* The ebooks above are linked to my affiliate pages, however, all items are free as of this posting. All the other links go directly to the companies, and I am not compensated in any way by sending you to their site.
It's no fun going shopping for clothes when you have to bring kids with you. I had to take all 3 kids (13, 11 and 8 yrs) to the store this morning to get Easter outfits.
My two oldest kids hate shopping. My boy will wear almost anything you give him. My oldest wants nothing pink and loves bright crazy colors. My little one is a girly girl and wants shoes and accessories to match just don't touch her hair.
We went to one store (Marshall's) and found 2 dresses for them and a top for me. We were in and out in one hour. Not bad.
I don't go to Marshall's very much - maybe once a year. This time I found a long brightly colored dress for my oldest for $39.99 made by Calvin Klein originally $68.00. My youngest found a cute peach colored dress (pictured above) for $14.99 originally $24.99. Plus I found a cute top for $14.99. All in all - not too bad.
We're more of a thrift store kind of family. I love hunting for bargains, but every once in a while I love shopping for bargains at regular stores.
I made sure my boy had his Nintendo DS to keep him busy. Believe me it was a life saver. Girls trying on clothes - need I say more.
Some other ways I keep my kids busy and quiet while I'm shopping especially trying on clothes are reading a book, or bringing a doll or small toy to play with. My only rules are: it has to be quiet, it has to be small, they have to carry it, and it can't be sold in the store we are going to. They also have to pay attention where they are walking, so they don't run into people.
Please feel free to share other ways you keep your kids quiet and occupied while you are trying to shop or run errands. I'm all ears :)
Lately I've needed to use baby oil quite a bit, so I thought I would share some of the ways we use it.
1. Removes Temporary Tattoos
Kids love temporary tattoos and so do some adults. You can get some elaborate ones at fairs, carnivals and amusement parks. They usually last a week or so. However, you're ready for the tattoo to be gone simply soak a cotton ball in baby oil and rub the tattoo away.
2. Removes Make Up
Pretty self explanatory. Put a little bit on a cotton ball and wipe the make up off. Be careful not to get it in your eyes.
3. Massage Oil
Sore and achy muscles always seem to feel better after a nice massage. Baby oil helps your hands slide easier and it moisturizes the skin at the same time.
All out of shaving cream? Try using a bit of baby oil. It helps the razor slide across your skin with ease. It also is great for after shaving to help nourish dry skin especially in winter.
5. Treating Cradle Cap in Infants
My kids all had cradle cap when they were infants. I would put a small amount of baby oil in their hair prior to a bath and then use a fine tooth comb to remove it. Usually had to do this a little at a time or their head may become red and sore. Wash the baby oil out afterwards.
6. Clean Glass Shower Doors
This works great for cleaning glass shower doors. Put some baby oil on a wash cloth and rub in circles on the inside of the shower doors. They will become crystal clear and it is much cheaper than name brand shower cleaner.
7. Crayons off Painted Walls
If you have kids you know that they sometimes draw in the most inappropriate places. Mine drew all over their bedroom walls. I tried everything and found that baby oil works the best to get the crayon off. Then I followed up with soapy water to get the oil off. Looked like new when I was done. 8. Squeaky Door Hinges and Stuck Windows
A small amount of baby oil on door hinges will help them stop squeaking. It will help windows open and close easier when applied to the sides.
9. Lubricate Keyholes
If you've ever had a key that doesn't want to turn properly or gets stuck. Wipe the key down in oil and then try to open the lock a couple times. This helps lubricate the mechanisms in the lock.
It seems kids nowadays are far more technologically advanced than their elders. Preschool aged kids are being introduced to the computer to help them learn their ABCs and 123s. Elementary school aged kids are learning how to do PowerPoint presentations instead of plain old book reports. By the time they are in middle and high school they are expected to know how to use a computer fluently.
Heck my son knows more about working our entertainment system than I do. He knows how to get a video to play from our computer onto the tv screen without reading a user manual. It's almost second nature to kids today.
However, have you heard teen aged kids talk on the phone recently? When I was younger we stayed on the phone for hours on end. Now it seems you need to pull teeth to get them to say almost anything. "Hi!", "Yeah", "Okay", "Whatever" and "Fine" are about all you'll hear from most teens when you ask them a question.
How many times have you seen 2 kids sitting in the same room not saying a word but they are busy texting away to each other. I suppose it's their equivalent of whispering or passing notes.
As a parent I try to limit the amount of screen time my kids have and encourage them be more social. Whether it be television, computer, hand held games, iPods, etc. these devices are considered a treat.
When my kids were younger, my family used these types of devices when we are waiting at the orthodontist, on long car rides and occasionally for educational purposes. Now that they are older, the kids use them once all their homework is done for about 30 minutes. Let's face it if it were left up to the kids they would play for hours on end.
Many kids would prefer to play video games all afternoon instead of playing outside, but encouraging them to have face-to-face time with others helps them learn to read body language and to respond to the emotions of others.
Thank goodness, the 5th grade teachers at my son's school feel the same way I do and actually makes the students do oral reports each month in front of the class. Nothing fancy - only 1-2 minutes, but it helps them get over any fear of speaking in front of others. Plus it encourages them to share a little bit about themselves with their classmates. Perfect for kids who are more reserved.
Learning to use a computer and other electronics is useful and beneficial to their education, but just like everything else, they need to be done in moderation.
Your car breaks down. You lose your job. You're facing foreclosure. You lost a beloved family member. You've received a bad medical report.
Everyone faces difficult times in their lives.
People come and go from your life. Businesses go out of business. Cars only last so long before needing major repairs. Life is constantly changing, but it doesn't have to get you down.
The key is to keep a positive attitude and an eye on the big picture.
Here are a couple ways I try to maintain a positive attitude. Hopefully they will help you as well.
Spend quiet time with God. Read the Bible and ask God for direction and guidance in your life. Then be still and listen.
Try to look at the bigger picture of your life not just this one moment in time. Not just the bad moments in your life either.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
One way to see how truly blessed you really are is to write down all the things you are thankful for. This is something I do each night. I write in a small journal everything I'm thankful for - big or small. I give thanks for getting out onto a busy road safely, no arguments between my kids, gas for my vehicle, and even that my new kitten and my older cat are getting along better each day. Anything and everything you can think of.
Give/Help/Focus on Others
A good way to keep a positive attitude is to focus on others. Forget about your own problems for a little while and focus solely on helping others.
"Get your mind off yourself." Joyce Meyer
If you need money - give money. If you need more time - volunteer your time. If you want more love - give love. Whatever you need give away and it will come back to you. Try it and see. Give 10 minutes of time to help a friend, give $5 to a person in need, give undivided attention to a child. It doesn't have to be big you just have to give.
Life is like a river not a dam - you have to give and receive.
Quit complaining and whining because it doesn't help and it drains your energy. Seek help in finding solutions to your problems if you need to, but stop telling everyone what is going wrong in your life just to get sympathy.
Focus on What You CAN Do
If you are having a difficult time financially - you shouldn't go out spending money. Find free things to do such as going on a picnic, going to the library or spending time with friends at home
If you are struggling with having lost your job now is the perfect time to update your resume. Call any friends, family and acquaintances to help you find a new job. Public libraries usually keep a copy of the local newspaper to search the classifieds. They also have free internet access so you can hunt online.
It's all to easy to have a pity party or even fall into depression when things go wrong in life, but life changes constantly. You need to keep moving and keep a positive outlook on life. Just like Dory from "Finding Nemo". Just Keep Swimming.
Focus on helping others, being thankful for what you have and do what you can to make life pleasant.
PicMonkey.com is such a fun site. It lets you upload a photo and edit it, add text, create collages, and even add special effects.
I don't know about you but I can't afford PhotoShop, Adobe or any of those really cool, but expensive programs. This one is online and free. Which means it doesn't take up room on my computer and it won't empty my checkbook either.
Just check out these cool before and after photos I created on PicMonkey.com
They offer an upgrade to get more features, but there are loads of free ones. These photos were don't without any upgrades.
This site is fun for personal or professional use. If you have a blog or business you can copyright your photos. It is also useful for scrapbooking or journaling as well.
* I did not receive any compensation for mentioning or promoting this site. I just thought it was a great site and wanted to share it with others.
We have a new addition to our family. He arrived this weekend and boy is he a handful!
My cousin's cat had a litter of kittens and we were able to choose one. He's just over 8 weeks old and adorable.
This little guy is a bundle of energy. Awake for 2 hours and then sleep for 20 minutes. That seems to be his routine. It is almost like having another human baby in the house. He's up at night, sleeps during the day, and the whole house needs baby-proofing.
He's very friendly, not afraid of our dogs (mixed breed rescues) and really wants to play with my "Little Romeo" who's a 15 year old male cat. Unfortunately, it will take a little while for my older cat to warm up to a young, hyper kitten.
Gizmo has already taken to my oldest daughter (13 year old). She's more calm and patient. My youngest kid (8 year old) on the other hand is a little fearful. Gizmo darts around and has some sharp little claws.
So keep an eye out for him in future blog post photos. Not to mention funny stories. I'm sure there will be plenty.
Since it's Monday I thought I would have a post with some random silly, funny, goofy stuff. Just to lighten your day.
My hubby is a huge Walking Dead fan. If you are not familiar with "The Walking Dead" it's a television show that's on Sunday nights about a zombie apocalypse. It's based a book series and just a heads up it's not really a kid-friendly show. Lots of violence and fake blood, but my guy is all into it.
Well this morning I turned on the internet and found a link on msn.com for
Brought to you by DemeterFragrance.com
I found this pretty weird. I think it would make a great gag gift for someone who's a big fan of the show.
Here's a video I thought was pretty funny. I'm not a big NASCAR fan, but this was hilarious!
A couple years ago I saw an article in a magazine (sorry can't remember) that made rainbow cupcakes with white icing for St. Patrick's Day. My kids call them pot of gold cupcakes.
Ever since I saw the article I've made these each year for my kiddos.
It's a really simple recipe, but a bit time consuming.
1 box white cake mix (not yellow)
3 egg whites (or whatever your box calls for - same with oil and water)
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup of water
container of white cake icing
gold wrapped chocolate coins (optional)
Make the cake batter according to the box. Once it's well mixed separate the batter equally into 6 separate containers.
Add food coloring to each separate container as follows:
red: 18 red drops
orange: 12 yellow and 4 red drops
yellow: 12 yellow drops
green: 12 green drops
blue: 12 blue drops
purple : 6 blue and 9 red drops
Mix the batter and food coloring up very well. It should create nice, bold colors.
Then bake according to the box. Icing and top with a gold chocolate coin.
This sound a little morbid, but it is a pretty common experience around our household. See, my hubby is on blood thinners and often gets a bloody nose, small cuts or scrapes which for most people isn't a problem. Simply apply a band-aid and it's done, but that's not the case for people on blood thinners. Accidentally biting your tongue, paper cuts, even scraped knee can land you in the emergency room to get the bleeding to stop. So you can see why this has become a needed skill around my house.
But you don't have to be on blood thinners to get blood on your clothes every once in a while. Kids get cuts and scrapes all the time, and don't get me started on women's issues.
Whether it's a spot on your favorite shirt, a new pair of jeans, or whatever, you don't have to throw it away as ruined. There is a way to get that blood stain out.
First of all, treat the stain as soon as possible.
Start by soaking the item of clothing in cold (not hot or warm) water overnight. This will help get most of it out.
If the stain isn't gone after the overnight soaking - put an old rag underneath the stain (between the layers if possible) and completely wet the stained area with hydrogen peroxide. It will bubble and that's good.
Let the hydrogen peroxide air dry for an hour or so and then reapply. Each time it will remove more and more of the stain. You may need to repeat this step a couple times.
After most of the stain is gone. I spray with a fabric stain remover spray and put it in the washing machine on normal wash with cold water. Again, no warm or hot as this will cause the stain to set.
After the wash cycle is complete check the garment to see if the stain is completely gone. If yes - great! Now you can dry the garment. If not, spray with stain remover spray again and let it sit for an hour or so and wash again. Do not it in your dryer until the stain is removed because it will cause the stain to set.
I've used this technique to get stains out of shirts, jeans, jackets, and undergarments. It does take some time, but the garment usually comes out looking like new.
It includes 25 different micro crafts. These are super tiny crafts like the cat in the photo on the book.
My favorite project was the mini books. I've always been obsessed with notebooks and journals and thought this would be a really fun project. They are so tiny you can fill them with quotes, pictures you draw or if you are really crafty - make a microscopic scrapbook.
Well, I read the directions and followed them step by step and discovered it was really easy. Here is the first book I have ever made. Notice it isn't much bigger than a penny.
I used one sheet of printer/copier paper, a tiny piece of scrapbooking paper, a small piece of cardboard (cut from cereal box), some regular sewing thread, a push pin and a glue stick. It took me about an hour to actually make the first one only because I didn't want to mess up. I also let it sit overnight to let the glue dry. Actually working on it took very little time at all. Which is great for someone like me who likes instant results.
I've also made a couple teddy bears from their book and a few more books. My daughter gave a couple teddy bears out as presents for Christmas. They are small enough to fit in a pocket and carried around undetected by others.
The teddy bears can be made out of a very small piece of felt. Any color or pattern. I'm thinking about making a camouflage bear for my son.
I have to say this has got to be the best craft book I've found in a long time. I've actually completed a couple of the projects in the book unlike so many books I simply browse through. These projects are something I can make with my kids and we love how tiny they are.
* Just an FYI - the link above is my affiliate link for the book on Amazon, but feel free to check your local library first. If you love the book like I do you can always go back and buy it later.
I follow quite a few money saving or couponing blogs and am inspired by the people who get lots of groceries for almost nothing. I use their coupon matching lists, but for some reason I can't seem to get the same results.
One reason is because different areas of the country receive different coupons. While some people share how they get a $2/1 item coupon that came in their newspaper, mine is only for $1 off 3 items.
I live on the East Coast of the US and have found the coupons I receive in my local newspaper to be a bit lacking. Unless of course, you spend a ton of money to buy prepackaged food and the latest shampoos and make-up.
I guess I've come to realize I purchase more basics such as milk, eggs, flour, sugar, fresh fruits and veggies and not as much packaged products.
Even if the item is for a product I would use like paper towels. The available coupons only offer $.40 off a 6 pack. Why buy a more expensive brand just to use a coupon when there are cheaper, just as good, options available.
While I still use coupons for some things such as cat food, dog food, personal items and pizza yeast. Other than on rare occasions I think I will be giving up on coupons. It's not worth the time to search deals, find coupons and cut them all out - only to save $1 or less. Especially when I used to save $5-10 or more consistently each week not to long ago.
Is anyone else coming to the same realization that I am - that coupons just aren't as useful as they once were?
Today I'm sharing a couple of my family's favorite educational sites. My kiddos use these sites to help them with their schoolwork. I love that they have fun learning and it doesn't cost me a dime.
Kids today have become so technologically advanced. Even babies and toddlers are using computers. Because of this, teachers and parents are working hard to use technology to making learning fun by turning it into a game. Kids learn and have fun at the same time. Win Win!
This is an amazing site. It is organized by grades 1-8 and by type of math game. I love that this site offers games for older kids as well, not just addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. It also offers fractions, equations, integers as well. There are even a couple versions of Jeopardy to play in teams.
"Free Money Game" has really helped my daughter learn how to count money. She also uses the "Time Matching Game". These are fun ways for her to practice the skills she is learning in school.
What an awesome site! We especially love the Fruit Shoot Addition game. There are lots of really fun games that are appropriate for all ages, even high school and college. That makes this site even more valuable. Not many offer education games for older students.
My oldest child uses their World Geography and US Geography games and tutorials to help with her homework. We also routinely play the US capitals game. Be sure to check out their chemistry section and science section - great for older students.
This site is geared toward elementary and middle school aged students. It is organized by grade level and is more like an arcade than the previous two sites.
FunBrain.com offers lots of games, but they also offer a couple books for kids to read online including a special version of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid". My youngest really enjoys doing the Mad Libs Jr games.
These three sites are some of my family's favorites. I feel good letting my kids play video games so long as they are learning at the same time. These sites offer a wide variety of games so they have plenty to choose from and don't get bored.
* I have not received any compensation for my mentioning of these sites. These are my own personal opinions and just really enjoy the sites and hope you will to.
This past weekend my oldest daughter attended a birthday party at a local bowling alley. So instead of sitting around waiting for her to be done, my hubby, the kids and I decided to play too.
We walked up to the counter and were told it would cost $14 per person for 2 hours of bowling and shoe rental. Whoa! That's $56 for the four of us. I haven't been bowling in over a year and that seemed a bit pricey to me. Especially since one child bowled free with her friends.
We did have a really fun time for those 2 hours and I highly recommend getting out and having a variety of experiences. However, it made me think - is this really expensive in comparison to similar activities in my area?
An evening at the movies can be just as expensive in my area with tickets costing $10.50 per person for adults (age 12 and up) and $7.50 per kid. After taxes it costs our family of 5 just under $50.
Roller skating is also about the same in our area. It only costs $6.00 per person and skates are $4.00 to rent for a total of $10 per person. A family of 5 costs $50.
This was a rare treat for us. We do activities like this once or twice a year - making them more special and memorable for us.
Lately, I've gotten the feeling that being a mom isn't enough. How many of you have ever been asked what you do for a living and once you said you are a mom the person quickly ended the conversation? Like they were thinking - Oh so you don't work!
I was getting the feeling I need to work outside the home, care for my kids, hubby and home, and an endless number of other things in order to be valued as a person.
Just out of curiosity I googled "Is being just a mom enough?" and ran across this great video. It's was just what I needed and I hope it helps some of you also.
Let's face it we as moms are responsible for teaching our kids to become responsible, respectable, caring, and intelligent people. We are in charge of keeping our homes running smoothly, making sure everyone has clean clothes to wear, food to eat, homework done correctly, and pets are fed and cared for - just to name a few.
Okay, I was being sarcastic with the title. All you need to do is a quick search online to see all the stupid reasons kids are getting suspended these days. When I say stupid I mean like burping in class or hugging a friend.
Just this month a second grader from a school in Maryland was suspended for eating his PopTart into the shape of a gun. A seven year old boy playing with his food. I honestly don't see how this is a realistic threat to anyone. Who is he really going to hurt with his PopTart?
I'm a baffled with the lack of common sense in the public school systems here in the United States. Kids are getting suspended and even arrested for doing normal kid behavior. Stupid stuff, yes, but normal.
A teenage boy suspended for burping during gym class. Really??? That is annoying and rude, but seriously why couldn't the school just give him detention?
The zero-tolerance policies of some of our nation's school systems are ridiculous. I completely understand a zero tolerance policy concerning weapons in school, but toys are not real weapons, fingers pretending to be guns are not real weapons, and even drawings are not real weapons. These policies leave no room for common sense which seems to be missing in the many school administrators lately.
In the past, I've worked in an elementary school as a recess monitor, so I know not all kids are the same. Some are inherently bad. Even little kids can be "evil", but most are just normal kids wanting acceptance and attention.
Even hugging a friend can get your child sent to the principal's office. Really! As a recess monitor, we were told the kids aren't supposed to touch each other AT ALL. No holding hands, hugging, pats on the back. Little girls on the playground couldn't hold hands to play ring around the rosie. No playing touch football or freeze tag. It was truly sad.
Please learn what the policies are for your child's school and speak up. Be involved and most importantly - let kids be kids!
Before I had my kids I worked as an Administrative Secretary for 10 years and I was pretty good at it. Since having kids I quit that job to be a full-time, stay at home mom. I've been home for 13 years now and I love every minute of it.
To my surprise, there are some skills I learned from my secretarial job that I use almost every day here at home. Skills that could help you whether you are a mom who stays home or not.
Organize Your Desk
Almost all secretaries have their own desk to do their work. Don't have a desk? No problem. Neither do I. I have a small hanging file box, a 13 section expanding file folder and a sheet protector hanging on my fridge.
My hanging file box is sitting on my kitchen counter and contains folders with medical info, class lists, bill paying supplies, and any important papers my kids brought home.
My expanding file folder sits on top of my refrigerator. Stored inside is every single receipt and bill paid in the corresponding month. This way I'm able to find any receipt or bill pretty quickly.
I also have a multi-page clear sheet protector that keeps the family calendar, the kids' schedules for the day including their special classes (media, art, etc.), school lunch menu, and a yearly school calendar. All these important papers are in one convenient spot for easy access.
Keep a Calendar
We use a printable monthly calendar to record everyone's schedule all in one place. That way we can see in one spot what we have going on that day.
Get the Boss Ready
One key responsibility of most secretaries is to help their boss get ready for the day. This could mean printing out a report for a meeting, sorting mail or scheduling meetings.
Now I'm not suggesting you let your hubby and children run over you like a mean boss, but there are definitely skills that fit in here. Helping your children remember their homework each morning, making sure they have their library books, musical instrument or running shoes for their day, reading and responding to notices that come home from school and of course scheduling dental appointments and play dates.
Each school morning I make sure my oldest is awake and getting ready. Then I check her backpack to ensure she has the needed supplies for the day. I also pack a nutritious lunch and stick it near her back pack. Then I wake the younger two and do the same for them.
Keep a Budget
As a secretary, I was responsible for keeping track of the finances. Every penny had to be accounted for and I had to order all kinds of things, make sure they were received in good condition, and of course get approval from the boss first.
I no longer need a boss for approval, but the hubby and I do discuss purchases ahead of time, especially major ones. Like many moms, I'm responsible for almost all the purchasing including groceries, cleaning supplies, home maintenance materials, clothing, etc.
Another part of keeping a budget is making sure your accounts balance with the bank and that all bills are paid in full on time. Hubby and I write everything down on a separate calendar - every bill, every paycheck. Then we determine which bills can be paid with a certain paycheck.
Of course it is important to pay your bills, make sure your children have nutritious meals to eat and have a organized filing system so you can find needed papers. But you don't need to be a secretary to do that. This is what works for me, I hope it helps you find a system that works for you and your family.
A few weeks ago, my youngest daughter came home from school with a science experiment her class had done. They were learning how to grow sprouts from seeds. It's a wonderful science lesson for any age.
Basically my daughter's teacher bought dry lima beans at the store. Soaked them overnight in water. Then during class the kids took 2-3 beans, wrapped them lightly in a damp paper towel, and stuck it in a clear sandwich bag.
Now some websites I've read said to hang the bag near the window. Little miss's was in her locker a couple days before she brought it home. It still worked though I wouldn't recommend it. Just make sure that paper towel stays damp not soaking wet.
Within a couple days it had sprouted and about a inch and half by the time she brought them home. Being a garden enthusiast, I couldn't just throw away perfect good veggie plants. I put some soil from our back yard into a little pot and transplanted the spouts.
Then we placed the pot with the sprouts by a window sill with lots of light. She loves getting up each morning and watering her growing plants.
Here is what they look like 5 days after the first picture. We divided up the plants because they were growing so fast.
We hope to move them to our vegetable garden when the weather warms up.