Friday, June 29, 2012

Samples & Freebies

Shout Color Catcher (

Stayfree sample and coupon
Bodycology sample and coupon

Camping Out

The other night, as we were sitting at the dinner table, my five year old asked when we were going to get to sleep in the tent. Aside from indoor camp-outs, she has never slept in a tent or gone camping. We made one attempt when she was about 9 months old, in our friend's yard, but the kids and I wound up coming home. She wasn't always sleeping through the night at that point, so I figured that sleeping in a tent would not help her sleep through the night and the others at the camp-out likely would not appreciate the sound of a crying baby at 3 am.

I can remember doing lots of camping as a child. Whether it was sleeping in the pop up camper in the driveway with all of my cousins at a slumber party the night before my brother's birthday party, an annual weekend family camp-out with my dad's family, a weekend camp out for Girl Scouts or even a vacation that we took to a lake and camped, I always loved it. I can remember at the family camp outs that when my cousin and I got older, that we were allowed to share a tent, instead of sleeping in the tent/camper with our families. I loved the hiking, the swimming, the hanging out around the campfire and the waking up in the morning to the sounds of nature.

The campfire brought with it so many stories and lots of delicious food. There is something great about food cooked on the campfire. For some reason, Hot Dogs tasted better when you cooked them on a stick. Marshmallows were so nice and ooey gooey - and sometimes, added to chocolate for S'mores.

But, I think my absolute favorite food from the campfire were the pockets of yumminess we cooked in our pie irons. Somehow, simple bread was transformed when added to a little bit of butter in a hot pie iron and filled with the simplest of ingredients. It became so crispy and held such a delicious treat. We would make a variety of pie irons. When I was younger, I remember them mostly being desserts. We would fill them canned pie filling and sprinkle with powdered sugar. When I was older, I remember making Pizza Pie Irons. These were awesome, filled with some pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella and pepperoni. You had to watch, too much pizza sauce and you were sure to get burned on that first bite when the sauce oozed out. We also got fancy with our desserts and made a lemon meringue pie, using lemon pie filling and marshmallows on the inside.

When my husband and I purchased our first tent and camping gear, with a gift certificate I had received from work, I made sure that we bought marshmallow/hot dog sticks and pie irons. We did some camping in our pre-children years, but it has been a long time since we went camping.

Since my daughter asked, I think that we may have to take a mini-staycation in our backyard soon. We can pitch our tent, pull out our camping supplies and have a little campfire. We may have to borrow a fire pit, or maybe I buy a new one to replace our old one that rusted out, but we will cook our dinner on the fire and sit around telling stories.

I know that the kids would enjoy it and it would be a good trial before making a commitment to a 'real' camping trip where we load up the car and go to a campground or state park for the night. I always enjoyed camping as a kid and I think it would be fun to start our own family tradition of camping out and hope that my kids will have fond memories of camping out too.

What type of stay-cation will you take this year?

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, June 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Yes, I know that I used this picture in another post today. I just love that my kids wanted to participate in the garage sale and made these signs to wave so that everyone would see us.
This post shared at Wordless Wednesday.

Selling Kid's Stuff

It used to be that I thought a Garage Sale was a great way to get rid of extra stuff around the house, but especially kid's clothes and toys that had been outgrown. For years, we have been having garage sales, even before we had kids. I think that it is a love that I have from my own childhood and helping my mom when she had a garage sale.

I know that I, myself, when I was expecting my son and then in the early years of being a mom, would go to a lot of garage sales to get kids things. Some of my favorite dresses that my daughter wore, her princess umbrella, some favorite toys, and many outfits for my son were all picked up as bargains at local garage sales. As time has passed, I find that I am simply too busy to make it to more than a randomly passed garage sale. But, when I do get to go, I generally am able to find a gem or two.

For some reason, this year, the neighborhood garage sale was a big disappointment. We made a fraction of what we normally do and I felt like I was packing up almost as much as I put out for sale. I had even placed an ad, hoping that calling attention to the things we had would draw in more interested patrons. The only thing that kept it from being a big disappointment was spending the day hanging out with my friend.

The good news is that I seem to have found two alternatives for selling kid's stuff and outlets for household goods too.

Last year, after my garage sale, I stumbled upon an online forum of local moms. There was a group on the forum that was all about buying and selling kid's stuff. I started to watch the boards and when someone posted that they were looking for a specific size, I would respond and send them pictures. I had a good amount of success moving bags of clothes at a time, versus the couple of items here, couple of items there movement at a garage sale. Unfortunately, that group was disbanded and the replacement forum only seemed to last a few months. Since that time, I was introduced to a new forum, that is based on Facebook. Again, it is all about advice, buying and selling kid's stuff. I am once again able to move through good amounts of clothing in quick fashion.

I also discovered Little Red Wagon, which I didn't participate in, but liked the idea. When I saw a sign advertising a community kid's stuff sale, for a much cheaper rate, I decided to join in. Essentially, it was an indoor garage sale, shopped by people that were only looking for kid's stuff. I was able to make more money and move more toys and clothes in those 4 hours than I generally would make at a garage sale. It was such a success that I have already reserved my spot for next year.

I'm likely to continue to participate in the community garage sale, but I'm thinking I might not put as much effort into it going forward. I think that I am getting more bang for my buck with the use of mom's forums and just kid's stuff sales.

This post shared at Works for Me Wednesday.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

CVS Deals - 6/26

So, as planned I headed to CVS today, but I have to say that I started to shop, I started to feel like I didn't have a plan. I grabbed a few ECB deals and then several non-deal items for my 30% coupon. As I read the 30% coupon, I discovered that it was 30% after the CVS coupons. I can't quite figure out how the fact that I paid with ECBs worked into the scenario. The cashier said that they just came off wouldn't matter, other guy (manager?) said that they would come off before the discount. The numbers don't add up either way, so there must have been some allocation of the ECB against the items eligible for the discount. Just couldn't figure it out.

Here is what I got:

1 - Colgate 360 Optic White Toothbrush
1 - Schick Hydro Silk Razor (rain check from last week)
1 - Conair Hair Brush
1 - CVS travel wipes
1 - 8pk CVS travel tissues
1 - Ensure Clear ('protein shake')
2 - Ensure shakes ('protein shake')
4 - 99c greeting cards
1 - Metamucil 30 dose
2 - Suave for Men shampoo

-$.75 Colgate mfg coupon
-$.75 Colgate CRT
-$4 Schick Hydro Silk mfg coupon
-$5 Schick Hydro Silk CRT
-$3 any Brush CRT
-$2 Ensure Clear mfg coupon
-$3 $3/2 Ensure mfg coupon
-$2 Metamucil mfg coupon
-$5 Metamucil CRT
-$2 any Shampoo CRT
-$2 any Shampoo CRT

-$5 $5/$20 CRT
-$10.14 30% off total purchase e-mail offer (excludes sale items, after CVS discounts)

Paid with $13 in ECBs and $6.52 (plus $1.22 tax) OOP, earned $4, $3 and $1 (green bag tag) ECBs.

So, net cost for this trip was $12.74 in combined OOP and ECB reduction. Pretty good for about $70 in product. A savings of 82%.

CVS Scenarios - week of 6/24

I have to get to CVS today. There was a big ad in my paper telling me that for three days only, the coupon machine will be printing off $5/$20 coupons. It has been forever since I had a $/$$ coupon at CVS. Sure, other people get them randomly by e-mail and at the coupon machine, but I clearly do not fit in their 'profile' of who gets those coupons, because I never do. I miss the days where they would be in the Sunday paper or in a magazine or mailer.

Of course, if I am going to go, it is always best to have a game plan.

Transaction #1
1 - Colgate Tootbrush
3 - V05 Conditioners
1 - Venus Razor
1 - Crest ProGlide Floss

-$5 $5/$20 CVS CRT
-$.75 Toothbrush CRT
-$.75 Colgate Toothbrush mfg coupon
-$1 $1/3 V05 mfg coupon
-$2 $2 Shampoo/Conditioner CRT
-$4 Venus mfg coupon
-$.50 Glide floss mfg coupon

Total $6.74 OOP, earn $4, $4 and $2 ECBs, for a net 'profit' of $3.26 in ECBs.

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

Monday, June 25, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

We had a somewhat busy weekend. The good news is that the busy didn't start until Saturday afternoon and was over by Sunday afternoon. I was able to fit in a stop at the grocery store after the busy ended. I got some good deals and stocked up on some favorites. I am so glad to have bananas in the house again. I went for a whole week without them. I spent more on the pork for the pork tenderloin sandwiches than I ever have, but I guess that is what I get for not confirming price before asking them to prep the pork - I think the pieces are all huge, so we will likely have leftovers. Maybe having two meals will make the price sting less.

cereal/Chocolate Banana Bread
Cici's pizza
Turkey Soup


Chicken Cheese Steaks - some Buffalo Style

Pasta Bravo


Pork Tenderloins

Dinner out

Breakfast is cereal or oatmeal each morning, although sometimes at school my daughter will have pancakes or french toast. Now that it is summer, my son has lunch at latchkey on the days that he goes. Lunch for my husband and me is typically sandwiches, frozen meals or leftovers.

This post shared at Menu Plan Monday.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

CVS Deals - 6/21

So, Thursday evening, I decided to make a quick stop at CVS and try out my scenarios. When I scanned my coupon and got the 20% off coupon, I was disappointed to see that it was only good on non-sale/non-promotional items. They were out of a few things that I wanted, so I picked up what they did have and headed to check out. As the cashier was scanning my items, I commented on my disappointment that the coupon had exclusions, even though the ad hadn't noted it. She said that there had been a lot of customers that were frustrated. Then, she said that many were surprised to learn that items were no longer on sale, but they were making the adjustment when they could. This evidently totally escaped me, as she handed me my receipt with no ECBs, I said 'wait, the whole ad was only through Wednesday?'. She said yes.

I was glad for a friendly and helpful clerk. I would have simply returned the purchase, but since she offered that the store was printing the ECBs for the deals from the week, I was willing to accept them. She was also able to make the adjustments for the sale prices on the two items that were part of the ECB deals that had rung up at shelf price. As she was helping me, I realized that there hadn't been sale or ECB tags on any of the items I purchased or had planned to purchase. It probably should have been obvious to me, but I guess I just assumed that the first page was a 4 day sale, not that the whole ad was. They do 3 day and 4 day offers all the time.

When I came home, I called CVS and expressed my concern on both the clarity of the ad and the lack of disclaimer on the coupon. I told them that I was helped by a very nice clerk and appreciated her kindness and that the store offered to print the ECBs, especially since I hadn't even asked about that.

Transaction #1
1 - Gold Emblem Sour Worms (for my assistant)
2 - Mountain Dew 2L
1 - CVS Vitamin C
2 - Colgate MaxFresh
1 - NatureMade Fish Oil

-$1 CVS Pepsi 2L CRT
-$.75 Colgate mfg coupon
-$.75 Colgate mfg coupon
-$2 NatureMade mfg coupon
-$7.51 CVS 20% off CRT

Paid with $16 ECBs and $13.95 (plus $2.10 tax) OOP. They printed for me $10 ECB for the Fish Oil and $3 ECB for the Colgate. She also refunded me $7 difference from shelf price to the sale price that was in place earlier in the week.

Did you realize that it was the entire ad that was only a 4 day sale?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Samples and Freebies

I missed this post last week, it was a slow week I guess.

U by Kotex sample and clutch (Walmart)
$5 Cracker Barrel eGift Card

Nexcare Waterproof Bandage sample and coupon
Bounty coupons - one for napkins, one for paper towels
Aveeno Nourish + Strengthen sample
Nordic Naturals DHA sample, coupon and online coupon code
Ovaltine samples and coupon
Target Spring Beauty Bag (at least I assume it is spring?)
$5 Cracker Barrel eGift Card
SebaMed Liquid Face and Body Wash with coupon. Unfortunately, the sample package failed and now I can't try the product or use the coupon!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

CVS Scenarios - week of 6/17

I know I am really late putting up my scenarios this week, but I have been so torn as to what to do. I got an e-mail yesterday letting me know that today the coupon machine would be printing a coupon for Pepsi brand 2L at 2/$1 with a $10 purchase. It said it was a one day deal, but I figured it would likely not expire today. I stopped in to print it, knowing that I want to wait and go back tomorrow for the 20% coupon. I was glad to see that indeed it doesn't expire until tomorrow. Generally, they will take normal CRTs a few days after expiration, but my experience with the one day only offers is that they won't take those once expired.

So, here is what I am thinking about getting:

1 - NatureMade Fish Oil
1 - Schick Hydro Silk
6 - Arizona Iced Tea
1 - Colgate MaxFresh Toothpaste
2 - Mountain Dew 2L

-$7.70 20% total purchase (doesn't say that it excludes sale items in the ad)
-$7 NatureMade IP (earned with points from vitamins purchased)
-$5 Schick Hydro Silk CRT (got it today)
-$2 Schick Hydro Silk mfg coupon
-$.75 Colgate Max Fresh IP
-$2? 2/$1 Pepsi 2L CRT

Total $14.04, earn $10, $3 and $1.50 ECBs. Essentially, getting everything for free.

I may also look for some Advil coupons and pick up a bottle, they have a $3 ECB offer. And, if they have the Smart Food chips included on their 2/$2.50 sale I will definitely get some of them. Haven't been able to find them at my grocery store yet. I asked the guy stocking the Frito Lay last time I was at the store and they didn't carry them he told me. I will also look for the Gillette Fusion Shave Gel travel size, which is reportedly generating the ECB, making it less than 50c.

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

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

It has been a crazy few days, and there is no end to the craziness in sight! We had a wonderful weekend, we had a garage sale, we had our last soccer games and awards, we played at the amusement park, had a baseball game and celebrated Father's Day with a dinner out.

I skipped the grocery this weekend. We had milk on hand and my husband grabbed a loaf of bread for us at Target. The week is busy and the meal plan is relying on stuff we have on hand and things that are easy to prepare with the crazy schedule.

cereal/Chocolate Banana Bread
dinner out at our favorite local Mexican

Turkey Loaf

Breakfast for dinner - thinking Pierogie, Sausage and Eggs

Homemade Pizza

Chicken Bruschetta

Pasta with Arrabiata Sauce


Breakfast is cereal or oatmeal each morning, although sometimes at school my daughter will have pancakes or french toast. Now that it is summer, my son has lunch at latchkey on the days that he goes. Lunch for my husband and me is typically sandwiches, frozen meals or leftovers.

This post shared at Menu Plan Monday.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Wishing all of the dads out there a Happy Father's Day.

We are enjoying our day with baseball (weather permitting - crossing fingers) and my husband's favorite restaurant for his favorite meal.

What are you doing to celebrate?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fiber One Chewy Bars - a giveaway

What a whirlwind it has been! The past couple of months have been full of baseball, soccer, end of school activities, family events and more. With us always on the go, we sometimes have to wait to eat dinner until after a given event. So, this means that we need to give the kids (and us!) a snack before we head out the door. Something that will provide them with energy and hold them over until dinner is ready. Those snacks can vary and in part depend on whether they are eating them on the run or if they can sit down at the table. Usually the snack is a yogurt, a piece of fruit, or a granola/cereal type bar.

Recently, we had the chance to try new Fiber One Chewy bars in two fun flavors - Chocolate (always a favorite of mine) and Strawberry PB&J. They seemed to be a hit with everyone. I particularly enjoyed the fact that Chocolate ones only had 100 calories per bar. Since I am trying to manage my calorie intake, this satisfying snack fits easily in my day.

"Looking for a snack that combines the taste kids’ love with the nutrients they need? Be one of the first to try new Fiber One® Chewy bars, the perfect wholesome snack that the whole family will enjoy! Available in Chocolate and Strawberry PB&J varieties, these chewy bars are perfect for in-the-house, on-the-go, and everywhere in between. Complete with a peanut butter or chocolate bottom and yummy drizzle in every bite, kids won’t be able to resist the taste and parents won’t be able to resist the nutrition of this enjoyable snack.

- Fiber One Chewy bars contain 20% of the Daily Value of fiber and 10% of the Daily Value of calcium
- These 100 or 110 calorie bars contain no high fructose corn syrup, and only 7 or 8 grams of sugar"


Thanks to General Mills, through MyBlogSpark, I have the opportunity to share with one A Busy Mom of Two reader a Fiber One Chewy Bars Gift Pack that contains:

(1) Box of Fiber One Chewy Chocolate Bars
(1) Box of the Fiber One Chewy Strawberry PB&J Bars
Drawstring Sack Pack
Water Bottle
Flexi Flyer
Soccer Ball
Sidewalk Chalk

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway will remain open through July 2nd. Giveaway is open to residents of the US only. One winner will be selected through Rafflecopter. The winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be selected.

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

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Winner - 2 Box Cheerios Package prize pack giveaway

Congratulations to Gina! Her entry was selected as the winner of the 2 Box Cheerios Package prize pack giveaway.

Thanks everyone for entering and be sure to stop back for some new giveaways that I will be sharing later this week.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Monday, again, already? It is amazing how quickly the time seems to go. We have been very busy lately, which of course, seems to make it move even faster. This weekend was filled with family, sports and preschool graduation.

Friday night, we headed downtown for a free concert featuring two tribute bands - one for Billy Joel and one for Elton John. It was a nice evening hanging out with friends and my dad. Saturday, we had to miss my daughter's sports because she had preschool graduation, but my son's soccer and baseball games fell on either side of graduation, allowing us to attend both. It is so hard for me to believe that my daughter is a preschool graduate. She will be in kindergarten next year. Another evidence of just how fast time passes. When the presented the class, they presented them as the preschool class of 2012 and the high school graduating class of 2025.

There is another busy week before us, although soccer will soon be winding to a close, freeing up a little more time in our schedule.

Five Guys
Salad and Corn on the Cob

Chipotle Chicken/Chicken Tacos

Tilapia Vera Cruz

Chicken Bake


Spaghetti and Meatballs

Grilled Chicken and Hot Dogs

Breakfast is cereal or oatmeal each morning, although sometimes at school my daughter will have pancakes or french toast. Now that it is summer, my son has lunch at latchkey on the days that he goes. Lunch for my husband and me is typically sandwiches, frozen meals or leftovers.

This post shared at Menu Plan Monday.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

CVS Deals - 6/8

I got an e-mail on Thursday that told me that there would be a coupon at the coupon machine on Friday for a 12 pk of Coke for $1.99. I didn't read it closely, so when I got to the store on Friday, I discovered it was with a $10 purchase. Fortunately, I had time and had my coupons, so I picked up some of this weeks deals.

1 - Crest Mouth Rinse
2 - Oral B Manual Toothbrushes
1 - Speedstick Deodorant
1 - 12 pk Barqs Root Beer

-$1 Crest Mouth Rinse mfg coupon
-$1 Mouth Rinse CRT
-$1 Oral B Toothbrush mfg coupon
-$1 Oral B Toothbrush mfg coupon
-$1.50 Speedstick CRT
-$2.01 Coke for $1.99 CRT

Paid with $3.75 in ECBs and $8.23 OOP. Earned $5, $2 and $4 ECBs. So, in essence, the whole trip cost about $1.

I also took a few minutes and picked up some cards that I was in need of. They were a separate transaction and not any special deal.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Samples & Freebies

Stayfree Ultra Thin with Wings - they give you other offers, I declined them.
Nexcare Waterproof Bandage Sample
Bodycology Lotion Sample (Facebook)
Lipton Tea & Honey Mango Pineapple sample (Facebook)

Always/Tampax Radiant Sample pack, bag and coupons
Cutex One Step Pad sample and coupon
Crespo Olives - 2 sample packs and online coupon offer

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Rainbow Makes a Promise

Saw this on our drive home last night:
Every time I see a rainbow, I'm reminded of the song we used to sing at church.

The lyrics went something like this:
A rainbow makes a promise,
that life is here to stay,
promise means there's more to life than what we know today.
I can share tomorrow, if there's one to pledge it to.
I'd like to be a rainbow, and promise life to you.

Whom I kidding, it doesn't just remind me, it causes me to break out in song!

This post shared at Wordless Wednesday. (yes, I know there are words!)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

It was a great weekend. It was a busy weekend. I didn't do half of what I wanted to do this weekend.

Saturday was populated with sports. We had friends over on Saturday night (I found out about an hour before they arrived!) and hung out and shared a bottle of wine while the kids played, first outside and then downstairs after dark.

Sunday was a more quiet day - we only had one game.

I had designs on cleaning and doing laundry - a little was accomplished, but not what I had hoped. I had plans to finally put in the garden, but the time just didn't create itself.

As a result, there are a few things already on my to do list for this week.

Macaroni and Cheese
Creamy Chicken Florentine

Chicken Enchiladas


dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant

Crab Cakes

Pork Chops


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.

iPad Giveaway Event

The New iPad Giveaway Event is a free blogger event. You will receive one link at no cost as a thank you for participating in this event.

Free Link options are: Email, RSS, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.

Prize: The New iPad ~ iPad3 16GB (value $499)

Open to: Worldwide (note – non-US residents will receive the cash equivalent).

The event dates: July 1 at 12:01 am to July 15 11:59am

What is required to join?

Mom to Bed by 8, the Iowa-Mom is proud to present the The New iPad Giveaway Event, sponsored by BeeSavy. Event dates: July 1 to July 15.

Details: This is a free blogger event, open worldwide and blog accepting sign ups now. Join The New iPad Giveaway event with special co-host voiceBoks today!

You can find all of the details about how to participate by visiting Mom to Bed by 8. If you sign up, please reference A Busy Mom of Two as the referring site. There is a referral contest for bloggers.

Want a chance to win? Be sure to stop back here July 1st and enter to win.

CVS Scenarios - week of 6/3

If there were a theme to the deals this week at CVS, I would to say that the theme is oral care. It seems that most of the deals that are out there to take advantage of are for the mouth.

Transaction #1
1 - Crest ProHealth
1 - Oral B manual toothbrush

-$.25 Crest Rinse mfg coupon
-$1 Oral B toothbrush mfg coupon (from dentist office)

Total $7.51 OOP, earn $5 and $2 ECB.

Transaction #2
1 - Crest ProHealth
1 - Oral B manual toothbrush

-$.25 Crest Rinse mfg coupon
-$1 Oral B toothbrush mfg coupon (from dentist office)

Total $7.51, pay with $7 ECB and $.51 OOP, earn $5 and $2 ECB.

Transaction #3
1 - Speedstick
2 - Amp/Starbuck's Refreshers

-$1 Speedstick mfg coupon (may have been regional?)

Total $4.99, pay with $5 ECB adjusted down. Earn $2 and $1 ECB.

For the visit, the total OOP is $8.02, with $5 ECBs to roll and $23.51 in product at sale prices. A savings of about 72%.

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

CVS $5 Challenge

Transaction #1
2 - Oral B Manual Toothbrushes

-$1 Oral B toothbrush mfg coupon (from dentist office)
-$1 Oral B toothbrush mfg coupon (from dentist office)

Total $3.54 OOP. Earn $4 ECBs.

Transaction #2
1 - Crest Rinse

-$.25 Crest Rinse mfg coupon

Total $5.74, pay with $4 ECBs and $1.74 OOP. Earn $5 ECBs.

Transaction #3
1 - Speedstick
2 - Amp/Starbuck's Refreshers

-$1 Speedstick mfg coupon (may have been regional?)

Total $4.99, pay with $5 ECB adjusted down. Earn $2 and $1 ECB.

For the trip, the total OOP is $5.28, with $3 ECBs to roll and $17.52 in product at sale prices. A savings of about 74%.

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

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Fresh Produce Clothing

I love to wear dresses, but I seem to always have trouble finding dresses that are versatile enough to go from work to the weekend. As a busy mom, there are many times where I find myself going from work to daycare to soccer or baseball. Having a dress that I can wear to work, but still feel comfortable wearing at the ball field is something that makes the transition easier. In addition, I struggle with 'single' use items. I want to make sure that when I am buying clothing that I can get the most out of it. I try to find shirts that can be dressy paired with slacks or casual paired with Khakis or jeans. Dresses that I can wear on the weekend or add a jacket and dress it up for work.

I recently learned about a women's clothing retailer that was co-founded and run by a mom entrepreneur - Fresh Produce. Fresh Produce offers clothes that are made primarily in the USA. You can order direct through their website, or find Fresh Produce clothing is available at 25 company-owned retail boutique and at more than 500 independent retailers throughout the continental US, Canada, Hawaii and the Caribbean. The best part about Fresh Produce is that they are dedicated to designing feel-good clothes that women want to wear every day.

When I first visited the site, I was amazed by the variety of dresses for spring and summer that were available on their site. With a variety of styles and fabrics, there seemed to be options that would work great for weekend wear, but also a number that could work for both work and weekend. I had a hard time trying to decide which dress to try. In the end, I went with the Twist Front Dress in Black. It struck me as a versatile dress that I could dress up with a scarf or pearls, or go casual with a pair of sandals.

In addition to dresses, they have a great assortment of casual clothes - shorts, skirts, shirts, beach cover-ups, sweaters, cardigans, jackets and more! The fabrics and cuts just seem so fresh and relaxed. Again, even with their casual clothes, there were many pieces that I know would be versatile enough to also wear to work. They also offer a children's line for girls. The dresses were so cute, I might just have to pick up some for my daughter. My favorite is the Girl's Happyness Twirly Dress - what little girl doesn't love spinning around and watching her dress twirl around her.

I tried to include a picture of me in the dress, but it was so windy, my face was scrunchy and my hair a mess. So, I will have to try again another calmer day.

No compensation was received for this post. A dress was provided by Fresh Produce for my review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

CVS Deals - 6/1

It took most of the week, but finally on Friday, I had a few minutes so I stopped in at CVS. Of course, the one I went to didn't carry the SunDrop, so I will have to decide whether to try to find it elsewhere or not. I got a coupon at the scanner that helped me out with this week's deal.

Transaction #1
2 - Milky Way Caramel
1 - Colgate Toothbrush

-$.75 $.75/2 Milky Way IP ( - not sure if it is still available)
-$1 any Toothbrush CRT

Paid with $2 ECB and $.89 OOP ($.15 tax), earned $.75, $2 and $1 (green bag tag) ECB. In essence, a money-making journey, since I got the green bag tag ECB.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Hershey's Simple Pleasures

I've shared more than once that I am a big fan of chocolate. To me, it is one of life's little pleasures (I actually found myself wanting to say, simple pleasures, but more on that later). Be it true or not, I like to believe that having a little chocolate each day is a good thing. I think that a little indulgence daily, can keep me from wanting to sit down and eat lots and lots of chocolate. Plus, I know that I have read somewhere that chocolate is actually good for me (something technical about antioxidants and flavnoids) and I know that eating a good piece of chocolate is something that is soothing to me.

So, even when I am watching my calorie intake and trying to lose weight, it is not uncommon to see me reach for a piece of chocolate. When I allow myself to indulge, I want it to be worth my while - this is true for books, shows, wine, candy, food, clothes, because there is nothing more disappointing than spoiling yourself and not enjoying it. So, when I have a piece of chocolate, I want to know that it is a good, smooth, flavorful treat that I will enjoy.

If you are one that likes to indulge in chocolate like me, you will be glad to hear that there is a new chocolate product from Hershey that will be hitting the shelves at your local Giant Eagle today! It is called Hershey's Simple Pleasures.

"Hershey's Simple Pleasures combines quality ingredients, including dry roasted cocoa beans, brown sugar and pure milk to create a velvety smooth chocolate outside and a rich, creamy center."

There are three varieties of Hershey's Simple Pleasures available - Dark Chocolate with Chocolate Creme, Milk Chocolate with Chocolate Creme, and Milk Chocolate with Vanilla Creme.

When I got the box with the samples, I couldn't wait to give them a try. I, of course, had to try one of each. Fortunately for me, they are only about 30 calories each (a serving of 6 pieces is 180 calories - I did the math to get to 30 calories) and they have 30% less fat than the average of leading milk chocolate.

As I prepared to give them a try, I wasn't sure how to eat them. I know it sounds silly, but generally, when something is cream filled, I have a tendency to want to take a bite out of them so that I can get the flavor of the cream mixed with the chocolate, vs a solid chocolate that I tend to allow to simply melt in my mouth, but the bag calls them an "indulgent, melt-in-your-mount chocolate experience".

So despite this 'direction' on the bag, I decided that I would go with instinct and take a bite. The first one that I tried was the Vanilla Creme, of course, as I would come to learn, this one has the most 'liquidy' center and that first bite left me with this tasty vanilla cream dripping from the second half. So, I decided that I would allow the second one to melt in my mouth. I went with the milk chocolate variety next. Trouble was, for me, the chocolate didn't fit nicely on top of my tongue, nestled into the roof of my mouth, so allowing it to melt and not chew it was a challenge. Lastly, I tried the dark chocolate variety. I took a hybrid approach for this one, I took a bite and allowed this bite to melt in my mouth, rather than chewing it.

Despite all of my challenges around how to enjoy them, I can assure you that I enjoyed them! I think that the Milk Chocolate with Chocolate Creme was my favorite, which is a bit surprising to me, because normally I am a big dark chocolate fan. There was just something so creamy and satisfying about the milk chocolate variety.

I'm not sure that Hershey's is looking for more ideas - but I think I'd like to see a marshmallow creme and a caramel creme - or a marshmallow and caramel creme variety for their next offering.

No compensation was received for this post. A complimentary sample of each variety and information was provided through Giant Eagle. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family.

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