Archives for December 2012

Artistic Remodeling of Atlanta

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UGH!  I hate to even think about this review I did back in 2012.

I’ve since had to delete it and make it clear that Artistic Remodeling of Atlanta and Kenny Tong are NOT to be trusted.  Period.  That’s all I care to say at this point.  But if you’re looking for a quality, qualified contractor, look elsewhere.

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Cooking with the kids: Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn

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Today while doing last minute stocking stuffer shopping, I grabbed a bag of Kraft peppermint marshmallows.  My kids love marshmallows, and I thought the peppermint ones would be really tasty in their Christmas morning cocoa.  Once I got home, Angel saw there was a recipe on the back and asked if she could make it for everyone.  I love letting the kids cook and create in the kitchen, so of course I said sure!

Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn 

Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn

Ingredients:

1/2 tsp salt

12 cups air-popped popcorn (6-8 Tbs kernels)

1/2 cup dark chocolate morsels

1 stick unsalted butter

40 mini peppermint marshmallows

Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn

Directions:

1.  Heat oven to 275.

2.  Add chocolate and butter into a microwaveable bowl and heat for 30 seconds at a time until melted completely.

3.  Stir in marshmallows and heat for 15 seconds at a time until melted.

4.  Stir in salt.

5.  Pour over popcorn and toss until coated.

6.  Spread out on a greased baking sheet.

7.  Bake for 10 minutes, stir and bake for another 10 minutes until crisp.

8.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn

This would make a great treat for a party, or a gift for someone special on your list.  Adding in extra marshmallows after the mix cools can give it some extra color and texture.  The original recipe called for semi-sweet chocolate, but we are big dark chocolate fans over here, so we used that instead.  If I hadn’t used all of our mint flavoring on fudge this week, I would have added in a bit more to the chocolate mix, as it wasn’t *quite* as minty as we would have liked.  Still delicious overall though!

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

{Plink} Get Rewarded for Shopping and Eating Out

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Get rewarded for eating and shopping at your favorite stores and restaurants. Join Plink and earn rewards from Amazon, iTunes, Home Depot, and more.  You’ll earn rewards at more than 35,000 locations nation-wide. Free to join, but (warning) it does ask for credit/debit card info. Register a Plink account today! 

Looking for some other great rewards programs? Try Ibotta and Shopkick — they’re still my two favorites, and are easy to use from the comfort of your phone!  
 

Keep on saving!  :o)

–Barbara
**This post may contain affiliate links.**
Follow Me on Pinterest

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Christmas on a budget: $250 for six kids

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Wowzers!  I wrote this post last year to share what I purchased for my children for Christmas, and to show that it is completely possible to shop for six kids on a $250 budget.  The information I shared is very specific to what I actually did and how I saved.  As of late, this post has become very popular and I want to be sure to share information that is helpful for you as a visitor to my site.  Please check out the 2 posts below some awesome tips that will help your holidays rock even with the smallest budget!

10 tips for planning Christmas on a budget

10 Stocking Stuffers for Whole Family for Under $2

Our family typically doesn’t spend a ton on Christmas gifts, but this year our budget is really tight.  I decided in October that I was going to try to get gifts for all six children for under $300, and I did it!  See what I bought and how I did it below:

Christmas on a budget - $250 for 6 kids

© Devy | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

How I saved

1.  Earned referral fees from retail sites.  Some of the items below were free with referral credits I had earned from various websites.  You *do not* have to be a blogger to earn referral fees, and it’s a great way to save on things for your own family, some offer up to $15 per friend that you refer! Some of my favorites are One King’s Lane and Zulily.  And yep, those are my referral links. 🙂

2.  Enter giveaways hosted by local bloggers.  Some of the other items say FREE because I won them through giveaways hosted by local bloggers.  I do sometimes enter larger, national giveaways, but the odds are better if you stick with smaller, local blogs.  I also won several Amazon gift cards as well, as you’ll see below. [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Disney Princess Dresses – $7.99 each!!!

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If you’ve got a little princess on your gift list, head to your nearest Aldi’s store!  They’ve got Disney Princess dresses for $7.99 each!  From what I’ve seen, they’re all size 4-6x.  Characters include Cinderella, Belle, Rapunzel, and Aurora (Sleeping Beauty).  If you don’t have an Aldi nearby, check out the dresses available on Amazon.

Need I say, I’ve got one little girl who is going to be VERY happy after Santa stops by.  🙂


Bonus?  If you go to ride the Pink Pig at Macy’s, they have $5 off $30 coupons for Aldi’s when you buy your ride tickets.

Keep on saving!  :o)

–Barbara
**This post may contain affiliate links.**
Follow Me on Pinterest

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Paper Christmas Tree Craft (with free download!)

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Every year we make all sorts of holiday crafts and decorations with our children, and I’ve ended up with a whole box of crumpled, torn paper crafts as a result.  I want to save them all, but I’m running out of ways to display (and repair) them!  This year, we decided to start a grow-with-me holiday centerpiece that we can add to every year and proudly display on the table or mantle.  Check out this fun, easy craft below!

Keepsake paper christmas tree craft 

Supplies needed:Keepsake paper christmas tree craft

Cardstock (see link to the right for free template download)

Markers/crayons

Scissors

Glue

Paperclip (optional)

 

Instructions:

1. Print out the template on cardstock and have your child decorate it as desired.

2. Cut out the colored tree. (You may need to help younger ones with this step)

3. Fold the tree in half down the center.

4. Glue the tree halves together, back-to-back.

5. Glue the last two backs together.

6. Fan out the papers so the tree can stand on its own.

7. Enjoy your new holiday decoration!

Keepsake paper christmas tree craft

A few notes here:

-If you want to add to the tree each year, don’t glue the last two backs together.  Instead, clip with together with a paper clip.  The tree can be folded flat after the holidays for storage, and you can easily add in new trees each year.

-Be sure to download and save the coloring sheet you choose to use, so you can have it next year and in years to come.

-Have children write their name and the year on the bottom of the tree for future reference.

-If you have less than three children, you’ll need to have them color more than one trees for the finished tree to be able to stand.

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Trying to Make Sense of a Terrible Tragedy

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My daughter is fond of waving her finger like a magic wand, and exclaiming “bippity-boppity-boo” to make the bad guys go away, to heal a hurt, to rid her room of monsters, or, essentially, to right any wrongs she perceives in her life.

I wish today I had a magic wand to wave over the nation.  

To erase the senseless tragedy that took away so many innocent loved ones, that took away the everyday moments in these families’ lives, that took away the fleeting sense of security we collectively felt in dropping our kids off at school.  Alas, that is mere fantasy.  What happened today was very real.  All too real for parents around the nation, as we are lucky enough to administer extra doses of hugs and kisses to our precious children, while dozens of parents tonight simply grieve.

Prayers for the children & staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut.
This image is circulating on Facebook.
I don’t know who to credit, as I don’t know where/from whom they originated.

I wish I could wave a magic wand and make a clear, simple solution appear, to prevent this from ever happening again.

However, the solution(s) involved are much more complex, and none of them perfect, nor without sacrifice.  Do we spend billions of dollars to retrofit our schools to take much more drastic security measures?  Do we delve further in to the debate of gun control, in the slim hopes that these deadly devices won’t find their way in to the wrong hands again?  Do we invest serious thought, money, resources, and exploration in to providing better mental health services to all in need?

Prayers for Sandy Hook Elementary
This image is circulating on Facebook.  
I don’t know who to credit, as I don’t know where/from whom they originated.

I don’t have the answers.  Lord, I wish I did, and I wish they could be as simple as “bippity-boppity-boo”, but the sad reality is, there are no real answers here.  Not now at least.  Perhaps tomorrow, or a week, or even a month from now, when time slowly starts to heal and the grief is just a wee bit less, we can begin to explore the answers, the solutions.

For now, for tonight, I continue to lift up in prayer the victims in Connecticut, the friends and family, the community, the nation as we continue to watch this mess unfold.  

Go hug your kids a few more times today.  And, as I learned very early on, always say “I love you” to your loved ones.  You never know when it may be the last time.

Good night, and God bless.

Hold Your Children Tight

Keep on saving!  :o)

–Barbara
**This post may contain affiliate links.**
Follow Me on Pinterest

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

10 FREE Holiday Cards {Vistaprint}

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Did you forget to order your holiday cards?  No worries.  Now you can get 10 FREE holiday cards from Vistaprint!  (plus take advantage of all the freebies right now, too!)


Vistaprint 10 free holiday cards


Also, the 6 free items promotion and the $2 personalized tee is STILL running!  AND, if you’re new to Vistaprintsign up here for a $5 credit, then go use one of these links for either the t-shirt or the 6 free gifts.

Keep on saving!  :o)

–Barbara
**This post may contain affiliate links.**
Follow Me on Pinterest

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Top 5 Gift Ideas for Teachers

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



As a mother of five school aged children, I am often stumped as to what sort of gifts to give teachers during the holiday season.  While my children are with their teachers for most of the week days, we really don’t get to know them well enough to know what they would like as a gift.  I usually try to give something somewhat generic that everyone would like, as well as inexpensive so that I’m not breaking the bank buying gifts for everyone.  If you’re trying to figure out what to buy your child’s teacher, check out some of my suggestions below!

Top 5 gift ideas for teachers

© Pilarin | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

Top 5 Gift Ideas for Teachers

1.  Gift cards

You can’t go wrong with a gift card!  It’s no secret that teachers aren’t the highest paid professionals out there, and often spend a good bit of their personal money on supplies for the classroom.  A simple $5 or $10 card to Starbucks, Target, or a local school supply would be a great gift for any teacher.  Even better would be a Visa or Mastercard card that could be used anywhere!  I know some people feel like gift cards are impersonal, but you could always add in a handwritten note thanking them for all they do.

2.  Edibles

Who doesn’t like indulging in a sweet treat?  A small bag of chocolates or a mug with hot cocoa mix are both easy, inexpensive gifts.  If you’d like to step it up a notch, you could give them something a little more “gourmet” like these handmade wine spreads from Saucy.  Your local sweets shop or bakery would also have several yummy items that would make great presents.  The gift of food is something that the recipient can share with their family as well.

Top 5 gift ideas for teachers

3.  Personalized items

Personalized items like notepads and pens are things that every teacher can use.  You can easily order them online from sites like Vistaprint, and customize them with your child’s teacher’s name.  You could also opt for something like a monogrammed coffee mug, and fill it with candies or tea bags, giving them something they can enjoy now as well as for years to come.

Top 5 gift ideas for teachers

4.  Handmade items

One of my favorite gifts we have given in the past was for a teacher two years ago that was getting married.  I printed out a simple wedding cake outline on cardstock and each of the children in the class colored and decorated their own cake.  We then cut them out and attached them all together (like a honeycomb centerpiece) to make a standup cake that could sit on her desk.  Another great option is to have each of the children draw a picture or write something telling their favorite things about their teacher, and have them all put together into a book.  A simple comb binding could be done at an office supply store, or you could scan them in and use an online service like Shutterfly to have them printed into a hardcover book.

Top 5 gift ideas for teachers

5.  Handwritten note

If you are really on a tight budget and can’t afford to give a gift to your child’s teacher this year, consider giving them a card with a handwritten note inside, telling them thank you for how much work they do every day.  If they have really made a difference in your child’s life, let them know.  Teaching can be a hard (and often, thankless) job, and they’ll really appreciate hearing from you how much you appreciate them.  Be sure to have your child write their own little note to include as well.

Top 5 gift ideas for teachers

If you have a room parent that is coordinating a gift from the class, they may ask for a small cash contribution and then use that to buy one large gift like a gift card to the teacher’s favorite store or restaurant.  Before spending time putting together your own gift, check with the room parent and see if they already have something planned for the whole class.

 Still not sure what to get your child’s teacher?  Just ask them what they would like!  I asked a few of my own teacher friends, and here’s what they had to say:

Barbara from Atlanta’s Frugal Mom said: “What I always liked and treasured best was the personal gifts. As a spec Ed teacher, it meant the world to me to get a “thank you” note from both the child and parents one year from a particular child, especially since she struggled so with the act of writing.  As tempting as it may be, I advise steering away from “teachery” nik-naks. I can’t tell you how many apple-related paraphernalia I have!”  Make sure to check out the rest of MY frugal teacher gift ideas.

Lindsey from Redhead Baby Mama had this to say:  “Personalized notepads are awesome, I once got a travel coffee mug with my initial embroidered on the inside. I still use it! Otherwise, giftcards, or a handwritten note go a long way!”

Miranda from Not Super…Just Mom wrote about teacher gifts on a budget earlier this year, and this really says it all: “When I’m wondering why in the world I got into this profession, I open my “Bad Day box” and read those notes and cards. I remember the students who’ve said “Hey, you know? You made a difference.” I remember that moment and that student and I know that I don’t suck at this. Someone out there thinks I’m doing a good job. And then I find a little well of renewed strength to make it through the day or week or grading period.”

No matter what you choose, don’t forget to think about the other teachers that your children has, such as enrichment instructors like art, music, speech, etc.  Often those teachers are overlooked around the holidays, but they would appreciate a special gift as well!  We typically give a larger gift to their main teacher, and smaller gifts for the other teachers.

What do you give your child’s teacher for the holidays?  Are you a teacher yourself, and if so, what is the best gift you have received from your students in the past?  Share in the comments below!

*This post is Tiffany’s top five teacher gift ideas.  Check out mine here:

Frugal Teacher Gift Ideas

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

$2 Personalized t-shirt offer {Vistaprint}

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



This adorable $2 personalized t-shirt offer is still going on at Vistaprint! There’s still time to snag this offer and have it shipped before the holidays. This would make a great gift for your child’s favorite teacher (think: a cute class snapshot), a proud grandparent, or for company logos!  Start working on your t-shirt here.

P.S.  Please don’t confuse this with my own $2 t-shirt escapades!  😉

Vistaprint $2 personalized t-shirt
Also, the 6 free items promotion is STILL running!  AND, if you’re new to Vistaprint, sign up here for a $5 credit, then go use one of these links for either the t-shirt or the 6 free gifts.


Keep on saving!  :o)

–Barbara
**This post may contain affiliate links.**
Follow Me on Pinterest

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Atlanta's Frugal Mom is 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 Amazon. In other words, if you click through to Amazon from some of the books or products I recommend and make a purchase, I get a small percentage in exchange for your purchase. It's a small way you can support AFM.