Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Swap Party

Have you ever been to or held a SWAP PARTY?

Typically a swap party is where a group of people get together and swap clothes, shoes, and/or accessories. Realistically a swap party could be for sports equipment, mens clothing, kids clothes, furniture, etc. But the idea is to share what you have and hopefully pick up some great pieces for free! Who doesn't love FREE??

I held a swap party a couple of years ago, (has it really been that long) and it was AWESOME! I walked away with some great pieces and my guests also found some great pieces. Who hasn't bought something, loved it for a minute, and then realized that it just wasn't for you. How about you share it with someone else?!

Rules of a Swap Party: Each person typically brings at least 5 items, (they should be in relatively good condition). If you can, have a way to display the items. Can you borrow some clothing racks? Or take some hangers and place them over doors, or on the spindles of a staircase? The idea is that you want people to clearly see the items, (just like in a store). You are able to take the number of items that you yourself brought with you, (so if you brought 4 items, you can take 4 items). Whatever is left, donate!

And remember that rules are meant to be broken!! Just have fun!!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

ReUsing ALLLL Leftovers!!

I hate to throw away food. There is always something that I can make out of a left over.
I realize that sometimes you are just not in the mood to cook...so what if the left over goes bad?!

 Well what if you freeze the left over? Label it and then throw it in say meatballs later. I bring up meatballs because I think that they are a great vehicle for left overs. You can throw almost anything in them and typically it will only enhance the flavor. And for me and my family, I like to have fun with our meatballs!

For families who have children who are not big veggie eaters, puree some left over veggies and throw them in one of your meals like lasagna. I bet you no one will notice!

One of my favorite veggies to throw into almost anything is shredded carrot. It has a natural sweetness and is so so good for you! My husband dislikes cooked carrots so this is my sneaky way of getting him to eat them. :)

So before you toss that left over broccoli, think of one meal you may make during the week and see if you can use some broccoli in there. Maybe a tomato sauce with some pureed broccoli. I promise that it will not change the flavor!!

I have posted my famous Naan Pizza in the past and it is also a great place to add left overs!! Listen anything covered in cheese tastes delicious in my opinion! (20 Pantry Items and How to Use Them to Your Advantage--Posted on 12/12/12)

Here is a great website that is easy to follow and offers a ton of "left over" recipes!!

Happy Eating and Don't Forget to LivE Wisely!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Mortgage Rates.., they go up down up down...will they go lower? Lock in now or later...My husband and I have refinanced twice already!!

I have always heard that you should refinance if the difference in your current rate and the new rate is more than 1%. Also if you are in a 30 year and a change to a 20 or 15 year is nominal/affordable, then go for it.

Take a look at your finances, if you can afford to pay a little more towards your mortgage, refinancing might be for you. There are a few mortgage calculators out there that can be helpful.


According to Yahoo Homes, there are four reasons why you should refinance in 2013:

1-  Interest Rates are Expected to Rise
"I think most economists would agree that the Fed has been suppressing rates artificially for some time to try to stimulate the economy. But I think interest rates will go up in 2013 and beyond," says Chris L. Boulter, president of Val-Chris Investments, Inc., a California company specializing in residential and commercial loans.

2- The Government's Financial Involvement Will Eventually EndSince the recession in 2008, the government has been trying to stimulate the economy with its quantitative expansion policy, which has helped the housing market, stimulated the economy, and kept interest rates at historic lows. But this won't last forever. In fact, Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, which sets U.S. monetary policy, said in December 2012 that there will be two factors that mark the end of the government's intervention: the unemployment rate and the inflation rate of the dollar.

3- Because Your Rate Could Adjust Up (if You have an ARM)
"And with rates at historic lows, I advise anyone who can refinance to a fixed rate now to do it because there is nowhere for rates to go but up, " says Duffy.

 4-  Because You Could Afford a Shorter-Term Loan
If you can pay $705 more per month, it might be a good investment since that will save you over $110,000 in interest over the life of the loan. Oh, and you'll own your home 15 years earlier, too. With this plan, 2013 is always looking better than 2012, isn't it?

Do yourself a favor and at least investigate whether or not refinancing is the right thing for you to do. If not, well then you don't need to stress about it anymore. 

But if so, then Yippee LivE Wisely!!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Saving Wisely with AMAZON.com...

I am a fan of Amazon. They seem to have everything. And because you can also buy used, you can often times get really good deals.

Some people forget that you can purchase grocery items, (food and paper goods) on Amazon as well.

Did you know that there are Amazon coupons? Check it out!

For those of you looking to save a bit more...try Subscribe and Save:
When you order through Subscribe & Save program, you'll:
• Automatically receive a new shipment of the item in the monthly intervals you select
• Receive a discount off our every day price
• Receive FREE shipping on every Subscribe & Save shipment that arrives on your monthly Subscribe & Save delivery day
• Pay for each order only when the item is shipped
• Have the option to cancel at any time

Take a look at an example of how you can save:

Right now Scott Bath Tissue, 1000 Sheet Rolls, 20 Rolls
If you went to Target.com, (and I loooovvveee Target), SCOTT TISSUE 16-RLLS 
Sale Price $13.00 

Amazon Prime is another way to save. This is a great option for someone who is a frequent shopper on Amazon.com. The fee is $79 per year, but you do get:
  • FREE Two-Day Shipping on millions of items
  • No minimum order size
  • Unlimited instant streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows with Prime Instant Videos
  • A Kindle book to borrow for free each month from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library

I hope this helps in your quest to LivE Wisely!!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Easy Meals Just By Spicing a Few Things Up

It is 4'o clock and you have yet to prepare dinner. The kids scream...Not Pasta Again!!

Here are a few things that you can do to spice up Pasta Meals!

Instead of slicing up zucchini, try shaving it with a peeler! It turns the zucchini into fun ribbons. You can do this with sweet potato, summer squash, carrots, beets...

Instead of always reverting to a jarred sauce, toss with other easy sauces:

-Drizzle Olive Oil and Some Shaved Parmesan Over Pasta, (add Balsamic Vinegar for a fun twist)
-Puree any kind of squash or sweet potato with some milk, salt and pepper. Puree until until the sauce is thin enough to pour over pasta. 

-Puree Peas with Olive Oil for a Twist on a Traditional Pesto sauce. Add some Parmesan for flavor

-How about a Clam Sauce? I have yet to try this so here is a recipe that looks fairly easy:

 -Who doesn't love a cheese sauce: Mix together some whole milk or cream with some left over cheese and a bit of flour to thicken. Poor over and enjoy!

- Chicken or beef broth would also work well over pasta. Thicken with flour.

-Mix Olive Oil and a bit of lemon for a fun kick!

Top Pasta's with:
-Any kind of meat, (including Pepperoni, Kielbasa and Bacon)
-Any kind of veggie, (try non traditional items like green beans, brussel sprouts, swiss chard)
-Beans are awesome on top of pasta, (I prefer cannellini)
-How about throwing a salad right on top! Go Crazy.
-CHEESE!!! Any kind would work, (even feta or goat)

Have you ever tried frying your spaghetti? Put some in the pan and pour some oil on top, (just a bit). Who doesn't love a bit of crunch on top of your pasta!

I just found this great recipe for Lazy Lasagna! Check this out:


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What to do with Unwanted Stuff in Your Home...Sell it...Give it Away...

Master Organizer I am not. But I do enjoy a clean house and I am always finding things that we no longer need. My husband has forbidden me to turn our basement into a what he refers to as "junk" and I refer to as "treasure," depository. So I either have to sell what I find or give it away.

How to distinguish between donation or sell? This is just what I do:

Donation Bucket:
-If it is in good condition and I can not first sell it, I will donate it.
-Children's clothes
-School Supplies

Sell Bucket:
-Newer Items
-Items that I feel are of high value to others, (some furniture, kitchen appliances, etc)

Where to Donate:
-Goodwill  (860)529-6838
-Salvation Army  (860)953-6104
-Vietnam Veterans Donation Pick Up
- Big Brothers and Big Sisters,  1.888.413.2227    
- Gifts of Love  860.676.2323
-My Sister’s Place, Hartford, CT, 860-895-6629
-The Clothes Horse Thrift Store   860-233-1411
-Dress for Success  860-525-5025
-St. Agnes (860) 521-7516

Where to Sell:
- www.Craigslist.org
-Max and Lily's Closet (860) 920-5270
- Elegant Consignment (860) 523-4400
-Panache 860-233-8103
-Revival Home Consignment LLC  (860) 313-0093
- Second Time Around 860-233-8650

  For Tax Breaks:
Search for a charity to which to donate your used furniture. Tax breaks are only given to those who donate to 501(c)3 corporations. To find out if your chosen charity is a registered non-profit you can use the Internal Revenue Service's charity search database.

Also do not forget to obtain a receipt for your donation. This receipt is used for tax purposes and should be kept with your personal tax records.

Feel Good and Organize!!

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