Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year Resolutions for Thrifty Momma Ramblings

On this New Year's Eve, I would like to share my resolutions and goals for Thrifty Momma Ramblings in 2012.

1. Post regularly. I realize I haven't contributed regularly for the last two years, but I have explained why as my life was so chaotic with Robbie and the anxiety I was battling. I have posted at least 2-3 articles each week since October of 2011. I plan to post at least 2-3 each for 2012. I might even post 4 some weeks but I promise to always post a minimum of 2 each week.

2. Host more giveaways. I plan to host at least one giveaway each month. I hope I can expand by having giveaways from other companies with great products and prizes.

3. Redesign Thrifty Momma Ramblings. I am hoping to have this accomplished by March of 2012. I am still not sure if I will move this blog to another server, but I want to give this blog a face lift. As much as I enjoy the fancy templates, I find they take much longer to load for people on slower servers. I think I will keep it simple but a custom design to help this blog stand out from the crowd.

4. Write guest articles for other blogs. I would love to write guest articles for other blogs. I would also like to feature more guest articles about frugal living, green living, gardening, diy projects, recipes, crafts, or just saving money in general. If you are interested in writing an article for this blog, then please contact me which can be found at the top of the page. I have a PR2 blog. I can't afford to pay for guest articles, but I will gladly link back to your site with a short write-up for your blog. If you are interested in a guest post written by me, then please contact me.

5. Write articles to be published nationally. Along the same lines, I really want to work on writing articles for magazines and well known publications. I am trying to make a career as a writer. I love to research and share my experiences so it seems like a perfect fit for me. I hope to continue working on my BA after I graduate in May with my AS degree in General Studies. I will minor in English, Film Studies, and Web Graphics. I can apply this to what I'm already doing. I have some plans to submit thrifty tips, and my stories of battling anxiety and losing over 100 pounds to women's magazines. I am also working on writing a book which shares my struggles of losing a baby to SMA, the major anxiety and depression I battled, and fighting so hard for my oldest son who has PDD-NOS, SPD, and Anxiety. You can read more about those struggles on Robbie's Corner.

6. More marketing for Thrifty Momma Ramblings. Writing articles are great, but I need to really get more social. I would love any suggestions on any social networks that anyone uses and loves. I am looking into Blog Frog.

7. Raise my stats. I want at least a PR 3 blog before the end of 2012. I also would like to see 10,000 monthly visitors and 20,000 monthly page hits. I am already at 4K monthly visitors and 5K page hits. I think I can easily double this before the end of next year. I would really like to have 1K daily visitors but I want to baby step it. I don't want to put the cart before the horse so I will take it one day at a time. I am planning to put out good quality back links to higher ranking blogs.

8. Publish Thrifty Momma Ramblings on Kindle. This one is pretty straight forward.

These resolutions are the main goals for my blog next year. These are some pretty lofty goals with the articles in national magazines and publications. I have already done things this year I never thought would materialize. I went back to college after 16 years and will graduate in May 2012! If I can accomplish a goal I talked about doing for the last 10-12 years, then I know I can accomplish writing or anything I set my mind on doing. I will discuss this more on The Cajun Blogger, but finishing my first semester with a 4.0 has really boosted my self-esteem. I have also found myself so to speak. I forgot how much I enjoyed reading and writing. Being back in college turned my brain back on. I am a mother, wife, friend, daughter, sister, and so on. I am more than those labels. I am Bonnie who has something to offer this world. My writing has given me a voice I forgot I had. It sounds a little cliche, but being on the other side nothing is impossible. Happy New Year from Thrifty Momma Ramblings and 2012 will be a great year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

TMR Frugal Living Tip #86

First I have to comment I never post two frugal living tips in a week so consider this a nice bonus for the end of 2011. I don't have any pictures to show for this daily tip so I apologize for cleaning it so quickly.

Today's thrifty living tip is to clean or fix appliances before replacing. I know this seems pretty logical, but many people get discouraged by older appliances and distracted by new shiny ones. My Kenmore gas dryer is 14 years old. I already replaced the washing machine a couple of years ago with a front loader. That was a great decision which has saved me money in water and electricity. I just want to say it wasn't worth fixing so it was time to replace. The dryer works great, and works less as my clothes are drier when they come out the washing machine. I do like to line dry which also helps extend the life of the dryer.

Lately it's too cold and rainy to put it on the line. I've been a little too busy to keep up with laundry because of the holidays. We noticed all these scuff marks inside the dryer while doing laundry this past weekend. It wasn't getting on the clothes so I wasn't too concerned. Hubby mentioned maybe it was time to replace it with our income tax refund next year. He tried to clean it but said the marks weren't coming out.

I looked at it again today as I needed to do laundry. I pulled out my Mr. Clean magic eraser, and viola! The marks were coming out quite easily. I did take a wet dish towel to wipe it out a couple of times to make sure no residue is left. I wiped it with a dry towel afterwards, and over 90% of the marks are gone. I'm not sure what caused them, but now they are all gone. I have dried a load of towels and all looks good. No marks on the towels or the dryer. I will keep an eye on the dryer, but I'm hopeful I can get a few more years of service. I will also start a new appliance fund just to be on the safe side.

Monday, December 26, 2011

TMR Frugal Living Tip #85

Today's thrifty living tip is to save money by coloring your own hair. I usually get 2 boxes of hair color for $5 after sale and coupons. My stylist charges me $35 so I was going every 3 months. I was spending $140 yearly not including tip so around $150+ with tip. I can color my hair every 8 weeks which costs me $30 a year. I am saving over $100 each year. It might not seem like much, but it does add up.

I use Garnier hair color, and I have used all of them. I prefer the ultra color as I find it covers the gray well and the color lasts. I have become a bit of an expert on coloring my own hair. I don't do streaks or frosts. I just want to cover those stubborn grays. I'm much too young to have gray hair. I love the dark auburn color as it is closest to my natural color. I love how the red looks when I'm outside in the sun. I get lots of compliments on my color so I must be doing something right.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from Thrifty Momma Ramblings!

I just want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas from our family to yours. If you don't celebrate Christmas, then have a very happy day with whatever holiday or non-holiday you celebrate.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Winner of the $25 Amazon Gift Card Announced!

Sorry for the delay in announcing the winner of Thrifty Momma Ramblings Countdown to Christmas $25 Amazon gift card giveaway. My bed was oh so warm and snug, and I didn't want to get out of it. Hey at least I'm honest. I have already emailed the lucky winner so check your email and junk folder. Without further delay, the winner is.....................J Billiris!!! Congratulations on winning and again check your email.

I want to thank everyone for entering this giveaway. I'm so happy to have so many people who stop by and read my little ole blog. I have big, big, BIG plans for it next year. Keep coming back as there will be more giveaways next year as well as other great changes to this blog. I have officially finished my shopping as of yesterday. All presents have been wrapped, and some were already exchanged. I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! If you don't celebrate it, then just insert your holiday name instead.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Fun Sewing Project Perfect for Christmas- Towel Twist Turban

My mom surprised with me one she made about three to four years ago for Christmas. We call it a towel twists or towel turbans, or whatever name you want to give it. You can buy an already made one in the stores for around $5-6, but they look cheaply made and very thin. The one my mom made is still in regular use and well made. I made a total of five towel turban twists as Christmas presents, but I did keep one for myself. The first towel I used was a leopard print towel.

This project is for the novice as well as the advanced sewer. I cut out all the towels which saved us time, and my mom did all the sewing. I think doing two from the same towel does save time by using the same colored thread and bias tape. She estimates one twist takes about 15-20 minutes sewing time. If she doesn't have to sew on the bias tape, then it takes her less than 10 minutes to sew and serge a twist. The tape is the longest part of the process other than the cutting. We estimated we spent around 2 hours total for cutting and sewing. I think that is pretty good considering we made 5 towel twists. I did spend a little under $20 so about $4 for each one. It might not save a lot of money over buying a store bought one, but it is a unique and creative present. I have yet to see a leopard print or any fun decorative twists yet. You could save more money by buying the towels on sale.

You buy an ordinary bath towel which you cut out the shape using a pattern template you make yourself. My mom used wax paper to make the pattern template. You will measure 22" straight across the bottom. Then make a right angle straight up 7" and then curve the top to another 3" which is about 10" up at the highest point. Then you will just angle the line to meet at the corner. It should be shaped similar to a head in the back. The points are angled to make the twist and pull into the elastic loop. Now you will cut out your template.

I folded the towel lengthwise so I could cut a total of two twists. You might have to play around a little with the template to make sure you can get two. On your template you need to mark on the straight edge about 5" up for your elastic loop. I used a bright colored pin for this part. I then pinned my pattern and cut it out. You can save yourself a step by folding the towel inside out which eliminates the step of pinning right sides together. You will only sew the sides and curved top of the towel. You topstitch the pieces using at least 1/2" seam allowance.

Now you want to use about 4-6" of elastic and fold in half for the loop. Insert the loop leaving the two pieces where your pin is marked. You will go over that spot at least twice to ensure it is properly secured. She then used a serger to finish the raw edges leaving a nice finished edge. She did tell me if you do not own a serger, then you just have to use bias tape to finish that edge. It will last last longer, and the towel won't leave fuzz in your hair. It opens up flat when you use it in your hair.

I want to make a note here. If your towel has a decorative or colorful binding, then by all means use it in your finished towel twist. The white colorful towel had a lime green binding so we cut it out to use it in one of the twists. It saved me time and money. For other my two twists, I had to use bias tape. I bought it on sale for 99 cents each, and you only use half of the package for one twist. If you do not own a serger, then you have to use one whole package for each one you make. My mom had hot pink so we used it for one of the twists. I used plain white for the one I kept for myself. You will use extra wide double fold bias tape. The bias is what you use around the bottom edge of the twist.

You start the tape at one end and the fold will go around the edge of the towel. You just slowly work your around to the other side using a topstitch. As you near the other end, you have to leave one inch past where you started. Then you will turn it back 1/2" on the cut edge, and finishing sewing that section. This gives it a nice finish. You finally finished and turn it right side out. You might want to shake it out well to get all the towel fuzzies off you and the twist. I am giving mine along with spa goodies so it's a nice addition any girl would love.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Get Festive with Zenni Optical Frames

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Zenni Optical for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Santa Frames

The holidays are expensive enough without having to spend money on unexpected expenses like eyeglasses. In order to have more money for Christmas presents, then I decided to look at frames from Zenni Optical. It is always a good idea to have a backup pair since life happens. I do have eye insurance, but I can still spend over $200 after deductible. I simply can't afford more than one pair from my eye doctor. I am thinking of shopping for some festive frames for the holidays. I really love these frames with Santa Claus on the sides. I think these frames would put others in the holiday spirit as well. I need to finish up my Christmas shopping by buying a few more presents. I can still afford to have my backup pair while showing off my holiday spirit.

I have purchased several pairs of cheap eyeglasses from Zenni Optical in the last three years. Their customer service was excellent as well as the processing time. I received my glasses quickly and I never spend more than $40 a pair. If you really want a great pair of eyeglasses, then you need to check out to save more money for the holidays. They have an extensive line of frames to shop. Save more money for this holiday season and show off your festive side with fun frames.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Thrifty Momma Ramblings Countdown To Christmas $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

I'm making my list and checking it twice...Thrifty Momma Ramblings is hosting another giveaway!!! {naturally sung to Santa is coming to town}

I promised my readers one more gift card giveaway before Christmas. I know all of my readers and followers are on Santa's nice list. I am giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky winner in time to use before Christmas. I am not promising what you buy will arrive in time before Christmas. I don't own a sleigh or any flying reindeer. I will email the code before Christmas. Think of it as a buy what you really wanted but didn't get for Christmas gift.

Just leave me a comment telling me if you have started your Christmas shopping or not. I would love to read more than thanks or you rock! I already know I rock. This giveaway is only open to US residents 18+ please. Make sure you leave your email in your comment. Only one entry per person or email address please. I am including extra entries so check below. The lucky winner will be pulled by Random dot org.

The giveaway will end on December 23rd at 11:59 PM CST! Again only open to the US. Please no anonymous posters. Thank you. No purchase necessary.

2 Extra Entriess- Blog about this drawing on your blog linking back to this post. Leave me a comment with the link that I can follow and see it.
1 Extra Entry- Subscribe to my email list located at the top right hand side below header.
1 Extra Entry- Retweet this contest or follow me on Twitter (You can do both but you only get credit for one.)
1 Extra Entry- Follow my page on Facebook or Share on your wall (You can do both but you only get credit for one.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Guest Article: Child's Birthday Party on a Budget

The following post was written by Melissa C. who writes for the Blog Content Guild.

Throwing a Child’s Birthday Party on a Budget

Throwing a birthday party for your child doesn't mean you need to break the bank. There are lots of fun tips and tricks you can use that allow you to save money and will still allow for a memorable time!

First of all, if your child is very young, you don’t need to go out and buy a fancy cake from a bakery. These can be very expensive and, if your child is too young to even remember it, it is a waste of money. Many children love the Funfetti cake mix from Pillsbury that you can find at most grocery stores. You can make a fun cake yourself that will save a lot of money.

Instead of a cake, consider having cupcakes. You can make these yourself easily, or buy them from the bakery for usually cheaper than a cake. This takes the hassle out of having to cut a cake, and if your child is young they may enjoy playing with the cupcake far more than they would have enjoyed having a cake.

If you’re having a theme party, like a Mario party, save by buying minimal amounts of mario birthday party supplies. Instead, make some Mario-themed party-ware on your own. You can bake Mario-shaped cookies or a Mario cake.

Before heading to the store, survey what you already have with an eye for repurposing. If you have some leftover curling ribbon from Christmas, you could use it to tie around balloons. Similarly, some wire ribbon could help you decorate chairs and make the interior of your house colorful and welcoming.
Head to your local dollar store, especially goodie bag items. You can often find lots of stickers and small toys that you can put in small bags and tie with ribbons. It will look impressive to the children but won’t cost you an arm and a leg to assemble.

With some creative thinking and a little bit of planning, you can throw a great birthday party for your child without breaking the bank. Sometimes it could be easy to get caught up into the mentality nowadays of trying to have a birthday party better than any of the other children, but that’s not what is important. The important thing is to give your child a great, memorable time without stressing yourself out, and hopefully these tips will help you keep things in perspective and create a great celebration.

Hurry Before The Sprint 3-Day Sale Ends!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sprint for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Christmas is quickly approaching so the rush to finish shopping is on. For some people they are just starting to do their shopping. The holidays are a great time of year to get a great deal on a cell phone for yourself or your loved ones. I would be lost without my phone. I love texting, playing games, listening to my music, and even keeping up with important dates and birthdays. I just find it so easy to keep track of everything on my phone such as phone  numbers, addresses, and birthdays. I have become so addicted to my phone. Once my son is a little older, I will be looking into a cell phone where he can listen to music and plays games as well as talk and text. I can save money by not having a separate music player for him.

Sprint is offering the Android™ powered EVO 4G devices for FREE here:  This great deal is ending on December 14th! Time is running out to get snag this great deal. Sprint has sweetened the deal even more with waived activation for new lines of service and free shipping from Sprint here: Finish up your holiday shopping by checking out this great offer before times runs out.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Great Shopping Day!

I received several coupons and offers in the mail from different companies in the last week. I wanted to take advantage of a few of these offers to snag more Christmas presents. I needed to look for printed bath towels to make towel wraps as presents. I will post an article on what those are and how to make them soon. I made a day of shopping on Friday with a good friend. I have to share with everyone my great deals.


She wanted to stop at McDonald's on our way out, and there was a sign stating Free Small (12 oz) coffee for the month of December. We were thrilled and we each got one, and she bought a breakfast sandwich. I'm not much of a breakfast person. She only spent $1.52 for her sandwich. That was a great way to start off my morning. This offer is good for the whole month of December!

My friend wanted to hit Ross to look for her Christmas presents. I went to the towel section. I did find a really cute girly pink and other pastel stripe towel for my project. I ended up putting it back since I wasn't sure about paying $5.99 for the towel. That was actually a great price for printed towels. Oh well. Live and learn.

I did find a pair of Dockers brand shoe style slippers for my husband's grandfather. The best part was they were marked down to $6.99! That was the cheapest price I have seen including Black Friday. I found the last pair in black in his size. I also found a bamboo remote caddy to replace mine for $7.99 which is a present for us. The caddy I currently have is being held together by tape. I know pathetic. I also found a great deal for my hubby. He needs a new wallet and is always needing new belts. They had a package deal for both for $12! Both are Dockers and leather so I'm thrilled to have 2 presents for the price of one. I usually pay $15 for his wallet so it was like getting the belt for free. This was the most I spent all day for a total of $30.

I had printed out a coupon to receive a $10 gift card when you spent $50. I did find several things at the dollar hot spot area for stocking stuffers and extras for some of my gifts. I had a $10 gift card to use when I redeemed my rewards. I spent exactly $10.66 so I had to pay the 66 cents out of pocket. I was thrilled to get some more goodies for basically nothing. Since I couldn't find any towels or bigger items, then I decided to hand my coupon to the lady behind me. She had lots of toys and was so excited that I gave her the coupon. I wasn't coming back and hated to throw it out so I did a kindness by paying it forward. She hadn't heard about this deal so she was so excited to receive the $10 gift card for free. I responded with a Merry Christmas and left her all smiles. I was glad I could help someone else save money, and it does feel good to do random acts of kindness.

I had a $5 off coupon when you spend $15 or more. I found a mini-flashlight for my son's stocking which was $5. He is always begging to use a big flashlight but mostly wants one for bed at night. I know this will make him happy. Again I couldn't find any towels for my project, but I did find a six pack of washcloths. I always need them and seem to lose them. These were on sale for $12 and so super soft. I hate buying the cheap thin ones as they are so rough to use on my face. I'm glad I spent the extra money as I used one last night. These cloths are wonderful to use when I take off my makeup and especially my eye makeup. You know what, I'm definitely worth it. I spent $14 after coupon. My son's stocking stuffer was free and just paid for the washcloths.

We ate lunch at Burger King to take advantage of the BOGO deal on Whoppers. We each bought a small soft drink. We split the cost on the whopper and we spent $3 each with tax. We didn't buy any fries. I had a coupon deal for Auntie Ann in the mall and I knew we would be eating a pretzel there so I saved room for it. That deal cost us less than $3 each as well as it was a BOGO coupon. I had a bottle of water with me for both of us. I hate spending almost $2 on a bottle when I can pack a small ice chest for the road.

I'm especially thrilled with this deal. I picked up a pack of four smaller sized lotions. It was marked $18 but rang up $10. I had my $10 off any regular priced purchase so I paid $0.87 cents! I had no idea as I really thought it was priced $18. I'm not sure if I am going to give this as set or take out the bottles to make 4 presents. I'm thinking the latter as teacher gifts. My son has 4 teachers and the teacher aide. I love giving them a little something to show my appreciation. I feel this was my best deal of the day!

I finally found a leopard print towel at Kmart for $7 which wasn't too bad. I also found a wonderful wrist watch for my mom. She had a very specific type in mind and it was the only watch I found for what she wanted. I found the other towel for my project marked $9! I know that towel was much more than I wanted to spend, but it is perfect for the recipients of this project. I bought the bias tape at Hancock's fabric store and spent $3 with tax for two packs. I wasn't expecting it to be so cheap but they were on sale. I will break down the prices on that project and all the details in my other post soon.

Total for the day was around $75! I used the money I received in rewards to pay for my purchases. I didn't spend a dime of my money on any of these purchases. I spent $5 on food for a grand total of $80. I didn't count the cost of gas, but I don't do have many shopping excursions. I do most of my gift buying online. I was happy to get items and use coupons to save more money. I have a very gas efficient car which gets averages 37-38 miles to the gallon. I had a full tank and only used a quarter of a tank for the whole day including going to the town and coming home which is 50 miles round trip. I had a really fun day with my friend shopping and saving money. You can't put a price on a shopping day with the girls.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Create a Family Cookbook for Christmas

My husband's family shared their favorite family recipes in order to create their family cookbook. They also included family pictures and anecdotes. I think this makes a creative and wonderful Christmas gift the whole family can treasure. Your family's favorite recipes are kept forever in the family and passed down to future generations. Check out The Family CookBook Project website to create a family treasure below.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

TMR Frugal Living Tip #84

hollyjollychristmasToday's thrifty living tip is take your own Christmas pictures. When I received photo studio coupons in the mail, I would bring my son for his Christmas pictures to save money. The catch was you could only pick the first pose. The whole time I had my fingers crossed the picture turned out nice. I know some photographers would retake the picture if I wasn't happy with that pose, but many of them are making minimum wage. Taking my child's perfect Christmas picture is not high on their priority list.

I began taking all of my son's Christmas pictures when he was about 5 years old. I was already taking pictures of the items I sold on ebay so why not take his pictures. I take shots in front of the tree, in front a white sheet (just like the studios), outside, and maybe on location. I do not own a high quality digital camera, but it is a decent camera. I upload all my pictures on Snapfish. I can edit all the pictures and have the ones I wanted printed. You can add fun borders and other neat options. I'm not sure if you can order the pictures with borders. I think that might be for online use only. I usually spend $20-30 for many pictures in different sizes such as 8x10, 5x7, and wallet. This price even includes the price of shipping.snowflakes

You might be thinking...well, I don't know. This idea might not work so well if you want to be in the pictures such as a family picture. You might be lucky and know someone who takes good pictures that might do you a favor or barter for taking your pictures. I have a couple of people in my family who love to play photographer for fun. They would never dream of asking for money. Save some money and have fun taking the pictures. I also love the editing. The picture shown is one I took a few years ago and added a fun holiday border.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Visit Gift Card Weekend For a Chance to Win a $20 Regal Gift Card!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gift Card Weekend for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.


Christmas is almost here and you still have gifts to buy. Do you have a movie buff on your list? Then you need to visit Gift Card Weekend for a chance to win a $20 Regal gift card.  They are giving away those daily to Facebook fans from December 5-9 (12/5 to 12/9).

All you have to do is like Gift Card Weekend on Facebook for your chance. Share with your Facebook friends and you can receive an extra chance to win for every 'like' you influence. Then stick around through the month for more giveaways!

Gift Card Weekend is a once-a-year event where participating retail partners give featured offers for gift cards purchased during the Holiday season and redeemed from January 6 - January 8, 2012. They have other great partners listed below.

Participating stores and restaurants:
-Regal Cinema
-Bass Pro Shops
-Buca di Beppo
-Spa Finder
-Giant Eagle

Visit Sponsor's Site

Friday, December 2, 2011

EntreCard Top Droppers for November

November has come and gone. We are now in full swing of the holiday season. I wanted to take a little time to thank all of my Entrecard top droppers for November. I appreciate the time you took to read my blogs and for the comments. I have found so many great blogs to read through Entrecard, and have made some good friends. Thanks again for dropping by.

  1. Comedy Plus
  2. Serian Man
  3. Zenith
  4. Dragon's Alley
  5. Digital Rebel350
  6. Rambling Thoughts
  7. Funky Town Disco Music
  8. Picture to People
  9. Awww...Mondays
  10. My kids are my world

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Winner of the Tupperware Bowl Giveaway Announced!

I will no longer keep those who entered the Tupperware Bowl giveaway in suspense. I already emailed the lucky winner. If you see this announcement first then please check your email. I used the email you put on your entry. You might want to check the junk folder as well just in case.

DRUMROLL...................................................The lucky winner using is caroline! Congratulations on your new set of Tupperware bowls.

I want to thank everyone who entered. I will try to host at least one giveaway a month. So keep checking back for more and I should have my next one up in the next week before Christmas. I love hosting them, and I appreciate all the subscribers and followers. So please keep reading and commenting. I enjoy reading every one's comments and any suggestions. Check back soon for my new giveaway.