Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sandy Hook Elementary: #26acts #momentofsilence and more

I was at Disneyland last Friday with my family and came out that evening to the horrific news of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut. 20 children killed?! All in 1st grade, all ages 6 or 7?! Six adults tried to stop it and paid with their lives?! It was (is) an unbearable sadness for me and I felt like I had no right to feel it so deeply.

This is not my tragedy. But in spite of the fact I live a counrty away, and I know none of the victims, It is a tragedy that has hit me hard. I have a first grader. I was horrified and so, with most of the country and world, I have cried and mourned with those families whose tragedy we are all watching unfold. I have deeply felt this tragic loss and this horrific event has made me really stop and take a step back.

I cannot imagine the pain these families are going through. I thought first of the kids themselves and what they went through-of the teachers and principal and how hard they tried to stop this man and paid with their lives. I thought of the parents of these babies that were taken (and then I thought they probably hate me calling them babies-I know my 6 year old would!), I thought of those poor siblings of those children, particularly of the ones that experienced the terror of being in that school. I thought of the spouses and boyfriends and parents and siblings of those adults that went to work and never left. I thought of the teacher who is out on maternity leave and just lost her entire class and her substitute. Everytime I think I am done crying, another person or another thought brings me to tears.

I WANT to hear what the parents and families of the children want to say about their kids-about every one of those kids because they all deserve to get their child's story out in their own words! I want to honor those 26 people we lost in Sandy Hook Elementary school on Friday, December 14, 2012.

There is nothing I can do. Nothing will make this better or fix this for those families, but we as a country can honor them and remember them. We can be kinder and more loving to each other and we can work together to figure out how to stop this from happening again!

Here are some things you and I can do to help:

Fisrt, USA Today has a list compiled with ways to help here. It is good and has a lot of options. Please know that Noah Pozner's (a 6 year old victim) family has warned that there are FAKE funds being set up and be careful. I like this list because it has what families have said are legit places to donate. Please read this article about the scams. It gives great info on how to check and make sure you are dontating to a legit place!

Second, The Connecticut PTSA (Parent, Teacher, & Student Association) has some ideas on their website on how to help. The thing getting the most attention (because it is actually something we can all DO to try to make life easier for the surviving 600+ Sandy Hook students when they return to class in January) is a Snowflake drive (I guess). You make snowflakes and send them to the Connecticut PTSA who will put them up all over the new school so when students return they will return to a winter wonderland. I love this idea because I think there will be enough snowflakes to cover the school in white. Beautiful and peaceful for those students! My kids and I will be making and sending snowflakes this week!

The PTSA website says "Make and send snowflakes to Connecticut PTSA, 60 Connolly Parkway, Building 12, Suite 103, Hamden, CT 06514, by January 12, 2013."

Third, Ann Curry tweeted shortly after this terror that we should all commit to doing 20 random acts of kindness for others in honor of the 20 children slain. Responses noted that the teachers were also heroes and the 20 acts quickly became 26 acts and now it has gone viral. You and I can commit to doing #26acts of Kindness to honor those killed in Sandy Hook Elementary school. Please read more about that here or just type #26Acts into Twitter and see all the good that has been happening! I am going to do #26Acts!

Last, there is a movement for a national #momentofsilence tomorrow (Friday 12/21) at 9:30am est for a minute. Many, many websites are going silent/dark during that time. Although I cannot get the neato widget to work and to display that I am going dark. I will be sharing in the Moment of silence. My blog will be silent, and I too will be silent. As my kids and I prepare for them to go to school (it will be 7:30 am here), we will stop and silently honor those children and adults from Sandy Hook.

There is nothing I can to to fix this, but I hope all the families of the lovely children and brave women killed will feel the love and support of those that grieve with them. I hope acts of kindness can help those that need some love, and I hope to help make the world a better place in some small way by trying to be the best me I can be.

Will you join with me to honor these people? Are there other things we can do that I have not listed? If so, please feel free to post your ideas as a comment after this post!

One more thing, one of the young victims, Emily Parker, was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as am I. This article is about her stake president (one of our clergy) and how he was able to attend to her family as this tragedy unfolded. It is a beautiful (I highly recommend reading it)and I will steal from it a quote by Abraham Lincoln to end this post:
With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012

#OldNavy and #Crowdtap Sample share: @OldNavy Dresses!!


I have been a member of Crowdtap (which is a place you get to share your opinions and sometimes even get to sample awesome items) for quite a while now. I love all the different things I get to discuss, review and try out through them. My favorite things though are always the Old Navy sample and share programs. If chosen, you get a coupon for a free item for yourself and a free item for a friend. I have been lucky enough to do quite a few sample and share projects. I reviewed Old Navy Jeans, Old Navy Outerwear/coats, and Old Navy Shorts. Recently I was chosen to also get an Old Navy dress!! (And as I was typing this review, I just got an email saying I get to Sample and Share Active Wear soon as well!!)

Today I want to tell you about the Dress sample and share! I took my daughter with me to go shopping for my dress. She tried on dresses too. We had a great time. I was actually hoping to get a maxi sweater dress like this one from

But, as you may recall, I have recently moved to Arizona. It is still hot here. There is no need for a maxi sweater dress here, and when I went to the store, they did not actually have any (which was ok since it would be far too hot here anyway). So, when they did not have what I had liked online, I just started grabbing different dresses and trying them on. Here are some of the ones I tried on:

So, I really liked all these ones, but in the end I went with this one:

I just thought it was a fantastic dress and in a different color than I have in my closet right now! I wore it to church on Sunday and got SO many compliments! I knew then I had chosen wisely. I was tempted to buy my daughter the same dress since we look so cute together in the matching dresses:

BUT she was not fond of matching her mommy. I liked this dress she tried on as well:

But the dress SHE liked the best (and bought) was this one:

All in all I had a great experience going to Old Navy and trying on all the dresses. I thought there was a lot to choose from (though there were not long dresses). I liked what I got and if you are looking for a super cute dress at an affordable price, check out your local Old Navy store or go check out dresses right from your computer!

If you also want the chance to become a Crowd Tapper so you can sign up for future sampling events, please join through my referral link here and we can start tappin together! :)

***By way of Disclosure, I was given a coupon for me to get a free ON Dress, as well as a free coupon for a friend. Thanks CrowdTap and Old Navy for this fun experience and these free dresses for me and my friend!!***


Friday, November 30, 2012

SAFESKIN review and #giveaway ends 12/12/12

I truly love doing reviews. I love it. So i was so happy when I was asked to review SAFESKIN Kids Antibacterial Gel

The SAFESKIN Kids Antibacterial Gel is pretty awesome. we have used it before. It's been a long time though, so I was excited to try it again. 

Let me tell you a little bit about it from their website:

SAFESKIN Kids Antibacterial Gel is a long lasting protective barrier for applying to minor cuts, scrapes, burns and creates a barrier for MRSA — up to 48 hours!
  • Trusted by Hospitals
  • Barrier to MRSA
  • 48 Hour Antibacterial Protection
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Non-greasy for stronger bandage adhesion

With 5 kids we have a lot of cuts and scrapes and burns and bruises in this house. So I was sure I would have plenty of opportunity to try this out. However in some miracle during the time we've had this in our house we have not had a single instance where we could use it. I had hoped to show you some great day before and after pictures of using this product but that's not going to happen. What I can tell you is that in the past we have used it before and we have liked it it has lived up to what it says it will do.

I did you some of the SAFESKIN Kids Antibacterial Gel on my own skin just to see what it felt like a test it out. I usually use neosporin for cuts and bruises. One thing that always frustrates me when using neosporin is how hard it is. It's difficult, in cold weather especially, to spread it on a wound. Especially with young kids for moving around and don't want you to put it on. However this product solve that problem beautifully. It is nice and soft to the touch when you squeeze it out of the tube put on your skin it feels all nice and it definitely has a protective barrier to it. I really like how it felt and thought it would be excellent to use. 

You can buy some SAFESKIN Kids Antibacterial Gel at most Walmart stores. Head over today and you can print a coupon for $1 off here: SafeSkin coupon.

And guess what?  One lucky Beckee's Deals reader will win one (1) tube of SAFESKIN Kids Antibacterial Gel!

See rafflecopter below to enter:a Rafflecopter giveaway Please note that the giveaway will end on 12/13 at 12:01 AM EASTERN time. That means you have until 11:01 PM on 12/12 Central time to get in entries (That is only 10:01PM here in AZ).  Please note that winners will be picked at random by Rafflecopter after the giveaway ends!  Also, Facebook is not affiliated with this giveaway and cannot be held responsible for it in any way. 

By way of disclosure, I received a package containing the following: · One (1) tube of SAFESKIN Kids Antibacterial Gel · One (1) $10 Walmart Gift Card And In addition one (1) tube of SAFESKIN Kids Antibacterial Gel will be provided as a prize for my giveaway winner. No other compensation was given, and as always all opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Black Friday...what did you score?

OK friends, I mentioned that I need Black Friday crazy stories because I was unable to go shopping this year due to my husband's work schedule.

I am still waiting to hear some of your awesome adventures! Did you have any crazy stories? Score any AMAZING deals to brag about?! Anything fun?

I have a couple awesome weekend/Black Friday updates to share with you.

First, I talked to my mom about her Black Friday adventures with my brother (he's 15). They went all over throughout the night. I am most jealous of the H&M stop they made-sounds like it was a great stop!! Here's the crazy part though. My mom decided it was not worth fighting the Walmart crazy crowd at the beginning, so it was their last stop of the morning. The thing is, there is a new Walmart that JUST opened near her. She walked in to an almost empty Walmart on Black Friday morning. There were MANY of the doorbusters still there and she got lots of deals without crowds! She asked the manager if it was busy when the deals started and he said "No not really." Apparently no one knew that Walmart had opened yet...that is like my Black Friday Dream come true!!! I am SOOOO jealous!

AND my story...I have to shoo my kids away first...ok, they are gone. So, my son broke our Wii recently. Completely brokw it. I like to do Wii fit on there and have not been able to for a while and I am getting FAT! I need my workout back, so I wanted to get the Black Friday Wii deal for $89 at Walmart. I tried to get it online but it sold out in seconds online, and I could not go to a store (where I am sure it sold out is seconds at most locations anyway). Fast forward to Saturday afternoon...all doorbusters that were still in store had the prices extended through the weekend. I had to make a test drive to the Mesa airport so I knew where it was. I drove out there and on the way back the kids were crying for a potty. I had a list of groceries and we passed a Walmart. I exited off the freeway and stopped. I walked past the electronics aisle where most things were pretty picked over and the best deals were long gone...then I saw it...on a bottom shelf pushed to the back, an $89 Wii...really?! I distracted the kids with the tvs and games, got some help and snagged the last $89 Wii. The checker said she could not believe that it was still there-they thought they were all gone within 10 minutes of the sale starting! YEAH!!!! Lucky Me!! So, what did you score?!

FREE Santa Hat

This is a fun freebie! You can get a FREE santa hat just by liking a facebook page and filling out a form here. I just filled out mine, and I really this one works!! :)

Thanks Couponing to be Debt Free for the heads up on this one!!
Photobucket Inspiration board contest!

I saw this awesome giveaway on another blog, Contest Corner, and I wanted to tell you all about it and I also wanted to enter!

Here are the details of the contest:

You can enter to win a $1000 credit to by submitting a blog post of your own inspiration board. Of course you have to create your board and put it in a post on your blog or website. It takes a little time, but it is fun and you could possibly win a great prize! You have to submit entries by 11/26 (tomorrow!!) so get to it! Here is the website to go to so you can enter:

And now for My inspiration board:

The top left is my FAVORITE card on their site! I love it because you can change the location of the star to reflect where you are! We move so much that this is IDEAL for us!! Greay design!!!

This would be awesome to win, but if I don't I hope one of you does-so go enter!! And thanks Contest Corner for posting about this contest!
Friday, November 23, 2012

#Purex Plus Oxi Review and #Giveaway (Ends 12/8)

As I have mentioned before, I am a Purex Insider and as such I get to try a lot of their awesome laundry products. Most recently I was sent some Purex Plus Oxi to test out.

About Purex Plus Oxi

A few things I was told about Purex Plus Oxi:
  • The "most powerful Purex detergent available" It works on over 101 stains!
  • There are 3 stain fighting enzymes in Purex Plus Oxi and each enzyme works against different types of stains.
  • Works in both high efficiency washers and traditional washers
  • As with other Purex products-it is not going to break the bank! It costs half the price of leading brands! :)
  • Hypoallergenic formula with light fresh scent.
  • Can be used for a pretreater as well. Just pour a little on the fabric, rub stained item together and let sit for 5 minutes before putting in washer.
What did I think:

Well, my sons gave me the perfect chance to test out this product! To REALLY test it out. My baby boy, E-Pup was eating chocolate one morning right after Halloween, and went to hug his big brother (E Dawg) before school. That was a big problem, and E Dawgs shirt looked like this:

He quickly changed his shirt and ran out to the bus stop, while I went to work on removing the stain from this white shirt. I pretreated it with the Purex Plus Oxi:

And washed it and dried it. After school, E Dawg was so happy to see that his shirt now looked like this again:

Apparently my little E-Pup did not think that was a tough enough test though. He is 20 months and into everything. So, he went ahead and did this to his other brother, Army's bed sheet:

ACK! Well, I tried out the Purex plus Oxi again and this is what that corner of the bed looks like now:

YEAH!!! It worked! On both of the baby's messes! I was very happy with the performance! It really worked out!

Also, I want to make a quick note about the scent of the Purex with Oxi. Most of you know I usually buy dye free, scent free detergent because I have kids and a husband with SUPER sensitive skin! This is a lightly scented detergent so I was a bit nervous about using it. One of my VERY sensitive skinned guys is Army. That is his sheet with marker covering it above. I washed his sheet in the Purex plus Oxi (lightly scented), and he has not had any skin outbreaks or rashes at all. So, at least for my sensitive skinned family, the scent was not an issue!

You can enter to Win!

There are a couple of great ways to win here! I will be giving away 3 coupons to 3 different readers of this blog so they can try out Purex plus Oxi themselves. You can enter that giveaway right here on this blog on the Rafflecopter form below! YEAH!

Purex has their own awesome giveaway going on!! The Purex plus Oxi Sweepstakes is up and running and it has $6,000 in prizes!! You can also enter to win LOTS of different prizes from Purex here in that sweepstakes!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The Terms and Conditions in the rafflecopter form says: Please note that the giveaway will end on 12/09 at 12:00 AM EASTERN time. That means you have until 11:00 PM on 12/08 Central time to get in entries (That is only 10:00 PM here in AZ). Please note that winners will be picked at random by Rafflecopter after the giveaway ends! Also, Facebook is not affiliated with this giveaway and cannot be held responsible for it in any way.

***By Way of Disclosure, I was sent a free bottle of Purex Plus Oxi for my review, and was given the 3 Free coupons as prizes for this giveaway. I was not however compensated in any other way and all opinions expressed are my own!***

PLEASE share your #blackfriday story with me!!!!

Black Friday! Arguably my favorite holiday of the week and one of the top 3 of the year (after Christmas and my birthday-which I will always count as a holiday). BUT this year it was not to be. This year was one of those lovely years when residency (or fellowship in this case) has blocked my shopping. So, as Wes works to earn us the money, I will not be out spending it and shopping as I usually am. And honestly, I am not too upset about it. I have been able to find most of the items I need online at great prices through the year anyway and will continue to look for the best prices for the rest of the Christmas list. That being said, I hope many of you got the chance to stay up all night shopping and getting GREAT deals! AND I want to hear about your adventures! PLEASE!!! Share your Black Friday stories and feed my addiction since I was unable to go! Comment with your stories! To get started, let me repost below my (LONG) story of my Black Friday adventure from a couple years ago. It was great-quite amusing (not sure the hilarity of it really translates in writing, but just know-it was funny!)!! As I am preparing for one of my favorite days of the year (Black Friday), I thought I would repost my funny shopping experience from last year. It is a long but (hopefully) fun read! I know I have a lot of new readers over the past year that might get a kick out of this post! If you are a long time reader, you may want to re-read it so you can use my lessons learned to help prepare for the big shopping day! :)

Most years, I do all (or most) of my Christmas Shopping on Black Friday. I am usually one of those very organized shoppers with a list of where I am going, when I am going there and a plan for how to get all the deals I need to make Christmas happen for cheap! Since Walmart price matches, I generally try to do as much of it as I can price matching.

Well, this year, I only needed a few things as I did most of the Christmas Shopping for this year right AFTER Christmas last year. It was a new experience for me. I almost skipped Black Friday altogether this year as I thought Wes (my hubby) had to work Black Friday (he did work but only 1-10pm). So, Wes and I looked through the ads and found that there were a few things we wanted at 3 stores.

The stops would be as follows:

1-Midnight stop at Walmart...hoping to get an art set for one child, PJ's for all 4 kids, a writing toy for another kid, and the super cheap towels.

2-6am Menards stop for: pop up tent & tunnel, "Cuddle Up" (Snuggie imitation-Wes wanted to get me one for Christmas), Wii remote charging station, and "Cuddlee Pets" (imitation Pillow Pets) for all four kids.

3-Stop at Younkers to use $10 coupon and possibly get nicer "Snuggie"-like item.

Obviously with 4 kids at home, one of us shops and the other stays home with the kids-especially when the first stop is at midnight. In years past, Walmart has been my first stop and I have gone in and grabbed the toys I was after and hurried out while everyone else was still fighting over electronics. This year Walmart split up the sale so electronics doorbusters went on at 5 am and the other ones (the ones I needed) went on at midnight. I thought it would make it easier for me to get in, out and get what I wanted without SOOO many shoppers at midnight.

WRONG! Dead wrong! First, when I left my house at 11:40ish, the streets were empty except for a steady stream of minivans making their way toward Walmart-no joke! I walked in to the store and could hardly walk in it was so crowded. I was lucky enough to have a nice manager hand me a cart (they were basically gone) as I walked in (that is one benefit to pregnancy-people want to help you out generally). So I fought my way through the people back to the PJ's and grabbed the 4 pair I needed-surprisingly the exact ones I wanted for each kid. ALL towels were long gone by the time I made it to them, so I made my way to toys. The art supplies I wanted were all gone, but I DID get the writing toy. So, I was ready to make my way to a line.

There was one employee on that side of the store that was herding people into a HUGE long line that went from the last check stand, through the sections of toys, health and beauty, pets, Christmas and all the way into the garden area. It was insane. It would have been a fine idea if that was the ONE store line and it fed into all the checkout stands, but no. It fed into only ONE checkout lane-ONE! I realized this and told the employee I was not done shopping when he tried to convince me I HAD to get in that line to check out, and I made my way back over to the grocery side of the store where I got in another long line. (Not even CLOSE to as long as that other line.)

While waiting in line I had the guy behind me pinch my butt, then an older guy rammed into my cart with his cart and tried to cut in front of me in line. When I said "Really?! You think so?!" to te old guy and told him to go to the back of the line, the butt pincher behind me did and said nothing. Then tried to act like he was ready to defend my honor AFTER the older guy was gone (it was pretty funny).

There was a woman in front of me that had lots of heavy stuff and no cart and I had a cart and hardly anything in it, so I moved my stuff to the front part of the cart and offered her the back of my cart for her to rest her stuff in while we waited in line. She took me up on it and we started to talk. As we were getting closer to the front, I realized I had gotten the WRONG size for one of the PJ's, Thank goodness I had made this friend, so she watched our cart as I ran back and (luckily) found the correct size.

After over an hour in line, I made it to the front finally! I made it home from Walmart at about 2:30am, and thought I would throw in a nap.

When the alarm went off at 5 am, I turned it off and went back to bed. I woke up around 6:30/7 and ran over to Menards in my PJs. There I was able to score the Cuddle pets (all 4) and the tents. The Wii chargers were sold out, and the snuggie things were made of really coarse feeling felt so I opted to leave without one!!

Waiting in that long line was quite amusing as the lady in front of me was very funny, and the lady in front of her was even funnier. The one 2 up from me kept having people ram into her cart, and she never even flinched or got upset at them. We told her how impressed we were that she was so patient, and she said "Honey, I work at the casino! This is nothin!"

Then the 2 guys behind me in line ( who were both a little gangster looking) were telling me the funniest stories about the other places they had already been. I heard tales of Toys R Us, Walmart and Target. The funniest of which was the one guy telling me he saw a lady with 2 HUGE carts full of stuff at Walmart at 1am struggling through the parking lot, so he started to rush toward her to help, and she yelped and started running through the parking lot trying to push one cart and pull the other! He said to me "I guess I look pretty scary running over to help at 1am." He thought it was hilarious. The other guy saw a fight break out and a man escorted from Walmart at about midnight (I had seen the escort out and wondered what had happened so it was interesting to hear from someone that was back there). FYI the fight was over a pricematch for $99 Wii's.

After I went home, content with my shopping and feeling done for the day, Wes wanted to go get the nicer looking Snuggies from Younkers for my present. We went over and got them (as I stood in line for over an hour he took the kids to see Santa in the mall-with NO line BTW). I have to admit-I learned I am NOT a pet person...a mom and daughter in front of me in line were saying "I just don't know which one he will like better, he is so picky...maybe I should grab the other one?" I assumed they were talking about the pillow pets they were holding for the grandkids (they had been talking about them a lot). Then the daughter said "Let's look at them together" then she walked over and grabbed a second pet bed and set it next to the one they had and they proceeded to discuss the DOG's color and pattern preferences...I was baffled-I thought dogs were colorblind, but then again, I have never had a dog. Do they really have preferences?! Seriously pet owners, do they?!

All in all I had a successful day and got most of my goal products, but I also had a few things I learned that I want to share:

1-We are all in this together-we are all stuck in this crazy crowd trying to get the best deals, so let's try not to make it so miserable on each other-no need to be mean. Remember the things your mom and dad taught you and don't pick on other kids, don't push and shove, and be nice! (That does NOT mean you need to be so nice as to give up the things you want to someone else that wants it too-go get what you need, but don't trample others to get it).

2-No sir, there is no cutting in line no matter how old, how frustrated or how aggressive you are-that young little weak looking pregnant lady WILL stand up for herself! I will NEVER start a confrontation, and in fact I will always try to be pleasant and kind to others, but so help me, if you get in my face I WILL defend myself and as my father-in-law says, "If it is a matter of who can pitch the biggest fit, I can if necessary."

3-Black Friday is stressful-the economy is bad, and we ALL want/need that deal to make Christmas happen, so it is probably a good time to be patient and to help out a stranger and do some service for others-like the lady without a cart. It did not hurt me at all to share mine with her, but it sure made it easier on her!

4-Patience, Patience, Patience!! Would I on any other day wait in the Disneyland length lines at a store? No, no I would not. Would I have the patience for it? No, but on Black Friday I put on my most patient face and head out the door!

5-Black Friday shopping is NOT nearly as fun alone! Thank you for all my friends and family who have gone with me in the past and made it an FUN experience! Those of you that can share with me the cart crashing and we can laugh at it together! Those who have waited in those eternal lines and talked to me and helped further develop our relationships as we tried to make a stressful situation fun! Thanks Wes, Mom, Andrea, Melanie, Spence, Lindsey, Lisa, Laurie and all the others that have joined me in my madness over the years!!

6-If you can, bring a buddy with you to Black Friday-it really is better that way (see lesson 5).

So, readers-do you do Black Friday?! Any funny stories you can share?! I would LOVE to hear about it!!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Farm Rich Review and Giveaway (YUM)

I love food. I really do! I find myself feeling jealous when other bloggers get to review and try awesome products and I don't. So, I enter their giveaways and I buy stuff and I wish it was me reviewing that awesome food! One of the items I have been jealously stalking on other blog reviews is Farm Rich products! So, when the contacted me a while back to do a review/giveaway, I was excited beyond words!

They sent me 2 coupons for FREE products. I headed to the store and began my search in the freezer aisle to choose which 2 awesome products I would try. Should I get the famous Mozzarella Cheese Sticks or maybe go for the Mozzarella Bites or the Queso Cheese Bites?   Maybe I should get the Mini Pizza Slices or the Stuffed Pretzel Bites? But honestly, the Jalapeno Peppers, the Mini Quesadillas and the Meatballs all looked amazing too...

What did we Try?

Really I should never go shopping hungry. I could not limit myself. I got the Mozzarella Cheese Sticks, the Stuffed Pretzel Bites, and the Meatballs...on that trip. (I have been back for more...) (Not all items made it into my picture-sorry)

What did we think?

Well, it is an understatement to say we liked them. We loved them. My kids have asked for them (all of them) over and over again since we tried the first bag. You might say they had us at the first bite. Really. Let me tell you about them one at a time:

Mozzarella Cheese Sticks: OK, this was the fan favorite at the Johnson house with the children! My oldest son asks for them EVERY DAY after school since he tried them. He told me that these Mozzarella sticks paired with his favorite spaghetti sauce is the perfect food! My second son is quite a picky eater and often will not eat what I prepare for him. I made these as a side to go with spaghetti one night and he ate and ate and ate. He loved them and it was not a fight to get him to eat dinner that night! The other 3 kids also loved them and would eat them anytime, anywhere and would consider it a real treat!

Stuffed Pretzel Bites: Though the Mozzarella Sticks were the clear favorite overall, these were a close second, and the favorite for my oldest daughter. Well, really for both my daughters. My oldest daughter really loved that the cheese was inside so it was less messy "especially for the younger kids."  I agree with her on that, and they taste great! I really liked these a lot and would happily have them as an after school snack or for a party or to watch a football game, or for whatever other daily use you can think of! I would note that you need to make sure they are cooled off enough before giving them to kids after cooking them because the cheese can get pretty hot! Just to throw that out there. :)

Meatballs: This was the mom favorite for  making my life easier! What a quick easy way to make an everyday meal (for us Spaghetti with sauce) extra special for the kids! Just adding the meatballs to my sauce rather than using ground hamburger made the kids so much happier (and it was so much easier for me). My son that hates sauce, willingly ate it with the meatballs in it! And I would note that the flavor of the meatballs is fabulous! We tried both the original Meatballs and the Italian Style Meatballs, and liked both!

Where can you find Farm Rich products?

On the Farm Rich website you can find out who near you carries these great products. Just search for your area here.

There is a fabulous coupon right now...

Also on the Farm Rich website right now you can print a coupon for $1.50 off 2 Farm Rich products. Get the coupon here.

Anyone want a chance to win?

I sure hope so because one lucky Beckee's Deals winner will win 2 FREE Farm Rich product coupons (just like I got-$6.99 value each)!!  If you want to win, just enter on the Rafflecopter form below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
As the Rafflecopter says "Please note that the giveaway will end on 11/14 at 12:01 AM EASTERN time. That means you have until 11:01 PM on 11/13 Central /time to get in entries (That is only 9:01PM here in AZ).  Please note that winners will be picked at random by Rafflecopter after the giveaway ends!  Giveaway sponsor will send prize out and I cannot be held responsible for getting it to you. Sorry. Also, Facebook is not affiliated with this giveaway and cannot be held responsible for it in any way"

By way of Disclosure, I was given 2 Free product coupons for the purpose of this review and 2 more Free coupons will be provided to my giveaway winner. I received no other compensation for this giveaway and as always, opinions expressed in this review are mine (and my kids).


FREE Taco Bell Doritos Locos Tacos TODAY only!!!

YEAH!!! I was one of those teenaged girls that ordered a non-smelly, non-messy meal on a date. Not a salad, but something that would look "reasonable". Then later I would sneak off and eat my smelly seafood, and my messy Taco Bell food. You know, the stuff I REALLY liked to eat! :)

My point here is that I love Taco Bell (and to all those boys that took me to expensive restaurants, I am sorry-I could have saved you a lot of money by telling you this back then...) So, Taco Bell and I go way back and I have always been a fan, but I became a SUPERFAN when they started selling the Doritos Tacos Locos!! Oh.My.Gosh! HEAVEN in a shell!

That all being said, what I REALLY want to share is that TODAY ONLY (October 30, 2012) you can get a free piece of heaven (ie a free Doritos Tacos Locos). Check it out:

If you are not getting the picture (Or can't read it-I barely can), it says that since there was a base stolen duting the World Series, you can get your free Doritos Locos Tacos today (10/30/12) from 2-6 pm. SO excited!!! You can find a Taco Bell location near you here

FREE download of Marlow and the Monster on Amazon!!

Hey there friends!

Generally when I do a giveaway on Rafflecopter, I just announce the winner through the rafflecopter widget and I email the winner to get the prize to them. I wanted to announce that a winner has been picked for the Marlow and the Monster book (it is Melanie J and she has been emailed).

BUT I feel like you are all winners on this one because there is a sweet deal on Amazon right now where you can ALL download the Kindle version of Marlow and the Monster for FREE!! Just click here to go download your free copy!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Usbourne Books Review! (AWESOME)

Hey all! I recently mentioned that I love books, especially children's books! And one of my favorite companies to buy them from is Usborne. Usborne is an international company and have prints from other countries and cultures. Many of their specials are books that have won awards internationally. And recently my sister-in-law became an independant consultant for them! These books are fantastic, and she sent me a few to review. I am so excited to tell you about them!!

Let me just tell you about each one.

See Inside Your Body

From Ashley: "The See Inside the Body book is one in several 'see inside' books that are designed to spark children's curiosity in a variety of different topics (Space, Ships, Science, Dinosaurs, math, planet earth, world war II, Famous Buildings, Ancient Rome, Ancient Egypt, How Things Work.) They have short paragraphs of information that are easier to remember then if they were just reading a book. There is also a similar series called look inside which are also very fun."

What we thought:
Solace (age 9): It is a simplified version of your body. Kids could learn why they should take care of their body and what's inside their body.
Ender (age 8): I think it looks like mini x-rays in color and that makes it really fun learning for kids.
Armour (age 6) I want to be a doctor when I grow up and this book helps me know what I can do when I'm a doctor.
Mom (Beckee, age undisclosed): This is a great book with "over 50 flaps to lift." The kids like to lift the flaps and it has lots of fun facts about inside the body. My husband is a radiologist (meaning the MD/doctor that reads the scans/x-rays) so his job is all about studying the body. The kids love to read about anything they feel is "about dad's work." So, this was the perfect "See Inside" book for my family! And I would note that it is really well made, so although we have read it a number of times, so far none of the flaps are wearing or ripping off .

Wipe Clean 123

From Ashley: Each page has objects to trace that help develop coordination for drawing letters and numbers. so they are practicing those motions while having fun drawing other objects.

What we thought:
Kindle (age 4): I like to write my numbers over and over in the book. And it just wipes off to do again!

Mom: We have a lot of "Wipe off" type book that are supposed to be written in then erased and re-written in. Many of them don't really erase and are not good for rewriting on. This book is so much better! Kindle was able to write and rewrite in her book over and over. She is in Pre-K this year and we do "Mommy School" for her Pre K. She has been using it to practice writien her numbers and tracing her shapes for a couple weeks now, over and over!! It is GREAT!

That's Not My Plane

From Ashley: There are tons of "that's not my...." books. Anything kids are interested in is probably there. They have other great touchy-feely books as well. Animal Hide and Seek is one of my baby's favorites. It has many fuzzy things on each page. All the chicks on a page are touchable and the cow and the puppy and the pig (not just one thing touchable per page)

What we thought:
Mom: OK, I have to tell you all that this is the favorite book of all the kids even though it is geared to the younger ones. Everest (my 18 month old) Love, LOVES this book and asks for his "plane" all the time. He will listen to this book over and over and will sit on my lap reading it for hours. We also own the "That's not my Princess" book which has been Kindle's favorite book for a number of years. I plan to buy more of the "That's Not my..." books and highly, HIGHLY recommend them!

Huckleberry Finn

From Ashley: Huckleberry Finn actually just went out of print, but we have lots of chapter books for the older kids and series books. Conspiracy 365 is one that is being made into a movie.

What we thought:
Solace: It is an easy to read book, but better for older kids (Ender adds-it makes more sense for older kids). Older kids can understand it better.
Mom: This is like an easy read version of a classic story. It is written in a way that I think my 6-year-old could read it and would like it whereas the original Huckleberry Finn might be a bit above his reading level at this point. Great way to introduce your kids to some of the classic stories.

Usborne is an international company and have prints from other countries and cultures. Many of their specials are books that have won awards internationally.


Here is my favorite part of these books-that I can get these awesome books at a GREAT price (You all know I love a great deal!!) There are always Specials going on. They have internet only specials and then they have customer specials for every $40 you spend. The internet specials do count toward the $40 to get other great discounts.

Ashley says: "The one discount I am most excited about is the Encyclopedia of World History IL C/V hard cover for $16 regularly $39.99. Their encyclopedias are very colorful and well done. They also have That's Not My Dolly for $4 right now!

How to Buy these AWESOME products

If you are interested in buying these books, checking out the special or finding other awesome items from Usborne, please order from Ashley! She set up a "party" for Beckee's Deals readers to purchase through. Once you go to the website here, just click on the Beckee's Deals link then you can continue shopping from there. After you click on the party, you can find a link to the Specials on the left side of the page under the "Categories" heading.

By way of disclosure, I was provided the 4 books above free of charge for the purpose of this review. I received no other compensation for this post and as always, all opinions expressed are my own (and my kids since they helped).

I should also disclose that if you do buy through the party event I could potentially get party hosting benefits. If you want to purchase and do not want to go through the event that is not a problem, but please buy it from Ashley and help out my sister in law! That would be awesome!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

FREE Pasta at Maggiano's TODAY only!!

I just got home last night and I have a ton of cleaning and recovery to do, but I wanted to make sure to post this sweet freebie before I get going on all I have to do. (I will also be posting a review and giveaway later today so stay tuned for that!) Today only, Maggiano's restaurants is haveing an "On the house Classic Pastas day. See:
The postcard I got int he mail says "Come Celebrate 'On The House Classic Pastas' Day. Free Pasta for all! On Monday, October 22nd, anybody who visits Maggiano's gets a free classic Pasta to take home! There's plenty to go around, and nobody will go home empty handed!" I am not sure if you have to buy anything to get the deal, but I will be checking it out!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Last day to enter Vans/Plackers giveaway!!

Just a reminder that this giveaway ends tonight! Get your entries in:

Marlow and the Monster: Review & Giveaway Ends 10/26

I love to read. I really do. I especially love children's books. I LOVE them.

Many of you know that I was a drama teacher as a career (in a previous life before kids). But you probably don't know that my minor was is reading. That's right, reading. When I found out I had to have a minor for my degree, I looked around and discovered that with a reading minor I got to study lots and lots of children's books and tactics to teach them. SCORE!!

So, I have read a lot of children's books in my day. And as I said. I love them! I am always excited to discover new children's books which is why I was SO excited to be contacted by author Sharon Cramer to review (and give away) her new book Marlow and the Monster.

First, let me tell you about the Author and the book, then I will tell you what I thought and tell you how you can enter to win your own copy!!

Who is Sharon Cramer?

Sharon Cramer is the author/illustrator of the award winning children's series called Cougar Cub Tales. She has also written and released a full length novel and is currently working on another YA title, due for release in December! She owns Talking Bird Books, and is an indie published author. Marlow and the Monster is here newest children's book release.
She is also so great to work with! So nice-she signed our copy of the book with inscription to my 5 kiddos! They LOVE that!!
What is Marlow and the Monster about?

Marlow and the Monster is about a boy, Marlow who has a monster pestering him nightly in his room. His parents do not see the monster and (as we all say to our kids) they are always telling him there are no monsters! One night Marlow gets so fed up that he brings the monster into his 4-year-old sister's room. She is scared at first, but ultimately, she helps him figure out what to do with his monster!

What did I think?

And as a mom, I am always glad to find a book that can help a child deal with a problem. We have a lot of monster problems at this house, especially with my oldest son and his VERY active imagination. As a younger child, he had a different monster in his room every night. And to him, his monsters were every bit as real as Marlow's monster is to him. As parents we just told him things like "Well, talk to the monster and try to be his friend then he won't seem so scary." We wanted to give him strategies to deal with his monsters. I love that this book also gives the child (Marlow) a way to deal with his monster. And I especially love that it is his little sister that helps him find a way to deal with the monster. That really made my Kindle (my 4 year old girl) happy! The story is sweet and gives children a way to think about dealing with their monsters that should make them less scared.

Without giving away the whole story, I will say that my only criticism of the book is that I felt there was a transition missing from the second to last page to the last page. I can make the leap in my head, but it just feels like there is a transition missing. The point is made that the problem is solved, but I just felt there was a leap there like I missed something.

One more fantastic thing I want talk about is the illustrations. They are fabulous! Just look at this page where Marlow brings the monster into his sister's room:

Isn't it fantastic?!  To quote the info I was sent, Cramer said that the book is "My first trip onto the wild side!" It is illustrated with quill pen and ink and the only splash of color is the monster because "Only the children can see him."

Where can you get Marlow and the Monster?

You can get the book on the Talking Bird Website here or you can find the Kindle eReader edition and hardback copy on Amazon (just click the links to get to them). (The Kindle eReader edition is only $.99!!!)

Can you win a copy?!

Well, yes! In fact you have a chance to win a copy! One lucky Beckee's Deals reader will win a hardback copy of Marlow and the Monster. For your chance to win, just enter on the rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Please note that the giveaway will end on 10/27 at 12:01 AM EASTERN time. That means you have until 11:01 PM on 10/26 Central time to get in entries (That is only 9:01PM here in AZ).  Please note that winners will be picked at random by Rafflecopter after the giveaway ends!  Also, Facebook is not affiliated with this giveaway and cannot be held responsible for it in any way.

And by way of disclosure, I was given a hardback copy of this book for this review and a second copy will be provided to my giveaway winner. No other compensation was received and as always all opinions expressed are my own! Good luck!