Thursday, June 30, 2011

June Freebies!

A big part of my daily routine includes finding freebies. Most of the time I am just scanning for coupons to save during my weekly shopping trips but I have noticed that many companies are giving their product away to those willing to "Like" their Facebook page. I usually only sign up for samples me or my family will use, that way I am not taking an offer away from someone who would actually use it.
There are a few different types of giveaways I have came across:
  • "Like" the page and receive a free sample (Most common). 
  • Fill out a survey and get a sample. 
  • Log on to the company page at a certain time to receive a coupon/sample. (Be advised in giveaways like this, servers crash pretty often resulting in a blank page. Be patient.)
  • Sign up for product sample and return to site after use and write a review. 
  • Free coupon printout.  

Most samples that are sent to you by mail can take up to 8 weeks to receive. 

Here are a few of the items I received for free in June (signed up for in May)
  • Swiffer 360° Duster Starter Pack ($5.00 value)
  • Two Gillette Mach 5 Razors with 2 refill cartridges (around $15 value)
  • Zone Perfect Nutrition Bar and Coupon ($2.00)
  • Vaseline Repairing Moisture Lotion Sample
  • Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Shampoo and Conditioner Sample
  • Miracle Worker Eye Cream Sample & 20% off Coupon at
  • Coupon for $1.00 off Kings Hawaiian Sandwich Buns
  • Coupon for $2.00 off Kings Hawaiian Bread
  • $1.00 off Any Fruit of the Loom Sock Purchase
  • Free Betty Crocker Brownie Mix (Local Grocery Store) ($3.00 value)
  • $1.00 off 2 boxes of Wheat Thins
  • .75 off Oscar Meyer Hot Dogs
  • Buy One, Get One McDonald's Fruit Smoothie or Strawberry Lemonade
As you can see they really add up. I also will have a better idea of what I like and what I should steer clear of when I am shopping. Of all the samples this month I think I was most excited about the Swiffer and the razors (because they are so pricey in stores) and the Hawaiian Bread (it is most delicious, if you have never tried it I strongly recommend it. It goes great with spinach dip, the buns are great for burgers). The Zone Perfect bar was also pretty tasty!

Obviously, it can pay to network on sites like Facebook and Twitter. You don't have to "Like" every company you come across, start out with those products you already use. Another way I go about samples is to keep up with other blogs and pages. Pages on Facebook like "Money Saving Mom" and "Samples for Singles" are great pages that inform consumers about daily deals. I suggest checking them out. 

Another thing I caution people about is not to feel like you are entitled to a coupon/sample. Companies have a limited amount of items available so remember not everyone can receive. I notice a lot of people posting on sites with things like "i didn't get a coupon, so I am banning your product"... or "you page didn't work, you are wasting my time". Most of us will agree it makes you look pretty dumb. Things happen, you aren't going to get something every time... even if you have been waiting 30 or more minutes (I lost the $5 coupon at Bounty last week because I had to go to the Doctor. I waited 2 hours and it was a bummer, but no big deal I will still buy their products). I also always remember to like the post where I found the deal, as well as the company announcement post. Most importantly, I  ALWAYS say THANK YOU! Yea... it's the internet and I am only posting on an electronic wall but I still have manners and I am grateful that the option is available. I also believe if you are polite and respectful, you will get more freebies in the long run. 

With freebies and coupons.... saving money is EASY & FUN! Lastly, don't forget to follow my blog by clicking "Follow" on the left! Thanks!


(I am still working on a couple of the blogs I said I would post this week. Apparently I have more information in my head than I thought! I will have another post soon.) If I don't make it before the weekend, 

Monday, June 27, 2011

On the Road....

Its been a few days since my last post, but we have been busy! This past weekend we went to Grand Rapids, Minnesota. 
I planned on utilizing my time in the car thinking of this blog. With camera in tow, I took pictures almost the entire six hours (one way) from the car. The majority of the ride up with filled with green fields, cows and road construction.
Honestly, I think this is the reason mileage is so low... 

Ended up taking about 130 photos throughout the weekend. Between conversations and baby toy rescues, I look for things that have been "lost in time" so to speak. I love photographing old barns and houses, stonework, abandoned roads, etc... makes me wonder who lived there. What kind of life did they have, when did they first settle there. That could be the reason I love history so much, my mind just wanders there. 

One of the old farm houses along the way. 

We also like to keep an eye out for home improvement ideas. Our current situation finds us within the city limits of Watertown, but have just started renovating a home on Cully's parents farm. Basically, we need visual ideas of things we may like in/on/around our home. 
I thought of this as an option to mowing a ditch every other day...

Another idea that I had was to arrange the gardening and flower beds in the yard so certain smells fill specific rooms within the house. The herb garden would be just northwest of the kitchen window, while the lavender and lilac would be directly west of the bedroom and bathrooms. This probably is not too original of an idea, but I thought it was pretty amazing! So while on our treck to the north-woods, I kept my eyes out for other landscaping ideas, and especially flowers! I was surprised to see the abundance of daisies on the side of the roads and realized there are not too many around home. Another nice surprise were the small, scattered patches of Pink and White Lady's Slippers. The flower of the State of Minnesota, I have not seen it since I was younger but yet there were patches for a good 70 miles or so. I should have stopped for a photo, but since I was driving, both the guys were sleeping... 

 We finally made it up to my Grandpa's house where we spread my father's ashes (For those who don't know, he lost his battle with esophageal cancer in March). The weather cooperated and he had a quiet, beautiful send off, just the way he would have liked. It was an afternoon filled with reflection and spent with family. To my Dad the lake was his second home, he knew every inch of it and could always find the fish. It is the epitome of why I love northern Minnesota so much. 

View of the lake at Grandpas (Dad's Home). 

It was a nice little get away. We were not up there all that long and had no requirements as to time. Although it was only drive up, sleep and drive home, it was very relaxing. 


Coming up this week: 
New Recipe: Stuffed Pork Chops
June "Freebies" and Reviews
Ideas for Building on a Budget
....and quite possibly more!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Free Bounty Coupon!

Tomorrow (Friday, June 24th) Bounty will be giving away free coupons worth $5!!

Go to their page and "Like" them to be eligible. Give away times are from 8-10am EST and again from 10am - 1pm EST. Coupon is limited to the first 5,000 customers.

Thanks to Penny Pinchin' Mom
Well, I think I may be starting to get the hang of this. It reminds me a lot of MySpace... remember those days? Anywho...

As an attempt to save money I have been cooking at home. Our family went from eating out three to five times per week, down to once or twice per month (the pizza places are bummed out). Although it is less convenient, it saves a huge amount of money (Well, duh Sara... ) and I am home all the time now so it doesn't bother me to cook everyday. One of my goals is to be able to get my meal cost around eight dollars (for four people). Its going well so far.

Another game I play is to try at least one new recipe per week. I usually find them on the web, searching by what I have in my kitchen or based on my grocery list. I plan on reviewing the recipes on this blog. This past week I tried my hand at a Bacon and Cheese Quiche. I have to tell you, I was a bit apprehensive when I came across it, as so many people hear how cooks hate cooking Quiches' (or would that still be Quiche?). Why? They deflate if bumped in the tiniest of manner! Fortunately, I found out it doesn't really ruin it just makes it less fluffy, and in that case I could feel better about trying it. I did not want to make something new, have it be inedible and be out that money spent on the ingredients. Let me share the recipe with you:

Easy Bacon and Cheese Quiche

You will need:
1- 3oz can Bacon Bits
1/2 Cup-  Chopped Onion
5oz-  Shredded Swiss Cheese
3oz- Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 (9 inch)- Frozen Pie Crusts  
(Pillsbury has these in packages of 2. Usually you can find them for around $2.50)
4 eggs- lightly beaten
1 Cup- Half & Half

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C)
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the bacon, onions and both cheeses. Place mixture in the pie crust.
  3. Mix the eggs and half & half in a  bowl. Pour the egg mixture over the cheese mixture. 
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° F (175° C) and bake for and additional 35 minutes, until top of quiche is turning brown.  
  • Make sure not to disturb the quiche while it is baking. I literally tip toed around my home while it was cooking.
  • If you have to open your oven to see if it is turning brown, make sure to close the door gently. 
  • Let it stand for about five minutes before serving. 
Recipe courtesy of

Before the oven:
It kind of reminds me of an Egg Bake recipe I have. There were air bubbles popping up as I took this photo, so expect that. The smell in the air while it was cooking reminded me of an Onion Tart, maybe I will try that next! 

After the oven:
I actually forgot to add the onions in the cheese mixture and ended up tossing them on top (before I poured the egg on). That is why you see so many onions. I was super excited that it did not deflate!

Overall, it was fantastic! Cully (my other half) ate a good portion and finished the rest off for breakfast the next morning. I enjoyed mine with Ketchup (of course!) and he put Sour Cream on his. I was nervous thinking the Swiss would be overpowering, but it was quite good. Would I make it again? Yes! 

Total overall cost for this dish about $9.00. I can't even feed two of us at McDonald's for that! I think next time I will have to delve a little in to my grocery shopping process but its time to get something done around here, so until then! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Hello There!
This is a new experience for me, just getting to this point took a lot of thought and research. It is my hope in this blog to provide information to anyone who wants it. I have become accustomed to living frugally as possible and along the way have picked up a few tips and tricks and look forward to sharing them. In addition, I am a mom of a total of four children Emma (9 years) and Carter (9 months) live at home. Camdyn (6 years) and Paige (3 years) visit us almost every other weekend. With a family of this size many can understand the importance of frugality but without the sacrifice of fun!!

As I take on new projects and recipes, I plan to document the processes and outcomes (with pictures)! I hope to pass on what I liked/disliked or would do differently. Furthermore, I will "pass on" information about saving money, thrift store and grocery shopping, coupon clipping, and whatever other fabulous offers I come across. If there is something you would suggest as a topic, just let me know!

I hope I can be entertaining as well, showcasing my home life. With four very different individuals life can be pretty interesting... hopefully you will find as much humor in it as I do. 

South Dakota Prairie