Kroger: Back to School Sweepstakes

Kroger Back to School Sweepstakes

Kroger has a new Back to School sweepstakes running through July 26th. Enter to win free groceries for a year, a $25 Kroger gift card or an instant win of various food products. You can enter daily until the sweepstakes ends. Let me know if and what you win!

5 Favorite Baby Gifts

5 Favorite Baby Gifts as Recommended by a New Mom - Simple and practical ideas that any Mom will appreciate!

Please note that the following post does contain affiliate links. If you purchase anything through these links, I will receive a small percentage back to support this website. Thank you! Still, I would recommend these gifts regardless of where they are purchased!

As a new Mom, we received many thoughtful and generous gifts when Nathan was born. I promptly wrote the thank you notes, and we have since put these gifts to good use. That said, three months into caring for a baby, there are couple gifts that I use more than others. Some we received and others I purchased on my own, on the recommendation of others. These five things are the items I will now give as baby gifts because they are so useful! I realize every baby is different but if you are looking for something unique and / or practical to give a new Mom, here are my top recommendations, coming for a new Mom who’s tried and used them all.

1. Aden and Anais Swaddling Blankets

Before I had a baby, I thought these blankets were overrated. Then, a teacher from Andy’s school gave us two of these Aden and Anais swaddling blankets and I quickly learned why everyone raves. First, they are the perfect size of blanket, whether you are laying the baby on the ground or swaddling. They are lightweight enough that you can use these blankets year around. I especially like them to cover up when I’m nursing. The price is a bit higher, but you could do as the one teacher did, buy a set of 4 blankets (as they are sold) and divide it into two baby gifts. We’ve been perfectly happy with two of these marvelous Aden and Anais blankets. You can find these at Target and Babies R Us as well as online.

2. Booginhead Pacifer Clip

If a baby uses a pacifier, they are going to need a pacifier clip. Regardless of what kind of pacifier they use, there is one pacifier clip I recommend. It’s called the Booginhead. It’s a strong clip that doesn’t damage clothes and can attach to any pacifier. Plus, it’s available in lots of cute colors and patterns! We ordered ours from Amazon but I later saw it at Walmart. It is the best investment and will save you countless times of searching for and washing a dropped pacifier. Buy one of these sooner rather than later.

3. SwaddleMe

Swaddling has received a lot of attention in the recent years. Our hospital swaddled Nathan in the NICU and even sends all parents home with a sleep sack / swaddle. Nathan liked being swaddled, then didn’t for a small window, but then really liked it again. From week 3 on, we’ve used the SwaddleMe swaddle to help him get a good night’s sleep. We’ve found that it keeps him from jumping as little babies do, especially when they are sleeping on their back as now recommended by all doctors. The SwaddleMe is easy to use as it wraps the baby securely. We laugh that the baby looks like a little burrito, but he really seems to like it and sleeps soundly – which makes me like it. Again, you can buy these at Target or Babies R Us as well as online. I just purchased the bigger size at Once Upon a Child, a child resale shop.

4. Coordinated Onesies and Bibs

Let’s be honest. There are so many adorable outfits for babies. Boys or girls, it doesn’t matter. When you have a baby, your dresser and closet will be filled with the cutest assortment of outfits. What gets worn the most? The onesies. In my experience, the overalls and sweaters and pants are worn occasionally. They are too much work for a new Mom who is happy to be in clothes herself. Buy the baby some cute onesies – with bibs that coordinate – and she’ll be happy that the baby is dressed so cutely and simply. When the drooling starts around 2 months, as it will, she will be extra glad for those matching bibs and onesies. I’ll give bonus points if you buy bibs that wrap around and snap on the side of the neck instead of velcro-ing on the back. Those are my favorite bibs because they are easy to fasten and stay on securely. Here’s an example of some matching sets, but they can be found anywhere you buy baby clothes.

5. Pampers Diapers and Wipes

I stockpiled a lot of diapers before Nathan was born. I stockpiled diapers in all sizes and in all brands. Nathan hasn’t had a problem wearing any of the diapers and rarely leaks in any of them (no more so than the typical new baby). Of all the brands we have used, I have decided that Pampers are my favorite brand. These diapers fit securely and hold the most, especially in the newborn days. As for wipes, Pampers are also my favorites. I know some Moms don’t like these wipes because they are most moist than other wipes. To me, that is what I like the most about them. I feel like I can really get the baby’s bottom clean with these wipes. I will still buy the ones that are the best deal but am watching harder for deals on Pampers.

There you have it. If you are looking for practical gifts to give a new Mom, these are my personal recommendations. Of course, board books, baby wash and baby shampoo are also nice practical items always needed to round out your baby gifts. Freezer meals are also appreciated, especially once the baby is born! What would you add to this list? Are their other items Moms have appreciated as baby gifts? I’d love to hear in the comments!

I’m linking to Thrifty Thursday at Living Well, Spending Less

Top 5 Deals of the Week: 7/13 – 7/16

Top 5 Deals of the Week Button

This is a great week to shop at Kroger! I don’t do my every day shopping there, but their sales make it worth my time. This is a good sale week at Kroger. There are lots of good digital coupons that can each be used five times. Look in your ad to find all of those deals. Here are the top five deals I see for this week.

1. Blueberries (1 pint) at $0.99
Final price: $0.99 – They freeze great!

2. Kroger milk (1 galloon) at $1.88
Final price: $1.88 – Limit two

3. All laundry detergent at $2.99
Use printable $2/2 coupon or $1/1 coupon
Final price: $1.99

4. Doritos at $2.49
Use $1/1 digital coupon (Can use up to 5 times in one transaction)
Final price: $1.49

5. Ritz Crackers at $1.99
Use $0.50/1 digital coupon (Can use up to 5 times in one transaction)
Final price: $1.49

Glade Daily Break Sweepstakes

Enter the Glade Daily Break Sweepstakes (via Facebook) for a chance to win one of 4 giveaways. Plus, everyone who enters get to print a $1/1 any Glade product coupon.

Mars Movie Night Sweepstakes

Mars Movie Night

Through August 10th, you can enter the new Mars Movie Night Sweepstakes. Oh, I do love the Mars sweepstakes! Last time, I won several free candy bars, and I’ve already won at this one – on my second try. Here’s the scoop.

Text the word MOVIE to 78787. You will get a text back prompting for your birth date (to make sure you are over 18). Then, you will get a second text prompting for your email. After that, you will get a final text telling you if you are an instant winner or not. The first time, I wasn’t but the second day / time I was. What do you win? This is even better than chocolate. Gasp!

If you win, you’ll receive a $6 Mastercard to use for a home movie night. It is valid at any online streaming movie service – such as Amazon. If you’re an instant winner, you’ll receive a text to enter your unique code at the Mars Movie Sweepstakes. Once you do, you can select “$6 to Use at a Movie Streaming Service.” Once you do, you’ll get an email with a pdf file containing your Mastercard code. I used mine immediately at Amazon to purchase a $6 gift card and applied the credit to my account.

It’s really very simple if you follow the prompts. Just take the time to send that first text. You can enter daily and there are 500,000 winners! Let me know if you win!

Thanks, Hip 2 Save!

Mars Instant Win for Free Chocolate

Free Chocolate


Mars Chocolate is now hosting the M&M Instant Win Game. You can play daily from now until April 27th for your chance to win 1 of 80,000 prizes, including coupons for free chocolate! Register once and it’s easy to play again daily after that. Also, each person can win up to two prizes.

Thanks, Money Saving Mom!

Following Your Heart

Following Your Heart

Ponder this today. Are you following your heart? Am I? I know I want to live my own life – and my own dream. Let’s resolve to do that. Shall we?

A Newsletter Switch

New Newsletter Format

Those of you who are newsletter subscribers may have noticed a change this weekend! You may have received a day or two or multiple emails, but as of tomorrow, it should be back to one email in the more attractive format as shown above.

If you are not an email subscriber, it is easy to become one by signing up here. When you sign up for emails, I will send you an email on the days when something new is published on my website. If nothing has been published, no email for that day! If multiple articles are published in a 24 span, you will receive all of those articles, in their entirety, via email. You can still click on any of the links, click through to leave a comment on my site, and easily pin the articles to Pinterest, too. I’ve found that the email format is particularly helpful for those who want to stay updated with my website but don’t always remember (and / or have time) to click through to my site.

If you’d like to become an email subscriber for all I share at Joyfully Thriving, you can quickly sign up here. The sign-up form is also located in my sidebar on my home page for anyone who visits my site. I hope this new format of the newsletter is even more helpful to all of you! And if you have any questions, as always, feel free to ask!

Sunday Coupon Preview 1/12/14

This Sunday, we should receive two coupon inserts in our paper. Some of the coupon highlights I see include…

  • Gain $.50/1 detergent or fabric enhancer (2/28)
  • Old Spice $1/1 anti-perspirant or deodorant (2/28)
  • Superpretzel $.50/1 product (2/28)
  • Secret $1/1 outlast, scent expressions or destinations (2/28)
  • Bird’s Eye $1/1 recipe ready frozen vegetables (3/9)
  • Campbell’s $.50/5 condensed chicken noodle, tomato or cream of mushroom soups (3/15)
  • Kleenex $.50/3 boxes 50ct+ or 1 bundle pack (2/8)
  • Scott $1/2 1000 tissue 8pk+ or 1 16pk+ (2/22)

You can view the full list of coupons at Sunday Coupon Preview.

Top 10 Posts from Joyfully Thriving in 2013

As we say good-bye to 2013 tonight and welcome 2014 tomorrow, I thought it would fun to see what were the most popular posts on my website this year. It’s been fun to watch some of my links get pinned so actively on Pinterest. Thank you to everyone who has pinned content from my website! I greatly appreciate it. Now, without further ado, here are the top 10 articles from Joyfully Thriving this year.

10. Simple Cream Cheese Mints really are simple and so delicious! I love how you can customize them with colors, flavors or shapes for any occasion.

Simple and Delicious Cream Cheese Mints - Joyfully Thriving

9. I love making Apple Pie Kits for the Freezer and I’m excited to hear that many of you have tried this technique as well. It really is a great time saver and a simple way to have fresh pie whenever the mood strikes.

Apple Pie Kits for the Freezer - Joyfully Thriving

8. A lot of people were interested in 5 Easy Ways I’m Making Money This Year. Bing remains my favorite strategy on the list because it a quick and guaranteed way to earn at least $5 a month for my Amazon shopping come Christmas time.

5 Ways to Make Money

7. How to Save Time and Money by Cooking Chicken in the Slow Cooker has completely changed my life – and shopping. We eat a lot of chicken and this strategy is invaluable.

Chicken in the Slow Cooker

6. Speaking of chicken, my freezer recipe for Chicken Enchiladas was very popular this year. It’s delicious and one of the highlights of my freezer cooking series.

Chicken Enchiladas - Joyfully Thriving

5. I combined my love of freezer cooking and the crockpot when I shared How to Make Applesauce in the Crock Pot. Again, it’s simple and delicious. If you find a great deal on apples, store this idea away!

Crock Pot Applesauce - Joyfully Thriving

4. 10 Items to Stockpile in a Pantry received a lot of attention as well. This list still holds true for me, although diapers have been added to my stockpiling list.

10 Items to Stockpile

3. The most popular recipe in my freezer cooking series was for Basic Freezer Meatballs. Like the title says, it’s a basic recipe that you can use in a wide variety of recipes.

A basic meatball recipe for your freezer cooking - Lots of flexibility for future recipes with this one!

2. One of my favorite gifts to give and receive is this Biblical Version of Oh, the Places You’ll Go. Whether you give it to your own children or a godchild, it’s sure to be a treasured gift.

Biblical Version of Oh, the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss

1. My most popular article of the year was actually one that I wrote last year with my recipe for The Classic Buckeye. If you have time and patience, follow this recipe to make beautiful buckeyes!

How to Make Buckeyes

There you have it. Those are the 10 most read articles of the year. I’m curious to know which one of this is your favorite? Or do you have another favorite that didn’t make this top ten list? And here’s to a new year of new posts!

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