Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Fantastic Four Apple Applications for Teens

The following post is a guest post by none other than my amazing son Christopher.  He offered to write a post for me and I took him up on it.  He's written a post on something I cannot speak about intelligently so I am thankful for that he is tech savvy and chose a topic relevant to teens or parents who want to appear cool to their teens!


The Fantastic Four Apple Applications for Teens

Being a teen with two iPhones and an iPod touch, I know first hand what it’s like to have very little cash to spend on Apps. These are four inexpensive, fun applications that will add some pizzazz to Apple product.

Pandora
Pandora is a music app in which you can listen to free music via radio. This app is not only free but will add some jazz (or any other genre you are into for that matter) to your iPhone, iPod, or iPad. How this app works is you enter the name of your favorite band, song, or album and Pandora searches the radio to find which stations are streaming it. Once you are connected, the song will play and you will have the option to bookmark the song or band. After your song is done, it will continue to play songs being streamed on the channel giving you a variety of new bands you haven’t heard of.



Word’s with friends
Word’s with friends is related to the world famous board game Scrabble. In this app you can play Scrabble against your friends, chat, or even meet some new people. This app is extremely competitive and answers the question, who of your friends is the Top Dog! Did I mention it’s free?


Tiny Wings
Tiny Wings is a $0.99 hot new game in which you are a little bird in a world of hills just waiting to be jumped. There is only one button and it is to dive. To get a higher score multiplier you must achieve challenges that get progressively harder with higher multipliers. The game is hard to grasp at first but once you start to get the hang of it, you will constantly try to beat your high score and you will pass your phone around seeing if anyone else can reach your new high score.

Modern Combat 2: Black Pegasus
I’m sure you are thinking that it’s a horse game by the name, but it is actually an intense $2.99 war game. This game not only includes 3 Acts of different levels in single player but a breath taking multi-player experience. Multiplayer includes several unlockable guns and titles to shove in your enemies face.

Travel Through Thursday Blog Hop Week 5





Welcome to the Travel Through Thursday Blog Hop!  Travel Through Thursday is a weekly link-up hosted by The Centsational Saver.


There is no co-host this week.  I'm flying solo.  If you are interested in the co-host spot please comment or e-mail me.

Now Let's get hopping!  If you are a blogger link up and increase your readership.  If you are a reader take the opportunity to find some great new blogs to follow.


Every Thursday a new linky will be posted. 

Here are the rules for bloggers:
  1. Follow the Centsational Sver via Google Friend Connect.  If you are already a follower you can follow me on twitter, networked blogs or facebook.
  2. Follow the person before yo.
  3. Leave a comment if you would like me to follow back.
  4. Follow as many others as you can.
Feel free to grab the hop button and post “Travel Through Thursday” on your blog to help spread the word.  You can also grab the linky code and post the hop on your blog as well.
Link up your blog post for “Travel Through Thursday”.  The more people that know, the more that will join in and the more successful we'll all be.  Thanks for participating!


AMF Summer Unplugged - Free Kids Bowling


Beat the Heat this summer with AMF's Summer Unplugged program offering free bowling for kids.

Zip, Zero, Zilch for Kids 16 and Under

  • At select AMF centers, two free games of bowling per day for kids 16 and under. Shoe rental not included.
  • Daily until 8:00 pm
  • Dates: Memorial Day, Monday, May 30,2011 through Labor Day, Monday, September 5, 2011.
  • Parents can go to http://bit.ly/AMFfree to select a participating center from among 200 participating locations and complete a simple registration form.
  • Free game coupons emailed every Sunday starting May 29 for the following week – it’s that simple!

Great Deal for Everyone over 17

  • For families of registered kids, a one-time payment of $27.95 buys 2 games per day for 4 people all summer long – it’s the AMF Summer 17 Plus Pass.
  • Less than $7 per person for 2 games everyday all summer.
  • Passes are available online at http://bit.ly/AMFfree.

THE EXTRAS

  • Kids combo meals all summer for just $2.99.
  • Pin decorating contest:Most votes on Facebook in each of 4 age divisions wins a $2500 scholarship prize
  • AMF donates 25 cents per vote up to $10,000 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure®
  • Learn-to-bowl and fun competitive sessions being offered throughout the summer.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Scrubbing Bubble facebook giveaway TODAY



They've posted on their facebook fan page that there will be "afternoon surprise" offered today in the form of just 275 product packs that will be given away. I'm sure those will go like lightning.  Good luck!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Father's Day Traditions


I lost my dad two years ago.  I miss my dad terribly but I carry his memory close to my heart and I think of him every day.  In honor of my dad I've turned one of his favorite things into a family tradition to share with my husband and it carries on; The Big Greasy.  The what? Yep. You heard me right.  The Big Greasy.  Dad's favorite breakfast. 

Now dad wasn't one for being health or fitness conscious so if the idea of consuming an inordinate amount of fat-filled highly caloric foods makes you cringe then you'd better just skim through to the end.  Don't worry, I won't be offended.  The rest of you can continue on this unique culinary journey with me. I'm sure your curious.  Just what did The Big Greasy consist of you ask?  Let me enlighten you:
  • Two eggs fried over easy in bacon grease.  Dad saved bacon grease in a special container just for this purpose.  Nobody was allowed to use his bacon grease.  Not that we wanted to anyway.
  • Two pieces of toast loaded with real butter and blackberry jelly.  Dad would load up on jelly from Knott's Berry Farm when we went. 
  • Corned beef hash.  Lots of it.  We're talking a small mountain here.
  • Fried potatoes
  • Milk
  • Coffee with cream
Oh I forgot to add that everything looked black because dad would pepper it up. I wonder if he ever actually tasted the food underneath all that pepper.  "Yummers." Dad would say.  This was Dad's Sunday breakfast.  Every Sunday.  Nobody else could stomach it so he cooked it and ate it himself. 

Of course we gave him the lecture about how unhealthy it was. My brother, sister and I would rally around him and rant.  It didn't matter.  He didn't care.  He loved comfort foods.  He'd listen and nod his head all the while dipping his toast into his egg and relishing every bite taunting us.  He often had a slight smirk on his face as we chastised him.  I think he rather enjoyed our lectures as evidence that we loved and cared about him. I sure miss him.

Of course we have a slightly more healthy version of The Big Greasy and unlike Dad who ate it alone, we sit down together as a family and eat. My husband's gifts sit waiting on the table and his Father's Day cards are clutched in tiny hands waiting to be handed to Daddy when he makes his entrance after a nice sleep in.  

My husband John and I have this competition of finding the "perfect" cards to give one another.  This year I win.  I'll be creating one with a picture of the kids from Tiny Prints.  Tiny Prints has a great selection of custom Father's Day cards that can be totally personalized.  Give them a look.  They also offer calendars, notebooks, monthly planners and photo books. I'm sure you'll find something great for the man you want to honor this Father's Day. 


Disclosure:  I was compensated for my participation and time investment involved with this campaign. Thoughts are my own.


Free Sample - L'oreal Youth Code

Sign up with L'oreal and request your free sample of Youth Code, One of L'oreal's new anti-aging products.  There is also a $3.00 off printable coupon available for the product as well.

Free Sample - Avery Sticky Notes



Everyone can use these.  Visit Avery and request your free sample of Sticky Notes.  We go through a lot of them but that's because my kids think they are stickers!

Financial Peace - Week 8



It's continues to go well.  We're sticking to our budget.  All our bills are getting paid.  Our emergency fund is about half way funded.  We've even paid off three of our debts.  Our big debts are our student loans which are going to take years to pay off but we're plugging away at them. I'm now planning on going to go back to work temporarily to help pay off debt.  It will only be for a few years then I will return to being a stay at home mom permanently. 

This week's class was about investment options. Investing for retirement is Baby Step Number Four.  It's a necessary part of your financial livelihood. You need to put your money in investments that grow more than the cost of inflation, which runs on average 3-4% per year, otherwise you really are only breaking even on your investment and haven't added any real buying power to your invested money.

Types of Investments to consider

Money Markets
Typically a Certificate of Deposit (C.D.) held at a bank that yields a low interest rate.  Some, money market mutual funds come with check writing privileges.  Consider these for your emergency funds.
Single Stocks
When you buy a single stock you are purchasing a small piece of ownership in a company.  You get paid in the form of "dividends", a portion of the company's profits as it grows and prospers. Single stock purchases carry a very high degree of risk.

Bonds
Issuing a bond is a way for a company to fund it's debt by passing it on to you.  Basically it's an IOU from the company you purchase it from but you get a small return on investment. 

Rental Real Estate
Great investment if you have the money.  Definitely one to consider once you have accumulated a good bit of wealth. More on this topic in the coming weeks...

Annuities
Annuities are savings accounts with an insurance company.  The accounts have low interest rates, barely more than the rate of inflation and are therefore poor investment choices.

Mutual Funds
Dave recommends Mutual Funds.  Mutual Funds are an investment that is "mutually" funded by you and many others.  The fund manager then invests it into stocks based on the the fund objective which could be growth, international, aggressive growth or growth and income.

Investments to avoid
  • Gold
  • Commodities and Futures
  • Day Trading
  • Viaticals
No matter what form of investment you select you need to diversify, meaning to spread your money around in various investments.  That way when one investment fails or does poorly you will be able to offset the loss by the money you have saved in other well performing investments.  A standard diversified mutual fund portfolio looks like this:
  • 25% Growth
  • 25% International
  • 25% Growth and Income
  • 25% Aggressive Growth

Dave recommends paying off debt before investing.  While this is a good strategy if you are in your 20s or 30s we've decided it's not for us.   I have none, John has a small one.  We can, must and will do better.   I'm 42 and John is 52. We simply can't afford to wait another 4-7 years to get serious about our retirement funds. We are building our emergency fund, attacking debt AND working on improving our retirement investments concurrently.  So far it's working. 

Next week - More on Retirement and College Tuition planning

Monday, May 23, 2011

I have Swimsuit Confidence!



I am joining with Land's End National Swimsuit Confidence week to support women in their swimsuit confidence.  I too have occasionally covered up with a t-shirt or declined invitations to go to a pool or waterpark because I lacked the confidence in my post-baby body to expose it to the criticism of others but NO MORE.

As I have matured my attitude has changed and allowed my confidence to grow.  My baby pooch is a badge of honor I now wear proudly.  It's evidence of the journey my body has taken through childbirth and motherhood.  Why should I be ashamed of it?  Taken on the responsibilities and role of mother are the most important of my life.  I'm a mom, my body shows it.  So what?  I won't let my confidence be held hostage by the views of others.

Maybe your perceived problem area is your breasts, thighs, belly, muscle tone or affects of gravity and time.  Get over it!  Most of us don't live with the ability to hire nannies, chefs, fitness trainers or plastic surgeons all working so that we can focus endless time and energy fighting the fountain of youth trying to maintain someone else's vision of perfection, and we never will. 

So here I am for the world to see.  I have swimsuit confidence.  Join me. Time to embrace our bodies and love ourselves.  You ARE beautiful.


Join Land's End and the I have swimsuit confidence promotions going on this week:
  • Participate in a Week of Tweets – Mark your calendar each day May 23 – 27, 2011 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. CDST so you can join in the series of National Swimsuit Confidence Week events on Twitter. Follow @ and tweet at #landsend.  Exclusive swimwear promotions will be offered and many great prizes while inspiring women to embrace their swimsuit beauty. 
  • Bloggers Join the Movement – On May 23, 2011. Bloggers can join in by posting a swimsuit photo on May 23, 2011 to inspire their followers – send a link to libby.schmeisser@landsend.com for a chance to win one of five $100 Lands’ End gift cards

Top 5 kid-friendly summer destinations in Pittsburgh


School is almost out and Summer is right around the corner.  Time to start thinking about how to keep the kids entertained; creating memories and family traditions..  Our family loves visiting local attractions.  There are several we make the trip to annually.  We believe in supporting our local businesses as much as possible and it's easy when there are fantastic destinations in our backyard. Here are our Top 5 backyard destinations for kids that aren't to be missed!



Idlewild Park, located along the Ligonier Valley Railroad was founded in 1878 as a picnic ground.  Idlewild & SoakZone is the oldest amusement park in Pennsylvania and third oldest in the United States. It was named second best kid's park in the world by Amusement Today.  Idlewild features seven themed areas of family fun, including the Soak Zone Waterpark, Story Book Forest and Mister Rogers' Neighborhood of Make-Believe.
 

Kennywood Park in West Mifflin, PA.  This park has been around since 1898.  It retains an old world charm and has an eclectic mix of old and new rides. The old carousel is still there along with the ultra-modern phantom’s revenge roller coaster, there are old fashioned carnival games, kiddie land and new shows like Cirque Rocks! There truly is something for every age. It is tucked into the hills of Pennsylvania.  It’s designated a national historic landmark.



The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh is and 80,000 square foot facility, 4 full floors of hands-on activities.  All exhibits designed for babies, toddlers, older children, parents encourage hands-on play and experiential learning. Permanent exhibits include waterplay, art studio, garage workshop, the attic and interactive art.



One of just six major zoo and aquarium combinations in the US, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium boasts 77 acres of fun.  It’s among the top three children's zoos in the country, the Pittsburgh Zoo has thousands of animals located in natural habitats that include the African Savannah, Asian Forest, Tropical Forest, Water’s Edge and also includes Kids Kingdom a kid-friendly play space.



I know not Pittsburgh proper but certainly within driving distance. Hersheypark is part of Hershey Pennsylvania is located in Central Pennsylvania.  Hersheypark was built by the famous chocolate maker Milton S. Hershey in 1907.  Hershey wanted to provide a place where his employees could enjoy a Sunday afternoon.It’s now grown to encompass 110 acres and is home to over 60 rides including coasters, kiddie rides, family rides.  The boardwalk, almost an amusement park itself is a waterpark with nine rides to which admission is included with your Hersheypark ticket.  While you are there make sure you check the town of Hershey where you will find Hershey kiss shaped street lights.


Our family has been to all of these locations and had a wonderful time at them all.  You can’t go wrong with any of them.  Wherever your travels take you and your family this year, enjoy!  I wish you and your family a summer filled with joy and lifelong memories. 

Disclosure:  I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Alamo blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Born this Way Lady GaGa album download only $.99




I'll be the first to admit it.  I'm not a Lady GaGa fan but one of my daughter's adores her so I thought I'd go ahead and pass this deal along to those who are interested.  TODAY only Amazon is offering Lady GaGa's entire Born This Way album for download for just 99 cents. My daughter is a happy teen today.

Swagbucks Memorial Day celebration

Search & Win

Swagbucks, the best place to get free stuff from searching and more is celebrating Memorial Day next week with a special Score Four and Twenty Swag Bucks promotion - they'll have 4 special Limited Edition collector's bills available, and if you can snag all four by the end of Thursday, you'll get a bonus 20 Swag Bucks.

ALSO, this Thursday they're have a Swag Code Extravaganza, a day filled with fun, games and the opportunity to snag over 40 Swag Bucks worth of codes throughout the day. Be sure to visit Swagbucks all this week for opportunities to win big!

Not a member yet? Sign up through my referral link and enter the code MEMORIALDAY when prompted - it'll pad your account with an extra 50 Swag Bucks on top of the 30 that everyone starts with. Get started earning your reward points today!"

Dad and Grad Gift Idea - Sprayground Backpacks



If you are looking for an out of the ordinary gift idea then check out Sprayground.  The have launched a hot new line of backpacks.  This isn't your ordinary backpack.  Read on.

These backpacks are available in an array of colors and styles.  The "Hello My Name Is" backpack, in particular, is instantly iconic – and it has ample space for individual creativity. These bags will be great gifts for young, hip grads as well as dads on Father's Day (instead of that boring ol' tie), the perfect backpack for guys who like to see and be seen.

Features of the backpacks include:
  • A plush velor-lined notebook compartment that will fit up to a 17” laptop
  • An interior slip pocket for an iPad/tablet PC
  • Inner slip pockets and zippers for organization and other media, like MP3 players/iPods and mobile phone holders.
Besides the tech-savvy specs, there are several other interesting things about this new brand.

For instance, one of the bags is in collaboration with Cope2, a world-renowned graffiti artist; superstar Bruno Mars is already a big fan; and over the next few weeks, Sprayground founder DBD will launch 20 more hot new designer bags.

Go give them a look.  This is an emergent brand to keep an eye on. 

Just for my readers, Sprayground is offering 20% off any purchase with the coupon code JUNE, good until June 15, 2011.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Rite Aid Stock +UP Week of 5/22/11



I'll be picking up several things at Rite Aid.  I took a break from deal shopping last week and so am ready to get out and go shopping!  Here are the good deals I see worth picking up.


$1.00 Carefree Pantiliners, 18-22 ct.
$1.00/1 5/8SS
Final Cost: Free

$1.00 Colgate toothpaste 6.4 oz.

$1.00 +UP wyb 5
$0.75/1 Colgate toothpaste 5/1/11 SS
Final Cost:  $.25 each

$1.00 Wisp, 2 ct.
$1.00 +UP wyb 5
$0.75/1 Wisp All You Magazine April
Final Cost:  $.25 each

LA Looks Gel 20 oz. Buy One Get One FREE
$1.00/1 5/15/11 SS
Final Cost:  $.99 each

$8.99 Alaway, 10 ml., Buy One Get One FREE
Alaway 10ml ($8.99)
$5.00/1 4/17/11 SS
$4.00/1 5/15/11 SS, 3/27/11 SS, All You Magazine March
$4.00/1 printable here
Final: $.49 each

$4.00/$10.00 Unilever Products
$3.00 +UP wyb 4
Lever 2000 2 ct.
$1.00/1 Printable here
Suave or Caress Body Wash, 12 oz.
$0.75/1 Caress 5/22/11 RP
Suave Lotion, 18 oz.
$1.00/1 Suave Lotion 5/22/11 RP
Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion, 10 oz.
$1.00/1 GONE no more prints

Suave Professionals Shampoo or Conditioner, 14.5 oz.
$0.50/2 Suave Prof. Dry Sham or Styler 5/22/11 RP

Deal Suggestion
2 – Lever 2000 Soap
2 – Suave Lotion
Total:  $10.00

Use: 
2 - $1.00 Lotion
2 - $1.00 Lever 2000
Final Cost after +UP:  $.75 each

All NYC Cosmetics, Buy One Get one 50% off
$1.00/1 Printable here
$5.00/$10.00 All You Magazine June
Buy One Get One Free NYC Quick Dry Polish All You Magazine May
Final: Varies but cheap!

$1.25 French’s Mustard, 14 oz.
$0.50/1 Printable here
Final Cost: $.75 each

$5.99 Ben Gay Cream or Patch
$2.00/1 in-ad coupon
$3.00/1 5/22/11 RP
$3.00/1 Printable here
Final: $.99 each

$3.99 Dixie Ultra Plates
$2.00/2 Video Values
Final Cost:  $.99 each

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