Kohl’s: Mega Bloks Minions Castle Adventure as low as $55.99 Shipped (Reg. $99.99) + $10 Kohl’s Cash!

2241752Head over to Kohls.com and grab a hot deal on this Minions Castle Adventure

Kohl’s Cardholders Breakdown:

Buy (1) Mega Bloks Minions Castle Adventure $79.99 (reg. $99.99)

Use the promo code SNOWFLAKE30 for 30% off your purchase

FREE Shipping on orders $50 or more

Pay $55.99, receive $10 Kohl’s Cash

Total $45.99 after discounts and Kohl’s Cash!!!

Non-Cardholders Breakdown:

Buy (1) Mega Bloks Minions Castle Adventure $79.99 (reg. $99.99)

Use the promo code SNOWYDAY for 20% off your purchase

FREE Shipping on orders $50 or more

Pay $63.99, receive $10 Kohl’s Cash

Total $53.99 after discounts and Kohl’s Cash!!!

See more amazing Kohl’s deals here!

Thanks FTM

10 Things for Kids To Do at The Texas Rennaisance Festival

Disclaimer: We were provided with free admission. All opinions are my own. We love Ren Fest!

We take our children to the Texas Renaissance Festival just about every year. We have since they were tiny! I often get asked what there is at The Texas Renaissance Festival for children and the short answer is…lots!

(Click here to read about how to save money at Texas Ren Fest! ) 

To expand on that though, here are 10 things that you can do with children at Texas Ren Fest to make it an enjoyable family adventure:

1. Go on Sundays! – Sundays are great for kids at Texas Ren Fest. Why? Kids get in FREE (12 and under)! Everything is more fun when it is free. The adults in your party can either purchase tickets at the gate, or you can purchase discount tickets from local Walgreens stores. (Kids 4 and under are actually free everyday!)

2. Listen to the music – There is music EVERYWHERE! My kids enjoy just sitting down and listening to the bands play. They even have a Dance School.

Numerous music acts have wonderful opportunities for children to hear music of the period. We suggest: Coal Black Rose, Crannog, Faire to Middlin’, Gypsy Rox, Saxon Moon, and Tartanic.

3. Visit the shops – There are stores that are dedicated to children’s toys and clothing, book stores, food stores, etc. The Texas Ren Fest has more shops than some malls!

 

4. Watch the Shows – There are so many great shows at Texas Ren Fest. In fact, to me…that’s kind of the bread and butter of the entire experience. Now be careful when you choose shows. There are shows that are really only for adults. These shows are labeled as such and in fact, they often have people walking around the perimeter of the crowd with signs stating that the material is for mature audiences only. It is VERY easy to avoid these shows. As far the family friendly shows though, there are so many! You have  your pick of circus acts, animal shows, comedy shows, jousts and more! You will most definitely be entertained and so will your kids.

 

Here are some shows that are rated “G”:

Clan Tynker: A family show that features five siblings who juggle and do old-fashioned stunts.

Arsene: A silent mime and clown in the European style, Arsene is riveting for children.

Birds of Prey: This show features a number of hawks, falcons, vultures, and owls. Audience members learn about the feeding and flying habits of these birds and have a chance to see them flying from close up. A must see.

Deante Fettucine: New to TRF in 2015, Deante juggles pasta and performs a variety of silly acts to keep kids and families entertained.

Hanlon-Lees Action Theatre: These four shows daily at the Joust Arena are the most popular shows at the Faire. Cheer on your favorite knight as he rides and fights.

5. Eat the food – Tell anyone you went to Texas Ren Fest and they’ll immediately want to know what you ate. Texas Ren Fest is a food extravaganza. Everything from your normal fair food, to more exotic cuisine is available. Plus treats for the kids such as funnel cakes, kettle corn, cotton candy, soft pretzels and more!

 

6. Ride the rides – My son’s very first “ride” was at Texas Ren Fest! It was a self operated swing. There are pony rides, carousel rides and a various array of other human powered rides.

 

7. Get an education! – In addition to School Days, the Texas Ren Fest is filled with learning opportunities! Here are a few of the demonstrations you might want to check out:

 

School of Sword: (2:30 and 4:30) Train with TRF fightmaster Oskar Hasselhoff in the Cloister and the Green area of Sherwood Forest (near the elephant ride).

Blacksmithing: booth 523A

Coin Minting:  booth 135A

Broom Making:  booth 523B

Armoury: booth 506

Candle making: booth 323

Weaving: booths 135C and 506

Glass Blowing: booth 525

Print and Paper Making: shoppe 138

Wax Chandler: shoppe 214

 8. Camping – Now, we have never done this, but there are family campgrounds at Texas Ren Fest! Just be sure to choose “Quiet” Camping if you want the family friendly option.

9. Trick or Treat – We’re past All Hallow’s Eve weekend this year, but next year, you can actually take your kids trick or treating at Texas Ren Fest! We did this one year and the kids loved it!

 

10. Dress Up! – This is an opportunity for your princesses to be princesses and your knights in shining armor (or teenage mutant ninja turtles) to dress up and have fun! Every year my daughter wears a princess costume and the Ren Fest employees treat her like an actual princess! She LOVES it.

 

Click here to learn more about Texas Ren Fest, to buy tickets and to plan your day!

What to Buy in June and What NOT To Buy in June!


Do you know what to buy in June? Do you know what you definitely should NOT buy in June?

One thing I’ve noticed over the past 6 years of deal blogging is that sales are typically cyclical.

This goes for food, clothing, furniture, vehicles and almost everything.

You can see my full list of yearly sales cycles here, but here’s a list of what you should/shouldn’t buy in June.

First off, June is National Dairy Month! Look for discounts on the following and stock up:

  • Eggs
  • In-store dairy
  • coupons or booklets
  • Milk (Free Milk
  • Catalina, wyb cereal)
  • cool whip
  • Ice Cream
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Butter

Beginning July 4th Sales

  • Hot Dogs
  • Ketchup
  • salad dressing
  • Hamburgers
  • condiments
  • potato chips
  • BBQ Sauce
  • charcoal
  • dips

Seasonal Produce

  • Apricots
  • Nectarines
  • Tomatoes
  • Blackberries
  • Peaches
  • Watermelon
  • Blueberries
  • Potatoes
  • Vidalia Onions
  • Boysenberries
  • Honeydew
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Corn,
  • Red Onions
  • Eggplant
  • Cucumber
  • Squash

Dishware: All those June brides have caused dishware to be at a yearly low during the month of June! Take advantage and restock your cabinets for 25-50% off.

Gym Memberships: Many gyms offer free or discounted registration in the summer. They know people are more likely to work out outside and want to get you into their (air conditioned) doors. Plus…many offer free childcare 😉

Tools: Father’s Day! You’ll find your best deals on tools and power tools during the month of June. Check out Lowe’s, Home Depot, Amazon and basically any major retailer during the month of June and you’ll find deals for dad.

Lingerie – Victoria’s Secret has one of their semi annual sales in June. You can save up to 70% off lingerie at VS during the sale and many other stores discount their lingerie to compete. Sears, Target, Lane Bryant, Maidenform, Fredrick’s of Hollywood all tend to have June sales.

Gift CardsEbay often has discounted gift card deals to Dad favorites (restaurants, home improvement stores, etc) during the month of June.

Laptops – Some back to school laptop sales start in June much to every teacher’s dismay.

AVOID: Grills…you will pay top price for your grill during the month of June. TV’s, not a good month to purchase your big screen! Apple purchases, back to school sales will be coming soon, wait for those.

Thanks LifeHacker, Daily Finance and Deal News

 

Good Gifts for Families in Need

Originally posted December 9, 2011

Guest post by  The Prudent Homemaker

Good Gifts for Families In Need

Do you know a family who is unemployed, underemployed, or just having a really tight year this year? Here are some of the best things to leave at their doorstep this Christmas.

1. A box of oranges

Fresh food is a great help to those who are struggling. A family might have boxed and canned goods in their pantry, or they may be getting those items from a food bank, but fresh fruits and vegetables are a much needed luxury item for many. Food is always a great gift. Refrain from giving junk food, however; most families desperately need nutritious items more than they need candy. Apples, oranges, lettuce, carrots, milk, cheese and eggs are especially helpful.

2. A warm blanket

Many families are turning down their heat to keep their bills lower. Some may have periods where they can’t afford to have the heat on at all. Others struggle with inadequate clothing. A warm blanket or two will be a great help. It doesn’t have to be brand-new. Just make sure it’s freshly laundered.

3. Socks, underwear, and gloves

It’s a common misconception that the thing children need most for Christmas is a toy. More useful than several dollar store trinkets are socks, underwear, and gloves. There are many children (and adults) who cannot afford these items at all—and have to go without. Socks can span several sizes, so if you know the approximate size of your recipient’s feet, you can easily include socks in a gift. If you have children the same size and age, you can determine the sizes for underwear. Gloves are usually multi-sized. Besides warm gloves, work gloves—especially for adults and teens—are helpful, whether for bringing in wood or doing other chores.

Sweatpants and sweatshirts are also helpful, especially for families with growing children who are struggling to keep their children warm at night. A package of undershirts is also helpful.

A warm coat may be the dearest wish of many. A used coat is fine. Thrift stores and children’s consignments stores are good sources for inexpensive coats.

4. Items from your stockpile

Any of the following would be helpful:

Hygiene and cleaning items: Toothpaste, toothbrushes, cleaning supplies, laundry soap, stain remover, dish soap, bar soap, baby wipes and diapers (if there is a child in diapers), shampoo, washcloths, toilet paper, tissues, cotton balls and swabs

First aid and sickness items: children’s and adult ibruprofen, throat lozenges, Band-Aids, hydrogen peroxide, antibiotic ointment

Kitchen items: Aluminum foil, plastic wrap, Ziploc bags, muffin papers

5. A gift card or cash

A gift card to a Walmart, Target, or a grocery store can greatly help a family to meet unseen needs (including buying underwear and warm clothing).

A jar of change or other cash may be the best gift of all to a family who is struggling to keep the lights on, the water running, and to keep warm this winter. Even if you just have a small amount to give, it can be the perfect gift.

Is your family unable to make ends meet this year? If someone were to leave a box at your door this Christmas, what would you most hope for it to contain?

Brandy Simper has several ideas for making gifts from items you already have on hand, for a $0 Christmas. She writes about gardening, cooking, frugal living, food storage, sewing, and homeschooling at The Prudent Homemaker(www.theprudenthomemaker.com ).

Snowmen From A Hand Print Keepsake Christmas Ornament (Easy & Frugal!)

If you enjoy this craft, be sure to Pin it!

Pin It

Looking for a cute memorable Christmas Ornament craft to do with your kids or students?

Check out this Snowmen From A Hand Print Keepsake Christmas Ornament that my daughter came home from school with today!

It’s an ordinary ball ornament, but if you look closely, you can tell it’s ACTUALLY her handprint!

It looks like they dipped her hand in some white pant and had her place her hand as if she was holding the ornament. Then (after the paint dried) with either markers or colored sharpies they created snowmen out of her fingers and thumbs! On the opposite side is her name and the year.

Then they tied a little ribbon to the top.

SO cute! Definitely a keepsake that will be on our tree for a long time to come!

Enjoy!

Thanks to Ms Saskia & Ms Karen for this AWESOME crafty Christmas idea!

Easy Weeknight Lasagna-Yes, Really

 

 

Lasagna can be a pretty big undertaking. It’s a meal that I don’t really put on our menu all that often. Mainly because it takes a veritable army of pots, pans and ingredients to go from kitchen to table. I am a work at home mom of a 3 year old and a 2 year old. I don’t have time to:

  1. Brown the meat, while simultaneously not overcooking the pasta noodles.
  2. If I’m really doing lasagna right, of course I’ll be making my own sauce. Generally taking up burner #3, simultaneously simmering away while my meat browns and my pasta overcooks.
  3. Now to assemble the lasagna, I need to set up an assembly line worthy of Ford Motor Company. No less than 3 cheeses…oh and remember those lasagna noodles we overcooked? Somehow we need to pry those apart without burning the fingerprints off of our fingers, or haphazardly turning them into thin spaghetti noodles (this is lasagna right? I forgot. Because you know,  the baby needed some attention about 2 hours into the lasagna prep and with no end in sight, I finally just threw everything into the casserole dish and hoped for the best!)

Okay, it’s not quite that dramatic, but I am sure you get the picture.

 

Continue reading Easy Weeknight Lasagna-Yes, Really

How My Son Got Diagnosed with Appendicitis-Not the “Normal” Presentation of Symptoms

I first posted this one year ago. I’ve had 3 readers over the past year tell me that this post helped them get their child to the ER early enough so that their child’s appendix could be removed prior to it rupturing. I’m reposting it as a reminder that the signs we hear about aren’t necessarily the ONLY signs of appendicitis. 

Appendicitis-How it Started

My son is fairly predictable.

Well as predictable as a kid can actually be.

He has a certain pattern he follows when he gets sick. His tummy hurts, he gets a fever, he throws up a few times. Case closed.

One week ago from today, we had to leave a birthday party early because he claimed his stomach hurt.

We got home though and he was absolutely fine. It was strange, but he had eaten pizza for the 2nd day in a row, so I chalked it up to that.

Sunday he was fine. Monday he complained his stomach hurt before school, but he was also trying to get OUT of school at the time, so I sent him on his way and he did fine.

Tuesday he had a baseball game and he had no complaints. But that night when I checked on him sleeping before I went to bed, he felt really warm to me. I was pretty sure he was feverish, but when he woke up the next morning (Wednesday) fine, I doubted myself. He said his tummy hurt, but he was also smiling and bouncing around while he said it, so off to school he went (it’s important to note this was Halloween).

Appendicitis-Trick or Treat or BUST!

When he walked out of school I just KNEW my little boy had a fever. Glassy eyed, head bowed as he trudged his way out the door towards me. Got him home and took his temp and sure enough…low grade fever. Judge me if you will, but it was Halloween, so I gave him some tylenol and when his fever went away and he started chomping at the bit to go trick or treating…out the door we went.

He did great while trick or treating and promptly fell asleep when we got home. I had the motrin ready all night long though just in case he woke up feverish during the night.

The next morning (Thursday) he was bright eyed and bushy tailed and fever free. He was super excited to spend the day at home with me since he needed to be 24 hours fever free before returning to school. All day long, he played, had fun and stayed fever free.

I want to stress that never ONCE did he throw up, have loose stools or lose his appetite. He probably only complained about his stomach a total of 4-5 times throughout the week and 2 of those times seemed to be to get out of something he didn’t want to do.

That night, since he had gone all night and all day fever free, we loaded up and went to his last baseball practice. He was fine the first half. About halfway through we were doing a special “parents play the kids” game and his first at bat went great. He was happy he hit the ball and ran the bases happily.

His next at bat was NOT so great though. He was clutching his stomach and once he got on first base, he told his coach he didn’t feel well and wanted to go home.

Appendicitis-Mama’s Instinct

So we started for home, but at this point I just can’t shake this NAGGING feeling that something is very wrong. Nothing about this sporadic tummy pain made sense to me because it just wasn’t resolving. Tummy pain and fevers with no other symptoms? This isn’t how my son worked. He got sick, got REALLY sick, and got over it. This lingering illness was just strange.

It was around 6:30pm by this point and I knew his pediatrician was closed. I just knew I needed some confirmation THAT NIGHT that I wasn’t crazy or over reacting. I did not want to go to the ER because I actually felt a bit silly about the whole “feeling” thing, so I asked my husband to drive us over to a nearby Walgreens clinic.

My son was clutching his stomach as we walked in there and while we waited. Finally we went in and we told the doctor what was wrong. He told us he likely couldn’t help us with something stomach related with no other symptoms (which I expected), but he did lay him on the table and probe his belly.

WHOA.

Appendix.

This word never entered my mind in all the days prior. Why? Because his pain came and went. Because his appetite was fine and everything else was fine. Because when you hear about appendicitis you think pain that just gets worse and worse and worse until finally you either get to the hospital in time OR you don’t because your appendix bursts.

I want to make it clear that the Walgreens Clinic did NOT diagnose him (they didn’t even charge us or put us into the system), but they were the catalyst that sent us on our way to the ER.

Appendicitis-Headed to the ER

We debated going to our city children’s hospital or to our local hospital (where I actually delivered both children). The local hospital was 10 minutes away and the children’s hospital was 30.

I’m SO glad we chose to go to our local hospital. 

Because they are not a children only hospital…children are treated VERY special there! My son was whisked into triage immediately. (the magic words were “5 years old” and “stomach” I believe 😉 ) They actually already had all of mine and Noah’s info in the system from when I gave birth to him there (just a couple slight changes to the info!)

We went to the children’s waiting area and had barely sat down when they called us back.

First we had an examination. The doctor pushed on his tummy while talking to him about school, video games, etc. She could tell by his winces and cries where the pain was. This gave her enough suspicion to order an x-ray.

He was feverish so they gave him some motrin.

The x-ray showed a LOT of stool. Now, my son is 5 which means I don’t monitor his every (um…any) bowel movements. But I had been worried he could be constipated so throughout the week I had taken note of when he went #2. I knew he had gone daily. However, he did have a back up of stool which is one symptom (and possible cause) of appendicitis.

I think a lot of dr’s would have sent him home and said he was constipated. I could tell that’s what our doctor thought. However, the fever was baffling her. Constipation would not cause the fever he was having.

Appendicitis-Thankful for a Thorough Doctor

At this point, the dr ordered bloodwork, urinalysis, an IV and a CT scan.

He fell asleep for a bit at this point and was SO hot and feverish. It was pretty scary. The motrin thankfully kicked in and he was able to get a bit of rest.

First we did the IV and the bloodwork. That was HORRIBLE. I was laying on his lower half, my husband was holding his upper half and TWO nurses were holding his arm down as he screamed “You’re killing me!”  Once it was finally in, he was STEAMING mad and terrified anytime anyone came near him (except myself or my husband). He finally chilled out and sat and watched TV while we drank the special drink and waited for the CT.

The CT was no big deal for him. He actually thought it was kind of fun.

Next came the waiting. Test results trickled back.

Urine= fine

Bloodwork=fine…White blood cells were NOT elevated

CT took awhile and he ended up falling asleep while we waited. Dr checked in on us a few times, but seemed encouraged by the results so far. Just when we started thinking we might be going home, she came in with the news.

Appendicitis

She was VERY surprised. She said that appendicitis doesn’t generally present this way. Usually once it starts hurting, it does not stop. However, it was most DEFINITELY appendicitis.

The CT scan showed an inflamed appendix and we needed to stay overnight and talk to the surgeon in the morning.

Appendicitis-Admitted to the Hospital

That night will go down as one of the worst night’s in our family’s history. Our son had to stay overnight in the hospital, and when my husband went home to get supplies…he got locked out of the house! Needless to say, we don’t have a back up key besides the keys on our keychains (which were BOTH in the house) but we’ll be getting one soon 😉 .

The next morning (Friday) the PA for the surgeon came in and said that he would be getting surgery that day. He did pretty well all morning (except for a lot of loose stool) and at around 12:30, we took him down to pre-op.

Appendicitis-Time for Surgery

We sat and blew bubbles for him that the nurse gave us. Every member of the surgical team came and asked Noah questions about school and things he likes and just got to know him. They all seemed to love him. They gave him some muscle relaxers before we had to leave and he got rather silly just before we left.

The surgery team had made me feel so good that I honestly wasn’t really worried while he was in surgery.

The surgeon came out about 40 minutes later and handed us the pictures of the laparoscopic surgery and showed us what Noah’s appendix had looked like. They generally can’t tell if the appendix has perforated or not until they get in there, and we were SO thankful that Noah’s had NOT. He had acute appendicitis and we caught it before it really caused real problems. You could tell it was getting there, but it’s gone now!

He told us we could see Noah in 5-10 minutes so we could be there to wake up when he woke up in recovery. This was the most nervewracking part because 20 minutes went by without a peep. I finally got a hospital employee to go back and see what was going on and she was able to get us back there.

Appendicitis-Waking from Sedation

He was having a VERY hard time waking.

THIS was the hardest part of the WHOLE thing. I’ve never felt so helpless as when my little boy was coming out of sedation. He heard my voice and immediately begged me to hold him. There were wires everywhere and I just couldn’t. He couldn’t open his eyes and this was so upsetting to him.

He said his belly button was hurting (they went in through his belly button) and we realized he had actual pain so they gave him some meds. He finally went back to sleep and this was the first time I had a very good cry.

The surgical team let him take his Cuddly Puppy back to surgery and dressed him up 🙂

Thankfully we had a student nurse with us that day and she started talking to me and distracted me from my sadness. (that girl will make a GREAT nurse!)

Appendicitis-Recovery Begins

Finally we were able to go back to his room and the rest of the day he spent just kind of waking up. He started off with popsicles and actually ate a few slices of pizza that night. We also got up and walked down to the playroom in the children’s wing. Just hours after having an organ taken out! Modern medicine amazes me.

I stayed overnight with him both times and my husband took my daughter home. We went to bed at about 8:30 and he only got up once to go to the restroom.

This morning (Saturday), we got up and he has pretty much been eating and drinking since he opened his eyes. He had the last of his antibiotics and pain meds and we were on our way home by 1pm!

Here’s the kicker, he can go back to school on MONDAY. He has some restrictions. No PE for 2 weeks. No contact sports for 6 weeks. He can’t lift anything over 10 lbs (including his backpack) and he really can’t do anything that might make him fall (chase his friends, play on the playground, run in general, etc) for the next couple of weeks either.

He had an organ removed on Friday and he’s back to school on Monday. Unreal.

My little boy is doing great. He’s a bit slower and he does have some referred pain from the air they pumped into his belly for the surgery (they told us this would happen). But he’s in great spirits and doing just fine.

Appendicitis-Not Necessarily How It Looks on TV

All this (all 2013 words thus far?) to say…appendicitis doesn’t necessarily look how TV and movies says it looks. It isn’t necessarily going to be plainly obvious. It isn’t necessarily going to fit the symptoms you see on Web MD.

My advice to you is just to KNOW your child. Follow your hunches. If things aren’t fitting their normal “stomach virus” pattern…it won’t hurt to get them checked out. If that Walgreens doctor hadn’t pushed on my son’s belly…I cringe to think how long we would have gone without taking him in to be checked.

I have talked to 3 other moms in the past two days who did not have any conclusive proof of appendicitis until they had a CT done. Obviously you don’t want to do a CT unless you have to, but if something doesn’t seem right…insist the doctor order a CT.

The bloodwork, urinalysis, symptoms, duration and consistency of symptoms and the x-ray said NO. 

The CT said YES. 

I hope this helps someone. I feel so incredibly blessed that we were able to catch his illness when we did. I feel so incredibly thankful to God that we basically had the BEST case scenario. I know that this whole situation could have been so much worse  and I’m so thankful that I trusted my instinct that something just wasn’t right.

Trust your instincts parents. They are God given to us for a reason!

 

 

Top 10 Reasons Why I Need a Staycation #StaycationContest

I have to admit, I’m one of those people that doesn’t feel summer is “complete” without at least one vacation.

By vacation, I don’t mean flying to Australia and I don’t even mean leaving the state (of course I do live in Texas, so I can drive 12 hours and still be “in state”).

I am a self diagnosed homebody and I don’t like being away from my bed for too long 😉 .

A weekend or 3-5 days is generally enough time away for me.

However, this past summer was pretty much the Perfect Storm of circumstances that prevent a family from enjoying a proper vacation.

  1. We moved.
  2. We have a new dog.
  3. We moved (have you moved lately? EXPENSIVE!!!!) and our bills are MUCH higher than they were previously.

I know many of you are thinking, “We haven’t gone on vacation in 20 years!” or “Who needs a vacation when you live in a city like Houston?“.

The answer?

ME.

  1. It’s good for my soul and it’s good for my sanity to pack up and leave for a bit.
  2. It refreshes me, it recharges my batteries.
  3. The perfect way for our little family to get some good bonding time. Our house has too many distractions from spending good quality time together.
  4. A “staycation” implies we’ll be close enough to home for emergencies, but far enough away to feel detached from the hustle and bustle of every day life.
  5. We won’t have to be *too* far from our dog. We could even put her in a pet hotel that’s close to where we are staying!
  6. Staycations are generally less expensive. The travel expenses alone can save hundreds if not THOUSANDS of dollars.
  7. When you “staycation” you are in a place that is familiar to you. No worries about getting lost. This is our town. We might not spend a lot of time in this section of it, but we know it and we love it.
  8. Our weekends center around baseball and scouts a lot throughout the year. With a staycation, we could run home for practices and games and head back to our hotel for more fun!
  9. Getting to explore another part of your own city or town can be very educational and fun. You’d be surprised how geographically boxed in we can get when we don’t generally venture more than 5-10 miles from home the majority of the time.
  10. Finally, going away makes you appreciate home just a bit more. You can’t miss it if you never leave it!

For all of these reasons (and more!), when I found out that I could write a blog post (you see…you knew this was going somewhere) for a chance to win a “staycation” at The Woodlands Resort…I hopped on the opportunity!

We’re talking:

  • Deluxe Accommodations
  • Full breakfast for 4 in The Woodlands Dining Room
  • Half Day Bicycle Rental for 4
  • Family Welcome Cookie
  • Unlimited access to Sauna, Steam Room, Whirlpool, Fitness Center
  • Unlimited access to Forest Oasis Waterscape

Doesn’t that just sound like PURE BLISS?

Check out these pictures:

 

This is IN MY CITY y’all! Oh I want to win it so bad. My family needs it!

I promise, if I win…you can expect tons of pics and stories from our trip!

Where would you want to “Staycation” in your own city? Don’t you think The Woodlands Resort looks amazing? Comment below! 

How to Watch Your Favorite Shows Without Paying for Cable

Guest post from Nisrene

A few months ago we made the tough decision to cancel cable, but it was one of the best decisions we ever made. We were not big tv watchers during the day, but at night we did enjoy watching some shows, and managed to keep the news on as background noise, yet somehow the thought of not having cable TV was difficult to accept.

As it turns out, after we fianlly took the plunge, made the dreaded call, and cancelled, we don’t miss cable TV much at all. In fact, it was one of the better decisions we have made, to “de-clutter” our lives.

Furthermore, we would like to bet that if you cancel cable, you will not regret it either, and in fact, you will be glad that you did. If you think about it, cable TV costs an average of $75/month or $912/a year and this is not including the 5% yearly increase.

To give you an idea of how you could put your savings to good use, if you put the  $912/year into a Roth IRA, assuming you are 35 years of age and achieve an annual modest return of 6%, by the time you retire you will have $76,427 in your Roth IRA, tax free!

I guess canceling cable is one of the first steps you can make to retire nicely, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice watching your favorite shows. There are still many ways you can watch shows, movies, for free or much cheaper than cable. For example, to watch your favorite show, you can go to the network website and select to watch a full episode of the show. Local channels are also free to watch as long as you have a TV and an antenna.

Other than local TV and networks websites, here are few ways that you can keep on watching your favorite shows AND save money.

Netflix: Right after we canceled cable we subscribed to Netflix and we love it. You can watch movies, TV shows, documentaries, cartoons for the kids, and the kids favorite shows on Netflix.

The cost of regular streaming is flat fee of $7.99/month to access all of their streaming videos. There is no limit to how many shows or movies or stand up comedies you watch. And if you have the Wii, XBOX, or PS3, you can watch it on your own TV just as if you are watching cable on demand.

You can choose the DVD option as well but we chose not to pay for this option as we find that it’s way cheaper to get DVD codes for REDBOX and Blockbuster Express than to rent movies for free.

If you decide to go with the DVD option to have DVDs delivered to your door, their plans start at $7.99/month depending on how many DVDs out-at-a-time that you choose to have. Netflix also offers a one month trial free of charge if you would like to try them out first before any commitment.

HuluPlus: You can watch just about any show from episodes of Modern Family to Bill O’Reilly’s talking points to Saturday night live on hulu.com.

Hulu Plus boasts with over 33,000 of full episodes of TV shows and series;both current and past, and a huge selection of movies. The cost for Hulu Plus is $7.99/month.

They are currently offering a free one week trial for new subscribers or a full free month for students (need to sign up with your .edu address). If you prefer watching TV shows and series more than movies then Hulu Plus is the right one for you.

Sports:

If you or your husband are a sports fan, you can still watch games live through ESPN3.The same sports games that are played on the cable are streamed live but free. Tennis, Soccer, Basketball, college Football, NBA, and more games are available to watch both live and replay. You can use your PC, MAC, or Xbox to watch ESPN3.

News:

Most news can be found directly on the cable news site itself; ABC CNN CBS Fox News. Just make sure that you select full episodes when searching for your news shows.

You can also stream movies online from Amazon or itunes for as low as $0.99.

Pandora is also a great application that can be used to listen to your favorite music.

If you don’t own a Wii, an XBOX, or other gaming device, you can purchase a Roku box; a small streaming player, for $60 at Roku.com to watch online streaming from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, ESPN3, and other online streaming sites on your TV.

In summary, you don’t have to shell out a lot of cash each month to watch your favorite shows, movies or sports on TV. In fact, there are many ways out there to enjoy your shows more cheaply or FOR FREE. Take advantage of some of these new opportunites, what do you have to lose by trying? In the end, the cable companies will gladly welcome you back to take your money, if you decide you can’t live without cable TV.

Nisrine Febres of iSavvyMom: I am a wife to an amazing man and a mother to two beautiful girls. I love to organize, save money, cook, eat dark chocolate and Math. When I am not juggling the kids, cleaning, cooking, organizing, and blogging, I work as a Part time Math instructor at a college nearby.

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