Archives for February 2011

Giveway: P & G Product Pack

The last time I did a P&G Product Giveaway, it was a huge hit with all of you. Well, you’re going to LOVE this one. I’ve never seen so many great products all in one box! I hope you saw the monthly P&G Brandsaver coupon insert in yesterday’s paper with $131 in savings. Those booklets come out at the beginning of each month, and the coupons generally last for that month only. You can also load e-coupons to your grocery store’s club card with P&G eSaver.

Back to the giveaway…one MoneywiseMom reader will receive a P&G Product Pack that includes a sampling of some of your favorite products like Pampers Cruisers, Pantene, Puffs, Cover Girl, Downy, Head & Shoulders, Charmin Freshmates, Febreze, Secret, Glide Floss, Tide, Oral-B, Gillette Fusion, Crest, and Swiffer WetJet.

To enter to win, just complete the form below. If you’re reading this in an email subscription, you’ll need to click over to MoneywiseMoms to get to the form. Please do not enter by email or replying to an email; those entries do not count.

This giveaway is closed! The winner is Edie F. (had to re-draw the winner because the first one never claimed her prize).

This giveaway is open to US & Canada addresses only, and please only enter one person per household. I will draw the winner of this giveaway using on Sunday, March 13th at 11:00pm EST. Thank you for reading Moneywise Moms, and good luck!

Disclosure: Proctor & Gamble is providing the giveaway prize for this post and sent me a similar package for review.

Meal Plan Monday: Sticking to a Grocery Budget

Last week, I shared how we’ve set up a $500/month grocery budget, where I aim to spend $100/week with that extra hundred meant for stocking up. While I thought January was tough, I did okay in February. I have $7.03 left over and we’re covered for this whole week. That makes me feel better going into March and helps us stay strong towards our 2011 Financial Goals. Many of you commented or questioned about what strategies I use to spend that amount, so look for a new series starting tomorrow called 30 Days of Grocery Savings. I’m going to vlog it, meaning you’ll see my happy face encouraging you to to shop smarter, and possibly my pajamas if its one of those mornings. 

    Keeping things simple this week, here’s the meal plan:

    Sunday–Salmon, quinoa, green beans
    Monday–Honey Soy Pork Chops (make sure your soy sauce is gluten-free), brown rice, broccoli and cauliflower
    Tuesday–Tortilla Soup in the slow cooker, gluten-free cornbread
    Wednesday–Macaroni & Cheese, broccoli
    Thursday–Hash Brown Casserole in the slow cooker
    Friday–We’re going to a pizza night at school (I’ll have some GF leftovers at home)
    Saturday–Chicken tenders (breaded with Chex and Parmesan), sweet potato fries, salad

    For more meal plans and easy family recipes, head over to the big linky at OrgJunkie.

    Mabel’s Labels Deal at Mamapedia

    This is a great offer for a great product! We use Mabel’s Labels on all of the kids’ jackets, hats, gloves, and lunch items. I also use them to label all the pool stuff we lug back and forth in the summer–our bag, pails, toys, and more. They’re so versatile and long-lasting!

    Through Wednesday, March 2nd, Mamapedia is offering a $20 voucher to Mabel’s Labels for just $10. You can also use code FRIENDS20 to get 20% off, meaning you’ll pay just $8 for the $20 voucher. You can use only one voucher per transaction, it doesn’t not cover tax or shipping, and you’ll have until July to use it. Shipping is FREE in Canada and $3.95 to the US, or FREE with orders over $49. I went through the website to help you find the best way to spend that $20 voucher:

    The Colourful Sticky Labels and Skinny-Minis are perfect for sippy cups, toys, bottles and more. Ours have been through the dishwasher hundreds of times and still look fantastic. A set of 45 large or 80 skinny-minis is $21.00, so you’ll pay the extra dollar and the $3.95 shipping.

    The Colourful and Classic Tag Mates are another of my favorites. They stick to your clothing labels (no need to iron-on), so I have them in my son’s t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, etc. I even have them on my twin girls’ shoes so they know whose is whose! These are also $21/set, so you’ll pay just the extra dollar plus shipping.

    The Colourful and Classic Bag Tags are metal tags, 6 in a set, also for $21. These are perfect for identifying luggage, lunchboxes, backpacks and more.

    If you have any gift-giving coming up, Mabel’s Labels are a great personalized gift. If you use that 20% off code, you’ll pay $8 + $1 + shipping, around $12.95 total for most people for a set of very cool, very useful labels. Plus, remember that 5% of your Mamapedia purchase goes to your favorite school!

    Disclosure: I get a $10 credit to Mamapedia when you make a purchase there, and I’m planning to use those credits to buy giveaway prizes for my blog readers!

    Quick Giveaway: Amazon Diaper Coupon Codes

    New 20% off diapers and $10 off Amazon Mom coupons are popping up in the March issues of these magazines:

    These new coupons expire at the end of March. Remember that you can combine these 20% off coupons with the 30% off Subscribe & Save diaper deals at Amazon Mom. If you need help, see my tutorial. Plus, you always get FREE shipping on your Subscribe & Save purchases of diapers and wipes.

    If you’re ready to shop on Monday (2/28), I’ve got a giveaway for you! Renee from SchoolSparks has shared four extra coupon codes that give you 20% off on diapers at Amazon Mom. Just leave me a comment below if you’d like one of the codes, and I’ll choose four winners using at 3:00pm EST on Monday, February 28th. Be sure you have a way I can contact you in your comment (if your profile doesn’t include your email, you’ll need to leave it–just space it out to avoid spam).

    **This giveaway is over! Congrats to 17-smswenson, 31-Jackie, 27-Tasha, and 34-Amy N.

    Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting MoneywiseMoms at no cost to you!

    Filing Federal Taxes for FREE

    Are you finally working on your taxes this weekend? You may be able to file your Federal Income Tax Return for FREE, depending on the complexity of your tax situation. Here are three options:

    H&R Block At Home Free Edition: There is no maximum income limit to file with H&R Block At Home. Meant for simple income tax returns, it includes error checking and an accurate calculations guarantee, but it does not import last year’s data, 1099 or W-2 forms (it will offer you a paid upgrade to do so). You also get H&R Block Worry-free Audit Support, and they offer a Get it Right Community with responses from a tax pro. H&R Block At Home Free Edition includes one FREE federal e-file, and you can add a state tax return e-file for $27.95.

    Turbo Tax Federal Free Edition: Available exclusively online, the Turbo Tax Federal Free Edition is also intended for simple tax returns and has no income limits. Again, you have to type your info in manually and will not import last year’s data. Turbo Tax Federal FREE Edition includes one FREE federal e-file, and adding the state tax return e-file costs $27.95.

    IRS FreeFile: If your adjusted gross income is $58,000 or less, you can use Traditional Free File through the IRS. This version offers free tax software, and the IRS has a wizard that helps you find a FreeFile company. There is also a version of Free File with no income limit, though it doesn’t offer any software or step-by-step help. Learn more about FreeFile and readers’ experiences with it at GetRichSlowly. Neither option offers free state tax return filing.

    See my list of States with FREE E-filing, and you may not have to pay to file your state return either.

    Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting MoneywiseMoms!

    Easy Baked Tilapia

    Updated for 2014: Check out these 7 Easy Tilapia Recipes that Kids Will Like


    Boring isn’t always bad. When you’re struggling to get dinner on the table, to save money, to feed your family healthy foods–boring can be perfect. I like the easy combination of protein + grain + veggie for a simple meal that takes about 20 minutes to pull together. This Easy Baked Tilapia is the perfect example. It’s flavorful but so simple to make, and the flavors could go just as well with chicken or pork if you’d prefer (just increase the cooking time). This is also another example of a naturally gluten-free meal. Love it!

    Easy Baked Tilapia

    1 lb. tilapia filets
    Butter or olive oil
    Salt and pepper
    Minced garlic

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay tilapia in 9×12 baking pan. Drizzle olive oil or melted butter over fillets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add garlic and sprinkle with parsley. Bake for 15 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork.

    We eat a lot of tilapia, and this is my go-to recipe for busy nights when I don’t have time to cook anything more complicated. While it’s baking, I pull together some brown rice or quinoa and a green veggie for a simple, healthy dinner. If you want to try some other tilapia recipes, my kids also love Asian Fish in a Packet and my Almond Tilapia and Broccoli Slaw.

    This Easy Baked Tilapia recipe is linked up to Gluten-Free Wednesdays at The Gluten-Free Homemaker, Tasty Tuesday at Beauty & Bedlam, MomTrends Recipe Linky and Life as Mom’s Ultimate Recipe Swap.

    2 Mini Photo Books for $4.99 Shipped

    Why did this deal stand out to me? Oh, I don’t know, because I have two little girls with no photo albums or scrapbooks while their older brother has too many to count…it’s the guilt! But really, this is a great way to make a quick gift for your kids, your mom or dad, or anyone who needs some cute pictures in their life. Through March 2nd, get two mini photo books for just $4.99 shipped from SeeHere by Fujifilm when you use code minibook-4. The books each have 24 pages, are softbound, and are tiny–just 2 ¾” x 3 7/8”. I’m going to make one for each of my girls just filled with cute pictures of them. They’ll love them!

    FAQ: What is Quinoa?

    I’ve mentioned that we eat quinoa (and that my kids love it) a few times here at MoneywiseMoms, and I received a number of inquiries as to HUH? While quinoa is often eaten by gluten-free families, it’s good for everyone because of its nutritional content. Here’s what you need to know:

    What it is: Quinoa is actually a seed of a leafy plant, but it is usually treated as a grain (I use it as a side dish, for example). It’s naturally high in protein, fiber, iron and magnesium, and it’s easy to digest. You cook it just like rice, and it comes out fluffy with a slight crunch. It’s pronounced keen-wah, by the way.

    Where to buy it: I usually buy it at Trader Joe’s, where I’ve seen both standard quinoa and red quinoa. It’s become a little more popular in recent years and may appear at your regular grocery store (I’ve seen it at Giant here in NoVA, in the health food aisle), otherwise try Whole Foods or a health food store. You can also buy it at Amazon.

    How to prepare it: Quinoa can have a bitter-tasting coating, so most packaging will suggest you rinse it before cooking. I bought a colander with very tiny holes for rinsing. Then, similar to rice, you use a 1:2 ratio with water. For extra flavor, you can use chicken or vegetable broth. Boil the water/broth, add the quinoa, and cover and simmer for about 15 minutes; it will look translucent. Once done, fluff with a fork. It can also be cooked in a rice cooker, following the directions for white rice.

    How to use it: I typically use quinoa in place of rice, couscous, etc. as a side dish. For extra flavor, I’ll cook it in chicken broth instead of water, then mix in some garlic and parsley. Quinoa can be used like oatmeal, too, mixed with sweet ingredients like fruit and maple syrup for a breakfast meal, or even made into bars. Here are some recipe ideas:

    One thing I’ve learned, though, is that quinoa doesn’t keep its texture when mixed with liquidy sauces. I tried tosubstitute it for pasta in my Spinach Pasta Salad, and it soaked up the dressing and came out mushy.

    Why we like it: It’s different! Everyone gets tired of the same old rice and pasta. This gives you a new texture and flavor to add to meals. Kids get a kick out of the red quinoa, too, since it’s pretty unusual looking. I like it because it’s so nutritious and healthier for us than pasta.

    Have you tried quinoa? What recipes do you like?

    Please Vote for MoneywiseMoms!

    I’ve been chosen as a favorite money-saving mom blog by Circle of Moms. Please stop by and vote for me! Just go to Circle of Moms and click the thumbs up. You don’t need to create an account or do anything else. If I’m one of the top three blogs on March 8th, I’ll get to share my favorite strategies with Circle of Moms’ 400,000 members in their newsletter. I would love the opportunity to help all those moms!

    Thanks for voting for me. I appreciate your support!