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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Such a Sweet Phenomena

I belong to a an online community called Collective Bias where I have met a lot of wonderful people, including the person I'm talking about today. Her name is Tiffany Manley and she is a homeschooling mom with a lot of talents.
Tiffany and her family currently live near Birmingham Alabama after living in Washington state for about 7 years. She has been married for 10 years and has a beautiful daughter she refers to as Babydoll.
She has named her online persona 'Sweet Phenomena' and I can see why. She is sweet. She stumbled into homeschooling because they moved so much when her daughter was going into the second grade and they were having a 'flux' year with moving and getting situated. She struggled the first year but this year she seems to have it figured it all out. Her website has a lot of homeschooling tips and is a place to go for a lot of homeschooling information. It's very organized.
Of course, like everyone else on the planet (well, almost the whole planet) Tiffany has a personal facebook page and one for Sweet Phenomena as well so there are many ways to keep up with her.


I do have to admit, while looking around there is something else I found that totally mesmerized me. She's also an extremely talented cake maker/designer. Take a look at her website called The Sweet Emporium. Just take a look at this cake, isn't it gorgeous??? This is one of many on that website. There are so many beautiful cakes. I'm amazed at the creative talent. Heck, I can't even decorate a cupcake to look pretty, nevermind a 3 tiered cake like this!


 I found this picture on Tiffany's Facebok page and just thought it was so pretty. Simple and sweet.
I've enjoyed getting to know Tiffany a bit better and I hope you will take some time to get to know her a bit more too. Certainly if you homeschool your child, her site is a perfect place to go for all kinds of information.


Merry Christmas to Tiffany and her family, and to you too.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Take a pledge with Brave Woman #CBias #BraveWoman

You know how you can just be surfing the net one day and come across something that you wish you had found 20 years ago? I was recently led to a website called Brave Woman. It's a website to help women get out of violent situations, including domestic violence.

20 years ago I was in such a situation. My 1st husband was an alcoholic, and, let's just say, he was not a happy drunk. I was young and 'stupid' and didn't know how to get out of it at the time so I went through, what felt like, a long time of terrible emotional abuse and some things I just can't talk about 'til this day.

I have to wonder if I had found a website like Brave Woman, if it would have given me a place to turn that I would have felt safe turning to. It's got a community where you can talk to others in situations like yours and can put you in touch with people, in your own community who can help you.
Eventually I did leave him, with a 7 month old and a baby on the way. They are who gave me the strength because I could never imagine them going through these horrible things.

There is a pledge you can take, Facebook page you can sign up for and follow them on Twitter ( @Brave_Woman )too. I'm going to lead my 21 year old daughter to this website too. Although I have brought her up to be strong and never 'take anything' from anyone, this will be another great tool for her. It says 1 in every 4 women experience domestic violence. I don't want her to be one of them...ever.







This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias all opinions are my own.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Teaching my son how important it is to donate, using Coinstar #CBias

This was a very busy for our family. My husband was in a parade, we had grocery shopping to do, we had Christmas shopping to do, and we had to get it all done in one day because my hubby had to work on Sunday. So where, in all of this could we find time to donate any money to any charity? And how could we afford it this time of the year? Well, thanks to Coinstar and all the loose change in buckets and hanging around the house, we found a way.
Before we left the house my son, who is 12 found a bunch of change and looked at the Coinstar website with me to see where the closest one was and we found one in the Walmart we were about to go to. Then we noticed that you could donate your change to different charities. He was immediately drawn to the 'Change Making Change' charity because it was geared toward kids his age, who wanted to make a difference.

When we got to the Coinstar machine at Walmart 'Change Making Change' was not an option unfortunately, so he chose 'Feeding America'. At his school they were just talking about hunger in America and he was telling me that he was shocked to learn that kids actually live without 3 meals a day. He said it made him feel because he complains about having a peanut butter sandwich before bed instead of a bowl of cereal because we might be out of milk. (funny how kids associate things, isn't it?)
When we got home he looked up Feeding American on the internet. He noticed a banner on the side of the website that said $1 = 8  meals. "Hey mom, we just donated more than 64 meals with the change we had laying around the house. If I find more change can we go back and donate more?"
Amazing, isn't it? How a small thing can change the way someone looks at others, as well as their own lives?
Take a look at our Google+ story about our donation at the Coinstar machine in Walmart.

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias but all the opinions and knowledge gained during this campaign was totally mine, and my sons.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Lane Bryant Buy $200 get $100 off!! 11/30 12/1 only


The one bit of advice I can ever give someone who wants to save money is to subscribe to emails by as many companies as you like to buy from...and then a few more. You just never know when you're going to find a great discount code.
For example: this morning I got an email from Lane Bryant discount code that gives you $100 off of a purchase of $200. Even for a place like Lane Bryant, whose clothes are bit more expensive, with the discount code it makes it a great deal. I can get a pair of shoes, 3 shirts and a pair of jeans for about $115, including shipping. That averages out to $20 each....great!!
The code is valid today (11/30) and tomorrow (12/1). So hurry!! xmasdeallb is the code. This is an online code only.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Money experiment for my 21 year old

Last night I told my daughter we are having chicken for supper tonight. 'UGH' was her response, for the third day in a row. Sunday I made homemade pea soup....'Eww, that's disgusting'. Monday I made spaghetti....'you know I hate spaghetti'. Tonight chicken....'ugh, again?'. So I've made a decision. I'm going to give my daughter, who is 21, my grocery money for the month and see what she can do with it. I won't clip her coupons. I won't search for sales. I won't write lists. It will all be up to her.

With the $100/week she will also have to buy cat food and cat litter.

My parents are coming down for a visit after Christmas and we are going to have 'Christmas dinner' on New Year's Day so I will buy the turkey and stuff for that but she will have to take care of the rest.

What do you think? Am I setting her up to fail or am I teaching her a valuable lesson?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

STP Multipurpose Motor Treatment #CBias #engineluv

Guest post from my husband, James Harris.


You know how, when you're a kid, you follow your father around and do what he does? That's how my love for motors started. My dad tinkered on everything from cars and trucks to lawn mowers and go carts. So I guess it's only natural that I use the same products he does. He was a firm believer in using STP products and I still buy them on a regular basis.

I have bought STP Oil Treatment for years. I had a 1976 Chevy Truck and used STP Oil Treatment for it with the first oil change and put 300,000 miles on it. It never broke down, not even once. I didn't tenderfoot it either.

I saw the STP Multipurpose Motor Treatment and knew it had to be a good product. It is made by STP after all. What I like about it is that you can use it on your small machinery too to keep the motors ready when they sit, waiting for the next season. I have a weed eater and a old chainsaw so I just used it in them. Granted, I haven't had to use the weed eater much lately because of the drought in Texas but if we get rain this winter I might have to.

It comes in a 16oz container and you only use .75 oz per gallon so if you are keeping up a weed eater it will go a long way.

I sent my wife out to get this the other day, on Black Friday and she got the wrong thing, the oil treatment (which she has seen me buy on a regular basis) so I used it in my Chevy Suburban too. So my 'Burby' should be feeling good right about now.


I can't say enough good things about STP treatments. No, it doesn't solve cancer but it will sure save you grief associated with your vehicle...at least it has saved me.

Right now STP is offering a coupon when you 'Like' then on Facebook. The link is https://www.facebook.com/STP and don't forget to look them up on Twitter here.

Take a look at the Google+ Shopping trip my wife and I (separately) went on. I understand why she got the wrong thing. It was Black Friday after all.

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias #CBias but all the opinions were my own...and some from my wife too.



Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thank goodness for #TysonGoodness and Tyson Mini Chicken Sandwiches #CBias

I have been so busy lately, with shopping and holiday cooking, it was so nice to have something to fall back on when 'the masses' got hungry the other day and I was busy. I was at Walmart the day before Thanksgiving to pick up a few things and picked up Tyson Mini Chicken Sandwiches. I stuck them in the freezer when I got home and didn't give them much thought after that. The next day when I was making Thanksgiving dinner and was up to my elbows in turkey I started getting 'mom, I'm hungry' rumblings sent my way. In frustration I told my son to look in the freezer, I bought some stuff  he might like. Then, of course, there was a swarm.

My husband came out, my older son, daughter and my youngest son all with their hands out for the Tyson Mini Chicken Sandwiches my son dug out of the freezer. Then it was 'I get the microwave first'. Everyone really liked them, which was surprising seeing how they were cooked in the microwave.

Little tip though: make sure you keep them in the plastic. My son took them out and it took a lot longer to cook all the way through. He had to put them in for almost twice a long as the normal time.

My older son ate them mindlessly as he was studying for his ASVAB test. He did look up long enough to tell me they were good.

I was able to save a couple for myself before they all disappeared. I was very surprised at how good they are. I'll certainly buy them again. They were a life saver today, that's for sure.

Right now there is a special offer on #TysonGoodness website that, if you buy 2 boxes (at about $5 each) you will get a $5 gift card from Walmart. You have to fill out and send away the form found here. Tyson Mini Chicken Sandwiches are not available in all Walmart's. Go to Tysongoodness.com to find one near you.


Take a look at my shop here with my Google+ album.

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias #CBias but all the opinions are my own.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mission Impossible Shop at Murphy USA #Cbias

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I had a lot of fun yesterday. Not only did I go shopping yesterday, I tried a new app and watched a movie that I haven't seen is a long time, Mission: Impossible. There is a new one called Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol coming out soon so I got an inkling to see if I could find a Mission: Impossible movie to watch. I looked in Redbox and in Blockbuster Express and couldn't find one. Luckily the very first one was playing on DirecTV on Sunday so I set my DVR and went shopping.
I had to go to Walmart and MurphyUSA and decided to get a few things for the movie from Murphy USA. We got Coke and some chips, who doesn't like that?
Now, my son had never seen a MI movie, which is totally wrong in many ways. so we sat and watched it. He did like all the action and all the disguises that Tom Cruise's character Ethan Hunt used. He's a 12 year old boy, it was up his alley. I've always liked the M:I movies so it was nice to see him enjoy it too, and he really did.

I took a lot photos when I was shopping today, take a look at my Google+ album to see what I found!


Look up more information on Murphy USA and Coca-Cola using these links to their social sites and websites:
Murphy USA (http://murphyusa.com)

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias but all opinions are my own

Friday, November 18, 2011

About me social parking lot

Connect with me at a new place I found called About.me. It's a place you can add all of your social networks into one place and stay in touch. It's pretty cool. Here is the link to my page. Check it out!
Also, if you join too you can receive a free pack of about.me business cards from MOO.


#imabzzagent I'm a bzzagent

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Torani Flavored Syrups #SSTorani


SheSpeaksbuttonYesterday I received a package in the mail from SheSpeaks containing 2 750 ml bottles of Torani Flavored Syrup. To be honest with you, I had never heard of this stuff before so I was curious to see what it was all about. I got Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie and Hazelnut. Now, I'm not a Hazelnut fan at all, to say the least but my hubby loves it. He had a splash of the syrup in his coffee this morning and loved it. Yesterday I tried the Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie in my coffee and it was very yummy. If you're not a fan of the 'sugar free' taste you may not like this. It doesn't bother me though.

Here are a few things I did find out about Torani (as I said, I had never heard of it before) by going to their website:
  • There are over 122 flavors available in regular and sugar free varieties
  • Great for coffee, latte, teas, sodas, lemonade, cocktails and smoothies
  • The sugar free flavors are 0 calories and sweetened with Splenda
  • Torani syrups are mainly used in coffee houses and restaurants in over 40 countries worldwide
  • It's available at Walmart, Smart and Final, Amazon, Cost Plus World Market, Bevmo, most major grocery stores and at Torani.com  and Shop Torani for the biggest selection of flavors.
I reviewed the Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie flavored Torani syrup over here at the SheSpeaks Torani page.
There will be a Twitter party on November 17th at 9pm EST. Just look for the #HolidayFlavors.

There is also a $1 coupon on coupons.com right now. I used my own zipcode which is 75169 to find it. If you want to buy some on Torani.com or Shop Torani just click through the button at the top left of this post for 10% off.

I have, to give away, a coupon for a free bottle of Torani Flavored Syrup. There are a few ways you can win this.

  • Go to my Facebook page and leave a comment on the photo of the Torani Syrup and tell me what you would use it on. If you want to 'add me as a friend' at the same time that would be great.
  • Leave a comment here and tell me what flavor you would like to try.
  • Subscribe to daily newsletter.
  • Follow me on Twitter and Tweet the following: Torani Flavored Syrup #SSTorani Review and giveaway http://bit.ly/uG8a42 #giveaway @shespeaksup @etxsaver
  • I will run this until November 15th at 11:59pm CST. I will use random.org to pick a winner. 

Golden Grahams, Lucky Charms treat bars coupon

Here is a coupon for $1.10/2 for Golden Grahams Treats and/or Lucky Charms Treats.

I received this offer from Cereal Treats Bars through Pssst...

Nestle coupons. Hot chocolate, hot pockets

Here are a bunch of new coupons out from Nestle and Walmart.
Here is one for Nestle Hot Chocolate $.55
Here is one for Hot Pockets $1/2
Here is one for Hot Pockets Snackers $1/2

They all expire 12/02/11 and don't forget to print each twice. But with Smartsource you will have to go back to the original link instead of just using the 'back' button.
Happy printing!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Gold Medal Flour $.50 coupon

It's not very often that flour coupons come out. Actually, it's about once a year, this time of year. There is $.50 coupon on the Gold Medal Flour website right now, which makes me happy :) (Thanks Budget Saving Mom

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Ferrero Rocher Buy 1 Get 1 Free Facebook coupon

This is a great coupon for this time of the year. These are my daughter's favorite so I'm sure I'll be getting a couple. This is a Facebook Find....


Thanks to StretchingaBuck

Buy $15 Diet Pepsi or Pepsi Max products and get $5 back

I'm not exactly sure how this works, but...... click here for more info.

Ok, edit..... Maybe if I read things better I can get answers. This is what you do. When you buy $15 of worth of Diet Pepsi or Pepsi Max in the month of November and you use your loyalty card that you have registered with SavingStar it will keep track of that. When you have purchased $15 worth $5 will be deposited into your SavingStar account, at which time you can cash out for $5 in your Paypal account.

Nescafe Taster's Choice coupons and samples

It's no secret that I love coffee. I especially love Nescafe Taster's Choice. I buy the single serve packets all the time. It's without a doubt, my favorite coffee. So this morning when I found these coupons and free samples on the website I got mine real quick! Click here to get yours too!

Halloween with #MurphyUSA and #Cbias

I love Halloween, who doesn't, right? On Sunday I had to go and get some Halloween candy for the trick or treaters that will come around so I went off to Walmart and to MurphyUSA to get some. The last time I went to Murphy USA I saw Smarties so I wanted to specifically get some of those. My kids love those too, even though they're too old to go trick or treating now. They get the leftovers though.
So, off we went to Walmart to get some groceries and then to Murphy USA to get some candy. I had already got a little bit of candy from Walmart (mostly some chocolate) and when I got to Murphy USA I found the smarties I'd been after. They were only $.50 each so I got a few of those. I got about 10 bags of various candy and then a bunch of M&M's that were also on sale for $.50 a bag. How awesome is that?? To be honest, I got a few extra M&M's peanuts for myself to munch on so I wouldn't get into the Halloween candy.

I had about 10 kids come to my door this year...a record! The last one let me take his picture. He was a ghost and he became a ghost after drowning, that's why he was blue (lol). I don't know how in the world he saw through the sheet so he did not to bump into things but he was fine. Then again, it was still light outside so maybe that's why. We had a few smarties left over and a few tootsie rolls so I was happy. If there was too much left we'd just eat it all....



Don't forget to look up Murphy USA on Facebook and Twitter too.
Click on the the pumpkin below to see the photos I took on my path to buying all this fun stuff!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Really Greyhound? Really?? Part 2

Alrighty. So, if you read my blog, you know what an awful time my son had on Greyhound Bus Lines last week when he had to travel from Texas to Ottawa, Canada. When he finally got there on Friday he said he would rather walk and take his chances than to take the bus again. He asked me to file a complaint for him so he gave me his ticket info and I filled out a form Greyhound sent me on Twitter  a couple of days ago. This is the response I got:

We appreciate you taking the time to notify us regarding the inconvenience you experienced while using our services. We are never satisfied when a customer expresses a complaint or displeasure in our service.

At Greyhound Lines, Inc., we strive to achieve a high standard of customer satisfaction, and we rely on our customers to make us aware of those areas that need our attention. Be advised that your case was documented and forwarded to the appropriate department to take the proper actions.

As a gesture of our commitment to you, we would like to issue a travel voucher in the amount of $50.00. This voucher is good for one year from the issue date and can be applied toward your next purchase of a Greyhound ticket or Package Express shipment. If this voucher will suffice, please reply to this e-mail with the address where you would like the voucher be sent to.

We hope you will not let this deter you from using our services and trust you will give us another opportunity to prove we can be the most reliable and economical form of transportation to meet your needs.

Sincerely,

(name of person taken out)
Customer Care Analyst
Greyhound Lines, Inc.



Really? Really?? You honestly think after that hellacious experience he had we're going to be happy with a $50 voucher for our next trip? I just don't know what to say. I'm kind of dumbfounded to be honest with you. I would have felt better with a $50 rebate perhaps, but a voucher?? Really? Way to go Greyhound, you at least made me laugh early this morning!
If you will notice, it says "if this voucher will suffice" to reply to the email. I won't be replying to the email with my address for them to send me a voucher. I find this laughable. My son had to sit through a rude driver, the bus being ditched and ordered off the bus, missing connections and sitting, alone for 9 hours until 4am in a bus station (I wouldn't consider that to be very safe, I don't know about you) and they really think a voucher for another trip will suffice? No Greyhound. No.

It all comes down to game 7 of the #WorldSeries for MY Texas Rangers

I woke up with an upset stomach this morning and feel like I have a hangover. Game 6 of the World Series was a roller coaster from hell. Yay, we're leading, dang it's tied, woo hoo one more strike to win the WS, dang it's tied again, oh no I can't believe they lost. I don't know if I can take another night like this but, who am I kidding, I will watch and I will cheer for MY Rangers.
C'mon Rangers, you can do it!

Designer Whey coupon

My son is into protein shake products so when a coupon comes along, it's always great to see. Click here to get your $1 coupon.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Just For Men coupons

Is your man bugged by his grey hair? Well, my hubby is bald and bold so he doesn't but if your guy is, there are a couple of new coupons for Just For Men hair color for men. Go here to get yours.

Cool Whip $.75 coupon

There is a new coupon on Facebook for $.75 off 1 Cool Whip Season's Delight. It's a new 'flavor' and the coupon is valid for a month, so perfect timing for Thanksgiving. You have to 'like' Cool Whip on FB first in order to print the coupon and you can print in twice! Go now, who knows how long it will last!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

MY Texas Rangers are 1 win away from winning the #WorldSeries


Ahh, here he is, my new love. I told my husband this morning that I love Mike Napoli and he said, "is he is on your 'to do' list"? (don't judge me! You know you've got a 'to do' list!) I told him 'no, I just love Mike Napoli'. He was traded to the Texas Rangers this year as a new catcher. I just learned today (no, I don't pay THAT close attention at the beginning of the season to who's traded) that no one wanted him after last year. The Angels traded him to Toronto, who traded him to Texas. I'm so happy they did.
Without Mike Napoli this post season would be a lot less entertaining, that's for sure. And a lot less fruitful. As of right now, Tuesday night at 11:03pm, Texas is 1 win away from winning the World Series. 1 win! There is still 2 games left for them to do it in, against the Cardinals, in the Cardinals home stadium.
I'm hoping there is only 1 more game.
I'll be sitting in front of my
tv watching and cheering and likely biting
my lower lip until the last strike    is thrown.
So....GO RANGERS!! I have faith in you. Bring it home!!

The best Shortbread Cookies ever!

I decided to post this recipe here just in case I ever misplace it again. Go ahead and try it, you'll just love it. Trust me. BUT, please do not submit this recipe anywhere as your own. If you want to share it, instead of putting the recipe on your blog, please link it back here.
It was given to me by my old neighbor. He was (10 years ago) a widower and in his late 60's. He took a liking to me and my kids because he didn't like what he saw of my ex husband (note the EX husband). He'd invite us over for tea and cookies. He always had these cookies in the fridge and one day I asked him where he got the recipe. He told me it was his own and the secret was the 'fruit sugar' instead of anything else. He gave it to me because he didn't have any children to give it to. I felt honored.
I ended up splitting from my ex and shortly thereafter moved to Texas. I don't know if Peter is still 'with us' but I think of him many times a year, every time I make these cookies. Thank you Peter.......

Peter's Shortbread Cookies

1lb butter (has to be butter)
1 cup fruit sugar (+some for rolling after baked)(has to be fruit sugar....no substitutes....can be found in baking stores)
1/2 tsp or less salt
1/2 cup Corn starch
3 1/2 cup flour (+1 cup flour)

Make butter very soft. It is easier to mix this way. A little tip is to cut butter in small pieces and place in a bowl that is sitting in hot water in the sink. This will melt it so watch that it does not separate. Mix so it does not separate.

Mix butter, salt and fruit sugar. Blend thoroughly. Add cornstarch. Add flour gradually. you may have to knead by hand.
Take one additional cup of flour and add small portions as you mix until dough begins to crack. you may not use all of this last cup.
Roll out 3/8" to 1/2" thick, in squares or cookie cutter.
Cook at 325F for approximately 20 minutes. Watch closely as they are easy to over cook
Take out when they have a golden tint.
Roll in fruit sugar when cool enough to handle. Store in fridge or freezer for best taste.



 It took me about 2 hours from getting the ingredients out to cleaning up when they were allllll done.
Here is the finished product....made about 80 cookies or 6 1/2 dozen.
 
This is what they look like when I roll them out (I couldn't find my rolling pin so I used my hands and a glass.....lol) and cut them into 'squares'.
My cat even wanted in on the action. He jumped on the cookie sheet.....I was not amused to say the least. But when I saw the pawprint I just had to leave it!! lol
So, I'm letting them cool down and then going to put them in the freezer. They are definitely the best when they are cold. They melt in your mouth, literally!!



Earn Gift Cards for Christmas shopping with Expo TV

Join ExpoTV to earn gift cards

I joined Expo Tv over a year ago and there are no sites around that are  better for earning points to get gift cards or other prizes (in my opinion). I usually,  ok, every time, get CVS gift cards. They are 600 points and one video review is generally about 500 points so you can earn a $5 CVS gift card in no time. I honestly have not paid anything out of my pocket in months because I always have gift cards with me.
There are a lot of other things you can get too, including Amazon which is also 600 points for $5.
So click here and see what all the fuss is about. Trust me, you won't be sorry.
Here is some more info....

Click here now to join, what I think, is the best 'prize/money earner' around!



Side note: I've been using my gift cards for Amazon lately and have already bought a bunch of stuff for my kids for Christmas, and nothing out of my pocket. WooHoo!!! Thanks ExpoTV.

Hobby Lobby Mobile coupons

I love Hobby Lobby. Just the other day I was there to get some yarn and looked around like a kid in a candy store for at least an hour. All the Christmas decor is amazing. It actually put me in the mood for Christmas. I got an email offering a 40% off coupon and clicked on it to see this. Now we can get mobile coupons from Hobby Lobby. That's fantastic!! Click here for more info.