Wednesday, March 12, 2014
As a former Diet Coke addict I am the first to say that I understand that this post will not be popular with many of you. Sorry mom and dad.
I used to LOVE my diet soda. I would crave that fizzy, syrupy delight and add a little coconut flavoring...I was just in heaven. But...I knew it wasn't good for me. Unfortunately, I am NOT good at moderation . So I had to quit. Just like that. No more. Not once in a while. That was it. This was about 10 months ago.
It was like breaking-up with a very, very, very good friend. Saying goodby to a little indulgence that I really looked forward to. It was hard. But I thought the rewards would be immediately great. I got a terrible headache. I felt awful. But it only lasted a few days. After that I slowly stopped craving it as much. I sometimes still wanted it. Especially with Mexican food.
Then one day last summer I was at the pool with my sister. My water bottle was empty and I was so thirsty. There was a can of diet soda so I thought I'd have that. No big deal.
I. got. so. sick. Seriously. Head-pounding, couldn't see straight nauseated felt like my head was going to explode could barely drive my car sick. It was crazy. Best thing that ever happened to me because I have never looked back. I am a recovering diet soda addict and I've never felt better.
So maybe you aren't a total soda addict and can enjoy one once in awhile. Good for you if that is the case and hopefully you can use this week to simply drink more water each day. And if you are a hard-core soda drinker and this sounds scary...you can totally do it. If I did it, so can you.
Are you going to try it? Email me and let me know how it is going and what you think!
Good luck this week!
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
The least expensive way to order a certified birth certificate is through your own state. There is a complete list of where to write for vital records here.
To order a copy of your Social Security card you can find a Social Security Office location nearest you.
You may also need to apply for or renew your passport.
Also make sure you obtain important vaccination records. This can be done through your doctor.
Okay...so that was easy right? And I bet you feel really organized this week. I hope you are enjoying these challenges and feeling super satisfied with all the things you are checking-off your list! Yay!
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
My husband and I have tried all sorts of methods for budgeting. Free software, a spreadsheet, a printed piece of paper and even envelopes with cash! We absolutely believe in living within our means and always have, but couldn't find the exact right tool to make it SUPER EASY. It was always a chore...
Our financial planner (thanks Kellie!) introduced us to this amazing website and software program called You Need a Budget.com (YNAB for short). We absolutely LOVE it.
I also want to say that I do not have any affiliation with this company and am not being compensated for this review. This is just something I love and want to share with you all! I even thought about creating a cute budgeting printable etc. but I just don't believe in that system. The way this software is run from your desktop but syncs with your phone(s) makes it so effortless. I wouldn't control my money any other way. Seriously.
I've created a short tutorial below to introduce you to their site. I am not claiming to know everything about their software, but they make it really easy to learn their method and download a free 34 day trial of their product that I suggest everyone try to see if it works for you! If you like it you can then purchase it for $60. Totally worth the investment in my opinion.
Watch my tutorial below:
short tutorial for You Need A Budget.com right here...
Read the four-step method that YNAB teaches you here:
I also love the site because they offer free classes that you can take online and also a free 9-day course that they send to your email
I don't feel like I can teach you how to create and manage a perfect budget in this blog post...but I really believe this product can do this. Try it out and see what you think. Let me know how you like it and if you find that it works for you!
Good luck this week! And feel free to email me with any comments or questions on my experience with the product!
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
This week we are going to focus on getting together a ready-for-anything car kit. Don't stop reading this! I promise it isn't too overwhelming and it is SO USEFUL! Having these items in my trunk has saved me more times than I can count! Start even just by getting a few of the things and then when you are at the store each week grab a couple extra things to add to your kit. Before you know it you will have a fully-stocked ready-for-anything car kit.
This kit of course works great for any type of emergency, but it also works great for those non-emergencies too! Like when you forget your wallet and have to stop at the store...you'll have cash in your trunk. Or forgot snacks and you are stuck watching soccer games all day...you'll have water and snacks in your trunk too. Or what if your credit card stops working in the middle of a roadtrip? You'll have enough cash to fill-up your car and get you where you need to go. (This just happened to my sister...luckily it was just after Christmas and she had been given some cash as a stocking stuffer). Just remember to replace whatever you've used when you get home. And of course this also doubles as an emergency kit for anything. You could simply grab it out of your car and go.
Below I've created a printable guideline for you to use in preparing your Car Kit(s). Keep it in your household binder. Use this list to stay up-to-date on expiration dates on food or other items and to remind yourself of what your checklist is missing. I also have switched to a few MRE items because I got sick of switching-out other food that got old too quickly. I chose to put in MRE Bread, peanut butter and jelly because I know my kids would eat that if they had to. I also included some fruit juices and boxed MRE applesauce and fruit, plus regular granola bars and canned fruit. But don't feel like you have to use MRE food...just make sure to switch out your food regularly if you aren't using something prepared for longer shelf-life.
CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE CAR KIT PRINTABLE
And it doesn't have to take up a ton of space either! Everything you see below I shoved into one of those free diaper bags from the hospital. Bet you are wishing you wouldn't have thrown yours away now huh! Ha ha!
And if you don't want to put all this together for yourself, below is an Roadwise Emergency Car Kit from Emergency Essentials.com currently selling for $38.95. This would be a good start and then you could add snacks and juices, blankets etc. yourself. I would recommend using snacks and items you know your family will eat.
100 piece first-aid kit that sells for $7.50
100-Hour Plus candles for $4.95. Safe to use indoors, clean-burning, odorless and smokeless. Great to have for an emergency.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
|(I'll be posting a tutorial on how I created my cute matchstick people later this week)|
Creating an emergency plan can feel overwhelming and scary. For many It is uncomfortable to think about these kind of things...but we can totally do this. The reality is you will probably never need this! EVER! But I totally believe that when you are prepared you have less anxiety and fear (which I often get about these types of things) regarding emergency situations. And knowing you are PREPARED will save you from sleepless nights. Promise.
I know you start thinking about how stressful it will be and how much you need to prepare etc. etc. But don't worry! We can totally do this together. I'm going to break it up in to several different weeks to help you accomplish each task. This week is an easy one. You simply need to print-off a few things and fill them out. You can totally do this!
First, sit-down and have a family meeting to fill-out your family emergency plan sheet. You can download my free Family Emergency Planning Sheet here.
When you are finished filling-out the form make several copies of your completed Family Plan and keep them in a secure location. (Please remember the sheets include social security numbers so you need to keep them safe.) Put it in one of the sheet protectors you bought for your binder or simply use a hole punch. Choose a tab (I picked tab #8 because it is red...obviously) in your binder and write "emergency prep" or "preparedness" or "emergency". Whatever floats your boat.
The next step is to fill-out and cut-out my free Family Emergency Plan wallet cards for each member of your family. These will be perfect for your wallet or child's backpack etc. (I didn't leave a space for social security numbers on these cards to keep that information secure).
I also left a space on where you can add a family photo to each card. This is especially useful for family identification. You can either use a photo editing software and add the photo before you print it, or simply print out (on paper) and glue it on. I recommend circling the named individual on each card. So for example if I was filling-out Stella's card I would add our family photo but then circle Stella's photo on that card. Make sense?
Download Family Wallet Cards Here
So that is it this week! See...I promised it is totally doable! Over this 52 week challenge we will continue to build our emergency plan and before you know it you will be totally set!
Email me to let me know what you think of the challenge and how it is going for you. Any suggestions or things you want to see on here? Just let me know. Thank you for all your support and positive feedback. Makes me feel like I am doing the right thing and providing useful tools for you and your life!
Sunday, February 9, 2014
fun printable for conversation heart sorting and graphing as a free download. The original idea came from a printed paper I had but couldn't find the download for. The kids loved this and loved being able to take all the extra candies and put them in their goody bags. You can download it here.
Stella chose these little mazes and a chocolate...I found this cute maze printable here...and I love how they did it on kraft paper. I just ran out of time with all the party planning.
Above: tiny water bottles looked so cute with the labels removed. Then I added a little heart sticker on top and a cute striped straw with stickers I added from the Target dollar spot.
The strawberry applesauce below is the Target brand. It worked perfectly because the lids were already red and I just added a few heart stickers (from the Target dollar spot section).
The kids did a really great job graphing the candy and coloring the squares. I think they also loved eating them all up after the activity.
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
I love Valentine's Day. All the pink and red hearts, frilly sugar cookies and exchanging love notes make it one of my favorite holidays. And with all those hearts, what could be better to talk about this month than to keep someone's heart pumpin'? This week your challenge is to learn CPR! This could be one of the most important things you can ever do. The American Heart Association reminds that: "Put very simply: The life you save with CPR is mostly likely to be someone you love."
So your challenge this week is to sign-up for a CPR class and learn what you need to do...it could help you save a life. I myself do not know CPR and am not suggesting that this post is enough knowledge...so please use these tools to get the education and training you need!
Below I have included a tutorial for redcross.org. They have an amazing website where you can sign-up for classes (both online courses and classroom/online combination courses). You can even sign-up your babysitter for a course! Red Cross courses are available with certification (around $100) or without (around $30).
Below is a short tutorial to share a few of the features I found on redcross.org:
Some of the classes that looked most useful to me:
Family First Aid (Online Course - does not include official certification) $30
Babysitters Training (Online Course - does not include official certification) $25
Adult & Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED Training (online and classroom - includes certification) $110
I feel that these classes are vital to anyone with small children as well as anyone who cares for my small children! Probably time to get Grandma and Grandpa in a class as well.
The American Heart Association also has both online and classroom courses. It seems that they have a greater variety of locations available so find a course here. There could be something right around the corner from your home.
Another amazing free resource are the American Red Cross apps you can download on your iPhone or Android from iTunes or Google Play
The First Aid app is really great because it includes an emergency section that you can click-on that includes step-by-step instruction if you are in emergency and also connects to 911. You should certainly check-these out and download them so you'll always have them handy! They have a tornado, earthquake, hurricane, shelter, wildfire, pet first aid and swim app as well.
I do not have my CPR certification and would suggest that we all get this done! I wish you a happy week full of lots of love! I'm getting ready for my little girls school Valentine's Day party and have conversation heart stickers all over the place! Let me know how this challenge is coming along for you and follow me on instagram @things_i_should_do for giveaways.
And in case you were wondering the pretty felt balls I used for my photographs are from Hello Maypole!