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Parents don’t need anyone to tell you how hard it is to keep a clean house while your kids are still young—you already know all about it. Sometimes, it may seem like the task is impossible. Don’t give up, though. We’re here to help. Keep reading for some tips on how to keep your house clean even when its default state is chaos.

Sanitize Everything

If someone in your house has been sick, eliminating all traces of germs in your house is imperative. Even if everyone has been healthy lately, you can take steps to try and keep it that way by regularly sanitizing your environment. If you have babies who are formula-fed, then it is imperative to clean their milk bottles and then use a sterilizer to blitz the germs.

Armed with disinfectant spray, bleach, and cotton balls, tackle every place in your house that gets touched frequently—doorknobs, countertops, handles, levers, etc. Make sure that you have a set schedule for washing and drying bedding as well.

Don’t forget about objects that often come into contact with germ hotbeds, like toothbrushes, dishes, and tissue. Throw out the garbage, wash whatever’s reusable, and regularly change out the rest.

Staying Environmentally Sensitive

If eco-friendliness is a priority for you, just remember that vinegar and baking soda can marvelously clean pretty much anything. Also, check to see if your community has a recycling day for toxic and electronic items so that you can make sure they’re safely discarded.

Little things like making sure that shoes are cleaned on a doormat and not worn around the house can also go a long way towards stopping filth before it passes through your door in the first place.

Get Preemptively Organized

Although it takes a little extra effort upfront, organizing your house in a way that anticipates mess can save a lot of time and tears. Color code your files in your cabinet so that you don’t have to squint at the labels, keep items in pocketed wall hangings (and teach your kids to return the items to them), and designate a small space specifically for dropping everyday things.

Reusing items like peg boards, Tic Tac boxes, extra hangers, jars, and plastic bottles can be lifesavers for storage purposes. That way, you can cut down on trash and keep everything straight at the same time.

Your kids can help, too. If you make cleanliness a game for them or come up with a reward system, they may be more inclined to pick up after themselves.

Get Creative

Dare to think outside the box. Rise to the challenge of keeping a clean house and happy children all at once. Let us know if you have any other tips you’d like to share, too.

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The Widow has been compared to Gone Girl just about everywhere that books are talked about. So of course, I NEEDED to read this book.

While this is an interesting thriller and does have some twists and turns, I think the comparison to Gone Girl is unearned.

Jeannie is our main character. A mouse of a woman who stood by her husband even though he was accused of a terrible crime, kidnapping and murdering a two year old girl. But now her husband is dead. And she wants to tell her story.

I enjoyed this book, but I never felt fully engaged in the story. It wasn't a page turner I couldn't put down. And I think that is for two reasons. One – Jeannie is so mousy and I just can't get on board with her. I don't feel any empathy for her. She is an unlikeable heronie. Two – There was a lack of surprise throughout the book. Every twist, every turn was predictable.

This is a nice, watered-down thriller. Some of the minor characters were my favorites, like Eileen, the detective's wife and Kate, the reporter. If you are looking for an easy, lazy Sunday read, then this is a great choice. If you are looking for the next Gone Girl, this just can't compare.

3 Stars

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If you have a child between the ages of 0 and 18, you are probably worried about screen time. Whether it be a phone, computer, TV, tablet or video game, we’re all guilty of occasionally (or always) spending too much time consuming media and of letting our children do the same. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under 18 months have no screen time, with only one hour per day for children between 2 and 5 years old, and no more than two hours a day for all other kids.

In reality, 29 percent of babies under one are watching TV and videos for an average of 90 minutes a day, children between 2 and 5 average two point two hours per day and 8 to 18 year olds consume more than seven hours a day, according to a campaign for a commercial-free childhood. The dangers of too much screen time range from increased childhood obesity, sleep problems, and learning delays. Like most parents, you are most likely aware of the issues, but not sure how to correct what can be an unwieldy problem. Here are six suggestions for implementing a two-fold solution; reducing use and encouraging alternative activity.

Set a Good Example

This one is easier said that done, but is so incredibly important. From the earliest age, kids are modeling their behavior off of their parents, so the more time you spend looking at your phone, checking email and watching TV, the more you normalize that behavior. If you set limits for your kids, you should also honor those limits when you are with them.

Set Time Limits

To that end, you have to set time limits for your kids. Children are mesmerized by TV and internet videos from the youngest age and it only becomes more tempting the more access they have and the older they get. Set a rule that embraces the AAP guidelines of two hours of screen time a day and then, and this is the important part: enforce the rule.

Schedule Screen-Free Time

Make some spaces and times screen-free. There should be some times and places where all screens are off limits. Making a rule that there will be no screens on during meals (that includes your phone) will give you a chance to talk as a family without the TV or phones as a distraction. Also consider taking all screens out of your children’s bedroom. This will not only help you monitor any internet activity but cut down on their TV viewing time. Kids with TVs in their rooms watch an hour and a half more a day.

Insist on Sharing

Make devices shared devices. To the extent possible, given your child’s age and needs, make things like gaming devices, tablets, computers family property.

Provide Alternative Activities

Screens are such an easy form of entertainment for all of us that we often forget that there are alternatives. Help your kids come up with other options. If the weather is too cold or rainy, suggest an art project or board game. However, if it’s at all possible, encourage your kids to get outside. More than just being away from screens, time outside has very real health benefits for children. Among many other benefits, outdoor play decreases obesity, raises levels of Vitamin D and lowers stress levels.

A Family Affair

As with all things, you are the role model. Active parents are more likely to have active kids. Plan an outdoor family activity for at least one day of every weekend, from going for a bike ride, to hiking, to flying kites, to exploring a local park. Make your backyard an inviting place for kids to play before and after school with sports equipment, outdoor art supplies, or even a trampoline with a safety enclosure that is big enough for the whole family to get in on the fun.

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I love a good historical fiction book. The Velvet Hours is set in Paris on the brink of German occupation. Goodreads says, "Inspired by the true account of an abandoned Parisian apartment, Alyson Richman brings to life Solange, the young woman forced to leave her fabled grandmother’s legacy behind to save all that she loved."

There are two main characters in this book. Solange and Marthe de Florian.

Solange is 100% relatable. She is trying to find her place in this world, but doesn't want to just be average. We can pretty much all relate to that. She meets her grandmother Marthe de Florian who begins to tell her story to Solange. Marthe is less relatable because she is rather self-absorbed. She was a courtesan and has spent her life surrounding herself with beauty. Time stands still in her apartment and it seems untouched by the outside world. It is a good contract to the reality that Solange faces outside the apartment every day.

It is somewhat jarring to move back and forth in time as well as back and forth from this dreamlike apartment to the reality of WWII looming. But that's really the point of the transitions.

I truly enjoyed this book right up until the very end. I felt as if the ending was wrapped up too quickly. Then again, it could just be that I didn't want it to be over.

If you are a fan of historical fiction with a romantic side, this book is definitely for you.

3 Stars

 

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You’re the luckiest in the world if you have an affectionate mom, and there’s no way she can be thanked enough for being the reason of your existence. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Presenting her with thoughtful gifts is the best way to show her how much she means to you.

Don’t look into the wallet, you don’t need hundreds of dollars to buy her a gift. You see, that’s the thing about mothers, they don’t need expensive commodities! Even a single flower from you can make her day.

Want to gift your mom something special even though you’re under a tight budget? You’ll be surprised to know how many gift options are available under $20 to express your love.

Here are some exclusive options to select from:

1.    The Personalized Approach

Nothing speaks of your emotions better than personalized gifts. They’re exclusive, thoughtful, and remind your mother of you every time she looks at them. The good thing is that personalized gifts are easily available with quite a good number of options under $20. Whether it’s a bespoke keychain with your photo, a monogrammed diary, or a coffee mug with a special message for her, she’ll love unwrapping a gift customized by you just for her. Hit the Internet and check out a few amazing personalized gift options for mothers.

2.    Think about Her Den – the Kitchen

If she spends a lot of her time in the kitchen, gifting her a thoughtful present to help her in the scullery makes complete sense. The happy hostess of your life needs the right tools to cook amazing dishes for you. Try kitchenware for her. You can find amazing options in the kitchen appliances section within $20. Further, giving her a book with sumptuous, easy-to-cook recipes is a great way of helping her with planning the weekly menu. Even a personalized apron with a cute message will bring a smile on her face every time she wears it.

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3.    Something for Your Net-Savvy Mom

Electronic gadgets and accessories are year-round buys and always needed. Believe it or not, there are numerous tech accessories to buy under $20 for your mom. These inexpensive accessories assist in making her day-to-day computing easier. Whether it is to charge multiple devices at the same time or to keep her stuff uncluttered and safe, a few small accessories can make a huge difference.  Consider gifting her a Bluetooth keyboard that allows her to work on her tablet easily, or a portable power bank ensuring her phone never goes out-of-charge. Browse a little and you’ll find great technology gift options for her.

4.    Refresh Her Memories

Every moment spent with your mom is a moment to cherish, and some priceless flashes can let her know that she means the world to you. Gifting a collage of such utterly nostalgic moments or a personalized photo frame with her delightful picture will make her day every time she looks at it. Custom photo albums that narrate a story through some great pictures or just random clicks of the entire family will come within $20 and still be exceptional.

5.    Add to Her Hobby of Home Decor

A hobby common to every mom relates to decorating her home. Gift her something that adds beauty to her household. Her home is where her heart lies and gifting a piece that accentuates the splendor of her home can never go wrong. From garden accessories, decorative candles, and pretty wall decors to table linen and decorative vases, the options are innumerable. Be creative, choose the colors and patterns she likes and suit your home as well. Moms love it when you care about how the house looks.

6.    The Gift of Time

A little of your time is what her heart yearns for. She’ll be okay if you can’t take her to a fancy dinner because a late-night coffee date with your mom is enough to lift her spirit for days. A mother devotes her entire life to her family. The least we can do is give her some of our time. If you can’t bridge the distance for now, give her a bit of ‘me’ time with herself. Book her a spa or a parlor session that allows her to pamper herself for a while.

Conclusion

Your mother is the one who teaches you the act of giving selflessly. She never waits for an occasion to do something special for you, and you shouldn’t either. The gift of love doesn’t come with a price tag. Think no more, anything you gift her will make your mother happy because you matter to her the most and there’s nobody quite like mom.

Author Bio

Korie Cantor is a writer who writes about living and lifestyle. She possesses a great sense of style and loves to share her thoughts about fashion and it’s latest trends. Follow her @koriecantor

 

 

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Project 10 pan update

February 6, 2017

in Beauty,Videos

I’ve used up 4/10 products so far.

Project 10 pan

 

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What if you woke up one day and your life wasn't yours. You are still you, but everything else is different. You are in an entirely different world.

That's exactly what happens to Jason Dessen in Dark Matter.

It's difficult to talk much about the story without giving too much away. So I'll tell you what I can then you just have to go read this book.

This is a thriller that will make you question everything. I don't just mean your life, I mean EVERYTHING. Every decision you make. Every step you take. Everything you love. Everything you hate. Everything you take for granted. Every dream you ever had.

What makes you happy? And what will you go through to have what makes you happy?

There is a lot of high level science in this book, but it's not science-fiction and the science is easily accessible for those of us who aren't geniuses. The book is fast-paced and a quick read because it just pulls you along effortlessly.

It's better in this review that I tell you less and let you experience more. You just have to trust me on this and jump on this wild ride.

4stars

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Log homes, cape cods, colonial style homes… The kind of homes one could build literally falls under a never-ending list. While beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, the aesthetic outlook of a home is not the only feature a home owner should be focusing on. With the financial health of economies and the housing market looming ever so often, the amount of money being pumped into building a home needs urgent consideration as well. The common misunderstanding, however, is that quality is compromised when the wallet is tight. This is where making informed choices comes in handy.

Energy efficient

Concrete homes are often made using a system known as Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF) where concrete is poured into insulating agents such as panels. This system that is being adopted when constructing this style of homes allows for the overall household to save on energy and heating costs.

Homes built using concrete require an average of 25% less energy in both warm and cool climates as compared to other forms of housing. Although architects may warn that the construction of concrete houses may be a little higher, it is only but an initial concern since cost-savings are made on a literal day-to-day basis where one gets to save a significant amount of money on extensive heating in harsh winters and air-conditioning in warmer times.

Weather resistant

Storms and hurricanes with high wind speeds and strengths are always a concern for home owners, especially if the region is prone to such natural calamities. However, owners of a concrete home can set their hearts at considerable ease knowing that concrete walls are proven to be able to easily manage wind code requirements of even 146mph.

In the event of such natural disasters, homes built out of concrete can be counted on to stand sturdy while providing reliable shelter to the family for a significant time period. As compared to wood homes which often offer little to no protection in such times, a concrete house is more than just a budget-friendly option.

Low maintenance costs

Over the long run, maintaining the quality and livability of a household takes both effort and money. Cleaning and maintaining the outlook and interiors of a house is not an easy task nor is it avoidable. This being said, one other benefit of a home built using concrete is how lowthe maintenance costs can be expected to be from time to time. Mold, fungus and even insects are known to be common household problems that often are not easy to resolve. Houston Ready Mix never has any issues with continued home maintenance. This concrete expert enjoys the stability of providing materials which ensure durable, long-lasting homes.

Having said this, a great cost saving of a concrete home is the virtual non-existence of such problems due to the very nature of concrete itself. This strong composite material does not allow for mold or fungus to grow and does not attract or encourage the breeding of insects such as termites. Spending large sums of money to engage the services of pest busters or extensive cleaning up of the house will no longer be a concern should one own a house made of concrete. In fact, here are a few tips on how to make your house a home.

Less expensive insurance policy

Housing insurance policy is something home owners always fear and shun. The premiums on these policies are no simple sum and can skyrocket based on the kind of house built, the neighborhood, susceptibility to natural disasters and especially fire. This is where concrete steps in to seal a lower premium on housing insurance policies.

It may not be known to all but it is a given fact that concrete is fire resistant, making it not only a budget-friendly material to build a home out of but also a safe one. Due to this characteristic of the material, the premiums on a housing insurance policy fall significantly. Coupled with the other benefits of concrete housing such as protection from pests and natural disasters, the home insurance can be potentially bought at an even cheaper amount, much to the delight of future home owners on a budget.

Concrete is where it’s at

Every home owner has a vision of how his or her ideal home should be and what look it should entail. While this may be the case, it is not necessarily a given to sacrifice the aesthetic component of a home when operating under a budget. Houses built out of concrete just look like any other regular house down the street but offer various pluses as mentioned above.

Concrete is merely the structural material that forms the development of the building but can be adapted to suit the tastes and preferences of home owners, all but for a much cheaper sum as compared to a similar style of home but built out of a different material. Concrete homes can offer affordability to future home owners on a budget but more than this, are also capable of introducing comfort and safety.

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Boxycharm this month was an interesting collection with some real hits and some terrible misses.

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Becoming an adult is the classic “grass is always greener” scenario. When we're young, we pine away for the days when we’ll be grown up and seemingly able to do, eat and watch whatever we want. But, now that we've officially entered into the realms of adulthood, we may wish to go back to the often carefree days of our youth.

While you might feel at times like you're still a kid inside the body of a grownup — and find the challenges of “adulting” difficult — you can still embrace your life as a grownup, while still honoring your inner child. Check out the following tips that will help you do just that:

Trade in Impulse Buying for Planned Shopping

When you were a kid, you might have taken your allowance money and immediately spent every penny on candy or toys. While it can still be fun to splurge on things that you want instead of need, as an adult, it’s important to spend your hard-earned money a bit more wisely. Rather than heading to the mall on payday to shop ‘til you drop, think about what essentials you really need to keep on hand — and have fun shopping for those.

A great example is essential clothing items. Stock up your favorite jeans, capri pants and those oh-so comfy T-shirts you wear on your days off. Or, instead of buying some gadget that will ultimately end up collecting dust on your shelf, spring for an extra set of tires for your car. Websites like TireBuyer have a great selection of tires at affordable prices — and they will deliver them right to your door. Other essential items to stock up on include batteries, light bulbs, paper products and more. If you notice any of these on sale, buy some extras and use your savings for an occasional splurge.

Put Away Your Phone at Bedtime

Your smartphone, tablet and laptop are chock full of short-wavelength blue light — the same type of light found in the morning sunlight that helps us wake up. As Entreprenuer notes, if you consistently catch up on texts or watch a movie on your laptop before bed, the blue light is probably messing with your body’s ability to produce melatonin and get a decent quality of sleep.

To embrace your inner adult, put these devices away after dinner and return to the days of your youth when you enjoyed a good book or maybe some relaxing coloring before bedtime. Choose books that you want to read — not only those you feel are “good” for you — and stock up on a few grown-up coloring books, magic markers and colored pencils. Your adult body will thank you for the better nights of sleep — and your inner child will feel like it has traveled back in time.

Start a Retirement Savings Account

Retirement might seem like it’s light years away, but do your adult self a favor and start planning for it now. As All Day notes, most people start setting aside money for the future when it’s too late, so talk to a banker about starting an IRA, and if your employer offers a 401K plan, sign up for it.

While you're busy saving for your golden years of retirement, honor your inner kiddo by buying a bright and cheery piggy bank and putting all of your change into it. At the end of a month or two, count up what’s in there and spend it on something fun, like maybe a dinner and movie night with your spouse or a good friend.

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Have you ever wondered what type of dog is the right breed for you? Check out this flowchart to find the perfect dog for your household.
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If you are having a problem with pests in your home you may be wondering whether it's best to employ barrier control or baiting to resolve it. The answer to that question is not completely straightforward. The method of control that is chosen is often dictated by the details of the individual situation. If you speak to a Corpus Christi exterminator they will put their experience and expertise to use advising you on the best solution for your particular problem.

We are going to take a look at what they might tell you about both means of pest control. Hopefully, this information will be of help when it comes to making a decision regarding pest control in your property.

Using a liquid barrier

If you want to protect your home against pests such as termites you may want to consider using a liquid barrier solution. This type of solution is used to treat the soil around and under your home. If there is concrete present this may involve drilling through the concrete to gain access. This drilling can take place both inside and outside of your property and it can be a disruptive process.

The good thing about barrier protection is that it can work at a quicker pace than using baits; this because it can obviously take time for pests to locate and feast on baits. If you need a quick solution to your pest problem then using a liquid barrier may be a good idea.

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Using baits to get rid of pests

Baits are definitely a less intrusive means of pest control; there is none of the drilling and upheaval that can sometimes be associated with using a liquid barrier. One thing you do need to consider is that the use of baits normally necessitates more visits from the pest control experts. This is because baits need to be replaced and pest activity needs to be checked.

This usually means that pest control using baits is the more expensive option. You should not let this put you off as this might be the most appropriate method for your circumstances.

As you can see, there are two very different methods which can be used to control pest activity in your home. Both of these methods can have effective results so you should really trust the pest control professionals when it comes to deciding which method will work better in your circumstances.

One thing you should never do is just leave pest control to chance. Pests such as termites can cause a considerable amount of damage if you allow them to infest your home. It's always better to have regular checks carried out and invest in a pest control method that will work for your property, if you do this you can have the peace of mind of knowing that your property is protected. You should not be faced with the trauma and cost of damage caused by pests.

 

 

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I have wanted to give planning in a traveler's notebook a try for quite some time and I am LOVING it!

 

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When it comes to skincare treatments, the options are practically limitless. However, there are certain tried and true methods that the majority of people turn to when they need help with their skin. Among those methods are laser treatments and Dermaroller devices.

Differences Between Laser Treatment and Dermaroller

Much like laser treatments, Dermaroller procedures have many uses in the skincare industry. However, those uses vary a bit. For example, lasers are typically used for precise treatments of a small area of skin, such as the treatment of a small scar or wrinkle. Although, there are some types of lasers that treat the skin as a whole by getting down into the deeper layers and encouraging cellular repairs through the use of the body's own natural collagen.

Dermaroller procedures can both encourage collagen and increase general blood flow to certain areas of the skin. For those and similar reasons, Dermaroller can sometimes be effective at regrowing hair in balding areas, while skincare lasers equipment is usually used to get rid of unwanted body hair.

Dermaroller and Laser Treatment Similarities to Consider

Even though they are used in opposite ways in the world of hair removal or growth, lasers and Dermaroller procedures can treat similar skin conditions as well. For example, both can be used to treat wrinkles and scars in certain situations. Both can also be used to remove blemishes on the skin's surface. Additionally, Dermaroller devices and laser machines can both be used to create delivery conduits for creams and lotions that can fortify your skin's defenses.

How the Dermaroller Process and the Laser Process Differ

Another way in which the Dermaroller and laser processes differ dramatically is in how the actual appointment is conducted. If you make a Dermaroller appointment at your local clinic, they won't be treating you with a light or heat-based device like a laser. Instead, you will be treated by a technician who will roll a hand-held roller device across your skin. That device will be covered in teeny tiny needles, which will break through your skin during the rolling process.

Obviously, having your skin punctured by a bunch of tiny needles sounds painful, but your technician will reduce the pain by numbing the area first. Nevertheless, you should expect a little temporary bleeding or oozing during and directly after the treatment. That's why, even though at-home Dermaroller kits are sold in stores, many people would rather have someone else treat them in a clinical setting, as opposed to treating themselves.

Dermaroller's Healing Process and What Results to Expect

When you have a Dermaroller treatment, you should expect it to be the first of many. You probably won't see the full results that you want immediately. However, that doesn't mean that you should schedule multiple appointments close together. The reality is that your skin could take a few weeks, or even over a month to heal itself fully after one treatment. Only when it is healed up properly should you go in for a second appointment.

If the Dermaroller process still sounds confusing, the best course of action is to schedule a consultation at your local skincare clinic that offers micro-needling through the use of a Dermaroller device. The clinicians there should be able to assess your skin and explain exactly what type of treatment you need. They can even give you a rough idea of how many appointments you will need and how spread out they should be.

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Project 10 Pan

January 5, 2017

in Beauty,Videos

I decided to start the new year off with a Project 10 Pan. This is a project pan where I will be trying to completely use up 10 makeup products.

 

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(Family Features) Families across America want to make sure that they’re starting the day strong, and getting enough high-quality protein in the morning is a simple way to do so. A breakfast with protein is a great way to energize the morning, and adding it to your family’s routine doesn’t have to be complicated.

Simply add an 8-ounce glass of milk with 8 grams of natural protein plus other essential nutrients to your favorite breakfast foods for an easy, delicious way to help meet your morning protein goals.

Kids already love milk and it’s a naturally nutrient-rich, wholesome food that moms can feel good about pairing with breakfast. Plus, experts recommend 25-30 grams of protein for adults at every meal – so getting a high-protein breakfast, including milk, gives moms the energy they need to cross everything off their to-do lists. Parenting expert, pediatrician and mom of three, Dr. Tanya Altmann, recommends serving milk at breakfast for a source of high-quality protein in the morning.

“The morning is a great time to bring the family together and start the day off with a tasty breakfast. As a mom of three, I need breakfast options that are quick and easy but also nutritious,” Dr. Altmann said. “Serving my children whole-grain cereal and milk, healthy oatmeal with fruit or a smoothie made with milk guarantees that my family will get high-quality protein and other essential nutrients to start their day off strong.”

Bring a smile to your child’s face with this charming twist on a breakfast standard. Simply make instant oats with familiar flavors – cinnamon, vanilla and brown sugar – and top the bowl with a friendly bunny face. For more recipes and ideas, visit MilkLife.com.

Bunny-Faced Microwave Oatmeal
Recipe courtesy of Tiffany Edwards of Creme de la Crumb

  • 1/3       cup instant oats
  • 3/4       cup fat free milk
  • 1/4       teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4       teaspoon vanilla                                                           
  • 1          teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2/3       small banana
  • 2          fresh blueberries
  • 1/2       small strawberry
  • chocolate syrup (optional)
  1. In microwave-safe bowl, stir together oats, milk, cinnamon, vanilla and brown sugar. Microwave on high 30 seconds-1 minute and stir.
  2. Cut banana in half crosswise. Cut 1 1/8-inch thick coin slices from flat end of each banana half. Place slices in upper-third of oatmeal bowl, side-by-side, to make eyes. Top with 1 blueberry on each banana slice.
  3. Place remaining banana halves at the top of the bowl, hanging off edge, to create ears.
  4. Place strawberry in the middle of the bowl to make the nose then drizzle chocolate, if desired, to make mouth and whiskers.
  5. Serve with 8-ounce glass of milk.

Nutritional information per serving: 320 calories; 2 g fat; 0 g saturated fat; 10 mg cholesterol; 18 g protein; 59 g carbohydrates; 5 g fiber; 190 mg sodium; 550 mg calcium (60% of daily value). Nutrition figures based on using fat free milk, and include an 8-ounce glass of milk.

SOURCE:
MilkPEP

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I have decided to do a Pan that Palette for 2017. Actually, I'm going to try to pan two palettes.

 

The first is Too Faced Matte Eyes

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The second is Urban Decay Ammo

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Check out the video for more details. And for a special giveaway!

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY HERE – Urban Decay Ammo Palette Giveaway

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Looking for a vacation to escape the cold? Try out a timeshare resale rental in popular vacation destinations like New Orleans, Branson and Orlando. Timeshare resale rentals are available online for as little as $100 for one week! Great for those who’ve had their bank accounts drained from all that Christmas shopping.

How is this possible?

More than 9 million people own timeshare in the United States. Occasionally these owners aren’t interested in using their timeshare and would prefer to rent it out for some extra cash instead. Since the timeshare owner will be renting the timeshare out themselves without the help of their resort they’re often willing to offer a rental price well below market value. This is how you can save some serious money!

The Deals

BuyaTimeshare.com has been in business since 2000 and has assembled thousands of timeshare ads on its website from existing timeshare owners looking to sell timeshare now.  A search on their website shows the following deals in New Orleans, Branson and Orlando available now.

New Orleans

Wyndham New Orleans at Avenue Plaza Hotel & Pro Spa – $100 for one week in a standard unit. This resort is in the Garden District near the St. Charles street car, which takes passengers to New Orleans’ most famous attractions including the French Quarter, Jackson Square and more. Amenities at this resort include a swimming pool, hot tub, rooftop sundeck, on-site restaurant and more.

Club La Pension – $500 for one week in a standard unit. This newly remodeled and refurbished resort is in a prime location of the French Quarter. It’s lite on amenities, but does have a rooftop deck.

Branson

Wyndham Branson at The Meadows – $350 for one week in a standard unit. Located near Branson's famous 76 Strip, you’ll be close to Branson’s top shows and attractions. This resort is perfect for families and offers swimming pools, fitness room, game room, BBQ area, hot tubs, basketball courts and more.

Holiday Inn Club Vacations Holiday Hills – $300 for one week. 2-bedroom 2-bathroom unit. This resort is located on a golf course and offers amenities such as an arcade room, pool, fitness center, hot tubs, tennis courts and more.

Orlando

Westgate Leisure Resort – One week for $500. 2-bedroom 2-bathroom unit. This resort is just 10- to 15- minutes from Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld. Amenities include pools, hot tubs, fitness center, volleyball court, game room and more.

Westgate Palace – One week for $400. 2-bedroom 2-bathroom unit. This lakeside property is located near Universal Studios® theme park and Islands of Adventure ®. Amenities include a heated outdoor pool, pool bar, hot tub and more.

As you may have noticed, many of these timeshares are 2-bedroom 2-bathroom units. Perfect for families, traveling couples and any type of larger group.

If you’re not interested in any of these locations, that’s ok. BuyaTimeshare.com has ads from owners all over the world looking to sell or rent out their timeshare. Just submit your offer on an ad, wait for a response from the owner, and enjoy your cheap vacation. If you have any questions please feel free to ask them in the comment section below.

 

 

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I didn't reach my goal of reading 30 books in 2016. I only read 23. I was terrible at posting reviews. So I will put up reviews for the books I haven't yet. I will also link to those reviews I have done.

2017 Goals:

I am going to aim for 30 books again in 2017. I want to finish the Discovery of Witches Trilogy and the Dan Brown books. I would also like to read some more of The Hollows series. I also have on my shelf The Other Einstein, What Remains of Me, Dark Matter, Midnight Texas, and several others. I also have the goal of posting reviews when I finish a book a not a year later!

Books read in 2016

What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman

w492001

The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz

The Girl in the Spider's Web

Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America by Jill Levoy

Ghettoside

Pretty Girls by Karen Slaughter

Pretty Girls

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

My Name is Lucy Barton

No One Knows by J.T. Ellison

No One Knows

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskins

The Life We Bury

The Night Charter by Sam Hawken

The Night Charter

Remember Me This Way by Sabine Durant

Remember Me This Way

Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

I Let You Go

The Widow by Fiona Barton

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Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica

Don't You Cry

The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

The Paying Guests

For a Few Demons More by Kim Harrison

For a Few Demons More

Bones Never Lie by Kathy Reichs

Bones Never Lie

Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs

Speaking in Bones

Bones on Ice by Kathy Reichs

Bones on Ice

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

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The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown

The DaVinci Code

The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman

The Velvet Hours

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

Angels and Demons

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Ipsy December 2016

December's Ipsy Glam Bag was pretty good.

The bag

Ipsy December 2016

NYX Prismatic Eyeshadow in  Punk Heart $6

NYX Prismatic Eyeshadow in Punk Heart

REN Clean Skincare Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask Full Size $55, Sample Value $13.50

REN Clean Skincare Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask

Marc Anthony True Professional Nourishing Argan Oil of Morocco Deep Hydrating Treatment $3

Marc Anthony True Professional Nourishing Argan Oil of Morocco Deep Hydrating Treatment

Josie Maran Cosmetics Argan Enlightenment Illuminizer Full Size $26, Sample Value $12

Josie Maran Cosmetics Argan Enlightenment Illuminizer

Ciaté London Liquid Velvet Matte Liquid Lipstick in Pin Up Full Size $19, Sample Value $6

Ciaté London Liquid Velvet Matte Liquid Lipstick in Pin Up

 

The bag cost $10 and was worth $40.50.

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Boxycharm December 2016

December 22, 2016

in Beauty,Videos

Boxycharm December 2016

I am always so stinkin' excited when my Boxycharm arrives. The box costs $21 and I always get well more than that in value.

The item I was most excited about was the eyeshadow palette I heard rumored to be in the box.

The Buff Collection from Pure Cosmetics retails for $50.

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On the left is Urban Decay's Naked 3. On the right is Pure Cosmetics Buff Collection. The only real difference is that my Urban Decay palette looks used. If you don't have Naked 3, this is a huge score. If you do have Naked 3, this probably isn't special.

The product I was the most excited about was the Butter London Nail polish in Ruby Murray. Retails for $15.

ruby_murray_300x300

The Mini Makeup Eraser is something I've seen and been curious about. Retails for $10. Does great with face makeup, but I was uncomfortable about how hard I had to scrub to get eye makeup off. It does remove it all though. It will need to be washed after every use so if you want to use this daily, expect to buy several.

makeup-eraser

Ofra liquid lipstick in Napa Valley retails for $19.90. I love the formula of Ofra liquid lipsticks, but I cna't imagine anywhere I can wear this color. Also stains your lips.

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The last item was an Iby Beauty lip liner in rosebud that retails for $14. Beautiful color. Soft pencil.

iby01-41308_rosebudpencil

This box had a $109 value. Overall pretty good box.

 

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I recently received Maybelline's Colossal Big Shot Mascara from Influenster to review. This is a product I have barely even glanced at in the drugstore because I have been extremely disappointed with all of the Maybelline mascaras I have tried in the past. Falsies, Big Eyes, Pumped Up – all huge duds.

But I'm willing to give any makeup product a try. Especially when it's free.

Maybelline Colossal Big Shot Mascara

Maybelline claims this mascara will give you 9 times the volume in one coat without clumping.

Let's be honest. Who uses just one coat of mascara?

I tested this with my standard two coats of mascara. And I'm impressed. The formula isn't too dry. It isn't too wet. You do have to wipe excess off the tip of the wand, but I have to do that with just about every mascara. But I got a lot of great volume. While this doesn't approach Too Faced Better Than Sex volume, it is a great drugstore alternative to most of the high end mascaras that claim to give lots of volume. The best part is I also get a lot of seperation from the wand. No spider lashes. But Maybelline does have a Colossal Spider Lash if that is your thing.

Blue Christmas Eye Look

See that volume and seperation? Eyeshadow is Too Faced Matte Eyes palette and Urban Decay Ammo palette.

This mascara costs $8.49 at Walgreens and has most likely replaced my holy grail daily mascara. It's so easy to use. No fancy wiggling. Just apply (two coats) and go. I also like this for my lower lashes. I havent had any problem with flaking or transferring. However, if you wear a very emoulient concealer and don't set it with powder, you will notice some transfer immediately after application.

This mascara is well worth purchasing.

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the-best-2016

These are the top articles from this blog for 2016

10. Pizza Rolls – Kid Friendly Recipe

Pizza rolls

9. Jamba Juice Orange Dream Machine Taste Alike Healthier Recipe

orange dream machine jamba juice

8. Rental Decorating – Home Office

home office

7. Chili's Cinnamon Apples

chilis cinnamon apples

6. Cooking with Campbell's – Stove Top Chicken Casserole

stove top chicken casserole

5. Rental Decorating Tips on a Budget

Rental Decorating Tips

4. Rental Decorating – Living Room

living room pillows

3. Rental Decorating – The Kitchen

small spaces kitchen

2. Rental Decorating – The Kitchen Part 2

Shade_Kitchen

1. Homemade Chips and Salsa – Daniel Fast Recipe

homemade salsa

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German Potato Salad

December 16, 2016

in Recipes

german-potato-salad

We all want to feed our children the best and healthiest meals. But let’s face it: sometimes it gets tough to find a food that our kids love, that isn’t filled with preservatives, artificial colors or flavors, and that is also packed with nutrients.

Really, does such a food actually exist? One that satisfies little tummies (and their eyes) as well as our never ending desire to do what is best for our families?               

Enter the humble potato. An excellent source of vitamin C, more potassium than a banana, a good source of vitamin B6, it’s fat, sodium and cholesterol-free and jam-packed with energy to keep your family going all day.

Summer time brings memories of barbeques, hot dogs, burgers, and of course, the classic potato salad. That’s great for warmer weather, but we went searching for a recipe that was

a little more filling, a meal on its own, that (preferably) didn’t break the bank and could be made in as few pots as possible (who has time for dishes, seriously?).

Sounds like an impossible task, but we did it! A perfect, easy lunch for a chilly day or as accompaniment to an evening meal: German potato salad. This dish caught the eye of the early American pioneers who watched fellow European immigrants create this dish and it is still popular today.

Don’t let the name fool you, German potato salad is a whole lot less like a salad (no crisp iceberg lettuce leaves, for example) and more like a meal in itself (and with a simple omission or substitution, will satisfy vegan and vegetarian families, too). It’s also fairly quick to make (minus the time spent waiting on boiling water and cooking potatoes, so start at least 30-45 minutes before you are ready to eat) and probably uses ingredients that are sitting in your kitchen cupboard right now (bonus, no added trip to the grocery store).

To recreate this recipe, you will need half a pound of bacon (leave out or add cheese if you prefer), half a large onion (finely chopped), 1/3 cup of white vinegar, ¼ cup sugar, Djon mustard. a pinch of salt, and a handful of chives for garnish. Just a note, Djon mustard does have a sharp, strong flavor so either use just a small amount to taste, omit entirely, or use a milder yellow mustard as a substitution.

Start with 6-8 good potatoes such as Yellow Finn, Yukon Gold, or red potatoes that have a higher moisture content and holds up better to chopping and tossing (with dressing).

Cut potatoes in half (to speed up cooking time), place in a pot (find the safest cookware for your kitchen here) and fill with enough cold water to completely submerge potatoes plus an additional two inches.

(Handy tip: always start by placing potatoes in cold water and then leading to a boil. Adding potatoes to already-boiling water will leave them unevenly cooked).

Add salt directly to the water (try sea, Himalayan, or Kosher salts which contain beneficial trace elements unlike table salt, which has been super-heated and any valuable ingredients destroyed) and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Don’t be tempted to leave out this step: adding salt early in the cooking process will bring out the most flavors; even adding salt to already-cooked potatoes will not have the same effect.

(Tip: Did you know that using traditional nonstick pots and pans on a high heat can destroy the nonstick coating and release toxic fumes? Always use the low and medium settings on your stove when using that nonstick cookware).

Continue cooking until potatoes are soft enough to be pierced easily with a fork (about 15 – 20 minutes); watch the potatoes carefully; over cooking potatoes will cause them to be mushy and undercooking may leave the potato inedible. Then drain water and slice cooked potatoes (caution, the inside of the potato will be hot, and steam can burn, so be careful if little hands are helping you in the kitchen).

In a separate skillet, cook the bacon (if using) until crisp. Remove bacon from pan (keep some oil in the pan), drain off excess fat on a paper towel, cool, and break into small pieces. Add onion to the fat and cook for several minutes.

Add in vinegar, sugar, mustard, and salt to the onion mixture and then once fully combined add the sliced, cooked, still-warm, potatoes to the sweet and tart mixture, and toss to coat.

Vinaigrette dressings, such as the one we have made here, go well with warm potatoes and coat them easily, and add flavor, but mayonnaise-based dressings, such as that used in traditional potato salad recipes, are best used only on cooled potatoes. Always leave potatoes to cool for at least half an hour before adding a mayonnaise will become oily.

Transfer to a safe cooking dish for serving or dish onto plates and serve immediately. Top with the bacon (if using) and garnish with the fresh, chopped chives.

Mmmm, a perfect, filling dish for your whole family; serve warm on its own, with a small salad, vegetables, or as a side dish and watch your children gobble up all the natural goodness and deliciousness of the unassuming potato. You can thank us later!

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Before you can begin planning out your brand-new kitchen, it's very important that you come up with a realistic budget. Of course, you can't do that unless you understand all of the expenses which go into that budget. It's easy to include aspects such as contractor fees, time, and materials, but there are many other hidden expenses that homeowners often forget to account for when budgeting. Needless to say, this can lead to some very rude awakenings once the project is already underway.

To help you be as prepared as possible, here are the six most often overlooked aspects of a kitchen remodeling budget. Be sure to include all six when you do your own planning.

51080095 - woman with carpenter looking at plans for new kitchen

A Cost Breakdown

Here's how the average homeowner can expect their budget to be distributed:

  • Kitchen cabinets – 40%
  • Appliances – 8%
  • Lighting – 4%
  • Labor – 20%
  • Flooring – 6%
  • Countertops – 12%
  • Wall Covering – 3%
  • Fixtures and fittings – 3%
  • Miscellaneous – 4%

As you can see, the cost of new kitchen cabinets will eat up the largest portion of your budget, but you still have a long way to go once you select those cabinets. Try to keep your expenses within these ratios, to make sure that you are not overshooting your budget, or spending too much money on the wrong aspect of your kitchen.

Relocation Expenses

Homeowners who have never gone through a kitchen renovation before may not have a grasp of just how disruptive and lengthy the process is. You will be without the use of your kitchen for months, and one of the main rooms in your home will be turned into a construction site – complete with all the dust, noise, and hazards that term implies.

In an effort to avoid this altogether, many families choose to relocate for the duration (or at least for a portion) of the remodeling project. You can do this in a number of ways: a hotel, an apartment, strategic vacation timing, or by staying with family or friends. Each of these will have some kind of expense associated with it, so remember to include those expenses in your budget.

Unexpected Construction Obstacles

Experts recommend that you have a plan to cover unexpected expenses that might come up once the kitchen remodeling contractors begin work. In some of the worst cases – such as the discovery of termite or mold damage – your repair expenses might even eclipse the cost of the renovation itself. Discoveries of that magnitude are quite rare, but not impossible. Much more common would be the finding of outdated electrical wiring, corroded plumbing, leaks, or structural issues.

Make sure you have a plan in place to come up with the money required to address these issues.  In other words, don't put every cent you can possibly borrow into the renovation. Leave yourself a lifeline in case of emergency.

Financing Options

Most homeowners choose to use a home equity loan or a home repair mortgage to cover the cost of their kitchen renovation, but there are many different options available. The most important aspect of any loan that you take out is that you understand the terms and conditions.

For example, if you plan to borrow the necessary funds out of your retirement plan, make sure you are aware of any penalties or taxes you may have to pay to do this. It could be a substantial amount of money, and if you have not budgeted for it, you might be stuck.

Another pitfall of some financing options are adjustable interest rates. The monthly payment that's perfectly affordable right now could change in a year and become totally untenable. Thoroughly discuss every aspect of your loan before signing.

No-Kitchen Meal Expenses

You will be without the use of a functional kitchen for weeks, if not months. This usually means that families wind up dining out a lot. That kind of expense can add up, especially if you are purchasing meals for a family of four several times per week.

Do your best to account for these expenses, and come up with a plan to mitigate them if possible.

DIY Homeowner Work

Last but not least, something that might actually lower your costs rather than raise them – DIY homeowner work. If you are comfortable and skilled enough to take on any part of the kitchen remodeling process yourself, you will save a significant amount of money. Talk to your kitchen remodeling contractor about what you plan to contribute to the job, and find out how much it will save you.

A solid budget is the key to a successful home remodeling project. Remember to account for these 6 often-overlooked expenses, and you will have a more realistic expectation of what to pay.

Author Bio

Niv Orlian is an online marketer and the Co-Founder of DO Online Marketing, a Chicago based company that helps local businesses, acquire, manage, and retain local customers online.

author-niv-orlian

 

 

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Nail Polish Declutter

December 13, 2016

in Beauty,Videos

This is the final leg of my declutter series. Nail polish. I have way too much nail polish and I managed to cut down by more than half!

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