Thursday, January 31, 2013

Baby It's Cold Outside Event! Ends 2/9

Welcome to the Baby it's Cold Outside Event!

Open Worlwide

Hosted by Mom Powered Media, Event Organizer: Powered by Mom

With a special thanks to our co-host Giveaway Bandit.

Playing For Sweeps has teamed up with some of your favorite bloggers to bring you this special event! Check out all of the amazing details and enter on the Rafflecopter form below!!

About 7AM

Founded by French designer Rebecca Campora, 7 A.M.® ENFANT offers a wide selection of versatile, urban and stylish baby accessories combining good design, fashion and versatility. The award winning baby outerwear “Le sac igloo®” and “Blanket212 evolution®” are a statement among the baby essentials; reflecting the vibrant colors and modern style of the city and high technical demand of outdoor activities. Just as versatile and suitable to streets, camping sites or slopes, 7 A.M.® Enfant’s various products are found wherever the baby comfort is demanded.

Organize Your Crap At Modcloth

I went looking for some organization tools and couldn't help noticing this Personal Assistant Organizer from ModCloth to "Organize Your Crap". Then I kept looking and saw all of these cute organizers and planners and had to share them. Here are some of my favorites:

All Out Of Notepad from ModCloth

Price: 7.99

Passive-Aggressive Notepad from ModCloth

Price: 4.99

Just Sayin Sticky Notes from ModCloth

Price: 3.99

Free TODAY ONLY (1/31) The Vegetarian Paleo Recipe eBook!

The Vegetarian Paleo Recipe Cookbook: 47 All Natural Gluten-Free Meals and Desserts (The Paleo Recipe Cookbooks)

From breakfast to lunch, dinner and dessert, The Vegetarian Paleo Recipe Cookbook features 47 simple and tasty meals free from gluten, grains, dairy, soy and refined sugar.

Indulge in paleo-inspired vegetarian recipes such as comforting pancakes, delicious smoothies, creamy soups, savory casseroles and satisfying desserts. Many meals include five ingredients or less, so you can enjoy eating without much fuss, even when you only have a few minutes.

The Vegetarian Paleo Recipe Cookbook: 47 All Natural Gluten-Free Meals and Desserts (The Paleo Recipe Cookbooks)

This one specifically states that it is free for today only, so go get it now if you want!

Get a Custom Pillowcase from InkGarden for just $5.00!

InkGarden is having a great deal right now! They are offering a custom pillowcase for just $5.00!

PandaElegant Love Story
Girls Rock

Custom Pillowcase - Just $5 - Save $16.99 Use Code: PILLOW5 at check out. 1 use per customer. Quantity Limit 1 at discounted price. New Cust. Only. S&H Not Included. Cannot be used in conjunction with other offers. Exp. 02-28-2013.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Art of the Wedding Invitation

Your wedding invitation is one of the first things that you will choose when planning your wedding. It is a very important step. It will give your guests their first impression of what your wedding will be like. They can set the whole theme for your wedding or they can create an air of mystery. Whichever way you choose to go, selecting the perfect invitation is key to getting your plans off to a great start.

Say you are having a beach themed wedding, you might choose a Coral Invitation. This will give  your guests a small taste of what they can expect from your wedding and the entire experience.

Along with the invitation, you should also include RSVP cards to give your guests an opportunity to respond to the invitation. This will allow you to better plan your event and allow things to go so much smoother.

RSVP's can be a simple card with your contact information and a place for your guests to let you know if they are coming and how many people will be accompanying them. They can also include more details such as a menu choice or any special needs that should be accounted for. For example, if you have a guest with a wheelchair you'll want to know in advance so that you can accommodate them in your seating arrangements.

Wording the invitation requires a detailed knowledge of wedding etiquette. Now is the time to do your research and take major notes. You'll want to make a list of the details such as:

  • Who is paying for the wedding?
  • Are both families involved in the wedding?
  • Who is hosting the wedding?

Being prepared with these answers will go a long way in helping you sort out the wording. Most of all, make sure that your invitations really convey your style. Don't go traditional if you are not traditional. Mix it up! It will be the first speak for you regarding your wedding, make sure its perfect!

Homemade Mexican Pizza

My husband has been looking in the frozen pizza section for the last year for an elusive Mexican Pizza he had once upon a time. Evidently the company stopped making it. After many such trips I finally asked him what was on it and decided to make it myself. This recipe is what I came up with.

~One Can Refridgerated Pillsbury Deep Dish Pizza Dough
~1 lb ground beef
~1 pkg shredded cheese (mexican blend)
~1 can Rosarita Refried Beans
~1 pkg taco seasoning (or make your own!)
~ additional toppings of choice (tomatoes, green onions, black olives, shredded tortillas, shredded lettuce)

Preheat oven to 400. Prepare dough per package instructions. Brown ground beef and add taco seasoning with about 1/2 cup of water. Set aside.

Spread a thin layer of refried beans onto prebaked crust. Spread beef mixture over beans. Spread cheese over beef mixture.

Add toppings as desired. I used diced tomatoes and green onions. Shredded toritilla chips can be used before or after baking.

Bake for 6-10 minutes until cheese is melted and pizza is heated through.

Garnish as desired with sour cream or guacamole.

(Check out my Homemade Taco Seasoning Recipe here!)

I'm working on alternate ingredients to make this organic! Stay tuned!

Homemade Taco Seasoning

If your recipe calls for taco seasoning and you don't have any on hand, you can make this recipe up really quick!

Mix the following ingredients well.
Makes enough to replace one packet of store-bought taco seasoning.

1 TBSP Chili Powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried chopped onions
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Optional, but healthy ingredients I like to add:
1/2 tsp wheat germ
1/2 tsp flax seed

Use as you would a packet of taco seasoning for any of your recipes!

The Potty Training Diaries Part 2


Overall, potty training has been a success. After the first several days things have only gotten better. Mya will tell me when she needs to go pee every time now. The only thing that is still an issue is the poop.

Mya has had "stomach issues" for at least a year now. She screams and cries every time she needs to poop. If you saw what she pooped out you understand why, its huge. (Sorry if this is too graphic but I'm sure I'm not the only one with a child who has poop issues) It has gotten so bad that she has resorted to "holding it in". For hours, sometimes a full 24 hours because she knows its going to hurt.

I think what it all boils down to is that she is not getting enough fiber in her diet. I called her doctor and she recommended flax seed. That didn't work so well because I couldn't get her to eat anything I put it in. I bought some wheat germ which is easier to hide and try to slip that into everything that I can. The fact is that she is a picky eater and a light eater. She also won't drink juice very much, only every so often. The pharmacist recommended I speak to her doctor about MiraLAX, that does seem to help a little, but the problem persists.
(Update! We have STOPPED with the Miralax after reading this article: IS MIRALAX THE NEXT VIOXX?)

What this means for potty training is that I spent most of day 6 and 7 in the bathroom with her. She'll start crying and get really still and I rush her to the potty where she seems to get control of it (has it held in good again) and "is done". Until about ten minutes later when go through it all over again. Several times there have been "accidents".

As for the rest, she still wears a diaper at nap and bedtime but she always wakes up dry from her nap. At bedtime she wakes up a little wet but not nearly as wet as pre-potty. She forgot all about our M&M deal the second day in and now she just goes to the potty because that's what she's supposed to do.

I rarely ask her if she has to go, not like the first day or two. Now she tells me but I do make sure she goes before bed or before we go anywhere. And I still cut back on liquids before bed and outings.

I'll keep updating for all you of you and if you haven't already make sure you check out my original post The Potty Training Diaries.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Make Your Wedding Favors a Hit

Wedding season is just around the corner. I know I spent so much time making sure that everything was perfect for my big day. There are so many details! Perhaps the final detail, the final touch, is the wedding favor.

These are small tokens of appreciation given to your guests just to say thank you. They come in all shapes and sizes. They can be elaborate, personalized, themed, or practical. The possibilities are endless. Weddingstar has  favors that can accommodate weddings of any size or style.

You can fully customize them with gifts that are already made or you can make them yourself! Any that you choose is a sure way to share your favorite memories or hobbies with your wedding guests. Weddingstar is fully stocked with anything you need to create the perfect gifts. Choose from a vast selection of custom printed options including tags, stickers, and paper goody bags or candy tins and matchbooks. Or choose anything in between!

If you choose a practical approach, you can give your guests gifts that they will use for years to come. At Weddingstar you can find a variety of presents that can even serve several different functions at your wedding like additions to your centerpieces or reception table decor.

Weddingstar knows that price is always a factor especially when you must buy higher quantities so many of their offerings are fairly inexpensive. But that doesn't mean that they look cheap. With great attention to detail and quality, your guests will surely be impressed with the designs you find at Weddingstar. No matter the theme, you're sure to find something that is perfect for your wedding. They even have a team of talented designers on hand to ensure your satisfaction!

What is HCG and how does it work?

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin or HCG is a naturally occurring hormone in the human body. It is commonly referred to as the pregnancy hormone as it allows the body to metabolize fats stores and use it as energy for the mother and the fetus. During pregnancy these hormone levels double every two days.

It is used in the medical profession to treat a variety of conditions. In weight loss, a very small amount of this hormone can be used in the same way as used in pregnancy. It can turned stored fat into energy.

Human bodies naturally store excess fat as a survival mechanism, to be used when food is scarce. However, if food does not become scarce, the fat will continue to build. It is this mechanism that can keep you from losing the excess weight that you have been trying to lose.

Those who try starvation to lose weigh end up losing mostly muscle rather than fat. So even when the food does get scarce, the body still tries to hold on to those fat stores for as long as possible.

Boosting your HCG levels allows your body to target those fat stores, which in turn releases energy and allows you to lose weight at a more rapid pace. You are reversing the effect that has kept you from losing your excess weight. It works and is completely safe for both women and men.

Used in conjunction with a low calorie diet, this hormone triggers the hypothalamus to move the stored fat out of its hiding places (think hips, thighs, problem areas) and use it for fuel. The hormone only targets the stored fat. Structural fat and muscle tissue are kept intact. As long as you get appropriate amounts of rest, you won't feel tired or hungry and you will be burning thousands of calories in the process.

Free Blogger Event! $350 Melissa & Doug Toys Giveaway

Free Blogger Event!
Prizes: $250 Melissa & Doug Toys Gift Card
2 Runner Up Prizes: $50 Melissa & Doug Gift Cards

Free Link with Announcement Post
Event Dates: 02/01 - 02/26

Attend a Tophatter Craft Supply Auction! New Users Get $10!

Tophatter is an auction site that has great deals everyday. Right now they are having a new user promotion. New users sign up and receive $10 off your first purchase of $11 or more!

Tophatter has auctions on Jewelry, Electronics, Vintage products, Crafts, and more!

Attend a Tophatter auction!

Tophatter Craft Supplies Auction

Free Today! Weekend Homesteader: May eBook!

You should also check out the Weekend Homesteader's blog, its called the Walden Effect.

I love this series! Anna Hess is the author and she is someone I can really relate to. Occasionally past issues are free at Amazon. Right now you can get Volume 2 for free! Even when the issues are not free, they are only .99 cents! is better.

As usual with Amazon Kindle Free eBooks, they don't always STAY free, so get yours now before its gone.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Ever Wonder Why Some People Have it All?

I was looking through ShareASale for the latest deals and coupons and ran upon a new site in their database. Its very intriguing to say the least. They sell pheromone perfumes for men and women. 
The site is Love Scent Inc.

Pheromones Attract at

I do, of course, know that pheromones are naturally created in the human body. I know that every human and animal gives off pheromones and that these pheromones affect others of the same species in different ways. What I did NOT know is that, evidently, science can reproduce these pheromones and this company produces them in the form of perfume and sells them:

Get an Edge with Pheromones

  • Pheromones can attract that special someone.
  • Pheromones can give you an extra edge in business affairs.
  • Human Pheromones can give you confidence in all your endeavors.
They sell colognes, perfumes, essential oils, and herbs.
The prices seem pretty reasonable and they have a 100% money back guarantee, including standard shipping. I really don't see how you can go wrong here. I'm going to see about getting some samples and I'll let you know how they work. You should go check them out yourself and let me know what you think. 

Pheromone Samples at

eBook For a Buck!

Right now AmazonLocal is offering a voucher to get one of 25 Select eBooks for just $1! Hurry and get yours before the deal is over! Click the image below and look under National Deals!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Save $1.50 On Huggies!

Potty training has begun, but I still use diapers for night time and naps. Its been hard for me to find Huggies coupons lately. Here is one for $1.50 off ANY ONE Huggie's Diapers. Better stock up!

Don't forget to check out my Potting Training Diaries!

Tax Time! I use H&R Block At Home. Its Free and Its Works.

Its tax time again. This year there are not many options. I got a call from a tax company the other day telling me that no company will be able to do the "rapid refund" this year. So they were offering me $30 off of their services. For the past five years I have used H&R Block At Home. Its free and it works. Before that, I had always gone into and H&R Block office.

You can either file yourself online with the IRS or through the mail, or you can use a well known and trusted company with a point and click interface. They will ask you all the relevant questions and there are help screens for each and every one.

No matter your filing status, H&R Block online can help you get all of your deductions. Guaranteed.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

DIY Valentine's Day Gift for Kids

This Valentine's Day let's focus on what Valentine's Day is all about. LOVE. With a little bit of preparation, you don't have to spend a fortune on Valentine's Day. We all know that the best gifts are the ones that come from the heart. Here is a great DIY Valentine's Day Gift for kids!

Mod Podge a Photo onto Wood!

If your kids are like mine, they LOVE to see pictures of themselves. What better way to preserve a memory of Valentine's Day than to give them something they can keep forever?
I found these tutorials online and I hope you find inspiration from them. Think hearts and kisses!

This one has step-by-step photos

This one is a video tutorial

You can edit your photo before hand or add mod podge elements after. I made this one using PicMonkey, its free!
Custom Valentine

Remember that your words will be backwards so you'll have to flip it first! Another good idea would be a family photo or a picture of all of your kids together. Get creative.

If you want to think BIG I heard that is offering an 11x14 print for .25 cents right now. I haven't checked it out yet but think of the possibilities! Update ~ expires 2/2/13

If you're not feeling crafty, you can always order photo gifts online. Shutterfly is offering up to 50% off.

(Why yes, these are affiliate links. Gotta make a ~small~ living :)

Valentines Day Card from Tiny Prints

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Ology - 100% Tree Free Bath Tissue Review

You may have noticed a new brand on the shelves at your local Walgreens. Its Ology and its available exclusively at Walgreens. 

Walgreens took note of the fact that more and more consumers are becoming concerned with the chemicals in their home products and they took action. 

The result is the Ology brand.

“Walgreens is proud to be leading the charge by providing ‘Ology,’ the first nationally accessible and affordable line of household liquid products free of harmful chemicals available in our stores,” said Joe Magnacca, president of daily living products and solutions for Walgreens. “Ology reflects our dedication to innovation, our constant drive to improve our customers’ quality of life, and our ongoing commitment to help people get, stay and live well.”
Link to Press Release
In order to get the word out about their new line of products, they sent a group of bloggers like myself a $15 Walgreens gift card in order to buy an Ology product and try it at home. I was indecisive about which product to try, but luckily fate stepped in and I ran out of toilet paper. Problem solved, I purchased the Ology Soft and Strong Bath Tissue in the 12 pack. The first thing that popped out at me is the big bubble that say 100% tree free.

Ology Bath Tissue

Yep, I said TREE FREE. Traditional bath tissue is made from trees that can take up to 35 years to renew. The new Ology tissue is made from sugarcane husk which would have been disposed of and bamboo which regenerates in as little as six months!

Every time I see stacks of notebook paper I wonder to myself how many trees are being cut down in order to make them. I never really thought about toilet paper in that way, but the folks over at Ology did and they did something about it! 
Not only is it made from readily renewable sugarcane husk and bamboo but it is whitened with H2O2 which is a non-chlorine bleach. It is also septic safe and biodegradable.

As the package indicates, Ology Soft and Strong bath tissue is both soft and strong. I'm glad I got this opportunity. Their motto even resembles mine:

I choose to live well, therefore, I choose Ology.


You can buy Ology at your local Walgreens or online at

Disclosure: I was sent a Walgreen’s gift card for the purposes of obtaining Ology products to review. No other compensation was offered or received. No suggestions or requests to select specific products within the Ology line were offered. I was in no way obligated to write a positive review and all opinions are mine and mine alone.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Free Mr. Food eCookbook!

Sign up for the Mr. Food Test Kitchen Recipe eNewsletter and receive "Easy Weeknight Dinners: 20 Recipes for the Busy Cook" free.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Potty Training Diaries

Ladies and gentlemen.....potty training has begun. Finally! My youngest just turned three. I've always heard that they will let you know when they are ready and my other two did. So I waited...and waited....and waited. She was not interested a bit. "I don't wanna go potty!" That was always the response I got when I asked if she wanted to go to the potty "like a big girl". So I stopped asking.

After two and a half years of diapers and six months of pull-ups, we have laid them aside! (cue heavenly music) We are now on day four of this endeavor, still a work in progress, but the end is now in sight! I would like to provide a run down of what has gone on so far because I wish I could find something I could relate to prior to this.

Preparation ~

While I am NOT as organized as I am about to sound, this is what I did to prepare.

Step one - Run really low on pull-ups and DO NOT go out and buy more. I live in a rural area, the nearest Walmart is 35 minutes away so we plan our trips accordingly. This was a BIG step because I recognized that I was using the pull-ups as a crutch just as much as she was.

Step two - Get the big girl panties (back) out. We bought them a long time ago but I would get so discouraged when she would pee in them almost immediately that we gave up too quickly. She didn't care a bit that she was soaking wet.

Step three - Keep the washing machine open and empty. This step is very important. You do NOT want to get caught with poopy panties and no place to put them. (On a side note, my laundry has stayed caught up all week!)

Step four - Take a deep breath and jump right in! Take off the pull-up and put the rest away, to be used only for night time.

You'll want to make sure you don't have many places to go during this transition. Staying home has worked pretty well for us. We've only had one outing since it began and I planned for that by limiting the drinks and taking her to the potty at all three stops.

The pull-ups came off and the panties went on. I have learned to tell her its time to go potty, DON'T ASK! If I ask, she says no. We went to the potty about twenty times on that first day. It seems that when she had a pull-up or diaper on she just went a little at a time. I know this because even when she peed in the floor she still had some left when we went and sat on the potty.

The times that she went when I took her was a very big deal. I am not ashamed to admit that I offered her M&M's with every success (don't judge me, it worked).

I tried not to make a big deal when she wet her panties even though I was screaming on the inside (this is never gonna work!) We just cleaned it up, sat on the potty and put on a clean pair of panties.

I waited until the evening to wash all the panties we went through but I kept soapy water in the machine so I could toss them in there throughout the day.

Stats for DAY ONE - Three puddles in the floor and a half a bag of M&M's but she pooped in the potty for the first time!

We started first thing in the morning, straight to the potty. We took off the night's pull-up and put on the panties. It was a slow start, she seemed to forget about it and reverted back to "I don't care where I pee, even if it is running down my leg."

She even came to tell me that she peed in the floor. Then she had the nerve to ask for some M&M's! Nope! "No M&M's because you peed in your panties instead of in the potty. You have to tell Mommy when you have to go". Her immediate response "I need to go potty".

We had one more puddle in the floor by the end of the day, no big deal.

What was a big deal was the POOP IN THE PANTIES! It was AWFUL! NOT like changing a diaper! Try getting FULL panties off a three year old amidst gagging and retching. She STEPPED IN IT while I was trying to carefully pull them down. I got them off, used about ten baby wipes and hosed her down in the tub. Despite all my misgivings after this horrific event, I still went and got another pair of panties and was BEYOND grateful to have the washing machine ready for just such an occurrence.

Stats for DAY TWO - Two puddles, one poop and about a quarter of a bag of M&M's (she is starting to forget about our M&M deal!)

Day three went very well. She only peed in her panties once and actually seemed upset that she did! She's starting to realize that it is frowned upon to have a pee puddle at your feet. I was actually starting think that she would never get to this point but it happened! I assured her that "accidents" were okay and we went straight to the potty where she finished her business. She had actually tried to stop the flow this time!

I caught her "I'm about to poop" face today before the horror of horrors happened again so it was a great day!

Stats for DAY THREE - ONE puddle!

DAY FOUR - The first outing
We used up our last pull-up last night so we HAD to get to the store. I made sure she hadn't drank anything for about an hour and took her to the potty several times before we left (she only went once but I needed to make sure.)

We stopped by my mom's first to see if she needed anything from town and I took her to the bathroom there. (She didn't go) We went from there to Walgreens where she did use the potty (score!) and then we went on to Kroger's. We weren't there long and she still hadn't had anything to drink so we were good. We had one more stop at my mom's pharmacy and since she went to the potty there I thought it was safe to give her a drink for the ride home. Our first outing and NO ACCIDENTS!

In fact, no puddles today at all! She was a little damp once and came to tell me she needed to go! Things are going great!

Throughout this whole experience we have made a really big deal every time she actually used the potty. When family members come over we make sure to let them know that she is "a big girl now" and everyone tells her now great she's doing. We call her daddy everyday (he works out of town) to let him know how its going and so that he can congratulate her too. I was starting to wonder if this day would ever come.

I'll keep this post updated on our progress but its looking really good so far. Anybody else want to share any potty training tips and/or horror stories? Comments are greatly appreciated!

Check out the Potty Training Diaries Part 2 for an update!

Free Nursing Cover ~ Just pay shipping!

FREE Nursing Cover from Udder Covers! Just pay shipping! I checked this out before posting and shipping is $11.90 and they are really nice! There are 6 styles to choose from and they also have nursing accessories. This would be a great baby shower gift! Click Here and use promo code "BABYSAVINGS"