Monday, January 28, 2008

Polkatots and Whatnots Giveaway

Shannon over at Bloggy Giveaways is hosting a Bloggy Giveaway Carnival! How fun! We at Polkatots and Whatnots thought it was so great we've are participating.

The giveaway:

Enter to win this fun animal print bag. It can be used as a diaper bag, an everday bag, or even to carry a laptop!

How to enter:

Take a visit over to and look around. Return to this blog and comment on this post telling me what you would buy if you had $50 to spend any way you want on the site. Please follow the guidelines as comments not following the guidelines will be deleted. One comment entry per person. Duplicate comments will be deleted.


On Friday, February 1st at 11:59 PM EST 2008, comments will close and a winner will be selected using a random number generator. The winner will be posted on Saturday, February 2nd.


This giveaway is open to bloggers and non bloggers for US shipping addresses only. The winner will be notified on Saturday, February 2nd via email. The winner will have 4 days to respond with a shipping address. (Don't forget to check your Spam/Bulk folders.) If I don't receive the information within the time frame, another winner will be chosen by random number.


I will not use your or share your email information in any way. You will not be added to any mailing list or anything of the sort. **Edited to add: Please don't include your email as part of your comments. I can't control the privacy in that instance.

Good luck and thanks for participating!

Want more?

You can save 20% now on select bags (animal print bag, black with white polkadot bag, polkadot bag, or basic bag) using code bd-10pdb during checkout. Hurry, this offer is only good while supplies last!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Free Colgate Travel Bag

When I was clipping coupons a couple weekends ago, I noticed a url at the bottom of the Colgate insert for a Free Colgate Travel Bag. I finally went to the website to print out my form.

"Spend $15.00 on any of these participating Colgate-Palmolive products and you can get a FREE carry bag worth $25.00. Inside you will find sample size products and valuable coupons. All you have to do is complete the form below and click Submit. After you have submitted your information you will be able to print and mail in your form. Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery. Offer valid while supplies last. "

This looks like a great freebie. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Pink with Sparkles

Dawn over at Pink with Sparkles reviews "exlusively girl products and ideas". She contacted us recently about featuring our Monogrammed Towel Wraps for Girls. Check out her post for January 9th to read more. She mentions the ladies towel wraps, too.

We even have this style in girl's sizes! While your there, be sure to check out all of the wonderful girly stuff she has reviewed!

For those of you thinking, "That's great, but I have a boy." Don't worry, we have monogrammed towel wraps for boys, too! We offer boys towel wraps trimmed in white. We'll have a new picture up soon. Bud loves his towel wrap. I love that it keeps his "bits" covered when he gets out of the shower!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Online printables

I just checked my email account I use for special offers and promotions. I received a link to a $2.00 printable for Post Honey Bunches of Oats Cereal Chocolate Clusters. From this page, scroll down and you will see the button to click to print your own. You do need the coupon printer installed, but it takes just a couple minutes. Not sure what to think about this flavor yet, but I will be checking it out in the store. As long as there's no HFCS, we'll likely give it a try.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Freebies online

I'm a deal hunter and I love freebies. I remember the early days Fat Cat Cafe, Voilition(still there), and more. Even when I was much, much younger before the personal computer (I'm not a youngin'), I saved my money to buy a book at B. Dalton "1001 Freebies for Kids." I remember sending a lot of SASEs!

These days, freebies are a lot easier to come by. Like today, I was reading a story on MSNBC and decided to watch a clip from the Today Show. There was an ad for Dunkin' Donuts coffee with "Free Sample" emblazoned across the logo. Head over and pick up your Dunkin' Donuts Free Sample of Coffee. Freebies can pop up when you least expect it. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

How I earn free gift certificates and money back

I've been using for about 10 years now. In the early days, you could log on and just click away daily on point opportunities. I was earning points towards gift certificates pretty often. About the time of the crashes, things got a little dodgy for a while. They couldn't meet customer demand, they were taking forever to ship gift certificates, and advertisers began to drop. It was really rough. I remember receiving a letter in the mail apologizing for their inability to fulfill a redemption request, but they committed to making it happen. I had also participated in a bunch of similar websites, many of which went under.

MyPoints came through with flying colors. They delivered on requests and revamped their program and website. I stuck with them. Over the years, I've earned countless gift certificates. I bought Bud's travel system before he was born with Babies R Us gift certificates I earned from MyPoints. In more recent years, I've tapped into my balance to order gift certificates for thank you gifts, birthday gifts, and Christmas presents. It's nice to have these budget savers. I haven't been as diligent these past few years so I've missed out on some opportunity. But, after ordering some Christmas gifts using my points balance, I was re-inspired to click away.

You can set your preferences regarding frequency of emails (if any) you receive with point offers. I've received as many as 5-8 a day. I don't usually do the point offer, but just click through for 5 points credit. It's amazing how quickly 5 points ad up. You can complete other point offers for a lot more points if it's something you need. I haven't in a while. I do complete surveys that come my way. It's easy to earn 50 points by telling a little about your preferences. As you may or may not be able to tell, I definitely have strong preferences. If you are interested in joining, click through my link to MyPoints.

I used to shop through MyPoints to earn points per dollar. Most of the time now, I shop through Using Ebates, I earn a percentage of my online purchases back in cash. They send a quarterly check for my earnings (minimum $ amount required to send out check). What's great is, that I can use store coupons AND get a rebate from Ebates. There are rebates on average between 2%-5%. Gap/Old Navy rebates are 3%, Barnes and Noble 4%, and even 3% for Apple iTunes. If you have purchases to make online and are interested in saving, head on over to Ebates to sign up for your account. It's free and it's definitely worth the effort.

I do get credit for referrals as will you once you get started!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

How do I unplug?

I was taking a mental break from work while eating lunch and read a couple blogs that I've found inspiring. A few minutes ago I read Self Made Chick's post "5 Things I had to Unlearn to Become Self Made." Here's an excerpt that really spoke to me:

"Making the shift from the corporate world to working for myself was a lot like unplugging from the Matrix. There is a completely different world all around us, but we are unable to truly understand it unless we live it. This, I believe, is why I had been unsuccessful for years trying to start my own businesses part time while still working full-time for someone else. Self sufficiency is a completely different mindset.... If you don’t have the energy or time for new things to come into your life, they won’t."

Why is it when someone points something like this out, I think, "YES! I know!" How do you make the leap from doing what you want with every moment of the day instead of what someone else wants you to? Let me rephrase that, how do I make the leap from doing what I want with ever moment of the day instead of what someone else wants me to? I don't know, but I want to find out. I'm totally open to insights here.

Monday, January 7, 2008

What I got for Christmas

I got wonderful, thoughtful gifts for Christmas. I got two big gifts that I was so excited about. One, was a Roomba from my in-laws. Roomba makes almost daily trips through the dining room and kitchen. The first day we used him (yes, it's a him) we all stood and watched a while. He's not quiet, but it's a sweet sound. He came with 2 virtual walls. I think I'm going to ask for the home base for my birthday. Did you know that you can schedule these things? Oohh aahh...

The other big gift was from my parents. I asked for a chest freezer and got it. My dad was so excited to take me out to the shed to unveil it Christmas day! I think he was just as excited as I was. Now I can stock up on good buys and get back into once-a-month cooking. We have a pretty good size freezer. But after a day of pre-cooking, the freezer was jam-packed. I had to rearrange every time I pulled something out. This isn't a problem anymore! I also took advantage of a sale on Breyer's. Yum!

I'm getting older. It's obvious when I get excited about appliances, right? I'm always interested to here what other people's favorite gifts were/are.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

How I'm spending (or saving)

Growing up, I used to love clipping and organizing coupons with my mother. I'll never forget the day that my younger sister opened up a box of Honey Nut Cheerios (they were pretty new on the market)and it had more Honey Nut coupons than Cheerios. They kept coming, and coming. There had to have been at least 100 all with no expiration date. I would bet there are still a couple of those in my mom's coupon tin. Good memories...

As an adult, I have been on again off again with coupons. I've had organizers and methods. I remember introducing my husband to them when we were first married. It was the one way I could send him to the store and not have him call to ask which brand of sour cream to buy. But then I was off again.

In the past few years, I've been focused on eliminating debt including our mortgage. I found a seminar with a County Adult Education program that both my husband and I attended. To me a lot of the principles were no brainers and something I already knew, but it was a great eye opener to my husband. It was like we were finally getting on the same financial page. I was introduced to the concept of an "accelerator". At the time, we had 2 car payments and a mortgage. The SUV and mini-van were both free financing for 5 years. Great, huh? Well, only partly. I had quite a bit of money saved that was earning next to nothing in the bank. I also had a year end bonus coming in a few months. I took some of the money I had in savings and payed off the SUV. Wow, it was an amazing feeling not to have to a required $400+ monthly payment. The coolest thing was that I know had $400+ to accelerate the mini-van payment. In 4 more months with the accelerator and bonus money, I had paid off the mini-van almost 4 years early. I was amazed at the sense of freedom it gave me. I then started working on the mortgage.

While we have certainly accelerated our mortgage, we've encountered some speed bumps along the way. Daddy became a contractor and later started his own business. Those of you who run businesses know a little about net 30 and net 45. Unfortunately, you probably also know a little bit about chasing down those payments well after there due. As you can imagine, you have to learn to operate a monthly budget on what you know will be there. We've also set a very aggressive savings goal over the next year. There is a grand plan you see. So, I've become even more focused on stretching our funds.

You guessed it, I'm back to couponing. I'd actually missed it. I've always enjoyed working with numbers and couponing is such a numbers game. I match the coupons to the sales. I scour the weekly ads to see what I can buy that we need for the least amount out of pocket. The past few weeks have been very good. Daddy is stocked on deodorant, manly bathwash, fancy shaving gel, and razor blades all for pennies on the dollar.

As for groceries, I typically save 30-40% on my grocery bill. We don't do a lot of convenience foods and eat out rarely.

Sunday, I really scored at Kroger. I had 2 prescriptions to fill and a coupon I had received in the mail a couple months ago (fill a prescription get $20 in groceries for up to 3 prescriptions). I did my grocery shopping and returned to the pharmacy. The pharmacist rang up my prescription and loaded $40 on my Kroger card. I went to the register to check out.

I bought:
4 12 packs of Charmin
4 Method Hand soaps

1 8lb bag of baking potatoes
2 packages of frozen mixed vegetables
1 bag of frozen broccoli
1 bag of frozen peas
3 boxes of Chex cereal
2 blocks of sharp cheddar
1 tub of pampers wipes (for Sissy's preschool class)
1 4 lb Beef shoulder roast
8 lbs of pork tenderloin
1 vitamin water (I was thirsty)
1 large bottle of whole dill pickles (Daddy's favorite snack)

My total savings was $88.58 or 71% (Kroger plus and coupons). I got $125.11 worth of groceries for $36.53 out of pocket.

I showed DH the receipt when I got home. He wanted to scan it and send to his mother. He was that impressed.

A great resource you may or may not be aware of is e-Savers. You can load Proctor and Gamble coupons directly to your Kroger card. It's a nice accompaniment to your paper coupons. My good friend Sharon, of The Domestic Betty's called one day so tickled to tell me that she had discovered e-Savers. We have quite the list of printable coupon sites and this was such a great add!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Cloth Diapering

Before Bud was born, I scoured the internet to learn more about cloth diapering. I really wanted to do it, but I was so confused. I never did it, but read anything and everything I could get my hands on. When Sissy came along, I researched again. AIOs, AI2s, fitteds, prefolds, contours, covers, fleece, wool shorties and longies, pockets, inserts, hemp, terry, flannel... It was all too much. So, Sissy was in sposies, too. Sissy learned the potty pretty early. Yay! But, she still needed pull ups over night.

There were quite a few women on my mommies network that cloth diapered. They used all different types. That's when I began to discern the possibilities. Did it make sense to start cloth diapering a 2 year old? I'd always wanted to cloth diaper. I could try a few. Then, I got pregnant! I thought, now's the time. I'll check out the one-size pockets. Oh, and might as well get some neutral large-sized pockets. I'll get to use them again, too.

That's when my little obsession began. Sissy really liked the cloth diapers. She said they were "soft". I also noticed that she was less "fragrant" in the morning (if you know what I mean). It took a few days of trial and error to figure out the best load for the pockets. We use a insert wrapped with a microfiber towel (from the automotive section). It's the perfect absorbancy for overnight for her. Unfortunately, the pregnancy ended just shy of my 2nd trimester, but we kept the cloth going. We've already realized savings even with just Sissy in cloth at night. I also don't have to worry about running out!

We have a variety that we like, but we definitely have our favorites. I liked these so much, I wanted to carry them on our website:

Happy Heiny's One Size Diaper

The snaps and aplix on these allow you to adjust from size small to size large. They are pocket diapers so they are easy to wash and dry quickly. They come with a small insert and a large insert. You can preload these so they are as simple as disposables for Daddy or the sitter.

Since Sissy uses the potty when she's awake, I looked at training pants, too. While the cloth diapers are easy, it's a little tiresome to take the diaper off and put it back on when Sissy has to go potty. Enter in Daddy's favorite:

Happy Heiny's Pocket Trainer

It's a pocket, too. We use the same stuffing on this one. Sissy can pull it up or down easily by herself. Daddy LOVES that! We have one just like the picture and others with snaps. The snaps make it easier to load, but it is still easy to pull up or down. You can get no snaps, snaps on one side, or snaps on both.