Staying Hydrated in Georgia Heat

**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!**



SweetLeaf water dropsY’all, it’s hot as blazes out there in Atlanta right now.  And when it’s not hot, it’s ridonkulously humid, which just adds a whole new layer of hot to Atlanta heat – am I right??  I’ve given y’all many ways to keep cool this summer, but we all know we also need to keep ourselves properly hydrated when it’s so stinkin’ hot, right?  Have I mentioned I have a terrible habit of drinking entirely too much soda and sweet tea?  Neither of which are good for you in the first place, but both are even more dangerous if you’re trying to stay hydrated.

So, when I was sent SweetLeaf Stevia Water Drops to try out, I thought this might be the perfect opportunity to try to replace the soda and sweet tea I’ve been consuming with something better-for-me.  (Disclosure: SweetLeaf sent me the water drops to try out, in exchange for a review on this here blog.  However, all opinions, commentary, and bad puns are 100% my own.)

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • flavored water (the strawberry kiwi is my favorite) tastes better with lots of ice.  I don’t know why, but that’s my unscientific finding.
  • I usually keep a water bottle like this with me at all times.  However, when I’m around the house, I keep my flavored water in a tall glass filled with water and ice, and use a straw, and I find myself drinking more – likely because I’m not just taking small sips, but gulping with a straw.  Again, nothing scientific here, just my observations.
  • Sparkling water + just a little bit of SweetLeaf Stevia Water Drops make for a great soda substitution.  Sometimes I want that “bubbly” feeling from soda.  This helps with that bubbly hankering.
  • I feel better.  Perhaps it’s psychological, but I just feel better knowing I’m drinking water during the day, rather than sugary junk.
  • The SweetLeaf Stevia Water Drops bottle can fit easily in to my purse.  It doesn’t need to be refrigerated either, which makes it super easy to add a few drops to my water when I go out to eat.
  • I know the value in changing one thing in your routine can lead to a better things, this change is no exception.

My verdict thus far?  The SweetLeaf Water Drops are a hit, and I plan to keep them on hand, and use them as a way to replace the massive amounts of soda and sweet tea I was consuming.  Ok, fine.  I’ll use it to cut down on it – I know I’ll still indulge in sugary garbage from time to time.  All in all, I’m hooked, and plan to easily keep the drops in my pantry, purse, probably keep a stash in my classroom, too, and -most importantly- in my ice water!

SweetLeaf Water Drops

As a bonus, my son tried a sip of the strawberry kiwi flavored ice water I had on hand the other day, declared it was “mmm, that’s good!” and kept taking gulps and gulps of my flavored water.  So another use for the SweetLeaf Water Drops?  I’ll add them to my kids water bottles in their school lunches.  That ensures they’re drinking enough water, and they think they’re getting some sugary sweet juice.

SweetLeaf Water Drops are available at Publix – I just spotted them for $2.99 each!  You can also check out where else you can find them near you.

SweetLeaf Water Drops

But even better, I really want y’all to try out SweetLeaf Water Drops for yourself, so I’m giving some away!  Simply comment below telling me either which flavor you wish to try, OR why you’d like to try the drops.  Then, fill out the form below.  I’ll randomly pick one winner by 8-26-17.

 


SweetLeaf Water Drops

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!**

Tonight I Let Her Struggle

**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!**



Tonight I Let Her StruggleTonight I was the very mean mom who wouldn’t help her daughter.  Tonight I let my little girl struggle and get a little frustrated, and I refused to help her or to do for her the task she set out to do.  And we both lived through it.

You see, she decided she wanted to change out her shoelaces for these funky Atlanta Hawks laces she got when we visited the Ronald McDonald House a few weeks back.  She pulled out a pair of sneakers, plopped herself down on the den rug, and sat there, staring at her shoes.

She looked up at me for …approval? Guidance?  Or both.

I told her this was a task she needed to try to do on her own.  I told her upfront I would NOT put those laces in myself, that -at 8 years old- she could do it.  I further told her she may need to keep trying until she figured it out.

She looked at me like a helpless puppy, but I stayed over on the couch, folding clothes, and simply offering a watchful eye, and an ear for conversation.

She pulled the laces out of one shoe, picked up the new pair, and started to study the laces in the other shoe.  She started to thread the laces in to the middle, and -carefully observing the already-laced-shoe- set forth to lace it up.  She did so, and rather quickly.  I told her something like “hey, you did that quickly!  Did you know you could lace so quickly?!”

She then tried her shoe on and realized the laces were way too tight.

That’s when things started to unravel. She asked if I could help her.  I told her she could figure out what to do.  She got a little teary-eyed and frustrated.  I glanced at the clock and realized after a long day, it was bedtime, and she was getting tired.

So I offered her a suggestion on how to loosen the laces, but I didn’t do it for her.  She had to go through the process three times before she got the first shoe properly laced.  There was screaming.  There were tears.  There was foot stomping.  There was frustration.

But there was also success.  There was therefore also pride afterwards in knowing SHE did it herself.

….and then she realized she needed to do the same thing all over again with the other shoe.  And the tears and frustration and anxiety started all over again.

But this time, I simply reminded her, she’s already done this.  She’s already laced up a shoe, so she  can do this one too.

Yes, I’m the mean mom who let her cry.  I let her throw the shoe down in frustration.  I’m the mean mom who gently made her retrieve the shoe and finish the job.  I’m the mean mom who gave her the gift of doing it for herself, of pride in and confidence in knowing she could do the job.

Tonight I Let Her Struggle

I firmly believe in letting kids struggle. I firmly believe in letting kids problem solve.  I firmly believe in letting kids learn through their mistakes, so they can gain a stronger sense of what they need to do in order to be successful.  I also firmly in letting kids see mistakes as an opportunity to learn and grow.

How much are you willing to let your kids struggle?  I’m not suggesting you never intervene and help your kids.  I’m simply suggesting you sit back and allow your kids the opportunity to practice learning new skills on their own.  By allowing her to struggle through learning to lace her shoes, she gained the experience, as well as the confidence in knowing she can do this task.  The more tasks she knows she can tackle on her own, the more independent she can be.  Also, it’s an exercise in problem-solving skills – just like any skill, you’ve got to practice problem-solving skills.

As a preschool teacher, I’ve many times had the opportunity to observe kids overcome their frustration and conquer a task.  Particularly as a mother, it is within our nature to want to step in and help a child we see struggling.  Yet, sometimes, it’s our very nature we need to restrain in order to help our kids long-term.

So, after an evening of tears, grunts of frustration, loudly spoken words, and eventually conquering a task she didn’t know she could handle, I gave my daughter the gift of experience, confidence, and helped her build upon her foundation of problem-solving.  Hopefully she will squirm some more in the learning process as she gets older, and continue to gain confidence in knowing she can handle the world around her.

And for now, she has newly-laced purple sneakers as a token of her struggle, and newly-found skills.

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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!**

Back to School Deals

**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!**



back to school deals

It almost seems sacreligious to start even muttering “back to school” in July, but the truth is, most of the metro Atlanta will be back in session before we know it!  So, whilst I sip on my ice cold sweet tea, and wipe the sweat from my brow, batting down the heat and humidity, I share with y’all my Back to School deals – and make sure you take heed of these back to school shopping tips, too.  Super-special thanks to Melissa from This Mommy Saves Money for sharing this list!

Back to School Deals: week of July 23, 2017, good through July 29

Office Max/Office Depot

  • 15¢ Office Depot brand
  • 25¢ Office Depot brand beveled erasers, 3-pk limit 3
  • 25¢ Office Depot Brand Composition Books Limit 3 
  • 50¢ Office Depot Brand Ballpoint Pens (10-pack) Limit 3
  • 75¢ Scholastic Crayons (24-pack)
  • $1 Paper Mate Sharpwriter Mechanical Pencils 6-pk, limit 3
  • $1 Office Depot presharpened wood pencils, 12-pk, limit 3
  • $3 Office Depot Brand 1” Poly Binders
  • 50% Off of All Kenneth Cole, Solo and Ful School Backpacks Selection varies by location.

Also, if you have the Office Depot app, there are additional coupons good through 7/31/17.  When you open the app, click “deals” and then “coupon center” for 30% off qualifying back-to-school items of $30 or more.  Also, there’s a 25% off coupon for qualifying purchase of regularly priced or clearance furniture or seating.

Staples

  • 25¢ Staples, 1 Subject Notebook, Wide Ruled, 8″ x 10-1/2 Limit 30
  • 50¢ Staples Cap Erasers, Pink, Dozen: $0.50 Limit 5
  • 50¢ Staples #2 Wood Pencils, Yellow, 12/pk Limit 5
  • 50¢ Staples ruled 3″ x 5″ white index cards, 100/pack
  • 50¢ Staples Composition Notebook, College Ruled, Black, 9-3/4″ x 7-1/2″ Limit 30
  • 50¢ Staples College Ruled Filler Paper, 8″ x 10-1/2″, 120/Pack Limit 5
  • 50¢ Staples School Glue, 4 oz
  • 50¢ Staples Manual Dual-Hole Pencil Sharpener Limit 5
  • 97¢ Paper Mate Sharpwriter Mechanical Pencils, 5 pk
  • $1 Sharpie permanent markers, 5 pk Limit 5
  • $1.92 Staples 1″ standard-view binder
  • $1 Staples Washable Glue Sticks, .26oz, 4/pk
  • $2 Staples Poly Cover Wirebound Notebook, College Ruled
  • $9.99 Texas Instruments TI-30Xa Scientific Calculator

To ease your kiddo in to the new school year, make sure you also check out these great books, geared toward the first day of school.back to school books

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!**

Ways to Save for Back to School Shopping

**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!**



back to school shopping

Yes, back to school time is upon us already.  Most schools around the Atlanta area go back either the end of July or first of August, but back to school shopping begins much sooner.  I want to make sure y’all are prepared, and can find ways to stretch your dollars, as well as not scramble at the last minute for back to school shopping.

Ways to Save for Back to School Shopping: Start Early

I’ve noticed back to school starts immediately after the fireworks fizzle out on July 4th.  So start scoping out the sales now.  Most of the major chain stores will start discounting back to school items the week right after July 4th – this typically includes Target, Office Depot, Walmart, Staples, and more.  So check your weekly sales fliers either via the Sunday paper or online for the deals of the week.  Last year, you may recall, I saved HUGE shopping the Office Depot weekly deals, which had many penny, quarter, and dollar items.  There may be items for sale that you may not need right away, or you may need more of the sale items than the limited amount (I know Office Depot had a limit of 4 of each sale item, typically), but at these prices, go ahead and get the sale items.  Please note, these deals may involve you being part of  their store loyalty and rewards program.

Also, you may want to work as a team: find another parent friend to partner with for school shopping.  If there’s a sale on crayons, you can each go stock up on the maximum allowed amount, and if only one of you needs the crayons, then you’ve just doubled your supply for a fraction of the cost.  Then perhaps your friend may be in need of, say Expo markers, where you aren’t, you can again both get the maximum allowed amount, and your friend can walk away with double the supplies.  This can also work if you have a parent or sibling or neighbor friend close by who isn’t school shopping.  If they’re comfortable signing up for the store loyalty card, then you can team up and double what you need.  Maybe you can treat said family member or neighbor to lunch at Chick-fil-a in exchange for helping you!

Ways to Save for Back to School Shopping: Use Your Smartphone

In recent years, I’ve seen smartphone apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51 jump on board with back to school savings.  Starting in July and typically through Labor Day, they’ll have rebates for a selection of school supply items.  When those rebates coincide with a store deal -which is not uncommon during the back to school shopping season- that’s when you can really save.  Ibotta even lets you scan the item’s barcode to see if it matches a current rebate, so you can easily check in store.  Also, make sure you are utilizing your Target Cartwheel app to stack on savings at this time, too.  There should be a “school supplies” section within the Cartwheel app.   Sometimes you’ll be able to utilize a store coupon, manufacture coupon, Target cartwheel, AND an Ibotta rebate all at once!

I also want you to utilize your smartphone to price compare.  Since most major retailers have an app, this should be easy.  How on earth does this work?  Here’s an example:

  • Say you’re in Walmart, and want to see if that deal on a 12 pk of Expo markers really is a great deal.  Open up your Target app and scan the markers barcode.  That should tell you a few things: 1) if Target sells that exact item, and 2) what their price is.  Keep in mine, the app may list their online price, and not their in-store price.
  • You can check this with any number of stores: Target, Walmart, Costco, Sam’s, Office Depot, and Staples.  Keep in mind, there will be items that one store carries, that’s packaged just a little different for another store, which may make it slightly difficult to find by scanning the bar code.  This is when you simply use your search feature.  So, in this case, you’d search for “Expo 12 count” and see what results you get.  Also, since Sam’s and Costco are more bulk sales, you’ll may need to determine the unit price to price compare.
  • I also want you to check against Amazon prices, too.  You’ll do this the same way, scan the item with your Amazon app, and see what sort of prices you get. If you have Amazon Prime, this is a great way to do your back to school shopping. If not, then try Amazon Prime with a FREE 30-Day Trial.  And here’s a bonus offer if you’ve got a kid going off to college: join Prime Student FREE Two-Day shipping for college students to maximize your savings further.

Ways to Save for Back to School Shopping: Shop for the Long Run

When my daughter started kindergarten, we went to Toys R Us and took advantage of the “free lunch box when you buy a backpack” deal.  She picked out an Ariel backpack and an Ariel lunch box, and we ended up spending roughly $20-25 on these items.  Within a few months of being in kindergarten, she declared that Ariel and all Disney princesses were “baby-ish”, but she still begrudgingly carried her backpack and lunch box to school for the remainder of the year.  The backpack got pretty beat up over the year, while the lunch box was in decent shape.

The summer between kindergarten and 1st grade, I found a $5 backpack at Goodwill (while we were up in Wisconsin, of all places) that was brand new – it was a basic pink with gray polka dots, and it came with a matching lunchbox.  That thing has held up beautifully for two school years, and she very well may enter 3rd grade with it, too.

We’ve found a basic Star Wars very gently-used backpack at a garage sale for my son, spending one whole dollar.  So he will start kindergarten with a character back pack as well.  However, I’m not confident that backpack will stand the test of time, particularly for a little boy.  So I plan to invest in good backpacks for each of them this year.  Brands that tend to hold up well include Pottery Barn kids, Lands End, and L.L. Bean – yes, these brands will be an investment, but they have a reputation for holding up well for years.  I recommend getting a simple-patterned one (no characters), and let your child accessorize with things that can be swapped out like key chains or patches.

My point here is to invest in pieces your child will use for a long time, like a back pack and lunch box.  They’ll need those every school year, so invest in one that will last multiple years.  Also consider a good quality thermos/water bottle, too.  This is one of my favorites.  Other long-term investment pieces include scissors, locker shelves, a good zippered binder once they hit middle school, good quality pencil pouch, and even good quality sports bags and equipment.

Ways to Save for Back to School Shopping: My Final 2¢

When it comes to back to school shopping, my best advice is to KISS it!  Yes, Keep It Simple Student.  😉  Simply put, please please please don’t run all over town in an effort to save a few dollars.  If you can get the bulk of your school supplies and school clothes at one store, do it.  Even if they don’t have the lowest prices for all items on your list, save yourself the headache (and gas money) of lugging kids to another store just to save a few dollars on a few items.  Of course, if that other store is on your way, and you’re not making a special trip, then that’s fine.  But please don’t stress out over school supplies.

As a former public school teacher, I can tell you that yes, I had the bare minimum for supplies – I was begging for boxes of tissues so my 4th grade boys weren’t blowing their raw little noses on those scratchy brown paper towels.  I literally did a happy dance when one of the assistant principals handed me a box of 144 number 2 pencils.  Yes, your kids’ teacher is likely dipping in to their own pocket to pay for a chunk of what’s being used in their classroom.  So, when a parent comes in and offers me supplies, I’m not going to turn it down, nor am I going to turn it away because it’s not the proper count or the right brand.

Supply what you can for your child.  If you feel compelled and called to do so, donate more.  But, again, please don’t stress about that list of school supplies.  Sometimes buying those pre-packaged school supplies can be a good thing, even if it’s not the super-cheapest route.

COMING SOON: Ways to Save with Back to School CLOTHES Shopping

 

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!**

National Ice Cream Day Deals & Freebies

**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!**



National Ice Cream Day Deals & Freebies

Did you know the third Sunday of July is National Ice Cream Day?  Many companies have gotten wise to this delicious day of celebration, and are offering some sweet freebies and deals.  Also, make sure you read all the way through, for a bonus giveaway for my Atlanta Braves fans!

Just like with Veteran’s Day freebies and deals,  Tax Day Freebies, and Mothers’ Day Deals, please check with your specific location for participation. Thanks to Mission: to Save for sharing some of these deals!

National Ice Cream Day Freebies & Deals

PetSmart – Free Doggie Ice Cream Sundaes available to pets at all PetSmart PetsHotel locations on National Ice Cream Day, July 16.  The dog-safe ice cream is vanilla flavored and non-dairy, as many dogs have challenges with lactose products. The sundaes are topped with dog biscuit sprinkles for a savory-sweet combination and a cool treat to beat the summertime heat in July.  Thanks Thrifty Jinxy for sharing this one!

Baskin Robbins -Get a free samples of its popular Polar Pizza from Noon – 5:00 p.m. at participating Baskin-Robbins locations on 7/16. In addition to the Polar Pizza Sampling on July 14, Baskin-Robbins is giving its guests several ways to enjoy National Ice Cream Month. For starters, guests who download the Baskin-Robbins Mobile App will receive exclusive offers on National Ice Cream Day (Sunday, July 16) and throughout the month.

Carvel– Buy One Get One FREE deal on any size soft serve cone or cup in the guests’ choice of Vanilla, Chocolate or OREO, Sunday, July 16th! (only at participating locations)

Dippin Dots – Order online in July for a chance to win your next shipment for Free.

Graeter’s– Wants to thank their loyal fans, for keeping them in business for over 147 years with $1.47 single dip sugar cones on Sunday, July 16th! Graeter’s plans to further take advantage of National Ice Cream Month in July with its annual unveiling of Summer Bonus Flavors in scoop shops and online for a limited time. New bonus flavors will be announced on June 26, July 10, July 24, August 7 and August 21. Finally, the Graeter’s family, in support of its new relationship with the Cincinnati Zoo, has created a decadent and delicious flavor – available only at the Zoo, to benefit the Zoo.

McDonalds is offering a FREE cone on Sunday, July 16, 2017.  Just stop in at any participating location, and the offer should appear on your McDonalds app.  (You must have the app in order to get the free ice cream offer.)

Atlanta Braves & Mayfield are offering Braves fans a sweet treat!  Starting at 10 am through 2:30 on July 16, fans can stop by lot 29 at SunTrust Park for a Mayfield ice cream sample, as well as spin their prize wheel for a chance at some cool Mayfield swag.

Would you like to attend an Atlanta Braves game, on behalf of Mayfield?  I’m giving away a $75 gift card to one winner.  It’s simple to enter for your chance to win: first, comment below telling me which ice cream flavor is your favorite.  Then, fill out the form below.  One winner will be randomly picked.  Giveaway ends 7/29/17.  Good luck, y’all!

 


$75 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!**

Wrapping Up the Month of June at Applebee’s

**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!**



June at Applebee's

Apparently this summer has been more hectic than I realized.  I sat down on June 30 to write this up, but July proved to be just as hectic as June!  Hence, a mid-July publication!  

The month of June kept my family busy, our calendars packed, and my schedule quite busy!  First, we renovated the kids’ bathroom,  not because we were sitting idolly by looking for something to do, but because the tub -which was easily over 20 years old- was starting to feel springy when the kids stepped in it, and the shower faucet had developed a steady leak.  Thankfully, when we redid the other two bathrooms in our house a few years ago, we went ahead and bought a sink, tub, toilet, sink faucet, and shower faucet for all three bathrooms because we knew we would eventually have to tackle this bathroom, AND because a family friend got us the products for about half off.

I digress.  So while we were re-doing the bathroom, I stayed home to ensure things were going as they should.  Months earlier, my mom had enrolled the kids in VBS at her church, and my son had three days of Kindergarten camp midweek.  (Yes, my littlest baby is off to kindergarten in the fall!)

The following two weeks of June, I was tied up in Orton Gillingham training.  Orton Gillingham is a systematic and explicit method of teaching reading for people with dyslexia.  I found a way to put back on my special educator hat, brush off my masters degree, and wear another ha in the process.  I took a leap of faith and decided to do this, as it’s been something I’ve toyed with for well over a year.  The two week training was just the first step, but it was an intense two weeks.  Class was from 8:30-3:30 over 30 minutes away.  Thankfully, my parents were on board for helping me out – God bless their generous hearts!

So, essentially, my parents and my kids spent three weeks together.  They’d done something amazing for me, and I knew I wanted to find at least a small way to thank them for their time and energy.  So when I got a dinner invitation, I knew I’d found a perfect solution.

Applebee’s hosted my kids, my parents, and I for dinner recently, to try out their Big and Bold Grill Combo dinner.  I’ll be honest, it had been a while since I had eaten at Applebees, but I can tell you that the experience left us far from disappointed!

Let me start by first complimenting the staff at the Tucker location.  Everyone was super friendly, and happy to help and answer any questions we had about the menu.

We sat down in a corner booth, the kids got to color on and read over the kids menu, and the adults got to look at the special Big and Bold Grill Combo menu.  The kids decided on the mac and cheese, and my parents and I decided to split two Big and Bold Grill Combos amongst the three of us.  This worked well for us, since I only care for the chicken, but my parents are shrimp and ribs people.

June at Applebee's - chips and salsa YUM!

First, we were brought an order of chips and salsa.  My kids and I have seldom met an order of chips and salsa we didn’t like.  The chips were lightly salted, and the salsa was freshly made.  Then, the kids order came out.  They indulged in what they described as delicious mac & cheese.  (Did you know Applebee’s has a house Mac & Cheese on their kids menu, that has chicken in it??)  It was served with applesauce, so they were good to go.

June at Applebee's - kids' meal

The main entrees came out, and -oh my LORD!- they were amazing!  I had the chicken with pico de gallo, which proved to be amazingly tender and flavorful.  The shrimp and ribs were equally fantastic, according to my parents.

But here’s what amazed me most: the sides.  We had bacon-encrusted green beans, broccoli, and “endless fries”.  My favorite, by far, was the broccoli.  It was steamed and seasoned, and I simply couldn’t get enough of it!  The beans were quite tasty – the bacon was a nice touch.  And, well, I could eat fries all day everyday if my waistline wouldn’t betray me in the process.  It was all so daggum tasty, and I tried hard to join the clean plate club, to no avail, and not for lack of trying!

June at Applebees - clean plate

…..and then, my dad ordered dessert for the kids (and himself).  Yep.  Applebee’s even hit dessert out of the park.  The kids enjoyed a blue ribbon brownie to share, and my parents had hot fudge sundae shooters.  Knowing I was there to do a review of Applebee’s, I knew it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t know what each entree was like, right?  So, I sampled each of the desserts, all for the sake of review.  😉

All in all, I was beyond pleased with our trip to Applebee’s.  I highly recommend you find your nearest location, and head over there for lunch or dinner.  Or both.

Also, make sure you sign up for their email club to get started on great rewards, including a FREE birthday treat.   Check with your specific location to find out what weekly specials they might have, like if they participate in a kids eat free program.  The Tucker, GA location offers $5.99 burgers on Mondays from 4pm to close, and 99¢ kids meals on Tuesdays from 4pm to close. (This is current as of June 29, 2017 when we visited – please call to confirm these or any specials before going!)

Would you like to try out some of Applebee’s entrees?   Enter for a chance to win a $25 Applebee’s gift card.  First, simply comment below telling me which items you want to try.  Then, fill out the form below.  Giveaway will run until 7/29/17.  Winner will be randomly selected.  Good luck, y’all!


$25 Applebee’s 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!**

5 Tips for Traveling Frugally

**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!**



tips for traveling frugallyTraveling can be expensive and all the little things add up quite quickly! It is hard to imagine saving money while traveling, but it can be done. Here are five tips to traveling frugally so that you can get out there and experience more of the world!

Plan Ahead

This sounds simple enough, but it is strangely one thing that is overlooked. When you are planning on flying, book your ticket three weeks ahead as prices go up on the 21-day mark. Conversely, 48 hours before a flight you can find some tremendous deals on last minute trips. A great resource is using Google Flights and then using this information to compare flights on Expedia or Travelocity.  If you’re traveling during the holidays, these are my tips for saving on holiday flights.

Tips on Fuel

Plan to fill up early in the morning and not when a tanker is filling the gas station’s underground tanks. Gas prices increase before any major holiday, so gas up as far in advance as you can, then just top off on the morning on your road trip. These simple steps will make sure that more gas ends up in your tank for less money.  Also, utilize your Kroger card to save big on gas, too.

Where to Stay

There are many choices of where to stay when traveling. If you are on a road trip, break out the tent and camp along your route. When flying, don’t forget to look up places on AirBNB or check out local B&Bs, especially if you don’t need all the amenities of a hotel. You can contact the Chamber of Commerce in the city you are visiting and often times they have discount codes for you to use at a local hotel.

tips for traveling frugally
Bed & Breakfast and Country Inns, 24th Edition

Excursions on the Cheap

When talking to the Chamber of Commerce, ask them if they have an activity book (often free) which has 2-for-1 coupons or discounts throughout an area. Many museums and attractions have a couple days a month where admission is reduced or free, plan if your trip is planned around those dates.  Also, utilize things sites/apps Groupon, Scoutmob, Goldstar, and Living Social for discounted deals on things to do locally.


groupon - tips for traveling frugallyGoldstar - tips for traveling frugally

Don’t Eat All Your Money

Food can add up quickly while traveling. Pack snacks like dried fruit, nuts, and protein bars in your bag. When you get to your destination, stop at the grocery store and pick up food that you can eat. Don’t eat out at breakfast, as you can start your day with a banana and protein shake. (Or if you’re lucky, find a hotel that throws in free breakfast.)  Dinner is usually twice the cost of lunch, so eat your largest meal midday and have the leftovers for dinner.

These are just a few of the ways you can travel frugally this year. Now get out there and travel!

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!**

REWARD YOUR KIDS’ HARD WORK: Good Report Card Freebies List!

**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!**



Good Report Card Freebies

With summer peeking around the corner, it’s almost time again to share those good report cards!  With those good grades comes great rewards, aside of course, from the vast knowledge acquired represented by said good grades.  Here is a current list of FREE rewards for kids who bring home good report cards!  Consider using them as incentives to motivate your kids to finish the year odd strong!

Also, make sure to look at all the great Kids Free Summer Reading Programs available to your kiddos over the summer break – you know, to ensure good report cards next school year.

Teachers, feel free to share this with your coworkers, students, and parents!

I HIGHLY suggest calling ahead to be sure that your area business is participating in these promotions!!  Also, if you know of other freebies not mentioned here, please let me know! 🙂

Many thanks to Saving Dollars and Sense for compiling such an extensive list!
[Read more…]

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!**

Top Reasons to Join Sam’s Club

**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!**



Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Savings.com.  Please know, however, that all opinions, anecdotes, and bad puns are 100% my own.

Join Sam's Club - blog banner

Have you ever thought about joining Sam’s Club?  Or have you joined in the past, but let your membership lapse for one reason or another.  Well, I’m hoping to convince you why you should join Sam’s Club.  It’s not like it was even ten years ago.  They’re doing a great job of keeping up with the times, and listening to the needs of their customers.
I decided to do the most scientific thing possible when researching for reasons why folks should join Sam’s Club: I crowd-sourced my Facebook friends.  With no further adieu, here are the (un)official top reasons why you should join Sam’s Club:

 

Why Should You Join Sam’s Club? [Read more…]

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!**

Moms, Dads, and Grads Bonus Gift Card Offers

**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!**



Moms Dads GradsWith May winding down (sheesh, wasn’t it just August??!?), comes Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, and graduation from high school, colleges, and even preschool and kindergarten.  It’s time to give gifts for Moms, Dads and Grads. Here is a list of many Gift Card Bonus Offers.  Make sure to also check out my Mothers’ Day Deals and Freebies list, as well as these Fathers’ Day gift guides.

Moms, Dads, and Grads: Restaurant Bonus Gift Card Offers!

Applebee’s: receive a $10 bonus card when you buy $50 gift cards thru 7/2.

b.d’s Mongolian Grill: for every $25 in gift cards purchased, you will receive a $5 Go Mongo card + $100 n coupons. Only at participating locations, see store for details.

Bonefish Grill: receive $10 bonus gift card when you buy $50 in gift cards through 6/18. Bonus card redeemable 5/15 – 7/21/17.

Bravo:receive $10 bonus gift card when you buy $50 in gift cards by 6/18. Bonus card redeemable 6/19 –8/31/17.

Brio: receive $10 bonus gift card when you buy $50 in gift cards by 6/18. Bonus card redeemable 6/19 –8/31/17.

Carrabba’s: receive $10 bonus gift card when you buy $50 in gift cards through 6/18. Bonus card redeemable 5/15 – 7/21/17.

First Watch: receive $20 Bonus Bucks when you buy $100 in gift cards through 6/18. Bonus Bucks are valid 6/19-7/30/17.

Fleming’s: receive $20 in bonus gift cards when you buy $100 in gift cards through 6/18. Bonus card redeemable 5/15 – 7/21/17.

Noodles & Company: receive a $5 “Gift Giver Bonus Card” when you buy one $25 gift card 4/26- 6/20/17.

Outback Steakhouse: receive $10 bonus gift card when you buy $50 in gift cards through 6/18. Bonus card redeemable 5/15 – 7/21/17.

P.F. Chang’s : receive $10 bonus gift card when you buy $50 in gift cards through 6/18. Bonus Card valid 6/19 – 7/31/17.

Ruby Tuesday – receive $15 bonus gift card for every $50 spent. Bonus card redeemable 5/15 – 7/25/17.

Smokey Bones– receive $10 bonus gift card when you buy $50 in gift cards, see website for details.

Steak ‘n Shake: Free Double Steakburger, fries and drink on your next purchase when you buy $25 in gift cards. Offer valid thru 5/17/17, coupon valid thru 6/30/17

Retail Gift Card Offers!

Cheryl’s Cookies: get $10 bonus gift card when you buy the 6 cookie sampler for $6.99 (shipped).

DSW: receive a $10 bonus gift card when you buy $50-$99 in gift cards or $25 bonus gift card for $100+ gift car purchase in gift cards by 5/14/17. Bonus gift card valid on a $10+ purchase 5/21-6/11/17.

Half Price Books: receive a $5 bonus gift card when you buy $25 in gift cards, offer expires 5/14. Bonus gift card valid 5/15- 5/25/17.

Massage Envy: Buy a $125 gift certificate and get aFree 60-Min Facial Session or 30-Min Massage Upgrade April 24 – May 14. (available at select locations)

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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