My New Gig!

I've got a new gig that I'm kinda excited about. As well as catching me here, where I write about living smart and being accountable, I'm going to be writing for in the Richmond Area as the Romance Novel Reviewer. Clearly not a surprise to those of you who have noticed the "What I Am Reading Column" over the past months. I'll keep the column going but you'll get much fuller reviews as well as interviews over on my page at Check it out because it is a super Cool Idea!

My Mailbox Runneth Over

Oh, My! Right now I have a bunch of products that I'm in the process of testing and I gotta tell you it's almost confusing. In fact, when I saw the box on the porch today, I thought, "Oh no. What do we have to eat now!"

But really it's all good. Some of it I'll get to share with you. Like the produce from Glade that is scenting my living room. Some of it is not for sharing. In fact, most of it is not for sharing. Make that 5 products right now that are not for sharing! But I'm careful to keep it all straight so I can record the right information for the correct company.

So, how did all these products arrive at my house? From filling out surveys for the most part. The only exception is the Glade product which is from BzzAgent. Surveys not only pay you money but they are often seeking people to test products. In the past I've tested baby wipes, disposable training pants, toilet paper, shampoo - to name a few items.

If product testing is interesting to you, then definitely check out BzzAgent and see if it's for you. Also, keep an eye on the surveys that you fill out and see if one of them is hinting at a product test. You never know what you might be getting for free to test in the privacy of your own home! And as far as I'm concerned as long as it's not fish it's definitely a Cool Idea!

Stewardship of Resources: Looking out for the Environment

Personally, for me doing good things for the environment comes down to something basic and simple. God made it and we should treat it well.

So, how far am I willing to go? I like to drink clean water so I'd like to make sure that we keep bad stuff out of the water. I like to breathe clean air so I think we should keep bad stuff out of the air.

I know we need to balance prosperity and commerce with our impact on the world but I think the world should get a bigger vote since it was here first. You know, sort of like the Native Americans should have. Yep, you get the picture.

This comes down to a do-unto-others thing in my view and it can start small. Comfort and Joy walk to school as many days as we can even though this is clearly not the norm. In fact, I don't see any other kids walking to school. This not only gives us time together as a family but time to enjoy the world around us. We look at the colors change and the leaves drop from the trees. It's a magical time in Virginia and if we were in a car we might be speeding right by too quickly to notice or too quickly to be able to have a conversation about it. Every day. And I do mean Every Day.

Our choice to eat organically when we can afford to is another way to support the environment, but you've heard me discuss that before when I've discussed buying locally. It just makes sense and it's such a Cool Idea that I don't have any more to say on the environment issue. Next, we get closer to home.

Get a Treat from Weekly Promo Offer 300 x 250

Use the discount code TREATS to get a great deal at! Get $25 certificates for $2!! As always, remember to read the details for each restaurant you're considering so that you know what their specifications are. Most of the time certificates don't expire for a year, but double check. This TREATS is good through Oct. 31. Enjoy because it is definitely a Cool Idea!

If a Mommy Owned the Redskins

So, how 'bout those 'Skins? Yeah, that's what I figured. I didn't even stay awake for the end of the game last night and yet I'm pretty sure I know how it ended. How is that? Because it's raining today instead of dropping confetti from the sky that's how.

I know that some people really get into how 'their' team does on a weekly basis. I keep tabs on them and root for them but it's been a long time since I knew the names of the players or could pick them out of a lineup. It's a strange feeling especially since I grew up in the DC-suburbs and several of the players used to come eat a little restaurant where I had my first job. It was at that job I learned a few things - football players dodn't drop the ball much because they have huge hands and we as fans should be thankful that they wear grills and masks most of the time. A lot of those guys are just not pretty.

But even though I'm not a die hard, bleeding fan it pains me to know that they are doing so poorly and to hear - even as remotely as I am, cut off from speculation since I rarely read the newspaper and not a guy - that Snyder will likely fire the new coach.

I think this is Snyder's key to all disappointments. Just fire 'em. To me it sounds a bit like Marie Antoinette but then I'm probably mixing my metaphors. Because of these kinds of management changes he keeps jerking the team in different directions every couple of years and each time it creates a new problem that takes a few years to settle and rebuild and then he fires that guy. Seriously, is there anyone with a pulse that doesn't see this as a problem.

So, I was thinking that if a Mommy ran the Redskins there would be a very different management philosophy. I think that instead of deciding to fire a coach half way through a season - his second season coaching EVER - the Mommy would get the coach a mentor to help the coach out. Give him some personal bolstering and professional words, if necessary. But mostly, Mommy owes her associates respect and alliance and they should know that at all times. If they don't, they won't feel comfortable to go out on a limb and make hard decisions or courageous plays.

Mommy would also let the coach know that to learn is to make mistakes, and to make mistakes is to learn. Snyder has to realize that some of the problems with the depth of the bench is because of the flip-flopping that's been going on. Shoot, even I remember the years when the dork from California tried to make the Skins into a passing team. Like that was ever going to happen. Let Coach use this season as a training and building season.

Devil's Advocate is going to remind Mommy that this will be a very expensive process. Sure. But if you fix it this year then you're done and you will have the undying respect of Coach and the Entire Washington Redskins Fan Base and there isn't any other like it in the world. In fact, if you could bottle it and send it that into battle I figure we'd be out of the Middle East in record time. And even if it doesn't work, what have you lost really? Time? You were going to loose that anyway. Respect? Unless you give it you don't get it back.

I'll continue to keep my fingers crossed for my home team and hope that Coach gets a break and Snyder keeps off his back for the rest of the season and if there's a Mommy out there with a few hundred million dollars who'd like to implement these philosophies give me a call and we'll see if Snyder is open to negotiation.

Stewardship of Resources

This will be the first of several posts on this topic because there are many levels that I want to talk about. First we're going to look BIG PICTURE!

I'll be one of the first to admit that I've been mightily spoiled by the incredible riches of our state and national parks. The United States obviously has the opportunity to set aside so much space because we have so much space. But I'd also like to think that it's because we, as a nation, value setting some of our land aside. Whether it be for it's beauty or it's history or for reverance - we value what this means.
In a sense, it's like tithing. The reason for tithing is so that we learn to live on less than we make. Setting aside parks not only allows everyone to hold this land in common, to enjoy and use, but it means that we have to learn to live on just that much less land.
Some parks are very large. In fact the largest National Park is "Wrangell-St. Elias located in the Eastern region of South-central Alaska. The Chugach, Wrangell, and St. Elias mountain ranges converge here in what is often referred to as the "Mountain Kingdom of North America." It is the largest national park in the United States, six times the size of Yellowstone. Wrangell-St. Elias encompasses over 20,000 square miles of mountain wilderness - that's over 50,000 square kilometers, or 25% larger than Switzerland!"
Some of these parks are very small. The smallest being in Guthrie, Oklahoma to commemorate the land rush but it ended up being so small due to the deed being written improperly.
But no matter what the size they all have a story to tell and stories are what make us different from other animals. Stories are what we will pass on to our children and the next generations.
So as we continue to think about stewardship let's consider what it means to be a Steward of our natural and national park resources in the sense of keeping them available for future generations. This is never the sexy part of any government's budget but one that we would all miss if it left or if we had to start paying, or paying substantially more, for the opportunity to enjoy and explore the wonders of this great land. I know, I'm a geek, but I think it's a Cool Idea!

Coupon for Children's Place!

We love Children's Place! In fact, it's the only store I've ever found where the sizes are actually true to Comfort's age. Amazing. Even better than the great sizing are the cute styles and wonderful use of color.

That said, I don't shop there unless there's a coupon involved because it's usually out of my price range. Even better, a coupon and a sale going on and if you are a reader of Common Sense with Money you'll have heard that there is in fact a great sale going on at Children's Place online.

So, hurry and grab a coupon and get some cool clothes during this seasonal transition sale. I know I will because this is definitely a Cool Idea!

Give your Two Cents with Survey Head

I promise you'll make more than two cents with Survey Head, though! In fact, when you get invitations from Survey Head you'll find out the percentage likelihood that the survey is a good fit for you. Pretty good, huh. The cash out threshold is $25 and can be done in Amazon gift cards, cash or donations to charity. Again, Pretty neat. Signing up to do surveys through Survey Head is definitely a Cool Idea!!

Resolution Recap: Trading Time for Money

One of the things I do to help our family budget is mystery shopping. You've heard me talk about this before but not, perhaps, in the context of Stewardship of Time.

In the past several years one thing I have had more of is time. As opposed to money:) Of course, I couldn't do a great deal with it because I always had Comfort and Joy with me but I had time on my hands. Literally. That's when I started trying to find ways that I could work from home while I watched the girls.

Mystery Shopping isn't a great option in this case because I have to have someone else watch the kids unless I find a meal Mystery Shop but that doesn't mean that these shops aren't useful to us.

But now that the girls are in school, remarkably, I actually have less time for the work I'm trying to do so I'm more careful about the mystery shops I take on. In September I took on too many and it was a little crazy. I intentionally backed off for October and I've only been accepting assignments slowly throughout the month.

One great thing about being careful about doing your reports is that companies learn when you are reliable and when they need someone they'll give you a call. I've picked up 3 shops this way in October alone. So, the calendar has changed drastically. At the beginning of the month I had one mystery shop scheduled [dinner for the family at a burger place]. As of now, I've also added:
  • 3 grocery store mystery shops
  • 2 cosmetic store shops [these are nice because they don't require a purchase!]
  • Hardware store shop
  • Pizza delivery mystery shop

I also have a long-term shop that is coming to completion by the end of the month. And there's still another week left, too. I might pick up some more. But I'll wait and see if it's something that I really need and make sure that it doesn't take up a huge amount of my time because now that I have less time I want to make sure that I use it carefully and wisely because being a good Steward is definitely a Cool Idea!

Stewardship of Time

Just as it's important to use our money to have a say about what's important to us, it's also important to use our time to show what we value. Strangely, if most of us look through an accounting of how we actually spend our day we'll likely find that there's a lot of stuff that we don't value that we're spending the bulk of our time on.

Why do we do this? Sometimes, we don't know it's happening. If this is the case, once we have the information we then have the opportunity to change. It doesn't always have to be a huge change but if it should make a big enough difference in your life for you to notice.

Sometimes we do things we don't value because we feel we have no choice. Why? Because it's our job, or a loved one enjoys the activity, or - for whatever reason you have chosen to spend time doing something that you do not enjoy or value. You just need to decide if this is okay with you - for now. It doesn't have to be forever. Just for now. Give yourself a set increment of time and then check back in and decide if you're still okay with spinning your wheels. If not, then make the change.

And sometimes we make a conscious effort to use our time with care to do something for someone else. This is important, too. Stewardship of Time shouldn't always be about ourselves and what we want and need. We need to think outside of ourselves to see the bigger picture. This perspective takes maturity but it helps us remember that there's more to life than whatever gossip might have been on TV that day. Stewardship of Time reminds us to be conscious of how we use our time, to value the time that we have, and to consciously consider spending our time to help other people. Personally, I think that's a Cool Idea.

Cellfire Coupons reset!

Here we go! The Cellfire coupons have been reset and are available for saving to your Kroger or Safeway family of store brand loyalty cards from now until Monday, November 02, 2009. They will expire 2 weeks later on November 16, 2009.

Here are the coupons that you can load:

BC Cookie Mix Save $.40: Save $0.40 when you buy any flavor 17.5 OZ. OR LARGER Betty Crocker® Cookie Mix.

BC Potatoes Save $.40: Save $0.40 when you buy any flavor Box or Pouch Betty Crocker® Potatoes (Except Potato Buds®).

BC Warm Delights Save $.50: Save $0.50 when you buy ONE any flavor Betty Crocker® Warm Delights® Bowls OR Betty Crocker® Warm Delights® Minis Bowls.

BC Frosting Save $.50: Save $0.50 when you buy ONE TUB any flavor/variety Betty Crocker® Frosting.

Bisquick® Save $.60: Save $0.60 when you buy 40 OZ. OR LARGER Original Bisquick® OR Bisquick Heart Smart® Baking Mix.

Chex Mix® Save $.50: Save $0.50 when you buy any flavor 4.5 OZ. OR LARGER Chex Mix® OR Chex® 100 Calorie Snack.

Chex® cereals Save $1 Save $1.00 when you buy any TWO Chex® cereals.

Fiber One Muffin Mix Save $.50 Save $0.50 when you buy any flavor/variety Fiber One(tm) Box Muffin Mix.

Green Giant® Vege's Save $.50: Save $0.50 when you buy TWO any variety Green Giant® Frozen Boxed Vegetables.

Hamburger Helper® Save $.75: Save $0.75 when you buy THREE any flavor Hamburger Helper®, Tuna Helper® OR Chicken Helper® Home Cooked Skillet Meals.

Kix® cereal Save $.55: Save $0.55 when you buy any Kix® cereal - Kix®, Berry Berry Kix® OR Honey Kix®.

NV Granola Nut Clustrs Save $1: Save $1.00 when you buy ONE BAG any flavor Nature Valley® Granola Nut Clusters.

PB Cookie Dough Save $1: Save $1.00 when you buy TWO PACKAGES any variety Pillsbury® Refrigerated Cookie Dough.

PB Frozen Grands! Save $.75: Save $0.75 when you buy any TWO Frozen Pillsbury® Grands!® Biscuits, Cinnamon Rolls, OR Mini Cinnamon Rolls.

PB Italian Meal Bred Save $.40: Save $0.40 when you buy any TWO Pillsbury® Italian Meal Breads (Includes any Loaves, Breadsticks, Dinner Rolls, and Pizza Crust).

PB Rolled Pie Crusts Save $.50: Save $0.50 when you buy TWO packages of Pillsbury® Rolled Refrigerated Pie Crusts.

PB Refrig'd Grands! Save $.30: Save $0.30 when you buy TWO any size/variety Refrigerated Pillsbury® Grands!® Biscuits.

PB Sweet Rolls Save $.40: Save $0.40 when you buy any TWO Pillsbury® Sweet Rolls OR Grands!® Sweet Rolls.

PB Holiday Cookies Save $.75: Save $0.75 when you buy any TWO Pillsbury® Refrigerated Holiday Cookies.

Progresso® Broth Save $.50: Save $0.50 when you buy ONE any variety Progresso® Broth.

Progresso® Soups Save $.50: Save $0.50 when you buy TWO any flavor Progresso® Soups.

Romano's Mac Grill kit Save $1: Save $1.00 when you buy any flavor Romano's Macaroni Grill® Restaurant Favorites® Dinner Kit.

Yoplait® cups Save $.50: Save $0.50 when you buy SIX any variety Yoplait® Yogurt cups OR any flavor Yoplait® Original OR Light Smoothies.

Yoplait® Delights(tm) Save $1: Save $1.00 when you buy any flavor Yoplait® Delights Yogurt Multipack.

Pillsbury® Crescents Save $.50: Save $0.50 when you buy any TWO Pillsbury® Crescent Dinner Rolls.

Cottonelle® Save $.25: Save $.25 on any ONE (1) 4-pack or Larger COTTONELLE® Toilet Paper.

Huggies® Diapers Save $3: Save $3.00 on any package of Huggies® Diapers

KOTEX® Brand Save $1: Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) KOTEX® Product.

Stewardship of Money

Being a good Steward of your money is very important. I personally feel that we 'vote' with our money. We make value judgments based on products we buy. That's why people boycott companies whose practice they cannot abide. They don't want their money going to help causes/ people who believe in things that they don't believe.

Being frugal allows us to better live within our means. Is it a perfect means? Not always but it is smarter than always paying full price for everything without even thinking. That way lies madness.

Being a good Steward of our money also means generously giving it away. It may seem oxymoronic that giving away your money is good for you but it truly is. Not only will it make you feel better, but it's better for the community at large and that's a good enough reason for me to donate my money when I can.

Here's where Being a Good Steward of Your Money and Donation go hand in hand. Know the people to whom you donate or at least do some research. Give to your local church or faith community. Go through the Unitied Way or even a small non-profit that you have personal contact with. Don't hand out money to people who call you over the phone. That's not being responsible with your money. That's being taken for a ride.

Money is the way that budgets are made for organizations and this time of the year is extremely important as non-profits struggle to make ends meet between the rock and a hard place - more people are in need and they have fewer dollars in which to help them. In this climate of economic downturn I don't know anyone who isn't being cautious and that's a smart plan. But if you can, please make some provision for a donation to a non-profit in your area. There are so many programs that will not be available in the New Year because of a lack of funds. Then there is the trickle down - those programs are led by people. Those people won't have jobs, etc., etc., etc.,

The Stewardship conversation may start with our money but it's not going to stop here. We'll continue to talk about ways in which we can give back to our community, take care of what we have and be Good Stewards. This is definitely a Cool Idea!

Season of Stewardship

Odds are that if you belong to community organization, church, or other faith community you've heard the word stewardship lately and probably in the context of the organization as it comes together to create its budget for next year. People in churches laugh at the euphemism and sometimes joke that attendance drops so that people can protect their wallet when 'Stewardship Sunday' roles around.

It's unfortunate that Stewardship has taken on the connotation of revolving around money. It's true that stewardship of money is important and definitely part of the conversation, but it's not the whole conversation and it's not the only conversation.

Over the next several days we'll be looking at what it means to be a good Steward. How we can be a better Steward of that which has been entrusted to us and what this means going forward.

It's a Cool Idea. I promise. Really.

$5 Dinners on Debt-Proof Living

I've been a subscriber to Mary Hunt's Everyday Cheapskate e-newsletter for quite a while now. I enjoy getting it in my inbox everyday. Most days it reminds me of good ways to cut costs and reduce our debt. Other days it provides helpful hints for around the house - some of which I definitely would never have though of.

Recently, Erin of $5 Dinners has been added to these emails. I already subscribe to Erin's emails but I enjoy seeing her in this new space, too. It's a great forum and great recipes, too.

I hope you'll head on over see the most recent recipe and go ahead and subscribe to the Everyday Cheapskate. I promise you'll get a lot out of the emails. It's definitely a Cool Idea!

Life Gets in the Way

I don't know how you guys do this but I'm still having trouble merging real life with our school life. I think I had more time to get things done before Comfort and Joy were in school. Or maybe I'm just trying to get so much more packed into so little time that my frustration is bubbling over.

Perhaps, the key is to manage my expectations and not presume that I can keep the house picked up, do the grocery shopping, find a well paying job, write the great American novel, and solve world peace when I only have 2 uninterupted hours a day in which to work. But, I say to myself - I have 5 days a week x 2 hours - shouldn't that account for something?

A ten hour a week job is barely even part-time, I remind myself. I'm trying to jam a LOT of stuf into a very small timeframe. Probably I should be glad that it's working at all but mostly I'm still trying to keep my head above water.

The only saving grace is that because the girls are dead dog tired they don't fight going to bed at 7:30pm and then I have the evenings to get back to work without guilt. Of course, I'm missing television and stuff like that but that's what Netflix and retirement are for. Right now I need to keep pushing on and see what I can create, produce, and make for dinner and hopefully at some point I can acknowledge that some of it will have been a Cool Idea!

Review: Harry Connick, Jr Sings Your Songs

I'm old enough to remember going to see the movie "When Harry Met Sally" in the theatre and hearing "It Had to Be You" and thinking "Wow, that guy sounds great. I wonder who that is." Since then I've followed and enjoyed Connick's music since - of course it doesn't hurt that he has the face of a male model! - and admired the work he's done in his native New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina so when One2One Network gave me the opportunity to review his new album Your Songs I jumped at the chance.
This album includes classic songs that you'll know from other places and by other artists. Like:
  • All The Way
  • Just the Way You Are
  • Can't Help Falling in Love with You
  • And I love Her
  • Close to You
  • Besame Mucho
  • The Way You Look Tonight
  • First ime Ever I saw Your Face
  • Your Song
  • Some Enchanted Evening
  • And I love You So
  • Who Can I Turn To
  • Smile
  • Mona Lisa

While I appreciated the music and enjoyed Connick's interpretation of these songs I can't say that I thought these were the best versions of these songs I've ever heard or his best work. Sometimes I just think his voice wasn't the best match for the song. However, I think this is a good album and good background music and if you are a die hard Harry Connick, Jr. fan then you'll want to get this album for sure.

More Help with Meal Planning

As regular readers to this blog know, Menu Planning was one of my New Year's Resolutions and it has been my biggest challenge. I still don't have a reliable plan. In fact, I cannot tell you what we will be having for dinner tonight and it's after 2pm. So, I'm thinking that I might be trying out something like this very soon.

Services like relish! are popping up all around. Some are free and some are subscriptions based. This one is a subscription [at $7 a month] but it it seems that you get to pick your 5 dinners from a list and they guarantee that your weekly dinners will cost less than $85. That includes entrees and sides and the prep is 30 mins or less.

So, if you are menu planning challenged like I am head on over to relish! and check out what they have to offer because it genuinely looks like a really Cool Idea!

CrockPot Lady's Book is For Sale!

Just in case you were not around on one of the many days that I blogged about finding the A Year of Slow Cooking blog or you are not one of the bazillions of people I have emailed the link to the apple butter recipe recently, that's all right. The Crock Pot lady has you covered, so to speak. Stephanie O'Dea's book Make It Fast, Cook It Slow: The Big Book of Everyday Slow Cooking is available October 13th! Woohoo!!

Oh, but it gets better. Stephanie will also be on Good Morning America Tuesday the 13th! So, Check it out!!

Check it out with Weekly Promo Offer 300 x 250 is offering the $25 certificate for $2 again! Use discount code FOUR until Oct. 12th to get this amazing deal.

It's getting to be that time of the year when we need to stock up on inexpensive presents for family, friends, and co-workers. These certificates make great gifts because they are inexpensive to you, offer a great value to the recipient and they don't expire until a year after purchase. [Remember to read the details for each restaurant though.]

Take a look at the restaurant offerings in your area. They can change as the year goes on - some restaurants will come and go from the program - but the price of the certificate is always a wonderful Cool Idea!

Nourish+ Your Hair with Aveeno

I had the opportunity * to try AVEENO's new NOURISH+ hair care products to see what the big deal was. I'm a big fan of products that use natural ingredients to do their work and AVEENO has blended the natural benefits of wheat germ oil and wheat protein into these products to help restore and revitalize hair naturally.
These are words that I love. Truly. I love it when companies use products this way. I wanted to love these products with all of my heart so I took all the other hair care products out of the shower and I only used AVEENO NOURISH+ MOISTURIZE. The information from AVEENO says that after just 3 washes you, and other people, will begin to notice positive changes in your hair.
I got to day 3 and wasn't sure I could do anymore but this is a review and I wanted to make sure I was giving the product a fair shot. I kept going. Seven washes and my hair did feel better. Two weeks now and it's great. Look great. Does anyone else notice? Not sure Comfort and Joy would notice if I wore a clown wig but it does feel better and not as dry as before since my primary reason for selecting the MOISTURIZE Shampoo and Conditioner is that as my hair is graying it is drying out.
So what were the drawbacks for me? They weren't the way the product made my hair feel after I got out of the shower. That part was great. The drawback for me was the way my hair felt during the shampoo process. The shampoo lather is great. The smell is a bit funny but I chalked that up to a lack of perfumes added to the product which makes sense if AVEENO is going to keep with the natural thing. But when I rinsed the shampoo from my hair, my hair felt tacky, almost like I'd just put paste in my hair.
I did read through the literature that very explicitly mentions how important it is to use both the shampoo and conditioner and I would agree. Once again, not for how your hair will feel out of the shower, but for how your hair will feel inside the shower. It's a complete process and you need to do it from start to finish. But that's okay because a little of the product goes a long way. I've been using AVEENO NOURISH+ MOISTURIZE shampoo and conditioner everyday for two weeks and it looks like I've barely put a dent in the bottle. I do have short hair but since I don't wear my contacts in the shower I'm not careful about using a 'dime size' portion of anything;) And speaking of not wearing my contacts in the shower I can thank AVEENO for making the tops of the bottles different colors so that even without my contacts, and without the ability to read the bottles, I can tell the shampoo from the conditioner before I make the mistake of trying to lather the wrong one into my hair. Much appreciated!!
AVEENO NOURISH+ has additional products in this line, too. REVITALIZE is made for hair that sustains everyday damage and those who have trouble combing through tangles. VOLUMIZE is made to provide bounce to hair that is fine and flat. SOOTHE is for people with itchy, dry scalp and there's even a CONDITION leave-in treatment or hair that is intensely dry and damaged.

No matter what products we use how we use them can make or break the efficiency of the product. Here are some great reminders from AVEENO:

  • Turn down the temperature of your shower and end your shower will cool water. Hot water wicks away moisture leaving hair dry and dull.
  • We all know that hair is vulnerable when wet so was it gently. Use your palms to spread the shampoo evenly from the roots to the tip.
  • Washing your hair is a 2-step process. Never skip the conditioner.
  • Don't brush out tangles. Use a wide-toothed comb and start at the ends of your hair and work your way up to the roots until all the knots are free.
  • When you're styling your hair wait until your hair is at least half dry since this limits the damage that heat can do to your hair.
  • To boost limp hair flip your head over and blow the hair away from your scalp.
  • Only use flat irons and curling irons on dry hair since they will damage damp hair and won't create the effect you wanted anyway.
  • Don't fight your hair. Let it go. If it's curly figure out how to work with it. If it's sraight learn to enjoy that.
  • ~~ And I'll insert my own motto here: Embrace the Gray!

So, there you go. AVEENO NOUISH+ MOISTURIZE did leave my hair feeling great once I got out of the shower. I would love for you to give it a try and/or joing the conversation about AVEENO NOURISH+. If you'd like a sample of AVEENO MOISTURIZE shampoo and conditioner please leave me a message in the comments and I'll send them out until I have no more. Also, if you'd like to join an online conversation about AVEENO NOURISH+ you can go to and enter 101 289 451591

*Disclaimer: I received the products for free to try and I have received samples to give away. No money has given to me and my review has in no way been influenced.

Dinner in a Dash

I'm still having a hard time adjusting to the new school year. Today I forgot to pack Comfort's blanket for rest time and for the first time EVER she ate all of her lunch and didn't have anthing to eat for afternoon snack.

So, in the middle of Comfort's homework I panicked that there was not yet a plan or dinner. Here is what I did:
1. Place frozen chicken breast in a pocket of foil.
2. Squirt with 30-minute Marinade. This has been in my pantry for months. I used Teriyaki flavor that I'm pretty sure I got for less than $1.
3. Seal foil pocket and cook in 350 degee oven until they smell done.

I also got the rice cooker going and at the last minute nuked some frozen peas and there we go. Not a great plan but the chicken sure was tasty. I wasn't sure what it would taste like starting with frozen chicken but it worked great.

So, not a plan in the traditional sense but it worked for me today and the girls actually ate a few bites before they went back to the rice and peas.~

Read for the Record

Very Hungry Caterpillar

Today, people all over the world are reading Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Not only is this an awesome book but Jumpstart is using this event opportunity to promote the need to provide a 'jumpstart' for at-risk kids.

If you want more information about how to get involved, just check out the Jumpstart site.
So, be part of the record today and read this great book with your kids or with any kids. It's just such a Cool Idea!

Free Breakfast at IKEA!

IKEA does it again! Join them for FREE breakfast Oct 10-12. YUMMY!

Sale on Britax at Amazon

If you are in the market for car seats I can't say enough about the wonders of Britax. They are among the safest in the world. Yes, the WORLD - and from now through October 18, you can enjoy savings up to $50 on top-rated car seats from Britax. So, whether you are just celebrating your child's first birthday by moving to the big kid car seat or you are upgrading to a booster seat remember the safety and convenience of Britax and enjoy this great deal from Amazon! Safety and money off - definitely a Cool Idea!

More Survey Cash Out - Opinion Outpost!

Opinion Outpost is another great survey company with whom to sign up. Not only do they send great surveys but the points accrue quickly and the interface is great at letting you know just where you stand in your earnings and rewards. Also, they pay in cash or Amazon cards. Cash payouts are by check so you have to wait 4-6weeks but at this time of the year I can wait for that. It'll feel like a treat when my money arrives.

So, if you aren't signed up with Opinion Outpost go ahead and give it a try. Sometimes the points to reward structure can be hard to decifer but since it's 200 points = $20 it's just basic math really and definitely a Cool Idea to have some extra cash coming in as the holidays approach!

Caregivers Marketplace and Huggies Rebates Return

Huggies redid the size of their packages and people have found that Caregivers Marketplace wasn't giving rebates for these new sizes. As of October 1st, rebates will now be given for these new sizes:

List of New Rebate-Eligible Products
Product Description & UPC
HUGGIES SPRM LTL/S 40 STEP 1 036000557015
HUGGIES SPRM LTL/S 36 STEP 2 036000557022
HUGGIES SPRM LTL/M 31 STEP 3 036000557039
HUGGIES SPRM LTL/M 27 STEP 4 036000557046
HUGGIES SPRM LTL/M 23 STEP 5 036000557053
HUGGIES SPRM LTL/M 20 STEP 6 036000557060
HUGGIES SNUG&DRY 50 STEP 1 036000555011
HUGGIES SNUG&DRY 42 STEP 2 036000555028
HUGGIES SNUG&DRY 36 STEP 3 036000555035
HUGGIES SNUG&DRY 31 STEP 4 036000555042
HUGGIES SNUG&DRY 27 STEP 5 036000555059
HUGGIES SNUG&DRY 23 STEP 6 036000555066
HUGGIES OVERNITE 31 STEP 3 036000554038
HUGGIES OVERNITE 27 STEP 4 036000554045
HUGGIES OVERNITE 23 STEP 5 036000554052
HUGGIES OVERNITE 20 STEP 6 036000554069
HUGGIES P/U LD BOY 26 2T-3T 036000213270
HUGGIES P/U LD GRL 26 2T-3T 036000213287
HUGGIES P/U LD BOY 23 3T-4T 036000213294
HUGGIES P/U LD GRL 23 3T-4T 036000213300
HUGGIES P/U LD BOY 19 4T-5T 036000213317
HUGGIES P/U LD GRL 19 4T-5T 036000213324
HUGGIES P/U CA BOY 26 2T-3T 036000213218
HUGGIES P/U CA GRL 26 2T-3T 036000213225
HUGGIES P/U CA BOY 23 3T-4T 036000213232
HUGGIES P/U CA GRL 23 3T-4T 036000213249
HUGGIES P/U CA BOY 19 4T-5T 036000213256
HUGGIES P/U CA GRL 19 4T-5T 036000213263
HUGGIES P/U N/T BOY 24 2T-3T 036000213508
HUGGIES P/U N/T GRL 24 2T-3T 036000213515
HUGGIES P/U N/T BOY 21 3T-4T 036000213522
HUGGIES P/U N/T GRL 21 3T-4T 036000213539

If you have questions about the rebate process I've found that Carefivers Marketplace is really great about answering them. Just ask.

Survey Progress

I just cashed out some more survey money. This time from Mindfield Surveys. I know I've mentioned them before but one nice thing is that their cash out amout is $5 and they pay in check or PayPal. I didn't have a lot in my account but it was enough to make my PayPal account happy.

I get a good number of survey invitations from Mindfield, too, and each one gives me the dollar amount and time commitment of the survey. I haven't completed a lot of surveys lately but I have one pending for $7! Not bad for 15 mins of work!!

So, if you haven't signed up with Mindfield yet, don't wait because I guarantee if you do you'll have a nice little bit ready for yourself by the holidays and that will definitely be a Cool Idea!

Review: U2 Concert

First of all, let me say that it may be possible that I'm now to old to spend my day jam packed with things to do - including an emergency trip to the pediatrician for something like DIAPER RASH - and then go to an outdoor concert where the main act begins to play at 9PM but ALAS I was there in Charlottesville last night because DH bought tickets months ago for his 40th birthday. I think he knew he'd get something lame if he left the gift buying up to me. Secondly, did I mention that we sat on the hill. Outside. This is October. In Virginia. Beautiful night. Full moon. Not a cloud in the sky except the ones made by the smoke machines. Yep, it was a tad nippy and yet I saw girls - and I do mean girls - in mini skirts and flip flops. I know I was never that stupid because my mother taught me how to dress in layers. But I digress.

The concert. So, I'm not much into concerts and I probably only know a handful of U2 songs and I did not even stand up until the 3rd encore at 11pm and that was because I had lost all feeling in my butt and knew it was time to leave but throughout the entire show - and it is a SHOW - I had a perfectly unobstructed view of the stage and the screen. The stage of course looks miniscule unless you are on the field and within spitting distance. The screens are 360, so there is not a bad seat in the house! In fact, the entire stage is 360! Technically, there's a back but they did a good job of using the whole stage that I'm not sure the people in the 'back' even noticed.
And if you've heard anything about the show you've probably heard about the bridges that the guys can use to take them out into the audience. Well, they aren't technically 'in' the audience, but they are 'over' and 'with' the audience so that more people have the opportunity to see, hear, and I guess smell them.

What I found interesting, as I sat there shivering on my numb butt was how interactive and personal this experience was. Concerts have always had some personalization because live music lends itself to that. Musicians play differently each time they pick up an instrument or sing and it's never as 'perfect' as studio recordings. Not to mention the new lyrics that get thrown in - Bono used landmarks of the area and references to the college several times throughout the show. This isn't new in the realm of live performance but it does make for a unique performance and one in which the people at this performance will feel special.
Then there the people in the crowd that sing along. This isn't new either to live performance but this was the first time - in my very limited concert going experience - in which the band made sure the crowd was 'with them' for the last chorus of the song so that everyone was singing together. That is a massive undertaking and one in which they certainly didn't have to do. This wasn't a small concert either. These stadiums that U2 is using are outdoor, college football stadiums that probably seat 80,000 people!

The video portions of the show are remarkable. Some of it probably could have induced an epileptic seizure but I nearly cried when Bishop Tutu talked about the imagery of how the same people that campaigned for Civil Rights in the US, were the same people that campaigned against Apartheid in South Africa, were the same people that campaigned against injustice... and he named injustices around the world and then he brought it back to us, to the stadium, to the circle, to the screen, because it is a circle, because we are all One. Man, if that doesn't touch you somewhere deep and either make you cry or smile then I think there's something very wrong.

All of through the show I sat and thought of a professor I had in grad school who loved to talk about the future of post-modernism and how it would influence everything, even entertainment and how we - the people - would be incorporated into the actual entertainment process. Whether it was sports, literature, music or whatever I think we are truly beginning to see that change here. We saw musicians moving over and through the crowd last night and from where I was sitting they were moving together and in synchroncity almost indistinguishable other than the spotlight tracking them on the platform. We heard voices from the crowd instead of those we paid to hear and it was just as magical, if not more, and it was orchestrated by those supposed in charge - those we look up to on the stage. But here there is no front or back. There might not be anyone in charge. There's just a guy who thanks his friends for letting him be in their band and that is Definitely Cool!

New Coupons for October!

The bar has been recharged!! There are plenty of cereal, yogurt, allergy product, and snack coupons. One particular item I noticed was a $.50 off 2 refrigerated pie crusts. Since I'm already thinking toward Thanksgiving those will definitely come in handy!

So, head on over to the right hand side-bar and check out the coupons for your area. Saving money at the grocery is definitely a Cool Idea!