Archive for July, 2008

Me on You Tube: Getting To Know Your Dishwasher

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

I have to say that I am QUITE nervous about all of this, but wanted to share with you the latest project that I am working on. Wal-Mart is partnering with You Tube and will be offering a new feature on their site, sharing video footage of how moms save money. They did some research and picked a handful of bloggers to help them kick this new feature off and sent us Flip Video cameras to document ways that we have found to save our family money.

I am very excited to be included and will be sharing more ways that moms can save through this feature. I do want to be honest with you and let you know that I am not being paid by their company at all and that I am under no obligation to promote Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart products, or am asked to say anything in my segments. The payoff for me will hopefully be getting our website name out there to other people and to have the opportunity to make our community here larger and stronger. It also is a great way to build stronger relationships with the other participants and collaborate together on projects.

Working in this format is new for me so please be patient. I tried to do a fun intro and I am looking forward to your feedback. What would you like me to cover? Is there something you would like to see in my house or in my kitchen? Please let me know and I will try to include the things that will appeal to you guys!

I really appreciate all your support and feel very blessed to have such great readers!

Amy’s Notebook 07.31.08

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

These newspaper party hats would be a fun craft to do with my daughter (@ Maya Made)

This rainy day rainbow would be a creative way to use up scrap paper (@ No time for flash cards)

I want to bookmark all of these new knitting projects (@ Knitty)

I want to attempt my first homemade pie crust (@ Saucy Eats)

We will have to put a hold on some of these kindergarten books at the library (@ Let’s Explore)

These baby burp cloths would make a wonderful baby shower gift (@ Make & Takes)

These mini caramel apples would be a great snack for the kids (@ Flickr via Craftzine)

I am loving this sweet memory mobile (@ Polliwog’s Cakewalk)

This crocheted wasp nest is such a great idea (@ Hankering for Yarn)

I want to try this recipe for buttermilk pancakes (@ shelterrific)

I am loving these tiny pinatas (@ not martha)

Here is another great example of what you can do with salad spinner painting (@ plum pudding)

This chalk paint looks like a winner for keeping the kids busy this summer (@ whatever)

I am going to have to remember this tip for how to relieve the mosquito bite itches (@ Parent Hacks)

I am really wanting to make some of these DIY dryer balls (@ Casa Sugar)

I want to try these gyros in the slow cooker (@ A Year of Crockpotting)

I love this use for old socks & it would be a fun craft to do with the kids too (@ DIY Maven)

This clay dough would be a great rainy day activity (@ Pepper Paints)

This pirate birthday party is such a cool theme (@ honeyflake via Crafty Crow)

I want to make some of these blueberry crumb bars or some of these blueberry pancakes (@ Smitten Kitchen)

I am hungry for ice cream sandwiches after seeing these (@ My Wooden Spoon)

I want to make this tic tac on the go box (@ Scribbit)

I am loving these iced coffee tips (@ The Kitchn)

At the Car Wash: Part II

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

This summer, the kids really loved getting to wash their own cars, but my neglected car was in need of a car wash too. Isn’t that why we have kids though? Might as well put these able-bodied children to work, that’s what I say!

Emily worked on the car with an old baby washcloth and Ethan used daddy’s official car scrubber.

I loved their looks of total concentration. They took their task very seriously and Emily kept wanting to show us how yucky the water was. I am the same way though when I scrub our floors. I just have to have other people witness the gross factor- you just can’t experience that alone.

I don’t know if I should mention this every single time, but I do feed this kid. These shorts are 3T and falling off of him still. I see pictures like these and feel like I should make a disclaimer- this kid eats me under the table. Oh, to have that metabolism!

Where in the world is their supervisor though? Oh, I think I found him sitting on the step watching the kids work. I don’t think we should ever claim to be parenting experts!

He had to break out the big guns though and show the kids how to clean the roof of the car. They thought this part was hilarious.

What’s a car wash though without a little water play afterwards? Ethan thought this part was definitely the best. Best of all, I have a clean car AND two exhausted workers to prove that this was a family event worth repeating!

Fruits of Our Labor ’08 Edition

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Things are coming along in our garden and I am finally picking some of those tomatoes. This year had been going really smoothly until two things happened.

1. The wascally wabbits found my garden and ate ALL and I mean ALL of my parsley. They barely left me a little stem to remind me of my former giant parsley shrubs I had grown.

2. The wascally Emily witnessed Ethan picking the red tomatoes and has been plucking my green tomatoes for me.

Does anyone have any home remedies for rabbits… or toddlers?

In other gardening news (and things for you to do with all those fruits & veggies):

Preserving Veggies & Saving Money Too (@ Dinner Tonight)
Veggies on the Grill (@ Stop the Ride)
Rosemary & Recipe (@ Urban Garden Casual)
5 Reasons to Start Your Own Garden (@ Blueprint for Financial Prosperity)
Death by Chocolate Zucchini Cake (@ Everyday Food Storage)
Gardening Basics: What to Do With All That Extra Zucchini (@ Get Rich Slowly)
Organic Vs Conventional Gardening (@ Blissfully Domestic)
In the Garden (@ Problem Solvin’ Mom)

How are your gardens doing so far? Are you eating anything yet?

Bloggy Giveaway: $25 Target Card

Monday, July 28th, 2008

School days are returning and who wouldn’t love some money to put towards their children’s school supplies? I am excited to participate again in the Bloggy Giveaways and would like to offer up a $25 Target Gift Card to one lucky winner!

Please leave a comment by Friday (08/01) at 7PM Eastern Time and tell me one way that you keep your family or children organized for returning to school. I am looking for tips for getting your dinner on the table, keeping paperwork organized, managing your day, etc…

I can’t wait to hear your ideas and please look around my site, especially if you haven’t been here before. I specialize in sharing ideas on money management, home management, and ideas for creative parenting.

Don’t forget to head over to the Bloggy Giveaways Carnival and enter to win a whole bunch of cool prizes!

Redbox Code 07.28.08

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Today’s free code for a Redbox movie is JH4KB6. 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.

Mom’s Date Night: Back To School Shopping

Monday, July 28th, 2008

My little supermodel wanted to show off his cool new t-shirt. We wore this out last week to go pick up Ethan’s school supplies and got stopped by tons of people in the store who wanted to pump Ethan up about how great kindergarten was going to be.

I took him for a special date night and we went to go get everything from his list of school supplies, a new backpack, and picked up some of his uniforms. I wish we could have taken advantage of end-of-year clearance on the uniforms, but we weren’t sure if he was going to get in this school or not. The real dilemma was finding enough clothes in his size and that would fit his narrow frame. We had virtually no luck at Wal-Mart and very little luck at Target. It is difficult to find a boy’s size 4 in the appropriate color scheme so I will have to do some additional hunting online for his fall/winter clothes.

$150 in supplies later and we headed over to Wendy’s for a special dinner complete with a Vanilla Frosty.

We couldn’t end our date there though because we had to head to a very special place to get something very special. Yes, Ethan is now a card-carrying adult because he got his very own library card. It was quite exciting to sign his own name, in his very careful script, and then pick out books and check them out in self-check ALL BY HIMSELF! He kept telling the librarian, “Excuse me, ma’am. Excuse me. I am down here.” The librarian laughed and told him that she could see him perfectly, but he kept saying, “Um, ma’am. I’m down here! I need a library card”

The joy in his eyes as we headed out with that little piece of plastic… May that feeling of joy only be replicated with free cards and not a credit card! Isn’t that every parent’s prayer?

What are you doing to get ready for school and when do your kids start? Where have you found the best deals on school supplies?

New Entries For Reading & Watching:

Fruit Roll-Ups Giveaway Results
Playskool Products
Crayola Doodlebags
Veri Meri T-Shirts
WSBT: Getting Kids to Do Chores
Frugal Hacks: Another Summer Gone By

Freebie Friday: July 25, 2008

Friday, July 25th, 2008

I just want to thank Heather, from Freebies 4 Mom, for sharing her list of freebies with us. Heather is looking for your feedback on how you maximize your coupon savings so be sure to swing by and share what is working for you!

Happy Freebie Friday, everyone!

Health & Beauty
Gillette Shampoo – Walmart sample
Kotex – Walmart sample
Kotex – Sam’s Club sample
Alli “We Lost It” book – Walmart sample

Oatmeal Crisp Cereal – Walmart sample
Benefiber – Walmart sample

Disney’s Freaky Friday – watch it today only!
Planet Heroes DVD “The Ace That Jumped Over The Moon”
Motor Trend Magazine
PC World Magazine

Home & Garden

Tide Total Care – Walmart sample

Mark Your Calendars
July – September – Walgreens Take Care Health Tour
July 25 & 26 – Starbucks Vivanno: free for registered Starbucks card holders
July 26 – Lowe’s Build and Grow Clinic: make a tabletop tetherball 10 to 11 am
July & August – John Frieda Salon Tour
August – Staples Teach Appreciation Day look up the date of your store’s event
August – Ultimate Lunchbox samples @ Walmart
August 2 – The Home Depot Kids Workshop: make a flag holder 9 am to noon
August 9 – Lowe’s Build and Grow Clinic: make a mini school locker 10 to 11 am
August 16 – Michaels Back-to-School Event: make a beaded key chain 1 to 4 pm
August 23 – Lowe’s Build and Grow Clinic: make a GMC truck 10 to 11 am
Summer – SunnyD Road Trip is stopping at Walmart stores this summer
September 27 – National Museum Day

A Day at the AirZoo Museum

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

Instead of my usual Notebook Experiment, yesterday we decided to head over to the AirZoo Museum in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I haven’t been to this museum since they participated in the National Museum Day campaign (this will link to the current year & you can mark your calendars for September 27th) with the Smithsonian Museum because they had never participated again. It is a great zoo, but EXPENSIVE! They will be participating in the free day this year though so be sure to head over there then to save some cash! It is worth the drive- i promise! Since we vetoed a family vacation in favor of staycations and occasional day trips out of town, we were able to budget it in for a day trip before Ethan starts school.

We decided to head there with another family because it helps us both to split the cost on gas. We ordered our tickets online, which gave us a savings of fifteen percent if bought three days in advance, and we packed a lunch to eat on the lawn outside the museum. We saved where we could so we could really enjoy this day!

This museum is truly amazing though and boasts the world’s largest indoor mural, which encompasses the entire open space that they have built. It is difficult space to really take pictures in, to truly showcase how cool it looks, because it is very dark in the space. Hopefully, I was able to capture it enough though that you can see just how neat it is.

First, this was pretty much Emily the entire trip. See her fingers in her ears? If we said, “Say CHEESE, Emily!” she would rip this bloodcurdling scream unlike any other child I have ever heard. Yeah, good times! Basically, she is two and she wants us to deal with it! Her TWO is what Ethan’s THREE was- difficult. I love her like mad though!

This is what the museum looks like. Those hot air balloons are actually rides and they have little planes that the kids can ride on too. These rides are great for younger visitors and the museum was practically empty the day we went so the kids just ran and climbed back on the rides about four times, while we sat on the bench sharing a snack with the younger children. For older kids, they have flight simulators that you can try out and a 4-D theater where you feel like you are watching flight scenes from WWII. The kids did not like the movie theater, but they loved the rides.

This is Emily on the balloon ride. I felt like my stomach was doing a zillion flip flops and she was ecstatic the whole entire time. She cried when the rides ended because they were so much fun!

If you know of a good setting to use on your camera in the dark with a moving amusement park ride, please let me know! These were the best shots of the bunch!

Behind the mural, is an area for smaller kids to play with lots of toys and the best part of all…. tons of rides for tots. The rides were the kind that average about $5 each at the mall. All you had to do was press the start button twice and you could ride them for free.

Here is our silly shot! We had a great time at the AirZoo and our son has been pretending he is a pilot ever since!

Amy’s Notebook 07.24.08

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

This is a great round-up of chore charts (@ Tip Junkie)

I am going to have to remember this formula for making a reusable ice pack (@ Home Ec 101)

This vanilla lemonade sounds refreshing & elegant (@ Inside a Black Apple)

We are going to have to try some of these ideas from this list of 100 things to do on a money free weekend (@ The Simple Dollar)

This idea for repurposing a bird bath is brilliant (@ Daily Danny)

I love this list of twenty fun craft ideas for July (@ Tip Nut)

I want to try making this foam-erator with my kids (@ betz white)

Knitting with rags sounds quite frugal (Coco Knits via Whip Up)

I think I could make these little pillows if I put a little effort into it (@ Sparkle Power)

I am loving these helpful transition tips for parents of kids entering kindergarten (@ Let’s Explore)

This blueberry banana bread sounds like a winner for our family (@ Genesis of a Cook)

This Cool Whip and peanut butter dessert would be a great summer potluck dish (@ Bakerella)

These are some wonderful tips for taking the kiddos to the doctor (@ PsychMamma)

I want to make some of these NY Times perfect chocolate chip cookies with these changes (@ The Kitchn)

This recipe for sour cream scones sounds heavenly (@ Joy the Baker)