May – 2014 – Frugal Novice
Monthly Archives

May 2014

Kindergarten Diploma – Free Printable!



I’m a sucker for memorabilia, so it made me a little sad when I realized our son’s school didn’t give out diplomas for “graduating” kindergarten. My mom still has mine hanging in the hall, and I love it! I decided to make a simple diploma for each of the kids in his class, and then I went to Dollar Tree and bought a frame for each of them. SO easy and inexpensive, and hopefully it’ll be something the kids are proud to receive.

In case you’re like me and would like to have diplomas for your child’s graduation, I’ve created a free printable for you to create your own. It’s a PDF file with text fields, so it should be easy for you to add your child’s name, the date, and the name of the school. There are five color options, too!  Just click here to download the PDF, and open it with Adobe Acrobat to edit the text.


Partner with HEB & ConAgra to Make Sure Child Hunger Ends Here

Note: I am participating in a compensated campaign for ConAgra Foods and The Motherhood. All opinions are honest and are entirely my own; I truly believe this campaign is crucial and that we should all get involved to help end child hunger.

Children_Eating_Lunch Childhood is a time in life that you’re allowed to be carefree and responsibility-free (except for those few pesky chores mom & dad might make you do). It is not a time you’re supposed to be constantly hungry, wondering when your next meal might be. The sad fact is that more than 1 in 5 children in the U.S. may not know where their next meal is coming from – that’s nearly 16 million hungry children out there.

I know how hard it is for me as an adult to function when I even just have to skip lunch; I can’t imagine how hard it is for kids. Children who experience even intermittent struggles with hunger may suffer serious, long-term consequences to their health, well-being and educational achievement. What’s more, being hungry robs kids of the promise of childhood – the ability to play, grow and learn.


ConAgra Foods finds this unacceptable, and has partnered with P&G for the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign – they want to build a community of people to make a difference and help donate up to 7 million meals. There are several ways you can get involved in this important cause:

  • Enter Codes to Trigger Donations. It’s easy to make a difference: Look for the red pushpin on participating product packaging for a code found on these specially marked ConAgra Foods and P&G products. For each 8-digit code entered at from March-August 2014, ConAgra Foods or P&G, respectively, will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal to Feeding America.
  • Join the Community and Get Involved. One of the easiest ways to learn how to get involved is to join the Child Hunger Ends Here Facebook community or follow the news on Twitter and Instagram at @ChildHungerEnds.
  • Local Texas Donations. ConAgra Foods and P&G are donating an additional 100,000 meals to local Texas food banks on behalf of H-E-B, in appreciation for their partnership to end child hunger.

We have an H-E-B near us that we shop at every week, and one of our favorite parts of shopping there is the deals we can find. There’ve been so many times I’m shopping for something like shredded cheese, and I’ll find a coupon that gets me freebies for purchasing the cheese I was already planning to buy! What’s even better is that right now some of these great H-E-B deals can also work for code entries to trigger donations. If you live near an H-E-B, be sure and check out these deals for ConAgra Foods products & P&G products that are eligible for Child Hunger Ends Here code entries. Some of these end next week, so be sure to head to H-E-B soon:

Offers End Date
Marie Callender’s Mini Pies and Cakes: Buy 1, Save $0.75 5/27
Iams Woof Delights (8oz) Assorted Varieties: Buy 1, Save $0.30 6/10
Orville Redenbacher’s (6-Pack or Larger): Buy 1, Save $0.50 with Yellow Coupon at H-E-B 5/27
Hebrew National Hot Dogs (1 package): Buy 1, Get Gulden’s Mustard (12oz) and Snack Pack Pudding Cups (4pk) Free 5/27
Old Spice: Buy 1 for $1.00 5/27
Always Radiant/Infinity or Tampax Radiant/Pearl (24-50ct): Buy 1, Get 1 Secret Outlast, Secret Scent Expressions, or Secret Destinations (2.6-2.7oz) Deodorant Free (Houston, TX, ONLY) 5/27
Wolf Chili Combo Loco: Buy H-E-B Easy Melt Cheese and get Wolf Brand Chili (19oz Plain) and Ro*Tel (28oz) Free – Look for details in-store about the Combo Loco! 6/3


Denny’s is Fun Dining for the Whole Family!

Note: I am participating in a compensated campaign as a Denny’s Ambassador. All opinions in my posts are entirely honest and are mine and my family’s.


With a family of five, we all have quite different tastes, so it can be difficult to find a restaurant that we all really enjoy. One thing we all agree on? Breakfast is pretty much the best meal ever.

Denny’s, then, is pretty much the ideal place for us to eat. Not only are they known for their breakfast meals, there are so. many. options. Seriously, our picky child had a hard time deciding what to order because so many things looked good to him.  Of course, they serve more than breakfast, but that’s our favorite!

Mother’s Day weekend my mom was in town visiting and we decided to all go to Denny’s after the boys’ baseball game on that Saturday morning. They had really worked up an appetite so it was perfect timing.


If you have small children, you know that the quality of a kids’ menu can make or break the restaurant experience. If it’s a fun menu, it’ll keep them occupied and happy until the food arrives. Denny’s has partnered with National Geographic to create a menu that is engaging and educational, and it was a hit!




We were really impressed with just how many items there were for the kids to pick from, and I love the format – even non-reading kids can easily see what they want since the menu is filled with pictures.


The boys both picked the chocolate chip pancake breakfast with bacon on the side. The breakfast kids’ meals are just $3.29 each, and lunch or dinner items are $3.59 – so affordable.

Dennys_C_KidsMeal Dennys_J_Bacon

Another highlight of eating at Denny’s for all three kids was the cupcake cups we got with their drinks. Baby E can’t say much yet, but she let us know loud and clear that she loved her cup and we were not to take it away from her!


As a side note, the cups are great to drink from but they also make really nice storage, too – we took ours home, cleaned them out and they’re perfect for storing small toys, or “treasures” as our kids would say.

And, because I love to share a good deal, be sure and visit Denny’s on a Kids Eat Free Night! The Eat Free offer is available on Tuesdays at participating locations from 4 pm – 10 pm; you get two free kids meals with the purchase of an adult entrée of $4.00 or more! We will definitely be taking advantage of that on a regular basis.

I asked the kids each a little about their thoughts on the Denny’s kids’ menus in this video below – be sure and stick around until the end for an original “Denny’s song” by our 5-year-old. :)

Just so you know it’s not just the kids’ food that’s delicious, check out my amazing peanut butter, banana & chocolate chip french toast, and my mom’s awesome avocado BLT:



Head on over to your local Denny’s today – your kids will thank you! And be sure and stay connected with Denny’s by following them on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Pinterest! I’ll look forward to bringing you more about all the latest and greatest Denny’s happenings here, too, as a Denny’s Ambassador!


Swap Out Your Home Decor With Swapdom!

This post is sponsored by Swapdom. All opinions are honest and are entirely my own. This site is really cool and I’m excited to share it with you! 



If you’re like me, you’ve probably gotten stuck in a bit of a decorating rut. I really love to decorate our house – we have a modern aesthetic with a few vintage & quirky pieces here and there, but it’s been a long time since I’ve actually gone out and purchased a home decor item. Partially because I don’t really have the time to get out and do that, and partially because if I’m spending money, it’s typically on something else.

Now there’s a new, online, easy solution: Swapdom.  Swapdom first began with fashion items, then baby and kids’ gear – and now, starting today, they’ve opened their marketplace to allow swapping of home good items too. If you’re new to Swapdom, it’s a pretty simple – and genius – concept.

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 8.29.54 PM


First, you upload photos of items you’re willing to trade. I uploaded a ceramic vase, a pair of lamps, and a set of 6 colorful glass vases. These are all things I loved at one point but now they’ve just been sitting on a shelf in the master closet waiting for a home.

Next, you browse other items uploaded to Swapdom and see something you’d like to request. You submit what you want, and what you’re willing to offer in exchange. Then all you have to do is sit back while they do all the work of finding multi-party swaps. Let’s say I want a J Crew necklace and am willing to offer my ceramic vase. Sally wants my vase and has a clock she is willing to offer. Jennifer wants that clock and has a frame to offer. And Amanda has a J Crew necklace to offer, and wants a frame. Voila! Swapdom lines it all up so we each get what we want. Here’s what my current swap overview looks like:

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 8.54.31 PM


By the way, be sure and check out my profile. Who knows, you might even want to request one of my amazing items for yourself!

Swapdom also launched a fun campaign today:

The Swapdom Team Tidy Challenge is a 4-week event to introduce Swapdom’s Home swapping category and encourage swappers to get excited about spring cleaning. Each week’s Team Tidy Challenge will focus on a part of the house to tackle, and of course, upload that stuff to Swapdom. One random person who uploads an item to each week’s featured category will win free shipping on their next swap. It’s a chance to organize your space, clear out the clutter, and reward yourself for work by swapping for great stuff you’ll actually use!
Week 1
Crush Living Room Clutter
Week 2
Curate Your Kitchen
Week 3
Say Bye to Bed & Bath Clutter
Week 4
Consolidate Craft Goods & Games

Swapdom will soon be launching an iOS app, which will make it even easier to browse & request swappable items on the go, but for now go sign up at their site (it’s free) so you can get started swapping!

KitchenAid Mixer Giveaway!!


KitchenAidMixerOne of the very best parts of blogging has been meeting amazing women in the blogging community. I’m thrilled to be partnering with nine other bloggers to host an awesome giveaway for one of my very favorite kitchen items – a KitchenAid mixer.

I can’t tell you how much use mine has gotten over the years! Here’s one of my favorite recipes to make with my KitchenAid – a crispy almond meringue layer cake. SOO good, and so easy with the help of the KitchenAid Mixer. We want to hear what you’d make if you win the mixer, so comment on this post and enter via the Rafflecopter below. And be sure and check out the blogs for the other hosts, too!




One winner will receive a Classic KitchenAid mixer, ARV $269.99! This giveaway is open to all U.S. residents age 18+.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

SIMPLE Service with Champions for Kids


Note:  I am participating in campaign brought to you by Champions for Kids and The Motherhood. All opinions are honest and are my own.

Did you know that 9.8 million kids – more than ever before – get free or reduced price school breakfast on an average day, but 10.6 million eligible kids go without? Hunger has a huge effect on how a child performs at school. In fact, 9 out of 10 teachers say having a healthy breakfast is a key to academic achievement.

I know I can tell a huge difference in my kids’ behavior and attitudes when they’re hungry, so it makes me especially empathetic toward kids who aren’t starting their day off nourished. I was really excited, then, when I learned about the Champions for Kids partnering with Kellogg Company and Diamond Foods for SIMPLE Service projects. The idea is to host or organize an event to collect breakfast foods to then donate to a local organization that serves children in need.

In the stage of life my friends and I are at, we are all incredibly busy all the time. We have kids, we’re working full time, we have baseball practices to go to and Bible school classes to teach. I thought the easiest way to organize an event to help kids would be to put out a call with friends and family for donations. I wasn’t sure how much we’d raise, but I should’ve known that the amazing people in my life would do amazing things. In just a few days we raised $200! Thank you so much to Michelle, Amanda, Jennifer, Chandra, Chemese, and Charla for your donations.

I decided to partner with the Child Advocacy Center for our donation. One of my best friends works for the center (which is a part of our police department). The Child Advocacy Center is a safe place for kids to be interviewed about severe crimes that they either witnessed or were victim of. These kids have been through nightmares, and I love the idea of providing them breakfast items and snacks that can nourish them and maybe make them feel a tiny bit better in a scary time of their lives.

I had a blast shopping for the kids. I bought granola bars, cereal bars, raisins, cranberries, squeezable fruit, applesauce, juice, shelf-stable milk, cereal, crackers, and animal crackers. While I was shopping at Walmart I even saw a Champions for Kids display:


Here’s all the food we were able to provide for the center:


And here’s my friend Kristi – so proud of the great work she does with kids each and every day!


Champions for Kids has 4 easy steps for organizing your own SIMPLE Service Project at  And, if you share your project at by May 15, 2014, Kellogg’s will even make a matching donation of up to 1000 breakfast items through Champions for Kids to help children in need! Even if you do something just with your family, or with a small group of friends, you can make a difference in kids’ lives. I loved the experience of our service project and am inspired to do more soon!

Moms, You’re Doing OK!

Note: This post is sponsored by Johnson’s Baby Cares and the Motherhood. Johnson’s Baby Cares is the Johnson’s Baby brand charitable platform.


It’s easy to feel less than as a mom. There are always other moms out there who seem to have it more together than you do, and it’s easy to wonder what they know that you don’t.

I’ve had many instances of second-guessing myself. Is it OK that I’m working full-time? Is it OK that my babies slept in pack n’ plays in our room way longer than they probably should’ve?

Lately my issue has been housecleaning. We’ve got three kids ages 6 and under, and our house gets cluttered with toys, shoes (ok, some of those are mine), backpacks, and art projects. The clutter bothered me for a while, I’ll admit. And we are pros at the 10-minute flight-of-the-bumblebee cleanup before company comes over.

But you know what I figured out? Leaving the house cluttered also leaves more time for board games, movie night, bike rides around the neighborhood, and baking cookies together in the kitchen.

I figured out that I’m doing ok as a mom. And you know what? You are, too.

We’ve got to remember that everyone has something that’s difficult for them, and that’s okay. None of us are perfect, but our kids don’t need perfect parents. They need us. 

To my friend who’s newly navigating the waters of single parenthood, you’re doing OK. To my friend who’s been a single mom to two beautiful girls for several years now, you’re doing OK. To my friend who’s had to seek out treatment for her daughter’s extreme eczema, you’re doing OK. In fact, y’all are doing better than ok. You’re all amazing and inspirations to me, and I hope you know what a wonderful job you’re doing for your kids. I’m so proud of each of you, and of all my friends that are moms.

With Mother’s Day coming soon, it’s a great time to remind every mom around us that she’s doing OK.

JOHNSON’S® Baby CARES, the JOHNSON’S® Baby brand’s charitable platform, is committed to ensuring that every baby has a healthy and happy start through educational and social initiatives, product donations, and financial support. In fact, they’ve got an awesome initiative going on right now – for every view of their “You’re Doing OK, Mom” video between now and Mother’s Day, JOHNSON’S® Baby will donate $1 to Save the Children® up to $50,000. Save the Children is an organization that gives children around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn, and protection from harm.

You can get started right now – view the video below and help us send a message of love to a deserving mom – and share this with your friends! It’s SUCH an easy way to make a difference.

I hope you’ll also join me May 8 at 12 p.m. Central for a Twitter party honoring moms everywhere with the simple reminder that “you’re doing OK.”

Join us for this special Twitter party as we share stories acknowledging the moms in our lives who are doing OK, along with our own experiences with motherhood after becoming moms ourselves.

JOHNSON’S® Baby CARES, the JOHNSON’S® Baby brand’s charitable platform, is committed to ensuring that every baby has a healthy and happy start. To extend this promise, for every view of the “You’re Doing OK, Mom” video between May 1 and Mother’s Day, JOHNSON’S® Baby will donate $1 to Save the Children®, up to $50,000. We can’t wait to share and discuss this video during the party!

When: Thursday, May 8, at 1p ET (12p CT / 10a PT)

Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #YoureDoingOKMom hashtag to track the conversation. You can see more details and RSVP using the Twtvite:

Hashtag: #YoureDoingOKMom

Prizes: Five prizes will be awarded to randomly selected participants who correctly answer the trivia questions tweeted by @theMotherhood25. Each prize includes an assortment of JOHNSON’S® Baby products worth $50 in value. Prizes are limited to U.S. participants only, ages 18 and older.