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Cash back on my groceries!!

10 Aug

Being a mom of 3 girls, I am always looking for ways to save…… So if you haven’t heard of this app, you need to take a look at Checkout 51!  If any of the items listed are on your grocery list, you just upload receipt and get cash back. I have been using IBotta  for a while, but I just now started this one. I’ve uploaded 2 receipts and have money already accumulating.

Why not earn cash on items you already buy!!


Does the Scale Really Show True Fat Weight Loss?

28 Apr

Along with tracking my eating on my Fitness Pal and exercising, it was depressing  that I was not seeing the results on the scale! In 6 weeks, I had only lost a couple of pounds.

I previously wrote a post about My Fitness Pal, which expains how this App has helped me, but forgot to mention the other App that I use along with it.

Only 2 Pounds?

Even though I hate seeing pictures of myself, especially being overweight, I took a picture of myself before I started working out and took my measurements. I mentioned earlier that in 6 weeks, I had only lost 2 pounds. I was upset about only losing a couple of pounds because I had been working out 3 times a week doing boot camp and was eating healthy. How could I have only lost 2 pounds? I found the perfect App that put things in perspective for me!



BodyShot IS my motivation. I used that first picture I took, the one I didnt even want to look at, then took another one after the 6 weeks. I saw weight loss in the pictures and realized at that time, not to go by the scale when assessing weight loss. Muscle weighs more than fat and my body was changing, but the scale did not show it!!

BodyShot shows your pictures before and after by displaying them side by side which I love!! See how the pictures are displayed here. Enter your measurements and it calculates your BMI and actual fat weight loss. I was seeing results each 6 weeks and was more motivated than ever to keep losing!

imageThat 2 pounds I lost on the scale, was actually 8 pounds of fat that was gone! Looking at the first picture, compared to the pictures now 1 year later, it inspires me to keep going! Weight loss does not happen overnight. It is a lifestyle change of eating habits, exercising, and motivation!

My Fitness Pal and BodyShot are 2 Apps that are my motivation and I will continue using them until I reach my goal!

My Fitness Pal is FREE. BodyShot is $2.99, but in my opinion, worth every cent!! I tried MANY similar Apps, but wasted my time and money! If yoku are like me and get frustrated because of not seeing the results on the scale, or you just need that extra motivation, then BodyShot is worth the $2.99. Even if you are already on your weight loss journey, it’s not too late to start. Take your first picture today and it will help keep you on track and keep you motivated!

See My Fitness Pal in more detail in a previous post, Are You Up For the Challenge?

More Tips?

Summer Crafts: Teaching Kids With Homemade Play Dough

24 Apr

imageIt will not be long til all school age kids are off for the summer and I am excited to be able to spend more time with the kids. But if your kiddos are anything like mine, after a couple of weeks, I go from being a full time stay at home mom, to a full time REFEREE!

This is why I make sure and have plenty of things for my kids to do on the days we are all home so that they are busy having fun with activities and crafts, therefore, there are fewer moments where I have to play referee! As a former teacher, now a stay at home mom, I make sure they are doing fun crafts and activities but I also take this opportunity to either teach or reinforce learning skills.

Homemade Play Doughimage

Reinforce math skills and save money by making your own play dough! Have your kids do the measuring and all the mixing. It’s fun and easy and your kids will enjoy playing with it because they made it!!

Homeade Play dough
2 cups plain flour
2 cups water
4 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
2 Tablespoons Oil
1 cup salt
Food coloring
Poor all ingredients, except for food coloring in a mixing bowl, then transfer to a pot stirring constantly on medium heat until it forms a dough ball by pulling away from the sides. (I do the stirring on the stove for safety reasons) Remove from heat and knead until it forms the texture of playdough.  Put the dough in a gallon size ziplock bag. Add the food coloring and knead while still in the bag. (This prevents your kids from having stained hands.) Keep kneading and adding the food coloring until you get the color you want. Store the playdough in the ziplock bag or place in a plastic storage contalearning
Note: For a no cook playdough, disolve salt in boiling water, then mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl until it is a dough consistency.

Learning Activities Using Homeade Play Dough.

Play Dough Picturesimage

Using a piece of cardboard, card stock, or construction paper have your child create a picture using different colors of play dough to construct and place on the paper.  Additional activities depending on the age of your child:  Write a story before or after they make their play dough story, either mom or child can label the picture.

imageCreate “Snakes”

Kids love making snakes out of play dough! Have your child make snakes and then review or teach by having your child put the snakes in order shortest to longest.

Create “Balls”

Review or teach by having your child put them in order from biggest to smallest and then smallest to the biggest.

Make Patterns, Sort and Count

Have your child make patterns using different colors, then sort, and count. Discuss different types of patterns like AB(red, white), ABA(red, white, red), AABB(red,red,white,white), and ABBA(red, white,white,red), depending on the age of your child. Start with simple patterns first, then expand to the more complex patterns.

Create Letters, Words, and imageNames

Have your child write there name or letters of the alphabet with the play dough. For younger children, trace the letter(s) on a piece of paper so your child has a template. For older children, have them create words or practice spelling and/or high frequency words. For FREE templates of letter cards that your child can use to create the letters, visit this page from Making Learning Fun. She has LOTS of different learning activities and free printouts to use with play dough.

Explore with Objects

imageThis is where I look around the house for manipulatives that my kids can use: plastic spoons, cookie cutters, pipe cleaners, toothpicks(for older children) googly eyes, water bottle lids, etc……

Learning Skills

Who would of thought that making and playing with play dough, would result in your child learning so many different skills and concepts. Here are concepts and skills your child will review or learn with the activities that I have shared:

Measuring skills, one-to-one correspondance, number recognitiom, understanding of paterns and relationships through ordering shortest to longest and smallest to biggest, problem solving, connecting math and reading with everyday activities, letter recognition, literacy development, and exploring matter and how it can change.

Want more Crafts and Activities? I will be posting more crafts and activitie so weekly so keep checking back!!!

More Play Dough Recipes and Activities

Are You Up For the Challenge?

23 Apr

imageIf you are a person that is trying to lose weight or maintain your current weight, I found the perfect APP, also available online that is FREE and easy to use! After 3 kids, I was ready to lose the baby weight and My Fitness Pal helped me reach my goal!

I tried so many different apps looking for something that was easy but would still help me reach my goals so when I found My Fitness Pal, it was exactly what I was looking for. Download My Fitness Pal here to try it out or sign up Online here.

Getting Started

After downloading the App or signing up online, your profile will be created by entering your personal information which includes: height, gender, current weight and goal weight. It will calculate the number of calories to eat in order to either maintain or lose weight. All food eaten is entered in your “Diary”, and the calories are deducted from your number of suggested calories a day.

Easy to Use: Calculations are Done For You

Everything you could possible eat is already in the imagedatabase of foods. I have NEVER come across something that has not been in the database. When adding meals you have cooked with multiple ingredients, each ingredient is added seperate. Once added, you have the option of saving the meal or recipe, so next time you make that meal, you dont have to enter all the ingredients. It will be saved and easily added to your diary from “My Foods” or “My Recipes.”

The calculations are done for you! Enter your foods and it shows how many calories you have left for the day! Enter breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. As you add your foods in your diary, it always displays frequent and most recent foods added, which makes it even easier and faster to add.

Track Your Physical Activity


Any activities that you do whether its cardiovascular or strength training can be added as well. This will give you additional calories for the day. Every activity that you can possibly do is in the database so the calories burned are automatically calculated and is reflected in your diary. Aerobics, dancing, walking, bowling, cleaning, mowing the lawn, running, tennis, basketball are just a few examples of MANY excercises in the database.

Track Your Water Intake

imageWant to make sure you are drinking enough water? Add the number of glasses or bottles of water you drink! I am bad about not drinking enough water, so adding the amount of water I drink is reflected in my diary so it motivates me to drink more water!

Connect With Friends

Another great feature in My Fitness Pal, is that it allows you to connect with friends. If any of your friends have joined, you can motivate each other to stay on track.

Are You Up For the Challenge?

I would suggest giving this one a try!! It can be done on the computer or your phone so it’s easily accessed by anybody who wants to try and it’s FREE!

Related articles: See others who are using My Fitness Pal!

Zoodles: A Kid Friendly Browser Your Kids Will LOVE!

16 Apr

imageZoodles is my absolute favorite online educational activity for my kids!! As a former teacher, currently a stay at home mom, I would highly recommend Zoodles for your kids either at home or in the classroom. The best part of it, its FREE!! Here is where you can sign up for Zoodles!

Differences in Free Zoodles Vs Premier

Although it is completlely free, you do have the option to upgrade to a premier membership which allows you to have more control over the subjects that are displayed for your children. You can adapt the games and activities according to your children’s needs. For instance, if you would rather your kids work on reading skills, you adjust the seetings where reading activities and games are displayed for the child. There are additional features to the premier membership such as ad blocking along with other added features. The price is $7.95 a month or its cheaper if you buy bundle months.

My kids have been using Zoodles for  about 2 years now (free Zoodles) and although I havent upgraded to the premier membership yet, I plan to this summer when my kids are out of school. The first 14 days, your kids will get all the benefits of the premier membership for free and after the free trial is over, you will NOT have to purchase anything but will not get the additional features. Here it shows all the features of both the free and premier memberships.

There are so many great things in Zoodles without the premier membership. Everything discusses below is for BOTH the Free and Premier memberships!

Age Appropriate Activities by Educational Experts

All games and activities on the Zoodles browser have been approved by a team of educational experts so its safe to say that your child will have access to age appropriate acitivities that are best suited for your child! For instance, when my 7 and 4 year old sign in to Zoodles, there games are totally different because they are geared toward there ages and skill level.

Kid Friendly

Your children play Zoodles on a kid friendly browser which takes away all the navigation and URL bars. This allows your children to play independently without the worry of your child clicking on content other than learning activities. Each game or activity is played by clicking on a picture so when they click, they know what they are going to play.

Games and Activities


All games and activities target different areas of learning: Cognitive Development, Creative Development, Life Skills, Reading, Science and Social Studies. There are 1000’s of games which always change so your child never gets bored!! Take a look at some of the games they offer!



In addition to games and activities, there are lots of learning based videos for your children to watch. They are all educational and are geared to children’s interest. Dinosaurs, counting and Abc’s are just a few examples. (Tip: Free memberships, allow you to record only 1 book, so in the 14 days of free premier membership, I would record as many books as you can to have once the 14 day free premier membership expires)

Video Books

imageOnline kid friendly stories with pictures is a great way to establish the love of reading!!! This is my favorite part of Zoodles because it allows you to either just record your voice reading the story, a video with mom or dad reading the story, or video yourself and your child reading the story together, which is what I did. And believe me, if I can do it, it’s easy to do and you don’t have to be advanced in technology!! My girls listen to the stories constantly because they see mom and/or dad reading the story to them! What a perfect way to establish the LOVE of READING!!

Art Studioimage

Your children can draw, print and email the pictures they create! This is just another great tool for your children to enjoy! Kids love seeing the finished product after printing, emailing, or just calling you over to see their masterpiece!!

Related Articles

Zoodles (

Want to Start Saving For a Vacation This Summer?

4 Apr

A Simple Tip That WORKS!


Summer is going to be here before you know it! There are lots of ways to save but today, I’m going to share with you how we save for our summer vacation spending money. It’s simple and it WORKS! How do I know? Because I got $400 worth of change in just a couple months. The longer you do it, the less you have to get from the bank before your vacation! Keep reading for details!

When you purchase something using cash, use bills and not change!

I know this sounds opposite of what we usually do, but all the extra change will go toward your summer vacation! Even if a soda cost you $1.03, pay with $2.00 instead of $1 and 3 pennies. This will give you .97 cents to put in your jar. All the change adds up quickly. In just a couple of months doing this, my husband and I had accumulated almost $400. This is a picture of me cashing in our change that we used for spending money:-))


$1 spent Periodically Versus a $500 Withdrawal From the Bank

You might feel like your wasting a dollar but $1.00 missing here and there is much better than forking out $500-$1000 out of your bank account for spending money! Think about how many times you purchase little things using cash and use the change in your car, pocket or wallet so that way you get only bills back. Now think about how much change you will have if you never get into your your change stash. Yes it seems like you saved a little by using your stash of change, all of that change adds up if you never use it to get bills back. It’s a simple yet effective way to save for spending money!

Want to Save Even More?

This is more of a sacrifice but it will help you save even more for your summer trip. When using a higher bill, like a $5,$10, $20, or $100 bill, place the the $1 bills in the jar along with the change. This option is good for people who want to save even more for their trip.

Happy Savings!!

Discounts and Coupons on Your Phone?

2 Apr

Ready to Use Coupons for Bealls, Old Navy and JcPenny’s


Show the person at checkout the coupons on your phone to get the discounts.  For a complete list of stores that give out text coupons and how to sign up see my post here: Do you Use Text Coupons?

JcPenny Save $10 off of $50 purchase: Expires 4/7/13

Jcpenny coupon expires 4/7

Bealls save $10 off of $25 purchase: Expires 4/9/13

Bealls expires 4-9

Old Navy save 20%: Expires 4/4/13

Old navy coupon

Do you Use Text Message Coupons?

31 Mar

Text CouponsWhy Text Coupons vs. Email Coupons?

I get so many emails on different promotions and discount codes but rarely have the time to look through them all, so I end up missing the great deals. However, if I get a text message with a simple code to give at the store or online, I use them much more frequently! They do not bombard you with text messages. It’s a simple text stating the promotion that they are offering to subscribers and its usually around 5 a month.


Perfect example: Around Easter, I am super busy and have not been able to check my email, but I ALWAYS have my phone. I was out shopping for my girls’ Easter dresses and shoes and remembered that yesterday I had gotten texts from Bealls and Payless Shoes. (Well also other stores, but living in a small town and doing shopping the night before Easter, I was limited to just a few places.) Most stores are having lots of sales already, so at checkout, I got the sale prices and also got an extra 25% off after giving them the discount code at checkout! If I had not subscribed to get text message coupons, then I would of missed out on my extra savings!


It is so simple to subscribe. Send a simple one word text to the number I have provided for you, and then you are ready to receive your discounts! After signing up, it states how many text messages you will receive in a month. I have also included a few where you have to enter your cell phone number on the website, and then they send a text confirming. Text message rates apply so if you have an unlimited usage plan on your cell phone, then coupons via text is perfect for you!


Easy to STOP

If you get text coupons that you don’t use,  just text a single word and all text messages will stop!!! When signing up, and with every promotion they send, it gives specific directions on how to unsubscribe.

Saving Via Text

Here are the ones I currently subscribe to:

Bealls: 38228 text WIN and you will get coupons via text plus entered into $100 shopping spree

JcPenny: 527365 text HELP and then it will give instructions on signing up via text.

Best Buy: 332211 text DEALS

Kohl’s: 56457 text SAVE

Office Depot: 33768 text JOIN

Old Navy: 653689 text DEALS

Pink Victoria Secret: 877465 text NATION, it will then give you the link to enter your cell number and then they will automatically send you a text back confirming your enrollment.

Target: 827438 text COUPONS

American Eagle: 32453 text JOIN

Michael’s: 273283 text JOIN2

Redbox: 727272 text SIGNUP

JoAnn’s: 56266 text BEADS

Kirklands: 572837 text KSAVES

Famous Footwear: 326687 text HELP

Payless: 747474 text PAYLESS (20% off sign up coupon)

Arby’s: 27297 text CLUB

Dollar General: 34898 text JOIN

Macy’s: 62297 text JOIN

Gymboree: 38109 text GYMBOREE

****Please note that if you do not have an unlimited text plan, then text rates do apply.****

If you have others that are not on here, please feel free to share!!

Have questions? Feel free to ask!

Last Minute Easter Ideas, Activities, and Crafts

28 Mar


Easter Day is a a fun day for the family, but with any big day celebration, comes planning! Here are some tips to make the big day easier!! Only 2 more days!!!


PotluckInstead of cooking everything yourself, split the duties up and have everybody bring something to share. This will cut down time in the kitchen so you have more time for everything else!

Hotdogs and Hamburgers?

Easter does not have to be the traditional gourmet Hotdogs and Hamburgersdinner. If potluck doesn’t work for you, take the cooking outside and do hotdogs and hamburgers! Easter is about celebrating with the family, so make it easier on you, the kids will probably like dinner better!

Easter Activities


Make your kid”s day by painting their faces. It can be as fancy or as simple as you want it. I’m not an artist, so I will be painting Easter eggs on their faces.

Bunny Hop

Use burlap sacks or pillow cases and have the kids doEaster activities a sack race. You can give out small prizes to the winners!

Egg Race

Used boiled eggs to have kids do a spoon race. Balance the egg on their spoon, have a start and finish line, and whoever we makes it to the finish line first, wins the egg race. You can have small prizes for the winner!


Have the tables set up for each craft. Pick just one or several depending on the number of kids.

Bunny Mask…… This is a super cute fast and easy craft that your kids will love from

Bunny Ears….. Another great craft! I’ve included 4 different ones that way you can pick the one that works best for your family. Kids can wear them during the party and it makes for some great pictures! Click on each link to get directions on how to make them and/or print the patterns out.

All of them are super cute and so I am having a hard time deciding which one I am going to use for my girls! All print outs are FREE!

Bunny Ears from Kaboose…… Made out of poster/construction paper.

Bunny Ears from Kaden’s Corner.….. Pattern to print out.

Bunny Ears from Claudine Hellmuth…… Pattern to print out.

Bunny Ears from HGTV.…. This one has a pattern to print out and you attach to a thin headband.

imagePersonalized Bunny…. My daughter made this at school and I thought it was adorable!!! It is made with a small paper plate, pipe cleaners for whiskers, ears are cut out of construction paper.

Here are some other Easter activities, crafts and Easter recipes treat recipes that you might be interested in!

Easter Reading and Singing Activities (

Teaching Your Kids the Easter Story with Jellybeans (

Easter Treats & Sweets (

Easter Reading and Singing Activities to do With Your Kids

26 Mar

imageAs a former teacher, now blessed to be a stay at home mom, I try to bring as many learning activities at home that either reinforce a previous taught skill or to teach a new skill! One way to motivate your kids to learn, is to teach them in ways that makes it motivating for them! What child does not like Easter? Keep Kids Motivated using SONGS and STORIES. Here you will find information on a a great FREE interactive story APP and some great songs about Easter that I am using with my kiddos.

Easter Story App: Bunnyfur’s Easter Eggs by Jenny B Harris

imageA great interactive story! Decorate eggs, find the eggs, click to open the eggs, listen to the birds sing. Choose whether the story is read out loud or read on your own. A great Interactive Easter story about a Bunny and his Easter eggs.

Kid Friendly Easter Songsimage

Sing an Easter song using tunes from songs we all know! Singing is a great way to establish a deeper understanding of what Easter is about. Print a poster or coloring page of this song to sing throughout the week by clicking on each song title. Thanks to DLTK-kids for these great Easter songs!

My Favorites

Jesus Alphabet Song (sing to the tune of The ABC song)

EASTER (sing to the tune of Jesus Loves Me)

God’s Gift (sing to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb)

All songs come from DLTK Growing Together.

I will be adding activities all week so keep looking migrant

More Easter Activities?

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