Retail Therapy Anyone? Printable Retail Coupons Roundup

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printable retail coupons - shopping bagsHad a long week?  Need to get away?  How about some retail therapy?  :o)  Here are the top printable retail coupons that are currently available!  Huge thanks to Surviving the Stores for this week’s list!

printable retail coupons 6-19-15

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Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Atlanta restaurant coupons

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Here are some great Atlanta restaurant coupons for this weekend.  Also, don’t forget to check Scoutmob, Groupon, and Living Social for additional deals near you!  Super special thanks to Surviving the Stores for contributing to this list!
Atlanta Restaurant Coupons

Atlanta restaurant coupons 6-19-15

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Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

FREE Weekend Events 6-12-15

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Free-Weekend-Events_banner

In addition to all of the local festivities, there are FREE weekend events -  fun activities to enjoy with your kids, for your kids, and workshops for adults only.

Who says being frugal can’t be fun? Free and fun weekend activities are available all across the USA!  Also, check out these free and frugal ways to beat the heat in Atlanta.  Or, if you prefer to hang out at home, there’s plenty of ways to stay cool in your own backyard, and with cool backyard toys for kids of all ages, and backyard toys for little ones!

Share this page with your friends and family. If you know of any others to share, please let us know! Also, it is always best to call ahead and make sure that your local retailer is participating to avoid disappointment.

:: Free Fishing Days

Check the calendar and plug in you location to see when Free Fishing Days are happening in your community.

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:: American Girl Special Store Events

Special events differ by location. During June, they include Discover Truly Me Event, Adorable Accents: Twists & Braids, Jewel Highlights, Meal & Memories with Dad and more.

Many of the American Girl in store events are free, however some have a fee and some have age restrictions. Get the details here and find participating stores. Call ahead and make sure that your local store or retailer is participating to avoid disappointment.

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:: Barnes & Noble

Saturday, June 13th at 11 AM

Story time featuring Touch the Brightest Star plus related activities at many B&N locations

Most stores have free toddler story time, NOOK events, hands-on learning events and author events – find the times and participating Barnes and Noble stores here.

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Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Maple-Blueberry Smoothie

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Maple Blueberry Smoothie

Maple.  Blueberry.  Smoothie.  An unlikely combination?  Perhaps.  But give it a try, and I promise not only won’t you be disappointed, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised how the addition of veggies bulks up the nutrition without compromising the taste.  My picky tots gulp it up as fast as I can make these!  Our pediatrician, quite aware of how particular my kiddos are about (not) eating their veggies, has long advocated adding them to smoothies – so my version of this maple-blueberry smoothie fits the nutritional bill quite well.

I saw the original recipe in the paper at my in-laws house in Florida, and it was tagged by the associate press.  So, I’m not quite certain of its origins, but it sure does sound tasty.  In any case, I had to make my own tweeks, substituting ice cream for greek yogurt, and adding the veggies for an extra nutritional punch.  Although I use the Vitamix, you can certainly recreate with a regular blender.

 

Maple-Blueberry Smoothie

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Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Free Things to Do in Atlanta

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Free Things to Do in Atlanta

Having fun in Atlanta doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg!  You already know about all the great free and frugal ways to beat the heat in Atlanta, as well as great indoor places for kids – but there’s so much more to this wonderful city.  So, without further adeu, I give you …wait for it…

Free Things to Do in Atlanta

One of my favorite spots, the Woodruff Park Reading Room is an amazing outdoor learning adventure. Located in the North side of the park, the Woodruff Park Reading Room is filled with carts of books! It’s the perfect spot for a picnic lunch while reading a book, and truly is the ideal activity for kids of all ages.

Another educational stop your trip should include is the Federal Reserve Bank. Quite possibly the only time you’ll ever see one million dollars all in the same place, this museum will teach the kids – and you! – about the Federal Reserve, how they control the money supply, and basically the overall importance of a federal reserve system.

On Tuesdays, you can tour the Governor’s Mansion, which is pretty cool if you ask me! Learn about the history of Atlanta while seeing how the governor lives.

Every Wednesday starting at 5:30PM, May through September, you’ll get to experience Wednesday Wind Down at Centennial Olympic Park. There’s always something happening at Centennial Park. Take a look at the calendar of events to help plan your trip. Don’t be surprised if it’s busy on a nice summer day, though – this park gets over 3 million visitors each year!

Take a free guided art tour through Castleberry Hill, and be impressed with the art studios and paintings – all without spending a dime. Castleberry Hill was one of Atlanta’s first neighborhoods to be reconstructed after the Civil War.

On Thursdays, you can take a trip to the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center for free admission to neat programs and lectures. This place is filled with gorgeous modern art, and would make the perfect addition to an educational field trip around the city.

Tour where Martin Luther King Jr. grew up, and learn about the Civil Rights movement, all for free at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site.

One place that’s considered a “must visit” by locals is the Atlanta’s Chilren Museum! The entire family will have a blast at this interactive museum. Admission is free the second Tuesday of the month.

If you’re still looking for even more to do in Atlanta, this post about family fun in Atlanta is great.

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Summer FUN in Atlanta

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Summer Fun in Atlanta

Summer 2015 is (un)officially under way, now that the kiddos are out of school.  So here are some awesome ideas to add to your summer fun in Atlanta – to keep them entertained, and also to help keep them stimulated, and avoid parking their brains over the summer.  Not all of these are strictly limited to the Atlanta area, so make sure to check them all out and see what YOU can cross off your summer bucket list.  Click on the pictures for further details.

Summer Fun in Atlanta – Master List

Got something to add?  Please contact me and I’ll look in to it.Summer Fun in Atlanta

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Saying Goodbye to Kindergarten

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Saying Goodbye to Kindergarten

It seems like it was just last week I walked my little girl in to Kindergarten.  And yet now, in a blink of an eye, she  was saying goodbye to Kindergarten.  While I knew she was more than ready to start Kindergarten, I still knew this year would be filled with many “new”s: she started a new school, venturing away from the preschool where she was already well-known; which also means she made new friends, whom she embraced with her big heart and they she; new teachers, all of whom she seems to like, her classroom teacher the most!

In the last nine months, she’s become an even stronger reader, mastering even more sight words, gained more confidence as a reader, began to experiment with spelling, finished writing her own book, began formerly learning Spanish, learned how to skip count by 2s, 5s, and 10s, learned how to add numbers in her head, almost mastered shoe tying (gonna keep that on our summer checklist!), and grew by leaps and bounds in ways I never imagined!

I’m not sure what it is about Kindergarten in our present culture that invokes such sentimentality, but I will gladly testify to its strength.  We weep when our babies start Kindergarten, whether they do so as the king of the hill in a preschool setting, or as the littlest guys in an elementary school setting.  We weep because Kindergarten signifies that our little babies are no longer our little babies, and that, with each step they take towards their school, they take a further step away from our safe and comfortable arms, away from our safe world where we can control and protect them.  They take a step further towards leaving the proverbial nest.

Saying Goodbye to Kindergarten

My little girl can now be considered what she calls a “grader”.  Wow.  How on earth do I have a first grader on my hands?!  That I’m not sure, but I do know that, as I watch my little girl grow up -a girl with a heart bigger than any ocean- I’ll mourn the loss of each previous stage, watching small slivers of her childhood slip away, while also celebrating the little person she is becoming.  And she is quite a cool little person.

So, here’s to a wonderful year in Kindergarten, to all the excitement this summer may hold, and to the wonders that await us next year in first grade.

Saying Goodbye to Kindergarten

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Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Create Your Taste & Feel Fancy at McDonalds

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This post was created in partnership with McDonald’s.  For participating in this campaign, I received a form of compensation.  All thoughts, opinions, and bad puns are my own.

McDonalds-Create-Your-Taste_banner

So recently I went out and ordered an amazingly-delicious, customized burger, and had it served to me at my table, along with the rest of my meal.  I customized my burger with pepper jack cheese, grilled mushtrooms, caramelized grilled onions, chili lime tortilla strips, fresh sliced ripe tomato, crisp green leaf lettuce, and a creamy garlic sauce.  The entire dining experience was overall fantastic.  And guess what?  It was at McDonald’s.  Yep.  McDonald’s.

Actually, it was at the Chamblee-Tucker location, which is where MANY years ago, my friend and I went to every week after diving practice.  We would come in with wet hair and our sweat pants and sweat shirts so frequently, the lady behind the counter would see me and simply say “number three with Mr. Pibb!”

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Needless to say, this newly-renovated location was a far cry from the McDonald’s I frequented in my high school days.  You’ve probably seen a newly-renovated McDonald’s in your area, too, right?  I walked in to a sleek new design, and found the kiosks from which I could order my custom-made burger.

Create Your Taste McDonalds

The whole experience was pretty easy, and it was all laid out for me on the kiosk screen.  I was able to customize which burger I got (1/4 pounder, or a 1/3 pounder for an additional charge).  I had the option of adding bacon for an additional charge, and for some reason unbeknownst to me, I declined.  I’m going to blame it on the shiny new machine distracting me, mkay?

Actually, I chose the “specialty builds” route, with a burger already made up, because perhaps I was also feeling a bit lazy. The SoCAL Style burger comes with white cheddar (but I chose pepperjack), guac (which I omitted because I’m weird like that), chili lime tortilla strips, tomato, lettuce, garlic sauce – served on a toasted artisan roll.  I opted to add caramelized grilled onions and grilled mushrooms to the mix, since those are my go-to add-ons.

McDonald's Create Your Taste Kiosk

HolyMaryMotherOfBurgers, was that an ahh-mazing burger!  In all honesty, I wasn’t feeling so hot that day.  I’d come down a few days beforehand with strep throat (oh yay me!), and although the antibiotics had kicked in, but still wasn’t 100% and still felt like I had razor blades in my throat every time I swallowed.

McDonald's Create Your Taste burgers

I digress.  Did I mention the adorable baskets in which the fries were served?  Yeah, they were pretty darn cute.  And it’s McDonalds fries, so you know they were ridiculously delicious!

These burgers, and this entire concept, was well worth it!  There are currently six locations in the metro area offering the Create Your Taste experience:

    1. 965 Dawsonville Hwy, Gainesville, GA 
    2. 2501 Thompson Bridge Rd, Gainesville, GA 
    3. 1125 Merchants Dr, Dallas, GA
    4. 2049 N Cobb Parkway, Kennesaw, GA
    5. 1105 Northside Dr, Atlanta, GA
    6.  3396 Chamblee-Tucker Rd, Chamblee, GA
    7. 5350 McGinnis Ferry Rd, Alpharetta, GA
    8. 3183 Frontage Rd, Gainesville, GA
    9. 4111 Austell Rd, Austell, GA

Would you like to try out one of these new burgers? I’m giving away a $25 Arch gift card, so one lucky winner can try out a new Create Your Taste burger at McDonald’s. To enter, first comment below, telling me how you would create your own burger. Then, fill out the form below. Good luck, y’all!

McDonald's Create Your Taste giveaway

$25 McDonald’s Arch Gift Card

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

7+ Great Toddler Action Books

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Toddler Action Books

In my continued effort to share good books to promote literacy, I have a list of cute little toddler action books that my kids have enjoyed over the years.  By “action book”, I mean books that have flaps to lift, doors to open, pop-ups, etc – anything tactile to get a toddler engaged in the story at -ahem- hand.  Do you have any favorite action books you’d add to this?

Toddler Action Books

  1. Hop, Dance, Jump: Action Words and Fabulous Flaps by Maureen Roffey – This dandy little book is one of my son’s current favorites.  It’s got flaps to lift up, and flaps to lift down, with action words and (near) opposites on every page.  Each page depicts a character doing one action, you lift or lower a flap, and she’s doing the opposite, or near opposite: laugh/cry, sit/stand, walk/run, etc.
  2. The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle – One of my all-time favorite children’s authors is at it again.  This adorable story, with repetitive phrases tells the tale of a very busy spider spinning his web.  On each page, your child can feel the spider web, and watch in wonder as the busy spider’s web grows.
  3. What Makes a Rainbow: A Magic Ribbon Book by Betty Ann Schwartz – Your toddler will enjoy watching the rainbow grow, as they turn the pages of this colorful book!
  4. Ten Chirpy Chicks and Ten Little Ladybugs by Debbie Tarbett – These delightful books, just two out of a whole collection, help a child count backwards from ten, and allow for counting, touching each chick or ladybug as you go, and watch each one disappear as you turn the page.
  5. Where is Baby’s Belly Button? by Karen Katz – Well, you’ve got to lift the flaps to help baby.  That belly button won’t find itself, in this delightful playful book.  You can also check out Karen Katz‘s other interactive books for tots.
  6. Spot the Dot by David A. Carter – The toddler book based on the popular app.  Yep, a book based on an app – but your kids will LOVE it, and stay engaged!
  7. The entire Bizzy Bear series by Nosy Crow – With chunky sliders to push and pull, this robust little board book is perfect for active toddlers. Rich in visual detail and with touches of humor, it is sure to become a classic in the family library.



 

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Check out these great summer reading list from other fantastic Georgia parent bloggers:

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

15 Books You Should Read with Your Kids

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15 Books You Should Read With Your Kids

Recently I shared with you reasons WHY you should read to your children, now let me offer a selection of great books you should read with your kids.  Remember, whether you’re reading aloud, reading together, or reading the same book separately and discussing, the important thing is to simply READ.

I came across this list 15 Books You Should Read to Your Kids from ChaCha, and tweaked it just a little, adding my own commentary.  Do you agree with this list?  Do you see any books you’d add?  Do you see any books you would not have included here?  Any surprises?  How many of these books have you read as a child, or TO your child?  Would love to know your thoughts.  :)

15 Books You Should Read with Your Kids

  1. Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak – My kids LOVE hearing this one at bedtime – they’ve got it memorized, and my two-year-old son will “read” it to himself frequently.  There’s a little bit of Max in all of us, I’d say.15 Books You Should read with Your Kids - Where the Wild Things Are
  2. Charlie and the Charlie Factory by Roald Dahl – I’m frequently floored when folks seem surprised that there’s a book to go along with the movie Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  (Check out more  Books No One Knew About Until the Movie, if you’re curious.) I am a collector of Roald Dahl, and have enjoyed just about anything he’s written – including the charming tale of Charlie and his adventures that begin with the Golden Ticket.  This was the first book I read aloud to my 4th graders, many years ago – daily, they sat, perched at their desks listening, anticipating what would happen next.  <3 it!15 Books You Should read with Your Kids - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  3. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by James Dean and Eric Litwin – (Confession: I added this book, replacing another book I wasn’t familiar with.)  When a book ends with “no matter what you step in, keep moving along and singing your song because it’s all good”, I’m sold.  The accompanying catchy tune you can find on YouTube is but mere icing on the literary cake here.  Should you skip over Pete the Cat?  GOODNESS NO!
  4. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss – This was the first book my daughter read to us, from beginning to end.  (Yes, at age four, she is a reader!)  It’s a great “gateway” book for beginning readers to gain confidence in their budding skills.  And if they learn a thing or two about trying new things along the way, well, consider it a bonus.15 Books You Should read with Your Kids - Pete the Cat
  5. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown – Sometimes a classic is a classic for a reason.  Goodnight Moon is certainly no exception here.  You’ll scarcely find a parent who doesn’t fondly think about how they read it to their babies, likely long after they were babies.15 Books You Should read with Your Kids - Goodnight Moon
  6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling –  Yes, your kid will likely want to read this series when he’s older, but this is a fantastic read aloud book to introduce your kids to the magical world of Harry Potter at an early age.  And then take them out back and play a li’l Quidditch together, followed by a few rounds of butter beers.15 Books You Should read with Your Kids - Harry Potter
  7. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney – Perhaps this story holds more meaning to parents than their children, but every child should hear the tale of just how very much a parent loves his child.  And that’s all I’ll say.  Go read it for yourself.15 Books You Should read with Your Kids - Guess How Much I Love You
  8. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst –  The ultimate “bad hair day” book remains a classic, as Alexander shares his (obviously) bad day – and even moving to Australia won’t make things better.  Or will it?15 Books You Should read with Your Kids - Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day
  9. No David!  by David Shannon – If you’ve ever spent any amount of time living with a two year old, you will catch a glimpse of him or her in this sure-to-be classic story, based loosely on the author’s childhood days.   It’s adorable illustrations complement the simple text, together painting a rich, sometimes devious picture to which both parents and children will relate.  And you may just find yourself calling your child “David” when they start to resemble a holy terror.  Also don’t forget David Goes to School and David Gets in Trouble, to round out the lovably mischeivious collection.15 Books You Should read with Your Kids - No David
  10. Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey – Again, it’s a classic for a reason.  The adorable tale of Sal picking blueberries with her mother will delight readers -both young and old- as they watch the paralleled story of the mother bear and baby bear collecting blueberries for hibernation.15 Books You Should Read With Your Kids - Blueberries for Sal
  11. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff – I still remember sitting in the library in Kindergarten, hearing the librarian read this to us.  I love the cause and effect, and how it all ties back together at the end.  I’ve collected all the other “If you Give a…” books by Numeroff.15 Books You Should Read With Your Kids - If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
  12. The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne – What child (or adult) doesn’t have some degree of affection for the willy, nilly, silly ol’ bear?  The classic tales take kids back to a simpler style of children’s literature, which require a little more imagination, and less illustrations.  Nonetheless, they are absolutely worthwhile.15 Books You Should Read With Your Kids - Winnie the Pooh
  13. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter –  Not unlike David Shannon’s main character (see #9), Peter Rabbit finds himself frequently in sticky situations, particularly with the ornery Mr. McGregor.  Watch how Peter Rabbit’s leanings towards naughtiness make for great adventures.15 Books You Should Read With Your Kids - Peter Rabbit
  14. My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Opie and Rosemary Wells – No child’s library is complete without a little Mother Goose. Period.15 Books You Should Read With Your Kids - Mother Goose
  15. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White – This was the first chapter book my daughter and I read together.  She was four at the time, and was so fully-engaged throughout – which honestly surprised me.  She loved hearing about Charlotte, Fern, and even rascally Templeton.  Her eyes welled up with tears when Charlotte passed away, but a smile crept up over her face when her babies were born, and then floated away.  As a treat, we enjoyed watching the movie, and comparing it to the book.15 Books You Should Read With Your Kids - Charlotte's Web

There.  That’s it: 15 Books You Should Read with Your Kids.  What do you think?  What would you add?  Which have you read with your children?  Share your thoughts below please.  :)

Check out all the other amazing Georgia parents, and their book selections:

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

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