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  • Tutorial: How to Make a Money Lei

    How to Make a Money Lei at chieffamilyofficer.com

    I’ve been the room parent for both of my children ever since they entered kindergarten, and I think the biggest reason I’ve been asked to be room parent each year is that the teachers know they’ll receive a money lei as their holiday gift from the class 😉 As you can see above, it’s not immediately obvious that the lei is made up of 100 $1 bills, and it’s something of a show piece. The drawback is that the lei would have to be dismantled in order to spend the money, but when I’ve asked if the teachers would prefer to just have the cash, I’ve been assured that they would prefer the lei instead.

    I’ve also been asked many times, “How do you make that?” As impressive as the finished lei looks, it’s actually very easy to make, so I’ve prepared this step-by-step tutorial to show you how to make one yourself. Since I collect money from the entire class, it’s actually a very cheap project. But I will be upfront in saying it’s tedious and time-consuming, so just be prepared.

    Click here to see the tutorial

    Apple Sauce Easter Craft & Apple Sauce Pie Recipe from Musselman’s

    My kids love Musselman’s apple sauce, so I readily accepted when Musselman’s offered to send me some applesauce for a craft as well as to eat. I was curious about the craft, which turned out to be for Bunny Place Cards that uses apple sauce in a very non-traditional way. Here’s the “recipe”:

    What you’ll need:
    1/2 cup Musselman’s Apple Sauce
    1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons cinnamon (one 2.37 oz bottle)
    glitter (optional)
    white craft glue (optional)
    waxed paper
    bunny (or other Easter shape) cookie cutter
    paint pens/glitter glue pens

    1. Stir together apple sauce and 1/2 cup cinnamon until the dough becomes soft. Knead the dough with your hands for several minutes until it holds together and is completely incorporated. If desired, add glitter while kneading for extra sparkle, and craft glue for extra strength. If the dough is too wet, add 1 tablespoon of flour and knead until the flour is completely incorporated.

    2. Shape the dough into a disk and place it on a sheet of waxed paper. Place a sheet of waxed paper over the dough and roll it out to 3/4 inch thick. Use the cookie cutter to cut out bunnies or other shapes.

    3. Sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons of cinnamon on a cookie sheet and place bunnies on the sheet. Bake at 200 degrees for approximately two hours, turning bunnies periodically so they dry evenly and the edges don’t curl. Brush of the excess cinnamon and air dry the bunnies overnight on cooling racks before decorating.

    4. Once the bunnies are completely dry, write each guest’s name with a paint or glitter glue pen and use them as place cards. You can add extra embellishments with acrylic paint, ribbons and/or fabric.

    Note that these place cards are not edible.

    If you’re looking for something edible, I highly recommend Musselman’s Apple Raisin Crumb Pie. I’ve adapted the recipe as follows:

    Apple Sauce Raisin Crumb Pie
    Serves 8

    2 cups Musselman’s Natural Apple Sauce
    2/3 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
    3 tablespoons butter
    1 cup raisins
    4 eggs
    1/2 cup quick cooking oats
    1/4 cup brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
    1 9-inch unbaked pie shell with high fluted edge

    1. Combine the apple sauce and brown sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add 3 tablespoons butter and stir until melted. Stir in the raisins. Set aside and cool to room temperature.

    2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

    3. In a small mixing bowl, beat the eggs and add to the apple sauce mixture. Pour the apple sauce mixture into the pie shell. Bake for 20 minutes.

    4. Meanwhile, blend the oats, sugar, cinnamon and butter until crumbly. Remove the pie from the oven and sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top. Bake the pie for another 25 minutes, or until the top and crust are golden brown.

    This pie was a huge hit at my house. I reduced the sugar from the original recipe because I thought it was a little sweet. The mixture was a tad loose, so I might add another egg the next time.

    Musselman’s has some printable coupons on their web site, including $1/2 42-48 oz. Apple Sauce.

    Disclosure: Musselman’s sent me the supplies to make the bunny place cards, but the boys and I haven’t gotten to them yet and I’m not sure when we’ll have time. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

    Morning Coffee: Lots of grocery deals

    A new month means that there are lots of new coupons at Coupons.com, including a bunch of toy coupons (like $5 off Pictureka or $4 off Monopoly, which you can use to get the card version for less than $2 at Walmart and Target). There’s also the $1/2 Kraft cheese coupon, which goes nicely with the Mega Sale going on at Kroger stores. That one will probably reach its print limit before the end of the month, so if you want it, print it sooner rather than later Disclosure: Clicking through to print Coupons.com coupons from any link at Chief Family Officer will benefit CFO at no cost to you – thank you!

    Mommy Snacks has this week’s Meijer deals.

    The Bargain Jargon has this week’s Fred Meyer deals.

    Fabulessly Frugal has a list of the best Albertsons deals – best if you have double coupons, anyway.

    Get a sneak peek at the upcoming Publix deals.

    Here are some upcoming free or cheap items at Shaws.

    Today’s Ebates Daily Double store is Kmart, which is giving 4% cash back (instead of the usual 2%). They have a “Groundhog Day” sale going on today, so it’s worth a look. They also have flat rate shipping for $7.To learn more about Ebates, read my original review. If you sign up through my referral link, we’ll both get a bonus when you make your first purchase within 30 days!

    Zakka Life has the cutest homemade valentines for your favorite rocker.

    Obsession with Food suggests making chicken stock by leaving the stove on all night. It may be a super easy method, but I just can’t fathom leaving the stove on for that long, unattended – with or without children in the house!

    Facebook fans of BJ’s Restaurant and Brewery get a coupon for $5 off $20 or more. (Via Tia’s Saving Cents.)

    Freebies 4 Mom has found another 20 points for Huggies Enjoy the Ride Rewards.

    30,000 Facebook fans of the Incredible Edible Egg will get a printable coupon on Friday (2/5) for a dozen free eggs when you buy a dozen. (Via Printable Coupons and Deals.)

    Send an e-card to a friend with two free samples of Yogi Tea. (Via Money Saving Mom.)

    Get a free sample of Purex 3-in-1. (Via Free Stuff 4 Free.)

    Mommygaga is giving away a $50 Safeway Gift Card and Fiber One Yogurt. Ends 2/10.

    The Carnival of Personal Finance #242 – Fun Tax Facts is up at Cash Money Life, and includes my post on the importance of a price book.

    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and/or referral links, and may refer to items that were sent to me for review. However, all opinions are my own. You can read Chief Family Officer’s full disclaimer and disclosure policy here.

    Morning Coffee: A Thrifty Mom is super crafty!

    If you play The Drugstore Game, you may have a lot of these 2 oz. Glade candles around. A Thrifty Mom has a tutorial on how she turned them into these adorable gifts.

    Get more printable coupons for $1/1 original Cheerios. If you can combine these with a good sale, you should be able to get the small boxes for 50 cents or less.

    Use this printable coupon to get $15 off a $15 purchase at The Limited (expires 2/3). (Via Swag Grabber.)

    A Full Cup user cowfd found some liners that have helped prevent leaky diapers at nighttime.

    Another A Full Cup user bubberly came up with a deal for almost-free Puffs and Dayquil/Nyquil at Walgreens.

    Bargain Briana reports that some Food Lions are closing, and that you can find good discounts at those stores.

    Get a printable coupon for free antibacterial soap with a $10 purchase at Bath & Body Works (expires 2/21).

    Preview next week’s Target ad.

    Banner via Escalate Media Affiliate Network

    Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate and/or referral links, and may refer to items that were sent to me for review. However, all opinions are my own. You can read Chief Family Officer’s full disclaimer and disclosure policy here.

    Easy and Inexpensive Homemade Gift: Scented Bath Salts

    On the rare occasion when I have time to make a homemade gift, I like making scented bath salts. They make thoughtful thank-you gifts and great baby or bridal shower favors. They also make a great addition to a spa or pedicure-themed gift basket. (Check out Mommy Making Money for ideas on how to make such baskets for free via The Drugstore Game.)

    The best part about scented bath salts is that they’re inexpensive and super easy to make. I use a recipe that I think came from Martha Stewart, although I can’t find it online:

    Just combine nine parts of epsom salt with one part baking soda, then add several drops of the essential oil of your choice until you achieve the desired fragrance. You can add a couple of drops of food coloring if you want to color the bath salts (a little goes a very long way). I’ve found that the easiest way to combine everything is in a large zip top bag – just moosh everything together until thoroughly combined. Then pour the bath salts into a pretty jar and affix a label and maybe a ribbon.

    That’s it!

    Image credit: Amazon.com.

    Bookplates for Giving Kids’ Books

    I love giving books as gifts, and this printable bookplate at Nested will make it easy to personalize the books. Having been the recipient of several loads of kids’ books, I recommend that when giving multiple books at once, you should personalize only one or two true favorites and leave the others alone. That way, when the time comes for the recipient to pass the books on to a friend, the library or Goodwill, she won’t have to spend a lot of time ripping the bookplate out and very likely damaging the book.

    Via Goodyblog. Photo from Nested.