Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Disappearing Flatware

I am missing silverware.  I have no idea where it has gone, but I am missing almost all of my forks and spoons.  Not my knives, though, which is kind of weird, because if I was going to stash some silverware under my bed (or where ever my kids have put it) I would make sure it's a knife or two so I could fend off intruders.  Not that there are many intruders in my bedroom, but you know what I'm saying.

I went to the store to buy some new stuff, and I couldn't believe how expensive flatware is.  You used to be able to get four forks (or spoons or knives) for about a dollar, but I can't find those anymore.  I did find some oneida flatware discounts online, but if I am going to spend any amount of money on flatware, I need to make sure it doesn't disappear.  Short of not allowing my kids to use any of it, I don't know how to keep track of it all.  Any ideas?

While I was shopping for flatware, it occurred to me that I could use an update on other things in my house as well.  I found some cute dining cushions, but honestly, that look is a little too country for me.  My mom would love them, though.  In fact, I remember cushions on our dining chairs growing up.

I also found this awesome ice bucket with stand and I want it so bad!  As soon as I saw it, I pictured it next to my bed, chilling a bottle of champagne on New Year's Eve.  Sure, I am going to be with my kids New Year's Eve, so I won't be using it that night.  But, the following week, I will have a special friend over, and it's never too late to toast in the new year, right?


Polar Express

Guest post from: Mohamed Simon

I have been loving all the Christmas movies on our direct tv. Most nights after supper my family of four has curled up on the couch to watch a Christmas movie. My all-time favorite is The Polar Express. I don't ever get tired of that movie. The magic that it brings to Christmas is so sweet. Of course I know the real reason we celebrate Christmas and I do have my family focus on that, but when my kids are this young it is fun to also do the whole Santa thing. I mean they are only small once and the excitement on my son's face when we took him to sit on Santa's lap is priceless. My favorite part of The Polar Express is when the little boy gets the bell off Santa's reindeer and finally hears the bell. My son saw some bell earrings hanging in Walmart the other day and was shaking them all. Of course he was holding the bell on the sides so it wasn't making any noise. I watched him shake all of them and he started getting worried. He then looked up at me and totally seriously said, “Mom, I must not believe in Christmas”!.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Host A PartyLite Candle Party And Earn Free Stuff

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of PartyLite Simple Pleasures Holiday Sweepstakes for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

How cute is this little votive holder?  I love the little snowflakes.  It reminds me of Christmas.  It's from PartyLite. 

I went to a PartyLite party once, and all their candles are beautiful.  It was hard for me to decide which one I wanted to buy.  The hostess, who happened to be my sister, got a whole bunch of free stuff for hosting the party.  PartyLite recently put out their Winter/Spring 2012 Catalog on December 16, and I can't wait to check it out. 

They are always offering special deals to their hosts, and you can keep up to date with them by "liking" the PartyLite Facebook page.  In fact, they just ended their PartyLite Simple Pleasures Holiday Sweepstakes where they gave away five $500 PartyLite gift certificates.  I could have bought a whole bunch of Christmas gifts with one of those.  I'm thinking about hosting a party myself one of these days.  Now that I live alone, I can have my friends over for food, fun, and candles whenever I want. Plus, I can really go for some free stuff right now. Money has been really tight, and I haven't bought anything for myself in months. 

Nothing can lift my spirits more than beautiful candles helping my house smell wonderful.

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Losing Weight

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

It's no secret that I have had a weight problem my entire life.  I have tried every diet known to man, and the only thing that worked for me was stress.  When my husband left, I was so stressed I lost a bunch of weight.  Last check, I was down just about one hundred pounds.  Unfortunately, I still have about fifty or so pounds left to lose. 

I have tried Slim-Fast in the past, but to be honest, it just didn't work for me.  Now, when I say the past, I mean about twenty years ago.  I still can't believe I am old enough to say that!  Back then, Slim-Fast was all about having a shake for breakfast, another for lunch, and a sensible dinner. In theory, it sounded good, but man, did I miss eating!  And the shakes were terrible.  I remember having to mix them myself, because they only came as a powder.  They always tasted gritty, no matter how much I mixed them. 

I recently tried their new shakes, and I was extremely impressed.  Thankfully, you no longer have to mix them for yourself.  They come in single serve bottles that you can take with you anywhere. I bought my shakes at my local grocery store, but they are available nationwide at Wal-Mart, Target, Safeway and Kroger.  You can also find them online at and the Slim-Fast 3-2-1 Store on Facebook.  While they still encourage you to have two shakes a day and a sensible dinner, their new plan includes snacks! That's right!  You can also replace the shakes with their meal bars.  It's all part of the new Slim-Fast 3•2•1 Plan.  Three snacks, two shakes (or meal bars) and one meal.  In a normal day I don't eat that much, so this plan seems very doable to me.  And check out how yummy their snack bars look:


The new shakes are delicious.  I tried the Rich Chocolate Royale, and it was not gritty at all.  In fact, I found it to be smooth and creamy.  I am excited to try all the new flavors, which are:

• Creamy Milk Chocolate
• French Vanilla
• Rich Chocolate Royale
• Cappuccino Delight
• Strawberries N’ Cream

I plan on making a lot of changes in the upcoming new year, and the most important change is going to be to my weight.  I want to get healthy, and being at a normal weight is important for that.  I "liked" the Slim-Fast facebook page so that I can keep up with not only what they have to say, but also to encourage, and be encouraged by, those like me who are trying to lose weight. 

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Stuff Those Stockings!

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

Do you have someone on your Christmas list who is hard to buy for? 

Are you looking for last minute stocking stuffers for your kids?

Do you just want a really cool new phone for yourself?

If you said yes to any of the above, head on over to Sprint online to take advantage of this awesome deal they have going on now through December 14.  You can get their Android™ powered EVO 4G devices free! That's right.  I said free. 

Not only are the phones free, you can also get the activation waived for new lines and get free shipping. 

This offer is only available for a limited time, and it is only available online. 

I can think of several people who would love a new phone for Christmas, myself included.  My phone is the most basic phone you can have.  It flips open and takes pictures, and while I can get online, I am very limited as to what I can do once I am connected.  I have actually been looking at Androids in the store, and think I really might get one for myself. 

Now is the perfect time, too.  I mean, who can pass up free?

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Cookies And Coupon Codes

 There are less than two weeks until Christmas, and I haven't baked a single cookie.  Now, if you know me at all, you know that by this time every year, not only are my cookies baked, they are iced and packed up for gift giving.  Do any of you remember last year when I gave a homeless guy we saw on the streets an entire container of cookies meant for a friend of mine?  I have never felt as good as I did that day, and my kids were so touched when the man teared up at our thoughtfulness. 

This year, I have so much going on in my life that I just haven't found the time to catch up on science and technology news, let alone bake cookies.  Having the kids go with their dad every other weekend has limited the time I have with them, and baking cookies by myself just doesn't seem like much fun.  They are with me this coming weekend, so we might find a few hours to spend in the kitchen. 

I am almost looking forward to Christmas being over this year.  I have been so stressed worrying about getting the kids gifts.  I plan on taking a vacation sometime early next year, without my kids.  I have a special friend, and I would love to get away, even if it is just for a weekend trip somewhere.  I have been looking online for Expedia coupons and Travelocity coupons, hoping I can find a good deal on something pretty close to home.  It's almost impossible for me to get time off of work, since I am the only one who can do my job, so a weekend trip is probably all I can do. I live close to the beach and the mountains, so I am sure I will find something perfect.

Until then, though, I will try to make time for baking.  I enjoy baking with my kids, and I refuse to let this Christmas go by without baking Santa some treats.

Applebee's Gift Card Giveaway

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

I can not remember the last time I was able to take the kids out for a nice dinner.  I simply can not afford it.  So, when I heard about this giveaway on Facebook, where all you have to do to enter is like Gift Card Weekend, I knew I was going to enter.  They are giving away hundreds of gift cards this month, and from December 10 to December 18, they will be giving away $25 gift cards to Applebee's.  I cannot even tell you how much I want to win one of these.  I love Applebee's, but haven't been in ages.  If you are one of my Facebook friends, be forewarned that I am going to encourage you to like Gift Card Weekend on Facebook and mention my name, which ups my chance of winning. 


Gift Card Weekend is a once-a-year event where participating retail partners give featured offers for gift cards purchased during the Holiday season and redeemed from January 6 - January 8, 2012.  You can purchase gift cards to all kinds of retailers to give as gifts, and the recipients can redeem them during Gift Card Weekend, getting more for their money.  Some of the participating retailers are:

-Regal Cinema
-Bass Pro Shops
-Buca di Beppo
-Spa Finder
-Giant Eagle

I know my kids get gift cards to JCPenny's every year, so I am going to take advantage of the deals they offer that weekend for sure.  I am also going to keep my fingers crossed that I am one of the lucky Applebee's gift card winners.

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Lady Bugs For My Little Lady

My mom makes the cutest cupcakes!  My youngest child had a birthday today...she turned 10!  She loves ladybugs and asked my mom to make her ladybug cupcakes.  These are what my mom came up with, and I think they are adorable!  The kids loved eating them, too.  Not only did they look good, they tasted amazing.  Thanks again mom.  You rock!

Saturday, December 3, 2011


To me, the kitchen is the most important room in the house. No matter what type of get together we have at my mom's house, my sisters and I always end up hanging out with mom in the kitchen.  My mother recently redid her kitchen, and it turned out beautiful.  She went with the county look, using shelves instead of upper cabinets, and it looks amazing.  It is also extremely functional.  She had a huge island installed, and that is usually where we gather.

Before she decided on what color scheme to go with, she looked for kitchen ideas online.  She clipped pictures out of magazines and printed stuff off the internet.  She knew exactly what she wanted.  I love looking at pictures of kitchens, too, especially when they have all the appliances I love with great flow.  If I ever have a home of my own, I want a huge stove with six burners and two ovens.  I want a huge fridge and freezer, and all the gadgets that make cooking and baking easier.

I am also obsessed with pantries.  I saw one kitchen online that had an archway leading into a huge pantry that was so well organized.  I want that someday in my own home.  You can check out tons of pictures at to get ideas for your own dream kitchen.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

GravyMaster Barbecue Sauce - YUM!

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

We use a lot of barbecue sauce in my house.  I put it on everything from chicken to french fries.  I also love adding it to baked beans.  I do have a favorite brand I use, but I have been searching for a recipe to make my own.  I was checking out the GravyMaster website and I found a recipe for barbecue sauce.  I can not wait to try it out. 

All-American BBQ Sauce

Servings: 4 cups
Cook time: 60 minutes
Prep time: Less than 15 minutes


1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 can (14 ounces) whole, peeled tomatoes, chopped
1 cup tomato catsup
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup dry mustard
1 tablespoon chili sauce
2 tablespoons GravyMaster®
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed to measure
Dash cayenne pepper


  1. In a 3-quart saucepan, sauté onion, peppers, celery and garlic in olive oil until tender. Use low heat, vegetables should be cooked through with little browning.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Makes about 4 cups sauce. Good on all meats.

Sounds delicious, right?

GM_Bottle.jpgI used to think that GravyMaster was only good for making gravy, but there are so many different uses for it.  You can use it caramelize food and add it to sauces and marinades.  Their website offers so many ways to Master the meal.  I know that with the Holidays coming up, lots of people are cooking big meals, and if they are like me, they are tired of eating the same things over and over again.  Why not try something new this year, and let GravyMaster make your meal a little bit more delicious? Make sure to come back and leave a comment letting me know how you added GravyMaster to your Holiday meal!

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Sunday, November 27, 2011


 I need to go shopping.  A lot of my winter clothes no longer fit, which is one of the many drawbacks of losing so much weight.  Don't get me wrong.  I am more than thrilled with my drop in weight.  I just don't have the money to invest in a whole new wardrobe.

The good thing is, my boss recently gave me some company sweatshirts, so on cold days I just throw on one of them with a pair of jeans.  I didn't even have to pay for them.  I know a lot of jobs where you need to be in uniform require you to purchase the uniform yourself.  When I worked at McDonald's, if I wanted a new shirt or pair of pants, I had to buy them from the company.  That seemed a little unfair to me, but I needed that job, so I spent a ton of money on clothes I never got to wear again once I left. 

Nurses and doctors have to wear scrubs, and I have a feeling they go through quite a bit of them.  My mom is a nurse, and though she says nurses make pretty good money, I am sure they still look for clearance scrubs when they need to buy new uniforms. I also know women who wear scrub tops everyday who are not nurses simply because they are comfortable.  You can find quite a selection of scrub tops at  

I think I am going to hit up a thrift store for some jeans.  I don't want to spend too much money on clothes since I do plan on losing another 50 pounds or so.  Once I get to my goal weight I will buy myself an entire new wardrobe.  I can't wait!

Saturday, November 26, 2011


My kids are slobs.  Seriously.  I could spend an entire day cleaning my house from top to bottom, and in half an hour they will have it a mess yet again.  Just the other day they they were home from school, so I left a list of chore I wanted done before I got home from work.  You would not bieve the phone calls I got from them that day.

The first time, Brandi was mad at Kasi so she sprayed her with a cleaning product that contained bleach.  Then Ryan got mad at Brandi, so he sprayed her with water from the prayer in my sink.  The thing was, Brandi was sitting on my couch at the time, so it got soaked along with her.  I am glad it was only water, because had it been the bleach solution, I would have been searching online for furniture cleaning tips, though I am pretty sure there is no way to get bleach stains out of anything.

The carpet in my apartment is also a mess, though not all of it is from us.  Sure, the apartment manager had the carpets cleaned before we moved in, but I think they did it themselves, so you can assume that they didn't do a very good job.  I want to have someone like come in and do it right, but I have to wait until after the first of the year, because right now I just can not afford it.  

In the meantime, I am going to continue to try and keep the mess to a minimum around here.  Anyone have any idea how I can do that?

I Heart Caller ID

Post contributed by Hilton Miranda

Last year, after a long illness, my mother-in-law passed away. My father-in-law, who my kids call Grandpa, was suddenly alone after more than 60 years of marriage and very sad. Grandpa is a retired truck driver who drove a big rig around his small North Georgia town. But, being in his eighties and not having good health, now restricts him to staying around his house. Gone are the days that he used to work on cars with my husband in his garage behind his house. There is one thing that he can still do that has not been taken away. That is watching professional baseball. My husband tries to go see his dad as much as he can and watch a good game on TV with him. For his birthday, my husband decided to contact and set Grandpa up with many channels to watch the sport he loves so well. I know baseball can never fill the void that losing a spouse can leave, but it can help pass the time and gives him something else to think about. Now he will call us up and ask if we are watching the Braves. I know it seems weird, but baseball has given him a new lease on life.


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

Do you spend a lot of time online?  I know I do.  Is your computer fully protected against malware and viruses?  I'm pretty sure mine is, but I still have a tendency to pick up viruses every now and then.  To me, it's nothing more than an annoyance that my dad has to come over and fix for me.  For small business owners, it can be devastating.


Norton Small Business by Symantec can keep all your information protected.  They just launched their Norton 360 and the Norton Internet Security 2012 this past September.  Did you know that almost six out of ten small business owners (59 percent) admitted to having experienced some sort of malware (malicious software on their computer) in the past three years, and half of them (51 percent) had to pay an expert to resolve the problem?  That's quite a statistic.  I bet these business owners now have better protection, and that is what you can get from Norton.  They can get 30% off Norton Small Business Products now and maybe breathe a little easier knowing they are protected. 

Norton also offers regular people like me the protection I need for everyday computer use.  I'm sure my dad will appreciate me being proactive, since he's the one who has to clean up my viruses.  You should check out all the programs Norton offers for yourself.  Make sure you come back here and leave me a comment letting me know which program you think would work best for you and why.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Changing My Style

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

I have two different pairs of glasses.  Both are wire frames, but one is black and the other is gold.  I wear the gold ones because I broke the nose piece on the black ones. I like the black ones better, but it will cost me too much money to have them fixed.  I would rather go to Zenni optical and but a brand new pair.  In todays economy, saving money is a must for me, and getting  brand new pair of eyeglasses for under ten dollars fits perfectly into my budget. 

The biggest problem I am having is picking one pair I love, because there are so many that I do.  I guess since they are such cheap eyeglasses I can get more than one pair, but narrowing it down to even two r three will be difficult.  I really like this pair:

but I'm not sure if I could pull them off.  I am more of a single color, boring kind of girl.  Maybe it's time for something different though,  I mean, I have changed so much here lately, why not change my style as well?  With all the money I save at enni, I could get some new clothes, too.  That would be awesome!

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

I Love Bread

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

I often ask people a weird question.  I ask them what is the one food you would eat every day if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life?  For me, the answer would be one of three things; chocolate, peanut butter, and bread.  The problem with the chocolate and peanut butter is that I would need both.  With bread, I could have a different type for every meal and still be happy. 

Screen Shot 2011-10-12 at 10.37.57 AMI feel bad for the many people who can't have bread due to medical reasons, like gluten allergies and intolerance.  Thankfully, advances have been made and there are options available.  Schar is the leader in gluten-free foods, and they have re-launched their Sub Sandwich Rolls, Ciabatta Rolls, and Baguettes.  All three of those sound so yummy!  Right now, if you are one of the first 2,000 people to join the Schar club, you can sign up to receive a free sample of their ciabatta rolls.  These rolls are the first gluten-free heat and serve ciabatta rolls in the United States.  To me, there is nothing more delicious than bread right out of the oven. 

I could eat bread as a meal alone, but we all know how delicious it can also be as an accompaniment to other foods.  If you are one of the 2,000 to receive the free sample, how will you try it?  Alone or as a way to make a regular meal a whole lot better?

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011


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

I love this!  Brandi has taken her lunch to school with her every day since her first day of kindergarten.  We have gone through countless ice packs trying to keep her lunches cold.  She has accidentally thrown some away, and we even had one that completely fell apart.  The gel inside was everywhere.  It was pretty gross.

Picture 17

With PackIt lunch boxes, it's the tote itself that you put in the freezer to cool off, and it stays cold for up to 10 hours.  When Brandi finishes her lunch, she can fold it up and stick it in her book bag.  Check it out:

For a limited time, you can visit their website and buy one of these lunch boxes for only $19.95, and as a bonus you will get one free.  That means I can get one for Brandi and one for myself.  I know I have spent more than $20 on ice packs and lunch boxes over the years, so I would consider this a great investment.  I love the pink one, and that just so happens to be Brandi's favorite color.  I'm thinking about wrapping her's up as a Christmas gift!

How would you use a PackIt?  Leave me a comment letting me know if you would use it for yourself to take lunch to work, or carry baby bottles (which is an excellent idea for all you mom's out there with babies), or as a lunch box for your child.  Also let me know why you think these are better than regular lunch boxes.  Thanks!Advertisement

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Puppies Or Babies - Which Are Cuter?

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


Yes, I want you to tell me which you think are cuter, babies or puppies!  I have my own opinion, of course, and I happen to think babies are cuter.  There, I said it.  As adorable as puppies can be, there is nothing sweeter than a baby smiling and cooing.  And the smell!  Babies always smell so good.  Puppies tend to smell like, well, dogs.  The one thing puppies do have over babies is that when they grow up, they don't turn into smart mouthed teenagers with mood swings.  And they don't talk back.  They do chew up your shoes, but hey, you shouldn't be leaving those laying around anyway.

If you want to have your say in this issue, vote in the Puppies vs. Babies online contest.  The submission phase is over, and I wish I had been able to submit a photo of my favorite baby, my niece Lylah.  I mean, tell me she is not adorable.

But, since she is not in the contest, feel free to check out all the entrants and vote for your favorite before November 23rd.  The wining baby (or puppy if you happen to think they are cuter!) of this Puppies vs. Babies contest will win $5,000.  That's a lot of money for simply being adorable. 

What do you think?  Leave me a comment telling me which you think is cuter, babies or puppies?

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Easy Can Still Mean Yummy

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of T.G.I. FRiDAY'S for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Now that I am a single working mom, by the time I get home in the evenings, the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal for the kids.  Thankfully they understand this, and my almost 16 year old son has stepped up to the plate, making sure his sisters are fed.  They do a lot of frozen dinners, and while the girls will eat just about anything, my son has become a picky eater. 

I recently found T.G.I. FRiDAY’S “Entrées for One” at my local grocery store, and I think my son will love them.  He is one of those kids who thinks cheese makes everything taste better, so I am going to buy the Loaded Chicken and Cheese one for him to try.  It looks delicious, don't you think?

Entrées For One

Right now, you can take part in their Fun Freezer contest by voting for your favorite freezer.  I voted for the little freezer with all the magnets on it, simply because it reminds me of my freezer.  If you have ever been in my home, you know about my own magnet obsession.  You can vote yourself from now until October 20th.  I hope the one I voted for wins!

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Looking Up Recipes Online, From My Phone!

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

When I was shopping around for a cell phone, I was looking for the most basic, cheapest plan I could find.  I told myself I didn't need anything fancy.  I had never texted or gone online from my cell hone before, so I didn't think those were things I needed, especially since they ran up the price of the phone bill.

All of that changed when I heard about Straight Talk.  These phones are great because there are no contracts.  That's right.  I said no contracts.  When I heard that for only $45 I could get unlimited talk, text, and web, I was sold, Hook, line and sinker.  I mean, do you know how awesome it is to be in the grocery store and look up a recipe online making sure I have all the ingredients I need for supper that night?  Okay, so maybe you have been doing that for a while, but for me, it was whole new experience.  I always thought the only thing I needed a cell phone for was to Call a friend.  I was so wrong.

The phone I have is basic, but it does what I need it to do.  As much as I would love an Android on Straight Talk, I'll have to wait a while before I can upgrade. Come tax time, though, I am getting me one of those smart phones.  I mean, I'm smart.  I may as well have a phone that matches me, right?

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Perfect Phone For Kids

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

I think it's pretty funny to see really little kids with their own cell phones.  I mean, does a 5 year old really need his or her own phone?  In my opinion, no.

But, when kids grow into teenagers, I think cell phones are an excellent idea.  It not only gives parents a way to get in touch with their teens where ever they are, but it also opens a line of communication between parent and child.  My son Ryan would rather text me than speak to me, and he has opened up so much more since getting his phone.

He has a TracFone, and it's perfect for him.  They offer So many features, though the one he uses the most is texting.  I like that I didn't have to sign a contract, and I like it even more that I don't get surprise bills in the mail every month.  They have plans that fit every budget, and you get even make international calls for the same price.  You can even buy an entire year of service at once.  This might be something I look into come tax time when I get my refund check.

But don't just take my word for it.  Real TracFone customers share their thoughts on these phones features in the video below.  Check it out:

If you are thinking about getting a phone for your child, check out TracFone.  I don't think you'll be disappointed.

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Monday, August 29, 2011


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

I am not ashamed to admit that there are so many things about the computer that I just do not know.  Sure, I can turn it on and get a post up on my blog, but when it comes to all the "techie" stuff, I'm completely clueless. 

I read about all the recommendations about using a computer backup program to make sure all your files are saved, but I am really not too sure how to go about doing that.  Thankfully, there are easy to use programs like Carbonite that take care of all of that stuff.  The program runs in the background whenever you are connected to the internet, and it only costs $59 a year. 

Carbonite Online Backup
If you are anything like me, a program like this would be perfect.  It does all the work for you, and you can access your files from any computer.  You can even download a free app on your smartphone (or iPad) and check them from it. 

Carbonite even offers a free 15 day trial, and they do not require a credit card for you to try it out.  If you decide to purchase the program after the 15 days, make sure you use the code BLOGAD to get two free months of service.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

I Love My Phone

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

Have you ever heard of TracFones?  If not, you are missing o on a great deal.  I know this because I have one.

There are so many features that make these phones awesome, but the one I like best is that there are no surprise bills.  Every month, I go to the store and buy a refill card for around $45, thought there are several different options to choose from there.  They have cards that start as low as $9.99.  You can also pay as you go online, which saves time.  You are probably thinking that you can't get a great phone through TracFone, but you are wrong.  They have everything from simple phones that just make calls to "smart" phones.  There are lots of real TracFone customers that are more than satisfied with their phones and the service they receive. 

My son has one of these phones, too, and my girls have been bugging me to et them each one as well.  As affordable as they are, I am thinking they might just each get one from Santa his year.  I like the thought of Brandi carrying a phone as she runs around the neighborhood.  That way, when it's time for her to come in, all I have to do is call instead of sending Kasi out to look for her.

I am one of many real TracFone customers who loves her phone.

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

I Want New Glasses

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

I need new glasses.  The ones I have are so old, and to be honest, I just want something different. I have lost weight, and I am feeling good about myself, so why not treat myself to new glasses?

I was on the Zenni Optical website, and I found a purple pair that I love.  Check them out:

Awesome, right? The best part is that they are only $6.95.  For that price, I can get two pairs if I want.  Heck, I can get a pair for myself and a pair for Ryan, who happens to need new glasses for school.  He had a pair, but they broke at the end of last year, and he has been bugging me about getting a new pair.

Kids can be tough on glasses, especially boys.  A couple of my little nephews wear glasses, an I can not tell you how many times they have broken them.  Their parents now keep two pairs in the house so they have a back up for when one pair gets broken.  Being able to save money on prescription glasses with Zenni makes it a little more affordable to do that.

And let's face it.  We all love saving money,

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Have You Ever Lost Your Cell Phone?

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

I have only had a cell phone for a few months now, and thankfully I have yet to lose it.  I misplace it sometimes, and have to call it from another phone to find it.  If you have a Sprint phone, you can download their Sprint Total Equipment Protection App, and one of the features of this app is locating a lost cell phone.  For only $8  month, you will have the ability to find a misplaced phone with an audible alarm, locate your phone on a map using network integrated GPS technology, remotely lock a missing phone, as well as wirelessly sync and manage and restore your contacts.  How cool is that?

There is a deductible if your phone needs to be replaced, but it is far less than the cost of having to buy a phone out of pocket.  If you already own a Sprint phone (Android, Blackberry and select feature phones) you can download the app from now until August 30th. This is a limited time offer, so make sure you take advantage while you can.

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I know this is just one of many apps that are out there for cell phones, but it sounds like a great one to have, especially if you continuously lose you phone.  Or drop it alot, like me.  My poor phones (my personal and cell) are so beat up, they look like they spent time in a blender. 

Maybe  shouldn't wait until next year to upgrade.

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The Reality of American Idol

Guest written by our friend Gladys Fuentes

My favorite reality show on direct tv San Jose by far is American Idol. Though Simon Cowell is gone, the new judges are a great team. Steven Tyler brings humor and his wonderful voice to the panel, while Jennifer Lopez brings the beauty and heart that is needed. Randy is honest and caring as always.

The contestants can be quite comical at times, but when it gets down to the raw talent of them, you see the stars shine. Watching auditions can be painful, but once the talented singers are weeded out from the group, the real entertainment begins.

They start with a solo performance in Hollywood, which scares many away. The pressure can be brutal. Then its on to group night, where many Idol wannabees cave under the drama of it all. Forming a group and learning a song/dance within one night can be extremely tough on some. Only the strong will survive, and only the strongest of the groups will move ahead.
Then comes solo night again - those left will sing for their final shot to make it on. The remaining contestants are grouped into rooms and told whether the room stays or goes.

Those who make it this far will then do some more solo stuff to see who eventually makes it to the top 24, and finally to the top 12 to fight for the American Idol title.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cash For Old Phones...A Pretty God Idea

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

If you are anything like me, you have at least a couple of old ell phones laying around.  At my house, the kids like to use them to play house.  My little niece is almost 2, and she loves to walk around pretending that she is talking on the phone, so my mom has an old cell phone she keeps on hand for just that reason.

Since we moved a couple of months ago, I have been in de-clutter mode, and one of the things that I want to get rid of are all the old cell phones.  I will probably keep one for the kids to play with, but the rest have got to go.  I know their are sites that will give you Cash for Your Cell Phones and Electronics, like uSell.  The process is pretty simple.  You look up your phone (or any other electronic device), see how much they are offering for it, select what you will accept as payment, and then receive the money.  Sounds simple enough, right?

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I have been kind of stressing about back to school supplies, and how expensive they are, so any extra cash right now would be wonderful.  Buying pencils and notebooks for three kids can break the bank, let me tell you.  I think last year, when all was said and done, I spend about $250 getting the kids ready for school, and that didn't even include clothes or shoes. 

Maybe I just need to start playing the lottery. 

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Monte Carlo

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

I have to admit, I like Selena Gomez.  It's a good thing, too, because my daughter absolutely loves he.  She has a new movie coming out (Selena Gomez, not my daughter) titled Monte Carlo that I am actually looking forward to seeing.  Check out the trailer:

The movie comes out Friday, July 1st, so I think I'll plan a date night with my daughter.  She has been bugging me about having some mother/daughter time with just the two of us, and this will be the perfect thing for us to do.  I can get tickets early (starting June 29) through Fandango, so I can plan out our night beforehand.  I am not sure if I will let Brandi know ahead of time, because I have a feeling that if I do, she will drive me crazy waiting.  I could keep her occupied by having her like the movie's Facebook page, where she can find all kinds of information about the movie.  Se is already "friends" with Selena Gomez on Facebook, and writes on her wall all the time.  My kid is seriously obsessed with her.  But, I don't mind, because unlike a lot of young actors and singers these days, I think she is an excellent role model for my daughter.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Parent's Choice Infant Formula Savings Sweepstakes

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

Are you a new parent?  If so, have you thought about how you are going to find the money to put your child through college?  I remember when my kids were infants, saving for their education was the furthest thing from my mind.  I wish it wasn't, because now my kids will have to find the money themselves through student loans and scholarships.  Ryan will be graduating soon and Kasi will be right behind him.  I know there is no way that I will be able to afford to help both of them financially, and I really want both of them to continue their educations.  I know first hand how hard it is to find a job without having a college degree.  Heck, these days it's hard to find a job with a degree.

You can enter the Parent’s Choice Infant Formula Savings Sweepstakes to try and win a $10,000 college scholarship in the form of a College Savings 529 Plan to help your child afford college tuition when the time comes.  I have no idea how expensive college tuition will be eighteen years from now, but I have a feeling that like everything else these days, the price will only increase.   Doing what you can to help make college more affordable for your kids will be such a blessing. 

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Sunday, June 12, 2011


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

Are you happy with your pharmacy?  I am.  I recently switched to Walgreens, and I have been very happy with their products.  I used to think that I had to buy the name brand products for quality, but now I know that store brand products work just as well.  I have tried several Walgreens Brand Health & Wellness Products, and have been satisfied with all of them.  Brandi had an infection in her ear a few weeks ago, and I used Walgreen's Brand Triple Antibiotic Ointment on her earring hole and it cleared up very quickly. 

120x30_WalgrensTransparentLogoBuying these products also benefits Walgreens Way to Well Fund™ .  This fund will provide free preventive health tests as well as other health and wellness services and education to local communities.  Walgreens will contribute up to $3 million annually to this fund, which is pretty generous.

Right now, there are several blogger doing giveaways where the prizes are Walgreens gift cards.  I know I am going to enter every one of them. Or all of them if I'm lucky. Right now, every cent I earn is spend before I get it, so a gift card or two would come in very handy.  Advertisement

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Monday, June 6, 2011

I Like to Know How Things Are Made

Thanks for the post, Erasmo Wiley

“How It's Made” is a great television show. Seeing how everyday objects are manufactured is really interesting to me. I watch it on my every chance I get. When the show has some really interesting items that will have their manufacturing processes shown, I record it on my DVR. From raw materials to finished product, the show demonstrates in great detail how things are made.

I remember Fred Rogers showing little segments of how things were made when I was a child. I've always wondered why no shows were made that had the entire premise being about showing how things are made. In Pennsylvania, there is a PBS show that shows what goes on inside some of Pennsylvania's factories, but “How It's Made” shows products from around the world.

The factory segments are fascinating to me. Seeing the machines produce vast amounts of a product from raw materials is really interesting. There has been more than one occasion when I've used a product and wondered how it came to be. The sheer volume of raw materials that go into making a simple item such as a snack cake for the masses just boggles my mind. Giant bags of flour and sugar are dumped into mixers that are big enough for a group of people to stand in. Then the machines go to work all the way to the point of packaging and shipping. It's good to know where things come from and how they are made.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


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

Do you worry that your baby is not getting all the nutrients it needs to grow up strong and healthy?  If you breastfeed, that should not be a concern.  We all know that a mother's milk is the best thing for a baby.  But sometimes, like with me, a women is unable to breastfeed, and she has to rely on baby formula.  These days, with most people watching how they spend their money, it's nice to know that the store brands are just as good as the name brand formulas.  They just cost less. In fact, Store brand infant formulas won a major victory this week when a U.S. Circuit Court upheld a $13.5 million false advertising claim against Enfamil maker Mead Johnson.  It seems they were trying to say that store brand formulas weren't as good as the name brand formulas, when in fact, all baby formulas must meet the same nutrition guidelines.  You can find more information at

I think it's great that moms have so many choices these days when it comes to what they feed their babies.  I pumped my milk for several months with each kid, and I supplemented with formula.  I bought the store brands back then simply because they were cheaper.  It's nice finding out that they were just as good as the name brands.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

My Poor Boo

This is a compensated post written by me on behalf of Walgreens. All opinions are 100% mine.

Brandi fell and cut her knee the other day.  It was just a little scrape, but she kept picking at it, and now it is infected.  I have been putting triple antibiotic ointment on it, and it seems to be getting better.  I didn't buy a name brand product, though.  I have found that when it comes to medications like that, name brands aren't always the way to go.  You can get the same quality for less money when you buy the store brand.


Walgreens Brand Health & Wellness Products are just as good as the name brands.  I was sent a sample of their triple antibiotic ointment, and it works great.  It is helping her cut heal, and I love that I can save money by buying it.  And by buying these products, I will be helping Walgreens to contribute up to $3 million annually to the Walgreens Way to Well Fund™, which provides free preventive health tests as well as other health and wellness services and education to local communities.  You can find more information about it here

Now that I am on my own with the kids, I love finding ways to save money, and being able to buy over the counter medications at great prices is important to me.  It's important to you too, right?Advertisement

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Family Gourmet

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

Food.  The one thing that no matter what is going on in my life, my kids keep asking for.  I still have to cook meals for them and make sure they eat, even when I am no longer eating with any regularity.  For the past few weeks, I have been eating salad, and pretty much nothing else.  Except tonight, because we had company and I cooked a nice meal.

Because of my new life situation, I have been thinking of ways to make my grocery money go a little further.  While this is not an easy thing to do, there are certain places I can shop that have lower prices, but the same quality of products.  One of those places is Family Dollar.  They have their own store brand of food called Family Gourmet, and they are so sure that it will stand up against the name brands they offer a 100% Guaranteed or money back within 30 days for a refund or exchange with receipt!  To me, that sounds like they are pretty confident about their products. 

One of the products that I usually buy the store brand of is cereal.  I think the prices of the name brand cereals are ridiculous.  In fact, the prices of most name brand breakfast foods are high.  Buying the Family Gourmet brand can save you over 30% versus the national brands. You can save $1.35 on pancake mix and syrup simply by buying the Family Gourmet brand.  Since we love to do pancake breakfasts on Sunday mornings, saving money on these products is important to me. 

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