"$uper" frugal living. "$aving" money...one idea at a time.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

GIVEAWAY! My Memories Suite FREE software GIVEAWAY!

It's time for another GIVEAWAY here at TESTOSTERONE OVERLOAD (and I expect ALL OF YOU, my readers, OLD FRIENDS and NEW FRIENDS to enter.....OR ELSE!  Even if you aren't sure of YOUR interest, I am sure there is someone on your shopping list who would LOVE to have it!  Just sayin'.)

I'm very excited for this one, A. because it's something creative and pretty (and I deserve pretty things that my children can't break) and B. because it's just so dang AWESOME and EASY to use!

I was recently introduced to My Memories Suite digital scrapbooking software (which BTW, is rated #1 on Amazon.com for digital scrapbooking software).  You can read my review here.  I have really enjoyed fiddling around with it and learning to express my "creative" side (and believe you-me...I needed all the help I could get).

I was able to "throw" together a few things in no time at all (see here) and have found several uses for it already (blog decorating, inexpensive Christmas gifts, etc).  I'm really enjoying delving into this new interest.  It's fun.  And what I like about it the most...it's mess and hassle free.....SO EASY TO USE!

AND I WANT YOU TO HAVE A CHANCE to have it too.  How does that sound?

(check out this Rafflecopter giveaway widget...isn't it cool?)



 This is a sponsored giveaway.  I, Melanie, did receive My Memories Suite software for free, in exchange for this write-up.  However, that being said, the opinions presented here are my own.  No one forced me to like the product and say nice things about it.  (he he he) I do...so I did. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Memories Suite Digital Scrapbooking Software--REVIEW and PROMO CODE (Save $20)

As you may know (or should have guessed by now), I love sharing great things with my friends and family!

And today is no exception.

How many of you are scrapbookers?  Well, I used to be....years ago, until it became too much of a hassle and a mess for me to deal with.  Then I gave up.  My oldest son (who is now 8) has the first year of his life done.  Boy #2 and #3 have one or two pages (ultrasound pictures) and #4 has ZIP, NADA, NOTHING! Poor thing. 

My sister has been trying to sell me on digital scrabooking for years (because she is a fabulous digiscrap designer herself) but I never really took the time to look into it, even though its mess free approach always appealed to me.  It just seemed too complicated and overwhelming.  I couldn't wrap my brain around it.


I was introduced to My Memories Suite scrapbooking software and asked to give it a try.  I'm not gonna lie...I was hesitant at first (because my past experience was not all that positive)...but was wrong to be so.  After downloading the software and taking a few minutes to "look around", I tried my hand at a little project I had wanted to tackle for some time...

You may recognize THIS baby (if you have visited my page Adventures in Frugalness). Yeah...I designed this that very first night (from scratch) using the software and A-Manda Creations SUPER BOY kit from MyMemories.com.

This was my very first attempt at digital scrapbooking EVER!...and I found the My Memores Suite software so VERY EASY TO USE!  Believe me....if I can use it...than ANYONE can.

It didn't take long before I tried my hand (or computer mouse) again.

Wanna see?

This one was put together just last week.  Here Mr. Golden Locks (and Little Red) are enjoying this years first winter snowfall.  I used a ready made template that comes with the software.  I just added the photo and....TA DA!  Isn't that cute? (and did I mention EASY?!?!)

And (if you have visited since Thanksgiving, you may have already seen this one), I put together this tasty treat on the Eve of Thanksgiving.  It's self designed (as in, by me) using paper and embellishments that came with the software. A little plain but hey, I'm a plain kinda girl....one who is just learning to accessorize.  :)
(AND...of course, it was TOTALLY MESS FREE.  (I heart MESS FREE!).)

So there you have it.

I give My Memories Suite v3 an:

 A for Easy

A+ for Adorable

A++ for AFFORDABLE (especially with the $20 savings promo code I am about to give you)!

This would definitely make for an EXCELLENT Christmas gift for that creative person on your shopping list.

Simply go to http://www.mymemories.com/digital_scrapbooking_software, add the software to your shopping cart, and copy and paste my special promo code STMMMS10850 to the promo code box.

Not only will this code give you a $10 discount on the My Memories Suite v3 software (making it only $29.97) but will give you a $10 credit to use at MyMemories.com digital scrapbook store.

That's $20 worth of SAVINGS!


Stay tuned....you, my lucky readers, are going to have the chance to WIN My Memories Suite v3 software (which also includes $10 to use at MyMemories.com scrap store, too!).

Are you excited or what?

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Awesome Shabby Apple Sale!

Shop Shabby Apple  today through November 30th and enjoy 20% off plus Free Shipping on your entire order (offer excludes Side Saddle Line).

Use code GIVETHANKS at checkout.

UPDATE:  FOR TODAY ONLY, BLACK FRIDAY NOVEMBER 25th, SAVE AN ADDITIONAL 5%. That's right...nearly everything in their online store is available for 25% off TODAY ONLY.  Enter code BLACKFRIDAY at checkout.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Super Tasty Refried Beans (without lard)

After cooking up your pinto beans, see How To:  Soak, Cook, Measure, and Store Dry Beans, (or if you are a big cheater and choose to open up a few cans of pinto beans instead), drain, saving some of the cooking (or canned) liquid.

Smash beans, using a fork or masher, until they reach desired texture.  Add cooking liquid (or canned liquid for all you cheaters), a little at a time, and stir until beans reach desired consistency.  (I like mine pretty thick and textured.  Some like them very smooth and somewhat liquified...you decide.)

Now for the good stuff.

Although I think this recipe is really a "to taste" kinda recipe, I have put together a general guideline.

(recipe adapted from Cooking with Food Storage Made Easy by Debbie G. Harman)

Super Tasty Refried Beans

1 1b (2 cups) dry pinto beans, cooked and mashed (3 cups if using canned)
1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp chili powder
3/4 tsp to 1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp salt  (only add to taste if using canned beans)

(My suggestion would be to start with the lower measurement and add to according to taste)

Mix all ingredients...taste for perfection...and enjoy!

My whole family thought they were SOOOOO good!

As evidence (from G-Mcbabe),  "Wow, these LOOK grosser than the store bought beans but they taste WAY BETTER."

Thanks "G"....and they're cheaper too.

I cooked up 3lbs of beans (6 cups) and got nine 1-1/2 cup portions out of them (or the equivalent of about 9 cans) for around $3.00 (and you can absolutely get them for even cheaper...especially if you shop in bulk).  That is about $.33 cents a can.  NOT BAD!  Tell me the last time you got canned refried beans for $.33 cents a can...even with coupons.  I can't.  Which is why I went this route.  

Here I have them portioned out and ready for the freezer.

I hope you like this $$ saving, low fat recipe.  I DO!

(this post contains affiliate links)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Zaycon Foods--Ground Beef Event

It's Here.  Zaycon Foods Ground Beef Event Now open!

Head on over to Zayconfoods.com
to see where and when it will be 
available in your area.
(current beef event available in AZ, CA, ID, NV, OR, UT, and WA)

FRESH 93/7 Super* Lean Ground Beef
only $2.89 lb

 • Fresh, Premium, Fine Grind 93/7 Super* Lean Ground Beef

• Comes in a 40-lb case with four 10-lb chubs per case (approximate weight--see note below)

• No chemicals, additives or water added to meat during processing

• Processed at a USDA-inspected, state-of-the-art plant employing strict operating protocols (including HACCP) and the highest in food-safety standards

• Prior to processing, inspectors from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service randomly sample cattle under a monitoring plan and perform testing for antibiotic residues

* USDA nutrition labeling standards defines "extra lean" and "lean" ground beef based on the lean/fat ratio. While not part of these guidelines, the term "super lean" is often used in the grocery sector to describe ground beef at the upper end of the "lean" category (i.e., "Zaycon Foods 93/7 Super Lean Ground Beef"). This ground beef product is 93% lean and 7% fat

[NOTE:  This product is an approximate weight. Some cases will weigh slightly less than 40 lbs. Customers receiving cases less than 40 lbs will receive an exact credit representing this difference in their ZF account.]

Keep it all to yourself...or split it with a friend.  

Hurry on over and order yours today!

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How To: Get melted crayon out of clothes

First of all...let me say that if you are searching out this topic because you have a similar problem...I am sorry.  Very sorry.

Now...where to begin. 

Well...if you recall, last week I was having a peaceful, stress-less morning until I opened up the dryer and found black crayon melted all over an entire extra large load of laundry (see Help!  I need you....Crayon vs Dryer).  JUST GREAT!

A part of me...a very LARGE part of me...wanted to just condemn the clothing and chuck 'em.  But...unfortunately, the more logical and frugal side of me won out.  I decided to try and clean them.  (Boo!)

It's not like I have all the time and money in the world.  I needed something quick and cheap but also wanted to give you, my readers, a true test of options.  So with that in mind, I tried a few different methods (adapted from Crayola.com this blog, and my own intellect), modifying them as I saw fit, and am here to give you my recommendations/solutions.

 For cleaning the dryer drum-

I put a few rags in the dryer and turned it on for a few minutes to warm the wax back up.  I then sprayed it with Pro-Tek (a non-toxic all purpose cleaner--safe for fabric) and wiped every inch of the drum clean (Crayola.com recommends using WD-40...my opinion...see below).  I then placed a few clean white rags in the drum and ran it again for a few minutes to test for cleanliness.  It worked.  Everything came out clean.  Also recommended...drying a load of dark clothing (if your crayon was dark) before anything else...."just in case".  After the rags I dried a load of old sheets and towels.  Worked for me.  Whatever you do...just make sure the drum in clean.  You don't want MORE crayon in fabric on your hands.  I'm confident that almost any cleaner would work for this step.  At least any cleaner with any sort of degreasing abilities.

For the clothes-
I tried a lot of different cleaners and methods.  Here's what I recommend.

#1 Fill washer tub with HOT water.  Add 1 to 1-1/2 cup(s) "Homemade Laundry Soap" concentrate (or whatever detergent you have on hand) and a capful of Clorox 2.  Add clothes.  Wash on REGULAR (not casual or delicate) for 3-5 minutes to distribute the soap/color safe bleach throughout.  Then stop the washer and let the clothes sit for 20-60 minutes before continuing the wash cycle.  Be sure to use the longest wash cycle your machine has (mine is called Super Plus and runs about 12 minutes long).  Rinse on WARM.

I found that by doing this I was able to eliminate at least 60 % of the stains right away.  Sweet!....the less scrubbing the better, right?

NOTE:  DO NOT PLACE CLOTHING THAT IS STILL STAINED IN THE DRYER TO DRY!!!!!!  Hang them to dry if you are not going to work on them right away.

#2 Let the scrubbing begin.
Honestly...like I said,  I tried a LOT of products. 

First, I tried this... 
Pro-Tek (a non-toxic all purpose cleaner--safe for laundry) and Clorox 2

Stain Devils-for pen and crayon and Clorox 2

My "homemade laundry soap" concentrate and Clorox 2
and...eventually....I did try this...for the sake of research
Crayola.com's suggested  concoction
Wanna know what worked best and was the cheapest?  The "Homemade Laundry Soap" coupled with the Clorox 2.  TRUE STORY!

The Pro-Tek and the Stain Devils (specifically made for pen and crayon) worked okay.  I had to spend just as much time scrubbing the clothing as with the laundry soap (maybe even a tad bit longer).  The WD-40....ugh!...did not work any better than anything else I tried.  I was very hesitant to use it (even though it came recommended by several different sources) but did so anyway...for the sake of research.  It added another step to the whole spray and scrub process because after using it you then have to scrub the WD-40 OUT of the fabric with dish soap.  And what did I end up with?  More stains...from the oily lubricant.  So...I can easily say that I personally would not recommend using WD-40.  It was, by far, the most expensive, as well as the most labor intensive process I tried.  That's my take.  Do with it what you will.

So here's what I suggest for remaining stains (after laundering as instructed above):

Take a small amount of  "Homemade Laundry Soap" concentrate and work it into the fabric using your knuckles, fingernails, a soft scrub brush (not a stiff one...I tried it...not so good on the fabric), or by rubbing the fabric together.  Continue scrubbing until stain is completely gone or significantly lighter.

Re-launder according to directions above. 

If stains remain (I only had two shirts that didn't come completely clean and the stains were very very light)....REMEMBER NOT TO DRY CLOTHES IN THE DRYER...and repeat scrubbing and laundering instructions above until clean.

Remember this light blue shirt that was BY FAR the worst of the bunch and I was ready to just throw away?



WELL...look at it now.


There are still a few very faint stains.  I will probably have to put it through the scrub/laundering process one more time before it is fit to wear but a VAST improvement I must say.  

It was Roberto's favorite work shirt.  He almost cried when he first saw it (he he he) but now he is just as hopeful as I am that he will be able to wear it again very soon.  

I hope this helps...and please take the advise given me by my mother.  Work on it slowly...one thing at a time...maybe only one article a day.  Don't let it overwhelm you.  All is not lost.

Happy Laundering y'all!

Friday, November 18, 2011


Welcome to Adventures In Frugalness! 

My attempt at SAVING money!


Get up to 40 Holiday cards **FREE**

STAPLES- 20 folded 5x7 Holiday Cards FREE

Now, through TOMORROW, Saturday, Nov. 19th, visit Staples.com (or in store) to order 20 5x7 folded Holiday cards for FREE by using this coupon (shipping charges apply online).


Snapfish- 20 *FREE* 5x7 Stationary Cards

Go to Snapfish.com to order 20 free 5x7 Stationary Cards

Only pay $5.99 for shipping.

You must order the 5x7 size cards and opt to print them on 130lb Recycled Stationary Paper to recieve this deal. 

Use the code HPHOLIDAY11 at checkout.

Hurry fast!

(Thanks, Happy Money Saver)

I don't know about you...but I LOVE free stuff.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How to: Soak, Cook, Measure and Store Dry Beans

Beans, beans, the magical fruit......  Ha...just kidding.

We've all heard of the "rice and beans" diet.  You know...what you eat when money is "tight".  Why?  Because it's cheap  frugal.  And...when combined, rice and beans make a complete protein...which is very important, nutritionally, if you are cutting back and/or out on animal proteins.  Plus...beans have lots of fiber.  Good for the body too.

Up 'til now I have been buying canned beans (which you can get for pretty cheap if you watch for good sales)...but, have discovered that cooking them myself is a whole lot cheaper (something about labor costs...he he).

It's really not as hard or time consuming as I imagined it to be...in fact, it's SUPER easy and not an inconvenience on my time at all.

So, I thought I would share what knowledge I have on the subject.  All in the name of $$ SAVING.

Quick tips:

-Most beans will rehydrate to triple their dry size so be sure to start with a pot large enough to accommodate.

-Rinse and sort, removing any rocks, dirt, or discolored beans.

-Before cooking, soak dry-packaged beans to help soften and return moisture to the beans and reduce cooking time.


Preferred HOT SOAK and QUICK SOAK methods - For each pound dry beans (2 cups), add 10 cups hot water; heat to boiling and let boil for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat, cover and set aside for at least one hour (quick soak) or up to 4 hours (hot soak).  One useful hint about hot soaking, is that it helps dissolve some of the gas-causing substances, making the beans easier to digest.

CROCKPOT METHOD-   Soaking not necessary; see instruction on how to cook below.

TRADITIONAL OVERNIGHT SOAK- For each pound dry beans (2 cups), add 10 cups cold water and let soak overnight, or at least 8 hours.


STOVE TOP- Drain soaking water and rinse beans; cook in fresh water (8-10 cups).  In general, beans take 30 minutes to 2 hours to cook depending on the variety.  Check bean packaging for specific cooking times and instructions.  To test if beans are done, bite-taste a few.  They should be tender, but not overcooked.

CROCK POT - Place rinsed (soaking not necessary) beans in the crock pot.  For every cup of dry beans place 4 cups water in the crock pot (1 lb, or two cups, will require 8-10 cups water), making sure the beans are completely covered.  Cook on high until tender (3-4 hours), or cook on HIGH for one hour, then turn to LOW and continue cooking overnight (6-8 hours).  To test if beans are done, bite-taste a few.  They should be tender, but not overcooked.

ADDING FLAVOR while cooking-  Spice up beans while they cook.  Seasonings such as garlic, onion, oregano, parsley or thyme can be added to the pot while beans are cooking.  Add acidic  ingredients, such as tomatoes, vinegar, citrus juices, only at the end of cooking, when the beans are already tender.

Add salt only after beans are cooked to tender.  If added before, salt may cause bean skins to  become impermeable, halting the tenderizing process.

COOLING - While cooling, keep beans in cooking liquid to prevent them from drying out.


Canned beans are a great convenience since they are already presoaked and precooked.  Always drain and thoroughly rinse canned beans before adding them to a recipe (a MUST in our house...does wonders for cutting down on flatulence).


Uncooked beans can be stored in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry area.  If kept for more than 12 months, beans will lose moisture and may require longer cooking times.  However, their nutrient value is NOT lost with age.

Canned beans may be stored up to 12 months in their original sealed cans.

Cooked bean may be refrigerated in a covered container for up to five days and may be frozen for up to six months.


One 15 oz can of beans = one and one-half cups cooked beans, drained

One pound dry beans = two cups dry beans

One pound dry beans = six cups cooked beans, drained

One cup dry beans = three cups cooked beans, drained

Most of this information was provided to me by my mother...who got it from the American Dry Bean Board (www.americanbean.org).  I got help with the crockpot instructions from ehow.com.

Coming soon...recipe for Super Tasty (homemade and low-fat) Refried Beans

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Crayola, Beauty supplies, and more -- Christmas Gift Ideas

This week Amazon.com has some pretty sweet deals for "that" person on your Christmas list!


up to 38% off Melissa and Doug toys

and find big discounts on ALLURE's  Beauty Award Winners

up to 35% off Ambi, up to 52% off Aveeno, up to 28% off Clean & Clear, up to 52% off Neutrogena, and up to 52% on RoC

I told you they were sweet deals.  

Merry Shopping.

Linked up for Family Time Tuesday


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Monday, November 14, 2011

Anti-Static Dryer Ball - Adventures In Frugalness

While searching around for laundry soap recipes, I came across an anti-static idea for the dryer that saves your pocket book and the environment.  Plus...it's really good for children (and adults) with sensitive skin who are counseled not to use fabric softeners and/or dryer sheets in their laundry (that would be my children).

It couldn't have been better timing.  I was down to one dryer sheet and didn't want to go to the store to buy more.  So I thought I'd give it a try.

What is it you ask?  Aluminum Foil.  That's it.  Super simple....and Super cheap.

The idea:

Make a tightly wadded ball of aluminum foil.  (Mine started out about the size of a softball and after tumbling around in the dryer a million times (I do a LOT of laundry) it is now about the size of a tennis ball).

Not only will this substantially reduce the amount of static cling in your clothing but will eliminate the issues associated with dryer sheets (residue build up on your lint filter and other dryer parts, on fabrics, causing them to be less breathable, towels to be less absorbent, and skin to be more itchy).

For large loads you can use 2-3 balls (haven't tried this yet).

Monetary benefits...you can use the same ball(s) forever.  They don't need to be thrown out or changed.

I have been using this method for a few weeks now. 

I'm not going to lie...it is a BIT louder than before and my husband was worried that it might be denting the inside of the dryer.  But...after finding melted crayon on my clothing and being forced to scrub out the drum of the dryer, I assured him, after close inspection, that there was not a dent to be found.  So I just close the door to the laundry room (cutting down some of the noise).

I have been completely satisfied with the static cling free (mostly) results.  Not that we haven't experienced any static...just not any more than with the dryer sheets (except the one load where the ball got stuck in the foot of my little ones "footie" pajamas and was not free to tumble around...there was a little more static then).

I believe we will be using this method for a long time to come...if not forever.

Thanks for the tips Judy @ What I Live For and Lifehacker.

Ah....you hear that?  It's the sound of Savings...my favorite.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Melissa and Doug--15% off Wooden Toys


Now through November 17th, MelissaAndDoug.com is having a 15% off Wooden Toys Sale.

We love Melissa and Doug toys.  We have owned quite a few of them and they are...how do I put it...durable enough for even our household.  And that is sayin' a LOT!

So head on over to Melissa And Doug.com .  Once there look for "Shop By Category" on the right side, select "Classic Toys", and then "Wooden Favorites".  

Pick up something for your favorite little boy or girl on your Christmas list and don't forget to put in the code wooden15 to get your 15% off.

Here are some of my faves:
Stacking Train
Classic Toy Bead Maze

Stacking Construction Vehicles 
(aren't the SO CUTE!)

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