Monday, October 31, 2016

Work From Home: It is Possible! Websites with Work From Home Jobs

I know so many parents who dream of working from home but just don't know where to start. Many blogs and articles talk about finding WAH jobs in very vague terms: "Search the job boards," "Read WAH forums," "Keep your eyes peeled."  Let's be real.  That advice isn't very helpful.  Most people need to know specifically WHERE to look.

I work from home as a freelance writer/editor.  I know this isn't for everyone (Freelance is a constant hustle -- Going from project to project.)  I also know many moms who work in network marketing (It Works!, Jamberry, lularoe, etc.) and it works for them.  And, again, that's not for everyone. But there are many more options out there for those looking to work at home or just make a little extra money for that family vacation coming up or the holiday season.  If you're looking for regular hours that work around your schedule and a job that doesn't require a commute outside of the home, you may want to check out the sites below.

Amazon Virtual Locations

Amazon is a business based online.  So, it makes sense that they would have virtual employees.  They are seasonally busy.  Meaning, you will find more virtual job openings posted before the holiday season.  Most jobs offered are customer service related and require you to have a phone and internet connection.  Different shifts are available.

Leapforce by Google

I realize looking at this homepage, it definitely looks like this could possibly not be...well...legitimate. But I have done work with Leapforce and I can tell you it is real.  The job is basically rating different websites, search results, and apps for Google.  You will be rating for accuracy and quality according to Google's terms.  You keep track of your hours and invoice Leapforce through their system.  The pay was around $13.50/hr last time I checked.

This one does, however, take a little bit of patience and work.  First, before you even can begin working, you have to go through and pass three phases of training.  I, personally, liked the training.  I feel like, unless you've done this before, it would be extremely difficult to succeed at this job without the training.  The tests aren't hard IF you pay attention and really take the training seriously.  After that you will work on your own schedule.  There are no set hours.

There are only two things I didn't like about Leapforce.

1. You have to be able to keep up with their "estimated time" for each job. They pretty much tell you how long a job should take for you to complete (to avoid paying people for spending a lot of time and not completing much work).  This can be hard if you're trying to take care of your kids and work at the same time.  If you invoice for more time than their estimate, the invoice will get bounced back asking you to double check and "confirm" your time invoiced.  They let you know that if this continues, you could be terminated. Why not just pay per project completed then?

2. You are asked to complete unpaid evaluations/studies once hired. This affects your overall "score," which is how they determine if they will renew your contract after 6 months.

Overall, I did like Leapforce and learned A LOT.  I left Leapforce once my writing work picked back up, but it is a good place to go if you're looking to make a little extra money on your own time. And they train you so you don't need any experience to join.

Rev

I've never used Rev so I can't personally attest to what it's like working for them.  But I constantly see them listed on freelancer boards. This is another job that does not have a set schedule.  You work on your time, when you want.  The job is transcription.  So basically, listening to audio and typing the dialog transcript.  It pays $.40-.60/ transcribed minute.  Simple and something you don't need experience in before applying. (They also have freelance captioner and translator jobs. Check it out here)


Work at Home Mom Revolution

This is a blog that seems to find work-at-home job listings faster than anyone else.  Check here often to find miscellaneous virtual job postings from smaller or lesser known companies.

 WFH.io

A job board dedicated exclusively to work-at-home jobs.  I like this job board because it is FREE! Most freelancer/WAH/Telecommute job boards charge a monthly fee for full access to job listings.  But not WFH.

VIPDesk Connect

These are mostly virtual customer service related jobs. They normally have several jobs listed at a time.

American Express

Yes, the credit card company uses virtual employees for their customer care.

U-Haul

U-Haul normally has virtual reservation/sales agent positions open.  Basically, you help people reserve a truck over the phone.  If you don't see anything listed now, keep checking back.

EAHelp

EAHelp hires Virtual Assistants. To be honest, I don't know much about this company or the hours required.  Only that the positions are remote.

Balance Your Books

If you're a bookkeeping expert or accountant, this may be the site for you.  They hire virtual bookkeepers to help clients with their bookkeeping needs.

LiveOps Agent

These are mainly customer service jobs divided into different fields including sales, insurance claims, roadside service, and healthcare.

SKYES

More customer service work-from-home jobs.


Aim4A Tutoring

Virtual tutoring positions.  Perfect for current or former teachers.  They accept tutors of all subjects.

Appen

Appen is Leapforce's competitor.  They also hire search engine evaluators and social media agents. You'll need to be able to commit one to four hours per day, five days a week. You'll also need a computer with Windows.

Connections Academy 

Connections Academy hires home-based teachers of all specialties.  Teachers can apply to teach grades Kindergarten through 12 from home.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Easy Ways To Get Your Glow Back As A Busy Mom

There is a common conception that in terms of image, there are two types of moms. There are the self-styled 'yummy mummies' - the ones who always seem to turn up at the school gates looking like they just stepped foot off a Hollywood movie. Then, there are the tired, 'past their best' moms. Continually tired, always sporting baby food down the front of their shirts and still in clothes from the late 80s. Both of these are extreme stereotypes, of course. But many people do assume that once you become a mother any sense of self-preservation goes out of the window. In one sense, they are right. It's much harder to find the time to pamper yourself and focus on your appearance when you are running around after your kids. But, you don't need heaps of expensive clothes and makeup in order to get the 'glowing mom' look. Stripping your look back to basics and focusing on looking fresh and healthy can often make the world of difference, and give you some confidence back, too.


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Hair

There are two things that make hair look scruffy and unkempt. One is suffering from dry, brittle hair, and the other is greasy hair. Both of these things let the world know you really haven't bothered with taking care of yourself. But rectifying your hair struggles doesn't mean expensive weekly trips to the salon. There are plenty of inexpensive things you can do at home to save your ailing hair. If you struggle with greasy hair but don't have the time to wash it as frequently as you'd like, make dry shampoo your best friend. This handy little product is available in most drugstores and can even help lift and volumize your hair. If your hair is dry as a bone, use a hair mask once a week to inject some shine and life back into it. Coconut oil is also a great substitute if you don't want to spend money on a hair mask.


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Teeth

The state of someone's teeth can say a lot about them as a person. They are the first thing we notice on prospective partners, and it's fair to say that everyone wants that Hollywood smile. Implementing a good dental care routine in your home, including flossing, can considerably brighten up your smile. However, if you have a more serious issue with your teeth, this is one area that's best left to the professionals. Consider having some cosmetic dentistry if your teeth are severely misaligned. There are many different procedures your dental surgeon will be able to offer you, all varying in terms of how invasive they are.


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Skin and eyes

Moms are usually tired - that's simply a fact of life. But, if you're sick of people commenting on your dark circles and puffy eyes, don't just let it be. Do something about it! Solving this common problem is easier than you think. For puffiness, splash your eyes with cold water to reduce the swelling, or place cucumbers over them. Caffeine scrubs are great for rejuvenating dark circles, and makeup can be your savior here too. Investing in a great concealer and highlighter for use under your eye can hide a multitude of late night sins.

This is a collaborative post written by a contributing writer.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

What It Takes To Feel Confident, No Matter Your Age

Confidence is a power that every woman deserves to have. Yet society, time and our own thoughts can do a lot to erode it. Particularly as we age. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Getting a few years on you can present an opportunity to feel more confident, not less, if you put a bit of effort in. Below, we’ll look at the physical and mental steps you can take to really start benefitting from better self-esteem.


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Love what you wear

As much as we might like to think that we’re ‘above’ it, our looks do play a big factor in our confidence. We might feel unsure about our body shape or our fashion choices, for one. But there’s no reason that your dress sense can’t be a reason for you to actually start feeling confident. Keep an eye on seasonal trends and try out items that you’ve never thought to wear today. Get to know your body shape and what best works with the figure you have. Don’t feel like you have to keep hiding away or going for the more conservative clothing choices. You can look great no matter your age or body shape.

Fight the signs of aging


Naturally, as we get older, our physical appearance will start to change, too. But you can have a big impact in that. Today’s 40s and 50s aren’t the same as the 40s and 50s of the last generation. With both a controlled lifestyle and the right products, you can keep looking younger and retain your confidence for longer. For example, hydration and whole food diets can have a great impact, while greasy processed foods will wreak havoc on your skin. Getting to know the best products isn’t about identifying brands, either. It’s about learning the best skin care ingredients for young looking skin. If you keep an eye out for ingredients like retinol and vitamin C, then you know which products to keep and which to bin.


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Learn the power of body language

Style and beauty can play a big role in feeling confident. But another physical aspect you can change to help yourself is what your body is saying to everyone. Not the shape of it, but the actions of it. Body language is all about displaying confidence and openness. If your body makes small, unsure shapes, then people will assume the same of your personality. One that can be a bit harder to cut out is fake smiling. We’re social creatures, we smile often to keep conversations on a positive note. However, fake smiling can make you look too eager to please and even a bit ingenuine.

And the power of language itself


Naturally, what comes out your mouth can have as big an impact (or even bigger) than your body language. These rules aren’t just for communication. They also make you feel more confident in yourself. For example, the rule of banning uncertainties from your speech. Every time you say ‘I’m not sure but’ or ‘I just wanted to’, you’re doing yourself an injustice. You’re not only showing uncertainty, you’re turning it into a fact. You’re not accepting the strength of what you’re saying and taking full responsibility of it. Own yourself and eliminate uncertainties from how you speak. You’ll feel a lot more confident when you speak. There are some who also believe that upward inflections on the end of speech can have the same effect. However, there are others who believe this might actually be another form of sexism rearing it’s ugly head. That it’s just a way of interrogating speech patterns common in women.


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Don’t shut yourself away
Confidence is all about how we believe we are perceived. It’s mental as much as it’s physical. Which means that your head can be either your best friend or your worst enemy. Your perceptions are almost always not as based in reality as much as you’d think. Especially when it comes to yourself. Your self-imposed reasons for poor self-esteem might be negligible, or even positives, in the eyes of other people. That’s why it’s important to seek out company. Get used to socializing if you’ve fallen out with it as of late. Challenge your perception of yourself as often as you can.

Be more aware of yourself
At the same time, how you think about yourself can have huge positive effects on building confidence. As we get older, we tend to get more certain about certain opinions and values. That indecision of yesterday becomes a malleable acceptance of changing views. Getting to know those views and those values in yourself is important. It helps you recognize what you consider important in the world. This makes you more certain in expressing it. There are even tools you can use to get to better know your views and values. This kind of awareness is something that comes a lot easier as we age, so take advantage of it.


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Taking care of yourself mentally
There is a fine line between low self-esteem and mental health issues. Sometimes, the lines between a lack of confidence and anxiety can seem almost non-existent. So you have to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. A healthy lifestyle, a full night’s sleep and meditation are some of the most common ways of fighting off stress and anxiety. But you also have to be aware of the symptoms and be able to spot them in yourself. Trying to take on these issues alone can be an often insurmountable feat. Taking them on alone just makes you feel more isolated and like no-one else can help, too. You need to recognize that everyone needs a little help from time to time and be willing to reach out for it.

The more you get to yourself, your behavior, your looks and your values, the easier it is to feel confident. The more you practice, the better you get and the easier it all feels. There’s no one-shot solution to confidence. You just need to keep trying. It’s the trying that builds that belief in yourself. 

This is a collaborative post written by a contributing writer.


This post is not meant to give medical advice. Please consult a doctor/medical professional for any health concerns

Monday, October 24, 2016

Reusable Sticker Books that Last!

I know I'm not the only parent that is hesitant to buy my child a sticker book.  Why?  Because that $5-10 purchase will last all of 10 minutes.  You know how it goes...  You buy the book, you get home, and your child has pulled every sticker out of the book quicker than you can finish making lunch.
OR the stickers are difficult to pull or maneuver, so you end up with a very frustrated little one.

There has to be a better way, right?! There is.  Jumbo Stickers, Little Hands not only makes it easy for little ones to pull and place the stickers themselves, it also features reusable stickers.  You know what that means -- Way more than just 10 minutes of fun!

My son loved all of the different animals featured in the books.  He also loved how different each animal looked.  For example, there are several differently illustrated horse stickers.  The book also features many different (and beautiful) scenes. This kept him interested in the book for much longer than the typical sticker book.  It also made the activity feel more like an exploration.

In fact, we both loved them so much, I'm planning on using Jumbo Stickers, Little Hands as stocking stuffers for Christmas this year! 

For more information on Jumbo Stickers, Little Hands click here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Ready, Set, Go! How to Help the Whole Family Get Fit

Finding time out to exercise can be difficult for me at the best of times. But finding time to get out and do something as a family can be even more tricky. However, making it something we can do as a family, will make it much more fun. If you have the kids nagging you to go out for that bike ride you have been talking about, you are much more likely to do it. Around the world, obesity rates of our children are rising. So making time for us all to exercise is so important. So here are just some easy ways that you can be more physically active every day.


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Walk the Talk

Instead of always heading in the car, why not walk to more places? It could be dependant on where you live as to how much you can get out about and walk. If you have stores you can walk to then you should walk instead of drive. If you are quite close to school but you still drive, why not walk some of the time? Even if you don’t have a particular destination in mind, just having a family walk will be good for everyone. Our children follow our examples. If they always see us using the car, they will always just use the car. If you or your kids have an injury, it could prevent you from walking too far. So it might be a good idea to have a sports physical exam before you start a new walking or exercise program.

A Little Every Day

Doing a little exercise every day is better for you than only doing one or two long sessions a week. So think about small things that you can do daily. It could be waking up 15 minutes earlier, to do some yoga or stretches with your children. It will wake them up and help them feel energized for the day. You could have a walk after dinner or some cycling outside before bedtime. Don’t think that you have to set aside hours and hours. Ten minutes a few times a day is a great way to do it.


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Games Days

It might be a fun idea to set aside some time, perhaps at the weekend when you have time for sport and games. It could be that you all decide to try something new, like a sport none of you have ever played. It could be that you have a ‘mini-Olympics’ in the yard. It could be that you go swimming as a treat. It is a good idea to mark something like this in the calendar. Otherwise, it just won’t happen.

Set Challenges

If your family likes to be a little competitive, it might be a fun idea to set challenges. It could be who can do ten jumping jacks in a certain time, or who can cycle over to grandma's house. Think about making the challenges fair for all the ages of your children, though. Then you can all get involved and have lots of fun.

This post contains suggestions that are not meant to be medical advice.

Consult your doctor or medical professional before starting any exercise program.

This is a collaborative post written by a contributing writer.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

No More Bugs! Keep Your Child Protected At School With These Unmissable Tips

It’s so easy for kids to pick up bugs when they are at school. The close proximity to other children means that bugs spread like wildfire. It’s not surprising that the average child has over six colds a year! And it’s not just flu you have to worry about. Head lice, stomach bugs, and chickenpox are all bugs your child might face once through the school gates. However, there are some ways you can protect your child so that they are less likely to pick up these bugs. Here are some unmissable tips to keep your child protected while they are at school.




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Teach your child to wash their hands

Without you beside them, children don’t bother washing their hands properly when they are at school. In fact, this article suggests only 33% of girls and 8% of boys used soap after using the bathroom at school! It means they might have virus germs on their hands; if they then start rubbing their eyes or nose, a cold could be on its way! Therefore, it’s so important to teach your child to wash their hands properly to avoid the flu. Explain to them the importance of washing their hands after using the bathroom. If they don’t like using the bathroom sink at school, you could buy them some hand sanitizer. That way, they can use this to ensure all virus germs are washed away.

Make sure they have their own hairbrush

Head lice is another issue that kids face once through the school gates. In fact, over six million kids in the US get it every year! The tiny insects feed on blood from the scalp. And unfortunately, kids are more at risk of getting the disease. It’s easily passed on at school if children play together and put their heads close together. To avoid it occurring, you should persuade your child to not get too close to other kids. Also, you can encourage them not to use the same hairbrush as other children. If one of the tiny insects is on there, it will be passed onto your kid’s head! Buy them one of their own and tell them not to share it out with their friends. You can check if you kid has lice by looking at their scalp. They may also complain of an itchy head when they get home from school. You can get rid of the lice by purchasing some sprays. If you are finding it hard to remove them, you can contact a professional such as lice Clinics of America. They use an effective medical treatment to get rid of the lice!

Buy them their own pencil case


One of the top ways bugs are spread is via contact. A child might have flu germs on their hands, and then they may use an item. If this is then passed to your kid, they will be at risk of picking up a bug. Therefore, to prevent them from getting bugs, you should make sure they have their own items for school. Purchase a pencil case full of items they need, so that they won’t have to borrow an item from another child. If your child does pick up a flu bug, you can read a previous post on must-have products to beat the bug!

Hopefully, these tips will keep the pesky bugs away from your child!


This is a collaborative post written by a contributing writer. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Beauty Splurge Alert with Nerium

Splurges.  We all have them from time to time.  Some splurge on fancy dinners, others on designer digs, but me?  I tend to splurge on beauty products.  (Well... beauty products and products for my son.) 

Nerium International Firming Body Contour Cream is definitely a product that is outside of my typical beauty budget.  But it's also one of those products I just had to try to see if it worked.  There are so many creams out there that claim to get rid of cellulite or tighten skin.  Many don't really work.  So, I figured maybe a higher-end product was the way to go.

Before we get into the specifics of the product, let me tell a little about me and my relationship with cellulite. I've had cellulite since I was a young teen.  That's right.  At 15 years old, 5'7 and 120 pounds, I had cellulite all over the back of my thighs.  Obviously, I was not overweight and it wasn't "due to age," it's just something that has been apart of my body for a long time. And because of this, I never really associated cellulite as anything terrible.  It's just something that is: Something that is naturally apart of my body (as well as a lot of other women's bodies).

But that doesn't mean that I'm against trying to lessen the appearance of it. So, when I saw Nerium's Firming Body Contour Cream, I was more than a little curious to see if it would make any difference.

First, the texture of the product is creamy, smooth, and soaks into the skin quickly.  It doesn't feel greasy, slimy, or silicone-y at all. The scent is a little sweet but nothing super noticeable. It definitely wouldn't interfere with any perfume or body wash.  The two main active ingredients in the cream are Forskohlii root oil and Caffeine. Not some crazy manufactured chemicals.

Lastly, does it work?!  I used this product on my upper thighs for a few weeks and I did notice my skin looked tighter.  I still had some cellulite when sitting, but the over all look of my thighs was smoother.  We all know when it comes to cellulite there is no miracle cream that is  going to make it all disappear, but this body cream did make a noticeable difference!  It's one of the few skin tightening/cellulite products I've used that actually gave me a visible result.

Find more information on Nerium International Firming Body Contour Cream here.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Kitting Out Your New Kitchen: Great Purchases To Consider



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The kitchen is often the center of the home. It’s where you can share food, gossip over a cuppa with your friends or neighbours and spend time together with the kids outside of their bedrooms. But it’s more than just a social space. It’s a practical space too. After all, it’s where all of your food is stored and prepared. Here are a few things to consider purchasing when kitting out any new kitchen.

The Essentials

There are a few things that every kitchen should have. These will allow you to store and cook your food safely and easily.

Fridge/Freezer

A good fridge freezer is a must. What you will need will depend on your lifestyle. Do you have five kids, a husband and a few pets to look after? Chances are, you could do with a large, double door deal with ice dispenser and the works. If you live alone, you won’t need something quite so extravagant. A slimline refrigerator with a couple of freezer drawers would be sufficient.

Oven

The main feature of most kitchens is the oven. The main choice here is electric or gas. This is purely down to personal preference. Gas is generally cheaper than electricity and gas ovens are often considered to have better hobs. They heat immediately and give a good spread of heat across the bottom of the pan you’re using. Electric ovens offer you more control over the heat you desire. Fans create a more even distribution. Electric oven hobs are also easier to clean than the ceramic burners and metal risers on gas ovens.


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Microwave

Okay, microwaves aren’t absolutely essential. But they do make your life easier. From quick microwave meals to heating up last night’s leftovers, microwaves can make cooking much faster without all the faff. To find out which microwave will be best for you, check out What Microwave.

Novelty Items

Novelty items really personalise any kitchen. They make cooking and eating more fun. Here are a few ideas of alternative accessories to brighten up your kitchen and make culinary ventures more exciting.


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Popcorn Makers and Nut Roasters

Everyone loves popcorn. From kids to adults. There’s something satisfying about that popping sound as the kernels heat up and explode into fluffy bite size pieces. Popcorn can be purchased ready made, but it’s so much better freshly popped and warm. This can be done in the microwave, but you could also consider a popcorn maker. This way you can see the kernels popping and will know exactly when the popcorn is done. No more burnt pieces or undercooked, unexploded kernels. These can also double as nut roasters. This is great for BBQs and festive events alike.

Bottle Openers

We’re always looking for the bottle opener. Searching through drawers as cold, fridge-fresh beers wait to be popped open. There’s a fix for this. Wall mounted bottle openers mean no more rifling through drawers. They fix to the wall in your kitchen and come in all sorts of designs. Our favourite are vintage style ones. Opening a glass bottle of coke on these make you feel like you’ve been taken right back to the fifties.


This is a collaborative post written by a contributing writer.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

3 Christmas Eve Traditions Your Family Will Adore

As we are still only in October, planning for Christmas Eve now might seem very premature. But if you want to make it as special as possible for your children, you need to start planning now. Christmas Eve is the most magical day of the year for young children and their parents. It’s a day when the unexplained takes place and spending time with your family is encouraged. So why not enhance this wonderful occasion by starting your own family tradition. This can be something you continue for years to come and be something your entire family will look forward to taking part in. Here are some beautiful Christmas Eve traditions that young and old will adore.


Image by Flickr

Throw a party

Christmas Eve is the perfect opportunity to throw a festive family party. Now only it an excellent way to celebrate with your loved ones, it’s also a fantastic way to bond with your family beforehand. Your children can help you make Xmas party invitations or bake some festive party food for the occasion. You can create Christmas themed party games that all ages can get involved in. Even a Christmas movie party can be a laid back way to boost Christmas cheer before the main event. Whether you invite a small group or your entire street, your parties will be something everyone looks forward to each year. To help you start planning your party now, look on Pinterest for inspiration and ideas.


Image by Pixabay

Open your Christmas Eve boxes

While the majority of the present opening will occur on Christmas day, receiving some present early won’t hurt. A Christmas Eve box can be filled with an array of treats for each member of your family. This could include books, hot chocolate, and new pajamas. The contents of the boxes can then be used to keep your family entertained throughout Christmas Eve. Your family can all wear your pajamas and enjoy a festive story together. You can also drink your hot chocolate and eat some of the candy in your boxes too. This can help everyone chill out before your inevitably busy Christmas day. The great thing about these boxes is that you can include any items you please. Look for gift guides online to get some ideas of what your boxes could contain.


Image by Pixabay

Leave milk and cookies for Santa

Before your children go to bed, remind them that Santa and his reindeer will be hungry after their long trip. They can then prepare a plate of cookies and carrots and a glass of milk to leave under your chimney. Once your kids are asleep, you can then make it look like the cookies and milk have been consumed by Santa. Your kids will love waking up to see that Santa and Rudolf appreciated their snack. This is a popular Christmas Eve tradition because it’s simple but enhances the magic of the occasion.

Practicing these traditions each year can make the holidays feel even more special for your family. Whether you use these traditions ideas or come up with your own, start getting everything you need now and avoid the holiday rush.


This is a collaborative post written by a contributing writer.

Cooking Up A Feast: Super Easy Ways To Use An Immersion Blender

Is your kitchen on the small side? Or perhaps you can’t afford an expensive blender, or simply don’t want another bulky appliance in your house. If so, then an immersion blender might be a better option for you. It can’t do everything that a high tech blender can do, but there are plenty of delicious recipes that can be created with this nifty little tool. Read on to find out all the super easy ways you can use your immersion blender.

Smoothies And Milkshakes

A compact hand-held blender is just as good as it’s bigger sister at whipping up smoothies and milkshakes. Use the beaker to blend frozen fruit and ice cubes and then just pop in a straw. The same goes for yummy creamy milkshakes. It’s so much simpler than having to clean up all the parts of a bigger blender if you are just making one smoothie. If you want to find out all about the best immersion blenders out there, then take a look at these reviews, https://www.blenderfriend.com/immersion/.


Picture from: Unsplash


Pancakes and Waffle Batter

The immersion blender is the best way to get the perfect pancake or waffle batter in minutes. Once your super whizzy hand-held machine has gotten all your ingredients lump-free, simply pour the mixture into your waffle making machine or over a hot griddle, for the perfect pancakes in a jiffy.

Beating Eggs

Now we know it’s not exactly hard to beat a few eggs! But the benefits of using an immersion blender are that the yolk and whites will be consistently blended. This means that your omelet or scrambled eggs will come out fluffier and tastier than ever before. Any hand-held appliance that makes us look like a more professional chef certainly gets our vote! If you’re looking for recipe inspiration, follow the click to my recipe page right here.


Picture from: Pixaby

Pesto Sauce And Salsa

The immersion blender also comes in handy when you want to make tasty homemade pesto or salsa. The blender is perfect if you prefer your salsa to be more on a smoother side with less large chunks. Simply chuck tomatoes, cilantro, onion, garlic and jalapenos into a beaker and then move the blender up and down until you have a finely chopped, smooth salsa. The same goes for pesto. Many people use a food processor to make pesto, but an immersion blender works just as well. Add in fresh herbs garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil, and with a few quick whirls you’ll have a perfect pesto to serve. Tastes so much better than store bought! And you can have fun trying out new ingredients for different styles of pesto too.


Picture from: Pixaby

Whipped Cream

Who doesn’t love a big serving of whipped cream to accompany a delicious dessert? Well, with the immersion blender you can make yours in no time at all. Simple pour in powdered sugar, heavy cream and up and down you go again with your blender. In less than a minute you’ll have a sweet looking cloud of fluffy cream. And the beauty is it tastes so much more luxurious than that stuff that comes out of a can!

An immersion blender is easy to use, space saving, and much quicker to clean than any other heavier equipment. And as you can see, it’s pretty darn versatile and multi-tasking too!

This is a collaborative post written by a contributing writer.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Reading with Your Kids: Children's Books You Will Enjoy Too!

As parents, we all know reading to our kids is important.  It's not only great for their development, but a good way to spend quality [cuddle] time with them.  But finding a book that is entertaining to both you and your kids? That can be a challenge.  Below are three books that will be just as enjoyable to you as they are for your kiddies.

I Am So Bored by Henrike Wilson

I Am So Bored is a cute little book about a young bear who can't seem to find anything to do.  With adorable illustrations and a plot most kids can relate to, this book is all about enjoying the little things in life and taking in the beauty of your surroundings.  It also covers the five senses, the importance (and fun) of using your imagination, and the value of slowing down and stopping to smell the roses.

See You Later, Alligator by Sally Hopgood

This silly book is about a tortoise, his friends, and farewells.  In See You Later, Alligator, the tortoise has packed his bags and is saying goodbye to each of his friends.  But here is the catch:  The tortoise gets more and more ridiculous with each parting.  A truly silly book that will make you and your children giggle, See You Later, Alligator is innocently engaging.

That's Not the Monster We Ordered by Richard Fairgray, Tara Black, and Terry Jones

In That's Not the Monster We Ordered, the Turner family has decided to get a pet monster. It seems like a great idea and the entire neighborhood is excited to see the Turners' new pet.  There is just one problem: they receive a monster different that what they were expecting.  Silly, imaginative, and just the right amount of heartwarming, this story brings the same action and laughs as Fairgray and Jones' previous book My Grandpa is a Dinosaur.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Importance Of Making Family Memories & The Best Ways To Do So

The first few years of parenthood might be hard work, but time flies by. In what feels like the blink of an eye, our babies become toddlers, and our toddlers turn into mini people. As parents, it’s easy to get stressed out about the little things. Such as having a messy house or not being able to feed the kids organic food every night. However, these aren't the things we should be focusing on. Time with our little ones is all too fleeting, that’s why it’s so important to make lots of family memories while they’re young. The question is what are the best ways to do this?


Image from Flickr

Take a one-of-a-kind trip

Family trips are ideal for making memories. Whether you opt to go camping on a hill in the middle of nowhere or head to an exotic island for a beach break, take a trip as a family. The more interesting and unique the trip is, the better. All the best stories come from the unexpected, so plan a trip that you know will be one-of-a-kind. Be it hiring an RV and driving across country or interrailing in Europe, it doesn’t matter. Just as long as you spend some quality time together as a family.

Have a family photo shoot
Photos are fantastic for capturing memories, so why not organize a family photo shoot? This could be a formal affair where everyone dresses up in their nicest clothes or a photo shoot that captures natural pictures of your family. Most photography companies, like Light Republic Photography, offer a range of photo shoot options. So that you can choose the most suitable one for your family. You can opt to have music playing, change outfits, or do whatever you want to make your session more enjoyable and memorable.

Start a family hobby

A great way to make memories as a family that can be cherished for many years to come is to start a hobby that you can do together. Whether that’s collecting old coins or playing a sport as part of a team, family hobbies are a great way to make memories that will last a lifetime. To get some ideas for the hobby that your family could start, have a browse online - there’s sure to be some suggestions that take your fancy.

Have fun each and every day

Last but not least, aim to make each and every day fun. Don’t let the stresses of everyday life get on top of you, make each and every day fun. The more fun you have as a family, the more family memories, you will make. Have a laugh over breakfast, spend time chatting about your day over dinner - make quality time a priority. Do fun, spontaneous things, and you'll make some amazing memories. Surprise the kids with a night at the movies. Have a bread baking night. Get creative, and you can make some incredible memories.

Kids grow up far too quickly, so it’s important to ensure that you make lots of happy family memories while they’re still young.

This is a collaborative piece written by a contributor.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Busy Moms: Easy Weight Loss Tips For You!

There are lots of busy moms out there who have pretty much given up all hope when it comes to weight loss. Many of them feel as if they’re past their peak, and they have no chance of getting their dream bodies now they’ve had kids. This isn’t true! No matter how busy you are, you can drop that excess weight and feel wonderful again. Here are some of the easiest weight loss tips you’ll ever come across:

Cook In Bulk

The first thing you want to do, is get used to cooking in bulk. As a busy mom, it can be so difficult to find the time to make yourself something healthy to eat. Instead, you might get a takeaway, or opt to eat junk food from the cupboard instead. You might even fail to eat at all, which can cause problems and even bingeing later on. So you know you’re getting healthy meals to support your goals, cook in bulk. Make yourself a large batch of a healthy meal and then freeze some of it if you can. It isn’t difficult to just pop one in the microwave when you’re short on time!

Don’t Pick Your Child’s Plate

Another thing busy moms do a lot? Pick at their child’s plates! This might not seem like a big deal, but it can really add up! Avoid finishing their leftovers if you want to make sure you’re still losing weight. When you cook yourself meals in bulk, you won’t feel the need to pick. It’ll also help if you purchase healthy snacks for the house, rather than junk. Fruit and nuts are great snacks to have around.



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Take The Right Vitamins And Supplements

The right vitamins and supplements can work wonders to help you on your way to reaching your goals. However, you should always read reviews so you know you’re not being duped by a shady company first. They won’t work alone though. You need to make sure you’re doing other things to contribute to your weight loss. However, when used in conjunction with a good routine, they can really enhance your results. Forskolin is one popular supplement among busy moms. Read up and see if it’s right for you!

Find Ways To Get Active As Often As Possible

You don’t necessarily need to do long workouts to lose weight. Just try to get active as often as you can. This might be taking the stairs, parking the car further away, or even playing an active game with your kids! If you can do something that gets your heart rate up every day, you’ll become fitter than ever and likely notice a decrease in your weight. Of course, if you can find a type of exercise you really enjoy, that’s even better. Bear in mind a 20 minute intense workout is just as effective as an hour long one.

See? It isn’t all over for the busy moms out there! You can use these tips and begin to see the weight loss you want. Just make sure you’re consistent, and it won’t be long before you notice the results.

*Always consult a doctor before starting any diet, exercise, or supplement regimen. *

*These tips are suggestions and may not be suitable or effective for everyone*

This is a collaborative post written by a contributor.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Where to Buy Halloween Costumes for CHEAP!

I know a lot of DIYers are posting a ton of fabulous ideas on how to make some pretty neat costumes on your own.  But, to be honest, I'm not a crafty mama.  I'll make things here and there.  And try some super easy DIY projects...but as far as making costumes or really...anything intricate... I'm just not great at it! I try.  But I quickly lose patience.  My hands just won't do what I want them to do most of the time I'm crafting.  So, instead, I choose to focus on finding great deals.




Target

Target has a TON of cute kids costumes this year. They even have some exclusive designs.  They've already had a 40% off all kids costumes deal and RIGHT NOW (written October 3rd)  they have select Halloween costumes and accessories on sale for BOGO 50% off! And there may be more deals to come as the month rolls on. So make sure to keep an eye out for deals and steals. The Cartwheel app is one of the easiest ways to keep up with Target's sales.

Walmart

As one of Target's biggest competitors, Walmart is a name known for savings. They have a ton of kids costumes priced under $20. And they've already started marking many of them down.

Party City

Believe it or not, Party City has some great deals going on.  Their Costume Clearance Event is available in stores and online while supplies last.  You can save up to 80 %

Oriental Trading

Yeah, that's right.  The catalog (and now website) known for party supplies and small toys now sells Halloween costumes. They also have sales (on their already low prices) often.  They have costume accessories and costume ideas for all of you DIYers out there. I also buy my little Halloween novelty toys to give out (in support of FARE) on Halloween here.

Once Upon a Child / Local Thrift Stores

Let's be honest. Many of our kids wear these costumes once and then the costumes sit in their closets until they've outgrown them. This is why you can find some really great deals on kids costumes at thrift stores. Barely used, many of the costumes come at a severely discounted price and look brand new.

*Advice on "discount" costume sites*

There are a TON of discount  costume websites out there. If you've never heard of the site or have never order through them, PLEASE be cautious before handing over payment information.  Look up reviews of the site online.  Many of these websites have a plethora of costumer complaints for not delivering products purchased on time or at all.