Friday, August 29, 2008

One More Picture By Popular Request

No more after this- I promise! This is #10 that has been zoomed in. I am guessing this is the money shot!

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Can You Help Me Choose The Best Photo?

I went and had my picture done (courtesy of Walmart) and I just wanted to get your opinions on which one you like the best. The fabulous Cathy Dietz shot all of these and I am having trouble picking because she did such a great job! Can you guys help me pick? Which one is your favorite?

#1
#2
#3
#4
#5

#6
#7
#8
#9
#10

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Freebie Friday: August 29, 2008

Did you see that Heather, from Freebies 4 Mom, hit her 1,000th post? Be sure to leave her some comment love this week and fill out her reader survey to let her know what you want to see on her site. She also has a great section with tons of printable coupons- you gotta love that!

Happy Freebie Friday, everyone!


Health & Beauty

Cottonelle Flushable Moist Wipes 10-pk (Walmart sample)
Aveeno Tote Bag (w/ 2 UPCs)

Inspire fragrance by Christina Aguilera
Secret Clinical Strength Sport (copy/paste this link in
https://secretsport.safeprocessing.com/)

Entertainment

O, The Oprah Magazine (from StartSampling)
Host a House Party (get free products for you & guests)
Blockbuster Rental from Birds Eye (upload photo & short story)
KIWI Magazine from Annie's (w/ UPC code)
Read It Forward (get free advanced reader copies)
Music Downloads from MTV
Giant Magazine


Mark Your Calendars

August 30 thru September 1- Free breakfast at Ikea (at select locations)

August thru September - Walgreens Take Care Health Tour
September 1 - Chick-fil-A Chck-n-Strips Giveaway (wear football attire)
September 3 - FTD Good Neighbor Day free flowers
September 6 - Stuff a Cottonelle Puppy to take home (Walmart)
September 13
- Thomas & Friends Playdate @ ToysRUs
September 27 - National Museum Day

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Getting Crafty With Your Kids & Big News

This week on WSBT, I shared my crafty ideas for things you can make with your kids from common items out of your pantry. I had tons of props prepared after doing the Michiana Family Expo (sponsored by Michiana Family Magazine). We spent twelve hours at the mall showing parents some fun crafts to do with their kids and I reused these same props for this segment. For those of you who weren't able to make it out to see us, I hope this will provide a great substitution.

To go along with this fun discussion, please visit our latest article, "Being a Crafty Parent... When You Just Aren't." As a parent who struggles with being crafty and fun, I hope that I can help provide inspiration for you to get crafting with your children. This article contains a few easy recipes that will help get you started on a fun crafting adventure with your kids. Be sure to check our resource list for our top recommendations for craft books and hit your local library.

I have two new articles up on the Kenmore website that I think you guys will really love. The first article is, "Help Kids Earn & Learn." This article focuses on teaching your children how to start a small business or helping them earn money by simply helping you around the house. I worked really hard on it so I hope you enjoy it!

The second article is, "Plan the Perfect Summer Getaway." I meant to highlight this sooner, but had forgotten to. I hope you can bookmark it for planning your next vacation and we share some of our favorite family trips & trips for organized and thrifty traveling.

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Next week is going to be a fun week on our blog because I am going to be be doing an entire Play It Again, Momma week! I am going to highlight some of my favorite entries on here for the week so please join me! I will still be running a giveaway on Tuesday and our Freebie Friday, but everything else will be taking a week off so I can spend some time with my family. If you decide to do a Notebook Experiment, just hold it tight for a week or give yourself two weeks to complete it.

I have never taken a vacation from my blog so this will be a new one for me. I need some time to rejuvenate and refresh so I can bring some new ideas to the table. In the meantime, you can read all of the stuff that I am most proud of so I hope it will be a good compromise!

I will also be busy working on helping with the Eleven Moms gig and have added a new role to my list- Editor of Blissfully Domestic. I have taken over the Family Channel and I have twenty-five amazing writers that I will be working with. Basically, I am not sleeping and that is why I need a week to sleep.

We have two amazing giveaways this week that you can enter- but do not leave your comments here. Head to the provided contest links to leave your entry!

We are giving away a $50 Visa gift card to a lucky MomAdvice reader to relax, recharge, and rejuvente however you choose, be it a spa trip, yoga classes, or some retail therapy. To enter, simply leave your favorite household tip by September 2nd (Tuesday) at 8PM EST. Sorry- only US residents are eligible for this contest. Contest Details

Cetaphil is offering one lucky winner one of every single product from their product line! That is a huge box of loot, people! To enter, let us know one way you save money on your beauty care needs. We love frugal tips so I can wait to see what you come up with! Comments must be left by September 2nd (Tuesday) at 8 PM (EST). Contest Details

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Amy's Notebook 08.28.08


Another bread recipe that I would like to try (@ Polliwog's Cakewalk)

I am going to have to make some word search greeting cards (@ DIY Maven)

This Tuscan Garlic Chicken recipe sounds delicious (@ Genesis of a Cook)

This Sloppy Joe recipe sounds so good too! (@ Simply Recipes)

I didn't know that you could recycle your carpet- what a great idea (@ Daily Danny)

I want to try this recipe for lemon meringue pie (@ zakka life)

We need to do a family night at the park before the weather turns cold (@ my happy little life)

I love this cuddly cotton blanket- it would make a great baby gift (@ The Purl Bee)

This rolling pin printing is such a cool idea (@ whip up)

Another fun play dough recipe (@ Skip to My Lou)

I love these peanut butter & fruit sushi rolls (@ The Kitchn)

This list of baby shower ideas is great (@ Tip Junkie)

I am going to have to try making my own hot pockets (Everyday Food Storage)

A gentle reminder for the five things I have not been cleaning (@ Home Ec 101)

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Notebook Experiments: Can I Make Wall Art?




Experiment: Can I Make Wall Art?

Experiment Taken From: Notebook Entry 08.21.08

Materials Needed: Please see Simple Mom for the full instructions on this task (originally taken from Mt. Hope Chronicles). I had two places in my house that was in need of some art so I thought I would attempt this craft. I hit a local scrapbook shop and picked out some scrapbook paper for my project. I then headed over to Michael's and picked up Mod Podge and the canvases to do the work on. I also splurged and purchased a circle punch so that I would have nice and even circles. I am lousy at cutting and this made the work go so much faster. I will use it to make our gift tags for Christmas gifts this year and banners for birthdays. See how I can justify any purchase as an "investment opportunity?"

Results: My husband & I put together our design and then I glued them onto the canvas. After gluing them and letting them dry, I used a sponge brush and brushed the entire canvas with the Mod Podge to create a smooth surface. I did two layers of the Mod Podge on top and this created a nice sheen to the pictures and made the project look more finished

I had a window that I wanted surrounded by art and these turned out great. The ones for our family room incorporated the reds in them, and had a little tribute to our favorite date nights together. Can you find it?


The one I created for my husband's office. He loves anything to do with fonts and is a proud collector of them (can you tell I married a web guy?) so I made this one as a tribute to his font fascination.

Conclusion: I absolutely loved this craft and am thinking of all the other art work I could create for our walls. I often feel limited by my crafting abilities so this easy project was right up my alley. Thank you Simple Mom for the great suggestion!
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I am so excited to open our Notebook Experiments up to everyone and I hope that you will be able to participate this week or in weeks to come! I will be posting this each Thursday so please mark your calendars if you plan to participate. You can post your entries at any time throughout the week and then leave your entry in the links below.

We have this handy banner that you are more than welcome to use, but it is not a requirement! It is just something you can add to add a little sparkle to your entry.

Rules for Participation:

1. Choose anything from any of our notebook entries (past or present) to do with your family. We have hundreds of bookmarked links of crafts, ways to save money, and organizing ideas.
2. Complete an experiment from the notebook and share about it on your blog or website. We would love to see pictures of what you accomplished or a detailed description of how your projects turned out. Please include a link to this entry, a link to the original posting of the entry (at the original crafster's blog), and (to help us relocate the project) the date or link of the notebook entry where you found it. You can use the same formatting as our entries or you can just include that information in your post in your own unique way!
3. Post a link below. Please include your name or blog name & a fast description of your project. Example- MomAdvice (WHO bread)

I can't wait to see what you create and what you find inspiring!

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Flip Giveaway Results!


Can I just say how fun this contest was? I had a blast reading all of your submissions and you guys picked such amazing projects! I wish I could give you each a camera...and I mean that truly!

Sadly, just one winner can be chosen and I drew our winner randomly.

A BIG congratulations to Rachel, from Modern Mommyhood, on winning our first Notebook Experiments Giveaway. Rachel made a batch of iced coffee, which she found to be yummy and a lot friendlier on her wallet. And you know we are all about wallet-friendly ideas here! Congratulations, Rachel!

I am so touched that each of you entered and I hope you will enter again tomorrow. I completed a very cool project that I can't wait to share with you. I may have to hunt around my house for some fun things to give away in future weeks. It was such a thrill to see you all experimenting and making your own creations!

Thank you again to Walmart & Pure Digital for making this giveaway possible!

Didn't win this one? Don't despair! We have two more amazing giveaways that you can enter- but do not leave your comments here. Head to the provided contest links to leave your entry!

We are giving away a $50 Visa gift card to a lucky MomAdvice reader to relax, recharge, and rejuvente however you choose, be it a spa trip, yoga classes, or some retail therapy. To enter, simply leave your favorite household tip by September 2nd (Tuesday) at 8PM EST. Sorry- only US residents are eligible for this contest. Contest Details

Cetaphil is offering one lucky winner one of every single product from their product line! That is a huge box of loot, people! To enter, let us know one way you save money on your beauty care needs. We love frugal tips so I can wait to see what you come up with! Comments must be left by September 2nd (Tuesday) at 8 PM (EST). Contest Details

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Redbox Code 08.27.08

Today's free code for a Redbox movie is DB96TH. This code is good for one free movie and you can use it until midnight tonight. Enjoy a free family movie together!

Side Notes:

- If you want to rent more than one movie for free, bring more than one credit/debit card. You can use the same promotional code, you just will need different cards to charge it to. The charge will be zero as long as you return your movie on time for the next day.

- When entering in your free movie code, you need to enter it FIRST before picking the movie. On the very first screen, click the, "Rent with Promo." Enter in the above code and then make your selection- the amount should then total zero.

Here is an updated list of new releases from Redbox:


What Happens In Vegas
Forget how the saying goes – it doesn't always stay in Vegas. Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz play young opposites who start a night in Sin City as total strangers and wake up as newlyweds. After Ashton hits big on the slots, a judge (Dennis Miller) orders them to honor their wedding vows for six months.

The Art of War II: Betrayal
Neil Shaw – played by Wesley Snipes and last seen in 2000 – comes out of retirement only to find things are every bit as corrupt and chaotic as he remembered. After following the trail of an assassination plot to dispose of several senators, Shaw finds that he's been set up to take the fall.

Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour
Advice to parents: Do NOT let your kids know this came out last week and you haven't rented it yet. Here, you'll get full access to the recent Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus concert, which included all of her hit songs, as well as guest appearances by the Jonas Brothers and Billy Ray Cyrus.

Prom Night
Like many a high school kid, Donna thought her prom night was going to be something special. Oh, it was a night to remember, alright – a sadistic killer chooses her prom to return from her past and exact a little bit of revenge on her. Brittany Snow stars.

Street Kings
Keanu Reeves, Forrest Whitaker and Hugh Laurie make up a killer cast in this story of a veteran cop (Reeves) who's got plenty on his plate. Just as he's recovering from the death of his wife, he's charged unjustly with the death of another officer. Watch how far he'll go to clear his name.

Smart People
Dennis Quaid is a stuck-in-his-ways professor who has to make room for the utterly unexpected once his wife dies. This includes new love (with the lovely Sarah Jessica Parker) the return of his adopted brother (Thomas Haden Church) and...an all star cast (Christine Lahti and Juno's Ellen Page).


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We have a few new reviews up on The Mother Loot! Make sure to check back tomorrow for an exciting new giveaway!

MLB Power Pros for Nintendo Wii
Cetaphil Skin Care Products
Buzzillions.com Review

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Reader's Notebook Experiment: Burp Cloths

Hi Amy,

Here's my experimental submission for The Notebook Experiments. I have a little guy who has been a "spitter" since birth and have been longing for some cuter burp cloths. Came across the burp cloths in your notebook from Make and Take.

I used some scrap fabric instead of the cloth diapers. I cut rectangles and backed with flannel. I then used ric rac, like the site, to give a little cute flair.

This was fast and fun, and I think my baby will love these as much as I do!

Thanks for all the great info and inspiration.

What a fun contest!

Haley

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Three Amazing Giveaways- Don't Miss Entering!

I have two more giveaways running that I think you will be really excited about! Please click on the "Contest Details" links to be directed to the contest and where to leave your information. Comments left here cannot be entered!

Today is the last day for entering in a Notebook Experiment to be entered for a Flip Video Camera! You have until 8PM tonight!

We are giving away a $50 Visa gift card to a lucky MomAdvice reader to relax, recharge, and rejuvente however you choose, be it a spa trip, yoga classes, or some retail therapy. To enter, simply leave your favorite household tip by September 2nd (Tuesday) at 8PM EST. Sorry- only US residents are eligible for this contest. Contest Details

Cetaphil is offering one lucky winner one of every single product from their product line! That is a huge box of loot, people! To enter, let us know one way you save money on your beauty care needs. We love frugal tips so I can wait to see what you come up with! Comments must be left by September 2nd (Tuesday) at 8 PM (EST). Contest Details

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Ten Useful Tools for Twitter Users

My What in the World is Twitter? post has been making its rounds on tons of blogs and seemed to encourage many people to explore using Twitter as a networking tool for their business so I thought it would be fun to do a follow-up article on using Twitter.

There are many applications and tools that you can use to help bump up your Twitter experience. Here is a gathering of great tools to make your tweet time a little more effective.

Reminder & Organizational Tools:

Twitter Timer: Add this guy to your list of friends and send him a direct message (DM) when you need to remember to go to the dentist or a friendly reminder that next week is your best friend's birthday.

Remember the Milk: We highlighted Remember the Milk in our family planning tools, but Remember the Milk can also be used through Twitter as well. Add Remember the Milk to your list of friends and send DM's to remind yourself to pick up milk...or your kids. You know, those important things in life!

Commuter Feed: Wouldn't your morning commute be smoother if you knew where traffic was backed up or where accidents have occurred? Commuter Feed is a free service that lets you see reports on traffic incidents in your local area using Twitter. It works for any city that has an IATA airport code worldwide. Even if you don't input the information yourself, you can look up your city and see what was recently posted to keep up-to-date on what is happening in your neck of the woods.

Fuel Frog: This great site works with Twitter and help you easily track the gas mileage on your vehicle. This can be a great way to track the fluctuating gas prices, see how you are doing on your gas mileage, and keep track of mileage for your job.

Twitter Efficiency Tools:

Twitter Snooze: Is someone being a tad too chatty and you are feeling overwhelmed with their tweets? Is someone live-blogging at an event and you just want to tune their tweets out for a bit? You can visit Twitter Snooze and put their posts to sleep until the event is over, without blocking your friend or ruining that great relationship.

Twitter Search: This is great if you are off of Twitter for a long time and want to double-check to make sure you didn't miss any posts about yourself. Just search for your username (in my case, momadvice) and it will pop up all of the conversations you have had or any tweets that were intended for you. You can also use the search to keep up with something/someone you are interested in. You can read what everyone is talking about in the current events, politics, fashion and find out what people are sharing on your favorite topics.

Twitter Feed: This service works with your blog's feed and automatically sends out a message to let everyone know when your feed (blog) has been updated. This is a great way to automate the process to let your readers know when you have new and amazing stuff on your blog.

TweetDeck: This is great for people who like to micro-manage their micro-blogging tools. TweetDeck enables users to split their main feed (All Tweets) into topic or group specific columns allowing a broader overview of tweets. You can group people into groups (locals, PF Bloggers, Must Read Mommas) so you never miss an important tweet again. Once created these additional columns will automatically update allowing the user to keep track of a twitter threads far easier. Basically, it makes it so you can see exactly what you want to see and you are able to view up to 48 hours worth of the tweets that you have deemed the most important, without having to hunt.

Lifestyle Improvement Tools:

Tweet What You Eat: If you are working on improving your eating habits, then this tool should help you in tracking your caloric intact for the day. Tweetwhatyoueat (TWYE for short) is a Twitter-based food diary. Use Twitter to track what you eat, and now your weight, by ‘tweeting’ food items to your personal food diary on Tweetwhatyoueat.com from your mobile phone, IM or through Twitter.

Qwitter: This tool can help you if you trying to quit smoking. As with most of these tools, you can add Qwitter as your friend and then let them know when you have had a cigarette and journal how you are feeling as you taper off the cigarettes. This tool was brought to you by the state of Florida and I just love anything that can help people make a positive lifestyle change!

This list only encompasses ten great tools, but if you are looking for even more great ways to use Twitter, check out this list of 140 great Twitter Tools from Mashable!

Sound Off:
Do you use an tools for twittering? Let us know what tools you find most helpful!

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Redbox Code 08.25.08

Today's free code for a Redbox movie is X4N19P. This code is good for one free movie and you can use it until midnight tonight. Enjoy a free family movie together!

Side Notes:

- If you want to rent more than one movie for free, bring more than one credit/debit card. You can use the same promotional code, you just will need different cards to charge it to. The charge will be zero as long as you return your movie on time for the next day.

- When entering in your free movie code, you need to enter it FIRST before picking the movie. On the very first screen, click the, "Rent with Promo." Enter in the above code and then make your selection- the amount should then total zero.

Here is an updated list of new releases from Redbox:


Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour
Missed the Hannah/Miley tour when it came to your town? Let redbox put you in front row – for far less than the price of a ticket. This film follows the sensational young singer on tour, and also features stars like the Jonas Brothers and her achy breaky dad, Billy Ray.

Prom Night
Between borrowing a car and stocking up on breath mints, high school kids had enough to worry about on prom night... BEFORE a sadistic killer crashed the party. Brittany Snow plays Donna, a senior whose night is pretty much ruined by the return of a murderous sociopath from her long lost past.

Street Kings
Keanu Reeves stars as a veteran cop who's dealing with both the death of his wife and with being charged in the death of another officer. Getting rough – and questioning his loyalties – is the only way to clear his name. Forrest Whitaker and Hugh Laurie round out an all-star cast.

The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior
In this prequel to The Scorpion King, fans get to learn just how (and why) the boy became the great warrior. Young Mathayus sees his father killed by an evil military commander, then plots his revenge and starts his training. Randy Couture, Jeremy Crutchley, and Andreas Wisniewski star.

Smart People
Returning from last week, this one stars Dennis Quaid as a cynical professor and recent widower. But there's no time for sadness once he finds a new lady friend (Sarah Jessica Parker) and his adopted brother (Thomas Haden Church) re-enters the picture.

Nim's Island
It's an island as big as Nim's imagination. Abigail Breslin plays a precocious young adventurer who lives on the island with her scientist father (Gerard Butler) and who, through a crazy twist of fate, befriends the reclusive author (Jodie Foster) of her favorite books.

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We have a few new reviews up on The Mother Loot! Make sure to check back tomorrow for an exciting new giveaway!

MLB Power Pros for Nintendo Wii
Cetaphil Skin Care Products
Buzzillions.com Review

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CVS Shopping & Savings 08.25.08

I did pretty good at CVS this week because of my frequent visits to the in-store coupon machine. By combining the coupons from the machine with the manufacturer coupons, I have been scoring some great deals. I zipped by there on my way to pick up my goodies for the week and managed to print out a $1.00 off coupon for the Kotex Pantiliners deal.

I was planning to use my $2 off of $10 purchase, but was told that my coupon was denied because I had used the maximum amount of CVS coupons that I could use during one transaction. Has anyone ever heard of this before? This was news to me, and I was a little disappointed since I was hoping to get out there for about $5.

From this week's flier:

2 Colgate Toothpastes at $3.29 each. CVS Sale for B1G1 Free and used $1.00 off coupon in the paper combined with a $1.00 off CVS coupon (from in-store machine), Total price $1.29 or $.65 each.

1 Kotex Light Days Pads $1.49 each. Used coupon for $.75 off (from paper or print coupon here) & an in-store coupon for $1.00 off and received $1.49 in ECB back. Credit of $1.75

1 Playskool Wipes (160 count). Used $2 off coupon (in this week's paper) and $2.00 coupon from CVS in-store machine. Total cost $1.79.

1 Schick Intuition 3-ct cartridge at $9.49. Received $5 in ECB back. Total cost $4.49. This wasn't a great deal, but I thought I had a coupon for another $3 off, but it applied to another style of cartridge. I still needed the cartridges though so I went ahead and bought it.

All in all, I spent $10.08 for this week's purchases. Total savings was $15.04 and $6.49 back in ECB.


Be sure to visit Money Saving Mom for a CVS round-up of savings!

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Reader's Notebook Experiment: Clay Dough

It has been so great to see what everyone is coming up with for their notebook experiments. We have over twenty entries! Just remember that it is not too late to enter for our Flip Camera! The contest will be open until Tuesday (08/26) at 8PM and we will even accept reader submissions who do not have a blog.

Here is Katherine's experiment- I think you guys will really like it!


Amy--

Thanks for letting us participate even thought we don't have a blog. I found your blog a few weeks ago, and after both my kids wound up sick this week, one spending the night in the ER, I scoured through your notebook experiments to find something for my 4 year old and 2 year old to do. Clay dough which was in your notebook entry on 7/31/08 was perfect! It allowed them to do something fun and creative, and required a mandatory rest period (during drying) for my kids to rest and anticipate the next step.

My kids enjoyed each step, from measuring and mixing to watching the dough cook and harden in the oven. By far their favorite part was the painting. Now my son has a handmade treasure box which he took straight up to his room as soon as it was dry, and my daughter a little jewelry box. Instead of making beads (as was done in the original post) we also used cookie cutters to cut out little shapes which the kids painted for 'decorations'. Now they each have a butterfly sitting on their shelf.

Thanks for giving us a great way to spend a sick day!
(And a chance to win the Flip Camera!)
--
Have a great day!

Katherine

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Frugal Family Vacations

I know that you all are really going to enjoy this guest post from another one of my favorite bloggers! Stephanie, at Keeper of the Home, has agreed to share her traveling expertise with our readers and I think this post will really help those of you who are planning your family vacations! Be sure to visit her blog for wonderful tips for naturally inspired living for the Christian homemaker.

If you are interested in submitting a post on frugal living, creative/crafty parenting, or organizing, you can email your entries to me at amy@momadvice.com. Please include a bio with a link to your site and (if you would like) a picture of yourself to include.

If you're a frugally minded mama like myself, and you and your family have thought of vacationing beyond the local campground, you may be wondering how to go about planning an affordable yet still fantastic family vacation.

Here are a few things that I have learned in my experience of planning both domestic and international trips:

General Tips

Research, research, research!

This cannot be stressed enough! Do not settle on any tickets or reservations until you've researched at least 4 or 5 options.

Initial research should give you an idea of general flight, hotel, and car prices, as well as the attractions that you are interested in and a skeleton itinerary. Start by using online travel services such as Travelocity, Expedia, Hotwire and Priceline to begin to gauge prices. Use travel sites such as Lonely Planet or Fodor's to start to get some ideas about the place you will be traveling to, as well as simply googling things like "travel arizona children" or "attractions grand canyon".

From here, put together an estimate of what the cost of your trip will be. If it's coming up too high, consider what areas you can skimp in. For us, we don't care about fancy accommodations. We would prefer to have more money to allow us the freedom to eat without stress, and do all of the activities that interest us. You may feel differently. What are the priorities for your family?

Once you've worked through these steps, you can get down to business and really dig in to find the absolute best deal on each part of your trip.

2) Booking together isn't always cheaper


Through the travel companies would love to be your one-stop shop by having you book your flight, hotel and car all in a neat and tidy package, you will most likely be missing out on some deals by going that route. If you do some careful comparisons of these "deals" (compared to finding each component of the trip individually), you will see that they really aren't the deals they're cracked up to be.

3) Bidding for a deal

It's now become one of the more popular ways to try to find rock bottom deals for traveling. Sites like Priceline and Sky Auction encourage you to either bid against other would-be travelers or to "name your own price". These sites have the potential to be very valuable to you if:


  • You've already done the research and know exactly what a good deal would look like

  • You've determined your bottom line. For example, when using Priceline you don't get to choose your flight time, specific hotel, etc. You set your price, win it, and then find out what you've already bought. It's important to consider these unknown factors, compared to the available deals that you already know are out there, and then you will have the ability to pick and choose whether bidding is worthwhile. If an extra $10 a night is worth it to you in order to know exactly which hotel you will be staying in, set your Priceline limit at $10 below what you'd like to be paying, and resolve to walk away if that bid isn't accepted.
  • You are very aware of the fees and taxes that will be added on. Always, always check and know exactly what your total costs will be before making any decisions.

Tips for flights


  • Children under 2 fly free, on a parent's lap, so plan your dates accordingly if you have little ones nearing their birthday

  • If you can, keep your dates flexible. Often it is cheaper to fly on a Saturday, while the Friday may cost $15 more a ticket. It doesn't sound like much, but it can add up fast if you're buying children's flights as well. Some travel sites have search options designed to let you search using flexible dates. A great option to use is Expedia (be sure to check the box that says "my dates are flexible"). I just did a sample search on flights from Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale in August, and came up with a price range of $191 to $309, within an 11 day span- that's a big difference!


  • Look at smaller, independent airlines as well (which are usually not included on the major travel site searches). A few examples are:

  • When you find a great deal, snag it! Good deals don't last for long, and if you wait, you may just miss out (I know this from experience!)


Tips for Accommodations


  • First, consider the many varied options out there: Hotels, motels, camping, yurts, hostels, house swaps, B&Bs, etc. There is so much beyond the traditional hotel, and many of the other options are much cheaper, and can even be more enjoyable! Personally, we will be staying in a private room at a hostel in Flagstaff for our upcoming Grand Canyon trip, where we will have kitchen privileges, hot breakfast included, laundry machines and more, for a mere $45 a night!

  • Do consider bidding for hotels on sites like Priceline. I just scored two nights at the Crowne Plaza in Phoenix for $50 a night! Just remember- do your research first!

  • Change it up! When we went to Europe 2 years ago, I found that different types of accommodations were cheaper in different cities. In Rome, we stayed in a very small but lovely private hotel. In Florence, we opted for a camping hostel, where the tents are permanently set up on raised concrete, and include cots and basic bedding. In Edinburgh, we stayed in a quaint Bed & Breakfast, where we had a gorgeous, clean and very large room, delicious hot breakfast (could have done without the blood pudding, though!), for the same price as a private hostel room, and half the price of the cheapest hotels. While living in Japan, we went even cheaper than a hostel and chose to take the train out to the country each night to camp (we carried our tent on the bus we took up to Kyoto).

Tips for Rental Cars

  • Go with the smallest car that suits your needs. You'll save on rental costs, as well as gas most likely!

  • Avoid most of the bigger name companies. They tend to be significantly more expensive, unless you come across an amazing deal.

  • Again, try your hand at bidding to "name your own price"

  • Compare many sites. In my recent search for the cheapest rental car, my favorite comparison sites were Hotwire, Travelocity, Expedia, Priceline and CarRentals. I looked at the individual rental company sites, and generally they weren't cheaper than the travel sites, with the exception of a few smaller companies that were not always included in the searches. Try Fox, Advantage and Dollar.
  • If you have AAA or BCAA, or even an Entertainment book, check the types of deals and discounts that are offered for members. You may find a free upgrade on a weekly rental, or perhaps a 20% discount, etc. Just make sure you compare it to the other deals out there, as these discounts are usually for the bigger, more expensive companies.

  • Consider whether you need a car at all! Some cities have
    excellent public transit, and if you choose the location of your
    accommodations carefully, you may find that the need for a car just
    disappears.


Tips for Attractions


  • Get an Entertainment book or online membership! You will find many 2 for 1 entrances to attractions, as well as 2 for 1 entrees at the local restaurants.

  • Look for a city pass. These passes are your entrance ticket to the most popular attractions in a city or area, for a discounted rate. By buying the one pass, you can go to any attraction included over the course of one week (for example- it varies from pass to pass). Some examples are the Seattle CityPass, ShowUp Now for the Phoenix area, and the Go Los Angeles Card. Visit CityPass for several other major North American cities available.

Tips for Eating Cheaply


  • As mentioned above, the Entertainment book can help you make the best of having to eating out (or depending on your perspective, getting to eat out!) by offering 2 for 1 entrees.

  • Try finding an accommodation that includes a breakfast, or even one that allows kitchen privileges (such as a hostel, or some B&Bs) or a motel with a kitchenette.

  • If your hotel has a mini fridge, find a local grocery store (which just adds to the experience of visiting a new place), and stock up on breakfast foods (unless included), and lunch and snack foods so that you can brown bag it as much as possible.

  • Bring a stash of easy to carry snacks that your family enjoys. To Arizona, we will be bringing fruit leather or bars, rice cakes, granola bars that are wheat free (as we are all sensitive to wheat), and a box of mineral drinks mixes to add to our water bottles.

  • Bring a water bottle for each family member, and fill them up each time you're able to. Buy large bottles of purified water from a local grocery store to keep in your hotel room, or the trunk of your vehicle, to do refills.

Lastly, once you are there and you have done everything you can do to make your trip as affordable as possible, just relax! Enjoy your vacation, knowing that some extra expenses will pop up unexpectedly (as they always do), and choose to cherish every minute of the trip that you have worked so hard to plan and save for!

Despite how it may appear, Stephanie does not spend most of her time planning vacations! She is blessed to be a wife, mother to two young children, homemaker, and home schooler. In her "spare time" she maintains the blog Keeper of the Home, gardens organically, studies nutrition and natural living, and enjoys cooking up nourishing foods for her family.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Freebie Friday: August 22, 2008

Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! We have lots of REALLY amazing freebies this week and I am so excited to share these with you. A big thanks to Heather, from Freebies 4 Mom, for helping me with our list. Heather has a really great post on signing up for free magazines this week that is a must read! She has lots of great information for her readers so be sure to look around while you are there and soak in all of that freebie goodness.

As a reminder, you have until Tuesday to enter our first official Amy's Notebook Experiment contest for a Flip Video Camera. We can't wait to see and share your projects with our readers! We only have nineteen entries so far so the chances are good that you could be receiving one of these in your mailbox. I hope you can participate!



Entertainment

Free Music at Amazon.com
WaterSki magazine (StartSampling)
Southern Accents Magazine
The Green Magazine


Mark Your Calendars

August - Lucky's Spin and Win find event @ Walmart
August thru September - Walgreens Take Care Health Tour
August - Staples Teach Appreciation Day look up the date of your store's event
August - Ultimate Lunchbox samples @ Walmart
August 23 - Lowe's Build and Grow Clinic: make a GMC truck 10 to 11 am
September 3 - FTD Good Neighbor Day free flowers
September 13 - Thomas & Friends Playdate @ ToysRUs
September 27 - National Museum Day

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Amy's Notebook 08.21.08

I love this idea to get your kids mining to keep them busy (@ doobleh-vay)

I want to try Martha's peanut butter cookies (@ Mad About Martha)

I love these little crocheted slippers for a gift in a jiffy (@ My Longest Year)

I want to try this recipe for homemade watercolors (@ Dim Sum, Bagels, & Crawfish)

I had never heard of joining a yarn club before, but it sounds awfully addicting (@ whip up)

This breakfast muffin tin looks like a fun way to start the day (@ Muses of Megret)

These homemade breadsticks look like a fun addition to our spaghetti dinner (@ Chocolate on My Cranium)

I adore this idea for a tooth fairy jar and just might have to steal it (@ Lost Button Studio via The Crafty Crow)

Using an egg carton to carry mini-cupcakes will make taking treats to school a lot easier (@ shelterrific)

I love this idea for adding a lazy susan feature to our board games (@ The Small Object)

This is a great list of tips for purchasing a sewing machine (@ shelterrific)

I love this mudroom made from a closet (@ ohdeedoh)

I want to try this recipe for Pat's French Toast (@ 4 Reluctant Entertainers)

I hit my 30th birthday this year, but it is never too late to read this list of thirty books to read before you turn thirty (@ Marc & Angel Hack Life)

I needed this reminder to be more prepared for the emergency situations in life (@ The Homespun Heart)

These inexpensive art ideas might just get replicated over here! (@ Simple Mom)

******

Join us in our Notebook Experiments and be entered to win a Flip Camera!

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Notebook Experiments: Can I Make a Fun Hat?


Experiment: Can I Make a Fun Hat?

Experiment Taken From: Notebook Entry 07.31.08

Materials Needed: Please see maya made for the full instructions on this task. Since I was doing this with my 2 year old daughter, we decided to color our hats instead of the flowers because it involved her helping more.

Results: With my son gone to school during the day, I wanted to carve out some special time with Emily and what could be more fun than making a hat together? Emily helped me color the newspaper and then I had to fit the hat to her head. That part was not fun because she was wiggling and screaming underneath the newspaper. If you have a younger child, you might want to keep that in mind and have the tape ready so there is no waiting. We tied our hat with ribbon and Emily declared herself the queen and even did a queenly little curtsy for me. I think she really liked the idea of the hat, but it didn't stay on her head very long.

Conclusion: This was a fun and thrifty craft that I would like to do again when she gets a little older. I picture having tea parties with her and her friends and sharing the tea under their newspaper brims. It is definitely a craft worth repeating! Many thanks to maya made for the fabulous craft idea!
********************

I am so excited to open our Notebook Experiments up to everyone and I hope that you will be able to participate this week or in weeks to come! I will be posting this each Thursday so please mark your calendars if you plan to participate. You can post your entries at any time throughout the week and then leave your entry in the links below.

Today is the big day because I am giving away a Flip Camera to one lucky participant! Please read yesterday's post for the full scoop!

We have this handy banner that you are more than welcome to use, but it is not a requirement! It is just something you can add to add a little sparkle to your entry.

Rules for Participation:

1. Choose anything from any of our notebook entries (past or present) to do with your family. We have hundreds of bookmarked links of crafts, ways to save money, and organizing ideas.
2. Complete an experiment from the notebook and share about it on your blog or website. We would love to see pictures of what you accomplished or a detailed description of how your projects turned out. Please include a link to this entry, a link to the original posting of the entry (at the original crafster's blog), and (to help us relocate the project) the date or link of the notebook entry where you found it. You can use the same formatting as our entries or you can just include that information in your post in your own unique way!
3. Post a link below. Please include your name or blog name & a fast description of your project. Example- MomAdvice (WHO bread)

I can't wait to see what you create and what you find inspiring!

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Redbox Code 08.20.08

Last post for the day! Today's free code for a Redbox movie is JK4HM5. This code is good for one free movie and you can use it until midnight tonight. Enjoy a free family movie together!

Side Notes:

- If you want to rent more than one movie for free, bring more than one credit/debit card. You can use the same promotional code, you just will need different cards to charge it to. The charge will be zero as long as you return your movie on time for the next day.

- When entering in your free movie code, you need to enter it FIRST before picking the movie. On the very first screen, click the, "Rent with Promo." Enter in the above code and then make your selection- the amount should then total zero.

Here is an updated list of new releases from Redbox:


Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour
Missed the Hannah/Miley tour when it came to your town? Let redbox put you in front row – for far less than the price of a ticket. This film follows the sensational young singer on tour, and also features stars like the Jonas Brothers and her achy breaky dad, Billy Ray.

Prom Night
Between borrowing a car and stocking up on breath mints, high school kids had enough to worry about on prom night... BEFORE a sadistic killer crashed the party. Brittany Snow plays Donna, a senior whose night is pretty much ruined by the return of a murderous sociopath from her long lost past.

Street Kings
Keanu Reeves stars as a veteran cop who's dealing with both the death of his wife and with being charged in the death of another officer. Getting rough – and questioning his loyalties – is the only way to clear his name. Forrest Whitaker and Hugh Laurie round out an all-star cast.

The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior
In this prequel to The Scorpion King, fans get to learn just how (and why) the boy became the great warrior. Young Mathayus sees his father killed by an evil military commander, then plots his revenge and starts his training. Randy Couture, Jeremy Crutchley, and Andreas Wisniewski star.

Smart People
Returning from last week, this one stars Dennis Quaid as a cynical professor and recent widower. But there's no time for sadness once he finds a new lady friend (Sarah Jessica Parker) and his adopted brother (Thomas Haden Church) re-enters the picture.

Nim's Island
It's an island as big as Nim's imagination. Abigail Breslin plays a precocious young adventurer who lives on the island with her scientist father (Gerard Butler) and who, through a crazy twist of fate, befriends the reclusive author (Jodie Foster) of her favorite books.

Have you seen a good movie recently? Any family movies that your kids especially loved? Be sure to let us know!

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Notebook Experiments HUGE Giveaway

Last week kicked off opening the notebook experiments to everyone! We had nine participants, which was a pleasant surprise since it was our first time!

I wanted to offer an incentive for you to participate this week because I think this can be a great way to create memories for your children and your family! For each blogger that participates in tomorrow's challenge, you will be entered in a giveaway for a Flip Ultra, donated by Pure Digital (and the folks at Wal-Mart). Considering there were only nine participants last week, the chances are pretty darn good that you could be bringing one of these home with you! To learn more about The Flip, read our review of it!

This is a handy little camera to carry in your purse for all those moments when you don't want to be lugging around a large camcorder. The model that I have for our winner is a sleek looking black.

Put your thinking caps on and pick out something you can do for or with your family and post about it tomorrow! The contest will be open until Tuesday (08/26) at 8PM, so you can have the weekend to complete a project.

Here are the guidelines:

1. Choose anything from any of our notebook entries (past or present) to do with your family. We have hundreds of bookmarked links of crafts, ways to save money, and organizing ideas.
2. Complete an experiment from the notebook and share about it on your blog or website. We would love to see pictures of what you accomplished or a detailed description of how your projects turned out. Please include a link to tommorow's entry, a link to the original posting of the entry (at the original crafster's blog), and (to help us relocate the project) the date or link of the notebook entry where you found it. You can use the same formatting as our entries or you can just include that information in your post in your own unique way!

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CVS Shopping or Getting Stuff for Free

Yesterday I headed over to WSBT and shared my experience with CVS shopping. I have been working on this for the past three weeks, trying to gather all that I could to show how great CVS is for families and how much you can save with very little effort.

We talked a little bit about charitable giving, so I did want to provide these links for the charitable giving challenges! This is a fun and easy way to give back within your communities.

BeCentsable Charity Challenge
Coupon Cravings Charity Challenge

I hope that everyone can understand how it all works- it is difficult when you have a two minute time limit for discussing an easy (but complex) shopping process!

I also have posted my deals for the week! Enjoy!

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Happiness Is...The Family Fair



My dad's company picnic was this weekend. It is something that the kids look forward to every single year. What's not to love? Free food, unlimited turns in the bouncy house, tons of games and activities, belly aches all around, tantrums, sugar highs, and lots of tears near the end. We enjoy it all... until that last hour.

I think more than that though, it is seeing my dad all puffed up, strutting us around like a proud peacock, and showing off his children and grandkids. We do it for that moment every year. Just that moment makes it all worth it for me as a daughter!

What family events do you do every year to make your family proud? Do you have an event or reunion that your family does?

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Piggy Pancakes

I made piggy pancakes for the kids and they were a huge hit! I wasn't sure if they would be able to figure out what they were so I let them guess. They decided these were cow pancakes instead so who knows what animal your own kids might pick?

I made a batch of this pancake batter. It is my absolute favorite because it doesn't require any fancy ingredients and can be made out of everything in your pantry. The pancakes remind me of the McDonald's pancakes and I absolutely could devour a few stacks of those in one sitting.

To save a little bit more money, I make a batch of powdered milk to mix into the pancakes. It isn't a huge savings, but it saves me from making multiple trips for milk throughout the week.

You will want to make one large pancake and two silver dollar sized pancakes. When you see the bubbles bubbling up on top, give them a flip and cook until they are cooked through.

I used kitchen scissors and cut one of the small pancakes in half and slipped it under the large pancake, to make the ears. Plop a small pancake on top for the snout and use blueberries or chocolate chips for the eyes.

For preschoolers, you could tie in any good barnyard book or my personal favorite..."If You Give a Pig a Pancake."

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Redbox Code 08.18.08

Today's free code for a Redbox movie is 65QM89. This code is good for one free movie and you can use it until midnight tonight. Enjoy a free family movie together!

Side Notes:

- If you want to rent more than one movie for free, bring more than one credit/debit card. You can use the same promotional code, you just will need different cards to charge it to. The charge will be zero as long as you return your movie on time for the next day.

- When entering in your free movie code, you need to enter it FIRST before picking the movie. On the very first screen, click the, "Rent with Promo." Enter in the above code and then make your selection- the amount should then total zero.

Here are the latest new releases from Redbox:


Smart People
Dennis Quaid is a stuck-in-his-ways professor who has to make room for the utterly unexpected when his wife dies. This includes new love (with the lovely Sarah Jessica Parker), the return of his adopted brother (Thomas Haden Church) and...an all star cast (Christine Lahti and "Juno's" Ellen Page).

Nim's Island
What's a girl to do when she's stuck on an island with her scientist father? Make it extraordinary, of course. Abigail Breslin and Gerard Butler are the daughter-father island team. Jody Foster plays the reclusive author of Breslin's favorite books, with whom the girl strikes up an unexpected friendship.

Never Back Down
Does mixed martial arts finally have its young movie star? This is a great start. Sean Faris plays a troubled teen who's about to find trouble at yet another high school – until he finds his way to an underground fight club and starts getting trained by a mixed martial arts veteran. Amber Heard and Cam Gigandet costar.

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
They're back. And this time they have way bigger problems than curing the munchies. Kal Penn and John Cho reprise their hilarious roles in a tale about a couple of guys who just want to sneak a bong on a flight to Amsterdam, then get pegged for terrorists and chased by the Feds across the country.

Doomsday
For three decades, they thought they'd contained the deadly Reaper Virus when they brutally quarantined the British Isles. Whoops. When it returns to a major city, it's deadlier than ever. Can an elite team (including Adeola Ariyo and Emma Cleasby) stop the spread in time to save the whole human race?

21
Not an even an MIT education can prepare you find the kind of lesson you'll learn if you try to cheat Vegas. Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth and Kevin Spacey star in this movie about math students who learn a complex card-counting scheme, then hit the desert to try and win big.

Have you seen a good movie recently? Any family movies that your kids especially loved? Be sure to let us know!

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CVS Shopping & Savings 08.18.08

Here is what I decided to purchase from the CVS flier this week-

Transaction #1:

1 Dove SkinVitalizer $9.99, get $3 ECB, used coupon (from this week's paper or available for printing here) for $3.50 off= $3.49
2 Sunsilk Products (one shampoo or conditioner & one styling aid item), $4.49 each, on sale for BOGO Free, used 2 coupons (from this week's paper) for $1.50 off one item= $1.40 for two or $.75 each
Then I used the $2 off $10 coupon
Total Spent OOP (out of pocket)= $6.85
Extra Care Bucks Credit- $3
Actual Cost- $3.85

Transaction #2:

Pepsi Products on Sale Buy Four (for $11), Get One Free

3 12-packs of Mt Dew
2 12-packs of Diet Cherry Pepsi
Total Cost= $11
Then I used the $2 off $10 coupon
Total Cost= $9, Total Cost Per 12-Pack= $1.80 each
For this transaction, I also used my ECB from last week's diapers purchase (and some ECB overage from the previous transaction) and they ended up owning me $.45. I grabbed a 3 Musketeers and we called it pretty much even!

Be sure to check Money Saving Mom this week for other scenarios. She is going to have the links up sometime later this week!

I did two separate transactions, but only made one trip. Do you guys do more than one trip or just ask them to ring it up separately? I just want to be respectful of the employee so I wondered how you guys do it?

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Freebie Friday: August 15, 2008

This was an exciting week for us since we opened up our Notebook Experiments to our readers. To encourage families to work on projects together, I am going to be offering a giveaway on Thursday to anyone who completes their own Notebook Experiment on their blog next week. We will also have another giveaway running for others who don't blog too so be watching for that!

I am also looking for some guest posts and would like to have a guest poster each Saturday. If you are interested in submitting a post on frugal living, creative/crafty parenting, or organizing, you can email your entries to me at amy@momadvice.com. Please include a bio with a link to your site and (if you would like) a picture of yourself to include.

Thank you to Heather, from Freebies 4 Mom, for helping us with our list this week. Be sure to check Heather's current list of Walmart freebies to make sure you didn't miss anything this month! Thanks, Heather!

Freebie Tips from Our Readers:

**One of our loyal readers, Nancy, shared with us that Angie, from Baby Cheapskate, is offering free membership to her amazing Freepeats Program. Thanks for letting us know, Nancy!

"Get absolutely FREE lifetime membership in any of our 25 local Freepeats groups today (8/14) through next Wednesday (8/20). Now is the perfect time to sign up and pass on some of the gently-used toys, books, baby gear, maternity stuff, baby clothes, formula samples, baby coupons, etc. that are taking up space in your house. Posting them on Freepeats is an ever-so-green way to clear the clutter! You can pick up some great FREE baby, kid and maternity items locally through listings you find on Freepeats, too.
Freepeats groups are open in 25 major cities across the country. You'll find a list of those cities here. If your city has a group, just click here and register. This isn't a free trial, either. Once you join Freepeats, you're in for as long as you like."

**We also got another reader tip, from Monica at The Homepsun Heart, on a free scoop night at Coldstone Creamery. Thank you, Monica!!

I was just reading my newest issue of Country Living and noticed the following:

"September 25 The World's Largest Ice Cream Social - Nationwide From 5-8 p.m., visit your local Cold Stone Creamery for a free scoop. In exchange, the ice cream chain's hoping you'll donate to its Make-a-Wish Foundation Fundraiser; coldstonecreamery.com."

Health & Beauty

Celine Dion Sensational

Food

Mark Your Calendars

August - Lucky's Spin and Win find event @ Walmart
August thru September - Walgreens Take Care Health Tour
August - Staples Teach Appreciation Day look up the date of your store's event
August - Ultimate Lunchbox samples @ Walmart
August 16 - Michaels Back-to-School Event: make a beaded key chain 1 to 4 pm
August 23 - Lowe's Build and Grow Clinic: make a GMC truck 10 to 11 am
September 3 - FTD Good Neighbor Day free flowers
September 27 - National Museum Day

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Giveaway: The Laurie Berkner Band Prize Pack



Hurry on over to The Mother Loot and get your entry in for The Laurie Berkner Band prize pack. There are all sorts of goodies included and a fun discussion on you & your children's favorite kid's music! To enter, you must head here!

You can also find me over at Frugal Hacks this week, sharing about our back to school celebrating. Please chime in if you have any special ways that you celebrate their first day back to school!

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Notebook Experiments: Can I Craft Some Bath Toys?


Experiment: Can I Craft Some Bath Toys?

Experiment Taken From: Notebook Entry 06.26.08

Materials Needed: Please see plumpudding for the full instructions on this task. I hit our local dollar store and picked up a ten pack of craft foam to use for this project. The craft foam is thin enough that you can cut these with plain old scissors or you could break out your zig-zag scissors from your scrapbooking materials.


Results:
I am not very good at free-hand drawing so I went ahead and looked for a template where I could stencil some really cute shapes out of my foam. I found this handy template from the Martha Stewart website and whipped up several fishes, flowers, and hearts for the kids. These were very easy to trace and took only a few minutes to whip up. My husband also put together some that he drew for the kids.

The kids absolutely loved these and didn't want to get out of the bathtub. I also saved a few sheets of foam for the kids to do finger-painting on. I am planning to use these foam sheets with some of our homemade pudding paints (with only enough water to make a finger-paint consistency instead of a water paint consistency) and then I will just rinse the sheets off when they are done so that they can make brand new creations!

I would recommend making sure to soak the foam before you begin sticking it on walls. The pink color did bleed onto the walls and left a pink shade that is going to take some serious scrubbing to get out. None of the other colors caused this problem, but giving them a good soaking first should prevent this problem.


Conclusion: One package of foam can keep my children entertained for many baths and I can't wait to whip up some more of these for them to play with. I am thinking that these would make excellent stocking stuffers this year and you can't beat the price! Thanks plumpudding for your creative idea!
********************

I am so excited to open our Notebook Experiments up to everyone and I hope that you will be able to participate this week or in weeks to come! I will be posting this each Thursday so please mark your calendars if you plan to participate. You can post your entries at any time throughout the week and then leave your entry in the links below.

We have this handy banner that you are more than welcome to use, but it is not a requirement! It is just something you can add to add a little sparkle to your entry.

Rules for Participation:

1. Choose anything from any of our notebook entries (past or present) to do with your family. We have hundreds of bookmarked links of crafts, ways to save money, and organizing ideas.
2. Complete an experiment from the notebook and share about it on your blog or website. We would love to see pictures of what you accomplished or a detailed description of how your projects turned out. Please include a link to this entry, a link to the original posting of the entry (at the original crafster's blog), and (to help us relocate the project) the date or link of the notebook entry where you found it. You can use the same formatting as our entries or you can just include that information in your post in your own unique way!
3. Post a link below. Please include your name or blog name & a fast description of your project. Example- MomAdvice (WHO bread)

I can't wait to see what you create and what you find inspiring!

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Amy's Notebook 08.14.08

I love this child's pool robe made from an old towel (@ Sew, Mama, Sew)

I am bookmarking these fun travel games for our next trip (@ ohdeedoh)

These peanut butter jars are such cute organizers (@ plumpudding)

This winter tree mural and tutorial is amazing (@ Waiting in the Capital)

I love this round-up of Olympic activities for the kids (@ Tip Junkie)

These white chocolate mochas would be a fun treat to share with friend (@ Baking Bites)

These ribbon hair clips would be so cute in my daughter's hair (@ the long thread)

I love this outlined placemat (@ ohdeedoh)

These thank you cards are such a cool idea (@ Let's Explore)

I would never think to use the slow cooker as a smoker (@ A Year of CrockPotting)

This tomato basil salad would be a great way to use up some of my tomatoes from my garden (@ 50's Housewife)

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Redbox Code 08.13.08

Today's free code for a Redbox movie is Y72LR2. This code is good for one free movie and you can use it until midnight tonight. Enjoy a free family movie together!

Side Notes:

- If you want to rent more than one movie for free, bring more than one credit/debit card. You can use the same promotional code, you just will need different cards to charge it to. The charge will be zero as long as you return your movie on time for the next day.

- When entering in your free movie code, you need to enter it FIRST before picking the movie. On the very first screen, click the, "Rent with Promo." Enter in the above code and then make your selection- the amount should then total zero.

Here are the latest new releases from Redbox:


Smart People
Dennis Quaid is a stuck-in-his-ways professor who has to make room for the utterly unexpected when his wife dies. This includes new love (with the lovely Sarah Jessica Parker), the return of his adopted brother (Thomas Haden Church) and...an all star cast (Christine Lahti and "Juno's" Ellen Page).

Nim's Island
What's a girl to do when she's stuck on an island with her scientist father? Make it extraordinary, of course. Abigail Breslin and Gerard Butler are the daughter-father island team. Jody Foster plays the reclusive author of Breslin's favorite books, with whom the girl strikes up an unexpected friendship.

Never Back Down
Does mixed martial arts finally have its young movie star? This is a great start. Sean Faris plays a troubled teen who's about to find trouble at yet another high school – until he finds his way to an underground fight club and starts getting trained by a mixed martial arts veteran. Amber Heard and Cam Gigandet costar.

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay
They're back. And this time they have way bigger problems than curing the munchies. Kal Penn and John Cho reprise their hilarious roles in a tale about a couple of guys who just want to sneak a bong on a flight to Amsterdam, then get pegged for terrorists and chased by the Feds across the country.

Doomsday
For three decades, they thought they'd contained the deadly Reaper Virus when they brutally quarantined the British Isles. Whoops. When it returns to a major city, it's deadlier than ever. Can an elite team (including Adeola Ariyo and Emma Cleasby) stop the spread in time to save the whole human race?

21
Not an even an MIT education can prepare you find the kind of lesson you'll learn if you try to cheat Vegas. Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth and Kevin Spacey star in this movie about math students who learn a complex card-counting scheme, then hit the desert to try and win big.

Have you seen a good movie recently? Any family movies that your kids especially loved? Be sure to let us know!

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An Olympics Family Night

We could not let the Olympics pass by without a fun family night surrounding it! Ethan is really into the Olympics this year (thanks to our Wii & the Mario Olympic Games) so I really wanted to do something fun & memorable for the kids.

For our dinner we made the infamous Chicken Lo Mein. We eat this about every other week, but it is a huge hit with the kids every single time and makes fabulous leftovers for lunch. I made a big batch of white rice (cooked as directed but I subbed the water with chicken broth) and bought a package of egg rolls (on special at Aldi for $1.99). I also asked the kids if they would like to try some tea and they both were excited about that so I made some of that too. It was a great excuse to use my little teapot that my grandfather bought for me and these Asian-inspired tea cups that I found at Goodwill.


The kids thought that these cups were really cool because they didn't have any handles on them. They had never tried egg rolls or tea before and I am happy to report that they both loved them. Emily called it chocolate and had the best time stirring it with her little spoon. My husband also had never tried egg rolls and loved them too! The dinner was a real hit!

Dad was in charge of the remote and we watched the Olympic games while we ate our dinner. There are times when having a television in the kitchen really pays off. Ethan kept saying, "Go, America! Go, America!" He also made predictions on how Michael Phelps was going to do ("Michael Phelps won't win because China is going to win, mom!")
While we cleaned up from dinner, Ethan worked on a picture of what the Olympics looked like to him. This is the 100 meter race. I love his fans cheering in the top corner of this page. We made this into a card for our new teacher.

After our fancy dinner and coloring, we worked on learning about origami. I found this cool origami website and we printed out several easy origami activities to do. Ethan colored them and then Dad showed him how to fold them into interesting things.

Ethan was so excited about learning origami that he wanted to know what else he could learn about from China. "I want to do something else from China," he said. My husband had him doing all sorts of Asian things- drinking water, taking a bath, putting on pajamas. You can't say we don't have a sense of humor in this house!

Do your children enjoy the Olympics? Do you have a fun way that you are teaching your children about the culture or a cool way of celebrating this event in your family?

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

And My Heart Breaks...



I woke up this morning to red eyes and a tear-stained pillow because I had been anticipating the big event in our house. I still can hardly believe that he went to school today.

Last night we went to his back-to-school night and met his teacher. Ethan spent the evening working on a card to bring her and we got apples at the supermarket so he could give her one. When he walked in with his apple and card, he was so excited to hand it to her. "Will she put it on the corner of her desk, mommy?" I think he saw this on a show or in a book somewhere because the apple placement was almost more important than the apple itself. When she thanked him for the apple and centered it on her desk, he pointed to the corner of her desk. "Could you put the apple here instead?" She grinned, but obliged. I tried to make quiet small talk with the teacher and signed my name on the volunteer sheet. It took everything in me to not say things like, "My son is so amazing- you have no idea how amazing he is! He is so incredibly gifted and smart! Will you love having him around as much as I have?" I didn't want to be that mom though so we said our goodbyes and held hands as we walked out the door.

It's funny, when my daughter looks at a picture of our family she points at each person and says their name. "That's my mommy. That's my daddy. That's my Ethan." The inflection and the possessiveness of that phrase let's you know just how special he is. He is hers and only hers. He is her big brother, her hero, and her best friend.

As I watch him climb the bus, that possessiveness rings in my heart. That's my boy. That's my colicky baby. That's my stoic toddler. That's my bubbly preschooler. That's my gentle & kind son. That's my Ethan. My. My. My.

Bittersweet.

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Back To School Free Menu Planner


Menu planning has been neglected this summer in favor of spontaneous grilling out and going with the lazy summer flow. School begins for us this week though and I need to get back in my menu-planning groove. Since I was working on our own planner, I wanted to share it with you so you could see what we have planned for this month. I hope it will inspire you for your own family meals this month.

1. Old-Fashioned Spaghetti & Meatballs (Make double batch of meatballs for later in the month)
2. Sloppy Joes & Seasoned Baked Potato Wedges
3. Caesar Chicken Pasta Salad With Homemade Pitas
4. Pita Pizzas (made from leftover pitas) & Salad
5. Parmesan Chicken Drumsticks, Steamed Broccoli, & Rice
6. Oatmeal Waffles with homemade syrup & orange juice
7. Leftovers Night
8. Chicken Broccoli Lo Mein with Rice
9. Herb Baked Tilapia, Chicken-Flavored Rice, & Microwave Corn in Butter Sauce
10. Meatball Subs on Homemade Rolls (meatballs from freezer)
11. Jerk Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, & Baby Peas
12. Homemade Pizza Night
13. Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken, Rice, & Steamed Broccoli
14. Leftovers Night
15. French Toast with homemade syrup & orange juice
16. Italian Pork Chops over Spaghetti
17. Chicken BBQ with Pretzels & Carrot Sticks
18. Salmon Pockets, Rice, & Baby Peas
19. Chicken Pasta Milano with Salad & Bread
20. Homemade Pizza Night
21. Leftovers Night
22. Yeast Waffles with homemade syrup & orange juice
23. Chicken Tacos with Tortilla Chips
24. Sarah's Tilapia, Rice, & Corn
25. "Roasted" Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, & Baby Peas (save & shred leftover chicken)
26. Chicken Salad Sandwiches (from leftover chicken), Pretzels & Carrot Sticks
27. Bread Machine Calzones With Dipping Sauce
28. Leftovers

Snacks: Banana Bread, Chewy Granola Bars, Cinnamon Muffins, Air Popped Popcorn, Rice Krispie Treats, Oatmeal & Chocolate Chip Muffins

I also made a printable version of my planner and am making it available for you here:

Back To School Menu Planner

I hit the grocery store and accomplished all of our grocery shopping (including food for breakfast & lunches) for one month for $175. That leaves us an extra $25 in the budget for our milk and anything else that comes up. Our budget has gone up a lot with the grocery prices, but it also gone up because I have not been planning as well. I am hopeful that we can stay on track this month.

Looking for more tips on menu planning? Be sure to check out my article on how I do my menu plans! It offers an overview on some ways you can start menu planning and find the right style of planners for your family!

With grocery prices rising, what is your grocery budget for your family? What style of menu planning works for you (planning weekly, planning monthly, no plan at all)?



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Monday, August 11, 2008

Redbox Code 08.11.08

Today's free code for a Redbox movie is H3BL13. This code is good for one free movie and you can use it until midnight tonight. Enjoy a free family movie together!

Side Notes:

- If you want to rent more than one movie for free, bring more than one credit/debit card. You can use the same promotional code, you just will need different cards to charge it to. The charge will be zero as long as you return your movie on time for the next day.

- When entering in your free movie code, you need to enter it FIRST before picking the movie. On the very first screen, click the, "Rent with Promo." Enter in the above code and then make your selection- the amount should then total zero.

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CVS Shopping & Savings 08.11.08

I used to do a lot of CVS shopping, but with a fortress of toothpaste, deodorant, and toothbrushes in my closet, I took the summer off to enjoy the rewards from my past shopping. We were trying to enjoy being home more and saving on gas at the same time so CVS shopping took a backseat this summer.

I have been slowly whittling down my supply though so last week I started picking the shopping back up and am ready to get back in the CVS game again!

Here is what I bought this week and how I saved:

1 Alavert Allergy Tablets- $5.99, get $3 ECB, used printable coupon for $4 off= $1.01 credit
2 CVS SPF 50 Sunscreens- $4.99, on sale for $2.99, two minus $1 coupons (printed from CVS coupon machine in store) & $2 off 1 CVS Beauty Product =1. 98 for two or $.99 each
2 Right Guard Deodorants, $3.29 each, on sale for BOGO Free, $1 off & $.75 coupons in paper= $1.54 for two or $.77 each
2 Colgate Total White Toothpaste- $2.79 each, on sale for BOGO Free, used printable coupon for $1.50 off= $1.29 for two or $.65 each
1 CVS Ibuprofen- $3.19 each, CVS coupon on end of last week's receipt for a free box= FREE
4 Oxy Daily Wash & Spot Treatment Products- $5.79 each, used $1 off coupon in paper, printable coupons here & here, got $6 ECB ($3 ECB when you buy two)= $8.87 for four or $2.22 each
Then I used the $2 off $10 coupon

After I used my ECB that I had from last week, I ended up paying $2.27 for my purchases & have $9 in ECB for next time. Total savings for this week's purchases... $57.90!

I plan to head back this week to buy diapers. CVS is running a sale on Huggies Jumbo Packs for $8.99 each. In front of the diapers are $1.00 off coupons in a little SmartSource Coupon Machine so you can take $1 off each package, print out the $2 off $10 coupon, and get $5 back in ECB. Total spent on 3 Jumbo Packs of Huggies $16.97 or $5.66 per pack. Check Baby Cheapskate for a complete list of diaper & formula stock-up opportunities.

Be sure to visit Money Saving Mom for a complete list of ways you can save money on your CVS purchases!

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Monica's Favorite Note Cards

I am so excited to kick off our weekend guest posts with Monica, from the wonderfully creative blog, The Homespun Heart. I consider Monica to be one of my dearest blogging friends and an inspiration to me to be a more creative mother. I do hope that you will check out her amazing blog!

If you are interested in submitting a post on frugal living, creative/crafty parenting, or organizing, you can email your entries to me at amy@momadvice.com. Please include a bio with a link to your site and (if you would like) a picture of yourself to include.




This is one of my all time favorite craft projects to do! An hour or two spent making cards and envelopes is really fun for me.

I start with plain 8.5" x 11" cardstock. I really like this brand from Michael's. They have a package of 50 sheets (which makes 100 cards) on sale periodically for $1.99 making it very inexpensive to make these cards! I have never tried the pre-cut paper, but my sister loves it - so whatever works best for you!

I slice the paper in half on a paper trimmer. Then, I fold each half in half again which makes your blank cards. Simply choose any photo you want to put on the front and attach with double-stick tape. I used to love using glue sticks - but have found the results with double-stick tape to be much better. Even though the tape is more expensive, I think it is worth it!

To make the envelope, select one full page photo from a magazine. Either take apart an envelope you already have that is the right size or print this template. Use template as a pattern and cut out the envelope. Fold side edges in first, then fold bottom flap up. Attach with double-stick tape. Fold top flap down - done!

To mail, tape back closed and use a label on the front for addressing. I love giving a stack of these for a gift, and you can see more of that in the related links below.

There is a step-by-step photo tutorial that I did a year ago, the links are below listed as Steps 1-4.

Enjoy!

Here are some previous posts about this very topic:
Homespun Wrapping
Gifts for Nursery Volunteers
Step One
Step Two
Step Three
Step Four
Christmas Cards

Monica is a stay at home mom to three little ones ages 3, 2 and 6 months! She loves to bake, offer hospitality, create fun memories for family and friends and is an avid crafter! She also loves blogging at The Homespun Heart!

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Friday, August 08, 2008

Freebie Friday: August 8, 2008

I have been thinking about some things and different ways I can interact with each of you more and wanted to run some ideas by all of you.

I was thinking of opening the Notebook Experiments up to everyone so that everyone could link to things that they tried in our notebook entries. Would this be something you guys might be interested in doing or do you just like me doing these solo? I would love to see what you all are creating and what projects have inspired you, so please let me know if you are interested.

I am also looking for some guest posts and would like to have a guest poster each Saturday. If you are interested in submitting a post on frugal living, creative/crafty parenting, or organizing, you can email your entries to me at amy@momadvice.com. Please include a bio with a link to your site and (if you would like) a picture of yourself to include.

I would like to especially thank Heather, from Freebies 4 Mom, for her great list of freebies! Heather also has a great reminder on remembering that coupons are also advertisements. What a great reminder for all consumers! Thank you, Heather, for all you do!


Health & Beauty

Sephora Vanilla Cupcake bath & shower bubbles - birthday treat
Sunsilk - request all 5 samples

Food


General Mills Pssst - new program where you get to try products for free
Kraft Food & Family magazine & free samples
Wendys - get printable coupons by email
Organic Valley Ovie's Underground - kids club

Entertainment

Family Circle - 2 free issues from StartSampling
Star Wars Clone Wars Pocket Models - enter zip for store near you
LEGO Digital Designer Software - free to download from LEGO
August Horse Print on Ziggity Zoom - high quality print to frame

Home & Garden

Mark Your Calendars

August - September - Walgreens Take Care Health Tour
August - Staples Teach Appreciation Day look up the date of your store's event
August - Ultimate Lunchbox samples @ Walmart
August 9 - Lowe's Build and Grow Clinic: make a mini school locker 10 to 11 am
August 16 - Michaels Back-to-School Event: make a beaded key chain 1 to 4 pm
August 23 - Lowe's Build and Grow Clinic: make a GMC truck 10 to 11 am
September 27 - National Museum Day

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

Amy's Notebook 08.07.08

This zebra cake would be a real crowd pleaser (@ Baking Bites)

I am loving this big boy room makeover (@ Mama K NJ)

I love these crocheted vases (@ My Lifetime via Craftzine)

Next year I want to grow enough tomatoes to can (@ The Artful Parent)

This sock monkey tutorial is great (@ Web Goddess)

This ragamuffin basket would look so cute in my daughter's room (@ A Soft Place to Land)

These apple stitched cards would make a great teacher gift (@ Make & Takes)

I had never seen making crayons in a large baking dish, but I might have to try this (@ Daily Danny)

I might be sprinkling some cinnamon in our sandbox this summer (@ Parent Hacks)

I love these frozen ice blocks and might have to do this one day with the kids (@ Pepper Paints)

This is a great post on how to budget your money (@ Organizing Connection)

We might have to do some Preschool Olympics here while watching the show (@ Let's Explore)

I really love this post office bag (@ elisie marley)

I still would love to try making soap sometime & these cupcake soaps are so cute (@ Soap Queen)

These felt crayon rolls would be a cute gift (@ Skip to My Lou)

My kids would love these homemade circus animal cookies (@ Vanilla Joy)

I love these fifty ways to have fun by yourself (@ The Simple Dollar)

These jam jar muffins would be a hit at any picnic (@ Cookbook Catchall)

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

WSBT-TV: Online Family Planners

This morning was a tad more exciting than I had planned for it to be. Our power went out about 2 AM and I had to set an alarm on my phone to get up by 5:30 AM to head over to tape today's segment. We still did not have power when I woke up and I did my best to get ready by candlelight and then put together a bag to take over and get ready in the bathroom before taping the segment. I managed to make it in though and share about some really great online family planning tools.

Be sure to read my entry on picking an online family planner and to get the scoop on all the great features. These are some really great tools to help busy moms stay organized...and did I mention that they are free? You can't beat it!

You can find my WSBT segment here. Please excuse the hair and makeup for the day! I am just happy I found some matching clothes!

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Giveaway: Tori Spellings Autograph & Mott's Goodies

I have been hard at work on updating The Mother Loot with some new reviews:

Disney Music Rocks

Unleashing Our Hidden Rock Star

Method Baby Products

We are also running an AMAZING giveaway this week for a slew of Mott's for Tots goodies and an autographed play date planning guide from the very famous Tori Spelling. Any former 90210 fans out there? Come on! Wasn't that one of the best shows on television? I wonder if the new version will be half as good as the original cast. Doubtful!

If you want to be entered in the giveaway, head over to The Mother Loot and get your entry in and read the full contest details. We look forward to sharing more giveaways with you throughout the year. It is one of my favorite things to do on here- truly!

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Me On You Tube: Choosing a Coffee Maker

One of our most popular articles on our site is the Frugal Mom's Guide to Coffee so I thought it would be great to do a segment on coffee as a You Tube clip. This segment breaks down the cost comparison between a drip coffee maker and a pod brew system. I tried to share some of the features that I love on my coffee maker and how to care for your coffee maker so you always have a fresh cup.

If you are in the market for a new coffee maker, I did find the best price on my Cuisinart Brew Central Coffee Maker at Sam's Club. My local price is listed as $54.86. In the departments stores I have seen this model range between $80-129, but if you know of anywhere else that carries it cheaper, please leave a comment!

I got the opportunity to plug my experience with my coffee maker for an article in Woman's World Magazine. The article is set to hit the newsstands on August 18th with a cover date of August 25th. They found me when looking for a frugal mom who was a self-confessed coffee fanatic and I guess they thought I fit that bill perfectly!

As I had discussed before, I will be working with Wal-Mart to provide content for a new You Tube channel. I wanted to include a list of the participants because they are all so great and I am excited to see what each of them comes up with! I look forward to working with each of them and please check their sites out for more money-saving tips!

GeekMommy's WebLife
The Domestic Diva
Jessica Knows
Classy Mommy
Being Frugal
Deal Seeking Mom
Frugal Upstate
Keeping the Kingdom First
Coupon Cravings
The "Cent"sible Sawyer

How many coffee drinkers are in your family and what coffee maker works well for you?



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Monday, August 04, 2008

Redbox Code 08.04.08

Today's free code for a Redbox movie is 172GJZ. This code is good for one free movie and you can use it until midnight tonight. Enjoy a free family movie together!

Side Notes:

- If you want to rent more than one movie for free, bring more than one credit/debit card. You can use the same promotional code, you just will need different cards to charge it to. The charge will be zero as long as you return your movie on time for the next day.

- When entering in your free movie code, you need to enter it FIRST before picking the movie. On the very first screen, click the, "Rent with Promo." Enter in the above code and then make your selection- the amount should then total zero.

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MomAdvice Monthly Recap: July '08

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2008 Online Family Planner Round-Up

Calendars, planners, and online software change each year so for the back-to-school season, I would like to share with you some of the family planning options available to you for the new school year. Many thanks to my Twitter friends for offering their own suggestions for what they use as it helped to get my list rolling!

For the first portion of our discussion, I wanted to discuss online calendars. Online calendars are great for families who spend a lot of time on the web and they can be easy to access when you are out and about from mobile phones and other computers.

Online tools are ideal for clearing the paper clutter from your life and can be easily shared among family members. When using paper calendars, it can be difficult to get your family all on the same page (so to speak) so online tools can be a great option for making sure everyone is aware of those meetings and appointments.
Google Calendar- This seems to be a favorite among families because it syncs so well with everything in a busy mom's life. Busy families can easily link to one another's calendars to avoid scheduling conflicts which makes it a very appealing option. You can import events from other calendar programs like Yahoo! Calendar and Microsoft Outlook. You also can set up multiple calendars for different areas of your life, like one for your daughter's ballet schedule or one for your weekly night's out with your girlfriends. Party planning and invitations can be done through the calendar as well as setting up reminders for important events in your life. I love that you can share your calendar with your family (or the world, if you so choose) which should help trigger your spouse's memory for that dinner with your family that he was so not looking forward to.


Cozi- In my opinion, this is one of the best free online tools that there is. I really just love the look and the feel of this calendar. I loved this calendar when it first came out, but they have made a new recent addition and you can now sync to Outlook, which makes adding events a whole lot easier. This software is made with a mom in mind. It is easy to use, color-coded (for each family member), includes pictures of your sweet little ones, helps you with your grocery list, has calendars with alerts letting you know when your appointments are and you can send love notes to your hubby…all from one central location. Left your grocery list at home? Just call Cozi’s toll-free number from any mobile phone and have your list read to you or sent as a text message.



remember the milk- This site is great for our list-writing mommas. You can make as many lists as you like and no one will tell you to put your notepads away. Into tagging items on your blog? Use the task cloud to easily see what you have to do. Want to store notes along with your tasks? You can do that too. Saving gas is always a priority too and you can use the map feature to see where your tasks are located in the real world. See what's nearby or on your way, and plan the best way to get things done.


Ta-da Lists- Another great site for the list-writing mommas because that is virtually all this program is. It is simple, it takes about ten seconds to sign up for an account and you can make as many lists as you like. You could also be like, "Ta-da!" and have this open on your computer with a giant list of things you need your spouse to do... you know, if you were that kind of spouse!

Do you use any online tools for managing your day? Do you utilize things like text messaging or a PDA to manage your day more effectively? What high-tech programs or tools have helped your day run more smoothly?

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Bloggy Giveaway Results: $25 Target Gift Card

Thanks to everyone who entered! If you are stumped for ideas on how to get back in the swing of things for the back-to-school season, look no further! I have over 700 ideas for you that should really fit the bill.

Our winner is Stephanie Reed (drawn randomly) and she had this great comment:

"Can we slip in a little motivational tip? My daughter is now in college but hated to do summer reading for high school. You'll never believe this, but the promise of a simple sticker worked wonders. What it said to her was, "I know you don't like this, but I'm proud of you for sticking with it." Just having a Disney Princess sticker to show for the time she spent reading made the day more pleasant."

I will be in contact with our winner and please come back to visit our site again! We hope to offer lots more giveaways in the future!

Be sure to check the list for all the giveaway results!

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Friday, August 01, 2008

Freebie Friday: August 1, 2008

Once again, a big thank you to Heather, from Freebies 4 Mom, for helping us with this week's list. If you are having a birthday in August, be sure to check Heather's birthday freebies list. Heather's piece on being an empowered consumer appeared on iVillage so it is definitely worth a read on how to be a better shopper!

While you are here, please swing by and visit my first You Tube video on some thrifty tips for your dishwasher. I am looking for feedback and ideas for future segments. I would love for you to watch it and tell me what you think!
Finally, don't forget to enter our giveaway for a free Target gift card. The winner will be chosen tonight and it could be you!


Health & Beauty

Always (BeingGirl sample)
Food
Entertainment

Scrapbooking Classes Online by Big Picture Scrapbooking
Fandango Movie Ticket (for American Express cardholders)
Pets
Mark Your Calendars

August - September - Walgreens Take Care Health Tour
August - Staples Teach Appreciation Day look up the date of your store's event
August - Ultimate Lunchbox samples @ Walmart
August 2 - The Home Depot Kids Workshop: make a flag holder 9 am to noon
August 9 - Lowe's Build and Grow Clinic: make a mini school locker 10 to 11 am
August 16 - Michaels Back-to-School Event: make a beaded key chain 1 to 4 pm
August 23 - Lowe's Build and Grow Clinic: make a GMC truck 10 to 11 am
September 27 - National Museum Day

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