Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Win a $10,000 Scholarship

Kroger is hosting a contest right now, with a grand prize of a $10,000 scholarship. You have to recommend the winning name for the Comforts Brand Firefly mascot. Comforts is a Kroger Exclusive Brand of products for your newborn, infant and toddler - diapers, wipes, formula, foods.

I'm not eligible, as you have to have a child under the age of 2 at the time of entry and my kids are older. You can find the full list of official rules here.

Enter the contest here.

Tried It Tuesday - Nature Valley Nut Clusters

Recently, I received an invite from My Blog Spark to try a sample of the new Nature Valley Nut Clusters to review on A Busy Mom of Two. The snacks are assorted nuts, rolled in granola with a touch of honey. I am always looking for healthy alternative for snacking for the kids (and us), so I agreed to give them a try.

A few days ago, I received four full-sized bags, one of each of the 4 varieties - Roasted Almond, Roasted Cashew, Honey Roasted Peanut, and Nut Lovers.

My husband enjoyed some the other evening while watching a baseball game. His comment was that they are very reminiscent of granola bars, only in a bite size. He felt that they were the right balance of sweet and salty.

One concern that he had is that the serving size is just 7 clusters (1 oz) and he felt he would have trouble eating just 7 clusters (the flavor and the crunch make ti a little addictive). This was somewhat of a concern because each serving of the variety he was eating was 160 calories (the other varieties range from 140 - 150). The good thing is that there is 1-2 g of fiber and 4-5 g of protein per serving.

His improvement suggestion is to make the clusters a little smaller so that there would be more clusters, or bites, per 1 oz serving. I agree, it is amazing from a perception perspective how the same food in smaller pieces seems more filling, even though it is the same amount.

The bags are resealable, which is convenient for snacking. I haven't seen these at my store yet but they are available at Amazon for $18.73 for 5 packs. If they are available at your local store, head here to get a $1 coupon.

Have you tried the Nature Valley Nut Clusters? What did you think? Leave a comment or post a link to your blog.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

We made a couple of quick shopping trips today. The first was to BJs, where we had planned to try the 60 day free membership, but wound up joining because they had a deal for new members - 2 months additional for free (makes it a 14 mos membership), $10 shopping credit, new member coupon booklet (included free 3# banana coupon plus more), and the July Member coupon booklet. We picked up some frozen pizzas for lunch, bananas, and a good amount of other non-food household items. Somehow, we always spend $100 at club stores - no matter what we head there for. Then we stopped at Walmart to pick up some things we needed for the week.

At our house, the focus is on dinners. I tend to only list the main course and any standard side we have with it. We do still have vegetables and/or fruit with each of our dinners, I just don't always call them out.


Sloppy Joes

Turkey Roast

Pork Chops



Out with friends

Weekdays breakfast is at daycare for my daughter, the rest of us eat cold cereal, frozen waffles, oatmeal, toast or whatever strikes our fancy. Lunch we pack, usually leftovers for me.

Check out other menu plans for the week at Menu Plan Monday at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

CVS Scenarios - week of 6/28

There don't seem to be as many deals this week at CVS, but there are still a few opportunities to get some good prices on a few items.

Transaction #1
2 - Colgate Toothpaste
2 - Speedstick
1 - Tums

-$1 Colgate mfg coupon
-$1 Colgate mfg coupon
-$.75 Speedstick mfg coupon
-$1 Tums IP

Total $9.74. Earn $2, $3, and $1 ECBs. Net cost would be $3.74.

Some other things I would consider, depending on shelf price:

  • Buy one Neosporin or Bandaid, get $1 ECB.
    -$.50 BandAid mfg coupon
    -$1 Neosporin mfg coupon

  • Clean & Clear, spend $15, get $5 ECBs. I have been using that facial cleanser that was free after ECB a few weeks ago, and I kind of like using a cleanser over soap, so if the price is right, I might pick up a couple.
    -$2 Clean & Clear IP, there are other coupons on the site for other Clean & Clear products, but this is the one that work for what I am planning to buy.

  • Another one I am considering, depending on the flavors is the Ben & Jerry's.
    Ben & Jerry Pints 2/$6
    -$1/2 Ben & Jerry IP

For more deals and scenarios, check out Money Saving Mom, Deal Seeking Mom and the "Cent"sible Sawyer.

CVS $5 Challenge

Transaction #1
2 - Speedstick

-$.75 Speedstick mfg coupon

Total $3.75, earn $3 ECBs.

Transaction #2
2 - Colgate Toothpaste/Toothbrush

-$1 Colgate Mfg coupon
-$1 Colgate Mfg coupon

Total $3, pay with $3 ECBs from Transaction #1. Earn $2 ECBs.

Total OOP $3.75 with $2 ECBs to start next week.

For more $5 Scenarios, check out the CVS $5 Challenge at Keeping the Kingdom First.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Catching Up

Wow! What a few weeks I have had. I think I have been gone more than I have been home. I took a business trip this week and got stuck an extra night when my flight was cancelled. There is so much to catch up on around the house and on the blogosphere.

In case you haven't heard of these offers from Ben & Jerry's, check them out.

Ben & Jerry's is doing a Flipped Out tour, where you can try their new Flipped Out. Check for the event locations here.

On Mondays, Sundaes are Buy One Get One at Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops. For more details, head here and here. You can find participating Scoop Shop locations here.

If you aren't fortunate to have either a Flipped Out Tour stop or a participating Scoop Shop, never fear. You can get a coupon for $1 / 2 pints here.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Samples and Freebies

Carefree Liners and Stayfree Pads

Axe Shampoo and coupon
Bodycology Samples
Coupon for free Chocolate - Real Chocolate Promotion

Thursday, June 25, 2009

CVS Deals - 6/23

I headed out to CVS on Tuesday to pick up a few deals and with the hope that the Always Infinity were still ringing up at the sale price (they were).

2 - Always Infinity 36ct
2 - Tylenol Extra Strength 24ct
4 - SoyJoy Bars
1 - 52load Tide w/ Febreeze
2 - Sobe LifeWater 20oz
1 - Almay Pureblend Foundation
1 - L'oreal Endless Lipstick

-$10 $10/$50 CVS CRT
-$3 $3/$15 Facial Care CRT
-$4 Always Infinity Mfg coupon
-$4 Always Infinity Mfg coupon
-$3 $3/2 Tylenol Extra Strength Mfg coupon
-$1 Tide Mfg coupon
-$1.49 Sobe BOGO Mfg coupon
-$1 L'oreal Lip Mfg coupon

Paid with $11 in ECBs and $16.14 OOP. Earned $4, $3, $4, and $10 in ECBs. My OOP was higher than I like for it to be, but I wanted to use my $10 off coupon and they are all things that we use. My net cost for everything was $6.14 after consideration of the increase in ECBs.

For more deals, check out:
CVS Superstars
Super Savings Saturday
Shopping Superstars

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Giant Eagle Deals - 6/23

I headed out, on Tuesday to pick up some milk and a few sale items at Giant Eagle. I would say I did pretty good.

3 Chicken Helpers
3 Chef Boyardee Micro Meals
3 Warm Delights
20 pk Koolaid
4# Sugar
6 cups of Easy Mac/Velveeta Shells and Cheese
16oz Daisy Sour Cream
1 Yoplait Kids 6pk Yogurt
1 Gallon Milk
2 pints Blueberries

All of the above cost me $9.33. Not too bad if you take the gallon of milk off the top, at $2, then for $7.33 I got 9 lunches and more.

My savings was 72%, which included the $5 off that I earned watching a video. I asked the cashier about the FoodPerks program, but she had never heard of it. I was a little surprised since the video I watched referenced the FoodPerks program. I'm just glad that I got the discount for the video, even if I can't get the FoodPerks yet.

For more deals, check out:
Super Savings Saturday
Shopping Superstars

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

The weekend was a little bit tough for our family with a funeral and I am scheduled to be away at dinner time for two nights later this week, so the menu plan this week is pretty basic and not overly planned.



Hot Dogs at the game


PB&J / Leftovers

Hibachi Style dinner

Chicken Alfredo

For more menu plans check out I'm An Organized Junkie, Menu Plan Monday.

CVS Scenarios - week of 6/21

I have a $10 / $50 CRT that I am hoping to use this week. Here is my proposed transaction:

Almay Foundation
St. Ives Apricot Facial Scrub
2 Always Infinity (hidden deal - ringing at $4.99)
2 Tylenol Extra Strength
Gain Laundry Detergent
Pampers Easy Ups Jumbo pack (have a rain check)

-$10 $10/$50 CRT
-$3 $3/$15 Facial Product CRT
-$1.50 St Ives Facial Scrub Mfg coupon
-$4 Always Infinity Mfg coupon
-$4 Always Infinity Mfg coupon
-$1 Gain Mfg coupon
-$1 Pampers Mfg coupon

Total $27.93 OOP. Earn $10, $4, $3, and $5 ECBs. Net cost $5.93.

For more deals and scenarios, check out Money Saving Mom, Deal Seeking Mom and the "Cent"sible Sawyer.

CVS $5 Challenge
Transaction #1
2 - Tylenol Extra Strength

-$3 $3/2 Tylenol Mfg coupon

Pay $4.98 OOP, earn $4 ECBs.

Transaction #2
5 - Soy Joy Bars

-$1 $1/5 Soy Joy IP

Total $4, pay with $4 ECB from Transaction #1 and earn $4 ECBs.

Transaction #3
2 - SoBe
1 - Cascade
1 - Infinity 48ct Pad

- $4 Infinity Mfg coupon

Total $3.98, pay withf $4 ECBs from Transaction #2, adjusted down to $3.98.

For more great $5 Scenarios, check out the CVS $5 Challenge.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day Freebies

I had heard of a few Father's Day Freebies, such as:

Spaghetti Warehouse - Dad eats free with the purchase of an entree
TCBY - Free Cup or Cone for Dad
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo - free admission for Dad I'm assuming more zoos participate, check with your local zoo. Also, I have heard that some National Parks are offering free admission this weekend.

But, for a more comprehensive list, check out this post at The Thrifty Mama.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Target Deals

I made it to Target on Wednesday night to take advantage of the Huggies Deal. It was all in all a good shopping trip.

Transaction #1
2 - Huggies Pull-ups
1 - Huggies Diapers

-$3 Huggies Pull-ups IP
-$3 Huggies Pull-ups IP
-$1.50 Huggies Diapers Mfg coupon

Total OOP $20.90. Earned a $5 gift card.

Transaction #2
4 - Pepsi brand 12 packs
2 - Father's Day Cards

-$4 4x$1 Pepsi 12pk Target coupon
-$2 2x$1 Mountain Dew mfg coupon

Total $10.33. Paid with $5 gift card and $5.33 OOP. I basically got the 12pks for free (other than tax) and paid for the Father's Day cards.

Check out more deals at:
Shopping Superstars
Super Savings Saturday

Friday, June 19, 2009

CVS Deals - 6/19

It took me a while to finally shop at CVS this week. I stopped at a few different ones hoping to find the Lens Cleaning Cloths that were a moneymaker. Evidently they are new and the one store said that they were supposed to be getting them in, but hadn't yet.

Here's how I did:

2 - 1.76oz Twizzlers
2 - 14oz Swedish Fish
3 - 4oz Gold Emblem Candy
1 - 9.6oz Hershey Bliss
1 - Purex 3-in-1

-$2 Hershey mfg coupon
-$1 Bliss mfg coupon
-$2 Purex 3-in-1 mfg coupon

Paid with $10 and $5 ECB and $2.13 OOP. Earned $5 and $2 ECBs.

Not great, not bad. I wanted the candy for an upcoming road trip (except the chocolate that's for the candy dish). With the reduction in ECBs, the trip cost me $10.13 in total.

For more deals:

Super Savings Saturday
CVS Superstars
Shopping Superstars

Samples and Freebies


Emeril's Original Essence
Great Value Cereal Bars
Scott Samples Pack


All Bran sample pack with coupons
Hawaiian Tropic Body Butter
Mine magazine
Free Velveeta Shells and Cheese coupon from First Taste

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lemon Cookies

There is just something about lemon that is so refreshing. When I was a kid, my best friend's mom used to make these lemon cookies that were simply amazing to me. They were soft and almost melted in your mouth. The lemon flavor was good with the right amount of sweetness.

Once I got the recipe, I was amazed at how simple they were. I make them for myself now. I learned, by packing them in my lunch, that they are really good right from the refrigerator - the coldness seems to enhance the lemon.

Lemon Cookies

1 box Lemon Cake Mix
1 8 oz container Cool Whip
1 egg

Mix together the three ingredients. Place cookie dough in freezer for about 15 minutes. Roll cookies into balls and then, roll in powdered sugar. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350F.

For more summer treats, check out the Ultimate Recipe Swap Summer Desserts Edition.

See more recipes at The Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap.

Giant Eagle - Save $15

I tried this the last time that Giant Eagle did a video on the Foodperks and learned it was in a limited test market. I can't redeem them at my store, but when I bought fuel at a Giant Eagle in the test market, my card reflects the discount I earned by watching the Foodperks video.

Anyways, here is a link to a new Value video on Giant Eagle. Watch the video and then register to get $15 off at Giant Eagle - $5 on each of your next three visits. The video is not too long, so I figured it was worth a try to see if it would work in my area. If not, I suppose I might have to stop in a test area to shop on my next trip - then I could save 6% and $5.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Some Contests

Enter to win a year supply of Purex 3-in-1 Laundry Sheets as part of their Simple Change, Extraordinary Impact Sweepstakes. Winners are drawn weekly.

Enter to win a bedroom makeover from GoodNites. Share your special bed time moments for a chance to win.

Cherry Pits

When I was a kid, I thought I disliked cherries. To me, cherries were that icky, sweet cherry pie filling - which I found so unappealing. The only cherries I would eat were maraschino cherries - typically atop my sundae or as an accent to my Shirley Temple.

Then, when I was an adult, I decided to try a fresh cherry. I loved it. I wondered why I hadn't tried them earlier. I would buy myself cherries and eat them, keeping a napkin handy for spitting out the cherry pits.

Then, I had kids. My kids love fruit and I wanted to do my best to expose them to a variety of fresh, seasonal fruits. I tried slicing the cherry to remove the pit, but this was hugely messy and I wound up with what seemed like a hundred pieces from a fairly small piece of fruit. I knew there had to be a solution.

One day, I was out shopping and I saw it - the solution to my problem. It was a Cherry Pitter. The one I found happens to be an Oxo Good Grips Cherry Pitter, but I am sure that there are others out there.

It is great! I love it! It really is a very simple instrument. There is a plastic shield that I set over my napkin that helps to direct the pit and any juices downward. The pitter is essentially a holder with a hole that the pit drops through and a pin that pushes through the middle of the fruit to push out the pit. There is virtually no effort required to remove the pit. I use it all the time in cherry season - I even pit my own cherries most of the time.

Now, I can offer fresh cherries to my kids without any worry about pits and that works for me.

Check out Works for Me Wednesday for more tips and tricks.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tried It Tuesday - Lunch Skins

A while back, I won a giveaway at Jolly Mommy. The prize was 2 Lunch Skins from 3 Green Moms.

I love them!!! I am a lunch packer. I find that by packing my lunch I can eat healthier and save money. I have always used a combination of plastic dishes and plastic bags to pack my lunch. I reuse small brown bags I have gotten when shopping to pack my lunch, so my only expense in packing materials was zipper bags and fold top sandwich bags. Now, with Lunch Skins, I can save money and do my part to protect the environment.

"These reusable, colorful cloth pouches are made in the USA from a high quality, moisture-proof German fabric used worldwide in the food industry. These bags are food safe, extremely durable, grease-proof and can even be thrown in the dishwasher." (from 3greenmoms.com) The bags seal with a Velcro closure. I find that the sandwich size bag is perfect for packing my sandwich and for packing chips, cookie, or other treat for myself. I have used mine several times, sometimes wiping them clean with a dish cloth and other times running them through the dishwasher. They seem very durable.

They come in a number of designs, including white "mom" bags that can be decorated by your children (now that would be nice, like having a note in your lunch). I only have the sandwich size bags, which work well for me, but they also now offer a set of snack size bags.

I think the next thing I would like to try from 3 Green Moms is the stainless steel water bottle. A few women I work with have various stainless steel water bottles and I think it is another great way to keep water cool and portable, without the use of plastic water bottles.

The items are available to purchase on-line and through some select retailers. In addition, they offer fundraising where your group can keep 20% of the proceeds.

Have you tried Lunch Skins or the Stainless Steel bottles for water? What did you think? Have you tried something else? Share your comments or link to your post.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I wound up leaving town unplanned for the weekend, but was able to get to the grocery on Sunday evening. I didn't need to buy much, but one of the meals we are trying this week had some expensive ingredients (we'll see if it was worth it), so my bill was about average at just under $50 for the week.

At our house, the focus is on dinners. I tend to only list the main course and any standard side we have with it. We do still have vegetables and/or fruit with each of our dinners, I just don't always call them out.


Italian Chicken Sliders

Corn Dog Muffins

Buffalo Chicken Pizza Bites

Grilled Cheese and soup

favorite local Mexican restaurant

Chicken and Hot Dogs on the grill

Weekdays breakfast is at daycare for my daughter, the rest of us eat cold cereal, frozen waffles, oatmeal, toast or whatever strikes our fancy. Lunch we pack, usually leftovers for me.

Check out other menu plans for the week at Menu Plan Monday at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

CVS Scenarios - week of 6/14

There are a handful of deals I hope to take advantage of this week at CVS. Last week I missed out on the candy deal, so I might try it this week. I have a pair of sunglasses that is missing a nose pad, so if I can find some decent pairs on the lower end, I will likely pick up two of those. I tried the Purex 3-in-1 Laundry Sheets and am excited to pick some of those up at a good price with the ECB deal. Finding a coupon for the V05 leads me to hope to stock up there. I use the conditioner in place of shaving cream and at a net cost of just $.52 each, I can't pass it up. Although, storing 8 bottles might be tricky.

Transaction #1

2 - Kotex Pads/Tampons
1 - Crest ProHealth Toothpaste
1 - Purex 3-in-1

-$1.50 Kotex IP
-$.50 Crest Mfg coupon
-$2 Purex 3-in-1 Mfg coupon

Total $11.98 OOP. Earn $2, $2, and $2 ECBs.

Transaction #2

2 - Sunglasses (psa $5.99)

Total $11.98, pay with $6 ECBs from transaction #1 and $5.98 OOP. Earn $10 ECBs.

Transaction #3

8 - V05 Shampoo/Conditioner
1 - St Ives Apricot Scrub
1 - Dial Body Wash
1 - Excedrin

-$2 VO5 $2/8 IP
-$1.50 St Ives Mfg coupon
-$1.50 St Ives CRT
-$1 Dial IP
-$1 Excedrin IP

Total $10.93. Pay with $10 ECB from Transaction #2 and $.93 OOP. Earn $1 and $2 ECBs.

Hold the ECBs to roll next week or pick up something you need.

Find more deals and scenarios at Money Saving Mom, Deal Seeking Mom, and the "Cent"sible Sawyer.

CVS $5 Scenario

Transaction #1
1 - Crest ProHealth Toothpaste

-$.50 Crest Mfg coupon

Total $2.49, earn $2 ECBs.

Transaction #2
1 - St Ives Apricot Scrub
1 - Dial Body Wash

-$1.50 St. Ives Mfg coupon
-$1.50 St. Ives CRT
-$1 Dial IP

Total $3.98. Pay with $2 ECB from Transaction #1 and $1.98 OOP. Earn $1 ECB.

Total for the transactions $4.47 with $1 ECB to roll.

Find more $5 scenarios at the CVS $5 Challenge.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Great Trip to the Mall - 30¢ OOP

Okay, I will preface by saying that I used up three gift cards I had gotten for Christmas, but I still think I did great for 30¢. (anyone know how to unrotate the image? Strange, the image I uploaded was not rotated)

My first stop was at Macy's. I was able to get two sweaters and a pair of slacks for work.

Green Sweater $14.50 - 30% - 20% = $8.12
Blue Sweater $29.98
Slacks $31.99 - 20% = $25.59

Paid with a $50 Macy's gift card and put the balance of $13.69 on a Visa Giftcard.

My second stop was at Victoria's Secret. They were having a 40% off bra sale. I had a gift card. I was able to pick one up (not pictured, for obvious reasons) for $24.28 and paid with a $20 VS giftcard, the $3.98 remaining on my Visa Giftcard and $.30 OOP.

Find more deals at:
Super Savings Saturay
Shopping Superstars

CVS Deals - 6/9 & 6/12

So, on Sunday there was news all over the blogosphere about an amazing Pampers Deal at CVS. The catch was that it wasn't advertised in the store circular, only on-line. Thankfully, the posts encouraged you to print that page and take it along as back up.

On Tuesday, I headed to the first store. There, the manager tried to tell me that the cvstoday.com was not a CVS page (despite the fact that there is a link in the middle of CVS.com to that page) so he could only honor the deal if it was in the regular print ad. I was need of the diapers, so I bought one pack.

Pampers $8.99
-$2 Pampers mfg coupon (from P&G coupon booklet, no longer available)

Paid with $5 and $1 ECBs and $1.18 OOP.

When I got home, I called the CVS Customer Care number. The representative said that the offer was an error on their part, but that she could honor the pack that I had bought today, but no more. She told me the $5 ECB would print on my next visit.
I headed to another CVS on Friday to see if the ECB Customer Service provided would print. While there, I showed my print out to the clerk and asked, 'Do you know if this deal is printing'. She told me that it was not, but that if you had the print out, then they were honoring it because it was our mistake. I picked up one pack of EasyUps because with this deal, it was hard to pass it up.

Pampers EasyUps $8.99
-$2 Pampers mfg coupon (from P&G coupon booklet, no longer available)

Paid with $5 ECBs and $2.25 OOP. Earned $5 ECBs.

Not too shabby - two packs of Diapers/EasyUps for $3.44 OOP and a decrease in ECBs by $1.

I did read last night that the deal was pulled on Monday by CVS, some stores were told that they were to stop honoring, but others either were not or just decided not to stop.

Find more deals at:
CVS Superstars
Super Savings Saturday
Shopping Superstars

Staples Deals - 6/12

Since we were starting to run low on printer paper, I made a trip to Staples to take advantage of the EasySaver Rebate they are running this week. The paper was on sale for $4.99 with a $3.99 rebate (limit 2) and the photo paper was on sale for 12.98 with a $11.98 rebate (limit 2). You have to pay the full amount up front, but after rebate these two reams of paper and the 50 sheets of Matte photo paper will cost just $3.

Find more deals at:
Super Savings Saturday
Shopping Superstars

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fat Burnin' Friday

Well, after 8 weeks of slacking, I finally got my body in gear again this week. I kept finding reasons not to get up at 5 am (you can only imagine how hard it must be to come up with a reason not to start my day at 5 am). I decided I must get back in gear. After all, summer is here.

I restarted P90X, going back to week 1, rather than jumping in where I had left off. My body hurt so bad this week. It is amazing how much you lose in a mere 8 weeks. Let that serve as a reminder to myself that missing a day or two is okay, but any more is not acceptable.

I monitored my calories, but I found that with the reintroduction of the exercises, I was ravenous. It seemed that I was constantly hungry. I tried to fill myself with healthy stuff like oatmeal and apples, but sometimes chocolate won the fight.

I didn't lose any this week, which I didn't lose the first week last time either. I did however gain weight over the last 8 weeks.

Participate in Fat Burnin' Friday.

Samples and Freebies

It sure was a quiet week.


Rohto Eye Drops
Free Chocolate Coupon for my dad.


Enfamil Formula Sample (not sure where this came from, but I have been getting a lot of baby things lately. Is it a sign? Probably not, I probably requested some other freebie that got me on a list)

Summer Reading Programs

Every summer as a child, we participated in the summer reading program at the local library. I remember reading lots of books and filling in log sheets. There were prizes for making regular progress and a prize at the end of the summer based on how many books were read. I remember getting coupons for an ice cream cone or french fries from McDonald's, but I don't remember much more about the program. What I do know is that I still have a love of reading that I certainly feel was fed by regular reading as a child.

Reading is a great way to keep your children's minds active in the summer. Read chapter books together with your kids and discuss them. Not only does this allow you time to bond, but it helps develop reading comprehension and critical thinking skills. Read books that are set somewhere local and take a field trip to the area and see if you can find familiar landmarks from the books. Have your child read a book and then 'retell' you the story in their own words.

Reading time is a great 'down' time for kids. An opportunity to have some alone time and spend some time out of the sun. With a library in most communities, a wide array of books is readily accessible to suit any interest and reading level.

Signing up for reading programs can help to provide added incentive to kids to read. My kids are signed up for the library reading program where we live. The program is similar to the programs I did as a child, with prizes for continued progress. In addition to library reading programs, there are a number of retailers who also offer summer reading programs with benefits:

Barnes and Noble

At Barnes and Noble, keep track of your reading on their reading journal. Read 8 books, and share what part you liked best, and receive a free book from a select list. Also, be entered to win an autographed Percy Jackson novel. The program is open to children grades 1 - 6 and is valid from 5/26 - 9/7/09.


Participate in Borders summer reading challenge and when you read 8 books, chose a select item at 50% off or more, item price is reduced to $4.99. Program is open to kids 12 and under and runs through 8/31/09.

Half Price Books

Half Price Books Feed Your Brain summer reading program offers children, ages 12 and under, a $3 Half Price Books Shopping Card each week that they spend at least 15 minutes reading. Program runs through 7/31/09.

Reading is a frugal way to entertain the kids this summer, with the added benefit of being educational. Check out Frugal Fridays for more frugal ideas.

Friday Free Chocolate reminder

Another Friday, another chance for free chocolate.

Mars is planning to give away free chocolate every Friday until September 25th. To get your coupon, you need to head over to Real Chocolate starting at 9 am ET on each Friday. Your coupon is good for one single serve chocolate (any M&M'S® Brand, MILKY WAY® Brand, SNICKERS® Brand, 3 MUSKETEERS® Brand, TWIX® Brand and DOVE® Brand product). The coupon will be mailed and take up to 6 weeks to arrive.

There is a limit of 250,000 coupons each Friday. You can only win one coupon each week, but each household is allowed to win up to 4 coupons over the course of the promotion. You can see the full terms and conditions here by clicking on Terms and Conditions.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Camping Treats

Ever since I was a little girl, we have camped. We did family camp outs with just my family, and family camp outs with my aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins. We even took a vacation one week to a campground near a lake.

I remember camping in a hard-sided pop up camper one time and there was a large storm that was blowing and raining. We had to sit at the ends of the camper to hold the sides up by the beds.

One of the first real vacations my husband and I took was a trip to Canada and we camped in a tent for the trip. It was a great economical way to take a vacation. We've only been adventurous enough with our kids to camp one time and it ended with me and the children coming home to sleep, so we decided perhaps we would wait another year or two before trying it any distance from home. We have talked about camping in the backyard and might need to do that for our next test.

Sleeping in the pop-up camper, and then as I got older, being allowed to sleep in the pup tent, was such an adventure. There is just something about waking early to the sounds of nature. As kids, we enjoyed camping so much that we would even sometimes park the camper in the driveway and spend the night in it as part of a slumber party.

Being able to go swimming and hiking at a moments notice was another exciting part of camping. After all, the lake or the swimming pool were just down the path. The campsites were also typically located in or near woods, which of course made the hiking that much more exciting.

But the best part of camping...the campfire! The campfire is the source of light and heat by night, the source of energy for cooking and the place to hang out and visit with family and friends with no distractions but the chirping of the crickets.

Of course, when it comes to campfires, there is the standard hot dogs, roasted marshmallows and S'mores, but our favorite was always the pie iron. There was so much you could do with it - from savory to sweet. For dinner, we would use the pie iron to make Pizzas, Grilled Cheese or Grilled Cheese with turkey or ham. For dessert, it was apple pies, cherry pies and lemon meringue pies (okay, that was a late addition to my dessert pie irons, but an absolute favorite).

Lemon Meringue Pie Irons

Canned Lemon Pie Filling
Powdered Sugar (optional)

Warm your pie iron in the hot coals for about 30s - 1min.

Butter one side of each slice of bread. Place the bread butter side out in the pie iron, fill with lemon pie filling and marshmallows. Top with the second slice of bread, butter side out. Close and lock pie iron, place in hot coals to toast. Open pie iron carefully so as not to burn yourself, place pie on paper plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Enjoy! (Caution: contents can be very hot!)

For more camp treats, check out the Ultimate Recipe Swap Camp Food Edition at Life as Mom.

This recipe submitted for the Grocery Cart Challenge Recipe Swap.

Walmart Deals - 6/7

After my stop at Kmart on Sunday, my next stop was Walmart to get some deals.

Kraft Bagelfuls $1.88 - $1 = $.88
Kraft Bagelfuls $1.88 - $1 = $.88
Cottonelle 4pk $1 - $1 = $0
Cottonelle 4pk $1 - $1 = $0
Tobasco Sauce $.98 - $.75 = $.23
Frank's RedHot $.98 - $1 = -$.02
Gold Fish Crackers $2.50 - $.50 = $2
Kraft Jet Puff Marshmallows $1.00
YoPlus Yogurt $2.08 - $1 = $1.08
Frigo String Cheese $5.88
2 - Frosted Mini Wheats $4 - BOGO = $2 / 2
2 - Velveeta Shells & Cheese Cup $1.97 - $1 = $.97 / 2
Triscuits $1.94 - $1 = $.94
100 cal snack $2 - $1 = $1
Oatmeal Cookies $2.78 - $1 = $1.78
12 pack Nabisco Minis $3.98 - $1 = $2.98
Caprisun $1.97 - $1 = $.97
Caprisun $1.97 - $1 = $.97
Delicreation $2.22 - $1 = $1.22
Kashi GoLean Crunch $4.36 - $4.36 = $0
Snicker Almond $.64 - $.64 = $0
Twix Bar $.50 - $.50 = $0
Digiorno Flat Bread $2.78 - $2.78 = $0
Kashi Blueberry Waffles $2.54 - $2.54 = $0
Oscar Mayer Beef Franks $2.50 - $2.50 = $0
Yoplait Kids Yogurt $2.48 - $1.50 = $.98
Jello Pudding Cups $2.50 - $.60 = $1.90
Parents Choice Wipes $1.44

Total OOP $29.50 for $60.67 in merchandise (51% savings), some of which I didn't even have coupons for like the almost $6 String Cheese. Does Frigo ever have coupons?

Find more deals at:
Super Savings Saturday
Shopping Superstars

Planning a Visit to a Theme Park

One place that has been a part of my summers for as long as I can remember is the amusement park. This year we are planning to spend a day with the family at Sesame Place.

As the name might suggest, Sesame Place is based on the show Sesame Street. It is considered an ideal first theme park experience for children who are two to seven years of age. My kids are definitely in the target age group, but it won't be their "first" theme park experience. The kids have been to the indoor water parks a number of times and we typically make a trip to Cedar Point each year.

My kids don't watch Sesame Street itself, but Elmo was an early favorite with both of my kids and they recognize all of the characters from storybooks. All I have to do is say "Elmo's World" to my daughter and she breaks out in the theme song. Last fall, we had the opportunity to have breakfast with Elmo. It was held at a local Science Center in conjunction with a Sesame Street The Body exhibit. When we were sitting at our table, Elmo was very exciting, but as soon as we made the walk to the front of the room to get pictures, she was no longer interested in seeing Elmo. It should be interesting to see how she responds to meeting the characters of Sesame Street when we visit Sesame Place.

Having been a mom for a few years now, I know only to expect the unexpected in an outing. As such, I want to make sure that we are prepared for the visit, so that we can all enjoy our day. Based on my experience, here are my thoughts on planning a trip with kids to a theme park.

  • Plan your day, but don't over plan. With young children, it is important to be flexible and pay attention to their response. If they aren't enjoying an activity or seem overly stimulated, move on. We tend to plan things from the overarching perspective and then, let the details happen. For Sesame Place, you can visit their website to learn more about their rides, shows, dining experiences and more. Pick out the things that you definitely would like to do, especially those that have limited performance times so that you can make sure to catch those events. Some things, like dining with the characters, might require advanced reservation to confirm a seat, so planning ahead for this type of event can be very important. Beyond the 'must do' list, get an idea of the other activities that you would like to do.

  • Consider what you will need for the various activities you have planned. Some parks have water attractions - some where you get a little wet and others where you are swimming. Make sure you have the gear, a change of clothes in case you get too wet and/or a swimsuit for the water activities. Don't forget a towel. As you plan your day, consider the right time of day for water activities. Look into locker rentals, changing rooms and the like at the theme park. We tend to leave the added gear in the car and plan a walk to the car as part of our day. Time this with snack time and you get a bonus unwind period for the kids as you sit at your car and munch on a snack.

  • If your children are young, bring a stroller or wagon or plan to rent a stroller at the theme park. Even if your children normally would walk, if they are younger, they are likely to get worn out walking around the theme park. Plus, it is easier to keep an eye on them if they are in a stroller. Again, you might want to check and see if you can reserve these ahead of time, especially if you are looking for a double stroller.

  • If your children are still napping, have a game plan in place so that they can get their rest and recharge. If you are staying local, have your hand stamped for readmission and head to the hotel for a mid-day break. If you aren't staying local, plan to park yourself in a shaded area and allow them to unwind at the very least. Young kids can become quickly overwhelmed and tired, so taking a break can make the whole family's experience better. Everyone will be more refreshed heading into the second part of the day.

  • If you are a nursing mom, find out about the accommodations they offer to nursing moms. Some will let you use their first aid stations, others have special mother's rooms available.

  • Find out the policy on picnic lunches and beverages. Many parks provide a picnic grove that you can use for eating a picnic lunch - many are outside of the park, adjacent to the parking lots. Packing a lunch can save you some money and provide a healthy alternative to the concessions offered at the park. Many parks will also provide complimentary water at the concession stands. Again, look into this policy. Chances are, even if they don't offer it at concession stands, water fountains will be available. Water is a better hydrator than the standard sugary drinks.

  • As a mom, I like to be prepared for anything which usually means bringing a lot of stuff. When it comes to a theme park, my advice is leave it in the car (or rent a locker). It is great to have that sweatshirt in case it is cold or an extra pair of pants if there is an accident or the kids get wet on a ride, but toting all of the "just in case" around, can be burdensome. Consider that on many rides, you can't take bags on with you - you will have to leave it in a bin at the loading point for the ride or with your stroller.

  • Pictures! Pictures! Pictures! Capture your memories on film, so that you can look back and relive those memories with your kids, but make sure that you get out from behind the lens to enjoy the moments live.

In looking into Sesame Place, I found some great tips about preparing your young child for a trip to a theme park. I was glad to see that many of them are in line with what has worked for me.

One tip that was new to me was the recommendation that when your child meets the characters, have them ask the characters "yes" and "no" questions. That way, the child can interact with the character who can answer their questions by shaking their heads. Also, be willing to spend some time, like my daughter at Breakfast with Elmo last year, the kids might be very excited to meet a character, but will not be comfortable approaching them right away. Give them some time, sometimes, sharing space with the character will build some comfort. If your kids aren't comfortable up close, then don't go too close. You don't want to ruin the child's day or your day by forcing the issue and upsetting the child. There is always the next time.

For more tips and tricks that work, check out Works for Me Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tried It Tuesday - Sweet Muse S'mores Brownies

A month or two ago, I entered a contest on Sweet Muse to suggest flavors for a Special Edition Brownie.

For those of you that have read a few of my posts, you probably know that I enjoy marshmallows and S'mores, so naturally, when I was considering a suggestion, it was only natural that my suggestion of a S'mores Brownie - dark chocolate brownie with marshmallows and graham crackers was selected to be the first Special Edition Brownie and is being featured in the month of June.

The description on the Sweet Muse site of the S'mores brownie is as follows: "The first winning flavor to be featured from our brownie flavor contest. The S'mores brownie includes marshmallows, the crunch of graham cracker pieces, and a generous drizzle of milk chocolate to provide the delightful taste of that classic campfire favorite without the campfire."

As the suggester, I got a Brownie Buddy gift box of the Special Edition Brownie. I received the brownies late last week. They looked really good (much like the picture here on the lower right side of the page). Then, the other evening, I wanted a treat after dinner and decided the time was right to try the S'mores Brownie. All I can say is YUM! The brownie was amazing, moist and rich with the right balance of graham and marshmallow to accompany the chocolate.

This brownie was the first that I had ever had from Sweet Muse, but I can tell you that I would definitely buy from them again and wouldn't hesitate to send a gift box to a friend or family member.

Have you tried Sweet Muse? What did you think? Have you tried something new? Share your thoughts in the comments or link to your blog.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Kmart Super Double Deals - 6/7

On Sunday, I headed to Kmart to pick up some deals with Super Double Deals. I had more than 10 coupons, so when I got to check out, I told the clerk that if it was okay, my daughter would be doing the second transaction. She said that was fine.

Transaction #1
J&J Safety Swabs $1.59 - $1 - $.59 = $0
J&J Safety Swabs $1.59 - $1 - $.59 = $0
Kitten Chow $1.99 - $1.99 (free coupon) = $0
Chinet Dinner Plates $3.49 - $2 - $1.49 = $0
2 - Easy Mac Cheese $2.18 - $1/2 - $1 = $.18 / 2
Kraft Velveeta Shells & Cheese $2.29 - $1 - $1 = $.29
Kraft Velveeta Shells & Cheese $2.29 - $1 - $1 = $.29
Kraft Velveeta Shells & Cheese $2.29 - $1 - $1 = $.29
Kraft Barbecue Sauce $1 - $1 = $0
2 - Ragu Pasta Sauce $3.98 - $1.25 - $1.25 = $1.48 / 2
3 - Jello Pudding $2.97 - $1 - $1 = $.97 / 3
Reach Kids' Multipack $2.79 - $1 - $1 = $.79

Total $4.60 OOP for $34.25 worth of goods. Savings of 87%.

Transaction #2

Energizer Rechargeable Batteries $11.99 - $1 - $1 = $9.99
2 - Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaners $4.58 - $1 - $1 = $2.58 / 2
2 - Arm & Hammer Essentials $5.98 - $2.99 - $1 = $1.99 / 2
(There was a BOGO coupon on the bottle and it scanned as well as the $1 coupon)
2 - Del Monte Strawberry Chillers $3.98 - $1 - $1 = $1.98 / 2

Total $17.88 OOP for $29.87 worth of goods. Savings of 40%. This transaction didn't really work as planned. Excluding the expensive batteries, the savings would have been 56%.

Then, I realized that my first transaction generated a $1 on your next shopping trip. They couldn't apply it retroactive, so I headed back in to get a few more things.

Transaction #3
Dora Toddler Underwear $4.99 - $1 OYNO - $1 (surprised it doubled) = $2.99
Visine $3.99 - $2 - $1.99 = $0
J&J Safety Swabs $1.59 - $1 - $.59 = $0

Total $3.45 OOP for $11.03 worth of goods. Savings of 69%.

Total trip $25.93 OOP for $75.15 worth of goods. Total savings of 65%. (without batteries, would have been $15.94 OOP for 63.16 worth of goods, savings of 75%)

Overall, I was pleased with the results.

For more deals:
Deal Seeking Mom
Thrifty Thursday
Drugstore Divas
Super Savings Saturday
Shopping Superstars

Menu Plan Monday

We had family in town for the weekend, so I headed to the grocery on Saturday to pick up some stuff for the weekend as well as some basic groceries and a lot of produce. Then, on Sunday I made a run to Walmart and Kmart where my savings was over 59% (more about that later).

At our house, the focus is on dinners. I tend to only list the main course and any standard side we have with it. We do still have vegetables and/or fruit with each of our dinners, I just don't always call them out.


Chicken Patty Sandwiches (son's request)

Breakfast for dinner

Homemade Pizza

Hot Dogs on the grill

Pasta with Meat Sauce


Weekdays breakfast is at daycare for my daughter, the rest of us eat cold cereal, frozen waffles, oatmeal, toast or whatever strikes our fancy. Lunch we pack, usually leftovers for me.

Check out other menu plans for the week at Menu Plan Monday at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

CVS Scenarios - week of 6/7

Not much going on, but I would recommend a trip on Sunday if you are planning to do the Dove deal with Shampoo/Conditioner, especially if you have the $4 e-mail coupon.

Transaction #1
2 - Pampers Diapers

-$2 Pampers mfg coupon
-$1 Pampers mfg coupon

Total $14.98. Earn $10 ECBs from Pampers deal. Reportedly, this is not printing automatically, so you might want to print the page and take it with you.

Transaction #2
2 - Dove Shampoo
2 - Dove Conditioner
1 - Dove Bodywash

-$2 2x$1 Dove Shampoo mfg coupon
-$3 2x$1.50 Dove Conditioner mfg coupon (expires today)
-$1 Dove Bodywash mfg coupon
-$4 $4/$20 CVS e-mail coupon

Total $10. Pay with $10 ECBs from Transaction #1, earn $10 ECBs.

Transaction #3
1 - Gillette Fusion
2 - Bliss Chocolates
1 - Junior Mint

-$4 Gillette Fusion mfg coupon
-$2 2x$1 Bliss mfg coupon

Total $10, pay with $10 ECBs from transaction #2.

Transaction #3
6 - Hershey Singles
1 - M&M

Total $7, pay with $4 ECB from transaction #3 and $3 OOP. Earn $5 ECBs.

Total $17.98 OOP with $5 ECBs to roll.

For more deals and scenarios, check out Money Saving Mom, Deal Seeking Mom and the "Cent"sible Sawyer.

CVS $5 Challenge

Transaction #1
1 - Gillette Fusion

-$4 Gillette Fusion Mfg coupon

Total $3.99, earn $4 ECBs.

For more $5 Scenarios, check out the CVS $5 Challenge.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

CVS Deals - 6/6

I didn't make it to CVS earlier this week to take advantage of any deals, but I thought I would go and use my $4 coupon I had received by e-mail.

Here's what I got:

4 - 2L Mtn Dew
3 - boxes Cinnamon Toast Crunch
2 - Softsoap Body Wash
2 - Campbell's Soup

-$4 $4/$20 CVS e-mail coupon
-$1 CVS Pepsi hang tag
-$1 $1/3 GM cereal mfg coupon
-$1 any body wash CRT
-$1.50 Softsoap body wash CRT
-$.75 Softsoap IP
-$.75 Softsoap Body Wash Mfg coupon
-$1 Campbell's soup mfg coupon

Paid with $4 and $7.98 ECBs and $1.10 OOP. I earned $4 ECB, $5 ECB (Cinnamon Toast Crunch Rain Check), and $1 ECB. The last ECB was for the buy 3 2-L deal listed in the monthly book - but it didn't print, she had to force it. Bummer, I bought 4, but likely lost credit for the fourth one if I were to buy two more I probably wouldn't get it.

The good news is, my net cost was $3.08 and I will be submitting for a $5 "Drug Channel" Pepsi rebate that I had found on a tear pad about a month ago at CVS. In the end, I will have made $1.92 on today's transaction.

For more CVS deals, check out CVS Superstars and for even more deals, check out Super Savings Saturday and Shopping Superstars.

Friday, June 5, 2009

CVS Deals - 6/3

It was a quiet CVS week for me. I was busy with other events and really never had much of a chance to go. I might still try to go tomorrow to take advantage of some of this week's deals. I did make one quick lunchtime stop to pick up a card and got some clearance candy deals while there.

1 - Graduation Card
1 - 8 oz Milky Way Minis
1 - Trident gum 3-pk

Total $3.75.

To see deals that others found at CVS this week, check out CVS Superstars.

For other deals, check out Super Savings Saturday at Money Saving Mom.

Samples and Freebies

Degree Absolute Protection
Carefree Ultra Protection Sample and Travel Case
Crest Advanced Seal
Reusable Shopping Bag

Free Oscar Meyer Hot Dog coupon
Free Chocolate Coupon
Aveeno Nourish+ Shampoo/Conditioner and coupon

What a Sweet Day

Don't forget, today is your day to get a free Doughnut from Krispy Kreme.

I also heard that Dunkin' Donuts is giving away a free Donut with purchase of a beverage.

Also, it is your chance to sign up for a coupon for a free Chocolate Bar at Real Chocolate. I've already received my first two coupons. To get your coupon, you need to head over to Real Chocolate starting at 9 am ET on each Friday.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Free Doughnuts!

Tomorrow, June 5, is National Doughnut Day.

To celebrate, Krispy Kreme is giving away one free doughnut per customer. To find you nearest location, head here.

As always, confirm with your location that they are participating.

Yanni Voices Concert

Last night, thanks to One2One, a friend and I had the opportunity to attend the Yanni Voices concert in Cleveland.

The story before the concert was a little bit of a mess, but the concert was great.

I picked my friend up at work so that we would only have one car to deal with at the concert. The road I would normally have taken to get her was closed, so I had to come in a different way. In doing so, I managed to drive right by her. I felt horrible when I realized what I had done. I pulled off into a drive and she walked down to meet me.

Then, we headed to downtown Cleveland to the Q. When we got there, the parking was not very expensive and there weren't many cars. We drove around the block. The whole arena was dark...something seemed odd.

I handed my friend my phone so she could try to pull up the Yanni Voices Tour webpage to confirm the location. I know I had checked it and was certain it was at the Q. While she tried to pull up the page, I entered the Wolstein Center into the GPS so we could check there to make sure it wasn't there. The page kept timing out, but when we got to the Wolstein Center, there were at least people. We rolled down a window and asked a passerby what show was playing tonight. They told us Yanni Voices.

Relieved to have found it, we went down the street and found a parking lot. By this time, it was about 15 minutes to show time (at least we thought it was). We headed up to the closest entrance, which of course was not the one with the box office. When we made our way to the right entrance, there was quite a line. In picking up our tickets, we learned that the show had been moved when the Cavs made the playoffs (they have since lost) so that the show wouldn't interfere with a game.

We got our tickets and passes for a Meet and Greet we were also invited too. When we headed over to guest services to find out where to go after the show for the Meet and Greet, we were informed that it had started at 6:30 and was now over. Bummer.

Next we headed down to our seats, which were great. We waited for the show and learned that because they had changed the venue and not everyone had exchanged their old Q tickets, they had pushed back the start time in anticipation of lines. That really was a good idea on their part and anyone that was in line was probably pretty appreciative of not having to miss the beginning of the show.

Then the show started. It was a great show. I just love the sound of piano accompanied by orchestral instruments. As with any concert, they took the time to showcase the individual musicians. Some of them were simply amazing. I can't even imagine learning to play a violin, cello or harp with those skills.

The Voices were great. I think my favorite song was Before the Night Ends which was sung by Leslie. All of them really impressed me with their range and talent.

Want to sample the music? On the Yanni.com music page, you can listen to one song by each of the artists. Additionally, on Amazon.com you can sample the songs, purchase the MP3 of a song and/or the album.

Kmart Super Doubles are BACK!

I am happy to report that Super Doubles are coming back to many locations next week (including the store local to me!). And, unlike last time we had doubles offer locally, where the limit was 75 cents, they are doubling up to $2 again.

As per usual, it is participating stores only. You may only purchase 4 of the same item using double coupons. Limit 10 coupons per customer per day. The disclaimer no longer seems to exclude Internet printable coupons. In fact you can go here and print Internet coupons right on Kmart.com.

To find out if your store is a participating location. Go to kmart.com and enter your zip code to see your local ad. The front page of the ad for the sale starting Sunday will tell you if the store is participating. You can also sign up for e-mail specials and get a $5 off of $50 coupon.

Cheap and Free Summer Movies

Cinemark is having their Summer Movie Clubhouse again this summer.

•10 Weeks Of Fun Films For Kids•
•A Different Movie Every Week•
•Weekday Mornings This Summer•

Each show is $1. All of the movies selected are G or PG Movies. You can purchase a pass in advance for the whole season for $5 (50cents/movie).

Find a list of participating locations here. It appears that the movie selection and day of the week varies by location. Locally, the shows will be played on Tuesday or Wednesday.


Regal Free Family Film Festival will be held this summer on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 10 am. The series runs for 9 weeks. You can find a list of participating locations and movies here.


AMC Summer Movie Camp will be held this summer on Wednesday mornings at 10 am. Cost for the shows are $1 each. You can find a list of participating locations here. In addition to reduced admission, AMC is offering AMC KidsPack™ for $3, your child can have a kids' size drink, popcorn and snack (for $1 you can upgrade to a regular candy).

National Amusements

National Amusements presents BookWorm Wednesdays this summer - Free Kid Movies and Great Prizes. Kids can get free admission to a children's movie with a book report. Accompanying parents and children under 6 are admitted for free, no need for a book report. For more details, the movie schedule and a list of participating locations, head here.

I submitted this to Frugal Friday.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Treasure Hunts

When I was a child, during the summer, we would be home each day with a babysitter. I have to give them a lot of credit, they did a good job keeping us entertained each day. One of my favorite activities from my childhood summers were treasure hunts.

The way that we do treasure hunts is as follows:

Write out each clue. We keep ours pretty vague - only providing enough detail that with some thinking the child could figure out where the next clue was. After all, your goal is to fill the time with the activity. Make the clues too simple and they will be done in no time.

Distribute the clues. Place each clue at the location before. You can leave a small treat at the clue to keep them going.

At the final location, leave the treasure. Want your treasure to be something that you can't leave at that location - leave a picture - whether of an ice cream cone or of the local park. The treasure is yours to decide and can vary every time.

Hand the children the clue to find the first location and let them go.

You can decide how long you want the hunt to be by the number of locations that you have along your path. Treasure hunts can be done all inside on rainy days or inside and outside on a sunny day. The best part is that each hunt is different and can provide hours of entertainment to an otherwise bored brood.

For more boredom busters, check out Works For Me Wednesday Mom "I'm Bored" Summer Editionat We Are THAT Family.

Finally Summer

As the school year winds down and Memorial Day has come and gone, it is finally summertime. Summertime is always a very busy time for our family. Not only do we have the kid's activities - swim lessons, soccer, and t-ball, but we also try to make plenty of time for special events - baseball games, zoos, movies, bowling and more. Some are tradition, some are one time adventures.

Come back over the next few weeks as I share about summer adventures that you and your family might enjoy...

Cheap or Free Summer Kids Movies
Planning Trips to a Theme Park
Treasure Hunts
Planning a Road Trip
Baseball Games

...and more.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

CVS Photo - 50 free prints

Right now, CVS Photo is offering 20 free prints for new registrations and 30 free prints when you add your ExtraCare card.

You can have the pictures sent to you or pick them up at the store to save shipping.

Tried It Tuesday - Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunblock

As a BzzAgent, I had the opportunity to try Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunblock lotion. With an spf of 60+, it is a great way to help keep young children safe from the sun's harmful rays. It uses Purescreen, a blend of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to form a physical barrier to reflect and scatter UVA and UVB rays. The Pure & Free Sunblock lotion is free of fragrances, dyes or oils.

The sample that I received is the lotion, but it is also available in stick form. I really like that the lotion is thicker than most sunscreens and is easy to blend in. I like that it is waterproof and sweatproof - my kids play hard when they are outside and frequently, we pull out the sprinkler, baby pool or slip'n slide.

The 3 oz lotion and the .47 oz stick retail for between $9.99 and $11.99. At some stores, I have found it with all of the sunscreen, but at some stores it is in the baby aisle.

Have you tried the Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunblock? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments or leave a link to your blog post.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Free Ice Cream Day - June 6th

On Saturday, from 12 - 5pm, head to Friendly's for Free Ice Cream Day. They are giving away a free single scoop cone or dish.

It is limited to participating locations, so as always, call ahead to confirm participation.

Redbox Free Rental Code 6/1

It's the 1st Monday of the month. Redbox free Monday rental is only available 1st Monday of the month. Enter FM63H7 at checkout. Expires 6/1 at midnight CST.


Today is June 1st, which means that there should be new coupons loaded at Coupons.com (or grab them from the widget on my sidebar).

I am still seeing many of the Kraft coupons, which is good if you haven't yet gotten those (they are not reset however, so if you already printed them, these aren't new ones). There are a new set of games offering coupons on Coupons.com, including Diamond Anniversary Edition of Scrabble (love Scrabble!). There are new coupons for Fiber One bars, Chex Mix bags and bars and Yoplait yogurts, and many more.