I love mimosas

Free Mimosa with each breakfast

Oh, those words “Complimentary Mimosa” just make my heart sing. Mimosas are my favorite part about Sundays. My neighborhood bar and grill started up a Sunday brunch early in 2016, and one of the gimmicks is one free mimosa with every breakfast, starting at noon. Continue reading “I love mimosas”

Saving Money $5 at a Time

Saving Money

We are always trying to find new ways of saving money. We cut corners, use coupons, and try all kinds of new techniques to pinch a few pennies. I am not sure from where this idea originally came, but it is a technique that I learned about from some friends who work at my local bar and grill. So far, it is working for me.

Saving money $5 at a time.

Because my friends work as bartenders and servers, they have a constant influx of cash on hand. They sometimes have to stock a purse for making change on the floor and often take home a lot of tips in cash. Constantly having cash coming in definitely makes this technique for saving money an easier feat for them, but I think anyone can do it.

When they are counting out their cash at the end of the night, after turning in their envelopes, they make sure that they set aside all of the $5 bills. The $5 bills then go into a separate envelope at home and are forgotten about. That is how the stash begins to grow. You don’t really notice if you set aside $5 here and there and it very quickly adds up. One of the keys is to not regularly count it, so that you can be truly surprised.

Pearl Jam beckons.

So what am I saving up for? I have been a devout Pearl Jam fan for the past 25 years, ever since the first time “Evenflow” graced my ears. I have traveled coast to coast to watch my boys play and have even been lucky enough to have met Eddie Vedder twice. My faithful friend and I make an effort to attend at least one show every tour. I think I have only missed one tour since I started going, back during the Yield tour. In fact, I try to make it to more than one.

We’ve been on pins and needles waiting for the 2016 Tour announcement. Both of us have changed jobs, so time off and extra money has been a bit of a concern. My friends had just told me about this money-saving technique, so I started using it as soon as the tour dates were announced. By the time the tickets for our chosen show went on sale, I already had saved up most of the cost of one ticket.

How am I doing this? Well, I do not work in a field that pays in cash. From time to time, I will take out cash before going out or to pay bills. I do occasionally babysit, which allows for cash. I am also likely to take cash from my friends and use my debit card to pay when we go out to dinner or for drinks. I then set aside the $5 bills that I get. Any time I am out and break a larger bill when purchasing food or whatnot, I again set aside the $5 when I get home.

So, that is the method that works best for me. How you get your cash and break it up is going to be completely personal. Don’t give it too much thought. Just do it and be pleasantly surprised when it adds up.

What are you going to save for?

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10 Valentine’s Day Cocktail Recipes

Nothing says loving like a good cocktail. Whether you are celebrating the holiday with a loved one, with friends, or celebrating as Single’s Awareness Day, a great adult beverage can make the evening a bit more relaxing and fun. I have collected a variety of Valentine’s Day cocktail recipes to try this holiday season, including some of my favorites and ones that I am aching to try. What’s your poison?  Continue reading “10 Valentine’s Day Cocktail Recipes”

20 Free Valentine’s Day Printables

Free Valentine’s Day printables are a great way to make memories with your kids that go beyond those cliché boxed cards all over the stores. Try memory books, fun decorations, or even sneak in a little bit of learning. Browse through some of these fun ideas we have collected and then print off your favorites. 

I Love You Because Free PrintablePassion for Savings has created this adorable printable for you to do with your kids. It’s an interactive way to elicit conversation with your kids while being entertained with their answers. Print one off every year and keep them in a special scrapbook, to watch how the answers change over the years. Teachers can also use them for an easy take-home gift with their students. Kids Activities has a more open-ended version for writing practice and creativity.

Monster MemoryGlue Sticks and Gumdrops has created this cute little monster memory game for Valentine’s Day. Print off two sets on cardstock for durability and laminate if desired. Cut apart all of the cards and turn them over for a fun and simple matching game. Or, keep one set in tact while separating the second set for a more controlled matching activity.

Valentine’s Day Chatterbox – Maybe you called them cootie-catchers, or even some other name, but this chatterbox printable from In the Playroom is a fun game to play kids. You have your choice of her preloaded template or create your own words and phrases on the blank template. Then, relive your childhood!

Valentine’s Day Wordsearch and Bingo – Keep your kids entertained with these free Valentine’s Day printables from Blooming Homestead. One is a wordsearch that was entertaining enough for her nine year-old. The Bingo game is easily fun for the whole family! Need a more advanced wordsearch? Check out this one from Crazy Little Projects, that also includes a free printable Tic Tac Toe game. Pre-K Pages has another Valentine’s Day Bingo game that you can print in color or black and white.

Valentine’s Day Learning Activities – Help your kids keep on learning with some free educational Valentine’s Day printables from Family Centsability. Choose from a Word Unscramble or Printing and Spelling Practice.

Valentine’s Day Matching – For another great and adorable free printable matching game, check out the one at Cuzinlogic.

10 Frames Valentine’s Day Math PrintablesThese cards from A Little Pinch of Perfect help your children with one-to-one correspondence, as well as numeral printing practice. Trace the numerals on the cards and then count out candy hearts to practice quantities. The new Valentine’s Day printables pack for this year includes a whole gamut of skills, including pre-writing, language, math, coloring, and more.

Letter and Number Heart Puzzles – Free Homeschool Deals has created a couple of heart-themed letter and counting matching activities in the form of puzzles. Match upper and lower case letters while practicing beginning sounds, or numerals to number words with quantities.

Color Words – Practice sight word recognition of the color words with this heart-themed booklet from I Can Teach My Child. The color version helps children learn to recognize the color names. The black and white version lets children color as they practice the words.

Valentine’s Day File Folder Games – File folder games make for fun manipulative activities with kids. Itsy Bitsy Fun is offering up four free games that teach shapes, colors, letters, and numerals.

Roll and Color Valentine’s Day Counting Game – These games where you roll a die and keep moving your way across a board are always a lot of fun for kids. Here is one from Mom Inspired Life.

Candy Heart Patterns – Patterning is such an important skill to learn. Modern Preschool created a series of patterns that you can use with candy hearts (or even heart-shaped beads) to practice ABA, ABB, and ABC patterns. Or, create your own!

Valentine’s Day Scavenger Hunt for Kids – I have fond memories of the Easter scavenger hunt that my parents prepared for us every year. Make the same kinds of memories with this Valentine’s Day version by Adventures in Wunderland. It’s also a great way to promote reading skills!

Valentine’s Day Scrabble Math – I absolutely adore this idea. Combine language and math by practicing spelling holiday words with Scrabble tiles. Then, add up the numerals. For even more learning fun, go back and write the words into this printable designed by And Next Comes L.

Valentine’s Pattern Block Mats – Pattern blocks are great for color and shape recognition. They also allow for lots of open-ended learning. Try these fun mats from Playdough to Plato to get the fun started.

Valentine’s Day Music Worksheets – These are some of the most unique Valentine’s Day printables I have found. Ear Training and Improv has managed to incorporate the holiday into music theory practice. Follow-up activities also included.

What is your favorite kind of printable to use with kids?

12 Valentine’s Day Gift Alternatives

When you think of giving a Valentine’s Day gift, images of decadent chocolate and other sweet treats pop into your head. You can just imagine the tastes melting on your tongue. But what if you are trying to cut back on the sweets? Not everybody wants to have a sugar overload for yet another holiday, but you still want to create something that conveys affection to your sweetheart. Check out some of these candy alternatives for Valentine’s Day gift-giving.

You’re the Write Stuff Valentines – Do you know an aspiring writer? Or would you like to encourage kids to put pen to paper? These inexpensive and easy valentines are the perfect way to send a loving message and inspire further creativity through the written word. Three Different Directions provides a free silhouette file and PDF printable to use with mini notebooks and pencils.

Sports Valentines – Have a sports lover in your life? Celebrate a love of basketball, soccer, and football by matching up these printables from Glue Sticks and Gumdrops with ball party favors from the Dollar Store.

You’re a Great Catch – Glue Sticks and Gumdrops also has this cute fish-themed idea. Print off her card toppers to put with a bag filled with fish-themed objects. Get creative with stickers, mini fish toys, or anything else you can find!

Color Your Heart Out – Coloring is a hot craze right now. Granted, it is mostly adults who are talking about it, but kids still love to do it. Mom’s Messy Miracles created this simple printable card that you can affix to a box of 24 crayons as a fun gift. She also includes a couple of heart-themed printable coloring pages to get you started!

DIY Crayon Hearts and Valentine’s Day CardsMom Dot Com has a great tutorial on how to create your own melted crayon hearts that you can attach to homemade cards. Inspire creativity and have fun coloring!

Bouncy Ball Valentines – Have a ball this year by printing off these cute gift tags from DIY Inspired and then attach them to a little baggie containing those fun bouncy balls that can be found in party favor sections of stores.

Valentine BookmarksThe Thrifty Couple came up with these cute bookmark ideas for their kids to pass out to their friends as an easy Valentine’s Day gift. They made two kinds: one out of paint sample cards and one out of scrapbook paper. They are super cheap and easy to create. Random Mommy also has bookmarks, made out of ribbon, craft foam, and buttons.

DIY Seed Packet Valentines – Inspire that spring feeling with these seed packet valentines from Faithfully Free. Let your loved ones know how much you “dig” them with the free printable that you attach to an inexpensive packet of seeds.

DIY Recycled Seed Paper Heart Valentines – Another great way to use up extra paper around the house is to make your own recycled paper. JaMonkey shares a way to incorporate seeds into the paper so that your valentine can grow some beautiful flowers, or whatever else you would like to mix in with the paper. There’s also a free printable card that you can attach them to, if you don’t want to make your own.

Valentine’s Day Flower Pots – Or, give your loved one a plant or a flower in a pot that you have specially painted just for them. Simply Darrling has a great tutorial on how to design a themed flower pot to give as a Valentine’s Day gift and a glimpse of spring.

Heart Soap Valentine – Inspire cleanliness in the young ones, or help your friends decorate the bathroom with these cute heart-shaped soaps from Dukes and Duchesses. Keep the small hearts on their own or put them inside a larger piece of soap. Then, use the free printable as a tag to go with them.

What are you giving to your loved ones this year?