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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Make a Schedule this Summer For Easier Days

It's almost summer time and soon your kids will be out for the summer. That means that my days with having only one child home with me will soon become days with three kids. I always worry when school is about to let out for the summer because I don't always know what I should do with my kids. This year, I came up with a schedule.

Monday, May 29, 2017

My Favorite Money Making Apps

   


When you are a stay at home parent, you might want to try different things to bring in some extra spending cash. This was definitely the case with me. I wanted to be able to chip in and pull my weight since I'm a terrible house cleaner. I discovered many different apps and websites to help earn some extra money or free things by reading around or asking friends. Here are some of my favorites.


  • Ibotta- This app is amazing. It's like an after thought coupon. Many of the grocery items are items that I was going to buy anyways. All I have to do is scan the qualifying grocery items at the end of your trip and your receipt and then voila- you have cash back. You can redeem your rewards for Paypal or featured gift cards after accumulating $20 or more. You also can get bonus cash back if you redeem a certain # of rebates for that month's challenges or if you invite friends who use your referral code to join. If you would like to try Ibotta, you could sign up with my referral code at https://ibotta.com/r/systysj or sign up on the app on your own. When you download the app, you can also get at $10 bonus just for signing up! 

  • Checkout 51- This app is very similar to Ibotta, but not all bonuses are from the same store. You also have to be on the lookout for cashback offers where you have to buy 2 or more of the same item in order to redeem it. You also can only redeem after you've reached $20 or more 

  • Saving Star- This app used to let you cash out at $5, but has changed it to $20 as well. With this app, it's hit and miss. Many times you have to redeem multiple of the same items, but you don't need to redeem it all at once. If it is a multiple rebate, the app will save the items from a previous receipt and roll it into the next until you reach the limit requirement.

  • Inbox Dollars- This app can make you money in several different ways. The fastest way for me is to do the surveys, but you can make money in other ways. One of my other favorites is to print out their coupons. For every coupon I use, I get $0.10 back. If I don't use the coupon, I'll leave it next to that item and let someone else use it. It's a win because you get the coupon discount and then another $0.10 back. Explore the site and find out what works for you. If you would like, my referral code is https://www.inboxdollars.com/?r=ref19683421&s=7 

  • GlobalTestMarket- this is an app, but I use it most as a website to do surveys. If you have the time to participate in them, the points add up quickly. I've redeemed my points for restaurant gift cards or as money towards PayPal.

  • GigWalk- Have you ever heard of a secret shopper? A secret shopper is a person who is hired by a company to order something or check out their premises and then report back to them the requirements from the job. Gigwalk is an easy way to secret shop. When different "gigs" are available to you, you can click the offer, and if you decide to accept it, you apply for the job and then within a few hours or days, you could be accepted or denied. The more gigs you do, the more offers you are also given.

  • Influenster- Influenster doesn't earn you money, but it could get you some free things to try. In order to get things from Influenster, you have to agree to the terms of reviewing each product online. I have gotten many things like shampoo, laundry detergent, and even food. 

  • Heartbeat- A new app that I found recently is an influencer/ambassador app. After you've signed up your email and given them your information, you can look every day for new ways to join a campaign. On top of getting things to try or getting discounts for them, you'll also make a certain amount for reviewing that will get sent to your paypal account. 
Which apps or websites have you used to earn money or products. Did I miss any?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Trying to Lose Weight When You're Obese

    I'm 5'4'' and I'm obese. I won't mention my weight on here, because it's my shame to carry around. If you look at me, you will know that I'm plus size. Any picture that you see of me is usually a head shot.

    The head shot picture is a very common picture. If you take it just right, no one has to know that you are plus size. I feel pretty when I see these pictures, but any picture that someone else takes of me leaves me feeling gross, unattractive, and fat. You might wonder why I don't do anything to help myself so I can feel better and that would make you naive... Because I have.
    If you were to pick a random plus size person on the street and ask them about dieting, I bet that they would probably know more about dieting and nutrition than you do- or at least, I probably would.
    I wasn't always plus size. I grew up doing almost every diet around with my mom and sisters. I was fit, I was strong, and I was healthy. When I went to college, I began to make my own choices when it came to eating. I didn't have the accountability that I had when I was growing up. I didn't have my mom or my sisters to exercise with. Did you know that all the ice cream that you ate in high school will make you fat if you don't exercise? Well- duh!

    In college, I didn't work out. I didn't have PE two or three days a week. I didn't play basketball before or after church with the youth group that I as always surrounded with. I was inactive. The weight piled on, but when I came home for the summer, I would work it off with my mom. It was when I was married and my husband and I were on our own that the weight piled on and didn't come off.
    When I was pregnant, I took that opportunity to eat healthier and exercise more. I would come out smaller after giving birth than I was before I became pregnant. I lost the most weight with my last child. I walked constantly and I ate healthy. I was working at the time and my favorite coworker and I would walk around the building during all of our breaks. I had an accountability partner and it was awesome.
    When my son was born, we had moved to a different city. I stopped working to stay home with the kids. I would try to diet, to exercise more, but it hasn't helped. I'm now almost the heaviest that I've ever been. (The largest was the end of my pregnancy with my daughter)

    I'm going to start taking action. I'm going to try different diets and I'm going to tell you how they are working for me. I won't tell you everyday, but on a week by week basis. I am going to use you to keep me accountable. Will you do that for me?

    The first diet that I'm doing is actually a 12 week program by Ideal Shape. I found them on Facebook, but they also have a website at http://idealshape.com . When you join the program, which is free, you fill out your height, weight, and goals. Immediately after, you receive an email from Lindsey and Kaytlin. Inside this email is a word of encouragement, your workouts for the week, and a meal plan designed for all weights. I have received a new email everyday since starting. Each email has been encouraging and has had words of advice. If you join the 12 Week IdealShape Up Challenge, you also get a community of friends who are also doing the same thing as you. They tell their experiences and how they are feeling. It's been very welcoming and nice to be a part of this.

    While I haven't been consistent with the workouts each day, I have been doing them and doubling up on the days after I've missed a work out and to tell you, these workout days have been amazing! The workouts are short, but they target specific muscle groups and you feel it the next morning. I'm on day 6 and even though I've only lost a few ounces, I still feel confident that this program will work and it's free to join and work out. They do, however promote their products- which you don't have to buy, but they could help greatly when it comes to losing weight and toning up.

    I will update everyone each week for the next few weeks to tell you about this program and tell you how it's been working for me. Here's to more body shot pictures and not just the head shots!

    Have you struggled with dieting? What has worked for you?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What About the Rights of Others?

    We live in a world where everyone is offended by everything. Right now, someone is saying, "I'm offended that you think that way!". While I  believe that there are admirable reasons to protest, I also believe that many protests are just selfish and could be done in a better way. While we are defending our offenses, many times we are attacking others.
    Let me explain. Today, I saw a video about a graduation at Notre Dame. Vice President Mike Pence was the speaker and during his speech, hundreds of students walked off in protest. I'm extremely naive about current happened, facts and fictions, and news. I know that Mike Pence has things going against him and also things going for him. I'm not going to debate his credibility because this post isn't about him. This post is about the students and parents who didn't protest.

    College is a BIG deal.  A person had dedicated 4+ years to studying and being able to stand before the crowd, your family, your friends to accept that EXPENSIVE diploma is HUGE. For some people, they are the first member of their family to graduate and that experience is precious. Imagine about to see your son or daughter lined up, ready to transition to the next part of their life and all of a sudden, other students mock that graduation by walking out? Why? Because they didn't like the speaker? They didn't believe in what he stood for? Graduation isn't about the speaker, graduation is about the student and their accomplishments.

    Another thing that bothers me is mom-shaming. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I remember going on to a mommy board and was talking about how much I couldn't wait to see my daughter. I was probably 34 weeks pregnant at the time and the moms took something so small and made it explode. I started to read, "How could you want to see your baby at 34 weeks? Don't you know that they need to go the 40 weeks?" and blah blah blah. It just kept going on and on. The more that I tried to defend myself, the more these moms continued on a witch hunt. Have you noticed that people today can take anything that you say and manipulate it to a point so they can argue it and berate you? Didn't I, as a pregnant woman, deserve the chance to talk about my pregnancy and my excitement to see my cute baby without getting shamed online?

    What about the protests that happen when protesters walk the streets and start to riot, block traffic, and loot others' things? The protesters may have an admirable cause, but what did the business that happened to be on the street do to them? What about the people who have to get to work on time or the ambulance trying to get somewhere? Didn't they deserve the right to, I don't, get to where they needed to go without getting delayed or having their cars dented in?

    Well if people don't agree with how we protest things, where are they? Why don't they speak up for themselves?  Maybe we don't believe in conflict. Maybe we believe that it doesn't matter what we do, someone is always going to find a way counter it. Maybe they are doing it the same way that I am, they are writing about it making people aware that there are always two sides to every story and if you are going to get your point across, how about we don't interfere with the innocent bystanders?

    The people who graduated the other day, they aren't going to get that moment back. That day should have gone perfectly. It should have been about their accomplishment and instead that moment was stolen by those who didn't agree with one person. That wasn't a protest, that was theft. That was stealing the moment of someone else.
  

Monday, May 22, 2017

Why I'm OK With Stopping At Three

    I used to be the type of person who never wanted to have kids... Like ever...

    If you think about it; kids take up so much time, are only cute to their parents, are rude, dirty, smelly, and loud. I just didn't want kids and I know that many women feel that way.

    Then my husband- boyfriend at the time proposed to me. Babies were suddenly everywhere I looked. We were engaged at college so what were babies doing on campus? But it was true, babies started to show up everywhere. The possibility of having kids had become more real and it was something that my fiance wanted. With every baby that I saw, the baby blocking wall of my heart began to chip away, one piece at a time. I would see kids and then look at my husband and say in a creepy way, "Soon! Soooooon!!!"
    When we were married a year later, we had decided that if we were to have kids, that we would want three, preferably spaced two years apart. We each came from a family with three kids and thought that it was the perfect number. I don't know if this just happened because we were newly married and in love, but I suddenly couldn't wait to have kids and my husband was the one telling me that we had to wait. It was a complete 180 on my feelings towards kids.
    The first April Fools that we celebrated together, I told the whole Facebook world that I was pregnant as a joke. (This was before there were posts every April 1st saying to not post things like that because it wasn't a joke to other women who weren't expecting.) My family was excited, his family was excited, and the rest of our world was excited.... until they heard, "April Fools!"--- Then they were ticked off.
    The joke, however was on me. I was actually two weeks pregnant that day and hadn't known it. When we told our families for real, I had to show them my pregnancy tests... My sister Natilee had actually ridden with me to the Hope Pregnancy center to make sure that those tests were correct. It was only until she vouched for me that they all believed. (My family tends to not always take me seriously since I am 1. Sarcastic 2. A decent actress and 3. A known bad humored prankster.)
    The day that my son was born, I looked into that ugly, wrinkly face and was in love. How could she say that about her baby? Well that's easy! When babies come out of that long tunnel after being smushed in a small space for months on end, they come out with little squished faces and aren't a super flattering color. After a few hours, they lose that squished look and are perfect! It's when all of those hormones kick in that you realize that you gave birth to the most beautiful baby in the world- which I so did!
    Everyone treats you so well when you're in the hospital. Everyone is super helpful and they all tell you how wonderful you did. They tell you that you look amazing for someone who was in pain for hours and they all want to help you. As a mother, you feel incredibly loved upon. From the time that baby is born, you are a superstar.
    When you take that baby home, you are in constant amazement at this little wonder. Their first smiles (even ones from gas) just make you love your baby more.When they urp up all over you, you don't get mad at the baby, puking becomes cute. Hormones are weird. They make gross things wonderful! Our brains get muddled up and suddenly, we as parents find that our topic of conversations are about the color of our baby's poop or the humongous snot bubble that shot out of their nose and was unpoppable.
    As your baby gets older and begins to move around more and those days of, "Awww, so cute" become, "Guess what naughty thing your child did today", you start to reminisce about how little they were and you can't believe how big they've gotten. You start to foster ideas of having another baby. You and your spouse talk about it and decide, "Yeah! Let's try for another one!". So you try again. Then ideally 40 weeks after conceiving, another baby is born and your first baby becomes an older sibling.
    The pattern begins all over again. You can't believe that you can love two little humans so much. Then the younger one gets bigger and you see that someone you know has just had a little baby. You see the other baby and you might even hold that baby. Your uterus begins to ache and you realize that it might be time to start another round of baby making. 40 weeks after conceiving comes again and if you are lucky, a new baby is born. You are really becoming a pro and it seems to be easier and easier to do this family thing.

    Having babies is almost addicting. You are treated like a princess. People help you with things and you get doted upon and you feel so proud when you hear about your children's accomplishment and that amazing thing they did to help another child out. Your older children are talkative and old enough to have really philosophical conversations with you. You have little homemade friends and when you gaze upon those faces, you just know that they love you almost as much as you love them. It's an amazing feeling.

    Then it happens again. A friend has a baby. In this case, my sister gave birth to my nephew. When I heard of her pregnancy and I watched as she got rounder, those familiar feelings surfaced again. Did I want a fourth child? Three hasn't been too difficult to deal with, right? My husband and I talked about it a few times, but decided to wait. Feelings about having another child would resurface from time to time, but we waited it out.

    So why have I had a change of heart? Why am I fine with having just these three kids?

  1. My arms are finally free-   My nephew turned one in January. We went to his party and have even watched him for a night when my sister came to visit us. (We live two and a half hours away.) Whenever my sister would leave the room, my nephew would cry. The only way to get him to stop was to carry him around the house. My arm muscles weren't used to carrying a small child for that amount of time. My kids were all walking and fiercely independent.
  2. We can stop childproofing- We had finally removed all of our baby gates because our youngest knew how to drag things over to the gate to climb over them so having them up was a moot point. Having my nephew around, we had to constantly get up to stop him from crawling up the stairs. There was no just sitting down to relax.
  3. My time is starting to become my own- my youngest is almost three. He doesn't need or want me around every second of the day. He loves to play with his siblings and he's old enough now and talking more that the older two are glad to play with him. That means that I have the time to write this post. I just have to keep my mom ears on to make sure there isn't a strange silence signaling shenanigans or excessive shouting because one of them has decided that the fly swatter is a weapon. When my nephew was here or when we go to visit, we have to keep him distracted. We had to constantly watch him to make sure that he wasn't putting things in his mouth that don't belong there or that he wasn't climbing things or walking up the stairs.
  4. I am almost getting 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep- Oh my goodness! Mom's with kids know how amazing this is! My almost three year old is finally sleeping almost through the night. With summer almost here, it's pretty bright at 6 AM. So once the sun starts to shine, I hear those little feet walk towards my room. So I get up and I take him back to his room and I lay down with him for the hour before everyone else has to get up.
  5. I'm starting to feel human again- Most of this has to do with actually getting more sleep. I realize that I'm not stuttering as much or forgetting the end of my... sentences. Lack of sleep or exhaustion reverted me to a cave-woman. My vocabulary was mostly grunts and no amount of caffeine ever made it better. Now that things are getting more restful, I can say a sentence and most people understand what I'm saying.
  6. I am going to get 3 hours- My almost 3 year old is able to go to preschool if we want him to when August comes around. I'm going to have 3 hours alone. I'm never alone. I could decide to work part-time or I could clean the parts of the house that I've neglected over the years because it's difficult to do that with curious kids.
  7. I can save money on not having to buy a bigger vehicle- Ok, so this one doesn't have to be a reason, because I actually would like to buy another vehicle and it would be nice if it was bigger so I didn't have to hear the kids fight in the back of the smaller car. It is, however, not a necessity.
  8.  I can start to declutter the house- I have saved so many things over the years in case we had another baby. There are things that we don't need anymore. We don't need bottles or baby toys. We don't need to keep all of those old baby clothes. We don't need to store the baby swing or the crib. We can get rid of those things by donating them or selling them. It may be painful to do that at first, but we'll have more room for other things. 
    I love my little nephew, but having him around from time to time reminds me how much easier parenting has become. Whenever that baby fever begins to strike, I will just need to make a visit to see him so I can be like, "Oh yeah. This is hard" and then snap out of it.

    If my husband and I were to ever have another child again, it wouldn't be the end of the world. We would love this little child as much as it's brothers and sister and I'm sure that taking care of that child would be a piece of cake- like riding a bike, right? But for now, I'm at peace with stopping at three. Who knows? Maybe I'll feel differently in a few years. We'll keep the option open and reevaluate in a few years.

    Do any of you feel this way? What are your thoughts? Did you have a stopping point?

   

Thursday, May 18, 2017

8 Fun Things to Do With the Kids This Summer


Summer time is coming which means that school will be getting out for the summer. For a stay at home mom, this could be exciting because the kids will be home to play or, if you're like me, you may not know what to do all day to keep the kids happy and entertained. I've come up with a list of things that are cheap and easy to do that could keep the kids entertained for a little while.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Raising Our Children- Accountability Between the Parent and School


This post will probably be viewed as an unpopular opinion. I believe that after a while, there is only so much that we as parents can do when it comes to raising our children. It isn't going to matter how consistent we are with our children if the school or teachers aren't on the same page.
 
As a child, I was very strong willed. I didn't like to be told what to do or how to do it or when to do it. However, as a child, I didn't dare speak out too much in school because I was given a detention. If I was given detention I knew that I was also going to get in trouble at home for embarrassing my parents, so I tried to keep that at a minimum since I got in trouble at home often enough for being strong willed.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day


I was the first child that my mother carried. I guess I should say that I was one of two. My mom carried two of us in her womb for months before miscarrying my twin sister when she (my mom) was 17 years old. Because another baby can't live in the environment that was made at the passing of another, I was born shortly after. On April, 8th 1987, my mom became a mother.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Why Does My Kid Need To Use Tablets In Class?


I remember the day that my very first child was born. He was born on a Wednesday and he was just perfect. My family came to visit us and surrounded us with love. The youth group that I volunteered with made a card for me, my husband, and the new baby and made the trip to come see us in the hospital. A few days later, my family on my husband's side came to meet our new joy for the first time. The world was just perfect.
   
Our little boy was the best of both my husband and me. He was kind and funny, gentle to his baby sister. When I went to work full time, he was always a hit with the kids in day care and a favorite of the day care workers. His memory is out of this world and his imagination will get him famous one day.
   

Friday, May 12, 2017

My Kids Will Only Eat Chicken Nuggets


My kids are such picky eaters. I suppose that it might just be a natural part of being a kid; I mean, there were things that I definitely didn't want to eat as a kid and if I had it my way, I would have only eaten at Mc Donald's.

I remember one fond afternoon when my uncle was watching my sisters and me. He had made us all hot dogs (which I didn't like) and a fly had landed on it. I had just watched a documentary on flies that said that they threw up on your food every time they landed. Yeah... I didn't eat that hot dog so I found myself in the corner, where I fell asleep and woke up when my parents got home. From what my mother-in-law tells me, my husband was also a picky eater. Maybe it's genetic?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Start of Something New- The Hesitation of Getting Back Into the Workforce


I have been surrounded by working women my whole life. My mom has worked my whole life, both of my grandma's have worked their whole life, and so did I... That was until my husband had gotten a new job and we moved closer to the Chicago area. I was very pregnant with my third child at the time and my husband and I both decided that the cost of childcare for three children was more than we wanted to pay. So I stayed home with the kids.

It's been five years since we moved and now my youngest will be starting kindergarten this fall. There is nothing holding me back from working again. My husband has been very successful at his job and if I decide to work, childcare for a few hours a day won't be too strenuous.What could possibly hold me back?

About Me

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Hello! My name is Brittany and I'm a writer, obviously. As a stay-at-home mom, there are many things that I have to figure out in order to run a house that appears to be more sane than insane. It's not easy to be a parent and I hope that this blog is able to encourage other moms out there to live life happily and to understand that there can be mishaps along the way, but those mishaps don't define you and anything can be overcome with perseverance and will.

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