Thursday, September 30, 2010

Reminder - Free* Ice Cream Tonight

Reminder - Tonight, September 30th is the 9th Annual World’s Largest Ice Cream Social at Cold Stone Creamery.

From 5 to 8 p.m., you can stop by your local Cold Stone Creamery to get a free* 3-oz. Ice Cream Creation.

* A donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation is suggested but not required.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Congratulations to Erin and BabyMama! They are the two selected as winners of the BuggyGuard Stroller Lock giveaway.

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Timestamp: 2010-09-30 01:48:26 UTC

Congratulations to Helen and Adalia! They are the two selected as winners of the B-Hook giveaway.

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Timestamp: 2010-09-30 01:49:24 UTC

E-mails will be sent to all of the winners. Thanks everyone for entering.

Kraft Homestyle Comfort Food House Party

As a member of House Party, I apply for many House Party Opportunities, but only get selected for a few. I was one of the lucky ones selected to host a Kraft Homestyle Comfort Foods House Party. The star of the show is the new Kraft Homestyle Macaroni & Cheese. Have you tried this product? It comes in 3 flavors: Hearty Four Cheese, Classic Cheddar, and Old World Italian with Parmesan and Romano cheese sauce.

My party kit arrived a few weeks ago and I got busy trying to plan out the party. The party kit included 6 bags of Kraft Homestyle Macaroni & Cheese Dinner, 2 of each flavor; a saucepan, glass baking dish and serving spoon from Pyrex; socks; plates and napkins; and coupons to share with the guests - $1.50 off Kraft Homestyle Macaroni & Cheese and 20% off Pyrex, online or at a Pyrex store.
Kraft provides a standard set of instructions and an optional oven finish method for each variety. I decided that in the interest of serving the food hot and at the same time, I would do three in the oven and three on the stove top. In addition, I decided I would work up three as recipes and make three according to the package.

Here's what I did:

Hearty Four Cheese prepped on the stovetop.
Hearty Four Cheese prepped following the Buffalo Chicken Mac Recipe on Kraft's site.
Classic Cheddar prepped on the stovetop.
Classic Cheddar in a modification of my Nacho Mac'n Cheese recipe.
Old World Italian prepped following the Caprese Mac Recipe on Kraft's site.
Old World Italian prepped in the oven.

To keep with the comfort theme, I decided to make a Berry Cobbler using some frozen Blueberries and Raspberries I had. It was nice and warm and served with whipped cream - yum!

Prepping the Buffalo Chicken Mac:

Everyone started to arrive as I was putting the three oven baked dishes in the oven (just as I took out the dessert). I prepped the stovetop recipes as I visited.

Making the Homestyle Macaroni & Cheese is a little more involved that making the standard Kraft blue box. After draining your pasta, you melt your butter in your sauce pan and add the seasoning pack. Once that bubbles, you add milk and then melt in the cheese sauce. Then, you stir in the macaroni. The cheese sauce, I can only describe as similar in texture and appearance to the cheese pack you get in the Velveeta Shells and Cheese box - thick and gooey.

As is always the case, I was so worried about getting the food served while it was hot, that I didn't get a picture of the food until it was mostly eaten.
The guests seemed to enjoy the recipe versions the best, although the Buffalo Chicken Mac was not spicy enough, so we had to break out the Frank's Red Hot Sauce to spice it up. I think the Nacho Mac'n Cheese garnered the most interest.

I passed out the socks to all of the guests - there was some confusion about why socks would be associated with mac'n cheese, but I explained, they are associated with comfort much like mac'n cheese is considered a comfort food. Then, I shared coupons around with everyone.

With full bellies, we moved onto the next party - Hexbug Nano In Home Party.

No compensation was received for this post. As a participant in the Comfort Food House Party, I received the party pack free of charge with the expectation that I would share the experience with my friends and family.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A busy birthday

As I have mentioned, I was very busy this past weekend. This is the first in a series of posts to share my wonderful, but busy weekend.

My birthday was last week and my husband surprised me by arranging a getaway weekend to Pittsburgh. He arranged for my parents to come and stay with the kids, he made reservations at a hotel and reservations for dinner and, he didn't say a word to me until I opened my birthday card and found a note inside.

A little backstory...

My husband and I met in New Jersey. He lived there, I was living there for a 6 month training assignment for work. I wasn't looking to meet anyone out there. My goal was to move west, closer to home, when I completed my training assignment and got to choose a more permanent position - the last thing I needed was a tie to New Jersey, some 10 hours+ away from home. Of course, when you aren't looking is typically when you meet someone. We met at a restaurant/bar the first weekend I lived in New Jersey. My roommate, also on a temporary assignment - only as a co-op, and I had met a girl at the gym and we met her and friends at this restaurant bar. Long story short, at the end of the evening, it was my roommate and myself sitting at a table with my husband and his friend (whom he hadn't seen in months). We agreed as a group to get together the next weekend and do something. Over the next month, we spent a lot of time hanging out - I saw them as two new friends. Then, one night, it turned into something more and we started to date. We still mostly hung out as a foursome, but occasionally, got together on our own.

As expected, after 5 months, I received my list of final location options. There was one that was a few hours away and there was one back in Pittsburgh, where I had done my first training assignment. I visited the one that was closest, but it just wasn't a fit for me. I decided on the Pittsburgh opportunity. My husband didn't think that he was up for a long-distance relationship, and broke up with me, saying that we could be friends. I was heart-broken. I thought we had a great relationship and didn't understand why he wouldn't even try to work it out, but it had only been about 5 months. When I moved, I called my other new friend first to catch up. This evidently struck a jealous chord and I soon received a call from my husband. He was rethinking this long-distance thing. We arranged a few visits (thank goodness that Pittsburgh and Philadelphia were hubs for US Air and we could get reasonable flights) and the rest is history. We eventually got engaged, he moved to Pittsburgh and we got married.

Which brings me back to my weekend...

When we arrived in town, we drove past our first house. It was strange to see it again. It looked like I remembered, only a little more overgrown. The Cleveland Pear tree that we had planted in the front yard was now taller than the house and the shrubs at the front of the house were a little ragged, but the house looked good and hadn't changed much since we lived there.

For dinner, my husband made reservations for us at the restaurant on Mt. Washington, overlooking Pittsburgh, where we had gotten engaged. We headed into town, all dressed up (I don't wear a dress out often). We parked at the bottom of the hill and rode the Fort Duquesne incline up to Mt. Washington. It was a nice treat to not only have a grown up dinner out, but also to have an opportunity to reminisce about the night that we got engaged.

After dinner, we stopped at the hotel to change (it was getting really cold) into jeans and then we went down to the South Side to meet up with some friends. We had a great time catching up with them - these were friends from my childhood - the first baby I ever babysat and her baby sister. I hadn't seen my one friend in probably 5 years and the other in one or two years.

We stayed out late, but not too late. It was good to know that I could sleep in the next morning. It had been a long time since I could just sleep as long as I wanted in the morning - I'm used to someone coming to my room at 6 or 6:30 to ask if it is morning yet.

After enjoying a complimentary, continental breakfast at the hotel, we drove home. We were hosting three concurrent home parties - Kraft Homestyle Comfort Food House Party, Hexbug Nano In Home Party, and a Healthy Home Party - that evening and still had a lot to do to get ready. (more to come on each of these home parties)

It was really refreshing to get away with just my husband, even if only for a night. I missed the kids, but having a little us time is important to a marriage. This works for me!

This post shared at Works for Me Wednesday.

Monday, September 27, 2010

World's Largest Ice Cream Social

Mark your calendars!

Cold Stone Creamery will be holding their annual World’s Largest Ice Cream Social on September 30, 2010 from 5 to 8 p.m. at participating locations around the country. Each person will receive a free 3-oz. cup of Kate’s Make-A-Wish Creation. Kate's creation is Caramel Apple Ice Cream with Chocolate Shavings, Graham Cracker Pie Crust and Apple Pie filling.

September is Make-A-Wish Month at Cold Stone Creamery. You can make a donation by purchasing a paper star for $1. According to their website, an estimated 85% of donations received in September will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.)

I'm not sure that our schedule will allow us to join in on the fun this year, but if it works for you, you can find more details here.

Mamavation Monday

Well, here I am two weeks into the 30 Day Shred Challenge and I would love to say that I have stuck with it fully, but my husband surprised me with a get away weekend (he even arranged for my parents to watch the kids) and then, this morning, my daughter woke up with a stomach bug - cuddling won out over working out. I do intend to return to the routine tomorrow. I continue to do both the 30 Day Shred and the Leslie Sanson Walk at Home DVD together for my morning workout.

The temperatures have finally cooled down to a more seasonable level and I hope to get some walking in at lunch again this week.

My eating was pretty good, until the weekend, when it fell apart a little (hard to travel and not indulge!). I expect to be able to return to normal this week and get right back on track. Of course, I haven't really planned a menu - which typically is a recipe for disaster. I might have to do some mid-week menu planning.

This post shared at Mamavation Monday and the 30 Day Shred Challenge.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Busy Weekend...

It has been a very busy few days at my house. I have a lot to share, and hope to share those things with you, as well as my regular posts, but not tonight. I am too tired to even think about blogging right now.

Have a great evening!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Samples and Freebies

Mariani Dried Fruit
Cream of Wheat Cinnabon Sample and coupon
Crest ProHealth For Me )(Vocal Point)
Woolite Dry Cleaners Secret (and can print coupons here too)
Ghiradelli LUXE Milk Chocolate (send to a friend - it was sent to me and I paid it forward by sending to a friend)
O.N.E. Organic Skin Care free sample

Oxy Clinical Sample and coupon
Downy Ultra sample and coupon (VocalPoint)
All Bran 7 Day Promise pack (samples, coupons)
My Boys - season 2 & 3 on DVD - won it from Play that Now
coupon for free M&Ms - I think this must have been won in that daily enter game they played, where you never knew if you won or not.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I love birthdays! Always have, even my own. When I became a mom, birthdays became even more special to me, especially my children's birthdays. I want for their birthday to be a special occasion for them. Each year, they get to choose their theme and we build the party around their choice. For the most part, birthday parties are held on the weekend and include family and family friends. This year, we did have a party with his friends for my son at the local minor league ballpark, but that isn't something that we will do every year to be certain.

One of the challenges of throwing a party (of any sort really, not just birthday) is incorporating the theme and keeping things on budget. I do my best to balance the cost with the experience.

We typically design and print our own invitations (or occasionally e-mail them). This allows us to customize them to fit our theme without having to pay licensed product costs for the initiations. When we did an airplane theme, we created mock boarding passes for each guest and housed the party details in the flight details section of the ticket. When we did the Wiggles theme, we put together concert tickets for the event. My husband is in charge of the creative part, but I usually try to provide ideas (or challenges) for him. The airline ticket was my idea, the concert ticket was his, but the execution was all him.

The next thing that I do to keep expenses low is to throw the birthday party at my house. As our kids are older and our family and friends have more children and they get older, our house is starting to feel a little tight at birthday parties, but then we just spread out. In the summer, for my son's birthday, we take advantage of the weather and open the party up to the outdoors - eating on the deck and playing in the yard. In the winter, for my daughter's birthday, we have to rely on sending the kids off to play in the playroom in the basement (which works now that they are older and we don't have to monitor their every move).

Another thing that I do to keep expenses low is to cook for my own party. Catering might be quick and easy, but it comes with a price tag. It may be boring, but for my son's birthday, we center our meal around hot dogs and hamburgers. It includes picnic fare and more. For my daughter's birthday, we have a roasted turkey with all the trimmings. We are able to feed a lot of people for a reasonable price.

When it comes to partyware, I make a balance between themed and unthemed partyware. This year, despite the plates and napkins not being available until sometime in October, I was able to find reasonably priced Phineas and Ferb paper goods on eBay. (I actually contacted Hallmark to find out where to purchase locally. I could tell from the stickers in the eBay pictures that the products were Hallmark. They were the ones that told me that they weren't yet available and there was no way to get any to me - for purchase or review (I asked, since they don't actually sell consumer direct by phone and was wondering how else to get them) because they wouldn't be available until October. If so, why were there no fewer than 20 people selling them on eBay?) As I was saying though, I balance between themed and unthemed. For Phineas and Ferb, I bought a couple packs of plates and some napkins that had Phineas and Ferb on them. Then I bought yellow napkins and plates (and used plain old white for dinner - which I'm thinking I'd like to move to something more green, more on that later). I stacked my napkins in an alternating pattern. Not everyone through the line got a Phineas and Ferb napkin, but everyone got a plate when it was cake time. Sometimes, I have to make my partyware fit a theme, because we seem to choose themes that don't yet have partyware. The best and easiest example was the Wiggles party we had a few years ago - we simply bought bright red, blue, yellow and purple plates and napkins. Easy Peasy! In general though, I go for dessert plates in my theme and napkins in my theme and combine them with solid napkins and with plain plates for dinner.

One other thing that we do to save money (and make it more memorable for the kids - I hope) is to make our own cakes. I've mentioned before that this is my creative outlet. I'm not an overly creative or crafty person, but something about the challenge of a themed cake - I love. I think because it is more problem solving than anything and as an engineer, that was what I was taught. Here is a picture of my Phineas and Ferb cake (you can see past examples here):
(turned out pretty okay if you want my opinion!) I made a regular cake in a 9x13 pan and then some cupcakes (which weren't originally part of my plan, but I was glad to have when the logo didn't fit). I frosted the cake in a solid yellow color (matched my napkins nicely). I took my marshmallow fondant experience that I gained last year in doing the Dueling Light Saber Cake, and applied it to the decorations. The Phineas and Ferb were inspired by nice pictures that I found on a folder in the back to school section. It was nice to have them at a scale that was similar for what I needed on the cake. The best thing about making a themed cake is seeing your child's eyes light up when they look at it. It makes it all worthwhile.

This approach works for me and allows us to create a special party experience for the kids without the price tag that might be expected.

This post shared at Works for Me Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mamavation Monday

I did it! I not only completed the first 8 days of the 30 Day Shred Challenge, but I also completed P90X. It was difficult and there were some days where I had to cut the P90X work out a little bit short or do a portion later, but I did it.

The Level 1 workout on the 30 Day Shred was a lot more difficult than I remembered. It took me a couple of days to be fully coordinated at it. Those compound moves may be great for the body, but they are hard for the uncoordinated. I did love that the workout goes so quickly. I would find myself struggling through the first circuit cardio, but before I knew it, I was done with the second circuit strength and the workout was half over.

As for P90X, the one thing that still disappoints me is that even though I am lighter than when I started it the first time, I still don't feel light on my feet. I watch all of them as they turn on Kempo through that section where you do the different punch sequences with a foot switch after each - they seem to float from one to the other, whereas I land like an elephant. I would like to be lighter on my feet - maybe it really is a question of coordination, again, it's asking me to move two things at the same time.

My eating was pretty okay last week, until it wasn't. The first part of the week went well, then I had four days in a row of catered lunches and dining out. I made reasonable choices, but let's be honest, even the best choice isn't as good as having complete control over what you are eating. It also didn't help that for my husband's birthday I made an Oreo Cheesecake - yum! I also splurged end of week by splitting a bottle of wine with a friend when she came to visit. I don't regret anything I did, it just delayed my progress.

Yesterday I moved on to Level 2 on the 30 Day Shred. Again, I might need a day or two to figure it out and get on the rhythm. Since I work out early in the morning, I have the volume down significantly and sometimes miss the cue to move from one exercise to the next. So far, I like the second workout, but I have a question. It seems that you work a slightly different set of muscles (or maybe you are working the same ones in a different way?), which might be fine for a little while, but shouldn't I be rotating through the workouts regularly to work out everything?

I've also found that with the 30 Day Shred being just under 30 minutes, that I feel like I need more. I have been adding the Leslie Sansone Walk At Home DVD that I got from Kozy Shack through a mail in offer a while back. I like that in 25 minutes, I can get in 2 miles of walking without leaving my living room. I think I would like to check out her other DVDs, especially the one that the second mile comes from. I also think I might try to work in some Ab Ripper X after the 30 Day Shred some days - we will see, that is the one workout that I still neglect when I do P90X, because I don't have the extra time. I am getting Abs in the 30 Day Shred and don't want to overdo it.

Eating right has started better this week and there are only two dining out/catered lunches this week, so that should be an improvement itself.

This post shared at Mamavation Monday, which is sponsored this week by Subway. This post linked up to the 30 Day Shred Challenge linky.

No compensation was received for this post, but by mentioning Subway and linking back to Mamvation Monday I am entering for a chance to win Subway gift cards.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

It was another relaxing weekend at home. We made a quick trip to BJs on Saturday to pick up a few things before our membership expires at the end of the month. We wound up getting a Sam's Club membership, but there were some BJs items that we wanted to pick up. Sunday, I made a run to the grocery store.

This week is busy again with soccer and football. So, meals that are quick to put on the table are key to our ability to eat a family meal. Some meals, I prep the night before so that I just have to finish the meal the night we eat it.

Our menu is missing turkey this week, but that is okay. I'm sure we will have it again next week.

Chicken Romano

Pork Chops

Eggplant Parmigiana

Chicken Gravy over Biscuits




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 Deals - 9/14

Last week, I took advantage of the Twitter coupon offer that CVS had and got a $4/$20 coupon by e-mail. I headed out to figure out how to use my coupon. Unfortunately, the store was out of the Alive vitamins and the Nivea - which I had hoped to include on my deal to make it better. I had some chocolate coupons and decided it was a good time for a chocolate fix.

12 - Sobe Life Water (BOGO rain check)
2 - Kit Kat Snack Size bags
1 - Reese Snack Size bags
1 - Hershey Snack Size bags
1 - Arizona Tea Gallon
1 - Purex Detergent

-$4 $4/$20 CVS e-mail coupon
- 6 BOGO Sobe Life Water coupons
-$1 $1/2 KitKat/Reese Snack Size mfg coupon
-$1 Hershey Chocolate Snack Size bag CRT
-$1 Hershey Chocolate Snack Size bag CRT

Paid with $9 ECBs and $.86 OOP ($.21 + $.65 tax). Earned $2 ECBs. Probably not the best deal that I could have had, but without the Nivea, I punted and bought candy to pass out at Halloween. It "cost" me $7 ECBs.

Walgreens Scenarios - week of 9/19

There are a couple of deals at Walgreen this week. I'm not sure that I will have a chance to get to Walgreens, but if I find myself out, I will stop by.

Transaction #1
1 - Carmex Healing Lotion

Pay $4.99 OOP, earn $4 RR.

Transaction #2
1 - Thermacare
1 - Jet Dry
2 - Right Guard Total Defense

-$1 Thermacare mfg coupon
-$1 Jet Dry mfg coupon
-$3 $3/2 Right Guard IP (

Total $4.79, pay with $4 RR and $.79 OOP. Earn $1.50 and $1 RR.

Transaction #3
2 - Hot Pocket Side Shots
1 - Royal Gelatin (5/$1 with in ad coupon)

-$1 Hot Pocket IP (facebook)
-$1 Hot Pocket IP (facebook)

Total $3.20, pay with $2.50 in RR and $.70 OOP. Earn $1 RR.

Transaction #4
1 - Wisk detergent

-$3 Wisk mfg coupon

Total $3.99, pay with $1 RR and $2.99 OOP. Earn $2 RR.

Transaction #5
1 - Hunts Pasta Sauce
1 - Barilla Pasta

Total $2, pay with $2 RR and $0 OOP.

Total $9.47 OOP for $43.43 in product value at sale prices, a savings of 78%.

For more Walgreens deals and scenarios, check out Deal Seeking Mom and Money Saving Mom.

Walgreens $5 Challenge

Transaction #1
1 - Wisk Detergent

-$3 Wisk Mfg coupon

Total $3.99 OOP, earn $2 RR.

Transaction #2
2 - Right Guard Total Defense
1 - Electrasol

-$3 $3/2 Right Guard IP (
-$1 Electrasol Mfg coupon

Total $3.28, pay with $2 RR and $1.28 OOP. Earn $2 RR.

Transaction #3
1 - Hunts Pasta Sauce
1 - Barilla Pasta

Total $2, pay with $2 RR and $0 OOP.

Total OOP $5.27 for $19.55 in product at sale prices, a savings of 73%.

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

CVS Scenarios - week of 9/19

There are some good deals this week at CVS and if you have the right coupons, they can be even better.

Transaction #1
2 - Quaker Granola Bars
-$2 Quaker Granola Bar mfg coupon
-$2 Quaker Granola Bar mfg coupon

total $1 OOP, earn $2 ECBs.

Transaction #2
3 - Right Guard Total Defense

-$3 $3/2 Right Guard IP (
-$1.50 Right Guard IP (

Total $2.37, pay with $2 ECBs from Transaction #1 and $.37 OOP. Earn $6 ECBs.

Transaction #3
1 - Revlon Super Lustrous
1 - all

-$2 Revlon IP (
-$1 all mfg coupon (expires today!)

Total $8.98, pay with $6 ECB from Transaction #2 and $2.98 OOP. Earn $5 and $1 ECBs.

Total OOP for the day $4.35 with $6 ECBs to roll, a "profit" of $1.65 in ECBs.

For more deals and scenarios, check out Deal Seeking Mom and Money Saving Mom.

CVS $5 Challenge

I'm taking the easy way out today - the above transactions qualify and that is what I would do for the CVS $5 Challenge.

You can see more $5 Scenarios at the CVS $5 Challenge.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Samples and Freebies

Jergens Overnight Repair Sample
Wisk he
Quaker Life Soft Baked Bars
Cold-EEZ sample
Wisk he - Costco this time

Emergen C sample

Yoplait Splitz winner

Congratulations to Amber! She was selected as the winner of the Yoplait Splitz Picnic Prize Pack Giveaway hosted by A Busy Mom of Two.

An e-mail has been sent to the winner.

Please be sure to check out my other giveaways, you can find them listed on the right side bar of the blog.

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Timestamp: 2010-09-17 09:31:03 UTC

CVS Deals 9/12

I stopped by CVS on Sunday to make sure I got my free Candy Corn (which I love!) and hopefully to get the other great deals. They were out of the Alive vitamins that were free after ECB. I couldn't find my coupon for the Nivea Men Bodywash, so I opted to skip that with the hopes that I could find my coupon and pick it up later in the week.

1 - Candy Corn
1 - Tylenol Precise

-$2 Tylenol Precise CVS coupon
-$2 Tylenol Precise Mfg coupon

Paid with $2.99 in ECBs, adjusted down to $2.98 and $.39 OOP. Earned $.99 and $2 ECBs.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Acme Deals - 9/12

One of my stops, while I was running errands on Sunday afternoon was to Acme. They had a few things on their two day sale that I wanted to grab and I figured since I didn't really need a regular shopping trip, it was a good time to pick up bread and milk.

1 - Danamils Drinkable Yogurt (spontaneous purchase, inspired by my assistant)
1 - Activia Desserts, Peach Cobbler
5 - Chef Boyardee Canned Pasta meals
3 - Hunt's Snack Pack Pudding
1 - Wonder Bread
1 - Milk

-$1 Activia IP (from
-$.35 $.35/3 Chef Boyardee mfg coupon
-$1 Acme coupon
-$1 Danimals mfg coupon

Total $11.72 OOP.

I have to say that I tried the Activia Dessert and I don't get Peach Cobbler, I get Peach Yogurt. I'm not sure it appeals to me and since it isn't any healthier than my current standby, I likely will stick with the Bryers Cherry Chocolate Chip.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Walgreens Deals - 9/12

I made a journey on Sunday and did a lot of shopping, one of my destinations was Walgreens. My husband really enjoys his Arizona Iced Tea, which is fine by me, but normally he picks it up at the local Circle K on his way to class, his way home from basketball, etc. Of course, they rarely offer a deal on it, so when I can stock the fridge with some that costs less than $1 / can, I am happy. When I can combine it with some great deals at Walgreens and get everything for less than i would have paid for just the tea at Circle K, I am even happier.

Transaction #1
2- Nyquil/Dayquil

-$1.50 Nyquil Mfg coupon
-$1.50 Dayquil Mfg coupon

Total $7.65 OOP ($7 + $.65 tax), earned $5 RR.

Transaction #2
1 - Herbal Essence Conditioner
1 - Colgate Total
2 - Arizona Iced Tea
1 - Russel Stover Chocolate

-$1 Herbal Essence Mfg coupon
-$1 Colgate Total Mfg coupon

Total $5.85 , paid with $5 RR from transaction #1 and $.85 OOP. Earned $2 and $1 RR.

Transaction #3
6 - Arizona Iced Tea

Total $3.18, paid with $2 and $1 RR from transaction #2 and $.18 OOP

So, for $8.68 OOP I was able to get all of this. Normally, my husband would have spent $8 on the tea alone.

Space Bag

A while back, I was contacted about sharing a contest with my readers. Unfortunately, life was simply crazy at the time and I didn't get a chance to post about the contest before it was over. I did however, get a chance to try out
Space Bags. As I've mentioned before, I find a number of the products featured on infomercials to be intriguing, but have generally been hesitant to make the purchase and try out the product. I was very familiar with the ads for Space Bags and was definitely interested in trying them out.

I received, amongst others, a Space Bag in a tote. I really liked the idea of this one for storing the bedding for our extra beds in our basement. We have both a sleeper sofa and an inflatable mattress and we store 1 comforter, 4 pillows, and 2 sets of queen sheets. We have tried a few different containers to hold them, but hadn't found one that worked well. So, I set out to see how it really worked.

I started with this:

I filled it into the bag and sealed the double zipper:

Used the hose attachment on my vacuum:

Removed all of the air from the Space Bag:

Closed the tote and zipped it shut:

My thoughts:
The first time through, I failed to get the zipper fully sealed. It wasn't a big deal, but there was a slow leak. At first I was concerned it was an issue with the bag, but after opening it (it is really cool to watch it all reinflate) and resealing the zipper, the leak was no longer present. I really like how compactly it will store all of this bedding. Plus, since we are storing it in the basement, by the beds, it is reassuring to know that it is airtight and waterproof.

According to the website, the bags will hold the vacuum for a year and then could simply be resealed. I don't think that this should be an issue for me, as we use the extra beds in the basement at least 3 times a year. What I don't know yet, is will it slowly reinflate as it approaches a year?

I've opened and resealed the bag a few times already (2 of our uses for our extra beds occur within a few weeks at the end of summer). So far, as soon as you unzip the double zipper, the contents start to reinflate immediately (did I mention how cool it is to watch it grow?). I'm not sure how quickly the pillows and comforter will reinflate after a month or two in storage. The website references fluffing things in the dryer. I don't think that would be a big deal, if that was what was needed after a few months of storage. I might feel differently about clothes, but this is bedding.

They make bags of many sizes and shapes. They even have some that don't require a vacuum to remove the air (Space Bag to Go), there are two styles - roll or push out the air. This type of bag could probably be useful in packing for a trip, so that you can fit more in your suitcase, and repack in the same fashion for your return trip.

The bags are available for purchase online and also at many retailers. Some retailers that I saw listed were Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, Costco and Walmart.

Want to learn more about organization and receive exclusive discounts? If so you can join the Space Savers community.
    Space Savers community members receive the tips for saving space and getting organized, and also receive exclusive discounts on Space Bag products. For instance, Space Savers community members receive 20% off a Space Bag Starter Set just for signing up! Right now, any Space Savers community member who gets three of their friends to join the community, will receive one free Space Bag Storage Pack.

You can also connect with Space Bag on Facebook and Twitter.

No compensation was received for this post. Space Bag provided sample bags to me for the purpose of reviewing the product.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dryel Winner!

Congratulations to Ashley! She was selected as the winner of the Dryel Starter Kit giveaway, hosted by A Busy Mom of Two. An e-mail has been sent to the winner.

Thanks everyone for entering and be sure to check out the other giveaways going on currently on A Busy Mom of Two. You can find links to the active giveaways in the upper right hand corner of the blog.

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Timestamp: 2010-09-14 23:10:55 UTC

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mamavation Monday

Finally, this past week, I saw some real movement on the scale. I'm finally making progress back to where I was at the beginning of the summer. I still feel like I am the only one who gains weight in the summer and can lose it more easily in the winter. I think there definitely could be a sleep connection, amongst other things. In the winter, I tend to be more successful in getting to bed on time. Which is not only good because I am sleeping, which my body needs, but also because I don't eat. In the summer, the kids get to bed later, which means that I get to bed later. I'm up more hours, which gives me more time to snack - it's been a little while since dinner and I just feel like I need something little.

This past week, certainly not winter, but with the return to school a few weeks gone by and finally getting back to routine, I once again have the kids in bed by about 8 or 8:15, most nights, which means that a 9:30 upstairs, 10:00 in bed target for me is working out much better. Nights where our calendar is full with sports are a little more challenging. We want to eat as a family, so that tends to mean later dinner after sports and later bed, but not much later.

This is my final week of this pass of P90X. With the gains of summer, I'm not sure how much change I will see in terms of measurements, but we will see at the end of the week. I am extremely proud that I am wrapping up my third time through. It really is a tough workout and 90 days is a commitment. I definitely will do it again, just not right away.

I've decided that I am going to take a P90X break for about 3 weeks after I finish. Why you ask? Well, I've decided that I'm going to participate in the 30 Day Shred Challenge that many other bloggers are starting this Monday. As I have mentioned, I have tried this workout, which I borrowed from a friend. I am a little bit concerned about time, since I am wrapping up P90X this week, but with the 30 Day Shred workouts requiring only about 30 minutes per day, I think I can make it happen. This morning, as example, I did the 30 Day Shred and then did P90X Yoga. I had to cut the Yoga short to only 55 minutes of a normally 1 1/2 hour workout. I can definitely say that Yoga is harder as a second workout than as an only workout. There were points where I wasn't sure I could keep my hands up for the entire pose.

I'm sharing my before pictures with you here (everyone else seemed to be doing it, so why not - I do apologize for the quality of the pictures, I had to use a napkin basket and timer to get the shot without getting the table). I also measured and will report back on changes at day 10, 20 and 30, relative to today.

Here is to a great week! Good luck to you too!

This post shared at Mamavation Monday and linked up at The 30 Day Shred Challenge.

This week's Mamavation Monday is sponsored by Chefs Requested. By sharing this post, I am entering for a chance to win product coupons for their 100 Calorie Portion Sized Steaks.

Lose A Palooza

For the third year, Weight Watchers is running a Lose for Good Campaign. From 9/5/10 to 10/23/10, Weight Watchers will donate up to $1 million, based on weight loss by members during the campaign, redemption of “Visit a Meeting for Free”, participation in the Lose-A-Palooza social campaign and activities as part of Action Tuesdays. You can learn more about Lose for Good here. Donations from the Lose for Good campaign will be made 70% to Share Our Strength® up to $700,000 and 30% to Action Against Hunger up to $300,000. To learn more about the participating charities visit and

The Lose-A-Palooza event runs one day only – September 14th – and its objective is to drive as much social media awareness as possible for Lose For Good and encourage participation. Every time Lose For Good is mentioned using an approved method on 9/14, Weight Watchers will track the mention and donate a dollar – up to $60,000. You can make a difference by participating in Lose-A-Palooza on September 14th. You can participate simply by using your favorite social network to spread the word - For every mention of “Lose For Good” made on September 14th through blogs, Twitter, Facebook, check-in via foursquare, or a “Lose-A-Palooza” Twibbon to your profile picture, Weight Watchers will donate $1 to Share Our Strength and Action Against Hunger (yep it’s that easy!)
Between now and Tuesday, help raise awareness, by sharing this tweet with your followers:
    Save the date 9/14 Lose-A-Palooza-1 day only-Weight Watchers donates $1 for each #LoseForGood socmed mention

and, then, on September 14th, share this tweet to help make a difference:
    Today Only! Lose-A-Palooza -Weight Watchers donates up to $1 for each #LoseForGood social media mention

No compensation was received for this post. By sharing this post, I am gaining an entry in a giveaway from One2One for a chance to win a gift card.

BuggyGuard Review and Giveaway

In the past, when we headed to the amusement park, the zoo, or other attractions, one thing that we always wondered about was the security of leaving our stroller parked at the entrance to a ride or exhibit. Sure, there were others doing the same thing, but what was preventing someone from taking our stroller. In general, I always trust in the general good of people, but my husband always still says you can never be sure. That is why I was very intrigued when I was contacted about reviewing the BuggyGuard Retractable Stroller Lock.

These locks come in the form of four adorable animals - a hippo, a pig, a panda and a monkey. They include a bracket that allows you to attach it to the frame of the stroller. When the lock is in the locked position, the bracket can not be removed. To use the lock, simply push on the cable trigger button and pull out the cable, which is 4' long. Secure the cable around the stroller and a stationary object (or if there isn't one nearby, simply run the cable through two or more tires) and put the cable head into the locking port, learn more about how to lock here. Turn the dial to scramble the numbers.
When you are done, enter your combination on the dial. Press the release button to release the cable head and then push the cable trigger button to retract the cable back into the lock. The locks come preset from the factory, but are very easy to set with your own three digit combination.

When your children are bigger and you use the stroller less often, these locks could also work for your child's bike. The three digit combination would be easy for them to remember, and the cute animal would be appealing to them. Of course, I can tell you that my son, who is 7 likely would no longer find the cute animal attached to his bike to be "cool", but my daughter would love to have it attached to her bike.

In addition to the BuggyGuard retractable stroller lock, the company also offers a B-Hook. This hook offers an easy way to hang your purse, your shopping bags, your camera bag, or other bags from the handle of your stroller or shopping cart, freeing you to focus on your children. They come with an optional lock that allows you to lock those items in place. Now certainly, the hook provides only minimal security, in that you can still access the contents of your bags, but at least you don't have to worry about holding all those bags while you are pushing your stroller through the mall, at the zoo, down the street or elsewhere. I will caution you to remember that hanging too much on the back of the stroller could cause it to be unstable and if you take your child out before removing the bags, your stroller very likely will tip over.

I think this hook is very convenient when grocery shopping, as well. When I head to the grocery store, I always put my reusable bags in the cart. Unfortunately, by the time I am done shopping, they are buried, with my purse, under all of my groceries. With this hook, I can attach it to the side of the cart and hang the empty reusable bags from the hook. Then, when I get to check out, the bags are accessible on the side of my cart and not buried under the groceries.

You can purchase BuggyGuard and B Hook through Online and US Retailers. Find a store near you here, or find an online store. The BuggyGuard retails for about $24.95 and the B Hook for about $11.95.

Courtesy of BuggyGuard, I have the opportunity to provide a giveaway to 4 (four) A Busy Mom of Two readers. Two readers will win a BuggyGuard Lock and two readers will win a B Hook.

To enter: Leave a comment sharing which BuggyGuard animal shape is your favorite and whether this would be for you or a gift.

Additional Entries (leave a comment for each additional entry)

Follow A Busy Mom of Two and follow BuggyGuard on Twitter. This can be done once daily, please be sure to leave a link to the tweet in your comment.

Post about this giveaway on your blog and leave a comment with a link to your post.

Sign up to receive daily updates. Leave a comment letting me know you subscribe (or that you already do).

Like BuggyGuard on Facebook.

Share this giveaway with your friends on Facebook. Leave a comment letting me know you shared.

Giveaway will remain open until September 28th at 6 pm and is open to residents of US only. Winners will be selected using random number generator. The first two numbers drawn will win the BuggyGuard and the next two will win the B Hook. The winners will be contacted by e-mail (Please make sure that your email address is either in your comment or clearly visible on your profile or blog) and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner may be selected.

No compensation was received for this post. BuggyGuard provided to me for review a BuggyGuard Retractable Stroller Lock and a B Hook. In addition, they are providing two of each for a giveaway.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

It was a nice relaxing weekend. We had a soccer game on Saturday morning, but otherwise, there were no official plans for the family. I watched two movies on Saturday evening, I haven't done that in forever. I watched Sweet Home Alabama and Coyote Ugly. It was really nice to just relax and do nothing. My husband wasn't into the movies, but did come and hang out after the movies. I picked up some milk, bread and yogurt while out running errands, but otherwise didn't do a weekly shopping trip. I might head out midweek to pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables, but right now, I still have some left from last week. Next weekend is my husband's birthday. He hasn't decided what he wants for dinner to celebrate - so Saturday could be in or out, depending on what he would like to celebrate.

This week is busy again with soccer and football. So, meals that are quick to put on the table are key to our ability to eat a family meal. Some meals, I prep the night before so that I just have to finish the meal the night we eat it.

Our menu includes turkey only once, in the Sloppy Joes on Monday.

sandwiches/canned pasta

Sloppy Joes

Penne Cardinale

Ravioli Lasagna


Tequila Lime Chicken


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.

Walgreens Scenarios - week of 9/12

There are a few deals that I would consider getting at Walgreens this week. Of course, if history holds true, they will be out of the Arizona Tea before I get there later today.

Transaction #1
2 - Nyquil/Dayquil

-$1.50 Nyquil/Dayquil mfg coupon
-$1.50 Nyquil/Dayquil mfg coupon

Total $7 OOP. Earn $5 RR.

Transaction #2
1 - Impruv Lotion
1 - Colgate Total
1 - Arizona Lemon Tea

-$2 Impruv IP (I was able to get, but now it says campaign out of prints)
-$1 Colgate Total mfg coupon

Total $5.48, pay with $5 RR and $.48 OOP. Earn $4 and $2 RR.

Transaction #3
2 - Nyquil/Dayquil
2 - can Arizona Lemon Tea

-$1.50 Nyquil/Dayquil mfg coupon
-$1.50 Nyquil/Dayquil mfg coupon

Total $8.00, pay with $6 RR and $2 OOP. Earn $5 RR.

Transaction #4
1 - Aussie/Herbal Essence
1 - Colgate Total
2 - can Arizona Lemon Tea
1 - Russel Stover Halloween candy (with in ad coupon)

-$1 Aussie or Herbal Essence mfg coupon
-$1 Colgate Total

Total $5.33, pay with $5 RR and $.33 OOP. Earn $1 and $2 RR.

Transaction #5
6 - cans Arizona Lemon Tea

Total $3, pay with $3 RR.

Again, you could always hang on to your Register Rewards, but since I rarely make it to Walgreens, it would be a risk of expiration for me, so I prefer to use them all up on the trip. If they are out of the tea, then I will likely pick up milk, bread and other staples that we need anyways.

For more deals and scenarios, check out Money Saving Mom and Deal Seeking Mom.

Walgreens $5 Challenge
Transaction #1
1 - Impruv Lotion

-$2 Impruv IP

Total $3.99 OOP, earn $4.99 RR.

Transaction #2
1 - Colgate Total
1 - Aussie/Herbal Essence Hair Care
2 - cans Arizona Lemon Tea
1 - Russell Stover Halloween candy (with in ad coupon)

-$1 Colgate Total Mfg coupon
-$1 Aussie or Herbal Essence mfg coupon

Total $5.33, pay with $4.99 RR and $.34 OOP. Earn $2 and $1 RR.

Transaction #3
2 - Ragu Pasta Sauce (with in ad coupon)

Total $3, pay with $3 RR from Transaction #2.

Total OOP of $4.33 for over $15 in product.

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

CVS Scenarios - week of 9/12

There are definitely some deals that I would like to pick up this week at CVS. I was just checking my e-mail in hopes of another $/$$ coupon, but no such luck. Remember when you used to find them in the Sunday paper and in magazines? I miss those days. I get them so rarely through the coupon printer and e-mail, I just wish there was another way. I need to call CVS, as I have an issue where the extra care card number isn't correct when I use my phone number - even though it still has my name and everything - it creates some havoc when I check out with a mix of ECBs from using my card and my phone number, as the register wants to reject them. Maybe when I call, I can ask how to get more $/$$ offers.

Transaction #1
1 - Alive Multi Vitamin

-$1 Alive IP

Total $8.99, earn $9.99 ECBs.

Transaction #2
1 - Nivea Men Body Wash
1 - Brach's Candy Corn
4 - Lysol Airwick Aqua Mist
1 - Arizona Tea Gallon

-$1 Nivea Men mfg coupon
-BOGO Airwick Aqua Mist mfg coupon
-BOGO Airwick Aqua Mist mfg coupon
-$1 Airwick Aqua Mist IP
-$1 Airwick Aqua Mist IP

Total $10.20. Pay with $9.99 ECBs from Transaction #1 and $.21 OOP. Earn $4.99, $.99 and $5 ECBs.

Transaction #3
2 - Purex Laundry Detergent
1 - Gillette Body Wash
1 - Gillette Deodorant

-$.35 Purex Mfg coupon
-$.35 Purex Mfg coupon
-FREE Gillette Body Wash WYB Deodorant

Total $11.27. Pay with $4.99, $.99 and $5 ECB from Transaction #2 and $.29 OOP. Earn $4 and $1 ECB.

Total OOP for the day is $9.49 with $5 ECBs to roll, for a net "cost" of $4.49 for about $44 in product, or a savings of about 90%.

There are some other deals that I am considering and questions I have.

There is a $1 Purex Naturals printable and I wonder if those are included on the Purex deal. I might build an alternate transaction assuming that they are included.

I am considering doing the Olay Moisturizer/Olay Regenerist Anti Aging Eye Roller deal - there is a coupon for a free Eye Roller wyb 2 Moisturizers, there are $1 moisturizer coupons and there is a $6 ECB on the Eye Roller, so in the end, you could get 2 Moisturizers and the Eye Roller for $11.98 after ECBs.

My husband likes the ProGlide Razor, I can't find any coupons, but I might see what the cost is of the razor and refills to see about doing that deal for the $5 ECBs. Of course, if it is too much, I might just have to wait to get a coupon.

For more deals and scenarios, check out Money Saving Mom and Deal Seeking Mom.

CVS $5 Challenge
Transaction #1
1 - Nivea Men Body Wash

-$1 Nivea Men mfg coupon

Total $3.99, earn $4.99 ECBs.

Transaction #2
1 - Purex Laundry
1 - Brach's Candy Corn
1 - Hershey 8 pack (filler)

-$.35 Purex Mfg coupon (or the $1 IP if Naturals are included)

Total $5.40 (or $4.85). Pay with $4.99 ECBs from Transaction #1 and $.41 OOP, earn $2 and $.99 ECBs.

Transaction #3
1 - Gillette Deodorant
1 - Gillette Body Wash

-FREE Gillette Body Wash wyb Deodorant

Total $3.99. Pay with $2 and $.99 ECBs and $1.00 OOP, earn $1 ECB.

Total OOP of $5.40 (or $4.99) OOP with $1 ECB to roll.

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

Saturday, September 11, 2010

CVS Deals - 9/10

I was having one of those days yesterday, so I decided at lunch to take a walk and to buy some chocolate. I headed to CVS to take advantage of this week's chocolate deal. I also had finally received an e-mail coupon for $/$$, so I thought I would try to work it in as well.

2 - Dove Dark Singles
2 - 3 Musketeers Fun Size
1 - Milky Way Fun Size
1 - bag Twix Fun Size
2 - 7.5 oz bags Candy Corn (have you noticed they shrunk the bags by 1/2 an ounce?)
2 - 3 Musketeers King Size
1 - Benefiber
1 - Venus Embrace (w/ rain check)

-$.50 $.50/2 Dove Singles CRT
-$.75 3 Musketeers King Size CRT
-$.75 3 Musketeers King Size CRT
-$3 Benefiber CRT
-$2.50 Benefiber IP
-$2 Venus Embrace mfg coupon
-$3 $3/$10 Grocery CRT (I asked - candy is a grocery item)
-$5 $5/$25 CVS coupon

Paid with $11 ECB and $.73 OOP ($.18 was tax). Earned $3 and $4 (rain check) ECBs. So, in the end I paid $4.73 (in cash and reduced ECBs) for a razor, Benefiber and a bunch of candy.

This post shared at Shopping Superstars and Super Savings Saturday.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Samples and Freebies


Shout Color Catcher
Kashi Cereal Bar
Garnier Moisture Rescue Gel-Cream
u by Kotex - seems to be a new one each week!
Kashi GoLean Crisp
Downy sample
Coupon FREE package of any TRISCUIT Thin Crisps or any WHEAT THINS Crunch Stix
emergenC sample
Dove Damage Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner sample

u by Kotex sample and coupon

CVS Deals - 9/9

I headed to CVS on Thursday evening finally. I had tried to stop in on Monday, but evidently they weren't open their standard hours on Monday, as the store was closed when I got there. It meant I missed out on the cereal and other 2 day deals, but such is life. My stop on Thursday was quick, but I am heading back to get some more candy. I didn't know that the King Size Candy bars were part of the offer. They are on sale 2/$2 and I have at least a couple of the $.75/1 CRT coupons. I figure that if I can use those to get me part way there, that the $3 ECB wyb $10 candy deal is a good way to net some pretty cheap candy.

2 - Revlon Lustrous Lip
2 - M&M Pretzels (also part of candy deal)
2 - Trident Layers

-$2 Revlon Lustrous IP (facebook offer)
-$2 Revlon Lustrous IP (facebook offer)
-$.50 M&M Pretzel CRT
-$1 Trident Layers $1/2 IP (facebook?)

Paid with $8.99 in ECBs and $1.47 OOP ($1 was tax). Earned $1 (green bag tag), $.99 and $5 ECBs. I sure hope that CVS keeps up with the green bag tag for a while. It really is a nice little boost to get an extra $1 ECB every few visits.

This post shared at Shopping Superstars and Super Savings Saturday.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Secretariat - Advanced Screening

If you are one of the first 50 (fifty) by location to RSVP, you could get the opportunity to attend an advanced screening of the new Disney film Secretariat, which is scheduled to be released on October 8th.

It appears that there are advanced screenings at theaters across the country and appear to be showing the week of September 20th. Each RSVP is good for two tickets to the screening.

You can find details here.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Seventh Generation Winner!

Congratulations to Stacey M! She is the winner of the Seventh Generation Back to School Kit giveaway hosted by A Busy Mom of Two.

An e-mail will be sent to the winner.

Thanks everyone for entering and be sure to check out the current giveaways listed on the top of the right sidebar.

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Timestamp: 2010-09-08 11:03:01 UTC

Keeping in Touch with the Kids

Years ago, my husband and I got a set of walkie talkies with a pretty good range on them. I'm not entirely sure why we got them anymore, I just know that we did. We used them (for something) and then for a few years, they sat somewhat idle on a shelf and we considered if we needed them.

We hung onto them, which was a good thing. My husband and I used them when the kids were babies. Frequently, I would head upstairs to bed early (in order to manage through multiple middle of the night feedings) and he would head down to the basement to watch a movie in the media room. I kept a walkie talkie on my bedside table and he would take one downstairs with him. That way, if I needed help with something upstairs, I could simply page him and he could come up to assist.

When we finished with middle of the night feedings, we once again considered if we should keep them. Again, we hung onto them, which was a good thing.

We live in a relatively young neighborhood and are lucky that many of our neighbors have children of similar ages to our kids. This means that when the weather permits, there is almost always someone to play with outside for the kids.

When they were really young, the kids were limited to our yard and our immediate neighbors' yards. As they have gotten older, and my son in school, their horizons have expanded to include some neighbors a few doors down and still some other friends down the street.

We have started giving my son a walkie talkie when he goes out to play. This way, if something comes up and he needs us, he can page us and let us know what is going on. He contacts us to ask if he can go into someones backyard or to ask how much longer he has to play or to let us know that he is coming back because his friend had to go in. We call him to remind him to come in for dinner or to check on how he is doing.

It allows him to have a little more freedom, while giving me the comfort of knowing that we can quickly and easily be in touch if needed. We still call his friends that live more than two houses away before heading over to play, as I like to know that the parents are there and are okay with them playing. I still will watch him down the street if he is walking to a friend's house or walk down the street if necessary to make visual contact with him playing at the neighbors (normally though, they are riding the circuit from one house to the other and back on their bikes or scooters, so he is regularly back in my sight anyway).

Using walkie talkies to keep in touch with the kids at play, works for me.

This post shared at Works For Me Wednesday.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mamavation Monday

Today unofficially marks the end of summer for many. It is the day that many community pools (at least in Ohio) close for the season. In many states, it marks the end of summer, because school starts this week (not for us, we have two weeks down). Of course, summer doesn't really end until fall starts, does it? In which case, we still sort of have a few weeks of summer left.

I want to use today to officially mark the end of summer habits. Last year, it was right after Labor Day that I joined in on the Weight Watchers Lose for Good campaign. I had great success. As I mentioned before, I for some reason have more luck at watching what I am eating and losing weight in the fall and winter. As such, I find myself motivated that I am going to mirror last year's success and have a successful fall weight loss season again.

Our previously unplanned weekend, turned into a very busy weekend, which involved a lot of eating. We went out to dinner on Saturday and shared some drinks while bowling. We went to our friends' house for dinner on Sunday and had ice cream sundaes for dessert (with brownies - yum!). We bought donuts on Monday, when we were out of milk. We went out for a mid-afternoon meal and got the unlimited bowl at bd's Mongolian Grill. It was a great weekend, but I did indulge more than normal. The hardest part is that the day after a weekend like this, I wind up with residual hunger. You know that need to eat when you aren't really hungry simply because you were doing it yesterday and your body thinks, I must need something to eat. I have a busy day at work tomorrow, so hopefully I will be distracted enough not to think about eating.

My workout routine remains strong. I am in the final week of Phase 3, and only have the last recovery week to go after this one. I'm not sure that I saw the change in measurements this time, but that could have been impacted by the fact that I did gain about 5# over the summer. I hope to reverse that quickly. When I restart the P90X program in a few weeks, I am confident that I will see those inches drop off again.

I'm ready. Are you?

Weight Watchers is kicking off their Lose for Good campaign again this year and you can make a difference by participating in Lose-a-Palooza on September 14th:
    Wouldn’t it be great if you could help fight hunger – and encourage your friends to do the same – simply by using your favorite social network to spread the word?

    On September 14, 2010, you can! Lose-A-Palooza is a one-day social media event created to encourage participation in the Lose For Good® campaign** to benefit Share Our Strength and Action Against Hunger.

    For every accepted mention or acknowledgment of “Lose For Good” made on September 14th through blogs, Twitter, Facebook and check-in via foursquare, Weight Watchers will donate $1 – up to $60,000* – to Share Our Strength and Action Against Hunger.

This post shared at Mamavation Monday.

Menu Plan Monday

Last week, I mentioned that I was looking forward to a quiet Labor Day weekend. As last week ended, we slowly added things to our plans. Saturday, we joined some friends for dinner out at our favorite local Mexican restaurant and a few hours of bowling. Sunday, on really short notice, we headed to our friends house for dinner, bringing along the Skyline Chili I had been cooking all day (it felt like the perfect day for fall food). Monday, we ventured out to bd's Mongolian Grill for a mid-afternoon meal with some friends. We had planned to do some shopping, but the kitschy stores near by all seemed to be closed when we called ahead.

This week is busy again with soccer and football. So, meals that are quick to put on the table are key to our ability to eat a family meal. Some meals, I prep the night before so that I just have to finish the meal the night we eat it.

Our menu includes turkey on a few days. I used it to make the Skyline Chili on Sunday and the Turkey Salisbury.

Skyline Chili

bd's Mongolian Grill

Chicken Gravy over biscuits

Turkey Salisbury


#54 - Chipotle Chicken

Crab Cakes

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.

Giant Eagle Deals 9/6

Happy Labor Day!

We were out of milk this morning, so a morning run to the grocery was in order. I took my two kids with me and promised the family donuts, since we didn't have any milk for breakfast and they had to wait for breakfast.

I spent $67.75 for all of my groceries for the week (as well as my stock up items) and saved $69.71, just over 50% savings. This was for 60 items, which was not too bad, considering I purchased produce, bread, a 3# bag of chicken, 2 6-pk kid's yogurts, donuts, a pack of Silly Bandz for one assistant shopper (which she promptly paid for when we got home) and other "non-deal" type groceries. I did get some really good deals combining sales and coupons.

I got these 8 cans of Progresso soups for a net cost of $1. They were on sale 8/$8. I had 4 $.50/2 coupons, which doubled to a total of $4 off. I earned a $3 OYNO coupon at check out.I got these 10 packs of shredded cheese, 3 blocks of cheese, 2 packs of American slices and 2 containers of sour cream for a total of $14.34 or about $.84 each. The shredded and block cheese were on sale 5/$10, the American slices 3/$5 and the sour cream $1.50 each. I used 3 of the $5/5 Kraft IP coupons and two $.75 Breakstone IP (doubled to $1.50).These Purex 3-in-1 Sheets, regularly $5.99, were $1.99 after raincheck and $3 mfg coupon.I found a coupon on shelf for BOGO for the Cheese Explosion Macaroni and Cheese and got these for $2.29 total - not a great deal, but at just over $.55 each, its not too bad for a quick lunch item for the family.

This post shared at Shopping Superstars and Super Savings Saturday.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

CVS Scenarios - week of 9/5

I think I would like to make it to CVS early in the week to take advantage of a few of the deals.

Transaction #1
2 - Kellogg's Cereal
2 - Wisk Detergent
2 - Stride Shift
2 - Sobe LifeWater
2 - Revlon Lipstick

-$1.50 $1.50/2 Kellogg's IP (I think
-$3 Wisk Mfg coupon
-$3 Wisk Mfg coupon (if you don't get 2 papers, you can grab a $1 IP here)
-$.99 BOGO Stride Mfg coupon
-BOGO Sobe LifeWater (
-$4 $4/10 Revlon CRT
-$2 Revlon Lip Stick (Facebook)
-$2 Revlon Lip Stick (Facebook)

Total $8.53 OOP, earn $.99 and $5 ECBs. Now, if only I was lucky enough to get the $/$$ coupons that everyone else seems to be reporting they got in e-mails good for this weekend, it really could be an even better deal. Of course, considering the cereal, laundry detergent and more, the $2.50-ish net cost seems pretty good to me.

For more deals, check out Money Saving Mom and Deal Seeking Mom.

CVS $5 Challenge

Transaction #1
2 - Kellogg's Cereals
2 - Sride Shift

-$1.50 $1.50/2 Kellogg's Cereal IP
-$.99 BOGO Stride mfg coupon

Total $3.03 OOP. Earn $.99 ECB.

Transaction #2
2 - Wisk Detergent
2 - Sobe LifeWater

-$3 Wisk Mfg coupon
-$3 Wisk Mfg coupon
-BOGO Sobe Lifewater (

Total $2.49, pay with $.99 ECB and $1.50 OOP.

Total OOP of $4.53. For more $5 Scenarios, check out The CVS $5 Challenge.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

CVS & Acme deals

I made a quick trip to the store on Saturday to pick up some deals that grocery and a quick stop at CVS to use up an expiring ECB.

I got all of this for $13.36 after sales and coupons.
2 - Life Cereal
2 - Capn' Crunch
2 - Capri Sun 10pk
1 - Gallon Chocolate Milk
1 - Gallon Orange Juice
1 - Kraft Mac'n Cheese Homestyle
2 - Sobe Smoothies
1 - Vanilla Wafers (for school)


I had a raincheck for BOGO 12 pk Cottonelle. I couldn't find it on shelf, so I asked. The clerk went back and picked it up from the stock room - only it was 18ct. I said, that's not what the raincheck is for. He said, that he could still give it to me for the BOGO raincheck and even gave me a sale price from a few weeks ago? I wasn't sure any of it made sense, but I wasn't going to argue about getting more for less. I also had a raincheck for the Blink tears from the free after ECB deal a few weeks back. I got the following in two transactions (I bought the toilet paper to use an ECB from my mom's card that was expiring) and is also why I needed a filler in the one transaction.

2 - 18ct Cottonelle Big Roll
2 - Gold Emblem Gummy Bears (one for my little assistant to spend the $1 she found on the ground, the second to bring up my total)
1 - Purex Ultra 50oz (38 loads)
1 - Blink Tears

-$.50 Cottonelle Mfg coupon
-$.50 Cottonelle Mfg coupon
-$.35 Purex Mfg coupon
-$1.50 Blink IP (no longer available)

Paid with $5, $5 and $9.99 in ECBs and $2.54 OOP ($1.15 was tax). I earned $13 in ECBs. I got 36 rolls of toilet paper and 38 loads of laundry plus more for only $2.54 OOP (a decrease of $6.99 in ECBs). Not bad from my perspective.

This post shared at Shopping Superstars and Super Savings Saturday.

CVS Deals - 9/2

I stopped by CVS on Thursday to pick up a few of the deals that I found when I reviewed my ad the other day. Unfortunately, they were out of the children's Oral B toothbrushes, so I opted to skip that deal for now and will hopefully make it out to another store to pick up the deal.

2 - Tums
2 - M&M Pretzels

-$5 $5/2 Tums CRT
-$1 Tums IP
-$1 Tums IP
-$.50 $.50/2 M&M Pretzels CRT

Paid with $1 ECB and $1.19 OOP ($.73 before tax). I didn't earn any ECBs, but still a great price for Tums and chocolate.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Yoplait Splitz Review and Giveaway

At my house, yogurt is a near daily staple of our diet. The kids enjoy eating it and I feel good about them snacking on yogurt. I use yogurt as the "sweet treat" in my lunch - I always feel like I need something sweet to finish off my meal and yogurt allows me to have something sweet to finish my meal that I don't feel guilty about it.

When we eat our yogurt from the refrigerator, but also like to occasionally having it frozen. Generally, we either have it in a tube that is easy to freeze and eat, or we use a popsicle insert to freeze it.

Recently, I was invited to try Yoplait Splitz - the new yogurt from Yoplait that "tastes like a sundae". I found this to be very intriguing, especially since I use yogurt in the role of dessert in my lunch.

I selected the Strawberry Banana Split flavor, but it also comes in Strawberry Sundae and Rainbow Sherbet. I was pleased to see that each serving was only 90 calories.

The first cup I ate from the refrigerator. The yogurt is layered in the cup with the Strawberry on the bottom and the Banana on the top. The banana portion of the yogurt was very creamy and almost custard like. The strawberry seemed more like a standard yogurt texture. Together, it was a nice flavor and texture. The second cup I ate by popping it into my freezer overnight. The challenge with this approach was that once frozen, it was hard to mix the layers like you would from the refrigerator. The yogurt presented a nice texture when frozen, but I was a little disappointed to not be able to enjoy both layers together. I suppose if I had let it thaw a little, it would have been easier to spoon through both layers. I think that I might try shaking the yogurt before freezing it to see if I could mix the layers next time.

Overall, I was very pleased with the flavor and the texture of the Yoplait Splitz. I like the combination of flavors. I felt good about eating the yogurt, knowing that it was only 90 calories and served my needs as the sweet treat to finish my lunch.

From Yoplait: "Providing all of the goodness of 100% real yogurt, Yoplait Splitz is a good source of calcium and vitamin D. With no artificial flavors or sweeteners and no high fructose corn syrup, this 90 calorie dessert is the treat your family craves."

To keep up with the latest news on your favorite Yoplait products, Like Yoplait on Facebook or Follow Yoplait on Twitter .

Would you like to try some yourself? Get a deal on Yoplait Splitz when you download a printable coupon for $0.75 off any flavor Yoplait Splitz today!

Courtesy of Yoplait and MyBlogSpark, one A Busy Mom of Two reader can win a free pack of Yoplait Splitz* and a prize pack that includes an insulated carry tote and a roll up fleece picnic blanket.

To enter: Leave a comment sharing which flavor of Yoplait Splitz you would most like to try.

Additional Entries (leave a comment for each additional entry)

  • Follow A Busy Mom of Two and Follow Yoplait on Twitter. Tweet about this giveaway, including the hashtag #myblogspark. This can be once daily, please be sure to leave a link to the tweet in your comment.

  • Post about this giveaway on your blog and leave a comment with a link to your post.

  • Sign up to receive daily updates. Leave a comment letting me know you subscribe (or that you already do).

  • Share this giveaway with your friends on Facebook. Leave a comment letting me know you shared.

  • Giveaway will remain open until September 16th at 6 pm and is open to residents of US only (*The coupon offer for a free pack of Yoplait Splitz is not valid in some states, including California, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, North Dakota and Tennessee). Winner will be selected using random number generator. The winner will be contacted by e-mail (Please make sure that your email address is either in your comment or clearly visible on your profile or blog) and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner may be selected.

    No compensation was received for this post. Yoplait provided me with the free product, information, and gift pack through MyBlogSpark.

    CVS Deals - 8/30

    Even before I had a chance to plan for a trip to CVS, I made a stop to pick up the free after ECB i-Pod earphones. While there I needed to find about a dollar in product to fill my order to use my ECBs, I discovered that they had recently stocked their clearance section and got some good deals there too.

    2 - M&M Pretzel
    1 - 3oz Ritz Bitz Cheddar (Big Bag)
    1 - 3oz Teddy Grahams Cinnamon (Big Bag)
    1 - Phillips Headphones
    1 - CVS Hand Sanitizer

    -$.50 $.50/2 M&M Pretzel CRT
    -$1.19 FREE CVS Hand Sanitizer CRT

    Paid with $7.99 in ECBs, adjusted down to $7.97, and $.45 OOP (tax). Earned $6.99 ECBs.

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010

    Kraft Coupon $5/5

    Kraft is offering a printable coupon for $5 off 5 Kraft cheese or dairy products . For the cheese itms, it is 6 oz and larger, but the coupon is also good for cottage cheese and sour cream, 16 oz or larger.

    In addition, when you redeem this coupon, Kraft will donate 5 meals to Feeding America.

    Back to School

    Can you believe how fast summer went? I'm always amazed at how quick it goes. The first part doesn't seem so fast, but for some reason, after the fourth of July, it just really blows by.

    As a kid, I can remember being so excited about back to school shopping. I loved the idea of new clothes and new notebooks. I was excited to get back and see my friends and meet my new teacher. (I know, I'm a geek!)

    As a parent, the experience is so different. The start of a new school year causes me to stop and reflect. The kids seem to be growing so fast and the start of a new year helps cement the fact that they are a year older.

    We try to make the first day special. Our school has an open house the Friday before school begins. A chance for the kids to bring in their school supplies, meet the teacher, see their classroom and their friends. This is a great way to ease into the year. Then, they celebrate the start of school by announcing their theme for the year and having a big balloon launch. We mark the first day with lots of pictures. We try to celebrate the first day of school with a special meal out - it worked every year until now. My husband had class that night, and we wanted to go as a family.

    Somehow, it seems now that school has started, I have started to think about Christmas. Have you noticed all of the clearance deals on back to school supplies already? These back to school clearance sales are a great way to stock up on items for Christmas (and supplies that will need to be refreshed with the return to school after Christmas).

    I am a big fan of creative gifts for my kids and others. I also find that many back to school supplies work well for the home and car. Here are some things that are great to stock up on for future gifts and use:

  • Construction Paper - kids love this colorful paper, pair it with some scissors and glue for hours of entertainment and plenty of new artwork for your refrigerator.

  • Plastic Pencil Cases - the larger cases make excellent organizational tools. They can hold markers or crayons or pencils, but they can also hold treasured toys or Silly Bandz. They can help that art table or bookshelf look more organized and less cluttered. You can also use one to keep pencils and colored pencils organized in the car.

  • Notebooks - these come in handy in the car. My kids use them for writing lists, drawing pictures and playing games, on road trips and around town. In fact, my daughter each morning (she's 3) will ask me how to spell this word or that and will spend the drive to school writing a word - what a great way for her to learn about words/spelling, practice her letters and entertain herself. Couple this with a pencil case full of colored pencils and the entertainment and creativity continue.

  • Pencils/Pens - we use these around the house all of the time, why not pick up a few for cheap.

  • Crayons/Markers/Colored Pencils - much like construction paper, these supplies can lead to hours of entertainment and creativity. Plus, as a kid, I remember that there was nothing better than opening a new box of crayons. Something special about all of those tips still being intact.

  • Binders/Folders - these offer a good way to keep artwork and special papers and a way to help keep your home papers organized. Pick up the character ones and the kids see them as a real treat.

  • Book Bags and Lunch Bags - you can use book bags for carrying toys to Grandma's house, packing for one night away, taking stuff to sports or the pool, organizing books and magazines to keep in the car and more. If you find a roomy one, they can be a great extra bag to have on hand. The lunch boxes can be used as coolers for a trip to the zoo or park (if you find the insulated ones, like many are). The old style metal and plastic ones with their easy to operate latches and convenient handles make a nice carrying case for crayons or small toys like matchbox cars.

  • Running through this small list (I'm sure there are more creative uses for school supplies), makes me ready to head out and stock up.

    This post shared at Works for Me Wednesday Back to School Tips.

    Enter to win a Seventh Generation Back-to-School kit here.