Monday, April 29, 2013

Buffalo Zoo & Tips for Kids

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We have planned, for quite some time, to take Mac to the Buffalo Zoo. Ever since I scored a great deal on Groupon for tickets. That's suggestion one: buy discounted tickets or take advantage of Triple A, Military, Senior or student rates if you can!! We decided to go on the first official nice weather day in New York and so did every other family with small children. The line for patrons was enormous! I am so glad they let us right in since we already had tickets. So having the tickets a head of time saved us 30-45minutes in line just to get in!! Plus it's a good 2 hour drive to get there so that alone can be hard a little one.
The Zoo was clean and they gave Mac a Map, boy did that make his day! He told us how to get to the animals until of course he saw a small train that took all of his attention. This was my first kind of annoyance. I understand wanting to make money BUT we came to see the animals. To get to an animal it took a LOT of walking, but the train was the first thing you saw. Just took away from the experience, having to explain we came to see the animals and he could ride once we walked around.
 
We continued on our quest to find him some elephants. He was on a mission let me tell you! There was a lot of crowds so if your little one is not a fan of people try choosing a day many crowds don't go to the Zoo. Also make sure to really watch them and not let them go off on their own. I know it seems like common sense BUT trust me it isn't and we saw it to often parents just letting 1-2 year olds running off without supervision. We took the stroller (full of Snacks, drinks & sunscreen) and his beloved monkey to make sure he stayed close. Mac doesn't appreciate crowds and gets very fearful so he stayed closed and we had no problems with him darting off.
We have gone to several places that house animal exhibits but letting them roam FREE was a new experience. I really enjoyed this and it was in the center of the Zoo! But if you look loosely in the background pictured above, you will see the enormous play area for kids? It was unsupervised and housed tons of "obstacles" for children to use. We decided against letting Mac use it because there was so many children in there. They we all jumping on each other and it was not a very safe environment. Call me a worry wart but why enable something bad to happen? I am sure parents just want to send their kids off, to play off, energy and just sit. BUT taking a break, walking away to relaxing in the middle of a Zoo while your child is jumping off things and trampling others is really only going to cause you more grief in my opinion.
Do you take your kids to the Zoo?

Friday, April 26, 2013

The $2 Shelf

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As you can see I bought a shelf, at an auction for $2. It was nothing really special but in my mind I had oh so many ideas for it. With a few things this shelf might actually make a great addition to the house. The weather has been so off and on that I really started this project months ago, when it was still snowing and just now finished it. 
I let it sit on my front porch and attacked it with some gray paint I picked up for FREE at a local yard sale. Love sales especially ones where people give stuff away!! Anyway I scrapped off all the star stickers and coated it. I sealed it with some Poly spray. And let it sit to dry for weeks. At that time it was still snowing so the drying process took forever. 
We then nailed it to the wall and it sat there for a month.
Gradually we have been placing items on it. 
Today marked the finished product when we finally hung the picture frames above it complete with pictures in it. The frames had been sitting there for a month too but I didn't have any photos. After my great deals on FREE photos I have plenty now. If you are interested in reading more about the FREE photos click here.
It is now in it's happy home where it will stay even if we move!
 $2 for the shelf
Paint was free, used a brush I already had
Labor was free
Total cost: $2 & a great piece.
Have you ever refinished something? Repurposed an old dresser or shelf? I love taking things and revitalizing them into their former glory and saving money!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Homemade Lasagna Recipe

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Homemade Lasagna:
Parmesan Cheese
Ricotta Cheese
Tomato Sauce ( I used Rinaldi Super mushroom)
1 Egg
1 onion
1 Package of Venison ( or an meat you prefer)
Lasagna Noodles
Mozzarella Shredded Cheese ( or any shredded cheese you like)
Can of tomatoes ( I used the chili style chunks)
 I start boiling the noodles in water with some butter and salt first (Very important). Then I start mixing the Ricotta Cheese ( the whole container) with the Tomatoes, diced onion and egg. Once you dice and get everything ready the noodles will be just about ready to drain and add cold water into the pan to cool them. Drain again and spray your glass oven pan. Place a layer of noodles, add some of the ricotta mixture and spread out. Add meat and then sprinkle the shredded cheeses. Then add another noodles layer and repeat, mixture, meat cheese until all of the noodles and fixings are used up. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top as shown above. 
Bake for about 30-45 minutes at 365. I eye bawled it to be done when the cheese was melted and starting to brown (in the picture it looks burnt but it's just dark brown). Cut and enjoy!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Homemade Chili recipe

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Love teaching my son to cook! It really is a bonding experience for the both of us. I hope he will remember these times in the kitchen! Ok, on to Chili:
EASY Homemade Chili:
You will need:
1 can light Kidney Beans
1 can Chili or black beans ( we used some organic ones we got for FREE)
1 can of diced tomato's "Chili style" 
( you can use fresh but if you don't have any make sure to get the can that is chili style they taste best)
1 taco packet mix
1 pepper
1 onion( if you have one, today we didn't)
2-4 Mushrooms ( optional)
Chili powder
Sausage links (if you want a meat)
Dice your pepper, onion and mushrooms. Open chili tomato's, beans and pour into slow cooker ( I had my handy sidekick do this). We used a REYNOLD's Slow cooker bag for easy clean up! Basically you just add all the ingredients into the slow cooker and stir. The chili powder I just gave a few good shakes into the cooker. We also did add some salt and pepper. Once stirred put the cooker on high for about 4-6 hours. If you do want a meat with this I just fry up some sausage links when you are ready to serve. Cut it up and stir it in.
 It's SUPER easy, yummy and makes the house smell GREAT!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Ranch Potato Recipe

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1 Ranch Packet
3-4 Potatoes (or as many as you would like)
2-4 slices of Bacon
olive oil or vegetable oil
Cut potatoes into cubes & drizzle the olive oil over them.
Use 1/2 the Ranch packet and mix.
Cut the raw bacon and add to the bowl. Mix.
Cover and place into oven for 30-45 minutes until potatoes are tender.
Uncover & cook another 10 minutes to crispen everything up.
Serve and enjoy! Also can be placed into tin foil & grilled!!
This is an easy dish and it tastes AMAZING!!

Monday, April 1, 2013

DEALS in Myrtle Beach

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I didn't want to mention anything before we left but we did this last year on our Myrtle Beach trip too. This way I could take pictures to show how I did it. You can grab a coupon book at any informational welcome center, store from in the Free coupon book stands or gas stations. There are tons of them around. The pages look like this (picture above)
If you notice they have several coupons for "Free" items with NO PURCHASE! I did use a couple discounted coupons to grab some inexpensive souvenirs. As you can see I snatched a Bear that says
"Myrtle beach". I love doing this because you can go to some really cool stores and they are handing out freebie! You just take the coupon in and ask the cashier where the free items are located.
This is the haul that we managed to score while in Myrtle Beach. Some of you are thinking wow this stuff looks familiar because we gave it to you as a gift! Why spend lots of money on take home trinkets? We spent maybe $6 on all the items you see above!! I also want to point out that fabulous Victoria Secret umbrella I scored for FREE. How did I do that? We brought little man to the boardwalk play area so he could run around and enjoy the sun. While watching him play we sat at the "mom" tables. A hot dog vendor was right outside the play area fence and a family was deciding to shell out $5.50 for a hot dog each. So being the Savvy savor I offered my expert opinion on some other choices that were cheaper and better food in my opinion. We started talking and they decided Subs, chips and drink for $6 was a better deal because they could all share the subs since they were so big. After that we were friends chatting about the deals in the area and best places to go. Next thing I knew they were heading to do more sighting seeing and the lady gave me one of her 3~FREE Victoria Secret umbrellas she had gotten due to her purchases in the store. As a sort of thank for saving them loads of money and helping them out. SO THANK YOU!