Feb 252017


The Prairie Home Companion listener statistics – interesting insight concerning the listeners of this long running, nation-wide radio program.

I have listened to this program for more than 10 years, well before I was anywhere near the median for age.  However, even at the beginning of my listening, I met some of the other numbers:

  • I have a college degree,
  • play a musical instrument,
  • have gone to a public meeting on town affairs,
  • and have a passport.

As time has gone on, some of the other numbers have come to represent me as well.

This begs the question, does listening to the program incline me towards these activities? Or is it that certain personalities, who tend toward these activities anyway, happen to also enjoy the program? Either way, I plan to keep listening.

Feb 182017

making breakfast exciting again collage

We may not be trapped at home with feet of snow, though part of me really wishes we were, yet it is still winter and the perfect time for warm breakfast foods.

With a lot of changes to our routines coming up, again, I am looking for some quick yet easy things to add to our breakfast rotation on weekdays.  While I could literally eat the same thing for breakfast every day, my kids finally revolted.

Mom, enough.  Can we please have something else?

My kids tend to be carb lovers, yet burn enough calories to need protein with their meals. Especially with breakfast. I have chosen to find new recipes that hopefully lean toward more protein than carbs.

My boys can eat more than me, if they decide they actually like their food.  Actually, they could almost out eat me when they were only 3 or 4, and I am not exactly a light eater.  They are not necessarily picky eaters, but more along the lines of “we finally have a enough to eat that we can have foods we prefer to eat.”  And that is why I am wanting to put dwarf fruit trees in my next garden/yard, along with vegetables and root vegetables.

Having these on hand allows me to plan for some of the more expensive or not-normally-on-our-shopping-list items.  I doubt these can be made for $0.50 a person, which is where I like to keep most weekday breakfasts.  However, I might find I am wrong, which would be lovely.

A few of these would also be good as a sandwich version, made ahead and frozen for reheating.  Also, a few call for croissants*, which are not cheap but can be found on sale if you look for them.  *I am not talking about crescent rolls, though those are also in a few recipes.  They are similar but not the same.

While my husband we love to have croissants for breakfast, if you do not eat them in time they are not as nice.  Or so my husband says.  His palate is more in tune to that sort of thing.  You can also find older ones on discount at the grocery store.  I am thinking those would be good for some of these recipes, especially for those who will be soaked in eggs and milk.

Here are 10 recipes I plan to try out in the upcoming days:

  1. Egg Croissant Casserole Recipe
  2. Sausage McMuffin Casserole
  3. Cheesy Tat Tot Breakfast Bake
  4. Easy Cheesy Breakfast Casserole
  5. Overnight Mexican Breakfast Casserole
  6. Breakfast Enchilada Bake
  7. Spinach, Feta, and Artichoke Breakfast Bake
  8. Italian Breakfast Casserole
  9. Farmer’s Market Overnight Breakfast Egg Casserole
  10. Broccoli, Ham, Mozzarella Baked with Eggs
Feb 082017

This page contains affiliate links.

While I am not necessarily a Nike enthusiast, I know some who are.  With spring around the corner, you may be looking at your shoes and realize you need a new pair.  Now is the time to start looking for sales and deals on items you are needing.

I have owned several pairs of Nike shoes, either for running track in high school or when found for a  good price as every day shoes.  They have always lasted me several years and I appreciate the quality of their product. (disclaimer: my running shoes became my every day shoes, my every day shoes became my play/garden shoes, etc.  I would wear a pair till it began to fall apart. In this way, I did not need to purchase many different pairs of shoes each year.)

If you love Nike stuff, not only their shoes, or know someone who does, you can get 15% cash back on all Nike Gift Cards during Nike Bonus Days on MyGiftCardsPlus! MyGiftCardsPlus is a site where you get cash back for buying gift cards – the cash back is paid out in the form of points from Swagbucks, which is a great website where you redeem those points (called SB) for gift cards to places like Amazon, PayPal… and Nike!

So to recap, you can get 15% cash back (in the form of SB) on Nike gift cards from MyGiftCardsPlus, which you can then use on Swagbucks to get more Nike gift cards!

Click here to take advantage of this great deal!

If you are a new Swagbucks member, this would help you earn your $2 bonus this month.  Click here to learn more.

Feb 082017

This post contains affiliate links.

Have you realized over four weeks have passed in the new year?!  How are you keeping up with your resolutions?  I have not quite kept up with mine like I had hoped.

Currently, I am struggling with having motivation to keep going, to get up and work on them. “But I am tired.”  “Can’t it wait till next week?”  “Oh, no one is really going to know if I don’t do it.”

Yet, if I do not work on them now, even a little step here and there, soon 6 months will have passed and nothing will be accomplished.  So, I get up, even when I am tired, I do something instead of watching Star Trek: The Next Generation on Netflix:

  • I get out the socket wrench and fix the washer.
  • I find the post I had started previously and finish it.
  • I take advantage of money saving methods here at home, via online shopping, to fulfill needs I was not able to address during shopping day.
  • I pass along the four grocery sacks of clothes and shoes to another mom of boys, knowing they will get more use (and be a blessing) than if they were sitting in my garage.
  • We join the church group for midweek gatherings, making new friends and building our support network.
  • I say “yes” to the home school gathering, even though I barely know even one mom there.
  • I do … something.

Those ‘somethings’ begin to add up and suddenly I am further ahead than I thought I would be, I realize that progress is about taking step after step after slow step in the right direction, towards the goal.

Among other things this week, I want to work on going to bed on time so I can wake up refreshed and ready to start the day.  I also plan to join at least one exercise class at the gym.

What is something you are going to do this week to advance towards goals you have set for yourself?


This is one reason I keep sharing about the promotions on Swagbucks, even though they are not directly gardening or home making related.  Not only am I reminded to keep working toward my goals (saving on upcoming gardening supplies, for one), but also to keep vigilant in other financial areas.

February is a month of love, and getting a $5 bonus from Swagbucks is their way of showing it!

Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you’re probably doing online already, like searching, watching videos, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, or PayPal cash.

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a $5 bonus! Here’s how:

1. Sign up using this link

2. Earn 300 SB total before 3/1/17. You’ll get a $3 (300 SB) bonus for it!

3. If you spend at least $25 through Swagbucks Shop* you’ll get another $2 (200 SB) bonus on top of the cash back you’ll get from shopping. If you have some shopping to do online, just go to Swagbucks first and visit the store through them. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but you’ll get SB points for every dollar you spend (on top of the bonus)!

That’s it. It’s super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I’ve earned $29.70 during the month of January.  The majority of these SB have come from watching videos.  While this activity does not earn the most per time spent, it is the easiest to do while washing the dishes, folding laundry, cooking supper, etc.

*You must receive your shopping SB before April 1st

Feb 062017

This post contains affiliate links.

The ways to earn with Swagbucks this week just keep coming. Here is a way to earn points, called SB, while doing something you might already be engaged in – searching online.

One of my favorite things about using Swagbucks is that I can get rewards for searching the web through their search engine. Last month I was able to earn 171 SB from searching. This activity also helped me earn 65 SB by completing my daily to-do list.

Every now and then they have “Collector’s Bills” worth bonus SB points that you can collect by simply searching the web. Collect them all, and you get an SB Bonus! Once you’ve collected enough SB, you can redeem them for gift cards to stores like Walmart, Target, and many more!

collage of items to purchase with gift cards

Here’s all the information for this week’s Valentine’s Day Collector’s Bills:

Search the web through the Swagbucks search starting Monday, February 6th through Friday, February 10th, and when you get a search win, you may get a special Collector’s Bill valued at either:

  • 5 SB
  • 7 SB
  • 9 SB
  • 14 SB
  • 21 SB

When you get a Collector’s Bill you’ll receive the value of the bill and the bill will be added to your “Collector’s Bills” ledger. Collect all 5 Collector’s Bills and you’ll instantly earn a 20 SB Bonus!

I earned a 5 SB bill while searching something for our yard.  You never know when searching (and gardening) will pay off!

Keep searching til you find them all!

Feb 062017

Swagbucks is hosting another round of Shopping Swago! What is SWAGO you ask? It’s a bingo-inspired promotion run by Swagbucks, a website that rewards you with points (called SB) for completing everyday online activities. You can redeem those SB for free gift cards. If you’ve never used Swagbucks, participating in SWAGO is a great introduction to the site and an easy way to earn a good amount of points quickly. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, why not do your gift shopping online and earn cash back while you’re at it?

Here’s what you need to know to get your 200 SB ($2) Bonus (and don’t worry, you don’t have to make a purchase to complete a pattern):

  • Shop Swago will begin on Monday, February 6th at 9am PDT/12pm EDT, make sure you hit “Join” otherwise you won’t get credit for completing the action items. Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete.
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
  • You have a limited amount of time to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value.
  • Once you’ve achieved a pattern the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • The game ends Thursday, February 9th at 12pm PDT/3pm EDT. So make sure to hit “Submit” on the pattern you wish to submit. If you don’t hit “Submit” before the game ends you won’t receive your SB bonus.

There are months when my Swago board earns me 5 bonus SB. Other months I might earn the larger bonuses.  I have used these activities in various ways, fitting into life at that moment.  On the lower earning bonus months, I often find myself doing the activities I might otherwise be doing.  Or I am learning new ways of earning, which takes a bit more time in the beginning.  On the high earning months, either the squared line up in the right order for me to earn them, or else I happen to be needing things which the squared qualify for.  Some months have squared requiring you to purchase something, and some months have no such squared.  It really does vary month to month.

Either way, Swago is a great way to add a few extra SB to your total!  I would encourage you to not wait till the last minute to fill in your squares, as some items take several minutes (or hours) to credit.

Looking ahead to my week, I will most likely do the activities on Monday and Tuesday, using the other days as time allows to fill in extra squares.  This happens to be where I am right now.  The flexibility of Swagbucks, finding activities that fit my time limit, is one of the aspects I like about this site.

Feb 052017

This post contains affiliate links.

Here is yet another deal from Swagbucks, one of my favorite sites for earning points that I can turn into gift cards or cash.  As you may have noted from the lack of posts this week, I have been busy looking at homes, home schooling, fixing the washing machine, and doing other lovely home-ish types of things (like IEP meetings!).

I have also been reviewing some of my actions, seeing if they really are saving us money or not.  One things that has remained, earning gift cards, especially Amazon gift cards, from Swagbucks saves us money month after month.  This past week has been a bit slow in that area (reference the paragraph above), but participating in the Team Challenge and the SWAGO last month helped.  (Another SWAGO edition is coming up this week which may also result in a few extra bonus point.)

While checking my account, I came across a current promotion they are running, one that may be of interest to a few of you.  This promotion ends today, yet I wanted to share it in case someone was interested … or looking to earn points back on food purchased for consumption during the Super Bowl tonight. 😉

Items purchased with gift cards earned through Swagbucks.

Items purchased with gift cards earned through Swagbucks.

You’ve probably heard me talk about Swagbucks before. It’s the site where you get points (called SB) for doing things like shopping, discovering deals, watching videos, taking surveys, and searching the web. Then you turn those points in free gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Target, and PayPal cash.

Swagbucks is at its best when they’re paying you to do something you’d already do online, and now they’re taking that concept into thousands of restaurants around the country with the SB Local app for iOS and Android. Starting on 2/2 and running through Sunday, 2/5, they have a killer deal running – here’s how you can take advantage of it:

1. Click here to download the Swagbucks Local app. You can create your Swagbucks account if you’re new to it.
2. Sign in with your Swagbucks account information.
3. Link your first debit/credit cards to your Swagbucks Local app and get an instant 100 SB!
4. Use your linked card to pay at thousands of participating locations! If you spend $20 or more before Monday, February 6th, you’ll get a 300 SB bonus! That bonus will be paid out by 5pm PST on February 10th.

If you’re also signing up for Swagbucks for the first time and use my link, that means you’ll get another 300 SB bonus. We’re talking about $7 plus for going out to eat!

Some more info about SB Local:
Soon after paying with your linked card, you will see the transaction show up in your Swagbucks Local Activity ledger. Your SB earned will be calculated on the transaction amount before taxes and tip. Swagbucks Local is currently supported in the following metropolitan areas: San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Francisco, Ventura County, Dallas, Atlanta, Washington DC, Phoenix, Houston, Denver, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Cincinnati, Seattle, Fort Lauderdale and Chicago. New cities added on a regular basis, and you’ll get the 100 SB bonus for linking your first card even if you don’t live in one of the cities listed above!

Jan 222017

This post contains affiliate links.

Here’s another fun team challenge to help you earn SB from Swagbucks!  I had a lot of fun participating in the last team challenge.  My team mates were very helpful in pointing out some of the best places to earn points, as well as helping explain some new-to-me parts of the site.  Working with others to earn points, called SB, helped encourage me to keep earning, even when I felt like giving up.

For those of you who don’t know what Swagbucks is, it’s a website where you can earn cash back on everyday tasks you do online. If you are new to Swagbucks, check out this post explaining how you can earn a $3 bonus this month.  There is still time to do so, and this team challenge will help you learn about various ways to earn SB.

Swagbucks wants you to join in the fun! Pack your warmest snow gear and pre-register today! The Swag Slopes Team Challenge begins Monday, January 23rd

All members who participate and contribute at least 400 points to their team’s total will receive a SB bonus in the form of a SB Swag Up Rebate! Members of the 1st place team will receive a 50 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 2nd place team will receive a 25 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 3rd place team will receive a 10 SB Swag Up Rebate. Swag Up Rebate will be made available by 5pm PT on Friday, January 27th and will expire on Sunday, February 12th at 11:59pm PT

Jan 182017

This post contains affiliate links.

It’s time for you to unwrap your SB bonus this holiday season courtesy of Swagbucks. This month’s Winter-themed Swago board offers a possible 300 SB ($3) Bonus!

What is SWAGO you ask? It’s a bingo-inspired promotion run by Swagbucks, a website that rewards you with points (called SB) for completing everyday online activities. When you complete a task, watch that square change colors. You can then redeem those SB for free gift cards. If you’ve never used Swagbucks, participating in SWAGO is a great way to learn how to use the site, and it’s a lot of fun!

Here’s what you need to know to get your 300 SB Bonus:

  • Swago will begin on Monday, January 16th at 9:01am PDT/12:01pm EDT, make sure you hit “Join” otherwise you won’t get credit for completing the action items. Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete.
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
  • You have a limited amount of time to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value.
  • Once you’ve achieved a pattern the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • The game ends Monday, January 23rd at 12pm PDT/3pm EDT. So make sure to hit “Submit” on the pattern you wish to submit. If you don’t hit “Submit” before the game ends you won’t receive your SB bonus.

Every game of Swago is different than the one before. However, I was able to finish a pattern to earn 5 extra SB in the matter of a few minutes.  I am working on a pattern to earn a higher bonus, like I was able to on the last board, but wanted to assure you it was possible to earn bonus SB from this round, even if you do not have a lot of time to contribute to your efforts.

Jan 132017

This post contains affiliate links about one of my favorite ways to earn extra money online.

rotary-phone-with-border earning money

Earlier this week, I talked a bit about how I had been looking back through the past year.  We are a full 13 days into the new year and how it is going?  Honestly, I feel like a complete failure.

Then I glance at the calendar and realize it has only been 13 days, several of those were days I was not even home, and over half of them were days George was still on Winter Break from public school.  If I am not half way to reaching my goals, it really is okay.  There are a few days left in the year to work on them.

During the moments when I am struggling to feel optimistic I try to find something readily on hand to help me take even the tiniest step toward advancing in one of the areas.  Sometimes that means clearing off the kitchen counter, other times it means grabbing art supplies and making stamp art with the kids.

Today, it means letting my husband run Movie Night while I go hang out with some other home school moms in our area.  Stepping outside my comfort zone to socialize with a group of previously unknown moms who teach using them same method we do, actually scares me.  I have tried to talk myself out of going, then remember the post.  Accountability, even from the other side of a computer, means I can not hide in my closet and pretend no one else knows that I was going to do XYZ, so it wouldn’t matter if I just ignored XYZ and read a book.  So I will be going, after picking up a pizza using a gift card I bought yesterday. (I was going to buy the pizza anyway tonight, and buying the gift card helped me complete my SWAGO board design, thereby earning me another 125 SB.)

Having other families around us who also home school is one benefit of living where we do.  The fact that there are other families who also use the same method we do is beyond what I could have hoped for.  Compared to Small Town, where we were one of 3 families (in town) who I knew home schooled, all with different styles, having this opportunity is something I would never have dreamed of.  So, I am going.

books time planner school

Something else this week I have been working on is finding a routine which works for me to consistently earn SB every day.  While I have not reached my Daily Goal every day, I did do it for at least 7 days straight, which meant I will at least receive bonus SB for having done so.

Having a routine for this has been important for me, or else I would spend three times as long running in circles trying to figure out what I felt like doing that day.  It also helps to have a smart phone, though one is not required.  With the Swagbucks Mobile and SBTV apps I can use my spare minutes to earn free gift cards on my phone! Like the Swagbucks website, I can rack up points, called SB, by shopping, answering surveys and watching videos.

Here is what my routine looks like so far:

Work on completing my To Do List.  (It is on the left side of Swagbuck’s home page.)  By completing this list, not only do I earn SB for the activities, but also a bonus for completing 6 of them, and a larger bonus for doing all 8.

  • Search topics I am needing to know about today, was curious about as I fell asleep last night, etc.  Once I earn SB for searching, I move on the second step …
  • Check for any opportunities on Crave.  They are not always available, but I check early in the morning.  If there are none, I come back later in the day and check on my desktop.  Next up …
  • Watching video clips.  These are around certain topics, vary in time, and in amount of SB you receive.  I usually do the shorter ones at this point, aiming for 1 or 2 SB.  After this is finished, I …
  • Check the Deal Of The Day.  This is a special offer for that day.  No purchase is required, only clicking through to the advertiser’s website.  If the deal is something you wish to take advantage of, you may do so.  If not, move on to …
  • Discover new content.  Again, there are a variety of options to chose from; I usually look for some of the quicker ones, such as reading articles.  At other times, though, something catches my eye and I might sign up for a free sample or trial, or join an email list.   (I have been having problems with certain articles working well on my phone.  When this happens I will do them on my desktop or look for something else to complete.)  Now that we are almost done with the To Do List, it is time to …
  • Complete a survey.  Or try to do so.  Both activities count toward your list.  Actually completing a survey can help you take a giant leap towards reaching your Daily Goal.  If you are able to fill you Daily Goal meter (found at the top of the home page) you will additionally receive bonus SB.

Once my To-Do List is finished and bonus SB earned, I open the SBTV app on my phone and go about the rest of my morning activities. I have several clips which are my favorites. (If you hold your finger down on the clip for several seconds, it will pop up a window allowing you to make it your favorite.  This gets added to your Favorites list, making them easier to find.)

If I reach my daily limit of SB earned on SBTV, I can move over to one of the other apps I have on my phone.  The number of clips watched before earning SB varies, so you may find certain ones work better for you than others.

At this point I would normally be close to 100 SB, more if I happen upon a survey offering over 100 SB, or signed up for an offer which resulted in receiving SB in return.

Using the method above, I have earned 1304 SB ($13) since the beginning of the year.

 Here is another example of how you can use your phone to earn $10 a week.
While you wait for the coffee to brew, download free games and other apps through the Discover tab: 20 SB
During commercial breaks, take a featured survey or fill out your survey profile: 60 SB
While standing in line at the grocery store, answer the daily poll: 1 SB
When you’ve finally made it to the gym, watch style, tech and celeb news through the SBTV app: 2 SB for every 10 videos
Just as you’ve put dinner in the oven, your Swagbucks app tells you there’s a new Swag Code!: 3 SB
Before you go to sleep, use the Swagbucks app to shop from your favorite stores. You deserve it!: 100 SB
By downloading the Swagbucks mobile app, I can earn a free $10 gift card by the end of my week. Who knew playing on my phone could be so productive!
Invite your friends to download the Swagbucks Mobile app so they can start earning their way to free gift cards. It’s 100% free to download and 100% easy to use. Its available for both iPhone and Android devices.