Monday, December 29, 2008

Congratulations to the Avon winners!

Congratulations to.....


You are all winners in the Avon giveaway!

Thank you to all who entered and be on the lookout for my next giveaway coming soon.

This drawing was done via A screenshot of the winning numbers is available to anyone who wishes to see it. Please send me an e-mail with your request. Screenshot results will be saved for one month past drawing date.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Surviving the holidays

Whew! Made it through the holidays with no major meltdowns and only one faux pas; 5 year old H opened a present from his Gramma and announced, "I have this already!". I saw a wonderful teaching moment and asked, "If someone gives you a gift you already have or don't really want, what should you say?" (The correct answer being, in my eyes, "Thank you.") H replied, "I should say, No thank you." Okay, so it was polite at least and Gramma was more than understanding, but we did have a little talk about just saying thank you and asking mom or dad for help exchanging it later.

Now the fun begins; Mom (meaning me) has to find a way to entertain all three kids for the next week while the two oldest are off from school. Staying home just invites fights and whining, so I have a couple of outings planned. I think we will hit the zoo and Underwater Adventures at the Mall of America. We have memberships to both and have found that while it is a bit of a shock to pay the yearly fee, it saves us quite a bit of money in the long run. I plan to have them help me make play dough another day, and of course we have all the new toys and games to play with.

Hopefully having a plan will prevent fighting and whining and help to preserve my sanity. Or it could just be wishful thinking... I guess only time will tell.

Hope you all have peaceful holiday breaks and if you have a great idea for keeping the kids happy and calm (and, no, duct tape doesn't count!) please let me know. Maybe I will try it too :)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

'Tis The Season

It is almost Christmas. The month of December just seems to have disappeared from underneath me! Where did the days go? I had it all planned out, and then life interfered! I am feeling like I am behind, but the 25th will come, whether I am ready or not.

I truly am blessed, my children are wonderful, my husband has a job- in a time when so many do not, and we are all feeling healthy (which hasn't happened in a while around here!). My parents are on their way over to help me catch up on the cleaning I didn't do while I was sick; Mom will help me and Dad will keep the kids entertained baking cookies. By the end of the day, I will have a cleaner house and cookies to munch on too. Not bad.

Just one last trip to the grocery store to buy the ingredients for the Christmas meals and I will be all set. I can't wait to see the expressions on my kids faces come Christmas morning.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or some other winter holiday, I hope your days are peaceful, fun and fulfilling.

Wishing you the best the holiday season has to offer,

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I won a ruby pendant and earrings, you could too...

I am newbie on Twitter and honestly, I was a little unsure about the application. Would it be worthwhile, would I ever learn all the ettiquette rules (still working on that) and who should I follow, who would follow me, etc.

Well, I am officially a
Twitter lover. I have been enjoying the conversations and the links to contests and yesterday I won a ruby heart pendant and ruby stud earrings from GemAffair. Thank you so much GemAffair and Katy, you made my week :-)

Want to get in on the contest? They are still giving away jewelry to 4 winners every day this week! Just head on over to
Twitter and follow me beccaj73, then send me a DM (direct message) and I will send you the info on how to enter, or if you are an experienced Twitter user you can just check my history to find the @GemAffair tweets :-) A simple RT (re-tweet) gets you an entry into this great contest.

You can also check out
GemAffair's website for some gorgeous jewelry and some great savings too! Use code GA28XMAS and get free shipping plus 10% off $150 orders and 20% off $300 orders. They have just added hundreds of items to their clearance section as well.

Good luck to you all, be sure to tell me if you win some bling too.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The pneumonia blues

Those of you who know me, know that my family has had a bad month, healthwise. Ear infections for the kids (twice in a month for the youngest) and my husband and I won the grand prize of respiratory illnesses; pneumonia. Don't ask how we both got it at the same time, I'm still shaking my head over that one.

Anyway, I am here to ask if anyone has any great home remedies (nothing too gross please) for a cough and wheezing. It is driving me flipping nuts! DH is barely coughing and I feel like I am hacking up a lung! I have delved into my nurse bag and have tried all of the old tricks I can think of; steamy showers, humidity, honey, throat lozenges/cough drops, hot tea, eliminating milk products. This is in addition to my antibiotic, tessalon pearls (for cough), mucinex and inhaler (for cough and wheezing).

It is bad. Mothers hide their children behind their back in the grocery store when I walk down the aisle, the bank teller gets out the big jug of antibacterial hand gel when she sees me, when we go to the zoo people start looking for the seal when they hear me from around the corner. Okay, so it's not quite that bad, but honestly, I am beginning to feel like Typhoid Mary, no one wants to be near me!

I have almost given up hope and am about to make another appointment to see the doctor, but honestly, I am kind of sick of seeing her and would prefer not to go back. It's not that I don't like her, but I have been to that office way too much recently.

So, if you have a suggestion, don't be shy, let me know. Don't let it be said that you can't teach an old nurse new tricks! Send me your ideas and suggestions, please! At this point I am willing to try almost anything! Note I said almost, no eye of newt, tongue of bat sorts of remedies please!

Update 12/22/08
Well, it turns out that the pneumonia was not fully treated by the first antibiotic I was on. I finally gave up and went to see the doctor again, they repeated the chest X-ray and lo and behold, the pneumonia was still there, even though I had completed my antibiotic! It was better, but not gone. Started a new antibiotic on Friday and I am a new woman. I am still coughing, but I feel much better! Thank you all for your suggestions and well wishes.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Avon Giveaway- 5 Winners!

My first review and giveaway, I'm so excited. Thanks so much to MomSelect and Avon!

I had the opportunity to try Avon Advance Techniques Professional Hair Care Instant Recharge Treatment. I received several varieties and tried the Intense Repair, which states it is for dry, damaged hair. Since this is winter in Minnesota, I figured dry just about sums it all up.

The product comes in a box with four separate weekly treatments and looks a little like the hot oil treatments I used way back in high school. Unlike the hot oil treatments, these required no preheating (a major plus- with 3 small kids, I like things streamlined). There was more than enough product in one tube to treat my just-past-shoulder-length hair. The first thing I noticed was the scent; it was reminiscent of my Pantene days. The next thing I noticed (and this is my only complaint) is how easy it is to lose the little white cap on the floor of a white bathtub! I had to get down on my hands and knees ('cause I am blind without my glasses) to find it before it went down the drain. Okay, it was actually kind of funny in retrospect.

Then the results; my hair was softer and more manageable all week, and after the second week's treatment it was even softer still. I am sold, the product really works.

Now for the fun part... this product isn't even available to buy yet (it should be out in January 2009), but I have 5 to give away to 5 lucky winners! I have-

*1 box Intense Repair
*2 boxes Frizz Control
*2 boxes Volumizing

As an additional bonus, Avon is offering free standard shipping on orders over $30 through January 1, 2009. Just enter the code JINGLE30, you can find an
Avon eRepresentative here.

To enter, please visit
Avon and leave a comment telling me what your favorite product is. Please also leave a note in your comment about which version of the Advance Techniques you would like to win. It's that simple!

For extra entries you can-
*Become a follower of my blog (if you are already a follower, just leave a comment to let me know)
*Subscribe to my RSS Feed
*Follow me on
Twitter and tweet about this giveaway

Be sure to leave a separate comment for each additional entry!

The fine print-
Only one prize per person please. Must be 18 and a resident of the US or Canada to win. Entry deadline is 11:59 PM EST on 12/28/2008. Winners will be drawn using a numerical randomizer such as and will be contacted via e-mail, so be sure to leave a valid e-mail address, either in your profile or comment. I will do my best to offer each winner their first choice if a preference is expressed, but can make no guarantees.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The $1 Give

Most of my posts are about freebies and giveaways, things you can get. In this season, it is so easy to get The Gimmies, you know the syndrome, we have all seen it in our children and have most likely seen it in ourselves from time to time. While there is nothing wrong with getting, sometimes it is better for us to give. It makes our hearts feel good and it can cure a case of The Gimmies in a flash.

To that end, I want to tell you about
The $1 Give, the brainchild of a couple of Mom Bloggers. The premise behind The $1 Give is that if we all band together to each give one dollar every day in December we can make a difference. They will have a featured charity each day and ask that you give $1 to each cause, for a total donation of $31. The theory being that if enough people participate our $1 can add up to a lot of good. I think this is a wonderful idea and plan to participate myself and would encourage you all to at least consider donating as well. I know money can be tight in this economy and especially this time of year, but if you can help on a small level maybe we can all make a difference collectively.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Free Dr Pepper

Dr Pepper is giving away coupons for a free single serve Dr Pepper (I believe they mean a 20 oz bottle by this) through Monday November 24th at 6PM EST. The giveaway was scheduled to run for a day on Sunday the 23rd, but, as I can attest, they seem to have had some technical difficulties, and so have extended the giveaway.

To get your free Dr Pepper you need to visit the
Dr Pepper website and sign up. The process does not seem to be trouble free even yet, as I have been unable to get my form to submit. But I am hopeful, as I was unable to even access the form on Sunday.

The promotion is a result of Guns 'N' Roses newest album being released. Apparently there was a statement made by Dr Pepper that if the album actually did release in 2008 they would give America free Dr Pepper. If you care to learn more you can read an article

Now everybody sing along with me...I'm a Pepper, he's a Pepper, she's a Pepper. Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too? Enjoy!

Thank you Emily for notifying me of this giveaway.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Godiva Truffle Break

Who would like some free chocolate? I know, I know...stupid question! Well, if you are in the vicinity of a Godiva store on November 20th (Thursday) from 1PM to 3PM you are in luck. Godiva stores will be handing out free truffles. Not only is it chocolate, but it is sinfully good chocolate!

Not sure where the closest store is? Check out Godiva's Store Finder
here to see if there is one near you. The offer is good at Godiva Boutique Stores.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Hey girls, we all like a little bling, right? I have found though, that as a busy mom, I don't like to wear my nicer (read more expensive) pieces everyday for fear of loss, breakage and fingerpaint. That is why I like Silver Jewelry Club. They offer low cost jewelry made with sterling silver and semi-precious gemstones. They will tell you that their jewelry is free (see the link to the left) and it is, but you still have to pay S&H, so your cost comes to $6.99 per piece. While it is not entirely free, I feel that the price is reasonable and the quality is good, though not excellent (hey, what do you expect for $6.99?). I have ordered from them before a have been thoroughly satisfied. They have jewelry to suit every taste, most with gemstones, some pieces are made solely of sterling silver. The format is unusual, they offer a piece for 15 minutes and then it is gone (it may pop up again later), they offer 4 pieces at a time. They also have a preview button to see what is coming up over the next hour or two.

I find these pieces to be nice for everyday wear and have been known to keep a pair of earrings or a pendant on hand for a gift. One caveat, if you want to order a ring, make sure to check the size, the size listed in the description is the size you are ordering, there is no choice. You can visit them here

Free Sterling Silver with real Gemstones, no catch, no gimmicks, no obligation

or click on the banner to the left. I will leave the banner up, so you can access the link quickly if you want to find it in the future.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Free photo book from Snapfish and Oprah

A great big thank you to Brenda for alerting me to this deal.

It seems Oprah had a piece on her show today about organizing kids artwork by taking digtal pictures of their art and having it made into photo books, so the art can live on, but you no longer have to store the original pieces.

As a special bonus, Oprah and Snapfish are offering viewers the opportunity to receive a free 20 page photo book! You can make a book of kids art, as was suggested, or just assemble some of your favorite photos together. You do need to pay shipping and handling, but, from what I have heard the cost of shipping is running at about $8, a huge bargain if you wanted to make a book to give as a gift for grandparents or just to keep for your family. The retail price for these books at Snapfish is $29.99!

I have not created my book yet, but wanted to post this deal right away, because time is of the essence. You must go here
Free Photo Book before midnight on Friday November 14th and you much complete your order by Sunday November 16th.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Family fun on a budget

We all know sometimes entertainment for kids can be expensive, so when I was clued into a free kids activity last year by my friend Emily, I was thrilled.

Lowe's Build and Grow Clinics are recommended for kids in grades 1 through 5 (per their website), but my older two started attending at age 5, while still in preschool. This is an event for a child and caregiver to attend together. There is a scheduled craft, generally of the woodworking variety, and your child gets to bring home what he or she has made. On their first visit my boys received an apron and each time they complete a project they receive a badge to sew onto their apron. They have made things like squirrel/bird feeders, periscopes and trucks. These events occur on Saturday mornings approximately twice a month. Registration can be completed online and is very simple.

Home Depot Kids Workshop, this event is recommended for ages 5-12 (per their website) and is also an event for a child and caregiver to attend together. The kids received an apron there as well and each project completed earns them a pin to place on their apron. The boys have brought home projects like pencil holders, race cars and flower boxes. We do not have a Home Depot close to us, but my parents (who live an hour away) do. It has become a fun adventure to go to Grammy and Granddad's for an overnight and then they all go to complete a project together on Saturday morning, before coming home again. The Home Depot lists only one event a month on a Saturday morning, but at the one my children attend, they run clinics twice a month; once with the monthly project and once with leftover kits from previous projects, a sort of pot luck project day. Home Depot is not terribly user friendly in their registration process; they do not offer online registration, nor do they allow phone registration as a general rule, they prefer you come to the store and sign up at the customer service counter. They have taken phone registration for us as a special circumstance, when my parents couldn't make it to the store to register the boys.

Overall, we find these to be a wonderful diversion on a Saturday morning. The projects are cute, the boys get a wonderful sense of accomplishment from having created something, they enjoy the special time with parents or grandparents and the price can't be beat!

My father has started carrying a couple of extra tools to these events. Generally they supply hammers, wood glue and paper towels. He brings his own pliers and a utility knife (like a Leatherman or Swiss Army knife), as he finds that they are sometimes handy.

Build A Bear Giveaway

The Integrated Mother is hosting a giveaway for a $10 Build A Bear gift certificate. There are several ways to win, the first of them is super easy; just go to The Integrated Mother, check out the Build a Bear website and leave a comment on the giveaway thread on her site. The others are not much harder than that! Hurry, the giveaway ends tonight, November 7th.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Starting small

I have discovered that there are so many wonderful giveaways and sample offers on the internet. So many, in fact, that a person would never have the time to sort through every one of them and sign up for each one. That is where this blog comes in. I will post some of my favorite freebie offers, blog giveaways and contests here. While I can't promise to find every wonderful deal, I will do my best to help compile a list of some really great offers and giveaways.

The first couple of sites that come to mind are a couple of the first sites I started my freebie journey at.

Bloggy Giveaways This is a wonderful site that highlights mostly small businesses (though there are some larger corporate giveaways as well). There are multiple giveaways each week and the entry process is simple and straightforward.

Start Sampling This site has endless opportunities for samples (you may be limited in the number you can request per day), coupons and trial offers. I have been a member for years and have always been pleased with the samples offered. They do have a rewards program, but generally all of the rewards are sold out when I check for availability.

I am always looking for new freebies, giveaways, coupons and contests. If you know of a good site, please drop me a line.

I look forward to sharing some of my favorite sites and opinions with you in the days and weeks to come.