How to Coupon

Sales to Look for in July

Posted on Tuesday, July 1st, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Christmas GiftsYou can get the lowest price of the year on just about anything if you know the best time to shop for it. There are annual sales that happen in July that only happen once a year. Here are some of the sales to look for in July.

4th of July Sales
Many stores will hold a three-day 4th of July sale that starts on July 4th and disappears by the end of the weekend. This is a great time to shop for home electronics, furniture, and new mattresses. There will also be clearance sales of summer clothing going on, so don’t forget to stop by your favorite clothing stores. Take a moment to do some online comparison shopping at the big department stores. Doing so will help you determine which one to go to first (and which you should skip over). Video games may also be included in this sale.

Christmas in July Sales
It has become a tradition for stores that sell Christmas trees, ornaments, stockings, and other decorations to hold a Christmas in July Sale. Department stores are good places to start if you want to shop a Christmas in July sale. They tend to bring out the “leftover” stock from last Christmas in the hopes that it will sell. Visit the niche stores that sell specialized or collectable Christmas ornaments. You may end up saving more money on these items than if you bought them at the after Christmas sales.

School Supplies Sales
It seems like every year, the school supplies sales are starting earlier and earlier! Office supply stores tend to have the best deals. Compare their prices to those at the department stores. You might not have an official list of stuff that your child must bring to school next year yet. Pick up some pencils, binders, and other items that he or she will more than likely need.

Summer Clothing Sales
The first round of summer clothing sales begin at the end of June or start of July. Stores are ready to unload this year’s swimsuits, shorts, tank tops, and sandals. They need to make room for the incoming school clothing and uniforms that will be arriving in their stockrooms soon. The best part of the summer clothing sales is that the weather will stay warm enough for you and your family to wear the clothes before the season changes.

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Red, White, and Blue Recipes for the 4th of July!

Posted on Thursday, June 26th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Table of food prepared for 4th of July barbequeMany people celebrate the 4th of July by having a barbeque in their backyard. This year, why not jazz things up by making a side dish, dessert, and drink that is in patriotic colors? Your guests are sure to notice! Here are a few recipes for red, white, and blue foods to serve at your 4th of July party.

Red, White, and Blue Potato Salad
Cooking Light has a recipe for a potato salad that comes in patriotic colors. The recipe appears at MyRecipes. It makes 6 servings and is much more eye catching than a typical potato salad! You will need:

* 2 cups of fingerling potatoes (halved lengthwise)
* 1 cups small red potatoes (quartered)
* 2 cups small blue potatoes (halved lengthwise)
* 1/4 cup red onion (finely chopped)
* 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (chopped)
* 1 tablespoon fresh dill (chopped)
* 1 tablespoon fresh chives (chopped)
* 3 hard-cooked large eggs (finely chopped)
* 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
* 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
* 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)
* 1 garlic clove (minced)

Put the fingerling and red potatoes in a saucepan and cover them with water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat. Simmer for 15 minutes. Drain out the water and place the potatoes in a large bowl. Let them cool. Next, boil the blue potatoes (for about 10 minutes).

Add the blue potatoes, onion, parsley, dill, chives, and eggs to the bowl with the other potatoes. Toss to mix. Add the vinegar and the rest of the ingredients. Toss again. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

Patriotic Frozen Delight
Taste of Home has a red, white, and blue dessert that makes 12 servings and includes fresh berries. You will need:

* 1 can of sweetened condensed milk (16 ounces)
* 1/3 cup of lemon juice
* 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
* 2 cups plain yogurt (16 ounces)
* 2 cups miniature marshmallows
* 1/2 cup pecans (chopped)
* 1 cup fresh strawberries (sliced)
* 1 cup fresh blueberries

Combine the milk, lemon juice, and lemon peel in a bowl. Stir in the yogurt, marshmallows, and pecans. Spread half the mixture into an non-greased 11×7 dish. Sprinkle half the strawberries and half the blueberries over it. Cover the berries with another layer of the mixture. Make another layer with the rest of the berries. Cover it and freeze it. Take it out of the freezer 15 or 20 minutes before serving.

Layered Drinks
The Sisters Cafe has an easy recipe for a layered, non-alcoholic, drink that is in patriotic colors. Fill a glass with ice all the way to the top. Pour in Sobe Pina Colada until the glass is 1/3 full. Next, pour in Gatorade Fruit Punch slowly through the ice. Stop when the glass is 2/3 full. Last, pour in G2 Blueberry-Pomegranate until you reach the top of the glass.

These three drinks have different sugar contents. That is what keeps them separated. You will end up with a drink that is white, red, and blue (from bottom to top).

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Educational Computer Activities for Kids

Posted on Tuesday, June 24th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Kids at ComputerIt happens every summer vacation. Your children will, eventually, complain that they are bored. What are you going to do to keep your kids active and entertained? Consider getting your kids involved in some educational summer camps and programs that involve computers. Here are a few to check out.

Apple Camp
Apple Camp is a free three-day workshop for kids who are between the ages of 8 and 12. Check the Apple Camp website to see if an Apple store near you will be offering the workshops. You must sign up your children if you want them to attend. Campers must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian for the duration of each workshop.

At Apple Camp, kids will learn how to make movies or create interactive books (complete with their own illustrations and sound effects). The Apple Camp ends with the Apple Camp Showcase where the children can share their finished projects. It is recommended that campers bring a digital camera or digital video camera if they are coming to the Stories in Motion with iMovie Workshop. (The store can provide one for kids who do not have their own).

National Park Service WebRangers
The WebRangers is the online extension of the Junior Ranger program. It is for kids of all ages. Children who love America’s National Parks, Monuments, and Historic Sites will enjoy the free activities that WebRangers offers.

It is possible to just visit the WebRangers online activities (so your child can decide if they are interested in it). Kids can select an activity from categories like: people, history, nature, animals, parks, science, or puzzles. Or, they can use the search engine to type in a word that interests them. An activity will be suggested. Children can also select the difficulty level of the activity: easy, medium, or hard.

Kids who join WebRangers can track their activities, customize their ranger station, and earn rewards. It is an educational online camp that will keep your child thinking and learning while school is out.

LEGO Minifigures Online Beta
It has been said that playing with LEGOs is a great way for kids to learn how to problem solve and use their imagination. The same can be said for the LEGO Minifigures Online game that is now in beta. The game is free-to-play (and requires a Windows PC).

Children choose a minifigure as their character, and maneouver him or her through different LEGO worlds. They can smash things, build things, and try and figure out how to get their character through the game.

The game can be played, in its entirety, without requiring a parent to spend any money. However, the game does allow micro-transactions that are optional and that cost real world money. Children who are under the age of 13 will not be able to do any micro-transactions without a parent’s participation.

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How to Organize a Block Garage Sale

Posted on Thursday, June 19th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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plan, list, organize, budgetWant a lot of people to come to your garage sale? One of the most effective ways to make that happen is to have your garage sale the same days as several of your neighbors do. People who hesitate to drive out to where you live may reconsider if they know there are lots of garage sales happening in the same place. Here are some tips to help you organize a block, or neighborhood, garage sale.

Join the existing group garage sale.
Does the town you live in already have an annual neighborhood garage sale? Find out. It is possible that you won’t have to take on the task of organizing one after all. Do some research, or ask around, to see what you need to do in order to be included.

Some towns request that people sign up to be a part of the garage sale. There may be someone who is creating a map to hand out to people who want to shop them all. Get your stuff ready for sale ahead of time, and try and adhere to the days and hours that the organizers want everyone to hold their garage sale.

Talk to your neighbors.
Today, very few people are best buddies with all of their neighbors. You might know a few of them well enough to start talking to them about a block garage sale. Pick a weekend that is not a holiday. Ask neighbors if they want to be a part of it. Point out that everyone is more likely to make sales if they all hold garage sales on the same day. Customers will go from one sale to the next.

Start making a list of the neighbors who want to be included. Give everyone the same start time and close time. Suggest they prepare their items ahead of time. The neighbors you are familiar with might be friends with other neighbors that you don’t know so well. They can help spread the word and get people involved.

Make sure to advertise!
Wait until you have a list of neighbors who are going to participate in the block (or neighborhood) garage sale. Once you have a good idea of how many there will be, it is time to advertise. Contact your local newspaper and place an advertisement. You might want to post an ad on Craigslist. Make sure you put a large, easy to spot, sign at the end of your street.

Your ad should include the location of the garage sales. The name of the street will do. Note the date(s) of the block garage sale and the start and end times, so customers know when to arrive. Don’t forget to remove the advertisements after the big, group, garage sale is over!

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What Not to Buy at Garage Sales

Posted on Tuesday, June 17th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Second hand shopYou never know what you will find at a garage sale. That’s part of the fun! As the saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. The way to get the best deals at a garage sale is to understand what not to buy. Here are some tips to help you avoid making an impulse buy that you will regret later on.

Don’t buy clothing that might not fit.
The clothing you find at a garage sale is used. It may not match the size that is printed on the tag. The item could have shrunk or have been stretched out. Garage sales do not have changing rooms for you to try on the clothing.

There are people who can hold a piece of clothing against their bodies and instantly know whether or not it will fit them. Everyone else is taking a guess. Be aware that the clothing you purchase may not fit you. Avoid spending a lot of money on what could be a “gamble”.

Don’t buy the really cute dress that is one size smaller than what you wear. It is extremely unlikely that you are going to lose enough weight to fit into that dress (especially if it has been shrunk).

Don’t buy broken things.
Avoid the items that are labeled “as-is”. This is a sign that the item does not work or is broken. People sell broken things assuming that someone who has the skills and knowledge to fix them will come along and buy them.

Don’t buy things that are broken unless you happen to be an expert at fixing that type of thing. Don’t buy it unless you already have all the necessary parts and components required to fix it at your house. You might be tempted to buy something that needs fixing because it is at a low price. The price rises when you realize all the stuff you must purchase in order to fix it.

Don’t buy items for resale.
Something at a garage sale catches your eye. It is absolutely fine to buy one or two random things for a couple of dollars. That’s exactly how garage sales are supposed to work.

Problems happen when people start viewing garage sales as “stock” for their eBay store. In general, if you bought an item for less than $5.00 you won’t be able to sell it for more than that online. Is it really worth your time and effort to try and resell it for so little money? There is a chance that you won’t find a buyer and will end up stuck with an item that you don’t even like.

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No-Bake Dessert Recipes

Posted on Thursday, June 12th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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del monte bananaEveryone loves desserts! Cakes, cookies, and brownies require using your oven and heating up your home. That doesn’t sound very appealing during the summer when the weather is really hot. Instead, try one of these delicious recipes for no-bake desserts.

Banana Split “Cake”
Snack Works has a yummy recipe that banana lovers will enjoy. It makes 24 servings. You will need:

* 9 Honey Maid Honey Grahams (crushed) (about 1-1/2 cups)
* 1 cup sugar (divided)
* 1/3 cup butter (melted)
* 2 packages of brick cream cheese (softened) (8 ounces each)
* 1 can crushed pineapple in juice (20 ounces) (drained)
* 6 bananas (divided)
* 2 packages vanilla instant pudding mix (3.4 ounces each)
* 2 cups cold milk
* 2 cups thawed Cool Whip Whipped Topping (divided)
* 1 cup pecans (chopped)

First, mix the crushed grahams with 1/4 cup of sugar and butter. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 13×9 inch pan. Freeze it for 10 minutes.

Next, beat the cream cheese and remaining sugar with a mixer until it is well blended. Spread the mixture carefully over the crust. Top it with pineapple. Slice 4 bananas and arrange the slices over the pineapple.

After that, beat the pudding mixes with milk. Whisk the mixture for 2 minutes until well blended. Stir in 1 cup Cool Whip. Spread this mixture over the banana layer that is in the pan. Top with the remaining Cool Whip. Refrigerate for 5 hours. Slice the last 2 bananas before serving, and add the slices on top of the dessert. Top that with the pecans.

Strawberry Freeze
Kraft has a great recipe for a no-bake dessert that includes fresh berries and cream cheese. It makes 16 servings. You will need:

* 12 chocolate chip cookies (2 inch)
* 1 package Philadelphia Cream Cheese (softened) (8 ounce)
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1 can frozen berry juice (12 ounces)
* 1 cup crushed strawberries
* 1 tub Cool Whip Whipped Topping (8 ounces) (thawed)
* 2 cups whole strawberries (cut in half)

First, arrange the cookies in a single layer on the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan. Put the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl. Beat it with a mixer until well blended. Gradually beat in the juice concentrate. Stir in the crushed berries. Whisk in the Cool Whip until well blended. Pour the mixture over the cookies. Freeze the dessert for 6 hours. Remove from freezer 15 minutes before serving. Add sliced strawberries to the top.

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Tasty Recipes for Marinade

Posted on Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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chicken marinade iStockMarinades are great for spicing up some chicken, pork or beef and giving it extra flavor. You might want to consider grilling meat that has been marinaded at your next barbecue. Most people buy bottles of marinade at the grocery store. However, it is entirely possible to make your own! Here are a couple of tasty marinades to try.

Best Steak Marinade in Existence
This marinade recipe, with the boastful name, comes from AllRecipes. It makes 1 and 1/3 cups. You will need:

* 1/3 cup soy sauce
* 1/2 cup olive oil
* 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
* 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
* 1 and 1/2 tablespoons garlic powder
* 3 tablespoons dried basil
* 1 and 1/2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
* 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (optional)
* 1 teaspoon dried minced garlic (optional)

First, put the soy sauce, olive oil, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, basil, parsley, and pepper in a blender. (Add the hot pepper sauce and garlic if you want to). Blend on high speed for 30 seconds (or until the ingredients are completely mixed). Next, pour the marinade over steak. Cover, and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

Completely Foolproof 100% Delicious Grilled Chicken
Sounds tempting, doesn’t it? This recipe comes from Kalyn’s Kitchen. This marinade only has four ingredients. They are:

* 1 bottle of Newman’s Own Olive Oil and Vinegar Dressing (16 ounces)
* 1 package of Zesty Italian dressing mix (powdered mix)
* 1 tablespoon of Spike’s Seasoning (optional)
* Coarse ground black pepper (to taste)

If you don’t know how to prepare chicken for a marinade, I suggest you visit the Kalyn’s Kitchen blog. There are detailed instructions and photos.

To make this marinade, you start by combining all the ingredients together. Mix them well. Put the chicken in a ziploc bag (in a single layer). Pour in the marinade. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for 6 hours (or longer).

Best Pork Chop Marinade
This recipe comes from AllRecipes. If you are planning to marinate some pork, why not do it with the Best Pork Chop Marinade? This recipe makes 2 servings. The recipe suggests that you use 2 large pork chops that have been sliced through the middle with the sides spread out like an open book. You will need:

* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
* 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
* 2 tablespoons lemon juice
* 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
* 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
* 2 teaspoons dried thyme
* 1 teaspoon onion powder
* 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
* 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
* 1 teaspoon mesquite-flavored seasoning
* 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl. When they are well mixed, pour the marinade into a large resealable plastic bag. Add the pork chops. Cover the pork chops with the marinade. Squeeze out the excess air and seal the bag. Marinate the pork chops in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours.

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Things to Buy in June

Posted on Thursday, June 5th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Woman with tools.Every month, there are certain things that go on sale. Savvy shoppers pay attention to these annual sales and deals, and end up saving a lot of money. Plan ahead, and you can get some excellent deals on things by waiting to purchase them until the right month. Here are some things that you should buy in June.

Doughnuts
Technically, this is more of a “freebie” than a purchase. June 6 is National Doughnut Day. Stop by your favorite doughnut shop and get one free doughnut (per customer). Naturally, you will want to buy some doughnuts to bring home with you, too.

Tools
June is a great month to buy brand new tools. The trick is to wait until after Father’s Day is over. The stores realize that many people purchase tools as Father’s Day gifts. The sale won’t begin until after the holiday is over. Shop the weekend after Father’s Day for the best deal on tools. Dads who got a gift card as a Father’s Day gift, and who want to use it to buy tools, should take advantage of the sales.

Underwear
June is when Victoria’s Secret has its Semi-Annual Sale. Typically, you can pick up bras, panties, and lingerie for a fraction of what they originally cost. The store is trying to unload the older styles of product in order to make room for the new designs and colors. Other stores that sell underwear will also be having a sale in June. They are trying to compete with Victoria’s Secret. You could find a great deal on bras and panties at your favorite department store.

School Supplies
Believe it or not, the school supplies sales begin in June. I know, it sounds like it would be too early for that (especially if your child’s school has not yet let out for the summer). Start checking the weekly sales ads for office supply stores. Some of them offer special discount cards that you can use all summer long to save money on school supplies. Pay attention to those sales, and you can stretch out the cost of next year’s school supplies.

Gym Memberships
Gyms gain a lot of new members in January. Six months later, several of those new members have broken their New Year’s Resolution to exercise on a regular basis. This means that you can get a good deal on a gym membership if you buy it in June. Now is also a good time to buy gym equipment for your home. Look for the sales and do a little comparison shopping for best results.

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Where to Find Free Father’s Day Coloring Sheets

Posted on Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Crayola CrayonsLooking for a really easy craft that kids can make as a Father’s Day gift? Try some of these Father’s Day themed coloring sheets! You can print them out for free (as many times as you like). These are great for really little kids who are too small to sign a Father’s Day card.

At Crayola.com
* Backyard Picnic is a coloring sheet that shows a family celebrating Father’s Day with a backyard cookout. The dad is wearing an apron that says “#1 Dad” and is cooking food on the grill. Mom gives him a hug, and the kids are eating at a picnic table.

* Celebration for Dad is a coloring sheet that features a dad (wearing office clothes and a tie) who is holding up a trophy that says “#1 Dad”. Balloons and confetti rain down upon him. Behind him is a banner that says “Happy Father’s Day”.

* Daddy Bear is another free Father’s Day coloring page from Crayola.com. This one shows a little bear who is wearing a t-shirt and handing her father a rose. Daddy Bear, who is wearing a tie, is sitting next to his cub (and patting her on the head).

At DisneyFamily.com
* Mickey and Pluto Father’s Day Coloring Page features, as you might expect, Mickey Mouse and Pluto. Mickey has just cooked some hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, and has tripped over Pluto’s dog bowl. The food goes into the air, and Pluto is ready to catch it! At the top, it says “Happy Father’s Day”.

At ColoringCastle.com
* Daddy Heart is the simplest Father’s Day coloring page design you will ever find. It is a giant heart that says “Daddy” in big letters on it. This one would be great for little kids to color for Dad.

* Happy Father’s Day shows a drawing of a striped tie (of the type that many dads wear to work). The page says “Happy Father’s Day!” in big letters.

At NickJr.com
* Dora’s Printable Father’s Day Card shows a drawing of Dora and her father. It is already colored in. The coloring page has dashed lines that direct a child to fold it. On the inside, it says “Te amo, Papi!” (which means “I love you, Daddy!” in English). A child could color the flowers on the card.

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Fun Graduation Party Activities

Posted on Thursday, May 29th, 2014 at 7:00 am
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Graduation CongratulationsWill you be hosting a party for your high school graduate? Parents can find it difficult to come up with party activities that will be appropriate for guests who are under age. Here are a few fun ideas that can keep new high school graduates, and their friends, entertained.

Name That Mascot
Education.com has a graduation party activity that makes people think about college. It requires some preparation, but it isn’t difficult to do.

First, go online and find photos of the mascots of various colleges and universities. Print out the photos and paste them to a piece of cardboard. Try to avoid images that specifically state the name of the college. Put a number on each one.

Next, give each party guest a piece of paper and a pen. Ask them to write down the name of the school that each mascot belongs to. Make a “cheat sheet” for yourself so you won’t forget the correct answers. Set a timer and have everyone stop writing when the timer goes off.

Reveal the answers out loud. Ask the guests to raise their hands if they will be attending each college that you have a mascot for. This gives the recent high school graduates the opportunity to learn what school their friends will be attending. Select a prize to give the guest who had the most correct answers.

Graduate Trivia
This game functions like the trivia nights that happen at bars. Ask the guests to divide up into at least two teams. Each team is required to think up an amusing name for themselves. Every team needs to have a large sheet of paper and a pen (to write down their answers).

This game also requires some preparation (just like regular trivia nights). Parents need to compile a series of questions about their graduate. “What does he want to major in?” “Name the three schools that she applied to”. “What was his least favorite class in high school?” You can use multiple choice questions if you like. Try and avoid questions that will cause your high school graduate to become completely embarrassed. Stick with topics that are education or college related.

After all the questions have been asked, it is time to go over the answers. Allow each team to check their own paper. Repeat each question, followed by the correct answer. The team that came up with the most correct answers wins. Plan ahead so you will have a prizes to hand out to the members of the winning team.

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