Archives For cbias

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client. All opinions are my own. #cbias #SocialFabric

CrossKeys Winery, #shop

We found a great way to save money on our phone bill with the Walmart Family Mobile cell phone plan powered by T-Mobile.

What did we do with the savings? We shored up our marriage!

We did. We used the savings to treat ourselves to a CrossKeys Winery tour.

Chris and I at Winery Tasting #shop

We did a tasting, followed by a tour of the Vineyards

Lunch at winery #shop

The cheese platter was a nice perk from the Groupon I got:)


Lunch at winery #shop

It was a gorgeous, late Summer day full of sun. We had a blast

After a fantastic afternoon, we even went and saw the “World’s End” at the movies. We had so much fun! If you saw that movie, I have to ask, “How adorable is Andy, people”??

While it was no surprise I love a good Pinot Noir, I found out my husband likes the CrossKeys Cabernet Franc. For a couple with six children, to have a quiet day after seeing one son off to college, one son off to the Marines and one son moving to NYC…well… a quiet day, with wine and a movie, is like a dream.

Winery side view #shop

I was thrilled to offer this trip to my husband as his early birthday gift. I showed him how we saved money while sending Nick off to college, when we chose this cheap wireless plan.

Nick gets unlimited data. This is awesome. Just this month, we saved $60 and did not have to share our 2GB of data we get on our other plan. My husband is looking at switching our whole family over to this plan as soon as we can because we would save almost 50% on our cell phone bill.

Nick is also able to handle his billing and service at the online account management and information site at This works really well. I like it also because I can log on and see his usage and help with his bill. (You can pay in other ways too, but I like the online billing view, it makes it easy for me to keep up with what my family needs.)

I also like it that as a parent, you have some control over the phone because they have a “Limits and Controls” page. I do not set this for Nick, as he is old enough that I would not do this. BUT, I would LOVE to use this system for my two younger daughters! I have tried some net download type protections on their phones under our current service and it never works right. For this Walmart family plan, the limits and controls are simple and do work (Nick tested it for me). You can block adult content, block certain callers, and even set restrictions on when phones can be used. This is an amazing option.

Seriously, don’t pay too much for your service! Take a look at the Walmart Family Mobile plan.

Read what others think at #FamilyMobileSaves and  #cbias We got the $25 one time starter kit and chose the $39.88 /month unlimited plan with talk, text and web. You can take a look at our shopping trip in my Google+ album.and my first post about this service:

Save some money and have some fun with your savings! #FamilyMobileSaves #shop #cbias


find inexpensive, unlimited service and a smartphone with the lowest rate plan w/no contract.

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client. All opinions are my own. #cbias #SocialFabric

In this busy media age, communication is essential. With our large family, with some kids in college, keeping in close communication means spending money on phone plans!

With Nick going off to college last week, we needed to find a cheap wireless plan with a smartphone, with unlimited plans. We heard we could save money with Walmart Family Mobile powered by T-Mobile.

I was glad to hear that Walmart Family Mobile had a new smartphone line-up and rollback pricing. In the past, my three boys have always been very self-reliant and thoughtful about paying for their own smartphones and they found no-contract plans. Yet, they were still paying quite a bit and have very specific limitations for each plan type. Nick really needed a more affordable plan.

My husband did purchase a contract plan. It is expensive. We have my husband, myself and one daughter on this Verizon plan. Each month we pay around $195 for a plan that allows our three smartphones to have unlimited calls and texts to any phone on any network, but we get only 2GB of shared data.  Here’s the cost breakdown:

  • first smartphone line         $50
  • second smartphone line    $40
  • third smartphone line        $40
  • 2GB shared data              $60

I really wanted to add Nick to this plan so he could focus on his studies, but it would be so expensive.  We would have had to add another line ($40) and look at increasing our shared data package to 4GB ($70/month versus $60/month).  This would have sent us way over $200+ per month just for four phones.

So we went to Walmart in the hopes that we really would find Nick a deal.

phone plans at Walmart

We saw lots of other no contract plans, but moved on to the #FamilyMobileSaves plan

When we found the display on the Walmart Family Mobile Service, we saw a range of smartphones including the Samsung Galaxy S4® and the iPhone. They had tons of options. I was surprised. They also had plenty of rollback pricing signs.

#FamilyMobileSaves #shop

We found the Walmart Family Mobile section and saw many phones available to use for that plan.

You can take a look at more pictures of our shopping trip in my Google+ album.

To use the Walmart Family Mobile plan, we saw we would need a starter kit, and the service (no contract, will be billed monthly, no penalties). We got the $25 one time starter kit and chose the $39.88 /month unlimited plan with talk, text and web.

In looking at everything, we saw we could buy any one of the available phones, or we could use a phone you already have. You would need a GSM phone that you could unlock (one with a SIM card).

We found a myTouch phone for a super reasonable price of $129.88 on rollback.

#FamilyMobileSaves #shop

We purchased this phone and Nick is very happy with the quality of the myTouch. I was disappointed in the camera on this phone, because I like to ooVoo him at school and the camera is not fantastic, but it does work, and he had no complaints. Nick mentioned he was able to get all his favorite apps. For the price, this is a great option.

At first, I was only concerned about Nick’s phone, but I saw that the Walmart Famile Mobile Plan can include up to five lines, and each additional line is cheaper. Here is the breakdown:

  • First smartphone line- either $39.88 unlimited talk, text and web or $29.88 unlimited talk and text.
  • All additional lines- $34.88 unlimited talk, text and web, $24.88 unlimited talk and text.

You can mix and match which type of service plan you want, for example, I could add a line for my youngest daughter with just talk and text.

We needed no contract, no credit check, and there can be no overage. The service is postpaid and is billed monthly. We are on the T-Mobile National Network with 3G, which has very good coverage in both our local town and in Nick’s university town of Lynchburg, Virginia.

It was very easy to activate the phone.

#FamilyMobileSaves #shop

Nick activates phone online, quickly easily.

You can get it done at Walmart by the employees or do it by phone or online. Nick set his up at the online account management and information site at in less than five minutes and was able to choose a phone number with his college area code, which made him very happy.

We really did find inexpensive, unlimited service and a smartphone with the lowest rate plan I have seen with no contract. I called Nick last night and he says the phone is working well and he is not having any issues with his phone service. Yay! #FamilyMobileSaves #shop #cbias

Are you trying to save money on all the back to school needs? Walmart Family Mobile is featured in the Live SoFab Back to School Digital Magazine!


Take a peek to see this and more money saving ideas.

#BagItForward donation preparation

I really like the idea of helping others. But…I am sooo busy!

I really am. And I am a homeschool, stay at home mom. I do not even have a 9 a.m. meeting or a child spitting up on me. (I do, at this exact moment have a dog throwing up somewhere, but I am not going to get that yet). I have something to share with you.

One thing that is making helping others easier for me lately are these Simple Service projects I heard about online with Champions for kids. Companies like Walmart and Elmers are giving loads of help as well.

This month I got a Bag It Forward Mission.

Grin. School supplies! I am such a geek and I love school supplies.

For this Bag It Forward mission I got to get some quality school supplies like Elmer’s items (and of course Perry stuff) at Walmart, and get some friends and neighbors to help me create a donation.

From there, all kinds of fun ensued. Seriously! I got to download a cute App, help children in need in two different ways, experience how much kids love to help and have a fun party experience.

You can see all that happened on my Google+ story here:

The first thing I did was go to Walmart and check out the Elmer’s 1st Day App. I found the carousel with supply lists:

Walmart school lists

Elmers 1st Day of School App

See the QR code?

This is a Free App for iPhone and Android. Just snap a picture, create a memory and share with your friends and family.

And, get this – you will also help children in need receive school supplies just by taking a picture!

So HOW exactly does this App really help others?

“For every picture uploaded with the 1st day app, Elmer’s will donate one product to the Kids in Need Foundation and is proud to help with a donation of up to 200,000 products.”

1st day app, Elmers

After downloading my app, I got to shop.

Em shopping school supplies

Bag It Forward with Elmers

My helper!

Bag it Forward donation

As we checked out, I thought about ways to collect extra donations from my friends, neighbors and family. My daughter and I were throwing a crafting party and it seemed perfect make this very personal to some of the kids and to ask them to bring some extra school supplies to donate!

I expected a few items, but the girls, ranging in age from 7 to 16, brought tons of things. I think kids are so generous. They often just need a little direction on how to help—even if my direction was just get some supplies. I love these Simple Service Projects.

I was so proud of the little girls who all took this so seriously. Not only did the girls bring many staple supplies, glue, paper, glue sticks, markers, crayons and binders, they also brought some fun supplies with Disney characters like Perry. I know those will make some little child smile!

#BagItForward donation

I was thinking of donating our supplies to the Boys and Girls Club close to me. But I walked into church this Sunday morning and saw that our church doing a Cherokee Ministry School Supply Collection (for the Cherokee Compassionate Ministries in North Carolina).

Cherokee Ministry Supply Collection

I immediately felt that this was the perfect way to share our donation. I cannot wait to tell the girls this is where our donation ended up!

You can also support The Bag It Forward Mission in your town.  Download the App and/or visit Walmart and pick up some great Elmer’s School supplies to donate to support the First Day App and the idea of helping other schoolchildren in need with the Bag It Forward project. Because EVERY child should have some special new supplies for back to school!

See Bag It Forward on Pinterest or visit Elmer’s: Elmer’s on Facebook and Elmer’s on Twitter

Where should you go to download the app?

The 1st Day™ app is available now for download on iPhone and Android mobile devices via QR (Quick Response) code scan; codes can be found on select Elmer’s glue bottles and will be displayed in stores where school supplies are sold.

Also, the app is available for download directly from the iTunes Store and Google Play or here: 1st Day App download

“I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study forCollectiveBias™ and Elmers.  #BagItForward #CBias #SocialFabric.

My kids love the outdoors, and having a comfortable setup really uses that space. You know, so they don’t have to hang out in the …trees!

So often, I have dreams of my what my perfect oasis would look like…I may not be an interior designer, but I like beautiful spaces and I want my family to enjoy our home together.

I had a great time creating a special Summer Celebration Party Plan with the Polyvore clips and outdoor decor from Kmart today.

I love to make home a fun place to be, especially when the older ones are going away come Fall.  We are surrounded by Woods, and when I say Nature is everywhere, I mean that!

 this is my backyard!


In the city I am not!

Nature is awesome, and we have a lovely yard, in that we are in the Shenandoah Mountains. We have deer running around, stars, privacy…all kinds of sweet things. But, we need a bit of comfort for good entertaining!

We have an Upper and Lower deck.

They could both use some TLC!

nice but poorly used space

Yes, I do not have a lot of seating or lights! When I began planning a Back to School Party, outdoor furniture and lights were forefront on my mind. I really want a liveable space that can stand up to kids and weather.

I began by looking through the new online Kmart Social Circular.

Oh Yeah! It’s that time of year again! “Time to reconnect with friends and family over the neighborhood barbeque, to decorate the yard, maybe even have a backyard date night on the patio. But how do you find the inspiration to create your perfect outdoor oasis? Kmart can help with every item you need to make your outdoor space as warm and welcoming as your indoor space. From patio furniture, seating sets, lawn furniture and grills, Kmart brings you amazing deals on great brands.  Check back regularly for inspirational designs from real shoppers, just like you, who were able to create the perfect Summer space at a great price! is your one-stop shop for inspiration, new products and savings to make your dream outdoor space come true!

kmart patio

I found many good, affordable options here

I personally loved some of the cushioned pieces and I am thinking about doing one deck in one design and another in a more trendy, fun college vibe. So, I focused on creating somewhere all my teens and college kids could come and go and relax and hang out. It should not be stuffy, yet it should be comfortable. And, I wanted pretty lights and shade from the hot sun or heat to warm everyone should the party go late.

I wish I could make an awesome hangout so they all want to come home asap! Yes, I will miss them as they go off to college. This year, I am ready for it. A few years ago, I was devastated and cried for hours after my son left.

Now, I still miss him, and I will cry, but I know he is following his dreams and I am proud of him. Still, I want to create special memories and special, comfortable places so he really wants to come home!

I did a google+ album as I shopped! (You can peek at what I looked at if you like).

I am excited to share some of what I ended up with! Tons of things are on sale too, right now. I

Perfect Outdoor Summer Sendoff Party with Kmart

So, what do you think of my Polyvore collection??

I did like many of the items in the Kmart circular. I tried to choose things I thought would keep college kids interested in the celebration.

  • I chose a bar type table, rather than a settee…I figured kids like to keep moving and talking.
  • If the party was during the day, shade is important to me, so I added the really nice umbrella. If it was at night (which is more likely) I could use the heater and the firepit.
  • I really LOVE having a firepit going during a get together. There is just something special about the warmth and light given off and they are safe with a lid!
  • I did not add a grill, because we have one, but that would be a necessity and #KmartOutdoor did have some great sale prices on those.
  • I added a really nice set for the other deck. This was a $900 seating arrangement on sale for $400.
  • And, of course, you always need beautiful lighting!

let me know what YOU think of my choices by clicking thumbs up or thumbs down!

[listly id=”1Xn” theme=”dark” layout=”gallery”]

For more ideas and information, check out:


“I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study forCollective Bias™ and Kmart. #KmartOutdoor #CBias #SocialFabric”

Mrs. R at the local Boys & Girls Club!

I little bit ago, I blogged here about the Champions for Kids Simple Service Project for January, The Abbott Nutrition Pack a Snack. This simple service project for this month is to create a snack pack and donate the pack to be used by a hungry child.

For example, you could create a little snack pack and drop it off at a food bank or pregnancy shelter. Or, something like starting a food drive at your work by simply placing a box in a corner of the break room and delivering it to a local Boys and Girls Club.

For this project I was hoping to go big, you know…start some wonderful giant project. I did not do that. I did do my one small thing, though, and I hope it was a blessing to some little children.

As Abbott is the sponsor, we hit WalMart to buy Pediasure, SideKicks and Zone Perfect bars to add some protein in our packs. You can see my shopping trip on my google+ album! Or, watch this slideshow:)

There really are tons of ways to help, and for me, the secret is in the “simple” message.

We all want to do tons, I know! But, with our own families and busy lives, it is hard. At least it is for me. But this concept of doing one small thing…with millions of people doing it…well, I can do that!

My family and I talked about what we would do. My daughter has volunteered at a local Boys and Girls club near our town, and she thought it would be very helpful to do something for the little children at that club. I was proud she was thinking about them and told my husband. He then mentioned how I really like to talk about nutrition and that we should do little healthy packs for the children, maybe let them decorate their packs with stickers and include activities.

We included some Pediasure, Zone Perfect bars, stickers and coloring sheets, word find...and organic lollipops for good measure!

Yes, my family is awesome! I loved my husband’s idea, so we went with that. We worked on this as a family and set up a dozen little packs for the k-1st graders and spoke with the Club director, Mrs. Regina. She was a love and was glad to do whatever to help, and said she’d love to do a little healthy class with the kids, let them design their bags and talk about proteins. She also said many of the kids could use the nutrition as this club serves a low income area.

My husband met with her and dropped off the packs and came home very content. He then mentioned that maybe we should try to get something started like the backpack program to help this B&G club. So, we’ll see where we go with this. I want to be careful not to overpromise, but I know my husband is already thinking about putting a donation box in his break room at work.

It seems so true, that once you notice something, you see it everywhere, and these simple service projects have made us, as a family, more aware of our surroundings.

Want to help? You can easily do a Simple Service Project in your town! Click here to see the Champions For Kids Simple Service Project page here.

Join in the Abbott/Champions for Kids Twitter party, January 19th at 9:00 pm EST.

Thank you, Champions for Kids and Abbott!

“This shop will be compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias.  I have given my honest opinion and I am pleased to be affliated with Champions For Kids!”  #CBias  #AbbottCFK

A few days ago in my local Giant Eagle, I watched a couple with a small child carefully checking coupons and doing the math for a very scant meal in their cart. I was ashamed of my full cart as their child stared at my cart, and my child holding candy. I knew just from the expressions on their faces that they were hungry.

In another aisle I saw a tired looking older woman, with a teenager, again with very few, cheap (unhealthy, I’d add) items and a look of despair. This is a hard time.

I came home to an email in my box about the Champions for Kids Simple Service Project for January, The Abbott Nutrition Pack a Snack.

Talk about appropriate for right now! This project has me researching ways to really help fight hunger in my own community.

From Champions for Kids, I had already heard that more than 16 million children under age 18 are unable to eat healthy, consistent meals. That number includes 3 million children under the age of five.

I went to google some statistics in my area. I see from our local Food Bank that

“Over 1 in 10 in the region—can’t take their next meal for granted. And 4 in 10 of these are children.  Those who receive food include the most vulnerable in our communities – children, the elderly, struggling families, the working poor, people with disabilities and the homeless.  They are hungry because they’ve run out of good options. So they cut back, miss meals, and make the food they have last as long as possible.”

And, these who are hungry are from all walks of life. Quiet children in classrooms are turning to teachers for food, a co-worker who rarely eats lunch is a father who must choose between food or paying bills.

So there is all that.

On top of all this, you all know I am a whole food and organic foods proponent. There is no doubt in my mind that people in need are rarely able to procure healthy foods.

And, while children are developing, healthy foods are so important! Their little systems need nutrition to help them learn and grow, even to fight infections.

Abbott, a sponsor for the January Champions for Kids Simple Service Project, has some nutritional products that could benefit these children, including Pediasure, Pediasure, SideKicks and Zone Perfect bars. People around the nation will be creating snack packs and donating them to children and appropriate agencies everywhere!

For example, you can create a little snack pack and drop it off at a food bank or pregnancy shelter. Start a drive at your work by simply placing a box in a corner of the break room and delivering it to a local Boys and Girls Club.

I really like these Simple Service Projects, because, frankly, they are not intimidating. You can do a small thing that makes a huge difference without taking away from your own family and responsibilities.

Want to help? You can easily do a Simple Service Project in your town! Click here to see the Champions For Kids Simple Service Project page here.

My daughter has volunteered with our local Boys and Girls Club in the past. She was upset by some of the hunger issues she saw with the children. So, I was excited when she wanted to help!

So…our plan is to shop Walmart and create some Abbott Nutrition Snack Packs for the children in K and 1st. Then, we will get some cute little white bags and healthy food stickers and create a coloring sheet with healthy food options, so the kids can have a healthy snack while designing their bags and learning. We will bring these to the club and deliver them to the Director, Mrs. R.

I can’t wait to post pictures and such about how this goes. And, please let me know if you sign up and do a Simple Service Project!  Just go to for more information. You can also find them on The Champions For Kids Facebook wall and on their Twitter Page.

Join in a Abbott/Champions for Kids Twitter party, January 19th at 9:00 pm EST.

“ This shop will be compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias.  I have given my honest opinion and I am pleased to be affliated with Champions For Kids!  #CBias  #AbbottCFK

From Dad’s Desk:

One important investment that I am working to maximize is the life of my vehicles.  Like most Americans, I am not in a position to handle a costly repair.  And buying a new (or used) one is a big investment.  So, I am always looking for ways to keep them running strong.  Over the years I have tried fuel additives and even some oil additives in an attempt to extend their lives.  Often with inconclusive results.

Recently, I tried STP Multipurpose Motor Treatment.  The bottle states it is good for both gas and diesel engines.  The benefits include:

  • Clean Fuel Injectors
  • Clean Intake Valves
  • Stabilize Fuel & Oil
  • Lower Emissions
  • Protect Against Viscosity Buildup…to name just a few.

The process of adding the product is simple.  You can add the contents of one bottle to your gas tank (treats up to 21 gallons) or you can add 1.5 oz. for each quart of oil to your engine’s crankcase.  Using this product doesn’t involve tools, jacks, or any other extreme conditions to perform.  It’s so simple, any of my kids, including my 15 year old daughter, can help with this maintenance.  I added STP Multipurpose Motor Treatment to my jeep’s crankcase and then to my van’s fuel tank.

You can see our entire process in the google + album.

Disclosure:  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias, #CBias.  All opinions are my own.


Shopping at

Heather —  December 16, 2011

Have you been doing the shopping rush around thing? Or, do you prefer online shopping?

I tend to do a little of both, really. My husband and I were looking at old Christmas Lists recently and laughed about how our first big purchase online was about nine years ago. That surprised me! These days, I shop online all the time. It is so easy usually. The only downfall for me is that I sometimes can browse for way too long…but I do that in brick and mortar stores too!

I heard about an online department store for kids recently, called

I did need some shoes for my youngest and they had a discount code available right then for 25% off. So, I checked it out!

I liked using the site. It loaded quickly and you could search by including and excluding all kinds of criteria, so it was easy to focus and look up shoes in a certain size, for girls. Still, I looked around a lot, but not as much as I might just googling for this. So, this saved me some time.

I liked some of the brands very much and the prices seemed very decent. They also appear to have lots of promotions through their newsletters and on the CookiesKids Facebook page.

I ended up getting my husband to look as he is into sports and really cares about the tennis shoes the kids wear. He is also hyper focused and immediately narrowed the choices down to one pair, and checked out. HA!  Men are so different!

Daddy's great choice!

You can see from my google plus album that I hopped around a bit more.

All in all, I liked the site. It is a decent option and seemed to have great prices.

The tennis shoes are a Christmas Gift, so I will update later with a picture. #LuvCookies, #CBias

FYI: has a referral program. For every person who signs up under your link, they will get a $10 credit. Also, when they make their first purchase you get a $10 credit too! See the info here:

“This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. The shopping experience, opinions and photos are my own.”