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.