July – 2013 – Frugal Novice
Monthly Archives

July 2013

Back-To-School Style is Easy with Kohl’s!

Note: I received a Kohl’s gift card to facilitate our review. All opinions are honest and are my own. 

With the latest must-have looks and home essentials available at an incredible value, Kohl’s makes it easy and affordable to update back-to-school wardrobes, organize dorm rooms and outfit first apartments. Of course, in our house we’re prepping for our first true “back-to-school” experience, with our oldest son starting kindergarten. Kohl’s was the perfect spot for us to pick up new clothes to start off the school year in style! At his age, the graphic tees are the biggest hit – and we found a ton that he really liked:

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Every single shirt was on sale, which allowed us to get a lot for our money. I also got him a pair of grey shorts and two pairs of jeans (BOGO free!) so we walked out with a huge selection of clothes that he’ll be glad to have for school (he IS going to wear his Ninja Turtles shirt a little earlier for his birthday party, though!). We did get one other thing, the perfect accessory for kindergarten:

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A Batman watch! He is looking forward to wearing it and we’re saving it for the big day.

Of course, you can shop for all ages at Kohl’s – beyond clothing for kids, teens, and young adults you can also find dorm necessities and accessories! I love when you can shop for the whole family in just one store. It makes things SO much more efficient! Of course, at Kohl’s you save money, too.  Kohl’s offers shoppers a variety of ways to get values on the brands they love. Kohl’s Cash (we earned $20 in Kohl’s cash on our trip), coupons and Kohl’s Charge card discounts can be used in conjunction with sales events to maximize savings. Keep up with Kohl’s on Facebook, too, for all sorts of style tips and latest store happenings.

 

Organize With Style – Stackable Storage from Bankers Box

Note: I received boxes to try out in order to facilitate my review. I was not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are my own.

It’s been about a month since we moved into our new house, and we’re still settling. Moving with three kids 5 & under is a lot more time-intensive and exhausting than moving with one 6-month-old, like we did at our last move. Little by little, though, we’re making the house feel like home. We have much more space, which has been wonderful – and we’re figuring out ways to be organized and start off on a good foot.

One thing that we’ve used and love are the new stackable storage boxes from Bankers Box. We first became familiar with the brand for their file boxes, which were great for moving important files and keeping them safe. But now they’ve expanded their line of storage to include beautiful, functional storage for other areas of the home. These boxes are a smartly-designed system that really maximizes your storage space for the home.  They’re also made from 60 percent recycled content, so they’re environmentally friendly!

We received under-bed and medium storage boxes to try out, and I immediately put the under-bed boxes to use in the boys’ room. They’re perfect for storing extra blankets under the boys’ bunk bed!

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The handles are reinforced and the boxes are very sturdy.

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And as you can see, the pattern on the box is great. It’s a little more feminine, but the boys didn’t mind it because it’s black and white. These boxes are attractive, which make them a great option to use in any room of the house.

The windows in the box make it SO easy to tell what is inside:

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And they fit neatly under my kids’ beds:

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I really love these boxes, and I’m planning to use the medium-sized boxes for storage in our bedroom and closet. If you’re looking for storage that is functional AND stylish, be sure and check out the Bankers Boxes for home organization. There are a variety of sizes available on Amazon.com.

 

 

Dreyer’s Gives You More Than One #ReasonToSmile

Note: This post is brought to you by Dreyer’s and the Motherhood. I was provided with product coupons and compensated for my time, but all opinions are honest and are my own. 
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It’s July. And I’m in Texas, which means that I’m in the midst of triple-digit temps and scorching summer days. What is the perfect treat to combat the heat? Ice cream, of course! It’s an even better choice right now since July is National Ice Cream Month.

Even better – Dreyer’s has released four Limited Edition flavors, which are a great way to celebrate this momentous occasion! I got a chance to try the new Dreyer’s flavors, and decided to have an ice cream party up at work to share the fun with my coworkers. We lined up the tubs along the counter in our office kitchen, and everyone had fun trying all the different flavors. Let’s take a look at what we got to try:

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Take the Cake: Yellow cake-flavored light ice cream with a frosting swirl and multi-colored sprinkles. It’s the classic combination of cake and ice cream in one convenient carton. Available in Slow Churned Light Ice Cream.

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{NEW} German Chocolate Cake Spectacular!: If you froze a German Chocolate Cake and then exploded it into a carton of chocolate ice cream, you’d end up with this amazing limited edition flavor. Chocolate ice cream with a caramel coconut swirl and brownie pieces. Available in Grand Ice Cream and Slow Churned Light Ice Cream.

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{NEW} Sunny Salted Caramel Pretzel: Salty, sweet, and oh so scrumptious. Vanilla ice cream with a salted caramel swirl and pretzel pieces. It’s probably the greatest flavor combination in the history of the world. Available in Grand Ice Cream and Slow Churned Light Ice Cream.

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3 Stripes You’re Out: America’s Favorite Pastime has a new favorite flavor! Vanilla ice cream with mixed blueberry and strawberry swirls. This Limited Edition flavor will leave your home crowd on its feet cheering! Available in Grand Ice Cream.

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As you can imagine, we were all ready to dive in and start sampling. The flavor I was most drawn to was the Sunny Salted Caramel Pretzel – and it was SOOO good. I love that the Slow Churned Light ice cream has all the taste and 1/2 the fat (with 1/2 the fat and 1/3 fewer calories than regular ice cream). The caramel swirls and the saltiness perfectly balanced the sweet creaminess of the vanilla ice cream. It was definitely my favorite flavor! They were all great, though, and everyone was amazed that the slow churned light ice cream was so deliciously rich.  Here are some of my coworkers with their treats:

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It worked out well, because one of my coworkers was celebrating his birthday the next day, so he took home his favorite flavor (“Take the Cake”) to share with his family. It was a lot of fun sharing these delicious flavors with everyone, and people enjoyed sampling each one.

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Beyond amazing ice cream, Dreyer’s has given us another reason to smile, with their #ReasonToSmile campaign partnering with Operation Smile. If you’re not familiar with it, Operation smile is an international children’s medical charity that makes it possible to provide reconstructive surgeries for children around the globe suffering from cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. Thanks to this great campaign Dreyer’s & Operation Smile will help make it possible for 500 of these surgeries to take place!

Dreyer’s has been posting content on its Facebook page since mid-May encouraging fans to help the brand donate to Operation Smile. They’ll donate up to $125,000 this year and the campaign will run through September 30, 2013. For more information on “A Reason to Smile”, or on the amazing Dreyer’s ice cream flavors, please visit their Facebook page.

Are you ready to smile? Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #ReasonToSmile.

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I can help you with yet another reason to smile – I get to giveaway two coupons for FREE Dreyer’s Ice Cream to one lucky reader! Just comment below with which of the four flavors you’re most excited to try, and you’ll be entered to win! This contest is open to all U.S. residents aged 18+. Entries will be accepted until the end of the day (midnight Central) Tuesday, July 30. By entering this giveaway you agree to the Official Rules.

Kid-Friendly Style with FLOR Carpet Tiles

Note: We received FLOR carpet tiles to facilitate our review. We were not compensated monetarily. All opinions in this post are honest and are my own.

Since getting married, Brian and I have always enjoyed decorating the space in which we live. We share a modern aesthetic, which has made the process pretty fun for us. When our kids came along, we were still able to keep the style we like by picking furniture with clean, straight lines.

Of course, as we all know, kids do make it harder to keep things clean. We’ve had to be particular in the fabric we picked for our couch, for instance, because we knew spills would inevitably grace its surface. And at our old house, the beige carpet was SO hard to keep clean! It was constantly spotted from some spill or another, but it would’ve been too expensive to recarpet the whole house, so we just cleaned it as best we could.

We were really thankful to find a new house with tile in the main living areas, though, and we’ve been in the new house about a month. There are a few downsides to tile, though. It’s a hard surface, for one thing. And kids fall down a lot. Especially babies learning to walk… and little boys who love to wrestle. So, yeah, tile has the potential for disaster. Another negative to tile is that it can make the house seem… echo-y, for lack of a better word. Moving in couches and chairs and other soft surfaces helps with this, but we knew what the real solution to both of our tile-related problems would be – a rug.

We knew we wanted a rug around the couch, so that our feet could have a cozy spot to land, and so that if kids roll off the couch, they come in contact with something soft. It would also really ground the sofa in the room, and add a little color (which we love!) to the decor. Of course, rugs can come with a lot of the same problems as carpet. They’re big, they’re expensive, and if you spill something on one you really just have to deal with it unless you want to buy a whole new rug. We also, in our searching, had a hard time finding a rug that was the color scheme we wanted for our space – blues and greens, and certain shades of these blues and greens, at that.

Enter FLOR – the perfect solution. If you haven’t heard of them before, they’re a system of carpet tiles that you (easily) assemble with adhesive dots to create a rug (or even wall-to-wall carpeting) of any size. Each tile is 19.7″ square, so a grid of 12 squares makes about a 5’x7′ rug. I looked at all the different styles – there are a LOT – and decided that the slightly shaggy Rake Me Over style was perfect for us. There were tons of colors to pick from, too, which made me happy. I knew I wanted blues and greens, but wasn’t sure about the layout. FLOR makes it really easy with a customization tool that lets you play with your layout sooooo easily. I had a lot of fun with it!

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Once I figured out the layout, it generated the list of which squares we needed. I saved my design to my account, which made it really easy for laying out the tiles when they arrived. They came in two boxes, neatly stacked inside:

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And we also got adhesive dots, and instructions (which you really don’t even need – it’s very intuitive to put the rug together):

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You can see in the next photo how large the dots are – and they’ve got lines to make it really easy to put them exactly where they need to go:

 

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You can also see all our squares ready to be laid out:

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Here’s a side view of one of the tiles – love the shaggy texture!

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I referred to my design and it took mere minutes to lay it out on the floor.

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Then, all I did was lift up each corner where two or more squares met and install a dot:

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So, so, so easy to do, and voila! A beautiful rug that compliments our living room perfectly.

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Of course, beyond the ease of installation and the customization options, FLOR tiles are SO kid-friendly! Let’s say our 4-year-old spills his red juice on one of the tiles and stains it. Rather than having to replace a whole rug, we’d just need to pop up one square and spend less than $20 to have our rug looking like new again. And I say they’re kid-friendly… but really they’re Christi-friendly, too. We had some FLOR tiles in the dining area of our old house, and I spilled HOT PINK craft paint all over one tile. It was so nice to just replace the tile and not have to spend a lot of money to make it look good again.

FLOR has more than just solid-colored tiles, though. They have patterns galore, and you could really have a field day with different designs. As for us, we’re loving our rug! Be sure and check out flor.com, and play around with the customization tool to make a rug that’s perfect for your space.

Celebrate Summer – Share Iconic Summer Moments with Lay’s and Win! #Lays75

I participated in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Lay’s. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

One of my kids’ favorite things to do in the summer is ride their bikes, so when I started thinking about a favorite, iconic summer photo, I chose this one. It’s from two years ago, and it shows my oldest son trying out his little bike after we decorated it for a Fourth of July parade:

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What’s your favorite summer photo? Get to thinking about it, because this summer, Lay’s potato chips is celebrating its 75th anniversary by sharing iconic summer moments – re-created in Lay’s packaging – every day for 75 days on the brand’s social media channels. I thought this one was pretty great, and fitting with my favorite summer photo:

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To join in the fun, they’re asking fans to share their favorite summer moment to Twitter and/or Instagram and tag @Lays. Be sure and use the hashtag #Lays75 to make it easy for them to see your photo! This will also enter you for a chance to win a daily $75 gift card! I just shared my iconic summer moment (I’m @FrugalNovice on Twitter & Instagram) – I hope you’ll share yours too. Also, be sure and check out the great tutorials on their Pinterest page show all of us how to re-create the adorable Lay’s images at home.

I participated in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Lay’s. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

My Friends & Family Support Me – and Sealy Does Too!

Note: I received a Sealy Posturepedic Hybrid Mattress & box springs to facilitate my review. I was not compensated monetarily. All opinions in this post are honest and are my own.

We just moved to a new house a few weeks ago, after finally selling our house that had been on the market on and off for a year. Brian and I have moved several times since getting married about 10 years ago, but the last time we moved was over 5 years ago and J was just 6 months old, so it was much easier! With this move, we had many (MANY) interruptions with packing. We were so thankful that we had family and friends to help us watch the kids, pack, and move things.

Of course, even (especially) with day to day life it’s so crucial to have support of people who love you. It means a lot to us to know we have lots of family who care deeply about us and our kids, and who are there to lean on if we need it! And I learned a long time ago that we’ve also been blessed with a “family” of friends who are a support network too.

Now that we’re getting settled into our new house, we’re starting to slowly shape it into feeling like home. And already, one of my favorite places in the house to retreat to is our room. It’s still a mess of boxes, don’t get me wrong, but we have a cozy, comfy place to relax with our Sealy Posturepedic Hybrid mattress.

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I’ve always been one to like a soft, cushy mattress to sink into when I sleep, so when we received our mattress I was hopeful it would live up to my standards… and it exceeded them. I love this mattress. The level of craftsmanship is evident even at first glance. It’s well-made and a beautiful product, too.

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The memory foam on the top half is soft and forms around us as we sleep, and the springs below provide needed stability and strength. It’s a perfect blend of comfort and support.

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We sleep SO well on this mattress, even when both of our boys climb up in bed with us. I don’t know if you’re like me, but it’s very rare that I get as much sleep as I truly need – the same is true for Brian. So it’s even more vital that the sleep we do get is good sleep… and we definitely get that with this mattress. And with the Sealy brand level of quality, I am confident this will be a mattress we’ll sleep on for years to come.

Here are a few facts about the Sealy Posturepedic Hybrid Mattress that give insight as to how Sealy has really gone all out with these mattresses:

• Half Foam/Half Springs Hybrid Construction*

The all-new Sealy Posturepedic® Hybrid combines our two best sleep technologies into one luxurious night’s sleep. The cooling comfort of gel memory foam on top. The deep support of titanium-alloy springs underneath.
*Available in select Hybrid Series models only.

• OptiCool™ Gel Memory Foam

OptiCool™ is the only memory foam on the market to be fused with Outlast™ which is more effective at removing excess heat than standard gel memory foam alone. Mattresses with OptiCool™ gel memory foam are designed to promote a temperature range that provides deep, relaxing sleep.

• SolidEdge™ HD System

The new SolidEdge™ HD System gives you a solid seating edge so you can use the full surface of the bed without rolling off the side of the bed. With an improved design to enhance side-to-side stability, it increases usable sleeping space. Now you can stretch to the edge for longer, uninterrupted sleep.

• CoreSupport Center™

Sealy Posturepedic® mattresses feature the exclusive CoreSupport Center™, which provides additional support where you need it most. The center third of the mattress (the area that holds the heaviest part of your body) is power-packed to maximize support and enhance durability for the life of the mattress.

• Apex™ HS Coil Design

The proprietary titanium alloy Apex™ HS Coil is designed to provide the just-right support we are famous for. The coils are individually encased to minimize motion transfer, so when you move, your partner doesn’t have to.

• ForeverFlex™ Fabric

The all-new Hybrid delivers with an all-new, lightweight, ForeverFlex™ fabric that is stunning in contemporary styling and has best-in-class stretch properties. The result is a more enveloped, body hugging feel that is second to none.

• StayTight™ Foundation

A rubberized foundation cover holds sheets in place and stops the mattress from shifting.

• Designed & Built in the USA

This combination of support and technology comes with every Sealy Posturepedic because every Sealy Posturepedic is designed and built in the USA, so you know you’re getting a quality product.

Note: I received a Sealy Posturepedic Hybrid Mattress & box springs to facilitate my review. I was not compensated monetarily. All opinions in this post are honest and are my own.