Never Pay for Magazines Again!

I made a great discovery this morning that I felt I need to share with the world. I try many reward sites, but am often frustrated by how long it takes to cash in for rewards. This morning I tried out Recyclebank and was able to cash in for a 2-year magazine subscription in under 20 minutes! Simply flip through some slideshows about recycling and once you have 300 points or less depending on the magazine, you’re set to cash in. Each slideshow earns you about 30 points, so it really is that easy.
Enjoy,

*this post includes a referral link but all opinions expressed are unbiased and solely my own

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How To Try Dollar Shave Club For Free!

I began to sign up for Dollar Shave Club, added the package to my shopping cart and created an account, but then stopped because there was a place for a coupon code, so of course I had to find one!  Forgetting about it in the meantime, a month later I received an email from Dollar Shave Club with just that.  A code for my first month free.  So now you know how to go forth, wait them out, and get your first month of Dollar Shave Club for free as well.

Enjoy the deal,

Celine

*This post contains a referral link, but all opinions expressed are purely my own

Crocheting 101

Hello, it’s been pretty cold and raining here in PA lately, so I have been curling up with a crocheting project.  Crocheting and knitting are by far my favorite cold weather crafts and I am learning that there is actually research showing how these crafts can be really beneficial in a variety of ways including helping to combat depression and ADHD.  I learned to both knit and crochet as a child and have enjoyed both for years, but I realize a lot of people are picking it up later in life and there aren’t always great resources out there to do so.  That is why I developed some video tutorials to break down the basics of crocheting.  Stay tuned for lessons in knitting as well!

Happy Crocheting,

Celine

CSA Delivery #2

In an effort to eat seasonal and expand our food horizons, my husband and I bought a share in a local CSA.  What is a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)? For a predetermined price, families can buy a share from a local farm and get weekly or biweekly produce “deliveries” over the course of the growing season.  It may seem a little pricey up front, but it works out to be a reasonable price per week of your family uses a lot of fruits and veggies. Plus, you’re guaranteeing your produce is local and fresh! To learn more about CSA’s or to find one in your area, check out the Local Harvest website for more info.

For each delivery, I’ll be breaking down what we got (mostly seasonal produce) and what we plan to use each item for.

  
This week’s delivery included:

  • Button mushrooms – Crockpot Chicken Marsala
  • Flat mushrooms – chopped and used for tacos, omelettes, and salads
  • Asparagus – Roasted with olive oil and sea salt in the oven; 400° for 15-20 minutes (you can also grill it!)
  • Assorted head lettuce (including mesclun) – salads for lunch
  • Mint – chopped for mixed drinks; frozen for future use
  • Spring onions – subbed for regular onions in recipes; grilled with olive oil and sea salt
  • Honey – slowly using in tea

Enjoy eating seasonal!
elyse

Healthy Braised Kale

  

 3 cloves of garlic

2 spring onions (or substitute in 1/4 of your favorite type of onion)

1 lb of kale, roughly chopped with stems removed

1/2 tsp paprika

1 tbsp balsalmic vinegar

1tbsp olive oil

1 cup of water (for more flavor, you can also substitute with chicken broth)

Salt and pepper to taste

Chop garlic and onion then sauté in olive oil until garlic begins to brown and onions are tender. Add kale, water, and paprika. Stir and cover. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer covered for about 20 minutes. Stir in balsalmic vinegar, salt, and pepper.

 

Enjoy!

elyse

CSA Delivery #1

In an effort to eat seasonal and expand our food horizons, my husband and I bought a share in a local CSA.  What is a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)? For a predetermined price, families can buy a share from a local farm and get weekly or biweekly produce “deliveries” over the course of the growing season.  It may seem a little pricey up front, but it works out to be a reasonable price per week of your family uses a lot of fruits and veggies. Plus, you’re guaranteeing your produce is local and fresh! To learn more about CSA’s or to find one in your area, check out the Local Harvest website for more info.

For each delivery, I’ll be breaking down what we got (mostly seasonal produce) and what we plan to use each item for.


This week’s delivery included:

  • Kale – Braised Kale with Spring Onions
  • Asparagus – Roasted with olive oil and sea salt in the oven; 400° for 15-20 minutes
  • Carrots – chopped, blanched, and frozen for use in future soups and stews
  • Head lettuce – salads for lunch
  • Rhubarb – Rhubarb Bread (to eat for breakfast)
  • Spring onions – subbed for regular onions in recipes; chopped, blanched, and frozen for use in future recipes
  • Garlic infused apple cider – slowly using in recipes and mixed with olive oil as a salad dressing

Enjoy eating seasonal!
elyse

5 Things You Forgot to Spring Clean

spring cleaning

1. Your Makeup

Lots of people keep makeup way longer that they should.  One way to prevent this is by putting a little sticker on your makeup when you open it with the month and year you should get rid of it.  This will make going through your makeup really easy. As a rule of thumb here’s how long different cosmetics are good for:

Cosmetics Lifespan

2. Your Pillows

When was the last time you cleaned your pillows?  Pillows hold dust and bacteria and although often overlooked, should be cleaned on a regular basis, especially if you suffer from allergies.  To clean pillows, put them in your washing machine on the hottest setting along with a cup of laundry detergent and a cup of bleach.  Orient your pillows so that the weight is evenly distributed in the machine (only vital for machines with an agitator).  Make sure that the pillows are well rinsed (rinse again if needed) and transfer to the dryer along with tennis balls wrapped in socks.  These will serve to fluff the pillows and prevent lumps.  Dry at low heat until fully dry and you can sleep easier knowing that you’re breathing in cleaner air.

3. Your Oven

Now that it’s warm enough for grilling, chances are your oven will get a nice long break.  That means that it’s the perfect time to give it a nice thorough cleaning since it will actually stay clean!  Do you really feel like going above and beyond?  Clean in between the glass too.  Here’s a link to great tutorial on how to do so that Elyse used and was successful with:

How-to-clean-between-oven-glass-Ask-Anna1-600x507

 4. Underneath the Couch

Yes, it may be scary, you may find some interesting stuff down there, but this is that time of year.  Move the couch and any other furniture that you typically can’t access with your regular routine and get rid of those dust bunnies.

5. Your Closet

Is your prom dress still sitting in your closet even though you know you’re never going to wear it again?  If so now’s the time to get rid of it!  You’re just in time to make someone’s prom special by donating your dress to a project like Operation Prom.   For the rest of your closet, request a clean out kit from Thred Up (use this link for $10 free spending money!), fill it up with anything you no longer wear, and send it back (no worries, it’s free shipping).  They’ll pay you cash for the clothes you sent and you can use this money to buy a brand new spring wardrobe, or spend it on whatever you want.

Happy Cleaning!

Celine

DIY: Bar from a Bookcase

barpin  Hello!!!

First off, a huge thank you to Elyse and Celine for letting me share my project with you! I love being able to get creative when there’s some extra time, so this is exciting for me.

Like Elyse, I’m a meteorologist – we actually went to college together and lived together for a few years! That’s where we both realized we both liked getting crafty. One degree and a wedding later, these girls now have become second-sisters to me ❤

Anyway, so the project that I tackled, along with some help from my boyfriend, Steve, was making a bar for our first apartment.

We spent a few hours shopping online and wandering around stores, only to find out most of our options were too big for the space we had or were quite pricey (or both!). Who knew it was so hard to find a little something that had wine and liquor storage?

Instead, we decided to try to save some cash by repurposing something we had already – a standard bookshelf that has the holes and pegs on the side so you can move the shelves around. Steve got it at Walmart for $20 a few years ago. After cleaning all the knick-knacks off, it looked like a pretty blank canvas!

bar1

We planned ahead a little, and ordered a wine glass rack that goes under a kitchen cabinet on Amazon. They had lots of different sizes so we could find one that would fit just right.

The wooden wine bottle rack Steve found at a flea market a while back for about $3, and was just sitting on the counter taking up a lot of space. Turns out it was just the right size to fit into the bookshelf.

bar2

Then, just a quick trip to the craft store (only a few minutes away – it’s very dangerous, haha!) and we had the rest of the supplies we needed. Some black paint, foam brushes, a strand of LED lights, hot glue gun and sanding block.

The thing that took the MOST time (by far) was prepping and painting the wine rack. Since the bookcase was a black-brown, I wanted the wine rack to be a similar color so that it looked like the shelf came as a bar.

To make sure the new black paint would stick, I did some sanding to take off some of the old finish on the wine rack. I also took off the paint on my finger nails throughout the project, but these things happen.

bar4

Then I took to painting all the sides of the wine bottle rack. As much as I love the “lattice” look of this thing, I was muttering at it under my breath while painting ALL the sides and pieces of wood. In the end, one coat of paint did the trick, but it still took about 2 hours to get everything covered before doing touch-ups in some of the corners.

bar6

Meanwhile, Steve took the bookcase, removed the shelves and turned it upside down. The rack for the wine glasses came with some hardware, so all he had to do was screw it onto the underside of the top of the bookshelf. Make sure you have the correct side (the wide side) of the glasses rack facing out, so the opening is facing you and you can actually hang the glasses.

bar5

We also had to decide exactly where we wanted the moveable shelves to go. We needed enough space for the wine bottle rack to sit in the bottom and we also needed enough room for our wine glasses to hang from the top. We were fortunate enough that this left us with enough space to stand up a normal-sized liquor bottle in the middle.

The other feature that we wanted, one of Steve’s more brilliant ideas, was to add lights to the bar. With all the different glasses we have, and the glass of the liquor bottles, we figured it would add a nice touch to have the underside of the shelves light up. So his next task was laying out the LED light strand we bought. Turns out that just one strand was enough to put lights on 2 of the 3 shelves.

bar7

Now, there are many ways to get these lights in place. We thought about mini command hooks so that we could switch the strand out if it stopped working. But, seeing as we bought LED lights (partially to control the amount of heat near all the glass) and they have a tendency to last longer, we decided that hot-gluing would stay better on the underside of the shelves.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to lay everything out before you start sticking things down! Luckily, Steve is very good with this, and he knew how many lights he had for each shelf and how he was getting from one shelf to the next and to the back of the bookshelf where the electrical outlet is.

So he went through and hot-glued everything down. He made all of the lights very flush with the shelf, especially the one with the glass rack, so that the glasses wouldn’t catch on the lights. When he got to the end of the strand, he poked a hole in the back of the bookcase for the cord (close to the underside of the shelf so the hole wouldn’t be seen). This just required some elbow grease for us since the bookcase had one of the faux-wood backs which are pretty thin. But if you are using a sturdier bookcase, you might need a little drill for this part.

By this point, I was still painting touch-ups on the wine bottle rack (I told you it took a while!). But after letting it dry, that was the last step!

We added in some of our glasses and bottles, we plugged in the lights and voilà!

bar8

We are still hunting for something to use as a nicer “top”. Maybe a left-over piece of granite or a really big wooden cutting board, but we like it the way it is now too.

For only about $20 in supplies (since we already had the bookcase), we made ourselves a little bar that fits perfectly in our new dining room! Now we just need to hunt down some good wine.

Comment below if you give this DIY a try or if you have made your own bar some other way!

Courtney

The 10 Best Rainy Day Activities

 rainyday

Netflix Binge

When it’s just too gross to go outside why bother getting out of bed?  Snuggle up with your favorite binge worthy shows and make a day of it.

Break out the Board Games

When was the last time you played a good old classic like monopoly?  This is the perfect chance.  Place a bet on it or turn it into a drinking game to boost the stakes if you’d like.  Some other noteworthy choices: Clue, Trivia Pursuit, Cards Against Humanity, or Hungry Hungry Hippos all sound good.  If you don’t have any of these on hand, a deck of cards and some stakes would work well too.

Make a Feast

Spend some time in the kitchen, whether you’re creating a decadent brunch or a fabulous dinner see what delicious creations you can make from what’s already in your pantry.

Get Romantic

This is the perfect excuse to add a little romance to your life.  Take a warm bath, cozy up to a fire, or simply light a candle no matter what you do to make it special the soothing sound of rain falling outside can only help.

Play in the Rain

Bust out your inner kid, throw on your rain jacket and make the most of a rainy day.

Start a Project

What better excuse to paint the living room or clean out your closet.  I bet there’s something you could make into an adventure and check off your to-do list all at one time.

Have a Spa Day

Okay so you may not be able to convince your man to partake in facials and pedicures with you, but full body massages may be another story.  Take turns playing masseuse, a set a timer to keep things fair. Pro-tip: Baby oil makes a great massage oil and you just might have that laying around the house.

Get Artsy

Have a wall that’s just too plain?  Get a canvas and make your own art.  Don’t want to leave the house?  Get creative with photography.  If you end up with some awesome photos you can even post them to Foap and maybe make some money off of them.

Bake Cookies

Bake up a batch of your favorite cookies nothing will make your house smell better.   Bonus points if you deliver them to someone special.

Rearrange Your Furniture

This little effort can update your space drastically; just a little change can make things feel fresh and new.  Plus, who knows what you could find under your couch?

Enjoy your rainy days!

Celine

7 Essentials for a Tiny Kitchen

1. Enameled Cast Iron Pot


cast iron

A pot like this can be used for anything from boiling pasta to baking casseroles to frying veggies.  Being able to move from the stove to the oven makes this a worthy essential for even the tiniest of kitchens.

2. A Multipurpose Mug

This is a mug, a bowl, and a storage container for leftovers all in one.

3. The Basic Utensils

Don’t forget forks, knives, and spoons, but also the bigger tools like a wooden mixing spoon, plastic spatula, plastic serving spoon (you don’t want to use metal on your enameled cast iron), kitchen shears and a can opener.

4. A good set of knives

A utility knife, pairing knife, and chef’s knife should be sufficient for whatever you need to cut.

5. Measuring Cup

Something like this can be used to measure ingredients for a cake, but also for heating and serving gravy and sauces, or if you’re in a real pinch, I admit I have made and eaten ramen from a measuring cup before.

6. Pizza Stone

This is not simply for making delicious pizza.  With a pizza stone you also get a cookie tray, hot plate, and cutting board.

7. Collapsible Salad Spinner

Colanders are a must for draining pasta and veggies, but there’s no reason one should take up all your cupboard space. This collapsible salad spinner gives you not only a colander, but also a collapsible mixing/salad bowl and a salad spinner and takes up so little space.

And there you have it, the only seven items you need for a fully functional kitchen (okay I may have stretched it a little by grouping the utensils as one).  Obviously, this is just a basis, depending on how fancy you want to get, there are many more options, but be sure to keep a look out for the multipurpose items that really put your cupboard real estate to good use!

Celine