How To Make A Rag Wreath

wreath sideways

I have stated many times before on this website, I am not an crafty person.  My art is in the form of music or acting but NOT cute things for around the house.

I really wanted to make a wreath for my front door so I scoured the web looking for easy tutorials.  After a thorough examination I combined information from about 5 sites and came up with my own plan.  My finished product is in the picture above!

This was super easy for us craft challenged people!

How To Make a Rag Wreath

This is Bella guarding the material for me!

Step One: I went to the fabric store and looked through the Halloween fabric that was on sale.  Purple is my favorite color and I was pleased to find that there was a great deal of Halloween material with that color.  I got 2 yards of three different materials (total of 6 yards).  In hindsight 1.5 yards of each material would have been plenty.

Step Two: I got a wreath ring.  You could absolutely just use a wire coat hanger stretched into a circle but I wanted the wreath to be very full.  They did not have this at my fabric store so I had to go to Michael’s.  I also got the “Boo” decoration at Michael’s. Did you know with Michaels you can shop online and have it shipped to your local store FREE?  Check item number M10174333- that is the one I used.

How To Make A Rag Wreath

Step Three: This was the longest part.  You  have to cut the material into strips.  I found numerous websites suggesting different lengths and widths.  After testing some I made the strips one (1) inch wide and eight (8) inches long.  I used a black sharpie to mark the material and then cut it.

Step Four: Once you have a healthy amount of strips cut, you just tie them around the wire.  I tied each of mine twice so they wouldn’t fall off.  Then make sure the material is all sticking the same direction.  It’s hard to get a good picture but the back should look sort of like a knitted blanket- everything tightly together.  Then the extra material is sticking out toward the front.  This way the wreath is as full as it can get.

Step Five: Do this all the way around the wreath.  I pretty much did this project while watching television.  Other than being sure I didn’t cut myself the level of concentration was pretty minimal.

Step Six: Add your “flair.”  I decided to go simple and hang the “Boo” sign in the middle but you could do almost anything.  Some people attached lettering to the actual wreath.  Some added plastic spiders or bats.  Anything goes!  Spend some time browsing online at Michaels and have what you want shipped to the store!

And you are done!  Mine is hanging on my front door and probably will be until I trade it out for my holiday wreath!

Thanks to Crystal from Crystalliora.com for the beautiful pictures!

Think this was simple?  Check out my 5 Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies!

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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.


Voice Lessons in Chesapeake, Virginia

Since 2007 I have been teaching private voice and piano lessons in the Hampton Roads area (between coupon classes of course).  This past year I took a breather and only had one lovely piano student and two lovely voice students who have put up with me trying new teaching material on them.

I am ready to begin teaching again and wanted to be sure my local readers know in case you or your children are interested in voice or piano!  I will only take a few new students and they must be 10 or older.

I teach in the Greenbrier area of Chesapeake or for an additional fee I can come and teach in your home.  My base cost is $20 for a half hour lesson and students are expected to take one lesson a week during the school year (with the exceptions of normal school breaks).

I am also available to do short term lessons if you have an audition coming up or just want a little extra feedback for singing in church or school.

If you are interested contact me and I can send you my qualifications and answer any additional questions you might have!

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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.


I Am An Artist

One day this week I stopped by my sister’s house to bring her lunch.  We both have this BBQ Chicken Salad we love so I was a good big sister and took her one.  I was sitting next to my nephew who was drawing in his notebook (which we got for $.01 at OfficeMax last week.)

He looks up at me, quietly says “I am an artist” and goes back to coloring.

Those words gave me a serious flashback to a seminar a few years ago at a blogger convention (yep we have those).  The speaker opened with something like this:

“How many of you are artists?  Raise your hand.”  I was one of maybe five people who raised our hands.

Then he asked “if this room was full of four and five year old boys and girls, how many of them do you think would raise their hands?”  We laughed collectively, realizing that the answer was probably all of them.

That moment has given me pause several times over the last 24 months.  What is it that happens to our self-esteem as we get older?  When do we become so worried about how other people judge us we quit worrying about being true to ourselves?  When did another person’s success turn US into a failure?

Maybe these aren’t issues you deal with but I do every day.  With my business, my art, my weight and my life.  I am always watching to see how I stack up to others.

My nephew doesn’t look at the work of Picasso, Rembrandt or Asher and think it takes away his ability to be an artist.  They can all be artists together.  In his four year old heart he knows there is limitless potential.

I am currently in rehearsals for a new show and I am so proud of the work I am doing.  The cast is amazing.  The material is stellar.  It’s a more mature show than I typically do and I have welcomed the chance to really develop my acting chops.  For the first time in my acting life I also have some fight scenes.  My poor scene partner has taken a beating as we have figured out every fall, twist and turn (although so far I am the only one who has shed blood- it turns out having someone ALMOST poke your eye out leaves a mark).

Tonight I went to a movie and watched some incredible fight scenes.  Instead of appreciating the skill and flexibility of the actors it just made me feel inadequate about my own work.  It made me wonder if we need to go back and make something more complicated.  Maybe ours isn’t good enough because it isn’t as good as someone who got paid millions of dollars for a movie.

In two minutes pride turns to fear of being inadequate.

I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.  I know most of my readers probably have something inside of them they want to express.  Maybe it’s to sing a song in church.  Maybe it’s that book idea that you are scared to put on paper.  Maybe it’s auditioning for community theater or trying out for a sports team.  Maybe it’s painting or sculpture or sewing.

We don’t create enough.  We exist.  We begin our days with a list of things to get done before going back to bed.

My challenge to you is this: MAKE something.  DO something.  TRY something.  Don’t let potential failure or someone else’s success keep you from an experiment in creativity or risk.

If you fail, you know you tried.

Imagine what could happen if you succeed.

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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.


A Monk, A Vow of Silence and Burning Toast

When I was in graduate school I had the unique opportunity to live with monks for a week in a Mojave Desert Abbey.

I’ll wait while you read that again.

It was an incredible experience and I have many stories but the funniest is the story of the burning toast.

Joshua Tree

The whole abbey was surrounded by Joshua Trees.  I had never seen one except for on a U2 album cover!

At this particular Abbey they have a practice where you spend a good portion of your day in silence.  After the last service of the evening, which I believe was around 9 p.m. there is no more speaking until after breakfast the next morning.  It allows for self-reflection and also a chance to be more aware of what is going on around you.

It also allowed some people in our class to go absolutely mad.  It’s pretty much 12 hours of your day with no talking at all.  No thanking someone when they open a door for you.  No singing in the shower.  No radios or music playing.  They even have someone from the Abbey who goes through in the morning and rings a bell when it’s time to get up (for the first service) so that no one has to use an alarm clock and creates an artificial noise.  Some of my more tech savvy extroverted classmates went bonkers.

Room At The Abbey

This was my little room at the Abbey.  

Honestly I found it very refreshing.  It was easier for me to wind down and go to bed without having a big conversation.  Some components were strange but for the most part I liked it.

The weirdest thing was breakfast.  You couldn’t talk at all during breakfast.  (Actually you didn’t talk during lunch either but that’s another post.)

Think for a moment about what it’s like when you sit at a big long table with lots of people to eat.  Picture a big Thanksgiving.  Generally it’s incredibly noisy- people shouting over each other to be heard, clanging of spoons against bowls and just general noise.  Let’s say that 5 people down from you is Uncle Frank.  And in front of Uncle Frank is the syrup.  If you want it you just yell at Uncle Frank and ask him to pass the syrup.

Now imagine you can’t speak.  But you still want the syrup.  We spent three days figuring out a system.

So the last morning we are at breakfast.  My 20 classmates and I have gotten REALLY good at making eye contact and somehow communicating things like “pass the butter.” (It’s amazing what you can figure out when you can’t talk.)  Each morning there was a cart put out with bread, bagels, butter and jam.  While they served an incredible hot breakfast some people did prefer something simple. Additionally a few of the monks only ate bread and water on certain days and seemed to prefer if they were eating something plain they would like for it to be toasted.

This last morning one of the older monks puts bread in the toaster and walks off.  It has been cooking for about 30 seconds when smoke starts billowing out of the toaster.  It really was ALOT of smoke for two slices of bread.  I open my mouth to shout something and then realize I can’t.  As I was trying to decide if “FIRE” was an acceptable word to shout in a quiet cafeteria the guy sitting across from me (John) sees the same thing. He jumps up, goes over to the toaster, pops the bread up and comes back to his seat.  I smile at him in a “thank you” kind of way and we continue eating our eggs.  In total silence.

After a minute or so the monk comes back to the toaster and is surprised to see his bread has popped up.  Upon examining it he discovers it is not quite toasted yet (I am assuming something lodged INSIDE the toaster was what was actually smoking).  So he pushes the bread back down and walks away again.  30 seconds later smoke begins billowing out again.  John  jumps up, runs over, pops out the toast, blows the smoke away and turns to the look for the monk.  He has totally disappeared so John comes and sits back down.

(By the way this was one of the SLOWEST monks in the abbey.  Yet I swear after he pushed that toast in he RAN out of the room.  It was like he teleported.)

Eventually the monk returns again to the toaster.  As he walks up a look of confusion is all over his face.  John and I are trying so hard not to laugh as he pulls the toast out and stares again at the fact that his bread has popped up and yet it is not toasted.    Finally he seems to accept his fate, takes his slightly warm bread to the table and eats.

John and I never did talk to the monk.  But we shared the story with our classmates as SOON as we could talk!

I believe this story has two morals.  One- you never know when you are being watched.  And two- sometimes when things don’t go the way you think they should it’s for your own protection!

Want to read another story about my adventures?  Check out The Journey To Delaware!

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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.


Build A Dog Bed

Build  A Dog Bed

Grabbing a dog bed at your local pet store can be expensive and honestly, they don’t often last too long.   If your dog is just going to tear something apart you might want to Build A Dog Bed of your own.  Or if you have a unique color or print you like this can give you a chance to create something to blend in with your home.

Build  A Dog Bed

Supplies:

56” x 30” piece of fleece fabric
Sewing Machine*
1-2 large bags of stuffing
Straight pins

Build A Dog Bed

Directions:

Step 1: Lay the fabric out on a flat surface. Fold the fabric in half (with the print on the inside). You should now have a 28”x30” square.

Step 3: Use the straight pins to pin the sides together. This will help keep the fabric from shifting when sewing.

Step 4: Using a ¼” allowance sew the sides of the fabric together leaving a 6”=8” opening on one side.

Step 5: Turn the fabric right side out. Stuff the bed with the stuffing until it’s as full as you like.

Build  A Dog Bed

Step 6: Use the sewing machine to sew the opening closed.

*If you do not have access to has sewing machine you can use seaming tape to adhere the edges together. Simply fold the raw edges in, tape down with the seaming tape and then use a warm iron to secure the edges together.

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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.


I Never Believed It Sucked Out Your Brain

I totally borrowed this picture.  It was too perfect.

Generally speaking I handle stress pretty well.  I was always the kid who did better in school when I was on Student Government, a lead in the school musical and trying to make Dean’s list.  When I was building my business I was actually working three jobs while going to graduate school.  I got SO much done and besides having occasional exhaustion I feel like I handled it pretty well.

I never understood how people couldn’t just juggle 4 or 5 things and stay on top of them.  I always took great pride in my multi-tasking and it came naturally to me.

Until this week.

Tuesday night someone close to me got very sick.  At their request I am not going to give details but it was the kind of illness that could have resulted in the death of someone I love very much.  And they have weeks, if not months of rehab ahead of them.

And all of a sudden my brain is just gone.

It’s been gone for 5 days.

Tasks that I used to be able to do almost without thinking suddenly require great concentration.  I can’t read a book because my mind wanders.  I keep burning things on the stove because I forget I started it (don’t worry- nothing dangerous).   Twice I have left the house while talking on my phone and almost turned around to go back in to grab my phone.  I am washing the same load of laundry for the third time this week because I keep forgetting to put it in the dryer (granted on this front I was also without electricity for almost 24 hours so that contributed.)

I get it now.

I understand how thinking, praying and trying to help someone else can make you forget everything you thought you knew how to do.  My friends have told me when they are pregnant that the baby sucks their brains out and I get it now.

So if I forget to post grocery deals, or you start seeing lots of words misspelled in my posts or the math doesn’t add up on a deal, just drop me a comment.  Odds are it made total sense in my head.

And if you see mistakes use them as a reminder to pray for myself and my family.  The journey ahead is going to be a challenge, yet it is so much less than many of you deal with.  You are in my prayers.

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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.


Navy Retirement Gift

Navy Retirement Gift

I’m from a Navy town and I can tell you, retiring from the Navy is a BIG deal.  Being in the Navy is a hard job with many sacrifices so retiring is an event the entire family can participate in.  Some of my friends have spent as much on their retirement parties as you would a wedding.

Things to display their navy memories (flags, coins etc) are generally purchased by family or co-workers.  So as friends here are some ideas you can check out!

1. Biographies of people with their hobbies: For the first time in a while your sailor may be able to start a new hobby.  If you know what it is maybe find a book from a leader in that field.  Or take a look through Amazon’s Top Selling 100 Books and see if anything might be interesting!

2.  A Leatherman or Multi-Use Tool- This can be a fantastic gift without breaking the bank.

navy retirement gift

3.  A Personalized Wine Bottle: Get a bottle of wine personalized with their name, rank and retirement date.  There are tons of options!

4.  A Nice Dinner Gift Certificate: There is a VERY good chance the sailor’s spouse is owed a night out, or a romantic weekend.  Grab a gift certificate to a nice restaurant or a Bed and Breakfast!

5. Navy Veteran License Plate Frame: I see this ALL around my hometown.  I don’t know if they just GIVE them to you when you retire but they seem to be something most retirees have.  You can also grab them by rank!

Show up with one of these to a retirement party and you should be just fine!

And don’t forget to check out the Police Academy Graduation Gifts!

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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.


Ways To Organize Your Coupons

Ways To Organize Your Coupons

When you are making the decision of how to organize your coupons you have one big decision to make up front- to cut or not to cut.  Some couponers like myself store all of our coupons in the inserts and don’t cut them until we take them to the store.  Others cut their coupons and file them by various methods.

So before we get into those methods we need to decide if you will store by insert or cut.

Step One: There is a very simple test to determine which type of person you are.

Look around you.  In YOUR space (not your family’s space but YOUR space) how organized are you?  Does the idea of cutting coupons and putting them in an order that organizes them make you excited?  Is everything on your desk at a right angle?  Would a crooked picture on a wall make you walk across the room to fix it- even if it isn’t your home?  Is it easier for you to process information if you can see and touch things?  Does the idea of potentially walking by a sale in the store and NOT knowing it’s there make you lay awake at night?

If that is you you need to cut and organize your coupons.  You can skip to Step Two.

Do you think cutting coupons sounds incredibly boring?  Does the idea of all those little pieces of paper being cut make your head spin?  Can you leave your bed unmade and it doesn’t bother you?  Is your organizational style more of “organized chaos”?  Are you a bit more impulsive and like to do things on a whim?

If that is you, you can feel free to organize by insert.  You can skip to Step Four.

[Read more...]

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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.


Earth Day Word Search

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)

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.