Friday, January 24, 2014

Freebies on Friday - January 24, 2014

Happy Friday everyone! Before we get to the freebies I wanted to share that I will be taking a break from blogging for a while. It's a decision I don't take lightly, but feel it is really important for me and my family right now.

Well...on to the freebies. Enjoy!

e-Books

Creative Homemaking Guide to DIY Cleaning Products


How to Crochet: A Proven Step by Step Method to Learning to Crochet Today


The Happy Family: A Blueprint for a More Joyful, Balanced and Fulfilling Family Life


Touchdown Treats! Quick & Easy Dip and Cheese Ball Recipes for a Winning Party



Samples
Rosetta Stone Demo - try a language program for free
Flush Doggy - Flushable Dog Poo Bags
Success Rice - Boil in a Bag - receive a coupon for up to $2.69 (which makes this a freebie at most stores)

Misc.
Mustache Valentine's Day Printable
Free Football Pack for kids 3-7 from 3Dinosaurs.com
Star Wars Glow Stick Valentine from BrassyApple.com



* 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.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

DIY Tutorials to Keep Your Clothes Looking Like New

Keep your clothes looking good and lasting longer with these wonderful tutorials.

By taking a couple minutes and searching the web you can find solutions to almost any clothing problem. Sweater that shrunk in the dryer, a button that fell off, a popped seam, etc.



Learn How to Re-Attach A Button


How to Sew a Torn Seam


Altering or Fixing a Hem


See How to Remove Food/Drink Stains from Clothing


Fix a Separated Zipper


Fix a Sweater that Shrunk

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Home Remedies for a Cold

My hubby and both my daughters have a cold. It's nothing serious, but because of his medical issues he can't take many of the over the counter medications. That is why I've had to research more natural remedies.

Here are a few home remedies I've found online that I hope will help.

I'm not a doctor so, please be sure to run any home remedies by your doctor prior to trying anything new. Try these at your own risk.

Cough
Start off with the old time favorite the hot toddy.  Basically you heat the juice from two lemons and 1/4 cup of honey just to boiling.  Remove from the heat and let it cool a bit then add a shot of whiskey or rum.  Mix a tablespoon into your tea or take it directly - a tablespoon at a time).  Obviously, leave out the alcohol for kids.

Mixing 1/2 teaspoon of honey and apple cider vinegar also works to ease coughing as well.

Vick's Vaporub
This one really works.  Slather on the Vick's onto the soles of your feet, cover with socks at bedtime. Then go to bed. It really does stop the coughing.

Running Nose
Herbal teas are said to help fight a runny nose. Here's a link to a really good one that I want to try out.


Chewing fresh ginger like candy or in tea.  Source

Neti pot - It uses saline to rinse the nasal passages. It really does work - though it takes a little bit to get used to.


Stuff Nose
Vick's Vapor rub on your chest.

Peppermint candies or gum - just like the vicks it's the menthol that unclogs the passages.

Spicy foods - just think back to all the times you ate spicy foods and your nose began to run.


Fever
A cool wash cloth on the forehead helps.

A cup of apple cider vinegar to a warm bath is also said to help. Source

Please feel free to share any of your favorite natural home remedies by leaving a comment below.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Delicious Cheese Sauce

My family loves broccoli. So today I wanted to share this delicious cheese sauce that we pour over the cooked broccoli.

First, prepare your broccoli as you normally would. We boil ours in a medium saucepan until slightly tender.

Ingredients
2 Tablespoons butter/margarine
2 1/2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups Velvetta or similar cheese (also can use shredded cheddar cheese)

Directions
In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.

Add flour and whisk until smooth. Though mine is usually clumpy.

Slowly add milk and stir with spoon until desired thickness.

Add cheese and stir until cheese is completely melted.

Add salt and pepper if you wish.

Pour over cooked broccoli and serve.

Enjoy!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

6 Awesome Valentine's Day Printables for Older Kids

My kids are in 4th, 6th and 8th grade, and they don't want the "baby-ish" valentines to give to their friends. Today I found six kid approved Valentines that are free to print as well.


Mustache Valentines

No Fun without U Valentines

iPhone Valentines

Glad We're in the Same School Valentine

Write Me A Note Valentine

You're A Star Valentine

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Save Money on Pet Costs


We took our little kitten, Noel, to the ASPCA yesterday to get spayed. We originally planned on getting that done at our local veterinarian, but they wanted from $273.70 to $662.96 depending on what options you selected (laser vs. scalpel, microchip implantation, pre-surgical bloodwork, etc.). We really couldn't afford that right now, so we searched for a more affordable option.

Our local ASCPC offers the basic services for $55 for spaying a girl cat. I can't imagine that the procedure itself is all that different from place to place. Both are completed by a certified veterinarian and both include anesthesia so the cat is asleep during the procedure.  I understand there is probably a certain level of care given after the procedure, but one place is a for profit business and another is non-profit.

When it comes down to it, you need to research the facility, read the reviews and way the pros and cons of each location for yourself. Our local ASPCA is clean, has caring, knowledgeable staff and are very affordable. That may not be the case in your area, so do your research ahead of time.
 
One way you can cut costs while still maintaining your pet's health is by finding facilities that offer
low cost vaccines, spay and neuter, and grooming.

Vaccinations
There are tons of organizations available for low cost vaccinations. Simply search for "low cost vaccinations for pets in X" substituting your city or state for X. Here are some nationwide programs that connect you with local organizations. Many even offer services like deworming, flea and tick medications, and other common medical issues for cats and dogs.

LuvMyPet.com/
Petco.com


Spay/Neuter
I'm very much in favor of getting your pet spayed or neutered. There are really so many kittens, puppies and full grown pets that need adopting already. Beside all the local veterinarians in your area also consider the organizations below to find a low-cost program to have your pet spayed or neutered.
HumaneSociety.org  - They also will connect you with shelters, organizations, and vets that offer low cost spay and neuter programs.

SpayUSA.org/ - Another nationwide network that connects pet owners to low cost spay/neuter programs.

Grooming
Almost all major department stores (Walmart, Target, etc.) sell brushes, clippers for trimming fur, and nail clippers, so you can keep your pet's coat and nails looking great. Start off small with brushing once a week, so your pet can get used to you doing it. Try clipping their nails while they are sleeping. Many are afraid of cutting the nails down to the quick, but I just clip a tiny, tiny bit off so they aren't sharp.

Here are more resources to help you groom your pet from home.
http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/groom-your-cat
http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/groom-your-dog
YouTube offers tons of videos on grooming specific breeds of dogs.

Please share your tips/ideas for saving on pet costs.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Funny Phones and Accessories

Today is just a light hearted post. I was searching for a phone case and came across these really cool phones and accessories. Enjoy :)


The Banana Phone


Big Ear Phone


Cheeseburger Phone


Retro Phone Handset


Big Mouth Phone


R2D2 Phone Charger w/Sounds and Lights

Monday, January 13, 2014

Save $$$ With DIY Appliance Repairs

For the past couple days I've been dealing with a really loud noise coming from my beloved vacuum cleaner.

I love my Dyson! I've had it for just over 5 years and have absolutely no complaints about the vacuum or the service from Dyson. By the way, I wasn't compensated in ANY way to say this - I just really like my vacuum.

Back story, since I've moved into this home I've had about 5 different vacuums. All broke within a year because we have 2 dogs, now 3 cats, 3 kids and a husband who works construction. Plus we live near the water, so we have sand everywhere. Oh and did I mention we have a massive static problem every winter.

Anyways, just over 5 years ago, we bought the Dyson DC-17 Animal vacuum. We've never had to pay for service or belts for the first 5 years. It was awesome.

Well around Christmas time, the vacuum started making a really loud noise - almost like a dying animal. I called Dyson service department and they walked me through fixing it myself. Saving me a boat load of money, because the alternative is a vacuum repair shop.

So...how does this help you.

Consult Your Owner's Manual
First and foremost, check the owner's manual. Hopefully you kept the owner's manual and are able to put your hands on it. If not, do a quick search online for it. Then you will be able to read it or print out to reference later.

Call Customer Service
Next time one of your appliances stops working correctly, call the company and ask for help. Sometimes they will point you in the right direction to repairing the problem and other times they will refer you to a repair company. It never hurts to ask what they think the problem may be.

Check out YouTube
Youtube.com has a large number of videos that can show you how to make small repairs to almost any appliance.  Watch more than one, if possible, to get as much information as you can.

Google It
When all else fails you can search online for the solution to your problem.

Please be careful you consider doing DIY projects for the first time. Obviously, make sure all appliances are unplugged, disconnected from power and water before you do anything else. Also, allocate extra time, so you have time to figure everything out and don't feel rushed.  Lastly, don't take on a project that you don't feel comfortable with - there is absolutely nothing wrong with hiring a professional to complete a job that is above your comfort level. Start small and you will learn as you go.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Freebies on Friday - January 10, 2014

Happy Friday everyone!  Enjoy and see you all on Monday!

e-Books

Feed the Pig: Tons of Tips to Pinch, Stretch, and Save Your Money


1,001 Best Slow-Cooker Recipes: The Only Slow-Cooker Cookbook You'll Ever Need


F.A.M.I.L.Y. -Fun, Amazing, Magnificent, Incredible, Loving Years - Don't Miss It



Samples
Loreal Paris USA Advanced Haircare
Metamucil courtesy of Walmart
Escada Born in Paradise perfume

Misc.
Udemy.com - Offers a nice variety of free and paid for courses. Click on any category on the left hand side. Once the page loads sort by selecting "free" under price near the top. Technology, Music, Education, Photography, Languages, Crafts, Design and more to choose from.
Winter Bucket List from Just Call Me Chris
Red Cross Winter Storm Safety Checklist



* 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, January 09, 2014

A Little Weight Loss Motivation

As someone who struggles with my weight, I found this wonderful story very motivating. Hopefully it will help some of my readers as much as it has me. Take life one day at a time. Keep moving forward - forget the set backs of the past and look to the future.

Enjoy!




Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Police Presence in My Neighborhood

One of the girls that gets on the bus with my middle schoolers was followed home. Actually a man in a SUV followed her than got out and followed her.  Ultimately, he started to chase after her. Thank God she made it to her house and her parents called the police.

The way I found out was my daughter. She was called into her school's office to speak to a police officer.

Basically, the police officer wanted to know if my daughter saw the SUV or saw anything that day - which she didn't. They were hoping for any details that the other girl might not have remembered or noticed.

Surprisingly, there was even a police car parked right next to the bus stop each afternoon since to make sure the girl got home alright.

I'm not concerned for my kids safety though and here's why.

Back Story
My youngest was approached about 3 years ago. A man and woman in a pick up truck tried talking to her while she was playing in our back yard. Luckily, my husband was inside our shed. He was just out of the couple's view, but still could see our daughter and hear everything going on.

He came out of our shed and confronted the couple. Got their descriptions along with the description of their vehicle. We notified the police and that was the last we heard of it.

So...here's why I'm not concerned about my kids' safety. Well within reason that is.

My kids know not to talk to strangers. They've demonstrated it on multiple occasions.

They are supervised at the bus stop. My kids are never alone when they are outside our house. I take my youngest out to the bus stop every morning. My middle schoolers are able to go out by themselves, but I watch them from the window. Plus there are about 10 kids at that bus stop each day.

Another thing - my kids cannot go in our back yard by themselves. We have a somewhat busy road next to our home, so there are frequently cars riding by. While our back yard is completely fenced, they still always need a buddy.

When our kids are older, we will require them to call to let us know when they get to a friends house and when they are leaving. That way we know to keep an eye out for them. This rule will apply when we are unavailable to drive them and pick them up.

I know not every parent is able to watch over their kids 24/7 because of work, but when you are home make it a point to keep an eye on your kids. It's not a matter of trusting your kids - it's a matter of protecting them from people with scary motives.

What are some ways you keep your kids safe when they are outside the home?

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Trying to Stay Warm

It was all of 2° F this morning. Talk about cold!!!

A large portion of the United States is experiencing the same type of temperatures today, so I decided to share a few things we are doing to keep warm.

Obviously, if you have a fire place or wood stove - use it. I'm going to talk about things you can do in addition to your normal heat source.

Thermal Curtains
One thing we did shortly after moving into this home was purchase thermal curtains. We bought them from our local Wal-Mart for $24 because we have really crappy windows that let a lot of cold air in. This is a pretty common problem, especially with older homes. The curtains are a pretty inexpensive fix and makes a huge difference in comparison to brand new windows.

When it is cold, day or night, we keep those curtains closed to block out the draft.

Draft Stoppers
Another inexpensive thing I did was make a couple simple draft stoppers. See here how I made them. I put them along the bottom of every external door and many windows.

Blankets
Blankets aren't just for your bed. If you don't have thermal curtains, you can always hang them over your windows to block out the cold. Another option is to lay them at the base of your windows or doors. Anything you can do to stop the cold air from coming in and letting all your heat escape.

Of course, you also want to keep some blankets or quilts for your bed or for covering up with when sitting on the sofa.

Layers
Even while you are home you want to dress in layers. You don't want to crank up your heating system, raising your electric bill and putting a strain on the power grid. Keep your home set at a slightly cool temperature. You should be comfortable in a sweater or sweatshirt - not t-shirt and shorts in the middle of winter.

Keep Busy
I try to keep busy, by cleaning my house or other errands when it's really cold. That way I'm too busy to realize it's cold.

If I must go outside I definitely wear a hat, warm coat, gloves and scarf. I try to cover as much exposed skin as possible. Dress in layers with long underwear, multiple shirts, etc.

One last tip, if you use hand warmers (the little sachets) place them directly in your pocket not directly on the palm of your hands. It will keep your entire hand warm in your pocket and also your hips a little as well. I you need to have your hands free, place the hand warmer on the top of your hand within the glove, not the palm of your hand.

Most importantly, only go outside if you absolutely must. Stay safe. :)

Monday, January 06, 2014

I've Been Hacked - Learn How to Protect Your Phone

Actually my phone was hacked, not me.

On Friday morning, I received a text from a number I didn't recognize. It just read "12", so I deleted it. Then they texted again and it simply read "Mom" which I also deleted. Not a minute later, another text saying "Mom, you okay?".  At that I thought, this just a kid trying to reach their mom and got the wrong number. So...I texted back "wrong number".

That's when all h#ll broke loose.  They texted back some long string of numbers. Then my youngest got a text message from every one of her contacts (luckily it was only 4) and my hubby got a text from one of his contacts.

Somehow this loser got my contacts and who knows what else. I called hubby on our land line and told him to delete all texts from me or his contacts today. Just call the people back don't text them.

Then I called my cell phone service provider, Sprint. After a lot of automated questions, I reached a really nice lady. She told me they couldn't track the person because all the texts were sent from my cell phone number to my cell phone number. Not sure how they do that.

The Sprint rep told me I needed to reset my phone back to factory settings. Which basically deletes everything (photos, contact info, apps, etc.).

So I've learned a couple things that I thought I would share with you all.

Use a Password
If your phone offers this option definitely use it. Make it as random as possible. Use letters, numbers, capitals and symbols if you are able.

Download a Security App
You wouldn't think twice of downloading a security program for your computer, but not everyone puts one on their smart phone. Just like hackers try to get into your computer they also try to access your phone info. Face it, you probably access all the same programs.  Go to your app store on your phone and download Norton or AVG.

Never Checking Banking Info On Your Smart Phone
If you need to know banking info, simply call the phone number on the back of your ATM card. Free Wi-fi locations are not safe and anyone can access all your info if you don't have security for your phone.

Back Up Regularly
If you have precious photos or loads of music on your phone be sure to back that information up regularly. iCloud is nice, but if your phone is hacked that information could be tainted or you may not be able to access it. Every once in a while, back up to computer or flash drive.

Hopefully this helps some of you. It's information I wish I knew ahead of time. Learn from my mistakes before it happens to you.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Freebies on Friday - January 3, 2014

Happy Friday everyone!  Enjoy and see you all on Monday!

e-Books

Things My Grandmother Taught Me About Organized Living


Science Projects for Kids. Making Science Fun in 10 Minutes or Less. (21 Science Experiments For Kids Ages 4 - 8)


52 Weeks of Family French


Why You're Stuck: Your Guide To Finding Freedom From Any Of Life's Challenges



Samples
Emergen-C - Help boost your immune system and fight off common colds.
Nikwax Polar Proof - Answer a couple questions and receive this product to make polar fleece materials waterproof. If you get the answers wrong, don't worry, you can try again.
Redbox free 1 night DVD rental - use code N7NMQ72V
Truvia Natural Sweetner Sample
Build Direct.com - offers up to 5 free flooring, tile, roofing or decking for those who are planning a home improvement project this year.

Misc.
2014 New Years Goals Printable from Little Wonders' Days
New Year's Goal Setting Printable with 5 Year Goals from Always Expect Moore
New Years Interview from Our Knight Life
Time Capsule End of Year Printable from TodaysMama


* 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.