$5 a Day Challenge: July Results

Here are the $5 a Day Challenge results for July:

EARNINGS: $222.12 (~$7.17 a day, 14.4 hours total or ~$15.43/hr)
American Consumer Opinion - $0
Focusline surveys - $3
HarrisPoll -  $.47 (Amazon)*
HCD Surveys: $0
Inbox Dollars - $1.70 (check)
Ipsos i-say - $2.90 (Amazon)*
Lightspeed Panel - $8.84 (Amazon)*
Mindfield  - $9 (Paypal)
Mypoints - $0
MySurvey - $7.95 (Amazon)*
Opinion Outpost - $23.20 (Amazon)
Palm Research - $7 (Paypal)
Pinecone Research - $3 (Paypal)
SurveySavvy - $0
Surveyhead - $4.50 (Amazon)
Swagbucks - $15 (Amazon)
Toluna - $.80 (check)*
Valued Opinions  - $29 (Amazon)
YouData - $0.09 (Paypal)
Other survey panels - $38
Selling items online - $17.67
Blog income - $50 Walmart gift card
*Please note that I converted points for some sites into dollar value in order to easily calculate my hourly earnings. Some sites have cash out minimums above what I earned, so my account balance will roll into next month..

Walgreens/Rite Aid - $43.76
Eating Out/Entertainment $12.00
Other stores - $120.14
Rebates - $24.00


YTD: $5360.98

Disclosure: This post contains referral links.

Giveaway Ending Tonight!

Enter by midnight tonight for your chance to win a tube of Arnicare Arnica Gel from Boiron!


Review and Giveaway: Eco-Foil

Eco-Foil pans are made by Handi-Foil, from 100% recycled aluminum, and the lids are made from 100% recycled plastic! After you are done using them they are still 100% recyclable! This is known as "closed-loop recycling." What it means to you, as a customer, is that you can feel confident that you are using a greener option when you cook, bake, or grill. However, it is important to mention that being eco-friendly doesn't mean that Eco-Foil sacrificed quality or durability. So not only are Eco-Foil pans green, but they also offer excellent performance!

A little something else I noticed is that Eco-Foil has a website with live greener tips, recycling facts, green blog recommendations and information to help you make a difference. I am always pleased when an eco-friendly company offers resources for their customers; it helps strengthen and unite the green community!

What do I think about Eco-Foil pans?
First of all the convenience is nice. I don't usually cook in a disposable pan. However, when preparing certain foods or cooking for a BBQ, potluck, or party it's certainly refreshing to not worry about the pan I'm using. I was surprised by the durability of Eco-Foil pans, and the thickness of the aluminum. This is not a wimpy pan!

It was also convenient to not have transfer leftovers to another container, because each pan comes with a lid. One of the features I like best about the lids is how securely they fit. I was able to store leftover salmon in the fridge for a couple days and it still tasted fresh when I heated it up again. The best part is the salmon odor didn't leak from the container and fill my fridge.

I'm pleased with how well the Eco-Foil pans performed, but I was worried that this would be another product I like but wouldn't be able to find close to home. Fortunately, on my weekly grocery trip I spotted Eco-Foil pans at my local Kroger!  You can find Eco-Foil at other major grocery chains and mass market retailers nationwide where ever Handi-Foil is sold.

Buy It: You can locate a store near you that carries Eco-Foil by searching here.

Win It: One reader will win a set of 6 Eco-Foil pans and a t-shirt! To enter, visit Eco-Foil's website and come back here and comment about something you learned.

Extra Entries:
You must complete the mandatory entry above before you qualify for any extra entries! Post a comment below for each entry you complete, along with your email if it isn't visible in your blogger profile.

1) "Like" Eco-Foil on Facebook
2) Subscribe to Cheap and Creative by email or RSS
3) "Like" Cheap and Creative on Facebook
4) Follow Cheap and Creative on Twitter
5) Grab my blog button and comment with the URL of where it's posted (2 entries)
6) Vote for Cheap and Creative on Top Mommy Blogs, just click the link on the right sidebar (1 entry per day)
7) Enter any of my other current giveaways, or comment on a non-giveaway post (1 entry each, leave separate comments)
8) Tweet about this giveaway and comment with your tweet URL (1 entry per day), you can use this tweet:

#Win a set of Eco-Foil pans and a t-shirt from Eco-Foil! @cheapandcreativ
http://cheapandcreative.blogspot.com ~ Ends 8/14!
9) Share about this giveaway in your Facebook status along with a link, and then comment below with the status URL (you get this by clicking on the time of your status update) for 1 extra entry per day.

The giveaway ends August 14th at 11:59pm CT. One winner will be selected using random.org and notified by email. The winner must respond to the email within 48 hours or a new winner will be selected. Open to readers in the US.

Disclosure: I received several pans from Eco-Foil free of charge in order to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received. This post is based on my own personal opinions and experiences. Thank you Eco-Foil for sponsoring this review and giveaway!


New Mambo Sprouts Coupons!

New printable coupons available from Mambo Sprouts!

Coupon for FREE Better Oats

Sign up for a coupon for a free box of Better Oats!
I know that this product is available at Kroger stores, anyone seen it at another store?

Homemade Laundry Soap

I saw a post last week at The Girl Is A Mom about making laundry soap and I decided it looked so simple I needed to try it for myself.

What you will need:
1 cup castile soap (finely grated)
1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 cup washing soda

Mix all of the ingredients thoroughly in the jar and make a label if you like. It should make about 20 loads worth. I use 2 tablespoons for my top loading washer.

My cost for supplies was: $3.53 for one jar of laundry soap ~ 20 loads or $.18/load
$4 Borax
$2.69 Washing Soda
$.50 Baking Soda
$2.99 Dr. Bronner's soap (on sale at Kroger) - used full bar

After making the detergent, I've decided that it is pretty cost effective, but so is buying Crunchy Clean. Crunchy Clean costs about the same amount as if I make my own laundry soap, but it comes in a bunch of fun scents, and it doesn't require any time or effort. So most likely I will keep buying Crunchy Clean, however, it was a good experience to try making my own soap!

Coupons.com Update 7/29

It's the end of the month, so it's time to print coupons before they disappear! Here are a few offers I spotted on Coupons.com (under zip code 44444):

Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link.

Free Lunch Sack from Annie's Homegrown

Free Reusable &Waste-Free Annie’s Homegrown Lunch Sack when you buy any two packages of Annie’s Homegrown.  You’ll just need to enter the UPC and fill out the form.  Good for purchases made between 7/15/10 – 10/31/10

Thanks Give Me Neither


Wordless Wednesday: Easy Clean Up

Garden: What's Wrong with my Tomatoes?

All of my large tomatoes look like this! What's wrong with them??? It's super frustrating trying to battle the bugs are now what appears to be disease...

On a good note I have what appears to be a healthy bell pepper!

Method Laundry Detergent $2 Coupon


Sign up now to download a $2 off coupon for Method Laundry Detergent!

Snap, Share & Win! Rayovac Summer Photo Contest

I love photos (as you all know) and photo contests are fun, so I wanted to pass this along:

The Snap, Share & Win! Rayovac Summer Photo Contest will begin August 2, 2010 and will conclude on August 29, 2010. Each week will feature a different photo theme. Eligible contestants will be able to complete the entry form on Rayovac’s website, upload a photo and specify the theme. Contestants may upload 1 photo each week for a maximum of 3 photos. Once photos are posted, viewers can vote for 1 photo a day and add an unlimited number of comments. Contestants and viewers can share the contest with their friends (eighteen years old or older) utilizing the “Invite Friends” button or by sending an email. The photos receiving the most votes for each theme will win prizes. Rayovac Powers Fun, have fun and be creative with your photo entries! All levels of photography welcome!

Until the contest starts, you can:
Visit Rayovac and "Like" them on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Rayovac
Share the contest widget!

For each of the three themes there will be:
Grand Prize- a Digital Camera Package, complete with a Photo Printer and Rayovac Rechargeables and a Digital Photo Frame for three of the Grand Prize Winner’s friends.
Second Place Prize- Photo Printer
Runner Up Prize- Digital Photo Frame Keychain.

Phase One: Submit photo entry August 2, 2010- August 22, 2010.
(Week 1: Fun with Water Photo. Week 2: Fun Pet Photo. Week 3: Summer Fun Photo)
Phase Two: Public Vote August 2, 2010- August 29, 2010.
Phase Three: Winners Announced September 8, 2010.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Must be a US or DC resident and 18 or older at the time of entry of the Promotion or the Contest.

Disclosure: The first 50 bloggers to promote the Rayovac Summer Photo Contest won a prize from Rayovac.

$.75 Kashi Frozen Entree Coupon


All You's website has a coupon for $0.75 off any Kashi All Natural Frozen Entree or Pizza available

You can stack these at Target with current Target Web Coupons:
Save $1 on 2 Kashi Frozen Entrees or Save $1 on 1 Kashi Frozen Pizza
Easily find them by clicking on “Groceries” on the left-hand side of the page.  The Target Web Coupons expire August 21.

Thanks Freebies4Mom

Oil Pulling

My friend told me about something called Oil Pulling a few days ago. It really sounds pretty hokey to me, but since she swears by it, and coconut oil was already on my shopping list I thought I'd give it a try. My basic understanding is that you swish around a vegetable oil or coconut oil in your mouth first thing in the morning for about 15-20 minutes. By doing so the oil will help remove toxins from your mouth, as a result improving your overall health.

Well I tried it this morning and I could only swish for about 5 minutes before I almost gagged. The coconut oil tasted fine, but my throat is a little sore, and I don't normally swish anything for that long so I guess it will take some getting used to.

Has anyone else heard of Oil Pulling?


Local Readers: Deals Ending Soon!

If you live in the Clarksville/Ft. Campbell/Nashville area, make sure to take advantage of these deals before they end on July 31st:

10% off Everything at Noah's Ark Nutrition!
10% off your purchase from Gourmet Pasture Beef! (w/code TENOFF)
Order 3 bags of beef jerky from Gourmet Pasture Beef and get FREE SHIPPING!

P.S. I heard the good news yesterday that Noah's Ark Nutrition will soon be carrying Crunchy Clean!

Mypoints: Geez has it been that long?

Apparently I joined Mypoints.com 11 years ago today, yes you read that right, 11 years! What exactly was a 14 year old doing signing up for a reward site, who knows...

Since then I've earned over $200 gift cards, mainly from reading emails and filling out a few surveys here and there. It's a good sign when a reward site has been around that long and is still one of the top sites. If you haven't joined yet, you may want to check it out!

Disclosure: This post contains a referral link.


Being a mom is hard. Being a mom with Fibromyalgia is harder than I thought.

I'm feeling much better today and I wanted to say thank you to everyone that expressed concern. Yesterday I had the heart monitor taken off and now I'm waiting for the results. I've come to my own conclusion about what might have caused the chest pain and palpitations - my Fibromyalgia.

I was diagnosed at 18 and for a few years it was bad. I was weak, could barely walk, and had intense muscle pain. Then I had a couple good years, where I was able to start running half marathons and compete in triathlons. Well, after I got pregnant and it flared up again, pregnancy mixed with Fibromyalgia was very hard on my body. I gained some strength back at the end and had Jacob almost completely natural, which I am thankful for because I think an epidural would have caused me many troubles. Delivery was easier than I thought, but recovery was awful! I was so weak for a couple months and had intense muscle and nerve pain from the Fibromyalgia that lead me to not be able to keep nursing.

Slowly I've regained some energy, but I'm still hurting most days. I've been eating healthy and exercising (possibly too strenuously), but I still often feel like a truck drove over me. A lot of my friends suggested that it may be stress... yet I didn't feel stressed, my blood pressure was normal, and we've been doing a bunch of fun and relaxing things lately. So I opened my Prescription for Nutritional Healing book (which is AWESOME and I highly recommend!) and scanned the section on Fibromyalgia again. That's when I discovered that palpitations are common with Fibromyalgia and I also noticed that heat/humidity can exacerbate symptoms. It's been HOT in Tennessee lately so that makes sense.

I'm just going to wait on the test results and get myself back on a strict supplement and diet plan, and instead of working out an hour a day, I'm switching to 20 minutes of moderate exercise and I am going to try to nap during Jacob's nap. I am also dropping my challenge of running more half marathons before my 30th birthday. I may not lose the rest of the baby weight as quickly as I would like, but I need to accept that my Fibromyalgia is going to take over and get the best of me if I don't take it easy and get in control again. I'm lucky that my husband had the day off Friday and could watch Jacob while I was at the ER, but with him deploying next month I need to be careful since Jacob needs me to be able to care for him by myself.

So that's an update...
I'm curious if anyone else has experience with Fibromyalgia? I know it's a very common condition, that unfortunately goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, but I'd love to hear other stories!


Review and Giveaway: Get Real by Mara Rockliff

"Can you change the world with your wallet? You already do. In this frank, teen-friendly manifesto, Mara Rockliff reveals what you’re really buying when you spend your money on a cell phone, a cheap t-shirt, or fast food—and shows the way to better choices, both for people and the planet.Start seeing the world for real, and discover how you can make a difference. You’ve got buying power—now let’s see you change the world for good!"

My thoughts:
Get Real is very eye-opening! I appreciate that Mara Rockliff doesn't sugar coat the reality of modern consumerism. She gets straight to the point and presents a variety of shocking facts about the products we buy - where they come from and where they end up.

In my opinion, Get Real does an excellent job appealing to teenagers not only in the matter of fact tone, but also in the attention-grabbing design and graphics. Get Real has in-text features of "Rebels with a Cause" about teens that have taken a stand are great for inspiring other teens to get involved, and they keep the overall focus positive. Although written with teens in mind, Get Real has something to offer for a much larger audience. I highly recommend it!

Buy It: You can find Get Real at your local bookstore or on Amazon.com.

Win It: One reader will win a copy of Get Real by Mara Rockliff. To enter, leave a comment below about something you've learned along the way on your eco-friendly journey.

Extra Entries:

You must complete the mandatory entry above before you qualify for any extra entries! Post a comment below for each entry you complete, along with your email if it isn't visible in your blogger profile.

1) Follow Cheap and Creative with Google Friend Connect

2) Subscribe to Cheap and Creative by email or RSS

3)  "Like" Cheap and Creative on Facebook

4) Follow Cheap and Creative on Twitter

6) Grab my blog button and comment with the URL of where it's posted (2 entries)

7) Vote for Cheap and Creative on Top Mommy Blogs, just click the link on the right sidebar (1 entry per day)

8) Enter any of my other current giveaways, or comment on a non-giveaway post (1 entry each, leave separate comments)

9) Tweet about this giveaway and comment with your tweet URL (1 entry per day), you can use this tweet:

Win a copy of Get Real by Mara Rockliff @cheapandcreativ http://cheapandcreative.blogspot.com ~ Ends 8/8! #giveaway #eco

10) Share about this giveaway in your Facebook status along with a link, and then comment below with the status URL (you get this by clicking on the time of your status update) for 1 extra entry per day.

The giveaway ends August 8th at 11:59pm CT. One winner will be selected using random.org and notified by email. The winner must respond to the email within 48 hours or a new winner will be selected. Open to readers in the US.

Disclosure: I received a copy of Get Real from Running Press in order to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received. This post is based on my own personal opinions and experiences. Thank you Running Press for sponsoring this review and giveaway!

TheNaturalStore.com: $10 off ANY order

Update 7/25: I heard that this deal is no longer working.

From now until Monday 7/26 you can save $10 off any order from TheNaturalStore.com, no minimum purchase required and no promo code needed. You will have to pay shipping which is $4.99.


My heart took the day off

My heart has been acting weird since yesterday evening so I checked myself into the ER this morning for tests. Everything came back fine, but since I'm having pain and palpitations, they decided to hook me up to a 72 hour monitor at home. I'm feeling exhausted so I'm taking it easy for the weekend. Hopefully if I feel up to it I will get a giveaway posted, but if I don't post anything for awhile it's because I need to rest.

Groupon: Gourmet Pasture Beef

I was so excited when I opened up today's email from Groupon.com and discovered that the special was for Gourmet Pasture Beef! If you are signed up for Nashville Groupon deals, you can get 4 t-bone steaks for only $35! This is an $80 value!
Act fast on this deal!

I love Opinion Outpost!

I just realized that it's been exactly a year since I joined Opinion Outpost, and it is now one of my favorite sites for earning money online! I like that most surveys take about 15-20 minutes and pay around $2, plus it's easy to cash out as soon as you have a balance of $5 or more and you get an Amazon code immediately.

Check this out, in the past year I've earned $160 in Amazon gift cards!

If you haven't joined Opinion Outpost yet, I highly recommend that you do!

Disclosure: This post contains a referral link.


The Mini Social: BAGGU Deal!

The Mini Social has an awesome deal on BAGGU reusable bag sets! You'll get 5 bags and a produce sack for $20! The sale started today and ends on 7/27 or when they sell out.

Go here to sign up for free and shop. There are a bunch of other great sales going on right now too!
Don't forget to invite your friends to shop, because you'll get a $10 credit when they join and make their first purchase!

Disclosure: This post contains a referral link.


Military: Reusable Bag Credit and the PX/BX

Army & Air Force Exchange Service-operated retail facilities are encouraging shoppers to bring their own reusable bags through its "Use a Bag, Save the Planet" initiative. Shoppers that use their own bags will get five cents back for every reusable bag used. The five cent credit applies only to shoppers who bring in and use reusable shopping bags (plastic bags do not apply). Customers who simply decline a plastic bag, but do not utilize a reusable bag, will not qualify for the five cent credit. For more information, contact your local BX/PX. Find your local store on the AAFES website using the Store Locator feature.

Free Snikiddy Product!

Register for a printable coupon to get a free full-size Snikiddy product thanks to Bucktown Bargains. You are required to enter your email address and they will send you news and updates – which you should be able to easily unsubscribe to at any time. Find stores that carry Snikiddy products and please be aware that some stores do not accept printable coupons for free products. You’re coupon will expires 11/30/10.

Wordless Wednesday: Jacob and Daddy


New Alice.com Deals!

Here are a couple great new deals going on at Alice.com:

* Stain Removing Pen
* Deep Cleaning Laundry Liquid Citrus
* and Citrus Fabric Softener Sheets
Only $13.27!

Only 2.39!

There are tons of other green and organic items available on Alice.com, to find them quickly, click the button at the top right of their page that says "Other ways to shop" and then select "green & organic."

If you are new to Alice.com, it's a really convenient website because there are no coupons to clip, shipping is FREE (with minimum number of items), and if you are a new customer after you spend $50 you get a $10 credit!

Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link.

Local Readers: Noah's Ark Nutrition

Has anyone else noticed how limited the selection of health products and natural foods is in Clarksville, TN? Well, no longer is it necessary to make the drive to Nashville, or further to find the products you're looking for! There is a new store in town: Noah's Ark Nutrition, which offers a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, supplements, foods (including Gourmet Pasture Beef!), natural health and beauty items, books, cleaning products, and even green toys and accessories for babies! Here's an added bonus too - the owner Holly Kardisco takes requests. If there's a product you want that she doesn't carry, she'll do her best to get it!

In celebration of the store's opening, you can get 10% off your purchase until the end of July. Next month, vitamins and minerals will be 10% off!

Noah's Ark Nutrition is located at:
2197 Madison st Suite 105
Clarksville, TN
(directly across from Clarksville Gas & Water in the shopping center with Quizno's)

Store hours are Monday - Friday 9am - 6pm

Visit Noah's Ark Nutrition on Facebook for more info!


Mailbox Monday: July 19th

I got some lovely freebies in the mail today from EO! There was a freebie offer a few weeks ago for following their blog on RSS. I'm glad I signed up for it because I love EO!

Tom's of Maine Instant Win Game

Head over to the Tom's Of Maine Facebook Page to play their Wicked Fresh Instant Win Game. So far all I've won is a free sample of their new toothpaste, but you can never have too many of those especially for traveling :) You will be asked to enter a photo to win some other prizes, including cash, but you can skip this by selecting "skip" at the very bottom of the promotion page.

Although most of their toothpastes have Sodium Laurel Sulphate (cosmetic database score = 3) in it, they do have an SLS free formula, click here to find out more.

I disclose, how come a lot of other bloggers don't?

This is a little bit of a rant. You may have noticed that I disclose on all of my posts that have an affiliate link, referral link, or where a company has provided me with a free product. Why? First, it's the law. The FTC requires bloggers to disclose this information. Second, I think you have a right to know. If I am at all benefiting from you clicking a link, signing up, or buying something, you should know. Otherwise it seems a little sneaky. Third, the main purpose of my blog is not to make money, but if I do get a little income from my blog it certainly helps our family. So I'm going to be forthcoming about that.

I read quite a few frugal blogs and review blogs, and a lot of them will post the same deals, many of which are part of an affiliate program where they get paid per lead or sign up. Yet, many, actually most don't disclose this information. As both a blogger and blog reader, this bugs me. Maybe I'm the only one a little annoyed about this, but I felt that I should state again why I disclose.
Thank you everyone for reading!

- Michelle

What's Green in.... Jacob's Bathroom?

As a way of sharing some of our favorite green products with everyone I will be featuring a "What's green in..." post for each of the rooms of our house. These are the products we love and use everyday and I recommend to all of my friends. Do you have a green product you love and recommend? Leave a comment below!

What's Green in Jacob's Bathroom?
1. Organic Tangerine Baby Wash by Little Twig
2. Boon Flo Water Deflector and Protective Faucet Cover
3. Green Toys My First Yellow Tug Boat
4. Boon Odd Duck
5. Boon Bath Goods

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.


Blog Awards!

Emmy, the blogger behind one of my new favorite blogs: Emmys Boos and Rawrs, gave me a couple blog awards! I always appreciate hearing when a reader, especially another blogger likes reading my blog! So thank you for the awards!

The awards she nominated me for are the sunshine award:

and the versatile blogger:

What are the rules with winning these amazing awards
1. Thank the person who gave you the award
2. Share seven things about you
3. Nominate 10 newly discovered blogs
4. Let your nominees know about the award

#2 Seven things about me
1. I like doing laundry but I hate doing dishes.
2. I love reading Tom Robbins books.
3. I'm currently working on a Masters in Early Childhood Education, but my real interest is Play Therapy.
4. I obsessively check the mailbox.
5. I have about 40 hours worth of tattoos on me.
6. I take pictures of everything.
7. In one year I did 7 half marathons and two triathlons.

#3 Nominate 10 blogs
These are 10 blogs I love to read:
1. Emmys Boos and Rawrs

Wow, 10 Months Old!

Jacob is 10 months old today! I feel like I've officially traded in my baby for a little boy, but it's wonderful. Every minute of it.

10 months also means I started cloth diapering full-time 6 months ago! I have to admit that it has been MUCH easier than I expected, and I'm very proud of myself for sticking to it. A few days ago, I asked my husband if he thought I'd keep it up (he thinks I'm all talk, either that or I just have way too many ideas and get distracted, I'm not really sure what he thinks actually) and he said no. He didn't think I would keep cloth diapering, and I guess I surprised him. He surprised me too, because he has actually changed a couple cloth diapers now (non-poop ones that is) which he said he wasn't going to do when this whole thing started. I'm thankful for his support and also thankful that because of my decision to cloth diaper, we've saved about $200 (after the cost of cloth diapers), by not using disposables for the past 6 months. Plus I'm set until potty training, so that's a future savings of at least $840 (I'm guess $60 a month for another 14 months)!

If you are still sitting on the fence about cloth diapers for your little one, I suggest adding 1-2 in a day, it could save you $12+ a month! That's just one reason to cloth diaper, there is a great post on the other benefits and facts at The Girl Is A Mom.


Finally we're eating the same thing!

Not only am I FINALLY getting more confident about making baby food, it is also getting easier and more fun now that Jacob is a day from 10 months! Last night I grilled some organic chicken with lime and made tacos, so for lunch today I used the leftovers to make Jacob a mix of black beans, chicken, a little cheese, and rice (I used rice cereal). He LOVED it. Since he can eat more foods and chew pretty well (with his 2 teeth), I'm really enjoying cooking meals with the entire family in mind!