linky lurve: the random edition

i'm hoping sharing some of what i've been reading lately will jumpstart that writing thing that seems to have eluded me of late. today's grouping, frugal links that have caught my eye over the last few days.

wendy at more than enough has a great list of 800 numbers for companies. call, let them know you'd like some coupons, and poof...they arrive. i've only just discovered wendy's blog, but i'm enjoying it; lots of interesting posts. unlike here, of late. ;)

something else from wendy: coupons.com has hit mypoints. i've been using mypoints for years, and i've been using coupons.com to print out coupons for what feels like forever. but i didn't know that they recently teamed up! very good news!

i'm very excited about the idea of making both cloth napkins and fabric bags...i've borrowed mom's sewing machine, now i've just got to figure out how to use it....got any great links towards that end? lemme know!

everybody's talking spring cleaning, which i don't think i've ever done....hmmmm....the lovely ladies over at home ec 101 have a post just for me! well, ok, my home isn't disastrously messy, but it would never pass a white glove test. the ideas are simple enough that i'm sure i can baby step my way to pristine. maybe. a detailed room by room plan is just what i needed! thanks, ivy! :)

i know if i could get myself into a better morning routine, my day would go much smoother. as it is, i've got the "getting up to get j's day going" routine pretty much in hand, i just need to get the rest of my morning into ship shape...


bread bricks

i've been cooking my fool head off today. nothing else has cooperated, so at least i accomplished something.

i made some split pea soup and decided that since we were having a hearty soup for dinner in honor of the rainy/thunderstormy/nastiness that is today, i'd bake a loaf of yummy crusty bread.

the beauty of both of these is that with the joy of mechanical assistance (hellllooooo, bread machine!), both the soup and the bread didn't have to be pampered or watched much. which left me free to deal with assorted other dilemmas. my soup? looks and smells yummy. my bread? is a brick.

a somewhat flat, hard brick.

ahem. this is not what the bread machine and i discussed.

i dutifully measured out each ingredient and made sure that each was at the right temperature before placing them in the machine in the exact order prescribed. all should have gone quite according to plan. but no, i have a brick.

i remember reading somewhere, i apologize for not recalling where, that bread dough is something you just have to learn. kinda in a zen way. hopefully soon i'll get to that point. i do think that i'm close...i peeked in on this batch (as i always do...can't. leave. the. machine. alone.) and noticed that the dough did look a smidge dry...but i had put in all the right measurements, so surely all would turn out well, right? not so right.

once i learn to trust my instincts i'm sure that i'll have far fewer final products like the one today, but i'd be lying if i didn't say it was a bit disheartening.


shopping but not spending

that's my goal lately....

i've been following money saving mom and her cvs tips for a couple of months now, and it really amazes me how many great deals can be had. i've impressed j a couple of times with some great deals (recently we got 4 2-liter bottles of coke, 1 2-liter bottle of dr. pepper and a 12 pack of coke for $.50...i loves me some coupons when they work like that!), but that is far from the norm for me. i do ok with coupons, but other than that one trip, i haven't really had anything where i've handed anybody $1 and walked away with half the store. baby steps.

today i ran two errands...i got some dog and cat food over at petsmart first. i had coupons, and i was gonna use 'em. i got a 5lb bag of nature's best dog food for clio, and a 3 1/2lb bag of iams digestive for the minouzer. i had $3 off coupons for both bags of pet food, which is why i bought those particular ones. i also had a buy one/get one free coupon for some cat food in a pouch. all told, $6.50 in coupons on what would have cost me $22.66. handed over my $16.16 gladly and skipped on over to cvs.

this month - or is it week? i never remember unless i'm looking at it :/ - if you buy $15 worth of certain dove products, you get $5 back in extra care bucks. i just got a *ton* of dove coupons in the mail, so i went to see what i could get into.

i bought 1 2pack of dove soap (2.50), 2 dove cream oil body washes (3.99 each), one dove cream oil lotion (6.99), and 2 lypsyl lip moisturizers (2.99 each)...i used one $5 off of $15 cvs coupon, one $3 off of $15 worth of beauty purchases coupon from cvs, 2 $2 off dove cream oil body wash coupons, 1 $1.50 off one dove cream oil lotion coupon, and 2 $1 off lypsyl tubes coupons. that took my total down from $23.45 to $8.88. *happy dance*

i also earned $10.98 in ECB's that i can use on a future purchase! (the lypsyl gave me $2.99 each in ECB's too) couple those with the $6 in ECB's that i already had and the $10 cvs gift card that i just got in the mail from redeeming some points on mypoints and i've got $26.98 to spend on toiletries and household stuffs...

i stumbled across this site today, and she has got the niftiest little cvs tracking spreadsheet that you can download to keep track of spending with your cvs card.

also, if you're new to couponing and want some tips on getting started with ecb's or with walgreen's and their rebate program, money saving mom is the place to go! her cvs beginner's tutorial and her walgreen's beginner's tutorial are both wonderful resources.


linky lurve: feeeeed me!

i've been heavily into the bread thing lately, and i would desperately love to finally find a recipe that gives me a loaf similar in consistency to the sandwich bread we get at the store so that i can stop buying it. something about the preservatives and all just really turns me off, plus i am getting a kick out of making our bread. not to mention the fact that i've got all the ingredients on hand, so it's not costing a ton of money to make a few loaves. this has led me to what feels like thousands of variations on my theme. i'll let you know what if anything finally works...

i liked this article on organic food myths. yes, i like the overall idea of organic food, i don't like preservatives and pesticides, but there are some parts of this that make sense. i don't believe that organic food is the be all and end all to all of our troubles in the world, as many try to make it out to be. with everything in life, i think we need to approach the concept of organic food in moderation.

these cinnamon sugar muffins look absolutely heavenly! i may have to take a break from bread and bake some of these...

cheese toast is one of my favorite snacks...a slice of tomato underneath and a smidge of salt and pepper before topping with cheese? heavenly...

this post over at money saving mom has some great links to frugal menus and budgeting while still eating healthy. i've loved reading meredith's series on the 50's style menu. i'm not nearly as adept as either of these ladies yet, but i'm learning more and more. baby steps.

i totally want to do this. i don't use buttermilk often, mainly because i'd have to buy it and it just isn't something that really fits into the budget. if it's this easy to make though? wow, that would be great to have around. i had a wonderful recipe to make my own yogurt, too, and i cannot find it to. save. my. life. grrrr.


linky lurve: the blogging edition

amanda at blogger buster has completely revamped the site, and it's mighty purty. she continues her blogger template design series with this post on backgrounds and borders. if you've been thinking that you have to hire a professional or be an artist of some sort yourself in order to have a decent looking blog, just take a deep breath and follow some of amanda's tutorials. she's developed a very user-friendly approach and you can't go wrong if you take things just one step at a time.

if you've been looking for ways to monetize your site, blogging gal has been checking out pepperjam...might be worth looking into.

blissfully domestic started off their blog info series with some information about basic bling for your blog, including links to my favorite favicon maker, my equally favorite mini-button maker, and various other bits and bobs. incidentally, if you're using blogger and think you can't have your own favicon, you actually can. check out annie's great tutorial on adding your own favicon!


linky lurve

been drowning in my reader again, all 111 subscriptions...oh my...

some that have stood out the most for me of late:

i've been wondering if it's time to switch to cfl lights....this post gives me pause, however. i'm a colossal klutz and i've got a dog and a cat who both want to be involved in whatever crisis is occurring at any given time. dunno that i'd be able to give this situation the full hazmat treatment.

it seems like the biggest excuse i've got for not getting more done on my personal goal list is time. something else always needs more attention, more time, more more. zen habits has a lovely article on how to make time for those personal goals.

multitasking drives me crazy sometimes, but if i didn't do it, i don't know how i'd get *anything* done. most of the time, it isn't a big deal, but here are some tips on how to back down on the madness that can ensue...

another interview with merlin mann, how to take back your time and attention. as soon as i have some of both, i'll be tackling this as well...

ohhhh, i do love me some stores that offer free shipping, no matter how much or little i'm spending... freeshippingon makes it easier to find items that won't kill you with shipping charges.

my least favorite question during any type of interview is anything concerning describing my weakenesses. argh. wikihow has a blurb on how to communicate our weaknesses effectively.

later this week i'll share more articles that i've been knee-deep into...


what's been cooking

just because i haven't been typing, surely that doesn't imply we haven't been eating or i haven't been cooking. let's see, where to begin...

i was ecstatic when i found this recipe. j and i both love granola, but it is hella expensive. i've made this several times now, and it's just awesome. the first batch, i went way overboard with the cinnamon. when you were munching it dry, it wasn't noticeable, but wow, pour some milk on that bad boy and the cinnamon practically carjacked ya. the second time i made it, i forgot the vanilla, but you almost didn't notice because it was so damned yummy.

i haven't made this yet, but it's on the short list for this week, i think. we inherited a bread machine this weekend, and i've been learning how to use it and making a few loaves of bread. next item that's coming out of that thing? the dough for these. and if i can figure out how to make a decent sandwich style bread dough? ohhhhh, that will rock mightily.

something else that we've made a weekend event is ham and egg cupcakes. i ran across the recipe a couple of weeks ago when i was cleaning out some old 3 ring binders. i've got a link for the recipe, but it seems to be a dead link now, and i can find some things that are close, but not quite this. so here's the scoop:

- 6 slices of shaved ham
- 6 eggs
- 1 T cream (i used half&half, and it worked great)
- 1/2 t salt
- 3/4 t pepper
- 2-3 T sliced mushrooms (i've left those out each time...gotta be judicious with my mushroom use around here, or j will rebel entirely... :D)
- 1/2 C grated cheddar cheese (i'll be honest here and say i hate shredding cheese. plus i'm not wild about the texture of melted cheddar with eggs. i know, i'm a pita. so i used american cheese slices instead. not gourmet, by any stretch, but it melts well and i like american cheese better in eggs.)

mkay, now spray down a 6 cup muffin tin lightly with cooking spray. line each cup with 1 slice of shaved ham, forming a little cup. in a mixing bowl, beat eggs with the cream, salt and pepper until frothy. add mushrooms and cheese. (i tear the slices up and add them to the individual muffin cups after i pour.) stir until blended, then spoon 1/2 cup of the egg mixture into each ham cup. bake at 375 for 20 - 25 minutes or until eggs are puffed and set.

yumminess, and perfect for those sunday brunches where you don't know what you want but it's getting to that point where you know you've gotta eat...


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