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Archive for the ‘Steward of Finance’ Category

I have discovered a secret!

Most companies are interested in ensuring customer satisfaction even after the sale is complete! If you have products that are broken, or need parts, try contacting them! Often they will repair or replace for little or no cost! It is a Finer Thing when companies still stand behind their products!

I purchased a wonderful bible organizer and cover in pink a couple years ago. I love this set. On Sundays it houses my wallet, tissues, notebook, bible and anything else I need it too. And it’s pink! I love pink! Anyway, the other day one of the handles broke on it. I was crest-fallen. I emailed Zondervan and they responded shortly after. They confirmed the type of case it was and mailed me out a new one no charge. I had it within a week! I was over the moon about it. Zondervan is a company that really stands behind it’s products! My likelihood of purchasing their products in the future just increased  because my opinion of their company just dramatically rose!

book case

I have a Graco car seat and it had a tear in it under the edge at the top. I actually think that many of them tear due to the design and the sharp edge at the top. Anyway, I contacted Graco and explained the situation and they replaced it for me.

Chloe received TJ Bear for her 1st birthday from her grandparents. He’s a bear that “reads” to you and Chloe loves him. He stopped working just before her second birthday. I contacted Hasbro but unfortunately they don’t make him anymore however they were kind enough to send me out a free item of equivalent value. (And my dad was able to fix TJ bear anyway. No, I am not going to tell you what was wrong with it because then you would all wonder why I wasn’t smart enough to try changing the batteries. LOL)

bear

I have several other letter writing success stories and my sister also has many success stories that she could share about the great customer service that some companies provide. Before you give up on something, contact the company!

Related Posts: Get Results with your Letter!

 

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Today I want to share with you something that I feel has really helped me to get (somewhat) organized. My GraceWorks Planner!

A year+/- ago my E-friend Crystal of BiblicalWomanhood did a few posts on the importance of a planner. It was through her site that I discovered GraceWorks. I was so excited to find a company that designed planners for stay-at-home mommies and not just for women who were out in the ‘official’ workforce. The other important feature for me is that it is designed to keep your focus where it should be – on the Lord.

I excitedly ordered their Beautiful Life Management System (and far too many other things) and waited for my package to arrive.

My new BLMS package arrived with a basic binder, the pages, tabs, a package of tea and some tapes by creator, Jennifer Lamp Neef, who walks you through how to set up your planner and some practical ideas for starting. The whole package is 39.95usd and is a little pricey but it contains everything that you will need as well as a coupon for a free refill of your daily pages.

Over the next few days (or week depending on how my days are), we’ll dig a little deeper and I’ll walk through a little more about planners and what I use them for. (I have two : my home planner and then my menu/shopping list/coupon planner)

When we have completed our planner topic – we’ll have a great giveaway so be sure to follow along!

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Some Good Reasons to Use Mini Loaf Pans for Desserts:

  • I get 6-10 Mini Loaf Desserts from a Recipe
  • I don’t know about your house but at mine, we can eat a pan of brownies or whatever just because I baked it and it is there. By doing small loaves, we eat one or two and the rest go into the freezer.
  • or I can send a loaf to my parents or grandparents who live in the neighborhood.
  • It seems to make my baking go further
  • They are the perfect size to thaw fast (for unexpected company or the church fellowship you forgot about) rather than racing to the store to buy prepackaged which would cost more.
  • You can thaw out a couple different loaves so you have a good selection to compile a lovely dessert platter (see photo)
  • They slice up frozen because they’re just the right size
  • They loaves are just cute!

I always used foil mini loaf pans from the dollar store and they worked well. However, at the suggestion of my good friend and Epicure Consultant, Carmen Locke, I bought the Epicure Silicone Mini Loaf Pans. She said they were great but she was wrong…they are awesome. They are easy to use, just the right size, no sticking issues while trying to get your baking out and of course they wash SO easily. If you want to purchase a set of these, they are affordable. Let me know and I will provide her contact information.

I have a couple recipes that are my favorites for using the mini loaf pan for. Over the next couple weeks I will share them with you. They are recipes that freeze well without changing texture too much and taste fresh when thawed. And of course they are absolutely delicious. They include Banana Bread, Frugal Carrot Cake, Orange Pound Cake and Brownies, just to name a few…so be sure to check back!

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We were at the store the other day and I saw a deal I couldn’t pass up. For some, maybe it wasn’t a great deal but to me it was! I purchased 10 pounds of carrots for $2.99. Now what to do with them?!?

We had some with our dinners all week but my dh isn’t that crazy about cooked carrots. I peeled a bunch and made carrot sticks ready for snacking but my two year old doesn’t seem that interested 😦

Now what?

Ina Garten (a.k.a. Barefoot Contessa”) has a fabulous recipe in her cookbook for carrot cake cupcakes. Here is my adapted version. It is SO good! DH loves it!!!

Yummy! Carrot Cake Mini Loaves
Makes 6-8 mini loaves

1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 1/3 cups of oil (olive, vegetable or whatever you have)
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups of flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
18 oz grated carrots
1 1/4 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line the bottom of your loaf pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray.
Beat the sugar, oil and eggs together in a bowl until light yellow. Add vanilla.
In another bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and then add the raisins, nuts and carrots.
Fill your mini loaf pan about 3/4 way full.
Bake for 10 minutes at 400 then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for another 35 +/- minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean.

You can frost these with a basic cream cheese frosting but my husband prefers it plain. If you do not frost it, it’s a delicious and frugal loaf to make if you get a greal deal on carrots!

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Note added Thursday February 19th:
Last night my family and I took advantage of this deal. We went to our local Swiss Chalet as a treat out with the money I earned from cupcake sales this week. My husband and I both ordered entrees, however he ordered a smaller meal than he would usually eat since we were getting a free kids meal with each entree and John is only 6 months so he didn’t really eat his. John did nibble on a fry but daddy ate the bulk of his meal. John also got a Shirley Temple with his meal so mommy took care of that for him! Chloe had a quarter chicken dinner with a Zoo Juice. Quite generous! To complete the meal they were also given little treat bags which included some coupons, two magazines (a Lego catalogue and another magazine that I wouldn’t recommend) along with treats (crispy minis, craisins, lypsol, bubble gum, goldfish and a mini Lindt chocolate bar). It really was quite a loot bag. We were also given a coupon book good through March and April.
Our meal came to $20.25 (chicken wrap & fries plus 3 quarter chicken meals and 3 drinks) so I’d like to say “Thank you Swiss Chalet!”

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Just because Valentine’s Day is viewed by some as silly and commercial doesn’t mean that you can claim you don’t “do” it and feel that you are some how exempt because you display your love all year long in practical ways. Valentine’s Day does exist. Why don’t you try something different: don’t think of it as giving your spouse a Valentine’s Day Gift and being part of the commercialism – think of it as giving them a Valentine’s Day Blessing! It doesn’t have to cost money…but it needs to show you care!

For some, like myself, when I hear Valentine’s Day I think CHOCOLATE. If I am honest, I do have a chocolate addiction that I probably need to deal with…but now is not the time 🙂

So I have been thinking of how I can bless my husband without spending a cent. I decided to give him Ironed Shirts for a year (some restrictions apply!). While to some this sounds a bit funny, and to others it may sound appalling; for him it will be the Ultimate gift!

He wears a collared shirt every day including Saturdays. He wears a dress shirt on Sundays. All of these shirts he has ironed himself up until now (gasp!) every morning before he wears them. I know that some wonderful women iron their husbands shirts already but not me. I couldn’t even iron (sucessfully) until recently. And I didn’t really have a desire to learn. But in doing some thinking about how I could bless my husband – this idea came to me**.

Now since I have two and sometimes three little ones about – there will be some exceptions however I am going to try my hardest to get some shirts ironed each week for him.

Did I mention that I know it would be easier to go purchase some Butter Crunch from Laura Secord? But giving a gift isn’t all about easy. I know that this is something that he will truly appriciate and it will last a lot longer.

I was thinking that a gift this size should also count as his anniversary, Easter and all other occassion gift too 🙂 Haha!

So if you haven’t already – try thinking of ways to surprise and bless your spouse on this silly commercial holiday.
You’ll receive a blessing too – by being one!

If you need some ideas – google for some. Or you can head over to http://biblicalwomanhoodblog.blogspot.com/2009/02/frugal-friday-frugal-valentines-day.html because she has a few links posted for free cards etc.
**It actually came to me for his birthday in January when I ironed all the shirts in his closet. Since he appriciated it so much and it made his mornings so much easier – I decided to continue it and have that be his Valentine’s Day Blessing.

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For those of you who don’t know – Cloth diapering no longer has to include pins, folding and everything that it used to entail. They have come up with many new diapers – most of which fasten in some way with velcro. It is now easier than ever to use cloth.

Now, admittedly it is more of an investment at the onset however if you are commited and follow through – the savings certainly are great! it doesn’t have to be an either/or situation. You can have the best of both worlds here AND save money.
With my daughter (my first born), I had all sorts of grand notions of using cloth diapers exclusively. We invested in Kushies cloth diapers. We purchased them at the Kushies Outlet (555 Barton Street, Stoney Creek, ON L8E 5S1 Phone 905 643-9118 ) and they were really inexpensive. We used them off and on however I found that they were bulky and when she wet – she had the wet cotton sitting on her skin until I changed her. They were a great introduction to cloth diapering, but for us – it wasn’t a great success. I think it was partially due to the diaper but a lot to do with the fact that when it was just Chloe and I – we were out a lot visiting and I wasn’t really that committed.
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My son was born in August and I decided to give cloth diapers a try again. I recouped the money we spend on the Kushies by selling them on Kijiji and invested that in the BumGenius 3.0 diapers which I purchased from Mom and Baby Boutique. They have a wonderful retail store in Brantford or you can purchase them online. The diapers are pricey and a substantial investment so I only purchased 2 to try them out. They worked wonderfully so I purchased more! So far, cloth diapering with John has been a great success and I attribute a great deal of that to the fact that we are at home most of the time! If we do go out, I still use disposables but that amounts to only a few diapers a week versus a package+/- a week!!
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About the bumGenius 3.0 Diapers:
It is a ONE SIZE diaper (10 lbs +/- up to 35 lbs)
It has snaps on the front which make adjusting the size a *snap*

(haha!) and has a soft outer shell which is still waterproof. The thing I like best is the terrycloth insert which seems to wick the wetness away and into the center so it isn’t sitting next to baby’s skin. It comes with two inserts, a baby and a toddler however you can use both together in the diaper if you have a heavy wetter. You can wash them in hot water and dry them in the dryer. It has some bulk to it but what diaper doesn’t? John is wearing these however My daughter wore one to bed the other night and it fit her great and was absorbant enough for her. She just turned 2 and yes, she still goes to bed with a cup. So I believe that these are a great investment and I wish that we had used these with Chloe. I am sure that our cloth diapering would have been more of a success with her!

Bummi’s Trainers:

They also make a training pant which isn’t too bulky, has a comfortable, covered elastic waist & leg holes and is waterproof. Chloe is doing super with potty training however there are still occassional accidents – especially when she gets busy with something. These are the perfect solution. We use disposables when we go out since they are much more absorbent however at home – these are all we use. We tried a few others and these are the best! They are a real money saver since pullups cost more than diapers!

So if you are committed, spend most of your days at home and are able to invest a little up front – cloth diapering will pay for itself in savings quite quickly. If the initial investment is too much, try looking for an outlet in your area or if you have something like Kijiji or Craigslist perhaps you can get a deal there.
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I recommend giving cloth diapering a try!

My Sweet John-John in his BumGenius3.0

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