Cartoon Critique

Even though Comfort and Joy are 4 and 3, respectively, we've only been watching cartoons on TV for a few months. We have a stash of videos that we watched a lot of before but we didn't watch TV with them until Snowmageddon then our downstairs TV became permanently tuned to Nick Jr. That's when I noticed a few things:

There are no parents in these cartoons.

Was it always like this? Even when we were kids? Well, of course. In fact, the cartoons we watched were seriously violent, too. Roadrunner and Coyote anyone? Of course, we were also introduced to classic music through cartoon. Now, that only happens on Little Einsteins and, maybe, Wonderpets.

There were parents in The Flinstones, and their futuristic counterpart - The Jetsons, but you could argue that The Flinstones didn't actually have kids in the show until later on. It was about a family but not necessarily a family with kids. The Jetsons had kids right from the beginning. And Astro, we can't forget about him.

But now that I sit and watch shows with the girls you can't say that there are many good family role models on cartoons. Little Bear has parents. So does Olivia. And Little Bill has parents and Alice the Great, too.

On the other hand Dora is out roaming the world with her backpack getting her stuff swiped by whatever that other thing is. And as the group on Facebook asks, "Just where the heck are Max and Ruby's parents?"

Even though we don't see actual parent on these cartoons, are they implied? Wonderpets has the voices of adults at the beginning of the show. Kai Lan has Ya Ya, her grandfather. Or maybe it's just the bringing together of a community. That's not a bad thing. Kids need to know that their Village is there for them. Because we know it takes more than parents to keep up with our kids.

Pampers Points to Grow

We're a Huggies family and I love getting Enjoy the Ride Rewards in each package. If you want to find some more codes check out the posts at Common Sense with Money. Mercedes keeps a running list that people send to her.

For those of you who are collecting Pampers Points to Grow, Kroger has started giving them to me at the check out. Here are a total of 20 points to help or to get you started. Enjoy.


Review: One eskimO

My musical tastes are a bit eclectic and neglected. Yes, I'm one of those people who fondly remembers the music from when they were 13 - but I have to admit that I've been trying to branch out of early '80s music. It's good to try new things. Especially to find out if I like things that other people do, too.

One eskimO's self-titled debut album is out in stores and I was given the opportunity to check it out and do a review. Knowing that their hit #1 song "Kandi" was the most played song on all adult rock radio stations for the past four weeks, and counting, was impressive. Then I heard it and found it running through my head over and over again. But in a good way. Wanna check out the video?

There are other songs on this album that are equally as engaging in a vibe-music kind of way. Here's the playlist: Hometime, Astronauts [download for free via Twitter], Kandi, Slip, Simple Day, Givin Up, Chocolate, All Balloons, Chosen One, UFO, and Amazing.

One eskimO is touring in May and June so if you're interested in finding out how to see them in person check out their Facebook  or their website page to learn more. Hop on over to check out their tour dates ,too. The music is interesting without being the same thing you're going to hear from every other band. At least that was my impression. I'd love to know what you think.

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of One eskimO's album to review. All thoughts and reviews are my own.

Do You Grade Your Trips to the Grocery?

I'm a bit competitive. Just a bit. I know this about myself enough that if I were to actually devote myself to something in the competitive realm I'd probably give myself a heartache going after the endeavor. Thankfully there's not enough time in the day to track everything that I'd like to.

But Kroger has this nifty line on the receipt called "Percent Saved". Have you noticed? Gosh, I love this. Of course, it takes into account anything that's marked down on the shelf, as well as, coupons you might have. My goal is to be at least 45%. The highest 'percent saved' I've had is 65%. I know of others who use The Grocery Game for whom 65% is the norm. I don't think they buy diapers!

Last night was not my finest 'Percent Saved' as I came in at 36% but I got some good deals. The large box of Huggies diapers were $8.50 off after all the great deals and my coupons, Kroger included a $5 off $25 in a recent mailing, and I had manufacturer's coupons that were all doubled. If I hadn't had $40 worth of diapers and training pants and $10 worth of wine I know that this would have been one of my 'best' grocery shops ever and definitely a Cool Idea to double check our plans every once in a while to make sure they still work for us.

Review + coupon: Scrubbing Bubbles Extend-A-Clean

Have I mentioned how much I just love to clean the shower? Oh, yeah. Just love it. Ranks up there with vacuuming. But we all know it has to get done. I usually clean the shower while Joy is getting in some quality potty training time. I don't have a huge space to clean since we have a separate shower/ tub but the shower floor is textured so it takes a lot of patience and muscles.

So, when I was offered the opportunity to test out a new product to extend the time between shower cleanings I hit the reply button incredibly fast. And so far I'm glad I did.

Usually I wait to give you my experience after I've used a product 3-4 times but I wanted to go ahead and give you my first impressions. Personally, I've always liked the foaming action of Scrubbing Bubbles. I remember the little animated guys from the commercial and they just make me happy. But as I got older and stopped using aerosoles I had to leave behind the Scrubbing Bubble guys. But no more. Today you can be environmentally friendly and have Scrubbing Bubbles!! How? Because the power sprayer is magic. Just magic.

Well, I could explain how the sprayer works but you don't need to know that. What you do need to know is that it has a one-touch trigger. This is brilliant, let me tell you. No more pump trigger action all over your shower causing your fingers and hand to ache. If you have hand pain or know somone who does than this feature may really sway them.

But the cleaning part is great, too. You spray on Scrubbing Bubbles Extend-A-Clean Power Sprayer then wipe with a damp sponge and rinse. The water then forms a film [a good film] over your shower to keep dirt/ soap scum and other icky stuff from adhering to it. The next time you turn on the water the dirt rinses right off, leaving behind a thinner layer of film, etc, etc, which should last for about four days.

Because I'm on day two of this cleaning I can't tell you all of my findings but I can tell you that:
  • This smells great!
  • So easy to use!
  • You keep the trigger!! Refills are available for less cost and screw onto the trigger.
And in case you are so intrigued by this and want to run out RIGHT NOW and get it Mid-Atlantic Area Kroger's have them on sale this week [until Saturday, May 22]. Use the $5 coupon from the SmartSource insert from 4/11/2010 and you can get the Scrubbing Bubbles Power Sprayer Starter for $1. There is also a $1 coupon in SmartSource from 4/11/2010 for the refill.

Disclaimer: I was supplied the Scrubbing Bubbles Extend-A-Clean Power Sprayer product and an additional refill to test for my review. Any opinions are entirely my own.

Wrong Bra Size Anyone?

Unless you own a measuring tape and know the formula for doing your own bra size odds are that it's been a while since the last time you were 'professionally measured'. And since our bodies change from year to year - and [ahem] decade to decade - there's a better than good chance that many of us are running around in the wrong size bra. In fact, seven out of 10 of us are wearing the wrong size!

Playtex is making offering a contest to making getting a bra fitting even more attractive. They've created a new site where you can enter to win a fitting for yourself or someone you know.Women can go to apply for a bra makeover or nominate a friend. If chosen, the winner will be flown to New York to receive a Bra Makeover with style expert Alison Deyette. Deyette is a fashion and trend lifestyle expert who has been featured on Bravo's Millionaire Matchmaker and TLC's Ten Years Younger, as well as in print publications including Good Housekeeping, The Washington Post, and O Magazine. Apply for your chance to win a Playtex Bra Makeover today. The last day to apply is Friday, May 21st, 2010.

The 10 winners selected for a Bra Makeover will also star in their very own webisode wherein a makeover candidate will receive a fitting with Deyette and walk away with the perfect Playtex products. A new webisode will premier on http://www.playtexbramakeover/.com every two weeks.

By posting this information, I am entered into a contest to win a free bra from Playtex. I did not receive any compensation for this post and thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Chicken Stock: The Farmer's Market Edition

I'm amazed at how easy it is to make my own chicken stock. Really.Until last year I was buying it in a box or - gasp - a can. I know. Horrors. Now I use the crockpot. So easy!

The base of my stock is the carcass of our weekly rotisserie chicken from Costco. I'm pretty sure I've written about this before, but it's just one more way to be frugal and use every little bit of the bird. Especially a bird as big and convenient as the ones from Costco.

When I get around to actually making the stock I throw in whatever is in my fridge that is a 'stock like' veggie. Got some carrots that are past their prime? Throw them in. Wilted celery? Perfect.

How about seasoning? That's where I err on the light side. These rotisserie chickens already have seasonings so I throw in a bay leaf, some peppercorns, maybe some dried minced onion and call it good.

But today was a bit different. The Farmer's Market has been going on for a few weeks now so we have some great veggies in the fridge. We also have some from a few weeks ago that are definitely past their prime. And this week I was introduced to green garlic for the first time.

Making stock gave me a chance to clear out the wilted carrots - many of them - and to utilize the tops of the green garlic to add some wonderful onion-y flavor to the stock. The green tops of many veggies are often overlooked but making stock is a wonderful time to utilize them when you are able. Green garlic, scallions, and other similar stalk items would work wonderfully and impart a different flavor by using the tops rather than the bottom. It's wonderfully frugal, too, to use the entire item. And definitely a Cool Idea!

Stamp out Hunger

This Saturday, May8th is Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. Giving is easy. Put out a bag of non-perishable food by your mailbox and your mail carrier will pick it up.

Yep, just one more way to help others and help work your way through your pantry at the same time. Definitely a Cool Idea.

Don't forget that you can connect with Couponing for Community through Facebook and Twitter.

Samples For Your Local Shelters

Yesterday we talked about how you can use your weekly shopping, coupons, and pantry tithing to help your local food pantry. Today let's look at through the bathroom and linen closet.

Do you have a stash of samples and freebies that regularly come in the mail? Or do you travel regularly and pick up hotel soap and shampoos? We get samples in the mail and sometimes I find real gems. Other times I request samples of personal items but it's not a brand I use. I put these in a bag that I keep at a ready then I give it to a friend who passes it along to our local women's shelter. I have samples of feminine protection, shampoo, lotion, etc.

In case your house is bulging at the seams with samples keep in mind that churches and shelters may need these items for their clients, too. Making connections with organizations in your community isn't difficult and it'll be a rewarding opportunity to pass along items that might otherwise go unneeded at your house yet make  huge difference in someone elses life. And isn't that the reason we want to step in and help.

Pantry Tithing
So, how's your stockpile doing? Have you looked through your pantry lately and noticed some items that you thought might be a good idea at the time but now are just taking up space? Have you noticed more and more great deals at the grocery?

If you answered yes to these [or even just one of them] then it's time to take advantage of some great deals and your natural, or hard-learned, coupon work to help others in need.

Community Food Banks and local food pantries get plenty of attention around Thanksgiving but especially in these trying economic times it's not unusual for them to be empty or running low come the end of the month. Most in the Richmond area can only give families a 3-day emergency supply of food while they help them to make a plan for the future. While I agree that this sounds like a wonderful idea we know that things are different these days.

So, here are some things that we can do to help:
1. Use your coupons to help. Do you have coupons that you're not going to use for items that are a great deal? If you go ahead and buy it will it significantly increase your receipt or cause you hardship? If the answer to the latter is no, then why don't you go ahead and add it to your cart then put it in a bag for your local food pantry.
2. Use your grocery stores weekly deals to help. Does your store run 10/$10 deals or something similar? Do you regularly take part in these deals? How about if you add one or two more to your cart for the food pantry?
3. Use your own stockpile to help. If you've been using coupons for a while then odds are you might have developed a substantial stockpile. Right now I have 10 boxes of pasta. Will I use all of those boxes? Yes, I will. But I can certainly share then right now. Call it Pantry Tithing maybe - for every 10 items you have in your pantry pick one item to share with your local food pantry. Make sure it's non-perishable and useful and be sure to check the expiration dates [something we should do in the pantry periodically, anyway] and add it to the bag.

There you go. These are just off the top of my head so I know they aren't definitive. What ideas do you have for helping local food pantries in your area?

And if you're interested in finding out what others are doing this week as part of the Couponing for Community week head over to the Facebook event page where you can post comments or pictures!!

Fabulous Garlic Bread

It's probably not often that you get great recipes off of daily moneywise reminders - that is unless you are subscribed to Everyday Cheapskate. I've gotten so many great recipes - including great updates from Erin at $5 Dinners - that I stay subscribed just because I never know what I'll hear next. Last week this recipe was listed and I decide to test it out - you know, just in case;) Yeah, I took one for the team.
And, I ate it all!!
It was that good!
So, go subscribe to the Everyday Cheapskate email and be sure to make this garlic break because these are the best Cool Ideas in a long time!! Even though I don't usually like sage and spice and green stuff!
Fantastic Garlic Bread

1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon sage
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 French baguette, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste

Preheat oven to broil. In a medium bowl combine butter, mayonnaise, sage, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Spread mixture evenly on bread and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Place bread under broil for 5 minutes, or until lightly toasted.