Welcome! I hope I can help you find great deals, explore budgeting ideas, try new recipes, and share frugal living tips. Thanks for stopping by!

January 5, 2017

Present - Introducing My New Blog

Hey Everyone!  It has been a long time since I have posted anything here.  

I recently started a new website/blog at tractorsandtireswings.com.  This new blog is focused on intentional living and family.  It gives you little glimpses into my life, thoughts, and life on my parents hobby farm.  

This week I shared my goals for the new year.  I organized it into categories to focus on each month all year.  I will be sharing ideas and resources on how to simplify and organize life and be more Present - for your family and yourself.  

I would love to have you join me over at Tractors and Tire Swings!


November 11, 2014

Earn 30 More Pampers Rewards Points!


There are 3 new codes available to earn you 30 more Gifts to Grow points!  Just go here to sign in (or sign up for an account if you don't have one - it is free!), and enter the code FBVET76QWCEP014 for 10 points, Fr89834rauttt14 for 15 points, and TWVET8898439814 for 5 more points!

If you are new to Pampers Gifts to Grow program, you can read my post here on how I use the points to buy gifts.


Using Reward Programs to Buy Christmas Gifts

One way that I save money on Christmas gifts is by redeeming points from rewards programs to purchase gifts.  My husband is in veterinary school, so we live on a pretty tight budget.  Getting a few free gifts from rewards programs really helps stretch our Christmas Budget.

Here are a few rewards programs that I have used this year:

Swagbucks -This is probably my favorite rewards site - because I can earn cash back or points for activities I am doing anyway. Swagbucks is a site that offers rewards for doing online activities including searching the internet, shopping online, watching videos, and printing and redeeming coupons. Sign up here to start earning!

You can redeem 450 points for a $5 Amazon Gift Card.  I love Amazon - especially for Christmas shopping!

Pampers Gifts to Grow Rewards Program -  Sign up here and earn 100 free points just for joining!  Enter codes from pampers diapers and wipes, and use the points to purchase items from their rewards store.  The items in the rewards store change frequently - so watch for items that are useful for you!

I recently used my points to get this Melissa & Doug Alphabet Peg Puzzle (I might be a little in love with Melissa and Doug toys).  This will be a Christmas Present for my son - and it was free!

Huggies Rewards Program -  Sign up here and earn 50 points!  Enter codes found on diapers and wipes and use these points to purchase items from their rewards catalog.  This catalog has a lot of fun toys to choose from for under 1000 points.

Earlier this year I used my codes to purchase this  Melissa & Doug Stacking Train.

Kellogg's Family Rewards -  Visit the site here to sign up.  I have not used this one as much - but it is a nice one to be aware of.  This month I ordered a free book with codes from cereal I had purchased on sale.  It is easy to miss or forget to look at the offers on cereal boxes (at least for me).  Kelloggs  often has nice rewards - so read your cereal boxes!

How do you stretch your Christmas budget?

November 10, 2014

Christmas Books

Looking for a deal on a classic family Christmas book? Right now The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving is on sale for $3.03 on Amazon.com.  If you have Amazon Prime & choose no rush shipping, you will get a $1.00 credit towards your next book or Kindle book purchase!

I have 2 little boys - ages 2 and 3 1/2 - who love to read stories.  So I am collecting Christmas books to wrap and open each day in December leading up to Christmas.  This book is a perfect find!

 I also found  The Monster at the End of This Book  for $2.36 - only $1.36 after the $1.00 credit!

Happy deal shopping!


Cut The Clutter

It is easy to fill our homes with stuff - some good stuff, some meaningless.  My husband and I have been married for just under 6 years - and have moved 8 times!  Through the packing and moving process, we have been able to do a little evaluating and de-junking.

I realized during this process that one day- I hope in the not terribly distant future, we will live somewhere for longer than a year.  Then the de-junking process will have to become a part of our daily lives instead of a moving task.

Here are a few ways that we try to cut back  on clutter along with ideas that I have for managing it as our family grows.  I am learning a lot from this moving stage of life that I hope will help me keep things simple as life gets more complicated.  I am excited to hear your ideas as well- so please share!

Step One: Evaluate Purchases
This is where it all starts- in the store.  Daniel and I try to evaluate our purchases based on budget & space.  In times when we really don't have the money to spend, it is great to know how to substitute and do without.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you make a purchase:
  • Do you really need it? 
  • Can you afford it? 
  • Will it improve your quality of life? 
  • Is there something you already have that would work as a substitute?
  • Is there room for it? 
  • Do we need to get rid of something else to make room for this item?
Using these questions to evaluate our purchases not only eliminates unnecessary purchases.  It also makes us more pleased with the purchases we do make, because we know they are items we really want and can afford.  This process significantly reduces clutter in our home.

Step 2: Organize
It does not seam to matter if our apartment is 500 sq. ft. or 1100 sq. ft., it is easy to fill the space with our stuff.  My conclusion is that clutter is not always caused by having too much stuff or too little space.  Sometimes we just need to figure out a way to better utilize the space that we have.

For example- I have my stockpile of personal care products in totes.  If I tried to organize all these items in a cupboard, they would take up a ridiculous amount of space. Instead I have 2 totes stuffed full.  I store the totes in a closet and know right where to look when I need more toothpaste.

We have also found that it is much easier to keep things clean and organized if everything has a place.

For example- I currently have a basket in our living room where I keep a burp cloth, change of clothes, and diaper changing items for our son.  These items all have a place in his bedroom, but I use them in the living room.   I use to put them away in his room every night, but by the end of the day these items would be scattered throughout the living room.  Instead of fighting it, I brought this basket into the living room to make a place for them where I use them most.

What ways have you found to organize your stuff and reduce clutter?

Step 3- Don't Keep What You Won't Use
This is the one that I struggle with the most.  I have a hard time getting rid of things- I always convince myself that I will use it one day (even though I haven't for years).

Here are a few ways to get rid of items you don't use:
  • Give gently used items to a shelter or a needy family you know.  It is much easier for me to get rid of things if I know that I am giving it to someone in need.  This can also be a great way to teach your children to give.
  • Sell useful items you no longer use.  Sometimes we keep items because we feel like we have an investment in them.  If the item is really worth a lot, try to sell it.  Get together with friends or family and have a garage sale once a year.
  • Swap unused items with friends.  Host a spring cleaning swap and encourage friends and neighbors to bring the stuff they no longer use.  Let everyone swap their old items for items they will use.  Donate all the items that are not taken to a local charity.
By discarding things we don't really need or use, we cut the clutter.  The benefit- less stuff to organize, put away, and clean.


Crock Pot BBQ Pork

My Mother introduced us to this meal.  Daniel and I love it for three reasons- it is delicious, simple, and innexpensive.
1 lb Pork cut in 2"x1" pieces
(I bought boneless pork sirloin in a value pack at Winco.  I then divided the meat and froze it for 4 meals.)

1 small onion
BBQ Sauce
1/2 tsp. Garlic Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper

Season pork with pepper & garlic salt and cook in oil until outside is brown.  You just want to brown the outside layer.  Dice onion.  Place browned pork and onion in crock pot.  Cover in BBQ sauce.  Cook on Low for 4 hours or until tender.  I serve this with cheesy potatoes, twice baked potatoes, or seasoned potatoe wedges.

April 29, 2011

Free Family Art Day at the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho!

Looking for a fun family activity this weekend?  Saturday April 30 is Free Family Day at the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho in Idaho Falls. 

The Art Museum will be displaying art from young artist in elementary & junior high school.  For more information call 524-7777.

The Art Museum of Eastern Idaho
300 South Capital ave., Idaho Falls, ID