Tuesday, August 31, 2010


I have to leave in a few minutes for Physical Therapy, but decided to participate in a quick blog hop while waiting for Logan and Aaron to finish getting ready. We have packed lunches for after because I have to get Logan back for Kindergarten within 20 minutes of my scheduled finish time. Hopefully they aren't running behind! On to the Hop.....

Welcome to this week's Tuesday Tag-Along blog hop, hosted by Twee Poppets Review and Giveaway! This is a great way to discover new blogs while increasing the number of followers for your own blog. Please feel free to grab the TTA button for your blogroll to help bring more bloggers to this blog hop!

Tuesday Tag-Along button art adapted from the "Follow the Leader" illustration by Diana Jones. I encourage you to visit her at her blog, Sketch & Jones, and her online shop to see more great illustrations and all sorts of wonderful crafts!

Trailing Tuesdays Blog Hop

Trailing Tuesdays are hosted by Familylicious, Nine More Months , and Sugar Pop Ribbons ! What is Trailing Tuesdays you ask? Well, it's a great way to advertise your blog and find new friends not only for your blog but for your Facebook and Twitter pages as well.

Monday, August 30, 2010

CVS Trip

Aaron and I made a quick stop into CVS today to pick up a few items while Joshua and Logan were still at school. They were out of the water, soup, and a few other things that I wanted, but hopefully will get them in later this week!

Here is what we got:
Dawn Hand Care 9.5 ounce     $0.97 saved $0.72
    used $1/1 coupon from Right at Home Coupon Book mailed to home
Dawn Hand Care 9.5 ounce     $0.97 saved $0.72
    used $1/1 coupon from an older Right at Home Coupon Book mailed to home
1 Borden Gallon 2% Milk        $2.99 saved $0.30 (counts toward $3 ECB when you buy 3 gallons)
    used $0.75 internet printable from Borden
Charmin Ult Sft 9 Roll               $5.49 saved $2.40
   used $0.25 coupon from P7G insert in Sunday's paper
Phillips in ear Headphones         $6.99 saved $3.50
    got  $6.99 back in ECB
Oral B Toothbrush                     $5.99
Oral B Toothbrush                     $5.99 saved $5.99 with a B1G1 Free Coupon from a Sunday paper
   got $5 back in ECB with a $10 purchase of Oral B products
Crest Pro Health Toothpaste      $3.97
   used $0.75 coupon from P&G insert in the Sunday Paper
Crest Pro Health Toothpaste       $3.97
   used $0.75 coupon from the P&G insert in the Sunday Paper
   got $5 back in ECB
***Scanned Green Bag Tag and used my recyclable bag***
got a $1 ECB for the every 4th use of the bag printable

Used a 20% off purchase coupon from my email=$7.47 in savings
Used a $5/15 purchase from a CRT printed at the machine by the door
Used a CRT from the same machine to get a Free Beauty Charm of some sort with a $15 purchase in the  health/beauty aisle, but they haven't gotten them in stock yet. The manager noted on it that I had met the requirements, so when they come in I just have to trade the coupon for the charm.

The totals that say saved are the sale prices off the normal prices as it is listed on my receipt.

Total before coupons was $37.33
Minus $5/15 purchase
Minus 10.49 in Man. coupons
Minus $7.47 in 20% coupon
Total is now $14.37 plus tax
Used $14 in ECB
paid $0.37 plus tax
Got $18 in ECB back, and had $3 in ECB remaining, for a new total of $21 ECB carrying forward.

Do you like this layout of my deals? Is it easier to understand what I got, what coupons I used, the reward I got back,etc? As always, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!

Monday Madness

As part of the journey to continue to get this blog set up properly, and grow it's readership so I become eligible to qualify for the best deals to share with you, I set up the Networked Blogs syndication. It created a facebook page for me that you can "like" and it will show updates on your homepage so you can get realtime notices of new posts. Also, it only lets me invite 12 facebook friends per day, so if you know anyone who would enjoy my posts, please pass the site info along to them. Thanks;)

I was a little overzealous with the Friday Social Parades, as it was my first time participating and I had NO IDEA so many people linked to them. I do consider it a success though because my unique page hits increased, my Google Friend Connect numbers increased, and my twitter following exploded from zero (i didn't realize it was private before, LOL) to 62! I participated in a smaller one today, and plan to try one per day for steady growth.

In addition, I found some really wonderful blogs that I think I will enjoy, and I subscribed to them via email. One in particular has a son with medical issues that are really similar to Aaron's, and she lives in our same metropolitan area! I can't believe we haven't run into one another at any specialist appointments yet.

So if you are a regular reader, or a new blog hop follower, please take a moment to look around. If you enjoy the content, please consider following or subscribing in one or all;) fashions available. Also, please leave me a comment and I would love to follow you back!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


I was still following some blogs from the Parades yesterday, and came across a blog hosting a giveaway for a PowerCape at 3 Prince's And A Princess 2. Now many of y'all know Aaron, and understand that he dresses up as a different character daily, but more often than not, he is in some type of costume. Especially on Wednesdays when he goes to therapy. All of the therapists and office staff make a point of coming to see who he is each and every week. I told him about the contest, because the main requirement is to visit the company site and select the custom costume design you'd want. Aaron has selected a Black Cape with a Yellow Lightning Bolt and a Bright Blue A on it. I typically don't forward giveaways on blogs, but this is an exception because Aaron would just be over the moon if we won, so I am doing each and every extra entry submission and this is one of them. If he doesn't win, I am certain that this will be added to his Christmas list!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Follow Parades Week One

Smart and Trendy Moms hosts a Smart and Trendy Moms where you can follow as many sites as you want to help them increase their readership and following, and add your own site to get more readers and followers as well. This is a great trend to help us all enjoy the blogging community! I will repost this list or a link to it every week so any new readers can join along.

Friday Blog Hop is hosted by Mama to 3 Blessings, another site where bloggers can link up to get to know one another on a weekly basis!

Still on the Verge hosts Follow Me Friday badge where I think I am the only participant without a button. I'm gonna have to see if I can figure out how to make or get one of those!

My Wee ViewFun Follow Friday at My Weeview helps increase your friends on Google Friend Connect.

BoostMyBlogFridayBoost My Blog is hosted by Design It Chic.

Email Subscription Available

I finally got a moment to get the Email Subscription service set up. Please take a moment to enter your email address, and you can get each day's posts emailed directly to you so you don't miss any great deals!

Based on my former blog, I was able to change the blog address with one of the companies that compiles discount and freebie offers. I can log into their company page and get the links and information available on the offers and share them with you. However, since this is a new blog, I am not eligible to view all of the offers. The offers you can access increase according to your email subscription numbers, google friend followers, some other network followers, twitter, facebook, etc. I have a twitter set up (see the widget on the right), but I am not sure about how to set up a separate facebook page just for the blog, so I have to work on that.

I also came across some blogs that do Friday Follow links, and I hope to sign up for those and post all of that later tonight. I have to get to carpool AN HOUR EARLY to be able to be at the front of the line and get them as soon as they dismiss (they begged not to be checked out early, LOL) and rush to my first Physical Therapy appointment for my back. Providing they don't immobilize me, I hope to get some more work done on the blog tonight. The sooner I can get the readership numbers up to where the other blog was, the sooner I can start getting us the DL on some money saving offers (YAY!)

Friday Deals Roundup

I have compiled a list of deals that you might be interested in:

Arm & Hammer
Sign up for up to $10.50 in coupons from Arm & Hammer® Clumping Cat Litter. Click Here

From baby names to birthing questions to advice about naptime, BabyCenter is here to support you on your journey to parenthood. Sign up for our free email newsletter (it's customized to your due date) so you can track your baby's development week by week and get insight from experts about important parenting issues. You'll also receive valuable coupons, sale notices, and free offers from BabyCenter and our partners. Click Here

Sign up anyone who is having a baby or has recently had a baby for a lot of FREE stuff! Click Here

Dollar General:
Dollar General Savings Zone - Get member only perks, specials, and more! Click Here
*Note* The store in my neighborhood has Chips Ahoy on sale for $2 this week and there are several $1.50 off coupons floating around!

Free Coupons! Save on your favorite brands. Print free coupons before you shop. Click Here

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cholesterol Numbers

Many of my immediate and extended family members have heart health issues, including cholesterol troubles. I got an email from our health insurance company today, spelling out exactly what the numbers mean. I know that I always have to look this up, so I thought it would be a perfect future reference post here. Enjoy!

Cholesterol numbers you should know1

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in the blood. It is a normal part of blood, but too much cholesterol can block the flow of blood to the heart or brain. Ask your doctor what your cholesterol goals should be. Your goals will depend on your risk factors for heart disease and stroke. If your numbers are too high, with your doctor's help, you can lower your cholesterol and prevent a heart attack or stroke.

Total cholesterol
Desirable Below 200
Borderline high 200-239
High 240 or above
LDL (bad) cholesterol
Optimal Below 100
Near/above optimal 100-129
Borderline high 130-159
High 160-189
Very High 190 or above
HDL (good) cholesterol
High (higher is better) 60 or above
Low Below 40
Normal Below 150
Borderline high 150-199
High 200-499
Very high 500 or above

Cholesterol numbers you should know

There are different kinds of fat found in the blood.

  • LDL cholesterol is the "bad" cholesterol. Too much LDL cholesterol can block the arteries.
  • HDL cholesterol is the "good" cholesterol. It helps keep the arteries from blocking.
  • Triglycerides are another kind of fat in the blood. They can also raise your risk of heart disease.

[1] According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Available at www.nhlbi.nih.gov as of June 2010.

This message provides general health or safety information and is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment by a physician or other health care professional.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mrs Fields

mrsfields thumb Free Mrs. Fields Cookies To Your Door! When you refer 3 friends to sign up for their mailing list you will get free cookies shipped to your door! You get an even better prize pack if you refer even more friends!

So pretty please sign up with my referral – I could use some free cookies to feed to these boys that seem to always be starving, LOL!

Leave your email or contact me (reviewsbykaren at gmail dot com)or my personal email, facebook, or twitter if you already have it and you want a referral to pass on to your friends to earn some free cookies, or just to help me get mine! The e-newsletter is free, and they promise not to spam, so it's a pretty good deal!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Follow Me

I have enabled the Google Friend Connect Follow Me button on the left sidebar. Please click to join me. I have wondered what the point of doing this was, when I already followed several blogs via email, and it turns out that some PR companies look at this number when choosing blogs to host promotions and giveaways for some of their products.

Sorry my profile picture is missing. Since my PC broke, I don't have access to my photos, and this PC isn't hooked to the scanner. I should have my PC up and running by next week hopefully, and can put one back up there.

Also, I will be trying at that point to get the email subscription service going again. Thanks y'all!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Grocery Challenge

The Happy Housewife just posted a Grocery Challenge that I think is achievable for anyone. The challenge is to simply cut 10% off your grocery budget for the month. I think she has been participating in one for August, but I think I will begin with the month of September. I also have one fixed budget for all grocery/household purchases, so I will be including all of that.

If you don't have a budget, just look over some old receipts or bank statements to get an average of what you spend per week at the grocery/supercenter, and set that as your target budget per week, then reduce it by 10%. This shouldn't be too challenging. If you don't use coupons, you can purchase one this coming Sunday, and each following Sunday to get you started. I just got my new All You magazine in the mail yesterday, and it has some excellent grocery coupons as well. Don't forget the coupon links in my sidebar for printables. Make a menu plan, including snacks, for the week. Make a list before you go, and stick to it. I think many people new to the game will be shocked to find that it is easy to save well over 10% of their normal budgets.

Be sure to post weekly and let me know how you are doing!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

First Day of School!

Well, it was the First Day of school in our district. We left home at 7:30 to take Joshua to 1st grade, came home to finish getting everyone else fully dressed, and went back for a 9:00 Kindergarten meeting for Logan. We raced out of there to drive across town to my 10:30 doctors appointment. Turns out the block didn't fully work, so the left is still not corrected, the right is messed up, and the L4 and L5. I get to add twice per week PT sessions to our already crammed schedule for a month. Yay me:( At 12:30 we left the hospital and went to B&N to pick up the final hard copy books I need for Aaron *and used a Gift card to pay, of course, LOL* They had storytime starting when we were browsing, so we stopped and enjoyed it, then realized it was 1:30 and we hadn't eaten (thought we'd be 45 mins tops and able to eat at home) so we ran into McAlister's for lunch. I guess I don't take them out to eat enough, because they were THRILLED to go in and eat. They had kids meals on special for $1.99 and a lady gave me a coupon for B1G1 Free, so it was very inexpensive. Then we raced to get Joshua from school at 2:45. Since we still hadn't made it to the grocery store, we went straight to Staples to turn in some old ink cartridges for credit to my Rewards card, and picked up a couple of items still on sale for under $1.

Then, it was off to Target. I have to confess that I don't often do the Target deals because our store isn't a grocery center, though it does have a small selection, and it is out of the way. I was happy that I did stop though, because I was able to get $65 worth of items for $11. I'd post receipt pics, but my PC is broken and this one isn't hooked up to the scanner.

Then we hit up Walgreens, and I followed a $5 challenge from another blog (forgot which one, oops!) and stayed on target. ***UPDATE: I found the blog that does the $5 CVS and Walgreens Challenges, and HERE is the link to this week's $5 Walgreens challenge***

Finally, at 7:30 we made it to Walmart. I saved all refrigerated purchases for here (or CVS and Homeland on Sat). At this point, I could barely walk and the trunk was full (and I'd only spent $18! so we just got the filler necessity items, and the Pick 3 bucket for $10 for dinner. Another thrill for the boys, and frankly for me because I knew once I sat down I was NOT getting back up to cook, and we pulled in the driveway at 9:10pm!

So, I did end up making another CVS run on Sat which was almost as great as the first one, and then to Homeland for some other great sales I hope to post about soon.

Hopefully my PC situation will be resolved soon and I can get the other posts up when I am not sharing a computer, LOL!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I LOVE Dove soap and products. Since I had Logan, and the post pregnancy complications that have resulted in my being allergic to the vast majority of products that are related to touching my skin in all forms, I have had a difficult time finding products that are safe for me to use. It gets old taking massive quantities of prednisone and benadryl everytime I have a reaction. Dove's line of products have been safe for me. I still try other products from time to time, but if I have a reaction, I know that I can go back to these and be safe. As with most other companies, the Dove website offers product information, coupons, and other promotions.

***FTC Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored or endorsed promotion of a company or website.***

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


So after melting in the heat of Open House, gotta love a school that doesn't turn on the A/C:( I drug the boys to CVS. I plan to make a second trip later this week because I have more coupons and deals. I scanned in the receipts, but for some reason it scanned them in sections, so here they are: ***Note, it skipped one section where it scanned my Green Bag Tag for bringing my own bag, and the Chips Ahoy were $4.59, and the Oreo's were $4.59. You will see I had coupons for both items free from a mailing I got, and Aaron rushed in the house and stashed them in his "secret snack" cabinet. We'll see how long they last, LOL:)***

As you can see, I tend to check off every item after I get in the car to make sure it rang up at the correct sale price, then since I was posting it here, I thought I would notate what each coupon was for to make it easier to match up. Granted these items aren't the BEST use of ECB's to keep them rolling and growing, it was just how it worked out because I needed the bottled water. Joshua will take some in his lunch to school sometimes, and I will probably get another 24 pack at that price later in the week for the pantry. Since we seem to be blizzard prone in the winter I like to make sure we have an ample supply of bottled water on hand BEFORE everyone else makes the mad dash to the supermarkets.

The only thing that probably needs explanation is the Dry Idea which was on sale Buy 1 Get 1 Free, and I had a Buy 1 Get 1 Free coupon, essentially getting both for free, but it did have a max value of $4.99 on the coupon, so I ended up getting one free and paying $0.90 for the second one.

I had a $10 gift card from when I got one of my pain meds a few weeks ago, and used a Target coupon to get a $10 gift card with any new prescription. I LOVE those;) and the fact that they take competitors coupons.

All in all $0.09 before tax is great and paying nothing out of pocket is even better!


I am making a frantic rush this week to get a multitude of chores and things accomplished before school starts back on Friday. Open House is tonight, and all the school supplies are purchased and packed in their backpacks.

I got the garage cleaned out early this morning. I realized yesterday that this is our Big Trash pick up week, and I have been putting this off for months. Once per month you can put bulky items out that are too big for your normal cans and they will pick it up, from boxes to old appliances. We mostly had empty bulky boxes, but they don't take them wet, so the spring months were out for putting them out, not to mention that my back was killing me, and even though they weren't heavy it did take some maneuvering to get them out! Then it was about a million degrees hot it wasn't worth the effort;) Today though, it was in the 70's early so I got up and got to work while the rest of the house slept.

Also on the list is getting the upstairs re-organized, papers filed away, bookshelves re-organized and discard books listed on the trade sites, etc. Nick will likely start working from home 3 days per week in 2-3 weeks, so I have to get things situated and comfortable for him to be up here working for 8 hours per day. Aaron's school area is also up here, so I need to get all of that set.

Finally, I do my shopping differently during school. During the summer I am more laid back and have extra time to sort through the fliers labeled by week, clipping what I need for each trip. During school I spend Sunday afternoon when we are watching movies to clip everything from that week's paper that I would consider using and file them in my purse sized carriers. I print off online coupons and file them as well. Then I make my shopping envelopes. I use legal sized envelopes and print my list with price, followed by coupons intended to use on the outside and file those specific coupons in the envelope. This makes my store trips planned and very specific. I tend to stick to the list. However, I do put my purse sized carriers in my purse each time I leave to shop so if I see an unadvertised sale or clearance item I can get for low cost, I don't have to make a return trip with coupons. I also start stocking up on soup, crackers, gatorade, kleenex, and cold/flu medications around this time. You will start to notice them going on sale and coupons in the paper. It becomes quite helpful to have these items in the pantry when suddenly 1 sick person turns into 5 sick people and no one feels up to emergency store runs.

With that said, I also want to get more of my coupon saving sites and blogs posted for my (and your!) reference and convenience. So, I will probably be writing and post dating an abundance of them as I access them this week or so, to make sure I don't miss anything.

Monday, August 16, 2010


There isn't a whole lot to say about Pillsbury that you probably don't already know. My pantry and fridge are stocked with their products, and yours probably are too. The website is one I hit each and every week for coupons, recipes, promotions, etc. Be sure to sign up for the newsletter so you can remember to get your coupons, and not miss any special promotions they have!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Reflections in the Window

Earlier this week when I was doing my final research on Download N Go and selecting a couple of units that were on sale that I though Aaron would enjoy, I came across a few blogs that had done reviews on the Summer Sensations unit, and were hosting giveaways to get it free. I was very fortunate to win the unit from Reflections in the Window!

I opted to receive email updates on this blog because it has some wonderful homeschooling posts and product reviews. I love to read and follow other homeschool blogs to see what works/doesn't work for them. Also, she has a post on Laura Ingalls Wilder Day, and if you know me at all, you know I LOVE everything Little House on the Prairie related;) Finally, she has a music player located at the bottom of her blog that has Smoky Mountain Hymns playing in the background, and I love listening to them. There aren't any words, its just soothing music (which I also happen to think my dad would love, and with his birthday coming up I think I am going to see if there is a CD out:) ***Update, I found a selection of Smoky Mountain Hymn CD's from Brentwood Records***

So, if you have a moment, click over and take a look around.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Logan!

This is a photo from last Christmas (obviously, LOL) but I don't have any recent photos scanned into the computer.

Logan (in the middle) turned 5 today! Over the past week or so, he has really turned into a little opinionated man. While he has always been independent, he has really become more outspoken in expressing himself. We have debated on whether or not he was ready for Kindergarten (the cutoff is the week of his birthday) and he will probably be the youngest child in his class, but we think he is ready. He is very smart, and knows all of the curriculum they are teaching, and can read (when he wants to), but he needs lots of writing practice, and practice sitting quietly. We have been practicing at home, and explaining what behavior is expected of big boys in Kindergarten, and what the punishments are if you do not follow instructions. Hopefully he is ready because he starts on the 20th!

It is bittersweet to have the baby going off to school. He is so hyper and active that a break will be nice, but my baby is growing up and will be gone for half a day! Happy Birthday Logan, I love being your mom!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Homeschool Curriculum

Last year we used A Beka curriculum and I really loved it, but we reached a point with Aaron where it was too much. It was perfect for Logan, and if Joshua were homeschooling, it is probably the route I would take for him as well. However, with Aaron, we are still slowly working through last years books, and he isn't at a point where he is ready for me to order the next year.

He has come a LONG way with his abilities, but he does have certain learning disabilities, in addition to his physical issues, that make certain things difficult. After doing hours of research and flipping through last years flyers and catalogs from the homeschool conference, I decided to just do the basics for Aaron this year. I want him to be able to catch up, gain some confidence, and excel in reading, writing, and arithmetic, and I will throw in some science, geography, art, etc to fill in as we go. So, I stopped by Mardel last week on our way home from therapy, and found some of the items I was interested for in the store for less than the online price, plus no shipping!

For reading, we already have a closet full of books. I turned the linen closet in the boys hallway into a book closet, and it is full floor to ceiling. They keep destroying the order, so I think I am going to move them upstairs, but we have tons of books on and above Aaron's reading level, and can supplement from the library as needed.

For math, I decided to go with Singapore Math. I have heard great things about this method, and I discussed it with his therapists, and they agree that it might be just what he needs to really make math understandable for him. Mardel carries it, so I just purchased one semesters worth ($10!) to give it a shot. If it doesn't work, I have some other ideas on the backburner. I was partially considering this because I was considering the My Father's World package, but I don't know if he is quite ready for it. With his love of drawing, I think he would do well with it, so we are keeping it in mind for next year.

For writing, we are sticking with Handwriting Without Tears. We use some pencil weight foam like items from the OT to help him write with a normal #2 pencil, and we will continue to work on spacing, etc. He does the worksheets, and makes a "comic book" daily about whatever subject he wants. This is an "art" project where he can draw and decorate however he wants, I just require 2-3 sentences per page of writing for extra practice. I also use some Mead Early Learning Products from time to time to change it up. Often in September the stores will put their extra stock from Back to School on clearance, and I can stock up then for low prices.

We have a book on 2nd Grade Science Experiments that I got at the Friends of the Library for $0.25 (kids books are normally $0.05 so that is how we stocked their library). It has 52 weeks of lessons and projects that are on par with his interests, so we will work that in.

As for Geography, Social Studies, etc. we have tons of books here and at the library that I had planned to pick a theme and get reading/writing practicing in while leaving flexibility. I had heard of, and followed Download N Go for a while, but never actually tried it out. Recently they have had some sales and offered some free units for download, so I got one on Autumn, one on Davy Crockett, and one on China all for about $8. These are weeklong units with daily activites, and you can turn it into a lapbook. We haven't ever done a lapbook before, but it looks interesting, and I think Aaron will like it. It has spelling, vocabulary, reading, writing, etc. so if he takes to it, it might be just what we need to round out our curriculum.If you are homeschooling, think you ever might, or just want some fun activities for your kids, Download N Go is a really neat company. I'd sign up to follow them now, as the lessons don't get outdated, and if you take advantage of the free or super sale items, you'll be surprised at how much you accumulate. The intended age range is K-4 I believe, but depending on how you use it, can be for younger/older.

**UPDATE** Go to Download N Go on FB and "like" them this weekend to get the Mexico unit for FREE

***FTC Disclaimer*** I was not paid, compensated, or given any special incentive to write about or link to any company in this post. These are my honest opinions on the curriculum I have independently chosen to use. I have either paid for these items unsolicited or gotten free public access to them.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I survived!

I am alive following the Sacroiliac Joint Block. I will say for future reference, that if I EVER have to have another block injection, I will INSIST on more than just a local anesthetic. It was not enough! That being said, the pain in my back and leg are so much better. My hip is still very sore at the injection site, but hopefully that will improve in a day or so. She only used 1/2 of a cc of iodine in the contrast dye, and used an alternative surgical prep solution, on top of a week's worth of 50mg Benadryl and 50 mg Prednisone every 4 hours, so hopefully there won't be the delayed allergic reaction I have had in the past! So far it is looking good. I have had a fever of 100.8 and a sore throat, so hopefully I didn't pick up any germs at the hospital:/

Tuesday, August 3, 2010