Mixing up hydration with Soda Stream!

Recently, a friend asked me for some non-soda uses for her Soda Stream machine. Since I use ours at least 2 times a week to whip up liter bottles of fizzy water, I figured I’d share some of my concoctions!

Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 6.58.19 AMThis is the Soda Stream Machine we have.

Here are a few ways to use your Soda Stream besides adding the Soda Stream syrups.

  1. Fill a fancy pitcher with 2-3 cups of chilled, sliced fruit. I like Apples, oranges, lemons, Kiwi, and berries (not necessarily all together). Pour 1 liter of chilled carbonated water from the Soda Stream. It makes the best fruity fizzy water!
  2. Try Torani Syrups in place of Soda Stream syrup.  It comes in tons of flavors, in both regular and sugar free, including fun fruit flavors!
  3. Instead of adding syrup, why not try ice cubes made of fruit juice?  Fill an ice cube tray with orange juice, pomegranate juice, or whatever you have on hand.  Add ice cubes to your carbonated Soda Stream water and enjoy!
  4. If you are looking for a different taste, try the powdered beverage mixes in your carbonated Soda Stream water.  Mix slowly, and carefully, since some of the powders may cause the water to get a little extra fizzy.  I like Crystal Light sticks, Snapple Sticks, and a few store brands that come in cranberry and cran-pear.
  5. Mio or other concentrated liquid beverage mixes are also great in your your carbonated Soda Stream water, and since you control how little or how much you add, your drink can be different each time!
  6. If you are looking to jazz up your beverages, try an Italian Cream Soda.  It’s a pretty easy recipe:

Italian Cream Soda


  • Ice,
  • 1 ounce syrup,
  • carbonated Soda Stream water (8-12 oz, depending on your glass size),
  • 1 ounce cream,
  • whipped cream (optional, but everyone loves whipped cream).


  1.  Scoop ice into glass
  2. Pour your carbonated Soda Stream water over the ice cubes
  3. Pour 1 ounce syrup over the ice and water.  Stir with a stir stick.
  4. Pour 1 ounce of cream over the top- Do not stir.
  5. Top with whipped cream, if desired.

How do you use your Soda Stream Machine?

Scam alert and how to really make money at home…

One of the things I get emails and messages about frequently is, “Have you heard about (Fill in name of scam program here) program? I got an email about it and it says I can make tons of money for only $50!” Or something that sounds equally as fishy.

With the economy being so depressed for an extended period of time, the rise in work at home and get rich quick scams is shocking.  Those who have a hard time finding a new job are perfect pickings for scammers.

I know that this is a savings blog, but I want to share with you some tips, hints, and information about what to look for if you want to work at home and make money online.  I don’t want to see any of you get scammed.

  • One of the most popular scams is the Nigerian Scam.  Basically an important person in an African country is in jail, if you send them money via wire transfer to help them, once they are out of jail, they will reimburse you plus a handsome fee.  Anytime you are emailed by someone who is asking for help and money, run run run.  Especially if they ask you to wire them your hard earned money (it can’t be tracked) or if they send you a check, ask you to cash it and either wire them the money or send them a money order.  That is a SCAM.
  • Work at home scams: If a company asks you to pay them for a list of work at home companies or secret shopper programs, that is most likely a scam. Google the name of the company and the word scam to double check.
  • For that matter, if a company promises an insane amount of money in a short amount of time, It’s a scam.
  •  If a “legit looking” work at home company requests a credit card number or any money at all, It’s a scam.

If you are looking to get rich quick, it’s damn near impossible!

I earn money online doing surveys, clicking links in emails and doing tasks.  If you are looking to make money online, here are a few of my favorites:

  • Earn Cash with Paid View Point. Surveys are short (less than 5 minutes).  Earn cash with each Survey.   You get $1.00 when you sign up! The pay out is $15.00, and it takes about a month to earn $15.00. So far in 2015, I’ve earned about $60.00.
  • Earn Gift cards with Mypoints. I take surveys, click links in emails, and do all of my online shopping through Mypoints. So far in 2015, I’ve earned about $30.00.
  • I also use Swagbucks. I use their search engine toolbar, take a daily poll, watch a video and click a few links each day! So far in 2015, I’ve earned about $60.00. Swagbucks has tons of rewards, you can receive cash via paypal too!
  • I do surveys with Pinecone Research. They aren’t always looking for new participants, but check out their website and see if you fit their open demographics. I make about $20/Month doing short surveys (10 minutes or less).

With all of these survey companies, these are surveys I am pre-qualified for. No spending 10-30 minutes only to learn that you aren’t getting paid and they don’t want your opinions (that’s the #1 reason I do not do Swagbucks surveys and I don’t recommend you waste your time doing them either).

I work on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to make extra money that I transfer to my Amazon.com account.  I am trying to earn enough to pay for holiday gifts. You sign up and do tasks for small amounts of money, but the money adds up fast.  The tasks are quick and simple (transcription, surveys, flagging inappropriate photos).  I’ve earned over $50 since February.  If you want cold hard cash instead of Amazon.com credit there is an option to have money transferred to a bank account.  Mechanical Turk does ask for your SSN when you sign up- you will receive a 1099- MISC at the end of the year., regardless of which option you select.

Volition has a great list of mystery shopper programs that are free. I do a few of these programs, and I have earned money!

I will by no means become a millionaire, but the extra money each month helps out and allows me to save for holiday gifts, and take the Kiddo to do fun stuff that we normally couldn’t afford.

Screen Shot 2015-05-29 at 3.38.26 PMHere are a few insights that can help you determine if somethings a scam:

  • Does it seem too good to be true?
  • Is there no phone number or address to contact the company?
  • Does the website look “off” or give you a weird feeling (trust your spidery senses)?
  • Google the company name- What comes up?  If it’s not good, run run run!!
  • If a website has photos like the one below- it’s probably a SCAM!



There is still time!! Save $75 off summer camps at Digital Media Academy!

If you are still looking for a fun summer camp for your teen this summer, Migital Media Academy is still offering their sweet deal! Founded at Stanford University, Digital Media Academy is ranked as one of the ten best summer camps in the world.

Save $75 off summer camps at Digital Media Academy with code TECHSUMMER at www.DigitalMediaAcademy.org. Sign up for multiple weeks and save big! Campers save $125 for each additional course they register for. Register by June 30th to #CreateTheNext best-selling app this summer!

Kids and teens learn computer programming, app development, 3D modeling, robotics, graphic design, filmmaking, and much more. DMA summer camps are one or multiple week experiences taught by industry experts and tech professionals. Campers get hands-on experience creating projects using the latest hardware and software from Apple, Canon, Adobe, and more.

Digital Media Academy is also proud to introduce Made by Girls, a new program dedicated to empowering girls and closing the gender gap in the tech industry.

Give your teen a pre-collegiate experience or build a child’s confidence through project-based learning. Learn at some of the most prestigous colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and Canada.


Save $75 off summer camps at Digital Media Academy with code TECHSUMMER at http://www.DigitalMediaAcademy.org. Sign up for multiple weeks and save big! Campers save $125 for each additional course they register for. Register by June 30th to #CreateTheNext best-selling app this summer!

Questions? Call 1(866)656-3342 to speak with a Guest Service Representative or email info@digitalmediaacademy.org and mention the US Family Guide Special OfferQ

#CreateTheNext this summer at Digital Media Academy!

Greek Yogurt- A great frugal ingredient!

IMG_7966I bet a lot of you see the coupons for Greek yogurt and pass it by.  Maybe you’ve sampled it at Costco or the grocery store and were turned off by it’s thick texture or tart taste.

Greek yogurt (or strained yogurt as it is referred to in other parts of the world) has a lot more going for it than the sugary yogurt in the little cup with a french name.

1- It’s got double the protein than regular yogurt.  That means you’ll stay fuller longer.

2- It’s lower in Carbs. That’s because most Greek yogurts don’t contains all kinds of funky sweeteners.

3- It works well in all kinds of recipes in place of sour cream, mayo, and oil. I use it in baked goods instead of the liquid oil or butter.  It adds a richness without adding fat.

4- It makes a killer chip or veggie dip, baked potato topping, or chili topping plain or dressed up with herbs and spices.

Greek Yogurt is a frugal ingredient because it’s so versatile!  You can eat it as is, dress it up with herbs, fruit, granola, or use it in recipes. We buy the large carton of Fage at Costco every few weeks.  It’s the cheapest place in town for us to get Greek Yogurt. If you aren’t a Costco shopper, keep your eyes open for coupons and sales! Here are just a few:

Here is my favorite dip recipe with Greek Yogurt- perfect for sharing at any potluck!  It’s got  thicker texture, and it’s not for a wimpy chip- I dip pita chips and veggies.

Herbed Yogurt cheese dip


  • 2 cups greek yogurt
  • 2 T. chopped shallots
  • 2 T. minced onions
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • spray release (like Pam)
  • 3 T. herbs of your choice- I like Mural of Flavor from Penzey’s. (You may want more or less)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I don’t add either)
  • cheese cloth (It’s on the baking aisle at the grocery store)


  1. Wet the cheesecloth, wring out and stretch over the mouth of a bowl.  Secure with string or a large rubber band.
  2. Gently pour the yogurt over the stretched cheesecloth, and spread evenly over the cheese cloth.  What you are doing is straining out any extra whey (liquid) from the yogurt.  This is cause it to thicken up and make one helluva dip!  You can leave it on the counter for 1-2 hours to drain, as long as the temperature in your house is at or under 75 degrees. (We never turn on the heater at our house, so that’s never a problem).  If you house is warm, you can place the bowl in the fridge.
  3. In the mean time, spray a saucepan with spray release (or you can use a little EVOO if you prefer), and saute the shallots, onions, and garlic over low for 45-50 minutes until they start to caramelize.  Remove from heat, and pour int oa large bowl.  Place in fridge to cool.
  4. After yogurt has drained, scrape the yogurt solids from the cheesecloth into the bowl with the sautéed shallots, onions, and garlic.
  5. Mix well and add herbs.  Place in fridge for a minimum of 1-2 hours before serving.  I make this dip the day before I want to serve it.
  6. Discard the liquid that drained off the yogurt and the used cheesecloth.
  7. Serve the dip with veggies, pita chips, or use it as a topping on your baked potato or chili.

Serves 10-20.

If you like your dips sweet instead of herbs and veggies, you can add a few tablespoons of jelly or jam to strained yogurt and a smidge of cinnamon to make a fruit dip.


How do you like to serve Greek Yogurt?

Shopping for real food on a budget!

IMG_3236As you can see from the photo, we buy a lot of fruit.

I bought this fruit late last week, and within 3 days, the raspberries and cantaloupe were GONE.

So why am I sharing this photo of my fruit purchases? To illustrate that you can eat healthy on a budget.

I visited Our local Ralphs, armed with 8 $1/1 Driscoll Coupons (Internet printable coupons from their surveys), a $5/$15 Produce E-coupon on my Ralphs card (like them on Facebook here and you’ll be notified when new produce coupons are added- usually once a month), and a free Muller Yogurt E-coupon (Free Friday Download).

For $4.19 Out of Pocket, I brought home:

8 containers of driscoll’s raspberries
2 bananas
1 mango
1 personal sized watermelon
1 cantaloupe
1 muller yogurt
1 carton coolwhip

The raspberries are $1.28/carton, so after $1/1 Q they are a paltry .28/carton. SCORE. I saved over $50 with my coupons and ralphs club card. UGH. I can’t imagine paying full price for anything.

The only not so “real food” purchase was the whipped topping. I made the Cool whip into Bachelor Mousse (1 small box instant chocolate pudding, 1 1/2 cups milk, whole carton of cool whip, beat together and serve with fruit) and we had it for dessert a few times. It’s quick, easy, and the boys LOVE IT.

So you can do it- keep your eyes open for sales on produce, meat, whole grains, and other stuff your family likes to eat. Don’t forget to take advantage of printable coupons and rebate/money saving apps!

Sears Shop Your Way Rewards: Buy Shoes, Earn Points!

searsshoes1Shop Your Way Rewards Members, check your emails for details on this new program! For every $50 you spend on shoes at Sears, you can begin to unlock special shoe points!*
(Those points can be redeemed exclusively on—you guessed it—more shoes!)
With the next $50 you spend on shoes, you’ll be rewarded with $5 in shoe points
( 5,000 points). Get started today!  But it gets better.

sears shoes2

If you’ve got kids, you know that you go through a lot shoes: feet grow, shoes get trashed, special occasions, and sometimes a shoe goes missing!

With all of the great sales and deals Sears has going on, it’s my go-to store for Lil’ Man’s shoes and clothes. Now I’ll earn even more for my usual shopping!

New Styling Products from Madison Reed!

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.

If you know me in real life, you know that I LOVE Madison Reed. The hair color is amazing, gentle, and gives me a great red color.  I also love their hair care products! Their shampoo and conditioner are great for making colors last and stay bright.

Imagine my excitement when I learned that Madison Reed just launched their new STYLE and TAME products! STYLE is a lightweight styling cream that provides frizz-fighting hold, while conditioning and protecting hair. TAME is a lightweight smoothing emulsion that makes hair more manageable and adds shine before and after styling.

Here are just a few reasons I can’t wait to try out the new Style and Tame set!

  • Lightweight, frizz-free hold with STYLE
  • Smooth and shine with TAME
  • Nourishes hair with natural hydrating oils
  • Create both smooth waves and sleek straight styles

Check out the Style and Tame set here! I’m ordering a set this weekend!

Frugal Cooking: Italian Sausage Casserole!

Tomato Sauce MGD©
Homemade Sauce- Yum!

This is a family favorite, even little man loves it!

You can make as much of it from scratch as you’d like, or if you’re in a hurry, you can use pre-made sausage and sauce.

This recipe is also great because you can make it vegetarian with soy crumbles, or even vegan if you use alt. cheese. Use Gluten Free Pasta and this dish Gluten Free!

This is a great dish to take to potlucks!

Italian Sausage Casserole

Serves 8-10


  • 1 box of pasta, your choice, cooked al dente and drained
  • 1 jar of your fav pasta sauce, or 4 cups home made sauce
  • 1 lb bulk Italian sausage, crumbled, cooked and drained (or 1 package soy crumbles) You can use ground beef if you prefer.
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded (or 1 cup vegan cheese)


  1. In a large baking dish, mix the pasta, sauce, and sausage.
  2. Top with cheese.
  3. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until cheese is bubbly and melty.
  4. Serve hot with crusty bread and a green salad.


Sweet Deals on Bathing Suits at ModCloth!

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 3.51.20 PM**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.

It’s a pool party over at ModCloth, and you’re invited! With so many bikinis and one pieces to pick from, you’re bound to find a standout look that suits your style. And while you’re at it, check out ModCloth’s exploration of so-called “ideal” beach bodies in their new Swim-fographic!

It’s an intriguing look at how arbitrarily beauty standards have changed over time. Of course, ModCloth knows that every body is a beach body — the only requirements are a beach, your bod, and a swimsuit you can’t wait to flaunt!

And in case you were wondering, this is my fav. suit…

Screen Shot 2015-05-21 at 3.54.38 PMAnd if you’ve never shopped with ModCloth, make sure to join their email list to score a $20 off $100+ purchase coupon code!

Memorial Day Sale at Tea Collection (20% off & Free shipping!!)

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.

Tea Collection is celebrating Memorial Day by offering 20% off of everything with the code WEGOTHERE.

Plus you score totally free shipping!

Not familiar with Tea Collections? They sell all kinds of awesome baby and kids clothes with an international flair. Prints and designs from Right now they have some super cute designs and prints inspired by India!

They also have some cute cute