April – 2015 – Frugal Novice
Monthly Archives

April 2015

Gymboree Partners with Kiwi Crate & KaBOOM! to Make Sure All Kids Get Active Play!


Note: I received a promotional item to facilitate this post. All opinions are honest and my own. 

With summer right around the corner I wanted to get some new clothes for the kids, so my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and I headed off to Gymboree. I noticed a display of bright & cheery play clothes from Gymboree’s new Hop N’ Roll line, and found a ton of great items for E, our two-year-old. You can check out all the Hop N’ Roll clothes online, or find them in your local Gymboree.


When we went to check out, I saw a sign promoting Gymboree’s partnership with KaBOOM!, with a focus on giving kids the playspaces they need. I’m a firm believer that kids need play time for many different reasons developmentally and socially, so I absolutely love this!



All the way through May 31, Gymboree will be supporting KaBOOM! with a series of programs and activities – including donating a percentage of proceeds from the Hop N’ Roll line and creating an exclusive arts & crafts box with Kiwi Crate – with the goal of raising enough money to build a place to play for 10,000 deserving kids in 2015. We tried out this special edition mini Kiwi Crate, and you’ll just have to see what craft we got to do, and how much fun the kids had:

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Make Traveling Headache-Free with a Free Trial of the CLEAR Airport Security Pass


It’s going to be 80 degrees this weekend, so summer has basically already arrived in Texas. There’s about a month of school left, which means summer vacations are right around the corner. I’m sure you can hear the collective sigh of relief heard ’round the country – we all look forward to getting away as a family!

As any parent knows, though, traveling with children (especially young ones like ours) can be stressful. There’s so much to pack (which, seriously, how can such little people require SO much stuff?) and if you’re flying there are even more things to navigate before you’re on your way to relaxation. It’s important to have some travel tools up your sleeve, and thankfully, programs like CLEAR exist to make flying a much more pleasant experience. CLEAR is a membership-based service that allows travelers to get through airport security faster.

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Encouragement Quote: Don’t Give Up!


I’ve been losing weight since the start of the year – almost 25 pounds so far. I made the clichéd resolution to get healthier, but unlike other years I’ve been successful this time around. I’ve found a free app online to track what I’m eating, and a workout DVD that I actually enjoy (while simultaneously hating it sometimes – makes total sense, right?). My husband has been so supportive, working out with me and letting me ramble on about the calorie count of various foods.

What it all boils down to, though, is mindset. In previous weight-loss attempts I would use mistakes as an excuse to give up altogether. I mean, I’d already screwed up, right?

Now I get it. Mistakes happen, but they don’t have to shape your journey – or stop it. I hope this quote below helps encourage you with any change you’re wanting to make in your life, whether it’s losing weight, quitting smoking, making it through college, or whatever your personal challenge is. You’ve got this. Hang on to those eggs. 

If you drop one egg, you don't throw the other eleven on the floor. We ALL make mistakes. Don't let one slip-up derail you completely! Hang on to those other eggs.

Free Printable – and Gift Ideas – For Teacher Appreciation Week!


Teacher Appreciation Week is right around the corner – I’m room mom for both my boys’ classes, so I’ve been getting emails from the PTO reminding me that it’s approaching. We love their teachers and I am so glad for an opportunity to thank them for all their hard work!

I’ll share some gift ideas that I’ll be doing for our kids’ teachers below, but first let’s talk about this fun printable. I think it’s great to have the kids give their teachers something especially from them, so I came up with this adorable free printable you can have your child customize for their teacher. You could even print one out for each student and then bind them into a little book for their teacher to keep.

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Take Your Kids on a Fun Journey into History with Jurassic Quest


Note: We received tickets to this event to facilitate our review. All opinions are honest and our own.

When the weekend arrives, it’s easy to fall into a rut with your activities – but every now and then it’s nice to change things up! If you’re looking for something unique and fun to do with your kids, keep an eye out for when Jurassic Quest will be heading your way. We recently had the opportunity to attend, and it was a great departure from our typical weekend activities! We went with some friends and it was a great outing for us all.

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Dove Advanced Care Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant for Moms On-the-Go!


Note: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Dove. I received a product sample and promotional item to thank me for my participation.

As a busy, full-time-working, freelancing, mom to three kids, I’m always on the go – there just isn’t much down time, and I think many of you can relate to that feeling.Baseball practice, time with family, church, and more baseball practice keep us out of the house many evenings each week. I’m also in the midst of doing a 30-day workout video, so many nights I’m sweating it up while burning off some calories!

Needless to say, I need a good deodorant – I think all moms do! – so that I can avoid being a sweaty mess while I run around doing all that I do. I’ve tried lots of different deodorants over the years, and was really intrigued when I heard about Dove Advanced Care Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant. I heard that it provides 48-hour odor and wetness protection, which means I can be out confidently all day long and not worry about sweat – but beyond that, it has NutriumMoisture, which is made up of ingredients known to moisturize skin. This means that not only do I get long-lasting benefits you typically associate with deodorant, I’ll also get softer, smoother underarms during the process. With summer coming up, tank top season is right around the corner, so underarms need to be in tip-top shape!

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Tips for Spring Cleaning Success!


Spring is the perfect time to clean up the clutter and dust that accumulates over winter and set yourself up for a productive remainder of the year! Tackle your project with the following three-step formula from Laura Stack, aka The Productivity Pro.

1.       Get ready… Before you begin cleaning, be ready to tackle the clutter.

  • Prepare for a spring cleaning spree. Start by labeling five large boxes: Put Away, Give Away, Store Away, Shred, and Trash. Select an area, such as a drawer, desk, or room to organize first.
  • Use a timer. Don’t view spring cleaning as an all-day task. Take an hour here and there to get the job done over several weekends. When you’re ready to begin, set your timer for 50 minutes. When it buzzes, use the last ten minutes of your organization session to handle the boxes: put things away, place charity items in the car, put items in storage, shred and toss out the trash.
  • Focus. Concentrate on organizing one area at a time. If you don’t focus, you’ll end up with multiple “half-organized” areas.


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Did You Know? Q&A: Preservatives and Their Benefits


I have always felt like I am pretty knowledgeable when it comes to food, but I recently learned about preservatives and discovered I’d been giving them an unfairly bad rap. I didn’t know what benefits they provide – but now I do, thanks to a Q&A from ConAgra.


Lanie Friedman Director, Communications & External Relations at ConAgra Foods, Kelly Magurany, Principal Research Scientists- Toxicology – Food Protection and Regulatory Affairs at ConAgra Foods and Kristi Reimers, RD, PhD, Nutrition and Director of Nutrition in Research & Innovations at ConAgra Foods provided all sorts of information about all preservatives, and more specifically about antioxidants. And now I get to share all I learned with you! Here are some basic facts:

Why should we preserve our food? 

  • Taste
  • Freshness
  • Safety
  • Natural color preservation
  • Food waste reduction

How can we preserve our food? 

  • Methods like canning and freezing – even putting foods in the fridge helps preserve foods
  • Ingredients can be added to every day packaged foods to help preserve them

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DIY Dollar Tree Spring/Summer Centerpiece


Note: This is a partnered post with Dollar Tree. I hope you enjoy this DIY decor project – it is my concept, and all opinions in this post are mine as well.

Spring is in the air, and I’ve been having fun helping our home decor reflect the change in seasons. Our Easter decor is put away, and there aren’t any more holidays we’ll decorate for until the Fourth of July, so I was on the hunt for a table centerpiece that would work through spring and the first half of summer.

I don’t want to spend a ton on decor items, and it can be easy to spend upwards of $40 to end up with something cute, so I decided to shop Dollar Tree for some stylish and affordable options.

I knew I wanted something colorful, so a blue woven placemat jumped out at me as the perfect base for our centerpiece.

Next I looked at vases – they have a TON, which I knew because I’ve shopped their vases for an office party before. But I hadn’t seen these bud vases before, with a fun orange chevron print. The orange contrasts against the blue perfectly!

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Five Ways to Save Money on Your Groceries


I love finding savings in any shopping I do, which I’m sure comes as no surprise. Coupons set my heart aflutter, and I have been known to text my mom and let her know just how much money I’ve saved on a bargain. The Penny Hoarder is a blog that is very centered on saving money, and they’ve recently shared a way to save all sorts of money on groceries (and in some cases, even earn money). I thought I’d share it with you in case you’d be just as interested in this as I was! Click here to check out the tips!

Denny’s Denny’s = Win Win!


Note: This partnered post is brought to you as a part of my ambassadorship with Denny’s Diners. All opinions are honest and my own. Thanks to Mark Ryann for the great photos for this post!

I loved being a Denny’s Ambassador last year, and was pretty stinkin’ excited when I found out I get to continue that relationship throughout this year, too. I love all the forethought Denny’s puts into making their menus top-notch, and I love their creative and fun campaigns, like this one I get to share with you today!


When you’re about to put the pedal to the metal for a big race, it’s important that you’re all fueled up – and no one knows that better than Denny Hamlin, NASCAR star driver. Of course, Denny’s Diners understand the value of fueling up, too – with good food! So it only makes sense that these namesakes have teamed up together for a really cool partnership. Denny Hamlin has introduced the world’s first – and ONLY – “Denny’s Denny’s,” a mobile unit which features an authentic Denny’s booth, Hamlin’s famous fork collection and syrup gas tanks.

If you’re a NASCAR fan you’ll want to be sure and stop by to check out the custom “Denny’s Denny’s” as it travels with Hamlin from track to track.

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