Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fort Rapids Waterpark - Columbus

As a busy mom, I enjoy taking short get away weekends with the family. It is not uncommon for us to take a weekend and head to a nearby amusement park, zoo, science center or water park. I like to keep the trip to only a few hours, so that the ride isn't too long and we can have more time at our destination.

One city that we have made weekend (or mid-week) trips to is Columbus. They have several attractions that the family enjoys. A while back, we made a weekend trip and met my cousin's family for some indoor water park fun. We headed to Fort Rapids. It is smaller than some other water parks that we have been to, but it was just the right size for us. I love that indoor water parks can be year round destinations. In the winter, you can escape the cold and snow. In the summer, you can hang out inside, away from the direct sun - this is really important as I seem to have a knack of getting burnt at the outdoor water parks.

See that purple slide? I am pretty sure that is the slide that my daughter declared her favorite on our last visit. Part of the Rascal Round Up play structure, she would venture to the top on her own and I would catch her at the bottom. Perhaps you see the racing slides behind it? That was is the Shoot Out Racer slide that my son enjoyed. Him and my husband raced down several times. I would walk over between my daughter's slides and see them come racing down. With only a 42" height requirement, my daughter should be able to join in on the fun and we can do some family races.

Great Deal! Save $50 off Overnight Stays OR $12 off Day Passes!

Fort Rapids is "central Ohio's largest indoor water park resort. Fort Rapids is the perfect family fun travel destination where 60,000 square feet of wet and wild fun is waiting for the whole family. Come relax and unwind in one of our guest rooms or family style villa suites, then zip down 12 unique water rides, float in the lazy river, get drenched by the 1,000 gallon tipping bucket and win big at the 5,000 square foot Gold Rush Arcade."

No compensation was received for this post. Information on the deal was provided through US Family Guide, of which I am a member blogger. In exchange for this post, my family is invited to enjoy a complimentary visit to the water park.

How Do You Dress Your Dog?

Now, you may have thought from my title that I was wondering about the sweaters, Halloween costumes, tutus and other fun outfits that some people who have dogs are all about (some are rather avid fans, others do it to provide warmth to their dogs in the winter). But, you would have been wrong. I'm talking about Hot Dogs.

Did you know that July is National Hot Dog Month? (why do Mom's get a day and Hot Dog's get a month?) Here are some fun facts about hot dogs to get you started:

- Americans are expected to eat at least 7 billion hot dogs this summer, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council
- Ten percent of annual retail hot dog sales occur during July
- Sausage consumption is on the rise with sales reaching $2 billion in 2011

Want to learn more or test your knowledge? The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council has a trivia page you can check out here.

The hot dog is really a lot more versatile than many consider. When I was a kid, a plain dog with a little bit of ketchup was fine for me. Now, I prefer my plain dog to be dressed with stadium mustard. There is just something so satisfying about the flavor. But, I also like to dress it up too!

For a long time, adding some chili and cheese to it was a great way to enjoy a hot dog. Used to be that I reserved chili dog consumption to eating out, but now I know that I can simply use a can of Hormel chili (no beans variety for me) to create this flavor at home. (Turns out Saturday was National Chili Dog Day - but I didn't join in on the celebration!)

Then, a few years ago we found this local hot dog shop (okay, it's probably been closer to 10 years ago) that dresses their dogs in so many varieties that I would never have considered. It was here that I found another favorite - the Greek Hot Dog. Top your hot dog with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, kalamata olives, green onion and feta cheese. It is amazing how good that combination tastes.

Now, switch that dog up for some sausage - the standard variety or for even more range of flavor chicken sausage - and for me, at least, it opens up many additional ways to dress the sandwich. I am a big fan of topping my regular sausage with a bit of mustard and some sauerkraut. Or, topping it with some grilled onions and peppers.

Hosting a cookout? Why not keep the menu simple, and the possibilities endless by setting up a toppings bar. Fire up the grill and prepare for your guests some hot dogs, some smoked and some chicken sausage. You can go for some plain hot dog buns or get New England Style with their top split. For your toppings bar, use a variety of bowls to hold your toppings. I would include the following - ketchup, mustard, diced onions, pickle relish, chili, shredded cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, cucumbers, kalamata olives, green onions, jalapenos, salsa, grilled peppers and onions.

What other toppings would you include on your toppings bar?

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 a thought starter and some of the information for this post.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Target Deals - 7/28

Do you ever get to the store and realize that to maximize your deal, you should have printed just one more coupon? Happened to me yesterday. I ran out last minute to use my Kohl's Cash before it expired, and before we headed out for a date night. I decided to stop at Target too, because I knew there was a deal on toothpaste I wanted to take advantage of. When I got there, I realized that I could have used one more Target coupon for the Wet Ones wipes.
1 - Aquafresh Kids Toothpaste
2 - Wet Ones 48ct Tubs

-$1 Aquafresh Target coupon
-$1 Aquafresh Mfg coupon (IPon Aquafresh.com)
-$1.10 $1.10/2 Wet Ones mfg coupon
-$.50 Wet Ones Target coupon

Total $3.07 plus $.34 tax OOP.

I would have liked to save the extra 50c, but it was still a pretty good deal regardless.

CVS Deals - 7/27 & 7/28

I did it. I made it to CVS everyday and scored 14 free candy bars last week. We are well stocked on candy now. In the process, I visited four different CVS stores. I can't remember the last time that I stopped at CVS more than 2 or 3 times in the same week, let alone every day.
2 - Milky Way Bars
1 - Orbit Gum
2 - Yardley Bar Soaps
3 - Gatorade

-$.75 Milky Way mfg coupon
-$1 $1/2 Mars Singles CRT
-$2 $2/2 Bars of Soap CRT

Total $2.27 plus $.27 tax, for a total of $2.54 OOP. Earned $1 ECB for the green bag tag.

1 - M&M single
1 - Twix Bar

-$1 $1/2 Mars Singles CRT

Total $0 OOP.

Did you pick up any free candy this week?

Friday, July 27, 2012

CVS Deals - 7/25 and 7/26

Well, the coupons keep generating and I keep getting free chocolate! Yesterday, I tried to stack a manufacturer's coupon with the $1/2 CRT (I had included a filler in my transaction). The cashier said that I could only use one because they didn't cost enough to take that much off. I said that is fine and took back the manufacturer's coupon. I was disappointed that I couldn't take advantage of overage, but the chocolate was still free.


Both Days:
2 - Mars Singles

-$1/2 Mars Singles CRT

Total $0 OOP.

Samples and Freebies

Woolite Extra Dark Care sample (Facebook)
NECTRESSE Sweetener sample (from Splenda)
Honey Nut Cheerios sample

guess it was a slow week - I don't seem to have received any of the samples or coupons that I requested.

Baguette Chips Winner

Congratulations to Kaycee! Her entry was selected as the winner of the Baguette Chips Prize Pack Giveaway.

An e-mail has been sent to the winner.

Thanks everyone for entering. Be sure to check out the active giveaways and enter to win.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Winners of the Mott’s Medleys Fruit Flavored Snacks giveaway!

Congratulations to Sara, Tim and Coley! Their entries were selected as the winners of the Mott's Medleys Fruit Flavored Snacks giveaway. An e-mail has been sent to each of the winners.

Thanks everyone for entering and be sure to check out the other current giveaways - you can find them all listed in the upper right sidebar.

Good luck!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

CVS Deals - 7/22, 7/23 & 7/24

I can't believe it, but I have actually been to CVS every day this week!

Sunday, we were across the street, so I thought I would pick up the free Stayfree and that is when I learned about the Mars Singles CRT. Monday, I headed to CVS to pick up some Gatorade for my son. Today, I stopped to see if the Mars Singles CRT would really print daily.

Sunday's Transaction
1 - Stayfree
2 - Mars Singles

-$2 Stayfree mfg coupon
-$1 $1/2 Mars singles CRT

Total $.13 tax OOP.

Monday's Transaction
5 - Gatorade
2 - Mars Singles

-$1 $1/2 Mars singles CRT

Paid with $1.42 in ECBs and $3.27 OOP (there's tax on Gatorade - guess it's like soda). Earned $1 ECB for the green bag tag.

Tuesday's Transaction
2 - Mars Singles

-$1 $1/2 Mars singles CRT

Total $0 OOP.

Yes, if time permits, I will stop by tomorrow too. I am not going out of my way to get to CVS, I am passing by it everyday already - I wouldn't make a special trip (no matter how much I love chocolate!).

I Fed My Family of Four Dinner for only $2.56!

Yesterday for dinner, I stopped by Arby's drive-thru on the way home and picked up 4 Original Roast Beef sandwiches and two value Curly Fries for dinner. The total cost - only $2.56!

I was very glad to take advantage of their anniversary celebration and get the sandwiches for only 64c each. To make the deal even sweeter, we had two coupons from the summer reading program at the library for FREE Value Curly Fries. Now, I am a big proponent of you don't need fries, but when we do get them, we always share.

Can I just say, it was a very satisfying treat. I had mine topped with a packet of horsey sauce and a packet of Arby's Sauce. Yum!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

CVS Scenarios - week of 7/22

There seem to a be few free or near free deals this week at CVS. Some are regular deals and others are with ECBs.

Transaction #1
1 - Stayfree Pads
2 - M&Ms
1 - Crest ProHealth with Scope

-$2 Stayfree mfg coupon
-$1 $1/2 Mars Singles CRT
-$.75 Crest Toothpaste mfg coupon

Total $2.24 OOP. Earn $2 ECB.

Transaction #2
2 - Amp/Starbucks Refreshers

Total $3, pay with $2 ECBs and $1 OOP. Earn $3 ECBs.

Transaction #3
1 - Revlon nail polish

-$1 Revlon mfg coupon

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

Total OOP is $3.23 with $3 ECBs remaining for about $14 in product, a savings of 81%.

Now, there are a few other deals that I am considering, but am not sure about yet.

1 - 24pk Nestle Water

-$.50 Nestle Water CRT

Total $2.49 OOP. Just over 10c per bottle - not a bad deal. We don't normally buy bottled water, but at 10c a bottle, might be a good thing to have on hand in summer. In fact, with $3 ECB remaining, I could add a filler and get it seemingly for free.

There also is the Spend $20 get $5 ECB offer on Nature Made vitamins. I also have a $4/$20 Nature Made CRT. I will have to see what individual coupons I might have and how I can pair them together to get close to $20. I'm thinking that I might be closer to $30, which starts to make waiting on a BOGO sale seem like the better deal. The CRT is still good for several weeks.

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, July 21, 2012

CVS Deals - 7/21

I stopped in at CVS earlier this week, but they were still out of the detergent that I wanted. Fortunately, I noticed that although you could only get the $4/$20 coupon through Wednesday, it was good for several days. I headed back to a different CVS today and was able to pick up some great deals. The whey protein was not tagged as being on sale, but instead of $13.99, it rang up at $3.49. I had to have her suspend my transaction because I was short of spending $20 as a result. I thought it was a good enough deal that I went back and grabbed 2 more bags to fill out my order.

3 - CVS Whey Protein
2 - Purex Laundry Detergent (rain check @$1.99 each)
1 - UnReal Chocolate
1 - Hershey's Simple Pleasures single (rain check @ $.67 w/ $.67 ECB)
1 - Tums 96ct

-$4 $4/$20 CVS CRT
-$1 Purex IP
-$1 Purex IP
-$1 Tums CRT
-$1 Tums IP

Paid with $1 ECB and $13.15 OOP ($12.16 + $.99 tax). According to my receipt I saved $49.54. I must say it sure felt liked a good deal to me. The only thing not on a deal were the Tums.

I'm interested in seeing their back to school deals this next week. I got a CRT for $3/$15 Caliber Stationary items. I haven't yet picked up pencils or pencil boxes or rulers - so, if there is the right deal I might be able to do even better with this CRT.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Arby's 64c Roast Beef - July 23rd Only!

Growing up, I remember going to Arby's for meals out. When my dad was taking classes, I can remember having dinner there on his school nights. At the time, they had a sandwich called the All American, which came with shredded lettuce and tomato slices. I enjoyed this sandwich, but I am still partial to their Original Roast Beef. I top mine with a mix of Arby's sauce and Horsey sauce.

Founded in Boardman, Ohio on July 23, 1964. To celebrate their anniversary, they are offering a coupon for 64c Original Roast Beef Sandwiches, good on Monday, July 23rd only.

Head over to Arby's Facebook page, travel back in time to their founding in 1964 and click on the link to print the coupon.

What a deal and what a clever use of Facebook's timeline feature.

Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival

As a kid, I can remember going to several types of festivals and community events with my family. Whether it was a local Oktoberfest, a Taste of Dayton, the Strawberry Festival or music festivals, they were always a good time. I don't remember many specifics, but I do remember seeing the Grass Roots at one event, have memories of dipping strawberries in chocolate, eating rib sandwiches, German food and can remember that spending time with my family was a great way to spend the day/night.

Over the next couple of weeks, there are two festivals (actually, they are both part of the greater Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival) coming to the Canton area.

The first starts this weekend - The Balloon Classic and the Jackson-Belden Food Fest.

I love hot air balloons. There is something so seemingly serene about hot air balloons. I love watching them as they gracefully float across the sky. I've always thought it would be cool to go on a hot air balloon, but with a spouse that is afraid of heights and doesn't like to fly, the experience wouldn't be the same romantic experience that I imagine. Frequently, during this festival, we have seen the balloons come near our house and there are some pretty neat looking balloons. On Friday evening, they have a Balloon Glow, where you can watch as the hot air balloons illuminate in rhythm with the music. This has to be a sight to see. Saturday night, they cap with Fireworks. If you are in the area, stop by to check out the balloons and the food from several food vendors. Unfortunately, this year, we have a weekend full of sports, so checking out the Balloon Glow is not an option.

Next weekend, there is a 2-mile/5-mile race and a community parade.

Then, in a week and a half, you can check out the Ribs Burnoff. Starting on Wednesday, August 1st and running through Friday, August 3rd, stop by for lunch or dinner (the festival runs from 11 am to 10:30 pm) and check out the food from 11 rib masters from across the country at the Stark County Fairgrounds. I am looking forward to checking out some of the ribs. My son has recently decided that he is a big fan of ribs. In addition to the barbeque, there will be several other food vendors (in case you aren't a fan of ribs).

There is fun for the whole family, with inflatable games, bounce houses, sand sculptors, balloon twisters and face painters. You even have a chance to see the float builders, located in Exhibition Hall, put the finishing touches on their floats for the Timken Grand Parade on Saturday.

Throughout the event, there will be musical entertainment, as well. During the day, there will be the day stage and then each night they have special show. My experience has been that you can see some really great shows at local festivals, fairs and events - and typically, they are a very reasonable price (sometimes as reasonable as free) compared to seeing acts at a larger venue. These types of shows can be a great way to introduce children to the 'art' of concerts. Music is something that brought my husband and I together, so it only seems right to share it with our children. My son has had the chance to see Weird Al in concert, but so far, the only act my daughter has seen in concert is the Imagination Movers.

Wednesday night, August 1st, it is the Gin Blossoms that take the stage. What amazes me is that the Gin Blossoms debut single, "Hey Jealousy" was released back in 1992 - that was 20 years ago! Realizations like that make me feel old. We are planning to take the kids to check out the Gin Blossoms - I am figuring this is very similar from a timing perspective to my parents taking me to see the Grass Roots, whose first songs would have been out about 20 years before I saw them. I know the kids have heard it in the car before, but just to be sure, I think we will have to listen to some of the music over the next couple of weeks.

Thursday night, it is country star Jason Michael Carroll. I'm not familiar with his music, but a quick sampling of music on Amazon, found some nice sounding songs.

On Friday, Saving Abel takes the stage. Saving Abel is a more recent group, with their debut single, Addicted, hitting the charts in 2008. Saving Abel is one of those groups who's music I know, but I don't know that it is them. I had to listen to Addicted to be sure I knew what song it was.

"All concerts will perform on the Emergency Medicine Physicians Stage at the Stark County Fairgrounds at approximately 8:30 p.m. Free standing room only will be permitted on the track but chairs or seating of any kind on the track is not permitted. Seats are available in the grandstands for affordable prices for you and your family! NEW in 2012: General Admission seating (bleachers) will be offered at $5 per ticket and Reserved Admission (seats with backs) will be offered at $9 per ticket! " You can get the full information on the shows and information on ordering your tickets on the Ribs Burnoff home page.

These and many other events lead to the Hall of Fame Game on Sunday, August 5th. I had the chance a few years ago to attend the Hall of Fame Game. I found it to be a great experience - there you are in a high school size stadium watching professional athletes play their sport. I went with my brother and we had a great time watching the Giants play in the game.

Local festivals and events are always a lot of fun. It is amazing to me how similar, and how different, the events can be even in different parts of the state. Do you go to local fairs and festivals?

No compensation was received for this post. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. We received a family four pack of general admission tickets for the Gin Blossoms in exchange for sharing about the upcoming events.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Walgreens Deals - 7/15

When we had to stop at a Walgreens to fill a prescription on Sunday evening (they are the only 'late' night pharmacy in our area), I decided to pick up a few of their back to school deals. I hadn't looked at the ad and had no coupons with me, so it was really just a glance through the ad and pick up some no coupon needed type of deals.

6 - 2 pocket folders (w/ in ad coupon)
2 - Penway Dual Pencil Sharpeners
1 - 280 sheet filler paper

Total $3.37, plus $.22 tax.

Have you picked up any good back to school deals?

Office Max Deals - 7/15

While I was out running my errands on Sunday, I found myself in the plaza with Office Max. I can't say that any of their deals would have found me making a special trip, but since I was there, I decided it was probably a good idea to take advantage of their deals. I just wish that we had the lists for the two classes so that we could make sure we were getting the right combination of school supplies. So far, I'm sticking with the supplies that we will use at home if we don't need them at school.

6 - .5 oz Purex bottles
1 - 4pk Highlighters

Total $1.60, plus $.11 tax.

Walgreens Deal - 7/14

After finding that great IP for Cottonelle, I simply had to head back to Walgreens. Fortunately for me, our swim lessons are fairly close to a Walgreens, so I was able to stop by this weekend. (was in on Sunday too, and it looks like this deal is still on)

4 - Cottonelle 12pk

-$4 (4x$1) Cottonelle IVC
-$1 Cottonelle IP
-$1 Cottonelle IP
-$1 Cottonelle IP
-$1 Cottonelle IP

Total $12, plus $1.30 in tax, OOP.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Wow! It was a busy weekend. It was an accomplished weekend though to. I ran errands yesterday and stopped several places to get price matches on previous purchases. I tell you what, it was well worth the couple of extra stops - especially since they were on my way to the grocery. I saved $47 on 4 items because of sales. In addition, I made a stop at Office Max and picked up a couple of cheap back to school deals.

This week is another one that is a bit busy with a baseball tournament, a little work travel for me, two birthday parties and well, life in general. As a result, the menu is filled with some quick and easy choices.

Marlin on the Grill

Turkey Roast

Chicken Patty Sandwiches


Homemade Pizza

Chicken on the Grill


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.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Samples and Freebies

Woolite Extra Dark Care Detergent (Target.com)

Free Oscar Mayer Selects coupon

Staples Deals - 7/8

While we were out running errands, we decided we should stop at Staples for some of their back to school deals, too.

1 - Staples Paper 8.5x11
1 - Staples Pink Eraser
2 - Bic Dry Erase Markers
2 - Staples School Glue
1 - Bic Roundstick Pens

Total $7.82, plus $.51 tax OOP. Will submit for the Easy Rebate of $6.99 for the paper - making this transaction just over $1 net.

Office Max Deals - 7/8

It really seems a lot too early to be looking at back to school deals. I know, I admitted a few weeks ago that I was using The Children's Place sales and free shipping offers to get my kids their school clothes for next year, but now school supplies! We don't even have our official lists yet, so I had to stick to the 'normal' stuff and/or stuff we can use at home.

2 - 4pk Glue Sticks
2 - Clearpoint Starter Set, .5 MM
2 - 1" Binders
1 - 12 pk Sharpie Fine Black Markers
9 - 2-pocket folders (I thought we had 10?)

Total $5.50 plus $.36 tax.

My son also decided to splurge on a special notebook with a sports theme. I told him that if we waited, we would likely see them for less later this summer, but he wasn't convinced.

CVS Deals - 7/8

While we were out running our errands, we stopped at CVS. I wound up getting nothing that was on ECB deal when I stopped. The store that I went to didn't have the small packs of the Hershey's Simple Pleasures, so I got a rain check instead. I also decided to upsize on the Fish Oil and bought the 200 ct instead of the 90 ct.

2 - Purex Ultra Packs
2 - Nature Made Fish Oil, 200ct

-$5 $5/$25 Vitamin CRT
-$7 Nature Made mfg coupon
-$1 Nature Made Fish Oil mfg coupon
-$2 Nature Made CRT
-$1 Purex IP
-$1 Purex IP

Total $10.97, plus tax of $1.82 OOP. Earned $1 ECB for the green bag tag. Saved almost $50 on the trip - over $4 for each pouch of detergent, $24 with the BOGO sale on Nature Made and $17 with coupons.

Walgreens Deals - 7/8

I can't believe that it is already Friday and I am just now sharing my deals from Sunday! My daughter has been talking non-stop about going to Chuck E. Cheese, so I agreed to take them, but they had to agree to allow me to run my errands afterwards. They did.

It was a simple stop at Walgreens. I hadn't really looked at their ad other than to see that they had a deal on Cottonelle.

2 - Cottonelle Clean Care 12 pk

-$1 Cottonlle Walgreens IVC book
-$.50 Cottonelle Mfg coupon
-$.50 Cottonelle Mfg coupon

Total $7, plus $.65 OOP.

Of course, now there is a $1 printable available for the Cottonelle, so it might be worth a trip back.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Frozen Treats - Yummy!

Even when I am watching what I eat, I am like a child and I like to end my day with a sweet treat (or sometimes have it in the middle of the afternoon). Some days, I make s'mores in my microwave, but in the midst of summer, there is nothing that satisfies a sweet tooth like a frozen treat.

One thing that I have noticed, now that I am more calorie aware is how many options there are out there that are either better for you options or at least are portion controlled options - both of which help me stay in control. I recently had the opportunity to try a variety of ice cream and frozen treats.

As I was making my choice at the grocery store, the first thing that I noted was the variety of options. Take for example the Klondike Bars. There are the standard Bars that I associate with the commercials (hearing the "What would you do, for a Klondike Bar" tune in my head), there are Choco Tacos, Ice Cream Sandwiches, Sugar Free and 100 calorie options - amongst others. I selected the 100 calorie Ice Cream Sandwiches. There is just something about the flavor of an ice cream sandwich that I love. They were always a favorite treat of mine as a child and I still love them. The best part - even at 100 calories they are a satisfying portion. They meet my need for a sweet, cool and creamy treat and I even get to have more than a couple of bites!

Next I decided to try the new Magnum bars. As I perused the line, I noticed that they were made with Belgian Chocolate, how could I go wrong. The flavor selection had my mouth watering. There are several varieties available - they have everything from Double Caramel, to Dark Chocolate, to Mint, to Mochaccino - they all sounded amazing to me. Trying to maintain my calorie conscience approach to stocking my freezer, I decided to try the Mini Pleasures. Described as 'all the pleasure in a smaller serving', they are available in classic and almond. Not a big nut fan, I went with the classic.
Now, technically a serving is 2 bars and is 300 calories, but I know that I can allow myself to enjoy just one bar and enjoy the luxury feel of the silky, vanilla bean ice cream covered in Belgian Milk Chocolate for only 150 calories. That is a treat worth reserving calories for!

Lastly, I picked up a box of Rainbow Popsicles. Personally, I would have been easily swayed by the Jolly Rancher or the Sour Patch Kids varieties, but my assistant liked the idea of Rainbow. This is the perfect treat for the whole family. With a variety of flavors in one box and only 45 calories per serving - it is a great way to cool down on a warm afternoon.

Now, some may say, why aren't the other ones a good treat for the whole family - trust me, they would be, I'm really just being selfish and don't want to share if i can keep those indulgences all to myself!

What is your favorite frozen treat?

No compensation was received for this post. I received some coupons for free products from Unilever so that my family and I could experience the varieties of frozen treats. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Burst.it - review & giveaway

I recently had the chance to check out Burst. What is Burst you ask? Well, according to their FAQ: "Life's Moments - Smartly Shared. Burst is the simple and private way to capture, save and share life's important moments with family and close friends. Burst provides a safe and organized place to access your videos/photos from any internet enabled device. It is easy and mobile- never miss or lose another moment again."

I started exploring Burst, by completing a sign up for a free account on their web page. Then, I downloaded the app to my phone - it's available for both the Droid and the iPhone. Once the app was downloaded, I was able to immediately start capturing pictures and video. I took a few test shots just to check it out and play with the features. Once you take pictures or videos, they are available on your My Moments tab. When you click on the picture, you can choose to view it, which brings it up full screen. You can also select details. The details section allows you to give your image a title and to tag the picture. It has the information on when the pictures was captured, the location and whether it has been shared. It also allows you to delete the moment.

Have something on your calendar? When you go to take a picture, it will ask you if you are at that event. Leave it as yes, and that will be captured in the title for you.

Now, it was time to share.

Using the contact list on my phone, I was able to easily create groups with which I might share different pictures. For each person, you can edit their set up and send it to them by phone (sends a text message) or e-mail, or both. I loved that I didn't have to look anything up, as long as my friends and family are in my phone's contact list I could simply click to add.

Viewing and sharing pictures is simple. When I first started, I was opening the app and taking the pictures/video, but then I noticed this little button at the top of the My Moments page that said Import. This button allows me to select pictures from my camera roll to share with family and friends. Importing was very simple and took almost no time. I will tell you that the captured date for an imported picture is the time when it was imported, not when it was taken.

Once you have pictures that you want to share, simply click on the picture and select share from the menu. Want to share several pictures? There is a button at the top of the screen that when you click it allows you to share several pictures or videos at the same time. You can then select the groups or the individuals you wish to receive the picture or video. When you send, you have the option of adding a message to the picture.

Once you have shared the pictures and videos, your recipients will receive a text message and/or an e-mail with a link that allows them to view the pictures. When they view the pictures, they have the option to leave a comment. You can see them when you click on the picture and select details and then choose the comment tab. Depending on whether you have sent it as an Open or a Closed Burst controls whether others get to see who the picture went to and any comments left by others.

Can't remember if you shared a picture? No problem, as you look in at the pictures in My Moments, there will be a portion of the Burst logo on the bottom right corner of the picture/video. Not sure who you shared it with? Click on the picture and when you look at the details, the second tab tells you who you shared it with - both groups and individuals.

Want to see your pictures online? No problem, the pictures that you take and the pictures that you import are all available online, once synced. You can choose to sync immediately, or to wait until you have a wifi connection.

Want to share your pictures on social media? No problem, from your computer, when you hover over the pictures in your My Moments page, you can select share. From here, you can choose one of the contacts you set up, as well as to share it on Facebook. You will have to log in to Facebook and allow Burst.it to publish to your wall.

My thoughts. Overall, I think this is a great little tool. I like that the pictures are available on my phone and my computer, with no transfer required on my part.

When I talked to my husband about the app and what it could do, he simply said to me Facebook. But, I told him this was different. On Facebook, the pictures are shared with all of your Friends (based on your settings), with this application you can share them with just one person or with a small group of people - allowing for more privacy. In addition, there are people that we know that don't have Facebook or don't use it very often. This allows us to quickly share the pictures with them, too. Since much of our family is not local, this is a great way to let the family 'peek' in on what we are up to.

I like that it allows me to share the pictures/videos through text or through e-mail. There are several people in my life that don't have text messaging on their phone.

I wish there were an easier way to extract the pictures from Burst.It to my computer. So far, the only thing that I have found is to view the picture and then Save As. When I look at the picture properties side by side, the resolution is the same but the size is different. I uploaded one of each version here for comparison, I saved the following image from my phone and from the computer and imported them here as the same size.
From Phone:

From Burst:
I haven't tried to print them to see if there is a difference then.

I like that I can share the pictures with anyone. They don't have to have a smart phone or belong to Burst.It to receive and view the pictures. Of course, they can set up an account if they want to, but it is not required.

I don't like that my imported pictures don't retain their original time stamp. I am sure that is an improvement that can be made.

When you are online, you can only send phone messages to the contacts that you have set up while in the app on your phone. If you haven't set someone up on your phone yet, you can list e-mails to share to. One thing I discovered here is that if you add an e-mail, associated with a contact that you set up on your phone for text message, it will send it to both the e-mail and the phone. On a positive note, if you add an e-mail from your computer, it does become part of your contact list on the app on the phone - you will have to edit it to put a name with it but the e-mail becomes part of your contact list.

Courtesy of Burst.It through MomSelect, I have the opportunity to give away to one reader a free lifetime storage plan, valued at approximately $60 per year.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway will remain open through August 9th. 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. As a participant in this MomSelect program, I received information about the program, as well as a free lifetime storage plan for my use. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family.

Monday, July 9, 2012

New at Giant Eagle - b•lēve

Have you seen the new line of skin care, hair care and bath & body products at Giant Eagle. The line is called b•lēve and consists of quality beauty products made with natural ingredients and backed by advanced science.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been trying out a number of the b•lēve products and have been very satisfied with them.

Skin Care - the skin care line uses natural grape extract technology.

b-luminous facial cleanser - Unlike some of the facial cleansers that I have been using lately, this creamy cleanser doesn't really 'foam'. I am fine with that, it seems to do an effective job cleaning my face. I do like that the cleanser pours out of the bottle versus being squeezed. I feel like I can get the right amount and feel that I will be able to use all of the product.

b-vibrant rejuvenating day lotion - This lotion meets my two criteria for facial lotions - it has an SPF and has a good consistency. I am in and out all day long, so I like to know that I am starting with a good base. When I go out to 'play', I put sunscreen on, but when I am simply moving from building to building at work, I rely on my moisturizer to provide some level of protection. This lotion is just the right thickness that it goes on smooth and leaves my skin feeling soft.

Hair Care - the hair care line uses ingredients like olive, white tea and cactus.

b-voluptuous shampoo/conditioner - As with any shampoo and conditioner, I had to use it a few days to see what I thought about it. I am not sure why, and don't suspect that I am the only one, but whenever I change shampoo or water, it takes my hair a few days to adjust. I have been satisfied with this shampoo/conditioner. It works well enough to allow me to continue on my practice of washing my hair on alternating days. To me, this means it is giving me a deep enough clean and sealing in moisture that my hair still looks good the next day. The smell of the shampoo and conditioner is pleasant and not very intense.

Bath & Body Care - uses moisture beads and Oleofirm technology to keep you moisturized throughout the day.

b-tranquil body wash - I have been using this body wash with my poof every morning for the past couple of weeks. I feel that it gives a nice lather and does a good job of cleaning my skin. Again, the smell is pleasant and not very intense.

b-tranquil body lotion - The lotion has a nice texture. It is just thick enough to provide good moisture, without being too hard to rub into the skin. It doesn't leave me feeling sticky or greasy either.

Overall, I have been pleased with the product line. They "b•lēve that quality beauty products made with natural ingredients and backed by advanced science should be convenient and affordable." Based on the display (below) at my local store, the hair care (12 oz bottles) and bath & body care products (16-17 oz) are priced at $6.99 each. The facial cleanser (6.6oz) is available for $6.99 also. The other facial care products are priced at $15.99 and include eye cream, night cream, face and eye serum and the day lotion. In addition, the b•lēve products also give you a double-your-money-back guarantee if you're not completely satisfied.

Would you like to try some? Thanks to Giant Eagle, in addition to the sample product box that I received, I have a sample product box available to share with one A Busy Mom of Two reader.

The sample product box contains:
b-passionate body lotion
b-luminous facial cleanser
b-restful rejuvenating night cream

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway will remain open through August 7th. 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. One sample product box and product information was provided for me by Giant Eagle. In addition, they also provided a sample product box use as a giveaway to a reader. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family.

Menu Plan Monday

Monday again, already? Last week was a crazy and busy week. I had two holidays in the middle of the week, so the schedule for work was a little unusual and might make it a little tough to adjust to working five full days in a row. On a positive, after two days at nearly 100 (heat index well above 100), we are back to more normal temps with highs expected to be in the mid-80s. With the hot weather, it was a bit of a take it easy weekend. We had swimming lessons and ran some errands on Saturday, followed by dinner with friends on Saturday evening. Sunday was another relaxed day. We spent some time in the afternoon at Chuck E. Cheese, where the kids had a good time playing the games (I fit in a game or two of skee-ball myself) and were able to cash in their tickets for cotton candy, nerds, fun-dip, sweettarts and stickers. In exchange, they agreed to be good sports and run errands in the area with me after they played.

This week is a little bit busy, someone and sometimes several people have plans each night of the week and on Saturday too. As a result, the menu is filled with some quick and easy choices.

Spaghetti with meat sauce

Shrimp and Pineapple Kebabs on the grill (will post recipe later)

Homemade Pizza

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Chicken Patty Sandwiches


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.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

CVS Scenarios - week of 7/8

There are a few non-ECB deals that I would like to pick up at CVS this week, but I likely will grab the free chocolate while I am there. I can't resist free chocolate!

Transaction #1
1 - Hershey Simple Pleaseures

Total $.67 OOP. Earn $.67 ECBs.

Transaction #2
2 - NatureMade Fish Oil vitamins (100ct)
2 - Purex UltraPacks

-$7 NatureMade mfg coupon (finally received it in the mail)
-$5 $5/$25 vitamin CRT
-$1 Purex IP (Choose a sample and then it will ask if you want to wait on sample or get a coupon; may not be eligible if you got the sample in the past 12 mos)
-$1 Purex IP

Total $3.67, pay with $.67 ECB and $3 OOP.

For the trip, I will have spent $3.67 OOP and will have $32.03 in product at sale prices. A savings of about 89%.

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, July 7, 2012

CVS Deals - 7/7

CVS recently started actually sending me coupons by e-mail. I hadn't gotten any in so long, but for three weeks in a row now I have gotten an e-mail offer. The first two were for 30% off non-sale purchases, this week it was for $4/$20. I have made sure to use each coupon, in hopes that using them will mean that they will send more. I still don't get them at the coupon center, but I am glad to finally be getting some coupons.

Today, I coupled it with a 20% make your own sale coupon. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, because it was more than 20% off), the CVS Whey Protein was not tagged as a sale item, but rang up as one.

1 - Wet 'n Wild Nail Polish (sale)
1 - CVS Whey Protein (sale)
1 - Coppertone Sport Spray
1 - Ensure Clear Peach
1 - Tic Tac 3 pk

-$4.20 CVS 20% off coupon from ad
-$4 $4/$20 CVS e-mail coupon
-$6 Coppertone Sport CRT
-$1 Coppertone mfg coupon
-$2 Ensure Clear mfg coupon
-$2 Candy Coupon (CVS Facebook offer)

Paid with $5 ECBs and $7.95 (plus $.94 tax) OOP. No ECBs earned.

I was glad to get the spray for only $.99 after 20% coupon, CRT and mfg coupon. I got the Ensure Clear (use as protein shakes) for $1.10/serving and the Whey for $.87/serving. Less actually, since I'm not considering the $4 coupon that applied across my order. My target is $1 per serving for protein shake/bars. I was going to grab the Boost High Protein, but it worked out to $1.25/serving because I didn't have any coupons (other than 20%). Of course, I probably should consider the grams of protein instead, since there are less in the Ensure (9g) than in the Whey (25g). I think the Boost High Protein was around 15g.

Did you get any good CVS deals this week?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Baguette Chips - #Giveaway

As I mentioned earlier, one of the snacks that we took along to our marathon sports day were Baguette Chips. This new product has 50% less fat than a regular potato chip and comes in two varieties - Cheddar Sun-Dried Tomato and Italian Cheese & Herb.

I have always been a fan of what I will call bread based chips. Whether it is those little chips you find in Chex mix or bagel chips or pita chips, there is just something so appealing about them to me. I think that they have a stronger crunch than a typical chip and they seem to hold and embody the seasoning that is applied - whether it is a simple sea salt or something like the Cheddar Sun-Dried Tomato and Italian Cheese & Herb. If you are looking for a chip to dip, they also make excellent carriers of even the strongest dips - Artichoke Dip, Hummus or a Cream Cheese based dip.

These new Baguette Chips did not disappoint. I rather enjoyed them. Since I am watching my calorie intake, I like that a 1 oz serving (~21 chips) is only 130 calories. To me, it feels like a satisfying size snack or side dish with a sandwich.

"Pillsbury knows just how you feel and wants to awaken your taste buds with their new Pillsbury® Baguette Chips! These hearty chips are sliced from oven baked bread and topped with savory seasonings bringing the unique and contemporary flavors of Italian Cheese & Herb and Cheddar Sun-dried Tomato to gourmet snack chips. The delicious flavors and perfect texture of these crispy chips can help you round out any recipe.

+ Enjoy Pillsbury Baguette Chips for a wide range of occasions: eat them alone, add a bit more flavor to your favorite dip, spice up soup, or add some crunch to your salad!
+ With 130 calories per serving (21 baguette chips), and 50% less fat than regular potato chips*, Pillsbury Baguette Chips are delicious snack chips that you can feel good about eating

*Pillsbury Baguette Chips (5g fat per 29g serving); regular potato chips (11g fat per 29g serving). See nutrition information for sodium content."

Want to try them for yourself? Download a printable coupon for $0.75 off one package.

Thanks to General Mills and MyBlogSpark, I have the opportunity to give away to one A Busy Mom of Two reader a Pillsbury Baguette Chips prize pack, which will contain:
(3) Bags of Pillsbury Baguette Chips in Italian Cheese & Herb
(3) Bags of Pillsbury Baguette Chips in Cheddar Sundried Tomato

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway will remain open through July 25th. 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. The product, gift pack, information, and additional sample have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark. All opinions expressed are entirely my own or that of my family.

Samples & Freebies

Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine
Free Bottle of Zoya Nail Polish - America (4th of July promotion)
Schick Hydro Silk Razor (Walmart.com)

Tide Pods - 2 samples, one for me and one to share (VocalPoint)
Clear Men sample and coupon

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fiber One Chewy Bars - Winner!

Congratulations to Tess C. Her entry was selected as the winner of the Fiber One Chewy Bars giveaway. An e-mail has been sent to the winner.

Thanks everyone for entering and be sure to check out the new giveaways, located in the sidebar.

Mott's Fruit Flavored Snacks - #giveaway

I can't believe that it is already July. This summer has been going by so fast. We have been very busy with sports for both kids. Now, we are finally down to a baseball tournament team with a few practices and a couple of busy weekends and swimming lessons. Our June was not like that at all.

Take the last weekend of June as an example. On Saturday, we had a very full schedule. We started the day at 9 am at the soccer field. My husband and son stayed there, when my daughter and I ran to the Y for swimming lessons. Then, we met back up at the soccer field. I handed my husband the packed lunch, as he left to go to the baseball field for the playoff games for the league he is commissioner of. The kids and I had lunch and then after a couple more soccer games, where we got eliminated from the tournament, we headed down the road to the T-Ball field. After T-Ball we had a quick ice cream treat with the team and met my husband at the baseball field. We headed home about 7 pm. Everyone showered and we headed out for dinner. After dinner, it was off to an engagement party.

On days like the above, I find it important to keep the family energized. Trying to sustain the family and still be portable enough to move from spot to spot during the day, can be a challenge. We each brought along a water bottle and my son, had a full jug. I brought along a small cooler with extra drinks, sandwiches, grapes and red peppers. In my bag, I brought along some baguette chips (more to come on that!) and some fruit snacks.

The fruit snacks that I packed were the new Mott's Medleys Fruit Flavored Snacks. The kids like that there are a couple of varieties. We enjoyed both the Berry and the Assorted Fruits. I thought that it was interesting that they are made with real fruit and vegetable juice (pear, apple and carrot). I checked the nutritional data, and they seemed similar to other fruit snacks that I had.

For us, fruit snacks are a go to snack for on the go.

"Fortunately the Mott’s® taste that kids love is now available in yummy fruit flavored snacks! Available in Assorted Fruit and Berry varieties, Mott’s® Medleys Fruit Flavored Snacks are the ideal blend of great tasting and quality ingredients that will make both kids and moms happy.

Made with real fruit & vegetable juice* and natural colors and flavors
Available with year round Double Box Tops

Mott’s® Medleys Fruit Flavored Snacks are great on-the-go, so whether your family is lounging by the pool, playing in the park, or hanging on the beach this summer, Mott’s® has snack time covered!

*Made with pear, apple and carrot juice concentrate. See package for complete details. Not intended to replace fruit or vegetables in the diet.

Want to give them a try? Use this printable coupon for $0.60 off the purchase of (1) Mott’s® Medleys Fruit Flavored Snacks today!

I have the opportunity to give away several gift packs to A Busy Mom of Two readers. Each gift pack will contain:
3 boxes of Mott’s® Medleys Fruit Flavored Snacks in Assorted Fruit
3 boxes of Mott’s® Medleys Fruit Flavored Snack in Berry

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway will remain open through July 22nd. 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. The product, gift pack, information, and additional sample have all been provided by Mott’s® through MyBlogSpark. All opinions expressed are entirely my own or that of my family.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

CVS Deals - 7/2

I think that as long as CVS keeps sending me 30% off my regular price purchase coupons, that I will find a way to use them. With this week's ad being a two part ad, there wasn't anything in particular that caught my eye, so when I headed in to use my coupon yesterday before it expired, it was simply to take advantage of the offer.

I had a helper with me and she managed to add two things to the deal.

2 - Ensure Clear
1 - Gummy Bear
1 - Alive Vitamins
1 - Suave Men Shampoo
1 - Ball

-$2 Ensure Mfg coupon
-$2 Shampoo CRT

-$9.03 CVS 30% off e-mail offer

Paid with $4.50 in ECBs and $16.60 plus tax OOP.

The coupon didn't scan, so the cashier had to calculate it. Unfortunately, that meant that she took off the manufacturer's coupon before the 30% coupon. It shouldn't have worked that way, it was only supposed to be the CVS coupons that came off before the deal not manufacturer's coupons. Oh well, it would only have been 20c difference. I had misplaced one of my Ensure Clear coupons, but they told me I could bring it back this week with the receipt and they would honor, so I will be heading back for my $2.

Walgreens Deals - 7/2

I never had a chance to really review the Walgreens ad this weekend, but had noticed that there was a deal on Hershey's Simple Pleasures, which I enjoy, so when I stopped there to check out a display for a survey I needed to complete, that is what I picked up.

Hershey's Simple Pleasures @ 2/$6 (they are $3.99/ea if you don't buy 2)

-$1.50 Hershey's Simple Pleasures Walgreens IVC
-$1.50 Hershey's Simple Pleasures Walgreens IVC
-$1 Hershey's Simple Pleasures IC (Facebook)
-$1 Hershey's Simple Pleasures IC (Facebook)

Total $1 OOP for two bags of candy. Whee!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

What a wonderful weekend. We had a very busy Saturday, followed by a somewhat more relaxed Sunday. Saturday was filled with a 3v3 Soccer Tournament, Swimming Lessons, T-Ball, a baseball playoff and an engagement party for friends. We pretty much left the house at 8:30 am and came back for bed.

Sunday I was able to get caught up on some stuff. I finally got through cleaning up from the garage sale. Sorted through the clothes and put away those that would be part of a future sale and created a bag to donate. I still have one more crate and a bag to get through organizing, but I am glad to have done what I have. I also made it to the grocery store on Sunday, where I stocked up on some things - Chicken Breasts, Crackers and Goldfish. I was combining coupons and sales.

Homemade Pizza

Penne Cardinale


Grilled Chicken

Chicken Gravy over Biscuits

Breakfast for Dinner

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.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Children's Place - extra 20% off and free shipping

I have been doing a lot of ordering online lately, I love to shop, but get frustrated when I can't find what I am looking for. Both of my kids will wear a uniform to school next year, so doing school shopping ahead of time is easy. One place that I am able to find the navy bottoms and white tops that I need is The Children's Place. A few weeks ago, I took advantage of a sale and ordered some shorts and some short sleeve uniform pieces for the kids.

Last night, I was catching up on some e-mails and saw that The Children’s Place is offering free shipping through July 4, 2012 on any size order. Not only that, but there is a coupon code available for an additional 20% off. Simply enter coupon code J7H2012 when you checkout.

This time, I grabbed some long sleeve uniform shirts for $7.50 and $7.77 each (why are the girl versions more expensive?) but also shopped the clearance section where I got my son a pair of jeans for $10.80, some tank tops for next summer at $3.19 each, and my daughter a shorts and tank outfit for next summer for under $10.

I love that aside from picking up some uniform plaid for my daughter, that the kids are just about ready from a clothing perspective for school and I haven't had to leave the house to get ready.

An iPad Giveaway

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

Special thank you to our co-hosts VoiceBoks, Pardon My Poppet, What's Up? - Contests, Freebies and Everything Nice and To Sew With Love.

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