Frugal Novice

Bath Time is Extra Fun With Suave, Frozen, & Star Wars!

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This is a compensated post, but all opinions are honest and my own. Post sponsored by Mirum Shopper. All opinions are my own.

When it comes to bathtime for kids, it can end up being a chore for both parents and kids. If you’ve ever heard your child whine, “Do I have to take a bath?” you’re not alone, my friend. Anything we can find to make bathtime more fun ends up making it easier on us.

We have three kids, as most of you already know – two boys and one girl. With this particular mix, we definitely have a healthy balance of princesses and dart guns in our play area. Our boys love Star Wars (they come by it honestly – my husband does, too), and my daughter is pretty obsessed with Frozen, as are almost all other 3-year-old girls (she’d totally be Elsa, by the way – she tells us this every time we watch the movie).

When we can combine things the kids love and bathtime, it’s a win-win, so we were pretty excited to discover the new Suave Kids – DISNEY FROZEN & Suave Kids Star Wars bath products at Walmart.

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It really couldn’t be a more perfect fit for our family. The boys immediately started debating on whether we needed the Kylo Ren or BB-8 body wash/shampoo (Kylo Ren won out, in case you’re wondering). And our daughter knew immediately that she had to have the Elsa shampoo/conditioner.

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Both products smell great – the Star Wars body wash/shampoo has an apple scent, and the Frozen shampoo/conditioner is berry scented.

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As a parent, I love these products because they’re fun for my kids and they have the same great Suave quality I have known of for decades. They’re tear-free and hypoallergenic. They’re easy to rinse off, and residue-free, making bath time safe and easy for kiddos!

Since we’ve been talking about bath-time fun, I thought I’d share two great ideas that are SO easy, and that your kids will love:

•For Star Wars fans – buy some glow sticks (they’re SO inexpensive), activate them, and turn out the lights for some epic adventures!

•For Frozen fans – add shaving cream to the bathtub and you’ve got an instant “frozen” wonderland with tons of “snow” to play with!

 

Celebrating What We Luv With Luvs!

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This is a partnered post sponsored by Luvs. All opinions are my own.

At this time of year, with Thanksgiving right around the corner, we’re all thinking about who and what we are thankful for. With that in mind, it was the perfect time for me to have a #WhatULuv party with friends.

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Luvs generously provided diapers, decor and sippy cups for the party, so I decided to come up with green, purple and white foods to keep with the theme.

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greenapples

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Poise Impressa® Bladder Supports Let Your Holidays be Merry and Bright!

This post is sponsored by Acorn on behalf of Poise. All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.

The holidays are almost upon us (ahem… we may have already started decorating. I may be writing this post by the lights of our Christmas tree) and that means we’re entering my favorite time of the year. I absolutely love all the fun opportunities there are for making memories with my family!

As moms, we’re often the hubs of the family activities, aren’t we? Especially during the holidays, we’re coordinating schedules, planning fun outings and crafts, and keeping things running smoothly (all while ordering cards, shopping for gifts, and planning the menu for Christmas dinner).

Some of my friends with kids who have an issue, though – one that can distract them from all the holiday fun. It’s something really common that you might have encountered too: bladder leakage. It’s not something people really want to talk about, but if you’re stressing as your cousin tells a hilarious story because you don’t want to laugh too hard, you know that it’s a very real thing that can hamper holiday memory-making.

No more, friends. If this is an issue you’re dealing with, there’s a super easy solution. Just head to Walmart and get a Poise Impressa Sizing Kit (or order one online here). Once you figure out which size is right for you, you’ll be all set to have discreet protection against worry. Laugh all you want, bake all you want, wrap gifts all you want – do it all without thinking twice, because Impressa’s got your back.

If you’re looking for some easy – and fun – holiday activities, look no further! Something as simple as going to look at lights can be really special, if you approach it the right way. For example:

  • Line the car seats with cozy fleece blankets, and have extra blankets and pillows for each car rider.
  • Have everyone (you too, Mom & Dad) wear pajamas.
  • Pack a travel mug of coffee or hot chocolate for everyone, complete with peppermint for an added Christmas flavor.
  • Bring along popcorn, cookies, and/or candy for the kids to have a special treat while you drive around.
  • Have a Christmas music playlist ready to go for background music.
  • Get a cheap pair of binoculars and let the kids take turns looking at houses up close and personal!
  • Play a version of BINGO, having the kids look for various decorations (i.e. inflatable snowman).

Whether you’re looking at Christmas lights, baking cookies, wrapping gifts, or laughing your head off at a family gathering, Impressa will let you do it all without a second thought. Celebrate with confidence, and make memories you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Veterans Day Deals From Boston Market, Fogo de Chão, & Ruby Tuesday

Veteran’s Day is a week from today, and it’s the perfect time to thank those you know who have served our country. These men and women work hard and sacrifice time away from their own families to keep us safe, and their actions are definitely worth celebrating.

If you’re looking for a way to thank a veteran, here are three great restaurant deals to take advantage of:

Fogo de Chao Brazillian Steakhouse Restaurant wall sign

Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse

  • All military veterans and active duty personnel with valid military ID will receive 50% off their meal on Veteran’s Day (Nov. 11); up to three additional guests will receive 10% off their meals, as well. (Offer is valid at all U.S. and Puerto Rico Fogo de Chão locations. Beverages, dessert, tax and gratuity not included.)

Ruby Tuesday

Ruby Tuesday

  • All veterans, active duty and reserve military service members with valid military ID can enjoy one free appetizer (up to a $10 value) on Veteran’s Day (Nov. 11). (Offer is valid at all Ruby Tuesday locations, excluding those in Guam, Hawaii, Manhattan, airports or outside of the United States.)

Boston Market

Boston Market

  • All active duty or retired military personnel and their families can receive one free brownie or cookie with any purchase on Veteran’s Day (Nov. 11). No ID required.

 

Protect Your Pets with Healthy Paws Pet Insurance (+ a Giveaway!)

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The Healthy Paws® information, product, and gift card, have been provided by Healthy Paws Pet Insurance®. All opinions are my own.

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This is our lab/golden retriever, Sally, conked out on a recent road trip. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that our dogs are pretty special to us. They are loyal, loving, and unendingly patient with our three loud, energetic kids.

A year ago, Sally got a bug bite on her head that she scratched at, and it got infected. She was absolutely pitiful – so lethargic and not like herself at all! We were worried and took her to the vet right away. Thankfully they were able to do a laser treatment and give her medicine to help with the healing process – but we were left paying nearly $300 to the vet. She’s totally worth it, of course, but I wish I’d known then about Healthy Paws Pet Insurance®.

It’s the #1 customer-rated pet insurance, and it pays up to 90% of vet bills due to unexpected accidents or illness! We could have avoided that huge bill and protected our budget that month if we had signed up for one of their policies.

If you get a free quote from Healthy Paws, they’ll contribute money to the medical care of homeless pets.  Sign up early on in your pets’ lives, because pet insurance is just like human insurance in that it doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. And don’t forget to participate in their Refer-A-Friend program, where you can earn $35 for each friend that enrolls.

Keep up with Healthy Paws on Facebook & Twitter, too!

 

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Fill Your Friends’ Halloween with Boo-tiful Fun!

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At Home funded this amazing Boo! fun. All opinions are honest and my own.

Thanksgiving and Christmas often get associated with doing nice things for others, but I’ve decided Halloween has gotten unfairly left out. There are plenty of opportunities for random acts of kindness, and this past week we tried out one of my favorite Halloween traditions – “booing” someone!

One of my best friends started a new chapter in her life this summer, and has recently moved into a new home with her two kids. I thought she would be perfect to surprise!

Brian and I went to At Home to stock up on supplies. It was SO much fun looking through all their Halloween items to decide what we wanted to get.

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We settled on a fun light-up inflatable arch, stake light pathway markers, a jack-o-lantern doormat, two metal signs, a cauldron perfect for holding Halloween candy, and a light-up jack-o-lantern. Once we had everything picked out, we just had to sneak over to my friend’s house and set everything up!

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In front of her flower bed we set up two colorful metal signs and the orange stake lights. These bring a great amount of color to the yard and are fun and cheerful!

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On the front porch we placed the doormat, jack-o-lantern and cauldron – a perfect doorstep setting for any trick-or-treaters on Halloween!

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I think my favorite thing in the yard, though, is the inflatable arch. It’s so fun with the monster eyes on it, at night it lights up, and it’s a great entrance for trick-or-treaters to walk through as they head up to my friend’s porch.

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Teal Pumpkin Project Printable

Halloween

Halloween will be here in a few weeks, and for most kids, that means one thing – candy. Our neighborhood is great for trick-or-treating and our kids typically end up with a pretty huge haul (which Brian and I may or may not “help” with eating).

For kids with food allergies, though, Halloween can be stressful (also – did you know 1 in 13 kids has a food allergy?). It involves either sorting through candy carefully to remove offending pieces, or avoiding trick-or-treating entirely.

Our nephew is allergic to dairy, and our good friends’ daughter is allergic to gluten.  Thankfully, neither of these are life-threatening, but our 7 year old son has a boy in his class with a severe peanut allergy. Their teacher talks about their classroom being a peanut-free zone, but last week someone ate peanut butter near him during lunch – he ended up having to go to the hospital. All three of these kids will have to be careful with what they consume on Halloween – which is why the Teal Pumpkin Project is so great.

FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education) began this initiative to help make sure all children will come home on Halloween night with something they can enjoy. It just takes one simple act: offering non-food treats, such as glow sticks & bracelets, stickers, fun pencils, necklaces, or small toys as an alternative to candy.

If you’re participating, the idea is to paint a pumpkin teal as a signal to trick-or-treaters. Our local grocery store has a big display with teal paint ready for purchase:

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I’ve created a free printable sign you can put up on your front door to let people know you’ve got non-food treats available – it’s an easy way to make Halloween a great night for all kids!

Just click here or the image below to start your free download. FARE has some other options for free signs, too!

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Have a happy – and safe – Halloween, everyone!

Hamilton Beach Sous Vide and Slow Cooker Pulls Double Duty in the Kitchen

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We received the Hamilton Beach sous vide and slow cooker to facilitate our review, and Hamilton Beach is providing the prize for the giveaway. I was not compensated monetarily, and all opinions are honest and my own.

Brian and I are love to cook, and we love to watch cooking competitions. For several years now we’ve been intrigued by the concept of sous vide cooking, but it has seemed like something only professional chefs do.

Hamilton Beach changed all of that with their sous vide and slow cooker. It’s a two-for-one product, giving you the familiar slow cooker and allowing you to get adventurous with sous vide.

Since we’ve used a slow cooker many times, we decided to sous vide chicken with chimichurri sauce.

We placed each chicken breast in a baggie with a little of the chimichurri sauce, and then lowered each bag into the water-filled sous vide vessel. The water helped press all the air out from within the bags, and then we closed the bags up. You’ll notice in the photo below that a rack comes with the cooker – perfect for setting the food.

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We just set the desired temperature we wanted the chicken to reach, and then once the temperature was reached we set the timer and put the lid on – SO easy.

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After the chicken finished cooking, we briefly seared each side of the chicken in a skillet and then plated it on rice with more chimichurri sauce drizzled over it.

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The chicken was so tender that we didn’t even need a knife to cut it, and it was full of flavor from the chimichurri sauce.

Here’s the recipe we used for the chimichurri sauce:

  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley (packed full)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano (packed full)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

In keepin with the “easy” theme, just put all the ingredients in your food processor and pulse until everything is well-blended. It’s pretty fool-proof!

I loved how easy it was to use – it will definitely be a staple in our kitchen. I can’t wait to try it with steak, and Brian wants to try seafood.

Are you curious about trying sous vide cooking? You can get a Hamilton Beach sous vide and slow cooker here AND you can enter to win one below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Green Tips for Brown Thumbs

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Thanks to Chris Young for this guest post! As someone who definitely has a “brown thumb” I appreciate his tips! Follow him on Twitter or Instagram for more.

Everybody knows somebody who kills every plant they try to grow…aka “brown thumbs.”  I’m giving you a green thumbs-up to keep trying with a few helpful tips on how to keep your plants healthy and thriving!

  • If you’re trying to start a flower or vegetable garden outdoors, build up your confidence by choosing the easiest plants to grow.  I always recommend vigorous growers such as sunflowers, zinnias, daffodils, clarkias, poppies, sweet alyssum and daisies for beginners.  For the vegetable garden I suggest all peas and legumes, especially sugar snap peas and red runner beans.  Other easy veggies include lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots.  All these plants are particularly hardy and quick to grow with even the most basic care.  Sunflowers are particularly easy and quick to sprout when planted from seeds.  In fact, these sunny towers of power are recommended for children!
  • Speaking of basic care, one mistake “brown thumbs” often are guilty of is loving a plant quite literally to death.  Overwatering, despite our good intentions, can often cause a plant to wilt and rot (unless of course it’s a waterlily).  Water when the soil is dry to the touch.  If you push your finger in and it feels damp, then you can wait another day or so.  Make sure your potted plants have containers with drainage holes at the bottom.  You can also mix a bit of gravel to help your soil have better drainage.

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Perfect Ironing is Easier Than Ever With Rowenta!

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Note: My contributor received a Rowenta iron to facilitate this review. All opinions are honest and are her own.

My contributor, Debbie, is the owner of Charlie’s Stitches embroidery. You can see examples of her beautiful work here.

Because of the nature of her craft, Debbie does an awful lot of ironing. I knew she’d be the perfect person to test out Rowenta’s SteamCare iron.

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Here are a few facts about it the iron:

  • One Smart Temperature automatically adjusts the iron’s heat settings to remove wrinkles from any fabric, no manual adjustment required
  • Microsteam350 Soleplate has 350 fully-activated Microsteam holes that deliver optimal steam distribution, and 1600 watts of steam power can be channeled through the iron’s auto-steam, steam burst, or fine mist spray settings
  • Built-in Anti-Calcium system removes impurities, better for clothes and the lifespan of the iron
  • Tri-Plate Technology ensures 100% safe and efficient ironing even on the most delicate fabrics like silk and cashmere without the risk of shine or burn
  • Auto shutoff after 8 minutes if left vertical, after 30 seconds if left horizontal or tipped over
  • Precision tip reaches difficult areas
  • Vertical steam removes wrinkles from hanging garments and drapes

Debbie said she was very impressed with the iron. She mentioned that most irons just have steam holes around the edge, but she loved how the Rowenta has steam holes across the whole surface of the iron. She also loved the precision tip for things like reaching between buttons on shirts. Debbie tried it on both a shirt and on one of her embroidery pieces – see how quickly wrinkles are removed in the videos below:

You can purchase the Rowenta iron online here.

Check In & Pamper Yourself with a Hotel Bruce Spa Prize Pack

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This is a partnered post. Thanks to Disney for sending me a copy of Hotel Bruce, and for providing the prize pack for my giveaway.

If you remember, last year I shared a fun Lemonade Cake recipe to go along with a great book we’d received – Mother Bruce. This year the creator of Mother Bruce, Ryan T. Higgins, has released another fun Bruce-centered book called Hotel Bruce

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Here’s the premise behind the newest book: When Bruce gets home from a southern migration trip with his goslings, he is tired. He is grumpy. And he is definitely not in the mood to share his home with the trio of mice who have turned his den into a hotel.

There’s a possum pillow fight wreaking havoc in one room, a fox luring guests into a stew in the kitchen, and a snuggly crew of critters hogging the bed. Bruce growls and grumbles and tries to throw them all out, but the entrepreneurial mice just can’t take a hint. Bruce is in a little over his head, especially once the goslings join the staff. Will this grumpy bear ever get his quiet, peaceful den back to himself?

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The book is a hit in our house! It’ll be released October 18 – preorder it here now!

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In keeping with the hotel theme, I’ve got a fun, relaxing prize pack you’ll love. You’ll get:

  • a cozy hotel robe, a pair of slippers + sleep mask;
  • a copy of Hotel Bruce to keep your little goslings entertained!

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Just enter via Rafflecopter below:

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[ad] Two Ingredient Chicken Mummies

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This post is written by me on behalf of Tyson Foods, Inc. All opinions are entirely my own. This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SpookyGoodSnacks #CollectiveBias

It’s October, and that means our kids are all about Halloween. On Saturday we put out all our Halloween decorations, and before long we’ll be picking out pumpkins. I send jokes in my boys’ lunch boxes each school day, and I’ve started bringing out some Halloween-themed gems like What do birds do on Halloween? Trick or tweet! We are imparting Halloween fun (nothing creepy – our kids are young and, well, I’m a wimp) in lots of ways, and I’ve even come up with a spooky good (and quick, and easy) snack/dinner option my kids adore: Chicken Mummies!

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Aren’t they SO fun? Before you worry that you’ll try this and end up with a Pinterest fail, let me tell you this. There are just two ingredients to the mummies – or three, if you count the “bloody marinara” dipping sauce. They’re delicious and a great source of protein, too!

First, snag some Tyson® Any’tizers® Chicken Fries. I sent my husband to H-E-B and he found them on the frozen food aisle.

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