Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Jasmere - Social Shopping Deals- Win $10 in Jasmere Dollars!

   Are you looking for something more unique this holiday season?   Tired of the same old things?  I recommend you check out Jasmere.com.   Jasmere has brought us the newest trend in social shopping.   Everyday they have a one day special on a unique product or brand, the more people that buy it the more you save!   And with thousands of people buying daily you are going to save a ton.

   What I like most about Jasmere is that it is not your typical daily deal website featuring bix box stores and big names.  These are smaller boutique type companies giving you the opportunity to try out something new at a great price.  
Jasmere features high-end merchandise from the nation's top web merchants.
Sales begin and end at noon each weekday. Some items have limited supply, and once it's gone, it's gone.
Prices always start at 50% off or better.
As more people buy, the price gets lower. They won't charge your credit card until the sale ends, and everyone pays the day's lowest price.
Refer your friends, and earn $10 jasmere credit for each one that becomes a customer.
Spread the word, and we'll all save more!

   Right now every reader can save $5 on their next purchase at Jasmere.com by using this code: SF652B2232   This code is good once per customer exp 12/1  and is only good through this link http://www.jasmere.com/r/777794fe?l

 Post a comment below with a suggestion for a site you would like to see featured on Jasmere.com and be entered to win a $10 code for Jasmere.  1 winner will be selected on  11/22 and code will be good until 12/1

Monday, July 26, 2010

Eating Healthy in a flash and on a budget

   As a work at home mom to three I fall all too quickly into the trap of eating out.  It's easy, it's not cheap and even with some healthy choices availaible it's still many times full of fat and calories and lacking vegetables. 

   School starts for us in just a few weeks, along with football, cheerleading, and swimming.  I work evenings so have to rely on my husband to make dinner.  That usually means that they are eating out or pulling something containing processed meat out of the freezer. And for me spending 8-10 hours a day sitting in front of a computer working hasn't helped my weight any.  I have looked at the convient yet expensive weight loss  food options for myself from nurtisystem and jenny craig, and typically have a freezer stocked with Weight Watchers and Lean Cuisine frozen meals.  They are all low in fat and calories as well as just about every nutrient you need.  They are big in cardboardand price though! 

    So I was looking for an alternative, something to give my family the convience and nutrients that they need and me the natural weight loss that I want.   What better way to control what your family eats then by controlling how it's made?

     I can spend 2 1/2 hours  every saturday evening or sunday afternoon  making healthy and convient family dinners that will last the entire week, stock up and have extras for the month.  I pre-potion everything into either family sized dinners or individuals meals for lunchs and i know exactly whats going in them.

 Look at some comparisons: between the Easy Does-It meals and those store bought frozen diet entrees

 Healthy Choice® Sweet and Sour Chicken..........$2.99

Easy-Does-It Sweet and Sour Chicken.................$1.21

Healthy Choice® Country Herb Chicken.............$2.99

Easy-Does-It Country Herb Chicken...................$1.11

Stouffer’s Lean Cuisine® Chicken & Vegetables $3.49

Easy-Does-It Chicken & Vegetables.....................$1.02

Stouffer’s Lean Cuisine® Honey Roasted Pork  $3.49

Easy-Does-It Honey Roasted Pork...................$1.02

Tthe easy Does-It cookbook's creator stands by the cookbook

Friday, July 9, 2010

Saving Money with Back to School!

     It's that time already!   While many of us still have a month or more before our children go back to school it's time to start watching sale ads for some truly money saving discounts!   Here are some upcoming deals:
Staples 7/11-7/17
2 pocket folder with fasteners 1 CENT (with additional $5 purchase) (7/11-7/14 ONLY)
Pencils- 8 pack yellow #2 1 CENT (with additional $5 purchase)(7/11-7/14 ONLY)
Quartet 8 1/2 by 11 dry erase board with marker/eraser $1
(there are other items in the sale ad that you can view here buy I believe they will be on sale cheaper)

     Walmart has started putting their school supplies on sale as well, prices will vary by store.  But don't be afraid to look elsewhere!  If you have a Meijer near you, last year crayons, glue, markers, pencil boxes, and more were all 10-19 cents a piece!  I haven't been able to see if it's started yet, but keep your eye out when you are shopping as the deals are starting!

     With the many discounts available on supplies, Clothes are obviously the largest expense.   The good news is that NOW you can stock up on clothes to finish out the warmer weather as stores are making room for their fall merchandise.   If you have outlet stores nearby this is the perfect time.  OshKosh currently has graphic tees buy 1 get 2 free.   Watch Justice for girls for their 40% off sales, and keep an eye on the clearance racks where ever you go.

    Another way to save on clothes is Ebay or craigslist where you can get a good deal, but a new site I have discovered is http://www.thredup.com Clothes are sent in amounts to fill a medium priority mail box.   The items are described thoroughly on the website and users have ratings so you can get feedback on the quality of clothes they send.  Unlike Ebay there are no pictures of the item so it adds a little excitement to it.  There is a flat fee of $13 per box that you pic that goes to ThredUp to cover shipping and website costs.   There is no cost to list or ship a box!  And you can earn free money in your ThredUp account by listing boxes of clothes that the website has a low supply on.  Keep an eye on the low supply list it changes often!  Please join me on ThredUp and help this new site grow! 
   It's also a great time to be watching yard sales for wonderful deals on kids clothing and books to add to your home library as well!
   I will try to keep up with the newest deals as they come out, but being a busy mom it doesn't always happen as fast as I would like so please help other moms by posting your tips and deals below!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Even More Samples and Freebies!

How about some freebies to start your week?
Click the links for all the details!
Please remember offers are limited, please leave a comment if a deal is expired!


New** Free Personalized Hardcover photo book from Ritz Camera (just pay $1.99 for shipping or 1 hour pickup) 5/18 only
Click the link above and log in or create a new account
■Right of the orange tab at the top, click on “Free PocketPix Photo Book – Click Here”

■Upload your photos, then create your Free 20-page, 4×4, Black Linen Hardcover Book!

Complimentary Sensory Ritual at Aveda Salons
Complimentary Stimulus Package at Aveda Salons,  (free massage, hand treatment, tea, makeup and more!)
 First Hugs Baby Blanket For Expecting Parents (or to save for baby shower gifts)
Signature Colelction BodyCare from Bath and Body Works
Kotex Sample Pack, 4 to choose from
Playtex Gentle Glide
*hot* Free Compact Florescent LightBulb
Lane Bryant Cacique Panty through 5/19
Nivea Happy Sensations Bodywash Sample
Grandma Bowser's Dog Biscuits (scroll to bottom)
Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel

Nature's Bounty Pedometer
EB5 Face Cream Sample
Eucerin Lotion and Playtex Sample
Homemade Simple (P&G) coupon book
Bagel (No Schmear) Every Friday from Einstein Bagels FACEBOOK
Free mini Dessert from Carrabbas FACEBOOK

So Much more to come Freebies and Deals
Watch out, later this week I will show you how to score ubnelievable deals and Freebies from your favorite drugstores!    I highly recommend  subscribing to this blog or "Like" us on Facebook

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Remembering who you are beyond being a mom

    For the past 8+ years my role has easily been defined for me as, "Mom."  That's it there is no identity crisis when you have such a defined label.  What does this label mean?  It means putting your family first being sure they are provided for, cared for, loved, and raised to do the same for others. 
  It has been a role that I have been so blessed to embrace.  I am fortunate to be able to be the person that my children run to when they are happy, sad, scared, or unsure.    I have been blessed to have been trusted with their innocence and to mold them into good people.  Thats all I ask if nothing else I want them to just be good caring people when they grow up.
   It has also been a role that I have gladly hid behind.  There is no need for me to know who I am, to have any other passions, or goals.  No need for me to work towards anything but providing the best life for my children that I possibly can. 
    Now as my children are getting older and little by little becoming more independent from me, I have to start thinking about who I am and who do I want to be.   That is truly a scary thought.   When you graduate high school, most of us are just expected to go to college, it wasn't so much a choice as it was just following the next logical step.   You think you have your whole life planned out, but rarely does it happen that way.  College is a whole new world suddenly you realize that your goals may not be the best fit for you.    Instead of finishing college I got married became an instant step-mom and dropped out of school to be the primary caregiver to my step-sons.   It was an easy choice for me because boom, I had an identity, no more struggling with wether or not I was studying the right major or what career I wanted, I was a mom simple.  Identity crisis solved.
   For the past ten years that has suited me fine, I wouldn't change this past decade for anything.  But now as I am returning to work and spending more and more time apart from my children it is becoming necessary to seperate my mom identity from who I really am.    Yes I am the mom who can go on and on for hours about my kids and their newest "accomplishment" or "crisis" (anyone who is friends with me on Facebook is probably groaning in agreement).    Beyond that I have nothing to say.  I have returned to school, but truly have no idea of what I want to do with it.  I have no idea of where my passions lie.  How do you find your calling.  How do we become more than just a mom?   I have so many mom friends who are true professionals, living their personal dreams, doing what they love, while still being amazing moms.   I want to do that, I want to have dreams, and goals, and truly find something for myself that I can focus on.  But how do you find it?  

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Surving being the "Mean Mom"

     My daughter is 8 going on 16.   She is full of rebellion, attitude, crazy emotions, and everything else that makes up a teenager...but she is 8!   I have gotten used to the "I hate you!" that seems to come out of her mouth at least once a week.  I know she is upset and venting and she will soon get over it.   But I wasn't prepared for what she said today.  "You hate us!" Maybe she realized she wasn't getting the response she wanted before so she thought she would try someting different.   Aftr an insane morning trying to get everyone ready and out the door and running late.  I told the children to watch for the bus as I finished writing their school notes.  When I noticed they were playing instead of watching, I told them if they miss the bus and I have to take them to school I am not picking them up.  As I go to hand them their notes my daughter is playing with her newest art creation, and my son turned around....and there goes the bus who doesn't even stop and give us a chance to make it to the door.  
   Typically we are not so bad in the morning, I have the routine down and the kids are outside plenty of time before the bus comes.  I told the children to give me their pickup notes, they will be riding the bus home.  Then starts the fit throwing and the blame game.  The whole way to school they are crying and asking to be pick-ups.  That's when she says it, "You hate us!"  How heart-breaking is it to hear that your child thinks you hate them?  Of course the easy thing to do would be to give in and say I will pick them up from school.   But no they have to learn this lesson.   I told her I do not hate them, they were given the warning to watch for the bus and chose to ignore it so this was the result of their choice.
    This isn't the first time and it won't be the last where I have to be the unpopular one, be the bad guy.  In fact when they get home and have to do their homework before playing outside we will have the same argument all over again.  I keep saying to myself you will thank me later, though I doubt that will ever happen.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Making Work at Home Work

     I have worked from home numerous times over the past 9 years as a stay at home mom. But everytime it failed, it is hard to focus with kids screaming, baby crying, or just the constand demand for attention. Thats not counting the laundry and dishes that always seem to be calling my name. I would fall behind in my deadlines, be on a conference call when a kid would wake up from his nap, or just in general feel guilty that I am neglecting my family.

     So I went back to work outside the home, with only one child not in school full-time I thought it was doable. Then kids get sick, activities come up, childcare falls through, and a million things happen and then you look and Summer Vacation is almost here, now what? When childcare is going to be more than you income it doesn't work.

     As much as I wish we could live on a single income, cutting back and saving money can only go so far. Living paycheck to paycheck isn't enough when an emergency comes up. Now I have to look at working from home again. But this time it's different. Here are what I learned I need to do to make it work:
  1. Work as an employee for a Company.  There really are legit companies that are hiring work from home employees.  Always check a company out with the Better Business Bureau and never pay an upfront fee for "placement services".  Some Companies may require and equipment fee or require you to pay for a background check, always check a company out before paying any money.    Working as an employee gives you a set schedule you have to commit to follow, it makes it easier to stick to.
  2. Set up an office.  No a computer in the bedroom or dining room is not a home office.  Your office should be seperate from the main living area or the childrens play area.  Background noise must be the same as in a traditional office, road noise, children, and dogs barking are not acceptable when you are on call with a client or customer.
  3. This has to be a family decision, your spouse must be 100% on board with this and be willing to pick up extra duties.
  4. Work opposite schedule of your spouse or hire a baby sitter.  Yes hiring a baby sitter does seem to defeat the purpose of working from home.  But there must be someone to supervise the kids (and keep them away from your office while working).  Hiring a part-time babysitter to watch multiple kids is usually cheaper than paying for daycare and you have the peace of mind knowing you are right there if there is an emergency. 
  5. Have set working hours and stick to them!  Don't allow yourself an extra hour working when you should be spending time with your family, and don't decide that you would rather go to the park then work in your office.  You have to be disciplined and stick to the schedule.
  6. Dress for work, don't enter your office in your pajamas, be dressed to the shoes.  Looking professional will help you be professional.  It also helps you and our family understand that you are working, just as if you were going ot an office outside the home.  
  7. Most of all remember why you are doing it!
If you think that you can follow all of these guidelines then check out some of the work from home companies I recommend below:
     Home based telephone agents.  Requires updated computer, headset, and other client based requests.  May requore a fee for background check.

   Similar to Alpine Access

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Yea it's a plug :-)

Want something to really get your kids interested in Music? A DCI show is thrilling, exciting, and really gives a new dimension to "Marching Bands". Check it out at your local theatre!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Free Photo Book with any purchase from Mixbook

     Perfect for Mothers Day and teacher's gift!  Get a free photo book with any purchase (prices start as low as $6.99).   Take those precious photos and make them last forever.  Just upload your photos and start creating! You can choose from beautiful pre-made templates or personalize your photo book by making your own template  
  The books are fully customizable.  Just upload your photos and start creating! You can choose from beautiful pre-made templates or personalize your photo book by making your own template. Click the linkbelow and put in code BK4Free at checkout!

Join Mixbook and receive a FREE photo book

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Recession Family Vacations

     Like most everyone we are cutting back on everything, eating out, entertainmnet, luxeries and even what we considered necessities.   I feel fortunate and hopeful that things are improving, financially our family actually seems to better than ever before, but that's not saying too much.  We still know not to take anything for granted, we try to put a little in savings whenever we can and pray for nothing devestating to happen to put us back at square one.
    But that doesn't mean we can't splurge a little, the trick is making a little treat go a long way.  Over spring break we are taking a mini vacation.  Spending two days in Indianapolis.    Our budget is approximatly $100, including hotel, food, and attractions for  family of 5. 
   First off let's get the $100 to spend.  Cut out the pizza place that we went to once a week and opt for making your own at home savings $20 and add in quality family time.  Savings over 5 week is $100.   . 
      Next the hotel, my husband travels for work so he racks up reward points, but we have also asked family to let us use their points if we know that won't be using them and I also have used Mystery Shopping with companies (such as http://www.freemangroupsolutions.com/) to get reimbursed Hotel Nights as well.  Just carefully read the insturctions to see if you are allowed to bring other people and how many, also note that you should allow up to 8 weeks to be reimbursed.  Because we are using reward points, our hotel this trip is no cost.  
      Our next largest expense is typically food. Breakfast is easy, free at the hotel.  I have Entertainment book buy one get one free coupons that cut the host in half if we stop within it's area on the way down or back.  Right now save 80% on http://www.restaurant.com/ with the code "Chow" (minus quotes).  I have purchased $85 worth of Indy restauraunt certificates for $7.20.  The total required minimum purchase is $140- $85 in certificates equals $55 for two dinners and 2 lunches. Total cost is $62.20
    Finally attractions, we are going to the Indianapolis Childrens Museum and the Conner Prairie outdoor pioneer village.  Each of these have a community outreach program, because the children qualify for Hoosier Healthwise each memeber of the family gets in to each park for $1 a person, total cost for two days of activites.. $10!   When it comes to extra goodies, souviners ect... the kids have had ample time to earn some spending money of their own by doing extra chores around the house. 
   So right now our budget is at $72.20, adding the gas will put us right at $100.  

Monday, April 5, 2010

Teach your kids to make good choices

I was recently looking through a blog post entitled, "Should Toys be banned from Happy Meals?" I wonder if the writer of this post is related to the person who tried to sue McDonalds for making them overweight. Seriously? I applaud McDonalds for encouraging children to make good choices by showing more commercials showing milk and apples with their happy meals. I am a busy mom, (show me a mom who is not busy). I fall to the rut of just running through a drive through to pick up lunch or dinner all to often. Okay I admit, I am a horrible cook and we probably eat out more than we eat in. Does that mean that my children are inactive and overweight?
No, I am conscious as to what we get when we eat out. Typically the children get some kinds of kids meal and I give them the option of what they get. We talk about healthy choices constantly. And sometimes the kids choose fruit and milk, sometimes fries and milk,and occasionally fries and a Sprite, and even sometimes a salad with no dressing. They know what the best choice is but they also know that sometimes it's okay to choose something less healthy once in awhile. They do not have to be afraid of calories, or fat, or even have to understand what they are. They are in control of what they eat just by education at home.
At home we try to always have more healthy options available and limited junk food, this way they have more opportunity to eat right but have the option to have a special treat when they feel they need it. I keep the junk food higher up out of their direct eyesight, so if they go digging in the fridge or cupboards just because they are bored and hungry they will see the healthy options first. The junk food is not locked away or really hidden, but just out of sight out of mind. By making the junk food less accessible but not forbidden you are taking away the temptation of them wanting something they are not supposed to have.
What happens if you completely shelter your kids from junk food and treat it like something that is not allowed, when the child gets older and more independent and they discover this world of convienience and sugar and empty calories that was kept from them. Instead by teaching the children it is okay in moderation, they learn to make a responsible choice because they want to not because they were forced to.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Active or Pushy????

Am I the only parent whose kids refuse to leave the house? Now I am not talking about when they are 40 an still living at home, but at the preschool and early grade school level. They reluctantly leave for school in the morning, dragging their book bags as if I am sending them off to prison on a life sentence. Yes I know that is normal. When my daughter was in first grade I literally had to crawl under her bed and drag her out get her dressed and ready and got her to school a half hour late but I got her there!

What I am talking about is after school. I don't dare suggest going out for dinner or need to do an errand in the evening. They absolutely refuse to leave the house! I get it they have been in school all day and want to come home and just relax. Who of us does not want to just curl up in our comfy clothes and a blanket with a good book...well okay a laptop?

However I want my children to be active. Last year I signed my daughter up for the community swim team. She is a natural born swimmer and loves it. However getting her to go to practice was a battle every single evening. She'd cry and say she hates it and wants to quit, but once I got her there she would be fine, unless the pool was too cold. My younger son tried football this past fall with about the same reaction.

It's not just after school weekend are not much better. I would like my children to be involved in church. We started attending the church where my youngest goes to preschool. The kids seem to have a fun time when they are there but now they fight to not go and many times it's just not worth the battle for me.

I want my children to be active, not over scheduled but active. They don't want to come home and just veg out in front of the TV and video games they play outside with their friends and are always running around the house. But I want them to be involved in something structured, that they will have to work at. Something they can find their talents with. Maybe it is because I did not have the opportunity when I was a young child to do these things. Once I was old enough I was involved in every activity and sport that I could do after school.

I find it hard to find that middle ground to be encouraging but not pushy, to let them have their relaxation time but to not be lazy. I want to get them out and involved in something, but I don't want them to resent it because I made them do it.

How do you encourage your children to be active without being too pushy?