Saturday, July 31, 2010

It's the Simple Things in Life that Count

What a beautiful day today was. After work, my husband, the kids and I went out for a ride and then I got a few things for dinner. Instead of doing the dishes after dinner, we decided to head outside and enjoy the beautiful evening. The weather was really nice, we let Simon (the cat) and Spot (the bunny) out to explore the world no more than 10 feet away from me Simon! and find things to chew on. The kids had so much fun running around, and since my husband did the lawn earlier we decided to collect some of the grass clippings. I thought it would be good for the bunny, but after reading some stuff online I am definitely not feeding it to her. Instead I am going to use it for bedding and compost. Apparently the grass clippings are not good because the heat from the lawn mower makes it ferment. Hey we still had fun raking it up!!

All of this got me to thinking how the simplest things in life make us so happy. Money is not wealth at all, my wealth is within days like today. We are healthy, have beautiful kids, love our pets, and love each other. What more can you need in life? Of course you do need to have a shelter and food and what basic needs, but if you know how to curb your spending then it is possible to live on a less than wealthy income. So there you have it! Frugality can lead to finding the real valuable things in life. Spending more time with the family, doing things together, and realizing that money does not buy you happiness.

Garden update: I have been picking cucumbers nearly every day and some tomatoes too!!!! Yummmy

Til' next time,

Lina
xoxo

Friday, July 30, 2010

Crochet Hats - Slouchy crochet hat

Cables in crochet??? This hat is a delightful design of what appears to be knit cables, but it is actually crochet. With baubles around it and a small band to finish it off. It is the perfect hat to wear when you just want to hang out relax and not worry about what to wear or how to fix your hair! I am working on a knitted pattern also, and should have some pictures up soon. If you are interested in any of my work, click on the contact me tab to send me an email. I do not have an etsy store, but I do hope to work on a website soon.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Direct Traumatic Optic Neuropathy (Direct TON)

Before I even get to what direct TON is, I want to point out that my feeling guilty ride is over, I have put this in a box, threw it away and I am now moving forward. I am not writing about this to be judged or be called a bad parent. I am writing about this because I doubt many parents are aware of the dangers around kids and pencils or any sharp pointy object for that matter. That includes pencils, markers, keys, small elongated toys, a high heel shoe, etc. I think you get my point. This is a hard subject for me to even touch, but I feel that it is important for me to bring some awareness about this condition and how it is diagnosed.

My 3 1/2 year old daughter, Gianna, fell while she was running from her brother. What neither my husband or I realized was that she had a pencil in her hand. When she fell and I saw her get up, I still didn't know what the situation was but I knew something was wrong. The pencil was on the floor and she was covering her eye. I thought I was going to die!! We called 911 and we were rushed to the emergency room. She had some exposed fatty tissue, her eye was pretty much intact, just a major laceration in her right upper eyelid (or so we were told). They ran X-rays, no foreign objects found, so she was sutured and set home. As expected, she had bruising around her eye, and her eyelid was swollen shut. I did everything possible to make sure she had a quick recovery, and in fact she was able to open her eye about 3 to 4 days later with minimal bruising. We followed up with the surgeon a week later with a complaint that her eye was somewhat deviated. He referred her for an MRI, which we were not able to schedule for another week since she needed to be sedated. Two weeks gone by she goes for the MRI and as I am walking in the door I get the call from the doctor. She needed to be admitted to the hospital for an inflammation in the back of her eye. She received IV steroids treatment for about three days and we were discharged to continue oral steroids at home. While in the hospital they did every test possible including blood work and CT scan to determine why she had vision loss and whether there was an underlying condition causing the inflammation. So what went wrong??

Direct traumatic optic neuropathy in plain English is damage to the optic nerve resulting from an injury. In the case of direct trauma, the injury can result from either a penetrating object or from blunt trauma to the head with bone fractures. Most commonly this can happen in an injury from a gunshot where there has been bone shattered. While a penetrating injury is less common, it does happen. There are not enough articles on the internet or even in the medical community that discuss this type of injury causing it to go unnoticed. There are a few sites that include some articles and even pictures, but I have yet to see some sort of documentation for a penetrating injury with a pencil and how it is treated. It is a shame, because kids are very prone to this sort of injury. The consequences with this type of injury are devastating. Let alone the possibility of brain damage, there is also the chance of partial to complete vision loss in the injured eye. Doctors are also divided as to how this should be treated, but the most common treatment is IV steroids. The problem with an untreated inflammation is further damage to the nerve.

The proper diagnostic testing for this type of injury is a CT scan, and this should be done as soon as you get emergency care. There are several things can be determined with a scan, one being damage to the nerve. Also they can determine if there are any foreign objects in the orbital area or if there has been any damage to the brain. Immediately nerve damage is suspected the doctors should treat with IV steroids as well as antibiotic to prevent further damage to the nerve. Obviously as parents we don't ever expect things like this to happen to our kids. But if you should ever find yourself in a similar situation here are some steps to making sure you are getting them the best care possible:

In my daughter's case, because she was not given the proper diagnostic testing her injury was improperly treated. It is almost like a slap in the face when a doctor tells you how lucky your child is, and later you find out she wasn't so lucky after all. The misconception that just because no one saw this pencil going into her eye or just because the Xray revealed no foreign object, that there was no further damage other than the laceration on her eyelid. As parents you are ecstatic to hear your child is lucky and doing well; and we didn't ask questions we were just elated to go home with a healthy child.

Today Gianna is a perfect 4 year old girl, ready to go to school, ready to explore the world, and legally blind in one eye. Don't feel bad for her, she has not let that hold her down. If you were to see her, you would never know that she has a visual problem. She is required to wear glasses all the time to protect her good eye from an injury. Her vision is 20/200, but quite honestly I believe it to be better than the doctors are able to determine. Mostly, her peripheral vision was affected. As she has learned to adapt to the changes, her left eye is compensating for the right eye making her central vision great and her peripheral vision not so much. She had eye muscle surgery (mostly for cosmetic reasons) so that she looks absolutely normal. And the scar, well that fades with time as do all internal wounds.

I hope that you will find this blog informative and raises awareness. You can be on top of them as much as you can but some times accidents are inevitable and we just learn to deal with the consequences. Til' next time,

Lina
xoxo

Cooking made simple!

The Real Housewife of NYC, Sonja T. Morgan, has been working on new YouTube cooking lessons. Sonja is known for her simplicity and cooking in the toaster oven just proves that! Her challenge: for under $20 and in under $20 a simple style, elegant, healthy, and calorie conscious meal. No fuzzy clean ups, or dirty stoves and pans. Ladies get your toaster ovens out and lets get cooking.



I suppose I like working hard, because I do cook in the stove. The clean-ups are a pain in the butt, and the heat that comes off that stove in this weather is unfavorable. But this is something that I will absolutely have to try. Especially when you have kids, cooking becomes more of a chore rather than enjoyment. I like to cook but at times you almost have to drag me to the kitchen to do it. Between Gianna trying to help (help as in mommy can I watch you, or can I wash the dishes, or anything to distract me!) and James constantly running to the pantry closet I loose all desire to cook.

On another note, yesterday was my last day at the Mellenville Post Office and I am a bit saddened :(. I really loved it there, but the travel distance was really getting to me. I am now being transferred to a Post Office only 10 minutes away from home. I am excited and nervous! Did you know that the Post Office has been rated the #1 most trusted government agency for six years in a row?? It is a great company to work for and to grow your career. As a full time mom, a part time position at the Post Office really was all I was looking for. Being home for almost 7 years was starting to get to me. And don't get me wrong, I love my kids dearly, but one person can only take so much googoo's and daadaa's and I wants and whys before they start to go bananas! And what better place for me to start-jump a career? I truly love it!

Today I am working on a slouchy knit hat made in cotton, in a lace pattern by Natalie Harson. For those of you who watch the Real Housewives of NJ, it is like the hat that Ashley Holmes has been sporting around, only a more Spring into Summer version. I will post pictures as soon as I am done with it. Speaking of which, what did you think of last night's episode? Danielle Staub's ex-husband is (how shall I say this?) uum unattractive. I am amazed that he even agreed to be on cameras after she has continuously bashed him over the period of the show. Her girls are gorgeous, but I can't help but wonder what kind of example she is setting for her daughters?  Wearing her engagement ring was a little desperate and she should really try and keep those girls a little more afloat the surface and not engage them in adult situations.

Well that's enough blabbing for today. I have to sign off for now (gotta work on that hat) and do some chores. Til' next time,

Lina
xoxo

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Infant crochet hat, headband and knitted socks

I am finally all done with my friends' baby hat, headband and socks! It is sooo precious, that I was tempted for a second **for a very slim second** to have another girl! The headband was done in tunisian crochet, I used a stretchy cotton yarn, and added two pink flowers for a final touch. The hat is made all in single crochet, and it is almost like a hat you would wear to the Kentucky Derby. The headband can be easily placed around the hat for the extra flare. The socks are knitted, again in stretchy cotton yarn, and each with a flower to match the headband. This is the first time I ever worked socks this small, but they are so easy to make and so cute. 

The hat is King Tut cotton, it is a simple pattern done in the round, single crochet throughout, with increases for 7 rounds. The brim is also done in single crochet and it is achieved by creating more increases once you reach the desired length for the hat. The basic pattern for this hat can be found in the book Fun & Funky Crochet by Sophie Britten. However, I did adjust the pattern to fit the look I was trying to achieve.  It is all about taking a pattern and making it your own!
I really do hope that it will fit the baby, I haven't had a baby in so long I forgot how small (or big) they are. All in all, I feel very confident that they will fit her just fine ;). I really enjoyed working on this set, especially since I didn't know what the socks would look like once done. It was really exciting to see the final product completed.

Til' next time,
Lina
xoxo

    

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Turning a bad day into a good one!

Initially my day started out fine, decent you could say; but then things just went south! Until I came across the competition of the year on 92.3 Now Radio, that had me laughing!! Its California Boys vs. Staten Island Girls.

In this corner the sexy looking boys (yes, I am being sarcastic) trotting their belongings, wigs, and pink make up. Greetings loved ones, is time to get horny!!



And in this corner, the Staten Island Girls representing all of Staten Island's, and for that matter Jersey Shore, guidettes. With their orange skin and black hair on top!



Who do you think gives Katy Perry the run for her money, and takes the trophy?
Thank you for making my day a fun one!!

Staten Island Girls Remix Spoof on Good Day New York

o it's my luck right??? They were supposed to be coming on at 9:20 am, instead they get pushed to 9:40. This whole time I am recording the show, and 9:35 hits the clock BAM! my TV turned off, cable box, computer!!! So as fast I could I turned on the cable box, and run to the other room to try and capture the couple of minutes they were on the show. Sorry girls, I did a horrible job :x. I was hopeful that just maybe I had the show recorded on the box. But when I went to check, the memory was full!!!! Gotta love Thursdays. Anyhow here is the best of what I could do. ***UPDATE*** Got a link for the vid!

Tara Mooney, Shannon Mooney, Mary Kate Mooney, and Melissa Orientale

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Staten Island Gurls Fever continues....

The Staten Island Gurls Tara, Mary Kate, and Shannon Mooney along with Melissa Orientale are scheduled to appear on Good Day New York tomorrow at 9:20 am. What started out as an innocent spoof on Youtube has risen to the top. The Staten Island Advance featured them on the front page of the newspaper. What many people don't realize is that Tara can actually sing, but again this was meant to be a spoof. Much success to you girls!!

Here is their appearance on WCBS TV

And stay tuned for their Good Day New York appearance!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A fake is a faker, a faker, a faker... as Danielle Staub's friend Danny would put it =)

I watched Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, and I just couldn't stand Danielle Staub for a second. She looked like she couldn't be done with the show fast enough. Her little dance was just another one of her acts! I guess she was trying really hard to make Andy feel better. And to be quite honest, I disagree with Bravo's depiction's of what Real Housewives are like. Or perhaps I am the one that's not normal here???? It seems as though, these housewives are more about the limelight, fame, promoting their businesses and products then about being an actual housewife.

Their childish behavior on national television does nothing but degrade who we are as women, as mothers, and as wives. There is more to women than bickering and constant drama. We are strong, intelligent, human beings. Although, I admit that I watch the shows, I constantly find myself questioning their behavior. I suppose it makes for great TV ratings, but where do their children fall in all of this. As many have watched, Ashley, Jaqueline Laurita's daughter, has fallen into a very self-destructive behavior. I wish I could put my hand right thru the tube and as Italians would say "give her a beaten". She has no respect for herself let alone her mother, and it is so obvious that she could care less. I do believe that Jaqueline is trying to get a hold of the situation, and who am I to criticize anyone or their parenting skills?

The fact of the matter is, while some of the Real Housewives are down to earth and grounded, most of them are self absorbed and misrepresent who we really are. If they were to bring cameras into the homes of your everyday housewife, what a different story it would be. We would be running around town dropping the kids off to school, doing the household shopping, cleaning our homes, and caring for our families. 

Staten Island Girls Remix Spoof


Bless the imagination of kids... this is my niece's cousin!! It is a spoof of Katy Perry's latest California Gurls - the parody titled Staten Island Girls takes on a very comical and somewhat real view at Staten Island Girls. From the orange hued skin to the late night munchies, it is all part of living in Staten Island. The spoof is at almost 80,000 views on YouTube  and is being played all over the radio and internet!!!!! Congrats Tara





Rue La La....Ooh La La

Being frugal doesn't necessarily mean being cheap. While it's true that price is the biggest priority, quality is also at the top of the list. I, for one, do put price ahead of everything else. But I would be lying if I said that I don't spend money on impulse once in a while for something that I find of good quality, brand, and above all at a bargain price! But after having three kids, it is a challenge to find the right bathing suit and to top it off at a discount price. Most mommies out there can relate to this issue. Often times after several pregnancies, our skin just isn't the same. So why not make the best of what we have? Out of an impulse I ordered from Rue La La a DKNY indigo u-neck maillot one piece swimsuit. It is part of their Spring 2011 collection, and the regular retail price is $104. Obviously being the frugal person that I am, I did not pay $104! I only paid $39.99, after tax and shipping I still come at just a bit under 50%!! And am I proud of this purchase? 100%!! I haven't felt sexier in a swimsuit in a very long time. This suit flatters my body, and provides the right amount of coverage right where I need it. 

So besides hitting the clearance racks at department stores for what's left of the season, is it possible to buy boutique items at a bargain price? Yes it is! They are private shopping clubs where club members can enjoy up to 70% off retail price brand name merchandise through limited-time events.These private shopping events usually last three days per boutique. It is like shopping at a sample sale only with the convenience of doing it from home. For example, they may open up a DKNY boutique for a period of three days for a limited number of items. You have the opportunity to purchase these items at a discount price, but there is a limited quantity they will allow you to get per item as well as a time limit on your shopping cart as items can sell out quickly. A club will hold several boutiques at a time and the boutiques are not limited to just clothing. They may include housewares, vacation packages, shoes, accessories, handbags, etc. etc. etc.

The clubs are by invitation only, which means a club member has to invite you in. Otherwise, you could request a membership and they will email you when there is a spot open for you. You will get daily or weekly emails with their latest boutiques openings and special events. As a club member you can invite your friends and family, and get a referral credit once they make their first purchase. Not only will you be spreading the word around, but you will also be earning some credits for doing so!

You ask, where do I find these private clubs and how can I get in? I first heard of them in the news and became curious about it. I had to request a membership and wait to get a spot. But now that I am in, I can spread the word! I am familiar with three of these clubs, and I am sure that there are more out there I just don't know about them *yet*.
  • Beyond the Rack - They have tons of events going on right now, including an awesome GPS system! With Beyond the Rack if you are a My Points member you will also earn points!
  • Rue La La - Jewelry, shoes, handbags, men's clothing, even linens!
  • RowNine - Fendi Eyewear, Braun Shaver, and some of the coming up boutiques include Farberware Cutlery, and Clarins skin care. RowNine runs weekly sweepstakes for very desirable prizes! I haven't won anything yet but I will surely keep trying.

What are you waiting for? Go check them out, spread the word and start shopping now!


Ironing..... arrrghhhhh

Ironing - The least favorite chore on my to-do list.
I dislike it so much, that here I am writing about it instead of doing it. I have absolutely nothing to write about, but I'd much rather crunch my brain than iron clothes. The mountain of clothes stares me in the face, as if I am neglecting my duly wife duties. When I think about that hot iron in this hot weather I think of me being in an oven getting cooked. But here I am, I have to do it regardless of how I feel about it. Great!

I guess I'll be back later after I finish my chores, the things I am working on. I am looking forward to finish that set that I have been working on!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Learning all about blogging, options, templates, HTML. What can I say? I like to learn

I spent most of yesterday and part of today trying to find the right template for my blog and trying to make it function the way I want it to. Wow the programming and coding world is one full of mysterious surprises. So I finally landed on this background that I find suits me well, and as you can see I am also playing around with the fonts. What do you think? I have also added some extra features, like Twitter, about me tab, and contact me tab. Please be sure to visit my other tabs to learn a little more about me and what my interests are.

And now that I am done with all of that, I have to work on a hat for a friend that just had a baby. She is going to be so surprised when she sees what I've come up with. And sorry, I guess you will have to wait too to see what I am creating ;). I will give you a hint tho, it is a set and I am using both knitting and crochet techniques. LOL as if that was much help!! I should be finished by Thursday at the latest (I usually take about a day just on the hat). And I'll post some pictures once it is done. But if you are curious about some of the things I make, check out the about me page. In there I have pictures of some of my creations.

Well I suppose I have to go clean this house, finish that set I am working on and check on my garden. Once again, thanks for dropping by and reading my blabs. Until next time,

Lina
xoxo


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Designer Brands at a Frugal Price

Looking for luxurious brands at an unbeatable price? Check out my latest hub.
Designer Brands at a Frugal Price

Pruning... Today was all about pruning the tomatoes

I have been lazy, updating content takes thought and energy. Besides, constantly adding to HubPages has been taking a bit of my time and ideas. Nonetheless, here I am typing about pruning tomatoes!! Learning all about blogging is not as easy as I thought. Making money out of blogging is even harder than I had hoped, but we'll take up on that some other time. For now I want to focus on pruning :D

Last night was raining, thundering and lightning like crazy! So with the storm gone, I had to focus on pruning all the extra weight off the tomatoes plants. All of those extra branches that are not holding any fruits are just dead weight and when there's a storm it just causes more damage. I focused on the lower branches, but ended up working my way up and pruning quite a bit of them. I can finally see all the clusters of tomatoes hanging onto the plants.

Pruning tomato plants is beneficial for several reasons. For one, there is less weight on the plant itself, as the branches get larger it just makes it hard to navigate around them and adds unnecessary weight. Another point is that these branches keep the fruits from getting all of the nutrients that they should be getting. As these branches seem to get so large and bulky, they are getting all the nutrients. Pruning the plants will yield larger fruits!


I was a bit disappointed the other day because I found some blossom end rot on some of the fruits. But today all of that went away when I could finally see behind all the branches. I continue to be amazed every time I step out the door to check on the garden. The clusters of tomatoes are amazing, I've never seen so many tomatoes in just one vine! A whopping 14 on just one branch, of which 11 are growing perfectly and 3 are still babies (too soon to say if I will actually harvest all 14). And I know that all this may sound stupid or even crazy to you; but to me actually seeing that the work I've put into my garden is paying off is just darn awesome. My daughter and I picked two green beans and ate it right off the plant. It was so heart warming to see her eating that green been like it was candy and to see her amusement by nature.


Thanks for reading my ramblings.. until next time
Lina
xoxo
Link to my latest Hub


Showing off!! Sorry :D

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Finding Real Work-From-Home Jobs Made Simple


Finding legitimate work from home jobs is like finding a needle in a haystack. It is nearly impossible to find the real deal when the Internet is flooded with tons of fake opportunities and scammers. For many years I have tried different opportunities and jobs from cold calling to SMS chatting, and can tell you that the jobs are out there you just need to know how to find them. Here is a breakdown from my past experiences of what is real and what is just too good to be true.

Too Good To Be True
• If they ask that you pay any kind of fees to sign up, or to send you materials, or to get you leads then it probably is too good to be true. Ameriplan, I am afraid falls into this bracket. You start at the bottom of the pool, and they give you their worst lead to get you to buy leads, up sell options that should be free.
• If they promise you a six figure income with very little effort, trust me it is too good to be true. Pyramid schemes are awesome at offering you riches that is if you can ever make it to the top!
• Exchanging checks is another scam that many people fall into. No one in their right mind will send you a check and trust you to cash it and send it to it’s destination!
• If they request your personal information or it seems like they “hired” you magically without an interview or any background, they are most likely identity thieves.
• Stuffing envelopes, assembling things, and craftwork are all scams!

The Real Deal
• Some great companies that I have come across will run background checks on you with out asking you for a dime. This is to ensure they are hiring the right person, and that the contractor will protect all private information being handled over the phone or online.
• SMS chatting include innocent, flirty chatting to sex chat. Trust me, they are out there and they are real. My suggestion on this type of opportunity is to go with a company overseas, like in the UK (NoGoats). The reason I say this is because in the US the FCC is very strict and demanding with companies within the US providing these services. It becomes costly for the companies therefore your chances of making a nice extra income are diminished greatly. Sex chatting is really a great way to make some extra income, bare in mind that NO work at home opportunity will truly make you rich, but you CAN make a decent living doing them.
• Freelance writing, photography, IT, typist, medical billing, transcriptionist, etc. are all great positions for telecommuters.

In conclusion, my personal experience is this there are opportunities and there are jobs. Make sure you understand the difference; obviously an opportunity is just that. I can personally recommend the following companies:

• West At Home Agent – you are a hired as an independent contractor to answer the phone to all kinds of calls including infomercials, HSN, cell phone companies, to name a few. This is inbound call telemarketing position, I call it telemarketing because you will have to pitch up-sells to the customers calling in. Because sensitive personal and financial information is handled, West will run a background check on all new contractors.
• If you are bilingual, then why not make it into a career? Language Line services will hire you as an interpreter. You are hired as an employee, depending on the language and the country, to work from home or as an independent contractor. They also hire for in call center, it all comes down to the language you are able to offer. Your pay will be based on the minimum wage plus premium minutes. Again, this is not a get rich quick scam, it is a real job and you will earn a salary from home. They will run background checks as sensitive information is constantly being exchanged between the interpreter and the client. They handle all kinds of calls such as 911, Social Security, customer service, cell phone companies, and the list goes on and on.
• Blogging – is another way to make some extra income, however it takes a lot of time and passion to make it work. Building a blog requires tons of dedication, and constant content update. If you are not patient, then blogging may not be your cup of tea. Also keep in mind that you will not get rich doing this, you will make a few extra bucks. Of course if you have a very special niche and can stand out from the rest, the possibilities are endless.

Finally, do your research! Research, research, research! Until you are certain that the company is reputable and legitimate. Be sure to have a quiet place and any equipment needed to work the jobs you are interested in. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you will become a millionaire working from home, it just doesn’t work that way. And for goodness sake, be sure that you will love your job; no amount of money can replace happiness.

Check out this website it provides you with a list of companies to seek work from, some of which I am familiar with. Browse around it, it goes into details as to what works and what doesn’t and you can make an informative decision. Hope you find this post helpful, and if you are really passionate about working from home don’t give up!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Free Gift Cards!!

I wanted discuss this a little further so you get a better idea as to how I get my gift cards. I have been an active member of My Points since 2007. To this date I have earned over 31,000 points, and of that I have redeemed 27,000. In just a few words, My Points is a company that connects merchants with consumers through their websites, emails and consumer opinions. In return the customer is rewarded with points that can be traded for gift cards. Here is how it works:
1)   Signing up for my points is easy and free - You can Google it and go straight to their website or if you have a friend that is already a member, why not ask them for a referral? They will thank you for it!
2)   How to earn points - Earning points is as easy as reading your emails!
  • Your first stop is to fill out your profile, and you'll be earning 60 points just for doing so.
  • Make sure you scroll down on your email for the offer, you get 5 points just for clicking on the email or more points if you follow through with the offer.
  • You get points for shopping online, make sure to access the stores website through My Points in order for the purchase to qualify. 
  • Answering surveys can earn you 50 points if you qualify, but if you do not qualify you still will get 10 points.
  • Other point earning opportunities include referring friends (that has gotten even more exciting earning you 10% off your friends' earned points), signing up for emails, bonus offers, printing coupons, downloading the search bar, daily Spin 'n' Win, and more!
3)   Redeeming your points - Is just as hard as deciding where you want to shop! With over 70 participating merchants, it's hard to choose where you want to spend your hard earned money. You can start redeeming for gift cards as low as $10 or as high as $100, some stores however, will only go up to $25 such as Overstock.com. Your options are endless, from clothing, to shoes, to electronics; My Points is the place to be.

A few things to keep in mind when signing up with My Points are:
  • You will be getting emails from them daily, so make sure to read them and delete them daily so your mailbox is not flooded.
  • Before you can redeem for the first time you have to have made at least one purchase through My Points.
  • Spread the word! Referring friends will yield you more points and your friends will thank you for it too!
  • And if you decide to sign up for My Points, let me know. I don't mind a referral or two ;)

Hope you find this blog informative and helpful. If you are already a member of My Points, what do you like about the program? What have you redeemed for so far?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Tips to Saving Money in this Economy

  1. Create a shopping list - Whether you use the old fashioned pen and paper or the more modern and quicker way list through your grocer, having a list ready before you head out the door keeps you from buying more than you budgeted for. It also cuts down on the amount of time you spend at the store and gives your kids a job while shopping. Although I should say, you should avoid shopping with the little ones because they always find something they want outside the list.
  2. Clipping coupons - I do this the week prior to the sales. I get them in the mail, along with the following week's circular. That gives me a better perspective as to what will be on sale and I combine it with the coupons for even more savings. I am a member of My Points, and so I clip coupons online. Not only do I save on groceries, but I also earn points while doing so.
  3. Stick to the sales - I will try and buy only if things are on sale, even if I do not need them. Buying the things that you do not need will keep you from having to buy them at the full retail price when you do need them. However, if you must buy an item because you need it then going for the store brands can save you some, or using coupons as well.
  4. Plan your meals - if you plan your meals in advance you wil have less waste, thus less money thrown out the garbage.
  5. Less cleaning chemicals - I stick to your typical dish detergents. Add about a 1/4 cup of dish detergent to a spray bottle, water and a few drops of Purification Essential Oil blend, and Voila! A simple, healthy cleaning solution for all around the house. It also helps that there is less plastic in the landfills because I am reusing the spray bottles. I also water down my dish detergent for cleaning the dishes. 
  6. Grow your own vegetables - it doesn't have to be a full blown farm. Even if you just have a little corner by a window, there is nothing more rewarding than growing your own food.
  7. Make yourself a scarf - learn to knit or crochet. Not only will you have fun learning to do so, but you can use your creations as gifts, or keep them to yourself. You'll be feeling warm and accomplished!
  8. Use your loyalty cards - I can't stress this one enough. I use it religiously for a couple of reasons. I get the sales price, I get coupons especifically targeted to my shopping trends, and depending on the store I get points for programs such as baby points at ShopRite, or gas points at Price Chopper. The other day we paid ONLY 0.59c/gal on gas!!! Yep you heard me right!
  9. Shop around - and read reviews. There's nothing worse than buying something you are really excited about and then going home to be dissapointed. I love to read online reviews before I head to the store.
  10. Online shopping - Saves you on gas, and you can get really good deals! My Points gives you points for shopping online for the things you love.
  11. Make your own cup-o-joe - Something as simple as making your coffee can add quite a few bucks to your bank account. 
  12. Hair cuts - I cut my kids' hair, I have been doing it for years now and they are used to it. 
  13. Hand-me-downs - I have been getting quite a bit of these for my daughter. From clothes, to shoes, to coats, she always has a full closet. When I have to shop for her it is mostly pj's and undies. For my younger son, I hold onto my oldest used clothing. Bottom line is kids grow so fast that clothing truly is a waste of money.
  14. Teach your children young - My kids know that I will not buy something unless is on sale. They are learning the value of money and also that when hard times come around they can survive on basics. Birthdays and Christmas I make exceptions, but for the most part they know better!
  15. Barter & curb alerts - These are great options when money is tight. There are people willing to trade goods and services for goods or services. Craigslist is full of curb alerts everyday! 
  16. Don't be ashamed - There is absolutely nothing wrong with being frugal! It is a way of life where you are focused on your needs rather than luxuries and materialism. You learn the true value of life when you step back from all the fantasies and temptations that are out there. 
I was browsing the AARP magazine when I came across this article titled "The Leap to Cheap" by Jeff Yeager, and I was immediately drawn. Cheap is the new it! And it is true that less is more in many aspects. Spending less money creates more time; time that can be well spent with the family, time to relax and enjoy life. After all it is less time that you have to spend at the stores getting things that cannot fulfill your life. Frugal living is back and people are more careful about the money they spend. As I learn more about this way of living, I hope I can teach my kids to do the same. Besides, you can't take money to the grave and money can't buy you love or the true meaning of life. For it is the love of my family that holds me together.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Living the Simple Life

I have started writing in HubPages, be sure to check me out!! I will try and coordinate the two pages so that they compliment each other. Let me know what you think, if you feel I should make any changes, or if you like what I am doing at all! :) Comments, praises, critics, thoughts, advice are all welcome here. Go check it out:
Living the Simple Life

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The long week is finally over! Now back to relaxation =)

The last time I blogged I had so much in my mind that by the time I got to sit down, between the kids interrupting, dinner, and cleaning, I forgot all I had in mind. So I figure, with such a busy week and very little time, I would write down my thoughts and blabber and post them as I make time. More efficient, I guess, and I can edit as I type.

So phase one of my daughter's room is on it's way; what a disaster of a room! I have the track system installed, and a wire shelf already set up (and yes, I did install it myself). I am definitely no contractor, but I'd say I did a decent job installing the system. Now I have to get myself to the hardware store to get the desk portion and a few more brackets.


Today I am working on my yard, getting some mulch on my plants. And when I say mulch I mean all the leaves and pine needles we collected over the fall that is sitting on the side of my yard. As nature takes its course all the leaves and brown matter start to turn to mulch and compost. My tomatoes are looking wonderful, I really can't wait to try them!! So with that said, here are some pictures of my work this week *apart from my real job* and I will soon be blogging about making it in this economy with a family of five, tips and tricks to smart shopping.

If you are reading my blog comment, follow me, share me, twit me =) Don't worry my husband is not jealous ;) ooh and keep yourself hydrated in this heat!! Until next time
xoxo
Lina
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