20 June 2014

7QT: Big-Girl Beds, Toddler Hugs, Wine Cake

Actually hosted at Team Whitaker today.

My husband B is on his annual 2-weeker with the Navy Reserves. It came up suddenly at his drill weekend, and within a week he was on a plane to Naples, Italy.
Airport hugs: Cora has never been away from her Daddy for this long.
She also has now hit the age where she understands he's gone. So that's new.

That means Cora and I will be driving to Georgia by ourselves next week, and B will be meeting us a few days into the trip. (He'll miss one baptism but make it in time for a wedding.) I've done a 2-day drive by myself with her before, so hopefully it will go as well as it did last time. She's a good car traveler, no fancy gadgetry required.

Cora got to spend a couple days without us last week. She and her Grandma were basically joined at the hip for 4 days, and then 2 days after she returned, her daddy left. All that means is I have a child on my hands that has regressed with potty-training, is pushing all my buttons and throwing fits about everything and nothing. Typical toddler? Probably.

She also had 2 nosebleeds Monday morning that I got the joy of cleaning up.

Speaking of nosebleeds, I took a picture of her aftermath on my phone. I had forgotten that we had put Dropbox on B's phone in addition to mine, and he set it so that any picture taken automatically backs up into the cloud. When we got to talk to each other Monday night, B mentioned that he'd already seen a picture on his phone of our kid covered in blood. At least she was smiling!

I refuse to put that picture up anywhere online, so here is a picture of a cake I made for B's grandma this past weekend:
Still working on my icing penmanship, but I was going for the French Script typeface

We had some Navy friends come stay with us on Wednesday! They're moving across the country (CT to WA, we knew each other way back in our VA days), and Cora and I provided a free place to stay and a hot meal. We hadn't seen each other since I was pregnant with Cora (during another one of their moves), and they have added a #3 since then. All of our girls had a blast together! It was crazy noisy in here. And two minutes after they left, it was strangely quiet.

They were towing their van stuffed to the brim with belongings. So smart!

We took the front rail off Cora's crib when she returned from Grandma & Grandpa's house. She did well with it until B left. We had a few rough nights, but now I think she gets the idea. I had started writing this earlier today and was going to comment how she has slept in the bed every time. I knew it was too soon.

After crying, screaming, getting Mommy to re-tuck her in for over an hour, and finally throwing her blankets over the gate, this was her nap today:
I have zero mommy guilt about gating her in there, since you were wondering.

B's Mt. Vesuvius selfie:

(Don't be too jealous, he's working 12-14 hour shifts every day, and this was taken while still on the base. The last time we Skyped, he was yawning after every sentence.)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

05 June 2014

Sign Up for Swagbucks and Win at Life

I recently decided to partner with one of my favorite make-money-online sites--Swagbucks! I am now a Swagbucks Influencer. All that means is if you sign up within the next week you benefit from a special code, and that I might mention it around this blog if they're doing something cool.

And guess what? They're doing something cool right now.

I know I've talked about Swagbucks before, and it's pretty awesome especially in regard to making gift cards. Specifically Amazon gift cards, although they have other ones available. (I actually bought half our Christmas gifts last year, worth over $100, with Amazon gift cards earned through Swagbucks.) Well now I have exciting news and a great opportunity for all of you to earn bonus SB -- enough to get a free $5 gift card!  
Anyone who signs up for Swagbucks.com through my link here between now and June 30th is eligible to get a 500 SB bonus! Click on the part that says "I have a sign up code" and enter WINDMILLS for an instant 70 Swagbucks! (Code expires June 13 so get to gettin' already.)

In order to get the bonus automatically*, you must also earn 1500 SB by July 14th. Note that since this is an exclusive offer, you must sign up through this link and earn 1500 SB in order to get your 500 SB bonus. If you sign up elsewhere, or only do one of the two steps, the bonus unfortunately will not be available to you.  

So how do you get that 500 SB bonus? Simple: you can earn SB from any of the earning activities found on the homepage or top bar of Swagbucks.com (Shop, Search, Watch, Play, Answer, Discover, Daily Crave, NOSO & Daily Poll).  In the meantime, if you haven't started earning with Swagbucks yet, now is a great time to sign up and check out all the different ways to earn Bucks -- all so you can get a bunch of free gift cards.  

One of the best ways I have found to earn SB is by downloading the SBTV Mobile App (on Android, iPhone, and even on Kindle!) and running the videos on there. You can get up to 50 SB per day from that, and it can be pretty passive. (Check out the 10 Second Tip videos in the Home and Garden section--favorite them by dragging to the left.) So if you just do that every day, you will have your 1500 SB in 30 days! $5 Amazon cards cost 450 SB, so after the bonus, you will have made at least $20 without ever leaving your couch.

Too much words? Here's the tl;dr step-by-step version:
1. Sign up for Swagbucks using this link here and use the code WINDMILLS (through 6/13) for a free 70 SB.
2. Earn 1500 SB by July 14th. Download SBTV Mobile app to earn 50 per day. Multiply by 30. Boom, 1500.
3. ??? (Do other awesome Swagbucks-y tasks.)
4. Profit! 500 extra SB thrown into your lap.

* Please note that it may take up to 14 business days to credit your account once you have earned 1500 SB. 

04 June 2014

Five Favorites: Birthday Freebies

For the past few years, I have gone on a "freebie spree" for my birthday. Just call me Mrs. Frugality. Here are my favorites from this year, with links to all of the companies so you can sign up and get your own!

No actual dollars were spent on this spree (nope, no BOGO or any nonsense like that, just 100% FREE!)
Favoritism, 5 things at a time

Firehouse Subs
This "Club on a Sub" was devoured before I even thought of taking a pic of the inside.
Firehouse is the only one that doesn't have a coupon and that you only have one day to redeem. Just bring a valid ID in on your actual birthday, and you get a free sub!

Noodles & Company
Wisconsin Mac & Cheese with Meatballs
Where has this place been all my life? I had never even heard of Noodles & Company before we moved to Fort Wayne. Since I passed one all the time, I signed up for their birthday club. This was my first time ever in there, and I got a big ol' bowl of anything I wanted for free. (Seriously, I had enough left over that I took some home.) It's counter-service, so I didn't even have to leave a tip! (Sign up here.)

Always nice having a June birthday for this one.
A free scoop from Baskin-Robbins. Do I really need to say more? Yes, the cone was free, too. (Sign up here.)

CVS $3 off $3
If you're a CVS ExtraCare member, check your email! This is the 3rd year in a row I have gotten a coupon for $3 off $3. And my favorite candy just so happened to be $3. Zero dolla, make me holla. (Sign up in store for ExtraCare then do the online part here.)

Giving Back

Since you're getting a bunch of freebies for yourself, you should probably give something away. Be it your time as a volunteer, a meal for a friend or acquaintance in need, or as I did this year, a pint of my own blood.
There was a poster on the wall that encouraged selfies.
I just love the look of that full bag of blood.
I used to donate a lot in college and haven't since then. (I got screened out back in the early days of this blog) The process is so easy now--I just signed up online and went to the hospital down the street that has a full-time donation center. Unbeknownst to me when at sign-up, I also got a coupon for a free pint of frozen custard. (Give a pint, get a pint--get it??)

Two other freebies I haven't even gotten to yet are a free sundae from Culver's and a free gift from Sephora (ours is a counter in JCPenney). Never done those before, so I can't review them! IHOP also gave me a free meal, but I tipped and also paid for Cora and my BIL's meal. Not counting that one as "free."

If your birthday isn't any time soon and you are fortunate enough to live within a reasonable distance of the wonderful institution known as Krispy Kreme, you can get a free doughnut on Friday in celebration of National Doughnut Day. Enjoy it for me, since I miss that place more than I miss my own momma. Sometimes.

03 June 2014

June 3rd

Every time this date rolls around, I think about one of my all-time favorite shows, Gilmore Girls.

A bit of background: June 3rd was the original date of Lorelai and Luke's wedding, but then they called it off. At another character's wedding, Lorelai gives a drunken toast and keeps repeating the date. I searched for this quote online but never found it, so here it is from Season 6, Episode 19 "I Get a Sidekick Out of You," which originally aired on April 18, 2006:
"Hey do you know what date I'm not getting married? JUNE THIRD. Do not save the date. Do you hear me? Do whatever you want on June third, because there's nothing at all happening on that day. If there's anything you need to book or anything, it's totally safe to book it on JUNE THIRD. So, congratulations Lane and Zach. Who else here had 8 shots of tequila? Anybody? Hands? No."

02 June 2014

30 and Wordy

I woke up to a new decade yesterday morning. I am officially not a twenty-something any more. I turned 30!

Ten years ago, I celebrated my 20th birthday in Verona, Italy, with a wine tasting event, a double scoop of gelato, and 50 people I would probably never see again once the summer was over. Things have only gotten better.

As for this year, I spent Saturday at my in-laws' lake house, and they got a cake for me and sang. No candles, but it was a nice touch. We'll be going out to eat later this week to celebrate. Yesterday was mostly a pretty typical Sunday, with a nice mass where we blessed the graduates. I then went on my annual "freebie-spree" which I will share more about later this week.
And this is what I wore, hanging out with St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and friends.
Dress from NY&Co., cardigan Old Navy, shoes ??
Cora is wearing an Indiana University dress
I think I have decided that my favorite way to celebrate my birthday is to celebrate other people's achievements. Last night I reminisced about all of the birthdays in my 20's and one of my favorites was my 28th. That day was mostly in celebration of B's Captain and his retirement. My 26th also stands out, since it was 3 days after my sister's wedding. I stayed in town with my folks (B was deployed), went to Stone Mountain, and we had leftover wedding cake that my nephew and I decorated.

One thing that has been bothering me, though, is that I cannot for the life of me remember what I did on my 25th birthday. I remember all the other ones going back to 18. There are no pictures on Facebook, no real memories pieced together from either B or myself. All I know is it was a Monday and I went to work. I'm guessing I went out to lunch with people, but that's all I've got. Maybe I went to the beach the day before? Oh well, I guess it's not too bad to have some mysteries left in my life.
My wedding necklace, made by my aunt
If you want to read about my last 3 birthdays, they're on the blog!

Linking up with FL&P