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Just Doing My Best: April 2009

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Sell or Donate Your Books

This week I've been talking about what to do with the items after you have done your Spring cleaning and purged your house of the unneeded items. If you are a book lover, you know how these quickly these can accumulate. The book clutter becomes worse when you have children outgrowing their book collection. As part of Happy to be at Home's Thursday Thirteen, I'm going to give you 13 ideas on where you can trade your old books for cash or new books, as well as places to donate.

  1. Amazon.com is a reputable company and features a used section along side the new books.
  2. Barnes & Noble is another reputable merchant who offers a used section.
  3. Ebay is great for vintage books and books in high demand.
  4. Half.com is associated with Ebay. I've bought from them before with great success.
  5. Cash4Books.net sounds like a great program. I have not yet tried it, but this site is first on my list to try out.
  6. Half Price Books These chains are found locally and offer cash for your books, music, videos and magazines while you wait.
  7. Independent used book stores - These will be different in each community and depending on your town, there may be several to choose from.
  8. General consignment shops - Again, these will vary by community, but children's books would do quite well. Even better, look for a children's consignment shop and take the books and games there.
  9. Consider taking some books to your local children's hospital. Not only do the children enjoy reading material, but often the parents are away from home and would probably appreciate a temporary diversion.
  10. There are numerous sites online where you can donate your books. Each program differs and there are options for helping children, low-income families, urban children, and soldiers.
  11. PaperBackSwap.com is a popular place to swap your books for the price of shipping. I have never tried it, but have heard positive comments about it from other bloggers.
  12. If you homeschool, check the groups in your town or in the next town. Many groups gather in the Spring and Summer for book swaps or book sales.
  13. Swap with friends and make a party out of it. Choose a theme, i.e. children's books, DIY books, fiction, inspirational, etc. Invite some friends to your home and trade books while enjoying a snack.
What ideas do you have for unneeded books?

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Clean Out the Fridge - Ideas for Leftovers

This week I have been writing about what to do with all your "stuff" when you are Spring Cleaning. The refrigerator certainly needs our attention when we are cleaning and I'm guessing a fraction of what is in the fridge needs to head straight to the garbage. If you have any edible leftovers remaining, you can stretch them into a new meal with just a little creativity.

I hope this helps you find some new ideas to spice up your leftovers. Using food before it goes to waste works for me. You will find more Works for Me Wednesday Tips at We Are THAT Family.

If you enjoyed this post, please check my main page tomorrow or subscribe to the RSS feed (top right) for more "Spring Clean Out" posts.

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Monday, April 27, 2009


Derby Day Pie

I had to deviate from my "Cleaning Out" posts today to pay homage to a Kentucky favorite. (Check back tomorrow and I'll continue the "Cleaning Out" series.) As you may know, I am from Kentucky and this week our state is center stage. The Run for the Roses, a.k.a., The Kentucky Derby runs this Saturday. There are many festivities that lead up to this event and even some locally favorite foods gain extra attention this time of year. Have you ever heard of Burgoo or Mint Julep? One is delicious, the other, not so much.

One of the other Kentucky specialties is Derby Day Pie. (We actually refer to it as something else, but the name we use is trademarked and I want to play it safe.) This pie is delicious, addicting and easy to make.

Derby Day Pie

1 cup sugar
1 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Mix and pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake 50 minutes at 350 or until set. This makes enough for two regular pie shells or one deep dish.

If you want to read more about the Derby from a local's point of view, Shannon at Up Too Early has written a post that will give you taste of the city during this exciting time.

This recipe has been linked to:
Mouthwatering Mondays by Southern Fairytale
Kitchen Tip Tuesdays by Tammy's Recipes
Tempt My Tummy by Blessed With Grace
Tasty Tuesday by Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
Talk about Tuesday by The Lazy Organizer

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Where to Find More Tips

If you need some organizing solutions while you are Spring Cleaning and purging your house of unneeded items, head over to Organize with Sandy. While you are there, you can read my guest post on how to make a powerful homemade cleaner.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009


Clean Out and Sell

Spring is a great time of year to purge your home of the items that have worn out their welcome. While some people prefer to automatically donate the items, which is wonderful and admirable, today I'm going to list the options for selling your items. Come back later this week for donating ideas. Do you have other ideas for selling your unneeded items?

This post has been linked to:
Your Life, Your Blog at Real Life
I am Blissfully Domestic at Blissfully Domestic

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Friday, April 24, 2009


Check it out!

I was featured as New Blog of the Week at Faithful Follower of Christ. She was so sweet to compliment Just Doing My Best in this manner and did a great job reviewing my blog. Check it out and look for her article on how she handled dishonesty when it occurred in her home. She had some great points, one of which I have already started implementing.



How to Introduce the Arts for Free

Each week I have been providing potential ideas for frugal family fun. I'm talking about Spring this week at Just Doing My Best and Spring is the perfect time to introduce the arts to your children for free.

Spring is recital season and larger schools often publish the recital schedule in newspapers and online in hopes for a large audience. If you live near a university, the options are endless. I live near one and have seen advertisements for free performances by the various music ensembles at the School of Music, all for free! I remember going to one such recital as a child and it was just a small concert on a small stage, but with the same amount of decorum and talent as one might expect from a professional concert. Remember, these are professionals in training so the quality will be fantastic. I've seen advertisements for string orchestras, brass ensembles, small concert ensembles, and even vocal recitals at the schools.

Other ideas that might be a little closer to home:
Do you have any ideas for introducing the arts to children inexpensively or for free?

This post is linked to:
Frugal Friday by Life as Mom

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Thursday, April 23, 2009


5 Ways to Save Money This Spring

If you are looking for even more money-saving ideas, head on over to my article at Happy to be at Home.

Don't forget to check back here tomorrow for the latest idea in my Frugal Family Fun series, with a special focus on Spring and the Arts.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Coupon Binder

Have you found a coupon organization method that you like? I love my coupon binder and I've found it to be an easy system to maintain.

I bought some plastic baseball card inserts and use them inside my binder to hold the coupons. I found them at Walmart in the office supply section. I also found, in the same section, some plastic inserts that have roughly 4x6 openings and I use these for the larger coupons.

I like to buy a couple of extra papers each week. (You can learn how to buy them very inexpensively in this post.) I discovered that when I have several of the same insert, if I separate the pages and group them together, then I'm only cutting the coupon once. This is a huge time saver!

How do you organize your coupons? Do you have any time-savers? I'd love to hear any tips you might use for your coupon stash.

This post has been linked to:
Coupon Organization at $5 Dinners
Frugal Friday by Life As Mom

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A Few Good Coupons and Deals

I tried to find a few higher dollar coupons or interesting offers to share with you. Sometimes, you can get coupons by signing up for a company's newsletter. If you are apprehensive about cluttering up your inbox, consider creating a "junk" email account with Yahoo, Google, etc., for the purpose of giving out to companies.

$4 Off Claritin-D, 15 count or larger
$3 off Children's Non-Drowsy Claritin
$5 off selected Hasbro games
$2 off Dry Idea Antiperspirant
$1 off any Simple Green product
$1 off selected sizes V-8

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Dinner Conversation - Part 2

Last week, I shared with you how we learn about the children's day while gathered around the dinner table. I promised you another conversation idea this week. This week's idea will not only make the meal time more fun, but will also give you an interesting glimpse into your children's developing personalities.

A while back I found a book called Kidchat Too! and fell in love with it. This book is intended to spark conversations by offering fun and unusual questions. We have had some enlightening and funny discussions that also taught me things about my children (and husband) that I never knew. Some of the questions are lighthearted while others are a little deeper. One example that we used is, "What do you think will be the hardest part of being an adult one day?" Another question children enjoy is, "If a soda company asked you to come up with a new flavor of soda, what would it be?"

I also found a great printable list of questions at
Listplanit.com. At a restaurant recently, I asked one of the questions from the Listplanit.com list and the children had so much fun with it that they asked if I had anymore questions!

Since this week I am discussing Spring, I should mention that this dinner conversation idea can be even better by pulling your patio set out of storage taking dinner outside. Have fun!

Whimsical conversation starters work for our family and you can find more Works for Me Wednesday tips at We Are That Family.

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Homemaking by the Season - Home Maintenance

If you are anything like me, home maintenance is one of the more mundane, albeit necessary tasks of keeping a home. However, for few hours of work, money will be saved for weeks and months to come.

First, there are several good websites that feature checklists of the chores we should focus on this spring. A great place to start is Bob Vila's Home Maintenance Checklist. Among many other suggestions, he mentions changing filters. We will soon be turning on the A/C units and considering they are usually the most expensive drain on our electric bill, having these operating at maximum efficiency will save us money. You may also want to take a peek at the unit outside and make sure it is clear of grass clippings and lawn debris. If the air flow is restricted by leaves and grass clippings, the unit will be less effective. Lastly, check your unit to see if it functions as you expect, before you actually need it. You will get repair service much quicker in the spring than you will on the first hot summer day when many people are turning on their units for the first time.

Second, if you have never planted a garden before, this is the year to start. As you know, food prices have been climbing and the job market is still unsteady. Free food growing in your backyard will make your grocery budget stretch even further. It is not too late to start, though in some parts of the country, it is certainly time to be quick with your garden plans. Phoebe at Cents to Get Debt Free loves gardening and blogs her progress, so if you need some inspiration, be sure to check out her site. Even if you think you do not have room for a garden, square foot gardening provides efficient use of a small space and container gardening requires even less space.

A quick frugal tip if you are wanting to start a garden: The smaller family owned nurseries are going to be much cheaper than the big box garden stores. In our area, we have several that are so small that the business is conducted from a greenhouse on the family's property. I do not even recall seeing advertisements or even large business signs for this type of nursery, but they have more variety and are probably half the price of the larger businesses. These businesses depend mainly on word of mouth suggestions and the locals who just drive by. If you are new to this hobby, consider asking friends and family where they buy their plants.

Lastly, we are probably all familiar with the fact that spring cleaning should be done. Rather than provide a checklist of the necessary chores, I just had to show you how to make it more fun. I found a CD at Amazon called Lifestyles: Music for Spring Cleaning. I had to laugh because it is certainly not the type of music that would get me through a day of tough cleaning, but maybe someone would enjoy it. It's beautiful music though. If this is not your style of music to clean to, pick out a selection of your favorite songs as well as a reward for yourself to enjoy when you are finished, and see if that helps you get through these necessary chores.

Come back tomorrow for a more relaxing and amusing way to enjoy the warm Spring weather.

This post is linked to these great sites:
Talk About Tuesday at The Lazy Organizer
Your Life, Your Blog at Real Life
I am Blissfully Domestic at Blissfully Domestic

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Monday, April 20, 2009


Lemon Cheese Bars

Lemon Cheese Bars are a great spring dessert. They are a little lighter than the heavier desserts we usually associate with winter and these are not overly lemon flavored, which makes them perfect for those who do not typically like lemon desserts.

Lemon Cheese Bars

1 box yellow cake mix, the ones with pudding in the mix are preferable
1 8 ounce package softened cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 eggs, used separately
1/3 cup oil

Preheat oven to 350. Mix dry cake mix with 1 egg and 1/3 cup oil until crumbly. Reserve 1 cup and pat remaining mixture lightly in an ungreased 13x9 pan. Bake 15 minutes. Beat cheese, sugar, lemon juice, and 1 egg until smooth. Spread over baked layer and sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over the top. Bake 15 minutes. Allow to cool and cut into bars.

You will find other recipes at the following sites:
Mouthwatering Mondays by Southern Fairytale
Kitchen Tip Tuesdays by Tammy's Recipes
Tempt My Tummy at Blessed With Grace
Tasty Tuesday at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap at Grocery Cart Challenge

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Friday, April 17, 2009


Friday Deals

I'm taking a week off from the Frugal Family Fun series, but be sure to join me next week for the next fun idea.

In the meantime, I've found a few deals at the Amazon Friday Sale to share with you:

J.A. Henckels International Everedge 13-Piece Knife Set with Bonus Cheese Knife $34.99, marked down from $122.00

Anne Lewin Women's Reversible Printed Notch Neck PJ Set $11.16, marked down from $66.00

Swiss Legend Men's Eograph Chronograph Watch #50033-33 $89.99, marked down from $795.00 (This could make an excellent Father's Day or Graduation gift)

Deluxe 100% Cotton Damask Stripe Mattress Pad $24.99, marked down from $70.00

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Frugality is a Lifestyle - Organization

This is an adapted excerpt of my article How to be Frugal - The Four Essentials, originally posted at Happy to be at Home.

Those of us who consider ourselves wise with money or even frugal minded, have learned many tips, tricks and know precisely where to find the best deal. Our best money saving efforts, however, can be diminished or even worthless if we are not organized. I consider organization to be on the most important aspects of a frugal and productive lifestyle.

Why is organization so important to frugality? If you found snow boots on clearance for $2 but they never made it to the proper area, chances are you will forget you bought them. Then, when you see another great clearance sale on snow boots, you buy next season's size. Again. I often buy party supplies on clearance, but have to make a point to get them to the correct storage area so that when the holiday comes, I know exactly where to find them. Otherwise, those birthday napkins I just knew I had somewhere, would need to be replaced the day of the party. If you are organized, and only if you are organized, buying ahead and stockpiling makes sense.

I consider myself a couponer, but if the coupons are not organized, there is no way I would be able to take advantage of the deals in the same way as if they were clipped nicely in my coupon organizer. During times I could not prioritize staying organized in this department, I am certain I paid way too much at the grocery.

Whether you work outside the home or work at home without pay, staying organized to the level we want can be tricky. Perhaps we should move our focus from being organized everywhere and feeling bad when we are not, to being organized in the areas that affect us daily, such as schedules, clothing, meal prep, etc.

The second largest place we should be organized are areas that save us money. This will look different to each family. Take a look at the areas where you are feeling disorganized and ask yourself if it is costing you money. This might be either having to re-buy items you already have, (somewhere) or missing out on potential savings, such as with coupons or sales ads. It might also be missed income opportunities, such as the clothing you meant to take to the consignment shop.

None us can be perfect and stay perfect in this area. Decide which problem area in your home makes the biggest impact financially and start with that. This can mean either items being replaced because you didn't know you had them, savings lost due to disorganized coupons, or income lost from not taking clothing to a consignment shop, etc.

Perhaps, starting your organizing efforts at these two main place will get the "ball rolling" for organization in other areas. Off to take my own advice. Have a great day!

This post is linked to:
Frugal Friday at Life as Mom
Finding Freedom Friday at Cents to Get Debt Free

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Which is better?

What is important to you when buying gifts for children? See my article on deciding which is better, spending less money or having less junk at Happy to be at Home.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Dinner Conversation

Do your children like to talk? Or do you have to drag information out of them? My children love to talk. I mean they really, really love talking. Honestly, I wouldn't change that about them even if I could. I understand some children do not open up much and even when asked about their day, they might shrug and give a one word answer. You will find the other extreme in our home. There is usually so much story-telling about the day that the info I need to hear, may never be shared. However, I can tell you which child in the class had two servings of french fries for lunch, despises cheeseburgers, and most of the words to the latest, most popular tween song.

One of the things I attempt when we are seated around the dinner table is to ask the children about their high and low points of the day. So far, they have been quite receptive to answering these questions. When I ask about the high point of their day, I think that it teaches them to keep things in perspective when times are tough and to look for the things that are worthy of our happiness and gratitude. When I ask about their low point, it often initiates conversations about problems that otherwise may not have been discovered as quickly as they were. This will be a time that I watch their expression and reaction to see if there may be an issue bothering them that they do not want to discuss at the table and I make a mental note to approach the issue at a more private time. Because the "highs and lows" are discussed routinely though, talking about the tough situations seems to be less intimidating.

Asking about the highs and lows of the day works for our family. Do you have a favorite way you touch base each day with your children? I have another dinner conversation idea to share with you next week, so if you are interested, you might want to save Just Doing My Best's home page as a favorite or subscribe to the RSS feed in the upper right corner.

You can find more Works for Me Wednesday tips at We Are THAT Family.

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Monday, April 13, 2009


Virtual Great American Bake Sale

Have you seen the Great American Bake Sale that is taking place across America? Its a wonderful program that endeavours to put an end to child hunger. There is a virtual version of this program taking place across the blogosphere. Just a little info about the Virtual Great American Bake Sale:

100% of the proceeds from the sale of these ebooks will go toward Share Our Strength's Great American Bake Sale program. Funds raised through Great American Bake Sale are donated to after-school and summer feeding programs--food programs that many kids depend on when school is not in session. Great American Bake Sale is a program of Share Our Strength, a national organization working to make sure no kid in America grows up hungry.The ebooks are a compilation of recipes from submitters across the blogosphere and beyond. The ebooks are available for purchase based on any donation amount of the buyer's choosing.

Here's the recipe I contributed:

White Chip Chocolate Cookies


1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups white chocolate chips
2 cups all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then stir in vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Once combined, stir into the creamed mixture. Fold in white chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven or until cookies are set. Allow cookies to cool 5 minutes and then move to wire rack to cool completely.

These were delicious, though very rich.

Please visit Cooking During Stolen Moments to find more recipe submissions. If you would like to donate the amount of your choosing and receive the compiled E-book, you may do so below.

The Complete 2009 VGABS Recipes Ebook

Features all 170 of the submitted recipes. Many of the recipes include pictures.

On the checkout page, manually change the amount (USD) field to your donation amount.

Add to Cart

Shopping cart courtesy of E-Junkie.

Because we know file size may be an issue for some, the below ebooks have split the 170 recipes into 4 categorized ebooks so that you can choose just 1 or 2 of your favorites, if you'd prefer. Just like for the Complete ebook, many of these recipes include pictures. And again, they are available for purchase based on any donation amount of the buyer's choosing.

Muffins & Breads

Features 24 recipes.
On the checkout page, manually change the amount (USD) field to your donation amount.
Add to Cart

Cookies, Candy, Cakes, Bars & Brownies
Features 50 recipes.

On the checkout page, manually change the amount (USD) field to your donation amount.
Add to Cart

Features 49 recipes.
On the checkout page, manually change the amount (USD) field to your donation amount.
Add to Cart


Beyond Baked Goods (Appetizers, Breakfast, Main Dishes, etc.)

Features 47 recipes.
On the checkout page, manually change the amount (USD) field to your donation amount.
Add to Cart

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Friday, April 10, 2009


Out of the Box Giveaway Winners

Thanks to all who participated in the Family Game Night Giveaway sponsored by Out of the Box Publications.

The winning numbers were pulled from a Random Number Generator at Research Randomizer. (Please remember, as stated in the rules, if you do not leave an email or I cannot access your profile page, I have no way to contact you and a new number will be chosen, as I had to do today.)

#16 jdrodgers has won My Word.

#12 Allyson www.a-heart4home.blogspot.com has won Easy Come Easy Go.

Congratulations! We thoroughly enjoyed these games and I'm confident you will also.


Thursday, April 9, 2009


Frugal Family Fun - More Than Just Coloring Easter Eggs

This weekend, if you have children, chances are you will be one of many who will have stained fingers from coloring Easter Eggs. As part of the weekly Frugal Family Fun series, I would like to provide you with some ideas to make coloring the eggs even more special and unique than the egg stands and stickers that come in the flat boxes. Having said that, I just purchased the flat-box coloring kit and will be using it with some of the ideas listed here.

Decorating Easter Eggs can be as simple or elaborate as you prefer. Most of the ideas listed will use supplies you probably already have at home. With a quick web search, you will find ideas for the elaborate projects.

Does your family dye Easter eggs using another technique?

This post is linked to:

Frugal Friday by Life as Mom.

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Guest Post - Does This Clutter Make Me Late? Part 2

Organize With Sandy

Last week Sandy from Organize With Sandy taught us how to declutter and today, we will pull everything together and learn how to get out the door on time.

I would like to thank Heather for asking me to be her Guest Blogger today. She had this great contest and it sounds like clutter was at the top of your problem areas of your home. She also mentioned that "Time Management" was an issue. Hope this helps! Thanks.

Time Management

Break down your day into 15 minute increments.

For instance, if you have to be at the school by 3:00 to pick up the kids, but you need to go to the bank and grocery store first then plan it this way:

3:00 - Be at School

2:45 - Leave for school. (It takes 10 min. to get there from school - but use 15)

1:45 - Be at grocery to do the shopping.

1:30 - Leave from bank to go to grocery. (It only takes 8 min. to get there, use 15)

1:15 - Leave for bank. (It only takes 10 min. but use 15)

So to get to the school by 3:00, you need to leave the house by 1:15.

You will have an extra 17 minutes to play with if there is traffic, or if the grocery store is crowded. If you end up being early, just keep a book you are reading or a steno pad in your car to make a "to do" list.

Now make sure that 15 minutes before you get ready to leave the house you get your keys, grocery list, banking items ready and have stopped by the bathroom. So if you need to, set your timer on your stove for 1:00. Once you get in the habit of using 15 minute increments to plan things out, it will become easy and natural and you won't have to worry about being late.

Because your clutter is now cleaned up off that kitchen counter, you can find those keys and bank book and grocery list and you can get out the door on time! Time management is more easily accomplished when you do not have clutter blocking your path!

Sandy is a Professional Organizer, blogger, mom, and a wealth of information. You can read more of her tips at Organize with Sandy. Be sure to check back here so you do not miss her Time Management tips. Heather

This post was linked to:
Finding Freedom Friday by Cents to Get Debt-Free

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Everything Egg - How to Boil the Perfect Egg

"Just doing our best" is great for most things in the home, but not for boiling eggs. In my opinion, this is one area where we need to get it right or the results will be unpleasant. There are lots of methods that work and sometimes, you just need to try a few to see which one works best for you. For quite a while, I was inept in the egg arena, but finally found a method that worked for me.

This is how I boil the perfect egg:

Trouble peeling the eggs?

You will find this post and many other tips at:

Works for Me Wednesday hosted by We Are THAT Family.

*****If you enjoy family game night, head to my main page and scroll down for information on how to you can win one of two games that will be given away this Friday. ****

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Monday, April 6, 2009


Everything Egg - Use Them Up

With Easter quickly approaching, you probably have seen reduced egg prices and will likely be boiling some this weekend. Over the next few days, I will be giving you some egg info, food prep suggestions and decorating ideas, so check back often to see what's new.

If you plan on coloring eggs or even if you are just a frugal shopper, you will want to take advantage of the lower egg prices. Of course, it's not a bargain if you do not use them before they expire. Read on for some ideas on using them up and if you have other ideas, please leave me a comment. I'd love to hear your ideas too.

**Update. I've received quite a bit of comments and questions about the eggs inside of meatloaf, so I found a recipe to show you what I'm talking about. It's not the same one I use, but the one at Eggland's Best will give you an idea of what it looks like.**

If you need some pointers on boiling the perfect egg or a way to save on them through the year, check back tomorrow.

This post is linked to:

Kitchen Tip Tuesday at Tammy's Recipes

I Am Blissfully Domestic at
Blissfully Domestic

Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays at Blessed With Grace

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Thursday, April 2, 2009


Frugal Family Fun - Family Games

Now that my children are in their pre-teen years, games are becoming even more fun to play. I no longer strategically let the children win, but rather fight to win so I can maintain my mom credibility. If you have competitive sons or daughters, you know what I mean.

Games are one of the most frugal activities for the family. We usually have several in our closets that could be dusted off or can sometimes find gently used ones in used bookstores and consignment shops. Even if you buy a new game, games are relatively inexpensive and can be played over and over.

If you are in the market for a new, high quality, low price game, keep reading because two lucky readers will win one from Out of the Box Publications. My children and I played two of their games- My Word and Easy Come Easy Go - over Spring Break. We loved them! In fact, I'm hoping to add a few more of their games to our collection.

Easy Come Easy Go is for intended for ages 8-adult. The concept reminds me of Yahtzee, except easier to play, especially for younger children. The rules were easy to follow and the time needed to play the game was very reasonable. As busy parents, it's sometimes hard to carve out 1-2 hours for longer games, but this one was only 30 minutes. My daughter thought it was a "fun game and liked the pictures on the prize cards." She also liked the pace and strategy. My son enjoyed it, though he did not have any glowing compliments.

I was most impressed with the quality of the game. The best part of Easy Come Easy Go, was the cushioned cup for the dice. The shaking and rolling of the dice was not loud and annoying. The prize cards are made of a thick cardboard that would ensure years of play. I was surprised to see this game is less than $10.

The next one we reviewed was My Word. This game is intended for ages 7-adult and also took about 30 minutes to play. The dealer lays down letter cards one at a time and all of the players search for words from the cards that the dealer is laying down. The player who sees a word first, shouts it out and keeps those cards. The player with the most cards, wins. This was our unanimous favorite and I will let my children's comments on the game give you an idea about our opinion.

My Word has easy to follow rules and is suited well to multi-level players. It comes in a compact tin box that makes it perfect for travel. This is the kind of game I would want on a rainy day, if stuck in a hotel room or camper. I noticed that they even have free printable score sheets for this game on their website. This game is also less than $10.

We enjoyed our time playing games together and Out Of the Box Publications would like you to enjoy family game time also.

If you would like to win either, Easy Come Easy Go or My Word, complete any or all of the options below. Each option will gain you a separate entry.

  1. Go to the Out of the Box Publications site and see which game is your favorite. They offer MANY and some of them are great for educators and homeschoolers. Come back here and leave a comment telling me which you liked the best.

  2. Leave a comment telling me how your family enjoys Frugal Family Fun.

  3. Either follow me on the sidebar or subscribe to the RSS feed (top right corner) and leave a comment telling me that you did.

  4. Blog about this giveaway, linking back to Just Doing My Best. Come back here and leave me a comment that you blogged with your URL, so I can visit you too.

Comments will close at 3 pm on Friday, April 10. Two winners will be chosen by a random number generator. Be sure to leave an email so I can contact you or a new winner will be chosen.

Good luck!

Because of the high quality, high educational value, and low prices, games by Out of the Box Publications are the newest addition to Just My Best Picks.

This post is linked to:
Frugal Fridays by Life As Mom.
Freebies 4 Mom

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Guest Post - Does This Clutter Make Me Late? Part 1

Organize With Sandy

I would like to thank Heather for asking me to be her Guest Blogger today. She had this great contest and it sounds like clutter was at the top of your problem areas of your home. She also mentioned that "Time Management" was an issue. Hope this helps! Thanks.

Clutter can make you late! "What, do you mean by that?" you may say. But clutter and time management can go hand in hand as a problem. "Where are my keys? I know I just laid them here, maybe they are under this stack of mail." "I just need to grab that report for the meeting, but where is it?" "Mom, where did my red jacket go? I'm going to be late for school!"Do any of these sound like your house?

When you have extra clutter sitting around choking up the "clean, clear, calm" space then you also have clutter sitting in your head...choking up your "clean, clear and calm" space of your brain. When you do not have a clear brain to think with, you are going to have too many thoughts...too many things jumbled in your head and lose track not only of what needs to be done, but in what time frame it needs to be done in.

Simply put, Too much stuff in your house + Too much stuff in your head = Being Late.Being late out the door, being late to pick up the kids, being late with reports due, being late paying bills, being late to the meeting - sound familiar?

So what do you do? Clearing out the clutter from your home will result in clearing out the clutter from your head which will in turn help you to focus and plan your day more productively which will then lead to being on time.Sounds simple doesn't it....NOT!

How Do I Clear out the Clutter?

Make 4 signs:

  1. Keep
  2. Donate
  3. Move
  4. Toss

Get white trash bags for your donate and black for trash (so you don't mix them out when you take them out of your house. I prefer clear plastic storage bins for long term storage. Give yourself 2 hours of time if you are able. Do not think you will get an entire room done, just start out with a smaller goal.

Pick up each item, look at it fast and think:

  1. Do I use this?
  2. Do I need this?
  3. Do I like this?
  4. What is the worse thing that can happen if I don't have this?

Don't spend more than about 5-10 sec. on each item, otherwise memories start popping in and you "personalize" that item. You want to keep it "depersonalized", otherwise it can be too hard to get rid of.

This is just one aspect of being organized and next week, Sandy will share a great time management tip and will pull everything together.

Sandy is a Professional Organizer, blogger, mom, and a wealth of information. You can read more of her tips at Organize with Sandy. Be sure to check back here so you do not miss her Time Management tips. Heather

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