Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sara Says will be on a blogging break for a short while. I will continue to post updates here. Thank you for your loyal readership. I will be back soon!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Starbucks: Free drink on your birthday


Starbucks has a new promotion they are running for those who have a Rewards Card (a gift card)a free drink of your choice from Starbucks on your birthday.

To sign up to receive a free drink on your birthday, you just need to go here and add your mailing address and date of birth to your Rewards Card member profile and opt in to receive mail from Starbucks.

Chai tea anyone?!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ruby Tuesday: One Free Entree with Purchase

Sign up here for the Ruby Tuesday email newsletter and you'll get a free Buy One Entree, Get One Entree Free coupon by email within 24 hours.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Walgreens: Fun and Free 8x10 Collage--Good only Today (8/26/09)


No time to scrapbook and need to something with summer or vacation photos? That is what I did!

Good only today: Wednesday, August 26, 2009, you can order a free 8x10 photo collage at Walgreens. Just go here and create your collage and then use coupon code FUNDAY at checkout and your order should be entirely free.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Enjoy Free Entree on Dave's Day at Famous Dave's on August 30, 2009

Do you have a David, Dave, or Davy in your life? Celebrate Dave's Day at Famous Dave's!

Click here to read more about this. Thanks to the Dave in my life for alerting me of this...I am sure he wouldn't miss it for anything.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Chick-fil-A: Two free Chicken offers


sign up here for a free Original Chicken Sandwich from Chick-fil-A. This offer is only available to the first 250,000 and they send it by snail mail.

If you want the easier approach...

On Labor Day head to your local Chick-fil-A wearing a sports team logo from10 a.m. to close and you’ll also receive a FREE Chick-fil-A Original Chicken Sandwich! We did this last year and it was kind of fun!

2 Easy Steps to Look More Professional in Your Business

Everyone Can Do This! It's that easy!

A few days ago I mentioned how I had begun working for Internet Solver in doing some sales and customer relations. Click here to read about how I got involved. I recently gave a small presentation to a Women's Networking Event (Women of Worth). A lot of these are new start-up business, but some are pretty established. It was a lot of fun and women can learn so much from one another. I thought it would be fun to post part of my presentation here. I know there are a lot of women out there with wonderful business ideas and could benefit.

Internet Solver can help you…

Look More Professional in Your Business in Two Easy Steps

Step 1: Get a real e-mail account

Don’t let your customers send e-mails to something containing the words “yahoo” or “hotmail”attached to it. Whose business are you advertising anyway, theirs or yours?

Internet Solver can set you up with a personalized and professional e-mail domain. This can be done with business or personal e-mail accounts.


Step 2: Get a real telephone number

A lot of new businesses use their cell phone as their business line. It may seem smart and cost effective at the time, but you will regret it. What if you add staff? Go on vacation? Want to switch cell phone companies?

A real phone number will get you:

  • Free advertising: Your business will be published in all phone directories (online and the book) for free. Google searches will have your business come up more often because your phone number is published so many places.

  • When you call someone, your company name will show up in their caller ID instead of a random “Des Moines” or “Unknown.”

  • Internet Solver can reprogram your phone number so it can ring at your office, your house, or cell phone.

Internet Solver will help you with both steps toward looking more professional!

Sara Weis

Internet Solver, Inc.

11308 Aurora Avenue

Urbandale, IA 50322

Office: 515-224-9229

Fax: 515-224-0829

Marie Claire: FREE 3-Year Magazine Subscriptio

Marie Claire FREE Magazine Subscription

this FREE 3-year Marie Claire magazine subscription will go pretty fast. Sign up now to get yours!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A New Season of Life

The days are getting shorter, crickets are chirping earlier and there is always a morning layer of fog over a favorite lake I run by. Fall is coming. There are also other notable signs. My girls are both in school all day, after school activities have begun and I will resume teaching part time after Labor Day. Our lives will again settle into a routine. Life will continue clipping along.

I always enjoy the start of new seasons. There is a new freshness and feel of opportunity. Similar to our four yearly seasons, I also believe there are seasons in our lives. There are times to try new things and embark on different adventures and other times we need to sit back and take it all in. For example, I would really love to learn how to garden, take a women's self-defense class, write a book, travel the world... We can't do it all-all the time.

This Fall, I will begin working part time for Internet Solver. There have been little seeds planted in my mind the last few months and signs seem to be pointing for me to be involved in our family business. I am excited to enter the business world. Most jobs I have had revolved around kids and teaching. Even though I have a desire to have grown-up lunch plans and coffee meetings, the truth is I love talking to others and learning from them. I have a greater understanding of what Dave is doing with the company and I know I can hit a different target market and add something of value to the business. I love sharing what I have learned with others and look forward to embarking on this new season in my life.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Build a Bus at Lowe's Saturday, August 22, 2009

I really do love these Build and Grow sessions that Lowe's offers. We can't get to them as often as we like because of other Saturday morning commitments (whatever happened to watching cartoons all morning like we did as kids?).

But, check out this fun Bus! Did I mention its free?

Click here to sign up for this or the really cool drum you can make on Saturday, September 12th.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Kid's Day at the Weis' Part 2

click here to read part 1 on Kid's Day

What a day! To celebrate Kids Day and the close of summer, I left the kids choose the meals and activities throughout the day. Waffles in the morning (Megan), macaroni for lunch (Max) and french toast and sausage for supper (leave it to Lucy to come up with that for Supper).

Immediately in the morning Lucy and Megan wanted to disappear to their Harry Potter Hogwarts school down the basement. I had to come up with something for two year old Max to do because he just wanted to pester his sisters (too! too!) and tear the school down.

We made play-doh together which was actually really fun. He was scared of it at first and wouldn't touch it, but warmed up to the "snakes" and "balls" pretty fast. Click here for the best play-doh recipe ever passed down by my mom.

Lucy and Megan (aka Harry and Hermione) wandered upstairs and wanted to have a potions class. I had found an easy recipe for homemade ice cream made from a zip-loc bag. It turned out perfectly because they had to add ingredients, mix and shake and they were amazed as the contents changed form. The ice cream turned out kind of salty, but we added some chocolate syrup and that didn't slow them down from inhaling it.

Get the homemade ice cream recipe here.

In the afternoon they chose going swimming and extra reading time from The Prisoner of Azkaban. Even Max will listen to the book for awhile while muttering, "Potter, Potter." It was actually a very enjoyable day and something we will do again winter and spring Break.

Now the kids can return to school. ;-)

The Best Homemade Play-Doh Recipe

1 c. flour
1/2 c. salt
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 c. water
1 T salad oil
few drops of food coloring

Mix dry ingredients. Add water, stir until thoroughly mixed. Add oil, heat in pan. Stir constantly on medium heat. It will thicken. Remove from pan and knead.

Click here to read more.

Easy Homemade Ice Cream Recipe

Zip- Loc Bag Ice Cream

1 small zip loc bag
1 gallon-size zip-type plastic bag
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoon salt (regular table salt that pours will work)

Fill the large bag half full of ice. Add the salt. Seal the bag. Put milk, vanilla, & sugar into the small bag. Seal it. Place the small bag inside the large one & seal again carefully. Shake until mixture is ice cream, about 5 minutes. Wipe off top of small bag. Then open carefully & enjoy!

click here to read about about our adventure in making it.

McDonald's: $1 = 12 free items: After School Snack Coupon Book


Many McDonald's locations are currently offering $1 After School Snack coupon booklets which contain coupons for 12 free snacks:

3 free Baked Pies
3 free Apple Juices or Milk Jugs
3 free small cones
3 free Apple Dippers or Small Fries

These coupons do not expire until December 31st.

McDonalds is going to be on our weekly circuit for awhile now anyway. I never advocate going there (except during Mocha Free Mondays!), but their Happy Meal Toys are now American Girl items and we love American Girl at our house.

We will actually be dining there today for lunch to celebrate last day of summer and to pick up our Kirstin, the Pioneer book. While we are there I am definitely grabbing one of these Snack Coupon books! Wouldn't that be fun for for after school outing?!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

IHOP: Kids Eat Free Nightly with Adult Entree Purchase


I've never ever been to an IHOP, but do love pancakes. Maybe now we will try.

Through September 13, 2009, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., you can get a free Kid's Meal with each Adult Entree purchase at IHOP. Valid for children 12 and under. More details here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Kid's Day at the Weis' Part 1

"Every day is kids day," I remember my parents responding when I asked them why we didn't have a Mother's Day or Father's Day like them. Maybe they were right, but with school starting in a few days, I was having a little guilt.

It has been a busy summer.

We have had an amazingly amount of fun and gotten to do lots of special things that I know they will remember. Honestly though, my kids just love to play. Megan and Lucy are incredibly creative with their play and get along (for the most part) really well. All summer they never really asked to go anywhere; the zoo, library, movies, swimming, parks, ice cream shops, the fair, Adventureland...

As soon as we get home from somewhere, downstairs they rush to their Hogwarts school in the basement or grab their American Girl Dolls and create apartments for them in their closets.

They will soon be in that structured setting of school and won't have the uninterrupted hours of creative play. The remaining hours will be filled with ballet, piano, soccer, spelling words, supper and early bedtimes.

They needed a full uninterrupted day to just play, get messy and go with what their mood strikes. Stay tuned for what Megan and Lucy chose, my ponderings on if its possible for a two year old to independently play (mine doesn't) why the house is in disarray and how I only went semi-bonkers from being home all day....

click here for part 2.

Fun and Free Pie at Baker's Square

Pie rush Baker's Square is the place to be the next two days!

Tomorrow , you can stop by any Baker's Square location from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. where your kids can make a child-sized apple or cherry pie for free.

Then, on Wednesday you can stop by Baker's Square again to get a free piece of pie with any purchase.

Read more here.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Free Bowling and set a World Record!

I haven't been bowling forever, but since I heard about National Bowling Week August 29th-September 5th, it kind of made me want to give it a try again.

Read more about setting the World Record and You can bowl a free game on September 5th by downloading a coupon from here. Sounds like some good family fun heading our way!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Almost Free Veggie Tales DVD

If your kids love VeggieTales you might want to go ahead and sign up for the Big Idea newsletter. Doing so will entitle you to one VeggieTales DVD for just the cost of shipping—$2.99!

Hurry! Free dessert at Mimi's Cafe. Ends Aug. 19th, 2009


We life Mimi's variety and reasonably priced meals. Here is another excuse to go. Spend $10 and this coupon at any Mimi's Cafe to get a free dessert.

Free Meal at Boston's Market and Teacher Appreciation


Go here for a coupon for a free meal when you purchase another at Boston Market.

Also-gotta love our teachers! Through September Boston Market is offering all teachers and school staff a free meal with any meal purchase on weekends and 20% off all meals and catering during the week. Present valid school identification. Read more details here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Weis Cafe and Daughter Date Night

Lucy, Megan and I had tickets for High School Musical 2 at the Des Moines Playhouse a few nights ago. Being girls (and are beginning to take an increasing amount of time to go somewhere...meaning there have been several instances where the family is waiting in the car for Megan who is still finishing up getting ready) they had planned to get get all dressed up. I on the other hand, was thinking, ohhhh....night off from cooking, where should we eat?

Enter Dad. He invented the Weis Cafe. Have you heard of it? Its a new restaurant nestled in our formal dining room, with a table that is rarely cleared off enough for eating. We hadn't used our new dishes yet (a ten year anniversary gift from my mom) and Dave was excited to prepare a meal for us. He even went as far to make up these adorable menus.

It was perfect. We got dolled up, actually left the house, walked down the driveway and entered the Weis Cafe. Dave seated us and handed us our menus. Lucy and Megan loved this. It was much more meaningful and fun than any restaurant I could have taken them too. They insisted on calling Dave "Waiter-O" and Max was proclaimed as "the entertainment" as he acted like you would expect at a restaurant...running around, grabbing things off the table, demanding "waavvvvver."

After dessert of ice cream and caramel, we were off to the show; which produced one Sharpay and one Kelsie wannabes.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Toys "R" Us:Birthday Freebie

If you have a youngin' at your house, you'll want to sign them up for the Toys R' Us Birthday Club. They'll get a card with a free $3-$5 gift card on their birthday along with some other fun freebies in-store when you register here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Got Milk? Giveaway Winners!

Congratulations to mlkrogulski, matt and Kim!

They are the proud winners of the Got Milk? Giveaway!

Thanks for entering and stay tuned for the next one. Giveaways are great!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Schwan's: $10 of Free Food


Yesterday I received my herb and garlic marinated pork chops delivered right to my front door. Now I know this deal is legit!

I grew up with Schwan's Food (ice cream sandwiches, push up pops, frozen pizza and chicken tenders were our favorites). Schwan's is still around and has really stepped it up.

Go here and place an order for a any item $10 or less. There is free delivery too! Let me tell you....after thumbing through the catalog, lets just say that I will be branching out from the frozen pizzas....there are a lot of tasty looking options in there. Wow!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Congratulations to Internet Solver and My Husband!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Best of Technology

Best Telecommunications Equipment Dealer

Internet Solver Inc.

Internet Solver Inc. focuses on keeping technology simple and streamlined so its customers can have the best experience.

Internet Solver President Dave Weis said his company can provide all the telecommunications technology that a small to medium-sized business needs to operate.

"It makes it very simple for the customers, because they only have a single company that they need to deal with," Weis said. "They know that there are not going to be any conflicts between the different providers, no finger pointing. If there is a problem, we fix it."

This was the basis of Weis' business plan when he started Internet Solver in his basement in 2002. When his wife suggested the company move after it reached three employees, Weis moved the business to 42nd Street before settling on Internet Solver's current location at 11308 Aurora Ave. in Urbandale last year.

read the rest of the Business Record article here and to see the other 2009 Best of Winners

Got Milk? Giveaway ends August 10th: 3 Winners

Click here to enter the Got Milk? Giveaway of tote bag, t-shirts and more. Giveaway ends August 10th. Good luck!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Grab the Kids and Camera: The Iowa State Fair is Just Around the Corner

We love the fair at our house and usually make a full day out of if when we go. Click here to see our favorite activities from years past, but this year will include some new things on our agenda.

-Pet a newborn calf, chick, colt and maybe even see a live birth at the Knapp Animal Learning Center.

-The Heritage Village has a country school with daily lessons and activities. Lucy and Megan are still very interested in the whole one room schoolhouse concept.

-Hy-Vee Fun Forest: Includes little trails to explore, play equipment and even some fountains to run through and cool off.

-While in the Fun Forerst we are going to stop by the Got Milk? headquarters where the kids can practice making their milk mustaches and getting photos taken. The Got Milk? area also has loads of of other free things they are giving away and were so kind to give our family complimentary tickets to the fair. We love our milk products here! Click here to read more about it.

-This year we will be paying a bit more attention to all of the food and craft competitions and ribbons. We were all set to enter some this year (I have such fun memories of being involved in 4-H and showing off my workmanship to a judge to receive my ribbon).

Note to self for next year: Entries have to be placed by July 1st. July 1st? Who is thinking about the fair then?

Next year we will be!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Weis Family Survives First Camping Trip: Part 4

Click here for part 1.

After a night of smores, campfire songs and mysterious back jabbing rocks under our tent, it was finally morning. All the kids and Daddy slept until 8 and I enjoyed the peaceful nature of birds chirping and desperately wishing I had a cup of coffee (didn't know how I was going to do that one over hot coals).

We feasted on our brown bears for breakfast and I settled for Diet Mountain Dew for my morning caffeine fix. I don't know if it was that intense sugar rush or the fact that I really wanted to get to my home shower, but I was ready to get this day going. Creek walking was next on our agenda. We had packed water shoes, old clothes and clear cups for the kids to try to catch fish. Yes, there were actual small fish swimming in that clear water....the girls really wanted to catch a "pet" but they were awfully fast.

Hours later, we were back home and left with fun memories and mountains and mountains of laundry for mom to do...

August Birthday =Free Chocolate Lava Cake from Dominos

Have a birthday in August? Lucky you!

Domino's: Free Chocolate Lava Cake for all August birthdays!

Here are the details:

From August 3 - August 31, anyone with an August birthday can stop by their local Domino's to receive one FREE Lava Crunch Cake on their birthday! Minors without driver's license need to be accompanied by an adult. Read more here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Weis Family Survives First Camping Trip: Part 3

Click here for part 1.

What kind of mother am I? Do you see that drop off?

The Ledges is known for its awesome hiking trails. I just love it when trails go off on all different tangents and you have a fun little butterfly feeling in your stomach like you just might get lost.

Lucy and Megan are like their mom in that they love to hike and explore. They are like their Dad in that they like to go off roads (this picture was not taken by following the well marked path. After setting up camp we wanted to try out some trails. The girls alternated between playing , Little House on the Prairie, Pocahontas and Harry Potter (and the forbidden forest) as we traversed along. Max was a good sport and took turns riding on his parent's shoulders, only crying as he spotted his sisters and mother crawling across the log. At least one of us had some sense...

click here for part 4

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Weis Family Survives First Camping Trip; + Easy Campfire Recipies Part 2

Click here for part 1

I chose Ledges State Park for this maiden camping expedition for several reasons. It is a beautiful and unique place in Iowa with tons of hiking trails, clear streams for creek walking that circle the park (and actually run over the road) and it was far enough away that the notion of crawling into our warm comfy beds would not even be an option.

I am a planner by nature and I couldn't wait to get our meals planned. With a borrowed camp out book, my daughters and I scoured it trying to decide what to make. We knew we wanted to include all the food groups in our meals and had already vetoed hot dogs and burgers which we grill all the time at home. We were somewhat limitless as we were trying to do this trip very low budget and I did not want to purchase a bunch of camping cooking supplies so I knew that everything would be made with hot coals.

Here is what we came up with:


Foil Packets:
2 1/2 lbs ground beef (we used a cheap minute steak from our deep freeze)
Any Vegetable of your choice sliced thin (carrots, onions, potatoes)

Make sure your vegetables are sliced thin. I had cut up our summer squash, red and green peppers and onions before we left. Place meat on square of foil (I put Pam on the foil before) and spread vegetables over the meat. Wrap in foil making a secure seal and cook in coals for seven minutes to each side.

You could put all of this together, but I let Megan and Lucy make a foil packet for each of us so they could be in charge of deciding which and how many veggies they wanted in theirs.

We also took the label off a baked bean can, used the old fashioned can opener to open it and set that on the coals to cook. That can only took seven minutes before the beans were boiling. Everyone was so impressed by that can of beans!

Cinnamon Sugar Baked Apples (similar to Apple Crisp)

4 Apples
cinnamon/sugar mixture

We baked these in foil packets as well and put them on the coals as we were eating dinner. They were warm and delicious to eat by the time dinner was done.

Place sliced apples on foil. Sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar mixture over and add a dollop of butter. Wrap securely and bake for 20-25 minutes, turning often over coals.

Brown Bears

10 bread slices
3/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar

Trim crust from bread. Cut into 2" squares. Place bread on cooking stick; dip into melted butter and them cinnamon sugar mixture. Toast over hot coals until crisp

Fruit Kebab
Alternate on skewer;
sliced bananas
chunk pineapple

Heat over coals until marshmallows are golden brown.
Other fruits to try: peaches, plums, maraschino cherries

click here for part 3

Monday, August 3, 2009

Restaurant Week is Back in Des Moines 2009

What: Restaurant Week in Des Moines

When: August 21st-30th, 2009

Why: Gives the savvy diners like you and me a chance to try new places and menu items. Look out New York City!

Cost: Your pick! Lunch (for 2) or three course dinner (just one) for $25.00

Where: Your choice of 42 restaurants including my picks of Django, the downtown and delicious and "feel like you've been somewhere" French restaurant, Johnny's Italian Steakhouse (love the seafood skewers!), and Irina's, who I feel got the shaft big time as they had to wait a year for the liquor license to be restored because of the previous occupants.

What to skip? Sbrocco because I went there last week for restaurant week and they barely knew themselves that it was going on and Shane's Rib's Shack (although tasty-how could you eat $25 worth of BBQ at a fast food place).

Sara Says was one of the few sites to report on the 2008 Des Moines Restaurant Week. I feel like it may have been a better deal then (20.08 prix fixe meals since it was 2008), but I still think its creative and love how the restaurants are somewhat banding together to get us out of our homes and eating beans and frozen pizza in this slow economy.

Got Milk? Milk Mustache Tour is Coming to Des Moines Plus 3 Giveaways

You know you've seen them. Full page magazine ad. Beautiful celebrity. Huge glistening white toothed smile and... a milk mustache strategically placed above their upper lip.

Now your kids can get their own souvenir milk mustache photos and be just like over 250 celebrities that have posed for the Got Milk? ads. Bring them on down to the Iowa State Fair August 15-17 for this free event. In addition to downing a glass of ice cold white goodness, there will also be smoothies and chair massages given out.

This free, fun-filled events will be held at the Iowa State Fair in the Fun Forest from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m Sounds like a good time to me!

The peeps over in Chicago that are part of the Got Milk? campaign are so excited about visiting Des Moines and our great Iowa State Fair that they want to have a fun giveaway with gift packages that include t-shirts and tote bags to 3 lucky readers from Sara Says.

Go ahead. Leave a comment below about your favorite milk product and three winners will be randomly chosen by August 10.

Weis Family Survives First Camping Trip: Part 1

What do you get when you cross three children seven and under (two of whom are scared of bugs and the third that wants to eat them), a wife that loves her bed and hot shower, zilch camping supplies, a husband who is afraid of starving to death and the great outdoors?

An over packed mini-van and a memorable camping trip that won't soon be forgotten is what we got.

Camping know-how is not in my blood. We didn't do this as a family growing up and my main experience stems from being a camp counselor at Camp Hantesa for a summer. I have vivid memories of being in charge of ten eight years olds, hungry for supper and having to make a complete meal over the fire each week (no hot dogs allowed). We were given three matches (newspaper and lighter fluid were also forbidden). If we couldn't get our fire going, it was PB&J for all that night. I made the same macaroni and cheese dinner over that fire each week. Hey-it was different kids each week. Did I mention that I also purchased a lighter that I secretly kept in my pocket for these Wednesday night camp outs? I really did not want to let these kids down and not have a camp out experience!

Enter ten years later: I don't want to let my kids down and not have a camp out experience!

click here for part 2

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Blog Birthday Giveaway Winner

Thank you to everyone for all of the birthday wishes! Congratulations to Sarah on being the winner of the Target giftcard.

Stay tuned for another giveaway next week from the people over at the Got Milk campaign. There will be three winners for this!