Category Archives: Reading

All This Free Time… What To Do?

alicia bookshelf reading kindle books

In case you didn’t know, when I’m not on the computer, running, or exercising my jaw by running my mouth, I LOVE to read. As is, I always have a book in my hand or on my Kindle app on my phone. I probably read more than most people, especially now that I am at home more. I told you before about the awesome parenting book that I read (1-2-3 Magic), and the truth is, it will always be one of my favorites, because it really did change my life. But what do you read when you just want something to read and to escape? Continue reading All This Free Time… What To Do?

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1-2-3 Magic- Effective Discipline for Children 2-12

discipline for childrenNow, since I said that I LOVE my Kindle app on my phone, you should have known that I would tell you about my favorite books, right? Well, that’s exactly what I intend to do! But I’m also going to tell you about my favorite book about a wonderful subject: Discipline for children that actually works!

My latest book (that I cannot put down and am constantly going back to refer to) was recommended to me by my oldest son’s psychiatrist. When I first dove into this book, I decided to immediately put the information I was learning to use (what could it hurt to try?), and while it’s not 100% effective on the oldest, I can say that it has worked wonders for the attitude of my youngest.

Now, I’ll tell you that while you can’t expect miracles right away, you will definitely see some results immediately and a major change in the coming weeks as long as you continue to follow the guidelines set forth by the amazing man who wrote this book.

Now, I know you may be skeptical of anything that promises help in effective discipline for your children… I was too. But the great thing about using your Kindle app is that you have the option to check out portions of the book BEFORE you buy it, so there’s really nothing to lose. Honestly though, you’re going to love it so much that you’ll end up buying the book. I have it on my phone and in paperback, and I have recommended it to everyone I know!

Please check out 1-2-3 Magic by Dr. Thomas W. Phelan! I can promise you won’t regret it. I was hooked after just the snippet the Amazon allows me to get for free on Kindle, and I bet you will be too!

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Do You REALLY Put Your Smartphone To Use?

ReallyUseYourSmartphoneIn this day of modern technology, even kids have smartphones. It’s not unusual to walk in somewhere and see 90% of the people around you with a smartphone in a holster, in their pockets, or in their hands being put to use. But what I want to ask you today is: Do you really use your smartphone? Yes, we all have them, but in reality, most of us that do have them don’t need them and certainly don’t use them for everything that they are capable of. So let’s put your smartphone to use!

Your typical smartphone user knows their basics: You can make calls, send text messages, send emails, play on Facebook, play games, use it as a flashlight (I probably couldn’t make it without the app that turns my phone’s flash into a camera if we’re being honest here!), and schedule appointments into your calendar. This is all great. I’m a Facebook addict and I love the fact that my phone keeps me connected to it at all times, but there is really so much more that you can use that expensive electronic brick for, and that’s why I’m writing this blog!

One of my favorite uses for my phone (yes, other than the flashlight and Facebook) is being able to stay connected to my online banking. I bank with a rather large credit union, and in the last year or so, they have made a lot of changes to their app. I can do much more than just look up my balances. I can transfer cash from my checking to my savings account, schedule payments for my credit card, set up alerts that go straight to my phone when my account balance gets low, and my all-time favorite thing is that when someone writes me a check, I can make the deposit from my phone just by taking pictures and uploading them through the app!

If you’re like me and you like to look up new and interesting things to eat, perhaps you would like to check out the app. When I get bored with my usual recipes, this is something that always spices up my dinners.

Now, I’ve said many times before that I am looking to save money, and I also try to do things that are environmentally friendly… As much as I love to read, I’ve been trying to curb the amount of books that I purchase. This has been fairly sad for me, but I’ve found a new love that’s really awesome: the Kindle app that comes automatically on most Android devices. Most eBooks that you find are actually much cheaper than you will find the printed versions for, and of course since they aren’t printed, it’s more environmentally friendly. An added bonus to this is if you are an Amazon Prime member, you can have the option to check out one free eBook each month (this is just one of MANY perks offered by Amazon Prime!).

Join Amazon Prime – Watch Over 40,000 Movies

This next thing isn’t something that everyone will take advantage of, but some of you will love it. If you area blogger, you can easily post, update, and maintain your blog from your smartphone. It all depends on your blogging platform, but Blogger and WordPress both have very user friendly apps that you may want to look into.

Have you thought about using your phone to get in shape? Seems crazy, right? Well, one of my new favorite apps is Noom. With Noom you can count calories, log your weight, exercises, and with Noom Pro you can even track your waist size. It even comes with an awesome step counter that gives you a goal for your target number of steps each day. This app gives you useful information to read daily to help you reach your weight loss and fitness goals, along with much, much more. An added bonus to it is a forum to keep in touch with others who are also working to lose weight and get in shape. While there are many other apps made to help with this, this particular one is my favorite.

Now, I’m not a great couponer, although I have tried… My boyfriend’s sister on the other hand is one of those people who can get most of her groceries for free. There are several couponing and deal apps out there that can help you do that. I haven’t started utilizing one yet, but my goal is to start soon and I will let you all know which ones I find useful and how much they have actually helped me.

Being a single mom, I still haven’t found the cash in my budget to get cable… However, I do have a Netflix account (rather my boyfriend does, and he was nice enough to give me the login info for it!) and although I mostly watch movies and shows on my computer, when the kiddos take over it to watch movies or play games, I’m left with my phone and I love watching movies on it!

Join Amazon Prime – Watch Over 40,000 Movies

As a woman, it is a rule of nature that we are supposed to shop, and shop I do! As you may have guessed, I do most of my shopping from my phone. What shopping I don’t do from my phone, I plan from it. My favorite shopping apps are eBay, Amazon, and occasionally Walmart. I HATE shopping at Walmart, but sometimes it is a necessary evil… That’s another blog for another time though. Preparing to shop though, my favorite app is from Publix. I make my list, pick the store I’m shopping at, and it tells me where every item on my list is at in the store. Another great thing about shopping at Publix is that you can pick out your coupons from their website and enter your phone number. No clipping coupons, and you save money, what could be better?

I do, of course, use my phone for many, many, many other things, but these were all things that I thought that you might find useful as well. Please comment below and let me know if I left out something that you couldn’t live without, or if I gave you some new ideas!

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Where Did The Romance Go?

relationshipHave I told you all that I have the most wonderful man ever to call my very own? I do. And sometimes I have a tendency to forget just how lucky I am. I have taken him for granted time and time again, but he has stood by me, and I am very grateful for that. I’ll tell you, he really stepped up to the plate when he and I got together. I was me (crazy as all get out from the get go) and I had a two and four year old to boot! Sometimes I wonder what on earth he was thinking. Other times, I thank God that he didn’t run for the hills at the first sign of disaster. Now, it’s time that I start doing for him…

As a mom of two who works as much as I do, I can sometimes (as in almost always) forget that it’s important to be more than the girl at the office, and to be mommy, but to also be a loving girlfriend. Over the last three and a half years, I’ve gotten fairly comfortable. I don’t shave my legs daily anymore (he’s lucky if I shave them once a week), most days I don’t have any makeup on, and my hair could be sticking any way for all I know. It’s great to be intimate enough to be this comfortable, but sometimes I wonder if he misses the person that used to try a little harder to be sexy for him. All of that is going to change.

Starting now, I’m going to make sure that we have a date night, at least once a month. I don’t mean something big and expensive… I mean a night where we focus on US and not everything else. At least one night with no kids in sight (or earshot!) to worry about. A night with high heels and makeup. A night where I do more than roll out of bed and run my fingers through my hair. A night that I make sure to let him know what he means to me.

The tricky part to all of this is figuring out what to do and how to do it. I’m not big on dinner and a movie. I mean, you can’t talk in a movie… And if you know anything about me, you know I love to talk. My idea is something simple.  I just want to get the kids out of the house, whether it’s for a few hours, or for the night. I want a nice, candlelit dinner, and no phones. Ideally, there would be no distractions from anything and it would just be great to unwind and be able to talk about our lives and our future. As it gets warmer, I have other ideas, but you’ll have to wait to hear them…

If you, too, have fallen into a rut of some sort, I challenge you to start making sure to have at least one night a month to focus on nothing but your significant other. If you haven’t, I’d like to know what you’re doing to keep things going strong. I’d always love to hear your ideas and put them to the test, so comment below!

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Save Money Going Green!

Go-Green-Save-Money Save Money Going GreenToday we’re going to discuss one of my favorite subjects… Actually TWO! We’re first going to discuss how to save some money, but we’re going to save it by doing things that are good for the environment; also known as going green. Now, there may be some things that are a little outside of your comfort zone, and there may even be things that are flat out “NOs” for you eventually, but today we are simply going to talk about easy things that just make sense to do and you will see your savings almost immediately. Now sit back and relax as we save money going green!

  •  Clean your refrigerator coils – I don’t know about you, but this is something that I never really thought of, but it makes sense. If those coils are clean, the refrigerator doesn’t have to work so hard and it saves you money on your electric bill.
  • Shut things off that aren’t in use – How many times have you walked out of a room and left the lights or tv on? I know I have been guilty of this in the past, and we still do this every now and then at the boyfriend’s house, but we’re getting better and better about it.
  • Unplug appliances and chargers that aren’t in use – Did you know that your cell phone charger still uses electricity when you leave it plugged into the wall? So does your laptop charger, and many other things. Pretty much, if it has a light or a clock on it, it is sucking down your electricity and cash all day long.
  • In the winter, keep your thermostat set at 68 degrees or lower – I take this a step further… We keep the thermostat set at 60 degrees when we’re not home, and between 62 and 65 degrees overnight.
  • In the summer, keep your AC set at 78 degrees or higher – I’ll tell you the truth, I don’t like being too hot or too cold, and I generally keep it around 80 degrees in the summer time.
  • Air dry your clothes – If you don’t have a clothes line outside (which is ideal) you can still get resourceful and air dry them inside.
  • Stop irrigating your lawn – I know it’s tempting to want that perfectly green lawn, and if you can’t bring yourself to stop watering it completely, at least challenge yourself to stop doing it so often… Maybe half the time.
  • Don’t hose off the driveway – Really, just don’t. I used to be one of those people who did this, but quickly realized that it was a waste of water and money. Just grab a broom and sweep your driveway off. It’s easy, cheaper, and a heck of a workout.
  • Reuse your mug – If you make a regular trip to the coffee shop, consider buying a mug. Starbucks, as well as other coffee shops, offers discounts to customers that bring their own coffee mugs. And honestly, if you’re using Styrofoam cups at work or home, think of how much money would be saved for them (or yourself, if it’s at home) if you started using a mug of your own. That savings could go towards something awesome, like some really yummy coffee!
  • Bike or walk – Yes, if you live way out in the country, this may not be feasible, but if you live in town or in a city, it could be ideal. Do you know how much gas it takes to crank up your car to go less than a mile? And by the time you’ve waited in traffic, you could have made it there walking. My personal challenge is to walk anywhere that’s within a mile and a half… I’m saving money, doing something better for my health, and it’s better for the environment. In the next few months, I plan to purchase a bike, and that distance will be 3 to 5 miles instead.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips, and I really hope you put them to use. I will be sharing more tips that are both eco and budget friendly in weeks to come, so stay tuned!

If you’d like to read more before then, check out Green Made Easy: The Everyday Guide for Transitioning to a Green Lifestyle. There are many other resources that you might find interesting, but that is one of my favorites.

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