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Friday, October 30, 2015

Itsy Bitsy Spider Craft

Tonight we took a walk to storytime at the library. My son really enjoys this ritual. He loves the walk {that is my boy! I love to walk too!} while Harp likes the ride in her stroller. The fresh air and exercise helps my kids to behave during storytime too and fall asleep a bit easier that night too. Win. Win.

Tonight they made a really cute craft that I had to get involved in and photograph to share with you.

The Itsy Bitsy Spider House

You will need one full sheet of colored paper 
one 4x6 inch square of paper in another color
one triangle in another color (to make a roof)
2 2x2 inch squares of paper that are the same color.
One 2x2 inch square of paper in another color
One 1x3 inch strip of black paper
One Straw
One spider ring
2 strips of tape
Glue Stick




First Glue your 4x6 inch square of paper onto the full sheet.





Then glue on the triangle for the roof, and the 2 squares of paper that are the same color for windows.

Next add your door and your chimney.

Tape your straw to the side of the house on the bottom.
Slide the spider ring onto the straw from the untaped top.
Tape the top of the straw.




You can sing the itsy bitsy spider song with your kids, and have them move the spider up the spout! How cute right?

The one in process as pictured above was made by my 2-year-old daughter and I. The one below was made by my 5 year old. We all had fun with this craft! It was creeptacular crafting that can be created by a variety of ages.



Thursday, October 29, 2015

Very Berry Oat Muffins

My friends at Juicy Juice shared a recipe with me that I think is perfect for Fall! I couldn't resist sharing it with my Muffin loving fans!
Why stop at just one type of berry in your muffin? This wholesome morning staple gets a double dose of berry flavor and natural sweetness from frozen mixed berries and Berry Juicy Juice® 100% juice.


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats (not quick oats)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups frozen mixed berries, unthawed, any large strawberries halved or quartered
1 cup Berry Juicy Juice® 100% juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 500°F. Grease a standard-size muffin tin.
Whisk together flour, oats, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Add frozen berries, and toss with dry ingredients until well-coated (this helps prevent the berries sinking to the bottom of the tin as they bake).
Beat together Berry Juicy Juice® 100% juice, oil and eggs in a small mixing bowl until frothy.
Pour wet ingredients into dry, and use a whisk to mix just until combined, being careful not to smash the berries. Some lumps in the batter are okay.
Fill cups of muffin tin 3/4 full, and place in oven. Immediately reduce oven temperature to 400°F. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean (berry juice is fine, but there should be no raw batter clinging to the toothpick).
Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks to finish cooling.
Makes 12 muffins
Monday, October 26, 2015

How To Look Great Even When In A Rush

I’m a woman who likes to look good - the idea of leaving the house in sweats and an old tee just doesn’t appeal to me. I always like to ensure that I look presentable when I go out, as in this beauty-obsessed world, appearances matter.


That being said, sometimes when I am in a rush, leaving the house looking good isn’t always an option. School runs are the absolute worst for this; after getting the kids ready and everything else done, I have little time to focus on myself. I don’t know about you, but if I leave the house unshowered, with no makeup on and wild hair, I feel miserable.


school run mum.jpg
Source for image


However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Believe it or not, it is possible to look great even when in a rush.


Shower in the evenings


If you know that the morning will be hectic, shower the night before. That way you won’t have to rush and can take your time in the shower. There’s nothing worse than leaving the house unshowered. Well, I don’t think that there is, anyway.


Keep on top of hair care


Wild hair is something that many of us moms sport on school run mornings - it’s our signature look. However, that no longer has to be the case. If you are washing your hair in the shower, pop some leave-in conditioner on it. This will prevent tangling and will make it easier to style in the morning.


Then, before you get into bed, run a brush through your hair and pop it in a bun or plait - you’ll adjust to sleeping like this. By doing this, in the morning all you will need to do is let your hair down, quickly brush it, and your hair should look nice and neat.


Lay your clothes and accessories out the evening before


Before you go to bed, pick out your outfit for the next day and place it by your bed. That way when you get up all you need to do is get dressed; you won’t need to faff about choosing what to wear.


The key to looking and feeling good is our clothing and accessories. Many people don’t realize it, but what we wear has a significant effect on our confidence and happiness.


For me, as well as dressing fashionably, accessorizing is also important. I have a few statement accessories that I wear each day, like my jewelry and watch. For example, although I like to wear the same watch each day, I often swap watch bands so that I can subtly change the style, to match my outfit.


Speed up makeup application


On hectic mornings, makeup can be a real killer. Applying various products to your face can be incredibly time-consuming, and can end up making you late. For busy mornings, you need to learn to apply your makeup in record time.


If you want to make application easier, you need to opt for products that are easy to apply and dry quickly. Instead of using primer and moisturizer, opt for a two-in-one alternative. Use a cream-to-powder foundation and kill two birds with one stone. Instead of using liquid eyeliner, use a pencil. It might not give you the same crisp lines, but pencil eyeliner doesn’t need time to dry, so is much quicker.


When you’re in a rush, looking good can seem impossible. However, by being prepared, you can ensure that whenever you leave the house, you always look presentable.






Fancy Fresh Fruit Dessert

This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something I get a peanut! 


Dessert. It is what dreams are made of. Both the sweet ones and the sweat-inducing ones. You know the dream that you eat dessert until you turn into a giant eclair? Well, maybe I am the only one that has that dream {proof of my foodie status, and testament to my love of dessert.}


I decided to whip up something awesome, sweet and a nearly perfect treat using fresh fruit as my main ingredient. I had purchased a 10-pound box of beautiful Dole bananas for a steal at $2.45. I couldn't stand to see them go to waste!

This is the Ultimate Healthy Dessert. It offers just a touch of cream and a drizzle of chocolate, but not enough to blow a diet or induce guilt in your heart after noshing on something so fantastic.




Time: 5 minutes
Serves 2 to 4 depending.

Ingredients needed: 
1 navel orange
1 kiwi
1-2 Strawberries
2 -4 maraschino cherries
2- 4 banana
Chocolate that has been melted to drizzle {or cheat like I did and use Hersheys Syrup!}
cocoa powder or cinnamon
whipped cream (2- 4 dollops)

First step:
Decide how hungry you are! Are you going to eat 2 bananas?


Next, slice your oranges into 1-1/2 inch thick slices, leaving the peel on.
Slice your kiwi into one inch thick slices then gently cut the peel off.
Slice strawberries in half.
Peel bananas; you can slice in half if you wish

Place the bananas on the plates. Arrange your oranges and kiwi on the back side of the bananas.
Ghirardelli Chocolate over the fruit in a pleasing design.

 Add a dollop of whipped cream to each banana. 
Top with a cherry on the whipped cream, add a strawberry slice into the mix too!
The final step depends on your preferences. You can lightly sprinkle cocoa powder around the plate of the dessert or you can use cinnamon!

This really is the ultimate desert. It is based on fresh fruit, it offers just enough chocolate and cream to sweeten the deal, and as you can see it is gorgeous when completed.
Saturday, October 24, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Star Wars Fans- All Budgets

This post does contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase I get a peanut in exchange.

For your Star Wars fans, I have rounded up some of the best gift ideas to bring the force into the holiday season!

Under $10

2 Pack Silicone Mold Ice Cube Tray Ball For Star Wars Lovers or Party Theme

Gum Toothbrush Star Wars Flash Light,color may vary

Rubies Star Wars Darth Vader Cape and Mask Set

Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition: Star Wars Yoda Figure

Crayola Limited Edition Crayon, Star Wars Darth Vader Toy (64 Count)

Fascinations 251 Star Wars Millennium Falcon Metal Earth 3D Metal Model Kit


Under $20

Vandor 99561 Star Wars Darth Vader 18 oz Oval Ceramic Mug, Black

Star Wars Mens Casual Crew Socks 2 Pair Pack Darth Vader Storm Trooper Black/Red

Star Wars Darth Vader Apron

Thermos 12 Ounce Funtainer Bottle, R2D2

CoverGirl Star Wars Limited Edition Colorlicious Lipstick, Red No. 30, 0.12 Ounce

Playskool Mr. Potato Head Star Wars: Darth Tater Toy

Rubies Star Wars Luke Skywalker Lightsaber


Under $50

Monopoly Game Star Wars

Jedi Dressing Gowns - Star Wars Bath Robes

Star Wars The Force Awakens 3.75-Inch Figure Troop Builder 6-Pack [Amazon Exclusive]

1 X Exclusive Star Wars R2-D2 Measuring Cup Set - Limited Edition

Star Wars Science - Death Star Planetarium

Lucas Film Star Wars Sheet Set, Full

Engraved Wooden Music Box Star Wars Theme





Over $100



Thursday, October 22, 2015

5 Reasons Why It's Better To Rent Instead Of Buy Your Dream Home

If you want to get a new home you have two options: you can either buy or rent. There are plenty of choices on the market for each option, but these days it makes more sense to rent your next home.


You might be thinking that it's a better idea to buy a house. After all; bricks and mortar is a classic way to invest your money, right? Well, that might have been the case some years ago. These days, it's much tougher to get a home loan and buy a property.


You may have seen in recent posts how we had to move in 30 days because our landlord sold our house. We thought about buying a house but decided renting another one was a better idea. Are you unsure whether buying or renting is right for you? Let me share with you five reasons why you ought to consider a rental house instead:




1. You don't need to save up a hefty deposit


If you want to buy a house, you would usually have to borrow the money. That also means you'll need to put a cash deposit down towards your future home. You would often have to put up at least 10-20%, whereas the deposit for a rental home is much less.


In fact, you would usually only need to put up a month's rent as your deposit!


2. You don't have to worry about expensive repairs


When you are a homeowner, you handle all repair work - regardless of the cost. As you can imagine, you could face four or even five-figure sums for major repairs to your house.


As a tenant in a rental home, your landlord has to cover such repair costs. All you have to do is make sure you maintain everything in the property as best you can.


3. It's cheaper to rent a nice house than to buy one


Most people want to live in a modern house in a safe area. The trouble is, you'd have to pay a premium to buy such a property!




But, when you rent instead, the costs are more bearable. Rental properties are often more affordable per month than a mortgage on a house you own.
4. You can move into a rental home sooner


Let's say that you've only got a small time frame to move into a new house. It's quicker to find and move into a rental property than it is to buy one. That's because you have to spend time negotiating with sellers, lawyers and other people.


5. You aren't stuck at your house for the next 25 years


The major downside to buying a house is that you're stuck with it for a long period. That is, unless you find someone to buy it from you. Even if you find a buyer, there's no guarantee you'll make a profit on your investment.


As a tenant, you can agree short-term lets if you wish. So, now you can see why I find renting my home a more attractive proposition!




Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Food Allergy Friendly Halloween






Did you know that it is estimated that 1 in 13 children has a food allergy? This Halloween season there are ways you can provide safe treats for all kids and let the families know that you are an allergy friendly stop along the route on Halloween night! I have some allergy-friendly candy and non-food ideas to share with you to keep kids safe from allergic reactions this year.

First, paint a pumpkin teal to place on your porch or in your front yard. This will signal that you are allergy friendly. You can google the Teal Pumpkin Project to find printable materials you can use to alert families you have non-food items available as well, should you chose to go that route.

There are a number of allergy friendly candies on the market, from special brands to your average drugstore finds. This list is only a guide, please be sure to check the ingredients on any products you do purchase with the intention of being allergy friendly.

Airheads
Smarties
Gummy candies and fruit snacks
Tootsie Rolls and Tootsie Products like Dots
Pixie Stix
Skittles
Ring Pops, Dum Dums and most lollipops
Jolly Ranchers

There are many affordable ways to offer trick or treaters a non food treat. Some things you can hand out include bookmarks, pencils, stickers, plastic Halloween rings or bracelets. The options are vast at party supply stores or even dollar stores for little trinkets that kids with food allergies will appreciate.

If you are offering both allergy free and regular candy, please be sure to keep them in separate containers to avoid potential contamination. This year there are many ways you can help keep Halloween safe and fun for all kids. Don’t forget to paint a pumpkin teal and stock up on  candies that everyone can enjoy as well as a few non food items for severe cases of food allergy.
Friday, October 9, 2015

Tips to Help You When Your Spending is Out of Whack

Our spending has been crazy out of control lately. I am tired of the constant feeling of what happened to our money?! I have come to realize that the plastic in my purse and my hubby's wallet is mostly to blame. It is so easy for me to pull out a card and never think about the price. I don't actually ever SEE money. Just numbers. I am detached from my finances right now to say the least.

Does this ever happen to you? You wake up one morning, login into your online banking and say "Where did my money go?! I spent how much at Target!?"

I am trying to get smart with my funds and stop the cycle of living beyond our means thanks to plastic. I have a few tips that might help you if you are in a similar situation.

I like to buy things on my phone. I like to buy apps, music, games, tv shows... it is addictive. I get pleasure from acquiring digital things. I have removed my card info from my wallet, but that just makes me sad... I can't have any apps or music now. To offset this, I got the google opinion rewards app from the play store. About 2 or 3 times a week I get a simple survey, I get from 21 cents to $1 in google play credit for  each one I complete. This is nice because I have a little rainy day google play credit now to indulge my need for apps!

I am starting to meal plan. Knowing what is for dinner, when it needs to be started and what that dish takes at a glance is saving us so much time and money. I am not getting caught off guard by the question 'What's for dinner?' Anymore. I am not spending as much money on take out or fast food. This is wonderful.

I am determining how much money we have extra each week. That comes out of the bank in the form of cash. When it is gone, it is gone. There is no more spending money. This is HARD. It is so easy to say "Oh, well, here is the Visa...."

I am cutting back on impulse buys by sticking to a list. This is also hard. Especially when the kids are along!

Do you have any ideas for getting your spending back on track? If so, please share!
Thursday, October 8, 2015

A Revolutionary Way to Help Stop Bladder Leaks!




Oh guys. Here we are again.... and I am sharing some more real life stuff with you. Today I want to share with you A Revolutionary Way to Help Stop Bladder Leaks!

Ladies, it happens to the best of us. We are out with friends, we are having a good time, and then it happens. We laugh, cough, sneeze or move in a way that gives us a little Oops....

After I had my second child, I had a major change in my body that led to me being guarded in my personality... Stress Urinary Incontinence. Yes, I was peeing myself more than I ever thought I could. I lived in fear that I might laugh and make a tinkle.

Thank goodness there are alternatives to always wearing a bulky pad, never cracking a smile again or having surgery, such as the Poise Impressa Sizing Kit.

Designed for the temporary management of Stress Urinary Incontinence, Poise Impressa Bladder Supports do not absorb leaks — they help prevent them.

Stopping leaks starts with the Impressa Sizing Kit. Impressa comes in three different sizes, and the Sizing Kit helps you find your most effective and comfortable internal fit. Each kit includes six bladder supports (two of each size), along with a $4 coupon toward a 10-count Single-Size Pack of Impressa.

After you've found your perfect fit with the Impressa Sizing Kit, it's time to purchase a Single-Size Pack. Each includes 10 bladder supports in your size — and you can use Impressa for up to 8 hours every day to help stop leaks before they happen.

Guys, start with the $2.00 off coupon for the Poise* Impressa* Sizing Kit to help find the most effective and comfortable internal fit. After you have found their perfect fit, you can then download a $2.00 off coupon for 1 Poise* Impressa* Bladder Supports 10 Count Base Pack.

The Poise Impressa Bladder Supports are the solution to bladder leakage. I can now let my smile shine and my laughter out without letting a leak become an embarrassament.

How We Afford the Holidays Without Credit Card Debit

When I talk to my friends and family about the holidays, the subject of budgeting and credit card debit comes up. No one can ever believe me when I tell them we accumulate 0 credit card debit for holidays and I never spend more than $50 on gifts.

I have had people say things like "That is a flat out lie Sara. The gift you gave us last year cost at least $30!"
They always want to know how I can decorate, gift and give without spending more than $50 out of my own pocket. Today I am going to share the low down with you too.

First, being a family that lives on a budget, events such as back to school, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthdays are always on my mind! Creative ways to accumulate funds or gifts is a year round project.

I do a variety of things online to add to my kitty.

If I see a great item on clearance I will buy it, but only if I have the extra cash on hand. I don't buy on my debit card or credit card.

At the end of each season I buy the goods I need next year on clearance. I use my stash of gift cards to do this. I buy wrapping paper when it is down to 50 cents a roll or less. Same with bows, gift tags, bags and etc. Seasonal trinkets are also great to get when they get marked down to 80-90% off. I get stocking stuffers for 20 cents and stash them for the next year. Or I might buy Easter coloring books for 10 cents and stash them too.

Inbox Dollars I spend about 25 minutes a week reading emails, playing games, watching videos and more. I have cashed out several times. It is pretty easy money and you get a $5 sign up just for joining!

I shop Zuilly. I shop here because it is easy to earn credits and they have such super deals. I get really low priced deals here through out the year and add to my "Gift Box".

I use the WalMart Savings Catcher App. I scan each receipt I get from WalMart and accumulate savings on products. I wait to 'cash out' until there is something I need to buy for a holiday.

I have the Shutterfly app, so I watch out for special offers, free prints and more. Photo gifts are always a hit. If you are not using Shutterfly sign up here for FREE Prints!!

I of course watch amazon for deals. I save money on everything! I do tasks on m turk to earn money too. I don't have much time for this, but I would estimate I spend about 30 minutes a week turking and making some spare change on easy tasks.

As a blogger, if I participate in a campaign that pays via a gift card, I save it.

That is how I can afford to celebrate all of the major holidays without dipping into our budget for any extra expenses. I limit us to about $50 for last minute things like batteries.

 How does your family afford the holidays?


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Debt Consolidation Essentials and Finding out Your Best Ways to Consolidate Debt


Debt consolidation can be simply defined as a compilation of multiple unsecured debts into one. This may include consolidation of medical bills, credit cards, payday loans, personal loans etc., which all can be combined into a single loan for easy handling.

With consolidation, a debtor need not have to write the paychecks to five or ten creditors each month. Instead he/she can deal with a single bill. This will effectively help eliminate any mistakes in repayment, delays, and penalties.

Types of consolidation

As of late, there are three mechanisms for debt consolidation such as:
Debt management plans
Debt consolidation loans
Debt settlement.

However, you need to know that debt consolidation is not a quick fix to get rid of your entire debt burden, but it is a long-term approach to help you get out of debts. If administered properly, debt consolidation process can help you to:

Enjoy lower interest rates
Reduce the burden of monthly payments
Protect or enhance the credit score
Ultimately get you out of debt faster than a diversified process.

Debt consolidation methods in detail

As discussed above, there are three popular methods for debt consolidation, which we will discuss further.

Debt management plans

Majority of the financial experts commenting on debt consolidation agree to the fact that DMP (Debt Management Plan) is the most successful mode of debt consolidation. Most of these DMPs are ideally run by the non-profit organizations, both government and private. DMP starts with a credit counseling to draw out the volume and depth of your debts and how much you can afford to pay off the creditors every month.

These non-profit agencies can also help the debtors to effectively reduce the interest rates by negotiating with the creditors and also try to waive or reduce the late fees to balance the monthly payment budgets. The debtors need to make only a single payment to the DMP agency and they will further split it effectively among the creditors.


Debt consolidation loans

DCL (debt consolidation loan) is the next type of debt consolidation method, which allows the debtors to make a single payment to a new lender in place of multiple creditors. These loans have a fixed interest rate, which they usually keep lower than your average current debt burden. DCLs are of various types such as:

Home equity loans
Personal loans
Balance transfers on zero interest at credit cards
Student loan consolidation etc

Debt settlement

Debt settlement is a process through which you come into an agreement with your creditor to devise a full and final settlement of your debt. The providers may sometimes be taking this initiatives collect the debts and you can make use of such opportunities to get some discounts of waiver in interests to get rid of the debt burden.

All in all, debt consolidation is the best way to simplify your debt payment process, but the success of it largely depends on the method you choose. There is no one-size fitting all debt consolidation method, which one need to choose based on your specific requirements and financial situations.

Author bio: Linda Meyer is a leading financial analyst for one of the major credit unions in the United States. She used to write articles about the latest avenues as debt consolidation in many blogs and print media.