Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

New Blog Roll Page

I finally updated my blog roll. There were some really old, abandoned blogs on the list!

If you are a blogger and want to exchange buttons, please let me know.

Clean your dryer and avoid a house fire – get rid of the lint!

I am busy with work deadlines and also trying to prep items for a Just Between Friends sale in McKinney this week, but wanted to quickly post something about dryer lint because I think it’s important to share after what I just discovered in my dryer.

While drying clothes, I decided to pull out the lint cleaning tool I bought at Walgreens a few years ago. I had noticed some lint build-up in the dryer, even though the lint trap wasn’t collecting much. I discovered that most of the lint has been by-passing the trap.

Check out this photo showing all the lint that was inside my dryer’s lint trap housing cavity, but NOT collected by the lint trap! I pulled all that lint out using the brush tool (also pictured). Yikes!

I still have to unplug the dryer and clean the dryer vent, because I am guessing it’s also pretty full.

Because this sort of thing can cause house fires (a leading cause according to info I read!), I wanted to alert everyone to clean their dryers on a regular basis. Check out this “How To” article about cleaning your dryer lint posted on

UPDATE: I ran another load of clothes in the dryer after posting this. The lint trap had very little lint, but I pulled another large chunk of lint from the trap housing cavity. I’m not sure why the lint trap isn’t catching the lint, but this just one of many reasons why I won’t buy another Kenmore washer & dryer.

Don’t forget to enter the Rock ‘N Learn Phonics DVD giveaway (if you haven’t already). It ends tonight! I have a few giveaways coming up (including software may be especially interesting to those who print a lot of coupons, for example), but I also plan to get back into deal blogging once I get through these work deadlines and consignment sale.

Five of our Favorite Activities

TwitterMoms and Legos are running a new blogging program about ways to spend family time, so I though I would share five of our favorite activities.

1. Game night
I recently taught my daughter how to play the card game, Solitaire (not the online version!). She caught on quickly, and really enjoys it, so when we’re looking for something quiet to do together, we get out a deck of cards. We also enjoy playing board games such as Pictureka. I look for games that have some opportunity to learn something (numbers, reading, etc.) while being fun.

2. Crafts
I spend a lot of time on the computer for work, so I love the opportunities I have with my daughter to do crafts. We paint, draw, sew, make clay figures, create jewelry, etc. It’s also a great time to just chat about whatever comes to mind without lots of distractions.

3. Evening walks
It’s too hot right now, but hopefully within a month, the Dallas temperatures will be low enough to enjoy evening walks again. Either before or after dinner, we like to take a quick walk around the neighborhood to see what interesting things we can spot. We have a special tree that we call the “bubble tree” which we make sure we visit on our walks.

4. Chores
While it doesn’t sound appealing, it can be fun to complete chores together (and makes things easier on mom!). For example, when my coupons need to be sorted, I involve the help of my family to get them organized. My daughter has learned to read dates (to pull out what has expired) and how to sort by product type (all the dairy coupons together go together, etc.). It’s a great opportunity for us to spend time together, get something cross off the “to do” list and give my daughter a chance to learn in the process.

5. Free weekend activities
I regularly check sites like, and to look for free weekend activities to get out of the house. If I can’t find anything interesting, we make sure we visit Lakeshore Learning to do their free Saturday craft.

Disclosure: I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and LEGO blogging program, making me eligible to get a prize pack. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Now Craving Healthier Savings…

I have been blogging inconsistently over the last several months for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons has been trying to get to the bottom of my daughter’s ongoing health issues. She received a new autoimmune illness diagnosis in March.

After doing a lot of research, I learned about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Many people with Celiac disease, an inflammatory bowel disease and/or Autism have responded well to the diet if they strictly follow it. It removes many complex carbohydrates (say good-bye to anything processed/manufactured) and it pretty much requires that you cook from scratch. Over the last week, I have made yogurt, caramel and a variety of other foods!

We’re only on day six of the diet, but I’m already seeing positive changes not only in my daughter’s health, but also in mine. It’s still too early to know if this will keep my daughter off additional medications, but we’re going to give it a try for at least another month and see how things go.

With the end of the school year approaching, I do not know yet if I will start blogging regularly again before or after June 11. But once I start back, I will post food savings primarily connected to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, including fresh and frozen produce, all natural/grass-fed meats, 100% juice, coconut products and eggs.

I will also post non-SC Diet items if they are free or close to free, but I will not do detailed product match-ups like I did many months ago. It was extremely time consuming, and there are many other bloggers who already do an excellent job of posting the deals on a weekly basis.

I am also investing in kitchen gadgets to help make the process of cooking from scratch easier and more fun for me and for my daughter. I will share some of these if I think they are good deals and worth the investment. I will also share how I paid for these items (e.g. money from survey sites, blog giveaway wins, Swagbucks, etc.).

Occasionally I may post one of the food items I make in case you want to try it. You don’t have to be following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet to eat these items!

And finally, I will continue to post sources of coupons, but the focus will be primarily on the healthier coupons.

If you have any suggestions, comments, or questions, please leave a comment or email me (susan (at) cravingthesavings (dot) com)!

Tropicana Juicy Rewards

Tropicana started a new program in January called Tropicana Juicy Rewards.

When you purchase specially-marked Tropicana juice products, you will get a code that you can enter on the rewards Web site. The codes generate points that you can redeem for discounts at participating:

- Retail/Online stores
- Salons
- Performing Arts Venues
- Classes & Lessons
- Amusement Parks
- Home Improvement stores
- Travel
- and more.

I’m excited about this program because we purchase a lot of Tropicana juice and it’s always nice to have an extra bonus when purchasing something you consume regularly!

Do you plan to travel before the end of the year?

Save your rewards points and get discounts for your destination city! Be sure to read the offer terms & conditions before redeeming, but I didn’t see anything that would prohibit me from redeeming points to get discounts in Philadelphia this summer when we attend a conference there.

For Dallas readers, here’s a fabulous offer that I’m going to take advantage of this week…

As soon as I replace my printer’s ink, I will redeem 3 points for a Dallas Children’s Theater voucher to buy one adult ticket and get one child ticket free. This will be a savings of $16-21, depending on whether we sit in section A or section B. I usually try to get to their Target Saturday performance since the tickets are $10 each, but we missed it last month, so I was thrilled to see this opportunity.

- Check out what rewards are available near you.
I just looked through the Dallas-area ones again and noticed several new ones, so keep checking back if you don’t see something that appeals to you.

- Check out the program’s FAQs

- Register here and enter the code MOMCE-NTRAL to get a free point.
This one-time use code is valid for new accounts ONLY. Must be entered within 6 hours of creating your account.

- Get free codes by following Tropicana on Facebook and Twitter.

All points must be entered by November 15, 2010, but you can redeem your points until December 15, 2010.

Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in the Tropicana Juicy Insiders Ambassador program by Mom Central on behalf of Tropicana. I received 12 free Juicy Rewards points and a $50 Visa gift card to use in redemption of the points and to facilitate my review.

Discover Card – 5% back on Grocery & Drug Stores

While paying my Discover bill tonight, I noticed that March is 5% cash back on Grocery and Drug Store purchases, so I thought I’d alert any of you who have a Discover Card so you can get an extra 4% back this month.

In order to receive the 5% cash back, you need to log into your Discover Card online account (or you can probably call the number on the back of your card) and sign up. While you’re there, you can also sign up for the April-June 5% bonus, which is for on Home and Fashion purchases.

The cap for Grocery & Drug Store purchases is $200, and the cap for Home & Fashion purchases is $400. Not a huge savings, but savings nonetheless.


Appetizer with Ile de France Goat Cheese

I recently received a free buchette of Ile de France goat cheese in exchange for creating an appetizer to enter in their Holiday Bash for Cash $1,000 recipe contest.

Here is what I am submitting:

Croustillant de Chèvre Chaud et Petits Légumes au Coulis de Mûres

(Goat Cheese & Veggie Croustillant with Blackberry Coulis)

This is a simple, yet wonderful appetizer that your family and your guests will love. This recipe is for 4 people.

Besides dough, you will need:

-1 Ile de France Goat Cheese buchette
-2 Cloves of Garlic
-1/2 lb of Portabella Mushrooms
-1/2 lb of Green Beans
-3 Large Cherry Tomatoes
-3 Walnuts
-Olive Oil
-Salt and Pepper

1. Make your own dough or buy some large wonton wrappers. You will need enough to cut out 12 – 2″ by 2″ squares.

2. Prepare a blackberry coulis, either from scratch or by using a jam or jelly base.

3. If you have made your own dough, you must roll it out as thin as possible.

4. Cut the wrappers or your own dough into 12 – 2″ by 2″ small squares

5. Bake the squares at 400 degrees for about 3 minutes. They should be hard, but not yet ‘toasted’.

6. Place 1/2 lb of portabella mushrooms, 1/2 of fresh cut green beans, 2 chopped cloves of garlic and 4 tbsp of olive oil in a pan, salt, pepper and cover. Cook until the vegetables are tender.

7. Cut an Ile de France goat cheese buchette into 12 1/4-inch thick slices

8. Place a small mix of cooked vegetables at the center of each square.

9. Cover the vegetables with a slice of Ile de France Goat Cheese Buchette.

10. Set your oven to ‘Broil’. When ready, broil the squares until the goat cheese melts and the squares are toasted.

11. Place your squares on a large plate – large enough to contain all the squares and leave a bit of room for some extra coulis.

12. Slice 2 or 3 large cherry tomatoes and place a slice on each square, on top of the hot goat cheese.

13. Top each tomato slice with a 1/4 of a walnut.

14. Pour the coulis sparingly on each square (if desired) and pour a larger amount on the plate.

…And voila! An interesting appetizer combining delicious goat cheese, healthy vegetables and the surprising sweetness of a blackberry coulis!

Are you a cheese lover? Join the Ile de France cheese community to get news and coupons.

My Five Favorite Holiday Activities With My Daughter

The five favorite holiday activities I enjoy doing with my daughter are:

1. Creating holiday ornaments and other holiday-themed crafts.

2. Driving around the neighborhood to see all the lights and decorations, especially the street with the 12 Days of Christmas.

3. Eating Quiche Lorraine (family recipe) and oranges with powdered sugar on Christmas Day.

4. Visiting the Northpark Mall Santa (but not the waiting-in-line part!)

5. Watching Rudolph, Frosty and A Charlie Brown Christmas on TV.

This post is in response to a Twitter Moms blogging activity to celebrate the premiere of Dora’s Christmas Carol DVD.

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