Friday, January 31, 2014

Art Selling-Online and Sold On Demand



Over the years I've done many artsy things and never got anything for the money I put into it, time or effort. I'm not a people person. So selling person to person has just been too intimidating. So I'm finally taking the dip into online sales. There are a bunch of different sites that you can promote and sell art at. Just look them up on Google and it will come up with hundreds of them. You have to have a way to narrow them down. Type of artwork you make, time you have to spend on the product, how much money you have to spend.

Narrowing it down for me went like this. I have most of my work in computer files. Images mostly. I'm going to have my hands full with little ones so making and sending out orders wont work. It has to be free. It has to be easy to use. It has to have decent products and reviews. I have to be able to keep the copyright on the things I make. Has to be easy to promote.

I'd narrowed it down to a site that offered on demand products. I knew that they were out there. They are the ones you upload what you want printed, they make it up for you and send it out for you. I get paid a portion on whatever sells.

One of the places I came across that was offering the things I was looking for was Fine Art America. I've never heard of this one. They give you everything you need to sell actual product by just uploading your photos. You can either sell originals through them without giving them any cut of the cost or have them make up your product for you. They let you do the mark up on how much you want to make on each product they sell. The product options to put your image on are canvas, metal, prints, framed prints, cards and iphone cases. There are so many resources that they give you for free. You only pay if you want the specialty options. I'm still discovering what all they have to offer. So far I've loaded photographs and images of paintings. Keep in mind though that size of the image matters.

I didn't stop with this one. I'm researching remember. I want to find the perfect online shop to sell my works. So I looked around. I tried Cafepress.com. I tried to figure out their system but found it was just confusing specially because you had to put amounts of products in. Well if I'm not the one buy how would I know how much will sell? I'm still at a loss at how they really work. They have an amazing variety. Cafepress just wasn't for me.

Then I found Society6.com. It's fairly easy to understand and start. I ended up really like it. They didn't have the specifications that Fine Art America did. They don't have the variety that Cafepress has but they do have more than Fine Art America. They have Shirts for every age, clocks, iphone and ipod and computer skins and things. They have mugs and throw pillows. You do have to resize pictures to fit the items. However you get a really nice preview of your work on the item. Many times I've found I didn't like my images on a particular item. So I could delete it from that specific item and change the photo to work better for that purpose. Then load the improved image onto the item again. This just made my day. Yes, it takes more time but I'm reassured that what products people are seeing are approved by me. I've also looked into what the reviews for the products were like. Most of the reviews were good, I'm happy to say. I'm excited to be able to order a few to see for myself soon. If you would like to see what I have for sale and get the idea of what Society6 is all about click Here

The last one that I'm trying out at the moment is Spoon Flower. This one is a different one completely. They sell fabric, wall paper, wrapping paper and decals. You design your own patterns or images just for you or to sell. Don't worry. They do have helpful instructions for first timers. They do operated a bit differently then the others though. You have to buy your own design to see if it comes out the way it should in design and color. You only have to do this once then you can put it up for sale. Then you get Spoondollars when your design sells. Spoon dollars can later be exchanged for money to go to your PayPal account when you have earned $20 or more. Even if you don't sell anything it is kind of fun to see what you can come up with.

Well, I'm now off to work on my new projects. I hope that this may have helped a fellow artist.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Moms Without Bras Club






Ever hear about women answering their door without a bra on? How about the ones that go out of the house in sweats? Maybe even those that don't brush their hair or even get dressed before dropping the kids off to school? Oh the horror! How could they let themselves go like that? Those poor kids. What ever could those women be teaching their children.


We've all seen those mothers. Many of us have made comments about them. Maybe we haven't said them out loud but we've all thought these things at one time or another. I was one, thinking those things at one point, too. "Oh I'll never do that." I'd think.

Well, I'm now a pregnant mother of four saying, damn straight I've done it.

When I was thinking "I'd never do that", it never occurd to me how it would be.

I was up all night with a crabby baby, I've been up for half an hour spending the hole time dealing with the fighting school aged children. Someone knocks at the door. I'd completely forgot about them coming. No time for getting cleaned up so here we go. Answering the door with no bra.

How about the times I'm pregnant and none of my bras fit right. So at home I just don't wear one for the day and guess what, someone shows up.

Oh no! The kids missed the bus. I have to pack up the little one and get them to school or they are going to be late! I'm not dressed, that's just going to have to take a back seat. We get there late anyway. Have no choice I'm going to have to go in and sign them in for the day. Hooray for looking half cooked. Not.

I'm not feeling well, need to go shopping, hell I'm going in sweats. 

I'm pregnant and sweats are all I fit into but life goes on and I'm going shopping.

I know these are all just excuses but they are mine. Those of a real mom. A mom that doesn't focus on just her appearances. One just trying to make everything work out. A mom that doing things for herself gets left on the side of the road at times.

Now along with people thinking "that is disgusting" or saying it, there are those taking pictures or even videos. And now we have things like the iphones that just compound the problem. Putting our images online instantly. Giving a faces to those that are walking around in sweats. So that everyone can laugh and criticize with them.

Well, I'm here to say I'm not amused. Sure if I could, I'd be dressed to the nines every day. It's just that I'm not going to go broke trying to dress as I'd like. Fluctuating weight, messy projects with kids and even messier home projects make it nearly impossible to look good. This is why so many moms have a huge wardrobe. We have to have every type of clothing in order to face anything. Or like me have a very small wardrobe that consists of basic items that your ok with getting ruined. This is how I save money. Cut back on my clothing cost. Get better, longer lasting clothing for my kids.

In other words. I'm not going to dress up for you, the school or the cashier. If I dress up it's going to be for me. That is the way it should be. Do things to make yourself happy, not those around you. While pregnant, if I'm comfortable, I'm happy. With the kids, if they aren't late for school, I'm happy. When I'm sick, if I can do nothing, I'm happy.

Our wardrobe doesn't need to be advertised online. We don't need television shows telling us how bad we look. We know! We know that sweats aren't stylish. We know that pj's aren't for going out in. They are for comfort. That is why we are wearing them.

I know I'm not alone. I believe that this Moms Without Bras Club will probably be around as long as time itself. So get over it world. Moms aren't perfect and this aint no 50's sitcom. Don't even tell me that your mother was the perfect picture of what a mom should be because I'll just laugh.

Instead why don't you do something constructive. This may not be a 50's sitcom but it would make a world of difference if people would stop instagraming mean photos and do something worth while. Such as doing something for someone else, to make the day a little better. Like open the door for someone or say something nice. If you really can't handle seeing us like this goodness sake LOOK AWAY. We don't want you looking at us anyway.

Moms don't stress. Just think eventually we will over come this phase in our mommy life, it just may not happen until the kids move out. Until then have your date nights and look fabulous. Look like the hot momma that we know you really are.





 




Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Kids Doing Chores Without Stress

When my oldest kids were little I just didn't get the hole making kids do chores thing. Ok, I'll be honest, from birth to the time they were 6,7 and 9. It's not that my mom didn't make me and my sister do chores. It's just that I'm so afraid that they will miss their opportunity to be kids if they had a lot of chores. It doesn't help that I'd get impatient any time they were doing chores on their own. I'd just take over and would send them on there merry way, so that I could just get them done and out of the way.

Well last year when I was pregnant with my little girl it became another story. I had my husband to remind me that they are capable of doing these things, that I should not carry the bulk of fault for their messes or mistakes.

Eventually after many arguements and tears I decided that what could it hurt. I was carrying the top reason I can't do it all alone in my belly. Keeping up with laundry, dishes and other housework for a already family of five was hard enough, to be pregnant while doing it made me more miserable than morning sickness.

So I started looking and trying to get them to do chores. Happily the children were for the most part willing to try. As usual it ended up just being extremely hard for them to understand what I wanted them to do. They would get discouraged easily and so would I. Nothing I said was helping them get the job done. I was determined that if I asked them to do a job they weren't just going to throw stuff around. They had to make it look at least somewhat decent. That way I wouldn't be tempted to go in and fix it.

So here we were the kids hating every minute, I was hating every minute. "It wasn't worth it" I would end up thinking and send the kids out to play.

I looked into different chore systems. There are about a million of them. I tried many on my children through the years but always the same out come. I was thinking this time I'd look into a schedule, something easy and less dependent on me. My kids were now reading so that solved a lot of problems. If one couldn't read what it said another could help them. They would need one that could be broke down by age appropriate jobs.

Finally I'd found one that looked and sounded like it just might work. The best part was that most of what I needed was already made up for me but in a way that I could customize it for the kids. I found it at Home Made By Carmona. So I made one to suit what I thought each child could do after school and still be a kid.




Somewhere along the way of getting this done. I'm not sure where I found it but while I was looking into charts. I'd read an article about children getting discourged while doing chores. It hit home. They however knew what the problem was and had a solution.

Our problem was that the kids didn't know the steps to take to get the job done. Or if they did know them they didn't understand how to execute them. Ok makes sense right. I can show them all day long or tell them a million times over. It doesn't mean that they are seeing the steps to get to the end results.

The solution is to have a step by step card for each chore. The process of breaking a chore down into parts is time consuming to say the least. The reason being is that you aren't just saying clean out the sink.
You are saying..

Take the dishes out of the sink.
Take a clean hand towel and wet it down.
But dish soap on the towel.
Now scrub the nasty stuff off of the sink with the towel.
When the yucky stuff is gone rinse the sink out with the sprayer.
Squeeze the water out of your towel over the sink.
Put towel in the dirty laundry basket.
Your done. Good Job.

Home Made By Carmona had something similar HERE to use. I however tweaked it to something like I posted above. So the kids could easily find and read the checklist as they work. I also loved her laminating idea but didn't have the money to spend on it but I did have some binder paper protectors that did the job. Except for the little stuff I used the wide clear tape on both sides to protect them. Keeping them dry and keep from being torn.

The reaction from the kids were excitement. They wanted to do the jobs for hire first but the rule was that they had to do all their other jobs of the day before they could.

By week three they were getting board but this mom stuck to her guns and soon it became a habit. Everyone split up to do their jobs. I did make the mistakes such as having one child doing dishes at the same time as the other was scheduled to do the kitchen floor. It caused quite a commotion but we worked it out.

We did this for about six months. By that time they'd mastered their chores and could get most of them done in record time. Then they started asking me for harder or different chores. Well being as getting ready for baby was in full blown craziness, I didn't get done. Fortunately when the baby got here they took on some different kinds of duties.Getting things for mom, watching baby while mom gets the bottle and other small things that eases moms mind while out of the room.

Since the move we haven't had the chart up. We are still learning how this new house is effecting our everyday life. There is also the problem of getting along and team work. So here is where mom has put them in pairs to get things done. They already know how to do them This time however they have to learn to do them with a partner. A partner that they don't want to work with- a sibling.  It's a brand new challenge for them.

It wasn't long ago that I was talking to my mom about getting the kids to learn other things. Such as cook on the stove or with the oven. Oh Dear! This is an everyday challenge for me and I need to teach it to the kids. Not cool. Mom told me something then that left an impact on me.

"Do you want to teach them while they are at home? Or do you want them to come to you after they've moved out on their own, to ask you how to do these things?" 

 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Money You Don't Know You Are Owed

I've just discovered the world of unclaimed money. I wasn't on the list but I know people who were. I can't tell you how excited I am for them. You could be on it too!

All you do is look up the states you've lived in, unclaimed property division. Every state has one. They will have a place for you to type in your name for them to run through their system. Be sure to do all names you have been know as. Sometimes you may find a list of many with the same name as you. Don't be discouraged look for the address that you have resided at. It only takes minutes to do and they let you look up relatives. Even those that have past away. Worth taking a look considering heirs can claim money also. I'm so nosy I may just end up doing that tonight.


NAUPA- click on this link and it will get you to the state you need quickly. They also have a list of Other Sources that you may find money under. Which include pension, financial institutes, liquidated credit unions, HUD/FHA, Veterans, Holocaust and some international links as well.



Monday, January 27, 2014

16 Tips To Warm Your Home and Body



Blizzards and cold is all anyone hears about right now. This cold has our propane prices spike to almost three times the regular costs. Now we are in the midst of going broke keeping ourselves warm. So we have to come up with new ways to keep as much of the warmth in as possible.
  
  1. Light a Candle-  Yes, light that baby on a windy day.  Then walk around your home. Near the windows, near the outlets, near seams in the walls, open the cupboards and watch that flame. If you can't feel the breeze it will tell you it's there and help you find where it's coming from. Take note of it flickering or even blown out and where it happened. Because those are you problem areas.
  2.  Be Your Own Handy Man- Many times you can fix these problems yourself or at least make things better until you can get a professional in. Do the insulating thing in your problem areas as best you can.
  3. Protect the Fort- If possible give your home some wind blockers. Every home needs to have help to stay protected from the elements.We may not be able to do it now. But start thinking about what could be right for your home. Trees, bushes, fences and creative blockers.
  4. Need to do Something Now?- Get out the blankets,sheets,towels, small nails, thumb tacs, duct tape or anything that you may have around your home. If you don't know I'm naming off insulating items that we use every day as well as anything that you can apply to keep something from moving. So get to thinking. Is it a door with cold air leaking through it? Options duct tape the edges, tac up a blanket... Is it a cupboard that seems to let in a draft for some unexplainable reason?  Stuff some pillows in there for now. Doing something now will save you in the long run.
  5. Alternate Heat Sources- Always have an alternate source of heat in your house. If ever you run out of your main, you can pick a room to heat with your alternate until you can get back your main one.
  6. Dress Like You Mean It- Nothing wrong with becoming an Eskimo in the winter. Wear heavy clothes, layer, Safety pin a blanket around your shoulders. No shame in that. If you want wear your snow pants. You gotta do what you gotta do.
  7. Bake It Up- If you have the opposite type of heating source than the source your stove or oven run on. It's time to get some baking done. It's a great time to stalk up your freezer with yummy dishes. It heats the home, smells good and fills the tummy. 
  8. Cold Equals Cold- Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed! Get in and get out quick. Just like in the summer we don't want them open. The home works hard enough keeping the house at the right temp without fighting the appliances.
  9. Got the Warm Stuff- Eat those warm foods.Obvious but still great advise. Warm yourself from the inside out.
  10. Cuddle Time- This is when everyone needs to cozy up with someone special. Body heat is a wonderful thing. I know this one is going to be a struggle.
  11. Close Off a Room or Two- That's right. How many rooms do you really need to heat anyway? It's nice when everyone has their own room but more cost effective if you can close them off. Here is what you do. Close the vents running to that room, Close and seal the door as much as possible. Keep in mind that this goes for exterior rooms. It's like another barrier from the cold and wind. Keep the closet doors closed as well no reason to heat what you aren't using. (make sure that whatever room you are closing off doesn't have any water pipes that could possibly freeze.)
  12. Cold Bed Drama- Admit it. You hate going to bed on a cold night. It's unwelcoming cold arms slip around you and take forever to warm. Your thinking get out the electric blanket! Stick the blanket in the drier! Crank the heat! Don't do it my thrifty friends. There has to be another way. Were you ever like me and read books about the way it was way back when? You know the ones with small wood stoves or fire places, five kids sharing a bed and such. If not here are some ideas for your fear of the cold bed. Set a chair near your heating vent with your blanket over the chair. Warm a brick to put by your feet, heat some water bottles or let your other half get in bed first (just kidding). Hang out sitting on top the covers of your bed reading or whatever. Let your body heat do the work before you get into bed for the night.
  13. Five Bears In The Bed- Speaking of five kids sharing a bed. If you have kids it would be a great idea. Except lets call it a sleep over or camp in. Have them all sleep in the same room.  You could even join them by sleeping on the couch while they camp out on mattresses or lots of blankets on the floor. Close the bedrooms and the vents to them, for the night. Let them make a blanket tent even. It's fun, cost effective and helps keep everyone warm.
  14. Keep on Moving- Keeping yourself in motion. It will not only warm you but also the area your in. Take it from me when all three of my older children take up a game of tag in the house they seem to warm the air. Now if they are sitting on the couch sure they are warming the room with body heat but it doesn't seem to circulate enough to make a huge difference. Besides it's good for you to keep in motion, right.
  15. Let's Make Love- Every man is looking for an excuse for making love. Well you got it guys. It does quite a few of the things I've already listed, all wrapped up in one. Keeps you moving, warms the bed, you have body heat working for you and it's fun. Who could ask for more.
  16. Who Let the Dogs In?-  Well for those of you with pets. Letting ones such as dogs and cats in your lap, couch or bed with you, is beneficial to you. Many are naturally little heaters on legs. Keep them close if you can and take advantage of the different kinds of warmth they can give.
For more about, keeping it warm, kinds of problems and answers check out my other post New House New Problems. If you have any other recommendations for us on how to save and stay warm be sure to share it in a comment. Give us broke and cold people some advise.



Sunday, January 26, 2014

Where Are My Gloves

> Not many people have a workable entry for winter extras. Hats, gloves, scarves, boots and snow pants. Well with three kids of school age and a husband that seems to collect work gloves, we were no exception.

This was my list to contend with.

  • I had to get these things off the floor
  • Somewhere that they could dry
  • Had to be accessible to different heights.
  • Couldn't take up any extra floor space.
  • Easy for the kids to maintain.
  • Find what we need quickly.
  • Cheap

We had a porch of sorts. It would be perfect now to come up with something that worked. I wouldn't have to be pretty to begin with. Just functional. I started thinking about things that we had on hand already.

Outside during the spring my husband had laid out some fencing against the shed. I'd tripped over a smaller extra piece a time or two. That is when it hit me what we could do.

I had my husband measure the wall beside the door but add a couple feet. Then cut that fencing to that length. At first he wasn't sure but I told him to bring it in and show him what I was thinking.


He brought it in we set it against the wall and I bowed it out every few feet away from the wall. So that wet things would not ruin the plywood walls. It's hard to see but the wire fencing had enough room between the wires to easily hang everything with clothes pins. It was also strong enough to hold wet items. We ran it all the way from the ceiling to the floor. Making sure to bow it away from the wall as much as we could without causing it to sag. It worked well for keeping everything and then in the spring kept our gardening gloves and hats as well. This is my quick fix for winter extras.

I think that in a finished entry this would be cute with rustic wood frame around it to give it a polished look. Maybe put some plexy glass, a patterned shower curtain or something behind it to give your wall a bit more protection from the things hanging on the fencing. It really could turn into something cute and functional with a little imagination.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Handmade Laundry Detergent with Some Mayhem

This containers only hold half of all the detergent I made with this recipe.


I've been eyeballing this homemade laundry detergent receipt I found on Pinterest for months now. Just waiting for my liquid detergent to run out. It finally did. I got brave and went shopping with my list from How Does She.

The Original Ingredients were.

 4lb 12oz Box of Borax
3lb Box of Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda
3lb Oxy Clean
14.1 oz Bar of Zote Soap
4lb Box of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda
55oz Bottle of Purex Lavender Crystals Fabric Softener

As always I decide to tweak a few ingredients. I have people with sensitive skin and I did look into this before starting my shopping. Honestly some of these ingredients are more harmful than I like but buying essential oils instead have me worried even more. Because I know so little about them. So I did stick mostly to the original. Here is the list I bought and why.

  • 4lb 12oz Box of Borax- I have used this with my regular detergent and my husband liked the difference it made.
  • 3lb Box of Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda- This one gave me some difficulty as I'll explain later.
  • 3lb Oxy Clean Versatile Stain Remover- Walmart didn't have just Oxy Clean anything. So I went with this one because it was Dye and Perfume free. I knew that if I was going to make homemade detergent it was going to need all the help it could get.
  • 2-5.5oz Fels-Naptha Bars - The only reason I bought this instead of the Zote was that it is Purex brand, the same as the laundry detergent that we normally use. I have a couple of children with sensitive skin and Purex seemed to work for them or they have a tolerance for it.
  •  4lb Box of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda
  •   28 oz Bottle of Purex Crystals Laundry Enhancer for Baby Hypoallergenic, Dye Free, Natural Formula are a few of the reasons I bought this over the other scents there were. I never found one that said it was a fabric softener. So I opted to go ahead and buy it anyway.
 All was good I'd had all but one ingredient in my cart. I searched for the last one. The Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda was all I needed and couldn't find it anywhere. Ok I thought no problem I'd probably find it somewhere else. So we went on the the checkout with all our groceries. At the end of the transaction I realized that I was now broke. What does this mean?

  1. We are out of laundry detergent.
  2. I may not be able to make laundry detergent.
  3. We are a family of six. Laundry detergent is a must!
  4. What happens if I go into labor and I leave them with no detergent???
Ok no need to panic yet. I'd just go back online and see if there is any alternatives. So I first look through the comments under the post I was going off of. No luck most people wanted to know if it works in a HE washer. It does read the post people. Ok moving on. I look it up on Google. Ok you can bake Baking Soda to make the Washing Soda. Woot! Oh wait it has to be kept in an air tight container or it will just be Baking Soda again. I have kids that help with laundry. Hello, putting the lid back on the container isn't something I can see happening all the time.

Alright so I search a little more and come to another blog that has someone making laundry detergent without the Washing soda. She has reviews! The Space Between Blog this gal had problems finding the Washing Soda as well but for an entirely different reason. My hopes are once again high for this DIY. The problem is I'd already mixed my ingredents and don't know if it will still work the way she says it will. So I try it out. The measurements must be all wrong between the two blogs.  Not impressed with the results. Nothing seemed clean. So I go scrapping the bottom of my purse for change and come up with enough that I think that I can get the Washing Soda without a problem. Back to the store I go. I'm able to find it thank God. I go back and dump all my mixture back into a bucket and add my last ingredient sure it is mixed in good.

Here is the break down of how I got my very first Homemade Laundry detergent made. 
 
Chopping up the Fels-Naptha into manageable pieces

The only kitchen gear I have that is even close to being a grater.

Well it's a start but not exactly what I'm looking for.

Try out another method. Microwave the pieces. Small pieces 20 seconds increments. Until puffy. Then let cool.

Crumbles very nicely after being microwaved.

Mix in all my ingredients.



Now I have a huge batch of laundry detergent that cost me an estimated $24.00 to make. It is reported to last a year of six loads of laundry a week. It is suppose to take the place of fabric softener as well.

I'm not sure will work or if my family can use.  Momma has a plan. Everyone wants to know the low down on handmade soaps right? Well I'm going to have them tested. I even have two perfect people for the job.

My mom- She is perfect because of my dad honestly. My dad works in a shop, cuts wood for a wood burner and doesn't know how to be clean. So his clothes will be perfect to test the cleaning effectiveness of this detergent.

My sister- She has kids just like me but they don't have allergies. She doesn't have a problem telling you what she things. So I'm interested in what she thinks.

Instead of just handing over some containers as is I decided that since they were both kind enough to agree to test this concoction that I would make their samples look pretty while I was at it.

I found these free fancy labels at Ginger's Life of Spice that match some some scrap book paper I already had.

Then because I'm going handmade I hand wrote the directions, ingredients, and a warning to keep it away from children and pets on my print outs. My end results were the picture at the top of the page.

Now to make out my question sheet for everyone to answer about their detergent. Cross your fingers all the results are good ones. Keep an eye on the blog for what we have to say about this laundry detergent.

Do you want to be a reviewer? Great! Here is your chance.
If you want to participate by making laundry detergent of your own and filling out our questionnaire. Click Here  download. Copy and paste it or attach it with your answers to an email. Send it to me at deelikes@yahoo.com. Remember to tell me if you made changes to the ingredients and give the name you'd like me to use in the post.  If I hear from you by April 26,2014 I'll add your review to the Homemade Laundry Review post. 


Single Girl Wishes to Sappy Love Entries

 

Valentines day is coming up faster then ever. I've been looking over all the usual valentines cards and things at the stores thinking it's not February yet. However I did find something that kind of got me in the spirit of the holiday already.

Have you ever made a wish list? I'm sure you all have at one point or another. Well I came across one that I'd forgotten that I'd made. It was one that I'd made while I was single and it's not short. I'll tell you now. But it ended up reminding me of how it was then.

What I want in a man.
-He loves me
-I love him
-Believes in God
-Good with kids
-Would do anything to keep me
-Tells me I'm beautiful so that I believe it
-Willing to say sorry when he is wrong
-Inspires me to be a better person
-Wants to be with me
-Did I mention LOVES ME
-Wants me physically but knows how to give me space too
-Not embarrassed to tell me he loves me
-Easy for me to talk to
-Honest, Trustworthy
-Has morals
-Kind
-Drives me crazy in bed
-Loves me without a doubt
-Prays
-Lets me vent
-Opens up to me
-Doesn't look at other girls
-Never Cheats
-Doesn't Gamble
-Doesn't criticize me or the kids
-Not self centered
-Lets me be there for him
-Does things for me 
-Surprises me
-Wants to do home improvement stuff with me
-Never gives empty promises
-Doesn't maliciously use people
-Not afraid to say "that wont work"
-Not afraid of house work
-Answers my questions
-Takes me places with him
-Good at communicating
-Doesn't try to buy my affection
-Has a good job
-Good at keeping his job
-Good with people
-Thinks I'm sexy
-Good natured, funny
-Thinks I'm funny
-Wants to cuddle up with me
-Doesn't look disgusting
-Likes to learn new things
-Can drive, has a vehicle
-Has friends, doesn't need me to entertain him
-Has things in common with me
-I'm attracted to
-Is understanding and open
-Is manly, stronger than me, not feminine in looks
-Doesn't threaten to leave me when he is mad
-Clean, Dresses decent
-Doesn't tease me about my looks or ideas
-Will defend me if necessary
-Wants to show me off, meet his friends, his family
-Is there to be my hero

What I want for me
-Learn something
-Lose weight
-Don't settle- get exactly what I want
-Be a good friend
-Don't be afraid to step out of my bubble-Get a good paying job that can support us, that I love
-No longer depend on my parents - Be able to help them
-Get and stay organized
-Not be selfish
-Volunteer again
-Not be alone

What I want for my kids
-Get money in savings for them
-Get them into activities
-Make sure they consider school important
-Pay better attention to them 
-Give them more freedom
-Invite their friends over more often

What I dream of for our future
-I have a daytime job, I get home when the kids get home
-Able to take the kids on cool family vacations
-Live in a nice, safe, spacious home
-Don't have close neighbors
-Kids have a male role model
-I'm married to the love of my life
-We have a garage with a basket ball hoop
-Friends com to see me and my husband
-We are happy and secure

I know long winded, I may have been making a prayer list and didn't want to leave out even the most outrageous thing. Such as the Disgusting comment.  But this is what I wrote later in the same notebook.

March 2,2012

I told him that I love him. It's true. It scares me. I've only known him three days. He's everything I've ever wanted in a man x10. I didn't want to rush into these words "I love you". But how could I not? He looks at me as if I hold the world. When I'm in the same room as him I gravitate towards him. I feel comfortable telling him things and know whatever I say will be taken well. We laugh and have the same silly, sarcastic sense of humor. He just has to grin or flick his eyebrow and I smile. I could stare into his eyes forever. Those crystal eyes that seem to see my heart. For him I seem to never do wrong. Even when I'm blunt or stressing about things. 
There is no wrong way for him to hold me. He reads me and does or tells me what I need. He has broke open my shell and has me grinning and loving. He has seen my baggage and seems to be emptying it piece by piece. As for the kids, he cares about them too. I could see it right away. He accepted them good and bad. The kids in turn quickly accepted and liked him. He's not super human. He has faults like everyone else for goodness sake the guy doesn't like anything with miracal whip in it. He's a little pudgy (I figure the better to warm me with). He's quite hairy (softest and most addicting to touch) He has an eye astigmatism, (I rarely notice this past those crystal blues that gaze at me with love). He is ornery past what most should be (and yet I enjoy it and look forward to the next time he tries to drive me crazy) He's very stubborn which may get him far in a relationship with me but will also drive me crazy.
And I probably love every minute of it. With a silly grin on my face.

March 14,2012

The Lord must be guiding him. He breaks through my insecurities without me realizing until it's too late. He said it's luck. No such luck. God is in this, I just feel it. I thank God every day for him. Praying that God helps me do what is right. Show me what to do.  I don't know if I've gotten those answers but finally I'm starting to understand about love. That I can be loved despite my flaws. I adore him. He holds my heart. Lord help me if he ever breaks it.
He brought me flowers, at first glance I though he bought them for me. Then as I went to place them into vases I realized that they were daffodils from someones yard. All cut evenly gathered in a rubber band neatly inside a baggy of water. He didn't just cut and drag them to my house he put effort into making it special. I wasn't being bought. 
He told me he didn't have anything to be guilty for. I had to smile. My dislike for gifts from men because they always turned out to be guilt gifts. I can't be for sure that it's true but I badly want to believe him. He tells me every time I see him that he isn't going anywhere. That means more to me then his I love yous. I don't know why. Maybe I've heard to many fake I love yous over the years. But that he looks into my eyes and tells me that he isn't going anywhere, that he loves me. Every time.
We haven't fought, I'm scared for the day it happens or what would trigger it.
I don't know if it's the right thing but I'm not scheduling for the birth control shot. We aren't using protection. He knows and talks about kids with me. It feels natural to have children with him. He says twins run in the family. Funny thing is now I fantasize about having twins a boy and a girl. He teases about how hairy they will be.
I hate thinking, irrational doubts sneak in. I just want to allow myself to be happy.

I don't promote going without protection or birth control. It was wrong. I'm glad today that I didn't get pregnant before we were married. I just want to point out that when your in that state of love it seems that you really do stop thinking things through. This isn't one of the areas that you should stop thinking through.

Ok now I'm going to clear something else up, the daffodils were not something he picked up like I thought. They were a charity thing. The money from them went toward a charity. Which in my eyes was wonderful because he told me the truth as soon as I mentioned it. He could do no wrong as you can see. (Eye Roll)

I can kind of laugh at the sappy notes now. I did dry my eyes a few times but for the most part it was the ramblings of new love. Very fanciful and not always using common sense but still something that everyone wants and I believe needs to experience. To bad I can't just round some up and splash it in everyone's face like a bucket of cold water. It's a jolt to the senses that will either wake you up or knock you over. I just love, love. I hope your Valentines Day is full of it. ;)



Tuesday, January 14, 2014

In Bed with Asbestos?


 Once again the mesothelioma commercial comes on during one of my shows and I want to cringe. If you don't know the one I'm talking about its a lawsuit commercial. Encouraging people to go to them to get reimbursed for getting mesothelioma from being exposed to asbestos. No I don't have mesothelioma nor do I know anyone with it. What I have a sickening feeling about is the asbestos.

A quick  description of asbestos-  Asbestos is a fiber that is flame and sound resistant that was combined with other materials. If released into the air there are tiny fibers can't be seen with the naked eye. When breathed in these fibers can cause scar tissue in your lungs to the point of disability or death or possibly cancer.

When we moved in and the previous owners had moved most of their stuff out. We took another look around. We were looking over the upstairs bedrooms when we came across something questionable. We opened up the closets and found this gray crumbly stuff that looked like rocks all over the inside. Usually just under holes in the walls where I'm assuming they'd put in wiring. Fortuanatly my husband was aware of what some of the asbestos products looked  like and this looked just like the chrysotile form of asbestos.

After that we could see it in the carpeting through out each upstairs bedroom. We were freaking out as you can imagine. What if it is definitely asbestos? What would be the costs of having it removed? How would we ever afford it? Specially after just purchasing this house? I'm pregnant. We have an infant and three school aged kids. What would we do? Then what if someone found out that we might have it. Would we be kicked out of our house? The more we thought about it the more upset we got.

There was no sign of it downstairs however, so what were we to do? My husband looked into ways to find out for sure if it was asbestos. No matter what it could mean for us we had to know.

He found a business that was accredited by the Better Business Bureau that tests samples of material for asbestos. It was pricy. We decided to go with the five pack the place offered. If we were going to do this we were going to cover all our bases. We sent a sample of the insulation, old vinyl flooring, paint chips and whatever else that we could see that would be questionable. All packed in the shipping package the company sent to us.  In the way the company specified.We did not want to screw this up.

Then we took the advise of all the sites we looked at. We didn't try to clean it up, we didn't touch it or disturb it if we could help it.We closed the door to the upstairs and kept the kids away from the stairs as a precaution.

The thought of my children being exposed to something that harmful was frightening. The kids were set up to sleep in the one other bedroom downstairs. It was the best we could do. And we waited.

It felt like forever. Time just seemed to slow during that waiting period.We spent our time looked into how much it would be to get it professionally removed if it really happened to be asbestos. It would have been an insane amount for us to come up with. But wouldn't the costs be worth it? You can pay now or you could pay later with your health or possibly your life. Or worse the life of a loved one.

Anyone like us that lives pay check to pay check listen up. If you are living with the fear that you or your family are exposed to asbestos. Don't wait. Don't live in fear. Scrimp, save, sell something if you have to but find a way. Find out if it is asbestos as soon as possible. If it isn't you wont live with that weight on your shoulders. If it is, find a way to change your circumstances. At least you know what you are facing, look into the best ways to take care of the problem and research. Don't sit and stew on something like this. Have courage. Have faith. Take Action.

When we got the results that everything was free and clear I wanted to jump for joy. I can't even explain how thankful I was and still am. Peace of mind is a wonderful thing.

If you want more information get a start here
http://www2.epa.gov/asbestos 








Monday, January 13, 2014

Rewards Programs

I love getting rewarded for being loyal. However with many there are some major gimmicks to these programs. Constraints. When you are thinking about joining one look into what they want you to do to earn those points. Catch yourself before you spend more just to get those rewards.

  • Do you really like that brand?
  • What do they ask you to do to get the points? 
  • Is it worth the time involved?
  • How much do you usually spend there or on their products in a year?
  • What are the rewards? 
  • If the rewards are discounts are they discounts on things you would normally buy?
With these questions in mind ask yourself will these rewards help you or make you spend more?

BP Driver Rewards - You can pick up a Driver Rewards card at a BP gas station or get one sent to you online.Insert it at the pump every time you get fuel at BP. The first time it will offer you 10 cents off per gallon. From then after you have need to make two purchases of 20 gallons before it will give you 5 cents off per gallon on your next pump. The card also works for those buying diesel as well. That is a $1 off every 20 gallons you buy and if you are on the road a lot and have a large gas tank I can see this as adding up but I wouldn't go out of my way to go to a BP to use it. Just remember use it when you do stop at a BP.

Hallmark Card Rewards- With Hallmark Card Rewards for every 5 cards you buy and report with the UPC code you get rewarded. They have partnered with other stores so that you can get gift card, dollars off and discounts. When entering the codes you can do it online or with an App on your phone. I did look into the App on Google Play and it didn't get very good ratings. They may be working on this though.

Ace Rewards- Ace Hardware has a rewards program that you earn points for every dollar you spend. So it is 10 points for every $1 and you need 2500 points to get a $5 reward. They do give you a gift of 1000 points just for signing up. You can print out a card to use in stores. This may be a good option that does a lot of shopping at Ace. I know when it comes to hardware the spending adds up fast and so would the rewards.

Children's Place - My Place Rewards is the for every $1 you spend you earn 5 points. After you have earned 1000 points you get a $5 reward certificate. If you want to get more points per purchase they do encourage you to sign up for the Place card. If you know that you will be spending quite a bit at Childrens Place in a years time this would end up being a nice perk.

Staples Rewards- With Staple rewards you get a 5% back reward on all but purchases on postage, phone or gift cards, or savings passes.You also get free shipping on all purchases. They also offer Ink rewards of $2 back on ink cartridges and toners when you spend $30 on ink toners. They do have a limit of how many you can recycle a month. They have a few other conditions. Then they have another thing that I have to say I can appreciate. They have Reward A Classroom. This give you a chance to give a percent of what you spend to reward a teacher of your choice. Though your teacher has to be signed up and buying from Staples to access these rewards. A few ups and downs with this rewards program though I'm sure that for many this would be ideal.

Recycle Bank- This wont happen all at once and you wont get cash. You just go onto the site. Sign up and pick the way you want to earn rewards. It's all about learning how to recycle and has little quizzes and things to do to earn. I go to this one when I'm board to see if they have something new that I can do to earn. Then when you have enough points you can pick a reward to spend them on. At the moment it's mostly coupons but I have seen gift cards. Cross your fingers they bring back the gift cards.

Pampers Rewards- Enter codes from pampers products you buy and get points to use toward rewards. They make earning rewards even better. You can get a link to send to your friends to get rewards if they join.

Huggies Rewards- Honestly I like this one better than pampers because it's all in one site. Once again you get the code off of the Huggies product you buy and get points for it. They also have other ways to get points. You can read and comment on posts, do polls, share with friends by email and give reviews of products. All from one place. You can put these points toward rewards, donate them or even enter sweepstakes. They sometimes have coupons or promotions to offer.

One Hundred Free Books- Yes free books and points to get really great rewards. It does take a long time to get enough rewards. You get 100 points each day you visit the site and it takes thousands of points to earn the nice rewards they offer. If you are like me I don't even use this site for the rewards program because I'm already getting free e-books. The points are just a perk.

More Reward programs to come..



Birthday Freebies


This are just for joining the programs with promise of birthday freebies to come.

I was taking the time to flipping through my pins on Pinterest to get it cleaned and organized. I came across something that I'd meant to look into (no shocker there).

It was a pin about birthday freebies. I decide to go ahead and take another look at it real quick. It took me to I Am that Lady  and her list of birthday freebies. It is a really long and there are many that I'd never heard of. Instead of just picking a couple I made a list of the places that I knew and liked. Even then I had a really long list.

I was having such a good time applying for all these birthday freebies that I went on the search for more. So I did what most would do I Googled it. What I found was a ton more than I'd ever thought. These were on Freebie Depot.  OH MY I was having a hay day! Once again it had places I'd never heard of or that I don't have in my area. So I did some picking and choosing. These are the ones that I selected to join for now. I'm going to be sure to keep a look out for more. However if you have a few good ones be sure to mention them in a comment.

Keep in mind that I wont have everything figured out until June. I didn't take into account that I'd have to wait to see if I'd really get to use these. Although some do let you put the kids birthdays down. Score! I have those coming up. Another thing to keep in mind. Don't fill these out right before your birthday. Some do need time to process join them at least a month before.

Restaurants

Applebees- This takes you to their email club to sign up.

Bennigans- Has an e-club to join and sent a coupon for a free Brownie Bottom Pie with purchase of   entree within 14 days. Do this one if you know you will be eating there soon!

Chuck E. Cheese's- Yes it is an e-club. This however lets you sign up your kids up to age 10. It also lets your kids play games online to earn tickets before going.

IHop- This one is a little more involved. You have to sign up for the Stacking Up Rewards and the Pancake Revolution.

Dairy Queen- If you didn't know Dairy Queen and Orange Julius is together. So you could do one in one stop. However since we are talking the Blizzard stuff. Lets sign up for the Blizzard Fan Club. They give you a buy one get one coupon for Blizzards and a $3 off for 8-10'' Blizzard Cake just for signing up. Then you get a coupon for your birthday.

Orange Julius- This one you sign up and you get a buy one get one free coupon right way to use withing 15 days. (Watch that you are able to go in time to use this before signing up) And then you will get another for your birthday.

Red Lobster- Red Lobster offers a Fresh Catch Club to join. They don't tell you what you get for your birthday but they do send a welcome gift. A coupon for a free appetizer or desert ( read the fine print) with the purchase of two adult entrees. That you have a month to use from the day you sign up.

Pizza Ranch- On this one you sign up for their rewards card and the Monday before your birthday they put $5 on the card for you to use in the next 30 days.

Stores

Childrens Place- They have My Place Rewards. This includes birthday rewards you just put in your birthday as well as your childrens for ages 1-14yrs. Keep in mind that only one birthday surprise is allowed each month.

K-Mart- I don't know why but this one surprised me. They give the child $5 in birthday bucks and a surprise package.

Toys"R"Us- You know that giraffe they have well his name is Geoffery. He is the kids go to birthday animal. You can sign up the kids to get a card and gift every year from Geoffery. A birthday call from him. Even go into the store and get a balloon with him on it along with some other special attention. That is up until they are 10 years old.

Radio Flyer- Sign up for the Birthday Club. You can fill out dates for your kids birthdays and get $10 gift card for each. They even let grandparents get in on the act. Good job radio flyer for thinking of the grandparents!

Amazon  - Amazon members get Prime for free for their birthday.

This is my list for now but I'm sure I will be adding to update it whenever I can.

More to Come...



Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Office Part 3- Switch Plates and Desk

Seeing as how I hate the look of to plain Jane outlet and switch plates. While we were at Menards we looked into new. I can tell you now that I can't believe the prices for just one let alone getting six. But I think to myself it's not very often that I have the chance to make a room just what I want. I personally like the darker ones that would match the light fixture. Then however I'd need to also spend extra on black switches and outlets themselves. I thought it over and decided that in such a small room I wanted to go light. We ended up deciding that these white ones with a bit of wood coloring showing through would go best with his wood desk and the other white accents. Amerelle Decor brand Savanna Distressed white wood.


 Next my desk needed to be placed back into the room. Do you remember what the desk looked like that was placed under the window with the carpeted piece on it? We are putting the desk back. It is already cut to go behind the door without hindering it and has a really nice clean look to it. It helps that it is attached to the wall and only needed two extra leg supports. All it seemed to need was some shelving to get things organized so we bought theses to go on top. From Talons Real Collection a couple of white organizer shelving units.


As I looked at it however I wasn't happy with the wood look and I was wondering how it would take the abuse of my projects. It would need to be able to take spills, burns, scratches and who knows what else. I also thought it was a bit dark for what I wanted. I apologize for the mess. Another project.

Once again to the store. We debated over the paint section for ten minutes before my husband convinced me of what may just do the trick.
 


 Yes it says epoxy. It may be overkill but it is waterproof and good enough to seal up a basement. It should be able to protect the desk from me. So we got the Rust-oleum Epoxy Shield Basement and Masonry Waterproofing Coating Extra Strength white paint.







 Six coats later... Sanded smooth.. Everything put away... Finally.


My office area is complete.

Ok it needs trim and a few other minor things done but it is useable and ready for this lady to get down to business.





Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Office Part 2- Lighting

A week before our Christmas party. The house is still a mess waiting for this room to be ready. Can you say, scrambling? Because that is what we are doing this week.

Put in the insulation.  Dry wall up. Fix the problem with support under the windows.  I forgot to take pictures of this getting done but I did take pictures of the next steps we took.

Look paint! We did this Christmas Eve. I think this is a good Christmas gift. We used Easy Care Weather All Satin paint in the color Chain Link.

  Now for our lights.

I was attracted to this Westinghouse light from Menards. While there we walked down the ail of light bulbs. I had no idea what the difference in light bulbs were. Menards happened to have a huge display area showing what each type of light makes a room look. I liked what the daylight Ecobulb did so I picked up a few packs of them to use. Since we aren't lighting a large room I went with 40 watt bulbs. I really like the effect they have in our office.
Yes the ceiling need help. At one point the roof leaked above this room so it has some water damage that shows. Fortunately they did fix it early one and now it's just a matter of figuring out how we want to deal with it. Something for another time. Need to get this room functional.

Time to get ready for Christmas. Time to shove everything in this room so the kids have room to unwrap and play with gifts.




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