Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Traditions

I like having traditions. I feel like we had a lot of traditions when I was growing up. So, now that I have a family, I am doing my best to establish traditions for us.

When I was a kid, I seem to recall that one of your New Year's Eve traditions was to go to dinner at whatever fast food location we wanted. We would use up the miscellaneous free coupons that we had gotten at Halloween, summer reading club and what not, as well as discount coupons. Then, I can remember babysitters who would have us go out on the front porch with pots and pans to clank together at midnight.

When we were dating and first married, my husband and I spent New Year's Eve at our friend's house. We would all gather to play games and celebrate and then, responsibly, we would all stay there. Despite our conversations about how fun it would be when we all had kids and still got together for New Year's, the annual gatherings essentially fizzled upon the birth of the first baby in the group. There was one last gathering at another friend's place, but it was smaller and didn't repeat the next year.

Now that we have kids, we have started our own traditions (although, they mostly occur before the hour of 8 pm). Every New Year's Eve for the past three or more years, we have gone to lunch at the local Mexican place (our favorite) and then went bowling as a family. In some years, we have friends join us and in other years it is just us. Then, we come home and hang out.

Our dinner on New Year's Eve is a collection of appetizers and finger foods. Many years, I make some Crab Cakes and have cocktail shrimp, as well as Bagel Bite, Pizza Rolls, Chicken Nuggets and other kid favorites. We have mini desserts too. Again, these festivities are sometimes joined by friends and other times it is just the four of us.

Then, at 7:29 pm, we start our own countdown to 7:30 pm to celebrate the new year and toast some sparkling fruit juice (in fancy glasses). After that, the kids head off to bed.

This year, my son, who is 8, is giving his first go at staying up to midnight. I'm not sure he will make it, but if he stays busy, he just might.

The other tradition at my house, is one from my childhood, and that is Pork Roast and Sauerkraut for dinner on New Year's Day. My understanding is that it is supposed to bring prosperity in the new year or good luck and good fortune for the new year. With my husband not being a fan of pork roast or sauerkraut, I have had to modify and prepare pork chops and mashed potatoes with a side of sauerkraut. I still get the pork and sauerkraut and only have to make one meal that way.

What are your New Year's traditions?

Frosted Toast Crunch Cereal

Breakfast cereal is one of my guilty pleasures. I have it not only for breakfast (although usually only on the weekend, during the week I take oatmeal to work), but also for dinner and an evening snack. I guess that the snack occasion has it's roots in having cereal as a snack with my aunts when I would spend the night at my grandma's house as a child. Now, as a grown-up, I love to enjoy a bowl in the evening as a snack. In fact, it meets so many snack criteria - it is full of flavor, it's crunchy, and it's sweet - it might just be one of the best snack options around for me. It can even fulfill a chocolate craving, talk about versatility.

As a result of my affinity for cereal, I am always looking to find new cereals to try and expand my choices. (you should see my cereal cabinet!) So, when I heard about the new Frosted Toast Crunch, I was excited to try it. I like Cinnamon Toast Crunch and I like vanilla, so it seemed like a great flavor combination.

    Introducing NEW Frosted Toast Crunch, with the delicious taste of frosted vanilla (artificially flavored), this cereal is totally irresistible. Just one bite of the new Frosted Toast Crunch will send you into breakfast bliss, with each crunch square baked with the delightful taste of frosted vanilla (artificially flavored) and dusted with a delicious dash of cinnamon.
  • With 11 grams of whole grain, 9 grams of sugar and a good source of calcium, Frosted Toast Crunch offers a good start to the day
  • Crave those new FROSTED crazy squares? They’ll be available in your local grocers early January, just in time for return-to-school

My husband found the cereal to be okay. My kids both enjoyed it very much, even asking if we could buy more when the box ran out. I enjoyed it. I liked the mix of the vanilla and the cinnamon flavors. It is definitely a cereal I would add to my cereal list to pick up when there is a good deal.

One A Busy Mom of Two reader will win a Frosted Toast Crunch Prize pack.
The prize pack contains:
Spilt milk bowl
Lickety spoon
Frosted pitcher
Frosted Toast Crunch cereal

(The Spilt Milk Bowl is sort of fun - it is made of silicone and really looks like a splash of milk. The Lickety spoon looks like a long tongue, sort of a little bit strange.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No compensation was received for this post. A Frosted Toast Crunch Prize pack for my family, information about the product and giveaway have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family.

Friday, December 30, 2011

CVS Deals - 12/30

I headed to CVS today to pick up the Theraflu deal and some great clearance deals that I had read about. Of course, I must not have been the only one, because there were very few of the clearance deals still around.
Transaction #1
4 - Pantene Shampoo/Conditioner (75% off - $1.57/ea)
2 - Aussie Conditioner (75% off - 99c/ea)
1 - Pepto (rain check)
2 - Theraflu Warming Relief

-$3 $3/2 Pantene mfg coupon
-$3 $3/2 Pantene mfg coupon
-$1 $1/2 Aussie mfg coupon
-$.50 Pepto mfg coupon
-$2 Theraflu IP
-$2 Theraflu IP

Paid with $1, $2, and $3 ECBs. Paid $3.29 plus $1.29 tax, $4.58 OOP. Earned $3 and $3 ECBs. Unfortunately, I didn't have my Green Bag Tag with me.

I also came across a rebate offer for Theraflu for $5 Gift Card back with purchase. You can print the Theraflu rebate here. This offer will make all of this free!

Helpless by Daniel Palmer

I recently finished reading a copy of the soon to be released book by Daniel Palmer, called Helpless. It took me a while to find the free time to pick it up, mostly because I was afraid what happened would happen...once I picked it up, I simply couldn't put it down. Despite plans to accomplish much on that particular Saturday, I spent most of my day sitting at the kitchen table and reading. When I grabbed the book to read on the two minute car ride to my son's basketball game, my husband asked if I was really bringing it along. I told him that I sure was - it was good, it was two more minutes that I could read. I did finish in time to get some things done that Saturday - including dinner, so the family didn't have to starve while I read.
The storyline in Helpless unfolds around a man, Tom Hawkins, whose ex-wife, Kelly, has just been found dead and whose daughter, Jill, does not have much of a relationship with or a good view of him, because of the stories told by his ex-wife. A former Navy Seal, that is the coach of the local high school girls soccer team that his daughter plays on, Tom moves into his ex-wife's house to raise his daughter and try to develop a normal Father-Daughter relationship with her. Before long, Tom finds himself caught up as a suspect in a porn ring, accused of being a party to teen sexting and accused of having relations with members of the soccer team he coaches. How can he protect his daughter from things in his past and prove his innocence before time runs out?

It seems that the more technology that we have in our lives, the more opportunity there is to be hurt by that same technology. We hear of phishing schemes and viruses sent by e-mails. Links contained in e-mails that allow others access to our computers. We access so much through technology and we like to believe we are reasonably safe, but how safe are we? Is your wireless access secure? How do you protect your children and keep them informed on the dangers of sexting?

These are questions that start to come to mind as you read Helpless. You find yourself questioning your everyday technology and how safe you are or are not in that world of technology.

One of the things that I loved the most about the book is that the story is so believable. You find yourself thinking, there is no way, but as you continue to read, you begin to realize that this twisted world could be real. This could happen to someone you know. You just can't stop reading, you want to know how it resolves and hope that the technology can help protect the innocent, as easily as it seems to be able to implicate them. I have to believe that this is due to the amount of research that was done by Daniel Palmer in writing this book. The facts behind the fiction ring so true, that it makes that story that much more real when you read it.

Helpless is a definite must read. Scheduled for publication January 31, 2012, you can preorder it now through your preferred online retailer, through the links provided on Daniel Palmer's website.

While you wait for this new book, if you haven't already read it, I highly recommend reading Delirious, his debut book that was released in early 2011.

One lucky A Busy Mom of Two reader will win a copy of Helpless by Daniel Palmer. The book will be an Advanced Readers Copy of the book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

No compensation was received for this post. A copy of book was provided so that I could read the story and provide a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

CVS Deals - 12/28

I stopped by CVS Wednesday, simply because I was driving by. I wound up getting almost nothing. I didn't bring my coupons with me, only having my CVS envelope with me. I tried to get some of the items that I had rainchecks for, but they were still out. I will try to get back later, with coupons.
1 - Essence of Beauty Hand Cream
1 - Decorator Sprinkles (for use on my mint cookies next year)
3 - Caramel Santas (already consumed by my 2 assistants and me before the picture)

-$1.99 Essence of Beauty Hand Cream CVS coupon (Facebook offer)

Paid with $2 ECBs and $.38 OOP. Earned $1 ECB for green bag tag. My son asked me, why do you always have to pay so little? This caused the cashier to chuckle.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sam I Am...

The kids requested Green Eggs and Ham today...I was happy to oblige.

No White Christmas, but...

still a little snow for our Christmas break.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Little Mommy My Very Real Baby Doll Deal!

I'm not sure if you are still in the market for a My Very Real Baby Doll (Santa brought one to our house), but if you are, this is a great deal.

The dolls retail for $60 (Walmart regular price) - $80 (Toys 'R Us regular price).

Right now, Walmart has them on Clearance for $29.90. There is a coupon for $10 on for this doll. That would make the doll only $19.90 after coupon. A savings of up to 75% off regular retail.

If you have a little girl with a winter birthday, this might be a great toy to grab and tuck away.

Walgreens Scenarios - week of 12/26

I'm considering making the trip to Walgreens to pick up my 25 free photos (I won't print them if I won't go). I haven't done it yet, but you can upload your photos at and use the coupon code PRINTNOW at checkout to get 25 free 4x6 prints. Offer is good until 12/31. I can't find this offer on their site, but have seen multiple mentions of it across the web and Facebook.

Anywho, if I go, I am considering the following:

Transaction #1
1 - Lichi Super Probiotic

Total $9.99, earn $9.99 RR.

Transaction #2
3 - Delsym Cough
1 - Act II single (w/ in ad coupon)

-$3 3x$1 Delsym IP or IP

-$9.99 RR

Total $17.26 OOP, earn $10 RR. This cough syrup works! I might mix it up with some Mucinex for my husband, using the $1 mfg coupon or IP available on Facebook.

Transaction #3
(we're low on soda)
3 - Pepsi brand 12 packs (w/ in ad coupon)

-$10 RR

Total $0 OOP.

For the trip, the OOP is $27.25 for $52.22 in product, a savings of 48%. Plus, I will have 25 free prints.

For more deals, check out Deal Seeking Mom.

CVS Scenarios - week of 12/26

I'm torn, the CVS ad feels weak this week. It's a short week and much of their focus is likely on moving Christmas merchandise. I just read that the CVS Beauty Club credits reset at the start of the new year. I am about $20 away from the next $5 reward. So, do I stock up on makeup that I don't need, spending in the neighborhood of $20, I could net $15 in ECBs ($5 - Revlon, $5 - Physician's Formula and $5 - CVS Beauty Club) or do I just let them "expire". The thing is, I have earned the CVS Beauty Club Extra Bucks a few times just through my normal course of shopping - so it's not like that $30 I have towards it is something that I bought by design for the Beauty Club.

Transaction #1
2 - Theraflu Warming Syrup

-$3 Theraflu mfg coupon
-$2 Theraflu IP or IP

Total $4.54, earn $3 ECBs. Of course, if you have two of the coupons from the paper, it is an even better deal. This is my go to medicine when I have a cold - I like the warming effect of the syrup, so a net of $1.54 for two bottles sounds great to me.

Transaction #2
1 - Zyrtec 5ct

-$2 Zyrtec IP (or is this a trial size)

Total $3.99, pay with $3 ECBs and $.99 OOP. Earn $5.99 ECBs.

Transaction #3 (if I go with the makeup plan)
2 - Revlon Eye products (PSA $4.99)

-$1 Revlon mfg coupon
-$1 Revlon mfg coupon

Total $7.98, pay with $5.99 ECBs and $1.99 OOP. Earn $5 ECBs.

Transaction #4
1 - Physician's Formula makeup (PSA $9.99)

Total $9.99, pay with $5 ECBs and $4.99 OOP. Earn $5 ECBs. (plus, I will earn $5 CVS Beauty ECBs.)

Total OOP is $12.51 with $10 ECBs to roll, for $35.50 in product at sale prices, a savings of 73%. Or, if I skip the makeup, it would be $5.53 OOP with $5.99 in ECBs to roll, for 15.53 in product at sale prices, a savings of 74%. Numbers alone would suggest that if I don't need the makeup, I should skip trying to get to the next $50 increment on the CVS Beauty Club.

Find more deals and scenarios at Deal Seeking Mom.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday.

Friday, December 23, 2011

CVS Deals - 12/19

I stopped by CVS, but I couldn't find my Crest/Oral B coupons, so I had to skip that deal. I couldn't find my Extra Bucks or my Green Bag tag, so that was a bit of a bummer. Oh well! Such is life when I am busy.
Transaction #1
1 - Bandaid

-$.50 Bandaid mfg coupon

Total $2.68 ($2.49 plus tax) OOP, earn $2 ECBs.

Transaction #2
3 - Hershey Kisses, holiday varieties

-$2.50 B2G1 Hershey Kisses mfg coupon
-$1 $1/2 Hershey Kisses IP (

Paid with $2 ECB and $2 OOP. Earned $2 ECBs.

For the trip, I spent $3.68 and have $2 ECBs to roll, for $10.68 in product. A savings of about 71%.

Rite Aid Deals - 12/21

If you are still out there looking for some stocking stuffers, there is a great deal that I took advantage of at Rite Aid.

4 - Peeps Chocolate Covered Mint Marshmallows

-$1 $1/2 Peeps IP (found at and on Facebook)
-$1 $1/2 Peeps IP

Total $0 OOP.

I was mostly sad that they didn't have the caramel ones that they mentioned on their site.

Samples and Freebies

John Frieda Frizz Ease Sample (Facebook offer)

Shout Color Catcher sample and coupon

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday Traditions - Breakfast Casserole

I am not sure when the tradition was started, but one year, after we visited the family of one of our neighbors, we started having Breakfast Casserole every Christmas morning for breakfast. It was a perfect breakfast for Christmas morning. The casserole is prepped the night before and then, Christmas morning, it is placed in the oven to bake. Allowing us to enjoy a hot breakfast with eggs and bacon without spending time in the kitchen prepping food on Christmas morning. My mom always made the dish using bacon, but I think it would be great to change it up and make it with Hormel Cure 81 Ham. In fact, if you have the Ham for dinner on Christmas Eve, you could simply use the leftovers. If not, you could buy the Sliced or Diced variety for easy preparation.

Breakfast Casserole
1 lb Ham (or Bacon/Sausage), cooked
6 eggs
2 c milk
1 tsp dry mustard
6 slices bread
1 c grated cheddar cheese

Line bottom of buttered 9x13 pan with bread. Spread the diced ham over the bread. Cover with cheddar cheese. In a bowl, beat 6 eggs with milk, salt and dry mustard. Pour over bread, meat and cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bake uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes.

No compensation was received for this post. All opinions expressed are mine or those of my family. I am completing this post as a participant in the Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger program. Hormel Foods provided some of the information for this post.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide - DIY Cookie Trays

One of my favorite gifts to share at the holidays are my homemade cookies. I enjoy making a variety of cookies and enjoy that I can give them as gifts to others. Each year I experiment with new recipes (you can find many of the recipes over on A Busy Mom of Two in the Kitchen). Assembled together on a plate (or in a tin), they are nice to share with others.

When it comes to neighbors and co-workers as a whole, my goal is to help spread holiday cheer. For my neighbors, I like to put together a small plate of baked goods to share with them. I drop them off along with the Christmas card. It allows for a quick visit, during the cold time of year where we tend to see less of each other because we aren't outside playing. I also like to take a large platter of baked goods to work to share with everyone (although, I find myself eating more than one!).
For the kids teachers, I know that they are getting a number of gifts and try to avoid filling their life with more clutter. When my kids were first in daycare, I struggled with what I was going to give their teachers, I have a friend who is a teacher and she said - no apples, no smelly stuff and no mugs. Okay, that helped narrow things down a bit, but I still wasn't sure what to give.

So, I thought, why not make a plate of tasty treats that they could eat or share with friends and family that visit during the holiday season. For the teachers I decided it would be better to give them a plate that they could use over and over again, instead of the typical paper plate I use when giving plates of cookies to neighbors. I headed out to the store and found some really cute little square plates.
They were winter themed, not just holiday themed. I piled them with our homemade holiday cookies and candies,
>placed them in food gift bags and tied them with a tag.

I got a nice of lot compliments and thank you notes from the teachers. I've had teachers who didn't have my kids express disappointment that they didn't have one of the kids in their class at Christmas, so they could get the holiday treats. Now that the kids are older, they help me with baking the cookies and making the candies. Which, of course, makes it an even better gift for them to give to their teachers, because they helped make it. Homemade treats and a fancy plate as a Christmas gift for teachers works for me.

This post shared at Works for Me Wednesday.

Disney On Ice Presents Dare to Dream Ticket Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Lisa! Her entry was selected as the winner of the Disney on Ice Presents Dare to Dream tickets for a show in Cleveland.

Thanks everyone for entering and watch for more exciting giveaways to come in the new year.

Quest for Zhu Soundtrack (new) Winner!

My first winner didn't reply to my e-mail or to the post (I even allowed more than the 24 hours I listed in the post), so I drew a new winner.

Congratulations to Patty! Her entry was selected as the winner of the Quest for Zhu Soundtrack prize pack giveaway.

Thanks everyone for entering!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Woah!!! It's only a week until Christmas. I am happy to say that after completing my Christmas cookie baking and decorating on Sunday, that I am pretty much ready. For the most part, presents are purchased and in possession. Many are even wrapped and under the tree.

I skipped shopping for groceries this weekend and figure I will go mid-week and get the stuff that we need for next weekend. I have some time off of work, so hopefully it won't be too crowded at the grocery store mid-day, mid-week. As a result of the delayed shopping, the first part of the week has us eating from the freezer and pantry. Always a good year end exercise anyway, to help clean it out, so we can start fresh with the new year.

Skyline Chili

Homemade Pizza

Chicken Patties



Ham/Enchiladas (not everyone likes Ham)

Breakfast Casserole

Sunday (Christmas!)
Cinnamon Rolls

Breakfast is cereal or oatmeal each morning, although sometimes at school my daughter will have pancakes or french toast. For my son, lunch is either the menu item at school or a packed lunch with some type of sandwich. Lunch for my husband and me is typically sandwiches, frozen meals or leftovers.

This post shared at Menu Plan Monday.

Quest for Zhu Soundtrack Winner!

Congratulations to Crystal! Her entry was selected as the winner of the Quest for Zhu Soundtrack prize pack giveaway.

Thanks everyone for entering!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hallmark $5 off of $10 coupon

Hallmark has some great deals on their site currently.

There is a coupon for $5 off of a $10 or more purchase at the store. The coupon is good until 12/24. Could make for a great deal on some wrapping paper or Christmas cards.

In addition, there are a handful of online offers available (various expiration dates):
FREE EXPEDITED SHIPPING plus SAVE 30% off $50 orders
Save 20% on baby personalized cards and plates
One Year Unlimited E-Cards for $12

Walgreens Scenarios - week of 12/18

The deals at Walgreens this week seem a bit disappointing to me.

Transaction #1
2 - Brut Deodorant

-$1 Brut mfg coupon
-$1 Brut mfg coupon

Total $3 OOP, earn $2 RR.

Transaction #2
2 - Blistex (w/ in ad coupon)
2 - Hot Wheels Cars (w/ in ad coupon)

-$1 $1/2 Blistex mfg coupon

-$2 RR

Total $0.16 OOP.

Total OOP $3.16 for $8.16 in product at sale prices. A savings of 61%.

I might also pick up some of the Arizona tea that is 2/$1 with in ad coupon. My husband enjoys these and I like to keep a couple on hand. Also, if the Angel Soft is a good value (based on number of sheets), I might pick it up. It is on sale 2/$8 with $1 RR. I think I only have the one $1 coupon...if I can find a second one, that might make it a better value.

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

CVS Scenarios - week of 12/18

I had really good intentions last week to get to CVS, but there was just too much else going on. This week, there are a few deals that might lead me to the store. I just am not sure when! It is hard to believe that it is one week until Christmas.

Transaction #1
3 - Hershey's Holiday candy

-$2.50 B2G1 Hershey's mfg coupon
-$1 $1/2 Hershey's mfg coupon

Total $4 OOP, earn $2 ECBs.

Transaction #2
1 - character Bandaid

-$.50 Bandaid mfg coupon

Total $2.49, pay with $2 ECBs and $.49 OOP. Earn $2 ECBs.

Transaction #3
2 - Crest/Oral B products

-$2 Crest/Oral B mfg coupon
-$2 Crest/Oral B mfg coupon

Total $1.98, pay with $2 ECB adjusted down. Earn $2 ECBs.

For the trip, the total OOP is $4.49, with $2 ECBs to roll, for $16.50 in product at sale prices. A savings of about 76%.

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

Friday, December 16, 2011

Samples and Freebies

Schiff MegaRed Soft Gels (Facebook offer)

mailbox was quiet this week - must be all of the Christmas Cards.

Holiday Gift Guide - DIY Memory Board

For years, I looked for a way to display my Christmas cards at my house. I wanted them out on display, not stacked on my counter. I found a memory board and a wire tree that was designed to hold Christmas cards. I went with the memory board. It hangs in my hallway, in place of another picture every December. It lets me take a look at all the cards and the cute pictures every time I head down the hall.

I bought the Christmas memory board that I use, but when we were looking for something to hang on my daughter's wall, I learned just how easy they are to make yourself.
1 - Foam Craft Board, will cut to your desired size
1 - piece of fabric, your choice of patterns, large enough to extend a few inches on each side of your board
1 - bag of quilt batting, to cover the board
1 - spool of ribbon or elastic
Craft Glue
buttons or brads or other decoration

Straight pins
Utility Knife

1 - Using a yardstick, mark your board to the desired size. I mark at three points and then placed the yardstick so that it lined up with those three marks. Using a utility knife, cut the board using the yardstick as your guide. We cut ours in half to make two boards.
2 - Cut your quilt batting about an inch larger all around your board. I used a very small amount of glue on the front of my board to hold the quilt batting in place - it will be held by the fabric, but I didn't want it moving around. Don't use too much glue, or you will feel the hardness through the front of your finished board.
3 - Cut your fabric so that it extends about two inches around your board.
4 - Place your fabric print side down on your work surface and then place your board, batting side down centered on top of your fabric. Using craft glue, secure each side of your fabric on the edges. I recommend doing one side and then it's opposite side. Pull the fabric taut when you do the opposite side. Don't pull too much or it will looked stressed. After securing each side, you will have fun "wings" at each corner. I work those by folding the middle in flat to the board, so that the corner is smooth and securing it with glue. Then, fold the two new "wings" in towards each other and secure.
5 - Starting at one corner, place your first piece of ribbon or elastic. Secure at the edges with straight pins. Then, align your second ribbon/elastic. I used two rulers to help me align the ribbon as I worked.
Continue this way, working your way down one direction of the board. Then, repeat going the other way, making a criss-cross pattern on the front of your board with your ribbons/elastic. After the pattern is secured (and you like the way it looks), flip your board over and using your stapler, secure each of the ribbons/elastic. Again, you want to pull them so that they are taut, but not overly tight.
6 - Add your buttons, brads or other decorations (if desired), where the ribbons/elastic meet. Since I was using buttons, I decided to sew them in place, but glue could work.
7 - Add a ribbon loop or a picture hanger to the top of the board.

A memory board can be used to house a select set of pictures, an ever changing array of pictures, Christmas cards, mail, etc. By choosing different types of fabric and embellishments, they can be made to fit in any room.

This post shared at Frugal Friday.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lands' End Deal

I just picked up a pretty good deal on some hats from Lands' End.

Right now, they have their children's hats, regularly $12.50 on sale for $2.99. Use promotion code SANTA and pin 1212 to get 30% off and free shipping.

Works out to be $2.09 (plus tax) delivered.

They can be found on the Overstock tab.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Quest for Zhu DVD Winner!

Congratulations to Stephanie! Her entry was selected as the winner of the Quest for Zhu DVD giveaway.

Be sure to check out the new giveaway for the Quest for Zhu Soundtrack.

The Christmas Singing

I mentioned the other day how I love to give books for the holidays. I wanted to share about a seasonal book that is available now. If you are like me and enjoy Amish fiction (like I've said before, I am so intrigued by their lifestyle and having a story set against that back drop is very interesting to me), you might want to consider getting yourself (or dropping a hint to a loved one) or perhaps share with someone, The Christmas Singing by Cynthia Woodsmall.

You can check out a video trailer for the book here:
and/or you can read the first chapter here.

Right now, you can get 30% off and free shipping on The Christmas Singing (and any other title) when you use promo code CHRISTMAS11 at checkout on The coupon code expires on December 20th, 2011.

No compensation was received for this post. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. In exchange for this post, I am entering to receive an ARC of The Scent of Cherry Blossoms by Cynthia Woodsmall, when it is released. All information was provided through my participation in Blogging for Books.

Rafflecopter Giveaways

Morning! Just wanted to let you know that Rafflecopter has made some changes and you now have the options of entering using your Facebook login. You still have the option of just using your name and e-mail, there is a little link below the Facebook login.

Quest for Zhu Soundtrack - a giveaway

Part of what makes a movie is the soundtrack. Sometimes, those soundtracks are not songs you are familiar with, but on the Quest for Zhu Soundtrack, it is hard not to sing along with classics (sung by the cast of course) like ABC and Celebration and recent hits like Dynamite. There are a few original songs thrown in as well.

"ABC" - "Quest for Zhu" Cast {Jackson 5}
"Celebration" - "Quest for Zhu" Cast {Kool & the Gang}
"No Place Like Here" - Windy Wagner
"Who Says" - "Quest for Zhu" Cast {Selena Gomez & the Scene}
"One Day" - Pipsqueak
"Dynamite" - "Quest for Zhu" Cast {Taio Cruz}
"What I Like About You" - "Quest for Zhu" Cast {The Romantics}
"You're My Best Friend" - "Quest for Zhu" Cast {Queen}
"I'll Be Around" - "Quest for Zhu" Cast {The Spinners}
"Put Your Hands Up" - "Quest for Zhu" Cast
"Let's Groove" - "Quest for Zhu" Cast {Earth, Wind and Fire}
"Chunk's Story (The Surf Song)" - Sean Campbell
"No Place Like Here" - Savannah Outen
"One Day" - Thia Megia

Thinking of getting a copy for the ZhuZhu fans in your life? You can purchase the soundtrack CD and preview the songs at Amazon or buy the MP3s at iTunes. You can catch two singles on SoundCloud - find Savannah Ouston - No Place Like Here and Thia Megia - One Day.

Want to connect with the ZhuZhu Soundtrack? You can find a fan page on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. Check them out on the video of the ZhuZhu Pets performing ABC from the soundtrack. You can also find them on Tumblr.

Thanks to the group behind the soundtrack, I have the opportunity to giveaway to one A Busy Mom of Two reader, a copy of the new Quest for Zhu Soundtrack CD and prize pack.

*QUEST FOR ZHU -Music From The Motion Picture Soundtrack, featuring SAVANNAH OUTEN-NO PLACE LIKE HERE, and American Idol's THIA MEGIA-ONE DAY.
*Official ZhuZhu Pets/Quest For Zhu poster
*Limited Edition set of ZhuZhu Pets/Quest For Zhu figurines (these were only available for a limited time via the commercial on sale DVD-but only 2 figurines per pack, but we are including all FOUR characters in the set for this contest)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway will remain open through December 18. Giveaway is open to residents of the US only. One winner will be selected through Rafflecopter. The winner will be contacted by e-mail and will have 24 hours to respond or a new winner will be selected (would like to get it to you in time for Christmas).

No compensation was received for this post. All opinions expressed are mine or that of my family. A prize pack is also being provided to my family.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Giveaway Winners!

Congratulations to Jenny! Her entry was selected as the winner of The Very Best of Neil Diamond CD giveaway.

Congratulations to Jo! Her entry was selected as the winner of the Chex Mix-Change Prize Pack giveaway.

Be sure to check out the other giveaways.

Holiday Gift Guide - Books

I think books are absolutely one of my favorite things to give to just about anybody on my list. I love to read and I am sure that is largely a contributing factor. When my son was a toddler, my friend, who is a teacher, would give me the Scholastic Book order forms for her class. I started purchasing many of their $1 and $2 special offer books each month, even though my toddler was not ready for chapter books. Over a matter of a few years, I built up a collection of books that I go to for gifting needs or when my kids just need a new book.

I could spend hours just browsing through the stacks at the bookstore, checking out the books. When it comes to selecting books for kids, I like to stick to the classics, series that I have heard of or characters that are familiar.

My daughter and I are reading the Ramona series currently. It is hard to believe that those books were available when my mom was learning to read. What's nice is that my daughter was also able to watch the movie that was out a year ago, further helping to bring the characters to life.

When she was younger, we read the My First Little House Series, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The series takes the story of Laura Ingalls Wilder and sets it into a short, illustrated story appropriate for reading to toddlers (and for early readers to read themselves). Now that she is 5, I plan to start reading the original Little House Series (after we finish with Ramona). I loved that series as a child, even dressing up as Laura one year for Halloween.

In addition to the classics, some other books that we have read and enjoyed are the Curious George books, the Fancy Nancy books, the Madeline books and of course, Disney Princesses. She also enjoys Cam Jansen and other early chapter books.

For my son, we are currently on hiatus from reading the 39 Clues books. We had been enjoying the books, but he was ready to take a break and read some other stories. We have read classics like Encyclopedia Brown and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We have read more recent books like the Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and the Magical Treehouse Series. One thing that I find really enjoyable about the Magical Treehouse Series is the accompanying non-fiction books. It is great to take the stuff found in the stories and allow the child to expand on their knowledge of the subject, whether it be the Titanic or Space. For school, he has been reading The Strange Case of Origami Yoda and Darth Paper Strikes Back. Recently, he also started reading some of the books by RL Stine, although not those in the Goosebumps series.

When he was younger, he really enjoyed Curious George. In fact, my daughter still borrows his books, as he is not ready to give them up and when he is asked to read for a few minutes, sometimes he will still pull out a Curious George book. The Flat Stanley series was another series that we read many books from. He has started to read the Harry Potter series, but I think that those might still best be fit for us reading together.

All of the children on my Christmas list receive a book from me each year. But, books are also great gifts for adults. I love to share my favorite books with my friends and family. When I find an author that I enjoy, I tend to read my way through their collection and then find myself waiting for them to release a new book. So, I am always looking for new authors (with limited reading time, this can be a challenge - but I am willing) to help fill in those gaps. You can check out some of the books that I have read recently on my Reading List page. This is not a comprehensive list of recent books, but does include many that I have read lately (some even have links to reviews).

Books are a great gift to share with others. I even try to make a point of purchasing a book for those in need when I am at the bookstore browsing and doing my own holiday shopping. Like I said, I love to read and want to share that with others.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Walgreens Scenarios - week of 12/11

When I first saw that you could earn Jingle Cash, I thought I might have to stack some of my scenarios to see if I could spend $30 or more...then, I read the fine print and saw that I would have to spend $30 in order to redeem it too! So, no Jingle Cash for me!

Transaction #1
2 - Mucinex
1 - Delsym

-$1 Mucinex mfg coupon
-$1 Mucinex mfg coupon
-$1 Delsym IP

Total $28 OOP, earn $10 RR.

Transaction #2
2 - Peeps (w/ in ad coupon)
1 - Finish Dish Washing Tabs
1 - Renu Solution

-$1 $1/2 Peeps IP
-$.50 Finish Dish Washing IP

-$10 RR

Total $0.48 OOP, earn $1.50 and $5 RR.

Transaction #3
1 - Goody Hair Bobby Slides or clips
3 - Hunt's Sauce (w/ in ad coupon)
2 - Soft Soap Hand Soap (w/ in ad coupon)
2 - Russell Stover Holiday Candy (w/ in ad coupon)
1 - Campbell's Soup (w/ in ad coupon)

-$5 RR
-$1.50 RR

Total $.05 OOP, earn $2 RR.

Transaction #4
3 - boxes of Jello (w/ in ad coupon)

-$2 RR

Total $.07 OOP.

For the above transactions, the total OOP is $28.60 for $51.60 in product, a savings of 45%.

Now, if you don't need medicine or want to stock up on it, you could skip the first transaction and split up the next ones.

Transaction #1
2 - Peeps (w/ in ad coupon)
1 - Finish Dish Washing Tabs

-$1 $1/2 Peeps IP
-$.50 Finish Dish Washing IP

Total $3.49 OOP, earn $1.50 RR.

Transaction #2
1 - Renu Solution

-$1.50 RR

Total $5.49 OOP, earn $5 RR.

Transaction #3
1 - Goody Hair Bobby Slides or clips
3 - Hunt's Sauce (w/ in ad coupon)
2 - Soft Soap Hand Soap (w/ in ad coupon)
1 - Russell Stover Holiday Candy (w/ in ad coupon)

-$5 RR

Total $.37 OOP, earn $2 RR.

Transaction #4
3 - boxes of Jello (w/ in ad coupon)

-$2 RR

Total $.07 OOP.

For this scenario, the total OOP is $9.42 for $18.42 in product. A savings of 49%.

For more deals and scenarios, check out Money Saving Mom and Deal Seeking Mom.
Walgreens $5 Challenge
Transaction #1
2 - Peeps (w/ in ad coupon)
1 - Finish Dish Washing Tabs

-$1 $1/2 Peeps IP
-$.50 Finish Dish Washing IP

Total $3.49 OOP, earn $1.50 RR.

Transaction #2
1 - Goody Hair Bobby Slides or clips

-$1.50 RR

Total $.50 OOP, earn $2 RR.

Transaction #3
3 - Hunt's Sauce (w/ in ad coupon)
1 - Soft Soap Hand Soap (w/ in ad coupon)
1 - Russell Stover Holiday Candy (w/ in ad coupon)

-$2 RR

Total $.38 OOP.

Total OOP is $4.37 for $9.37 in product, a savings of 53%.

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

CVS Scenarios - week of 12/11

I have to say that overall, it is a disappointing sale week at CVS. I think I might try to see what I can do with the spend $30 get $10 gift card offers. There are a few things in there that I could use that combined, just might make it a good deal, but I will have to wait until I get to the store and see what the prices are.

Transaction #1
1 - Combos

Total $2 OOP, earn $2 ECBs.

Transaction #2
3 - American Greetings @ $.99

Total $2.97, pay with $2 ECBs and $.97 OOP, earn $3 ECBs.

Transaction #3
2 - Dentek Floss Picks 90ct

-$.75 Dentek mfg coupon
-$.75 Dentek mfg coupon

Total $4.48, pay with $3 ECBs and $1.48 OOP, earn $3 ECBs.

For the trip, the total OOP is $4.45 with $3 ECBs to roll and about $11 in product. A savings of about 68%.

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

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Oral-B Stages & Crest and Oral B Pro-Health FOR ME

My daughter LOVES to shop for new toothbrushes and toothpaste. Every time we go to "our CVS" the first thing she does is head to the toothbrush row to see if any are on sale. She will try to convince me that they are (even if they aren't) and ask if she can check how much they are on the price check machine. When we do get a new toothbrush or new toothpaste, she wants to open them right away and use them, even if we just have been using the current ones for a few days.

And yet, when I ask her some mornings, she will tell me that she already brushed her teeth when she has not. I'm not sure why, it seems like a complete disconnect to me. A little girl that is so enthused about toothbrushes and toothpaste and yet tries to get out of brushing her teeth.
Recently, I had the opportunity to host a MommyParties sponsored by Oral-B Stages III & Crest and Oral-B Pro-Health FOR ME. When the party pack arrived, the kids were pretty excited to check out the contents. The box was filled with toothpaste, toothbrushes, flossers, mouth rinse and more. In addition, it included Cars II DVD, Popcorn and Popcorn boxes for the party, tips/trivia for healthier teeth, balloons and gift bags for everyone to take home their new toothbrushes and more.

As I shared with everyone the products that we had to share, I'm not sure who was more excited, the moms or the kids. The moms were pretty excited to get such a variety of products. One mom mentioned that she hadn't tried the Oral-B Pro-Health FOR ME line, but figured that since her kids loved mint toothpaste, that they would enjoy trying the new toothpaste.
My daughter was certainly excited, amongst the goodies were Flossers featuring Toy Story characters...she couldn't wait to floss her teeth. Now, I remind her that we should brush first and then floss. She hasn't tried to get out of brushing her teeth lately. Maybe, just maybe, it is the power of Buzz Lightyear (flossers) that is inspiring her...I just know that I am glad not to have to ask twice.
No compensation was received for this post. As a host of the MommyParties sponsored by Oral-B Stages III & Crest and Oral-B Pro-Health FOR ME, I received a package of products and information to share. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family.

CVS Deals - 12/7

My first stop on Christmas Shopping Day was actually to CVS and was before my husband joined me. I did pretty well and picked up two AmEx gift cards with the two $10 gift card vouchers I had from last week - which helped make Christmas Shopping Day a zero OOP shopping day.

Transaction #1
3 - American Greeting Christmas Cards
1 - Candy Canes

-$2 $2/3 CVS American Greetings Coupon

Total $2.35 OOP with tax (I ran out of ECBs last week), earned $3 and $2 ECBs. Turns out the candy cane offer wasn't printing and they had to print it and for whatever reason can only do whole dollar ECBs.

Transaction #2
1 - Theraflu
1 - Triaminic

-$3 Theraflu CRT
-$3 Theraflu mfg coupon
-$3 Triaminic mfg coupon

Paid with $3 ECBs from transaction #1 and $.78 tax OOP. Earned $3 ECBs.

Transaction #3
2 - $10 Amex Gift Cards


Total $0 OOP.

For the day, my total OOP (including tax) was $3.13 and I have $3 and $2 ECBs to roll. Seems like a good trip to me!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Giveaway Winners!

Congratulations to Joey! Their entry was selected as the winner in the Lend A Helping Hand giveaway and their local foodbank will receive a donation.

Congratulations to Jennifer! Their entry was selected as the winner of the Crayola High-Tech Holiday giveaway.

Both winners have been notified by e-mail. Be sure to check out the other giveaways listed in the sidebar.

Samples and Freebies

Just that collage coupon I mention below.

(actually requested too!) CVS Free 8x10 Photo Collage, good through 12/11
Kotex Natural Balance sample and coupon

Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream - Discount Code & Giveaway!

I mentioned the other day that buying tickets to a show was a holiday gift that I enjoy giving. Here is an example of a show that would definitely be gift-worthy for the Princess in your life.

Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream is coming to Cleveland in January.
    "Get tangled up in the newest thrilling show to hit the ice, Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream. Experience Disney’s hilarious hair-raising escapade, Tangled; as Rapunzel, her unlikely companion, Flynn, and Maximus, embark on an uproarious journey that takes adventure to new lengths! Boogie to the beat of the bayou with Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen from The Princess and the Frog, in a magical, musical journey that all begins with a fateful kiss. And fanciful dreams become reality as Cinderella meets her Prince Charming, with a glass slipper fit for an unforgettable fantasy come true. All your favorite princesses take to the ice in a spectacular finale at the ultimate Disney Princess event of a lifetime! Experience the beauty, sparkle, and spirit when Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream comes to your hometown!"


• Friday, January 6: 7pm
• Saturday, January 7: 11am/ 3pm/ 7pm
• Sunday, January 8: 1pm/ 5pm
• Wednesday, January 11: 7pm
• Thursday, January 12: 7pm
• Friday, January 13: 7pm
• Saturday, January 14: 11am / 3pm/ 7pm
• Sunday, January 15: 1pm/ 5pm
• Monday, January 16: 1pm/ 5pm

When you go to this ticketing page to purchase seats, you can save $6 in advance on each ticket with CODE: FFA6 -- or save $3 on each ticket on the day of the show with CODE: FFA3. (Restrictions: FFA6 code valid through January 5, 2012. FFA3 code valid January 6-16, 2012. Not valid on Discount Drug Mart Front Row and VIP seats. Limit 6 tickets per transaction.)


Enter to win a family four pack of tickets to see Disney On Ice presents Dare to Dream in Cleveland. Show choices for the giveaway are as follows:

• Friday, January 6: 7pm
• Wednesday, January 11: 7pm
• Thursday, January 12: 7pm
• Friday, January 13: 7pm
• Sunday, January 15: 5pm
• Monday, January 16: 1pm/ 5pm

No compensation was received for this post. As a Feld Family Blogger, my family is given the opportunity to see the show. The tickets for my family, the giveaway and the information about the show and discounts were provided by Feld Entertainment.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide - Shows and Games

There is nothing quite the same as seeing live entertainment. Whether that entertainment is a Broadway show, a ballet, or a live sporting event, being at the show/game in person is just better than watching it at home.

I love taking my kids to see shows. Many theaters offer family packages and/or $10 tickets to shows. The tickets at that price are limited, but they give you the opportunity to share the experience without breaking the bank. We are fortunate, that in addition to regular shows, that we have been able to take in shows geared towards children. We have seen groups like Imagination Movers in concert, a local Children's Ballet group perform Fancy Nancy and Madeline ballets, storybook shows such as If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and Wrinkle in Time by a Professional Theater Company for young audiences and families, and shows like Disney on Ice and Phineas & Ferb Live. Each of these experiences can be used to teach children about the arts and to see familiar things transformed into live performances.

The holidays can be a great time to give someone the gift of show tickets (and sporting event tickets). Many theaters, having thought of this too, will send out their annual performance information just in time for the holidays.

Sometimes, you are able to get the tickets in time to wrap them and give them, but other times you can not.

At my house, if we can't get the tickets, we have been known to print out "gift certificates" that we make saying that we are giving the gift of the show. I have also done this for sporting event tickets.

Ace Hardware Winner!

Congratulations to Anna! Her entry was selected as the winner of the Ace Hardware Measuring Tape and Nail/Tool Apron giveaway.

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

Christmas Shopping Day!

Today is the annual Christmas Shopping Day. Every year, my husband and I choose a day in December to take and go shopping for the remaining items we need for Christmas.

Now, the reality is that most of our shopping is done already and a good number of gifts are already wrapped. This day usually is more about picking up the odds and ends that are needed to complete our shopping and occasionally, that spontaneous got to have item that we stumble upon in our journey. But, by setting the day aside, if there are things that we do need to get, we can get them together and not have to worry about the kids.

What I like best, is that it is a day for just the two of us. Once the kids are off to school, we will have breakfast and figure out where we are going and what we are getting. We will do some shopping, enjoy a nice lunch out together and then head home in time for the bus.

It is nice to have some time for just us (and get something done) amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Plus, by going in the middle of the week, the crowds are generally smaller than they are on the weekends.

Christmas Shopping Day works for me!

Monday, December 5, 2011

CVS Scenarios - week of 12/4

After getting the gift card deals last week, I am without ECBs. I might turn one gift card into a a CVS card to get me going this week. I am considering doing the gift card offer again this week, but need to figure out if the Cottonelle on the offer is a good deal.

Transaction #1
3 - American Greetings cards (99c variety)

-$2 $2/3 American Greeting CVS IP (no longer available, is a Hallmark coupon now)

Total $.98 OOP, earn $3 ECBs.

Transaction #2
1 - Triaminic Fever Reducer
1 - Theraflu

-$3 Triaminic Fever Reducer mfg coupon
-$3 Theraflu mfg coupon
-$3 Theraflu CRT

Total $3, pay with $3 ECB. Earn $3 ECB.

Transaction #3
2 - M&M

-$1 M&M mfg coupon

Total $4, pay with $3 ECBs and $1 OOP. Earn $1 ECB.

Transaction #4
1 - Candy Canes

Total $1.27, pay with $1 ECB and $.27 OOP, earn $1.27 ECB.

For the day, the total OOP is $2.25, with $1.27 ECB to roll, for $21.25 in product at sale prices. A savings of about 90%.

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

Menu Plan Monday

The weekend just flew by! It was a very enjoyable and still fairly relaxing weekend.

Friday was spent running some important errands and getting a start on my holiday cookie baking. Then, Friday evening, we had some friends over for dinner, where we enjoyed Skyline Chili and Coneys. After dinner, a few more couples showed up and we enjoyed visiting, snacking and some game play. We tried out a new game called Zero - the concept is basically the opposite of Family Feud, they surveyed people and your goal is to get the least common answer.

Saturday, I hosted a Thirty-One party and had a few friends over to check out all of their great products. My plan is to get some of their About Town Blankets - to prepare for the chilly and damp spring sports season. I love how they fold up into a little bundle with a handle. Easy to bring along and store in the car.

Sunday, I spent the day sorting through pictures and choosing them for a couple of holiday gifts and prepping for this year's photo book. We also put together our Christmas Cards and will have them printed. I capped my day with dinner with a friend from high school. It has likely been over 10 years since I saw her and she happened to move to the area a few months ago and only lives about 15 minutes away. It was nice to catch up and enjoy half-price Sushi.

But, after so much, it is time to start the work week again. Hard to believe that it is less than three weeks until Christmas.

snack plates
Mac'n Cheese/Sushi



Pierogie, Sausage and Hashbrowns


Chicken Cheese Steaks

Tilapia Vera Cruz

Breakfast is cereal or oatmeal each morning, although sometimes at school my daughter will have pancakes or french toast. For my son, lunch is either the menu item at school or a packed lunch with some type of sandwich. Lunch for my husband and me is typically sandwiches, frozen meals or leftovers.

This post shared at Menu Plan Monday.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Apply to do a Review/Giveaway of Diamond Candles

There is an interesting opportunity for a review and giveaway, open to US Bloggers. As part of entering to participate, I am sharing here. The product is Diamond Candles and each candle contains a ring inside it valued from $10 to $100 to $500 to $5000.

Interested in applying? You can learn more here.

Holiday Gift Guide - Building Toys and Tracks

I'm not sure what it is, but building blocks, Legos, K'nex, Lincoln Logs and the like can occupy kids for hours.

There obviously are sets out there that have an objective of building a specific item, which is a great way for them to build an item and learn to work through directions. Actually, have you ever had something built and had it can be quite a challenge to rebuild it without unbuilding it first. (Another great problem solving exercise.) Building something according to directions can be a great starting point for a child that is not as familiar with the products. Once they see what you can do with Legos, K'nex or Lincoln Logs, it gives them a great spring board from which to launch their very own creations.

For our Legos and K'nex, we have both types of sets. We have those that were designed to build something and those that are meant to build anything. I love seeing the creations that the kids come up with on their own. Each child has their own set of Legos and 2 base boards, one large and one small, on which they can build houses and more. As they build, they learn a little about stability, balance and building a sturdy base - lessons that I hope will someday make the concepts learned in advanced science classes easier for them to visualize.

After starting this post, I also added Tracks to this category. We have several tracks in our house. We have Thomas the Train plastic tracks, we have a Darden Car Track (including upside down loops), we have a Hot Wheels race track and a DaGeDar Track. At first, we build things "as expected", but with time, the kids have turned many of them into their own creations (race track aside - it only goes together one way).

Last night, by way of example, my son took a portion of the DaGeDar track and used it as a launch point to activate the Toy Story Action Links and then to topple some dominoes. The set up involved a lot of problem solving. At first, the dominoes were in front of the Action Links, but quickly my son learned that the domino falling wouldn't activate the Action Links. Then, he rearranged them placing the Action Links first. Of course, this required the DaGeDar to land more precisely and we had to adjust the angle of the track a couple of times to find just the right trajectory to kick off the chain. Again, he had a target in mind when he started and used a lot of discovery in the form of trial and error and problem solving to do what he wanted to.

When it comes to our Thomas the Train tracks, we started with a basic set or two and then have purchased additional track pieces overtime, allowing the kids to make longer and more complex tracks. The kids have used the dishes from the toy kitchen to create tracks that cross over top of one another. There were bridges that came with the set, but they weren't tall enough to allow the train to run on a track underneath. I thought this was a great creative problem solving on their part to find a way to make the track high enough to allow another track to run underneath.

Building toys and tracks allow for hours of entertainment, as well as an opportunity to be creative, solve problems and stretch their minds.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

CVS Deals - week of 11/27

I had to make a couple of trips to CVS this week to get everything I needed to complete the deals that I wanted. I actually thought about going out today to get the candy deal, but have no interest in leaving my house, so I will simply pass on the deal.

3 - Tide Original Detergent
2 - Glade Sprays

-$2 Tide mfg coupon
-$2 Tide mfg coupon
-$2 Tide mfg coupon
-$2 $2/2 Glade CVS coupon

Paid with $1.98. $2, $1.69 and $4.49 ECBs. Put the remaining $2.88 ($1.64 plus tax) on a gift card.

2 - Triple Flex 120ct
1 - Dawn Ultra

-$10 Triple Flex CRT
-$2 Nature Made CRT
-$1 Nature Made mfg coupon
-$1 Nature Made mfg coupon
-$.50 Dawn mfg coupon

Paid $14.86 on gift cards and $14.08 OOP. Earned $20 in Gift Cards.

I am at a point where I have no ECBs remaining, having spent them on the first transaction. I am not sure, but might put $10 of my gift cards back into CVS, just so I can keep my OOP low as I rebuild an ECB balance. We will see what the deals look like.

Friday, December 2, 2011

[Giveaway Winner!] Billy Joel The Piano Man (Legacy Edition)

Congratulations to Susan! Her entry was selected as the winner of the Billy Joel the Piano Man (Legacy Edition) giveaway.

Be sure to check out the other giveaways, listed in the upper right side bar.

Quest for Zhu - a Giveaway

A while back, I shared with you about the Quest for Zhu movie, which at the time was not yet released. The movie brings to life those loveable Zhu Zhu pets. Join ZhuZhu's Pipsqueak, Num Nums, Chunk and Mr. Squiggles in an "adventurous, heartwarming and heroic tale that Zhu-natics of all ages are sure to love".


Courtesy of MomSelect and ZhuZhu Pets, I am able to offer to one A Busy Mom of Two reader, a copy of the ZhuZhu Pets Quest for Zhu movie on DVD.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Chex Party Mix-change

Sure, everyone has heard of Cookie Exchanges. You know how it works, a group of friends or coworkers each bake their family favorite, packaging them up in dozen cookie packages. Then, everyone gets together for a little bit of camaraderie and exchanges cookies. You wind up with a collection of cookies to fill your cookie trays at holiday gatherings and at least for me, find yourself a new favorite.

This year, why not have a Chex Party Mix-change instead. The concept is similar, everyone make up their favorite Chex Party Mix recipe to share. The best part = is that you can "make Chex Party Mix in just 15 minutes" instead of spending hours baking. You can still get together for a the same camaraderie and come away with a number of varieties of Chex Mix to share with your family and friends at your holiday gatherings. Chex has even done some of the work for you - simply stop by the Chex Party Mix-change webpage and you can print up festive invites, shopping lists and recipe cards

With so many recipes to choose from, their is a Chex Mix to suit your want for sweet or savory. My newest favorite has to be the Snickerdoodle Chex Mix. It uses the Chocolate Chex, Cinnamon Chex and some popcorn, along with butter, cinnamon and sugar to create a yummy sweet party mix. I must admit though, as I was scanning the list of Chex Mix recipes to find the link I found several that I can't wait to try.

To help you get started on your Chex Party Mix-change, Sam’s Club, Chex Party Mix and General Mills through MyBlogSpark are providing one A Busy Mom of Two reader with a Chex Party Mix-change Prize Pack, which includes a box of Chex Cereal and a $25 Gift Card to Sam's Club.