Saturday, August 31, 2013

Saturday Service: "The Business 9 Women Kept A Secret For Three Decades".

Saturday's Service Spotlight! I love to share something AWESOME that people have done, and this is a story I happened upon this week on Facebook. I love it! Such great examples of service and showing love for our fellow humans with NOTHING expected in return. The article is called "The Business 9 Women Kept A Secret For Three Decades"
A few things that struck me as totally awesome and as things I can learn from:
  1. These ladies sacrificed. They took money and resources from their own household and personal allowances to do this. Often service does take sacrifice.
  2. I love that couponing was one way they saved the money they needed-see it can really save! :) 
  3. How awesome that when the ladies got "caught" by their husbands, the husbands wanted to join in and help! LOVE that...Those ladies did so much good, but think of how much more they could have done if the couples had been working TOGETHER for 30 years! 
  4. These ladies do not want any credit for this-still! They are not identified. They are not seeking attention of props-they are simply looking for ways to help others!
If  you haven't read about this amazing story go read "The Business 9 Women Kept A Secret For Three Decades" now! I hope you find it as heartwarming as I did!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Weekend Warriors: Daycation to Lake Zorinsky

One of the weekly items I used to do that I am bringing back is my Friday feature called Weekend Warriors: Daycations. It is where I share a bunch of info on one of my favorite places to visit in a day or weekend. 

I also told you I would be trying to connect my Weekend Warrior feature with my Where's Wes (Wednesday) feature. So, Wes was at Lake Zorinsky in West Omaha, Nebraska in the picture here.  

So today I am reposting my very most often viewed blog post EVER! The original Weekend Warriors: Lake Zorinsky post can be seen here, or just keep reading because I am posting it below as well! Enjoy!
As a reminder, I intend for this series of posts to give suggestions of good day trips you can make from various locations. Today is a great place to spend a day in Omaha. Some of the other places near Omaha I have covered in the past are:
  • The Henry Doorly Zoo here
  • Adventureland in Iowa here
  • Eugene T Mahoney State Park here
  • Shenandoah, Iowa here
Today, I want to talk about a favorite place for our family to visit any day of the week: Zorinsky Lake.  Check out the pictures I took of the sunset over the beautiful lake (this is from up on the trail):

Zorinsky Lake is located at 156th and F streets in West Omaha.

There is a HUGE lake with just over 7 miles of walking trails around it, a couple playgrounds, lots of picnic shelters, and a swimming area with water slides.

We LOVE to walk around the lake as a family and could easily spend all day there. In fact, we spent MANY days there when my husband was in residency. We lived right off the lake and spent a lot of time taking advantage of the great activities it has to offer!

If we were to spend the whole day there now, here is what I would do:

Pack up a cooler for lunch (or the makings of a BBQ), then  choose which of the following activities I wanted to fit in:
  • The new pool (This does cost money, but not bad for a daycation-it is a really reasonable rate, but the pools in Omaha are only opened for a limited season each summer. The pools open Memorial Day weekend usually and they close when school starts which is generally around August 10th.)
  • Walk around the lake (MY favorite thing to do!)
  • Play at the playground
  • If I had a boat (or a friend with one) I would happily just go boating all day!
  • Fishing
  • BBQ
Now, just as an FYI, you can reserve some of the covered shelters if you want to make sure you have a place to eat and hang out. You can find more info about Shelter rentals here.

AND I will add a few things: The water Park is AWESOME and inexpensive for what it is. You could spend all day there if you wanted to! Or spend part of the day there and enjoy the rest the Lake has to offer as well.

So, head on over to Lake Zorinsky and ENJOY!!!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Farmers Markets, MOM & Bountiful Baskets

Hey there and welcome to Thrifty Thursday's Thrifty Tips. This week's tips brought to you by my hungry tummy!

 I try to cook at home to save money. I try to make meal plans based on the local grocery deals. I price match at Walmart as much as possible (though I do not have a Super Walmart where I live so that's harder now). I shop local grocery ads, and I seek out local farmer's markets or "produce reclamation" type businesses.

My favorite thing EVER in this area was something I found In Arizona last year called Market on the Move. As I mentioned, we also check out Farmer's Markets (which can either be super pricey or super great deals-check them out and find the right one for you). And the most popular program I have heard friends speak of (and have yet to try) is Bountiful Baskets.

Let me tell you today about MOM (Market on the Move). From their Website:

Market On The Move provides a farmers’ market atmosphere at various locations throughout Metro Phoenix and Tucson areas where partners and supporters of this program can come on a regular basis and make their $10 donation to receive up to 60 lbs. of fresh produce. There is no need to pre-register or pre-donate on line. You can make your donation at the host site. 
Click here for distribution locations, dates, and times.

Basically you bring a $10 donation and you get a box of produce (sometimes other items as well) up to 60 lbs. We discovered MOM way too late in our year in AZ! Wes went down the first week and came home with SO MUCH stuff. So, the next week, I went to a different location and came home with all this:

Now, you may be thinking that is WAY TOO MUCH stuff and it would go to waste. Not so at this house of 7 people. It was all eaten and enjoyed (and I bought this about a week before we moved out). When you go to the location, you make your donation, grab a box and go down a line picking your produce. Some items will have limits (like only 2 watermelons, 4 tomato containers, 2 cantaloupe, 2 pasta boxes above) while others will be take all you can use (like zucchini, Roma tomatoes, and cucumbers above). 

If you do not have a huge family like I do, consider going to MOM with a friend and sharing the produce. Or if you can, this could be AWESOME for you to can up some great food storage! One cool thing a lot of the locations do is to hand out recipe ideas for the produce they give you that day! We used some of their eggplant recipes!

So, if you are in AZ, check MOM out!

As for me and mine in Washington, we will be trying out Bountiful Baskets and you can rest assured we will give a report when we try it!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Where's Wesley?

I's Where's Wes is a tough one to start with. A Winter pic...good luck. Please Leave guesses as to where you think he might be.

Obviously Wes is not alone in this pic, but it was the best I could do for this location. (BTW Ladies...the handsome young man in the red coat is single still...just sayin!)

Get this Party Started...Beckee's Deals Revamp

Hello friends! Boy I have not been on here much! I have just moved across the country and I am doing my best to settle myself and 5 kids into a new place. I have also been trying to figure out what to do with my blog. I wondered if it was time to retire it altogether or maybe just revamp. I have decided to go with the revamp. I am still a mom of five looking for a great deal, I still want to share great deals, product reviews and other great content. However, my blog has had some changes.

While in Omaha, I focused a lot on local grocery deals, store sales and local free or cheap activities. I tried to do the same when I lived in Scottsdale, AZ last year but found it was difficult. In that area, grocery deal match ups and couponing were not of interest. I think some of it was backlash due to the perception of couponing people now have thanks to shows like Extreme Couponing. Some of it was the fact that most people living in that area do not need to coupon. Whatever the reason, it was a fail-my blog numbers dropped dramatically.

The place I live now is a small town. It does not have the same kinds of options for pricematching and groceries that big cities have. I am still learning how to shop and save money here. Luckily for me there is a FANTASTIC blog locally that is helping me learn. If you are a local or are planning to visit Grays Harbor at any point, make sure to check out Annaliese over at Grays Harbor Deals. Her blog is awesome! And I know her personally-she is awesome too!

Most of my readers live in Utah and Nebraska. I have a good group in Arizona, and I found I have a growing number all over the country-actually all over the world. I learned in looking at my blog stats, that the posts with the most hits are usually my travel posts. Awesome! Reviews and travel posts are the ones I like to do the most!!!

So, here comes the new plan (which is a work in progress, so bear with me): we are bringing back the weekly series! We are continuing to review and give away products, and we are focusing on deals that are not quite so local (that's not to say I won't post local stuff-I will sometimes). 

My former Weekly Series looked like this:

  • Sunday: Sunday Savings: Newspaper round up
  • Monday: Mommy School Mondays 
  • Tuesday: Tuesdays Travels
  • Wednesday: Beckee's Best of Omaha Grocery
  • Thursday: Thrifty Thursdays (Random thrifty tips on a variety of topics)
  • Friday: Weekend Warriors: Daycations
  • Saturday: Service Spotlight Saturdays

    Here's what I am going to do now:

  • Sunday: Sunday Savings: Estate Sale Sundays
  • Monday: Mommy School Mondays 
  • Tuesday: Tuesdays Travels
  • Wednesday: Where's Wes (and Beckee) Wednesdays
  • Thursday: Thrifty Thursdays 
  • Friday: Weekend Warriors: Daycations
  • Saturday: Service Spotlight Saturdays

    And this is what I will do for each of those. 

    Estate Sale Sundays:  We just bought a really cool big old home. We have many empty rooms which we will fill throughout the years. Local friends told us to just check out Estate Sales. I had never even heard of them but now I am obsessed. At my very first Estate Sale, I found a TREASURE! I found the recipe box from that wonderful woman. I am trying to cook through some of her hand written recipes. Sundays, I will show you some of my recipe creations from this box (and from any other box I can find). I will also show you some of the fun stuff I pick up at Estate sales as they come up and I will let you know of any upcoming estate sales I hear of.

    Mommy School Mondays:  I teach my kids preschool before I send them off to Kindergarten. I love it. 4 of my 5 kids go back to school next week, and it will just be me and my baby boy (ok-he's 2) at home. We will be doing some organized Mommy school activities and some not so organized. Mondays I will try to share with you some lessons, resources and fun things I have used with my kids over the years (or with my 2 year old that week).

    Tuesdays Travels: Wow-this one takes some time and effort. It is where I try to research and share all kinds of fun activities to do in a vacation spot of my choice. I tried to share places I know last time. I will revisit some of those, and I will also pick spots I want to visit and research them and share my finds with you! I am sure I will BEG for reader input here and ask for YOUR best tips and tricks for visiting these places. Remember, many will be places I have not visited before, so I will want people to give input that have firsthand experience visiting or living there!! 

    Where's Wes (and Beckee) Wednesday: This my be a short lived series-depending on how many pictures I can find or take. Wes is my husband and the other day I was looking at pics of us from various places and mentioned that it would be fun to do a Where in the world is Wes series. He thought I was joking...hehehe...If I can coordinate these pictures with the Daycation post for the week, I will-that means I will post a pic of Wes (or me, or the kids) somewhere in the world on Wednesday. Then on Fridays Weekend Warrior Daycation post, we will reveal where the pic was taken AND I will post about that place!

    Thrifty Thursday: This one is various Thrifty ideas or Tips. That's it.

    Weekend Warriors Daycations: This started as a series when my husband was a medical resident and we had very little money or time for any kind of vacation. So, we started taking any weekend he had off and having "Daycations" at local areas. Parks, Malls, Lakes, Rivers, Free local events, anywhere! We could make anything into a Daycation. Now we have lived in many places, and I have had the chance to visit a lot of these places for Day trips. I have a whole new area to discover here in Grays Harbor as well. These Daycation posts have consistently been my biggest posts for people to come back to. The Daycations will be from places all over, but because I have lived in these places, a lot of them will likely be in or near: Salt Lake City, Omaha, Spokane, San Diego, Scottsdale/Phoenix, Grays Harbor/Olympia/Seattle. I also spent a lot of time in Anaheim/Long Beach/LA area, love New York City, and Chicago as well so look forward to those areas as well. Really-it could be ANYWHERE! I love Greece too...just sayin...

    Saturdays Service Spotlight: I love to focus on the positive. I love seeing great examples of Service in my life. This is going to be a place I can share internet articles about service, or personal experiences. Readers can submit items to be shared this day. I will ask my friends and family to contribute. The point of this is to show the positive in the world! It is a place for me to remember the great things people do for each other when the media focuses so much on the bad! 

   So, if you made it through this post-WOW! Thanks for being a loyal reader! Remember there will still be reviews and giveaways! I have a couple reviews going up this week!! 

    And now, Let's get this party started!!


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Cereal Prize Pack #Giveaway @GeneralMills #MyBlogSpark

So, did you all read my review of NEW Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme cereal from Big G (General Mills)? If not please go read it here (there is a fantastic story about how General Mills helped my sister and her autistic son out!)  

I told you there that I was sent all of this:

Which looks like this when unpacked:

Well, Guess what?! 
 MyBlogSpark and General Mills are providing another pack like the one pictured above for me to give away!!!! If you are interested in winning this prize, please enter on the form below (I am trying out a new entry method called Giveaway Tools. I find it easier to enter on these forms when I am entering giveaways, so I hope it will be easier for you on here as well!):

Terms and conditions for entering giveaways here are listed on the Giveaway page. By entering this giveaway you are agreeing to the terms.