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Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Experiences in Mystery Shopping!

As many of you know,I try to be thrifty and have been attempting to get better at coupon-ing. While I don't strive to make it onto that new show "Extreme Couponing" and I don't want to clutter our home with more stockpiles than we already have, I came across this blog: in one of my 'frugal mom' emails.

I decided 'why not?!' and signed up at a few companies. As of today I have done a total of 4 mystery shops!

I was a little hesitant at first, but the companies that I signed up for are reputable and seem to be very honest and direct about what you need to do. You can read about shops and if it doesn't seem worth it to you, don't accept that shop! I have also contacted both companies at separate times through email and through phone numbers, and each contact with them has been successful! If you are a friend and you may be interested in trying this, too, these are some company websites that are NOT fraudulent and you may want to try out! or

Tell Us About Us, Focus on Service (only use with internet explorer),,, "CRI" Corporate Research International

Feedback Plus is one I have personally used and am VERY happy with! They also paid by using and I got my first re-embursements today in fact!

What to look for: the MSPA stands for the Mystery Shopping Providers Association; I haven't looked into that but I'm sure their website can share more information and tell you of reputable companies.

I DID give my social security number to several of the companies for tax purposes, as well as my cell number and email address, but I have NEVER had to give a credit card number or anything of that sort.

Let me know what you think about mystery shopping after your first shop!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Stupid Ebay

I have been a loyal customer to ebay since I was 16 years old. I am now older than I care to mention (28 I think lol) but I am finally to the point where I am contimplating closing my account.

This month I have paid over $150 to sell on ebay. Once I pay s&h fees I am only really walking away with maybe 20-25% of what my items sell for. And I have been going to the post office 5 times per week at least, and other ebayers, plain and simple, can be absolute jerks.

Today I received an email from ebay telling me my listing was ended because it was in violation of a LAW. Not an ebay regulation, but an actual federal law. Youvegottobekiddingme!

I called today and discussed what this was about, although ebay told me NOT to call them. They said that the "Gerber" company wrote them and asked for my auction to be taken down. Seriously? A HUGE company like Gerber/Carter's cares about my ebay auction-- which was listed for a whopping .99 cents?! No way...

This is the letter ebay sent me:
MC019 eBay Listing Removed: Trademark Violation - Unauthorized Listing Content (461239257)
From: eBay
Sent: Mar-24-11 09:54 AM

eBay eBay sent this message to stephanie moody (schiperno925j).
Your registered name is included to show this message originated from eBay. Learn more.

MC019 eBay Listing Removed: Trademark Violation - Unauthorized Listing Content (461239257)

Dear schiperno925j(,

You recently listed the following listing:

260757833158 - Carter's 0 3 M One Piece Bodysuit Onesie Strawberry Ruf

The listing was removed because it violated eBay policy.

The rights owner or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the rights owner, Gerber Childrenswear LLC, notified eBay that this listing violates intellectual property rights. When eBay receives a report of this type of violation, we remove the listing to comply with the law.

Your item was removed because of a request we received from Gerber Childrenswear LLC, a member of our Verified Rights Owner Program (VeRO), asking us to remove the item for:

- Listing(s) contains unlawful comparison to trademark owner's brand name.

For more information on why your item was removed, you should:
- Contact Gerber Childrenswear LLC directly at with your questions or concerns.
- Wait 7 days for Gerber Childrenswear LLC to reply to you. Although most VeRO participants are willing to respond to polite email, please know that they aren't obligated to reply.
- If after 7 days you haven't received a response from Gerber Childrenswear LLC, please contact us by simply replying to this email.

Your listing was reported for using a brand name without the right's owner's permission.

It's against the law to use someone else's trademark -- the unique sign, name, word, phrase, logo, or symbol used to identify a product or service -- without their okay. It can also confuse buyers about the source of your item or your relationship with the trademark owner.

You can use a company's brand name or logo in your listing description only if the item you're selling was made or authorized by that company.

Here are our guidelines for creating legally compliant listings:

Learn more about trademarks here:

If you have additional questions in regard to contacting the VeRO Member or if you need additional information on how to contact the VeRO Member, you can chat with one of our policy experts.

You can reach them from 5:00 am to 8:00 pm Pacific Time. Get started by clicking the link below.

Important: The next time you sell, you may be asked to take a tutorial. Once you've completed the tutorial successfully, please review your account status for any other possible concerns. If there are no other issues, you should be able to sell again.

To take the intellectual property tutorial, please visit:

Please be aware that any additional violations of this policy may result in the suspension of your account. eBay understands that you may be concerned about this situation.We encourage you to contact Gerber Childrenswear LLC directly if you have any questions.

You can send an email to:

For more information on how eBay protects Intellectual Property, or for additional information if you believe that your listing has been removed as a result of an error or misidentification, please visit the following Help page:

The rights owner has created an About Me page that contains information to help you understand why removal of your listing was requested. For
more information about the rights owner, please go to:

Thank you for your understanding.


eBay Trust & Safety team


and here is my promise to Gerber....

Dear whom it may concern;

I received an email yesterday from Ebay stating that you insisted that my auction be removed for a violation. The letter from ebay will be at the end of my letter to you cut and pasted.

The photographs I had posted in my auction were photographs I took with my own camera of my own child. I feel that I have bought and paid for your item and I own it, and when I decided to buy your products at no time was I informed that I was prohibited from re-selling them or posting photographs of my child in your "brand name."

I want an apology and an explanation for my wasted time, energy, time from my family and auction fees. I also want to add that I am a blogger wiht a big mouth and that I just purchased a $150 Carter's order; I don't have the slightest problem bringing that package back to Carter's for a full refund and to stop buying your products if I do not get a resolution and apology. Ebay is filled with thousands of items that are posted for sale using your stock images-- my auction was posted with my OWN images, and in no way were they distasteful or lewd or anything that should be offensive to your company. There must certainly be better ways for your employees to spend your time and money.

Customer, Stephanie Moody

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tipping the Scale

I thought I would update my blog about my dieting. It's nearly a month that I have been watching my weight by food journal-ing and working out at home. By my doctor's scale I have lost ten pounds in the past month.

To be honest, when I first stepped on today I was disappointed in myself with the result. I had hoped to lose at least fifteen pounds in the last month, as the first month is usually the easiest to lose. After they checked my blood pressure and all of the other quick things, I got to see my doctor and share my journal with her.

We discussed different diets-- when I saw the nutritionalist he seemed to really say "Eat protein and only protein" and explained that it is the only thing our bodies cannot make on its' own. Josh and I had searched high and low at Barnes & Noble and generally every grocery store we go into looking for a good book on the diet and really wanted some recipe suggestions of things that we would mainly have on hand already. My doctor said that she thought the Atkins diet was onto something, but that the South Beach diet may be an easier one to follow, as it does focus on proteins, but it doesn't completely eliminate every other food group.

I will soon be on the search to learn more about the South Beach and the Paleo diets.

The first three weeks of the diet I did really well. During my last week I still ate healthy, but I got a little lazy with my food journal-ing and I skipped working out two days, which I hadn't done before. I blame that lack of motivation as the reason I didn't lose more. Today I am feeling back on track and starting over again. It doesn't do me any good to get mad at myself and I need to remember that I have already had to slim into smaller jeans than what I bought after I had Samantha. It is a small feat, but I need to just focus on that because the big picture is too intimidating.

Update: I have been trying to blog all day with little luck, but I did get a call back from my doctor's office. After I saw her, I went and had blood drawn again this month and they called to let me know my blood work now showed everything looked good-- which was not what we discussed a month ago when I had another blood drawl. Never in a million years would I have thought just one month of dieting would reverse those numbers that needed to be better. It's nice to end the evening with a little more motivation! Speaking of which, I'd better go do the shred.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Why You Need to Join EBATES :)

About every four months I have been receiving checks in the mail. Today I received one for $16.34, which is the smallest check I have received yet. Cross my heart and hope to die.....This is F R E E money! only takes a few minutes to sign up and all you have to do before you make an online purchase is go to this website before you make your purchase, scroll their list until you see the store you are about to shop at, click on that stores name, and ebates will automatically pull up another page to that site for you. That's all you have to do-- Just that simple!

I have been harping on Rhandi to sign up. It takes two seconds and works at every store I shop at with the exceptions of Gymboree and their other stores. I use this every time i shop at: Shutterfly, the Gap, Old Navy, Macy's....The list goes on!

I really am posting this link because I want my friends to save money, too, but they are also offering a free ipad to each member who can get FIFTY people to sign up. I doubt I know 50 other online shoppers to tell about this, but you can also get free gift cards etc etc when others join and you refer them. the sign up link-- I can get $5's for every person that signs up. PLUS you can get your own "Big Fat Checks" in the mail.

For example....I just bought a bunch of Shutterfly 12x12 albums. They're over $100s a pop and I make one a month, and if they're not on sale I'm not buying them at full price. This week they were offered at 50% plus free shipping. In addition to this, ebates is going to give me 8% of this ($450) purchase back on my next "Big Fat Check'.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Stephanie and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

WARNING: If you don't want to hear a gal bitch and moan, this isn't the blog for you.

I went to sleep last night thinking that today was going to be a good day. When I woke up it seemed to be.

The weather here has been sporadic; One day it will be 25, and the next 75. I understand that since it doesn't get very cold in Texas that there's less preparation for is than there is in Alaska or Seattle, and the first day Stephen's school was canceled, I thought it was understandable since the city (if not state) had rolling blackouts and many places, including Stephen's school, had to go without water. Fine. Then last night I saw warnings all over the news and facebook that today there was a two-hour delay for school. At this point I was kind of rolling my eyes, since everyone has power and everyone has water and really, in my opinion, twenty-five degrees is not the end of the world.

We had all of these things that we had to do today, but we couldn't get going until 10:30 because we thought Stephen would have to go to school. Low and behold, we drive there, and not a soul was there. Great.

I really do enjoy our son's company, but I think the education he gets at school is important and should be a priority and if he can go to school, we want him there. We decided that we still had to go to Temple and be back in Killeen for a 2:30 dentist appointment, so we had better get on our way. We had time for lunch at BJ's, stopped at our (closest) bank branch to do a deposit, and then we made it over to Sam's Club and were in-and-out so that we could make it back to Killeen for Stephen's appointment on time.

Sure enough, at 2:30 when it was 47 degrees out, the dentist was closed with a polite note taped to the door. While the note was nice, a phone call would have been nicer. Had we known that school was canceled, we would have left Killeen earlier than we did. We probably would have gone to Round Rock and Austin and left in time to make it to our play date by 4pm.....Which would be our next bump in the road.

Around the time Stephen was tying his shoes to meet for a play date, I decided to make a quick confirmation call and was disappointed that they had changed their mind but forgot to tell me. Heck, at least we didn't pay our admission and stand there waiting, but had I known I would have never promised Stephen that we would do this and our day would have again gone differently. Even Sammie was decked out in a outfit that read something cute..."playdate playmate" or something like that....

At this point I had to get off the phone and tell Stephen that there was a change of plans and it broke my heart that he started crying. Once he calmed down I decided laundry was my new agenda and that I may as well throw in today's towel and I thought today wasn't going to get better, but it wasn't going to get worse. You must see where this is going...I jinxed it....More bad news.

Josh was supposed to get 10 days of leave when Samantha was born, but he was in school. Then when school was over, he was told there was too much to do and then he left the state for a month. Before he left, someone higher up the food chain told him that when he came back he could take his 10 days leave. At this point, it's really too short of notice to take any kind of vacation, but we were excited to have time together and it was supposed to fall over both my birthday and Valentine's Day.

One day Josh came home with his typical, "I have good news, and I have bad news," which seems to be the sort of thing I hear every time he has to tell me something Army related. The good news was that his leave paperwork was signed, but the bad news was as follows: *Many of the days he was given as leave was time he already had off, such as weekends, he was only given nine actual days, but all 10 days of his leave he was charged for, and then two days of his nine he had to work.

I was already astonished- I thought when you had leave that meant you DIDN'T have to work. Apparently when he was in school he missed something required of him and this was the only time they would let him make it up.

Well, tonight he gets a call saying that the original TWO times they told him he had to work didn't work for someone else, so now they had to change the dates in times. Somehow those two shifts turned into SIX shifts and now 5 of his 9 days off he will be working. In addition, of course, he doesn't get any additional time off, which he should have had in the first place.

These changes are effective as early as 8am tomorrow. He'll have to be up at 6:30, leave by 7 and I get to get the kids dressed and out the door by myself. Then tomorrow night I have had a meeting planned- one that I need to go to as soon as possible and that is only offered monthly and now it conflicts because not only is he supposed to work tomorrow morning, but he's also supposed to work tomorrow evening.

The next day, my birthday, I can no longer participate in Stephen's Valentine party at school or make it to a matinee as I had planned because he'll be at work. Then Saturday he's needed at work during the scheduled time for Stephen to play kickball, which means Stephen's going to have another disappointment if it's too chilly for Samantha to go.

I am on my second glass of wine in over a year. I am on quite a rant and I should probably just take my unhappy ass and go to bed but I want to end this with one final complaint: The next time someone tells me that I can't get the military discount (which is usually something pretty lame) they offer because I am not enlisted, maybe I'll just ask for a manager and let them hear this rant, as my husband isn't the only one who has to make sacrifices constantly for his role in the Army. Sometimes a haggard army wife deserves that 50 cents off their over-priced movie ticket.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Life is Better With Baby

I was reading this
article today and thought about the wonderful changes to our family in the last two months.

Samantha Adores Us

From the second she wakes up, Miss Samantha is all smiles. She "coos" and "ahhs" to me and my heart just melts! Samantha doesn't mind my excess mommy weight, she doesn't care that I'm in public in sweat pants with my hair a mess, and she's too little to talk back just yet! Sammie doesn't hold a grudge if her bottle is too chilly, or fight me when I want to dress her in pink with a big bow on her head! Her love for mommy is unconditional, as is my love for her.

You Gain a Feeling of Belonging & Make New Friends

It's nice to have someone so innocent and sweet depend on you. I don't mind explosive diapers or being barfed on. I don't mind being up to feed her at 3am. We are now parents of two-- we aren't interested in bar hopping; We'd rather watch a Disney movie on the couch. Instead of new gadgets for ourselves, we get excited to buy their clothing and toys. Our new community of friends revolve around kids, and we don't mind the change. We have traded bar-hopping weekends for picnics at the playground, followed by nap-time! We now belong with our family in our home or on adventures together, and while it's great to keep in touch with our friends from our "Before" life, we are glad love to meet other families with kids-- learn from them, watch our kids play together, and to put the kids first.

Your Heart Opens SO Wide

I knew I would love Stephen more than I have ever loved anyone or anything the moment I was told he was growing. When I got pregnant a second time, I knew that I could somehow love this baby as much as I love Stephen. The love between Josh & I grew somehow even more. Getting pregnant with Samantha reminded me of ALL I have to be thankful for and reminds me of what my priorities really are.

You Get Things Done

I know what it's like to be a working mother, but most days as a stay-at-home mom I feel like the master of multi-tasking. I can cook, clean, organize, pay bills, change diapers, and as fast as I can knock 20 things off of my 'to-do' list, another 20 things are tacked on! Josh and I do our jobs so that Stephen and Samantha can do theirs- grow up and have a great childhood to look back on. The sooner we get the adult stuff out of the way, the sooner we can do the fun stuff with our kids!

I am Reminded That My Body is Important, too

My kids can't eat candy and cookies all day because it's not healthy. Having a baby and all of the changes to my body that come with it was a big reminder that I need to follow some of the healthy eating habits that I am trying to instill in my children. I may have an additional chin, 'mommy marks' on my belly and hips, and any chance of ever wanting to purchase a bikini are slim to none, but my children were worth what my body went through and now it's time I lead by example. This is sort of a way for me to reward myself; The better I eat and the more I work out, the more things I can do with my children physically and the longer I will be able to do them.

I Know What Matters & Can Cut Myself Some Slack

My house is not going to be perfect 100% of the time. Not every meal I cook will be gourmet and sometimes I'll forget what the heck I was supposed to be doing or where I put Samantha's pacifier. Spit-up on a new outfit isn't the end of the world. Having kids makes your priorities change and some things that used to feel important, just don't feel as important as they were. I try to do my best, even if sometimes my best is just alright. I am not in a competition!

We Have Built a Family

When I look at my two amazing kids I can say, "We did that!" I am lucky enough to have a husband who is happy with me and my imperfections. I have kids who forgive me for sometimes being high-strung. Josh and I depend on each other and our kids depend on us as a team. I love my role in our family and am proud of how the Moody Chiperno's have turned out thus far.

Carla's Candid's First Giveaway