June – 2011 – Frugal Novice
Monthly Archives

June 2011

Red Envelope Father’s Day Gifts – Review & Giveaway!

Have you started shopping for a Fathers Day gift yet? I love finding unique items that I know the dads in my life will really enjoy, and shopping at Red Envelope puts all sorts of high-quality products at my fingertips. I love that they categorize gift items by interest: cufflinks and accessories, gadgets and tools, gourmet food, grilling and outdoors, home bar, office and travel, and sports fan. There’s something for everyone!

Brian is a gadget lover, and he found something pretty immediately to choose when we got the opportunity to do a Father’s Day gift review from Red Envelope:

This GorillaPod all-terrain tripod!

Brian loves it and says he’ll get a lot of use out of it.  At first glance, it looks like a pretty regular tripod – it’s got a level built in, which is really nice!

But this is no ordinary tripod – you can curl the legs around to grip on to different surfaces, allowing you to take stable shots from a variety of locations. It feels really sturdy, too, which is important when you’re trusting it to hold up your expensive dSLR!

This is a great tripod and it’s just one of the many great gift ideas for Dad at Red Envelope!

One lucky reader will get a $50 gift code to Red Envelope! This contest is open to all U.S. residents. Entries will be accepted until the end of the day (midnight CST) Wednesday, June 22.

Mandatory Entry: “Like” Red Envelope on Facebook, then comment here letting me know you’ve done so.

Bonus entries will only be accepted after the mandatory entry has been completed. Please comment one time for each extra entry.

  • Sign up to receive my newsletter {1 extra entry}
  • Sign up to get my updates in your e-mail {1 extra entry}
  • Subscribe to my RSS feed {1 extra entry}
  • Follow me on Twitter {1 extra entry}
  • Follow me through Google Friend Connect (over in the sidebar) {1 extra entry}
  • Click the Facebook “Share” button below this post to share it on your FB wall {1 extra entry}
  • Click the “Tweet” button below this post to share it on your Twitter feed –  can do up to two times per day {1 extra entry per tweet}
  • Blog about this giveaway and link it back here; comment with the URL to your post {2 extra entries}
  • “Like” Frugal Novice on Facebook {1 extra entry}
  • Unlimited Extra Entry Option: Leave a NEW comment on as many other posts as you like and get one entry for each comment (entering another giveaway counts too). Be sure to let me know which posts you commented on below.

Note: I received the tripod from Red Envelope for review, and a gift code is being provided for the giveaway. I was not compensated monetarily for this post, and all opinions are honest and my own.

Energizer Inductive Charger Review

I use my phone constantly – to check email or Facebook, to text, to take photos, and even sometimes to – gasp – talk on the phone. Since I use it all the time, the battery tends to wear down before the end of my work day.

When I got the chance to review the Energizer Inductive Charger, I was really excited – anything that makes life more convenient is really valuable to me (and I’m sure a lot of you other moms out there, too).

I received a sleeve for my iPhone 4. I just slipped the sleeve on and it clicked into place, providing a secure case for use all day. To charge the phone, all I had to do was place the phone (with the sleeve on) on to the charger. As soon as it was charging, a blue light lit up, letting me know it had a secure connection.

My favorite thing about this charger is how easy it is! Other chargers require magnetic alignment, but the Energizer inductive charger has special technology that allows for placement anywhere on the two large Qi charging areas. There’s no secret spot to find, so if you accidentally bump your charger or device, it will keep charging – until it has a full charge. This feature is important, because then you don’t overcharge your battery, which can cause it to deplete more quickly over time.

I reviewed the Powermat last year, and although I liked it at first, it later became really difficult to find the right spot for my phone to charge. The Energizer mat is above and beyond an easier, more convenient mat to use. I’m extremely impressed with it, and would highly recommend it for anyone – and especially for a Father’s Day gift!

If you’d like to win a charger, be sure and pop on over to their Facebook page and enter their contest! It runs through June 11 and the winner will receive an Energizer Inductive Charger, along with one of the compatible phones and a compatibility sleeve. Click here to go enter the Energizer Qi(chee)Stakes!

Note: I received a charger and sleeve to review. I was not compensated monetarily. All opinions provided are honest and my own.


Chili’s Triple Dipper Review & Gift Card Giveaway!

Our family loves Chili’s, which I’m sure I’ve mentioned on here before. Seriously – we pass by one every morning and the boys always say, “Hi Chili’s!”

We enjoy going as a family, and also with friends. It’s a great place for families with small children to go – they often offer free kids’ meals, and it’s loud enough that the kids’ chattering doesn’t cause a problem.

We got the chance recently to review the Triple Dipper, and we thought it sounded like a perfect thing to share with friends! The Triple Dipper provides you with three appetizer choices, so there’s sure to be something for everyone. Now, if I could select the dream Triple Dipper it’d probably involve chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate (ooooh, wouldn’t a Triple Dipper: Dessert Edition be great?). But the choices they do offer are pretty great! You can pick from:

  • NEW! Loaded Potato Skins
  • NEW! Memphis BBQ Skins
  • NEW! Honey-Chipotle Shrimp
  • Big Mouth® Bites
  • Boneless Buffalo Wings
  • Southwestern Eggrolls
  • Chicken Crispers®
  • Wings Over Buffalo®
  • Fried Cheese
  • Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Brian and I picked the potato skins, Big Mouth Bites, and boneless buffalo wings.

Our friends Paul and Jen tried the wings, fried cheese, and spinach & artichoke dip.

Overall everything was really great! Brian and I liked everything on ours; I especially liked the burgers, and he loved the wings. Paul enjoyed the wings on their Triple Dipper, and Jen really liked the spinach artichoke dip. She liked the cheese sticks better than he did, though – he wished the cheese was a little more stringy. All in all, though, we enjoyed the food and had a lot of fun sampling different things.

The kids had fun, too – we got a free chips and salsa by checking in through FourSquare, and they munched on quite a few chips while we waited for our food. This is C with his friend… G. :)

Chili’s is always hosting fun events where you can win prizes, like their Shout Out to Eat Out contest.  Put yourself in a terrific trio and you could win a $20 Chili’s Gift Card or a $333 grand prize!

In addition to that, I’ve got a chance for you to win a Chili’s gift card right here from my blog! This giveaway is open until the end of the day (midnight CST) Sunday, June 12.

Mandatory Entry: First, click here, enter my blog’s name (Frugal Novice) in the box, and click submit. Then be sure and comment letting me know you’ve done so!

Bonus entries will only be accepted after the mandatory entry has been completed. Please comment one time for each extra entry.

  • Tell me your 3 favorite foods you would like to have all on 1 plate. {1 extra entry}
  • “Like” Chili’s on Facebook. {1 extra entry}
  • Follow @Chilis & @Shoutout2eatout on Twitter {1 extra entry}
  • Create your terrific trio located on shoutouttoeatout.com and comment with the URL link. {1 extra entry}
  • Opt-In to Chili’s email club here (You’ll receive a free appetizer certificate too!) {1 extra entry}
  • Tweet out this: “At @Chilis Good Things Come In 3’s! Check out @2Wired2Tired http://bit.ly/linkyrave for 200 chances to win in the #tripledipper linky rave!” {1 extra entry}
  • Write a post on your blog about your 3 favorite foods you would like to have all on 1 plate and mention the Shoutout2eatout.com promotion. Then comment with the URL link. {1 extra entry}
  • Sign up to receive my newsletter {1 extra entry}
  • Sign up to get my updates in your e-mail {1 extra entry}
  • Subscribe to my RSS feed {1 extra entry}
  • Follow me on Twitter {1 extra entry}
  • Follow me through Google Friend Connect (over in the sidebar) {1 extra entry}
  • Click the Facebook “Share” button below this post to share it on your FB wall {1 extra entry}
  • Click the “Tweet” button below this post to share it on your Twitter feed –  can do up to two times per day {1 extra entry per tweet}
  • Blog about this giveaway and link it back here; comment with the URL to your post {2 extra entries}
  • “Like” Frugal Novice on Facebook {1 extra entry}
  • Unlimited Extra Entry Option: Leave a NEW comment on as many other posts as you like and get one entry for each comment (entering another giveaway counts too). Be sure to let me know which posts you commented on below.

Note: I received a Chili’s gift card to facilitate the review, and one is being provided for the giveaway. All opinions in this post are honest and are my own.

Menu Plan Monday June 6-11

Menu Plan Monday

Hi everyone! I’m sitting here procrastinating from getting prepared for the start of the week tomorrow. We’ve had a good weekend but weren’t nearly as productive as we should’ve been. We were out of town earlier this week (I had a conference for work) and it always takes us a while to recover from a trip. Suitcases are still out, partially packed. I’m just going to shoot for being somewhat organized before the weekend so that we can just relax when it gets here.

We got off budget this past month, so we’re trying to get back on track this month. The number one way we’re doing this? Trimming back BIG time on our eating out, which mostly occurs at lunch during the week. We’re going to work on having either sandwiches or leftovers for lunch the majority of the time.

On to dinners:

Monday: Grilled chicken, wild rice, and veggies

Tuesday: Whole wheat pasta with meat sauce, green beans, and a healthier version of garlic bread using whole grain bread (totally got that idea from our friend Jen!)

Wednesday: Leftover pasta – we always have a ton of leftovers from almost any pasta meal.

Thursday: Bisquick chicken tenders with french fries

Friday: Pepperoni pizza made with turkey pepperoni

So, that’s it for our meals! Speaking of food… be sure and check back soon for a review of Chili’s Triple Dippers – and a giveaway for a $20 Chili’s gift card!

Have an absolutely wonderful week, everyone!

Hero of the Rails App for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch

HIT Entertainment, one of the world’s leading providers of high-quality children’s entertainment, and Callaway Digital Arts (www.callaway.com), interactive developer of premium children’s and lifestyle applications for touch-screen tablets and mobile devices, are pleased to announce the launch of Thomas & Friends™: Hero of the Rails, the newest app that brings Thomas and his engine friends to life. Now available for download in Apple’s App Store, this visually stimulating app is already a hit with consumers, reaching the #1 spot in the iTunes Store in the Books Category.

The launch of Thomas & Friends: Hero of the Rails continues the award-winning collaboration between HIT and Callaway. In December 2010, the companies launched Thomas & Friends: Misty Island Rescue to great acclaim. The app was the winner of Children’s Technology Review’s Editor’s Choice Award as well as one of ten apps selected as “Best in Show” at Kidscreen’s first iKids App Showdown.

Based on the animated feature-length movie Hero of the Rails, this innovative, interactive app offers children and families a unique Thomas experience. Children can read, watch, and play with Thomas, Hiro and all their favorite engines in this action-packed adventure. With multi-touch animation, CGI video, painting, puzzles, and games, Thomas & Friends: Hero of the Rails provides an immersive experience the whole family will enjoy.

“Hero is another successful collaboration between HIT and Callaway. The app takes all of the fun and functionality that kids enjoy in the Misty Island Rescue app to a whole new level,” said Natasha Fishman, Senior Vice President, Global Brand Management and Digital Media, HIT Entertainment. “It’s truly a beautiful brand experience and one that we are thrilled to extend to Thomas fans and young readers.”

“We are reinventing the reading experience for the iPad generation by combining HIT’s universally appealing characters with Callaway’s design and technical expertise,” says Callaway Digital Arts Chief Executive Officer Nicholas Callaway. “CDA is delighted to go full steam ahead with HIT on many future interactive apps.”

Features of this app include:

  • Vibrant CGI animation
  • Interactive multimedia surprises
  • Dynamic narration
  • Engine games
  • Animated puzzles
  • Painting activities

With the first Thomas app launched in early 2010, there are now 13 Thomas & Friends apps available in the Apple iTunes App store. Embraced by families and children around the world, recommended by the Parents’ Choice Foundation, and acclaimed by industry experts, the Thomas apps portfolio has already made a significant impact in the kids’ digital landscape.

“We are committed to deliver Thomas experiences through emerging technologies and are excited to continue engaging with audiences in new and innovative ways,“ says Fishman.

Hero of the Rails is available for a limited time for $0.99 in the iTunes app Store at www.itunes.com/appstore/.

Note: The above is a press release I received and wanted to share because we love Thomas products so much in our house!

New & Improved Tylenol

If you’re a parent of small children, you know how often they can get sick. Our boys both attend a day care – which, while wonderful, unavoidably becomes a stage for kids to share germs.

There’s almost nothing more pitiful than a sick child, especially when they’re too young to really understand what’s going on. We dealt with that earlier, when both C & J caught a stomach bug. C was still too little to really get why he felt so horrible.

It’s wonderful to have access to medicine that can bring down fever and make our boys feel a little better!

Of course, with the use of any medicine on our children comes the concern of safety. TYLENOL has recently made improvements that provide both safety and convenience measures for parents.

Infants’ TYLENOL will be available with a new bottle that has a protective opening and a new push-in syringe. This makes it more difficult for a child to get to the medicine, provides even better dosing accuracy and ease of administration, and allows for better control when dispensing the medcine.

Another change that I really like is that now there will be one concentration of acetaminophen for single-ingredient TYLENOL products for both infants and children. The change is being made to standardize dosing across products and age groups.

It is important to be aware that there will be a time period when both the current and new concentrations of Infants’ acetaminophen products will be available in stores. Be sure to read and follow the dosing directions on the product that is being used. Contact your child’s healthcare provider if you have questions about dosing instructions.

As always, Infants’ and Children’s TYLENOL products will continue to include specially designed dosing devices appropriate to the age of the child.

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when giving medicine to infants and children. Just remember NURSE:

Never give adult medicines to children.

Use the measuring device (syringe, dropper, dosage cup) that comes with the medicine every time you use it. Don’t use kitchen spoons (teaspoons or tablespoons).

Read and follow instructions on the label. Never give more than the recommended dose, and do not give the medicine more frequently than recommended.

Store all medicines out of the reach of children. Immediately following use, always restore the child-resistant cap and put the medicine back into a high and out-of-sight location.

Every child grows. Know the infant’s or child’s weight and/or age to help determine the appropriate dosage.

To find out more information, you can visit the TYLENOL product page.

Note: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Tylenol and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Friendly Friday June 3

Welcome to Friendly Friday!

Remember, YOU can host the link list on your blog, too! Just get the InLinkz code and copy it directly into your post. The code is different every week, so be sure to get the new code when hosting Friendly Friday on your blog. Hosting the list is a great way to get even more traffic to your blog and make Friendly Friday more beneficial for everyone.

Thanks for joining the Friendly Friday celebration hosted by Christi at Frugal Novice, Xenia at Thanks, Mail Carrier and Charla at Healthy Home Blog! We invite you to join us every Friday to make more friends in blogville, get more blog followers and follow other great blogs out there.

To join in the Friendly Friday celebration, include your family-friendly link in our list, follow the hostesses in the first 3 spots and then start blog hopping! Visit other blogs on the list and comment to give them some blog love. Then take a minute to follow them through Google Friend Connect – this is a good way to keep up with other blogs, but also lets us show support to each other! Please DO NOT list your giveaways here, links must be to either your homepage or your Friday posting with your blog title. All others will be deleted.

When people comment on your blog and let you know they’re a part of Friendly Friday, return the favor and follow them back. This way everyone gets traffic and followers out of participating, and it’s a win-win situation. We would love for you to also grab our Friendly Friday button and post it on your blog and/or in a post – the more bloggers that find out about Friendly Friday and participate, the better!

Spotlight on Friendly Friday Followers! We love your participation and want to show it! In addition to gaining followers, each week we’ll select three blogs at random and will feature links and a write-up for those blogs in the content of next week’s Friendly Friday post. There are so many seriously wonderful blogs out there, and this will be a great way to highlight some of those each week. Say hello to the lucky chosen 3 for this week (and feel free to stop by and give them a little extra love):

Hey, It’s Jade is written by a Texas gal who is a Christian wife and mother of two young boys, “trying to figure it out.”  She homeschools their children and has weekly recaps of what they’ve done.  Jade shares a lot of homeschooling experiences as well as reviews and what she does to try to be as frugal as possible. She has taken the “Homemaker’s Challenge of 31 Days to Clean,” and it’s interesting to read her experiences and how she’s doing.

If you’re looking for some great crafts to do this summer to decorate your home or maybe to give as gifts,
Confessions of a Paper-Crafts Chick has some great ideas with detailed instructions and pictures to guide you in making your craft. Cards, journals, and candles are just a few of the things she makes. She enjoys using the Word of God to encourage and motivate others while having fun with the crafts. Her latest project is a framed 3-D poem which looks really cool!

Marni at Your Sassy Sites! is a wife and mother, a crafter and vinyl maker, and loves anything big and blingy, crafty and sassy.  She and her husband have two boys plus a “sweet angel baby girl” who is missed every day, and she and her husband have been married 11 years. Marni admits to being a little obsessed with organizing and so she decided to help organize the blog world by choosing a topic for each day and showing off the cutest stuff out there she can find.

Now that you know about these 3 wonderful blogs, it’s time for you to join in! Add your family-friendly link below and we’ll see you back here every Friday! And don’t forget, you can get the InLinkz code to share Friendly Friday on your blog!

All three hostesses appreciate followers through GFC and Twitter, and we’ll follow you back – be sure to leave a comment with your URL and/or Twitter username. Hope everyone has a great weekend!