Friday, June 28, 2013

Money Making Websites!

Last week, I told you about several apps you can use to make and save money! Today I'm going to share a few websites I use to make even more money! You're not going to get rich, but who doesn't love a free pedicure or new pair of shoes every now and then? :)

Inbox Dollars - Inbox Dollars is a website that allows you to earn money just by clicking on e-mails. When you sign up, you get an instant $5.00. From then on, you'll receive a few e-mails a day from them. All you have to do is click on "Confirm this Paid Email" and you earn $.02 for every single e-mail. I usually don't even look at the content that comes up. I just click it, close the window, and delete the e-mail. It takes less than a minute a day. Sometimes, I also print coupons through this website. You earn $.10 for every coupon you print and redeem. Two cents per e-mail and ten cents per coupon might not some like much, but I've earned over $100 from this website. You have to earn $30 before you can request a check. Once you request your payment, it's usually in your mailbox within a week. Then you can go to dinner, a movie, or get a pedicure! Yay! :) There are LOTS of other ways to earn money on this website, but I just stick to the e-mails. Some of the offers require you to put in a credit card number, so I stay away from those.

eBates - The next one is eBates and it is so simple to use. This website gives you cash back for shopping online. Almost every store I have ever looked for on eBates has been there. All you do is go to eBates, search for the store you want to shop from, click "Shop", and place your order as normal. You'll get an e-mail in a few hours letting you know that your cash back is processing. Major stores usually give anywhere from 2-5% cash back, but some websites give up to 20% back. I always order our ink cartridges through eBates and I get a lot of money back! They automatically send out checks every quarter and you don't have to have a minimum balance to receive a check. Also, when you sign up you get a free $10 gift card of your choice!

Swagbucks - There are so many ways to earn money with Swagbucks. You can use it as a search engine (it's as easy as Google) and it will give you bonus Swagbucks usually once a day. There are a ton of videos you can watch, too. A big way that I use Swagbucks is by printing coupons through the website. For every coupon you print and redeem, you earn 10 Swagbucks. You don't have to do all of that, though. It's really up to you how much you want to use this website to earn money. Once you have some Swagbucks, you can redeem them for gift cards.

There are lots more to choose from!
They even have local deals now. The local deals are usually a discount or coupon of some kind, but they don't cost very many Swagbucks so it's a pretty good deal!

Let me know if you have any questions or know of any other good websites! Have a fabulous Wednesday!

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Note: Some of the links in this post are my referral links; however, the people at these websites have no idea who I am. I just really like their websites! :)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies. Yum. That's all I have to say.

Just kidding, but seriously, they are really good cookies. I love these cookies because they have two of my favorite ingredients - peanut butter and chocolate, but also because they're perfectly soft and chewy. And the best part is, they STAY soft and chewy for a few days {if they last that long}. I have been known to make other cookies and eat one first thing every morning just to make sure they were still soft and chewy. The great thing about these cookies is that you don't have to do that! Wait. Maybe you should still do that with these cookies...just in case, because it's all about quality control, you know. Nobody wants a dried out cookie.

This cookie recipe is a little unconventional because it calls for sour cream and honey, but I'm telling you, it works. The original recipe also called for a sprinkle of sea salt on top. I've made them both ways, but we liked them a little better without the extra sea salt on top. Either way, though, you should definitely make them. :)

Soft & Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 24 cookies

1-1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon honey
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.
  2. With an electric mixer, mix the softened butter and peanut butter together until thoroughly blended. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Next beat in the egg, honey, vanilla, and sour cream until combined. Add the dry ingredients slowly and beat on low speed, just until combined. Gently stir in the chocolate chips. Chill dough in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to an hour, or place in freezer for 20 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Once ready to bake, roll dough into 1-inch balls (or use a small ice cream scoop) and place onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 9-12 minutes (depends on size of your cookie) or until cookies begin to turn slightly golden brown and crisp up around the edges. Do not overbake!* Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
*Cookies may appear underdone in the middle, but they will become more firm as they cool. It’s important to allow them to cool a few minutes before removing them from cookie sheet.

Recipe slightly adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

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Monday, June 24, 2013

{Summer To Do List} Mini Golf + Milkshake Date

Hi! I hope everyone had a great weekend! Ours was full of a few summer to do list things and a whole lot of packing! In fact, as you read this, we are most likely on our way to sunny Mexico! Yay! We're reeeaallly hoping this weather forecast changes, though. Yikes!

{Helpful travel note: I used this packing checklist and it helped me not go crazy! It pretty much covers everything! I found it here on Pinterest, but couldn't find an original source, so I just took a screenshot and printed it.}

On Friday night, we ended up crossing two things off of our summer to do list, one thing that was planned and one that was unplanned. We had planned to go play mini golf and Daniel was seriously messing with me all day with texts asking me things like, "Are you ready to bring your A game?!"

This is coming from the guy who secretly googles strategies for Phase 10 before we play. Although, I've only beaten him one time out of all the times we've played, so maybe he's on to something... :) On our way to mini golf, he proposed a bet. If you've been reading along, you know that we've been off sugar for a few days (ha!). So, his bet was that if he won, we would go to Sonic and get milkshakes afterward. If I won, we could go any place I wanted. To cover his bases, he did add a disclaimer that we could NOT go to Publix and get celery or tomatoes. Did he really think I would pick that?! I guess I've been pretty serious about this no sugar thing this week because choosing celery as a celebration for a mini golf victory is definitely NOT like me! The bet was on! Really, I would hardly call Sonic milkshakes losing, though. :)

In true Daniel form, he had to "warm up" before we started.

I started out strong as I usually do in mini golf and really thought I might pull out a win.

But...the luck didn't last long {as usual} and I started getting scores like 11. Yep, that would be just on one hole. Not good. And this guy must have googled "geometry strategies for mini golf" because he beat me big time! :)

He was sweet and tried to give me a chance by saying everything could come down to our score on the last hole...and he still won. :) Oh well, I guess we'll have to go get milkshakes. {And I totally would have picked the same thing if I would have won! Definitely not celery...or tomatoes.}

Oh my goodness, Sonic milkshakes. They are SO good. I got peanut butter fudge and it was delicious. And even better, they're half off every night after 8:00 p.m. Win! Just be prepared to wait a little while because that place is pretty hoppin' after 8:00! I always have to let my milkshake sit for a few minutes so I don't burst a blood vessel in my face trying to drink it. Anyone else have that problem? Just me?

I hope y'all have a great week! You can follow me on Instagram for updates on our trip! :)

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Friday, June 21, 2013

{5 on Friday} June 21, 2013

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope y'all have had a great week! I'm linking up today with the good life blog for 5 on Friday this week!

1. We made a little headway on our summer to do list when we went to an outdoor concert last weekend. It was on the golf course that's in my parents' neighborhood so not only did we get to listen to music, we got to enjoy the gorgeous scenery. There's just something about outdoor concerts that feels SO summery. While we were there, we got dinner from an {overpriced} food truck. Food trucks seem to be so popular now. I felt so trendy. :) The food was just okay...pickled fried okra with a tomato feta salad (that was my favorite part-I LOVE feta!).

2. *Mushy Alert* ;) Daniel worked from home two days this week and I absolutely loved it. We are seriously that couple that LOVES to hang out with each other ALL the time! Love him!

Random picture!
3. In just three days, we are leaving for our anniversary trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico! We went there for our honeymoon three years ago and loved it. We're going to a different resort this time, though. We are SO ready for some sun, sand, and complete relaxation. Oh, and food...lots of food. (See #4)

4. Speaking of heading to the beach, does anyone have any tips on how to lose 15 pounds in three days? Ha! In a last ditch effort, we've cut out all sugar this week and it. has. been. tough! Talk about procrastination, right?! I know. It's been funny to see how hard it is for Daniel every night. He has become a complete sugar fanatic since he met me {oops!} and has been craving sweets like crazy! I can't tease him too much, though, because I'm completely the same way. See this top corner of my pantry? Yeah, that's where I've stashed two packages of Oreos {my favorite!}, marshmallows, Hershey bars, and Reese's cups. I do have plans for all that stuff - I promise I didn't just buy it for the heck of it. Although, I have been known to buy Halloween candy early thinking I'm all ahead of the game, aaaaaannd then I end up having to go buy more before trick or treat night! I'm not alone, am I? Anyway, all of this stuff is for s'mores and Oreo truffles for our upcoming family barbecue {more summer to do list stuff!}. BUT, that corner of the pantry has been calling my name!! I tried to hide it with a box of Wheat Thins and a canister of oatmeal thinking that the whole "out of sight, out of mind" thing might work, but no. I know it's there, all day every day. We're looking forward to some sweets, that is for sure!! :)

5. My dad recently added some custom built-ins to our home office and I am in love with it! It's been in kind of an "under construction" phase the last few weeks, and I've been so excited to get it completely finished. My mom and I went shopping last week for some accessories, and my rug came in yesterday so she and my dad came over to help me put everything all together! I still have some things that I'll need to add to the bookshelves, but I'm going to add to them them slowly so I can add meaningful things instead of just buying a bunch of stuff to fill them up! Here's a little sneak peek of some of the accessories! {I'll do another post all about the new office soon...complete with before and after pictures! I love a good before and after!}

I hope everyone has a great weekend! We're going miniature golfing - crossing off another item on our summer to do list! :)

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hibachi Style Fried Rice - 15 Minute Meal!

We went through a phase when we were dating and newly married where we went to a Japanese steakhouse almost every week. You know what I mean, the soup, salad, meat, veggies, fried rice, onion volcano, tossing spatulas. We were hooked (on the food, not so much to the onion volcano and spatula show). I don't know if it was the dating/newlywed fog of bliss that made us not think anything much of this habit, but we finally realized, "Okay, we are spending a little too much way too much money on this!" Our favorite thing was easily the fried rice and we were craving it one night like crazy. So, I googled it...and found a really great {and easy!} recipe that we have made tons of times since.

The key to this recipe is using leftover, cold rice. Sometimes I make rice just for this meal and put it in the fridge for a few hours or up to a couple of days, and other times I just make a triple batch if we're eating rice with another meal and put what's left in the fridge. Then, it's ready to go whenever we're ready to make this fried rice.

Oh, and let me tell you about one of my favorite kitchen gadgets. It's my rice cooker.
I bought it after I knew this recipe was a keeper and it makes it so much easier. You just add rice and water (I add a few drops of vegetable oil and about a teaspoon of salt to add a little flavor), turn it on, and you'll get perfect, fluffy rice every single time. I love my rice cooker because it doesn't take up much storage space and it was not very expensive at all! You can totally make this recipe without a rice cooker by just following the directions on the package of rice. It's just a lot easier for me to use the rice cooker because I'm guaranteed perfect rice and I don't have to babysit it at all!

Enough rice cooker love! Let's get to the recipe!

Hibachi Style Fried Rice
Makes 2 servings (Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled)
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2 cups cooked, cold rice
1 T. olive oil
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup peas and carrots, frozen
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 egg, optional (I usually leave this out and we like it just as well.)
2 T. butter
2 T. soy sauce (more or less to taste)
salt and pepper
  1. Saute onions, peas, and carrots in olive oil over medium high heat until soft. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the minced garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the butter and cold rice and break apart the chunks of rice.* Add more salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat to medium and saute for about five minutes.
  3. Add soy sauce and saute for 1-2 minutes.
Variations: Make it chicken fried rice by dicing up a boneless, skinless chicken breast and sauteing it with a little soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Add the fully cooked chicken after you've sauteed the rice for a few minutes. You could also add a 1/2 cup of shredded cabbage with the onion, peas, and carrots. I don't usually have cabbage, but if I do, I add it and it's really good!

Recipe slightly adapted from

*I break up the rice with a plastic potato masher. I used to do it with just a metal serving spoon and rice would fly everywhere if I hit it at the wrong angle. Not good. My husband had a stroke of genius one day and suggested using our potato masher. It worked perfectly! No more flying rice!

So, not only have we saved a ton of money by making this rice at home, I've also saved myself the embarrassment of being hit in the face with a chunk of chicken or zucchini when they try to make you catch it in your mouth. {Daniel always gets it. I never catch it. NEVER!}

Let me know if you try this one! :)

I'm linking up with Lamberts Lately and The Country Cook!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Money Making Apps for Your Smart Phone!

You may want to open this post on your phone so you can download the apps a little easier. :)

Here are some of my favorite apps that I use to make a little extra money. No, you're not going to make a ton, but I love earning gift cards to places I actually go and getting PayPal deposits into my bank account every now and then. Keep reading to learn how!

Receipt Hog - I never thought I'd be happy to say, "I'm a hog!" until I downloaded the Receipt Hog app. You start out as a runt and as you scan more receipts you eventually reach hog status (yes!). :) All you do with this app is take pictures of your grocery and drug store receipts. Dollar Tree works, too! You get a certain number of coins based on your pig's status. Once you earn 1,000 coins, you can redeem them for $5.00 in cash which will be deposited into your PayPal account. Easy! :)

{Update: Receipt Hog has been updated! Click here to read my post about the new features!}

Ibotta - This app gives you money back for buying specific products they have featured. These products vary and change every couple of weeks. The cool thing about Ibotta is that it's over and above any savings you may have already received at the grocery store. You just tap the "Earn" button underneath the item you purchased, scan your receipt, and scan your item. Once you earn $5.00, you can get a deposit from PayPal. Right now, they have a special offer going on for new users. You can get $10 if you complete five offers within your first two weeks! Combine that $10 with the savings you already got per product, and the five items would probably end up being close to free! Gotta love free stuff! :)

Viggle - I've earned over $200 in gift cards in the last year with Viggle. It takes a little effort, but not too much. The basic concept is that you use an audio check in feature to check in to a TV show and you'll get one point per minute that you watch. You don't have to stay on the TV show to get points, though. You'll get points from the time you check in until the show is over. That's really all you have to do to get points on Viggle; however, there are some ways to maximize the amount of points you earn. One is called Viggle Live and it's offered for several shows that come on during prime time. Basically, it's trivia questions about the show you're checked in to. The more questions you get right, the more points you earn. Another way to earn more points is to look for bonus videos. These are usually worth a lot of points! They can be found in the "What's On" tab and sometimes inside of a Viggle Live trivia game.

App Trailers - It takes a little longer to earn rewards with this app, but it doesn't take as much effort as Viggle. For this app, you're just watching trailers for new apps in the app store. They're usually about 15-30 seconds. When I log in to this app every day, all I do is watch the new videos that have come up and then I play the free daily scratcher game for that day (under the "Redeem" tab-see pic below). This takes me about one minute per day. I always redeem my points for Amazon gift card codes, but there are several choices including Gap, Starbucks, Target, iTunes, and more.

I hope you can use some of these apps to make a little extra money! Comment below if you have any questions or if you know of any other money making apps! :)

You can also find some great money making websites here!

Note: Some of the links in this post are my referral links; however, the people at these apps have no idea who I am. I just really like their apps.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Three Year Anniversary Recap

This past Wednesday, we celebrated our three year anniversary. We are going on a trip in about a week, so we just had a low key celebration. I started the morning at VBS at our church and then Daniel and I met for lunch at Olexa's in Mountain Brook. It was confirmed once again that he knows the way to my heart when he suggested we go there for lunch. :) I've talked about Olexa's before when I posted my buttercream frosting recipe.

Lunch was delicious, but let's be honest. We were there for the cake. I absolutely love white cake, but I cannot resist the chocolate cake at Olexa's. It's the softest, moistest (is that even a word?!) cake and the chocolate frosting is so smooth, rich and creamy. I don't think I'll ever find a copycat recipe for that! I mean, look at this cake. And it's served warm!!! Nothing like it.

After Daniel got home from work, we just had a casual dinner at home. We bought this Welch's Sparkling Raspberry Limeade a couple of weeks ago. Have y'all seen this? We thought it would add a little something special to our anniversary dinner at home! It was really good! It reminded me of the Sonic limeades!

For our anniversaries so far, we've pretty much stuck with the traditional or modern anniversary gift in our gifts for each other. This year was leather, crystal, or glass. I found this really neat Etsy shop called Gun Metal Gems. I got Daniel this leather key chain that had a stamped metal plate on it. The metal plate had the latitude and longitude coordinates of the church where we got married. I loved this because it's masculine, but still sweet and special. I thought it would be a neat thing to pass down to a son or grandson someday. {Okay, I'm so sentimental that just thinking about that gets me teary eyed!} It was like a scavenger hunt when he was entering the coordinates in to see what the location was. He loved it!

Daniel got me this gorgeous wallet to match my purse. I've been wanting one for a long time now, so it was really sweet that he remembered and that it went along with the leather anniversary gift theme!

Thankful for this day that I got to spend with my precious husband celebrating our marriage so far and thinking about all of the wonderful years to come!