Keep Your Wrapping Paper Organized

Keep Your Wrapping Paper Organized

If you’re like me, you probably have a bunch of rolls of birthday, wedding, or Christmas wrapping paper scattered about under beds or in closets. I recently discovered the world of wrapping paper organizers. Don’t let your confusion about which wrapping paper organizer will fit your needs stop you. There are really just four main types, the hanging wrapping paper organizer, the vertical wrapping paper organizer, the under-the-bed or portable wrapping paper organizer and the cart wrapping paper organizer. Before you purchase one, take a look around your house to see what type of space you have available.

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Science Experiments for 4th Graders

Science Experiments for 4th Graders

4th grade science experiments are always one of the more interesting activities to do when it comes to explaining basic science concepts. This stage of learning deals with the study of Matter such as Atoms and Molecules, as well as Force, motion and energy along with Earth, Light, Electricity and much more. It is a very exciting stage for any young student, as 4th grade science covers some of the most important facts and provides the building blocks for higher science education. And as with any good elementary science learning, experiments help keep learning fun and exciting, not to mention it makes absorption of concepts easier since practical applications are being done using the lesson.

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9 Budgeting Tips for Your Disney Vacation

9 Budgeting Tips for Your Disney Vacation

Well December saw a lot of expenses for us. Aside from spending over $1000 on food at the grocery store, we decided to pony up for a family membership at the YMCA to ring in the new year. That’s another $90/month. Then we finally bit the bullet and bought a new hot tub cover which dinged our bank account for another $400 or so.

But that’s nothing compared to what we spent on our Disneyworld vacation. With adult tickets hovering over $110 for a single day, the cost can add up real quick. A trip to Disney World for a week for a family of four or five can easily match what you’d spend to go to France for the same amount of time.

So how do you save enough to go do Disney? Here are a few tips.

  • Check out a budgeting blog, like this one, or this one. These guys are obsessed with finding ways to save money and help you figure out how to better manage your savings and income streams. Can’t say enough about them and how much they’ve helped us.
  • Look for travel deals on certain websites.
  • Check out which posts tons of helpful coupons
  • Consider a trip to Disneyland instead of Disney World. The difference? Disneyland is usually frequented by casual visitors who live nearby, while Disney World is much more a destination type place that involves more expensive hotels, plane fares and dining.
  • Check Disney for deals. While they don’t offer the craziest discounts, it’s worth checking for the latest offers.
  • Buy a multi-day pass. If you’re going to be there for 3-5+ days, you can get a multi day pass that considerably drops the price from $89 to a more stomach friendly $50 or so.
  • Go in the off season, between September and January. This is when hotel rooms are less expensive.
  • Make your own meals. Eating out three times per day adds up real fast. Make some quick pb&j sandwiches and pack loads of snacks to fend off the hunger pangs (and dollars).
  • Get the Disney hotel perks. Yes, hotels with “Disney” attached to their name usually have plenty of perks like free/discounted parking, cheaper meals, and free shuttles to get you in and out of the park easily.

I usually get decent customer service in Disney and this last trip was no exception! The first time someone went above and beyond for us was at about 11:30pm on a Sunday evening. We were at Bay Lake Tower so any items we needed had to be bought at the Contemporary. I realized we had no ointment for sores and Olivia had a sore that needed to be tended to. At 11:30 at night, where was I going to get this?

I called the front desk and they actually had a night manager come to the Pepper Market to open it up for us. Since it was late, he could not accept payment so he just gave us the ointment. (Cost was around $7) How is that for awesome customer service?! The next morning we did stop there and pay for it. Hey, karma and all that…

On our last full day there, we went to the Magic Kingdom for the evening. One of my husband’s favorite rides is The Carousel of Progress so of course we went on it. The bad news? He lost his phone on the ride. He reported the phone missing and they gave him a number to call the next morning. The next morning came and they had not recovered his phone. Unfortunately, we had to go home the next day so he figured it was gone for good. That is when panic set in.

We spent a small fortune in Disney this year because we took extra people so we really had no money to go buy a new phone. We were looking at about $800.00 to get a new iPhone. The first thing that came to mind was raiding the emergency fund but it never got to that.

Fortunately we got a call from? Disney Lost & Found! They located his phone on the ride Monday morning and they were in the process of mailing it back to him for FREE since we already came home!

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Our Frog Project

Our Frog Project

Last month, frogs laid eggs in rainwater on our pool cover. Before draining the cover, we scooped up the eggs in a couple of large plastic cups. The next day we had a couple of cups of tadpoles! We made habitat from a plastic bin and turn it up under a deck canopy to shade from the Sun. The habitat also included large rocks and floating grasses, for our ninety tadpoles.

We fed them flies, mosquitoes, worms, and grubs based on our research of the diet of these tadpoles. During the project (it would have made a great science experiment), we discovered that the tadpoles would eat pill bugs and earthworms, preferring them to decompose a little before eating them. Three weeks into the project, we strained out the tadpoles to remove some mosquito larvae. While this reduced the mosquito population by seventy-five percent when we counted tadpoles there are forty-five left.

In the four-eight weeks that it took for the frogs to mature we continue to feed them every two days. We put the food in the corner by opening the screen to keep mature mosquitoes from escaping. At this point, we were down to twenty-four tadpoles.

What was odd is that although the numbers were down, there were no dead tadpoles floating around. The 25 tadpoles remaining swimming around were getting big and healthy. Apparently, they had eaten the other tadpoles while leaving the mosquito larvae alone.

I know this all sounds gross and most people simply want to know how to keep frogs OUT of a pool, but we found it fascinating and just ran with it.

By week six we had twenty tadpoles swimming around the habitat none of them had legs yet. At week seven the tadpoles were the size of a pencil eraser. On week 8 one tadpole had grown legs and a long tail. However, the rest were still legless well fed.

Before the end of week eight, one of the tadpoles finished developing into a frog. It was still small nor was it as big as some of the other tadpoles. We removed the screen so that the Frog could get out of the habitat.

However, it made analog we had placed in the habitat for several hours before moving to a location on the habitat lip overshadowed by a potted plant. Or the next morning if I was gone and there were seventeen tadpoles left. Among those left two had grown legs. The first frog left just one day short of two months after hatching from an egg.

By week nine we started off the week by cleaning the habitat. We used an insect net to carefully scoop up each tadpole placing them into a holding container. The mosquito larvae were also scooped-out and put in a separate container. At this point, not only were there still seventeen tadpoles left, but six of them had sprouted legs. The next morning the frogs had moved out of the water.

By week ten, there only ten tadpoles left. Because tree frogs are nocturnal some of them probably left the habitat good night. This morning we photographed one rather agile frog hop onto a branch, still sporting a stub of a tail.

During week eleven we checked the habitat each morning finding frogs on the container sides. Potted plants at the corner of the habitat helped the frogs could mature in the backyard. Because mosquitoes continued to play the rags in the habitat we had to transfer the tadpoles to a clean container.

By week twelve we were only a few days short the three months for our tadpole project. During the last couple of weeks one or two frogs good left the tadpole habitat each day. With no more than one of them staying on a potted plant long enough to be documented.

Because tree frogs are green and brown, they were hard to see on these plants. For three days, we had only one tadpole left that was noticeably smaller than the rest. While this one is not yet growing legs, its appetite is good allowing it to grow to a normal size four its stage of development.


Sadly during week thirteen, the last tadpole died quietly in the habitat. It was interesting to watch these frogs grow from hatchlings to mature frogs. During the three months since I found the tadpole eggs, out of ninety tadpoles, only sixteen survived.

The survival rate in the wild is probably smaller as these tadpoles have a tough life just trying to survive. One thing that shows is why they produce so many eggs, to begin with. That is because the mortality rate among tadpoles is so high.

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10 Easy Rules to Keep Your House Clean and Organized

10 Easy Rules to Keep Your House Clean and Organized

For those of you that know me personally, you know what an organization freak I am. Every now and then, someone asks me how I do it. Instead of spending a couple hours going over every single thing, I decided to make a list of my most important cleaning and organization rules.

When you see something out of place, take the 2 seconds it would take to fix it. For example, each time you put the groceries away is a perfect time to clean out the fridge. Throw away the empty carton of eggs before putting the new one in, pour the last of the ranch dressing into the new bottle you just purchased, wipe the spilled milk crusties off the shelf before replacing the new gallon, throw out the left-overs from last week, etc. Another example: when you’re having the children put their laundry away, teach them how to put the clothes nicely in their drawers in neat piles and fix those clothes that got unfolded in that mornings rush hour!

When ever you buy something new, throw out the old. Simple rule: when you buy a new pair of black pumps, get rid of the old pair. When you buy a new bra, get rid of one old one. When you get new socks, get rid of any with holes. I still remember when we purchased a new silverware set. For some reason we kept the old one. In addition, we inherited an antique set from my grandma. Altogether, we probably had 10 different types of forks in the kitchen. Why?

Never put anything away dirty. This is especially important in the kitchen. Never put your appliances away dirty. After each use wipe off the entire appliance with a clean rag, and don’t forget the cord.

Have a place for your dish rags. There is nothing worse than the smell of a dirty dish rag! Purchase a few hooks for underneath your kitchen sink. After each use: rinse, ring and hang your rag on the hook. This allows you to use the rag for 2-3 days without the stench. Also, keep a set of disinfecting wipes handy for bacteria.

Keep cleaning supplies in every bathroom and your kitchen. Keeping paper towels, disinfecting wipes, window cleaner, toilet cleaner under each sink allows you to clean on the spot. This is why: bathroom mirrors get dirty very easily, yet on the way to get the cleaner from the hall closet, you get side track by another project and the mirrors don’t get done. But if you had the cleaner under the sink, how easy would it be to clean the mirror real quick as soon as you splashed toothpaste all over it? By the way, a clean mirror can fool any one in to thinking your bathroom is clean! (I only keep paper towels & disinfecting wipes under my kitchen sink). Make sure to “child proof” those cabinets if you have little children at home.

squeegee-on-showerUse a squeegee on your shower after each use. If each person who uses the shower would take the time to do this, it would cut down on hard water stains. Which means, much less time scrubbing the shower. Plus, your shower can go a little longer between scrubbings.

Never go to bed in a mess and never leave home in a mess. You get home from work, make dinner, and just want to relax. That’s fine. However, don’t go to bed leaving clutter every where. Then you have to wake up to the mess, and you find your day has already started off on the wrong foot. Take the time after dinner to do the dishes. Make the kids help. Then set the timer for 15 minutes and have all family members help straighten up. You will be amazed at how much gets done in 15 minutes with every family member helping! The same rule applies when you leave the house in the morning (it shouldn’t be that bad if your family did the 15 minutes the night before) and before you leave to go out of town.

Make your bed every day! Every bed in the house should be made every day. Even children as small as 3 can help make their own bed. Make it part of the morning routine. As soon as each member of the family rolls out of bed, the first thing they do is make their bed!

Prepare the night before. Check your calendar, then get lunches made, lay out clothes, load the backpacks, etc. Any thing that can be done the night before—do it! Mornings run so much smoother if things are prepared and there is no reason for panic.

Choose a mop cloth that can be washed. Don’t use the traditional sponge or rag mops. Then you have to find a place for them to hang dry, they are very hard to keep sanitary, and you must replace them often. Plus, you have to have a mop bucket or you use your sink…YUK! By choosing a mop cloth that is detachable, you can machine wash and dry the pad. You don’t have to waste money buying disposable or replacement pads.

Bonus Tip!

Relax. Don’t stress about not being the perfectly organized wife. Treat yourself at the spa or salon every now and then. Personally, I’m not in the position to spend a couple hundred dollars at a trendy salon. In fact, I’m a big fan of MasterCuts salons. They’ll do anything from a simple cut to coloring, highlights, and even waxing. You can’t beat MasterCuts prices and I’ve always left happy and feeling like a new woman!

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Preventing and Dealing With Kitchen Fires

Preventing and Dealing With Kitchen Fires
Recently, my sister dealt with this very subject. Fortunately, she knew what to do. Fires are very unfortunate. They cause the loss of property and loss of lives. If you make it out with only a few injuries, you are very lucky. The thing is, most people take the subject of house fires for granted and feel that it can never happen to them. Unfortunately, house fires happen everyday. The good news is, they can be prevented.

When it comes to fires, the kitchen is the prime starting point. Cooking, making coffee and other similar activities can quickly accelerate into a disastrous and consuming house fire. Since many fires originate from stove tops, there is a chance of fire every time a meal is prepared.

Kitchen fire prevention

There are many ways to prevent a kitchen fire before it ever starts. They can turn into raging monsters that are hard to tame. If you are careful, you will never have to encounter that monster. A few simple steps are all that is needed to be the safest cook in the kitchen.

  • Never leave the kitchen when cooking. Foods can quickly overflow or burn if you forget that you are cooking. Don’t be surprised; it happens more often than you think. Even though you may have loads of things to do, it pays to stand close by while cooking.
  • Turn off the coffee pot. When you are not using the coffee pot to brew a delicious cup of Joe, you should unplug and turn the machine off.
  • Pay attention to what you are wearing while cooking. Long flowing sleeves or extremely long necklaces can cause complications while preparing the meal. Your clothing can easily catch on fire and cause injury. Garage Tool Advisor recently posted a great article on fire safety in the kitchen mixed in with some of their tool reviews. Be sure to take a look.

Taming the fire

fire extinguisherFires can spread out of control in a very short time. Since something went wrong during your food preparation or when you left the coffee pot on all night, you will may be faced with an accident. If there is a fire in your kitchen, then you need to know what to do.

  • A fire has erupted from a grease spill. Your first instinct may be to douse the fire with water. This is the worst mistake you could make. The best thing to use to put out a grease fire, is salt. Salt actually smothers the flame, taking away oxygen. A fire cannot live without oxygen.
  • Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby. This item is one of the best safety tools you can buy and can save your kitchen and leave you with only a burned pan. You must make sure that you know how to use the fire extinguisher before you attempt to put the fire out. If you don’t, you should call the fire department immediately.

Yes, fires can be devastating, but you can prevent them with a little common sense. If you find yourself dealing with a fire and not sure what too do, call the fire department and leave the battle to the experts. After all, the kitchen fire can be fatal and it should never be taken for granted.

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Garage Organization Tips

Garage Organization Tips

Well Winter is technically behind us even though parts of the country still have snow on the ground. Spring is here and along with that comes Spring cleaning. Like others, the garage is one of the first places we begin to clean and organize.

I really believe that the best way to organize your garage is to wait for a couple of sunny days where you can take everything out of your cluttered garage and go through it. It may be a good idea to have a yard sale with the items you can do without. True, there are many items you would like to keep, but you will find out that as you go through things, there will be some items that you really can do without.

It’s not always easy though. My husband recently upgraded some tools including his screwdriver collection. He spent good money on what he thinks is the best screwdriver set out there yet still has about 20 mismatched screwdrivers of various sizes. When I asked him why he wouldn’t consider selling them at our garage sale, I got the typical guy answer: “I might need them”.


Shelves in your garage are always a good way to store smaller items. I prefer Rubbermaid shelves over any others. Plan ahead and get the right amount of shelving you need to supply the needed space for all of your small items. Don’t keep stuff in boxes where you can’t find it. You want to have access to everything you need. Also, it may help to place the shelving in a rather hidden place, or perhaps a functional area where it is needed. You may want to hang some items from the wall, including skis, fishing rods, and other miscellaneous larger items that you may have.

Make it functional

After you have gone through all of your things, and sorted out what you don’t need, it is time to start placing your possessions in the organizational systems that you have arranged for them. Place things where you can access them easily depending on what you plan to do at any given time in the garage.

This is about the time my husband takes the winter tires off our car and puts them in storage. Since he’s so into cars, as his Christmas gift, I got him the best floor jack under $200 that I could find. Because of the weight, he’s going to keep it right by the garage door. If you have a workbench nearby, place other tools next to it.

Place like items together. For instance, place any gardening tools (like shovels or the Grass Stitcher) together, the gas cans together, the paint all in one place, and so on. Plan ahead, and then your daily uses of the things in the garage will be easier.

Keep it simple

Don’t overdo any stage of the process. If you have any doubts about getting rid of something, just keep it for now, you can always do something with it later. Also, think of friends and acquaintances who could perhaps use some of your unwanted items. A thorough cleaning and organizing is good for every garage occasionally.

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Not Back At It

Not Back At It

I have to apologize for not updating my blog in such a long time. For those of you who know me on a more personal level, you understand my struggle with chronic lower back pain for the past few years. It finally got to the point where Ibuprofen and heating pads simply weren’t cutting it. It was affecting my job, family, and normal day to day stuff.

After going extended periods of time without a full night’s sleep, I finally decided enough is enough. Trying to figure out how to sleep with lower back pain was a constant struggle. My biggest issue was that most of my life, I’ve been a stomach sleeper. I’ve now learned that is the absolute worst position to sleep in. It hasn’t been easy but I’m gradually turning into a side sleeper after going through some trial and error and finally finding a comfortable pillow (2 words… shredded latex!).

One of the best things I’ve bought is an acupressure mat. I’ve always wanted to try acupuncture for my back pain but we simply can’t afford it since insurance won’t cover it. While the acupressure mat is obviously not the same thing, it’s a similar idea. You literally lay on a mat which has hundreds of sharp plastic spikes on them. It’s such a weird feeling. It’s slightly painful but in a good way. The first time I laid on it, I started picturing the tiny spikes going through my skin and thinking I’d get up covered in blood. Well, the spikes never actually break skin but it causes blood to flow to that part of the body which also releases endorphins. It’s a fantastic way of quick pain relief. Too bad it’s only temporary.

inversion-tableI’ve also been doing a lot of research on inversion therapy. For those that don’t know, inversion therapy is when you lay on special inversion table where you lock your feet into place and literally rotate the table until you are hanging partially (or fully) upside down. It’s mainly used for those with bulging or herniated discs. The idea is that we put so much pressure on our spines during the day (sitting, standing, walking), that by hanging upside down, the pressure on our spine is reversed and can actually “decompress” (add more space between) the joints in the spine. So, do inversion tables work? Well I’ve only been using my table for a couple days but it really feels like it’s helping a bit. I’m not quite to the point of being completely inverted (still need to get used to the feeling) but it’s getting easier each time.

My doctor and I have already discussed the possibility of surgery for my bulging discs but back surgery is not something I want to make a quick decision on. I’m committed to first exhaust other treatment options if I can. If anyone has had any success with a particular treatment for their back, I’d love to hear from you. I hope to make a new post in the near future that my lower back issues are a thing of the past.

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Ugh. We have a leak!

Ugh. We have a leak!

You know how as a homeowner you can sometimes feel like something is about to stop working? Well it happened and it wasn’t pretty. I guess that’s the life of home ownership. Everything is fine one minute and then the next minute you’re freaking out because something’s busted, you don’t have a clue what to do, and all you can think about is what the damage will be at the end.

Ok, so our water heater is older than our teenage daughter but still… when you find your water heater is leaking in your basement, it comes off as a shock. I tried convincing myself it must have been something else like condensation or something but my husband set me straight and we knew our water heater was toast. Fortunately, we have a water shutoff valve within easy reach so at least the damage can be contained.

Turns out that the water heater had been leaking ever so slightly for a few weeks. We couldn’t quite pinpoint where it was leaking from since it was a REALLY slow leak. We checked the usual home improvement forums and a few plumbing related sites. After going through diagnosing the water leak, we narrowed it down to the leak somewhere near the bottom of the tank. The hope was that it would be a simple fix like the drain valve but unfortunately, it appears to be the tank itself. Shouldn’t really come off as a surprise since the water heater is so old but it wasn’t the conclusion we were hoping for.

Now my husband is a pretty handy guy but replacing a gas water heater is not really in his comfort zone. We decided to bite the bullet and let the pros do the install once we found a new water heater. I figure I’ll do some research and find a good deal on a high efficiency water heater and we’ll actually be able to lower our energy bills. We’re not planning on moving anytime soon so I’m not really stressing about the cost since it will end up paying for itself.

We did end up looking into a new tankless model (which we’ve heard good things about) but at about $5k? Ummm… no thanks. We’ll be just fine with another giant tank in the basement. There are actually quite a few different water heater types including these “hybrid” models which weren’t really that much more than a normal unit but it wouldn’t work for our application without a whole lot of modification ($$$). So, standard 50-gallon gas model it is.

Ended up getting a good deal at Lowes even though I tried my best getting a better deal online. Who would have thought that a big, heavy, appliance would be expensive to ship across the country. Right? Instead of using Lowe’s professional services to do the install, we contacted a local plumber who agreed to do the install a couple hundred less that Lowes. The plumber ended up picking up the water heater the next day and installing it in a couple hours. I wouldn’t recommend finding a water heater leak just as the weather is getting colder but going a day and a half without hot water wasn’t the end of the world.


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Our Trip to Maui

Our Trip to Maui

Long time to hear from me and I apologize for that. Lots of things going have been going on. Recently me, my hubby and kids took a trip to Maui, Hawaii. It started like this… last month we were looking for a great vacation spot to unwind and relax, away from the hustle and bustle of every day life in our city. We had several vacation spots in mind, like in Florida, and Colorado– but in the end, after a lot of thinking and planning, me and my husband decided on Maui as our final destination. It seemed like the perfect (read: WARM) spot!

Apart from the beautiful Hawaiian scenery, sun-kissed hills, lovely breath-taking views, and endless dining and sight-seeing options, I think a lot of our decision came from the fact that we both visited Maui as kids and loved it. We wanted this to be a great time for our kids – not just us! So, the time came for us to pack up and leave for our trip.

mauiThe first few days we stayed at a hotel right next to the beach. I took advantage of this time to take my 8 year old daughter for swimming and snorkeling lessons that first day. The life guard even gave a class on beach safety and talked about using a life jacket to keep safe. It was valuable information that we were able to use while at the beach. That said, I did a lot of research on my own before our trip. According to, 90% of drownings happen near the shore. That was surprising since I always thought it was out at sea on a boat.

Per a close friend’s recommendation, we went to the local Costco and purchased a couple life jackets for the kids instead of renting them. The best life jacket for a 50 pound child is supposedly the Stohlquist and they happened to have a good deal on it. We picked up two, a smaller size for m. (we ended up reselling them before we went home for only a slight loss… much cheaper than renting for the entire week)

Anyway, our next location to continue our tropical vacation was at an exceptional resort in West Maui. I had the opportunity to spend time at some unique places while there – like the Art Collection Tour, which is home to one of the biggest corporate art displays in all of Hawaii! The lady that showed me around directed me to some ancient artifacts from an old ship that dated back to the early 1700s. Alana, my oldest, was so thrilled to see all the historical items. She loves history!

We were treated like royalty at the Royal Feast Sunset Dinner Cruise. The view was just incredible. We were helped to a meal of grilled carp and tropical rice, and for dessert we had pineapple soufflé.

Next, was the West Maui Molokai Helicopter Tour. Myself, and my hubby and 2 kids got to see all kinds of breath-taking views from the helicopter. We must have taken a ton of photos of the water, the hills, trees, and beautiful tropical leaves that sprinkled the land.

I can’t forget about the trip to Hot Island Glass, where we got a tour of the glass blowing facility, and got to see many of the beautiful finished products. There were so many different kinds of vases, decorative glasses and fancy plates to admire. I even got to pick one out to display in my home!

Although my 2 year old, is a bit young to appreciate the entire experience, she did enjoy herself. And our family is sure to share the memories for years to come.

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The Trim Healthy Mama Craze

The Trim Healthy Mama Craze

I often tell myself, “time to go on a diet”, then I eat everything in sight. Has this happened to you? I do not know why I can’t use the word DIET; I just think the word gives me a negative mindset. I know I need to lose a few pounds and I have come to the conclusion that losing weight in my mid-thirties is a lot more difficult than in my twenties.

In reality, I need to lose more than a few pounds. I can’t even share the number of pounds I should lose without blushing. I just kept telling myself I was just still carrying around the extra weight from having a baby. My youngest is now two; my oldest is eight. I really can’t hide behind the baby weight excuse anymore. As I stare at my husband, I realize he could lose a few pounds too. I do not want to give you the impression he is overweight; he just seems to be carrying a few extra pounds around his mid-section.

So, I have decided to create a new mindset, “time to get healthy”. If I focus on the need to get healthy, I will not use the dreaded “diet” word. Focusing on eating and living is not just for me, I want to maintain a healthy lifestyle. A lifestyle that will give me a better chance of seeing my two children, graduate from high school, go to college and eventually marry the person of their dreams. If I had the money and time to do so, I’d totally look into how to become a certified nutritionist, especially after seeing how much a nutrition can make. Maybe some day…

After spending an afternoon researching and talking to a few friends, I decided the Trim Healthy Mama plan was the right option for me. I had not heard of this type of plan before I began my research. Honestly, I think the title attracted me at first. Of course, it could be a typically fad diet but something about it seems a bit different from the norm.

Fooled Ya Pizza (YUM!)

Fooled Ya Pizza (YUM!)

One of the greatest aspects of this program is eating delicious food. Normally, when I heard the word “diet”, I envisioned tiny servings of tasteless food. With the Trim Healthy Mama plan, I am able to make all sorts of delicious foods. The portions are not small; the whole concept is eating the right food combination to help lose and maintain my specific goal. I also like the fact; I do not have to count calories. Counting calories always made me feel like a failure every time I would go past the recommended intake amount.

Convincing my husband was a difficult task in the beginning. But after the first week of trying Crabby Patties, Zucchini Fires, Volcano Mud Slide Muffin and the Sunday Crock Pot Roast, he was more willing get on board with the new healthy eating mindset.

Even though we have just started this journey, I am hopeful for a positive, healthier lifestyle.  I like the fact that the book includes references and verses from the Bible. The fact that two sisters started this program and succeeded, give me hope. I like the fact that the program was designed by real women who know the struggles of trying to lose weight.

I recently spotted the most amazing red dress that I want to wear for my anniversary party in six months. For me, having a goal of fitting into the dress and surprising my husband helps me stay on track.

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How to Ditch Your Landline Phone

How to Ditch Your Landline Phone

As cell phones overshadow traditional land line telephones as many people’s primary communications device, keeping a landline can seem redundant. And, paying for a landline seems wasteful, especially when it goes unused. For the longest time, a landline was necessary in order to maintain an internet connection. It has also been the best way to keep a line of communication open to a household with several members and been the most reliable way to have access to 911 service. Times, however, are changing.


skypeAs most people are probably aware, Skype uses instant messaging software to allow people to video chat. What many people may not be aware of is that you can use Skype for voice and text messaging as well.


One way to get a home phone without paying for a landline is to use Bluetooth technology to connect your cordless phone to your cell. You can have two phones with only one bill. Panasonic, Goodcall and Uniden all offer Bluetooth-enabled cordless phones.


Not many people know about Unlicensed Mobile Access. It is a technology that allows your mobile phone to connect to your home Wi-fi to make free phone calls. Best of all, it won’t count against your monthly minutes. Check with your mobile carrier to see if this service is available to you.

Smartphone Apps

There are many Smartphone apps such as Free calls with Magic Jack, Viber and Line2– just to name a few– that will allow you to make free phone calls to anyone in the U.S. and Canada no matter whether they have a landline or are using a mobile device.

Magic Jack

magic jackMagic Jack is a tiny device that plugs into the USB port on your computer. Once a regular phone jack is plugged into the other end of Magic Jack, you can make inexpensive phone calls. For $20 per year you can make unlimited calls to the U.S. and Canada and pay nothing for incoming calls. The only catch with Magic Jack is that you have to have a solid internet connection, otherwise you will experience a lot of dropped calls.

Cell Phone Booster

Even though you may have a cell phone, poor reception is the biggest hindrance to people getting rid of their home phone. Most cell phone boosters (or repeaters) work through your internet and a GPS signal to amplify the signal from the nearest cell tower. Their is an upfront expense of a couple hundred dollars but it pays for itself in a matter of a few months and dropped calls and conversations that cut out will be a thing of the past. Be sure to read some cell phone booster reviews on the net to help you pick out the right model. As for those cell phone signal booster stickers? They’re a scam and don’t work.

Landline-free Internet

A large part of the reason many people hang on to their landlines long after they have ceased to use them for communication is that many companies require a landline for internet service. As technology progresses and becomes more available to the public, however, landlines become less and less necessary even for this.

Dry loop DSL

Dry loop DSL ( also known as naked DSL, stand alone or dryline) uses your homes phone line but does not require phone service to be active.


If you have cable television service, you can receive internet via your television cable. Check with your cable provider to see if they offer this service.


Just as you can get television service via satellite, you can get internet service via satellite. Best of all, you don’t have to subscribe to a television service to receive internet service in this way.

Mobile Broadband

The same technology that allows you to connect to the internet on your smartphone, can now allow you to turn your laptop into a Wi-fi hotspot. If you spend much time on your computer, however, this can be a costly alternative.

As technology advances and becomes more widely available to the general public, a landline telephone becomes redundant and thus unnecessary. Being able to ditch your landline can also lower monthly expenses.

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The Danger of Gun Control Laws

The Danger of Gun Control Laws

Forgive me but I have the need to get on my soapbox now about a very important issue. The Second Amendment states, in part, that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.  The words ‘shall not’ definitely means something.  The words ‘the people’ mean you and your neighbor.  The stated, expressed purpose of the retention of this right is for defense.  All current debates about the regulation of this common means of defense, during the formative years of the United States, are misplaced.

Current political debates about gun control:

  • Do not take into consideration who is using weapons, of any kind, in an illegal or dangerous manner.

  • Do understand what role a weapon plays in the daily lives of some people as they usually have armed guards at their side much of the time.

  • Confuse the presence of a gun in a lawful citizen’s possession as just ‘one more gun on the streets.’

  • Do not understand what the weapon in American culture means.

obamaGun control laws are actually dangerous because they do not take into consideration the largest population of gun wielding maniacs is not the law abiding citizens.  There are approximately 310 million people in the United States and, according to gun and rifle manufacturers, approximately 300 million weapons owned by them.  There are not that many crimes committed with guns in the average year or even decade.  Consider the following:

  • These are purchased and used for:  Hunting – 58%; Target shooting – 66% and Protection against crimes – 67%.

  • For the year 2008, 5,340,000 violent crimes were committed in all categories.  8% of them (436,000) were committed with a visible gun.  What was used in all of the rest that should be controlled?

  • In all criminal activities that are committed by someone with a gun, they intended or were prepared to use that weapon.

  • 42% of Americans will be the victim of a completed crime and 82% will be involved in an attempted violent crime. 52% of Americans will be the victim more than once.

  • All criminal use of a weapon, on each occasion, will be ended by them being stopped by another weapon or their own weapon turned upon themselves.

gun-controlGun control laws, as being discussed as political fixes, are actually dangerous because they attempt to control people rather than a weapon.  Many of these proposals would require trigger guards, safes and the placement of ammunition in another location.  This makes their purpose of self protection a rather complicated operation requiring an amount of time that might not be available to them in an emergency situation. Like most responsible gun owners, we have our firearms securely locked away securely in a gun safe. Since we only have a couple pistols, the best gun safe for us was an inexpensive GunVault which we keep next to our bed. For others, they may need a large floor-standing model to hold their rifles, AR-15s or whatever else they have. The point being is that in the future, we may also need to hide our guns from the government which is definitely not something our founding fathers had in mind.

“Gun control will not stop crazy people from committing murder.”

Other elements of politically popular bills deal with background checks, sizes of cartridges, amount of rounds in each magazine and, nonsensically, the physical appearance of the weapon.  There is more stopping power in a .257 Magnum than a M16, however, the M16 looks mean!  And it also has a barrel guard which has to mean it is a military style assault rifle.

Gun control laws are actually dangerous because the framers of the US Constitution knew that a day could come when the words ‘being necessary to the security of a free state’, within the Second Amendment, meant something that is being overlooked, at least in the debates on the subject.  During a time when Homeland Security has more ammunition than was needed to prosecute the war in Iraq and even the Department of Education has a SWAT team, the people’s right to protect their property is a fundamental right.

The most dangerous part of this is not the intellectual debate, but what it does to the relationship between the government and a sovereign people.

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