Spring Cleaning

Yep, it's that time. Some of you might be on Spring Break this week. We're on break next week so there's some attempt to get cleaning done this week while Comfort and Joy are still in school.

If you haven't found Totally Together Journal, put together by Stephanie O'Dea of A Year of Slowcooking fame, then you need to hop on over and check it out. Better yet sign up for the daily emails because she does a really nice job of posting a daily reminder of things you can get done around the house everyday without driving yourself nuts. Truly, I'm not keeping up with her but I like the way she thinks and they are good reminders.

Yesterday, I did cleaned out my inbox. Usually I'm a clean as I go person - this goes for all of my cleaning and especially my inbox - but I've gotten behind lately. This is an easy thing to take care of while you're sitting online, too.

Just sort your inbox by name and go through it to see if there are things you can go ahead and delete or move to folders. I usually max out the number of folders that my Yahoo mail will give me so I consolidate them every few months as well.

In a matter of 15 minutes I deleted 250 emails and that's only from a few months of laziness and truly just a couple of weeks of being behind. If you haven't cleaned your inbox in a while it might take a bit longer. Or not. Depends on how worried you are about being careful.

So as you're cleaning the house - fridge, dusting, bathrooms, floors, etc. - let's not forget about the places that we spend time in these days. Our email inboxes. Make them efficient and tidy and they'll work better for you. Well, I think so and for me that's a Cool Idea.

Mail It Back!

Have you filled out your U.S. Census form and mailed it back yet? If not, take a few minutes to do it this week before you a) forget or b) lose the form.

Yep, that's usually my modus operandi. I open important documents and then put them someplace so Comfort and Joy can't 'help' me with them then I have to move them for some reason or I forget what I did with them.

This time instead of just looking at it for another week or two I filled it out and walked it to the mailbox. I'm sure you've already done the same thing. Right? If not, take the 10 minutes and do it now. It's a Cool Idea and you help your community get the services that it needs.

New Cellfire Coupons! And More!!

The first good news is that the Cellfire coupons are reset. Actually, they reset last week so hop on over to the right hand sidebar to download the ones you want.

Also, there's now Cellfire service for Blackberry's. Just got to www.cellfire.com and download the application and you can download the coupons to your wireless device. Nifty!!

And another great piece of info... Cellfire coupons can now be used at Fred Myers stores! So if you're a Fred Myer shopper in the Northwest US hop over to the righthand sidebar and set up an account. It's super easy to download the coupons directly to your store loyalty card and you don't have to worry about making sure you keep up with your coupons again!!

Here's what's available:
Pillsbury Italian Meal Brd Save $.40
Save $0.40 when you buy any TWO Pillsbury(r) Italian Meal Breads
(Includes any Loaves, Breadsticks, Dinner Rolls, and Pizza Crust).

Betty Crocker Cookie Mix Save $.40
Save $0.40 when you buy any flavor 17.5 OZ. OR LARGER Betty Crocker(r)
Cookie Mix.

Pillsbury Frozen Grands! Save $.75
Save $0.75 when you buy any TWO Frozen Pillsbury(r) Grands!(r) Biscuits,
Cinnamon Rolls, OR Mini Cinnamon Rolls

Nature Valley Granola Nut Clustrs Save $1
Save $1.00 when you buy ONE BAG any flavor Nature Valley(r) Granola Nut

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

Green Giant(r) vege's Save $.50
Save $0.50 when you buy TWO any variety Green Giant(r) Frozen Boxed

Nature Valley Granola Bars Save $.40
Save $0.40 when you buy ONE BOX any flavor/variety Nature Valley(r)
Granola Bars.

Pillsbury Toaster Strudel(r) Save $.55
Save $0.55 when you buy any TWO Pillsbury(r) Toaster Strudel(r)

Romano's Mac Grill kit Save $1
Save $1.00 when you buy any flavor Romano's Macaroni Grill(r) Restaurant
Favorites(r) Dinner Kit.
Betty CrockerFruit Snacks Save $.50

Save $0.50 when you buy TWO BOXES Betty Crocker(r) Fruit by the Foot(r),
Fruit Gushers(r), Fruit Roll-Ups(r) OR Fruit Roll-Ups(r) Fruit
Stickerz(r) Fruit Flavored Snacks.

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

Yoplait(r) 32oz Save $.55
Save $.55 when you buy any flavor 32 OZ. Yoplait(r) Yogurt.

Honey Nut Cheerios Save $.55
Save $0.55 when you buy ONE BOX Honey Nut Cheerios(r) cereal.

Select Cheerios(r) Save $.75
Save $.75 when you buy ONE BOX cereal listed- Frosted Cheerios(r), Apple
Cinnamon Cheerios(r), Banana Nut Cheerios(r), Fruity Cheerios(r),
Chocolate Cheerios(r)

Yoplait Kids Zone Save $.80
Save $0.80 when you buy TWO any flavor Yoplait(r) products listed: -
Yoplait(r) Go-GURT(r) Yogurt - Yoplait(r) Trix(r) Multipack Yogurt.

Pillsbury Holiday Cookies Save $.75
Save $0.75 when you buy any TWO Pillsbury(r) Refrigerated Holiday

Pillsbury Cookie Dough Save $1
Save $1.00 when you buy TWO PACKAGES any variety Pillsbury(r)
Refrigerated Cookie Dough.

Betty Crocker Supreme Brownie Save $.75
Save $0.75 when you buy TWO any flavor Betty Crocker(r) Box Supreme
Brownie Mixes.

Safeway Only

Betty CrockerCookie Mix/Frosting Save $1
Save $1.00 on TWO when you buy any flavor 17.5 OZ OR LARGER Betty
Crocker(r) Cookie Mix AND ONE TUB any flavor/variety Betty Crocker(r)

Betty Crocker Warm Delights Save $.50
Save $0.50 when you buy ONE any flavor Betty Crocker(r) Warm Delights(r)
Bowls OR Betty Crocker(r) Warm Delights(r) Minis Bowls.

Bisquick(r) Save $.75
Save $0.75 when you buy 20 OZ. OR LARGER Original Bisquick(r) OR
Bisquick Heart Smart(r) Baking Mix, OR 10.6 OZ. Bisquick(r) Shake n
Pour(r) Pancake Mix

Kroger AND ShopRite Only

Betty Crocker Supreme Brownie Save $.50
Save $0.50 when you buy any flavor Betty Crocker(r) Box Supreme Brownie

Betty Crocker Warm Delights Save $1
Save $1.00 when you buy ONE any flavor Betty Crocker(r) Warm Delights(r)
Bowls OR Betty Crocker(r) Warm Delights(r) Minis Bowls.

ShopRite Only

Fur Fighter Refills Save $1
Save $1 off Scotch Fur Fighter Refills for Upholstery.

Scotch Fur Fighter Save $4
Save $4 on a Scotch(tm) Fur Fighter(tm) Hair Remover Starter Kit.

Safeway, King Soopers, Fry's, QFC, Ralphs, Smith's ONLY

Star Olive Oil Save $1
Save $1.00 when you buy ANY Star Olive Oil, 17oz or larger.

80% off at Restaurant.com

Need a break in the kitchen at the end of the week? Or just need to restock your Restaurant.com account? Either way today's a great day to hop on over [click the picture above to link directly] and check out what's available because Restaurant.com is offering all their products at 80%. Personally, I love getting the $25 certificates for $2! And you can do just that until March 31st using discount code COOK.

Most certificates are good for a year but be sure to read the details for each location, as they may differ. So, treat yourself or someone else to dinner out using this deal and it'll cost you much less than usual. And that's definitely a Cool Idea!

School Lunch Options

Yesterday I looked at how much it costs me to make lunches for Comfort and Joy to take to school each day. I spend $2.53 for two lunches each day which is significantly less than the $3.43 which is the national average that parents spend on the lunches with which they send their kids to school.

Would it sometimes be easier to send $2 to school and let them eat with their class? Sure. And sometimes they do. Joy eats with her class once a week as part of her development plan. Comfort probably buys lunch once a month just for fun.

One of the reasons I make their lunches is that I can control what they are going to eat and make sure that it has some nutritional value. I can say that our school does a good job of making nice food for the kids and it starts out as real ingredients and not as food in frozen compartments but it's still institutional food. Also, we try to drink organic milk and juice when possible and that's not an option at school.

It's important to pay attention to the food our children eat at school. Slow Foods USA has information about school food nutrition and a way to write to your elected officials if you're interested in making your voice heard. If you're looking for menus and recipes to help build your kids lunch hop on over to The Lunch Box. And if you want a very illuminating view of school lunch from the inside out hop on over to Fed Up with School Lunch which is a blog being done by a school teacher who is eating what her high school kids eat every day and writing about it.

We've all heard that making sure that tummies are full is the first step to being able to fill up brains but I don't think we want to fill their tummies with just anything. Let's make sure that we're giving them a good start and helping them to build good habits. Personally, I think that's a really Cool Idea!

The Cost of School Lunch

A newsletter came home from school a few weeks ago that said that the average cost of the lunch that a parent sends to school with their child is $3.43. The newsletter's point was that school lunch at $2/ day was cheaper and nutritionally just as good as what a parent would send.

It got me to thinking about how much I was spending on lunch for Comfort and Joy. I was pretty sure it was less - and significantly less- but I've been working to quantify it. For those of you who know who much I enjoy math you'll get a kick out of this. Yes, I'm using Excel and because thankfully it's doing the math for me.

First of all, I took into consideration the items that go into their lunches everyday. My girls eat the same sandwich every day. I tried to mix it up at first but they're toddlers. They don't like a lot of variety.

Milk [organic] for both girls: $0.96
Juice [organic] for Comfort for snack time: $0.20
Bread [3 slices]: $0.10 [Joy only takes half a sandwich each day]
slice of cheese: $0.09
slice of ham: $0.06
Peanut butter: 0.01 [bought on sale and with a Kroger coupon so I paid $0.45 for a 16 oz. jar. It's lasted almost 3 months so far.]
Jelly: $0.01 [This may seem low but Kroger brand jelly on half a sandwich - the jar has lasted over 3 months so far. I probably have another 2 weeks left before I need more.]

So everyday costs are $1.43 total for both girls.

Then there are the other items I put in which aren't always consistent:
baby carrots: $0.07
fruit cups: $0.22
clementines: $0.47 [this is a whole clementine and they each get half]
Goldfish crackers: $0.10 [I stockup when they're on sale for $0.88/ bag]
cookies: $0.42

My plan for building their lunches is a vegetable or a fruit [not both] and crackers or cookies [not both] and I usually alternate who gets the cookies and crackers each day and there's only cookies twice a week - at most.

So the average cost for "others" is probably $0.65-1.00 at the high end and $0.25 -.45 at the low end. This is a total for both girls/ per day.

And, I don't want to forget the start up costs of their reusable BYO Lunch bags, fruit cups, and cool packs. The total for all of this was $18.49 which I divided by the 180 days of school so it comes to $0.10/ day.

So, how much does it cost me to make lunch for Comfort and Joy each day? I decided to take the most expensive option of 'others' [which would be cookies and fruit cup - not that I'd probably pick that option but there you go] and plug a $1 into the formula:
$1.43 for daily stuff
$1.00 for 'other'
$0.10 for start up expenses
$2.53 = how much I spend each day for two school lunches

Not only is this significantly less than the national average but I think I do a fairly good job of a) sending food that is good for them to eat and b) sending food that they'll eat.

What do you remember taking to school for lunch? What do you pack for your kids lunch? Have you figured out how much you spend on school lunch?

Writing Class Giveaways

I posted a week or so ago about the wonderful experiences I had in Revision and Discovery with Lani Diane Rich Well, not only can you sign up for her upcoming classes but you can try to win the classes for FREE!

Yep, hop on over to the NaNoWriMo blog to enter. If you have already signed up for Lani's class and then are lucky enough to win, you're money will be refunded. And isn't that an incredibly Cool Idea!

Free Cone Day, etc.

Tuesday the 23rd has some great freebies if you happen to have a Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shop or a Starbuck's in your area.

First, Ben & Jerry's is having Free Cone Day. Check out the details at your scoop shop. Our's is closed so no free ice cream in Richmond.

Second, Starbucks is offering a free pastry when you buy a coffee tomorrow. Sounds like a wonderful idea unless you gave up sweets for Lent!


March Madness

The Richmond Spiders did pretty well this March but we're out of the game now. No matter whether or not your favorite team makes it to the NCAA Sweet 16 we can all take advantage of the great deals at Kroger. Joy and I did the grocery shopping yesterday afternoon and we did some stocking up. Nothing excessive and only 2 boxes of pasta. So far. I might go back and get some more because it's hard to beat .49/box.

I also found some great organic yogurt on sale which I wouldn't have noticed if it wasn't for a post by Dana at Mrs. Moneysaver. In fact, nothing I got was bought at full price and the only thing that wasn't on special or part of the March Madness promotion was a box of fruit snacks that I had a $1.50 off coupon for from Vocalpoint.

What did I get? Well, I followed the March Madness sales and The Grocery Game and this is what I got: some yogurt, bologna for school lunches, Pop-Tarts, pasta, deoderant, apple juice, Pull-Ups, crackers, and cheese. The total savings was $33.06 or 47%. Not a personal best but it was certainly fulfilling to see those dollars come flying off the register at the end.

Could I have bought more? Sure, but my pantry is in good shape right now. I decided to take a down-the-middle approach and take advantage of the great deals but not get so much stuff that it would be uncomfortable to live here, you know.

Box Tops: Piece of Cake Sweepstakes

Here's a chance for you to win something good for your school and maybe something for yourself. Sounds like a great two-fer, doesn't it!

Box Tops for Education are having the Piece of Cake Sweekstakes when one school will win 100,000 Box Tops and there are daily prizes that you'll definitely think are Cool Ideas!

You can enter every day until April 30th so let's keep going so we can help our schools!

Fantastic Richmond Diaper Deal

It's a great truism that when Ukrop's has a great deal it's a GREAT deal. And today I found a great deal on diapers. Sadly, it wasn't for Huggies which is our brand of choice. It was for Top Care Brand Diapers - all sizes were $4.99 with your UVC card.

Now, I know some people find that all brands are the same and I applaud you. It's not like that for us. We've learned the hard way that Huggies must be worn at night time. Other brands can be worn during the day time or nap time [if that ever happens again] but night time - not so much. At any rate, I grabbed a pack and we're set for the next 23 nap times! We'll save ourselves some cash which is always nice and hopefully, soon, Joy will decide it's time to move full time to big girl pants. And that will be the Coolest Idea of All Time!

Time to Stock Up at Restaurant.com

Here's another great code from Restaurant.com!! Get a $25 certificate for $2 using the discount code BITE.

This offer is good until 3/16 so hop on over and stock up. Remember that most certificates are good for a year but read each restaurant's requirements carefully - and Enjoy!

Catch up on Coupons

Did you know that you can print Red Plum coupons from the internet? You sure can. If you're wanting to add to your coupon caddy this is another awesome source. Just in time for this week's grocery trip!

What Do You Discover?

Sometimes work comes in waves and sometimes it all comes at once. Last week I had several mystery shops and reviews to write. This week I've been focusing on my writing. It was time. I'm done with the Discovery class I took and I was itching to get some stuff on the page.

If you're a writer and not familiar with Storywonk you need to hop over to the forums and check out the audio modules that Lani Diane Rich already posted. There are some real gems in there. I promise.

This was the second class I took with Lani and I loved it as much as the first. I had no expectations though that I would use what I was learning. Not like I did in Revision. That's not to say that I didn't think Lani would teach great stuff - she always does. But I didn't really think I'd find anything to put to use right away. I figured I'd try everything out and then put them back in my brain and let it sit.

What I found is that the Discovery process was a lot more useful to me than I thought. Silly me. I should have had more confidence in the process. And me.

But I like words. I always have. I'm less comfortable with other forms of expression like music and art. But I do like to watch television and movies. I also recognize the brain's capacity to give us great ideas seemingly out of nowhere and help us make connections that we might not have seen before. That's what the Discovery process is about. And more.

Revision is just what you think it would be about. Once you're done with your story Lani goes through story structure and how to take the story you have and revise it with out making yourself nuts. You will work hard because you'll be revising your story as the class goes on but Lani's not checking homework each week. She's just checking to make sure everyone has what they need in order to move forward each week so if you need more time - taking more time is fine.

How does Lani do this? First of all, she's Super Woman. She writes books. She has kids and cats and dogs. And she teaches these great classes online a few times a year. Discovery and Revision are coming up again in a few months. If you are getting ready to begin a new story [Discovery] or have a story that you are just finishing [Revision] I can't recommend Lani's classes enough. Her teaching is informative and fun and the class community is fantastic. This is definitely a Cool Idea!

Search the Web with Swagbucks

Search & Win
So you know that I love getting money for stuff I do anyway. This is why I love Mystery Shopping. I'm gonna eat and grocery shop so I might as well get paid. Right?

Well, Swagbucks is like that, too. You're gonna do online searches so you might as well get something out of it and what you get are swagbucks. You get to decide what to do with your swagbucks just like they get to decide when to give you the Swagbucks but there are some pretty cool things you can get. Personally, I wait and turn mine in for Amazon certificates or PayPal but there are hundreds of choices.

Additional ways to get Swagbucks - you can download the Swagbucks toolbar and they release free swagcodes there. Also, swag codes get released on twitter and Facebook so it pays to follow them on those places.

Fridays are special in Swagbucks land because it's Mega Swagbucks Day and large denomination Swagbuck are given out. Seriously large in fact. So make sure you do some searching on Fridays because it could pay out nicely. And wouldn't that be a Cool Idea!

Great Giveaway at Frugal Upstate!

Remember when people used to polish shoes and get them repaired at the cobbler? I do. We had a great cobbler in the town where I grew up - and that was inside the Washington Beltway!

This time of the year it's good to remember to take care of our shoes. We've been walking through salt and snow perhaps and treating them rather roughly. Help your shoes last longer and keep them looking nicer by using shoe polish!

And to get started right hop on over to Frugal Upstate and enter Jenn's giveaway for a Kiwi Shoe Protection Kit. Included in this kit are:

Kiwi Express Cream Polish-In just a minute give your shoes a great shine, cover scuffs and restore colors-with no buffing!

Kiwi Express Shine Sponge-A great on the go solution! Clear shine liquid and just a touch of color in the sponge.

Kiwi Suede and Nubuck Cleaner-Remove dirt & dust while conditioning & softening the leather.

Kiwi Suede and Nubuck Protector-Creates an invisible shield of a special polymer that protects your shoes against water stairs so they look newer longer.

Kiwi Fast Acting Cleaner-make your sneakers look like new again by swiftly & effectively removing stains.

The winner will also receive a coupon good for $1 off any Kiwi product!

This is definitely a Cool Idea!

New Cellfire Coupons!

These coupons are available on Cellfire for Kroger and Safeway starting Tuesday 03/09/10 can be saved until Monday 03/22/10 and expire Monday 04/05/10. Hop on over to the Cellfire coupon bar and grab yours today!

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

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

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

Yoplait® 32oz Save $.55 - Save $.55 when you buy any flavor 32 OZ. Yoplait® Yogurt.

Honey Nut Cheerios Save $.55 - Save $0.55 when you buy ONE BOX Honey Nut Cheerios® cereal.

Select Cheerios® Save $.75 - Save $.75 when you buy ONE BOX cereal listed- Frosted Cheerios®, Apple Cinnamon Cheerios®, Banana Nut Cheerios®, Fruity Cheerios®, Chocolate Cheerios®

Pillsbury Holiday Cookies Save $.75

Save $0.75 when you buy any TWO Pillsbury® Refrigerated Holiday Cookies

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

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

Betty Crocker Fruit Snacks Save $.50- Save $0.50 when you buy TWO BOXES Betty Crocker® Fruit by the Foot® Fruit Gushers® Fruit Roll-Ups® OR Fruit Roll-Ups® Fruit Stickerz® Fruit Flavored Snacks.

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

Nature Valley Granola Bars Save $.40 - Save $0.40 when you buy ONE BOX any flavor/variety Nature Valley® Granola Bars.

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

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 Toaster Strudel® Save $.55 - Save $0.55 when you buy any TWO Pillsbury® Toaster Strudel® Pastries.

Yoplait Kids Zone Save $.80 - Save $0.80 when you buy TWO any flavor Yoplait® products listed: - Yoplait® Go-GURT® Yogurt - Yoplait® Trix® Multipack Yogurt.

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

Kroger stores Only:
Betty Crocker Supreme Brownie Save $.75 -Save $0.75 when you buy TWO any flavor Betty Crocker® Box Supreme Brownie Mixes.

Betty Crocker 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.

Fur Fighter Refills Save $1 -Save $1 off Scotch Fur Fighter Refills for Upholstery.

Scotch Fur Fighter Save $4 - Save $4 on a Scotch(tm) Fur Fighter(tm) Hair Remover Starter Kit.

Scheduled Maintenance

Not blog maintenance. Car maintenance. I'm not sure anyone would notice if the blog went away. Well, someone might. [Hi, mom!] But the car is very necessary as it's our only vehicle.

So, I was at the car dealer for the scheduled mainenance. I had intended to write my post in the waiting room because they have wifi but I got side-tracked.

First I got side-tracked looking for a power outlet. Last time I was there the place was lousy with outlets. Not anymore. Apparently they want you to be online but not using their power. That works great unless you're there more then 2 hours or you have a netbook. I have a netbook. And I was there for two hours.

Then I got side-tracked watching morning television. I never watch TV in the mornings. EVER. When I get back from taking Comfort and Joy to school I get on the computer and start working. I did have my computer on and started going through my inbox but I was distracted by Kelly and Mark [Regis had the day off] and the recap of the Oscars.

It turns out that morning television keeps on going. Who knew? I also didn't know that Kathie Lee is back on TV. I promise not to go on and on about the questionable color of her hair these days. You know, sometimes we should look more our age. I'm forty and she's older than me, you know. This color can best be called "Nice Try". Well, Kathie Lee and Hoda recapped the Oscars - again.

On the way out the service technician mentioned that my car was parked around the corner but that I couldn't miss it. I knew what he meant. It's because our car is bright RED. I let him know that if he had the ear of anyone at Honda that I wouldn't be buying a family-sized vehicle unless it was RED - not maroon, not pumpkin, not sienna, not 'nice try'- but RED!! Yeah, I like colors that aren't putty and beige

So, back to the Oscars how many red dresses did you see? I don't remember any. None that are on my "wow" list anyway. All the "wow" dresses I recall were pastels or jewel tones. In fact, they might actually have been the color of minivans!

Oscar Goes to the Movies

We are big movie fans at our house. Joy loves the popcorn at the theatre around the corner from our house. Well, everyone does. The Byrd pops the popcorn fresh every day of the year and melts real BUTTER. Yeah, it's good.

Tonight though most of America will be watching to see how their favorite movies, and movie stars, do against each other. It can be a long night. Longer than most movies and you'll need sustainance, right? Personally, I take advantage of events like this to make nachos usually. Yum!

Just to add some more fun to to the evening Hyundai has pulled together a cute collection of movie related recipes all together in a wonderful blog friendly widget. Check it out for great ideas to whip up tonight, then sit back and have a great Oscar night and Enjoy!

Are you Survey Savvy?

I don't get a lot of invites from Survey Savvy and I qualify for even fewer of them but they usually pay at least $2-4 each and don't take very long so it's worth signing up. These surveys pay by check at your request. Definitely a Cool Idea!

Get Paid to Vote for American Idol

Are you fascinated by American Idol? Or maybe you just tune in everyone once in a while? Either way, have you ever officially voted? I know I haven't.
HCDSurveys is following up on the official network voting to find out what the public actually thinks of the 'official' choices. Everyone who is part of their survey system gets a chance to vote and every vote gets you 50 points. So, in effect, you are getting paid to vote for American Idol. Not bad really.
If you aren't part of HCDSurveys, don't worry. There's still time. Hop on over and sign up and you can still make a difference while accruing points in your account and that is definitely a Cool Idea!

Frugal Fruit Cups

Sending the kidlets to school each day with a healthy lunch that they will actually eat has been a daily adventure. I tried sending cut fruit but it got too mushy. Then I tried to send fruit snack cups but there was too much juice in them and the package was too hard for my 4 and 3 year olds to open by themselves. This was clearly evident on the laundry.
Then I decided to take a fresh approach. What if I made my own fruit cups? The snag was finding a container that would stay sealed properly in transit yet was easy enough for the girls to open by themselves.
One day while I was walking up and down the aisles of the grocery store I saw these Rubbermaid containers and decided to give them a try. They, themselves, are not an inexpensive option necessarily but I will tell you that they work like a charm! They don't leak and they work exactly how I hoped they would.
Now, when canned fruit goes on sale and I stock up I make my own fruit cups for Comfort and Joy's lunch. I get to make sure they eat something good for them and it's a frugal options all the way around. Definitely a Cool Idea!

Meet Juan Valdez!

If you live in NY, Miami, Chicago, Seattle, or LA you're in luck. Juan Valdez and his mule, Conchita, are visiting your cities. Pretty Cool.

If, like me, you don't live anywhere close to those places then you can still enjoy some fun with Juan. Hop on over to What's Behind the World's Best Coffee's and learn what makes Columbian coffee different. Yeah, there's a sweepstakes for a chance to win $10,000 or weeky prizes of COFFEE! Definitely Cool!

Now, go and have fun and enjoy a cup.

More March Coupons

The Coupons.com bar has reset and there are some interesting new coupons in addition to the ones we usually find. Scroll through the cereal and yogurt coupons that you usually print out and you'll find a coupon for Gold Medal Flour. Yep. Pretty Cool, too, since people have reported seeing Gold Medal on clearance at CVS in their area. Bundle that up with the coupon and you have some nice, inexpensive flour for baking up bread, cookies, or muffins.

Also, don't forget to load your Upromise e-coupons to your loyalty cards. Sign into your Upromise account and do it before you forget. If you don't have an Upromise account you can click on the bright blue button down the page to sign up. It's super easy and you earn money toward future college savings for anyone you want. That is definitely a Cool Idea!

Flower Power: Help Kids and Get a Great Garden

I saw crocuses in someone's lawn today so I know spring is coming soon so that mean's it's time to think about the garden. Even living in the city we try to plant someting every year so that the kidlets can see it grow. Last year we had cherry tomatoes on the back porch which fed Joy all summer long. I also have a beautiful lavender plant by the front door that the girls pick from as we walk by.

One thing I love to do is double up my blessings. This year I'm building my garden and helping an organization with which I work. SynerGeo does afterschool art programs for city kids. It's a non-profit organization and in this time of economic stress fundraising is a challenge. That's why I've ordered my new plantings from Flower Power.

This is a great fundraiser for SynerGeo because Flower Power will mail the plants directly to you at the appropriate time for planting. Also, plants are guaranteed. If you have any trouble you just give them a call and they will send you a new one or credit your account.

This is entirely online this year so you don't have to worry about contacting me or being near Richmond. The link takes you to our online store and each item will let you know the details about each plant.

So hop on over to Flower Power and check out the beautiful plants. If there's something you were going to buy for your yard anyway why don't you get it here. It'll help a kid have afterschool programs that they wouldn't otherwise get and personally I think that's a Cool Idea. Thank You.