Shopping on a Budget #CookiesKids

Cookies for kids outfit

When it comes to buying clothes for the kids my motto is – ‘the cheaper the better!’  Don’t get me wrong, I’m only talking about the price not the brand or material.  I love to shop the sales racks to find great deals for both kids.  So when I saw this on the front page of the Cookie’s Kids website I was excited.

cookies website

Yes, please!  I’d love 90 percent off!  I checked both girl and boy clearance sections to find the perfect outfits for the kids.  One cool thing about CookiesKids.com is the Alva kids icon on each item.

alva on cookies website

It will help you determine what size your children wears in that particular item.

alva on cookies website pic

So if I search ‘Boys Suits‘ the Alva will help me find the right size suit for Avery.  How cool is that?  Its helped me find the perfect size for the kids new clothes.

Cookies for Kids

Did you just hear me squeal?  I was beyond excited when I saw this outfit for Ryley on the site.  [You all know about my unnatural love for anchors, right?]  Plus it was on sale!  Double love!

Anchor Outfit Cookies for kids

Ryley loved the rhinestones on the anchor on her shirt.  I loved the quality and the price!

Cookies for kids outfit

Avery’s outfit was on sale too!  He got a super cute two piece plaid outfit.

Cookies Outfit

Im pretty sure that face means he loves his new outfit.

Cookies for Kids Outside

Nothing makes me happier then to see my babes happy.  Except when they are happy and wearing a super cute outfit that I got on sale.  Seriously.  Its the best.

Be sure and check out #CookiesKids on Twitter and Facebook as they celebrate their 40th year of business!  Cookie’s Kids have 7 stores in the NYC area in Bronx, Brooklyn and Jamaica as well as online.  If you’d like to see more of my shop with CookiesKids.com check out my Google+ album!

 

“I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and CookiesKids.com #CBias #SocialFabric”

Holiday Fun with Food #MealsTogether

candy cane chicken nuggets2

Holidays are so much fun because you get together with family and friends to celebrate and create memories.  Even sharing a simple meal can turn into something special when surrounded by family.  We created a fun Christmas meal with Tyson nuggets that the kids and I will never forget.

candy cane chicken nuggets2

We headed to Sam’s Club to pick up our nuggets.  [You can see more about my love for Sam’s Club here, here and here.]  At this point I had grand plans to create a Christmas village entirely of chicken nuggets.  Little did I realize that was not going to be the case.

shopping at sams in corpus

These two love going to Sam’s club as well mainly since they can ride next to each other in the cart.  [Side note – why don’t more stores have double seated carts?  And Im not talking about the giant boat that is attached to the cart.]

tyson nuggets at sams We grabbed out bag of chicken nuggets and a few other items before heading home to decorate.  There are demos going on at Sam’s Club but we missed it this time.  If you want to see more pictures from our trip check out my “Google album.

mealstogether4

I put some ketchup and ranch dressing in ziplock and gave each kid a muffin tin with some nuggets.  Genius right?  I didn’t even use pinterest for that one either.  [Yes I just tooted my own horn.]

tysonnuggets

The kids had a blast squeezing the ketchup and ranch dressing on the chicken nuggets!  They covered their chicken nuggets and began to eat them before I could referee.  I started to have a mini panic attack because the vision of a Christmas village was fading.

mealstogether5 It took me a second to realize to look around and see that the kids were having so much fun and not because everything was perfect but because we were together having a good time.

candy cane chicken nuggets

So instead of a perfect Christmas village we created a chicken nugget candy cane.  And its one of my favorite memories this year.

Tyson on Facebook and Twitter

“I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias®  and Tyson #CBias #SocialFabric”

Black Friday – Grant Style #deliciouspairings

starbucksholidayblend8

I was one of the many people that went shopping shopping on Black Friday but I was after something other then reduced electronics – something waaaay better.  I headed to Sam’s Club to purchase Starbucks limited edition Holiday Blend coffee.  Yes, seriously.

Ryley and I left the house a little before seven.  I knew people were probably not going for the coffee like us but I didnt want to risk missing the free coffee demo they were having.  We still had to wait in line for 15 minutes but thats ok because my little lady kept me entertained.

Once we got in I bee lined for the Starbucks display to snag my free cup of coffee and cinnamon roll.  [Priorities people!]

I grabbed a roll for Ryley and we strolled around the store eating and chatting.  I really enjoyed the girl time with my baby.

Fun fact about me – I am a quarter thief.  If I see a quarter laying around I claim it as mine and dont look back.  Ryley has started doing the same thing and she likes to put them in her jean pockets.  She had a few in her pockets and when we left she dropped them in the Salvation Army bin.  Didnt even think twice about it and waved to the gentlemen ringing the bell.  Talk about melt your heart moment.

When we got home I was greeted by a house full of hungry bellies so I brewed some coffee and heated the cinnamon rolls.  I was excited to try the Holiday Blend because I dont usually buy Starbucks in the bag.  Im more of a one cup at a time, drive through kinda girl.

While the Artisan Fresh cinnamon rolls were in the oven I sipped on my coffee and chatted with my family that had stayed the night.  I made a few eggs and some leftover ham to go along with the coffee and rolls and relaxed and enjoyed our company.

After drinking the coffee with the cinnamon rolls I think that they really brought out the hints of ginger, pumpkin, nutmeg and cloves in the Holiday Blend.  It was like drinking a cup full of holiday cheer.

 

“I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. #CBias #SocialFabric

-[Lovely November Sponsor]-

 

 

Donating to the Ronald McDonald House #GELightingCFK

donatingtoronaldmcdonald8

Last week my kiddos and I purchased GE energy saver light bulbs from our local Walmart for the Champion for Kids campaign.  Yesterday we donated the light bulbs to the Ronald McDonald House along with two huge bags for clothes and toys.

I went through the kids closets and made a pile of clothes that did not fit anymore.  Ryley had a few more things then her brother.  [Must be a girl thing!]  At one point she saw a shirt and said ‘Momma thats my Dora!’ and I explained to her that it didnt fit anymore and that it was going to someone who could use it.  She didnt argue just went back to playing while I pulled more outfits. 

Our bags and the box of light bulbs ready to go to the Ronald McDonald house.  I was so excited to take the kids with me and have them participate in donating. 

I knew where the Ronald McDonlad House was located because I had volunteered there in high school.  I love this organization and the home like feel that they provide for families with sick kids.   

When we pulled up to drop off our bags I was happy to see that people had left boxes of food for the organization.  I know they are always in need of basics like this. 

Sending off our two bags of clothes and toys. 
This right here.. makes me so proud of my little girl.  She wanted to carry the bag of light bulbs for me into the House.  I know she probably didnt understand what we were doing but her willingness to help always brings tears to my eyes. 
On our way to drop off our donation.  I didnt want to take pictures inside to respect the privacy of the people and volunteers there.  The lady at the front desk was so sweet and even though it was just a small donation she seemed very grateful.  Check out more of our trip here.  
https://secure.gelighting.com/static/facebook/CFK/images/compare-en.jpg
The donation may have been small in size but it will save the Ronald McDonald House energy and money.  This makes me double happy – for the donation and the money saving benefits included.  What a great way to start off the holiday season of giving with my kids! 

Do you give back during the holidays?

Dont forget about the GE energy smart challenge.  You can win a $100 Walmart gift card for entering!


“As part of my partnership with GE, I received coupons for my GE light bulbs.  All opinions posted about my GE Lighting experience are my own.” “I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias Champions for Kids and GE Lighting #CBias #SocialFabric”

-[Lovely October Sponsor]-

PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

Finding Some ‘Me Time’ #NIVEAMoments

nivea1
I believe that it is so important as moms/wives/people to be able to have some ‘me timeTime where you are able to relax, forget about the bills/housework/dinner and laugh with your girlfriends.  I am very blessed to have such amazing friends in my life who will do just that with me.  I invited over my two good friends and my momma to enjoy a NIVEA spa party.
I headed to Sams Club to purchase party supplies and NIVEA Essentially Enriched body lotion.  I love Sams because its always clean and the prices cant be beat.  Plus it was free sample day so I was extra excited to go last weekend.  I knew right where the NIVEA lotion would be so I grabbed the double pack and headed over to the food.  On my way I noticed a NIVEA display that I had missed the first time.  It has the same double pack of lotion but with a free bonus lotion!  I quickly returned my original package and finished shopping.  Check out the rest of my shopping trip on my Google+ album.
I set up a manicure station complete with our NIVEA lotion and a rainbow of polishes to choose from.  I also laid out the food station with everything from my Sams trip.
There was chicken salad on rolls, hummus and sweet potato chips, mini quiche, cheese and pastries.  Plus we had some sparkling white grape juice.
We chatted and snacked before we started our manis.  Both my friend Krystal and Jessica are moms and brought along their kiddos – which was great!  The kids all played together while we sipped our white grape juice and painted our nails.
The two little girls both stopped playing for a hot minute to get their nails done with the big girls.  It was fun to able to share this time with them.  The food was a big hit and so was the NIVEA lotion!  It was so silky smooth and smelled great.
It was really nice to be able to enjoy each others company and pamper ourselves a little.  I think we all were a little bit more relaxed after the party.  Maybe we should do this every month!

What do you for some ‘me time’?

Find NIVEA on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

“I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Beiersdorf for NIVEA. #NIVEAmoments#CBias #SocialFabric”

Giving Back With GE Lighting

energysaver
“As part of my partnership with GE, I received coupons for my GE light bulbs.  All opinions posted about my GE Lighting experience are my own.”  
There are a few characteristics that we are trying to instill in our two toddlers.  Patience, kindness, humility and generosity are just a few.  I believe that everyone has something to give to others whether its time, money, or food and I hope to pass that mind set on to my children. 

The holidays are the perfect time to give and Im excited to be part of the GE Lighting Champions for Kids event.  The idea is that if we replace incandescent bulbs with GE energy smart bulbs we will save money, energy and reduce greenhouse gases.  GE has a great Energy Savings Calculator that will estimate and reduce your energy usage.  Estimate the number of bulbs that your household or business can change and then enter your classroom or charity to win a $100 Walmart gift card every day in November.  [How cool is that?]

“If every U.S. household did the same, it would reduce the same amount of CO2 as planting 1,862,177 acres of trees!”   – GE Energy Savings Calculator

We headed to Walmart to purchase a package of GE energy smart light bulbs to donate to a charity here in town.  Every time we head to Walmart we have to use the huge double seat cart because the kids want to sit next to each other. 

We browsed around the store before making our way to the lighting section.  I grabbed a six pack of GE energy smart light bulbs and a few other things around the store.  Check out the rest of our shopping trip here

We plan on donating the light bulbs to our local Ronald McDonald house here in town.  I really love this organization and volunteered with them many times in high school.  Its comforting to know that if my kids every get sick and have to be away from home for treatment that there is an inviting place for us to stay.  I am excited to take the kids with me next week to drop of our donations and explain to them the importance of giving back.

Do you encourage your kids to give back? 

“I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias Champions for Kids and GE Lighting #CBias #SocialFabric” 
-[Lovely October Sponsor]-

PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket

10 Tips for Working Out #FrozenFavorites

keepyourmindstrong1

For the past two weeks I have been using the Couch to 5k program on my phone and replacing my lunch with a Lean Cuisine.  [Find out more here.]  I have to say that this is definitely the push that I have needed to start my journey of getting and staying healthy.  I purchased my Lean Cuisines at my local Sams Cluba few weeks ago.

The Couch to 5k app has been awesome!  There are nine weeks total and each week has 3 work out routines.  I am so happy to say that I only missed one workout out of the two week time period!  Ok I really missed two but the one day that I didnt get my ‘official’ run in I chased the kids around the front yard for twenty minutes.  Let me tell you something.. toddlers are fast!  That run wore this momma out.

I replaced my lunches with a Lean Cuisine each day too.  I loved the sesame chicken.. it was by far my favorite.  I tried to have a healthy side item each day as well.

The ginger garlic stir fry was really good too.. but it had a bit of spiciness to it.  I added animal crackers and peanut butter to this lunch.

Chicken teriyaki stir fry was my second favorite Lean Cuisinemeal.  [Although they are all very good!]  I liked that I didnt have to think about what I was having for lunch.  It made life that much easier.. and tastier!


In two weeks I have more energy, I am able to run longer and I have lost a total of 5 pounds!  [It may not be much but its just the start and I am still happy dancing!]  I am in no way shape or form an expert on physical fitness but I wanted to share with yall my 10 tips for working out.

1. Make small goals and changes
My ultimate goal is to run a 5k.. but I cant just get up and do that.  I have to make smaller goals in order to reach my ultimate goal.
2. Dont be so hard on yourself
If you miss a workout or you eat two [or three or four] brownies dont beat yourself up and give up.  Its a long road and you will hit a few bumps but as long as you are committed to your goals you will be fine.
3. Find a work out buddy
I was paired with Mom Endeavors and Expect Moore for this challenge.  Plus I have had such great support from my friends Brin and Jennifer.  They have helped me stayed motivated for sure.
4. Buy something new
Sounds silly, right?  But if it takes buying yourself a fancy new pair of shoes to start your routine – buy them!  I was so excited to get my bondiband and try it out at the gym.  It motivated me to workout. [Yes that is a pre-workout picture of me with no makeup.  Im sorry.]
5.  Reward yourself
Once I lose ten pounds Im going buy a new pair of shoes or workout top.  If I go to the gym I allow myself to have a sweet after dinner.  Small rewards keep me motivated to press on.
6. Avoid Temptation
This is the hardest one for me.  I tried not to buy cookies or ice cream the past few weeks so I wouldnt be tempted with them.  I do have a few sweet things in the house to reward myself with though.  My favorite?  A banana with peanut butter.
7. Stay strong
This is more a state of mind then a physical thing.  Keep your mind strong and your body will follow.
8. Make a schedule
Make a schedule for your workouts and make a menu planner for your meals.  The less thinking you have to do the more likely you are to do it.
9.  Stay accountable
If you said you would work out – then do it.  Find someone to work out with that will keep you encouraged.  I post about my struggles and success on my blog and Facebook because I want the encouragement and because I need another way to stay accountable to myself.

10. Dont give up

Dont give up on yourself.  Dont give up on your goals.  Dont give up on your plans to stay healthy.
Do yall have any other tips to add?  I would love to hear what has worked for you!   Also check out my Google+ album for more pictures!
To find out more about Lean Cuisine and #FrozenFavorites check out their Twitter and Facebook.

“I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study forCollective Bias™. and (Nestle) Lean Cuisine #CBias #SocialFabric.

Halloween Candy Alternatives #BalanceRewards

balancerewards96

There are two things that I have started a war on – overspending and the insane amount of sugar that is pushed into our children’s diets.  Dont get me wrong, I love a good cake or cookie and share with my kids.. but do we really need to have sugar in fruit?  This year I decided to be ‘one of those people’ who doesnt hand out candy at Halloween – and I want to save money while doing it.  Enter Balance Rewards from  Walgreens.

I had signed up for Balance Rewards in store a few weeks prior to this shopping trip.  The cashier was so sweet and walked me through the whole process.  She was patient even though I had two kids grabbing at everything.  [God bless her.] I received my loyalty card and key tag right after she was done.
Shopping for alternatives to Halloween candy was not an easy task.  There is a whole aisle for Halloween and half of that is candy.  I was able to pick up a few goodies that I will be able to hand out that are not candy.  My candy alternatives that I picked up are:
Popcorn balls-
I snagged four of these and two were gone before I could take pictures at home!  A sign that they were a hit.
Mini Play-Doh-
This is one of my favorite candy alternatives!  There are 15 small containers [for $4.99!] and they come in fun Halloween colors.
Small toys-
There were a few options to choose from but I bought the mini vampire teeth whistles and calydascopes.  These went over well with my toddlers and even I enjoyed playing with the whistles.
Halloween pens/pencils-
I saw these witch broom pencils and I had to grab them!  These will be fun to hand out.. even if one is for me!
Straw cups-
I only bought two of these [one for each kiddo] but they would be a great candy alternative as well!
I continued shopping and found some other great alternatives to candy around the store.  And a few things that were just for momma.
Granola bars-
Yes, these are similar to candy but not.  They are a great way to hand out something sweet that still isnt a total sugar bomb.
Raisins-
My kids go bananas over raisins.  [haha!]  Some kids might not like raisins in their candy stash but they are inexpensive and full of good vitamins.
Pretzel dippers-
Those little packages of pretzels with a side of cheese are a good snack.  Another one that my kids favorites.
This one was bought for me.  And if I had bought two I would have earned 500 Balance Reward points!
Some other suggestions from my Facebook page for candy alternatives are:

Goldfish

Temporary Tattoos
Chips
Glow Stick Necklaces
Coins
Toothbrushes
Not one piece of candy in there but I can guarantee that your trick or treaters will be able to find something they like.
Another great thing about Walgreens  is their amazing app!  It allows you to view ads and coupons, refill prescriptions by scanning their label, create and shopping list, track your Walgreens Rewards points and even shop from your phone!
After I downloaded the app [which was easy] I entered my email and it pulled up all my information from my Balance Rewards profile.
I uploaded pictures from my phone that I have been meaning to print.  I love that you can always even more money with a coupon code.  I set my pictures to print at my local Walgreens and went back to chasing my monsters.
It really was easy and now I have more pictures of my family to decorate with.  Its great that Im able to shop from my phone if needed.  I prefer going to the store to find all the unadvertised sales.. but thats just me.
What about yall.. how do yall feel about Halloween candy?  Are you a fan of Balance Rewards?  Check out more of my shop on Google+.

Connect with Walgreens – Facebook // Twitter
“I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study forCollective Bias™ and Walgreens #CBias #SocialFabric”

Lean Cuisine and Couch to 5K #FrozenFavorites

leancuisneatsams2

“I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study forCollective Bias™. and (Nestle) Lean Cuisine #CBias #SocialFabric.

There are two things that I love doing that seem to get me in trouble – shopping and eating.  They first one hurts our bank account and the second one goes straight to my thighs.  I have slowly been working on an exercise and diet routine that is simple to follow.  But yall.. its tough!  Not only do I have two toddlers to wrestle but I have a real problem with will power.  [I see it.. I like it.. I eat it.]  To help me I have started replacing lunch with a Lean Cuisine and began the Couch to 5k [C25K] program.   
 
 
I purchased my Lean Cuisines at Sam’s Club – aka one of my favorite places to shop.  Their prices can’t be beat.  I was lucky to shop sans kids so I was in and out in less then 45 minutes although I did linger in the frozen food section for awhile.  I grabbed some apples and bananas for the kids and to snack on.  Im trying to keep good things in the house so Im not easily tempted.  [Harder then it sounds.]  Dont mind the ice cream and sweet tea, thats for the hubby.  Seriously.  
 
 
I have been eating a Lean Cuisine every day for lunch and they are so good!  Each 6 pack comes with a Ginger Garlic Stir Fry, Sesame Chicken and Chicken Teriyaki.  I havent decided which one is my favorite yet.  I truly enjoy all of them. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I also downloaded the Couch to 5K app for my Blackberry.  It starts off slow with simple workouts like jog 60 seconds followed by walking for 90 seconds.  I have actually started running two days a week so on my off days I do this routine.  I go to the gym but once it cools down here I will run out at our park.  [Dear weather, please cool down soon!]  
 
 
 
 
Im happy to say that with replacing one meal a day and working out with the Couch to 5K program I have more energy and have lost 3 pounds!  [Excuse my while I happy dance for a second.]  I am very excited to be on the right track and hopefully I will have my pre-baby body back one day.

To find out more about Lean Cuisine and #FrozenFavorites check out their Twitter and Facebook

 
What do yall do to stay healthy?  If yall want more inspiration check out my partners in workout crime [ha!]

 

“I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study forCollective Bias™. and (Nestle) Lean Cuisine #CBias #SocialFabric.