How to Coupon

How to Make Your Own Salad Dressing

Posted on Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Woman BakingWhat goes great with salad? Your favorite salad dressing is an important addition to a delicious salad. May is National Salad Month so you might be having more salads right now than usual. One way to save some money would be to make your own salad dressing. Here are a few recipes to try.

Classic Vinaigrette
Cooking Light has a lot of recipes for salad dressing. A great one to start with would be their Classic Vinaigrette. It makes 6 tablespoons of dressing, and the serving size is 1 1/2 tablespoons. You will need:

* 1 1/2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
* 1 tablespoon of shallots (chopped)
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
* 1/8 teaspoon pepper
* 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Start by combining the vinegar, shallots, salt, Dijon mustard, and pepper. Gradually add the olive oil. Stir the ingredients until they have been well incorporated.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
Mr. Food has an easy recipe for a balsamic vinaigrette. It makes about 1 – 1/2 cups of salad dressing. You will need:

* 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
* 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
* 1 cup olive oil

Get a medium bowl. Whisk together the vinegar and mustard. Next, add the salt and pepper. Pour in the olive oil very slowly. Keep whisking until everything is well combined.

Thousand Island Salad Dressing
Martha Stewart has a great recipe for Thousand Island Salad dressing. You can turn it into a low-fat dressing if you replace the sour cream with low-fat plain Greek yogurt. You will need:

* 1 cup buttermilk
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 1/4 cup mayonnaise
* 1/3 cup ketchup
* 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
* Coarse salt and ground pepper

Get a medium bowl. Whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and mayonnaise until it is smooth. Next, whisk in the ketchup and relish. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.

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Last Minute Mother’s Day Gifts

Posted on Thursday, May 8th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Gift CardsYou only have a couple of days before Mother’s Day. It is probably too late for you to order something online and have it shipped to your mother. What are you going to do for a gift now? Have no fear procrastinators (or people who are extremely busy)! Here are some last minute Mother’s Day gifts that you can still pick up for your mom.

Get a Gift Card
You can’t go wrong with a gift card. Pick one out. Tell the cashier how much money you want to put on it. In just a few minutes, you have an easy Mother’s Day gift. Choose a gift card from her favorite store, restaurant, or salon. Many places will have gift cards that have special Mother’s Day designs on them. Ask the cashier for one of those fancy, small, envelopes that gift cards fit into. Another option is to put the gift card inside a Mother’s Day card.

Gift Bag of Candy
Remember those “goodie bags” that you would take home from birthday parties when you were a child? They typically contain candy. Put a smile on your mother’s face by creating her very own, customized, gift bag of candy. Stop by the section of the grocery store or pharmacy that has cards. There should be some small gift bags somewhere nearby. Fill the bag with mom’s favorite type of candy bars. It will be like a bouquet of chocolate instead of flowers.

Fill a Coffee Mug
You can find your mother a cute coffee mug just about anywhere. Department stores will have them in the kitchen section. Grocery stores might have some in the holiday section. Go get one. Next, you are going to fill that mug with her favorite coffee, tea, or a little of both.

If your mom prefers tea, buy her a box of her favorite kind. Open the box and carefully place each individually sealed tea bag into the mug. Does your mom like coffee? Starbucks makes an instant coffee called VIA that comes in individual servings. If your mom has a Keurig, you can buy her some K-cups of either coffee or tea. Fill the coffee mug. It makes a cute gift.

Assortment of Samples
Is your mom someone who loves little bars of soap and other scented products? Stop by the grocery store or pharmacy and see what kinds of scented lotions or shampoos they have in “travel” sizes. Check out the soap aisle to see if there are any cute little soaps there. Another option is to stop by Bath and Body Works and pick up a bunch of scented lotions, soaps, sprays, and more.

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How to Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk

Posted on Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Sidewalk ChalkLooking for something fun for your children to do outdoors? Give them an activity to do that will let them use their imaginations. All you need is some sidewalk chalk and a sidewalk to use it on. Those of you who are crafty can try this recipe to make your own sidewalk chalk. Or, you could just use some of these suggestions about where to find inexpensive, pre-made, sidewalk chalk.

How to Make Sidewalk Chalk
Martha Stewart has a recipe that you can use to make sidewalk chalk in any color you want. You will need:

* Cardboard tubes (from the center of paper towels or toilet paper)
* Scissors
* Duct tape
* Freezer paper
* 32 ounce plastic containers (used yogurt containers)
* Tempera paint (in a variety of colors)
* 1 cup of water
* Mixing spoon
* 1 1/2 cups of Plaster of Paris
* Rubber spatula
* Cooling rack

She suggests that you start by cutting the cardboard tubes to about 5 1/2 inches. Use duct tape to seal one side of each tube. Insert a sheet of freezer paper inside each tube. It helps if you cut it to the right size first.

Get a plastic container. Mix 2 to 4 tablespoons of paint into the cup of water. Mix while slowly adding the Plaster of Paris to the water until completely combined. The mixture should be the same texture as frosting.

Fill each cardboard tube (that has been prepared as described above) with the Plaster of Paris mixture. Use the rubber spatula to make that a bit easier. Tap the tube on a work surface to release air bubbles.

The Plaster of Paris will set in about 30 minutes. You can remove the chalk from the tube after it has sat for about an hour. Squeeze the tube gently to check to see how hard it has become. After removing the chalk from the tube, set it on a cooling rack and let it dry for 24 hours before use.

Not interested in being crafty? You can still save money on sidewalk chalk. Start by looking for it in the nearest dollar store. Target might have some in their $1.00 racks. Educational stores may have some on sale just in time for summer.

Another idea is to see if you can track down where your children put the sidewalk chalk that they were using last year. See if it got mixed in with other art supplies.

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Save Money with Cinco de Mayo Deals!

Posted on Thursday, May 1st, 2014 at 7:00 am
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TacosCinco de Mayo is celebrated every year on May 5th. You can have a good time without going too far over your budget. Take advantage of the deals and specials that restaurants and bars are offering on Cinco de Mayo Here are some to get started with. There may be some local deals in your area, too. Check with the website of your favorite Mexican restaurant to see how they will be celebrating.

Chevy’s is celebrating “5 Days of Cinco” from May 1, 2014 through May 5, 2014. According to their Facebook page, specials include $4.00 – $7.50 Dos XX Lager, Tecate and Tecate Light, $6.00 Doble Margs and Doble shots, and more. (These deals may not be happening at all Chevy’s locations – so call ahead and check).

Taco Time is celebrating Cinco de Mayo by offering $0.69 tacos all day long on May 5, 2014. There are no coupons associated with this deal. Just go in and enjoy the inexpensive tacos.

Carlos O’Kelly’s is holding their Cinco de Mayo celebration from May 2, 2014 through May 5, 2014. They are offering $5.00 Jumbo Margaritas, $1.50 small chili con queso, and 1/2 price Kid’s Meals. They also have a few deals that will only be offered on May 5, 2014. They will have $2.00 drafts, $3.00 Big Beers, and $3.00 Mex Bottles.

Green Burrito at Carl’s Jr has a coupon for $1.00 off any 2 piece or 4 piece grilled flautas with charbroiled chicken. This coupon will expire on June 8, 2014.

Chipotle has a catering deal that they are calling “Graduatering”. Obviously, it is geared for graduation parties. However, you could use it to get a good deal on catering for your Cinco de Mayo party. Place a catering order for 30 or more people between May 1, 2014, and June 30, 2014 and get a card for four free burritos.

Costa Vida will be giving away a free sweet pork burrito to each guest that arrives at their store in Lehi, Utah, between 11:00 in the morning and 1:00 in the afternoon on May 5, 2014.

Dos Equis will let you send a free eCard to a friend. Choose an image from their selection. Next, select a “line” from their collection. Most of them are in celebration of “Dos de Mayo” (because the brand is Dos Equis). You must be 21 or older to send the free eCard.

Taco Cabana is offering some relief for those who are hungover after celebrating Cinco de Mayo. They will be posting a coupon for a free taco from Taco Cabana on their Facebook page on May 6, 2014.

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Where to Find Free Mother’s Day Coloring Sheets

Posted on Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Crayola CrayonsWant a really fun way to get little kids involved in Mother’s Day? Have them color a Mother’s Day themed picture! Put their adorable, unique, artwork into a “store bought” card. The mom who receives this type of Mother’s Day card cannot help but smile! Here is where to find several free, printable, Mother’s Day coloring sheets.

At Crayola.com
* Mother’s Day is a coloring sheet that shows a little boy giving his mother a bouquet of flowers and a “Best Mom Ever” balloon.

* Celebrating Mom is a coloring sheet that shows a mom holding a baby. She is also holding a bouquet of flowers and three Mother’s Day balloons.

* Turtle Mommy is a coloring page that shows a young turtle who has a flower in his mouth and a cupcake balanced on his back. He has walked it over to his turtle mommy.

* Mother’s Love is a coloring page that shows a mother deer snuggling with her two baby deer. One of them is giving her a leaf that is filled with berries.

At Coloring Castle
* Mother’s Day Roses is a coloring sheet that shows a bouquet of roses in a vase. Above the roses, it says “Happy Mother’s Day”. This drawing has some very small areas to color. It is more ideal for older kids who have developed their fine motor skills more than most little kids have.

* Mother’s Day Concentric Hearts is a coloring sheet that shows several hearts that are one inside the other. Each heart is made up of small designs. The border is made of hearts and circles. This is another coloring sheet that has small spaces and would be good for older kids to color.

* Mommy Heart is a coloring sheet that is simple, and to the point. It shows a large heart with the word “Mommy” inside it. Kids of all ages can color this one!

At Disney Family Go
* Bambi Mother’s Day Card is an entire, foldable, Mother’s Day Card. It shows a very young Bambi snuggling with his mother next to some wild flowers.

At NickJr.com
* Peter’s Happy Mother’s Day Card is a printable Mother’s Day card that shows a drawing of Peter Rabbit. He is holding a wrapped present that his is giving to Mother Rabbit.

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Tips for Getting the Best Deals and Thrift and Consignment Stores

Posted on Thursday, April 24th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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big laughIt’s always nice to get some great “new to you” clothing at an affordable price. Shopping at thrift stores, or consignment stores, is good for the environment. Here are some tips that will help you get the best deals while you are shopping “green”.

When you purchase an item from a thrift store or consignment store, you are keeping it out of a landfill. It is estimated that 85% of used clothing ends up in a landfill every year. One way to live “green” is to find ways to re-use things (instead of throwing them away). These are the kinds of shopping trips that make you feel good and are good for the Earth, too!

Consignment shops often have a “system” in place that designates when items will be marked down in price. Ask the consignment shop owner for details. Typically, the longer a piece of clothing has been in the store, the more it will get marked down. You might get a really great deal if you are willing to wait for something to go on sale.

Some of the items at consignment stores could be brand new. It isn’t unheard of for shop owners to buy clothing from boutiques that are going out of business. In other words, you could be buying brand new clothes for a lower price than if you bought it from the boutique it originally came from.

Choose thrift stores and consignment shops that are in an upper-income neighborhood. The people who live near the store have a lot of disposable income. The items they donate to a thrift store, or send to a consignment shop, could be newer, more “gently used”, and of a higher quality than you might see in similar stores in lower-income neighborhoods.

Ask for the store’s calendar when you visit a thrift store. They typically will put certain items on sale on particular days. For example, Sunday could be when sweaters go on sale. Thursdays could be when dresses are on sale. You can get a great deal if you shop on the right day. Most of the time, those sales are weekly. If you missed the sale, come back on the same day next week.

Bring your photo ID to the thrift store. They often give extra discounts to students, teachers, and people who are in the military. The clerks at the register are not allowed to simply take your word for it. You must show them your student ID, military ID, or a name badge that has a photo and shows what school you teach in.

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How to Make Your Own Compost

Posted on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Gardening MagazineComposting has become quite popular with gardeners. It is also good for the environment and can end up saving you money. Getting started with composting isn’t difficult to do. Results will not be instantaneous but will pay off over time. Here are some things you need to know to make your own compost for your garden.

Compost is made of organic material. It includes certain kinds of food scraps and yard waste. Making compost will help keep that type of waste out of landfills. The trash that ends up in landfills takes up space and releases methane (which is a greenhouse gas).

Composting can save you money because you are making your own, organic, fertilizer for your garden. That means you won’t have to buy it. Putting compost into your garden helps the soil retain moisture. In short, this means you won’t need to use as much water to keep your garden growing as you would if you didn’t use compost. People who make their own compost are lowering their carbon footprint.

All composting requires three basic ingredients. “Browns” include dead leaves, branches, and twigs. “Greens” are grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps and coffee grounds. The third ingredient is water.

Ideally, your compost should have an equal amount of “browns” and “greens”. You should alternate with one layer of “browns” then one layer of “greens”, and so on. The water helps to break down the organic matter.

Check with your local garden supply store to see if they sell composting bins. If not, you can make your own. Drill half-an-inch diameter holes into the bottom and sides of a plastic garbage can. Put a brick into the bottom of this garbage can. Surround the brick with a layer of wood chips or soil.

Place a second, smaller, garbage can inside the first one. Wrap insulation around the outer garbage can to keep the compost warm. Cover both cans with a lid. Your food scraps and yard waste are going to be placed inside the smaller garbage can.

Your compost bin should be placed in a dry, shady, spot. Add water to dry materials as they are added. Mix the entire compost to help maintain it. When the material at the bottom of the compost is dark and rich in color, it is ready to put in your garden. This can take between two months and two years.

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Have a Healthy Easter

Posted on Thursday, April 17th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Mandarin OrangesWhat’s in your children’s Easter basket? Typically, an Easter basket is filled with more candy and sugar than is healthy. Another health concern comes from the unrefrigerated Easter eggs. Here are some tips to help your family have a very healthy Easter.

The Egg Safety Center has advice about how to safely color and decorate hard-boiled eggs. First, you need to thoroughly wash your hands and the area you will be working in. If you aren’t going to dye your hard-boiled eggs right away, they need to go into the refrigerator. Don’t color any eggs that are cracked. Eggs that crack while you are dying them need to be thrown away.

Throw away any hard-boiled eggs that have been out of the refrigerator for more than two hours. They aren’t safe to eat. Parents need to be very aware of how long the hard-boiled eggs have been sitting in their children’s Easter baskets. Will you be hiding Easter eggs for an egg hunt? Be careful to avoid putting eggs in places where they will come into contact with dirt, pets, wild animals, reptiles, insects, or lawn chemicals.

Annie’s makes several snacks that are shaped like bunnies. Their fruit snacks are organic and can be found in most grocery stores. Each box of Annie’s fruit snacks includes individually wrapped packages. This makes them as easy to toss into an Easter basket as candy would be.

Small boxes of raisins are another alternative to candy. Do your kids like clementines or cuties? Those “little oranges” can safely sit out, unrefrigerated, until your child finds his or her Easter basket. Put some yogurt covered, or chocolate covered, nuts into some of the plastic Easter eggs.

Another way to avoid going overboard on candy is to put non-edible treats into the Easter baskets. Board books about Easter are great for little kids (especially if the book has flaps to open). Parents can read the book to their child, or make it a new bedtime story. Small containers of Play Dough are another good choice. Manipulating Play Dough is a good way to improve small motor skills.

Pick toys that encourage kids to go outside and play. Bubbles work best outside on a slightly windy day. Sidewalk chalk requires a driveway to use as a canvas. Drawing requires children to use their imaginations. Two or more children could create an “art show” of their drawings for parents to enjoy.

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How to Have an Allergy-Friendly Easter

Posted on Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Easter fun and joyHolidays can be difficult for children who have food allergies. There are going to be some fun, seasonal, treats that are not allergy-friendly. What can parents do to ensure that their child avoids all allergens and still has a good time on Easter? Here are some simple tips to help your family have an allergy-friendly Easter.

Focus on Non-Edible Treats
Your child’s Easter basket doesn’t have to be filled with candy in order to make the day special. Holiday candy can be tricky because there isn’t always a good way to know, for certain, if it contains the same ingredients as the “regular” version. Instead of taking a risk, why not fill the basket with non-edible treats?

Little kids will enjoy an Easter themed board book. Children of all ages will appreciate a stuffed animal that they can play with and cuddle. You can avoid the wheat that is in Play Dough by making a gluten-free version of it at home. Older kids might find a pack of Uno cards to be exciting – especially if the rest of the family takes the time to play a few hands.

Make Safe Treats Yourself
The Rice Krispies website has a recipe for gluten-free Rice Krispies treats. You will need a box of their gluten-free Rice Krispies Cereal. (The regular version is not gluten-free). You can substitute margarine for the butter in the recipe to fit the needs of children who have dairy allergies.

The Our Life as an Epi-Family blog has great photos that show how to form Rice Krispies treats into egg shapes. It is simple to do and turns an everyday treat into an Easter themed one.

Easter without the Eggs
Use colorful, plastic, eggs instead of real ones. The will work just as well in a backyard Easter egg hunt. Try an Easter craft (that is designed to be put together by children) in place of dyeing Easter eggs. Families that are very creative can try their hand at rock painting. this Easter. Doing so will enable children to paint and decorate a natural object that is similar in shape to an Easter egg.

Or, you could see if your local craft store has styrofoam eggs that can be decorated with glitter, sequence, and other interesting craft materials. These allergy-friendly alternative help kids to engage all aspects of the Easter holiday without being exposed to allergens.

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Favado: Coupon Matchups for Your Favorite Stores on your Phone!

Posted on Friday, April 11th, 2014 at 11:16 am
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FavadoDo you want to have your favorite stores’ deals & coupon matchups right on your phone or tablet? Do you want to save at a store that maybe we don’t cover on this site?

We’ve just discovered the most incredible app called Favado. Favado can easily save you as much as 70% when you shop! Favado takes your top 10 favorite stores in your area and gives you weekly coupon matchups right on your mobile device. When your weekly shopping day comes around, turn on your app, browse through your favorite stores’ matchups, add the items you want to buy to your shopping list, and then email the list to yourself. The email you receive will have a list of all the items you want to buy as well as any coupons that you will need to get the deal. If it’s a printable coupon or digital coupon, the links to those coupons will also be included in your email. All you need to do is clip and print your coupons needed for your shopping trip, load digital coupons to your accounts and you’re set to shop!

You can also set up a Favorite Items List of the items you buy most often. Your Favorite Items list allows you to compare prices on a specific item across all of your stores. This is a great way to save the most on the items you buy often.

Sign up for your FREE Favado account today by clicking on this link, creating an account and then downloading it onto your mobile device. Start saving like never before! Let us know if you have any questions!

 

 

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