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Dressing Up Has Never Been So Fun! Little Adventures Princess Dress Review {& Giveaway!}

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We received two princess dresses and some accessories for our review. I was not compensated monetarily for this post. And thanks to Little Adventures for providing the awesome giveaway prize! 

My daughter, E, loves to dress up. My boys dressed up a little here and there – they loved to be superheroes or ninjas – but having a little girl is just a Whole New World (yes, we’ve watched Aladdin recently – why do you ask?). She likes to dress up as characters to coordinate with the movie she’s watching, to play with her friends when they’re over, or just for fun while she plays in her room.

The problem with the frequency of her dressing up is that the clothes get worn out pretty quickly. The seams come undone, the fabric rips – or she might get a stain on the fabric, which is a pain since the clothes don’t always hold up well in the washing machine.

I know I’m not alone in how I feel about dress-up clothes. In 2002, when two moms discovered the lack of clothing-quality dress-ups and princess costumes available for their children, they decided take action. Jenny Harrison, mother of ten, and Heather Granata, mother of five, began their own little adventure by sewing and selling their very own dress-ups at local craft fairs. They made them soft and machine washable! They engineered them for everyday, all-day adventure! The brand Little Adventures was born, and I wish I’d discovered them years ago!

I’m not kidding you when I tell you that these are – by far – the best quality princess dresses we’ve ever had. There are no rough edges and itchy internal seams or fabric. Everything is soft and so well finished. Seriously, it’s such high-quality work that I would think these dresses were out of our price range (spoiler alert: they’re totally reasonably priced – I’ll tell you more about that in a bit).

We requested the Snow White dress and the Cinderella Butterfly dress – and we also received the fullness slip (which is super soft, not scratchy netting like many other dresses have), the soft gold crown, and the Cinderella accessory set.

The attention to detail is just impeccable. The fabrics feel luxurious, but they’re also durable… and washable. This means that these are dresses girls can actually play in.

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These dresses make it easy for girls to feel like they’re transported into a fairy tale!

Here are some of the details of the Snow White dress:

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SnowWhite-Skirt

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And here are some photos of the Cinderella dress and accessories:

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You can easily see that every aspect of the dresses are well-crafted. And these deluxe dresses are just $39.99 each! There are standard versions of the dresses, too, which are also really great and just cost $29.99. That’s seriously not much more at all than dresses you’d find at big-box stores, and the quality of Little Adventures dresses is just above and beyond any other dresses we’ve had.

I’ve got GREAT news for you –  well, two pieces of great news, actually! First of all, for the next 30 days I’m getting to share a code for 15% off all purchases at LittleAdventures.com. Just enter the code lapromo-fn at checkout. Remember, this code is only good through April 20!

And secondly, I’m getting to host a giveaway for a $75 gift code to Little Adventures! If you don’t have girls, don’t worry – Little Adventures has great items for boys, too. Just enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter widget below!

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Kitchen Must-Have: Hamilton Beach Professional 14 Cup Dicing Food Processor

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My contributor received a Hamilton Beach food processor to facilitate this review, and Hamilton Beach provided the food processor for the associated giveaway.

Frugal Novice contributor Debbie really knows her way around the kitchen, so she was perfect to test out the Hamilton Beach professional food processor sent my way for review. In fact, she regularly hosts a group of friends at her house for dinner, so she was able to use the food processor to make food for an upcoming gathering and share her opinions of the machine:

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I decided to try out several preparations of ingredients with the food processor to really get a feel for the variety of options it provides, and first started with dicing a potato. If you’ve ever done this manually, you know how hard it can be to get uniform cuts – so it’s really appealing to get the job done with a food processor instead!

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Here’s what the setup looks like – there’s a blade that spins around and then the potato will also be pushed through the grid, giving me nice cubed pieces of potato.

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The dicing worked really well and I’m happy with the finished product.

I did notice some potato left on the top of the disc when I removed it from the processor:

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The food processor comes with a device to help clean the dicer; there’s a bit of a learning curve in getting it to line up right, but once I got the hang of it I was able to use it to remove the leftover pieces of potato.

You can see in the video above that there’s a locking handle on this food processor. It holds everything together well and keeps the machine stable, along with the help of suction cups underneath.

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After dicing the potato I decided to try slicing cucumbers. The slicing disc has 15 different thicknesses to choose from, giving you a lot of options for various needs.

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Last but not least I used the shredding disc to shred cheddar for homemade pimento cheese.

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It worked really quickly, saving a lot of time and effort that would have been used if I’d shredded the cheese by hand.

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There was a little bit of cheese left on the disc, but not too much.

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Looks great, don’t you think? All set for making some amazing pimento cheese.

The Hamilton Beach Professional 14-cup food processor provides a lot of power and efficiency, and has some really smart features built in  – the suction cups and locking handle mentioned above, but also…

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a spot for the cord to be stored. Genius.

…and…

a storage container for all the parts and pieces. Love this!

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The Hamilton Beach Professional 14-cup food processor is a great tool to have in your kitchen arsenal, and I’m looking forward to making many more dishes with its help.

You might just be able to see how great it is for yourself! One lucky reader will win their very own food processor just like the one shown above. Enter via Rafflecopter below!

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The Perfect Christmas Present for Your Furry Friend!

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This post is part of an ambassadorship with Beneful. I receive products, information, and compensation as an ambassador. All opinions are my own. We’re proud to be #FriendsOfBeneful! 

Guys, I’m so proud that I just have to share. We’re almost done with Christmas shopping, y’all. And there are still five days to go! That might just be a record for us. We’ve gotten cousin gifts, grandparent gifts, and of course gifts for our kids – and in our house we definitely can’t forget our pet gifts, either. We shop for our two dogs, my mom’s dog, and my brother & sister-in-law’s dogs – it’s tradition for them to all exchange gifts each year.

If you’re looking for what to give your pup this Christmas, look no further! I’ve got a great suggestion for a goodie bag any dog would love – plus a DIY gift idea and a how-to on creating a custom gift bag to fit any oddly-shaped gifts.

You can see above the variety of gifts we decided were perfect for our dog Sally to give our other dog Ninja. So fun, right? A rawhide candy cane, a tub of yummy Beneful food, a dog toy, and a custom collar slide to help him feel festive.

Here’s how we assembled the collar slide – I just cut shapes out of felt and then used a hot glue gun to assemble it all. I added a felt loop on the back to slide on to the collar, and voila! – all set.

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This assortment of gifts makes for an odd present to wrap, so I made a gift bag out of wrapping paper – and here’s how I did it:

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Take a sheet of wrapping paper and fold it in thirds,taping the seam together. Then fold up the bottom of the paper and spread it open into a diamond shape. Fold the top corner of the diamond down and the bottom corner up so they overlap, and then tape. Reach your hand into the open end and spread the bag out, and you’re good to go! It’s so easy and super cute.

We put the Beneful food in the bottom of the bag – it makes a perfect weight so the bag doesn’t tip over – and then we added everything else.

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Since Ninja can be a little oblivious we went ahead and let him try on the collar slide – isn’t it adorable? You could do any sort of shape you like – even something like an initial so it could be used beyond the holidays.

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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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Take the brightpeak $500 Savings Challenge (& Get a Head Start With This $25 Giveaway!)

This is a compensated, partnered post with brightpeak and The Motherhood. All opinions are honest and are my own.

Did you know that about 62% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account, and 21% don’t have a savings account at all? Especially if you’re a young couple just starting out, or if you’re a young family with lots of expenses, it’s easy to see how having a savings account can seem out of reach.

love the idea of finding ways to save more money, but I’ll fully admit it’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of life and lose track of savings goals. That’s why I was pretty excited to learn about brightpeak’s free $500 Savings Challenge – it makes it pretty foolproof to set aside $500 in savings… in just one week.

I signed up to give the challenge a try – I was curious what kind of steps one has to take to achieve the goal of saving $500 in seven days. Were they going to suggest ideas that were really difficult to accomplish?

When you sign up for the challenge, you get one email each day with an action you can take to save money. And guys? Each suggestion was really reasonable. My favorite suggestion is selling something worth $100. It’s my favorite because it accomplishes two things – decluttering the house and earning money! If you take a look around your house with open eyes, I’m sure you can find an item worth $100 to sell on Craigslist or a local Facebook garage sale group. And if you can’t find one item, surely you can find several items to list that total up to $100 (For example, I have a big stack of E’s 3T clothes she’s outgrown – it’s so easy to sell them if I just put my mind to it!). You’ll be one step closer to your savings goal, and you’ll have purged items you didn’t really need anyway.

There are, of course, 6 other days worth of challenges, and I’ll keep the rest of the actions a surprise so you can learn them for yourself. I’ll say this, though – it’s totally achievable and realistic to save the $500 in 7 days and get the boost to your savings account you need!

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When Sick Gets Real

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As a parent, there’s not much worse than looking at your child feeling miserable.

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We’ve been really thankful that our kids rarely get sick – but when they do, we want to do anything we can to help them feel better. When we feel like Sick Just Got Real™, we head to Target and stock up on medicine, like:

  • Infants’ and Children’s Advil® provide unsurpassed fever and pain relief(1) , and contain ibuprofen, the medicine pediatricians use most for their own kids’ fevers(2) (for ages 6 months -11 years)
  • Children’s Robitussin® provides soothing action and cough control with some formulations lasting up to 8 hours (for ages 6-12 years)
  • Children’s Dimetapp® provides great-tasting cold-fighting power and is the #1 pharmacist recommended brand for children’s cough & cold symptoms(3) (for ages 6+)

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If the kids are battling a cold, we let them sleep in our room; we make a comfy bed on the floor with plenty of pillows to prop them up; I run a humidifier in our room and also have the kids spend time in steam by running the shower hot. I also set alarms on my phone to get up periodically through the night and check temperature.

What do you do to make your kids more comfortable when they’re sick?  Well, you can start by having Pfizer products on hand! I’m giving away a Pfizer prize pack, and it’s super easy to enter for a chance to win!
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1 Among OTC pain relievers.

2 Based on a survey of doctors.

3 Source: 2015-16 Pharmacy Times and U.S. News & World Report.

AfterShokz Bluez2S Headphone Giveaway {ARV $99.95}

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If you’ve ever been out running or biking on a busy highway, you know how important it is to be aware of sounds – like approaching vehicles – around you. And if you’ve ever gone to the gym with a workout buddy, you’ve probably experienced the frustration of wanting to listen to music to motivate your workout while still being able to chat with your friend.

AfterShokz headphones are an innovative bone conduction headphone that don’t go in – or even ON – your ears. These Bluetooth headphones have bone conduction transducers that rest comfortably in front of the ears, transmitting sound through the cheekbones to the inner ears via mini vibrations, bypassing the eardrums completely. This means your ears are actually open so you can hear other sounds around you at the same time. You can listen to music, other audio, or make & take phone calls all while retaining ambient sound awareness.

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The Bluez 2S headphones from AfterShokz have some enhanced features, including:

  • Premium open ear audio experience
    PremiumPitch+™ is proprietary audio technology that assures the finest in bone conduction audio. PremiumPitch+™ delivers a balance of crisp detail and discernible bass, with two EQ presets to enhance music further.
    The secret to clearer phone calls is the precisely placed dual noise canceling microphones that exclude surrounding noise, effectively enhancing speech.
    Finally, battling the single most frustrating drawback of bone conduction—natural sound leakage—is LeakSlayer™, an innovation that works to release sound generated by the transducers in order to cancel sound generated by the housing. Even at high volume, music and conversations are confined to the wearer.
  • Increased sweat resistance — IP55 certified
    Bluez 2S are IP55 rated to ensure they’ll power through daily sweat sessions and wicked weather. An extra layer of protective housing was added to make sure sweat and moisture won’t damage electronics inside.
  • Improved controls
    Controlling music and call features right from the headset has been a fan favorite, as it allows devices to remain safely tucked away during activity. A raised power button and larger volume button delivers a friendlier user experience.

The Bluez 2S headphones from AfterShokz are available for pre-order and will begin shipping to retail partners and consumers October 15, but you can have a chance to try them out before anyone else! Just enter my giveaway below and you’ll have the chance to win one Bluez 2S unit valued at $99.95 – and you can even choose the color, picking from black, red, green metallic and neon green.

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50% off Plans at Sprint – Plus a Giveaway for TWO Smartphones!

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I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Influence Central for Sprint. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

I’ve really loved being a #SprintMom ambassador this year; I’ve learned a lot about the great devices and services they offer, and have gained even more appreciation for the company. Their latest news, though, has me really impressed!

In celebration of the launch of its new LTE Plus network, Sprint is introducing the biggest wireless offer in U.S. history – 50 percent off the price of most Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile rate plans. This is a great opportunity to try the Sprint network that’s performing better than ever. I love finding good deals, and 50% off a cell phone plan is seriously amazing. This offer is available through January 7, 2016 so don’t miss out! This would be a great gift for a pre-teen or teenager who you’re wanting to get a phone for anyway!

If you decide to take advantage of this and become a new Sprint customer, you can get your new device through Sprint Lease, iPhone Forever, installment billing, or by paying full retail price. You’ll get the 50% off rate until January 2018.

To continue the celebrating, I’m thrilled to be hosting a giveaway for not one, but TWO smart phones from Sprint – that means two of you will each win a great new Sprint phone!

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Spreading More Cheer with Betty Crocker! {$20 Visa Gift Card Giveaway}

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If you saw my post the other day, you learned about a fun way to spread cheer to friends and neighbors – Betty Crocker’s #SpreadCheer printables are a great motivator to do something simple and sweet that will really make a difference in somebody’s day. We made our cookies on a school night – it’s that easy! We used the Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix and rolled the dough in Christmas-colored sprinkles before baking, then packaged them up cute and left them on our neighbor’s doorstep with instructions on how they could keep the chain going by sending cookies to someone they care about!

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There’s a giveaway in that post for a $20 Target gift card; and guess what? I’m getting to spread even more cheer with another giveaway! This time I’m giving away a $20 Visa gift card so you can get everything you need to make some cookies and package them up to share with your friends and neighbors.

It’s super easy to enter! Here’s how:

You can do one of the following social media shares, and then comment on this post with the link to your share:

  • Post the following message on your Facebook page, making sure that it’s set to public, and that you’re tagging @Frugal Novice and @Betty Crocker:
    “I learned about a great way to #SpreadCheer from Frugal Novice and Betty Crocker! http://frugalnovice.com/2015/12/spread-cheer-with-betty-crocker-this-christmas/”
  • Tweet this message:
    “Try this great way to  from  and     
  • Post my sprinkle cookie picture (found at http://instagram.com/FrugalNovice) on Instagram, with this text:
    “I learned about a great way to #SpreadCheer from @FrugalNovice and @BettyCrocker! Find out more on the Frugal Novice blog (link in their profile). #cookies #cheer #Christmas #holidays #baking”

Entries will be accepted until 11:59 pm Central on December 28, 2015. 

Full Home, Happy Home with Sam’s Club {Giveaway!}

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Acorn Disclosure

We’re pretty excited that Christmas is right around the corner. Well, I’m pretty excited. My kids are absolutely thrilled and are convinced time isn’t moving quickly enough to propel us to December 24.

As a parent, though, I’m thinking about all that needs to be done between now and then. I’m not nearly far enough along with gift shopping, I have cleaning I should really get done for company that’s coming, and of course I need to stay on top of all the essentials we need around the house.

Sam’s Club is a really great solution for us in this most busy time of year; I can get both what we need and what our friends and family want for Christmas.

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Win the Sickest Day Ever with Advil®

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The Advil® Sinus Congestion & Pain product, information and gift have been provided by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare.

We’ve all had a sick day. In fact, Brian and I both are just now getting over colds, and it is not fun! We had just received our gift pack from Advil® and it couldn’t have been better timing. Advil® Sinus Congestion & Pain provides fast, powerful relief for a number of severe cold, flu, and sinus symptoms, and it’s a lifesaver to have on hand when you’re sick.

Advil® Sinus Congestion & Pain is the only over-the-counter cold and sinus medicine that combines the speed and strength of Advil® with a proven nasal decongestant for fast, effective relief of severe cold symptoms including sinus pressure and headache. It contains Phenylephrine, a nasal decongestant which reduces swelling and allows the nasal and sinus airways to expand to their natural state for easier breathing, and ibuprofen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that has been repeatedly proven to reduce pain safely and effectively when taken as directed.

While we’ve all had sick days, Advil® wants to help three lucky winners have the sickest day ever (in the best possible way)! Just enter a video of yourself reciting the Sickest Day Ever tongue twister and upload it to their sweepstakes page. The tongue twister is:

“Six of my sickest sinus symptoms solved with the speed and strength of Advil® in Advil® Sinus Congestion & Pain for a chance to win the Sickest Day”

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Purina’s Waggin’ Train Dog Treats are a Hit! {Giveaway}

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This post is part of a compensated campaign with Purina, who is also providing the prizes for giveaway. All opinions are honest and are my own. 

If you saw some of my posts last week, you know that our dogs are a big part of our family; we had fun celebrating them for National Dog Week, but that doesn’t have to end just because the week is over! We want to keep letting our dogs know we love them with plenty of attention, plenty of petting, plenty of play, and plenty of treats!

If you don’t remember, we have two pups in our family:

Sally is 4, and is an 80-pound labrador/golden retriever mix. She is a mouth breather, so you always know when she’s nearby… and she loves to be near us so we almost always hear her panting. :) She is incredibly sweet and she thinks she’s a lap dog.

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Ninja just turned 1 in April, and he’s a yorkie/schnauzer mix. He is only about 12 pounds, and I’m betting 2 pounds of that is fur – he’s our little mop! He also likes to be right where we are all the time, unless he’s wrestling with Sally (because while she thinks she’s a lap dog, he clearly thinks he’s an 80-pound lab).

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While our dogs couldn’t look any more different from one another, they’re the best of friends (I guess opposites attract?) and they play together all the time. It really is as if he’s the little brother who thinks his big sister is so cool and so he wants to be around her all the time. But since he’s the little brother, he has to also bug her and beg her to play with him.

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One thing the dogs definitely have in common is their love of the Purina Waggin’ Train Chicken Jerky treats. I pulled out the chicken jerky curls for them to try the other day, and Sally practically climbed up on to the dining table (which she doesn’t even do for PEANUT BUTTER, friends – that’s saying something!).

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