31 Jan
2014
Posted in: Regular Entries
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Turning Cartwheels at Target (Sponsored)

There are two things I think we can all agree on:

1. Saving money is awesome, and
2. Target is awesome.

Combine the two and you’ve just described one of my favorite pastimes, if not America’s official national pastime, especially now that we have a handy little helper called the Target Cartwheel app (available for free on both iPhone and Android platforms and accessible on computers and tablets.)  Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 2.07.58 PM  I heard a lot of buzz about Cartwheel from online friends before I tried it myself, because although I could tell people we’re excited about it, I wasn’t sure what exactly it was. So here’s the deal (and I’ll try not to sound too infomercially while I describe the features):

Cartwheel is a coupon app you use to get “secret” discounts when you’re shopping in an actual brick-and-mortar Target store. (So, yes, you’re going to have to put on pants for this one. I’m sorry.) There are two ways you can use it: (a) you can use your phone, tablet, or computer to “shop” for coupons, which you add to a virtual cart, the contents of which will be summarized in the form of a barcode that your friendly Target cashier will then scan at the register and (b) you can use your smartphone scan an actual in-store item to see if it has a hidden Cartwheel discount applied to it. There are hundreds of coupons available and–best thing!–you can stack coupons, and not just on a single transaction but on a single item. You can use one manufacturer coupon, one Target coupon, and one Cartwheel coupon on the same thing, plus you can use your REDcard discount on your entire haul. Example: Say you’re buying something priced at $10. If you have a $1 manufacturer coupon, a $1 Target coupon, and a 25% Cartwheel coupon, you’ve just saved $4, or 40%. If you use your REDcard, you get an extra 5% off your entire transaction, bringing your $10 item down–if I’m doing this right–to $5.70. Sweeeet.

Since my brain tends to get a little claustrophobic when I use my phone for multipage tasks, I do all my Cartwheel shopping on my computer first. From Target.com, there’s a link to Cartwheel, and that’s where I do all my browsing to build up a nice cart of savings. You can browse by category (kids clothing, groceries, home furnishing, electronics, etc.) and then sort your deals by expiration date, discount amount, and things like that. Basically, you tell the app what you want deals on, rather than vice versa. Here’s what my Cartwheel cart looks like right now:

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 2.47.21 PM

Look at that: 25% off Shaun White clothes for boys (i.e., most of Wombat’s back-to-school wardrobe), 20% off items in the dollar bins (i.e., my favorite way to self-medicate), and 20% off Mossimo Women’s Jeans, which is awesome because their Denim Leggings are perfection.

What you can’t see in that screen shot is the barcode at the top of the page that’s storing all my personal coupon info. All I do is print off the page and take it into the store with me. If you want to do your browsing on your phone, you can do that too, and then, of course, there’s the cool feature that lets you scan items at the store to see if there’s a Cartwheel deal available. See cute shoes that you want but can only justify if they’re on sale? Scan them and voila, Cartwheel just scored you 20% off. (I’ve seen deals range from 5% off to 40%.)

One thing to know: there’s a limit of one Cartwheel barcode scan per transaction, but you can use six Cartwheel barcodes per day, so what this means is that if you bring in your printout from home but then add things via the app while you’re in the store, you can use both barcodes in the same day, you just have to use them on separate transactions. I hope that makes sense.

I hope all of this makes sense, and I truly, truly hope this saves you some money.

There are all kinds of extra things to know about Cartwheel (how to link it with Facebook, how to NOT link it with Facebook, how to earn badges to access extra content, etc.), but I imagine your patience is wearing and you just want your chance to win some Target spending money already.

So you want to win a $1,000 Target gift card? Answer the following question and you’ll be entered to win (one winner will be picked from participating blogs):

What’s your favorite thing to shop for at Target? (Mine is clothes.) (And beauty products.)
(And housewares.) (And holiday decor.) (And anything on sale.) 

Sweepstakes Rules:

No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 1/30 to 2/28.

Be sure to visit the Target Cartwheel brand page on BlogHer.com, where
you can read other bloggers’ posts!

29 Jan
2014

Eat Your Heart Out

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorites because it’s EASY. Take whatever you have and cut it into the shape of a heart and/or color it red or pink and BOOM, you’re super festive. Another good thing about Valentine’s Day? Treeeeeats.

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I did a roundup of awesome Valentine’s Day food for Work It, Mom (Sixteen Sweet and Savory Valentine’s Day Treats for Your Sweeties; say that six times fast), and then if you scroll down past the roundup image here, I’ll show you how to make the cinnamon-honey rim-of-your-glass cookies that go perfectly with milk and tea and rainy (or snowy) days and people you love.

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Here’s the full list of links to all that pretty, pretty food.

Okay, so the rim-of-the-glass cookie idea is yet another one of those things that popped into my brain one day to the sound of a fanfare, and only after I danced around the room high-fiving myself and then chest-bumping the mirror (ow) did I check Pinterest and discover that, yep, I’m not the only one who thought of it.

But whatever. My way is better than the other ones because it uses one of my favorite cookie recipes.

These “cookies” are technically Homemade Graham Crackers, which came from Elisabeth, back in the heyday of Style Lush, who got the original recipe from Weelicious. I added the icing myself because, hey, Valentine’s Day. (These also make excellent gingerbread men if you’re not hugely fond of gingerbread.)

Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (the original calls for dark brown sugar, but I use light brown)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (I go a little heavier on the cinnamon)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cubed
1/4 cup honey (I bet you could also use agave; someone test this and let me know?)
1/4 cup water

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, having first made sure there’s not a pan of something in there that you forgot to take out three days ago, Leah.

2. In a food processor or mixer, combine the first six ingredients. Add cubed butter and pulse/mix until it resembles coarse meal. (I had a hard time getting a coarse-meal consistency in my KitchenAid mixer because the butter was lumping rather than breaking into tiny chunks. The food processor worked like a dream, though.)

3. Add honey and water and mix until you’ve made yourself some delicious dough (which you can totally eat without your husband giving you the side-eye because there’s nothing in here that will give you salmonella).

4. Remove the dough, shape it into a flat disc, and then roll it out between two pieces of parchment paper. I like my finished product to be more chewy and cookie-like, so I roll them out a little thicker than the recommended 1/4 inch; if you’re going for a more authentic graham cracker feel, roll your dough thinner.

5. Cut your dough into the desired shapes, which in this case is a heart. I made two different sizes and then made two modifications for two different serving options.

If you want to hang your cookie on the rim of a glass of milk or cup of tea, cut a notch in the bottom. I used a little cheese knife. The part you cut away? You have to eat it. Those are the rules.

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I also made a bunch with holes in the middle, which I made using a straw. Make sure you wiggle the straw around to enlarge the hole so it doesn’t close up during baking.

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If you look at those and imagine them saying “ooooooohhh” like the Toy Story aliens, it’s okay, your secret is safe with me.

6. Bake your cookies/crackers on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 15 minutes. I like to undercook mine so they’re chewy.

7. While your cookies are cooling, whip up some simple icing. I used the Wilton Confectioners’ Sugar Glaze Icing recipe, which is as easy as it gets. Stir 3 tablespoons of milk (I used whole) into 1 1/4 cups of confectioners’ (i.e., powdered) sugar, then add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and, if you want, a drop or two of food coloring. I split my batch in two and turned one of them pink. I used the handy-dandy plastic-sandwich-bag-with-the-corner-snipped-off method of application. Drizzle drizzle drizzle.

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And there you have it! These are really, really good, and they look cute too.

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Like I said at the beginning, eat your heart out.