May – 2015 – Frugal Novice
Monthly Archives

May 2015

Get Summer Camp-Ready with Mabel’s Labels


Note: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Mabel’s Labels. I received a voucher to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.


Summer’s so close we can taste it – just a few days left this week and the kids are free, ready for a summer of fun. Our two boys will be attending a day camp where they’ll get to do themed activities and go on a field trip each and every week.

With all the different activities the boys will be doing, we’ll need to send various items with them – sunscreen, different shoes to change into, a swimsuit, a beach towel, and more. The point is, of course, that there are all sorts of small-ish items they’ll be taking with them that could easily be lost.

Mabel’s Labels provides the perfect must-have summer camp accessory by way of its limited-edition camp label pack, filled with all the labels you’ll need to keep your kids’ items clearly marked – and totally up your chances of getting things back at the end of the day or week.

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Easy & Delicious Texas Nachos


If you live in Texas, it’s quite likely that you’ve had a classic dish: corn chips topped with chili, and often finished off with a sprinkling of cheddar cheese. I can’t even count the number of times that I’ve eaten it – school lunches, football games, youth activities – it’s a go-to meal for Texans, and with good reason. It’s SO good, and so easy to prepare!


When Hormel gave me the opportunity to think of a recipe to represent my state, my mind immediately went to the classic, and it only made sense to embellish the original with a little TexMex flair. We eat Mexican or TexMex food at least twice a week in our family, so it’s a logical conclusion that adding TexMex flavors would provide us with a dish we all love.

I’m calling this recipe Texas Nachos, and y’all, it’s SO easy. And SO delicious. I can’t believe I’ve missed eating these my whole life!

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Three Tips to Decorate Your Home Without Breaking the Bank

Living Room

When one area of your home starts to look worn-out and outdated, it’s easy for it to make the rest of the house feel outdated, too. Especially when you have kids around, things can get a little “loved” and need replacing. Or if you’re like us, you’re so busy that you don’t decorate much to begin with!

You can resolve this dilemma by redecorating your room with something as simple as its drapes, or as intensive as replacing the flooring; of course, putting in new floors can get expensive really quickly. For those of you on a budget like us, here are some inexpensive ways to add some pizzazz to your humble abode without going beyond your budget. None of these take much time, but each one make an impact on the overall feel of your home.


  1. Artwork. Hanging a painting on a blank wall can add personality and uniqueness to a room. You might think of paintings as being something expensive, but that doesn’t have to be the case. You can find great bargain pieces in your local markets or art fairs, and it’s a lot of fun being on the hunt for a great piece to give your room a special flair. Unlike buying art from department stores, you can find a wider variety of art if you expand your search. And if you want to spend even less, you can also create art with your children. Not only can it make your place look splendid, but it’ll give them a sense of pride to see their art hanging on the walls. You can do something as simple as giving them paint and a canvas, or you can always look on Pinterest for more specific ideas that fit your taste.

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Don’t Miss the Fixer Upper Marathon This Saturday!

5.21.15 Joanna&ChipGaines Twitter Party Memorial Day Weekend LR

Well, I know what my DVR will be recording this Saturday!

HGTV has been allowing fans to vote for their favorite episodes of Fixer Upper,  and now viewers can settle in for the network’s first fan-driven programming marathon this Saturday, May 23, from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Central.  In addition, fans of the series can live tweet with the show’s stars Chip and Joanna Gaines from 6 p. m. to 7 p.m. Central using #FixerUpper.

If you’re like me, you’ve gotten hooked on HGTV’s series Fixer Upper. Chip and Joanna are kind, funny, and uber-talented; you watch to see the homes’ transformations, but you keep watching because Chip & Joanna are just so relatable. As a Texas girl myself, I love that they’re based in Waco – I foresee a trek to the Magnolia shop somewhere in my near future.

Beyond the beautiful designs and charming talent, Fixer Upper stands out to me because of the potential seen in less-than-attractive homes. It’s a great notion in an era where items are often discarded, and new neighborhoods are rapidly constructed. Initially these homes seem like lost causes, but time after time we’re shown that pretty much any home has the potential to be fixed up – and turned into something pretty spectacular.

Don’t forget: HGTV Twitter party with Chip & Joanna Gaines is this Saturday from 6-7 p.m. Central, using #FixerUpper.

Sterling Prevail Shower Door with ComforTrack Technology

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sterling for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.


With three kids in our house, we give lots of baths.  We’ve learned over the years that we can save a lot of time by washing everyone’s hair first (which always seems to be the hardest part of bath time – the kids hate getting water in their eyes, so they’re always a little whiny during hair washing and rinsing), and then focusing on each child one at a time to get the rest of them clean while the other two kids play.

We’ve gone through our fair share of bath toys, and after all of the different toys we’ve tried, we’ve learned that kitchen utensils (ladles, measuring cups, funnels, and colanders) make for the best bath entertainment. All three of our kids love making “soup” and other concoctions. You can find kitchen items at the dollar store and have some dedicated for bath play, and you’ll be all set.

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Must-Have for Mealtime Messes


Because Kids Outgrow Diapers, Not Messes*

Our kids are 7, 6, & 2. Our youngest is still in the middle of potty training, but the other two have (thankfully!) been out of diapers for years. Just because we’re done with diapers for our boys, though, doesn’t mean we’re done with wipes. We keep Huggies Wipes in my purse and in our car so we have them on hand for any messes that inevitably pop up. If you’re a parent, you know there’s a 88% chance of a mess any given day, so being prepared is crucial – it’s a good idea to stock up on Huggies Wipes at Walmart so you’ve got some wherever you might need them.

For instance: you’re celebrating a birthday, and are having cupcakes. You know – absolutely – that there will be frosting smeared somewhere. Or in our case, you may end up having a whole chocolate frosting goatee to remove.


Huggies wipes are a lifesaver for mealtime – they’re not only great for cleaning up  sticky faces and fingers, but they’re also perfect for wiping down tables when you go out to eat.

We love Huggies Simply Clean wipes for many reasons, one of which is the triple clean layers. These are strong wipes that hold up to a lot of mess.




There are tons of ways to use Huggies Wipes, and you can see some of those in 5 videos available on the Walmart landing page:
101: HUGGIES® Wipes, the ONLY wipes with TripleClean* layers. Because Kids Outgrow Diapers, Not Messes.* #tripleclean
Explorers: Don’t let a little mess get in the way of a lot of fun! HUGGIES® Wipes helps ALL explorers stay in the adventure. #bestfriend
The Cleaner: Ice cream #fail! Watch how HUGGIES® Wipes saved the day from this on the go mess!
Pasta Baby: Question: What happens when babies and pasta collide? Answer: HUGGIES® Wipes with TripleClean* layers.
Playtime: Playtime can be a dirty job. HUGGIES® Wipes. Keep the play. Not the dirty.

Thank you to Huggies for sponsoring today’s post and inspiring me to try Huggies Wipes at Walmart!

Thank a Teacher & Share a Coke!


Note: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ShareSmiles #CollectiveBias

Can you believe the school year is almost over? It feels like just yesterday we were sending the boys off for their first day in new classes, and now we’re down to just weeks before the summer begins.

As many parents do, I’m sure, I’m getting a little sentimental as summer approaches. We have really loved the boys’ teachers this year and will miss having them! I don’t think I could ever do enough to thank them for all they’ve done for my children – I mean, they’re caring for these cute kiddos, and teaching them so much!


I did want to do a little something to show appreciation as the school year wraps up. I know both teachers love Coke (thanks to sending them a “favorites” survey at the beginning of the school year – which I highly recommend) so I thought it’d be fun to make them a Coke-themed gift basket complete with a theme-appropriate gift tag (which I’ll be sharing with you in just a bit)!

It’s perfect timing, too, because all the Share a Coke bottles and cans are out right now, which makes it even more fun. I went to our Brookshires to go hunt for the perfect bottles.


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Crispy Honey Chipotle Lime Chicken


We eat a lot of chicken in our house, and I’m always trying to find new ways to prepare it so we don’t fall into a rut of making the same thing over and over again.

To celebrate Honeycomb Cereal’s 50th anniversary I was sent a box of the cereal and tasked with creating a recipe. You’re probably wondering how that ties in to chicken, aren’t you? I’ll admit, my first thoughts for recipes all centered around dessert (there are some great dessert recipes for Honeycomb cereal on the Post website, by the way), but Brian suggested going savory and then I got to brainstorming.

Honeycomb cereal is made with real honey, so I started thinking about flavor combinations that work well with that, and crispy honey chipotle lime chicken was born.


This a really easy – and flavorful – variation on your typical pan-fried chicken breast. It’s a great mix of sweet and sour with a kick of heat from the chipotle – the best of three worlds.

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Sweet & Spicy Pulled Pork Tacos with Grilled Pineapple Salsa


I wrote yesterday about a pulled pork slider recipe, and today I’m bringing you a recipe perfect for my love of TexMex – sweet & spicy pulled pork tacos. Thanks to Tony Roma’s for providing this recipe to share with y’all today! I hope you enjoy having a new meal to add to your summer rotation.

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes | Total time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6 servings


  • 1 pkg. (16 oz.) of Tony Roma’s Sweet & Spicy Pulled Pork
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 4 slices peeled fresh pineapple, cut about 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 small poblano pepper, halved and seeded
  • 1/2 red onion, cut into thin slices
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 juicy lime
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • 1 ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded

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Delicious Pulled Pork Slider Recipe


May is National BBQ month – and here in Texas we sure do love our BBQ. I grew up eating mostly beef brisket, but my husband and his family love pork, and I’m finally coming around to appreciate a broader range of barbecue. :)

Tony Roma’s was kind enough to provide this recipe for me to share with you all – it’s a flavorful alternative to your typical BBQ sandwich. Enjoy! (And don’t forget to check out this recipe for sweet & spicy pulled pork tacos, too!)

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes | Total time: 30 hour

Yield: 8 servings


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Three Tips for Sprucing up Your Space


We love our home, and one of my favorite things to do is to find ways to make it unique and special for our family. We’ve added a reclaimed wood wall and a large vintage-style chalkboard as just two ways of making our house our own.

Decorating is fun, but it can also be hard to find time to do lengthy projects. Since we’re so busy, it’s crucial for us to find ways to make an impact without having to spend a ton of time working on the updates.

Even if you don’t have a lot of time, you can still use these three tips to give your home some style:

1. Add style to necessities. Things like hand soap, salt and pepper shakers, and even Kleenex can impart your aesthetic. Kleenex Perfect Fit Tissues are one of my new favorites – they’re cute and compact, and they fit in well with our decor.


If you want to snag your own Kleenex Perfect Fit Tissues, they’re available at your local Sam’s Club only through this month so be sure and get to Sam’s by May 31.

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Guest Post: Laurie’s Weight Loss Transformation {#TransformationTuesday}


I’ve been working on losing weight this year – I made that cliched resolution to get healthier, and so far it’s been sticking. If you’ve ever been on this journey, you know it can be really easy to get off track. I truly think a large part of the difference for me this time around has been watching people who are success stories; those who’ve been on this same path, who’ve stuck with their goals, and who have results to show for it.

My friend Laurie is one of those people. She works full time, she’s got three kids, yet she’s still managed to succeed – triumphantly – at her weight loss. I’ve been really inspired by her, and I asked her if she’d be willing to share her story because I think you’ll be inspired, too. Thanks to Laurie for agreeing to write this guest post!

Laurie’s Story:

I never had a weight problem. All of my life, I ate what I want, when I wanted and I was still able to maintain an average-sized frame. Don’t get me wrong, I was not a bikini model, but I did not gain weight very easily. I was happy with my body. I enjoyed eating junk food. I never had to think about what I was putting into my body and if I wanted an ice cream, I ate that ice cream. If I wanted to eat potato chips and soda before bed, I did.


Pregnancy: Where it All Started

I got married when I was 23, and soon after, I found out I was pregnant with our first child. When I was pregnant, I took that as the chance to continue eat whatever I wanted, times two. I didn’t hold back at all. By the end of my pregnancy, I had gained over 70 pounds. This was my first pregnancy and I figured this is just the way it goes: you gain weight. I didn’t think I’d have a problem with the weight coming right off, because I never had issues with weight before.

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