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#NationalDogWeek Giveaway! #FriendsWithBeneful

This post is part of a compensated campaign with Purina. All opinions are honest and are my own.

I’m sure y’all have seen my other posts this week sharing a little about our dogs Sally & Ninja. National Dog Week is a great time for us to really appreciate how much they add to our family, and how much we love them!

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Beneful is celebrating, too, and they sent us a really fun bag of goodies for the dogs. In addition to celebrating National Dog Week this year, the Beneful Dream Dog Park Project is supporting a wide variety of different dog park projects across the U.S. and help further the Beneful team’s mission of celebrating the joyful life dogs and owners share together. Beneful is supporting dog park projects large and small, and lending a paw to help make dog park dreams come true through a mix of financial support, hands-on volunteerism and dog park expertise. We have a dog park in our city, and it gets used SO much. I think it’s a great feature every city should have, and I love that Beneful is helping support the creation of more dog parks.

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Sam’s Club Baby Days + a Giveaway!

This post is sponsored by Acorn & Procter and Gamble. All opinions are honest and my own.

My sister-in-law Lauren (might as well be sister) is pregnant with her first baby, and I am almost as excited for her as I was for my own pregnancies. I can’t wait to see her be a mom (she’ll be amazing) and I’m ready to hold my niece or nephew!

Lauren’s due in November, so as that time gets closer and closer, being stocked up on baby gear is more and more on her mind. I started thinking about what all I was glad to have on hand when each of my kids were babies, and wanted to help get her and my brother-in-law all set for their new arrival. I headed over to our local Sam’s Club, because I knew it’d be a great one-stop location to find all sorts of must-haves for babies at cost-efficient prices.

First of all: diapers and wipes. Parents, you know how rapidly you use these, so it’s crucial to have a sizeable stockpile! Sam’s has huge boxes, so I grabbed some Pampers Swaddlers and Sensitive Wipes for Lauren to have ready when she comes home from the hospital.

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And if you noticed, I got instant savings on the diapers, making them an even better deal than they already were. And I got 808 wipes for less than $20. Gotta love bargains like that!

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Snap an #UltraHug Selfie & Spread the Love with Walmart Huggies Snug & Dry

Summer is here, and my kids are thrilled. They’re looking forward to all sorts of fun, and we’ve already been enjoying evenings playing all together out in the yard. I have lots of great memories of summers during my childhood, and it makes me really happy to think of my kids having wonderful summer moments, too.

I do think, though, of kids for whom summer isn’t all great. There are some kids who rely on breakfasts and lunches at school, and when school is out these kids might very well go without food. No Kid Hungry Texas is a program that helps combat this issue, and it’s an organization I’m proud to support.

Huggies is hosting a great initiative right now, awarding 10 community organizations $2,000 each! All you have to do to nominate your community project is upload a selfie of you and your baby to Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #UltraHug.

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Little Mayz Hand-Made Dresses {Giveaway!}

Note: I received a dress from Little Mayz to review and they are providing the credit for giveaway. All opinions in this post are honest and are my own.

After having two boys, shopping for our daughter E has been an absolute blast. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done my fair share of shopping for all three of our kids, but shopping for girls’ clothing is just much more fun – there’s so much more to choose from!

I love finding unique items for E to wear, so Etsy has become my go-to for browsing and “window shopping.” I’ve gotten SO many headbands for her from various Etsy shops!

It only makes sense, then, that I’d want to start getting some adorable outfits from Etsy, too. A great shop I’ve discovered is called Little Mayz, owned by Tabitha Carden. Says Tabitha:

“My name is Tabitha, owner of  Little Mayz (pronounced like mays). Little Mayz came about early in 2014, after I realized how amazingly fun it is to dress my daughter in the latest trends. Tenley Mayz, my 15 month old, is without a doubt the inspiration behind my creations. We reside in Nashville, TN. When I first began my clothing line, I was trying so hard to do as many different patterns as possible in hopes to please as many customers as possible. Now that we have been working a bit longer, I have found my niche and what works for us. If you like frills, fluff and ruffles, Little Mayz is the shop for you. We do simple pieces designed for everyday wear for your fashionista, and then we also specialize in over the top pieces meant for photo shoots, milestones and special events. No matter your taste, I am sure you will find something you love in our shop.” 

I love Tabitha’s eye for mixing prints, and really almost selected this Christmas dress – isn’t it SO cute?

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In the end, though, I loved the color of this mustard fall tunic dress, and once I saw the back I just couldn’t go with another dress.

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I love the flutter sleeves! But just check out the back:

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Be sure and keep up with Little Mayz on Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter!

And you’ll definitely want to enter my giveaway for a $50 gift card to Little Mayz… the only question is, which dress would you buy first?

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Music Made Me Do It: What Has Music Made YOU Do? {Giveaway}

Note: I received two SOL Republic products to thank me for hosting the giveaway. I was not compensated monetarily for this post, and all opinions are honest and my own.

Music is an amazing thing. A song can lift you up, inspire, and motivate you. Last year I did Couch to 5K and music definitely helped carry me through some of the tough, long patches of running.

Music can also comfort you – my dad passed away last year and my mom has found great solace in praise songs. Music can remind you of great times or certain people.

I think we can all agree that music is an important part of our lives, and each of us probably have a story about how music has influenced us in one way or another.

SOL Republic recognizes the value of music and so they’ve come up with a really fun promotion called Music Made Me Do It.

And guess what? I get to host a giveaway to help celebrate it!

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See all the items in the photo above? They could all be yours. Yours to keep and enjoy the power of music through, or yours to gift to friends and family. I think you’d be the most popular person on the block if you gave someone a speaker or headphones from SOL Republic. The prize pack is valued at over $700 and includes:

  • SOL REPUBLIC Deck speaker ($149.99)
  • SOL REPUBLIC Punk speaker ($69.99)
  • SOL REPUBLIC Tracks on-ear headphone ($99.99)
  • SOL REPUBLIC Relays in- ear headphone ($79.99)
  • SOL REPUBLIC Master Tracks over-ear headphone ($149.99)
  • 1 Tracks HD on-ear headphone ($129.99)
  • 1 Jax in-ear headphone ($39.99)

To enter, share your story of how music has inspired you – what has music made you do? 

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Almost Any Song Can Be Family-Friendly with MusicBleeper {Giveaway}

Note: This is a partnered post with musicBleeper. All opinions are honest and are my own. Music Bleeper has also provided the giveaway prize.

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Since having three kids, I’ve listened to more kids’ songs that I can count.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love me a good rendition of Old MacDonald now and then, but I enjoy my own music a whole lot more! I’m sure many parents feel the same way, but might not be able to listen to songs they like because of one word that happens to be in the lyrics. Thus, they’re relegated to silence or kids’ music in the car.

The musicBleeper app was created to solve that problem. musicBleeper is a user-defined censorship app that allows users to determine exactly which words they feel are unsafe or inappropriate in their music. Designed for parents listening to their music with children, or anyone who would prefer their music without profanity or objectionable phrases. Even if you don’t have kids, but (like me) you’d rather not hear profanity in your music, you can use the app for yourself as well. musicBleeper provides 91 words that can be eliminated based on children’s ages, religious affiliations, household morals or family values.

Vikas Vanjani is the CEO of musicBleeper, and his vision for the app was inspired by his own experience listening to music with his kids (aged 8, 6, & 2 at the time). I love knowing that it was created with children in mind.

musicBleeper is a free app available in the iTunes store. Here’s a little more about how it works:

  • Once the app is downloaded and parameters are set, the app immediately starts scanning and scrubbing songs that live on the device.
  • If a song title is shown in bold, that means it has already been scanned and scrubbed for offensive words. If the song title is in grey scale, it means the song has not yet been scanned and scrubbed.
  • The words and phrases noted are removed from all songs on the device – users can select either “skip” or “silence.”
  • The ability to manage the app is password protected, so users can identify the words they want eliminated, and no one can change them.
  • The app can be turned on and off, so parents listening when children are not around can turn the app off if they’d like.

We tried out musicBleeper on Brian’s phone and found a song we could test it out on. There’s an intuitive menu of settings letting you customize the app exactly to your liking. You can see below the “Manage Unsafe Words” option – I’ll spare you the screen shot of potentially offensive words, but you’ll be taken to an extensive list (91 items and growing) of words to select from to bleep out. This allows you to hand-pick which words you want to avoid, which is a big highlight of its service.

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Another thing I really like about this app is that you set a username and password when you download. Then you’re the only one that’s able to change settings, so you don’t have to worry about your kids making changes you don’t want.

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The above screen shot is an example from the musicBleeper company, but you can see how your music list will look when you download the app. The greyscale titles are ones that haven’t been “scrubbed” yet but the clock icon next to Radioactive shows that it’s currently being processed. One note – make sure to give the app a little time to scrub your songs! The app goes through each song and finds the words you’ve deemed offensive.

I’d recommend that you check this app out. For one thing, it’s FREE. You can’t really beat that; it’s risk-free! And I truly think you’ll enjoy having an option to make music kid-friendly at the push of a button. You can download it here or scan this qr code with your phone to be taken right to the download page in the iTunes store:

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Check out more about the app in this video:

Keep up with musicBleeper on Facebook, Twitter, & Google+

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musicBleeper has provided me with the opportunity to give away a $50 iTunes gift card, and it even ends in time for this to be used as a Christmas gift! There are some great high-entry options just for downloading the free app or reviewing it on iTunes, too.

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VTech Innotab Max Review {and Giveaway!}

Note: We received the Innotab Max to review, and VTech is providing one for the giveaway winner too. All opinions are honest and are those of myself and my family.

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Our family loves technology, and our kids are always wanting to play on our phones and tablets. We love the idea of them having a tablet dedicated to their use, so I was really excited to receive the VTech InnoTab MAX to review. Here are a few facts:

  • VTech’s 4th generation kids’ learning tablet features its fastest processor yet with up to six times the processing power of previous generation and a 7” high-resolution multi-touch screen display
  • InnoTab MAX features an enhanced 2nd generation version of Premium VTech Kid Connect™, at no additional charge, allowing children and parents to exchange voice and text messages, photos, drawings and fun stickers in real time between the tablet and a smartphone
  • InnoTab MAX offers the best of both learning worlds with access to more than 650 educator-endorsed, age and stage appropriate learning titles as well as carefully cultivated educational Android apps that can be purchased and downloaded through VTech’s Learning Lodge® app store
  • The tablet comes with 15 onboard apps including Premium VTech® Kid Connect, My Magic Beanstalk, Movie Maker, Art Studio, Wonder Cam Max, E-Reader with Story Dictionary and more
  •  InnoTab MAX also comes with one free Toca Boca app and two additional free apps that can be downloaded from the Learning Lodge
  • Other InnoTab MAX features include a built-in rechargeable Lithium battery and kid-safe Wi-Fi so kids can explore appropriate online games, videos and websites that have been pre-selected by VTech
  • Parental controls allow parents to manage their child’s apps, web access and tablet time, as well as view a progress log

As you can see, this is a highly functional tablet with kid-friendly (and parent-friendly) features!

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We love that the InnoTab Max comes with a removable cover and that it has a handle built right in! This makes it easy for transporting and helps protect the screen. There’s a stylus included, too, that you can tether to the tablet – no worrying about it getting lost! The cover also serves as a stand, making it easy for kids to prop it up and play.

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The InnoTab MAX has a home screen with icons just like my kids are used to from our tablets, and they were easily and intuitively able to navigate their way around, finding the camera, art app, and fun (& educational) games that Brian and I downloaded.

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They love the camera feature, and since the lens can rotate around 180 degrees it’s easy for them to take photos of their favorite toys, then flip the lens around for a selfie.

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As a parent, I love that we can control what they do and how much time they spend on the tablet; I love that the games have an educational aspect to them, and I love the e-book selection to help foster a love of reading. This is a durable, versatile tablet that I know we’ll be really glad to have; I actually think it won’t be long before our two-year-old, E, lays her claim on the InnoTab MAX!

You can find it on Amazon and at many other retailers; its MSRP is $109.99 – really affordable for a tablet!

Oh, and did I mention that you now have the chance to win one of your very own, just in time for Christmas – this will make someone very happy to find it under the tree!

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Smile Brighter with Smile Brilliant Custom Teeth Whitening Trays {Giveaway}

Note: I received a custom teeth whitening kit from Smile Brilliant to facilitate my review, and they are providing the kit for giveaway. I was not compensated monetarily for this post, and all opinions are honest and my own.

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I’ve taken pretty good care of my teeth over the years, but even so they weren’t quite as white as I’d like for them to be. Several years ago I tried whitening strips that I bought from the store but never really noticed a difference, so I was really excited to give Smile Brilliant a try.

For those of you not familiar with the company, Smile Brilliant provides a custom tray creation kit so you can make your own impressions in the comfort of your home, ship those off (at the cost of the company) and then just days later receive trays that fit your teeth perfectly. They also have 22% hi-intensity whitening gel that you use with the trays to get a noticeable effect in a short amount of time. And if you’re like me, you might also worry about how whitening gel would work with sensitive teeth. No worries there, either, because Smile Brilliant has desensitizing gel, too.

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My kit arrived and I was immediately impressed with the packaging (I’m a graphic designer by trade, so of course I’m going to notice this aspect!) and with what all is provided. See the “base paste” and “catalyst paste”? You mix one of each of those together to create a putty, place it in the tray, and then use the tray to make your impression. They give you three sets just in case you make a mistake and need a redo, but it’s an easy process and I didn’t end up needing my extra pastes. Here’s all that’s included in the kit:

  • 2 Custom-fitted whitening trays (upper and lower teeth)
  • Compact case holds both your whitening trays
  • Impression material to make your own dental impressions (plus extra material included)
  • 3-Way, pre-paid postage – all postage between you and the lab is covered (2-way for international orders)
  • 1 set of custom dental models created by our lab technicians from your impressions
  • Professional teeth whitening gel – Dentist-strength 22% Carbamide Peroxide in 3ml syringes
  • 2 year teeth whitening tray replacement warranty
  • Detailed instructional brochure – Simple guide to creating your custom-fitted teeth whitening trays
  • 30 day satisfaction gurantee!

Did you notice in the list that Smile Brilliant provides a postage-paid, padded envelope for you to send your impressions in? And I was floored when just days later my custom trays arrived! The entire process is incredibly and impressively efficient.

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The trays come in a case much like you’d have for a retainer, so you’ve got an easy place to store them or take them with you for travel.

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The desensitizing gel and whitening gel both come in pre-loaded syringes so it’s easy to put in your trays. I love how, since the trays fit your teeth perfectly, the gel really gets all over the surface area of each tooth.

Here’s my before and after photos – they were taken after two usages of the whitening gel. I’m very impressed and will definitely use their whitening gel in the future for touch ups (the Smile Brilliant site says most people do one treatment a month for touch ups).

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Here’s another thing that’s great about Smile Brilliant, and probably my favorite part – it is incredibly affordable. At $119.95 for the kit, it is hundreds of dollars less than it would cost to go have trays made at a dentist’s office. And with how rarely you have to use the kit afterwards, the gels are very affordable too. Plus, you don’t have to waste any of your day going and sitting and waiting for appointments, since you can take care of everything from the comfort of your home.

Would you like to have a brighter smile so you can Smile Brilliant? I can help you with that!

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Cuisinart Alfrescamore Outdoor Pizza Oven {& a Giveaway!}

Note: Cuisinart provided us the Alfrescamore to facilitate our review, and they’re providing the giveaway items. I was not compensated monetarily for this post; all opinions are honest and are my own.

We love to make homemade pizza. It’s a lot of fun mixing and matching toppings to get exactly what you want, and we like to be creative with the combinations we come up with. It’s also a fun and easy food item for the kids to help make, so it’s something our whole family can do together. With October being National Pizza Month, it’s been a great excuse to celebrate the holiday with pizza. Lots of pizza.

Of course, when we’d make our pizzas before we weren’t able to replicate the same awesome crust we’d get when we’d eat pizza out. You know what I mean – that awesome crispiness that is the perfect counter to the gooey cheese!

Now, though, our pizza making has been taken to the next level, thanks to the Cuisinart Alfrescamore Outdoor Pizza Oven.

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This is my new favorite cooking gadget. I thought it would be handy and fun for entertaining, but I had no idea what a difference it would make in the quality of our pizzas! We decided to have some friends and family over for a pizza party to help us test it out.

As you can see from the photo above, you can use this outdoors – and it’s portable. Can you imagine tailgating with this amazing oven? You can do more than pizzas (even cookies, folks) so it’d really take your tailgating – or camping – food to the next level.

The oven runs on propane. We just used a small propane tank, but we’ll eventually get the stand and adapter to hook it up to a larger tank. It can get REALLY hot, which makes for an amazing pizza – and it’s outside, so it doesn’t heat up the whole house (an important feature here in Texas, where it’s 80+ degrees in October!)

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We made several kinds of pizzas for testing, but I think our favorite was our baked potato pizza. SO easy – I’ll share the recipe below!

Here’s a hint, too – we buy our crust from a local pizza shop. It’s way better than store-bought crust, and if I don’t have time to make my own this is a perfect choice.

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We sprinkled corn meal on the pizza peel that comes with the oven, then spread out our dough and put on the toppings.

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Then we just slide it into the oven, and about 5-7 minutes later our pizza is ready!

Here’s Brian taking a look at the pizza as it cooks:

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And the “after” shot:

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Topped with chives and ready to serve:

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It was a hit!

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Here’s how to make baked potato pizza: Spread your dough with a thin layer of sour cream, then top with sliced, pre-boiled red potatoes (peel on). Sprinkle with chopped bacon (we bought real bacon bits from the salad dressing aisle) and shredded cheddar. Bake in your oh-so-awesome Alfrescamore Pizza Oven, then top with chives. SO easy, right?

Let’s talk a little more about this oven, because friends, it’s spectacular. Here are a few facts:

What is the Cuisinart Alfrescamoré Outdoor Pizza Oven?

  • Designed to replicate the perfect pizza environment of a real brick oven providing pizzeria quality pizza anywhere, any time
  • Includes a smoke chip cup which allows you to add authentic wood-fired taste (we can’t wait to try this out!)
  • Extremely portable – compact and weighing in at only 35 pounds
  • Assembles in less than 10 minutes without tools and cooks in as little as 5 minutes
  • MSRP: $249.99
  • Available online at BedBathBeyond.com, Amazon.com, HomeDepot.com and Cuisinart.com; Currently available at select Bed Bath & Beyond and The Home Depot stores!

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Keeping in the theme of celebrating National Pizza Month, I’m excited to be giving away:

  • Cuisinart 12″ Pizza Peel
  • Cuisinart Pizza Cutter

This prize has a value of $39.98 and would be a great gift for any foodie! And of course, perfect accessories for when you get your Alfrescamore Outdoor Oven.

This giveaway is open to all U.S. residents and will end Tuesday, November 4. By entering this giveaway, you agree to the Official Rules for Frugal Novice giveaways.

What’s the first recipe you’d test in the Cuisinart Alfrescamoré Outdoor Pizza Oven?

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Enter your “That’s My Kid” Moment in the VTech #SmartWatchSweeps

Note: The information included in this post, and a gift card, have been provided to me by VTech.

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Does your child have dreams of becoming the next Mozart? Next President? Or a secret spy? Do they leave you in stitches or keep you constantly on your toes?

Kids love to show off their playful personalities and so do their parents! That’s why VTech® wants parents and caregivers to share their “that’s my kid” moments on social media. Using the hashtag #smartwatchsweeps, parents and caregivers can share and submit images of their children showing off one-of-kind kid moments, for a chance to win a VTech Kidizoom® Smartwatch of their very own!

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How to Enter

Take a pic/video of your kids showing off their silly antics for a chance to win a VTech Kidizoom® Smartwatch! You can upload your photo to http://www.vtechkids.com/smartwatchsweeps to submit your entry or tag your photo with the hashtag #smartwatchsweeps when posting it to Twitter and/or Instagram.

At the end of every week, five entries will be selected at random to receive a Smartwatch and will be highlighted as one of VTech’s “Smartwatch Kids of the Week” on their social media channels.

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Here’s all the information you need, plus ways to keep up with VTech on their social media channels:

Kohl’s Gift Card Winner Says YES to Savings For Her Whole Family!

Note: I received a gift card to facilitate a review post, and Kohl’s is providing the gift card for the winner. 

We had over 7,000 entries in the Kohl’s gift card giveaway, and the winner is…

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Winner Meghan and her family

 

When I emailed Meghan to let her know she won, I asked her to tell me a little more about why she says YES to Kohl’s! She said, “I love shopping at Kohls because they have a great selection for my whole family. The prices are always affordable and I love the rewards programs they offer.” 

Congratulations, Meghan, to you and your family! I hope you enjoy your $250 gift card – and just think of all the rewards you’ll earn with their Yes2You program!!

Say YES to Even More Savings with Kohl’s! {$250 Kohl’s Gift Card Giveaway}

Note: I received a Kohl’s gift card to try out the Yes2You program and to facilitate this post. All opinions are honest and are my own. 

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Our family loves Kohl’s. It has something for everyone – clothes, shoes, toys, kitchen gadgets, electronics and more. And of course, being the bargain-lover that I am, I always have fun shopping Kohl’s sales. Since we’re already such loyal Kohl’s customers, I was pretty excited to learn about their new loyalty program, Yes2You Rewards™.

The Kohl’s Yes2You Rewards™ program offers customers the opportunity to add even more value to their shopping experience with Kohl’s by earning points on every purchase – both in store and online at Kohls.com. With Yes2You Rewards, members will receive eight offers per year, a birthday gift, and opportunities to earn bonus points and surprises along the way. Additionally, there is no limit on points earned and no cost to join.

Yes2You Rewards is simple:

  • Save: Members receive one reward point for every one dollar spent – regardless of how they pay –and a $5 reward for every 100 points earned. In addition, members will be notified of opportunities to earn bonus points on their purchase for even more savings.
  • Share: For members who are in the giving spirit, Yes2You Rewards points can be shared with friends and family members who are also enrolled in the program. Alternatively, points can be donated to Kohl’s Cares to support children’s health and education initiatives nationwide.
  • Surprise: We would tell you more, but that would ruin the surprise!

Customers can enroll in Yes2You Rewards at any Kohl’s store nationwide, online at Kohls.com/Rewards or by downloading the Kohl’s app on any smart phone. Once signed into their Kohl’s account, Yes2You members will be able to easily track, redeem or share points.

When I first signed up for the Yes2You program, I got an email from Kohl’s sharing my first reward – 15% off my total purchase! So of course I couldn’t wait to get shopping – want to see all my finds?

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Zak Recycled Melamine Mixing Bowl Set – Loooooove these!

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Our five-year-old saw this ornament and fell in love with it, so we had to get it. Can’t wait to fill it with a photo of our two sweet pups!

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Little E loves Minnie Mouse, and she literally squealed in excitement when I showed her these PJ’s. Love the ruffles and the polka dots!

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And on the Minnie mouse kick, we found these cute sippy cups – practical and fun!

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I got two sets of these Mario PJ’s (one for each of the boys) – and each set comes with two pairs of pajamas!

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Shhh! Don’t tell E but we got part of her Christmas present right behind her back! This Leap Frog laptop was on sale, and I know she’ll love it!

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We also found these sweet plush Elsa & Anna dolls we’ll save for her stocking.

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I found her this cute Ariel gown, too – love the teal color and the sweet ruffles around the wrists!

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Minecraft shirt for C – he could not wait to wear this, even though the weather doesn’t really warrant long sleeves yet. Total hit!

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J picked out a Pokemon shirt and was thrilled to have found it! I have a feeling this will be worn a lot this fall and winter.

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I’ve got to admit, although it’s cute, this haunted house isn’t my style. But the kids? They fell. in. love. I couldn’t resist getting it, and now it occupies a place of honor on our dining table. Seeing how excited they get every time we turn the window lights on made me fall a little in love with this house, too!

All in all I spent right around $250, and so on top of the $50 Kohl’s cash I earned, I also got $10 through the Yes2You program! I’m a huge fan. And now you can even load your Kohl’s cash right into the Kohl’s app for your iPhone, so you’ve always got it with you whenever you get the urge to shop.

I’m pretty excited to give one of you the chance to go on a great Kohl’s shopping spree by giving away a $250 Kohl’s gift card (and we all know that with Kohl’s sales and offers that $250 will go really far)! Be sure and sign up for the Yes2You Rewards program first, so you can get started earning rewards next time you shop.

How will you say YES to Kohl’s? Tell me below and get entered for your chance to win the $250 Kohl’s gift card!

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