Saturday, April 30, 2011

XO Laptop Winner

Congratulations to Jill L! Her entry for the XO Laptop was selected as the winner.

An e-mail has been sent to the winner.

Thank you everyone for entering. It is very exciting to see the good that so many do and the way that you involve your children.

Please check out the other giveaways going on at A Busy Mom of Two and be sure to enter!

Thanks again!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Samples and Freebies

Tresemme Natural Shampoo and Conditioner Sample
John Frieda Root Awakening Sample
Garnier Fructis Pure Clean sample

this didn't apply to me, but if you wear soft contacts:
RevitaLens OcuTec Multi-purpose Disinfecting Solution - print out the page and redeem at Walmart Vision Center. Includes 2oz sample, lens case and coupons!


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Night Road by Kristin Hannah

I'll be honest with you, when I first read the description for Night Road, I wasn't sure as a mother, that I could read the book. I was too worried that it would be "scary". (This is only a portion of that description, but I'm sure you will see the part that worried me as a mom.)

    Jude does everything to keep her kids on track for college and out of harm’s way. It has always been easy-- until senior year of high school. Suddenly she is at a loss. Nothing feels safe anymore; every time her kids leave the house, she worries about them.

    On a hot summer’s night her worst fears come true. One decision will change the course of their lives. In the blink of an eye, the Farraday family will be torn apart and Lexi will lose everything. In the years that follow, each must face the consequences of that single night and find a way to forget…or the courage to forgive.

In part Night Road tells the story of a mother, Jude Farraday, devoted to her twin teenage children - Mia and Zach. In part, it tells the story of Lexi, who has led a difficult life as a child in foster care being bounced around with no family to call her own, who finally finds that she does have family, in the form of an Aunt she has never met, who lives in Washington. It tells how they become intertwined in each others lives through Lexi's relationship with both Mia and Zach.

In the early chapters, I was a little concerned that the story seemed to jump around. The first chapter gave us some of the back story on Lexi and then, on the Farraday family. In the second chapter, it is the first day of school Freshman year. It is here that Lexi first meets Zach in class and then, meets Mia during lunch. It gives a brief view into the start of the friendship between Mia and Lexi. Then, suddenly, in chapter three, we fast forward from Freshman year to Senior year. The book spends a few pages trying to catch the reader up with the Farraday family and then with Lexi. I was worried that skipping the three years and then trying to play catch up in a few pages would impact the development of the characters.

Turns out I was wrong. The author merely wanted us to understand where they came from and then wanted to really dive into the story she set out to share. The four main characters are wonderfully developed. There are a few ancillary characters that we get to know, but none as well as Jude, Zach, Mia and Lexi. The story is told by both Lexi and Jude, allowing the reader the unique opportunity to really get to know them and to understand each of their relationships with Zach and Mia.

I will admit that it took me a little longer to get into this book than some (probably my perception of the jumpiness didn't help), but the perseverance paid off. Once I was in, I was in deep - it took me a few days of reading to get through the first one hundred thirty-some pages, but I read the last two hundred fifty-some pages over the course of only a few hours. I found myself unwilling to put the book down. I was engrossed and entangled in their story. I found myself feeling like one with the characters, sharing in their emotions, in their highs and their lows. I sat at the kitchen table those couple of hours, not noticing how uncomfortable it was to sit in a wooden chair that long. I took breaks, only long enough to fetch more tissues and to get the kids their breakfast or start a movie. It was wonderful!

Night Road was such a moving story. To see this foursome torn apart by tragedy, was so difficult - I cried as a friend, a sibling and a mom. I cried not only at "the incident" but throughout the end of the story, as those impacted faced the consequences of the event, as they slowly recovered and learned to forget or at least forgive, as they realized how strong their love still could be and how that could help them to move on with life. I think that it shows how much impact some people that come into your life can have on the course of your life. How sometimes, those that cause you to hurt can also help you to heal.

I probably should stop talking (typing really, I guess), lest I share too much and ruin the reading experience for you. Because, I recommend this book (especially if you love a book that makes you cry - I do!) to you.

This was the first book that I read by Kristin Hannah, but based on reviews I have read for her other books, she is a story-teller and I look forward to picking up some of her other books in the future. Her website features 12 of her books (including Night Road), as well as 5 earlier titles. That should keep me busy for a while.

No compensation was received for this post. I received an Advanced Reader's Copy for the purposes of reading and sharing a review.

Some of Today's Daily Deals

$10 for your favorite magazine from ($20+ value, 350 choices) (Moolala)

Coldwater Creek $25 for a $50 voucher (Groupon)

Custom Jeans from indi - only $85 for a $155 voucher. I was checking this out and you can choose everything (from color, to thread color, to cut, to waist location) about your jeans for a perfect fit and style for you. (Mamapedia Sweet Deals)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

the Latest Bzzz

As you may recall me mentioning, lately I have been getting more Bzz Campaigns than
I had had in a while. I thought I would quickly share them with you.

I shared about the Otria Greek Yogurt Veggie Dips already with you.

I mentioned earlier about the Silk Milk Campaign and their Silk for Milk 10-day Challenge. My kids really enjoy the variety milks that we have been trying. We like the Vanilla Almond Milk and the Vanilla Coconut Milk the best. The kids see it as a treat (like chocolate milk) when they can choose Almond or Coconut milk in lieu of "plain" white milk.

One of my other campaigns is the SC Johnson campaign. Getting a bottle of Scrubbing Bubbles, brings back memories. It sounds silly, but it is what I remember my mom using to clean the bathrooms when I was a child. I always thought it was so cool, the way that you would spray it out and it would foam up and you could listen to the bubbles popping. In addition to that, I got to try Pledge (been using it for years!) and the Glade Sparkle of Spring candle (nice scent - burnt it for a few hours the other night when we had company). In addition, I got to try the new toilet bowl cleaning discs. It comes with an applicator that lets you place it in the toilet bowl under the rim. The gel disc gradually dissolves with each flush.

Another campaign is Children's Claritin Chewables. I must say - THANK GOODNESS THAT IT COMES IN A CHEWABLE. My son, who has slight seasonal allergies, refuses to take drinking medicine. Lately, he has had a cough and even when it is keeping him up, will not drink the teaspoon of medicine to calm the cough. So, as I was saying, my son suffers from seasonal allergies. When we first noticed them, I gave him an allergy medicine (it was a drink kind) that made him so groggy. We knew that we couldn't continue to give that to him, so we tried Children's Claritin. We were pleased with the results - it seemed to help clear up his stuffiness and his eyes seemed less glossy. We (and he) also liked that it was 24 hour dosing - meant less fighting with him to take the medicine. As a result, this is one product that is a regular in my medicine cabinet.

No compensation was received for this post. As a BzzAgent, I received complimentary product to try and to share my experiences with others.

Otria Greek Yogurt Veggie Dip

For a long time, it seemed like there were very few Bzz Campaigns that I was getting invited to. Recently, that has changed. One of the Bzz Campaigns that I have right now is for Otria Greek Yogurt Veggie Dip.

We eat a lot of fresh vegetables at my house and usually, the kids like to have a dip to go with them - so it felt like a natural fit for my family to try thes new dips.

The first dip I tried was the Otria Cucumber Dill Feta Greek Yogurt Veggie Dip. It just sounded very appealing to me. I love dill dips - I make a Dill Weed dip almost anytime that we have gathering. I love cucumbers - have you tried any of the cucumber ranch dressings? I love Feta cheese - I use it mostly on my spinach salad and my roasted shrimp and tomatoes dish. So, basically, I loved it all!

We had some friends over for dinner one night but were waiting on my husband to get home from class before eating. The kids were getting munchy, so I pulled out some carrots and celery and the dip.

Before opening it, I quickly scanned the ingredient statement, as I know that my friend can't have MSG and that she has said that many dips and ranch dressings have it in them. I didn't see it, so I opened it and set it out for the kids (my friend wasn't in the kitchen at the time). I ran to another room to grab something, and when I came back, sure enough, she was scanning the label looking for the same thing. (Turns out we had both missed the little note on the container that said - No MSG).

We both gave it a try. I have to say that I loved it! I used it over the next week for dipping vegetables and then tried it with honey wheat braid pretzels. I couldn't get enough (although I did exercise some great self-control and didn't over indulge too much). It became an evening requirement that along with my cup of tea, I had 5 pretzels with dip (counting the pretzels was my control).

I had good intentions of trying another flavor, but when I went back to the store, I just bought the same one again! Thankfully, my friend had enjoyed the dip and she bought the Garden Herb Ranch flavor to bring to a gathering at my house. I tried it, and it was good, but I think I will stick with the Cucumber Dill Feta flavor.

I just noticed, in sharing links that there is a $1 off coupon offer on their sidebar here.

No compensation was received for this post. I received coupons to try the product and share my experience. I also received $ off coupons to share with my friends and family.

CVS Deals - 4/27

I stopped by CVS yesterday because I was looking for chewable cough medicine and while there, I figured I would see what type of Easter deals that they had. I haven't looked at this week's ad yet (I know, it's Wednesday), so I wasn't prepared to do any of the ECB deals on my visit.

I learned that there really aren't any cough specific medicines for kids in a chewable format. Guess my son is going to have to deal with drinking his medicine if the cough is keeping him up at night.

I learned that there was an okay selection of candy left from Easter, but not any great deals - it is still only 50% off. I did grab a couple of things though.

1 - Easter Smarties
1 - Cadbury Egg
1 - Marshmallow Egg

Paid with $1 ECB and $.38 OOP. I asked about the Easter items and when they might go to 75%, the manager told me that the candy will go to 60% next week, but will not go any deeper than that. He seemed a little bit disappointed, making the comment that he would be sitting on it longer. CVS definitely has pulled back on discounts. I remember when clearance items would get to 90% off. Now, it seems that 50% is the norm, with the occasional 75% off.

Tracking the Milestones

One thing that I can tell you is that when your kids are little, time flies by. It seems like just yesterday that I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of my son, only when I look at him, I realize that it was actually 8 years ago that I was pregnant.

When my son was first born, I had a friend that delivered a meal to me through a women's club I was in. She shared with me an idea that I have been using ever since. She shared that each month she had taken a picture of her children with the same stuffed animal. This allowed her to observe how little they were and to visually measure their growth.

I had a stuffed bear that he had received as a gift and I selected that to be the "birthday" bear. Each month of his first year, then every three months of his second year, and every year on his birthday since then, we take a picture of him with his "birthday" bear. (Did the same thing for my daughter when she came along!) When I assembled the scrapbook for his first year, I put all twelve pictures on one page. It was a great way to look back and see how he changed over that first year.

In addition, when I was a new mom, I quickly learned that everyone wanted to giv me free or cheap pictures (and why not, if you find a customer that will come back every year for pictures, you can make a lot of money in the long run). So, each month, I took him to a different studio and got a free 8x10 of him. (Again, did the same thing for my daughter.) Sometimes, I would buy a couple of wallets or other pictures to share with family and friends, but most of the time I was able to exercise constraint and only get the free pictures. As with the birthday bear pictures, after doing it monthly the first year, I pared it back the following years to every six months taking them for a photo session. I typically get more pictures to share when we go for their birthday pictures than for the mid-year pictures, but I always get my 8x10. As a result, I have a nice 8x10 album that tracks their growth.

This post shared at Works for Me Wednesday.

Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken Strips Winners!

Congratulations to allysmama and barbara.montyj - they were selected as the winners of the Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken Strips giveaway, hosted by A Busy Mom of Two.

Please be sure to check out the current giveaways being hosted by A Busy Mom of Two.

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2011-04-27 10:31:48 UTC


the pear trees are blooming! (and I woke to the sounds of birds singing, not the pitter patter of rain!)

This post shared at Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Baskin Robbins 31 cent Scoop Night

OOPS! I almost missed sharing this one in time!

Tomorrow night, you can head to your participating Baskin-Robbins locations to join in 31 cent scoop night.

Be A Hero at 31 cent Scoop Night
Wednesday, April 27th
5 pm - 10 pm
at Participating Baskin-Robbins nationwide

From the Baskin-Robbins website:
    "Help your neighborhood raise money for YOUR local fire service organization during Baskin-Robbins 31 Cent Scoop Night. For the 5th annual event, Baskin-Robbins is partnering with National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. The Baskin-Robbins Community Foundation will donate $100,000 to the non-profit organization. Locally, Baskin-Robbins is providing an opportunity for firefighters and store owners to come together for an event of fun, smiles and fundraising for local fire service organizations.
    On Wednesday, April 27th, 2011, Baskin-Robbins stores across the country will hold 31 Cent Scoop Night from 5-10 pm to honor America's firefighters. Baskin-Robbins will reduce prices of small ice cream scoops to 31 cents* and create an opportunity for customers to donate to local fire charities. Read more about the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation at"

Random Thoughts...

Life has been so crazy lately! The thing that worries me is that it is starting to occur to me that this is not an exception, but the new normal. Oh no! I feel like I have one hundred and one things to share, and no time to share any of it!

Here in North East Ohio, we have had a record setting April - more rain has fallen this April then in any other year. At least since the late 1800s, when they started tracking those things. Just this morning, we eclipsed 1961, which previously had been the record rain fall for April. All of this rain has been delaying the start of soccer by day it seems that another practice or game is cancelled.

Related, in an odd back door sort of way, but part of the story none-the-less, recently, the kids have started requesting the old nursery rhyme CD in the car. We used to listen to it non-stop and then we stopped and started listening to other music. For whatever reason, they were singing a song and then asked me if I could play it and now we listen to it frequently.

One of their favorite songs has been Who Built the Ark. Of course, we are all singing along with it in the car and with all the water it seems like a timely song to be singing. Anyway, to get back to my point (not really much of a point, but still what I was writing towards!), today, when I got into my car and started it u to head home, I caught the end of some bit on the radio, all I heard was - where do you think that Noah put the Woodpeckers on the Ark? It was one of those things that well you never think about, but when someone mentions it, you start to wonder, where did he put them? It had to be in the interior somewhere so they could safely make their holes, otherwise, they might have put a hole in the outside and cause the Ark to take on water, which would not have been a good thing.

Of course, talking about woodpeckers, makes me think of Woody the Woodpecker and his crazy laugh.

Clearly, it is time for me to call it a night. What sort of imponderables have you been considering lately?

Thinking Organic?

Here are a couple of deals today for some Organic Products:

$19 for a Taste of the Farm Sampler Box, Plus Shipping, from ($70 Value) on Moolala. You can read about the Taste of the Farm Sampler Box here.

Remember Organically Grown? You can read my review here. They have a Living Social Deal today. Spend $10 for a $20 voucher or spend $15 for a $32 voucher for Organic Baby Goods on Living Social.

Quick! Grab these deals before they are gone. The Organically Grown offer is only available for a few more hours!

Menu Plan Monday

Is it really already Tuesday? We had the opportunity to spend Easter with a lot of different people, which meant some driving and as a result of spending time with family and driving, I really just feel like I am a day behind. I headed to the grocery store on Monday, but it wasn't my weekly shopping that I accomplished, it was a pick up for dinner and a couple of items to get the week going (milk, fresh fruit, veggies). If I can pull things together from the freezer and pantry, I might just make it through until Saturday and try to fit in my regular shopping then.

Waffle House
Easter Dinner @ my Cousin's

Chicken Cheese Steaks

Pork Chops

Pierogie and Sausage

Skyline Chili

TBD - we have a birthday party that we are attending

My son enjoyed an extra long weekend, so Monday, he got to eat lunch at home. He tried out the Hormel Kids Compleat. More on those later. Starting today, we are back on our school year plan - my son has breakfast at home and lunch either from the cafeteria or packed, my daughter enjoys both breakfast and lunch at school, I eat breakfast (usually oatmeal and fruit) and lunch (usually packed) at work, and my husband eats at home.

This post shared at Menu Plan Monday.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Some of Today's Daily Deals

There are a few daily deals out there today that seem interesting to me. I thought I would share some of them with you.

Two Groupon Deals that intrigue:

$20 for $40 ($45 if Redeemed by May 30) Worth of Skincare, Bath, and Beauty Products at The Body Shop

$19 for $40 Worth of Treats from Chocolate Gourmet. As I have probably mentioned, I love Chocolate! They have many sweets and treats to choose from - cookies, brownies and truffles. I'm not sure which I would try, so I think I would have to go with one of their many assortments. They even have some specialty assortments, like a Gluten Free truffle assortment.

From Mamapedia Sweet Deals:

$25 for $50 Worth of DHC Skincare Solutions
, plus 5% of your purchase can benefit the school of your choice.

other Mamapedia Deals that are still available;
$7 for 2 year subscription to Fitness Magazine ($11.98 value)

$12 for $24 Worth of Eco-Friendly Reusable Bags from Re-Pac Bags

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Hope you have a wonderful day, celebrating Easter with your family.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

CVS Deals - 4/21

I stopped at CVS, armed with some coupons for the free toothbrush and floss. I happened to check for the Air Wick Freshmatic that I had a rain check for.

2 - Reach Toothbrush
2 - Reach Floss
1 - Aquafresh Kids
2 - Freshmatic Starter Kits

-$2 $2/2 Reach Toothbrush IP (
-$1 Reach Floss IP (
-$1 Reach Floss IP (
-$4 Freshmatic Starter Kits
-$4 Freshmatic Starter Kits

Paid with $4 ECB and $2.08 OOP (most of which was tax). Earned a $10 ECB from the rain check and $1 ECB from the Green Bag Tag.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Organically Grown

In honor of Earth Day, I thought it was a great day to share with you about a company that is offering some great organic products - Organically Grown.

What is Organically Grown, you ask? They are an on-line boutique that offers high-quality organic products that range from apparel to home decor to personal care items. All of their clothing is made from organic cotton, which is grown by safe, pesticide-free methods from plants that are not genetically modified. They support the organic farming community and organizations worldwide that are committed to a green, sustainable environment. In addition, all of their children's clothing is safe, stylish, and affordable. Right now, their kids collection is on sale for prices of $18-$22 per outfit. (In addition to their children's clothing, be sure to check out their new Active Wear collection for women. I'm thinking it might be time to pick up some new workout clothing.)

Organically Grown was kind enough to send me an outfit from their kids collection to review. The collection is comprised of adorable two-piece outfits for boys and girls in sizes 12-24 months and 2T-4T. Each outfit features a cute and eco friendly slogan on the t-shirt.
The outfit that I received has a soft, light green shirt with an embroidered tree on it. The tree includes some heart shaped leaves and a couple of pink birds. The bottom of the tree has the message 'Think Green'. The shirt is tag free, which I really like because tags in shirts frequently irritate my daughter's neck. The matching shorts are a brown color that matches the embroidered tree and feature an elastic waist. The quality of construction appears to be very nice. My daughter loves the outfit - I will say, she is a typical girl and loves to get new clothes. She also loves mail, so to have a new outfit arrive by mail, made it a special treat for her. Of course, since the weather here in Ohio is still more like winter than spring, she hasn't had a chance to wear this short's outfit yet.

In addition to their collection, they also have an Infant Collection! According to Organically Grown, some of their best sellers include three-piece sets with baby gowns, body suits, jackets, pants, blankets and hats, all on padded hangers and priced between $12-38.

Why organic, you ask? Organically Grown's perspective on this question is: "As the awareness of the effect that pesticides and toxins have on the environment and individual health grows, more and more families are realizing the importance of choosing organic products. Making this choice is not only good for our earth; it is good for all of us. With your help, organic textile production will increase, becoming more of a standard in the clothing industry."

Organic cotton has all the high quality, soft and cuddly texture of cotton with none of the harsh chemicals to irritate your child’s skin. "With products by ORGANICALLY GROWN, there is no need to compromise between your budget and your conscience. As well as being ECO-FRIENDLY, our clothes are AFFORDABLE and STYLISH."

Be sure to check out their website and store. You can also friend Organically Grown on Facebook.

No compensation was received for this post. Organically Grown did provide one outfit for my daughter, so that I could share my experience.

Reusable Lunch Bags

I pack my lunch almost everyday, except when I have a lunch meeting. I find that I can generally pack a healthier lunch than I can purchase. Even when I go out some place that has a salad bar and feel like I am generally eating a good lunch, I find myself adding things to my salad plate that quickly add up - cheese, croutons, bacon, crackers, macaroni salad, etc. I tend to use more salad dressing when I get the salad bar than when I pack a salad with dressing in separate container. Also, when it comes to estimating how much I ate, in order to calculate the PointsPlus values of the food, I find that I have a hard time. Was it 4 oz of chicken that I added - or a little more/less? If I eat out too often, you can see it reflected in my success (or lack there of) for the week.

So, as I said, packing my lunch lets me be in control of what I am eating. I can measure out my servings and calculate the PointsPlus values before I consume them. When I eat out, usually I wind up calculating the values after I eat rather th before. The exception is if I am going out to dinner somewhere where I know what I order and can 'budget' for the trip ahead of time.

When it comes to packing my lunch, I used to Brown Bag-it. I would typically reuse the same bag for days or weeks, as long as it lasted. I would fill it with a mix of plastic containers and plastic bags. The plastic bags and eventually, the brow bags too, would get thrown away. Not only did this feel wasteful, but it also got to be expensive.

Finally, one day, I bought myself a reusable lunch bag. It is lightly insulated, which helps to keep my lunch cool until I get it into the refrigerator at work. Then, a couple of years ago, I found a solution for replacing my plastic bags least many of them), I tried a reusable sandwich bag. I only have two, but I generally use one for my sandwich and one for vegetables (or sometimes a cookie or chips!). I was thinking about getting more. I saw this deal today for Re-Pac Bags and decided the time was right to get a couple more bags. Their style is different, using zippers instead of velcro. I liked that I could get a $24 voucher for only $12 through Mamapedia Sweet Deals. (if you are a first time Mamapedia Sweet Deals buyer, you can use coupon code FRIENDS2 to save $2 on this deal as well)

Using a reusable lunch bag and reusable lunch bags, is environmentally friendly and a way to save money. This post shared at Frugal Friday.

No compensation was received for this post. I am a Weight Watchers Insider and have received free access to their online tools.

Samples & Freebies

Gold Bond Ultimate Deep Moisture Body Wash
Garnier Pure Clean Shampoo/Conditioner

Tide Stain Release in-wash booster, Tide with ActiLift, & coupon (Facebook offer)
Orville Redenbacher Pop Up Bowl sample and coupons

Silk for Milk 10-Day Challenge

I'm a milk lover. Always have been.

I use milk in my cereal. I add milk to my Apple Dumplings. When I am thirsty, nothing quite quenches my thirst like milk. I use creamers for my coffee (when I first started drinking it, with as much milk as I used, it was almost like the coffee really was only there to warm the milk!).

I recently was asked about taking the Silk for Milk 10-Day Challenge. The Challenge - substitute Silk for times when you would normally use Milk for 10 days. Looking for ideas on how to make substitutions, you can find some here.

We decided to give it a go at my house. We tried substituting Silk where we would normally use milk (or cream).

Since we first tried Silk, we have used the various varieties on our cereal, in our coffee, as a drink at dinner, warmed as Hot Chocolate, as part of the mix for French Toast and in a Smoothie. And, we liked it!

The three favorite Silk products at our house are:

Vanilla Coconut Milk

Vanilla PureAlmond Milk
Dark Chocolate PureAlmond Milk

We like the Dark Chocolate PureAlmond, but when we were drinking it straight up, we had to cut it with milk as it was almost too rich, especially when warmed. On cereal, or in coffee, it was okay because the cereal or coffee would cut the richness. We haven't yet tried the regular Coconut Milk. Since we had tried both the regular PureAlmond and the Vanilla PureAlmond, and preferred the vanilla we started with the Vanilla Coconut Milk. We enjoyed it so much that the next time we purchased it, we selected it again, opting not to try the regular.

For a quick and tasty smoothie, we simply combined frozen pineapple chunks and the Vanilla Coconut Milk. I found that adding the Vanilla Coconut Milk to my coffee was very delicious, especially when I was drinking French Vanilla coffee. We really enjoyed both the Vanilla PureAlmond and the the Vanilla Coconut Milk as a substitute on our cereals - it gives a nice depth of flavor to Rice Chex, Corn Flakes and Chocolate Cheerios!

Interested in trying the Challenge? You can get a 75₵ coupon to help you get started.

One A Busy Mom of Two reader will win a coupon for one Free Silk Milk for themselves, as well as a Silk branded Chicobag.

To enter, leave a comment telling me how you would substitute Silk for Milk in your daily routine.

Additional Entries (leave a comment for each additional entry)
  • Follow Silk and A Busy Mom of Two on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway. This can be once daily, please be sure to leave a link to the tweet in your comment.

  • Post about this giveaway and the Silk for Milk 10-Day Challenge 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)

  • Add my button to your sidebar or my blog to blog roll. Leave a link letting me know where you added it.

  • Giveaway will remain open until May 12th at 6pm and is open to US residents. 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. I received a coupon to try Silk Milk for free. All opinions expressed are completely my own. In addition, I have been participating in a BzzCampaign.

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    Walgreens Deals - 4/17

    While I was out on Sunday, I happened to drive past Walgreens. I hadn't yet actually looked at their ad, but I knew that with the coupons that I had for tape, that I should be able to get three rolls for free, so I figured I would wing it and see if anything jumped out and I happened to have the right coupons. As I was shopping, I remembered that I could get some Goody Hair Care items for free after RR, so I grabbed them and then to use up my RR, I grabbed some snacks.

    Transaction #1
    1 - Goody No Pinch Head Band, with bonus ponytail holders

    Total $3 plus $.20 tax OOP. Earned $3 RR.

    Transaction #2
    3 - Scotch Magic Tape (w/ in ad coupon B1G2 free)
    2 - HK Anderson Pretzel Sticks

    -$1 Scotch Magic Tape IP
    -$1 Scotch Magic Tape IP

    -$3 RR

    Total OOP was just $.01 plus $.13 tax.

    My total OOP was $3.34 for everything that I picked up on this spontaneous trip. Not too bad, considering they normally charge $1.99 / roll for the tape.

    CVS Deals - 4/17

    On Sunday, I headed out to run some errands and one of my stops was CVS. I was hoping to take advantage of their Pepsi 12-pk deal and maybe pick up some items from my rain checks. They didn't have the varieties on Mountain Dew that I was looking for, so I decided to skip that deal. I did pick up the two freebies and some candy.

    1 - Easter grass
    2 - Cadbury Eggs
    1 - Paas Easter Egg Color Kit

    -$1 $1/2 Cadbury Egg CRT

    Paid with $1 and $.74 in ECBs and $1.24 + $.10 tax OOP. Earned $1.99 and $.99 ECB.

    I didn't realize it until just now, but I actually got the Cadbury Eggs for free! Woo Hoo! So, I increased my ECBs by the amount that I paid (minus tax), making this a net Free visit to CVS.

    I failed to look at the Perfumes that they have on sale for BOGO50% off. I noticed the one that I use on there. I normally wait for a free with purchase gift at the department store, but if the price is right, might go ahead and purchase it at CVS. Wonder if they are included in the Beauty Club offer?

    Wednesday, April 20, 2011

    Time to Read

    I love reading, always have.

    I want for my kids to love reading.

    Books can take you so many wonderful places. They help to foster imagination. They help to strengthen reasoning and comprehension skills. They entertain. They educate.

    When they were little (not that they are that big!), I felt that reading to them each day and each night at bedtime was a good way to spend time with them and to plant the seeds for the joy and wonder of books. We started with the basic story books that everyone does. We read Goodnight Moon almost every night. During the day, it was more of a mix with some favorites including the Foot Book, Where Is Baby's Belly Button?, and The ABC Book.

    As the kids got older, we continued to read each day but started to introduce them to early chapter books. One that we have read a few times already is the Adventures of Edward Tulane. I think my son was 3 when we read it to him the first time.

    Hearing them in their room or watching them "read" a book is one of the most precious things in the world. Realizing that they know the story well enough to know what words are on each page, is really amazing to me. Of course, I find it cute when they would pull out a chapter book and flip through the pages "reading" aloud with their own made up tale.

    Even as my son began to read, we would encourage him to read his books on his own, but would continue to read together each night at bedtime. As much for the time together, as for the continuing support of the love for reading. I have enjoyed reading books like the Magic Tree House Series and we are currently on the third book of the 39 Clues series. With my daughter, we have started reading some of the Ramona Books and Cam Jansen mysteries. I'm excited to soon share with her the Little House books and the Anne of Green Gables series.

    I think that to further reinforce that reading is something that you can do forever and that you can want to read, I think that it is important that we read around them too. When I was younger (i.e. before I had kids) I would read all day long. Anytime I had five minutes to spare, I would sneak in a few pages. Unfortunately, as life has gotten busier and crazier, I haven't made the time to read like I used to. It started to be that if I read, it was at bedtime only (if I could stay awake!). Now, sure my kids see the changing book on my bedside, but they weren't actually seeing me read.

    As they are getting older, it is a little easier for me to find time to read for myself. I can now actually read a good amount of my weekend morning newspapers in the morning. When we go on car trips, I can read a book or magazine in the car, while they read, color, or write in the back seat. When it is a nice afternoon and they are playing outside, usually I join them, but sometimes I just grab a book and sit on the porch or deck and read, while I watch them play together or with the neighbors. Now that I longer have to participate in swimming lessons, I get to read for the 45 minutes that the kids are in class. It's not uninterrupted, but I certainly read. Having more time to read feels almost like a luxury to me.

    On Sunday, I actually spent 3 hours just reading. The kids watched a movie and played some games and I read. The book was just that good that I wanted to keep reading. Sure, I was interrupted to get breakfast and to start shows and grab some tissues for me, but I read for 3 whole hours! It was wonderful!

    You can see what books I have been reading lately on my reading list, which links back to my review of most of the books. I hope to share about Night Road by Kristin Hannah, which I spent the three hours finishing on Sunday, soon.

    Want to let your kids earn some free books? Right now, you can go to Scholastic and learn how your child can earn up to 5 free books from Scholastic and Kumon.

      Scholastic and Kumon have partnered to encourage the development of reading and math skills and unlock your child's learning potential. Your child can complete MATH and READING activities and earn up to five FREE BOOKS from Scholastic!

    We just had my son do the worksheets and sent them off for his free books.

    This post shared at Works for Me Wednesday.

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    Menu Plan Monday

    It was a nice weekend. Not the weather, but the weekend. In fact, the weather was crazy. We had a good amount of rain and it was followed by some pretty powerful wind. My husband and I took advantage of an opportunity to get out and celebrate our anniversary on Saturday night. Sunday, I took some me time and read a book (more on that later). I ran some errands on Sunday as well, getting in a quick trip to CVS, Walgreens and the grocery store.

    dinner at our favorite local Mexican

    Spaghetti and meat sauce

    Pierogie and Sausage

    Chicken Fingers

    Homemade Pizza

    Tilapia Vera Cruz

    Ham (early Easter dinner)

    Lunches during the week are at school for my daughter and at school or packed for my son. I have a mix of packing and work meetings this week. My husband will be eating leftovers and frozen meals for lunch. Breakfast is generally cereal for everyone.

    This post shared at Menu Plan Monday.

    Sunday, April 17, 2011

    CVS Scenarios - week of 4/17

    I have to say that there aren't many deals at CVS this week that excite me. My husband told me that we were on the market for some soda if I could find a good deal. The 4/$10 Pepsi 12 pack after ECB deal isn't bad - but not really good either. I remember when a $2/12 pack was a good sale price. I have some ECBs available, so I might consider it, but I'm just not sure. I may just stick with the freebies this week. I must say though that I don't fully understand the Limit of 2 on the Green Bag Tag. You can still only use one tag per day, it's not like you can use it on three or four bags if you are buying that much stuff. Still, a green bag tag is a great deal and if you don't have one, get one!

    Transaction #1
    1 - Edge Shave Cream

    -$.55 Edge mfg coupon

    Total $2.74 OOP, earn $2.30 ECBs.

    Transaction #2
    1 - Paas Easter Egg Decorating Kit
    1 - Green Bag Tag

    Total $2.98, pay with $2.30 ECB and $.68 OOP, earn $1.99 and $.99 ECBs.

    Transaction #3
    1 - Easter Grass

    Total $.99, pay with $.99 ECB. Be sure to bring along a bag and use your new G Bag Tag. Earn $.99 ECBs.

    Total for the day would be $3.42 OOP, with $2.98 in ECBs to roll for $7.26 in product. A savings of 67%.

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

    CVS $5 Challenge
    I would just use the above scenarios for the $5 Challenge.

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

    CVS Deals - 4/11 & 4/15

    I made two trips to CVS this past week, which compared to lately feels like a record. I had to get a rain check for part of the Airwick deal and I couldn't find the bubbles.

    Trip #1
    3 - Special K cereals
    2 - M&M Pretzel
    3 - Finish Power Tab
    1 - Russell Stover Egg

    -$2 $2/3 Special K printable
    -$2 $2/2 M&M mfg coupon
    -$.75 Finish IP
    -$.75 Finish IP
    -$.75 Finish IP

    Paid with $10, $3, $2.50 and $2 (adjusted down to $1.93) and $.52 tax OOP. Earned $4 and $.74 ECBs. Of course, once I can use my rain check, I will spend $4 OOP and get a $10 ECB.

    Trip #2
    1 - Mini Robin Eggs
    1 - Essence of Beauty Anti-Bacterial Soap

    -$1 $1 Easter Candy CRT
    -$3.99 Free Essence of Beauty Anti-Bacterial coupon
    -$1.69 Any Free Candy or Beverage coupon

    Paid $.04 tax OOP and earned $1 ECB (green bag tag).

    I hope to get to the store early this week too. I need to color eggs and noticed it is free after ECB this week.

    Friday, April 15, 2011

    Yanni - Truth of Touch

    I recently had the opportunity to check out the latest album from Yanni. The album is called Truth of Touch. It features a couple of songs with lyrics, but mostly is the instrumental only pieces for which Yanni is best known. This is Yanni's first instrumental release of original compositions in over eight years and is a return to the genre Yanni helped create and advance.

    What Yanni says about the new album:
      “I work the rhythms in this album,” explains Yanni about the new material. “There is a beautiful complexity in these rhythms, a new sound design. I think the melodic content is very strong and very memorable. I was having fun with this album and that’s going to become apparent.”

    I have listened to the album a few times. There are a number of the instrumental songs that I really enjoy, like Truth of Touch and Seasons, but I think my favorite songs are the ones with lyrics. I hate to admit it, but I actually listened a couple of times before I realized that there were some English lyrics in O Luce Che Brilla Nell’Oscurita. The song is operatic in style and features Nathan Pacheco, who was also part of the Yanni Voices production a couple of years ago. The song definitely is mostly in Italian, but there is English in there too. There is something about the operatic performance and fullness of his voice that transcends language and makes me really like the song, even though I can't understand what is being sung. When I listen to that song, it makes me want to pull out my Michael Crawford Performs Andrew Lloyd Weber CD. (My husband uploaded most of our music to iTunes so that we could listen to it and include on playlists for our iPod, but interestingly that CD is missing from the collection - or I would be listening now).

    I definitely enjoy the style of his music, but must say that without vocals I find that his music lends itself more to being played at home, or when I am need of some music without noise in the car. I like to sing along in my car and sometimes struggle with listening to music I can't (try) to sing along with.

    You can learn more about Yanni and the Truth of Touch Album on the Yanni website. If you are interested, Yanni is in the midst of a world tour and has many stops scheduled in the United States over the next couple of months.

    You can hear samples of the tracks here.

    No compensation was received for this post. I received a digital copy of Truth of Touch through One2One for the purposes of providing a review of the album.

    Samples & Freebies

    Garnier Pure Clean Sample

    I Heart Pyrex potholder
    Ocean Spray Sparkle and coupon

    Olive Garden Gift Card Winner

    Congratulations to Heather! Her number was drawn as the winner of the Olive Garden $25 Gift Card.

    An e-mail will be sent to the winner.

    Please be sure to check out the other giveaways going on currently. There is an XO Laptop, Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken Strips and Boysterous Action Figures (does no one have boys? - this is a new toy for boys. The giveaway has really low entries).

    The drawing:
    Random Integer Generator

    Here are your random numbers:


    Timestamp: 2011-04-15 09:51:11 UTC

    Wednesday, April 13, 2011

    National Geographic Little Kids Magazine - 1 Year for as little as $7

    I recently learned about a community called Mamapedia Sweet Deals ( The community numbers over 3.5 million Moms across the country where they offer 50% off on local and national family-friendly merchants.

    Starting tomorrow at 6am, for first-time Mamapedia buyers, they are offering a special coupon code - NATGEO3, which can be used to save an additional $3 on a one year subscription to National Geographic Little Kids Magazine (the deal for 4/14). Bringing your cost down to only $7, a savings of almost 70% off the cover price.

    Full Year of National Geographic Little Kids Magazine
    Regular Price: $24
    Mamapedia Sweet Deal Price: $10
    With coupon code NATGEO3: Only $7!

    You can find the deal here.

    As a reminder, you can only use this special coupon code as a first-time buyer, but even if you have purchased before, you can still get this deal for only $10.

    In addition, they offer a program called Savings for Schools, where 5% of your purchase will be donated to the school you choose at time of purchase. Much like Box Tops and other programs, I think this could be a great way to help provide to your school simply by doing what you are already doing.

    No compensation was received for this post. I am using a referral link and if you purchase a deal, I will receive a credit for the referral.

    Not Just Another Loaf (alternate uses for bread dough)

    Sure, you can always make a nice loaf of bread out of bread dough, but I like to use it for more than just bread. Historically, I have made most of these recipes using frozen bread dough, but since I have found my own favorite homemade bread dough, I have been using it to make most of these recipes. You can find my bread recipe here.

    Sticky Rolls - These oooey goooey rolls made with butterscotch pudding and more are a delicious treat for the morning. You can find my recipe here.

    Pizza Dough - I actually have not tried this yet with my bread dough, but I enjoy using bread dough to make pizza. With frozen dough, I simply set it out in the microwave in the morning and roll it out for pizza when I get home. I use a can of tomato sauce to which I add some Italian herbs for the sauce and then top with our favorite toppings and cheese. The family thinks it is a great treat to have homemade pizza, and I personally just think it tastes better!

    Hamburger Buns - I found that if I rolled out my bread dough to about 1/2" - 3/4" thickness and used a small bowl to cut the bread that I could make rolls that easily sliced into hamburger buns. I rolled and cut after the first rise of the dough (or when thawed if using frozen dough). What I like best is that I can use a different size bowl to cut, depending on what I am making. Pork Tenderloins - roll the dough thinner and cut bigger circles. Hamburgers - roll the dough to 1/2" thickness and cut out with a medium size circle. Slider - roll the dough to 3/4" thickness and cut with a cup. Allow the dough to rise on your baking sheet for 30 minutes. Then bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, until just golden.

    Breadsticks - I found a recipe a while back, in a magazine I think, for Parmesan Breadsticks. We have adapted it to use a number of different cheeses to go with our meal of the day. We have had it with Mozzarella and Parmesan. It only uses 1/2# of dough, so when I make the bread dough, I either make a 1# loaf with the remaining dough or one time I even made hamburger buns! I'd like to figure out if I can freeze before the rise and then thaw and rise when we want them. That would be very convenient. I just haven't had a chance to experiment with freezing yet. We'd also like to try them as larger bread sticks, these are crunchy, but I think that if we made half as many that they could be a little more doughy. Again, I haven't tried this yet, but have been considering it.

    Cheesy Breadsticks
    1/2# of bread dough
    1/2 cup shredded cheese

    Combine and separate into 28 balls. Roll each ball into a 6" log. Place on a baking sheet and let rise for 15 minutes. Spray with olive oil cooking spray and bake at 450 for 12 to 15 minutes.

    Using bread dough to make other treats works for me!

    This post shared at Works for Me Wednesday.

    the first bloom...

    This post shared at Wordless Wednesday and here too!

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Free Cone Day - Today

    Don't forget that if you live near a Ben & Jerry's, today is Free Cone Day. You can read more about it here.

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    Mamavation Monday

    It was a good week.

    I did pretty good with eating well and tracking what I ate. I used up the balance of my weekly PointsPlus values on Sunday, so my Monday weight was up slightly from yesterday, but I expect that to recover to the full amount of loss that I expected for last week. I was down over a pound on Sunday morning.

    I resumed P90X this morning. I had been doing other workouts and decided that I needed a boost in my workout routine. I haven't decided if I will just use the strength training workouts and alternate with assorted cardio or if I will follow the full 90 day program again. I did Chest and Back this morning and I can tell that I worked out - I can feel the pull on my muscles when I stretch. No matter my morning approach, I hope to fit in an evening exercise too. Tonight was crazy, so I didn't get it, but I'm hoping to fit in some of the Walk At Home DVDs in the evening. I'm considering putting them in my laptop and following along while I watch my shows. Most of the shows that I watch don't require full engagement, so I should be able to do it. If not, I might just try remembering the walking workouts and do those. I also would like to get back to doing Ab Ripper a few times a week. I don't have time in the morning, so those I do in the evening.

    With summer fast approaching, I am feeling a little more motivated to eat right and work out. Assuming my work schedule permits it, and the weather, I should be able to get back to walking at lunch too. It is such a nice break and I enjoy being active while catching up with friends.

    Hope you are having a good week!

    This post shared at Mamavation Monday. This week's blogging carnival is sponsored by Orville Redenbacher Popcorn. The question of the week is: How would you like to alter your family’s nutrition and eating habits? Do you have a plan to do this? I would like to include more fresh fruit and vegetables. I do my best to purchase them each week, but depending on how busy I am, I don't always get a chance to clean them and make them an easy to grab snack when we are hungry.

    No compensation was received for this post. I am a Weight Watchers Insider for the new Weight Watchers PointsPlus program and have received complimentary online access to Weight Watchers, and other tools to help me on my weight loss journey, using Weight Watchers. 'People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1 - 2 pounds per week.' By linking back to Orville Redenbacher and participating in the blogging carnival, I am entering to win a basket from Orville Redenbacher.

    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    Menu Plan Monday

    What a beautiful weekend! Okay, yesterday's weather wasn't ideal but we had a lot of fun, so that makes it a good weekend. Today, it was nearly perfect weather - 78 and sunny, with a nice breeze. This type of weather makes me ready for summer, too bad the forecast for the rest of the week isn't quite as nice with temperatures in the 50s and rain. We spent our day today playing and eating like it was summer. We opened up our windows, we spent time outside playing at home, we went to the park to play with friends, we had ice cream, we grilled out and had watermelon too! It felt very much like summer today.

    It was very similar weather to the weather on this same date 12 years ago. I know, because it was my wedding day and the weather that day was beautiful and fairly warm (although also quite windy, my husband had to hold my veil down in many of our outdoor pictures) for early April in Ohio.

    I did a little grocery shopping today, mostly we picked up fresh fruit and vegetables and lots of yogurt. We also picked up a few things that we needed for dinner this week and some snacks for packing in lunches and having after school.

    Hamburgers/Hot Dogs on the grill and Watermelon



    Chicken Gravy over biscuits

    Sloppy Joes

    Macaroni and Cheese


    We all return to work and school this week, so lunches will be at school for my daughter and at school or packed for my son. I have a mix of packing and work meetings this week. My husband will be eating leftovers and frozen meals for lunch. Breakfast is generally cereal for everyone.

    This post shared at Menu Plan Monday.

    Walgreens Scenarios - week of 4/10

    There are a few offers this week at Walgreens. I'm not sure that I will be near Walgreens this week, but I figured I would at least map out a plan, just in case.

    Transaction #1
    1 - Carefree Pantiliner
    1 - Luster White 7 Toothpaste

    -$.50 Carefree mfg coupon
    -$1.50 Luster White 7 Toothpaste mfg coupon

    Total $3.98 OOP, earn $.99 and $4 RR.

    Transaction #2
    1 - Biore Cleanser
    1 - Biore Pore Strips
    1 - Arizona Iced Tea Can (with in ad coupon)

    -$5.99 BOGO Biore Cleanser wyb Biore Pore Strips mfg coupon

    -$4 RR
    -$.99 RR

    Total $1.50 OOP, earn $5 RR.

    Transaction #3
    4 - Hershey Easter Chocolates

    -$1 $1/3 Hershey's mfg coupon

    -$5 RR

    Total $4 OOP, earn $5 RR.

    Transaction #4
    1 - Carefree Pantiliner
    1 - Luster White 7 Toothpaste
    2 - Arizona Iced Tea (with in ad coupon)
    1 - Snicker Egg

    -$.50 Carefree mfg coupon
    -$1.50 Luster White 7 Toothpaste mfg coupon

    -$5 RR

    Total $.27 OOP, earn $.99 and $4 RR.

    Transaction #5
    1 - Digiornio Pizza
    1 - Arizona Iced Tea (with in ad coupon)

    -$4 RR
    -$.99 RR

    Total $.51 OOP.

    Total of $10.26 OOP for over $41 in product at sale prices, a savings of about 76%.

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

    Walgreens $5 Challenge
    Transaction #1
    1 - Carefree Pantiliner
    1 - Luster White 7 Toothpaste

    -$.50 Carefree mfg coupon
    -$1.50 Luster White 7 Toothpaste mfg coupon

    Total $3.98 OOP, earn $.99 and $4 RR.

    Transaction #2
    1 - Biore Cleanser
    1 - Biore Pore Strips
    3 - Snickers Egg

    -$5.99 BOGO Biore Cleanser wyb Biore Pore Strips mfg coupon
    -$1 $1/2 Snickers Easter Candy IP

    -$4 RR
    -$.99 RR

    Total $1.00 OOP, earn $5 RR. The $1 coupon likely will be adjusted down, but by getting 3 my hope would be that it reduces to just $.87. If I get overage, even better!

    Total of $4.98 OOP, with a $5 RR to roll. As above, I'm likely to use it to get a DiGiorno pizza, since I can't be sure to be back before it expires.

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

    CVS Scenarios - week of 4/10

    After a really good set of trips to CVS yesterday, I was hopeful to find some great deals again this week. There are a couple of deals, but not much that has me really excited. Perhaps it is because I have done some good stock ups recently and really am not in need of much. I'm hoping to do something with the Finish dishwasher tabs, as dishwasher detergent deals seem to be hard to find.

    Transaction #1
    1 - Russell Stover Egg
    1 - Super Miracle Bubbles

    Total $2.73, earn $2.73 ECBs.

    Transaction #2
    2 - Airwick Freshmatic Starter Kits
    3 - Finish Powerball Tabs

    -$4 Airwick Freshmatic Starter Kit mfg coupon
    -$4 Airwick Freshmatic Starter Kit mfg coupon
    -$.75 Finish IP
    -$.75 Finish IP
    -$.50 Finish IP

    Total $11, pay with $2.73 ECBs and $8.27 OOP. Earn $10 ECBs.

    Transaction #3
    2 - M&M's Easter Candy
    3 - Special K Bars and/or Cereal

    -$2 $2/2 M&M mfg coupon
    -$2 $2/3 Special K IP

    Total $9.94, pay with $10 ECB adjusted down. Earn $4 ECBs.

    Total OOP for the day is $11, with $4 ECBs to roll for $37.67 in product.

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

    CVS $5 Challenge
    Transaction #1
    1 - Russell Stover Egg
    1 - Super Miracle Bubbles

    Total $2.73, earn $2.73 ECBs.

    To be truly under $5, you can stop at Transaction #1 or you can continue and significantly increase your amount of product, but your out of pocket will be higher.

    Transaction #2
    3 - Airwick Freshmatic Starter Kits
    1 - Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner

    -$4 Airwick Freshmatic Starter Kit mfg coupon
    -$4 Airwick Freshmatic Starter Kit mfg coupon
    -$4 Airwick Freshmatic Starter Kit mfg coupon
    -$1 Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner mfg coupon

    Total $7.50, pay with $2.73 ECB and $4.77 OOP. Earn $10 ECBs.

    Transaction #3
    2 - M&M's Easter Candy
    3 - Special K Bars and/or Cereal

    -$2 $2/2 M&M mfg coupon
    -$2 $2/3 Special K IP

    Total $9.94, pay with $10 ECB adjusted down. Earn $4 ECBs.

    If you did just Transaction #1, your net cost is FREE. If you did all three scenarios, for just $7.50 OOP, you would have $37.17 in product, with $4 ECBs to roll. A savings of 82%.

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

    Saturday, April 9, 2011

    CVS Deals - 4/9

    I didn't have any time to stop at CVS this week, until Saturday. I was very disappointed to learn that they (at least my local stores) are no longer going to be carrying the Benefiber Flavor Sticks. It took me a couple of stops to find them and when I did, my friend let me use her card as well, so I bought the 5 that they had remaining and take advantage of the deal. I am really disappointed by this. I enjoy the citrus punch flavor as my morning beverage. Oh well! Guess I will have to see if the items are discontinued or just at CVS. The problem with the first store not having them is that I had planned to use them towards my $40 transaction and couldn't. I still did okay, but I had to "run" back and add things twice!

    Since I stopped a few places, I did several transactions.

    2 - Hershey's bunnies (I thought my coupon was for these, oops)
    3 - Oral B Toothbrushes
    2 - John Frieda Shampoo/Conditioner
    1 - Crest Pro Health Rinse (rain check)
    1 - Glide floss (rain check)
    1 - Colgate Total (rain check)
    4 - ob 40 ct (75% off - clearance)
    2 - SweetTart Jelly Bean Carrots

    -$5 $5/$40 CVS Facebook coupon
    -$2.99 BOGO Oral B mfg coupon
    -$2 Oral B mfg coupon
    -$2 Oral B mfg coupon
    -$2 John Frieda mfg coupon
    -$2 John Frieda mfg coupon
    -$1 Crest Pro Health Rinse mfg coupon
    -$.75 Glide Floss mfg coupon
    -$1.50 Colgate Total mfg coupon
    -$1.99 BOGO SweetTart Jelly Bean Carrots CRT

    Paid with $10 ECBs and $11.33 OOP. Earned $18.50 in ECBs.

    3 - Benefiber Drink Sticks

    -$3 Benefiber CRT
    -$5 $5/2 Benefiber mfg coupon
    -$3 Benefiber mfg coupon

    Paid with $11 ECBs from my first stop and $.47 OOP. Earned $10 ECBs.

    Then with my friend's card (I split it two actually, hoping she would get the same $3 CRT that I had gotten at my first stop).

    2 - Benefiber Drink Sticks
    1 - Benefiber Chewables

    -$5 $5/2 Benefiber mfg coupon
    -$3 Benefiber mfg coupon

    Paid with $6 ECBs and $7.97 OOP. Earned $10 ECBs.

    So, on my card, I started the day with $10 in ECBs, I spent $11.80 OOP and finished the day with $17.50 in ECBs. That was like paying $4.30 for $96.36 in product at shelf price, a savings of 96%. I had fun!

    My friend started with $6 ECBs, spent $7.97 OOP and finished with $10 ECBs. So, my cost was $3.97 for the $21.97 in product that I got (82% savings). Thanks!

    Of course, the biggest issue was that I walked out without getting rain checks for the two body washes and the flossers featured in the ad - all of which were out. Oh well, I might stop by for rain checks if I am out later, probably not a big deal, we aren't out of body wash yet and there will likely be another deal before we are.

    This post shared at Super Savings Saturday.

    An Evening with Kristin Hannah

    I love to read (I think I might have mentioned that before) and find myself intrigued by the authors. Not only do they need the creativity to come up with the concept of a story, but they have to then tell the story, through the movement of the plot line, the development of the characters and more. The ability of an author to bring you into their storyline and trigger emotions in you is an art - how many books have I read where I found myself cheering for a character or crying over their losses and joys or finding myself scared to think that this could really happen.

    Not that this little blog compares, but when I think about the number of times that I have to write and rewrite a given post, it really gives me a greater respect for authors and what it must be like to sit down to a blank sheet and simply start a story. I always wonder, do they actually start at the beginning or just start telling the story and then finish the beginning later or even last. (That's what I would do if I were an author - I'd just start typing the story and then once I told my story, come back and write the beginning because I think the beginning is the hardest part to write).

    With one book that I read, I had the opportunity to participate, as an observer, in a book club discussion with the book's author. It was held online and in addition to those that participated by video, you could also ask questions via Twitter of the author. It was a really unique experience. I enjoyed getting to learn more about the author and the characters and story in the book.

    I recently started reading Night Road, by Kristin Hannah. She is the author of 18 national bestsellers (that's a lot of writing!). Night Road was just released last week and is available at your favorite local bookstore (and online too). This is the first book by Kristin Hannah that I have read and so far, I'm only a few chapters in, I am enjoying the book (I'll share my thoughts about the book later!).

    For those of you that live in Central Ohio, Kristin Hannah is coming to Columbus as part of the Thurber House Evenings with Authors series. This is your opportunity to meet the best selling author and hear her read from her book and participate in a discussion about her book, including questions from the audience.

      Kristin Hannah, Night Road The beloved author of 18 national bestsellers is back with a brand new, emotionally complex novel that raises profound questions about motherhood, loss, identity, and forgiveness.
        * Tuesday, April 12
        * Columbus Performing Arts Center, 549 Franklin Ave, Columbus, Ohio 43215
        * This event is part of the 2011 Winter/Spring Evenings With Authors series.
        * Tickets are $20 for adults,$18 for students and seniors in advance, and can be purchased online, in person at Thurber House (77 Jefferson Ave.), via telephone at 614-464-1032, or at the door.
        * The event begins at 7:30 p.m.
        * The featured author reads and discusses his/her work, answers questions from the audience, and there is a coffee and cookie reception that follows when the author will sign books.

    Now, I think I might try to sneak in a few more chapters, while the kids are busy playing. When I'm done with the book, I'll be sure to do a post to share my thoughts on the book.

    No compensation was received for this post. The opinions expressed are my own. I received a copy of Night Road to read and share a review.

    Friday, April 8, 2011

    2011 Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge

    To me, walking is a great form of exercise. It requires almost no equipment, except a decent pair of shoes. You can walk by yourself (as long as it's safe!) or with one or more friends or family members. It can be enjoyed together by the young and the old. You can walk briskly or simply stroll, either way the important thing is simply being in motion. Walking is also a great way to catch up with friends (have you ever noticed how fast time goes when you are chatting with friends) or to take some time to take in the sites or simply observe nature.

    Yesterday, we all had the day off and my mom came over to visit. After we got back from lunch, the kids wanted to go for a walk, so my mom, the two kids and I set out on a walk around the block. The weather is just starting to break and it was nice to get out and get some fresh air and a bit of exercise. We walked just about a mile in total.

    When the weather (and my work schedule) allows, I love to be able to take a walk at lunch. We have a path that we walk that is just about 3 miles long. Sometimes, we take a shorter route, but when we have time we walk the whole thing. The walk can be almost therapeutic. It is a great stress reliever and taking the time to catch up with friends feels great. Sometimes we talk about things at work, but never about work. Sometimes it becomes a vent session. Other times, it is just a great way to catch up on what has been going on in our lives. The fresh air and the sunshine provide a sense of renewal and we return energized to finish the work day.

    At home, I enjoy walking around the block with the kids. When they were younger, I would push them in the stroller or pull them in the wagon. Sometimes, we would stop and visit with friends playing in their yards. Now that they are older, generally, they like to take their bikes or scooters, which generally means that they are stopping to wait for me or riding back to me after a while, so as not to get too far ahead.

    Of course, as of late, my daily exercise has been using assorted workouts from the Leslie Sansone Walk at Home collection of walks. It's a great way to get in a workout, even in my own living room. On one of the walks, her walking team are all people that have lost over 100 pounds through walking. Through out some of the walks, she comments on aerobic exercise and how people don't like to think of walking as exercise, but it really is.

    I'm not really sure when I started to enjoy walking, but I feel like I have been doing it for years. When I was a child (5th or 6th grade), I can remember my mom and the neighbor going for walks on a regular basis. I'm not sure it was daily, but it was probably close. They would walk about 2 miles through the neighborhood and they were fast walkers. On rare occasion, I was allowed to join them (they generally walked at night and it seems to me that it frequently was dark, so I'm guessing it was pretty close to my bedtime) and I thought the world of being allowed to join. It took a lot of effort for me to keep up with them, but now, as a result, I am a fast walker.

    I can also remember participating in many local Volksmarches as a child. The whole family would go and walk. Sometimes we would be joined by, or catch up with, family and friends. Honestly, I'm not sure how often we went, but there seemed to be all sorts of different walks in both urban and rural type settings, perhaps even a few at the local nature preserves and parks. Looking through the current local walks on their website, there are many coming up in the next few months in my area (being in Ohio, it makes sense that there might be a few more now that it is starting to warm up). It seems that many of the walks include a 5K or 10K option.

    Are you a walker? Have you been wanting to get started? Here are some tips from Weight Watchers:
      * The first step is getting up and moving – start slow and increase your speed and distance over time. Be sure to set reasonable goals.

      * To help motivate you, sign up for a future 5K. Having that date on the calendar is sure to keep you focused.

      * Be sure to add strength training to your routine. Before you know it, you will have a new you!

      * Finally, listen to your body. If you need to rest, take a day off. And have fun!

    Looking for an upcoming 5K that you can train towards? It is once again time for the Weight Watchers Walk-It Challenge.
      Team up with your friends and family and start training to walk - or run - a 5K (3.1 miles) on Weight Watchers Walk-It Day, May 22! Use our interactive, step-by-step, six-week training plan and fitness tips to prepare for the event. Connect with other walkers in our Community for ideas and encouragement. Read inspiring blog posts. Take part in our Walk-It Challenge Community Challenge or create or join a Walking Group.

    You can find more information about the Official Weight Watchers Walk-It Day 5K in your state here.

    No compensation was received for this post. As a Weight Watchers Insider, I was provided with information about the Walk-It Challenge and will be receiving a Walk-It Toolkit. All opinions expressed are my own.

    Samples and Freebies

    Boogie Wipes Sample
    Orville Rednebacher Pop Up Bowl Popcorn sample

    U by Kotex Sample
    Dove Men+Care bodywash and deodorant samples and coupons

    Boysterous Action Figures - Review and Giveaway

    When I was younger, I remember my brother's playing with action figures. They had a variety of action figures. Action figures can be a great way for boys to play both with others and independently. They can create scenes and events for them and really use their imagination.

    The new line of action figures called Boysterous from Manhattan Toys are no exception. The Boysterous line is a sports-minded series of action figures. There is one that plays football, soccer and hockey and ones that skateboard and snowboard. There is also an Extreme Sports Zone accessory available, that serves not only as a playing field for the various sports, but also is a convenient zipped storage case to allow for easy clean-up and transport of the action figures.

    When we received a couple of the Boysterous action figures the other day, my kids were very excited. They could hardly wait for me to remove them from the package so that they could start to play.

    It didn't take long for us to discover that magnets were used to allow them to interact with their props. We first realized it with the snowboarder, whose board is metal. Then, we discovered that the soccer player had magnets in his feet and a magnet in the ball too. My son discovered that if he held the soccer player about 1/2" from the ball and just above the playing field, that the magnet would "push" the soccer ball down the field.

    Soon, they were playing soccer, my son using the soccer player and my daughter using the snowboarder. They really liked that they had a sports field on which to play soccer with their action figures. The sports zone can either be laid flat to be a soccer field or flipped over then could be zipped up part way to either form a half-pipe or if we inverted that, to become a hill for the snowboarder.

    I asked my son what he thought after a few days and he asked if he could type his review, so here are my son's thoughts:
      I like the Boysterous action figures because you can make them do really cool tricks that nobody on earth can do. I like how there is a magnet in the feet and the accessories. I like the case because it turns into a course on each side. I like how when you zip it half way it turns into a ramp for your skate boarder and snow boarder.

    You can find Boysterous Action Figures at a Specialty Store near you and online at You can see the action figures at play on the Manhattan Toy You Tube Channel.


    You have the chance to win one Boysterous Action Figure, courtesy of Manhattan Toy.

    To enter: Visit Manhattan Toy and then leave a comment with another toy that you think your child (or nephew, neighbor, grandchild) would like.

    Additional Entries (please be sure to leave a comment for each additional entry):
    Like Manhattan Toy on Facebook
    Follow Manhattan Toy on Twitter.
    Follow A Busy Mom of Two on Twitter.
    Tweet the following: Enter to win a #Boysterous Action Figure from @manhattantoy, ends 5/3, #mamabzz (can be done once each day)
    Share this giveaway on your blog.
    Share this giveaway with your friends on Facebook.

    Giveaway ends 5/3 at 6 pm and is open to US residents only. Winners will be selected using random number generator. 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. We received two Boysterous Action Figures and an Extreme Sports Zone from Manhattan Toys through MamaBzz for the purpose of playing with them and sharing our feedback. Manhattan Toys also is providing the Boysterous Action Figure for the giveaway.

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    Free Cone Day

    Can you believe it? The Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's is just around the corner. Stop by your local (participating) Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops on Tuesday, April 12th and enjoy a free cone. It's their way of saying Thank You.

    Unfortunately (or fortunately I guess, considering I am trying to not indulge in treats too often), my nearest Scoop Shop is about an hour away. New this year, they have apps for the iPhone and Droid, to help you find your nearest Scoop Shop. Of course, you can look here to find a location near you.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    The Winner Everytime

    The mornings during the week can sometimes be a struggle with my daughter (used to be with my son too, but he outgrew it). She generally is up and about long before we have to get ready, so it's not a challenge with getting up. The difficulty is with her getting ready and getting out the door.

    She is very opinionated about her fashion. My son had some favorite clothes when he was younger, but for the most part if we set something out, it was what he would wear. With her, even when we try to have her pick out her clothes the night before, if she doesn't feel like it the next morning, she has to wear something else. She will take multiple outfits out before deciding on just the right one.

    She is also easily distracted from the task at hand, when that task is getting dressed. She will get out of her pajamas and spend hours (okay, not really - I don't have that kind of time) hanging out, playing, reading (flipping pages) and listening to music in just her underwear and t-shirt. Normally, I think it is great that she is able to entertain herself, but when I have to get her to school and me to work, I just don't have the time to allow her to entertain herself.

    Then, when we finally are ready to go and come downstairs, she is drawn to whatever her brother is doing - eating breakfast, reading a book, coloring, building with Legos, watching a show - doesn't matter what it is, she wants to participate because he is doing it.

    So, lately, we have been racing to get ready every morning. Teeth brushing generally occurs before the race, because I don't want for her to rush through that. Once the teeth are brushed the race is on. Who can get dressed first? She still has some stalls and will call over to my room to tell me to "pause the race" (cracks me up, when I was four I don't know that I knew the word "pause" and for her it is so much a part of everyday), but overall, it works because she is focused on the goal of getting dressed.

    The race doesn't end there though. After we know who won the getting dressed race (generally her, since the last thing I do upstairs is usually putting my socks on), we give hugs and kisses and go downstairs, where we race to get on our shoes and coats.

    When I race my daughter to get ready in the morning, no matter who wins the race, I always win with her getting ready without (much) delay! That works for me!

    This post shared at Works For Me Wednesday. Of course, it turns out I am off theme. They are talking spring cleaning, but I saw snow today!