November – 2015 – Frugal Novice
Monthly Archives

November 2015

Motorola Digital Monitor Keeps You Connected Near & Far


I received an MBP853CONNECT2 monitor to facilitate this review. All opinions are honest and are my own.


Before I had kids, I had no idea how wonderful monitors are. Before I had to literally crawl out of my son’s nursery to avoid waking him up after checking on him, I didn’t realize how nice it would be to have a way to check in on your baby from the other room.

Now our kids are 8, 6, and 3 – and I still use the monitor to check on them! So, since I fully appreciate the need for a good monitor, I knew my sister-in-law Lauren would need one. The Motorola MBP853CONNECT2 has all sorts of features that parents will love.


The monitor retails for $309.00 and comes with:

  • 3.5″ Color LCD screen parent unit
  • 2 Cameras (audio/video/Wi-Fi)
  • Power adapter x 3 (parent and camera units)
  • Rechargeable battery pack (parent unit)
  • User’s Guide
  • Quick Start Guide

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Medela is a Must-Have for Moms (Their App is, Too!)


I received a Medela Freestyle Breastpump Deluxe Kit, lanolin, and nursing pads  to facilitate this post. I was not compensated monetarily, and all opinions are honest and are my own.

When I found out my sister-in-law Lauren (who really might as well just be my sister – love her!) was expecting her first baby, I immediately started thinking of the gear she’d need. As any mom can tell you, there is so much out there on the market and it can be hard to weed through it to find quality products.

Medela is a brand many people equate with breastfeeding and pumping. I remember it being the first brand I really heard about as an expectant mom, and it’s got a great reputation for well-made pumps and more. When I was in the hospital with each of my kids, I used a hospital-grade Medela pump – and loved it, so it was a no-brainer that I’d recommend a Medela pump for Lauren. The Medela Freestyle Breastpump Deluxe Kit has everything a new mom could want – check out all it comes with:


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Spread Care This Holiday Season


With the holidays approaching, my mind starts to focus on ways to teach my children about the spirit of giving. It’s something we want to instill in them year-round, but when Christmas can easily have the focus of all the gifts they want to get, we especially want them to think about ways to help others.

A couple of years ago my friend and I took my kids out on Christmas Eve with the goal of finding ways to help others. We brainstormed different things to do, but I think one of my very favorite things we did was also one of the simplest; we brought a big tub of assorted candy to Target, and let the kids wear Santa hats and hand it out to people who were shopping or who were working. The kids loved it, and it brought a smile to people’s faces.

It’s easy to feel like you really need to do something big in order to make a difference, but the truth is little acts of kindness can go a long way. And doing several little things that are within your means is better than doing nothing because you don’t have the time or resources to accomplish it, don’t you think?

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Examining a Thanksgiving Classic: Stuffing


With Thanksgiving right around the corner, food is definitely on my mind. And not just any food; the Thanksgiving classics are what I’m craving. Turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and of course the wouldn’t-be-Thanksgiving-without-it stuffing. I grew up eating Stove Top stuffing; my husband grew up with a cornbread stuffing his mom made (that’s what we’ll be having this year!), and there are lots of varieties around the country. Check out how different regions make stuffing their way:


Check out Stuffed: How Different U.S. Regions Put a Spin on Stuffing

by The Foodie Patootie at Mode

How does your family eat stuffing?

French Toast Muffins: Mini Chef Mondays


We’re big breakfast lovers in our house, so for this week’s Mini Chef Mondays I decided to do a twist on a classic breakfast with french toast “muffins.” You could modify these to be a breakfast casserole, but I like the idea of something small, and I figured the kids would like it too!

French Toast “Muffins”

“Muffin” Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf French bread, torn into bite-size pieces
  • Pinch of salt

Crumble Topping Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 1 cup flour


  1. Melt butter in microwave and mix with brown sugar. Put 1/2 tablespoon in the bottom of each of 24 cupcake liners (greaseproof liners work best!). Fill each liner with bread pieces (not packed tightly).
  2. In a separate bowl, mix milk, eggs, cinnamon, granulated sugar, and salt. Pour a little less than 1/4 cup of this mixture over the top of each liner.
  3. Make the crumble – use two knives or a pastry cutter to mix the butter and other ingredients together, then sprinkle over top of each muffin.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 450 degrees F, or until the tops of the muffins are caramelized and the centers are cooked through.
  5. Optional: You can serve these with syrup, or can make a simple glaze of cream cheese, powdered sugar, and milk to serve drizzled on top.

Now, if you’re familiar with my Mini Chef Mondays posts, you know what comes next – step-by-step photos to use with your little one!


First, get a loaf of good French bread. We taste-tested our loaf several times to make sure it was high-quality enough. So, although the recipe says to use a whole loaf, we used a loaf minus probably 3 slices total.

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Go Retro with Lava Lamps!


Holiday Gift Guide 2015


We received a lava lamp to facilitate this post. 

I always thought lava lamps were incredibly cool growing up, but I never owned one (I know, I know, I totally missed out!). There’s just something timelessly fun and cool about the lava lamp, and now there are all sorts of fun plays on it with themes like the Beatles and more. We got a classic lava lamp celebrating their anniversary, and our boys think it’s super-cool. We turn it on every night!



If you’d like to add a lava lamp to your home decor, you can find them online in a variety of colors and themes!

Win the Sickest Day Ever with Advil®


The Advil® Sinus Congestion & Pain product, information and gift have been provided by Pfizer Consumer Healthcare.

We’ve all had a sick day. In fact, Brian and I both are just now getting over colds, and it is not fun! We had just received our gift pack from Advil® and it couldn’t have been better timing. Advil® Sinus Congestion & Pain provides fast, powerful relief for a number of severe cold, flu, and sinus symptoms, and it’s a lifesaver to have on hand when you’re sick.

Advil® Sinus Congestion & Pain is the only over-the-counter cold and sinus medicine that combines the speed and strength of Advil® with a proven nasal decongestant for fast, effective relief of severe cold symptoms including sinus pressure and headache. It contains Phenylephrine, a nasal decongestant which reduces swelling and allows the nasal and sinus airways to expand to their natural state for easier breathing, and ibuprofen, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that has been repeatedly proven to reduce pain safely and effectively when taken as directed.

While we’ve all had sick days, Advil® wants to help three lucky winners have the sickest day ever (in the best possible way)! Just enter a video of yourself reciting the Sickest Day Ever tongue twister and upload it to their sweepstakes page. The tongue twister is:

“Six of my sickest sinus symptoms solved with the speed and strength of Advil® in Advil® Sinus Congestion & Pain for a chance to win the Sickest Day”

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Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies: Mini Chef Mondays


Last week I debuted my first post as part of Mini Chef Mondays, a weekly series I’m co-hosting with 11 other bloggers. Our three-year-old E helped me make Super Easy Salsa (or maybe I should say helped her!)  and it was a lot of fun cooking together. This week I decided to make something sweet, and E quickly volunteered to be my helper again. I love how much fun she has cooking with me. I know we’re making lots of memories, and she learns a lot along the way.

We love peanut butter in our house, so we decided to make double peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.

Double Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a mixer, cream the butter, peanut butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla until smooth and fluffy.
  3. Mix in the flour.
  4. Add in salt and baking soda, mixing well on medium.
  5. Stir in all the chips.
  6. Using a small cookie scoop, put dough evenly on a cookie sheet (I like to line mine with a silicone mat or parchment paper).
  7. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, or until cookies are slightly browned on top. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

And, like last week, here’s a step-by-step photo guide to show your little helper if you’d like to make these with your kiddo(s):


Add the butter and peanut butter to your mixer. We forgot to photograph these first two steps, but I did catch E cleaning off the peanut butter spoon for me – so helpful!

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Hampton Forge Knife Set & Block


We received a knife set and block to facilitate our review. All opinions are honest and are our own.

Holiday Gift Guide 2015

We love to cook, and anyone can tell you that having a good knife set is one of the most important things when it comes to tools. We have some knives, but I’ve been wanting to expand our arsenal and was excited to discover this knife set from Hampton Forge.


The set comes with 14 pieces including the knife block. You also get an 8″ chef knife, 8″ bread knife, 5.5″ Santoku knife, 5″ utility serrated knife, six 4.5″ steak knives, 3.5″ paring knife, kitchen shears, and sharpening steel.

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What’s Your #ClutchStyle?



My sister-in-law, Lauren,  just had her first baby last Monday (and oh my word, he is cute!), and I’ve been on the hunt for must-have baby gear for her. Of course, everyone knows wipes are an essential – I can’t even begin to imagine how many wipes we’ve gone through with our three children!


Huggies Natural Care Wipes are hypoallergenic and 99% water based. They provide the ultimate skin care for babies’ naturally perfect – and sensitive – skin. I went to Sam’s Club to get some for Lauren – they sell a pack with 864 wipes, which comes with a tub and a super-cute (and exclusive!) members-voted clutch. I love shopping at Sam’s for baby items – in fact, I took another trip recently and found a ton of baby gear, all at great prices. From baby clothes to toys to all the essentials like wipes, Sam’s Club is a great one-stop shop for all things baby. If you don’t have a membership yet, find out more about how easy it is to join.

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Great Deal: $1.00 off Scott 1000 at Walmart!

Five rolls of white toilet paper

This post is sponsored by Scott Products and The Motherhood. All opinions are honest and my own.

With the holidays coming up, you’ve got to stock up on the essentials so you’re prepared for entertaining or for hosting company in from out of town. Toilet paper is one of those must-haves you definitely don’t want to be without, and right now you can get a great deal on Scott 1000 so you are sure to be ready with hosting essentials.

Scott 1000 toilet paper gives you the quality, performance, and long-lasting value you want in 1,000 sheets – and you can get $1.00 off when you buy a 4-pack of Scott 1000 at Walmart!

Here’s how to get your coupon:

  • Click here to get your coupon.
  • Find and select the $1.00 off coupon for a 4-pack of Scott 1000 toilet paper available at Walmart.
  • Enter your phone number to receive a text with a verification code.
  • Make sure your computer is hooked up to a printer, enter the verification code and print your coupon!

Learn more about the Scott Brand at and Follow Scott Products on Facebook !