onto pans.  Bake for 8-10 minutes and remove to cool. It’s that easy! Just be sure to use “jiffy” baking mix.

A really good frosting recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup shortening (I use buttered flavored Crisco)
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat on low-speed of electric mixer until well blended and very smooth.  Smother on cookies, add sprinkles and watch everyone do their best turkey impression as they “gobble” them all up!

Invisible Bookshelf

I came across these nifty little things in a catalog and completely fell in “awe”. If you’re a book addict like myself then I’m sure you’ll completely understand. Do you fall asleep at night with a book, or two, or three? Are there piles of books that your currently reading somewhere in your house? I don’t know, maybe it’s my A.D.D. but I like to say it’s my love of learning something new that keeps me addicted. Anyway, we have little tables next to our bed but they hold the alarm clock and not much else…I really never have a place to put my books when I’m done. My kids seem to do the same thing, so this is on the list.

These little buggers are so easy peasy to make, I think I’ll make many!

Here is what you will need:

  Book
Good sized “L” Bracket
Carpet Knife
Pen
Small wood screws (of the flat-headed variety)
Large wood screws
Tape Measure or Ruler
Glue
A Stack of Books for Weight
Step 1: Measure the half way point, make a mark, set down your bracket, draw an outline, measure again, cut out a hole deep enough that the bracket will set flush. You are doing this to the back or bottom of the book, the part that will be visible in the finished product.

 

Step 2:

Use your knife to make a notch for the “L” bracket so the book can sit flush against the wall.

Step 3: place your small wood screws to secure the “L” bracket in place, and one on either side toward the edges of the book to secure the pages of the book together. Hanging the bracket over the edge of a desk, chair, or counter is helpful. The pages will try to rise up the screw as you insert it, so make sure you’re putting some pressure on them to keep them in line. If this part is not done correctly the end result will show the pages as wavy and will tip-off the viewer that something is amiss. The picture shows me using a cordless drill, but I found that doing it by hand was much more effective.

Step 4:

The glue will hold the bottom cover of the book in place, and the screws hold the pages together. 

 

Put the stack of books on top of the whole deal and wait overnight.

 

 

Yeah! Your all done and ready to use your new bookshelf! I’m putting one in each kids room and next to Doug and I on each side of our beds…maybe we won’t have such a book mess anymore? Altogether this cost about 3$, the fancy shmancy ones in the catalogs were over $20! What a savings!

Be sure to check back this week and next for the Toot Tuesday and Thrifty Thursday! I’m so excited about the things I’ve found for these days that I almost can’t contain myself!!!! Yes, I know, patience is a virtue….

November 9, 2010 at 4:08 pm Leave a comment

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