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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Nutella Party sponsored by MommyParties!

I was recently given the opportunity to host a Nutella Party.  I already love this stuff, even before this opportunity.  I was very excited to host this party.

My box arrived, stuffed full of wonderful goodies for myself and my guests.  They included recipe cards, Nutella samples for guests and a giant jar for myself, Nutella spreaders, Nutella branded travel mugs, coupons and more.

My favorite way to enjoy Nutella is with salty pretzels!  I LOVE to dip them in Nutella, it's sooo yummy!  I tried a different way for this post as I recently joined Weight Watchers.  YIKES!!!  I love Nutella but this is NOT the kind of think you want to be eating on WW!  I made an exception for the purposes of writing a review.  I spread my Nutella on low fat whole grain Thomas' English Muffins and topped with sliced strawberries.  It was sooo good but definitely needed the berries so it wasn't too sweet.

My boys also all love Nutella on their toast in the morning.  I think this weekend I may just whip up some crepes for them and fill them with assorted fruit and Nutella for a nice treat.

This is a great "sometimes" food, not an "all the time" food, only because it is so high in fat and calories at 11g of fat and 200 cal per 2 TBSP.  It also has 3.5g of saturated fat per serving.  As they say, Nutella is great as part of a healthy well balanced diet.


*I was provided with a box of samples and other party items in exchange for my blog post.  All opinions above are my own.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Smuckers Stars on Ice ticket Giveaway (Momma D and Da Boyz)

My friend Jenn over at Momma D and Da Boyz is giving away a 4 pack of tickets to see Smuckers Stars on Ice at the Broome County Arena in Binghamton, NY.  I've entered, though I rarely win anything, and you can too if you're within driving distance of Binghamton.  Head on over and check it out!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

CSN Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Sheila!  You have won a $55.00 CSN Stores coupon code to use as you wish!  Have fun shopping!

CSN Stores will be contacting you shortly with your code information.

Thanks to all who participated!




Disclaimer

A $55.00 coupon code will be provided to the winner of the giveaway in exchange for my post. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

CSN Stores Giveaway! $55 coupon code!

As a preferred blogger with CSN Stores, I'm given the opportunity to do reviews and giveaways every 60 days.  This month, I'm excited to offer a $55.00 coupon code to one lucky reader!  Who doesn't love free money?  It's been a while since I last wrote.  Since the last post, we've gotten a new carpet (thanks to a rainstorm and insurance) and painted the living room walls.  Next is new furniture since it's tax return time WooHoo!!  I've also been wanting to get more wall art and decor for well, every room, really.  A great place to find those things is at CSN Stores where there's a great selection and free shipping on tons of items!  They also have a price guarantee!  If you see the exact product at another site for less, follow the links and send your request for the lower price.  Great, right?!

So how do you enter?

Visit CSN Stores and tell me what you'd buy with the code if you win.  This is REQUIRED for any other entries to count!

EXTRA ENTRIES

Follow Surrounded By Boys for 1 extra entry

Blog about this giveaway and post the link in the comments for 2 extra entries (labeled #1 and #2)

Follow me on Twitter @muffinscakes for 1 extra entry

This giveaway will end on 2/28/11 at 9pm (eastern time).  The winner will be chosen via random.org and posted shortly after the giveaway ends.  You will receive an email from CSN stores containing your code for $55.00 off any purchase.  Good luck!





Friday, December 3, 2010

FRUGAL FRIDAY: In the kitchen

I missed Frugal Friday last week because I was busy with cakes.  Today I made sure to set some time aside for some tips.

We waste so much food here in America that it's just a sin.  There are so many ways we could cut back on our waste and save money at the same time.  Winter is a great time to make homemade soups and homemade bread.  With Thanksgiving just last week, what did you all do with your turkey carcass?  And might I just add...what a strange word carcass is!  If you're like myself and my mother-in-law, you put it in a pot, covered it with water and boiled it to make some great homemade turkey stock!  I don't use recipes for my soup, which makes my sister terribly nervous. HA!  I just don't.  So for you recipe lovers, here's a recipe for Day-After-Thanksgiving-Turkey-Carcass-Soup.    You can also use your ham bone (my favorite!) and chicken carcass.  I'm not particularly fond of using beef bones but some love it.  I just don't enjoy the flavor.  Another thing I like to do for stock just enhances your meat stock or if you're vegetarian, it's great veggie stock.  I wash my vegetables before peeling and save peelings and ends of onions (skin and all),  garlic skins, carrot peel and ends, zucchini ends, celery ends and leaves.  The list really is endless.  As I get little bits of scraps, I stuff them into a Ziploc bag and store it in the freezer until I've got enough to make stock!  Brilliant!

Milk on the verge of the expiration date is not something that ever happens in my house.  Some days, we go through an entire gallon...in one day!  My boys are definitely milk drinkers.  Anyhow, don't throw it away!  Make pudding and have dessert.  Better yet, since I'm a cake baker, I save the scraps of cake from leveling and sculpting and such to make trifles.  Cube the cake and freeze for the perfect time.  My entire family loves trifles and they're so simple.  You can find tons of different combos for these desserts but our basic is layers of cake cubes, pudding in any flavor, bananas, cool whip and repeat.  How easy?! 

Banana's go bad very fast.  If you've got a banana or 2 getting a bit too freckled for your taste, they're probably perfect for bread or muffins.  No time to use it right away?  freeze the entire banana, peel and all!  Make sure that you put them in a bowl to thaw because they do give off a lot of liquid and they will be very mushy...but again, perfect for bread!

That's all for now.  Happy cooking and have a great weekend!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Upcoming Review From CSN Stores!

I love being a preferred blogger for CSN Stores.  It allows me to offer giveaways and host product reviews on a monthly basis.  For Christmas this year, my family has decided to fore go the presents and take a trip to Florida to visit family and go to Disney!  We are very excited!  Having 3 boys, something that would come in handy for us is children's luggage .  We usually just pack out things in one large suitcase on wheels and many different bags.  I think the kids would enjoy having luggage of their own.

Visit CSN Stores for all your holiday shopping this season.  They offer free shipping on tons of different items and they have a price guarantee.  If you see any particular item on a different site for less (including shipping), email them using the special link and get a special code for the lower price!  I love that!

Stay tuned for my review.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Frugal Friday! Energy Costs

Well, as promised, I'm trying to get back into my Frugal Friday series.  I'm in the middle of 3 cake orders for tomorrow so today's tips will be short. 

Recently I had NYSERTA come in and do some energy saving things in my home.  This was a free service to us because we received HEAP last year to help pay for our heating bill.  I feel like I basically know what it takes to cut down on my energy bill but they did give me some interesting information as far as putting numbers into the equation.  It costs, on average, .17 per hour to run your electric dryer!  WOW!  With the amount of laundry I do, that adds up very quickly.  I'm guilty of being very lazy in this area.  I do have a clothes line outside but really, I can only use it in the spring and summer.  I have a retractable clothes line in my bedroom but that holds like 1/4 of a load!  I honestly don't have room for those wooden drying racks so other than the dryer, what's a family to do?  I'm thinking of hanging another indoor line and at least hang half of each load.  I also learned that you use more energy using a dryer if you aren't cleaning the lint filter after every use.  Obviously, it runs longer if the lint filter is clogged.

They also changed 16 light bulbs to the super energy efficient compact florescent bulbs.  They produce the same amount of light and use a whopping 75% less energy than a regular bulb.  Over the life of one CFL (compact florescent light bulb) you can save up to $70!  Multiply that times every light bulb in your house and that's a decent amount of money  back in your pocket!

So here are some frightening numbers for you as far as average costs to run different things around your house.  The numbers are based on NY State average electricity cost of .16/Kwh.  Appliances obviously vary so these are ballpark estimates.

42" HDTV:  6 hours per day = $7.01/month
Radio: 6 hours per day = $1.44/month (listen to the radio for that "white noise" instead of the TV!)
Computer: 6 hours per day = $7.82/month
Fish Tanks: $14.03/month
Waterbeds: $16.77/month
Swimming Pool Pump:  12 hours per day = $150.69/month!!  My brochure says we run these much longer than needed and suggests a timer.

Did you know that you can lower your heating bill by 1% for EVERY DEGREE you lower the thermostat for an 8 hour period!  Hello!!  Get some extra blankets and turn that heat down at night!  This is the example given:

Lowering your thermostat from 70 to 68 for a 24 hour period saves 6%
Lowering your thermostat from 68 to 60 when away from home or sleeping for 8 hours saves an additional 16%

These savings add up to 22%  and for every $1000 you use to heat your home, that's a savings of $220!!!  Holy Cow!  I really think I need to be better about this at night!  I freeze all winter long so I'm guilty of not turning it down.  I think I'll change my plan since we're not applying for HEAP this year. 

This one hits home for me as a SAHM with a cake business...on average it costs .17 per hour to run my gas stove!!!  Puts my costs more into perspective and makes me think twice about what I'm charging for cakes!

I've got more info but no time.  I hope some of this info helps you and gives you the desire to change!  Have a great weekend!