Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I have a Secret Admirer at TheBouqs.com

As a blogger I get several opportunities to share new products and companies with you. Honestly, I end up saying no to a lot of them because they aren't a good fit, but when TheBouqs.com
contacted me to do a review on their flowers I jumped at the chance! What girl doesn't want fresh flowers delivered right to their front door?


TheBouqs.com is different from other online flower companies because they have a $40 flat rate with free shipping and no extra charges. Also, they don't cut the flowers until after you order them so they are fresher when they arrive at your front door! They also have a concierge service that allows you to send flowers on a future date. How cool is that?!? Watch the short video below to learn even more about how TheBouqs.com is changing the face of online flower delivery:


Overall I was very pleased with TheBouqs.com. My flowers arrived on time and were beautiful and fresh looking. Some of the outer leaves did have brown edges, but I pulled those off and my bouquet looked at good as new!



If you know me at all then you know I love fresh flowers! I've already told my husband about TheBouqs.com and I would recommend them to you as well! :) Go on and check out the other beautiful bouquets they have to offer! 

Also, from now until the end of September you can use code TEACHER15 for 15% off of your order! Awesome!

Monday, August 4, 2014

How to Stretch Ground Beef Using Oats


I'm excited to show you how to stretch ground beef using oats! I promise you it tastes the same and no one will know the difference. I do this every time I cook ground beef and it saves me lots of money by making it go further.

First off I normally buy the 5lb family pack of ground beef at Aldi to save money, but this time they were out so I had to buy the 2.25 lb pack. 

You will need:

Uncooked Ground Beef
Uncooked Old Fashioned Oats
(1/4 - 1/2 cup per lb of beef)
Chopped Onion (optional)
(1/4 - 1/2 cup per lb of beef)


1. Mix all ingredients until well combined.


2. Brown ground beef as usual. 
*Note: The oats soak up a lot of the fat so you will need to stir often to avoid burning or sticking to the pan.


Use your beef mixture like normal! I normally let mine cool and freeze for later use. As you can see I got 4 "lbs" of ground beef out of my 2.25 lbs! Yea baby!



I've also heard that you can stretch ground beef using lentils, rice, beans and/or pureed veggies, but I've never tried any of them.

Do you do anything to stretch your ground beef? 
If so I'd love to know your secrets!

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August Garden Journal

 A ton has happened in the garden since I last did an update. First off, we harvested our potatoes and onions. The potatoes did great, but the onions not so much. Any tips for me? My onions never seem to get very big even though I dig out around them.

Also, our bell pepper are doing awesome! This is the best year we've ever had with bell peppers. Normally they rot and die and we don't even get to harvest any, but I've already picked several this week. Woohoo!


A couple of week ago we had a bad windstorm that blew most of my sunflowers over and some of my tomato plants. :( As you can see a couple of my tomato plants are just hanging out on the ground. They are loaded with tomatoes though so I can't pull them up. I've been picking tomatoes for a couple weeks now and I've already canned 20+ pints of puree and I have a batch in the dehydrator as we speak. Despite our overgrown mess it's been a great year for tomatoes so far!


I went out today and pulled all of our cucumber and bean plants (they had mildew and were dying off, but we've enjoyed TONS of cucumbers this season!) and I planted peas. Then I planted beets, spinach and lettuce all of which I've never grown before. 


As usual, our sweet potatoes have taken over which is awesome cause they are one of my favorite vegetables!!


I also planted a row of butternut squash where the potatoes were and they are growing nicely. I can't WAIT to harvest these and make pies, etc. :)


I didn't think to take pictures of what I've been harvesting because I post those mostly on Instagram. You can follow me @MissyRakes to see more. Also I'd love for you to follow along on Pinterest (honeybeegrace) as well. I've been pinning lots of good canning and dehydrating recipes lately. 

Whats happening in your garden?

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

My Top 5 Money Making Apps


*This post contains affiliate links.

Back in January I wrote a post on how I use Swagbucks to earn $50+ per month in gift cards. Since then I've started doing several other things to bring in extra money each month and a lot of what I do is on my smartphone. I know there are several money earning apps available, but I today I'm sharing with you the ones that I use on a daily/weekly basis.

SBTV (Swagbucks TV) 
This app allows you to earn Swagbucks by watching videos on your phone. You earn 2 SBs for every 5 videos that you watch and you can earn up to 50 SBs per day. I usually plug my phone in and let it run throughout the day or if I have the time I will sit and click through the videos (after 5 sec. has played) to make it go faster.

To sign up for Swagbucks click here.

EntertaiNow
 This is another Swagbucks app that lets you earn by watching videos. You earn 2 SBs for every 10 videos that you watch and you can earn up to 120 (I think) SBs per day. Also I've heard Swagbucks has another video app called MovieClips (or something) that you can earn even more with, but I haven't downloaded it yet. 

To sign up for Swagbucks click here.

Bing
If don't use Bing then you should start right now! Basically it's a search engine that is just as good as Google (I promise!) where you can earn points for searches. You can later redeem those points for gift cards. You earn 1 pt for every 2 searches up to 25 per day on the computer and up to 10 per day on your mobile phone. I earn around $10 per month in gift cards just for searching the Internet! Wahoo! 

To sign up for Bing Rewards click here.

Ibotta
If you're a couponer then I'm sure you've heard of Ibotta. Basically it's a rebate app that I use weekly to earn money on my grocery purchases. All you do is unlock the rebates you want to redeem (I almost always have a milk rebate) and then scan the product and receipt then wait for approval. Once you earn $5 you can make a Pay Pal transfer. That reminds me I need to go enter the baby food I just bought at Target... 

Also, you earn money for referring friends and you can earn weekly cash bonuses! 

To sign up for Ibotta and be on my team click here.

Checkout 51
This is another grocery rebate app, but it's not store specific which I love since I shop at Aldi a lot. Plus, they have more generic rebates such as bread, eggs and bananas. Once you earn $20 they will send you a check. 

As I stated earlier, there are tons of other money making apps out there, but these are the ones that I use most often and love. So are you ready to put your Smartphone to work? Go ahead and give them a try!

Do you use your smartphone to earn extra money? 
If so, which apps are your favorites? 
I'd love to know!

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

These are the Glory Days

These few short years that I get to hold my babies...

....these years that are filled with frustration and tears....

 ...joy and gladness...

These are the Glory Days.

These are the days that I will forever look back upon and wish that they would have lasted a little bit longer. 

Oh how I long to stop time as my baby is sleeping on my chest or my toddler is curled up in my lap. I try my best to drink it all in, but time marches on.

 One day they won't need me as much as they do right now. 

And that breaks this mamma's heart. 

But, for now...

...I'm counting my blessings and holding my babies tight.

I'm truly living in the glory days. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

5 Busy Activities for Toddlers


Coming up with new ways (that don't break the bank!) to keep toddlers busy can be tough sometimes. I've been experimenting with a few activities over the last few months and I thought I would share my favorites. 

1. Dot Painting
Walker LOVES this. I have to coach him to be gentle though so he doesn't make holes in the paper, but this is for sure a big hit. One day I drew "I love Daddy" on a piece of paper and let Walker decorate it to give to him. Also, it's a great activity for learning colors. I bought our dot paint set at Wal-Mart for around five bucks.


2. Cooking Basket
I went to Dollar Tree and bought several kitchen spoons, cups, etc and also some pom pons. I keep this basket in the kitchen and pull it out when I need Walker to be entertained for a bit. He loves scooping up the pom pons and stacking the cups. This is also a great activity for color sorting. 

3. Gravel Pit
What boy wouldn't want to run their trucks around on a pile of dried beans? (Or rice or pasta or whatever you have on hand.) Walker enjoyed this and even ate a few beans in the process. Yuck.

*I've since been told that dried beans can be toxic so it's best to stick with rice.

4. Magnetic Letters
I bought these magnetic letters at Dollar Tree and Walker really likes when I pull them out. It's a great fine motor activity and also great for learning colors and letters. 

5. Pipe Cleaner Fun
I found this activity on Pinterest and Walker really enjoys it. Basically you just turn a strainer upside-down and show your toddler how to put the pipe cleaners through the holes. It's a great fine motor activity and can also be used for color recognition. Oh and guess where I got the pipe cleaners? Yup. Dollar Tree. 

Do you have any thing to add?
What are you favorite toddler activities?

Modest Monday
Homestead Barn Hop
Show and Share Wednesday
Thrifty Thursday

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

We Have Chickens!!


After waiting for over a year to get the coop built, we finally got chickens! Woot woot! I'm so pumped! We ended up getting 5 birds although I think our coop could house more. We have:

 1 Americauna (she's nutty)
1 Barred Rock
1 Welsummer
2 Rhode Island Red

The Americauna is a little older and should start laying soon. The other birds will start laying in a month or so.

 
 

Here's the coop that my handy husband built. I think we spend less than $50 for everything. He used wood from a shipping crate for the coop and we got a free large dog cage for the run. 

We are enjoying our birds, but still have a lot to learn. I named the Americauna Delilah and Mike name the 2 RIRs Thelma and Louise. The other two are still nameless.

Anyone have any tips for first time chicken owners?

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