April – 2014 – Frugal Novice
Monthly Archives

April 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Sweet Sleeper

I wish I slept this comfortably (and cutely) each night!

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Mocc Ons Combine Slippers and Socks… and Cuteness!

Note: We received a pair of Mocc Ons and a pair of Plod Ons. We were not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are our own.

MoccOns

If you’re the parent of an infant or toddler you know how difficult (impossible, really) it can be to keep socks on those little feet! They fall off, they’re pulled off… they just don’t stay on. An issue we’ve discovered with socks, too, is that they cause baby E to slip on our hardwood floors.

Mocc Ons are a great solution to this issue –  they’re moccasin style slipper socks, designed to fit babies from six months up to three years. They’re made of cotton stitched to a leather sole.

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E really liked her “shoes” as she called them. They were really easy to slip on, and she immediately took off to play!

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I even had her try them out on our hardwood floors and they did a great job of keeping her from slipping around. In Texas it’s a little warm for her to wear these right now but I know we’ll get a LOT of use out of them come fall and winter!

Mocc Ons are available on Amazon and other retailers in a variety of styles perfect for girls or boys. You can also keep up with the company on Facebook.

Grab a Monster of a Deal on QVC Today!

EUROFLEX-QVCOur house is pretty much all tile and wood flooring, so needless to say I do a lot of sweeping, and it can get old really quickly. I’m kind of in love with the idea of the Monster Cordless Sweeper, because it has the potential to make house cleaning a whole lot more pleasant!

The Monster is a lightweight cordless sweeper that you charge prior to using. Just charge it overnight before you want to use it, and you’ll have plenty of power to sweep the floors in your house for up to 25 minutes.

The Monster All Surface Cordless Electric Sweeper tames debris, large and small, with an extra-thick brushroll system and an edge-cleaning side brush. The large capacity collection bin releases with ease, so you can leave your daily sweep in the dust–without having to actually touch it!

Here are some other features of the sweeper:

  • Extra thick brush roll
  • Exclusive side brush for along the wall cleaning
  • Touchless large removable dust cup
  • 1-year limited manufacturer’s warranty
  • Picks up heavy duty mess
  • Ultra quiet
  • Works on any hard floor – and carpets too!
  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Easy to clean brush roll

Today QVC will be offering the Monster at a featured price of just $49.92! Click here to find out more and see how you can order yours today for a great deal.

Share the Joy of Beneful with Your Four-Legged Friends! {Giveaway}

Note: Beneful provided me with product samples, and with the opportunity to host this giveaway. I was not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are my own.

Our Lab/Golden Retriever mix, Sally, is huge – especially compared to our three kids, each of whom she greatly outweighs – but she is incredibly sweet and patient, loyal and loving.

When one of the kids goes to time out, Sally is always right there to keep them company and give them plenty of kisses. Lately she and baby E have been teaming up to provide time out company!

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Sally was tiny when we got her. Totally soft and snuggly, and content to lay around in our laps.

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The boys wanted to name her Lightning McQueen, but we were (thankfully!) able to shift their preference over to Sally, and now we often call her Sal, or Sally O’Malley – or Woof Woof, if baby E is the one doing the talking.

She’s full of energy and is all over the place, but you’ll very rarely find her alone. She wants to be with us, and it makes sense, because she is part of our family.

With Sally being such an important part of our lives, it only makes sense that we want to give her the very best.

Beneful provides delicious and healthy food for dogs. In a recent survey by Beneful, they found that nearly half of the dog owners surveyed (46 percent) say their dogs get bored eating the same food every day and 89% agree that their dogs’ nutrition is as important to them as their own. It only makes sense, then, to choose food and treats for your dog that she can enjoy.

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Beneful has a wide variety of flavors and options, with high-quality ingredients your four-legged family member will love.

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Sally was really excited about the Beneful treats I gave her last night – she could hardly even wait for me to open the package:

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The Stars treats are packed full of bacon and cheese, so I can imagine why she was extra eager! Being the good girl that she is, she (semi-) patiently waited.

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Update: I’ve compiled an album on the Frugal Novice Facebook page of all the adorable dog photos that have been submitted! Click here to check them out, and don’t forget to send me a pic of your pup that would love to win Beneful food & treats! 

Win_it

I’m thrilled to be able to offer a pretty amazing giveaway thanks to Beneful – one lucky winner will receive ONE WHOLE YEAR’s supply of Beneful brand wet & dry dog food and treats! This giveaway is open to all US residents aged 18+. Entries will be accepted until the end of the day (midnight Central) Wednesday, May 14. By entering this giveaway you agree to the Official Rules. Just enter via the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Stork Provides Reproductive Aid in the Comfort of Your Own Home

Note: This post was sponsored by The Stork and The Motherhood. All opinions are honest and are my own.

When you and your spouse first start trying to conceive, you eagerly anticipate the day you’ll see the two pink lines (or + sign, or “Yes”, depending on your brand of test!) and know that you are pregnant and expecting your own bundle of joy.

Now more than ever, couples are experiencing issues with infertility that make those two pink lines an elusive vision. Approximately 1 in 6 couples (that’s about 7.3 million couples) have difficulty conceiving – and that’s just in the United States alone! I was surprised to discover the percentages of success for women in various age ranges, too:

  • Females age 20-25, 25% chance per month of conceiving
  • Females age 30-35, 15% chance per month of conceiving
  • Females age 35-40, 10% chance per month of conceiving
  • Female age 40, 5% chance per month of conceiving

With many women waiting to have children later in life, these lower rates of success can play a big factor in couples seeking out fertility help. There are many options to pick from, with the most popular being Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI) and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). IUI’s typically cost $1,000-$5,000 per cycle, and IVF costs anywhere from $12,400-$20,000 per cycle – the cost is really staggering, and it can be financially crippling to couples who must undergo multiple rounds of treatment.

Now there’s a new reproductive aid that costs much less than other treatments – The Stork. The Stork is a physician-used technique now available for use in the privacy of your home. It’s FDA-authorized via prescription, requires no drugs, injections, or surgery, and is extremely easy to use. It just costs $79 for one, or $210 for a supply of three.

What’s great about The Stork (besides its affordable cost) is that it’s incredibly easy to use, so it doesn’t add another layer of confusion and frustration to an already frustrating time. The Stork is a really simple device and they even provide a video with clear-cut instructions explaining every step of the process.

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Right now The Stork requires a prescription, so just go to your provider and ask for them to supply you with one. Then you’re able to purchase The Stork from their website and have it shipped directly to your home. Soon, though, The Stork will be available over the counter on Amazon.com and at CVS in the family planning aisle. It’ll be even easier for you to access this great device and use it for help in trying to conceive.

Be sure and follow The Stork via their social media channels so you can stay up to date on all their news, including when they’re available over the counter! You can find them on Facebook,

Vimeo.

EZ Leaps Makes Shoe Tying “EZ” for Kids!

Note: We received EZ Leaps to try. I was not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are my own.

Our two sons are at about the age now where they really need to be learning to tie their shoes. As every parent knows, though, this can be a really daunting skill to learn, with children easily getting frustrated (and parents, too!).

EZ Leaps aims to make the process much easier – even fun – for kids.

EZ Leaps Shoe Tying

 

Eileen Sloan is the mind behind EZ Leaps. She is a wife, mother of two adult daughters  and a former elementary school teacher who witnessed first-hand the struggles children face when learning new skills.  As a mother and teacher, Eileen would often seek out products to help her be a more effective educator.

EZ Leaps are special cards that allow your child to slip the laces through and hold them in place so it makes learning to tie laces much easier. The cards are colorful and have fun designs on them, so you can pick a design that best fits your child’s personality!

Here’s a little more about how EZ Leaps work:

To buy an EZ Leaps shoe tying tool, visit their site’s store here. Before you know it, your child will be tying their own shoes!

Celebrate Spring with Starbucks Spring Blend Coffee

Note: I received samples from Starbucks & Modern Mom to facilitate this post. All opinions are honest and are my own.

love spring. In Texas, things start to get brown at the end of summer from how hot and dry the weather is, so by the time winter is ending I am really ready to see some green. The weather isn’t hitting triple-digit temperatures, and we can enjoy being outside as a family.

I’ve got many great family memories of being outside together, but one of my favorites involves my grandparents up in Illinois. Every year we would make the 12-hour trek up to see my dad’s parents in their tiny little Illinois town. And every morning I would wake up (usually the latest of anyone!) and go out to their side porch to find everyone sitting around sipping coffee and chatting. Here’s a pic of grandma on her porch, waiting for everyone to come join her:

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After I got married, Brian started joining us on the trips – I informed my late-sleeper husband of the morning coffee on the porch, and he began to join in on the tradition, too. When our two boys were still just toddlers, they got to visit Illinois and experience the porch tradition, too (although they preferred to wander around and collect rocks!).

You never know what memories will end up sticking out most in your mind, but sitting around on grandma’s porch together with coffee and visiting will always be something I remember fondly.

For whatever your spring traditions are, Starbucks has a Spring Blend that is a perfect complement to your celebrations and gatherings. It combines exquisite beans from Latin America and East Africa and was created to perfectly pair with buttery shortbread and early harvest berries—a love poem to the season of renewal.

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Whether you’re sitting around on your porch visiting with family or are enjoying another special spring tradition, the Starbucks Spring Blend is sure to bring another pleasant note to the memories you’re creating.

#HealthyEssentials make every day Earth Day

Note: This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. All opinions are honest and are entirely my own.

Earth Day is this month, and it’s a great opportunity to talk with your kids about how we’re stewards of the resources around us; you can teach even the youngest of children about recycling – I know our boys both have learned about recycling at school and think it’s really cool when we repurpose items for crafts rather than throwing them away. Taking small steps for yourself and with your kids is an important move toward having more mindfulness overall about taking care of the Earth.

Another easy way to teach your kids about recycling is to buy products with recycled packaging, or with packaging that can be recycled. Johnson & Johnson Family of  Consumer Companies includes many brands with recycling-friendly packaging, so I can feel good not only knowing I’m buying products that work well for my family, but also that are good for the Earth. In fact, you can even find great Earth Day ideas on their Healthy Essentials site, along with great coupons and opportunities to save money on quality products – it’s easy to click and “clip” coupons for all sorts of essentials you need for your family.

On the Healthy Essentials site, you can also learn more about a great way to get involved and make a difference with their Donate a Photo app. Just download the app for your smart phone, and:

For every photo you share, Johnson & Johnson donates $1 to a cause you want to help – which does things like fix up a public park, get medicine for an infant, or help kids play sports safely. You choose the cause you want to help, Johnson & Johnson makes it happen.

You can donate one photo a day, every day. With a photo a day, you’ll make a difference by raising money and awareness for causes you care about. Share with your friends and you’ll help your causes meet their goals faster.

I know I’ll be sharing photos – I take a ton as it is, and it’s such an easy way to make a difference each and every day.

I hope you’ll take part in Earth Day this year – don’t forget, you can find tips and suggestions at the Healthy Essentials site to help get you started.

Potty Training Check-In #CelebrateFirstFlush

Note: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Pull-Ups. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

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E is definitely at the phase where she wants to do everything herself. So independent! We’re glad, though, because it’s really amazing seeing her learn to do new things all by herself, and it’s even more amazing to see a huge grin on her face when she’s successful with what she’s trying!

We’re still moving slowly with potty training, but she is giving us more and more signs that she is ready. She’s started telling us if she is dirty (which, incidentally, the boys didn’t do until they were 3 – this girl doesn’t like to be dirty)!

My biggest tip as we’re on this potty training journey is to start introducing the idea of potty training as early as possible. This doesn’t mean sticking your baby on the potty as soon as they can sit up, but let your child come to the restroom with you and talk to them using basic words so that “potty” becomes a part of their vocabulary and isn’t a foreign concept to them.

As they get older, even before they’re ready to actually start potty training, let your child sit on a little potty seat just their size. It gets them familiar with it and will make potty training seem less intimidating. We like to use a potty seat that can adapt to sit on the real toilet, too (it’s SO nice to just be able to flush everything away).

Let your child practice pulling on their Pull-Ups and taking them off, too. Praise them for being a “big boy!” or “big girl!” whenever they put their pull-up on or sit on the potty. We tried all sorts of bribes with the boys, but I think praise goes a long way. Every child likes to hear that their parents are proud!

We’re so thankful to have the Big Kids Academy tips to refer to for other great potty training ideas. Potty training can be a frustrating experience for everyone involved, but the more you know – and the more prepared you are – the smoother things will go. Before you know it, your little one will be diaper free! Don’t forget you can also get tips from the Pull-Ups Facebook page and Twitter page, too.

Pull-Ups  has recently announced that they’re partnering with The First Years, who makes potty training systems and seats (we used their potty seats with both of the boys!). Their seats have great colors and even some fun Disney themes to help get your kiddos excited to sit on the potty. Right now if you purchase a specialty potty system from The First Years, you’ll get a FREE sample pack of Pull-Ups Training Pants, too!

So, if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed about potty training your child (we’ve totally been there), take a deep breath and go check out the Pull-Ups resources I mentioned above. You can do this, and it can be easier than you think!

DIY “Message in a Bottle” Pirate Invitations

Note: I received items from OrientalTrading.com to facilitate my craft/invitations. I was not compensated monetarily for my post. All opinions are honest and are my own.

Our middle son’s birthday is right around the corner – next week! – and he’s been excited about his party for a month or so now. He decided to have a pirate theme, and we immediately started looking for ideas on ways to make it special.

Of course, the first item on party prep is invitations, and as a graphic designer it’s always one of my favorite things to do. It’s a fun way to set the tone for your party, and it’s a great way to get creative without it taking too much time or costing too much money.

We went to OrientalTrading.com to look for invitation and party favor ideas, and we found SO many great items perfect to go with our party theme… and we found awesome DIY message in a bottle kits that we just had to get for invitations.

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I created a 4″x8″ invitation for us to roll up and put inside the bottles, along with one pirate coin.  The top of the invitation reads, “Ahoy Matey! Here lies one piece of pirate gold. The rest of the treasure is missing, & Captain Colin needs your help to find it!”

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The bottles open easily from the bottom so you can stick whatever small items in them you’d like – you could do seashells, sand, or any other beach/nautical items that go along with your theme.

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Here are the finished invitations – I used double-stick tape to adhere a label to the outside, and it reads:

Argh Matey! You’re invited

Open this bottle and you will find, a chance for adventure (the very fun kind)

We hope you can join us as we hunt treasure and play,

And help us to celebrate Colin’s 5th birthday!

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The best part about these invitations? They’re SO inexpensive. We printed the invitations ourselves. Twelve bottles just cost $13.50, and it’s $5.00 for 144 coins (the rest of the coins are going in goody bags). Our son took the invitations to school and handed them out, so we didn’t even have to pay shipping.

Aren’t the invitations so fun? I can’t wait to show you the rest of the great party favors we found at Oriental Trading – be sure and keep an eye out for my post-birthday write-up coming in the next couple of weeks!