Archive for October, 2008

Freebie Friday: October 31, 2008

Friday, October 31st, 2008

A big thank you to Heather, from Freebies 4 Mom, for helping us with our freebie list this week. Be sure to get her latest round of coupons for your grocery shopping this week. We were also so excited to get to do an interview with Heather recently because we find her story to be so inspiring. I am hoping to do weekly interviews with bloggers to find out more about how they do their blogging & balance the activities in their life.

I will be heading out of town tomorrow through Sunday for the American Baby Faire in Chicago! If you are coming, be sure to find me over in the Kenmore kitchen, where you will get to see me demoing family recipes, kid’s holiday crafts, and sharing tips for money-saving throughout the two days. Sunday morning I will also be appearing on the Chicago ABC news sharing two of my favorite yummy frugal snack recipes for kids. You can find all my contributions to the Kenmore team over here!

Happy Freebie Friday!

Health & Beauty

Dove Shine Therapy
Aveeno Lifting & Firming Night Cream


Barnes & Noble Free Cappuccino (printable coupon expires 10/31)
Bear Naked Fruit & Nut Granola
Turtle Chex Mix Bar
Betty Crocker Potatoes


Canon Try Me Photo
Quamut Free PDF – Play Texas Hold’Em
KIWI Magazine Subscription
Slam Magazine Subscription

Home & Garden

Uni-ball 207 Pen
Hand Tote from Nature’s Bounty


Greenies pet treats
Cesar Canine Cuisine

Upcoming Freebie Events:


1 – Home Depot Kids Workshop, make a Leaf Press
4 – Free Donut for Voters at Krispy Kreme
4 – Free Scoop for Voters at Ben & Jerry’s 5-8pm
8 – Lowe’s Kids Workshop, make a Semi Truck
22 – Lowe’s Kids Workshop, make a Football Goal
23 – Free Dr. Pepper

Big Give Makes The Front Page

Friday, October 31st, 2008

I woke up to a very happy surprise this morning- phone calls & emails from our family letting us know that we had made the front page of the Elkhart Truth!

I was interviewed yesterday about our Big Give with Faith Mission and they wrote a wonderful story about what we are trying to do. A big thanks to Katie Rogers, the journalist who took the time to write about us, and the Elkhart Truth for giving us the publicity we need to make something BIG happen for Faith Mission.

I am hopeful that area businesses will read about this and want to help!

MomAdvice: The Faith Mission Wish List

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Wednesday evening we got to sit down with Mike Perez, the Development Director at Faith Mission, to discuss where we would fit in best with their mission to serve the homeless. In respect to his time and the wonderful people that are staying there we did not film within the shelter.

Mike took us on a tour of their facility and we visited every little corner and crevice of the shelter. We were able to come in around the dinner hour and see the 150 people who had come through to dine there that evening. We also were able to see all of the organization that goes behind serving and arranging the food for these meals and the incredible donations that come in to help with their free drop-in meals.

We visited their chapel and learned how they try to offer life-changing solutions through their in-house programs. Mike stressed that they try to figure out the cause for their homelessness and then decide a course of treatment so that they can live on their own. They offer classes and have a mental health program that helps their residence with addictions and mental illness. Their goal is to help give them the skills they need so that they are ready to take on a job, basic life skills (money management being one of them), & recovery support with a faith-based foundation.

After we toured the facility, we sat down and asked Mike how we could help them with what they are doing. He said the very best thing we could do for them, at this time, would be assisting them with their “welcome kits.” A welcome kit is given to each resident when they come in to stay at the shelter.

Each Welcome Kit would consist of the following:

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Shaving Cream
  • Razor
  • Lotion
  • Body Wash
  • Deodorant
  • Washcloth
  • Towel
  • Shower Tote/Storage Container

I asked Mike to also think of what they might need on a grander scale, as they are in the process of renovating a new space for their women and this was his…

Dream Wish List:

Appliances needed for the 915 Benham project. All of the appliances need to be energy star rated and all in color white if possible:

  • 7- 2’wide Dishwashers
  • 4- 1’10” wide under cabinet Refrigerators
  • 4- 30”-32” wide standard Refrigerators
  • 10- small to medium handing microwaves

After we finished making our wish list, we headed over to my car where I had many of these:

EyeClops Night Vision Infrared Stealth Goggles ($68.88, Jakks Pacific)

And many of these:

Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker ($29.88, Jakks Pacific)

Made possible by my affiliation with this:

A big thank you to Walmart & their great 11 Moms venture as well as Jakks Pacific for giving me the opportunity to share these gifts with these incredible people. This is exactly the reason I am in 11 Moms and I am thankful for the opportunity to share within my community. These gifts will be given to the children when celebrating those special occasions in their life, like birthdays & Christmas.

Now that we know what we can do for them, we have made a goal to provide 50-100 kits (depending on our donations) and provide one appliance on their dream list.

Is it possible? I truly believe that anything is possible and my next steps will be:

1. Getting as much press involved as I can for our efforts.
2. Trying to raise donations to put towards the cost of our welcome kits.
3. Researching & finding the best price I can on the items for the kits.
4. Researching & finding the best price I can on one of the items on their appliance wish list.

If you have any suggestions for tackling this project, I am all ears! Has anyone bought in bulk like this? Any resources or steps you can recommend?

Amy’s Notebook 10.30.08

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

I hope you enjoy today’s notebook and just wanted to highlight a few quick articles that might help you with your Halloween planning this week:

Scary Deals on Halloween Costumes (we have included recipes for Halloween face paints)
Oh, Glorious Pumpkin! (don’t toss your pumpkin and try making some homemade pumpkin puree this year)
Activities Search (use our search function to find all the fun places to visit in your area)

Now on to our very official notebook…


Another great refashioned cardigan idea (@ Early Bird Special)

These little mummy treat containers are so cute (@ Skip To My Lou)

I love this little pumpkin party (@ chica schmica)

This playroom makeover is amazing and I am loving the duvet cover (@ whatever)

This chalkboard pumpkin would be a cute little craft to do (@ The Crafty Crow)

I am loving these knitted cowls (@ What’s That Gonna Be?)

I am downloading this great little pdf for getting your kids to eat their veggies (@ Let’s Explore)

I want to make this Halloween wreath for next year (@ Scribbit)

These pumpkin pecan chocolate chunk cookies look like a winner to me (@ Bakerella)

These knitted slippers would keep my feet warm this winter (@ Astrid Knits Her Way Out)

These autumn leaf pies are so beautiful (@ not martha)

I need to work on being more productive with my emailing (@ Simple Mom)

I want to try making these confetti cupcakes (@ Coconut & Lime)

I love these ideas for staying warm through the autumn weather (@ Wisebread)

I am bookmarking these ideas for ways to use the internet while on vacation (@ Digital Bliss)

Inspiring Moms: Heather at Freebies 4 Mom

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Isn’t it great to read how blogging moms got their start and how they make their new jobs work for them? I thought it would be fun to get the inside look on some of my favorite inspirational women who make reading blogs so much fun for me.

Our first interview is with Heather, from Freebies 4 Mom. Heather has a website dedicated towards providing the latest and greatest freebies, as well as information on sweepstakes offers, contests, and coupons.

As a longtime reader, I know that you quit your job to start devoting more time to Freebies 4 Mom and to your family. How is this transition working out for you?

I quit my part-time contract work out of my home as soon as I saw that the potential to make money from dedicating advertising space on my blog was there. I was determined to turn blogging into my part-time job and replace that part-time income from my contract work. That enabled me to start dedicating more time to it. There really wasn’t much of a transition since I was previously working from my home, it just changed what I was spending time on. I love blogging about the freebies, and love that I can now call it my job and be my own boss.

As a work-at-home mom, what is your biggest challenge now that your workplace is in your home?

Setting time limits on my work on Freebies 4 Mom has got to be my biggest challenge. I love what I do so much that I could easily do it full-time, 40+ hours a week. But the reality is that Freebies 4 Mom is and will always be a part-time job for me with part-time hours. I have two boys (3 and 1) at home to take care of as well as the typical household responsibilities. Since the computer seems to be always calling for me, I’m having to turn it off more and close the door to the office. Setting time limits is always hard when you are self-employed doing something you are passionate about. The temptation will always be there to invest more and more time in yourself, but you’ve got to evaluate what other responsibilities in your life will suffer. I’m practicing saying “No” to myself and learning how to work smarter during the time I do have.

Is it difficult to keep up with all of the freebies that come out and how do you stay on top of what companies are offering?

I do not even attempt to keep up with everything. I simply highlight the best freebies that I find, those that I am interested in myself and think a majority of my readers would be interested in too. Offers expire daily, and I rely on my readers to tell me about expired offers so I can quickly update those posts. As my readership grows I’m learning how to rely on my readers as a resource for keeping me up to date with what’s hot and what’s not.

You were recently interviewed by Inside Edition, what did you do to prepare yourself for a television interview?

My opportunity to appear in a segment for Inside Edition happened so quickly that I had very little time to prepare. I first did a phone interview on the morning I received an email from them. That evening I followed-up for the interview with my “How to Get Free Stuff” tips which they turned into a printable resource posted on their website. The next day I found out that they would film my interview the day after. So I really only knew one day before that a camera crew would be inside my house to talk to me about free samples. I was truly scrambling to get the house in-order and gather up all of my free samples to use as props. I did manage to stop by the grocery store and splurge on fresh sunflowers. Beyond that I simply thought about potential questions and answers. It was a learning experience for me and it will help me if any future opportunities present themselves for interviews on or off camera.

Since you are the freebie queen, what is the best freebie you scored?

My favorite freebies are the edible ones because they are the most practical (and most delicious). My favorite is always changing, but one that sticks out in my mind is the gift basket I won from Philadephia Cream Cheese that contained lots of coupons for free bagels and cream cheese, cream cheese spreaders, and travel coffee mugs. This was a sweepstakes I entered that had lots of winners (6,000) and winning it inspired me to start blogging about sweepstakes with at least 1,000 winners. I love the big sweepstakes because they are really just like free samples with a chance to win instead of the first X number of people get the sample. It takes a little more dedication to win, but I feel it is a fairer way to distribute some great freebies.

MomAdvice’s Big Give: Kickoff

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

I am just speechless by the response that we have received already from each of you on our Big Give mission. The emails, the donations, the comments, the messages, the blog entries that have been written truly moved me to tears yesterday. I felt like I was taking a risk putting this out here, but now I know how good it feels to be sharing this with all of you and to know that you want to make a difference in your own communities (and even in my little town) has been an incredible gift.

Today is the first vlog in our series sharing about our Big Give. Before I began this, I knew that I would need to call them and see if Faith Mission would even accept our help. What would they need? What could we do to make their days a little better? Who did they serve?

I was extremely nervous and went into an immediate sales pitch of myself and what I hoped to do for our local shelter. It was a careful balance of not wanting to over commit and disappoint them, but wanting to also exude confidence that I could get the backing that we needed to make a Big Give happen.

The response from them was incredible and I knew that we had picked the perfect charity to work with. Not only were they excited about anything we could do, but they were excited to bring us in so we could immediately see what they really need and to help us better understand their mission.

Tonight we will be heading to Faith Mission to get a glimpse into their day and we have received permission to take some video footage so we can share it with all of you! I can’t wait to share more with you about the charity as our family works towards making this Big Give happen!

In short, step one for us was contacting the charity and seeing how we could fit in with their missions and goals.

On a much lighter note, don’t you love this dorky expression that I have on my face? Why does it have to appear like this. You will also notice someone dropping in on my party halfway through. Wouldn’t you wonder what was going on if your mom was sitting at the kitchen table talking to herself? Again? Well, maybe that doesn’t happen in your house… My house also looks like it was hit by a tornado. Remember that little person that is crashing in on my video? Yup, that is exactly what happened. This is my real life- dorky expressions, a house that has been hit by a tornado, & talking to myself. Enjoy!

The MomAdvice Big Give: Faith Mission of Elkhart, Indiana

Monday, October 27th, 2008
Image Credit: femuruy

Recently Ron Hudson, from Immediate Influence, created a list with the top 50 most influential women in social media, and to my surprise, I found myself listed as #8 on that list. I don’t mention this to brag, but I mention this because the list claimed that we were not only influential, but that we were also very powerful women.

With power comes great responsibility though and I don’t feel like I have been using my internet powers for all the good that I can. I have quietly been taking care of myself and my family and reaping the rewards that come along with it- free trips, free products, and great connections.

My muscle is weak, but I want to flex it a little bit right now because I owe it to myself and I owe it to my community.

You see, my hometown is filled with factories with laid off workers. My town is filled with families who can’t pay their bills. My town is filled with hungry children. Don’t believe it? My hometown was featured in the New York Times recently and they stated this, “Elkhart, near the Michigan border in an area known as Michiana, is the white-hot center of the meltdown of the American economy. Its main industries, the manufacturing of recreational vehicles and motor homes, have fallen apart over the last year because of high gasoline prices. That has taken down ancillary businesses like R.V. parts suppliers and storage warehouses. The jobless rate in Elkhart has increased more than in any metropolitan area in the country; it rose over 4.8 percentage points from August 2007 to August 2008. According to labor statistics released this summer, nearly 10,000 people were out of work, a rate of 9.3 percent.”

My family is made up of blue collar workers who work hard for a living and they all live in uncertainty if their jobs will last. My family members have been laid off, they have been worried about health care, and they are swallowed by medical bills. Likewise, surviving a year of my husband being laid off was one of the hardest times in our marriage, the hardest time in our finances, and the hardest time as a parent. We have made it through, but many families can’t.

I want to do something big for our local shelter. I want to give what I can to help the families who are not able to have a bright Christmas. I want them to have something to look forward to.

It is hard to put it out here in black and white because now I have to do it. I am gathering the names of all the PR people who have contacted me to do product reviews and giveaways to help me make something happen in my town. Even if we do not receive help from anyone, we have reserved money in our savings to do something on our own. We are hoping though to make a bigger difference than that though and have high hopes that our prayers and dreams will come true.

If you are in PR, if you are a business that can donate, I ask that you email me ([email protected]) and tell me what you can do for our local shelter. I will include and publicize any business that contributes to my give through our website and blog, along with a special shout-out on The MotherLoot for the entire month of January. It will be the first entry that anyone sees for that whole month and it will say, “Thank You to these Powerful Companies.”

In addition, if you are a blogger who can share about our efforts on your blog or if you can contribute in your hometown and dedicate an entry to us, we will thank you in a blog entry for making your own charitable efforts.

Our local shelter, Faith Mission, has an urgent need for the following items:

• Towels
• Pillows
• Deodorant
• Disposable Razors
• Shaving Cream
• Kleenex
• Cough Drops
• Aspirin
• Non-Alcoholic Cough Syrup
• Alka-Seltzer
• Pepto Bismol
• Tums
• Body Lotion
• Cologne
• Conditioner
• Hats & Gloves all sizes

Want to give financially? You can donate to our cause via the following link. We’ve set no minimum amount. Your heart will determine that:

I will be video documenting our journey and sharing our triumphs and struggles as we work on our big give and I really encourage you to follow us as we learn more about our shelter and the need that lies within our own community. You can follow our videos as we add them here:

Watch the Mission Unfold:

MomAdvice’s Big Give: Kickoff
The Faith Mission Wish List
Big Give Makes the Front Page
Big Give Makes Big Strides

With power comes great responsibility, how can you flex your powerful muscle in your community?

Here is our banner and if you will be sharing about our big give efforts or if you are doing a big give in your town, please link up to our entry and we will give you FREE advertising on our blog for the month of January. We want to see pictures and hear your own inspiring stories in your town. We want to make a difference and we know you do!

Here is the code for the button, if you would like to place it on your blog:

To make it easier to track participants, just add your name to the Mr. Linky below. Feel free to use the banner for your blog or for your particular entry.

Redbox 10.27.08

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Today’s free code for a Redbox movie is 93NCA5. 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.

Here is an updated list of new releases:

The Incredible Hulk
As soon as Hollywood started letting its superheroes show their conflicted side, it was just a matter of time before the fantastic, slow-burning Edward Norton was chosen to play one. In this intensely action packed thriller, Norton brings to life the huge green one – and all the confusion that comes along with it.

The Strangers
In just about the creepiest darn thing since the Blair Witch, two young lovers are slowly terrorized in an isolated cabin by three people in burlap masks. The crime is completely random, and the scary factor here is very high. Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler play the couple fighting for their lives against… who knows?

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
Who better to interview fanatics than the hilariously deadpan Ben Stein? Here, the former host of “Win Ben Stein’s Money” (and, it should mentioned, trusted Nixon advisor) hosts a documentary in which he sets out to ask the hard questions about the Intelligent Design theory to its most fervent believers.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Indiana Jones is more than just back – he’s passing the Jones legacy (of getting himself into a pickle with his mouth, then getting out of it with his bullwhip) onto the next lucky generation. In this summertime hit, Harrison Ford (as Jones) and Shia LaBeouf (as the son he didn’t know he had) go after a magical artifact.

War, Inc.
Turaqistan is the fictitious country. Tamerlane is the fictitious evil corporation that’s about to wage war there if the country doesn’t let the corporation build an oil pipeline. John Cusack, Dan Ackroyd, Hillary Duff and others star in this controversial satire about the tight relationship between business and war.

After hitting a homeless man with her car following a long night of partying, a young successful nursing home care giver has to choose in an instant whether to save her promising career or save the badly injured victim. Mena Suvari stars in this tense thriller.

Bloggy Giveaway: $15 Starbucks Gift Card & Land’s End Fleece

Monday, October 27th, 2008

I am so excited to be participating in the Bloggy Carnival again!

For this giveaway, I am including two things to keep you nice & toasty this winter- a $15 Starbucks gift card & a beautiful Sherpa Fleece Pull-Over from Lands’ End (retailed at $39.50).

Here is a little information about the Sherpa Fleece:

  • Their thickest fleece
  • Feminine fit
  • Cotton/jersey lined for comfort
  • Half-zip style looks great and helps regulate body temperature
  • TEMPERATURE RATING: 0°/10° Fahrenheit. Over layering pieces, this Sherpa Fleece Half-zip will keep you warm in 0° weather; over a light layer, in 10° weather.

The winner can choose their favorite color & size. Can’t you just picture yourself all warm and happy in this?

And I know you can picture yourself totally drinking this?
To enter, please leave a comment and tell me one thing you are doing right now to survive the economic crisis. I am looking for creative ways that you save money! Please leave a comment by Friday (10/31) at 8 PM EST to be included. Only entries that follow the guidelines will be entered.

After you enter here, be sure to visit all of the hundreds and hundreds of giveaways that are happening right now over at the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival!

Good luck everyone!
I just wanted to let you all know that we are offering another great giveaway to our readers! Two lucky winners will receive a copy of Build-A-Bear Workshop for the Nintendo Wii. This is a family-friendly game perfect for young children. The game is for children three and older. Put your entry in over at The Mother Loot today! The contest ends October 28th at 8PM EST!

November ’08 Menu Planner

Monday, October 27th, 2008

Here is our month of meals for November. I will be posting some new recipes throughout the month so please be sure to check back if a recipe is not listed! I hope that some of these ideas will help with your own menu plans this month!

I will also be working on some holiday recipes and will be sure to share those as well. November can be a tough month to plan with the holidays so I am starting this a little early this month. The cost to buy the supplies and everything needed for lunches & breakfast came in at approximately $200.

November Menu Plan

1. Easy Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Enchilada Sauce
2. Chicken Parmesan With Spaghetti
3. Pasta e Fagoli with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
4. Turkey Burgers with Oven Fries
5. Skillet Ziti with Chicken & Broccoli
6. Yeast Waffles with Scrambled Eggs & Orange Juice
7. Homemade Pizza Night
8. Weeknight Skillet Fajitas with Tortilla Chips
9. Herb Baked Tilapia with Rice & Steamed Broccoli
10. Spaghetti with Meatballs (make extra & freeze for later)
11. Roasted Chicken with Buttered Noodles & Baby Peas
12. Chicken Flavored Chops with Mashed Potatoes & Corn
13. Chicken Broccoli Lo Mein with Rice
14. Parmesan Chicken Drumsticks with Mashed Potatoes & Corn
15. Deep Dish Pizza with Homemade Breadsticks
16. Beef Tacos with Tortilla Chips & Carrot Sticks
17. Meatball Subs with Oven Fries (meatballs pulled from freezer)
18. Piggy Pancakes with Scrambled Eggs & Orange Juice
19. Italian Chops with Spaghetti
20. Meatloaf Muffins with Mashed Potatoes & Broccoli
21. Roasted Balsamic Chicken, Jasmine Rice, & Baby Peas
22. Homemade Pizza Night
23. French Toast, Bacon, & Orange Juice

Snacks: Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Biscotti, Simple Oatmeal & Chocolate Muffins, & Vanilla Scented Granola

**Check out I’m An Organizing Junkie for a menu planner extravaganza, posted each & every Monday for your weekly inspiration!**

I just wanted to let you all know that we are offering a brand new giveaway to our readers! Two lucky winners will receive a copy of Build-A-Bear Workshop for the Nintendo Wii. This is a family-friendly game perfect for young children. The game is for children three and older. Put your entry in over at The Mother Loot today! The contest ends October 28th at 8PM EST!