December – 2011 – Frugal Novice
Monthly Archives

December 2011

Add Chex Party Mix to Your New Year’s Eve Snacks! {Giveaway!}

Searching for ways to mix up your party? Then why not host a Chex Party Mix-Change, a modern spin on the traditional cookie swap with a delicious and savory twist! With several Chex Party Mix recipes that can be made in just 15 minutes, and Sam’s Club stores providing you with everything needed to host a fabulous party, there’s no excuse to not call on family and friends for a celebration.

Click here to download some fun recipe cards to use and to print out for your guests – like this recipe for original Chex Mix:

Want some cute ideas for packaging the Chex Mix? They’ve provided those for us too – I think my favorite is this one:

Click here to download more great packaging ideas. And if you want tips for making your party fun, they’ve even provided those too!

But that’s not all – Chex & Sam’s Club have teamed up to provide a great giveaway to help you make your next party a “Mix It Up” hit!

One lucky reader will win a $25 Sam’s Club gift card to get all the extras you need to make your party great – PLUS a big box of Chex (with a bag of rice, corn, and wheat Chex). This giveaway is open to all US residents aged 18+. Entries will be accepted until the end of the day (midnight Central) Thursday, January 12.

Mandatory Entry: Comment below telling me which Chex Mix recipe 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 2 entries, for example, comment 2 times.

Disclosure: The Sam’s Club gift card, information, and giveaway have been provided by Sam’s Club, Chex Party Mix and General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

Fun Date Night “In” Ideas

Here are five date night ideas for having a fun evening at home (whether you’re there by choice or not!):

1. Your own private cooking class – Take our idea of a nice dinner one step further, and have your own cooking class. There are tons of cooking videos available online. Find some recipes you’d like to try, shop for ingredients beforehand, and have fun with your spouse cooking something new. For videos, try YouTube, Gourmandia, or

2. Game night – We love to play board games, but rarely do so unless we have friends around. Back when we were in college, though, we started amassing our collection by buying a game instead of going out to dinner and a movie. We’d play it that night, but also knew we’d get years of use (& fun) out of it. Get out a stack of games, or if you don’t have many, each of you could go pick one out at the store ahead of time. It’s a great opportunity for conversation, and a little healthy competition is always fun!

3. Picnic Inside – We do this with the kids all the time and they think it’s a blast. Lay out a blanket on the living room floor and set out a spread of cheeses, breads, and other easy-to-eat foods – or you could even grill up some burgers and hot dogs to enjoy. Once you’re done eating, clear everything away, pull out some pillows and watch a movie together.

4. Get a favorite TV show on DVD to watch together – I think this can be more fun than watching a movie! We’ve done this with several of our favorite shows, or even with ones we’ve always wanted to watch but never had the chance to. It’s nice, too, because you can watch it over the course of several nights. Pick something you’ll both enjoy, and take breaks between episodes to talk about what you’ve watched.

5. Make/Build Something – Get a canvas and some paint, and create a work of art for your living room. Or if you’re really handy, find some free furniture plans online ( is my favorite place to look) and build something you can both enjoy. Being creative and working together is a great way to bond, and you get the added benefit of enjoying your creation afterward.

So see? There’s no reason your date night can’t be a blast just because you’re stuck at home. In fact, you might have more fun than if you had a date night out – you’ll be trying new things instead of doing the same old dinner & theater routine, and you might just learn something new about each other along the way. Have a GREAT date night, whether it’s “in” or “out”!

Kate Spade Bedding Winner

This had a great turnout with over 2,000 entries – I wish everyone could’ve won! Without further ado, the winner is….

Congratulations, Kendra!!

Adventures in Legoland (Florida)

I think I’ve mentioned before what a huge Lego fan my husband is.Now that we have the boys, Legos are even more prominent in our house! We have a Lego table in our living room, if that tells you anything! We’ve been to the Legoland Discovery Centers in Schaumburg, IL and in Grapevine, TX but were really excited to finally get the chance to visit Legoland in Winter Haven while we were on our trip to Florida.

Legoland is the perfect theme park to visit with small children, whether you’re big Lego fans or not. For one thing, the size isn’t overwhelming. We arrived around 10:30 and they closed at 5:00 that day, and it was plenty of time to do everything we wanted and ride some rides twice. J rode his first rollercoaster EVER and absolutely loved it! What I loved was that there were plenty of rides C could be a part of, too, so it truly was a place for the whole family.

There are also play areas all around, providing parents with a chance to sit and watch the kids run around (and burn off energy). The food offerings were all high quality (albeit a little pricy). Our pizza at lunch was great, and we really enjoyed a snack of apple fries complete with a side of fresh whipped cream.

Of course, one of our favorite parts walking around was noticing all of the amazing Lego sculptures. The detail to these is insane, and they’re so well done!

Here’s Brian with J next to a dinosaur (notice J’s face paint? He got a dragon, and was SO proud) – look at all of the shading done with various Lego colors… so amazing, right?

J with the pizza man outside the restaurant where we ate lunch:

We really got a kick out of the life-sized Ford Explorer, since that’s what we got to drive for our trip. I can’t believe what a good job they did of replicating the vehicle!

There’s a whole section of Legoland where they create mini-versions of famous buildings and landmarks. We spent a lot of time wandering around this area, and Brian said he could’ve stayed a lot longer!

New York City:

Statue of Liberty:

Capitol Building:

Hollywood Bowl:

The “Legowood” sign:

I totally got the theme song to Full House in my head while looking at these Victorians:

There were fun details all over, too – like this girl tripping and her soda shooting out of the bottle:

Besides all the Legos to look at, we rode a ton of rides – several rollercoasters (including the one I mentioned before), train rides, boats, racetracks, horses, fire trucks, and more. We had a blast!

I’d highly recommend making the trip over to Winter Haven if you’re in Florida. It’s a 45-minute drive from the Orlando area, which is an easy trip to make especially since the park has shorter hours of operation (during fall/winter season, anyway).

Note: We received free tickets to Legoland to facilitate our review. All opinions are honest and are our own. We were not compensated monetarily for this post.

Anew Ultimate – Pampering Age Repair

I think most, if not all of us have heard of Avon. I used to get lip glosses from a friend that was a rep, and always had fun looking through Avon catalogs. I had no clue what a huge variety of items they have now, from their mark line, to Skin So Soft, to Anew.

Now that I’m thirty, I have started thinking about taking care of my skin so I can age gracefully (I didn’t get to do that as a teenager – hello, acne! – so I think I will try to do it as an adult).  I got the chance to try some of the Anew Ultimate products, and was eager to see if I’d be able to notice a difference in my skin.

I’ve been using it for several weeks now, and I am really pleased with the results. I’ve been using the Day Cream (with SPF 25) and Night Cream, along with the Total Body Age Defy Cream. Since I have oily skin, I just use the day cream every other day, but I use the night cream and body cream daily.

Aside from the age repair aspect, I almost immediately noticed that it made a big difference in the dryness of my skin. Despite having oily skin, I do tend to get dry patches both on my face and arms during the winter. These creams have knocked that out, and my skin feels pampered as a result. I don’t really have wrinkles yet, aside from a few “laugh lines” at my eyes, but I can tell a difference in skin quality and feel like using the cream is a good preventative method with wrinkles.  I plan to keep using the creams so that my skin stays hydrated and healthy. That in itself is good for age repair, aside from the exclusive pro-sirtuin technology, which is formulated to help boost Sirtuin youth proteins at the gene level to help strengthen skin structure and radically improve the look of your body contours.

Note: I received an Anew Ultimate Kit to facilitate my review. All opinions are honest and are my own. I was not compensated monetarily for this post.

Perfect Stocking Stuffer for Any Female on Your List – Sally Hansen Nail Polish Strips

I love having the look of manicured nails, but I’ve never had the skills to do a good job on my own… until now. The Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips make it easy for anyone. I love these and think they’d be a perfect stocking stuffer! They also have holiday editions out, like this great candy cane pattern:

These are meant for your fingernails, but I’ve even used them for my toenails and got TONS of compliments:

I topped them with a couple of coats of clear nail polish and they lasted for a really long time – way longer than the 10 days they advertise. When I did go get a pedicure, they came off easily with remover, because these really are strips of nail polish as opposed to stickers or something like that. I love the variety of patterns you can get with the strips! Which kind would you pick? Check out all the options on the Sally Hansen site.  These strips can be found at most drugstores, at Target, Walmart, and at cosmetic stores like Ulta.

ZAGGMate Adds a Whole New Level to the iPad

Brian and I love our iPad for all it can do, but there are some limitations – namely, the on-screen keyboard can be tiring to use for composing emails, or for using word processing or spreadsheet apps.

The ZAGGmate is an all-in-one case and Bluetooth keyboard for the iPad (available for the iPad 2 as well). As far as iPad accessories go, it’s one that tops my list as both useful and well-designed.

The keyboard is slim and is nested within a case.

The iPad fits neatly face-down into the case when you’re not using it; the metal case is sturdy without being bulky or heavy, and provides a nice level of protection for your screen. Of course, to me the case function is secondary to the keyboard. If you notice the plastic tab that says “ZAGG” in the photo above, that gets folded up to serve as a surface for propping the iPad up, while you nest it into a channel right in front of it.

The result is the feel of a small laptop; there are no cords needed because the keyboard connects wirelessly via Bluetooth. I can’t say enough how much value the ZAGGmate adds to the iPad. Once it’s contained within the case, it takes up very little space, making it easy to transport with you virtually anywhere.

It charges via USB and so far we’ve been impressed with how long it lasts before needing to charge again – it goes a couple of weeks, and provides a light to let us know when the battery is getting low. Even after seeing the notice, we still have a good 2-3 days of use left.

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for any iPad owner in your life, I  would highly recommend the ZAGGmate. They’ll love you for it – and will easily be able to email you to tell you so!

Note: We received the ZAGGmate to facilitate our review. All opinions in this post are honest and are those of me and my husband. We were not compensated monetarily for this post.