Review and Giveaway- ASPCA kids: Rescue Readers Books

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 9.25.29 PMRecently, rad folks at Moms Meet and Studio Fun sent us a box that Lil’ Man could hardly wait to get into.

Studio Fun International, a Reader’s Digest company, has teamed up with the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), the first animal welfare organization in North America and the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services.

Screen Shot 2015-11-27 at 9.25.02 PMThese books are ADORABLE!  Lil’ Man is getting to the age where he wants a pet, and these books are a great learning tool for him.
Each story is inspired by a real-life animal rescue story from the pet’s point of
view and includes facts and photographs of the actual pet that inspired the story. Each book creates a fun and educational hands-on experience written at a Level 2 reading level for early readers. While he can’t read yet, he recognized most of the letters and I can see that these books will definitely get a lot of use as he starts reading.
I really like that the importance of care, protection, and love of animals is incorporated into each
tale with a focus on the joyous outcome. Lil’ Man wanted a dog, but when he saw how much work came with it, he quickly asked for a fish (Because, he told me, “Mommy, you don’t have to walk a fish!!)
For those of us who like our purchases to help others, fell good knowing that four to five percent of the purchase price of every book goes directly to the ASPCA to help continue its mission.

These incredible stories are available in paperback, library binding hardcovers, and e-books. The paperback books are priced at $3.99 (each) or $15.96 (for all four) everywhere books are sold, Including Amazon!

IMG_2249We sat down to snuggle on the couch with some soft blankets, cocoa, and read our new books tonight! Lil’ Man said, “NO pictures, please mommy. I has the no-feel-goods!” But I did snap a photo of our soft blankies and books!

Now it’s your turn to share these fun, heartwarming books with your special littles. Thanks to #momsmeet and #Studiofun I am able to give away a set of the four ASPCAKids books pictured above: I am Daisy, I am Picasso, I am Nibbles, and I am McKinely. Entering is Easy: Leave a comment with what your first pet was! When I was a kid we had a Keeshond named Arthur.

I’ll choose a winner on December 7th. This prize would make a great gift for any young reader on your list!

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.

 

Giving Back: Blessing Bags (A Tutorial)

One of the reasons that I coupon is so that I can have the fortune to help others. Many couponers donate to causes that are dear to them.  My local Coupon Group donates HBA to Naomi’s Closet in Santee, CA. We also support one of the local American Legion posts with two of their service projects: Coupons to overseas families and homeless veteran outreach.

We are able to donate and help others because we use coupons and shop sales. Many times we are able to pick up free items to donate, or items that are 80%+ off the regular price.

My mom’s group has made blessing bags in the past (We usually make some to be handed out at a local homeless camp on Christmas Day). For those who are not familiar with the term, a blessing bag is a small bag (usually a ziploc type bag) filled with:

  • small or travel sized toiletries
  • snacks like crackers, tuna in a pop-top can or pouch, granola bars, instant oatmeal
  • bottled water
  • hard candy
  • lip balm
  • safety pins
  • socks
  • hand/baby wipes
  • razors
  • an extra ziploc bag
  • Feminine Hygiene supplies
  • A large trash bag folded up (It can be used as a rain poncho)

I try to keep a couple in my car and I hand them out when we see those in need while we are out. For those of you who aren’t native to Southern California, there are a lot of homeless here. We have good weather most of the year, so it’s ok to sleep outside 6-8 months of the year. According to the 2014 Homeless census in San Diego, there are over 8500 homeless residents in San Diego. That’s just the number that were counted, there are many more that were not.

Last year Lil’ Man and I made blessing bags several times and we plan to make more this year.

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Examples of what we put in our blessing bags last year.

I keep all the samples I request in an up-cycled baby wipe container under my bathroom sink.

I also go through my HBA stockpile for items like BIC razors, lip balm, and toothpaste I picked up for free after coupon and store sale.

My parents travel a lot for my dad’s Board position in a non-profit, so they always have a stash of hotel soap/toiletries. My parents give us a grocery bag full to assist in the cause.

Last year, Lil’ Man and I sat on the floor and put together 26 bags. Not every bag had the same items in it, but they each contained a variety of HBA, snacks, and supplies.

Blessing bags area great way to help those of your neighbors who may be on the streets. If you live in an area where there isn’t a large visible homeless population, consider making blessing bags and donating them to a shelter or checking with your local churches for homeless outreach.

Black Friday Sale at Costume Express!

Screen Shot 2015-11-25 at 6.50.42 PM*This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Halloween is long over, but if your littles love dress up, this deal is PERFECT for you! Costumes make the holidays brighter, so why not save and shop the Costume Closeout with savings up to 90% off at Costume Express. You’ll also get 20% off for Black Friday!

Offer: Black Friday – 20% off no minimum at Costume Express
Coupon Code: CXFRIDAY
Valid: 11/27/15

 

Packing an awesome school lunch on a budget!

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Most kids are on Fall break right now and school starts back up on Monday, but this post comes from my heart. I can’t tell you how many times I opened my lunch bag as a child, only to be disappointed by a limp, sweaty bologna sandwich, a warm juice box and a bag of chips. My mom is an awesome cook, but lunches as a kid were always uninspired. She packed us the same lunch that our friends had.

Kids now have a lot more choices when it comes to lunches. Cooler bags/soft sided insulated bags are now chic, and many schools have restrictions on what kids can bring to school (mostly due to common food allergies).

Here are some tips that can help you pack a yummy, nutritious, frugal lunch for your kids (or heck, even for you if you pack your lunch for work):

  • Plan ahead. Take an inventory of your pantry, fridge and freezer.  Make a list of lunches you can make with what you’ve got on hand.
  • Eat what’s on sale! You’ll save more if you eat what’s in season.
  • Involve the eater of the lunch: if you involve the kids, they’ll be more apt to eat what’s packed.
  • Keep Lunch fun! Use cookie cutters (like this one– I love it for sliced cheese) to make sandwiches, fruit, and cheese into fun shapes.
  • Set aside time for prep: When you get home from the store, set aside some time to chop veggies, fruit, and cheese and place single servings in baggies. Store the baggies in a drawer in the fridge. Resist the urge to snack on them!
  • Resist the urge to buy individual packages of snacks. They are usually not the best value for your dollar. Set aside some time after your shopping trip to portion out cookies, crackers, snacks and even yogurt.
  • Along the same lines: Resist the urge to buy pre-made sandwiches, like UnCrustables. Many schools don’t allow Peanut Butter (or other nut butters) in school lunches.  If your kids love those sandwiches, make your own. All you need in an empanada press (like this one) or a Wonder Bread Sandwich Sealer and D-Cruster a loaf of bread, your fav. peanut or other nut/seed butter, and some jam or jelly. Make about 12 sandwiches for less than $10. The average price for a box of 4 UnCrustables is around $3.50! You can use whatever type of sliced bread you like too!
  • Sandwiches need not be an everyday food! Make wraps with tortillas, sliced cheese, deli meats, and flavored cream cheese. Send sliced cheese, sandwich meat, and crackers (think a homemade Lunchable!) in a plastic box in separate muffin papers. Cold Pizza, salads that include a protein, soup in a thermos, heck, even cereal in a plastic container and a thermos of cold milk.
  • Re-use your empty Mio containers to send condiments or salad dressing to keep sandwiches and salads from getting icky and soggy. Simply remove the wrapper from the empty bottle, pop the top off and clean out the bottle and lid.  Once they are dry, fill 1/2 to 3/4 full and write on the front of the bottle with a sharpie.
  • Don’t just stick to Major Grocery Store chains! I love shopping for lunch yummies at Grocery Outlet. They have a wide variety of crackers, cookies, lunch meat, and a killer cheese section!  Now that we have a Grocery Outlet and a 99 Cents Only in the same shopping center, I can get most of my school lunch shopping done in one trip!

Oh, and most importantly- Don’t forget the note. My mom always put a note in our lunch each day. It made my day, especially when I was having a hard morning!

Looking for more ideas on keeping school lunches fun? Here are a few books I found on Amazon:

Cents of Style’s Black Fashion Friday Deal (Cute Graphic Shirts& Scarves)

Cents of Style is hooking you up this black Friday!: Graphic T-Shirts $14.97 (Womens)-$12.47 (Kids) & FREE SHIPPING w/code THEGOOD, +$5 Gift Card with Every $25.00 purchase

Remember to use Coupon Code THEGOOD at checkout! Here is how the deal will work. The coupon code will take 50% OFF the graphic t-shirt of choice. When you spend $25+ you will get a $5 Cents of Style Gift Card emailed to you. The $5 gift card is limit 1 per customer/transaction. Only 1 gift card will be emailed with each order

But Wait, because it gets better! When you purchase one of these stylin’ graphic tees, you’ll be offered a houndstooth scarf for $10.00 at checkout.

This deal gives you almost $60 in product for only $25, plus $5 back! And if you include the $5 gift card you will get 2 gifts for $20!

Little Passports Black Friday Sale (Great for the kiddo on your shopping list!)

**The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

Little Passport’s Black Friday sale is here! No need to head to the stores today! Purchase Little Passports online and give the gift that keeps giving all year long!

From now until Tuesday, December 1st, Little Passports is offering 60% off the first month of any subscription plan plus 10% off any non-subscription items! All you need to do is use code:BLACK60 at check out.

Although this sale needs no further introduction, let me take a moment to introduce you to the Little Passports products.

  • Please read The Globetrotter’s Gift Guide for a great summary of Little Passports’ products, including shop items for under $25!

    **This promotion is valid online only at www.littlepassports.com. To redeem enter code BLACK60 at checkout. 60% discount is applied to the first month of any subscription plan. 10% discount is applied to all non-subscription items. Offer cannot be combined with any other offers and/or applied retroactively to previously placed orders. Only store items bundled with a subscription can have a delayed holiday start. Offer excludes shipping and taxes. Offer valid from 11/25 at 8:00AM EST to 12/1 at 11:59PM EST.

 

Cross Country Cafe: Black Friday Deals Start NOW!

Right now Cross Country Cafe has 13 different Black Friday Sales going on now… Here is my favorite deal:

Black Friday Keurig Kcup coffee and Nespresso BLOWOUT sale!