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Sonya's $40 CSN Store Giveaway

Another $40 gift certificate to CSN stores giveaway! You can use it for anything in their stores, but why not use it on a bedroom vanity?

Check this one out, isn't it grand?

To enter, just head over to Sonya's site A Mom, Money & More, or click HERE! Hurry, though, because the contest ends August 4th.

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Upcoming Giveaway Bash & Giveaways We've Won!

July was a lucky month for hubby and I as far as giveaways go.

Hubby won this Budweiser propane table top grill in a drawing from a local gas station!

I won a $15 gift certificate to Scrapbooks.com from Mom.Undecided!

Look at everything I was able to get!

I really lucked out. When you spent $15 you received the book "Lifted Idea Book" by Michelle Meisenbach ($9.99) FREE! I had been wanting this book for a while.

I ordered 4 tag pads, 10 sheets of Kitchen Spice Recipe Cards, 1 sheet of Christmas Magic cards, and 1 Fleuriste Collection - Journal Cards!

With these supplies I will be able to make some handmade Christmas cards and a cute gift to stuff in all the girls' stockings.

AND guess what?

Mom.Undecided is having a crazy birthday month giveaway bash! A giveaway almost every day next month! Be sure to check it out, enter some giveaways and tell her I sent you over! Just click on the button:

Birthday Celebration @ Mom. Undecided.

THANKS Mom.Undecided for such great giveaways!

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Growing Gardens When You Have No Land

Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis are proving gardens can be grown anywhere. You just need to think outside the box.

The soil in the Truck Farm’s bed is not just regular dirt! They used a special blend of styrofoam, gel, organics, and clay making it lightweight.

To read more check it out HERE and HERE.

One of the Truck Farm's Wicked Delicate Garden Contest winners:

I've gardened in pots on a 4'x4' stair landing before. And now, even though I have 5 acres, I still garden in pots on my deck as well as my large "in ground" garden. Have any of you had to garden when you had no land?

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Guest Post: How to Shop Trendy Clothes on a Budget

Are you a complete fashion freak? Are you being unable to purchase that expensive trendy denim you saw at the mall the other day because of your financial troubles?

If you think that your style statement is gobbling up a huge share of your income, then it is time now to plan a budget. Fashion is all about being smart and here are some tips to ensure that you shop frugally and yet look your best!

1. Discount is not a dirty word!: Shop at discount designer stores. Do not associate purchasing at discount rates with being unfashionable. It is not! You can find latest trends in these shops at a steep discount. The store might not be as aesthetically pleasing as a brand store, but don’t let that dissuade you. Search through some racks and you can be sure to find your style!

2. Do online price comparison: Take your time to find out the best price possible by doing research on the internet. An online search for designer fashions can provide you with a plethora of choices.

3. Learn from the teens: Popular fashion in current magazines usually inspires young people. To appeal to them, stores recreate these designs at a fraction of the cost. Go ahead and search through the racks of the shops that are popular with the teens. You can be sure to find some items of your choice. You may have to go up a size but it would fall within your budget.

4. Why pay for a name: Purchase a fashion magazine to choose out your style of clothing. Now take the picture to the tailor and get it made by him. Thus, you can recreate the latest trend at a much lower price depending on the item.

5. Look out for sample sales: These sales are the best thing that could have happened to the fashion freaks! You can purchase designer clothes form here at amazing prices. The good news is that sample sales happen quite regularly. Since, sample sales are not advertised greatly, it is advisable to use the internet to find out when and where they are happening.

Therefore, even if you are facing any kind of financial trouble, you do not need to part with your fashion statement. With a little bit of persistence when shopping for clothes, you can find quality pieces at affordable prices.

Jack Reed is a financial writer with fileyourbankruptcy.org. He writes on various finance related articles with special focus on bankruptcy.

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Kellogg's Fuel for School Coupon Booklet

Kellogg's Fuel for School Coupon Booklet is starting to show up in stores. Here's what you will find inside. All expire 9/30/2010

~Save $2.00 on ONE gallon of milk (any brand or flavor) wyb any TWO packages of Keebler Cookies (8.5 oz or larger, any flavor, mix or match)
~Save $2.00 on ONE store brand coffee(whole bean or ground) wyb any TWO packages of Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars (6 ct. or larger, any flavor, mix or match)
~Save $2.00 on School Supplies wyb any TWO packages of Sunshine Cheez-It Baked Snack Crackers (11.5 oz or larger, any flavor, mix or match)
~Save $2.00 on ONE gallon of milk (any brand or flavor) wyb any TWO packages of Keebler and/or Sunshine Multi-packs and/or Gripz products (6 ct. or larger, any flavor, mix or match) – Kellogg’s Fuel for School Savings Booklet
~Save $2.00 on ONE 12-24 pack of store brand BOTTLED WATER wyb any ONE package of Kellogg’s Special K cereal (11.4 oz or larger, any flavor) AND ONE package of any Kellogg’s Special K Protein Product (Meal Bars, Snack Bars and Shakes, 4 ct or larger, any flavor)
~Save $2.00 on store brand BREAD wyb any TWO packages of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats Crispy Marshmallow Squares (8 ct or larger, any flavor, mix or match)
~Save $2.00 on Ocean Spray (64oz Ocean Spray Fruit & Veggie Juice or Ocean Spray Craisins 100 Calorie Pack) wyb any TWO packages of Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats Cereals (14.5 or larger, any flavor, mix or match)
~Save $2.00 on store brand baggies wyb any TWO packages of Kellogg’s Froot Loops, Apple Jacks, Corn Pops, AND/OR Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes Cereals (10 oz or larger, any flavor, mix or match)
~Save $2.00 on store brand BREAD wyb any TWO packages of Kellogg’s Fruit Flavored Snacks AND/OR Kellogg’s Yogos Bits or Yogos Rollers Snacks (6 ct or larger, any flavor, mix or match)
~Save $2.00 on fresh fruit wyb any TWO packages of Keebler AND/OR Sunshine Right Bites Snacks (6 ct or larger, any flavor, mix or match)

Thanks We Use Coupons for the heads up!

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Free Sample: Purex Complete Laundry Sheets

Free Sample: Purex Complete Laundry Sheets

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A Big Harvest Day

My garden has all of a sudden decided to give a big burst of veggies! Here's what was picked yesterday.

A few okra, which was enough for me and hubby for dinner. My kiddos will not eat okra. Some tomatoes and TONS of gypsy peppers! I have one lone gypsy plant and have already harvested over 30 peppers off of it. I wanted to wait until they turned orange-red, but there are so many on the plant, the weight was making the plant lay over. So I had to pick again to give the plant some relief.

Green beans! Finally! Once we picked enough beans for the three of us I just had to see how the Yukon Gold potatoes were doing. These were found right at the top of the bed, barely covered with soil. I hope there are lots more down further! I also cooked the beans and potatoes for dinner and all I can say about these Yukon Gold potatoes is.... OMG! they are so creamy, buttery, rich. I added no seasoning to them other than a little S&P. We will definitely being planting more than 5 plants next year.

Cucumbers. Can anyone tell me why our cucumbers are turning yellow to almost white before getting very big at all? Then once picked they dont stay firm very long at all.

Jalapenos and MORE jalapenos. I've never been able to grow them well until this year. Last year was a pretty good year, but this year they are going nuts! They are so easy to freeze, so we will have them all through the winter and spring. I've been giving some of them away too.

With all those fresh tomatoes and jalapenos, I made hubby and I some Pico de Gallo. It's so quick and easy to make, I prefer making it to salsa.

Life is Good!

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I Need Some Input on Dishwashers

It seems I can't keep up with the dishes for the last two weeks. I'm not sure if it's because kiddo is home from school, I've been cooking even more or what.

Wait, it just dawned on me.... it's because the dishwasher isn't cleaning all the dishes and some are having to stay to go through another cycle. Yeah, that's it, duh.

Well tonight I went to reload the massive mound and when I opened the dishwasher to unload the clean first, the whole spray arm mechanism is laying in the bottom of the dishwasher.

After cursing, I unloaded, reloaded it and closed the door. I'm hoping hubby can patch it up until I can afford a new one. I sooooo hate to hand wash dishes, and I do end up washing things that don't go into the dishwasher as it is.

I've been doing some research and my mind is overloaded with all the choices, features, sizes, etc.

I'm wanting something mid-line price range, quiet and cleans. I don't need a bunch of bells and whistles.

So those of you who LOVE LOVE your dishwasher, tell me about it! Do any of you own a drawer style?

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Thank you everyone for entering the CSN Store giveaway. And thank you to CSN Stores!

It's now time to draw the winner.

CONGRATULATIONS Susieqtpies at Scraps of Life!

You will be contacted by email. Let me know what you use your $40 on!

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All The Back To School Deal Bloggers

Back To School sales have started!

Here's a list of bloggers who bring you the best school supply deals each week at your favorite stores. Make sure to check them out for weekly updates on the hottest sales!

CVS Back To School Deals
by Saving with Shellie

Dollar General Back to School Deals
by Nicole’s Nickels

Kmart Back To School Deals
by Bargain Briana

Meijer Back To School Deals
by Bargains to Bounty

Office Depot Back To School Deals
by Cents Saved

Office Max Back To School Deals
by Surviving the Stores

Rite Aid Back To School Deals
by “Cents”able Momma

Staples Back To School Deals
by Saving Cents with Sense

Target Back To School Deals
by The Frugal Find

Walgreens Back To School Deals
by Saving in Akron

Walmart Back To School Deals
by Passion for Savings

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19 Affordable Date Night Ideas

Here's a great list of date night ideas.
19 Affordable Date Night Ideas

What is your favorite frugal "date" night? How often do you and your spouse have a "date" night? Do you try to find coupons if you are going to a restaurant, movie, etc?

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Time for Another Giveaway!

It's time for another giveaway!

CSN Stores is sponsoring this giveaway. One lucky reader will win a $40 gift certificate good at ANY of their stores. They have 200+ online stores that sell just about anything you could want or need from dining room furniture to everything needed to cook a fabulous meal to making margaritas to keeping your best friend cool!

Lots of items are free shipping but not all! So be sure to check out if shipping charges will apply or in the case of Canadian readers, international fees, for certain products.

They sell a ton of cool stuff for under $40. Just look at all these...

Visit CsnStores.com to see all the ways you could spend this $40 gift certificate.

Rules: This giveaway is ONLY open to US and Canadian readers and you must follow me publicly with google friend connect.

The winner will be drawn by random.org.

Entry #1: you must be or become a follower and leave a comment on this post telling me so. PLEASE LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS SO I CAN REACH YOU IF YOU WIN!!!!

Entry #2: blog about this giveaway! You must leave a second comment with the link to the post you made about the giveaway.

Entries will be accepted until midnight (CST) on July 25, 2010. The winner will be announced on July 26th.

Good luck!

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P&GbrandSAVER Coupon Booklet - P&G Everyday Solutions

P&GbrandSAVER Finder - Find a Paper With a P&GbrandSAVER Coupon Booklet - P&G Everyday Solutions

Find it in your paper August 1 2010
ALL Coupons Expire 8/31/10
$104 worth of coupons!

$1 off any one Oral B Pulsar CrossAction Advanatage or two Indicator or Cavity Defense.
$1 off one Crest Toothpaste 4oz. or larger or liquid gel
$1 off any one Glide Floss 35m or more
$2 off any one Crest Mouthwash 946ml or larger
$1 off any one Oral-B Stages Zooth or Crest Kids Manual or Power Toothbrush
$1 off any one Oral B Stages Zooth or Crest Kids Toothpaste
$1 off any two Crest Toothpast 4oz. or more or liquid gels
$1 off any one Scope Mouthwash 710ml or larger
$10 off any one Crest 3D White or Professional Effects Whitestrips
$5 off any one Crest 3D, Vivid Advance 14ct gentle routine or Stain Sheild
$1.50 off any two Fixodent 1.05 oz. or laarger
$1 off any one fixodent 1.05 or larger
$1 off any one Prilosec OTC
$3.00 off any one package of Prilosec OTC
$8.00 off two 42ct Package of Prilosec OTC
$2 off any one Gillette Proseries skin care products
$2 off any one Gillette Proglide Cartridge 4ct or larger
$4 off any one Gillette Fusion Proglide Manual or Power Razor
$1 off any one Gillette Fusion Shave Prep
$2 off any one Gillette Deodorant or Bodywash
$1.50 off any one Pampers Extra Protection Diapers
$2 off any one 8ct or larger Mach 3 Cartridge
$1.50 off any one Pampers Diapers
Buy any one Pampers Diapers Recieve 1 Free any one Pampers Wipes 72ct or larger
$1.50 off any one Pampers Easy Ups Trainer or Under Jams Night Wear
$3 off one Febreze Noticeables warmer or starter kit
$1 off on one Febreze Noticeables Refill
$1 off one Duracell Copper Top, Ultra Advance or Ultra Photo Lithium
$2 off on one Duracell Rechargeable batteries or one Duracell Charger or any Duracell Daylite Flashlite Power Pad
$1 off two Charmin Products
$1 off any one Tide Detergent
$1 off any one Downy Liquid Fabric Softener or Sheets
$2 off any one Large Downy Liquid Fabric Softner larger than 90 load
$1 off any one Tide Release Stain Release
$3 off any one Large Tide Stain Release
$1 off any one Dawn 48oz. or larger
20 cents off any one Dawn
$1 off any one Bounty 6-roll towels or larger or two Towels or Napkins any size
$1 off any Two Bounty Napkins
$1 off six Puffs singles or two 3 packs or 1 six pack
$3.00 off one Venus 6 or 8ct cartridge
$1.50 off one six pack or laarger of Duracell hearing aid batteries with easy tab
$5 off any one size align
$2 off any one Tampax Pearl or Compact Pearl 18ct or larger
$1 off any one Tampax 18ct or larger
$1 off any one Always Pad, Clean of Feminine Cleansing Cloths
$1 off any two Always Panty Liners 34ct or larger
Buy any one Herbal Essence or Aussie Product Get one Free Herbal Essence or Aussie Styler up to $3.23
$2 off Any one Clariol Product
$2 off any one Venus Embrace or Breeze
$1 off two Pantene products
$1 off any one Pantene Hairspray, Styler or Treatment
$1 off any one Covergirl product
Buy one Venus Cartridge get one Olay Body Wash FREE
Buy One Venus Cartridge ger one OLay Hand and Body Lotion Free
$5 Buy one Secret Soothing Effects Get $5 off any one Olay Regenerist Facial Moisturizer
Buy 2 Old Spice Fresh Collection and get one Secret Free
$1 off four Pringles Super stack cans 180g or larger
$1 off two Pringles Snack Stacks or Pringles Stix
$1 off two Pringles Fat Free 165g or larger

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Ditch the Disposables, Choose to Reuse!

Don’t fall into consumer traps! Do not buy products that require a constant “refill” or disposables!

How many disposable items do you use in your household?

Dusters, mops, furnace filters, paper towels, napkins, paper plates, plastic/styrofoam cups, plastic cutlery, water bottles, plastic shopping bags, plastic zip top storage bags, batteries, diapers, razors.

All these things I've either totally done away with by using washables, rechargeables or cut way back on. My downfall is cloth napkins. I LOVE THEM!

The hardest two for me has been straws and zip top freezer bags. Straws I still buy and will wash a straw to reuse once in a while. Zip top storage bags I will wash out and reuse once in a while.

Choose to reuse! Its not only responsible but economical as well!

I’m sure there are heaps of others that I’ve forgotten about. Which products have you switched over to a reusable option? Which ones do you find hard to give up?

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Easy Ways to Keep Your Pet safe from Summer Heat

Summer's rising temperatures may be great for a day at the beach, but they can pose hidden health risks for your pet.

To keep your pet happy and cool:

Paw Care is important! Dogs and cats have sensitive pads on the bottom of their paws, these can easily burn on hot pavement (parking lots & sidewalks) or sand. Their paws can burn and blister! Walk your dog in grass. Mist his paws. This is the only place animals sweat, making them prone to heat stroke. Spray your dogs paws with cool water and use a cool moist cloth for cats.

Keep your pet groomed! Matted coats retain excess heat. Brush them often to keep them tangle free. Keeping your pets coat clipped to one inch in length will help with grooming also. Invest in a set of clippers and do it yourself to save money. I purchased a set of clippers for $100. I was money ahead after I clipped my two poodles myself twice.

NEVER LEAVE AN ANIMAL IN A PARKED CAR! Even when a car is parked in the shade with the windows cracked, the temperature can rise to over 120 in a matter of a few minutes.

Twice in the last three years I have seen dogs left in cars (with windows cracked) in parking lots. Both times I called Animal Control, stayed there until they showed up, which took them 10-15 minutes and the owner was still no where in sight. Both times they alerted store managers who announced over the intercom for the owners to report back to their vehicle, where they were given citations. Have you ever reported anyone? The first time I did, I was very uneasy, and kept thinking, "It's none of your business, don't be so nosey" but then I asked myself, "IF it were a child, would you keep walking?"

Outside pets must have access to shade and fresh cool water at all times. One thing that I found hard to make both my sons understand during their summer feeding chores was that even though their dogs have water, it heats up quickly in such a small container. The dogs will not drink HOT water.

What's your favorite summer time pet tip? Do you have a "pet" peeve?

Lucky, Teddy and I hope you and your fur babies have a great safe summer.
And my boys say don't forget, make some summer time cool treats for your fur babies too! Just freeze some no/low sodium beef or chicken broth in ice cube trays, a chunk of watermelon, or balls of cantaloupe to munch on (outside of course). Your furbaby will love you even more!

PS... Here is a great resource for all animal lovers!
Merck Online Vet Manual

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Reaping what you sow

So far it's been slow but wonderful.

We have lots and lots of green tomatoes!

And about every other day there is one or two ready to be picked.

Ahhhh, this one is ready!

These zucchini will be ready in a day or two. We don't let them get too big.

Baby jalapeno peppers keep popping up.

Here are some almost ready.

We love hot peppers!

We also have picked cucumbers, and the green beans and cantaloupe are coming along.

Every year I try growing at least one new vegetable. This year we are growing gypsy peppers for the first time. They are doing really well and we have been able to pick several already.

They are a great pepper to just slice into a salad or saute with olive oil. We've grilled them and I might even stuff some. When picked at the yellow stage they taste like a mild sweet bell pepper. When left to ripen until they are red, they are soooooo sweet. My husband does not like bell green peppers or bell yellow, orange, or red for that matter. BUT he LOVES these!

Right now the garden is fairly easy to maintain. The weeds have been controlled by mulching with a layer of newspaper then straw. This also helps retain moisture which saves money on watering, and more importantly it provides constant even moisture. There is less drying out, getting wet, drying out, etc. which helps vegetables to set their fruit and lessens blossom drop and blossom end rot.

So what are you all growing? What have you picked? Anything new growing in your gardens this year?

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Making a Buttermilk Substitution for cooking

Cooking most of your meals from scratch can save you tons of money on your grocery bill.

Having a well stocked basic pantry and a little knowledge will make cooking from scratch stress free. Remember, the whole point of cooking from scratch is to save, it's not necessary to stock your pantry with expensive spices and mixes. So when you are fixing a recipe and it calls for an ingredient that you don't have, chances are you can either make the ingredient yourself, or use a substitution.

My favorite substitution is for buttermilk. I NEVER buy buttermilk. The smallest carton you can buy around here is a quart. No recipe I make takes a quart of buttermilk, so the rest always goes to waste.

Making a substitute is quick, easy and will save you the cost of buttermilk.

Method #1- Add one tablespoon of vinegar (or lemon juice) plus enough milk to make 1 cup, stir and let set 5 minutes. Vinegar works best.

Method #2- 1 cup milk plus 1 3/4 tablespoons cream of tartar

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