Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Keeping My Family Happy

I am a memeber of SocialMoms and they have teamed up with Farm Rich Snacks for this fun blogging opportunity.

I am an at home mom of two school aged children. My children and I all thrive and stay happy when we are on a structured routine. Our routine always involves food! Why? Because when we let our bodies get low on fuel and energy our moods tend to go down hill fast. The right foods can help lift our mood and ease any tension.

We like to start our mornings off with a hug, small talk and of course breakfast. Like they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day so we do not skip it. My son likes to drink two percent milk with his bowl of flavored oatmeal and my daughter is a little bit pickier. I have to ask her what she would like for breakfast when I wake her up in the mornings. She really isn't a morning person so I do not want to get her "order" wrong! She bounces back and forth between flavored oatmeal and cold cereal but over time I have learned that I need to ask her what she wants or she won't eat what I prepare for her. She is a little high maintenance but as long as I understand how she works then we are both happy!

My children both take their lunches to school. Instead of sending them sandwiches, I pack them meals that are left over from the night before. I intentionally cook a double meal every night so that I can send extras to school for my children and my husband also takes a left over meal to work with him. I try to pack them a good protein, starch, veggie or two and a fruit. I always throw in a little something sweet for dessert. This helps to keep them happy and they don't get tired of the same boring lunch box food. Not only do left over meals keep boredom at bay but it helps on our budget also and this makes me happy!

I pick my children up after school at 3:30. We live within a few miles of our school and we are home and having snack around 4:00. I find that a good, healthy snack in the afternoons gives the children a break after school. By the time that their snack has been eaten, they are semi-ready for homework.

Now that baseball season has started, I am preparing heartier afternoon snacks for my children. Today they had a corn dog and a banana for snack. Yesterday it was chicken noodle soup. The reason for these heartier snacks is because we are going from home work to ball practice or church on most nights of the week. My children are happier and can focus better when their bellies are happy and not hungry.

Baseball practice is normally over for both kids by 7:45 pm. On a normal night the children's bed time is 8:45pm. Since they get in from practice so late they don't need a full meal before bed. One these nights I will prepare something hearty but quick like meatball subs or sandwiches. A small meal is enough to tide them over until morning and they are able to go to bed satisified and not empty.

I have walked you through a complete Monday to Friday day in the Allen household. Food does play a major role in the operation of our family. I get enjoyment out of seeing my children thrive and grow. I try to have plenty of fresh fruit, veggies, good proteins and healthy starches on hand. I like to keep my pantry and freezer stocked. You never know when you will need something quick to fix.

Disclosure: I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Farm Rich blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Zippity Doo Winner Announcement


I have used randomizer.org to pull the winning number from our Zippity Doo Giveaway which ended on 03/27/11. We had 124 entries and number 49 was chosen. They have already claimed their prize and this giveaway is closed.

Thank you for taking the time to enter my giveaways. I have 2 more up right now. Please enter them if the prize interest you.

Purex Complete With Zout Giveaway ends 04/03/11
HERSHEY’S Track & Field Games Giveaway ends 04/10/11

Thursday, March 24, 2011

HERSHEY’S Track & Field Games Giveaway CLOSED



I am a member of myblogspark and they have teamed up with HERSHEY’S Track & Field Games for this giveaway. For this oppotunity I have been sent a HERSHEY’S Track & Field Games prize pack. This prize pack includes a drawstring backpack, visor, water bottle and rubber band shoelace stoppers. They are also providing me with an additional prize pack for me to offer as a prize to one of my readers. Yay!

Since 1978, The HERSHEY’S Track & Field Games has helped more than 10 million children get active and learn valuable lessons such as sportsmanship and hard work. HERSHEY’S Track & Field Games hosts thousands of boys and girls, ages 9 to 14, in nearly 4,000 North American communities. They will compete this spring and summer in track and field events ranging from the standing long jump and softball throw to a variety of running and relay races. All of these are at no cost to enter. All you need is a pair of shoes.

To further encourage physical activity among kids and families, Hershey is teaming up with the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe program to collect old, worn-out athletic shoes to be recycled into Nike Grind, a material used in creating athletic and playground surfaces, as well as select Nike products. Program participants will be invited to bring used athletic shoes to state and provincial meets, which will then be recycled into Nike Grind. A HERSHEY’s Track & Field Games playground will be awarded to a participating local community as part of the program’s work with Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program. Since its inception in the early 1990’s, Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe program has recycled more than 25 million pairs of athletic shoes into Nike Grind.

To learn more about HERSHEY’S Track & Field Games, and to find a local event in your area, please visit www.hersheystrackandfield.com.

Giveaway time! You may enter to win a HERSHEY’S Track & Field Games prize pack. This prize pack includes a drawstring backpack, visor, water bottle and rubber band shoelace stoppers.

Mandatory Entry:
Follow my blog publicly with google friends connect. Please leave a comment below and include your email address in the comment so that I may contact you if you are the lucky winner.

Extra Entries:
1 extra entry: Follow me on twitter and comment below with your twitter name.
1 extra entry: Subscribe to my rss feed and comment below. Current subscriptions count too!
3 extra entries: Tweet this " #win a HERSHEY’S Track & Field Games Prize Pack #Giveaway at http://t.co/ecVU7Ug #low entry " This may be done daily. Please leave a link to your tweet in your 3 comments below.
3 extra entries: Subscribe to my email. Current email subscriptions count too! Please leave your 3 comments below.
3 extra entries: Follow me on network blogs. Please leave your 3 comments below if you follow me.
5 extra entries: Post my giveaway on your blog or in a mclinky and leave a link to your post in your 5 additional comments below.

Thank you for visiting my blog! This giveaway will end on April the 10th, 2011 at 11:59 pm central time. I will choose a winner shortly after that and notify them by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to the winning email notification. If they fail to claim the prize in that time frame then I will choose another winner.

Disclosure: The prize pack, information and additional prize pack to giveaway were all provided by The Hershey Company through MyBlogSpark.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Sexy Spring Swimwear at Express

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Express for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Dive into the season's sexiest swimwear with new women's swimwear  from Express.  Express offers new spring swimwear that is very hot and very now.   They offer strapless and halter style  bikinis, two piece swimwearstring bikini swim suits and even swim shorts for men.  

My favorite swimsuit from Express is the pitch black rhinestone tankini two piece set.   I love the pitch black color because black is very slimming and forgiving.  I also love this swimsuit because it allows extra coverage over my top portion and mid section while showing off my legs.  I find the rhinestone tankini to be both a flattering and fun swimsuit.  I plan on pairing the suit with a matching bottom and wearing it to the pool and beach this summer.   

The rhinestone tankini is an online exclusive.  It is on sale now at 20% off and it is only $31.92.  I find this to be an amazing pre-season sale price.  I love that Express even offers free returns and exchanges on this swimsuit.  This policy adds comfort and reassurance that I will love my new swimsuit or I may return it with out any problems or delays.  Advertisement

Express Swimsuit You may sign up for the Express e-mail  for a chance to win one of ten Express gift cards.  The sweepstakes ends on April 21, 2011 at 11:59 pm est.  Please see the  sweepstakes rules for more information if you are interested .  Another plus about signing up for the Express e-mail is that you will receive 15% off for your next purchase.  Express email offers you fashion insider exclusives like first-to-see new arrivals, special offers and promotions, and the latest style buzz in the business.    

Visit Sponsor's Site

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Earn Money Tweeting

Did you know that you can actually be paid to tweet? I use sponsored tweets and I get paid in paypal to tweet a short message for advertisers.
SponsoredTweets referral badge
It's easy to sign up and you will only get emails when you have a tweeting opportunity available or when you make money.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post, however I have a referral link posted and I may make a small fee paid by sponsored tweets if anyone chooses to sign up under me. The opinions are my own.

Monday, March 21, 2011

$25 Kroger Gift Card Giveaway Winner Announcement


Thank you to everyone who entered my Cart Buster Savings Event: $25 Kroger Gift Card Giveaway that was sponsored by Kroger Family of Stores and myblogspark. We had an amazing 526 entries and lucky number 246 was chosen by randomizer.org. This prize has been claimed. YAY!

Thank you again to myblogspark and Kroger Family of Stores for sponsoring this great giveaway.

I have 2 giveaways open if you would like to enter them:

Zippity Doo Giveaway ends 03/27/11
Purex Complete With Zout Giveaway ends 04/03/11

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Yoplait: Support National Nutrition Month


Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? I didn't know this until now. You may support National Nutrition Month and become a fan of Yoplait on Facebook today to explore delicious and easy ways to infuse more nutrition into your lifestyle.

I am a member of myblogspark and they have teamed up with Yoplait for this blogging opportunity.

Disclosure: By posting this information I have the chance to win a prize provided by Yoplait through MyBlogSpark.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Applied Labels, Dishwasher & Laundry Safe Labels for Kids & Baby Review


I am a member of tomoson and they have teamed up with Applied Labels for this fun review opportunity. I have received a personalized package of dishwasher and laundry safe labels for kids and baby to review.

Applied Labels™ are Applied Labels LLC's flagship and most popular product. They are extremely tough, ultra versatile and perfect for labeling many items such as:
*bottles
*sippy cups
*shoes
*school supplies
*gadgets
*summer camp gear
*all those little things that go to early childcare centers

Their labels are available with and without icons or with a second line of custom print. You may choose from 3 fonts at this time. The fonts are cutie, elegant, and standard. They also have 19 icons to choose from now. I chose to have my daughters name along with a double heart icon put on our review labels. They turned out really nice and the shipping was super fast. I plan on using our personalized labels for back packs, lunch boxes, school supplies, jackets and shoes. I love the idea of being able to pick out my daughter's shoes from the pile of them at Chuck E. Cheese or McDonalds play areas.

Applied Labels dishwasher and laundry safe labels for kids and baby are easy to use. To label clothing you sandwich an Applied Label™ with one of the blank backers. For shoes you stick on a Shoe Shield™ that will keep labels in place all year long.

The labels come with a resealable storage bag so that your labels stay clean, dry and flat. You will also receive an instruction card with your order. If you would like to see an instruction video on how to apply the labels you may visit them on youtube. You may also find Applied Labels on their website, at twitter and facebook.

Disclosure: I have received a sample product from Applied Labels so that I may complete an honest review of their product.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.

DIABETIC Advanced Healing Lotion Review


I am a member of tomoson and they have teamed up with neoteric Diabetic skin care for this review opportunity.

Whether you have you recently been diagnosed with Diabetes or you have been living with this disease for quite some time, you have probably experienced dry and slow healing skin. Neoteric Cosmetics is a subsidiary of Scott’s Liquid Gold. They have created a Diabetic Advanced Healing Cream to help improve the quality of life for those of us living with Diabetes. This cream is an exceptional intensive treatment for chronic dry, cracked, damaged, and slow healing skin. Neoteric Diabetic Oxygenated Advanced Healing Cream contains TriOxygenC® which is clinically proven to increase circulation and help speed your skins healing by strengthening its own natural defenses. You may use DIABETIC Advanced Healing Lotion for severely dry, rough, damanged skin on your feet, hands, fingertips, elbows, legs and knees.

I am a diabetic and I do have severely dry skin, especially during the winter. I was able to use this product during my peak troubled skin season and I can say that I am very pleased with the results. I did a week long test on my elbows and I am super excited about the results. Where I had a very rough spot, it is now semi rough. I am excited to see if another week of using DIABETIC Advanced Healing Lotion will smooth out the spot completely.

I like that the DIABETIC Advanced Healing Lotion smells nice and not like a medicine at all. I will continue to use the DIABETIC Advanced Healing Lotion on a daily basis. I like that DIABETIC Advanced Healing Lotion is a skin protectant that contains aloe and vitamin E. I also like that it is member tested and recommended by the national health and wellness club.

They advertised that DIABETIC Advanced Healing Lotion is A Treat for Your Hands and Feet. I definately agree! You may find them on twitter and facebook.

Disclosure: I have received a 4 oz sample tube of DIABETIC Advanced Healing Lotion so that I may complete an honest review of their product.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Purex Complete With Zout Review & Giveaway CLOSED


I am a Purex Insider and I have been given a review and giveaway opportunity through them for Purex Complete with Zout. You might be asking your self "What is Purex Complete with Zout?" Purex Complete with Zout is a detergent and pre-treater all in one. Purex Complete with Zout combines Purex detergent with the triple enzyme stain fighting power of Zout stain remover. It is a powerful combination that works to get stains out the first time you wash your clothes. It even works on tough stains like tomato sauce, grass and chocolate.

I like Purex Complete with Zout because it is a dual compatible formula. You may use it in both traditional top loader machines as well as HE or High Efficiency washing machines.

I also like that Purex Complete with Zout is easy to use. You can use it as both a pre-treater and a detergent. It is great for both everyday laundry and heavily soiled loads. For a normal load of laundy you simply use it as you would use your normal detergent. For really tough stains you pour it directly on the stain and rub it into the fabric. Let it sit for 5 minutes before you add it to the washing machine.

Purex Complete with Zout is available in 2 different fragrances. I received Fresh Morning Burst and it also comes in Free & Clear. The Fresh Morning Burst smells really nice. It is light and airy, just like I like my detergent to smell. The Free & Clear is fragrance free and has a hypoallergenic formula for sensitive skin. Purex Complete with Zout is the first Free & Clear detergent to call out an added stain fighter.

If you would like to request a free sample of Purex Complete with Zout, visit Free Sample Purex. After you fill out the sample request form you will have the option to either print a $1 off coupon or to receive a free sample of Purex Complete with Zout in the mail. Be sure to make a selection or you may not receive anything.

Giveaway time!

Mandatory Entry:
Follow my blog publicly with google friends connect by clicking on follow on the right side bar button. Please leave a comment below and include your email address in the comment so that I may contact you if you are a lucky winner.

Extra Entries:
1 extra entry: Share which Purex Complete with Zout you would like to try first: Fresh Morning Burst or Free & Clear.
1 extra entry: Follow me on twitter and comment below with your twitter name.
1 extra entry: Subscribe to my rss feed and comment below. Current subscriptions count too!
3 extra entries each: Tweet this " #win Purex Complete With Zout #Giveaway http://t.co/egxOhng ends 04/03 ". This may be done daily. Please leave a link to your tweet in your 3 comments below.
3 extra entries: Subscribe to my email. Current email subscriptions count too!
3 extra entries: Follow me on network blogs.
5 extra entries: Post my giveaway on your blog or in a mclinky and leave a link to your post in your 5 additional comments below.

Thank you for visiting my blog! This giveaway will end on April 3, 2011 at 11:59 pm central time. I will choose the winner shortly after that and notify them by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to the winning email notification. If they fail to claim the prize in that time frame then I will choose another winner. Good luck!

Disclosure: I have received a free sample of Purex Complete with Zout so that I may complete an honest review of the product. The free product coupons for the giveaway are being provided by Purex Insiders.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Zippity Doo Review & Giveaway CLOSED



I am a member of tomoson and they have teamed up with Zippity Doo for this review and giveaway opportunity. I have received a set of Zippity Doo head lice prevention products to review and I will share those with you. You will also have a chance to win a complete set of Zippity Doo products for yourself too!

Zippity Doo's children's products are affordable and mild enough for daily use. These hair care products repel and help prevent the infestation of lice and other insects. Zippity Doo is peditrician approved and contains many natural ingredients. Zippity Doo is also laboratory tested, paraben-free, and sodium laureth sulfate free.

I received 5 Zippity Doo products:

Shampoo for children: The Zippity Doo shampoo is made with a special combination of natural ingredients that include rosemary, citronella, ginger, chamomille, tea tree, lemongrass & lavender. The shampoo is to be used as a first defense along with Zippity Doo's leave in conditioning/detangler spray and Zippity Doo's Gel to create maxium protection. I like the smell of this shampoo. It is an uplifting aroma of mint with a hint of lemon. The Zippity Doo shampoo is green in color. I like that the Zippity Doo products come in fun colors. This makes it easier when you are teaching children how to bathe themself. You can tell them to use the green one first and then the purple one.

Conditioner for children: The Zippity Doo conditioner is made with a special combination of natural ingredients that include aloe vera, wild cherry bark, avocado oil, rosemary, tea tree, lemongrass and geranium extracts. The conditioner is vitamin-enriched with no harsh chemicals. It is mild enough for safe, every day use. For maxium protection, use with the Zippity Doo shampoo. To me, the Zippity Doo conditioner has a floral sent. I can definately pick out the geramium extracts in it. The conditioner is a beautiful purple and my daughter loves to use it because of the color.

Styling gel for children: The Zippity Doo styling gel is also made with a special combination of natural ingredients that include wild cherry bark, lavender, rosemary, avocado oil and tea tree. It is designed for styling hair while still repelling lice and other insects. The styling gel is alcohol-free and non-sticky. It will provide excellent control and plenty of shine while sealing and protecting the hair from unwanted elements. For maximum protection use with Zippity Doo shampoo and leave in conditioning/detangler spray. The styling gel is a fun aqua blue color and it smells like spearmint to me.


Leave-in detangler for children: The Zippity Doo leave-in detanger for children is made with the combination of these natural ingredients: silk protein, wild cherry bark, rosemary, tea tree and sage extracts. The leave in conditioner is designed to detangle, moisturize and it eliminates frizz while still repelling lice. The leave-in detanger is pearl in color. I love that none of the Zippity Doo products are the same in color. This is definately a plus from me.

Shield Spray: The Zippity Doo shield spray is made with a special combination of natural ingredients that include rosemary, citronella, aloe and tea tree oil. These ingredients provide protection from lice and other insects while smelling nice at the same time. I can definately say that the shield spray smells like citronella. It is a light fun scent that my children enjoy. The Zippity Doo spray is non-sticky and it puts a seal on personal belongings such as hats, helmets, backpacks, pillows, blankets, toys and even hair. To apply the shield spray, you spray daily to the entire surface to protect against lice, nits and other insect infestation.

I enjoyed reviewing the Zippity Doo children's hair care products. I like that they don't have harmful chemicals in them and that they smell nice. I like that my children are safely protected from lice and other insects.

Zippity Doo has a list of where they are currently available at on their website in their "available at" section.

Giveaway time! You may enter to win a set of Zippity Doo products that will include the Zippity Doo shampoo, conditioner, styling gel, detangler and shield spray. Sponsored by Tomoson.com

Mandatory Entry:
Follow my blog publicly with google friends connect. Please leave a comment below and include your email address in the comment so that I may contact you if you are the lucky winner.

Extra Entries:
1 extra entry: Follow me on twitter and comment below with your twitter name.
1 extra entry: Subscribe to my rss feed and comment below. Current subscriptions count too!
3 extra entries: Tweet this " #win Zippity Doo children's hair care products #giveaway at http://t.co/d89ryTj low entry " This may be done daily. Please leave a link to your tweet in your 3 comments below.
3 extra entries: Subscribe to my email. Current email subscriptions count too! Please leave your 3 comments below.
3 extra entries: Follow me on network blogs. Please leave your 3 comments below if you follow me.
5 extra entries: Click this link for Purex Crystals for 5 extra entries into any of my open giveaways. After you are taken to the web page, please come back and post your 5 extra entries.
5 extra entries: Post my giveaway on your blog or in a mclinky and leave a link to your post in your 5 additional comments below.

Thank you for visiting my blog! This giveaway will end on March the 27th, 2011 at 11:59 pm central time. I will choose a winner shortly after that and notify them by email. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to the winning email notification. If they fail to claim the prize in that time frame then I will choose another winner.

Disclosure: I have received a set of Zippity Doo products so that I may try them and complete an honest review of their product. No other compensation has been received.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Tomoson Product review & giveaway Disclosure.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Easy Ways To Earn Paypal And Other Gift Cards

I am putting a list together of ways that I have earned paypal and other useful giftcards. All of the ways that I will share with you are tried and true. I have actually used these programs or survey sites for over 2 years and I have been successfully rewarded from them. These are referral links and I will be thanked with incentive points if you choose to sign up through them.

Swagbucks is a search engine that rewards you with swagbucks randomly when you search through them. I have this site bookmarked and I use it a few times a day for random word searches. You will see a "Congratulations! You won swagbucks" banner on your page when you win. You may win swagbucks more than once a day so search often. Once you sign up, you can see the rewards offered by going to the Swagstore then gifts and rewards. They offer both Amazon gift cards and PayPal, among other gifts. Please use my Swagbucks link to sign up if you want to give it a try. I have earned $255 in amazon gift cards in the 2 years that I have been using them.

Mypoints is great way to earn PayPal and other nice gift cards. I have been with them for over 10 years and earned many nice gift cards like Bath and Body Works, Chili's and Cracker Barrell just to name a few. Mypoints even offers PayPal and Prepaid Visa Cards as rewards. Mypoints works by you filling out an initial survey and you checking off areas that interest you. The more you check off, the more offers you will get, which is what you want. To earn points, you will get daily emails from mypoints bonus mail and near the bottom of the email it will have a sponsor link in it. It will say "get points". You will get 5 points for clicking and letting the page load or you will get more points if you decide to take advantage of the email offer. This is a great way to earn free rewards just by checking your email. I would love for you to sign up under me but I don't see a direct link for this. If you are interested in this program, please leave me a comment below with your first and last name initials and your email address and I will be happy to send a referral to you through their website.

Sponsored Tweets: Did you know that you can actually be paid to tweet? I use and I get paid in paypal to tweet a short message for advertisers.
SponsoredTweets referral badge
It's easy to sign up and you will only get emails when you have a tweeting opportunity or when you make money.

Social Spark is a great way for bloggers to make money while sharing businesses with others. There are four steps to making cash with Social Spark.

1. You set your price per post
2. Pick your advertisers
3. Write your post
4. Get paid via PayPal

Saynation is a survey site that I like to use. They offer a catalog of rewards such as Amazon Gift Cards, PayPal, Walmart Gift Cards, AMC, Victoria Secret Gift Cards and even Barnes and Noble Gift Cards. This is a referral link and I would love for you to sign up through me. Sign up is free and easy. I have earned over $75 in paypal through them.

Mindfield is another survey site that pays by check or PayPal. The cashout threshold is $5. Once you reach this amount you may request a payment from them.

Surveyhead is a survey site that I have been using for several years. Once you reach a $25 threshold, you may redeem your points for Amazon Gift Cards or PayPal. There are other rewards for a lower threshold of $10 but I hold on to my points until I reach the $25 level. I have earned $139.60 with them so far. I have found that if you take a survey as soon as it arrives in your inbox, then you have a better chance of completing it for payment. Once a survey goes out to the public, it may fill up quickly and you could miss out on earnings. I do not have a referral link for surveyhead at this time but I am requesting an affiliate link for them.

Ebates is a great way to earn cash back for shopping online at stores that you already shop at.

I will be updating this post as I find other ways to help you earn PayPal, Amazon Gift Cards and other useful rewards.

Disclosure: This is a personal post. I am not receiving any incentive for posting this. I may receive promotional points if anyone chooses to use my referral links to sign up for the programs that I use and mentioned.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Family Get Aways For Less

I am member of SocialMoms and they have teamed up with Alamo to introduce another fun blogging opportunity in honor of the Alamo Insiders program. If you are like me, we all want to save money when booking travel for the family. Alamo would like for me to share my top 10 tips on finding deals and insider information for getting away with you. You may read more about that request here.

My family and I love to get away from home every chance that we get. I am a stay at home mom of two school aged children so that means that I need to be crafty when planning a get away. I want to ensure that we have fun and stay on budget at the same time. I have devised a plan that allows our family to do exactly that: have fun and stay on budget while on a family get away.

1. My first step is to plan a get away budget. I like to figure out how much we can afford to spend on a get away before we actually plan it. This is just a dollar amount and at this time I don't even have a destination in mind.

2. We usually plan get aways that are a few hours away from home. Traveling by car is not only cheaper than airfare but for our family it is also easier. There is no parking at airport, transportation of luggage or extra waiting involved. You simply get in your car and drive. Once you arrive you are at your get away destination.

3. Accomodations: I ask my family what type of get away would they enjoy? I ask them if they would like to go camping or stay in a hotel. Once we figure out if we are camping or staying in a hotel then I start looking for accomodations.

4. Hotel choices: There are many types of hotels to choose from. I check online for hotel discounts and room rates by using hotwire, priceline, or orbitz. When looking at hotel choices I also check to see if a breakfast is included with the stay. A free breakfast will save you a lot of money each day. Sometimes they will even have fruit or dry cereal boxes that you can take with you for a snack later in the day.

5. If we are enjoying a warm weather get away, I check to see if the hotel we chose has a swimming pool. A swimming pool isn't necesary in colder weather months but it is a must in the warmer weather months. We always enjoy swimming and this is a great, free way to spend an afternoon or evening.

6. Free things to do once you get to your get away destination: Once I have planned a get away destination and hotel accomodations, then I start searching for free and low cost activities that we may enjoy while we are there. I look for local zoos, parks, museums and even events.

7. Coupons: A lot of times you can find online coupons or discounted admission passes through a website search. Google is my friend. I use it to find many discounts that save my family money. If you are new to finding discounts online and want to give it a try, it is easy. In your search engine you type in the word that you want and follow it with discount code. An example would be "Alamo discount code". A list of websites that mention your topic will be displayed. You go to those links to find the discount that you need. This is the same way that I also search for hotel discounts.

8. Travel Plazas: Normally when you cross a state line you will find a travel information plaza for that state. This is a great place to get out of your car, stretch your legs and find money saving coupons! I can spend an hour or more looking at travel brochures at the travel plazas. They are free so pick you up a few that look interesting and then look at them at your hotel or while you ride in the car. If you ask the desk attendant for coupons they may even have some for you. It's free to ask and you might be pleasantly surprised at the results.

9. Dining Out or Eating In: To help our get aways stay on budget, we will stop at a grocery store once we reach our destination. I will pick up snack foods, fruits, peanut butter, jelly, bread, drinks and other items that may keep for a few days. If our room has a mini fridge and / or microwave then I will pick up other cold foods to make sandwiches and small meals with. For us, a normal get away day is breakfast at the hotel (free), lunch may be at a restaurant since we will be out exploring our destination, and dinner may be a light sandwich in the room. I usually remember to buy some popcorn also. Our family loves to watch a movie and enjoy popcorn in our hotel room while on our mini vacation!

10. Stay Safe: My last tip is to enjoy your family get away and remember to stay safe. Buckle up and obey the speed limits because a traffic ticket will blow your budget completely!

Disclosure: I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Alamo blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here
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45th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest Giveaway Winner Announcement

My 45th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest Giveaway ended 03/06/2011 and a winner has been chosen. I used randomizer.org to pull the lucky number. Out of 114 enties, number 27 won. I have emailed them they have already claimed their prize.

I have another giveway up right now. Please feel free to enter it if you have a Kroger or Kroger family of stores near you.

Cart Buster Savings Event: $25 Kroger Gift Card Giveaway ends 03/20/11

As always, Thank you for reading my blog! Have a great week.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Purex Complete Crystals: Exciting News and Coupon Link

As a Purex Insider, I am happy to share an important message and a Purex Complete Crystals coupon with you. Videos featuring a Purex research scientist and mom have been added to purex.com. Purex hopes that these videos will help consumers understand the drawbacks of oil based softeners and the advantages of 92% natural Purex Complete Crystals.
Please visit Purex Crystals to find out more.

A FREE Coupon for Purex Complete Crystals Softener may be found on their website as well.

I do have 2 great giveaways open right now. A simple click on the Purex Complete Crystals Softener link will earn you 5 extra entries into any of my open giveaways.

45th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest Giveaway ends 03/06/2011
Cart Buster Savings Event: $25 Kroger Gift Card Giveaway ends 03/20/11

Disclosure: This is a link set up for me by Purex Insiders. It will show them the amount of traffic that I share their information with. I have a chance to win a gift if my link brings in the top 100 referrals.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

2 Winners To Announce

We had 2 giveaways to end recently and I used randomizer.org to choose the winners.

Progresso Soup "Souper You Debut" Giveaway ended 02/27/11. We had 78 entries and randomizer chose lucky # 59. They have already claimed their prize!


Cinnamon Burst Cheerios Prize Pack Giveaway ended 02/27/11. We had 144 entries on this one and randomizer chose # 3. They have already claimed their prize too!

Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter these great giveaways. Thank you also to myblogspark for allowing me to host the review / giveaways for you.

Please be sure to enter the following giveaways if they interest you:
45th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest Giveaway ends 03/06/2011
Cart Buster Savings Event: $25 Kroger Gift Card Giveaway ends 03/20/11