Sam’s Club: FREE Rotisserie Chicken and $5 Gift Card with Membership Purchase! (New or Renewal)

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Need a deal on a Sam’s Club membership?  Through April 1st, new or renewing Sam’s Club members can receive a free Rotisserie Chicken and $5 Sam’s Club gift card with an annual membership purchase.

Fill out the form here and you’ll receive an email with a voucher for your deal.  Bring the voucher to your local Sam’s Club Membership Services desk and you’ll receive your freebies when you purchase your membership!


Thanks, Tara!

Snap by Groupon: New Money Saving Opportunity!

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If you’re a fan of cash back apps and programs, you’re going to love this new money saving opportunity from Groupon!  It’s called Snap and it’s most similar to Checkout 51 in that:

1.)  You can redeem the offers at any store.
2.)   You can sign up and view your offers online or via the app.


Snap Cash Back Saving App



As for how the program works, it’s simple and familiar.

1.)  Browse their offers for those that appeal to you.
2.)  Buy the corresponding items in store.
3.)  Take a picture of your receipt to receive your cash back credit.

When you reach the $20 threshold, you can request a check payment.





It’s absolutely worth signing up.  I have 31 offers including a $1 cash back offer on a gallon of milk, $3 on Huggies diapers, $2 on Huggies Wipes, $1/2 Clorox Cleaning Products, and many more useful opportunities.

The best part is that you can stack these offers together to save more!

Here’s a great deal on milk at CVS good through 10/4:

Country Fresh Gallon Milk $3.09 (prices and brand vary regionally)
$1 ECB on 1 (lim 2)
$1 Cash Back on Gallon of Milk  (Snap) 
$1 Cash Back on Gallon of Milk (Ibotta)
Final Price: 9¢ – It’s a moneymaker if you have an offer from Checkout 51, too!


My LeapPad3 Review: What’s New and Different!

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The undisputed heavyweight champion of children’s learning, LeapFrog, has a new lightweight contender in their corner.  Lightweight?  Oh yes, but I mean that only in the most literal sense in that the new LeapPad3 is the lightest of all LeapPads, weighing in at 0.85lbs.   Every other aspect of this little learning machine is as much the heavyweight you’d expect and more because it has several new  inspired updates to enhance learning and engagement.

With that in mind, I was recently given the opportunity to review the new LeapPad3 and I have to say that we’ve had the best time with it!  My daughter has been working with it for the last few weeks and she loves it.  It has enhanced her word recognition as an early reader, as well as engaged her more in math.  I’ve been having a lot of trouble in that area with her, in particular, so I’m thrilled to see her taking an interest in that subject.  And thanks to my perspective as a homeschooling Mom (and previous version LeapPad owner), I’m going to give you the scoop on all the new features the LeapPad3 has to offer.    So, let’s get started!

This isn’t a new feature, but it’s one of the most important and definitely worth noting.  The LeapPad3, along with all LeapFrog tablets, is extremely durable.   We take it with us on our way to the store all the time and, as expected, it fell off my daughter’s lap once, out of the sliding van door, and onto the asphalt.    While I certainly don’t recommend trying this out yourself, it did withstand the drop.  Gosh, this is so crucial, as kids are just naturally forgetful and clumsy.  My daughter forgot she had it on her lap!  It happens, you know.  Thankfully, it wasn’t a crisis.

Interest Integrated Learning
From an educational perspective, I love the vast selection of over 1,000 educator approved games and apps that take advantage of a child’s interest in various TV shows and movies.  My daughter LOVES My Little Pony (Math), Disney’s Brave (Science) and Tangled (Reading), so convincing her to play these learning games wasn’t necessary.  She wants to play them, and she’s learning along the way.    Plus, she can use all of her old cartridges with the new LeapPad3, so it’s a seamless transition to the new one without having to sacrifice her favorite old games.

Maggy and the LeapPad3

Safe Web Browsing
My favorite feature, however, is absolutely  the Kid-Safe Wi-Fi and Web Experience using LeapSearch.  Children have access to a web browser if Wi-Fi is enabled and they can search for videos to watch.  I readily admit that I’m all too familiar with the YouTube minefield.  It doesn’t much matter how restrictive you set it to be, controlling content shown to your 5 year old is challenging.  I love that I don’t have to pre-screen everything she watches with the LeapPad.  It has already been done for me by LeapFrog’s own experts, so she can watch all sorts of animal videos, look at pictures, and visit websites without worry.

Tailored Games
The games available to use on the LeapPad3 are intuitively geared to your child’s learning level for a frustration free experience.  This is the most instrumental aspect of learning, hands down, because children can become so easily discouraged.  I have yet to see my daughter struggle with any of the games she has played to this point, and I don’t have to hover to help her understand what she’s doing.  It’s all explained as if I’m telling her what she needs to do – step-by-step.

Rechargeable Battery
For me, this is another huge upgrade over our original LeapPad!  I don’t have to buy batteries anymore.  The new LeapPad3 has a USB or AC rechargeable battery that stays charged through 6+ hours of continuous use.

Maggy and the LeapPad3

Stylus Not Necessary
My daughter is so used to using the old LeapPad that when she began, she immediately used the stylus.  This is not necessary as the screen is now capacitive and highly touch responsive.  It didn’t take her long to figure that out, but she also liked the idea of feeling that she was using a pen and had good control of it.

Finally, I want to point out another feature that we did NOT use –  the Peer-to-Peer Play.  Kids can connect with other friends using the LeapPad3 to play the Pet Chat and Pet Pad Party apps.  Both are available for independent use, but it’s nice to have that shareable feature.

In summary, the integration of kid safe Wi-Fi, improved touchscreen, and rechargeable battery are what set this LeapPad3 apart from its predecessors and make it a necessary upgrade, in my opinion.  If I hadn’t received this for review, I’d have absolutely purchased it on my own.  The expansive library of games and apps support, enhance, and reinforce ideas  to solidify concepts and bridge gaps in understanding using kid friendly vehicles.  And it does so in a much more intuitive way than before.  It’s seamless and that is huge around here.


Disclosure   While I received no financial compensation for this review, I received  the LeapPad3  from LeapFrog and MomSelect as part of a promotional program to assist me in this review.  The thoughts and opinions here are completely my own.

Sam’s Club: Spring Open House Event! No Membership Required (5/2-5/4)

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Starting today, May 2nd,  through Sunday, May 4th, Stop by your local Sam’s Club  to take advantage of their Spring Open House Event – membership is not required!

They’ll have samples and cooking demonstrations from 12pm-5pm each day.

Plated: How My Meal Turned Out Tonight!

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Plated Baba Ghanoush with Zaatar Bread

Earlier today,  I promised you an update on my first order from Plated!   As I mentioned last week, I chose two Baba Ghanoush with Za’atar Bread for my husband and myself.  I planned a kid friendly meal for my little ones knowing my kids wouldn’t eat this under any circumstances.

As you can see above, I was given everything I needed to put it together except olive oil and salt.

I prepared the yogurt with cheesecloth, chopped the cilantro, garlic, and sliced the lemon and eggplant.

Roasted Eggplant

From there, I seasoned the eggplant and roasted it in the oven.  When it was done, I scooped the eggplant pulp out and mixed it with the seasonings.  Then, I used the same pan to bake the bread with the za’atar seasoning.

I used only one baking sheet to cook the entire meal.    The preparation was minimal to average, but not at all difficult. 

Baba Ghanoush with Zaatar Bread from Plated

My husband and I each had a serving like this – 8 wedges of Za’atar Bread, a dollop of Labneh, and a huge scoop of Baba Ghanoush!

It was so good.  We felt like we were eating out!  To top it off, it was completely meat-free!  I would definitely order it again.

Learn more about Plated and how you can get two FREE Plates with your first order!

Plated: I Got My Order!

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If you’ve been around here any length of time at all, you know I love to cook.  I have ever since I was a girl.  My Aunt Maxine did too.  She bought me my first subscription to Taste of Home magazine back in around 1994ish.  She also bought me a Sunset Magazine Cookbook that I still have – although I don’t think I’ve ever made any of the recipes featured.  For some reason, it seems to me that I thought they were a bit much – oysters, wine, and all that.  That’s a lot of money to shell out on one meal, and you already know I don’t like to spend money.

But, just by buying me those two things, she helped steer and solidify my love of cooking and baking.  It’s a connection with her that I carry with me to this very day.

So, all of this to say, you know I like cooking and baking.  And you know I mentioned Plated to you a week or so ago.  Well, I got my first order today, and I want to show you the unpacking pictures!   I was kind of worried about the freshness/spoiling factor.  You know me, I worry about everything.   I talked with their customer service department, and stalked their Facebook page like a mad woman prior to ordering.  Both made me feel very good about it.  Their Facebook page has lots of nice comments.  Only then, and after I ordered, did I tell you about them.    I mean, you already know that I wouldn’t tell you about something I: A.) Don’t believe in.  B.) Wouldn’t/Haven’t ordered myself.

OK, so my not-so-fabulous FedEx driver doesn’t read much because he missed the arrows and “UP” designations all over the box and tossed it on the porch on its side.  Whatever.  I’m home.  I retrieved it quickly, muttering to myself about incompetent people – as I generally do in these circumstances.

So, I scurried into my kitchen and opened the box….

Plated Box

The contents were very cold and wrapped in this cold wrap bag with 3 frozen packs around the meat.  Nice…very nice…

Plated Box Contents

Each of the different foods are individually wrapped and labeled.  Know what I love most about this?  It’s vegetable heavy with only a reasonably sized serving of both meat and bread.  This is what got me to order in the first place.

Now, you can’t really see it because I didn’t unwrap the packages.  At the top of the picture, there is a package with various condiments and seasonings – Tahini, Greek Yogurt, Rice Wine Vinegar, and more.   Shopping for each of these items would have cost me more than I paid for all 4 meals here.  So far, I’m really quite pleased with it, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating!  I’m going to be making one of these meals today to see how it turns out.  I’ll take all sorts of pictures for you from piecing it together to the final product.  Fun, huh?

Learn more about Plated and how you can get two FREE Plates with your first order!

LEGO KidsFest: Our Experience! (Review)

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LEGO KidsFest 1

Friday night, my family and I went to the LEGO® KidsFest  and had an excellent time! It was held at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan which has a huge open expo center area that was filled with so many displays.  We didn’t even have time to see them all!  My daughter was most taken with the LEGO Friends Heartlake City display.  There were pretty pink snake-like tables with wells sprinkled all along it.  The wells were filled with LEGO Friends pieces for the children to construct their own house, bakery, stable, you name it.  We spent a LOT of time here.

LEGO KidsFest 2

My daughter just couldn’t tear herself away.  Oh my, she just had an excellent time building and rebuilding with pieces she has never seen before!

Cinderella LEGO KidsFest

And if you’ve got a Disney Princess fan, this is a must see station!  They’ve got several – SEVERAL – castles already built for play that are perfect for teeny princesses.  My daughter had a wonderful conversation going between LEGO Rapunzel and  LEGO Ariel, and she was thrilled to have her picture taken with Cinderella.

My son, on the other hand, had a very specific mission in mind.  He was very hopeful that he’d see a Minecraft display.  That, for him, was the only (HUGE) drawback – no Minecraft display.  He LOVED the LEGO City and Chima areas that allowed him a hands-on look at some of the sets he doesn’t have, so he really see what he’s missing.  Oh, and the list is long…

There just isn’t any possible way I could tell you all about the life size figures they had (R2D2, Darth Vader, Spiderman, Buzz, Woody….) and the display areas they had, the tower building challenges, as well as the reasonably priced toys and apparel available for purchase.  It’s a FULL event, jam packet with every LEGO imaginable.

The event is completely sold out for the remaining sessions in Michigan.  Since this is a tour, there are upcoming shows in Canada, GA, TX, VA, and IN.    If you plan to attend any of these, buy your tickets early!  They’re sure to sell out!   I highly recommend it, though.  It was such a fun time for our whole family.

Disclosure I am a U.S. Family Guide Blogger.  While I received no financial compensation for this, I received four complimentary tickets to the opening night session on Friday, April 25, 2014 from 4-8:30pm and two tickets to give away to a lucky reader.  The thoughts and opinions here are completely my own.

ALDI: Freebies & Cheapies 3/30-4/5!

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Old Stuff
1.)  ALDI does not accept coupons.
2.)  ALDI ads are regional and start and end dates vary, so you’ll want to make sure any competitive offers are available in your area before you attempt to price match.  I’m in Michigan and used zip 48329.

And now the matchups…

This List Has Expired
General Grocery

Toys R Us: Red Hot Deal Sale! BOGO Skylander’s Spyro Characters, Mega Bloks First Builders 100pc Set $10 and More! (3/12 ONLY)

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Tomorrow only, Toys R Us is having a Red Hot Deal sale and there are a couple of excellent prices on kids toys.



  • Mega Bloks First Builders 100 Piece Set  $10 (reg. $24.99)
  • My First Disney Princess Toddler Prince Dolls $15 (reg. $26.99)
  • Koala Baby & Koala Kids Mix & Match Separates $4-$5 (exc. clearance)
  • Skylanders Spyro’s Adventures Figures & Accessories – They can be used with the SWAP Force game.
  • Heidi Klum Diaper Bags $50 (reg. $59.99-$79.99)
  • Sealy Precious Rest Crib & Toddler Mattress $5
  • Baby Trend Expedition EX Jogging Stroller Edge $99
  • Fisher Price Power Wheels Cadillac Hybrid Escalade EXT Black $319.99 ($100 off)
  • Babies R Us Wipes 800ct $13 (reg. $16.99)

And I noticed online that they have the Fisher-Price iXL Software marked down to $1.98 per disc – Toy Story 3, Kung Fu Panda 3D Green Lantern 3D and Scooby Doo.  These all retail for $21.99, so this is a ridiculously huge markdown.

Shopmium App: New Cash Back Savings Opportunity!

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We have another new money saving program to add to Ibotta and Checkout 51.  It’s called Shopmium.  This one is similar, yet different, from both of those.   What makes it as attractive as Checkout 51 is that the offers can be redeemed from any store.  What makes it different is the way the offers are presented.  With that in mind, I want to take you step by step through signing up and the offer specifics.  That way, you’ll know what kind of offers you have and how much you’ll save.

First, you need the Shopmium app for your iPhone or Android phone.   You can download it here. When you open the app, you’ll be prompted to enter a referral code.  Be sure and enter the code GHEMFHQL to receive an exclusive offer for a free Lindt Chocolate Bar available only to those who enter a referral code.    

Once you’ve gotten set up, take a look at your offers.   They may vary, but I’m going to use mine to show you the deal specific details.  *Note: These are old offers that are no longer available, but they help explain the way the offers are set up.

smuckers collage

First, I have an offer for Smuckers Fruit Spread.  Click on “Discover this product” to view the offer details.  As expected, I see the offer for $1 off any Smucker’s Fruit Spread (left photo).  Sounds easy enough.  And this one is.  If you notice, you’ll see an asterisk next to the last ‘f’ in the pink  $1 off area.  This clues you in that you need to read the fine print on this offer (right photo).  Always scroll down to read the fine print.  This will help you determine what kind of offer this is. As I said, this one is pretty straight forward and the offer is to save $1 off any Smucker’s Fruit Spread and it goes on to detail the specific types of spread included.  Below that, the dates of the offer are listed, which are ambiguous, in my opinion.  I can’t tell whether or not I need to buy it by 3/26 or 3/31.  In comparing this with other offers, the dates appear to be reversed, I think, so I’m sticking with 3/26 to be safe.


sun chips collage


Next,  I have an offer for SunChips 7oz+.  After I click on “Discover this product” again, I see that the offer is for Sun Chips “Get it for only $2″  with a suggested retail price of $3.29.  Now, if you scroll down to read the offer details, you’ll see that you’ll receive a bag of sun chips for $2 BUT the maximum rebate amount is $1.62.  That means that if you pick up a bag of Sun Chips for $3.99, you will pay $2.37.

And as you browse through your offers, you will continue to see this pattern.  Glade Customizables Starter Kits are 20% off with a max. value of $1.80 ~ which is beyond reasonable as this puts the reg. retail price at $9.




Last but certainly not least, I have an offer for a FREE M&M’s 1-2oz Pocket Bag (aka Single Pack) with a max. value of $1.50.  Yep, that’s a freebie all right. If you have this offer, you’ll likely have to be quick.  Mine expires TODAY, March 7th!



Oh, wait!  One more! I have an offer for $2 reimbursed on Nutella through today, too.  That makes it just $1.25 after cash back at Big Lots.  And yes, it’s a straight $2 off the purchase price offer meaning $2 cash back on a 13oz or 26.5oz jar.

When you redeem your offers, you’ll need to take photos of your receipts as usual, and you’ll receive your cash back via Paypal.


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