The Journey To Delaware (Part I)

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.

Ready for more?  Read 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

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

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

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

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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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.


Glitter Pumpkins For Halloween


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 head outside.  This can be messy!
2- Paint each section of the pumpkin a different color and then shake the coordinating glitter color on top before it drys!
3- Rinse paint brush and repeat until fully covered
4- Give time to dry

That’s all it takes.  You can use themed colors if you would like (sports teams colors, fall colors, favorite colors).  Whatever you think would be pretty!

A big thank you to my friend Brandy who did this with her kids and took these great pictures!

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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.


Home Carpeting Made Easy

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 carpet but so is expressing your individuality. Do you go dark or light? Bright or neutral? Rich or pastel?

The choice is yours and will depend on the room size and other interior design aspects. Luckily, the Concord Berber Carpet Collection offers a delightful selection of colours to choose from.

Colour palette

Just the names of the Concord Berber Collection make your design taste buds water. How do mocha, cream and anthracite sound to you for starters?

One of the chief features of the collection is the carpets are each composed of two shades of one colour and so tightly woven that the effect is one, gentle uniform hue. However, the subtle combination of two shades expands the options for mixing and matching in colour schemes. A dark curtain or blind will go with the carpet just as well as one of a lighter colour.

Which room?

Choosing a colour scheme depends on each room. Generally, you can be as indulgent as you like in your bedroom as this is your sanctuary where you recharge.

Rooms and areas with high traffic, like the lounge or hallway, are usually better-suited to darker colours as the wear and tear they naturally endure is not so visible then. There is a misconception that the bathroom is not suitable for a carpet but there are plenty of great options if you know what you’re looking for.

The Concord Berber Carpet Collection is durable enough to withstand the bathroom environment and during the winter it is a welcome floor covering for extra warmth and comfort. Of course, all of the above are nothing more than guidelines. If you fancy carpeting your entire home in ivory then the collection can happily oblige!

Carpet care

The way the carpets in the collection are composed enables straightforward care. One reason for this is that the special design of the pile prevents spillages from seeping too deep into the carpet, thus helping to prevent stains.

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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.


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

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 being extravagant is the only way to go.  And while a nice dinner out can be a very romantic evening, other options certainly exist to show not only that you care but that you can be creative as well!

Here are some great frugal dates you can go on without breaking the bank:

Pack a Picnic- Dazzle Them With Your Cooking Skills (Or Entertain Them With Your Lack) and be sure to use coupons when you buy the ingredients!

Volunteer Together- Serve Together at a Food Pantry or Animal Shelter.  It’s a great chance to give back to the community and have a good time.

Take a Hike- Check Out Your Local Parks and Trails for Hiking and Bike Riding.  Or enjoy a walk on the beach.

Potluck Meal- Invite Some Friends Over and Have a Potluck Double (Or Triple) Date

Visit Local Sites- For many people the only time they visit nearby historic landmarks is when guests come to town.  Why not check them out on your own?

Pick-A-Little- Head to your local farm and pick some fresh produce.  Once you have picked all the fruit you can carry spend some time in the kitchen making creative recipes.

Learn a New Skill- Always wanted to know how to juggle?  Watch videos on-line and take some time to learn together!

Check Out Colleges- College students aren’t the only people looking for entertainment on a budget!  Check for college sporting events. music recitals, arts presentations and plays.  Generally they will be at discounted rates.

Visit The Zoo- Zoo tickets are generally pretty inexpensive and it can be a great day of hanging out with the animals.  Some zoos also have special events at a discount where you might see a family friendly movie!

Wine Anyone?- Many breweries and vineyards will have free tours and wine tastings.  You might even find a vintage you like for a later date where the budget is a bit 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.


Want to Live Better? Try the Best Buy Jawbone Up

We all look for ways to eat better, get more exercise and try to go to bed at a decent time. I’ll admit, it’s not always easy. Simply balancing work and home can be a challenge, even for all the Type A personalities out there (including me).

I found a fun new way to track your sleep activity, steps, calorie intake and more, and it requires minimal effort.  With the Jawbone UP wrist sensor and free mobile app, you can see how many steps you’ve taken in a day, record your food and even monitor your sleep patterns. I polled some of my Facebook friends and found many people have the Jawbone UP and love it (and now I see why). The UP gives you meaningful, personalized insights so you can make lasting improvements to your everyday life. Even use it to efficiently monitor your workout.

The coolest part? I discovered the UP is also water-resistant, so you can wear it in the shower, out running, to yoga, to the pool, make dinner, do the dishes, put the kids to bed, and it still keeps working.  The battery has a 10-day life span so you rarely have to re-charge it. Simply sync the wristband up with your smartphone and download the app (there is a little cap that pops off the end and can easily be inserted into the side of your phone).

Jawbone2

The app displays your data, lets you add things like meals and mood, and delivers insights that keep you moving forward. The wristband tracks your movement and sleep in the background. Each day, you can see if you got enough sleep, how many steps you walked, and more. They even show you the average you should be achieving each day, so you know when you need to improve and when you’ve hit your goals.

The UP is a system that takes a holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle, and I think it would be great for avid runners, athletes, and those wanting to simply live better and gain a little insight into their everyday lives. Start walking with your friends at lunch at work, or begin to think of small steps you can take to live a healthier lifestyle, literally.  And let Jawbone track your progress.

Live Better. Start Now. Jawbone UP·

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

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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.


An Egg Lost It’s Life Last Night

I consider myself a pretty aware cat owner.

Bella and I have lived together for over 10 years and I have learned all of her little quirks.  I realize that under my couch and washing machine there are probably two dozen ink pens.  She will chase the red dot from a laser pointer around my living room for hours.  Cat nip makes her go insane.  She prefers water flowing from a faucet over water in her bowl.

But last night I had an apparent lapse in memory and it cost an egg it’s life.

Yesterday afternoon I hard boiled some eggs on the stove top to decorate for Easter (yes I am in my thirties and I still love decorating Easter eggs).  They sat in the water until I went to bed last night when I put a dish cloth on the counter and laid them all out to dry.

I don’t know WHY it didn’t occur to me that 12 small, round movable objects were just going to be too much for her cat brain to resist.   Looking back at those perfectly shaped eggs they SHOULD have just seemed like 12 perfect cat toys.

But alas when I awoke this morning I found one in the middle of the kitchen floor- it’s perfectly dye able shell now cracked into a million pieces.

And I was surprised.

I supposed it’s nice that after 12 years my little furry friend can surprise me.  Keeps the “romance” alive.

But it also means when I decorate eggs today I will only have 11.

Rest In Peace little egg that I had with salt for breakfast this morning.

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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.