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The Hidden Room that No One Sees, Cleaning Clutter

Monday, August 31, 2009

I am about to take you into a room of my home that no one ever sees. I keep this room hidden from guests and am always afraid of someone seeing it. Perhaps this cluttered room relates to me emotionally and represents the cluttered part of my mind that holds resentment, fear, and negativity. The book Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui, by Karen Kingston explains the clutter-mind connection very well and I highly recommend her book.

The room I am referring to is my storage room in the basement and it took me a good day and a half to clean it. When I was finished I had a large pile for trash and a very large pile for my Yard Sale. Yes, I was able to let go of a lot of things. It is a very emotional experience to go through your life and for me this storage room held a lot of my life. I ran across old year books, journals, clothes my kids had outgrown, and many memories. At one point I became so emotional that I broke down in tears. This is why this room doesn't get organized and cleaned out very often and I usually just keep the door closed. In the end I feel energized and like a new woman.

I can finally walk into my storage room without having to leap over stuff. It is easy to find what I need and even thrifty since I won't go out and buy duplicates of things I know I have but cannot find. Whenever I needed an extension cord I would spend tons of time searching and wouldn't find one. I found about 10 hiding out in my storage room! So yes, getting rid of clutter and organizing is very thrifty.

Here are the before and after pictures (oh, I am so ashamed of those before pictures):

I was so happy to use my new wide-angle lens that I got in my "chunk of junk"!

This project was a metamorphosis of room and spirit so I am linking up to Metamorphosis Monday over at Between Naps on the Porch.

FREE FRIDAY DEALS * August 28th, 2009

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sorry I have been sorta MIA (missing in action) this week and haven't posted much. I also only posted the links to the FREE deals without the usual pictures. I have just been so busy cleaning out my house and getting ready for my yard sale. I spent all day yesterday in the basement storage room going through everything. What a job! I feel emotionally drained from going through years of accumulated stuff and parting with things. It was worth it! It is so nice to be able to walk into the storage room and find what I need without tripping over everything. I am going to be spending all next week going through the rest of my house with a fine tooth comb, so I will not be posting much until I am finished.
I did find a few good FREE deals this week.
Happy Friday everyone!

Free chicken sandwich for the first 250,000 people.
Also wear your favorite sports team logo on labor day and get a free sandwich.
Click HERE

Click HERE for a free sample of Freshening Teeth Cleaner

ADT Child Safety Kit
Click HERE

Qwest High-Speed Internet Customers
Get a FREE $50 gift certificate by signing up for their newsletter.
Click HERE

EOS Sphere Lip Balm
Click HERE for free sample (Free samples are gone, they are giving $1 coupons now)

FREE Beech-Nut Baby Food Starter Kit

FREE Digilake's Mouse (keyboard mouse)
Click HERE

FREE Pull-Ups Interactive Potty Training Success DVD
Click HERE

Mars Chocolate
Don't forget to get your FREE chocolate today! You can get 4 per household each Friday, you just have to have 4 different e-mails.
(Click HERE)

Review of Melissa & Doug Puzzle from Ebeanstalk

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A while ago I was asked to test toys for a company called ebeanstalk. They sent out a number of baby toys and toys for 1 year olds to toy experts (moms) for their review. Through reviews such as mine, this helps ebeanstalk select great learning toys . The toy they sent was a big knob house and shape puzzle from Melissa & Doug who make my favorite wooden toys.

First I must say that I have learned the importance of buying good quality toys. When my oldest son was a baby, we were poor students and couldn't afford much. I bought a lot of cheap toys that did not last. Now I only buy high quality toys and I love toys that teach. I have grown to LOVE anything by Melissa & Doug, so I was very happy when I was sent this puzzle.
We have a lot of puzzles, but my son can't do them by himself. This puzzle has great big knobs that are perfect for his little hands. I love that he can do it by himself and he loves it to. He is at an age (terrible 2's) where he wants to do everything by himself and this puzzle is perfect for that. This puzzle has been helping him learn his shapes and he pointed out a triangle shape to me yesterday.

This toy is very high quality and will last for years. My son loves it and it teaches him. It is the type of toy that I look for and would have bought. I give this toy 5 out of 5 stars and not just because it was free. I also have another Melissa & Doug puzzle that I bought last year for my son that I would rate the same.

WINNER of the Blog Makeover

Monday, August 24, 2009

Blog Makeover Winner
Congratulations to Stephanie from Stephanie's Jewelry Hobby. With 186 votes you are the clear winner of the blog makeover!
Thais from Olivina Design House will be contacting you soon. I am excited to see your new blog and feature you when it is done.

Shelly (The Attic Girl), Susan (Sew-La-Mama), and Christina (Mama Fabulous), can still get blog makeovers. Contact Thais within a month for a special discount on a blog makeover.

1SaleaDay Chunk of Junk

Friday, August 21, 2009 posts a new item for sale every day at midnight. They sale 1 item each day for a discounted price. Every once in a while they like to clear out their inventory by selling a "chunk of junk." When this happens their site gets flooded and they sell out quick. I just bought my first chunk of junk and thought I would show you what I got.

I also like to visit They are about the same, but they sell a "bag of crap." I have never been able to score a "bag of crap" since they also sell out quick.

Another similar site is:

FREE FRIDAY DEALS * August 21st, 2009

FREE Halo Pet Treats
Sign up for the Halo email newsletter and receive a coupon for $5 off Halo Pet Treats.

FREE Samples of Bragg Sprinkle & Sea Kelp Seasonings
(Click HERE)

FREE Glade Fall into Fragrance Gift Pack
(First 10,000 to respond will receive on free Glade PlugIns Scented Gel Warmer plus Refill.
(Click HERE )
Mars Chocolate
Don't forget to get your FREE chocolate today! You can get 4 per household each Friday, you just have to have 4 different e-mails.
(Click HERE)

Blog Makeover Vote and Giveaway Winners!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Vote for your favorite blog to win the $70 Blog Makeover Giveaway.
Here are the blogs you can vote for:

Stephanie is a mother to 4 BOYS and has a passion for making jewelry. Since she doesn't have any girls she decided to blog about her hobby and start selling her creations. Here is what she commented,
"K, so picture your grandmother wearing skinny jeans. Not too pleasant, now is it? Well, that's what my blog is - something old trying to look new. I will admit that I don't know much about blog design, but (true confessions, here) I have used one of those "canned" or "cookie cutter" blog sites to make my blog appear hip, cute, and up to date. So, don't be fooled - my blog needs a makeover like a granny wearing skinny jeans!"

Shelly is a Jane Austin Fan and loves reading books. She works from home selling items from her ebay store. She blogs about random thoughts and interests. Here is her comment,
"Why do I need a blog makeover? Because I am absolutely without a doubt 100% DESPERATE! Look up the word in the dictionary, and you will see MY name and MY face staring back at you. Honest, give it a try and see if I'm wrong. I am DESPERATE for a custom built one of a kind too good to be true amazing blog makeover! Without your help, I cannot blog on!"

Susan is a SAHM to twin 7 year old boys and a cute 1 year old girl. She uses her blog to share her passion for cooking, baking, and sewing. She has some really creative ideas on her blog and would like her blog to match that creativity. Here is her comment,
"Halleluiah (sp?)! See, I'm so desperate that I don't even care that I can't spell right now. I NEED A BLOG MAKEOVER!!! Shoot, I don't even think mine is a blog....It's a glob.... it's a page on my computer that looks so void of any life or personality, I can hardly bear looking at it.... I click on other blogs and wonder in amazment at how I could ever have something TUBULAR! Uh oh, now I'm revealing my age.....I don't know, maybe that's my whole problem :)"

Christina works full time as an Intensive Care Nursery Nurse and comes home to "an amazing husband" and cute son. She blogs about life and even shares some of her favorite recipes.
Here was her comment,
"Oh goodness-gracious-lordy-lordy-have-mercy! That is how bad I need a blog makeover. Just take a peek at my page and after wincing in pain try to remember that I am not so horrible, I just lack in design skills! When I wake up in the morning I pray without ceasing that my blog will miraculously heal and be fabulous. Then I stumble onto my blog page and cry out for mercy! Please help. Please help me, I just want to be fabulous. What more can a girl ask for?"

I know I said that Thais from Olivina Design House would choose her 3 favorite comments and we would vote on those, but she couldn't choose just 3. She sent me these 4 blogs and left it up to me to narrow them down to 3, but I couldn't either. I think all 4 of these blogs deserve a makeover, but now it is up to you who wins. Use the poll on the right side of my blog to vote for your favorite.

The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place winners will have the opportunity to buy a blog makeover for a discounted price of $40. Thanks to Thais for throwing in an additional discount to the 4th place winner!

When the blog design is complete I will feature the winning blog here at The Thrifty Home (If the runners up choose to have their blogs done, I will also feature them). I HEART Before and Afters.

WINNER of Ecostore USA $25 Gift Certificate

Comment #3: Amy Lynne I would love to try the citrus spray cleaner or the toilet cleaner. I am so picky about chemical smells, I bet these would solve that problem!
Congratulations Amy Lynne! Just email me your full name and email address and I will have Ecostore USA send you a gift code to use. You can comment here or email me at jen(at)thethriftyhome(dot)com

WINNER of $20 Piggy Paint Giveaway

Comment #32: Brandi Oh man there are so many that I love!! I will go with Ice Cream Dream!
Congratulations Brandi! Just email me your email address and I will have Piggy Paint send you a gift code to use. You can comment here or email me at jen(at)thethriftyhome(dot)com

If you are not Brandi you can still get 15% off anything including sale items. Use this code: THRIFTY15L until September 30, 2009

Family Camping Idea, Bubble Gum

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

With summer coming to an end and my kids going back to school in a couple of days, I have been reminiscing our summer. One of our favorite memories is one of the simplest. Before going camping last month I was at WalMart getting a few supplies. I walked past a large tub of bubble gum and thought it would be fun to take with us and have some bubble gum blowing contests. I am not a gum chewer, but this kinda gum isn't for chewing since the flavor doesn't last.

It was a huge hit with my kids! Even my 2 year old learned how to chew gum for the first time. All week long we would sit around the camp fire blowing bubbles and laughing as they popped in our faces. We have some pretty silly pictures. I won the bubble blowing contest, but my DH didn't pull out the camera in time to document my head sized bubble. Luckily I always wear moisturizer (dry Utah weather), so removing the gum was an easy task (not so easy for my DH and kids when their bubbles popped in their faces).

During the day we would collect all of our bubble gum wrappers to throw into the fire at night. They would turn the flames of the fire a pretty green which the kids thought was pretty cool.

$3.50 for a large tub of gum; a week of bubble gum blowing memories, priceless.

Here are my other posts for this camping trip:

We were really hooked on this bubble gum for the entire week. Visit Julia's Hooked on Friday party to see what everyone else is hooked on!

FREE FRIDAY DEALS * August 14th, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

FREE Juicer
Enter promo code JUICER and then fill out your mailing address.
(Click HERE or on image)

FREE Juicy Juice Water Bottle or Guide to Your Child's Nutrition
Sign up for a FREE membership to Juicy Juice Growing Up Healthy and choose your FREE gift.
(Click HERE or on image)

Free sample bottle of Kiss My Face© Aromatherapeutic Anti-Stress Shower/Bath gel.
(Click HERE or on image)
$1 Off 1-lb. or More Bulk Apples at Target
I rarely use food coupons because they are usually for unhealthy products. Here is the first really healthy product I have ever seen a coupon for. Thank you Target! Click HERE or on the image for coupon. For more Target coupons click HERE.

Mars Chocolate
Don't forget to get your FREE chocolate today! You can get 4 per household each Friday, you just have to have 4 different e-mails.
(Click HERE or on the image)

Olivina Design House Blog Design Giveaway!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

When Thais over at Olivina Design House first contacted me about hosting a giveaway for a blog design, I was stunned. This giveaway is for a complete blog makeover valued at $70. She is also giving the second and third place winners blog makeovers for a discounted price of $40. I know that some of you don't need any help in this area and have beautiful blogs, but for those of you who feel that your blog could use some sprucing up and a personal touch (you know who you are), this giveaway is for you!

All you have to do is head over to her blog, become a follower, and leave her a comment about why your blog deserves a makeover.
She will choose the top 3 creative and desperate answers and then everyone will be able to vote for their favorite here on my blog.

You have until August 16th to enter the contest and the voting will start on Thursday August 20th.
I will feature the 3 winning blogs after the makeovers are complete.

So go on over to Olivina Design House and take a look around and enter the contest. Be sure to check out her portfolio.
Good Luck!

Veggie-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I have decided to put my family back onto a healthy diet. I say "back", because I used to be very health conscious and strict with my diet and what I fed my kids. If it were just me, I would have never strayed, but a husband and picky kids broke me. By healthy I mean no dairy, sugar, red meat, and preservatives. The Marilu Henner Total Health Makeover. My daughter has always had a rash due in part to dairy (she was very allergic as a baby), so I am hoping the new diet will help clear her skin up.

I have slowly been weeding out the dairy and not buying it when we run out (This has taken a while since I have a deep freezer). Instead I have been buying alternatives like tofu sour cream, rice milk, veggie cheese slices, etc. My 11 year old son swore he would not eat anything with tofu in it, but when I used tofu instead of cottage cheese in my lasagna, he told me how much better it was. While he was eating seconds, I told him that he was eating tofu and he couldn't believe it.

So far I have been very good at making a menu for the week and sticking to it. I have already saved tons of money by doing this, since many nights I used to have my dh pick up something on his way home from work because I was not prepared. In the last 2 weeks I have also lost 5 lbs. just from not eating out.

I find that most of my recipes work just fine with this diet, after a few tweaks. Just this month I was looking at the Better Homes and Gardens magazine when I found a very healthy recipe that would work with our diet, after a couple of tweaks of course.

Veggie-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

This recipe sounded yummy to me, but because it was pretty much nothing but vegetables, I didn't think my kids would go for it. I prepared some chicken nuggets for when they started spitting out their vegetable stuffed mushrooms. However, I did not need the chicken nuggets since they loved this recipe and ate every last bite. Yes, this is the only thing I served for dinner and it filled us up. Portobello mushrooms are like meat and are very filling.


•1 small yellow sweet pepper or half of a green
or red pepper cut into bite-size strips
•1 small red onion, chopped
•1 medium zucchini or yellow crookneck squash, shredded
•1 carrot, shredded
•1 stalk celery thinly sliced
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•2-3 T olive oil
•1 T fresh basil chopped
•1 T lemon juice
•1-2 handfuls of fresh baby spinach (or regular spinach torn up).
•1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs (I like to toast a piece of bread and put it in the food processor).
•1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
•4 large portobello mushroom caps, stems removed
•4 slices provolone or mozzarella cheese.

Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment. In a large skillet cook and stir pepper, onion, zucchini (or yellow squash), carrot, celery, and garlic in hot oil over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes.
Stir in basil, lemon juice and a dash of salt and ground black pepper. Top with spinach; cover and cook until spinach is wilted (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat and stir crumbs and half of the parmesan cheese into vegetable mixture; set aside.

Remove gills from mushrooms, if desired.
Arrange mushrooms, stem side up, on cookie sheet. Top each with a slice of cheese (I used my veggie cheese) and divide the vegetable mixture among mushroom caps. Bake 15 minutes. Top with remaining parmesan (I still had some left so I used it. Next time I will be using a veggie parmesan) and bake 2 more minutes or until heated through.

Click HERE for a printable version.

I was totally hooked on portobello mushrooms this week and am still craving them. Go to Julia's Hooked on Friday's to see what everyone else is hooked on this week.

Piggy Paint Review and Giveaway!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I am so excited about this product. It was created by a Mom who wanted something better for her daughters. I love products like that!

My daughter loves painting her nails and has on a new color every week. I worry about the chemicals, but I also worry about her clothes, the furniture, the carpet and everything else. Just last week she was painting her nails with a friend on her bed and her friend spilled paint on her beautiful bedspread! First of all I do not allow painting nails on the bed so I don't know why she thought it would be okay for her friend to. Second, I rushed the bedspread to the sink, but could not get any of the paint off.

When my daughter's Piggy Paint came in the mail she started using it right away. She loves it and there is no smell. Even the nail polish remover has no smell and is non-toxic. When I read that Piggy Paint was water-based, I wondered if it would be easier to clean. They do not advertise this as a feature, so I tried my own experiment. I took 2 strips of material and put Piggy Paint on them.
The first strip I took over to the sink and washed while the paint was still wet (something I did with the bed spread). It came off so quick and easy with no soap or scrubbing.
I let the second strip of material dry and then tried to wash it. I had to scrub and I used some of the Piggy Paint remover and got most of it off. There is still a little remnant of the paint, but not too bad!
(It is hard to see, but there is a little paint left in the spot I circled.)

If my daughter had been using Piggy Paint, her bedspread would have stood a chance. So paying a little more for some fingernail polish makes a lot of sense to me. My daughter won't be breathing in toxic chemicals and applying them to her nails and I will potentially save tons of money when she spills it on the carpet, her clothes, or somewhere else.

Here is some information that I pulled from the Piggy Paint website:

Why is Piggy Paint™ Nail Polish the safe nail polish choice for children?
  • Non-toxic
  • Odorless
  • Water-based formula
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Fun, vibrant colors
  • Dries to a hard, durable finish

Piggy Paint™ is specially formulated from God’s natural ingredients and dries to a hard, durable finish. There are no toxic chemicals; it’s free of formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, biphenyl A, ethyl acetate and acetone. Click here to see how our polish compares!

Say good-bye to harsh, smelly chemicals and hello to Piggy Paint™…it’s as Natural as Mud!

Piggy Paint™ Ingredients

Water, water-miscible acrylic resins and thickeners (well below 100 parts per million), glycol ethers. May contain mica, D&C red lake, ultramarine blue, iron and titanium oxide pigments.

My daughter loves her Piggy Paint and keeps asking me for more colors. I am ordering a gift pack and will give it to her for Christmas this year (Great stocking stuffer). They even gave me a special coupon code to share with all of you!

The coupon code is: THRIFTY15L and is good for 15% off anything including sale items.
This code expires September 30, 2009

Spend over $25 and domestic shipping is FREE! They ship worldwide!

I follow them on twitter ( and have noticed that they have secret sales and special offers.

They also want to give one of YOU a $20 gift code.

$20 Piggy Paint Giveaway Rules:

Visit Piggy Paint and let me know what your favorite color is.

My favorite Piggy Paint color is: Clouds of Candy

That's it! Pretty simple.

Here are some ways you can earn extra entries:

*Blog about this giveaway, tweet about it on twitter, or tell all of your facebook friends. Link back to this contest and leave me a comment letting me know and a link if possible.

*Follow me; If you already follow leave me a comment letting me know.

*Follow me on twitter

*Follow Piggy Paint on twitter

Leave a separate comment for everything since I will be using to decide the winner.

The winner will be chosen using on August 20th. I also have another giveaway ending August 20th: Ecostore USA $25 Giftcertificate. Why August 20th? That is the first day of school for my kids and I think it is a day worth celebrating!

Winner of the Picnic Basket and Libby's Vegetable Giveaway

Friday, August 7, 2009

And the winner of the Picnic Basket and Libby's Vegetables Giveaway is:

Congratulations to comment #88!
"hey! we also love camping! We just went this weekend with a group from our church, and we spent probably $60 for the whole weekend by sharing a campsite with another couple.
also, last weekend we went to the Toledo Zoo, which is about 2.5 hours from us, for the day. We have a membership to our local zoo which gets us free admission to other zoos. We sSpent less than $100, mostly on gas and junk food at the zoo. That's a pretty cheap family outing, since there are 7 of us!"

Jeannine, you are the lucky winner! Just send me your address and I will get it mailed out to you.

Thank you to everyone who participated, I loved reading all of your wonderful comments about what you like to do as a family. Who knew there were so many families who love to picnic!

FREE FRIDAY DEALS * August 7th, 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009

FREE Marie Claire Magazine Subscription
This is really FREE with no strings attached, credit card, or even survey. Just FREE. I think that you are supposed to be a business owner because it asked me what my business was. I put that I was an Executive Homemaker for The Thrifty Home.
Click HERE or on the image.

FREE Dessert at Mimis!
(Click HERE or on image for coupon)

Coldplay LeftRight Album
FREE Download
(Click HERE or on image)
I really like Viva La Vida

Celtic Sampler Summer 2009

FREE Amazon Download (Click Here or on image)
I really like #5 The Landing and #8 The Music of the O'Spey. These 2 songs had no singing and would be great background music for a photo slide show or home movie.
FREE Lindt Truffles and Sample DVD of Recipes
(Click HERE or on image)

Free Amazon MP3 Sampler with over 1200 tracks to download
So far I have spent an hour and I have only gone through the first 300 songs. There are 1200 FREE songs! There is a very wide variety of songs and you are bound to find a few that you like. Click HERE

Borders 40% off Coupon
Okay, this one isn't FREE, but it is a great deal that I just had to share. Click Here, or on the image. Expires 8/9/09

LOWE'S Build and Grow Clinics
The first 50 kids per store to sign up get the kit, work apron, and safety goggles for free. The workshops are geared for kids in first-fifth grade and an adult must be present with the child. These fill up QUICK!
Click HERE or on image

Mars Chocolate
Don't forget to get your FREE chocolate today! You can get 4 per household each Friday, you just have to have 4 different e-mails.
(Click HERE or on the image)

Most of the free offers this week seem to be FREE music downloads, which I love. I love music and have a growing library. I make a lot of home movies and the right music can really add to it. I am linking this post up to Julia's hooked on Fridays because I am hooked on free music.

Tinfoil Dinners - Camping Recipe

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

When we went camping this month, my kids loved this recipe. This recipe goes by many names, but I have always called it a tinfoil dinner. I usually make this recipe at home in the oven and my kids don't ever care for it. For some reason, cooking it outside in the campfire made a big difference and they loved it.

Tinfoil Dinners
4 hamburger patties
1 Small bag of baby carrots
1 small sweet onion or yellow onion chopped
4 medium potatoes sliced
1 can cream of mushroom soup

You will need 4 large sections of aluminum foil (Reynolds Wrap Non-Stick Heavy Strength for the inside layer of tinfoil works best). Place a hamburger patty, onions, potatoes and carrots on each foil. Top with a scoop of cream of mushroom soup; salt and pepper to taste. Wrap up the packets and seal them closed. Take 4 more large sections of aluminum foil and double wrap.
I had my kids each help make their own dinner. My daughter used half of a patty and I put the extra half in my DH's. She also left the carrots out of hers and peeled her potato.
Place pouches on the coals and place a few coals around and on top. Rotate every 10 minutes and check after 20 minutes. Cooking time will depend on the size of your pouch and how many coals you are using. You can also cook in your oven at home at 450 for about an hour.
I like to eat mine with ketchup.
Yields 4 Servings

Click HERE for a printable recipe.

This recipe for Brown Bears goes great with this meal.

Brown Bears Campfire Recipe

Monday, August 3, 2009

When I was getting ready for our camping trip to the KOA, I looked up some of the recipes at the KOA web site. They have a long list of campfire recipes and I found one that looked simple and fun. I made a couple of changes to it and came up with this great camping recipe:
Brown Bears
1 can of bread sticks
cinnamon-sugar mixture (about 1/2 C sugar and 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon)
sticks or campfire forks

Take the bread sticks and wrap them around your campfire fork or stick. Hold over the fire until golden brown on all sides and cooked in the middle. Spread butter on all sides and hold over the campfire until the butter is melted. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar on or roll it in the cinnamon-sugar to coat.

I promise that I did not intend for mine to actually look like a bear. My kids noticed that it resembled a bear as I was cooking it and it even had a black spot for the eye (I did not put it there). None of our other Brown Bears resembled bears as much as this one did, but they were just as yummy.

Click HERE for a printable version

Camping outdoors is such a wonderful and even beautiful thing that I just had to share it with The Inspired Room link party this week.