*Saving you some money in the Rock River Valley*

Welcome to our blog! While a lot of our deals may be specific to the Rockford area, you'll find many deals that are also good nationwide! We hope that our blog will be fun, informative, and that it will help you SAVE SOME MONEY!

Read here about our "Coupon Ethics"

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Toddler Thursday - Sandpaper Letters

Sandpaper letters - using yarn, a crayon and sandpaper to create a fun learning activity. I would have never thought of this but it is a creative, frugal idea! Also, I think it is perfect for the car like she suggests.

Check out the great instructions here!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tuesday Tip - Cute DIY Kitchen Awning

OK, so I think this is adorable . . . our kitchen is slowly getting to the café look that I've been trying to transition to. Then I saw this awning look which would be perfect! And thankfully I don't need great sewing skills! Phew!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday Munchies - Pumpkin Scones

Pumpkin is one of those things that I use year round! I try to stock up when it is on sale but it's like black beans I grab a can when I see it because I know it will get put to use!

I made these pumpkin scones on Thanksgiving morning and everyone LOVED them! Yes, it is the day after Christmas but maybe these would be a perfect start for New Year's Day.

Thanks to TheShoeBoxKitchen for the wonderful recipe!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Toddler Thursday - Hot Cocoa Dippers

Toddler Crafts are fun but edible crafts . . . even better! Good Housekeeping posted these DIY hot cocoa dippers. I think these are easy enough to involve your tots and kids of any age! Make them for a party or make them as gifts just make sure to make extra to treat yourselves too!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday Meals - Easy Creamy Mac & Cheese

OK, so this recipe looks so yummy I think I have to try it! It looks easy (for the most part) and doesn't have all the "unknown" ingredients that Velveeta has! :0) I guess the "secret" is that you cook your noodles in milk rather than water.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Freelance Friday - Holiday Traditions!

Since my daughter had to do a school project based on family holiday traditions, it made me wonder what traditions other families have at Christmas time? Please leave some comments and let us know what your favorite family tradition was/is! Here are a few we have:

A new ornament for each child based on events of the last year. For instance, my son LOVES the guitar so last year he received a guitar ornament. This year they will probably be Pennsylvania themed as we moved across country in October.

A new pair of pj's presented on Christmas Eve. The kids are allowed to open their pj's and their presents that are from their sibling.

On the first snow of the season we hop in the car all pj'ed up and go through a drive through Christmas light display.

We have a large wooden Advent box with doors that counts down from December 1st through the 25th. I put in a special treat and a scripture verse relating to Christ's birth.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Toddler Thursday - Yarn Art

Since we always have yarn around the house, or a coupon for 50% off yarn or the fact that the Dollar Tree always has yarn . . . this yarn art will be a fun, easy and cheap craft.

In fact, my daughter had a school project to decorate this big Christmas tree and guess what we used . . . YARN!

Check out these great ideas from Make and Takes for creating some Christmas Yarn Art!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesday Tip - DIY colored sugar

I love this tip on making your own colored sugar. Buying it at the store (especially if you need multiple colors) can get expensive. This method seems easy and uses 2 ingredients that most people have in their homes! Thanks MomOnTimeOut!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Monday Munchies - Candy Cane Bark

Wow! This Candy Cane Bark looks great! I haven't tried the Hershey's candy cane kisses (one of the ingredients) but have heard from a friend that they are delicious. Now I'm going to have to try this recipe!

Note: I'm sure if you don't have the Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses, you could substitute white chocolate chips with some peppermint extract!

Starbucks' deal of the day

I guess Starbucks has had a 12 days of Christmas deal going on these past 12 days. Sounds like most of the deals weren't that great. But today's deal is a great buy if you love their brewed coffee and can get to a Starbucks every day in January. If you purchase a specific 16oz tumbler, you can get it filled with brewed coffee every day in January for free! That's a $50 value if you purchase a coffee every day.

Monday Munchies - Chocolate Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Money Saving Mom posted this delicious chocolate chocolate chip banana bread recipe and it is truly scrumptious! I always add chocolate chips to my banana bread but never thought of adding the cocoa. We may never go back to regular banana bread!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Freelance Friday - Rough draft of Disclosure Policy

**I know this sounds boring and blah, but please do take the time to read when you have a minute. It helps explain our goal and our policy (and hopefully our heart!)**

I've been wanting to write a "disclosure policy" of sorts for our blog . . . but as I've been looking around on other sites, I'm finding them very wordy or complicated. So I'm going to come up with a simplified version for now. Here's the rough draft:

1. The goal of our PinchAPennyNook blog is to help you save money and be good stewards of your finances. As we share money-saving ideas, coupons, sales, as well as fun/helpful tips we find, we hope you will be inspired and encouraged by our posts.

2. We do not get paid to blog. Kristie and I just enjoy finding good deals and ideas, and are thankful for the opportunity the web provides us to share those with you. While we do not think it would be wrong for us to get paid (in fact, we would love that!), at this time this is not a money-making endeavor.

3. Having said that, there are a few ways we can get compensated.
  • Our coupons.com widget on the right side bar does generate some income for us when you click on it and use it. I think last year it may have earned us $10 or something like that (we still have to figure out how to get that $10!).
  • Most times when we post a deal we find, the link is just that - a link to the website. Links to Target.com, Childrensplace.com, etc are just a quick way for you to get to the website. Sometimes we may send you to another money-saving website where that person will have a link which is their "referral link" - after all, since they took the time to post the deal, we want them to get rewarded for it, and so we send you their way.
  • Sometimes, however, we are able to provide a "referral link" which rewards us for sharing the deal with you. For example, Groupon has referral links that will reward the "sharer" with a credit to Groupon if a first time buyer signs up for Groupon through that link. Since we've taken the time to find and post the deals, we do not believe that getting rewarded for referrals is wrong or deceitful - but we want to let our readers know that is what is going on: thus the need for this Disclosure Policy.
  • All that to say that we would love for you to click through our links if you're going to take advantage of a deal! It's your way of saying "thank you" to us :) All the links look the same on our blog. The only difference between a regular link and a referral link is the "behind the scenes" where one rewards us for referring a new customer.
4. All opinions expressed on this site are just that - our opinions. We have not been paid to "advertise" or endorse a product or site. We have been approached by a few advertisers that are interested in us endorsing/advertising their services, but have yet to be comfortable with any of them. We choose to not have ads until we can find ones we are comfortable with or ones we can at least somewhat control the content.

5. Some day we may have ads or have giveaways of products that have been provided to us by a company. Rest assured that when that day comes, we will only be sharing things we are comfortable with. For now we are just a small little website sharing tips and information and we hope that we are of some help to some of you!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Toddler Thursday - Thumbprint Christmas Lights

This is an adorable thumbprint Christmas light craft for kids of any age! For older kids they can make the entire project themselves or for the younger ones they can just make the thumbprints.
Turn them into decorations or punch a hole in the top and tie on some ribbon for some handmade name tags on all your Christmas presents!

Thanks to Tip Junkie for the idea!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Make your own snowglobes!

I just had to post this today because we made a snow globes yesterday and they really are so much fun! You do not need to spend a lot of time or money on these. We saved a jelly jar and a spaghetti sauce jar . . . ran them through the dishwasher and used goo gone to get any sticky residue off of the outside.

The Dollar Tree is the perfect place to find something cheap to stick inside if you don't have something around the house. We used a ninja for one and a Christmas tree in the other. The Dollar Tree has great little village pieces with snowmen and carolers perfect for this project. They also have super glue and the glitter you will need!

Here is a link to Make a Homemade Snow Globe! Next year we may try using photos!

Wacky Wednesday - Baby pun

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Children's Place 25% and free shipping

Until today only, Children's Place has extended their sale so you get 25% off everything AND free shipping. Just use the code FRIEND at checkout. I believe you can also print a coupon for in-store if you prefer that.

Monday Munchies - Disaster? Discovery? Delight!

So today I'd like to ask you our readers if you've ever had a kitchen disaster become a new discovery and that is now a favorite! Maybe you've started a recipe only to discover that you were missing an ingredient . . . so you replace it with another ingredient and presto! A new favorite recipe emerged!

I've had that happen only in my crafting before. I would start out with an idea for a greeting card in mind only to have it fail . . . and in trying to "fix" it, I discover a new technique or new favorite way to do something!

This weekend, it happened in the kitchen for me! I was attempting to make this recipe of Christmas Mint Cookies but only had enough chocolate to make a dozen of them. So I went back to the cupboard and discovered about 4 ounces of white chocolate chips. Hmm, that should work to make a few more, right?

I don't know what I did wrong, but that white chocolate would not melt smoothly! I had used it in other recipes (fudge I think) and it melted just fine! So now I had a chunky, half-soft lump of peppermint white chocolate. Hmm, add some milk maybe? Epic fail. Now I just had some cloudy milk with chunks of white chocolate. Well, if it wouldn't work for covering cookies, maybe I could make chocolate milk out of it - add more milk. Well, at least now it was smooth, but it was way too thick for chocolate milk.

Into the fridge it went . . . the next day I make myself a cup of coffee and use some of my new creation of white chocolate peppermint creamer. OH YUM! Better than Starbucks! New favorite creamer, and I know how to make it again (kinda)! I know I had about 4 ounces of chocolate, a few drops of peppermint extract, and enough milk to make about a cup of the creamer.

What about you? Do you have a disaster/discovery/delight story?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

25 Days of Free Holiday Music from Amazon

It's that time of year again when Amazon offers 25 days of Free Holiday music. Each day they will reveal a new download. There are 3 available so far. Check this page daily or check back towards the end of the month and download them all.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Toddler Thursday - Busy Bingo Game

Make and Takes had a great printable busy bingo game to keep the children busy during those holiday parties! This would be a great activity to take with you to a family party to help entertain the kids. Check it out here.