$300 December Holiday Cash Giveaway

santa cash giveaway

Win big during our $300 December Holiday Cash Giveaway! If your Christmas budget is tight, this extra cash will come in handy for last minute shopping! You have the option of choosing between $300 PayPal Cash OR a Gift Card of choice! This event was organized by The Kids Did It & The Mommy Island and sponsored by the awesome bloggers, authors, and Etsy shop owners! Make sure to check out all of the awesome fall and holiday ideas they have by clicking on their blog buttons below. Curl up by the fire and relax while you enter to win our December Cash event!


ONE entrant will be selected by the entry form to win $300 PayPal cash OR a $300 gift card of choice. Open for entry WW, 18 years and older from 12/01/17 at 12:01 a.m. ET thru 12/21/17 at 11:59 p.m. ET. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. A winner will be chosen after/around December 21, 2017. The winner will have 24 hours to respond to notification email to claim their prize or a new winner will be selected. See Rafflecopter for official rules. The Kids Did It & The Mommy Island are responsible for sending the winner their prize via PayPal or e-gift card. The winner has the option of choosing between PayPal and an e-gift card.


Twitter ‘Egg’ profiles and dummy accounts are ineligible for entry and will be blocked. Authentic accounts only are eligible to win.


Follow us on Facebook then enter to win!

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Cash for Christmas 2017 Giveaway

Are you getting geared up for the shopping season? Do you need extra cash for Christmas?? Don’t we all!

Enter for your chance to win $300 in gift cards from Amazon, Target, Walmart, and Kohls. There will be 5 winners in all!

The holidays will be here before you know it. If your budget isn’t quite ready for all those extra expenses, I’ve got just the ticket for you! I’m excited to join with a great group of bloggers this season for another fabulous CASH giveaway!

We are so excited to be giving away $300 in cash prizes for you to use starting this Thanksgiving weekend.

Here are the prizes:

1 – $100 Amazon Gift Card
1 – $75 Target Gift Card
2 – $50 Walmart Gift Card
1 – $25 Kohls Gift Card
And a $20 Starbucks gift card as an extra bonus winner!!

There will be 6 winners in this giveaway. Each winner will receive a gift card code to use on the online store or in the actual store.

Now its time to meet our wonderful co-hosts who have made this giveaway possible.

Cash for Christmas hosts

Starting at the top row we have:

Sinea Pies – Ducks ‘n a Row, Susan Renker – Culinary Envy, Linda Cassidy – A Labour of Life, Sarah Louderback – Devastate Boredom, Melissa Russo – The Farm Girl Gabs, Monica Geglio – Mommy & Love, Tammy Doiel – Creative K Kids, Kim Purvis – Made in a Day, Meredith Spidel – The Mom of the Year, Audrey Humaciu – That Recipe, Michelle James – Our Crafty Mom, Christine Luken – Your Strong Tower, Kari Carter (Jonard) – Keep it Simple, DIY, Trish Sutton – By Trish Sutton, Marie Dabbs – The Inspiration Vault, Marcy Lautanen-Raleigh – Backyard Patch Herbal Blog, Carrie Albrecht – Curly Crafty Mom, Whitney Johnson – Beauty, Baby, and a Budget, Lauren Becker – Shooting Stars Mag, Lauren Kim – Mom Home Guide, Leslie Clingan – Once Upon a Time & Happily Ever After, Carol Bray – The Red Painted Cottage, Emily Fish – Domestic Deadline, Kenyatta Harris – My Design Rules, Dana Lardner – Goods Giving Back & How In The World, Habiba Elkaihel – Craftify My Love, Tammy Adams – My Life Abundant, Pam Lamore – P.S. I Love You CraftsErlene Amat – My Pinterventures

Please stop by and say hi to these wonderful ladies and their blogs.

The giveaway will end midnight on Wednesday, November 22nd, the night before Thanksgiving. You will have 48 hours to respond to the email claiming the prize. If you respond right away, we will get you the gift card code promptly so that you can shop with it on Black Friday! If we don’t hear in 48 hours, we will choose another winner.

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$175 Cash for the Holidays Giveaway

Welcome to the $175 cash giveaway event!


This event is hosted by: Lil’ Blog and MoreSouthern Mom Loves, Your Strong Tower, Mom to Grandma, and miss JHENZ.

And the event is co-hosted by the following bloggers:

Easter Babe’s Theory, On Honeysuckle Hill, My Crafty Zoo, Living, Learning & Baking with Valerie, and MyStyleSpot.

This great group of bloggers have come together to bring one awesome
giveaway prize, to one lucky winner! We are very happy to have a $175.00 prize, up for grabs!

 This cash will come in handy for holiday shopping, which is right around the corner. What will you spend it on if you win?

The Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive $175.00 cash (The winner will also have
the option of choosing money via Paypal, or a gift card of their choosing.)

Enter with the easy form, below:

The bloggers involved in this giveaway were not compensated, and are
not responsible for prize fulfillment. Lil’ Blog and More will be sending the
prize out. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter this giveaway.
This giveaway starts October 13th, 2017, and will end on November 14, 2017 at
11:59 pm. The winner will be emailed, and have 48 hours to respond, or a
new winner will be chosen. Once a winner is drawn and confirmed, the
name will be announced on the GiveawayTools form. Open to Worldwide entries.

Vegan Mock Chicken Soup

Vegan Mock Chicken Soup, meal planning

This vegan mock chicken soup is like a hug for your insides! About a year ago, I decided to go mostly vegetarian, mainly for health reasons. I still eat fish, organic eggs, and a small amount of dairy. For the most part, I don’t miss eating meat at all. I haven’t eaten beef or pork since high school, so giving up chicken and turkey wasn’t too much of a stretch.

However, there are some dishes I do miss. And now that the weather is turning colder, one thing I find myself craving is chicken soup, aka “Jewish Penicillin.”  Whenever I’ve got a stomach bug or a head cold, the only thing I want to eat is chicken soup. So what’s a vegetarian to do?


Massel Chicken Style Stock Cubes

Thankfully, while shopping at Fresh Thyme, I discovered Massel’s Chicken Style Stock Cubes which are vegan! These bouillon cubes give your soup broth an “I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Chicken” taste! (Massel also makes Beef-Style Cubes which are great for flavoring vegetable soup.) So, I whipped up a batch of vegan mock chicken soup and it’s delicious! Now I can have my mock chicken soup in the freezer, ready to reheat when I’m feeling under the weather.


4 Grain Rice Blend, Vegan Mock Chicken Soup

I prefer rice in my chicken soup, but you can certainly add noodles instead. The rice I used took about 20-25 minutes to cook, so if you’re using noodles, add them the final 15 minutes of cooking. My hubby does eat meat, so I heated him up some rotisserie chicken breast meat which he added to his bowl. If you’re not vegan, and do eat small amounts of dairy, I would recommend one change, which I feel enhances the flavor of the soup. Replace the oil with organic butter.


Vegan Mock Chicken Soup

  • 2 ribs of celery, sliced

  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced

  • 1 Tbs chopped onion (optional)

  • 1 Tbs cooking oil of your choice

  • 8 cups of filtered water

  • 3 Massel’s Chicken-Style Stock Cubes

  • 1/2 cup frozen peas

  • 1/2 cup frozen corn

  • 1/2 cup frozen cut green beans

  • 1/2 cup whole grain rice blend

  • 1 tsp dried parsley

  • salt & pepper to taste

Heat oil in a large soup pot. Saute celery, carrots, and onion until onions are translucent (5 to 7 minutes). You can add a little water if the veggies are sticking to the pot. Add the water, peas, corn, green beans, rice, and parsley to the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes or until the rice is done. I found that the stock cubes lent the perfect amount of saltiness to the soup, so I just added a bit of cracked pepper to my bowl. Leftovers can be frozen for 3 – 4 months.


$150 PayPal Giveaway


Welcome to the $150 Paypal giveaway event!



This great group of bloggers have come together to bring one awesome giveaway prize, to one lucky winner! We are very happy to have a $150 Paypal prize, up for grabs!What will you use the money for if you win? Buy school supplies for your kids? A lot of pumpkin spice lattes? Personally, I’d love to buy a few things to freshen up my fall wardrobe!

The Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive $150.00 via Paypal (The winner will also have the option of choosing cash by mail, or a gift card of choice.)

Enter with the easy form, below:

The bloggers involved in this giveaway were not compensated, and are
not responsible for prize fulfillment. Lil’ Blog and More will be sending the
prize out. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter this giveaway.
This giveaway starts September 5th, 2017, and will end on September 30, 2017 at
11:59 pm. The winner will be emailed, and have 48 hours to respond, or a
new winner will be chosen. Once a winner is drawn and confirmed, the
name will be announced on the GiveawayTools form. Open to Worldwide entries.

Decadent Breakfast Smoothies

Decadent Breakfast Smoothies

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day; however, many of us are in too much of a rush to eat a proper meal in the morning. With a little preparation and meal planning, this doesn’t have to be the case! When pressed for time, we typically fall into a breakfast rut, eating the same things over and over. I like cold cereal as much as the next person, but I don’t want to eat it every day. (Once or twice a week is plenty for me.) Hitting the fast food drive-thru on the way to work may be convenient, but it can wreak havoc on our wallets and waistlines.

These decadent breakfast smoothies are great for on-the-go breakfasts, or really for any meal! Below are a few of my favorites. For protein powder, I use a vegan, organic, non-GMO brand, Vega. If you’re avoiding dairy, it’s a delicious choice. If you’re choosing a whey protein powder, be sure it is organic and non-GMO so you’re not getting unwanted chemicals or hormones in your breakfast smoothie! I use all frozen fruit in my smoothies because it creates a milkshake-like texture that I love. Use more or less liquid to create your desired thickness. Which one will you try first?


5 Decadent Breakfast Smoothies:

Banana Blackberry Dream

  • 1 banana sliced and frozen
  • 1/2 cup of blackberries
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup of almond milk (or dairy milk)
  • Blend until smooth


Beet Berry Mania

  • ½ fresh raw beet, diced
  • 1 cup of frozen strawberries or mixed berries 
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • ¼ cup of unsweetened cranberry juice
  • 1 cup of water
  • Blend until smooth

Chocolate Covered Strawberry

  • 1 cup of frozen strawberries 
  • 1/2 cup of mixed berries 
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • 1 Tbs of almond butter
  • 1 Tbs of cocoa powder
  • 1 1/3 cup of almond milk (or dairy milk)
  • Blend until smooth


The Elvis

  • 1 banana sliced and frozen
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1-2 Tbs of peanut butter
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup of almond milk (or dairy milk)
  • 1 Tbs of cocoa powder (optional)
  • Blend until smooth


Tropical Vacation

  • 1 banana sliced and frozen
  • 1/2 cup of frozen pineapple
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • 1 Tbs chia seeds
  • 1 cup of coconut milk (or dairy milk)
  • Blend until smooth

Looking for more tips to help you save time, money, and stress when it comes to feeding your family?

Mindful Meal Planning Book Cover 2

Pick up a copy of my Mindful Meal Planning e-book today! 

Meal Planning for Picky Eaters

meal planning for picky eaters

Meal planning for picky eaters can be a nightmare! How do you meal plan when the members of your family have different eating restrictions or preferences? Maybe you have kids who are picky eaters, a family member with a food allergy, or you’re the only vegetarian in your house.  This can create extra work for you, but most of the time it’s not necessary for you to cook two completely different meals.  Here are tips to ease your frustration when you’ve got family members who don’t want to eat the same thing.

4 Tips for Meal Planning for Picky Eaters:


  • Focus on the common denominator. Does everyone love pasta, tacos, or baked potatoes but not exactly the same kind?  Set up a pasta, taco, or baked potato bar!  Make several sauces or toppings on the side and let each person customize their own plate.

  • Make the “disputed” ingredient on the side. Since I eat mostly vegetarian, many times I will heat up cooked, diced chicken breast in a separate small skillet for my husband.  I will make our main dish vegetarian (Stir Fried Cashew & Broccoli, Cheese Ravioli with Artichoke Hearts, Veggie & Grain Bowls, etc.) and Nick can add in chicken.

  • If you’ve got kids who only eat 3 or 4 things, meal plan those out on your calendar alongside the adult meals.  See if you can at least correlate some side dishes.  For example, if your kids love hot dogs and mac & cheese, make the adult meal something that will pair well with the mac & cheese. Or make the grown-up version of their meal. In this instance, maybe some gourmet sausages sautéed with green peppers and onions.

  • Use freezer meals for the “odd man out.”  Sometimes there’s a meal that everyone – except one holdout – loves.  In this case, have the odd person out choose a freezer meal that they like and heat it up for them.


By using the above tips, meal planning for picky eaters doesn’t have a to be so stressful! What do you do to make mealtime with picky eaters easier for your family?


Mindful Meal Planning Book Cover 2

Get more meal planning tips and family friendly recipes with my new e-book,

Mindful Meal Planning: Eat Healthy While Saving Time, Money, & Stress! 


Meal Planning for Vegetarians

meal planning for vegetarians, christine luken

Meal planning for vegetarians can be complicated for two reasons: 1.) It seems like much of meal planning revolves around the main protein dish. 2.) You may be the only vegetarian in your family of carnivores.

I admit there was an adjustment period when I made the decision to eat mostly vegetarian for my meals. My husband still eats chicken and beef so I had to make changes to the way I did my meal planning.  I thought it would be helpful to include some considerations and meal planning tips for vegetarians, in case there is one in your household.


Meal Planning for Vegetarians:

Cook large batches of quinoa, brown rice, and other grain blends once a week. I will cook a large pot of grains with a vegetarian bouillon cube and some herbs. Freeze leftovers or store in the fridge. This makes it east to throw together grain and veggie bowls or add some to a salad.

When you get home from the grocery store, spend a little time washing, cutting, and prepping your fruit and veggies. This will save you time when you want to make a quick stir fry, salad, or Buddha bowl.

Find some meatless meals that you whole family enjoys, such as Easy Black Bean Soup, Quinoa Chili, and pasta with marinara and veggies. I’ve got tons of vegetarian recipes pinned HERE.


Make the vegetarian version of whatever your family is eating. Examples from my household:


  • When I grill a beef burger or pork sausage for my husband, I’ll grill a black bean burger or vegan sausage for myself. All of side dishes will be the same.

  • I’ll make big salads and make the base of greens and veggies the same, customizing my husband’s with grilled chicken and bacon bits, and mine with garbanzo beans and extra vegetable.

  • I’ll bake potatoes and steam broccoli and other vegetables. My hubby and I can choose from a variety of toppings: diced chicken, chili, cheese, veggies, etc.

  • When I cook steak for Nick, I make myself mushrooms in wine sauce. Here is the easy recipe: Slice or quarter a package of portobello mushrooms. Combine 1/3 cup of red wine with 1 Tbs of olive oil and 1 tsp of Tuscan seasoning. Marinade mushrooms in wine sauce for 15 minutes. You can either saute them in a skillet over medium heat or thread the mushrooms on a skewer and grill them. I like the mushrooms served with wild rice so that it absorbs all of the yummy wine sauce.

Meal planning for vegetarians doesn’t have to be difficult, even if you live in a house full of “meat-atarians!”   Do you have any tips to share? If so, please post them below!

$25 Starbucks + Money is Emotional Book Giveaway

Welcome to the Money is Emotional and $25 Starbucks Gift Card Giveaway Event!

This event is sponsored, and brought to you by blogger, and author: Christine Luken.

(Yes, me!)  If you hate math, but want to win with money, this book is perfect for you!

Hosted by: Lil’ Blog and More

& Co-hosted by the Hartwell Real Estate Blog!

Thank you to all of the participating bloggers, who make this giveaway possible. We will have 1 great prize, for one lucky winner!
Financial Lifeguard and author, Christine Luken, is sponsoring this fabulous giveaway! Enter to win a signed copy of her new book, Money is Emotional: Prevent Your Heart from Hijacking Your Wallet and a $25 Starbucks gift card, because what goes better together than books and coffee?


Here’s what the experts are saying about Money is Emotional:

“Christine Luken does a wonderful job taking complex financial topics and making them easy to understand. Reading Money is Emotional is like having a conversation with a knowledgeable friend.” -Robert Pagliarini, CFP, EA, Author of The Sudden Wealth Solution

“Feeling fear, stress or anxiety around your finances? Christine Luken is here to help you clarify the boundary lines between your money and your emotions so you can make smarter financial decisions. With warmth, empathy, and grace, Christine will serve as your lifeguard to keep you from drowning in your finances.” – Manisha Thakor, CFA, CFP, Founder of MoneyZen.com, Co-author of Get Financially Naked

Learn how Christine’s heart hijacked her wallet, and how she overcame it, by sneaking a peek into the book here: http://christineluken.com/i-let-my-heart-hijack-my-wallet/

The Giveaway! 

One lucky winner will receive a $25 Starbucks gift card, AND a signed copy of “Money is Emotional” by Christine Luken. Open to U.S. entries, only. 

 Enter with this form below:


The bloggers involved in this giveaway were not compensated, and are
not responsible for prize fulfillment. Lil’ Blog and More will be sending the
prize out. Must be 18 years of age or older to enter this giveaway.
This giveaway starts June 12,  2017 (11:59 pm.), and will end on June 30, 2017 at
11:59 pm. The winner will be emailed, and have 48 hours to respond, or a
new winner will be chosen. Once a winner is drawn and confirmed, the
name will be announced on the GiveawayTools form.
Open to U.S. entries.

Saucy Ways to Eat Better and Save Money

homemade pesto

Today’s guest post is by Barney Whistance.

Everybody enjoys satisfying their taste buds and cravings by eating a scrumptious meal. Whether it’s homemade mac and cheese on a chilly night, fresh green salad with Caesar dressing or pizza with your favorite zesty ranch dip, you know you need the right sauce to elevate your food from plain nice to super yummy.

However, often at the end of our trips to the grocery store, we are left with a lengthy receipt of items bought, a big dent in our bank account and many questions buzzing in our heads. How did the bill reach that high? Did I buy things I shouldn’t have? Why does this always happen? Why are these oh-so-tempting and fancy-named sauces so darn expensive?

Well, the answer is because they are! And they aren’t expensive because of the product it contains but more so because of the brand it belongs to and the designing, packaging, and marketing that went behind it. Knowing that we wish that we could sometimes maybe try making them ourselves yet we are never able to muster up the motivation and effort to do that. Nonetheless, there are solid reasons which should encourage you to replace your store-bought sauces and dips with cheaper, healthier and tastier homemade ones.

Dipping Sauce

When you replace these commonly used dips with your own versions, you will be saving your hard earned money. Secondly, you will be healthier due to the reduction in sugars, salts, vegetable oils, and nutrition-less fillers like gum or starch. And thirdly you will enjoy a more renewed, sensitive and mature taste palate formed by tasting fresh and natural ingredients. The following are some healthy sauces you can easily make at home.

  1. Tomato Sauce: A staple in every American household as we buy 10 billion ounces of it each year, ketchup is found in around 97 percent of our homes.  But such high consumption of store-bought ketchup is unhealthy and unnecessarily expensive. Why waste money on a fancy looking ketchup when you can make the same quality sauce at home for less than a dollar? All you need are some cans of tomatoes and some simple spices. Cook it all together and add flour, or grind veggies like onions or beet for a thicker consistency and a unique flavor. To make it for a sassy dinner party you can experiment with red wine, basil, and parsley.  According to moneypantry.com, homemade ketchup is less than half to a quarter of the cost of a store bought one.

  2. Mayonnaise: Mayonnaise is so commonly used that we just expect it to be there in our fridge all the time, although the commercial versions can be costly, not great in taste and high in calorie and sugar content. However making it is very easy and a person who doesn’t know how to cook can even do it well. With just 5 ingredients and a blender, you will do your pocket and health a big favor especially if you, like most Americans, use it often.

  3. Pesto sauce: While sounding intricate and complex, pasta’s partner – pesto – can be made with any aromatic and tasty green leaf, nutty oil and hard salty cheese. If you have lemon, garlic, salt and olive oil, then you can make this sauce for any budget that you are under. You can add kale and other greens to up the nutritional value, in addition to the standard basil.

  4. Yogurt/Greek Yogurt: Another daily use food product, making yogurt will not only be easy but very cost effective, especially in Greek style. Most people assume that it’s very hard to make Greek yogurt but in fact the opposite is true. Making both types of yogurts is simple, it involves boiling and cooling the milk, mixing in a spoon of yogurt either natural or store bought and then keeping the mixture at a warm temperature for a few hours. That’s your yogurt, now remove whey or the watery liquid from it completely through a sieve, strainer cloth or tissues and what you are left with is the exotic Greek variety. Cost savings for homemade yogurt compared to a store bought one is up to 84%.

  5. Jams, curds and concentrates: Commercial store bought jams often seem extremely cheap but when you take a look at the ingredients there’s hardly 20% fruit. That’s expensive for a load of sugary water with preservatives. Making your marmalade and concentrates at home will be much cheaper, tastier and healthier. However, the tip here is to remember to stick with the fruits with are in season so that you can find them easily and cheaply and make big batches. Curds too are highly priced at stores with low-quality ingredients whereas the same can be made with all organic ingredients at home with less than half the price.

Granola bars, croutons, bread and baby food are some other food and snacks that you can easily make at home for yourself and your family. Remember the bigger your batch the more you save. You can also easily freeze the batches of most of these for later use. This way you will cut down your needless costs and keep your body slim and healthy. In the end, you will find that making more and more of your food at home will reap many benefits to your entire lifestyle.




Barney Whistance is an enthusiastic Finance and Economics blogger who is most interested in global economic climate. Apart from doing majors in Finance, he is also a Chartered Accountancy Student and planning to complete his Ph.D. in Finance before he turns 30. You find him on Twitter.