Monday, November 25, 2013

Cash back when you shop online!

Online shopping around the holidays is getting more and more popular.  If I could do all my holiday shopping online from the comfort of my home, I would.  Well, maybe I'd save one thing to get in the store because there is something special about the "holiday spirit" at the mall, but I certainly don't like to make a habit of fighting crowds at this time of year, particularly in the parking lots!  One of my favorite perks to shopping online is FREE CASH BACK!  Even when I'm making a small purchase, I like to do it online and pick up in the store if I can, just for the little bit I might get back.

Ebates is my favorite site for earning cash back on my online purchases.  Read on for all the ins and outs on how it works.

If you haven't signed up yet, this is the time to do it because there are a few great promotions they are running...
  • Get a $10 gift card to Target, Macy's, Kohl's, or Walmart for signing up and making a $25 online purchase.
  • Double cash back at many retailers.
  • Get a $50 bonus when you refer 2 friends!

This is totally legit and there are no strings attached.  All you do is go to the Ebates website, type in your retailer, click the link, do your shopping as you normally would, and make a percentage back.  It's a win, win!

Ebates is a website that connects you with the website of the store you want to shop and if you make your purchase through their link, you will get a percentage back.  These percentages fluctuate.  Sometimes it might be 1% or 2%, sometimes there will be a promotion where you will get double cash back, etc.  They also show you any coupon codes available (such as a percentage off or free shipping). You can make your purchase online by connecting to your store through their website and either have the items shipped to you or pick up in the store.  

Ebates works with tons of stores including Sears, Babies R Us, Toys R Us, Amazon, Sephora, JC Penny, Kohl's, Home Depot,, Groupon, Walmart, you name it, so you are sure to find your favorites.  Membership is totally free.  You simply get paid cash back for shopping (by check or paypal).  

There is nothing to lose with this program.  Anytime I am making a purchase I try to remember to check Ebates first to see if the store has an account with them and go through them to earn a little extra back.  We're not talking millions of dollars here (unless you are spending millions of dollars I suppose) but every little bit makes a difference.

Click here to sign up for Ebates today!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Our Thanksgiving Menu

Well, this picture is the best I got last year but
I'm unimpressed!  Here's to hoping I won't forget
to take a better one next week!
My husband and I have cooked and hosted Thanksgiving Dinner every year since we married.  Our conversation at the dinner table last night confirmed, not at all surprisingly, that he agrees with me that we should continue to do this for as long as we possibly can.  One Thanksgiving I received a compliment that I'll never forget... it was that I seemed so calm and was never stressed out while preparing Thanksgiving dinner.  Honestly, I think I sometimes stress about normal daily mealtimes more than I do holiday meals.  We've gotten ourselves into a good groove... we know what to make, when to make it, how to share the space (although I still wish I had a double oven!), and how to enjoy every second in the kitchen.  Thanksgiving Dinner (and Christmas too, since it's identical because we love it so much) is absolutely, positively our favorite meal of the year, and since we find so much joy in it, we figured we should share it with you!

We've toyed around with different side dishes and recipes throughout the years but in the end, this is the final list, and I doubt it will ever change!  I will link to recipes if I have them typed up.  My husband says he will not share the recipe for the turkey but I'll continue to work on that.  I'm realizing that I have a few other recipes to add to the blog to complete the list so stay tuned!


Main Meal:
  • Turkey (the bigger the better, 23.88 pounds this year, a little small for us but the largest they had in the store!)
  • Crockpot Cornbread Dressing
  • Green Bean Casserole (I follow the recipe on the can of fried onions but I use my own cream soup)
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Fried Apples
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Biscuits
  • Gravy


  • Apple Cider
  • Apple Cider Sangria
  • Egg Nog
  • Whatever else people prefer

Don't let holiday meals get the best of you... don't let them stress you out!  Let them be filled with love, joy, deliciousness, and memory-making.  It sounds so sappy, but it's so true.  What's on your menu this year?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Make your own broth/stock! (DON'T THROW AWAY YOUR TURKEY CARCASS!)

I just recently purchased a little package of chicken bouillon cubes to make my own broth.  Although it was only 99 cents at Market Basket, it was still a little bit painful because it had been almost a year since I had to buy it!

Last Christmas, after dinner, and after I placed all the leftovers in the fridge, I looked at the carcass of our 26 pound turkey and thought, "There has to be something I can do with this other than throwing it in the trash!"  I went to google, and several hours later, I had almost a one year supply of turkey broth!

Here is all you need to do...

Put your turkey carcass in a large pot, covered with water.  Add any carrots, celery, onions, etc that you have on hand and whatever seasonings you like.  Bring everything to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer for about three hours.  Skim yuckiness off the top periodically.  Basically, when when the bones are bare, it's done.  Remove the bones from the pan and cool the stock in the fridge overnight.  Skim off the top layer of fat that you'll find in the morning and you'll see your stock underneath - the more gelatin-like the better!  I take my cooled stock/broth and filled ice cube trays, and once frozen, I place the cubes in zip lock freezer bags in the freezer.  Last year, they lasted about 6 months in the freezer before they started getting all freezer burn-ish.  I just melt a few as needed for any recipe that calls for broth throughout the year.

PS ~ This stock is perfect for making your own cream soup for recipes!  You can check out that recipe here.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Liquid Chalkers!

Recently the creators of Liquid Chalkers sent me an 8 pack of chalk markers to try out and provide my unbiased review!  My thoughts in a nutshell?  LOVE!

We do a lot of arts and crafts around here and any new products we can use to switch things up are super exciting (particularly to my 3 year old).  After receiving our Liquid Chalkers in the mail and carefully reviewing the how-to tips they emailed to me, we got to work.

We first tested surfaces just to confirm that in fact they would wipe off when we were done.  These are best used on non porous surfaces because otherwise the liquid gets sucked right in and doesn't wipe off easily.

We drew on our chest freezer (a huge hit since this sits right in our playroom!) and our windows (another huge hit because we NEVER draw on windows!).  How exciting to have a product that lets you do the things you never get to do!

I created a weekly meal plan ~ right on the fridge!

We were also super excited to use these for my sister's wedding reception with a theme full of chalkboards!

These Liquid Chalkers were a fantastic addition to our crafting supplies.  They are easy to use, can write with both a wide and finer tip, provide vibrant color, and wipe away easily on non porous surfaces.  I do find that after wiping away, a little residue is left over that can be easily wiped away with a hand or cloth (kind of like the residue that is left over when you use an eraser on pencil).  Using these on chalkboard paint is a little tricky because the ability to wipe away easily depends on the surface the paint is on.  Always test a small surface first and invest in a Magic Eraser if needed.  These were the recommendations sent to me by the company and are, from our experience, perfectly accurate.

You can purchase Liquid Chalkers online through the company's website or through amazon.  The company has graciously provided me with a coupon code to share with you for 15% off ~ just enter EXCLUSIVE15 at checkout on their website.  It's good through the end of this month, so place your order today!

Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to  I did not receive compensation for this review, other than Liquid Chalkers to try and keep.  The opinions expressed are my own.  

Friday, November 1, 2013

What to do with all those green onions!

I like to think of green onions as a "gift that just keeps giving."  One bunch of green onions from the grocery store can give you bunch after bunch if you know what to do with them!  Simply use the onions as you typically would but save the white bulb and root part in a jar with some water and they will regrow!  Again, cut off what you need as you need it, keep giving them fresh water, and repeat!  It's a great way to save money, always have fresh onions, and add some cute decor to your countertops!

Regardless of the fact that I can make one bunch of green onions last for a pretty long time, my husband decided to plant a plethora, yes a PLETHORA, of green onions in our garden this year.  The result?  This project showed up on my to-do list this week!

A few hours of cleaning, separating, and clipping away with scissors gave us this:

We will keep these in the freezer and take out whatever we need for recipes for as long as they last us!  I froze green onions for the first time when I had several regrowing on our windowsill prior to us moving last summer.  I had no easy way to transport the jar so I chopped them up, filled an empty plastic water bottle, threw it in the freezer, and simply shook out whatever I needed whenever I needed it.  It was fantastic.  Sadly I did not have enough water bottles for this year's harvest but I think the zip lock bags will do!
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