Monday, April 26, 2010

Deals and Steals ~ FREE Movies Thru Summer!

I am very excited to announce that Regal Cinemas will once again be offering FREE movies this year, and that they are doing it two days a week (Tuesday & Wednesday)which should cut down on the crowds a bit.

If you are in my neck of the woods, Westview in Frederick is participating, as well as the Regal theatre in Westminster. The first showing at both will be on June 15th at 10:00 AM, Planet 51 and The Rugrats Movie. Go HERE to find participating theatres close to you. You can also browse the movie schedule and dates.

Yay for free summer entertainment!!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Bridal Shower Cake

A couple of days ago I showed you the royal icing flowers that I was making for this cake. Now it is finished and delivered, and I thought I would show you the finished product. I haven't done basketweave on a cake this large before, and I thought it would be unique. My only instructions were that it should feed 30 people, and be very pink and girlie. I'm pleased with how it turned out.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Running Totals/Fit Mommy Friday~First 5K of the Season Tomorrow!

I have finally been able to get in a full-week of training this week, for THIS RACE...woohoo! The past few weeks have been so sporadic that I didn't even want to post the numbers. Even though runs have been hit or miss, I have been able to continue lengthening my long runs each week.

Monday-47 minutes (approx. 4.2 miles)
Tuesday-40 minutes (approx. 3.5 miles)
Wednesday-45 minutes (approx 4 miles)
Thursday-30 minutes (approx 2.5 miles) plus 4 sets of strides
Tomorrow-Running 5K for local pregnancy center

After tomorrow's 5K, I will have logged around 17.5 miles this week. I am extremely pleased with this. I also have a new pair of Asics on the way, which my knees are telling me that I need desperately.

I've changed my diet as well. While training, I am cutting out almost all wheat products, limiting dairy, increasing my soy intake and focusing on fruit, vegetables, lean meats and rice versus pasta. My body operates better on this type of diet, a lesson I learned from "Eating Right 4 Your Blood Type" which has proven to be very accurate for me. In the future I will share more about my findings from this intriguing book.

Oh...and I am drinking water like a fish. I have a minimum of 64oz. daily, usually more.

Now, if I can just find the motivation to get up at 6 in the morning to run a 5K in the not-so-warm rain....

I am connecting this post to Fit Mommy Friday at Got Chai?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Royal Flowers

Recently I shared with you how happy I am that I took a couple of Wilton Cake decorating classes a few years ago. I spent yesterday morning making 90 royal icing flowers. My pastor's son is getting married, and his mom asked me to make the cake for the bridal shower.

These flowers are the primary subject matter for Wilton's level 2 course. Royal icing hardens when it dries, and can be kept for a very long time at room temperature, literally months. I enjoy making flowers, and occasionally spend a day at it just to have some in reserve. When I have these on hand ready to go, I can decorate a cake in no time. One of my instructors said that a collection of flowers in your pantry is like money in the bank, and I agree. They are edible, crunchy like candy (but better than the hard icing decorations that you find in the grocery store). And, royal icing is a breeze to clean up. Since there is no fat in it, it literally melts away in hot water.

I will be finishing the cake on Friday, and I will share the final product with you then.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Deals and Steals ~ Free Shipping and Free Gift from Perfumania

Perfumania has clearance items starting at $2.49. Plus, if you order today, you will receive free shipping AND a 1 oz. Ocean Pacific cologne for the guy in your life.

I just picked up a tube of Big Sexy Lips lip color, plus the OP cologne for $2.49, shipped. Not a bad deal. The cologne will make a nice stocking stuffer for someone who will remain nameless ;)

Go HERE to see their clearance items in order from least to most expensive. You might even find a Mother's Day gift for a great price! No code is required.

Thanks Hip to Save!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Free for the Asking ~ 9+ Available Freebies

I am beginning to get back into the swing of things. After several illnesses running amuck in my household, and some great visits from the grandparents we are returning to a normal routine around here. My mailbox freebies include last week's selection, as well as this week's. But, the shopping trips are all from the last couple of days. All but a couple of things were purchased today. And, I'm not with it enough yet to have all of my receipts together, but here are the totals from today's trip.

As always, I will begin the post with my personal freebies for the week, along with links or explanations of anything still available. (If you have already requested the samples in my "mailbox" section, you probably won't be able to request them again, unless I indicate that it has "reset".) Then I will give you the links to my favorite new online freebies of the week.

Free stuff is all around us...all you have to do is ask!

Weekly Totals
Spent $31.52
Saved $97.83, 76%
Coupons 25
Rebates 0
Net Cost $31.52

Grocery Game:

~7 Boxes Pebbles Cereal (Safeway)

~4 Boxes Quaker Oatmeal (Safeway)

~1 Vitamin Water (FB promo, NLA)

*See the current Safeway breakfast deal HERE. Note, that Pebbles cereal is on sale, plus you get $5 off at checkout when purchasing 5. Plus, there are manufacturer coupons out. Plus, you get a $4 catalina at checkout for your next purchase. All of these factors, plus a catalina I had from last week, made the cereal and the oatmeal free for me. You can get them for .30-.50 each if you don't have a catalina to spend.

Drugstore Game:

~4 12-Packs Schick Razors (Free at Walmart with $2 coupon from SS 4/11 insert)

~4 Benadryl Anti-Itch Sticks (Free at Walmart with $5/2 coupon from RP 4/11 insert)

~3 Boxes Puffs (CVS with ECB)

~1 Roll CVS TP(CVS, $1 off any CVS paper product printing at kiosk)

~12-Pack Bounty (CVS with ECB)

~16-Pack Charmin (CVS with ECB)

Mailbox Freebies:

~Arm & Hammer Shaker (Online promo, NLA)

~Aveeno Lotion (Online promo, NLA)

~Cascade Coupon (no idea why they sent this)

~Proctor & Gamble $100 Coupon Book (Part of the P&G, NLA)

~Home Made Simple Coupon Book (NLA)

~Benefiber Orange Stick & Coupon (Available HERE)

~5 Gum (FB Promo, NLA)

~Stride Gum (FB Promo, NLA)

~Ritz Munchables (FB Promo, NLA)

~Free Sunchips Coupon (FB Promo, NLA)

~Free Oreos Coupon (FB Promo, NLA)

~Bottle Opener (Gift from Neilsen Research Membership)

~Lipton Green Tea Sample (NLA)

~Lever 2000 Sample (NLA)

~U by Kotex Samples & Coupon (Available HERE)

~ Nature Made Flexibility Supplement (Online promo, NLA)

New Online Goodies:

~Walmart has a sample of Carefree Liners HERE. These usually come with coupons!

~Get your sample of Stayfree pads HERE.

~SeaPak has a recipe book for you HERE that contains coupons.

~P&G Brandsaver has several samples available including Cascade Action Packs HERE.

~Get another sample of Dove Haircare HERE.

~Kraft is giving away coupons via snail mail for their new Cheesy Explosion pasta, as a facebook promotion. Request yours HERE.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday ~ A Big Weekend for My Boy

He Hit Double-Digits

He Was the Only 4th Grader to Participate in the Maryland State Geography Bee.

What a Great Kid.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Free For the Asking (Abbreviated) ~ 7 Freebies!

I have had a pretty crazy week. We have been enjoying visits from both sets of grandparents consecutively and my son's State Geography Bee on Friday. I know posts have been scarce this week. I promise to back at it full-force in just a few days.

I do want to give you a rundown of the online freebies that I have run across during my snippets of time at the computer. So, without further adieu...

~Yo Plus is offering a coupon for a FREE 4-pack of yougurt HERE. I have already received this and picked mine up at the store. Free yogurt...YAY!

~Aveeno is offering samples of shampoo and conditioner from their new Nourish line HERE.

~Espn is offering a free personalized poster HERE. Just upload your image into one of three designs and print out your poster. It can also be shared on your social networking sites.

~Get yourself a free sample of EAS Myoplex Nutrition Shakes HERE. You will instantly be allowed to print a coupon for this freebie. Keep in mind that some stores may not accept a printed freebie coupon. I have found that Food Lion and Weis still will.

~Get a free fragrance sample HERE from Jovan.

~Land 'O Lakes wants to let you try their spreadable butter with olive oil for free. Purchase a package of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter or Promise Buttery Spread and submit THIS REBATE FORM for a coupon for free Land 'O Lakes.

~Uncle Ben's is offering a choice of Ready Whole Grain Rice Medley Samples HERE.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Parmesan Chicken

I love, love, love this recipe. It is another that has been with me for many years. I often fix this for company or for a crowd. I hope your family loves it like mine does!

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Parmesan Chicken

4 Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts

1 Sleeve Ritz Crackers

1 Stick Butter

1/2 C. Grated Parmesan (the powdered version)

Preheat oven to 375°. Rinse & trim the chicken, cut into 3-4 tenders. Pat dry. Crush crackers and place in shallow dish add cheese and toss together. Melt butter in cereal bowl. Dip chicken in butter then roll in cracker mixture. Be sure to press some of this into the chicken so it is well covered. Place chicken on cookie sheet (greased) or baking stone. Sprinkle any leftover cracker mixture on top, covering any bare spots. Bake for 20-23 minutes (depending on the size of your tenders) until no longer pink.

I served this with THESE Tomatoes, Corn, and Pear Salad...Yum!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Geocaching Success!

I told you last week about this new adventure that my family has decided to embark on. I also told you about the incredible deal that I found online for a second-hand GPS unit.

First I want to give you a little more info on the GPS. I ordered a retired rental unit from a company in Wisconsin, I spoke with the owner of the company over the phone and was very impressed when he offered me a 6-month guarantee on the operation of the unit. I ordered it on Tuesday afternoon. It was delivered Thursday afternoon, after travelling cross-country to get to me. Honestly the packaging had me a little concerned because it appeared worse for the wear. But, inside I found all of this.

The unit turned right on (batteries included), and is in fine working order. Honestly, the only thing that makes it noticeably used is the identification number that is written on the back of the unit.

I told you this was an incredible deal. Let me share just how incredible. You can see HERE that Amazon sells this unit new for $279.95, with a suggested retail of $321.49. I paid $75 plus $10 shipping. (!!!) only has these units for sale occasionally. But, I did check this morning and they are still showing available units for sale. They also have automobile GPS units. I've not tried the rental option with this company, but with my experience in purchasing I feel very comfortable recommending them.

There is a bit of a learning curve on handheld GPS units. They do not operate like the automobile version at all. And frankly, the manual is about as clear as mud. But, I was able to muddle through it and figure out how to enter coordinates.

Yesterday, on our way to Harpers Ferry with my folks (who are visiting from South Carolina), we decided to try and locate our first cache. I chose this one carefully from the Geocaching website. I wanted to make sure it was one that we could find! So, I chose a location that we are somewhat familiar with in our small town. I also chose a chache that is larger in size.

Success! This cache was very easily found (with hints from the website and the GPS coordinates). We signed the log and traded trinkets, and my boys were hooked on treasure hunting. The top photo is my boys and I with our first find! (Yes, that's a hubby and I were riding the Harley.)

I plan to pick up a glass jar, like an apothecary jar, to house all of our trades. I think this is going to be a great memory-maker for our family.

On our way back from Harpers Ferry, we decided to pull into another area close to the first for another hunt. This one was in a parking lot for a local grocery store. I have discovered that you need to be a little comfortable with strange looks from others while you poke around in the shrubbery of a public place. But, if you coupon the way I do, you are no stranger to odd looks from others.

This cache was more stealthily hidden, and frankly I had given up. Then my dad decided to give it as shot. In about 2 minutes, he had located it. This one was a 35mm film canister, embedded in a fake rock.! Obviously this one had no room for trinkets, but there was a log to sign. The photo below shows me, my oldest son, and my dad. I am holding the rock...that was in the shrubbery, under mulch.

Thankfully, the geocaching site has a rating system for the difficulty of the find, and the terrain where a cache is hidden. If you've ever considered trying Geocaching, I highly recommend it. Treasure hunting is fun. I did my happy dance when we found the first one ;)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Reflections ~ Then and Now

I love Spring. It is absolutely my favorite time of year. I love the renewal, the "waking up" of the world around me, and how God has given us this wonderful illustration in nature of the new life that is available through Jesus. Since this is a weekend for remembering His ultimate sacrifice, I thought I would share the images that I have been cosidering over the last couple of days.

My Deck Exactly 52 Days Ago:

My Deck Today:

My Front Yard 52 Days Ago:

My Front Yard Today:

The differences are startling, aren't they? The change that takes place in the life of an individual who turns to Jesus is even more vast...and more beautiful. Grace is a glorious thing.

Happy Easter, My Friends!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Free for the Asking ~ 11+ Available Freebies

I actually took a good part of the week off from shopping. I have had 3 cases of stomach virus, a case of double conjunctivitis and an ear infection going at my house. Somehow...I have dodged the bullet myself...for now. I still have some freebies to show off, but the majority of it came from my mailbox. The great part of having a stockpile is that you can scale back without the world coming to an end.

As always, I will begin the post with my personal freebies for the week, along with links or explanations of anything still available. (If you have already requested the samples in my "mailbox" section, you probably won't be able to request them again, unless I indicate that it has "reset".) Then I will give you the links to my favorite new online freebies of the week.

Free stuff is all around us...all you have to do is ask!

Weekly Totals
Spent $75.68
Saved $110.10, 59%
Coupons 42
Rebates 0
Net Cost $75.68

Grocery Game:

~4 Cans Chef Boyardee (Not Pictured)

~3 Scrubbing Bubbles

~2 Boxes Mueller's Pasta

~1 Trident Layers Gum

Drugstore Game:

~2 Boxes Peeps

~1 Oral-B Toothbrush

~Bonus Pack Children's Tylenol


~Disney Classics DVD (Disney Movie Rewards Program)

~Wink Photo Strip (Check out how to get this HERE, I will be putting this in a stocking as a bookmark.)

~Bounce Sheets Sample (NLA)

~Coupon for Free Package Yo Plus (NLA)

~Bob Evans Birthday Club, Free Meal for my Son (Sign up HERE)

~Toys R Us Birthday Club, $3 Gift Card (Sign up HERE, fyi, we have never received the birthday call that is supposed to be a part of this.)

~Osaka Hibachi, Free Hibachi Meal (Woo Hoo!)

~Huggies 2-diaper Sample (NLA)

~Kellogs All-Bran Sample (NLA)

~Kashi Go-Lean Crunch Sample w/coupon (NLA, get a Kashi Bar Coupon HERE)

~The Limited, $15 off purchase $15 or more x2 (Become an Insider for these mailing HERE, tiny print at the top of the page.)

~Family Circle Magazine (NLA)

New Online Goodies:

~Walmart is offering another sample from Kotex, a part of their new U line. Snag it HERE.

~Walmart also has a sample of Dove Men+Care available HERE.

~Box Tops for Education has a sample of Avery Label Pads HERE. Yay for free office supplies!

~Try out a sample of Leather CPR for cleaning and conditioning leather, HERE.

~John Frieda is giving away two samples right now. Get Luxurious Volume Shampoo and Conditioner HERE and Frizz-Ease Shampoo and Conditioner HERE.

~Pick your sample from Elle and Emergenc-E HERE. This is a different link, if you have requested this one before.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Easter Treats

I signed up to bring the sweet treat for my preschooler's Spring Party this week. After the last party (Valentine's ~ Remember the Conversation Heart Cupcakes?), one of the teachers mentioned that she had consumed 4 cupcakes that week. (They have multiple classes, each of which has it's own party.) She wasn't complaining at all, just stating the facts. As much as I love cupcakes, I have to think that gets old after a while. So, I decided to change things up a bit for this party.

Rice Krispy Treat Eggs

3 T. Butter
1 Bag Marshmallows
6 Cups Rice Krispies
1/2 Pkg. of White Almond Bark

Make Rice Krispy Treat recipe by melting butter on low heat in a large pot. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Dump in Rice Krispies and mix well. Then, with buttered hands and a small ice cream scoop, scoop out and form the mixture into an egg shape. Press it together so that it will hold it's shape. I put mine on a silpat to set up, but you can use waxed paper (either way, put it on a cookie sheet so that they can be transferred to the fridge later).

Wait about 30 minutes. Then, chop up the almond bark into small blocks. Place in a microwaveable bowl (avoid shallow bowls, you want to be able to dip the eggs easily) and cook at 30 second intervals, stirring after each. When it is completely melted, dip the bottom half of each egg in the candy coating and top with sprinkles. Dip only three or four at a time, to be sure that your sprinkles stick. Allow to cool, then pop them in the fridge for about 10 minutes to harden.

I then placed mine in an airtight container in the fridge. Be sure to enjoy them within 24 hours for the best quality.

I saw this idea somewhere this could have been a commercial or a magazine, I just can't remember. But, I did find a version on a Kellog's site HERE. So, the idea was theirs. I just gave it my twist :)

By the way, this is the first time I've ever sculpted Rice Krispy Treats...a couple of them came out pretty wonky. Gotta HATE it when that happens. I have it on pretty good authority that these taste really good. ~wink~

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Geocaching ~ A New Family Activity?

I have been intrigued by the idea of geocaching for several years. Now that the boys are a little older, I think it may be time for us to give it a try.

What is Geocaching? Well sir, I have recently learned that it is classified as a sport. If you ask for a book on geocaching, you will be taken to the sports section, who knew? The basic idea is this...there are "caches" hidden all over the world, 1,020,027 of them to be exact. Using GPS coordinates found on, you travel to the general location of a cache, and poke around until you find it.

What is a cache? It is a small container that usually contains a visitor's log and small trinkets that have been left by others that have come before you. When you find it, you sign the log and exchange one of the trinkets inside for one that you brought along. The only rule is that the item you leave should be of equal or greater value. You may be walking or driving past one or more every day, without even knowing it!

After finding one, you log back on to the website and make a note of your find.

These things are hidden in the woods...hidden in the city...hidden all over!

As a matter of fact, I just entered my address into the search engine and found 184 caches within 10 miles of my home. Wow!

The one necessary tool of the trade is a handheld GPS. If you have an iPhone, there is an app that you can purchase for about $10, according to Christy over at Southern Plate who is also a geocacher. (You MUST go try some of her recipes!) Since we don't have an iPhone, I started researching handhelds and discovered that you can spend from $70 to several hundred. The typical starter unit is the Geomate, available HERE. My concern with this one is it's lack of maps. Instead it has an electronic compass.

Enter my BFF. Knowing of my hunt, she called to tell me that there is an article in this month's Family Circle that discusses geocaching. In this article they list several sites through which you can rent a unit for a few days, to see if you like it. As I perused one of these,, I discovered that they have retired units for sale. The same model that is currently available to rent (retailing for several hundred dollars), for literally a fraction of the cost.

I really wondered if this was too good to be true. So, I checked out the company with the BBB. And, they are BBB accredited. I still had a few questions, so I called the number on their website. Whatdaya know, the owner of the company picked up the phone. I had a nice conversation with Mr. Skinner. He assured me that the unit would come with all of the pieces that it came with new, including the USB adapter and car charger. Then he knocked my socks off. He said, "I don't think I have this up on the website, but if you have equipment failure within the first 6 months, let me know and I will replace it for free." Get...Outta...Town!

I placed the order online yesterday afternoon, and received notice early this morning that it had already been shipped and should be here by Friday.

I plan to go treasure hunting one day next week. I really hope the family enjoys this as much as I think they will! I'll keep you posted!

*Geocache Container image courtesy of Geocaching News.
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