Monday, February 27, 2012 Leg Warmers, Tights, & Socks ALL $4 (through Feb. 29th)

To celebrate leap year, Baby Legs is offering ALL their leg warmers, tights, and socks for $4 each, with shipping only $4, too! (no promo code needed!) Baby Legs is the only brand I have bought (when they had a fantastic sale a few months ago), and I recommend them (although I'm sure other companies make good leg warmers, too)

I love using leg warmers on my daughter, and wish I had known about them when my son was born two years ago! They make diaper changes so much easier, while still keeping socks on the feet and my little girl warm! They work well under her dresses and full-body sleepers.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pinterest: Baby Owl Hat

Pinterest is definitely addicting. I have been trying to keep mine simple and using it for things I want to try making myself, or at least to give me ideas when I start a new project for the house.

This weekend I was laid up with a sinus infection & cold, so I finally got around to crocheting one of the animal hats I've been drooling over... I chose to make my daughter a baby owl hat. And I LOVE it!

And I got one of the things from Pinterest checked off my list!

If you haven't gotten on Pinterest yet, but would like to see what all the hype is about, just email me at texasmama10 at gmail dot com and I'll send you an invite!

(Sorry, I didn't follow directions of any sort... I love crocheting and I just winged it, so I can't help you out with how to make one! I'm sure there are directions somewhere that would simplify the process, but I just played around with the size until it fit my daughter)

"Re-Purposing": A T-Shirt into a Kitchen Dish Rag

You know how I mentioned that I want to start tackling the clutter around my house and either re-purposing it or getting rid of it? I love to crochet, so at long last I have gotten around to trying out some ideas I've seen on Pinterest. One idea I've wanted to try was cutting t-shirts into "yarn" and crocheting them into different things. I had several men's undershirts that needed to be thrown out, and I need some new dish rags, so I tried my hand at it this weekend. And I loved the results. Two undershirts has produced four nicely textured rags for me to wipe up messes in my kitchen (or off my toddler...). Here's what I did:

- One old shirt (I used a ribbed undershirt)
- Sewing scissors (or any sharp scissors)
- Large crochet hook (I used a size K)

Making the "Yarn": (20 minutes, but time may vary)
- Start cutting at the bottom. If there is a bulky seam/hem, cut it off.
- I cut the "yarn" about 1/4" wide... With this material, I wouldn't go any skinnier. You can experiment and make it thicker if you want.
- Continue cutting around and around to keep the "yarn" continuous.
- When you get up under the armpits, you can decide if you want to stop there, or use the front & back, too. If you do, cut it like a "z" so it's still continuous.
- Roll your "yarn" into a ball.

Crocheting the Dish Rag (appr. 8"x8" for mine, about 20-30 minutes):
Row 1: Chain(ch) 19.
Row 2: Turn and single crochet(sc) in the 2nd chain from hook, all the way across (18 stitches total). Ch 3 and turn.
Row 3: Double crochet (dc) in second stitch from hook all the way across (18 stitches total when you count the first  ch. 3 as a dc). Ch 1 and turn.
Row 4: Sc in 1st stitch from hook, all the way across (again, your total should be 18... I keep counting when I crochet so I make sure I don't lose a stitch along the way and then have intended square become a fan-shape). Chain 3 and turn.
Rows 5-14: Repeat rows 3 & 4. Cut your yarn about 2" and tie off, then weave the dishcloth into some of your stitches. (one shirt made two washclothes for me)

If you used a shirt that is 100% cotton and white, you should have no problems bleaching it! And it won't scratch your pots & pans, and should provide some great texture for those stubborn spots of dried food on the counters!

Enjoy! If you have any questions, just let me know, and I will try to get back with you as soon as possible!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Valentine's Day Giveaway winner is...

The winner of the beautiful Peony Headband in honor of Valentine's Day is...

Amy V.

Congratulations! Thanks to everyone who entered this giveaway, and don't forget that Baby Sprout Boutique is offering a 10% discount off any purchase with the promo code "SavingWithASmile" through Tuesday, February 21st over in her Etsy shop! And remember, Baby Sprout Boutique also does custom orders, so if you don't see something exactly in the colors you want, contact them about working with you to make something you will love!

Recyclebank: $2/1 Kashi Product coupon (available again)

So excited to see that Recyclebank is once again offering the popular $2/1 Kashi product printable coupon for 100 points! It was gone for a few weeks, and I started getting worried :-). I LOVE Kashi breakfast cereals. Kashi cereal and snack bars often go on sale for $3 in my area, making for some very cheap organic products with this coupon!

There are also lots of new opportunities to earn more points. If you're new to Recyclebank, you can sign-up for free, then start earning points by watching short videos, answering questions, etc... which you can redeem for coupons and other products. This is my favorite coupon they offer.

* The above contains my affiliate links to earn extra Recycle Bank points, since they offer referral credit when you invite friends!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sheetz Freebie: Bag of M&M's

If you live near a Sheetz gas station, do you have a MySheetz card (completely free), and have you signed up to get their emails? Every month Sheetz loads a special freebie to your card... Look at the current freebie: a bag of M&M's*. Yummy!

Along with regular freebies, there are other savings like $.03 off per gallon of gas, special prices on drinks, and for every 10 drinks you buy, you get one free... 

* The bag of M&M's offer is loaded to current cardholders cards... If you don't have one, sign-up for one so you don't miss out on the next offer!

Save the Date: FREE Auntie Anne's on March 3rd!!!

I need to tell my dad about this one, because he is addicted to Auntie Anne's pretzels... Mark your calendars, because on March 3rd you can stop by your local Auntie Anne's and get a FREE original or cinnamon sugar pretzel between 10am-3pm! (no purchase necessary, and no strings attached!)

Thanks, Money Saving Mom!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Redbox: FREE Valentine's Day Rental (Facebook Offer)

Redbox is offering a FREE rental on Valentine's Day on Facebook. "Like" Redbox on Facebook, then send your friends a Valentine's Card that includes a promo code for a free rental. And make sure someone sends you one back!

Don't forget you can also send a Bath & Body Works valentine for FREE that includes a coupon for a FREE travel size item!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The "Couponing" Adventure: Exciting, rewarding, but not always healthy...

I daily follow several bloggers to keep up-to-date with coupons & deals. Doing this has saved my little family of four a lot of money in various areas. We have lived well and stayed within our monthly budget (for the most part) over the last year, and I know that takes a lot of hard work.

Over the last few months, I've been noticing a tension starting to build as I read the latest blog posts, scour the most recent "scenarios" to get a good deal, or look at the mounting pile of coupons in my coupon bin (I toss all coupons, weekly flyers, etc... into a bin until I get to tackle them so they don't take over my house). Many days I'm simply just overwhelmed! I try to remind myself that I spent most of 2011 pregnant. I spent the remainder of the year learning to balance two kids under two. My pile of "Garage Sale" items in the basement has been steadily growing. Yet I still feel like I should be doing more!

I have loved the "couponing" adventure this last year, but you know what? It's not always healthy. Yes, it's healthy for us to stick to our budget, eat well, and give generously. But as I read posts and/or comments of fellow deal-seekers and couponers, I have started comparing myself to their lifestyles, or feeling guilty for not doing a certain deal, trying a specific frugal tip, saving more towards future purchases, or giving to others as much as some of the examples I see. Here are some *silly* examples (they are silly, primarily because I have spent so much time worrying about them!) of what I'm talking about:

- I felt guilty about the fact that I didn't give our UPS driver, mailman, garbage man, or my son's Sunday School teacher Christmas gifts*. We had decided to stick to just immediate family this year, but yet I was torn because so many others were posting ideas for gifts for various service areas.
- I use name brand laundry detergent*. Gulp. I don't make my own laundry detergent. I know it's much cheaper to go that route, but throughout the summer/fall I paired coupons with some great sales and got name brand detergents for around $2 a bottle or less. So we use that.
- I didn't order personalized stamps during a sale in December, when I could have gotten them cheaper than buying them at the post office*. (I didn't see the deal until the last night it was available, it was late at night, a I just couldn't pry my eyes open any longer since my daughter was only 6 weeks old.) I kicked myself for this again this week when I had to go to the Post Office to buy stamps @ $.45 each.
- I look at drugstore flyers every Sunday and think if there is possibly a way I could get my coupons together and brave taking my toddler and infant daughter with me to CVS or Rite Aid*. I wear myself out thinking about all the details required for that kind of feat.
- My son is almost two and we haven't started his college fund yet*. There is just truly no where in our budget to pull this from right now.
- This week, I'm only giving a Valentine's Card to my husband*. We mutually agreed to not do gifts for each other. And I didn't hand create Valentine's for our friends, families at our church, or for my 2 year old son's friends. I'm not even giving him one! And we're not buying him any candy.

Do you ever have those kind of moments? I have been realizing I've losing sight in some ways about why I use coupons and follow deals. I started this coupon adventure to save money, live well within our budget, and have money to give to others. Along the way I have somehow started feeling guilty that I'm not doing more... I realized that my mindset started shifting from helping us live within our budget/lifestyle, to trying to cram as many deals into our budget/lifestyle as I could.

So I'm recognizing how great this adventure is, but also how if I let it, it can be harmful to me as well. I need to spend more time being thankful that my husband has a steady job, that we have a small stockpile of basics in our basement, we eat a lot more fresh produce & meats since I started on this journey, and staying within our budget has enabled me to stay home with my two small children! My life is good and full when I don't compare it to other couponers/bloggers!

So if you've had any of those type thoughts, remind yourself of the positive changes (or consistencies) in your family budget & lifestyle, instead of focusing on all the things you don't (or can't) do. Do YOUR best, do what you CAN do. You are making a difference in your home/family!

* I am (and have been) encouraged by so many other bloggers & couponers as they have shared various deals, coupons, DIY ideas for the around the house, and holiday gift ideas. My intent in this article is not to criticize or condemn any of those things as wrong, because they are all great and generous things to do! I am just showing examples of how I personally have fallen victim of the comparison game and put myself down for not achieving everything that "everyone" else does, instead of focusing on what I CAN do with my time & money that help us live well and within our budget/lifestyle. Not a single one of us can do it all!

Amazon: Two FREE Agatha Christie E-Books

The Mysterious Affair at Styles
Head over to Amazon to grab "Secret Adversary"
and "The Mysterious Affair at Styles" for FREE right now! If you don't own a Kindle, you can still read these books on a variety of free Kindle reading apps (on your PC, Mac, Android, iPad, smartphone, etc...). Enjoy!

Review & Giveaway: Little Girl Peony Headband (1 Winner!)

To celebrate Valentine's Day, I am hosting a giveaway! One lucky reader will win a beautiful peony headband from Baby Sprout Boutique.

Baby Sprout Boutique specializes in beautifully handcrafted headbands, "bean" stockings (leg warmers), and other infant shabby chic accessories. Each unique piece created is one-of-a-kind. Baby Sprout Boutique also takes custom orders, so if you see something you like, but would like different colors or something slightly different, just contact the owner, Courtney. Courtney is a work-at-home mom of an adorable toddler boy. You can see her work on Etsy or Facebook (She often offers sale/discounts to Facebook fans!).

The peony headband on my daughter (pictured above) is a Baby Sprout Boutique creation. I love how feminine it is, yet with a little bit of sass! The headband is high-quality and fits Eliana's head well, without slipping or being too snug. And I've had a hard time keeping her in headbands for very long! She pulls them down regularly! The headband also fits my 2 yr. old son's head, although a little snug since he has a very large head (and for his sake, I did NOT take a picture of him wearing it...). I just wanted to try it on to see if it would fit a toddler girl, and I think it would, if she has a normal size head! These headbands definitely take a traditional headband/bow and sets a whole new standard!

Now here's the fun part... Baby Sprout Boutique not only graciously provided me with a headband for my daughter in exchange for an honest review, but also one for one lucky reader! Here's the beautiful Valentine's headband that I am giving away! Classy black & white fabric gently rolled into peonies, with a small white rose bud inlaid with a rhinestone to add some sparkle, both of which are set off with a rich red headband. This piece would be wonderful for Valentine's, Christmas, or just about any time of year!

Would you like to win this for your daughter/granddaughter? Do you know someone with a little girl, or expecting a little girl, who would enjoy dressing up a cute outfit? You can earn multiple entries in this giveaway. Just follow the directions for each method, then click "Did It" after you complete each thing! This giveaway will end Monday night, 2/13, and the winner will be announced on Valentine's Day, 2/14!

Baby Sprout Boutique is also offering 10% anything in their Etsy shop with promo code "SavingWithASmile", good through Tuesday, Feb. 21st!

$1.50/1 YoKids Organic Yogurt (Facebook Offer)

Head over to YoKids Yogurt on Facebook, and "like" them. Then enter the Yo Kids Giveaway, and you will be emailed a coupon for $1.50/1 YoKids coupon. Limit 1 Print*, and 1 per household (so this is not the time to register your husband, too--When it's one per person, reigistering other adults who reside with you is a great idea! But be honest about who actually lives with you, and their age, don't register friends/extended family, etc...).

Thanks, Hip2Save!

* When a company/site specifies one offer/print per household, we need to honor that. Registering another family member who also resides in your household is not couponing with integrity. Also do not attempt to copy or reprint, take screen shots, etc... to get another coupon. This is coupon fraud, and the store you use the coupon at will not be reimbursed for the fake coupon, which is harmful to the store, and eventually to us as couponers, because high-value coupons will become less and less available. Enjoy the one nice coupon you have, and remain a couponer of integrity!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

TinyPrints: $.99 Valentines Cards, plus FREE shipping (today only)

Today you can create and order a Valentines Day Card for only $.99 with promo code "DODVDAY". When checking out, if you select "Send it to me first", you also get FREE SHIPPING. I just ordered one, and my arrival date said 2/10. (If you want to mail it directly to a person, TinyPrints will mail it for $.45, the price of a stamp.)

Thanks, For the Mommas!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Bath & Body Works: Send a FREE Valentine, with a coupon for a FREE item!

This one is so easy to do, and literally costs nothing! Head over to Bath & Body Works Facebook page to send a FREE Facebook Valentine to a friend. Your friend can then print of a coupon for a FREE Signature Collection travel-size item of their choice, no purchase necessary. The coupon is valid in-stores from February 14th-20th.

Make sure to have a friend send you one back!

(I sent one to my husband so he can pick up a present for me!)

TinyPrints: FREE Valentine's Card (plus free shipping!)

Head over to Facebook to get a FREE Valentine's Card from Tiny Prints!

I ordered one from TinyPrints for my hubby a few weeks ago, and it came out fabulous. I'm going to actually send it to him at work as a surprise. ;-p

Enjoy all the frugal & fun ideas to celebrate Valentine's Day, but remember the most important thing your family and friends will love it YOU. So give lots of hugs, slow down to cuddle with your family, and take time to laugh with friends!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Saving With A Smile is now on Pinterest!

This blog is officially on Pinterest! Feel free to follow me there! (and be patient as I start pinning and organizing things. It might take a few weeks to get it off the ground)

I love lists and files and organization, so I definitely love Pinterest... When I see an idea I love, I can immediately "pin it" to remember for later! Plus, I like the fact that the original source is captured so that people get credit for their creativity... I don't want to portray something as my own that is not. Because I'm a visual person, I love actual pictures of projects, so when I share something on my blog, I love sharing pictures of the finished product (and projects in progress). But I will always link back to give credit to where I got the idea from if I copied it from somewhere else. Let's continue to fight the battle for integrity in everything we do!

Re-Purpose Project: Hair Clip Display Board

I have been on a mission the last few months to see what I can re-purpose around my house instead of buying new (even scrounging around my craft room before going to buy new supplies for a project). My latest project was making my daughter a hair clip display board. I forget what color bows & flowers I have if they're stuffed in a drawer, not to mention the fact that they end up all over the house from wherever she got undressed. Here's what I used:

An old 12x12 photo display board (padded) I no longer used

A remnant of fabric from decorating my daughter's nursery, leftover ribbon from some previous sewing project, & my hot glue gun

First, I ironed the fabric super smooth. Then I removed the brown ribbon and decorative push-pins from the old board. I took my hot glue gun and glued the new fabric right over the old fabric... I glued the fabric on the sides and back to keep it secure, so the glue doesn't show on the front (see the previous fabric still showing?)

Then I cut three ribbons: one I glued in the center, then one on either side.

Finished board: 

I love it!!! FREE Valentine's Card (+ FREE Shipping & FREE Stamp!)

 Every day is offering 10,000 FREE Valentine's Cards with promo code "10KPEOPLE" (you don't even have to enter your credit card info). Starting at 9amEST, it's on a first-come, first-serve basis.

I received my cards in the mail this week, and wanted to share something really cool: when checking out, if you select the "Print my return address and recipient address (includes FREE Standard Shipping and FREE Stamps)" option, it actually works! So not only do you get a FREE card, FREE shipping, but you also get a FREE stamp on the envelope.
Crazy, right? But so cool... I ordered 4 cards last week with two different promo codes available at the time (two with my account, two with my husband's account). So I received FOUR cards spending absolutely nothing out of pocket, and won't have to spend anything to mail them, either!

Thanks for the reminder, Saving and Giving!

"Re-Purposing": A 2012 Priority

Over the last month, I have tried to spend time thinking over some of my "Priorities" for 2012. One of them is "re-purposing" items around the house (that I'm no longer using, or rarely use), to meet a need we currently have. Living within our family budget is rewarding & challenging. I love how we live (most days), but it takes intentionally and focusing on priorities to stay on track!

As we prepared for the arrival of our daughter in October (she's almost 4 months now!!!), we had to start clearing out areas of the house to make more room. I was amazed at the various items that surfaced: some of them went immediately into our garage sale boxes in the garage, but others have found new ways to be used again. 

I personally learn a lot from friends & other moms online, so I figured I can start incorporating ways to share things I'm "re-purposing" around the house, and y'all can share ideas, too! One of the books I read in January was Money Saving Mom's Budget*, and I was challenged by the concept of "de-cluttering". So I've started tackling each room in my house, one by one. The book suggests doing it in a day, but for me that hasn't been realistic (and I'm trying to get better about not putting unrealistic expectations on myself!). One room at a time has been successful and encouraging!

Have you "re-purposed" anything recently around your house?

* This is NOT my affiliate/referral link, it is the link from Money Saving Mom's website, because 100% of the proceeds of her book go to support Compassion International. If you share this book with friends online on Facebook/Twitter/Blog, share Money Saving Mom's link and not your own Amazon affiliate link, to honor the author's desire to support this wonderful ministry!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Target: $6 for 50ct. Breastmilk Storage Bags

Through this Saturday, Feb. 4th, you can pick up 50ct. boxes of Breast milk storage bags for $6 each, normally $9.99.  This is the lowest I think I've every seen them, actually. These are hard to find coupons for, and this sale makes them 40% off their normal price! If you're (or were) a breastfeeding mom, where do you find great deals for nursing supplies?

Giant Eagle: FREE Brawny Paper Towel Rolls!!!

 Through February 8th, you can score FREE single rolls of Brawny paper towels at Giant Eagle (or cheap rolls at any other stores that double coupons). Brawny "Big Rolls" are on sale 10/$10, and there is currently a printable coupon for $.55/1 (look under household). According to the Giant Eagle coupon policy, you can get two rolls for FREE when your coupon is doubled!!! (the coupon will have to be adjusted down since Giant Eagle doesn't allow overage, and they also made a new rule that you can only use two "same" internet coupons per transaction now...)