Listerine Oral Care Challenge Update

So here we are, a month after starting the Listerine Oral Care Challenge, and I’m sitting here with heathier teeth and gums…and waking up with better breath.  (We refer to morning breath as dragon breath…although I feel like mine’s more like baby dragon breath instead of what it was before, which was more akin to a really-old-dragon-with-lingering-illness-breath).  Happily, so is my 6 year old- and because they emulate their big sister, my 2 and 4 year old have been even more excited to brush than ever!!  It hasn’t been as rough as I thought, although having a chart for my daughter and I to fill in helped (which had a run-in with some green cookie icing and didn’t make it into pictures)…as did having a 6 year old holding my accountable.  We’re kind of having fun, having our own little brushing parties.

After five weeks, here’s my take.  I still don’t like the taste of Listerine.  It’s too strong.  I want to, but I don’t.  So I use the kids’ stuff.  BUT I’m trying to use the Listerine every few days, because I know it has so many great benefits for my oral care…so that counts for something, I imagine.  Even though I don’t like the taste of Listerine, I like what it does for my mouth, and I’ll keep using it because of that.  My husband has been using the Listerine and he agrees that it is a very strong flavor but he’s far able to deal with strong flavors.  (He’s also less picky with foods than I am…perhaps that’s related?)  I love that it protects my teeth at night!!

My daughter is very generous except with her pink sparkly Barbie rinse, so I’ve been using the Phineas & Ferb Smart Rinse that we received.  My 4 year old claimed the Batman (and he is able to rinse and spit so I let him use it with close supervision) for himself.  Check out the printable $1.00 coupon you can get from Listerine!!   [click to continue…]

Tropicana® Trop50® True Resolutions – What’s your resolution this year? #Trop50

Hey, look! It’s January!! Time to start a fresh year, a clean slate, a new calendar.  Time to MAKE YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS.

Except I have a little tiny problem.

I didn’t do the resolution thing this year.

I kind of conveniently forgot.   Probably someone trained in psychology would call it “avoidance” but whatever.  I didn’t resolve.  Or re-resolve.

I can’t. I know myself, and I won’t stick to it.

But my resolutions are still here.  They are not going anywhere.  I’m on the slow and steady pace to win the race of resolutions.  My resolution is a “big picture” kind of thing.  I want to grow old. I want to stick around this world long enough to watch my kids get married, and maybe have their own kids, and spoil those hypothetical most-adorable-grandbabies-in-the-world to death.  The path I was on a year or so ago, was not the path to seeing my dreams come to fruition.  No exercise, crappy eating habits, and depression=fat, unhappy and unhealthy mom of three young children who were learning what they lived.

Fast forward to now.  (Remember, I’m on the SLOW and steady pace. I’m human, mmmkay?  There’s no superhero cape on my back).  I’m still pretty fat.  But I’m way less fat.  I still make crummy choices with junk food (if chocolate didn’t exist I might be skinny)…BUT… [click to continue…]

Amex Blue Cash (Winner) #BlueCashMeIfYouCan

So remember, when I first posted about the Amex Blue Cash, and how I estimated I’d save about $21 a month/ $250 a year in groceries alone?  Well, that was pre-December.  This was a very, very expensive month for the Bargains family- not the holiday shopping (that was 99% done before Thanksgiving) but we had some unexpected costs incurred :

*Parts to repair our boiler

*Gas costs to haul 11 trailers full of wood chips out of here (Artillery Fungus.  You don’t want to know what it is, and if you do know, you know what a nightmare it can be).

*Purchase and delivery of 8 tons of gravel to replace the mulch

*Broken television due to power surges (even on the surge protector) which fried the HDMI cable

*Tubing and a few other parts to repair front loading washing machine, plus extra $ spent to heat more water because when the washer broke, a load was stuck in there for 3 days (iew, iew iew!)

*Our 14.5 year old kitty fell very ill out of the blue and while we rushed her to the vet, there wasn’t anything that could be done

*Before I knew of all the surprises December had in store for us, I’d finally taken my mom’s wedding band out of her jewelry box after 2.5 years of not being able to deal with the emotions, and brought it to my jeweler to be melted into a band that would fit me (she had super tiny fingers and I do not) and I could weld onto my engagement ring. [click to continue…]

The Tipsy Vegan cookbook review

The Tipsy Vegan came to me at just the right time of the year.he book starts with some Plastered Party Starters such as Flaming Hot Peanuts and Brusc  The week between Christmas and New Year is always the best time to sneak in a couple extra happy hours.  I might as well have some fun adding some cheer to my recipes.  Thetta on a Bender.  The recipes are all easy to make, fun and vegan.  So, yes vegans drink and yes they actually like food.  There are 8 sections in all including Boozy Soups, Brunch Buzz, The Lush’s Lunch and Drunken Desserts.  The recipe titles are all cute and silly but the recipes are tasty and well thought out.  This book would be a great gift for a vegan, vegetarian or omnivore.

I have several recipes bookmarked, Wild Rice Under the Influence, Spicy Sesame Noodles Tie One on with Peanuts + Basil and The Tippler’s Hot + Sour soup.  These will all be washed down with a Hoochie-Coochie Margarita.

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Glee: The Concert Movie BluRay #Giveaway

Here we are in 2012, and I have my first (of many I’m sure) confession. I’ve never seen GLEE.

I know, I know. It’s like you don’t even know me.  I mean, how can it be true?

I love music, I love drama-comedy shows, so what gives?

I’m afraid to get hooked on another show.  That’s it.  Glee, I apologize.  I have no other reason.  I think I’ll love you too much and will find something else to avoid housework.

Well, maybe I should amend that original confession a tiny bit.  I’d never seeN Glee, up until I got this DVD.  While the music and concert were enjoyable, I think I’d enjoy it more having more background for the show.  So………….. who wants to help me?  (You will want to anyway, when you get to the giveaway part).

Glee: The Concert Movie came out December 20th, and I’m sure “Gleeks” everywhere were excited for the release as I would be.  But what sticks out to me most about this for Blu-Ray viewers  is that by using the  Shazam® app to tag the movie, they can unlock extra content.  Um, coolness?   (We don’t have the BluRay because we’re stuck way back in 2011 still and only have DVD players in our house still).  As if Gleeks didn’t have enough to love about Glee.  Now they can interact and get more cool stuff.  Discounts.  Features.  Freebies.  Smart marketing move- and cool for fans!!  (Happily, the Shazam app is not limited to android or iTunes- its available for lots of smartphones- yay!!) [click to continue…]

Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods

Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods offers appetizers, breakfast foods, veggie burgers, kids, fish and gluten free options.  They were developed by two New Jersey-based heart surgeons.   Dr. Praeger’s Sensible Foods are all natural and made with the finest ingredients: fresh vegetables, fish from cold northern waters and tasty herbs and spices. All of Dr. Praeger’s products are also low in cholesterol and sodium, have no preservatives or artificial flavorings, no trans fats and no or low saturated fats. They are the perfect complement to an overall healthy lifestyle.   We received a box of California Veggie Burgers, Sweet Potato Pancakes and Buffalo Chicken Nuggets.  They are all quite tasty and cook up with good texture and flavors. The burgers hold their shape and stay juicy.  The Buffalo nuggets have just the right level of spice.  Check out the wide variety of products HERE that include gluten free and kid’s meals.

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CookiesKids.com has a lot to offer #LuvCookies #CBias

I have heard of Cookie’s Kids before- but I had no idea what I was missing. I think I’d heard once that it was a site that offered great selection and pricing for school uniforms, and kind of never took the time to explore. I shopped on their site on December 15th, as part of a shopper insights study.

Cookie’s Kids was totally not what I’d expected!! From baby gear to the latest in hot toys, and so much in between, they definitely have lots to offer and should be on parents’ lists for checking when we need to get things for our kids.

There are lots of great name brands on Cookie’s Kids- this isn’t just an off-brand discount site- I saw some fantastic deals on The North Face outerwear items, Levi’s, and more. [click to continue…]

*Closed*McKenna Brooks: American Girl Doll of the Year 2012 #Giveaway #Win

Come January 1, 2012, American Girl fans everywhere will be able to meet McKennaTM Brooks, at 10 year old gymnast who struggles with a balance between- well, the balance beam, and her schoolwork.  The Girl of the Year® McKenna doll, books and accessories will only be available until the end of 2012.  This is very smart timing for American Girl, given that 2012 is a Summer Olympics year and that should generate even more interest in yet another gorgeous doll friend from AG.

McKenna, aged 10, finds herself falling behind with her reading comprehension and discovering more talents and strengths in herself that she didn’t know she had.   She gets hurt and ends up in a cast- and has to work even harder, and learns some great life lessons along the way.

McKenna was introduced to us a few weeks ago, when a surprise package showed up with a copy of McKenna and Take the Challenge: Crazy Challenges and Silly Thrills to Explore Your Talents and Everyday Skills.

My daughter tore through McKenna (penned by Mary Casanova) in one sitting (she seems to have my love of reading) and has asked me at least 2 dozen times when I’ll find a copy of McKenna, Ready to Fly! for her to read.  The Take the Challenge book has been a lot of fun- for both of us- and I’m still (and likely always will be) the reining champ of doing things with my feet and toes in my house.  We haven’t gone through the entire book of challenges but I love the huge range of challenges, from the super silly to more serious, and, most importantly, the kids will too!!

To our delight, McKenna herself arrived at our house on Friday afternoon, and with some quick juggling, we decided that this would be a wonderful surprise for our oldest for Christmas.  We actually sent her home with my niece for the big S to leave under my sister’s tree, to be found with a few things for her siblings Christmas night.  My Busy girl knows that McKenna isn’t “here” yet and was beyond excited that she got to meet her before anyone else. [click to continue…]

The Scholastic Store-Great Books at Great Prices #Giveaway 3 Prize Pack Winners!

I have a lot of love for books.  Fiction, non fiction, it doesn’t matter.  Children’s books are no exception.  I love them.  I am happy to say that my kids love them.  I love sharing books with them, and discovering new stories to share, rhymes to recite over and over again.  The Scholastic Store has such an awesome range of books- including some of our favorites, the I Spy series.  One of my favorite gifts, and one that my kids always receive, is the gift of a book.   My mom had a great love of books and I obviously inherited it from her!!  I love the Scholastic books because it offers a way to save a bit of money on the same titles you can find elsewhere.  Books are great gifts, they can be enjoyed over and over and over again, and they are easy to find, and affordable options!!  I love tucking a book in as an extra gift, too!! Be creative and fun!

We do a lot of I Spy around here- if not with the books, then in the car, at the dinner table, we play the game…I love that Scholastic continues to put out more I Spy books regularly. I will be very, very sad when they stop publishing them, although I find them as delightful the 100th time I read them as the first.  I Spy Christmas wasn’t in our collection (thankfully it is now) and I love going through it with the kids- or even better, when they all three snuggle on the couch and go through it just themselves.  It makes my heart all melty, plus they are teaching one another and helping one another.  I think having met Jean Marzollo last spring at our local school probably only served to make my love of I Spy grow deeper!! They even have Nintendo DS games  of ISpy!

There are books for babies and toddlers, the preschool crowd, the graders, even books for ages 13 and up.  Not sure what to get?  The Scholastic Store offers suggestions for your purchases based on ages, price ranges, toys, games, crafts, etc.  They have an entire section just of gift ideas.  What I just learned is that The Scholastic Store isn’t just online.  They are in New York City.  I will be there one day!! [click to continue…]

Hot Wheels Wall Tracks

If you have a kid who loves vehicles and racing them on tracks, but are short on space, I have a great solution for you.  Hot Wheels Wall Tracks are an awesome solution that saves tons of space!  I was quite intrigued when I first heard of these Wall Tracks and knew for sure I’d love them when I saw that they use Command Hooks to adhere to the wall.  I have those hooks all over my house, on plaster and sheetrocked walls, on wainscotting, on cabinets, etc.  I have much love for those, and my family has loved Hot Wheels “orange” tracks for…at least 22 years since my oldest nephew was old enough to have them!!

The attach-to-the-wall-feature of this product is really unique.  We are working with limited space in our house, and it isn’t always conducive to setting up huge tracks of, well, anything.  Our “playroom” is just one end of our living room that has foam squares to define it.  When the kids make creations with building blocks or huge train tracks, they always overlap into the ‘adult’ section- and sometimes around corners. I had to limit creativity but man, am I ever glad that someone finally decided to think out of the box and looked to the walls!!  Damage free hanging is the way to go, and THANK YOU to the smarty pants person at Hot Wheels who came up with this idea.  Brilliant.  The Bargains family thanks you.  [click to continue…]