Broccoli Cheese Stuffed Chicken

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Broccoli Cheese Stuffed Chicken

By Contributing writer Ashley.

This is a really simple and cheap last minute meal.  I am a chicken lover and lately a broccoli lover too. My children and husband all love cheese. How could this meal fail right? This Broccoli cheese stuffed chicken will be a family hit.  And a big plus for me, the oven was on and heating up our very cold kitchen. This will be happening a lot this winter.

My chicken breasts weren’t very big, not too thick. I butterflied them. You can also pound them… I do not do this. I cannot do this. I make a mess. I destroy chicken doing this. But please, all the power to you if you can.

Broccoli Cheese Stuffed ChickenAfter butterflying my chicken breasts, I slice some cheddar cheese and chop broccoli into small pieces. Sprinkle some garlic power inside the chicken.  Add a small amount of broccoli and piece of cheese, then another small amount of broccoli. Close your butterfly and use a toothpick or a raw piece of spaghetti to keep it closed.

Sprinkle a little paprika over the top.

For easy clean up I line a baking sheet with tin foil. Line your chicken breast up as you make them.

Bake at 400 for 25 minutes or until fully cooked.

Broccoli Cheese Stuffed ChickenCheese will pour out. I haven’t figured out a way to stop this, and I have made this many, many times. There is nothing that taste a good as this! Or, at least, nothing chicken and broccoli related. This broccoli cheese combination is to die for…


Tips To Creating A Budget – Boot Camp Episode #1

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Tips to creating a budget

UPDATE: Here’s my segment from First Coast Living. Watch it for some easy to implement tips! Also try the 10-day money tracking challenge.

We were going to start the Saving The Family Money boot camp series once again.

So welcome to the first episode of Saving The Family Money Boot Camp!  You can refer back to any of these posts by clicking on the Boot Camp category here. STFM-Boot-Camp-3.jpg (280×394)

The first thing I recommend you do is create a budget. If you have one, now is the time to reassess it and determine what’s working and what isn’t.

Here are Tips to creating a budget and make sure you scroll to the end and see how to get the free budget worksheet.

Step #1: Write down all of your monthly expenses.  Include anything with a yearly payment as well, like Homeowners Association fees, or car tag renewal fees.  The best way to do this is gather all of your financial information from 2009, including bank statements, bills and investment statements.  Another way is to track your spending for a month. Write down everything you spend money on for a full month.  You might be surprised where it’s going.  Here’s a quick monthly expense list to get you started:

Insurance – Homeowners/Car
Cell Phone
Debt payments

All of my newsletter subscribers will get a free budget savings worksheet.  The yearly bills should be divided into 12 months and put into savings each month, so that you will have the money when the bill comes in.  Nothing is more frustrating than have to pay a huge bill in the middle of the year and having to scramble to find the funds.  If you budget for it, it will not become a stressor.

Step #2: Write down all of your sources of income.  Salary (Net Income or take home pay), other sources of income.

Step #3: Total all of you expenses and all of your income.  Are you bringing in more money than you are spending?  If so, you are off to a good start.  If not, you need to see where you can cut back.

Here are a few tips:

  • Call your local electric or water company and see if you can be put on the budget plan. Every company calls it something different but essentially it makes all of your monthly payments the same, instead of fluctuating monthly. Does your water bill sky rocket during the summer when you’re watering the yard more?  You will typically have to be in your residence for at least a year, so that they can take an average over the course of the year.  We normally spent under $100 a month on our water bill during the winter, but over $15o during the summer.  Now we pay $122 every month.  This helps out our monthly budget and we are not ‘surprised’ every month when the bill comes in.  They can reassess yearly if your usage changes significantly.  Many companies will do this for you.  Try calling your car insurance company, and many others.
  • Reassess your taxes.  If you get money back when you do your taxes, you may want to reassess the amount your employer is taking out of your pay checks.  Some people enjoy that nice little ‘bonus’ in April, but I prefer to keep that money in my pocket and earn interest on it, instead of the government ‘holding’ onto it for us!  Just make sure you don’t withhold too little and owe them money later.  The IRS has a withholding calculator that you can use to determine your withholding.  We adjusted ours one year and still got money back, so we adjusted it again.  Take baby steps if you’re nervous about it.
  • Consider maxing out your 401K contributions.  401(k)s let you put money from your pretax salary into a tax-deferred investment account that you control.  Contributions reduce your taxable salary and you don’t pay taxes on either contributions or earnings while you’re building the account.  If you can afford it, you should contribute at least enough to take full advantage of any company match.
  • Start a savings account.  This is a important for job loss or unexpected household repairs.  My husband’s company allows you to get your paycheck direct deposited and you can even split that into several accounts.  We’re going to agree on an amount and have that deposited into a separate account from our everyday spending.  This will be money we only touch in an emergency.
  • If you have money left over after all of your expenses are paid, consider paying yourself by giving yourself an allowance.  Even if it’s just $10, you’ll have that $10 to spend guilt free on yourself. If you and your spouse get a “guilt free fund” then you don’t have to explain to each other how you spent it.  Get that cup of coffee before work or save it up for a new pair of jeans.
  • Account for every dollar.  Start carrying around a small notebook with you and write down any purchases you make.  It’s the small purchases that can get out of hand.  You may realize you are spending $100 a month on coffee or $50 more on gas than you originally thought.
  • Differentiate between needs and wants. If you need to cut back, ask yourself if items on your budget are a need or want and assess them as a family.  For example, is cable tv a need or a want?

Set realistic goals:  If you typically spend $400 a month on groceries, try cutting that back to $350 and start clipping those coupons.  Baby steps work for us.  Cutting everything back cold turkey is just unrealistic.

*Disclaimer:  This information is written by me, wife, mother and CFO of my household :)  and should not be considered professional advice.

If you aren’t already signed up for my free newsletter, sign up here and you’ll get the Budget worksheet and the savings worksheet.  Both of these will be sent to you within the hour of signing up.

Discover Your Winning Line Up at Publix and Gift Card Giveaway

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It’s time to change your game day strategy.  Publix isn’t just for food.  Now you can gear up for game day by stocking up on snacks AND my favorite personal care products. Unilever and Publix are teaming up to show how we can all “Discover More In Store” with great deals on the best in hair care, skin care and deodorant.  With a great variety at Publix, like Dove, Suave, Axe, Degree and more you can get everything on your personal care list along with anything else you need to celebrate game day. To learn more, head over to the Discover More In Store Facebook page. It’s your key destination for savings, how to’s and beauty tips.

I love when I can find extra coupons to go with the current store sales.  I’ve always recommended liking Facebook pages of brands you know and love.  The Discover more in store facebook page has links to c0upons to help you save money.

Here are a few Unilever items on sale at Publix now and coupons to go with them, so you can save more:

AXE Shampoo or Conditioner 12-12.9 oz., Axe Body Spray 4 oz. – $4.49
$0.50/1 Axe: Bodyspray, 4 oz; Antiperspirant and Deodorant, 2.7 oz; or Deodorant, 3 oz; Excludes Trial and Travel sizes – Publix Digital Coupon
$1.00/1 Axe Hair Product; Excludes Trial and Travel Size; Maximum 2 Identical Coupons Allowed In Same Shopping Trip – 1-4-15 RP
STACKS WITH $1.00/1 Axe Hair Care Purchase of $5 or More; Excludes Trial/Travel Size (Target Coupon)
STACKS WITH $2.00/2 Axe Products, 2.64 – 16 oz (Publix Coupon) – Health & Beauty Advantage Flyer (Valid from 1-17-15)

Use $1/1 Coupon; Combine with $1/1 Target Coupon (if you buy over $5)

Degree Deodorant with Motionsense, 2 oz – $3.49
Use $2.00 on any ONE (1) Degree® Men’s Dry Spray Antiperspirant (excludes trial & travel sizes)
Final Price: $1.49

Dove Advanced Deodorant, 2.6 oz – $4.99
$1.00/1 Dove Advanced Care Deodorant with NutriumMoisture; Excludes Trial or Travel Size; Maximum 2 Identical Coupons Allowed In Same Shopping Trip
Final Price: $3.99

Dove Beauty Bar, Dove Men + Care or Dove, 2 ct – $2.49

Dove Body Wash, 22 – 24 oz – $5.49
$1.00/1 Dove Body Wash, 18 oz or Larger; Excludes Men + Care; Maximum 2 Identical Coupons Allowed In Same Shopping Trip – 1-4-15 RP
STACKS WITH $2.00/3 Dove Products: Beauty Bar, 6 ct or Larger; Body Wash, 13.5 oz or Larger; Deodorant, 1.7 oz or Larger; or Hair Products, 5 oz or Larger (Publix Coupon) – Health & Beauty Advantage Flyer (Valid from 1-17-15)
Final Price: $3.83
Buy 3: Use (3) $1/1 Coupon;Combine with $2/3 Dove Products

Pond’s Skin Cream or Towettes, 3 – 10 oz or 30 ct – 30% OFF

St. Ives Skin Care – 30% OFF

Suave Products, 2.6 to 28 oz, Mix or Match, $1.71+
$1/2 Suave Products, 2.6 to 28 oz, Mix or Match Health & Beauty Advantage Buy Flyer In-Ad Publix Coupon (valid 1/17 to 1/30)
STACKS WITH: $1.50/1 Suave Professionals Shampoo and Conditioner Product, exp. 1/24/15 (RP 01/04/15 #2) Excludes silver and green 12.6-oz. size and trial; Limit 2
-$2/1 Suave Professionals Luxe Style Infusion Product, (RP 01/04/15 #2) Limit 2
OR -$2/1 Suave Professionals Luxe Style Infusion Product Printable
Final Price: Varies

Unilever and Publix have also teamed up to offer my readers a $25 Publix gift card, Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer: This post is written by me and is sponsored by Lunchbox. 

Ringling Bros Circus Jacksonville Ticket Coupon Code

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Ringling Bros Circus XTreme is in Jacksonville this weekend!  I’m excited to share a Ringling Bros Circus Jacksonville Ticket Coupon Code just for you all to save money for your family.  Buy online at and enter coupon code LZPR, and save $5 off the ticket price.

Enter the Offer code on the page where you choose your seats. (see image below)

Tickets | Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey_ Circus Xtreme - Jacksonville FL at Ticketmaster

Show Times are Thursday, January 15  at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, January 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, January 17 at 11:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, January 18 at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
The All Access Pre-show starts an hour before the show and is FREE to all ticket holders. You and your family can meet their international cast of performers and get up close to their menagerie of animals. Try on custom costumes, learn circus skills — like juggling and walking the low wire — from the famous Ringling Bros.® Clown Alley and even have the opportunity to win a one-of-a-kind masterpiece created by one of their very own Ringling Bros. painting pachyderms.

Kindle Books For Students Up To 75% Off Today

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75 off kindle books

Today only, get up to 75% off hundreds of Kindle books for students, including Brain Rules and Doing Data Science. Kindle books can be read on iPad, iPhone, and Android devices with free Kindle reading apps, as well as on Amazon devices.
This one-day offer is valid on January 13, 2015. Discount is already included in the current price.

Buy Once, Read Everywhere: You don’t need to own a Kindle device to enjoy Kindle books.  Read on your Android phone or tablet, iPad, iPhone, Mac, Windows 8 PC or tablet, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone.

13 Tips To Saving Money On Pet Care and Expenses

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Saving Money on pet care

This past September we were itching to have a furry companion again.  The kids had never experienced a puppy since our previous pets were part of our family before the kids came along.  Hence our new addition (pictured above) Pepper.  

Update: Since originally writing this we have also adopted a new kitten.  Pepper and sable are having so much fun together.

Pepper sable

It’s important to be prepared for a new addition to your family.  There are costs involved, but I’m determined to minimize those costs and reap the benefits of having a pet with lots of unconditional love. Even when they chew up your shrubs! :)  Saving money on pet care can be done.

13 Ways to Save Money on Pet Care

  1. Join Pet Supply reward programs.  Many Pet stores have reward programs and you can get coupons, sales and promotions sent to your inbox.   Before heading out to the store, clip or print coupons for pet supplies you need.  To maximize your savings, try stocking up on items when they are on sale and you have coupons.
  2. Keep your pet up to date on shots and general veterinarian care.  If you skip a visit to save a few dollars, your pet could be susceptible to illness, costing you more in the long run.
  3. Try to find a low cost veterinarian in your city.  Some of the shelters offer low cost services on a walk-in basis, but keep in mind that there maybe a long wait. The Jacksonville Humane Society Animal Hospital offers reduced fees for services.   If you know what services or vaccinations you need for your pet, call around for pricing.  You can also search the Human Society Registry for low cost spay/neuter facilities in your zip code area.  If you are an elementary school teacher or staff member in Duval, Clay, Nassau or St. John’s county, visit St. Francis Animal Hospital to pick up a FREE Teacher’s Pet Passport coupon book. (must show proof)
  4. Ask your veterinarian for human prescriptions.  Our dog recently had to be put on antibiotics and we got a prescription that is on the Publix free list.  Obviously this may not always be available, but it never hurts to ask.
  5. Adopt from a shelter and save a life.  In my city, there are many shelters that are considered no kill shelters and offer adoption fees at reduced rates.  Animals over 3 years old are free, so ask if you have something similar at your shelter.  They may also have events where you can name your own adoption fee based on your budget.  Recently they had an even for military and first responders to adopt for free, or wear your Pawjamas, and adopt for free.  Pepper (photo above) was adopted from The Jacksonville Humane Society in September of 2012.  She just turned 1 in July (Photo on right).  We couldn’t imagine our lives without her.
  6. Research the food you are buying your pet, and ask your veterinarian for recommendations. While expensive foods may drain your budget, cheap food can too.  If there are lots of additives in the less expensive brands, it can cause your pet to eat more of it to be full.  While medium priced foods can be just as nutritional without sacrificing your pets health.  We also discovered our puppy has an allergy to chicken, costing us several veterinary bills in itching side effects, until we figured it out.  We are paying for more expensive fish based foods now, but much less in veterinary bills.  Check the bulk pricing of foods and buy if it’s cheaper.  You can always split with a family member if it’s too much at one time.
  7. Budget for your pets need and have an emergency pet fund.  You never know when your pet will need medical care and it helps to have a fund already set up for it.  Be sure to include any boarding or pet care you might need if your family goes on vacation.
  8. Shop thrift stores for supplies.  Just as you would your family, shop the local thrift stores for pet dishes, cat condos and more.
  9. Groom your pet as a family.  We’ve been washing our new puppy since day one.  It’s a good thing to teach the kids how to do.  Buy a nail trimming kit and ask your veterinarian to give you a lesson.  Clip them yourself in the future (if you are brave enough).
  10. Do your best to keep your pet healthy.  Make sure they have plenty of fresh water throughout the day.  Take them for walks and make exercise a family activity.  An overweight pet can experience health problems leading to more veterinary bills.
  11. Trade servies while on Vacation.  Someone has to take care of your pet while you’re on vacation.  Whether it’s a dog, cat, rabbit or the family fishes.  If you have a family or neighbors with pets, discuss trading services and helping each other out when either of you go out of town.  Be sure your pet ‘likes’ the neighbor first, or it could be a problem.
  12. Get your pet microchipped.  Most adoption facilities require all pets to be microchipped before being adopted.  The cost is usually added into the adoption fee.  We simply had to register the microchip when we adopted pepper.  If your pet goes missing, it’s a good way for a pet to find it’s way back to you. And avoid any family heartbreak.
  13. Pet Insurance. If you are the type of person who will do anything for your pet, including spending thousands of dollars for treatments, you may want to look into Pet Insurance.  I recommend speaking to your local Veterinarian for their advice and options. At a Glance_ KMSavings At a Glance_ KMSavings-1


If you do not have pets, consider helping out a family member or neighbor when you get pet freebies with your coupons.  I also highly recommend donating items to your local Animal Shelter.

What money saving tips do you have for your family pet?

Introducing The New Online Coupon Class with 50% Off {Limited Time Only}

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coupon class button

I’m so excited to announce that the Online Coupon Class is LIVE!

Welcome to the beginning of Saving YOUR Family Money!  Learning how to coupon and maximize your savings, is a great way to save money in 2015.  Once you start couponing, you’ll never go back!

Many of you have asked me in the past if I travel to other cities and I’ve even taught in some of your homes.  After 5+ years of teaching live events, I am excited to offer the online course.    Now you can learn from the comfort of your home, at your own pace.

On of the best parts it that not only do you get worksheets to follow along with the videos, but you also get access to the PRIVATE Facebook group, where you can network, ask questions and learn from others in the community.

In addition to that, once you sign up for the class, you will also have access to a personalized affiliate link. Use this link to share with family and friends and when they purchase the class through YOUR LINK, you’ll get 50% of the purchase price!

As an introductory offer, you can get 50% off the Basic Couponing course when you use coupon code NEWYEAR.

Basic Couponing |

This 50% off coupon code is only available through Sunday 1/4/15 1/12/15 and is for a limited number of users…so don’t wait!  AND after you’ve signed up, be sure to grab your affiliate link, and share the link and coupon code with your friends!   (Affiliate info will be in the top right of your login page. )

FB coupon class button50 off

You’ll learn the anatomy of a coupon, ethical couponing, stacking coupons, where to get coupons and SO MUCH MORE!

Click here for information, cost and to sign up.

Upcycled Thrift Store Dining Room Table

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Upcycled Thrift Store Dining Room Table

As many of you probably saw on Facebook, I recently purchased a table.  This upcycled Thrift Store Dining room table is my love right now!  I was on the look out for a table but was really looking at possibly making one out of an old door.  When I spotted this table in the store, it was taken apart, with the legs separated and the table top was leaning up against a mattress and all I could see was the bottom of it.


I positioned the legs together (above).  These are two pieces and I was very intrigued by the hardware to connect them (below).


Both pieces pushed together and then you push down on the handle to lock them into place.  There have also been some additional hooks that appear to have been added under the legs as well.


Since I couldn’t see the top of the table, as it was laying against a mattress in the store, I leaned it up against the legs and starred at it. I was surprised how well the top looked since the legs were so worn.


Ok, well it’s a neat table but it’s old, I could tell.  No price tag anywhere.  When I asked the sales woman if she knew anything about it, and if it indeed still fit together, she had no idea.  She said it was dropped off in pieces and she knew nothing about it.  She quoted me $40.  For $40 I was up for the adventure!  In my van it went!

My son helped me put it together when I got home and my husband came home to THIS in the driveway.  lol


The table also came with 2 leaf inserts to make it longer.

I flipped the table top onto a work bench and started to remove some of the trim.  One whole side was missing the trim and the only way to fix it was to remove the rest and replace it.


After removing the old trim, I started cutting and replacing it.  Up close you can see how distressed this table is.



Angles are NOT my thing, so once I got one corner done, I copied it another 3 times.  Then I secured with liquid nails and my nail gun.  Did I mention I LOVE my nail gun and love using it any chance I get?  I’m weird that way.

While I was cleaning up the bottom of the table, I spotted a small label. This is the only writing anywhere on the table.  I googled the Patent number 975,604, and it’s circa 1910!  I can’t tell you how excited I was that not only did I already love this table but now I know more about it including that it’s 100 years old!


I chose a white chalk paint for the legs and the edges of the table.  I know many might frown upon painting the table/legs but since I had to replace the trim, I needed to make it blend with the old trim.


Chalk paint is nice because you don’t need to sand down the old wood or prime it first.  Just paint it!  You can probably get by with 2 coats but I threw on a third because there was some yellowing seeping through.  Once I put on the wax coat and let that dry, I then sanded down some of the edges to give it a roughed up look.  This part baffles my husband.  He said, “So you painted it, then you sanded off the paint?”  lol  YUP that’s what I did!


I sold our old bar stool table on craigslist while all this was going on.  Then I shined the wood floors and put the table together!  I absolutely LOVE it!

Our current dining room is being used as a computer lab, no joke!  It has computer parts everywhere.  Such is the geek life.  So it’s nice to have a table we can all eat at again.  I still need to find chairs.  For now we are using our dining room chairs.   What do you think?


I didn’t do anything to the top of the table besides give it a good cleaning.  It looks so gorgeous in this picture.  I must admit though, up close there are dings in it but I love my imperfect table.

My husband and son sit on both of the long ends and it’s now a running joke that they both have to rest their arms on the table at the same time or else it will tip over.  This is SO NOT true!   Yes it’s an old table, and it creaks some but I gave it new life.  :)  I hope my family loves me when I’m old and creaky…oh wait….that’s right about now!

The picture of the side by side comparisons at the top of this post makes it look like I colored the top.  The difference in the coloring is because one picture was taken outside and one was taken inside.

Approximate cost: $40 Table, $50ish for trim and new paint.  Making an old table new and useful again…priceless.

I’ll let you know when I find chairs!