Making Black Friday Deals EVEN BETTER!

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We enjoyed great food and time with family.  Now it's off to the races! :)  If you are not up for braving the craziness of the stores, you can enjoy tons of great deals online.  And if you go through Ebates you are likely to get an even better deal than you could by shopping in store.

For Black Friday, Ebates is rolling out cashback offers that are as much as 6 times the normal cash back rates.  For example, The Body Shop is regularly just 4% cash back but now it is 10%, Kohls is up to 10% (reg 3%), and the Gap is a whole 12% (reg. only 2%).

And with the Gap offering 50% off everything online, if you go through Ebates you are really saving 62%!

They have tons of great sweaters for everyone in the family and just about any clothing/accessory item that might be on your list.  It isn't very often you can get 50%+ off at the Gap so this is a great deal.

Happy Shopping!   I'll be back next week with some great kid gift ideas for under $10 and my favorite Etsy gift ideas too.


Free Photo Calendar, Free Photos, and Other Holiday Card & Photo Gift Deals

Hello friends!

  Well, the big shopping day is almost here but lots of stores have already started their deals.  And if you live in PST, many more online deals could be available starting at 9pm tonight.

One of my favorite gifts to give is a special photo gift like an album or calendar that your family can treasure for years to come.  So, I wanted to share some deals going on this week so you can create your own photo gift at a great price, possibly even free!

Through Friday, Shutterfly is offering up free 8x11 photo calendars with the code FREECAL.  I started creating mine last night and it is super easy to just drag and drop your photos into the calendar.  There are several different background and photo layout options.  This is a great gift for grandparents or family members who live far away and don't get to see you much.

If you are new to Shutterfly, you can sign up through THIS LINK to also get 101 free 4x6 photo prints for yourself.

Photo books and Home D├ęcor are also up to 50% off.

If you are looking for some unique holiday photo cards (or non-photo) and photo gifts then I highly recommend visiting Minted.  Right now you can save up to 20%.  Plus, if you have never bought from Minted before you can use THIS LINK to get $25 off your first $50+ purchase...so up to half off your order!

I love their ornament cards.  Such a great way for friends and family to be able to display your Christmas card.


 And if you love to share a lot of details about you year with family and friends, especially if you live far away from them all, then Minted's Booklettes are for you.  They are like a modern holiday newsletter and there are tons of style options to choose from.  Here is one of my favorites.

They also have minibooks which are similar to the booklettes and neither will require extra postage.

Minted has some lovely art prints too as well as beautiful and unique photo art like these...

How lovely would this be as a gift for a newly married couple, a family, or a couple who just had a new baby.

And how about this cute dinosaur print with a child's photos...I've never seen anything like this!

May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with special family time and good food!


My Kohls Purchase - Black Friday Deals Going on Now!

I got all of this...

(and several pairs of underwear) for only $54.72!  I saved $101 plus I am getting $15 Kohls cash and 6% back through Ebates.  Now Ebates is actually offering 9% cashback so you could save even more! :)

Don't forget to use the code THANKS15 to save an extra 15% off your entire order at Kohls.  And it is really worth it to spend $50 to get the free shipping and Kohls cash.

Check out some of my favorite Kohls toy deals HERE

Fabulous Deals on New Balance Kids' Shoes - Cool enough to give as Gifts!

I love New Balance shoes because they are such great quality and style but I often shy away from the price tag.  So, I was super excited to find some amazing deals on Amazon which you can make even better right now with the code HOLIDAY25 to take an extra 25% off.

I bought these for one of my boys for a final price of only $21.33 (regularly $65)...a steal, right?!
Plus by going through Ebates, you should be able to get an extra 8% back too!
They currently have several different color and size options for girls and boys (big kids) for $25.98 then you can get an extra 25% off with the HOLIDAY25 code. 
The same style in little kids has prices as low as $21.98 (before the extra discount).

These are available in boys, girls, little kids, and big kids for only $17.98.


Organic Resources and Gift Ideas

  Has anyone else watched Food Inc?  It's on Netflix if you have that.  After watching it I was so horrified that I immediately began checking out tons of books from the library about our food industry in America, processed foods, and organic cookbooks.  Now, I am a well educated person as I'm sure you are too, and I knew processed foods were bad and organic was better.  We eat pretty healthy and organic already but I didn't REALLY know all the details about why certain foods were bad for you.  Like, did you know that a lot of white breads have a flammable chemical called azodicarbonamide that many other countries do not allow in food?  And that those artificial dyes that we all know are not good are also not allowed in other countries.  In fact, many companies have changed their products (like well known candies) for other countries to not include those dyes but here in America we still get the 'good' stuff...not!  Did you also know that many of the additives/chemicals in our food and GMO foods have not been well researched and studied?  That obesity, asthma, cancer, and many other health issues have dramatically increased with the industrialization of food and introduction of the highly processed American diet?

Now, I am not telling you this to make you feel bad about what you eat.  While we eat pretty well and I especially try to feed the kids well, I was known to eat white bread, candy, orange colored chips, pop, and such.  But I want to share the information/my story in case you are not even aware of many of these things (like me and many other Americans).  And maybe you too will want to learn more about it and find yourself making slow but healthy changes for you and your family.  I only watched Food Inc two months ago and can say now that we are eating probably 80-90% organic, real foods, and meals made from scratch (or close to). 

I know some feel organic is more expensive and it can be but if you really shop the sales and do a good job of using up leftovers it really isn't too horrible.  And if you consider the health and environmental benefits then you actually are getting a great deal!  :)  Personally, in the last two months I have lost a little weight but the main difference I notice is that I am not having food cravings or mid-day slumps.  I used to always want to snack during the day and at night and could easily go through a half bag of chips or some candy but now I really have no desire to do so.  My meals are more filling and delicious and I find myself grabbing an apple when I need something more.

So, if you are still reading and are interested in learning more I have a list of books that I have read and recommend as well as a few of my favorite websites and cookbooks.  Many of these would make nice gifts for others or maybe you want to add them to your Christmas list!





http://organicconsumers.org/ - Lots of articles to better inform you about your food, the food industry, etc.  Here is a bit from their site to give you a better idea as to what they are about...
"The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The OCA deals with crucial issues of food safety, industrial agriculture, genetic engineering, children's health, corporate accountability, Fair Trade, environmental sustainability and other key topics. We are the only organization in the US focused exclusively on promoting the views and interests of the nation's estimated 50 million organic and socially responsible consumers."

Environmental Working Group www.ewg.org  - Provides lots of information on current environmental and food issues and even have a take action page (which I have) where they show you the issues and have links with pre-written letters to send to your representatives (a super easy way to feel like you are helping to make a difference).  They also have a database you may have heard of...Skin Deep http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ where you can search your skin care and makeup products to see how safe they are. 

Eco Watch http://ecowatch.com/ - Environmental, green living, and sustainable business news, articles, and tips.

http://www.naturallivingideas.com/ - Great ideas for how to use natural items in a variety of ways.

http://www.3boysunprocessed.com/ - Mostly just delicious, whole foods recipes!  She has three boys and keeps it real.  We have tried several of her recipes and this one is one of our favorites so far http://www.3boysunprocessed.com/loaded-nachos/ super yummy!

http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/ - I love this site because she is a mom who has a similar story about learning more about what was in her food and then challenging her family to 100 days of real food.  She blogs about a variety of things...recipes, tips on how to challenge your own family, things that work for her/her family, giveaways, etc.  And her book is fabulous too!  It shares her story and tips as well as lots of delicious recipes.


Organic/Natural Coupon Sites



I have cooked at least a few recipes from each of these books and have dozens more marked to make in the future.


This next book is perfect for families with school age kids.  I love all the fresh ideas this book gave me for my kids' lunches and they have loved the new variety too.



Next week I will be posting some great gift ideas for the holidays, many of which will be organic or eco-friendly, so be sure to come by and see what I've found!


Kohl's Black Friday Deals Start Tomorrow Online! Here are my favorite toy deals...

ETA: Deals are live!  And there is also an extra 15% off when you enter THANKS15 

If you are planning to do some online shopping this week, Kohls will be offering their Black Friday Deals from Monday, November 24th - Friday, Nov. 28th, which means they could go online as early as midnight tonight!  Remember that for every $50 you spend you will get $15 Kohls cash and free shipping too. 

Plus if you go through Ebates you will get an extra 6% cashback!  And if you are new to Ebates you will also get a $10 gift card after you make your first $25+ purchase at any of your favorite stores.

You can preview all their deals HERE if you want to plan out your list before the deals go live.

Kohls has great deals on tons of stuff but I wanted to share a few of my favorite toy deals.  These are items that we have ourselves or have given as gifts.  First up...

The Step 2 Modern Cook Kitchen

If you have young children, girls or boys, I highly recommend getting a play kitchen and this deal is really too good to pass up.  (I would be getting it if we didn't already have one).  At $59.99 (reg. $130) it is already a great deal but with free shipping and getting the Kohls cash, you will really only be paying $44.99 (plus tax).

While we do not have this exact kitchen, I did get a similar deal (although not quite as good) on the one we bought for my first son when he was 2.  All of my kids have loved it and have played with it from about age 2-6 (or even 7).  The little window opening is a fun feature and great for playing restaurant.  Plus this kitchen comes with a great 26 piece accessory set so you don't have to spend extra money on pots, dishes, etc.  Although getting some play food would be a great addition to this gift! 

Hot Wheels Haul and Race Rig $14.99 (reg $30)

We actually have two of these and this is a great price.  My boys love having a car transporter truck and the fact that this one can also be used as a starting ramp to race the cars on a hard floor/surface makes this truck double the fun.  Consider grabbing more than one for upcoming birthday parties too!

Hot Wheels Monster Jam Showdown $19.99 (reg. $40)
If you know a kid who loves monster trucks then this racing ramp will be a hit!  Designed specifically for monster trucks with obstacles to run over as they go down the ramp and parents will like that it folds up when not in use.

Okay here is the one exception of an item we do not have and have not given, but with 3 boys and only nephews I don't get a lot of opportunities to buy girl toys.  However, if I knew a Hello Kitty lover, I think this would be a great gift...I mean, really, how adorable is that plane!
Hello Kitty Jet Plane Airlines Playset $19.99 (reg. $40)

For the little ones...
Fisher Price Brilliant Basics Musical Activity Keys $7.49 (reg $14.99)

And finally, in our house, musical instruments are a must have.  This is a great xylophone for toddlers (and their older siblings!)  Fisher Price Classic Xylopone $10.99 (reg. $22)

Happy Shopping!

Free Two Day Shipping, Early Access to Deals, and More...

If you shop on Amazon, now is the time to sign up for the Amazon Prime free 30 day trial.  You can cancel before the 30 days are up so you don't get charged or you may find that it is totally worth the money. 

I signed up for the trial because of these awesome benefits:
* Free two day shipping (a must during the holiday season!)
* Early Access to Lightning Deals (the only way to score some of Amazon's amazing deals that are going on now) - Prime members get to access many lightning deals a half hour earlier than non-prime shoppers.

Other Prime benefits that may excite you:
* 500,000 free ebooks from the Kindle Lending Library
* Prime Music - unlimited music streaming
* Unlimited photo storage and
* Prime Instant Video - watch unlimited movies and tv shows on your tv, laptop, or Kindle Fire

Check out the details and sign up HERE

Today's Lightning Deals include:

Melissa & Doug toys

Indoor Soccer Challenge Game (starts at 7am PST for Prime members)

40% off Franklin Sports NFL youth jersey and helmet set (starts at 9:40 am PST for Prime members - 10:10 for non Prime)

men's watches

Lego Chima 2 pack Watch set (starts at 7:30 am PST for Prime members)

...and more!