2 Fridays until Christmas gift idea: Perler bead kits

There are only TWO Fridays left until Christmas. Each Friday, as we get closer to the holiday, I'll share a fun or interesting gift with you...

Today's holiday gift idea is something my own children love - Perler bead sets!

These bead craft sets are so simple, yet so engaging. My kids will sit at the kitchen table for hours designing everything from Minecraft and Pokemon characters to ornaments for our Christmas tree. It's such a great item for creative play. Kids use Perler beads to create their own designs on grid templates. A quick pressing with an iron melts and seals the beads together, turning them into toys or collectibles.

Also, while I say "kids," but our 18-year-old has been known to make Perler bead crafts too..! If you like these, Meijer also has the large tubs of refill beads half off beginning 12/14 - they'll be just $5!

Browse Perler beads on Amazon!

Have you found a fun or interesting gift item online you'd like to share? Feel free to share it, and I may feature it as a future Friday gift idea...

SavingStar Friday Freebie: Free Morton salt

Head over to SavingStar to load a new "Freebie Friday" offer!

Purchase through Sunday night and receive 100% of the purchase price back on your SavingStar account.

In Chicagoland, SavingStar offers can be redeemed at Jewel-Osco, CVS, Mariano's, Kroger, Piggly Wiggly, Target, Walmart, Walgreens, Meijer, Dollar General, Family Dollar, Kmart and Peapod. Some stores load offers to their loyalty cards (Jewel, CVS, Mariano's) and others use post-redemption of receipts -- snap a photo of your receipt and upload it.

Click to load this new offer via SavingStar!

*Note to Jewel-Osco shoppers: If you no longer have a Jewel-Osco card, you can also use a Upromise card at Jewel to redeem SavingStar ecoupons at Jewel. No Upromise card? Call 877-932-7948 to request a new Upromise card.

NewsAmerica offers $500 rewards for info on SmartSource insert thefts and resale

NewsAmerica, publisher of the SmartSource insert, has been running a campaign in a variety of newspapers offering a $500 reward for information about theft of inserts from local newspapers. From the Sun-Sentinel:

The Sun Sentinel pays for itself in savings with coupons.

But coupon crooks are putting your savings in jeopardy by obtaining the free inserts illegally and selling them on the Internet and through Facebook.

The practice, which is a state or federal crime depending on the circumstances, is yet another example of how unethical use of coupons by extreme sellers and savers hurts all consumers.

But your newspaper is fighting back.

The Sun Sentinel, along with 11 other newspapers and SmartSource publisher News America Marketing, aims to stop the coupon crime with a new reward program... the papers are putting a bounty on coupon crime, offering $500 for "any information that results in stopping individuals or companies that obtain quantities of coupon inserts through unauthorized methods." Similar ads are running in the Orlando Sentinel, Miami Herald, Fort Worth Star Telegram, Houston Chronicle and Los Angeles Times.

Coupons In The News has additional information:

As the Tribune explained, so many coupons have flooded the market in Tampa, that shoppers there have been redeeming coupons at three times the national rate. And that’s not because the Tribune is selling three times as many Sunday newspapers. News America suspected something else was going on – that inserts were being obtained, and distributed, illegally.

Stealing or selling stolen inserts is a crime that is subject to prosecution to the full extent of the law,” Cole said. “In the event that the stolen inserts cross state lines, it may become a federal crime and federal law enforcement may become involved,” he added.

...when it comes to the coupon resellers that News America is targeting, we’re not talking small scale. Some online sellers have been known to display photos of their stacks and stacks of hundreds, or even thousands, of coupon inserts – ready to sell, long before the Sunday paper even comes out. There’s little chance they’re getting their hands on all of those inserts by buying thousands of copies of that Sunday’s paper – several days in advance.

If you ever purchase coupons from an insert seller or a “clipping service”, the outcome of News America’s efforts could ultimately determine whether your source suddenly dries up.

You may remember that earlier this year, the RedPlum insert also pulled out of Florida-area newspapers for what are believed to be similar reasons -- to reduce fraud. If SmartSource also pulls its coupon inserts from these markets, there will be an enormous void in the affected areas' newspapers.

Keurig 2.0 non-Keurig K-Cup hack

With the holidays upon us, it's likely that you may give or receive a Keurig coffee maker this season. Unless you're able to find one of the original Keurig models, chances are you'll be dealing with the new Keurig 2.0 version which has a "copy protection" type feature that prevents you from using non K-Cup branded single serve coffee cups or packs.

Shortly after the Keurig 2.0s came out, people figured out that all you had to do to beat the machine's protection was to lay a lid of a genuine K-Cup on top of the lid of your aftermarket single-serve coffee, and the Keurig would brew. It utilizes an optical sensor that looks for the presence of a specific ink and measures the light wavelength to determine if the ink on the lid is genuine.

You can see this method below, but this video maker has taken it to the next level. You don't even need the entire lid, and you can tape a piece of the lid over the sensor to effectively "permanently" trick your Keurig into brewing whatever you want.

Here's how to do it:

Or, watch it larger on YouTube.

Get this air hockey table for just $29.98 - shipped!

Well, THIS would certainly excite my entire household if it appeared under the Christmas tree this year! Walmart has a 48" air hockey table for just $29.98 today with FREE shipping -- down from $69.96! That's a great deal!

Go get your $29.98 air hockey table from Walmart.com!

Thanks to Mashup Mom for spotting this great deal!

Amazon Holiday Toy List hourly deals are on!

Amazon's Hourly Toy Deals begin today with deeply discounted toy deals on many popular toys, brands and characters for the 2014 holiday season.

Fans of Disney, Frozen, Barbie, Chuggington, wood toys, classic toys and retro playthings will want to check this link all day long as these deals sell out quickly!

Amazon Prime members get first priority at buying the featured items, so if you're a Prime member, make sure you log in first, then shop!

$4.99 Paul Stanley flash drives on Woot!

Here's a deal for the KISS lover in your life (oh, let's be honest... this one is a deal for me!)

Woot! has a daily deal on Paul Stanley 8GB flash drives -- they're just $4.99 today, down from $14.99!

Pull poor Paul's head off, and his body is an 8GB flash drive. He's perfect for discreetly stashing files inside what appears to be a rock-themed desk figurine.

Woot! has $5 flat rate shipping. Guess what will be under the tree at the Cataldo house this year... and not just for me!

Go get your KISS Paul Stanley 8GB flash drive for $4.99 - or browse other daily deals at Woot!

Thanks to Heidi at HotCouponWorld for sending me this deal today!

New Checkout 51 offers for December 11, 2014

Checkout 51 Offers

Checkout 51, the ecoupon app (which you can use over the web too!) has new ecoupon offers to load. Most Checkout 51 ecoupon offers are valid at all stores. (If an offer is store-specific, the site or app will tell you so.)

Here's a peek at some of the new offers. Offers valid until 11:59PM EST next Wednesday evening.

"Pick Your Own Offer" offers:
- .25 off any candy canes, egg nog, oranges, marshmallows, or bananas

Regular offers:
- .50 off eggs
- $2 off Aveeno (note that this does not exclude trial/travel- Target & other stores have this size for under $2)
- .75 off Tabasco sauce
- $1 off Pledge
- .75 off Superpretzel
- .75 off Minute Maid frozen novelties

Some offers from previous weeks continue this week too.

Click to browse current ecoupon offers at Checkout 51!

GIVEAWAY: Win a Mickey Mouse Waffle Maker from CVS/pharmacy's line of great holiday gifts!

Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by CVS/pharmacy. I have received information to help promote the product as part of this giveaway. I have not been compensated for this giveaway.

UPDATE: Giveaway has ended! The winner is Hometown!

Christmas is just two weeks away! As you're out and about shopping for holiday gifts, don't forget that CVS/pharmacy has a great selection of fun, interesting and unique gift selections -- right in a convenient place, the aisles of your local CVS! For example, you can pick this cute Mickey Mouse waffle maker up at CVS. Whose day wouldn't be brightened by smiling Mickey Mouse waffles on their plates?

This week, I've got a Mickey Mouse waffle maker from CVS to give away to one of my lucky readers! Who wouldn't want this?

For a chance to win this Mickey Mouse waffle maker from CVS/pharmacy, simply post a reply in the comments under this article! This giveaway begins today, December 11, 2014, and runs for one week. The giveaway will end on December 17, 2014 at 11:59pm CST, and on December 18, one winner will be chosen via a random number generator!

Butterball electric turkey fryer: Just $50 shipped, down from $159.99!

This is a great price for a turkey fryer if you're looking for one -- or, give one as a gift this season!

Walmart has the Butterball Stainless Steel Digital Electric Turkey Fryer, regularly $159.99, on sale for $50.00 today at Walmart with FREE shipping!

Walmart says:

Fry a turkey indoors with the Butterball Digital Electric Turkey Fryer Stainless Steel appliance. This remarkable kitchen tool can cook delicious turkeys up to 14 lbs in size.

- Cook time: 3-1/2 to 4 minutes per pound
- Uses 1/3 less oil than traditional turkey fryers
- Chrome-coated wire cooking basket with drain clip
- Drain valve for easy cleaning
- Space-saving design that takes up minimal space on the counter

It has more than 350 five-star reviews at Walmart.com, and the reviews are fun to read -- people are saying 11-14 pound birds are done in an hour! And, electric turkey fryers are much safer than their gas/butane/propane counterparts. Plus, you can use it to fry chickens, seafood and other foods too!

Go get your Butterball turkey fryer for $50.00 - shipped!

Thanks to Consumer Queen for spotting the deal.