Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ending the year... clean out your junk!

If you're anything like me, you are probably in the process of putting away Christmas stuff, and wondering... why do we have so much stuff???!!??  I try to keep our home simple - not too  much stuff so it doesn't take too long to clean up the mess, but somehow, in about the time that it takes me to BLINK we have too much stuff AGAIN AND AGAIN!

Over Christmas we had our hardwood floors in our upstairs restored (the came out BEAUTIFUL - will post on that later this week along with who did it!), and in order to have the floors done we had to move EVERY SINGLE THING out of our upstairs - no furniture, nothing in our closets, nothing on our walls, etc.  Our upstairs was completely blank - looked like no one lived there.  It was a TON of work, and now that we're in the process of moving things back in, we are trying to select what we put in the rooms with purpose... the process of moving everything out made us see every single thing we don't really need.  Do my kids need 4000 books?  No, need to donate some to their preschool & they can check out the ones they really want from the library.  Do they need 20 T-shirts?  No, they only wear the same 5 over and over again.  Does my husband need to pack his sock drawer so full that you can never put anything away?  NO, get rid of some socks. Is your closet full of clothes you don't love and just feel depressed about looking at day-after-day?  CLEAN THEM OUT - if you don't love it, don't keep it!  Do you hate emptying the dishwasher because every cupboard you open up is already full and there is no where to put those coffee cups?  GET RID of some COFFEE CUPS!  

I encourage you to spend a few hours today to PURGE.  We're in this process, and are committed to taking a load over to the Rescue Mission's Mission Mart Thrift Store or St. Martin's by the afternoon.  Get rid of some of the stuff you don't need - feel better going into the new year - and get a tax deductible donation receipt to put toward your 2011 taxes. 

Happy Purging!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

25 FREE 4x6 Photos at Walgreens (thru 12/31)

Did you take as many pictures as I did this past week over the Christmas holiday?  :)
Right now at Walgreens if you order online and select pick-up in-store, you can get 25 FREE prints (thru 12/31).     Just enter the coupon code PRINTNOW at checkout and get your free photos.  
Have more than 25 prints from Christmas you want to print?  Additional prints are only $.09 each (coupon code GREAT9 thru 12/28).  
And, if you order online thru 12/28 and you have more than 25 photos you can get FREE shipping to your home, so you don't even have to go in-store to pick them up.  One less errand always sounds good to me - I am the queen of free shipping... just ask my husband. :)

Monday, December 26, 2011

GREAT Area Photographer - Renee Janofski Photography

Have you seen Renee Janofski's Photography yet?  She is a local photographer, a fellow mom, and is extremely talented and reasonably priced.  Need a family photo?  Photo of your kids?  CALL HER!  She recently took our family photo - it was a FREEZING DAY, and my kids were frozen & grumpy, and she still got beautiful pictures of them.  Even my husband, who is not a big fan of having pictures taken of us, liked the end result.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas BREAK

Hope you all are enjoying time with your friends & families.   I am, so I'll resume posting after Christmas.  :)

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011 - FREE Photoediting Website You'll LOVE!

My friend Jackie has turned me on to a really cool new photo editing website -

If you like pictures, or are crafty, or even if you're not crafty - CHECK IT OUT!  My friend created her adorable, unique Christmas cards on this site for FREE, then was able to print regular $.08 4x6 prints with her creations, rather than paying for Christmas cards from a vendor who charged $.39 & up per card.

There are no downloads to install, and it is free.  They try to upsell you on their "premium" package, but their free tools are pretty cool themselves and you don't even need the premium package...when you have a few free minutes over the holidays, go to their site and check it out!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Saving for your kids' educations? Make your contribution BEFORE the end of 2011!

Last year I posted about the tax incentive for being involved in an Indiana 529 Plan for my kiddos.  If you haven't already opened an 529 College Savings Plan for your kids, DO IT TODAY!  A 529 Plan is a way to put money away for your kids' college education - it grows tax free, and they can use it for any accredited institution in the US when they go to school.  AND, in Indiana, and many states, if you contribute to a 529 Plan sponsored through your state, there is a tax benefit!  In Indiana, you get a 20% tax credit on your state taxes (up to $1000/year) for contributing to a plan in your state, meaning you're making 20% on the money you invest for your kids' education!  This is really a win-win folks!

Each state's plan is different, but if you sign up for Indiana's College Choice Direct 529 Plan you can contribute as little as $25/month, and OTHER folks (Grandparents, Aunt & Uncles, etc.) can also contribute toward the education plan.  My husband and I have committed to saving $50/month when we opened our boys' accounts, and when I started back to work last year we increased that amount to $100/month - it isn't much, but we feel good knowing that we're putting something away now, and praying compound interest does it's magic!  The $ we put away each month is automatically debited from our checking account, so we're committed to putting the money away so we don't have to even think about it/accidentally spend it on something else!  It was difficult at first with our budget, but now we don't even think about it and we're glad it is in place.  And, if we have any extra money (think Tax Refund), or if a Grandparent gives some money for birthday gift, you can make extra contributions throughout the year. 

Been thinking about doing this but haven't gotten around to it?  DO IT TODAY!  Make your contribution before the end of 2011 so you can get the tax benefit!!!!

For more info, see 
or if you're in a state outside Indiana, I suggest starting with (or just googling 529 Plans and your State's Name to find a qualified plan for your state). 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

$5 for $10 Ben & Jerry's Gift Certificate - deal of the day today for new subscribers is $5 for a $10 Ben & Jerry's Gift Certificate.  Might be a good stocking stuffer?  CLICK HERE for deal.  ( is another Groupon-type website, but only in limited markets)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Shutterfly Sale - 40% off everything & free shipping (thru 12/15)

Photo Book Tip: Create an adventurous travel photo album at

Just wanted to share my photobook from Shutterfly. I am not a scrapbooker, but love pictures, so I love the online program Shutterfly has.  It makes it easy, and I still get to pretend I'm crafty...which I'm not. :)  I've been dealing with guilt over not ever doing baby books for my kids, or journaling their cute "isms" or anything really, so I decided instead to do a family photo album each year and order a copy for each of my kids to have the rest of their lives & one for my husband as me as well.  I figure years from now, when they're on their own, married, whatever, it'll all be "done" - I won't have to worry about hunting down pictures and trying to split them up between my kids.

So, the photo album above was my husband's Christmas gift last year, and this year since Shutterfly is running 40% off all photobooks (Enter code WRAP40), I decided to order copies for my boys while they're on sale so they have them forever.  :)  Remember, has free shipping for orders over $50 right now too!   Just enter "SHIP50".  And, if you miss the WRAP40 promo, don't fret, because they're running other promos between now and the end of the year... it is not too late!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Follow-up to Lowe's Build & Grow Clinic Post Earlier Today...

... so we went to the Lowe's Build & Grow Clinic today, and it was GREAT!  My boys each built a coal car, with our help, and they were extremely proud of their accomplishment, and now they have a new toy!  We're going back next Saturday (Dec 17) at 10am for the final conclusion...
... the engine!  If you've missed the first two clinics, you can buy the kits, which are complete with all parts, nails, stickers, etc. (everything you'll need except for a hammer) - Lowes sells these after the clinics for $7.99.  I think if you missed the clinics, they're great activity gifts for your kiddos, or someone you know/love for Christmas.  In case you're a bit leery, I promise they are NOT difficult - step-by-step easy instructions come with them, and if I can do it, anyone can!

Lowe's Build & Grow Clinic TODAY at 10am!

Build a Coal Car with your kids today for free at Lowes!  10am at participating Lowe's stores.  We're on our way now!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

40% off Everything at!

Procrastination can pay off!  If you've waited to order your Christmas cards, prints, calendars, photobooks, gifts, etc., you can score 40% off on everything through with the code MERRY40 through Dec 11th.  Also, free shipping for orders over $50 with code SHIP50.

I just got back some things I ordered from Shutterfly, and they do a beautiful job!  I am very happy with the final product!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Papa John's Gift Card 50% off ($12 Gift Card only $6)

Have you signed up for the daily deals?   It is like a Groupon with different featured daily specials.   I've purchased a few great deals from them over the past year, and scored another good deal today.  Today's deal, $6 for a $12 Papa John’s Gift Card - just CLICK HERE to purchase.   And, if you're new to, you'll get a $1 credit for signing up.

We are big pizza eaters at my house (especially on Friday night!), so I'm all about this deal.  :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

December FREE Lowes Build & Grow Clinics

This month at Lowes the free kids' Build & Grow Clinics are building different train cars. 

December 10th is a Coal Car, and Dec 17th is an Engine.  Last week they did the Caboose (sorry I didn't get my post up in time!).  If you've never taken your kids to do these clinics, they are FREE, but registration in advance is encouraged.  Just CLICK HERE for more info & to register.  Clinics are at 10am at Lowes on scheduled Saturdays.  Projects are designed for kids 3 & up with adult supervision (they usually take 20-30 mins to complete). 

Friday, December 2, 2011 FREE MP3 Christmas Downloads!

Amazon ran this promo last year and they're doing it again!  Get one free Christmas song download a day now through Christmas.  My husband and I were just commenting that we need some new Christmas music, so this is just in time!

25 Days of Free

Every day through Christmas, is unveiling a new holiday song available to download free for a limited time. Check back daily to see what's next. (Find more Holiday music, $5 Holiday albums, new 2011 Holiday releases and more in our Holiday MP3 Store.)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Give Blood = Save a Life = Get a FREE Ham!

The South Bend Medical Foundation Blood Center is running a promo this month - give blood in the month of December and get a FREE HAM!  As if saving a life isn't enough, this is a great promo!  I gave blood in Nov and got my free turkey, so I'm not eligible again until after the first of the year, but my husband is going to call them today & book his appointment (hint, hint Rusty!) and we'll have a ham for Christmas!  Thank you to MARSH for this promo deal! 


South Bend Medical Foundation Blood Donor Center at Marion

330 North Wabash Avenue
Suite G-10
Marion, Indiana
Get Directions >

Monday & Tuesday 11:00am - 7:00pm
Wednesday 9:00am - 3:00pm
Thursday & Friday 8:00am - 4:30pm
 For more info or to book online, CLICK HERE


Basic Requirements

  • Must be in good general health and feel well
  • Must weigh at least 110 pounds
  • Must be 17 years old, or 16 with written parental consent
  • Must wait 12 months after having a tattoo applied or body piercing
  • Must not be pregnant
  • Must be symptom free of cold or flu for 72 hours

Note on Medications

Most people taking medications, even prescription medications, are accepted as blood donors. Please bring a list of your medications with you to your blood donation. You may also want to call (765) 662-4630 before your donation to see if you are eligible to donate.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent Season, Christ & The Jesse Tree - Do your kids really know what Christmas is about?

Last night my 4 year old said to me, "Mommy, do you know what happens at Christmas?"  I assumed that he was just parroting what I'd heard my husband say to him a few days before, where my husband asked my boys, "Why do we celebrate Christmas", and my 4 year old blurted out "Jesus was born".  So last night when Caleb said "Mommy, do you know what happens at Christmas," I started to mentally prepare my simplest, most theologically correct response, but before I could open my mouth Caleb started in to tell me that "Santa comes and leaves presents".  I didn't know how to respond, but did wake up this morning knowing that EVERY DAY of this Advent Season I need to be counter-cultural, impressing upon my kids that Santa is not point, or the culmination of the season - Christ is.

So, I need to finally get around to doing something I heard about a couple of Christmases ago, but have yet to implement as a tradition - the Jesse Tree.  Have you heard about the Jesse Tree?  Do you already do it with your kids?  I leared of it at a MOPS meeting a couple of years ago, and think it is a neat way to celebrate the Advent Season. 

If you google "Jesse Tree", you'll find quite a few sites with ideas, and since I've never actually done this with my family, I'm not going to tell you how to do it, but I want you to encourage you to google it like I did and try it with your family.  You can make your own tree, or buy a kit with one online, but the point is to celebrate the Birth of Christ by recognizing the lineage He came from, and by doing a small devotion every day of the Advent Season in conjuction with hanging an ornament on the Jesse Tree. 

For more info, and suggested daily devotional schedules, check out the following sites:

Tree of Jesse (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
The Tree of Jesse is a depiction in art of the Ancestors of Christ, shown in a tree which rises from Jesse of Bethlehem, the father of King David; the original use of the family tree as a schematic representation of a genealogy. It originates in a passage in the Biblical Book of Isaiah which describes metaphorically the descent of the Messiah, and is accepted by Christians as referring to Jesus.
The passage in Isaiah, 11:1 is: "There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.[

In the New Testament the lineage of Jesus is traced by two of the Gospel writers, Matthew and Luke. Luke describes the "generations of Christ" in Chapter 3 of Luke's Gospel, beginning with Jesus himself and tracing backwards through his "earthly father" Joseph all the way to Adam.

Matthew's Gospel opens with the words: "The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham".[3] With this beginning Matthew makes clear Jesus' whole lineage: He is of God's chosen people, by his descent from Abraham, and he is the "shoot of Jesse" by his descent from Jesse's son, King David.[4] The figures shown are drawn from the genealogies in the Gospels, usually showing only a selection.

JESSE TREE SCRIPTURES/Suggested Daily Devotionals (The symbols are only suggestions)

December 1 Creation: Gen. 1:1-31; 2:1-4 Symbols: sun, moon, stars, animals, earth
December 2 Adam and Eve: Gen. 2:7-9, 18-24 Symbols: tree, man, woman
December 3 Fall of Man: Gen. 3:1-7 and 23-24 Symbols: tree, serpent, apple with bite
December 4 Noah: Gen. 6:5-8, 13-22; 7:17, 23, 24; 8:1, 6-22 Symbols: ark, animals, dove, rainbow
December 5 Abraham: Gen. 12:1-3 Symbols: torch, sword, mountain
December 6 Isaac: Gen. 22:1-14 Symbols: bundle of wood, altar, ram in bush
December 7 Jacob: Gen. 25:1-34; 28:10-15 Symbols: kettle, ladder
December 8 Joseph: Gen. 37:23-28; 45:3-15 Symbols: bucket, well, silver coins, tunic
December 9 Moses: Ex. 2:1-10 Symbols: baby in basket, river and rushes
December 10 Samuel: 1 Sam. 3:1-18 Symbols: lamp, temple
December 11 Jesse: 1 Sam. 16:1-13 Symbols: crimson robe, shepherd's staff
December 12 David: 1 Sam. 17:12-51 Symbols: slingshot, 6-pointed star
December 13 Solomon: 1 Kings 3:5-14, 16-28 Symbols: scales of justice, temple, two babies and sword
December 14 Joseph: Matt. 1:18-25 Symbols: hammer, saw, chisel, angle
December 15 Mary: Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38 Symbols: lily, crown of stars, pierced heart
December 16 John the Baptist: Mark 1:1-8 Symbols: shell with water, river

On December 17, the Church begins to intensify the preparation for Christmas with the use of the "O" Antiphons during the Liturgy of the Hours. The symbols for the Jesse Tree from December 17 to 23 are based on the "O" Antiphons.

December 17 Jesus is Wisdom: Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus in old Bibles) 24:2; Wisdom 8:1 Symbols: oil lamp, open book
December 18 Jesus is Lord: Ex. 3:2; 20:1 Symbols: burning bush, stone tablets
December 19 Jesus is Flower of Jesse: Isaiah 11:1-3 Symbols: flower, plant with flower
December 20 Jesus is Key of David: Isaiah 22:22 Symbols: key, broken chains
December 21 Jesus is the Radiant Dawn: Psalm 19:6-7 (in older Bibles this will be Psalm 18) Symbols: sun rising or high in sky
December 22 Jesus is King of the Gentiles: Psalm 2:7-8; Ephesians 2:14-20 Symbols: crown, scepter
December 23 Jesus is Emmanuel: Isaiah 7:14; 33:22 Symbols: tablets of stone, chalice and host
December 24 Jesus is Light of the World: John 1:1-14 Symbols: candle, flame, sun

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Walkway of Lights in Marion - Worth the $5!

My family went to the "Walkway of Lights" tonight, our first trip, of what I'm sure will be many, this holiday season.  If you don't know what the Walkway of Lights is, it is a path of Christmas lights that starts behind Marion General Hospital and runs all along the river through Matter Park.  Once you get to Matter Park, you pay $5 for a sticker on your window, which gets you in to the park to see the lights for the entire season (it also gets you a little candy cane for every member in your car - something my kiddos & I love!).  We drove through tonight, with my kids squealing with glee.  This is our third Christmas being here, and our third year driving though, but they enjoyed it tonight more than ever.

If you haven't gone already, head to Matter Park between 6pm - 10pm now through Dec 31.  Find a good Christmas music station on the radio, eat your candy cane, and enjoy SLOWING DOWN this Christmas season.  
For more info, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Black Friday Out of Control - Read Before You Shop

 I saw this article in the paper last weekend and think it is worth repeating. 

Michelle Singletary, Washington Post

WASHINGTON -- If you’re like me, at midnight on Thanksgiving night you’re either in bed or getting ready for bed after enjoying a day with your family. But several major retailers have said they will open for business at that hour to sell to shoppers wanting to get a jump on the bargains. If the trend continues, Black Friday will become Black Thursday.
 And that’s not a good thing.

Target, Macy’s, Best Buy and others have decided to open at 12 a.m. to begin Black Friday. Best Buy called its move to open at midnight “historic.”
Really. Historic?
Toys R Us, not to be outdone by its retail rivals, will open at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving. And Wal-Mart, the mascot store for penny-pinchers, is opening at 10 p.m. “Our customers told us they would rather stay up late to shop than get up early,” said Duncan Mac Naughton, Wal-Mart’s chief merchandising officer.
All of these earlier openings mean that employees will be pulled away from their families. Anthony Hardwick, an Omaha-based Target employee, isn’t happy with the earlier hours. “I’m going to have to go to sleep at 2 or 3 in the afternoon so I can be well rested to deal with the controlled mayhem of the Black Friday rush,” said Hardwick, who says he’ll miss spending Thanksgiving with his fiancee. He works part time at Target as a cart attendant. He’ll leave that shift to go work at 5 a.m. at his full-time job at Office Max, he said.
Hardwick has started a petition drive on to try to persuade Target to abandon its plans for a midnight opening. When I last checked, he had more than 60,000 signatures for his campaign.
”Thanksgiving is about family and spending quality time with the people you love,“ Hardwick said in an interview.
Molly Snyder, a communications manager for Target, said in an email that the retailer does its best to work around the schedules of its team members, ”making every effort to accommodate their plans. Target will offer holiday pay to all hourly team members who work on Thanksgiving Day.“
In addition to Hardwick’s campaign, there are more than 25 other petitions on calling for a boycott of Black Friday or asking retailers to reverse their decisions to start Black Friday at earlier times.

 In the grand scheme of things, this won’t shake the country’s core. We’ve got so many other things to concern us -- two wars, high unemployment, runaway deficits and debt.
Maybe there are some employees who would welcome the extra hours of pay. But I think the early store openings continue to speak to our financially unhealthy obsession with shopping.
In the headline trumpeting its midnight opening, Kohl’s said it wants to provide a ”convenient shopping experience for customers who ‘love to give’ and are ‘happy to save.’“ Added Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s chairman, ”The state of the economy will definitely affect how consumers plan and shop this holiday. We understand they feel pressure to find the best gifts at an incredible value.“
He’s right about the pressure. It’s still there despite the economy. We still love to spend money that probably could best be used to boost an emergency fund, save for college or pay down college debt, make extra payments on a mortgage or give to a well-run charity.
”By sharing our Black Friday specials earlier than ever, we hope to make buying decisions easier for parents working hard to give their families the Christmas they deserve,” Naughton of Wal-Mart said.
See, that’s just it. What on earth do any of us need to buy on the special day (and night) we as a nation have purposefully set aside for family time?
And let me throw this in for free.
The fact is, you never save when you spend, regardless of whether you’re shopping regular store hours or when you should be in bed. You are spending less than a product might cost retail, but you are not saving. Saving is an act signified by the absence of spending.

Readers can write to Michelle Singletary care of The Washington Post, 1150 15th St., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20071. Her email address is

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Small Business Saturday

So you know all about "Black Friday", but have you heard of Small Business Saturday?

Support for Small Business Saturday

The 2nd annual Small Business Saturday® is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses on one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.On November 26, we're asking millions of people to shop small at their favorite local stores and help fuel the economy. When we all shop small, it will be huge.
For more info, CLICK HERE.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

Another turkey deal.... Lance's New Market FREE Turkey with Promo on KRAFT items

Lance's New Market is also running a promo for a free turkey when you buy 12 participating KRAFT items.  When you purchase 12 of the select Kraft items, you get $10 off a turkey, and their frozen basic turkeys are on sale for $.99/lb, making a 10lb turkey free.   Actually, you get $10 off any turkey (fresh, frozen, hormone free, turkey breast, etc.)

I went in today, and purchased my 12 items and got a 9.68lb turkey, and still got $10 off, so I actually made a little money on mine! :)

Generally, I find Lance's to be much higher priced than other grocery stores in town, but if you look for some of their sale items you can still make out ahead.  Two of the "select" Kraft items that are part of this deal are Cool Whip and Jet Puffed Marshmallows, which are each on sale for $1, so theoretically you could spend $12 TOTAL on 12 bags of Marshmallows or tubs of Cool Whip, and get a 10lb turkey for free.  I didn't need 12 tubs of cool whip, so I didn't do that, but I still only spent $20.48, got my almost 10lb turkey, and got a bunch of other stuff I needed from Kraft items.  Shop carefully, and look for the coupons on things like the front of the Kraft/Nabisco crackers that have $1 off when you purchase one cheese and one box of crackers.  I scored 2 of those coupons from the front of the Nabisco cracker boxes, and added it to Lance's sale price on their cheese & crackers, making it a pretty good deal ($1.50 for a box of crackers & $2 for the cheese)!  All my rambling will make sense once you go in & see for yourself.  :)

Remember, turkeys are just for Thanksgiving.... make some room in your freezer & save them for later!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Starbucks BOGO on Holiday Drinks (Nov 17-20)

Need a little pick-me-up to get you through to Thanksgiving?  I know many (e.g. my husband) are not getting much sleep this time of year, so you may need a little extra help from caffeine. 

Today, Nov 17 - Nov 20th, from 2-5pm each day Starbucks is having a buy-one-get-one-free on their holiday drinks.  This is valid on holiday flavors - it doesn't say exactly which flavors but here are some that were listed: Gingerbread Latte, Peppermint Mocha and Carmel Brulee Latte. Click here for more info.

Not sure who to give your free one to?  Make a co-workers day!  (or your kid's teacher, a friend, a mom who is ready to lose it with her kiddos by late afternoon, etc!)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Turkey Deals in & Around Marion

Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK!  Got your turkey yet?  Want to know where the deals are in town?

Spend $20 in other items, get $9 OFF a turkey weighing 10-15lbs (applies to fresh or frozen). 
Spend $20 in other items, get $16 OFF a turkey weighting 16+lbs (applies to fresh or frozen).

Spend $25 in other purchases and get a frozen turkey for only $0.57/lb (frozen turkeys 12-24lbs). 

Butterball turkey $1.09lb
(Sweet potatoes on sale for only $0.25/lb and butter on sale only $1.99 each)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Give Blood, Get a FREE Turkey!

You heard right - give blood, save a life, and you will get a free turkey!  Marsh and the South Bend Medical Foundation Blood Donor Center in Marion (basement of the ACC building across from the hospital) have teamed up to offer blood donors a GREAT promo for November.  Give blood before Nov. 23 and you'll get a coupon for a free 10-12lb frozen turkey from Marsh.

Hours of operation:
Mon & Tues - 11am - 7pm
Wednesday - 9am - 3pm
Thurs & Fri - 8am - 4:30pm

Requirements for giving blood:  must be 17 years or older, weigh at least 110lbs (not a problem for me!), wait 12 months after a tattoo or body piercing, wait 56 days between donations, be symptom-free of cold or influenza for 72 hours, be in good general health, wait 24 hours after a dental cleaning.

I went in and got my free turkey today, along with a $10 VISA gift card (you get a $10 VISA gift card every 3 times you give if you bring in your punch card).  Call to schedule and appointment and get your turkey too! What a win-win!

For more info or to schedule an appointment call 662-4630 or  CLICK HERE.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lowes Build & Grow FREE Kids Clinic (Nov 12)

Lowes' next free Kids' Clinic is this Saturday, Nov 12 at 10am.  Kids thru age 12 are welcome to participate with help from a parent.   This week you will be making a science lab kit.  For more info, and to register, click HERE.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Need Your Eyes Checked?

Preferred Eye Care, LLC in Marion is helping their community this holiday season by offering a $100 gift certificate for donating non-perishable food items for St. Martin's Community Center.  All you have to do is take non-perishable items into Preferred Eye Care (711 N. River Drive), and they will give you your gift cert and will deliver the items to St. Martin's for you. 

The $100 gift certificate can be used for an exam, glasses, or contacts, and can be used WITH your vision insurance (if you have it).  Preferred Eye Care is doing this promo as a way of saying THANK YOU for helping support those who give to those in need in the community. 

For more info, go to their website HERE, or call them at 
(765) 664-9637

Thank you Preferred Eye Care! 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Butterball Turkey Coupon

Starting to think about Thanksgiving dinner? 
Make sure you head over to to print this coupon!   Never used  It is FREE to sign up & print coupons! 

Friday, November 4, 2011

10 FREE Holiday Photo Cards from Staples!

Found this on the CouponDivas Site & I'm definitely going to take advantage of it!  If you print these in the store, you can avoid shipping costs, making these totally free!

Staples is offering 10 free 4x8 Holiday photo cards through November 12, 2011. (limited quantities available, so do it soon!)  Click HERE for coupon.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fall Leaf Pick-up Schedule in Marion

From the Chronicle Tribune...

The 2011 fall leaf pick-up in the City of Marion has begun.  Bagged leaves will be picked up only if in paper yard waste bags.  No plastic bags will be picked up.  The schedule is:

Week of Oct 31: Friday and Saturday trash routes. 
Week of Nov 7: Tuesday trash route.
Week of Nov 14: Wednesday and Thursday trash routes.
Week of Nov 21: Friday trash route.
Week of Nov 28: Monday and Tuesday trash routes.
Week of Dec 5: Wednesday and Thursday trash routes.
Week of Dec 12: Friday trash route.

There is no leaf pick-up on holidays.  The schedule will be adjusted and/or added to as needed.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Candy Buy-Back from K&L Dental (Tues, Nov 1 from 4pm-8pm)

Need to get rid of your kids candy before they (& you) make themselves sick?  Good news!  K&L Dental is hosting a "Candy Buy Back" on Tuesday, November 1st from 4pm - 8pm.  Kids 12 & under will receive $1/pound of candy brought in (up to 5lbs).  In addition to earning $1/lb, whoever brings the most candy in will win a new bike!

All candy is sent to Operation Gratitude where it is divided into care packages for troops overseas (Box Express is covering cost of shipping the candy).

117 W. Mulberry
Marion, IN

(765) 664-0028

Trick of Treat Hours for Marion & Surrounding Areas

Taking out your little people to trick or treat tonight?  See times for each area below:

Marion: 5-8pm
Converse: 5-8pm
Fairmount: 6-8pm
Gas City: 4-8pm
Jonesboro: 5-8pm
Matthews: 6-8pm
Sweetser: 5-8pm
Van Buren: 6-9pm

Want an alternative to going door to door?
  • Trunk or Treat: 5-7pm - God's Grace Ministries UMC (4312 Adams St.)
  • Halloween in the Park Trunk or Treat: 5-7pm Gas City Park
  • Trunk or Treat: 5-8pm Nelson Street Wesleyan Church
  • Trunk or Treat: 5-8pm First United Methodist Church
  • Trunk or Treat: 5:30-8pm Brookhaven Wesleyan Church
  • Hallelujah Night: 6-8pm Christ Temple Church
  • Trunk or Treat: 6-8pm James Lutheran Church
  • Trunk or Treat: 6-8pm Unity Christian Church
  • Trunk or Treat: 5-8pm Bend of the River Neighborhood Association (YMCA rear parking lot)
  • Neighborhood Halloween Celebration: 5:30-8pm Garfield Neighborhood Association (Barnes Park on 6th & E)

    Thursday, October 27, 2011

    Cars 2 DVD Only $6.99 after rebate

    Looking at purchasing Cars 2 for a Christmas gift? Right now you can pre-order at for $16.99 and you can earn a $10 rebate by mail on the movie by purchasing select Kimberly Clark Products between 10/30 and 1/31/12. Price after rebate = $6.99!

    Mail Requirements:
    1) Proof-of-purchase tab or UPC from your Disney*Pixar’s CARS 2 on DVD or Blu-RayTM Combo Pack. Proof-of-purchase tab is located on the back of the product packaging just above the UPC code.
    2) Proof-of-purchase tab or UPC from your Kimberly-Clark products.
    3) Cash register receipt from Disney*Pixar’s CARS 2 DVD or Blu-RayTM Combo Pack purchase imprinted
    with store name and dated between October 30th, 2011 and January 31st, 2012 with purchase price(s) circled (photocopies acceptable).
    4) Cash register receipt(s) from Kimberly-Clark purchase imprinted with store name and dated between
    October 30th, 2011 and January 31st, 2012 with purchase price(s) circled. Receipts from multiple retailers and transactions allowed (photocopies acceptable).
    5) This original, hand-printed, completed certifi cate (no photocopies allowed).  To get rebate form go to:

    Receive: A $10.00 rebate by mail. Please allow 6-8 weeks for check to arrive.

    Mail to:
    CARS 2/Kimberly-Clark Rebate
    P.O. Box 8086
    Royal Oak, MI 48068-8086

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    Free Halloween Pancake for Kids 12 & U (on Oct 28th)

    IHOP will be offering kids ages 12 and under a FREE Halloween Pancake on 10/28 from 7 A.M.- 10 P.M. Not at all healthy, but fun & free, so thought I'd share.  Everything in moderation, right? :)

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    FREE Batteries from Staples (with Staples Rewards 100% back credit)

    Okay, Christmas isn't too far around the corner, so you better head into Staples and stock up on batteries now so you're ready when the holidays get here! 

    Through 10/29 at Staples, you can get a 16/pack of Duracell AA or AAA batteries for FREE.  You must have a Staples Reward card (free to sign up if you don't have one) and use it when you purchase the batteries.  You'll have to pay the cost for the batteries out of pocket, but then Staples will email you 100% of the cost back (except taxes) in Staples Rewards (if you've never gotten these, these, you just print them out and take them into the store to use like a gift card). 

    Don't need batteries right now?  Donate them to your kids school, your church or a non-profit in town that can probably use them!

    Saturday, October 22, 2011

    Apples, apples & more apples - Hainlen Orchard (Converse, IN)

    Have you been to Hainlen's Orchard this fall?  It is not a "pick-your-own", but still a beautiful orchard that makes a fun outing for the whole family.  Stop by during this peak apple season time, and you'll be glad you did!

    Address: 5588 County Road N 1250 East Converse, IN 46919
    Phone: 765.395.3274
    Hours: Monday – Saturday: 9 AM – 5 PM, Sunday: 12 PM – 5 PM
    35 varieties of Apples, jelly and jams, gourds, squash, peaches, honey, cider

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    5k Run For Recovery 2011 - Race for Grace (11/5)

    5K Run for Recovery  
    & Fun Run/walk

    Saturday November 5th, 2011
    Matter Park, Marion IN

    Early Registration Fee: $20 Due by October 23rd. T-Shirt Included

    Day-Of Race Registration: $20, Does Not Include T-Shirt

    Proceeds Go to Grace House
     Check in: 7:30-8AM
    Race Begins At 9:00AM – Rain or Shine!

    Want a registration form?  

    My family & I did this the past two years, and it is a great community event supporting a wonderful program.  Grace House is a home for men who are trying to get out of lives of drugs & alcohol.  Hope to see you at the event!

    Want more info about Grace House?  CLICK HERE 

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Spencer's Farm - Pumpkins, apples, gourds, etc.

    Have you ever been to Spencer's Farm?  I posted about them last fall, but in case you forgot about them I wanted to post again to remind you!  This is a really quaint family farm with very reasonable prices.  In addition to in-season produce they've grown, they also have cage-free eggs. 

    Directions: from Marion, go EAST on 38th Street for 15-20 minutes.  The farm is on your right, and has a sign out on the street. 

    It is worth the beautiful drive to the country!  

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Pumpkin Muffins from the PIONEER WOMAN!

    Anyone in the mood for pumpkin?  :)  I found this picture on the Better Homes & Garden's website, and while they're advertising making cupcakes, I think these would be even better if you made them with pumpkin muffins with cream cheese frosting.  All you have to do to modify these is to add a little food coloring into your cream cheese frosting (see recipe below), and plop a pretzel rod in the top!  Cute & yummy!  See recipe below from the PIONEER WOMAN... don't know who she is yet?  If you love food, you MUST check her out.  You can thank me later. :) 

    Pumpkin Spice Muffin Ingredients

    • Muffin Ingredients:
    • 1 cup All-purpose Flour (even better use half all purpose, half white whole wheat - kh's addition)
    • 1/2 cup Sugar
    • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
    • 1-1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
    • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
    • 4 Tablespoons Butter, cut into pieces
    • 1 cup (heaping) Pumpkin Puree
    • 1/2 cup Evaporated Milk
    • 1 whole Egg
    • 1-1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
    • 1/2 cup Golden Raisins (optional!)
    • _____
    • Topping
    • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
    • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
    • _____
    • 1/4 cup Softened Butter
    • 4 ounces, weight Cream Cheese  (add yellow & red food coloring to make orange! - kh)
    • 1/2 pound Powdered Sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla

    Preparation Instructions

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously grease 12 muffin tins.
    Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Cut in butter with two knives or a pastry blender until it is fully incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg, and vanilla. Pour pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Add raisins. Fold gently until mixture is just combined.
    Pour into a greased muffin pan—batter hardly ever fills all twelve unless you keep it down to 1/2 full.

    Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove and allow to cool. Ice with cream cheese frosting. (then add pretzel rod - kh)

    To make the frosting, mix all ingredients on high until soft and whipped. Spread onto completely cooled muffins.   Store in the fridge, as icing will soften at room temperature.

    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    Campbell's Pumpkin Patch - Wabash, IN

    Have you been out to Campbell's Pumpkin Patch this season?  If not, you are missing out!  I took my little men yesterday with their preschool group, and I was reminded of what an adorable little place it is.  This is our third fall in Indiana, and we've been each fall.  They seem to add things to do there every fall & it just gets cuter & cuter!

    Activities include:
    Hay rides
    Corn Maze
    Hay maze (for the little guys)
    milk bottle bowling
    Bean bag toss
    Giant inflatable jumpy pumpkin
    Feed the goats
    Pick-you-own pumpkin (all shapes & sizes!)
    Snack shop with fresh baked fall goods & what else?  APPLE CIDER!
    Country store, with all kinds of goodies & yummy local honey (which I note b/c I picked some up!)

    And, they have the LARGEST, MOST BEAUTIFUL MUMS YOU HAVE EVER SEEN, for only $5.95 each or 3 for $16.  When you see how huge these mums are you'll understand why this price is a steal!

    Take some cash (most activities are very low cost or by donation), grab your hats & jackets & head out there today!  For more info and directions, click HERE.

    Open 9am - 6pm seven days a week from mid-Sept thru Oct 31. 

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    Sweetser Switch Trail Pumpkin Walk (Sat, Oct 15th)

    The annual Sweetser Switch Trail Pumpkin Walk is this weekend, Saturday, Oct 15th from 6:30 -9:00pm.  Activities include hay rides, pumpkin carving contest, costume parade, jack-o-lanterns, etc.  If your kiddo is going to participate in the costume parade, have them at Sweetser school ready to go by 6:00pm. 

    For more info on the Sweetser Switch Trail & directions CLICK HERE

    Event Organizer - Sweetser Lions Club - 765-384-7470

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    CVS FREE Deal on Hallmark Cards this Week (thru Sat)

    For those of you savvy mommas who have a CVS Rewards card, they have a great deal this week on Hallmark cards (not just Halloween cards as shown in the picture, you can do bday cards, etc.).

    Buy 3 Hallmark Greeting Cards at $0.99 each
    Spend $2.97 plus tax out of pocket, Get $3 ECBs
    Free after ECBs
    If you don't do CVS's Rewards program, it is worth signing up (& it's free).  Just stop by any CVS to pick up an application and your card.  They usually have at least one "free" deal each week (like the one listed above).  You have to pay the initial out of pocket, but you get your Extra Care Bucks you can use on something  else, making the cost essentially free to you.  Just make sure you check out the expiration date on your ECBs so you use them before they expire!  For more info on CVS's rewards program, CLICK HERE.  

    Saturday, October 8, 2011

    KOHL'S Coupon & Grand Opening

    Most folks in Marion probably know, but in case you don't, KOHL's is now open.  Check your mail from the last two weeks - I had a $10 GIFT gift cert mailed to me (unsolicited on my part) from KOHL's that is only good through today, Saturday, Oct 8.  If you got the same thing in your mailbox, use the coupon below to maximize your free gift!

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    Lowes Build and Grow FREE Kids Clinic: Monster Machine (Saturday 10/8/11)

    Another free kids clinic at Lowe's this weekend.  Take your kiddo for a special morning out!  Starts at 10am.  First 50 kids get to participate - register online HERE.

    Mississinewa 1812 - THIS WEEKEND

    In case you hadn't heard, Mississinewa 1812 is this weekend in Marion (Oct 7-9).  I just got back from the event, where I spent the morning with my two little men and my girlfriend Jackie & her two little people.  We had a great time!  It was a beautiful morning, and is supposed to be a beautiful weekend, so go check it out!

    Admission is $8 at the door, but if you stop at MARSH on your way there (at the customer service desk) you can get tickets for only $6.  Kiddos 6-12 are $5 at the door, but only $4 at MARSH, and kids 5 & under are FREE.

    Make sure you have $1 bills with you, good walking shoes, & a water bottle!  You can take water & food with you into the event, but trying some of the authentic food at the event is part of the fun.  :)  We found a dip-your-own candle booth, and my boys proudly brought home their own candles to show their dad (for only $.75 each!).  See how cute the are above.  :)

    For more info & a schedule of events go to:

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    WINNER for Book Giveaway - Totally Together: Shortcuts to an Organized Life

     Thank you to all of you who submitted your best tips for keeping your lives sane in the "Totally Together" contest!  We have a winner for the book Totally Together: Shortcuts to an Organized Life.  Congratulations to Jaena.  I read & appreciated everyone's feedback, but as my husband will tell you I'm the most indecisive person in the world, so choosing the winner came down to names drawn out of a hat.  :)   Jaena's mom tip was to use bins/tubs to stay organized and make things easy to find. 

    Finding "Shortcuts to and Organized Life" must resonate with many of us, as I had 130 hits on my original blogpost on this book.... either that, or we all just like to win something for free.  :)

    If you haven't already, check out the author, Stephanie O'Dea's, and if you're interested in purchasing your own copy of Totally Together for yourself or another mom you can get it on, or any other major book store.

    Thanks again to everyone for your feedback - I appreciate your tips & suggestions on how to stay sane & balance family/home/work/life! 


    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    What's for dinner tonight?

     Looking for some new fall meals to spice up your kitchen?  I'm feeling like I'm in a rut, and with little time after work before dinner, I never seem to have time to figure out meals & keep "throwing together" the same boring stuff.  I  got an email with's TOP Five Crockpot Recipes and am excited to try them out... I think I'll start with their recipe below.  I recently had pulled pork made by a woman in my small group, and the method/ingredients she used were just like the recipe below.  It was AWESOME (& she said easy!), so I'm definitely giving it a try.... enjoy!


    Pulled Pork (Crock Pot)

    By duonyte on July 25, 2005


      1. 4 lbs pork roast ( shoulder or butt)
      2. 2 large onions
      3. 1 cup ginger ale
      4. 1 (18 ounce) bottles favorite barbecue sauce ( I like Sweet Baby Ray's)
      5. barbecue sauce, for serving (optional)


    1. Slice one onion and place in crock pot.
    2. Put in the roast and cover with the other onion, sliced. Pour over the ginger ale. Cover and cook on LOW for about 12 hours.
    3. Remove the meat, strain and save the onions, discard all liquid. With two forks, shred the meat, discarding any remaining fat, bones or skin. Most of the fat will have melted away.
    4. Return the shredded meat and the onions to the crock pot, stir in the barbecue sauce. Continue to cook for another 4 to 6 hours on LOW.
    5. Serve with hamburger buns or rolls and additional barbecue sauce. Any leftovers freeze very well.
    6. TIP: freeze ready-made sandwiches - a scoop of meat on a bun, well-wrapped. These make a great quick meal or snack. To reheat, remove wrapping, wrap in a paper towel, and zap 1-2 minute in the microwave.
    7. Note: Shoulder or butt are recommended because the meat shreds very well. Other cuts do not shred as readily. It is a fattier cut, but the fat melts away in the cooking and is poured away when you discard the liquid.
    8. Note 2: I have an older, smaller crock pot. The above times work perfectly for me. But if you have a newer or bigger crock pot, you may need to revise times downward, esp. after the bbq sauce is added. I think you need at least a couple of hours for it all to meld, but that may be all you need. Update: I recently bought a bigger crockpot, I think 5 or 6 qts. I cooked a 6 lb pork shoulder in it for 8 hours and it was shreddable at that point. Shredded, added the sauce, and cooked for another hour or so to meld everything. So use your best judgment on timing!
    9. Note3: You might want to turn your roast over after it's cooked a while, to ensure more even cooking. I think this may depend on the size and shape of your roast and the size of your slow cooker. Remember that each time you remove the lid you lose heat and be careful, as turning a large piece of meat is awkward.

    Friday, September 30, 2011

    Get $ for your unwanted gift cards... and purchase gift cards at a discount

    Ever receive a gift card as a gift to a place you know you'll never go?  Want to get some $ for your unwanted gift cards?  Check out!

    They buy your unwanted gift cards AND they sell gift cards at a discount up to 25%!  I just went on their site and saw a bunch of Lowes gift cards selling at a discount (& no shipping charges!) - I feel like I'm at Lowes weekly now that I'm a homeowner, so I'm thinking I'm going to save myself a bit of money and purchase one of these!  Check them out & see what you can get rid of (or score!) today.

    Free shipping on all Discounted Merchant Gift Cards

    Box Creative for Discount Merchant Cards