My First Giveaway..$10 Starbucks Gift Card

My first giveaway and I am so excited!

Thank you to everyone who is following my blog and following me on twitter! You're the BEST!

Because I am so grateful to my followers. I am giving away a $10 gift card to Starbucks for one lucky reader.

This giveaway will begin on Sunday, February 28 and will end one week later on March 7.

Please comment separately for each entry. I will then input the number of comments and followers at and the number picked will win. GOOD LUCK!

First entry: Become a follower (if you are already one, THANKS, that counts as an entry)

Second entry: Just leave a comment

Third entry: Follow me on Twitter

I want to keep my first giveaway sweet and simple. I will post the winner on Monday March 8th.

If you aren't the lucky winner, you can earn gift cards thru Swagbucks , just like I earned this one and many more for FREE.

Thank you to those that entered. This giveaway is now Closed.

Tweeting my way to Free Stuff

What am I....a Bird???? Why Tweet???

cute twitter icons

I held out for so long before I jumped on the Twitter Train.....

I'm way too lazy and busy to learn something new most days. Well, I found it to be very simple and an easy way to get updates about free stuff.

Dentyne sent me 2 free containers with 60 pieces of gum for my tweet!

I signed up at and I 'follow' my favorite sites free samples , Swagbucks , friends and other blogs for updates.

I thought I had to have a phone with internet access, which I don't. And I didn't know why anyone would want to know when I was vacuuming or taking out the trash...LOL

Those are misconceptions, you don't need internet on your phone. I just go online if I want to do a status update. These days my status just consist of a phrase that might win me something or if I've written a new blog post to update those following me.

An example if my Free Samples site is having a giveaway...I would tweet @newfreesamples thank you for a chance to win a free car!!!!

If they actually had that giveaway...I would be entered and they would see my tweet because of the @.....

What I LOVE most about twitter is that there is a little phone icon that when turned on will send texts to my phone. It's way too time consuming to chase samples around the internet.....So by following my free samples site I get texts to my phone with the latest sample.

It's nice because if it's a good one, I'll go sign up before it's gone. Or I can choose to ingore it.

Sign up with the free samples link and follow them on twitter for these great samples. Some of these are also my Swagbucks rewards.

I love the opportunity to try a product out for free to see if I would like to buy and use it. For the items I don't use I donate or make a nice gift basket for friends.

I hope that kinda explains twitter and I hope you follow me so I can see your tweets........

Tweet Tweet

Painting the Baby Room

When I decided to paint this room, I was only hoping that someday it would be my son's room. After months of trying I still wasn't even pregnant, well I think there is power in suggestion....not long after I started this room I was pregnant with our son..

I didn't really have a plan...I just sort of started painting...I knew I wanted a 2-tone room with a chair rail. I also had some ideas in my head from different baby magazines.
This is the room before...
My husband had is 'office' in the closet. Notice there are no shelves around the closet doors.
I chose a light blue and a dark blue. Two gallons of paint were about $20 each. I measured up the wall how high I wanted the bottom half and just marked a spot every foot. This allowed me to keep the line even when painting. The chair rail will cover where the paint meets so no need to be perfectly straight.
I bought this chair rail at Home Depot and painted it white. My lovely husband cut it to fit. I had to touch up a few spots where I didn't quite get the paint matched up.
Well then I decided that I wanted to add some stripes. I bought tape and another darker color.

I broke this step down into days because I just didn't have the patience to do it all at once. Taping is very time consuming and you want to take your time and do it right or the whole project just won't look nice. The tape I used was 2 inches wide. So I placed a strip then measured 2 inches then placed another strip then measured 6 inches all the way around the room. The 2 strips and the 2 inch gap equals 6 inches. So I had a 6 inch solid section and a 6 inch striped section. You MUST make sure your tape is sealed tight to the wall so paint doesn't seep under the tape.
As you can see in the photo, I used a darker blue for the 6 inch stripe and then just painted the light blue from the top of the wall in between the two strips of the 2 inch tape. You can use thinner or wider tape/more or less stripes for your look. Just have fun with it.I looked into buying some 'words on walls' but it was just too expensive for my taste. So my husband brought this projector home from work. I'm told that you can rent these from your library or college. I found a clip art of something I liked online, copied it to paint, changed the font and name and then printed it on some transfer paper. Then you just project it on to the wall and it will cast a shadow that you can trace with a pencil.
Pick your colors and try to color inside the lines:)
I found this dresser at a garage sale for $20, painted it white, put airplane knobs from hobby lobby on it and velcroed the changing pad to the top.
I have yet to build the toy box/window seat. I'm gonna have my husband make a box with a hindged lid. I will paint it white and put a blue pillow cushion on the top. A place for all the toys to go in, while we sit and look out the window.
My handy husband built these shelves around the closet. It saves space and isn't something my son will pull down on himself. This was done in an afternoon for less than $75.
This is my favorite thing that keeps the changing table smelling oh so fresh and clean!!! I wouldn't be without it.... you can get it here

My son absolutely LOVES this blanket. I love to buy homemade whenever possible and affordable. This is a steal for $10 plus shipping. Different colors and designs here and you can also ask about a monogram or personalizing.
I love his room and how it turned out....but I can't wait for Rains to come to me and say "This is a baby's room, I want a Big Boys room" and I get to do it all over again.
I will be blogging about every room so come back for the rest of the house.

Please see my left sidebar for all the wonderful places I'm linking up and for other great ideas!

Sleepless in Blog Land.......

When I first started this blog it was just to talk about my free coupon site and swagbucks that I absolutely LOVE and have benefited from....

Then I realized that I had so many other things to share.

My plan was to blog everyday!!!! What was I thinking???? So the plan changed to every other day.

Well with an almost 6 month old that is not sleeping through the night, my plans have changed again.

When I say NOT sleeping through the night, I mean up every hour on the hour!!! UUGGGG! This is a rare shot of him sleeping

For me writing anything is VERY time takes me hours/days to edit what I'm trying to say....I've never been a writer so I'm hoping with time this will get easier and faster...

My goal for now is to blog twice a week.

Today I just wanted to mention Swagbucks again because their birthday is approaching and I think BIG rewards are coming.

Since the beginning of this month I have gotten $50 more in amazon gift cards, a t-shirt and some rubber ducks for my son's bath. I love to stack the amazon cards on my account and save up for something big. I plan on getting even more by the end of the month.Swagbucks are a digital dollar that you are rewarded for searching the web. Read my first post to find out more. Don't miss out! You're on the computer anyway so go be rewarded for it.

Just go check out swagbucks fan page on Facebook and see the happiness and rewards others are experiencing.I plan on using some of my rewards for a giveaway to my followers soon.

Well I'm off to try and nap...ya right...who am I kidding??

My Canning Party

Hello All

Well my mother-in-law had a great recipe for canning in the oven. I love the idea of canning. I have only tried it once and found it to be a lot of work and not so much fun all by myself.

So I decided to invite over 4 other mommies to help me try out this new recipe and share the fun or disaster.

I have a small (1200sqft) and NOT exactly child proof yet house. So I was a little leery of inviting over a bunch of kids and moms. We had a blast.

A house full of children was just as much fun as the canning. I had a boy eating the dog food, one eating the dirt out of my plant, one under the kitchen sink and one playing in the toilet.

Oh wait…. that was all the same little boy! It was a wonderful glimpse of what I have to look forward to when my 5 month old turns 1.

Please keep in mind that I am NOT an expert on canning. This is just what I did for my canning party.

My husband made wonderful recipes cards for all the mommies to take home with their jars of spicy green beans. (See top of page) For the complete recipe click here.

I got a box of 12 quart and 12 pint size jars at my local Salvation Army for $1.29 per each box. Its fine to reuse jars and rings but you should use NEW lids.

I bought the rings and lids off of Amazon for $10 w/shipping (free for me because I used the gift card I earned thru Swagbucks) Since it’s the wrong time of year to be canning I couldn’t find any canning items at my local store.

Make sure if you use wide mouth jars to buy wide mouth lids. Most quart jars are wide mouth but pint jars come in regular AND wide mouth. I bought the wrong lids on my first attempt.

I bought the ingredients from Sam's club. I used a bag of frozen green beans($5 it made 12 quarts) but in the summer fresh green beans will be better and just as economical. A box of 2 gallon jugs of vinegar ($3), sack of garlic ($5), dill seed or fresh dill ($3), peppers or pepper flakes ($5), I used dried peppers. I think they look prettier in the jar than the pepper flakes.

The supplies I used were a pot for boiling the water, vinegar and salt. A measuring cup that also works well to dip the hot water out of the pot and into the jars. A funnel, jar gripper, sharpie, and towels for cooling.

First and foremost it’s VERY important to sterilize the jars and lids. NEVER put food in a jar that has not been sterilized. There are several ways to do this. My dishwasher has a sterilization cycle that takes a couple hours and all of us were comfortable with this process. I researched other ways and one way is to boil the jars and another was to bake them. I found that info here and here so you can do what works best for you.

After all the jars are sterilized I put them on a cookie sheet. This makes it easy to carry them from table to stove without contaminating them. I put the peppers, dill and garlic in jars. We each wrote our names on the jars with a sharpie. Because some liked it spicy and used more peppers and others were garlic lovers and used a little more garlic.

While the water, vinegar, and salt are boiling pack the green beans in jars. The first batch we made 12 quarts. The recipe is for 2 quarts. It took all our mommy brains to figure out the right measurements!!! So make sure you adjust the recipe if you want to make more than 2 quarts.

Use the funnel and the measuring cup and fill the jars with the hot liquid leaving one half inch of head space.

The best and easiest way to sterilize the lids is to put them on the stove in a water bath to simmer. I used a magnet stick my husband had in his toolbox to lift the lids out of the hot water. I think tongs work well too. Put the lids and rings on the jars. Just finger tighten the jars so they have room to expand. Then tighten all the jars once they are cooled.

Place the jars in the oven at 300 for 30 minutes. I put 6 quarts on one cookie sheet and 12 pints on one cookie sheet, and cooked one cookie sheet at a time.

Move the hot jars to a place to cool. This photo shows the proper way to use the jar gripper. I was using it around the base of the jar at first and it kept tipping over. Then another mommy that has canned before was kind enough to show me the proper way. I'm including this photo and step so no one else makes the silly mistake I did.

I wrapped the hot jars in towels so they cool slowly. It worked nicely for all the moms to take their still warm jars home in boxes. Jars can crack if they cool too quickly. Another way to cool the jars is to turn the oven off and leave them in the oven with the door cracked. If you open the door all the way jars can crack.
Make sure the jars seal. As the jars cool you might hear a popping sound. That means they were sealed properly. You can tell if the jars are sealed by looking at the lid. If the lid is indented they are sealed. If the lids are doomed they did not seal properly and should be thrown out.

Date the jars with the sharpie then wait 4 weeks and enjoy your spicy green beans. These are the kind that go great in a Bloody Mary.



2LB Green Beans
2C Water
2C White Vinegar
3tbsp Salt
2 to 4 Fresh Dill Sprigs or Seed
4 Garlic Cloves
1/2 tsp Hot Red Pepper Flakes or 2 to 3 Jalapeno peppers

This Amount makes 2 quarts

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

Put dill, garlic, and peppers in jars. Wash and pack beans in clean jars. Bring water, vinegar & salt to a boil. Pour over beans and seal jars. Bake for 30 minutes. Ready to eat in 4 weeks



Should I be concerned if my son would rather eat the packaging than the product???

I think I need to write my next blog about Homemade Baby Food.

I have to step away from the computer to spend time with my precious baby.

Be back soon

45 Days to Marriage

At 21 I married, it lasted 7 years. Good man, good husband, just too young to know that at the time. For 10 years I enjoyed the single life, dated, traveled and lived in a few different cities (Durango,Denver,Golden, Co. and Middlebury, In.)

At about the 10 year mark and approaching 40 I decided that I was ready to get married again. My plan was to stop wasting time and only date a man that I considered marriage material. NOT so easy!!

So I turned to GOD. I've always believed that you should only pray for others in need or for his will of what is best. Well this time I decided to be a little selfish and I prayed for a husband. Like most women I had my 'list' of what I wanted in a man. So I wouldn't take up all God's day with my list of the perfect man, I thought of the only man I knew that was a perfect husband. My uncle Sam, and I simply prayed..."I want a 'Sam'".

Well one day I was headed to work on a flight from Denver to San Francisco. I remember this day so well. It was a Sunday and I didn't want to go to work. I didn't usually work weekends and this was an early morning flight and I just wanted to sleep in. I finally managed to get my butt out of bed and made my way to the airport. I was deadheading and looking forward to a first class seat so I could relax, eat and sleep. I got my ticket, row 30!!!! WHAT!!!!

I made my way to my seat. It's a window. This flight is continuing on to Hong Kong and a man from there sits next to me. I'm a people watcher so I like to watch people board and put their things away. I always found it fascinating how one person can put their bag away with ease while another person with the same size bag struggles.

I saw a man walking down the aisle and I watched him stow his bag. I was drawn to him. Not in the "Hubba Hubba kinda way" but in a way that told me I NEEDED to talk to him. He sat in my row with the man from Hong Kong between us. I tried to make eye contact. That was not working so I gave up on this urge and went to sleep.

When I woke up the urge was so strong it was kinda freaking me out. I got up to get coffee and wake him in the process. I thought of spilling my coffee in his lap when I came back, that might start a conversation.

I made my way back to my seat. He was awake now and looked at me. I stuttered, 'This coffee sucks'!! He smiled. I ask him where he was going. He said Hong Kong. I thought "Wow this biker looking guy is going to Hong Kong". He told me he works over there, that he lives in Casper, Wy and his name is Charlie.

I told him that I used to live in Cody, Wy and I have a girlfriend in Casper that I haven't talk to in over 2 years. He knows her and works with her husband. He asks me if I knew Tony his brother-in-law. I said YES he was in my wedding. And after my divorce I was roommates with his brother Michael.

We laughed at what a small world it is. Over 400 people on that plane and we sat next to each other. He told me about his wife and son and how happy they make him. I told him I was looking for a good man. He asks me if I knew Tony and Micheal's brother SAM.

I totally got chills over my whole body. I said no I've never met him. He gave me Sam's e-mail and told me that when he came back in 30 days that we all should get together for dinner.( little did we both know I'd be engaged by the time he got back)

When the plane landed I immediately called my girlfriend in Casper that I hadn't talked to in over 2 years and told her this story. She said "OMG you guys would be perfect together" and started planning the wedding. Then she said "You do know he lives with his parents". My heart sank. A 40 year old man living at home with his parents screams "Loser".

In my shallow single days that would have been a problem but I felt God's hand in this and wanted to see it through. I e-mailed Sam. 'Dear Future Husband'...Ok not really. I wrote: You don't know me but I know both your brothers and parents. I met Charlie on a flight who is playing match maker and I'm game if you are.

On Sam's end his friends had been trying to fix him up for years and he was never interested but for some reason he was excited by my e-mail.
He called me on Wednesday and we chatted about the people we knew and our lives. He tells me now he fell in love with me during that first phone conversation. (CHEESY)

I agreed to fly to Casper on Friday. My girlfriend picked me up and we went to meet Sam(my future husband) and Charlie's wife.(now my good friend)

By Saturday I'm having dinner with his family. Sunday I went to Charlie's house to watch the Super Bowl. It was very weird to be sitting in the house of a man I met on a plane only a week earlier and who was still in Hong Kong.

The weekend we met. February 1, 2008 Super Bowl weekend.

The next weekend I flew back to Casper and we all went bowling. When he dropped me off at my hotel, he said "You know I would marry you tomorrow". I sat there stunned. We hadn't even kissed yet! Then I said "OK". I don't think he meant to ask me to marry him.

We were not in a hurry to get married but in a hurry to start our future. We wanted to buy a home, maybe have a baby and get started with Happily Ever After. We were planning a Hawaii wedding at the end of the year. But the more I thought about it the more I just wanted all that wedding money to go to the house we were planning on buying.

So one day when we were in Colorado. We went to see about a license. It was 10 dollars. We bought one. We thought we would get a justice of the peace and go up to look out mountain in Golden, Co and get married.

The lady behind the desk told us in the state of Colorado you can marry yourself. If we signed it and brought it back then we would be married!!!

We went to buy a ring and right there in the store we decided to sign the paper. March 14 2008. 45 days after meeting SAM, I married him.

Had I known when I woke up that morning that I would be getting married, I might have reconsidered my outfit.

This story is written for our son Rains Jacob Kaul about how his mommy prayed for his daddy and her prayers were answered.

Homemade Baby Wipes

Hello All

I wanted to tell you how to make homemade baby wipes. A friend of mine gave this to me as a baby gift. What a wonderful baby gift to give. (Thanks Tricia) At first I was a little unsure if I would like them. So I bought regular wipes and my husband and I used both for a few days until we decided that the homemade wipes were so much better.

I have a little butterball baby and it made it so much easier for getting into his little fat rolls when cleaning him because they are a little thinner than regular wipes.

You will need a tub for the wipes, baby oil, baby soap, and paper towels.

I like to use Bounty because they are more durable. I bought a box at Sam's club for around $13 when my son was 2 weeks old and he's now 5 months old and I still haven't used them all up yet. My girlfriend in her gift of showing me how to do this also gave me the baby oil, tub, and baby soap. But you could get all that for less than $10. I don't think I will ever had to buy more before he is potty trained.

Take the roll of paper towels and cut it in half. I used a big kitchen knife. But you can use what works for you. DON'T use one with a serrated edge or else you will have shredded paper towels.

Next I put about an inch of water in the tub. You might find that you will need a little less water or more water depending on how you like your wipes. After a few times of making them you will know what you like best. Then I put a couple squirts of baby soap and oil.

Place one half of the paper towel in the tub and wait a few minutes until all the water is absorbed.

Once the water is all absorbed you pull out the cardboard center.

I also like to use these to wipe his hands and face. I find these last me around 2 weeks before I need to make another tub. I made a tub for the diaper bag too but found that if they sit for too long they will mildew. I'm not out and about much so if I go out I just take the tub from his changing table.

I hope you enjoy these as much as we do.

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