Finding and Living Your Calling

When I was growing up, I wanted to be a singer, then a trauma surgeon, then a singer, then a special ed teacher, then a musician, then a teacher, and by the time I was 3/4 of the way through college, I had no idea what I wanted to be.  After college, I worked a variety of management and sales jobs.  Then I went back to school to study music…again.  I then began teaching piano lessons and singing jazz.  And then I went  back to working another sales job.

Somehow I found myself in my mid-thirties, married with kids, and I still had no idea what I wanted to be when I “grew up”.  Although I’ve had lots of great jobs, I always felt like I was created for more. There was a sense of unrest…of unease.  I watched people who were obviously doing what they were created to do and I wondered when I would find my calling.

I now know that I’m not the only one to feel this way.  I’ve had so many conversations with different people who are in that same spot…feeling stuck, but not knowing what they’re looking for and longing for!

The Art of Work 600 Square

If you’re in that spot, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of Jeff Goin’s new book, The Art of Work.

If you don’t know Jeff, he has one of the fastest-growing blogs in the world and has made waves online with his quickly growing platform.

In the past few years, he’s inspired millions (literally) of people to go beyond the status quo and live a life that matters. And in this new book, he’s encouraging you to discover your true calling, that thing you were born to do.

The message of this book is so important that Jeff wants to get it into as many people’s hands as possible. So for a limited time, you can get it for free (just pay shipping) at this link: The Art of Work

I had the privilege of reading it already and it is soooo worth reading!  If you’re struggling with finding your purpose, pick up a copy of this book!  If your spouse or a friend is struggling, grab a copy for your friend!  You only have to pay shipping!  Plus, Jeff is offering $250 in bonuses if you jump on this. I can’t guarantee that all of the bonuses will be available for long, so if you’re interested, I’d check it out now!

Click here to order your FREE copy of The Art of Work!

Restaurant Coupon Roundup {2/27/2015}

Eating out sure can get expensive, so I’m always on the lookout for deals to make it more affordable.  Below I’ve included the top printable restaurant coupons for this week!

Top Restaurant Coupons:

Black Angus Steakhouse – $42 Campfire Feast for Two (exp: 3/23/2015)

Blimpie – Free Regular Sub When You Buy Regular Sub & Drink (exp: 12/31/2015)

Buca Di Beppo - Dinner for Four for $40 (exp: 3/29/2015)

Carrabbas – 15% Off Entire Meal Purchase (exp: 3/15/2015)

Corner Bakery - Free Latte or Small Espresso Beverage with Breakfast Purchase (exp: 3/11/2015)

Einstein Bros Bagels - $3 Off Bakers Dozen Box (exp: 3/25/2015)

Logans Roadhouse – The Logan 12 oz Ribeye Steak, Farm Fresh Salad, and a Side for $13.99 (exp: 3/1/2015)

Longhorn Steakhouse - $4 Off 2 Adult Entrees (exp: 3/15/2015)

Macaroni Grill - Buy 1 Get 1 Express Dinner Entree (exp: 3/1/2015)

Marie Callenders - $5 Off $20 Purchase (exp: 3/1/2015)

Mimis Cafe – Buy 1 Get 1 Free Entree When You Buy 2 Drinks (exp: 3/8/2015)

Monicals Pizza - $3 Off Any Family Pasta (exp: 3/29/2015)

OCharleys – 20% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 3/1/2015)

Quiznos – $1 Off Regular or Large Sub or Large Salad (exp: 3/11/2015)

Sweet Tomatoes – 25% Off Dinner Family Combo (exp: 3/4/2015)

Village Inn – 20% Off Entire Check (exp: 3/20/2015)

Thanks Surviving the Stores!

Retail Coupon Roundup {2/27/2015}

If you’re planning on doing a little shopping this weekend, make sure to print off these great retail coupons before you go!

Carters – 20% Off $40 Purchase (exp: 3/4/2015)
Express - $15 Off $30, $30 Off $100 or $40 Off $120 Purchase (exp: 3/1/2015)
Kohls – 15% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 3/1/2015)
Lord and Taylor - 20% Off Regular, Sale & Clearance Items (exp: 3/2/2015)
Osh Kosh BGosh – 20% Off $40 Purchase (exp: 3/4/2015)
Party City - $15 Off $80 Purchase (exp: 3/1/2015)
Rue 21 – 30% Off $50 Purchase (exp: 3/1/2015)
The Limited – 50% Off Up to 3 Regularly Priced Items (exp: 3/3/2015)
Yankee Candle - $15 Off $45 Purchase (exp: 3/1/2015)

Thanks Surviving the Stores!

No Bake Reese’s Fudge Bars

No Bake Reese's Fudge Bars SimplifiedSaving.com

 

I’m convinced that few (and I mean VERY few) things taste better than chocolate and peanut butter!  If you’re looking for an easy recipe that will have your friends and family raving, don’t miss this No Bake Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Fudge.  It’s seriously out of this world!

Ingredients for No Bake Reese's Fudge Bars

Here’s what you’ll need:

Directions:

1. Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper or wax paper.  {Apparently, this was not my day.  This recipe works best with a 9×9 pan, but I only had a 7 x 11 pan. Also, I prefer parchment paper but I only had wax paper on hand.}

No Bake Reese's Fudge In the making from SimplifiedSaving.com

2. Place peanut butter cups in an even layer on the bottom of the pan. {I used 15.}

3.  Place chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk in medium saucepan over low heat. Stir until chips and milk are melted together.

4.  Once everything is nicely melted, spread evenly over peanut butter cups in prepared pan.

5.  Crumble remaining Reese’s Peanut Butter cups and sprinkle them over the fudge, lightly pressing them into the fudge.

6.  Allow to cool completely then cut into squares and serve.  {You can cool it on the counter or in the fridge.  I prefer making it in a pan that has a lid that goes with it.  I think it keeps the fudge better…but that’s just my opinion.

Warning: This is fudge is highly addicting and really rich!  Try not to eat it all at once!

Retail Coupon Roundup {2/13/2015}

If you’re planning on doing a little shopping this Valentine’s Day weekend, make sure to print off these great retail coupons before you go!  Also, if your man hasn’t made it out to get you something special, make sure you have him print these coupons off so he can get more bang for his buck!  I always send my hubby to White House Black Market for gifts!  I sure do love that store!!!

Aeropostale – $10 Off $40 Purchase (exp: 2/22/2015)
Bealls – 50% Off Red-Lined Clearance Purchases (exp: 2/19/2015)
Bonton – $10 Off $25 Regular or Sale Price Purchase (exp: 2/18/2015)
Carsons – $10 Off $25 Regular or Sale Price Purchase (exp: 2/18/2015)
Carters – 15% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 2/16/2015)
Dress Barn - 30% Off 1 Clearance Item (exp: 3/8/2015)
Express - $15 Off $30, $30 Off $100 or $40 Off $120 Purchase (exp: 3/1/2015)
Famous Footwear – 15% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 2/16/2015)
Justice - 40% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 2/23/2015)
Kirklands – 15% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 2/16/2015)
Kohls - $10 Off $50 Jewelry or Watch Purchase (exp: 2/17/2015)
Loft Outlet - 10% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 2/16/2015)
Lord and Taylor - 20% Off Regular, Sale & Clearance Items & 20% Off Sale & Clearance Jewelry (exp: 2/18/2015)
Osh Kosh BGosh – 15% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 2/16/2015)
P.S. from Aeropostale - $10 Off $40 Purchase (exp: 2/22/2015)
Shoe Carnival - $10 Off $50, $20 Off $100, $30 Off $150 or $40 Off $200 Purchase (exp: 2/17/2015)
Talbots - 40% Off 1 Regularly Priced Item (exp: 2/16/2015)
White House Black Market – $20 Off $80 Purchase (exp: 2/17/2015)
Yankee Candle – Buy 2 Large Jar, Tumbler or Vase Candles Get 1 Free (exp: 2/16/2015)

Thanks Surviving the Stores!

Restaurant Coupon Roundup {2/13/2015}

Eating out sure can get expensive, so I’m always on the lookout for deals to make it more affordable.  Below I’ve included the top printable restaurant coupons for this week!

Blimpie – Free Regular Sub When You Buy Regular Sub & Drink (exp: 12/31/2015)
Carrabbas - 15% Off Entire Meal Purchase (exp: 3/15/2015)
Carvel Ice Cream - Buy 1 Get 1 Free Classic Sundae (exp: 2/15/2015)
Chick Fil A – FREE Iced or Hot Coffee Every Day in February (exp: 2/28/2015)
Corner Bakery - Free 6 Pack Cupcake Bites with Adult Entree Purchase (exp: 2/22/2015)
Del Taco – Free Medium Drink When You Buy Epic Burrito (exp: 2/15/2015)
Dickeys Barbecue Pit – $5 Off XL Family Pack (exp: 2/17/2015)
Einstein Bros Bagels – 20% Off Bagel Box (exp: 2/23/2015)
Firehouse Subs - Free Cookie with Any Sub Purchase (exp: 2/15/2015)
Huddle House - Free Waffle with $5 Meal Purchase (exp: 2/15/2015)
Jacks - Free Make It Large on Lunch or Dinner Combo + More (exp: 4/12/2015)
Jersey Mikes – Free Chip & Drink When You Buy Regular or Giant Sub Purchase (exp: 2/15/2015)
Macaroni Grill – $10 for 2 Express Lunch Entrees (exp: 2/15/2015)
Maggianos - $5 Off Lighter Taker Menu (exp: 2/24/2015)
Marie Callenders – $5 Off $20 Purchase (exp: 3/1/2015)
Mimis Cafe – Buy 1 Get 1 Free Entree When You Buy 2 Drinks (exp: 2/15/2015)
Monicals Pizza – $13 for 16 Inch Thin Crust or 14 Inch Pan 1-Topping Pizza (exp: 2/22/2015)
Peets Coffee and Tea – Free Small Milk Chocolate Almond Mocha When You Buy Simply Oatmeal, Artisan Baked Good or Fresh Food Item (exp: 2/16/2015)
Smoothie King – $4.99 Medium Smoothie (exp: 2/24/2015)
Souplantation – 25% Off Dinner Family Combo (exp: 2/18/2015)
Steak Escape – Free Small Fries & Small Drink with Any Sandwich Purchase (exp: 2/28/2015)
Sweet Tomatoes – 25% Off Dinner Family Combo (exp: 2/18/2015)
Togos – Free Regular Sandwich When You Buy Regular or Larger Sandwich, Chips & Drink (exp: 2/22/2015)

Thanks Surviving the Stores!

Free and Cheap Weekend Activities and Events

Free Weekend Activities Cheap Weekend Activities SimplifiedSaving.com

Looking for some fun things you can do this Valentine’s Day weekend that won’t break the budget?  Here’s a great list of events going on across the country!  Some are events that take place on a weekly basis (like Michaels…which we do every weekend) and others are one time only events.

Make some memories and try a new workshop, lesson, or craft. If you enjoy these free activities, be sure and bookmark this master list of free store events or PIN It for later!

Share this fun,money-saving list with your friends and family. And, if you know of any others to include, please let us know! It is always best to call ahead and make sure that your local store or retailer is participating to avoid disappointment.

national-park-logo-231x300

:: Free National Park Entrance

February 14-16th for Presidents Day weekend

Find out the list of participating parks (over 405 of them) right here.

:: American Girl Special Store Events

Special events differ by location. During February, they include Grace’s Travel Tags craft, Grace’s Apron Craft & Cookie Decoration, Twists & Braids hands-on hairstyles, Princess Bitty Baby Story Time, Making Memories with Mom and Dad, Valentine Card Craft and more.

Many of the American Girl in store events are free, however some have a fee and some have age restrictions. Get the details here and find participating stores. Call ahead and make sure that your local store or retailer is participating to avoid disappointment.

barnes & noble storytime

:: Barnes & Noble

Saturday, February 14th at 11 AM

I Love You Just Like This! Storytime with Elmo and his Sesame Street friends at many locations

Most stores have free toddler story time, NOOK events, hands-on learning events and author events – find the times and participating Barnes and Noble stores here.

[Read more...]

Save Money on Valentine’s Day

Disclosure:  This post is a sponsored post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Save Money on Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it and when I realized how close it actually is, I panicked because I had nothing planned.  I tend to be a spontaneous, spur-of-the-moment kind of planner but I generally have an idea in mind ahead of time.  I should tell you up front that we usually don’t make a huge deal about celebrating Valentine’s day.  Our anniversary is 2 weeks after Valentine’s Day, so we tend to focus on that a little more.

While the hubs and I are low key about celebrating, I do like to make Valentine’s Day fun for the kids.  I put together a Valentine’s Day gift basket for my daughter who lives in Tennessee. Now I just need to get it in the mail. :)  I also made a Valentine’s Day wreath for my sewing area.  It turned out really cute and the twins were thrilled because they got to help me make it.

After I panicked about not having any plans for Valentine’s Day, I set about to make some tentative plans.  I considered hiring a babysitter and going to dinner and to see a comedian, but then I found out that if my daughter wins her first sectional game, they’ll be playing on Valentine’s Day.  With that in mind, I’ve decided to not bother making reservations.  Instead, I’m going to plan on  doing little things to celebrate Valentine’s Day over the next 10 days.

Today I looked through the Valentine’s Day Magazine on The Good Stuff by Coupons.com and found movie inspired themed date nights.  I’ll be using a few of them over the next  10 days.   While some of these require leaving the house and getting a babysitter, there are some that we could do at home.  And not having to pay a babysitter saves us a lot of money!

I’m also going to be doing some fun Valentine’s Day crafts with my kids.  I’m completely in love with this Valentine’s Day Tote Bag that was featured in the Valentine’s Day Magazine.  The magazine includes step by step instruction and the instructions are so easy that my twins will be able to make this without much (if any) help from me.

Valentine's Day Tote Bag

Valentine’s Day Tote Bag

Seriously…isn’t this tote bag adorable?  This will be fun to use in the years to come too!

I’m going to let the kids make mini Valentine’s Day yarn wreaths to hang in their rooms.  James will probably decorate it with a heart and then add the hulk, spiderman, and batman.  Shayna’s will probably be more along the lines of the one I made for my daughter Amina.

I’m also planning to make a Valentine’s Day Garland with the kids.  We’re also going to do a countdown to Valentine’s Day as a family and every day we’ll do 1 Random Act of Kindness as part of our Valentine’s Day countdown.

Click on the magazine below and it will open in a new tab and then you can read through it for Valentine’s Day inspiration!

valentines-magazine-cover

Also make sure to enter the Share the Love Sweepstakes (there’s a link on page 2) for your chance to win daily cash prized of $100.

If you’re looking for some great gift ideas, you’ll want to check out  Coupons.com Valentine’s Day Deals.  You’ll find savings on everything from chocolate to clothing to jewelry…and all of those are great gift ideas!

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?

 

 

 

 

Restaurant Coupon Roundup {2/6/2015}

Eating out sure can get expensive, so I’m always on the lookout for deals to make it more affordable.  Below I’ve included the top printable restaurant coupons for this week!

Blimpie – Free Regular Sub When You Buy Regular Sub & Drink (exp: 12/31/2015)
Bob Evans – Buy 1 Get 1 50% Off Breakfast Entree When You Buy 2 Drinks (exp: 2/14/2015)
Carrabbas – 15% Off Entire Meal Purchase (exp: 3/15/2015)
Chick Fil A – FREE Iced or Hot Coffee Every Day in February (exp: 2/28/2015)
Corner Bakery - Free Latte or Small Espresso Beverage with Breakfast Purchase (exp: 3/11/2015)
Einstein Bros Bagels – 20% Off Bagel Box (exp: 2/23/2015)
Huddle House – Free Waffle with $5 Meal Purchase (exp: 2/15/2015)
Macaroni Grill – Buy 1 Get 1 To-Go Express Lunch Entree (exp: 2/8/2015)
Maggianos - $5 Off Lighter Taker Menu (exp: 2/24/2015)
Marie Callenders – $5 Off $20 Purchase (exp: 3/1/2015)
Mimis Cafe – Buy 1 Get 1 Free Entree When You Buy 2 Drinks (exp: 2/15/2015)
Old Country Buffet – $8.99 Dinner & Dessert When You Buy 1 Drink + More Coupons (exp: 2/22/2015)
Smokey Bones – $5 Off $15 Purchase (exp: 2/8/2015)
Souper Salad – Buy 1 Adult Buffet Get 1 Bufet 50% Off (exp: 2/14/2015)
Souplantation – 25% Off Dinner Family Combo (exp: 2/11/2015)
Steak Escape – Free Small Fries & Small Drink with Any Sandwich Purchase (exp: 2/28/2015)
Sweet Tomatoes – 25% Off Dinner Family Combo (exp: 2/11/2015)
Wendys – Free Jr. Frosty with Purchase for a Year When You Buy Frosty Key Tag (exp: 6/1/2015)

Thanks Surviving the Stores!

Retail Coupon Roundup {2/6/15}

If you’re planning on doing a little shopping this weekend, make sure to print off these great retail coupons before you go!

Aaron Brothers – 50% Off 1 Regularly Priced Item (exp: 2/12/2015)
Aeropostale – $10 Off $40 Purchase (exp: 2/22/2015)
Bealls – 20% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 2/12/2015)
Bonton – 20% Off Sale Price Intimate Apparel (exp: 2/18/2015)
Carsons - 20% Off Sale Price Intimate Apparel (exp: 2/18/2015)
Carters – 20% Off $40 Purchase or 15% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 2/11/2015)
Express - 30% Off Jewelry Purchase (exp: 2/8/2015)
Kohls – 15% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 2/8/2015)
Lord and Taylor - 20% Off Regular & Sale Price Items (exp: 2/10/2015)
Osh Kosh BGosh – 20% Off $40 Purchase or 15% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 2/11/2015)
P.S. from Aeropostale – $10 Off $40 Purchase (exp: 2/22/2015)
White House Black Market - $20 Off $80 Purchase (exp: 2/8/2015)
Yankee Candle - Buy 2 Large Jar, Tumbler or Vase Candles Get 1 Free (exp: 2/16/2015)

Thanks Surviving the Stores!

Free and Cheap Weekend Activities and Events

Free Weekend Activities Cheap Weekend Activities SimplifiedSaving.com

Looking for some fun things you can do this weekend that won’t break the budget?  Here’s a great list of events going on across the country!  Some are events that take place on a weekly basis (like Michaels…which we do every weekend) and others are one time only events. Thanks More with Less Today!

Make some memories and try a new workshop, lesson, or craft. If you enjoy these free activities, be sure and bookmark this master list of free store events or PIN It for later!

Share this fun,money-saving list with your friends and family. And, if you know of any others to include, please let us know! It is always best to call ahead and make sure that your local store or retailer is participating to avoid disappointment.

:: American Girl Special Store Events

Special events differ by location. During February, they include Grace’s Travel Tags craft, Grace’s Apron Craft & Cookie Decoration, Twists & Braids hands-on hairstyles, Princess Bitty Baby Story Time, Making Memories with Mom and Dad, Valentine Card Craft and more.

Many of the American Girl in store events are free, however some have a fee and some have age restrictions. Get the details here and find participating stores.

ll ahead and make sure that your local store or retailer is participating to avoid disappointment.

 

bofa museums on us

:: Free Museum Entrance for Bank of America Customers

Saturday, February 7th and Sunday, February 8th

Museums on US – free admission for Bank of America customers at over 150 museums nationwide. Get all the information right here.

barnes & noble storytime

:: Barnes & Noble

Saturday, February 6th at 11 AM

Ready Rabbit Gets Ready! Storytime and activities at many locations

Most stores have free toddler story time, NOOK events, hands-on learning events and author events – find the times and participating Barnes and Noble stores here.

[Read more...]

Valentine’s Day Gift Basket For a College Student

Disclosure: I am a Family Christian Blogger and as such, often blog about events and items associated with Family Christian in exchange for product or gift certificates.  Most of the items included in this gift basket are items that can be purchased at Family Christian.

Valentine’s Day is a great holiday when you’re in love!  However when you’re single, it can sometimes feel like you’re the only one in the world who’s not in love!  This is especially true when you’re in your late teens and early 20s.

This year is our oldest daughter’s first Valentine’s Day away from home so I thought I’d send her a gift basket to remind her that we love her and more importantly, that God loves her and has an incredible plan for her life.

Valentine's Day Gift Basket for a College Student from Family Christian

I thought long and hard about what I wanted to include, but since we both like to read and listen to music, I went with the things I’d want in a gift basket.  I also included a few things that I thought would be encouraging to her.

Here’s what I ended up with:

A Valentine’s Day Yarn Wreath – I thought I’d whip up a fun little decor for her to hang in her room.

Mason Jar Cup with Straw (with Jeremiah 29:11 on it) – I’m a mom and I want to make sure she’s drinking enough water, so I thought a cute cup was the perfect way to do this without nagging.

Trapped by Irene Hannon – My daughter loves to read (I do too), so I thought I’d pick out a few fiction books for her to enjoy.

Silenced by Dani Pettrey – I thought this book also looked like a good read, so I picked it up as well.

Created for a Purpose  by Darlene Sala – I love this book about embracing who God made you to be.  God has given us each unique talents and gifts and I want nothing more than for my kids to grow up loving God and embracing their God-given purpose!

ESV Antique Cross Bible in Cranberry – It’s nice to have a small Bible to tuck in your purse, keep in your car, or tuck in your desk at work.  This Bible was small (and pretty), so I thought it would be a great addition to this basket!

Burning Lights CD by Chris Tomlin – You can never have too many good CDs.  I love the words to Sovereign.

  1. All my hopes
  2. All I need
  3. Held in your hands
  4. All my life
  5. All of me
  6. Held in your hands
  7. All my fears 
  8. All my dreams
  9. Held in your hands
  10. In Your everlasting arms
  11. All the pieces of my life
  12. From beginning to the end
  13. I can trust You
  14. In Your neverfailing love
  15. You work everything for good
  16. God whatever comes my way
  17. I will trust You.

My hearts desire is that as she is away from home that she will learn to trust God in a new way and recognize God’s hand on her life.

Oh Happy Day – How often can you pick up a CD at the Christian bookstore that includes Joss Stone, Queen Latifah, and 3 Doors Down.  Pretty much never…  So when I saw this gospel album that featured old and new pop and R&B singers, I couldn’t pass it up.  I’ve been so tempted to unwrap it and listen before sending it to her, but I feel like that would be wrong.  :)

1 Corinthians 13 Plaque – I couldn’t find this on the Family Christian site, but it’s absolutely adorable.  Make sure to look in your local store for this.  This is one of my daughter’s favorite passages of Scripture and this little plaque is absolutely adorable.

Cupcake Bathbombs – There are few things in life that are better than a relaxing bath while reading a good book.  I made some DIY Cupcake Bathbombs to include in her surprise package.

I am very predictable in my gift giving and have a few “signature” items that go in almost every gift bag, stocking, etc.  These include chocolate from my favorite chocolatier and socks…either fuzzy, themed, or just plain fun!  I included a few of these items in her gift basket as well.

If you have a son or daughter in college, this is a great time to send them a little package to encourage them and remind them that they are loved.  If you’re not the parent of a college student, consider adopting one and sending them a little love this Valentine’s Day.

For more great Valentine’s Day gift ideas, make sure to check out the ideas that some of my fellow Family Christian bloggers have.

DIY Valentine’s Day Yarn Wreath

DIY Valentine's Day Wreath

Since we didn’t do a whole lot of Christmas decorating around here, I thought I’d make a fun Valentine’s Day wreath to make my house look a little more festive.  I originally planned to hang this on my front door, but since we got 15 inches of snow over the weekend and since it’s been blowing like crazy, I decided to spruce up my sewing area instead.

This wreath is super easy to make and can be customized to fit any holiday.  All of my embellishments are pinned on using Pearlized Ball Head Straight Pins. You could also use hot glue or spray adhesive to attach embellishments.

DIY Yarn Wreath Supplies

To make this easy project, you will need the following:

Wreath form (I used this 18″ straw wreath form, but I think that these foam wreath forms look better)

Yarn (any color you choose, but this is what I used)

Colored Felt (You can pick up individual colored felt sheets at Walmart or Michaels)

Spray Adhesive

Glue Gun

Glue Sticks

This project is really easy to make. The most time-consuming part is wrapping the wreath.  It took me less than an hour to wrap the wreath, but I was listening to an audiobook, so the time flew by.

To begin with, spray some adhesive on a small section of your wreath form and wrap the yarn tightly around that section. Continue wrapping the yarn around the wreath.  It does not need to be perfectly wrapped as you’ll end up doing about 3 layers of yarn to make it look even.

How to Make a Yarn Wreath

 

Once your wreath is completely wrapped, you can use more spray adhesive to secure the end of the yarn or you can hot glue it.  I used spray adhesive and a pin to secure the end.

Once your wreath is fully wrapped in yarn, you’re ready to add embellishments.   You can make your own flowers out of felt (I’ll do a tutorial soon) or you can purchase pre-made felt flowers.  I made my own flowers and attached them using Pearlized Ball Head Straight Pins.

The LOVE garland was super easy to make.  I used a pink Sharpie to write the word LOVE on pink felt.

Love written on feltThen I cut the words out.  I also cut triangles out of a lighten color pink felt.  If you cut out your letters first, you’ll have a better idea how big you need your triangles to be.

Pink Felt Triangles for Garland

 

I also cut out strips of felt that were the same width as the top of the triangles.  (Do NOT attach them as pictured below.  I was just laying them out before I glued them.

LOVE Garland Layout

Once I cut out my triangles, I glued the letters to the front of each triangle using hot glue.  Then I glued a long piece of gray yarn between the triangles and the small pink felt strips I cut.

Attaching yarn to garland

Once my garland was finished, I simply pinned it onto my wreath and then I hung my wreath!

This project is super easy and it can be created in any size and customized to fit the occasion or the recipient!

DIY Valentine's Day Yarn Wreath from SimplifiedSaving.com

Save Money Online with Verified Codes

Disclosure: This post is sponsored in partnership with Sverve.

Save Money with Verified Codes

Whenever I’m asked to speak about frugal living or saving money, people expect me to be naturally frugal.  They expect me to love using coupons and saving money, but the truth is this…I’m not naturally frugal.  I love designer shoes and handbags.  I like to travel to resort destinations.  I don’t like cutting coupons.  I’m not a big fan of spending hours searching for a great deal…but on the other hand, I HATE to pay full price because I know there are so many great deals out there.

I also live in a small city.  (I used to live in a town of 13,000, but we recently moved to a “big” city).  While our city has definitely gotten better as far as shopping goes, there are still many stores that we don’t have.  To top it off, it snows here…a lot.  And I hate snow. We got 15 inches over the weekend and we’ve gotten a few more today.  When it’s snowy like this, I have no desire to venture out.  All that to say, my in person shopping comes to a screeching halt.  It’s a whole lot easier to shop online than to risk life and limb driving to a nearby shop.  Plus, saving money online is super easy.

I recently discovered Verified Codes, an online site dedicated to helping you save money.  You may be thinking…yeah, yeah, these online sites are a dime a dozen.  While there are a lot of online money saving sites out there, the thing that sets Verified Codes apart is their 50%+ off deals page.  This page is updated and verified daily.

They currently have a bunch of great offers that appeal to my designer loving self.  They have a Jos. A Banks coupon that makes Camel Hair blazers only $107 (66% off).  My husband wears mostly Jos. A Banks and while I love the quality, they certainly aren’t cheap! :)

They also have a Kate Spade Valentine’s Day Sale.  Anyone who knows me well knows that Kate Spade makes me swoon.  I carry Kate Spade bags 90% of the time and you’ll even find me sporting Kate Spade cardigans and wearing Kate Spade jewelry!  The Kate Spade sale that is featured on Verfied Codes offers up to 60% off AND Free Shipping!  This cute little bag is marked down from $298 to $90.

Kate Spade Sale

Kate Spade Sale

 

Their deals vary daily and you can see when each coupon code was last verified.  No more wondering if a code has been sitting there for 2 months or if it’s actually working!

 

Friday Freebies

check-out-these-freebies1

Saving money is awesome!  Free is even better!!!!  Here are some of my favorite freebies that are currently available or that will be available soon.

FREE Froyo at Menchies

Grab Free Froyo (up to 6 oz) at Menchies on 2/6 in honor of National Frozen Yogurt Day.

Free Coffee at Chick-Fil-A

Free coffee at Chick-Fil-A during the month of February! No coupon necessary – More details here.

Free eBooks!

A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet: Southern Stories of Faith, Family, and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon – Sophia Hudson

Fruit Infused Water: 60 Thirst Quenching Recipes – Aubrey Azzaro

Hearty Soups: A Collection of Homemade Soups – Dennis Weaver

10 Easy Homemade Natural Lip Balm Recipes – Diann Bright

Cleaning and Home Organization Box Set: Cleaning And Home Organization + Speed Cleaning And Home Organization – Lisa Johnson

Free Printables!

FREE Valentine’s Day Mad Libs

Free 365 Day Penny Savings Challenge Printable

Free 52 Week Savings Challenge Printable

State Notebooking Pages

Football Scoring Sheet (use for Homeschool Math or for fun!)

More Fabulous Freebies!

Free Shea Butter Light Comforting Face Cream at L’OCCITANE

Free Sample of Emergen-C

Free 2015 Beretta Calendar

Free Seeds of Change Certified Organic Rice or Sauce Product

Free Samples of Schwarzkopf essense Ultîme Omega Repair & Moisture Shampoo & Conditioner

Arm & Hammer Truly Radiant Toothpaste Sample

BioTru Contact Solution Sample

Rolo Chewy Caramels 1.7 oz

Dove, Degree or Axe Dry Spray Antiperspirant Sample

Gooseberry Patch Kid-Friendly Recipe Booklet

Still Available!

Mambo Sprouts coupon book – Available to the first 100,000 entries. They will be mailed April 15, 2015.

Paper Shredding up to 5lbs at Staples – expires 5/2/15

10-Day Supply Clinique Smart Serum – must stop by Clinique counter (while supplies last)

Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Sample

Safety Latch Starter Kit

California Carrots Dog Food Sample from Powder 4 Paws

 

Retail Coupon Roundup {1/30/2015}

If you’re planning on doing a little shopping this weekend, make sure to print off these great retail coupons before you go!

Bealls – 20% Off 2 Single Items (exp: 2/2/2015)
Bonton - 30% Off a Yellow or Black Dot Womens, Mens & Kids Apparel Purchase (exp: 1/31/2015)
Carters – 20% Off $40 Purchase (exp: 2/4/2015)
Eddie Bauer - 25% Off Entire Purchase When You Buy Motion Activewear (exp: 2/11/2015)
Express – $15 Off $30, $30 Off $100 or $40 Off $120 Purchase (exp: 3/1/2015)
Justice – 40% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 2/2/2015)
Lord and Taylor – 15% Off Regular & Sale Price Items (exp: 2/3/2015)
Osh Kosh BGosh – 15% Off Entire Purchase (exp: 2/4/2015)
Rue 21 - 30% Off $30 Purchase (exp: 1/31/2015)
Yankee Candle - Buy 2 Large Jar, Tumbler or Vase Candles Get 1 Free (exp: 2/16/2015)

Thanks Surviving the Stores!

Restaurant Coupon Roundup {1/30/2015}

Eating out sure can get expensive, so I’m always on the lookout for deals to make it more affordable.  Below I’ve included the top printable restaurant coupons for this week!

Au Bon Pain – $1 Off $5 Purchase (exp: 2/2/2015)
Black Angus Steakhouse – $17.99 Top Sirloin Steak & Grilled Prawns Meal (exp: 2/12/2015)
Blimpie - Free Regular Sub When You Buy Regular Sub & Drink (exp: 12/31/2015)
Carrabbas - 15% Off Entire Meal Purchase (exp: 3/15/2015)
Carvel Ice Cream – $1 Off Any Cup or Cone (exp: 2/2/2015)
Corner Bakery – Free Latte or Small Espresso Beverage with Breakfast Purchase (exp: 3/11/2015)
Daphnes Greek Cafe - $5 Mediterranean Family Feast (exp: 2/2/2015)
Dickeys Barbecue Pit – $3 Off Family or $5 Off XL Family Pack (exp: 2/2/2015)
Maggianos - $5 Off Lighter Taker Menu (exp: 2/24/2015)
Marie Callenders – $5 Off $20 Purchase (exp: 3/1/2015)
Mimis Cafe - Buy 1 Get 1 Free Entree When You Buy 2 Drinks (exp: 2/15/2015)
Old Country Buffet – $8.99 Dinner & Dessert When You Buy 1 Drink + More Coupons (exp: 2/22/2015)
Souper Salad – $6.49 Adult Buffet (exp: 2/1/2015)
Souplantation – $29.99 Family Combo Including Beverages (exp: 2/4/2015)

Thanks Surviving the Stores!

5 Ideas to Make Your Workplace More Fun #QoL

Disclosure: This post is part of International Quality of Life BlogIt Day, sponsored by Sodexo.

5 Ideas to Make Work More Fun SimplifiedSaving.com

I’m really fortunate to have a job that I love with a company I love working for.  I know that’s not the case for many of you.  And I’ll be honest, it hasn’t always been the case for me either.

In the past, I’ve worked for bosses who made every day at work miserable.  I’ve worked in environments that were completely stressful.  I had one job where I enjoyed the work, but was miserable because my co-workers were constantly gossiping, backstabbing, and complaining.  I’ve had jobs where I loved my coworkers, but didn’t enjoy the work I did.

There are multiple things that can make or break your work experience.  Sodexo focuses on 6 unique things that contribute to your quality of life at work:  social interaction, ease and efficiency, physical environment, personal growth, recognition, and health and well being.

While I think the company I work for does a pretty good job in most of these areas, they hit the ball out of the park in the social interaction division.  Today I’m going to share 5 things that they’ve done that have created a great social atmosphere.  And if you implement them at your workplace, I think you’ll find that your work is much more fun!

Social Interaction are things that strengthen your bond at work.  Last year, my company implemented a social committee and it has made such a big difference in interaction between coworkers.  While we’ve had a few people at work who have been spearheading fun things for years, having a committee has taken it to the next level.

Here are five things we’ve done in the last 6 months that have made our office a lot more fun!  I’ll start with the most recent:

1.  Office Olympics

Wednesday was National Fun at Work Day and in honor of that day, our company had our first annual office Olympics.  We spent an hour doing 3 legged races, having a trivia challenge, moving cotton balls using only our noses and vaseline, and lots of other fun, team building activities.  To top it off, our company had lunch catered for us. We got rave feedback.  We even had an employee who sent a company wide email with the 10 things he about his coworkers during the Olympics. It was a silly event and the winning team captain got a garden gnome trophy.  {She’ll have to relinquish the trophy to the captain of the winning team next year, although she’s hoping her team will win again next year.}

Olympics at Work

2. How Well Do You Know Your Coworkers Game

A few weeks ago, we were given the option to participate in a “How Well Do You Know Your Coworkers?” game.  We each submitted a fun fact about ourselves to HR and then one of our HR reps compiled the list of fun facts along with the  names of people who submitted them.  We had to match up the fun facts to our coworker and the one with the most correct answers got a Starbucks gift card.

Here are some of the fun facts that were included:

One time I washed & blow-dried a live chicken.

My mother was a doctor before she married my father.

My first “real” job was working at Dairy Queen, earning $1.05/hr.

I passed the Guiness Book of World Records in the category of consecutive pogo stick jumps.

I used to work for a dating service.

I once drove our station wagon through our garage door.

I used to be a radio DJ, and even had my own show.

I used to be a ski instructor.

I once locked myself out of my hotel room in Las Vegas, with nothing on but my underwear.

There were lots of other interesting facts as well.  I had a great time trying to figure out who went with each fun fact and when we got the real answers, I laughed hysterically.  I was really surprised to find out which coworker worked for a dating service and which one washed and dried a live chicken.  I wasn’t quite as surprised to find out which coworker locked themselves out of their hotel room wearing just their undies.  Some things just aren’t that surprising! :)

3.   Plan monthly or quarterly carry-ins.

For years, our company has done carry-in lunches.  Sometimes they’re themed (like around the Super Bowl or Thanksgiving) and other times we do them just because.  While not everyone chooses to participate, it’s a fun way to get to know people in other departments.  Send out an email announcing your carry-in and place a sign-up sheet in your breakroom.  Send out regular reminders about your carry-in.  If you have an agreeable boss, see if you can allow him to dress for a themed carry-in.  We have a carry-in during football season where we all wear jerseys or shirts sporting our favorite football teams. Just remember, it’s OK to start small.  Not everyone will participate at first, but once they see how much fun you’re having, they’ll eventually come around (or maybe they’ll quit…and no one likes a spoil sport anyway, so that’s OK)

4.  Plan a white elephant gift exchange during the holidays.

When our company was really small, we would have Christmas parties at one of the executives houses.  And we would have a white elephant gift exchange.  Over the years, our company has grown a lot, but we still do a white elephant gift exchange.  Participation is optional, but it’s oh-so-fun and most of our office participates.  We draw numbers and then we have the opportunity to steal gifts as we go.  Some gifts appear year after year…and they’re usually the bad ones! :)

5.  Have a holiday decorating contest!

In December, I had the privilege of judging our office decorating contest.

Some people went all out. I saw mini vignettes of ducks swimming in a snowy pond…

Mini tree with ducks

Doors that looked like gifts…

gift wrapped door

 

And pretty decorations.

merry jingle shine

 

We also had decorations that were a little more grinch like…

grinch like decor

 

While not everyone participated, the spirit throughout the office was festive and fun!

We chose to do our decorating contest in December, but you could do it for any holiday or for a company anniversary.

I know that there’s no perfect work environment, but by improving social interaction, you can make coming to work a whole lot more fun!

What makes your place of employment awesome?  Leave me a comment!

Strawberry Yogurt Dip

Strawberry Yogurt Dip from SimplifiedSaving.com

If you’re looking for a recipe that’s perfect for a Super Bowl party or a Valentine’s Day treat, you’ll want to whip up this Strawberry Yogurt Dip.  It only has 3 ingredients and pairs perfectly with fruit, but is also delicious with pretzels and bagel chips!  If you have leftovers (not likely, but if you make a big enough batch, you might), it’s also quite tasty on a toasted bagel!

This recipe has just 3 ingredients and can be whipped up in  no time!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup Frozen Sliced Strawberries, thawed and drained (If you choose frozen strawberries without added sugar, you may want to add some sugar or sweetener to this recipe)
  • 1 cup Strawberry Yogurt
  • 8 oz softened Cream Cheese

Here’s what you’ll want to do:

  • Whip together cream cheese and yogurt until well blended.Mix cream cheese and yogurt Strawberry Yogurt Dip SimplifiedSaving.com
  • Stir in strawberries until evenly distributed.Mixing Strawberry Yogurt Dip from SimplifiedSaving.com
  • Refrigerate til firm.
  • Serve with fresh fruit, pretzels, or bagel chips for dipping.
  • ENJOY!!!

Ultimate DIY Bundle $34.95 ($1200+ Value)

I love to craft and create, but I’ll be honest, it seems like there’s not enough time in the day to tackle all the fun projects I want to tackle.  And if I’m completely honest, I’m not a very good practical DIYer.  I’m great at making froofroo frilly fun projects for my own enjoyment, but things that are useful around the house tend to be outside my range of expertise.

Right now there is a great bundle of books and courses designed for the person who’d like to be more DIY savvy (like me) and it’s filled with step by step instructions and projects that will make you feel like a DIY rock star!

This ultimate bundle isn’t just for crafty folks though.  This is also for people who want to write or take better pictures or use an art journal.

Here’s what you’ll find in this bundle:

13 Photography, Scrapbooking, Writing & Art Journaling eBooks

22 Home Decor and Home Gardening eBooks

21 Crafts and Sewing eBooks

9 eCourses on All Things DIY

4 Bonuses Valued at $130+

Plus More…

You may be  looking at this list and thinking, that’s a whole lot of books and I don’t have time to read that many books.  Even if you only read a fraction of these books, you’ll get your money’s worth.  The bundle contains over $1200 of resources and you can get it for only $34.95.

I’m traveling this weekend, but I can’t wait til I have a chance to sit down and start going through the books and ecourses.  I’m really excited about some of the bonus classes as well!

I’m super excited about this bundle and I can’t wait to start going through the books. I know you’re going to love it too! Make sure to order it now because it’s only available for 2 more days!

Not ready to make the decision? That’s OK…click on the button below to learn more!