Friday, November 11, 2011

Yeah, we have fun in the kitchen

 
   "Look at me! I'm Cthulhu!"
       picture taken Feb 2010

Monday, November 7, 2011

Greener Swiffer Update

I've been meaning to post this for a few weeks now...

I wrote a post last month about how I made my Swiffer Wet Jet greener. It turned out really cool, and worked really well that day. I was so excited!

Until I got it out a week later and all of the vinegar was gone! I don't know if it leaked out because the seal wasn't as tight, or because there were two sets of holes poked into the container, or because having it in the laundry room evaporated all of the vinegar. (The last one is the least likely though because I've always kept my Wet Jet in the laundry room, and the Swiffer solution never evaporated.)

So I don't know if I will get around to Part 2. I was going to make reusable mop pads out of microfiber or something... but I may just have to buy one of these instead. Boo...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Saving Money on Bills


Did you know there is a very easy way to save money on your month to month bills? I saved this from my deleted blog. Originally written on April 16, 2010.
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I'm very excited to share this with you!!

Eric and I pretty much live on bare minimum. We do, however, NEED cell phones, internet, and (very) basic cable. (I'm the one who needs the tv... Eric probably wouldn't even care if we had it or not.)

A few weeks ago I called our cable and internet provider because even though we are pretty much on the cheapest plan available, I wanted to see if I could save some more money. We are paying $9.99/month for basic cable, already discounted from $17.99/mo due to a promotion that was going on during the switch to digital tv. BUT we were paying $44.99 for our internet, which to me is crazy. I found out we weren't on the cheapest internet plan so I talked to Eric about cutting back. He wasn't willing to downgrade on speed though because he is a gamer/ we watch movies online/ whatever. I called our provider and after talking to one person for less than five minutes, I found out they had a special going on: The same internet we currently have for $29.99/mo.

Total cable and internet savings: $23/ mo

Today I called our cell phone service provider to do the same thing. We're currently on a 550 minute family plan for $59.99/mo and have 1000 text messages for $10/mo per line. That equals $79.99/ mo total (not including fees and taxes which somehow adds another $16/mo onto our bill.) The first person I talked to said he could save me money by going to unlimited text messages... and it will only cost a few dollars more a month than I already spend. He wasn't quite understanding my reason for calling. Then he told me that I already have the cheapest plan: 550 shared minutes for $59.99/mo. In fact, they didn't even offer that plan anymore. The cheapest plan now is 700 shared minutes for $69.99/mo. I asked him if I could talk to the customer retention department. He happily transferred me and after several more minutes the representative had lowered the text message part of the bill to $7.50/mo per line while increasing us to unlimited text messages! He said it was an old promo code that his department has access to. Then after several more minutes he found he was able to decrease the amount I was paying for the base plan to $49.99/mo while keeping our plan the same. The only catch was that I had to increase our contract by two years starting today, so instead of our contract being over in July 2011, it ends in April 2012. Which is fine by me because...

Total cell phone savings: $15/mo

Exciting right?!

Total savings a year on internet, cable, and cell phone service because I took a little time out of my day and made a couple of calls: $456

P.S. A while back I realized I was paying a crazy amount for electricity. I did a little digging and found that our current contract for a lower price had ended, and instead of letting me know our electricity provider raised our prices. I signed into our account online and within minutes had committed to a two year contract, thus lowering our price of electricity.


If anyone out there has tips for saving money on bills (or anything else), please share in the comments section!



photo source

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Parfait


Serve in 12 Mini Cordials/Parfaits. (I served in 12 Mini Bowls.)
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 ½ cups finely crushed chocolate wafers or graham crackers (I used chocolate Teddy Grahams)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (I used mini chocolate chips)
  • ¼ cup finely chopped peanuts
  • ½ cup chocolate syrup
  • 1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened (I used "1/3 less fat" cream cheese)
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 8 oz-container whipped topping or fresh-made whipping cream (I used Cool Whip)
  • Chocolate shavings or chopped nuts for garnish, optional (I used Cool Whip, chopped peanuts, and mini chocolate chips for garnish.)
Combine melted butter, honey and crushed wafers in a mixing bowl. Fill each glass with one heaping teaspoon of wafer mixture, about a ½”, pack down slightly.
Add a few chocolate chips and some chopped peanuts on top of the cookie crumbs. Drizzle with the chocolate syrup.
In a bowl, combine cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar, milk and vanilla, mix together until well-blended. Gently fold in whipped topping or whipped cream. Carefully spoon mixture into glasses. (I actually spooned the mixture into a baggie, cut the corner out, and piped it into the glasses.)
Garnish with chocolate shavings or add another drizzle of chocolate syrup and some chopped peanuts. Refrigerate a couple of hours until set.

Eric and I bought these little "tasting party" dishes at Pier 1 for fun one day. I especially love the little spoons! We went to pier1.com and found this recipe, along with a few other recipes I pinned on Pinterest.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Lucky Us

My mom's birthday was last month, and I wanted to make something kind of sentimental. I scrolled through my Pinterest boards and found something right away... Except I knew I wanted to make it in a picture frame instead of a key chain.


The first two pennies are from the years my parents were born. The one with the heart is the year they were married. And the last three pennies are from the years my sisters and I were born.
I spent a long time fiddling with the paper in the frame, and I'm still not convinced that I love it. I hot glued the pennies onto the paper, so hopefully they stay put. Oh, and I shined the pennies a little by letting them soak in Coke for a few hours... and then scrubbing them with a baking soda paste.

Craft inspired by a picture from Pinterest

Friday, October 7, 2011

Chunky Vegetable Soup

I went to the grocery store the other day and got a ton of vegetables. I don't really know what I was thinking because there are only two of us. Esp celery... We NEVER finish all of the celery. So, in an effort to cook something healthy and use up some of the vegetables, I re-found this recipe on my Pinterest boards. It's not really cool enough outside for soup yet, but I made it anyway. Take that, Texas Fall! Next time, I would add more noodles... and Eric would take them out all together. So I guess it depends who makes it on how it turns out next time. Also, I used a huge onion and it was ALMOST too much. If you don't love onion watch out on how much you use. 


Chunky Vegetable Soup
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
2 stalks of celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
2 x cans of chopped tomatoes (14oz)
1 1/2 litres of water
2-3 chicken bouillon cubes
1 cup of pasta (we used bow tie because we had an open box of it)
In a large sauce pan over medium heat add the oil, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme and salt and pepper and cook until just soft. Add the tomatoes, water, and bouillon and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the pasta and cook for another 8-10 min.

I adapted this recipe from butterflyfoodie.blogspot.com via Pinterest

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Unwanted Gift Cards?

Did you know there are ways to sell or trade in your unwanted gift cards? This is a post I was able to save from my deleted blog. Originally written on May 19, 2010.
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I found this through $5 Dinners, and I'm so glad I did!

 

Eric and I had $50 in Starbucks gift cards, and we've had some of the cards as long as 4 years! We don't go to Starbucks... We don't even drink coffee. (Well, Eric sort of does... and I know they offer more than just coffee at Starbucks.) So I figured I could trade the unused gift cards for money we can use!

The minimum card limit that Gift Card Rescue takes is $15. (Two of our cards were $15 and two were only $10. But that was okay with Eric because he figures he's going to go to Starbucks one day and use those cards.) It's really simple. It only takes a few minutes. It's awesome!

We opted for the Amazon gift card because you get a little more than if you want cash back. (But you can get a check in the mail too.) Eric has an Amazon Kindle, and we figured we could find something we need on Amazon.com.

They suggest you get insurance or tracking on the gift cards you send them, but I decided it wasn't worth spending $12 since they were gift cards that had been sitting there unused for so long. Also, we were only getting $25.20 back so I didn't want to spend half of that by insuring my envelope.

I just got an email with an Amazon gift card code, and Eric has already applied it to his account.

Easy peasy, and a free $25.20!


Photo source: