Monday, February 22, 2010

Upromise Savings

I'm sure everyone has heard of Upromise before and how they offer savings for college for your every day purchases. I started a UPromise account in high school and didn't really do much with it. I registered all my credit cards on their site (and my dad's too haha) and kinda forgot about it. Then Zach and I moved into our new home in 2008 and were trying to come up with ANY extra money we could to be able to buy furniture and I remembered my UPromise account. I checked it out and had about $250 in it! I know, that's not a TON of money but it was FREE MONEY that I earned by just using my registered credit cards! I cashed it in and they sent me a check for the full amount in my account!

They advertise UPromise as a college savings and it can be, but it can also just be a general savings account and you can cash in the money at any time. We recently started shopping at Publix so I got a UPromise card from them (you can ask at the check out line) and registered it on my account. Now every time we shop and scan the card we rack up some money in our UPromise savings! I'm hoping we can use it for Kye in the future but it's nice to have just in case something comes up where we need it. Sure it's not much (like we save $0.26 or something when we shop) but every little bit helps and over the years it'll add up to be a decent bit of money. Since I gutted the account in 2008 I've already earned back $87!

I also downloaded a reminder tool from their site that alerts me anytime I'm shopping on a website that would allow me to earn UPromise savings. I click "get my savings" and BAM! I automatically earn a little money from each purchase I make. MOST sites I shop from participate and some, like Vistaprint, actually give me BIGGER discounts by being a UPromise member! I know I could take advantage of a lot more savings offered on the site and I need to take the time to look through everything.

I highly recommend creating your free UPromise account today! Even if you don't need a college savings fund, why not earn a little extra dough on purchases you're already making?

I LOVE Vistaprint!

I had to write a little shout out to Vistaprint. I have been using them for YEARS and have never been disappointed. You can find just about anything on their site and everything is much better quality than you'd expect for the price. I've ordered Christmas cards, shower invitations, our RSVP cards for our wedding, photo calendars for Christmas gifts, photo mouse pads for Christmas gifts, and now birthday invitations!

You can choose from any of their designs and edit them however you want. You can also upload pictures and add them to anything you want as well! They ALWAYS have stuff on sale and whenever you place an order they send you a coupon for 25% off your next purchase.

The only downside? The shipping takes a LONG time. Like 20 days if you do their cheapest method. Since I'm a planner this isn't typically a problem and when it is I call them directly and they have ALWAYS given me a free upgrade shipping. When I ordered the mouse pads at Christmas one of them had an issue (Kye looked like he had devil eyes in one of the pictures). I called them and they let me keep the original mouse pad, credited my account for the cost of the mouse pad, AND sent me a new one that got to me in 2 days time! I was SO impressed with them and will be continuing to use them in the future!

If you are a UPROMISE member, you get additional discounts through their site! I'd love to hear how you like Vistaprint and where you get your invitations and such from!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pampered Chef Bread Tube

An old friend had one of these and would make this bread spread ALL the time and now it's one of our family favorites too!

First, you need the bread tube itself. These are AWESOME. My friend had the flowered one so I first bought that one but for Valentine's Day I invested in the heart shaped one too. AND I've just ordered the star shaped one and hope it comes in time to use for Kye's 1st Birthday Party!

You can find the tubes on Ebay for VERY low prices (I only paid $3 for the star one). You can click on the link to automatically see results for the search!
For the bread spread I make all you need is:
Pillsbury Italian or French bread loaf (in the dough tube like crescent rolls)
Ranch Packets
Whipped Cream Cheese

I use one packet for a little less than 8 oz of cream cheese but you can just slowly mix the two together and get the consistency you like. My friend who made them first put little cucumbers on top but I don't know anyone who really likes those so I just don't include them. When finished it makes an adorable and YUMMY treat!
I'm so excited to use my heart one for Valentine's Day next year. The tubes come with instructions on how to make the bread and the heart one I got had some other ideas in it too. Next year I plan to make the bread and use it for little sandwiches for lunch then the bread spread at dinner. I also plan to make rice krispie treats inside of it AND ice cream! All you do for the ice cream is fill it with ice cream then stick it in the freezer for awhile and you'll have heart shaped ice cream! How fun is that?!?

Everyone that's ever seen me make this bread has complimented on how cute it is and how amazing it tastes. So many people have mentioned buying one and I totally recommend it! I'd love to hear your thoughts on them or any neat ideas you may have to use them for!!! 

Roasted "Pork" Tenderloin

This is one of our family favorites and is VERY easy!

Since Zach and I do Weight Watchers I've converted it a little bit to make it less points and it's still FABULOUS!

Roast "Pork" Tenderloin Supper

2 pork tenderloins (I used Jennie-O Turkey Tenderloins instead to make the meal lower points and one package had 2 in it)
1/4 cup dijon mustard
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 oz of cream cheese or neufchantal cheese (I used fat free cream cheese)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. heat large skillet on medium heat then add pork and cook 5 min or until browned on all sides
3. remove meat from skillet and place in 9x13 baking dish
4. combine mustard and thyme and spread evenly onto meat
5. bake 20-25 min then transfer to a cutting board and tent with fork (I have NO clue what tenting means so I just sat it on the cutting board?) and let stand for 5 min.
6. meanwhile add broth to skillet and bring to a boil on high setting
7. reduce to medium-low and add cheese cooking 2 min or until well blended, stirring constantly
8. cut meat into thin slices

I put the broth/cheese mix into little condiment serving dishes and use it as a dip for the meat. It's super yummy and if you use the Jenni-O turkey substitute then it makes:

8 SERVINGS at 2 WW POINTS PER SERVING (including the meat dip!)
 If anyone tries it let me know what you think! Even Kye enjoyed it for our Valentine's Day Feast!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Valentine's Day Box

I love holidays! And I love making them festive and fun for my family! Even if I have a baby who won't remember any of it, I still get into it!

Growing up I remember my mom making a Valentine's Day box. She'd pull it out every year when Valentine's Day was getting close and we'd make things for each other and put them in the box along with any little gifts or cards or candy and such. Then on Valentine's Day we'd open it!

Simple idea, I know. But it's such a great one because you SEE this box sitting out and it makes you more excited to open it on the BIG day AND it makes you want to buy or make little things to put in it!

This year I made our family's first Valentine's Day box!
I went to Office Depot and asked them for an extra copy paper box then went to Hallmark and bought some cute festive paper. It was a pretty big pain to wrap the whole thing so it looked good but I think it did a pretty good job! I also put paper on the inside so you wouldn't see an empty box before we put stuff in it. As Kye gets older I plan to let him decorate it with stickers and such but for now this will do! And Zach cut the hole in the top for me too!

For Valentine's Day we buy each other cheap little things and this is a great way to encourage giving but also to find creative ways to keep the gifts small enough to fit in the box!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Little Laundry Tricks

As a new mom I'm always on the look out for ways to make life a little easier. One area that got a lot messier once we had Kye was laundry. There is a lot more of it and a lot more stains to get out!

Clothing that gets stained might as well be tossed in the trash. You won't keep it for your next baby and you can't sell it online or at any used kids sale. It's a TOTAL waste! I do everything I can to prevent stains but with a boy they are BOUND to happen. Here are a few little tricks I've learned with doing laundry!

1. Oxiclean: It should be every mom's best friend! I put some (I use the powder form) right in the wash basin of the washer before EVER load and it really does make our colors brighter and our clothes look new longer. I also use it to soak things in. Whenever an item has a stain I put a little of the oxiclean in a bowl with cold water and let the garment soak for HOURS before I wash it. I'd say 99.9% of the time the stain comes out. If not, I'll wash it then soak it again and THEN it will come out. NONE of my clothes have stains. NONE of my child's clothes have stains. Thanks to oxiclean! I actually had a brand new white tank top get red kool aid all over it and yup, it came out.

2. Laundry Day: Every Monday in our home is laundry day. I've read other blogs that recommend spreading it out throughout the week but I know that it saves money on both electric and water to do full loads back to back. I have three small laundry baskets from Dollar General that I use when the clothes are clean. They get sorted into "mommy" "daddy" and "baby" baskets then each basket goes to the right bed rooms to put away. I don't sit and fold it all, I just toss it in the basket then fold it as I put it up. I think this saves a lot of time from folding it all in advance then it getting messed up in the transfer.

3. Breastfed Baby Poop: If you have a breastfed baby then you know what I'm talking about...not to get too graphic but that junk looks exactly like butterscotch pudding! The best solution I found? THE SUN! I'm not kidding! I'd rinse out the clothes in the sink then lay them in the backyard and usually the sun would somehow magically make the poop disappear! And if it didn't go away 100% then I'd just follow my oxiclean soaking routine!

4. No Ironing: I don't iron. I loathe it. We recently invested in front loading energy star washer and dryers and the dryer actually has a setting called "rapid refresh" I swear it's amazing! We pick out what we plan to wear that day (works GREAT before church!), toss it all in, and in about 20 min we have wrinkle free clothes without the ironing. Now obviously you aren't going to run out and buy a new washer and dryer just to not have to iron but if you're in need of a new one I recommend looking for this setting!

5. Wash it all together: I know SOME babies may have issues with laundry detergent and truly need their clothes washed in Dreft. I, however, feel it's a rip off scam. I leave the tags on ALL of my son's clothes until he wears them. I don't wash them first. I also do this with all of my clothes. When you wash something it will NEVER look as new again so why waste that new look??? I was all of my son's clothes WITH our clothes and use the same detergent and stuff that I do for ours.

Any other tips to share???

Quick, EASY Stir-Fry

My soon-to-be one year old son has started to be in a rather picky stage with food where you can't just give him raw, cooked veges and expect him to eat them. I know MOST mommies out there can easily come up with ways of getting those veges into foods but I have a hard time making things up on my own without a recipe...

But I did it this time! And I'm proud of it!

I buy LOTS of different frozen vegetables (aren't as healthy as fresh, aren't as bad as canned though either) and will put a handful of each into a large skillet. Pour in a little olive oil and some teriyaki sauce and let it cook until the veges are soft. I then use a sharp knife and cut it all up while in the pan. My son LOVES it and while he'll NEVER eat broccoli he gobbles it down when I make this!

Some of the frozen foods I've used include: broccoli, cauliflower, squash, carrots, butter beans, green beans, asparagus, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, peas, corn, and anything else I can come up with!!!

I feel like all foods stay good for about a week then I toss them. This is the ONE thing I make that I KNOW he'll gobble up every time I feed it to him during that week! Even my hubby says it smells good enough to eat and he is pretty picky with vegetables!
Anyone else have any quick, easy, healthy food tips I can use? Anyone try my stir-fry with good results? Or add anything to it that makes it even a bigger hit? Let me know! 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

FREE Gap Money Cards

Gap Visa
I have a few store credit cards and most of them promise BIG things. Great deals, lots of rewards, amazing coupons and offers. Well, all of them disappoint. EXCEPT one and that's the Gap card! I assume the sister stores (Old Navy and Banana Repubic) have the same or similar rewards set ups but I have been SO grateful for my Gap credit card!

First, you get some BIG discounts when you initially sign up for the card. (they vary on when you sign up)

Every Tuesday you get 10% off ANY Gap, Old Navy, or Banana Republic purchase. In store or online.
You also get a TON of GREAT coupons and special offers. I NEVER shop at these stores WITHOUT some kind of great coupon! And I honestly haven't EVER used the Tues 10% off deal because I ALWAYS can find something better than 10% off.

You also earn rewards VERY quickly. I get little money cards all the time, just for using my card on purchases I'd make anyway! I'm not sure how they reward you, but who cares if I'm earning them left and right?!?

Once you spend $800 on Gap, Old Navy, or Banana Republic purchases in a calendar year you get upgraded to Silver Status which gives you lifetime free shipping online (I haven't reached this step yet)

ALL the time they send out these little cards saying that if you use your Gap card for 4 purchases OTHER than their retail stores in a given month that you'll earn a $20 Money Card. Um, that's FREE money! When I get these notices I use my Gap Card for 4 purchases during the time frame of the offer but on 4 things I'd normally buy anyway. I ALWAYS pay any cards off at the end of the month so I don't get SLAMMED with the interest but it's an EASY way to earn FREE MONEY!!!

The money cards DO expire and sometimes they expire pretty quickly so make sure to read them on the back when you get them and use them prior to the experation date! I've had it happen once or twice where I went to use one and couldn't :(

In the short time I've owned this card (since May of 2008) I've earned more than $250 worth of FREE money cards. I earned most of them through the 4-purchases-outside-of-Gap deal (they have that deal ALL the time) and it's been wonderful!

The money cards CAN be combined AND can be used ONLINE OR at GAP OUTLET! AND I've had them also let me use coupons WITH them (I ALWAYS do the online customer survey for a 15% off coupon!) Who doesn't LOVE Gap stuff??? You can use them in any department but duh, I use them for ME ME ME!
This past week I had $80 worth of them and by shopping smart at Gap outlet (only buying things on clearance or on discount) I was able to get: 2 pairs of pants, a tank top, a short sleeve shirt, a cute pair of shoes, and 2 sweaters!!!

Anyone else have this card??? Or another store credit card that has awesome perks? Please share!!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

$292.00 worth of clothes for FREE and more to come!

This was the deal that got me to start this blog! I HAD to share with others my great find. I've done it two years in a row now and plan to keep doing it in the future.

If you have a credit card from either New York and Company or Victoria's Secret then I know you can sign up through them for this deal. I also just went to the company website ( and see on the home page that they offer the same deal through their direct site!

You sign up for the 30 day trial. It costs $0.99 and if you cancel within the 30 days they actually refund that $0.99 to you!!! If you forget to cancel they will charge you the $49.99 yearly fee but if you cancel within 30 days of that they will refund you the $49.99! SO you actually have about 60 days to take advantage of the deal! They are VERY nice about canceling and it's a super easy process!

When you sign up for it you need to keep ALL your receipts. Especially ones for gas, shipping costs for online shopping, and all others. They are only good to use from the date you sign up so be sure to keep them all! Once you get your membership info in the mail you can login to the website and print off coupon vouchers to mail in with your receipts. And yes, if you print off shipping receipts from online they DO work!

They have three categories and you earn gift cards in each:

1. online shipping costs
2. other retail costs
3. gas costs

You have to have $40 worth of receipts in each category to earn a $40 gift card from that category.

Within the 30 day period (I signed up in December so I was doing a LOT of online shopping then) I sent in $40 (I sent in MORE just to make sure it all worked) worth of receipts in each category.I called them multiple times for a couple of weeks until they told me they received my receipts and then I canceled the membership! You can also fax them the receipts which will get it to them quicker so you can cancel quicker too.

When I did it in 2008 I signed up through my Victoria's Secret credit card and they sent me $120 worth of Visa gift cards which were great because we used them on groceries. When I did it again in 2009 with my New Yorks and Company credit card they sent me $120 worth of New York and Company gift cards! My husband liked the Visa one better but I enjoyed a shopping spree!!!

I am a coupon QUEEN when it comes to shopping and I had a coupon good for $60 off a $125 purchase so I made sure to spend RIGHT at $125. I got:
2 pair of jeans (during the buy one pair of pants get one free promotion)
3 clearance items (during the buy one clearance get two clearance items free promotion) which included a sweater, a tank top, and another top
2 tops (during a 2 for $25 promotion)
and 1 cardigan (on sale from $44 to $20)

I ONLY bought things that were either on sale or part of a promotion and what I bought would have equaled $292. With the promotions it came to $135. After the coupon it came to $84 and I used the gift cards so it was all FREE!

That still leaves me with $40 worth of gift cards left AND since I "spent" so much I earned 2 "citicash" cards which are $15 off a $30 purchase each so I basically didn't just get free clothes, I EARNED "money" too!

 Who WOULDN'T want to do this deal?!?!?
~Please let me know if anyone tries this out and how it works for you!!!!~

New Blog!


I have loved blogging since I started my personal blog back in August of 2008. I've enjoyed keeping all of my memories of my life and sharing them with others. I decided to make this blog a less personal one. As a new mom and a deal-finder queen I feel like I learn a lot of little tips and tricks that are worth sharing! Of course some may not agree with me but we'll find out :)

I hope this blog can provide some great tips for others and that it will allow me to learn more from other moms out there too! Sharing is such a wonderful thing and we can all learn so much from other people's experiences!

Feel free to contact me anytime with any little tips you'd like to share at! I'd love to hear any advice you can offer!!!