My January garden prep!

Fall fun is over. Winter is here. Garden with me while the snow is on the ground.

I have to be honest-I never stop gardening or thinking and researching how to better my garden for the upcoming season. I garden all winter long.  I have already started.  I looked up how to bake my dirt.  I am so frugal, I don’t spend a penny if I can do it myself.  So I got dirt out of the garden box put it in a (now designated) foil pan and popped it in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes. I have read that it is really stinky.  Well I lit 2 candles in the kitchen and I didn’t open the oven door until the timer went off. Then it was a tad stinky until it cooled. Why bake the dirt?

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Well it kills off fungus and bugs-good or bad.  When I was scooping it into my small seed starting greenhouses I saw steaming bits of worms. It was so gross and I was super happy my plants were going to love it. I want germ free dirt for my seeds to start them in.

So I put in my starter green house boxes:

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used coffee grounds. Freshly used from this mornings coffee pot.

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baked dirt,

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ashes straight from the fireplace, and a bit of water to moisten it all up well.

Then I got out my big box of seeds which includes my gardening book as well as my gathering apron my beautiful sister-in-law made for me.  In the move I some how misplaced the bottoms to my large greenhouse starters.  But I did find 4 of my small greenhouse starters. They will do for now. Wiped out the lids and got out the label maker.

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I decided quickly on marigolds and bell peppers.  The two things I have always planted in the early spring by seed like nearly everything else and they are only just ready by October.  We really enjoy bell peppers and would eat them every week and all year long if they were not so expensive.  When ever I purchase a pepper in the grocery store I 9 times out of 10 “harvest the seeds” when I cut them up.  This makes so many less seeds I am purchasing come growing season.  In October of this year I also harvested my orange marigolds that grew from the previous years seeds. I had about a dozen plants come up from all the seeds I put down after all 200 sugar snap peas were half grown and eaten down to the dirt in one day by bunnies. I pulled and laid out to dry about 100 flower tops. In full bloom petals and all. I only planted orange marigolds last year.  I need a bunch more marigolds this year because BUNNIES. And also chipmunks were scaling the fencing and eating my beets right down to the dirt. Marigolds are very pretty to the human eye, attract bees to pollinate your garden and deter bunnies, squirrels, chipmunks and deer from eating in your garden. Yes I want every fourth plant to be a marigold.  Also not one but two of our friends have moved to the area which means I am working on getting marigolds started for three gardens not just one. In my seed stash I had left over yellow marigold seeds from a few years back.  So as Sherlock would say-the game is a foot! I have one container of yellow marigold seeds and one container of orange marigold seeds planted.  I also started one container of green bell peppers and one container of red bell pepper seeds.  We shall see which sprouts first! We are very competitive in the Rickabaugh home.

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So that is just a bit of my summer garden-winter prep.   And since the snow is now on the ground it is indoor gardening from here until spring. If your your winter gardening is just watering the house plants.  I do that too and RickabaughReviews approve.

 

Stepping stone too thin?

Last year we had a honey bee hive relocated to our back yard.  We put it at the edge of the woods and behind the shed where they would get less noise and not direct sunlight so as to not get too hot in the summer.  We also put up a small fence so that our big dog would not be too curious and upset them.  We have a rocky pathway from the veggie beds to behind the shed that leads to the picnic table where the bee box lives.  What I did not realize is how many weeds would grow up between those rocks.  I am not a huge fan of weeding around a bunch of buzzing bees. The husband doesn’t like to weed at all. Well the queen swarmed and left half the hive behind without any queen, so what remained died.  Alas we will try again this upcoming spring. But until then I get to kick butt on trying to make a better pathway, so no weeding will need to be done around the hive.

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I first started making concrete stepping stones in order to make a pathway down to the creek.  They are adorable and work okay, but I think we need much larger, sturdier steps for getting down to the creek, and I would not mind a hand rail either, it is so steep. I still have around 30 stepping stones that I made earlier this summer, most of which are still in the shed continuing to cure. I have been bringing them out one at a time to paint and waterproof, and set aside for placement on the First of March.  The husband and I decided that we can use the stepping stones in among the rocky/pebble pathway back to the bees. Much better pathway with less weeds and when we start laying them down we can add a barrier under where the rocks are so that no more weeds come through.

I discovered earlier this summer that my first three stepping stones were good and sturdy, being and inch thick each. I thought well maybe I can make them thinner and they will be much more cost effective for us.  Well when I made this paver we didn’t know it was too thin.

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When placed in the pathway down to the creek I was able to walk carefully on it just fine.  But I am small and did not think how it would hold up to a bunch of guys going down to the creek to fish. Well the step cracked in half, and then in half again.  Live and Learn!

So the rest of my stepping stone are going to be too thin no matter where I put them.  This means I need to thicken them up.

But How?

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Well take this step that I just finished painting the top. I just flipped it over. I mixed up concrete pretty thick and chunky ( be careful not to make it too runny I didn’t want it running down overy the counter everywhere) just a small amount at a time so that I wouldn’t have too much.

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I mix small amounts in a disposable cup with a disposable knife.  Then I used the knife and spread the concrete on the bottom side of the step like I was icing a cake.

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This before photo shows it was kinda thin and it also shows where the bottom of the cardboard box came together. The other step first cracked right along this line perfectly.

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This after shot shows the old half of the step with its new sturdy backer. It really is as easy as helping it slide out of the mixing cup and spreading it out evenly with the knife, its easier than cold butter on fresh bread.

I am letting it harden up for 24 hours in the garage, and then bring it inside to the painting table to harden completely for 2 days, then it will be put in storage to cure for 30 days then I can waterproof front and back and then back into storage till spring!

As you can see- the step doubled up in thickness quickly and easily.

RickabaughReviews Approves!

Bonus!!! Below are a few of my other stepping stones that are in process!

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How we fight off winter blues!

Its cold outside, but I can still do some garden prepping for the spring, to help fight off the winter blues.

Winter blues get me down, even before the Christmas holidays and with New years parties I still feel a little low.  I have tried anti-depressants which just made me more sad and fat which made me angry and sad.  Gardening makes me the happiest, so I needed to figure out how to garden in the winter.  I had a friend who was a nurse tell me once that what helps reduce winter blues is sunlight.  She told me that her sister would get a tanning package in the winter, not to keep up with a tan but to get more “light therapy” Sunlight gives you vitamin D and vitamin K which reduce sadness and loss of energy.

There is very little sunlight to go around during the winter so I work really hard at being outside when it is light out.  I can do inside chores when it is dark out. But I live in Pennsylvania. It is a balmy 41 degrees Fahrenheit outside right now, how do I garden? Got to be honest it’s not a lot of gardening, its much more of garden prep for spring since I do not have any greenhouses for winter veggies. It gets me outside in the light and the fresh air.

We have a few pine trees on our property and a whole bunch of other trees that drop their leaves every year. Oaks, Maples, Dog woods, Sweet gums. I have super high expectations of making a whole bunch of gardening space in the next couple of years and the huz is mostly on board. I noticed that most of the neighbors collect their leaves at the curb and the city picks them up. Life is crazy busy, I get that works for most people.  I am greedy I want to keep my leaves, I have read that they make some of the best mulch/compost for gardening and flowers.  Most importantly I am into free or super cheap! I don’t mind getting my hands dirty and I don’t mind putting in the sweat work.

Earlier this fall when most the leaves were falling and we had to keep up with appearances we raked and used our Torro leaf blower/vac to get a lot of leaves contained.  We super underestimated how many leaves would have at the new place! We put leaves in the raised beds.

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We used chicken wire and stakes and made a three foot high by eight feet long by four foot wide leaf corral and filled it.

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And then we piled up the leaves in the flower beds and raked them around all the bases of the trees and raked them under all the pine trees.

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Lastly my husband just started blowing all of them into the woods.

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Now that it is winter and colder out, no more leaves to rake. Yahoo! but all the plants are dying off from the frosts over night and it isn’t snowing yet.  I have read that leaves break down faster to make amazing compost/soil/fertilizer quicker if they are mulched and if you add used coffee grounds. So I have done some asking and Starbucks has a grounds to garden program where you can just take used coffee grounds for free! I have also found that not all Starbucks locations do this.  The Starbucks that is located close to my work is situated inside of the Target, so do not participate.  The manager was super sweet. I asked if I could just stop by and ask if they needed to empty their used grounds bin.  He said he can’t promise any but they are more than happy to give me whatever they have when I stop by.

So until the snow gets here I have gone out with my vac/mulcher and have sucked up leaves already piled high in the gardens and are mulching them down smaller and putting them almost right back where I sucked them up from.

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Might seem a bit silly but I didn’t have time earlier in the fall to mulch them all then. I have time now. It gets me outside for about an hour to two hours before the sun sets. In that amount of time I can fill the collection bag two to three times. Yes I even mulch them when they are soaking wet from all the rain, because this summer it rained ALL THE TIME.

The trick is to have a big long screwdriver in your back pocket. One that the husband won’t freak out if it gets dirty or a bit nicked up. About every other minute you need to take off the collection bag and un-jam the leaves using the screwdriver.  The other place leaves get jammed up is the big tube you suck them up with.  You have to just reach in with your arm and pull them out. The last place you have to un-jam is inside where the blades rotate.  UNPLUG the Vac/mulcher before cleaning any leaves out. You have to take off the big black tube and use the screwdriver in around the blades, it is going to look and act like mud caked up in there. It might be a bit of mud too but it is very finely chopped up leaves, and because they are wet they stick together and clump up.

How to know when to pause and clean out the vac/mulcher! Very important-you don’t want to blow out your motor. When you hear-or actually don’t hear the blades mulching your leaves. Another key indicator of when to clean out around the blades on the inside is when you hear the motor of the the vac/mulcher increase in pitch, it will start to whine high and loud.  It will not be long before you smell a burning.

When the snow hits usually around the end of January is when I start some of my seeds inside such as Bell peppers.  They can sit in that dirt for 6-8 weeks before poking out their little leaves. Just in time to start gardening outside again.

This is how the RickabaughReviews get rid of their Winter blues!

Snowman cheese ball

Headed to a party this evening. And we are taking a snow man cheese ball.  We made one for a holiday party a few years back and of course did not write down the directions. I have a few food allergies so everything we end up making ends up different.  I usually look up several different types of recipes and than mash them together to get something both the husband and I will like.

The husband cooked the bacon yesterday. Today I am warming it up a bit in order to have as much grease drain off as possible. I crumbled about 5 full pieces once warmed up.  It has to be crispy but not burnt.

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The base of the ingredients is cream cheese, we used 2 8oz. packages. Cream cheese is kinda the glue and what helps give our little snow man his shape.  But you do need to let the cream cheese warm up a bit before building so that it mixes well. He will go back in the refrigerator to get chilly once built.

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I put in a bowl 3 cups of Mexican mix shredded cheese and 1 cup of the shredded mild cheddar cheese. Tossed them a bit to get them well mixed and then added my bacon crumbles to the mix and tossed that mix. Then comes the super messy part. I added my softened cream cheese.

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Wash your hands good, then wash them again and then get your hands in there.  You have got the blend it really well. Nothing works better than your hands and eyes.  And then you need to split up the mix and remember the head is just a bit smaller than the snowman butt.

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Yes you will see that my snowman isn’t really white. this is where your grated Parmesan (and Ramano) comes in. You will coat the outside of the head and butt with the grated cheese. this is your fluffy snow look. I used about 1/2 of a cup.  Press in into the cheese balls gently with your hands and this also helps to further shape your head and butt into nice round balls.

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We used pretzel sticks as our construction beams.  Because they are edible.  You should never put anything into a dish that is not edible such as toothpicks for structure stability, there might be smaller children who are helping themselves. Safety first!

I gently pushed the pretzel sticks into the base, didn’t want them to break, because if they break then you have to dig out pretzel sticks and that is not fun. One pretzel stick easily breaks, and two  does as well, but three you have more support, so if you trip while carrying your little snow man he is less likely to have his little head roll right off and onto the floor. then I gently push his had onto the three pretzel sticks, very careful not to snap the sticks. Then he goes into the refrigerator to chill a bit while I make his little outfit.

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Twizzler’s pull and peel! They have a bunch of different flavors and colors so you can go with which ever flavor is your favorite to eat, there will be left over Twizzlers. I used a total of one section. I pulled them a part in three sections, two strips I smashed together to make one long scarf.  The other section I chopped up into pieces to make gloves and a smile.

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I needed to get a small kitchen knife to scoop out where the smile was going because it wasn’t staying/ sticking very well because of the Parmesan on the outside. I also used this technique to put in the olive eyes. Pretzel bit for the nose and pretzels for the arms. The gloves were just a bit of a challenge because once you pull apart the Twizzlers they are finicky to get back together.  Just a touch of water and a bit of squishing and they stay in place enough for presentation.

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I do not have any fresh rosemary growing at our new house yet, that will be put in in the spring. But I do have lavender still green out side.  I snipped off two sprigs and washed it very well, and poked a few into the head because I don’t have a top hat for the little guy, so I made him a little girl.  Cute as a button!

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We have our party pack of crackers and a plastic knife for spreading and we are ready to party!

So an hour to thaw the cream cheese and an hour maybe to build. You probably will not be taking photos for each step and typing in between. So I am sure you can put your little snow man together quicker.  You night even want to use a carrot for a nose too.

Snowman/lady cheese ball was a total success! Yours will be too!

RickabaughReviews approves!

 

 

Bookcase Makeover

I have recently been trying all sorts of projects that I find here there and everywhere.  If I see it, I can pick it apart and figure out how to make it, sometimes cheaper and sometimes better.  My friends and family have been loving my projects.  My friend called me up and asked if I could help out with a bookcase she picked up super cheap at a store closing.  And she gave me complete make over design freedom, having faith it would turn out awesome.

Of course I couldn’t say no! So here is the bookcase make over!!!

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First I sanded off the words and a light sanding all over.  I took off one broken trim piece and we measured and cut a replacement trim piece.  I added a few screws and nails in order to make the whole bookcase more stable, it was a bit wobbly.

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Before we applied the spray paint I wiped down the whole bookcase with a damp cloth to make sure all the sanding dust was removed. Remember to always spray paint in a well ventilated area. You get a headache fast if you don’t. One can of blue, one can of pink, one can of purple, and one can of gold glitter spray paint does the trick! Our colored spray paint was left over from previous projects. The gold glitter was new.

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The spray painting was done over several days because it is December here in Pennsylvania and it only just stopped raining every day, but it is very cold out and spray paint doesn’t work perfect in very cold temperatures. We ended up doing two coats of each color. We suggest using cardboard to protect your lawn. We didn’t want pink grass for the next 4 months.  Also have a smaller piece of cardboard about 11X17 size so that you can protect the blue section, holding the cardboard with one hand gently in front of the blue but not touching so as not to smudge wet paint, when applying the second coat of pink. We also used the cardboard piece to protect the purple and the pink. We wanted three different sections of color just slightly blended, not an all over Tye-dye look.

Spray paint dries quickly so we were able to let it sit outside for a few hours before bringing it in the garage for the night. Two full coats later, looking bold!

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Then we took it back outside for the finishing gold glitter layer, which also helped to hide any light spots that we missed with the pink, blue and purple.  Be sure when spray painting you are not wearing any clothing you don’t want accidentally ruined.

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After the gold glitter was good and dry in the garage for two days she came in the house for the final touches. The girls’ names on either side.  My husband being the artist sketched their names on with pencil very lightly and I got out the gold paint and filled in the names, with a paint brush.  We let it dry inside for two days and now she is ready for Christmas morning!

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I was very surprised at how well it turned out and I know this project gets more than just a RickabaughReviews Approves- I bet it will get a few little girl approvals as well.

 

SIDE HUSTLE Away My Mortgage!

Learn what I’ve been doing to save and earn money.

So my husband and I recently purchased our forever home and our mortgage payment doubled but our income did not double.  I started to do some research on how to stretch the money we have.  Below are the totally awesome ways we are saving and making extra money with what has recently been called “side hustles”.

I will give you a run down of what and how I use them and my review of them.

First of all-cut coupons! You can sigh all you want but coupons save a bunch!  In October I saved over $300 dollars in coupons. In July our monthly food costs were just over $800.00. I started cutting and using coupons /side hustling in the middle of September. In November I have spent $410.00 on food total for the household and that was including eating out.

Here is the key to using coupons- Don’t use a coupon just because you have it on that item.  Only purchase items you already have in your regular grocery list that you know you like, unless you are will to try a different brand.  We will most of the time purchase the store brand.  It is cheaper and on most occasions tastes just as amazing!  I look for the overall best deal too.  So I only purchase laundry detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, tissues, and some of my vitamins only at Costco and ONLY when they are on sale.  For example-Laundry detergent- free and clear and I prefer the environmentally safe by Kirkland is around 230 fluid ounces for $14.99 regularly.  I purchase it when it is on sale anywhere from $3.00 off to sometimes $4.00 off. Yes that makes it $10.99 for approximately 140 loads of laundry.  You would need at the grocery store 3 containers of $9.99 detergent to get the same amount of fluid ounces.  It is not always cost effective to use all of the coupons in the paper. I also shop the bonus buys.  If the store has it discounted and I can use a manufacturer coupon on it which some stores will double. Double the savings.

Everyone has a smart phone now a days- make it be smarter.  If you are not sure which store has the best prices, and you can not remember- snap a photo with your phone with the product next to its price tag.  I have a few photos in my phone right now because I want to know if I should be buying my cheese sticks at Target or Giant, I am not a spring chicken anymore I can’t remember everything.  I wrote a note in my coupon book-check prices in phone for cheese sticks and yogurt.

So as a quick recap-cut coupons and shop for the best deals-and make note of where the best deals are so that you create a new and good habit of getting the best deals at the best locations-SAVING YOU MONEY! Also I encourage you to get a coupon buddy, I have two friends who I share my coupons with, one friend also cuts coupons and it really builds each of us up chatting about it, and the other friend does not but is very thankful when I share coupons with her.  Everybody can use an extra buck.

Along the lines of making your smart phone get a job-Here are smart phone apps I use and love or I would not be writing about them and still using them.

Ibotta Sign up on your own, or with friends. Use my referral code:fvclxby to join as a friend.

For this app you do not need a referral code, but there are bonuses involved if you do.  When you are in a group there are group goals that everyone will benefit from if you achieve the goals- which is free money.  In the app you select a store and it will list the available items that have a rebate on them.  You need to activate the coupon first.  Don’t wait to activate your app coupons- sometimes they are such a hot deal the apps run out of the specific coupons. Next grocery shop.  When we get home we do our receipt scanning.

Checkout 51 is another free app that works the same way as Ibotta.  You active the coupons you want, shop then scan your receipt when you get home.  Use my referral code to sign up- https://checkout51.app.link/7zHqWVfQUQ

Savings Star is the third free app that I use that works similarly to Ibotta and Checkout 51.  You can cash out after you have reached $20.00 in you account. We have been able to load our Giant card (local grocery store card) to the app and it is super easy when grocery shopping because I don’t need to scan my Giant grocery receipt when we get home. You are able to select other stores in which they have coupons available but like Checkout 51 and Ibotta you will need to scan your receipt in. You do need to go into the app before you go shopping and select the items you intend on purchasing. Saving Star says that it can take up to 20 days for your rebates to show up in your account but I have usually only had to wait up to 3 days before I see my new account balance.  They also have a section where you can see each date and coupon you used.

The next set of free apps are slightly different-but different is always bad.  Sometimes different is good! Give them a try for sure!

Receipt Hog is an app where all I do is scan in every receipt.  It is a market research group, they are just interested in what you are purchasing so that the companies can better promote their products. Depending on what I am purchasing and how large of a purchase decides if I receive coins, or tickets or spins. Tickets are placed into a monthly drawing, I have never won in drawings and I don’t ever intend to. Spins are a bit different, they are like a slot machine.  They say you win something 50% of the time.  Honestly its about 40% and I have only ever won the most of 10 coins but I like to think positive and I will take it.  It gets me closer to a free gift card.  Coins is where it matters! Hog Coins.  When you reach 1000 hog coins you can choose to cash out which equals $5.00 and they send it to your paypal account.  Paypal then sends it right into your bank account, with my usual spending I am able to receive $5.00 about every three months. I am feeding and caring for only my husband and I.  If you have kids I am very sure it would add up much more quickly.  Now $5.00 may not seem like a lot but I like to look at my results over a year- This is a free $20.00-and this is my second slowest earning app.  If I have 8 apps that earn me $20.00 a year-that comes out to $160.00- That is my electric bill for a month! This next app is in my top 3 money makers!

Fetch Rewards a free app that is similar to Receipt Hog.  Here is my referral code: B1RWH They are looking for specific items that you purchase, so the receipts that you can get credit for scanning are: grocery store, warehouse store (Sams, Costco) and purchases made inside of convenience stores (food and drinks from Sheetz, Turkey Hill-not gasoline).  You are able to cash out after 500 points which equals a $5.00 gift card.  They have a bunch of options of gift cards.  My good friend loves the dunkin donuts gift cards-she treats herself to coffee.  I request Target gift cards, we have the red card where they give you 5% back on all of your purchases, in addition I can use coupons and I can use my gift cards on clearance items.  And Fetch accepts my target receipts even if I am using gift cards as the payment. (This is how I am saving hundreds of dollars a month on food, clothes, shampoo, toilet paper. When I am not spending money on my monthly consumables I am able to apply that extra hundred dollars or more to my mortgage principle in addition to my normal monthly mortgage payment. This will drastically reduce your interest amount every single month. This is how we are paying off our mortgage in 20 years not 30.  When we signed the papers for the mortgage of our forever home it stated very clearly how much we were borrowing and for how long.  Also I read that with the interest and if we paid our exact payment for our 30 years we would be paying an extra $200,000.00. That is a whole second house! And this is why I side hustle, I do not want to give away all that money.

Shop Kick This has become my family’s favorite app! It is our fastest money maker! And the most fun.  Here is my referral code: Best029650   How it works: its like a scavenger hunt in the stores you usually go to while you are shopping. You earn kicks(points, coins, credits, kicks) for finding items in the store and scanning their bar codes. They have tons of different stores.  We shop regularly at target, giant, best buy. Some stores offer walk in kicks.  Some stores offer kicks not only if you scan it but if you purchase an item on the list. This is where you can get tons of kicks but I personally only purchase items that were on my list to begin with. My husband works from home so about 2-3 times a week we like to go out, we go to stores and scan kicks. We both have the app on our phones.  We are both scanning at the same time. This means we are making double the amount, while getting some exercise inside of heated stores in the winter cold without paying a gym membership. You are able to cash out very quickly they have lower amount gift cards of $2. You are able to get the earned money sent right to your paypal account but yes of course you guessed it my husband and I get target gift cards. Last month both my husband and I were able to each earn $20.00 in gift cards-yes for scanning bar codes- not purchasing a thing.  And we did it at our convenience. Yes that is $40.00 of free groceries for November.  Or a free pair of shoes!

Okay all receipts aside here are the apps that you set up and really spend very little time and focus on.

Sweat Coin my free app that tracks my steps outside of my home. Here is my referral code: sweatcoinapp.uk/i/jeanete891767  I am accumulating coins that can be traded in for items.  My husband and I both have this app on our phones. So when we are raking the leaves in the yard, or scanning items for shopkick, we are earning sweat coins which can be traded in for items.  This is a slow earning free app, and the rewards change daily but one thing I have found that I really love is where you can trade in your sweatcoins to a donation that gives meals to hungry families. My husband is saving up for cash to be deposited into his bank account. I am walking/saving up for a new cell phone, if it is still available. My husband and I like to check our steps every night, its a bit of a fun and silly competition.  This app does track your location, and it will not track your steps if you close the app, I let it run in the background.  I have noticed when I took the battery saver mode off that my battery does wear down a bit more quickly (I always travel with my charge cord so I can charge while driving or at work or at home while sleeping.) but I am earning about double the steps with the battery saver off.

Swagbucks this free app both my husband and I have been using for over a year now and its great! Here is my referral code: Swagbucks  How I use this app daily. I do not need it open for a whole lot of time. At 500 swagbucks I am able to redeem them for a gift card. The really nice part about these gift cards is that they send you a bar code not an actual card through the mail.  I personally activate my gift card and then I take a screen shot of the gift card on my phone and that way when checking out I can quickly go through my photos and pull up the bar codes for the cashier to scan, I am able to swipe from one gift card to the next very easily, and this way I am not logging into 5 different apps while holding up the check out line.  When I use the gift card I delete the photo,  It’s also excellent for when I hit the grocery store on my way home from work.  I text the husband and ask him if there is anything else I need on the list and usually he volunteers his earned gift cards by texting me the photos of his gift card bar codes. Getting on the same money saving page with my husband has really helped our communication in our budget and marriage.  Swagbucks offers a multitude of different ways to earn money. I personally do the daily poll (located under the answer tab at the bottom of the screen) which is one question and earns me one swagbuck every day as long as I remember to take the daily poll.  They also offer other survey’s that take longer, but sometimes I will be working on a survey for 10 minutes and then I don’t qualify for the survey pay out and so I tend not to do a whole lot of survey’s. The survey profile questions are easy and quick so I tend to keep up on those, after answering 10 questions you receive 2 swagbucks.  But my favorite part is the video tab at the bottom of the screen.  Make sure you are on wifi, because if not this will eat up your data. I set my phone to watching the videos while charging and on wifi. I can be typing up a storm on my blog while charging my phone and earning swagbucks.  Videos will max out each day at 10 swag bucks. I earn a solid 11 swagbucks every day.  So about every 2 months I earn a $5.00 gift card.  I forget sometimes on the weekends so I round it to about every two months. Between my husband and myself we are earning $5.00 free every month. When I use gift cards to pay for our groceries it also frees up money so that when a friends birthday rolls around I am able to send a card and sometimes a cute gift and it not break our budget.

App Trailers is a free app that you can link with your other perk.com accounts such as viggle and pop quiz. Here is my referral code: 2e9869db.  Viggle you can gain reward points by letting the app watch your favorite tv programs with you. Pop quiz has fun trivia about all sorts of topics.  I use the app trailers while working, making sure I have my phone on wifi just like swagbucks. At 5000 points you can cash in your points for reward gift cards of $5.00.

And last but not least for now:

Checkpoints is a free app that I can watch videos on wifi like my swagbucks and app trailers. Also to increase my rewards quicker I check to see if there are any products to scan when out shopping just like the shop kicks app.

And there you have it! The RickabaughReviews tested and approved free apps that make us money!

Hope you enjoy them too!

 

 

 

Winter wreath

The fall and winter holidays are coming up. Yes it is only November 9th. Christmas is slowly taking over all your favorite stores. The husband and I purchased a new home this year and we are trying very hard to keep costs down for a bit until we have the new house budget under our belts for a year. Our new house is bigger on the first floor and thus more space to decorate. It is very exciting because we love to decorate for the holidays. It can get very pricey. We did okay making a few of our own Halloween crafts ourselves. I did do a bit of spending before our small party.

Christmas will be different, we have 3 times the amount of decor filled tubs in the attic. And what hurts even less is when we purchased our Aunt and Uncles home they ended up giving us a bunch of Christmas decor and a huge box of lights that they didn’t want to take 8 hours south to the beach with them. But I am always looking for a good deal and always wanting to craft up a storm.

My husband and I like to window shop, we are both very craft oriented and get our ideas in stores, also its a great way to get in some steps of exercise. We saw a very beautiful Christmas wreath for over $50. But even with their 50% off sale it was still too much. And so shopping with my friend Donna paid off. We had a wreath form in the attic and I only needed a few things to make it look very similar.

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Wire Wreath Frame 16-Green

I used a 16 inch wide wreath form like the one above.
Pro crafting tip: when window shopping and you like something you see, take a photo of it with your smart phone. Photo to reference!

I am very allergic to pine trees so all fake all the time. Sad but everything can still look great.

We found the filler fake pine. It comes in a folded up length usually 9 foot. Which I have found to be perfect for wreathes.

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Christmas Decor – Christmas House Artificial Pine Garlands, 15 ft. (SET OF 2)

Right now the prices in craft stores are going up because of the holidays and people will pay the higher prices because they need it last minute.  The price on Amazon is super good definitely if you are making an extra large wreath or multiples.

Never Never Never pay full price for decor. Only purchase once shopping around to find the best price and using coupons. I also got a few sprays or picks.

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Close up photo for full appreciation of their cool winter feel.

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Just a little bit of sparkle, not too much. I also got two large white Poinsettias that have a nice clip on the back. These clips were 50% off but still the most expensive out of everything.

Here is a link to a very pretty red pick/spray that can be pulled apart, which can go great with many different styles of wreaths. Country, classic, or fun filled with kids and toys. Such as the following picks you might not even know exist.  You can put in some personal feeling picks to make it more your style instead of a simple white poinsettia.

Factory Direct Craft Package of 24 Glittery Red Artificial Berry Picks for Holiday Decorations or Floral Arranging

Factory Direct Craft Package of 36 Red and White Sparkling Candy Cane Picks for Holiday and Home Decor

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Close up of the clip.

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I only ended up using one of the Poinsettias in the end product. I also did not use all of the spray/picks once they were pulled apart.

Keep in mind: sometimes less is more.

First the husband and I pulled apart the purchased picks.

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They pull apart very easily, it is just a little bit of flower tape holding them together.  Sometimes they don’t come apart perfectly and I get one or two individual decor on a wire.  If you are doing a very large wreath then you may want to keep the picks as you purchase them, especially if the large wreath will be elevated where it may be difficult to see small fine details.

Next we attached the fake pine to the metal wreath form.  I have some thin craft wire that I got over six years ago and it works perfectly when putting together wreathes together.  If you don’t have craft wire, but everything else twist ties work great! You can leave the paper on them so you have a good hold on the wire, sometimes its slippy without the wire.

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I attach the garland around the outer edge first then the inner most edge next, if there is leftover I continue to attach it in the middle section. This allows me to fill in and fold over little branches to cover up holes as needed. It also allows me to move aside branches to secure my fancy decor so that it doesn’t fall off my wreath.

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As you can see I have twisted the base of the spray to the metal wreath form, then I take a branch or two and wrap it around the base of the spray in order to hold the spray of decor exactly where I want it to stay.

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If you want a very balanced look, do your math and place them evenly.  After I had the plain white in I filled in with the multi colored sprays.

Next is the ribbon which sometimes can be tricky.  I highly advise getting wired ribbon.  This means there is a small piece of ribbon on either side of the ribbon and you are able to mold it into a shape and it will keep that shape without too much support.

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Twist in the beginning and the end of the ribbon, wrap it loose so that you are able to move it around a bit if you have more to finish up your wreath.

I only put on one of my big flowers and it looks great. When placed right in the middle of the bottom or in the middle of the top are for those who need everything just so-so they can feel organized and calm.  The world is crazy out there, if this is you, Do it! It looks amazing!

My husband and I throw a little more caution to the wind and we put it near the bottom.

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Sweet and Simple!

Both of the Rickabaughs approve!