Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween! My Best Treats from Halloween Ever! Not even Candy!

I posted this last year around Halloween and enjoyed posting this so much that I thought I would post again this year for any new readers:

I would like to share my favorite items I ever got when I went trick-or-treating as a kid and this year I am adding ideas supporting each one for today's times:

#1: Polaroid Picture of myself with cousin and sister: This lady in the neighborhood took a picture of each group of kids and gave it to them as their trick-or-treating "treat" along with a hand-full of pennies that she collected throughout the year AND a can of soda! Wow! What a stop that was!
New Alternative /possibility, no doubt...with Technology getting faster and faster...why not break out the laptop and photo printer and give those kids a photo to keep forever? Or folks with printing docks! Cool! You could limit it to the kids in your neighborhood only, kids you know, or simply kids below a certain age, or best costume! Hey, get creative!

#2: My Aunt (Mom's sis) growing up was our next door neighbor and she ALWAYS (and I think still does) gives out gumball machine prizes. She saves up quarters and other change and goes to the little machines and gets rings, figurines, or whatever is in those machines, and trick-or-treaters (myself and sis and others of course) would get a little bag that had the gumball machine prize along with candy! Another cool WOW!
New Alternative: Why change this one? Save up that change and go get some prizes in those machines!

#3: This is NOT what I got trick-or-treating but it most certainly deserves the number three spot (would be higher if I got it as a kid myself): My Mother NOW (she loves it) goes to Staples, WalMart the beginning of the school year and buys tons of notebooks, pencils, pens, erasers, etc... school supplies! She gives out these EVERY YEAR now to the kids who trick-or-treat her house and they LOVE it! No Candy! Some kids make her a regular stop and one year she ran out of the notebooks and said do you have anymore notebooks? He counted on Mom felt bad, so the next year she stocked up on even more and made sure that boy got his notebook. She is a SMART shopper and gets items seriously less than a dime a piece! She and my sister always stocks my classroom each year with their smart shopping!
Alternative: Again...why change this one...just remember next year at the back-to-school sales to stock up on those one cent to 5 cents items! mom finds deals like that! I am still working towards finding the deals she does....don't know how she does it! :-)

Okay, I love to talk about memories such as this! I hope this might give you all some CREATIVE alternatives at Halloween! Surprise a kid or two!
Do you have a great alternative to candy at Halloween? Share it by dropping your comment in the comment jar!

REMINDER: Get your candy checked each year! Look up local facilities in your area that checks trick-or-treating candy. Like hospitals, police stations or wherever. We always stayed in our neighborhood so no worries, but today, got to be more safe!

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Split your Club Shopping Bill in Half!

I thought this was such an awesome idea that I had to "blog" about it to you!

We all know if you shop at places like Costco, Bj's, Sam's Club, etc...that you are Saving, but ONLY if you actually use enough of the item to purchase in "Bulk." Otherwise, it can seem costly...most especially if something gets old and goes to waste because you have so much of it.

This article I read in the BJ's flyer this past week suggested "Buddy Shopping" which mentions you make a list together with a friend...and go with that person to your store...and buy the items like, let's say, Eggs. You might get a LARGE pack of eggs that you KNOW you aren't going to use them all (and if you do..don't get that item together...get it on your personal list) but if you could split them and the price down the middle...whamo...What a Bargain all the sudden!
Okay, so you make that list together...and split the bill down the middle. When you get back to your house or your "buddy's" house...have fun splitting the items down the middle. Hey, and for those an old egg carton from prior shopping and there you both have egg cartons! :-)

You have saved money, and GAS (by traveling together) and hopefully had some fun in the process!

Now, find a buddy!

I loved this idea and it never crossed my mind. I like it because I have seen items that I thought to myself...unless you are a huge wouldn't use all of this or that in time.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 blogger/site owner on TV!!!

Congratulations to Kyle of! He was on TV on the 23rd for his site! He was on a morning show in Northern California!

Visit Rather-Be-Shopping now to check out his Television debut! That is absolutely awesome!

Kyle's site and blog have been two of my favorites for some time now. I love to see bloggers and site owners recognized on TV, Radio, etc....!

If you have not visited his site before, I encourage you to do so and take advantage of his many coupon deals and advice! Excellent Site and Blog!

I know, I used too many Exclamation points!!! I can't help it, I am excited for Rather-Be-Shopping!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Clinique Bonus Time! Exciting!

I love Clinique bonus time! Purchase $21.50 or more and get your FREE Bonus with 7 items! This time they are giving you a Choice from Three free 7-piece gift sets! You choose your bonus.

It's Clinique Bonus Time! Choose your FREE 7 piece Gift with any $21.50 purchase. Hurry, offer expires 11.08 or while supplies last!

My favorite Clinique products are the Advanced Concealer, Moisture Surge, Clinique Happy and Lipsticks! Stock up now and take advantage of the bonuses!

Clinique Online (ELC)

Friday, October 24, 2008

My Son's Halloween Costume

This year I had a hard time trying to figure out what my son would be dressed as for Halloween. Last year he was a 2 year old Elvis and he looked awesome. Kinda hard to top that one.

With much thinking and the fact we are on the tightest budget Ever (it seems)...he will be a three year old Executive Chef! :-) I will make his little jacket and everything. He already has the chef hat, and I am sure I can find him some black pants and shoes. The only thing I debate is whether or not to call him Chef Ramsey. He does have the Blonde Hair. Probably just stick with calling him an Executive Chef.

We couldn't afford for me to run out and buy him a costume this year, which is originally what I had planned to do before we had to "tighten our belts."

Glad it is Friday!

Our big weekend plans: Early Voting! That is our plans for the weekend because we can't go out and shop at all, but voting is a Free outing and we get something done and checked off the list!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Custom Pencil Drawings of Birds

Custom Pencil Drawings of Birds by My Husband:

Using Shareapic here...Feel free to click on image to make it bigger and then even Zoom in from there!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Great Gift: Custom Pencil Drawings!

Custom Pencil Drawings at a Bargain by My Husband! Check out our Etsy store:

Click on Drawing Above to visit our Etsy Store! :-)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Free Home Renovation: Clean up and Move Stuff Around!

Well, that is the way I am looking at it anyways. I have been wanting to do some new things to our house, like painting a few rooms, changing floors etc... But all of that, right now, is too expensive to even consider. To get rid of the "let's do something to the house" bug...I am going to clean out closets...put some items away and maybe rearrange a room or two. I feel that will give me an "I did something to the house" feeling and for FREE! :-)

The last time I did this...I tackled the kitchen by moving electronics (cameras, small computer gadgets etc...) above where we use the laptop in the kitchen in the cabinet above. And I got rid of some unused baby stuff (son is now three) to make plenty of space. By moving the cameras, etc...I cleared out a different small narrow cabinet and put all the medicines, etc... together! This gave us a much more functional kitchen for our lifestyle (in the kitchen at least). :-) I am still enjoying my new set up!

I have also switched out hallway closets as well, moving the "Art Closet" next to the room we do Art in and my Barbie Collection to the closet near our bedroom that is much less used. All of this type of rearranging gives me some sense of a "sigh of relief!" Making life more functional!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Loving the Fall Weather: Electric Bill Dropped $40! Yay!

Thanks to the fall weather and not yet turning on the heat with this up and down temperatures....our electric bill dropped $40 and fell below $100! That is exciting! In our last house, rarely did we go over $100 but this house is much bigger and has been a battle from time to time to keep the bill like the old house. I know it is a larger home (we love it) but I still felt like we could cut cost and get the bill back to what we had at the last home. We have actually had much better bills in the past year since making improvements from the first year to the second here.

What did we do...well I know I have shared throughout my blog but here is a few in a "nutshell":

1-New lightblocking (or more so than what the other owners had) blinds.
2-Curtains (not sheers) over windows that allow tons of light (summer time).
3-Using Electric (Ceramic, they are called I believe) plug in in the living room and an electric fireplace in the bonus (huge helps).
4-Ceiling Fans added in two rooms.
5-CFL bulbs EVERYWHERE! (only have a few specialty sizes left to go)
6-Sealed the bottoms of the bedroom doors with a plastic something at the bottom (can't remember what they are called) but helps keep the heat or air in the room and not escape.
7-Use outlet covers to keep cool drafts out (it really does help...don't you feel extra cold all the sudden even with a tiny draft?)
8-Cold water only washing.
9-No heat drying on the dishwasher.
10-Try to cut down on using the oven and use the Microwave whenever we can.
11-Lights off when we are not in the room and TV...etc...
12-Don't leave items plugged in that aren't being used or won't be used often.
13-Made sure to change filters every month winter and summer.
14-Made sure the attic was properly filled with insulation and that door sealed all the way around.
15-Close Bonus room door (room that gets the hottest in summer and coldest in winter...happens to be near the this one stays SHUT unless we are in there.)
16-We all pretty much hang out in the same room for the most lights, etc...always running in just one area of the house instead of maxing out everything at once and really getting that meter to turn.
17-Not sure how much it helps, but laundry only on one day a week and full loads only.
18-We didn't know it, but our Fridge (one from the past owners) was not great and wasn't shutting all the we eventually were forced to replace it with a new energy star one. :-)

Now I am sure there is many more things we do to cut costs...and none of these are a burden to us. Our electric bill when we first moved in was near $200 a month. (I freaked out!) Now we are talking not getting higher than $140 on the biggest month. All these little things add up as you see, and we all know over the past couple years that electric bills have went up even if you do nothing that means we have cut even more cost that I can't tell because I am not sure how much it went up. is our electric company's website...I believe they have good tips:

Save the Watts (is there "cute" name for this area of their site)

I also like this section of their site: Energy Efficiency & Renewables (talking about "greenpower, etc..")

Friday, October 10, 2008

In a panic over finances!

I have always had a good grasp on our finances, but for the first time ever...I'm not certain what other spending and wasting we can cut out. Due to the Economy, seriously, we are not doing so well lately. Yikes! We are having to "tighten our belts" way more than usual lately. I'll keep you posted on any additional ways we save money. For now, for is just simply: "DON'T BUY WHAT YOU DON'T HAVE TO HAVE!!!!"

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Christmas Gift I am looking forward to!

My Mom said she was going to get me a subscription to House Beautiful! She told me this is what she is going to do for me, this Christmas! Believe it or not, I remember her saying this last year and it is a gift I am truly looking forward to! I love those magazines and they never get old to me! :-) What is my point? Well, maybe someone around you would love a subscription to their favorite magazine this coming Christmas. Would make a great stocking stuffer and it is a gift that person will remember you for all year long!

Wordless Wednesday: My son at a Romanian Park

My WW Pictures this week are from when we went to a Romanian Park that was across from huge water fountains. It was very pretty that day.

Once again, I have used Shareapic to display the pictures you see above. If you are interested in what this is all about...please check it out today:

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Go Green with Amazon!

Cool! Amazon now has an easy way to find all the green products in one place on their site! You can find Green solutions for almost everything: Lighting, Cleaning Supplies, Office Equipment, and the list goes on!

Check them out and give them some visits for a job well-done!

Go Green! (Everyone's Jumping on Board!)

What is the Bailout?

I asked that myself...seems so obvious but at the same time...I wanted a detailed breakdown. Very hard (for me) to find. But anyways...this was the most family-friendly answer I could is from Yahoo Answers and it is a 14 year old asking the question and I believe this kid got good answers with some good links...check it out:

Yahoo Answers Answers: What is the Bailout?

I just wanted to know, and I guess I knew the answer..but always good to investigate to be sure. Do you have a better link (family-friendly)? Share it in the "Comments Jar!" :-)

Happy Saturday Folks!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sites to find your child a Costume!

Find your child's costume (or yours) from the luxury of your home. Here are a few recommended sites to check out that has a nice selection of costumes for the little ones and some for the big people. (eToys Direct, Inc.)

Banner ET_Halloween08125x125


It's FRIDAY! Yay! Time to think about relaxing, shopping, and getting that costume! When you return from work today, take time to surf these sites for their Costume Selections and deals. Relax and shop now and get the costume of your choice. Don't wait til right before, as costumes tend to get "picked over" the closer Halloween gets.

Grab your kids a costume and go out and take some cute pictures! How about making a fun Photobook to commemorate the Season (Fall or Halloween would make a nice book) from Shutterfly or take advantage of their New Member Offer 50 FREE PRINTS and my goodness FREE SHIPPING!!!! Whoa! :


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Fall Weather and Moving into Winter! Burr!

It is officially Fall as of recently and that means...we will move into Winter (cold months) before you know it!

What have you done or will you do to make sure you save on your Winter Heating Bill?

Here are some actions we have taken already and what I would like to do as well:

*Thick curtains downstairs (helps hold in the heat).
*Sealed the bottoms of the doors with those plastic things (don't know what they are called). They make the doors open and close slower and they hold the heat in each room.
*Electric Fireplace in the Bonus Room (typically very tough room to heat with the regular heating system and thus causing us to turn up the heat if we are in there...but no more..thanks to the Electric Fireplace...well worth the money..bought at end of season sale last year!)
*Oscillating Ceramic Electric Heater (very awesome...we use that in the Living Room for added heat without turning up the heat and heating the entire house)..very inexpensive and bought at Wal-Mart! Worth the money and does the job!
*Checking the attic door to be sure it is sealed and all insulation in place in the attic.
*Change Filters EVERY Month as really DOES make a difference!!!!

Would like to do:
*Add a Thick Glass Storm Door to the front door! Would help heat from escaping and could open the regular door to allow the Greenhouse effect when home during the day on the Weekends.
*Thick Curtains upstairs in all the rooms (some of our curtains are Sheers upstairs right now, not doing much for holding heat in.)

(May add more to this list later!) :-)

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Photos from Romania

Some Pictures from our Trip this summer to Romania:

(Left to Right): My son getting his hair cut; double decker bus; horse and carriage street sign in the city; Exchange sign (common sign to see in Romania: converting money is a very common occurance there)

Happy Wordless Wednesday!