The Good Life for Less Book Review + Giveaway

By | Frugal Living, Reviews/Giveaways

One of the very first bloggers that I started following was Amy from Mom Advice. Her blog documents their struggle during a rough financial time and how they follow the frugal lifestyle through meal planning, family activities and decorating their home.

In The Good Life for Less, Amy shares how to serve your family great meals, enjoy good times and have a happy home while still maintaining your budget. The book is packed with great tips, that even after almost 25 years of marriage, I had never thought of.

Here are some of the tips…

  • Check and double-check every bill, not only hospital bills which are commonly known for charging extra, but also your phone, utilities, cable, etc.  I honestly don’t check our regular monthly bills for mistakes, most of them remain the same, so I just don’t check, but I will now.
  • Use a kitchen timer set for 5 minutes in the shower, it will not only cut down on water, but also the electric bill for the hot water heater.
  • Consider bartering your talents for items you need. Over the years, Doug and I have done this many times, I have baked and Doug did yard work for others.
  • Use cash at the grocery store, only take your budgeted amount with you, if you don’t have your debit or credit card, and only have a limited amount of cash, you are far less likely to overspend. We used to always use cash for everything, and then about a year or so ago started using the debit card, I can say first hand, that our spending as increased because of it. I will definitely be going back to cash for groceries.
  • Shop a warehouse club. This takes a little time on your part to compare prices, but you can save considerably on many products. Just yesterday, we stopped in to Sam’s Club for a price on tires and decided to look around a bit. My son found the workout shake mix that he uses for 1/4 the amount he pays at the Health Food Store or online. On 3 products, we saved just over $100, which more than paid for our club membership. Also at Sam’s, you can shop online and have them pick out your order and then you just pick it up, which is not only a time saver but also would save money, because the more you walk around the warehouse, the more you spend.
  • Meal plan…meal plan…meal plan! I have been planning our Monthly Menu for many, many years, and it’s definitely a great money saver as well as time saver. You can see all our menus over on Pocket Change Gourmet.
  • Make birthdays special, but stay on budget. Hang a birthday wreath, like the one I shared, on your door. It’s inexpensive and can be used for everyone’s birthday, year after year.
  • Summer fun…for several years, Amy has created 100 Days of Summer, last year she added ideas to a Pinterest Board. After seeing her board, I wished my boys were young enough to do some of the things she had planned.

I could go on forever with the great ideas to help you live the good life for less. And like Amy said recently on Mom Advice, “This book is the handbook that I wish someone had given to me when I started my family.”

I have learned countless things from Amy over the years and proudly call her my friend! She is an Indiana gal, with a heart bigger than Texas!

Whether you are looking to get your budget back on track or spend more time with your family, like me, I would strongly encourage you to buy The Good Life for Less!

Amy has graciously offered her book for a giveaway! Two (2) lucky Hoosier Homemade readers will get the pleasure of reading The Good Life for Less!

Be sure to join us as celebrate The Good Life for Less with a Twitter party on Tuesday, January 8th at 8 p.m. CST! Use hashtags, #GNO and #TheGoodLifeforLess

GIVEAWAY GUIDELINESPLEASE read the Official Guidelines 

GIVEAWAY CLOSED –  Check the Giveaway Winners Page

Two lucky Hoosier Homemade winners will receive The Good Life for Less Book from Amy Allen Clark

Entries only accepted on this page. Facebook, Twitter or email entries do not count.

Giveaway will remain open until January 11, 2013 at 10 p.m. CST. Winner will be chosen at random, notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond.


  • How do you cut back on your budget?

OPTIONAL ENTRIESPlease leave a separate comment for each entry

Disclosure: Products for review were provided by Amy Allen Clark. I received a free sample of the products for the purpose of this review and to facilitate a giveaway.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Amy Allen Clark or Mom Advice. There are affiliate links in the post.

How to make Paper Bag Lanterns

By | Crafts, DIY Projects, Frugal Living, Holidays, Home page - Slider | 3 Comments

Yesterday, we shared our Memorial Day Cook-Out complete with food, decorations and the adorable Memorial Day Printables from The Paper Cupcake. To add a bit of whimsy to the table, we made Paper Bag Lanterns.

Of course, any color of bag will work, we found these at Hobby Lobby in the party section, 10 in a package for $1.99…makes them an inexpensive decoration as well! I spotted the Paper Bag Lanterns over on Landee See Landee Do, and followed most of her directions, changing it up just a little to figure out the easiest way to make them, Doug put together a step-by-step tutorial for you to make it easier.  Let’s gather our supplies…

Paper Bag Lantern Supplies

  • Paper Bags – you can find them at craft stores, as well as Walmart
  • Ruler
  • String or twine
  • Hole Punch
  • Butter Knife or something to crease the folds
  • Scissors

Paper Bag Lantern Directions

  1. Fold the bottom of the bag and match the ends
  2. Cut along the crease
  3. Fold the sides of the bag towards the center, it should look like a capital H
  4. Crease the folds outward
  5. Then you will have a shape that looks like photo 5
  6. Fold each panel again matching the folds
  7. Then you will have a shape that resembles an accordian
  8. Match the folds and punch holes in the top and bottom
  9. Mark the center of the bag, fold it in half over the ruler to create the crease, use the dull edge of the butter knife to make a sharp crease
  10. Pop out all the folds
  11. Run the string through the holes, draw it in a little but not too much. Tie off the string with a knot.
  12. Now is when you will need to pull out any creases that need your attention, take your time

Memorial Day Cook-Out

Linking to…Made By You Monday

How to make Gel Ice Packs

By | Featured Posts, Frugal Living | 9 Comments

A little while back, I shared the FoodSaver Vacuum Sealing System with you. It’s an awesome way to not only save money on buying in bulk, freezing leftovers but can also be used for freezing fruit and vegetables.

I bought cranberries on sale, measured 2 cups into each bag for Cranberry Bread and sealed them with the FoodSaver. We will enjoy using them all Winter long.

As part of the FoodSaver Challenge, we were asked to come up with other ideas to save money. As a Mom of three boys, we have our share of injuries, especially sports injuries. Gel Ice Packs can be expensive, and using regular ice can be uncomfortable.

These homemade Gel Ice Packs are super easy, and inexpensive…

Gel Ice Pack Supplies:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup rubbing alcohol
  • Liquid food coloring
  • Resealable bags
  • FoodSaver System bags


  1. Mix 2-1; 2 parts water to 1 part rubbing alcohol. The rubbing alcohol does not allow the water to freeze.
  2. Add a few drops of food coloring and stir
  3. Pour liquid into a resealable bag.
  4. We tried using just the FoodSaver bag and for some reason {we think the alcohol}, it wouldn’t seal all the way. But if you place the liquid in a resealable bag first, then seal the FoodSaver System, it makes a durable, secure ice pack.

Thru the end of December 2011 go to to find coupons for $10 off on a purchase of a FoodSaver System and $2 off on your purchase of FoodSaver bags.

Disclosure: This post is part of a campaign I am participating in with the Walmart Moms. Walmart has provided me with compensation  for this post. My participation is voluntary and opinions, as always are my own.

Linking to…Weekend Wrap up Party,Made by you Monday

Spring Mantel: How to decorate

By | Decorating, DIY Projects, Frugal Living | 24 Comments

Decorating our home is one of my favorite things to do. I tend to keep the Living Room more primitive and decorate with country antiques. And I decorate the Dining Room with a little more color and whimsy.

I have decorated our Spring Mantel with lots of different ideas. Last year, I used a little more color but this time, I wanted to keep it more rustic and give it an outdoor feel. So, I thought about what Spring means to me…Birds, Branches, Watering Cans, Birdhouses and Green.

I have created a tutorial for you for the Mantel as well as how to paint the birds eggs that I have in the nest.

Start with the garland and large pieces

  1. I started with the garland. Grapevine rope with some silk ivy cut and tucked in
  2. Then some burlap that I bunched up a little
  3. A galvanized antinque watering can at one end
  4. And some Forsythia branches in Aqua Mason Jars

Add the medium pieces

  1. Next came the medium size pieces, a birdhouse and nest
  2. A treasurerd birdhouse that my Dad made years ago
  3. And a nest that I made from a grapevine wreath {that I took apart}, spanish moss and eggs {tutorial below}
  4. To give it some height, I propped up the back of the holder with a small clay pot

And then small pieces

  1. A small birdhouse tucked behind a white teapot
  2. Then a couple clay pots
  3. The grass from the St. Patrick’s Day Mantel returns and a couple more eggs
  4. And a wooden candle holder that I spray painted white and added a little egg to the top

The eggs were easy to do, but they did take some time. I also realized after painting them, I would have been better to use a solid egg, and not the hinged plastic eggs. But I used what I had on hand, it worked and didn’t cost me anything.

  1. Place opened eggs on a board
  2. Spray with white paint
  3. Then paint with blue or the color of your choice {I used some leftover paint from The Sports Bedroom}
  4. Then spray with Fleck Stone paint {I used plasti-kote brand}
  5. And using an old toothbrush dipped in black paint, flick the paint to make the eggs speckled

After taking the pictures and putting the eggs back together, I did have to paint the seams a little more with blue and spray a little more Fleck Stone on them.

Everything I used were items that I already had, I just went shopping in my own home for them. Think outside the box a little, and don’t be afraid to experiment…even with a little spray paint.

Have you started decorating for Spring?



Sprinkles ~ Re-purposing Spice Rack Bottles

By | Featured Posts, Frugal Living, Home Management, Organizing | 31 Comments

A few years back, while visiting one of my favorite gals, Bakerella, I saw a Spice Rack that she had purchased and stored her Sprinkles in. Well, of course, at the time, it was way above my budget, so I have just been using old plastic jars to store my Sprinkles in.

Since my cupcake decorating has grown so much this past year, and with the generous gifts from Wilton, my Sprinkles collection, was taking over the Baking cupboard.

Most days, my cupboard and counter looked like this…ugh! It drove me crazy.

Fast forward a couple years to a couple weeks ago, when Doug and I were visiting my Father-in-law and choosing some of the household items that weren’t needed anymore, as the house and farm have sold.

When…what do I spy with my little eye? A Spice Rack with Glass Bottles!! YES! Score! My Sprinkles will have a new home!

We packed the Jeep, until we couldn’t fit another single thing in, and headed home. I dumped the old Spices, washed the bottles, and filled to my heart content!

Now all of my Sprinkles are happy in their little homes!

My counter is back to normal and I can actually find which Sprinkles I’m looking for.

And my Baking cupboard…I can actually find what I’m looking for in there too!

Have you Re-purposed anything lately? Share with me in my Blog Frog Community or on Facebook!

I’m linking to…Saturday Night Special


Frugal Gift Giving

By | Frugal Living, Holidays | 4 Comments

‘Tis the Season ~ Decorating, Baking, Cooking and Gift Giving

Even though it’s always great if you can craft or bake for your Gift Giving. But, sometimes, it just is impossible, whether your time is limited or you just aren’t able.

Although these gifts are not homemade, I still wanted to share them with you and give you some ideas for Frugal Gift Giving.

On a recent trip to Walmart, heading to get some dog bones, I came across these gifts, and couldn’t help but take a few pictures. (Sorry, for the quality, they were taken with my cell phone) All of these gifts are under $10. I’ve combined the pictures, so that the post isn’t quite so long.

First up are the gifts for the chef or baker…

Gifts collage.1.1

  1. Ceramic bread pans, 2 packaged together ~ $9
  2. Ceramic mixing bowl with a whisk ~ $9
  3. Silver bread dish, it says “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread” and it’s packaged with a bread mix ~ $5
  4. White dishes, plates, bowls, etc. 4 in a box ~ $5 (I bought some of these last year and use them for everyday, they are heavy and well made, a great price)

Next are all from the $1 section, they would be great as stocking stuffers or gift exchange, even as gifts for your children to give their friends

Gifts collage.2

  1. Lollipop Soap
  2. Lip Gloss
  3. Christmas Shaped Soap
  4. More Lip Gloss

And last are some Bath & Body Sets

Gifts collage.3

  1. Cupcake lotion and assessories ~ $9
  2. Lip Gloss ~ $1
  3. More cupcake lotion ~ $9
  4. Lotion and Body Spray ~ I actually bought these at CVS, they were $4.99 each with $4 ECB (Extra Care Bucks) back, so I spent $2 on both

I hope this gives you a few ideas for Frugal Gift Giving, for more ideas, visit Life As Mom for Frugal Friday.

Reusing Storage Bags

By | Frugal Living, Home Management | 4 Comments

Part of being frugal and trying to cut corners wherever I can, is finding ways to reuse, reduce and recycle. This may or may not be a new idea for you, but I reuse storage bags (Ziploc).

Storage Bags

First, I turn them inside out and wash them. I put a drop or two of dishsoap on them and rinse them well.

Then I stand them up, sometimes over a glass or container to dry. Most of the time after a few hours they are mostly dry and then I turn them right side out and dry them a few more hours.

Reusing storage bags not only helps with cost but also helps the landfills.

I need to add too, that I don’t reuse bags that I have had raw meat in. I also try to use plastic reusable containers as much as possible but sometimes using a bag is necessary and a little easier.

Storage Bags.2

Another way to save on your kitchen supplies is paper towel. I will admit that I do buy paper towel, mostly because I have 2 teenage boys and my youngest son is 12. I can get by with 3-4 rolls per month, by using my kitchen towels.

For more frugal tips, please visit:

~Frugal Fridays hosted by Life As Mom 

Frugal Slip N’ Slide

By | Family, Frugal Living | 5 Comments

The boys have been having fun on our frugal homemade Slip N’ Slide.

What you will need…

  • Large Plastic Tarp
  • One or Two Sprinklers hooked up to a water hose
  • Kids that want to have some Summer Fun

Lay the tarp in the yard, turn the sprinklers on and have fun!

Slip N Slide.3

Slip N Slide.4

Slip N Slide.5

Slip N Slide

For more great blog carnivals, please visit:

~Frugal Fridays hosted by Life As Mom

~Finer Things Friday hosted by The Finer Things in Life

~Family Fridays hosted by Homemaker Barbi


Quick Recipes


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