Thursday, September 29, 2011

And The Mini Tutu Purse Goes To...

    Hi! I would like to thank all of my blog followers for following!
I originally intended to put the names of all of the entries on slips of paper, then have one of my kids pull one from a hat. I was going to take pics and everything. BUT my other computer is on the fritz (screen keeps freezing and jumbling every 5 minutes. ugh!) And this older computer... well, I just can't seem to find a slot for a mini or micro SD card... yeah, it's that old.

     I decided to give each entry a number in the order that they posted...
  1. Evin
  2. Our Lives Together
  3. Ashley Hollibaugh
  4. SantinoAmy
     Then I went to and entered in the max, clicked "Generate", and here is what I got:

Congratulations Ashley!
You were chosen to receive a Mini Tutu Purse from Piper Pixies Tutus!!!!

This first giveaway was a lot of fun! I look forward to doing more giveaways in the future. Thank you to those who participated!

Thursday Review: Eucerin Calming Body Wash Daily Shower Oil

    I was given a couple of  .5 oz bottles of Eucerin Calming Body Wash, along with about 4 other different trial-sized products from my kids' pediatrician's office. I was happy to get the samples, I mean, who doesn't like free stuff? Am I right? Plus, I really like the Eucerin brand. We have been buying their facial moisturizer for years.

    When I poured the calming body wash in my hand, I noticed that it had a texture different from other body washes. I expected something that would suds up, but this barely did. It had more of a baby oil feel to it. Okay. That's fair. After all, it does say "Daily Shower Oil" on the bottle. I kept a positive attitude and an open mind, even though I was worried that it might go on a bit thick and be difficult to wash off, but it really wasn't. I actually kind of liked the texture of it.

    ...and then things took a turn for the worse...

    When I read "Calming Body Wash", I thought maybe it would have a nice lavender scent or something. Then I noticed the words "Fragrance Free" near the bottom.  Fine. I cam deal with fragrance free. In fact, it's probably better. WRONG! This stuff may not have artificial fragrances added to it, but it certainly isn't "fragrance free".  The scent is one that sort of sneaks up on you bit by bit... then it see,s overwhelming. It smells like fish. Not a nicely seasoned grilled salmon steak. Fish. Yucky, smelly, fish. Seriously, I almost gagged. It was that bad.

    I picked up the bottle to look at the ingredients. Since it was a sample size, there were no ingredients listed. I did; however, read this on the back: "Mild cleanser with the skin soothing benefits of natural omega oils to relieve and calm dry, itchy skin." Hmmm... Omega oils... THAT'S the fishy smell!

    Would I use this product again? Not likely.
    Would I recommend it? Normally, no. But, if someone had really dry, itchy skin, and was willing to try ANYTHING to relieve it, I would tell them about it and leave the decision to them. After all, the product is good. It is just ruined by the fishy smell.

Overall Rating: ¢¢

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Website Wednesday: Stumbleupon

    Have you ever wished that you could go online and have the entire internet custom fitted to you and your interests?  What if I told you that you CAN! Okay, maybe not the entire internet, but a good portion of it anyway. has come up with a winning formula to connect you to sites that may be of interest to you. It is easy to get started, too. Just use your facebook account or your email address to sign up. After you are signed up and logged in, simply select categories that you find interesting. Now you are ready to stumble! Click on the stumble button and a webpage associated with one of your selected interests will come up. If you like it a lot, clock the "thumbs up" button, and Stumbleupon will save it to your favorites. If you don't like it at all, click the "thumbs down" button. Using these buttons will help Stumbleupon further customize sites that may be of interest to you. Of course, you can always choose not to use these buttons, and still have a good stumbling experience.

    So, what if you don't want to stumble all of your interests at once? You can select a category. Say you want inspiration for a new crochet project. Just type "crochet" into the Explore an Interest box and start stumbling. You will get tons of sites related to crocheting! Same for recipes, sports, video games, etc.

    Do you want to share the fun? On Stumbleupon, you can add your friends to your friends list. You can send them messages, and see what their favorite pages are. And if there is something that you simply MUST share with your friends, you can click the share button. You can then post it to your facebook wall!

    I guarantee, once you start stumbling, you will not get bored! In fact, Stumbleupon can be somewhat of a time warp. You can spend hours on the site without even realizing it!

   Click Here To Visit Stumbleupon

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Giveaway Announcement

    Hooray! I have reached more than 25 blog followers!
I am announcing the closing of the sign-up for my drawing for a Mini Tutu Purse from Piper Pixies Tutus.
You can sign up until 11:59pm Wednesday, September 28th (Pacific Time).
After that time, I will no longer be able to accept any more entries. I will announce the lucky blog follower who will receive the mini tutu purse.... hmmm... probably on Thursday September 29th or Friday September 30th. So be sure to check back!

Click here to go to the sign-up page. 

Tuesday Review: Metro PCS: Part 2

    Okay, so, I wasn't planning on doing a second review post on Metro PCS... but I was doing a little reading, and I HAD to share what I found out. I want to say first, that I make it a point to not read other reviews on a product that I am reviewing BEFORE I actually review it. I think it keeps me more honest. I mean, if I read something bad about a product I probably wouldn't want to try it. If I went ahead and tried it anyway, then I might, subconsciously, sabotage the whole experience. I wouldn't want that to happen.

    Over the weekend, I noticed that I was getting a few hits on my blog just from people searching "Metro PCS" from a couple of different search engines. My first reaction was, "Cool! My blog actually made it into search engine results!" ... not Google, but Okay, I'll take what I can get! I went to one of the search engines and entered my query. I scrolled down the list of results, and sure enough, there I was! Then  another result caught my eye... and another... and another... they were all sites with complaints about Metro PCS. I clicked on one and read a review from a neighboring city. No doubt that this poor lady shopped at one of the very same stores that my husband or I have been to. You can read about her experience HERE. She is Andrea from Citrus Heights, her post dated 9/6/11. Be sure to read some of the other complaints while you are there. 

   As I was reading from that site, and others, I found myself nodding in agreement. I can identify with what almost all of those customers went through. I am amazed that Metro PCS is still in business with the way they treat their customers. See for yourself HERE and HERE and HERE. I know there are more, but you will get a good idea of why you should not do business with Metro PCS just by reading these.

    Please feel free to share your experiences here in a comment. Also, if there is another carrier that you would recommend or not recommend, please feel free to share those, as well. 

(Click HERE to see my original post about Metro PCS)



Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thursday Review: Metro PCS

Are you considering Metro PCS as your cell phone carrier? Do you think that the $29 Android phone that Metro PCS been advertising is a great deal? Well, you may want to read this first.

    Sure, Metro PCS cell phone service is inexpensive. That's nice. You get unlimited talk, text and web on a smart phone for around $50 a month. Plus you get other neat little things like unlimited 411, conference calling, and voicemail. Sounds like a really great deal, right?

    ... Then the other shoe drops... THUD! Let's see... where should I start? How about coverage area? While coverage area has improved quite a bit in recent years, it still isn't as good as other carriers. I mean, even Walmart's Straight Talk has a better coverage area than Metro PCS. (They  have a lot of better features than Metro PCS, but that's another blog post. lol) While I admit, I have never tried calling out of the country with a Metro PCS phone, I do know that you cannot call out to places like Alaska. And are you heading out into the mountains... say... going over the hill from Sacramento to Lake Tahoe or to Reno? Forget about being able to call someone if you break down along the way. With Metro PCS, you will get a bit of spotty coverage here and there, but nothing reliable for most of the trip.

   Now for the next issue- Customer Service. Customer service is a big deal, in my book. If we are going to fork over hard earned money, and you don't have the decency to give us good customer service, then why on Earth should we help to line your pockets? We'll go somewhere else, thank you very much. First I'll talk about when you call them. If you are activating a new phone, the customer service isn't that bad. See how they lure you in? But if you call for ANYTHING else, forget about it. After jumping through hoops and yelling at the automated voice thingy that never understands what you said, you have to wait on hold for a long time to get a live person... if you can even get that far in the first place. The last two times I called, I wasn't able to get to a real person at all. Most of the customer service reps that I WAS able to get ahold of in the past few years, have been very unprofessional and sometimes outright rude. I recall one time, after holding for about 20 minutes,  being told that the computers were down, and I'd have to call back later. No apologies or anything. When I was about to ask when a good time to call back would be, I was hung up on. Nice.

    Going into a Metro PCS Store is not much different. If you are buying a new phone or accessories, the clerks are ready to help you. But if you have a question about your service or you want to pay your monthly bill, you're not so lucky. They just direct you to the automated bill pay machine for paying your bill, or hand you a brochure for the questions on your coverage. And don't even think about trying to return a car charger that, just the day before, the clerk insisted would work with your phone, but it didn't. When my husband tried to return his, they told him that they would not take the return. He had the receipt and everything. We have been to many different Metro PCS store locations... I don't mean the authorized dealers... the METRO PCS Stores themselves. I kid you not, EVERY store is the same! Last week, my husband went into a Metro PCS Store (in a nice neighborhood, as if that should even matter) to check out the $29 Android phone deal that they had been advertising on the radio and on TV. Well, the clerk told him that it was only for those who wanted to add a line to their existing service. When my husband told him that they didn't say that in either of their ads, and asked the clerk to check to be sure, the clerk got really rude and unprofessional. At this point my husband pointed out that they are just doing a "bait and switch", just to get people into the store. My husband asked to speak to the manager, and the clerk went over and whispered with her. The manager went to my husband and asked him to leave the store. When he asked her for her name and for the phone number for their corporate manager, she refused to give him both. This is how Metro PCS treats a customer that has been doing business with them for over 7 years.

    I have talked with quite a few other Metro PCS customers and they all have similar stories. Many of them left the service due to poor customer service.
    So, to sum it up, Metro PCS provides inexpensive cell phone service, mediocre coverage area, and very poor customer service.

Overall Rating: ¢

    Are you a Metro PCS customer? I would love to hear what you think about them.

Click here to go to Metro PCS part 2 for more information and links to other Metro PCS horros stories.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Website Wednesday:

    Sure, you know how to read, but do your preschoolers know how? Okay, I know that isn't fair. But seriously, if you have young children who are learning to read, you should check out

Starfall Learn to Read

    Starfall has really great kindergarten reading curriculum and a ton of fun reading games for your early readers. My kids have started with Starfall as young as 3 years old- with help, of course. When they are a bit older, they are able to navigate the site themselves and choose the stories and games on their own. Which is great, because if I need to cook dinner, make phone calls, or just want a bit of quiet time, I can set the younger kids up at the computer on I know that they are going to be happy and they will be doing something educational at the same time. Best of all, it's FREE!

    From the main index page, you can select your child's reading level. Select "ABCs" for children who are just learning the letters and the sounds that they make. "Learn to Read" has simple, skill building stories and fun supporting educational games for beginning readers. Choose "It's Fun to Read" for some interactive reading fun. "I'm Reading" is perfect for children who know how to read. It allows them to practice what they know and reinforce the skills they have. 

    Starfall has printable worksheets, too. If you ask me, it's a great way to get the kids off of the computer when their turn is over. Because, believe me, once they start on, they won't want to stop! Come on Moms... you know that battle, right? The printables are an excellent bribe solution. When your child's turn is over, simply help him/her choose a fun printable book or worksheet and get them excited about doing it. It makes the transition MUCH easier.

    While you are checking out the site, don't forget to take a look at the Starfall Store. You can order books, CD-ROMs, plush characters, stickers and more!

    There are so many great things about, that I can't list them all here. Please check it out for yourself. Starfall Learn to Read   You can access most of the site for free. You don't even have to sign up for a membership. OR for just $35, you can gain full access to "More Starfall", where your children can discover more phonics and reading, math, colors, songs, nursery rhymes, stories, and much more! You will also get access to the Starfall Kindergarten curriculum.

   As I was further exploring the Starfall website while taking notes for this post, I came across their "feedback" link. I decided to contact Starfall and tell them that my kids and I enjoy their site so much, that I am doing a blog post about them. Kimberly, from Starfall, emailed me back right away (impressive!) and guess what!!!
    She is offering all of my readers a FREE 30-day preview membership of their "More Starfall"!!!!
   How awesome is that???  Here is part of what she said:

  "...I am more than happy to offer free 1-month previews of
More.Starfall to you and all your readers.  You can let them know to
email us at and we'll send them an access code
good for 1-free month of membership."

    So send them an email, and tell them that you read about them at Smart Cents Review.
And just so that you know, this wonderful offer has no influence whatsoever on my review of I was going to tell you all how great it is anyway!

    From just starting to learn the alphabet, all the way to reinforcing early reading skills, is a great resource for teachers, homeschoolers,  parents and their young readers.

Overall Rating: ¢¢¢¢¢

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday Review: Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt

    Let me start this review honestly. I do not like yogurt. I will not eat it in the house. I will not eat it with a mouse. I will not eat it here or there... you get the idea. The strange thing is, I very much want to like yogurt. I figure, if I liked yogurt, it would be very easy to snack on a nice low-fat yogurt instead of a doughnut, or a candy bar, or cookies. Mmmmm.... cookies....
... wait, what was I talking about? Oh yeah... yogurt. Yogurt would be the perfect substitute for the junk food that my sweet tooth craves. But... I don't like yogurt.

   Wanting to find a yogurt that I might actually like, I asked around. I kept getting the same answer- try Greek yogurt. Okay. Okay. I will try it, you will see.
If I am going to try it, it may as well be a flavor with one of my favorite fruits- BLUEBERRIES! Yum! I bought the blueberry Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt with the fruit on the bottom. I opened it up and looked at it... um... maybe fruit on the bottom wasn't such a good choice for me. I gave it a good stir. A really good stir. Then I tasted it...

You know what? I still don't like yogurt. But I have to admit, it was much more tolerable than other yogurts I've tasted. I liked the blueberries. I liked that it was very creamy. I just don't like yogurt. I ended up eating half of it, then giving the rest to my 11 month old. She loved it! My other yogurt loving kids ate the other containers of the yogurt that I bought. They liked it, too.

    It would be unfair to give something a lower rating based on personal taste, and if I had to eat a yogurt, I would eat Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt. Besides, my kids liked it.

Overall Rating: ¢¢¢¢¢

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Frugal Friday: Sept. 16, 2011 Giveaway Info! (CLOSED)

(I am posting this on Thursday evening, since my computer is acting strange & I want to make sure I get it posted by Friday, as promised.)

Sunday Paper Coupon Preview: You should be getting 2 coupon inserts in this Sunday's newspaper: One Smartsource and one Redplum.

What is more frugal than FREE???
...Yeah, I couldn't think of anything either. That is why I am teaming up with Piper Pixies Tutus for a giveaway!


    I would like to announce the opening of the first Smart Cents Review Blog Follower Appreciation Drawing. The random drawing will take place once my blog reaches at least 25 followers. I will announce the closing of the drawing at least 24 hours in advance. This means that I will not be able to accept any more entries after the given time.
    Now for the fun part:

   I have teamed up with Piper Pixies Tutus  For this giveaway. Piper Pixies Tutus has donated one of their most popular items for this giveaway drawing- A Mini Tutu Purse!
    Here is an example of a Mini Tutu Purse made by Piper Pixies Tutus. Actual color and style will vary. This is just an example. 
    "Here is a good example of one of my mini tutu purses.
I can do this or any color and theme." 

 How awesome is that? And if you think that is cute, be sure to check out the other items that Piper Pixies Tutus has for sale. Here are just a few examples:

Do you have something special in mind? Piper Pixies Tutus will make custom orders, as well! I encourage you to check out her page for examples of the fun and awesome things she makes!

Click here to visit Piper Pixies Tutus. Or click on the ad on the upper right side of my blog page.

  Sign up for the random drawing, Click here.

Mini Tutu Purse Giveaway Drawing Sign-up (CLOSED)

Sign up here for the giveaway drawing for a Piper Pixies Tutus Mini Tutu Purse. 
(Please click here to visit this post for details before entering the drawing.)

"Here is a good example of one of my mini tutu purses.
I can do this or any color and theme." 
(This is not the actual giveaway product- colors & style may vary)

To enter the drawing for the giveaway, please read the following rules, then leave your comment below.
Only those who have read and agree to the rules may enter the random drawing. Thank you!

Giveaway Rules
By entering Giveaways and drawings, you must to agree to abide by the following rules.

  • You must be 18 years of age or older
  • You must be signed up as a follower of this Blog- Smart Cents Review 
  • You may enter each giveaway only once, unless otherwise stated.
  • You understand that Smart Cents Review will post the date of the random drawing a minimum of 24 hours before the drawing takes place. Entries will be accepted up until the posted time of the closing of the drawing. The winner of the drawing will be announced within 48 hours of the posted closing time.
  • You understand that in the event that you are randomly chosen to receive the giveaway item, you will have 7 days from the day that the winner is announced to provide Smart Cents Review and/or the contributing vendor your contact information, so that we may get the item to you.
  • You understand that if your contact information is not given within 7 days, you waive your right to the item, and it is free to go to another party.
  • You understand that we respect your privacy and we will not share, sell, or give away your contact information. 
  • You understand that the person chosen to get the giveaway item will be chosen at random.
  • You agree that any/all giveaways and/or drawings are for fun only and have no monetary value.
  • You agree that by entering any drawing or giveaway, you agree to these rules.
Thank you.

To enter the drawing, please read and agree to the above rules, then copy the following statement and paste it as a comment below. (In this post, only)

I have read and agree to the rules of this giveaway and I would like to enter the random drawing.

Thursday Review: Revlon Revisited

Revlon Nail Enamel... Take Two.

    You may recall a couple of weeks ago when I reviewed Revlon Nail Enamel. I was unhappy with the one I tried, but thought that the bottle may have just been left on the drugstore shelf too long. Ok, and perhaps my incessantly shaking of the bottle MAY have had a tiny bit to do with it. (Thank you Linda. LOL)
I felt that it was only fair that I try another bottle and review it again.

    This time, I took my $1 off coupon to one of the busiest Walmart stores in the area. I figured that buying the nail enamel from there would ensure that the bottle hadn't been sitting around beyond its prime.

    I chose color 912 Posh Pink. Again, I love the color! I really have to give that to Revlon. Their color selection is awesome! The nail enamel went on much smoother than last time. I did have to apply a second coat because the first was slightly streaky, but it didn't go on thick, goopy, or bubbly at all. I really like the sheen and it didn't take terribly long to dry.
    I am much happier with the Revlon Nail Enamel this time. I wish that I could get away with just applying one coat; nevertheless, I will buy it again. Did I mention that Revlon has a spectacular color selection?

Overall Rating: ¢¢¢¢

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Website Wednesday:

    I love to cook. I like trying out new recipes and altering recipes to my family's tastes. One day, about 4 years ago, I was searching online for a particular recipe. To be honest, I don't even remember what recipe it was. I do remember the website I found it on, though. It was
    As I navigated the website, I continued to find more and more things that I liked. They have since added even more features. But, to me, it's the basic overall design that keeps me going back.
 While the site is heavily moderated by Allrecipes staff, it is very user-driven. Most of the recipes are submitted by members. It can sometimes take quite a while for the recipes to be tested by the staff and published. And sometimes recipes never make it. The Allrecipes staff did add a feature, though. Members are able to add their own personal recipes to their profile, so that they can share them with other members.

    Members can rate recipes they make and leave detailed reviews. The reviews are one of my favorite features. Many include advice and tips relevant to the recipe... add a little more salt... maybe a little less sugar... more cooking time is needed... etc. This is very helpful!

    Members can submit photos of the recipes they try. The photos range from basic looking pictures taken from a cell phone cameras (guilty):
My picture of
Hearty Raisin Bread beautiful works of art, both in photography and in presentation, like these:

Japanese Chicken Wings
Photo by AR member: Nandabear
Florida Strawberry Muffins
Photo by AR member: Scotdog

Brownie Torte
Photo by AR member: Mallinda
Another great feature is the "Recipe Buzz". Are you looking for a recipe for a casserole that you had as a child, but only know a few ingredients? Do you need ideas for next week's potluck? Do you simply want to do something different when your family sighs, "Chicken again???"? The Recipe Buzz is a geat place to put in a recipe request. Other Allrecipes members will help you find the perfect recipe. They will answer questions, too! Do you want to know the difference between balsamic vinegar and red wine vinegar? Or what it means to beat egg whites to stiff peaks? Or why your cookies always go flat? Just ask. Someone is bound to have the answer!

    Basic membership to Allrecipes is free, or you can become a supporting member for a small fee. Supporting members get added features like a place on the site to blog and customizable printing options.

    Allrecipes is a great resource for seasoned cooks and new cooks, alike. 
 Overall Rating: ¢¢¢¢½

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tuesday Review: Garamimals Foot Rattles

Do you have a baby? 
Do you know a baby? 
Do you know someone who is going to have a baby?
Are you going to have a baby?

    If you answered "yes" to any of the questions above, or if it is possible that you could sometime in the future answer "yes" to any of the questions, please read on.
    If you answered "no" to all of those questions, be forewarned: Reading on may make you want to answer "yes" to one or more of those questions.

    How many things are cuter than a baby first discovering his/her feet? In the grand scheme of things, not many! Am I right? Do you know what makes it even more fun when the little tyke tickles the toesies? GARANIMALS FOOT RATTLES! These adorable little foot rattles promise minutes of fun for your little one. (That's like hours to you and I).

    Garanimals make foot rattles for both girls and boys. My baby is a girl, so those are the ones I am showing. They have a lightweight sock portion and the rattle part is inside the plush head. My daughter likes the contrast of the pink and white pattern almost as much as she likes the panda and giraffe faces.
    I bought the foot rattles for my daughter when she was first discovering her feet. Her kicks would result in a huge smile on her face as she heard the rattling sound... which resulted in more kicking... which resulted in more smiling... and so on.

    Next came the gabbing of the feet. It was cute to watch her try to hold on to the foot rattle, while at the same time, kicking her legs. It was as though she couldn't quite figure out why she couldn't always catch them. It was fun to watch her become more coordinated and more aware, and finally catch the things!  Catching them lead to her trying to chew on the little animal faces, but I prefer to think that she was giving them kisses.

    My daughter is almost 11 months old, and she still loves her foot rattles. She kicks and rattles and grabs the animal faces. She will just laugh and laugh, until she finally pulls them off of her feet and throws them at me. This is when it becomes a game. I put them on her feet, she pulls them off. Giggle. Repeat. Giggle. Repeat. Giggle Repeat.

Garanimals Foot Rattles
Overall Review: ¢¢¢¢¢

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/11 Memorial

    Please join me in a moment of silence for all of those who lost their lives when our country was attacked by terrorists on 9/11. My heart goes out to their families and their loved ones, and to our country as a whole.  I know, though, that they did not die in vain. Their deaths did something for our country that the terrorists never imagined would happen. They united us. They united us as a country, they united us as Americans, and they united us as people. Most of us didn't know anyone personally who lost their life that day, yet we all mourned. We gathered together for candlelight vigils. Patriotism soared. Our country was more united than it had been in years.

    Let us continue to honor those who lost their lives by remembering. Remember what happened that September day, so that it will never happen again. Remember that we stand united. Under God. Indivisible. With liberty and justice for all.
Remember. Because as long as we remember, those deaths will never be in vain.


A Call For Help

    Ten years ago tomorrow, the people of our country opened their hearts and united together to help complete strangers. But this is no surprise. It was not the first time that everyday people extended a hand, and it certainly wasn't the last. That is the spirit of who we are, as people. Even if we think that there is nothing we can do, we somehow find a way to do SOMETHING.

    I wasn't planning on posting anything on my blog today. Then I read this (please give it a read):

Help Somebody. Just do it.

From there, I read about the Martin family. A family with 8 kids, whose house is flooded. Please read about them here: Have you ever lost it all?

It really moved me. I wanted to run out and do something to help. The problem is, I am in Northern California, not Central Texas or Pennsylvania. I know there are stores in my area that are taking donations for both the fires and the floods, and I will donate when I go. But I want to do something NOW, so I am helping to spread the word. I am hoping that even just one person reads this and is moved to do something. (Of course it would be way better if more than one person can help, but you know what I mean.)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Frugal Friday: Sept. 9, 2011

    Hi! Make sure you pick up your Sunday newspaper this week! Depending on your region, you could get up to 4 inserts this week. One of my sources shows 1 Redplum insert, 2 Smartsource inserts, and 1 General Mills insert. Another shows that it is 2 Redplum and 1 Smartsource... and the General Mills. So, I am not sure which one there will be 2 of, but either way, it should be good! I am thinking that I will pick up two papers this week.
Check your local Dollar store, you can sometimes get a great deal on your Sunday paper. My local paper's Sunday edition is $2.00. A lot of times, I just go to the Dollar Tree and buy 2 for the same price. 
Oh, and make sure that the inserts are in there when you buy the paper. I have picked up 3 or 4 papers without the inserts. Not cool. 

    So, now what? If you're like me, there are often old newspapers piling up. OK. They can be recycled. But what else do you do with your old newspapers? 

Here are some of the things I have done:

  • With 6 kids, things spill. A lot. Newspapers are super absorbent. 
  • Newspapers are great for washing windows.
  • Newspapers are fun for paper mache.
  • They are great for putting under the kids' craft projects and painting projects.
  • Send the kids on an ABC hunt- they find all of the letters in the alphabet by searching through a page of the paper.
  • Use some to help start the BBQ grill. We use it with our chimney charcoal starter.
  • Use them to line the bottom of a pet's cage.
Please chime in with your ideas!

    One more thing before I wrap today's post up. Please stay tuned for a GIVEAWAY!
I am working out a giveaway deal with a great Tutu shop. Details to come. 
What I CAN tell you now, is that it will be a "Blog Follower Appreciation Giveaway". The giveaway will take place soon. I will put up a sign-up sheet, and those following my blog can sign up. When I reach at least 25 followers, I will announce the closing of the sign-up. One "winner" will be randomly chosen to receive the giveaway item. So, tell your friends & sign up to follow my blog for your chance to win. More details to come.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Thursday Review: Johnson's Body Care 24-Hour Body Lotion

    Have you ever been hanging out with friends or family listening to some music, when suddenly a song comes on that you can't help but to sing along with? You turn the volume up a bit, then start belting out the lyrics along with the tune. Suddenly everyone starts laughing. What is it? Why are they laughing? Once they compose themselves, they clue you in... It's "There's a bad moon on the rise" NOT "There's a bathroom on the right".
If so, you might like my little story that goes along with Johnson's Body Care 24 -Hour Body Lotion.

    It started 11 months ago when our youngest daughter was born. While I was at the hospital, my husband and kids put together a gift bag for our newborn daughter and me. One of the items in the gift bag was a tube of the Johnson's lotion. Now, maybe it was my lack of sleep, or maybe it was just that I was too preoccupied marveling over our sweet little girl to notice, but whatever the reason, I read it as Johnson's  Baby Care 24-Hour Baby Lotion. I mean, it came in a pink tube and it smells a little bit like the baby lotion, after all.

    The lotion was great. I would use it occasionally on my daughter's delicate skin. It kept her skin so soft and always made my hands feel soft and smooth. I like it so much that I would even "sneak" it for my own use from time to time (it is great for the elbows!). It only takes a tiny bit of this lotion, so one tube has lasted us a long time.

   A couple of weeks ago, I was brainstorming ideas of products to review for my blog. I remembered how much I like this "baby" lotion, so I put it on my list. Well, a few nights ago, there I sat, pencil in hand, getting ready to write the rough draft of my review in my notebook. Wanting to get the name of the lotion exactly right and not remembering if it was Johnson's or Johnson & Johnson (yes, now I know that they are one in the same), I looked at the tube of lotion only to realize for the very first time that this is not Baby Lotion at all. It is Body Lotion. Nowhere on the entire tube is the word "baby". Believe me, I looked. Everywhere. It's not there.

   I suppose I should be a little embarrassed that this one little detail has escaped my attention for nearly a year. Maybe I am... Just a little... But I choose to look at the bright side of things. Now I don't have to feel bad for "sneaking" it from time to time and using it for myself!

Johnson's Body Care 24-Hour Body Lotion
Overall Rating: ¢¢¢¢¢

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Website Wednesday:

 Chances are, if you have kids, you've either been to a Chuck E. Cheese's or you've consciously avoided Chuck E. Cheese's. If you go there from time to time, or if you plan on caving in to your children's pleads, Then I recommend you visit their website first.

    The Chuck E. Cheese's website has cool little arcade-style games for kids to play. Kids like that sort of thing. But, there are things that the grownups like too- things like coupon deals... and tools to help bribe encourage your kids to do things like get good grades or clean their room. They even have a game that allows kids to win tickets for the prize counter.

   Navigating the website, you can: find restaurant locations, view the menu and nutritional information, book parties, learn about fundraising, buy gift cards, and play games; but my favorite features of the site are the coupons page and the promotions page.

From the coupons page, you can print coupons to use on food and/or tokens. They even allow you to combine coupons in the same visit! You can also sign up for their Email Club. You will get exclusive coupons right in your inbox.

From the promotions page, you can:

Print Rewards Calendars - These are printable two-week reward calendars for things your child needs encouraging to do, like- clean their room, do their homework, or brush their teeth. When your child completes the calendar, s/he can take it to Chuck E. Cheese's and trade it in for 10 free tokens.

Check out Tokens For Grades- Your child can take in his/her report card and get up to 15 free tokens for good grades.

You can also learn about Chuck E. Cheese's promotional partners, take advantage of teacher resources, and check out their cool printable activities. is a fun website for kids and a great resource for parents.
Overall Rating: ¢¢¢¢¢

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tuesday Review: Goldfish Flavor Blasted Grahams

   You all know the jingle, right? "The wholesome snack that smiles back until you bite their heads off." Fun! Sure, a bit disturbing, but FUN! My kids like the song. They like the snacks better. Since Goldfish crackers are made with whole grains and they are perfectly sized for little fingers, the decision to buy them was a no-brainer.

    OK, who am I kidding? It's not like I always go into the store, planning to buy Goldfish crackers for the reasons I just stated. The truth is, more often than not, the kids break me down. "Mom, pleeeease? They are so yummy!" Can't blame them when they're right...

   Now, we usually buy the Goldfish crackers, not the grahams.When I saw that the grocery store was having a sale on Goldfish, and I had a coupon for the Goldfish Grahams, I thought it was the perfect time to give them a try. Apparently, I wasn't alone with that plan. There were only a few packages of Goldfish left on the shelves. I managed to find a package of the Xtra Chocolatey grahams and one of the Vanilla Cupcake grahams.As soon as the kids saw me put them in the cart, they were excited to try them.

Goldfish Flavor Blasted Grahams- Vanilla Cupcake
While these have a good vanilla flavor, I don't really think "vanilla cupcake" when I bite into them. They taste more like vanilla wafer cookies. They are "flavor blasted" with something that looks like it is supposed to resemble cupcake sprinkles... if you look really close. It makes the grahams feel dusty. You know, like the last little bit of cereal in the cereal box. I would like them much more if they didn't have the dusty, messy flavor blast. Simply having them as vanilla grahams, in my opinion, would be better. They have a great flavor. Don't ruin it by trying to stick to the cupcake theme with the powdery sprinkles.
Overall Rating: ¢¢¢¢

Goldfish Flavor Blasted Grahams- Xtra Chocolatey
These taste like the outside of that famous chocolate sandwich cookie ... wait. No one is paying me for this review. That means I can say it, right?
These taste like the outside of an Oreo cookie! YUM! Unfortunately, though, they are also "flavor blasted". Maybe I just don't get it. But again, the dusty, powdery, messy bits are off-putting. Drop the flavor blast and I will buy a lot more.
Overall Rating: ¢¢¢¢

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sacramento Gold Rush Days

If you are in the Sacramento, California area this weekend, be sure to check out the Sacramento Gold Rush Days in Old Sacramento. Admission is free!

Not only that, but Old Sacramento’s museums are open FREE Saturday-Monday during Gold Rush Days 2011, 10 a.m.-5 p.m!
 Sacramento History Museum
California State Railroad Museum
California State Military Museum
Wells Fargo History Museum
Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum

Check out the official Gold Rush Days site here.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thursday Review: Mega Bloks- Maxi Blocks

    I am sure that everyone is familiar with Mega Bloks. My kids have just been having so much fun with them lately, that I thought I would write about them.

    The kids have collected a few of the classic bags of the Maxi size Mega Bloks. I like the Maxi size for a few reasons. First, it allows the kids to build something BIG. And building something big is FUN! Second, we don't have to worry about our baby getting a hold of them. In fact, she loves playing with them too. OK, so she mostly just bangs them together or throws them, but if you saw the huge smile on her face when she does it, you'd understand just how fun it is. Now, the main reason I like the Maxi sized blocks is that they are easy to clean up. Have you ever gotten up in the middle of the night, half asleep, stumbling into the kitchen for a drink of water, only to suddenly "find" the one tiny block that was missed at cleanup time? Yup, just stepping on one of those little suckers is enough to make you want to throw all of them in the trash! OUCH!
    Back to the fun part. My kids are awesome! They have promising futures in architecture and engineering, and we owe it all to Mega Bloks. OK, maybe that statement is a little extreme. But playing with the Mega Bloks sure brings out their creativity. Here are a few of their "masterpieces".

    See what I mean? Fun, right? Do you know what else is fun? Using the blocks as teaching tools for preschoolers and young children!

They are GREAT for:

Copying. Can you build what I build?

Sorting. Sort by color, shape, or size.

Patterns. Which color comes next?

Math. 3+2=5

  Mega Bloks Maxi Blocks are tons of fun and educational too! They are definitely a family favorite toy!

Overall Rating: ¢¢¢¢¢

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