Registration is now available for free bowling during the summer through the Kids Bowl Free program. Sign up at this link. This registration includes 2 free games of bowling each day for kids, from April 30 through September 6. For an additional $25 you can add up to four adults to the registration. These games don’t include shoe rental, but you can always comb through eBay to try to find some cheap shoes. We’re hoping to do that too 🙂 Our family took advantage of this program last summer. Sign up and come with us!

For baby boy #3 (which we are still awaiting, btw) we really haven’t needed to make many purchases. A coming home outfit, an extra swaddling blanket, and we’re all set. The one splurge we made this time around was researching video monitors (mostly through and In November we purchased the Summer Infant Day & Night Video monitor from amazon. This is an awesome monitor, and we are sooo excited to be able to use it with the new baby. We’ve tested it out with Jacob (he sleeps in the baby’s room for naps) and it works really well, with terrific night vision and daytime monitoring. We can see how it will be particularly useful when #3 learns to roll over and pull up to standing. You know, those times when you’re wondering “What in the world is going on in there?” but you don’t want to creak open the door to peek.

This monitor retails for $180, but we got it from for $107. How? Using a tool called Amazon Price Watch we listed the url and then over the course of a couple of months, any time the listed Amazon price would change, I got an email noting the new price. It’s always a gamble when to buy (will the price drop more?) but that’s part of the fun, just like eBay 🙂 This Price Watch tool can be used to monitor any Amazon item. Sweet.

My SIL turned me onto this great deal going on at for a Phil and Ted’s travel cot. My little nephew uses one when they travel, and he and his parents love it. The cot only weighs 5.6 lbs, and it folds up VERY compactly (maybe 25-30% the fold-up size of our pack-n-play). This is a great option for traveling out of state, as the cot can easily be stored in the overhead bin instead of paying for another checked bag. Interested? Here’s the link.

Thanks, Monica!

Originally posted in September of 2008. Today Woot is having a “Woot-off”. Basically, a bunch of stuff gets sold throughout the day, some of it great and some not-so-great. Fun fun 🙂

A couple of years ago a friend of Kevin’s turned us on to a neat site for sale items, Woot offers one product each day, at a low price. That product is available for 24 hours, or until it sells out. The deal is usually great, sometimes amazing, and occasionally mediocre. Woot generally offers electronics, although that’s not set in stone. Past deals have included GPS units, cables, TVs, desktop computers, laptops, iPods, MP3 players, and telephones. Todays deal is a 37″ HDTV for $550. Shipping included. Of course, they don’t ship TVs to Alaska, but I can’t blame them for joining the ranks of 99% of other online retailers. WE’RE A PART OF THE UNITED STATES, PEOPLE!!!

Similar to Woot is the site 1sale is more varied than woot, offering more than just electronics. We’ve ordered a couple of different products from 1sale. Just like Woot, the deal can run the gamut from amazing to mediocre (although you’re just about gauranteed that if you find a product on one of these sites, it’s the best price available). Shipping at 1sale is $5. Often they’ll advertise a product for free, but the total comes to $5 with Shipping and handling. Today you can buy a set of speakers that surround your iPod (or other MP3 player). With a “free” price, they’re around 5 bucks after shipping. We bought a set of these last time they went on sale, and we’ll be buying more this time.

Along this same line is the site, which also offers a 24 hour deal. These deals are on trendy, yuppie kid and baby stuff. From clothes to car seats, they offer a wide variety of items. I’ve never purchased from them, but I check out the site occasionally to make sure I’m not missing out on some great deal.

These sites can be great for gift-giving ideas. Even if you don’t want a new ipod shuffle for $29.99 (a recent Woot deal), someone on your gift list could be begging for one! There are other, similar sites out there, but these seemed the best to me. Let me know if you discover any other favorites.

There’s a new joint in town, Papa Johns. Don’t confuse them with the similarly named establishment, otherwise called “Papa I’ve got an oven, a craving for good cheap pizza, and I can wait 20 minutes for a full belly.” If you enjoy Evangelo’s-style pizza (non-greasy, thick crust) then check this place out. We decided to try PJ’s out last weekend and we were happy campers. The only downers: 1) their size large is a size medium elsewhere, and 2) they’re a bit spendier than the typical Alaskan greaseball joint. Our large (medium elsewhere) 3 topping pizza was $16. BUT, if you order online, which is super-duper easy, the same pizza is only $14. If you plan on being a regular, it’s worth signing up for their email specials. Four days after joining, I got an email coupon for an $11 three-topping pizza. Shweeeet. To reiterate, it’s more expensive than the other “Papa’s”, but it’s a nice alternative for when you’re craving a different style of pizza.

I’ve wanted to write this post for a while. Here’s a list of some of my absolute favorite things we have around the Maxwell house. Some are more useful than others, but I think all are worth putting here. Let me know if you’ve had experience with any of these too!

  • Open Office – This not so little piece of software is an awesome alternative to the Microsoft Office Suite. The mac version is titled Neo Office. Both are absolutely free, and updates occur often. Unless you’re doing frequent presentations, I think you’ll find that this freeware is just as useful as its expensive counterpart.
  • Grapefruit Spoons – Our diets have contained a lot more fruit ever since this little invention made its way into our cupboard. We never used to buy grapefruit because of all the work required to scrape out a few meager scraps of citrus. Now, we enjoy a grapefruit every day. Locally, you can find them at All I Saw Cookware, or at several online stores.
  • Walmart 88 cent toy section – located in the toy section, this little space is a real gem. Here you can find everything from sunglasses to plastic animals to jumping jacks. This is a favorite stop for me while stocking up on entertainment items in preparation for an upcoming flight.
  • Click-N-Ship – Actually going to the Post Office is SO 2008. Visiting USPS’s online site is way cooler. Here you can buy stamps and have them delivered to your mailbox (it’s an extra buck for a sheet of stamps, but it’s worth it for me). My favorite section of this site is where you can use Click-N-Ship to send packages anywhere right from your house (your postal carrier will pick them up). You just fill out some info, charge the postage to your credit card, and print off a label. What? You don’t have any boxes with which to package your goodies? Request more straight from and your mail carrier will deliver them to you (they’re free!) Don’t know how much a box weighs? Just cram as much as you can into a flat-rate box and you’re charged a straight amount regardless of how heavy the box is. We just climbed back on the ebaying bandwagon so I love using this service for all of my outgoing packages.
  • Net10 Prepaid Phone & Service – This is a great option for those of us who want a cell phone but don’t need a ton of minutes each month. After hours of research, we purchased this phone for me at the local Walmart, and ported my number over. This prepaid service charges a flat 10 cents per minute for local/long distance/roaming calls. Minutes can be purchased in blocks of 300 (or greater), which adds 60 days of service, for $30. I’ll do the math: that’s 150 minutes per month, at $15 bucks. This is about the same price we paid to have me on Kevin’s ACS plan (we’re saving a couple of bucks), but now we have the benefit of not loosing these minutes each month (they rollover) and we can also use this phone when we’re calling out of state, or when we’re in a roaming area. With the amount of minutes I use (around 50 per month) we should be banking plenty of airtime for future use.
  • Yogurt Maker – If you eat a lot of yogurt, or would like to start, this is a great appliance to have around. It’s not absolutely essential for the process (you can incubate yogurt in other ways), but it’s a great idea if you don’t want to have to babysit your yogurt. These usually come in quart size, so the cost of your yogurt ends up being pretty much just the cost of milk. $3.50 a gallon for yogurt is a great price, plus you control the fat and sugar. The process is simple: you heat up milk until just before boiling (we use whole milk), let it cool to room temp and then add yogurt starter (either freeze-dried, or just plain yogurt from a previous batch). Then you incubate, and 8-10 hrs. later, toss it into the fridge and eat! It’s easy to add some sugar and flavoring, although you have to be careful when you add it to the process. I won’t go into that here, there are plenty of great sites that explain how to get the best results. Here’s an article from the Dollar Stretcher that explains the process, although there are many variations.

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