Wednesday, June 29, 2011
I was entering a giveaway today for a copy of Not Just For Breakfast Anymore, and one of the "bonus" entries was to follow the author's blog. (No bonus for blogging about him, it just fit with this article idea I already had). As I was perusing the site, I saw that he had been blogging about his journey as an indie publisher. For books like this one, priced at $6.99, he needs to sell it to bookstores at half price. Minimum profit $3.49 per sale. That's not taking into account any costs he had with producing the physical book.
I have a Kindle that I bought with Swag bucks last year, and I love it. I like that I can offer to read an e-version of books to do reviews for authors, and that doesn't cut into their profits. I do offer paid ads on my site because I have costs associated with blogging, and that helps to offset them, and allows me to do larger self-sponsored giveaways. It also means that I can offer to do book reviews for authors for free. Granted, I can't afford to purchase each and every book that I review, but I can accept a book in return for a free and honest review. I also like giving books as gifts for birthdays, holidays, and other milestones. When I review a book that I think is perfect for someone I know, I notate it and purchase that for them at the appropriate time as a gift. It supports the author and who doesn't love to get a great book as a gift?!
While I do offer honest reviews on every product I like, sometimes people notice that they see mostly positive reviews. That's for a few reasons.
- I know what type of books I like, and I tend to accept mostly offers in those genres.
- Even if a book doesn't quite mesh with MY personal preferences, it doesn't mean it is poorly written or executed. I can focus on the positive aspects honestly, and point out what might appeal to others. What's great about readers is that we all have different tastes!
- On the rare occasion when I have gotten a book that was poorly written, I contacted the PR company before I wrote my review. I do not feel right about bashing someone's first book. The PR company took my suggestions, and I am sure others suggestions, back to the author. Since the book was still in the galley stage they were able to put a hold on the book and fix the problems. The completed book was MUCH better, and I was able to give a good review. It's ALWAYS a good idea to contact a company before writing something negative.
With three kids in the house, and one I must take extra precautions to keep healthy, it is of critical importance that things stay clean. Mopping is very hard on your back, the motion itself is something my doctor wants me to avoid, but the floors still have to be cleaned. So, I have been on a mission to find a mop that doesn't kill me each time I use it. The mops that are rope like are too much strain to use, and the mops with the sponge like heads work, but often require "elbow grease" to get up tough spots. Like when someone drops jelly on the floor and doesn't clean it up right away, and mom doesn't see it until she goes to mop.
A few weeks ago I was in Target and they had the Libman Wonder Mop on sale. I liked that the mop head is made of micro-fiber and is machine washable! It is comforting to know that I can mop with a CLEAN mop head each and every time without purchasing a replacement mop head to do so. So, I bought one. I came home and tried it out. I was amazed. I was WONDERful (pun intended, haha) I can't believe how much better the microfiber cloth cleaned my tile floors! There were several stains the kids had gotten on the floors and they came right up without any extra effort.
So I am sold. Of course replacement mop heads are also available, you can't expect them to last FOREVER, LOL:) I included amazon links to both the mop and the replacement head, and as you can see they are very reasonably priced. This is NOT a sponsored post, although I did contact Libman to get permission to post about their product before I wrote the review.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
I thought several of them were fantastic, and will be sharing my favorite one with you here. I hope you take a moment to click over and hear more of them!
My favorite tip is to "Cool your energy costs". In the video Carter explains how updating older model refrigerators with newer models can cut your energy costs in half. Obviously the older the model, probably the less efficient it is. It's often hard for us to wrap our frugal minds around the fact that spending money to upgrade appliances can actually SAVE us money in the long run, once we've passed the break even point. In our home, the main appliance that needs to be replaced is the stove. But, in this house the stove is built into the cabinetry, so we know that replacing it will require work to the cabinets and replacing the counter-tops too. However, 2 of the burners are completely shot, and the stove is off by 50 degrees and sometimes more, soooooo it's on it's last leg! We know the dreaded day of replacement is looming, that it's not as energy efficient as it should be, and needs to be replaced sooner rather than later. It's just hard to spend that kind of money!
This post is not sponsored, but is an entry to win a Clorox® Green Works® giveaway on the Mom Bloggers Club.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
1. Keep a master calendar. This can be on your mobile device, a purse sized paper calendar or organizer, or a large one at home. Personally, we have so many doctor appointments and other time sensitive things scheduled, that I have a very large calendar at home that I can SEE first thing every day. Mine is in month blocks, and that helps me know what things are coming up.
2. On grocery shopping day, plan a schedule of time where you can chop fruits, veggies, and other food items immediately when you get home. This helps make sure food isn't wasted, makes it easier to use when needed, keeps you on your diet plan, and dramatically saves time when trying to prep meals.
3. Along with fruits and veggies, I like to brown and season my ground beef, marinate chicken, etc. then place in freezer safe bags. Each morning I pull that evenings meal items out of the freezer and put into the fridge to thaw or the slow cooker to cook on low all day.
4. Learn to use and rely on your slow cooker, George Foreman (or similar indoor grill), or outdoor grill for meal preparation. I LOVE using my slow cooker because once everything is prepped and inside I don't have to do anything else to it! At dinner time, I just grab plates, bowls, etc and serve everyone a healthy meal. This is especially great for families eating at different times due to scheduling conflicts. It stays warm and ready.
5. I only use Dishwasher Safe kitchen items. I do not use any pans, dishes, etc that cannot be cleaned in the dishwasher, and this includes my crock for the slow cooker. Granted it does need to be cooled before placing it in the dishwasher, but I fill it with hot soapy water and let it soak overnight, then place it in the dishwasher in the morning.
6. Let your appliances work for you. Set your washing machine (if it has this feature) to start washing a load of clothes about 45 minutes before you get home. Once you are home you can pop that load in the dryer and start another load. You will be able to stay on the constantly regenerating monster known as family laundry, doing 2 loads per day (if you need to do that much), and not be up all night long!
7. Use the internet to your advantage! I just tried out the Amazon Home Products services this week. I ordered basic home supplies that we use every day, at prices lower than sale prices in my area, used the e-coupon, used the shop and save service, and paid with credits I got from Swagbucks. I ordered them on Monday, and received them today. There is no need to run around to multiple stores or warehouse clubs to get many items.
8. To keep my house clean in minutes a day, I have a plan that works for me. I "assign" one room to each day, and do any "deep" cleaning needed on that rooms day. Then I just do quick pickups of all the other rooms in about 5 minutes per day. For example, I clean my Kitchen each Wednesday because Thursday is trash pickup day. I empty and clean out the fridge, counters, etc. and mop/sweep the floors really well. Then it's just basic dishes and quick swipes of the counters the rest of the week.
9. Pay your bills and manage your money online if possible. You can probably take care of your money needs in about 15 minutes per week, don't have to worry about items lost in the mail, you have electronic confirmation that the payment was received, and you can see your bank transactions to catch errors when they happen before things snowball.
10. Each night, lay out any clothes, paperwork, or items you need for the next day. Make sure the kids backpacks are ready to go, and homework is done before they go to bed. Keep your purse and car keys near the door you exit. This will save you time running around frantically searching for items you need for the day, and forgetting things, making you have to drive back home to get them.
These are 10 of the tips that I implement in my daily life, that help me ensure my household runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible. It's not perfect, and I make changes when and where needed as the seasons of our life change. I would love to hear from you any tips that you use to help save time!
“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Starbucks blogging program, for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Carol, I have forwarded your name to the PR company and they will be selecting a winner on June 20 and notify you if you are the winner. Good Luck!
Monday, June 13, 2011
I am thrilled to introduce you to this new social network. As the mom of three young children who are quite entertaining all of the time, there are many moments that I want to capture and save. It seems like just yesterday that my nine year old was a new born baby. Time flies so fast! The most important advice I think we can give new moms is to write down the memories you want to keep. The problem is that we often think that ourselves, but then the moment passes and we get busy and forget. Or, we might remember to write it down, but then we have just scraps of paper to keep up with. BNTER is a site that is accessible from so many platforms, and offers a place to write down these thoughts and memories. It makes it so easy to keep them organized and to share with trusted friends and family who will also get a kick out of the unique things our kids say to make us laugh. I hope you will all take a moment to stop by and check out this new site, and come back and leave me comments letting me know your thoughts. Enjoy!
“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of BNTER and received a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”
Saturday, June 11, 2011
This post brought to you by Walgreens. All opinions are 100% mine.
By now, most of you know that when I shop, I am looking for the best deal possible. Sometimes I am able to get brand name products for free or at a very low price using coupons, but that is not always the case. Sometimes I need a product for which no coupons are available. Other times, there are specific items in which I prefer a specific brand, or even a certain store's brand over other brands due to past experience with them.
One item that I prefer that is a store brand is from Walgreens. The closest Walgreens to my home is about 5 miles away, which isn't that far to most of you, but for me, it's not in the immediate area where I normally shop, so I go out of my way to visit this store. When making special trips, I make sure to match all of the coupon deals for the current week, and to check our supply of Walgreens Brand Mucus Relief DM (generic for Mucinex). Previously my husband took the brand name of this product under his doctor's recommendation twice per day for his sinus issues. One week though, they brand name was out of stock and the only kind available was the store brand. I bought it thinking that he'd just use it until they got the brand name in, and then I'd drive back over and pick that up. BUT, it turned out that the Walgreens Brand Health & Wellness Products version worked better for him than the name brand had. I was pleased because the store brand is considerably less expensive than the name brand, and y'all now I am all about saving some money!
In addition to helping me save money, I like that the purchase of any of the Walgreens Brand Health & Wellness Products helps support bringing preventive wellness services to local communities through the Walgreens Way to Well Fund™. Walgreens will contribute up to $3 million annually to the Walgreens Way to Well Fund™. Walgreens Way to Well Fund™ will provide free preventive health tests as well as other health and wellness services and education to local communities. Some of those services will include preventive health tests through the National Urban League Health & Wellness Tour and vouchers redeemable in select stores. For details, visit walgreens.com/waytowell.
Finally, several other blogs are also participating in this campaign to share our experiences with Walgreens Brand Health & Wellness Products and some of them are hosting giveaways on behalf of Walgreens. CLICK HERE for the complete list of blogs hosting the giveaways and for complete contest rules. Good Luck to all who enter, please be sure to stop back by and let me know if any of you win!
Friday, June 10, 2011
Movie Synopsis:Through mysterious footage captured on an old malfunctioning video camera, Sinclair High School’s star quarterback, Tyler McFarland, learns that some of his teammates have been bullying Cory Walker, a troubled new transfer student. Aware that sharing this information with the coach might get his friends kicked off the team and ultimately cost the school the state championship, Tyler must choose what’s more important: winning or doing what’s right.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
***Disclosure: I was sent a complimentary copy of Shattered for review purposes only. A positive review was not required, all opinions are 100% mine.***
I am fortunate to live very close to a store that doubles most coupons up to $1. While the prices on non-sale items is higher than my mass market store, sale items paired with coupons enable me to get many items at a very low price. However, they only allow you to double one "like" coupon per day. If I happen to purchase extra papers some weeks and have 3-4 of the same coupon, that means I can't get 3-4 items on the same day and have that coupon doubled. I have to visit the store 3-4 times within the sale week to use all of my coupons. This isn't an issue for me, because my store is just outside of my neighborhood. BUT, they do not allow you to use 40 of one coupon in a single transaction.
Other people don't understand stockpiling and wonder why one earth people would do that. The simple answer is strategic shopping. It pays to stock up on items when they are at a rock bottom price. For example, last fall, my store had Kellogg cereal on sale at a very low price when you bought 4 boxes at a time. I had coupons for different varieties of the cereal, and when you bought 4 boxes, you got a free gallon of milk. The sale started on Wed and I went every single day and bought the limit. That Saturday I got the early edition of the paper and it had more cereal coupons in it. I knew the cereal sale would last another 10 days, so I purchased the most papers I have ever bought at once, and got 10. I continued to go every day for 10 days and get my limit. I then had a stockpile of 40 boxes of cereal. The milk was used right away. My oldest son has medical issues and is under the care of a nutritionist, and part of his diet is a ton of milk, so we use a gallon per day anyway. With his high calorie diet, and the natural appetite of growing boys, he and his brothers ate ALL of that cereal within 3 months. That meant none of it went to waste or expired, and I didn't have to buy cereal for 3 months. I could use the money I normally allotted for that to put towards stocking up on something else.
At other times of the year, it makes sense to stock up on other things. In the late fall, I stock up on canned soup when it's on sale. With 5 people in the house, when one person gets sick, all of us tend to get sick. As the only shopper in the house, it's hard to go out for soup when you or one of the kids is sick, so I like to keep several cans on hand. This year, when it went on sale, it was a deal similar to the cereal situation, and I was able to go every day for 14 days and get 5 cans. When people look in your pantry and see 70 cans of soup they think you are crazy....until you all get the flu and that soup is gone in a flash! If 5 people each eat 2 can's per day, that's a 7 day supply. The sickness went longer this year, due to a couple of people getting secondary infections (even though we got flu shots!), so I ended up having to go out and get more soup at full retail price.
For me, stockpiling is all about common sense. Determine what YOUR family will use in a reasonable time (sale cycles are usually 8-12 weeks in my area), or donate anything you get and will not use. Don't get more than what's reasonable, don't waste, and don't violate the rules. Stockpiling can be hoarding if you are gathering more items than you will use before it expires, and are not donating the excess. If the stockpile is taking over your home, that's probably too much.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
While these are the ways that my family uses these wipes, they would also be helpful in other situations. If you frequent a gym, I'd pack these in your gym bag. If your children play sports, you DEFINITELY want to keep these in the car to freshen them up. These would also make an excellent baby shower gift for an expectant mother. I am sure all the mothers out there know exactly when the new mother could use these to freshen up! Most women could also use these during that special time each month to make themselves feel refreshed. They are also excellent for motorcycle riders to put in their saddle bags. When they stop and pull of their helmet, they can quickly swipe these to get all that icky sweat cleaned away.
Be sure to check out my twitter link for this post with the hashtag #GetFresh. Click on the link to get a $1 off coupon, and if you have a store near you that doubles coupons, you can really score a great deal on these!
“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Cottonelle and received product and a promotional item as a thank you for my participation.”
Wednesday, June 1, 2011