February – 2011 – Frugal Novice
Monthly Archives

February 2011

Baby Bullet “Messy Baby” Photo Contest!

A few weeks ago I got the opportunity to review the Baby Bullet. One of the bonus entry options for the accompanying giveaway was to submit a messy baby photo, and boy did we get an amazing collection of ADORABLE entries!

Everyone loved the photos so much that now I get to share something really fun with you guys – a photo contest! It’s also another opportunity for one of you wonderful readers to WIN a Baby Bullet system!

Here’s how it’ll work:

• Submit your photos to me via e-mail (frugalnovice {at} gmail.com). Photos can be submitted now through Tuesday, March 15. If you submitted a photo for the giveaway, you still need to submit one for this contest. I will reply to your e-mail to let you know your submission has been accepted.

• As photos are received, I will place them on here for you to preview. On Wednesday, March 16, I will put the photos up on the Frugal Novice Facebook page for voting to begin.

• Voting will be open Wednesday, March 16 to Wednesday, March 23. Votes can be cast by having your friends and family “like” your photo – each “like” will count as one vote.

• Spread the word! I’ll share a button on here that you can use to remind people to vote for your photo – the more you let others know about the contest, the more votes you can get!

• At the end of the day March 23 (at midnight that night) I will tally the votes and let everyone know who is the winner of a Baby Bullet system!

If you have any questions just send me an e-mail or comment on this post. I’m so excited about this contest and can’t WAIT to see all your adorable messy baby photos!

iCandy Diaper Bag Giveaway Winner!

Now that comments aren’t numbered on my new theme, I’ve started using the “And the Winner is…” plug-in to determine giveaway winners. I love it! If you’re a blogger, I’d highly recommend it. VERY easy to use. Anyway, here’s what you’re all waiting to see – who won the iCandy diaper bag?

Congratulations, Mary! Thanks to everyone who entered.


Menu Plan Monday Feb.28-Mar.5

Menu Plan Monday

We’ve had company this weekend so I haven’t thought about my menu plan at all until right now, almost 10 PM on Sunday night. That also means we haven’t done our grocery shopping yet – which leads me off on a quick tangent… when do you do your grocery shopping? I’d really like some feedback on what time works best for you, because I’m wanting to switch from Sunday afternoons. I thought it was the most practical time, but more and more we find we just want to stay in after getting home from church and lunch.

This week is also Brian’s birthday – for 5 months I’ve been the older woman but now he’ll catch up to me for a little bit. :) We’ll make a cake and decorate it together like we do every year (click here to see some past cakes), although we haven’t figured out what we want to do yet. Monday I get to shop at my city’s local consignment sale, so I think we’ll probably end up eating out. Do you have a sale like that in your city? I LOVE ours – it happens twice a year and it’s where I stock up on a ton of the boys’ play clothes, shoes, books, and toys. I’m sure I’ll do a post soon about my finds, because I also LOVE to share my bargains (Brian just doesn’t fully appreciate them, I don’t think… he doesn’t ooh and ahh over them like I wish he would, anyway!).

I guess I should get to the point of the post – my meals for the week. I’d love it if you’d share an easy recipe your family loves, by the way. I’m trying my hardest to incorporate new recipes as often as possible. I’m going to try one from my mom’s recipe index this week – she’s got a really comprehensive list of recipes organized by category.

Monday: Dinner out

Tuesday: Cranberry Chicken with brown rice and salad. It’s probably meant to be more of a holiday dish, but the flavor combination of the chicken sounds like it will be nice and bright.

Wednesday: Soup and sandwiches – a nice, easy mid-week dinner option.

Thursday: Brian’s Birthday! We’re having his favorite – breakfast for dinner. We’ll have scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits, and Brian’s favorite, grits. I’ll add in some fresh fruit for me and the boys, too.

Friday: Pizza night! I’d like to make this a tradition for our family and to try new recipes as often as possible too. We’re going to use the pizza dough recipe from the Thursday Night Pizza book I reviewed recently. This week we’re going to make a recipe from FoodNetwork.com – caramelized onion, sausage and basil pizza.

Saturday: We’ll go out to eat to celebrate Brian’s birthday – I’m guessing he’ll pick Wing Stop, but we’ll see next week if I was right or not!

I hope you all have a great week. Be sure and check back later because I’ll be telling you about the start of a photo contest that I hope you’ll all be a part of – the winner will get a Baby Bullet (I’m so excited to be able to give another one of these away)!



How Do You Pamper Yourself?

If you’re like me (or most moms I know), time to yourself is a rarity. It’s easy to get stressed when you go a long time with no breaks, so I try to do something fun or relaxing at least once a month. Going for a spa day is the ultimate treat – a pedicure, massage, & facial all in one day – not to mention peace and quiet – is so relaxing! My absolute two favorite ways to pamper myself are getting a pedicure or a massage. When I was pregnant with our second son, some really good friends bought me a massage – an hour and a half!! – and it was amazing. I think every pregnant woman deserves at least one massage! I’ve also had a hot stone massage, which was very relaxing – the masseuse placed hot stones between my toes and fingers, on my legs, arms, and back. There are a lot of different types of massage; here are a few I’ve tried:

Swedish Massage – long, smooth motions that are generally fairly gentle

Deep Tissue Massage – targets deeper layers; you might be sore the next day after this kind of massage (this is my favorite kind of massage to get)

Shiatsu Massage – uses localized pressure to release tension in spots. I’ve had this once and it’s my least favorite kind of massage.

Regardless of what kind of treatment you like best, weekend spa breaks would be a lot of fun – I’d love to get together with friends and just relax physically and mentally for a couple of days (not to mention sleep late). Here’s what my ideal spa day would consist of:

  • Hair cut
  • Facial
  • Manicure
  • Pedicure
  • Massage

How amazing would that be to get pampered from head to toe? Maybe that’s what I’ll put on my wish list for my birthday.

How do you pamper yourself? Do you have a favorite spa treatment?

Note: I received compensation for writing this post.

It Begins

I pulled up and parked to drop the boys off at day care this morning, and one of J’s classmates walked by. J (who is 3 1/2, if you don’t know) said, “Mom, sometimes me and my friends call him names.”  I was a little surprised. J can be cranky to his brother, but he’s generally been kind to his friends.

I told him we shouldn’t call people names, and then I started to wonder what names a three-year-old even knows. So I prodded.

“What names did you call him?”

He looked down. “I don’t want to tell you.”

Uh oh. That made me a little nervous. “You can tell me. We might talk about why you shouldn’t use those words, but you won’t get in trouble,” I said.

He paused for a minute, then looked up at me and said, “Well… sometimes we call him apple. Or sometimes bucket.”

I sighed with relief (and honestly, had to hold back a smile – bucket? Seriously?), but maintained as serious of a face as I could, telling him that it might hurt people’s feelings to be called names so we shouldn’t do that. He chirped, “Ok, mom!” And that was that.

Driving to work afterward I realized this was the first of many conversations we’d have about how to treat others. Calling someone apple isn’t necessarily hurtful, just nonsensical. But the idea behind it, treating others how you’d want to be treated, is one that we’ve dealt with before and will have to continue emphasizing as he and C grow up.

It also made me think that now, while the boys are younger, is the key time for Brian and I to set the tone for approachability. I always want the boys to be able to come to us with anything, and figuring out how to walk the line between accepting them, conveying unconditional love, but not always condoning their actions seems like it will be one that we have to just figure out along the way.

For now, though? I’m thankful that apple and bucket are the biggest issues on our plate.

Friendly Friday 2/25

Welcome to Friendly Friday!

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

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

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

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

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

Mrs.White at The Legacy of Home is the mother of five home-schooled children, ages 13 – 22, and has been happily married for almost a quarter of a century. She is a writer, reviewer, who loves fashion, sewing, reading, fitness and cleaning. She writes about everything from home decor to housekeeping to being thrifty. You’ll also see photos of her children and read about their day-to-day lives. This blog has a charming feel to it immediately and welcomes you in!

Jen at Simply Living is a twenty-something who writes about her adventures as she finds her place in the world. She started her blog at the beginning of this year and is off to a great start! She has a great how-to for an inexpensive St. Patty’s decoration that would be really fun to do with your kids (or just for yourself), and in looking at her blog I’ve found at least 2 project ideas that I really want to try!

Ashley at Stilettos to Strollers writes about subjects ranging from becoming a first time mom, to saving money, to dating! She loves sharing great deals, tips, and stories; she also has an adorable Etsy boutique where she sells handmade bows and other creations. You’ll find a lot of tips on saving money on your shopping trips, too!

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

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

Wordy Wednesday

I’ve given up the pretense that I can do the whole “Wordless Wednesday” thing. The appeal is definitely there; some days it’s hard to come up with anything to write about. But if I share a photo with you, I almost always feel the need to explain it somehow. So, welcome to Wordy Wednesday. I’ll always include a photo or two along with some daily ramblings that may or may not be related to the aforementioned photos, depending on how random I’m feeling that day.

The photos I’m sharing today are from our most recent trip to the grocery store. If you’ve ever gone grocery shopping with small children then you’ll appreciate the miraculous nature of these pics.

We usually go shopping as a family – we shop at HEB & the boys think it’s a lot of fun to go (they usually get a free homemade tortilla and a free cookie – what’s not to love about that?) plus Brian and I like picking out ingredients together.

The carts at HEB are wide and seat two, which is both awesome and annoying at the same time. The boys like to sit together, until about 10 minutes in, when the arguing over sides begins. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had to create a dividing line with our arm to keep the peace.

We usually go shopping Sunday afternoons after the boys’ naptime, but this week we waited until after dinner – smartest move ever. The boys were full and content, and we made it through the whole outing with no fights. In fact, they were especially sweet with each other. We always try to encourage them to be kind to each other, and moments like this when it happens on its own feel like the foundation of the close friendship we hope they’ll have throughout their lives.

Here’s C loving on his big brother – he definitely looks up to him!

And here’s J giving C a hug. Notice that it resembles a headlock – that’s the “big brother” way of hugging, I’ve decided. I love C’s expression, though – it made his day to get that hug!

I love these boys!

Creative Cooking Giveaway!

If you’ve read my blog for very long, you know that Brian and I love to cook together. We also love to try new recipes to keep things interesting. I thought I’d spread the love with this giveaway I’m hosting in honor of my blog’s anniversary!

One lucky winner will win a copy of the Dining Out at Home cookbook from CopyKat.com, plus a $25 Safeway gift card (also valid at Dominick’s, Tom Thumb, Randalls, Vons, and Genuardi’s) to go buy ingredients for some creative cooking! This contest is open to all U.S. residents. Entries will be accepted until midnight CST March 15.

Mandatory Entry: “Like” Frugal Novice on Facebook and comment here letting me know you’ve done so!

(Only valid after the required entry has been completed)

Please leave a comment for each extra entry – if you blog about this giveaway and get 3 entries, for example, comment 3 times.

  • Subscribe to my RSS feed {2 extra entries}
  • Sign up to receive my updates in your e-mail (top right side of the screen) {2 extra entries}
  • Follow me on Twitter {1 extra entry}
  • Share a link to this giveaway on your Facebook wall {2 extra entries}
  • Blog about this giveaway and link it back here {3 extra entries}
  • Tweet about this giveaway {1 extra entry per tweet; 2 tweets (not back-to-back) per day}

Nanotch Giveaway – Turn your iPod Nano into a Wrist Watch!

I don’t know if you’ve heard about this, but I thought it was very cool when I first read about people wearing their iPod Nanos as wrist watches. Brian would LOVE this, and if we ever get him a Nano I’m certain a Nanotch wrist strap will be our next purchase. With the Nanotch, you have your iPod right in a convenient spot on your wrist, and you get a unique watch with a ton of functionality.

Nanotch allows wearers to easily pop their iPod Nano in and out of the watch face. Unlike other watch bands, the Nanotch also comes with the traditional watch clasp and protects the iPod Nano from possible damage.  Additionally, the Nanotch can been worn by men, women and children alike!


– More than just a strap.
– Protects your Nano.
– 100% silicone.
– Comes in multiple colors.
– Traditional clasp to prevent from falling off.
– Fashionable look for everyday wear.
– One size fits all.
– Seats the iPod Nano widthwise for designed viewing.
– Helps prevent moisture from your wrist.
– Unisex.

I think I’d pick gray – what color would you pick?

Check out this video to see exactly how the Nanotch works and how it protects your Nano – they even ran their Nano under water and the Nanotch protected it!

TWO lucky readers will win the Nanotch case in whatever color they choose. This contest is open to U.S. and Canadian residents. Entries will be accepted until midnight CST March 9.

Mandatory Entry: Go to the Nanotch website and comment here telling me which color of Nanotch is your favorite!

(Only valid after the required entry has been completed)

Please leave a comment for each extra entry – if you blog about this giveaway and get 3 entries, for example, comment 3 times.

Note: Nanotch is providing the two cases for the giveaway. Any opinions included in this post are honest and are my own.

See Baby Grow – Onesie Giveaway!

I think almost every parent I know (myself included) has taken monthly photos of their newborn. With J, I took photos of him laying next to our miniature dachshund, Josie to compare his size to hers. With C, I used a huge stuffed giraffe. If I had known about these adorable See Baby Grow onesies I would have definitely included these in my monthly pics!

You can order a set of onesies, which would make a fun and unique baby shower gift. I love the variety of colors used for each month.

One lucky reader will win an adorable onesie printed with “I’m just a few days old!” This would be great for any expectant parents out there, or a fun item to include with your next baby shower gift. The contest is open to all U.S. readers. Entries will be accepted until midnight CST March 9.

Mandatory Entry: “Like” See Baby Grow on Facebook and comment on their wall letting them know FrugalNovice.com sent you! Then comment here letting me know you’ve done so.

(Only valid after the required entry has been completed)

Please leave a comment for each extra entry – if you blog about this giveaway and get 3 entries, for example, comment 3 times.

Note: See Baby Grow provided me with a onesie to review and is providing the onesie for the giveaway. Any opinions included in this post are honest and are my own.

Chunky Bling – Ring Giveaway!

If you’re a fan of chunky jewelry then you’ll want to check out ChunkyBling.com. They have a wide variety of watches, rings and other fun accessories. I got the chance to review a Swarovski Ring recently. There are a lot of different color options, but I chose to review the Swarovski Pearl ring – isn’t it pretty?

Chunky Bling’s Swarovski bead rings feature elegant Swarovski crystals and Swarovski pearls set in rhinestone-crusted rondelles and accented with sterling-silver findings. All Swarovski bead rings are strung on a stretchy cord which allows the wearer to easily slip the ring on and off the finger. It also allows for flexible, comfortable sizing. The band is elastic, which gives you some flexibility as to which finger you wear it on. Mine fit perfectly fine on my index, middle, and ring fingers. IYou can pick a pearl ring like I did, or you could get one (or more!) of the vibrant colors the crystal rings have to offer.

Part of Chunky Bling’s great appeal is the ability to customize your look. You can build your own necklace or watch and get exactly the design and colors you want – how fun is that? You can even host an online jewelry party where your friends make purchases and you can earn hostess gifts.

I love discounts, so I’m excited to share a code with you that gives you 15% off your purchase at ChunkyBling.com! Just enter CHRIS754 at checkout to get the 15% off any jewelry purchase! This coupon is good through March 16.

Chunky Bling has given me the opportunity to host a giveaway for one of their Swarovski rings. The winner will get to choose the ring of their choice. This contest is open to all U.S. and Canadian residents. Entries will be accepted until midnight CST on March 9.

Mandatory Entry: Visit ChunkyBling.com and select your favorite watch band and face combination. Then return here and submit the name of your selected jewelry combination!

(Only valid after the required entry has been completed)

Please leave a comment for each extra entry – if you blog about this giveaway and get 3 entries, for example, comment 3 times.

Note: Chunky Bling provided me with a ring for review and one for this giveaway. Any opinions provided in this post are honest and are my own.

Bloggy Birthday

Have you noticed my new look? I’ve been wanting to update the blog design for a while and thought today was the perfect day to make the change. A year ago today, after urging from my mom & brother, I decided to give blogging a try (well, blogging for people other than family, and about more than  just updates on the kids), and the Frugal Novice was born! I’ve learned so much from when I first started, I’ve had a blast, and I’ve gotten to know a lot of great people.

To celebrate the occasion, I’ll be posting FOUR giveaways throughout the day! Thanks so much to all of you that have read my blog and especially those of you that have been a part of things from the start – I can’t wait to see what the next year has to bring!