Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year's Eve!

Well, 2011 is only a few hours away. I've got my celebration all set - there's a bottle of sparkling wine chilling, and shrimp marinating in some asian seasoning. The offspring is going out to a party, so I don't even have to share!!

I spent the better part of today using up my coupons that expire today - there was a couple I never could locate the product, but thankfully I got everything else. Unfortunately, I had to use a bunch of them at Walmart, which was an ordeal. Why do they act like I'm stealing this stuff? They make an extra 8 cents on each coupon redemption for handling - they should be thanking me!

With the end of 2010 comes the end of a ton of giveaways I've entered.

Bargain Mom is having an AMAZING giveaway for a $500 DeluxeCard Visa and vacation to Cancun, plus a variety of other prizes. The total value of this prize package is over $2,000! There are lots of entry options so be sure to take advantage of them all to maximize your chances of winning.

Energizer Bunny's Mommy Reports is giving away a $75 gift certificate to Plow & Hearth! I kinda like this coat rack - it would look great in my entryway.

Cocktails with Mom is giving away a Spike Seasoning Magic prize pack! Since I'm eating healthier (or trying to) I've become more interested in finding new seasoning blends to jazz up my food, so this would be a great win :) I also like that many of their products are gluten and/or salt-free.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year's Eve Eve - giveaways, wins, coupons and Share the Joy

It's hard to believe that in less than 48 hours it'll be 2011. It seems like this year has really flown by!

I got an email yesterday that I won a BlogHer giveaway which was VERY exciting! I'm putting this win towards my new dryer, I'm halfway there. I'm hoping I'll have enough saved up by Spring Break, so my son and I can work on the laundry room when he's home for that week.

I also found out yesterday that Land's End picked me as one of the participants in their Share the Joy program! I have a stack of coupons that are expiring tomorrow and I was wondering where I was going to put all this extra food (some of it is pantry items but a lot of it is fresh/frozen items and I just don't have anywhere to put it), but instead I'll take it all and donate it either to the food pantry, or the homeless shelter if the food pantry can't store the fresh/frozen items. I'm excited to see how far I can stretch this $50 gift card!

Speaking of coupons, I watched Extreme Couponing last night and I have to say I'm appalled. It's like Hoarders, only with coupons. I think my little stockpile is excessive but these people make me feel much better! Especially that Nathan guy. I commend him for buying 1100 boxes of Total cereal to donate to the food pantry, but why did he have to open the cases and stack them in his driveway to take a photo of it? That's just feeding his ego. He could have just as easily taken a photo of it loaded on his trailer. People like the ones portrayed in this TV show are the reason I can only use 4 like coupons when I go shopping now - they clear the shelves, and we all suffer.

With the year winding down, there are still a lot of good giveaways ending this week. Here's a few I've entered.

As part of their Checking Our List Holiday Gift Guide, A Mom's Balancing Act and Thanks, Mail Carrier are each giving away a Bissell Steam & Sweep Floor Cleaner. I love that these 2 blogs teamed up on their holiday giveaways - it's like doubling your chances to win! This would be great for cleaning and sanitizing my kitchen and bathroom floors, and I love that it cleans and sweeps at the same time - that saves me time! Plus cleaning with steam rather than chemicals is preferable for me - I don't like the chemical smell and residue, chemical cleaners can get expensive and some aggrevate my asthma. Not to mention those chemicals going down my drain will screw up my septic system. *yikes*

Another Checking Our List Holiday Gift Guide giveaway ending today from A Mom's Balancing Act and Thanks, Mail Carrier is a $50 Amazon gift card from GiftZip.com (one from each blog). I love GiftZip.com because I can buy gift cards from hundreds of different retailers in one place. I don't like providing my credit card number to multiple sites, so having one consolidated location to purchase different gift cards works for me!

Coffee on the Patio is giving away a $250 Amazon gift card! I have so many things on my wishlist on Amazon, I could do some serious shopping with this!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

SHOCKED!

I had a nutritionist visit today... and I lost another 1.7%! I was pretty shocked, to say the least... I've been very lax about my food journal, I've barely exercised, I've been skipping breakfast and snacking at night, and I don't even want to think about all the junk I've eaten since Christmas. *shudder*

BUT, most of the time I've tried to be conscious about what I eat, and I've moderated the junk (except for the cheese dip and chocolate cake at Christmas! HA!) so I guess I didn't do so bad after all. I really was hoping just to break even, so any loss at all is amazing! Of course, I celebrated with a grilled chicken sandwich and french fries from Buffalo Wild Wings, and 2 pieces of chocolate candy *sigh* The funny thing is, the fries weren't even that good, and the chocolate candy was meh at best - I'd rather have my sugar-free chocolate Jello pudding/mousse instead.

Overall, I'm down 4.66%. I'm hoping to double my weight loss for my next weigh-in, but I'm going to have to get serious about the diet and exercise in order to accomplish that.

Happy Winsday!

Things seem to be winding down during these last couple of days of 2010, and life is slowly getting back to normal - not sure if it's the aftermath of the holiday, or the fact that the thermostat outside is rising (today's high is supposed to be 45, with 60's this weekend WOOHOO!).

I got home last night and my son was knocked OUT, and my driveway was completely cleared. It must have taken him all afternoon to do it, since it was pretty well packed down and mostly ice. I wonder how he'll feel when he realizes if he'd waited until today, it would have probably all melted away? LOL

I've entered a couple of giveaways ending today. The Bragging Mommy is giving away a $50 gift certificate to Blinds.com (billed as America's #1 blinds store). I had never heard of them before this giveaway and when I looked at their site, I couldn't believe how affordable their blinds are! I'm especially interested in their blackout blinds for the bedrooms, since they're on the east side of the house and it drives us both crazy that on the occasions that we can sleep in, we don't because the sunlight comes streaming through the windows! I also like that the company says these blinds help insulate the windows (which means lower heating costs). Even though my windows are pretty well insulated, on those cold days the glass itself gets very cold, and I know that's a point of heat loss. Anything that can help keep my home warmer and lower my heating costs is definitely OK in my book! I also love these faux wood blinds for my living room, and at $62 each they're much less expensive than others I've priced. I also like that I can order a free sample, to make sure I get the right wood tone to match the trimwork in my living room. I'm also thinking about these Sheerweave Solar Shades instead. I love that they come in a variety of patterns, which gives the windows a real custom look. The Alabaster would really compliment the fabric I've chosen for the drapery fabric. I'm going to order a few free samples, so I can see what will work best. I signed up on their website for their email list, and the confirmation says they'll offer sales info, helpful tips and coupons so I look forward to that.

The Mommy-Files is hosting a giveaway for a beautiful 1/10 Carat TW Sirena Solitaire Diamond Pendant, sponsored by Helzberg Diamonds. This pendant is gorgeous, and just my style - not too overstated, and I love white gold. I also know that since it's a Helzberg diamond, that I'll be getting a quality gemstone. I've been in their store at Hanes Mall a few times and admired many of the pieces they carry. Their "bugundy boxes" are well-known in this area as a sign of quality.

Cincinnati Coupons is offering a $50 gift certificate to IGIGI. Anyone who knows me, knows I love IGIGI clothes. They're not just clothes made in plus sizes, they're specifically tailored to flatter the various types of plus-size figures (like hourglass, inverted triangle, oval, rectangle, etc.). For example, I'm an oval... so clothes that call attention to my waist don't look great on me, I need something that falls from the bustline, and then skims my hips to camoflauge my tummy. I also love that their clothes aren't trendy... they really are investment pieces that will be in your wardrobe for years to come. IGIGI is also now offering lots of great accessory pieces, so if I win this I'm not sure if I want to put it towards a new dress, or maybe treat myself to this Athena ring. Decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 is almost over, but the giveaways never stop!

It's hard to believe Saturday will be 2011. It seems like this year has really gone by quickly!

Thankfully we survived Christmas. My son got me a little gift (VERY unexpected!) which I thought was sweet. He's still stoked about his Christmas gifts (all either contest wins, or paid for with GCs from contest wins). This coming year, I'd like to win enough to cover some home improvements on my house.... maybe I'll win the lottery! :)

There are a lot of great contests ending this week that I've entered (getting started on my 2011 gift list! HA!!).

Simply Being Mommy is giving two of her readers each a $100 JCPenney gift card! I love the Red Cowl Neck Sweater Dress shown on her post, I wish it came in my size *sigh* But there are so many things I love at JCPenneys (like this little black dress, or even this one), so I would have no problem spending this gift card!

Leanne at Rave & Review is giving away a Miche Large Bag and 3 Shells (of the sponsor's choosing)! I'd never heard of Miche Bags before this review, and I was intriqued by the concept. How great would it be to slip on a new shell, and totally change the look of your handbag? Not to mention, no worries with transferring items between bags and overlooking something (which I do ALL the time). This would be a fun win :)

Just Another New Blog is giving away a copy of James Beard's American Cookery. I cannot believe I don't already own this cookbook, it really is a classic. Over 800 pages of recipes written by one of the foremost experts of American cooking. If I don't win this, I'm buying a copy!

Plow and Hearth is sponsoring a giveaway on Born 2 Impress for a $50 gift certificate to their store. I had heard of them before, but never really looked at what they had to offer - but after perusing the site I've fallen in love with a lot of their items, like this Cape Cod Birdhouse, or for something more practical I could get Fatwood for my fireplace.

A Nut in a Nutshell is giving 2 of her readers a set of 4 Dassant Baking Mixes! I was lucky enough to win a set of these on Facebook last month, and they're YUMMY! We made the Meyer Lemon mix, and I also made the Chocolate Chocolate Chip mix, but my son and his friend killed that off playing Black Ops in an all-nighter - I didn't even get a taste! *pout* I'm saving the Truffle Brownie mix for New Year's Eve, and the Classic Beer Bread I'll make on New Year's Day. I'd LOVE to win another set of these mixes! I checked them out on Amazon, the mixes run ~$2.50 each (sold in sets of 6) so that's very affordable. On the Dassant website, you can get variety packs (as long as you order 4 mixes or more) but the cost is more (although they do offer free shipping).

Monday, December 27, 2010

Just Another Manic Monday ~ snow, weight gain, a MIA remote and lots of giveaways ending tonight!

Well, Christmas has come and gone and I think I gained a couple of pounds.... which I knew I would. I didn't watch what I ate, and treated myself to chocolate cake, mashed potatoes, yeast rolls and fruit juice.... not to mention all the dip I consumed. *sigh* I thought it was worth it at the time, but now.... I dunno. I didn't have to indulge QUITE so much. I guess this is part of the learning process. I'm back on the program today though.

The snow we got on Christmas Day (over 6") is still here, and still gorgeous... of course, I can say that from the relative warmth and safety of my house! It's a bit windy today so the snow is blowing around, giving the illusion it's snowing but it really isn't. I hope the roads are OK tomorrow, because I have to go back to work. :(

I can't find the Dish remote to the TV in my bedroom, and it's making me bonkers. I reeeeeally hope I didn't accidentally grab it when I grabbed my bathrobe and towel this morning...if I did, it's currently sloshing around the inside of my washing machine. :( Somehow I don't think that's a good thing.

I've entered a total of 15 (!) giveaways that end tonight... here's a sampling of what I'm hoping to win:

Fun Saving Money is offering a $50 gift certificate to IGIGI. Anyone who knows me, knows I love IGIGI clothes. They're not just clothes made in plus sizes, they're specifically tailored to flatter the various types of plus-size figures (like hourglass, inverted triangle, oval, rectangle, etc.). For example, I'm an oval... so clothes that call attention to my waist don't look great on me, I need something that falls from the bustline, and then skims my hips to camoflauge my tummy. I also love that their clothes aren't trendy... they really are investment pieces that will be in your wardrobe for years to come. IGIGI is also now offering lots of great accessory pieces, so if I win this I'm not sure if I want to put it towards a new dress, or maybe treat myself to this Athena ring. Decisions, decisions.

Mom Start is sponsoring a giveaway by JoeShopping.com for a $50 Amazon gift card! JoeShopping.com is a shopping comparison site, but with a social media twist. Not only can you compare prices, you can review products, share finds with your friends and solicit their feedback, and so much more! I recently joined and I look forward to exploring the full functionality of the site. Not sure about the badges they have (they look a bit too Nickelodeon for my taste) but it's a nice idea.

Sweeps4Bloggers is giving 5 of their readers a copy of Bed & Breakfasts and Country Inns (22nd Edition, published 2010). There are several B&Bs locally listed in here that I'd love to stay at, and included in the book is a certificate good for a second night free when you book in advance, which is a tremendous savings! I'd love to book a weekend getaway, and getting the 2nd night free would make that much more affordable.

Sweeps4Bloggers is also giving 3 winners a "Small Battle" Pulled Pork Gift Box from North Carolina Barbeque Company! With a retail value of almost $55, there's enough in here to satisfy your taste, whether you prefer Eastern or Western style BBQ.

  • 1 lb Piedmont pulled pork BBQ
  • 1 lb Eastern pulled pork BBQ
  • 1 pint Piedmont BBQ slaw
  • 1 pint Eastern Cole Slaw
  • 1 (5 oz) bottle of Piedmont BBQ dip
  • 1 (5 oz) bottle of Eastern BBQ sauce

We like both styles of Carolina BBQ in our house, so this would satisfy both of us. They're based in Greensboro, but I'd never heard of them until I saw this contest. I wish they had a restaurant open, I'd be there for lunch regularly!

New Age Mama is holding a giveaway sponsored by Plastic Jungle - 3 winners will each receive a $25 gift card to one of the retailers on the Plastic Jungle site. Since they offer 75 different retailers from 1-800-FLOWERS to Zappos, you're sure to find one that appeals to you. I've used Plastic Jungle before and they're great. I buy gift cards at stores I already use at a discount, so I'm already saving money. Add that to a great sale price, maybe a coupon or two and you can really save a LOT of money. If you have some gift cards you don't want to use, you can sell them to Plastic Jungle - check their site to see what retailers they're buying cards from and how much they offer. They offer higher payout percentages on more popular cards like Best Buy and Target, but if you're not going to use the card, it's better to have the cash!

Shining 2 Save is giving away a Keurig Gift Pack that includes a Keurig Mini Plus Brewing System and 4 boxes of K-Cups! Anyone who knows me knows I love my Keurig, and I hate not being able to drink coffee at work. If I'm lucky enough to win this, it's going in my office, along with some Donut Shop coffee, maybe some Caramel Vanilla Cream coffee, or even a box of Celestial Seasonings Variety Mix. I've had to cut waay back on my caffeine on the recommendation of my nutritionist, but I can still indulge (just not as much!).

Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House has 2 great giveaways ending today. The first one is for a Shenzhen Ceramic Knives 3 piece Chef's Set which includes a 6” Ceramic Chef’s knife, 4.8” Ceramic Slicing knife, and 3.2” Ceramic Paring knife. I was lucky enough to win a ceramic knife last year and gave it to my mom - she RAVES about it. I hate to admit it, I almost hate that I gave it to her - I want one of my own! I hate sharpening knives, and I hate when they get rust spots on them (I've told my son NOT to leave them in the sink but he doesn't listen), so these would be perfect.

The 2nd giveaway from Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House is for a a Yoplait Smoothie Prize Pack which includes free Yoplait Smoothie product and a 3-speed KitchenAid Blender. I love smoothies, especially now when I have to make sure I eat breakfast every morning *sigh* I'd much rather have a smoothie for breakfast than a bowl of cereal, or scrambling some eggs. I love that a package of Yoplait Frozen Smoothies contains one full serving of fruit and only 110-120 calories per serving.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Time Saving Tips from Bank of America

Several bloggers are hosting giveaways in conjunction with Bank of America's campaign to share time-saving tips for the holidays. My number 1 tip is I do all my shopping online. Not only do I save the time I would have spent going to/from the store, parking, shopping, and checking out; online I generally get better deals (like no sales tax at Amazon). Also, if I'm buying gift items, I save the time of having to pack the items, going to the post ofice and mailing packages. Plus, postage is expensive!

Bank of America has lots of time-saving tips on their site. Some pertain to their bank (like their Online and Mobile Banking) but many are tips you'd never expect to find on a banking website, like how to use the “route planner” feature on MapQuest, babysitting exchanges and more.

Here's a few on the Bank of America-sponsored giveaways that I've entered

Katydid and Kid is offering 1 of her readers a $50 Bank of America Visa gift card.

A Mom's Impression is also offering a $50 Bank of America Visa gift card to 1 of her readers (ending 12-27).

Go Graham Go is also offering 1 of her readers a $50 Bank of America Visa gift card (ending 12-27).

Mama's Money Savers is also offering a $50 Bank of America Visa gift card to 1 of her readers (ending 12-27).

Mom Start is offering 1 of her readers a $50 Bank of America Visa gift card (ending 12-27).

Bridgette at The Not-So-Blog is offering 1 of her readers a $50 Bank of America Visa gift card (ending 12-27).

The Dirty T-Shirt is also offering a $50 Bank of America Visa gift card to 1 reader (ending 12-27).

The Divine Miss Mommy is also offering a $50 Bank of America Visa gift card to 1 reader (ending 12-28).

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Giveaways ending on Christmas weekend

Lots of giveaways ending this weekend - good thing my dinner plans are pretty simple :) I'll put the roast in the oven in a couple of hours, other than that it's smashed potatoes with bacon and cheese, sauteed mushrooms (*blech* but the offspring loves them), spinach, salad and yeast rolls. I still need to make the cheese ball/dip (cream cheese, dried beef, crushed pineapple, worchestershire sauce and red onion - sounds disgusting but it's SOOOO good!).

I did get the Bake Me a Wish cake that I won from Little Yaya's yesterday, so my son can have that for dessert along with the chocolate cake I got. It figures, I've been DYING to try a BMaW cake for over a year, I FINALLY win one... and the offspring chooses Strawberry. I HATE strawberry (and he knows it!) but he didn't want chocolate. *sigh*

Here's what I've entered that ends today.

Energizer Bunny's Mommy Reports is giving away a 'Dadgum That's Good Masterbuilt Pack' that includes:

I'd love to win this! It would be great to be able to prepare fried turkey (and other fried foods) indoors... I never want fried turkey when the weather is nice, it's always dark and cold, and sitting outside for an hour or more waiting for a turkey to fry is NOT my idea of a good time.

Sweeps4Bloggers is giving away a gorgeous Happy Hour Timepieces Bottom's Up watch ($150 retail value). They have a built-in bottle opener (my son will LOVE that) and are very stylish. I especially love wide strap and buckle.

Look at What Mom Found…and Dad too has partnered with Underwriters Laboratories (UL), in an effort to get parents, specifically moms (and Dad too!), to set aside one minute a day this holiday season to teach their kids safety. The campaign is called Commit a Minute. To help promote this effort, they're offering 1 reader a $250 Visa gift card. Their readers have posted tons of safety tips (I know I have!), so there's a lot of great info this post. Some of it is common sense, but every year people suffer losses because they either didn't know, or ignored a lot of the tips on this post. PLEASE take the time to not only read this information, but educate your children - it could save their life.

Tomorrow, there's more great contests ending. Familylicious Reviews is giving away a George Foreman Evolve grill. Not only is it a George Foreman grill (HELLO!) but the plates are removeable! It also has different plates available so you can use it for baking muffins, cakes, deep dish pizza and more. Not only would the grill be great so I can prepare foods healthier, but the baking feature would be great since most of the time it's just me, and it seems so wasteful to heat up the whole oven if I want to bake something for lunch or dinner. I also love the digital temperature control, so I won't overcook or undercook my food.

Dealicious Mom is giving away a copy of Tony Hawk Shred ( Game and Board Bundle) for Wii, PS3, or Xbox (an $80 value). My son loves skateboarding and snowboarding so I know he'd love this game, and I think it would also be nice to add to my exercise routine to change up my Wii workouts.

Boarding not your thing? Well Dealicious Mom is also giving away two $50 Visa gift cards! According to a recent study conducted by Visa, 65% of consumers said they'd rather receive a Visa Gift card this holiday season instead of a “non essential” holiday gift, like a scarf, bottle of cologne or gift basket. I know that holds true for my family!

Rockin' Mama is giving away a Cool Whip/Kraft gift basket that contains a variety of products, with a retail value of $65! Not only does it have yummy Kraft caramel bits, Jell-O pudding, free Cool Whip coupons and more, it also has a pie pan and hand towels from Willams-Sonoma.

Merry Christmas? Ho, ho, no.

I've just not had any Christmas spirit this year. To be honest, I haven't had any Christmas spirit in a long, long time. Luckily my son is old enough that I really don't have to have any Christmas spirit.... it's not like he still believes in Santa.

Still, I'd like to feel like I used to about the holidays, if only a little bit. I had a glimmer of a warm fuzzy, but it was quickly snuffed out by people treating charity like a fucking ATM. I don't know why I'm stunned when I realize that people will lie about anything just to score something for free. Next year, I'll go back to what I normally do - helping my local battered women's shelter, and donating to Toys for Tots.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The One-Hit Wonder strikes again.....

I enter a lot of blog contests (this isn't news to anyone who follows me on either Twitter or Facebook). Most are run legitimately..... but the few that aren't really piss me off.

I was a little skeptical of one blogger when they sent me a tweet to enter their $100 Visa GC giveaway. When I looked at their blog, it was brand-new and VERY bare bones. I know enough to know that sponsors generally don't give away Visa gift cards - they give away their products and/or services. This was also the VERY first post the blog did. Another alarm went off.

I entered though because I'll give anyone the benefit of the doubt the first time... but I remained skeptical. I did notice that the giveaway also had a loooooong window, and as I posted more entries I observed the website got more polished. That in and of itself wasn't a red flag - heck, most blogs evolve.

When the winner was announced - "Yahira" - I thought hmmmmm. A one-hit wonder, who did the required comment but nothing more. No Blogger profile or email, either. It could happen I suppose, but how convenient.

As time went on the blogger hosted other giveaways.... heck I even won a couple of them, and got my prizes (they were all sponsored giveaways though). She also posted several reviews/articles, but they seemed to be better written than the posts that I knew were hers, which made me wonder if they were taken from other blogs. I didn't worry enough about it to do any digging, but it stayed in the back of my mind.

Then in the fall, she posted a $100 Amazon giveaway, and I thought to myself... here we go again. Is this yet ANOTHER fake giveaway to boost her blog so she gets better review offers? I entered though, because I still wasn't sure... but I watched it with a very critical eye. When it came time to pick a winner, "Amanda LeAnn" was chosen, and guess what? Another one-hit wonder (I looked through ~2,000 comments to confirm it). No Blogger profile or email address provided. Just the required entry, nothing more.

I guess this second "giveaway" was done to boost their standings so they could get Christmas presents to review? I don't know. I did stop entering their giveaways though because even though I'd entered and won a couple of sponsored ones, the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth.

They just recently ended a $150 Visa GC giveaway..... and guess what? ANOTHER one-hit wonder won! Congrats to "Lindy Trent". Thankfully she did her one-hit wonder post late in the giveaway, so I wasn't forced to search through ~5,2000 comments to find it.

This really pisses me off.... especially since I'm STILL smarting from the whole CoutureNerd fiasco. I mean honestly, there is sooo much out there that can be won legitimately, or reviewed legitimately... it's so easy to boost your readership or page views... why post fake contests? I wish there was a better way to police this stuff.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve Eve - wins, giveaways, and Walmart SUCKS

Only 2 days until Christmas! Well, a little less than 2 days, technically. I thought I'd be immune to the craziness leading up to the holiday since I'd managed to win most of my Christmas presents for friends and family this year... but then I decided to help out on The Bloggess. I've spent the better part of the last 2 days trying to get items ordered and mailed to some families less fortunate. Everything has gone smoothly, except for the clothing I ordered for 1 family from Walmart..... thanks a LOT, Walmart. Now I remember why I hate you.

I can't believe I spent literally HOURS on their website, trying to find items that were in stock and available to ship... entered the family's address for the ship-to, paid extra for 1 day delivery (because they need 2-3 days for processing... WTF?) so it would be there by the 24th.... only to check my order status last night, and find out they're shipping it all to me. *bangs head on desk* Several phone calls later, no way to stop it... so I ended up having to paypal the $ to the person who posted, who will shop for the family, and I have 4 packages on their way to my house over the next 2 days that I'll have to refuse.

On a happier note, everything I ordered from Amazon has either gotten to their families, or will be there today and tomorrow, although I don't know how Amazon makes any money. I have free Prime on my account, so I sent everything I could that way. Amazon is sending 1 box of crayons 2nd day air. I kid you not. *SMH*

I was hoping that helping out on The Bloggess would help me feel a bit more festive, but honestly I hate Christmas and can't wait for the whole damn thing to be over. But at least I feel a little better when I read that blog and know there are literally hundreds (if not thousands) of families who won't hate Christmas as much as I do because they were either able to help someone else, or they got a little help for themselves.

I did get a couple of great wins yesterday. Kristin @ Take It From Me picked me as the winner of her ShaToBu Shapewear giveaway - a very welcome win, and something I will definitely get a LOT of use out of. Laura @ New Age Mama picked me as the winner of her Home Pro By Design giveaway. It seems silly to be excited about cleaning supplies, but I am (especially the kitchen and bathroom items). Mimi @ Marvelous Mom Reviews picked me as the winner of her Fashion To Figure giveaway, which is for a Bolero, Jeans and a Skirt! YAY! My clothes are too big, so winning this is a definite blessing!

There is a couple of blog giveaways ending today that I've entered...

Real Mom, Real Views is giving away an EatSmart Precision Digital Kitchen Scale. No need to tell you how much I'd love to win this. I've been struggling the last couple of days sticking to my diet - not just the portion control, but the endless food at work, the Harry & David Moose Munch and Truffles that arrived on my doorstep... *sigh* Although the scale can't help with the Moose Munch, it will definitely help me with the portion control which I desperately need.

Cocktails with Mom is giving away a set of curtains from CurtainWorks. I really need curtains for my office, so this would be great to win. I think I like these the best, and they would go with the color of the paint I picked out.

Lastly, Lisa @ Frugal Family Fun is giving away a $75 Sears gift card. We shop at Sears all the time (I love this one brand of laundry soap they carry, plus I'm always needing tools or something for the house) so this would definitely come in handy.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

No rest on Sunday, if you're entering blog contests!

Another rash of giveaways are ending in the days leading up to Christmas. It's crazy how many prizes are out there to be won! Hopefully my good fortune will continue, as I've just about realized my goal of not spending any money for Christmas presents this year (even my son's car repairs are almost covered by gift cards I've won!). I've even been able to help on Bloggess' post. Reading some of those stories, my heart breaks - that could have been me. Heck, for a few years that WAS me. I forget sometimes just how fortunate I really am.

Here's what I've entered that are ending over the next few days:

Familylicious Reviews is giving away a pair of MiracleBody jeans. Since I've been losing weight, I'm a lot more "jiggly" than I used to be so this would be a nice win. Who wouldn't want to look 10 pounds lighter, just by putting on a pair of jeans! I wish they had a 100 pound version LOL Also, they're one of Oprah's Favorite Things, so they must be fabulous.

Songberries is also offering a pair of MiracleBody jeans. The great thing about Songberries' giveaways is there's no penalty for entering late - everyone can earn the same amount of entries. There's over 40 possible entries available for this giveaway, which makes for some great odds! This giveaway ends Wednesday at midnight.

Sammi's Blog of Life is giving away The Chef's Stir Pan by KitchenStir. This is an ingenious little appliance! It has a built-in stirer, so it's like having an extra set of hands in the kitchen! Plus it had a temperature range of 0-400 degrees, so you can set it to the perfect temperature for what you're cooking (I'm thinking making caramels, custards or jam, where the temperature is critical). This would be a great appliance to own!

The Fashionable Housewife has taken giveaways to a whole new level - I've entered FIVE that end today! She's offering a $100 instant gift card to ShopBop.com, a $100 gift card to Beso.com, a $150 gift card to for jewelry from DiViene.com, a pair of shoes or boots from Shoeline, and a $50 giftcard to one of Coinstar's retailer partners - I'd pick Amazon but there are several others. Coinstar is also running a promotion right now to help with your holiday shopping. Not only will Coinstar waive the fees on your transactions, but they've teamed up with five national retailers to kick off the Cash in $40, get $50 promotion. Through December 31st, if you cash in $40 worth on change, you'll get a $10 bonus on your receipt!

Blommi is giving away a set of Moziak disposable dinnerware (service for 8 which includes utensils, plus a covered serving bowl, serving utensils & pair of serving platters). I haven't seen these in my local CVS, but service for 8 for only $10 makes this a VERY affordable option the next time I have a party! I like that you can choose to wash and re-use these, or dispose of them if you don't want to be bothered!

The Mommy-Files is giving away a NESTLÉ Family Holiday Brunch Package, which includes a host of NESTLÉ products, and a $50 VISA gift card. We always do brunch on New Year's Eve so this would be a great win!

MomSpotted is sponsoring a giveaway by JoeShopping.com for a $100 Amazon gift card! JoeShopping.com is a shopping comparison site, but with a social media twist. Not only can you compare prices, you can review products, share finds with your friends and solicit their feedback, and so much more! I recently joined and I look forward to exploring the full functionality of the site. Not sure about the badges they have (they look a bit too Nickelodeon for my taste) but it's a nice idea.

Cat at 3 Kids and Us is giving away a Eureka Whirlwind Vacuum Cleaner (black), including Filtrete vacuum accessories. I would love a new vacuum. Even though I have mostly hardwood floors, I do have a couple of large area rugs, and they seem to attract dirt like crazy!

Two of a Kind is picking FOUR winners for some awesome prize packs from Alouette or Chavrie. I'm secretly hoping for the Alouette myself, but either would be great! We love their cheeses year-round but especially over the holidays - quick, easy and delicious party food!

Two of a Kind also has another giveaway, this one for a fabulous Jif prize pack that includes several jars of peanut butter and a Calphalon Gourmet Roaster! If I'm lucky enough to win this, it's going to my ex's mom. I figure with all the kids she works with, getting lots of free peanut butter would be a blessing! Every little bit helps.

Real Moms, Real Views is giving away a Logitech Wireless Illuminated Keyboard K800! I'd love to win a new keyboard, and the fact that it's lighted would definitely be a bonus when I'm trying to work on the laptop in the living room, but my son has the lights off watching a movie. The laptop screen just doesn't throw off enough light (and I HATE the keyboard!).

Shannon at The Mommy-Files is offering a NESTLÉ Christmas prize pack filled with Stocking Stuffers, including WONKA Fun Dip books, a CRUNCH/Paul Frank Basket and a $100 VISA gift card!

Mom Start is giving away a Kodak Playtouch HD Video Camera! This would be great to capture all those special moments (like my son's graduation from college, I think he's gonna make it after all!!).

A Nut in a Nutshell and McCormick are promoting a virtual cookie swap, and in conjunction with that they're offering a great prize package, including McCormick spices and extracts, Martha Stewart cookie cutters, the book Cookie Swap! by Lauren Chattman and more!

The Bragging Mommy is offering one lucky reader an Orient watch of their choice from Orient's Standard Line! I'm not sure which one my son would pick if I won - I think one with a black face and silver/gold band is sexy (plus, he could wear it with anything) but he might go for an all gold one for that ultimate blinged-out look. This giveaway ends on Wednesday and she's offering tons of extra entries so even if you're late to the giveaway, you can really maximize your chances of winning.

Lastly, Sweeps4Bloggers is giving away a Tortuga Carribean Rum Cake (the large 33 oz one)! I love these things. They are seriously one of the best things I've EVER put in my mouth. I know I'm trying to lose weight but the lure of the moist deliciousness of this cake is calling my name :) If I win, I don't know which flavor I'd pick. Chocolate? Pineapple? Original (with walnuts!!)? Key Lime? Blue Mountain Coffee? or Orange? They also have Coconut, Banana and Cinnamon Raisin.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Kitchenaid Mixer Giveaway - 3 Kids and Us

3 Kids and Us and KitchenAid want to make your holiday wish come true and offer you the chance to win a brand new KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer, in your choice of over 20 colors, valued at $349.99!



Enter the KitchenAid Stand Mixer Giveaway and check out the Homemade Holiday Feast recipes that show all the ways the KitchenAid Stand Mixer and attachments can be used to create unique family dishes and save you counter space with one appliance that can be converted to meet your every need.

If I'm lucky enough to win this I'd be a cooking and baking machine! Cat's blog posts and recipes have given me a lot of great ideas :)

Frantic Friday - more wins, more giveaways ending today

TGIF! I'm ready for the weekend - this week has been exhausting!

I did pick up a few more wins over the last couple of days which was nice. I also redeemed my points from the Marlboro Outwit the West game for a Fuji Mountain bike, so I'm looking forward to getting that - not sure what happened the last week, I fell just short of the netbook *sigh*. My son is hoping it's a mistake, he's waiting a couple of days to see if they correct it - otherwise, he'll get the digital camera.

LOTS more blog contests are ending today, I think this is the last big wave before the holidays. There's literally thousands of dollars worth of prizes up for grabs!

Piera at Jolly Mom is hosting a giveaway for a Hoover® MaxExtract77 Multi-Surface Pro™ Carpet & Hard Floor Deep Cleaner! From Hoover's website: MaxExtract® deep cleaners are designed to clean a variety of surfaces from carpets to couches and sealed wood floors to tiled floors. This versatile, easy-to-use machine removes water, dirt and grime with pressurized cleaning, and has heated drying for a fast dry time. Doesn't this sound amazing? I have mostly hardwood and tile flooring, but I do have several large area rugs (as well as upholstered pieces) that I could use this for. Whoever wins this will be very lucky indeed.

A Mom's Balancing Act and Thanks, Mail Carrier have THREE sets of giveaways ending today! The first is for a $100 gift card to Hayneedle. I love winning items like this, so I can shop for things for the house... I still need a few things, like lighting for the living room (and I'd LOVE to replace the lighting in my kitchen and dining room). Hayneedle has so many nice things, and their prices are VERY reasonable!

The next set of giveaways are sponsored by EatSmart. A Mom's Balancing Act is offering a Precision Pro Digitial Kitchen Scale, while Thanks, Mail Carrier is offering a Precision Digital Bathroom Scale. Either of these would be great for my diet (excuse me, weight management plan.... it's a lifestyle, not a diet). I wonder if I can win them both? LOL

The last set of giveaways from A Mom's Balancing Act and Thanks, Mail Carrier are for $75 ATG Stores gift certificates (one awarded from each blog). ATG Stores has a lot of great products perfect for you or anyone on your gift list! I mentioned earlier I needed lighting for my living room and these sconces would be PERFECT for one wall. If I win this one, I'm getting those sconces!

My Wee View is giving away a $100 gift certificate to CSN Stores. There's several things there I like, or I could use this to purchase a gift for someone on my Christmas list! So many possibilities....

Cocktails with Mom is giving away a Honeywell 360° Surround Heater. I would love to win this for my office. Now that it's just me in the house, I could keep the thermostat even lower than I already do, and use this in my office (which is where I spend most of my time when I'm home after work). Think of the money I'd save on heating bills!

The Mommy-Files is giving away a NESTLÉ Baking Package, which includes either coupons or product for CARNATION Evaporated Milk, TOLL HOUSE Morsels, TOLL HOUSE Refrigerated Cookie Dough and a $25 Visa gift card for other baking supplies. Although these won't be here in time for Christmas, this prize package would be great for any winter afternoon. Nothing like coming in from the cold and warming up with some freshly baked cookies!

Baby Loving Mama and Barefoot Mommies are each sponsoring a giveaway from JoeShopping.com. One lucky reader from each blog will win a $100 Amazon gift certificate! JoeShopping.com is a shopping comparison site, but with a social media twist. Not only can you compare prices, you can review products, share finds with your friends and solicit their feedback, and so much more! I recently joined and I look forward to exploring the full functionality of the site. Not sure about the badges they have (they look a bit too Nickelodeon for my taste) but it's a nice idea.

Flying Giggles & Lollipops has TWO $500 gift card giveaways ending today! One gift card is from Kmart, the other from Sears. Either gift card can be used at the other store, and they can also be used at Roebuck and Co., Lands’ End, and The Great Outdoors! Can you imagine the shopping spree you could have with either of these? I would stock up on items for the house like sheets, towels, curtains, new drinking glasses, socks and underwear (because at my house, you ALWAYS get socks and underwear at Christmas!) but I could also afford to pick up a video game or two for my son, some tools I need to work around the house, or maybe a Foodsaver or hardwood floor cleaner!

Amanda at My Life with Rats and More is giving one of her readers a Samsung 22" Class 450 Series 720p 60Hz LCD HDTV! Yes, a flatscreen TV! Honestly, I don't know how she does it. She's not working with a sponsor either - she paid for this herself. If I'm lucky enough to win this, I think I'll give it to my mom to put in her kitchen. She spends a lot of time in there, and there's not a TV in that area. She can mount it on the wall so it'll be out of the way :)

The Fashionable Gal is offering one lucky winner a Wanchai Ferry dinner kit, a Macaroni Grill dinner kit, and a $25 Visa Gift Card so you can enjoy a date night or 2 at home with that special someone. Use the gift card for a special dessert, a bottle of wine, maybe some candles or whatever would make your date night memorable! I wonder if there's a giveaway for a special someone? LOL

Mommy PR is giving away a $50 gift certificate from Novica. If you're not familar with them, they sponsor artisans from around the world and make their crafts available through the Novica website. You can find everything from jewelry and clothing to masks, wall art, rugs and more! I've gotten a pair of earrings from an artisan in India once, and I gave my mom a gorgeous brooch. I also got my son an African drum that is one of his most favorite possessions. If I win this, I think I'll get him either a mask, or another African drum.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

my aspirations and plans for 2011 - my weight loss journey #OWNtalk

I've mentioned it before, but I'm overweight. Morbidly overweight, according to my BMI. Morbid.

mor·bid (môrbd) adj.

  1. a. Of, relating to, or caused by disease; pathological or diseased.
    b. Psychologically unhealthy or unwholesome: "He suffered much from a morbid acuteness of the senses" (Edgar Allan Poe).
  2. Characterized by preoccupation with unwholesome thoughts or feelings: read the account of the murder with a morbid interest.
  3. Gruesome; grisly.

I'm diseased. Gruesome. Grisly. Unwholesome. Well... isn't THAT special?

I can't pinpoint the exact moment when my weight spiraled out of control. There have been factors my whole life.... I was a chubby kid, a curvy teen (I was probably 150-160 pounds, and a size 14). In college, I packed on the freshman 10, and a couple more besides. Every year at my checkup, I was 2-5 pounds heavier than the year before. Never a big deal, it's only a few pounds, right? Other than the weight I was healthy. The doctor always said so. They weren't concerned, so neither was I.

When I was pregnant with my son, I was sick. VERY sick. I couldn't eat. It literally made me vomit to use toothpaste to brush my teeth. I saw my doctor regularly, and he told me not to worry about not eating - he made sure I was getting plenty of vitamins and minerals, and that I was well-hydrated. He said it was worse to be sick than not to eat, so not to force it. So for the better part of 6 months, I ate very little, maybe a piece of toast and yogurt, or a little cottage cheese. That wasn't breakfast - that was what I'd eat in a day!

I was also under a tremendous amount of stress (my father died unexpectedly when I was carrying my son, plus there were issues with his father). All of this put my my body under tremendous stress. My metabolism basically shut down.

Fast forward to the birth of my son (I actually weighed 5 pounds less the day I delivered him than I did the day I got pregnant), and I resume eating. Only I have no metabolism at this point, so now I'm gaining 5-10 pounds a year.

My son turned 21 this year, so you do the math. Oh, I've lost weight at times - but it comes back. It ALWAYS comes back. When it comes back, it brings along even more weight. I can't escape it. Amazingly enough other than the weight, I've been fairly healthy my whole life; but in the last few years, I'm developing issues that are either caused by, or exacerbated by my obesity. Sleep apnea. Insulin resistance. PCOS. Asthma. Degenerative arthritis in my knees. My kidney function is compromised. I retain a lot of fluid in my feet/ankles/legs - at times I can't even wiggle my toes, and it feels like my skin is going to split. My hormones are soooo far out of whack it's not even funny - I hate to think what'll happen when I go through menopause! At times, I have been hypertensive. I'm severely anemic. Stress incontinence. Depression.

Then there's the non-medical issues.... like finding clothing that fits. BRAS that fit. Going out to eat with friends, and having to check that the restaurant offers tables as well as booths (I don't fit comfortably in most booths). Flying.... dear God, FLYING. Don't get me started. I just don't travel anymore - it's easier. I don't do a lot of things I used to do anymore.

This is the year that I've decided enough is enough. I've spent (probably) the first half of my life carrying not only extra weight on my body, but extra weight on my soul... emotional, mental, spiritual and (at times) psychological weight that is killing me as certain as the extra pounds on my body. I want to be free of the proverbial monkey on my back - although in my case, the monkey is now the size of a full-grown man, and I've literally been carrying it.

I've always told myself once I lost the weight, I could reclaim my life.... until I realized I needed to reclaim my life in order to lose the weight. I had to do this. Doing nothing was killing me - one french fry, cheeseburger, soda at a time.

So, I took the plunge - I admitted the problem more than I could handle, and I asked for medical help. I'm now working with a nutritionist, who has me on a medically supervised diet, as well as prescription medication to help control my appetite. I'm reading food labels, I've cut out all drinks except water (I will occasionally have a small glass of juice or unsweetened tea). Turkey bacon instead of bacon. At least 1 fruit or vegetable at every meal. Whole wheat pasta, quinoa or couscous. I have to keep a food journal, and right down everything I eat. I do. I write down EVERYTHING. I figured out how many calories were in a slice of pepperoni (10). A Dot (12). I exercise. Not as much as I should, but I try.

It's been about 2 months, and I've lost weight. It's not coming off as fast as I'd like, but I tell myself it's coming off faster than it went on! I'm not 100% compliant - I do cheat a little here and there (otherwise, I wouldn't know that a Dot has 12 calories!). I'm probably 75-80% complaint... this isn't a diet, this is a lifestyle change. I won't spend the rest of my life not eating chocolate cake, or fried chicken. I just have to learn HOW to incorporate them into my diet. It's about moderation. Choices. Cheese in my eggs, or butter on my toast - not both. A Dot (or 6, in a small box) isn't the large box I used to eat. 2 or 3 slices of pepperoni in my salad are OK (better than 8-10x that amount). One tater tot isn't an order. Turkey bacon isn't that bad.

Even though I've been working with a nutritionist, I plan on having WLS. I was all ready to go, but then the doctor's office told me that my medical history notes weren't complete - my doctor hadn't completely documented my dieting attempts. So, I have to do a 6-month medically supervised diet before I can re-submit (which I'm doing with the nutritionist). Although, I did find out a couple of weeks ago that although my insurance carrier requires the 6-month MSD, my company's specific plan doesn't have that requirement in it.... so I could re-submit again and get approved.

But, I'm going to wait and stick with the nutrionist for a bit longer. I've seen too many cases of people who have WLS but don't change their eating habits, so they either don't lose as much weight as they could, or they end up gaining some, or all of it back. I don't want that to be me. So, I'll keep with the nutritionist for now (although I may not do a full 6 months). I can learn how to eat post-surgery (yes, there are guidelines you need to follow to be successful). Every pound I lose prior to surgery means that much less stress on my body (not to mention it makes it easier for the surgeon when we re-engineers my insides!).

Plus the extra time will allow me to work on other things, like getting my anemia under control (which will be harder to manage post-WLS), getting rid of all this excess fluid I'm retaining, improving my overall fitness. A healthier me pre-surgery means an easier recovery, and I'm all for that.

I'm looking forward to little things. Not needing a seat belt extender on an airplane. Not needing to sleep with a mask on (for my sleep apnea). Shopping for clothes in the "regular" stores. Fitting comfortably in a regular chair (with arms). Walking up stairs. Riding a bike. Wearing heels. Crossing my legs. Touching my toes.... heck, SEEING my toes!

I'd like to ride the rides at the fair next year, or fit through the turnstiles at the train station. To be hugged and have their arms reach ALL the way around me. Heck, maybe even swept off my feet, literally... and not by a forklift!

So, that's my story.... where I came from, how I got to where I am today, and where I'm going. I'm looking forward to the New Year - more so than I ever have before. Because now, I have a plan, and the tools to make that plan a reality. I have people who will help me, but more than that I'm helping myself. I'm looking forward to seeing how much weight I can lose on my own pre-surgery, and then post-surgery how close I can get to my goal weight. I'll keep you posted on my progress :)

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network blogging program, for a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner - and lots more giveaways to win today

I had another amazing day yesterday!

From MyCoupons, I won a Harry & David Twelve Days of Christmas Triple Discovery Gift! It's currently sold out on their site, but I googled it and it looks AMAZING! I know my son and his friends will devour this in no-time flat!

From Pretty Pink Momma, I won a necklace from PearlParadise.com. I picked a white pearl, 18" length with a yellow gold clasp - I wanted something classic. :)

Lastly, from EveryCarListed.com I won another $50 gas card! I won 2 two weeks ago (I was a Twitter and Facebook winner). I didn't realize you could win multiple weeks until I noticed a few others did, so I decided to play again this week - I'm glad I did!

There's another plethora of giveaways ending today..... here's a few of the ones I've entered.

Bridgette at The Not-So-Blog is doing a 24 hour giveaway for an AMAZING Blu-ray Prize Pack which includes a Blu-ray Player AND an year’s worth of rentals from Redbox! With the cold weather we've been having lately, staying home and wating Blu-ray movies sounds like just the thing (and with the Harry & David prize I won, I've already got plenty of snacks to go with it!).

The Mommy-Files is giving away a Craftsman prize package including a Craftsman Hooded Shirt Jacket, a Craftsman Workwear Tee, and a set of Craftsman Long Sleeve Coveralls, as well as a $25 Sears Gift Card! My son has ruined more clothes working on his car or doing work on the house (especially in the crawlspace) so these Coveralls would be PERFECT for that. Plus with the weather we've been having lately, he could really use a Hooded Shirt Jacket - the wind just whips around campus and he's miserable right now. :(

Mommy Mandy and Our Ordinary Life have teamed up to offer 1 reader an great prize - a Dyson City DC26! You need to check it out - it's the cutest thing I've ever seen, with the power of a Dyson! This would be perfect for my son's dorm, where cleaning is a necessity but space is at a premium. Plus, it's multi-floor, so it'll work equally well on the bare floor as well as the area rug in his room. I entered on both sites to maximize my chances on this one.

Outnumbered 3 to 1 is giving away a $100 gift certificate to ATG Stores as part of her Holiday Palooza! I love shopping there - every time I look at their site, I find another 27 things I want. They're the first place I look for anything now - they're my Amazon for home items.

Head over to Eighty MPH Mom where you can win a $175 GameStop Gift Card! I don't need to tell you that this would be great to win - there's several games on my son's wish list, and I'd love to pick up a few things for the Wii for my workouts.

A Review and a Giveaway and JoeShopping.com are giving away a $100 Amazon gift card! I don't need to tell you how much I get from Amazon - heck, I even order grocery items from them for me, my mom and my ex's mom (she's addicted to some rice I got her once)! LOL

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What a Day! Wins, More Wins, and Even More Giveaways!

Holy Moly, yesterday was AMAZING! I received SEVEN different winner's notifications.

From Two Southern Girls, I won the Old Orchard prize pack.

From Piera at Jolly Mom, I won the Nestle prize pack which includes a copy of the Southern Plate cookbook (written by the blogger at SouthernPlate.com). I've been wanting this cookbook for awhile now.

From Jennifer at MomSpotted, I was 1 of 5 winners who each won $100 American Express gift card! It'll get added to the offspring's car repair fund. Another $100 I won't have to come up with!

From Dove Chocolate, I won some DOVE Chocolate Snowflake PROMISES. I'll share these with my friends at work - someone's always looking for chocolate!

From Familylicious Reviews, I won a $25 American Express gift card. I'll be sending this one to mom, along with some of the coupons I get. She's funny - she won't take $100 gift card from me, but I can send her $25-$50 a month and those she'll accept. Go figure. LOL

From MyPleasureBlog, I won a Form 3!!!! No need to tell you what this will be for :)

...and last, but certainly not least, I won a $100 ThinkGeek gift certificate from Mommy Living the Life of Riley! I see a Star Trek pizza cutter in my future :)

Insane, right? I KNOW!

Lots more giveaways are ending today, maybe my luck will hold out :)

Baba's Farm Life is giving 3 of their readers their own copy of the book Bed & Breakfasts and Country Inns (courtesy of I Love Inns) with a Free Night Certificate inside! There's several B&Bs in Asheville that I'd love to spend a weekend at, so this would be a great prize to win!

Sweeps4Bloggers is offering a Himalayan Salt Lamp from Shop Natural Ways. I've never heard of these before - I think it would be not only a cool conversation piece, but it would improve the air quality in my bedroom. I've heard about the benefits of negative ions for awhile now, and this is a unique way to do it!

Cincinnati Coupons is giving away a $100 gift certificate to EyeBuyDirect.com. I just got my first pair of glasses this year, and they were unbelieveably expensive! I'd love another pair to keep at work, so I'm hoping I win this one.

Heck of a Bunch is giving away EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale in your choice of color. I think I'd pick the silver one. This would really help me on my diet, because I sometimes struggle with portion sizes - this would take all the guesswork out of it.

Sammi's Blog Of Life is hosting a giveaway for a Barilla prize pack (the reviewer got a 10-pound box of different shapes and types of pasta - both regular and whole wheat). Pasta is definitely a go-to meal in our home so this would be great to win.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Manic Monday - even more giveaways!

They say things come in threes, and I think they're right! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas with all these Holiday Gift Guides and associated giveaways.... it's incredible the amount of prizes being given away. Tons of giveaways I entered ended this weekend, and here's another list of ones I've entered that end today.

Our Ordinary Life has partnered with Underwriters Laboratories (UL), in an effort to get parents, specifically moms, to set aside one minute a day this holiday season to teach their kids safety. To help promote this effort, they're offering 1 reader a $100 Visa gift card. Also, readers have posted tons of safety tips, so there's a lot of great info on her post.

I entered to win a $300 gift card from Dear Crissy & Bare Necessities! Since I've started losing weight, I've got clothes in smaller sizes, but bras/panties? That's another story. Considering how much weight I have to lose, I will be going through several sizes of bras/panties on my way to a healthier weight, so winning this would really help me with this unexpected expense!

MomStart has 2 giveaways ending today - one is for an amazing Kraft gift pack (lots of Kraft products, free Cool Whip coupons, and even some stuff from Williams Sonoma!). The second is for a Alouette and Chavrie cheese (free coupons), along with some additional items. We go through a lot of Alouette and Chavrie cheese all year long, but especially over the holidays!

Dina at Just Another New Blog is giving away the most GORGEOUS Diamond Journey white gold pendant from Kranich's Jewelers ($299 value). Seriously, it's STUNNING. What an amazing gift for yourself, or that special someone!

Girl Gone Mom is giving one lucky reader a Special Edition Keurig Brewer. I love my Keurig, and I'm still holding out hope that I can win one to take to work.

Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House is giving away a Bissell Steam & Sweep Hard Floor Cleaner. I would love to win this - I'm finding it almost impossible to keep my kitchen floor clean (especially the grout lines). This would be great for that - and I'm probably going to have my son seal the grout lines while he's home on Christmas break so they don't stain.

Sweeps4Bloggers is giving away a $50 gift card to FragranceNet.com. They have pretty good prices on the cologne my son likes, and they offered a 15% coupon as soon as I loaded their site so that makes it a great deal. I like that they're all genuine brands (no imitations).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

TONS more giveaways ending this weekend!

There are a ton of giveaways ending this weekend that would be great for the holidays! Here is a small sampling of the ones I entered.

Sweeps4Bloggers is offering a 3 Month “Cheesecake of the Month” Club membership from Cheesecake.com to one lucky reader (ARV $179). Can you imagine, ringing in 2011 with THREE months of cheesecake?

Fab Find Foodie has 2 giveaways ending - one for a SodaStream Limited Edition Gold Pure machine (1 of only 500 made!), 2 reusable carbonating bottles, a sample pack of flavors, and 3 full-sized flavors (winner's choice). The other is for 2 free Chavrie coupons, a bamboo serving dish, cookbook (For the Love of Goat Cheese) and craisins to make their signature dish. In addition, 2 runners-up will each receive 3 free Alouette coupons!

Survey Junkie is offering a Community Coffee Private Reserve Gourmet Holiday Gift Basket ($79.99 value).

Momspective is giving away TWO $20 Chili's gift card to TWO winners! So, you can do a Chili's two for $20 meal deal, and then pass one along to a friend to do the same!

Half-Past Kissin' Time is giving away a $100 CSN gift card.

Mrs.4444 Cooks is giving away a $50 CSN gift card.

Friday, December 10, 2010

OMG, there are a TON of blog giveaways ending today!

I think half my list of blog giveaways are ending today - there's literally tens of thousands of dollars in prizes up for grabs.

Here's a sampling of all the ones I've entered- don't judge me. LOL Some are for me, but some of these would make great Christmas gifts! My goal this year is to try and win all my Christmas gifts - I've done OK so far. The Serta bed I won from Survey Junkie I gave to my mom (she's beyond thrilled!), and I've won a few things for my son (who's main gift this year will be $400 worth of tires, and $600 worth of tie rods for his car *sigh*). I've still got a few other gifts to button up, but hopefully I'll do that after today :D

A Mom's Balancing Act and Thanks, Mail Carrier are each offering their readers a $75 CSN Stores gift card.

A Nut in a Nutshell is offering a $20 Cold Stone Creamery gift card.

At the Fence is offering a Christmas Gift Basket Classic from Gourmet Gift Baskets.

Baba's Farm Life is offering THREE of their readers The Weight Loss Mindset, as well as a $50 IGIGI gift certificate.

My Wee View is offering a $150 Burt's Bees gift pack.

The Not-So-Blog is offering a $100 gift card to Cracker Barrel (country fried steak, anyone?)

I entered to win $100 from Dear Crissy & ATG Stores! One of her readers will win, why not me?

Eighty MPH Mom has 3 giveaways ending today that I entered.
Head over to Eighty MPH Mom, where you can WIN Pyrex-Corelle-Chicago Cutlery – World Kitchen Grand Prize giveaway (1 winner takes all!)!

Don't need kitchen items? Head over to Eighty MPH Mom, where you can win a $75 ATG Stores Gift Certificate! Pick out what you want!

STILL not your thing? Well then, Head over to Eighty MPH Mom, where you can win a Mr. Beams Anywhere Ceiling Light ($39.99 ARV)!

The Mommy-Files is offering a Nestle Family Holiday Celebrations Gift Pack, which includes a cookbook (Southern Plate: Classic Comfort Food That Makes Everyone Feel Like Family, from Christy Jordan @ Southern Plate), as well as free coupons from Carnation® Evaporated Milk, Toll House® Morsels, Toll House® Refrigerated Cookie Dough, Juicy Juice® and Stouffer's®. Sounds great, doesn't it?

Jolly Mom is also offering a giveaway for this same Nestle Family Holiday Celebrations Gift Pack!

Pretty Pink Momma is offering a freshwater pearl necklace from PearlParadise.com. I'd pick the white, 18" length with a white gold clasp for a classic look.

Sammi's Blog of Life is offering a Butterball Indoor Electric Turkey Fryer by Masterbuilt. Since it's meant to be used indoors, I could use it for so many things other than turkey!

The Queen of Swag! is offering a $75 Sears gift card.

Our Ordinary Life is offering a Flip UltraHD.

Mom Spark is offering a $75 shopping spree at Jockey.

MommyPR has 3 ending today - one for a great gift pack full of wonderful P&G products, one for another great gift pack filled with Nestle products, and the last one is for an Infinity Towel Warmer from WarmlyYours (perfect for these cold winter days/nights).

Thursday, December 9, 2010

American Express Gift Cards spreading their Seasons of Surprises to the blogosphere!

“This year, the American Express Gift Card that you give your friend or loved one may be worth more than you think. American Express Gift Cards is introducing the “Season of Surprises” promotion. Those who receive an American Express Gift Card can go online at www.americanexpress.com/holiday2010 to enter their Gift Card number and see if they have won one of 2,000 $25 Gift Cards or ten $10,000 instant win prizes. Once online, consumers will also be entered into a sweepstakes for a chance to win the grand prize of $100,000.”

To get the word out about this great promotion, American Express Gift Cards has teamed up with several bloggers to sponsor giveaways of $25 American Express gift cards. Below is a list of the ones I know of, but I'm sure there's others!

If I win, I'll share these with my mom and my ex's mom - both are retired, and living on a fixed income there's no room for those little luxuries that we take for granted. Even $25 would be welcome, especially at this time of year! Plus, it's like also giving them a lottery ticket for the grand prize of $100,000!

The Bragging Mommy is giving away ten $25 gift cards on her blog on Dec 9th, and a SECOND set of ten $25 gift cards on Dec 16th!

Our Ordinary Life is also giving ten of her readers $25 gift cards. The giveaway ends Dec 9th.

If that wasn't generous enough - Our Ordinary Life will do a SECOND giveaway on Dec 13th, where five of her readers will get two $25 gift cards EACH! So, $50 worth of gift cards to five lucky readers!

Jennifer at Mom Spotted is doing it a little differently - FIVE of her readers will each win $100 gift cards!!

Rockin' Mama is giving ten of her readers $25 gift cards.

Mom Start is giving away ten $25 gift cards on Dec 13th, and then another ten will get $25 gift cards on Dec 20th!

Familylicious Reviews is giving ten of their readers $25 gift cards on Dec 5th, and another ten $25 gift cards on Dec 12th!

Two of a Kind, Working on a Full House will pick five of their readers to each receive a $100 gift card on Dec 17th.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Live, Love, Laugh with Leslie, MiracleBody Jeans and Emile Henry

Live, Love, Laugh with Leslie has 2 great giveaways ending today that I've entered.

The first one is for a pair of MiracleBody jeans. They were one of Oprah's Favorite Things, and after reading about them I can see why! I would love to own a pair for myself (Samantha style, boot cut in Mystic wash, please). Now that I'm losing weight things are getting a little "jiggly" so it would be nice to have these jeans suck me back in. LOL

The second one is for a prize pack from Emile Henry, containing a pizza stone in black (LOVE this), a Rosle Collapsible Colander in red, and lastly a Flame Top Dutch Oven/Stewpot 4.2 quart. I was lucky enough to receive an Emile Henry Stockpot earlier this year but I sent it to my mom, and she LOVES it! With her arthritis, the fact that it's ~30% lighter than a comparably-sized cast iron pot is important to her, especially when it's full of beef stew or greens. I'm so glad I could do that for her, but I'm secretly envious because I really wanted to keep it for myself!

Both of these giveaways are part of Leslie's Holiday Goodies Event, and she offers tons of entry opportunities.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Millstone Coffee and Folgers Gourmet Selections K-Cup (and Keurig Brewer) Giveaway

Keurig is sponsoring a giveaway on The Mommy-Files for a Keurig Single-Cup brewing system (model isn't specified).

Anyone who knows me knows I love my Keurig, and I hate not being able to drink coffee at work. If I'm lucky enough to win this, it's going in my office, along with a case of Donut Shop coffee! I've had to cut waay back on my caffeine on the recommendation of my nutritionist, but I can still indulge (just not as much!)

This giveaway 12-7.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Several great giveaways from Being Alison - You can eat, drink, watch movies and then get back into shape!!

It seems like I haven't entered one of Being Alison's giveaways in a looong time, now all of the sudden every day there's a new one I've entered! Right now, I've entered into these great giveaways:

Your Shape: Fitness Evolved for the Xbox Kinect. I need something else to add to my exercise routine - my weight loss is going a lot sloooower than I'd hoped.

$50 Visa gift card, as part of Swanson's Great Stuffing Debate that I blogged about here. There's TONS of bloggers running these giveaways right now!

A Roku HD Player. I've been reading about these all over, and I can't wait to own one. Maybe I'll get lucky!

A $100 e-GC to MyWinesDirect - just in time for all those holiday parties! The best part is everyone who enters the giveaway will get a $20 e-GC!

I'm wondering what goodie today's blog posts will bring?

Fun Saving Money - 2 great grilling giveaways end today

Funny, we had our first snowfall yesterday and today I'm trying to win 2 grilling giveaways from Fun Saving Money!

The first one is for a Steak Station Digital Meat Thermometer. Even though this would be great for the grill, I can definitely use it year-round for chickens, roasts, steaks, etc.

The second is for a Steven Raichlen Creme Brulee Kit and his Dessert Barbeque Rub. I love Creme Brulee, desserts, and I love Steven Raichlen, so this is a match made in foodie heaven!

Each giveaway offers several different entry options, so do any (or all!) to maximize your chances of winning.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Let it snow!

Home Constuction & Improvement - Expert Home Improvement Advice

Home Construction & Improvement is a website providing expert advice on every aspect of home construction and home improvement. The site was created by Todd Fratzel, who is a a licensed professional engineer in several states with a background in civil engineering, structural engineering and residential and commercial building construction.

He started the site to share his wealth of knowledge, not only from an engineer's perspective, but from the DIYer who also owns his own home, is raising a family and knows about construction and and contractors.

I like the site because it allows me to ask questions about the growing list of projects I want to do around the house, and I can search their forums to see discussions on everything from porches to basement insulation.

Paslode is offering one lucky reader of Home Construction & Improvement the chance to win a CF-325 Cordless Framing Nailer!

Todd did a review of this nailer and it sounds like a great item to have - especially since I'm looking at rebuilding both our front and back decks in the next year or so :( Having a tool like this would make the difference on whether I would attempt to do it myself (with my son, of course - make him earn his car insurance) or hire it out. I'd also be able to use it to build that storage shed that I need :)

5 Minutes for Mom Christmas Giveaway - look at all the one I entered!

5 Minutes for Mom, as part of their Christmas Giveaway is offering their readers a chance to win a wide variety of prizes! I entered a few:

BISSELL Steam & Sweep.

Epson Stylus NX625 photo printer.

Keurig Single-Cup brewing system. This prize will also include a sampling of Millstone and Folgers Gourmet Selections K-Cup portion packs to get you started.

Celebrity Gift Basket with a huge selection of products, valued over $470!

8 piece Oven Fresh Ceramic Baking Set from Oneida.

This is only a small sample of what they're offering, so check it out for yourself!

Lenovo IdeaPad U460 laptop computer giveaway from Dear Crissy

Dear Chrissy is giving away An IdeaPad U460 14″ Laptop from Lenovo! If I win, I'm sending it to my ex's mom - she doesn't even own a computer, so this would be a blessing for her! There are several ways to enter so you can increase your odds of winning. It ends today so don't delay!

I entered Crissy’s Can’t Wait til Christmas Lenovo Laptop Giveaway and hope to win a $799.00 IdeaPad!