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It's no secret that I LOVE my slow cooker -- actually, let's make that slow cookers, because I have several different models to fit any occasion.

Let's see... there's the basic 5-quart Stainless Steel Crock-Pot (my tried and true fave). There's also the Crock-Pot Little Dipper, which is perfect for keeping dips, sauces and gravies warm, and my Programmable 4-Quart Oval Crock-Pot. Oh, and I almost forgot my Crock-Pot Triple Dipper that's perfect for walking tacos on game day!

Yes, my husband's been on me to get rid of one or two, but I can't bear to part with any of them. In fact, I just added one more to my collection (shhhh...) -- the new Crock-Pot Casserole Crock. If you've ever been frustrated with the way your slow cooker enchiladas, casseroles, or lasagna turn out, you need one of these new crocks! The rectangular stoneware is the perfect size and shape for cooking these dishes, and the lids locks on securely for easy transport on the go.

It's also perfect for my family's favorite slow cooker chex mix recipe. Though I did have to halve the recipe in order to make it fit in the smaller format, the wide flat bottom speeds up the cooking time to about 60 minutes, instead of the 90 minutes in the original recipe. Plus, you can turn it off and serve it right in the crock. You really should try this recipe for your next game day get together -- it's always a hit!

Enter The Ultimate Crock-Pot #CrockStars Contest

As I mentioned in the video, if you're a savvy slow cooking fan, the Crock-Pot brand is kicking off its annual Ultimate Crock-Pot CrockStar Contest. Your original slow cooker recipe could earn you the title of "2014 Ultimate Crock-Pot Crock-Star," plus $5,000 and be featured on!

Here's how to enter:

  • Upload a 1-2 minute video prepping your favorite original slow cooker recipe using a Crock-Pot Slow Cooker on
  • Submit your original slow cooker recipe text.
  • Entries will be accepted through October 31, 2014.

If you enter the contest, please be sure to come back and leave a comment with your name. I'd love to vote for your recipe!

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Cleaning For A Reason with Swiffer And Walmart

by Tara Kuczykowski on October 16, 2014 · 0 comments

You've probably been seeing a lot of pink in stores recently since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Swiffer is one of these brands -- they recently released a limited edition pink Swiffer Sweeper and Swiffer Duster, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting breast cancer research.

Added bonus, they're really cute. I ran across a large pallet of them at Walmart yesterday, so look for them in stores now!

I've had a number of friends touched by this terrible disease recently, so I'm thrilled to see brands partnering with various organizations to fund research. Every little bit helps, right?

But what about the women that are already battling this disease right now? Fighting cancer is difficult enough, but living with it is even tougher... and that’s where Cleaning For A Reason steps in. Cleaning For A Reason is a non-profit organization that partners with maid services to offer free professional house cleanings to improve the lives of women undergoing cancer treatment.

To date, they've provided more than 17,000 cleanings for women with cancer with a value of more than $4.5 million. Isn't that incredible? I mean, what an amazing gift for these women -- allowing them to focus on getting well.

Swiffer, in collaboration with Walmart, is helping Cleaning For A Reason go one step further by providing care packages filled with a variety of products for the recipients of these free cleaning services for the month of October. The package includes Olay Regenerist Microsculpting cream, Crest Pro Health Clinical Gum Protection toothpaste, Oral B Pro Health Clinical Pro Flex toothbrush, Swiffer Duster 360, Pantene Beautiful Lengths shampoo and conditioner and Bounty paper towels.

Cleaning for a Reason was recently named by Reader's Digest as one of the 25 Best Things to Happen In America, and I couldn't agree more. If you use a maid service or have friends that work in the industry, please ask them if they've heard of the Cleaning For A Reason foundation. As the demand for services increases, they're always looking for new partners.

If you know a woman that's currently battling breast cancer, please point her to Cleaning For A Reason at

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Do You Have A Cold/Flu Get Better Kit?

by Tara Kuczykowski on October 1, 2014 · 0 comments

The weather is turning colder, which means that, unfortunately, we're on the brink of cold and flu season. We've already passed one particularly nasty cold around our household, and I'm definitely not anxious for another bout.

So when Walmart asked me to put together a Cold/Flu Get Better Kit, I couldn't help but think to myself, "What a fantastic idea!" I mean, how convenient would it be to have a small arsenal of meds and such to combat our family's colds and flus already on hand? Usually I'm running to the store for this and that on an as needed basis, which is not only stressful and frustrating for me, but leaves the sick family member in misery far longer than necessary.

Walmart is a one-stop shop for cold/flu needs, so I made a list of my necessities and went shopping. My first stop was the pharmacy area to stock up on pain relievers and more. Here's a list of what I bought for my kit:

  • Equate Ibuprofen
  • Equate Acetaminophen
  • Equate Junior Strength Ibuprofen
  • Equate Junior Strength Acetaminophen
  • Equate DayTime/NiteTime Sinus
  • Equate Nasal Spray
  • Equate Children's Multi-Symptom Cold & Fever Liquid
  • Halls Cough Drops
  • Palmer's Cocoa Butter Swivel Stick

As you probably noticed, I chose the store brand Equate products in almost all instances. I've always been very pleased with how well they work for our needs, and choosing store brand is a simple and easy way to save in the pharmacy area.

I think all of the items are pretty straightforward for a cold and flu kit, but you might be wondering about the Palmer's Cocoa Butter Swivel Stick. I discovered these when my kids were very young while looking for something to soothe their chapped cheeks in the wintertime. It's now a staple in my purse each winter because it's perfect for soothing chapped skin and lips, most especially around the nose area that gets rubbed raw from tissues. And the scent is just heavenly!

Speaking of tissues, no cold and flu kit would be complete without several boxes of Kleenex. I'm a big fan of the Kleenex Cool Touch tissues -- they're so cool and soothing, and I tuck the Kleenex travel packs into purses, backpacks, sports bags, car consoles, and more.

I also picked up a couple of cans of Progresso Chicken & Dumpling soup to keep in the pantry. I think it's safe to say that we all far prefer my homemade chicken noodle soup when we're sick, but the Progresso will do for an easy lunch when one of us is feeling under the weather.

In my opinion, prevention is far more important that treating the symptoms once we're sick, so I also grabbed a bottle of Bolthouse Farms C-Boost juice. The extra vitamin C will help boost my kids' immune systems to hopefully help them fend off germs before the get sick. I also do a lot of reminding them to take extra care in washing their hands thoroughly and frequently.

Rice Heating Pad

One last thing I'd recommend for any cold and flu get better kit is one of these no-sew rice heating pads! We actually have several of them, keeping some in the freezer for bumps, bruises, headaches and such, and several others that we can warm in the microwave to soothe aching muscles.

What items do you keep in your cold and flu get better kit?

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Fight Hunger, Spark Change With Walmart

by Tara Kuczykowski on September 30, 2014 · 1 comment

Our family has been through some pretty lean times, but we've always managed to put food on our table -- something I know so many struggle with each day. In fact, one in seven Americans, including 12 million children, turn to the Feeding America food bank network for food assistance each year... That's a pretty staggering fact, isn't it?

The sad truth is that food banks across the nation are facing a growing need for donations these days. To help combat the historically high rate of of food insecurity, Walmart has joined with Feeding America to support food banks and local partner agencies across the country in the Fight Hunger. Spark Change. campaign. Even better, they've enlisted the help of six of the nation's largest food companies, including General Mills, Unilever, Hormel, ConAgra Foods, PepsiCo/Quaker and Kellogg Company.

How You Can Help Fight Hunger

So how can we help out? A great starting place is by voting voting online for your local food bank at! You can cast one vote per day, and at the end of the voting period, the top 50 food banks will each receive a $60,000 grant. Food banks really know how to stretch that kind of money -- that's the monetary equivalent of 37 million meals!

Currently, the Mid-Ohio Food Bank (my local food bank) is in 17th place, making them a strong candidate for receiving one of these much-needed grants. I'd love to see my local friends jump in and vote daily to help keep them there! Or if you'd prefer to support your own local food bank, you can easily search for it by state.

When you place your vote, you'll also received information on how you can donate or volunteer to take a direct action in the fight against hunger in your local community. Together we can make a lasting impact in helping to reduce hunger in America!

But don't wait -- voting is only open through this Sunday, October 5th...

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Be A Hero | The Amazing Spider-Man 2

by Tara Kuczykowski on August 28, 2014 · 0 comments

In case you missed it, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is available in stores at Walmart now! It looks like the Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD version is priced at $24.96 right now, but I picked it up at my Walmart store last week for just $18.96, which beat out all of the stores local to me. Remember that, no matter what, you're guaranteed the lowest price in your area with the new Savings Catcher program when you purchase in store!

With so many different combinations of formats available for movies these days, it can be difficult to decide which one to purchase. At least for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, you're going to definitely want to get the Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD version. This format is a must-own, with 13 deleted scenes plus 100 minutes of extras.

There's also a Walmart Exclusive combo pack that comes with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD and The Amazing Spider-Man Blu-ray + DVD. I'm not sure what it's priced at in stores, but it's online for $22.96, which is a fantastic value for both movies together.

I won't spoil the movie for you, but we watched it for our most recent family movie night, and my kids loved it! I have a feeling I'm going to be hearing it on heavy rotation in the car on road trips for the next few months...

If your kids love Spider-Man, too, you might be interested in helping them enter the Be A Hero contest. They could win 1 of 5 grand prizes a Spider-Man visit to their school, plus lots more! All they have to do is create a short YouTube video that explains why their school is "amazing," and tweet a live link to the video using the hashtag #BeAHeroContest.

My two oldest boys decided to create a video to submit. I'm pretty proud of their hard work -- the wrote out a script, filmed and edited it without my assistance. I think they did a great job, don't you?

Be a Hero Contest Details:

  • Entrants must create a video posted on YouTube that explains why their school is “amazing.”
  • Entrants must tweet a live link to the video with #BeAHeroContest.
  • Information and rules at
  • Contest begins 8/5 and ends 9/14

Be a Hero Contest Prizes:

  • 5 Grand Prize Winners will win: Spider-Man visit to your school, $1000 in Scholastic books, year supply of Elmer’s glue sticks, year supply of Crayola Crayons
  • 250 First Prize Winners will win: Spider-Man recorded PA announcement, Scholastic books, 10 Elmer’s glue sticks, 10 packages of Crayola Crayons

If you enter, please come back and post a link to your video in the comments. I'd love to watch it!

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