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Thursday, April 30, 2015

30 Days to Move : Day 4

It is now day 4 of 30 Days to Move. Today I am taking on the job of looking at my clothes and being honest with myself. Will I ever wear it again? When did I wear it last? This is hard to do. I always think I am going to wear that. I am going to wear those shoes when I... mow grass.



I started with my shoes. I had a pair of heels I hadn't worn in 5 years. I had 2 pairs of heels I cannot wear due to my broken foot in 2014 changing the shape of my left foot. I had a pair of sneakers that were too tight on said foot. I had a pair that was too big, a pair that was just old and had seen better days. I reasoned with myself that well, someday...

See. It is hard to sort your shoes and part with them!

I compromised by putting them in a box, and putting the box with the Goodwill stuff. If I find I need them in the next week they can come back out. So far I haven't needed shoes that don't fit.

Then I went to my clothes. I found 4 shirts and a pair of shorts that I will never wear again. I packed up a good deal of my jeans and long sleeve shirts as summer is near!

This made my wardrobe seem sad and sparse. But, its not like I don't wear the same stuff all the time anyhow.

Since we are now approaching the task of actually packing. Lets go over supplies needed to pack.

A supply of boxes
A black permanent marker
A roll of packing tape, clear tape, whatever. Not scotch tape!
Old Newspaper


Pack your boxes efficiently. Don't waste space, but don't over pack them. You want to keep them at a weight that you can comfortably lift and carry. As you pack the boxes, secure the lid with tape. Mark on the top and 2 sides what room the boxes is intended for or what is inside. This will help you should you need something sooner than later. I marked each side with the contents {Roo's Winter Clothes}  {Sheets}.

As the days pass by quickly I realize just how much work I have to do, and how little time I have to do it. 30 Days to Move... it really isn't that long of a time frame.




Wednesday, April 29, 2015

30 Days to Move : Day 3

The clock is ticking, we have 27 days to move. Today I had a few boxes from the attic and I set out on a mission to be as productive as I could. I wanted to begin sorting things out, deciding what could be parted with and packing up some of the items.

I started with our blankets and sheets. I decided that I would keep 2 sets of queen size sheets, 1 full size and 2 crib sheets out. I kept 3 quilts and 3 baby blankets out as well. Everything else went into a huge box. We have a washer and dryer, so this was an adequate amount of bedding to keep out for use. 



After packing the blankets and sheets away. I had my children help me pack up some of their stuffed animals. We put these into a soft case under the bed organizer, this has made it super easy for the toys that they decide they really really want to play with that have already been packed. I can find them at a glance.Yes, when you are spending the days with the 4 and under crowd and moving, tears for favorite toys will flow. Trust me, when the goods get boxed up, suddenly the favorite toy title applies to at least 945 toys.

On Day 3 of 30 Days to Move. I also placed the clothes hangers from the previous day in reusable shopping bags and tied the handles to hold the hangers in.

My husband returned from work to see a big pile of stuff with a sign taped to the wall that said STUFF TO MOVE.

I took time to browse the listed rentals for my area, send messages as needed and cross my fingers for a good outcome in all of this.


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

30 Days to Move : Day 2

On Day 2 of Your 30 Days to Move you need to drive around and look for potential rentals. Photograph the For Rent sign as well as a picture of the house. This well help you keep track of what house you have called about. I also texted these photos along with the phone number and address to my husband. This helped me keep track of what I found without getting mixed up when it came time to call the owners.

After gathering a few phone numbers, it is time to prepare to pursue the rentals. Listen up folks, trying to rent a house or an apartment is kind of like going for a job interview. You have to present yourself well. You want to be seen as a person that will be easy to deal with should issues arise, you need to give the impression that you will keep the property clean and that you will pay your rent. The first impression you will make will be on the phone. Get yourself ready to make the calls. Get a smile on your face, as a smile can be heard in your voice. Call the numbers, take notes, make appointments to view the property.


After doing your scouting and calling, it is time to start thinking about packing. Start in one room. I started with my sons closet. I sorted his clothes into things that he won't be able to wear next year, winter clothes, and the clothes he will actually wear over the next 29 days. I put the outgrown clothes in a bag for Goodwill. I packed winter clothes into a box. I placed his current wardrobe back into the closet. I did the same with my daughters closet.

It doesn't sound like much, but it sure was! I had 2 boxes packed and 2 bags of outgrown clothes for Goodwill. This also results in less laundry to worry about with kids. I considered this a win. Considering I didn't really intend to pack anything.

If you do not have boxes on hand, you might want to call your local gas station or grocery store. Ask if they have empty boxes available or when they will have boxes after an order. There really is no reason to pay for boxes! Just ask around and you will have more than you can use in no time.





Balance Bar Summer Shape Up Project

received product as part of a sponsored collaboration with Balance Bar.



Summer is the time of year that we feel most balanced. To help you make the most of your summer I have tips and info to share with you from The Balance Project guide, Gabby Reece. 

• Make it your own: There is not one right way to get it done. There is the right way that works for you. When it comes to eating healthy, find the foods you like and implement those into your daily diet. The same goes for exercise. If you hate the gym then find something outside that is manageable for you. This is not about torture; this is about creating a lifestyle that you can do week after week.

• Watch the calendar: Use summer for motivation to shape up but don’t wait for June 21st. If you wait until summer actually starts, you’ll feel rushed and end up crash dieting or doing a crazy workout schedule. I personally like to keep a calendar in my kitchen and cross off the days as I countdown to bikini weather. The visual reminder – right where you eat – is helpful in keeping you on track.


• Sign up a friend: We tend to be more successful at accomplishing some type of exercise if we have an accountability partner. Solicit a friend and maybe use this as your time to connect. You can train for a 5k together or join an outdoor boot camp; there are a lot more options now that the weather is improving. 

• Plan to snack: Take snacks (like fruit, nuts or a Balance Bar®) wherever you go to prevent mindless eating. If I have an afternoon or early evening workout planned, I make sure to have one of these handy an hour or so before so that I have plenty of energy to get in a good workout. 


• Variety is key: Make as many meals as you can at home so you can control your nutrition. These are some of my favorite recipes,– fresh and full of veggies for springtime! To keep things interesting and fresh at my house, I try to rotate foods. One night I may go for something heavier with veggies and grains, and then the next night focus on proteins. I really try to change up the food and create a great deal of variety.



• Each day is a new chance and it's never too late: If you fall out of your summer shape up routine one day, don’t sweat it. Forgive yourself and move on – and just keep moving! 


To see some of Gabby’s favorite fitness moves, go to 
http://bit.ly/1HL3eO8 and for more of Gabby’s tips for balancing fitness and a busy schedule go to http://bit.ly/1Qj0pYC.


Monday, April 27, 2015

30 Days To Move : Day 1

A new chapter in my life is ready to begin. I got the call that the house I have rented for the past 5 years has been sold... we have 30 days to find a new house and make the move.

To say I am overwhelmed is an understatement. But, one step at a time, the evidence of our life here will be packed away and loaded into a moving truck.

I hope that by sharing my 30 Days to Move series I can connect with new readers, share my tips, tricks and errors and make your move, if you find yourself in a similar situation, as stress free as possible.



On Day 1 you might be a hot mess. Filled with a variety of emotions. From anger at the change in your situation, to panic about what to do, where to begin. 

After getting the news that you need to move, the first thing to do is allow yourself about 20 minutes to get yourself together.  Let your emotions play out for a few minutes. Breathe. Get it all out, cry if you need to. Call a friend and get your news off your chest. Someone to listen to you as you feel like the bottom is dropping out makes a huge difference.

Now- 20 minutes are up! Dry your tears, check your anger. This is not the time to worry, panic or act crazy. This is the time to begin a new thought process. A forward thinking thought process. Like it or not, you will be moving. Nothing will change that in most cases. Instead of dwelling on it, stewing over it or going into denial, this is the time to make a plan.

The first step is to browse classified ads, check out the newspaper, craigslist and groups on facebook. Scout out the options online. This will let you know what the average price of rent is and you can get a feel for what is being offered at what prices. Consider this research. As internet savvy as I am, there has only been one rental that I found online that I actually rented. This may have to do with the region I live in. I am not sure. I do think that to find a great place to live, you actually have to get out and look.

After browsing what is available online, prepare yourself to head out and scope out the rentals in your town. This is as easy to do as driving by and actively seeking out FOR RENT signs. Plan to do this on Day 2 of 30.

You have had a crazy day. If you have researched online and got your emotions under control, it is time to take a break. Don't stress or worry the rest of the day. Just keep your chin up, and rest. The next 29 days are going to be physically and emotionally taxing. Reserve as much energy as you can today.

Check back tomorrow to find out what I do on Day 2 of 30 Days to Move.



Saturday, April 25, 2015

6 Things Not To Bargain Shop For


6 Things Not To Bargain Shop For

We all love a good bargain. Saving money is awesome and unless you are one of the nearly 500 billionaires in the United States, it is often a necessity.  As the financial adviser in my family, I try my best to get the most bang for my buck on every purchase. I check ebates to see if I can earn cashback.  I use my paypal debit card to purchase nearly everything I buy because I earn 1% cashback each month, which adds up! I look for sales, coupons and discounts. I even shop the closeout stores like Big Lots and Ollie's Bargain Outlet. Who doesn't like buying stuff at a lower cost?



In all of my attempts to save money, I have discovered things you should not scrimp on. Things that are just worth the cost in the long run. I want to share these suggestions with you to help you in your attempts to save as much as you can.


I say buy something good for several good reasons. One your clothes are meant to last. Washing them in something like the brand from Dollar Tree is going to take a toll on your clothes. You can take my word for this. I bought a new pair of jeans, washed them in the cheap cheap LA Awesome (or something like that) brand exclusively. Ya know what? In 6 months time the denim was so worn and threadbare all over that I was afraid to go outdoors in them for fear they might just fall apart! I bought a new pair of jeans to replace the holy than thou pair and went back to Tide... same brand of jeans, same style. That was 5 years ago... I still have the 2nd new pair today. Secondly, your clothes should look and smell good after washing them. A cheap detergent is mostly water, it just can't do the job as well as Tide.

2. Deodorant
This should be a no brainer. Buy something good, don't try to save money here... cause no one wants to smell your attempts to save money on a hot summer day....

3. Pet Food
If you can't afford to feed a pet quality food, you shouldn't have a pet. Feeding off brands of food, such as EverPet, will lead to health issues. Pets deserve to be cared for in many ways, but their diet is vital to the overall health and well being of any pet. 

I have bought cheap trash bags before and ended up picking my trash up off the lawn as the bag rips, tears or whatever on the way to the curb. No fun, not worth saving $2 in my opinion.

5. Shoes
I think buying quality footwear is important. Not only do your feet feel better in great shoes, but they are safer. When my son was about 18 months old and on the go, go, go we found a great deal on a pair of well known kids shoes. I jumped on them. Days later I realized why they were so affordable... the hard way. The sole of the shoe detached, causing my toddler to fall and he got a black eye out of it. Since that moment, no more bargain buys on shoes.

6. Pillows
I am not saying you need to spend a few hundred on a great pillow, but invest in one that is going to give you a good quality of sleep. I use a Technogel pillow. I love it. I can't sleep without it, without waking up in pain or exhausted. A good pillow is an investment in your quality of life. 

Do you have any items to add to this list? What do you think you should buy without bargain hunting?
Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cocoa Puff French Toast

Cocoa Puff French Toast

I guess breakfast is kind of my thing. I sure make a lot of breakfast for dinner meals! The number of pancake pics on my phone is mind boggling. There is just something about breakfast that I seem to romanticize... maybe because I rarely sit down to eat a hot breakfast? 

A few weeks ago I had an idea that maybe I could make french toast even yummier by adding a little crunch to my recipe! The results were fun, delicious and a crowd pleaser!

My entire family liked this version of French Toast. After trying this out I have plans to try dipping french toast into a a variety of flavors of cereal too!



My french toast recipe is simple.

Ingredients
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons butter
4 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 slices white bread
1 cup crushed cocoa puffs

Instructions

In a small bowl, combine, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar and set aside briefly.

In a 10-inch / 12-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Mix together cinnamon mixture, eggs, milk, and vanilla and pour into a shallow container such as a pie pan. Dip bread in egg mixture. Then dip into the crushed cocoa puffs. Fry slices for about 3 minutes  then flip to cook the other side. Serve with syrup or whipped cream!






Monday, April 20, 2015

Better Than Home : The Hampton Inn Bakersfield

When I travel, I look for a hotel that is going to be like a home away from home, someplace I can relax, rest and recharge. In my adventures I have stayed in a variety of places, but there is one place I know I will always have a great stay and that is the Hampton Inn.

When I was in Bakersfield, I had the chance to stay at the Hampton Inn Central. This hotel was lovely. From the second I walked in, I was greeted with a warm smile. I was impressed with the lay out of the lobby. I was pleased with how clean everything was.

When I made my way to my room, I sighed in delight. Not only was the room spacious, well appointed and squeaky clean, but also there was a King Sized Bed, just for me! Sigh, whimper, sigh!

As you can see, I hopped right on the fresh, clean king size bed and made myself comfy. Pics were an after thought.


I couldn't have been happier with the room. It met every expectation I had and even exceeded a few!



I can't say enough nice things about the staff at The Hampton Inn Central. From the smiling clerks on duty upon arrival, to the kind clerk in the wee hours of the morning that gave me a new room card after I locked myself out at 4 am.

The free breakfast was also great. From the impressive selection of offerings, to the quality of the offerings. I think this is your winner winner chicken dinner of a place to stay in Bakersfield California. The next time I am in town, this will be my go to place. It was better than a home away from home!

Please note, the Hampton Inn didn't compensate me in any way to write this travel piece. I am sharing my personal experience. However, if anyone from The Hampton Inn wants to talk about inviting me back to one of their hotels... {wink} I am always up for a visit!


Friday, April 17, 2015

When in Bakersfield: You Gotta Eat Here

The first thing I noticed about Bakersfield, is how lovely it was! I guess I had associated the city with country music and expected something other than what awaited me. The drive in from Los Angeles was breath taking.

After a long day of travel, going literally from coast to coast, I was pretty weary. I kept a smile on my face and I made an effort to live in the moment. I wanted to fully enjoy my short time in this new to me place.




Upon arriving to my dinner destination at The Mark, all of my exhaustion fell away. I was greeted by a gracious staff. A Gin Refresher perked me up and prepped me for a completely decadent dinner.



Spinach Artichoke Dip and Fresh Baked Bread gave me a glimpse of what was in store for me. When my Shrimp Alexandria Arrived I was nearly salivating. Served with a superb baked potato and fresh green beans and carrots, this was hands down the best after travel meal I have ever had. 



Reluctantly I left the gorgeous restaurant behind, as I left, the magical voice from the live entertainment carried me away from the scene. It was a dreamy experience. When in Bakersfield, ya need to go here.



Another great little spot in Bakersfield is Mimi's Cafe. I enjoyed an evening nibble with a new friend there. We drank Mimosas {The Triple Berry is fantastic!} and shared the Baked Brie. It was ah-mazing. 
The menu offered tons of tantalizing dishes and looking back I should have ordered something awesome like a burger or something.



Mimi's offers several mimosas!




If you stay at The Hampton Inn, they have a nice {FREE} hot breakfast as well. This was like the best hotel breakfast I have had in a very long time!


They had waffles with whipped cream, cereal, fruit, yogurt, juice, cheese omelets, tons of yummy breads and turkey sausage. Yum. It was a great start to my day!


No compensation was offered to me to write this travel piece. These are my personal experiences!
Sunday, April 12, 2015

Strawberry Fizz Mocktail Recipe

 Spring is near! With warmer weather comes a great opportunity to get together with friends and family and welcome the sunshine, spring flowers and best of all- the end of snow for a few months!

I have a mocktail recipe to share with you from my pals at Owl Brew. This tea based mocktail is perfect for everyone at the party!




Brew: Pink & Black (Darjeeling with a hint of hibiscus)
Booze: Mocktail
1 Part Pink & Black
1 part Sparkling Water
Serve chilled or over ice
Garnish: Fresh Strawberries

What is your favorite mocktail? Tell me all about it in a comment!


Saturday, April 11, 2015

#MyStarWars Weekend Fun for the Force

It seems as if Star Wars is a daily topic of conversation in my house. My self proclaimed geek of a husband and my son find a way to bring Start Wars up regardless of the time, place or season.

My guys are thrilled to find out that now there is even a hashtag for their weekend Star Wars gab fests and tv marathon sessions! #MyStarWars is a fun way to follow along with all of your Weekend War-riors!


With Star Wars: Episodes I-VI now available at your fingertips, you can explore the galaxy in a whole new way! Learn the secrets behind the saga with Star Wars: Discoveries from Inside and insightful Conversations, as key filmmakers behind the series reveal fascinating new facts and insights behind the creation of the most celebrated franchise of all time.





I have some fun activity sheets to share with you courtesy of my pals









Do you have a Star Wars fan in your house? How excited are you for the December 18th release of Star Wars VII?
Thursday, April 9, 2015

NatureSweet Cherubs Greek Salad

My friends over at NatureSweet asked me if I would like to share a recipe with my readers, just in time for spring. Of course I jumped at the chance!




Course Type: Side Salad
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Short Summary: A classic Mediterranean favorite

Ingredients:

  • 1 pkg Fresh Express® Spring Mix
  • 2 Tbsp pitted black olives, sliced
  • 1 cup NatureSweet® Cherubs® Tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 4 whole pepperoncinis
  • Your favorite balsamic or tarragon vinaigrette dressing

Instructions:

  1. Place Fresh Express® Spring Mix into a large salad bowl.
  2. Top with olives, NatureSweet® Cherubs® Tomatoes and onions. Add cheese and pepperoncinis. Drizzle dressing over salad.
Stay tuned, I will be developing a recipe that is perfect for spring and summer eating featuring my favorite little tomatoes!
Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Scoop on Dining in Richland County

Richland County, Ohio has a ton of great options for family friendly dining. From chains to family owned, there are some fantastic options for dining in Richland County!

One of our favorite places to visit is Two Cousins Pizza, in downtown Mansfield. The pizza is awesome and the lunch specials are great. My son is happy with a slice of pepperoni pizza and a drink, while my husband and I can't pass up their mini pizzas or pepperoni rolls.

The prices are unbeatable and the pizza is really good!



My son really loves the Der Dutchman in Bellville, Ohio. The buffet features several things he might eat on a day he isn't demanding pancakes. Fried chicken, clam strips, potatoes, fish, tons of veggies, salads and other yummy things are ready to tantalize your tastebuds.






My favorite little spot in Richland County right now is the Blueberry Patch. Picking berries and dining in their cute cafe is the best summer activity!


 Tomato Basil soup that is ah-mazing!


Monte Cristo sandwich with blueberry? Phenomenal!


 The Quiche and Fruit Salad? Divine!


Roo loves their flatbread pizza! It is yummy!


If you are traveling to Richland County, I hope these suggestions are helpful to you for finding a great spot to dine!
Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Weather Forecasting with Roo

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We read the Book Weather Forecasting by Gail Gibbons this month.



I thought this was a great title to read with the kids because we were changing seasons from winter to spring and my preschooler wasn't quite sure why the snow had stopped {hopefully!}

We read the book at bedtime one night. My son Roo was quite interested in the book. He thought it was neat that they work on computers to forecast the weather. We talked about different kinds of weather. 



We made some fun weather sticks. My son decided right away these would be used with his sessions of action figures and cars, to make the weather change! Pretty creative the kid is, eh?










Kid’s Meteorologist in the Making Bundle Giveaway! Every month the Poppins Book Nook group will be offering readers a chance to win a brand new storybook or product that ties in with our theme for the month. This month one lucky entrant will win the Kid’s Meteorologist In The Making Bundle. The winner will enjoy two fun weather themed learning items. The two items that they will win is the Weather Tracker and National Geographic’s Kid’s Everything Weather (*kindly note that these are affiliate links and your purchase helps to run this book club). These two wondrous weather items can bring your children a fun weather activity or two.

Entrants must be 18 years or older and reside in a country that receives U.S. Postal mail. This giveaway is brought to you by the company Enchanted Homeschooling Mom who is owner and founder of the Poppins Book Nook. By entering this giveaway you are also acknowledging that you have read and agree to all of the PromoSimple terms & conditions as well as Enchanted Homeschooling Mom's disclosures found here {http://enchantedhomeschoolingmom.org/disclosures/}. Just enter the PromoSimple below to win

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