Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Giveaway: Wendy’s Gift Card

I wrote last year about Wendy's and the #TreatItFwd campaign last year around Father’s Day.  It’s that time again, and again Wendy’s is making donations to Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, part of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, which helps find permanent adoption homes for children in foster care. They go through a wide variety of avenue to accomplish this from education to supporting adoption agencies throughout the US and Canada to sponsoring A Homes for the Holidays, an annual CBS special on foster care and adoption featuring stories from some children and musical guests.

Last year, this campaign raised $1.4 million, and they want to beat that total this year, but they need you to help.  And it’s easy (and yummy).

WWK logo color

Every tweet or retweet using the hashtag #TreatItFwd between now and June 17 is a $0.50 donation.  You do tweet, don’t you?

This year, there is a special mobile-friendly website where you can check in at your local Wendy’s, and Wendy’s will donate $0.50 to Wendy’s Wonderful Kids.  Simply visit the Wendy’s check in site and check in on June 16 or 17.

And you’ll already be at Wendy’s this weekend anyway, right?  Because with every Frosty purchased (originals, parfaits, shakes, and floats), $0.50 goes to Wendy’s Wonderful Kids.

Now wouldn’t that make a great Father’s Day gift?  I know where we’ll be stopping this weekend.

large_chocolate FrostyDo you need another excuse?  I have a Wendy's gift card to give away to one lucky reader who can go enjoy a couple yummy Frosties courtesy TheMotherhood. So what do you have to do to win? First of all, let me stress that you must follow all the rules. If you do not follow the rules, your entry will not count!

This contest is open until Wednesday June 27 at 7pm CST. I must have a valid way to reach you, so leave me your email address in your comment or be sure your profile has your email address visible. No duplicate comments will count. This giveaway is open to US residents age 18 and older. Winners will be selected via random.org and must respond within 48 hours of being notified by me or I will select a new winner.

Mandatory Entry: Tell me - if you could donate $0.50 to any cause in the world, what would it be?

Bonus Entries (leave a comment for each entry - if you put it all in one comment, I'll count it as one entry):
1) Earn one additional entry for following me on Twitter, then tweeting this contest with the following tweet: "Win a @Wendys gift card from @honestandtruly. Tweet #TreatitFwd by 6/17 & you donate $0.50 to @DTFA too http://bit.ly/MrVcwD" (leave a link to your tweet as your comment and make sure you do all the steps!)
2) Earn one additional entry by following this review blog publicly via Google Friend Connect.
3) Earn one additional entry by following my “regular” blog Honest & Truly! publicly via Google Friend Connect.
4) Earn one additional entry by liking Honest & Truly! on Facebook. (Yay, it's legal again, so long as you know you have to leave a comment here to enter and that simply liking me isn't the entry, along with acknowledging the fact that Facebook has nothing to do with this giveaway whatsoever.
5) Earn an additional entry by putting me in your Google Plus circle. Am I already in your G+ circle? No problem - just leave a comment letting me know that you've added me or already have me there.


Good luck!

In the interest of full disclosure, I was provided with a Wendy's gift card to go buy a Frosty this weekend via TheMotherhood. I have not received any compensation, and as always, all opinions expressed remain my own.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

June Dairy Month–Free Movie Promotion #CBias

I love getting rewarded when I shop.  It’s nice to know what I’m appreciated, of course, but I always feel like I’m getting something more than I deserve – and it feels good.  When I shopped at Dominick’s last week and bought $40 worth of participating dairy products, I got that something special.  I’m taking the wee ones to the movies on Safeway!  And while I bought all my dairy products in one day, you have the whole month of June to accumulate that $40 towards your two free movie tickets.



How?  It was easy.  I won’t call it super easy, but it was easy.  Just use your Safeway card (Dominick’s, Vons, Tom Thumb, Genuardi’s, Randalls, Pavillions, or Carrs) to purchase $40 of participating dairy products now through June 30.  In my store, most – but not all – of the items were marked with a little tag that said they were part of the June dairy month promotion. 


Lucky me, this even included Klondike Bars and items Little Miss could eat like all the Silk products in addition to your usual cheeses and yogurts.  I did have a couple items that were supposed to count towards the promotion that didn’t, so watch your receipt to make sure you are getting the items you need to get to that $40 threshold.  Smart store – they put your total earned dollars on the bottom of the receipt so you know how close you are.  Even better?  You earn two free movie tickets for every $40 of participating dairy products you purchase, so you can head to the movies more than once if you’re so inclined.  After all, there are so many ways to use dairy.  It isn’t just drinking milk – there are all sorts of awesome recipes you can cook up.


I will admit that I was a little hesitant to do this at the self-checkout lane at first because I was concerned that I would miss the voucher for my two free movie tickets.  But since the other lines were long and the self-checkouts were empty, I thought for a second and remembered where the Catalina machines (I even know what the coupon printers are called now) are and that I always notice when they print, so I stepped over there and helped myself.  And yes, my coupon printed perfectly, and I didn’t forget to take it – how could I?


Shhhh I haven’t told the wee ones that we’re going to see a movie yet.  Seeing a movie is a big deal for them, and it is by far one of their favorite things to do.  If I tell them now that we’re going to see Ice Age: Continental Drift in theaters, I won’t stop hearing about it until July 13 when the movie finally appears in theaters (and no, I didn’t have to go look up that date; I have that one memorized).  We’ve seen all the previous Ice Age movies – including the Christmas special – but none of them have been in theaters.  I know already that when we see it, Grandma and Grandpa will have to be invited… because the wee ones would never want to have such a fun experience and not share it with Grandma and Grandpa.  In fact, we may wait a couple weeks after the opening and make this Little Miss’s birthday celebration.  We debated actually having her birthday party be seeing Ice Age 4 with her friends, but it’s too hard to do a birthday party in July and August around here because too many people go on vacation.

Every time we go to the movies, it’s special.  I remember the first time I took Mister Man to see a movie.  He insisted that we had to bring Grandpa with us, too, knowing that Little Miss was too young to go, although he was sad that she was missing out.  When we next went to the movies, Little Miss joined us, and the wee ones refused to step inside the theater doors until I called Grandpa and Grandpa and asked if they wanted to join us.  Movies are a family event in our household, and they truly are an event.  I’m a little conservative when it comes to what movies the wee ones watch, so there aren’t too many that we’ve seen.  That said, seeing a movie is all the more special because they know it doesn’t happen all the time, and they look forward to every moment.  And then during the car ride home, I hear nothing but the recap of the plot and their favorite scenes and reenactments and the like.  Twenty minutes later when we pull into the driveway, they’re still going – and I’m still smiling because they are sharing their joy and we’ve created yet another special family memory.

The Ice Age movie has been on our radar for awhile.  We first saw a preview for it last November when we saw the Muppet Movie for my birthday (and yes, all of us were there, including my parents).  It wasn’t even a question of whether we would see the movie or not.  The wee ones turned to me as the trailer finished and looked at my with huge puppy dog eyes and melted into grins once they saw me nod.  We saw posters for it again this spring when we went to see the Pirates movie with the wee ones, and I am pretty sure they spent fifteen minutes after the movie surrounding the three dimensional display talking about the characters and who was fighting whom and what they thought was happening and who their favorites were and the like.  And the date of July 13 was mentioned at least fifteen kajillion times.  So yeah, I think this will be a good surprise for them.

While I can’t wait to go see Manny and Scrat and everyone else in theaters, I know we can’t wait too long.  The voucher for the free movie tickets expires on July 31, and the certificate for the tickets expires August 31 – but we’ll have enjoyed our movie and popcorn long before then.  Redeeming the voucher you receive is easy.  You don’t present it at the theater but instead log on to a redemption site and follow a few easy steps to print off your movie ticket certificates.  And while I chose to wait to see Ice Age: Continental Drift, these tickets are valid for any movie in theaters just in case this movie isn’t your cup of tea.

June Dairy Movies Redemption Site
June Dairy Movies Redemption Step 1

And maybe I’ll have to head back to make some more dairy purchases to earn another set of two movie tickets as part of #JuneDairyMovies.  After all that super easy meal I made with the dairy was a hit with my husband, and I have to make it again….

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 Safeway.  As always, all opinions expressed are my own. #CBias #SocialFabric

Monday, June 11, 2012

Post Champions for Kids SIMPLE Service Project #CBias

I’ve been hungry before, but my hunger is a mild thing that tells me I should ingest some food sometime in the near future.  My hunger is not true hunger, like millions of children in America face on a daily basis where they have no idea when – or if – their next meal is coming.  Summer is the worst for them, as many of those children are part of the free or reduced breakfast and lunch program in schools.  When school is out, however, schools aren’t around to provide those meals for children, and they miss many meals – making it that much harder to succeed in school in the fall when they return, which is only one of the issues they face.

Child hunger is scary.  Did you know that 21 million children in the States receive free or reduced lunch?  Only 3 million of those get free meals in the summer, however.  In Illinois alone, 745,000 children – 23 percent of all children in Illinois – are food insecure, meaning they don’t know where their next meal will come from.  Last year, the Greater Food Depository gave 69 million pounds of food from nonperishable items to produce, dairy and meat, to Illinois residents.  That’s the equivalent of 140,000 meals every single day. (Data from Share Our Strength.)   It’s hard to fathom that much hunger and need when I open my fridge and see this:

Full Fridge

And yet it’s there.  It’s there in the schools in my relatively affluent school district.  And it’s so easy to make a difference.  Donating $1 can get a child connected with up to 10 nutritious meals, which blows me away.  I remember from some previous work on hunger that many organizations can purchase 6 pounds of food with $1.  I know I can’t do that, but it’s amazing what the power of size and experience can do.

As one person, I can’t make that much difference, but I can make a difference.  And this past week, I did.  I hosted a movie night for friends of Little Miss and Mister Man.  And they all brought donations of food as the “price of admission” for the evening of fun with us.  As always,  I was taken aback by the generosity of my friends.  They brought a ton of food from pasta and pasta sauce to stock for soup to bowls of noodles meals and more.

Bowls of Hope invitation
Bowls of Hope details

The kids all had fun, and we talked some about why we were collecting food, and they all seemed to get it – at least a little.  I talked about what the wee ones and I were donating, and I shared a little bit about the shopping trip I made to purchase Post cereals to donate to the #PostCFK Bowls of Hope campaign. 




I talked about the Buy 2, Give 1 campaign where it’s so easy to buy two items for us – and then just buy one extra item to give to a food pantry where it will be given to a family in need.  And cereal is something that can be so nutritious and provide so many meals, yet it is really inexpensive.  Mister Man immediately wanted to run up to his piggy bank so he could buy some more cereal – and I love that energy, that the Champions for Kids are kids.


After the Post Bowls of Hope party, the wee ones checked out all the donations, and they were happy to report that the donated items all looked like food they thought kids would like to eat.  They couldn’t wait for us to take the donations to the Northern Illinois Food Pantry.  We usually donate food straight through our church, so it was the first time we’d been to the actual location of the food pantry, and it was awe inspiring.  We also purchase pasta or some other loud, shakeable food for the Mister Man’s birthdays to bring to school for the children to walk to the food pantry housed at the school instead of bringing more little goodie bags and other useless items for a birthday treat.  It’s gone over so well every year, and all the kids love it.


When we arrived, I asked a little about what items were most needed – hoping that what we had provided would at least partially fit the bill.  Fortunately, we did pretty well.  Our food bank is most desperate for items such as cereal (yay), pasta (yay), soups and stews/broth/chowder/chili (yay), peanut butter, flour, boxed meals (yay), and then the items I hadn’t even thought about – shampoos and soap, toilet paper and paper towels, napkins, diapers, and more.  Our friends had so much fun at this movie night that I’m sure we’ll do it again this summer to help keep the food pantry stocked – in our little way – and this time provide a list of some of the most needed items.  It’s these little pieces of education that really make the biggest difference, and I’m so proud to be a part of it.

And this little thing we did?  The nine children we had hanging out in our house watching movies... they had a lot of fun with the project.  They moms told me how they helped choose some of the items, and it reminds me ... making a difference can be fun.  And for kids, let's make it fun so they want to keep up with it.



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™.  As always, all opinions expressed are my own.  #CBias #SocialFabric

Friday, June 8, 2012

Safeway June Dairy Month #CBias

Did you know that June is dairy month?  I didn’t either, but I have an excuse.  Every month is dairy month around here.  Yes yes, I know… Little Miss has a dairy allergy.  But that’s ok, because the rest of us more than make up for her with all the diary we consume.  I’ve told you about Mister Man’s “school day breakfast” of Fage plain yogurt with a little preserves mixed in, right?

But the best part about dairy month this year?  Safeway stores (Dominick’s, Vons, Genuardi’s, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Pavillions. and Carrs) are celebrating dairy month.  When you use your Safeway card – something I always have tucked into my wallet – and purchase $40 worth of participating dairy products, the coupon machine at checkout will print you a voucher to redeem online for two free movie tickets.  Sweet, no?


Collective Bias asked me to do my own shop for dairy products, and I had a hoot doing so.  While I purchased all my products in one shot, you have all month to collect your $40 worth of product.  I love that the receipt tells you how close you are, too, so you don’t miss out accidentally.  Even better?  The dairy products include all the Silk products, which means Little Miss is able to get some treats, too, as I came home with Silk coconut milk, among other yummy items.  Just look for the items with the labels saying they're part of the promotion.


Needless to say, purchasing $40 of dairy items means that my fridge was a little bit full when I got home.  Ok, and my freezer, too, since Klondike bars also count towards the Safeway June Dairy Ice Age promotion.  (And with the new Ice Age movie coming out and being the focus of the promotion, I had to purchase something frozen, right?)  Needless to say, I had to put my thinking cap on to come up with a good easy menu idea of what to do with my yummy items.


Since my husband and I are huge Mexican fans, I decided to go the Mexican route.  After scanning the items I brought home, I hit upon what I thought was a brilliant idea – especially since I had some rotisserie chicken still in the fridge from the night before and we were sadly out of my homemade mole.

Have you ever had a French Quesadilla?  Me neither, but it was awesome.  My husband was thrilled, and it was super quick and easy to put together.  This is a recipe we’ll be making again!


French Quesadilla

Ingredients:
1 tube of French bread dough (I used the Pillsbury Simply rustic loaf)
2 T hot sauce (I have a chipotle hot sauce that I adore)
1 c cooked chicken, chopped (again, that rotisserie was perfect, but poach some, use leftovers, whatever)
2 c Mexican shredded cheese
Sour cream for serving

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a cookie sheet or use a sil pat like I do.  Open your bread loaf and carefully unroll it from the seam.  You don’t want to push down on it and destroy and of the beautiful rise if you can help it.


Atop the bread dough, sprinkle the hot sauce across the surface so that it’s evenly distributed.  Lay the chicken atop the hot sauce in an even layer, then sprinkle your cheese atop that.




Roll your quesadilla loaf back up the way it came from the package, with all your yummy goodness hidden inside.  Cut three deep slashes into the loaf, just as you would with a traditional baguette.


Bake your loaf in the oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until it’s a beautiful golden color.  Let it sit for five minutes to rest, then cut it into slices and serve while still warm.  Place a dollop of sour cream atop the French quesadilla and enjoy!


Yes, it’s untraditional, but it was surprisingly good.  As in my husband has already asked me to make this again, and I will.  If I don’t have the bread roll in my fridge, I’ll simply make my own dough and do this.  We used it as our main course for dinner – with Klondike bars for dessert, of course! – but what a fun appetizer this would make for a party.

Now this is a perfect #JuneDairyMovies meal, don’t you think?  I only wonder what Manny would think of this.  Yum.

In the interest of full disclosure, 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 Safeway.  As always, all opinions expressed are my own. #CBias #SocialFabric

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Father’s Day Grilling With Sears And Ribfest–Giveaway

Summer is officially here in our house.  No, it isn’t June 21 yet, but everyone is out of school.  And more importantly, the sun is shining and it is finally warm enough to wear shorts.  For me, that means the oven goes off for the majority of the summer, and instead we spend the majority of our time grilling.  It never ceases to amaze me what we can – and do! – grill, but we love it.  The theme #GrillingIsHappiness sums up our summer perfectly.

And really, that’s one of my husband’s favorite mantras.  “Anything can be grilled.”  And amazingly, almost anything tastes good on the grill, too.  I saw a recipe the other day for grilled watermelon that I now have to try.  Our grill truly becomes out outdoor kitchen, and I know I will find my husband out there with a smile almost every night.

Proof that we spend a ton of time grilling?  Well, let’s just say that this scraper is a really good representation of what our grilling tools look like.


Fortunately, Collective Bias sent me on a shopping mission to Sears to pick up a few Father’s Day gifts.  While that meant my husband got his gifts a little early, he definitely wasn’t complaining.  I had a blast looking online at both the Sears catalog and my local ad before I headed to the store trying to figure out what to get my husband.  I thought about sneaking in something for me, an outdoor d├ęcor item maybe – like new chair cushions for our patio set that we’ve discovered desperately need to be replaced – but I didn’t.  I did come up with some great ideas for what to buy him, though.  I absolutely love the flexible skewers, and we’re trying them out this weekend with some of our awesome kebabs!


And you know me, I love to go shopping, especially when I have a goal in mind.  There were a ton of options of things to buy for my husband, and I spent a good amount of time debating what to buy or not buy to ensure that I found the perfect gifts for him.  I definitely stuck with the flexible firewire skewers, as three of those came home with me!  My other favorite find was the fajita griller.   My husband adores fajitas and orders them whenever a restaurant has them on the menu, but we’ve never made them at home.  In fact, I’d never seen a tool to make them before, so this was perfect.  And yes, I used my Sears Shop You Way Rewards, which earned me points towards future purchases.  You can check out my full shop on the g+ album I put together for it.


Sears is really focused on grilling right now.  Their Outdoor Catalog is almost completely focused on grilling and getting ready for spending summer outside, just what I needed right now!  And this week?  All patio furniture, decor, and grills are on sale, plus there is free in-store assembly on all gas grills.  You can also get a $20 Sears gift card with the purchase of a Hamilton Beach 3 burner gas grill now through June 10.  You have no idea how tempting it is to go get a new grill right now.  Well, maybe you do.


And yes, my husband was thrilled.  In fact, he was so thrilled that he immediately – and without telling me – threw away our old tools.  That’s always a good sign, right?  Between the new tools and my husband’s instant efforts to clean the grill (did you know that your grill grates were this color?  Me neither!) with the cleaning stone I bought, we were so ready to grill.


So we did.  I just happened to pick up some steaks, and my husband was more than happy to grill them.  When you have great quality meat like this, my husband insists you need to only put a little salt and pepper on them before grilling.  Given the taste,  I think he’s right.  He also highly recommends letting the meat come to temperature before grilling it by letting it sit out for a half hour before you grill it.  It helps it cook more evenly, especially when it’s a thick cut.  The salt goes on just before grilling so that you don’t draw out any juices unintentionally.  Sear it to seal in the juices on both sides, then cook on a lower temperature, and you’ll end up with the perfect steak every time.  And please please please, my husband begs you to wait before eating.  Give your steaks a few minutes to rest after that hard work on the grill.  It will help the juices redistribute and keep them from pouring out all over when you cut into your steak to eat it.


We’ve also made Mister Man’s bacon cheddar stuffed burgers.  These are always a hit, and I’m constantly amazed by the compliments we get on them.  Our secret with hamburger meat is to always flavor it.  My personal favorite is a buttermilk or ranch dressing base as in the powder, which we mix with the meat before forming patties.  For a pound of meat, I use maybe 2 tablespoons, but it depends on your preference.  It adds so much taste to your burger, and it also keeps it nice and juicy.  We’ll also use fajita seasoning for a different flavor, and both are excellent.


When we do the bacon cheddar burgers, we make two patties, one slightly larger than the other, and both fairly thin.  Yes, they’ve already been seasoned with the mix.  Place just a little cooked chopped bacon and a little shredded cheddar on the smaller patty, then place the larger patty atop it and seal around the edges using your fingers to pinch the two patties together.  Grill as usual, and oh will your guests have a wonderful surprise when they bite into it.  We’ve also tried this adding a little homemade barbecue sauce inside with the other fixings and mmmm yum!


So speaking of barbecue, did you know that Ribfest in Naperville is coming up?  Shhh, I’ve never been before, but it’s been on my list of things to do for a long time.  And this year?  I’m going!  Any guesses who else will be there?  Ty Pennington!  On June 30, he will be with Sears from noon to 6pm in the Sears #GrillingIsHappiness tent where you can have your picture taken with him, have a chance to get your grill on with him, watch grilling demonstrations by Sears grilling experts, and enter to win a grill and other great prizes.  Besides Ty (because I’m on a first name basis with him in my head), television host and author George Hirsch, “Grill Grrrl” Robyn Lindars, and “Burnin’ Love BBQ” chef Perry Perkins will be demonstrating their favorite dishes, including healthy meals, quick fixes, desserts, and BBQ classics.  And yes, I’ll be there, too – because I know that’s a draw!  There will also be live tweeting from @Sears and #GrillingIsHappiness during the event, so join in.

You can buy tickets to Ribfest online or at the gate (if they haven’t sold out).  Best part?  Children 11 and under are free with a paying adult.  Proceeds from Ribfest go to help agencies supported by the Exchange Club of Naperville – which puts on Ribfest – to help fight child abuse, domestic violence, and to strengthen families in the local communities.  Organizations include everything from Project H.E.L.P. to CASA of DuPage County and has raised over $9 million from its service activities at Ribfest.

Keep up with what’s happening with Ribfest by liking its page on Facebook.  And hey, go ahead and like Sears, too, while you’re at it.  And yep, Ribfest is even on Twitter.  Follow them for updates on what’s happening.

Are you a little jealous of all the grilling fun going on here?  You don't have to be.  I'm giving away an awesome grill tool set courtesy Sears.  In fact, it's the Grillfinity 120100 Gourmet 3-Piece Grilling Tool Set.  I love the name alone.  The set includes a spatula, tongs, and a fork in stainless steel with a satin finish.  So what do you have to do to win? First of all, let me stress that you must follow all the rules. If you do not follow the rules, your entry will not count! That means that please please please leave your contact information. If I cannot get ahold of you, you cannot win!

This giveaway is open until Saturday June 30 at 7pm CST. I must have a valid way to reach you, so leave me your email address in your comment or be sure your profile has your email address visible. No duplicate comments will count. This giveaway is open to US residents age 18 and older. Winners will be selected via random.org and must respond within 24 hours of being notified by me or I will select a new winner.

Mandatory Entry: Tell me: What would you first cook with your new grill tools?

Bonus Entries (leave a comment for each entry - if you put it all in one comment, I'll count it as one entry):

1) Earn one additional entry for following me on Twitter, then tweeting this contest with the following tweet: "Are you ready for summer grilling? Win a tool set from @honestandtruly http://bit.ly/KiERpQ #CBias #GrillingIsHappiness" (leave a link to your tweet as your comment and make sure you do all the steps!)
2) Earn one additional entry by following this review blog publicly via Google Friend Connect.
3) Earn one additional entry by following my “regular” blog Honest & Truly! publicly via Google Friend Connect.
4) Earn one additional entry by liking Honest & Truly! on Facebook. (Yay, it's legal again, so long as you know you have to leave a comment here to enter and that simply liking me isn't the entry, along with acknowledging the fact that Facebook has nothing to do with this giveaway whatsoever.
5) Earn an additional entry by putting me in your Google Plus circle. Am I already in your G+ circle? No problem - just leave a comment letting me know that you've added me or already have me there.

Good luck!


In the interest of full disclosure, 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™.  As always, all opinions expressed remain my own. #CBias #SocialFabric