Four Elements Square Votive Candle set Giveaway at The Magic Keeper

Monday, January 31, 2011

Giveaway at The Magic KeeperMy Pentecostal upbring makes me feel as if I'm going to hell for even mentioning this giveaway but I know how much my readers enjoy contests and blog giveaways, so I'll do it anyway. :)

The Magic Keeper is hosting a giveaway of the month. This month's giveaway is a Four Elements Square Votive Candle set. 

According to TMK website, "This set of four votive candles has been specifically created to aid you in representing the four elements within your rituals, spells, and ceremonies. Each candle has been uniquely created to embody one of the four basic elements of our universe. Allow the earth`s water to flow into your life, giving and receiving equally. Welcome these forces to support you in your choices as you release and let go with the power of love and happiness. Each candle is approximately 2" tall and 1 1/2" wide by 1 1/2" deep."

Contest begins January 30 and ends February 28, 2011.  Be sure to check back every month for more giveaways.


In the market for a HDTV? Save 10 Percent on Ebay with these great Coupon Codes!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Click banner for three great coupon codes from Electronics Express, Electronics Expo, and Beach Camera.  All codes expire at 11:59:59 Pacific Time on February 6, 2011.


Couponers Unveiled: Its Not Who You Think

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I recently read some interesting statistics about coupon users. Having been an avid couponer for years now, the report that stated the majority of coupon users are in a higher income bracket and college educated caught my attention.

I learned a long time ago to be wealthy you've got to think like the wealthy (and I don't mean lottery-winner-new-money wealth or the credit-wealthy). Funny how I find out I'd been thinking and acting like the wealthy more than I thought. :)

Just the other day I snagged a great deal at the local Rite Aid with Electrasol dishwasher tabs. They were buy one get one free at a price of $6.99. So I snatched two and used the two coupons I had for $2.25 each. Toss in a couple of the +UP Rewards I had and I walked away paying only $1.17!

I used coupons for everything.  From groceries to gas, dining out to entertainment, if we don't have a coupon, we generally don't buy it.

So where do I find these great coupons?  Lots of places; for example, the Sunday newspaper, deals, coupon train clubs, and Facebook. Just look around, coupons are everywhere!

So do you fit the average demographic of a coupon user?  Whether you do or not, what's the best coupon deal you've got lately?


Break the eBay and Etsy Habit with your own Business Website

Have you noticed that eBay is on a downhill slide to closing? High fees, an overabundance of fraudulent sales (by both buyers and sellers), a disadvantaged feedback system, and dwindling traffic, I predict eBay won't be around five years from now.

Being that I used to love buying and selling there, I really hate that. But too many chiefs and not enough Indians have destroyed it.

And my gripe about Etsy? Well, nothing really. But if you break one habit, might as well break them all at once.

For all the steps you take on eBay and Etsy, you could set up your own website, save on costly fees, and put more profit in your pocket.

There are so many myths about starting your own online business. My favorite myth, of course, would have to be, that it costs thousands to start a business website.

That's just wrong! wrong! wrong!

All anyone needs to do to start their own online business is to (1) sing up with cheap web hosting; (2) choose and purchase a domain name; and (3) educate themselves with all the free information out there about shopping carts, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and advertising.

That's it!

Usually this is followed by the question of how to draw the first customers to the new site. That too is pretty simple: enclose a postcard or flyer advertising your new website with your current eBay and Etsy orders. Provide a coupon code that saves them money (even with a small discount, you're still making more because you save on listing and final value fees), and you'll be surprised how many visit and buy from your website instead of eBay.

Like the convenience of Paypal? No problem, Paypal provides instructions on how to use their "Add to Cart" buttons on your site.

Hate Paypal? Again, no problem. With your own website, you can set up your own merchant account through credit card companies. (Another favorite myth of mine: it takes a lot of money and perfect credit to set up your own merchant account. Wrong!)

Really, is there any reason to keep lining eBay's or other's pockets when you could be lining your own?

I didn't think so! Break the habit...TODAY!


How Your Teenager Can Start His or Her Own Business

Your Teen Can Own a Micro Business
How to Launch It in Ten Simple Steps
by Carol Topp, CPA

“I want to walk dogs; what do I need to do to get started?” asked a teen boy. I had inspired him to think about starting a micro business and he was ready to get going!

Micro Business for Teens Workbook by Carol ToppI encourage teenagers to start very small businesses—micro businesses. A micro business is a one-person business that can be started easily, usually without any up-front cash, using what a teenager already owns. Micro businesses are usually home-based and very flexible so a busy student can keep up with homework, sports and a social life.

Teenagers can use their skills to develop businesses such as teaching guitar lessons, doing web design or caring for children. Other teenagers have started micro businesses by offering services such as house cleaning, pet care, and lawn mowing. One easy-to-start micro business is tutoring. Some students tutor math, Spanish or computer programs such as Photoshop.

After your teenager has an idea, he or she can launch a micro business in a short amount of time with very little start up money. Share these starting steps with your teen:

  1. Conduct a mini market survey. Start by asking a few potential customers if they need your service and what price they are willing to pay.

  2. Decide on a price. From the mini-market survey, you should be able to set a fair price. You may get your first customers by undercharging the competition. One teenager charged half what other piano teachers charged and quickly had eight students.

  3. Volunteer a few jobs to practice your business skills and build a reputation. Use recommendations from these jobs in your future advertising. Sarah took senior pictures as a favor for a friend and received three other jobs from referrals.

  4. Launch your first advertising campaign. Try to use free advertising such as emails, Facebook posts and handing out fliers to friends and neighbors.

  5. Work your plan on a small scale. Start with one customer at first. Learn a lot from that experience and grow slowly.

  6. Evaluate, adjust and change. As you grow in experience, you may be able to charge more. You will probably need to create a payment policy. Sarah discovered that she needed to be paid up front and have a cancellation policy when she scheduled photo shoots.

  7. Pick a name and register it. Usually, you can use your own name, such as Cathy Smith's Babysitting Service, without needing a name registration. If you do want a business name, learn what your state or local government requires. This website is a good place to start:

  8. Open a checking account. Accountants usually recommend a separate business checking account to keep from mixing personal and business expenses. A teenager can usually get by with one checking account, if you keep good records. Usually a parent must agree to be a co-signer on a checking account for minors.

  9. Read up on taxes. You’ll need to file your own tax return, may owe federal or state income tax, and may be subject to self-employment tax also. Self-employment tax is Social Security and Medicare taxes for self-employed people.

  10. Learn about customer service, marketing and record keeping. Become a student of business and seek to be continually learning more. Read books, take a business class, find a mentor and ask a lot of questions.

Carol ToppCarol Topp, CPA advises teenage business owners through her Micro Business for Teens book series. Carol’s day job is accountant to business owners, and she enjoys teaching teenagers to succeed beyond their dreams. Students appreciate how she shares what they need to know in clear and helpful lessons. Her website is


Promotional Products for Blog and Business

Monday, January 24, 2011

One of my New Year's resolutions was to start promoting my blogs more. After all, 2010 was a great year - but 2011 could be a BETTER year!

So I've been tossing ideas around, and one of the best ideas, I think, I've the use of a promotional item.

Through contacts I make on Facebook, eBay, my blogs, etc., I have a vast market of advertising.

I found these neat little personalized notepads (right photo) that I think would be a perfect "surprise" for eBay packages (because I learned a long time ago that eBay buyers love extras).  Since I sell a lot of children's clothing there, I could slip one of these into each package, personalized with The Mom Trap website, and, voila, new visitor and, hopefully, a new follower!

Same thing as a little extra for my giveaway winners here; a reminder to keep coming back for more AWESOME giveaways.

It would also work great for my book blog giveaways too.  Wouldn't you agree?

Of course, if I wanted to go a little less extravagant, I could opt for the Amsterdam Promotional Pens.  They're just as handy and perfect for both my blogs.

So many neat products.  I just can't decide.

What promotional tools do you use?  Have the results been positive?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!


My Extreme Home Makeover Update

Sunday, January 23, 2011

It's been a while since I've updated about our home makeover. With the holidays and Biggest Brother returning home from college for three weeks, there just hasn't been much time to get things done.

One thing we did (or I guess I should say, Brian did) was to some pretty wicked running of our HDMI cable for our television and Blu-Ray player plus our cables for VGA on other equipment.

Knowing that he was going to be building the wall, Brian run the cables inside of it then up to the ceiling, over and down through an existing wall that hosted the telephone line. Once he gets the crown molding up, you'll see no wiring at all.

The only problem I've run into is finding the right size table to put the HDTV cable box, a Sony Electronics Blu-Ray player, and cable router on. I need an exact size of 36 L x 12 W x 36 H. With those specifications, I'm betting that I'll have to go custom made. Unless one of you can give me a better idea. :)

Well, that's all we've got for now. Since we're planning to fire things up again starting this week, hopefully I'll have some awesome updates soon.

Wish us luck!



Week Number 3 on the Cinch! Diet Update

Friday, January 21, 2011

Let me get right to point: I've lost 7 pounds!

How awesome is that?! I'm now weighing in at just a hair over 130 pounds.

And Brian can't keep his hands off me! God love him! :)

And I owe a HUGE thank you to Cynthia Sass and her Cinch! diet.

My favorite food on this plan is the Turkey Pita "Pizzalad." What's a Pizzalad? Let me share the recipe, and you'll see:


  • 1/2 cup all natural marina sauce
  • 1/2 cup field greens
  • 1/4 cup each of chopped asparagus, chopped red bell pepper, chopped red onion, and shredded carrots
  • 1/2 whole-grain pita, sliced widthwise
  • 3 ounces cooked extra-lean ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Directions:  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until the onions are translucent.  Add the asparagus, pepper, and carrots, and saute until tender.  Lay the pita, outer side facing up, on a piece of foil.  Spread with the marinara, and over with the turkey and sauteed vegetables.  Bake at 450 degrees for five to eight minutes, or until the pita is crisp.  Toss field greens with vinegar and spread over the top of the pita pizza then serve.

YUMMY!  And it's tasty recipes like this in the Cinch! book that help me to keep hanging in there on this diet. 

I won't lie, sometimes it's been hard and I want to hit the nearest drive-thru for a hamburger and french fries, but I've managed to abstain.

The one thing that helps me is that Cynthia Sass makes it clear that, if you do falter, it's not the end of the world.  As she says, it takes approximately 3500 calories to gain one pound of fat.  Somehow, knowing that I can fail without major repercussions keeps me from actually giving in to temptation.

Come back next week when I update on my fourth week of the Cinch! diet. :)


Working Class starring Melissa Peterman: A Keeping It Real Sitcom

Thursday, January 20, 2011

In 1988, Roseanne, a sitcom starring it's name sake Roseanne Barr, focused on the average, middle-class family and America fell in love. Of course, when those working folks won the lottery, their viewers could no longer relate and Roseanne found itself as just another piece of television history.

If there's anybody who can relate to America's "Joe Six Pack," it's gotta be CMT. So it should come as no surprise that their first scripted sitcom should center around "normal folk."

What's the show about?  Well, I think CMT says it bestCarli Mitchell (Melissa Peterman) is a single mom from a rough and tumble background, trying to give her kids a better life by moving them to an upscale suburb. She quickly finds that making the transition to "the good life" is harder than she thought. She's unwittingly befriended by her cranky, misanthropic neighbor, Hank (Ed Asner). Her only career prospect is a glorified deli job at the local grocery store, and the man she falls for not only already has a girlfriend, but he's also her boss, Rob (Patrick Fabian). But Carli's attitude is when life gives you lemons, make lemonade ... then add booze. With her catnip-to-the-ladies brother, Nick (Steve Kazee), to help her out (when he's not acting like one of the kids himself), Carli faces the challenges of parenting, dating and making friends in her new community by doing more with less, staying true to herself and approaching each day with a touch of working class.
I had a chance to view the pilot episode which will premiere next Friday night, January 28, 2011, 8:00 EST/7:00 CST/8:00 PST, and, boy, was I impressed.

New sitcoms are typically funny but don't really produce their best work until the second or later season.  Not so with Working Class.

Peterman's Carli character is at her best with her quick-witted comebacks that leave you laughing long after the next scene is headed for another crack-up. 

A future episode will guest star Reba McEntire and John Schneider and fans of Reba will love the flip-flop of roles for Peterman and McEntire - but that's all I'm gonna say 'bout that.

Sitcoms come and sitcoms go.  Some are good, some are horrible.  As a sitcom addict, I'm placing my bets that Working Class is going to stick around for a while.

It's a show about all of us, how could we not love it? :)

Stay up to date on the latest about Working Class by "liking" it on Facebook and following on Twitter!


Free Sample of Shout Color Catcher

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Get a free sample of Shout Color Catcher at

After you submit the form, be sure to print the $1 off coupon too!


Trash the Guilt Not the Plate with Hefty Basics (Giveaway too!)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

How many times have you wished you had paper plates on hand so that you didn't have to do dishes later?

I know it happens to me.... A LOT!
Of course, then you feel guilty because you're creating more trash for the already-full landfills; more stuff that's harmful to the enviroment.

Well trash the guilt, because there's a new paper plate in town - Hefty® Basics Biodegradable Paper Plates.

Free of inks, dyes, or coatings, Hefty Basics are about the same price as other name brand paper plates BUT you can toss these into your composite bin instead.

How cool is that?

When I was offered a sample of the Hefty Basics, I was excited.  Green product, no dishes for a few meals - can you blame me?  But when I learned the enviromental friendliness of Hefty's newest product, I was estatic!

We've been using these "paper" plates for a few days now and love them.  Not only are they super strong and large enough to easily accomodate standard meal sizes, but we're not filling up the trash after eating - instead we're adding to our composite for Spring planting!

Does Hefty Basics sound like something you'd like to try?  Keep reading to find out how you can do it for free!

GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  Hefty, through Matrixx,  has generously provided 2 coupons for free Hefty Basics product (total value $4.98) to one lucky reader of The Mom Trap.

HERE'S HOW TO ENTER:  In the spirit of environmentalism, Hefty® Basics™ has partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation™ on a quest to plant 10,000 trees, one for every ten new “Like”s on Facebook - so head on over to and "like" them and leave a comment saying so.  (Be sure to include an email address or have one available on your profile in case you win!)
Want to increase your chances of winning with extra entries? (Leave a comment for each additional entry; i.e. 2 extra entries = 2 comments)

  • Become a Facebook Fan of The Mom Trap at (1 extra entry. Current followers also receive extra entry.)
  • Follow The Mom Trap with Google Friend Connect, Twitter, or Yahoo Account. (1 extra entry. Current followers included.)
  • Follow The Mom Trap on Twitter (1 extra entry. Current followers included.)
  • Tweet this giveaway for 2 extra entries, including @kdcantrell in your tweet. (Include the Tweet status URL in your comment.)
  • Blog about this giveaway for 5 extra entries. (Be sure to include the URL of your post in your comment)
  • Add The Mom Trap button (lower right column) to your blog for 5 extra entries.

The Fine Print: Contest ends at 11:59:59 PM Central Time on Thursday, January 30, 2011. Winner will be chosen by random number generator. Must be 18 years or older to enter. Open to U.S. and territories residents only; void where prohibited. Winner will be announced on Facebook and notified via email no later than Monday, January 31, 2011, and will have 48 hours to claim their prize or an alternate winner will be chosen.


And the Cinch! Dieting Continues....(Giveaway too!)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I promised I'd update yesterday on how the Cinch! diet is going.  I'm a day late. I know. It's been a crazy week, with all the snow. The kids have been out all week.

Since there was 49 states with snow, I doubt I'm the only Momma who's seen her weekly routine shot.

Somehow though I managed to stick with the Cinch! diet.

Sadly though, I've actually seen a gain, as of today, exactly 1 pound.

Cynthia Sass says not worry about about.  Weight will fluctuate daily, throughout the day.

Even though I've weighed in at the same time each day, I too think 1 pound is nothing.  After all, I have stepped up the exercising - so maybe it's muscle!

I'm over the headaches from caffeine withdrawal, finally.  I didn't stick with Green Tea.  Didn't like it.  So I just waited out the withdrawals. 

Not feeling any more energy, like I was hoping.  But I'm not feeling any less either.  And I'm not sure a mother of four is a good one to judge energy levels.  Know what I mean?

I mentioned before how I felt the diet was very restrictive.  Now that I'm in the Core portion of the diet, it's not so bad.  There's many more food selections and several tasty recipes to choose from.

If I have any one complaint, it has to be the cost associated with a healthy food diet.  Why is it that the super-sweet, bad-for-you-stuff is so cheap??  Could it be so there is enough money to cover the heart attacks caused by it later?

Well, if so, I'd rather shell out more money now for healthy food than to pay it out in hospital costs later.

And I get to look good too. :)

Overall, I'm like the Cinch! diet.  Much better than I did the first week. 

I haven't yet been brave enough to measure my waist, but I promise to no later than the last week of the diet.  What I can attest to, however, is that my pants are sliding down....a lot.  So that's a good sign right?

Have you been on the Cinch! diet?  If so, how's it going for you?  I'm anxious to hear!

Cinch! by Cynthia SassWant to try the Cinch! diet but don't have the book?  Well, keep reading to find out how you can get a FREE copy of this bestselling book!

GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! Cynthia Sass through One 2 One Network is generously offering a free copy of Cinch! to one lucky reader of The Mom Trap.
Here's how to enter: Leave a comment below telling me why you want to try the Cinch! diet. (Be sure to include an email address or have one available on your profile in case you win!)
Want to increase your chances of winning with extra entries? (Leave a comment for each additional entry; i.e. 2 extra entries = 2 comments)

  • Visit Cynthia Sass' website at then return and leave a comment with one fact, on any subject, from her site.
  • Like Cynthia Sass on Facebook for 1 extra entry (already like it? That counts!).
  • Follow Cynthia Sass on Twitter for 1 extra entry (already follow?  That counts too!)
  • Become a Facebook Fan of The Mom Trap at (1 extra entry. Current followers also receive extra entry.)
  • Follow The Mom Trap with Google Friend Connect, Twitter, or Yahoo Account. (1 extra entry. Current followers included.)
  • Follow The Mom Trap on Twitter (1 extra entry. Current followers included.)
  • Tweet this giveaway for 2 extra entries, including @kdcantrell in your tweet. (Include the Tweet status URL in your comment.)
  • Blog about this giveaway for 5 extra entries. (Be sure to include the URL of your post in your comment)
The Fine Print: Contest ends at 11:59:59 PM Central Time on Thursday, January 27, 2011. Winner will be chosen by random number generator. Must be 18 years or older to enter. Open to U.S. and territories residents only; void where prohibited. Winner will be announced on Facebook, in the last of my Cinch! posts, and notified via email no later than Monday, January 31, 2011, and will have 48 hours to claim their prize or an alternate winner will be chosen.


Got Tabasco Original Red on Hand for your Super Bowl Party?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of TABASCO® Original Red. All opinions are 100% mine.
Tabasco Original RedIn the south, hot sauce is as much a kitchen staple as sugar, flour, butter, and shortening.

And you'll find most Southerners sport a bottle of TABASCO® Original Red in their cabinets.

Tabasco is GREAT for adding flavor to eggs, macaroni and cheese, hamburgers, and - most importantly - chili and pizza!

Here in the Cantrell household, we couldn't live without Tabasco sauce. What's funny is that so many people think Tabasco sauce equals hot. True, but it's much more than that; it adds a real flavor kick to the foods we're eating.
And, ya know, the Super Bowl is right around the corner (February 6, 2011, to be exact) and one of our favorite recipes with Tabasco® on this day is for Hot Wings, using the following recipe - which serves 8, so double or triple for Super Bowl parties:

Ingredients:   12 ounces Tabasco® Original Red, 5 pounds of chicken wings (or drumettes, if you prefer), and 8 ounces of Italian salad dressing.

Directions:  In a freezer bag, mix Tabasco® with salad dressing. Keep 1 cup for basting and dripping. Add chicken wings to bag, seal and refrigerate at least 2 hours, turning bag several times.  Bake at 350'F. for 45 minutes or until done, basting with reserved sauce.

Sounds good, huh?  It's just one of the tasty fixin's that'll be on our Game-Day Party Menu!

Remember how I mentioned Tabasco® is also great for pizza?  Yeah, we'll be enjoying Pizza Perfected with the help of Tabasco® Original Red.

Oh man, I can't wait!

So, what's on your game day menu for the Super Bowl?  I hope it includes Tabasco® Original Red or you're really going to be missing out!

Visit Sponsor's Site


Get Your Kids Up and Moving with!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Have you noticed how dormant kids are these days?  Their lives consist of video games, television, and cell phones.

What happened to the good old days of playing outside until the street lights came during summer?

Whether it's a combination of technology or the dangers presented in the world today, either way things just aren't what they used to be and our children are paying the price.

But there is a solution: the nation’s largest online parent resource for kid’s lessons, classes and camps.  Just by supplying their zip code, parents can find website links, contact information, interactive maps, and activity descriptions for providers in their area. is also hosting the Get Kids Active! Facebook Campaign, where parents can help their kids get active through social networking.  Fans find and share activity ideas on our wall, pass the “Get Kids Active!” sticky note to their friends, and take fun (and informative) activity-related polls.

Thinking you can't afford a great activity for kids?  Think again! is offering Kids Scholarships.  For more information, click the Scholarships tab at's Facebook page.


Go West, Young Man! 20 Top Performers at the Houston Rodeo This Year!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ever since I read Ron Franscell's The Crime Buff's Guide to Outlaw Texas last year, I've been wanting to go to Texas.

And after seeing the concert line-up for this year's Houston Rodeo event starting March 1, 2011, through March 20th, I really want to head west with Houston Rodeo Tickets in hand!

Each night features a concert by a popular act. This year's line up includes Trace Adkins, Tim McGraw, Rascall Flatts, Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, and many more chart topping country music singers.

Country music isn't your thing? No problem. Other concerts will feature KISS, Kid Rock, Janet Jackson, Selena Gomez, and La Arrolladora Banda El Limon, La Leyenda.

Concerts aren't the only big attraction.  There's something for everyone at the Houston Rodeo.  Visitors will also enjoy a cookoff, parade, and carnival! 

This is an awesome 20 day celebration that's perfect for families.  I can only wish that I lived in Texas so I'd so be able to go because, I gotta admit, this would be right up our alley!

Let me live vicariously through you.  Get your tickets, visit the Houston Rodeo, then come back tell me how much fun ya had for us all! ;)


A Unique Idea for Struggling MLM Businesses

Is Your MLM Business Struggling?I have several friends that are all in the same cosmetics-based MLM company. And they are always promoting their distributor URL on Facebook and Twitter.

I can't speak for their selling styles, but I do know one thing for sure: there is no personality in their websites.

New replicated website software that offers personalized pages through distributors is a perfectly solution to the dull, same ol' same ol' pages offered by most distributors today.

And have you ever noticed it's the same thing with franchises too? Why shouldn't franchise local marketing be just as unique to the owner, community and their customers? It should!

Okay, so you're ready to take spruce up your MLM pages and have a boost in sales and recruitment. Where to start?

If it were me, I'd start with Freshout web development who offers some great tips on increasing sign-ups, SEO, and more through personalized distritubor and franchise pages.

Let's face it, in this market, every business can use all the help they can get. So check it out!


Cinch! Book Review and The Results of My First Week On the Cinch Diet

Friday, January 7, 2011

What was my New Year's Resolution? To lose this baby roll that seems to have taken up permanent residence on my body!

So when I was offered a copy of Cynthia Sass' new book Cinch, I jumped at the chance. 

Do I think it's a good plan?  Yes, particularly the 5 day Fast-Forward plan - which is a 4-meals-day-plan for 5 days.

The kicker, there are specific Fast Forward foods; namely:  spinach, raspberries, almonds, organic eggs, and plain organic yogurt.

Not a lot of pickings there.  And for someone like me who is a picky eater, the pickings are slim to none.

But the restrictions lighten up some after the Fast-Forward plan.  And, actually, Cynthia says that the Fast Forward is not mandatory and can be skipped altogether - although you will not quickly lose those initial 8 pounds.

As I mentioned earlier, the pickings were slim but I've reached a point of desperation and I really, really need to lose this middle.   So, as I mentioned in a previous post, I decided to take a crack at it.

Having started on the Cinch diet on Monday, beginning with the Fast Forward plan, the first thing I noticed is that this plan is SUPER restrictive.  I mean, I read it but to live it - O.M.G.!

One of the things one the Cinch! diet is to eliminate sodas (including diet).  As a HUGE Dr. Pepper addict, drinking approximately 40 ounces per day, this was hard.

Even harder than eating foods I'm not crazy about.

And I noticed I had headaches and felt tired.  Fortunately, I had the chance to ask Cynthia Sass if this was normal - because in the book she says you'll feel more energy in the first few days.  And I wasn't.

Well, just as I suspected, I'm detoxing from Dr. Pepper.  But Sass recommended that I substitute Green Tea for the Dr. Pepper to ease the transition.

I didn't really like the Green Tea.  And I did wind up cheating a couple of times with small amounts of Dr. Pepper - bad, bad me! - but now I'm on flavored water.  The headaches are gone and, although I'm not bounding around with tons of energy, I am starting to notice I am feeling better.

As I finish Fast Forward step and I'm heading into the overall Cinch! diet, I can proudly say that last night I weighed in at 132.2 pounds - meaning, I've lost 5.9 pounds! (How much would I have lost if I hadn't cheated with the Dr. Pepper?) Although I'm not really seeing it in tummy area...yet.

Now I've just got to stick with the remaining 25 days.  I'm pretty sure I can, but I'm hating the fact that I'm preparing two meals, essentially, because the diet is NOT family friendly.  Also, I've got to dodge restaurants for these next 25 days because you won't find anything on a menu that even closely resembles the permissible foods.

Not to mention that Princess A's birthday is coming up and the birthday cake and ice cream is going to be very hard to sidestep.

But I know I can do it.  I want to do it.  Because I really think this could work.

Check back with me next Friday to see how I'm doing.  And wish me luck!

As a member of the One 2 One Network, I was provided a free copy of Cinch! by Cynthia Sass. 
Providing this product in no way influenced by opinion as stated in the foregoing review.


Branson, Missouri, Here We Come!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hiltons of Branson. All opinions are 100% mine.
Branson Missouri
I remember as a child, my family took a vacation to the Ozarks in Missouri.  While I may not remember ever single detail, I do know that it was fun and I've always wanted to return!

Especially with the development of Branson, Missouri.

Living close to Nashville, I've experienced all of those things.  Many times.  And I'm ready to try something different.

With the fond memories I have of that family vacation, I'm thinking it's time to take my family to Branson, Missouri this summer.

One of the first things I want to do is make a return visit to Silver Dollar City.  As an eight-year-old, I remember that place was a BLAST!  And since my youngest son is as big of a fan of amusement parks, he'll love it!

Then, of course, we HAVE to visit the Titanic Museum.   I've watched the documentaries, watched the movie by the same name, so now I've got to check out this "must see" 90-minute walk-thru attraction.

Before leaving, I'm hoping we'll also have a chance to visit the Hollywood Wax Museum (I can't explain it, but I love those places!), Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum, and possibly take a cruise on the Lake Queen riverboat.  And, as the daughter of a Vietnam Veteran, I'd love to visit the Veterans Memorial Museum too.

Now...I've narrowed it down to two hotels.  As a loyal visitor to the Hilton family hotels (American owned, operated, and ALWAYS clean!), I'm trying to decide between staying in downtown Branson at the Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel or on Lake Taneycomo at the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing.

If you have a recommendation of either, please feel free to share!

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Handbags! Satchels! Clutches! I Want Them All!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I racked up quite a few gift cards during the holidays and what's the first thing I thing I think about buying?


I know, I know. It's insanity, but I just love them.

And I know I'm not the only one.

I mean, really, who can resist prada handbags? They're just so stylish!

Or how about the stylish AND functional Rebecca minkoff handbags? I'm especially partial to the black "hobo" style! Talking about holding all my "stuff"!

But I love the Camille satchel style in marc Jacobs handbags. So classy and well designed.

Oh my, oh my! With so many selections, how is a girl to choose?


Its A Great Time for Home Buying with VA Loans

Monday, January 3, 2011

With mortgage rates being at all time record lows, if you're in the market for a home, now is the best time to best time to be shopping.

I predict that come spring, as the flowers bloom and the snow melts, we'll see the market begin to recover and real estate prices to be on the rise.

For military members, I strongly encourage you to check out the VA home loan rates - a great program putting veterans of our Armed Forces into quality, affordable housing.

With an application process that's significantly less complicated than in years past, all interested individuals need to do is supply proof of income, their DD214 form, employment history, references, and an original VA Certificate of Eligibility.

If you are an active member military or non-active duty veterans of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or National Guard, you owe it to you and your family to get information on these home loans designed just for you.


Where to Find the Best Free Stuff Online

Sunday, January 2, 2011

It's no secret that I love just about anything that's FREE. Whether it's free samples, coupons for free products, free trial periods, or what, I'm always game.

Now there's a great new place to find tons of new freebies. Visitors to will find coupons for free groceries, free beauty product samples, awesome rewards programs, and much more!

Just on the first couple of pages alone, I was able to snag a coupon for free Yoplait yogurt, got the scoop on how to get free tickets for the kiddos to Six Flags (which we LOVE!), a sample of the new Bounce washing machine cleaner, and information on how to get a free gift certificate from 

My favorite part, was that there were plenty of free samples without surveys  which, as I'm sure you've come to know, is hard to find these days.   Seems like everywhere you turn, somebody is wanting you to complete this "short" survey for a "free" sample.  (Give me a break!  I could buy the full size product for less than what my time is worth to get your "freebie.")

Whether you're looking for free stuff online, by mail, trial offers, or rewards programs, is the place to visit.


Find New Recipes at Be The Cook

Saturday, January 1, 2011

It seems like the dinner menu at our house is the same thing over and over...and over, and over. From what I hear, though, my house isn't the only one to experience these meal ruts.

So I'm always on the lookout for new Cooking Recipes to shake up our dinner meals.

Be The Cook is a great site to find great new recipes.  Instead of having to constantly look at a book, I can follow along by video - which works so much better for me!

Over the holidays, one of the recipes I used was on how to make your own Ginger Bread - a favorite holiday treat!

Okay, okay...I know, I was discussing dinner recipes then switched to a desert recipe.

Oh well, maybe it's all the focus on sweets that puts us in a dinnertime rut!? :)


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