Simple Steps

Earth Day Word Search

by Laura on April 7, 2014

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Earth Day Word Search

Print out this great Earth Day Word Search for the student in your life (or maybe for yourself).

As you look for the hidden words, remember that they can be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal—frontward or backward.

There are 15 popular words in this search that can also give you a chance to open dialogue about the importance of taking good care of the world around us.

Earth Day is April 22nd so get ready to celebrate!

And be sure to check out the Earth Day Cupcakes and Earth Day Freebies!

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It is important to note that this blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorships, paid insertions, or other forms of compensation. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. All opinions stated in this blog belong to its author and no one else. I will only endorse products, companies, and services that I have found worthy of my time and opinion. A Frugal Chick is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to www.amazon.com.


The Journey to Delaware (Part III)

by Laura on March 10, 2014

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If you haven’t read The Journey To Delaware Part I and Part II STOP READING!  Go back and read my previous posts before you continue!

We ended up having a perfectly lovely conversation as they finished the car.

It turned out the Godfather (whose name I cannot remember) was actually Polish.  We talked about when he attended medical school in Poland and his daughter.

His daughter was the reason he was in the United States.  He mentioned she was finishing up her Ph. D. at a local school and he would have to pick her up soon.  She was handicapped (we never discussed what her challenge was) and he said Poland had not advanced enough in his opinion that she could have a full life.  So he picked up everything when she was small and moved to a country where he felt she could be given every opportunity.  He spoke about her with such love and admiration in his voice.

At that moment John and Matt came into the lobby and the conversation switched over to cars.  Fast car, expensive cars, dream cars.  It turns out the Godfather used to own a version of Matt’s dream car so I got to watch Matt drool a little bit.  There were cell phone pictures and funny stories.

Finally the mechanic came out to tell us that the part had been replaced and the check engine light was OFF!  Matt grabbed the keys and we jumped in the car to cruise yet again around Wilmington, DE.  We put that car through the ringer.  Short of setting it on fire I am not sure there is much else we could have done to test its capabilities.    Matt was satisfied the issue had been fixed.

We went back to the garage, everyone shook hands and Matt and I left to return the rental car.  I have to confess when I got in the car and hit the ignition button I said a prayer that the check engine light would not come on.  Thankfully it did not!

wilmington train station

So we returned the rental car (at the beautiful Wilmington, DE train station) without event and headed back to Virginia.  It was around 6 p.m.  Without bad weather we had a 4.5 hour drive ahead of us but the snow was scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

The first two hours of the drive were uneventful.  Delaware and Maryland were not expecting more than flurries and that was all we had.  The change from clear weather to heavy snow seemed to happen in almost an instant.  My friends had been texting me to let me know the conditions at home and now I was beginning to see them first hand.

Once we hit the Eastern Shore our average speed got down to about 30 miles per hour (often times much slower).  The roads were empty and turning into a sheet of ice.  So we trudged along slowly.

That night happened to be the State of the Union (we found it on the radio) so we agreed to help pass the time we would do a drinking game with our bottled water.  After asking advice on facebook we decided to do a shot of water every time one of these phrases was said by President Obama:  “Let Me Be Clear”, “Make No Mistake”, “The American People” or a sentence beginning with the word “Now.”  Sadly (or maybe happily since we didn’t have to try to find a bathroom) there wasn’t much need to drink. I later found out that this was the President’s first address with his new speechwriter so some of the usual catch phrases were missing.

After the State of the Union we drove another hour at a snails pace.  We listened to pod-casts and searched for basketball games on the radio.  Looming ahead of us was going to be the most interesting part of the trip- going through the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

For those of you who don’t know the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel I have always called it the “bridge tunnel bridge tunnel bridge.”  It’s a series of bridges and tunnels that cross over a portion of the Chesapeake Bay.  It’s about 29 miles long and costs $13 to cross.

The going over the bridge part was very slow but beautiful.  The snow blowing reminded me of baby powder and the water looked like the beginning of the television show “Revenge.”  The sky was very dark because of the cloud cover and the waves were rough smashing against the pillars.  It was eerily quiet- the only noise was the occasional snow plow going down the other side of the bridge.

I wish I had a video of how beautiful the snow plows were.  As they drove down the bridge it was like a white veil flying through the air behind them- the snow seemed to linger and float gently to the ground.  I was thankful I wasn’t driving so I got to see these beautiful combinations of nature and man.

Then you would hit the tunnel and your eyes would adjust to the harshness of the neon lights.  Plus you could increase your speed to about 45 miles an hour without being in danger.

Bridge Tunnel End

If you look at this picture you can see how there is no snow inside the tunnel and then it gets MUCH deeper just past the edge.

Once that was over we were back on hometown roads.  There was NO ONE out.  I doubt we saw 12 cars in the last hour.  Between the snow and it being one o’clock in the morning most people were at home snug in their beds.  I was very impressed to see snow trucks however.  The joke around town is that we only have one snow plow for all the almost 2 million people who live in Hampton Roads.  We just don’t get snow often enough to justify the cost.  I guess we borrowed them from other places because they were everywhere already cleaning up the roads.

Bridge Tunnel 2 Edited

In this picture you can see the snow plows coming toward us.

We finally got home about 1:30 in the morning.  I had e-mailed and cancelled with the radio station so I didn’t have to set my alarm.  I figured no one was going to be heading to the store for the next few days anyway.

Now whenever I see Matt’s Pruis I think of the Polish Mafia, chop shops and The State of the Union.  And what an INCREDIBLE friend I am.

And that he owes me BIG.

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It is important to note that this blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorships, paid insertions, or other forms of compensation. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. All opinions stated in this blog belong to its author and no one else. I will only endorse products, companies, and services that I have found worthy of my time and opinion. A Frugal Chick is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to www.amazon.com.


The Journey To Delaware (Part I)

by Laura on March 6, 2014

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Sometimes when someone asks a favor, you just KNOW there is going to be a story at the end. No matter how many scenarios have been imagined it is inevitable that SOMETHING will go wrong.  This story is about one such favor.

One Sunday night, I got a phone call from my friend Matt.  After two months of searching for the best deal on a Toyota Prius, he won a car on Ebay from a seller in Wilmington, Delaware. It would still be a few days until he could pick it up but I was happy for him because I knew this decision was stressing him out.

Fast forward to the following Monday afternoon. I am at home trying to get some blog posts scheduled so I can go out with friends that evening. On my screen, I see the familiar chat box pop up with an excited message from Matt.

“My car is ready!  I am going to leave tomorrow morning to go get it. I am thinking like 4 or 5 a.m. Do you want to go?”

Uh no.  Of course I don’t.  On Tuesdays I have Food Lion deals to do and other grocery stores to post.  And then first thing Wednesday morning, I have radio to do.

And did I mention that this was the Monday afternoon before a snowstorm that was predicted to hit Tuesday night with a predicted snowfall up to 12 inches?

I shared my reasons with him and then abandoned the computer to get ready to go out.  I had plans that night and was excited about dressing up and staying out a bit later than normal.  When I came back over to the computer (looking SUPER cute BTW) there was a laundry list of reasons WHY he needed me to go. None of which were terribly convincing, so I told him I was sorry, closed out the window and left.

I had not been in the car 15 minutes when my phone rang – it was Matt. After much begging, pleading and promises of chocolates, I agreed to go. He swore we would be home before the snow hit. He swore it would be a nice, easy drive. He swore nothing would go wrong and we would have fun.

I KNEW this was going to be a bad idea.  And I should start a new career as a psychic because I was right.  So we met at his house at 8:30 in the morning, loaded up the rental car and hit the road for Wilmington, DE.

I have to admit, the ride up to Delaware was pretty uneventful. Almost pleasant. I marveled at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and our ability to drive underwater. We listened to podcasts and I took a much needed nap after a late night working so I could be off the computer all day long.

The man who was selling Matt the car agreed to meet us at a Dunkin Donuts.  When we walked in, he looked like he belonged in a Russian version of “The Godfather”. He had that non-descript European accent that you can’t quite place but you feel like you should be able to. He looked nothing like a used car salesman, and everything like he would make me “an offer I couldn’t refuse.” I figured he couldn’t actually kill us at a Dunkin Donuts in Delaware, so we were probably safe.

He brought a guy in his 40s who spoke English- clearly raised in the States. My original thought was they were Father and Son but they were employer and employee. It turns out this was John, the guy that Matt had been speaking to on the phone about the car. He had gone to college 20 years ago in our town so he had some knowledge of the area and was perfectly nice.

Once we shook hands and introduced ourselves John, Matt and I went out to look at the car. The Godfather decided to stay inside where it was warm. Now mind you it is 10 degrees outside, so my goal once we get outside is to get inside SOMETHING as soon as possible. Whether it’s a coffee shop, a vehicle or a heated bathroom, I did not care. I did not want to be outside. It’s was COLD.

When we get out to the car, Matt naturally wants to look at it- in great detail. Every scratch, every bump and every panel has to be examined. All I want him to do is hit the dang button so I can get inside the car. After what feels like 13 years, he finally hits the key fob and I hear the comforting click of the doors unlocking. I dive into the back seat, shaking what I am sure are icicles off of my nose. People who live at the beach are not meant for this weather.

The back seat is covered in black dog hair. I look above my head to find even MORE black dog hair. I look down at the armrest on my right and my elbow is sitting in a small spot of mud.  As they get in the front seats, John spills his drink on the armrest in the middle.

“Man I just had this cleaned yesterday. I can’t believe I spilled something in it.”

“SURE you did,” I thought. But instead of the sarcasm I asked:  “How long have you had the car?”

“About a month – it’s a great car.”

“So what kind of dog do you have?”

“I don’t have a dog. The girl who owned it did.”

“Well the back seat is covered in dog hair.”  I just let that hang out there for a minute.

I made eye contact with Matt. My eyes said, “This guy didn’t clean the car- he just lied. Be careful.” Matt looked back at me knowingly and started the car.

We drove that thing all through these tiny Delaware neighborhoods. Matt slammed on the brakes, started and restarted it, pressed every button, tested the speakers, used the cruise control, made the computer jump through hoops and anything else it could possibly do. Finally after 20 minutes he declared he had seen all he needed to and we returned to Dunkin Donuts.

Back inside (IN THE WARMTH) we walked over to the Godfather. “So what did you think?” he asked.  Matt, John and the Godfather went off to do car talk.  I discovered the free Wi-Fi and excitedly got my laptop out of the rental car so I could work.

Once money exchanged hands we were ready to hit the road.  I really wanted to get home before the snow.  Matt threw me the keys to his new Prius. Since I wasn’t on the rental car lease I was going to have to drive the Prius to the train station. At that point we would return the rental car and then Matt could play with his new toy all the way home.

I was thrilled to be the first person to drive his new car. I had big plans to set the radio buttons on the stations I liked AND run the heat at full blast.

I grabbed my ID and my purse out of the rental and jumped in the Prius.

I pushed the start button.

NOTHING.

And the check engine light came on.

CRAP.

Tune in Saturday for “The Journey to Delaware (Part II).”

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It is important to note that this blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorships, paid insertions, or other forms of compensation. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. All opinions stated in this blog belong to its author and no one else. I will only endorse products, companies, and services that I have found worthy of my time and opinion. A Frugal Chick is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to www.amazon.com.


Winter vs Spring Story

by Laura on March 3, 2014

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Winter vs Spring Story

Roots are important.

Did you know that scientists are not 100% sure what happens to tree roots in the winter?  Roots are a challenge to study any time because they are underground, in the dark and can grow through so many hard to breach substances.  Add in snow and frozen earth and you have a nearly impenetrable surface between you and your desired information.

Scientists have adapted of course.  They have grown trees in clear containers, painstakingly excavated in less than ideal circumstances and taken advantage of modern technology to get a glimpse of life underground.  And while they don’t all agree on what exactly happens during the winter they do seem to be in agreement about one thing- winter is extremely important for strong roots in many trees. The period where the roots are resting but ready to work is called “winter quiescence.”  It allows the trees expand their roots systems to search for new sources of nutrients and water (source).

I think human beings have roots too.  As I watch my sister and brother-in-law do an amazing job raising my niece and nephew I am seeing some roots take place. I hear “please” and “thank you.”  I see kids who share (most of the time) and know how to take turns.  I see their love of physical activity and some fruits and vegetables.  These things will serve them later in life.  They are developing strong roots about who their family is, learning who they are and shaping who they will be.

As an adult my roots have already found many sources I use for nutrients in my life. Some are good and some not so good.  I have had roots that went to rotten sources that ruined both my physical and emotional well being.  But I have also had roots that dug deep into veins of love, faith, music and beauty.  As I mature I try to starve those rotten roots until they whither and die while strengthening those good sources, which in turn will help me strengthen others.

In 4th grade we had to memorize Psalms 1 and it is still one of my favorite passages committed to memory.  Verses 2 and 3 have always stuck out to me:

“(Blessed is the man) whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.  That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither….”

When I am having a Winter season in my life there is nothing that feels good.  The hard earth is not welcoming, the dull sunshine is not warming and the ice is not soothing.  Everything seems so still in the winter- dead on the surface.  But there is movement.  Underground in the dark, beneath all that snow my roots are getting deeper and deeper.  Preparing me for spring.  So that when that hurricane comes my roots with be strong.  So that when the heat of a summer sun scorches me I will have good resources to keep me cool. So that I can grow into a tall beautiful tree for the enjoyment of others and myself.

So if you are in a season of winter right now hang on.  Turn it into a “winter quiescence.”  Dig deep and find those sources that build you up.  Spring is on the way.

I know this post is a bit unusual for me.  I have joined a writer’s group in an effort to be a better blogger.  This was our first assignment.   I wanted to share with you some of the other writers and the posts they wrote on the same subject.  While I have read all of their posts remember they are theirs- I don’t necessarily agree with everything they say or express.  Just like some of them won’t with me.  We are just growing together.

On Winter and Spring by Dana Brown Ritter

Winter Blues by Brayden Emerick

The Endless Winter by Stacey Michalak 

The Spring of My Content by Stephanie Cooke

Seasons of Weight by Lauren

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It is important to note that this blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorships, paid insertions, or other forms of compensation. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. All opinions stated in this blog belong to its author and no one else. I will only endorse products, companies, and services that I have found worthy of my time and opinion. A Frugal Chick is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to www.amazon.com.


How to Make Easy Christmas Decorations

by Christine Platz on January 13, 2014

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How To Make Easy Christmas Decorations

Here are some really fun, easy Christmas decorations for you to try! Whether you are looking to make a holiday wreath, ornament, or design something new with the kids, you will find it in this holiday round up.

How To Make Easy Christmas Decorations

Cork Reindeer

 PomPomXmasGarland

Pom Pom Christmas Garland

 XmasCenterpieces

Cranberry Centerpiece

santa-votives

Santa Votives

XmasAdventCalendar

Christmas Advent Calendar

10-minute-ribbon-wreath

Ribbon Wreath

pinecones-holiday-decorating-with-kids

Easy Hand-Dipped Pinecones

Decorative ChrstimasTree

Decorative Christmas Tree

 XmasStockings

Christmas Stocking (made from sweaters)!

MM_Reindeer_spoons

Reindeer Spoons – craft for the kids.

wreath-sideways-e1349307988604

Bonus: How to Make Rag Wreaths- good for any season!

 

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It is important to note that this blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorships, paid insertions, or other forms of compensation. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. All opinions stated in this blog belong to its author and no one else. I will only endorse products, companies, and services that I have found worthy of my time and opinion. A Frugal Chick is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to www.amazon.com.


Coupon Binder Categories

by Laura on January 11, 2014

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Coupon Binder Categories can help you figure out how to maximize your Coupon Binder!  Below I have listed the ones I used when I clipped my coupons (I organize them a different way now).

Ideally you will adjust these categories to fit your family’s normal purchases.

Here are some master coupon categories, and subcategories, to help you organize your coupons if you clip them. Using these categories to help you file your coupons can keep you from getting overwhelmed and more easily put your fingers on the coupon you need, when you need it.

I do have a few pieces of advice for your binder:

1- Get a binder that zips- that way things won’t fall out if you drop it. You can check out the selection on Amazon.

2- Most people who clip individual coupons use baseball card dividers as the organization tool.  If you can’t find them at your local Target or Walmart type store check local comic book or sports memorabilia stores. You can check out the selection on Amazon.

I am not a fan of having a huge binder so when I had a coupon binder divided this way these were the categories I had just the main ones.  However you can absolutely set up pages for the subcategories as well:

Baby Items (Baby food, Diapers, Formula, Medical, Washes / Shampoo, Wipes, Other)

Beverages (Soda, Coffee Tea, Juice, Powdered Mixes, Water)

Canned Items (Soup, Broth, Vegetables, Fruit, Beans, Tomatoes, Meat)

Cleaning Supplies/Laundry

Frozen

Grocery

Health and Beauty (Toothpaste, Razors, Make Up, Shampoo, Toothbrushes, Perfume)

Household (Light bulbs, Batteries, Aluminum Foil, Office Supplies, Trash Bags, Storage Containers)

Meats (Lunch Meat, Bacon, BBQ,

Paper Products

Pet Supplies

Produce

Refrigerated (Yogurt, Milk, Cheese, Eggs, Cream Cheese, Cheese, Sour Cream, Biscuits, Croissants)

Snacks

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It is important to note that this blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorships, paid insertions, or other forms of compensation. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. All opinions stated in this blog belong to its author and no one else. I will only endorse products, companies, and services that I have found worthy of my time and opinion. A Frugal Chick is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to www.amazon.com.


Merry Christmas To A Frugal Chick Readers

by Laura December 25, 2013 Simple Steps
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Merry Christmas to you all!

I am so thankful for each and every one of you and how  you have blessed my life in 2013.

I hope you all have restful days (for some of you with little ones I know that is hard) and take time to reflect on the true meaning of the season!

 

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Glitter Pumpkins For Halloween

by Laura October 17, 2013 Simple Steps
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Don’t feel like dealing with pumpkin guts?  This is a MUCH easier option (though not really less messy) to decorate your pumpkin!

These would be really cute to use for decorations around the house!

Supplies Needed

Pumpkins
Favorite paint colors
Paint Brushes
Water (for rinsing brushes)
Glitter! (I LOVE Glitter)

Directions:

1- Depending on the weather you may want to [...]

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Home Carpeting Made Easy

by Laura September 25, 2013 Simple Steps

Home carpeting made easy

There’s nothing like wall-to-wall carpeting for the coziest comfort in the autumn and winter. It reminds you that the small day-to-day luxuries are the most important every time you put your feet down on that soft pile when you get out of bed each morning.

Comfort is a high priority when selecting a [...]

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Date Night On A Dime- 10 Date Ideas That Won’t Break The Bank

by Laura September 9, 2013 Simple Steps
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Check out my Pinterest Board for Date Night On A Dime!

The ideas of dating and being frugal can sometimes seem contradictory- especially when you are at the beginning of a potential new relationship.  If you are trying to impress the other person, you might think [...]

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