Monday, November 23, 2009

Earn money for your school by shopping . . .

I have to start this post by telling you that I am fortunate to be a member of "The Juicy Bunch", a group of moms that provide feedback to Juicy Juice by answering surveys weekly. While I earn points for answering these surveys, I was not given anything by Juicy Juicy or "The Juicy Bunch" to post this information. I was just excited to learn about this program and thought I would pass it on to others that might find it interesting.

I have always been (or tried to be) a savvy shopper. I search for the best deals, use coupon codes (I LOVE, and often use cashback sites to do my online shopping (ebates, bing, upromise, and fatwallet are some of the most common). I was shocked to learn that I can now shop through to earn money for my school. You might think that I wouldn't like this idea as much because the money doesn't go directly into my pocket, but I do!!! Here's why . . . My husband "G" and I despise fundraisers for the munchkins. Really, would you pay $10 for a small roll of ugly wrapping paper if it were at Target or I asked you to buy it, knowing that you wouldn't even receive the item for 2 weeks to a month (or more)? I know I wouldn't, but we send out our cute little chubby cheeked kids and you cave in, spending way too much money on things you don't need (or even want). So, anything I can do to help my kids' school earn money without sending them to beg at the doors of friends and family sounds great to me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Holiday Shopping

The time for holiday shopping is already upon us and I am proud to say that I'm almost done! I, like most of you, have people that are easy to shop for and those that are not. Sometimes the easy ones give you a list, or you just know them so well that you see something while browsing and know that it is just perfect! The difficult people can be difficult for a variety of reasons. Either they already have everything they could want or they are really picky. Regardless of the reason, the easy ones on my list are done (and I keep finding more that I know they'd love), but the others are still there - driving me crazy trying to think of something just right. If you're stuck like I am, then I have a couple of suggestions for you.
  1. Create something fun and unique - This is especially good for grandparents, godparents and other family members that have everything already. Some ideas are: painting pottery, creating a fun holiday rug, making a unique ornament, or creating a photo gift like ones from Shutterfly and Kodak. Check out your local art store to get some more ideas.
  2. Give an experience - This is great for people with limited space and time on their hands. My mother-in-law is very difficult to shop for, but she loves to paint and spend time with her grandchildren. A great gift for her is something like, lunch and a trip to the zoo with her grandchildren, or a local art class and some art supplies. You can also find "fancier" experience gift certificates online from sites like and . *NOTE: I've never used any of these sights, but they might be good to use to get some ideas.
If neither of those ideas will work for the loved one you have in mind, then you might just need someone else to give you some suggestions. If so, I highly recommend (You can click my button on my sidebar to take you right there) They have the gifts arranged by the person you're hoping to buy for and they are just adorable! They even include some coupon codes at the bottom of the list to save you some extra money. Speaking of saving money, before you buy online, make sure you check out for even more coupon codes.

*Note: The information written below was added as result of my time spent on I was inspired to write it because of the following link: .

Unfortunately, living in a small town we actually don't have a Staples nearby, so it has been quite a while since I've actually shopped there. However, upon looking at their website,
I've decided that it may well be time to check them out again next time I'm internet shopping or taking a trip to the "big city". Besides, we're definitely in need of a new computer and Staples is even giving you the chance to win one here
(Be sure to read the rules before entering)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thanksgiving Traditions

I was recently browsing around when I ran across a post asking, "What three favorite family Thanksgiving traditions have you passed or will pass on to your children?" and it really started me thinking. So far, we haven't done a great job of passing on Thanksgiving traditions. My excuse is that is has been so busy since the kids were born. Also, my children are fortunate enough to know 3 sets of great-grandparents, which is amazing, but also adds 3 more houses to the holiday itinerary. However, seeing as how I fondly remember the traditions of my childhood, I decided that I'd better get started. So, here are my plans (which I fully expect will change since rarely do my plans work out quite as I expect):

  1. Holiday Decorating - As a child we would always begin our holiday decorating on the weekend of Thanksgiving. We weren't much for shopping on Black Friday, but we still celebrated the fact that Christmas is just around the corner by digging out some of our favorite decorations.
  2. Being Active - Before having children we would always eat our Turkey, then go outside and play football as a family. It was never a rough and tumble game, but we all got out and enjoyed the fresh air with a bit of friendly competition. While I don't know if we have enough in our immediate family to play football, we will definitely pick up an outdoor activity we can use to celebrate the day.
  3. Being Thankful - As corny as it may sound, each year at Thanksgiving dinner we used to tell each other one thing that we are thankful for. While the answers are usually pretty standard - "my family" "good food" etc, it is a great opportunity to take the time to think about all that we have. We have been very blessed and it is important that we all take the time to realize and acknowledge those blessings.
Note: This post was inspired by the above linked post at twitter moms. I'd like to thank twitter moms and Target for making me think about such a great topic.

Paint Your Own Pottery with the Kids

As a non-artistic mom with two kiddos that love crafts I am always trying to come up with fun new ideas for them. (I'd prefer that these ideas include crafts that I won't be tempted to throw away. Yep - I'm the bad mom that throws away a good percentage of the art projects that come home from school on a daily basis. Seriously, those of you that keep them, where do you put them??? They would take over the house if I kept them all.) Anyway. . . recently, a nearby paint-your-own pottery studio offered a class for kids to make a Thanksgiving plate using their handprint. In addition to the handprint turkey, the kids were allowed to either paint freely or use stamps to create even more designs on their plates. The kids had a blast and the resulting plate is something I will treasure forever! So, if you are looking for a fun treasure to make for yourself or a gift (grandparents would LOVE this), then check out your local paint your own pottery place and see what you can find. It was actually so much fun that I want to go back without the kids and paint a serving platter for myself. Even though I lack artistic ability, I think I might be able to create something cute if I use stamps too!

Wedgits - One of the coolest toys ever!

How many of you have ever heard of Wedgits? Well, I can honestly tell you that I had never heard of them until my daughter Peanut went to preschool at a new school last year. I was helping out at the Halloween party toy table (I'm not artistic enough to do the facepainting table!) and I saw these strange shaped building toys. There was a constant flow of kiddos to my table to play with these unique toys. While I really wanted to try them out, I didn't think it would be right to take them away from the 4 year olds just to satisfy my own curiosity, so I waited patiently. When circle time came and all of the munchkins were otherwise occupied I was free to play - so I did! What a fun toy! I've always liked building toys, but these really take the cake. The way that they are weighted allows you to build up, down, and side to side - in ways you wouldn't expect. They were such fun that I immediately came home and looked up their website Unfortunately, like most building toys, they are a little bit pricey. So, I've been waiting patiently until I am able to find them on sale (or win some!). I've yet to see a sale on Wedgits, but I did finally come across a giveaway for them here THANK YOU moodymamasays and Glamma toys! This may finally be my chance to get the girls some Wedgits.

Note: Though now that I've seen the Glamma toys site I have to admit that those CitiBlocs looks pretty cool too. Now I need to find someplace where I can try those out. Maybe Pumpkin's preschool will get a set of those I can play with! :o)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mama’s Holiday Wish List

Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme
TodaysMama and Provo Craft are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.

1. What 5 items are on your holiday wish list this year?
  • For me??? This is hard . . . When I try to think of a list it is always stuff for Peanut and Pumpkin. So I guess the first would be a happy stress free holiday
  • A blu-ray player
  • An ipod touch
  • New paint throughout my house - It is too dark in here!
  • A dishwasher that works! Handwashing dishes is getting old.
  • (I know this is a 6th/7th, but I must admit that I've secreting been longing for that Madsen bike and a Dyson for several months now. I saw the bike in an email newsletter I received and bookmarked it to look at on occasion - though we could never afford to buy such an adorable extravagance)
2. What is your favorite handmade gift you have received?
  • Peanut made me a gorgeous reindeer holiday mat using her footprint when she was in preschool. It still makes me want to cry whenever I set it out. :o)
3. What handmade gift have you always wanted to tackle?
  • I've always wanted to be able to build things out of wood. I think it would be fun to make the kids a table/chair set, hubby a desk, and other fun stuff for family and friends. Why didn't they offer wood shop at my high school???
4. What was the best Christmas gift you received as a child?
  • The best Christmas gift I received as a child would probably be . . . shoot why can't I think of anything? I guess I shouldn't obsess over presents for the girls when I can't even remember what I got. :o)
5. What items are on your kid’s wish list this year?
  • They want Barbies, a Barbie doll house, a Barbie car ... notice the pattern here? :o) Where did this come from - I NEVER played with Barbies when I was little.
6. What is your favorite holiday food?
  • My favorite holiday food is COOKIES! Nothing tastes better than homemade kid-decorated cut-out cookies with messy frosting everywhere.
7. What will you be hand-crafting for the holidays?
  • Does it count that I make my kiddos make all my cards for me? They love to make crafts and I hate to throw them away, so I have them make cards for the family. I help cut out the shapes. :o)
8. What is your favorite holiday movie?
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas - the old cartoon version. It is classic!
9. Favorite holiday song?
  • TransSiberian Orchestra - Christmas Canon Rock
10. Favorite holiday pastime?
  • Does cuddling with the kiddos in front of the fireplace while watching a Christmas movie, eating popcorn and drinking cocoa (with marshmallows, of course) count?
So, those are my answers. Feel free to head on over to TodaysMama and try to enter for all this good stuff for yourself (or not - I like my odds better if you don't). LOL! (Text below taken from )

"Our “sleigh” is a Madsen Bike filled with gifts and goodies from Provo Craft to help you create those handmade projects including a Yudu screen-printing machine, a Cuttlebug, a Cricut Expression Machine, a Your Story thermal book binder, and a Knifty Knitter loom set. That’s not all - we’ve got treasures galore - a Dyson Blueprint, an Easy Walker Sky stroller from, two Sidekick baby carrier bags from Kemby and an Amber Alert GPS unit and a full year of service."

Click here to see an example.

Send them a link to your post via email with “Wish List Meme” in the subject line. You can even tag a few friends to participate in the meme. (Spread that holiday cheer!)

Thanks to all of their generous sponsors that helped make Mama’s Holiday Wishlist possible!

Sponsor List
Want to see those prizes in more detail? Click here.

The deadline to post and send them an email is Sunday, December 13th. They’ll annouce the winner on Monday, December 14th. Good luck!