Tuesday, 28 March 2017

March Madness Collector's Bills

March Madness is here, and Swagbucks is celebrating with "Collector's Bills" worth bonus SB points that you can collect by simply searching the web. Collect them all, and you get an SB Bonus! Once you've collected enough SB, you can redeem them for gift cards to stores like Amazon, PayPal Cash, and many more!
Here's all the information for this week's March Madness Collector's Bills:
Search the web through the Swagbucks search starting Monday, March 27th through Friday, March 31st, and when you get a search win, you may get a special Collector’s Bill valued at either:
  • 5 SB
  • 8 SB
  • 10 SB
  • 12 SB
  • 22 SB
When you get a Collector’s Bill you’ll receive the value of the bill and the bill will be added to your “Collector’s Bills” ledger. Collect all 5 Collector’s Bills and you’ll instantly earn a 20 SB Bonus!
Keep searching til you find them all!

Kids Email Review & Giveaway!

This generation of children is surrounded by technology whether we like it or not. Kids are growing up watching adults on their smart phones, iPads, and laptops on a daily basis making it impossible for them not to be interested in using them as well. Safety is a big concern when kids are obtaining access to the internet, and there are many reasons to worry. Cyber predators are more common these days creating a whole new way for your child to be victimized. Now there is a solution to the problem! Give your kids safe and secure access to connect with friends and family without any fear of strangers getting involved. Kids Email has created a platform for kids to send and receive email to their own personal email address that not only can you monitor but you have full control of every aspect of it.

What is Kids Email?

KidsEmail.org was established in 2009. The concept and idea was written and designed to be a part of the solution to protect children and families online. KidsEmail.org was designed to provide safe email for kids.

There are so many awesome features that Kids Email offers:
  •  Block Senders
  • No Ads
  • Spam Filtering
  • Custom Mail Folders
  • Manage Contacts
  • Intercept an Email 
  • Adorable Template Designs 
  • Offensive Word Filter
  • and much more!
To learn more about these features check it out HERE!

Drawing Board

KidsEmail offers a fun drawing board for kids. The drawing board allows kids to express themselves by drawing and sending pictures via email to friends and family. Kids love being able to share their creativity with their loved ones!

Read It Feature

KidsEmail has a read it feature available that helps children develop their reading skills. Children can easily select "read it" on an incoming message which will then read the email out loud to the child. Kids can have fun and improve their confidence while learning to read their email on their own.

Do I need a Credit Card?

You do not need a credit card for the Free Trial of Kids Email. There is no commitment, no obligation. You are not required to enter any payment information during registration of a free trial account.

How long is the trial period?

The trial period is 30 days. After the 30-day trial period of KidsEmail you will NOT be automatically billed for anything. At that time you may choose to continue at a nominal subscription rate.

How do I create my child's account?

Once you complete the registration, the instructions to activate your account will be e-mailed to you. Once the account is activated, you will be taken to the Parental Control Panel where you can add your child's accounts.

Win A Year Subscription!

Save More Cash By Reducing Food Waste With These Top Tips

So many people struggle to find enough cash to feed their families well. According to Gallup, Americans spend $151 per week on their groceries. That figure may seem quite high to you, and you may even wonder where it all goes. Sadly, a lot of it ends up in the bin. Many of the foods we buy have a short shelf life. They spoil or become unsavory after just a few days. Food waste is a big problem, and it costs us money!

So how you can you avoid food waste, and will it really cut down your weekly food bill? Yes, you can, and yes, it will. All it takes is a little conscientious planning and a few tweaks to your lifestyle. You may find you can eat healthier too.

Planning your meals for the week ahead can help you to list your shopping items more carefully. If you know what you’ll eat each day, you can head to the supermarket or grocery store with a clear list of ingredients. Recipes usually detail the amounts or weight required of each ingredient too. However, it’s rare that you’ll find all of those ingredients packaged precisely in the amount you need! With some clever planning, you can choose two meals to use up the leftover food. Perhaps you can freeze the excess to use another time?

Batch Cooking
Batch cooking has become very popular with busy Moms. Cooking twice as much as you’ll eat in a single meal means you can freeze the extra portions to reheat quickly and easily another day. It’s cheaper on the gas as well as the food, because you can buy in bulk. It takes virtually no extra time cooking for 10 meals instead of 5 either. Best of all, it means those fresh ingredients can be cooked before their sell-by date.

Frozen Foods
Buying frozen vegetables is usually cheaper than grabbing from the fresh produce aisle. It is claimed that the vegetables are fresher when frozen too. After all, it can take several days for crops to arrive at the grocery store from the farm, but only minutes to freeze them there. When you buy frozen, the vegetables are often prepared, saving you time washing, peeling, and chopping. Best of all, you can dispense only what you need, without having to waste the rest. It won’t go off for months!

Use The Whole Fruit or Vegetable
We often chop fruits and vegetables and toss away the ends and peels. Our kitchen sinks have seen a fair share of wasted produce! A sink that chomps up the wasted veg could be a handy way of disposing of it. Another is to use that excess for composting. This could be a great way to feed your soil for growing your own vegetables!

Set up your kitchen to recycle or reuse your waste. You might go for a second sink bowl to wash your garden vegetables. An extending tap can be helpful here. Excess fruit flesh and vegetables can also be blended to make nutritious smoothies. Enjoy.

Childproofing Your Bathroom In Five Easy Steps

Keeping up with kids can be hard work. While as parents we’ve developed eyes in the back of our head to keep up with little ones, it only takes a minute for them to wander off and get themselves into trouble. The bathroom is home to a number of hazards, so it’s one room to be particularly safety conscious off. Here’s how you can go about it.


Use a Toilet Lock
Children have been known to throw things down the toilet and cause all kinds of problems! If you don’t fancy an overflowing toilet and water flowing through the floor and into the downstairs ceiling get yourself a toilet lock. Another reason these can be useful is it stops young children playing near it or putting their hands into it. They’re going to be met with either cleaning chemicals or bacteria, both of which can be very dangerous.

Keep Medicines and Cleaning Products Locked Away
The bathroom is a particularly hazardous room as it’s where we tend to keep medication. Even if you have a medicine cabinet, a curious child might climb up onto the toilet or sink- it seems like a stretch but these kinds of accidents happen every single day. Keep medicines well out of reach of children, at the very least put a childproof cupboard lock to keep mischievous little hands out. The same applies to cleaning products, many of us keep things like bleach and disinfectant next to the toilet or in a low down cupboard. Again cupboard locks can be useful here or put them so they’re well out of the way. All it takes is a few minutes alone for a child to get into something they shouldn’t have.

Don’t Use Appliances in The Bathroom
As adults we know that water and electricity don’t mix, and can be careful enough to ensure the two don’t come into contact. However children are a whole different matter, and this could make for a very dangerous accident. Your best bet is to follow the UK’s example and not have electrical appliances at all in the bathroom. Keep straighteners and blow dryers in your bedroom, well away from water. Don’t be tempted to use things like plug in heaters in the bathroom, heated towel rails are the way to go. They will warm the room, as well as make your towels toasty for when you get out.

Use Window Locks
Ideally you should have window locks on all of your windows. Around five thousand kids in the US fall out of windows each year so it’s something to be extra conscious of. The bathroom may be one room you have overlooked, be sure that it’s as safe as the other windows in your home.

Put a Lock on The Outside
If you’re still worried, a simple bolt on the outside (at the top so children can’t reach up and open it) will stop them from getting in there completely. If you live in a busy family home with people in and out often this might not be practical, but it could be suitable in some cases. You will just need to get into the habit of locking the door each time you leave the bathroom. And follow the advice above too, just in case it accidentally gets left open.


Have you put a lot of thought into childproofing your bathroom?

Monday, 27 March 2017

Moving Home as a Frugal Mommy

Frugality goes hand in hand with saving pennies and cutting costs, which is why buying a new home is often out of the question. After all, frugality is all about making the most of what you have and getting great value deals, making a home purchase one of the silliest things to associate with being frugal. However, there are times when we need to take the plunge and spend a lot of money or take out a loan for the sake of our children and their futures.

For instance, we might need to move home because we’re adding more members to the family, the local schools might not be very good, or we might get relocated for our job and, as a result, have to move to another city or state. But fear not! This handy guide is going to give you a great morale boost when it comes to saving money on moving costs. After finishing this short read, you’re going to be a lot more confident in your ability to move home on a budget.

Image: Pexels

Don’t forget to budget

If you have to move home, then treat it like any other expense you’ve encountered in the past. Include it into your budget, but don’t just slap the entire cost of the home into your budgeting app or spreadsheet. Instead, use a mortgage payment calculator to calculate how much money you’ll be spending per month to pay off your mortgage and add these calculations to your bookkeeping software. It’ll make the costs of a home much easier to digest, and it will also help you manage your financial situation before, during and after you’ve moved in.

Put the move in your own hands

If you want to save a huge chunk of money, then find a friend with a truck or a van and ask them to help you move. If they’re not willing to do it for free (completely understandable) then consider paying them a bit of money to help convince them. All you really need to do is buy a couple of boxes, store all of your belongings and then load them into your car’s vehicle to be shipped off to wherever you’re moving to. Unfortunately, unless they’re willing to drive long distances with all of your stuff, you might need to hire a removals service if you’re moving to a distant location.

Image: Pexels

Have a yard sale before the move

The best way to cut down on moving costs is to get rid of junk you don’t need. Whether it’s old toys, books or even electronics, you could host a yard sale to get rid of some of your unwanted items before you finally move. If you live in a rather remote location that won’t get much notice, then consider selling them online on a website such as eBay instead. Not only does it reduce the number of boxes you have to pack, it also means that your new home will be less cluttered and there will be more space for useful furniture and items instead of old storage gear.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Swago: Shopping Edition

Swagbucks is hosting another round of Shopping Swago! What is SWAGO you ask? It's a bingo-inspired promotion run by Swagbucks, a website that rewards you with points (called SB) for completing everyday online activities. You can redeem those SB for free gift cards. If you've never used Swagbucks, participating in SWAGO is a great introduction to the site and an easy way to earn a good amount of points quickly.
Here’s what you need to know to get your 200 SB Bonus (and don’t worry, you don’t have to make a purchase to complete a pattern):
  • Shop Swago will begin on Monday, March 27th at 9am PT/12pm ET, make sure you hit “Join” otherwise you won’t get credit for completing the action items. Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete.
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
  • You have a limited amount of time to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value.
  • Once you’ve achieved a pattern the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • The game ends Friday, March 31st at 12pm PDT/3pm EDT. So make sure to hit “Submit” on the pattern you wish to submit. If you don’t hit “Submit” before the game ends you won’t receive your SB bonus.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Free Spring Cleaning Planner

 Spring is finally showing its face around the world which is such a welcome sight for sore eyes. The only down side is now we need to think about organizing and cleaning. Careful planning can help get your cleaning started and finished efficiently, without a hitch. So if your looking for some fantastic resources to help you get in the spring cleaning groove look no further. My friends at Living Well Spending Less® have offered these great free resources:

Spring is here, and that means it’s time for Spring Cleaning! Our Spring Cleaning Planner is the perfect resource to help you get your house in ship-shape this spring. For a limited time, we are offering it for free at Living Well Spending Less®--just our little way of saying Happy Spring!
Not sure you’re ready to dive into spring cleaning just yet? Take our short and simple free quiz assessment and discover your cleaning personality!

The Thorium Stratagem

A shy financial analyst from New York visits his school chum in Moscow who works for the FSB, formerly known as the KGB. Discovering that corrupt US cabinet officials and a Russian billionaire plan to steal the technology from Russian scientists about a green energy source, the FSB Agent asks his American friend for help, hoping that together they can prevent the theft and avoid the conflict it would cause.

Thrust into the dangerous world of political intrigue, and not sure he will survive, the financial analyst must overcome his timid nature and find the courage to prevent the heist and the killing of the Russian president. If he and his friend fail, more than their lives will be lost; war between the two countries will erupt.

Get it on Amazon!

Liquidity Wines Annual Adult Egg Hunt & Easter Brunch

This Easter, adults are invited to join in the hunt through 30 acres of scenic vineyard for Liquidity Wines' Third Annual Adult Easter Egg Hunt. On Saturday, April 15, the vineyard will stash scrumptious treats, coupons, and other surprises and delights within the property's lush tangle of vines. Also on offer: a pre-search wine tasting and Easter brunch for the whole family at Liquidity Bistro. 

Now celebrating three years of Easter fun, Liquidity's grownup-themed egg hunt opens the vineyard for those who are kids-at-heart to explore at their leisure. The event is free of charge and takes place from 12pm to 3pm, though guests who arrive early can fuel up for the hunt by sampling a range of Liquidity's award-winning wines. No tickets are required; simply arrive any time within the event hours to pick up a map and learn the details. 

While the egg hunt is geared toward adults, the entire family can enjoy Easter brunch at Liquidity Bistro. Located in the Heart of Wine Country™, be sure to bring a camera as the space is perfectly situated to capture stunning views of Okanagan Falls. Enjoy special features on Saturday, April 15 between 11am and 3pm, such as potato roesti with goat cheese, thyme and farm-fresh eggs; decadent banana bread French toast adorned by banana compote; and maple glazed ham cassolette served alongside baked white beans and potatoes. Over Easter weekend, the bistro will be open from Thursday to Sunday (12pm to 8pm), and the adjoining tasting room will welcome guests from Thursday to Sunday (12pm to 5pm), reservations are recommended.

Winemaker Alison Moyes and the Liquidity team craft wines that express the personality of the vineyard while capturing the variation of the seasons and distinct wine varietals. Liquidity's light-filled tasting room features rare art installations, incredible valley and lake views, and a range of estate-grown wines available to sample. At the adjoining Liquidity Bistro, Executive Chef Simon Bouchard curates menus that honour the seasons, sourcing ingredients from nearby farms. Collectively, the vineyard, bistro and tasting room offer an exceptional guest experience that centres on wine, food and art. 

For more information, visit Liquiditywines.com or call (778) 515-5500.


About Liquidity Wines
Based in Okanagan Falls, the Heart of Wine Country™, Liquidity offers an artisan approach to winemaking - taking you on a journey of the senses that captures the art of winemaking from grape to glass in a stunning space where guests are wowed by the incredible views, eclectic artwork and locally inspired food. Time is spent enjoying these finer things in life, while in the vineyard care is taken to carefully hand-harvest the best fruit and artfully blend them into fine wines. For more information, visit Liquiditywines.com.

Eight Steps to Squash Struggle Forever

Almost everyone struggles with something, whether it's the kids going off to college, an unfulfilling job, divorce, looming retirement, or simply not having enough fun. All of these situations can lead to struggle, but what if it doesn't have to be that way? What if it is possible to face life head on, go through transitions, and actually become stronger and  have more fun in the process? You can. Here are eight action steps you can take right now that will help eliminate struggle and make your life easier and more fun!!
Step #1:  Take full responsibility for your life. All of it. When you let external conditions control your destiny, you surrender your power and authority. By the same token, when you allow someone else to be in charge of your life, you keep yourself stuck. You are the victim and that is not a powerful position. The truth is you may not be able to control all your circumstances, but you have total control on how you respond to all them.
Action:  First, get clear about what you want.  Most people think about what they don’t want.  "I don’t want to be poor," or "I don't want to be bored," or "I don't want to be alone." Revise this list to say what you DO want. "I want to make more money. "I choose to have more fun." "I am going to spend more time building and enjoying my relationships with others." Now you have something to work with. Each of these items require NEW activities and new actions.  It's time to do something different.  
Next, take a look at your list. If it's a new job you want, define your strongest talents and make note of what comes easy for you.  What do you love doing?  What job encompasses your strengths? Let's say, for example, you enjoy organizing and being in charge. You are creative in working with people and you love to teach.  These talents and skills can translate to teaching, sales, office management, and who knows what else? This is where you do some brainstorming.  Once you’ve defined this new work, talk to people who are doing it. Set up some informational interviews and find out how they got started in their line of work. Ask them for any advice they have for you. Then take action accordingly.
If making new friends is on your list, consider where you can meet people. Get on-line to find networking opportunities through MeetUps.com or other organizations. Take up a new hobby, such as tennis lessons, bridge, or fishing. Join a bowling league or volleyball team, book club, quilting circle, or social club.  Introduce yourself, ask questions, and then listen to what the other person has to say. People love it when you listen.
Step #2: Don’t arbitrarily accept someone else’s beliefs and opinions.  People project their own beliefs onto others.  It is called transference.  If someone thinks you are not making the best use of your talents, then more than likely, he is not making best use of his. Letting others tell you want is true reneges on your responsibility to draw your own conclusions and can definitely lead to struggle.
Action:  Do your own homework.  Whether it's politics, news stories, or simply the best way to bake a cake, ask yourself what you believe about it before asking anyone else what they think. What makes sense to you?  What do you think is the best way to balance the budget? Practice having an opinion and stating what that is without worrying what anyone else thinks. This is also a good time to weed out negative people, groups and thought systems.  Give up the “Debbie Downers.” Don’t listen to the news 24/7. Do be  selective as to what and who you listen to.  Finally, find people who are happy and hang out with them.    
Step #3: If you need to do it - do it. Take action and stand by it. That means leave a miserable job or relationship, relocate, take a class, start a new career – start over.  Your life is your journey. If you are not growing, you are not going to be happy. Add to this the fact that the world is constantly changing and so must you. Don’t resist because that is what causes struggle. Embrace change.
Action: Make a list of things you want to do or change.  Pick the first item and DO IT!!  You can start with something small and work up to the bigger items. Maybe it's as simple as always hanging up your clothes at the end of the day. Perhaps it is time to lose that extra 15 pounds you've been carrying around. Why not start a conversation with that good looking guy you see in the coffee shop every other morning? If you want to develop a new skill, then find a mentor or take a class and learn something new. How about a class in computers, or take a foreign language course. Perhaps you'd like to learn about the travel industry, or how to start a bed and breakfast. Maybe you've always wanted to be an artists, so you could start with a beginner water color class. If you're looking to reduce stress and anxiety, sign up for a meditation class, yoga, or Pilates.   
Step #4:  Acknowledge that you are valuable. Remind yourself of this daily. Talk to yourself out loud and affirm your value. Do not underestimate the power of what you say internally. In fact, how you talk to yourself is a make-it or break-it proposition when it comes to struggle.  Many people say horrible things to themselves, “How could you have done that; you are stupid; you are unlovable; you will never amount to anything.”  These are lies.  They are generated from the ego that loves control.  Paying attention to ego railings is like having a giant thumb pressing down on you.  If you listen to the negativity, you will never step out of your box and investigate your incredible self.  Again, decide who you want to be and find a way to be it.  
Action:  STOP your mind when it starts in on the negativity. Refuse to give it credence.  It is your mind – you get to say what goes on there.  Mental discipline is key to releasing struggle, so don't let your mind run on automatic pilot.  Be vigilant about it.  Remind yourself daily – hourly, in fact -- that “You are valuable.”
If at times you do become overwhelmed with negative self-talk, move. Get out into nature and take a walk while breathing deeply. Continue to take action, such as cleaning out a closet or drawer. The simple act of purging can actually change your neurology. When you have calmed down, write in a journal.  Use the pages  expunge fears, and then write about your desires, hopes and dreams. These actions will help clear your mind so that you remember that you are valuable. You are a unique piece to the universal puzzle that makes everything work.
Step #5: Dump any emotional baggage. This includes memories of being hurt, offended, or criticized. Let it go! So your mother didn’t love you enough and your father wasn’t there. That is on them and not you. Forgive them and move on. While you're at it, forgive your brother, your sister, your mean-spirited boss, your soccer coach, your nosy neighbors, and the rude store clerk. Let them all go. How? First, remember that what others project out is what is inside of them.
Action:  Begin by observing your thoughts for ten minutes a day.  Take notes. When you have a “blaming thought”, stop and correct yourself.  “Wait. I am responsible for my life.”  If you find yourself feeling resentment or thinking, “poor me,” make an adjustment and change your thoughts.  Sometimes we are tempted to ruminate, but it is exactly at those moments when you must catch yourself and interrupt your  pattern. Deliberately think about something else: Bring up a pleasant memory. Remember a time when you confidently handled some situation in your life and you did it well. Keep correcting yourself and eventually the victim thoughts  lesson. By clearing out the mental space held by grievances, you feel lighter and the payoff is huge... squashing struggle forever.
Step 6: Find a way to express yourself. Everyone is creative and creativity must be expressed.  Build something. Write something. Learn to draw or speak. Everyone needs an outlet to express energy, one that is uniquely one's own. Experiment until you discover yours. It is your gift to the world.  
Action:  Start with things that come easy for you -- decorating cakes, coaching a soccer team, organizing, making friends.  Then expand on that.  If you're not sure how to do that, then take classes until you discover a way that feels good for you.  You don’t have to be a Picasso to paint or a Hemingway to write.  Teaching, volunteering, sales, accounting, and business – these are all creative endeavors.  Don’t worry about monetizing your efforts.  Just do it for fun.  You never know where this will take you. One fellow I knew visited junkyards and found interesting pieces of metal, which he welded together to create sculptures.  He loved it.  In time, he started a side business selling metal art.  
Step 7: Become a possibility-thinker. When you look at a person, relationship, or opportunity, ask yourself, "What are the possibilities here?"  Most people don’t see possibilities because they never ask the question. You must ask the question and seek possibilities.  What if joining a study group opens up opportunities to learn new skills, meet amazing people, or start a new career?  What if taking a new route to work reveals a short cut, a new restaurant in town, or a beautiful view. Be curious and try new things.
Action:  Start by making a list of all the possible ways to do something.  Pick a subject and write it down at the top of the sheet of paper, or on a document in your computer.  For instance: If you want to go back to school and you need tuition money, what are some ways you could pay for it? Here are some ideas: You can take the money out of savings, get a school loan or grant, procure a home equity line of credit, ask someone to help you, put it on your credit card, win the lottery, trade services with someone for paying your tuition, get a job that subsidizes schooling, join the military so you can go to college, win a contest, find a benefactor, and so forth.  These are a few possibilities, but you can come up with more.   Notice if you are saying to yourself, that won’t work; that won’t work, etc. Ignore them. Those thoughts keep you in the struggle.
Step 8: Turn failure into triumph.  It is important to pay attention to what you have previously called failure because this is where you can slip into struggle. The loss of a job doesn't mean it's the end of the world; it is an opportunity to find a better one or maybe start a whole new business. When a relationship ends, it may leave you feeling feel lost and disoriented. However, the completion of a relationship may indicate you have outgrown it, learned the lesson it was to teach you, or someone new is waiting for you.  
By facing the unknown and turning "failure" into triumph, you discover more about yourself.  Sometimes the gift is learning that quiet time alone can be restorative.  It can be the beginning of new friendships, adventure, and a fresh, new life.
Action:  Do an assessment and write out your conclusions. First, look back at your life and notice what “failure” actually led to a better opportunity?  When did that unexpected turn in the road guide you to something amazing and wonderful? You took a detour only to discover your soul mate. You didn't get into a certain school, only to discover a different learning opportunity that led to your dream career.  Pause to ponder this: Is there anything in your life now that you consider terrible? And let me ask you this: Have you ever been wrong? Is it possible that this terrible situation is a lead in to a thrilling new escapade? If it's happened in the past, it very likely will happen again. Do a personal audit and you will be amazed how failures were really just direction changes.  
Whatever it is that you struggle with -- an empty nest, an unfulfilling job, divorce, retirement or whatever, get busy using these 8 steps and their corresponding actions to reboot your perspective. The more you consider all the many possibilities, the easier it is to squash the struggle.  And by giving up the struggle, you'll have a lot more energy to create the life you want.

About the Author: Jean Walters is an internationally-known teacher, transformational coach and Akashic Record reader (psychic) who designs and presents classes and workshops in empowerment, meditation, building communication skills, universal laws, dreams interpretation, strengthening intuition, and creating spiritual connection for many organizations including colleges, universities, spiritual groups, and businesses. She  writes for numerous major newspapers and publications and hosts a nationally syndicated radio show called Positive Moments. She is a favorite featured guest on other radio and television programs. Books include Be Outrageous: Do the Impossible – Others have and you can too, Set Yourself Free: Live the life YOU were meant to Live, and Dreams and the Symbology of Life. She has performed over 35,000 readings with the emphasis on providing insight regarding personal growth, life purpose, strengthening relationships, and moving through obstacles. Learn more at http://www.spiritualtransformation.com.