Friday, December 30, 2011

Our 2011 in Pictures













What a great year we had!  I cannot wait until 2012, more great things to come!

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

New Purex Triple Action Review & Giveaway!

I love being a Purex Insider!  I get the opportunity to try new products before they are released to store shelves.  This week I was able to try the new and improved Purex Triple Action formula!  I was able to try the Free & Clear formula since I have some little ones with some sensitive skin in our household. 

New Purex Triple Action leverages the best parts of the current formula, combined with new additions, to deliver great cleaning plus improved brightening power.  This new formula will be rolled out across Purex's liquid detergent line so soon you'll find it in your favorite scents including Mountain Breeze, After the Rain, Lavender Fresh, Original Fresh, Linen & Lillies, and Lilac & White Lavender!  Just like all of Purex's current detergents, new Purex Triple Action is specifically formulated to work in both traditional and HE washers. 

Now I have 2 young boys that know how to get dirty!  I need a detergent that is strong on stains, but won't irritate their smooth skin.  I was very pleased with the results from Purex Triple Action!  It left our clothes clean and smelling fresh!  I also had some tough laundry to tackle with the stains of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!  Purex Triple Action had no problems tackling our laundry issues!

Beginning in early 2012, you will be able to get free samples of the new Purex Triple Action here!  I will be sure to give you the "heads up" when the site is up and running!  Everyone loves free detergent samples to keep the grocery budget under control!

To celebrate the launch of new Purex Triple Action, two Spend Less 2 Save More readers will win a coupon for a free bottle of new Purex Triple Action!

To enter (leave a separate comment for each entry):
1.  Tell me why you love Purex in the comments!
2.  Become a Facebook Fan of Spend Less 2 Save More and leave a comment!
3.  Become a follower of Spend Less 2 Save More and leave a comment (link is in the sidebar)!

Contest will end at midnight on 1/11/12!  Good Luck!

Purex provided me a free sample of their Triple Action laundry detergent so I provide a review of the product.  However, all of the opinions expressed here are my own and are not influenced by Purex.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Have You Thought About Re-Financing?

Have you thought about re-financing?  I know you hear everywhere that now is the time to consider re-financing your home loan.  Interest rates are at record lows making it a great time to consider your home loan.  If you think you won't save money, it may be worth your while to call around and get some estimates.  We just refinanced our loan into a smaller term loan and our payment are less than what we had been paying.  Here are some of the other benefits we will be experiencing with our loan re-finance:
  • Shaved multiple years off our home loan.
  • More of our monthly payment goes directly to payoff the principal.
  • Enjoying an APR more than 2% less than our old APR.
You really need to think if you plan to stay in your home.  With the real estate market the way it is, we have no plans of ever moving.  We are in our house for the long haul, unless of course someone else has other plans for us!

You also get to skip a house payment while the loans transfer, so this could be a great way to free up some extra cash to pay down consumer debt!

Our personal goal is to have a mortgage completely paid for before our oldest son goes to college, so it is time to buckle down and get serious!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Menu Plan Monday - Week of December 26, 2011

So I have been off my menu planning for most of December.  Things has been really chaotic and we have a lot of (good) things happening!  But I found out, when you don't plan, you regret it with way too many nights of "let's run out and get something"!  So I am starting the final week of 2011 right and planning my menu.  We had an easy Christmas Eve and Christmas Day since we did not host either.  So we had the pleasure at eating at others' houses and not having to cook or clean up!  So this week I am off of work, so I have no excuses, I must cook!

Monday - Turkey Roast and Mashed Potatoes
Tuesday - Beef Enchilada Pie
Wednesday - Mom's Girls Night Out!
Thursday - Pizza Night!
Friday - Beef Stroganoff
Saturday - Celebrating the New Year with Friends!
Sunday - Crock Pot Roasted Chicken

This post is linked at MPM at I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Taking 10 minutes to plan your menu each week will guarantee to save you time, money, and sanity during the week!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Wishing you and your families a very Merry Christmas.  May you enjoy this blessed holiday season with good times, good food, and the wonderful people in your lives.  Remember the blessings you have and be thankful for them!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Baked Chicken Thighs with Dijon & Lime

6 -8 chicken thighs, skin removed
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 lime, squeezed
3/4 tsp pepper
Dried parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse chicken and remove all skin.  Pat dry, place in a large bowl and season with salt.  In another bowl combine mustard, mayonnaise, lime juice, garlic, and pepper.  Mix well and then pour over chicken.  Coat chicken in sauce.  Line a baking pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Place chicken on the pan in a single layer.  Sprinkle with parsley.  Bake until cooked about 40 minutes.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lowe's Build and Grow Clinics

If you have a young-school aged child (recommended for 1st - 6th grades), then I highly suggest checking out the upcoming Lowe's Build and Grow Clinics!  First off, they are FREE!  Child and parent attend on a Saturday morning and receive a kit to build together.  They even get a cute apron and safety goggles.  Coming up in Janaury are:

  • Castle on 1/14/12
  • Build-a-saurus on 1/28/12
I recommend registering early since they only allow 50 kids per store.  Go here and check it out!

Christmas Cards

I absolutely love receiving Christmas cards this time of year.  I think it is one of my favorite parts of Christmas.  Now I am one of those gals who LOVES to get the mail.  If I am home and hear the mailman, I dart outside to get it!  You never know what surprises will be in your mailbox!

I personally open each Christmas card and become excited to see what is inside.  My absolute favorite are the photo Christmas cards.  It is so enjoyable to see children grow up, especially ones you do not see a lot.  They have a much more 'personal' feel to them and you know the senders took a lot of time to select the just perfect photo.  I know I do!

This year I received my annual Christmas card from a woman I use to work with when we first graduated college.  We have not seen each other in about 6 years, but we still send our annual Christmas cards.  I guess it had been awhile since I e-mailed here, because here she had another baby girl!  I was so excited and immediately we began chatting on e-mail again! 

We also receive cards from a few of our old neighbors.  We moved a little over 4 years ago and it is amazing how much their children have grown!  I'm sure they say the same thing about our family.  This year for my parents for Christmas, we did portraits with them and the grandchildren.  They used this photo as their card this year!

We display our photos on the door in our kitchen that leads to our basement.  It is so much fun looking at every one's card and it brings extra joy to the house.  After Christmas, I keep all the photo cards in a special box.  This is a fun way to spend a Saturday looking over previous years' cards.  The remaining cards I keep for the boys (as I do with all greeting cards).  We use these for crafts and projects through out the year!

Where do you hang your Christmas cards?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Money $aving Mom's Budget: A Review & Giveaway!

I have always been a huge fan of!  This was the first site I started to frequent when I began to explore the use of couponing to save money.  I still check the site multiple times a day because Crystal posts all the current deals, freebies, and household tips!

I was elated when I was given the chance to preview Crystal Paine's new book, The Money $aving Mom's Budget.  It was an incredibility quick read for me because I didn't want to put it down.  I needed to keep reading to find out some more of Crystal's tips on how to create a budget and save money!

Crystal begins the book with goal setting.   As she puts it, "If you don't know where you're going, any train will get you there."  She encourages you to set big goals.  Then cut that goal into bite-sized pieces so you can achieve them.  I believe it is important what your goals are in life and that you and your spouse are headed on the same track.

Crystal also talks about how to create a budget.  She encourages you to start with a grocery budget and stick to it!  Don't create a budget that is unachievable, but one you can stick to in the end.  Once you get the grocery budget down, then you will be able to make the leap and create an entire budget for your household and tell your money where to go each month!  I know this has helped my family tremendously.  We use a spreadsheet every month to track what comes in and what goes out and where!

Finally, Crystal shares some of her amazing tips on how to save money!  These are things that she has tried and believes they will work for everyone.  The tips include how to use coupons, play the drug store game, and how to save money on household items.

Overall, this is an extremely well written book and was enjoyable to read.  I highly recommend it if you are searching for ways to save money each month! 

The book is scheduled to release January 10, 2012.    One lucky Spend Less 2 Save More reader will receive a free copy of this book to enjoy! 

To enter:

1.  Leave a comment on this post on why you need this book (mandatory)
2.  Become a Spend Less 2 Save More Facebook Fan!
3.  Follow Spend Less 2 Save More (in the sidebar)

Good luck, the contest will end 12/31/11 at midnight!

I was given a preview copy of the book to read and review.  All views are my own and were not influenced in anyway.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Enjoying a Simple Season

It’s difficult in the world we live in not to become wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Unfortunately, a lot of this “fast-paced” movement is surrounded around not celebrating the true meaning of the Christmas season. A popular quote, yet it was up on the electronic sign at my son’s school as I drove by yesterday, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”. This serves as a reminder to me and hopefully others that drive by on that busy road why we celebrate Christmas. It is truly a religious holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus. I try not to be too religious in my views on this blog, but truly Christmas is a celebration of new life and the birth of Christ!
My husband and I strive to celebrate a “simple season” with our children and provide them with the true meaning of Christmas. Yes, they believe in Santa Claus and he brings them gifts on Christmas day, but they also know we celebrate Christmas day with Christ at our church Christmas morning. We celebrate with family on Christmas Eve and Christmas day and we say Grace before our meals. We are thankful for Mary and Joseph and for bringing us God’s only son.
I find myself frustrated this time of the year with the traffic around my house. Yes, it does not help that I live behind a very popular mall, but is all this rushing to get into the mall to buy gifts really worth it? I was appalled on Thanksgiving evening the line of people already gearing up to get into Best Buy to be the first to get the season’s hottest gifts. And even the fact that Best Buy this year had a giant screen in their parking lot to entertain the wary shoppers while they waited. We spent the day after Thanksgiving by sleeping in until 9, enjoying breakfast as a family, staying in our jammies until noon, trimming the Christmas tree and displaying our Christmas decorations, enjoying leftovers from the day before for dinner, and attending a local lighting ceremony in the evening! The best part of the lighting ceremony was the beginning, when the Mayor turned the microphone over to our local Pastor and he said a prayer and blessing over the entire crowd. I was in amazement! Yes, they got it right, even in the world we live in today with people worrying about offending others, they started a public ceremony with prayer. I was truly proud to have my children and attendance and it was a topic of conversation between my husband and I before bed that night. “What an awesome way to start the holiday season”! By the way, the lighting was amazing; compete with fireworks, Santa riding in on a fire truck, and a horse drawn wagon ride!
We were able to enjoy a wonderful Breakfast with Santa complete with food, games, crafts, and pictures with Santa himself. Luckily both of my boys were excited to sit on his lap this year. We have visited many Christmas light displays and the boys enjoy flipping the switch every night to turn on our lights and watch our huge blow up “Frosty” rise from the ground. However, I am a bit concerned on how some people have like 10 of these giant blow up characters in their yard? I just received a December electric bill and “yikes”! You would think we were running the A/C! We have been listening to Alvin & the Chipmunks Christmas songs for weeks now; it is the only thing the boys will listen to in the car. Yes I know the words and yes I catch myself singing the songs often for no reason!
This morning, my husband and I were able to enjoy with the Grandparents a wonderful Christmas Music Show put on by the kindergartners and 1st graders at my son’s school. My son did warn me ahead of time that I was “not allowed to do any of the motions from my seat”. I behaved and just watched and listened to the beautiful Christian Christmas songs. It even brought a tear to my eye at the beginning, but I am a very emotional person, so that was expected! The boys are geared up for our ride on The Polar Express this weekend. I have to admit I am excited too! We will also be baking some cookies this weekend in preparation of the big day. We need to make sure we leave Santa plenty of cookies and milk to drink!
I hope that everyone has a very joyous holiday season and I wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Purex is Giving Away 20,000 Subscriptions to Better Homes & Gardens!

Enter to win a 1 year subscription to Better Homes and Gardens magazine. You could be one of 20,000 winners! You could have a whole year free of smart, approachable articles on design and individual style, decorating and gardening, food and entertaining, and personal and family well-being from your friends at Purex. Enter before December 20th for a chance to win.

Go here to enter!