Household hints
May 12, 2014, 8:56 AM
Filed under: Uncategorized

Its my birthday….and it’s free!!!!!
March 29, 2014, 8:51 PM
Filed under: couponing, Fun on a budget, Life style

Hello my super saver friends!  It’s that time again, yes my birthday and I would like to give you all a gift.  Actually several.

The list this year will begin; for the sake of my local readers,  in the Mont/Bucks County of Pennsylvania.  Then onto the Philadelphia region and nationally.  I will also include a category for kids birthdays.

Keep in mind that you should read the offers first before agreeing.  Some are good only on your actual birthday, where as others are good for a week or even a month.  On occasion, you will find you must enroll 30 days prior to your special day.   Choose wisely.

1) Applebees:  Sign up and get a special treat on your birthday.

2)Carrabba’s – Join the Amici Club and receive offers for complimentary menu items and a special offer on your birthday.

3) Chili’s: Sign up for the email club for free chips and queso as well as a birthday coupon.

4) Country Buffet: Buy one, get one entree for signing up and a coupon for your birthday

5) Cold Stone Creamery: Buy one, get one free coupon for your birthday.

6) Cracker Barrel: Sign up and get a free dessert on your birthday.

7) Dairy Queen: Join

the Blizzard Fan Club for an extra-special coupon on your birthday and surprise on your anniversary.

8)Dave & Buster’s: Get $10 “Bonus Game Play” with purchase of $10 game play just for signing up, plus $5 free game play on your birthday.

9) Dunkin Donuts: Sign up for Dunkin’ Perks and get a free medium beverage upon sign-up and another free medium beverage on your birthday.

10) Friendly’s: Join the BFF Club for a free 3-scoop sundae and birthday offers.

11) Houlihan’s: Free appetizer for joining and free entree for your birthday.

11) IHOP: Join the Pancake Revolution and receive a free meal within 24 hours and a free birthday meal.

12)Longhorn Steakhouse: Join the Western Hospitality Club and receive special offers plus a coupon for a free dessert on your birthday.

13)  Melting Pot: Become a member of Club Fondue, and you’ll receive a complimentary box of Signature Chocolate-Covered Strawberries with the purchase of any Big Night Out, Four-Course Classic or the combination of any two individual entrees and a cheese fondue. You’ll receive this same offer for your birthday.

14) Medieval Times: Join the Birthday Fellowship and the King’s Court to receive a free admission on your birthday.

15) Old Country Buffet: Free entree for signing up and another for your birthday.

16) Old Navy: Sign up for Old Navy emails (all the way at the bottom of the Old Navy homepage) to sign up for coupons and a special birthday treat.

17) Orange Julius: Sign up for a buy one, get one free drink.

18) Outback Steakhouse: Join Outback Rewards and get a free Aussie-tizer with the purchase of two entrees at sign-up and something special on your birthday.

19) Panera Bread: Get a MyPanera card from a Panera associate, register the card online, and you’ll start to receive special discounts, freebies and a birthday reward.

20) Red Lobster: Join the Fresh Catch Club and get a special birthday gift!

21) Red Robin – Yum! Sign up for the e-club to get a free burger and bottomless fries on your birthday.

22) Rita’s: Join Rita’s birthday Club to receive a special birthday treat.

23) Romano’s Macaroni Grill: Offers a $5 discount on any entree when you sign up for their newsletter as well as a birthday treat.

24) Ruby Tuesday: Join “So Connected” and enter your birthdate to join the birthday list. You’ll get a buy one, get one free entree coupon for signing up and a free burger on your birthday!

25)  Sephora: Become a Beauty Insider and get a complimentary birthday gift.

26) Smashbox: Sign up for their rewards program and receive free beauty products during the month of your birthday!

27)  Sonic: Sign up to be a Sonic Cruisers member for a surprise on your birthday (choice of free medium Tots, regular CreamSlush Treat or medium drink).

28) Starbucks: Get a free handcrafted beverage or one free food item of your choice on your birthday.

29) Texas Roadhouse: Join to receive delicious gifts and other fun stuff.

30) T.G.I. Fridays: Sign up for the Give Me More Stripes Guest Recognition Program for a free dessert or appetizer upon sign-up, an $8 coupon good for free food when you spend $100 or more on food, and a special treat on your birthday.

31) Uno Chicago Grill: Free birthday treat for signing up.

32) Victoria’s Secret: Sign up for the mailing list to receive a coupon for $10 off a $10 purchase.

33) ACE Hardware: Sign up for ACE Rewards and get a $5 off coupon on your birthday.


1) DSW: Join DSW’s rewards program and receive a $5 gift certificate on your birthday.

2) CVS: Register for a CVS ExtraCare Card and get $3 in ExtraCare Bucks every year on your birthday.

3) American Eagle Outfitters: Sign up for AERewards and get 15% off during your birthday month.

4) Friendly’s: Join their BFF Club and get a free three-scoop sundae just for enrolling, as well as free birthday offers for your entire family.

5) P.F. Chang’s: Sign up for their email updates and get a free dessert on your birthday.

6) ChicK-fil-a- free meal on your birthday.


1) Waffle House Regulars get a free meal too.

2)  if you’re in California, snag a trip to Catalina Island.

3) Cinemark will give you a free concession (read: popcorn) if you sign up for their email list.

4)  Ice cream you can have FREE DIPPIN’ DOTS

5) Missouri residents can receive a free lottery ticket by signing up for the email list.

6) If you’re on Foursquare, check to see if people have left tips re: free birthday drinks, appetizers, etc. at your local spots.

7)  And, since humans aren’t the only ones with birthdays, sign up your pet for Petco’s Birthday Club for special treats and savings.


1)If you happen to be in South Africa, enjoy a trip on the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway.

2)Delta will give you $100 off a trip booked through one of their vacation packages during your birthday month.


California Pizza Kitchen: Free CPK kids’ meal for his or her birthday and a $5 discount for signing up.

Burger King: Free kids’ meal on his or her birthday when you join the kids club.

Olan Mills Portrait Studio: Sign up for the Birthday Club and get a free package on your child’s birthday (ages 3 and younger).

Ringling Brother’s Barnum & Bailey Circus: Free ticket for children 12 months and under. Does not expire. See details here.

Sonic:  Kids ages 12 and younger can sign up for the Birthday Club for a coupon for a free Wacky Pack Kids Meal on their birthday.

Toys”R”Us: Sign up kids 10 and under for Geoffrey’s Birthday Club for a free party planner with a special offer, a birthday greeting card and $3 gift, an in-store celebration (including a birthday crown, a balloon, and an in-store announcement), and even a birthday call from Geoffrey himself.

Walmart: Free 8×10 custom collage for signing up for emails from Picture Me Portraits.

Disney: Register for Disney Movie Rewards and you’ll receive a credit for a free Blu-ray movie on your birthday.

Barnes & Noble: Sign up for their Kids’ Club and your child can receive a cupcake on their birthday.

Bashas’: Register your child in their Birthday Club and they’ll receive a free cake every year through age 10.

Bob Evans: Sign your children (12 and under) up for theBob Evans Birthday Club and the’ll receive free kids’ meals on their birthday.

California Pizza Kitchen: Sign your children (10 and under) up for the CPKids Birthday Club and they’ll receive a free meal during their birthday month.

Chuck E. Cheese’s: Join their email club and receive special offers and freebies for your child’s birthday.

Kmart: Join their Birthday Club and get a $5 gift card for your child’s birthday, plus a birthday gift pack.

Make your own greeting cards…
February 8, 2014, 2:18 PM
Filed under: Craft Ideas, Fun on a budget

These days everyone is talking about how to save a buck.  But there are certain things you hate to skimp on.  Gifts and cards are just two of them.  But good news homemade gifts are back with a vengeance.  Just check out any magazine today and you will see homemade businesses and craft kits through the mail.  Wait you say I don’t have the money to special order crafts and gifts.  Martha Stewart I am not.  Well hold on to your to your glue guns and pinking sheers, YOU CAN DO IT!

As promised in all my blogs; it is my goal to empower you to be independent and comfortable with your own talents.  I’ll share with you websites and examples of how to create and purchase one of a kind items for gifting.  We discuss the art of card making, gift giving, and supporting small businesses, and finally using friends and family talents.

The Art of Card Making

The origin of exchanging handmade greeting cards can be traced all the way back to ancient Chinese culture.  Today, card making is a worldwide hobby, especially popular in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  One in six U.S. households participates in making cards.  The top occasions/themes for making cards are: Birthdays, winter holidays (Christmas, New Year’s, etc.), thank you, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day.  Card makers prefer stamps and rub-ons for use on their holiday handmade cards.   Creating a handmade card brings a special kind of joy. There’s joy in the process of creating, as well as in giving and receiving handmade cards.   It is energy, time, and love that says, “I really care about you” in a world of impersonal communications such as e-mails.  Beneath the cardstock and embellishments is emotion from the card maker–encouragement, celebration, commemoration, and love.  Instead of being thrown away, they are cherished and displayed.  It’s a RELATIONSHIP BUILDER.  They spark deep connections, express feelings, evoke laughter, and warm the hearts of friends, relatives, and co-workers.

Here are some that I have made they can be simple:

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Or more intricate:

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You can use stickers and pre-packaged cards with envelopes.  The prepackaged cards can be purchased at your local craft store for less than $10 for 50 count.  I use coupons at AC Moore and usually find them on sale for about $8 a pack.  I buy card and paper stock only when on clearance and sale.  Most times I buy after holiday and save.  Other places to find cheap supplies are dollar stores.  The one around the corner from me has great stickers.  I also check the $1 bins at craft stores like Joanne’s and Michael’s.  Hot glue guns and glue sticks are essentials for crafting.  If you are still feeling discouraged look to local library or museum that offers classes.  In our area the Mercer Museum in Doylestown offers card making classes at Valentine’s, and local community centers as well as churches may have crafting nights.  Calvary Church Souderton currently has crafting on Wednesday and Friday evenings.  Check the website or call the office for more information.  Or purchase from other folks you know have talent.  They’ll be encouraged by your support and you’ll be adding to his or her income:)

Gifting-  there are a few things to take into account when choosing a gift for someone.

  1. Think about what they like, but also what maybe an “inside joke” or a memory between you two. Never ask what they want, it sort of ruins the surprise. Just stay aware of things. Like brands, colors, styles, movies, music, things they collect, etc.
  2. Think about places you two have gone. For example: your cousin and you went to a concert, get her something from that band. It’s more personal than a gift card.
  3. Make sure to keep it a secret, and if you tell anyone make sure they keep it secret too! Most people say they don’t like surprises but they really do.
  4. Make sure the gift looks presentable. For example: if you get a book, wrap it, and add a card. Or if you buy a clothing item make sure it’s wrapped in a box or shopping bag.
  5. Personalize a gift, always. Even if it’s just a card.
  6. If you don’t have money or truly have no idea what to get the person. Make up coupons. Like “I.O.U. one shopping day to anything you want” or “One manicure & pedicure, just us!” for guys “One day doing anything you want, fishing, football, washing cars – you choose”. They are all personal and all something you can make memories while doing. You can even bring a camera or buy a disposable for the day.  Reserve this only for those closest to you.  I.E. spouse, sibling, parent, of best friend.

Frequent small businesses.  Often they have a unique selection and offer free shipping or pick up.  Sometimes they may offer gift wrapping.  This introduces the receiver of the gift to a new experience or place to find something that they enjoy.  This goes double for shopping for gifts while on vacation.  Try charity shops that sell all sorts of stuff, also get charms for a charm bracelet. I know it sounds dorky but it has been nice years later to of back through and have all your memories in one place.   Local businesses appreciate your purchase and you know you are spending wisely and purchasing quality.

Lastly, utilize people you know.  I recommend a cousin by marriage Sandra.  She was recently honored by having her creations added to the presenters bags at a Oscars.  She has an Etsy site:

I also have a friend Kelly, who enjoys knitting and crocheting She has made baby booties and baby blankets.  These make memorable and special gifts when you don’t know what to give.   If you are interested post a comment and I will put you in touch with her.

Another friend Kathryn who uses glass as her medium and creates her own ornaments and jewelry.  I purchased her ornaments as gift this Christmas.  It was in expensive and fast and once again no shipping.  Once again if interested please post a comment and I’ll put you in touch with this talented artist.

Downmarket Downton-Victorian entertaining economically
February 8, 2014, 10:15 AM
Filed under: etiquette, Financial tips, Fun on a budget, Holiday Fun

How many of my readers are Downton Abbey fans?  I know I am.  I have found myself swept up in Downton fever.  This public broadcasting station hit is a great escape based in historic setting around real events.  Like many I have enjoyed getting to know the Grantham and the Crawley families.  I tune in each week to check in on friends upstairs and downstairs.  I also have been intrigued by the customs and practices of the era.   I wanted to learn more about societal practices and behaviors.   I researched on-line, read books and  watched documentaries.  The more I learned the more I wanted to know.

” I always thought that people who made a big deal about good manners meant that they were stuck up, or trying to act better than you .   Having good manners is a way to put everyone around you at ease. – (Blast from the Past).   Victorians were big on manners and social graces as well as charity and kindness and hospitality.  I myself love entertaining and making people feel at home when they visit my home.  I believe in todays age of fast-paced, computer age, cell phone addicted, I-pad loving world; we have lost the human touch somewhere along the way.  I think it’s about time we bring it back into style; even if it’s in a small way.

Dining in Victorian times was an event.  People sent invitations thru the mail or even by messenger.   There were expectations of dress, topics of discussion, introductions and decorum.  I will pass along how I created a Victorian Dinner Party on a budget.  First we will start with the invitation.   When planning a formal dinner party, the hostess had to carefully select guests  it was indeed a necessity to have a socially harmonious group of guests.  After selecting a date and creating a guest-list, invitations were written by the hostess and sent two days to two weeks before the party, depending on the occasion. Guests were expected to send a reply, especially if they were unable to attend.   According to Godey’s Lady’s Book, one should specify the number of guests invited in the invitation, so that the invitee might dress to suit the occasion and avoid the embarrassment of improper attire. It was customary for men to wear black pants, a waist-coat, jacket, white tie, shirt and gloves, and for female guests to don formal evening dresses and gloves, which were removed at the table.

sample invitation

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When guests arrived, they were met in the entry, where they would remove their jackets and hats before being led into the parlor to be greeted by the host and hostess. A knowledgable hostess would be dressed and waiting before the designated time of the party, in order to greet any guests, who, in an attempt to be punctual, had arrived ahead of schedule. To arrive before the hostess was ready was indeed an embarrassment.  Drinks are offered by the hostess at this time.  A good host or hostess will have non alcoholic beverages to offer should there be a guest who does not drink.

I choose two couples of the same age group and status.  I informed my guests by the style of the invitation and noted dress to impress on the invitation.  The cost of the invitation was only the cost of stamps for me as I am an avid craftier and used many of the supplies I already had.  The picture above was found on a search for Victorian Valentines.  I printed it out and then cut the image to fit my greeting card size and then used a combination of stamps and paper to personalize.  I also looked up the proper manner of addressing the invitees as it was quite formal then.  These sites were quite helpful; and also

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Next I set about finding out what was served at a typical Victorian dinner party.  I found that most were 12 course!  But upon further research I had heard that 8 course dinner could be acceptable.    The guests examined their menus, always written in French while they awaited the first part of the three course meal. They were not expected to eat everything offered, and could pick and choose which foods they wanted as they sat around the ornate table, which usually had a decorative centerpiece, like flowers or a fruit pyramid (“Dinner at Eight”). Some possible food items included soup, venison, poultry, vegetables, and for dessert, and imported fruits (Margetson 79). Oysters were also frequently served (Margetson 86). Here is a sample menu.

I created a menu with 8 courses.  Course 1- is soup.  I choose butternut squash soup I purchased (boxed) and topped with French’s Fried Onions in the center before serving.  Course 2- is called kickshaws- our translation is appetizer.  Usually you would serve 3-4 options so guests can partake or decline.  I served 2 options Caprese bites, and Spinach pastry puffs.  Course 3-Sorbet for cleansing of the palate only.  One small scoop served in a footed dish.  Course 4- Fish, I opted for a small serving using tuna, rather than a full serving of fish as dictated by the custom of the day.  Course 5-Salad with assorted dressings.  Course 6- Main dish.  I chose teraki seasoned pork loin with mashed potatoes and haricot.  Course 7-Fruits, cheeses, pastries dessert.  I served assorted berries, cheeses, and dessert.  My dessert was a layered creamcicle cake.  Course 8- Tea, coffee, assorted chocolates, cookies.  Served in the study ( my case the living room).  If you serve wines with each course choose the glass champagne-dessert, Burgundy, Bordeaux-duck or pheasant or wild game and red meat or fish, and White-served with soup, salad, fish, white poultry meat.  There should be a separate glass for water.

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I asked a friend who is a professional waitress and she became “the help.”  She dressed in style and did a magnificent job serving and timing the dinner.  I would recommend having a Butler, and two maids if you can.  Also be sure to coordinate with the help the timing of dinner and order of courses, about half an hour to 45 minutes should do the trick.  There should be no verbal communication during dinner with the help unless absolutely necessary.  Plates should be cleared between courses.  This is where having two sets of hands makes the flow of much more professional. When setting the table I recommend “The Little Book of Etiquette” by Sheila M. Long.  Silverware is used from the outside in.  The last step in setting the table is to space the settings 16 inches wide.  This gives each guest plenty of room.

Napkin folding adds an extra touch of flare to your table.  This site by Huffington post was very helpful and easy to follow.  I choose the Bishop’s hat but the rosette is even simpler.  When doing the rosette I would recommend a colored napkin.  You may also find several examples on you tube.

When announcing dinner, the hostess will say, “Dinner is served.”  At that time the guests will be escorted into the dining room the hostess escorted by man-of-honor, or other ranking member of the party.  The Host, by lady-of-honor or high-ranking woman in the party.  If having a party of 10 or more, choose a seating partner for each woman ahead of time and use place cards.  If 10 or less in your party you as the hostess should direct the guests to their assigned seats.  The male escort shall seat the female by pulling out her chair.

The atmosphere is of utmost importance.  Think the five senses, Smell-candles or the food prepared, Sight- place setting and table scape, sound-classical music with conversational decibel levels, Touch- feel of fabrics and clothing, and Taste of food.  Above all a good hostess makes her guests feel at ease.  Some tips to making your guests feel at ease;

1) Place your napkin in your lap to signal it is time to do the same and begin.

2) Finger bowls-should be used after serving messy foods or after the fish course, or just before dessert.  The Victorian tradition is to use rose-water which can be quite expensive and found at Whole Foods or other organic stores.  Or make your own.  this YouTube video was helpful;  Another less time-consuming and expensive is lemon water.  You can make this with real lemon pieces or lemon juice and warm water.  Promptly clear these once all guests have finished.

3) As a hostess you should continue eating until the last guest has finished so as not to make anyone feel uncomfortable.  As someone who gets very excited about the next thing, I look up and pace myself accordingly to my guests. Its hard at first but you get the picture.

4) Eat something before the party to help maintain your energy throughout the evening.

5) Be cheerful, interested, and no matter what happens, relaxed.  Your mood sets the tone.

6)  Always entertain with in your means.  Guests come to a party to enjoy one another’s company!

Knowing the correct dining etiquette gives you more confidence so you can relax and enjoy social gatherings, no matter how formal.  Entertaining around the dinner table can promote both business and friendship.  Have fun!

Be the Light…

Okay Readers:) I am back with new ways to save your pennies and create new from old.  Today’s projects are actually ones I have recently finished.  I became obsessed with re-creating my space and since, like most of you, we are on a budget.  My latest project is re-doing the light fixtures in my home.  ImageImageImageImage

Mother May I…spend less money?
May 9, 2013, 8:53 AM
Filed under: Fun on a budget

Try these helpful money saving hints for Mother’s Day or any other day!

From May 18th to May 20th, come out to CVS and receive a FREE L’Oreal Revitalift Miracle Blur sample and a coupon! Demonstrators will be on site explaining how Miracle Blur works. Miracle Blur is Revitalift’s first finishing cream that delivers instant results.  Not only does it deliver anti-aging benefits, it diffuses light on the skin for a soft –focus blurring effect upon application. To find out if this event is near you, just enter your zip code on the top right of this page.

Visit the National Public Gardens Day website at Better Homes and Garden and click on Click to Find a Garden Near You to open up a PDF file of the public gardens who are offering free admission on National Public Gardens Day.  The public gardens are organized by state and you can visit the website listed to get more information on a particular garden.  Get Your Coupon for Free Admission: Click on Get Coupon and fill out your name, email address, zip code, the local garden you’d like to attend, and the number of people who you’ll be going with. Signing up for the Better Homes and Gardens newsletters are optional.  Click Submit and then Free Admission Coupon to open up your admission ticket for your public garden.  Tip: Each coupon is good for up to two people to get free admission into the garden but you can print the coupon as many times as needed to accommodate everyone in your group.

Coloring Castle’s Printable Mother’s Day Coloring Pages

Mothers Day Coloring Pages© Coloring Castle

Coloring Castle has some wonderful Mother’s Day coloring pages and you can download as many as you want.

In addition to the Mother’s Day coloring pages there are also cards that can be printed and colored.


May 12th Jazz Vespers?-  6:30 pm Zwingli UCC 350 Wile Ave. Souderton, PA.  Free will offering will be taken.  215-723-1186 or 215-723-3909 for questions.

May 13th- 7:30pm View and Brew Movie night.  Sellersville Theater.  Showing:  Smokey and the Bandit

Looking forward to updating your beauty routine for the Spring? Be sure to go to Walgreens on Saturday, May 11th and try Coty and Elizabeth Arden fragrances, and the latest Sally Hansen products! This is a great opportunity to experience new celebrity fragrances such as Faith Hill’s Vintage Soul 2 Soul and Halle Berry’s Closer. Elizabeth Arden fragrances will also be featured: Britney Spears, Ed Hardy, Jennifer Aniston, Mary J. Blige, Red Door, Sean John Empress, Tommy Girl, Taylor Swift, and Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds. What’s more -Walgreens will be offering special discounts on these fragrances.

Beauty Advisors will also be showing customers how to use Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs products and demonstrating Insta-Dri Fast Dry Nail Color which dries in just 60 seconds. Airbrush Legs is a must have to cover up imperfections as the weather gets warm enough for skirts and dresses. Don’t miss out on great coupons Airbrush Legs and Insta-Dri Fast Dry Nail Color for these products while you’re there.

This event is at all Walgreens, to find one near you go to

May 18th 9 am-3 pm.  Church of the Holy Spirit, Sumneytown Pike and Barndt rd, Harleysville.  Local artisans, crafters, plants and hanging baskets will be featured.  Food, flea market, ,kids activities, and pie baking contest!


Olive oil-Not just Popeye’s girlfriend
May 9, 2013, 7:42 AM
Filed under: helpful household hints, Life style

Here is one more product with multiple uses…Have you ever thought about using olive oil for this?

1)  Paint remover-your hands can get stained with splatter while painting.  How do you get them clean with out scrubbing your hands raw?  Try a teaspoon of olive oil and mix with a pinch of either sugar or baking soda.  Gently rub over the area to remove paint.

2)  Unstick zippers-using a q-tip apply a small amount of oil to the inside of the slider and move the tab up and down the teeth a few times.

3)  If you find you have run out of your favorite shave cream, you can use sub it when shaving.    Lightly coat your legs in olive oil and your razor will run effortlessly over stubble.  It also conditions your razor blades too!

4)  Clean candlesticks.  Wash it first with mild dish soap and a few drops of olive oil.  To prevent pieces from sticking, wipe a tiny bit olive oil on the inside before you put the candle back in.

5)  Prevent hair balls.  Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil on pet food to help any swallowed hair make its way through your furry friend’s digestive system so it won’t be coughed up instead.