Being Cheap is Easy

Dip Baby Dip: Mango Poblano Guacamole #StonyfieldBlogger

July 01, 2015

I am a #StonyfieldBlogger. All recipes and opinions are my own!

Mango, Avocado, Poblano, Guacamole, Stonyfield, Greek Yogurt Dip

I'm always pretty adventurous with adding different ingredients to salsa, but I forget to switch up guacamole.  Being honest, I could eat guacamole  In the summer, when avocados are super cheap, I pretty much do!

Budget Friendly Summer Entertaining Tips #TweetFromTheSeat

June 29, 2015

Disclaimer: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Charmin. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for my participation. All content and thoughts are my own. #TweetFromTheSeat
#TweetFromTheSeat, #IC, Charmin, Budget Party, Budget Shopping, Summer Entertaining

Isn't summer entertaining the best? It's much more carefree and laid-back!  That being said, there are some things that can still stress you out during a party: making the food, buying groceries, cleaning, etc.  The last thing you want to worry about is an embarrassing clogged toilet.  Did you know that Charmin is septic safe? They've got your behind covered! (Pun intended!)

#TweetFromTheSeat, #IC, Charmin, Budget Party, Budget Shopping, Summer Entertaining
Check out my newest video for some Charmin toilet paper tips and tricks...especially if you have little ones who fly through toilet paper!  You can also find out more TP info on the Charmin Facebook page.

Outside of the bathroom, there are many ways to keep your party on budget, believe it or not!  I like to follow the "Keep It Simple" mentality.

Keep the Menu Small. This is the hardest part for me since I love to cook.  But remember: people are there to have fun and chat with YOU, they don't need a table full of food! Since it's grilling season, stick with 2-3 sides, including a salad and 1-2 grilled items. That's it! I recently posted this Chicken Fajita Kabob recipe that would be perfect for the 4th of July!   Since this is prime farmer's market season, fill your menu with less expensive fruits and veggies to let the meat be almost a side. Themes are always fun too: think Fiesta Grill with margaritas and guacamole.

Organize Dishes To Pass. Keep your menu organized, so when someone asks to bring something, you can tell them exactly what you might need.  Don't be vague, either!  This ensures you don't have 5 bags of chips and no dessert!  I like to tell guests to bring a 6-pack or bottle of wine instead of food--it's easier to be short on booze than food!
#TweetFromTheSeat, #IC, Charmin, Budget Party, Budget Shopping, Summer Entertaining

Signature Drinks.  I think it's fun to have 2-3 drinks on hand rather than a full stocked bar.  If you get cute spouted containers or pitchers, you can make drinks ahead of time.  No one wants to be mixing drinks all night, especially as a host.  Be sure to have water and/or ice tea available too. Always get more ice than you think you'll need.  Another fun idea is to have everyone bring their favorite craft beer to mix and match.

Simple Decor. Dollar Tree is my secret BFF.  Browse the aisles and you'll be shocked at what you can find: stemless wine glasses, fun seasonal decor and more....for $1.  Can't go wrong! Consider stocking up on a set of 8-10 nicer plastic glasses for your summer entertaining season instead of buying disposable ones.

What budget entertaining tips do you have for ME? 

Road Trip! Our Mini-Vacation to Mackinaw City #PureMichigan

June 25, 2015

 Mackinac, Mackinaw, Road Trip, #PureMichigan, Michigan Vacations, Mackinaw City, Budget Travel, Mackinac Island on a Budget
Last weekend, we took a road trip to Mackinaw City with my parents.  Michigan has so many beautiful places to visit, it's nice that we can travel only 4 hours to a whole new world.  Since Ricky is a newbie Michigander, we had to check out Mackinac Island and the area surrounding it.  Be warned: I have a lot of photos!

BBQ Favorites: Creamy Ranch Potato Salad

June 24, 2015

Potato Salad, Hidden Valley Ranch Packet, Side Dishes, BBQ Side Dishes, Potato, Hard Boiled Egg
Nothing says summer like potato salad! It's perfect with burgers, ribs, sandwiches...anything! Everyone has their own style that they love.  Do you keep the skins on or peel the potatoes? Eggs or no eggs? Mayo, mustard or yogurt?

Aldi Haul: What I Bought For $50! [Video]

June 23, 2015

You all know by now that I LOVE ALDI. I've been shopping there for years--even before I had kids. It's a budget shoppers dream store and you can really find some gems there.  Their season section is always fun to browse.  Like I always say: you can get MOST of your groceries there, but not all.  I like to go there first to knock of most of my list before heading to Meijer or Costco.

Movie Review: #Disney Inside Out

June 19, 2015

Disclaimer: We received movie passes to facilitate this review, but all opinions are my own.
Inside/Out Review, Disney Movies, Kid Movies, Movie Reviews, Inside Out Review

I'm really not sure who was more exited to see Inside Out between my kids and I.  Being a huge fan of the voices (Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling, especially), I couldn't wait to see what their comedy chops could add to a Disney movie.  Originally, the twins had t-ball and it was going to be a Mommy date with Gabby.  The stars aligned for the twins and upcoming storms canceled their t-ball game and they were able to come along, also.

Going to the theater is a BIG DEAL for the family.  It's quite expensive to take the whole family to the local cinema, especially with popcorn and snacks.  We'd never seen a 3D movie, so this was even more exciting.

Movie Basics:
This story is about Riley, an 11 year old, and her emotions in her head.  There is a main headquarters and 5 main emotions that run it: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger.  The story is told from the perspective of the emotions in the headquarters--they watch what is happening in her life and help her react to it, with Joy being the leader.

We really enjoyed this movie.  My daughters (6 year old twins and 3) sat through the entire movie and laughed along with the different characters.  Nothing was overly scary and they only covered their eyes once or twice.  The 3D aspect was really cool, but I don't find it necessary for the extra money.  No matter which way you see it, you'll get a great movie.  

I will warn you that there is a slight ominous tone to the movie.  They mostly went over my kids' heads, but really hit home with me.  A lot of the movie deals with different memories from childhood and the emotions tied to them.  There is a point in the movie where the old memories are being stored in a "long-term" space and some were being erased--I started wondering how many memories I'd long forgotten about!  

They also touched on innocence and really made you remember how fleeting it is.  Many of Riley's memories were from when she was younger and you meet her Imaginary Friend.  In the beginning, everything has a touch of Joy and happiness, but as things change in the movie you'll see different emotions creating her feelings.  Disney touches on the idea of how you want everything to be through rose-colored glasses, but life is about ups and downs.  (Cue: Facts of Life theme song)

I like that Inside Out opens the door for conversations about emotions as a family. 

About the PG Rating:
I think this is the perfect rating and I don't think there was anything overly scary in this movie.  It isn't quite as light and fluffy as I expected, though. My 3 year old loved the movie and was laughing quite a bit.  I know many other Disney movies rated PG that she finds way to scary to watch (Brave, especially).  There are jokes for parents, as usual, which are really funny.  We all enjoyed the movie and it will be one that we purchase on DVD later.  

Have you seen Inside Out? What were your thoughts?

Cook Once, Eat Twice: BBQ Meatballs #SweetSwaps

June 17, 2015

Disclaimer: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for the SPLENDA® Brand. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation. All opinions and reviews are my own.
#SweetSwaps,  SPLENDA® Brown Sugar Blend, Lightened Recipes, Meatballs

Lately, I feel like there isn't enough time in the day.  With so much going on, there is barely time for ME time, let alone time with my friends.  Sometimes a gal needs some adult conversation....and wine!  It seems many of my friends have the same situation: busy schedules that are impossible to sync up.  When my friend Becca suggest an outdoor Zumba class, I was in!  What's more fun than making a fool of yourself with your friends?