9/21/13

Reduce Your Food Costs Today

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Free Halloween Trick-Or-Treat Bag


York Photo Free Tote Bag. 
Great for Halloween, groceries, 
beach vacations, trips to the park, picnics, 
and more! Plus get 40 free prints.
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Expires October 31st  ~  New Customers Only

Free Disney Parks Vacation Planning DVD


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Six Super Giveaways

9/20/13

Win a BERNINA 215 Sewing Machine


Celebrate National Sewing Month + 
Enter to Win a BERNINA 215 Sewing Machine 

September is National Sewing Month and AllFreeSewing is celebrating with daily blog posts and giveaways. Every day in September, readers will have a chance to win a set of thread from Coats and Clark on the FaveCrafts Blog. In addition to these daily giveaways, AllFreeSewing readers will also have a chance to win a BERNINA 215 Sewing Machine. US only.

9/19/13

Books, Books, Books - Throwback Thursday

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It's Throwback Thursday

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Take a stroll down memory lane with us and join in!

Books, Books, Books

As a child, my favorite thing to do was read books. I loved going to the library with my mom every week and turning in my books to choose new ones. Our local library had a limit of eight books and each time I went, I loaded up with eight books. I read every single Boxcar Children book on the library shelf. I also read all the Nancy Drew Mysteries and every books from Little House on the Prairie. I've also read most of the classic young reader chapter books on just about any list across the internet. Reading 100 books each summer for the library summer reading program was very important to me. As I got older, my favorites included The World of Tiers, Dragonriders of Pern, and Clan of the Cave Bear. It makes me a bit sad that my own kids don't love to read as much as I did. I still love to read, but it's hard to find free time these days. I spend most of my time writing instead of reading.

Do you like to read? What was your favorite childhood book?


Monopoly Empire Board Game - Review and Giveaway

Disclosure: I received this product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
Last weekend one of our in-college sons, John, stopped by for dinner with his girlfriend. They both love to play board games and it just so happened that Monopoly Empire by Hasbro was recently delivered to my house. They were very excited to play and John immediately claimed the game for his dorm room. At least he was nice enough to let the rest of us play a game before he took it with him.
If you're a fan of the original Monopoly game, the game of Monopoly Empire is similar, but different. Instead of buying places like Park Place and Vermont Avenue, players purchase company brands like McDonald's, Coca Cola, Nestle, and Nerf.
Monopoly Empire has all new game tokens, like a bag of fries and a game controller. Each time around the board means you'll get to pass GO and collect money, but your income is based on which companies you've purchased. You will still need to try to avoid the "jail" too.
After reading through directions and setting up the board, we got started. Each company has a plastic nameplate that is perched at the top of its space on the board. When a player buys the company, the little piece is moved to the player's billboard.
The billboard for each player is a narrow, black, plastic nameplate holder. The player whose billboard is filled first is the game winner. The company nameplates are of different sizes, depending on how big of a company it is. The larger the company, the higher the cost and the more another player must pay if they land on that spot.
There are lots of ways to lose your companies and your money to other players. It's a much faster moving game than the original Monopoly. Everyone really enjoyed themselves playing Monopoly Empire and we decided we like this one better. Especially John, who won the game! You can buy this game at Amazon and at retailers nationwide.
Win Monopoly Empire by Hasbro!
To enter, just fill in the easy Rafflecopter form below. Open to US residents, ages 18+. Giveaway ends at midnight on 9/22/2013. Good luck!

Jawbone UP and Best Buy - My Partners in Fitness

Disclosure: The reviewer has been compensated
in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received
the product/service at a reduced price or for free.
It is so easy to make excuses to avoid exercising, but I try very hard to make myself get up and move more. I've added regular dog walks and neighborhood bike rides to my routine, but some days I'll sit here and work for hours before realizing I haven't even stood up. Jawbone UP from Best Buy is helping me to make positive changes in my life.
Quite simply, the Jawbone UP is a personal trainer (that won't yell at you) in the form of an electronic wristband. UP is a system that takes a holistic approach to a healthy lifestyle. The wristband tracks your movement and sleep in the background. The app displays your data, lets you add things like meals and mood, and delivers insights that keep you moving forward. UP tracks my motion, distance, location and speed for efficient monitoring of my workout, plus measures steps taken and calories burned to help me keep track of my progress.
It's so easy to use. I took my Jawbone UP out of the package, removed the cap and plugged it into my phone. I downloaded the free app, added my account and let UP charge so I could wear it. The wristband actually holds a charge for up to 10 days. I plugged my UP into my phone every morning and evening to update my account and see how well I did meeting my goals. UP is water-resistant up to 3.3' and can be used in most weather conditions.
It's a great quality product and I've noticed that even just wearing it reminds me to get up and move more often, although there is a built-in reminder too. It comes in lots of colors so you can find your personal style and start making changes to become healthier. A number of people have asked me where I got my new wristband and they were intrigued when I told them more about it. Plus, I've lost six pounds since I started wearing my UP! How's THAT for a recommendation?
Live Better. Start Now. Jawbone UP. Track your sleep activity, steps, calorie intake and more with the Jawbone UP wrist sensor and free mobile app. UP gives you meaningful, personalized insights so you can make lasting improvements to your everyday life. Shop for it at Best Buy.

TravelWise Packing Cube Set - Review #Travel


Disclosure: I received this product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
If you travel frequently, you've probably had the experience of arriving at your destination with all your clothing wrinkled and jumbled. The three-piece TravelWise Packing Cube Set is a great problem-solver! There are three cubes of different sizes so you can sort your clothing by size or type to pack them.
Made of lightweight, durable nylon, each cube has two corded zippers for simple, easy opening and closing. The smallest cube is 11.5" x 6.75" x 3" and is perfect for socks, undergarments, ties, and scarves. The medium cube measures 13.75" x 9.75" x 3" for shirts, leggings, skirts and pajamas. The largest of the three cubes is 17.5" x 12.75" x 3.25" and is designed to carry your pants, dresses, and light jackets.
The top of each cube has inset mesh to help clothing breathe while in transit and also so you can easily locate which clothing item is in which cube. All the interior seams are fully finished so you don't have to worry about damage to clothes or shoes.
All three cubes (fully packed) will fit in carry-on luggage easily and can stack together for easy storage when not in use. It is recommended you roll (instead of fold) clothing for travelling because it reduces wrinkles and takes up less room.
Once each cube is packed, just stack the cubes in your suitcase and you're done. Clothes will stay neat and tidy in their own "drawers" and you'll be able to find whatever you need. The TravelWise Packing Cube Set comes in Purple, Red, Black, Teal, or Silver.
The Packing Cube Set is an excellent gift for vacationers, hikers, college students, families, bikers, and business travelers. They even offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee and a 2 year warranty! Be sure to check out my video below, showing how I can pack a big pile of clothes into a carry-on with these handy cubes.
You can purchase the TravelWise Packing Cube set at the EatSmart TravelWise Products Website and at Amazon. It's just $25 for the set and you'll get free shipping at either of these two online retailers. I love this set because it has definitely made packing and traveling easier!

9/18/13

Win a $25 Fandango Gift Card - Take a Well Deserved Break Giveaway Hop

Take a Break-Hop_Planet Weidknecht_LeahSays Views_180x180
Welcome to the Take a Well Deserved Break Giveaway Hop!


Open September 19th at 12:01 AM - October 3rd at 11:59 PM.
Now that the children are back in school and most have settled into the busy "MOM" routine, and just before the busy holiday season begins, we thought it might be time for a well deserved break. Pull up a chair along with your favorite beverage while you "hop" around to each of the bloggers listed in the linky below. Each blog will be hosting a review/giveaway with a minimum value of $25.00.
I'm giving away a
$25 Fandango Gift Card
so you can take a well-deserved break at the movies!
Enter below on the Rafflecopter form.
Open to US residents, ages 18+.
Good luck!

Halloween and Young Children

Halloween can sometimes be scary for younger children so it's important to help them approach this holiday with a sense of fun and mystery, instead of fear and trepidation. Children love to dress in costumes, whether it's Halloween costumes, a dance recital tutu, a soccer uniform, or even dad's old clothes. I took a poll of ten children under the age of 6 to find out what they wanted to dress up as for Halloween. The results included two fairies, a fireman, a cowboy, three superheroes, a princess, a tiger, and a mermaid. Notice that none of them said ghost, goblin, zombie, or vampire!
Parents of young children can seek out non-frightening local activities like Fall Festivals that take place during the daytime to help ease the fears of walking around at night on Halloween and seeing older kids and teens (and adults!) dressed in costumes of blood, death and monsters. There will be time enough for those costumes when the children are older. Here are some other tips to help you make Halloween a special memory for your young kids:
  1. Allow the child to help choose their Halloween costume, but make sure they understand that mom or dad has the final say. Avoid the nightmare of the Halloween aisle and shop online in the comfort of your home at mrcostumes.com with your child in your lap.
  2. Allow the child to wear their costume around the house for a few days prior to Halloween to help them understand that a costume does not change who they really are.
  3. Often the mask is what scares a child the most, so make paper plate masks together with your child to demonstrate that a costume changes only who others see them as. 
  4. Explore the insides of a pumpkin together. Let young children touch the yucky insides and if they are feeling brave, use their hands to pull out pumpkin seeds with you. Roast the seeds together. Let the child draw the face on the pumpkin that the grown-ups will carve (for safety). 
  5. To introduce some of the "scarier" elements to your child, make ghost sugar cookies together in the kitchen, pipe cleaner spiders, and construction paper witch hats. If it's fun, it's not scary!
  6. Read some age-appropriate Halloween-themed books together in the weeks before the holiday to help familiarize kids with the traditions surrounding this fun holiday.
  7. If older children are going trick-or-treating, your young child can stay home with the other parent to help answer the door and hand out candy. In the safety of their own home with a parent nearby, young children are more likely to take a peek at the costumes on the kids at the door.
  8. When you do decide your young child is old enough for Halloween night activities, try to take them early in the evening before it gets too dark. Usually our doorbell starts ringing with young kids around 5:30 p.m. Older kids often begin knocking around 7 p.m. 
  9. Monitor the amount of candy and treats your young child is eating on Halloween. The real nightmare is a sugar-high kindergartener that won't go to bed because of a severe stomachache!
  10. Set a good example on Halloween by maintaining a positive, fun outlook. Be sure to take lots of pictures to share with your child in the coming years as they get older.

Bratz Action Heroez Doll - Review and Giveaway

Disclosure: I received product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
There is a new girl on the block! Check out these fab new Bratz Action Heroez dolls that even includes games to play on your iPhone or iPad. This is Shira and her super power is flight. She arrives in her trendy, colorful action hero outfit complete with a cape. The clothes are removable and can be swapped with other Bratz Action Heroez dolls. Shira's arms can be posed in dozens of hip ways!
Girls will love playing hero with Shira and her friends! Her long hair can be brushed with the included hairbrush and girls can braid, twist, and primp to their hearts' content with Bratz Action Heroez friends. Shira has a little friend doll and mat that unlock two games. One game is a mix and match fashion game and the other download is a mission to save the color in her city.
Funny story - I was having trouble figuring out how to make the game work, so my 8 year old neighbor girl was more than happy to demonstrate that children are much better at technology than adults. She had an absolute blast playing with Shira and the hero game! Shira and her friends all have big beautiful eyes and a quick visit to the Bratz website shows the company's commitment to diversity, fun, and high self-esteem in girls. Check out www.bratz.com and follow their social media accounts at InstagramFacebook and Twitter. Then enter below to win a Bratz Action Heroez doll!
Win a Bratz Action Heroez Doll!
Enter by completing the Rafflecopter form below. Open to ages 18+ who are US residents. Giveaway ends at midnight on 10/6/13. Doll choice selected by Bratz. Good luck!

Salem Baking Company Delightfully Thin and Crispy Cookies - Review and Giveaway

Disclosure: I received these products at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
Salem Baking Company has introduced a brand new line of Delightfully Thin and Crispy Cookies in seven amazing flavors - Dark Chocolate Mint, Chocolate Chip, Caramel Chocolate Chip, Butter Pecan Praline, Oatmeal Cranberry Almond, Peanut Butter with Peanut Butter Chips, and Triple Ginger.
Each all natural cookie is created in the Old World Moravian tradition with the finest of ingredients and baked to perfection. These delectable cookies are among the best I've ever tasted. The Dark Chocolate Mint and the Caramel Chocolate Chip are my favorites. My husband loves the Oatmeal Cranberry Almond flavor the best.
Salem Baking Company is located in North Carolina, where generations of families have continued the tradition of thin, decadent cookies of cherished flavors and classic recipes. Each cookie package is 7 ounces, which is roughly about a dozen gourmet cookies.
Salem Baking Company's Delightfully Thin and Crispy Cookies would be perfect for entertaining guests, treating kids after school, or to surprise everyone at the office. A box or two of these fabulous cookies would make the perfect gift for moms, dads, teachers, or your favorite friend.
I decided to be a bit creative since I had so many wonderful cookies to sample, so I spread some whipped cream cheese between the Triple Ginger cookies to make little sandwiches. I did the same thing with some vanilla yogurt on the Oatmeal Cranberry Almond and then froze them for 30 minutes. Amazing!
Salem Baking Company also offers gift tins, gift boxes, and gift baskets. Be sure to check out their cheese straws, cheese biscuits, flatbread crackers, and shortbread cookies. They put the same kind of loving care into all their delicious treats.
Salem Baking Company Delightfully Thin and Crispy Cookies are available at Central Market and other specialty grocers, as well as online at www.salembaking.com. Be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter so you can be first to hear about special promotions and new products!
Want to win some cookies?
Two winners will each win FOUR boxes of cookies, any flavor! To enter just fill in the Rafflecopter form below. Open to US residents, ages 18+. Ends on October 6 at midnight. Good luck!

Wednesday Wealth Giveaway Link Up

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Fall Preparation Checklist

Fall is coming and it's time to get ready for seasonal changes in your yard and in your home. You don't want to be caught unaware, so here is a handy checklist to help you prepare for fall.
  1. Plant spring bulbs now. This is the time to plant spring bulbs, before the first frost. You'll want to get out there while the weather is still nice so you can enjoy the planting. Trim bushes and low tree limbs in the fall too.
  2. After you complete the last lawn moving of the year, treat your yard with some winterizing fertilizer. It will make a huge difference next spring. Adding a dusting of ironite to the lawn will also ensure it turns a healthy shade of green next year. 
  3. Clean your chimney. Many autumn fires begin in a dirty chimney. If you're unsure how to clean your chimney, make a small investment and hire a chimney sweep. There are also special logs you can buy that help to clear out residue from last year's fires.
  4. Stock up on wood now before it gets too expensive. If you wait to purchase wood on the first cold day from the old guy at the side of the road with a trailer, you're going to pay a premium. 
  5. Seal cracks around windows and doors. This is actually very simple to do with tubes of caulk and a caulking gun, or even with a hand-held squeeze tube of caulk. Be sure to do it both inside and outside of windows and doors for a secure seal. 
  6. Get a full heating maintenance check-up for your HVAC unit. The folks at McQuerry’s 24-Hour Heat and Air in Wildwood, MO, recommend you replace your heat and air conditioning filters at least once every 2-3 months. We try to change our filter every month when we pay the bill. It's always better to spend the money maintaining a working heater than to face a huge expense if it breaks down on a very cold Saturday night.
  7. If your air conditioner has already been turned off for the year and you're enjoying the open windows and fall breezes, take some time one early morning and turn on the heat to blow out the dust that settles in the air ducts when nothing is running. 
  8. Check and or change the antifreeze in your vehicles, especially if you live in an area where it drops below 30 degrees on a regular basis. This is also a good time to change the air filter in your cars.
  9. Get your swimming pools ready for winter. Whether yours is an above-ground or in-ground pool, you'll want to make sure you've followed manufacturer directions so you can use that pool again next year with minimum expense and work.
  10. Pack away the summer clothes and take an inventory of clothes needed for the family. Shop the sales and second-hand stores for great deals. This is also the time to have a last-minute garage sale to get rid of outgrown clothing and unused items. Use the garage sale income for new coats for everyone in the family!

9/17/13

Fruit Pizza #Recipe - Tasty Tuesday Link Up

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Welcome to Tasty Tuesday Recipe Link Up
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Join Us Each Week as We Add New Recipes to Our Weekly Tasty Tuesday Recipe Link Up.
Recipes shared need NOT be 5 star rated restaurant quality to impress.
Lisa and Bonnie would love it if you would: Please link back to our blogs or posts. You will find the button above. The “Tasty Tuesday Link Up” will benefit those who participate! The recipe needs to be a recipe YOU made. Please do not link to a site other than your own.

This week's recipe is:
Fruit Pizza
Take one package of Pillsbury crescent rolls and separate all the pieces. Then pinch and press dough together to form a large circle on a pizza pan or pizza stone. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees F. Remove baked crust from oven and place on large, flat, round platter to cool completely.
 In a small bowl, stir together 8 ounces of cream cheese, 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
Spread cream cheese mixture on cooled crust with a knife or the back of a spoon. Try to get the cream cheese as close to the crust edge as possible.
Cut different types of fruit into slices and arrange in a circle on top of the cream cheese spread. I used banana slices, raspberries cut in half, halved green grapes, canned (drained) mandarin orange slices, and strawberry slices.
 It's easiest to start in the middle and work your way out to the edge with the rings of fruit. Be creative and alternate colors on each ring and feel free to include ring of alternating fruits as well (banana, strawberry, banana, etc.).
 Squeeze orange juice from an orange until you have about a cup of juice (or just use purchased orange juice). In a saucepan, mix the orange juice with 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to make a top glaze. Heat until boiled, then remove from heat and allow to cool.
 Once the glaze has cooled, pour over the top of the fruit pizza, starting in the middle and working your way out. I poured a bit too much and had to clean up some glaze that ran off the edge of the fruit pizza. The glaze helps to reduce color changes from fruits being exposed to the air. Put the fruit pizza plate into the fridge for at least two hours.
 Remove from fridge and slice into triangle pieces with a pizza cutter. The entire fruit pizza was gone in one day. It's a great way to get an extra serving a fruit in your family's stomachs! DELICIOUS!

NOW IT'S YOUR TURN TO SHARE A RECIPE LINK!