Cleaning Tips

Okay, stop laughing. Those who know me are not used to the words, "Hey, guess what I figured out how to clean today?" coming out of my mouth but I'm excited and figure I should share since I'm not like to be the only one in this position at some point. 

We had to do some renovation last year and it included put up drywall. Groan. If you've ever done this you know what I'm about to say. Drywall dust gets everywhere. I've dusted since the renovation but it still manages to be in new places. 

Today I took down the curtains to wash them and, of course, found more drywall dust. Then when I walked through the room I saw it in it's unshaded glory and realized that the walls needed to be dusted. Our ceilings are tall. Really, really tall. How was I going to get up to the tippy top corners without hurting myself?

Gosh I love problem solving like this. I really do. I pulled out one of my new microfiber towels and my Swiffer pole. I tucked the towel in where the Swiffer cleaner would usually go and voila, I had the perfect tool for dusting my walls. I was able to reach all the way up to the corners, I was able to move around pictures, I was able to easily change direction and even move directly to clean the paddles on the ceiling fan. Just amazing. In fact, I'll go so far as to say this might be my coolest discovery in recent days. So, if you have to be cleaning in the near future and you find you have to dust your walls - don't despair. Grab the Swiffer pole and a thin towel. It works great and is definitely a Cool Idea!

Check It out from Facebook!

If you hadn't had a chance to scroll down lately What A Cool Idea! is a networked blog on Facebook now. Networked Blogs goes on your profile page. Just one more thing you can add to your Facebook account and keep all in one place.

When is the best time to do the laundry?

  1. Never
  2. When you're out of underwear
  3. When the teacher kindly asks if your kids need clean socks
  4. During 'C' times as created by the power company which fall at different times of the day depending on the time of the year.
On any given day I might answer "All of the Above" but for the purposes of this post the answer is #4. Yep, this is the post I've been promising about how to save money on your power bill if you've done all the other things that everyone already knows to do.

First, check with your power company and see if they offer Critical Peak Pricing or if they are putting together a pilot program in the future. We got into a pilot program and here's what it consists of.

Our local power company changed out our old meter for a digital one and installed a new thermostat inside our home. The thermostat is ours to keep forever and it has several nifty and incredibly cool features.
  1. It communicates wirelessly with the meter and the power company.
  2. It allows us to know exactly how much power we've used at any time of the month and how much $$ we've spent
  3. It shows us which price schedule we're in at each point of the day.
  4. It acts as a regular programmable thermostat.
The point of the program is that the power company is willing to give us a better rate on our power if we are willing to use less power during Peak power times. The Pricing Schedule shifts a little bit as the seasons change - I've been spoiled this winter by being able to do laundry in the middle of the day because it was "C-time" which is the same as the middle of the night - but normally the cheapest time to use power is from 10p to 6am. 

There are some trade-offs with this particular program. We get a wonderful rate in exchange for taking a hit if we use more power in Critical Peak times, but these are limited to 125 hrs in the year and they are likely to all be between the hours of 1p-8p during the summer. We get notice on our thermostat when this will happen and we do what we can to minimize our power draw by unplugging unnecessary electronics, not using the oven, not using hot water, raising the temperature on the thermostat if it doesn't do it automatically (which it might), etc. 

For us, we decided the trade was worth it and it made us mindful of the power we are using. Now, regardless of what time of the year it is, I try to minimize the use of the oven and do as much baking as I can after 10p. All laundry is done after 10p. The dishwasher only runs after 10p. Do you sense a pattern? Personally, I'm hopeful that when the pilot ends in may that the program will continue. I think that helping the power company, and helping ourselves in the process, will help the environment, too. It's a start and I truly hope it's just the beginning of the new ideas coming from our power company because I want to be in the pilot program for solar power when they decide to roll that out too. hint hint. 

Get ready for the Farmer's Market

"Fridays at the Farm" is a short documentary by writer/ director Richard Hoffman about his family's experience when they joined a community-supported farm. The documentary is part of the Green Series on the Sundance Channel. To take a look at this 24 minute film enter the password fridaysscreener. And if you're still looking around for a way to get involved with locally don't forget about Local Harvest.

Singing with the Stars


The fact that the Ballas Hough Band's new album features eleven songs to get you moving and dancing around probably isn't a surprise. My mom is a huge fan of Dancing With the Stars and only mentioned these guys a 'few' times and even though I'm particular about my music this is nice to have playing in the background and then turn up when you are ready to get up from the chair and move around.  They wrote the majority of the material themselves and I'd say this bodes well for future work from the team. Check it. It's A Cool Idea.

Wonderful Wednesday

FREE Mini Body Lotion from Victoria's Secret - Just print out the page 
Six FREE issues of Seventeen Magazine from Start Sampling
We from Weleda Organics - FREE subscription
FREE subscription to Metropolitan Home

Beginning March 29 you can take empty cosmetic tubes, jars, etc back to any ORIGINS store and get a FREE sample. See page for details.

National Cleaning Week!

Really. It is. I don't make this stuff up but I was going to post about cleaning my refrigerator even before I knew it was National Cleaning Week. I cleaned my freezer Friday night as I was beginning my Once A Month Cooking. Then yesterday I decided I'd clean one shelf of the fridge each day this week, but I got carried away and cleaned them all.

Which brings me to a thought provoking question... how many bottles of ketchup does one family need?

We have 4 bottles of ketchup in our fridge. I know how this happened. My husband has worked for churches for years and each time a picnic gets planned someone buys ketchup. Then during clean-up stuff gets bundled up and send it home with us and I put it all away before I realize that the condiments have arrived home with us as well.

I'm pretty sure that's how we have 6 partial and random jars of pickle products. I don't even eat pickles. And mustards of all varieties. These aren't small bottles either. These are bottles that people have bought for large-scale events. So I wiped down the shelves and moved the massive bottles to the fridge in the basement to await the next time we are invited to a picnic at which time I will volunteer to bring the condiments, because - as all our friends know - we have the best stocked fridge in town when it comes to condiments!!

Can you Do It Once a Month?

Last month I proved to myself that I could grocery shop [excluding buying milk every week] once a month and get by just fine. This month I'm going to see if I can cook just once and see how it works. There are so many things about Once a Month Cooking that appeal to me that I've investigated doing it before. I like finding a majority of like ingredients and weaving them together. I like recipes that don't include a lot of processed ingredients and I like eating seasonally which I think is good for the food chain as well as our wallets. But I must admit that I've never really taken a stab at cooking once a month. 

So why now? Truly? Because someone else has done the work for me. Yep. I'm lazy. Tricia and Cortney over at Once a Month Mom have put together recipes, instructions and even the grocery lists necessary for an entire month of menus. I was coming late to the March menu because I didn't find their site until last week, then I waited to match up my grocery list I made based on what was on sale through The Grocery Game with the recipes I was going to make. I should say that I didn't make the entire menu of recipes. I don't have that kind of freezer space and I don't eat seafood of any kind, but I did make five recipes and a total of ten dinners and one nice breakfast.

I'll give these ladies some amazing credit, the grocery list is phenomenal and the step by step instructions to get through cooking the entire menu is incredible and takes the overwhelm out of the Adventure. I'd still love to be able to work more of my stockpile into the menu but I figure it'll come to that especially as I find standby recipes that we'll come back to again and again - already Comfort and Joy have pronounce the Pizza Roll-Ups a success and the Mexican Pasta was a hit tonight as well. 

So, my suggestion is that if you're curious about Once A Month Cooking check out their site. You can take as much or as little as you want from their plan so that it suits your needs. They also have information about making your own baby food, which in my opinion was so fun and easy that I can't believe mom's of the '70s were feeding us from jars, but that's another story. Check it out and give it a try and see if you can do it once a month. It's a Cool Idea!

Nora on Lifetime!

This weekend Lifetime Television replayed the previous Nora Roberts' movies in order to get us ready for the new titles that will be making their way to the small screen including Northern Lights which premiered with LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian. Now, I should admit that I know who she is  - barely - but I haven't a clue who he is. Sorry. There are some holes in my cultural literacy but I've read many Nora Roberts books over the past eight years and several can be found on my keeper shelf.

My interest is in how well romance fiction can translate from the written page, where I get to create part of the drama, to the small screen, where the actors and the director have their turn to portray the story the way they see it. I missed the movies the first time so Northern Lights will be my first NR on Lifetime and I have to admit that they probably did as well as they could in a less than two hour format. The novel is much more complex and I highly recommend it. It's definitely on my keeper shelf.

If you aren't a follower of Nora Roberts, give a book a try. Her early books were written as category romances when her children were little and if that doesn't just go to show what a mom with talent and perseverance can do - well, I don't know what does. 

So, grab a good book. Be sure to carve out some time to watch the next Nora on Lifetime and don't forget to enter the great sweepstakes that that Lifetime is offering because that is a very Cool Idea!

Come on and Check out the Fun!

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

This is my first year on the Mom Blogs and I'm excited to see all the wonderful posts already up and ready for this years Ultimate Blog Party 2009 sponsored by 5 Minutes for Mom. Whether or not you blog be sure to check out the posts from the Moms [and Dads] around the Blogosphere. I hear, too, that there are prizes to be won so look around and enjoy the fun.  In fact, I've looked through the prizes and the ones I'm scoping out are #58, 53, 48, 19 and 22. But, you know - they all look pretty good.

If you're here for the first time - Welcome. Take a look around and see if there's something that resonates with you. What A Cool Idea! is a conversation centered around making good choices, living smart and saving money with the occasional rant thrown in for good measure and comic relief.

Grocery Shopping Day

Friday is generally Grocery Shopping Day around here because a) The Grocery Game * list comes out for my area on Tuesday and it takes me a couple of days to put together a plan and get my coupons in order and b) Comfort is in preschool Friday mornings so c) it's just Joy and I tooling around the store.  So, I head to my Kroger with lists in hand and get ready to tackle a major shopping trip. This time I was not only picking up items to stockpile but I'm going to try some Once a Month Cooking. I'll post more about this in a few days after I've been through the fun.

But the shopping itself took me awhile because I didn't organize my two lists together, but that's okay, no one else is really in the store on Friday mornings. I also got to take advantage of the fact that Kroger is running a Mega Deals this week - by purchasing 10 specially marked items throughout the store I got $5 off my bill. You better believe I made sure I had 10 in my cart at checkout. I also had my FREE Full Size Item Coupon From Suave and a total of $17.64 in manufacturers coupons. I had some bonus savings and a Shortcuts coupon and reusable bag buyback for a total of $35.21 in savings and a total purchase of $97.81. It's not my best turnout ever but considering that I haven't made a major trip to the grocery store in a month this was pretty fantastic. If I can go another 3 weeks without having to shop for more than milk that will be $32.60/ week for groceries. If I can get it stretch to 4 weeks it dips to $24.45/week and that, my friends, is even Cooler!!

*If you are interested in more information about The Grocery Game see the link on the right hand side in the 'Stickies' which includes how to get a $1 trial subscription.

Help with Expenses and Coupons

Does the idea of managing your coupons or finding them in the first place make your head explode? Or maybe it gets you jazzed. Either way there is a place for you and it's A Full Cup. I've been lurking around and learning the place for a few months and although I'm no expert I can tell you there are some wonderfully helpful women there. Check it out and play around there as they've just rolled out a 'new look'.

Today, is menu planning and grocery list day for me so I need to get that done but I was up way too late watching TV because we are getting rid of cable for the summer. Part of it is to cut our expenses and part of it is that we want to be intentional about spending more time doing other things as a family. So, I caught up on bunches of shows that I'd been waiting to see On Demand. Taking stock of our time as the seasons change is a Cool Idea. We don't need to be burrowing inside all day anymore. And if it gets too hot to be outside together we have plenty of movies we own that we can watch together as a family. Find what works for you and remember that you can always change your mind. The cable company is going to welcome you back in six months. I promise.

Wonderful Wednesdays

I just love that Wednesdays mean Freebies on my blog calendar - had you noticed. Doesn't matter. Here they are for this week:

FREE Sample of Dove Intense Damage Therapy Formula 
FREE Sample of Dove Heat Defense Therapy Formula
- The system will only let you pick one sample of the above items.
RewardsGold is offering subscriptions to Working Mother 
FREE Sample of Aveda Black Malva Pure Plant Shampoo
FREE Seeds from Campbell's Soup - Check out this post on The Freebie Blogger

Great Ideas in Other Places

Yesterday,  Jenn at Frugal Upstate had a guest post who did a step-by-step with pictures recipe for Porcupine Meatballs. Since this is a recipe I've been thinking of adding to our menu plan I found it interesting and since this is my blog of interesting things, I'm going to pass it along. I hope you find it interesting, too.

Also, if you are doing you haven't started doing your searches through Swagbucks yet here's some incentive. If you are a new user you'll get 2 extra Swagbucks for using the code: MONEYSAVINGMETHODS in your GIMME! box once you've created your account. See the details on Carrie's blog and act fast because this expires tomorrow!!

There you go! Enjoy!

Kids Eat Free!

I've touched on this before but since these are some of the most magical words in the English Language I thought a post unto itself was more than worthy.

First, let me say to those people playing at home that we are still eating at home mostly and I'm doing an admirable job on my menu planning but there are still times when we are on the road or our schedule needs some flexibility and we head out to eat for the night. On those nights, eating out can be both a refuge and a luxury. Sometimes it's also a sanity saver. Especially those days when you think you'll never make it out of your pajamas. Some days it's part of a play date. I certainly hadn't worried about Kids Eat Free Night until about a year ago when Joy began eating table food earnestly. Now we have two young kids and finding food they'll eat is as much of a challenge as anything else. And knowing that I'm not paying for it helps in the grand scheme of things.

Where do you find place in your area where kids eat free? If you have a local paper dedicated to parenting tips or kid's activities - check there. Next, try a search in Swagbucks for 'kids eat free' Here are some of the things it popped out:,, and Kiddie Menu. When I put in my own zip code most of the options where similar on all three but there were a couple that were different from one to the other, so it might pay to check them all out - sort of like the checking your credit score:).

What have our experiences been? Like anytime our kids sit down to eat - sometimes they eat their body weight in mac and cheese and sometimes they stare out the window or beg to go play. However, we have a rule: "No chicken, no ice cream" or "No chicken, no playground". It's not about eating all of your food, but it is a rule about eating something before dessert or playground.

Is this really a Cool Idea? Do we spend more money than if we'd planned a meal and eaten at home?

If we'd eaten a nice frugal meal? Yes, it's more expensive. But if we take it as more than just food than yes, it is a Cool Idea. We treat it as an experience. It's an Adventure. It's also a nice break for me since it can get depressing to keep fixing meals that may or may not get eaten. Besides are a couple of places we go where the girls enjoy both the food and the Adventure. These are the places we go. And if it's an evening when they don't eat, then of course they can take home their meal and eat it for lunch the next day. The point is not to let it run your life but to use the tools at our disposal to make our lives easier and richer - both in love and in money. That's a Very Cool Idea!

To Companies that Make Minivans

A General Announcement:
I had almost decided to buy one of the great behemoths full of cup holders and in flight entertainment until I noticed one thing. It was after trying to pack for a week at the beach that I came to this decision. Pack-n-Plays, a double stroller, coolers of food, luggage, and necessities for the trip were pack around us and up to the gills of our car when we left our house and by the time we returned home I had begun to think that worrying about automatic liftgates and other things haven't had to consider would be worth it.

Then I went online to take a look at the rest of the story and true disappointment set it. No one makes a red minivan. Burgundy, maybe, but not a true red. So then I looked at the other colors to see what fun options were available. [Crickets.]

Can I just tell you how hard it was to get past all of my previous, ingrained, anti-minivan static in my head? I grew up making fun of the early minivans so why would I want to drive one? Gotta tell you - they got a lot more pick up and go then what I drive now:) but they don't come in any fun colors. They come in beige and white and shades that I don't even have words for and that the manufactures require 2-3 words to describe. The minivan palette seems to be one that is supposed to blend in with suburban siding, and maybe that's okay, but that's not me and that's not where I live. I need a car that is a fun color and preferably RED. Or bright blue. That would be good, too. 

So, you make a minivan that is a fun color and not metallic- a primary color preferably - and I will promise to consider buying it. But until then I will not join the ranks of the those that drive cars that are silver sunset pearl or whatever you call that shade of beige.  Okay. Thanks.

The Easiest Way to Clean the Shower

Scrubbing Bubbles has done it again and it's even better than before. I'd tried the Automatic Shower Cleaner before but it's been tweaked now and it cuts soap scum 40% better, with 2 powerful sprayers that target all the hard to reach areas of the bathtub and shower. And let me tell you I never knew how important this was until we got a shower stall separate from the tub and I tried to clean it without getting inside it!! Now, as soon as I'm done in the shower I push the button, pull the curtain closed, and let the Automatic Shower Cleaner do the work for me. That's it. It eliminates mold and mildew, has a great smell and dries clear so that you won't see traces of it on your colored tile.

Who benefits from this? Who else - you and me. Maybe you're fortunate enough to have someone else clean your bathroom but unless my mom is visiting and takes pity on me the bathroom is mine to upkeep. The only magic it wasn't able to perform was to get rid of the soap scum off the textured bottom of the shower floor but that would have been above and beyond the call of duty. It's been over two weeks of daily use and the shower looks better than when I started using the Scrubbing Bubbles Automatic Shower Cleaner. Yep, it's that good.

Feel like you need more information about it -  check it out. Wanna try it? Leave me a comment and let me know. I have some coupons from Scrubbing Bubbles to share and I'll try to make them stretch as far as I can.  

This saved me time and pruney fingers and as far as I'm concerned that makes it a Very Cool Idea.

Cheap Eats! has another great deal. $25 certificates for $2 until March 15th with the code: MENU. Check out the details for each restaurant carefully before you purchase so that you know the fine print. Most of the places we've been to require a minimum purchase or minimum number of diners. But with Mother's Day and Graduation and Father's Day coming up these can come in handy. 

Just a quick reminder, if you haven't been to Walgreen's yet this week try to fit it into your schedule especially if you are planning to stock up on Huggies products. Those wonderful high high value coupons expire shortly so don't let them go to waste. Besides, this week if you spend $25 on Kimberly-Clark products [of which Huggies is just one] then you get $10 in Register Rewards. Don't forget, too, that for every pack you buy you get a Box Top for Education and you can get money back from Caregivers Marketplace. These are all ways to help ourselves and others as our babies grow.

I made one trip Tuesday night and got 3 packs of diapers but the wipes were sold out. I fear this is what I'll find now that it's later in the week. One thing I'm finding with the Natural Fit Huggies that I've already bought is that there is another coupon waiting inside for me. Have you found this to be true? Some have been $2 off Pull-Ups and some are 75 cents for wipes. Either way is a wonderful way to keep the coupon train moving. Very Cool!

Wonderful Wednesdays!

Free Sample of Caress Evenly Gorgeous Body Wash

Enter Spa Getaway and Get Free Sample of Biolage Rejuvatherapie

Register with Arby's and Get a Free Arby's Roast Burger

Free Sample of Sun Crystals All Natural Sweetener with Stevia

Remember, every Wednesday in March there is a code for Free Rentals through Redbox. Freebie Blogger has it listed today.

There are some great ways to welcome spring!! And don't forget to enter the Box Tops Giveaway. The Link is in the Stickies area on the right hand column. 

If It's Tuesday - It must be Cow Chicken!

"What?" That doesn't make sense to you? Well, in our house 'Cow Chicken' is what Comfort calls  Chick-Fil-A and on Tuesdays kids eat free with the purchase of a combo meal. It's been several months since we've been out to Cow Chicken and the Girls are longing for an Adventure. They love the play yard - which is in great shape and perfectly toddler sized. 

Also, did you see on Yahoo! today that Chick-Fil-A was listed as one of the healthiest fast food restaurants to eat at? Yep, there are many items that aren't fried. Lots of tasty salads. Kids get books in the meal - not toys! And can I tell you how much I love the bendy straws!?!?!?! It makes my life so much happier and just makes me smile.

Sure, prices are bit higher and there's no $1 menu but the food is better and we actually spend about the same for the four of us if we take advantage of Kids Eat Free night. Also, our favorite location puts out games, helps parents carry trays to the table - oh, and did I mention that there are real flowers on those tables? Yep, this is not your regular fast food restaurant. This is a place that wants to help you feel at home. They want you come back and not just because you can get a free refill or trade in your book for ice cream if you want.

So, if you need a break tonight, or if you are a loss in your meal plan check out Chick-Fil-A. It's a great place even if it's not Kids Eat Free night. If it is, it's definitely a very Cool Idea!

Box Tops for Education Gametime Giveaway

For the month of March you can enter daily to help your school win extra Box Tops for Education. In fact, you can win A LOT of Box Tops. Four schools will win 10, 000 Box Tops!!!!

Enter daily at on the Box Tops for Education site and enter the UPC code: 42800-71827. 

Just add this to the things you do when you sit down. And to make it easier to remember I'm going to add this to the right hand side of the page under the label marked "Stickies". That way we'll all remember!! Now - go get 'em!!

Coupons And Resolution Update

Check the Coupon Bar to the Right. Word has it that the $5 and $3 Huggies coupons have been reset. I got them to print one more time and Boy am I super happy about that!!

Now for the Resolution update:
  1. I didn't do much with Coupons and Stockpiling this month but I was definitely the beneficiary of the previous work I'd done. The only trips I made to the grocery this month were our weekly trip for milk!! Seriously. That was it! I'm very happy about that.
  2. We were able to Creatively cut expenses by using a couple of mystery shops to eat dinner and I bought 2 certificates for $2 each. 
  3. Meal Planning is still a stretch for me but I haven't gone back to the 'what are we having' thing - except for yesterday. I got caught in a 'day' and didn't have a plan and after 3 days of leftovers we'd cleaned out the fridge so we took advantage of a kids eat free night and went out.
  4. Increasing my income as a SAHParent is going slowly. I've had some luck this week with several surveys and I'm grateful. I'm also finishing a focus group this weekend which will contribute greatly. I'm behind on this since I lost all of my browser bookmarks when my laptop hard drive crashed and I haven't gotten them moved to my desktop yet. 
  5. Living smarter, more frugally and being more aware of the environment is something that I'm very aware of especially as we take part in the pilot study with the power company to monitor our critical peak point power usage. I know I keep saying this but I really, really will write more about this.
  6. The 'something' bigger resolution hasn't come to me yet but it's only the beginning of March. Already the year is shaping up to be tough economically. I hope that everyone is finding ways to make things better for themselves and better for the world at the same time. I think that's the way we're going to get through this.

Spring Landscaping Helps Inner City Kids

Are you ready to spruce up the outside of your house? Maybe not quite yet if you just got hit with 6-10 inches of snow like we did but it is the time of year to be thinking about it.  Spring Hill Nurseries and Breck's have amazing products and the organization I work with that provide after school art and mentoring programs to inner city children is working with Spring Hill/ Breck's to raise funds. Fundraising with Flowers is a great program that not only provides wonderful plants delivered directly to the purchaser at the correct time for planting no matter where in the country you are located but the plants are also 100% guaranteed. If you aren't satisfied Spring Hill will give you a credit or refund.

These are the same plants that you would order directly from Spring Hill but if you order them through our site we'll be able to purchase additional art supplies for our camp this summer and finish the pottery studio. Orders and credit cards can be taken online. If you have any questions you can leave a comment here or contact me by email because I happen to think helping others is a very Cool Idea. Thank You.

Little Food for Little People

Now that Comfort and Joy are growing up each meal is a challenge. Gone are the days when I made their meals - either with my body or out of pureed fruits and veggies - and they looked at me like Oliver Twist saying, "Please, mama, some more."

These days we go through stages of not hungry, too tired, too mobile, etc. to eat and I think back with a strange fondness to just being able to pop a boob in their mouths and take care of dinner. I never had to wonder what to fix for them. But, alas, they grow up and we all needed better sleep and so there hasn't been any breastfeeding in our house for a year now. 

So it is with constant experimentation that I look to find the perfect breakfast food. Last summer I found a recipe on a mommy blog and made it the next day because it met all of my criteria for perfection.
  1. Inexpensive to make.
  2. Did not come from a mix and did not contain high fructose corn syrup.
  3. Used honey or other natural sweeteners [we were noticing a, shall we say, unfortunate behavior issue that we thought might be due the sugar 'highs'.]
The next morning we sat down at the table and the girls looked at the muffins as if they were from another planet. They never touched them. I don't know what clued them in to the 'differentness' but somehow they knew. We tried again the next day, but had the same results. I liked the muffins but that wasn't the point.

Back to the drawing board and along the way, thanks to the coupons in the paper I had several boxes of muffin mix and a new mini-muffin pan. I made a batch of Betty Crocker Blueberry Muffins in this tiny tin and - you guessed it - Comfort and Joy practically ate their body weight in these the next day. In fact, each time I have used a box muffin mix and the mini-muffin tin they have eaten the results. However, if I have made muffins from scratch they have not. In their defense, I haven't wanted to eat the last batch either. Allrecipes dot com should pull that one because it was seriously defective:)

And now we are on the search for the PERFECT homemade blueberry muffin recipe. I have dried blueberries that I know the girls like and I want to try them in a recipe. I have a mini-muffin tin that yields tiny breakfast treats that tempt them into eating but I can not for the life of me find the right recipe. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know, we need your Cool Ideas!

Wednesday Freebies!

Free Ziploc Fresh Shield Bag

Free Movies from Redbox Every Wednesday in March

I just signed up for The Tropical Tea Co. Club. They say there aren't any Cool People Cards, which is fine with me, but they do send free tea samples every 2 weeks and for every paying order that you make the company helps give a person in Africa 1 years worth of clean drinking water. This is working together for the best and definitely a Cool Idea!

So, here you go. Some yummies. Some fun. Some practical. Some Very Cool Ideas!!

What I've Learned from Free Magazines

I get all my magazines for free now and I love it. I wish I'd known about free subscriptions before. Not only would I have saved money but I would have learned more about myself earlier. Currently, I'm still getting free subscriptions to Parents and Parenting and while I'm at the upper end of the age range for these magazines I do have young children so the articles and advertisements are relevant to me. I still like to find recipes for kid friendly meals and read about how to make holiday costumes or what to do over Spring Break with toddlers but I'm also noticing that some of the information is geared toward younger mommies even though information is there for older kids. Apparently, they got moving on kiddos earlier than we did and don't worry about bursitis while running around after their little ones:)

At the other end of the age range, I must admit, I hadn't read an issue of Cosmopolitan in probably ten or fifteen years and a lot has changed in that time - and not only in my life! The magazine has changed, too. They let guys write stuff in there now:) Who knew! I guess I would have if I ever read it. So, now I have a subscription and I'm far, far too old for this magazine and it's hilarious to read what these very, very young guys think is the best thing they can do in bed. Seriously. If you are approaching 40 and you need a good chuckle pick up an issue of Cosmo and read that part of the magazine because it'll put things in perspective. While I go to bed exhausted from running around after Comfort and Joy, cooking, doing laundry, running errands, etc - these guys are ... well, I can't write about it here because this part of the internet is Family Friendly. Let's just say that I don't see this same section in the next magazine I'm going to mention.

Which brings me to More magazine. I've never read More but I now have a free subscription and it turns out I'm in their (almost) target market as I near forty and yes, the articles have far more relevance to me that those in Cosmo. It's sad, but true. Clothes are still trendy, which doesn't matter to me since I'm just trying to make sure my clothes are clean, but they cover more of the body -usually and look less tacky -usually. The adds are for wrinkle relief and anti-aging products and hair-color which doesn't appeal to me but it's the market. 

So, now I have a new picture of myself relaxing at the beach with a magazine. It wouldn't be Cosmo anymore. It's just not me. And I don't get to read at the beach anymore either, but if I did I'd be slathered in SPF 'as high as I could find', sitting under an umbrella, wearing sunglasses and a hat, and reading More -  'cause these are my women.

Huggies Coupons!!

The coupon bar has reloaded now that it's the beginning of the month and there are some never before seen in my time coupons --- $5 off Huggies Gentle Care Product and a $3 Huggies Natural Care Product. We'll be keeping an eye out for a good sale because these coupons expire at the end of March. Print them quickly because they are likely to be popular. Check the Upromise coupons to see if they have any for Huggies this month. That money can be stacked since it doesn't come off of your receipt but goes into your Upromise account. Remember, too, that if you use Huggies you can get some money back from Caregivers Marketplace which will bring the cost of your purchase down even more and isn't that a wonderfully Cool Idea!