Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Helpful Tips for Holiday Tech Shopping

When shopping for electronics and all things tech-y it's easy to get overwhelmed! There are so many different brands, prices, rebates, reviews and it can all get very frustrating when your standing in the store staring at 5 kinds of the same thing! Here are some tips to help get you through your electronic shopping this holiday season.

1. Do your research! I always hit Amazon before I leave to go shopping for electronics. In my opinion they have the best and most honest reviews of products. Take the time to read through them all. A lot of times there are a bunch of good but a few bad reviews. Make sure you read through the bad ones to, so that you know there could be something wrong with what you want to buy.

2. Quality matters. I'm a frugal/cheap/money hungry girl! HOWEVER, when I buy electronics I make sure I get the top of the line. I want something that is going to last. If there is a laptop for $300 and one for $400, the only thing that matters to me is which one will last longer and how much use I can get out of it.

3. Take cash when shopping. I find that if I know exactly what I want before I leave the house I only take enough money to cover that and nothing else. The reason is that sales associates will try to get you to buy this or that to go with it. Or they might even try to get you to buy something entirely different (and more expensive).

4. Get the warranty! In the past I've went the cheap way and skipped out on getting the warranty. In the long run it ended up costing me more! You never know what could happen to your valuables, and if you have kids it's almost a guarantee that the most expensive thing will end up broke! (Well, my kids anyway)

5. Ask questions. While your shopping don't be afraid to ask the associate questions about what ever you are thinking about buying. A good tip is to write them down at home so you don't forget. If they can't answer your questions, maybe you should go to another store that can. You deserve to know everything about what your buying before you spend you hard earned money on it!

Well those are my 5 tips, I hope you enjoyed them and can put them to use this holiday season. They would have helped me in the past! Remember, the holidays are supposed to be fun, so don't get too frustrated when your out shopping for that iPad! ;)

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Staples blogging program, making me eligible for a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Monday, November 22, 2010

BlogHer/Poptart giveaways!

 BlogHer has teamed up with Pop Tarts this time to bring you more chances to win a $100 Visa Gift Card! Enter at each blog below for your chance to win!  Ends 11/25

A Familiar Path
Overstuffed Reviews
Jamie Cooks It Up
BlogHer Reviews by little ol' Me
Cheat Day News and Reviews
My Mommy's Place
The Snyder 5 Reviews
Moms, Uncensored
Simplicity In The Suburbs Reviews

The Snyder 5 Reviews
BlogHer Reviews by little ol' Me
Simplicity In The Suburbs Reviews
BentoLunch.net Reviews
My Mommy's Place
Overstuffed Reviews
Jamie Cooks It Up
Cheat Day News and Reviews
A Familiar Path

Insanely Busy Weekend

Followed by what is going to be an even busier week! I'm so drained, I don't think I have quit moving once since Friday, and I don't see an end in sight!

Here's a quick rundown of my weekend:
1. Helped my mom pack.
2. Started cleaning the massive amount of JUNK in my dinging room.
3. Went to my best friends Bachorlette/Bachelor party. Finally passed out around 5 am.
1. Got up at 7 with Nugget. (Love my early bird...)
2.Went to the Fire Department with my daughter and the rest of the Daisies. 9 giggling girl scouts :)
3. Help my mom move. How can one woman have so much stuff??
4. Cleaned the rest of my house/finished clearing out junk in my dining room.
1. Moved my old broken kitchen table and roll top desk to the TRASH!! Been wanting to do that for a year!
2. Moved my nice new shiny kitchen table in, and threaten each person living in my house within an inch of their lives! If there is any JUNK on my new table, or any crayon markings - Mama's gonna lose it! (See pics below!)
3. Invited over my cousin and her family for dinner and to watch the game. 2 toddlers + no naps in an enclosed area = NO GOOD!
4. Spent an hour trying to get a piece of glass out of my daughter's foot. I'm seriously thankful that no one called the cops due to her screaming over it!
5. Fixed dinner and thoroughly enjoyed sitting at my new table :)
6. Tried to get ready for today, but passed out at 9!

This week is gonna be crazy! Bombing the house today to make sure there are NO FLEAS at all when I bring my new chihuahua home on Tuesday! I'm also moving my daughter bunk beds out today and my old couch. I think it's time for an overhaul here, or maybe I just got a hair up my wazoo.
Taking my cousin to the doc Tuesday and Wednesday is the rehearsal for my BFF's wedding. Thanksgiving on Thursday and finally my bestie is getting married on Black Friday. No shopping for me this year. I can't say I'm all that sad about it either :) I still don't understand why she chose Black Friday!

Here's a few pics to show how much CRAP we had accumulated in my dining room. I've mentioned it a couple times but my husband and his family do antique and collectible shows. That's all fine and good, until the crap starts taking over my house! He is a pack rat/borderline hoarder! Not all the stuff is his, but at least 90% is!

Here is a picture of my nice and new to me kitchen table! It's also my son's favorite place for his bike! I'd like to get a table cloth and a vase with some flowers on it eventually. If I can ever stop finding things to I have to get done!
Well, thanks for listening to me ramble! I'm off to start my busy day!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

$100 Visa Gift Card giveaways!

BlogHer and V8 V-Fusion® + Tea have teamed up to bring you 10 chances to win $100 gift cards from participating blogs!
Go to each blog and answer their question and you can win!
Choose from:
  • Pomegranate Green Tea
  • Raspberry Green Tea
  • Pineapple Mango Green Tea
They all sounds great to me!

Southern Hospitality
chez us 
Healthy Ashley
Jenny on the Spot
slice of pink reviews & giveaways
Secret Agent Josephine
contest bytes
Legallyheidi Loves…

Get your entries in before 12/10. Good luck! 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What Brings Comfort and Joy!

When I seen this opportunity I knew I had to grab at it. It's not very often that you sit down and think about who or what brings you comfort. A lot of times it's easy to take them for granted. With Thanksgiving coming up, I was thinking about everyone I'm thankful for just the other day. I'd like to share it here!

I could sum it all up in one word, Family. My family has always been my rock in one way or another. My family brings me more comfort than a tub of ice cream brings a girl that just went through a horrible break up! Here's an example. When I was little my grandmother lived with us, I thought that it was normal until high school. I just thought all families lived together forever. I loved the fact that she was always there. When she had her stroke when I was 15, our family bonded together to help keep her happy. She lived for 3 years after her stroke and even though it was hard, we took care of her until the very end. AND even though it was hard for HER, she was still there for me. She listened to boy troubles, school troubles, and even boring work trouble. Before she had her stroke, she was always there and that didn't stop. When she passed away, my whole family helped support each other. It brought us all closer - as if that were possible.

Another example. When I first met my husband and decided to move out, my mom lost it lol! She didn't want to lose her baby, and I had a hard time leaving. When I got pregnant not long after, she was there for me and as excited as I was. When I lost that baby my mom was the shoulder that I cried on... for days. The rest of family was also there for me. To listen or to talk or whatever I needed. They brought me comfort when I needed it the most. I went on to have my daughter and 3 more miscarriages before having my son. Each miscarriage hurt worst than the last, and my family, including my new husband, never let me sink.

My family now is still my comfort and joy! My kids bring a smile to my face a million times a day, and I would be so lost without them! My cousin is my best friend, and her daughter is another (beautiful) light in my life.  My mom is and always will be, my rock. My husband listens any time I need to talk, and he is also an amazing comfort to me.

Now that I have my own family to take care of, I make sure that my kids know how important it is to trust each other and always be there for one another. To comfort one another and just listen. Family, to me, is the most important thing in the world. Family, to me, is comfort and joy!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Kleenex blogging program, making me eligible to get a $40 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

14 Ways To Have A Fresh and Festive Holiday!

I love the holidays, I go a little crazy with d├ęcorating, planning, and spending every year. That's part of it though, and I love it all. There are times that holidays get me down though, and I have to perk myself back up to get in the spirit. Between worrying about money and whose going where and whose going there, I get a little crazy! Here are 14 ways that I get back in the holiday spirit!

1. Listen to Christmas music! I love Christmas music! Every year I try to find a new song or new artist with an amazing voice to get me in the Christmas mood. We start listening to Christmas music before the stores even start playing it - you know that's early!

2. Visit Santa! Every year there are multiple Santas at our local malls. Taking the kiddos to visit him gets them in the mood, and seeing their eyes light up - cheers me up too. It's okay to go more than once, and besides getting that picture with him is priceless later on :)

3. Bake Christmas treats! I love making cookies with my kids, and trying to perfect the art of my grandmother's Million Dollar Fudge recipe every year. Same with the Christmas music, I try to find a new recipe every year! This one is my daughter's favorite traditions, she loves to cook/bake/create!

4. Decorate! If your going to decorate, please do it carefully! Seems like every year around here my husband gets hurt putting up our Christmas lights! Decorating your home brings that welcoming feeling to everyone that walks in, it brightens up your room and your mood!

5. Bust out the photo albums! Every year my kids and I like to look at the Christmas's from years past to see how much we have all changed and what all we got to enjoy that day. It gets me so excited every year. It's so much fun to see how much you change in only one year!

6. Get family pictures taken. Personalized Christmas cards are so awesome to receive, every year we get family pictures and use them as Christmas cards. It's great for out of town family members. They get to see how you've changed!

7. Start a new tradition. Our Christmas tradition has always been opening one package on Christmas Eve. It's always pj's to wear for Santa. This year I decided to start another one. We packed a shoebox full of goodies to mail overseas to a little girl that won't get anything this year. This made my daughter feel so good, and she loved picking out her gifts! We will do this every year from here on out!

8. Make it fun! Take a friend with you if your going shopping, and have a lunch date while your out! You deserve some fun too. Buying for others can be daunting, so go get your nails done while your out, to make it special for you too!

9. Get rid of old toys! About 2 weeks before the big day, I go through my kids rooms and donate the toys that they no longer play with or the ones that have been laying on their floor for a month getting stepped on. It helps out others, and makes more room for new stuff. If your family is anything like mine, you'll need the room! My father in law goes over the top with gifts every year!

10. Take advantage of parties! If you or your spouse has a Christmas party go to it and have fun! You don't have to spend a ton of money on a new outfit, you can use the dress you wore last year - trust me if anyone remembers at all - they have way too much time on their hands!

11. If your going out of town, throw a fabric softener in your luggage! I recommend Snuggle :) It keeps every thing smelling fresh, static free, and keeps you from getting homesick!

12. Get outside! Have fun playing in the snow, the kiddo's will love it! You can bundle them up tight and not worry about anything. Have fun making snow angels, making snowmen, and having snowball fights! These are the things your kids will remember in the long run, not whether or not the got the "hot" toy on the list that year!

13. Skip the visit! If visiting a certain family member will cause stress this year, just skip it! Life is too short to worry about it. You can send them a nice card, or gift in the mail and leave it at that - while keeping your sanity!

14. Finally, just have fun! Remember the reason for the season, and enjoy spending time with your family. The holidays are only once a year. Take a ton of pictures and eat too much fruitcake because later on having a good time is all that will matter!

I hope you enjoyed my top 14 list, and I hope they help this holiday season! Holidays can be stressful, and these tips help me every year to get over the stress factor and keep my holidays fresh and festive!!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Snuggle blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.” (make sure you link to http://snuggle.twittermoms.com/about)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

10 Tips for Smart Holiday Shopping and Gifting!

I love to shop, so much so that hubby and I have a ton of stuff... everywhere! One thing I don't like about shopping is the rush during the holiday season. Call me crazy, but having 542 strangers breathing on me, pushing me, and running past me to get the hottest toy of the year, is not my idea of a good time :). Here are a few tips that get me through the holiday maddness, and help my loved ones get the good stuff!

1. If your going to brave Black Friday, make a game plan the night before. Know exactly what stores you want to hit, and how much coffee your going to need to get you through it! Bring a shopping buddy along, it can get boring standing in line by yourself. Also, they can be on the lookout for your hot items, and vice versa.

2. Shop all year long. I absolutely love after Christmas sales. I try to look for things I know my kids would love and put them in a tote. By November, that tote is normally over flowing into a gazillion boxes, but that's less shopping I would have to do during what I like to call "crunch time".

3. Use your stockpile! I know there are a lot of bloggers that use coupons and show others how to use them. You could end up with an amazing stockpile by December. Use some of your bath products and beauty products to make a cute basket for that hard to shop for sister in law. (Or whoever). Why not give them something they can use?

4. Online tools! There are tons of free shipping codes out there, and great cash back incentives at online shops. CSN.com (among others) has a ton of items with free shipping. Combine that with a coupon code, and your already saving time and gas!

5. Swagbucks! Save your swagbucks all year and cash them in for $5 Amazon gift cards. I have a little over $200 in Amazon gift codes from Swagbucks this year! That's all I will need for hubby's gifts (and then some). Swagbucks is a simple search engine that rewards you for searching on it!

6. Save those gift cards! I keep most of the gift cards I get all year from Birthdays or Anniversarys. I use them to get Christmas gifts. Hubby says I should spend them on myself, but I feel like I am, when I don't have to use our cashflow :). They add up quick, and can help in a pinch.

7. Do it yourself. A lot of my family members would perfer handmade gifts over something they really didn't want/need. If your crafty take advantage of that and make your gifts. Find your supplies at sales or clearance and you wont have to spend much at all. Plus, it comes from the heart. AWWWW!

8. Enter blog giveaways! I enter a ton of giveaways and I have won some really neat stuff for my kids. I save it back all year and use it for Christmas or Birthdays. What is better than free? Another plus is you find some really great blogs to follow and find a ton of cool shops that you never would have known about otherwise. I love blog giveaways!

9. Save those bags! I save all the cute bags and boxes from the Christmas before and use them again. By the next year people wont remember, and there is no harm in using them again! Tissues papers can be saved inside the bags so they don't get messed up. I hang them all in the back of my closet so they are out of the way!

10. Don't rule out a store based on it's name. Office Depot has a ton of great products that would be good for anyone of your list! Printers, supplies, you name it they have it!

I love shopping for Christmas but it's best to remember what's important. Your loved one! Don't let money come before the fact that you are together. There are a bunch of resources to use to ensure the best gifts for the best price! I hope I helped out and gave you some ideas for this year! Happy Shopping!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Office Depot blogging program, making me eligible to get a $40 Office Depot gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.” (make sure you link to http://officedepotsmartgifts.twittermoms.com/about )

Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy Halloween - A little late!

Halloween was great this year! We carved pumpkins, painted pumpkins, and got dressed up 3 different times. We also went to The Red Barn Farm and to 2 different Fall Festivals. Both kiddos had a great time, and got a ton of candy :) (aka Momma's gonna get fat).
  My son hated getting the pumpkin "guts" from the pumpkin, but my daughter was all over it! She had so much fun. Nugget liked painting the whole freaking kitchen pumpkin better.

 Yes, both my kiddos were vampires. Noodle convinced me and her dad that her brother HAD to be a vamp with her, so she wouldn't get lonely when everyone else passed on... yeah nice huh? At least she has an imagination, and I think that's great. I love this picture of her :)
 Nugget didn't dig his costume very much. He hated the cape. He did look pretty cute though. The Mooch and my cousin Dani went trick or treating with us. They all looked adorable, if ya ask me!
Hope everyone had a great Halloween!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

10 Things For New Mom's to Remember!

Bringing home a baby creates a whirlwind of emotions, schedules, and a little bit of insanity. In that mix it gets hard to remember what's important - your new baby! Here is my top 10 list of things for new moms to remember.

1. The most important thing (I think) - Your baby is only at this age one time. Relish in it, because it goes by entirely way too fast! Take a ton of pictures so you can remember later. The first few weeks may seem to go by in a blur.

2. Not everything has to be scheduled! Leave a little room for the unexpected.Your never know what could come up, and you may have to change your plans. Also, if your baby wants to eat, then let it eat - even if it is an hour early.

3. Recruit help! Your not Superman. If you have someone around to come help clean the house or help make dinner, then let them. It won't make you look like a bad mom, it will prove that you know your limits and your not ashamed to ask for help!

4. Get great cleaning products that prevent germs. Babies immune systems are not totally developed right off the bat, you need to have cleaning products that you trust to get rid of harmful germs. (I personally use Lysol... on like everything. BUT that's because I'm a germaphobe)

5. Get things ready before the baby comes home. Sterilize your bottles, prepare the nursery, and disinfect all your baby products beforehand, so you have less to do later and you can enjoy your baby.

6. Nap when the baby does! You will need those few extra winks. When the baby lays down, you should do the same. More than likely it will not throw off your sleeping routine, because the baby will do that for you :)

7. Keep all your important information in one place that it easily accessible. I don't know how many times I lost my daughter's shot records before I finally started putting it in one spot. My advice: get a binder or planner and keep important info in there.

8. Ask your mom/stepmom/mother figure. More than likely they have been there and done that. If you have a question don't be afraid to ask. I just tried to remember that there is never a stupid question. You may find a new found respect for your mom, I know I did.

9. Trust your gut instinct. I know I just said that you should ask your mother figure, but also don't be afraid to go with what you feel is right. Your the child's mother - ultimately things should be done the way you want them. Don't be afraid to tell the doctor/family/whoever NO. They don't call it a Mother's Insticnt for no reason :)

10. This too shall pass. I said that over and over when I first brought my daughter home! There are stages for everything. Just like your getting used to being a new mom, you baby is getting used to just being! It will be a work in progress, and that's good! You can put down your baby, and walk away when the crying gets to be too much. Breath alone for a few minutes, and go back to your baby. It's okay for him or her to cry!

Those are my 10 tips! Hope that it reaches someone that can use it, I know I wish I would have known these things when I was first bringing home my daughter - it would have helped with my sanity :)

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Lysol® Wee Wisdom blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”