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Will You Help Me Fill A Backpack?

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5658842_sI know many of us are using the sales and coupons that I have been sharing during the Back to School Deals posts to get the best prices on school supplies this year.

Unfortunately there are some kids who won’t have the necessary school supplies for a successful school year without the kindness and generosity of others.

Several years ago I had the opportunity to give children who had grown up just like I did backpacks filled with school supplies, snacks and love!

I wrote this article after that experience which changed my heart forever!

This year Liberty Family Outreach is giving out 1500 backpacks during the annual Summerfest event!

“Your mission – if you choose to accept it – is to give a child the proper tools to start the school year off right! It only takes $10 to fill a backpack with school supplies.”

We are talking about 1500 kids being given the chance at a successful new school year because people like us took $10 of the money we’ve saved this year to help another get ahead in life!

I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty awesome to me!!

There are lots of people like the ones that make up the Liberty Family Outreach group that do what they can for the kids who would otherwise go without and now is your chance to join them in this huge endeavor.

You can find all of the current Back to School Deals on school supplies which I listed here this week to help you save.

I would ask that if you have saved $10 this year and can spare it, would you consider helping me to fill one of these backpacks?

They are still accepting school supply financial donations through Sunday, July 27th, so there is still plenty of time to join me!

*Saving Dollars and Sense Tip: This is a great time to show your kids how to have a compassionate heart and bless others with your abundance.  We always picked up the FREE or almost free supplies to donate each year and my kids loved it.

Here’s what is needed for each backpack:

  • Crayons, 24ct
  • Washable Markers, Asst Colors, 8ct
  • 3 -Spiral Notebooks, 70 Sheet, Wide Rule
  • 1-Glue Stick
  • 4-Pencils
  • 2-Blue or Black Pens
  • 3- Paper folders

You may donate $10 to fill one backpack using your Paypal or Credit Card.

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I am super excited to do this with all of you!!

DIY Non-Toxic Fruit & Veggie Wash

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Homemade Fruit & Veggie Wash



One of the first things I like to do when I get home from grocery shopping is prepare my fruit and veggies so that they are ready to eat at any time.

Because we try to shop every single week, I only buy what we will eat up in that time so I don’t have to worry about if it will spoil faster from washing it.

I have found that when it comes to snacking, my family and I will generally grab whatever is most accessible and ready to be eaten.

This is why those packages or cookies or pretzels get chosen so often, they are just too easy not to choose.

So I make sure the healthier options are at least just as easy to choose with the hope that everyone will actually choose them more often than not.

I know my 16 year old son especially is more likely to grab an apple if he doesn’t have to do anything to it first.

Most things just require a quick washing before sticking them in the fridge or in a bowl on the counter like apples, tomatoes, plums, etc.

Other things like grapes will require just a little more work. I remove the grapes from their stems, wash with a DIY Non-Toxic Fruit & Veggie Wash and stick in a bowl with a lid before putting it away.

I also wash and cut up carrots, celery, cucumbers and berries.

This has become my secret and I use it to trick my family into eating better.  Do you have any tricks you use to make sure your family choose healthier options?

DIY Non-Toxic Fruit & Veggie Wash

In a 12-14 oz glass spray bottle mix the following:

1 cup of water
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar

Put 1 tsp. of salt in a small bowl and add 5-7 drops of lemon, lime, or orange essential oil.
Add the oil mixture to the spray bottle.

Shake each time before spraying.

*Saving Dollars and Sense Tip: You’ll want to use glass spray bottle or  stainless steel on because citrus oils break down plastics and you wouldn’t want that on your food either.

I personally will only use Young Living Essential Oils, especially if I am using them on anything that will be ingested since they are the only Essential Oils I would ever trust.

Read why my family and I Decided to Jump on the Essential Oils Bandwagon and find out where I always buy my oils from.

5 Ways to Save on Back to School Shopping Costs

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Ways to Save on Back to School Shopping



I know some of us are still basking in the summer sun and ignoring the fact that shorter school days are just around the corner.  But I was surprised to see several trees have already begun to change their colors and I couldn’t ignore the fact that there were many moms with kids in the Target Back to School section the other day while I was there.

I read this news report last year that stated the average parents are spending is $688 on Back to School per child!  

We homeschool, and even with classes & curriculum I don’t think we have ever spent that much on school.  Maybe I am so far removed from reality and have no concept of how much it costs to send your kids to school, but this seems a bit outrageous to me especially considering the fact that we are supposed to be living in a time of recession.

Other than following my Back to School Deals here, there are a few other things you can do to ensure that you get the most bang for your buck this year.

back to school

So whether you are ready for it or not, I am here to offer you some helpful tips to save on this years Back to School shopping with the following Five Ways to Save on Back to School Shopping.

  1. Take an inventory.  Look in your children’s closets & dressers and get together a list of what they already have that you can skip buying right now.  Then you can see what they still need and go from there.
  2. Set a budget and make a list. Once you have your inventory in hand you can sit down and set a budget with your kids.  It really helps to let them know before heading to the stores how much you have to spend on them.  This will help avoid any fights while you are in the store over the latest and greatest unnecessary items. Since there are only 5 days in a school week, you really only need to come up with a couple outfits.  Try to buy things that can be interchangable to create even more outfits with just a few simple pieces.
  3. Don’t buy snack sizes.  When it comes to lunches, don’t fall prey to snack-size options when planning school lunches. Buy a full-size bag of crackers and then make your own snack sizes with reusable containers to save a ton on snacks. Also make sure to pick up a reusable Lunch Kit like these ones to save on bags.
  4. Plan ahead. Take some time to check out all of the sales papers to find out where you can pick up the things on your list for the least amount of money! You can go here to find out what all of the current Back to School sales are to find out where to go for the best deals on school supplies!  Also consider picking up a few extra school supplies while they are so inexpensive to have on hang during the year when you child runs out.
  5. Keep everything in perspective. Really, keep in mind that you are sending your kids to school to learn. Of course we want them to feel confident and we all know that looking great helps especially with older kids. But be careful that you are not sending the message that the way they look, or the things they have are more important that getting a great education!

I can’t help but think after reading the article that said parents are spending $688 per child on Back to School that maybe these parents are forgetting the reason for school?

You can see even more great ideas in this Woman’s Day article How to Save Money on Back to School.

Also, if you plan to do any online school shopping you will want to make sure you check the Online Coupon Database for coupon codes to help you save even more!

How to Cut Onions Without Crying

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How to Cut OnionsFive Ways to cut Onions without Crying



I am very sensitive to cutting onions and thought there was no escaping the tears that inevitably would follow the first cut of the knife.

I accepting this until the day a friend of mine that wears contacts let it slip that she never cries anymore when cutting onions.

Since I do not wear contacts and my daughter does, guess who took over that job from that day forward?

My daughter recently moved out to her own place leaving me to fend for myself once again. Now I am using the below methods to keep the tears away.

Here are a few tips for allowing yourself to cut onions tear-free.

  1. Cut Under Running Water: This is pretty self explanatory, just chop your onions under some running water. The running water redirects the onion vapors away from your eyes, leaving you tear-free.
  2. Soak it: Although this method makes your onions slightly milder, it works well in many foods. Just soak your onion in a bowl of water for about 15 minutes and then chop it. The water absorbs the onion?s sulfuric compounds, making their taste more mild and taking away the chemical release that causes your eyes to sting.
  3. Freeze it: For this method, just pop your onion in the freezer for 15 minutes before you cut it. The cold keeps the onion from releasing it?s eye irritating chemicals.
  4. Cut Under a Vent: If your kitchen has a good overhead fan, you can easily keep tears away. Just turn it on and chop your onions underneath it. The fan redirects the fumes to it and away from your eyes.
  5. Wear Goggles: If none of the above methods work out for you or you just have no tolerance for the onion?s stinging effects, try a pair of goggles. While there are goggles made specifically for cutting onions, a pair of cheap swim goggles work just as well. This method keeps the fumes out of your eyes completely.

Capital One 360 $100 CASH Bonuses!

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I have a special deal to share with you today for FREE Money!!

While Americans across the nation are preparing for barbecues, fireworks and picnics this Independence Day, I wanted to let you know Capital One 360 (formerly ING Direct) is helping Americans in their pursuit of financial freedom by offering a slew of savings and deals as part of its Financial Independence Day Sale.

They are doing this by offering special CASH Bonuses that are higher than normal for the next FOUR days only.

New Capital One customers will get $100 CASH just for opening a checking account with them. They are also offering $76 CASH for opening a savings account!

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These accounts are fee free and require no minimum deposits!!

In case you might have missed it before, I LOVE this online bank!

I signed up for an account years ago to earn a $50 cash bonus, and loved the interest rates so much that I have stayed for years now.  In fact we signed my son up for his own debit savings account two years ago, and he LOVED getting the cash bonus as well.

I like to use the online bank account as an emergency savings account. I have heard that some use it to save for vacations or the holidays.

If you have ever thought of signing up, today is definitely THE day for you because they are offering $176 CASH!

CaptureRunning from June 30th – July 3, customers can take advantage of star-spangled deals:

Customers who open their first 360 Checking account earn a bonus of $100 for five debit card transactions of any size and/or any CheckMate deposits within 45 days of opening the account.*

- CheckMate is a remote deposit tool (just take a picture of the check and deposit it) that allows customers to deposit money at home or on the go.

How to get your FREE CASH:

How it works:

  1. Open a fee-free 360 Checking® account between June 30th and July 3rd.
  2. Use your Debit Card to make 5 purchases or use CheckMateSM to make 5 deposits (or a combo of both) within 45 days.
  3. Recieve $100 bonus on day 50

Details:

360 Checking®: Earn $100 when you open a 360 Checking® account. Sign up for fee-free 360 Checking®, make 5 Debit Card purchases or 5 mobile deposits with CheckMateSM within 45 days and snag a cool $100 on day 50. There is no minimum balance and no hidden fees.

  • This has to be your and your joint account holder’s (if you have one) first 360 Checking account.
  • Open 360 Checking from June 30th – July 3rd and make a total of 5 Debit Card purchases or 5 CheckMateSMdeposits or any combination of the two within 45 days.
  • Your $100 bonus will be automatically deposited into your account on day 50.
  • Rates are variable. Annual Percentage Yields (APY) are effective 6/30/2014.

BONUS: After opening your account, refer two friends and you can earn an extra $100!

You can also earn $76 when you open a Savings Account here.

Find out all of the details and sign up here.

10 Ways to Use Vinegar

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ways to use vinegar

My two go to cleaners have always been vinegar and baking soda.

I share 10 Uses for Baking Soda a while back and figured it was time to share 10 Ways to Use Vinegar too!

#1 – Clean Your Bath with Baking Soda and Vinegar: The bath can get quite dirty after much use and a lot of neglect. That doesn?t matter though, because you can clean your bath quick and easy with both baking soda and vinegar. Just give dirty areas a good dusting of baking soda, follow with vinegar, and scrub vigorously with a sponge while the mixture fizzes away. Clean away any leftovers with water. Just a word of warning, you should probably have a window open so those fumes can go somewhere.

#2 – Clear up and Prevent Bruises: All of us have suffered a nasty spill of some kind (and I’m not talking about the kind where someone drops a drink) and those bruises can become extremely sore after a while. However, you can make all those nasty black-and-blues go away, just soak some cotton gauze in a little bit of vinegar, apply it to the bruised area, and let it sit for around an hour.

#3 – Brighten Your Laundry: You have a choice, spend a pretty penny on some fancy “all-color, stain-fighting, super-effective” bleach, or you can spend a couple of bucks on some plain, white vinegar. Just add 1/2 a cup of that stuff to your wash cycle to reinvigorate and brighten all the colors in all of your laundry loads; reds, blues, greens, yellows, blacks, and whites!

#4 – Hot Vinegar Drain Cleaner: Is the sink not draining as quick as usual? Chances are it’s probably a little clogged up by grime and such. This isn’t a problem though, all you need to do is pour roughly a quarter of a cup of vinegar and a quarter of a cup of baking soda down your drain, wait a little more than 15 minutes, and then follow it all down the drain with hot (preferably boiling) water.

#5 – Frost-Proof Your Windows: We’ve all had to wait that dreaded 5 minutes every winter morning; the windows are slowly-but-surely clearing up and you’re already 10 minutes late for work. You can keep Jack Frost off your windows by spraying a solution that’s 3 parts vinegar and 1 part water on your car windows every few weeks.

#6 – Deodorizer: Hate having to hold your breath when open  your trunk to put the groceries way, or maybe that musty old closet is getting to be a little too unbearable? You can freshen up the smell of these places quite easily! All you need to do is give a slice of white bread a soak in some white vinegar, place the soggy piece of bread on a plate, and keep it in that closet or trunk for a night. Things will start smelling good again in no time!

#7 – Clean Fresh Produce: Whether you are the gardening type or you just took a stroll through the produce section at your local supermarket, you never know what’s clinging to the surface of your fresh fruits and vegetables. If you’re not feeling safe about your food, you can always wash them with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar mixed with 1 1/2 quarts of plain water for a nice, bacteria-cleansing wash.

#8 – Clean Rust Off of Old Tools: So, you’ve finally gotten grandpa’s old tool box open, expecting gold and treasure, and just got some rusty old Depression-era hammers and screwdrivers. You can clean up granddad’s old tools real easy; just submerge them in some plain white vinegar for a couple of days until the rust is all gone.

#9 – Streak-less window cleaner: If you have some vinegar, water, and dish soap lying around, you can make a window cleaner that outperforms most others. Put 2 cups of water, 1/4 of a cup of plain white vinegar, and 1/2 a teaspoon of your favorite dish soap/detergent all into a spray bottle and have clean, clear windows in no time at all.

#10 – Keep Pests off your Pets: Is Fido biting and scratching away at himself because flea season has started in your state (Deeply sorry for those in the deep south who have to deal with the pests year-round)? You can keep those bugs away by filling a spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and water and applying it to your dog or cat’s coat before rubbing it in. Be careful with cats though, they’ve been known to get a little resistant and violent when vinegar and its “horrific” scent get involved.