Shaving, Simplified (Review)

I recently took a trip to Arizona with my daughter (boy, do I love traveling solo with a toddler) and I was thisclose to having to pay extra for luggage that was over the weight limit.  I’m convinced that even a travel-sized can of shaving cream would have tipped the scales in the wrong direction.  Enter the Schick® Intuition.

Intuition razor

It’s my new favorite thing, when it comes to packing efficiently and streamlining my morning routine.  The shaving cream and moisturizer are built right in to the razor.  Seriously, what’s more annoying than shaving your legs in the shower and discovering, mid-leg, that you are out of shaving cream!?  With the Intuition razor, the problem is solved!

To get a $3 off coupon on this razor, head over to their facebook page through the end of October,  and take their quiz to fight out which razor is right for you!

How to Become an Extreme Couponing Master

     We both have four kids, a husband, and a dog to feed, yet Kathy Spencer spends 75 times less than I do each week at the grocery store.  Clearly, I had to find out how.   She is, of course,  the self made Coupon Guru, with a new book out on the topic, and a website, where she shows shoppers how she does it.  When I heard she was giving an hour and a half “coupon class” at the RI Home Show, I knew I should to attend.Coupon Queen

     I was impressed not only by her ability to feed a family of six on $4 a week, but by her candor, her humor, and her willingness to share her money saving secrets.  Paying it forward seemed to be a large part of her message.  Along with the information she generously shares, she donates those items that she does not need, to others that do…pediatric hospitals, nursing homes, food pantries or friends in need.  She strategically combines coupons found in fliers from the newspaper, with sales going on in the store to get items for pennies or free.  One example of how she shops would be a  $1.00 off coupon used for an item that then happened to be on sale at the store for 3 for $3.00 that week, in which case she would by three & use three coupons.  That means free!   Another of her tactics is that when she does find those amazing deals on non-perishables like toothpaste or toilet paper, she stockpiles them to avoid having to pay full price in the future.   What she wants us as consumers to understand is that to survive day to day, improve our lifestyles, or to get the things we want, more money is not the answer, but saving money is.

     I was so excited by what I learned I immediately went home and started clipping away at coupons.  What I found when I tried to put what I had learned into practice, is that I have a lot to learn!  I combined coupons with sales, but only a few items I had coupons for coincided with sales, and I still needed some things that I did not have coupons for, or were not on sale.  On my first enthusiastic foray into coupon shopping I ended up saving $23.00 off my still astounding shopping bill , and  then $25.00 the second time around.  I have to admit the wind was taken out of my sails a bit, but I am determined to work on my strategy and figure this out.  I don’t ever expect to be able to cut my bill to mere dollars, but with a family of six every bit counts.

     Extreme couponing gained momentum with the economic downturn, and there is an entire T.V. show on TLC about it.   We don’t all have to go to the sometimes crazy lengths that extreme couponers might be willing to go through to get a bargain, like leaving their house at the crack of dawn, and going store to store to get the deals.  Kathy seems confident that we can all save with coupons, even if it just means cutting our grocery bills by 10 or 20 percent.   It takes some organization, but the payoff can be big.  Hearing her speak certainly inspired me to try.  My coupon organizer, (of course I had to run out and buy a cute one) is now bulging with yet to be had deals.  I guess if I can manage to shave $25.00 off my weekly food bill, adding up to $100.00 a month that is a pretty good start.   

     If any of you have mastered the art of coupon shopping, or have tips to help me learn I’d love to hear them!

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Save Money With Zero Waste Lunches

 

If you’ve gone to the grocery store lately, you might have noticed the price increase in milk, bread, eggs, fruits and vegetables.   I nearly choked when I saw that tomatoes were $3.99lb (non organic!) and a gallon of milk went up by 59 cents in less than two weeks.  With food prices in the rise, I can sympathize with parents who decide to pay the $1.50-$2.00 a day for their kid’s school lunch.

Packing a wholesome lunch for your kids (or yourself) doesn’t have to break the bank.  While buying packaged snacks may seem convenient and not that expensive… they add up.  A healthy home made lunch becomes expensive if your child doesn’t eat it or it gets thrown away.  Uneaten lunch usually ends up in the garbage.

In most schools, lunch is between 20-35 minutes; which means, that your child does not have sufficient time to eat a huge lunch!  Think about it.  It may take them a few minutes to get situated with their friends, find a lunch table before they take their first bite.  In many cases, lunch is the only opportunity your child has to socialize outside the classroom. It’s hard to talk and chew at the same time!

A way to prevent food waste and reduce your grocery bill is to pack lunch smarter.  A whole apple takes a lot more time to eat than when it’s cut up into slices.  Limit your child’s choices to three-five items.  Often times, a child becomes overwhelmed by too many options in their lunch box and will usually pick the item that is most familiar to them.  Portion control is very important.  While a high schooler may eat a sandwich, fruit, vegetable and dip,  plus a treat; it’s unrealistic to expect a six year old to eat that much food in a short period of time -not to mention that it’s too much food for their little bodies!  By packing less lunch they will eat more of the wholesome choices you’ve made for them.

I am a BIG fan of nutritious after school snacks!  If you don’t own a mini muffin pan you are missing out on fun, wholesome treats with built in portion control.  One of my favorite recipies is Chocolate Chip Banana Flax Mini Muffins (recipe follows).  If your child rides the school bus, you can pack it inside a “bus-snack” container (make sure it’s smash proof).  Otherwise, you can bring it for them to eat on the way home or have it ready to eat upon arrival.

Preparation is easy and the taste is delicious!

Chocolate Chip Banana Flax Mini Muffins

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Yield: 36 mini muffins

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour (you can use 1/2 whole wheat)
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 large eggs
11/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1 (6-ounce) container nonfat Greek yogurt (or regular yogurt)
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup chocolate chips
– Cooking spray
Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, butter, eggs, bananas, yogurt, flaxseed, vanilla and walnuts in a large bowl, mixing well. Pour batter into mini muffin pan(s) coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack. Will store 2-3 days at room temperature or 7-10 days in refrigerator. Freeze in zip bag up to 2 months.

 

This delicious recipe was tested and enjoyed thanks to Ingredients Inc.

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Top Trends for Spring Nails

I’m loving the fun colors for nail polish this season!  You can never go wrong with a French mani or pedi, but live on the edge of your peep toes or flip flop out over what is making toelines this season! I took a trip to NYC, with my AMomKnowsBest friends, this April for Getting Gorgeous, and I could not help but notice that women are ready to bring their toes out to play!  Some were showing off their first spring pedicure in great open toed shoes…others, like the ladies of AMKB, scored  adorable sandals from Flip Out Sandals and can’t wait to show off their cute tootsies!   I mean, really, how fun are THESE??  flip flops

So…here are the top 3 trends for Spring 2011 in nail color:

1) Blues Baby: How fun are these?! My other favorite is OPI Austin-tatious from their new Spring 11 Texas line!  I always love OPI  names, but this season they are based around Texas towns – Nothing Plano about it

2) Nudes have it: A nude nail always looks clean and fresh on toes or fingers!  It’s very easy to match with dressy or casual and goes with every color!  My favorite part is that you can’t see chipping as easily on a nude nail.

3) Shades of Gray: I loved dark metallic gray this winter and a lighter tone for summer is in style! A gray nail goes well next to the vibrant pops of color in clothing this Spring – can’t go wrong here!

New, different and off the Spring runways this season (and popular especially with the younger generation) is the “moon manicure” , gold foil and OPI’s black shatter that you polish over your current color to crackle or ‘shatter’ it!

 

What will you try this season? Do you have time to do it yourself or do you like to go to the salon?

One thing is for certain, it’s time to Spring on the Polish!

BONUS: All AMKB readers can get Flip Out Sandals for 20% off by entering code GORG at checkout.  Nice.

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A Day Away for $10 (or FREE!)

DiscoverYou Logo

Mom’s need a chance to get away! Well, here’s your chance. The DiscoverYou Holistic and Wellness Expo is happening this weekend at 100 Twin River Rd, Lincoln, RI.  The event  focuses on your mental, physical and spiritual well-being.  There are a variety of holistic inspired activities and over 25  inspiring speakers. Over 100 exhibitors will also be present to educate you and offer holistic services and products.  The expo takes place this Sunday on 4/3 from 10am to 5pm.  What’s great about this event is that’s it a chance to get-away for only $10. Actually, it’s normally $10 to pre-register or $12 at the door. However, I wrote an article on the event for Patch.com and Susan Lataille, the organizer of the event, gave a discount to readers as well as allowed me to raffle off a free ticket.    Check out the article for more details on this event, along with info on  a discount and a chance to win a free ticket!  Here’s to you health!

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Get More Bang for Your Buck at the Best Restaurants

 

There’s not much this mama loves more than when it’s restaurant week in Rhode Island.  This little state has so many big offerings when it comes to food, but it often comes with a big price tag too!

Newport Restaurant Week  in RI once again returns, this time, with more than 40 participating restaurants March 25th through April 3rd, 2011. Scallops for dinner

Three-course lunches are just $16, and three-course dinners are $30.  Yum! 

Now…if I can just squeeze in a date night, I’m all set.

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