Sunday, December 22, 2019

What You Need To Know About Renewing a Notary Certificate

Renewing your notary public certification is an important step to maintaining your ability to notarize. If your certification expires and you act as a notary, even if accidentally, it can result in a misdemeanor. This is why it’s important to stay ahead of the renewal process so you can ensure a continuation of your service while meeting laws and guidelines.

NotaryThings to Keep In Mind:
  • How Long a Notary Appointment Lasts
    Depending on which state you live in, the length of your appointment as a notary public may vary. For example, an appointment for a notary in Florida lasts four years. If you are currently a notary public and want to renew your certificate, look up your state’s length of service requirements and when they recommend beginning renewal. It is good to keep in mind the length of your appointment so you can plan ahead for renewal.
  • What is Involved in the Renewal Process
    In some states, the process to renew a notary certificate is the same process you went through to obtain the certificate in the first place. You can research your state’s renewal process by searching Florida notary renewal (if you live in Florida, or insert your own state into the search) and reading through the requirements of your particular state. It can take as long as six months to complete the required steps of renewal and receive your updated certificate, so be sure to plan ahead so you can complete the process before your current appointment expires.
  • Remember To Restock Your Supplies
    As a notary, there are different supplies you may find useful in your role. Some of these supplies are a self-inking notary stamp, a notary journal, a receipt book for items you’ve notarized and other supplies. It can be a good idea to make a list of supplies you commonly use while fulfilling your duties as a notary and keep those items stocked so you’re always prepared. If you’re renewing your appointment, consider restocking your supplies as well.
Remember that notaries are a great service to the community and in high demand nationally. The high demand and appreciation of clients can make this a great side job.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Easy Ways to Improve Your Home

It does not have to cost thousands of dollars to give your home and update and achieve the look you desire. Here are some simple ways to bring your space to the next level.
  • Paint an Accent Wall - Sometimes a splash of color is all that you need to completely change the mood of a room. This can be achieved easily by painting an accent wall, which means painting one wall a bright or deep color in an otherwise neutral room. You can also get more creative and use a different material for your accent wall, such as brick, tile, or wood. Make sure that it stands out and will bring attention from guests, and harmony to the room
  • New rug
  • Add a Rug - A custom rug can brighten any room or area. You can choose a small rug as an accent, or a large rug that covers a bigger space. To find the perfect carpet, you should consult a specialty store in your area. For example, if you live in Atlanta, Georgia, simply search the internet for "rug store in atlanta ga," and you will find a list of vendors that are in your city. From there, you can compare your options.
  • open essential oil bottle
  • Pick a New Scent - It is always wonderful to come home to a great smelling space. Spice up your house by adding candles with seasonal scents, an essential oil diffuser, or even by simmering some apple slices and cinnamon sticks on your stove or in a crockpot. Many scents can have therapeutic effects, which can positively alter your mental health and well being. Mix up your fragrances depending on which room you are in, or the time of year you are in. The possibilities are endless.

Home improvement does not have to be a costly project. With these options, you can help your house feel more comfortable and inviting.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Inexpensive Ways to Keep Your Kids Busy

If you've got kids, you know that they always want to have something to do or you're going to hear a chorus of "I'm bored!" multiple times a day. And, if you're like me, you don't want to have to be going and doing and spending lots of money just to keep the kids entertained - though I may be more likely to do that with the grandkids than I ever was with my own kids. It's still a good idea to have some ideas for keeping kids entertained without spending a lot of money.

ColoringHere are a few of those ideas:

  • Coloring Books - One form of entertainment that has proven its worth for decades is the ageless coloring book. Thick coloring books can fill an afternoon with fun. The best part is that they can be purchased from almost anywhere-- from the local dollar store (my favorite!) to online coloring book publishers. There's always something for every interest. From princess pages to barnyard animals, there is sure to be something that every kid can enjoy, no matter their age or interests.
  • Scavenger Hunt - If parents have a little more time to be involved with setting up something fun to do, they can try their hands at a scavenger hunt. This activity is entirely free! There are a couple of ways that parents can set up a scavenger hunt. One way is to hide items around the house or outside, make a list, and have the children look for them. Another, less energy-intense way, is to make a list (or find one online) of items that can be easily found outside. This way, no set up is required!
  • Card Games - A deck of cards is extremely cheap and dozens of games can be played with one! So long as your children are old enough to understand rules, a deck of cards can fill an afternoon with fun. Try teaching little kids games like War or Go Fish. Older kids can have fun with Poker or Hearts.
Card game
These are just a few examples of games that parents can use to entertain their children for up to hours at a time. Try your hand at one of these activities the next time your children complain of boredom!

And, if these don't work, chores are always an option. You'll either get some work done around the house, or your kids will suddenly find something to do all on their own.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Keep Your Home Stocked All School Year

School Supplies
If you have a large family, keeping your home stocked with enough supplies throughout the school year can prove to be a difficult challenge. There are many ways you can ensure that all of your children have plenty of tools on hand to tackle any project no matter what subject it might involve.

Consider the following tips to help keep your home stocked from fall to summer.
  • Invest in Craft Supplies - Go out of your way to stock up on common craft supplies and keep them available in your home for surprise school projects. Popular supplies may include construction paper, paper confetti, yarn, felt and beads. Buy more than you think you're going to need when the Back-to-School sales are in full swing - or better yet, when all those extra supplies go on clearance after school has started (like now!) If you missed those sales or still feel there are things you will be needing, see if you can buy art supplies online to fulfill your needs. Buying in bulk often gives you the best prices.
  • Get Plenty of Paper - Make sure you always have plenty of paper on hand for restocking binders. In addition to looseleaf notebook paper, you can keep extra wire-bound notebooks, notepads, composition notebooks, and memo pads.
  • Keep Extra Binders and Folders - Get more binders and folders than what your children need when school first starts. Throughout the year, you may find yourself replacing them as their supplies become damaged, are submitted and kept by the teacher for projects or as they run out of space. You can buy basic binders and folders in bulk packs to help protect your wallet.
  • Get Printer Refills - Make sure you always have printer refill cartridges on hand. If one of your children has an important assignment due the next morning, the last thing you want to happen is having your printer run out of ink before they are able to print it out. Make sure to invest in both black and color ink cartridges.

By taking the time to prepare before the school year starts, you can help your children succeed in school.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

3 Ways to Brighten Up a Dark Room

There aren't many things more depressing than a room that is always dark and drab. The good news is – it doesn’t need to stay that way! With a few strategic changes you can take your gloomy room and make it into a bright and cheerful space you’ll love to spend time in.
  • Swap in Some new Shades - Many of us struggle with the blinds and shades in our homes. If we have them open, anyone can see in. Also, open shades or blinds can leave the room too bright, or too hot making it impossible to sit and watch TV or talk to someone comfortably. That problem is easily solved by solar roller shades new jersey. They let you leave the shade down all the time. The sun can come in to a degree, but it doesn’t get hot or cause horrible reflections on your TV. People can’t see in from the outside either. So, you get a bright room without all the drawbacks of blinds or traditional shades.
  • Add Some Large Mirrors - Mirrors do an excellent job of reflecting more than just your appearance. They can reflect light back into the room as well. There’s a scene from a movie about the life of Thomas Edison. As a child, he runs around his neighborhood getting mirrors from all to get enough light for a surgeon to operate on this mother with just a few candles. It’s an unfounded story, but a good illustration of what the effect is overall. You can decorate with some pretty mirrors and brighten your room at the same time.
  • Paint With Light Colors - Paint your room a white or light color. The lighter color will make the room seem immediately brighter. You can easily bring color into the room with accents. Plants and cut flowers will bring in color and have the bonus of brightening up the room as well. Make sure to use an eggshell, satin, or semi-gloss finish for easier cleaning.
It’s not very enjoyable to spend time in a room that is dark and dreary. With just a few changes, you can transform a dull room into a brighter, airier space for you to enjoy.

Book Review: Love Changes Everything

I just finished reading Love Changes Everything: Finding What's Real in a World Full of Fake by Micah Berteau. I was offered a free copy for review purposes, and the description had me intrigued. I had just heard a sermon about the story of Hosea and Gomer, and the timing seemed more than a coincidence, so I jumped at the chance.

This book promises to be life-changing. The author uses the example of Hosea and Gomer - where God tells the prophet to marry a prostitute, who later leaves him to run back to her old life, and instead of leaving it there, God expects Hosea to go and buy his own wife back - to show us exactly how much God loves us.

There were some good parts to this book and things to think about, but overall I just didn't connect with the author and what he was trying to get across. I didn't find any of it life-changing or earth-shattering, but overall it was a decent read with some good reminders. Perhaps for someone who has been struggling to understand the reality of God's love, it can be the book that changes everything...

Thanks to Revell (a division of Baker Publishing Group) for the copy. All opinions are my own.

Monday, September 23, 2019

3 Signs Your AC Unit Needs Professional Attention

miami air conditioning repairMost people can't get through a summer day without air conditioning. Personally, I like hot weather, but it seems I'm in the minority. Those of you who like and depend on your air conditioning expect instant cooling relief when you walk through your front door. And if you're not feeling that, you quickly realize that something might be wrong - and probably start to panic.

If you’re unsure whether it’s time to call out an HVAC technician Harris County TX, here are three signs that your HVAC unit may be ready to call it quits.
  1. It’s Making Strange Sounds - A low humming noise is a perfectly normal sound to come from an AC unit. Anything else, however, is not. While rattling can be easily explained away by something coming loose inside (which may or may not be harmless), clunking and grinding sounds are always going to indicate a serious problem.
  2. It’s Not Blowing out Cold Air - As obvious as this may seem, it may take some time before you realize that you’re not just experiencing a scorching hot day and, instead, your air conditioning unit simply isn’t performing as it should. Keep an eye on how long your AC has been running; if you’ve had it on for longer than 10 minutes and the air still isn’t chill, you could have a problem on your hands.
  3. It’s Giving off a Bad Smell - An AC unit should never give off any strong odors, so a clear sign something is wrong is if yours starts to do so. A musty smell could be a sign you have a mold issue, and you must get a professional to clean it otherwise you’re at risk of breathing in poisonous spores. If the smell is pretty foul, it could mean the wires have burned out, in which case you need to get it fixed straight away to avoid a fire hazard.

The most important thing to remember is never try to fix your AC unit yourself. Electrical repairs can be complicated (and dangerous). Stay safe and always call in a professional.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Three Alternatives to Airport Parking

Heathrow Terminal 4Travel can be expensive, and parking at the airport can add significant expense to your travel costs. You also need to factor in the additional time and exertion to get to the terminal while towing luggage. You'll also be leaving your vehicle in an exposed lot for several days while you're gone, and there is always the risk of damage or theft. That is definitely not the way you want to end your trip!

Consider one of these alternatives:
  • Public Transit - If public transit such as buses or trains is available, consider using that to get to your preferred location of departure. Mass transit can be a very economical alternative to airport parking. The local bus or train schedule may not match up perfectly with your flight times, so you will need to factor additional time and effort if you go this route. And if you have a lot of luggage, this may not be the ideal option for you.
  • Shuttles and Ride Sharing - Shuttles and other transportation services can be a superior choice. A Houston to Galveston shuttle bus can save money and reduce the stress of parking and traveling to and from the terminal. Other choices for ground transportation include taxi and limo services which are available at most airports. Rideshare businesses such as Uber and Lyft may have available drivers nearby. Watch for price surges during busy times of the day such as morning and evening rush hours.
  • Friendly Chauffeur Option - Having a loved one drop off or pick up is probably the cheapest and most convenient option. You may be obligated to return the favor with a meal, gas money or some other offer. A drop-off or pickup at the terminal is the ultimate in convenience as it saves you the effort of walking to a parking space, especially while schlepping luggage. This is especially helpful if you're someone like me who has yet to figure out how to pack light.
The idea of leaving your car in a public place for a few days might not be appealing. Reduce your stress and stop your worrying. Consider these options to airport parking that offer the benefits of convenience and potential savings.

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Get Your Library Card and You Could Win $100

Library cards are some of the handiest things on the planet. With your library card, you have access to so many great things - books, magazines, movies, music, and so much more. Don't have a computer or internet access at home? Visit your local library! Looking for fun activities with new friends? Again, visit your local library!

Best of all, you get access to all these things for free. Just show your library card.

September is Library Card Signup Month, and to help spread the word, the American Library Association is hosting a giveaway. Just post a picture of you and your library card with the hashtag #GetLibraryCarded to Instagram or Twitter, and you could win $100. Don't have a library card? Head on down to your local library and get signed up!

Help us spread the word about the value of libraries this September by snapping a picture with your library card and posting it to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #GetLibraryCarded. You'll be automatically entered in a drawing to win a $100 Visa gift card! Entries can also be submitted by posting as a comment or wall post on the I Love Libraries Facebook page.
Don't forget to cover up any personally identifiable information!
The promotion begins Sunday, September 1 at noon CT and ends Sunday, September 22 at noon CT. Librarians and library lovers are encouraged to participate.
The #GetLibraryCarded Promotion is open to residents of the United States, Washington, D.C., and U.S. Territories. Employees of the American Library Association are not eligible to participate. Official rules (pdf)

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Caring For Your Hardwood Floors

Shortly after we moved into this house, we tore out the carpet in the downstairs and replaced it with hardwood floors. I love them, but taking care of them and keeping them clean is a bit different than the carpet I've always had. If you are lucky enough to live in a home with hardwood flooring, you know that proper cleaning is essential. You'll want to take the steps necessary to keep the wood looking its best. Here’s how to properly care for your Provenza old world flooring.

  • Daily Dust 
    Don’t blanch at the idea of cleaning your floors daily – a simple, two-minute dusting is all you need. A soft-bristled broom or microfiber cloth will keep the wood free of debris that can build up and make more work for you should you put this task off. My daughter recently got me a robot vacuum, and while I don't run it every day, I do run it more often than I ever managed to run the dust mop, and it really makes a difference.
  • Weekly Mop 
    A bucket of warm water and a bit of dish or castile soap is all you need to mop your hardwood floors. Avoid using vinegar, which can dull your floor’s shine throughout the years. An oil-based cleaner is also something to stay away from, as it can be very slippery and dangerous in high-traffic areas.
  • Monthly Polish 
    A monthly or even bi-monthly polish is a great way to care for the finish that protects the hardwood. A special polish and flat-surface mop will help even out the floor and fill in tiny scratches and holes. Using area rugs and mats can also help protect the surface and avoid significant wear and tear.
  • Bi-Yearly Refinishing 
    Depending on the kind of floors you have, it can also be a good idea to have your hardwood floors sanded and refinished every few years. This will strip the old finish and remove any deep gouges, and replace it with a new, shiny finish. You can also take this opportunity to have the wood stained if you’re looking to experiment with a new color or are remodeling a certain room.
If you commit to caring for your hardwood floors from the very beginning, you will be able to enjoy their classic beauty for many years.

Getting Consistency Out of Your Thermostat

thermostatWhether it’s a workspace or your personal residence, being too hot or too cold can interrupt your productivity and comfort levels. Even with a thermostat that is set to your desired temperature, you might find that you feel periods of hot or cold as the weather fluctuates outside. This isn’t your imagination, as there are several things that can influence the efficiency of your heating and air system.
  • Dirty Equipment - As the parts and elements of your system get coated with dirt, that dirt can interfere with how well the parts rotate, turn, or interact. Look into getting an HVAC service contract Chicago IL with a local company. Regular maintenance before each major heating and cooling season can help eliminate some of this extra buildup and keep your equipment operating at optimum efficiency.
  • Clogged Filters - The air filters in the building can get clogged with dust which can limit the clean airflow out of the system. When it is forced to flow backward into the unit, the trapped air lowers the operating temperature. If this is left unresolved, the unit can freeze and seize up. Ice forming on the coils is a sign that there is a serious issue with airflow.
  • Worn Equipment - When your environment experiences extreme highs and lows in temperature, your HVAC unit can see a lot of use. The condensing fan motor is one of the components that is continually exposed to the elements and will wear down over time. Another reason your unit might not be outputting the way your thermostat demands is a refrigerant problem. Over time, a small leak may develop in the evaporator coil, the copper lines, or the air conditioning unit itself. This would mean your unit continually runs but without releasing cool air.
If you want to maintain cool temperatures in summer and heat in winter, taking care of your HVAC unit and components is the place to start. If you aren’t familiar with the different areas that need attention, schedule a maintenance visit with your local professionals.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Before Baby Makes Three

Getting pregnant is a life-changing event that requires thoughtful planning. If you and your husband are considering starting a family, think about life before, during, and after pregnancy and birth. Consider every factor in every stage of the process; pregnancy is only the first step!

New born
  • Arrival and Newborn Baby - The practical questions need to be discussed before you actually bring a child into the world - before you even get pregnant. Pregnancy is just the beginning, and then the real work begins. Can you afford to raise a child? Is there space in your home, your schedule, and your life for a newborn? 
    • These answers are not always easy when you’re being completely honest with yourself, but they’re worth asking. Your life is no longer your own when you become a parent, so are you willing to put aside your free time and your sleep patterns? The benefits are definitely worth it, but are you willing to make the sacrifices?
  • Getting Pregnant - Before finding a birthing center San Antonio, you need to talk to your doctor about the possibility of pregnancy. Other preexisting medical conditions might play a role in your ability to get pregnant or carry a baby to term, or you might simply have concerns to address. Speak to your GP before deciding to go off birth control, or perhaps schedule a special discussion appointment and bring your husband along. Knowledge is power!
  • Pregnancy - Your body will go through massive changes once you’ve conceived, so stay up-to-date on milestones and what you should be feeling during each trimester. Do research on everything: How big baby will be at specific times; what side effects you should be feeling; and what changes you can expect physically and mentally.
    • Your OBGYN is the best person to discuss these with, but in the meantime, it can be fun to see progress on your own with pregnancy apps
Having a baby is one of the most personal choices that you can make, but making an informed decision is never a waste of time. Consider every aspect of parenthood and decide if it’s something that you and your husband are truly ready for.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Camp Outreach 2019

For the past 5 years, I've been spending a week every summer serving at Camp Outreach. Here's a video of pictures taken this year. I even show up a time or two.

Camp Outreach is a missionary camp focused on improving the lives of those living in the inner-city neighborhood of Stingtown Indianapolis and working on the hearts of those young and old who volunteer to serve in the community. 2019 was a great year for Camp and we can't wait for next year!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

How To Avoid Carpet Cleaning Conundrums

Have your kids been running through the house tracking mud and dirt across the carpet? Do you have pets that maybe did not have the cleanest paws when coming back from a trip outdoors? Have you simply just lived in your house for more than a year? Then it is probably time for you to get look into carpet cleaning College Station. But do not just call anyone to do the job. A few factors go into finding the company who can do the job right.

Commercial Carpet Cleaning And MaintenanceWhy Not Clean Them Yourself?
You can rent carpet cleaning machines to do it yourself. This, however, means that you need to move the heavy, cumbersome machine around your house, moving furniture and trying to get the carpets cleaned and free from stains. They usually do not clean as effectively or dry as well as the professional machines.

Look for Companies With Licensed Technicians
Make sure the company you use has licensed technicians who know what they are doing. You also want to find companies that have the experience and trust needed to get your carpets cleaned right.

Decide Which Process You Want
Carpet cleaning is not all the same process. Wet carpet cleaning takes a significant time to dry. Dry treatments allow you to walk on your carpets immediately after treatment. Other treatments use “green” cleaning products. All will work, but you will want to research them to find what works best for your family.

Find Reviews
Ask your neighbors, family, and friends about who they use to clean their carpets. Also consider going further and looking on service review sites and the company’s site to see what other customers have said about their experience.

When it comes to carpet cleaning, do not just go with the cheapest service. Do your research and find the one that works best for your needs and your family.

Friday, July 26, 2019

3 Steps to Achieving a Minimalist Bathroom

Your bathroom sees constant foot traffic. Juggling a full-time job, kids, pets, and a laundry list of to-dos (of which, "laundry" is one) can see you whooshing from bed to bath and out the door. However, a bathroom should be a place where you can pause and enjoy a bit of relaxation. Going for a minimalist bathroom (if going minimalist everywhere else seems insurmountable) can help lend order and organization to an otherwise hectic day.

Apartment in AndorraHere are 3 steps to achieving a minimalist bathroom:
  1. Go Linear - Clean lines are refreshing to the eye in the midst of chaos. Most likely, your bathroom already came with these: countertop, cabinetry, the tile work lining your floors and shower walls. However, you can add or subtract lines to make for a more visually appealing space. Consider frameless shower doors West Palm Beach for your next home improvement project; unfettering your shower doors can lend a floating glass effect and because your eye can travel across the panes completely unimpeded, can make the barrier appear invisible and your bathroom seem larger.
  2. Clear the CountersClutter can cause road bumps in your daily life. Allow yourself to be greeted by a sleek bathroom vanity by turning your personal care products into stowaways. By keeping only the essentials in the open (toothbrushes, hand soap, etc.), you have a blank workspace that is both inviting and easy to wipe down and clean. Invest in organizers or re-purpose containers for "his and her" baskets and bath time caddies for the kids; keep these stashed below deck and you can bask in a tidy, functional bathroom during every visit.
  3. Re-Think Light - Lighting is worth re-tooling because of its impact on the overall ambiance. Consider whether traditional wall sconces and vanity bulbs could be replaced by overhead recessed lighting or an interesting globe chandelier. Decide what would be most flattering or soothing and watch the language of your bathroom change.

Design your bathroom to be a reprieve in your day. Using these ideas, you can achieve a space that will feel like a breath of fresh air.

Next Level Breakfast Recipes

I'm more of a yogurt and granola type, but when Jeffrey sent me this video I couldn't help but enjoy it. I think most of these would be a bit sweet for me, but I love the creativity. It does help that he's using Prairie Farms flavored milks.

Do you have any favorite cereal/milk mixtures?

Monday, July 22, 2019

3 Ways To Keep Outside Activities Safe

While outside activities can take place at any time of the year, they are more common during the summer months. It's a good idea to prepare your yard, your family members and your activities in advance in order to keep your family safe.
summer fun

Protect From Ticks and Mosquitoes
This is a big one, because not only are these little critters annoying, they can also carry serious diseases. There are many ways that you can protect your family and your yard from ticks and mosquitoes, and the diseases they can bring, even some which are organic mosquito control methods. These can be applied to your yard as a whole or to you and your family. Some of the ones you can put in your yard will be easier to use, especially if you would rather not chase the children around with sprays or lotions.

Dress Appropriately
Whether you are engaging in summer or winter outdoor activities, you will want to dress for both the activity and the weather. This means swimsuits and sunblock for summer swimming and heavy coats and boots for building snowmen. Wearing too many heavy layers in the summer can result in heat stroke or heat exhaustion, so can not finding enough shade or water on a hot day.

Have the Right Gear
A big factor in safety is the gear designed to protect you from falls, slips, and bumps. This means well-fitting helmets for riding bikes or scooters, safety tethers for wakeboards and surfing or even GPS locators for skiing. You can find lists of recommended gear, safety or otherwise, for each activity online to know what to pack and what to look for.

When you protect your family from ticks and mosquitoes, dress appropriately for the weather and activity, and have the right safety gear, you can spend more of your time having fun and less time taking care of injuries. With a little research, you can find the best protection for almost any activity you want to do with your family.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Three Tips for Staying Organized During Pregnancy

PregnancyIf you're a woman who's experiencing her first pregnancy, you might experience what many women affectionately call "pregnancy brain" where you forget a lot. There are so many pressing matters to take care of during your pregnancy, and you don't want to accidentally forget to take care of some of the most important tasks. Here are some tips to help you make sure everything is taken care of.
  1. Write everything down.
    If you're someone who loves to use a planner or a pretty notepad, carry it in your purse at all times. Just like you wouldn't go anywhere without your car keys, don't go anywhere without your planner. If you prefer to go the digital route, that's totally fine as well. You can opt to use your digital planner or calendar to write down all of your important tasks. There are some apps that will allow you to sync portions of your calendar with your partner or anyone else who's relying on you for certain responsibilities.
  2. Make time for breaks.
    If you know that a visit to your licensed birth center tampa bay will leave you wanting a nap afterward, don't schedule anything for a few hours after that appointment. Don't overschedule yourself. You'll only end up feeling extremely stressed out, which isn't good for you or your baby. Instead, make time for breaks. It's also great to consider how you feel at any given moment. If you're cleaning the kitchen and feel a bit winded, take a break for a twenty minutes to sit down and take a few deep breaths.
  3. Work until something is done.
    Even though this tip might seem like the opposite of taking breaks, it's not. Don't be afraid to live your life as a pregnant woman. Yes, it's important to take breaks and be mindful of your health. However, it's okay to still work hard and get things done. If you were already lifting weights and exercising before you got pregnant, don't stop now. With the right recommendations from your birthing professionals, you'll be just fine. Granted, if you run into complications and need to be on bed rest, this is not optional. If you've been cleared by your doctor to move forward, it's okay to work until you've completed a task.
In all honesty, I think these tips could be applied by anyone - whether you're pregnant or not. It's a tough job getting and keeping organized, and any help is welcome.

Or Just Get a Cat

I saw this on Good Morning America this morning - apparently Cow Cuddling is a thing. For only $75 per hour, you too can hug a cow.
"Cows lie down much more than horses," she said. "They get very quiet and soft. Just sitting with them makes people go quiet too."
Hey, my cat gets quiet and soft too. I can sit quietly with her - and it doesn't cost me $75 per hour.

How about you? Wanna cuddle a cow? Or does it make more sense to just cuddle your cat? Or your dog?

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Fixing Common Issues in Modern Swimming Pools

Statistics indicate that the United States is home to some 10.5 million swimming pools reserved for private, household use and about 310,000 public swimming pools. People like swimming in pools as compared to other bodies of waters, including streams, lakes, and rivers because the environment is controlled and many times safer. Plus, swimmers can actually see through pools' crystal-clear water, something that they don't get the chance to do when in rivers, ponds, lakes, or streams. Maintaining modern pools takes a little bit of know-how and elbow grease. Check out these common problems with modern pools, as well as how to fix them. 

Green, Dark, Slippery Spots

In most cases, when your pool is faced with green, dark, or slippery spots - including patches that exhibit all three of these characteristics - algae growth is most likely to blame. Get your hands on some calcium hypochlorite and sprinkle a small handful of the calcium hypochlorite crystals directly onto the spots.

Keep in mind that calcium hypochlorite also works for taking algae spots off of wooden decks.

Eyes Hurting While in the Pool? 

Humans obviously don't often open their eyes underwater. As such, when people do allow a body of water to come directly in contact with their eyeballs, they experience weird, one-of-a-kind sensations and are also susceptible to pain or discomfort.

If your eyes are hurting while swimming, it's most likely that the potential hydrogen level of the pool's water, also known as the pH level, is not where it's supposed to be. Put chlorine in the pool until it measures at a pH level of precisely 7.8. Also, the chlorine residual should range between 0.4 and 0.6 parts per million.

Experiencing Green Water?

If your pool's water is green, you might have to break out the elbow grease and shock, pump, brush, and filter the pool.

Although you have to treat Pool heaters Pittsburgh with care in order for them to work well and last very long, they're worth it. Make sure your chemicals are right and you'll be good to go.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Small-Budget Kitchen Improvements

I think the kitchen is the most important room in the house. That was one of the main selling points for this house and one of the biggest reasons we chose it. Obviously, there were other reasons, but knowing that the kitchen was good just the way it was and that we wouldn't have to (eventually) remodel the whole thing was a big plus.

Of course, if your kitchen is less than ideal, there are some things you can do to update it. Without spending a fortune.
  • Decorate - it may seem that your kitchen has enough stuff in it with all the appliances and other items necessary for preparing food, so you may not think about adding more stuff in the form of decor. Start with a few decorations and things that make you happy and see how it boosts your mood. 
    • Even something as simple as a nice clock can make a bold statement in your kitchen, while also being functional. PenduLux clocks are a great choice thanks to a wide selection of handmade items to choose from.
    • Your kitchen is supposed to be a happy place. If it no longer feels like that, changing the color on the walls may be the perfect antidote. The cheeriness of a new color will rub off on you and make you smile every time you see it. Like the way we changed our kitchen walls from blue to green shortly after we moved in. The green still makes me happy.
    • You use dish towels and cloths every day, so why not make them more fun? Buy kitchen linens in bright colors and patterns to help boost your mood and creativity. Even when you're not using them, they'll add a cheery splash of color draped over your drainer or hanging from your oven door.
  • Change up Cabinetry - whether or not you have the funds for a full kitchen renovation, making changes to existing cabinetry can be a cheaper option.
    • If the bones of your kitchen cabinets are still viable, give them a good cleaning and a fresh paint job. Sometimes a different shade makes a huge change.
    • Replace hardware. Even something as simple as a hinge can make your cabinets look instantly more updated.
    • If you have the space, tear out a small section of cabinetry and replace it with open shelving. Open shelves can be a lovely spot for displaying hard-to-store things like cake platters.
Kitchen improvements don’t have to be dramatic to create an impact in your home. Invest in the changes to your kitchen that make you happiest.

The most important tip of all is to fill your kitchen with the people you love.
Grandchildren make the best kitchen decoration!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Summer Reading


Do you have a plan for your summer reading? I signed up for the summer reading program at the local library, which starts June 1st, but as far as I can tell, it's just about keeping track of how much time I spend reading and then entering to win prizes. I like winning stuff, but I'm horrible at keeping track of my reading time. I just read. Whenever I can squeeze in some time. And I pretty much just read whatever catches my eye - though I am determined to finish Stephen King's Dark Tower series this year (just 2 books to go, and I'm enjoying it just as much this time as I did the first time through).

The main difference between my summer reading and my rest-of-the-year reading is that I need some 'real' books for summer so I can read them outside in the sunshine. The Kindle doesn't do so well in bright sunshine, but for any other time, I like it a lot more than I thought I would.

But what has me thinking about summer reading is this Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge. It looks pretty interesting and a good way to expand your reading horizons - especially good if you tend to read a lot of the same type of books, or books by the same author. I'm not sure if the intent is to check off every prompt on the list, or if you're just supposed to use them as a nudge to try something new.

Me, I'll probably use them as a nudge to try something new. Or I'll approach it from the backside and see how the books I'm already reading anyway fit into the checklist. I'm guessing that it doesn't really matter too much. As long as you're reading.

But, of course, I can't imagine not reading.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Whole Thing Makes Me Sick

Somehow I got on this email list. I pretty much disagree with everything they send out, or at least the ones I actually read. (I tend to just delete most of the emails) But I do occasionally read them, just to see what they're trying to say. This one I pretty much read with my mouth hanging open. There is just no part of my brain that understands the rabid need so many women have to defend their 'right' to kill their unborn children. How did we even get to such a place?

Their argument is that taking away this right to 'manage how many children we have and when we have them' is an outright war on women; it's 'not about abortion' but an attack on a woman's right to choose. Seems to me they've been waging a war on their own babies for years - and that seems far worse on every level. Why don't they exercise that right to choose in a timely manner - before there's another life involved? You want to choose 'when and how many children to have' (which sounds an awful lot like they're using abortion as a birth control method, doesn't it?) then choose. You have every right to choose. But choosing should not involve murder. Stop abdicating your responsibility to choose until 'Oops!' there's a baby you just don't want, and if you kill her before she's born you can go on with your life as if nothing ever happened...

And maybe that's what boggles my mind most of all. Why do these women who so desperately want to 'control their own bodies' only seem to be fighting for the right to kill their babies, while ignoring all the points where they really should be making those choices - don't be having sex with random guys, use birth control... Perhaps if we take baby killing off the table, they'll fight harder for the right to make the choices they should be making.

Anyway, here's the email. All emphasis is theirs.

Dear Anna,
Most women who have abortions are already moms.1 Being able to manage how many children we have and when we have them has been nothing short of revolutionary — not just for women and mothers, but for our country as a whole. It has helped to narrow the gender pay gap, improved the health of women and their families, and led women toward access to increased economic and political power.
Following on the heels of Georgia2, Alabama just passed the nation’s most restrictive reproductive healthcare bill that, if allowed to go forward by the courts, would impose criminal penalties on any doctor who performs an abortion, even in the cases of rape and incest. As moms, we know the lifesaving importance of access to reproductive healthcare for ourselves, and we cannot even begin to imagine the horror of a high schooler who has been raped learning that terminating her pregnancy is a criminal action. Despite these horrors, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey immediately signed the bill into law.3
* Join MomsRising in telling every governor that they must protect access to safe abortions and resist the attack on a woman’s right to decide when and how many children to have — or whether to have children at all — which is nothing short of a war on all of us, including mothers and our daughters.
Across the land, other states like Missouri and Louisiana are considering bills designed to provoke the reversal of Roe versus Wade, which protects a woman’s right to choose under the U.S. Constitution. (In good news, some states like New York are passing protections of a woman’s right to choose in response to the bans.)4 Ultimately, it’s up to governors to sign them into law. Signing such anti-choice laws signals a governor’s active participation in the war on women that wants to take away our bodily autonomy and our ability to make our own family planning decisions.
This coordinated effort to take away choice and deny reproductive health care involves states with some of the worst health outcomes for women, including high maternal and infant mortality rates.5 Politicians who say they value life should advocate for policies to solve the public health crises that are killing women and newborns, not dismantle women’s health care.
Governors must protect women, moms, and families, and stand firm against the attack on a woman’s right to choose, which is nothing short of a war on women.
Make no mistake, this war on mothers and women is not about reducing abortions. If the goal of those who are passing such severely restrictive laws was to avoid abortion, then they'd be passing access to free birth control, which is proven to lower abortion rates,6 not setting lifetime imprisonment laws for doctors who help women in need. What's really happening is a direct attack on women and moms having bodily autonomy, economic freedom, and sovereignty in our lives.
Twenty-five million women — that’s one in three women of reproductive age – now live in states in which abortion under any circumstances could be outlawed if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade.7 And this war on women, mothers, and our daughters particularly harms women in low-income families and communities of color, who face more barriers accessing reproductive healthcare.
Lawmakers should not be attacking women, who are half their constituents. Instead, they should be supporting us by passing paid family/medical leave like every other industrialized nation has done, access to health care including birth control, affordable childcare, equal pay, fair treatment of immigrant families, and an end to the mass incarceration that tears too many families apart — and not a rollback of our rights.
Women are the foundations of families, communities, and the economy. Tell governors to protect women and stand firm against the attack on a woman’s right to choose.
Please forward this email to everyone you know who believes in a woman’s equal right to freedom and her own autonomy, and ask them to sign too.
In solidarity,
- Kristin, Monifa, Gloria, Donna, Elyssa, Felicia, Sili, Tina, Casey, Maggie, and the entire MomsRising/MamásConPoder team
So, apparently, lawmakers should not be attacking women. but women should be allowed to attack the most vulnerable and helpless, killing them with impunity. And they have the nerve to talk about horrors.

Please note, I removed all the links. If you want to support this nonsense, you'll have to look up your own links.

Why Choose an Architect

blueprints_architectural_plans_2228686Oftentimes when you're planning to build a home for your family, your builder will give you a choice of 5 or 6 home designs. You pick one of those, and they build it. If you happen to know a bit about home design, you may be able to tweak the plans a bit to get something that works a little better for your family. Otherwise, your house is built according to the plan, and odds are there are several houses in the neighborhood that are just like yours.

If you'd like something a bit more unique, consider hiring an architect. Here are ten reasons an architect can benefit your new build:
  1. Dreams - Architectural design services include trained professionals that can make your dream design into reality.
  2. Investment - Your home is often your largest investment, so why not make sure you get what you want in your new build.
  3. Weather - A local architect understands weather conditions your home needs to be prepared to protect you from.
  4. Original - Working with a design team can let you create an original residence that includes unique areas such as hidden rooms.
  5. Green - Earth-friendly architects can help you create a home that is energy efficient and eco-friendly.
  6. Value - Working with an architect can assure you are creating a house that is the best value for your dollar.
  7. Costs - Construction costs are lower than they have been for several years, so why not take advantage of the savings?
  8. Property - If you have an unusual property, an architect can help you design a home that highlights the strengths of the land.
  9. Resale - The resale value of a home designed by an architect is often much higher than standard stick-homes.
  10. You - You are worth the extra time and effort it takes to find an architect to make your dream dwelling come to life.
Dream House
If you want someone to help you build the home you visualize, choose an architect. You can be sure he or she will be familiar with the latest technology, roofing fabrics, and building materials. With a trusted design team in place, your dream residence can become a reality.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Had to Share

Shortly after posting that last post on whether to buy wooden or vinyl horse jumps, I came across this video on Facebook. It seemed almost too coincidental, so I just had to share.

Is that wood or vinyl?

When It Comes to Jumping

Whether you keep your own horses at home, have a small training or boarding facility, or run a facility that hosts multiple horse shows a year you want to make smart choices with all your purchases. When adding horse jumps the first question you may have is whether you should invest in wood or vinyl. There are several reasons why wood horse jumps are the best choice.
Horse Jumping

While some horses are chronic overachievers, many are, like many humans, a little lazy. Using vinyl horse jumps teaches your horse that he doesn't need to respect the jump because it will come down easily at the lightest touch. A few times of this and he will quickly learn he doesn't need to be particularly careful with what he does with his legs when jumping. Hanging his knees or not tucking up tightly has no consequences. These bad habits are more than frustrating, they can prove dangerous as he continues to get more sloppy with his front end, or when he faces a more solidly built fence.

Another reason you should consider wood horse jumps rather than vinyl is that wood fences are made to last. Wood fences just look good. While vinyl fences may look nice when brand new, they quickly show signs of wear. If damaged, they cannot be repaired but must be replaced. Wood fences are much tougher than vinyl, but even if they are damaged, they can often be repaired. If they start to look a little worn, a fresh coat of paint can have them looking just like new.

I just finished a very lovely book - The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley - in which the young girl at the center of the story learns to ride a pony (after never being out of the city or even the room her family lived in), and she works really hard to be able to jump. There's a lot more to the story, but the relationship between the girl and the pony was really special. I never really thought about whether they were jumping wood or vinyl, though because the story was set during WWII, I'm thinking it was probably wood - with a few logs and then a couple stone walls thrown in for good measure.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Liars, Every One

I occasionally watch Family Feud in the afternoons. Sometimes (OK, a lot of the time) it's really hard to come up with the responses that are up there. And some of them have me practically yelling at the television screen. There was the time they asked single men what was the longest time they'd gone without cleaning the toilet. Remember, we're talking about single men. And the #1 answer was - any guesses? If you're like me, you're guessing a month, 6 months... But, no, the #1 answer was one week. I'm pretty sure they were all lying on that one.

There was a time - amazingly, back when my kids were very small - when I really did clean my bathrooms every single week. Thursdays, to be precise. Now, if I could just figure out how to get back to something that remotely resembles that.

Another Family Feud question was 'How long does it take to clean your house top to bottom?" I actually did clean this house top to bottom before we moved in. The house had been sitting empty for a few months, so it was mostly vacuuming up all the dead flies and spider webs in the corners, wiping down the bathrooms and kitchen, and vacuuming all the floors. There was no furniture (except for the table in the breakfast area), so that made things a bit easier, but it still took pretty much all day. So my response to the Family Feud question was 8 or 10 hours. Maybe? But the #1 answer was 3 hours. Yeah, right... What, do these people all live in tiny houses? Either that or they're lying. Lying.

Back when we lived in the apartment - before kids (all those years ago) - I could clean the entire place on my days off and still be able to get out to the pool when it opened at 10:00. But this house is a bit larger than that old apartment, and 3 hours wouldn't even come close to being enough time to clean the entire thing.

And then there's this chart I saw on facebook a couple weeks ago:

Yep, that looks entirely reasonable...  Does anybody actually do this? Probably those people who can clean their entire house top to bottom in 3 hours.

I do make the bed and do the dishes (mostly) every day, so there's that.
(also - *every day - there really is a difference)

Monday, April 15, 2019

Four Benefits of Enrolling Your Little One in Childcare

It is not uncommon to feel guilty when enrolling your kid in childcare. Many moms would rather be home with their children instead of working, but sometimes there is no other choice. In that case, it helps to focus on the positive aspects of enrolling your little one in childcare.

Here are four benefits:

    Best Daycare in Edmonton |
  1. Childcare Prepares Them For Kindergarten
    Once your child starts kindergarten, they are going to be on a certain schedule. Enrolling them in childcare prepares them for kindergarten by getting them used to a routine. Their schedule includes lunch, naptime, games and other activities. There are many childcare centers and kindergarten classes that offer a similar schedule and curriculum.
  2. Childcare Helps Your Child To Socialize
    A childcare setting helps your little one to socialize with children in their age group. Their teachers come up with a variety of activities that encourage children to play together, such as working on puzzles, building with blocks and pretend play games. The activities teach children how to communicate and work together to solve a problem. Teachers also use the games to teach children how to share and take turns with others.
  3. Childcare Encourages Children To Try New Things
    Children who attend childcare are encouraged to try new things. Teachers have different methods for getting children to try certain foods for the first time. Your child may also be introduced to unfamiliar games, songs and stories. There is a good chance your child will be more open to trying different things as they grow older.
  4. Childcare Increases Their Independence
    daycare camp hill
    When you enroll your child in childcare, you are helping them to gain their independence. Your child may need time to adjust to being away from you and home, but their teachers can help them adjust to their new surroundings. Children also learn how to do things without parental assistance, which helps them to develop and enhance their independent skills.

You can take comfort in knowing your child is in a positive atmosphere when you enroll them in child care Tampa Palms.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Get Your Ears Ready! Sync 2019 Starts on April 25th!

It's almost time for another summer of free audiobooks from Sync! Yes, they're specifically directed at teens, but I've been enjoying them for several years, too. I check out YA books from the library, too.

Every weekSync gives away two free audiobooks in themed pairs, often a current book paired with a classic. The program is a great way to get exposure to many different types of books. And audiobooks make it possible to read and do other things at the same time!

Unlike library books, these audiobooks are yours to keep, but you'll only have one week to download each pair. So be sure you have Overdrive on your computer so you'll be ready to start downloading. And sign up for email alerts or text syncya to 25827 to receive text alerts about all the featured titles.

2019 titles:

Who's excited?

Monday, April 01, 2019

Review: Simply Earth Essential Oil Recipe Box

A few weeks ago, the nice ladies from Simply Earth contacted me and asked if I'd try out one of their recipe boxes. I wasn't sure exactly what that meant, so I checked out the website and learned it's a great way to try out essential oils. With the box you get 4 essential oils, other natural ingredients, and some fun extras. The idea intrigued me, so I said yes, I'd love to try them out!

I received my box last week - along with a Bonus Box full of extras like roller bottles, smaller oil bottles, and carrier oils to use with the essential oils. The whole thing was so much better than I imagined. The box held some lovely recipe cards with recipes for things like Natural Laundry Detergent, Foaming Hand Soap, and a Laundry Stain Remover - as well as a Diffuser Blend to try. I've got that going in my diffuser right now, and my house smells so good! I am especially loving the nutmeg in there.

All of the recipes use the essential oils included in the box, and they sent along some additional ingredients needed for the recipes. Some of the recipes call for things you probably have around your house, like white vinegar, Borax, and distilled water, so those aren't included, but they did include a bottle of Castille soap which I did not have on hand. I used that to make the Laundry Stain Remover, and that went into a roller ball from the Bonus Box. They really make it easy to jump right in and start using the oils in your home. There's even a sheet of beautifully printed labels to apply to your finished products.

Besides the Laundry Stain Remover, I also made the Tea Tree and Lemon Surface Cleaner. Both recipes were very easy to follow and quick to mix together, and I love knowing I can clean my house with natural products. My 15-month-old granddaughter was visiting last week (along with her mom and brother), and she did a good job of smudging up my stainless steel refrigerator. I used the Surface Cleaner on that this afternoon, and it looks really good. It smells really nice when I spray it, too. The smell was a bit strong when I mixed it up, but I'm pretty sure it was because I put rubbing alcohol and the tea tree and lemon oils into the hot water. Note to self: next time wait for the water to cool a bit before adding those ingredients! Once it cooled, it was much better.

I need to get some washing soda before I can try the Natural Laundry Detergent recipe that came in my box, but I added a few drops of the BO Be Gone blend to my laundry today, and I love the smell. I used to make my own laundry detergent from basically the same ingredients as the Simply Earth recipe (minus the essential oil blend), but now I'm using a plant based detergent I bought online, so it's all good and natural. And smells so good!

Simply Earth offers a monthly subscription service for $39/month. You get all this every month - new oils, new themes, new recipes every month. Use my code - BCMOMTOOFREE - when you subscribe, and they'll include a $20 gift card in your first recipe box. You can use the $20 on a future purchase - you can buy single oils or accessories from Simply Earth too - or apply it toward your next box. Sounds great, right? I think you'll really love it. And everything comes with a guarantee, so if you don't love it, you can return it and find something you do love.

Be sure to use my link when you shop Simply Earth and use the code - BCMOMTOOFREE - when you subscribe to get the $20 gift to use on your very next box or order. I'll get a little something out of it as part of the Simply Earth #squad, and you'll get a fresh, natural house. 13% of company profits go toward ending human trafficking, so you can feel good about that too.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Show Your Creativity with These Graduation Invitations

Students everywhere are looking forward to graduation, and now is the time to be thinking about invitations. As I read through this, I couldn't help but think that it sounds like a great option for creating some personalized invitations you're sure to love:
One of the most wonderful things we can do in life is to be creative. Connecting to our creative sides helps us reconnect with our inner child and can help us feel renewed. Creating and designing is exciting and fulfilling. Our minds are stimulated and engaged. When we have finished designing something, we feel ready to turn our attention to our less creative and inspiring to-do lists again.

It can be difficult to find time to be creative, however. A few weeks ago, I had to help a friend start preparing for her college graduation. It was a very stressful time for both of us. I had graduated the semester before and was frantically looking for a job to pay the bills. My friend had finals and projects to work on. She also really wanted to send out graduation invitations. Initially, I didn’t think this would be a good idea. We were both stressed to the max, and I didn’t think we could find the time to take photos and design invitations.

My friend was adamant, however, and we found a way. One of our friends is majoring in photography, and she agreed to take pictures of my friend for free. It was great going out and shooting the photos. We both felt a huge rush of relief being outside and just having fun.

Then we had to find a stationery company to print our cards. We looked at dozens of websites, but we finally settled on Basic Invite. My friend and I really liked their simple graduation invitations. They are pretty and elegant, and they match my friend’s personality really well. Searching through all of Basic Invite’s graduation announcements was another great way for my friend and me to relax.

Once we chose the invite (the Gemstone Grad Graduation Announcements, above, for those of you who were wondering) we got to the fun part. Basic Invite lets you customize your invitations. You can choose the colors you want your invites to be, from blue to red to yellow, and anything in between. Many of their invitations even have foil options. All of their foil is available in either gold, silver, or rose gold. You can also choose if you want your foil to be raised or not.

Designing the invitations was a joy. It felt great to let our imaginations run wild and come up with the craziest color combos. We had trouble deciding between a couple different color combinations, so we decided to have Basic Invite print out a few samples to help us come to a decision. The samples arrived in the mail a few days later, and we were able to decide which one looked better IRL and chose the paper quality we liked best.

Once we settled on the color scheme, we went to print our order. Basic Invite has over 40 different envelope colors to choose from, and we were able to choose envelopes that matched my friend’s invites perfectly. We also took advantage of their address capturing service. My friend shared a link to her Facebook and Instagram profiles and had all her friends and family input their addresses. Their info was saved on my friend’s Basic Invite account. We selected the option to upload the addresses to the envelopes, and just like that, the hardest part of sending out announcements was finished. And, the envelopes are peel and seal, so we didn’t have to worry about eating gross envelope glue when we mailed the invites out.

If simple grad invites aren’t your thing, you might take a look at some rustic graduation invitations or these Hollywood graduation invitations. Our photography major friend can’t wait to use those when she graduates next year!


For anyone who needs invitations printed out, but doesn’t feel like they have the time, I really recommend Basic Invite. I think taking the time out of your day to do something both productive and creative will be a big help to you emotionally. You’ll feel better after creating something unique and beautiful, and if you need to get invites anyway, you might as well kill two birds with one stone, right? I hope you can reconnect with yourself and knock something off your to-do list by grabbing a few invitations from Basic Invite. You won’t regret it.

Right now Basic Invite is offering 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Winter is Here

But we still have to wait until April 14...

Who's getting impatient excited?

I think it's time to watch last season over again - just so we're ready. Or maybe we should just start over again at the beginning?

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

5 Basic Principles for Planning a Wedding

Planning a wedding takes a lot of time and effort. Everything needs to be planned and organized in order to avoid any last minute hassles. The ultimate aim of all this planning is that the bride and groom enjoy their day, and all the guests should leave with smiles on their faces and appreciation for the couple’s wedding party.

Besides planning the theme and finding the perfect venue for the party, one of the most important decisions is what the bride and groom will wear. The groom might not really care what he wears, but every bride wants to find the perfect mermaid wedding dress, and she won't stop looking until she finds it.

Here are some basic principles to follow while planning a wedding:
  1. Don’t Overspend:
    Some brides blow the entire wedding budget just to purchase that perfect wedding dress. Shopping for the wedding dress is a lot of fun, perhaps the most essential part of the whole process, but do not spend your entire budget on a single dress. That doesn't mean you can't have a nice dress because there really are cheap wedding dresses with the same design and features. They'll leave you with money to pay the photographer!
  2. Book the Venue in Advance:
    This is really important. Decide on the wedding venue and book it as early as possible. If you wait too long, it will most likely already be booked on the day you want. You do not want to be scrambling around at the last minute looking for some place - any place - to hold your wedding. So get the venue taken care of, and then you can focus on all the other details.
  3. Involve Close Friends Only:
    You don’t need to invite every single person you know to the wedding. It will just lengthen your wedding guest list and add to your expenses. Instead, focus on inviting close friends and relatives, people who are important in your life. Not only will this save you money, but it will make your special day more meaningful because you are sharing it with people you care about.
  4. Don’t Get too Stressed:
    Yes, this is one of the most important days of your life, but stressing out over all the details can take all the fun out of it. Brides especially tend to worry about all those little details. Remember to schedule some time that doesn't involve wedding planning. Get the groom involved in some of the details - it's his day too, and splitting the work will make it easier on both of you. You'll enjoy your day much more if you're not burnt out and exhausted by the time it gets here.
  5. Keep Your Budget Handy:
    In order to avoid spending too much, put together a budget before you begin planning.  Keep it handy as you're planning so you will know if something you want fits into the budget. If you save money on the wedding dress, you'll know you have a bit of extra money for that special cake. Or if you spend a bit more than originally planned for the photographer, you'll be able to see how much you need to save on something else.
These are just a few things to keep in mind when planning a wedding. Feel free to share any other tips that you have. I'd love to hear them!