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Cyber Monday 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

What is Cyber Monday?
Cyber Monday is the online version of Black Friday. It always falls on the Monday after Thanksgiving which will be November 30th this year. Most websites offer really great deals and many offer free shipping. Some items are in limited quantities, so shopping early is always a good idea (Try midnight or even 10:00 pm or 11:00 pm if you don't live in the eastern time zone).
If you know what you are looking for online, you can usually find it cheaper on Cyber Monday.

Find online stores participating in Cyber Monday:

If you find a great deal I would love to hear; Post a comment below.
Happy Cyber Monday!

Happy Black Friday!

Friday, November 27, 2009

I had a great Thanksgiving tonight with my family and am ready for Black Friday. Because there are so many Black Friday deals out there right now, I am taking a break from my regular FREE Friday post.

I have seen all of the ads and have selected a few items that I want (Can't mention anything specific because my son occasionally reads my blog). My dear sweet hubbie will be the one to get up at 4:30 am and try to get everything. He enjoys the thrill of the hunt and I enjoy staying in bed and answering the phone every few minutes when he calls with updates.

No, he will not be going to Best Buy or camping out anywhere. I don't want any of the really hot ticket items so there is a good chance of getting most of the things on my list. I am going out by myself later in the morning to get everything else. I have found that there are still a lot of items available later in the morning and I can get the great price as long as I get there before 1 pm (The time most door-busters end).

Just now I did all of my Old Navy doorbuster shopping online. Shipping is free if you spend $50 or more and if you use this code, "ontenoff" you get $10 off a purchase of $50 or more. I spent $60 exactly and got my $10 off plus free shipping. I got some jeans for my kids for $10 and some snow-bibs for $15. I didn't have to fight a crowd or search for the sizes I need.

Happy Black Friday everyone! I would love to hear where you went and your stories!

9th Penny Pinching Party • Jen's Vegetable Lasagna

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Okay, okay, okay. I have finally taken the time to type up one of my most asked for recipes, my Vegetable Lasagna. It has sort of been my secret recipe for many years and I have selfishly kept it to myself. My mom started making this recipe when I was a teenager and it was one of the first recipes I learned. Over the years I have made my own modifications. My kids have never liked the texture of cottage cheese and my daughter gets a rash from too much dairy, so I use tofu. It looks just like cottage cheese and adds much more nutrition to the dinner.
This lasagna takes a little longer to make, but is so worth it.

I think any recipe qualifies for my Penny Pinching Party because cooking is almost always healthier and cheaper than eating out. This is also a great recipe to make if you have fresh vegetables from the garden.

Jen's Vegetable Lasagna
1 onion, chopped (chop 2 and save 2nd for layer 3)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp. olive oil
1 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 cans tomato sauce
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. pepper

Saute onions and garlic in oil until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, 1 cup water, basil, salt, oregano and pepper.
Simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Layer 1 - Noodles
9 lasagna noodles cooked in boiling salted water.

Layer 2 - Tofu Mixture
1 C cottage cheese or 1/2 block soft tofu
1/2 C grated parmesan cheese
1 T chopped fresh parsley
1/2 t. pepper

Combine these 4 ingredients in a bowl.

Layer 3 - Vegetables
2 med. zucchini, sliced
2 med. carrots, sliced thin
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced thin
1 small onion, chopped
1 pkg (10 oz.) fresh spinach (frozen works)

In a nonstick skillet, coated with vegetable oil over med-high heat, saute vegetables until tender, adding water 1 T at a time as needed to keep vegetables from sticking.

Layer 4 - Mozzarella
1/2 - 1 lb. mozzarella cheese shredded

In a 12x9 pan add 1/2 C sauce, 3 noodles, 1/3 the tofu mixture, 1/3 the vegetables, 1/3 mozzarella and some sauce. Repeat layering ending with some sauce and remaining mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake 15-20 minutes at 400 until hot.
Click HERE for a printable version.

And now for the Party!
Welcome to my 9th Penny Pinching Party. This is a party that I host every Wednesday where you can link up any post that has to do with saving money or stretching a buck.
*Add the permalink to the specific blog post, not your general blog address.
*Link back to the party from your post so everyone can join in the fun!
If you have my Penny Pinching Party button on your blog, I may feature you when I highlight my favorite Penny Pinching ideas in a future post.
*You have until Sunday to get your link up.

Happy Thanksgiving and Black Friday everyone!!!

FREE FRIDAY DEALS * November 20th, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Elf Yourself and Family for FREE
Click HERE
I just did this one of me really quick. Lots of fun to Elf the whole family.

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Free Sample of Playtex Sport
Click HERE

Free Heavenly Bath & Body Gift Set
Be one of the first 15,000 fans of Heavenly Sis Deals & Steals facebook by December 1st to receive a customized Heavenly Sis Bath and Body Gift set. They are currently at the time of this post around 11,000 fans.

Butterick Free Projects

50 FREE 4x8 Photo Cards
Click HERE for more info.

The Squeaky Wheel Gets The Grease!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"The squeaky wheel gets the grease." This has been a hard lesson for me to learn because I have always been very shy and afraid to speak up or complain.

When I say, "The squeaky wheel gets the grease." I am referring to business and retail matters.
There is a fine line between standing up for yourself and going too far. A wheel that constantly squeaks even after being greased can be very annoying and no one likes to be around a constant complainer.

Most businesses want you to tell them if you are unhappy and have made it easy to communicate. Almost every business has a place on their website for complaints. It is so easy to take a minute and fill out a complaint if you are unhappy, and most businesses are happy to make it up to you. Here are some examples:

A couple of years ago I bought a Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia pint of ice cream. I love cherries, but sadly found only 1 in the entire pint of ice cream. I went online and filled out a complaint form which asked for things like the bar code number and store I bought it at. A couple of weeks later I was sent a coupon for a free pint of ice cream and several other discount coupons.

I buy the big boxes of Huggies diapers at Costco and was very frustrated a couple of years ago with the ink that kept rubbing off on my son's clothes. I went to Huggie's website and filled out a complaint form including the bar code number and other information. They sent me coupons for $60 in free diapers! It only took a few minutes out of my time to complain about something that most parents just ignored. My voice was heard and Huggies assured me that they were going to use less dye in future diapers since others had also complained.

Last month we stopped at a KFC and picked up some Snackers. When we got home the chicken was so tough and hard that we couldn't eat them. I emailed KFC and was sent an email back saying that they would like to make it up to us and buy us a combo meal or more Snackers.

Last month we went to a restaurant for dinner and were seated in the very back corner. The waiter took our order and we never saw him again. People who were seated after us were getting their food, so my husband went in search of help. He found the manager and told him the situation. It turns out that our order had been lost so they said they would move it up to the top and not charge us for the 2 kid's meals. I politely told the manager that we had somewhere we needed to be and not to bother. He felt so bad that he gave us the whole order for free and packed it up to go. I was not trying to get a free meal, just speaking up and being honest. To be honest, I would have rather had a relaxing meal in the restaurant with my family than eating in the car on the way to our appointment. However, not having to pay for the meal did make up for the inconvenience.

After eating almost all of our dinner at one of my favorite restaurant's, my husband noticed that his chicken was a little pink in the middle. When the manager came by to ask how our food was, we asked if it was supposed to be pink. Well, it wasn't and our meal was free that night.

A few years ago we were at a new restaurant and when the manager came by to ask how the food was I told him mine was not very good. He apologized and had me order something else and didn't charge for the previous order. I told him it was my fault that I didn't like it (I'm a picky eater) and that I was fine, but he insisted on making me happy.

I am very good at paying my bills on time so when I forgot to pay the American Express bill I felt horrible. They charged me $20 plus interest making the fee around $40. We called them and because I am so good to pay my bills on time every month, they waived the whole fee.

When we had new windows installed in our house the owner of the business was horrible to us. He didn't do a very good job installing the windows and did an even worse job installing our new sliding door. When we asked him to fix it he told us we would have to pay extra for him to reinstall it. I emailed the main company and he came over the next day to re-install the sliding door. He was not happy about it, but didn't want the complaint on his record. We did try to work out our problem with him first, but he was unreasonable.

These are just a few examples. If you are ever unsatisfied with anything, it never hurts to "squeak" a little and most of the time you can just fill out a form online. I am a very shy person and am still learning how to speak up for myself. I would love to hear your stories and examples. Just leave me a comment.

My Favorite Blog Parties

Monday, November 16, 2009

Now you can add your party to the list! Just link up your blog party under the correct day and write a short description. All I ask in return is that you link back to my blog with my button or a link.
Here is my Penny Pinching Party button:
Thrifty Homemaking Button

Link Party Etiquette
1. When you link to someone's blog party, always put a link back to their blog in your post or on your site.
2. When linking, always use your permalink (short for "permanent link"). A permalink is a URL that links to a specific posting. Simply click on your post title to get the permalink.
3. Visit other links and leave comments.
4. Everyone has rules for their blog parties, so please read the rules before you link up and then follow them.

Sunday Blog Parties:

Monday Blog Parties:

Tuesday Blog Parties:

Wednesday Blog Parties:

Thursday Blog Parties:

Friday Blog Parties:

Saturday Blog Parties:

To Your Health

A big Thank You to Audrey from To Your Health. I recently won her giveaway for a BioPro cell phone chip. This chip is supposed to block the harmful electromagnetic radiation and frequencies from cell phones. I am so happy to have this little chip and feel a lot better about letting my kids use my cell phone now. You can read Audrey's great article here: Is Your Cell Phone Protected?

She also has a TON of other really great articles on her blog. Right now she has an Enviro BLOX giveaway that ends on November 20th. Not very many people have entered, so your chances of winning are pretty good. New followers even get an extra entry!

I also wanted to thank everyone for participating in my HINI vaccine poll. I thought that most people would be getting the vaccine and was surprised by the results. It seems that most people will not be getting the vaccine. Audrey has a great article about vaccines here.
I don't know what to think about vaccines. I wait until my kids are about 2 years old before I start, so that their immune systems will be more developed to handle the toxins in the vaccines. My older kids are fully vaccinated and my 2 year old is getting his vaccines now that he is old enough to tell me if something is wrong. I just wish that the drug companies would make safer vaccines for our children.

Poll Results for HINI vaccine:
I am getting this vaccine for my family 5 (10%)
I will not be getting my family vaccinated for HINI. 28 (60%)
Undecided 6 (13%)
I have already gotten the vaccine 7 (15%)

46 total votes

FREE FRIDAY DEALS * November 13th, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

FREE CMA Award Nominated Artist Song Download
Click HERE

FREE Christmas Ornament
Click HERE

FREE Photo Book from Shutterfly
This offer expires on November 16th. Just use the code: MYBOOK at checkout (You still pay about $5 for shipping).
Click HERE to go to Shutterfly or HERE to see the offer.

Walmart FREE Samples

7th Penny Pinching Party

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Welcome to my 7th Penny Pinching Party. This is a party that I host every Wednesday where you can link up any post that has to do with saving money or stretching a buck. This week I decided to highlight some of my favorite links from my last 2 parties. I love seeing endless ways you are all saving money and am amazed by your creativity. Who knew that saving money could be so creative and fun!

"I am only one, but still I am one" shared this cute swimsuit she made out of a yoga top.

Kelsee from Pumpkin Pie Crafts made this cute flower out of fabric.

Karyn from Candarbry Garden made this adorable sunflower costume with a green sweater.

AngieB from Ballard Boys shared her recipe for Butternut Squash Soup. I have this on my menu to try out this week.

Jane from Finding Fabulous shares a tutorial on how she made this beautiful personalized wall art.

I love this holiday kitchen night light by Trash to Treasure Decorating.

Fawnda from Fireflies and Jellybeans made this cute "Baby Dell" Laptop out of an old keyboard.

Kelsee from Pumpkin Pie Crafts shows us how she extended the life of her toddler's clothes. Can you believe that this shirt used to be a short sleeved jumper???

Now link up! Please remember to put a link to my party on your post so that your readers can join in the fun.

Add the permalink to the specific blog post, not your general blog address.

•Link back to the party from your post so everyone can join in the fun!
•If you have my Penny Pinching Party button on your blog, I may feature you when I highlight my favorite Penny Pinching ideas next week.
•You have until Sunday to get your link up.

FREE Friday DEALS * November 6th, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

FREE Canvas from Canvas People (+shipping)
Canvas People is offering a FREE 8X10 canvas or a $55 credit toward a larger picture. Shipping is $14.95, but I think that is a great deal for a canvas.
You can even get this deal twice by signing up HERE at Canvas People and HERE by registering at Baby Center (Make sure you click the box to get the free canvas).

FREE Lamb of God DVD
Click HERE

Click HERE

FREE Sample KIRKLAND Supreme Diapers
Click HERE

FREE Bloomin' Onion from Outback Steakhouse
Become one of the first 500,000 fans and they will email you a FREE Bloomin' Onion (with purchase) coupon. They are no where near 500,000 fans right now so you should be able to get one easily.
Click HERE

Home Depot LED Christmas Lights $2.97 from November 5th-15th
I know this isn't FREE, but think about all of the money LED lights will save you!
Right now until November 15th you can take your old Christmas lights to Home Depot and get a $3 coupon for each set (up to 5) good on any energy efficient LED Christmas lights. During the promotion, Home Depot LED lights will be $5.97 making them only $2.97 with your coupon.
LED lights use 80% less energy.

Practical Halloween Costumes to Last the Whole Year • 6th Penny Pinching Party

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I hope that everyone had a fun Halloween. I am finally getting around to posting the costumes I put together this year. Here they are!
Madeline, a Court Jester, and Tigger.


For this costume I took a straw hat that I already had and painted it yellow. I just took some acrylic paint, mixed it with water and applied with a sponge brush. I put some thick black ribbon around it with a bow in the back.

I found a very nice coat for 50% off at Burlington Coat Factory and paid $24 for it. It is a really nice Rothschild dress coat that my daughter will wear all year long to church. I hate buying cheap costumes that only get worn once. I would rather pay a little more for the real deal and get some use out of it after Halloween. Instead of a red bow like Madeline wears in the books, I decided to make a scarf that my daughter could also use during the year. I paid $1 for 1/4 of a yard of fleece and let my daughter make the scarf by cutting the edges and stretching them (I love costumes that also keep my kids warm).

I even went a step further and bought my daughter this plaid dress from JCPenny. It was 50% off making it $24, and she loves it. Plaid is really in style right now and this dress will get a lot of use for the whole year (It even matches the dress her Madeline doll wears).

Here is the store bought version of the costume that costs $26.99 and does not include the dress. I paid a total of $50 and will get a lot of use out of the coat and dress during the entire year.

If you are not familiar with Madeline, she is a character from a book series by Bemelmans. The Madeline books are one of my favorite children's books in the world. Check out the Madeline site if you want to learn more.

Court Jester
My son learned how to juggle this year and wanted a jester costume. We already had a hat (birthday present along with juggling clubs). I found the jester shirt at the thrift store for $6 and I made the pants and shoe covers. I spent $5 on flannel and made jammie bottoms that my son could use all year long. He loves this idea because Halloween will never really have to end for him this way. He actually insisted on wearing them to bed the night before Halloween and loved that when he woke up, he was already wearing half of his costume.

For the shoe covers I just sewed the curvy shape and stuffed some leftover batting in them and slipped them over his shoes. I added a bell to each shoe and he loved the jingle it made whenever he took a step.

I spent $11 on this costume. I would have spent $25 on this cheap costume that didn't even come with pants.

This was the cheapest of all costumes since it has been worn by both of my older children. I don't even remember what I paid for it 10 years ago. It gets worn all year long, even when we go out.

I always wait until the week of Halloween and get mine for $1 each at Cornbelly's or 9 cents a lb. at the grocery store. We never carve them until the day before Halloween anyway, so that they can stay fresh.

Now for the 6th Penny Pinching Party!

Here are my only rules:
•Add the permalink to the specific blog post, not your general blog address.
•Link back to the party from your post so everyone can join in the fun!
•If you have my Penny Pinching Party button on your blog, I may feature you when I highlight my favorite Penny Pinching ideas next week.

You have until Sunday to get your links up.

Preparing for Flu Season

I recently attended a web conference sponsored by Walgreens with Dr. Gwenn O' Keefe.
Dr. O'Keefe spoke to moms about what we should be doing this flu season to keep our families healthy.
I thought I would help spread the word and summarize some of the important points:

This flu season we have the seasonal flu that we have every winter and we also have the HINI (swine flu)

Here is what we should do as moms to be ready:
1. Have prepared meals in the freezer
2. Keep a schedule of family members' activities with days, times, and places handy.
3. Have doctors numbers on the fridge.
4. Know who your "go to" person will be if you are sick
5. Have a friend or neighbor on-call for erand running or kid-chauffuring.

What to do if you (or someone in your family) have flu-like sympotms:
1. Stay home, drink fluids, rest, take fever reducers
2. If symptoms get serious- difficulty breathing, inability to eat, etc. Go to your doctor or the ER.

Flu Vaccine and HINI Vaccine:
Walgreens has its own network of certified immunizers in-store
Walgreens take care clinics can vaccinate anyone over age 2

The HINI vaccine contains thimerosal. Thimerosal is a preservative containing ethyl mercury. The HINI vaccine in multi-dose vials will contain about 25 micrograms of ethyl mercury per dose.
Studies show that infants can safely receive 8 times as much mercury as is contained in 1 dose of HINI.

(Getting vaccinated is a personal decision and I choose not to vaccinate myself or my children as long as mercury is in the vaccine. I would like to see safer vaccines for our children, despite what "studies" say. Please GREEN our vaccines! This is my opinion, not Dr. Gwenn O' Keefe's who very much supports getting vaccinated.)

Other Ways to Keep Your Family Well
1. Wash hands often with soap or antibacterial gel.
2. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
3. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, nose.
4. Avoid contact with sick people
5. If sick, stay home to get well and to avoid spreading germs

I am interested in what you all think of the vaccine and what you are doing. I am personally not getting vaccinated, but I am not opposed to others getting the vaccine. My brother is very pro-vaccine and has had his family vaccinated already. I will have a survey up at the top of my side bar this week.