From the category archives:

living on less

Made in the USA: Walmart Investing in American Jobs

by Tara Kuczykowski on February 8, 2014 · 5 comments

Growing up, my grandfather and mother both worked for Tappan Stove Company, my father worked at Ohio Brass, and though I didn't know him yet, my husband's father worked at their local steel mill. What's the common thread here? None of these jobs exist anymore -- small town manufacturing plants have all but disappeared.

I won't speculate on the cause other than to say that I don't think it's fair to point fingers at any one single source. But I do believe that we can all do our part by choosing to vote with our wallets... purchasing American-made options whenever possible.

That's something that's not always easy to do, but now, thanks to a new initiative by Walmart, purchasing "Made in the USA" products is going to get a lot easier. Over the next 10 years, Walmart is investing $250 billion in products that support American jobs. I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty amazing!

What does that mean exactly? Well, Walmart will be working with suppliers to:

  • Increase what they already buy of U.S. manufactured goods
  • Source “new to Walmart” U.S. manufactured goods
  • Re-shore the manufacturing of goods they currently buy by facilitating and accelerating efforts of their suppliers

You may have already seen some of the TV spots highlighting this initiative, but if not, you'll definitely want to take a look at the following video playlist. I especially found the one from the perspective of a closed factory fascinating, but I also loved watching the human aspect of the American workers telling their stories.

You can browse over 1,000 products that support American jobs that Walmart already sells online at And look for more products in stores now!

Walmart Moms Disclosure


9 Easy Dip Recipes for Game Day

by Tara Kuczykowski on February 1, 2014 · 0 comments

We love dips for tailgating -- they're such an easy and budget-friendly appetizer. So in honor of the Big Game tomorrow (aka the Super Bowl), I thought I'd share 9 easy dip recipes!

Try one or try them all, but if I had to choose, I'd start with the Buffalo Chicken Dip... or maybe the a Cheeseburger Con Queso... I just don't know -- they're all SO good!

Do you have another favorite dip recipe to share? I'm always on the hunt for new ones to try!


Easy Cheesy Baked Sloppy Joe Cups + Enter To Win!

by Tara Kuczykowski on January 29, 2014 · 23 comments

If you're looking for an easy sloppy Joe recipe to use up that leftover sloppy Joe meat, these Cheesy Baked Sloppy Joe Cups are definitely the way to go!

If you don't have leftover sloppy Joes, just make the recipe as directed and use two cans of refrigerated biscuits. In fact, you may as well just go that route, because my kids gobbled down these yummy sloppy Joe cups in no time flat.

While you're checking out the recipe, be sure to leave a comment to enter to win a Manwich prize package valued at $100! It's a nice one including a Calphalon pan, $30 grocery gift card, and more...


Happy New Year | Top Recipes of 2013

by Tara Kuczykowski on January 2, 2014 · 2 comments

Happy New Year!!! Looking for some new recipes to try in 2014? Take a trip back through Unsophisticook's top 10 posts of 2013 for a little inspiration!

{10} Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes

{9} Easy Chicken and Dumplings (like Cracker Barrel!)

{8} Slow Cooker Caramel Sauce

{7} Mini Spinach Quiche

{6} How To Make Quinoa in a Rice Cooker

{5} Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa (better than Chipotle!)

{4} Buffalo Chicken Dip (my fave!)

{3} Homemade Iced Coffee

{2} Grilled Honey Lime Chicken

Annnnddddd the most popular Unsophisticook post of 2013 is...

Baked Hard Boiled Eggs
{1} Baked Hard Boiled Eggs -- yields amazingly perfect hard cooked eggs every time and is a fantastic method for making large batches all at once!

Click through for print options on Unsophisticook, or check out my Unsophisticook Recipes board on Pinterest to pin your faves for later!

Did you try one of these recipes this year? Or one that didn't make the top 10? I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Quick and Easy DIY Holiday Manicure

by Tara Kuczykowski on December 30, 2013 · 0 comments

Back in high school, I was all about giving myself fancy manicures. My friend and I would swap nail colors and embellishments daily. Did you ever do the nail charms?!? I was totally not above painting my nails bright orange with a clear rhinestone on each to match my cheerleading uniform...

But when I became a Fine Arts major in college and constantly had my hands in clay, paint, chalk pastels, etc., detailed manicures quickly became reserved for special occasions. And then when I got married and had five kids in the span of 5-and-a-half years, well, finding time to paint my nails even for special occasions was nearly impossible.

As my kids get older and more self sufficient, I'm finding it a little easier to squeeze in some pampering time once again, but I still prefer to give myself my own manicures rather than go to a salon. I've had a salon manicure maybe three times in my entire life, and I'm just not a fan -- not to mention it's not cheap.

So I'm thankful that kits like this Kiss Gradation Nail Polish Kit that I picked up at Walmart make giving myself a Pinterest-worthy manicure easy and inexpensive! Priced at under $7, you can easily get dozens of manicures from it at a fraction of the cost of a salon manicure.

Let me demonstrate it for you using my daughter, Camden, as a hand model:

Basically you layer the three different nail polishes contained in the kit to create a faded-style manicure like the ones that are all the rage on Pinterest. Step one requires two coats of the base nail polish, which in this case is a pale, shimmery gold shade.

Steps two and three happen kind of simultaneously. First you paint on the second polish, a darker shimmery gold shade, on just the top 1/3 of your nail over the initial base coat. Then while this second shade is still wet, you go back over the top 1/2 of your nail with the third polish, a clear glittery top coat, which will fade the first and second shades together.

It really was that simple to use, and I love the way it turned out! I did add a final quick dry top coat to seal everything and speed the drying time.

The Kiss Gradation Nail Polish Kits come in several different shades for a range of looks. I chose the gold because I felt like it was the perfect combination to use for the entire holiday season, taking me right through both Christmas and New Year's!

Are you a salon manicure junkie or do you prefer to DIY your manicures, too?

Walmart Moms Disclosure