Archive for March, 2008

Redbox Code 03.31.07

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Today’s free code for a Redbox movie is JM17RS. This code is good for one free movie and you can use it until midnight tonight. Enjoy a free family movie together!

Side Notes:

– If you want to rent more than one movie for free, bring more than one credit/debit card. You can use the same promotional code, you just will need different cards to charge it to. The charge will be zero as long as you return your movie on time for the next day.

– When entering in your free movie code, you need to enter it FIRST before picking the movie. On the very first screen, click the, “Rent with Promo.” Enter in the above code and then make your selection- the amount should then total zero.

Family Night: Earth Hour

Monday, March 31st, 2008

I had been looking forward to Earth Hour all week and sharing this experience with my family. We talked to Ethan about why we were celebrating Earth Hour and how much fun we were going to have. Since Earth Hour was between 8-9 PM, it was a special treat for the kids to stay up late and spend the hour with us.

The kids took a bath by candlelight, which they thought was a super fun treat! We filled the tub with lots of bubbles and threw in a couple of whisks and spoons from the kitchen. They whisked up bubbles to their hearts delight and sang fun songs by candlelight.

Ethan thought he looked pretty cool in front of the candles so he took some time out of his busy schedule to pose!

After our baths, we enjoyed a yummy snack while Ryan & I made shadow puppets on the wall for the kids. They thought these were hilarious and super cool!

Ethan had so much fun, he asked if we could celebrate Earth Hour every day! This gave me an opportunity to share with him easy ways he could celebrate AND save the earth. We talked about doing our recycling, turning the lights off when we aren’t in a room, and not being wasteful. Since this family night was such a hit, I hope we can do it with the kids again. Not only did the kids have a blast, but it was super frugal, while being extremely memorable for all of us!

Sound Off: Did you celebrate Earth Hour? How did you celebrate it?

Those Bodacious Blueberry Muffins

Monday, March 31st, 2008

This weekend I made Emily’s, from the wonderful Loria Family Dialogues, Bodacious Blueberry Muffins for a snack. I happened to have some of my crumb topping in the freezer so I added a sprinkle of that on top of each of these.

Wow! These were delicious! I think I might mix up some of the dry ingredients, just like I do for my dinners in a bag, for a quick snack to take to playgroups or potlucks.

With the crumb topping, they tasted like a yummy Blueberry Buckle- delicious! I hope you can try these and a big thanks to Emily for such a wonderful recipe! Now I just need to convince my children and husband that blueberry muffins are delicious (weird people!)

Sunday Savings

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

Baby Cheapskate shares how to you can save an additional $1 off of each package of Huggies Jumbo Diapers.

Freebies 4 Mom shares some fun sweepstakes you can enter- check for this every Saturday on her blog!

Mimi’s Jewel Box has an entry on how you can get 5 Michael Angelo meals for free (after the purchase of 5 meals).

Money Saving Mom tells you the deals this week for CVS & Walgreens– check here before doing your shopping!

Centsible Shopper tells you how to double-dip your rebates. (Thanks Hooray for Free-bates for this tip!)

Earth Hour: A Family Night to Remember

Friday, March 28th, 2008

On March 29, 2008 at 8 p.m., join millions of people around the world in making a statement about climate change by turning off your lights for Earth Hour, an event created by the World Wildlife Fund.

Earth Hour was created by WWF in Sydney, Australia in 2007, and in one year has grown from an event in one city to a global movement. In 2008, millions of people, businesses, governments and civic organizations in nearly 200 cities around the globe will turn out for Earth Hour. More than 100 cities across North America will participate, including the US flagships–Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix and San Francisco and Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

We invite everyone throughout North America and around the world to turn off the lights for an hour starting at 8 p.m. (your own local time)–whether at home or at work, with friends and family or solo, in a big city or a small town. You can sign up today!

What will you do when the lights are off? Visit Crunchy Domestic Goddess for some great ideas for a family night or even a date night with your spouse!

We are planning to participate this year and I hope you will join me!

A Cool Tool for Chores

Friday, March 28th, 2008

To go along with our discussion on rewards programs and chores, my husband happened upon Handipoints, an online program that you can utilize to get your kids to accomplish their chores.

It is set up with a virtual world where they earn points to get things for their very own character!

From TechCrunch:

“Founder Viva Chu started Handipoints in January 2007 with the notion that chore charts would be both more fun and more effective if they were moved online. So he created a site with two main parts: one that helped parents track how their kids helped out around the house, and another that consisted of a virtual world on par with the other pseudo-3D services kids have come to enjoy.

These two parts work closely with one another to create sufficient incentives for kids to do their work. When kids successfully complete activities (such as cleaning their room, taking out the trash, or even brushing their teeth and eating an apple), they gain either of two types of points: so-called “handipoints” that can be redeemed for real-world items such as Nerf guns and toys; and “bonus points” that can be used to buy virtual goods in the online world. Parents determine which type of point, and how many of them, is rewarded for good behavior.

Setting up a system for kids to redeem points for physical goods (or money) was easy enough; all they had to do was hook up Amazon’s APIs and create a custom storefront. But a significant effort has gone into creating an entirely new and appealing virtual world, one that’s replete with different settings, activities, items, and other users.

Like Webkinz, kids can walk around the virtual world and talk to each other using canned chat (where you pick statements from a list instead of typing them). This prevents inappropriate behavior. The graphics are impressive and the functionality is rather sophisticated. In addition to buying items and socializing, users can play in-world games and watch movies (these require points, too).

Most of the service’s virtual goods are free, but the company plans on making money through selling premium goods to parents who want to make them available for their kids.”

I thought this was such a cool concept that I had to share! This might be a fun way to reward chores for kids in the tween category!

MomAdvice Weekly Recap 03.28.08

Friday, March 28th, 2008

Here is this week’s round-up of fun activity. There was a lot going on this week, but lots of great discussion. We talked about our gardens, our parenting woes and solutions, and are still working on all of that spring cleaning. Anyone else feel like their house is going back to square one?

I hope you will check out what we have been up to! Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Featured Article:

Spring Cleaning for Today’s Mom- With spring comes all of the beauty of the changing season. We finally began to see our grass; we enjoy seeing the new buds on our trees, and the sweet smell of a good April shower. What also comes along is the dreaded ritual of spring cleaning. Maybe you went through this awful experience as a child. Your mother would be pulling all the linens, washing the drapes, deep cleaning every nook and cranny of your home and then collapse after a full day of cleaning. I don’t remember this as being a fun ritual for our family and have decided to try a different method of cleaning in our own home…. Continue Reading

Blog Entries for Fun & Discussion:

How Does Your Garden Grow? – I am looking forward to spring, as the snow piles again on the ground, and wanted to discuss gardening plans this year. I also share a list of some great posts that I have read recently on making the most of the gardening season this year… Continue Reading

A Truthful Journey & Then a Party Next month will be the last credit card payment that I hopefully will ever have to make. I am looking for ideas for throwing a debt-free party and am opening the floor up to you…Continue Reading

Just Call Me Ticketmaster We are trying a new reward system in our house, thanks to a great reader tip and a fabulous book that I read. We are trying to overcome our discipline problems with some good old-fashioned beatings… just kidding, some positive parenting….Continue Reading

We Need to Work on Our Letters Ethan is really interested in reading and writing so I shared some things that have worked for us and opened the floor up to discuss what tools you have used to help your children learn to write their letters…Continue Reading

You Discuss: Are Rewards Systems a Bad Idea? – We are having an honest discussion on whether rewards systems are a good tool in parenting? Do you agree with these or notContinue Reading

Don’t miss a single entry and subscribe to my feeds! We have made it easy for you to do it- you are just a click away!

Giving Away the Mother Load!

Another giveaway? Say it isn’t so? This time I am picking ten winners for an amazing prize from Duracell! Each winner will win a set of rechargeable batteries and a portable charger. Head over to The Mother Loot and enter today!! Be sure to read our review on their awesome product!

New Real Mom Reviews:

Ticklebug Changing Kit

dunkluv biscotti

Featured Recipe of the Week:

Better Than Pam Spray

Forum Discussions:

This is Spring Break week for my kids. We have been having fun without spending much money. A trip somewhere wasn’t an option, so we have been doing something fun here everyday… Join the Discussion

I am a first time mom and my daughter is now almost 17 months old. She is showing just about all the signs that she is ready for potty training. My dilemma is that from now until August this year we are going to be doing a lot of traveling, in the car and by plane, and I am not sure this is the best time to start. We have bought a small potty for her and have been getting her acclimated to it. She continually tries to pull her diaper off and lets us know that she is going pee pee or poo poo. She does not let us know that she has to, only when she is going. I am afraid that with all the traveling it will be too much stress on her and on us to potty train her now. She will also be starting daycare in August for socialization. She just loves other children. What do you guys think??… Join the Discussion

Play it Again, Momma!

Did you miss these posts the first time around? Here they are for your reading pleasure!

Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

The Poor & The Sick

Lower Your House Payment

Creative Toy Replacements

How We Accomplish a $50 Grocery Budget

Not enough of me yet?

WSBT: Planning a Cheap Getaway

Frugal Hacks: Quit Being a One Woman Show

Blissfully Domestic: Repurposing the Sandbox

The Daily Special: Spring Cleaning & Healthy Eating

Kenmore: Make Meal Planning Easier

Kenmore: Make Family Meal Planning Easier

Friday, March 28th, 2008

I promised I would share when my first article was up on the Kenmore site and it is finally on there! You can read my tips for making family meal planning easier on their website. I hope that you will find some helpful tips in there for your family!

Next month, I will be sharing tips for green cleaning in the home!

Do you have a question for the make-it-simple team or tips and ideas to share? Send them to [email protected]. Each month, our experts will respond to select questions and we’ll post select user tips and ideas. If we respond to your question or post your tip, you may receive a $10 Sears gift card. Send yours today!

Freebie Friday: March 28, 2008

Friday, March 28th, 2008

A big thanks to Heather, from Freebies 4 Mom, for helping share some of her freebies with our readers. Heather has an awesome website and I love her post this week on using coupons at Bed, Bath, & Beyond or at Linens & Things. Check Heather’s site all week long for some excellent freebies!

Health & Beauty

Stetson Fresh (cologne for men)


Fiber One Caramel Delight (Walmart sample)
Children’s Songs Personalized with First Name (short list, but check it for your child’s name!)

Free admission to Adventures in Travel Expo (Enter promo Code: NGFREE. This is at the Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C from 3/29/08-3/30/08)

Home & Garden
Kohls Save $5 on $5 purchase (when you sign-up for sale alerts)
Swingline Optima Desk Stapler (for taking survey)

Pet Care

Mark your calendars!! Receive a one-on-one beauty makeover from ULTA’s beauty consultants and learn how to get the latest looks with some of the best brands. Plus, you’ll receive deluxe samples from participating brands* to help you start off the season in style. Book your appointment now.
March 28 • Smashbox & NeoStrata
March 29 • Bare Escentuals, MD Formulations & Murad
March 30 • Stila & Fusion Beauty

Mark your calendars!! Starting March 4, 2008, bring the April 2008 cover of Seventeen or a printout of the home page to any Aéropostale store to receive one (1) “Miss Save the World” tank top (approximate retail value: $19.50 each). Forty thousand (40,000) will be given away. One per person. Giveaway ends April 8, 2008. While supplies last.

Mark your calendars!! Free ink refills will be available at Walgreens on April 2, 2008. They do not refill any Epson or Canon cartridges, but they do fill a number of Lexmark, HP, and Dell. Call your local Walgreens to find out if they fill your cartridge. You get 1 color OR black free refill per person so if you need two cartridges filled, bring a friend or you have to pay for the second one. Also, this deal is VERY popular, so don’t go in on free day thinking you’ll get your cartridge back soon. It’s usually returned to you later that day, even up to 24 hours-3+ days for busier stores. (Thank you My Coupons)

Here’s to the Heroes!!
Complimentary admission for active duty military representing all five service branches, active members of a reserve or National Guard unit, and/or up to three direct dependants. Valid for one complimentary single-day admission per person, per year, to one of the following Anheuser-Busch Adventure Parks:
o SeaWorld Orlando, San Diego, or San Antonio
o Busch Gardens Tampa Bay or Williamsburg
o Sesame Place
o Aquatica
o Adventure Island
o Water Country USA
Offer valid between 1/1/2008 and 12/31/2008. Operating days and hours vary by park.
Please check with specific park for current operating schedule. Visit their site for more details!

Starting April 8, 2008, bring the May 2008 cover of Seventeen or a printout of the home page to any Steve & Barry’s store to receive one (1) Rose Ring in the color of your choice from the Dear by Amanda Bynes Spring ’08 collection (approximate retail value: $8.98 each). Ten thousand (10,000) will be given away. One per person. Giveaway ends May 8, 2008. While supplies last. Visit their site for more details!

April 12 – YMCA Healthy Kids Day

April 19 – Walmart 1 Million Reuseable Bag Giveaway starts at 8 am
April 29 – Ben & Jerrys 30th Annual Free Cone Day
April 30 – 31 Cent Scoop Night at Baskin-Robbins to honor America’s firefighters

Another giveaway? Say it isn’t so? This time I am picking ten winners for an amazing prize from Duracell! Each winner will win a set of rechargeable batteries and a portable c
harger. Head over to The Mother Loot and enter today!! Be sure to read our review on their awesome product!

You Discuss: Are Reward Systems Bad Ideas?

Friday, March 28th, 2008

We are having a fun discussion on a rewards program that I have decided to start with my son. You can read our story here and our great day yesterday.

I did get some comments that I thought would be fun to discuss. Trust me, that if you do not agree with implementing a rewards system in your home that I completely respect that. After all, this is our first attempt trying something like this. What I had been doing was not working so that is why we are making these efforts.

Here were some of the questions that people had:

I had a question that maybe other commenters can help with. Does there come a time where the tangible rewards no longer matter so much and you phase out the charts, etc.? I’m thinking it may take a certain maturity level which would vary widely, I’m sure, but I just wasn’t sure if once you start this system you’ll be following it for years? Thanks!

This sounds wonderful and a lot of fun even. But I’m hesitant to try it for 3 reasons so I would LOVE to see more people post how this works out for them.

1) What do you do when tickets aren’t enough incentive? Those days compliance just isn’t happening? I’d still have to build a whole lot of “just in case” time into our routine?

2) Would this undo the things my son does just because he knows its right to do and make him start thinking there should be a reward for every little thing? When I was having a back problem it was really painful to buckle ds into his booster seat so I bribed him with a toy he’d been wanting (a pokemon ball) – “if you buckle yourself into the car every trip for a week you can have it.” A plan born of desperation when I realized I couldn’t lean over and pull the buckle across him when I needed to be somewhere and my back was spazzing and I knew he could but was being difficult. When it came time to go pick it out he wanted two. I told him no but he could figure out a way to earn the other one and all of a sudden he wanted to earn it simply by doing things he’s been doing “right” all along. So I set another challenge – tying his shoes. For this I pick behaviors/skills I’m pretty sure he is totally capable of but being stubborn about. So when the week of belt-buckling was over and he tried to regress it was “Nu-uh, no way mister, I KNOW you can do it.”

3) Is there burn-out with this? My son had a chore chart to earn some things he was pestering me for. It lasted about a week and then he didn’t want the things anymore. And when we were taking away toys because he wouldn’t pick them up he could earn them back by having a no-timeout day at school but then he wised up, quit losing the toys by cleaning up always but school is still if-y. He even can earn $ for helpful things (beyond things he should be doing for himself anyway) but he just doesn’t care about some of that stuff so I find myself having to constantly reinvent praises, consequences, etc. so I’ve gotten to the point I seem severe because I just don’t want to deal with it anymore. I think maybe thats why I like this plan – easy to update and adapt and keep “interesting”?

I don’t like where we are though so I’m willing to give anything a try. So I’ll be watching this one!

So what happens when he gets older and is simply doing what he is supposed to, and doesn’t get a reward? Should doing those things that are basic daily living activities come with any reward other than that which the activity itself gives? Life deals positive and negative reinforcements, whether we like it or not. Shouldn’t the discipline of our children be similar? The idea of making the good and bad consequences known for a task seems to make much more sense for me. Where there is no risk, there is no reward.

My Answer:
I just want to begin by stating that this program and techniques were backed after years and years of research and come straight from the 2008 president of the American Psychological Association and head of the Yale Parenting Center.

This system is focusing on a defiant child who does not want to cooperate in the home. It is meant to reinforce positive behavior in your child.

Our children will all one day have to go out in the real world and get a job. When my son goes to his job, he will be paid for his hard work. If he doesn’t go to work, he will lose money and not be able to buy the things he wants. This is the same with this ticket program and will teach him that he will be rewarded for the good things he does, not only with the tickets which will earn him the right to gain a privilege in the home, but also that he will be praised and recognized for the good stuff he is doing. It is a form of positive parenting and I think there is nothing wrong with wanting to be a positive mommy. What I was doing was not working for me.

If the idea of “you do what you are supposed to” works for people, I am all for that! We are talking about parenting a five year old child who isn’t doing anything he is supposed to and can become volatile at times when he is forced to do things. I don’t intend to give him tickets when he is a teenager, but I think a ticket or reward system is ideal for giving our children the building blocks they need to learn how to behave. My hope is that through a program like this (again with years of research backed on it) that my child will grow up into a successful young man who was raised in a positive environment. Who can fault a family for that?

And what seem daily living activities to us (for example, going to school) are difficult for my son and I am teaching him a positive reward for doing the things he doesn’t like or does not want to do. We are teaching him how rewarding it can be to do what we are supposed to!

I would definitely recommend checking out the book, if you are truly interested, because it explains it a lot better than I ever could!

I also want to add that the book does have chapters devoted towards negative behavior and how to deal that. For our age range, it is a time-out where they get no attention at all. Another negative consequence is not getting any tickets or attention for doing bad things.