It's the MOST Wonderful Time of the Year...and a GREAT time to save time and money!

Okay, so after last week's crazy, this week has been much more manageable.  I have loved slowing down a little bit and enjoying the holidays.  As suspected, the decorations are up, most of the Christmas shopping is done, my Christmas cards are addressed and ready to be mailed tomorrow, and the laundry is done...for today.

I have decided to share a few little nuggets that I have found helpful when trying to maximize time and money...especially during this busy time of year.

Lowe's Foods To Go Express:
I have long been a fan of Harris Teeter's Online Shopping, and this week I tried out Lowe's Foods To Go.  They are essentially the same process; however, Lowe's has an express service that allows you to purchase 15 items or less, and they will be ready in under an hour!  The cost of this service is only $2...you can usually make that up in coupons!!  It was a big help this week when I ran out of baby wipes, milk, and baby food pouches at the same time, and it was POURING down rain and freezing outside.  LOVE this service and would highly recommend it for those of you in Winston.  For those not in Winston, any grocery delivery or pick up service is so worth the money and your time!!

Meringue Icing
Growing up, my brother, sister, and I would all make gingerbread houses with our mama every year.  Back in those days, we were allowed to bring them in to share with our classes during the Christmas season, and we all got to eat the candy on the last day of school before the holidays.  Any of you EDS or Forest Hills people remember this???  I have the most wonderful memories of this tradition.  The memory that sticks out in my mind the most is the year that the icing exploded all over the kitchen.  If any of you have ever worked with Royal Icing, you know that it is essentially like glue, and it literally STUCK all over our kitchen.  My mom just started dying laughing as did we!  Well, two other moms and I have been charged with putting together gingerbread houses for our kindergarteners' class this year.  The suggestion was to use super glue to glue graham crackers onto milk cartons.  We decided to use icing, and when I asked my mom for the Royal Icing recipe, she turned me onto Meringue Powder.  This stuff is amazing!  SO much easier than beating all of those eggs...3 ingredients and you're done!  I ordered it from Amazon while waiting in line for my dry cleaning two days ago, and today it is here...which brings me to my next favorite thing...

Amazon Prime
This is one of my favorite processes!  You can literally order almost anything you could ever possibly need, and it arrives at your house within two days.  There is a cost involved, but it is quickly recovered by not paying for shipping.  If you haven't tried it, do it!  I buy everything from diapers to meringue powder to Christmas presents to ski gear on this site.  The only problem is that it makes making purchases WAY too easy ;)

Walmart.com
So, this is a new thing that I have discovered...you can order items from Walmart.com, and if you spend $49, they will deliver everything right to your door for FREE!  No more fighting the parking lot and the people and the madness that is involved with a trip to Walmart...I mean, really, who doesn't spend $49 every single time you visit Walmart or Target????  I have started purchasing all of my bulk paper items, baby items, etc. from this site, and it has changed my life!!

Homemade Laundry Detergent
This is just about the easiest thing to make in the world.  All you need is a bar of soap (I use Ivory,) a cup of Borax, and a cup of Arm and Hammer Washing Soap.  You can either grate the soap and mix the ingredients together or chop it together in your food processor.  I can make about 6 batches of laundry detergent for approximately $20!!  Seriously!  It works well, and it is safe for top and front end loaders.  Here is one method you can use from wellnessmama.com:  Homemade Laundry Detergent

RetailMeNot
Okay, seriously, do not EVER purchase anything online without searching for a coupon code.  Most websites will offer deals on their home page and mention promo codes to use at checkout.  I have searched many sites over the years always looking for the best bargains. (Ask my sister...it's sort of a game that I have going with myself.)  The best site that I have found is RetailMeNot.com.  It is easy to navigate, easy to search, and there's an app you can use as well.  I should have kept track of how much I have saved over the years by using this website.  Amazing!

I would love to hear any tips that you all may have to pass along as well ;)

Up this week are lamb burgers, gnocchi with spinach and goat cheese cream sauce, butternut squash ravioli, flank steak with roquefort butter sauce, and chicken cordon bleu.

Happy Cooking!



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