Monday, March 7, 2011

type a twitter roundup!

It's Type A Twitter Monday!
Type A Twitter Monday
You can join the roundup below and on twitter - use #typeatwitter to join :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

crafting at michael's

I was out and about earlier this week and stopped at Michael's Arts & Crafts to use my 40% off coupon from the newspaper. I found some new craft ideas for the family.  I was surprised at the number of licensed kits they now offer, but was disappointed that most were 6+ or 8+. My little one is two, so I'm sure a kit is probably a little much for him but I appreciate contained crafts that are easy to take on a trip, take to a friend's or to grandma's.

Michael's had several masks in their "dollar" spot for $1$2. I thought this owl mask would be perfect for my friends over at Freckleberry Finds! Markers would probably be easiest to color the mask, but I worry that b/c it's basically a balsa or MDF material that it would bleed a bit. Acrylic paints would cover better, but be slightly more difficult for little kids to paint within the lines. Maybe some sort of paint marker?  

 Michael's also had these adorable little wooden birdhouses! How cute would these be painted and on a dresser or windowsill? I think most of them were in the $2 range (why didn't I take pictures of price tags too??)
 I love this little castle/rook bird house! Paint it pink and add it to a little girl's room! Note: These are too small to be used as actual birdhouses, I think. Each is only a few inches tall.

Small stagecoach birdhouse- this seems like a great painting craft for slightly older kids with better hand/eye coordination. This was around $7 - save this purchase for a 40% off coupon! 

 It was Read America Day (also Dr. Seuss' birthday), so Michael's had a ton of Dr. Seuss themed crafts. There were no crafts for for kids under 3; most were in the 4-6 year old age range. Available were stickers, foam stickers, craft kits, coloring books, and more! I didn't pick anything out, since my kiddo doesn't play well with stickers. Rather, he plays well with stickers but not with stickers AND walls or tables or dogs...

This was one of the few craft kits for kids around 3 years old. It was $1.49 and consisted of a foam monster and three markers. My kiddo loved this (sad? dyspeptic?) monster, but this seemed like a very easy craft to make at home. I'll show pictures tomorrow of a DIY version that has a lot more potential!

I was shocked to see all of the licensed kits Michael's had out now. The kits were all very similar and in the $4-10 price range. This one is a sewing card of Dora cards with holes punched in them to teach basic sewing skills. DIY tip: print out some clip art images onto white cardstock and punch your own holes with a hole punch for a cheap and reusable craft. Print out colorful images, like above, or find blank coloring book-style images online and print those out. Your kiddo can first color the picture and then sew around it- two projects in one! You could number the holes so it's kind of a sew-by-number to include some basic counting skills.

One reason I wasn't so thrilled with these craft kits was the obvious quality. This is a small scrapbook sticker of Dora and friends- how creepy does this monkey look? Its face and eyes were sewn on wrong, so it looks like the monkeys from Outbreak. You might be better off waiting for a coupon on these items.

Michael's is also offering Build-a-Bear kits. This one consisted of small plaster bears to paint. I think it was around $8 and for ages 4+. 

The craft kits all offered similar options for each of the characters. The Peanuts Gang had several sticker projects and plaster kits like the one above, in addition to some suncatchers. I remember making these when I was little! I think the age on this one is 6+, but really as long as you supervise a smaller child tehy can easily color in the suncatcher. 

Last up was Animal Planet kits. This one is a color by numbers painting (reminiscent of those Elvis paintings, remember those??). It comes with the colored pencils and sharpener. What I like about the Animal Planet kits is that you could pair it with a library book, National Geographic article or even the Animal Planet TV shows for a learning opportunity. 

I'll post some simple DIY crafts later this week for the kiddos!

Note: This post is not endorsed or sponsored by Michael's. I was just out shopping and thought I'd post some ideas! 

Monday, February 28, 2011

congrats! target winner

Congrats to all of the entrants to my first giveaway for a $10 gift card to Target. I am very excited to have hosted this. Thank you for all of the suggestions! I received a lot of requests for crafts and coupons, so I will see what I can do to write more posts on those subjects. Now, on to the winner!

The winner is....#20 Toesthattwinkle! She said
"Id like to see more crafts and giveaways! :)"

Toesthattwinkle, I'll email you so I can send off the GC. If she doesn't respond in 48 hours, I'll select a new winner. Thank you to all of you who commented! It means the world to me!!!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

yay! what a lucky day

I found out today that I won a Dinosaur Train Match Game from Making Time For Mommy. I am so very excited! We looove Dinosaur Train in my house, and this will be a welcome distraction from cabin fever. Thank you very much, MTFM!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Recipe Saturday: Crock-pots

I recently got a new crock-pot from a friend and I've been cooking up a storm at Casa de Costa! I have a confession: I'm actually a terrible cook. I can't help peeking under the lid, stirring and stirring, or taking the tray out of the oven. I have a classic case of "is-it-done-yet?"-itis. I can't help myself! I end up tweaking the recipe or taking the pan off the stove before it's fully done. DH is a terrific sport, though, since he is pretty handy in the kitchen. That's why I love slowcooking, because it's easy and pretty goof-free.

Some of my favorite sites for slow cook recipes:
A Year of Slowcooking/Crockpot365- I found this site several years ago and it turned me on to slowcooking. Most of her recipes are gluten free and/or vegetarian. I also love that she uses her crockpots for unconventional things (mud masks, kids crafts, desserts). I love Tamale Pie and Indian Curry.

Slow and Simple- This site organizes its recipes into key categories, including diabetic-friendly and beverages (and wild game, what?). I like Autumn Chicken and Pizza Beans.

The Recipe Mom- I just stumbled on this site, which is featuring several crock pot recipes this week. There's also a guide to picking out a crockpot. My guide: Go to Target. Pick one out. Done.  I like her recipe for easy psghetti.

I did a Kroger run today to pick up some extra chicken stock, veggies and chicken to whip up some larger batches of stuff this weekend to freeze. It's been a rough week of temper tantrums, repairs, and craziness. Looking forward to some quiet days but I'm not sure when they will be here!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

long week

It's been a long week here. I haven't had a chance to do much couponing (didn't even get any inserts in last week's paper!) or enter very many giveaways, so nothing new to post here. But I am so glad so many people have found my website and are entering my Target giveaway! I am just so excited by some of the ideas and comments left. I'm looking at a new background and trying to figure out how to make my own button. Hopefully I will have some new things to show you in the next few weeks!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Giveaway: $10 Target Gift Card from LeftCostaMom

Well, I missed Recipe Saturday because of a plumbing emergency that was repaired and yet not 100% fixed, as I found out late last night when I went to take a shower. Most of my Saturday was filled with trips to Home Depot, Lowe's, etc. to buy supplies so the oh-so-handy DH could work on the bathroom. With all the hubbub around the house, I've been living on sandwiches. Which brings us in a not-so-subtle segue into a brand new giveaway: from me!!!

I'd like to give away a $10 gift card to my favorite store, Target. I'm paying for this out of my own pocket so I can grow readership of my new blog and join the amazing community out there!

Giveaway: one $10 Target gift card.  Giveaway will be open for one week and close next Sunday, February 27, 2011.

How to win:
1. Friend me on Google Friend Connect (sidebar!) and leave me a comment with your email address (ie Leftcostamom at gmail)

Bonus Entries: Please leave a separate comment for each one.
1. Follow me on Twitter @LeftCostaMom. Leave a comment with your Twitter name. (One entry)

2. Tweet about this giveaway - once a day, please. Leave a comment with your tweet's link. Sample tweet:
{ @LeftCostaMom is giving away a $10 Target giftcard. #Win at Ends 2/27} (One entry per day)

3. Leave me a comment with the types of posts you'd like to see here. Recipes? Crafts? Coupons? Please also include your email address. (One entry).

4. Submit my giveaway to a linky. Leave a comment with the link and your email.  (One entry).

5. Blog about this on your blog. Leave a comment with the link to your blog. (Two entries- please leave a separate comment for each entry)

6. I don't have a button yet to grab, so if you can leave me a link to where I can create one online or a new blog template that has some included, that would be great! (Two entries - please leave a separate comment for each entry)

I'm providing this Target gift card with my own money. Target has nothing to do with this, except being an awesome place to shop. Giveaway ends midnight EST on February 27, 2011. I will use to select from all of the comments, and will email the winner the next day. The winner has 48 hours to respond before I pick another winner. Thanks and Good luck!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Giveaway: Method Cleaning products

While surfing the internet late last night after putting the kiddo to bed and instead of doing homework (story of my life!) I found MommySalad's website. I wish I knew how I found it to give them credit, but I don't!!! She is giving away a FOUR Method cleaning kits. Do you know Method?  I love their products! I get mine at Target, but I think they are also at Amazon and other brick and mortar stores. Here are my faves:

Lavender Gel Hand Wash Refill: I have a fancy little soap dispenser so I buy the large refill. It is cheaper (the site says 6.49 but I'm sure I paid less at TGT), and saves a LOT of plastic. That bag up there folds up and fits nicely in your trash/recycling instead of a ton of little plastic containers. Plus, it lasts forever. I just emptied mine yesterday and I have no idea when I bought it. A year ago? And we wash our hands a lot. 

Spearmint Antibac Bathroom Cleaner: I actually use this in the kitchen b/c I like the scent better than the kitchen version. I think it cleans really well and smells good too!

Mint Best in Glass Cleaner: I think it cleans just as well or better than Windex.

Head on over to MommySalad until 2/23 to enter to win some great Method products. Several ways to enter!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Giveaway: CSN Stores Round Up

I've seen a lot of CSN Storesgiveaways around lately so I thought I'd round them up!

$30 at Dreams and Speculation: Ends 2/19. One way to enter- fill out a form. Pretty easy!

$40 at Frugality is Free: Ends 2/28. 20+ possible entries, plus can tweet daily. Also has a large CSN giveaway linky!

$45 at Little YaYa's: Ends 2/18. 22 possible entries, plus can tweet 3x daily.

$45 at The Style Md: Ends 2/15. 11 possible entries, plus can tweet daily.

$45 at The Knit Wit: Ends 2/28. 6 possible ways to enter.

$50 at The Thrifty Things: Ends 2/19. 6 possible entries, plus can tweet daily.

$65 at Of Mice and Ramen: Ends 2/28. 17 possible entries, plus unlimited tweets daily.

$65 at Inspiration CAN be Found Everywhere: Ends 2/16. Three ways to enter.

$75 at Audrey's Give Aways: Ends 3/4. 6 possible entries, plus can tweet daily.

Recipe Saturday: No-Bake Cookies

This week has been quite a trial for this mom. My laptop crashed TWICE, my phone conked out the other night, and on top of that the weather has been downright terrible. We are suffering from MAJOR cabin fever at Casa Costa!!! Luckily, I found I had all the ingredients for this in the house yesterday, and these no-bake cookies saved the afternoon from delving into temper tantrum-ville.

Here is why I love No-Bakes: they are so so simple to make and don't require me to watch an oven. I always burn things. Always! The only downside to No-Bakes is that you have to let them cool, but "cool" is a relative term, right? :)

Army of No-Bakes
image via flickr by niemster

2 cups sugar
1 stick butter (I have used slightly less to save on calories and it has been okay. haven't tried margarine)
3T cocoa (Trader Joe's is cheap and good!)
1/2 cup milk
1T vanilla
3 cups oats (I buy Target generic and they work great. Saves some $$ over Quaker)
3T Peanut Butter (I will buy generic of this, but don't buy low sugar/fat/sunflower/whatever. Stick with real PB)

Mix all ingredients together except vanilla, oats and peanut butter in large saucepan/skillet.
Cook 3 minutes on stove don't want it to solidify too much
Remove from heat
Add vanilla, oats, peanut butter.
Drop onto wax paper to cool (I use the fridge or freezer depending on how much room I have)

That's it! I've seen other recipes with less sugar or more cocoa. I think it's all to taste. This is my mom's recipe so it's what I like :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Giveaway: Anthropologie Gift Card

Oh, how I love Anthropologie! It's one of my most favorite stores. I can really only shop on sale,'s a bit pricey for a mom/student on a budget. I do love giving something special from there as a gift. Their Volcano candles are PERFECT for a housewarming, bridal shower or just because gift.

Win a $100 Anthro gift card from Casa Bella's blog- her first giveaway!!! Enter three ways: follow her on Google Friend Connect, tweet about it or post to her blog.

What would I buy with such a great win? It's almost spring so I have my eyes on a great new skirt to wear in the warm weather :) Enter here.

Giveaway: Crisco Olive Oil pack

Crisco is hosting a recipe contest to win a trip to Italy. What if, like me, you're a terrible cook with no chance at winning? My Four Monkeys is hosting a giveaway of a Crisco Olive Oil prize pack. I looooooove cooking with EVOO and using Mediterranean flavors. So good for you too!

The gift pack includes each of Crisco's olive oil flavors (light, pure, EVOO), and cooking goodies from Williams Sonoma and Crate & Barrel- worth over $120!

Enter by leaving a comment, tweeting, blogging, following on GFC/Twitter/Facebook, and putting their button on your blog. Good luck!

Enter here.

Giveaway: Progresso Souper You Pack

I'm a busy busy parent, and one thing that makes my life simpler is when I can just grab and go for lunch. One thing I keep absolutely stocked in my pantry is soup, especially Progresso Soup. I looooove the Light Sante Fe Style Chicken soup. First, it has Weight Watchers points right on the can (if that's your thing). Second, it tastes good not even heated up (hey, sometimes I don't even have time for that!) Third, it's delicious!!! And gluten free!!! Bonus tip: Right now it's 99cents a can at Kroger with the Game Day Savings Event when you buy ten. WHOA SAVINGS! You can also win a Progresso Souper You prize pack at MisAdventures in Baby Raising. Enter by following on GFC, via email/RSS, FB, Twitter, MyLikes and Networked Blogs. Earn extra entries for tweeting, posting or blogging about it!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Giveaway: $50 Chili's GC from Posh on a Budget

Chili's is hands down one of my favorite restaurants. I always get the same thing, and have for years: Chicken Enchilada Soup, hold the Pico and a side salad, hold the tomatoes. Sometimes I splurge for chips, sometimes not. Okay, let's be honest. I ALWAYS splurge for chips.

Posh on a Budget is hosting a fabulous giveaway for a $50 gift card to this amazing restaurant. Enter to win by following her on Google Friend Connect and subscribing to her email feed, tweeting/blogging daily, blogging about it or posting her button on your blog. Nothing more to it!

Enter here! Ends 2/21.

Giveaway: CSN $65 GC from This Mama Rocks

Win a $65 giftcard to CSN Stores from preferred blogger This Mama Rocks on her website thru 2/15!

You can get multiple entries. Enter once by visiting CSN and letting TMR know what you would buy. Also enter via following on Google Friend Connect, Facebook, Twitter, tweeting daily, blogging....just about everything!  What would you buy? I desperately need new kitchen pots and pans. The ones I have had been through the ringer, figuratively speaking. Plus, add in hard water...yeesh!

Enter here!

Giveaway: From Cristin to Mommy $10 Amazon GC

Another great giveaway! From Cristin to Mommy is hosting her first giveaway for a $10 Amazon GC.

Enter by leaving a comment, subscribing via email, FB link, Google Friend Connect, follow on Twitter, Tweet 3x daily, Share on FB, add button to sidebar and blog!
Enter here:
From Cristin to Mommy: MY FIRST GIVEAWAY! $10 AMAZON GC- ends 2/15

Ends 2/15. Good luck!!

Leelou Blogs: Free February 2011 Computer Desktop Theme

I found Leelou Blogs through FreckleberryFind's Blogger background. I loved it! She has some amazingly cute backgrounds for freesies and I just wanted to share the love. Check out her latest freebie:
Leelou Blogs: Free February 2011 Computer Desktop Theme

giveaway: freckleberry finds $10 barnes & noble GC

Great giveaways! Freckleberry Finds is starting off her new blog with a giveaway of a $10 Barnes & Noble gift card. What would you buy with ten bucks at B&N? Part of me wants to save for a Nook, but then again I also need some new cookbooks for the house.

Enter here! Giveaway ends February 7.

welcome to leftcostamom

Welcome! I will be posting giveaways and other goodies frequently :)