Archives for January 2013

No Time To Make Dessert? {Giveaway}

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Edwards. All opinions are 100% mine.

Edwards Pie

The words you are about to hear may come as a shock to you….

I don't always have time to make a homemade dessert. Yes, it is true. Sometimes, just sometimes I don't even feel like making dessert. And perhaps the reasoning behind it is that I spend so much time on dinner that I justdon't care to spend anymore time in the kitchen. It's understandable right?

The only times that I really feel it's necessary to have dessert as a requirement is when it's a formal meal. You know, friends over or perhaps a holiday dinner. We had a dinner like this recently and of course, dessert was a forgotten project. Edwards Crème pies to the rescue! We stopped by the store and I let my daughter pick out her favorite. Strawberry Cream Pie was her dessert of choice and it was a good one. I'd probably recommend it for a get-together. I love when there's no baking involved. ūüôā

For the holidays, Edwards is still offering a holiday e-card that you can send to family and friends! I know it's January, but the link still works so try it out! It's pretty cute. I sent my e-card in no time flat and received a coupon via email. 

My favorite part of the e-card offer? You AND your recipient get a $1 off coupon. Throughout the month of November and December, Edwards Desserts donated $1 for each and every Edwards product purchased. How super cool is that?

Now, let's get to the good stuff! One of YOU are going to win a FREE Edwards Creme Pie! The winner of this giveaway will receive a coupon for a FREE Edwards Creme Pie AND Edward's Desserts will be making a $20 donation to Toys for Toys in the winner's name! This will be a quicker than normal giveaway ending on Tuesday, January 15th at midnight CT.

Edward's Desserts Giveaway

Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment on this post with your favorite Edward's pie or perhaps one you'd like to try.

Optional Additional Entries:

This giveaway will end on Tuesday, January 15th at midnight CT. I will contact the winner on Wednesday, January 16th and they will have 24 hours to respond. If I have not heard from them, I will name a new winner. Please allow up to 6 weeks for delivery of your coupon. US residents only.



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Financial Fast: 8 Days In (Almost Fail)

Creative Commons License photo credit: jessdamen

When I first began on this journey of fasting financially¬†for just 21 days I thought, Oh sure piece of cake. Honestly, even a piece of cake isn’t expensive. You wouldn’t think that half the things that my husband and I spontaneously did were *gasp* expensive. I mean think about who we’re talking about here.

It’s me. Saving. With. Amy.

They really do still call me that, you know. I’ll never be known as anything different to some. I digress…

I’m cheap and I know it. While I lived with a dollar philosophy for years and almost fell out if I had to pay more than a buck for something, I have loosened up just a bit since I quit the savings blog. But this fast has really been a challenge for me. Coupons made it possible for me to feel comfortable in a grocery store.

Exhilerated almost.

When some folks feel overwhelmed and stressed in stores, I usually can remain calm. Until I see someone pushing a cartful knowing they don’t have even 1 coupon and they could probably spend half as much if they were using them. Once again, I digress…

This is about ME and my challenges with this fast. It’s harder than it sounds. 21 days of NO eating out. 21 days of NO shopping. Not even at $.99 day at GOODWILL y’all! Oh yes, this is a major challenge for muah. So far though, I haven’t gone through withdrawals but keep me in your prayers. ūüėČ

No, the biggest challenges have been mostly small things and 1 large thing. We were walking by a Redbox the other night and almost walked up to grab a flick. Not so fast! That’s frivolous and against¬†our rules! I had a Groupon about to expire for frozen yogurt and we thought we might drop in. And then we remembered that we are yogurt fiends and that we’ll most likely purchase more as a family than our Groupon would cover, therefore causing us to pay for the difference. No yogurt. We were really knocking these challenges down one by one!

And then I spent my morning the other day putting together my grocery list complete with coupons and everything I needed to feed us for the week. Sparing you boring details, just know that every other week our grocery budget changes a little. This makes it difficult each week for making a list.¬†I’m trying to¬†get used to making my list smaller on the weeks that I get less money to spend. A long story short, I went OVER budget this week by $10. I’m not proud of it. I decided that I would spend $10 less next week to make up for it, but there was still a feeling of failure.

I come home and I’m talking to my husband that night. He said that HE too failed. Co-workers went out to lunch because he had forgotten his from home. He felt bad about it. I shared that I had spent about the same and we both decided to make up for it with next week’s grocery budget. And then of course there’s out water heater. It stopped heating the water and we took numerous cold showers. And of course it would need servicing while we were on a financial fast wouldn’t it? I think this is one of those that falls under a necessity, but it was still hard paying for it.

So while we’ve technically failed, we’re going to buckle down and fix it and remain on track.

What about you? Are you doing or have done something like this? I’d love your input!

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Homemade Tomato Soup

The other day my daughter came home from school and declared that she liked tomato soup. Can you imagine that? She said that they serve it at the cafeteria and that she really liked it. Then she proceeded to ask me to make some at home.

Music to my ears!

My little one actually requested something other than pizza, macaroni, or a hot dog. I was speechless.

And like any good mother, I set out to find a recipe that I thought she’d enjoy and put it on our menu plan for this week. To make the hubs happy, I made grilled cheeses (tomato soup’s partner) to go with the soup.

I found this recipe at Spark People and it is surely a winner!

The entire recipe took me only about 15 minutes to make. It made a large pot so there will be leftovers. You can even freeze this for later on.

Dipping my grilled cheese into this soup was absolutely a match made in heaven. I cannot express the happiness that this soup brought me.

I didn’t even know I liked tomato soup!

If you’re looking for a quick meal on a weeknight or perhaps a last minute idea for the weekend, this should be on your list! What’s even better is that there’s only about 71 calories per serving.

Low cal? For reals? Yuuuup!

This ain’t nothing like that mess in a can y’all!

Homemade Tomato Soup
Recipe Type: Spark People via NARKMEISTER
With just a few ingredients you can create super tasty homemade soup that pairs great with a yummy grilled cheese!
  • 2 Medium Onions, Diced
  • 4 Garlic Gloves, Chopped
  • 4 Cans of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 Pint of Stock (Your preference)
  • 1 Tbs Dried Basil
  • Low Calorie Fat Spray/Olive Oil
  1. Brown onion and garlic in a few sprays of cooking spray over medium heat.
  2. Add 4 cans tomatoes and bring to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes.
  3. Add broth or stock and bring to a boil. Simmer another 5 minutes.
  4. Add basil and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Use an immersion blender to smooth to your liking.
  6. Serve with a grilled cheese and enjoy!


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My Financial Fast: 4 Days In

We’re moving into day 4 of our financial fast. So far so good. I haven’t felt too stifled just yet. I’m still on budget for groceries and things we need for the week.¬†I have even managed to save $20 of it.

The hardest part so far has been realizing small things that come up. We don’t normally think anything of them, but they can add up. For instance we’re attending a party tonight. We won’t be able to pay for a sitter to watch the girls. Luckily our friends don’t mind if they tag along. Or perhaps a gift for a friend who just had a baby. Can’t get her anything right now and it feels a little weird. But these are the challenges that we face with this fast. I was reading that these are the times when it’s a chance to share with others about the fast. They might decide to try it themselves.

Retail McDonalds

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Quick story: we were stopping to grab a bite to eat on our Christmas road trip this past month. We chose McDonald’s because they are cheap, right? WRONG. Over $21 for our family of 4. One of our 4 is a baby who doesn’t eat much. I was apalled at how expensive it was. I complained all the way to the pay window. I was even considering cancelling the order and getting every item off the $1 menu. When we got to the window, the cashier told me that the lady in front of us had paid for our order.

Mouth shut. I was humbled.

God has a way of doing that to me. Just when I complain, he blesses me or shows me something to be thankful for. I’m so unworthy, but He is so good to us. I couldn’t believe that the lady has paid for our expensive order. We paid for the people behind us to pass on the kindness. It was such a blessing. Even if it was at of all places, McDonald’s.

These are the challenges that we are facing so far in our financial fast. It’s really opening my eyes to what we spend each week. Plus we are using up food from the pantry and freezer and making do with things we already have on-hand. So glad we decided to do this!

¬†¬†Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,¬†when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, ‚ÄúCome back tomorrow and I‚Äôll give it to you‚ÄĚ when you already have it with you.

– Proverbs 3: 27-28

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Oven Roasted Green Beans

On any given day here in our household, anything green won’t be eaten by the kiddos and sometimes even by the husband.

What is it about the color green that turns folks off?

It’s quite sad that it’s gotten such a bad rep when it’s one of the most nutritious colors to eat. This just makes the challenge for cooks like me to make those things that are green taste good enough to eat. Both of my girls wouldn’t touch green baby food. You know, those green peas and green beans all pureed and mushy. I can’t say that I blame them. I don’t think I’ll be indulging in a big ole jar of mushy green peas myself. When we went to England, that was a common side dish there. Of course I had to try it while I was there. But I was over it after my first taste.

With a bag of frozen green beans in my freezer, I decided it was time to use those babies up. I went for the roasting option hoping that they would taste good enough for the family to enjoy. After all, they always like my roasted broccoli and roasted cauliflower.

I started by parboiling the green beans straight from frozen. I wanted to get them thawed and mostly cooked and then finish them in the oven. I was surprised at how quick these cooked.

Then I drained them and spread them out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. A little olive oil, salt, and pepper and into the oven they went.

After a nice stint in the green bean sauna (I know my analogies are ridiculous), they came out just perfect. Just roasted enough that some of them had a crunch, but still soft like you’d expect.

And what would make anything roasted taste better than parmesan cheese? Not a thing. A good sprinkling of that and you are set with the tastiest green beans this side of Mason Dixon Line.

When I was finished with these, I took one of them to my picky daughter for her approval. She gave me a look when she saw how green it was and I was fully expecting her to pass on the taste test.

Then it came….

She let out a “mmmmmm”. And I knew I was onto something. We had these with our dinner and they were a big hit.

Even though they were green. ūüôā

Oven Roasted Green Beans
Recipe Type: Side Dish, Vegetable
Author: Pennywise Cook
Try a new take on everyday green beans by popping them into the oven to roast. Here’s how!
  • 16 oz Pkg Frozen Extra Fine Green Beans
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan Cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 425¬į.
  2. Bring pot full of water to boil. Add green beans and boil for 5 minutes. Drain and dry.
  3. Lay green beans on baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a flat layer.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and toss. Return to oven for additional 5 minutes.
  6. Top with parmesan cheese and serve immediately!



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Post Holiday 21-Day Financial Fast

Creative Commons License photo credit: uyht

Each year after the holidays there seems to be a letdown that occurs. Whether it’s the fact that Christmas is over or the the fact that there isn’t something special to look forward to, there’s a little glum that sometimes follows the excitement of the holidays. And lest we forget one of the biggest letdowns of the holidays…

how much we spent.

I can’t complain too much this time. We actually set aside a Christmas fund throughout the year in hopes of making them a little easier to swallow. It helped for sure, but we ended up over-budget. And I made a lot of my gifts! I absolutely love to give. It doesn’t matter if it’s for a birthday, Christmas, or even just because. I love to give.

So after all of the spending this Christmas, I’m in the mood to do a little saving now. Not that we don’t already save every penny that we can, but we want to really buckle down and challenge ourselves now that the frivolous holidays are over.

Vintage Coin Steps
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I came across Michelle Singletary’s The Power to Prosper: 21 Days to Financial Freedom on Google one day. That’s a link to her book if you’re interested in reading it. I didn’t actually read it myself, I just read over the main points of the fast to understand what is expected. It’s a very simple idea and I believe that it’s a great way to challenge your family and your spending habits.

On a summary of this book I found a quote that I wanted to share with you:


Great job¬†Captain¬†Obvious, right?! Well it’s not as obvious as you¬†might think. When I was hardcore couponing, I found that I would stock up on things that may or may not still be good by the time I got around to consuming them. When it was time to go through cabinets and try to use up what we had, there were things that weren’t even edible anymore. And sure I was saving money by stocking up, but if I never even consumed those items then was really just throwing that money away.

You might think about that quote and see how it applies to your situation.¬†With the new year¬†here, it’s¬†time to reevaluate¬†spending and make changes to better your bank account. And that’s the principle that my husband and¬†I are going to be working on in the next 21 days.

We already have a pretty feasible budget that we follow each month. It works well, but contains some spending that we saw to be unnecessary. For instance, we each receive $20 each week to spend on whatever we’d like. Sure it’s nice, but during a financial fast we feel it’s not a necessity. And along those same lines, we also set aside $20 towards dining out for the family. Once again, this is not neccessary and it’s being cut.

Here are the rules that our financial fast will consist of:

  • We can ONLY use cash to pay for things during the 21 days. (We already do this, but it’s good to reiterate how important this is to saving money!)
  • We will ONLY purchase things that are essential during the 21 days. Essentials are: food, medicine, personal toiletry items, school supplies (if needed).
  • We will NOT shop online or shop in-store unless purchasing our essentials during the 21 days.
  • We will NOT purchase gifts for anyone (even if there is a party) during the 21¬†days.
  • We will NOT eat out or purchase coffee (this is a hard one) at a cafe or anything¬†along these lines¬†during the 21 days.
  • We will document each and every¬†purchase during the 21 days to keep track of where our money is going.
  • We will read a daily Bible verse for encouragement and guidance during the 21¬†days.

And of course there are other things that will come along that we will deal with as they come. This is probably going to be most difficult for me since I find myself at a store just about every single day for one reason or another. This is a challenge that I plan to go forward with in hopes of learning to use my resources as God intends us to. And also to visually SEE how much money can be saved and how many things we buy on a daily basis that really are unnecessary.

I plan to give updates throughout our 21 days of this challenge. If you’ve never done something like this, I’m sure you’ll be interested to hear how it’s going. I’m curious myself!

Our 21-Day Financial Fast will begin on January 2nd 2013 and end on January 22nd 2013. Wish us luck!

I’ll leave you with a scripture to get you started!

Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

-Proverbs 3: 9-10

Have you ever done a financial fast before? Would you consider something like this to encourage your financial discipline?

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