Thursday, June 21, 2018

Make Your Bathtub Look Like Brand New

Is your bathtub old, worn, rusted, abused, or otherwise damaged? You may think the only way to have a bathroom you will actually like is to hire someone to replace that old bathtub, and you don't relish the idea of an expensive and messy project. Consider a bathtub liner installation instead. A custom-made liner brings new life to your old tub without all the mess and expense of a complete removal and replacement.

Part of an in-home consultation includes the company's representatives taking precise measurements of the existing tub to make sure that the new liner will fit perfectly over the old one.The liner fits without disturbing the plumbing and is made to last at least 20 years. That is a greater longevity than most modern steel bathtubs can claim!

Quarter-inch solid-core vinyl provides a high-gloss and high-impact finish that is invincible to physical damage. With an inventory of more than 100 molds, every model and make of bathtub is represented, and the forming system replicates the tub's subtlest curves.

When properly made, the liners do not crack, chip, peel, or stain. No paint or dangerous and offensive chemicals are used, which eliminates odors.The liners are not affected by bacteria or acid, and they are easy to maintain. They are also HUD tested and approved. Each installation comes with a new overflow fixture, drain, and new silicone caulking around the perimeter. The durability also makes them popular with hotels, motels, and apartment complexes as they easily get approval from owners, managers, and realtors.

Be sure to choose a reputable and experienced company that employs specialized bathroom remodeling technicians who can install the liner in a timely and precise professional fashion. A typical bathtub relining usually takes only a few hours, and you will be able to use the bathtub the very next day.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Not Good Enough

It really bothers me when people are too lazy to put their shopping carts away when they're done using them. Not only is it annoying to attempt to pull into a parking spot only to find it blocked by a cart - or two or three, because once someone does it, others are sure to follow along - but it can cause damage to cars in the parking lot. It only happened to me once, but take it from me, those rogue carts can come barreling across the parking lot and run right into your vehicle on a windy day!

What bothers me just about as much (OK, as much) is when people sort of put the carts where they belong, but they're too lazy to actually do it right. How much extra effort would it really take to push that cart forward so that there's room for other people's carts behind it? An extra shove, a couple steps...

But, NO, I guess they figure just getting it there, sort of almost into the cart containment area is good enough. Who cares about those who come later? Or if the cart even stays where it was parked?

Sorry, not good enough! I always try to push my cart as far forward as possible and move the carts in front forward if I can, but if the first person didn't even bother and there are several behind it, there's only so much I can do. Those carts get heavy and very hard to push.

But seriously, why? Am I the only person who thinks that if you're gonna do something, just do it right? And doing some things - like putting your shopping cart away at the end of your shopping trip - really aren't optional. So just give that extra shove or take that extra step of two. You already made it to the shopping cart area...

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Make Sure Your Family is Ready for Summer

When the summer season starts and the temperatures start to rise, smart parents know that it's important to make sure that their family is ready for anything. From lazy days indoors to Sundays at the beach, the summer season can bring all sorts of excitement (along with cries of, "Mom, I'm bored!"). The question you have to ask yourself is, "Is my  family ready for the summer?"

One of the most important things for any homeowner to do before the summer season begins is to make sure that they have air conditioning. This is especially important if you live in one of the hotter areas of the country where the temperatures get very high and people can get very sick if they are left in the heat for too long. If you don't already have an air conditioner that is working well, you need to find and hire a local professional to get one installed in your home before the summer heat hits. For example, if you need HVAC Gloucester VA, you should call a reputable company like CC Air and Heat. This will ensure that your home stays cool and comfortable throughout the season and your family stays safe from the dangers of excessive heat.

Beth in the pool
Another important thing is to make sure that any pools in your area are completely secured and that your children are taught about water safety. If your children will be spending any time at the beach, at a pool, on a river, or at any other place where they could fall into the water, they should have swimming lessons as well as wear a life jacket. If you have a pool in your backyard, it's essential that it is fenced in and only accessible by a locked gate that is too tall for small children to open and enter. Drowning is a leading cause of death for small children in many places so don't let it happen to you.

Finally, make sure that your summer is fun. Let your kids relax, don't over schedule them, and spend quality time with them this summer.

Why am I Just Now Finding These?

Summertime means it's time to bring out the sundresses. I love the ease and comfort. What I do not love is the way my thighs always rub together. A little baby powder solves the problem temporarily, but it never lasts.

That's where this split slip comes in! No more thigh rub. Or, more accurately, the thighs may still rub, but there's material between so it's not irritating and annoying. I'm just wondering why it took me so long to find these.

How about you? Did you know these were available? The one I got is short, so it's good for any length skirt or dress, but I think I'm going to order one that's a bit longer, too - maybe like this one. Then I ought to be pretty much covered.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Get the Most Out of Summer with the Kids

Summer can be a wonderful and enjoyable time with the kids, but there are times the summer heat can drain all the energy and fun out of your summer. Fortunately, there are several ways you can keep your cool all summer long whether you’re at home, outside, or on a fun-filled outing.

Cooling Off the Indoors

A little prep work inside your home will help you remain comfortable during the summer. Install insulated window treatments to block the hot rays of the sun, and remember to keep the drapes pulled on sunny days. Switch out bedding for 100% cotton sheets and lightweight blankets and quilts. Make sure your air conditioner is functioning properly too. There's nothing so frustrating as turning your AC on that first really hot day of summer only to find out that it does not work. If you are looking for AC replacement Fort Myers has many reputable professionals such as those at Gulf Shore Cooling that can help.

Get the Backyard Ready

Summers spent in the backyard can be fun as long as they are safe. Make sure you have plenty of shade. If your lawn lacks trees, use a table with an umbrella for picnic-style meals. Awnings and canopies are ideal for over sandboxes and other play areas, and water toys such as squirt guns, slip and slides, and children’s pools are great ways to cool off with supervision.

When fun is as simple as a lawn sprinkler

Ideal Day Trips

Summer days can become boring quickly when you are a child full of energy. Day trips are an excellent way to show your children new and fun places while spending time together as a family. Cool off at the local pool or spend an afternoon at the beach. The zoo is a wonderful place to visit, and walking the trails at a nearby park can be educational. You don't have to spend a lot of money to have a lot of fun. Do a quick internet search for free (and cheap) things to do in your area.

By following these tips you can have an enjoyable summer that both you and the kids will remember fondly for years to come. It is possible to have fun and stay cool this summer. A few quick changes inside and out along with some fun-filled day trips will help you make the most of this special time together.

What is it About This Blanket?

We bought a couple new blankets recently at Kohl's. The blankets were significantly marked down on clearance, and then we had a coupon and Kohl's cash to use. Of course, that's the only way to shop - have you seen the supposed regular prices on items in the stores? Do people really spend that kind of money? Even the sale prices are more than I want to spend.

Anyway, since we got the new blankets, I really need to get rid of some old ones. We've had them for years, and some of them are in pretty bad shape - not to mention that those old twin/ full-size ones don't really fit on the beds. We need a few of them for the twin mattresses, but not necessarily all of them.

So far I've only pulled one blanket out to get rid of...

This one seemed like a no-brainer since it had holes all across the top of the blanket. But it's one of the softest blankets we had (the new ones are much softer, though), so Jeffrey cut a strip off the top of the blanket. No more holes! Of course, now it's not only almost too narrow for the full-size bed, but it's probably too short too. But maybe we can still use it for something...

Actually, we're going to try using it as extra padding on some of the furniture out in the sunroom. I just haven't had time to arrange the blanket and pillows, so we just folded the blanket and threw it on the back of the loveseat in the sunroom for now. And the cats can't leave it alone. Somebody is always pulling it onto the floor or off the back and onto the seat so he can lay on it - or beside it.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Signs that your Dryer Vent is Clogged

Modern front load tumble dryer, pictu...
Modern front load tumble dryer, picture taken by Rick Harpenau (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Dryer vents are seemingly innocent parts of our home that can hide a dangerous secret. If not regularly cleaned out, the lint that accumulates in the dryer vent can result in a dryer fire. While the safety aspect is the most important, a blocked dryer vent causes a slew of other problems. It wastes energy, which increases your energy bills, and can take a toll on the dryer, causing it to fail prematurely. But how do you know when your dryer vent needs to be cleaned? The following telltale signs will alert you before a catastrophe happens, as well as save you time and money.

  • Clothes Take Longer to Dry
    A clogged dryer vent makes it more difficult for the laundry to dry in the timeframe that you’re used to. You may even have to run multiple cycles just to dry one load of laundry. This is typically the first sign that a dryer vent needs tending. When the vent is blocked with lint, the moist and hot air that the dryer is designed to vent will get stuck inside the dryer making it harder for the machine to work properly.
  • Dryer and Clothing are Extremely Hot
    It’s not uncommon for the outside of the dryer and the clothing inside to be hot. But when the dryer and the clothing are too hot to touch, that’s a big sign that the machine isn’t venting properly, which generally means the vent and dryer ducts are blocked.
  • You Smell Something Burning
    If you notice a smell like something is burning when your dryer is running, it’s probably lint. This lint can build up in the lint trap, exhaust tube, and drum casing. And when it starts to get hot, the chances of it catching fire increases. You really want to take care of your clogged dryer vents before the problem gets to this point.

Call the Professionals
While it’s fairly easy to clean out the dryer vent yourself, the dryer vent ducts are a bit more difficult and should be inspected by a professional dryer vent cleaning Pasadena MD company. In fact, most experts recommend having your dryer vent ducts inspected and cleaned annually.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A Visit to the City

There are many great cities in the world with a wealth of different experiences to offer. Paris is known as the City of Lights and it offers a range of art and cultural attractions. London offers great theater and a sense of Victorian charm, while Rome has centuries of art to take in, along with incredible food. New York City, however, is a place that has something extra to offer visitors of all kinds. New York is a vibrant and vital place that offers a huge range of art, culture, and architecture to take in, along with amazing entertainment and a special kind of verve that’s unique to this amazing American city.

Entertainment in New York

Many people come to New York to take in the amazing entertainment that’s unique to this city. A quick review of Broadway play reviews shows the range of choices tourists can choose from when they visit Manhattan. The Broadway stage offers amazing dramas headlined by major stars, as well as incredible musicals like the recent revival of “Hello, Dolly!”

The Vital New York Cabaret Scene

For those who enjoy seeing entertainment on a more intimate scale, the New York cabaret scene is also a great attraction. These shows take place in smaller venues, and they offer a chance to see great singers and comedians up close. These shows also offer food and drink to go with the show, which adds to the fun.

Galleries Galore

For those who love visual art, New York has a wealth of amazing museums to visit, including The Whitney Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. There are also many galleries in areas like Soho and Greenwich Village, and a visit to these areas makes for a great afternoon in the city.

Without a doubt New York is one of the great cities in the world, so be sure to add it to your list of must-see places to visit.

All that and no mention of the M&Ms Store! I've been to New York City once - on a weekend trip with the high school band - so our focus was a bit different. We toured Radio City Music Hall where we met one of the Rockettes, visited a museum, toured Carnegie Hall, roamed 5th Avenue, and took the ferry to Ellis Island and Liberty Island. Overall it was a fun, if exhausting, trip. Maybe it's time for another trip? I would really love to see a Broadway show. Or two.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Let's Fight Hunger Together

I was looking through my ibotta app (for once before I go to the store) to see if there are any good rebates available. There's one for Gold Peak tea that looked good, and that's where I read that Gold Peak is partnering with Feeding America to help provide meals for people in need. Simply text GIVE to 26739 - and they will donate $1 to Feeding America.

And, you can text every day through the end of June, which means your texts can add up to a lot of donations.  Message and data rates may apply, but if your phone plan is anything like ours, you've probably got unlimited text messages available, so why not use some of them for good? I'm thinking of setting a reminder on my phone so I don't forget to text every day...

For more information and to see how you can support your local food bank - the 10 food banks with the most support will each get $1000 - visit

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Protect Yourself with Horse Trainer Insurance

zane volkmann_agrability project_00102
If you train horses, you face a unique risk that other professions do not have. If you employ trainers, you need to think about the kind of insurance coverage they need that may not be covered under general liability. Because trainers deal with frightened and sometimes aggressive animals, it can be easy for them to incur injury. And because horses are so large, they can inflict a large amount of damage with little effort. Even being shoved to the side and into the wall can result in cracked ribs or broken bones.

Horse trainer insurance protects yourself and your employees against these kinds of injuries and ensures your employees are protected from harm. Not only does it cover medical costs, but insurance will also cover any legal defense costs and settlement costs you may face if sued by an injured party.

In some cases, training insurance policies will also protect against potential lawsuits and injury caused to customers riding on the back of a horse. New riders often get scared and can fall from horseback. While this doesn't seem like a huge risk of injury, horses seat high off the ground—and landing on the neck or the head can result in serious injury even from a short fall.

Purchasing insurance to protect yourself and your employees is about more than meeting any legal obligation you may have. It provides a sense of stability and peace of mind that can be invaluable when running a business. If you work with horses, you don't want to think about the damage they may cause, but you can't let your love for the creatures cloud your judgement. Prepare for any eventuality and you will be better equipped to handle whatever situation may arise. Look into the insurance options available to you and choose the best fit for your needs.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Are You Ready for Some Free AudioBooks?

Less than a week to go before you can start downloading some free audiobooks!

SYNC is a free summer audiobook program for teens. Returning April 26, 2018, SYNC will give away two complete audiobook downloads a week - pairs of high-interest titles, based on weekly themes. Sign up for email or text alerts and be first to know when new titles are available to download at

Download Details
  • Downloads are in MP3 format and are Mac and Windows compatible.
  • Downloads will operate through the OverDrive app.
  • Most listening devices are supported.
  • Each SYNC audiobook is available for download for a period of 7 days (only), but it never expires so it's yours to keep.
Text syncya to 25827 to receive text alerts about all the featured titles, and be sure to go ahead and get OverDrive too so you'll be ready to start downloading and listening.  The first two books will be available this coming Thursday.

Also note: your local library probably offers books - ebooks and audiobooks - with Overdrive too. So be sure to check that out. (or should I say those?)

Monday, April 16, 2018

Three Ways to End the Frustration of House Hunting

Whether you are looking for a first time home, need to relocate for a job, or simply want something different from what you currently have, house hunting can be a frustrating job. You may know exactly what you want in a new house, but actually finding it at a price you can afford is another thing altogether. I can help you get into a Home you'll LOVE! Text "Good Credit" to 813-421-1477. 24 Karat Credit Consulting 👈 (link in the bio) #realestate #agent & #investor #24karatcredit #creditrepair #loans #credit #Flori

Here are three approaches that can help ease a bit of the frustration in the search for your dream home:
  1. Find a Trusted Realtor
    The best thing you can do when house hunting is to find a realtor you can trust. A good realtor will listen to your needs and show you houses they feel will best suit you. As you tour houses they should be listening to what you like or don’t like in order to zero in on the perfect home for your family.
  2. Pre-Fab Homes
    If there is simply nothing available that suits your needs, you can always consider a pre-fabricated home. These houses come in a variety of floor plans, and you can often customize the details like carpeting, cabinetry, and wall finishes. Once you have decided exactly what features you want, the house is constructed off site and relocated to your property where the final construction takes place.
  3. Build it Yourself
    One sure fire way to know you are getting exactly what you want in a house is to have one custom built. (We've done it twice) St. Augustine home builders like Collins Builders will work with you to come up with a floor plan that fits your individual wants and needs.

If you can find a reliable realtor that will help you find exactly what you need, you will be all set. Otherwise, move on to the idea of a pre-fab house or a custom built home. These are excellent options when you simply cannot find what you are looking for on the open market. No matter which of these approaches works for you, you will soon be living happily ever after in the house of your dreams.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Well, That Was Stupid

I think I've lost my shopping mojo.

Stupidly I got sucked into an ad on Facebook - not that they're all bad; I got some really good deals right around Thanksgiving. I saw this video for a very cool looking notebook that is reusable - up to 500 times. And, the pages can be easily scanned and saved online. Or so they say; I guess we'll see.

I clicked the link where they told me the notebook wasn't available anywhere else, was 75% off, and almost sold out - and I stupidly fell for it. Normally I look and research and read reviews, but this time I just went ahead and grabbed one. It wasn't until later that night when I actually got on my computer instead of my phone and started looking for more information. That's when I found the exact same notebook on eBay, for much less. But I figured that was OK because all those were coming from China, and I'd have to wait longer to get it. Jason loves drawing and can quickly fill up a notebook, and since he (and his mom and sister) are coming to visit over spring break, I figured it would be nicer to get it sooner so we can play with it together. So, I didn't try to cancel the order. (not sure I could have anyway)

Then I got notification my order had shipped.  It took a couple days to actually get any info on the tracking, but when the information finally updated I found out that the notebook I ordered is coming from China. Seriously? The site says they ship from the US, unless the stock runs out, and then they may ship from their warehouse in Asia. So, since they told me the notebook I was ordering was in stock (though there were only a few left), it appeared that they were actually in stock and should have been coming from the States. Nope. So now I don't know if it will be here in time for me and Jason to try it out together...

Of course, I could always order one from Amazon (yes, they have them too), pay less, and get it here in two days. But then, I don't want to spend even more before I've even had a chance to try it out.

Oh, and speaking of Amazon - I got a delivery from Amazon today. Except I didn't order anything from Amazon. Nope - I ordered some pens for this new notebook. From eBay. They were lots cheaper than the pens offered on the site - even with that use-within-48-hours special 15% off discount code they sent me after I ordered the notebook. Why do stores do that? A discount code after I just bought something from you does me absolutely no good. So, I ordered the pens after I got the shipment notification for the notebook - but before I realized it was coming all the way from China. Two days later I have pens - shipped straight from Amazon. That's right, they're cheaper on Amazon. Apparently, this seller takes orders for things he or she can get cheaper on Amazon and then has Amazon ship them directly to the buyer - pocketing the price difference. It's a dollar or two, but if you 'sell' enough things I'm sure it adds up.

Have you ever heard of such a thing? Not something that had ever occurred to me, anyway. And apparently, it didn't occur to me to check Amazon for these pens. Yep, I'm losing it.

Hopefully, Jason and I will enjoy the notebook. Eventually...

Monday, March 19, 2018

Three Tips for Busy Parents Planning a Date Night

It can be hard to find time to be with your spouse when you have kids, but that time is so important. Take the time to plan a fun date night with your significant other. Your relationship will thank you, and your kids will have better parents because of it.

three hundred and eighteen.

Keep It Simple

You don't have to spend a fortune, get dressed up in fancy clothes, or go to a special event to have a great date night. In fact, all of those things can distract from the quality time you want to spend with your partner. Instead, choose a date night activity that will be relaxing and will allow you to chat and reconnect with your partner. One easy choice is a local restaurant or bar where you can talk, eat, and drink. For example, you can find a pub La Grange IL like Kenny's Pub, sit back, relax, and have a great time with the one you love, all without dressing up or traveling far away.

Find a Sitter That You Trust

Nothing ruins a date night faster than worrying about your kids the whole time that you're gone. Stop worrying and find a babysitter that you can truly trust when it's time to go out. A family member could be ideal, but be sure not to take them for granted. Offer to pay them for their services or to do something to help them out. If you know other young parents, perhaps you can arrange a babysitting exchange where you and your spouse watch their kids when they go out, and they watch your kids when you go out. Or, you may have more luck by looking at a professional service to find a sitter that you know is qualified. Any sitter should have training in CPR and should know what to do in case of an emergency. Try to stick with the same sitter once you find one that you like.

Practice Regularly

It can be hard for parents when they first go out on a date night. The easiest solution to this is to start early and make it a habit. Once you start having fun, you will probably want to make it a regular feature in your life. Consider adding weekly (or at least monthly) dates to your routine and your marriage will surely benefit. Plus, you'll get to have fun as a couple!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Wellness 101: How To Get Healthy In 2018

In today's world, many people are beginning to realize that a lack of mental and physical health can and does lead to substandard living. If you're opposed to mediocre living on any level and want more for your life, it's time to recognize that you have the power and intelligence to make the lifestyle changes necessary to cultivate a healthy lifestyle. Below you'll find three techniques that can help you begin your journey to wellness:
  1. Focus On Your Food.
    If you're serious about making wellness your permanent reality, it's important to begin focusing on your food. The typical American diet is full of foods that cause weight gain, detract from your vitality, hamper immunity, and generate numerous other problems. Our "foods" are synthetic, chemical-laden, and highly processed. The first step to better health is to adopt a countercultural approach which involves forsaking the junk food and increasing your consumption of nutrient-dense foods like high protein lean meats, complex carbs, and plenty of vegetables and fruits.  Having a delicious green smoothie for breakfast every morning is a good way to get started. Focus on eating more and more of the good foods, and you won't have room for the bad stuff.
    healthy food
  2. Avoid Sedentary Living.
    In addition to focusing on your food, make sure that you avoid sedentary living at all costs. Taking this step is important because a lack of physical activity can generate a wide range of unwanted outcomes like weight gain, compromised immunity, and mood instability. On the other hand, regular exercise can promote a wide range of great outcomes like sustained happiness, mental clarity, weight loss, and clearer skin. There are many forms of physical activity that you can engage in to start attaining these life-giving benefits. Some of them include high-intensity interval training (HIIT), jumping rope, and pilates, but you can start slowly and build up to the higher intensity exercises. Build activity into your daily life - park at the far end (or middle) of the parking lot and walk to the store; take the stairs instead of the elevator; etc. These exercise videos from BeFit are also a great option.
  3. Help Your Children Develop Healthy Habits. healthy kids
    One final strategy you can employ to get healthy in 2018 is focusing on your children's level of wellness. Caring for others is known to promote mental well-being., which is good for you, and helping your children to develop healthy habits while they're young is good for them in the present and long-term. It's better (and easier) to stay healthy than have to reclaim good health after losing it. Also note that when the people around you are healthy, you're much more likely to maintain the high levels of physical and mental well-being that promote happiness and vitality. In the event that you're looking for an ABA therapy Sarasota FL company, know that the professionals of Engage Behavioral Health can assist you.


Three health strategies that you can implement to cultivate a lifestyle of wellness include focusing on your food, avoiding sedentary living, and helping your children develop healthy habits. Implementing these strategies consistently will likely enable you to lead the lifestyle of wellness that makes you a more productive, positive person!

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Share the Magic of Storytelling

Love this Dark Tower series by Stephen King
What if getting books into the hands of kids in need was as easy as taking a picture and sharing it to social media?

It is!

For every 'shelfie' - a picture of you with your favorite book or in front of a bookshelf - posted to Twitter or Instagram this month with the hashtag #magicofstorytelling, Disney will donate one book to a child in need.

Simple as that.

There are a few other ways to donate, too. But this one is lots of fun.

Show me your shelfies!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

This is My Favorite

- insert video of the most awesome moment in Olympic Curling - (I would really like to actually insert the video, but seriously, just click the link and watch it over and over. I know I am.)

Watching this makes me smile every time.  Looks like Shuster was having the time of his life.
These guys were so much fun to watch.
I miss the Olympics.

Also, posting to blogger from twitter on my phone doesn't really work very well. This post is edited.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Ways to Make a Busy Mom’s Life Easier

As a mom your life is busy. Days are filled with chasing after little ones, cooking, cleaning, and driving everyone here and there. And these things are probably just a small part of your typical day. Before you become too overwhelmed, try a few of these simple strategies to lighten the load.

Invest in Time Saving Gadgets

You may already have some of these items in place, but adding a few additional conveniences is always a good idea. No mother should be without a dishwasher. This one appliance will save time, energy, and give you a few extra moments to get off of your feet each evening. Consider purchasing an extra clothes drier too. Sounds silly, but laundry goes much faster if there are enough dryers to keep up with the washer - because, no matter what the salesperson may tell you, the dryer will not dry the clothes in the same amount of time it takes a load to run through the washer. Even a Genie garage door opener can make life simpler.

Make Sure to Take Some Mommy Time

No one can care for others 24 hours a day and not feel overwhelmed. There are probably plenty of days where you wish you could have just a few minutes to catch your breath. Take advantage of nap time. If you have older children, make their TV time coincide with the little one’s sleep. Use these precious few minutes to take a break. Keep a basket on hand with things you wish you had time for like that latest novel, a craft project, or a tablet that allows you to catch up with friends on social media.

Create a Tranquil Bedroom "Getaway"

Take the time to re-do your bedroom. This area needs to be your oasis at the end of a busy day. Splurge on soft bedding and luxurious pillows. Remove all TVs, mobile devices, and computers, and most importantly, never let a toy cross the threshold. When the kids are finally asleep, turn in yourself, Keep the lighting soft and use a sound machine or relaxing music to lull you to sleep.

Sometimes you need to slow down, step back, and find a way to make life less hectic. Doing so may seem selfish or frivolous, but reducing just a small bit of the stress and chaos that surrounds you can actually make you a better mom. Having a relaxed and refreshed attitude will allow you to focus on the tasks at hand in a whole new light.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Growing Kids, Shrinking Space

They grow up so fast, don’t they? One minute, they’re a tiny bundle swaddled in your arms, the next they’re looking you dead in the eye. And then they start having kids of their own. The bigger they get, the more things they seem to accumulate, but when you live in a small house or apartment, space for all that stuff is hard to come by. If your children are starting to outgrow your home but you can’t afford to get something bigger, these space-saving tips will come in handy.

Put Sentimentals in Storage

Do you or your children have things around the house that you don't particularly use, but they still have some sort of meaning to you? Sentimental valuables like stuffed animals, baby blankets, bedroom sets, and whatever else you have can be nice to keep, but can you really justify taking up your valuable space with stuff you don't really use anymore? You can place all these things, and other items around the place that you’re not using, into storage. You’ll want to find a facility close to you so you can have access to your things when you want them. So, if you live in Hackettstown you’d search for storage hackettstown nj to find the best service providers near you. Only costing a few bucks per month, a storage unit will clear up some much-needed space for your family.

Sell or Donate the Things You No Longer Use

Kids outgrow clothing, grow tired of toys, and move on to other interests. If things are no longer being worn or used, there is no reason that they should continue to take up room that you need for the things you actually use. Put the sentimental things into storage, but get rid of all the rest. Whether you list things on eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook or donate to your local Goodwill or other second-hand store, you can be happy knowing that someone else can get some use out of the things your family no longer needs.

Buy Dual-Purpose Furniture

When you live in a small space you have to be creative with it. As you’re shopping for furniture, try to find items that can serve more than one purpose to conserve space. For instance, if you needed an additional bedroom, you could invest in a futon couch for the living room so it serves as a social area during the day and a bedroom at night. Other options might include an ottoman that doubles as storage for books, or a trundle bed which has dresser drawers, or an additional bed underneath. We just visited IKEA for the first time since they opened a new one near here, and they have lots of creative options for small spaces.

Invest in Wall Shelves and Units

When it comes to limited floor space the best thing you can do is invest in wall shelves and other wall units. For instance, putting a flat screen television on the wall eliminates the need for a large clunky entertainment center. Wall shelves are great for aesthetics and storage of everything from knick-knacks and home decor to books and toys.

If the size of your home or apartment suddenly stops being enough space for you and your family to live comfortably, these tips can help to free up some room to accommodate everyone. While eventually you may need to upgrade and relocate, for now, you can live comfortably knowing everything has a place. (now if you can just get the kids to put things away when they're done using them...)

I Love a Good Deal!

Last time I went to the grocery store, I noticed some fish and seafood that had been marked down. Way down. It was in a corner of a freezer that I had never looked at closely before, so I'm not sure what caught my eye, but there was quite a bit. It was probably those bright yellow tags; I'm kind of drawn to those tags.

I was especially interested in some salmon filets that had been marked down to 99¢ - for 2 filets which is just perfect for the two of us. They were already seasoned with a 'Stout Spiked BBQ' that sounded interesting. I wasn't sure how they would actually taste but figured for 99¢ I couldn't go wrong. So I grabbed 3 packages. There were at least a couple more, but since we'd never tried them I was afraid to grab them all. Of course, I still would have spent less than buying 1 lb. of salmon at the usual price, so maybe I should have...

When I got home, I went through the cash back apps on my phone - Ibotta and Checkout51 - and found that Checkout51 had a $2.00 rebate on that brand of seafood. So, of course, I uploaded my receipt for that - and got $2.00 credit for spending $2.97 on salmon.  Now that's a good deal!

The salmon tasted pretty good, too.

I will definitely be checking that little corner of that freezer from now on to see what else I can find.

Do you know where to find the marked down items in your store? What kind of great deals have you found?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Enjoy Your Outdoor Living Space

Several years ago Jeffrey and Cory built a deck and pergola on the back of our house. We loved that deck. When we built the house, we just had the contractor put some rock in the patio area, waiting for a time when we could afford a nice patio or deck. We didn't get that deck quite as soon as we thought we were going to get it - in fact, we were planning a paver patio that would have been really nice, and it would have been different from what any of the neighbors had. But, the patio would have taken a lot more work, and we may have needed to hire someone, at least for part of the installation. So, eventually we 'settled' for the deck - which just happened to be the nicest deck in the neighborhood! (I may be a bit biased)

Morning on the Deck

A new deck or patio will not only add value to your home, but it will be something your family can enjoy for a good part of the year. Snow may gather on your patio furniture in winter, but the rest of the year your family can make good use of that new patio. Morning coffee, a family dinner, or just a place to sit and read a book or talk to a friend. Your new deck or patio gives you a place to get out of the house and enjoy your backyard. That area of rock we had before the guys built the deck really didn't get much use, but we ate dinner on the deck regularly once we had it. It was just so pleasant.

Boards & Shadows

One of the best parts of the deck was the pergola. It not only gave shade to the deck and made it a pleasant place to hang out, but it also helped to block the afternoon/evening sun and keep the house cooler. We hung some bamboo shades on the two sides by the patio furniture, and those could be lowered to give even more protection from the sun. Besides that, they looked nice.

Whether you need to hire a company that has an established reputation of installing patio covers Salt Lake City, or you can install your own pergola or patio cover, you will definitely want some kind of shade on your deck or patio. Otherwise, there may be times when the sun is so strong and hot that you are forced back into your house and unable to enjoy your deck. (Unless you're like me and really enjoy hanging out in the sun and heat, but I hear I'm not normal in that aspect.) The pergola didn't really protect from rain, but if you live in a rainy area, you may want to think about installing an awning or other patio cover that will keep most of the rain off.

Because, believe me - you will want to spend as much time as you can on your new deck or patio. Who agrees with me?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Ow, Ow, Ow...

It was raining yesterday morning, so I didn't think I was going to be able to walk. When that happens I pick a couple videos from BeFit and do those. I've added several to my Workouts playlist on YouTube so I can find them easily on my smart TV. This is the one I did yesterday, and I'm feeling it today in my abs and in my legs. It's mainly when I try to sit down. Or climb the stairs.

But, of course, it's a good kind of pain.

Most days I walk 2 miles and then come back and do a 10-minute video. I have a few favorite videos I seem to do more often than the others - Ripped Arms and Abs Workout and Ab Power Workout 2 are a couple of them. My legs usually feel that 2nd one for a few days afterward too. Which is a good thing, right? If I'm not feeling it, it must not be doing anything. Thankfully BeFit has lots of videos to choose from so I can mix it up - which I probably should do a bit more so I can continue to embrace the pain get the benefits.

What are your favorite exercise videos? Do they still cause you pain?

Three Signs Your Yard May Have Poor Drainage

Drainage is one of those things that you don't think about until a storm passes through and you wake up to find your yard completely flooded. We certainly didn't think of it when we bought this house right in the middle of a very dry summer. Thankfully our yard seems to be OK, but many of the neighbors have 'lakes' in their yards every time it rains. I guess there's more than one way to have lakefront property! Though I'm sure they're not thrilled with the standing water in their yards.

Anytime it rains, the water needs a place to go. If your yard lacks proper drainage, that water will build up in an area where you may not want it. The excess moisture can kill your lawns and any plants in your yard too. In addition to flooding, there are other signs that you can look for both inside and outside your home that can indicate you have a drainage issue on your hands.

Clogged Gutters

Cleaning your gutters is something that may need to be done a few times a year, especially if you have mature trees near your house.  Gutters consist of not only the individual gutter pieces along the roof but the downspouts too. The water that moves through the gutters goes into the downspouts, which carries the water away from your foundation. If you've cleaned the leaves out of the gutters but they still seem clogged, that can indicate that your yard doesn't have proper drainage and the water in the downspouts has nowhere to go.

Interior Flooding

Another sign of improper drainage is interior flooding. The water can soak into your lawn and move closer to your home instead of away from the foundation as it's supposed to. Excess water buildup can cause cracks to form in your foundation allowing water to get inside your house. That water can seep through at a slow rate, but as the cracks expand, the water flow increases. You may begin to notice warped floorboards and woodwork, and eventually flooding in your basement or on your first floor.

Mold and Mildew

You may not have noticed flooding yet, but when you spot mold and mildew and can't find a cause for it, it's time to contact a professional irrigation St Louis company for help. Both mold and mildew thrive in areas with excess moisture. Mold needs a dark place to grow, which is why you'll see it inside cabinets, but mildew can grow in your shower and in any other room of your home. Those spores will continue growing and moving around your home until you get rid of the moisture.

Any of these signs can indicate a serious problem with your yard's drainage which you will want to take care of as soon as possible to avoid additional damage.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Olympics, Olympics, Olympics

I don't watch sports. At least, I don't usually watch sports. But every time the Olympics roll around, I just can't stop watching. I love them!

I find myself just as interested in curling as watching Shaun White's gold medal run in snowboard halfpipe. I squealed when he threw that board, and I still do every time I watch the video - which I've done a few times. (I've watched Chloe Kim a few times too - that girl can fly!) But seriously, that run! That man can still fly! His 3rd Olympic gold medal and the 100th gold medal for the U.S. in winter Olympics. How cool is that? Redemption and a milestone.

Go, Mikaela!
I pretty much leave the Olympics on all day. I watch skiers fly in the ski jump competition, watch the craziness of short track speed skating, watch some hockey (how did our U.S. men lose that game to Slovenia, anyway?), and then I check out the downhill skiing. And then I go back to curling. There's just something about that game - I just can't stop watching. Oh, and I think the weirdest sport I've seen so far in these Olympics is the luge doubles - seriously, who decided to stack 2 humans on a little sled and send them down a curving, icy track? And is there a limit to how many people you can stack on that little sled? I do think that ride down the track looks like a lot of fun. If you can keep from bouncing off the walls and crashing, which seems to be a serious risk. Oh, and then there are the guys who go head-first down that same track on another little sled...

The biggest problem with all this Olympics coverage is that it goes so late. How am I supposed to get any sleep?

Adding Quail to the Family Dinner Menu

Gambel's QuailIn many parts of the world, quail is a common and enjoyable menu item. Quail can be purchased in markets, hunted, or raised at home with the right care. For those who are talented hunters and enjoy rising early, quail is extraordinarily common game. With the many different ways to prepare quail and their eggs, it is a wonderful and affordable staple protein just as chicken is.

Purchasing Quail in Markets
When searching for quail in stores, it is important to keep in mind that most marketed quail is farmed. Therefore, it will not taste quite the same as wild or free ranged quail. I personally have not seen quail in the grocery store, but then again, I have not looked for it. Our store has a wide range of meat options, so it is entirely possible that quail is available, at least part of the time. I will have to look next time I'm in the store.

Hunting Quail for the Table
Hunting for quail is a common sport throughout the world, as quail are a very common species and a day's hunt could feed the family for a few days. For those who prefer the flavor of wild-caught game, hunting is the best method to obtain fresh quail. Quail hunting in Alabama is a popular sport, so there are many hunting spots that offer an incredible amount of game. Hunting will provide the freshest meat, aside from raising the birds at home.

Raising Quail for Food at Home
Raising quail at home is the second best way to obtain fresh quail for meals. For those who have adequate room and are not in an urban setting (unless the laws allow for raising quail), quail can be fairly easy to hatch and raise at home. As long as they are housed properly with the right feed and adequate shelter, it will only be a short time before the family is able to enjoy the very first harvest. This is the most hands-on method and it will require the most work.

Quail is a great protein to add to your family's meal rotation. Variety is key to a healthy diet, so add some leafy greens and another vegetable option for a delicious, wholesome meal!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

‘so good, so good, so good’

After hearing the news today that Neil Diamond is retiring because He's been diagnosed with Parkinson's, we're really glad we got to see him when he was here last spring.  He is canceling the rest of his 50th Anniversary tour, so there are quite a few people who won't get the chance.

We've been Neil Diamond fans for years, but it was the first time we'd seen him in concert. It was awesome. That man can certainly put on a good show! Sorry to hear that he has to stop because it was definitely something he (and all his fans) enjoyed.

In a statement on his website, Diamond, 76, says, "It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring. I have been so honored to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years."

Thankfully he plans to continue writing, recording, and being involved in other projects for a long time to come.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Are You Really Getting a Good Deal?

Anybody who knows me at all knows that I love a good deal. Paying full price for anything is practically against my religion! I believe in combining sales, coupons, rebates, and whatever else I can in order to get the best price possible on whatever I buy. Clearance is one of my favorite words! I especially love when things are marked 80-90% off regular price. Just 25-30% clearance isn't really good enough.


Just because something is 'on sale' does not necessarily mean that you are getting a good deal. It's important to have at least a general idea of the regular prices of items you normally buy. This is especially true of groceries. Many times I have seen a sale price advertised in the grocery ad for an item that I bought at a cheaper price the week before. But, if you don't know what the regular price is for that item, you might think you're getting a good deal - because it's on sale, right? Knowing the regular price will help you know when you do see a good deal, and that's when you buy. If it's something you use on a regular basis, buy several when you get it at a good price. The idea is to buy enough when something is on sale so that you won't run out and have to buy more before it goes on sale again.

Combine sale prices with coupons and rebates using cash back apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51, and the savings can really add up. Just remember - if you don't need it, all the coupons and cash back rebates in the world don't necessarily make it a good deal. Unless it's free. Free is always a good deal.  (at least in my opinion) If it's something you don't really need, consider donating it to someone who can use it.

A money-saving option that I haven't really explored is renting items that you may only need for a short time. Of course, this doesn't apply to groceries, but renting sports equipment for things you only do occasionally is often the best option - at least until you decide to take up that sport on a regular basis. And f you're planning to welcome a baby into your family, you may want to check out baby gear rental Florida for baby items that will only be used for a short period of time.  Renting tools from the local home improvement store for that one-time project instead of buying a tool you're never going to use again is also a good idea. Invest in items you can use for a significant period of time, and have room to store when you're not using them, and rent other items. Just be sure to do your research first. Find out how much it would cost to purchase the item then compare that to the cost of renting that item for the time you need it.

The bottom line is - arm yourself with knowledge. The more you know about how much something should cost or will cost over the time you will use it, the better equipped you will be to know if you are indeed getting a good deal. Remember your smartphone (most of us have those nowadays) and look up prices on Amazon or other retailers - yes, even when you're in the store - to see if you can get cheaper somewhere else. Some stores will even match those online prices, so don't be afraid to ask.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Welcoming Baby Without Blowing Your Budget

Anyone who has had a baby, or is preparing to welcome one into their family, knows that it can get expensive. How does one little person need so much stuff? Cribs, strollers, car seats, clothes, diapers, toys, bottles, etc. The list goes on and on, and it can quickly take a toll on your household budget.  The expenses add up very quickly if you're buying brand new items at your local store. Even if you just happened to find everything you need on the clearance rack - which is highly unlikely - you're still going to spend a bundle (on your new little bundle).

But don't get discouraged just yet. There are ways to save money while still getting the things your baby needs, and that starts with realizing that your baby does not need all brand new items. Invest in secondhand furniture, see if any of your friends who have already had babies can lend or give you their hand-me-downs, and even check out online baby equipment rental, because sometimes it's cheaper to rent than to buy. I had no idea there was a whole site full of baby goods to rent.  You can find toys, furniture, and even small appliances like miniature fridges. The best part of that is that all merchandise is thoroughly inspected for safety, then sanitized and wrapped in plastic, so it stays clean and ready to use.

GarageSaleStuff 003One of my favorite options, back when I had babies, was going to garage sales. Babies grow out of everything so quickly - sometimes they only wear a particular outfit once - and you can usually find some barely worn baby clothes for a good price. Of course, this isn't the best time of year for garage sales, but many people offer their used baby clothes, furniture, bottles, diapers, and many other baby needs online through Facebook marketplace sites and/or eBay. (things have changed a bit since I had babies 27 years ago)

Of course, when you shop Goodwill, garage sales, or even eBay, you will want to inspect the items to be sure they are in good shape. Many baby things are very gently used because, as I mentioned earlier, babies grow so fast that they sometimes only wear an outfit once. They're also changing and developing so quickly, especially during the first year, that many items, especially toys, are quickly outgrown and discarded as baby moves on to something new.
You'll also want to be aware of current safety standards when buying cribs, strollers, and car seats. I just learned recently that car seats have an expiration date, so be sure to check on that - even if you're borrowing one from a friend.  If the car seat is expired, you'll need to find a new(er) one. Your baby's safety should be of primary importance.

Babies need a lot of stuff, but with all the options out there, you can get all that stuff without completely ruining your budget. And, it can be a lot of fun tracking down those deals and collecting all the things your baby is going to need while you wait to welcome her into your family.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Book List 2017

I've been reading all my life (well, as long as I can remember, anyway), but it wasn't until 2008 that I started putting together a list of all the books I read each year. I use Goodreads to keep track throughout the year and then list them all here once the year is over. It's always fun to go through them, and see how many pages and how many hours of reading I have.

Also, once again I'll link to any reviews I did. As always, I have good intentions to review more of the books I read, but I don't always follow through. Let's see what 2017 looked like...

Again, all books are listed the month I finished them. Even if I started listening or reading the previous month - or even at the beginning of the year as with the Bible reading plan. I don't always include my Bible reading program, but this year I started in January and finished in December, and it just fit.

  1. Brotherhood in Death - J.D. Robb (audio) - 13 hrs 37 min
  2. Donny's Brain - Rona Munro (audio) - 1 hr 27 min
  3. The Red Badge of Courage - Stephen Crane (audio) - 4 hrs 33 min
  4. The Woman in Cabin 10 - Ruth Ware - 352 pages
352 pages | 19 hours and 37 minutes

  1. He's Still Working Miracles: Daring To Ask God for the Impossible - Dana Rongione - 180 pages
180 pages

  1. 11/22/63 - Stephen King (audio) - 30 hrs 44 min
  2. Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum #22) - Janet Evanovich (audio) - 6 hrs 27 min
  3. Turbo Twenty-Three (Stephanie Plum #23) - Janet Evanovich (audio) - 6 hrs 16 min
43 hours 27 minutes

  1. Apprentice in Death (In Death #43) - J.D. Robb (audio) - 13 hrs 6 min
13 hours 6 minutes

  1. Books Can Be Deceiving (Library Lover's Mystery #1) - Jenn McKinlay (audio) - 7 hrs 23 min
  2. Echoes in Death (In Death #44) - J.D. Robb (audio) - 13 hrs 43 min
21 hours 6 minutes

  1. How Ideas Spread - Jonah Berger (audio) - 5 hrs 53 min
  2. The Chamberlain Key: Decoding Startling Messages from God, Hidden for Centuries in an Ancient Biblical Manuscript - Timothy P. Smith - 224 pages
  3. Tidewater Inn (Hope Beach #1) - Colleen Coble (audio) - 8 hrs 56 min
224 pages | 14 hours 49 minutes

  1. Room - Emma Donoghue (audio) - 10 hrs 52 min
10 hours 52 minutes

  1. Pennies for Hitler - Jackie French (audio) - 9 hrs 18 min
  2. The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower #3) - Stephen King - 422 pages
422 pages | 9 hours 18 minutes

  1. Vivian Apple at the End of the World (Vivian Apple #1) - Katie Coyle (audio) - 8 hrs 6 min
  2. The Glass Castle - Jeannette Walls - 304 pages
  3. Words in the Dust - Trent Reedy (audio) - 8 hrs 27 min
  4. The Sign - Shawn Boonstra - 127 pages
  5. Once (Once #1) - Morris Gleitzman (audio) -  3 hrs 8 min
431 pages | 19 hours 41 minutes

  1. Room for One: Learning to Love God, Cast Out Idols, and Bring Your Faith to Life - Kelen Caswell 125 pages
  2. When Did Everybody Else Get So Old?: Indignities, Compromises, and the Unexpected Grace of Midlife - Jennifer Grant - 192 pages
217 pages

  1. You Can't Do it Naked: From Exposed to Fully Clothed in the Armor of God - Kim M. Snyder 116 pages
  2. The Advocate - Randy Singer (audio) - 15 hrs 4 min
  3. Secrets in Death (In Death #45) - J.D. Robb (audio) - 13 hrs 2 min
  4. Between Me and You - Allison Winn Scotch - 358 pages
474 pages | 28 hours 6 minutes

  1. The Pursuit of God - A.W. Tozer (audio) - 3 hrs 17 min
  2. Tips for Living -Renee Shafransky - 328 pages
  3. Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower #4) - Stephen King - 672 pages
  4. Touching His Robe: Reaching Past the Shame and Anger of Abuse - Leslie G. Nelson - 172 pages
  5. The Queen's Poisoner (Kingfountain #1) - Jeff Wheeler (audio) 10 hrs 25 min
  6. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version - 1326 pages
  7. Collapsible: A Novel of Friendship, Broken Bones, Coffee, Shenanigans, and the Occasional Murder (Collapsible, #1) - Ruth Buchanan - 231 pages
  8. Love Story (The Baxter Family #1) - Karen Kingsbury - 368 pages
3097 pages | 13 hours 42 minutes

  • Total books - 36 (compare to 38 in 2016)
  • Total pages - 5180 (compare to 6574 pages in 2016)
  • Total time - 178 hours 55 minutes  (compare to 182 hours 16 minutes in 2016)
Page counts courtesy of Goodreads; audio lengths courtesy of Audible.

My reading goal for the year was 40 books, so I didn't quite make that - unless I count each individual book of the Bible and all the books I read to my grandson, but that seems a bit like cheating. I haven't yet decided what my goal for 2018 should be. Maybe I should just keep reading and see how it's going before I commit.

I didn't do too well posting reviews, either - only 15 this year. I really ought to get better at that - even if just a few words... Once again, scrolling through the list, I see several books that I really meant to write a review for, but somehow I just didn't do it.

How many books did you read in 2017?  I'd love to hear some suggestions for my 2018 reading list.

*if you happen to click any of the book covers and buy from Amazon, they say they'll pay me a small percentage.  Every little bit helps, and I thank you for your support!