November – 2012 – Frugal Novice
Monthly Archives

November 2012

Melissa & Doug Big Rig Building Truck {Giveaway}!

Remember how just earlier today I was posting about this truck from Melissa & Doug? Well, guess what?! I get to hold a giveaway for it, so you might just win one for your kiddos to enjoy – perfect timing for a holiday gift, isn’t it?

One winner will receive the Big Rig Building truck pictured above (ARV $29.99).

This contest is open to all U.S. residents aged 18+. Entries will be accepted until the end of the day (midnight Central) Tuesday, November 27. By entering this giveaway you agree to the Official Rules.

Note: I am receiving a big rig building truck from Melissa & Doug to thank me for my post, and one is being provided for the giveaway. I was not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and my own.
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Save Money & Live Green with Solar Panel Rebates

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of dredman for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Living in Texas, our electric bills for cooling in the summer can be astronomically high. I've always been interested in solar panels to save money on our utilities, but I've discovered yet another benefit to solar panels – rebates that can save you even more money.

Home Solar Panels are becoming more and more common as people catch on to how great they are for the environment and for costs. But did you know that the government often offers rebates as incentive for people to install the panels and produce clean energy?

Here are a few tips you might want to know:

  1. Depending on the number and quality of panels you install, you can get up to thousands in rebates.
  2. The government's program to provide incentives helps to make solar panels economical right off the bat.
  3. Amounts of rebates vary from state to state, anywhere from 10%-50%. Be sure and check out your state's policies to find out how much you could receive.
  4. Rules and regulations surrounding solar panels also vary from state to state, so be sure you're informed before you move forward with purchase and installation.
  5. The purpose of solar panels are to help you produce more clean energy, not to become energy independent, but you can save money. On some days you'll get a surplus of energy (sunny days in the summer, for example) and you'll be paid out for this surplus, effectively reducing your electric bill. 

Have you looked into using solar panels on your home? I hope one day it will be a standard feature so we can all help contribute to producing clean energy! 

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Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty List and Giveaway

It’s getting to be that time of year again where we’re all on the hunt for gifts our kids will love. Well, Melissa & Doug is taking away some of the guesswork for you by providing a “Terrific Twenty” list of great gift ideas! 

There are toys for boys and girls and for a variety of ages. I think my boys would love this big rig building truck – isn’t it cool?

Starting today, Melissa & Doug is holding a giveaway on their Facebook page.  Every day they’ll be giving away one item from their Terrific Twenty list to at least one of their lucky Facebook fans! So, be sure to Like them on Facebook and get in on the chance to win!

Note: I am being provided a toy from the list to facilitate an upcoming review, and will be provide a toy for giveaway as well. I was not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are my own.

Nurture Naturally with Seventh Generation Baby Care Products {Giveaway}

Many of you have probably heard of Seventh Generation products before – I know we’ve used their household cleaners before and I really liked that they were free of chemicals that so many other cleaners have. It only makes sense that I, as a mom, would then be even more excited to have natural products for use with our kids. Since we have our newborn, E, who’s just two months old, I’m even more interested in finding natural products to use on her sensitive skin.

Seventh Generation now has a variety of baby care products, so I can feel great about what I use with E!

Pictured above are their diaper cream, bubble bath, lotion, foaming shampoo/wash, sunscreen, and regular shampoo/wash. We haven’t started letting E have bubble baths yet, but I tried the bubble bath with our preschoolers and they loved it – the tub was filled with suds, and I felt great about knowing there weren’t any harmful chemicals behind the bubbles.

I attended an online presentation about chemicals in products and was shocked at how pervasive they are in our lives. It’s also unnerving the effects that the chemicals can have on us and, more importantly, on our children. Studies show that their endocrine systems can be greatly disrupted, causing all sorts of problems (even contributing to obesity). Researchers at John Hopkins Children’s Center found that children with high urinary levels of parabens were more sensitive to environmental allergens.

Here are some ingredients you should not use on your baby (none of which are included in Seventh Generation products):

  • Parabens (ethyl-, methyl-, propyl-)
  • Phthalates (DEHP, BBP, DBP, DMP, DEP)
  • Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (Quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diasolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo2-nitropropane-1, 3 diol (bronopol)
  • “Fragrance” or “preservatives” rather than listing actual ingredients
  • Triclosan
  • DEA (diethanolamine) and TEA (triethanolamine)
  • Tetrasodium and trisodium EDTA

After learning more about the potential effects of chemicals on our children, I became even more resolved to use natural products for them. At the online presentation I attended, I also learned some baby massage tips, so I decided to use some of those tips and the Seventh Generation Wee Gen baby lotion to give E a massage.

All-natural Seventh Generation Baby Lotion? Check. Adorable baby? Check. All set for baby massage! 

Here are some tips shared by Tina Allen with Liddle Kidz Foundation, so you can share the benefits of baby massage with your infant:

Choose the Best Time and Place

Creating the best environment for massage is an ideal way to give yourself, and baby time
to relax. Choose a familiar place that is warm, quiet and with few distractions. The best
time for massage is when baby is awake, healthy and happy. Some babies prefer the
morning, while others prefer the afternoon or before bedtime.

Be comfortable

Relax, enjoy and have fun! Position yourself so that you are comfortable. Be sure baby is
safe and placed on a soft area. Keep in mind, babies roll and become slippery when using
oil. Be sure your hands are warm and clean before you begin.

Choosing Massage Oil

While it is not required, using oil can help make massage more enjoyable for some babies
and parents. Olive oil and Grapeseed oil are some of the best choices for infant massage.
However if you choose to use lotions be sure to choose a non-toxic option, like Seventh
Generation baby lotion – which contains olive oil as a main ingredient.

Ask Permission

Infant massage can be a wonderful tool for increasing your communication. Massage is not
something that parents do to their baby, but rather with their little one. Listen to your
baby. She will give you the signals to let you know she is enjoying massage, or when she is
all done for now.

Know When Not to Massage

Never provide massage for your baby without permission (when sleeping, crying or fussy).
Avoid massage when he is ill, has a fever or infection. If he has broken skin, rash or
bruising. Wait at least 48 – 72 hours following immunizations. For tummy massage, wait
30 minutes after eating. If he has any special healthcare needs seek further guidance as to
what would be the safest approach.

For more information on Infant Massage visit:

I’ve even got a wonderful video on infant massage to share with you. Click here to check it out!

So, now you’ve got valuable information on choosing natural products for your baby, and you’ve learned some great tips for baby massage. How could this post get any better? A giveaway, of course! First, though, let me share info for the upcoming Twitter party (where you can have even more chances to win, and pick up great information too!):


  • What: Join us for an informative party to discuss the importance of using truly pure and natural baby care products! We’ll tell you how to identify the safest product ingredients and those ingredients to watch out for.
  • When: The party will be on Monday, Nov. 5, at 1p ET.
  • Where: Use the #7GenBabyFest hashtag on Twitter to find us!
  • Hosts: Follow @theMotherhood, @SeventhGen, @CooperMunroe and @EmilyMcKhann
  • Prizes: We will give away five prize packs containing full sets of the Seventh Generation baby personal care line.
Now, on to my giveaway:

TWO winners will each win a prize pack of Wee Gen baby care products from Seventh Generation (pictured above). Each set is valued at $50!

This contest is open to all U.S. residents aged 18+. Entries will be accepted until the end of the day (midnight Central) Monday, November 19. By entering this giveaway you agree to the Official Rules.

Note: I am participating in the Seventh Generation program with The Motherhood. I have been compensated for my time.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.

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Tiny Love My Nature Pals Mobile & Play Mat

We’re big fans of Tiny Love products – they’re bright, cheerful and well-designed. So I wasn’t too surprised to be utterly impressed when we received the My Nature Pals mobile and play mat. I let E try out the play mat even though she was just a month old at the time, and our friend K (who’s several months older) really had fun with it.


The Gymini My Nature Pals play mat features a soft, round activity mat styled to look like a fun, friendly and welcoming “nature environment” for baby to discover. The smiley faced Lights & Music Caterpillar toy hangs from the arches and puts on a show for baby that can play up to 20 minutes. The toy can also be set so the lights will be activated by baby’s touch and detaches from the arches for separate play. Also, a soft frog, beaver and other toys hang from arches to offer baby additional activities. The toys can also be removed and used for floor play or attached to travel gear. The arches feature the same “smart motion system” as the Gymini Move ‘n Play activity mat, allowing them to be repositioned in a variety of ways as a baby develops and becomes mobile. The mat retails for $64.99 and is available at various retailers and

The My Nature Pals mobile is equally as cute. It has friendly-faced figures that rotate using Tiny Love’s patented movement system and lights that fade in and out between the figures for an engaging display. The mobile’s modern nature-inspired design features fabric and plastic elements. Nine different tunes play for up to 30 minutes through high quality speakers that have a variable volume adjustment. The music and light features can be used independently or together, and the mobile detaches when baby grows so the music box can remain on the crib. I love that it’s versatile and can be used for a long time.

I think you’ll love these items just as much as we do – they’re fun, engaging and well-made, and are things your baby can enjoy for a long time to come.

Note: We received the play mat and mobile to facilitate this review. We were not compensated monetarily for this post. All opinions are honest and are our own.