Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Everyone getting ready to celebrate the holidays with their family and friends. Presents are being wrapped, food is being prepared, and little ones are anxiously awaiting Santa Claus. Please be remember to be safe and have a truly blessed Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Personalize $1 Store Calendars

You really can have a great looking fully functional calendar that fits your personality and your budget.

Lots of people use a $1 calendars or planners to keep track of their appointments, but I'm going to suggest using them for something else as well. Plus I'm also going to share with you an idea on how to decorate to make them more fitting to your life and personality.

First here are 4 ways to use a calendar besides keeping track of appointments.

1. Keep track of your finances. Write down every purchase on the corresponding date. Also write down when bills are due or need to be mailed and mark your paydays.

2. Write a couple words or even a sentence or two to describe your life on that day. One example would be "Date Night w/Hubby - Movies saw The Blind Side and ate dinner at my fave restaurant." Include everyday events and the special moments.

3. Instead of writing about your life -- write about your children's lives. A couple words each day to describe your child's development and daily life. Ex. Little Man took 5 steps in a row today or Becky had a field trip to the Zoo--she loved the monkeys.

4. Another option is to record you work schedule. Whether you work at home, from home or outside home you can keep track of which project your working on.

If you can't find any dollar calendars that fits your personality -- not a problem. Find a calendar that has the insides you life and can work with. Do you prefer monthly pages, weekly pages or daily pages? Do you want something that you can hang on the wall or fit in your purse?

If you like the insides, but the cover really isn't your taste here is a simple solution. If you are tiny bit crafty you can create a cover for your calendar. Here is a link to a great pattern to create a fabric book cover that you can customize to fit any size book. http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/2009/08/how-to_sew_a_simple_fabric_boo.html. By visiting your local craft store you can find lots of fabrics in a variety of colors, textures, and patterns to fit your personality.

There are lots of other uses for those $1 calendars in addition to the four listed above. Plus you can completely customize any calendar, so there's no need to go out and purchase one of those expensive day planner.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Make Chinese Food at Home


Just thought I would share with you something I found that my family loves. I bought this kit at my local grocery store. It's made by Wanchai Ferry and it includes all the ingredients to make Orange Chicken (except the chicken). It even includes the rice! I've made this a couple times before and my family absolutely loves it.

I don't know about you but my family loves Chinese food. The only problem is to feed my family of 5 it costs about $50 at the restaurants near my home. That's a bit expensive for my family nowadays. Whereas this kit only costs about $5 and the price of chicken (on sale of course).

I'm sure there are other companies that make the same type of kits. We've only tried this one because we had a coupon for it.

Anyways, I'm not much of a cook, but this kit is really easy to make.

Just a note: I was not paid, given anything, or in any way compensated for this post. I just love the product and thought I'd share it. Hope you enjoy it also. :)

Monday, December 07, 2009

Little Nightmares

My littlest one had some pretty weird dreams the other night. She woke up around 3 a.m., went to our craft cabinet, got the scissors and proceeded to cut holes in her bedspread. She thought her brother's stuffed animal was lost under her covers and was trying to save him.


There were lumps in her comforter from washing it so many time that the stuffing bunched up a little bit. She must have thought that was the stuffed animal. She was only using safety scissors and managed to cut all the way through to the sheets. Ugh!


This was a first for our family. None of my kids even tried to cut their own hair. I guess it's pretty common though, just like sleep walking or talking in your sleep. My little on was just having a bad dream. This is one of the funny (odd) things I'll remember when she's older. :)

The lesson I learned was to keep the scissors up higher - even the safety scissors. I probably should keep the markers up higher also, but that's another story. :)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Bring on the 25 Days of Christmas

Today is December 1st - which means the 25 Days of Christmas on the ABC Family channel starts today. 25 days of wonderful Christmas specials (movies and cartoons). I'm sooo excited!!!

Tonight it all starts with The Year Without a Santa Claus at 7 pm and The Santa Clause 3 8 pm EST. I love The Year Without a Santa Claus with the Heat Miser and Cold Miser. It's one of my favorite Christmas shows.

My family all sits down when our favorites are on with some popcorn and cover up with a blanket. Getting all cozy. :)

Now don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of the 25 Days of Christmas on ABC Family channel, however, I was wondering - when Harry Potter became a Christmas show? Not just Harry Potter, but The Incredibles, Cars, and Mary Poppins just to name a few. My guess is they needed a couple shows to fill up a big bulk of time over the month and picked kid's show.

I can think of at least 25 Christmas shows they could use instead of substituting regular kids' shows. Here is a list of just a few:

  1. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer
  2. Rudolph's Shiny New Year
  3. Frosty the Snowman
  4. The Year Without a Santa Claus
  5. The Santa Clause Part 1, 2 & 3
  6. Elf
  7. The Charlie Brown Christmas
  8. The Little Drummer Boy
  9. Jingle All The Way
  10. Miracle on 34th Street
  11. Home Alone Part 1 & 2
  12. The Polar Express
  13. Mickey's Christmas Carol
  14. How The Grinch Stole Christmas
  15. Twas The Night Before Christmas
  16. A Christmas Story
  17. It's a Wonderful Life
  18. White Christmas
  19. Jack Frost
  20. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  21. A Miser Brothers Christmas
  22. Olive the Other Reindeer
  23. Yogi's First Christmas
  24. A Flintstone Christmas
  25. Scrooged
  26. Nutcracker Scoob - Scooby Doo Mysteries
  27. Barbie in a Christmas Carol
I could go on and on, but you get the idea. There are tons of Christmas shows the networks could choose from instead of the regular shows.

*Please note: I am in no way being paid for this post to promote ABC Family Channel. I just have always like Christmas shows.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Make Your Own Play Dough

My kids love to play with play dough, but I find that it dries out pretty quick. I found this really neat recipe to make your own play dough. You can dye it any color you choose using food coloring, but this is not the edible kind so please don't eat it. So have fun and I hope you and your kids enjoy :)

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 tsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp oil
2 cups water
food coloring


Mix together all ingredients except food coloring in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. After about 5 or 6 minutes it will start to stick to spoon and form dough.

Empty the contents of the pan onto wax paper and let the dough cool. Once it is cool enough to handle -- knead it until it is the consistency you want.


I always separate the dough into 4 pieces and then add food coloring. This way you can have a variety of colors. Store finished dough in plastic sandwich baggies or an airtight container. This recipe makes about 2 lb of dough.


The photo about shows what I made this batch. We were out of red dye, so all we had were green, blue, and yellow.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Baking Chocolate Chip Cookies



Here's one of my favorite treats to eat -- Chocolate Chip Cookies!

(sorry, my baking sheets are well worn from lots of use :) )

These are really easy to make and fairly inexpensive. I usually make a double or triple batch, because we always seem to give away a bunch to family, friends or co-workers. This particular recipe makes softer cookies - not crispy.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Ingredients:
1 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1 teas. vanilla or vanilla extract
1/2 teas. water
2 eggs
2 1/4 cup flour
1 teas. baking soda
1 teas. salt
1 pkg. chocolate chips

Add all ingredients except chocolate chips to a large bowl. Mix thoroughly. Add chocolate chips and mix. Roll into a balls about 1 inch in diameter and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies start to solidify turning a golden brown.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Forget Black Friday - Really Save Money This Christmas Season

Well it's getting close to Christmas and the stores have already started putting up their displays. It seems to happen earlier every year!

With the thought of buying all those Christmas gifts looming on the horizon most people focus on Black Friday as their biggest money saver.

Try something different this year! Follow the simple steps below to have a less expensive and just as joyful holiday season.

Make a list and stick to it
Just like Santa Claus has a list, so should you! Make a list of everyone you want to buy for. List everyone including family, friends, teachers, co-workers, bosses, etc. Now go through your list of people and cross off all those you really don't need to give a gift to this year or that you could simply send a Christmas card. Try to include only the most important people in your life on your gift list.

Budget
Next, with your list of the bare minimum to buy for - add a dollar limit to every person. For example we spend $20 for every sibling, $40 for parents, $10 for teachers, etc. Let's face it - it's not how much you spend that makes the gift special it's how much thought and love you put into making or buying it.

Plus, if these people truly cared about you they won't want you to go deep into debt for them. Everyone knows how the holiday season can add up financially.

Think About It
It's time to get creative. Now that you have your list of people to buy for and a dollar limit for each person it's time to brainstorm ideas. Everyone wants to give gifts that the recipient will truly love and cherish. How many times have you gotten an ugly sweater, a funny looking tie, or perfume that smelled terrible? Just some helpful advice, do a little bit of research before choosing a gift. When I was 8 years old, I received 6 pairs of earrings and I didn't have my ears pierced.

List a couple ideas for each person. Try to recall what this person talks about, what they do in their free time, and what they need. Sometimes it's important to give people what they need and let their wants be put on hold a while. No matter what you decide make sure it's useful, wanted or needed.

Now that you have an idea of what to buy - shop around. If it's on sale during Black Friday - that's great, but let's face it most items for sale on Black Friday are what I call "nice-ities" - stuff that's nice but not needed. Check the ads for the gift ideas on your Christmas shopping list.

Another thing to consider is would it be cheaper and/or easier for you to make a gift for someone on your list. Such as a new mom might love a scrapbook filled with pictures of her new baby and space for her to add more in the future. Make sure it would be cheaper for you to make it. Sometimes it actually costs more to make stuff yourself, so do the math.

Follow Santa Claus's lead and make a list - you can check it twice if you wish. Trim it down - only the most important people. Next, create a budget and stick to it or even spend less. After that you need to brainstorm a couple different gift ideas for each person. Lastly, shop around for the best deals.

Using these simple tips will help you keep Christmas from breaking the bank and keep your stress level down. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cut Spending

After reading a couple of the blogs I'm following, I've realized I spend way more than some on groceries. For my family of 5 plus 2 dogs and 2 cats we spend $150-$200 a week.

Now I know prices vary throughout the country and world. I live on the East Coast of the USA in Maryland. The price of milk here is $1.99 at Aldi's and $2.99 or more at other grocery stores.

When shopping at Weis I try to use coupons in conjunction with sales. That is where I buy name brand items like: laundry detergent (dye-free), meats, pop-tarts, cereal, snacks for lunches, and soda.

For the staples, I shop Aldi's. They have the best prices in my area on dairy, fresh and canned veggies, and paper products.

I've just started planning out our meals for the week prior to shopping and sticking to my list. Before I just went to the grocery store and whatever looked good is what I got along with my list of necessities.

Any advice or suggestions. Please let me know what has worked for you. I'm willing to try anything.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Advertise Here

Advertise your business here.


Share your product or service with the wonderful women who read this blog and connect with other moms.

Ads must be family friendly and relevant to the site. Some acceptable topics include: family friendly products, maternity, organizing, time management, kids and baby products, plus lots more.

Ad placements are sold in 1 month increments at $10 a month.

After you submit payment via PayPal, send an email to shavattk@hotmail.com including your 125X125 graphic and the link you want the ad to promote.





Printable Weekly Family Planner

Here is a free printable weekly planner you can use for your family. It has spaces for up to 3 children. It only has 3 children because that's how many I have :) If you want a planner that has more spaces so you can fit all your kids let me know and I'll make one and add it to the site.

Use this calendar to keep track of appointments, school projects, after-school activities, and lots more.


Click here to download in PDF.

Contact Me

Hello, my name is Kim and I'd like to share a little bit about me. I'm a stay at home mom to 3 great kids and devoted wife from Maryland.

Some of my passions (besides my family) include: photography, journaling, organizing, gardening, finding and creating printables, and definitely bargain hunting.


I've been working online since 2000 and have pretty much tried everything out there. I finally realized that I dislike selling and really enjoy blogging.

If you have any helpful tips, advice or words of encouragement please feel free to leave a message or contact me.


Ways to Contact Me:

Twitter  http://twitter.com/KimShavatt

Facebook 
http://facebook.com/shavattk

Email
  shavattk@hotmail.com

Monday, October 12, 2009

Yummy Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin Bread
Created by Linda Butler



This recipe for pumpkin bread came from my mother, Linda Butler, who came up with it. The bread is very moist and almost cake-like in texture. It has a wonderfully sweet flavor and is a staple in our household around October and November.

Here are the ingredients.

3 eggs
3 cups sugar
3 cups flour
1/2 teas. baking powder
1 teas. nutmeg
1 teas. baking soda
1 cup Crisco oil
1 large can pumpkin (not pie filling)
1/2 teas. salt
1 teas. mace
1 teas. cinnamon
2-3 teas. molasses


Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix in large mixing bowl with electric mixer the eggs, sugar and oil. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix for 2 minutes. Spray 3 loaf pans with cooking spray. Cook in oven for 1 hour at 325 degrees. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before moving to kitchen towel or cooling rack.

Slice, eat and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tip #25 Get Stuff for Free with Freecycle

My favorite tip to help moms and everyone else for that matter is to utilize Freecycle.org.

Freecycle.org is a site that encourages people to offer items they no longer need to their neighbors to pick up free of charge. There is no trading, selling, etc allowed. This is a give and take website - not always take.

This site is great for those who can't afford Christmas presents for their family, young parents needing baby supplies, people moving to a new (or new-to-you) home, or anyone just needing to save money.

Freecycle is an environmentally friendly business. It keeps stuff that can still be used out of our landfills and into the hands of people who really need them.

I've listed lots of items on my local Freecycle site including clothes, Halloween costumes, toys that my kids no longer played with, and various household items. I've also gotten a couple items such as a file cabinet (ugly & rusted, but works fine), scrapes of fabric (perfect for small doll clothes for my daughter), and jewelry making supplies.

Freecycle is a 100% free site (no sign up fees, no listing fees, etc.). This site is broken down by states and cities, so find the one closest to your home.


So enough talk - sign up, clear out some of your clutter and list them on the site. You'll feel better with a cleaner home and someone else will be happier with your old treasures. Check out the Freecycle.org for complete details.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

HMAH Tip #24 Buying Meat

Number #24 in my series of Helping Moms At Home tips is to buy family sized packages of meat.

This tip really works for my family of 5. When I go grocery shopping I first check the sales ad to see what meats are on sale. Then I buy whichever meat is on sale. Normally the larger size portions are cheaper and combined with sales you get a nice discount.

Since my family's a one income household I spread out buy meats. For example, I'll buy chicken breasts one week, steak the next week, ground beef the following week and pork chops another week. Mostly, I follow the sales, so if all meats are 20% off one week I buy as much as I can afford.

Once you purchase the meats and get them home - trim and separate the food into individual servings sizes or your family portion size. I prefer single serving size because you can always defrost more servings if you have company.

Next freeze anything not being used in the next day or two. I just put my food in freezer bags because I feel they take up less room.

One very important tip to go along with buying your meats in larger portions is to plan out your meals so you actually use the food up. No one wants food to go to waste.

Plan your meals and buy larger sized meat portions when they are on sale. Great ways to save your hard earned money.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Back To School Shopping

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” as per the Staples commercial.

If you’re like me you love back to school and if not now is just a really good time to get great deals.

This is the time of year when retailers set up their school supplies displays. More importantly, now is the time to shop to get the best selection and to get the best price.

How Do I Get Best Deal and Selection?
With retailers offering a box of 24 crayons for 4/$1 and notebooks for $.15 each, you will be hard pressed to find a better deal. To get the best deal you need to shop early because once they’re gone-they’re gone!

Some kids only want a notebook, lunchbox or folder with their favorite character on it. Well, to get that all important character, you really should shop early especially if it is popular this season. This becomes less of an issue as kids get older because there are less characters geared to middle school and high school aged kids.

No School-Aged Kids?
If your kids are in preschool or younger don’t let these deals pass you by. Most toddlers and preschoolers love to color and with crayons, markers, and paper so inexpensive you could easily stock up for the year. Don’t forget the storage containers to hold all their toys, coloring supplies, and games.

What about parents of kids entering college? Now is the perfect time for you to furnish their dorm room or apartment. Bedding and decor are also on sale, so comforters, sheets, bed frames, chairs, trash cans, and storage containers are nicely discounted. Many stores also have microwaves, mini refrigerators, laptops and computers on sale now. Everything you need to help your student be organized and prepared for college life.

Not Just for School
You don’t need to have kids to rake in the great deals. Folders are wonderful for keeping track of bills, home improvement projects and grocery shopping by holding coupons & lists. Blank spiral notebooks are perfect for keeping phone messages, running to-do lists, keeping track of expenses, or even journaling.

Home-based business owners can use this time to stock up on pens, pencils, staples, paper clips, and folders for presentations. It’s also a perfect time to upgrade their computer while they are on sale.

There’s more to back to school shopping than just preparing for September. Think about the entire year, stock up and save big.

Monday, June 29, 2009

If I Can Do It So Can You

Well, I'm starting a series of posts called "If I Can Do It So Can You". In the series, I will attempt to do something I haven't done before. This can include anything from cooking to home repairs to anything else I can think of. My hope is to inspire some of you to try new things along with me. We can share our successes and failures together. Please feel free to post your comments. I'd love to hear from you :)

To start off, I have tried to cook a roast in my crock pot. Now to many of you, this may be no big deal, but I've never done it before. To be honest, cooking just isn't my thing. I would be perfectly happy eating out every day, but we all know that gets expensive very quickly. So I bought a roast from the grocery store and decided to try it out. The recipe I used was right out of the Rival Crock pot recipe book that came with the unit when I bought it years ago. It's listed below.

I purchased all the items the recipe called for for about $10. The roast was $5.66 for 2.71lb, potatoes for $2.99 for 10lb bag, carrots for $1.99 per bag, onion for $.49. That's less than it would cost for our family of 5 to go to a fast food restaurant nowadays.


Pot Roast of Beef
3 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
2 large carrots, thinly sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 to 4 pound brisket, rump roast or pot roast
1/2 cup water or beef broth

Put vegetables in bottom of Crock-Pot. Salt and pepper meat, then put in the pot. Add liquid. Cover, cook on Low 10 to 12 hours (High 5 to 6 hours). 12 to 14 servings.

Calories: 208 Protein: 28G Fat 7G Carb 7G Chol. 72mg Sod. 249mg

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Grocery Shopping With Kids

Everyone has to go grocery shopping at some point and if you have kids you are eventually going to have to take them with you. This can be quite a headache because some kids just want to run wild up and down the aisles, get in and out of the shopping carts, add lots of items to the your basket, etc. Here are a couple things you can do to keep the kids occupied while you shop and make the trip more enjoyable for everyone.

First, give the kids a coupon or two and see if they can find the item for you. Unless the kids are older I don't recommend giving them all at once because they will end up dropped, ripped, lost or all three. When you start down a grocery aisle look through your coupons and give them to the child to find.

Second is grocery bingo. Using a word processing program create a table and plug in names of items you normally buy. For younger kids you can paste pictures of the items. This will keep the kids busy.

Finally, I'm a big fan of hand-held gaming systems. My 4 year old will play a game of her Nintendo DS while sitting in the front of the cart for about half the grocery shopping trip. Hey it's better than her running wild, asking 20 million questions, having to go potty, etc. Plus, if you limit the times your little one can use the system - the more they want to play it.

These are just a few suggestions that have worked for my family. Get your grocery shopping done without the headaches. Use your imagination and you're sure to find lots more ways to keep your kids occupied.

Feel free to add a comment with what you use to keep your kids busy while shopping.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Finding the Right Dentist Makes All the Difference

After almost 4 years of bad pictures, my son finally had his dead baby tooth pulled. This baby tooth stayed while the adult tooth grew in behind it. The root was still there after 1 year of the adult tooth coming in. I've heard this is pretty common.

Anyways, he had anxiety of going to the dentist, so we had to search for a pediatric dentist that would pull it. We found an awesome group (757kids.com) that is located in Maryland that completely got him over his anxiety for the dentist. They never restrained him, they hang toys from the ceiling to make them look up, there is a playhouse in the lobby, and let the kids watch dvds in some of the rooms while getting worked on and waiting. They are totally friendly to kids and their parents. If only adult dental offices were so much fun :)

My point is if you aren't happy with your current dentist check around. Don't be afraid of offending the dental offices - find one you and your family are comfortable with.

4 Ways to De-Stress and Sleep Better

Almost everyone knows the benefits of a good night's sleep. Increased energy. Ability to think clearly. These are just two of the many health benefits available, yet far too many people get less than 7 hours of sleep a night. They are constantly stressed - worrying about jobs, money, relationships and more.

Here are a four simple ways to de-stress and get a better night's sleep, and they don't cost a fortune.

Journaling
One of the easiest things you can do is to keep a journal. Now don't feel intimidated this is actually super easy. Get yourself a notebook. It can be a cheap spiral notebook or a fancy leather journal. They both work the same. Write one paragraph or an entire page or more. It's up to you. In your journal write everything that happened in the world and your life specifically that influenced you that day. All your happy times, stressful moments, and worries - everything good and bad. I call this "downloading" or "dumping" everything that is running through your mind. Once you write it down forget about it.

List Making
Have you ever tried to go to sleep, but could get your mind to shut off? Well, the second thing to do is keep a written to-do list. Before you go to bed each night list everything you want to do tomorrow or didn't get done today. This can get all things off your mind plus you'll be less likely to forget something.

Turn off the Electronics
Today's society stresses the importance of being connected all the time and getting as much done as possible. So many of us are glued to our cell phones almost 24 hours a day. Plus, there are those who stay online late into the night just surfing with no real reason.

Disconnecting is another great way to de-stress. Turn off your cell phone, internet and tv for a day or even a couple hours. Take that time to relax, go for a walk, or read a book. Do something you enjoy doing. Seriously, the world isn't going to stop just because you turned off your cell phone. People survived for thousands of years without a cell phone and you can certainly survive a couple hours.

Exercise
Perhaps the most beneficial way to de-stress and sleep better would be to exercise. By getting some moderate exercise throughout the day you will improve your health. Plus it is proven that people who exercise regularly report fewer instances of sleeplessness and it is been shown to reduce stress.

These are just a few ways to help improve the quality of your sleep and help you get over the stress in your life. Start living a healthier and more relaxed lifestyle today.
Kimberly Shavatt runs
http://www.HelpingMomsAtHome.com and http://kimshavatt.blogspot.com. She shares lots of helpful hints and tips to help you save time, save money and save your sanity.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tip #23 Family Game Night

Here is something my family has been doing for years and my parents did it when I was little. We had game nights. My parents had another couple over with their kids and we all played cards or board games. It doesn't cost a lot and it's a great way to create memories together.



As children we played Slap Jack, Old Maid, 500 Rummy or War. I mean a deck of playing cards costs about a $1 at the local dollar store or department stores. We had our own card playing area with snacks likes chips or m&ms.



For those who prefer to play board games try purchasing a new game when they are on sale or every month or so depending on what you can afford. Try yard sales, thrift stores, etc. when shopping for board games. You can always replace the batteries and use different pieces if some are lost.



Try holding family competitions. One example is to post the winners on the refrigerator for the month and whoever wins the most gets bragging rights.



For more high tech families try renting a video game for your gaming system. Let each person practices for a little while see who can pass a certain level or get the highest score.



Start creating fun and lasting memories with your family and the awesome thing is it doesn't cost a lot of money.

Friday, April 03, 2009

HMAH Tip #22 Do Something You Love

Everyone needs something to look forward to. We all need to focus on the good in our lives. Remain positive - it's a choice.

If you think your life is terrible and you don't have anything to look forward to - create something. Make a list of everything good in your life. Even if all you have to list is that you didn't get sick today or you ate lunch today. Though you probably have much more to list if you really think about it.

Here are a couple ideas you can do to create something you can look forward to.

The main point is to choose to be positive and enjoy your life. Do something you truly enjoy and look forward to often. Having a great life is simply a matter of how you perceive it to be.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Just to Keep You Updated

Sorry I haven't posted in a while.

My hubby has been having some really serious health issues and I've had to drive him back & forth to dr. appointments for tests, mri, scans, etc. Plus our youngest daughter has had a couple special events for which I had to help out. She attends a co-op nursery school which is much cheaper, but the family has to help out in the classroom (tchr asst).

On a lighter note, I've been working on my first ebook while waiting in those dr. offices. I plan to release it in April, so be on the look out. It will be of great use to moms this summer.

Just keeping everyone informed and let you know what's going on - so if I miss a day or two not to worry :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

HMAH Tip # 21 Save Big with Club Cards & Mailing Lists

This next tip is pretty easy. Take advantage of the discounts offered by your favorite stores by signing up for their membership cards and mailing lists.

Grocery stores offer discounted prices and also free products. One example is the free turkeys and hams given away during the holidays. When you spend X amount on groceries you receive a free turkey for Thanksgiving or at the very least a turkey at a deep discount.

CVS offers bonus bucks or extra bucks. Visit this site to learn how to get products for free or deeply discounted. http://www.savingadvice.com/forums/frugal-questions-answers/27331-how-do-cvs-bonus-bucks-work.html.

Want to receive coupons to your favorite stores. It's as easy as signing up for their mailing list either online or in the store. Lots of stores mail out their latest sales flyer along with coupons for products and services.

Book stores and craft stores in my area do this all the time, and I love it. Borders and JoAnn Fabrics send out flyers with discounts about once a month. It's great getting sewing patterns for $1.99 instead of $12.95 each and books at 15% off.

Create a list of your favorite stores and then one-by-one see if they offer a discounts for joining their mailing list or creating an account online. It's another great way to save money.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

HMAH Tip #20 Buy in Bulk

This tip just makes common sense. Save your family a bunch of money by avoiding individual sized packaging.

In my local grocery store items like these pretzels cost approximately $4.50 which is a lot of money when a regular size bag of the same product costs about $2.50 or less on sale. (Gotta love Snyder's Pretzels!)

Another example is to buy a larger package of chicken breasts the store because per piece it is almost always cheaper.

Make sure you calculate it out the per serving price - like I said it is "almost" always cheaper.

Now as you are putting the groceries away divide up the larger packages into smaller servings that are appropriate for your family or even single servings. This way you only have to defrost the amount you need for that meal. Also separate out the snacks into smaller snack-size servings, so your kids can just grab one to put in lunches or for an after school snack on their own.

Have fun shopping everyone :)

Kim

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

HMAH Tip #19 DIY Frozen Microwavable Dinners

This is one tip that is sure to save you time and probably some money!

Many people are buying those frozen microwavable meals from their local grocery stores for $1 - $5 a meal. Users claim they don't have time to fix a lunch in the morning to take to work, or they just need something quick to feed their families before soccer practice. Well, I found a really easy solution.

Buy some Tupperware CrystalWave Plates or find something similar at a department store near you. Make sure which ever plates you purchase are microwavable and also able to be frozen.

Once you have the divided plates fill them with your leftovers and put them in the freezer. Now they are all ready for you to take to work for lunch or if you need a quick meal for your family.


Many times homemade meals are healthier because there are no added preservatives and high sodium levels that are commonly found in packaged meals. Fill your plates up with low fat, low carb or other healthy recipes and you have your very own diet microwavable meals.

This really quick tip will save you time because you were already fixing dinner to begin with -- you're only making a larger portion. Also, you know your family will like the food because you cooked it and they already ate it for dinner earlier that week.

Hope you enjoyed this simple little tip :)

Kim

Sunday, March 08, 2009

HMAH Tip #18 Write at Night

This tip is really easy to do and an excellent way to sleep better. For this tip all you have to do is write before you go to bed at night.

Now I know what you may be thinking who has time to write each night when I have to get the kids in bed, pick up stuff around the house, spend some time with my hubby and I want some time to relax myself. All I suggesting is righting a paragraph or more if you feel up to it.

Here's what you write: a to-do list of things to do tomorrow or things you didn't get done today and a brief summary of what happened today. The summary of the day is pretty important because you'll want to list events that made you happy, mad, sad, confused, etc. Get it off your chest. No one needs to see the stuff you write - you can even throw them away once your done.

The main reason for writing before you go to bed is to "download" or "dump" all the thoughts floating around in your minds. Keeping you up at night. This will also help you remember all those important details that are usually forgotten by morning.

Give this tip a try and see if you are able to sleep a little better at night.

     

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Electro-Shock Therapy Killed My Phones

Here's something that has happened to me recently that you may give you a chuckle. Over the past 2 weeks I've zapped two phones and killed them. Yes, I've actually made two of our phones completely stop working, by zapping them with static electricity. One was a cordless attached to the base and one was corded.

The bad part was you could actually see the arch of electricity come out of my finger tip. It was quite painful. My family laugh their heads off at me getting shocked all the time (sick joke about electro-shock therapy). I even touched other metal objects (ie. light switch, door knob, etc.) Nothing worked.

After 2 weeks, I finally remembered there is a great product out now called "Static Guard". I haven't needed Static Guard for 15 years. I just spray the living room carpet twice a day to get rid of the static electricity.

Finally, my electro-shock treatments have ended ;)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Olive Juice Bags Blog It Forward Contest

Yes, this is a blatant advertisement, but I had to do it! I just love bags, purses, containers, etc. Anything you can store stuff in. I'm obsessed!!! Well, when I found out you could actually win a bag just for blogging about it--I had to enter.

Actually, the company OliveJuiceBags.com is a pretty cool company. Two moms, Jennifer and Tracy, run the business from Washington state. All the bags are designed and made in the USA which is awesome in this economy - providing work for Americans!

Here's what they have to say about their bags:
"Olive Juice Bags are eco-friendly because the company has found a way to utilize overrun fabric and to prevent it from being thrown away. Repurposing the fabric into a functional and fashionable product means less waste in the landfills. Because of this, many of the bags are unique: five-of-a kind, two-of-a kind or even one-of-a kind."

Pretty cool. Well anyways, you can enter to win the bag of the month also by posting a message to your personal or business blog. Limited to one entry per day per person. For more details you can visit the site herehttp://www.olivejuicebags.com/www.olivejuicebags.com/bag-of-the-month_contest.html. The contest runs each month through August 31, 2009.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Time to Get Organized for Less

I'm one of those people that love the start of school because it's an excuse for me to shop for office supplies/school supplies. Well one of my favorite things on earth are planner and notebooks. I'm obsessed with them :)

In my time spent searching the web I found this really awesome planner. It's printable and there is no cost (meaning FR* EE! :) You can't go wrong with that.

There are lots of different forms those from and print out. My favorite is by far the expense envelope that you can print. I love it and use them each month. I hole punch them and stick them in my planner.


Have fun, simplify your life and get organized! Have a wonderful day!

Friday, February 20, 2009

HMAH Tip #17 Schools Out - It's a Snow Day :)

Has your child's school ever closed early due to power outage or inclement weather and you didn't know about it because you were out at a doctors appointment or running errands?

Well, this is totally cool website that will help you out during the school year assuming you have school age kids. It's call SchoolsOut.com. It notifies you when your child's school is closed, delayed opening or closing early for any reason.

Here's how SchoolsOut.com works. You find the name of your school on their listing. Their service covers schools in 23 states across the USA.

Once you find your child's school you can sign up for one of 2 service plans. There is a basic plan and a plus plan.

The Basic service where they send you an email with the school's message. The basic service is free (not a trial). If you are able to check your email throughout the day or check it from your phone this would work for you.

They also offer a SchoolsOutPlus service which will send you a text message to your cell phone with the school's message. This service is $19.95 a calendar year for example February 1, 2009-January 31, 2010. I have personally used the Plus service and loved it! It is really helpful for those of us who are out and about and aren't able to check our email throughout the day.

Hope this service helps you as much as it has helped me. Have a wonderful day!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Find Out If You Are Rich

Find Out How Rich You Are

This is just for fun. Find out how rich you are in comparison to others throughout the world. Simply enter your yearly salary and it will tell you where you rank. I was surprised to find my hubby and I were in the top 0.68%. We sure don't feel rich, but compared to other countries obviously we are.

Don't worry this site doesn't ask for your name, email or any personal information. It's completely anonymous.

http://www.globalrichlist.com/

HMAH Tip #16 Use Multiple Coupons to Rake in the Savings


You can save major bucks by combining store coupons or sales and manufacturer's coupons. Yes, using coupons alone can save you some money, but you really start saving when you combine the sales or store coupons and the manufacturer's coupons together.
Here's why:

Retail price of item X = $2.99
Item X's sale price or after store coupon price = $2.50 or 2 for $5
Manufacturer's coupon = $1 off 2
Price with store sale or coupon plus manufacturer's coupon = $2 each

By combining the two you save an extra $.50 per item or $.99 total. Now that may not seem like much. Now consider that item is a box of cereal and you buy one box every week. That's a savings of $.99 a week or almost $52 a year for just that one item.

Now I know you probably thinking that's great but who gets coupons and sales every week for cereal?

You can and here's how. When you find a coupon for an item you use all the time, swap or trade for as many copies as you can get. Ask friends, family, fellow church members, co workers and online friends if they will trade with or donate their extra coupons to you. Once you get a bunch of coupons for the item wait for the item to go on sale and buy as many as you can. Stock up!!!

Another place to look for coupons is
http://www.hotcouponworld.com/ . This site allows you to find printable coupons, trade with others and lots more. That site has pretty much anything coupon related. Plus, Target store fans really need to visit this site - awesome printable coupons. Check it out!

To summarize: Shop sales and use coupons to get deep discounts! Have fun and happy shopping!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

HMAH Tip #15 Save Money Ditch the Gym

I may get a lot of "boo"s from the gyms throughtout the world, but my next tip could save you a bunch of money. Ditch your gym! I'm not saying to ditch exercising--just the gym.

Gym memberships generally run $19.95 a month or about $240 a year. Think of all the ways you could use that $240. Now I'm sure you can come up with a bunch of reasons to keep going to the gym like emotional support, variety, etc.

There have been plenty of ways you can get your exercise that do not require going to a gym. Here are a few examples just to name a few:
  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Aerobics
  • Exercise videos
  • Kick boxing
As for emotional support, this is easy, get an exercise buddy or go online and sign up for a support group. An awesome support group online is http://www.Sparkpeople.com. Best of all, it's fr*ee. They offer forums so you can talk with others anytime day or night. There is an online or printable food diary to keep track of calories, fat grams, carbs, etc. Sparkpeople also offers an exercise log with tons of pictures and directions on how to execute the exercises correctly.

Some people will complain about lack of variety. There are tons of different things you can do in addition to the ones listed above to stay active. You can take up basketball, dancing, yoga, tai chi, tennis, racket ball, golf, or a number of any other activities.

The great thing about working out at home is most exercises are free or very low cost with no equipment required. Also, you don't need to drive your car to the gym and back wasting time and gas just to get there.

Really consider dropping your gym membership if you want to save some money. Find new and exciting ways to get your exercise each day.

Don't just take my word for it here are links supporting exercises that could be done at home:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/walking/HQ01612
http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/05/11/02/the-health-benefits-of-dancing----including-specific-benefits-of-different-dances.htm
http://www.abc-of-yoga.com/beginnersguide/yogabenefits.asp
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/aerobic-exercise/EP00002

Monday, February 09, 2009

Go Green on a Budget


I just found this really great site that I thought I'd share with everyone. It's called Organic Grocery Deals.com. This site offers tips and helpful advice for people to go green on a budget.

They have awesome forums! Some topics they cover include: gardening, eating in season, organic and natural product information, coupon trading, green living tips, book recommendations, organic news, deals, more. I personally love the gardening section :) I've always wondered how to grow my veggies big and delicious without all the chemicals and pesticides. They offer help and ideas for going green in a relaxing (non-judgemental) way. Plus, we all could use some help saving money and eatting healthier now a days.

Visit Organic Grocery Deals at http://www.organicgrocerydeals.com/. I just know you will really like this site!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

HMAH Tip # 14 Spring is in the Air

Here in Maryland it's 62 degrees today. I'm getting spring fever and have already started dreaming of my garden this year.

Well, on my trip to Wal-Mart on Friday I noticed they are starting to put out the gardening supplies. Each year I spend all of $20 on seeds, potting mix and Miracle Grow fertilizer. That $20 gets me, my family, and neighbors $$$ in fresh vegetables each year. You can save that kind of money too.

No Excuses! It doesn't matter if you have a large plot of land, a small back yard or a really small balcony; you can grow your own fresh vegetables in containers. You don't need a lot of money either. I use .20 package of seeds from Wal-Mart each year not some expensive brand that costs $5 per package. Lastly, you don't need to have a green thumb. Simply add water and sunlight and remove the weeds :) So...no more excuses!

Have fun dreaming of the warm weather that's soon to come!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

HMAH Tip #13 Have Faith and Stop Worrying!

My hubby and I just had our income taxes done yesterday and this quote/tip really applies to me today.

"Worry looks back, hope looks forward, faith looks up." Author Unknown

With the current state of our nation, many people worry they should have prepared better for a potential job loss. The bad news is you can't change the past.

People in major financial troubles put their hope in winning the lottery or for someone to help them out. Reality is no one is going to help you completely. No one is going to come and pay off all your bills, credit cards, student loans, etc. Unless your related to Donald Trump or Bill Gates - and if you are, I'm up for adoption :)

Have faith! God has a good plan for your life. Situations may not go as you want them to, but God knows what He's doing. He sees the BIG picture and his timing is always perfect.

This is just a nice quote to think about.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

HMAH Tip #12 Quote to Live By

Here's a wonderful quote to live by.

"JOY means Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last."
Author unknown
Even if you aren't a Christian, put your religion first, whatever that may be. A great way to do this is spend the first few minutes of the day in prayer or meditation. Start the day off in calm, peaceful manner that will hopefully continue on throughout the day.

Next, focus on others. Direct your time and attention to your family, friends and others in your life. Spend time building others up, motivating and encouraging them. Volunteer your time to help others.

Put yourself last. Now I'm not talking about all the time. I understand and fully believe you need to take care of yourself in order to take care of others, however, don't have YOU on your mind every minute of every day. Stop thinking "What about me?" or "What's in it for me?" all the time.

By getting your mind off yourself and onto others and Jesus (or your religion) you will start to see a bit more joy in your life. Enjoy it!

Monday, February 02, 2009

HMAH Tip #11 Your Home Biz Best Friend


This tip is for people who have a home-based business or small business. One way to save money, promote your business and add convenience is to use your cellular phone as your business phone.

Many home-based business owners set up their home office including a desk, computer, printer and have a business line installed. Why pay for 3 phone lines--a personal line, a business line and a cell phone. Skip the business line and use your cell phone as the business line. Most phones nowadays show you the number of the caller and names or special ringtones for friends/family. If you don't recognize the number answer it as your business.

Promote your business in the voice mail. That way when anyone calls and you're unable to answer they will find out about your business. Be sure to update it often. For example: "Hi, this is Jane Doe, Your Local Biz Sales Rep. I can't take your call right now. Please leave your name and phone # and I will get right back to you. Be sure to ask me about our February's special by 2 get 1 free."

Another benefit of using your cell phone is the convenience of being able to receive calls anywhere. Let's face it, some people won't leave a message on an answering machine and this could cost your money in parties lost, sales not taken, etc. If you are waiting for a call and you need to run out of the house for a minute you won't miss the call.

Save money, promote your business and the added convenience of portability all help the small business/home based business owner.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Awesome eBay Selling Ebook Giveaway


With so many Amercian's losing their jobs this wonderful lady, Suzanne Wells, is giving away an awesome freebie! It is this really great ebook called "Stay at Home Mom's Guide to Successful eBay Selling". The best part is she's giving it away for free as part of a Good Karma Experiment on Facebook. It is similar to Pay It Forward.

Click here for the link:
http://ebaysellingcoach.blogspot.com/2009/01/paying-it-forward-free-book-for-moms.html

Friday, January 30, 2009

HMAH Tip #10 Save Time with A Gadget You Already Own

Since 82% of Americans have a cell phone, this tip applies to almost everyone.

Cell phones, nowadays, have lots and lots of features that can make your life easier*. Some of the basic features include voice mail, call waiting, built-in camera, alarm, memo/notes/to-do list, and calculator. Here's how these basic features can help you save time, save money and your sanity.

First of all is the voice mail feature. This is no longer just for your home (land-line) phone anymore. If you are shopping at the checkout line and someone calls you can easily send them to voice mail at the click of a button. Then return their call when it's more convenient for you.

Another feature that is popular on land-line phones is call waiting. You're on the phone with your sister and the school nurse from your daughter's school is trying to reach you. Good thing you have call waiting. My phone will beep and display a message on the screen during the call asking whether I want to take the call or not. It's peace of mind that you won't miss those important calls.

The built-in camera is probably the most fun feature. Taking pictures of your family and friends is the most common use. Another way to use the built-in camera is to take pictures of items you are considering buying. For example; buying a dress, furniture, painting, etc. to get someone else's opinion or to coordinate the item your current decor.

My favorite feature is the alarm. Some phones allow you to set alarms at a certain time each day every day or on specific days. Personally, I set my alarm to go off a couple minutes before I need to get my kids off the bus. It reminds me to get my coat on and head out to the bus stop. This way I know my kids will be safe and they aren't walking home alone.

Most phones include a voice memo or to-do list feature. t allows you to record a voice message to yourself or type in a note to yourself. This is a helpful when trying to remember your grocery list or the row you parked in. Save yourself time hunting around for your vehicle or making multiple trips to the store for items you forgot.

Finally, and the most useful is the calculator. This is a big money saver when shopping. Use it to figure out sale prices (ex. 30% off or 4 for $5) and to compare price per unit. Sometimes the larger size packages aren't the best deal after all. It can also be used to keep a running total of all the items in your cart to insure you don't go over your budget.

Your phone is a handy, little gadget you carry with you anyways, start using it to it's fullest. Start using all the features, so you can save time, and save money.

* Please note that each phone is a little different and refer to your owners manual for a full listing of your specific phone's features. These are basic features that a majority of phones have.

Reference:
Tuesday November 13, 2007
U.S. Cell-Phone Penetration Tops 82 Percent
http://www.gearlog.com/2007/11/us_cellphone_penetration_tops.php

Thursday, January 29, 2009

HMAH Tip #9 One More Awesome Use for Calendar

Here is one final use for your calendar/day planner. I promise :)

Now, Organize Your Medical Life!

Use your day planner to get your health life in order, by using it as a food diary, exercise log or medical journal. Since you will access your planner each day to keep track of appointments already, this is the perfect place to note all the other pertinent information regarding your health.

Whether you are on a diet or not, your calendar is the perfect place to record your food diary. Make sure to include your daily calorie, carbohydrate, fiber and sodium intake. Keeping a food diary could help you and your doctors figure out food allergies, causes for headaches, and any other medical problems that could possibly arise.

Write down what exercises you've done and for how long. Regardless of which exercise you do. Right down the time of day and how many minutes. Include how easy the workout was, for example were you nearly breaking a sweat or working your bottom off.

Another major benefit of using a day planner or calendar is having a place to keep track of your medical statistics. This is key for those people with diabetes or high blood pressure. Each time you test your sugar or take your pressure, write it down in your calendar.

There are so many benefits to keeping healthy and using a planner or calendar of any kind is an easy tool to use to help maintain those benefits.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

HMAH Tip #8 Baby's First Steps

Another great use for your calendar, day planner, etc. is as a memories keeper.

Record your child's first steps, first day at school, first hair cut, lost their first tooth or just the funny things your children say or do.

It's a place to write your personal journal entries. Write notes to yourself or just details about your day. Ex. Dr.'s appt.: Dr. Doe said to start stretching my back more to avoid injury.


What about your home business successes or ideas? Maybe you want to remember to research the latest marketing techniques or the name of the latest book to boost your business. Well, write them all down in one spot, so you can refer to them often.

Just another way to put your calendar to use.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

HMAH Tip #7 Keep it All Together

Keep it all together!

Get yourself a day planner, calendar, etc. It doesn't matter what kind. You could use a small 2 year planner, a dollar store planner, or go all out with a name brand day planner. It really doesn't matter. You just need to find one you would actually use.

Now the important point - put everything on this one calendar. Put all your appointments, meetings, kid's appointments, soccer games, practices, school PTA meetings and also your home biz work in the same planner. This way you can look at your planner and know what everyone has to do that specific day or any day in the near future.

Another important detail. Carry it with you! You'll save time because you can give an answer right then and there instead of saying "let me check my schedule".


Monday, January 26, 2009

HMAH Tip #6 Great Way to Remove Smells from Clothes

Have you ever been to a bar and the next day your clothes and coat smelled of smoke?
Ever leave the clothes in the washer too long and they start to smell a little musty?

Well, this is a really cheap and easy fix that can quickly get rid of the smells from your clothes and linens. Simply add 1/4 cup of white vinegar to your wash during the rinse cycle. An entire bottle of white vinegar costs on average $1.50. It helps remove soap residue that can dull black clothes and all keeps your colors bright. It's easy just use your laundry detergent as usual and dry as normal.

There you go a cost effective, easy way to keep your clothes and linens looking new and smelling fresh.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Beginners Get Fit With Wii Fit

Copyright 2009 Kimberly Shavatt

With 2/3 of Americans considered obese, the Wii Fit is an excellent tool to get people moving. It is perfect for people just starting an exercise regime, embarrassed to attend weekly meetings, or too busy to go to the gym a couple times a week.

It's Fun
First of all, the Wii Fit is fun. Seriously, try not to laugh when your Mii (your character) is getting hit in the head with a stuffed panda head or soccer shoe. Plus, when was the last time you saw your Aunt Sue hula hoop? What about your kids trying to balance on one foot without falling?

Makes You Sweat
You may be thinking, "Can I really get a decent workout with a video game?". Well the answer is yes! You get easily break a sweat while hula hooping for 3 minutes straight or jogging around on the Wii Fit Island. There is also boxing and step aerobics mini games.

Easy to Use
It is easy to use at any age. Whether your 5 or 75. The game records your weight, BMI, tracks how many minutes you've been training, when you worked out last, and even provides motivational tips. There are easy to follow demos or directions for every game. All you need to do is pick and chose which mini games you want to try.

Variety of Games
All games help improve your balance, flexibility and strength - something almost every American could improve on. There are yoga moves, strength training, aerobics, and balance games. Almost anything you could do in a gym you can do on your Wii Fit including boxing, step aerobics, jogging, yoga, and lots, lots more.

Better than a Gym
The absolutely best reason Wii Fit is perfect for beginners is you can use it in the privacy of your own home. No need to pay for expensive gym memberships and then drive there a couple times a week. You don't have to feel self-conscience working out in front of others. There's no big, bulky equipment to buy. Plus, no meetings with embarrassing weigh-ins.

Wii Fit has all the elements to get you started with an exercise regime. It will make you sweat and get your heart pumping. It has a variety of games to choose from, so you won't lose interest fast. You won't need to travel to a gym or pay those pricey monthly dues because it can be done in the comfort of your home. Best of all, it's fun and easy to use.

HMAH Tip #5 Cheap Way to Clean Windows

Today's tip is to use rubbing alcohol to clean your windows and mirrors. It's both cheaper and works just as good as the more expensive glass cleaners.

First go to any Dollar Store or your grocery store and buy a plain bottle of rubbing alcohol and an empty squirt bottle. Fill the squirt bottle with the alcohol and start cleaning. Both items together will cost about $2 which is much less than the almost $4 for Windex or similar items.

In addition to costing less rubbing alcohol also works just as good as the name brand window cleaners. Just spray onto your windows or mirrors and wipe off. Plus, no streaks. It works great with paper towels, rags or even newspaper.

This is just another way to save a little bit of money and keep your house clean.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

HMAH Tip #4 - What Do I Do With All These Receipts?

Starbucks $8 Target $35 Exxon $25

What if . . . I need to return that shirt I bought last Thursday because it doesn't fit? Where did I put the receipt???


There is a really easy way to find any receipt or bill in under 5 minutes.

All you need it a 13 pocket accordian file that is easily for sale at any office supply store or almost any department store. Once you purchase the accordian file label the sections January - December and the last pocket is for taxes or medical forms. Now the easy part, take each receipt write the amount in your checkbook and than file it under that month in your file. Done!

This also works with bills. As you pay them, put the bill (minus the payment slip you send with the check) in the appropriate month.

Another benefit of keeping your receipts and bills organized this way is to help you at tax time. You can use the last pocket for all your donation receipts, w2, 1099 forms, etc. If you put these forms in the pocket as you receive them, they will all be in one place when tax time comes.

Now, whenever you need to find a receipt or bill all you need to do is look under the month you made the purchase.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

HMAH Tip #3 - Never Grocery Shop When You're Hungry

This tip applies to all ages. Never go grocery shopping when you're hungry. Whether your an adult or child going grocery shopping hungry can be detrimental to your budget. It's a proven fact - when you shop hungry you add more items to your cart than were on your list. Since you're hungry and surrounded by food - it all looks delicious and you end up buying more.

If you happen to be shopping with a child, make sure they aren't hungry either. This will help them from be less cranky and/or whiny. Another trick is to bring along something to keep them busy, so you can focus more of your time on shopping.

As a rule of thumb, make sure you have a meal or at least light snack prior to your trip. At the very least chew a stick of gum or suck on a piece of hard candy.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

HMAH Tip #2 - Shop from Grocery Store Sale Ads

Plan your meals around that week's grocery store sales ads.

If you favorite store has a sale on ground beef and noodles then make sure to include spaghetti for dinner one day that week. Don't stop there though what about hamburgers with gravy and noodles another day. Let your imagination run wild. Plus, if the item is one your family eats often, pick up extra.

Here are a couple tips:
* Don't forget sale ads for stores you don't shop regularly.
* Pay close attention to lost leaders and items you family buys frequently.
* Make sure you look over all sale ads with great care. They will jog your memory about items you are out of or running low on.
* For even more savings combine sales with coupons.

Feel free to print out a menu planner/grocery list by clicking the link below.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Helping Moms At Home Tip

Always shop from a list and be sure to stick to it!

Really, you can save some major cash just by sticking a list. Here's a really simple example of how planning ahead and making a shopping list can save you big money.

Say you have a habit of picking up a bottle of soda at $1.25 a day from a convenience store. Those sodas can add up to $6.25 a week, $25 a month or $300 a year. Now, that may not seem like a lot at the time, but you can purchase them from the grocery store on sale for 4 pkgs. for $12 that comes out to $3 for a 6-pack of sodas. It could save you $144 a year. Think about all the ways you could spend that extra $144, and I'm not even asking you to quit drinking your sodas.

Little changes add up to a lot over time.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Great Find at KB Toy Store


I found this plastic sled at KB Toys for $1.49 originally $5.99. While it would work just fine as a sled, I plan to use it for collecting leaves in the fall. If you've ever had to rake leaves by yourself you know it's a little difficult to hold a lawn and leaf bag open and put leaves inside at the same time. Well, a friend let me borrow his plastic sled this fall and here's what he told me.

Unroll the sled a little and slip it into the lawn and leaf bag. Make as large of a circle as you can with the sled and use clips to hold it in position. The sled holds the bag upright and open. Simply drop the leaves in and pull the sled out when the bag is full.

It sounds really simple and it is, but it cut my raking time in half. Try it and see for yourself.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Keep the Heat in with Door Stoppers



Since most of the country has been hit with a major cold spell, I wanted to show a very easy way to keep some of that heat in your home.


To make one for your home. Simply measure the width of your door or window. Now cut a piece of fabric to the width of your door or window by 5" high. Fold the fabric in half length wise with the right sides together. Sew with a straight stitch or by machine along the long edge. Leaving the end open. Turn right side out and stuff with pillow stuffing or rice. Hand sew up the remaining open end.


Another option to going out and buying fabric is to recycle old fabric from old sheets, blankets, jeans or any other material you no longer need.


Thursday, January 08, 2009

New Law to Ban Homemade Toys & Kid's Books!!!

This came from www.change.org website.
To get more information visit the site at http://www.change.org/ideas/view/save_handmade_toys_from_the_cpsia

Visit the Consumer Product Safety Commisions' Website for FAQ
http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/faq/faq.html


A Proposal From the handmadetoyalliance.org

In 2007, large toy manufacturers who outsource their production to China and other developing countries violated the public's trust. They were selling toys containing dangerously high lead content, unsafe small parts, and chemicals that made kids sick.

The United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US. So, they passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August 2008. Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in children's products, mandates third party testing and certification, and requires manufacturers of all goods for children under the age of 12, to permanently label each item with a date and batch number.

All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational companies to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each item have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and updating their systems to include batch labels. Small businesses however, will likely be driven out of business by the costs of mandatory testing, to the tune of as much as $4,000 or more per item. And the few larger manufacturers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007.

Anyone who produces or sells any of the following new or used items will be required to comply with the law: toys, books, clothing, art, educational supplies, materials for the learning disabled, bicycles, and more. Any uncertified item intended for children under the age of 12 will be considered contraband after February 10, 2009. It will be illegal to sell or give these items away to charities, and the government will require their destruction or permanent disposal, resulting in millions of tons of unnecessary waste, and placing an enormous strain on our landfills.

There is a clear disconnect between the sweeping nature of this law, and the narrow range of products that were problematic in 2007. The CPSIA applies standards that were put in place in reaction to the sale of toys contaminated with lead paint and toxic plastics. Rather than focus on these materials, this law places a guilty until proven innocent mentality on all children's product producers by imposing mandatory testing and certification, and in the process will kill an entire industry.

Thriving small businesses are crucial to the financial health of our nation. Let's amend the CPSIA so that all businesses large and small are able to comply and survive!


While I understand testing for lead and other dangerous chemicals is very important. I feel there must be a way to keep our children safe and not put our small business out of business.