Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Survey Sites (part one)

     This week I thought I would right a post or two about taking online surveys. There are quite a few online survey companies looking for a variety of demographics and taking online surveys can be a good way to make a few extra dollars here and there. Please note this is not a full time income (maybe $100 a year if you're a member of a few companies and take a lot of surveys) but if you happen to have the time and enjoy sharing your opinion, you might like to try it out. 
     I have tried quite a few "market research panels," as they call themselves, am still part of a couple and have quit participating in others.
     It is just a matter of deciding which ones are worth your time. How much do they offer for your time? What are the incentives? Do you feel the given incentives are worth the time you put into the surveys? I don't generally like to do surveys that pay less than $1 per 10 minutes (and even that makes for a low "hourly" rate) unless I'm really interested in the subject matter. For example, I'm a real sucker for surveys on baby products. :-P
     So, based on my experiences with each of these companies, I will start with the companies that I definitely plan to stay with. These are the ones I have found to be most productive and enjoyable for me, personally. Some sites state a dollar amount per survey, and some use "points" that are worth so much.
     1. MySurvey--This has become one of my favorites, not because it always pays great for surveys (because sometimes it doesn't) but this is the only survey site so far that has actually sent products to try, then give my opinion.
     Many market research companies advertise that they do this, but MySurvey is the only one I personally have received anything from. I have gotten to try diapers, cookies and teething gel so far. So, since I love trying out products, that alone has made me more inclined to do surveys with MySurvey, even if the surveys don't always pay what I like. You never know when that low-paying survey will ask if you're willing to receive a product to try, then take a follow-up survey (which will give you more points). At My Survey, each point is worth 1 cent. So a 100 point survey is worth $1. Let me know if you would like a referral--I have to send it to your email. 
     2. Mindfield Online--Sometimes Minefield Online pays ok for surveys, sometimes the amounts offered are rather small. I just take the ones I feel are worth the time. It can take a while to add up, especially since many of the surveys pay small amounts. 
    3. Surveyhead--Like Opinion Outpost, Surveyhead surveys are hit-or-miss on whether they are worth the time. The survey sites Focusline and Mommytalk both almost always redirect to Surveyhead now, so just save yourself time and only sign up for Surveyhead. 
     I will post next week about sites I have found to be more of a waste of time. So check back. :-)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday: 3 Ways to Keep Motivated

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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Parmesan White Sauce

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Keurig Vue V700 #Giveaway



Seeing Double! Keurig Vue V700 Event

     You know those snazzy Kuerig K-cup machines that are all the rage? Even if you don't have one, I'm sure you've heard of them. Well, Keurig has been updated and now has new features.
    At the touch of a button, the Keurig Vue V700 adjusts water pressure, timing, and airflow to deliver the perfect cup of coffee or tea every time. You'll love the Vue's quiet operation and shortened steep time, as it whips up cafe-quality treats in a matter of minutes. Plus, there's no grinding beans, measuring, or cleanup needed--just add water and enjoy.

     This fabulous new Keurig Vue system includes a single-serve brewer with interactive touchscreen display, 66 Vue packs and a water filtration kit. It comes with two 16-oz iced coffee tumblers to get you started right out of the box.

     Here are the features of the Kuerig Vue:
  • Includes Keurig V700 Vue Brewer, 10 Variety Vue packs, 12 travel-sized Breakfast Vue packs, 12 Vue House Blend Vue packs, 16 Donut Shop Vue packs, 16 Celestial Iced Tea Vue packs, two 16-oz tumblers, and a water filter kit
  • Variety pack includes one each of Gloria Jean Hazelnut Coffee, Timothy's Decaf, Tully's French Roast, Celestial Seasoning Southern Sweet Tea, Green Mountain Breakfast Blend travel-sized, Celestial Seasoning Sleepytime, Barista Prima Italian Roast, Cafe Escape Milk Chocolate, GMC Nantucket Blend, and Donut Shop
  • Tumblers: plastic/acrylic construction
  • Colored touchscreen user interface
  • Eight brew sizes: 4 oz, 6 oz, 8 oz, 10 oz, 12 oz, 14 oz, 16 oz, and 18 oz
  • 74-oz water reservoir
  • Brew coffee from 187F to 197F
  • Strength selection for stronger flavor
  • Removable drip tray with adjustable plate
  • Vue packs are #5 recyclable plastic

    Did you miss the first giveaway? Well, here's a second chance, because yet another lucky winner will receive a Keurig Vue V700 + K-Cups!

Giveaway ends February 11th at 11:59pm, open to US & Canada, ages 18+. To enter please use the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. An Ordinary Housewife is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment. Please contact Mom Powered Media with questions or to see your business or blog featured on the next big event!


Start Your Morning Right with @Quaker #RealMedleys Oatmeal+

     One of the items in my influenster vox box was a single serve container of Quaker Real Medleys Summer Berry Oatmeal.
     Oatmeal is one of those great-for-you foods that are ideal for breakfast. It's filling and has a good amount of fiber (which is really important for your diet). And this oatmeal has a berry mixture (strawberries, blueberries and raspberries) for a little extra flavor and nutrition.
     A single serve container of quaker Real Medleys oatmeal yields about a cup for 250 calories and 7 g fiber. You'll be amazed at how full you'll feel after a cup of oatmeal!
     There are four flavors of Quaker Real Medleys oatmeal currently available: Apple Walnut, Cherry Pistachio, Peach Almond and Summer Berry (which is what I'd got). I'd really like it if they made an apple almond flavor.
     To find out more about Quaker Reals Medleys and find out how you can incorporate the benefits of oatmeal into your diet, you can visit the Quaker website.

*I received a free sample of this product through Influenster's vox box program. All opinions are my own.*

Make it Monday: DIY "Lava Lamp"

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

#Win a Paci Clip and Tag Blanket from Baby J's Paci!

Sponsored by: Baby J's Paci
Thanks for my fellow bloggers for helping promote! 

If you hang around here enough, you know I love all things baby. So when there's a baby-related giveaway, I love getting involved. I also believe in supporting new and small/home businesses (especially those run by moms!), so this giveaway does a little of both
Baby J's Paci is a new company that makes several handmade items for babies. They have pacifier clips, key fobs, baby books, tag blankets, door hushers, etc. They are all very good quality!
Here's baby using the pacifier clip and holding onto her tag blanket.

The giveaway will be for a pacifier clip and tag blanket as pictured.

If you would like a chance to win these adorable handmade items, you can enter on the rafflecopter page below. If you would like to order one of her products, click HERE to view her webpage. PS--Baby J's Paci does monthly giveaways on their facebook page too! So good luck! Ends February 10 at 11:59 pm.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

An Ordinary Housewife is not responsible for sponsored prize shipment. I was not compensated in any way for this post and all opinions are that of my own and were not influenced in any way.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Free Blogger Opp: Cupcake Craze

     Here is another fun blogger opp. This one is for a cupcake themed gift set. Free facebook and twitter for promoting. Free Pinterest for posting an announcement as well.
*Hosted by: Tots and Me
*dates: Feb 1-16th
     For more info and t sign up, go here!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Back to School Snack @Cravebox

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Citrus Lane January Box

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Alpha-Bits Cereal, featuring Super Why!

      I recently got a chance to try out some Post Alpha-Bits cereal via BzzAgent. I had tried Alpha-Bits once or twice as a kid, but it had been years since I'd had it and this was the first time my daughter got to try it.
     So, what can I say about Alpha Bits cereal? Well, it is a little sweet, though I think a little less so than some other sweetened cereals on the market. It is great for kids and adults alike. You can serve it for breakfast or snacks! And of course the pieces are shaped like letters, which makes it extra fun for young children who are still larning their alphabet.
     Now, Alpha-Bits is featuring Super Why!, the PBS children's series that teaches children reading skills through classic storybook characters.
     A fun little activity to do with Alph-Bits cereal is to grab a handful and see if your child can recognize the letters. Once they have identified a letter, let them eat it! You can also spell short words for beginning readers and have them guess the word. It's a great way to make snack time fun and educational!
*I received a sample of this product via BzzAgent. i was not required to write a blog post and any opinions expressed are my own.*

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: 5 Ways to Save Money

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My #HolidayVoxBox from @Influenster

     One of the great things about being an influenster is getting to sample all kinds of great stuff from lots of different brands. Well, I got another voxbox a couple weeks ago. I'm sure I'll be posting more specifics on some of the items later one, but to start off, would you like to know what fun-tabulous items I got in the Holiday Vox Box? Read on!
     Goody Quickstyle Hairbrush--This hair brush contains small pieces of microfiber that are designed to make your hair-drying quicker. I learned it doesn't work on wet hair. Since I rarely blow-dry my hair, I'll have to make myself do it sometime soon so I can see if it really helps with styling!
     Eboost Energy Drink--This drink powder mix is a vitamin plus energy with no sugar or artificial flavors. I got the pink lemenoade flavor, which is one of my faves, so I can't wait to try it out!
     Kiss Nail Dress--A stick on nail kit from kiss nails. While animal prints are a little loud for my taste, I can't deny that these make a fun manicure a cinch!
     NYC New York Liquid Color Lipshine--I don't wear a whole lotta lipstick, but when I do, I love to use the kind you have to use the applicator for, which this one does. I even like the color!
     Quaker Real Medley Oatmeal--I haven't tried mine yet, but I plan to do it soon. I'm not really a big oatmeal eater, but I know it's good for me,so I'm hjoping this will be a way I can enjoy it a little more.
     Montagne Jeunesse face Mask--I've never used a face mask, so I'm not quite sure if I'm going to use this or not. I don't really like stuff on my face. But we'll see. Maybe I'll get adventurous one of these days. ;-)
     So those are the awesome samples i'm looking forward to sharing more about soon! I also got a $25 off coupon for shoes from Sole Society, but since they start at $50, I haven't redeemed it so far.
     Check back soon for more posts on my holiday Vox Box!

*I received samples as part of Influenster's Vox Box program. Any opinions expressed are my own.*

Weight Loss Wednesday: Creative Bioscience Challenge (part 2)

     As I mentioned last week, I am getting the opportunity to try out a 3 month's supply of Green Coffee Bean from Creative Bioscience and share the results with my readers.
     I am excited to see how these will help my weight loss. I've already lost a few pounds since the beginning of the year, so I'm hoping these metabolism supplements will help me lose even more.
     Starting today, I'll be taking 2 pills a day (30 minutes before 2 different meals, as directed) for the next 90 days. I'll be "checking in" every 4 weeks to let you know my progress.
     So, today my stats are:
     weight - 176
     waist - 43"
     BMI - 29.3

     Hopefully I'll have something better to report in 4 weeks!

     The Life Fit Store has these products for sale for 12-60%. Creative Bioscience has given me a code for and additional 15% off to share with readers. Life Fit store is currently offering free shipping as well. Just put in the code AOH to receive your extra 15% off!

Are you a blogger who would like to participate in this challange yourself? Creative Science is currently acception bloggers for this challenge. If you are interested, you can read about it here!

*I received a trial of this products in order to facilitate this review. Any opinions expressed are my own.*

Monday, January 21, 2013

Bulu Box

     This weekend I received my Bulu Box. I knew that this was a subscription box of health supplements, but I wasn't sure exactly what to expect. I think I was hoping for more weight-loss aids, but there was much of that. So these were the five items in the box:
     Perfect Blocks protein drink--This is a food supplement that supports muscle groeth and repair and contains 7 g protein, 9 g carbs and 3 g fat.
     Dream Water--This is a sleep aid made up of 3 natural ingredients--GABA, melatonin and 5-HTP.
     Immuno Gum--This chewing gum contains nutrients that boost the immune system. Too bad I don't chew gum. :-/
     NRGX Labs Red Stinger Black label--Red Stinger is supposed to boost the thermogenic rate, which raises the metabolism and curbs the appetite, while also giving you more energy. This was the only item in this month's box anything like a weight-loss aid. And there was only one pill.
     Washington Homepathic Products Headache--This is a natural headache remedy. I don't suffer from a lot of headaches, but I'm sure the time will come when I can try this out.
     While I don't feel it would be worth it for me personally to continue my subscription, because most these products are not things I would use, I tried to lay it for you what you could expect in a Bulu Box if you decide to try it out.
     Just because they aren't products I would use, doesn't mean you someone else wouldn't be interested.

Make It Monday: Homemade Laundry Detergent

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Free Blogger Opp: Switch to Cloth (diapers)

Bloggers Sign-Up: Free Event

Dates: February 14th to March 14th
Hosted by SAHM of Drama Queens & a Prince, My Cloth Diaper Stash, A Year With Mom and Dad, Mommy of One and Counting and Adventures of Mommyhood. The prize is an amazing cloth diaper prize package featuring over $250 in cloth diapers and supplies.

Current Sponsors


You can sign up here.  Please let them know I sent you!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Free Blogger Opp--Kindle Fire

     Here is another awesome FREE blogger event hosted by My Four Littles. You get a free link just for posting an announcement about the giveaway. Paid options are also available.
     The Prize: A Kindle Fire
     The dates: March 1-31 2013
     If you think you might be interested in helping out with this, you can find out more and sign up HERE.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Love with Food (January Box)

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Light Reading

Fantasy Book 1 (written by me)

Chapter 1: The Twilight Council
Chapter 2: The Lady in the Water

Twilight Fan Fictions I Love (not written by me, but fun to read)
*Some of these may contain adult situations*

Moonless Night (New Moon from Edward's perspective-awesome!)
Eternal Equinox (Eclipse from Edward's perspective)
Beyond Dusk (Breaking Dawn from Edward's perspctive-unfortunately not completed)
Singularity (Alice story, from before her turning until she meets Jasper)
Coalesence (sequel to Singularity--Alice and Jasper join the Cullens somewhere in the middle)
Rogue (sequel to Coalescence--so far up to beginning of Midnight Sun)
Stregoni Benfici (story of Carlisle, starting just after becoming a vampire)
Eternity (Carlisle and Esme story)

Fantasy Book: Chapter 1

     Okay, I know this is a little different. This is not really a blog post--it's a chapter to a book I'm working on. This is a fantasy story that I am actually hoping to make into a trilogy. You are not obligated to read, and if this isn't your kind of thing, I understand.
     I just thought I would put it out there in case anyone was interested. If you do continue reading, I would love to know if, after reading chapter one, you would like to continue reading.
     I may publish the story one day, but until then, i thought I would share it with anyone who might be interested, :-)


            In the dark days of Caradonia, during the reign of King Larkin the Tyrant, two men and two women were gathered together in the shadow of the twilight. The woman who appeared to be the eldest of the two addressed the silver bearded man who was foremost in the group walking through the forest.

            “Aelfric,” she said, “What are we—”

            “Hush, Ursell.” Aelfric cut her off. “We can speak of nothing here. You know this. The forest has ears and we cannot tell which side it may be on.” Nothing further broke the silence until the group came to a clearing where a figure slightly smaller than a human man stood with two white, winged horses.

     The full moon shone brightly on this figure, which was clad in a green tunic with very fine threads of silver woven into intricate designs on it and a fragile looking coronet upon his head. He had a youthful face, light colored hair and pointed ears.

            “Caunion, my friend,” Aelfric said, stepping forward. “I thank you for your assistance.”

            “I was only able to procure two of the winged horses,” Caunion replied. “The species is becoming more endangered every day. I hope you are correct in your assumption that the reign of the usurpers is coming to a close. We are wearied of battle and our underground cousins are becoming increasingly difficult to keep in check.”

            “I think you ought to know, Caunion,” Aelfric said, “Your son-in-law was murdered by a band of manticores and your daughter is about to give birth to a child—children, we believe.”

            “Do not speak to me about that undutiful wretch,” Caunion said contemptuously. “Elves who are foolish enough to consort outside of their race deserve no better than to sink in the consequences of their folly. It is regrettable that my own daughter has gone down that path, but she, or even I, cannot be excepted from the laws of our people. She chose to leave her natural home to consort with a human, so let her live among humans. And what will her children be? Half-breeds, which must be considered a disgrace among our people.”

            “It may be these very children you hold in such contempt that are fated to restore peace to Caradonia. I hope at least, that even if you will not acknowledge them as your grandchildren, you will aid them when the time comes. And as for your daughter—she may very well be in danger if Larkin suspects the identity of the man she married. Eranor may be the only place she will be safe.”

            “If she had no child,” Caunion replied, “She might be allowed to return to Eranor, with proper signs of repentance. But if I own the daughter, I must own the half-blood children, and that is not possible.”

            “I am afraid the children must be separated from their mother, for their own safety,” Aelfric answered. “They must be taken to a place where no one will find them.”

            “I see.”

            “She will no doubt be heart-broken by this necessary course,” Aelfric continued. “Indeed, her spirit may be so bitter she will be a danger to herself, if she is not properly watched. I beg you to take what I have told you into consideration.”

            “I shall think on what you have said,” Caunion replied. “I must speak to my son.”

            “I believe she may be found in a hut near the edge of the cliff. A poor dwelling, to be sure, for a lady of her noble origins. But we must be off. Caradoc will soon have come to give his report. I bid you good evening, my friend, and many thanks for your assistance.” Aelfric and his three companions mounted the winged horses, and each horse carried two passengers. Only, instead of galloping into the forest as most horses might, these horses spread their great wings and took flight up through the tree tops, past the edge of the cliff and over the great sea of Caradonia.

     Up this band flew until they came to a stationary cloud in the starry sky—the only cloud which was not moving. Indeed, this cloud never moved, had never moved nor changed in any way in all the history of Caradonia. What was more surprising than the never-changing situation of the cloud, however, was the fact that when the riders dismounted from the winged horses it was not into empty nothingness, as one might expect, but onto solid ground.

     Not only was the surface of the cloud quite firm enough to walk upon, but it was home to a beautiful city of gold and white marble which shone with an ethereal glow in the moonlight. A few beings walked across the streets, going about their business. Some seemed little more than specters, and looked quite like small clouds themselves. Others took a more solid form, but still had a celestial glow about them.

     One of these more solid beings, in all appearance a man, came forward to meet them. He was attended by two or three others, but they stood back.

            “My friend,” the man said, addressing Aelfric. “Allow us to welcome you to our humble city. We have prepared some of our best rooms for your reception. And you may have the use of the round room for your council.”

            “It has been a long time, Zephyrus,” Aelfric replied. “We thank you for your hospitality. Larkin has many spies throughout Caradonia.”

            “It will be very difficult for any to follow you here, I assure you,” Zephyrus replied. “We are able enough warriors against manticores and griffons, I’m sure. And as for any common human, they cannot come here without a winged horse, and there are few of them left on the mainland.”

            “Yes, even the elves had trouble procuring the ones we came on,” Aelfric said. “And they are more skilled than most at the practice.”

            “We have been collecting them here in Arcelia,” Zephyrus said. “We have heard a report that Larkin fancies a set of horse wings for his collection. Naturally my people could not hear of such a repulsive undertaking without doing all in their power to prevent it. The poor creatures do not like being tied up, but it is for their own good, you know. When peace is restored to Caradonia, they will be allowed to roam free and in safety, as in former days.”

            “It is my hope that the restoration of peace is not far off,” Aelfric said. “Only those of us who have seen better times understand how very bad the land has become. For many poor souls, it is the only way of life they know. Which brings me to our reason for coming here. We are expecting one more of our number. He is on a very particular mission for me at this time, but I have no doubt he will join us before the night is out.”

            Once the four visitors were left alone in their appointed meeting place, Aelfric addressed his companions.

            “Well, my friends,” he said, “It has been some time since our last meeting. The usurper Larkin’s great-grandfather was on the throne, I believe.”

            “Yes,” agreed a man with a beard shorter than Aelfric’s and rather darker. “And since then, each successor to the throne has been worse than the one before. And there is not much promise in that young brat of his, either. Prince Garrick, as we are to call him. I hear he is the most spoiled child there ever was.”

            “He is still royal blood, Rodric, even if he is not the rightful heir to the throne,” Aelfric said. “It will not do for any except the true heir to reclaim it. And as you know, there is none capable at this time.”

            “I fear I shall not live to see the restoration of peace,” said she who appeared to be the younger of the two women. “My time is near. I can feel it. My only regret is that my eldest daughter, Vailea, is not present to succeed me, for I have not seen her since she disappeared a century ago.” For this woman, though she appeared to be quite young, was in fact nearing her 700th year, at which time she would fade away into the sea, for she was a water nymph and 700 years was her natural lifespan.

            “But have you not another daughter?” Rodric asked her.

            “Yes,” the water nymph replied. “But Nerina is not as capable a ruler as Vailea would have been. Nerina’s father was a Tyrachian.”

            “A shape shifter?” Rodric asked. “But I thought their race was extinct.”

            “And how could anyone be certain if they were extinct?” Ursell asked him. “If they may change into what they will, who’s to say they may not feign extinction?”

            “Tyrachia is indeed now in ruins,” the nymph answered. “However, some did escape and now wander the earth. But their personalities are as unstable as their physical forms. And I am afraid my daughter has inherited that from her father.”

            “Is there no other you may name as your heir?”

            “Nature chooses the heir,” she replied. “The Scepter of the Sea will work properly only for the one it recognizes as the rightful queen. If Vailea has indeed passed on, then the Scepter will recognize Nerina as the next queen, and no other.”

            “And the water stone?” Aelfric asked her. “Where is it?”

            “The water stone is part of the scepter’s power,” the nymph answered. “It shall pass to Nerina, but she shall not know of the stone’s importance.”

            “But the time may come when the heir of Meilyr will need that stone, as well as the rest of the elemental stones,” Aelfric told her. “He cannot fulfill the prophecy without it.”

            “Then you may tell the heir where it is and he may claim it when the time comes,” she replied, growing irritated. “Until then, I believe it shall stay where it is.”

            “It will not do for it to fall into the wrong hands, Inia.”

            “No mere human can wield it,” Rodric said. “Nor any of the elemental stones. Not unless he is the chosen one.”

            “Larkin cannot use them, it is true,” Aelfric replied. “But he may have them concealed from the true heir if they are in his possession.”

            “Can he breathe under water?” Rodric asked. “Can he walk on fire? I cannot suppose the stones so easy to gain possession of.”

            “Do not forget we are in dark times, Rodric. We do not know who our friends and enemies are. There are many treacherous creatures throughout the land. Some work by deceit, some are openly rebellious. Larkin has many spies among almost every race.”

            “I cannot suppose the pyrons would have any dealings with Larkin,” Rodric said. “They are simply too proud to overlook the fact that they are seen as lesser beings by many men. I feel quite certain that it will be very difficult for anyone to claim the fire stone from them.”

            “And I can assure you that the nymphs will not surrender the water stone, even after I’m gone,” Inia added.

            “Perhaps the stones are better left where they are for now,” Aelfric said finally. “I can speak for the elves. The forest stone is safe with them. I believe the elves, the sylphs and the nymphs are loyal to the line of Meilyr. The wraiths follow Larkin and they are no small force. The manticores and trolls might be persuaded to follow Larkin with a little effort and the black elves and the pyrons are loyal to no one.”

            “The black elves and the wraiths have no stone,” Rodric objected. “Nor do trolls and manticores.”

            “The wraiths do not have a stone,” Aelfric admitted. “But they have something more dangerous. They have the amulet of Ragnvald.” A few of the others gasped. “I think I need not tell you what it would mean if Larkin discovered how to release Ragnvald from his banishment.”

            “There would be no Caradonia left for the chosen ones to save,” Ursell breathed. The tense silence that followed this comment was interrupted by the door of the council chamber opening. An old man walked in, holding a baby. All eyes immediately turned to this personage.

            “Well, Caradoc?” Aelfric asked the newcomer, evidently disappointed. “And was there only one child after all?”

            “Two were born,” Caradoc replied. “This one, I took, but the other is—gone.”

            “Gone?” Aelfric frowned. “How so?”

            “I found the girl, as you said I would, in a hut on a cliff overlooking the sea,” Carodoc said. “I arrived too late. Some of Larkin’s men were patrolling the village nearby. When Meridwen heard them coming, she hid one of the children in a chest to conceal the fact that she had borne twins. They entered the hut and one of the guards kicked the chest so that the child began crying. Two of the guards carried the chest to the edge of the cliff and threw it to the sea while two others restrained her from pursuit. I arrived just after they left and she told me what had happened. Naturally she was reluctant to part with this child, but I made her see the necessity of it.”

            “How came these men of Larkin’s to find her so easily?” Aelfric asked. “Do you suppose Larkin has made the connection?”

            “I’m not certain,” Caradoc replied. “But I discovered that Meridwen’s little maid told the soldiers her mistress had borne twins. I have struck her mute for her treachery. Mute until the throne of Caradonia is reclaimed by its rightful owner.”

            “Did you not look for the other twin?” Aelfric asked. “Did you discover what had become of him?”

            “I searched the shore and enlisted the help of the mermaids, but no trace was found,” Caradoc answered. “But if these children are the ones of the prophecy, as we have reason to believe, then we cannot doubt his survival. And perhaps it is better, after all, that they not be raised together. For we know what the fate of one of them must be.” With this final thought, the others cast each other looks of foreboding.

            “Caradoc,” Aelfric said finally. “You must take this child away and raise him.”

            “I, Aelfric?” Caradoc asked, surprised. “I am an old man. Not fit to care for a baby.”

            “I have faith in you,” Aelfric said with a patronizing smile. “He must be taken far away from here and raised in a way that will not attract notice. Yet he must be trained in all the skills necessary to one of his destiny. It is up to you, Caradoc, to see that he is raised up to his full potential.”



Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Total Money Makeover

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Amber Teething Necklace from @TeethingTots

     I was recently given the opportunity to try out an amber teething necklace from Teething Tots. This is not the kind of teething necklace that the baby is supposed to actually chew on. Rather, this is a special necklace for babies to wear (with supervision of course!) that is supposed to naturally lessen the pain of teething.
     Amber, which is derived from fossilized sap, has trace amounts of succinic acid which is known to be anti-inflammatory and an effective pain reliever. Succinic acid is absorbed through the skin when the skin's warth releases the oils in the amber. Succinic acid helps many other types of pain besides that associated with teething, but these teething necklaces are made for babies to wearing for the purpose of releiving teething pain.
     The necklace is designed to be as safe as possible for baby. First of all, is knotted before and after each bead. Even if one breaks off (which should only happen if it is forcibly pulled off) the rest of the necklace will remain intact. Secondly, the necklace uses a screw clasp, which is designed to come undone when forcibly pulled on. This minimizes the choking hazard. However, I do not recommend leaving the baby alone with the necklace, just to be safe.
     Teething Tots is a home-based business, founded and run by a mom of two. The idea blossomed from the interest she received from other moms looking for natural home remedies for their teething babies.
     Teething Tots offers amber teething necklaces in a variety of colors (including multi-colored). They also have mommy/baby sets and hazelwood teething necklaces. Hazelwood also has a pain relieving quality. They also offer teething necklaces from SmartMom Jewelry which are intended for Baby to chew on.
     You can learn more and keep up with Teething Tots and their fabulous products (and maybe find some deals!) in the following ways:

*I received a product to facilitate a review. Any opinions expressed are my own.*

Weight Loss Wednesday: Creative Bioscience Challenge (Part 1)

     I am really excited to announce that I was selected to be a part of the 90 day weight loss challenge by Creative Bioscience. The process is straight-forward. I was asked to select a product to try out for 90 days (3 months) and to post monthly updates on my progress. So, I sorta thought this would fit right in with my "Weight Loss Wednesday" posts, am I right?
     So which of their fabulous products did I select? Well, it was a tight race between the Rasberry Keytone 1234 and the Green Coffee Bean. I finally decided on the Green Coffee Bean. Why? Because it seems less restrictive concerning excercise and eating habits.
     Don't get me wrong. I am not planning to eat lots of junk and avoid excercise because I think this "magic pill" is a substitute for that. That's not really what it's designed to do. But I feel a little less pressure with the have to get this much excercise and can't eat that. It's not easy getting workouts in with young children around!
     So what does the Green Coffee Bean supplement do? Well, first of all, it slows the release of glucose into your body. Which lessens the sugar high that falls into a no-sugar slump. Which leaves you craving...more sugar. That sounds good, right?
     The second thing it does is increase your metabolism, causing your body to burn fat faster. Do I really need to explain this one? Didn't think so. How can you miss "burns fat=good thing"?
     So, did I mention I'm really looking forward to this? I know you can't tell. Ideally, I would like to lose 40-45 lbs long term. I know that is not going to happen in three months. I am hoping for maybe 15, though. 20 would be awesome!
     I've been trying to get more active, drink enough water and healthier foods, but I'm really hoping this will give me the extra boost I need. Plus, the prospect of humilition if I fail should help keep me motivated.
     So check back soon and I'll let you know my thoughts!

     Would you like to participate in this challange yourself? Creative Science is currently acception bloggers for this challenge. If you are interested, you can read about it here!

     Even if you don't meet the criteria, the Life Fit Store has these products for sale for 12-60%. Creative Bioscience has given me code for and additional 15% off to share with readers. Life Fit store is currently offering free shipping as well. Just put in the code AOH to receive your extra 15% off!

Nursing Mommy #Giveaway Event

Welcome to the My Four Littles Nursing Mommy Giveaway Event!

Hosted by: My Four Littles
Welcome to the My Four Littles Nursing Mommy Giveaway!
Here are some great items for any nursing mommy to have. So if you are nursing, expecting, or know someone who is, be sure to enter. And feel free to share this wonderful event with others! There are multiple prizes, so odds are better. :-)

If you get a chance, please also visit the co-hosts of this event: Everything MommyhoodStay A Stay At Home MomNatural HairLatinaMommy’s Craft ObsessionAll In A Day’s WorkZephyr Hill BlogAn Ordinary Housewife, and Tots and Me 

A big thank you to all of our great sponsors for these awesome prizes!
List of Prizes

Peek Away Nursing Kit 
Preggie Pops Prize Pack (3 win)
Funny Face Cranberries Prize Pack
Majamas Nursing Bra
Milk Bands Nursing Bracelet
Kissed by the Moon $20 Gift Card
Udder Covers Nursing Cover
Sophie the Giraffe Teether 
Teething Bling Gift Set
Halo SwaddleChange
Please read the terms and conditions of this giveaway. US Only. Ages eighteen and up. Bloggers are not responsible for sponsor prize fulfillment. Thank you for entering and good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Basic Fried Rice

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Make it Monday: DIY Sandbox!

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Resolutions @Cravebox

     Well, I got my Resolutions Cravebox this weekend. I was really hoping for a pedometer like I heard some got last year! But no....*sigh.* So what was in there?
     3 Flavors of SunRype Fruit Source Bars--These fruit bars are 100% natural and all sugars come from fruit juices. They are non-fat, run about 120 calories and have 2-3 grams of fiber. All that's fine and dandy, but that isn't my favorite way to eat my fruit. I'd just as soon have it fresh. It tastes better and fills you up. If you need a snack on the run, a banana works just as well and is less calories, do math. All that said, my daughter really liked them, since they kind of have the taste and consistency of fruit leather. The flavors I received were strawberry, Mango-strawberry and blueberry pomegranate.
     SunRype Just Fruits and Grains Bar--Kind of like the fruit bars, but these also have seeds and grains. The one I got was strawberry mango, at 160 calories, 3.5 gr fat and 4 gr fiber.
     Perfectly Simple Bar (by Zone Perfect)--Yes, another "bar. I guess trying to lose weight means we need to replace a meal with these bars. This one is 200 calories, 8 gr fat, 2 gr fiber. But it has 10 gr protein. The boast about this bar is that it only has 8 ingredients. The flavor I got was toasted coconut. While I thought it was ok, it's not something I'd go seek out.
     While all that's great, I gotta say I could eat one of my fiber bars with more fiber and less calories. And better taste, in my opinon.
     A can each of 7up Ten and A&W Ten (root beer)--These diet sodas have only 10 calories (as opposed to 0 calories of normal diet soda). Supposedly these taste better than regular diet soda. I hate diet soda. If I'm gonna drink junk, it might as well taste good. I know some like it because they have "gotten used" to it. Why would I want to "get used" to something I don't like when it's not even good for me? (And don't kid yourself--diet sodas are just as bad for you as regular, even if they have no calories. Look it up, if you don't believe me!)
     So were these really any better tasting? In my opinion? No, not really. What I find kind of funny (even misleading) is that the 7up can says "Naturally Flavored with other natural flavors." Sounds good, right? Well, reading the label, I discovered it has aspertame (the artificial sweetener in most diet sodas) in it. How is that natural? And aspertame is one of the sweeteners I avoid if possible.
     I should add, however, that DH said it tasted pretty good. But then, he doesn't mind the taste of diet soda, either.
     Metabo Balance Wellness Tea, by Celestial Seasonings (2 tea bags)--This is a green tea that is supposed to help boost metabolism. It has a fruity flavor. I'm not a big fan of flavored teas, but this was ok. I probably wouldn't seek this flavor out. I prefer white tea.
     Cocoa Via drink packets--This is a Cocoa extract supplement that can be added to beverages and helps to support healthy blood circulation.
     Mary Kay Timewise Repair eye renewal cream--Not something I would have gotten for myself at this point, but maybe I'll try it out.
     Wholly Guacamole Free Coupon--I have never tried Wholly Guacamole, though I have heard about it. I bet it will go great with my Beanfield's chips!
     Smart Ones Free Coupon--I have tried Smart Ones before and they are pretty goo, so I'll be happy to redeem this coupon and give them another try.
     If you think you would like to give Cravebox a try, check out their website. Although this box was a little disappointing, since most of these products I would not have been interested in trying. And they've raised their box prices. They used to be $10 each, and their affordability was one of the best features of the service. Now most of the boxes are $14/15 and it's negligible whether it's worth it if I only like half the products.
     One change I do like, is that you can choose which boxes you want, based on the theme. It used to be, once you were a subscriber you got every month's box. So I I'm hoping the next box will be a little more to my liking!
     Also, they have a brand-new referral program. So if you do decide to sign up, I'd be super-grateful if you let them know "jedigal" (yes, that's me) sent you!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Green Apple Supply--Green for Less!

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Freezer Inventory

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday: How Soda Affects Your Body

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Children's/Infant's Advil

     When one of my kids gets a fever, my first choice for them is Infant's or Children's Advil. Why not? After all, Advil is what I use for myself. So it makes sense I would use it for my kids, right?
     I have gotten the store brand ibuprofen in the past (both for myself and the kids) and while it does work, it always seemed to me it took a little longer to "kick in" than Advil.
     So now, even though it might cost a little more than the store brand, I think it is worth it to have the real stuff on hand. And you can find coupons for Infant/Children's Advil rather frequently and if you combine it with a sale, there is not a whole lot of price difference from the store brand. Actually, it may be slightly cheaper!
     Although I generally try to avoid medication just for minor pain that will probably pass soon, I will give it to them if I feel they need it. Fortunately, I haven't had to do that too often. But Infants/Children's Advil is my first choice for that too.
     If you have a newborn under 6 months, you should wait until they're 6 months old to start using ibuprofin. And remember to always read labels when using medication!
     Click here for more info and to be directed to a $1.50 off coupon!

*I received a sample of Infant's Advil from Smiley 360. I was not required to post about it and all opinions are my own.*

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Have You Tried and Truth?

     Attention moms and dads! Whether you're seasoned parents, first-time parents or parents to be, you should check out Tried and Truth! Tried and Truth is fun and helpful new website where experienced moms and dads can spread the word about the baby/children's products they love and the ones they, well, don't. And anxious new parents can go to find out from real parents which items are fabulous must-haves, and which ones are not really worth it.
     Tried and Truth is basically a review site that focuses on products for babies and small children. They do also occasionally offer products for review for their most active members, as well as prizes for contests that are centered around reviews.
    Another great thing about Tried and Truth is that their reviewers have to be approved. This means you can expect the reviews you read to be coherent, concise and detailed. You won't see a review that says "i got this when my kid wuz born i like it alot" (Yes, I wrote it like that on purpose!)
     So, if you're a new or expecting parent who doesn't know just where to start, you should check out Tried and Truth. If you are an experiened parent, and just bursting with opinions on your baby gear, consider applying to be a reviewer! Check out their website or email After all, who knows better which products work best than other parents who have been there and done that?

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