Five Back Visa Gift Card Deal! #5Back17

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If you are looking for a great way to stay on budget this holiday season, check out the great offer from Five Back Visa Gift Card!

Pick up the Five Back Visa gift card at Office Max, Lowe’s Hardware Stores and Albertsons Family Stores including: Albertsons, Safeway, and Vons. Buy it online at giftcardmall.com. Put your Holiday budget on the pre-paid Visa Card. That way you can’t go over board! No “shopping hang over” in January.

Five Back Visa gift cards work everywhere Visa debit is accepted, but users earn up to 5% back to their gift card when they shop and dine with preferred restaurants and retailers! Find a full list of participating retailers and restaurants at fivebackgift.com.

Here is a scenario where you can save an additional $19.05 on gifts when you buy a Five Back Visa gift card BEFORE you do your holiday shopping at Five Back preferred retailers and restaurants!
1. Grab a $500 Five Back Visa gift card (including the $5.95 purchase fee)
2. Shop at Five Back preferred retailers & restaurants (find a full list at fivebackgift.com)
3. Earn up to $25 back to your card. $25 – $5.95 purchase fee = $19.05! Save even MORE when you double dip on holiday coupons, sales, and shopping through websites like Topcashback or Mypoints!

Check out my post here for tips about saving when you shop online.

And to celebrate this great deal, you can enter here to win a $50 Visa Giftcard! Woo Hoo! Just in time for Holiday shopping (or buy yourself something nice, I won’t tell!).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a sponsored post, thanks to Tatu Digital Media for including me on this awesome offer and giveaway! All opinions are my own!

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It’s Back! Free Coupon Class in San Diego 1/24/18!

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It’s been a few years since I’ve taught for the San Diego Library, but they’ve asked me back, and I can’t wait to share with you all my tips and tricks to saving money with coupons and more!

Date: January 24, 2018
Time: 6:00-8:30PM
Location: North Park Library,  3795 31st St, San Diego, CA 92104

Want to learn the secrets of couponing and saving money?
You’ll learn tips and tricks in my 90 minute class!

NO MORE EXCUSES!! Saving Money is for everyone! Regardless of your budget, eating habits, or dietary concerns, you can save money (that includes those with food sensitivities/allergies, vegetarians and vegans)!

Here is what you’ll learn:

  • How to save 60-100% off regular retail prices
  • Where to find Coupons and how to organize them
  • The low down on rebate apps like Ibotta and Fetch Rewards
  • Real, useful, tips to stretch that hard earned dollar
  • How to avoid paying full price for anything ever again
  • How to find Local Groups and Programs to help you on your savings journey

The class is taught by Abby Hewes (Formerly of the blog CA Coupon Diva, now writer at Hewes Family Fun). She has taught hundreds of people how to save and is passionate about saving money. Today, with her family of 4, she spends no more than $300 a month for her Groceries & Household items (including organic produce and diapers)!

 

To Sign up for the class, call the library at (619) 533-3972 to RSVP!

Looking for Frugal Fun for Christmas? Check out Neighborhood Light Displays!

file2901261162927.jpgIt’s back… We’ve already been through a few areas, and Henry is itching for a big cuppa Cocoa from Starbucks and a ride in Miss Sally (my car) to go check out all the lights in ONE NIGHT!

We love looking at holiday light displays, and I’ve noticed more neighbors than in past years are putting up lights all over east county! If you want to get out and check out the sites (and lights), here are our favorites:

EL CAJON, 92021

  • Jingle Bell Hill (also known as Pepper Dr. Lights). Solomon Ave./Pegeen Pl. and surrounding area. Off 67 & Bradley. Dec. 8-26, Mon-Th 6-9 pm, Fri-Sun 6-10 pm. There is usually a Nightmare before Christmas house, but we didn’t see it the other night. Henry was bummed.

LAKESIDE, 92040

  • 10248 Paseo Palmas Dr. Nicknamed “Tinsel Town”. Dec. 1-25, 5:30-9 pm. Most of the houses on this street are very well decorated with lights and moving displays!

SANTEE, 92071

  •  Starlight Circle, East and West Glendon Circles. Through December 26th, 7-10 pm. This is extremely popular! You can park and walk through. There are neighbors selling cocoa, coffee, popcorn, and cotton candy. If you walk, take money with you! Starlight Circle even has a facebook page!
  • 9773 Roe Dr. 27,000 Christmas lights dance to 10 songs over 128 computer channels. Food Bank and St. Jude donations accepted. Dec. 3-Jan. 2. Sun-Th, 6-10 pm and Fri & Sat, 6-11 pm.www.DBChristmas.com It is very impressive!
  • I haven’t been by to see if it’s up this year, but in years past…. If you love South Park, after you stop by Roe, cruise down Lake Canyon Drive (in the 9400 block, East of Carlton Hills Blvd) and check out the Woodland Critter Christmas Display.

 

We pack the kids into the car after dark with cocoa and snacks and head out for a drive. It’s a fun way to spend time together, and it’s pretty frugal!

What holiday traditions do you want to share with your kids?

 

Review: Sun Tail Mermaid Monofin & Shark Fin!

IMG_7128.jpgAbout a month ago, I posted that we’d be getting Henry a Mermaid tail or Monofin and Shark Fin from Sun Tail.

 

It arrived about 10 days ago, and I am just now posting because the kids are FINALLY in bed at a reasonable time and I’m not exhausted.

Ok, so i can’t wait until Christmas to give this to Henry! The monofin is super sturdy and well-made.  I tried it on, I won’t lie! Both feet slide into the center area and it’s very snug. I’m not worried about it falling off during an upcoming “shark Henry attack”.

IMG_7129 (2).jpgThe Shark fin is made of lightweight foam and has straps that snap around the wearers torso. From their website, “It provides buoyancy and functions as a floating device for kids just learning to swim, and it’s loads of fun for older, stronger swimmers who just want to play shark in the pool. SwimFin is also a flotation device that complies with international safety standards. And after it has done its job as a learning aid, SwimFin will always find use as a fun water toy!”

If you are looking for a fun gift that encourages your kids to be active, check out SunTail! They have monofins, mermaid tails, shark fins, and all sorts of goodies for the active kiddo (or adult) in your life! Right now my readers receive a 10% discount on your order at www.SunTailMermaid.com by using coupon code: BestGiftEver

http://usfamilycoupons.com/coupon.php?regionid=75&bid=13540&dealid=3452 .@usfg

 

Recipe: Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions and Bacon!

IMG_7046.jpgBrussels Sprouts have a bad rap… Stinky, weird texture, gross. All of these things can be true if you boil them whole.

I’ve got a great recipe to share than turns our poor, stinky, vilified veggie into a tasty side dish! I made these for Thanksgiving and they were a HIT!

Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Onions and Bacon

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 lbs yellow or white onions, thinly sliced
  • 4T. Butter
  •  1/4 c water or white wine
  • 2 lbs cleaned and chopped Brussels Sprouts
  • 1 lb bacon, cooked, drained, and chopped
  • Salt and Pepper as needed
  • 1/4 C shaved parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

IMG_7047.jpgCook the bacon- I bake mine at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Then I drain it on paper towels. Once it has cooled, I take my super sharp knife and chop it up.

IMG_7045.jpgCaramelize the onions. Cook onions in butter on low for several hours, stirring occasionally. Scrape the yummy brown bits off the bottom of the pan, adding water or wine to help loosen the brown bits.

Once the onions turn a lovely brown (about 3-4 hours on low), add in the cooked chopped bacon and combine.

IMG_7051.jpgAdd in the chopped Brussels Sprouts and cook on medium for about 10-15 minutes. Season with Salt and pepper as needed. Pour into a serving dish and top with cheese.

We had this for Thanksgiving, but it also is great any time. If you end up with leftovers, it’s also great on a homemade pizza crust, topped with some extra mozzarella and parm baked at 450 for about 10-15 minutes.

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Tie Dying: Family Fun!

I love to tie dye! It’s a great way to give clothes that may have been stained a new life. Since I get most of our clothes from clothing swaps, I often find really cute light colored kids clothes with minor stains.

Well, and when you’ve got kids, a lot of stuff ends up with stains, and not just their clothes, I have several shirts that I had to tie dye to cover little people stains from dirty hands and faces rubbing on my during hugs.

There are a lot of tie dye kits available at your local craft store, but what they don’t tell you is that the dye in those kits doesn’t last.  We used this kit last year and the remaining shirts we have have faded to very light pastels. So, if you want to do some awesome, vibrant tie dyes, I recommend using Procion Dyes like the ones Dharma Trading sells.

I also have cultivated an Amazon Store with all the stuff you will need , including a kit that contains Procion Dyes- All you need is a bag of Urea and the kit is ready to dye! Procion dyes are best for Cotton, ramie, hemp, rayon- Natural plant based fibers (not linen- that stuff is a bear to dye).  If you have blends with synthetic fibers (like polyester, acrylic, lycra), the color will not be as vibrant. Anything less than 50% natural fiber will end up being pastel.

Since Tie Dying can be a little intimidating, let’s break it down. In addition to your dyes and chemicals…

You will need:

  • A big open space (We use my parents backyard)
  • 2-3 6 foot tables covered in protective plastic (tarps or trash bags work well)
  • 1-2 Large Buckets (5 gallon buckets from Home Depot are great)
  • Access to warm water
  • Measuring cups and measuring spoons (I recommend plastic ones)
  • Plastic bags or plastic wrap (to cover up /wrap up garments after they have been dyed)

Here is my pinterest board with tons of great folding techniques and patterns. You are ready to fold and tie once you’ve selected your garments and laundered them without fabric softener. I love incorporating marbles, canning jar lids, clamps  to make tie dying more interesting.

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Folded, tied, and zip tied!

Once everything is folded/tied and secured (either with rubber bands, zip ties, or cotton string), it’s time to mix the washing soda and hot water. 1 cup of washing soda per gallon of water.  Mix together in the buckets, and soak the tied garments for 15 minutes-1 hour. The washing soda raises the pH of the garments allowing the dye to be more readily absorbed.

Washing Soda is NOT BAKING SODA.  Washing soda is caustic and will hurt you if you submerge your hands in it. Wear gloves when you handle it. Wring out the garments after soaking so they are damp, not dripping.  You can keep using the same water for your entire session.

While your garments are soaking, mix up your dye.  The most dye will come directions, but remember to mix your water with Urea. 1/4C of urea to 1 quart warm water. Urea helps the dye dissolve and remain mixed. It also helps the colors stay vibrant.

TIME TO DYE! Once your soaked garments are wrung out, it’s time to apply the dye. If you aren’t sure which colors will look good together, Get a color wheel. It will help you with color placement too. When you tie dye, colors will run together, so using complementary colors will help your garments look better when they are finished.

Remember to apply dye all sides, and if your garment is bunched up a lot, you may need to squirt dye between the folds to make sure the dye penetrates all of the layers.

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Bags and bags of baby onsies!

After the garment is dyed, place it in a plastic bag, or wrap it up in plastic wrap. You want to lay the item flat.  Let the garments sit for 24 hours (or over night), rinse the garments one at a time under cool water until most of the water coming from our garment is clear or a very pale. Then remove the binding (rubber bands, zip ties, string).

Wash completed garments with Synthrapol. It’s laundry soap that binds the color molecules to the fabric and sheds the dye that is not bonded. Once you wash the finished garments with Synthrapol, the clothing won’t shed dye or rub off on you, you can use your regular detergent from then on out. I also throw a couple Color Catchers in the wash too for good measure.

Once your garments are dry, the are ready to wear! I use the word “garments”, but you can also dye fabric, bed sheets, even pillow cases.

Here is some of the most recent stuff I dyed:


Tie dye shirts make great gifts! You can also tie dye socks- That’s what Bitty Bird is getting in her Advent Calendar this year!

I have utilized Amazon links within this post, prices can change at any time, and I may receive a commission when you click the links to Amazon and purchase items linked. Commissions help cover the costs associated with blogging.

Gorgeous Watches from JORD (Enter to win $100 off!)

One of the perks of blogging is that I get to work with INCREDIBLE brands. I was recently blessed to work with JORD, maker of INCREDIBLE wooden watches.

Wooden watch you ask? Yeah. JORD creates beautiful timepieces focuses “on creating timepieces that are modeled after a modern lifestyle. We value sustainability, efficiency, and experiential living. We make our watches for people who don’t just have somewhere to be, they have somewhere to go.”

I love that in this culture of disposable stuff, JORD watches are made sustainably. The watches are so well-made, crafted and shipped with care. I mean, check out this cool box:

IMG_6880.jpgThe lids slides off to reveal a lovely Dark Sandalwood watch nestled perfectly on a herringbone pillow. I love the Sandalwood watch- The dark, warm wood looks so rich paired with the black and silver face.

In addition, each JORD watch comes with a small brush tipped bottle of finishing oil and a microfiber cloth to clean it.

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JORD makes watches in 13 different woods from Acacia and Koa to Zebrawood! There is really something for everyone. JORD has watches for men and women, and they are offering my readers such an incredible deal: Score 25% off with coupon code”abbyhewes.”

OH, BUT IT GETS BETTER!!! Enter to win a $100 off your JORD watch here. The Sandalwood watch I received has a starting price of just $139 (You can make upgrades to it for an additional amount).

I cannot wait to gift this watch- I have someone special in mind. I know they will love it, just as much as I do.

I’d love to thank Bill and his entire team at JORD as well as the awesome peeps over at USFG for the opportunity to review this beautiful watch. All opinions are my own, and I was not financially compensated.


Ladies Wood Watch
—————————————————————————- Wood Watches by JORD