Wedding Day

Wedding Day
Enjoy EVERY moment in your wedding gown. You can't stay in it forever...SO UNFAIR!!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Time to Save


Are you a social butterfly who loves to entertain? Do you like to be the one who is totally "in the know"? Do you like to have gatherings at your home? Do you like to try products for free? If you answered yes to any of these questions or are just curious then you will want to check out is where companies connect with customers to introduce new products and ideas. You could host a house party where you can try any number of new products. It is all for free and quite fun. Get details at the link below.


Now this is something I am bringing up, because I have been doing it for a long time, and I was shocked that no one I know is. I am talking about the My Coke Rewards program. It is pretty much what it says it is. It is a reward program for buying Coke products.

It works like this, you buy a soda and twist off the cap. Under the cap is a code. You go online to My Coke Rewards, register and then add in your code. You can even put in codes that are found on the 12 pack boxes. Each code is worth different values, but they all add up. Once they do, you can turn them in for prizes.

I have received magazine subscriptions to Better Homes and Gardens, Good Housekeeping, and Family Circle thanks to My Coke Rewards. You can also trade them in for picture prints from Snapfish, rental car discounts, coupons for 12 packs of Coke products and more. And this is the coolest, you can also donate your points to organizations like Habitat for Humanity. Really the variety is crazy, and it is all free. Get some details at the link below.

LINK: My Coke Rewards


Folgers is offering its Facebook fans free samples of their Special Roast coffee. Like them on Facebook to be part of this offer.

LINK: Folgers Special Roast Sample

Each day until May 4, Gillette is giving away some free Gillette ProGlides on their Facebook page. I suggest that you try this one early. If you got this last year like I did, you don't qualify.

LINK: Gillette ProGlide

Oh I love a birthday freebie! Joe's Crab Shack is one of my favorite fun places to eat, and you can sign up for their email updates and get a free appetizer when you sign up as well as another one on your birthday! As far as Arizona goes, I could only find two locations in Tempe.

LINK: Joe's Crab Shack

FREE MUSIC has free downloads this week for the Newsboys song "Save Your Life" and Martha Munizzi's song "Excellent." Remember you have to be a member to get the downloads, but they are great about not spamming you.

LINK: iTickets free music

Free CCM download this week is Chris Rice's song "Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go." You can also still download for free songs from Bart Millard, Laura Story, Jonny Diaz, The Choir, Catalyst Music Project, and Cloverton. Get in on these free downloads while you have the chance.

LINK: Free CCM music downloads


I found a great book for free via Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook. It is called The Heart of Memory: A Novel by Alison Stobel. I downloaded it to my Nook, and I have to tell you that I just love it! Remember you can download both the Amazon Kindle App or The Barnes & Noble Nook App to your iPad, iPhone, Android or PC.

LINK: The Heart of Memory (Amazon)
LINK: The Heart of Memory (Nook)


Sign up for email newsletters from Common Sense With Money and you will get a link to her Ebook "Extreme Couponing 101." More and more, this kind of information is truly a blessing.

LINK: Common Sense With Money Extreme Couponing 101

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!


I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

He overcame the grave. He is risen. I cannot even express the feelings in my heart today. I just want to say that I pray that all of you have a safe and blessed Resurrection Day. Happy Easter to you.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 1 on HCG


Today was day one of my hCG diet. Day one and two are load days. The first two days I will be taking the shots and eating fairly heavily. My doctor says that you really don't need to go crazy since back in Dr. Simeon's day people probably didn't eat to the extent we do. Nonetheless, I was concerned when I was just not hungry. I felt stuffed all day. The cravings I usually have on weekend nights (popcorn) were non existent. I actually bought a chocolate malted today in order to increase my fat intake. Either way, I am beyond excited and I cannot wait to see what the diet will bring. :)

So let's go over the day a bit. I woke up and did my usual thing. I didn't have oodles of time this morning so I had a bagel and cream cheese. I figured I should at least enjoy the treats that I wont be able to have for a while. I filled my syringe. Well filled isn't totally correct. I filled it to where the doc showed me. I gave myself a shot in front of my husband in hopes that he can give me one if I can't. He said he thought he could, but truthfully I think I can handle that part on my own. Especially since I can use my right hand which doesn't shake like my left. I am still shocked at how it really doesn't hurt.

Lunch was rough. I just wasn't hungry. I made some garlic chicken lettuce wraps and had some salt and vinegar chips. That is when I freaked a bit about not eating enough so I took my son to Brown Bag Burger (a little place here in Arizona), and I picked up a huge...seriously wild-sized chocolate malt. Dinner was chicken strips with hot sauce and salad. I also enjoyed a Fig Newton and later a big bowl of popcorn.

Oh I will miss you. I am not sure I can even watch movies without popcorn. We shall see I guess. :)

Whoa...I just realized how late it is. Time for bed and then day two!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Tip Here And There


With summer break rapidly approaching, I thought it would be a great time to re-mention a great website for teen job hunting. In addition, if your teen is interested in looking for a job for the summer, you might want to inspire them to get started as soon as possible because in addition to their classmates looking, adults and college students and grads are also out there or going to be out there hitting the pavement. Some of the listings below are for teens but others are for adults as well. is a great place for you to help your teen locate local jobs in retail, hospitality and more. And grownups, you can also look for jobs there too.


Summer jobs, internships, and lots more can be found at


For those college kids of yours who enjoy the great outdoors, you might want to direct them to I have to say that this was a dream job for me when I was in my college years.


More camp jobs can be found at the American Camp Association's website. Follow this link if you are interested in a camp job and a change of scenery.

LINK: Summer Camp and Camp jobs ACA

While looking at various websites for jobs, I found something else that you might be interested in checking out. It is called camp hosting. Camp hosting is also known as work camping. Basically a couple with an RV can work at a camp doing things like maintenance, cleaning, and taking money from customers in exchange for a camp site for the season and often a monthly wage as well. These are usually seasonal jobs running from May to October. Want to learn more? Follow the link below to get some more information.

LINK: Camp Hosting
LINK2: Camp Hosting
LINK3: Work Kamper News (yes that is a K)

If you have a problem with an appliance and you want to save some cash or you want to keep your appliances maintained and save on repairs from letting things slide, you might want to check out has tips and online assistance for appliance repair and maintenance.

Several months ago, I put in a recipe that I found for making your own laundry soap, and I thought now might be a good idea to give some recipes for making your own fabric softener. First make sure that you have a gallon container that you can put the mixture into.


6 cups of water
3 cups of white vinegar
2 cups of hair conditioner (I find suave on sale all the time and it comes in lots of great fragrances)

I have read that lots of people really like this recipe especially when they have family members with sensitive skin. I have also read that this works will with HE washers.

Of course you can also forgo the fabric softener and try dryer balls. I picked up a pair at Target the other day. It was $5 for two. Using them speeds up the drying process in addition to softening clothes. They are reported to last about 1000 drying cycles so this is definitely well worth the $5. I have read that tennis balls also work well for this, but that the nubby fingers on the dryer balls seem to hep it work better with drying time.


Want to get your hands on a full-sized Origins cleanser? Fill in and print out the form at the link below and on April 22 bring it and your usual skin cleanser (does not have to be full it can be empty) to your Origins store, and they will trade it for one of their fabulous cleansers while supplies last. There isn't one over here in Prescott, but follow this particular link to see if there is an Origins store near you (there are definitely some in Arizona).

LINK: Form for free Origins cleanser

Remember to bring in a travel cup to participating Starbucks on April 22 and you can get a free coffee or tea! Yum!

LINK: Free Starbucks on April 22

While supplies last sign up for a free sample of Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Shampoo and Conditioner. I love Garnier's product line, and I am sure this is another winner.

LINK: Garnier Pure Clean Samples

In case you haven't seen it, in celebration of Earth Day Lowe's is giving away one million trees. Go to your local Lowe's on Saturday, April 23 to pick up your own tree. Get them before they are gone.

LINK: Lowe's Free Tree

Another Walmart free sample that will probably go very fast. Check out the free sample for Gold Bond Ultimate Deep Moisture Body Wash.

LINK: Gold Bond Body Wash Sample has three free music downloads right now. There are songs by Shawn McDonald, Bethany Hamilton, and La Will and Izreal. You do need to be a member to get the songs.

LINK: iTickets Downloads

Sunday, April 17, 2011

HCG - Visit With My Doc


I was so excited about seeing the doctor and finding out if I could go on an HCG diet. Before seeing him I read the protocol that was developed by Dr. Simeons. The diet is definitely drastic sounding, and even now I probably couldn't explain it totally, but anyone who wants to check it out can looks at his manuscript here.

As I had mentioned before, I also talked with my friend about how she was following the diet. In addition I watched my mom's hero Dr. Oz's show on the diet as well. I had heard that he felt that it is a plan that could be looked into more deeply before dismissing it. I paraphrase here, but from what I gathered, Dr. Oz recommended that if one did the diet that they should do the shots and not the drops because the drops have only trace amounts of HCG. He also recommended not being on a drastically reduced diet of 500 calories but 1200.
I felt that I had enough information to decide if I wanted to go for it. Certainly the extra 40 pounds I have been lugging around is not healthy for me. I was leaving it all in my doctor's hands. If he said yes, I would definitely be a go.

When I visited my doctor, I told him my history and expressed my concerns. He told me that he is not an advocate of a 500 calorie diet. He gave me a print out of their diet protocol which is 1000 to 1200 calories. He told me his patients have had significant weight loss by following that protocol. This is what my friend did as well. This is not 1200 calories of whatever, but still following the strict guidelines of certain food intake.

After my exam, my doctor told me he was going to show me how to give myself a shot. I told him that my husband would be giving me the shots, and so I wouldn't need to give myself a shot. He laughed and said that was good, but he was going to teach me how to give myself a shot because I should know. YIKES! This was scary for me, because I have a tremor in my left hand. I can't really keep it terribly steady. I kind of imagined myself poking myself repeatedly, freaking out, and then not being able to go on the diet. I didn't want the doctor to tell me that I couldn't do it, because I couldn't give myself a shot. I tried again to talk my way out of it by demonstrating my tremor. No luck, I wasn't going to get to back out of it much to my dismay.

My doctor took out some vitamin B12 and a brand new syringe. He showed me how to measure out my dose and where in my arm I was to inject the HCG. I am not afraid of shots so watching all of this did not bother me. He did it all so quickly, and it didn't even hurt. I literally did not feel it! It was pretty awesome. Then he asked me to do it. No...he told me to. I flaked again and again, but after about a minute, I did it. It wasn't hard at all even with my shaky left hand. I am glad I did it, because now I know I wont have a problem if my husband can't do it for me. For me this is great, because I was kind of whimpy about the whole idea, but now I feel pretty confident.

So now this is my last week of non-diet freedom. I'll be saying goodbye to lots of goodies, but hopefully it wont be as rough as I am anticipating.

If you are curious, here is the diet that I will be following:

- No dairy or milk except for two teaspoons in coffee or tea in the morning

- Daily Intake of

2 Apples a day or

2 Oranges a day or

or 1 handful of strawberries a day

Two portions daily of 4 ounces of these meats with fat trimmed off: lean beef, chicken breast, turkey or white fish. No dark meat poultry.

Veggies with lunch and dinner but no corn, peas, carrots or potatoes.

Boil, bake or broil meats but no frying or use of oils.

The usual protocol is supposed to be 500 calories. On the advice of my doctor I am not going that route. We'll see how things go.
My friend also uses V8 juice which I am not fond of so I am not going with that.

Before the diet begins, I plan to enjoy some Cadbury mini eggs, regular eggs, pork chops and potatoes! I am a huge starch fan, but soon I will learn to cut all that nonsense out.

I am officially starting my diet on Thursday. You have two days in which you take your shots and eat regularly. Since my friend felt kind of icky on the third day of the diet, I figured I wanted that day to be on the weekend for me. Hopefully any aches and pains from not piling sugar and starch into my diet will be behind me after the weekend.

Friday, April 15, 2011

HCG - The Decision


A few months (maybe three or so) ago one of my friends called my office and told me that she was starting the HCG program. She didn't call the office for that, it was just something she mentioned in the conversation. I had heard about HCG when a co-worker started taking the drops as part of a weight loss regimen, and I read an article in Marie Claire. Both of these things made me consider the diet myself and dismiss it. When a guy loses lots of weight it is a good-for-you thing for me, because let's face it, guys lose weight so easy. And a magazine article is another thing that I find informative, but as I do not know the writer, I am slightly impressed. Actually maybe a little more than slightly, but still without knowing the person, you don't know their struggle or for that matter will power.

Since I was aware of the drops and the shots, and it seemed like EVERYONE was doing the drops, I asked if she was going to do the drops. She told me no, she was seeing a doctor and going on the shots. OUCH! I thought. No...I think I even said it. I asked her to let me know how it went for her, because this friend, like myself, has had a serious struggle with weight and is also hypothyroid. That evening I looked up a few things on HCG online and then filed it all back in my ever cluttered brain.

Three weeks ago this friend dropped into the office to leave us with some posters for a women's retreat. She looked awesome! Seriously AWESOME. I should say that she looked awesome before. She is simply beautiful. She is one of those people with such a sunny smile and positive demeanor that you can't help but love her to death the moment you meet her. Still the woman that walked into the office went from a size 16 to a size 8 and was absolutely thrilled about her weight loss.

Needless to say, after seeing results walk in the door, I began to think a little more seriously about going on an HCG plan (otherwise why would I be writing this?). I asked for her doctor's phone number and decided to keep this option in mind after doing a little more research. At home that afternoon, I looked up more information on HCG and found a boatload of websites and whatnot selling the stuff. I saw before and after photos, but they were pretty much also in these product websites. Finally I found a message board (HCG Diet Info Forums) and read some posts from people who were on the plan in various ways (from homeopathic drops to shots), and I happily read some more stories that were there only to share their progress and stories and not just out to get people to buy stuff.

That night I asked my husband if he would be willing to give me shots (I have a hand tremor). He looked at me like I just dropped from the sky. was one of those half-bewildered/half my-wife-is-crazy looks. He told me he would, and that was all the encouragement I needed. I decided to call the doctor and set up an appointment, and in my very special procrastinating to the extreme way, I called two days later.

So all of this to say that I will be starting the HCG diet. I really don't know what you call it, so don't hate me if I am calling it something wrong. Since I couldn't really find a blog about it, I decided to share what I am doing here. It should also help me be accountable.

I'll fill in as I go. Wish me luck!

PS: I'll toss in my BEFORE pics soon.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

GET OUT AND ABOUT - and a few tips too



I thought I would dedicate today's post to todos. I brought up Spring cleaning a short time ago, and it is a good time to get in gear with that, but I want us all to remember the fun todos. These are simply things that might be fun to do.

Get OUT! This snowy Saturday reminded me of how important it is to take advantage of the lovely weather we have been having. Arizona is simply loaded with lovely places to enjoy. Start taking advantage of the fabulous weather we have been blessed with. A change of scenery and a change of pace is an instant mood lifter. Doing something new is good for the mind, and getting out and moving around is definitely good for the body. Do things locally and save on gas. Get creative and have an adventure of your own.

1 - Open all the windows in your home and let the sun and fresh air stream through. Tackle a cleaning project when you can take advantage of the bright sunlight and fresh cool air. Yes...this is a chore, but a chore is so much easier to do when you have a that sense of flushing out the icky. No?

2 - If you have the yard, clear up an area and look into gardening. There are lots of great resources online that can help you. If you don't have much room, you can still garden by utilizing some large pots.

3 - Explore your neighborhood and take a nice walk. You might catch a yard sale or meet some new neighbors.

4 - Pack a lunch and take it to the local park with a book or camera. You can enjoy the fresh air, a good story or people watch. Just enjoying a change of scenery is such a lift after a gloomy gray winter.

5 - Have fun with the kids. My son used to love when we would go outside and play with squirt guns. I used to blow bubbles and he and his friends would run around shooting them down. There are lots of recipes for making your own bubble solution online.

6 - Check out your community calendar. Most towns and cities have one online. Look up your town's community calendar and see what is going on. There are always plenty of fun events for the kids and adults. I found several pretty awesome happenings just by looking up Prescott's calendar. You can find concerts, craft shows, classes, and more just by taking the time to look.

7 - If you have a GPS system or even a smart phone (you can get a free GPS app), you might like to try Geocaching. Geocaching is a treasure hunting game that you play by using a GPS system. People hide a cache at a site and log the coordinates in using a GPS. Then they post it on the Geocache site. You look for the sites in your area, and go on the hunt. For a real break down head on over to the Geocaching site here.

8 - Want to get out and about and tourist it? April 16th to the 24th is FREE NATIONAL PARK WEEK! Hooray! Yes, I get excited about this one. There are some wonderful parks here in Arizona, and now is the time to enjoy a slew of them for free! This year's theme is Healthy Parks, Healthy People. Follow the link below to learn more and get in on all the details. There is even an event calendar here with events for parks here in Arizona.

9 - Want a change of scenery without going too far? Why not check out the neighboring city or town. I am sure there are plenty of local attractions you can enjoy by just going a town over from your own.

10 - Local arts. Start checking out all the fabulous entertainment in your city. It usually doesn't take long to locate a fine arts association in your town. Support the local arts and enjoy some home entertainment. When it comes to live entertainment, the price is always right. Look for local concerts in the square, theater groups, art walks, and symphonies. You can enjoy some very high end entertainment locally and save on gas and ticket prices.

LINK: National Park Week


I have to say that so many freebies come and go all the time that it is hard to keep up with them. I just may start posting them here whenever I see them rather just when I post on Thursdays.

CVS will send you a coupon via email for a free full size Essence of Beauty product when you like their Facebook page and go to their promotions page (link is on the left side of their FB page). You do need to enter your CVS loyalty card, and if you don't have that. Let me just say that you need to get one now! They are great for getting some extra special deals at CVS. Sign up at the link below.

LINK: Essence of Beauty Coupon

Sam's Club members can sign up now for a free sample of Huggies Supreme baby wipes. Yes, you do have to be a member and they are in limited supply, but a great little thing to have on hand for minimal work. :)

LINK: Sam's Club Huggies Supreme Baby Wipes Sample

Rewards Gold has another fabulous free magazine opportunity and this time it is for Forbes Magazine. These do not always last long, but I have noticed that you can usually get your hands on the financial magazines for longer than the fashion magazines. I get this particular subscription thanks to Rewards Gold and like it a lot. It is a simple process of joining up, referring friends, completing a watch survey and two reviews, and a free year subscription is yours. Not bad at all.

LINK: Rewards Gold Forbes Magazine

FreeCCM has a free song download of Laura Story's "Faithful God." You can also listen to her new album "Blessings" as well as download songs from Jonny Diaz, The Choir, David Walker, Derek Webb, and Cloverton. You can also still listen to Jonny Diaz's new album. Remember you do need to be a member, but it is totally free, and they are very good about only updating you once a week.



Check out Michaels for a great activity for the kids. They have an activity on April 16th where the kids can design and color their own canvas tote to take with them. This is for ages 3 and up while supplies last. Contact your local Michaels to see if they are participating. This event runs from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, but remember that it runs while supplies last. PS This canvas bag might make a nice treat for mom for Mother's Day.

LINK: Michaels Store Events

Loew's has some great Build and Grow clinics coming up. On April 23rd your kids can build a window birdhouse (apparently it sticks to your window so you can see the nest through the glass. On May 7th the kids can make a beautiful Happy Mother's Day flower vase. Follow the link below to sign up your children and get all the details. This is always a great treat for the kids and you truly can't get better than the free price. :)

LINK: Lowe's Build and Grow Clinics

Speaking of free things to do don't forget that next Wednesday, April 20th, Ken Lain from Watters Garden Center will be at the Radio Shine studios giving us some of his tips and tricks that will help all of us gain some gardening success. You can bring your lunch making this a totally free event or order lunch for $8. If you would like to sign up for this awesome luncheon session follow the link below to our website, and you will get all the details under latest news.

LINK: How Does Your Garden Grow? with Ken Lain at Radio Shine


Okay here are a few ways that you can give right now without taking a dime out of your pocket.

Like Rite Aid on Facebook and they will donate $1 to the American Heart Association's Go Red For Woman movement. They are giving up to $25,000. When I signed up they were at $4,108. Spread the word for a good cause.

LINK: Like Rite Aid and Give

For every person who takes the World Food Programme's short hunger quiz, a child will be fed. Test your hunger IQ and then spread the word! This quiz literally takes about three minutes. Not only will you learn a little more about the world's hunger problem but your participation will feed a child. How cool is that?

LINK: World Food Programme's Hunger Quiz - Feed A Child

Free Rice is a vocabulary quiz also from World Food Programme that donates 10 grains of rice per right answer. You can improve your vocabulary and help others. The Free Rice program has given 90,023,711,930 grains of rice to date! You can sign up with your facebook and track your progress, get friends involved, expand your vocabulary and best of all...give.

LINK: Free Rice

And last but not least, don't forget and Goodsearch and Goodshop allow you to donate to your favorite nonprofit by simply doing what you do online every day...searching and shopping. Search through and your nonprofit of choice will get a penny per search. Here is how it works. Type in When you get the main page simply type in who you are searching for and verify. After that, you simply search. You can change each time you search or you can simply keep it the way it is. Each time you search, that charity will get a donation. This money can really add up. You can also shop via their site and a portion of those sales go to your favorite nonprofit (the price doesn't change. It is just like if you shopped by going to the site directly. Read all about it at their website link below. And if you are curious as to how those gifts can add up, after you verify your favorite nonprofit, click amount raised. This will give you a current tally. Imagine, if you searched twice a day every day for a year, you would painlessly give $7.30, and if you shared this tip with your friends, the donations could seriously climb.

LINK: GoodSearch and GoodShop