Monday, May 30, 2011

Walgreens Deals - 5/29

Disappointed. That is really the best way to describe my Walgreens experience. The unfortunate thing is that it wasn't my first of this type of experience at Walgreens, but being an optimist I continue to return.

I headed out on Sunday to pick up some of their two day specials, as well as some of their weekly deals. And, no surprise, but they seemed to be out of everything. Certainly, there is a certain rush to be expected with some deals, but their situation was worsened by the fact that for some reason (I wasn't told/didn't ask) they hadn't gotten a truck on Wednesday.

They were out of the ProGlide razors in the razor department. For the razor, I found a random "promo" pack that had some other stuff with it, but since it was the only Gillette ProGlide that they had, I figured it was worth a shot. They were out of the Listerine Smart Rinse. They were out of the Crackerfuls.

From the wording on the signs, it sounds like most stores didn't have the Ritz Crackerfuls that were free after RR on Sunday and Monday - which makes you wonder why they couldn't do a rain check? They were substituting Triscuits, Wheat Thins and Ritz Crackers, but surprise they were out of most of that too!

I found a few things to piece together to make my trip more worthwhile, but was still disappointed.

Transaction #1
1 - ProGlide Razor

-$5 ProGlide mfg coupon

Total $4.89, plus $.64 tax OOP. Earned $5 RR.

Transaction #2
1 - Wheat Thins
1 - AquaFresh Kids Toothpaste (w/ in ad coupon)
1 - Illy Cappucino
1 - Freezer Pops

-$5 RR

Total $.99, plus $.06 tax OOP. Earned $2 and $2 RR.

Transaction #3
1 - Arizona Tea Gallon
4 - Arizona Tea Cans
1 - Caramel (filler)

-$2 RR
-$2 RR

Total $.30, plus $.26 tax OOP.

Total OOP for my trip was $6.18, plus $.96 tax. According to my receipts, I saved $24.26 on my visit. A savings of about 80%.

Walgreens Scenarios - week 5/29

Seeing some of the 2-day offers at Walgreens, certainly made a trip to Walgreens seem like a good idea.

Transaction #1
1 - Gillette ProGlide

-$5 Gillette mfg coupon

Total $4.98 OOP, earn $5 RR.

Transaction #2
1 - Crackerfuls
1 - ille Coffee
1 - Icy Hot Naturals
1 - Aquafresh Kids (w/ in ad coupon)
1 - Act II popcorn

-$1 Crackerfuls mfg coupon

-$5 RR

Total $.23 OOP, earn $2, $.99, and $2 RR.

Transaction #3
1 - Listerine Smart Rinse
1 - Act II Popcorn

-$2 RR
-$.99 RR

Total $.25 OOP, earn $2 RR.

Transaction #4
1 - Crackerfuls
1 - Aquafresh Kids (w/ in ad coupon)
1 - Act II Popcorn (filler)

-$1 Crackerfuls mfg coupon

-$2 RR

Total $.24 OOP, earn $2 RR.

Transaction #5
1 - Listerine Smart Rinse
1 - Act II Popcorn

-$2 RR
-$.99 RR

Total $.25 OOP, earn $2 RR.

Transaction #6
1 - Arizona Iced Tea
1 - Act II Popcorn

-$2 RR

Total $.23 OOP.

For the day, the total OOP is $6.18, for $28.16 in product, a savings of 79%.

For more Walgreens deals and scenarios, check out Money Saving Mom and Deal Seeking Mom. For more $5 scenarios, check out the Walgreens $5 Challenge.

I'm actually likely to try to pick up more of the Arizona Iced Tea jugs. My husband really likes this. (And doesn't think brewed tea tastes the same - if someone has a recipe that would deliver a similar flavor, I would love to try it. I think a sugar syrup needs to be made to use it). Normally, the regular price is $3, the sale price is $2.50 - so a price of $1.98 each is worth picking up a few.

CVS Scenarios - week of 5/29

I must say, that for a Holiday weekend, I'm a bit disappointed in the CVS ad. I don' t know why, but I expected for there to be some two day sales or other exciting offers. There are some things available, but nothing that really pulls at me to get out to CVS.

Transaction #1
1 - Preparation H Totables
2 - Mars Singles

-$2 Preparation H IP
-$.25 Mars candy CRT (I had one that expired last week - my store generally will take for 2 days after expiration)

Total $2.74 OOP, earn $3.99 and $1 ECBs.

Transaction #2
4 - Hershey's Drops/Pieces

-$2 $2/2 Hershey's mfg coupon
-$2 Hershey's Drops CRT (again, it expired last week)

Total $4. Pay with $3.99 plus $.01 OOP; earn $3 ECBs.

Transaction #3
2 - Oral B Toothbrush
1- M&M single

-$1.50 $1.50/2 Oral B Mfg coupon

Total $2.98. Pay with $3 ECB, adjusted down; earn $2 ECBs.

For the trip, the total OOP was $2.75, with $3 ECBs to roll, for $17.49 worth of product at sale prices.

For more deals and scenarios, check out Money Saving Mom and Deal Seeking Mom. For more $5 Scenarios, check out the CVS $5 Challenge.

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day.

As we remember those that have died in service of our country, let us also give a thanks to and say a prayer for those who have or are actively serving our country. May all of them have a safe return to their families and friends.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Solo Cup Deal at Giant Eagle

After reading (here on Saving in Akron) that there was a Catalina deal on Solo Cups at Giant Eagle, I decided to give it a try. I had hoped they would have the 20 ct packages that were on sale for 2/$4, but they were out and only had the 30 ct packages at 2/$5.

4 - 30 ct Solo Cups

-$6 4x$.75 doubled Solo Cup IP

Total OOP $4.46, earned a $4 OYNO coupon.

Basically, I got 120 cups for a net cost of $.46. Of course, if they had had the smaller packages, then I would have been able to make money on the deal.

This post shared at Super Savings Saturday.

CVS Deals - 5/27

I stopped by my local CVS, even though I knew they are closing on Saturday, in hopes that they might have a few of the things that I wanted from this week's ad and to see if they had any good clearance finds. Well, I found a good clearance deal at least.

10 - Sunlight Dishwasher Detergent Tabs, 2 pack
Total $.54 OOP.

I also had made a quick stop at another CVS the day before, but only picked up the Ivory Soap that I had a rain check for.

1 - Ivory Soap 3 pk

-$1 Ivory mfg coupon

Total $.07 (just tax) OOP.

I feel like I got quite a bit for just $.61 OOP.

this post shared at Super Savings Saturday.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Samples and Freebies

I better find something to request soon, or my mailbox won't be this busy!

coupon for Free Bag of Ore-Ida Sweet Potato Fries (Facebook offer)
TRESemme Naturals sample (Facebook offer)
$9 Savings Booklet from Huggies, Kleenex, Cottonelle and more
Coupon for Free Tub of Cottonelle Fresh Wipes
Root Awakening Shampoo/Conditioner sample and coupon

Thursday, May 26, 2011

3rd Time's a Charm?

I've never had this much trouble giving away a prize to someone from a giveaway that they entered! So, here is hoping that the third winner selected will come forward and claim the prize.

Congratulations to Jen! You were selected as the winner of the Snap Fashion Jewelry Lab or other Smart Labs toy giveaway hosted by A Busy Mom of Two.

Be sure the check out the other giveaways going on now on A Busy Mom of Two.

Random Integer Generator

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Timestamp: 2011-05-27 01:22:20 UTC

Free $10 Craftsman Gift Card

Are you a member of Vocal Point? Right now, you can sign up to receive a free $10 Craftsman Gift Card. You have to enter your zip code to confirm that the offer is available in your area.

The card is good on any C3 tool. Please see Vocal Point for other restrictions.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Daily Deals - Kids and Families

The Mamapedia Sweet Deals site has a number of great offers for kids and families. Some have been up for a day or more, so don't wait too long to pick one (or more) of these deals up.

$25 for $50 Worth of Name-brand Products from Zoolu!

$15 for $30 Worth of Name-Brand Toys from Wild Planet

$12 for 1-Year of National Geographic Kids ($24.95 Value) plus 18-Page Downloadable Activity Book

$20 for $40 Worth of Family-friendly Merchandise from fisherkids

I like that Mamapedia Sweet Deals will contribute 5% of your purchase price to the school of your choice.

In addition to getting a great deal when you purchase through Sweet Deals, now, if you share the deals that you buy with friends, and 3 purchase the same deal, yours is FREE!

Peeled Snacks winner!

Congratulations to Rachel! She was selected as the winner of the Peeled Snacks Giveaway hosted by A Busy Mom of Two.

Thanks everyone for entering and be sure to check out my other giveaways.

Random Integer Generator

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Timestamp: 2011-05-25 10:31:02 UTC

Summer Reading Programs

It is so hard to believe, but my son's school only has three more days until summer break. One of the challenges of summer break is trying to make sure that the kids don't get too far from what they have learned, but also making sure that they are kids and can enjoy their break.

From my experience, reading is a great way to keep your children's minds active in the summer. It doesn't have to be just them reading books, you can make it interesting and more of a learning experience by mixing it up. Read chapter books together with your kids and discuss them. Not only does this allow you time to bond, but it helps your kids develop reading comprehension and critical thinking skills. Have your child read a book and then 'retell' you the story in their own words. This can help to ensure that they are reading and comprehending the story and not just seeing the words. Read books that are set somewhere local and then, take a field trip to the area and see if you can find familiar landmarks from the books.

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

As we do every summer, we are planning to take the kids to the library and sign them up for the summer reading program. It is a nice program and rewards them for reading and checking in on their progress. They get little things, like choosing a prize out of a treasure chest, getting stickers and bookmarks and at the end of the summer, a free book. The prizes aren't big, but they are incentive enough for the kids to want to read.

Signing up for reading programs can help to provide added incentive to kids to read. In addition to library reading programs, there are a number of retailers and other groups who also offer summer reading programs with benefits:

Barnes and Noble: Read 8 books and turn in the form to receive one free book from the available list. Turn in completed sheets from now to September 6th.

Borders: Read 10 books and earn a free book (select titles). Turn in form between June 1 - September 5.

Half-Priced Books: Read 600 minutes or more and turn in the completed reading log at Half Price Books to receive $5 Back-to-School Bucks. Turn in the reading log between July 25 – August 7.

Summer Break with Book It: Read 5 books and mail in a form for a chance to win a Summer Break Prize Pack. Sweepstakes begins 6/15/11 and ends 8/15/11.

Scholastic Summer Challenge: Children can log their reading minutes for a chance to be one of three potential winners of a Klutz book prize pack. Log minutes from May 15, 2011 to June 4, 2011.

This post shared at Works for Me Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

CVS Scenarios - week of 5/22

With it being so nice out and having so many activities, I just haven't had a chance to look at the CVS ad. I did stop at CVS yesterday to check out what the coupon scanner was printing. I got a free Green Bag Tag CRT, a $1 off Crystal Light CRT (I hear that the individual servings are 50 cents each).

I find myself intrigued by the gas offer. I consider it to be similar to an ECB offer, where I have to get $30 in purchases to get my $10 back. I am assuming (and hoping) that it is before coupons. I haven't determined for sure if I will do the offer this week, but if I do, it will likely include the Doritos/Tostitos for picnics, the Finish Dishwasher Detergent and maybe some candy to round it out.

I would like to do the Coppertone offer this week. When you buy 2, you can get $8 ECB back. There is a $1 coupon available for Coppertone on currently. I was hoping CVS would have the Sunscreen CRT or a Skin Care CRT to help sweeten the deal. I'm not sure of shelf prices, so it is hard to build it into a scenario.

Transaction #1
2 - Trident Gum
1 - Advil
1 - Thermacare Heat Wrap

-$1 $1/2 Trident mfg coupon
-$1 Advil mfg coupon
-$3 Thermacare IP
-$3 $3/$10 Healthcare CRT

Total $7.78 OOP, earn $.99 and $5 ECBs.

Transaction #2
1 - Bandaid Character

-$.50 Bandaid mfg coupon

Total $1.49, pay with $.99 ECB and $.50 OOP. Earn $1 ECB.

Total OOP $8.28, with $6 ECBs to roll.

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

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mamavation Monday

It's Monday. It feels like Monday. I had a great week last week and a good weekend, but for some reason today at work, every time I stopped for a minutes, I was eating. I'm sure I wasn't hungry, perhaps a little bored?, perhaps a little too close to food?, perhaps just Monday? (okay, really, I wasn't eating all of the time, it just was that I found myself snacking, which I don't normally do a lot of)

Normally, I do a decent job with eating healthy at work. I bring oatmeal and a banana for breakfast, allowing me to eat one at 8:30 and the other closer to 10. Keeps me from getting munchies and searching out food. I pack my lunch, so I am able to exercise portion control and plan a well-balanced meal. I also generally include a fruit or something for around 2pm.

Today, was different. First, I didn't pack - so I was at the whim of my stomach and taste buds. I think that the whole "eyes are bigger than the stomach" thing came into play. The thing that amazes me, is that frequently, when I am eating too much...I manage to do it with otherwise innocuous foods. Foods I normally wouldn't think of as tempting foods or foods that I would overeat - meaning not chocolate or chips or ice cream or one of my other weaknesses. Random things, like cheese, crackers, or today, peanut butter and jelly. The funny thing about that is that I had my first peanut butter and jelly sandwich less than a year ago. There were chips and cookies, but I didn't go for them...I reasoned that having a sandwich was healthier for me. Was it? Who knows?

I had a reasonable dinner and am feeling better, although I sit here, wondering why did I have that kind of day? I will say that I consumed more than my normal PointsPlus values today. Normally, I spend my daily plus a couple of my weekly each day. Today, I used 10 of my weekly PointsPlus values...and next weekend is picnic weekend, when I will wish I had those PointsPlus values to burn. (there is one challenge of starting the recording week on a Monday, by the time the weekend is here, I may or may not have PointsPlus values remaining. I have to work really hard to plan ahead for weekend outings and not use too many during the week.)
Tomorrow, I am sure I will be fine. I will pack my lunch. I will be so busy all day, that food won't have a chance to enter my mind. I plan to start my day right with exercising too. I had been on a really good kick, but have been so tired lately and so busy with the kids, that going to bed early hasn't been fitting in, and as a result, my morning exercise routine was anything but routine. Tomorrow, I plan to get up and work out.

How was your week?

This post shared at Mamavation Monday.

No compensation was received for this post. I am a Weight Watchers Insider and have received access to eTools and other tools to help me on my journey.

Snap Fashion/Smart Labs Toys Winner - Take 2!

Unfortunately, the first winner selected didn't leave an e-mail address and they never responded to my post letting them know that they won. As I mentioned in the rules, they have 48 hours to respond or a new winner may be selected. So, without further ado....

Congratulations to trishbazin. They were selected as the new winner of the Snap Fashion/Smart Labs Toy giveaway.

Don't forget to check out the current giveaways and be sure to enter. The Peeled Fruit giveaway ends tomorrow.

Random Integer Generator

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Timestamp: 2011-05-24 01:09:06 UTC

Menu Plan Monday

What a beautiful (and busy) weekend! The sun was shining. The only rain that fell fell while I was in bed or just getting out of it. We had friends over for a game night on Friday and spent some time hanging out on the deck. We played soccer and baseball, non-stop Saturday morning into the afternoon. We bought the plants for our garden and our flower bed and then planted them. The kids played outside all afternoon on Sunday - water gun battles and Slip'n Slide playing. We grilled out. I bought corn on the cob and watermelon. It really felt like summer could be coming.

I fit in a quick trip to the grocery store on Sunday to pick up the stuff we needed for the week. I was able to get a deal on a value pack of pork chops and repacked them into three meals - making each under $3. I picked up some steaks which we grilled last night.

This is the last week of school for my son. As such, he got to choose the Friday night dinner. I can't believe that he is almost done with the second grade. Where does the time go?

Grilled Steaks and Baked Potatoes

Chicken Patty Sandwiches


Stuffed Pepper Casserole


Turkey Roast and Mashed Potatoes

Memorial Day Picnicking

Breakfast is generally cereal or oatmeal for everyone - we just eat it at different places. Lunch during the week is either the lunch available at school or is packed - PBJ or sandwiches for my son, leftovers for me, leftovers or microwave meals for my husband.

This post shared at Menu Plan Monday.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Snap Fashion/Smart Labs Toys Winner!

Congratulations to Ryan! They were selected as the winner of the Snap Fashion or other Smart Labs Toy giveaway hosted by A Busy Mom of Two.

The winner has 48 hours to respond with their contact information or a new winner may be selected.

Be sure to check out the current giveaways and enter to win.

Random Integer Generator

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Timestamp: 2011-05-22 00:52:21 UTC

CVS Deals - 5/20

I headed out to another CVS on Friday to try to pick up some deals. I was disappointed not to get the $3/$15 CRT for skin care that others had been mentioning. I was hungry when I shopped and wound up picking up some candy as well. I probably spent more than I should have, but I still feel good about the deals.

Transaction #1
1 - Neutrogena Stick Sunscreen
1 - Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen

-$2 Neutrogena IP
-$2 Neutrogena IP

Paid with $3 and $3 ECB and $10.78 plus $1.30 tax OOP. Earned $10 ECB. I'm also hopeful that it will count towards the Beauty items. If it does, it will put me over the next $50 and qualify me for a $5 ECB on my next visit.

Transaction #2
1 - M&M Dark Chocolate
1 - Dove Treasures
2 - 3pk Gum
1 - Godiva Gems Caramel Apple
1 - Lady Speedstick

-$1 Godiva Gems CRT
-$.50 Speedstick mfg coupon

Paid with $10 ECB and $2.23 plus $.19 OOP. Earned $2 ECBs.

Transaction #3
2 - 3 Musketeers Truffle

-$.25 $.25/2 3 Musketeers Truffle CRT

Total $.75 OOP, earned $3 ECBs.

I started with $6 ECBs and finished with $5 ECBs. I spent $15.25 OOP. According to my receipts I saved $33.34, a savings of about 69%.

This post shared at Super Savings Saturday.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Have you ever had Biscoff Cookies? I love them. There is just something so satisfying about these cookies. They are sweet, without being over sweet. They are light and crispy with a caramel and a touch of cinnamon flavor. I first was introduced to them on a flight. I think that the first time that I had them was on a Delta flight. I'm not sure if it was my spring break in Arizona, or a trip to Disney, or sometime later, I just remember loving those cookies the very first time that I had them.

I always wondered if I could get them somewhere other than on a plane. I would always try to keep the wrapper, but by the time that I got around to looking them up, I had lost the wrapper.

Then, on my most recent flight, for business, on the trip to my destination they served the cookies and when I asked, I was able to get a second pack. Then, unfortunately, on the return flight, they had stopped the serving of compliment items and only were offering snacks for sale. I asked about whether I could purchase the cookies, but was told that they were not part of their "snack packs." I had been looking forward to having them as a snack and was so bummed to learn that I wasn't going to be able to get one.

That made me start to wonder if I would have the chance to have them again. So, I was glad to learn that I can actually order them online through I learned that they are made by Lotus Bakeries, based in Belgium with offices in North America. Their product is available online and also at some retailers.

I learned that not only do they have those cookies that I have come to love while flying, but they also offer a spread that is made with the Biscoff Cookies. When I first tried it, I wasn't sure what to expect. Wow! It tastes just like the cookies, only in a smooth, creamy spread. I haven't actually spread it on anything, choosing instead to have a small spoonful at a time instead. I'm thinking that adding it to cream cheese to make a frosting could be pretty tasty or spreading it on vanilla wafers.

You can find the cookies and the spread online, or find a retail location on their site.

No compensation was received for this post. Lotus Bakeries sent me a complimentary jar of the spread and some cookies for my family to try and to share my experience. All opinions expressed are my own.

Samples and Freebies

I didn't request anything this week. Maybe next week.

Carefree sample and coupon
Purex Complete with Zout sample and coupon
Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats Touch of Fruit sample and coupons (VocalPoint)
Suave Professionals free bottle coupon
Clean and Clear Body Wash

CVS Deals - 5/19

The CVS in my hometown is relocating, in 10 days. Evidently, since they are stocking the new store from the old, that means that they will be removing product aisle by aisle. I had stopped in last night in hopes of picking up some of the Neutrogena Sun Screen that is on an ECB deal this week. The makeup aisle, where they keep the sunscreen, has already been completely emptied. I also tried to pick up the free Carefree, but their shelf prices is $1.57 and the coupon is only good up to $1, so I will either wait for a sale or head to Walmart sometime to pick those up. I did get some stuff from the clearance row though.

2 - 3pk Heavy Duty Hangars
1 - Carefree Sample

Total $1.75 plus $.12 tax OOP.

I guess I will try to get to another CVS today to see if they have the Neutrogena in stock. Also, everyone else keeps referencing a $3/$15 skin care CRT, I got a $2/$10 Health care one but not a skin care one. I was hoping for the skin care coupon to use towards the Neutrogena Sun Screen.

This post shared at Super Savings Saturday.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Kung Fu Panda - a giveaway

It's been 2 1/2 years since we first watched Kung Fu Panda at the theater. I can remember the day (I even did a post on it here). It was Labor Day Weekend and we headed to a local dollar saver theater to see Kung Fu Panda. The four of us all got into the movie for only $2 that day. I remember my son enjoying the movie (he asked if there was a Kung Fu Panda 2, after seeing the movie) and my daughter, who was about 21 months old, falling asleep near the end of the movie.

It took a few years, but soon I can tell my son that yes there is a Kung Fu Panda 2 because later this spring, Kung Fu Panda will be back on the big screen, with the release of DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda 2.

    "Kung Fu Panda is back! General Mills is teaming up with DreamWorks’ Kung Fu Panda 2 to bring the action-packed adventures right to your breakfast table.

    Throughout the spring, spin fighter toys featuring Kung Fu Panda 2 characters including Po, Tigress, Shifu, Monkey, Lord Shen, Mantis, Crane and Viper can be found inside specially marked boxes of participating General Mills cereals: Cocoa Puffs® (11.8 oz.), Trix® (10.7 oz.), Golden Grahams® (12 oz.), Reese’s Puffs® (13 oz.), Cheerios® (14 oz.), Apple Cinnamon Cheerios® (12.9 oz.), Cookie Crisp® (11.25 oz.), Lucky Charms® (11.5 oz.), Cinnamon Toast Crunch (12.8 oz.) and Honey Nut Cheerios (12.25 oz.).

    Let the games begin with one spin fighter toy in each box. Simply cut out the targets on the box and then use your spin fighter to try and knock them down. With eight character toys to collect, the Kung Fu fun can continue all summer long!"

One A Busy Mom of Two will win a Kung Fu Panda 2 prize pack which includes one box of a participating Big G cereal, a Kung Fu Panda 2 spin fighter toy and the original Kung Fu Panda movie.

To enter: Leave a comment sharing which Kung Fu Panda character is your child's (or your) favorite.

Additional Entries (leave a comment for each additional entry)
  • Follow A Busy Mom of Two on Twitter

  • Tweet about this giveaway. You can use: " I just entered to win a Kung Fu Panda 2 Prize Pack from @ABusyMomofTwo #myblogspark " This can be once daily, please be sure to leave a link to the tweet in your comment.

  • Share this giveaway link on a giveaway link up and leave a comment with a link back to the link up.

  • 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 June 2nd 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 Kung Fu Panda 2 Prize Pack through MyBlogSpark. All opinions expressed are completely my own.

    Marinated Orange Roughy

    Today over at Life As Mom the theme for the Ultimate Recipe Swap is Fish. I don't make a lot of fish (unless fish sticks count!), but when we do make fish the family has a few favorites.

    Two of our favorite fish recipes, I have previously shared. They are Grilled Marlin and Tilapia Vera Cruz.

    Another recipe that we like to make from time to time is Marinated Orange Roughy (of course you could substitute another white fish).

    Marinated Orange Roughy

    1 1/2# orange roughy (or other white fish)
    1/2 c orange juice
    1/4 c ketchup
    2 tbsp canola oil
    2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
    2 tbsp lemon juice
    1/4 tsp pepper
    1 tbsp sesame seeds
    In a bowl, combine the orange juice, ketchup, oil, soy sauce, lemon juice and pepper; mix well. Remove 1/4 c of the marinade to reserve for basting - cover and refrigerate. Pour remaining marinade into resealable plastic bag, add the fish. Seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for two hours; turning once or twice.

    Drain and discard marinade. Place fillets on a broiler pan coated with non-stick spray. Broil 4-6" from the heat for 5-6 min on each side, basting occasionally with the reserved marinade. The fish will flake easily with a fork. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

    I like to serve this dish with a rice pilaf or a pasta in a butter sauce (frequently, it comes from a packet) and green beans.

    For more Fish Recipes, check out Life As Mom Ultimate Recipe Swap: Fish Edition.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

    It has been a little busy and crazy at my house (and my job) lately. This weekend, we were able to make a some time to go out and enjoy a show.

    We have a local theater that caters to "young audiences and families" called the Magical Theater Company. They do productions both at a local theater and also have a traveling group that takes their shows into local schools. At their theater, they do shows that are intended for school groups, as well as public shows. The theater is the perfect size, with maybe 150 seats at most - they say, "an intimate seating space where drama can happen within arm's reach".

    I had never been to one of their shows, but from time to time would see information about one or another of their productions and had always wanted to go. When we received a flyer about their most recent production: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, I decided that the time was right for us to finally see a show.

    The show is of course based on the book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff. Having read this book, and many others by her, I was familiar with the story, but not really sure how they would turn this tale into a production. When I first told my son about the show, he assumed it was going to be a movie and had some reservations when I told him that it was a play.

    I have to say that they did an excellent job. The set on the stage was all super-sized, so that the two adults playing the Boy and the Mouse would look child size and mouse size. The kitchen gave the Boy his scale and the props gave the Mouse his scale. When they brought out the crayons for the Mouse to color, they were probably 3' long. The production was probably about 50 minutes in length.

    After the show, they came out on stage and allowed the kids to come down and get autographs and posed for pictures with the kids.

    Both of the kids really enjoyed the show, even my son who didn't think he would like a play. It was a really great experience and a fun way to introduce children to live theater.

    Silk Milk Prize Pack

    Congratulations to DebbieLynne! She was selected as the winner of the Silk Milk Prize Pack.

    An e-mail will be sent to the winner. Thank you everyone for entering.

    Be sure to check out the other giveaways and enter to win other great prizes.

    Random Integer Generator

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    Timestamp: 2011-05-19 02:01:15 UTC

    Hormel Compleats Kids

    Recently, we had the opportunity to try Hormel Compleats Kids. We are familiar with the Hormel Compleats line and generally have a few on hand for my husband to pack in his lunch, but had not yet seen or tried the Kids line.

    My son was super excited by these. When I came home from the store with the first one, he wanted to know if he could pack it in his lunch the next day. I suggested that he wait and try them over the weekend at home. I am not sure that they have access to a microwave at school and wanted to make sure that he liked it before he packed it in a lunch.

    We made them the following weekend. He tried the Beef Ravioli variety first. He seemed to enjoy it and ate it all. We had it with some munchies and fruit and it seemed to be the right size meal for him.

    I like the flexibility that the line provides at lunch. Normally, if we are having a canned pasta style lunch, both kids have to agree to the same type. With the Hormel Compleats Kids, they could each choose a different variety. In fact, there are four flavors to choose from:

    Spaghetti & Meatballs
    Pasta & Chicken
    Beef Ravioli
    Macaroni & Beef

    The product is easy to prepare, slit the plastic and microwave for 45 s. The contents are pretty hot and we let it sit for about a minute before serving to the kids.

    When asked what he thought of the Hormel Compleats Kids, he says "I like that you could heat them up in like 60 seconds and they were good. And, you got a sticker."

    I didn't have a chance to taste all of the varieties, but I can tell you that from my perspective that the flavor was a little lackluster. Perhaps I am used to other prepared foods for adults that come with a little more seasoning, but since they are geared for kids, I guess it is more important that my son liked them.

    Based on the nutritional data from the website, the varieties have from 140 - 230 calories per serving and contain 3g of Fiber. According to the package, "Compleats Kids Meets Healthy Food Guidelines Established by the USDA".

    For those times that we would be selecting a prepared pasta for lunch, these make a nice alternative. They were enjoyed by the kids and easy to prepare.

    No compensation was received for this post. I received product samples and coupons to share through my participation in SheSpeaks.

    Monday, May 16, 2011

    1-2-3! Textured Products Review

    Is it just me or has this spring been wetter than most. It feels like everyday, we get a little bit of time outside, but not enough. We always seem to be racing against the weather to get our fun in.

    With all of this rain, we have been doing our best to keep busy inside. We have been building forts, coloring, playing with some craft kits we have and more. The PlayDoh has been out more times in the past couple of weeks than it has been in the past couple of months.

    Sometimes, you just need something new to do. Fortunately for me, I had received a sample from 1-2-3! Textured Products to review that was a perfect activity to fill time, entertain and allow the kids to explore. I got a butterfly kit, but there are a number of themes of craft kits available. So, yesterday, when my daughter was looking for something to do, I pulled it out.

    The Butterfly Kit came with a die cut butterfly (in purple, one of her favorite colors), some foil squares, torn shapes of foil, and small assorted shapes of a colored, textured cellophane-type material. My daughter went and grabbed a glue stick.
    We decided before we started where we wanted to put each type of material. We decided that we would use the cellophane for the main body of the butterfly, the small foil squares for the antennae and upper wings and the assorted foil shapes for the lower wings. In an effort to acheive this, we worked one section at a time. With the cellophane section, we made a small pile and tried to place them on the glue to ensure that they stuck and that we covered the glue. It sounded good in theory, but we both wound up with glue on our fingers and sticking to everything. For the next two shapes, we went with more of a sprinkle approach. It seemed to work pretty well. When we shook off the excess, I was really glad that we had set up our workstation with some paper underneath that we could easily pick up and funnel the pieces back into a usable pile.

    As soon as we finished with the butterfly, and seeing the amount of decorating materials that we had left, my daughter went in search of something else that she could decorate. She found a picture of a fish, which was cut out and partially colored. She decided that we would decorate all but the fin that was colored and the tail that she was going to finish coloring. By this point, all of our decorations were mixed, so she wound up with a very pretty, mixed style fish. I actually think I like the way it turned out better than if we had had the decorations still separated and could have striped the fish with shapes.

    I think it could be nice to keep a few of these on hand. They have kits that come with three activities that are available on their website for about $4.99 each. They also have a monthly subscription service, that provides an activity for each day for any number of children. The cost for the monthly kit is $12 / child, plus flat rate shipping. I think that this might work well for a daycare or for a preschool.

    You can find their product selection and ordering information on their website. You can also follow them on Twitter.

    No compensation was received for this post. The craft kit was provided for free from 1-2-3! Textured Products through MamaBzz. All opinions expressed are my own.

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    CVS Deals - 5/11

    I stopped in at CVS, in hopes of using a $5/$20 coupon that I had, only to learn that it had expired and that they will honor CVS coupons past expiration, but only if it was within the same week and mine had expired on Saturday. I still picked up some of the things that I was planning to, I just paid more than I expected.

    5 - Canned Pasta (Chef Boyardee and Spaghettios)
    4 - Act II Popcorn
    2 - Covergirl Blush

    -$1 BOGO Chef Boyardee mfg coupon
    -$2.50 $2.50/2 Covergirl mfg coupon
    -$3 $3/$10 Cosmetic CRT

    Paid with $10, $1 and $1.99 ECB and $1.31 OOP. Earned $3 and $3 in ECBs. I also am about $5 away from my next CVS Beauty Club $5 ECB.

    I had hoped to get the Orville Redenbacher Pop-Up Bowls, but CVS doesn't carry them and if they did, the coupons were for the 6 pack and the sale was on the 3 packs.

    This post shared at Super Savings Saturday.

    Walgreens Deals - 5/14

    I happened to be near a Walgreens on Friday evening, so I stopped in to check out the Cottonelle deal to see if the RR were generating. I had asked the clerk if she knew if the size that I had was the right size and she told me that she wasn't sure, but if it didn't work, she could always return them if I didn't want them. As you can see, it worked!

    Transaction #1
    2 - Cottonelle Large Rolls, 12pk

    -$.50 Cottonelle IP
    -$.50 Cottonelle IP
    -$2 2x$1 Cottonelle IVC from May booklet

    Total $7.65 OOP, earned $3 RR.

    Transaction #2
    1 - Gillette ProGlide Razor
    1 - Laffy Taffy (filler)

    -$4 Gillette ProGlide mfg coupon

    -$3 RR

    Total 3.63 OOP, earned $5 RR.

    Transaction #3
    2 - Cottonelle Large Roll, 12 pk
    1 - Laffy Taffy

    -$.50 Cottonelle IP
    -$.50 Cottonelle IP
    -$2 2x$1 Cottonelle IVC from May booklet

    -$5 RR

    Total $2.75 OOP, earned $3 RR.

    My thought was to do the Gillette ProGlide one more time, but I mentioned that I was going to get some milk to spend the RR and she let me know that you can't use the RR to pay for dairy. I was a little surprised by that, but since I couldn't spend it on milk, I wasn't sure what else I was going to get (of course, I remembered when I got home that I had planned to pick up some of the Nexcare bandages. why is it I remember once I'm home and not there).

    Transaction #4
    1 - RoldGold Honey Wheat Braids
    1 - bag Smarties
    1 - bag Gummy Bears
    1 - Laffy Taffy

    -$3 RR

    Total $.07 OOP.

    My total OOP for the day was $14.10 and my savings (according to my receipts) was $26.10. So, my savings was about 66%.

    This post shared at Super Savings Saturday.

    Blogger is Back!

    With Blogger having been down, not only was I unable to make my posts, but people were unable to enter the giveaways. As a result, I am going to extend the Silk Milk Giveaway to end on 5/15 at 6 pm. I had received a few e-mails from people that were trying to enter and unable to so I decided it would be best to allow people to enter for a few more days.

    Be sure to check out the other giveaways that are also going on right now.

    Thursday, May 12, 2011

    Some Fun Deals!

    Maybe it is the nerd in me shining through, but I just love this idea: Chalkboard Tee from Class Attire! Today, through Moolala, you can get one for just $12 ($25 value). The shirt includes a shaped chalkboard surface on the front of the shirt and a pocket to hold your chalk. They have them available in a variety of shapes, but I think I would just stick with The Box. The shirts can be washed with regular laundry. What do you think?

    I have never done a ropes course, but have always wanted to. I am considering today's Groupon offer, for only $20 you can get a Four-Hour Ropes Course Session at Summit Vision in Westerville, Ohio ($40 Value). Interestingly enough, it shows up on the Cleveland offer page, but I'm not seeing it on Columbus. Maybe they are looking to bring people in from around the area instead of locally?

    Also, today you can get a 1 year subscription to Weight Watchers Magazine through Mamapedia Sweet Deals for only $10.

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    Seamless Camis

    I will admit, I am not the most fashion conscious person. Probably explains, in part, why my daughter has no qualms about dressing like Rainbow Brite, mixing patterns and colors without concern. It's not that I don't want to be fashionable, it's mostly just that since I have had children, taking the time to shop for me really has taken a backseat. I used to love to linger and try things on, now, if I'm with kids, I just want to be done with shopping and if I am alone, I'm usually still racing the clock to get everything squeezed in. When I finish losing the weight that I would like to lose, I would love to self-nominate for 'What Not to Wear'. I know that I have things that really don't work for my body type, but yet, I still don't make the effort to get rid of them and find something that does.

    One thing that is fashionable that I have decided that I absolutely love are seamless camis. I had a couple of lingering camis from my maternity wardrobe. They were the stretchy kind and they still fit, so I just kept wearing them. Then, this past year, as I picked up a few new sweaters, I grabbed some camis to go under them. I loved them so much, that when I had a 30% off coupon at Kohl's this past winter, my main concern was to get to the store and pick them up in other colors.
    After wearing them with a few items, I realized how versatile they were. First, I have issue with some button down items (blouses and cardigans alike), where an improperly placed button causes a shirt that otherwise fits to bulge open. With the addition of the cami, I no longer have to worry about exposing myself if it does, or, with some of the fitted button down shirts, I just leave that top button undone and you see just the top of the cami and no embarrassing bulge. Second, I love them for underneath things when I am wearing my jeans and certain dress pants. By wearing the cami, I no longer have to worry that if my shirt is too short and I lean forward that my underwear are hanging out. Third, although thin, and only on my torso, they do provide an extra layer of warmth under thinner shirts in the winter time.

    I may not be the most fashionably conscious, but my seamless camis work for me!

    This post shared at Works for Me Wednesday.

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    Menu Plan Monday

    We had a busy weekend and my only weekend grocery trip was to restock on drinks and snacks. My fresh fruit and vegetable selection is weak at best, so I will probably try to get to the store, but with our schedule this week, I'm just not sure when that will be.

    We celebrated Mother's Day, in part by my not cooking. Of course, I made eggs for breakfast and I reheated food for everyone - but it really was minimal effort. Not sure how we managed it, but even with two meals of leftovers we had enough food and I don't think anyone had exactly the same meal twice.

    In keeping with no shopping trip, the menu is pretty straight-forward this week, coming from items that we have on hand.

    Scrambled/Over Easy Eggs and Toast, plus donuts that my mom picked up with the kids


    Hamburgers on the Grill

    Pierogies and Sausage


    Pork Chops


    During the week, breakfast is generally cereal or oatmeal, at home, at work or at school. For lunch, my son either packs or buys the school lunch, my daughter has lunch at school, and for my husband and I, lunch is frequently leftovers.

    This post shared at Menu Plan Monday.

    Mamavation Monday

    What a week. I was busy, only as I sit back, I can't seem to recall what all I did. We had a busy weekend to be sure. We had company for the weekend, as it was my son's First Communion this weekend. We ate out two meals and cooked at home the others. I did relatively okay with the food, making sure I didn't do large portions, but still enjoying and sampling all of the food that I had made.

    On Mother's Day, I didn't cook (unless you count making eggs for breakfast - scrambled and over easy were the options I provided) and we had a very active day. We walked to the local school to check out my son's artwork on display at the school art festival and then back home. Later, we headed to the park and ball field and then my daughter and I walked home. Of course, we agreed that a treat would be nice and detoured our route to a local ice cream spot. It worked out to be almost a 2 mile walk home from the field. Being the ever teaching mom that I strive to be, I actually used our stop to share some healthy lifestyle information with her (although at four, I'm sure I will have to share it again). We talked about how since we had done so much walking that we could have a special treat, because we had done a lot of exercise and burned many calories. That treats were nice, but not something that we could or should have every day.

    She is my walking partner - whether doing Leslie Sansone's Walk at Home or walking around the community. In fact, on Monday, we walked to my son's baseball game. At about 1 1/4 miles, it is just the right amount of a walk for her. Tonight though, she was tired and I carried her about half the distance (broken up of course, I couldn't do that all at once). I did learn that she slows down immensely when she is trying to tell me a story - like she can't focus on two things at the same time. I'm not sure how to count the PointsPlus values of walking with an extra 39# on my back, so I guess I will just have to look at a slow walk to calculate my activity PointsPlus values.

    I love that it is nice out and that we are finding more ways to play outside. We go for walks around the block. We play ball in the yard. Now, if only it could stay dry for a few days in a row, we could make a habit of it.

    I had intention of working out this morning, but as I tried to put things away from this weekend, I decided that the four trips to the basement, folding laundry, and putting away dishes was all that I had time for. I hope to start back into my exercise routine tomorrow.

    I have been a little casual with counting and recording PointsPlus values, so I made sure that this morning I returned to actively tracking what I was eating.

    Summer is coming fast and I would really like to continue my journey towards a healthier lifestyle (and a smaller size), so I am hoping that I can take this renewed sense of motivation and the warm days as inspiration to stick with it and really strive to make a difference in my life.

    This post shared at Mamavation Monday.

    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.'

    Sunday, May 8, 2011

    CVS Deals

    I actually made a couple more stops at CVS last week.

    The first time, I went looking for some Pepsi 2L sale, but they didn't have the caffeine free Pepsi items in the 2L. I did pick up some rain check items, while I was there.

    1 - Blink Tears
    2 - Aquafresh Kids
    3 - 2L of Pepsi products

    -$1 mfg coupon

    Total $10.87, paid with $10 ECB and $.87 OOP. Earned $8 ECBs.

    The next visit, I took advantage of the $5/$20 coupon from the Washington Post, e-issue.

    2 - Benefiber Flavor Sticks
    1 - Benefiber Tablets
    1 - Card

    -$5 $5/$20 CVS coupon
    -$3 Benefiber IP
    -$3 Benefiber IP
    -$3 Benefiber IP

    Paid with $8 ECB from the last visit and $4.49 OOP. Earned $1 (green bag tag) and $10 ECBs.

    For these two visits, I spent $5.36 OOP for $38.36 in product, with an increase of $1 ECB.

    This post shared at Super Savings Saturday.

    CVS Scenarios - week of 5/8

    I actually made a number of trips to CVS last week, and I expect to make one or two this week as well (sort of depends on how many items they have at the store that I shop at!).

    Transaction #1
    1 - Carefree Liners
    2 - Covergirl Naturelux Foundation

    -$1 Carefree mfg coupon
    -$2 Covergirl Naturelux
    -$2 Covergirl Naturelux
    -$3 $3/$10 Cosmetic CRT (according to ad)

    Total $4.99 OOP, earn $3 ECBs.

    Transaction #2
    1 - Glade Sense and Spray Starter Kit
    2 - Ziploc Sandwich Bags

    -$3 Glade Sense and Spray mfg coupon
    -$1.25 Ziploc mfg coupon

    Total $8.75, pay with $3 ECBs and $5.75 OOP. Earn $4 ECB.

    Transaction #3
    2 - Orville Redenbacher Pop Up Bowl
    4 - Chef Boyardee Canned Pasta
    1 - Hunts Snackables Pudding

    -$1 Orville Redenbacher Pop Up Bowl mfg coupon
    -$1 Orville Redenbacher Pop Up Bowl mfg coupon
    -$1 $1/4 Chef Boyardee mfg coupon

    Total $7, pay with $4 ECB and $3 OOP. Earn $3 ECBs.

    For the day, the total OOP is $13.74, with $3 ECBs to roll, for $36 in product at sale prices, a savings of about 65%.

    In addition, if you have a baby that uses formula, you might want to check out the Similac Ready to Feed product, on sale for $4.99 and will be free if you use the $5 mfg coupon.

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

    CVS $5 Challenge

    Transaction #1
    1 - Carefree Liners
    2 - Covergirl Naturelux Foundation

    -$1 Carefree mfg coupon
    -$2 Covergirl Naturelux
    -$2 Covergirl Naturelux
    -$3 $3/$10 Cosmetic CRT (according to ad)

    Total $4.99 OOP, earn $3 ECBs.

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

    Happy Mother's Day!

    To all of the Moms, hope you are having a wonderful day and doing what makes you happy.

    Enjoy your day.

    Happy Mother's Day!

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    Samples and Freebies

    Cottonelle Fresh Flushable Wipes - Give One Get One
    Sample pack of Emeril's Original Essence

    Fiber Choice Sample and coupon
    Uncle Ben's Ready Rice - coupon for free pouch
    Coupon for Free bottle of Suave Professionals
    Breve Creme coffee creamer Vocal Point kit, includes coupon for one free.

    Thursday, May 5, 2011

    No-Work Spanish

    I recently was introduced to No-Work Spanish AudioBooks. In concept, I really like the idea behind these audio books. Their website speaks to how we learn our first language by listening as people talk and slowly you began to understand what they were saying. The idea with No-Work Spanish is that by listening to the store in English and Spanish, you can connect the two and little by little, you start to become familiar with the words and how they sound. Already learning (or teaching) Spanish? They indicate that listening to the audiobooks will increase the understanding.
      "No homework. No language drills. Just listen and learn."

    The audio books are available on CD or if you prefer, you can purchase a copy to download (mp3 format). There are currently three titles available for this new program. For each, the book is read in parts. Before beginning the chapters, the reader shares the Spanish word for a few of the new words that you will hear in the next chapter to make the listener more familiar with those words. Each chapter is read, sentence by sentence first in English and then in Spanish. After the chapter is complete, the entire chapter is re-read just in Spanish.

    Learn better by seeing and hearing? No problem, if you insert the disc into your computer, you can pull up a document in pdf format that contains the full story, just as it is read to you, including the new vocabulary words presented at the beginning of each chapter.

    I listened to Poster Girl in my car. I found myself continuing to listening along to see what happens to Paula. I recognize that the idea is to slowly gain understanding of the language as you listen to the story and link the English and the Spanish, and maybe I am just not a language person (I think I am more of a math and science person - I took Latin in high school, in hopes of doing okay on the Verbal part of my SATs and still managed to score 200 points higher on math than on verbal), but I honestly think I would have to listen to the story several times to really think I was beginning to understand the Spanish. Out of fairness, I have only listened one time, so maybe I would find that the familiarity of the story would have me recognizing and understanding the words the second time around.

    Unfortunately, neither of my children really got into it. My son immediately was uninterested in Poster Girl, because it was about a girl. Of course, you probably don't need to listen to every title anyways. He did listen to Yaks March on Washington for a little while. I had hoped that he would listen to more since he has studied some Spanish in school. I think part of the problem is that he only had the laptop to sit at and listen. I think that if he had had a cd player in his room still, that he might have listened to it while building legos or was coloring and probably would have enjoyed it.

    I still think that the product has great potential. I think that obviously increasing the number of titles, which they are in the process of doing, would be very helpful. Providing age guidelines for the books might help too. I understand that since the "reader" is listening, that those guidelines vary slightly from actual books, but as an example I was able to find the original book for Poster Girl on Amazon and the age is 9 - 12. That might explain why in part, my daughter was not as interested in the story.

    I also think that everyone learns differently. For those that are audio learners and don't have time or access to sign up for a class where they can listen to the teacher, the No-Work Spanish provides a way for them to learn the language in a fashion that works for them. The No-Work Spanish Audiobooks provide an alternative to the traditional ways of learning Spanish. I really like the No Homework, No Language Drills, Just Listen and Learn slogan. Listening to audiobooks certainly allows for a lower effort way to learn. For commuters and others that find themselves with time to listen and not time to study, this could be a great resource to start or enhance their learning of Spanish. Hearing the story spoken, rather than reading it yourself, really allows you to hear the inflections and accent of the Spanish - which I think is an important part of learning a language.

    You can find out more about No-Work Spanish and even try the product (they will send you the first three chapters of one of their books for free) on the No-Work Spanish website. You can also find No-Work Spanish on Facebook.

    No compensation was received for this post. Through MamaBzz, I received a copy of the first two No-Work Spanish Audiobooks, so that my family could experience the product and share that experience through a review on my blog. All opinions expressed are my own and that of my family.

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    Peeled Snacks - Review and Giveaway

    I like fruit. I think I mentioned that before. I don't eat much dried fruit, but on occasion like to pick up some dried fruit. The kids, of course, enjoy raisins and usually, if I buy a bag of dried fruit for me, they eat it too.

    I recently had the opportunity to check out Peeled Snacks. Peeled Snacks offers a line of organic dried fruit snacks and they contacted me because they are now available in store in Ohio (you can always buy them online too!). In fact, they recently became available at Marc's Deep Discount stores and will soon be available at Acme and Giant Eagle.

    They sent me an Organic Fruit Pouch Sampler to check out all of their great products.

      Organic Fruit Pouch Sampler

      -Enjoy our 8 new organic fruit pouches including 4 brand new varieties
      -Each stay-fresh, resealable pouch contains 2 to 6 servings (depending on the variety)
      -Natural source of vitamins, minerals, iron & fiber
      -Contains 8 pouches: 1 each of Apple-2-the-core (2.8oz), Apricot-a-lot (5oz), paradise found (3oz), much-ado-about-Mango (2.8oz), Banan-a-peel (3oz), Raisin expectations (8.4oz), farmer's market trio (4.5oz) & GoFigure (5oz)

    When the package arrived, my kids could not wait to try it. I asked my son to at least wait until I was home, because I wanted to get to try them too!

    The first variety that we tried was the Banan-a-peel. The first thing that I noticed was that the banana aroma when you open the bag was intense, in a good way. When I tried the first one, I was surprised to discover that the bananas were chewy. When I think of dried bananas, I actually normally think of banana chips (based on some quick research, banana chips can be dried or deep fried - interesting). Looking at the bags, I noticed that they say "gently dried" and "nothing added". I'm guessing the gently dried is the difference between chewy and chip. I was pleasantly surprised by the dried banana - it had a rich flavor and a good texture. Visually, the bananas are a little brown and at first, my kids hesitated, but after eating one, they immediately grabbed another.

    Over the course of a few days, we worked our way through sampling all of the varieties. The overall consensus was good. The dried fruit seems to be plumper and moister than other brands that we have had in the past. The raisins in particular were a much larger size fruit than the raisins that we regularly consume. The product delivers well - most offer a good fruit flavor and are just the right sweetness, using just the natural sweetness of the fruit.

    According to the package, the product is made with organic fruit from sustainable farms. As a mom, I love that the ingredient list is only the fruit in the bag. The varieties that I am currently viewing, have about 120 - 130 calories and 2 - 4 g of fiber per serving.

    As my husband was standing in the kitchen, sampling from the various open bags, he asked aloud, "what is the advantage of dried fruit?" and then proceeded to answer his own question and I kicked in. His first thought is that it can be shared. You would rarely offer someone half of an apple (or other fruit), but you could easily pour out a handful of dried fruit. The next thought is that it is less messy. Our children are uniquely qualified (okay, probably not unique, but they are certainly pros) at making a mess of even the most innocent looking food items. With the dried fruit, there is none of the juicy, sticky mess that you can achieve with their fresh fruit counterparts. The next answer is portable. It is a lot easier (and the experience at the end of the day probably much better) to throw a bag of dried fruit into a back pack or diaper bag before heading off to school, a hike or a day at the park, zoo, etc. My answer it stays fresh longer. No worries about the bunch of bananas getting brown in a few days time, the bags of dried fruit (at least the ones I have) are good until late in the fall. That's five or six months vs five or six days.

    My favorite is the much-ado-about-Mango and the variety paradise found which includes Mango, Pineapple and Banana. My kid's favorite is definitely the Apple-2-the-core, although they seemed to really enjoy them all. My husband didn't really select a favorite.

    Want to give them a try? There is a deal that is available until sometime on Saturday on Gaggle of Chicks, you can get a $40 voucher for only $20 to purchase from the Peeled Snacks website. Click on bonus deals to see this offer.

    For those of you that are local and shop at Giant Eagle, you will definitely want to check out the giveaway that Peeled Snacks will be doing to promote their launch at Giant Eagle. To enter, you must "like" Peeled Snacks on Facebook and then complete the entry form on their website (not there yet, starts tomorrow). They will be giving one lucky winner a $100 gift card for Giant Eagle!

    Thanks to Peeled Snacks, I have the opportunity to share one Organic Pouch Fruit Sampler with one A Busy Mom of Two reader.

    To enter: Visit the Peeled Snacks website. Come back sharing something that you learned about their products and let me know what variety you are most interested in trying.

    Additional Entries (be sure to leave a comment for each entry):
  • Like Peeled Snacks on Facebook.

  • Follow Peeled Snacks on Twitter. Please be sure to include your user name in the comment.

  • Follow A Busy Mom of Two on Twitter. Please be sure to include your user name in the comment.

  • Tweet about this giveaway. You can copy and paste this directly: I just entered to win a @PeeledSnacks Organic Pouch Fruit Sampler #Giveaway. hosted by @ABusyMomofTwo, ends 5/24. 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).

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

  • Share this giveaway on a link-up and come back and let me know where you shared it. (This can be done five times)

  • The Giveaway will run through May 24th at 6pm and is open to residents of the US and Canada only. 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. Peeled Snacks provided a complimentary Organic Fruit Pouch Sampler so that my family could experience the product and share our reactions. In addition, they are providing the same sampler to the winner of the giveaway.

    Flowers Anyone?

    Seems that the daily deal of the day is Flowers for Mother's Day. If you are looking for some deals, here are a couple of options to consider.

    $12 for $40 Worth of Mother's Day Bouquets, Gift Baskets and More from Enchanted Florist

    Mamapedia Sweet Deals
    $15 for $30 Worth of Flowers for Mom from ProFlowers

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    Disney World Vacation - suggestions?

    We are in the process of trying to plan a trip to Disney World for the family. My husband and I have both been as children, but this will be our first trip as a family. The kids are excited, but I think that we are probably more excited right now.

    There are so many options in planning a trip to Disney World, that it starts to feel overwhelming. We are currently trying to figure out where to stay and whether the dining plan will be a good value for us.

    Since this is the first trip for the family to Disney World, we think that we would like to stay at a Disney Resort location. We have narrowed in on a Moderate Resort and are considering Coronado Springs Resort. That being said, we have some points, not enough for the whole stay, but could potentially have some free nights at the Hilton by Downtown Disney. Normally, I would say that I wouldn't consider the Hilton, but it is on Disney property, includes transportation to the park and they do offer the Extra Magic Hours Benefit. Thing is that the rates for the room at Coronado are cheaper, plus if we start to bundle it, I think that there could be better value. It appears that both locations have a fee for wi-fi - not that I expect to be on it a lot, but still, something to consider. I know that the Hilton has a per day parking fee (we likely are driving), but can't seem to find that information for the Coronado Springs Resort.

    Have you stayed at either of these resorts? What is your preference/feedback on the resorts? Have you stayed at another Moderate Resort at Disney World? What did you think? What do you see as pros/cons of staying at a Disney Resort location over another local Hotel Resort?

    Next area of consideration is food. Of course, if we go with the Hilton, the dining package is not an option, but if we stay at Coronado Springs (or another Disney Resort), should we get the dining plan? I have read mixed assessments of the value of the package, what are your thoughts? Do you go with the 2 quick service/2 snack option or with the 1 table service/1 quick service/1 snack option? As I browsed menus on-line for many of the Disney Table Service locations in the parks, it seemed that we could likely spend a little less by being selective in our dining, but having the meal plan allows us to not worry as much about the where. That is part of what I liked about our Honeymoon - we went to an all inclusive, so we knew up front what most of our costs would be. I feel that the dining plan is similar.

    Have you used the dining plan? Do you feel there was a value? How old were y kids? If you got the dining plan, did you still find yourself spending out of pocket on food?

    What about Character dining/experiences? I feel like we likely would do a Disney Princess dining and maybe another more gender neutral one. I have also heard that the Star Wars Jedi Training Academy is something we will want to do for our son.

    What has been your experience with Character dining/experiences? What do you recommend or recommend avoiding?

    This post shared at the Works for Me Wednesday Backwards Edition, where you seek help from your readers on what works for them, instead of sharing tips and tricks that work for you.

    CVS Deal - 5/3

    Such a lonely looking pictures. With the events of Sunday, I never had a chance to really look at the deals at CVS this week. I did however, see this morning that there was a deal on Ivory Soap. The 3 packs are on sale for $.99 and the Sunday paper P&G insert had a coupon for $1 off any Ivory bars. My cashier had to adjust the coupon down in order to ring it.

    1 - Ivory Soap, 3 bars

    -$1 adjusted to $.99 Ivory mfg coupon

    Total $.07 OOP in tax.

    I could only find the one insert this morning. This evening I have found my other one, so at the very least, I will head back tomorrow to get 3 more bars of soap. It's hard to pass up free soap, especially when we were down to the last couple of bars.

    Boysterous Action Figures

    Congratulations to heinzmom! She was selected as the winner of the Boysterous Action Figure giveaway hosted here on A Busy Mom of Two.

    An e-mail has been sent to the winner.

    Thanks everyone for entering and be sure to check out and enter the other current giveaways on A Busy Mom of Two.

    Random Integer Generator

    Here are your random numbers:


    Timestamp: 2011-05-04 00:48:55 UTC

    Snap Fashion Jewelry - Review and Giveaway

    When we received in the mail the Snap Fashion Jewelry Studio kit, from Smart Lab Toys, my kids could not wait to check it out. We only had a few minutes after dinner and playing outside before we needed to head upstairs, so we agreed that we would only make a few snaps to start with.

    Making the snaps was (dare I say it?) a snap. The kit comes with a number of pre-cut fabric circles that you can quickly make into snaps. In addition, it comes with a guide that you can use to trace a circle, so you can cut out from any fabric to make your own unique snaps. The cutting guide even has a "hole" to let you view what will be on your button, so if you are using a highly patterned fabric, you can position it just so to get the look that you want.

    To make a snap, simply place the fabric "pretty side" down in the snap maker and place a snap dome over top of it. Lower the lever, pushing the dome and fabric down into position. Then, place a snap back onto the lever and push your fabric ends into the dome. Slowly lower it into place, so your fabric doesn't escape and then push down firmly. Use the button on the snap maker to release your snap.

    Then, attach your snap to your base and voila! The kit includes two ring bases, so your child can wear the snap as a ring. In addition. it includes five other bases that can be used to make any number of things. The snap bases have a slot through them, allowing you to slide it over ribbons, cords, etc to form bracelets and more.

    Fortunately, for the creative challenged, the kit comes with an idea book that has a number of different ideas on how to use the snaps for things like rings, bracelets, lockets, hair flair, key chain, cell phone charms, and more.

    In addition, it comes with tools to add flair to your snaps. There are 12 birthstone jewels that can be added to your snaps with glue. There are a number of transfers - including letters, soccer balls, Go Team and more, that with the use of acetone and a parent's assistance, can be added to the fabric on the snap to further personalize the snap. We haven't tried any of these yet.

    Like I said, we only made a couple of snaps that first evening, but the next morning, as soon as they were both ready to go, I found them in the kitchen making more snaps. My daughter simply had to have a bracelet and ring that coordinated. Before long, we had used up the fabric circles that came with the kit. We need to head to the fabric store to get some quilting squares or other scrap fabrics to make more snaps.

    At this time, they don't have refill kits available, but are planning to make them available by fall. In the meantime, additional supplies can be ordered through customer service.

    Would you like to try them out for yourselves? Right now, you can save 25% at Smart Lab Toys by entering BLOGBUZZ at checkout! This coupon code is valid through 6/30/11. In addition to purchasing direct from SmartLab Toys, you can also find Snap Fashion Jewelry Studio at and select retailers. The kit retails for $24.99.

    Want to learn more? On their website, you can sign up for their newsletter and find free download-able activities for kids! You can also find SmartLab Toys on Facebook, like them for deals and discounts, playtime ideas and free stuff. You can also find SmartLab Toys on Twitter.

    In addition, I have the opportunity to give away ONE (1) SmartLab Toy, of your choice.

    To enter: Visit SmartLab Toys website and leave a comment on this post, letting me know what toy you would like to win, should you win the giveaway.

    Additional Entries (be sure to leave a comment for each entry):
    Like SmartLab Toys on Facebook.

    Follow SmartLab Toys on Twitter. Please be sure to include your user name in the comment.

    Follow A Busy Mom of Two on Twitter. Please be sure to include your user name in the comment.

    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 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.

    Share this giveaway on a link-up and come back and let me know where you shared it. (This can be done five times)

    The Giveaway will run through May 19th at 6pm and is open to residents of the US/Canada only. 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. You may enter as many MamaBzz giveaways for this prize as you would like, but you may only win on one.

    No compensation was received for this post. All opinions expressed are my own. I received one Snap Fashion Jewelry Studio kit from SmartLab Toys through MamaBzz for my family to check out, for the purposes of sharing my review. In addition, SmartLab Toys is providing one item for the giveaway.

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    Rough Weekend...

    Really, I guess it wasn't the whole weekend, maybe just Sunday. In fact, the first part of the weekend was pretty good. My son lost his second top front tooth on Friday (had lost the first one last Friday). He looks pretty cute with that great big gap in the front of his smile. He had his first baseball game of the season and did really well. We watched Yogi Bear on Saturday evening as a family, complete with popcorn and soda (a real treat for the kids).

    Sunday started out as any other Sunday would. The kids got up way before they should have, just like normal. They tried to play nicely, but for as slow as I feel when I first wake up, they are full of energy. They were of course running around in the bedroom and my son fell (or wash pushed?) into the wall (thankfully just the wall, considering all of the sharp corners in a bedroom - the dresser, the bed, the bookshelf, the toy shelf). So, I got up to see what was going on and thus started my day.

    We all had breakfast together. We headed to church. The kids wanted to get donuts, but I asked if we could stop at home to get everything I needed for the grocery store so that we could take care of it all while we were out.

    Then, we decided to eat lunch before going, so we were all busy doing our thing until lunch time. My husband was doing his annual spring clean of the garage. Sweeping away the leaves and the salt and such from the garage. The kids had been out back swinging and came in for a snack of celery and carrots (their request, not my suggestion).

    While we were hanging out in the kitchen snacking, we heard the cat get sick. Not anything unusual, as he always seemed to have a hairball. I went to see about cleaning up the mess and I knew something was wrong - it was green. His food's not that color, his fur is not that color. We decided that with the other changes we had been seeing lately, not eating much (even his "yummy" food), not being as playful as he normally is, and such, that we really needed to take him to the vet.

    I think we knew what the outcome would be even before we left. Before going, we spent some time (in the garage of all places) holding him, petting him and we even took pictures with him. We told the kids that he was sick and we weren't sure if the doctors would have a medicine that would make him better. They were sad and said good-bye to the cat and then we went to the vet.

    He weighed just over 10# when we checked in. This, my same cat who two years ago weighed in at 22#. We knew he had lost weight, but at first it was gradual. At a check up this time last year, he was 16#. The doctor also said that he was very dehydrated. They did the physical exam and the bloodwork. Based on the results, we had to make the very difficult decision to allow him to not suffer any longer.

    It was very hard. Telling the kids that the cat wasn't coming home, that was even harder. They were sad. They cried. From their perspective, we had always had a cat. From our perspective, our cat was our first joint venture. We adopted him 13 years ago (last Wednesday was that anniversary to be exact) as a kitten.

    It's amazing how a part of your routine a pet can be. This morning, when my alarm went off, there was no cat to sit next to my bed and cry to remind me to get up and feed him. When he was younger, I almost didn't even need an alarm clock - he would come in and wake me up. Walk on my face if he had to, to remind me to feed him. I still listen for the sound of him "hopping" down the stairs. I see empty spots where I used to find him, like next to the dining room window, where he had the best view on the outside world.

    If that wasn't enough stress for one day, my husband headed upstairs to change for a meeting that he was planning to attend and heard a drip in our bathroom. After checking all the faucets, and even the float in the tank, he realized it was the tank that was leaking. And, really, not just leaking - cracked. Yes, another toilet tank in our house has cracked from top to bottom. In all my life, I never remember having a toilet tank crack and yet, I have had two occurrences in this one house (thinking it was a bad lot of pottery used for those tanks?). We headed out to Lowes at 7 pm last night, in hopes of replacing it - no luck. Called Home Depot. Checked Walmart. Turns out that no one stocks tanks for the brand that we have. So, needless to say, I will be calling the manufacturer, like I did four years ago when this happened to our other tank and hope that I can get one at a Plumber's Supply like I did then. (think I should be worried about the third one?) So, right now, we are without a toilet in our master bath. We have a wet spot on the ceiling in our kitchen. It appears to be drying. I find myself thankful that it wasn't any worse, that we caught it when we did. If my husband, hadn't have gone up to change, when would we have found it? My guess is either we would have noticed the wet spot in the evening or I would have found it when I went up to bed.

    The bad part about the toilet tank cracking and the leak showing through on the wet ceiling is that my son is very concerned about this. He was very stressed last night, between the cat and the leak. I'm not sure what it is, but he was also very stressed when our basement flooded a few months ago. He fell asleep in bed, but when he woke up, he came downstairs to hang out with me and sleep on the couch. Hopefully, seeing that the ceiling is drying today will help him feel better about that. Then, he will only have the loss of the cat to manage through.

    I sure hope that you all had a much better weekend.