How to Organize Closet Space on a Tight Budget

Have you ever seen the closet of a really wealthy person? Me neither.  But I have seen the closet of almost every Real Housewife on Bravo.  Every item of clothing has its own personalized home.  There are doors and compartments and sometimes even a beautiful chandelier.  Yeah, that’s not my closet. :)

My closet is full of disheveled clothes interspersed with empty wire, plastic and wood hangers. I have piles of sweaters and sweatshirts mixed along with my summer clothes that I tried to shove in the corner shelf.  Now before you judge me too much, I should tell you, this USED to be my closet.  I don’t have the money to make my closet as fabulous as a tv star’s but I have do have great tips on how to organize closet space on a tight budget.

happymoneysaver.com|I love these great tips on how to organize a closet. #organization

 

How to Organize Closet Space on a Tight Budget

  1. Keep an empty bin in your closet for empty hangers. This could be a box from Costco or the old laundry basket with the broken handle!  When you take an item of clothing off of the hanger,  place it in the bin.  It makes the hangers easy to find on laundry day and also keeps a cleaner look in your closet.
  2. Store your most-used items at eye level, less-used items below, and least-used items up high because let’s face it–no one likes to reach all the way up in the top of the closet in the morning!
  3. Do your dresses fall off the hangers like mine do?  An easy solution is to wrap pipe cleaners around your hangers so that your clothes don’t fall off.  Speaking of hangers shop at garage sales or second-hand stores for them.  I love having matching hangers but buying them can get expensive.  Buying them used is a great way to get them a bargain price.
  4. Use command hooks on your closet wall for purses, bags or even jewelry. These hooks are cheap and sturdy and help the purses keep their shape without being smashed against one another.
  5. Always keep a laundry bin in your closet. Then as you are changing your clothes they instantly go into the laundry bin—and not on the floor!
  6. Organize your clothes into categories. For example short sleeve shirts, long sleeve shirts, dresses, etc.  This makes it easier to find what you are looking for on a busy day and also to stay organized when putting your laundry away.
  7. Get rid of old clothes no matter how attached you are to them.  You are never going to wear your old ratty high school basketball shirt so part ways and let it go.
  8. Add a lamp or battery-operated stick-on tap lights in those dark corners.  When your closet is well-lit you can make decisions faster and you are less likely to shove things in that dark corner.  C’mon we’ve all done that at least once…right?
  9. Make more room in your closet by storing out-of-season clothes in boxes up high or under the bed.  I love to save the bags that new comforters come in.  They are pliable and see through so you can see what clothes are stored in them in case you need to get an out-of-season item out of storage.  You can also use suitcases to store out-of-season clothes, blankets or sweaters.

Do you have any budget-friendly closet organization tips?

23 Secrets for Spring Cleaning And Home Organization

 

happymoneysaver.com | 23 Amazing Secrets for Spring Cleaning and Home Organization

Spring is coming and although that means Easter, flowers and opening your windows again, it also means Spring cleaning and home organization.  Over the winter, it seems we collect more clutter and dirt  around the house.  We have found 23 things that will help you start off your spring cleaning and home organization off right.

cleaning routine

1.  My ultimate happy home cleaning routine plus free printable checklist
So many chores, so little time, am I right?  This step by step guide will help you get organized and get those chores done fast!  I live by this, and it help so much!  My house isn’t perfectly clean all of the time but this sure helps me keep it as clean as possible.  I think you will find that you can’t live without this checklist either.

broom holder

2.  Mop and Broom Holder
Let’s start out with organizing all of our cleaning tools.  Mops, brooms, hand held brooms and dusters can really get out of hand.  I like to hang mine all together in this holder on the wall so they are out of the way, and not falling over if I lean them up in a closet.  This keeps everything in it’s place, which I LOVE!

hanger holder

3.  Hanger Holder
This little contraption has saved me space and time.  I like to take clothes out of the dryer and hang them right away to minimize wrinkles.  As soon as I put a load in the dryer, I go get the hangers ready to start hanging clothes right away out of the dryer.  This would also be so convenient right where you do your ironing.  It folds out of the way when not in use.  I love mine!

suede cleaner
4.  Homemade Suede Cleaner
Do you have suede couches?  If so, I have the BEST cleaner for you!  Don’t look any further.  And guess what?  It’s so simple!  You will be just as thrilled as I am!  Giving your suede couches a good freshening up will really give them new life and make your whole living room look cleaner.

over the door hanger
5.  Over the Cabinet Holder
I love this organizer because it gets all the stuff that you need off of the counter, and under the sink.  This is great for soaps or cleaners in the kitchen, or maybe for your brushes or curling irons in the bathroom.  I have one in my utility room with all of the shampoo and stuff to give the dog a bath.

organizer

6.  Better Houseware Large Organizer White
The kitchen is full of odd shaped items that make them hard to store.  This organizer has really made a huge impact in my storage and organization in the kitchen.  I have my cutting boards and cupcake pans all tucked away nice and neat with this organizer in my cabinet.  I can always find what I need, and it keeps them nice and organized.  Love that!

carpet

7.  Homemade Carpet Cleaning Solution
Spring time is the perfect time to clean all of your carpets.  Lots of dirt can get trapped in there even after regular vacuuming.  It’s important to shampoo every once in awhile.  Instead of buying a cleaner, this homemade carpet cleaner works like a charm.  You will NOT be disappointed.

pyrex

8.  Pyrex 18pc Glass Food Storage with Multi-colored Lids
I love my Pryex!  This is something I use every single day.  I love that they stack so well, and that I feel safe when re-heating my leftovers.  These keep so nicely in my cupboards, and I could not live without them in my kitchen.

spicy shelf

9.  Spicy Shelf Patented Spice Rack and Stackable Organizer
This is such a cool way to organize your spices.  This maximizes space, but also you can SEE everything.  Gotta love that!

homemade spray

10.  Keep Clean Easy 3 Ingredient All-Purpose Spray
If I can make a cleaner myself, I would rather do that then buy it.  This spray will change your life.  Only 3 ingredients, I tell ya!  You can’t go wrong with that!

drawer organizer

11.  Lipper International Bamboo Deep Kitchen Drawer Dividers, Set of 2
These bamboo drawer dividers are the best!  You can take a messy drawer and organize it to your exact needs.  Sometimes those pre-made organizers don’t fit just right.  These are so great because you can use them just how you need them.

dishwashaer

12.  Cleaning the Dishwasher
It seems like the dishwasher should be clean by nature because it’s JOB is to clean.  Well, sometimes the dishwasher might start to stink or not clean as well.  Here are some steps to help you clean your dishwasher so that your dishes will come out sparkly clean!

shelf liners

13.  Self Adhesive Shelf Liner – 2 Pack – Rugby Chevron Aqua Pop
Spice up the insides of your drawers and cabinets with this beautiful shelf liner.  This pop of color will make you love opening your cabinets.  It might also help you keep them clean because you will want to see that pretty aqua chevron.

swiffer

14.  Which Mop To Use?
Mopping has got to be one of my very least favorite chores.  BUT, I have finally found the best way to do it.   Find out my trick for the best mop.

car organizer

15.  Car Trunk Organizer
Usually when we think of spring cleaning, we think of our homes.  But, sometimes I feel like I LIVE in my car.  The vehicle deserves a spring cleaning too!  The back of my car gets cluttered so easily.  This little organizer would help so much with keeping things neat and clean back there.  This would keep that soccer ball from rolling around all over, or keep the groceries organized.  The kids could put DVDs or headphones in there on a road trip.   I love that it folds flat when it’s not in use too.  This is a must have for my van for sure!

closet2

16.  Cleaning Your Closets
Spring is a great time to freshen up your closet and organize it.  Sometimes it seems like such a large task to clean your closets.  By following these simple steps, you will be organized in no time at all!

hanging shelves

17.  Hanging Accessory Shelves
One way to organize your closet, is to add these hanging shelves.  I love to use these for setting my kids’ clothes out for the week.  We try to set them out Sunday night so the mornings go much smoother.

drawer organizers

18.  Drawer Dividers Storage Boxes 4 Set
Neat and tidy dresser drawers make me so happy.  Sometimes my drawers can get so messy with all of the little “items” that are in those lingerie drawers.  This organizer will keep all of your unmentionables separate and right where you can see them.

scarf organizer

19.  Scarf Holder-18 Loop
Wearing a scarf can dress up an outfit, so I love to wear them.   They can sure make a mess in the closet, but not with this great holder!  I can see all of my scarves and they hang nicely and it doesn’t take up a lot of space.

dryer lint

20.  Clean Out the Lint
Even the dryer needs to be cleaned every once in awhile.  Did you realized that you get build up on your lint catcher? It might seem like air is flowing perfectly through that mesh/vent but what you don’t see is a clear film.  Read along how you can extend the life of your dryer  by doing one simple step.  It will also help it run more efficiently too!  Love that!

shoe organizer

21.  Over The Door Clear Shoe Organizer/Storage Rack
This is a great way to organize your shoes so they are out of the way, and off of the floor.  If space is an issue, this is perfect, because there is always room on the back of the door.  You could also use this organizer for all of your stockpiled cleaning supplies, or craft supplies for the kids.  I love that it’s clear so that you can see all that your are storing.  The possibilities are endless with this organizer!

tool organizer

22.  Rubbermaid Deluxe Tool Tower Rack with Casters
It’s about that time of year when it’s time to clean out the garage.  There are so many tools needed in the garage, and there always seems to be very little space to store it all.  This organizer will help you keep all of your rakes, brooms, shovels and tools together and organized.  I love an organized garage.  It makes me so happy!

welcome mat

23.  Welcome Doormat
After you get the house all cleaned up for Spring, how about a new Welcome mat for the front door to freshen up your doorstep.  This beautiful doormat is PERFECT for welcoming Spring.

I hope you have found lots of great ideas and tools to get your house ready for Spring cleaning and home organization in the coming weeks and months.  It always feels so good after the Spring cleaning is done.  So worth it!

 

 

FREE Printable Easter Advent Calendar

Easter Advent Calendar a great way to celebrate Easter with your own family.

With Easter almost here I am getting so excited to start celebrating.

I decided to do an Easter Advent Calendar for my family.  My sister-in-law made one for our family for Christmas similar to this one and my children were so excited each day to see what activity was next.  I created twelve days to Easter with each day bringing a new activity for my kiddos and me.  They are so excited to get started!

Easter Advent Calendar a great way to celebrate Easter with your own family. (#happythoughts)

Each day holds a different activity. Some take more preparation and others take little time like reading an Easter book.  I also included a lot of Christ-centered activities like baking the Resurrection rolls, service activities, and reading Luke: 24 the resurrection of Christ.  I also added fun activities like decorating Easter eggs, making an Easter craft, and watching an Easter movie (our movie will be Hop, but we will probably also watch one on the resurrection).

Easter advent calendar a great way to spend time with the family celebrating Christ and Easter. (#happythoughts)

In making this Easter advent calendar I found these folders on the on-line Silhouette store and then cut them out with my silhouette machine.  Everything else I made using Photoshop and have included the free printables so that your family can be included in the excitement that will take place in our home.

Easter advent calendar a great way to spend time with the family celebrating Christ and Easter. (#happythoughts)

I hope you enjoy the Easter advent calendar as much as my family will.  There are three different sheets that are included in this printable so make sure to click on each link and take time to be with your family.

Click Here for the Advent Numbers, Click Here for Advent Activities 1, and Here for Advent Activities 2.EASTER ADVENT Calendar

This post is part of our Happy Thoughts posts where we feel it’s important to be thoughtful of others. Enjoy and please share!

The BEST Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Recipe

 Happymoneysaver.com | The BEST Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Recipe {and it's all done in the crockpot}

My husband is a huge fan of the Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Recipe, so I created a knock off version that is delicious! If you have never had this soup then you are missing out. The soup has a creamy base with potatoes, kielbasa sausage and some melt in your mouth cooked kale. Please do me a favor and make this soup for dinner tonight. You can thank me later.

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Recipe:

Ingredients:
1 package sausage
3-4 Red or Russet potatoes
1 garlic clove minced
1/4 finely diced onion or onion dry flakes
3-4 tbsp bacon bits *optional
2 Cartons 32 oz chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 bunch of kale

Happymoneysaver.com | The BEST Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Recipe {and it's all done in the crockpot}

Method:

 Slice up your sausage. Place sausage in frying pan with a little olive oil and fry till browned. Then add the chicken broth, sausage, onion, garlic, bacon bits and sliced potatoes to a crock pot.

Happymoneysaver.com | The BEST Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Recipe {and it's all done in the crockpot}

Slow cook in crock pot for 4-5 hours. Add the kale and heavy cream for the last 30 minutes.

Happymoneysaver.com | The BEST Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Recipe {and it's all done in the crockpot}

Serve and enjoy! Makes enough for 6 people.

Happymoneysaver.com | The BEST Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Recipe {and it's all done in the crockpot}

I’m telling you… this stuff is so good.

Happymoneysaver.com | The BEST Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Recipe {and it's all done in the crockpot}

This Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Recipe would go perfect with a side salad. Be sure to check my Copycat Olive Garden Italian Dressing Recipe for that. And if you love this recipe you will also LOVE my Olive Garden Chicken Scampi Recipe. It is to die for. Happy Cooking!

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 package sausage
  • 3-4 Red or Russet Potatoes
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • ¼ finely diced onion or onion dry flakes
  • 3-4 tbsp bacon bits (optional)
  • 2 Cartons 32 oz chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ bunch of kale
Instructions
  1. Slice up your sausage.
  2. Place sausage in frying pan with a little Pam and fry till browned.
  3. Then add the chicken broth, sausage, onion, garlic, bacon bits and sliced potatoes to a crock-pot.
  4. Slow cook for 4-5 hours.
  5. Add the Kale and heavy cream for the last 30 minutes.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

5 Things I Do BEFORE I Shop Online

5 tips to shopping online

Why pay more when you can get it for less?  This mantra has been running through my DNA since before I was born. Lately, it’s more important than ever as I have been mastering the art of online shopping.  You can save as much as 50 to 60% on an online purchase if you just know the 5 tips for shopping online. Here are my secrets.

5 THINGS I DO BEFORE SHOPPING ONLINE

1 – Read Reviews.  Most of the time I know what I want to buy BUT I’m not sure about which brand I should choose.  That’s where reviews come in handy.  Amazon has great personal reviews that help me narrow down the choice to the best models and brands.  I also use BluePromoCode.com’s insider blog posts to gather information for tips on the best products.

2 – Check for Coupons.  I love to use BluePromoCode.com for online coupons.  They have a 1 million coupon database supplying promo codes, shipping discounts and sales on over 40,000 stores making it easy to compare prices between brands.  They even verify their promo codes work with their new “Deal Verified” feature which gives screens-shot proof that a promo code is valid.

5 tips to shopping online

Recently, I was shopping for a new laptop and found through BluePromoCode.com that the same laptop was sold at 8 different stores at 8 different prices.  Thankfully, they had all the sales and promo codes from those stores available at my fingertips so I was able to make a well-informed decision on an expensive purchase.

BluePromoCode.com also offers a really cool feature where you can follow your favorite stores and get a daily email or a push alert with updates on all the sales and promo codes arranged in one message.  You can also get deals on specific products in one email, too, if you know what you are looking for.  This year it worked perfectly for my Christmas shopping.  I just waited for the sales to come to me instead of hours of research myself.  Talk about making the holidays less stressful!

3 – Buy Used if Possible.  Before buying a new item, it is best to see what the used price is.  I like to check Ebay or Craigslist before buying my products.  Sometimes it confirms the decision to buy new and other times I am able to get the deal of a century on a slightly-used item.

4 – Take Shipping Costs into Consideration.  Add the shipping costs into your total bill before purchasing an item to make sure you aren’t paying as much for shipping as you are for the product.  BluePromoCode.com offers lots of free shipping codes and can even sort the stores so you can shop ONLY at the ones with free shipping.  I also love Amazon Prime for quick two-day shipping where I don’t worry about the shipping prices at all.

5 – Be Patient.  There is a continuous cycle of online bargains and promotions.  If you have time to wait it out, you can keep watching for the right deal instead of the “right now” deal.

Use these 5 tips for shopping online and save money every time.  Do you have any secrets for shopping online?

Disclosure: BluePromoCode.com has sponsored this post. However, all opinions here are 100% my own.  See my disclosure policy for more details.

Thrifty Tip: 10 Ways to Use Baking Soda Daily

happymoneysaver.com| Who knew there were so many uses for baking soda daily. What a great list!

Baking soda is one of those things we all have in our home.  For some it is used often for cooking and for others it is shoved somewhere in their fridge hoping to keep the leftovers smells at bay.  I think I can honestly claim both of those.

But I bet you didn’t realize all the versatile ways you can use baking soda daily throughout your house.  Baking soda may look like a fine powder but it really is a chemical compound that releases bubbles of carbon dioxide when it interacts with an acid and a liquid. In baking it is as a leavening agent to make your bread and cakes fluffy.  But it is also a great cleaner around the home and is so affordable!  Who knows?  It may make you think twice when see that little box in your pantry.

Here are 10 Ways to use Baking Soda Daily.

happymoneysaver.com| Who knew there were so many uses for baking soda daily. What a great list!

1. Clean your toilets.  Put a cup of baking soda in the toilet.  Let it sit for an hour and then flush.  It cleans the toilet and gets rid of any odors without any scrubbing.

2. Wash your hairbrushes.  Over time there can be build up of oil and hair products on your brushes.  Soak your hair brushes in 1 cup of warm water and 1 teaspoon of baking soda.  Rinse with clean water.  Leave it on the counter to dry.

3. Facial Cleanser. Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda to your usual facial cleanser or even just coconut oil and form a paste. Massage into your skin in circular motions to help exfoliate and leave skin feeling soft.  I do this about once a week and I swear it makes my face glow!

4. Clean crayons off of walls.  Apply baking soda to a slightly damp cloth and rub lightly.  Then use a dry cloth to clean off the crayon marks.  Yes, I know this works from personal experience.

5. Get rid of the itchy bug bites.  Make a paste out of baking soda and water.  I usually use about 1 teaspoon of baking soda to 1/2 teaspoon of water.  Apply it on the bug bite. The itchiness and redness is eased!

6. Remove oil and grease stains on your garage floor.  It’s inevitable that sometimes the garage floor is going to be dirty.  Simply sprinkle baking soda directly on it, let it absorb as much as it can and then scrub with a wet brush.

7. Baking powder substitute. In cooking  it can be used as a substitute for baking powder by mixing it with cream of tartar or vinegar.  I love being able to substitute crucial ingredients when I run out of them which happens a lot lately!

8. Scrub your tubs.  I hate to use harsh chemicals when I know we are at our most vulnerable!  Baking soda, a little water and a hand brush cleans and deodorizes your tubs in minutes!

9. Relieves sunburns.  Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to a warm bath.  Soak for at least 15 minutes in it to soothe the sunburn.  If you don’t have time for a bath combine baking soda and water and apply it to your skin with a washcloth or soaked cotton balls.

10. Neutralize your breath.  Sometimes you run out of mouthwash right before a hot date.  No worries!  Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of water. Swish it, spit it and rinse.  It’s an easy, inexpensive mouthwash to keep your breath fresh!

Do you have any special ways that you use baking soda in your home?

87 Thrifty And Fun Easter Basket Filler Ideas

happymoneysaver.com |  Check out 87 Thrifty And Fun Easter Basket Filler Ideas ideas for babies- teenagers!

Easter is coming up…are you ready for it?  I know I need to get busy getting all of my goodies ready to fill the Easter baskets.  Today, we have a list of 87 thrifty and fun Easter basket filler ideas.   The basket can’t just have grass inside.  It’s nice to put a few things in there so the kids are excited Easter morning.   So look at our list, and I’m sure you will find lots of ideas to fill your baskets up this Easter.

Easter Basket Ideas for Babies (Age 0-2)

happymoneysaver.com |  Check out 87 Thrifty And Fun Easter Basket Filler Ideas ideas for babies- teenagers!
New pacifiers are always a good thing for the babies.  It seems you can never have enough of them.
You can only use this once, but it’s a must.  Keep that Easter outfit clean with this bib to celebrate a first Easter.
Babies love keys.  These are perfect for your little one that might be teething.
Fun, colorful and great for bathing.
These are my favorite sippy cups.  We have gone through so many of these exact cups over the years.  Again, you can’t have too many of them!
happymoneysaver.com |  Check out 87 Thrifty And Fun Easter Basket Filler Ideas ideas for babies- teenagers!
These teether toys are so great!  They keep your baby happy and occupied!
This little guy is so adorable.  Babies will love to play with little Mortimer the Moose!
Drawing all over bathtub is such a novelty.  Your kids will love these!
This is a great quiet book for appointments or church.  So cute and soft, too.
I love classic toys like this.  Babies love this stacking toy.
happymoneysaver.com |  Check out 87 Thrifty And Fun Easter Basket Filler Ideas ideas for babies- teenagers!
Such a great gift for a toddler boy.
This is a perfect book for the ones learning to talk.
I love this set.  Such a cute little hay ride, don’t you think?
I love Llama Llama books.  So cute.  This board book is so great for your little one.
Little ones will love lifting the large, sturdy flaps in this sweet board book.

Ideas for kids Easter Baskets (Age 3-10)

happymoneysaver.com |  Check out 87 Thrifty And Fun Easter Basket Filler Ideas ideas for babies- teenagers!
This will get you started filling the baskets.
I’m a sucker for a cute stuffed animal.  Especially in an Easter basket.   You gotta have a little rabbit in the basket!
My kids love Webkinz.  They like to play with with them, and then get online and play games with them too.
I know.  He’s an adorable little lamb.  Precious!
I’m not going to be able to resist this little dude.  I mean, the ears and the carrot?  And his name is CARROT!  The cutest!
happymoneysaver.com |  Check out 87 Thrifty And Fun Easter Basket Filler Ideas ideas for babies- teenagers!
Decorating with sticky mosaics are so much fun for kids of all ages.
You can’t go wrong with anything involving Legos!  Legos and Easter = great combination!
Since Spring is right around the corner, the kids would love their own garden tool set.
A cute Easter book is a good gift to fill the basket with.
Boys love trains.  This is a great train if your child likes Chuggington.
happymoneysaver.com |  Check out 87 Thrifty And Fun Easter Basket Filler Ideas ideas for babies- teenagers!
I am so in love with this adorable purse!  I don’t think I can pull it off, so I guess I’ll put it in my little girls’ Easter basket.
I can totally see a little boy carrying around this cute set of crayons.
Sidewalk chalk is a must in our Easter baskets.  Easter marks the start of Spring, so we all need new sidewalk chalk.
New bubbles are also a must for Easter.  This new bubble machine will be a big hit!
These pull back racer cars are so fun.  I can already see the races going on across the kitchen.
happymoneysaver.com |  Check out 87 Thrifty And Fun Easter Basket Filler Ideas ideas for babies- teenagers!
We just love colored pencils at our house.  Don’t you?  A fresh set is always so nice.
Playing with dinosaurs is so fun for little boys.  This is a great set for a great price!
These would be fun to have in the Easter baskets.  Kids love to have stamps.
I’ve always love these little critters.  They have great stories that kids love too.
This classic game is welcome treat for kids of all ages.
happymoneysaver.com |  Check out 87 Thrifty And Fun Easter Basket Filler Ideas ideas for babies- teenagers!
The older kids will get a kick out of this Easter basket filler.
This is the perfect activity for busy little hands to create a masterpiece.
The classic tic-tac-toe game in magnetic, travel-size form!  Yes, please!
My kids love these updated coloring books–and so do I!
I think we get Legos for every holiday at our house.  Easter is no different! This set is so cute and perfect for a basket!
Can’t forget the boy Legos!  Monster trucks for boys?  Of course!
happymoneysaver.com |  Check out 87 Thrifty And Fun Easter Basket Filler Ideas ideas for babies- teenagers!
A new game is fun for Easter.  A great day to spend with family playing a new game together.
Do you have a budding scientist at your house?  There are lots of great ideas in this book.
So much fun for your girl to showcase her style and learn how to accessorize.
Do your girls love everything American Girl?  Yet another great product to add to your AG collection.
Dora is still as great as ever!  This cute charm case will make your girl very happy on Easter Sunday.
Such a fun craft idea that is also a little “science-y” too.  (I know that “science-y” is not a real word.  :))
This mouse is hysterical.  He never ceases to amaze me. I didn’t realize he had an Easter book too!  So great.
happymoneysaver.com |  Check out 87 Thrifty And Fun Easter Basket Filler Ideas ideas for babies- teenagers!
Getting new bath toys just make a bath so much more fun.  It’s always good to rotate those bathtoys, and everyone loves Bubble Guppies!
I thought these might be fun to use as place settings at the kids table for Easter dinner.
Frozen is still so popular and kids love these activity books.
I just think Sofia the first is adorable, don’t you?  This movie would be so fun for an Easter basket.
Play-Doh is the best!  These My Little Pony stampers are so cute and a great price, too!
The boys need some Play-Doh too, don’t you think?  This has 3 year old boy written all over it!  Perfect!
happymoneysaver.com |  Check out 87 Thrifty And Fun Easter Basket Filler Ideas ideas for babies- teenagers!
I know, I know.  You don’t WANT to buy this, but you know your kids will get a real kick out of this.  Lots of giggles too.
These slap bracelets never get old, and if they can be decorated…so much better!
This is such a great way for kids to keep busy and it’s great for all ages.
Sometimes you gotta make it easy on yourself by getting pre-filled eggs.  No judgements here…so easy and not candy.  Love that, too!
My kids think Alvin and the Chipmunks are so funny.  They would love this DVD!
This reusable sticker pad could be fun for hours for your little one.
happymoneysaver.com |  Check out 87 Thrifty And Fun Easter Basket Filler Ideas ideas for babies- teenagers!
Melissa & Doug makes the best toys for those little ones.  These wooden cars are so fun.
These are always a big hit for the kiddos.  It’s a puzzle, toy AND eraser.
We haven’t seen this movie yet, but I hear it’s good.  Might be a great addition to the Easter baskets this year.
This is a beautiful kite.  My kids love to fly kites, and Easter is a great time to start for the season.
We have had these rocket balloons before, and there were many good times and giggles as we watch them fly and scream.  So much fun!
The kids can take these outside and have fun for hours and they watch the planes glide through the sky.

Teen Easter Basket Ideas (Age 11 – teen)

For me, the hardest to shop for is the older kids when it comes to Easter.  There has to be something cool in the basket to get their attention.  We have found some ideas I know you will love!
happymoneysaver.com |  Check out 87 Thrifty And Fun Easter Basket Filler Ideas ideas for babies- teenagers!
Kids are never too old for a Mad Lib.  This is fun for all ages, really.
These babies are making a comeback.  It is a retro toy that kids are loving again.  It’s timeless.  Boys and girls will BOTH love a Rubik’s Cube!
My kids love these easy jokes.  Makes for a fun afternoon for everyone!
A slinky is a fun addition to the Easter basket.
I put this with the older kids, because they might be able to actually play a song.  If you give it to a younger child, go ahead and pick up some ear plugs for yourself.  :)
A new set of nail polish will make someone very happy.  I love these bright colors!
happymoneysaver.com |  Check out 87 Thrifty And Fun Easter Basket Filler Ideas ideas for babies- teenagers!
Big Nate is great for boys or girls.  Kids love to read comics, and this is a greatest hits, so it should be a good one.
These necklaces make such a wonderful and personal gift for your girl.  She will love the added personal touch of the charms inside!
This will keep the kids busy for hours.  Nothing better than good, clean fun!
Do you know how to yo-yo?  I bet the kids would love to learn!  They might even let you have a quick turn with it too.
Have you tried kinetic sand yet?  It is SO cool!  Kids love it, but you might get to play with it a little as well.
happymoneysaver.com |  Check out 87 Thrifty And Fun Easter Basket Filler Ideas ideas for babies- teenagers!
A puzzle is a great family activity that everyone can participate in.  This one looks like a fun puzzle!
I know it’s getting warmer, so we won’t need scarves, but it’s a always fun to do a craft and learn a new skill
80.  Ear Buds
These are #1 Bestsellers and a GREAT price.  I’m sure your tween could use a new pair of earbuds.  I know mine can!
This set is so adorable with the cute little Paris case.  I would love this set myself, come to think of it!
A new set of pens will make your girl happy, and these are adorable.  I love that they are called “totally taffy”.
happymoneysaver.com |  Check out 87 Thrifty And Fun Easter Basket Filler Ideas ideas for babies- teenagers!
These lotions are great, and they are are already in Easter colors!
I love EOS lip balm.  This one even looks like an Easter Egg!  So fun!
I think the older boys love this movie.  I mean, it’s superheroes, but they aren’t babyish.  Perfect!
This is a GREAT movie!  I watched it with my tween girl, and we loved it.
Fun colored scarf for spring would be a perfect choice to add to the Easter basket.
I hope you have been able to fill your Easter baskets with all 87 of these Easter basket filler ideas.  Enjoy and Happy Easter!

Oven Baked Homemade French Fries Recipe

 

Oven Baked Basil French Fries homemade recipe

OK, OK, I know it’s barely spring, but I’m so totally ready for summer!

This winter has just been absolutely awful, hasn’t it? I know God never gives you more than you can handle, but he’s surely been pushing it with this snow the last couple of months! We haven’t had it as bad here at home as the rest of the country…it’s actually been a fairly normal winter. I just can’t wait to break out the grill and fire up some family picnic time, and I’m sure a lot of you feel the same! Burgers just aren’t the same indoors!

I’m getting a head start on summer food ideas! I made you all a big ol’ batch of easy, yummy, homemade French fries!!

Oven Baked Basil French Fries homemade recipe

 

My basil plant is Out. Of. Control. (I think it might be on steroids). You would think that with planting season just starting, I would be starting seedlings and having to use store-bought basil leaves for my cooking, but no! I’ve been tossing the stuff in everything from sauce to stew, trying to keep it trimmed back to it will continue to flourish.

One night a few weeks back, I had the hare-brained idea to try adding fresh basil to a batch of fries I was pairing with an Italian chicken recipe. It turned in to basil night! Let me just say, if you think French fries can’t be a fancy side dish, you are totally wrong, and I’m going to prove it to you!

HOMEMADE FRENCH FRIES RECIPE

These Homemade French Fries Recipe With Basil from Happymoneysaver.com are the perfect addition to any meal!

Preheat your oven, first thing! 400 degrees should do it.

Not only are these fries fancier than your normal version, they’re super simple! Grab your favorite peeler and take the skins right off your lovely little potatoes. Or leave the skin on, if you prefer! It contains the bulk of nutrients – including fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. Personally, I toss mine with seasoning salt and a little Italian dressing and bake them separately at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or so. They’re one of my favorite movie night snacks!

These Homemade French Fries Recipe With Basil from Happymoneysaver.com are the perfect addition to any meal!

Grab a nice, sharp knife and cut those taters into 1/3- to 1/2-inch sticks. Try to cut them all uniformly, so they bake evenly…although, I love to snack on the little, extra crispy ones when they’re fresh out of the oven! I recently stumbled upon this french fry cutter, I just ordered one and I can’t wait to get it. It will make this process that much easier!

These Homemade French Fries Recipe With Basil from Happymoneysaver.com are the perfect addition to any meal!

Look how pretty!

As you’re cutting, soak the sticks in a bowl full of lightly salted water so they don’t turn brown and ugly, which they tend to do when they’re exposed to air for too long.

Let those babies soak a few more minutes, and brush some olive oil on a baking sheet. Chop up your basil and butter, and grab your seasonings. Get ready to make the magic happen!

These Homemade French Fries Recipe With Basil from Happymoneysaver.com are the perfect addition to any meal!

Drain your future fries on a few paper towels, and be sure to blot them as dry as you can before spreading them out on your baking sheet. It’s alright if they touch!

Sprinkle them with your salt, pepper, garlic powder, and some love. I mean basil! Yes, sprinkle the basil next. And feel free to use more if you want to!

Then, it’s time to drizzle on your olive oil, and scatter your yummy butter. I just can’t help it, I love butter! It’s not a lot, only a couple tablespoons, but it’s just enough to add the touch you’re looking for.

These Homemade French Fries Recipe With Basil from Happymoneysaver.com are the perfect addition to any meal!

Now comes the hard part – waiting! Pop them in the preheated oven and bake them for 30-ish minutes, until they’re barely browned. If you’re adding cheese, the 30 minute mark is the time to do it. If not, simply toss the fries a bit, rotate the pan, and let them bake another 15-20 minutes.

And your reward for your patience?

Dinner!

These Homemade French Fries Recipe With Basil from Happymoneysaver.com are the perfect addition to any meal!

I could seriously just make this homemade french fries recipe for dinner and be happy. Maybe a little cheese sauce?

These are getting me hungry again!

These Homemade French Fries Recipe With Basil from Happymoneysaver.com are the perfect addition to any meal!

Print this recipe up and get baking!

Oven Baked Basil French Fries
Author: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Fancy, homemade Oven Baked Basil French Fries are a perfect side dish for anything from Chicken Cordon Bleu to burgers on the grill!
Ingredients
  • 5-6 Idaho potatoes, peeled & sliced into ⅓ inch thick fries, soaked in cold water
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1-2 Tablespoons salt & pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Drain the fries and pat dry with paper towels. Use a pastry brush to spread 1½ tablespoons of the olive oil on a rimmed baking sheet and spread out the potatoes.
  3. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, then sprinkle the basil evenly over the potatoes. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the fries. Scatter the cubed butter around the pan (this helps create the lovely caramelized edges).
  4. Bake 30 minutes, then sprinkle Parmesan on top if desired. Rotating pan, return to oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are golden brown. Use a spatula to remove the fries. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

If you like this recipe, I am sure you will also love my Easy One Pan Ranch Chicken And Potatoes Recipe. That recipe uses my DIY Copycat Homemade Hidden Valley Ranch Mix which would also be a great seasoning to add to these french fries, so go check them out too!

The BEST Irish Brown Soda Bread Recipe

This Irish Brown Bread Recipe that is traditionally known as Guinness Bread is perfect for St. Patrick's Day. A cake-like bread with a subtle sweetness. Happymoneysaver.com

St. Patrick’s day is coming and I am here to share this amazing Irish Brown Soda Bread Recipe with you. Traditionally this bread is known as Guinness Bread. My sister recently traveled to Ireland and came back with this amazing bread recipe that is a staple in that country. She was in an  Irish pub eating some chowder when this bread was served to her. She fell in love. She had never had anything like it before. The lady looked at her like the foreigner that she was and said in her Irish way, “don’cha know darlin’, it’s  nofin but guineess bread…” Long story short, my sister walked out of that pub with recipe in hand.

Guinness is an Irish beer. Gasp! This recipe has beer in it!?- It sure does. I tried to come up with a non-alcoholic version, but because I don’t drink alcohol, I was having a hard time figuring out a good substitute while still keeping the good flavor. Oh well. If it ain’t broke…..

In my family we have changed the name of this bread to “Irish brown soda bread!”  The bread is crusty on the outside but the inside is very soft and dense and has a surprising sweetness to it. Traditionally, this bread is served alongside stews and chowders but it is also great with some butter and honey. YUM!

Irish Brown Soda Bread Recipe

This Irish Brown Bread Recipe that is traditionally known as Guinness Bread is perfect for St. Patrick's Day. A cake-like bread with a subtle sweetness. Happymoneysaver.com

Ingredients:

1 cup old fashioned oats
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (learn to make your own here)
2 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1/3 cup melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract (try my homemade vanilla here)
1 cup buttermilk
1 11.2 oz. bottle Guinness beer

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease loaf pans or bowl.  Mix all dry ingredients in one bowl and set aside. In another bowl mix the butter, vanilla, buttermilk and beer. Next take the beer mixture and pour it into the dry ingredients. Gently stir until you get a well blended batter. This will not look like a typical bread dough, but more of a batter. Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with a handful of additional oats. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, reduce the heat to 400 degrees and bake for an additional 30 minutes.  Turn the oven off but keep the bread inside. Open the oven and let bread finish cooling on the rack inside for  another 30 minutes. Remove and let bread finish cooling. Serve with stews, chili’s, and chowders. Or serve on it’s own with a slather of butter and honey.

I think this would be so fun to make for St. Patrick’s day, don’t you? Enjoy!

This Irish Brown Bread Recipe that is traditionally known as Guinness Bread is perfect for St. Patrick's Day. A cake-like bread with a subtle sweetness. Happymoneysaver.com

 

4.5 from 2 reviews
Irish Brown Soda Bread
Author: 
Recipe type: Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2¼ cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. fine sea salt
  • ⅓ cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 11.2 oz. bottle Guinness beer
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Grease loaf pans or bowl.
  3. Mix all of the dry ingredients in one bowl and set aside.
  4. In another bowl mix the butter, vanilla, buttermilk and beer.
  5. Next take the beer mixture and pour it into the dry ingredients. Gently stir until you get a well blended batter. This will not look like a typical bread dough, but more of a batter.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with a handful of additional oats.
  7. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, reduce the heat to 400 degrees and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Turn the oven off but keep the bread inside. Open the oven and let bread finish cooling on the rack inside for another 30 minutes. Remove and let bread finish cooling. Serve with stews, chili's, and chowders. Or serve on it's own with a slather of butter and honey.

If you give this Irish Brown Soda Bread recipe a try please leave a comment below and let me know what you think.  And stay tuned for next week – where I will be making a few more Irish recipes.

Check out my other St. Patties recipes below.

Losing Feathers? Signs you have a Chicken Molting

Chickens 101 - Chicken Molting. Is your chicken losing feathers? Read all about the signs of chicken molting.

Have you heard of a chicken molting?  Well, it’s happening right now to Miss Goldie, my Golden Laced Wyandotte chicken. Last week I noticed the chicken coop started to look like someone had a massive pillow fight in there. Feathers were all over the place!  Miss Goldie was the one who started losing all her feathers. And I laughed hard when I first saw her all patchy and scraggly looking.

Losing Feathers? Signs you have a Chicken Molting. www.happymoneysaver.com

What is chicken molting you ask?

Well, once every year chickens will lose all their feathers as new ones grow in. Usually chicken molting occurs naturally in fall or winter in a response to the shortening of days/getting darker. There are other reasons why a chicken molts such as if they don’t get food, they are sick, or just stressed.  This process of chicken molting can take between 2-6 months depending on your chicken.

Losing Feathers? Signs you have a Chicken Molting. Happymoneysaver.com

When you have a chicken molting the first feathers to go usually are the head feathers. Then goes the neck, then breast, body, wing, and lastly tail. You will notice as they lose feathers new little shafts will grow in. These are the new feathers!

Yes, your poor molting chicken will look ugly, but that’s not even the worst part.

They stop laying or significantly drop the amount of eggs they lay when they are molting until the molting is completed. Boo! Boo I say! That means for me that Miss Goldie won’t be laying much for the next few months.

I will be missing her fresh eggs.

farm fresh eggs

I am looking forward to Miss Goldie’s beautiful shiny new feathers coming in though. After being out in the sun last summer all her feathers got faded by the sun which was a bummer because she is probably my prettiest chicken. I can’t wait to see her in all her glory again.

Here is Miss Goldie before….

golden laced wyandotte chicken - beautiful! happymoneysaver.com

And here is the during molting…

Losing Feathers? Signs you have a Chicken Molting

Yep, it’s pretty sad.

My other girls? They are doing well. Still laying eggs. I think a few of them have done some partial molting, but none has changed as much as Miss Goldie.

Losing Feathers? Signs you have a Chicken Molting

Silver Laced Wyandotte chicken

Losing Feathers? Signs you have a Chicken Molting

Shake them tail feathers girls!

Thanks for reading all about my chicken molting. Do your chickens molt every year and if so what time of year?

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