Apr 0420145 Ways to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally

DyeEggsNaturally 5 Ways to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally
 
 
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5 Ways to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally

 
I have been very conscious lately about the chemicals my kids consume. I try not to buy food dyes and we eat lots of real foods instead of processed ones. I thought, why not carry that over into our Easter eggs? While I was researching how, I discovered that you can color Easter eggs naturally and chemical free in just a few simple steps.

Even better, you don’t need to buy a bunch of fancy, organic food dyes. Just look in your kitchen for all of the supplies you need to dye your Easter eggs naturally this year. It is so simple, inexpensive, and a great way to embrace a more natural lifestyle. Take a look below for everything you need to know to get started.

:: Beet Juice

Beet juice may not be something you want to drink, but it sure can create some colorful eggs. Use the juice of a can of beats and a little warm water to create the dye. Simply combine the juice and a few tablespoons of hot water in a mug. Stir well. Submerge your egg into the mixture and in no time it will take on a red hue.

:: Blueberries

Do you have a handful of blueberries you need to use up? All you need to do is squeeze them releasing the juice, then add a few tablespoons of hot water. You don’t even have to strain the berries. Mix well. Submerge your eggs in the mixture and they will talk on a gorgeous lavender/violet hue.

:: Onion Peels

Don’t toss those onion peels! Instead, use them to color your eggs a golden yellow. Use the peels of yellow onions only (the other varieties don’t work as well), boiled in a little water and presto, you have yellow egg dye.

:: Coffee

Coffee makes a great egg dye. And while you may not want plain brown Easter eggs, it is the perfect color to use if you want a stencil effect. Place small stickers on your eggs and then dip them in some warm coffee. After soaking for a few minutes, remove the eggs and allow them to dry. Remove the stickers and notice the cool stenciling effect!

:: Cranberry Juice

Want some pretty pink eggs? Then cranberry juice is your friend. Pour a mug full of cranberry juice and soak your eggs in it for a few minutes. The final color will be a pretty pink hue, perfect for the Easter season.

You aren’t going to get the vibrantly bright eggs that you would with food coloring. That brightness only comes with the chemicals. However, with all of these dyes, the longer you soak the egg the deeper and darker the hue will be. You can also try soaking eggs for various intervals so that your eggs come out in a rainbow of colors.    
 
 
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For more Easter inspiration, be sure to Follow Me on Pinterest and check out the Easter Crafts and Ideas Board. You’ll find dozens of pins with things you can do yourself or try with your kids.

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Mar 062014How to Make Homemade Peanut Butter

PeanutButter2 682x1024 How to Make Homemade Peanut Butter
 
 
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Have you ever thought about making homemade peanut butter? I was standing in the natural foods aisle at my local grocery store the other day, bribing my children to behave themselves with some dried apricots. My older son looked at the peanut butter machine and asked what it was.

I never really looked carefully at the machine before but after explaining how it worked and how it made peanut butter to my boys, I thought, why do people buy this stuff? I can totally make this at home with a food processor. So we headed over to the peanut aisle and came home and made our own.

It took 5 minutes and only had one ingredient. No salt, no preservatives, no junky oils. Just peanuts. Since that day we’ve played around with some yummy add-ins to make special flavors. The chocolate is pretty dangerous. The cinnamon raisin and honey flavors are two of my favorites.

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide to making your own peanut butter:

5.0 from 3 reviews
Homemade Peanut Butter
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups of Shelled, Unsalted Roasted Peanuts
Instructions
  1. Add peanuts to your food processor or blender with the metal blade attached.
  2. Pulse the peanuts until the nuts are chopped.
  3. Now, process the chopped nuts for about 3 minutes. I like to stop each minute to scrape the sides down.
  4. If your peanut butter is too dry or not smooth enough, you can blend for another 2-3 minutes and/or add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil to help the consistency. Peanut oil or other neutral flavored oil like sunflower or canola oil is best.
  5. Store the peanut butter in the refrigerator for 3-4 weeks.

 
Now on to our five favorite variations. I’ll be honest though, I’ve only made the chocolate peanut butter once. It’s just too dangerous to keep in the house!

Creamy Roasted Peanut Butter

Follow the steps above for Creamy Peanut butter. You can also up the flavor by using raw peanuts and roasting them yourself. To roast:

  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Add peanuts to a rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan
  • Roast for 6-10 minutes stirring or shaking pan mid-way through.
  • You can also roast the already roasted peanuts for a couple minutes to heat them and help loosen the oils

 

Crunchy Peanut Butter

If your family loves crunchy peanut butter, remove half a cup of the chopped peanuts from step 2 above. Then stir them back in at the end.
 

Cinnamon Raisin Peanut Butter

This is one of my favorites and is so easy!

  • Add 1 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon right after step 2. You don’t want to add it in when the nuts are too blended so add them in right after the rough chop.
  • Finsh the steps to the very end and fold in 1/3 cup of raisins.

 

Honey Roasted Peanut Butter

There are two ways to make honey roasted peanut butter. The easy way? Follow all the steps above using store bought honey roasted peanuts. The not-as-easy way? Roast your own.

  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper.
  • Add 1/4 cup of honey to a microwave safe bowl.
  • Microwave on high for 20 seconds.
  • Add 2 cups off peanuts and stir to evenly coat the nuts.
  • Spread nuts evenly on parchment-lined sheet. Do not overlap.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes stirring every 5 minutes. Careful not to overlap the nuts.
  • Once finished, let the nuts cool. Then follow all the basic steps above.

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter

If you are up for a decadent treat or want a peanut version of Nutella, it’s easy to make chocolate peanut butter.

  • 1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (the darker the better!)
  • 1 1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 Salt
  • Add these ingredients after step number 4 above. You may also need to increase the oil in step 5 to 2-3 tablespoons.

 

More Recipes

Now that you have some yummy homemade peanut butter, you don’t have to just save it for your sandwiches. Try some of my favorite Peanut Butter recipes.

 
Have you ever made homemade peanut butter before? I’d love to hear how you love to make yours. Do you have a special blend your family loves?
 
 
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Looking for more fabulous DIY ideas, be sure you Follow Me on Pinterest and don’t miss the Home DIY Board for more great tips.

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Jan 2120146 Reasons Why You Need Amazon Prime & How to Get It FREE

AmazonPrime1 731x1024 6 Reasons Why You Need Amazon Prime & How to Get It FREE

6 Reasons Why You Need Amazon Prime & How to Get it for Free

 
 
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UPDATE: Today (3/19) is the LAST DAY to lock-in the $79 rate for the next year.

I asked in the SWS Holiday Survey how often and where you shop online. Nearly 95% of you said you shop at Amazon and more than 60% of you said you shop online a couple times a month or more.

So it sounds to me like you are shopping from Amazon pretty often and if you don’t have Amazon Prime, you are missing out! Amazon Prime is a great way to get all the best of what Amazon has to offer at an easy to swallow price of $79 per year. We signed up about 5 years ago and have never looked back.

Here are the 6 Reasons Why You Need Amazon Prime

1. Free Two-Day Shipping – It sounds like most of you already shop Amazon. And if you don’t, you should. The savings are huge and you can find almost anything at the drop of a dime. However, one reason some folks choose not to is because of the shipping costs. Amazon Prime takes that out of the equation with free two day shipping. There is no minimum on this feature, so it alone in my opinion is worth the price of membership here. Buy a $10 DVD here and a $15 birthday present there. A handful of items over the course of a year and you have justified the annual fee.

2. One-Day Shipping Upgrade – Let’s face it. Sometimes you need an item and you need it fast. Like, the next day fast. With Amazon Prime, this is simple and cost effective. Just upgrade your free two-day shipping to one-day shipping for $3.99. The one-day shipping upgrade without Prime is $9.95 or more depending on the item. I think $3.99 is really reasonable to have the item on my doorstep the very next day. I’m also embarassed to say, I’ve needed this feature more times than I care to admit.

 3. Kindle Owner’s Lending Library - Love to read and own a Kindle? If so, you have the option as an Amazon Prime member to borrow books from the lending library. This means that  you will save a ton of money on books and entertainment as well. New York Times Bestsellers and many other quality options are available. You can borrow one book from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library each calendar month. You do need an actual Kindle to take advantage of this perk. Some books I borrowed and loved were The Hangman’s Daughter series and the Hunger Games series.

 4. Amazon Instant VideoHere is where the savings start to truly multiply. Do you have a Netflix account or buy DVDs all the time? If so, you will save a ton here as well. Amazon Instant Video has over 41,000 television shows and movies to choose from at any time for free. This is yet another perk of having this wonderful program. We cancelled our Netflix subscription at $7.99 per month ($95 annual) in order to pay for our Prime account. Stream videos on Kindle Fire HD, as well as iPad, PS3, Xbox, Wii, Wii U, Roku, on hundreds of TVs, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players, and on the Web. Plus, all of your videos are stored in Your Video Library, so you can access them anywhere you go. We watched favorite TV show series like Downton Abbey and Sons of Anarchy.

 5. Amazon Mom  - If you are parents of small children, Amazon Mom will be a HUGE source of savings. Wet wipes, diapers and other items get special discounts under this program. You can save 20% off diaper, wipes and other baby items as an Amazon Mom member. They also have Amazon Mom sales with 20% off popular baby gear and accessories. I have saved hundreds being part of the Amazon Mom program. Amazon Mom is included with your Amazon Prime membership making it another reason why the program is worth the money.

6. Share with Your Family - You may share the free two-day shipping portion of your Prime membership with up to four family members. I shared mine with my mom and my mother-in-law. They get free two-day shipping without paying for a Prime Membership because I simply added them to my account. They don’t get all the other benefits I mentioned above but for someone who doesn’t shop often, this is a great little bonus to be able to offer someone.

Now that I sold you on Amazon Prime, I’m here to tell you how to get it for FREE! And who doesn’t love free this time of year!? There are FOUR ways you can get a FREE Amazon Prime subscription:

1. Amazon Student - Amazon Student is a free membership program created especially for college students. First time Amazon Student signups receive a FREE six month trial of Amazon Prime. After the initial 6 months, students get an annual subscription discount of 50% making the annual fee just $39. Students get most of the benefits listed above. You don’t get the Prime Instant Videos though. You can cancel at any time during the 6-month trial with no  further obligation.

2. Amazon Mom - Amazon Mom is open to anyone, whether you’re a mom, dad, grandparent, or caretaker. New members are eligible for a FREE 3-month trial of Amazon Prime. After the initial 3 months, the price to continue is the regular $79 Prime Annual Fee. You can cancel at any time during the 3-month trial with no  further obligation.

3. Amazon Prime Trial - First time Prime subscribers can get a FREE 30-day trial. Sign up today (11/20) and it will take you through December 20 which should be plenty of time to test out the videos, movies, books and shipping options for the holidays. Once you dive in and see all it has to offer, the chances are good that you will be thrilled and stay on board. If not, you can cancel at any time during the 30-day trial with no  further obligation.

4. Get a Gift Subscription - While this isn’t completely free, it is free for you and I thought worth mentioning.  You can request a Prime Gift Subscription. I know as an adult I have a hard time coming up with gift ideas for myself for Christmas. A gift subscription of Prime would be a great gift request because you could use the benefits all year.

I encourage you to give Amazon Prime a second look this Holiday season and take advantage of all the great features it offers. I really think this is an excellent bang for your buck!

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And since you are headed over to Amazon anyway, be sure you check out all the awesome Amazon Deals I’ve posted lately. You’ll find some great gift ideas for everyone on your list!

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Nov 222013All About Target REDcard & How It Can Save You Hundreds

TargetRedCard All About Target REDcard & How It Can Save You Hundreds

All About Target REDcard

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Shopping at Target has gotten much more rewarding in recent years and it is in large part due to the REDcard savings and benefits. The Target REDcard is a debit card that offers up all kinds of extra perks for your Target shopping experience. If you are a Target shopper and don’t have the REDcard, you might want to reconsider…that is, if you like saving money.

Here are some benefits to owning this Target debit card:

:: 5% Off Rewards benefits

How would you like to have 5% of your total bill sliced off every single time you shop at Target? The debit card does exactly that and it is in addition to the regular savings that Target offers. This 5% is nothing to sneeze at. Over time that adds up to a ton of cash.

For the longest time I passed up the REDcard because we put everything on our credit card for the frequent flier miles. Then I did the math. If I spend $5000 at Target in the course of a year (that’s $50/week) the 5% off would save me $250. In contrast, that same $5000 would only give me $100 towards a plane ticket with our frequent flier program. That’s a no brainer in my mind. I now have a REDcard. Plus these rewards are also good when you shop at Target.com.

:: Free Shipping at Target.com

If  you are more of an online shopper, Target.com might be your way of doing things. When you pay with your REDcard, shipping is free no matter how little you buy. That can truly add up if you are buying things that usually cost a good bit to ship. There are a few exceptions, but generally speaking you will come out much cheaper by using the debit card on Target.com. Free shipping goes a very long way when you combine that with 5% off the top.

:: Extra Time to Return Items

If you are a procrastinator (like me) or simply like to take your time, returns can be a catching point with many retailers. If you pass that magical return day number you are generally out of luck. With the Target debit card, you have an additional month to return your merchandise. That gives you more time to evaluate your purchases and make a decision. More time is always a good thing – especially when you have an aversion to returns like me.

:: Link Up With Your School for Rewards

If you link up your REDcard to your elementary, middle or high school, Target will donate up to 1% to them for expenses. This is all on top of the various discounts and rewards mentioned above. It is a wonderful way to help out your community and enjoy the benefits of debit cards at the same time.

:: Pharmacy Discounts

If you fill your prescriptions at Target pharmacies, you will gain more benefits. In addition to the 5% off you already receive, the REDcard gives you an additional 5% off for a day when you fill a certain number of prescriptions.  This is another great way to save when you put these savings together.

The Target REDcard is a wonderful way to save money and have a convenient way to pay all at the same time. If you are a regular shopper at Target, having one is a very logical step. Sign up today and give it a try and see what you think!

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Check out all the great Target Deals happening now and save an extra 5% off these awesome bargains!

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Nov 202013Everything You Need to Know About Holiday Price Matching

price match large 300x189 Everything You Need to Know About Holiday Price Matching

What’s the Skinny on Price Matching? That was a recurring question in the SWS Holiday Survey. You asked everything from “How can I price match?” and “What stores offer price matching?” to “Does anyone offer price matching on Black Friday?” Well, I’ve rounded up the price matching policies for the big stores to help you navigate price matching and get the best deals this holiday.

:: WALMART

Walmart offers two different price matching policies: Everyday Ad Match and Christmas Ad Match. They can be a little tricky to differentiate.

Everyday Ad Match

  • If you find a lower advertised price on an identical product, Walmart will match it right at the register.
  • This policy honors competitors’ ads that feature a specific item for a specified price.
  • Walmart announced yesterday that Everyday Ad Match applies on Thanksgiving and Black Friday but you will need the competitors printed ad. If you find an identical item featured in a competitor’s ad, bring the ad on Thanksgivng night and Walmart will match it at the register.
  • Everyday Ad Match does not include online retailers or online prices. It only includes local competitor’s printed ads.

Christmas Ad Match

  • If you buy an item at Walmart and find a lower price. Bring your receipt and the competitor’s print ad to Customer Service. They will give you the difference on a Walmart gift card.
  • This also applies to purchases made at Walmart.com. If you find a lower price, email christmasadmatch@walmart.com. Give them your order confirmation number as well as the competitor item price, the name of the retailer, the store zip code, the ad date range and the page number featuring the item within the ad. They will send you a Walmart eGift Card for the difference which can be used in-store or online.
  • Christmas Ad match does not apply to items on Thanksgiving or Black Friday. You can not have earlier purchased items adjusted to those prices and you can not have those prices adjusted later if you find a better price.
  • Christmas Ad Match does not include online retailers or online prices. It only includes local competitor’s printed ads and you must have a copy of the ad.
  • Read more about Christmas Ad Match on Walmart.com

:: TARGET

Target stores always offer price matching. However, they made a few updates for the Holiday season.

  • You can price match online prices at Target. The online competitors are limited to Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy and Toys R Us.
  • The original ad is required. If you are matching an online price, you can show the price on your mobile device.
  • The price must be valid the date requesting the match. If matching an online price, the item must be in stock on the competitor’s website.
  • You can price match up to 7 days after your purchase and you must have your receipt.
  • Target will not price match any products between November 28 and December 2 or from December 22 to December 26.
  • Read more about Target Price Matching on Target.com

:: BEST BUY

Best Buy also offers price matching throughout the year. Here are the details:

  • Price matching is limited to electronics and appliances.
  • The item must be new, identical and immediately available (in-stock)
  • The online competitors are limited to Amazon.com, Apple.com, Bhphotovideo.com, Crutchfield.com, Dell.com, Frys.com, hhgregg.com, HP.com, HomeDepot.com, Lowes.com, Newegg.com, OfficeDepot.com, OfficeMax.com, Rakuten.com Shopping, Sears.com, Staples.com, Target.com, TigerDirect.com and Walmart.com.
  • If price matching items purchased on BestBuy.com, find eligible products labeled with a Low Price Guarantee badge found on the product’s description.
  • Call 1-888-BEST BUY and direct our representative to the website with the lower price. Or, print the page showing the lower price and bring to a Best Buy store.
  • Best Buy also price matches between their stores and BestBuy.com and will also match prices after you purchase if they lower their price within 15 days of your purchase.
  • Price matching exclude items on sale from Thanksgiving Day through the following Monday (December 2nd)
  • Read more about Best Buy Price Matching at BestBuy.com.

:: TOYS R US & BABIES R US

Finally, Toys R Us and Babies R Us also offer price matching.

  • The original competitor’s ad is required.
  • The price must be valid the date requesting the match.
  • Toys R Us will match prices from selected online competitor websites, including Walmart.com, Target.com, BestBuy.com, Sears.com, Kmart.com, buybuyBaby.com, Meijer.com, FredMeyer.com, diapers.com, BabyDepot.com, and Amazon.com (not including marketplace pricing).
  • Toys R Us will price match between their stores and toysrus.com.
  • Customers have up to seven days to bring in a purchased item for a price adjustment.
  • Toys R Us will not match Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday prices or items known to have limited quantities.
  • Read more about the Toys R Us price match policy at ToysRUs.com

Personally, I think Walmart has the best price match program. I’ll definitely be taking advantage of the Everyday Price Match on Black Friday to grab some things without running all over town.

Do you have any more Price Match questions? I’m happy to answer them in the comments.

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