Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sharin' the love :)

I firmly believe in giving credit where credit is due, sharing the love and spreading the wealth; so i am dedicating this post to my fellow blogging mama's. The below links will bring you to some of my favorite posts from some of my favorite bloggers on the interwebz. Check 'em out, follow them and savor the awesomeness. :)

Love, Honor & Wash the Dishes - The post the link will take you to, is one of the BEST tutorials on making your own laundry soap I have EVER seen. It is easy to follow, has lots of pictures and is very,very well written. Along with the laundry soap recipe, she also includes recipes for easy, inexpensive, and delicious. Go check her out and share the love!

Bacon In My Pocket - Ma Bacon(as the author calls herself) is the QUEEN of thrifty living, hands down. She shares all sorts of recipes,tips and tricks to keep a little "bacon in your pocket". Her recipes are to die for and the cost of the ingredients will leave a wallet a little heavier. Check 'er out, share the love!

Prudent Baby - This is my favorite site for DIY sewing tutorials! They are easy-to-follow, fun and the finished projects are super,super cute! Check them out!

Have a blog you love to follow? Share it below! I'm always looking for more great blogs to follow :)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hidden Savings-Gems South of Boston

Hello my loyal followers!

It has been quite awhile since i have shared with you folks and boy do i have lots to share! I know in the past  my posts have been more about crafting and cooking than actually shopping and saving money; but all that is about to change. . . .  RIGHT NOW!

::magic dust and glitter::



As some of you may know, i live in good ole Massachusetts, about 30 minutes south of Boston. And it can be down right difficult to catch good bargains out here(they don't call it Tax-a-chusetts for nothing). But, i do manage to only spend about 65-70 per week for a family of 3, and i think that isn't bad at all, especially for where i live. Since I'm all about helping your fellow man (or woman), i thought i would compile a small list of stores that i go to. Some of these may surprise you, others may make you give the computer the side-eye and say "no DUH!" Just keep on reading, and hopefully i will help you save just a bit more moolah for youlah (heheh).
Please note: i am not getting any sort of kick-back for these reviews and the list is in no particular order.

First up, Candy 'N Mor , located at 955 W. Chestnut St, Brockton,MA 02301. At first sight, this looks like BJ's evil twin brother and your first instinct may be to run away to a more streamlined store. But i implore you to at least go inside, you will not be disappointed. Despite the name, this store has a large variety of items for so cheap you will find yourself looking over your shoulder for a well dressed man with a hidden camera; but no worries, its all very legal :) The reason the prices on their food is so cheap is that a lot of the food's exp. dates have just expired, they are about to, or the packaging is slightly damaged. As many of you may know, the exp. dates on foods are usually just ballpark guesses from the manufacturers, so that they don't get sued. That being said, use your discretion and check the labels, because this store DOES carry food that is not yet expired(if you are queasy about eating food past the date). Along with food, they also carry everything from candy to house-hold products to office supplies and back, all at excepional prices. If you are skeptical about just how good the prices are, let me share with you my recent scores at this hidden gold-mine of savings.
At my last trip i got:
1 6LB can of sliced pears, still well within exp date for 1.99
96 oz bottle of juice-2.99
24 pack of green tea bags-.99
1 bottle of terriaki marinade-.99
15 pack of scrubbing sponges for .99
3 pack of ice cube trays-.99
24 pack of assorted plastic cutlery-.25

Now, if that list doesnt convince you, i don't think you have any buisness reading this blog, because those are some KILLER savings!

Next up is Aldi's food store, these stores are fairly national, but i go to the closest one near me, in Taunton, MA.
I like this store because anything i can't(or wont) buy at Candy N Mor, i can buy at Aldis for just as cheap or cheaper. 90% of the food they carry is Aldi brand so they can sell  for way less then other grocery chains who buy from a distributor.  The items at Aldi's are just as good, or even better than the leading national brand names and are half the cost. I actually prefer the Aldi's brand corn chips than say, Doritos or Fritos. You can get all of your canned,boxed and frozen foods here for amazing prices. The only items that I have found cheaper elsewhere is lunch meat, cheeses and  meat(steak,pork, turkey etc)

Last, but most certainly not least, is Dollar Tree stores. I don't have a specific store I go to, as they all pretty much have the same deals and merchandise, more or less. I buy all of my party supplies,pregnancy tests and office supplies here(if i can't get what i need at the Candy N Mor store). The only warning i will give is that it is very, VERY easy to get sucked into the "everything's a dollar" vortex of spending. So i suggest making a list and sticking to it, so as to not faint from sticker shock when you check out.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Iced Mint Green Tea

It's summer, and that means beach days,tank tops and my husbands favorite: Iced Tea.

Mr. Coupon LOVES iced tea, he would drink it all day everyday if he could. Unfortunatley, he really enjoys the pre-bottled stuff (like Arizona or Lipton) and we cannot afford to buy it right now. So, i decided to make his favorite hot tea into a cool, sweet beverage that he can have all the time.

I used equal parts of green tea and peppermint tea, but you can buy Green Tea Mint from Salada if you prefer(it IS very yummy!)

You Will Need:

8 Green Tea,teabags

8 Peppermint tea,teabags

2 medium lemons,sliced

2 quarts of water

Plastic pitcher

2 cups of sugar

Fill a large pot with 2 quarts of water and add the 8 green tea,8 peppermint tea bags, sliced lemon and 2 cups of sugar. Steep to desired strength, pour into pitcher and serve chilled on ice :)
It is a very simple recipe, but it is very yummy,cheap and satisfying :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Amazing Stain-Removing De-Funkifier Review

A couple of weeks ago I shared my recipe for my "Amazing Stain-Removing De-Funkifier" (if you missed it,check it out here )

It has been about a month since I first started using this solution on my cloth diapers as a last ditch effort in the battle of stinks and stains. And I am SO happy to report that ALL of my stink issues are HISTORY, set-in stains are not completely gone but defiantly lightened and new stains don't happen. It even has some extra benefits ; the vinegar acts as a fabric softener and all of my dipes are almost as soft as when i bought them.

AND, this stuff is so amazing, it also cleans my bathroom, my toilet and hard water stains, and I even use it as a dish detergent and my dishes are cleaner then they have ever been.

I am honestly amazed how AWESOME this stuff works, and the uses are absolutely endless!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cardboard. . .not just for your shoes any more!

This is yet another re-purposing post. :)
If you are anything like me, you have stacks and stacks of cardboard boxes just collecting dust  and taking up space in your house. Where we live, it is difficult to recycle, so if I can, I reuse and re purpose as many things I can.
I LOVE to craft. Anything crafty, I'm right there. Unfortunately, because of that love of crafting, I have TONS of crafting supplies and fabric; not to mention all of the finished projects. So, as I was looking around my house today, I got the idea for the Cardboard Craft Organizer

Cardboard Craft Organizer
You will need:

3 large boxes
3-6 small trays/boxes (number depends on what you are storing)
wrapping paper or brightly colored fabric
packing tape
hot glue gun
thin wooden dowels

Gather your boxes

If your boxes have flaps, cut them off  to leave four clean edges .

Take two boxes that have similar depth/width and attach them ,long sides together,with hot glue

Take the two boxes you attached together, and glue them to your base box (i suggest using a sturdier weight box for the base, like a water case) Stabilize the two sets of boxes by taping the edges with packing tape.

Cut out a notch about 6" deep out of the top of the top boxes.

About 3" inches in, notch out 4 parallel, triangle notches that are 1" deep and 1" 1/2 wide

Cover your smaller boxes with the wrapping paper/ fabric  and packing tape and place your wooden dowels into the notches at the top.

Load your fabric and ribbon into the organizer and sit back and admire your green, crafty creation!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

No-Mess Pancakes

 For me, feeding BabyCoupon breakfast is the hardest time of the day. Figuring out something to give her that she will actually eat,won't stick too badly to the floor and won't be a nightmare to clean out of her hair is a challenge, to say the least. Throughout the months and months of sticky,messy,oy-vay, trial-and-error, i have found out that pancakes seem to be a favorite of hers. Now, pancakes are easy enough to make and aren't all that hard to clean off the floor or out of her hair.  But, who eats pancakes WITHOUT maple syrup? Not my child, that's for sure!
As we all know, maple syrup is notorious for being sticky and messy and just plain a pain in the rump to clean off of anything, especially a squirmy worm like my 16 month old. So, i set out on a mission to figure out how to give her the same sweetness of maple syrup, without all of the maple syrup mess.. .

. . enter the "no-mess pancakes"! Now, this is a very simple creation, and i am most likely NOT the first person to come up with the idea. Nonetheless, i do feel like a genious :)

No Mess Pancakes

Complete pancake mix of your choice
Maple Syrup
Cinnamon (optional)

Prepare pancake mix according to package. Drop 2 tbs of batter into pre-heated skillet. As soon as the first bubble appears on the pancake, drizzle syrup onto the pancake. Cook 1-2 minutes more then flip, cook until each side is golden-brown. . . VOILA! Yummy,no-mess pancakes that your child will enjoy eating,an you wont mind cleaning up.

Also, for a fun twist, we like to use pancake molds like those show below :)


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Reduce,REUSE and recycle.

With everyone going "green" and being more earth-conscious, the phrase "reduce,reuse,and recycle" has become pretty popular. I am in no way as "crunchy" or "green" as I should be. Truth be told, most of the "green" things I do are to help our bottom line, the fact that they happen to help the earth is a nice bonus. :) I use cloth diapers,cloth wipes make my own stain remover,all purpose cleaner, and dish detergent and use reusable bags as much as possible. Unfortunately, i do not recycle as much as i would like, but I DO reuse quite a bit.

Here are a few ideas:

Plastic bottles and containers: wash out your Cool Whip container and use it to store left-overs; rinse out your Windex bottle and use it to store your own home-made cleaning products

Wrapping paper: Need to make a pattern but have no shipping paper or grocery sacks lying around? No problem! You can use some of those rolls and rolls of wrapping paper you have leftover from Christmas. Just un-roll the paper so that the printed side is down, trace and cut what ever pieces you need and VOILA a brand new pattern!

Fabric: Need to wrap a gift,but don't have any wrapping paper or tissue? No problemo! If you have some scrap pieces of fabric lying around, you can either sew them together to make a scrappy-wrap(tutorial coming soon) or just use a large piece of fabric and tie with a ribbon. Also,if you don't have any fabric,you could use newspaper,paper sacks or shoe boxes as fun and creative gift wrapping.

Old T-shirts: Old Ts make AWESOME cleaning rags,diapers,dresses,different styles of shirts.. . .  The possibilities are truly endless

Do you have any tips or tricks on what you re-use and re-purpose? Comment and let me know! I am always game for a new project!

When neither coupons nor prayer is enough. . .

. . . . I do my best to earn money through my crafts. I make and (try to) sell my creations on Etsy.com. Check it out here.

But, business is dreadfully slow and Mr. Coupon and I are in desperate need of some funds. I need ideas, any and all. Right now i make burp cloths and bibs, tote-bags,hair/shoe clips,hand painted terracotta pots,wooden mobiles and clay ornaments. . . .and I am willing to try my hand at anything and everything, if it will get people to buy. :)
So, my dear readers. . all 3 of you . . that is where you come in! I need to know what you all are in the market for. What things do you love? What can you not resist that is hand-made?

Send me an email: sararwenzel@aim.com

Hit me up on my shop page on FB: http://www.facebook.com/index.php?eu=ifjbaMWHpQNsfBLn59RCrQ#!/pages/Slice-O-Heaven-Etsy-Shop/145431288839765

Comment Below.

Send me smoke signals or your favorite carrier pigeon. . . .the point is. . . LET ME HEAR YOU!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Too Hot to Cook??

Whelp, summer has officially arrived in New England. Yesterday and today were in the high 90's and since my stove is a "heater stove" it literally heats the entire house. I had just gotten some fresh zucchini and yellow squash from the farmer's market and wanted to use that up,so i decided to whip up a pasta-salad-like dish that could be eaten hot or cold.  I also added some butter beans to add protein and fiber to the meal for Baby Coupon.

Pasta and Veggie Dish

You will need:

1 medium zucchini
1medium yellow squash
1small can of mushrooms
1 can of butter beans (optional, Green beans would go great with this dish)
Olive oil
seasonings of your choice(i used, Italian, soy sauce,pepper and garlic powder)
Pasta of your choice

preheat olive oil in a medium saucepan for about 2-3 minutes, add chopped zucchini and squash,beans,mushrooms and spices, cook on medium-high heat until the squash is tender.
Cook pasta according to package. Spoon veggie mixture over pasta and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's a dressing. . . It's a fruit. . . . IT'S A . . .


That's right, i made a stain-remover and de-funkifier out of the products i had just collecting dust in my pantry! And chances are, you have these items collecting dust in YOUR pantry too. All you need is water,pure lemon juice and white vinegar. . yup. . that's it!

Recipe for the amazing Stain Removing De-funkifier

You will need(for 32 oz):

2 cups of water
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup vinegar

Combine all of the ingredients into your re-purposed spray bottle and VOILA! You are now the proud new owner of the Stain Removing De-funkifier(SRD) :)

I use my SRD mostly for removing poo stains and stink from my cloth diapers. You can spray the spray directly on the stain and let sit for about 5-10 mins, then throw into the wash with the rest of your diapers. OR if your diapers are just stinky, add 3 tbsp to a tub of hot water and soak your diapers for about 5hrs, adjust the amount of SRD according to the amount of stink/diapers you have.

Do you have any cleaning/laundry products that you make? Leave a comment and share the green-cleaning love!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Healthy-ish Seafood-Free Kielbasa Jambalaya!

For those of you who know me and my husband, you know how much Mr. Coupon LOVES any kind of meat or sausage. So this next recipe is for him. :) This a Jambalaya-ish meal using brown rice,kielbasa,mushrooms and black beans and goes can be eaten on tortillas as a burrito or straight out of the pan!

You Will Need:

1 package turkey kielbasa
1 can black beans
2 small cans of mushrooms(or 5 fresh )
3 cups of brown rice
Hot sauce of your choice

Cook rice according to package, set aside. Slice up the kielbasa and combine in a large skillet with the beans and mushrooms. Cook over medium heat about 5-10minutes until heated through, add the brown rice and hot sauce, stir until the ingredients are evenly coated with the hot sauce and serve on warm, whole wheat tortillas and enjoy!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My Version of the T-shirt diaper: T-shirt Prefold

I got the idea of a T-shirt diaper from a friend and decided  to re-vamp it a little. Instead of re-folding every time, I tri-folded the the T-shirt and sewed a hem along the openings on the side, and either end.

See below for step-by-step directions complete with pictures :)

T-Shirt Pre-fold

If the shirt has a graphic on it (like the one pictured below)
Lay the shirt with the graphic facing up.

Next fold in each sleeve to meet the edge of the collar(as shown below )

Next, fold the right side into the middle, and fold the left side on top of the right(as shown below)
Next, sew around the open edges. . . .
After all of the open edges are hemmed,run a zigzag stich through the top where you folded under the sleeves, so that they dont bunch up when you wash them.

annnddd VOILA!!!
(don't mind the brown one, it was  my first attempt)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Praise the Lord and Pass the Savings!!

Thrifty shoppers and home-makers, REJOICE!

 All*You magazine has just added the most AMAZING section to their site!  It is called the Grocery Circular Round-up, and just as you may infer from the title, it searches all of your local grocery store's sales ads and tells you what is on sale and what has coupons that week! It has a bunch of cool features, including the "Search by Item" tab. All you do is click on that tab, type in your shopping list and press "find savings" ; the search engine browses all of your local stores and generates a list of what items on your list are on sale at what particular store and how much the item costs.

As a mama on a budget, the best part of this whole thing is that this service is FREE! No monthly dues or fees or even a secret handshake! I am seriously jumping up and down with excitement, that's just how awesome this feature is! Also, for those of us who are more health-conscious and organic, the search engine also includes natural food stores such as Whole Foods(if you have one near you) and even includes printable coupons from said natural-foods store. So it really is a win for everyone, go check it out!  Weekly Circular Round Up

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Poor-(wo)man's calzones

Thursday's meal at our house is usually the most creative because we have very little money and even less food. So this Thursday, i was digging around in my fridge and came up with this simple, yet DELICIOUS, (and more importantly) cheap meal.

Poor (Wo)man's Calzones

2 (8ct) tubes of ready-to-bake crescent rolls
Cheese of your choice(we used American)
Lunch meat of your choice(We used honey ham)

Lay two crescent triangles long-sides together, and press them together. Spread a thin layer of mustard, layer on cheese, top with the ham and fold the edges around the meat and cheese, creating a completely closed roll. Bake according to package instructions and ENJOY!

Pictures to come later

Prayer and Coupons now has a new home!

Welcome to the new home of Prayer and Coupons!

I have decided to move my blog from Wordpress.com to Blogger for various reasons, but the main reason being that I have more contacts through Blogger than Wordpress. In the coming days i will be transfering my archived post from the old home to the new one.

Stay tuned for more prayer,coupons and money saving tips!