April – 2012 – Frugal Novice
Monthly Archives

April 2012

Rubbermaid 2-in-1 Recycler {Giveaway}

Brian and I live in a city without recycling pickup, which is one of the few things about our town we don’t like. We’ve tried multiple times in the past to be organized with recycling and take it for drop off regularly, but it always seemed to turn into a disheveled, overgrown pile.

The Rubbermaid 2-in-1 Recycler makes recycling so much easier. This two-unit bin allows you to either contain trash and recyclables all in one location or sort recyclables. The top unit is perfect for collecting recyclables and has a fold away handle that makes it easy to take out and empty into your recycling bin. The lower bin tilts out for easy access, and holds an 8 gallon trash bag in place. You can also use the lower bin to sort another type of recyclable and carry it out with the built-in handles.

I love that this just takes up the same amount of space as a typical trash can, but has the convenience of being able to sort recycling. It fits more recyclables while using 25% less floor space compared to typical divided containers. We’re using ours solely for recycling; plastics go in the larger, bottom portion and cardboard goes in the top, since it’s easy to flatten and fit more of it in the smaller space. Its subtle design is perfect for use in your kitchen, allowing you to keep recyclables off the counter.

Wouldn’t you love to have your own Recycler (valued at $39.99)? Well, you can buy one online here or in Meijer stores, and I’m excited to be holding a giveaway so that one of you can win your own Rubbermaid 2-in-1 Recycler! This giveaway is open to all U.S. & Canadian residents ages 18+. Entries will be accepted until the end of the day (midnight Central) Monday, May 14. By entering this giveaway you agree to the Official Rules.

Mandatory Entry: Visit the Rubbermaid recycling products page and comment on this post telling me which product you’d most love to try and a feature about the product you learned from their site.

(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.

Note: I received a Rubbermaid 2-in-1 Recycler to facilitate this review, and Rubbermaid is providing a Recycler for the giveaway. I was not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and my own.

BabbaBox Delivers Fun: Get Your First Box for a Penny!

I love to do crafts with the boys, but it’s hard to find time to think something up, gather the materials, and actually make it happen. BabbaCo founder Jessica Kim has solved the problem of time constraints that many parents have by creating the BabbaBox. This is a monthly subscription service that helps parents solve the daily dilemma: What do I do with my kids? Arriving in the mail each month, it brings projects  and child development appropriate activities, all reflecting a theme-of-the month. Everything required to engage children 3-7 years old is included in the box, right down to the glue.

I personally LOVE the idea of this and can’t wait to try out a box soon (keep an eye out for a review post in the coming weeks). If you’re trying to think of a gift for kids who have everything, this seems like a fun, creative option. Grandparents could order a box and have it on hand for grandkids to do crafts, and not have to house a whole closet of craft supplies to be prepared.

Special Offer: (Only good until Monday, April 30!) With purchase of any monthly or annual subscription, moms will get their first box for one cent (a $29.99 value). You can order just one month, three months, or a whole year. Go to BabbaBox.com to place your order!

To find out more about the BabbaBox, check out this video:

Note: I will be participating in a review of BabbaBox, in which a box will be sent to facilitate the review. I am not being compensated monetarily, and all opinions are honest and are my own.

Wordless Wednesday: A Dog & Her Boys

Sally, our lab/golden retriever puppy, has discovered the fun of traipsing around with two little boys (she’s their “superdog” when they play superheroes) and of enjoying some downtime, too.

Almost Halfway There!

I’ll be 20 weeks on Sunday, and then Monday is the “big” ultrasound where we’ll (hopefully, if the baby cooperates) find out if we’re having a little boy or a little girl join our family. What’s your guess? I haven’t had any sort of intuition, but then again I didn’t with eit

We had a regular checkup yesterday and got to hear the heartbeat, which is SUCH a great sound! I’m not feeling consistent movement yet (although the doctor said the baby was moving around a ton at the appointment yesterday, based on all the noise with the doppler), so hearing the heartbeat was a nice reassurance that the baby (or “Ninja” as J dubbed him/her) is doing well.

I’m still tired a lot, as Brian can attest to (it’s typical for me to conk out on the couch around 8 or 9… still!) but other than that I’m feeling great! I’ve had cravings for beef (brisket, hamburgers, steak, etc.) which is a new thing for me – and my biggest craving by far has been for…

Bacon-wrapped jalapenos filled with cream cheese! During the first trimester when I felt nauseous so often, these were the only thing that actually sounded good to me. We’ve only made them a couple of times but mmmmm they’re so amazing!

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it but two of our best friends have already had babies this year, so it’s been fun for me to be around newborns again! Amanda over at MomOnReview had a baby girl in February – Baby Rea. Isn’t she adorable?

Brad and Amanda tried for several years before getting pregnant with Rea, so it was especially exciting when she was born. They’re amazing parents already, and I am sooo happy for their sweet family.

And in January Paul & Jen had their third daughter, Haven. We spend a lot of time with them – their girls and our boys are similar in age and play together really well, which is an added perk! We also swap babysitting with them from time to time (which is the BEST setup ever – I highly recommend finding friends you trust to swap with). We babysat for them last night, and the boys loved having a baby around.

So sweet!

It was a great evening despite it taking over an hour for the four older kids to fall asleep. I know we’ll have some insane days once the baby is born, but it showed us that we can figure out a way to make it work with three kids, and I loved seeing how the boys were around a newborn. They both “held” her (with my help) and were so gentle with her!

I’m off, but I’ll be posting again later this week with a great giveaway from Rubbermaid… and then of course keep an eye out next week for the big reveal!

Check It Out: Kitchen Aid Mixer Giveaway!

Commercial Industrial Supply is giving away a KitchenAid Artisan Mixer!

(more details available here)

a Commercial Industrial Supply giveaway powered by Rafflecopter

Rita Hazan Root Concealer Review

I’m a blonde. At heart, anyway. I was always blonde as a child, so when my hair started getting darker I dyed it blonde for a long time. After a brief stint of keeping the color au naturale I decided I liked being blonde better, so I started dying my hair again. I do it at home to save money, but the one thing that always bothered me was having to do touch ups every 3-5 weeks. Now that I’m pregnant I definitely want to avoid it as much as possible, which means some oh-so-fabulous root growth.

Right now it’s not too bad, but you can definitely see some brown/dirty blonde growing out. I was really curious to try the Rita Hazan Root Concealer spray, a quick fix to cover roots without all the chemicals of dye. Here’s my before picture:

And here’s my after:

Pretty good! I could still a slight root line but I think it’s because I was looking for it. Overall I could tell a major difference in the amount of dark roots showing. It’s nice, too, because you don’t have to use a lot – just enough to cover the hair along your part where the roots would show the most. I did make sure to use it in a ventilated area because it’s an aerosol spray, but I think it’s a great option to have on hand for a quick fix!

You can buy the root concealer spray at Sephora, both in stores and online. Check out more information about Rita Hazan products on Facebook and Twitter!

Note: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Rita Hazan and received a Rita Hazan Root Concealer product and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

What to Expect: Playtex Baby Contest

I’m now expecting #3 (that’s NOT me above, btw!) but I can still remember the “magic” of the first time I was pregnant. Everything was so new! This time around, with three years between this and my last pregnancy, there are some things that seem almost new again – like how the baby’s first kicks feel. Such an awesome experience, am I right?

What did you least expect when you were pregnant or a new Mom? We all have great stories to share, and Playtex Baby wants to hear them! Playtex Baby is holding a contest on their Facebook page, asking Moms to share candid, unexpected moments of pregnancy and motherhood. They will be selecting daily winners, as well as a grand prize winner who will be flown to LA for the premiere of What To Expect When You’re Expecting. The film will feature Playtex Baby products including the Playtex Nurser with Drop-Ins Liners and the Playtex Diaper Genie Disposal System! So what are you waiting for – log on and share your story today!

Note: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Playtex Baby. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.

All Aboard For a great Chuggington Giveaway!


I announced a while back that I’ve been selected as a Chuggington Conductor, which means I’ll get to share all sorts of Chuggington news – and giveaways – with y’all! We just received our first Chuggington shipment and it was filled with three great Mega Bloks sets!

The smallest of the three sets is the Repair Shed. The boys thought this was fun because they’d seen it many times on the show, and they loved popping a piece of the trains off so they were “broken” and could be fixed.You’ll have to excuse the blur on J in this pic below – he was too busy playing to sit still! You might notice there are a few little tools included with this set – the boys thought they were great and I think it’s a perfect addition to let little builders feel like they’re equipped for being a train mechanic!

The next set we built was the Roundhouse Racing set. The turntable (for lack of a better word) and the garage doors that opened and closed were a big hit. The boys created a lot of dialogue for the trains while playing with this set – they talked about needing to get out of the rain, or that it was time to head out of their “house” for the day. This could easily be combined with other sets, too, to make a big scenario for playing.

They enjoyed all three sets, but the last set – Jet Pack Adventure – was definitely the boys’ favorite. I kind of thought it might be, because it’s got a huge track sloping and curving around towers, and it also has a sky rail that the trains can hook on to and soar down.

Another thing I really love about this set is that it’s big enough for both of the boys to play on at once without arguing – one plays on the track while the other plays with the sky rail, and then they switch. Perfect! Check out the set in action in this video I took while the boys played:

I know these sets will be ones the boys play with for a long time to come. It’s great too because they can watch an episode of Chuggington and then play along at home, adding to the story with their own imaginations. I really love that these sets foster creativity!

You can find all three of these sets and more fun Chuggington products at Toys R Us and Amazon. New Chugginton episodes air on Disney Junior weekdays at 7:30 AM EST, featuring your favorite characters as they navigate the rails with help from both new and old friends.

But of course I’m sure you haven’t forgotten the traintastic giveaway!

One lucky reader will win all THREE of the Chuggington Mega Bloks sets I reviewed above, with a total MSRP of almost $95.00! These sets will thrill your kids and provide hours of fun – this is a great giveaway!

This giveaway is open to all U.S. residents ages 18+. Entries will be accepted until the end of the day (midnight Central) Monday, April 30. By entering this giveaway you agree to the Official Rules.

Mandatory Entry: Comment on this post telling me which of the Chuggington trains is your child’s (or 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.

Note: I’m a Chuggington Conductor! I received three sets to facilitate my review, but was not compensated monetarily for my post. All opinions are honest and are those of myself and my family. The prize for the giveaway is also being provided.

Kraft Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Karen, the winner of the Kraft “Energize Your Day” Prize Pack!!

Happy Easter!


We’ve enjoyed a leisurely morning, since we’re not going to church until 11:00. Easter baskets, bacon & toast for breakfast, and plenty of playing – fun morning! We also fit in a trip to the zoo yesterday. We had a blast, but how’s this for ironic timing – we got to watch the alligator be fed, and they gave him a rabbit. Whole. On Easter weekend. I told Brian I wondered how many kids asked their parents why the alligator ate the Easter Bunny!

Here are our little monkeys at the monkey exhibit:

I’m trucking along in the second trimester and just hit 17 weeks today – only 3 more weeks until the “big” ultrasound (I even put a little ticker in my sidebar to help keep track)! I’ve thought I felt movement several times throughout this past week, but most definitely did last night. I felt several little thumps, and Brian could even slightly feel them from the outside, which is crazy because it was much later with both of the boys. It may have been a fluke with positioning but it was still very cool. Can’t wait until movements are more consistent and the boys can feel them too!

A friend at work took a belly pic for me last week, right around 16 weeks. I feel like I started to show a lot earlier this time around, but have really “popped” within the last week or so.

In not-so-great news, the contract on our house fell through. HUGE bummer, especially because it really felt like the timing was working out perfectly. We know it’ll all work out eventually and are trying to just be patient and have faith that it’ll be the best situation for our family.

Alright, I’d better get outta here! Time to wrangle some little boys into getting dressed for church. I hope you all have a wonderful Easter!

And then I walked away from the computer, forgetting to click “Publish” until, oh, almost 7 hours later. Did I mention forgetfulness has been a little more rampant lately? :)