2 Mindfulness Apps for Newbies

Google “mindfulness” or “meditation” right now and you’ll probably come up with thousands of results – classes, books, 10-step programs, personal coaching, even $120 mindfulness trackers. Mental self care is currently a hot topic, from social media articles to free e-books on meditation. I personally found the advice from many mindfulness articles intriguing but vague in terms of application. I also found many books to be hard to interpret. How do I sit? What do I focus on? Can I pray while I meditate? What does it mean by “bodily energy?” Today, I’m writing to share two new phone apps I found to help incorporate mindfulness and meditation into your daily life, in small doses, in a way that makes sense to you.

  • Calm – This is a free app. It has activities you can choose from, or it has a breathing timer that directs you how to breathe when you just need to pause for a moment. It can also sync with your health app on your phone and record “Mindfulness minutes,” which can be helpful to track your progress or be used to report to your health insurance company if it has a health tracker program like Redbrick. You can do the breathing exercise for 30 seconds or however long you wish; everything is up to you. The goal of this app is to give you a break to breathe and relax. I think it is great to use when you first wake up or before you go to bed.
  • Stop, Breathe, & Think – This is also a free app. It asks you to pause for thirty seconds, close your eyes, and address how you feel, and then you record it. Then, it directs you to appropriate mediation exercises to help counteract these feelings. These can be longer than the ones from the calm app, many ranging from 5-7 minutes. A calm voice directs you through every step, so nothing is left to interpretation. You can choose from a male or female voice, which is helpful. At the end of the exercise, you record your current emotions. Then, the app graphs your progress for the day and compares it to overall progress. The goal of the app is to teach you a method to address and handle your emotions and to enable you to better manage them in the future.

Have you tried these apps, or do you have other apps to recommend? Let me know. This post was in no way sponsored by the apps; I just wanted to share what I found.

Cheesy Zucchini Rice with Sausage

This recipe does not require too much prep work, and it’s pretty delicious.

First, you bring four cups of water to a rolling boil and then add two cups of long-grain white rice. Turn temperature back down to low and cook for twenty minutes

While your rice is boiling, grate two large zucchini in a bowl (as pictured above).

We used two links of sausage, but in the future I would only use one link.

Slice sausage into medallions. Saute. Drain meat and set meat to side. Saute 1/2  of a diced onion.

Add zucchini, rice, 1/4 cup of grated colby jack  or mild cheddar jack cheese, 2 tbs Earth Balance spread, pepper, and garlic powder to pan. Stir until well mixed and the zucchini starts to cook down.


Cheesy Zucchini Rice with Sausage Recipe:

1 link pre-cooked turkey sausage (like Eckrich or Hillshire Farm)

2 large zucchini

1/2 yellow onion, diced

2 cups of long grain white rice (and 4 cups of water to cook rice)

2 tbs Earth Balance spread or butter

1 tsp garlic powder

Pepper to taste

1/4 cup of shredded cheese (like colby jack or mild cheddar jack

  1. Cook rice (see above for instructions)
  2. grate zucchini
  3. Slice and saute sausage
  4. Dice and saute onion
  5. Mix rice, zucchini, sausage, onion, butter or spread, garlic powder, pepper, and shredded cheese until well mixed and zucchini starts to cook down

Ask and You’ll Receive

I reached out to several companies this past week on Facebook and asked them if they had any coupons or free samples available. To save you the trouble of deciding who to contact, I’ll share which companies supplied coupons or free samples and what I learned from the experience.

  1. Companies that sent free samples or product coupons by mail:
  • Ancient Grains – coupon
  • Fussy Cat – samples
  • Celestial Seasonings – both
  • Yogi – both 
  • Sunbutter – coupons
  • LIVE Kombucha – coupons
  • Madhava sweeteners – coupons
  • Earthbound Farm – coupons
  • Earth Balance – coupons
  • Smarty Pants Vitamins – sample
  • Del Monte Fresh Produce – coupons
  • Good Karma Foods – coupons
  • Method Home – coupons
  • Nature Made – coupons
  • Chantecaille – samples
  • DRY Sparkling – coupon
  • UP4 Probiotics – samples

2. Although several companies didn’t respond, many were excited that I reached out.

  • The companies I got in touch with were very enthusiastic.
  • The companies were very generous with paper coupons and samples by mail, some even sharing coupons for free full size products or multiple or large samples.
  • Many companies that weren’t able to offer samples or paper coupons still sent promo codes or discount codes for their websites.
  • Many companies have email groups  where you can sign up to find out about promotions, giveaways, free samples, and coupons.

3. What I learned:

  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to some of your favorite brands or to brands you’ve been wanting to try. They just might surprise you.
  • Companies are very excited to hear that you’re excited to try their products. Reach out to them like you would to another person or to a store owner.
  • While not everyone will respond, you should hear back from some companies. This can help you save money by allowing you to try products you’ve been wanting to try for free and see if they’re right for you and also by stocking your coupon supply for products you already love.

Free greeting cards and more at CVS

This week at CVS with your CVS rewards card, you can go to the CVS coupon printer and either scan your rewards card or type in the phone number associated with your CVS account. Several coupons will print. 

One of the coupons that will print will be for $2 off 2 greeting cards. These cards were 99 cents each, and I got them for free!

Another coupon that will print will be for $1 off any air freshener. These renuizit cones are currently on sale for 88 cents each. After the $1 off coupon, they were 38 cents each! 

One important thing to note here is that the coupons were for a value up to $1 for the air freshener and for up to $2 for the greeting cards. Because of the overage in value that would have occurred if I had only purchased one air freshener – one cent each for the cards and twelve cents for the air freshener – I purchased a second air freshener so the purchase would go through. You can purchase things of lesser value than CVS rewards coupons as long as you purchase something that the overage can go onto. I hope that helps! 

Kroger freebies

This is what I got for free today from Kroger.

If you are signed up for Kroger emails with your Kroger account you should have received an email this week like this one. If not, you can load this coupon to your card here

There are different flavors of the hummus and pita chips that you can choose from that work for the offer. Also, your first three ClickList orders at Kroger have free pickup!In addition to the other groceries I picked up today, I also received a free chobani flip. This was a Friday Freebie. Every Friday, Kroger has a new free product coupon to load to your card. I have a calendar reminder set up on my phone so I don’t forget to load them. This was the flavor I chose, but you could also choose the new s’mores flavor. 

There are also two rebates for these products on Ibotta right now. I actually made money by purchasing these. 

Check out Ibotta to get cash back! Use my referral code, iyw3ba, and you can earn an extra $10 just for signing up and redeeming a rebate. Sign up here

FREE yogurt and granola at Kroger

Now through January 23rd you can receive 4 free Chonani Greek yogurt cups and 1 free bag of Simple Truth Organic granola. 

If you are currently subscribed to Kroger emails, you can click on the link in your email. If not, you can go to your Kroger account and login or go here.

Following the link above will take you to this website. Click “start your order now” to begin. This will have you sign into your Kroger account and work on placing your order.  

Make sure that you have loaded this coupon to your card before placing your order. “Sign in to load” will be replaced with “loaded to card.” Once you have added everything you would like to purchase, double check your participating items and submit your order. It will ask you to choose an order pickup time either at the beginning or end of your shopping. Simply go to your Kroger at the designated time and park in the Clicklist parking space at your store. Call the number on the Clicklist parking space sign to have your order delivered to your car. You must pay with a credit or debit card to pick up your order. Make sure you have your Kroger card, too. The coupons won’t be taking off your purchase total until you pick your order up. 

Moneymaker & Freebies at CVS 12/16-12/17


Pictured are:

2 Maybelline New York Mascaras – $5.99 each

Use 2 $3 off Maybelline New York Mascara coupons

Pay $6 out of pocket, Receive $5 Extra Care Bucks, End price per mascara = 0.50


1 Almay softies eyeshadow – $4.99

Go to CVS coupon printer in store and enter cell phone number or CVS card number.

A $5 off any almay purchase coupon will print.

Eyeshadow = FREE


2 bags of Gold Emblem Abound Heavenly Light Popcorn – $1 each

Use 1 $2 off 2 Gold Emblem Abound snacks

Popcorn = FREE


If you haven’t yet, you can still download the CVS app and get a free $5 off any purchase coupon for adding your CVS card to the app, making this an even better deal!