Wednesday Randoms

What is the purpose of Wednesday Randoms? Well honestly there isn’t one besides to share something random. Maybe your child did something new, maybe you baked something yesterday, maybe you are behind at work, maybe you got in your work out today or maybe you didn’t. Anything is game. Well anything that is appropriate. If it isn’t appropriate, I will delete it. Here are mine …

  • Last summer class complaining update … I have one homework assignment left. It is due tomorrow but I will be darned as I am finishing it today. I just need to get it done so I can be done. I did get an A in my 1 credit class already!:)
  • I have a huge list of things I want to do once my class is done. Actually, there is no list. It is all in my head. I really need to make a list otherwise I will be annoyed that none of it gets done.
  • Do you like the new little button on my sidebar? The site updates are slowly coming and are on that huge to-do list. Hopefully you like them as they come along. I am getting super excited!
  • My Little Dude’s 2nd birthday is coming up. I better start planning something since his party is on the 16th!

I really hope some of you leave a comment with maybe your own randoms this week. I would love some comment love!

Mamavation Monday: Walk … Run … Week 3

It is Mamavation Monday time again!

Last week was week 3 of the Couch to 5k walk/runs. I survived doing all three walk/runs and avoided an asthma attack the one day by really focusing on my breathing. I take that as a success. I am still doing my walk/runs on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

This week is getting rough so my husband tells me 4 minute runs with 1 minute in between. There is a very strong chance I will repeat this week but we will see how it goes.

As for weight, I decided to not weigh in today. Monday’s weigh ins seem to suck so I am going to do my weigh ins on Tuesday. So I may update this tomorrow or I just might post an update about a week behind. We will see how this plays out.

Mamavation TV is on tonight! To find out details check out the information here! (I miss Mamavation TV every week because it is on too late for this East Coast girl … if I am up that late, I am doing homework. blah.)

Pamper’s Giving Back to Little Miracles Program

I am excited to share with you about the 50th birthday of Pampers and the opportunity I had to participate in their celebration!In celebration of its 50th birthday, Pampers is recognizing how much parenting has changed over the years, and is sharing their belief that every baby is a little miracle that deserves to be celebrated, supported and protected, by unveiling its Little Miracle Mission campaign – a program that delivers acts of kindness to miracles and their families while encouraging parents to support others.

The brand recently kicked off the Little Miracle Missions campaign by delivering a giant act of support –donating care packages to Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) across the country. Celebs Joey Lawrence , Ali Larter, Mark Consuelos and LaLa Anthony were on-hand in New York City to personally deliver a care package and thank you basket to Mt. Sinai Hospital and their staff.

The public can easily participate in the Miracles Missions programs, and support little miracles across the country, by logging on to Pampers Facebook page (Facebook.com/Pampers). Pampers is also asking everyone to pay-it-forward by participating in the first Little Miracle Mission- to congratulate and offer support to an expectant mother with a gift or surprise gesture. Once more than 2,500 people pledge that they have achieved this mission, Pampers will respond by giving baby showers to expectant mothers nationwide just in time for Mother’s Day. Pampers will issue different missions throughout the entire year to celebrate all aspects of parenthood, and with the help of parents, family and friends, they hope to touch the lives of every baby born in the next year.

As part of this program, I partnered with University of Virginia Children’s Hospital. They do a lot of work with children in the community and well from all over since they are a research hospital. When asked what they needed the most right now, I was told comfort items for those in treatment and for the siblings of those in treatment. So my kids and I went out shopping and ended up with Play-Doh, coloring books, crayons, and card games. These will be delivered to the hospital this week!

Now here’s where you come in! We’d love for Simple Budgeted readers to get involved in these random acts of kindness, too. Pampers would like to challenge you to find a way to celebrate, support or protect a new little miracle in your community by donating a $50 Visa Gift Card to you. Now what you do with that gift card is entirely up to you, but the challenge will be for you to decide its best use!

Some ideas we’ve heard is to use the money to purchase diapers for a family who could use them, use the money to prepare meals for a family, or even use the money to host a larger fundraiser for a family. We’d love to see your creativity come to life!

This drawing will end Monday, July 11th at 11:59pm EST. I may pick the winner using Random.org. The winner will have 48 hours to reply with their address. You must include your email address in your comment or have it in your profile so you can be contacted if you are a winner! Please make sure I can see your email address!!! You must complete the Mandatory Entry for the additional entries to count.

This giveaway is open to US residents!!!


So how do you enter?

Mandatory Entry: Tell me your idea for using the gift card to support a new little miracle in your community!

Additional Entries:

1) Like Simply Budgeted on Facebook: http://facebook.com/simplybudgeted. (worth 2 entries! …maybe you can leave a comment on a post while you there … I miss seeing comments over there!;))
2) Follow me on Twitter. Leave a comment with your twitter name.
3)
Tweet about this giveaway with this tweet:

#Win a $50 gift card to help a little miracle in your community @simplybudgeted http://bit.ly/ifDnTt #giveaway #giftcard #pampers ends 7/11

Leave a comment with the URL for your tweet. (One Tweet per day until end of giveaway!!)
4) Add my blog button to your blog. Button is in my sidebar! Leave a comment with the URL and where to find the link.
5) Follow me publicly through the Google Friends Connect on my side bar. Leave a comment with your name that you subscribe with.
6) Subscribe to my blog using the Subscribe To option on the sidebar. Leave a comment stating you subscribe.
7) Leave a comment in a Friday Favorite or Wednesday Random post! Leave a comment here with what you did (what post and what comment #). (worth 3 entries!!)


NOTE: I was sent a gift card to participate in this donation effort
in support this giveaway by a PR company associated with this effort. No other compensation was received. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Friday Favorite: Parchment Paper Muffin Liners

Friday Favorites is another almost weekly feature here at Simply Budgeted. The whole point of this feature is to share some of my favorite finds. Anything is game. Food. Cleaning supplies. Kid stuff. Garden favorites. Recipes. Anything that I really like and want to randomly post about. Reminder/Disclaimer/Whatever: Everything in Friday Favorites is something that I use and bought on my own.

Up this week …

Parchment Paper Muffin Liners

No not the muffins this time but the cute little muffin liners. I saw these over on Tidy Mom’s Berry Muffin post recently. (You can find her on Facebook and Twitter too!) I have NOT been able to get them out of my head. So when I realized last night I only had enough sugar for one recipe of banana bread, I knew it had it become muffins. Since these muffins were gifts for the Vacation Bible School teachers (6 teachers between 2 kids!) and that was all I was making, they needed to look cute so I decided this was my excuse to try these parchment paper muffin liners. And then I started praying I didn’t mess them up since I didn’t have more sugar to make more! aye.

They turned out amazingly cute. Adorable if I must say. I will definitely make these again. This might just my excuse to get a mat and rotary cutter though! I used the preschool paper cutter to cut these out. I tried scissors to start with and that was totally not happening! So you will either a really steady hand or a good way to cut straight lines.

For the regular muffins, I made 4 inch by 4 inch squares. I want to try them on the jumbo muffins next. I think I would double the size of the squares for the jumbos.

I then just cut the kitchen twine into pieces. (I was too lazy to go get the twine like Tidy Mom has in her pictures from the basement … hey it was late, give me credit!) The tricky part was tying them on there. I had to hold the muffins against me and pull the string tight enough to be a little tight on the muffins.

Oh and the best tip actually came from Tidy Mom … spray the muffin pan with cooking spray before you put the liners in. This helps them stay in the pan.


Now they weren’t all beautiful. Some of the liners didn’t hug the edges as well as others. I think this takes practice and pushing it against the edge firmly.

I can’t wait to keep making these as it was a really fun but easy idea. Plus it makes something simple look over the top chic! ;)


Did you miss my last Friday Favorite? Find it here!

If you have a suggestion for a Friday Favorite, leave me a comment and let me know.
If you have a blog post that includes a recipe, tip, or article you wrote that you want me know about, leave me a comment and you might see it in a future Friday Favorite!!

Cereal Spark: Week 3

I am excited work on this series of reviews with General Mills and MyBlogSpark!


Did you know?

  • Cereal is a great breakfast option because it is the number one dietary source of many key nutrients including iron, zinc and folic acid. Frequent cereal eaters tend to have better nutrient intakes.
  • A typical breakfast contributes more than 30 percent of needed calcium, iron and B vitamins while delivering less than 20 percent of daily calories.
  • In addition, ready-to-eat cereal is the top source of whole grain in kids´ diets.

Big G is the only leading line of kids’ cereals to contain at least 8 grams of whole grain (48 grams recommended daily) and a good source of both calcium and vitamin D in every serving. In addition, cereal is an inexpensive but nutrient-dense option. On average, a bowl of cereal with milk is approximately 50 cents per serving.

Do you look at the nutrition labels to check for items like whole grains? I look for that little whole grains icon that is on boxes now. It is a great little reference and way to remember to look and include whole grains in your diet!

As part of this Cereal Spark series, I will continue to share information I learn about the health benefits of cereal so keep watching for a weekly post for one more week!

I am excited I have been offered the opportunity to offer one of my readers a Week 3 gift pack of their own which will include 6 sample sized boxes of cereal and cereal dispenser!

This drawing will end Friday, July 8th at 11:59pm EST. I may pick the winner using Random.org. The winner will have 48 hours to reply with their address. You must include your email address in your comment or have it in your profile so you can be contacted if you are a winner! Please make sure I can see your email address!!! You must complete the Mandatory Entry for the additional entries to count.

This giveaway is open to US residents!!!


So how do you enter?

Mandatory Entry: What are some easy ways you help your child (or even YOU) get necessary nutrients like vitamin D, calcium, iron, folate and zinc into the foods they eat?

Additional Entries:

1) Like Simply Budgeted on Facebook: http://facebook.com/simplybudgeted. (worth 2 entries!) (Maybe you can leave me a comment while you are there!)
2) Follow me on Twitter. Leave a comment with your twitter name.
3)
Tweet about this giveaway with this tweet:

RT #Win a cereal gift pack with cereal dispenser @simplybudgeted http://bit.ly/mDnKBq #giveaway #breakfast #myblogspark ends 7/8

Leave a comment with the URL for your tweet. (One Tweet per day until end of giveaway!!)
4) Add my blog button to your blog. Button is in my sidebar! Leave a comment with the URL and where to find the link.
5) Follow me publicly through the Google Friends Connect on my side bar. Leave a comment with your name that you subscribe with.
6) Subscribe to my blog using the Subscribe To option on the sidebar. Leave a comment stating you subscribe.
7) Leave a comment in a Simply Budgeting series post! Leave a comment here with what you did. (worth 2 entries!)
8) Enter another giveaway. Leave a comment with the giveaway entry number (once per giveaway) (Worth 2 entries!)


NOTE: I was sent a
Cereal gift pack in support this review by General Mills through MyBlogSpark. No other compensation was received. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Sugar Free Ring Pops

I am thrilled share with you about Sugar Free Ring Pops and the samples we were sent to enjoy!

I am excited to have the opportunity to review Ring Pops. While the new Sugar Free variety is a very nice twist for kids who don’t need extra sugar (i.e., my kids … they have an insane amount of energy any way!) I really wanted to sample these because my kids haven’t been introduced to Ring Pops. Well that and I am one of those moms who loves sharing stuff she remembers having as a kids with her kids. Yes, I am annoying like that.
So the other afternoon the kids all got one Ring Pop. Thankfully, they were happy with their color choices. They were each given a plastic bowl too so if they wanted to put it down they could (this seriously is a AWESOME IDEA if your kids are younger!) Then came the sticky mess. Holy sticky mess! My 3 year old kept running to the bathroom to “wash the sticky off”. At some point it just become funny. My little dude was a HOT MESS. My almost 5 year was just a little lady sucking on hers and kept wondering out loud why it was like a “paci”. haha.

Then came the question … where can we get more of those? And that is the story of how I apparently created little Ring Pop monsters!

I am excited I have been offered the opportunity to offer three of my readers a sample pack of Ring Pops. Each sample pack includes three Ring Pops!

This drawing will end Thursday, July 7th at 11:59pm EST. I may pick the winner using Random.org. The winner will have 48 hours to reply with their address. You must include your email address in your comment or have it in your profile so you can be contacted if you are a winner! Please make sure I can see your email address!!! You must complete the Mandatory Entry for the additional entries to count.

This giveaway is open to US residents!!!


So how do you enter?

Mandatory Entry: Tell me if you remember eating Ring Pops as a kid or what flavor of Ring Pop you want to try!

Additional Entries:

1) Like Simply Budgeted on Facebook: http://facebook.com/simplybudgeted. (worth 2 entries! …maybe you can leave a comment on a post while you there … I miss seeing comments over there!;))
2) Follow me on Twitter. Leave a comment with your twitter name.
3)
Tweet about this giveaway with this tweet:

RT #Win 1 of 3 Ring Pops Packages @simplybudgeted http://bit.ly/lVZG4T #giveaway #ringpops #candy #sugarfree ends 7/7

Leave a comment with the URL for your tweet. (One Tweet per day until end of giveaway!!)
4) Add my blog button to your blog. Button is in my sidebar! Leave a comment with the URL and where to find the link.
5) Follow me publicly through the Google Friends Connect on my side bar. Leave a comment with your name that you subscribe with.
6) Subscribe to my blog using the Subscribe To option on the sidebar. Leave a comment stating you subscribe.
7) Leave a comment in a Simply Budgeting series post! Leave a comment here with what you did. (worth 3 entries!!)


NOTE: I was sent a sample
pack in support this review by a PR company associated with this product. No other compensation was received. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Wednesday Randoms

What is the purpose of Wednesday Randoms? Well honestly there isn’t one besides to share something random. Maybe your child did something new, maybe you baked something yesterday, maybe you are behind at work, maybe you got in your work out today or maybe you didn’t. Anything is game. Well anything that is appropriate. If it isn’t appropriate, I will delete it. Here are mine …

  • Are you tired of summer class updates? I am and I am the one giving them! 1.5 weeks left … I CAN do this. I will finish these darn classes. I am behind in my homework again … for my reason this time see random #2.
  • My kids seem to have forgotten how to sleep which means I have gotten no sleep recently. Well 2 of the 3 kids. Little Dude is sick … or is getting molars … or both. Monday night he didn’t sleep AT ALL. =( Last night he slept but I didn’t because he was with me all night. =/ My Sophie is out of sorts it seems is having a hard time falling asleep suddenly. Not sure what is up there but she did sleep last night even it was in the chair in her room.
  • I want to bake like something crazy. I could spend a whole week baking and be happy. I refuse to let myself bake because I behind in my homework though.
  • The preschool is hosting an Open House on Saturday and we are not ready. ACK! I hope my husband is able to get the cleaning done and at some point I can help in the garden that goes to the new preschool entrance! (People don’t have to go through my house any more! YAY!!)

I really hope some of you leave a comment with maybe your own randoms this week. I would love some comment love!

Mamavation Monday: Walk … Run … Week 2

It is Mamavation Monday time again!

I was late posting last week but I did get in my post! You can find it here if you want catch up!

So last week was week 2 of the Couch to 5k walk/runs. I survived doing all three walk/runs. oh my goodness. I am still doing my walk/runs on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

I am not looking forward to week 3. I am running? I don’t run … how am I doing this?

As for weight, I didn’t get the update I wanted on the scale. I was up 1.2 lbs. I can not eat enough it seems so I am trying to watch what I eat this week to make sure I am making good choices.

Mamavation TV is on tonight! To find out details check out the information here! (I miss Mamavation TV every week because it is on too late for this East Coast girl … if I am up that late, I am doing homework. blah.)

UPDATE: I felt the need to add a little update today. Maybe I should change my weigh in to Tuesday mornings … anyway. I was back down to my starting point this morning so down 1.2 lbs from yesterdays weigh in … let’s trash that weigh in and go with today’s!;)

Simply Budgeting: Budgeting Your Time


In April asked … do you live a savings lifestyle? Last month, I didn’t post a series post. My time was not organized last month and I admit it.

This month I hope to spark conversation around organizing and budgeting your time. Your time is one of the most valuable assets you have. It is why you are paid for any job you do. It is also why you pay others to do jobs for it.
I know I need to get better at organizing my time because I have so much pulling at it these days. One of my biggest struggles in budgeting my time is my graduate classes. It is very helpful to my schedule that they are online but also requires more focus for me. I am striving to work on them now so I can finish while my little ones are still little. The balance is trying now and I can’t imagine it getting easier … maybe it would but I don’t have faith in that theory. So here I struggle trying to balance my family, my job, my homework, and any other activity I throw in the mix which does include my blogging time. So that is why sometimes my posts are as often as they should be (in my opinion.) This is one of the first things go when I get stuck. At the same time, I really try to make sure I have time for the family with a key there being sure I get home in time for dinner. We eat dinner early (about 5pm) so this can be a challenge some days.

I know I work best off lists. I have a list in front of me right now. If I don’t have a list, I find myself lost doing other stuff that while it probably needs to be done, I then wonder what I wasted my time on that day. I also have my planner. My planner helps me plan ahead and even work ahead if I can. It also gives me more places to have check marks. You see, I have this obsession with check marks. I love to see that stuff is getting done and that motivates me to keep going.

So my questions this month are ….

So how do you organize your time? What works and doesn’t work for you? Maybe you have a tip to share that will help another reader so take a second and share how you organize and budget your time!

Do you have a budget question/idea/topic/blog post? Let me know in a comment or email to simplybudgeted at gmail.com!

DIY Wedding Cake Series: Final Results

Welcome to the Final Results! (I am posting about trial 1 and trial 3 then the final cake success thanks to the products provided by Wilton and Duncan Hines!)

Background: My sister got married in this May. She found the cake she wanted. It is simple and beachy which is perfect since she was getting married on the beach. The cost for a wedding cake that feeds 125 people though was priced “starting at $600″. gasp!!! So my mom and I decided we could take on making the cake for her. What the heck were we thinking?!

I was so pleased to partner up with Wilton and Duncan Hines for this effort. They have provided some products to helped us “practice” and get to the final cake!

So here was the … Final Results.

We once again used the Wilton Tired Wedding Cake Pans! So logistics came into play here in that we all live in Virginia and the wedding was in South Carolina. The place we were staying had an oven but we were getting there late Thursday and the wedding was on Saturday. So the decision was made to bake and freeze the cakes. They would travel down to South Carolina in a cooler … frozen. We had no idea if this would work, just prayed it would! Thankfully it did work. I made one a cake a night in the nights leading up to our departure date (minus the night before we left which was a good idea because I needed that huge cake to freeze!) The three smaller tiers all were placed back in their baking pans (they were wrapped up) to travel. The largest pan didn’t fit in the cooler so that cake was on its’ own. My biggest fear was that they would fall apart on the way down there. Thankfully this didn’t happen and they all made it to South Carolina in one piece.

As for the icing, we made a decision to use the Wilton pre-made icing you can buy in tubs. You can buy this in a million different places …. Walmart, Joann Fabrics, Amazon.

For starters

Wilton Performance Pans Round Pan Set, 3 Inches Deep are the Cake Pans we used for all of the trials and final cake. The Confetti Cake Mix was used in Trial 3 and the Final Cake!

The Final Product … Ta-da!

Here is a close-up of the final cake

The cake table all decorated at the reception

The bride and groom cutting the cake

Overall this experience was a success because the bride had the cake flavor she wanted and we save a significant amount of money in their wedding budget. Would I do this for just anyone? No way. It was a ton of work but I am happy my mom and I were able to pull this off for my sister!

This is the last post in the DIY Wedding Cake Series. I hope you enjoyed seeing this experience unfold!

Note: I was provided with Wilton cake pans and coupons for Duncan Hines cake mixes in exchange for the review of their products during the DIY Wedding Cake Series.