Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day Freebies for 2011: Tons of freebies for Vets & their families to enjoy!

Thank you to each and every one of the veterans out there that have fought for our freedom! Without you we would not have such an amazing country to raise our children in and provide them with the freedom and opportunities we have been afforded. Thank you also to the families of the veterans and all military personnel that endure months and years apart. Your selflessness and courage are unmeasurable. Below is a list of freebies to take advantage of on this day of thanks to all veterans. It's nowhere near enough for the sacrifice you have made but it's a way for many companies to express their gratitude. Enjoy and please share :)

Please note you will need to show your military IDs at all participating locations to receive the freebies. It's a good idea to also call ahead to be sure your location is participating. You can also click the links to each offer to see all the details.

Sea World, Busch Gardens and Sesame Place offer free admission to active duty military and up to 3 dependents once a year.

FREE HOTEL and B & B Stay
Through the group B & Bs for Vets nearly 500 bed and breakfasts are offering vets a free night tonight, Nov 11, 2011

Sleep Number, the adjustable mattress chain, is offering a free cotton travel pillow to military personnel who visit their store on Friday. See link for locations.


Famous Dave's is offering a FREE meal to military personnel today, Nov. 11, 2011. Selection varies by state.

Subway is offering a free 6 inch sub to military personnel on Veteran's Day, Nov 11, 2011. Call your local location to ensure participation.

7-Eleven is offering a free small Slurpee drink on Friday November 11th, 2011 to all active, veteran and retired military members and their immediate families between 11am - 7pm.

BJs Restaurant and Brewhouse is offering a complimentary lunch entree or a one topping mini pizza for dinner. Offer valid to all active duty military and veterans with proof of ID.

McCormick & Schmidts is offering a special Veterans Appreciation Event with a complimentary entree Sunday, November 13th. Reservations are recommended and space is limited.

Applebee’sAll Veterans and Active Duty Military Enjoy a FREE Applebee’s Signature Entree

Golden CoralMilitary Appreciation Monday, November 14th, 5pm – 9pm Free “Thank You” Dinner for all Veterans and Active Duty Military

HootersAll Veterans and Active Duty Military will receive 10 FREE wings boneless or traditional all day Friday (drink purchase required)

Little Caesars PizzaVeterans and active military members will receive FREE Crazy Bread with proof of military status at participating stores nationwide. (I’d call ahead to be sure your location is participating)

T.G.I. Friday’sBuy one entree get one FREE

Sizzler Restaurants - Buy one get one free 6 oz steak entree with proof of military service.

Texas Road HouseVeterans and active duty military can select one FREE Entree from this list plus a FREE beverage

Olive GardenVeterans and active duty military can enjoy a FREE entree from a select list

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Fun, Rainy Day Experiment!

Need something to do with your kiddos indoors on this rainy day? Try this easy Ice & Salt experiment I found on Surviving a Teacher's Salary blog. All you need is a frozen block of ice, salt and food coloring. Check it out at

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Things a Husband & Wife MUST Agree On

Marriage is by no means one of the easiest things in life. In fact, since approximately 50% end in divorce, it seems to be one of the toughest! Being married 10 years this December, my husband and I have surely been through our trials and tribulations but we've made it nonetheless. Marriage counseling helps even if you're not necessarily going through turmoil and it also provides a couple with tools on keeping their marriage in tact. While searching for parenting tips online, I cam across Mark Merrill's site and the 11 Things a Husband and Wife Must Agree On. Most of these should be agreed upon before becoming husband and wife! Print them out and see how much of many of these you and your spouse agree on. Sitting down to talk about these could be the answer to some of your troubles!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Make a Scarf Out of an Old T-Shirt!

Saw this and thought it was an ingenious idea!! Who doesn’t have TONS of old t-shirts hiding in their closets and all over their house. Now, thanks to Money Saving Mom and Make It and Love It, you can put them to good use and have a new accessory too!! All you need is the following: an old t-shirt, thread, scissors and a sewing machine. You could sew by hand but the machine makes it much easier J Find t-shirts in different colors and make multi-colored scarves, scarves with different patterns and textures and more. I loved that I could make scarves of different lengths and widths! Great activity to do with your kids too!

Friday, September 9, 2011

September 9th Friday Freebies!

1. Enjoy free general admission for you and a guest to museums and cultural venues nationwide on Saturday, September 24, 2011. Visit the linked page for more details. PLEASE NOTE: Check back in June when the site will go live with museum listings and the free admission tickets.

2. Get the Cedarmont Kids MP3 Sampler for Moms free available to download from Amazon! Songs include:The Wheels On The Bus, Father Abraham, The Ants Go Marching, Ezekial Saw The Wheel and Brahms Lullaby.

3. Amazon is also giving away downloads of the Wiggles Summer 2011 sampler for free! Songs include:Thank You, Mr. Weatherman!, England Swings, Hawaiian Boogie, Clap Your Hands with Dorothy and How Many Fingers Do I See?

4. And another great kids' music download from Amazon! They're offering a FREE Sesame Street Amazon Music Sampler in MP3 format. The songs on the album include:The Wheels On The Bus, Ladybugs’ Picnic, Let’s Go Tubbin’, Oh Look What Our Baby Can Do! and What’s the Name of That Song?. Click the download link on the far top right of the page to get your free Sesame Street Music Sampler.

5. Receive a Free Dr. Seuss Lorax Activity Book. Energy Star is providing visitors with the chance to order a free Dr. Seuss Lorax Activity Book. Add it to your cart and complete the checkout process to receive yours.

6. Amazon is allowing users to download a free VeggieTales 5 Super Silly Songs Amazon Sampler! The songs include: The Hairbrush Song, The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything, I Love My Lips, His Cheesburger and Belly Button. Visit the linked page and click the 'Get MP3' on the right to start your download for free.

7. Get 25 free MP3 songs from Urban Outfitters. All you do is click on the iTunes or Stream links at the bottom of the page & your songs will begin to load!

8. Download the New Blink 182 Single After Midnight for Free. To get it,go to the Get 182 page. Click on the link to "Fix the Sign". Stop the counter at 182 & you'll then fill in your e-mail address to receive a link to the free mp3 download. You can try over and over until the counter stops at 182.

9. FREE Blockbuster Express rental codes. The movies can be expensive when you add in the cost of snacks, movie tickets & more. So, stay home & rent a movie for FREE! Use the codes below to get your free rentals from Blockbuster. The codes can be used once per card on the $1 movies & you will be charged $1 per night if the movie is not returned by 9pm . Thanks Melissa's Bargains for another great deal! The codes are as follows: 75TTDR3 - 34PGAR2 - 72KRVF5 - 38RMAQ4 - 89AGSF7 - 83TPLD4 - 76DMNP2 - 29SPNF9 - 68MMKC2

10. Submit a Recipe to get your Free Spam Cookbook. Enter a recipe in the Spam Recipe Exchange and, once it's published, you'll get a free Spam Cookbook in return. This offer is available while supplies lasts only. In addition to the free cookbook, At the end of the challenge, five (5) winners will be awarded prizes. The top rated recipe, as defined by the Official Rules, will receive $1,000 and four (4) runners up will each receive a one-year supply of SPAM® products.

11. Free Smile Bright Teeth Whitening Strips from Savemore! f you’re NEW to SaveMore, sign up here and you’ll get a $10 credit just for signing up! Redeem your credit to “buy” the Smile Bright Teeth Whitening strips, which are priced at $7 and you’ll still have $3 left to get something else later! Plus, shipping on this item is FREE! Via Melissa's Bargains

Check out last Friday's Friday Freebies too by going to our Facebook Fan page & scrolling down. Many are still active and some of the activities for kids that are free (at Lowe's, Home Depot, Lakeshore, etc) are free EVERY Saturday!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Shopping for Your First Baby?

I recently found out one of my very close friends is expecting her first baby. Knowing that I spent my entire pregnancy researching anything & everything I could related to parenting & pregnancy, she asked me for advice. She wanted to know where she could find good deals on baby gear online and, specifically, where she could look up ideas for a bassinet, co-sleeper and/or device to help her share a bed with her newborn baby. This is a topic that many new moms think about. Should their baby sleep on the top portion of a play yard as many veteran moms suggest? Should they buy a bassinet? Should they go directly in a crib or should they just share a bed? Decisions, decisions. Once you decide, you then have to shop around for the right price on the crib, co-sleeper or bassinet you decide on.

Once she told me what she was looking for, I immediately began researching and came across Become! It's the perfect site if you've spent countless time on the web looking for the best products & prices and it was super easy to use.

In order to find different types of sleeping arrangement's for my friend's baby, I went to Become and searched through their database of co-sleepers at The results brought up many different options, even some I'd never seen or heard of before. The Humanity Family Bed was one option I found for her that I loved. I'd never seen it before but it's a great way for mom, dad and baby to share a bed safely. The search also brought up the Co-Sleeper Cambria Bassinet & the Arm's Reach Sleigh Bed. Both of these are great options for keeping baby near you while you sleep but not sharing the bed.

Of course, if you buy a co-sleeper and/or bassinet, you'll also need to buy bedding for it ( Since there are different shapes & sizes of cribs, bassinets and co-sleepers, you have to make sure you get the right size for the one you choose to ensure safety. Bedding that doesn't fit the mattress right can cause SIDS as it can suffocate an infant. Become brought up many choices when I searched bedding including crib sets for standard cribs & mini crib bedding sets. There were choices for virtually any theme you choose for your nursery too!

Since my friend's favorite color is purple, I had to see what I could find so I could be the first to shop for her little one (! Not only does she love purple but she loves animals and was hoping for a purple jungle theme set. This seemed like an impossible task since I'd never seen anything but a green, yellow or neutral toned animal themed set. I was pleasantly surprised when I came across an adorable custom purple safari 15 piece crib set!!

After all of this research, I had to thank my friend because, thanks to her assigning me the task of helping her decide & find options for her baby's sleeping arrangements, I also found a new shopping website that I love... Become!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Eating Fast Food CAN Be Healthy

Teach Your Family What to Eat When Eating Out

Most people have the misconception that, if you eat out, the food must not be healthy! Obviously it's easy to make the unhealthy choices because they're usually easier to find on the meny, cheaper (most places have many $1 deals) and more appealing to kids. Eating healthier, however, has recently gotten much easier because restaurants are now required to post nutritional information directly on their menus! Now, when you see that number next to the double cheeseburger you wanted (usually between 700-900 calories), you may look for a healthier, less caloric option.

Need some tips on finding some of the healthiest burger options out there? Check out this article on the 10 Healthies Fast Food Burgers & Sandwiches out there! Still don't see anything you'd like? Try the following suggestions at each of these fast food restaurants and you won't have to worry so much about your waistline next time you eat out! You have shrimp, chicken, turkey & lots more to choose from!

Charbroiled Shrimp Baja Ensalada
230 calories & 6 grams of fat when eaten with one if their delicious salsas or pico de gallo instead of salad dressing which adds hundreds of added calories

Carl's Jr Tender Grill Chicken Sandwich
360 calories & 7 grams of fat when ordered with mustard instead of mayo

Burger King Veggie Burger
310 calories & 7 grams of fat when ordered without mayo

El Pollo Loco 2 piece meal including a breast & leg with mashed potatoes & steamed veggies
432 calories & 17 grams of fat. That's under 500 calories for a full, fresh meal!

Subway 6" Turkey Breast Sandwich
290 calories & 4 grams of fat when ordered without oil & mayo

Saving Energy and Money in Your Home

It's no surprise that most people are trying to save money anywhere they can these days! People are driving less to save money on gas, eating at home more often to save money on food & using less power at home to conserve energy and save on the ever increasing energy bills! Because my energy bill is so high, especially in the summer, I thought it'd be a good idea to provide families with some useful and easily applicable energy saving tips for the whole family! In looking for tips online, I came across Texas Electricity Providers .

According to Texas Electricity Providers, families spend the most amount of money cooling their home. In the summer months, turning your air conditioning to a higher temperature can save you hundreds. TEP suggests keeping your AC at 78 degrees to keep your home at an optimal temperature. In order to help keep it at this temperature, you may want to keep curtains or shutters closed, especially when no one is home, to keep the heat and sun out.

Another great tip TEP provides is turn your ceiling fans off when you leave the room. My husband and I are guilty of this energy wasting habit! We forget to turn them off because the light is off so we don't see that they're still on. Ceiling fans serve no purpose unless you're in the room to feel the cool air so remember to turn them off before you leave!

When cooking in the kitchen, try to defrost and preheat items in the microwave to reduce cooking time in the oven. This will keep your house cooler because the oven will not be on as long. Better yet, make cold dinner plates such as pasta salad, sandwiches, salads & other yummy summer dishes.

If you'd like more money & energy saving tips, including some on saving energy in the laundry room, bedroom, garage, office and the rest of your home, visit Texas Electricity Providers for a complete list of their energy saving tips. You'd be surprised how much you can save by making a few small changes around your home!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

FREE Online Resources for Teaching Your Kids!

Here’s a site that’s not only a great tool for moms & dads but for teachers & home schooling parents too!! The site has a HUGE database of worksheets, assessments, e-books, writing tools & more for kids. The handouts are in color, easy to print & cover every topic you could imagine including the alphabet, auditory processing, visual discrimination, letter/word awareness, phonics, gross motor skills, social development & much more. I’ve spent hours online looking for educational tools for my daughter to use at home and this is BY FAR the best site I’ve found so far! Check it out at

Get Your Kids To WANT To Do Their Chores!

Check out My Job Chart & Motivate Your Kids to Do Their Chores!

Ok parents, here’s a subject most of you will be very familiar with….getting your kids to do their chores!! Not only does this help you out around the house but it also teaches them responsibility, organization & how to take care of themselves and their belongings. I recently came upon a website that provides parents and kids with an amazing tool to motivate your kids to do their chores!!! My Job Chart is a free, easy to use, online chore chart and reward system. It motivates your kids to get organized and teachers them first hand how to save, share and spend. And it does ALL of this for FREE!! It makes it easy for parents to assign chores and more motivating and meaningful for children to complete them.

All you do is register with the site and get your family registered as well. Then you assign jobs, set the rewards you desire and encourage your kids to get started! You can set morning and evening tasks for each of your kids to complete and designate a point value for each one. Tasks can be as simple as "Brush my teeth", "Eat my veggies", etc or "Clean my room", "Take out the trash". etc. After they’re completed, kids earn points to either save, give to charity or buy more rewards you set! You can keep track of what they accomplish and get notification of when chores are done too! My daughter is still a toddler so we are working on chores but she’s too young for this technology on her own. I am doing it with her so that, when she’s old enough to get on the site on her own, she’ll be used to it and loving it by then!

Check it out at

We're baaaack!

Hello again!! My apologies for not posting for months! Yes, months! In blog land, this is one of the worst crimes you can commit! Excuses, excuses, excuses but lately, life has been quite chaotic. We were in the process of trying to buy a home, move and sell a home in this crazy housing market and, to top it off, the home we lived in didn’t sell so we then had to find renters…ASAP before being late on a mortgage payment! Needless to say, after a hectic 3 month escrow, it’s over and we’re all settled in! So, it’s back to posting!! And we will be posting at least once per day, if not more often, to keep everyone up to date on some cool new mom & dad news! My favorites are the Freebie Fridays where I’ll be looking anywhere and everywhere I can online through blogs, facebook pages, store sites and more to find you the best freebies out there! So, check back tomorrow and suggest us to your friends!

Thanks for following J
Ellie at The Parent Center

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fun Frugal Money Saving Sites for Families!

Save $$$, Get Free Stuff & Connect with other Moms!

Saving money is something every family could benefit from and the internet is a GREAT way to do that. There are countless blogs & websites that post money saving tips, daily freebie deals and some even post deals on the hour every hour. With social networking sights such as Facebook & Twitter, you can find out about tons of different ways to save your family money from your PC or your mobile device. Below are some of my favorite frugal sites. I check these sights regularly and also follow them on Twitter and Facebook to make sure I’m up to date on the latest ways to save my family money! In the past few weeks, I’ve received 4 free photo books, had 3 free meals & gotten tons of coupons for items such as detergent, cereal, shampoo & meals. I have saved at least $100 simply by logging onto the internet for a few minutes a day! Thanks to these wonderful ladies & gentlemen for providing fellow moms & dads with such great ways to save money!

Freebies for Mom

Heather at can help everyone save money by spoiling you with the hottest freebies!

The Frugal Girls

The Frugal Girls is all about serious money savin’ fun as they put it! They feature stylish crafts, DIY projects, recipes, freebies, coupons, giveaways & more

Passion for Savings

I love to post the best deals, and the best products. Anything to make life a little easier!

Debras Dollars

Debras Dollars is a blog dedicated to help others save money. You will find Coupons Samples Reviews and Giveaways and More!

Frugal Fabulous Finds

A NC Wife & Mom of 3, Helping you Spend Less, Make More & Live Wisely with deals, coupons, freebies, giveaways and personal finance tips!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Zearly: Revolutionizing Kids Clothing!

How would you like a FREE wardrobe for your child?

Ever heard of Zearly? If you haven’t, you have to check them out! They’re a kids’ clothing site where you can literally get a whole new wardrobe for your kids for FREE! And they’ll help you clean out their closets at the same time! Zearly works like this! First, you sign up on their website and they automatically send you out a huge, postage paid bag to fill with all of your childrens’ gently used clothing. You don’t even have to take the bag to the post office because Zearly arranges for the bag to be picked up right from your front door. Once the bag arrives at Zearly headquarters, our staff goes through the clothing, tallies up the points and credits your account with points for each item you send in. When your points appear on your account, it’s time to start shopping. There are clothes ranging from 0-3 months all the way up to 14/16 on Zearly. We even have shoes! There are gently used clothes AND brand new designer apparel too! If you spend over 150 points, your order ships to your house free! That means the entire transaction will cost you nothing, not even the time or gas it takes to get to your nearest consignment store.

AND if your kids have outgrown these sizes and you no longer need to shop for kids’ clothes, you can STILL send in your clothes because, at Zearly, you can also use your points towards gift cards to Target, Walmart, Amazon & other retailers. So, you can actually get yourself some clothes in exchange for clothes that no longer fit your kids. How can you not like this site? So far, the reviews are all 5 stars! Moms and dads are raving about it so check it out!

Zearly also has a Facebook page where they post tons of links and articles related to family life such as recipes, family activities, freebies, giveaways and more! There’s even a chance to win 50 Zearly points each week! Like them on facebook and follow them on Twitter for more information!

Below are just some of the reviews from their Facebook Reviews page! See what other moms and dads have to say about Zearly!

  • "" LOVE IT! I spent about 192 points, and got my sons entire summer wardrobe. And the best part was, i didn't spend a dime. If i would've bought everything i got brand new, it would have been close to $300 dollars, if not, love, love saving money anyway i can!!

    "" If I could give you 10 stars I would... This is an incredible store! I just received my 1st bag of 36 clothing items for only 196 points... and they are all perfect! Thanks SO much Zearly! I will definately be buying MANY more!!

    "" Love the whole concept of your business! I have really been impressed with the items we have received from you. Thanks!

    "" I LOVE Zearly!! Excellent idea and excellent service. I've received two shipments already :-) We'll be customers for a LONG time!!

    "" Got my first shipment in! Awesome stuff and awesome concept. This mother of 5(all 6 and under!) approves! Two thumbs up!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

There Are How Many Uses for WD-40?

Known as "the can with thousands of uses," WD-40 is truly one of the most versatile, multi-purpose problem solvers on the market! The formula remains a secret but the product definitely isn't. It can be found in virtually every household in America! With over 2,000 excuses collected to date more and more are added to the list each day. The "water displacement 40th Attempt" does anything from protect metal from rust and corrosion, penetrate stuck parts, provide a great moisture barrier and lubricates just about anything. Below are some ways to to use WD-40 at home! If you think of any more, feel free to comment!

- Erases marks caused by chair backs on running boards of wall
- Cleans piano keys
- Lubricates screws on lawn furniture
- Removes grime from grout on bathroom floors (be sure to wipe floor clean after using WD-40)
- Removes crayon from carpet (be sure to test WD-40 on low visibility area of carpet before using)
- Removes scuff marks from ceramic tile flooring (be sure to wipe floor clean after using WD-40)
- Removes marks from floors left by chair feet (be sure to wipe floor clean after using WD-40)
- Clean grease off kitchen hoods
- Take the squeak out of door hinges
- Remove glue residue left beyond by stickers, labels and contact labels
- Remove permanent marker from hard surfaces
- Remove crayons from wallpaper chalkboards, brick, dryer drums & many other surfaces
- Clean and lubricate garden cutting & digging tools

There are thousands more uses on the WD-40 website! Check it out and see all that you can do with it!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tips for Getting Around Exercise Excuses

No Excuses! You Can Always Fit Exercise into Your Day! Here are some tips for getting around the typical excuses why not to exercise!

Excuse: My child is too young to do much and I can't always just take her for walks.
Fix: Look for local yoga or gymnastics academies in your city. Many offer classes geared towards toddlers or have open gym times where you can join in and have fun too. Get a child trailer for your bike and go for bike rides. Look for strolled friendly walking trails or get a baby carrier. You'll increase the intensity of your walks with the extra weight and your baby will out of the sttoller. Look for gyms with child care. Most accept babies 6 months or older and are only $2-5 each time you drop them off.

Excuse: I don't have time to exercise and after a long, crazy day, I'd rather just grab fast food.
Fix: Squeeze it in before your kids get up or after the go to bed. Pop in an exercise DVD or tune into FitTV. Both are available around the clock, mo matter when you're ready to workout. There are also several websites available with free online workouts. Go for a quick run in the morning or squeeze a brisk walk in at lunch time. As for dinner, get a crock pot, prep it, put it in the fridge and turn it on before you leave for work. When you get home, dinner is all set to be served. Forgot to prep the crock pot or didn't have time? Buy a cooked rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store & serve with baked potatoes, corn or steamed veggies (microwaveable in minutes).

Excuse: I'm tired and don't have the energy.
Fix: if you start making the time to exercise, you'll realize that working out actually helps you gain energy. It seems counterintuitive but the endorphin release from exercise improves mood and alertness and reduces fatigue. Drag yourself to the.gym & start...if you're there, you're bound to get something accomplished.