Buy Visa Gift Cards at Hy-Vee and Get a Bonus! + Reader Giveaway

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Now that we have passed Black Friday and Cyber Monday we are definitely in the BIG holiday shopping season! Did you start tackling your holiday shopping lists already? Or are you more of a last minute holiday shopper? Do you spend Christmas Eve racing to the store to grab last minute gifts? I admit I have spent plenty of December 24ths shopping myself. At this point it has almost become a tradition for me and my sister to race about doing last minute shopping on that day. But it doesn’t have to be that way. This year I vow to get things done early so I can enjoy the last days before Christmas celebrating rather than shopping.

By starting holiday shopping NOW we can also get a great deal buying gift cards Visa Gift Cards at our local Hy-Vee Stores. Not only will you get your holiday shopping done early, but you will get a bonus Hy-Vee gift card to use toward your groceries or for buying some yummy holiday treats.

When you purchase Visa gift cards at your local Hy-Vee store now through 12/14, you can take advantage of this special offer. Here’s how it works:

  • Buy $125 or more in Visa gift cards and receive a $10 Hy-Vee gift card to use toward any Hy-Vee purchase (or to give as a gift)!
  • You can try the new Five Back Visa Cards for even greater savings. (More details about that below)
  • The Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers 1.5% cash back.

If you choose a Five Back Visa gift card, it can be used anywhere Visa debit is accepted. Then, when you shop at select stores, you get up to 5% of your purchase price added back to your card! That means more savings for you if you choose to use the card yourself or a bigger gift for your recipient if you chose to give the card as a gift!


Looking for some fun ideas as to how to present your Visa gift cards as a present under the tree this year? Try one of these ideas:

  • Place the card in a mason jar and fill the remaining space with wrapped candies.
  • Use a small Christmas stocking to hold the card and decorate with a candy cane sticking out of the top.
  • Tape the gift card to a square candy bar or to a pack of gum.
  • Place in a cardboard takeout container (you can get them at the craft store for under $1) and fill the remaining space with ribbon shreds.

However you choose to present your gift card it’s sure to be a hit. Plus, you’ll have the added gift for yourself of spending your bonus $10 Hy-Vee gift card.

Reader Giveaway: We have teamed up with some other great blogs to host this giveaway where one lucky reader will receive a $50 Amazon e-gift card! To enter, just fill out the form below by 11:59pm ET on 12/13/16. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Official Adventures Book Series – Set in Minnesota! Reader Giveaway

Disclosure AffiliateThe Official Adventures Book Series - Set in Minnesota! Reader Giveaway

As a parent, I love that our girls’ favorite pastime is reading.  It makes road trips much easier, when they can pass the time lost in a great story.  I especially, love it when I see them reading books that also teach valuable lessons.  The Official Adventures is a new children’s chapter book series (set in Minnesota), that has countless important lessons.  These books should even keep some of the sport fanatics interested as hockey is a main theme.

The books tell the tale of two brothers, Blaine and Cullen. On and off the ice, they have deep love for the game and also each other! Cullen is the all-star team captain and Blaine, who has Down syndrome, is the team manager and clearly the “unsung hero” of the team. The brothers join Rylee and Rosee, America’s favorite referees, in game day adventures that will have elementary and middle school aged readers laughing out loud, fist bumping the pages and cheering for more stories. Packed to the brim with laughter, love and lessons, “The Official Adventures” is sure to steal young reader’s hearts.

The Official Adventures Book Series - Set in Minnesota! Reader Giveaway

The authors of the “The Official Adventures” book series

The first two books in the series “Drop the Puck, It’s Hockey Season” and “Drop the Puck, Shoot for the Cup” are out now, with the third book “Drop the Puck, Let’s Play Hockey” set to be released later this Fall.

Drop the Puck: It's Hockey Season

Drop the Puck: It’s Hockey Season – The Official Adventures Series drops the puck with a tale of two brothers, Blaine and Cullen. On and off the ice, they have a deep love for the game and each other! The brothers are joined by Rylee and Rosee, America’s loveable, inspirational, funny, and down-to-earth referees. Together they will steal young readers’ hearts. Sharpen your skates and grab your stick! It’s time to play hockey!

Drop the Puck, Shoot for the Cup: The Official Adventures

Drop the Puck, Shoot for the Cup – Your favorite brothers, Blaine and Cullen return and are joined by Avery and Paisley, two girls who play on the boys’ team! Snowballs and fun fly high when the young friends make a ”Mount State of Hockey” snow sculpture with the faces of their hockey heroes! From high school to pee wees, from hockey hair to the game-ending handshake, Drop the Puck, Shoot for the Cup captures hockey’s best state tournament moments.

Reader Giveaway: One lucky Thrifty Minnesota reader will win the first three books in the The Official Adventures series. To enter, just complete the entry form below by 11:59pm ET on 11/7/16. Good luck!

The Official Adventures Book Series Giveaway

Halloween at FlyOver America! Ticket Giveaway

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Have you been to the FlyOver America at Mall of America yet?  If you haven’t, their Halloween event would be the perfect time to go. What could be more fun than to be suspended in a chair, feet dangling, in front of a four-story spherical screen? Special effects including wind, mist and scents, combined with the chair’s motion, will truly make you feel like you are soaring after Broomelda through the American skies.  I know I’m excited for this event! I love rides! Halloween is such a fun holiday with the decorations and seeing all the fun costumes!.

October 13th – 31st

An experience like no other, FlyOver America uses the latest in flight ride technology to give you a bird’s eye view as you soar across America’s most awe-inspiring landscapes and national monuments, from the Grand Canyon to the Statue of Liberty.

Halloween at FlyOver America welcomes aspiring witches, wizards and guests of all ages to experience a seasonal event featuring a Witches Academy-themed pre-show with special guest Broomelda, the Witches Academy Headmistress.

FlyOver America’s first-ever Halloween event will last between 20 – 25 minutes including:

  • The Ultimate Flying Ride, FlyOver America, a breathtaking 10-minute flight ride experience
  • Broomelda’s Witches Academy Themed Pre-Show
  • Your very own Official Witches Academy Diploma to take home
  • Spine-tingling decorations in the Haunted Hallway
  • Witches and Wizards of all ages are encouraged to dress up!

This is a fantastic family-friendly event with the ‘spook-factor’ suitable for those aged 4 years and up. Children must be at least 102cm (40″) to participate on the ride and guests 8 years and under must be accompanied by an adult or guardian aged 14 years or older. Halloween event-goers will sit in a suspended chair, feet dangling, in front of a four-story spherical screen. Special effects including wind, mist and scents, combined with the chair’s motion, will truly make you feel like you are soaring after Broomelda through the American skies.

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10 am – 9:30 pm; Sundays, 11:00 am – 7:00 p.m.
Tickets: $12.95-$16.95.
Location: Nickelodeon Universe, Mall of America, Bloomington.

For more information on FlyOver America’s Halloween event, please visit or connect with FlyOver America on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Tel: 952-853-6000.

31 October 2014: Halloween at FlyOver Canada, Canada Place, Vancouver, BC. ****(Photo by Bob Frid 2014 - Fly Over Canada) All Rights Reserved : cell 778-834-2455 : email: Web: ****

Reader Giveaway: One lucky Thrifty Minnesota reader will win a pair of tickets to FlyOver America at Mall of America! To enter, just complete the entry form below by 11:59pm ET on 10/18/16. Good luck!

FlyOver America! Ticket Giveaway

Cirque du Soleil’s Toruk – The First Flight Ticket Discount + Reader Giveaway

Disclosure Tickets Cirque du Soleil's Toruk - The First Flight Ticket Discount

Cirque du Soleil’s Toruk – The First Flight, inspired by James Cameron’s Avatar, is coming to Target Center in Minneapolis September 28 to October 2, 2016. I’m so excited to be there for opening night and one of our lucky readers will be there with me! (Keep reading to find out how to enter to win.) TORUK – The First Flight is a live immersive multimedia spectacle bringing to the stage the breathtaking world of AVATAR’s Pandora like you have never seen it before!



Through a remarkable fusion of cutting-edge visuals, puppetry and stagecraft all supported by a soaring cinematic score, Cirque du Soleil applies its unique signature style to James Cameron’s imaginary world and “makes the bond” between two kindred artistic visions that capture the imagination.


This live immersive experience also bears the distinct signature of directors and multimedia innovators Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon. It is a living ode to the Na’vi’s symbiotic coexistence with nature and their belief in the basic interconnect- edness of all living things.
Narrated by a “Na’vi Storyteller” and populated by unforgettable characters, TORUK – The First Flight is a mythical tale set thousands of years before the events depicted in the film AVATAR, and before any humans ever set foot on Pandora.


When a natural catastrophe threatens to destroy the sacred Tree of Souls, Ralu and Entu, two Omaticaya boys on the brink of adulthood, fearlessly decide to take matters into their own hands. Upon learning that Toruk can help them save the Tree of Souls, they set out, together with their newfound friend Tsyal, on a quest high up in the Floating Mountains to find the mighty red and orange predator that rules the Pandoran sky. Prophecy is fulfilled when a pure soul rises among the clans to ride Toruk for the first time and save the Na’vi from a terrible fate.

Don’t miss your chance to see Toruk – The First Flight in Minneapolis! Take the whole family and save when you buy a family four pack of tickets!

Coupon Code: As a special offer for Thrifty Minnesota readers, get a child’s ticket for only $25 when you use promotional code child25 at checkout.


Reader Giveaway: One lucky Thrifty Minnesota reader will win a family 4-pack of tickets to Toruk – The First Flight on opening night. To enter, just complete the entry form below by 11:59pm ET on 9/20/16. Good luck!

Cirque du Soleil's Toruk – The First Flight Ticket Giveaway

Enter to Win $25 Worth of Kemps Ice Cream!

Disclosure CompensationKemps Cow Tracks Caramel Fudge

We are in for a few REALLY hot days the rest of the week. Please everyone stay safe and stay hydrated! A really fun way to cool off though, is to sit inside in the air conditioning with a bowl of ice cream – specifically some of the newest ice cream flavors from Kemps.  If you didn’t already know, July is National Ice Cream Month and it couldn’t come at a better time!

To celebrate this special month, I tried out some of the newest ice cream flavors from Kemps and you can read all about it over on where you can also enter to win $25 worth of Kemps Ice cream. Go visit us HERE and enter by 11:59pm on 7/21/16. Good luck!

Gourmet Ice Cream Sandwiches Process

Share Your #BadMomMoment – #BadMoms in Theaters July 29th!

Disclosure AffiliateBad Moms Group Photo Mila Kunis

Last week I was in Los Angeles for the Bad Moms press junket and I have to say it was SUPER FUN! While there we interviewed the cast including Mila Kunis, Christina Applegate, Kathryn Hahn and Annie Mumolo, as well as Producer Suzanne Todd and writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore – who also wrote The Hangover. (Be sure to visit Thrifty Jinxy early next week for details on the interviews!)

Bad Moms Supermarket Thrifty Jinxy

But, the highlight of the trip had to be the screening of Bad Moms itself. The screening was turned into a fun even with photo-ops, food and drink to start the night and then came a BIG surprise – a visit from the cast themselves and a live concert by Flo Rida! Everyone was up and out of their seats dancing.

Flo Rida Bad Moms Screening

Then it was on to the movie itself and I just have to say it was AWESOME! It has been a while since I laughed that hard and the movie totally surpassed my expectations. Besides all of the laughs there were touching moments and a message that I’m sure all moms (and non-moms) can relate to. Heads up – the movie definitely deserves its R rating – kids and those who don’t appreciate adult humor should sit this one out. Everyone else MUST see it. I’m looking forward to watching it again with my sister.


About the movie:

In this new comedy from the writers of The Hangover, Amy has a seemingly perfect life – a great marriage, over-achieving kids, beautiful home and a career. However she’s over-worked, over-committed and exhausted to the point that she’s about to snap. Fed up, she joins forces with two other over-stressed moms on a quest to liberate themselves from conventional responsibilities – going on a wild, un-mom-like binge of long overdue freedom, fun and self-indulgence – putting them on a collision course with PTA Queen Bee Gwendolyn and her clique of devoted perfect moms.



Throughout the event I heard a lot of first hand accounts of “Bad Mom Moments” from both the cast and from other moms in attendance. Everything from feeding kids birthday cake and soda for breakfast to the very dangerous not realizing until the car ride was over that the car seat straps weren’t buckled.

Now, it’s your turn to share your own slip-ups or iffy decision on social media with the hashtag #BadMomMoment. Browse the hashtag yourself and you’ll see you’re not the only one!

Midwest Makeup Show VIP Giveaway!

Midwest Makeup Show

Join us for the Midwest Makeup Show, Minnesota’s first Beauty Expo and Pop-Up Shop on Sunday, July 24 at The Commons Hotel on the U of M campus! Enjoy beauty services, demonstrations, shopping discounted products, and more!

Shop from more than 50 discounted makeup, hair, skin and nail brands. Watch beauty demos and enjoy beauty services and makeup lessons throughout the day.

The Voice Season 6 contestant, Kat Perkins, will emcee the star-studded Main Stage, which will include presentations from Emmy Award-Winning national makeup artist Kevin James Bennett, NAHA Award Winner Heath Bryant, celebrated hairstylist Charlie Brackney, and a panel of pro artists moderated by one of the bridal industry’s best, Brett Dorrian.

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Reader Giveaway: One lucky Thrifty Minnesota reader will win a 4-pack of Midwest Makeup Show VIP tickets which includes complimentary admission, champagne, and an extra swag bag! To enter, just leave a comment below with your favorite makeup tip or trend. Enter by 11:59pm CT on 7/19/16. Good luck!

Hard Rock Cafe World Burger Tour + Reader Giveaway


My first memory of eating at a Hard Rock Cafe, I was probably in middle school and I was with my family in Orlando.  Years later while in college, I ate at several while wandering through different countries.  I still have the t-shirts from Berlin and Paris. Fast forward to just a couple of days ago, the four of us enjoyed a meal at the Hard Rock Cafe here in Minnesota.  If you haven’t been to our local Hard Rock Cafe, it’s tucked into Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall of America.


We decided to celebrate my husband’s birthday at the Hard Rock Cafe. He was excited after learning about their special World Burger Tour menu. There are lots of worldly options to choose from:

English Breakfast Burger (London, England) – a Certified Angus Beef® patty topped with sliced ham, a sausage patty, a fried egg, a portobello mushroom, arugula and garlic aioli and served with a side of baked beans

Java Lava Burger (Seattle, United States) – a Certified Angus Beef patty grilled and dressed in a house-made espresso rub and topped with lava sauce, crunchy java onions, bacon, melted Cheddar cheese and garnished with a fried jalapeño

Tandoori Chicken Burger (Mumbai, India) – a dark meat chicken patty seasoned with aromatic spices and fresh herbs, topped with mint mayonnaise and served with a side of cucumber

Jamaican Jerk Burger (Montego Bay, Jamaica) – a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with banana pepper rings, mango jalapeño cream cheese and jerk mayonnaise

ATOMIC! Burger (Las Vegas, United States) – a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with Atomic beer-battered peppers, pepper jack cheese, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, garlic chipotle ketchup and chipotle mayonnaise

Tango Salsa Burger (Buenos Aires, Argentina) – a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with andouille sausage, Monterey Jack cheese, chips de batata, a fried egg, salsa criolla and garlic aioli

Greek Burger (Athens, Greece) – a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with arugula, feta cheese and a tomato slice

Aloha Burger (Honolulu, United States) – a Certified Angus Beef patty topped with SPAM, Monterey Jack cheese, a grilled pineapple ring with sweet soy glaze, guacamole and pico de gallo

*World Burger Tour menus may vary by location; guests should consult their local cafe for a full list of featured burgers.

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To experience the World Burger Tour my husband ordered the Jamaican Jerk Burger, and was pleasantly surprised to find he liked it.  He likes beef burgers, but wanted to branch out and try the chicken.  He really enjoyed the combination of flavors:


It was fun to see all the music memorabilia as well as the artwork on all the walls.   Our girls recognized some of the artists that had guitars, or clothing framed up on the walls.


One special area that caught all of our attention, the Prince window.  It had three of his outfits, as well as a photograph of him.


Burger Tour for the Roadie

Are you even a little more hungry?? Hard Rock is bringing its menu to life and offering a unique burger experience that will take your taste buds on an international journey! Hard Rock, in conjunction with global experience agency RPMC, is offering a World Burger Tour travel package that includes stops at iconic cities including London, England; Athens, Greece; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Seattle, United States. This four-stop, once-in-a-lifetime excursion celebrates the cities that inspired Hard Rock’s World Burger Tour

The World Burger Tour travel package is a private, 10-night trip that includes flights, first class hotel accommodations, ground transportation and exclusive dining and music experiences at Hard Rock Cafe locations in each city not typically available to the public.

Hard Rock Giveaway Prize Pack

Reader Giveaway: One lucky reader will win a Hard Rock Cafe gift pack including an apron, oven mitt and spatula. To enter, just complete the entry form below by 11:59pm ET on 5/30/16. Good luck!

Hard Rock Cafe

MONEY MONSTER Advanced Screening Pass Giveaway + Enter to Win $200!

Disclosure AffiliateMoney Monster Poster

On behalf of Tristar’s MONEY MONSTER we’re offering up some money saving tips to save an extra $20 per week over on We’re also giving away a $200 Visa gift card to give your savings a kickstart! BUT, before you head on over there to enter that giveaway, we are offering a giveaway right here just for Minnesotans to win a pair of passes to the advance screening on 5/11 at Showplace ICON in St. Louis Park. George Clooney and Julia Roberts star in the real-time, high stakes thriller, Money Monster, in theaters May 13th.

5 Easy Tips to Save $20 Per Week

We all know that saving is important for our financial future. Did you know that saving only $20 per week over the course of 20 years at an interest rate of 6% would result in a total accumulation of over $35,000? If you find it tricky to have that extra cash available to put in the bank rather than toward bills, so check out these tips to help you save $20 per week.

Reader Giveaway: One lucky Thrifty Minnesota reader will win a pair of passes to the local advance screening of MONEY MONSTER on 5/11. To enter, just complete the entry form below by 11:59pm ET on 5/9/16. Good luck!

Money Monster Advanced Screening Passes

Ice Castles Eden Prairie Tips

Disclosure TicketsIce Castle in Eden Prairie

UPDATE: For 2017 Ice Castles is moving to Stillwater, MN. Stay tuned for more info!

Not every place is lucky enough to have snow in the winter.   Even fewer places have the conditions to host an ice castle.   So when I had the chance to take our family to the Ice Castles Eden Prairie, I of course was super excited.  We had such a mild start to winter that I wasn’t quite sure if the Ice Castle would happen or not. It is now here and officially opened up this weekend on Saturday Jan 23rd. They are hoping it will be open into March, but that depends on our slightly unpredictable weather.


Due to our schedules we decided to go today, in the daylight.  I think it would be a great evening activity, especially for older kids or even a date night.  There are two slides and our girls tried the slide that goes through a tunnel and you sit on a sled.  We saw a lot of smiley kids laughing as they came out of the slide.  A smaller slide is also available and that one does not go inside the ice, however it is still made of ice.

Visitors can expect a completely unique kind of ice structure—different than traditional ice palaces that are constructed of blocks. Instead the Ice Castle begins construction with the placement of a single icicle that gets watered and molded to other icicles until the massive structure takes shape. What results are organic formations similar to those found in nature, like waterfalls, glaciers and ice caves. With the help of a team of 10-20 ice artists, the ice is fashioned into towers, archways, tunnels, slot canyons, stalactites, slides and thrones.

One of the most popular features of the Ice Castle is the evening light show. Thousands of LED lights embedded in the ice coordinate with stirring instrumental music to transport guests into a fantastical wonderland. Visitors can also enjoy squeezing, squishing and crawling through parts of the stunning, Narnia-like display.

Ice Castle in Eden Prairie

A few suggestions from my family to all of you that have yet to experience this magical place:

  1. Wear winter boots or hiking shoes.  We saw a few people that were expecting different conditions and wore other foot wear. They wished they hadn’t.  It was cold enough to not be slushy when we went,  but the snow was not packed and winter boots or hiking footwear are quite helpful to get around and keep your feet warm.
  2. If you have younger kids, I would suggest either wearing them on you if you have an infant, or some families brought toddler sleds and pulled toddlers around. The website says strollers are not allowed, and understandably it would be difficult to get around in there with one.
  3. Check out the schedule as there are plans to have entertainment, including princesses as well as fire performances.
  4. The only restrooms are the port a potty kind, so be aware of that in advance.
  5. It will save time and is slightly cheaper if you purchase tickets in advance.
  6. Dress warm, have fun, take photos and look around 🙂


Ice Castles are the brainchild of Utah-based ice artist Brent Christensen, who invented the process used to create Ice Castles in his backyard in 2008 while making an ice cave for his young daughter. This winter, his stunning creations will be found in Eden Prairie, MN; Lincoln, NH; Midway, UT; and Edmonton, Alberta.

“All of our Ice Castles share the same ingredients and process for construction,” said Christensen. “But what’s so cool is that each castle is unique because of Mother Nature’s role in constantly melting, freezing and reshaping the ice. Even within each location, every day provides a new experience.”

Reader Giveaway:
One lucky Thrifty Minnesota reader will win codes for 4 free tickets to Ice Castles Eden Prairie. To enter, just complete the form below by 11:59pm ET on 2/8/16. Good luck!

Ice Castles