Lesley Ann is a stay-at-home mom and started couponing when her son was one. She considers herself a “realistic couponer, ” although she does enjoy the occassional freebie! Lesley Ann uses her couponing savings to try and justify her home
Lauren is a senior in college studying Business Administration. After quickly realizing the expenses of college, Lauren began couponing. Even with a limited time schedule, she has found ways to make couponing fun and easy. Deals on everyday items and
Want to know how to find free items at the grocery store? Look for a little tag on the item that says, “Try Me Free!” Granted, it does take a little effort on your part to get the item for free. Below is a picture of the inside of the little tag, with instructions on how to get the item for free.
Most of the “Try Me Free” items are like this. You have to send in your ORIGINAL receipt with the purchase price circled, copy the UPC (sometimes they make you cut it out and send it in, but in this case the UPC is printed on the bottle), and your information printed on a card. Mail it in and they send you a check! Not bad!
I think they do these offers for two reasons: 1) To get people to try their products and 2) Because they think you won’t follow the directions or you’ll forget to send it in! Don’t be the person who does the second one! As soon as you get the item home, send it in right then!
I’ve seen these “Try Me Free” offers on everything from baby products (new flavors of foods that they want you to try) to disinfecting wipes. In fact, I did this once for the Lysol Dual Action Disinfecting Wipes and I have been hooked ever since! So sometimes you do find a fantastic product!
Be on the lookout the next time you are in the grocery store! You never know what you might find!
Within the past year, six members of my family have enjoyed a Disneyland vacation! All of us had amazing experiences at the parks, and we’d like to share our Disneyland reviews & recommendations with you! We want everyone to have as magical of a time as we did!
Please note: This was our first time to Disneyland – for all six of us! We love Disney World to pieces (I was an intern there) so it was hard for us to venture out and do something different, but we are so glad we did (and some of us now like Disneyland BETTER than Disney World!).
So what do most preschool-aged boys like? CARS! Cars Land was just like stepping into the movie, Cars. It was unbelievable how Disney recreated the main strip in Radiator Springs. My son will tell you that his favorite ride was Radiator Springs Racers, but I really think it was Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree. In Radiator Springs Racers, there is a point where a character kind of surprises you (and I don’t think he liked that) and the end of the ride is really fast. Being new to rides, I don’t think he was prepared for what was going to happen. Probably as he gets older, he will enjoy the ride more. Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree was more his style! We could all ride in one car and the tractors spun us around. We had a LOT of laughs on this ride!
He also loved Dumbo (I have never seen such a huge smile on his face), Autopia (where he could drive his own car with a little help from Dad), The Carousel (a classic), and The Monorail. Now technically the Monorail is not a ride, but you would’ve thought it was based on his reaction. I told him that I knew the secret to riding in the front with the driver…and I think I may have won mom of the year at that point! All you have to do is ask to ride in the front! Simple as that. Remember, Disney is there to make magic for you and your family!
His least favorite thing was the World of Color show. I absolutely loved it, but it was the end of the day and he did NOT want to get out of the stroller. So he just sat there for the whole show and could’ve cared less!
My FAVORITE ride was by far Radiator Springs Racers. It takes you through recreations of the best parts of the movie, Cars, and then the car that you are riding in gets detailed. And then the best part…you get to race against another car! And I would like to say my car won both times. ;) The second time I rode by myself – I went through the single-rider line and basically walked right on. If you are willing to split up from your family and ride individually, this is the quickest and easiest way to get on the ride. It’s the same premise as Test Track at Disney World, if you’ve been there.
I also loved Buzz Lightyear (a little friendly competition with the husband), especially because the guns are not attached to the pod you are riding in like they are at Disney World, so you are free to pick up the gun and get better angles to shoot. And then there’s Grizzly River Run (very similar to Kali River Rapids at Disney World), where my entire back and bum got soaked, but I loved every minute of it. I rode it alone as well, since someone had to stay with our son and my husband hates water rides.
Sad to say, but Indiana Jones was a total disappointment. After waiting all of these years to ride this ride, it just failed my expectations. It is a similar ride to Dinosaur at Animal Kingdom in Disney World, where you get in a vehicle that simulates bumps and hills. I found it not scary at all. I love the Indiana movies and they could’ve done a lot better. But the Matterhorn Bobsleds were by far the worst. This is an attraction that was one of the originals to the park and it felt like it. It was rickety and jerky, so much so that I had to stop afterwards and take medicine for my head. Never again!!
My favorite places to eat were Flo’s V8 Cafe (a nod to the 50′s with GREAT music!), Cozy Cone Motel (for the ice cream – to die for!!), and the Carthay Circle Restaurant (higher-end Disney dining at it’s finest!). Carthay Circle was part of our World of Color package. We had a reserved section at the show because of the package. I would highly recommend it! Note: There are other less expensive dining options in the package as well.
My non-wordy husband (do you have one of those too? didn’t have all that much to say about his favorite rides, but he did say that he doesn’t particularly like the older rides geared towards young children. So that would probably be much of Fantasyland (Mr. Toad, Peter Pan, Alice, Small World, etc.). But he said it’s great for kids! He was a good sport and rode them all. I think it is hard when you are 6’2″ and trying to squeeze into a tiny ride with your entire family! He loved the food at Flo’s V8 Cafe and especially the pork chop at Carthay Circle Restaurant.
Toy Story Mania (the same ride as at Hollywood Studios at Disney World) is a favorite of my sister’s, as well as Radiator Springs Racers. Racers is apparently a big hit with everyone, regardless of if you have a young son who likes Cars or not! And we are definitely sisters because she dislikes the Matterhorn Bobsleds as much as I do!
Her favorite place to eat was “the restaurant by Soarin’ with the best chicken nuggets!” She wasn’t sure of the name, but I bet if you ask a cast member they will be able to point you in the right direction!
Now here’s the special coupon that she ran across. Every time she ate at a quick service restaurant, the coupon would show up on her receipt, offering her 20% off her total merchandise purchase before 1pm at five different participating locations. Now I do not remember getting this coupon, so it may be a seasonal thing, but WOW you could save a LOT of money by doing this! And if you are staying at a Disney hotel, you can have the retailers send your merchandise back to the hotel for you, so you don’t have to carry it around all day. A win win!!!
Reviews from a grandma and grandpa (who do not want to reveal their ages!):
The grandparents loved Disneyland compared to Disney World because they didn’t have to wait and get on a bus to go from park to park, which wastes tons of time. They loved the fact that you could walk from one park to the other! They recommend that you get there early for World of Color or get a fast pass (they did not do the World of Color package like I did), and stand a least on the second level from the water or you may get wet! And they love Fantasyland in general, because it reminds them of taking us to Disney World when we were little, and seeing the excitement on our faces as we rode all those amazing rides for the first time. Sniffle!
Their least favorite ride was Mr. Toad. They said the line was deceiving and it just kept getting longer and longer! And then the ride seemed like it lasted only 30 seconds!!
The BEST ice cream was at Gibson Girl on Main Street at Disneyland. They went there every night for ice cream!!
A few last notes from them…”We will always recommend to anyone to stay on the Disney Property. Win, win all the way!! Use the short cut through the Grand Californian Hotel if you’re staying at Paradise Pier or the Grand Californian Hotel. You come out at the Grizzly River Run. Also use the monorail at Downtown Disney to go to Disney Land Park. Saves lots of walking. Take advantage of Early Entry. 7am is very early when you’re on vacation, but well worth it when you walk right up to your favorite rides and be the first ones on the ride!! We also took advantage of the “single rider” when our favorite rides had long lines. We went the middle of June. The weather and humidity was amazing. Disney World is too hot and humid in the summer.”
When I was in the 6th grade I experienced my first earthquake. I was at school at the time and was sitting right next to the windows. The teacher had arranged our desks in a semi-circle and I was on the outer edge. When the shaking began, everyone looked at each other and dove under their desks. We had practiced the earthquake drills many times! As the windows rattled all I could think about was them breaking all over me as I huddled under my desk covering my head.
I think earthquakes are the worst of the natural disasters because you never know when they are coming. Tornadoes and hurricanes you can see coming, but earthquakes do not announce themselves. After our earthquake (and the aftershocks, which are just as scary because they can be stronger), my family made an earthquake kit. We put food and water in extra backpacks and put them in the closet by the front door.
In light of some recent quakes in California, here are some tips on how you and your family can prepare for an earthquake in your home. Tips courtesy of FEMA and their Earthquake Safety Checklist.
Water – At least 1 gallon of water per person per day for a 72-hour period. A person needs a half gallon of water a day for drinking.
Food - Non-perishable food. Canned or dehydrated, powdered milk and canned juices for at least 72 hours. Beware of salty foods that will make you thirsty. Don’t forget food for baby or for those with special dietary restrictions (gluten-free, etc.). Make sure you have a can opener and cooking utensils.
Flashlights – Avoid the need of batteries by getting hand-cranked flashlights. I keep a mini one in my purse at all times!
Portable radio – Again, you can avoid having to stock batteries by getting a hand-crank radio. This one has a built in flashlight and cell phone charger!
First Aid Kit and Manual – A first aid kit is obviously a must, but did you think about a manual on how to do first aid? I’m definitely not a doctor!
Fire extinguishers – Make sure to get a fire extinguisher that is good for any type of fire. According to FEMA, Class ABC extinguishers are what you need.
Personal needs – You cannot forget these! Your medications (because the pharmacy will probably not be open and even if it is you might not be able to get there!), eye glasses and sanitary items (toilet paper, feminine products).
Important papers and cash – Copies of insurance policies, id cards, credit cards and a small supply of cash.
Tools – You’ll want to turn off your gas and water, so you’ll need a pipe wrench and a crescent/adjustable wrench. Put matches in a waterproof bag. They also suggest a lighter, but if that got crushed and lighter fluid went on some of your items, that would not be a good thing. I say stick with the matches!
Clothing – Prepare for the weather where you live. Keep a change of clothes and shoes for each person. Make sure those are good shoes that will protect your feet, not sandals!
Bedding – A sleeping bag or blanket for every person in your family.
Pets – Don’t forget about them! Add a copy of their vet records to your “important papers” stack. Make sure to pack a leash!
Want to know the best time to shop at Target? My personal favorite time is at 8am on either a Saturday or Sunday. This is a picture of the school supply section at 8am on tax-free weekend. The night before I went I went into full panic mode thinking that the store would be bustling with guests to take advantage of the tax-free goods. Boy was I wrong! The store was EMPTY!
This past weekend I went again at 8am on a Saturday and… NO ONE! In addition to the store being quiet and peaceful (no screaming children, no people flying by with their carts), the employees are all fresh-faced, smiling and ask you if you need help! I love this! I also love being able to roam through the store with a clear head and no distractions. Who knew shopping could be so peaceful?!
Classy Mom Look! Who says a 35 year old mom can’t wear Hollister?!! I was at the mall with my much younger sister, Lauren, and was waiting for her outside the Hollister store in the mall. She was taking too long so I decided to go in and see where she was at in her shopping endeavor. She was still trying on clothes so I decided to take a look around.
I found this dress on a sale rack for $20 and decided to give it a shot. The young teeny boppers (as my parents would call them) in the store gave me some strange looks, but I decided to press on. I tried it on, thought it looked pretty great, confirmed that with my sister and made my first purchase at Hollister! Who knew?!!!
The dress is still on sale and can be found here. It is very light weight and has two slits, one on each side of the dress. Hollister actually has some other maxi dresses on sale that are equally as cute. If you are interested in my sunglasses, a similar style can be found here (they don’t carry my exact style anymore but this is pretty close).
Have you ever bought an outfit at a store where you felt out of place? Let me know in the comments below! You are only as young as you feel, right?
School has started or is getting ready to start and it’s important to go over some back to school safety tips with your children. The tips below are courtesy of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The Academy has numerous articles and tips that are great for parents and children! Also below is a fantastic back to school book for kids!
Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
Pack light. Organize the backpack to use all of its compartments. Pack heavier items closest to the center of the back. The backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of your child’s body weight.
Always use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles.
If your school allows, consider a rolling backpack. This type of backpack may be a good choice for students who must tote a heavy load. Remember that rolling backpacks still must be carried up stairs, they may be difficult to roll in snow, and they may not fit in some lockers.
SCHOOL BUS SAFETY
Children should always board and exit the bus at locations that provide safe access to the bus or to the school building.
Remind your child to wait for the bus to stop before approaching it from the curb.
Make sure your child walks where she can see the bus driver (which means the driver will be able to see her, too).
Remind your student to look both ways to see that no other traffic is coming before crossing the street, just in case traffic does not stop as required.
Your child should not move around on the bus.
If your child’s school bus has lap/shoulder seat belts, make sure your child uses one at all times when in the bus. (If your child’s school bus does not have lap/shoulder belts, encourage the school system to buy or lease buses with lap/shoulder belts.}
All passengers should wear a seat belt and/or an age- and size-appropriate car safety seat or booster seat.
Your child should ride in a car safety seat with a harness as long as possible and then ride in a belt-positioning booster seat. Your child is ready for a booster seat when she has reached the top weight or height allowed for her seat, her shoulders are above the top harness slots, or her ears have reached the top of the seat.
Your child should ride in a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle’s seat belt fits properly (usually when the child reaches about 4′ 9″ in height and is between 8 to 12 years of age). This means that the child is tall enough to sit against the vehicle seat back with her legs bent at the knees and feet hanging down and the shoulder belt lies across the middle of the chest and shoulder, not the neck or throat; the lap belt is low and snug across the thighs, and not the stomach.
All children younger than 13 years of age should ride in the rear seat of vehicles. If you must drive more children than can fit in the rear seat (when carpooling, for example), move the front-seat passenger’s seat as far back as possible and have the child ride in a booster seat if the seat belts do not fit properly without it.
Remember that many crashes occur while novice teen drivers are going to and from school. You should require seat belt use, limit the number of teen passengers, and do not allow eating, drinking, cell phone conversations, texting or other mobile device use to prevent driver distraction. Limit nighttime driving and driving in inclement weather. Familiarize yourself with your state’s graduated driver’s license law and consider the use of a parent-teen driver agreement to facilitate the early driving learning process. For a sample parent-teen driver agreement, see www.healthychildren.org/teendriver
Always wear a bicycle helmet, no matter how short or long the ride.
Ride on the right, in the same direction as auto traffic.
Use appropriate hand signals.
Respect traffic lights and stop signs.
Wear bright-colored clothing to increase visibility. White or light-colored clothing and reflective gear is especially important after dark.
Know the “rules of the road.”
WALKING TO SCHOOL SAFETY
Make sure your child’s walk to school is a safe route with well-trained adult crossing guards at every intersection.
Identify other children in the neighborhood with whom your child can walk to school. In neighborhoods with higher levels of traffic, consider organizing a “walking school bus,” in which an adult accompanies a group of neighborhood children walking to school.
Be realistic about your child’s pedestrian skills. Because small children are impulsive and less cautious around traffic, carefully consider whether or not your child is ready to walk to school without adult supervision.
If your children are young or are walking to a new school, walk with them the first week or until you are sure they know the route and can do it safely.
Bright-colored clothing will make your child more visible to drivers.
One of my mottos has always been, “It is better to be safe than sorry!” Now this quote can apply to many different areas of your life. The area that I want to touch on today is home safety & security tips. Even if you already have a home security system, there are additional ways you can protect your home from unwanted trespassers or intruders. And I’ll tell you why…
The last neighborhood that we lived in was fantastic. The perfect neighborhood with multiple playgrounds, swimming pools and even a clubhouse that you could rent out! Lined with trees and wide sidewalks it was the perfect place for families. Then I started hearing about burglars going right into peoples backyards and taking all of their patio furniture. I kid you not. I think since it was such a new neighborhood that people originally thought that they were movers. After this incident, I installed these on my gates…
They are outdoor master locks that require a key. Anything that you can install on your home that could potentially deter your house from being a target is worth it! Burglars don’t want a house that’s hard to get into. They want an easy target!
Here’s an example of a good quality lock. I like the brand Master Lock the best…
Now, the picture at the very top of my article shows a sign that says, “No Soliciting, No Trespassing, No Handbills.” I actually got it from a friend through her Homeowner’s Association. I thought it was a great idea! Nothing is more annoying than someone knocking on your door trying to sell you something that you don’t want. They knock at 9am, they knock at 8pm. I was over it and since I’ve put up this sign, NO ONE has knocked on my door. Woo hoo!
Here’s an example of a nice professional-looking sign like mine. If your problem is usually solicitors, this sign is perfect for you! I like mine put right above my doorbell…
So what if you DON’T have an alarm system? Pretend like you do by putting these alarm system stickers on your doors and windows! Anything that you can do to deter them is worth it! And these stickers are VERY inexpensive!
There is a fantastic Target Mobile Coupon out right now that will get you some free school supplies at Target! If you already are subscribed to Target Mobile Coupons, you should have received the coupons via text (see pic below). If not, text OFFERS to 827438 to get signed up. NOTE: The coupons expire 8/8/14…
The second coupon in the picture above is the one we are working with. Here’s how the deal panned out…
Buy two Up & Up, 2-pocket plastic portfolios (ones with or without prongs) = $.50 x 2 = $1.00
Use the Target Mobile Coupon = $1 off two Up & Up school supply items
Final Price = FREE!
NOTE: For some odd reason my mobile coupon wasn’t working when he scanned it, however, the cashier took a look at my phone and verified the discount. And here is my beautiful receipt with a total of ZERO! Happy shopping!