TMR Frugal Living Tip #84

hollyjollychristmasToday’s thrifty living tip is take your own Christmas pictures. When I received photo studio coupons in the mail, I would bring my son for his Christmas pictures to save money. The catch was you could only pick the first pose. The whole time I had my fingers crossed the picture turned out nice. I know some photographers would retake the picture if I wasn’t happy with that pose, but many of them are making minimum wage. Taking my child’s perfect Christmas picture is not high on their priority list.

I began taking all of my son’s Christmas pictures when he was about 5 years old. I was already taking pictures of the items I sold on ebay so why not take his pictures. I take shots in front of the tree, in front a white sheet (just like the studios), outside, and maybe on location. I do not own a high quality digital camera, but it is a decent camera. I upload all my pictures on Snapfish. I can edit all the pictures and have the ones I wanted printed. You can add fun borders and other neat options. I’m not sure if you can order the pictures with borders. I think that might be for online use only. I usually spend $20-30 for many pictures in different sizes such as 8×10, 5×7, and wallet. This price even includes the price of shipping.snowflakes

You might be thinking…well, I don’t know. This idea might not work so well if you want to be in the pictures such as a family picture. You might be lucky and know someone who takes good pictures that might do you a favor or barter for taking your pictures. I have a couple of people in my family who love to play photographer for fun. They would never dream of asking for money. Save some money and have fun taking the pictures. I also love the editing. The picture shown is one I took a few years ago and added a fun holiday border.

Visit Gift Card Weekend For a Chance to Win a $20 Regal Gift Card!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gift Card Weekend for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

regalcinemas_giftcard.jpg

Christmas is almost here and you still have gifts to buy. Do you have a movie buff on your list? Then you need to visit Gift Card Weekend for a chance to win a $20 Regal gift card.  They are giving away those daily to Facebook fans from December 5-9 (12/5 to 12/9).

All you have to do is like Gift Card Weekend on Facebook for your chance. Share with your Facebook friends and you can receive an extra chance to win for every ‘like’ you influence. Then stick around through the month for more giveaways!

Gift Card Weekend is a once-a-year event where participating retail partners give featured offers for gift cards purchased during the Holiday season and redeemed from January 6 – January 8, 2012. They have other great partners listed below.

Participating stores and restaurants:
-JCPenny
-Regal Cinema
-Subway
-Sephora
-Applebee’s
-Bass Pro Shops
-Adidas
-Buca di Beppo
-Lowe’s
-Spa Finder
-Marriot
-Giant Eagle

Visit Sponsor

EntreCard Top Droppers for November

November has come and gone. We are now in full swing of the holiday season. I wanted to take a little time to thank all of my Entrecard top droppers for November. I appreciate the time you took to read my blogs and for the comments. I have found so many great blogs to read through Entrecard, and have made some good friends. Thanks again for dropping by.

  1. Comedy Plus
  2. Serian Man
  3. Zenith
  4. Dragon’s Alley
  5. Digital Rebel350
  6. Rambling Thoughts
  7. Funky Town Disco Music
  8. Picture to People
  9. Awww…Mondays
  10. My kids are my world

Earn Money While Christmas Shopping

earnmoneyshopping
If you aren’t taking advantage of reward programs, then you are missing out on free money. I don’t mean doing offers where you have to pay like trials, but just for doing the things you already do like shopping or reading emails. You can do those offers especially if it’s for something you will use. I earn money for Christmas shopping.

I have taken advantage of deals where I wanted to try a new service and then I earned points on top of it like Netflix. Many banks have reward programs on their checking accounts and credit cards. I bank with Capital One and earn over 10,000-20,000 points yearly for banking. Some cable companies are offering reward programs. I have a Charter bundle package and I also earn points with their reward program. I don’t know if all cable or phone companies offer reward programs. I would check and most are free to sign-up.

I’m part of several reward programs like My Points, Big Crumbs, and now Ebates. I received a $15 bonus for signing up with Ebates. I had to spend $50 online before Christmas. I already made the requirement since I had certain presents to buy that I could only find online. I love to snag deals online as well as in the stores. I spent $60 yesterday on presents and will receive double rewards since it was Cyber Monday. I also use My Points when shopping and it just depends on who is offering the better deal. I can’t cash out my Ebatessince I just joined. I want to share with you the other rewards I’m getting to use for Christmas shopping. I love using these programs which really helps to lower my Christmas expenses. What are you waiting for and start earning rewards while you shop! I know there are many reward programs available, but these are the ones I have used and know have been around for many years. I am looking into Swagbucks.

  • Charter- $25 gift card and $10 gift card
  • Capital One- $50 gift card, $25 gift card, and $10 gift card
  • My Points- $25 gift card and $10 gift card
  • Grand Total- $155 in rewards= FREE MONEY!

How do you earn money for Christmas?

Broccoli Casserole- A Holiday Tradition

Broccoli Casserole- A Holiday Tradition

broccolicasseroledish

I first learned how to make this very tasty broccoli casserole when I was a teenager still living at home. I love to eat this dish every Thanksgiving and Christmas. This is one of those dishes that many people in my family ask me to bring or to make at the holidays. I wanted to share this very easy yet very yummy broccoli casserole recipe. I have to add my husband, who loathes broccoli, absolutely loves this broccoli casserole and will go back for seconds.

Broccoli Casserole

Recipe Type: Casserole
Cuisine: American
Author: Thrifty Momma Ramblings
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8-12
I normally make this casserole for the holidays which consists of rice, cream of chicken soup, cheese and broccoli. My family can’t get enough of it.
Ingredients
  • 2 Cans of Cream of Chicken Soup
  • 1 cup of uncooked white rice (2 cups cooked)
  • 1 bag of frozen broccoli (I use a whole small bag like Picsweet)
  • Velveeta cheese cubed (at least 1 small 8 oz loaf)
Instructions
  1. Use a 9×13 glass dish like pyrex and you will add enough water to barely cover the bottom. Then add both cans of soup and stir and add in the broccoli. Cook in the microwave uncovered on high for 5 minutes. Take out stir and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Stir again.
  2. Next you will begin to add the rice and mix it in very well. I actually break up the rice into smaller chunks before adding it in the dish. Afterwards, you will add in the cheese. Try to spread it out and then mix it in well. Now you want to spread it out and smooth out the top.
  3. Finally you will put it in the oven uncovered on 350 degrees for 20 minutes and the cheese should bubble. Then take out and let it cool off.

I usually buy Campbell’s Cream of Chicken soup as I find it goes on sale often around the holidays. As for the broccoli, I use Pic sweet frozen florets and one small bag. I usually get them on sale 2/$3 and I use the whole bag. You could use chopped but I just prefer the florets. I prefer to use Velveeta cheese as it melts so well and has a great cheesy taste. I will admit I usually buy the small block of Great Value brand as it’s usually cheaper. I will buy the Velveeta Cheese when I can find it on sale with a a coupon! I will use at least 3/4 of the smallest block. I do slice them into small cubes. It will be easier to mix into the casserole.

I have a smaller microwave so I put a small amount of water along with both cans of soup and the broccoli. Mix it as well as you can and put in for about 4 minutes. I take it out and stir it again. I microwave it for another 4-5 minutes. You might have a couple of pieces of broccoli that are still a little frozen but this is alright. It will finish cooking in the oven.
broccolicasseroledish

Next you will begin to add the rice and mix it in very well. I actually break up the rice into smaller chunks before adding it in the dish. Afterwards, you will add in the cheese. Try to spread it out and then mix it in well.
broccolicasseroledish

Last you will spread it all out after you mixed it well. You kinda just want to smooth the top so it looks nicer. I use a Pyrex glass dish. I find those glass dishes are so easy to cook with, and you just serve from that same dish once cooked. They also clean easier and won’t stain. I have owned my Pyrex dishes for at least 10-12 years. They just last.
broccolicasseroledish

Now you will put the broccoli casserole uncovered into the oven for at least 15 minutes at 350. I personally find 20 minutes is the perfect amount of time to have it cooked and the cheese a little bubbly. The edges may be a little browned but it’s fine. I brought this to Thanksgiving dinner, and there was just enough leftover for me. I was happy everyone enjoyed it so much, but I just wished there was a little more left. If you try this broccoli casserole recipe, then please let me know if you and your family enjoyed it as much as my family does.
broccolicasseroledish

Relax This Holiday Season


The holidays are fast approaching with Thanksgiving almost here. Thanksgiving is the signal that Christmas will be here in a month. Oh no! I still have to buy the turkey and trimmings, clean the house for the guests, then start decorating for Christmas, buy the presents, wrap them, and send out cards. Whoa! Slow down and take a deep breath. Do the opposite and take time for yourself this holiday season.

While this tidbit sounds great in theory, didn’t you just see all of the things I still have to do. Believe me I understand, but take your finger off the panic button and relax. I’m going to list a few tips on how to take time for yourself and learn how to relax which will make the holidays even more enjoyable.

Make a Plan:
Everyone needs a plan of action. Make a list of all the items you need to make for Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner. Make a list of all the people you buy presents for or make treats. I realize I’m a little late planning this post as I wanted to write this last week, but this is still useful for Christmas. I always make a list of the people we buy presents for, and I always buy a couple of extra items for those last minute gifts. The plans are also good for cleaning or maybe with traveling.

Delegate:
I realize some of you are probably laughing, but I want you to delegate that list to others. Get your husband involved, the kids (if they are old enough), friends, and other family members. If someone asks if they can bring something for Thanksgiving, then tell them yes. It could be soft drinks or desserts. Maybe they make a wonderful side dish that everyone enjoys. You aren’t superwoman so stop trying to act like one.

Indulge Yourself:
I am very serious. As women we try so hard to please everyone else, that we neglect ourselves. I know I’m not useful to my family if I’m stressed out and snapping at them over trivial things. When I start to feel my breaking point, then I take a deep breathe and lock myself up away from everyone. You don’t have to make a dramatic exit, but just excuse yourself for a few minutes. I realize some moms don’t have as much time to get away, but honestly even five minutes of peace and quiet makes a huge difference in your attitude and well being. Below are some things I like to take time to do for myself.

  • Take a bubble bath. (I have occasionally brought a glass of wine to sip while soaking).
  • Do some reading. (It could be as simple as thumbing through your favorite magazine).
  • Do a craft. (If this truly relaxes you then go for it).
  • Enjoy a glass of wine or beer by yourself. (Maybe a hot cup of tea or hot chocolate instead).
  • Pray or meditate. (I know I feel more at peace after saying a prayer or two).
  • Eat a piece of chocolate. (Seriously I love a piece of dark chocolate and just savoring it).
  • Go for a walk. (This really helps to clear your head).
  • Exercise or dance. (Along the same lines but it really does help to soothe frazzled nerves).
  • Listen to music. (I even do this while taking a hot bubble bath).

I think you get the idea. There are times I just lock myself up in my room for a few minutes. My latest guilty pleasure has been writing. I find it really enjoyable to put my thoughts down on paper. It has proven to be quite therapeutic and relaxing for me. Please take some time for yourself this holiday season. A few minutes to yourself daily can make quite the difference in your attitude.

Get Bowled Over-Tupperware Bowl Set Thrifty Momma Ramblings Giveaway


With the holidays coming, who can’t use more bowls? My mom sold Tupperware when I was growing up. She still has pieces from over twenty years ago and still going strong. I naturally bought Tupperware as an adult, and I have containers and bowls from ten years ago that still look great. I really believe they make quality bowls and containers that will last for decades. You definitely don’t loan out your Tupperware to anyone! I will to my mom but that’s it.

I sold it a couple of years ago and amassed quite a collection. One lucky reader will receive a Tupperware Wonderlier 5 piece Bowl set! This set is brand new and still wrapped. I did take it out to show the colors of the set you will win in this giveaway. I’m not asking anyone to go to the website, and I don’t have a link to the site either. I just thought it would be fun to do a giveaway and I know many women love Tupperware. It is pricey but it’s a great investment and I got mine discounted. I want to share the love with my loyal readers.

THE PRIZE:
The bowl set you will win is a 5 piece Tupperware Wonderlier® Bowl. The colors are different from that set above. Look below to see the actual bowl set. The set includes one of each 2-cup/500 mL,3-cup/700 mL, 4-cup/1 L, 8-cup/2 L and 12-cup/2.8 L bowl. I also have all the lids. This set will not come with the salt and pepper shakers shown above. You will only get the 5 piece bowl set with lids! This bowl set is worth $60.

GIVEAWAY RULES:
This is super simple. Just leave me a comment telling me why you love Tupperware. That’s it. This giveaway is only open to US residents 18+ please. Make sure you leave your email in your comment. Only one entry per person or email address please. I am including extra entries so check below. The winner will be pulled by Random dot org.

The giveaway will end on November 30th at 11:59 PM CST! I will need your mailing address to ship the bowls to the lucky winner. It will be shipped priority mail so it will arrive quickly. Again only open to the US. Please no anonymous posters. Thank you. No purchase necessary.

EXTRA ENTRIES:
2 Extra Entriess- Blog about this drawing on your blog linking back to this post. Leave me a comment with the link that I can follow and see it.
1 Extra Entry- Subscribe to my email list located at the top right hand side below header.
1 Extra Entry- Retweet this contest or follow me on Twitter (You can do both but you only get credit for one.)
1 Extra Entry- Follow my page on Facebook or Share on your wall (You can do both but you only get credit for one.)

Thanks again for reading this blog and enjoy the giveaway! Below is a picture of the actual bowl set the lucky winner will receive. Good luck to all who enter.