Monday, November 30, 2009


So we survived Thanksgiving, and the fluffy pumpkin pie was delicious. Rushing around and visiting left little time to clean house, so as per usual on Mondays, I'm tackling housework with a vengance. Well, when I get a little more motivated I will!

I rearranged the living room over the weekend to allow more play area for Gracie. She has her own little corner now with her toybox and doll baby bed, plus her favorite box she likes to use as a playhouse. It's funny how just moving a recliner and scooting the couch a foot can make such a huge difference!

Once I get a little more clutter out of the way it's time to dig out the Christmas decorations. I hate to admit it, but the vast majority of my Christmas decorations are buried deep in the back of an over stuffed storage unit! There's enough here to do a little decorating and a smallish tree. Gracie's really a fan of the big gaudy yard displays, so I'm afraid I'll have to go buy some more to make her happy. 

I'm thinking of digging in and making something crafty to add to the decorations we already have. Years ago my oldest daughter brought home a wreath made at school, made by tying strips of decorative fabric around a coat hanger that was twisted into a circle. It's one of my favorite Christmas decorations! I have oodles of fabric laying around, so I think I'll enlist Gracie's help to make a new one.

All in all, Mondays are... well, Mondays around here. It's raining and cold, and a ton of housework awaits. It's the perfect day to whip up a crock pot dinner and just dig in. Thankfully, with a "new" play area, I'll have one less toddler under my feet as I clean. A girl can dream, right?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner, Pie Ideas

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and thankfully I get to put off making the big dinner for a little while longer, to accommodate out of town guest schedules. I do, however, need to bring along something to Granny's on Thanksgiving. They always cover the traditional stuff, so I'm going to try something new for dessert.

I've had something similar, and have no idea what it's actually called. But basically it's a pumpkin pie, mixed with Cool Whip, which creates a wonderfully fluffy pie. Yummy!Since I don't even know what it's actually called, I couldn't search for a recipe. But I stumbled on a Jello no bake pumpkin pie kit and it gave me the idea to give it a shot.

I got an extra pie crust (graham) and a regular sized container of Cool Whip. So I'll make the pumpkin mix as directed, and then mix in the entire container of whipped cream. I suspect it should fill both pie crusts, if not I'll be in a little pinch! I regularly have heavy whipping cream on hand for coffee or other recipes, so if I must I'll just whip up some homemade whipped cream and top it with that. 

I'll be making the pies tomorrow, and will have the extra so my son will be the guinea pig to see if this Pumpkin pie recipe will be a good fit for Thanksgiving dinner. I was seriously considering a Pumpkin Cheesecake, by using the same mix and a no-bake cheesecake, putting a layer of each in each pie. I still might do that for Christmas, or for the big Thanksgiving dinner we do when Sadie's in town. 

Either way, I got all the ingredients on sale or already had on hand, so I will probably have less than $3 in each pie. Plus, the fluffy pumpkin pie I'd had before was divine, I'm hoping I can make this the way I'm picturing it turning out!, made it to 50!

I made it to my first $50 on, and true to their word they automatically took off ten bucks! Yay! So this last order I got diapers, 20 mule team borax, 2 rolls paper towels, Herbal Essences shampoo and conditioner and Alka Seltzer for $6.53!!! Yay! And they still applied the coupons they were advertising, too.

Here's how it works. Sing up here with, and get coupons automatically applied to your items. Plus when your order history reaches $50, whether all at once or accumulated to 50, they automatically give you $10 off. There's nothing to request or send in, they just take it right off that order.

I was really curious how it would all work out. Getting 10 back on that first 50 is like taking an additional 20% off all your orders, yay! I was very pleasantly surprised to see it just come right off my checkout total.

I check with a couple times per week, it seems they change quite a bit. Different coupons available, new items. On my last shipment I got two free samples, one for laundry drops and another for a shaving cream. And both shipments I've already gotten came within 3 business days with free shipping.

I'm definitely a fan, I'm liking more and more. 

Friday, November 20, 2009

Make $25 Online Quick!

I just finished up an opportunity I stumbled upon on to make a quick $25! It's through a Facebook app, and can be found here. Several members on the WAHM forum have already been paid, so I thought "why not?" I signed up on the above page last night, and received the email from them this morning.

All you are doing is reviewing local businesses, ten of them. It's for AroundMe. It's that easy. It took me a minute to figure out how to submit a review, but you find one of the businesses listed and you'll see "submit review" listed beside the name of the biz. 

The lady who sent that first email was very prompt and helpful with answering my questions, and it took less than an hour to write them all up. They ask for them to not be all restaurants, so I did a couple banks, an insurance agent, and a dentist along with some restaurants and hotels I am familiar with.

They ask the reviews be between 60 and 150 words, which wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. 

All in all, it was probably the easiest 25 bucks I've ever earned in my life! Check it out!

Black Friday, only a week away!

Every Mom should take note of Black Friday deals, whether online or off. Black Friday often offers such ridiculously great deals, it really pays to get up early and fight the crowd for the sales that allow you to buy more for Christmas.

It makes sense to check as many ads as possible and map out the best course of action. While store A may be offering great deals on electronics, store B might have a hard to beat deal on the season's hottest toys. Several places are advertising their Black Friday deals ahead of time so you can map it out yourself for the bargains that fit your needs the best.

Some people like to plan their sales with family or friends and make a special day of it. Getting up early for a light breakfast and a big pot of coffee is important to keep your stamina going for a long day of shopping. My friends make an annual tradition of hitting certain stores first, sometimes branching out and meeting back up afterward at a different store.

A great idea for a quick breakfast on Black Friday is a breakfast casserole. You can prep this the night before and throw it in the oven first thing in the morning. No muss, no fuss. Tear up pieces of bread, stale is fine, and fill the bottom inch or so of a casserole dish. I spray mine with butter flavored cooking spray first. Throw in a layer of each of hash browns, chopped sausage or ham, and a little bit of diced onion. Cover it with four eggs, lightly scrambled, and cover that with a layer of cheddar cheese. Let the eggs soak in overnight, it really makes a difference! In the morning, pop it in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes or so, until the eggs seem set. Yummy! has coupons and sale ads for many major stores, what an invaluable service! Everything you need right there on one site! I looked around and found so many bargains, it was hard to peel myself away! Just keep your eyes open, and you're sure to find many great deals this holiday season!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

eHow update, I've made a thousand bucks!

I finally did it! Today I broke a thousand dollars on eHow, that's total overall earnings. I started with one article in late July 08, so in 16 months with 158 articles (after sweeps) I've finally hit a big milestone, yay!

My earnings per month just keep going up, even though I haven't written very many  new articles in the past several months. This month I'm projecting I'll make around $140, my best month yet.

Now if I could only get the creative juices flowing and churn out 158 more articles, I'd be sitting pretty. I keep saying I'm going to, and I have a huge list of article ideas I'd like to dig in on. But really, I think I'm going to write some recipes before diving in bigger topics.

Recipe articles don't earn that great on eHow, but they're pretty consistent. Especially around the holidays. But if you have enough written, it does add up to a nice little profit each month. 

That's the greatest part about residual income. You write it once, and it just keeps on earning. I need to tweak some of the lower earning articles, most of those were from when I was still new to online writing, and didn't have a great keyword or SEO strategy.

I just had to share my milestone, I'm so happy!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Trying to Maintain My Sanity

Well, I'm trying to maintain my sanity. It may or may not be working out so well! You know, when I took the leap and became a SAHM, I thought everything would just magically fall into place, that the house would somehow become sparkling clean, and I wouldn't miss the adult interaction I got from working. HA!

Apparently, I need more structure. Without time constraints, a lot of things are not getting done. Egads, this house is still a disaster!

So, the only solution I think that might help is a pretty strict schedule. I've been falling into a natural pattern with housework, like laundry is usually done Mondays and Thursdays, with a small load over the weekend. Dishes tend to get done in the late afternoon. Things like that.

It's just not enough. I'll be thinking it through and coming up with a better plan of attack on housework. I'm seriously open to suggestions!

Some WAHM opportunities seem to be fizzling out. My favorite job poster on MTurk is taking a break. I'd say about three quarters of the work I've done on MTurk came from that one job alone! I've been researching some others, I signed up at LiveWork and applied for an ad reviewer there. I impressed myself by doing really well on some of the skills testing. 

Another opportunity I'm looking into, but somewhat leery of, is dropshipping. It just almost sounds too easy. From what I've read, you just really REALLY have to research the dropshipping company you order from. Basically, you're buying things straight from the warehouse at wholesale prices, selling them on eBay, and they ship for you. You don't even buy it until your auction has ended and has been paid for. It sounds like it could become an excellent addition to making money at home.

All in all, it's been hectic around here. I swear, I felt less stressed when I was working. I never dreamed I'd say that!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

For the love of coffee!

Anybody who knows me knows exactly how much I love coffee. I heart coffee! I cannot imagine starting my day without a big mug of java. Now that I'm a stay at home mom, I have more time to enjoy and savor my daily treat.

I recently found on Gevalia's website an offer for three bags of their coffee for three bucks! I assumed it would be trial sized bags, but was very pleasantly surprised to find they were indeed full sized bags, horray!

I got the Creme Brulee and Dark Chocolate Truffle flavored coffees, and a Decaf. I seem to crave coffee in the evenings, and the jolt of caffeine in those hours is not a good thing. Each of the ones I received are divine! I'm definitely a fan!

I wasn't sure what flavor to try for the decaf, but I really like my flavored creamers, so figured I'd enjoy those in the evenings. I'm liking this plan.

In the mornings, I find as I sip my coffee I'm better able to plan my day. It's my zen time, Gracie is eating her breakfast, and I'm able to map out just what I need to accomplish for the day with a renewed sense of well being. 

I'm not quite sure how I used to wake up and function before I started drinking coffee. Perhaps this is why I used to be so grumpy? I have only been a coffee drinker for a little less than ten years now. But then again, I got more sleep back then without a toddler waking at the crack of dawn!

If you are looking for a fantasticly smooth coffee, check out Gevalia. I was so very impressed. I'd  always heard their products were great, I just took a little while to get around trying it. Of course, three bags for three bucks, I couldn't pass it up!

Monday, November 9, 2009

What's cookin?

I found a new weakness. I'm afraid it's going to take over my life. Apple Crostatas! Wow, these are good. And easy to make, too! I spent the day trying to get it figured out, and I think I found a really easy, and tasty, recipe!

Honestly, I rarely measure things when cooking, so I'll do the best I can with sharing this. I looked at a few Apple Crostata recipes online, and just kind of threw it together from there. Each one makes either one good sized Crostata, or can be cut in half and still have a good sized portion.

Preheat your oven to 375F. Unroll one pre-made pie crust, Betty Crocker's are pretty tasty. These come in a nine inch round, and are already rolled out to just the right thickness. Spray a cookie sheet with no-stick cooking spray and lay it out on the sheet.

Peel, core, and dice two to three medium sized apples. I chopped mine fairly small, compared to what I would make for an apple pie. Put them in a good sized bowl, and sprinkle pretty heavily with sugar, brown sugar, about a Tbs of flour, cinnamon, and a dash of nutmeg. Stir until it's all coated pretty well. Taste, and adjust seasonings if desired.

Plop the apples right onto the middle of the pie crust. Spread out the apple mixture to within about two inches of the edges, leaving a slight mound in the middle. Very carefully fold the edges up and over, overlapping and pinching any areas that break. You can make this as ornate or as plain as you like. I went with a somewhat scalloped edge look. The middle area will remain open throughout baking.

Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes. If the edges of your Apple Crostata are browning a little too quickly, cover them loosely with foil. It's finished when the crust has a nice golden brown color.

While hot, top with Caramel sauce and chopped pecans (optional.) Serve with a side of Vanilla ice cream. Caution: these are highly addictive!! I can imagine this way of making Crostatas would work with just about any fruit, and can't wait to try to make it with berries sometime!   

Another order!

I was so impressed with that I've decided to do another order with them. The first order came on the third business day, and everything was just how it should be. Not to mention all item but one had a coupon, yay!

This time I branched out a little more. I got bleach, diapers, toothpaste, dishwashing liquid, some snacks for Gracie, air freshener, and a couple other things. All told, I ordered nine items, and saved only $2.05 in coupons. But the regular prices seem to be pretty good, too. The Luvs diapers were a full dollar cheaper than the dollar store, without a coupon! My total order was $27.85, and the shipping was still free. PLUS there was a note with the order that there will be free samples included, yay!

So I'm working my way to that first $50, at which I'll get a $10 discount. So that takes an extra 20% off everything I've ordered to that point. When you sign up through the referral program, both the referred person gets the discount. The referrer also gets a little cash, so that's nice, too! is great for those of us that have a long drive to the store, for minimizing trips and saving gas to just pick up a few items. Not having to clip coupons is also nice, but I generally don't mind that. It's nice that they have so many products with coupons right on the site!


Cleaning is so not fun

I feel like I finally caught up a bit on my cleaning fiasco over the weekend. At least enough that the dishes aren't talking smack as I walk by anymore. If anything I'm a little smug when I pass the empty sink, thinking to myself, "Ha! Take THAT!"

So I get all the general housework caught up and I realized how far this house still has to go to be, well, CLEAN. In a nutshell (pun intended,) we're finishing up remodeling the other house. So, this one has to do in the meantime. Putting all the time into the other one, there's a lot of odds and ends here being neglected.

I really hope Santa brings me one of those Shark floor cleaners this year for Christmas. The linoleum is old and has cracks and tears in many places, making it a nightmare to mop. It will be perfect for the new house, too, as it will have hardwood and tile floors. 

So this week, I'm focusing on getting these floors in shape. Or at least, not so gross. There's still a long way to go to achieve that! Thankfully, Mother Nature is cooperating with me, so I can hang the rugs out to dry and freshen up while the floors dry. Did I mention how much I like the Fabuloso cleaner? It's not the best product on the market, but wowza it smells fresh!

Playtime is over, it's back to the grind. Or the mop, as the case may be.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Pets get sick, too!

With a tighter budget as a stay at home mom, I'm looking for ways to cut costs on just about everything these days. And that includes pet meds. Prescription pet medicine can be every bit as costly as people meds, so cutting corners when possible is important.

With a dog and a cat, fleas are taking over the house! Frontline is awesome stuff, but it's price tag reflects how well it works. Thankfully, with the Internet, it's easier than ever to find pet meds at a reduced cost. There are many websites that offer pet medicine at an impressive discount, and eBay often has it at a great price.

Amazon often has good deals, too, so it's always worth checking out when comparing prices. It might take a little work finding the best deal, but when the savings are big enough, it's a great investment of time.

One thing to watch out for when buying discount pet medicine online is to make sure the produce is not damaged or out of date. This is especially true on eBay. Just make sure you are buying from a reputable seller, no matter where the deal is found.

Coloring book fun!

Today we're going to have a little fun. Gracie's discovered the joy of coloring, and we are just plain out of coloring books. So why not make our own? Downloading coloring pages is a great way to make a customized coloring book, and it's free, too! There are pages with just about any theme you can think of out floating around on the net, waiting to hit your printer and make your child as happy as can be.

Today we're going to focus on finding Elmo and Spongebob coloring pages, two of the favorite characters in this house. I'll be putting them together into a binder so Gracie can have her very own coloring book, customized just for her.

I think these will be much better to save in a hope chest than a ratty old coloring book. Somewhat of a better protected "best of," in a sense. We already have a spare binder laying around, so they'll be protected and kept neat.

The only dilemma is whether to start a new folder of coloring pages with each topic or season, or just keep adding to the original one. Either way, it will be neat to see how her coloring abilities progress throughout the years. 

Now if we could only keep the coloring limited to the coloring pages or books. Oh boy, if I could count all the surfaces G has colored on in this house! And for the record, Windex will take Sharpie marker off a computer screen. I found this out the hard way!

All in all, downloading coloring pages is an affordable way to have a little bit of fun, customized for each child. What could be better than that!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Taking care of business

In my switch to stay at home mom, I've been so focused on trying to make money I've lost sight of the primary job I have: taking care of the houe and family! I feel that the time I've put in this week toward earning money hasn't really brought enough reward to justify a messy house. So, today I'm cracking down on housework!

First on my agenda is the ginormous mound of laundry on the bed. I sure would like to sleep in my bed this evening, so the laundry must be folded and put away ASAP. Catching up the rest of the laundry won't be much of a problem, I've kept up with washing it this week for the most part. It's the folding and putting away that's got me stuck!

Next job: tackling the kitchen. Ick, I've fallen behind a little too much on that! The dishes are piled halfway to the ceiling, it seems. I'm almost positive I heard them mocking me this morning as I walked by. Time to dig in!

I think I need to go back to my old way of housework, which was making a list every day of things I wanted finished pronto. No smoke breaks or phone calls until certain points on the list. Kind of silly, but it worked. Sooo, I'll be making a list, and checking it twice...

Break time is over, time to get down and dirty with housework!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bargain Shopping

It's getting close to the holidays, and time to start Christmas shopping. It's no secret that I use a lot of my MTurk earnings to buy things right off, and I have found some really good deals there over the years. Whether you use your own cash, or money you've earned from MTurk, shopping there couldn't be easier. Check out the Gold Box deals every day to get the best specials for your Christmas presents!

Monday, November 2, 2009

eHow update!

I figured it's probably a good time to throw in an eHow update, too. Earnings for October have been calculated, and I made $119.91 on 158 articles. Around 76 cents each! It keeps going up, last month it was around 74 cents, and the month before 67. 

I finally wrote another eHow article, finally! It had been six months since I actually wrote anything there! I've got to put some time and effort into eHow, the residual income can't be beat. 

I enjoy writing eHow articles, and really they don't take long to do well. A half hour to an hour, depending on how familiar I am with the subject matter is about all it takes.

One word of advice. eHow's site is often buggy. I strongly suggest writing articles first in a Word Processor document, then cutting and pasting into the site submission form. This way you have a back-up should it not go through, or if an article is deleted. 

I have been writing for eHow since July 08, and in that time I have made almost $900. If you divide that by the time I have spent writing there, it comes out to about $11.32 per hour. Not bad! Even if I never write there again, that hourly wage will just go up as the residual income trickles in. 

This is one of my favorite ways to make money being a stay at home mom! Now if I could just buckle down and write a bunch more....

Another MTurk update

Now that I'm a full time stay at home mom, I'm focusing a lot more time on working with MTurk. I'm up about $510 earned through MTurk! The work has seemed to dry up a tad bit, but there's still plenty of stuff for stay at home moms to piddle around on and make a little cash.

I haven't done much more work with CastingWords transcription through MTurk yet, but my first two assignments I did with them got good reviews and I liked the work. I need just a little more quiet time around here to do that. My plan is once a week or so to take Gracie to her aunt's house and spend the day on those jobs. The rest I can do when she's here, as they're shorter and don't require as much hands-on work. It would be easier, sure, but I can still definitely find enough time and attention to do the work on MTurk with Gracie here.

My goal is to make $80 per week with MTurk, and that is definitely reachable. I have to focus my time on this for now, as I'm still getting the hang of being a stay at home mom! One of my biggest time drainers if my favorite Mom message board. Now that I have the time, it's hard to peel myself away from there and get to work! 

I'm hoping to find a perfect balance between stay at home work, housework, and a little bit of me time. I'm sure that will come in time. But for the time being, MTurk is where much of my focus is going to be. 

CloudCrowd, is it worth it?

So I finally had a not so good experience with CloudCrowd. I got a rejection on work I am confident was done correctly. Actually, I would go so far as to say I'm positive it was done correctly. The part of that I'm upset about is that because I haven't found a lot of work on there, it put a serious ding in my credibility rating, which put me on probation. If I had done a lot of work, the ding wouldn't have been so bad. 

The approval system needs some serious work. There are reports on a few forums about CrowdCloud of similar complaints. A LOT of them. This is the way the work is reviewed: The work is open to several workers, so say a few people are zipping through and not paying enough attention and one person was. Majority rules. So, there ARE people who are getting their work rejected on CloudCrowd that didn't deserve to be. 

Being on probation means I can keep on working, and the approved work will raise my credibility score. BUT if I get another false rejection I'll be permanently suspended. There is at this time no way to appeal or fix this. I wouldn't mind so much if it could be looked at and someone with CloudCrowd could say "Why yes, you are correct. Let me fix this for you!" But that system is not in place.

I think for the time being I'm just going to sit back and wait it out. They say they're still working out the bugs in the system. Yeah, yeah. Well, I'll be back when they do. Maybe. The probation thing just left a bad taste in my mouth. There's too many other work at home sites I could focus my time on in the meantime. For now, this stay at home mom is taking a break from CC.