Monday, September 30, 2013

Conquering Your Fears

Will you do what needs to be done, even if your are afraid? What if there was no one to help you? What if your kids depended on you?

Okay enough of the dramatics. LOL!

We've all been there.  
 
A creepy bug is climbing the wall of your shower and you're afraid of spiders.
Replace a high up light bulb when you're terrified of heights.
Conquer your fear of maggots on the trash can when you just want to get sick.

It doesn't matter whether you are married, dating someone, living with family or you live alone, at some point you will need to do something that really frightens you. It won't go away just because you don't like it. You won't be able to get someone else to help you every single time.

I've had to do all the things listed above this past week and I was a bit freaked out by them, but I still did them. 
 
I had to climb into my attic to put some summer clothes away in storage and noticed 4 little bats hanging by my attic vent.  It had climbed through the slats in the vent and was hanging on the screen just inside.  

I'm not afraid of bats, I just don't want them in my house. Luckily, they were on the outside of the screen and couldn't get in.


At the time, I was home alone with all my kids in school, so I was the only one home to investigate where the bats were. My hubby wouldn't be home for a few hours. By the time he could get home it would be too dark and the bats probably gone to hunt for food. But I didn't want them to come into the main part of the house and fly around.
 
We don't necessarily live in the country, but I've had to deal with a lizard, frogs, lots of camel crickets and too many bugs to count. All while my hubby was at work.

 
What would you do if you were home alone and HAD to do something that frightened you?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Freebies on Friday - September 27, 2013

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you enjoy the wonderful freebies I've found for you. See you Monday!

e-Books

The Frugal Life: The Simple Path to Living a Good Life on a Budget



Lose Weight Without Feeling Hungry: Eat Well, Eat Real Food



The Positive Thinking Secret


Samples
Free Small Dunkin Donuts coffee - on Sunday, September 29, 2013 only - see site for details.
Toys R Us Events for Girls - Two wonderful events at your local ToysRUs. Make a Lego Friends Picture Frame or a Cra-Z-Loom bracelet.
Lego Witch Mini Build -  On October 1, 2013 at 5 p.m. build a free Lego Witch Mini Kit at your local Lego Store. Limited number of kits available so show up early. Ages 6-14 may participate.


Misc.
Halloween Coloring Pages - Loads of great coloring pages to print off.
Halloween Soda Labels - Great labels for 2 liter bottles. Devil's Delight, Witches Brew, Jack-o-Lantern Juice and Zombie Virus. Perfect for Halloween parties.
Printable Gravestone Cupcake Toppers


* 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, September 26, 2013

Welcome to Fall - Pumpkin Pies, Leaves and Oh Yeah...Allergies

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. I love watching the leaves turn colors. I don't even mind raking leaves. I really like the cooler weather, too.

While this is a wonderful time to eat pumpkin pie with whipped topping and homemade chili, it can be quite annoying when you are coughing, sneezing and rubbing your itchy eyes.

Yep it's fall allergy season. Allergies don't just happen in the spring when all the flowers and trees bloom. They can be just as bad in the fall.

There are a couple causes of fall allergies. Ragweed, mold and dust mites being the most common reasons for the majority of all the allergy symptoms.


Ragweed pollen is usually the worst from late summer to mid fall. It is sometimes called "hay fever". The pollen from ragweed can even travel for up to 400  miles with wind.


Mold and not just inside kind is another cause for allergy symptoms. Outdoor mold can be found in the soil, under leaves that pile up on the ground, and with mold spores very small and lightweight they are easily carried by the wind and inhaled.

Dust/Dust mites are yet another allergen.  As it starts to get cooler and the heaters get turned on, all the dust that sat in the air ducts is blown back into the air.


Unfortunately the only way to completely avoid the pollen is to stay inside with the windows closed or with a mask on when you go outside.  The easiest way to keep mold at bay is to make sure the leaves in your yard are raked, bagged and disposed of.  As for dust and dust mites, you can always have your vents and air returns cleaned and keep the home dusted and vacuumed frequently.

If you don't want to be a shut-in all fall, visit your doctor or allergist for some allergy medicine to help you feel as close to normal and enjoy your life as usual.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Food Fairies Are Back

Source

Now that I have my vehicle back, I am able to go to the grocery store during the day while the kids are at school. When we only had one working vehicle we would all go grocery shopping in the evening. That was fun...LOL. Three kids and hubby along for every grocery trip.

My youngest mentioned one week how she loved it when the food would magically appear at home while they were at school. I then asked her how she thought the food got there. She said "The food fairies must have brought it."

I have to admit it was much easier to do the grocery shopping alone. I, too, am glad the food fairies are back. 

Do you have food fairies or do you do the grocery shopping as a family?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Weekly Family Planner Printable - Colorful Version

Today I'm sharing a printable that will hopefully help families organize their week. It allows you to keep track of the activities for Mom, Dad, and three kids for the week. You can also laminate the printed form and use a dry erase marker to update your activities each week.

Feel free to use this with your kids or students. Enjoy!



Feel free to print this for your own personal or classroom use and share it, however no permission is given to sell any printables on this site. All rights reserved. 


Monday, September 23, 2013

How We Paid Cash for Our Vehicle Repairs

Today I got my mini van back after 6 months of only having one working vehicle in the family. Yippeee!!!!!

The short story is hubby's truck needed some major work, we didn't have the money to have the repairs done, so... he took my mini van and the truck sat in the driveway for 6 months.

Since my hubby drove the van to and from work 5 days a week from 4:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day, and I am a stay at home mom this plan worked for our family.

With no measurable savings, we needed to save up and pay for replacement parts for his truck a little at a time.

Here's how we came up with the money for some expensive vehicle repairs.

Quit Eating Out
We got in the habit of eating out every Wednesday night before we went grocery shopping. We cut eating out and I fixed something quick and easy at home before we left for the store. Saving us $10-$15 a week or $40-$60 a month.

No Unnecessary Spending
We cut out everything that isn't a necessity. Basically, we only paid for bills, groceries, and gasoline for hubby to get to work. That meant cutting non-essential school activities, classmates' birthday parties, new clothes, and most importantly driving anywhere we don't need to go. We even cut down on visits to friends and family -- even local ones to save on gas costs. 

We stay home most of the time. Eating meals we cook together as a family and do fun things around the house like playing board games, going for walks, and watching movies we already own with some popcorn.

Meal Planning
This is a big money saver for us. I plan our meals every week.

Each week I make a list of what we will eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day including snacks. I make sure I have all the ingredients needed or add them to my shopping list. Next I search online for any coupons that could save us some money. Finally I stick to my list at the grocery store.

Stretch Things Out/Make It Last
Lastly I save us money by making what we do have last as long as possible. Clothes are mended and patched when possible. I routinely trim hair to spread out the time between haircuts. We use just a little bit less of everything from shampoo, ketchup, electricity, and water because every little bit adds up to big savings.

Sought Help From Friends
Luckily, We have friends in the automotive field that helped install parts onto the truck. We also asked relatives to drive us to the kids' doctor/dentist appointments. Friends and people online have even helped by finding coupons to save us money.

Basically, we had to prioritize our money so we spent it on the most important things to us, and staying strict to our food budget gave us the opportunity to save up for the necessary repairs.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Freebies on Friday - September 20, 2013

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you enjoy the wonderful freebies I've found for you.  See you Monday!

e-Books

Not Just Tacos - A Journey Into the World of Authentic Latin American Cuisine


Hydroponics for the Home: Basic Hydroponic Gardening


Book Love: Help Your Child Grow from Reluctant to Enthusiastic Reader 1st Edition



Samples
Mid Nite Sleep Aid - Get to Sleep, Get Back to Sleep, Wake Alert
Pinnacle 2 Golf Ball - Fill out a short survey and receive 2 fr*ee golf balls in the mall.
Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Shampoo - see your dry hair transform in only 1 use.


Misc
Printable Halloween "Eat, Drink and Be Scary" sign - this is quite clever.
Printable Vegetable Seed Packet - Plus directions to harvest and store the seeds.
Printable Healthy Living Log - A Daily Food and Exercise Log. Colorful!


* 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, September 19, 2013

Why I Like My House Dirty

Today we have a guest post from a Kristen Sterk from Organizing Life With Less. Enjoy!

Why I Like My House Dirty
By Kristin R Sterk

WHAT? You LIKE your house dirty? You are crazy!

Yes, I am crazy and sometimes I do like my house dirty.

A few years ago, we had some teenagers over after youth group. One of them came up from behind and gave a big squeeze to one of his friends. Little did he know, his friend had a cup full of grape Kool-Aid in his hand. The big squeeze ended up being one of the funniest moments we have experienced in youth ministry. I was in the kitchen and this guy comes up to me with grape Kool-Aid dripping from his face, wondering if I had a towel. He was covered in it and our ceiling was dripping with this drink. Our couch and floor were not spared either, but I look at that moment and just laugh. An explosion of Kool-Aid in the house - loved it.

I love a dirty house.

1. A dirty house says "I am lived in." I have been in houses where they are so picture perfect, that you barely feel worthy to touch or sit on anything. To me that is a house, not a home. A home says "I am not perfect" and if something breaks, it's okay. If something gets dirty, it's okay. I am meant to be lived in.

2. A dirty house says people abide here. A dirty house says "it's okay for people to come over." It is welcoming - it says it's okay if your shoes are dirty because my house is dirty too. It is okay if the house is not perfect if someone randomly stops by. I remember one of our youth group kids came over when I was on a baking frenzy. He stepped in and said "Kristin, I don't think I've seen your house such a mess before." I had to chuckle in agreement, but I thought "it's okay." The bonus? I had food to offer him while he was over!

3. A dirty house says "I love the fresh air." I will be the first to admit that my husband and I are a little odd. We appreciate summer - we have appreciation for warmer temperatures (more myself than my husband). There is something about having the windows wide open, with a warm summer breeze gently blowing in. Sometimes we have to compensate for the warm air and turn a fan on to turn it into cool air, but we LOVE the windows open. A dirty house says that you appreciate fresh air. I do have to dust more. I do have to wipe things down more because dirt collects with the windows open. The dirtier the better - it says "I love the fresh air."

4. A dirty house says "it's just a possession, not my life." What do you mean? Not having a perfect house, is okay? I look through magazines and think "wow, if only my home looked like that." Really, Kristin, do you really want it to look like that? I do not want to spend my life savings on my home - it is purely a place I live in. My heart and who I am is more important. I don't want to be remembered as someone who had a perfect home, but someone who loved the Lord. I realize no matter where I live, my house could go up in flames. A tornado could take it out. Bam. Gone. So if it is dirty when it is taken out, I don't think I am going to care. It is a possession and not something I can tow behind my hearse!

5. Again, a dirty house says "it's okay." It is just okay. Take a deep breath. In a world where success and perfection are the driving forces behind everything, they can end up taking control over every area of our lives. It's okay to see a dust bunny in the corner. It's okay if someone dropped a chip crumb on the floor. It's okay if an ant is carrying away last night's supper on it's back. It's okay. Take a deep breath.

It's okay to have a dirty house. Sometimes I get all worked up when I see a dust bunny or a clump of grass on our kitchen floor. Then I remind myself that we LIVE here. We spend most of our time here. We love the outdoors. We love where we live. It's okay if things get dirty. It says so much more than the dirt itself, ever could.

Article Source:  Why I Like My House Dirty

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Social Media In Schools

The other day my two middle school kids brought home a paper that really concerned me. 

It was a letter from their school system's Early Childhood Office asking for permission for my kids (and all kids in middle/high school) to access social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to enhance the curriculum covered in class. In a nut shell, the schools want to know if the students can access social media during school time.

My kids are 13 and 12, and they aren't allowed to access these sites at home, so I don't want my kids setting up an account at school without my supervision.

I am definitely not giving them my permission to access these sites at school, but I'm really wondering what the schools plan to use the sites for to begin with?

There have been lots of news stories about kids getting targeted online by bullies, especially the teens and pre-teens. Why would the schools want more kids on these sites - when they offer no educational value?

Their school system is quite high tech. However, they already have a website that allows parents and students to check grades, get important info and more. They also use https://www.edmodo.com/ so kids and parents can contact teachers, homework reminders, project details, etc.  They even offer text and phone messages for important information, so there are tons of ways for parents and staff to get in touch with each other.

So my big question is would you approve your kids setting up and using social media during the school day?

Would you be more likely to let them use it if they were 17 or 18 years old as opposed to 11 or 12?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Funny Products to Brighten Your Day


Here are a couple products available online that are quite amusing.  Some of them have funny reviews on Amazon.com that are worth checking out - just to have a laugh. 


Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Lock
Do friends, family or co-workers try to steal your ice cream? Here is your solution. The Ben and Jerry's Euphori-Lock. Great idea!




Rainbow Unicorn Meat
Yummy!!! It should be a staple food in everyone's diet. I had a blast just reading all the reviews for this delicious product.  Here's an example:

"Do NOT eat too much of this stuff at once. I had the rainbow runs for a week. The entire complex smelled like hopes and dreams. " Amazon Customer Review



Flying Stick People Stickers
These are too funny. Love how they are hanging on for dear life.





Dead Fred Pen Holder
This is great when you have a frustrating work environment. Take your stress out on Fred instead of the people in your life.




Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer
This is a really neat invention to help you cut your bananas quicker. Just curious what was wrong with models 1-570?  Lots of witty review of this product as well.


* Some of the links above are affiliate links. The point of the article was just to show you some of the funny things people invent and sell these days. Enjoy!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Help You Child Get Organized for Middle School Success

The school year is under way and you may notice your middle schooler needs some help getting and staying organized. They probably have more teachers, more homework, projects and crazy schedules than they did in elementary school. 

Kids entering middle school can easily become overwhelmed with all the changes. They went from one main teacher to 6+ teachers.  Kids being the oldest in the school back to being the youngest and sometimes smallest.  Plus

Here are a few ways to help you middle school child get organized.

Use a Planner
Many schools require the students to use a planner but if yours does not than find a calendar that your child likes to use. In the planner, make sure they write down their homework every day for each class along with any projects and their due dates.

Many times kids think they can remember whether or not they have homework. Kids may be good at remembering the fact that they do have homework - they just can't remember whether it was numbers 1-21 or 1-31, only odd or even problems, or even when it's due. It's the important details that slip their memory most of the time.


Homework Time
Preferably have them do homework as soon as they get home while all the info is still somewhat fresh in their mind.  Have a small snack while working if they are hungry, but get it done right after school. This helps them avoid being up late into the night working on a project that is due the next day.

Homework Space
Create a space for your child to do their homework and have all the supplies they need. A kitchen table, a desk in their room, etc.  Almost any place will work as long as it's fairly quiet, has room for them to write, and allows them to concentrate.

Another suggestion is to have a box filled with pencils, a calculator, hole punch, dictionary, eraser and anything else they use to do their homework. This box should be close by so the kids aren't getting up constantly to go find the stuff they need.

Also consider having a space for important papers, library books, and class folders.


Calendar
Many middle schools have ABC days or alternating days. Meaning they offer different classes on different days. You child may have Gym on A days, Music on B days and a World Language on C days. Help you child remember which day it is by placing a calendar up where they can see it. Also have them put all the folders and stuff they need for the next day in their back pack the night before. 

I have two kids in middle school and so I write down on the school's ABC calendar my kid's name and which class they have on each day. It's easier than trying to remember A day is gym for my son and chorus for my daughter.

Avoid Over Scheduling
One last thing, as parents you want your kids to be well rounded, but school work should always come first. If they are excelling at school then add one or two extra curricular activities per season. Many kids nowadays rush home from school, head to practice a couple nights a week, squeezing in dinner on the road and then have to stay up late doing homework only to repeat it all the next day.

Face it most adults don't like having to work all day, come home to rush around, eat on the run and than do it all the next day. You get burned out, need some time to relax and so do the kids. Scale back the after school activities.

Having a planner to write their homework in, a set time and place to do homework and a calendar to prepare for the day will help your child be organized for their day at school.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Freebies on Friday - September 13, 2013

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you enjoy the wonderful freebies I've found for you.  See you Monday!

e-Books

Cold Night Warm Belly: 35 Game Day Recipes For The Slow Cooker (Cold Night Warm Belly Slow Cooker Recipes)


Attack Your Day!: Before It Attacks You


How To Get All Your Home Decor, Furniture & Household Items Free: Reduce Debt & Save Thousands Of Dollars With Lots Of Free Stuff & Freebies (Saving Money Series 3)


How to Save Money at Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to Cut Spending



Samples
Maybelline NY Fit Me Shine-Free Stick Foundation - free sample from Target
Breathe Right Strips
Fizzy Wizzies Colorful Bath Tabs for Kids

Misc
PenPal World - great way to make friends throughout the world. Great for adults or kids (they can block adults friend requests).
Swagbucks - use this search engine and win swagbucks to earn gift cards at Amazon, Target and more.  You can even use the gift cards you earn to buy Christmas gifts (I do every year).

* 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, September 12, 2013

National Preparedness Month - Create a Kid's School Survival Kit



Lots of people have heard of a "Go Bag", and some people actually have created one for themselves and their family.  Go Bags are basically a bag or tote with everything you would need to survive a couple days if you had to leave your home or work with almost no notice.

Then I thought about it for a minute, what about your kids? You can't really expect them to carry a huge go bag to school each day, but obviously we want our kids to have at least something to help them in a time of need.  So that's when I decided I was going to put together a small portable emergency kit or mini go bag for my kids.

Now you may be thinking - why would a kid need this? I have a couple reasons. School buses have accidents just like any other kind of vehicle. Severe weather can make it difficult for you or the buses to reach your child at school. (I personally was stranded at school for 4 hours during a snow storm when the school system hadn't closed schools early. It can happen!) There could be a terrorist attack at or near their school. Mostly it's for the reasons I can't think of that I want them to have a get home bag/go bag/emergency kit. These are crazy times we are living in and you just can't predict what some people will do.  I want my kids to have every chance to survive and be comfortable until help arrives.

One important thing I had to consider was that everything in the kit had to be allowed in school and be age appropriate obviously. That ruled out knives, matches, medicines just to name a few. While it does limit what the child/young adult can do - it is still better than having nothing.



Here are some suggestions to include in your child's kit:

  • Water bottle
  • Granola bar/energy bar/trail mix/crackers
  • Band aids and wipes - to clean a cut or wound
  • Tissues - a couple tissues to wipe noses or to use as toilet paper if needed
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Mirror - for starting a fire or signalling for help
  • Dental floss or a paracord bracelet - use as rope 
  • Finger nail file - can be used to file/cut if necessary
  • Poncho/emergency blanket - to use in rain or to create a small tent with in worst case senarios
  • Cash - Small bills and change
  • Map of your area - highlight a path to get home or to a designated meeting location. You may need to draw the map for younger kids possibly adding photos of things to look for. Even older kids can get lost easily because they don't usually need to know the street names or turns to take. 
  • List of emergency phone numbers and addresses including their own name, address and phone number.
  • Small toy (matchbox car, Polly Pocket, deck of cards, crayons and paper, stuffed animal, etc.)

What to store their kit in?
You want the kit to take up as little room as possible, because they will just add it to their backpack.  I suggest using a 3x5 index card box. They are made of hard plastic so their stuff won't get squished at the bottom of their bag. Plus it's light weight. Another option is to use a small makeup bag.

Remember these are can be as elaborate or simple as you wish and always should be age appropriate.  Feel free to share any items you would add to this list.