Friday, June 28, 2013

Freebies on Friday - June 28, 2013

I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Enjoy these free e-books and samples. See you on Monday!

e-Books

15 Minute Breakfast - Quick Healthy Breakfast Recipes Made In Just 15 Minutes (15 Minute Recipes)


We Use Coupons, You Should Too! How Couponing Saved My Life


Weight Watcher Guru Heavenly Desserts Points Plus Recipes (Weight Watcher Guru Series)


Real Clever Ideas and Solutions: Helpful Hints and Tips to Save You Money and Time


Samples
Free Lance Crackers - Get a coupon for a box of 8 packages of crackers at Walmart.

Free Cabinet Safety Latch Starter Kit - to keep little fingers out of the cabinets.

Free Arm and Hammer Sensitive Toothpaste - from the makers of Orajel

Free Sephora make-up samples - select up to 3 different samples

* Please note the ebook links are affiliate links but at the time of this publication all the books were listed as free on Amazon.com. All the remaining links are not-affiliate links and I am not compensated for sending people to any of them.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Throwing a Party on a Budget

The kids and I have been out running errands all day and thankfully they have been getting along. We are getting ready for a big 4th of July Party all on a very tight budget.

So here's how we are doing it.

Food
We've been getting a little bit each week, so that we won't have a whole lot to buy the week of the party. One week we bought hamburger meat and hotdogs. Another week we bought sodas which we found on sale at Target for $1 (2-liter bottles). Yet another week we bought the ingredients we need for potato salad, macaroni salad, desserts, etc.

The key is to add it into your normal grocery budget or set aside extra money to purchase all the stuff you need at once.

Decorations
I've gotten all the decorations from my fave store, Dollar Tree. I picked up tablecloths, banners, and balloon weights. I always pick up plain colored items, when possible, because they can always be used for other occasions. Red tablecloths can be used on Valentine's Day or 4th of July.

Utensils
We do not have a dishwasher, so parties are the only time I purchase disposable utensils and plates. All of which I got at the dollar store. I want to spend time with my guests not standing over the sink washing dishes so we can have forks for dessert.

Ask Guests for Help
We have a huge extended family and if you are invited to a cook-out, picnic or party you are expected to bring a dish. By asking your guests to bring something small like a side dish, dessert or drinks. Where do you think BYOW (Bring Your Own Whatever) came from?

Start Early
Though this doesn't have to do with budgeting your money it does have to do with budgeting your time and that is to get as much ready for the party ahead of time as possible. Clean, cook and set out as much as you can ahead of time, so you aren't rushing around the day of the party.

So that's how we plan for a party. Please feel free to share your tips below. I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Week #4 on Weight Watchers 360

Source

This is week #4 for me on Weight Watchers 360° and I'm down 2 more pounds. Not too shabby :)

I wanted to mention something that has really helped me this week. It's to eat more fruits, veggies and whole grains.

Have you ever found yourself saying "I just don't feel full"?  Well, I did all the time. I really never felt full. I could just keep eating and eating all day. Then I realized that what I was eating had almost no nutrients in them. Foods like potato chips, cookies, cakes, etc.

I noticed on Weight Watchers I would run out of points pretty quick and still feel hungry, so I started eating more fruits and veggies that were 0 points. I'm a huge fan of bananas, cantaloupe, watermelon and broccoli, so it wasn't too hard to eat them more often.

I would actually feel full (well almost), but I felt much more satisfied when I finally switched my regular breads for whole grain. They had a better taste and finally filled me up.

I started off slow by switching my mini bagel at breakfast from regular plain bagels to whole wheat. Plus I added a fruit or veggie to every meal.

Not a fan of fruits and veggies? Maybe you just haven't found the one you like - there are tons to choose from. One idea is to go to an all-you-can-eat restaurant and sample different ones until you find one you like. The same goes for different types of breads and pastas.

You may be thinking that fruits and vegetables cost a lot more than prepackaged foods. That is true, but it takes less food to fill you up when it is full of nutrients.

So bottom line is...eat your fruits and vegetables! Just like your parents and grandparents have been saying all along.

* This post is sponsored by Weight Watchers.com, but ALL opinions are completely mine and 100% honest. These are my actual experiences and feelings about following Weight Watchers 360° online program.

**  People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.
 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

5 Favorite Free Summer Printables

Here are a couple of the really cute printables I found in my searches online lately.

Source
Summer Bucket List by Three Little Monkeys Studio
This is really cute. There are 115 fun things to do. Lots of really great, well-rounded ideas. There is also a blank printable to add your own ideas.


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Summer Fun Passport by Well Created Life
This is great for all ages. It's a printable passport that kids can use this summer or any in the future since it's undated. It even has a sticker page that you can print out.  Love, love, love this one.



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Summer Checklist by EastCoastMommyBlog
I thought this was really cute. Love the colors and my kids really liked the activities listed. We especially liked the outdoor movie night.



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Summer Bucket Coloring Page by Pen and Paint Blog
My kids really liked this. Even the older ones. They could color it any way they wanted. They also liked being able to create a list of stuff they want to do this summer.



Source
Adorable Bucket List Tags by SimplyKierste.com
These are so cute and easy to make. This one you need to like her Facebook page to access the printables. I don't usually include ones that require a Facebook page, but these were pretty cute.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Downside of Using Free Blog Templates

This has been a really rough weekend. My phone broke, the television broke and my template for my blog disappeared. Yep...completely disappeared!

The downside of using free blog templates is that the owners of the image can remove them from the web and you, in turn, your blog. Usually with no notice to the users. I know there's an easy solution to the problem. Buy a custom or pre-made background or template.

There's one thing with pre-made blogs and templates - you need money to buy them. They cost anywhere from $35 to over $200 and that just isn't in the budget right now.

Don't get me wrong I would love, love, love a blog design of my own. It's one of my long-term goals for this blog.

Sorry for the complaining!  On to something a bit more productive and useful.

So ... here are a couple really great sites that offer free blog background in case you are in the market for one.

TheCutestBlogOnTheBlock.com
HotBliggityBlog.com
ShabbyBlogs.com
LeeLou-Blogs.com

I would personally recommend using a background where you download the image to your computer and upload to your blog. I don't recommend having the image hosted somewhere else for the simple reason listed above.

Well bye for now. Have a nice evening and see you tomorrow!


Friday, June 21, 2013

Freebies on Friday - June 21, 2013

I've included a couple e-books today that I think you may enjoy. One that my son said we don't need I let you guess which (hint, hint...video games). Also included are a couple free samples.

Hope you had a great week! Have a nice weekend and see you on Monday!

e-Books

The 30 Day Organizational Course: How To Organize, Declutter, and Keep Your Home Spotless In Only 30 Days



HOW TO END YOUR CHILD'S VIDEO GAME ADDICTION - THE ULTIMATE GUIDE



Wake Up Successful - How to Increase Your Energy and Achieve Any Goal with a Morning Routine



Traveling With Kids: How to come home with a memory and not a migraine. DeClutter, simplify, and enjoy parenting while traveling. (Travel Well)



Samples

Pedia-Lax Probiotic Yums Sample - These help support digestive health in kids 2-11 and is strawberry flavored. Might be a nice alternative for kids who don't like yogurt, but need some help in this area.

Schick Hydro Disposable Razor for Men or Women 

Lysol Touch of Foam Soap - This one is only available in certain areas. Just enter your zip code and see if you qualify.

Personalized Pen - If you have your own business or work for a direct sales company you can request a personalized pen with your name, business name and phone number. From National Pen.


* Please note the ebook links are affiliate links but at the time of this publication all the books were listed as free on Amazon.com. All the remaining links are not-affiliate links and I am not compensated for sending people to any of them.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Technological Difficulties

I want to apologize for my blog posts coming so late in the day lately.  See during the school year I had time to work on my posts on my daughter's laptop anytime I wanted. Now with all three kids home with me - we are all fighting for time online and buying another laptop/computer right now is not an option.

We are still a one income, one vehicle and one computer family and we're fine with that. It's still the first week of summer break for my kiddos, so we are still creating our own routine.

Thankfully, their grandmother is taking them to an amusement park tomorrow with some friends and I will have the whole day to hopefully write and schedule some posts. Many posts like my Weight Watchers ones will still need to be updated that day just like my Freebies on Friday posts.

So basically I'm asking you to please bare with me as we are trying to get our summer routine together.

Thanks so much for your understanding.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Week #3 with Weight Watchers 360

This is week #3 on Weight Watchers 360 and I've lost right around 4 lb this week. Not too bad if you ask me. I'm pretty happy with it.

The one thing I've found most helpful is using a food log. Both times on the Weight Watchers' diet I've used their mobile food/activity tracker. (see photo below)


I list EVERYTHING I eat on there. Even if it's just one cookie or a couple grapes. If I eat it - it get listed.

I like that I can see how many points I have left at any time throughout the day via my phone. I can record foods and activities while I'm out. Most importantly I can see how many points a food will cost me.

My only complaint is that you cannot add recipes to the mobile app. For example, I ate enchiladas last night that I made from scratch and I needed to add it by adding the recipe online. No big deal really, but it had to wait till I could get online. This is a little annoying when you are eating at someone else's house and they make something. In that case I usually find something similar that's already listed in their database.

If you prefer paper and pencil log there are plenty of free printables you can find online. Just make sure you record everything you eat. The little snacks here and there are what ruin your diet. All those little calories add up.

Well bye for now and see you tomorrow.

* This post is sponsored by Weight Watchers.com, but ALL opinions are completely mine and 100% honest. These are my actual experiences and feelings about following Weight Watchers 360° online program.

**  People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My Favorite Rainy Day Activities

It's raining off and on all day today, so I created a list of rainy day activities my kids could do because, of course, they're bored. LOL

Balloon volleyball
This one only requires a balloon (not helium) and something to be the net. We use a cushion or coffee table to be the net. I like this activity because it gets the kids up and moving.

Be a Star
Create your own movie. Lots of kids have their own iPod or DSi which allows them to record short videos, but most smart phones record videos as well.  The kids can dress up in costumes to put on a play or maybe show off their latest artwork, creations, or video game skills.

Arts and Crafts
My kids really like this Giant Rainbow Collage. We also have fun making stuff out of duct tape. Some of our faves are wallets, bags, covering notebooks, and pens/pencils. Another craft we have fun with on rainy days


Pitch a Tent
When it's been raining a couple days we like to set up a small tent in the living room and let the kids have an indoor "camp out".  They get out their sleeping bags, create a pretend campfire and eat marshmallows.

Cooking Up a Storm
When it's raining outside we bake up some cookies or a cake. Something fun and delicious. We get all messy and have a blast. Plus it makes the house smell good.

These are just a couple of my favorite rainy day activities that I do with my kids.

Monday, June 17, 2013

First Official Day of Summer

Today is my kids first official day of summer vacation and I've already experienced a complete meltdown, the "I'm Bored" complains, and the "Why can't I play on my iPod all day" questions. Really?!!

I'll admit it. This morning I let the kids sleep in (so I could sleep in, too).  I let them play their video games this morning while I got in the shower and all ready for the day.

However, I had lots to do today. Cleaning up after a weekend of messes, balance the checkbook, do the laundry, and lots of other normal household chores.  The kids wanted to sit around in their pjs all day playing video games.  Call me a mean old mom, but I don't want my kids to become couch potatoes all summer. I wanted to start the summer off right.

So for the first official day of summer vacation I had planned for them to play in the swimming pool, do one small workbook page (2-3 minutes of work tops), and maybe play some games.

They obviously had other plans.

Well after one major meltdown from my boy who didn't want to do any kind of work this summer and a temper tantrum from the cat after I cleaned his litter box. We managed to get onto my plan and with a low and behold they actually had fun. Shocker! (sarcastic)

I rounded up the family and laid down the plan so they know what to expect each day. A tiny bit of work in their workbooks (bridge from 3rd to 4th grade and 5th to 6th grade). Play in the pool or outside on the trampoline if it's nice. A craft or project of some sort and maybe a movie at night after dinner or sooner if it's rainy.

That left lots and lots of free time to play whatever they want and have some friends come over too. I'm hoping this isn't a sign of how the summer will turn out. Wish me luck!

So how is your summer going so far?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Freebies on Friday - June 14, 2013

Hello everyone! Hope your week is going well. Today I have 4 e-books for you and a couple printable Father's Day items. Enjoy and see you on Monday! Have a great weekend!



Betty Crocker 20 Best Summer Drink Recipes



How to Be Happier Right Now: 48 Fast-Acting Human Happiness Hacks



From Our Home Vegetable Garden: Growing and Storing Fresh Food for Family Health and Wellness... Inspiring, Low-Maintenance Vegetable Gardening Advice, Tips and How-To for Beginners



The CVS Drugstore Game: Strategies to Turn Pocket Change into Thousands of Dollars Worth of Free Products



Fathers Day Coupon Book Printable by iHeartNaptime.net - this is an adorable tool box full of tools that you can attach coupons too.
Printable Father's Day Checks  by Hoover Web Designs. Write your dad a check for one free breakfast in bed or lawn cutting.
Father's Day Cards to Print and Color by Printable-Cards.GotFreeCards.com. Just print out a card, color it and hand it to your Dad. Great for kids.

* Please note the ebook links are affiliate links but at the time of this publication all the books were listed as free on Amazon.com. All the remaining links are not-affiliate links and I am not compensated for sending people to any of them.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Apps I Can't Live Without

Today I would like to share a couple apps that I just can't live without. I'm on them all the time and find them either fun or useful.


Contacts
This one comes standard on almost all phones. Besides keeping your family and friend's address, phone numbers and birthdays, some apps let you add a photo. On my iPhone this app allows you to add a note at the bottom of the person's contact page. In the note section, I put my contact's kids' names, anniversary date, and gift ideas. For my hubby, I put all his current medications and doses in that section.  This way I always have the info with me in case of an emergency room visit. Let me tell you some of those medications have long names.




Storm Shield Weather Radio App
Love this! It notifies you when there is a weather event in your area. Tornado, severe thunderstorm, flooding, etc. You get a text or message on your phone - no matter where you are in the United States. That way if your power is out in your home you can still know what's going on outside and keep your family safe. Let's face it, the weather has been pretty crazy throughout the U.S. lately and this app can help.



Facebook
I'm on this one everyday. It's how I connect with family and friends. We share photos and stuff happening in our lives.  It's a nice way to send a message to friends, distant family and acquaintances. There are also games you can play with friends, famous people you can follow, causes you can donate/help and lots more. Find me on Facebook: "Kimberly Butler-Shavatt"



Instagram
This one is really fun. I really enjoy taking photos and here is an app that lets me share them with others. Great for someone wanting to improve their photography skills. Practice makes perfect (or better at least). This is an app for beginners to expert photographers or anyone who is just goofing around with a camera like me. Follow me on Instagram at "shavattk"


Pinterest
This one is quite addictive. You are able to add pictures from all over the web to "boards" you create.  Almost anything you want. Some ideas include: DIY/Crafts, My Dream Home, Vacations I Plan to Take, and My Style. Plus you can follow other people's boards and re-pin their items to your boards. It's a great way to collect ideas. Follow me on Pinterest at username "shavattk".


Skee-Ball 2
This one is just a fun game. I've love skee-ball since I was a little girl. I even have an actual skee-ball game at home and now I have one on my phone to play anywhere I wish. This one lets you earn tickets and purchase little prizes. You can even tilt your phone to make the ball move different directions.


Solitaire
A classic card game that never gets old. It keeps your brain sharp. You are able to play with one card at a time or three at a time. It's fun because you can even customize the back of the cards with a photo from your camera roll.

All these app are available on the iTunes app store and are possibly available on other phones as well. Everyone of these apps are fr*ee except the Storm Shield which was $4.99 as of this morning.