From the category archives:

living on less

Fight Hunger, Spark Change With Walmart

by Tara Kuczykowski on September 30, 2014 · 1 comment

Our family has been through some pretty lean times, but we've always managed to put food on our table -- something I know so many struggle with each day. In fact, one in seven Americans, including 12 million children, turn to the Feeding America food bank network for food assistance each year... That's a pretty staggering fact, isn't it?

The sad truth is that food banks across the nation are facing a growing need for donations these days. To help combat the historically high rate of of food insecurity, Walmart has joined with Feeding America to support food banks and local partner agencies across the country in the Fight Hunger. Spark Change. campaign. Even better, they've enlisted the help of six of the nation's largest food companies, including General Mills, Unilever, Hormel, ConAgra Foods, PepsiCo/Quaker and Kellogg Company.

How You Can Help Fight Hunger

So how can we help out? A great starting place is by voting voting online for your local food bank at! You can cast one vote per day, and at the end of the voting period, the top 50 food banks will each receive a $60,000 grant. Food banks really know how to stretch that kind of money -- that's the monetary equivalent of 37 million meals!

Currently, the Mid-Ohio Food Bank (my local food bank) is in 17th place, making them a strong candidate for receiving one of these much-needed grants. I'd love to see my local friends jump in and vote daily to help keep them there! Or if you'd prefer to support your own local food bank, you can easily search for it by state.

When you place your vote, you'll also received information on how you can donate or volunteer to take a direct action in the fight against hunger in your local community. Together we can make a lasting impact in helping to reduce hunger in America!

But don't wait -- voting is only open through this Sunday, October 5th...

Walmart Moms Disclosure

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My October Weeknight Meal Plan + $50 Cottonelle Giveaway!

by Tara Kuczykowski on September 29, 2014 · 104 comments

Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

While I've shared in the past that sticking with a meal plan isn't one of my virtues, I'm going to give it an honest go for October. We've got a busy month coming up with three weekend soccer tournaments and a business trip for me mid-month, so hopefully having a plan in place will help alleviate some of the stress!

Two things before we get to my plan... Weekends are almost always up in the air for us until the last minute, so I'm only going to plan out our weeknights. Also, we rotate through a number of different side dishes, so I'll just list a specific side when it makes sense and share some of our other faves apart from the main dishes after the plan.

One Pot Cilantro Lime Chicken

:: Week One (9/29-10/3)

chocolate chip coffee muffins
freezer smoothies

grilled honey lime chicken, coconut milk rice
dinner out
one pot cilantro lime chicken w/ corn & blackbeans, leftover coconut milk rice
grilled lemon basil pork chops, lemony basil orzo pasta salad
homemade pizza night

Cilantro Chipotle Barbecue Chicken Thighs

:: Week Two (10/6-10/10)

crunchy homemade granola bars
apple muffins

cilantro chipotle barbecue grilled chicken thighs
Italian wedding soup, bread machine sourdough bread
leftovers (business trip)
pizza carryout (business trip)
dinner out (soccer tournament)

Banana Bread Recipe

:: Week Three (10/13-10/17)

no bake peanut butter bars
banana bread

beef barbacoa burrito bowls, coconut milk rice, Mexican sweet corn cake (if I'm feeling ambitious)
creamy tomato basil soup, grilled cheese sandwiches
4-ingredient mini chicken pot pies
dinner out (soccer tournament)

Mango Bread Recipe

:: Week Four (10/20-10/24)

mango bread
pumpkin bread

homemade chicken and dumplings
zuppa toscana soup, homemade breadsticks
walking tacos
homemade pizza night

Easy Chili Recipe

:: Week Five (10/27-10/31)

apples with homemade caramel sauce
chocolate-covered pumpkin pretzels

slow cooker chili
slow cooker cola pulled pork sliders
leftovers (Trick-or-Treat night)
dinner out (soccer tournament)

Roasted Sesame Asparagus

As I mentioned, we're pretty laid back when it comes to side dishes. Usually I can throw together at least one of the sides below with whatever comes in our weekly produce box and/or what's in my pantry -- and my family is fine with that!

Now it's your turn to share... What's on your menu this week or month? Share in the comments or leave a link to your menu plan post and you could win a Cottonelle prize package valued at $50!


Today, one lucky Deal Seeking Mom reader will win $50 in Cottonelle products!!! Follow the instructions in the widget below to be entered to win...

Be sure to check out the Pick Up The Values website for more valuable printable coupons, including savings on Cottonelle products!

This post is brought to you by Kimberly-Clark. All opinions are 100% mine.


GelPro Elite | Make Your Kitchen More Comfortable

by Tara Kuczykowski on September 25, 2014 · 1 comment

I received a GelPro Classic mat a few years ago in conjunction with a giveaway that I did here on Deal Seeking Mom, and I immediately fell in love with how comfortable it was to stand on while doing the dishes. And since doing a LOT of dishes is par for the course with a large family, it's received a fair amount of use since then and was starting to show a little wear and tear.

So when a GelPro representative asked if I'd be interested in trying out their new GelPro Elite mats, I answered with a resounding YES!!! And then I waited by the front door every day until it was delivered...

Well, not really, but I definitely was very much looking forward to its arrival, and let me just tell you, it did not disappoint. When they call the GelPro Elite the "world's most comfortable floor mat," they are NOT exaggerating! It's at least twice as thick as my original GelPro, and I'm not kidding when I say that standing on it is like a dream.

I really didn't think anything could be more comfortable than my GelPro Classic mat, but I was wrong! Four different layers combine to create a cooling, soothing, ultra-comfortable mat that comes in a variety of colors to complement any decor. I received the Linen pattern in Granite Gray, and it looks great with our hardwood floors.

Other qualities I love:

  • Stain- and abrasion-resistant surface
  • Easy to clean and safe for pets and children
  • Beveled and reinforced edges will not curl or wear down
  • Non-slip bottom surface with antimicrobial properties keeps the mat safely in place

A new GelPro mat would make a fantastic birthday or Christmas gift for anyone that needs to spend a lot of time on their feet -- most especially moms! The new GelPro Elite mats start at $119.95, but GelPro also has an array of mats to fit any budget. Be sure to sign up for their email list to receive a 15% discount right now!

This post is brought to you by GelPro. All opinions are 100% mine.

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My 5 Favorite FREE Money-Saving Apps + $50 Pull-Ups Giveaway

by Tara Kuczykowski on September 24, 2014 · 36 comments

I'll just be completely honest, there have been many shopping trips recently where I haven't used a single paper coupon... Are you a bit shocked? I'm guessing maybe some of you are, but I'm also betting that there are a good number of you out there saying, "Yeah, I'm going through one of those stages, too."

It makes me laugh to remember how I used to think that when my kids were just a little older, we'd have it made. No, we didn't plan to have 5 kids in the span of less than 6 years (and I wouldn't change it for the world), but the thing about those babies and toddlers and preschoolers growing up is... they grow up.

As they get older they don't need the same kind of constant physical attention for feeding and bathing and napping, etc... BUT they do need shuttled here and there for school and activities, as well as help with homework that I don't even understand myself sometimes. And they still need fed amidst all of that! And reminded to shower, and on and on.

So, yeah, that's the stage we're at now. And finding the time to clip and sort coupons just may be the task that tips me over the edge from slightly frazzled soccer mom to that crazy-insane mom that we need to steer clear of at all costs. And I don't wanna be that mom!

5 FREE Money-Saving Apps

But the good news is that there are still plenty of ways to save money on groceries and more that don't involve cutting a single coupon! And since my phone is my lifeline these days, it seemed only natural to look for ways to use it to save our family some cash.

Though I have a number of money-saving apps downloaded to my phone, the five below are the tried and true gems that I find myself using over and over again.

Ibotta offers cash back rebates on groceries, health & beauty, apparel, restaurants and more. I use it mainly for groceries, and it's super simple to redeem the rebates by submitting a photo of your receipt. A handful of stores offer redemption via your store loyalty card, but I haven't tried this option because it's not available in my area.

There are also opportunities to earn bonuses on your rebates based on referring friends and redeeming multiple rebates within a given month. You can cash out via Paypal when your account reaches $5, or you can choose to redeem your savings for a variety of gift cards.

What I love most about Ibotta is that, in addition to the typical product coupons we see, there are often savings on items that rarely have coupons. Currently you can save $1.00 off a gallon of milk, $0.25 off any brand of orange juice, and $0.25 off a dozen eggs -- all items that are typically on my shopping list!

Register for Ibotta

Checkout 51 is very similar to Ibotta in that you snap a photo of your receipt and submit it to receive rebates. While there aren't as many bonus opportunities for saving, they also seem very dedicated to offering rebates on fresh produce and other staples. When your account reaches $20 in savings, you can cash out by requesting a check.

My favorite offers this week include $0.25 off bananas, $0.50 off a dozen eggs (combine with the Ibotta rebate!), and $0.25 off any salad mix.

Register for Checkout 51

SavingStar rebates can actually be redeemed online, but since I mostly use the app on my phone, I included them in this list. SavingStar offers can be redeemed by submitting your receipt or there are a few stores that offer automatic redemption when you attach your store loyalty card to your account. Cash out via Paypal when your account reaches $5, or you can redeem the balance for an Amazon gift card.

They seem to have fewer offers that I'm interested in personally, but I do love their fresh produce Healthy Offer of the Week. This week's offer is 20% off loose apples! Savingstar also has a FREE deal each week that runs for three days, starting on Friday.

Register for SavingStar

The Amazon Mobile app makes my top five because I use it frequently for checking the prices in stores when I'm shopping. Now that's not to say that I check every single item I purchase, but I have a certain price point in mind that I always price check over and above. We have an Amazon Prime subscription, so if an item is available at a lower price with Prime shipping, it almost always worth the extra day or two to purchase online.

Download Amazon Mobile

The new Savings Catcher app from Walmart is the newest addition to my list, but it's quickly became one of my favorites. Simply scan your receipts to submit them after making a purchase at Walmart, and they will automatically compare the prices with competitor stores in your area. If an item you bought turns out to be price lower at another store, Walmart will refund the difference to a Walmart Rewards eGift Card.

Even better, I just noticed that if you open up a Bluebird Account, you'll receive 2X the savings back! I already have almost $15 in savings in my account, so I'm definitely going to look into the Bluebird option.

More about Savings Catcher

Sometimes I'll check out these apps before I shop, and other times I'll just scan them once I'm home to see if I can take advantage of the savings. Since I'm trying to get in the habit of only buying what my family needs, the second option eliminates the temptation to just pick up an item because it's a good deal. Simplicity is the key for me right now!

Now it's your turn to share... What is your favorite money-saving app? Share in the comments and you could win a Pull-Ups prize package valued at $50!


Today, one lucky Deal Seeking Mom reader will win his or her choice of $50 in Pull-Ups products!!! Follow the instructions in the widget below to be entered to win...

Be sure to check out the Pick Up The Values website for more valuable printable coupons, including savings on Pull-Ups products!

This post is brought to you by Kimberly-Clark. All opinions are 100% mine.


Be The Good: Challenge Accepted #BeTheGood

by Tara Kuczykowski on September 17, 2014 · 1 comment

A few weeks ago, Courtney Brown of Cents Of Style contacted me with a challenge...

We have the chance to create a tiny movement and we want you to be a part of it. We are partnering with to bring the social media world the #BeTheGood campaign. With your help, we know this campaign will go viral and help promote goodness throughout the world.

How could I say no to such a worthy cause? I mean, what an awesome opportunity to do something, big or small, for another person. Challenge accepted!

So this morning, I put on my adorable #BeTheGood tee, along with my favorite #AmandasArmy necklace from StudioJewel, and set out to run some errands and hopefully bestow a few RAOKs. And then I promptly dribbled my Pumpkin Spice Latte down the front of my shirt...

Yes, I'm a bit of a spaz -- but a shirt isn't necessary to bring the light of kindness into this world. Although I do hope you'll buy one of these adorable Be The Good t-shirts to support this campaign. They're super cute and soooo comfortable!

So what's my contribution to being the good so far? Well, so far I signed up to take dinner to a dear friend who just had a spinal fusion surgery.

Have you ever heard of Take Them A Meal? It's an awesome little website that makes coordinating meals for those in need a cinch. You can even just send a dinner delivery if cooking is not your thing!

Here's what's on the menu:

Cilantro Lime Chicken

Cilantro Lime Chicken -- prepare this flavorful cilantro lime chicken with a side of corn and black beans all in one pot for super easy cleanup!!!

Coconut Milk Rice

Coconut Milk Rice -- my favorite way to serve this coconut milk rice is with a little lime and cilantro stirred in, a perfect easy weeknight side dish!

Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe

Chocolate Chip Muffins -- these chocolate chip coffee muffins are moist and flavorful, amazing with a hot cup of coffee on a cool fall morning!

What do you think -- sound yummy?

Now here's the part where I challenge all of you to take a part in this movement and spread goodness throughout. Good luck my friends... I can't wait to hear about your acts of kindness! See below for details:

1. Choose a good deed. Could be as simple as paying for the coffee after yours. (I do this one a lot -- such a nice surprise for the car behind me!)

2. Share your goods. Pick your favorite social channel (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), but first, make sure to take a selfie (or something appropriate to your story), and share your story, big or small. Be sure to use these hashtags to help this campaign spread: #BeTheGood, #JaneCares and #CentsofStyle. You’ll see your story featured on!

3. Tag 1-5 of your friends to do the same.

4. Look stylish while doing it! and Cents of Style are selling some super cute #BeTheGood t-shirts on All profits made will be donated to Girls Inc., an organization that inspires girls to be strong, smart and bold.

Need some more ideas? Be sure to check out the Be The Good page on for inspiration.

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