The Best Gift I Ever Received ($100 Kohls Giveaway)

I think we all have a gift or two we’ve received that really just blew us away with the thought or the meaning.  For me, it was my first Cabbage Patch Kid.  I’d wanted one for SO LONG and all of my friends had them.  My mom had spent hours and hours in lines trying to get her hands on one, just one doll, and had no luck, and had warned me before Christmas that she’d not had luck.  She’d even had friends and coworkers looking.  But then on Christmas morning, I finished opening my gifts and stumbled on this little note, kind of stuck under the tree…and I wondered, how did we not see this when we were passing out gifts all day?  Curious, I tore into the note. (Truth be told, I was impatient and almost tore it in two.  Details).

1983-Cabbage-Patch-Kid

My CPK actually CAME in this outfit. But mine had one dimple, like me!

Written on the note were instructions for me to go to another place in the house.  That led to another note…and another…and I would guess 5-6 notes later, I found myself in one of the secret rooms in the attic of the old Victorian house I grew up in.  I had no idea at all that I’d be finding my VERY OWN CABBAGE PATCH KID, especially since I misread the last instructions in my excitement and confusion and missed a few minor details (oops)….and then I found her.  The yellow box with cabbage leaves all over it…and a Cabbage Patch Doll of my very own.

I’m fairly sure that the neighboring towns heard my shrieks of delight when I found my doll…I just kept screaming and jumping up and down and hugging that box so so so tight!

cabbage patch kid

Of course, we’re 33 years away from that wonderful Christmas morning.  I believed in Santa, but somehow I knew deep down that my mom had spent so many hours of her own time trying to help me get that doll, and I knew I’d love her more than anyone ever loved a doll before. I don’t even have photos. (Hey, I’m the 8th kid between my parents, there’s not many photos of me in existence at all as a kid!) But I have those memories– and though my mom simply smiled when I finally made it downstairs and shouted Thank you so much to anyone who would listen, the glimmer of a tear in her eye as she turned to go back to what she’d been doing when I burst into the room with my Cabbage Patch Kid has stayed with me forever.  It’s that glimmer that’s given me  my Christmas crazy, my love for the holiday and the spirit of it all.  That magical spirit of Christmas.

Of course, if this all played out today, I’m sure my mom would have been able to set search alerts, checked for discounts or free shipping codes to save some money (and her time!!) and not had to stand for hours before work, during lunch and even after work on many occasions just to find that one elusive little doll that meant so very much to her little girl.  Knowing her, she’d likely have paid a little extra just to make sure it was under the tree.  It’s just how she was. But really, while I wish she hadn’t had to stand in the lines for hours on end, I think it made that little doll mean so much  more to me because she worked so hard to make sure I got her.

Shopping for that “best gift” has sure gotten a lot easier since the beginning of the internet and online shopping!  Now we can find what we are looking for and also look around for coupon codes or free ship codes that help us save a little cash.

What was the best gift YOU ever received?

Get the Most Out of Your Savings Black Friday and Cyber Monday

The following is a special guest post for This Mama Loves readers.  Can you even believe it’s time to start discussing (and strategizing) Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

how-to-get-most-of-savings-black-friday-cyber-monday

When you are out and about on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, your goal is likely to meet as many of the gift needs of your friends and family as possible. Saving money is also important, but in all of the hustle and bustle of the shopping trip, it can be easy to forget that you may not have done everything you could to maximize your savings. Here are some things you need to pay attention to.

Credit Card Reimbursements

Discover and some other credit cards have started offering additional bonuses to shoppers on heavy shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you make a purchase at a certain store for a certain amount of money, then they will refund part of the money to your account. In some cases, such as Discover’s Burger King promotion, the refund occurs automatically. In others, you have to scan your receipt code to demonstrate that you have actually made the purchase. Check the fine print to make sure you do whatever is needed to get that reimbursement.

Send in Your Rebates

One of the most common areas that people lose out on potential savings is by forgetting to send in their rebates. According to Retail Me Not, over 60 percent of shoppers forget to claim their money, meaning that they did not get nearly as great a deal as they thought. Handling rebates in the middle of the holiday season can be tricky, particularly when coupons are so much easier. However, rebates can save you hundreds of dollars on big purchases. Ideally, you should send in your rebate as soon as you get home, but if you don’t have time, then put it some place you will not forget. Then set a reminder for yourself.

Find Out Whether the Store Matches Other Ads

Traveling from place to place on Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be a challenging thing, particularly when traffic is backed up for miles. Instead of trying to fight through all of the streets and roads to get to multiple stores, find out whether the stores you visit will match competing ads. Most of the time, they will require that you bring in proof of the other store’s offer, but you can do this easily with your smart phone. A number of apps exist for downloading competing apps and providing scannable bar codes. By using these apps and focusing on stores with matching policies, you can save yourself a good amount of time, increase your savings and reduce your stress.

Saving money is important when you’re trying to buy gifts for your family and friends. However, you need to do more than just look at the sales price. Find out whether credit card reimbursements apply to certain stores during your credit cards’ holiday specials. Also double check what you must do to qualify. When you get a product that has a rebate, make it a priority to send it in. Additionally, cut down on your road time and increase your shopping time by finding out whether the stores you’re visiting will match other stores’ ads.

Brawny supports the Wounded Warrior Project #woundedwarriorproject

This post about Brawny’s pledge to the Wounded Warrior Project in support of our injured soldiers is brought to you by our friends at Lunchbox.  We are one of the lucky families who have not had a loved one come home from combat injured.  Really, it’s hard to not know someone who’s been injured serving our country.  If it’s not your neighbor, it’s someone else’s.  Those who have sacrificed so much need our support- and one such organization to offer that support is the Wounded Warrior Project.  Brawny has pledged to say thank you to our heroes by making a $10,000 donation to the project! By you and I pledging OUR support of the project, we’ll all get a printable $1 off any Brawny product coupon.  I pledged- will you?  (I pledged with my Facebook account- it took less than 30 seconds to pledge.  Don’t use Brawny? Take the pledge, print the coupon, and donate the paper towels to a local food bank.  I’m sure they’ll appreciate it)

brawny-supports-wounded-warrior-project

Photo credit: Unknown
Photo is of my beautiful cousin Sandy during her service for our country about 10 years ago.

Those who serve our country in combat are giving up so much- and risking everything.  So are their families. We try to support our nation’s heroes when we can- and that means supporting campaigns like this one, but it also means that when we see men and women in military uniforms, we make a point to go up to them and say thank you for serving.  I do it, and I encourage my children to do it.  They’ve given up so much, and there are so many ways we can say thank you to them.

Say Thanks to Our Nation’s Heroes

For every US Solider killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, seven are wounded. The maker of Brawny® is a proud supporter of Wounded Warrior Project®, an organization dedicated to honoring and empowering those heroes injured in combat. The maker of Brawny® has teamed up with Wounded Warrior Project® and Walmart to say thanks to our Nation’s Heroes. On July 6th and 7th, Walmart shoppers pledged their support to our soldiers and Brawny®’s donation of $200,000. Now, you have the chance to show your support for our Nation’s Heroes as well. Head over to Walmart.com, join your state of supporters and the maker Brawny® will make a total donation of $10,000 to Wounded Warrior Project®.

wounded-warrior-project-brawny-coupon

Spread the Word

Help spread the word from the maker of Brawny® and Wounded Warrior Project® by sharing your support button on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!

Our Thanks to You

As a thank you for your support from the maker of Brawny® and Wounded Warrior Project®, be sure to pick up the $1 off coupon for Brawny® products to use at Walmart for an every day low price.

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Lunchbox. All opinions are my own.

I love S’mores. A lot. Every Day. (Enter to win up to $500 in Walmart Gift Cards) #smoresmiles

My family loves s’mores too.  It’s actually one of our favorite treats.  We eat them year round.  We’ve been known to have them toasted on the grill, as a dip, roasted on a campfire/firepit, in the microwave, the oven….and sometimes, we have them just because.  We’ve even made s’mores with waffles!  Given our family love for s’mores (ok really, MY love) I readily agreed to share the More s’mores, more smiles promotion where entrants can win up to $500 in Walmart Gift Cards!

s'mores contest

 

Entrants can now share photos of any favorite everyday moment to enter the contest! It can be any moment in your day that you find special! It’s as easy as snapping a picture of the kids doing something silly on your phone and uploading it to the site for a chance to win up to $500 in Walmart cards! Not too bad!
smores sticks

Visit the Walmart S’mores website to print a $1.25 coupon to save on all your S’mores ingredients! Shop for your S’mores ingredients at Walmart for everyday low prices!

besties and smores

What are YOUR favorite S’mores memories?  

 

 

This is a sponsored post with Lunchbox.  Opinions are my own.

Happy (Almost) Pi Day! Let’s Celebrate with…Pie! (Giveaway) #MarieCallenders

My son and I had a pie lunch date this week.  This is kind of a BIG DEAL.  Big sister was at school and little sister went down for an early nap because she wasn’t feeling well.  I’d planned on making myself one of Marie Callender’s Chicken Pot Pies for lunch because it was a cold, rainy, sleety and dreary day and I wanted some comfort food.  My son’s never been interested in pot pie before, but this day, he couldn’t stop asking me questions about it.  I asked if he wanted to try a bit, and after looking at me surprised (that I thought to ask or that I finally did ask, I’m not so sure) he took a bite. Another bite.  After he’d gobbled up half the pie I told him I was going to make a second one and WE were going to have a Pie Date!   Pi Day is the mathematical holiday but remember, in January comes Pie Day (and yes, we did celebrate that too. We like our pie).

pie date for pi day

Our lunch was delightful.  My little guy has a pretty good sense of humor but he’s always surrounded by two sisters who don’t like to let anyone get a word in edgewise (some say they get that from me, to which I plead the 5th…), so when it’s just him and me, I have a lot of fun.  We talked all about his day at school and I started explaining to him about Pi Day coming soon and how I think we should have another pie date to celebrate.  After accepting that Pi Day does not actually include presents, he asked lots of questions about Pi.  His favorite subject was math so hearing about a holiday to celebrate math made him pretty intrigued.

pies for pi day

So we had our pre-Pi Day date, and this week we’ll celebrate the actual Pi Day, and then in a few weeks, we’ll celebrate Easter with my in laws…and guess what we’ll be having for dessert?  Well, aside from the normal Easter-ish type of candies…we’ll be having pie!  My daughter saw the containers from our pie date in the recycle bin after she got home from school and wanted some Key Lime Pie.  She LOVES key lime pie.  We decided that would be a really fun way to end our Easter dinner!  It’s a busy day and not everyone has time to bake from scratch- Marie Callender’s pies can save a lot of time and energy so you can sit back and enjoy the moments with your loved ones.

Marie Callender’s has a pie for every occasion.  Or just about.  I think with pie you can kind of have some leeway on occasions to eat it.  Like if the day happens to end in Y, you can probably assume it’s ok to just have a little.  Or a lot.  I mean, you could really have pie for lunch and dinner and pie for dessert.  I would probably recommend you mix that up a bit and not eat exclusively pie for a day, though.

Be sure to get your  Marie Callender’s printable coupon good for  $1.50 coupon off any pie!  Don’t forget to enter the codes for Child Hunger Ends Here on specially marked packages either in my sidebar or below:

One reader will win FIVE coupons for FREE Marie Callender’s Pies!  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a sponsored post with The Motherhood.  Opinions are my own.

The easiest holiday dessert ever #MarieCallenders

So last month, right before Thanksgiving, I discovered the delightful taste of Marie Callender’s Dutch Apple Pie. Well, not one to stop at one variety, this past week, we grabbed one of the Peppermint Pie from the grocery store.   This pie is divine.  You can see the marks of a 3 year old on the left side of the below photo.  Poor thing, how could she resist the pretty pie?  It’s not her fault. The whipped frosting with chocolate shavings sits there, hinting at what’s below…a creamy, delightful peppermint filling, and then…the bottom…a thick chocolate crunchy crust.  Marvelous.

Marie Callenders Peppermint Pie

And then we ate it.

 

And ate it.

marie callenders peppermint pie slice

And it was gone.

 

And we were sad.

I’d been worried the peppermint might be a bit much.  A bit much to expect leftovers?

But after it was gone and we sat on the couch like blobs on a log….I realized, this is the perfect, most easiest dessert.  Like, ever.  It’s sweet and it’s festive and it has chocolate and it looks Christmas-y so that makes it extra festive and you don’t have to actually DO anything except for pay for it, and take it out of the box (AND if you print this coupon, you’ll pay even less. You are welcome.  But HURRY- it’s only available until December 18th.  Go!) That means you have time, time and more time to chill and hang out with your family, and that’s what the holidays are supposed to be about!

If you really want to get all fancy pants, you could totally sneak this out of the pie tin it comes in and put it onto a more festive plate or pie plate.  And I supposed if you really wanted to be all dazzling, you could also do some red and green something or other.  But you don’t have to. I think it’s pretty festive and special all by itself.

This was the very first time in 38 1/2 years that THIS mama had a Peppermint Pie.

It won’t be my last.

Maybe it already wasn’t.

 

This is a sponsored post with The Motherhood.  Opinions are my own.

Save $2 on Dove Men+Care Products

We all know that skin products are not a one-for-all deal.  Some products are good for my skin, and maybe aren’t great for yours.  What works for me isn’t always what works for my husband.  I’ve been finding more and more lately that my husband has been using the men’s skin care products I’ve gotten for him and not just the soap I use.  With fall and winter coming, it means drier air, and since we heat our home with a woodstove, drier skin.  We both want to find something that works well for him that isn’t “girly” and will keep his skin feeling clean, not dry and, well, manly.  (Ok maybe that last bit was my idea…) Dove Men+Care has a great and affordable line from a brand we’ve used and trusted for years just for men with the ingredients to combat dryness.

dove men skin care

You can check out what real couples have to say about the Dove Men+Care line and get a money saving $2 off coupon while you are there!

What do men want in skin care? It’s probably not a question that men think about a lot but DOVE® MEN+CARE® is clinically proven to fight skin dryness and no one wants dry skin!

DOVE® MEN+CARE® is also the only brand that provides superior skincare that is designed specifically for men.

Hear What Real Couples Have To Say About Dove® Men+Care® and Save $2

Watch what real men have to say about skincare and their morning routines. After watching, print the following coupons to save on DOVE® MEN+CARE® products:

  • $1 off DOVE® MEN+CARE® Body+Face Wash, Body+Face Bar Soap, or Scrubber
  • $1 off DOVE® MEN+CARE® Deodorant

Shop all DOVE® MEN+CARE® products at Walmart to find the lowest prices!

 

What do you look for in skin care for men? Have you tried Dove Men+Care? My husband has (and let me tell you, it smells marvelous- I love the smell!) and he’s been very happy with it.

Kids Shoes…a vent and a way to save

All three of my kids just had growth spurts.  I don’t even have to see how much they start eating to know a spurt is coming- I can tell simply by how many times they trip in a day.  All of them have a spurt in foot growth FIRST and then eat everything in my house.  With the foot growth comes tripping- lots and lots of tripping.

With foot growth comes the need for new shoes.  I’m quite frankly frustrated with kids’ shoes right now.  I’m finding that brands are charging more for lesser quality and I don’t like it.  The girls love the sparkly light up shoes- which my oldest had for exactly 3 weeks before one shoe stopped lighting up and the sparkles were almost completely gone off of both- and the shoe itself was falling apart.  3 weeks, but the retail price was $55.  I’m not paying $55 for twinkles that crinkle in 3 weeks, thankyouverymuch. I don’t mind spending a bit more on good shoes.  I don’ t even mind buying the light up ones because they make the kids happy.  But I DO mind spending more and ending up wasting every penny I spent.

My son had light up shoes from the same company.  His stopped lighting up within 2 months.  Seriously?  When did it become ok to charge so.much.money for shoes that fall apart?  It isn’t just the light up feature- but the soles come apart from the shoe.  In a month or 2?  Not ok

Even brands that have been known for great quality for years and that I’ve spent the extra on because they make great shoes for kids that are good for their feet- even those are lacking in the same quality.  I had a friend post photos of her daughter’s shoes worn 12 times and 90% of the glitter from her shoes was gone.  The other pair from the same brand, worn about as many times, had the sole separating from the shoe.  These shoes also retail about $50.

Buying shoes for our kids doesn’t have to be expensive, especially when you can find sales and coupons– or ideally, pair both of those things together.   I try to buy quality shoes for my kids- they only get one pair of feet, after all- but I’m beyond frustrated that major brands charge so much money for poor quality.

Next month, when it’s time to look for some new shoes for back to school for the kids, we’ll be heading to places who sell the brands that are STILL making quality shoes- and I know I’ll be paying more but I’ll be sure to look to find Finish Line 2012 coupons and other ways to save on those shoes BEFORE shopping.

Do you find the same thing?  Are your kids’ shoes falling apart long before they should be?  If you have any recommendations for kids’ shoes– sneakers and everyday footwear, I’d love to hear them!! 

 

ASPCA partners with TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” to help local animal shelters

This partnership is one that is speaking to my heart.  We all have tons of coupons, or find them- why not use them to help those who absolutely cannot help themsleves? 
The ASPCA has teamed up with TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” and are encouraging shoppers to use coupons to help their local animal shelters. Many animal shelters can benefit from items like:

  • Pet food and pet treats
  • Pet toys – chew toys, rawhides, rope toys, feather toys, treat toys and ball toys
  • Pet care supplies – leashes, collars, litter, litter boxes, and scratching posts
  • Pet bedding – dog and cat beds and towels
  • Operational supplies – garbage bags, newspapers, cleaning products, paper towels, office supplies

Before the third season of “Extreme Couponing” premieres on May 28th, the ASPCA is also issuing a Facebook challenge. They are encouraging coupon-clippers who use their shopping skills for a good cause to take photos of their shopping excursions and how they presented their generous donations to animal shelters, and share them on our ASPCA Facebook page. Submission will be accepted through June 1, and the top five winners will receive a special oversized ASPCA shopping tote full of swag.

Where do you go to save money online?

Answers.com has a coupon site to help us consumers find information to save us money in a one-stop kind of way. Coupons.Answers.com not only offers coupons to save us money on the brands and products we are seeking out specifically, but also offers an interactive community forum.

I love community forums- not just for saving money, but for anything.  We were actually researching new washing machines a few months ago, because we thought ours was dying, and in searching for a new washer, and a good deal on one, stumbled onto a forum that shared information on how to fix the problem ourselves- for FREE, and without having to hire someone!  THAT is the best coupon of all, right?

At Coupons.Answers.com you’ll find all of the current available discounts from your favorite stores and items such as electronics, home and gardening products, toys and more.

Coupons are easy to find on Coupons.Answers.com.  Simply type the product you are searching for into the search bar to find matching results.  You can also browse by type of coupon (percent off, dollars off, free gift with purchase, etc) or by category.   I’m looking forward to the Local Coupons section “coming soon” because I love to support local businesses too.   There’s even a Facebook app for this site!

What kinds of savings do you look for? Do you research the product and then hunt for deals?  Do you just look for deals and bargains?  I want to know!

PS If anyone can help me find a hot deal on an iPad3 I’ll love you forever!