Saturday, October 31, 2009

As usual, I have been busy-busy lately and I've been wanting to catch up on a few posts that I just need to blog about. So here is the first! The winner of the "If Your Kid Eats This Book..." giveaway is....Sarah!

Congratulations Sarah =) You should have an email from me, if you didn't receive it then please let me know.

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Friday, October 30, 2009

My husband thinks I'm a dork because I love those silly commercials for the Black Jack Taco. You know the mock-fashion ones, "Black dress, black dog..." "Black Jack Taco?" ;o)

Well tomorrow 10/31 from 6PM to midnight "creep in" to Taco Bell and try one for free. This offer is limit one per person. You can read the details here.

I haven't tried this yet, as I can't say that it looks very good. Anyone like it?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Yes, you may have been burned in the past on the free KFC grilled chicken meal, but apparently this offer is easy to redeem and fully legit.

According to their website, stop in your local KFC restaurant for a free piece of their grilled chicken. That's it, no coupon required and no purchase necessary. The fine print states that the piece you receive is at the manager's discretion and only at participating stores, so you may want to call your store before you head over.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Queen Mother Blog is now 1 year old! The actual birthday was two days ago...yeah, I know...I'm such a slacker I missed my own blog-iversary!

Looking back over the last year, I'm pretty happy. Since my first post, I have set out to try to encourage and help my family and friends (both "real life" and the new, online ones) to get started saving money while passing along my random rantings, recipes and whatever else passes through my head and I have enough time to write about.

And the time! I knew that a blog takes a lot of time, but I didn't realize just how hard it would be to carve out that time. When I started blogging, Rayna was about 6 months old and still took two naps. I would work on the blog during the morning nap and then in the afternoon nap try to accomplish everything else I needed to. Since she went down to napping only once a day, my blog gets pushed aside a little (especially times like this; attempting to sell my house is a crazy time-sucker!).

But...I still love it. Thanks so much to anyone who reads my blog. I love, love, love you all and hope you stay tuned to another year of me! ;o)

Have you been picking apples? I know a lot of people are apple picking right now, or are stocking up on some seasonal apple deals, and I have a tasty recipe to pass along. This was very yummy, despite my (as usual) pretty unappetizing photo. I have no knack for food shots!

This recipe is from the Pillsbury Pot Pies and Casseroles little cookbook that is in stores now. I can't help but laugh that I seem to really love recipes that use a box of stuffing. Here it is:

Pork Chops with Apples and Stuffing

1/2 t butter or margarine, softened
2 unpeeled red baking apples, sliced
2 t a/p flour
1 t packed brown sugar
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t seasoned salt
4 bone-in (I used 6 boneless) pork loin chops, 3/4" thick (about 2 lb.) trimmed
1 cup apple juice or cider
2 T butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups stuffing pix for pork or chicken (I just used one whole box, but it was a lot of stuffing)
1/4 c sweetened dried cranberries
1 T chopped fresh parsley (which I totally always leave out, because I'm lazy)

1. Heat oven to 375. Brush 1/2 teaspoon butter in bottom of 13x9 inch glass baking dish. Spread apple slices in dish. In small bowl, mix flour, brown sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over apples. Sprinkle seasoned salt on both sides of pork; place pork over apples.

2. In 2 quart saucepan, heat apple juice and 2 tablespoons butter to boiling over medium-high heat. Stir in stuffing mix and cranberries. Cover; remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes. Fluff mixture with fork. Scoop 1/2 cup stuffing onto each pork chop.

3. Spray sheet of foil with cooking spray; place sprayed side down over baking dish. Bake 40-50 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until pork is no longer pink in center and meat thermometer inserted in center reads 160. Sprinkle with parsley. To serve, lift pork chops with stuffing to serving plates; serve apples on the side.

Serves 4 - Calories: 520 Fat: 20g Fiber: 3g **Note, I'm sure if you use the super lean pork chops that I did, the fat isn't as high as 20g!

Friday, October 16, 2009

That darn Nor'easter here in Jersey is raining out my plans to go pumpkin picking this weekend. :( But I wanted to pass along a great website to find pumpkin patches in your area. Visit and you can search for family-friendly farms offering corn mazes, pumpkins, etc.

Just wanted to pass this along as I found a few places that I had never known about before :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

HappyBaby has a coupon out for a free product! You can choose from HappyBaby frozen foods, cereal, puffs, bites and melts. All of these products are available at Whole Foods and I've seen some at Babies R Us and Target. Click here to print the coupon.

Coupon is one per customer and according to Money Saving Mom, is probably only available for a very limited time!

I have tried the frozen purees, cereals, bites and puffs from HappyBaby and Rayna has enjoyed almost all of them (except for the Gobble Gobble which she flat out refused). Can't wait to use this coupon on some cereal!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Just for having my own little blog, I sometimes get press releases about new books to review. Normally they sound outrageously boring to me, and I delete the emails. I did, however, perk up a bit though when I read the email for "If Your Kid Eats This Book, Everything Will Still Be Okay" by Dr. Lara Zibners. This one actually sounded like a book I really need to read, since (as a first-time parent) I question every little thing my Rayna does as perhaps signalling some underlying medical cause that I should be worrying about. For example, Why is she pulling at her face? Does she have a sinus infection?!!? is one thought I've had even lately. Since I am a chronic worrier, I end up taking the poor kid to the doctor more times than I'd like to admit (I have a feeling they laugh at me there) and just expose her to more germs and pay more $ for co-pays.

So I accepted the free book to review under the one condition that I get an extra one to give a fresh, new copy away to a reader. Keep reading to find out how easy it is to enter to win this book!

First, here is my brief review. This book contains a bunch of things a parent needs to know about their little one's health and what is and isn't an emergency. There are little bullets on every page with useful information about different emergencies and some of them are terrifying, such as "Any rash appearing below the neck that looks like bruising or a very bad sunburn (with or without blisters) requires an immediate phone call to your pediatrician." and the even more terrifying, such as "A swallowed teaspoon of oil of wintergreen could theoretically kill an entire playgroup. Scary, eh?" Um, yeah!

So I will cut to the chase. The book does more to scare me than to make me feel at ease with what I would call the "not emergency". Not that being scared is a bad thing, because I am definitely glad that I know this information now, so that I can be more vigilant with safety in my own home. But, I just don't think the book is the emergency resource that it claims to be. For me, I would look on the Internet, call my mom, ask my mom friends on facebook or by mass-text, etc. all before I hunt down this book and try to look for Dr. Zibner's advice on whether this is an emergency. The back cover of the book touts that "even though your kid just took a swig of bleach, she may not have to go to the emergency room" yet when I looked up "bleach" in the index, it's not there. I went to the "poisoning" section of the index and they are divided up by rooms in the house. Is bleach under kitchen or bathroom? See what I mean? By the time I have found the page that answers my question I could have called Poison Control.

Other side of my coin: I think this book actually makes a great resource for new parents. I think the comprehensive nature of this book suits itself better to a baby shower gift for a new mom ready to soak up information about infant health and hidden dangers in the home. When I was sitting at home waiting to go into labor, this is all of the information I would have loved to have been reading. So I'm not totally bashing this book, I just think the subtitle should be changed from "How to Know if Your Child's Injury or Illness is Really an Emergency?" to something more like "How to be Prepared for Your Child's Injury or Illness".

Bottom line? This book is a great addition to any parent's bookshelf. Many sections, especially the Guide to the Newborn and Household Poisonings sections, should be required reading for new parents. But is this book really an emergency resource? I don't think so.

Want to get a free copy for yourself or to pass on as a gift?
Just leave a comment to enter. Be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if you win.

Want extra entries? Here's tons: Just be sure to leave a *separate* comment for each additional entry!
-Become a "loyal subject" and follow my blog
-Subscribe to my blog by email or feedreader
-Add my button to your site (leave your link!) - 5 extra entries!
-Follow me on Twitter
-Blog/Talk about this giveaway on another site (leave your link!) - 5 extra entries!
-Tweet about this giveaway by posting: Check out and enter the "If Your Kid Eats This Book" giveaway @queenmotherblog Gr8 resource for new parents! - 1 entry per tweet!

This giveaway is open to residents of the US & Canada and will end at 8PM EST 10/23. Good luck!

Friday, October 9, 2009

$25 gift certificates are only $2 right now if you use code FOUR

That's a great deal! When I checked the selection at the beginning of the month they even had $25 certificates available for The Melting Pot in Atlantic City; check it out, you never know what restaurants you might be able to try affordably!

Thanks to Coupon Mom for this deal!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

This week at We are THAT family the Works for Me Wednesday posts are themed with cleaning tips. This makes me very happy, because I love cleaning tips. Who isn't looking for ways to get done with cleaning faster? When I first started reading WFMW was when I learned the whole "microwave a bowl of water" trick to loosen the grime in the microwave and make cleaning easier. Later on I tell my mom my newly-gleaned nugget of wisdom for microwave cleaning, she says 'oh yeah, of course.' Well maybe the world knew that, but I didn't.

So maybe you don't know how to fold a fitted sheet by yourself. I sure as heck never knew this trick before. I will definitely need to practice at it, but this should help me get in fewer fights with the husband. I wait to fold sheets when he's around and then I get all bicker-ey because the folded fitted sheet ends up looking like crap. Well check this out:

It definitely works for me! =)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

You may or may not be aware that the FTC has updated its guidelines to incorporate bloggers and their disclosure of payments for advertising (including product reviews). This is pretty big news in the blog-world, because now all of us who write a blog have to disclose when we are being paid or given product to review for a post.

One big question you may be wondering is "why is this a big deal?" I would like to think that for most of us, it isn't. It's not a big deal to me. I have always disclosed when a company has provided me with product to review. You are getting my *real* opinions on these items and I will only do them if they also provide a giveaway or valuable offer to my readers. Why? Because I tend to think you don't want me shoving reviews of cool stuff I might have received for free unless there's also something cool in it for you. That's just my opinion.

If I do a giveaway where I did not specify where the product came from, you can rest assured that it was mine. Seriously. I've done this. Yes, maybe that is 'small potatoes' to some, but I think it's nice to do sometimes and this is MY blog ;o)

Also, I have never done a post for money. I get offers for these types of posts all the time. Honestly, I've considered doing it, but (to use some church-talk on you) always felt a check in my spirit about it. Run-on sentence alert: It seemed shady to me to get paid a few bucks so that a marketer could get some more traffic back to their site while you sit there and read my posts and think I might actually care about the site I'm promoting when really I just wanted some cash. I'm not bashing anyone who has done this, but it never felt right for me. I actually do participate in the Sponsored Tweets program, where I put out a tweet once in a while (I've done 12 in all of my 836 tweets so far) that is an advertisement. It is clearly marked with some type of disclosure, either by saying it is an "ad" or using the #ad hashtag. If that bothers you, I'd love to hear your opinions.

Now I feel like I might be ranting on a bit too long, but I wanted to put a post up to let you know my thoughts on all of this, and to let you know that I have always been ethical in my blogging. I added the Blog with Integrity button a few weeks back to quietly let people know (among other blog-related beliefs) that I have always chosen to disclose, even before it was mandatory. I'm not trying to be high and mighty by saying all of this either, it was just pressing on my mind. I'm just a girl who likes to share things with a little group of readers she *adores* who lives for simple things like comments (HINT, HINT!) ;o)

If you want to read more on the FTC thing, check out the article on Mashable & elsewhere.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Since it's the 1st of a new month, the printable coupon sites have restocked their coupons! Be sure to print yours before the best ones are gone (each coupon has a print limit, and once they reach that limit, they're gone!). Click each one to go to their site. - The $0.75 off cereal coupons are great, because at Acme they double to $1.50 off 1 box!

UPromise coupons (I really need to start using these! They don't come off your total purchase price, but go automatically into your UPromise account, so it is like free money that you get even using your other coupons)

Print away and Happy October!