Mom’s Return to Routine

This is a big week for America and for me in particular.  Barack Obama takes office and my auto worker husband goes back to work. Yipppeeeee!

As Americans we are excited.  We don’t expect to wake up and find a repaired and thriving country overnight, but we have hope!  There is a buzz of optimism in the air. We are motivated and ready to go to work.  What will happen over the next four years can only be speculated. But at this moment right now, anything can happen!

We cannot put too much on our new president, though.  It doesn’t matter how good our leader is if we do not do our parts.  We have to work for it, it will not be handed to us.  America was once a great place because it was a place where people could come to achieve the American Dream.  Those people worked for it though.  Today we think it is entitled to us.  It isn’t enough to dream the dream.  We have to reach for it.

Oh but we’ve become jaded over the years. Depressed. Hopeless.  Sometimes we DID reach and we DID do the work, but nothing happened.  “The man” didn’t want us to thrive.  Guess what! There’s a NEW “Man” in town and he wants us to thrive, to succeed, to LIVE!

Now I don’t mean to brag, but I for one will be thriving a little bigger than everyone else this week.  Not only am I all hopped up on patriotism and hope, but my Hubby, who was on and off work all last year goes back to work after a solid five weeks off. Yipppeeeee!

Not that his five weeks off did not have value.  Why, thanks to that time off my Hubby was able to teach me the “proper” way to load the dishwasher and how to REALLY clean the kitchen.  I also learned that my job at home is really easy and Hubs even counseled me on how better to manage my real estate clients.  It was all really super and I am sad to see him go back to work.

Oh wait. I got caught up in my own sarcasm.  I am not sad at all! I am THRILLED!  Although I am coming to accept that my “routine” is to actually not have a routine, (thanks to so much inconsistency in Hub’s work and kid’s schedules) I am still excited to have my home office to myself again and put back together my version of routine. Now if only I could get the weather to cooperate so we quit having all these snow days!

What are you excited about as our new administration begins?

The Happy Road to Frugal

If the positive response I have gotten to my few money saving posts is any indication, I’d say it is clear we are all interested in learning and sharing ways to make the most of our dollars right now.  In this current economy it isn’t enough to simply shop for cheap auto insurance or more wisely invest the $3 per day that we ordinarily spend on Starbucks.  We need a lifestyle change.

When we think of “lifestyle” change we often use words like “simplify”, “gratefulness”, and “abundance”.  We look in the mirror and say good things to ourselves and wish well for self and the world.  With “lifestyle change” we associate eating better, exercising, and loving life” but not often enough is the word “frugal” mentioned.

A favorite frugal blogger of mine wrote…

Most people who live a frugal lifestyle by choice, do so because they want more control over their lives.

Living frugally means using intelligence and creativity.  A frugal life is one where you are able to save more of what you earn, grow more of what you eat, and spend less on what you need.  Frugal living is not ‘perfecting the art of doing without’, as one friend put it – it is about being smart with what you’ve got and using things to your best advantage.

I realized “frugal” doesn’t necessarily mean “cheap.” And that embracing frugality didn’t have to be a negative thing, admitting that I was suddenly not as financially comfortable as I had been or would like to be. Living frugal is a choice made to gain control over my finances, not an act of desperation.  It wasn’t easy getting that through my thick head and learning those first practical and easy ways of saving money, but I did eventually start to experience the joy in taking control of aquiring what I need, rather than feeling deprived over what I don’t have. I am so glad the switch finally flipped for me.

Do you have a favorite money saving/frugal blog? Or are you a frugal blogger? Please tell us about it and maybe I’ll include it in a future post.

 

 

COOL CONTEST FOR SNEAKY SHOPPERS!!!

If you’ve been reading this week you know that I have been all about saving money while still enjoying what we like to do.  TODAY we are not going to talk about how to save money or the evils or overspending. Instead we are going to talk more about holiday shopping! We are going to talk about being rewarded for what you already bought!

There is this crazy contest going on at ebillme.com and they want to hear your secret shopping confessions.  Whether you committed secret online shopping, or got your item at the mall and hid it, ebillme.com wants to know about it.  You submit your shopping confession via video or written story.

Why would you keep your purchase a secret?

Maybe it’s a surprise for a loved one! Maybe you don’t want anyone to know that you need a $100 full body girdle to fit into your clothes at the moment.  Maybe your purchase is a little over budget and you are waiting for the right time to tell your Hubby.  There are no rules as to why you did it.  Just submit your story including what you bought, why you kept it on the down low, and how it all turned out.

Why should you submit your story?

Besides easing your guilty conscience you could win cash!  Ebillme.com is awarding $1500 per month for the best shopping confession and a grand prize of $15,000!!!!  MamaMia!  Check out the website for complete details, as well samples of other submissions, tips for successful stories, AND a message from last year’s grand prize winner.

WAIT!  There’s more!

This is actually a contest WITHIN a contest.  If you decide to sign up PUHLEEEEASE take my URL with you! (copy & paste my link from your browser to avoid mistakes) The blogger (in this case me) whose blog (Her Family Blog) generates the most contest entrants (that’s you!) wins a cash prize too! (that’s $500 for first place, $300 for second place, and $200 for third.)

So zip over there, check it out, and sign up to win us some holiday cash!!!  Good luck to us all! And don’t forget to share your shopping confessions with us after you enter!

Putting on the Ritz when the Economy is on the Fritz

Are you fancy?  Is this economy putting a damper on your bling?  Well you are not alone.  We are all making sacrifices today.

It is Friday and I am tired and feeling silly.  Work this week was demanding, while I was preparing for Halloween on Friday and Sari’s 9th birthday on Saturday.  Wednesday Drew informed me that he was playing Joe Biden in a skit for the entire school on Friday and mock election on Monday and needed help writing his speeches.  Okay.  We can make time for that.  Thursday he informed me that he needed a suit to wear to school on Friday.  I had houses to show and shopping to do but okay I would somehow find a suit to go with the white hair spray already requested to create his Biden ‘do for the play.

Meanwhile, the GM-Chrysler talks are getting more doom, gloomy, and real, so the worry of Hubby getting the ax from Chrysler soon is poisoning the focus of everything I have to do. So Halloween is over, birthday was fun, I have a house to show this afternoon and at this moment I am wondering about what kind of sacrifices people are making across the country.  Without Hubby’s income we would have to sell our house before we become another foreclosure statistic.  I heard about a big company a couple of weeks ago that said they were tightening their belts by enforcing that all their executives had to fly coach from now on.  Hm.  For some folks the worsening economy will mean no eating out, stricter grocery shopping lists, and a less elaborate Christmas.  For others, they may have to downsize and sell their Rolexes and replace them with replica watches to make it through the hard times.  Others will have to get second or even third jobs.  Still others are not affected at all as they sit high up on their hill, in their multi million dollar mansions, pointing fingers and making lists of whose jobs to cut so that the “company” can continue to “turn a profit”.

I sure didn’t see any sacrifices being made from the Bush Family when they splashed their daughter’s wedding all over the media.  I found that to be in poor taste while others said it was supposed to help our morale.  It didn’t work that way for me, how about you?

Ellen Degenerous helps my morale every day and she doesn’t do it by flashing material.  When she talks about the economy and people suffering, it is obvious she means it.  It is her goal to make us smile for an hour and give us a break from all the worry.  So in my own melancholy today I turned to YouTube for some Ellen fixes.  What I found that brought me some peace of mind was this clip of Barack Obama on David Letterman that I had not seen.  It’s a good interview, digging into politics a bit, while maintaining the spirit of the show.  Watch it if you haven’t seen it.  And if you are still among the few who actually think that Senator Obama called Sarah Palin a pig (lipstick on the pig), you must push play! :-)

Mommies SAVING Money

piggy-bank.jpgThe last Mommies Making Money post got some attention and that’s when the idea of a double threat hit me.  Mommies Saving Money.  Making money and saving money at the same time would be fabulous, wouldn’t it?

I’m sure you don’t need me to inform you that this economy is in the toilet.  I’m not a stats person, as far as remembering and quoting them goes.  But I do enjoy looking at them.  I like watching the stats for my blogs go up every month, that’s for sure. And thank you very much! :-)  But I don’t like economical type stats.  Or real estate stats.  You look at them, see the arrows and trends pointing downward and you know we’re in a pickle.  No fun, there. 

When I was single I used coupons a lot.  I used to cut them out for Mom when I was a kid… when I got my first apartment, the highlight of my week was running out to get the paper on Sunday, grabbing a My Favorite Muffin, and sprawling out on the floor of my kitchen/living room/dining room, (It was a small apartment!) and clipping.  It reminded me of clipping for Mom, but it also got me excited about being a big girl and saving money.  Getting the apartment guaranteed that I didn’t have any to spend, so making the dollar stretch became the substitute for shopping at the mall.

Somewhere along the lines, though,I started making more money and having extra to spare.  I didn’t continue clipping coupons or shopping for deals justifying that “my time is worth more money than that”.  What a moron.  I thought I was so smart and evolved, and in some ways I was, but do you ever look back in wonder at your own naivete?

Too bad I lost my coupon excitement all those years ago.  But it’s never too late!  I am getting back to the basics and adding coupon clipping and bargain hunting to my money-making-mama strategies.

Pillsbury has $27.30 worth of savings available in September and it’s all the really good stuff… frozen cookie dough, biscuits, cinnamon rolls, pastries, pizza rolls, Progresso products, Old El Paso, cereal, yogurt bars, Yo-Plus yogurt and more!

Kellogg’s has a full rebate on Frosted Mini Wheats right now.

Kraft has Oreo ice cream free with the purchase of $15 of cake goodies.  PLUS they have those super cute Breast Cancer Awareness t-shirts there, sponsored by Jell0, Cool Whip, and Philadelphia cream cheese.

There!  That should get us started.

Do you clip coupons?  Have you always?  Share with us your dollar stretching tips!

 

 

The Universe Spoke to Me!

I had a positively startling moment the other day when I recieved a message so loud and clear from the Universe that I sat frozen in my chair. 

Absent was the mojito that usually accompanies me on the back deck when I sneak away for the rare occasion of quiet time to read.  Present was the sweet smell of my potted mint which made the moment even more vibrant. 

First of all, an admission: I spend too much money.  I don’t budget right and I am paying for it in the form of a couple credit card bills that haunt me each month.  Although my purchases were necessities, I have learned that YES my kids need undies but NO they don’t have to be from Marshall Fields.   Do you see where I am coming from?  And although at the time of the spending, timely payback was not an issue, I didn’t consider that the future had some surprises.  A broken collar bone, broken ankle, ripped ligament, severe drop in real estate market, and layoffs at The Big Three added up to surgeries, time off work, and tons of lost wages. 

You won’t see me putting up a category here called, “Mommies Financial Tips” that’s for sure.  But I will take the opportunity to just say, “Crap happens.  Beware when charging.”

SO!  That’s the backstory, here’s the freaky universe part.  There is this website where authors submit their books and ask you to read the book then blog your honest opinion about it.  I just learned about it was so excited to find this book called “Eating For Energy”.  I think it is the perfect follow up for me to “Skinny Bitch” and will serve me well as I continue to change my direction toward more plant based living. 

The book came in Thursday and I worked it into my schedule for Friday afternoon.  I situated Hubby in front of the TV with snacks and the Olympics and organized free video game time for the kids.  I couldn’t have my mojito because I am in the middle of an ELEVEN day body cleanse (different post, different day!) but crunching on my cleansing chocolate snacks, sipping water, and sniffing the potted mint I was in heaven and ready to devour this book.

“Eating for Energy” by Yuri Elkaim is the book.  I opened it up and skipped over the title page, the table of contents, and the comments and went straight to the first line which read, “When I set out to write this book one of my main objectives was to help women put money in perspective…”  Huh?  I thought to myself, interesting, he started writing a bookd about money that turned into a healthy living book.  I continued to read a bit then caught a gimpse of the top of the page which read “AWoman of Independent Means”.  I quickly turned to the title page which read, “Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s A Woman of Independent Needs”.  MOTHER HUBBARD!  They had put the wrong book inside the “Eating For Energy cover.”  I was so disappointed because the last thing I wanted to read on my well planned out free time was financial stuff! 

And then it hit me, IS THIS A MESSAGE?  Am I spending too much energy focusing on my quest for natural living when I should be addressing my unhealthy spending?  Should I also be examining my relationship with money as well as my relationship with food? 

I mean, seriously, who has ever picked up a book to read and the wrong book been inside the cover?  Does this happen?  I am not sure how to proceed and I am sure it’s an important message but that money book is so boring.  I have a Jean Chatzky book called, “Make Money Not Excuses” which seems more interesting but I haven’t read it yet.  (Another example of silly spending?)  Maybe I’ll dig it back out.

What do you think?  Am I making too big of a deal out of this publishing faux pas?  Or is the world trying to help me out here? 

Mommies Making Money!

Here’s the thing… there is money to be made out there, while sitting in here, you just have to know where to find it, what you want to do, how much you want to make, and how to NOT get scammed.  I am going to try and set something up here that is easy to understand and help you save time and avoid pitfalls.

First some guidelines.

  1. Do not pay anyone to work for them.  There is PLENTY of work out there that costs you ZERO dollars.  There are some exceptions and legitimate opportunities that require some investment on your part but for now, Beginner Online Money Maker Mommy, steer clear of any biz op that asks for even one cent.  You have been warned.
  2. Working from home will make your butt bigger unless you take action ahead of time.  Once you get involved in work from home opportunities and build yourself a nice business that keeps you busy, you will find yourself sitting on your rump hunched over the puter for hours at a time.  Working from home requires planning and organization.  It is crucial that you schedule several stretch and exercise breaks when planning each day.  You have been warned. Again. :-)
  3. Don’t be afraid of REFERRAL PROGRAMS!  Some of the opportunities pay very little for the simple task you do but if others sign up for the program under you you make more money.  The money is EASY and REAL.  Too bad your friends and fam will roll their eyes and you’ll have to rely on your social networking to build referrals. 
  4. Residuals rock!  Whether blogging or writing content for companies, the more relevant and timeless your work, the longer it will stay alive and continue earning money for you.  Many companies pay you every time your work gets read, so write good stuff that lasts!
  5. Change the way you think about earning money.  We have been trained to think that the higher the job pays, the more successful we are.  The problem with that is that those jobs usually require many hours and loads of dedication and commitment.  Online revenue opportunites may pay small but keep in mind how little time and effort you actually invest and how many “small tasks” you can accomplish per day.  It can add up to some very decent “mad money” or turn into an excellent full time wage.  AND the hours and dress code are excellent! 

What kind of work do you want?  Some options are….

  • Freelance writing… Companies pay you to write articles for them.  You might get 1 to 3 cents per word or you might get $15 for a 250 word article.  I have heard of writers working for free in the beginning to build a resume but I never had to do that.  You might get a few articles at a time or you might stumbled upon a sweet ongoing assignment.  I’ll share with you some places to look around to find assignments.
  • Reading emails is a simple way to build a slow but steady stream of cash. Think of the money earned as dropping change into your piggy bank.  The time you will invest is so small you should just forget about it and let it surprise you one day when it turns into an amount that thrills you.  Here’s how it works. The company sends you the email or you log onto their website to see what is available.  You read the advertisement and they drop  1 – 3 cents in your account.  I know it doesn’t sound like much but considering you spent all of 20 seconds doing it, it is worth something.  Here is what I do… I drop all my paid emails into a file in my mailbox to be reviewed later when I am doing laundry.  I put my laundry basket up on a chair by the computer and I click the email and read it while I fold an item.  Click, read, and fold.  BAM! Another 2 cents!  Don’t laugh… how much money do YOU make while folding laundry! :-) Once in a while you might find something you’re interested in and decide to buy or sign up for.  That’s fine.  Just don’t forget the number 1 rule: do not fall for anything that requires you pay to work for them!
  • BLOGGING!  Blogging is really for fun, for sharing information, and self expression.  It’s a super cool bonus that there are companies out there willing to pay you for advertising for them in one way or another. 
  • Social Networking sites do not pay much and the pay schemes are often difficult to understand BUT the advantage of them is that you meet like minded people, find more and better work, and generate traffic for your blogs. 
  • Product Reviews are fun, informative, and pay well if you get into a groove.  Casual use will make you at least a few bucks a month.  There are sites you visit and write about whatever you want to review and there are companies that will pay you to review their product on your blog. 
  • Surveys, shopping, playing games, responding to offers, mystery shopping, etc. are all things I have not spent much time on.  I have heard great stories from people but most of these places pay in “points” which later can be redeemed for cash, gift cards, and so on.  It is on my “to do soon” list to pick one of these companies and stick with it for a few weeks and see what happens so we can all be better informed. 

So that’s the story on working from home.  If you’re interested in checking out some companies that pay you to work from home, please visit the MOMMIES MAKING MONEY page frequently (use the link in the right margin or the link at the very top left!) as I add more content and build an informative work from home guide for you.

Everything Family Issue 2

Welcome to the June 3, 2008 edition of Everything Family.    We received a whopping 72 submissions this month!  That’s incredible, and I hate that I could not include them all.  For further editions, submission time will be reduced from a month, to two weeks.

Lin Burress presents So Sexy, So Soon: The Sexualization of Childhood in Commercial Culture posted at Telling It Like It Is.

Autumn Beck presents My Top 4 Pocket Cloth Diapers posted at All About Cloth Diapers, saying, “I have been excited to write about my favorite pocket cloth diapers for quite awhile now, but had to wait for the arrival of a particular brand I wanted to try.”

Theresa L. Twogood presents Daily Prayer Journal posted at OLIN e-Book e-Publishing.

Jackie presents Mother’s Day posted at A Keeper’s Jackpot.

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Ode To An Absent-Minded Husband posted at Mad Kane’s Humor Blog.

Shaheen Lakhan presents Acknowledging Vaccination Concerns posted at GNIF Brain Blogger, saying, “When it comes to parents who choose not to vaccinate their children, a study reports two types: radical (refuses everything) and reformist (selectively opt out of certain vaccines).”

Family

Beth Blair presents Six Tips: Surviving a Family Road Trip posted at Traveling Mamas.

Linda W. presents Eating Well On Your Budget Vacation posted at The Eclectic Female, saying, “Eating out cheaply while on vacation can be tough, but is definitely doable.”

Trevor McKay presents Gastric Bypass Surgery And The Food Police posted at All About Gastric Surgery.

Jeff Sullivan presents The World Largest Toy Museum – Nostalgic Time Machine posted at Branson Travel Attractions.

Tip Diva presents Top Ten Tips – Stocking And Organizing A Medicine Cabinet posted at Tip Diva, saying, “Everyone should have a medicine cabinet in their homes in case of a sickness or an emergency. Here’s what to do to make sure you’re stocked and prepared”

Tip Diva presents Top Ten Tips – Moving Back Home As An Adult posted at Tip Diva, saying, “Maybe you’ve been away at school. Or, your lease may be up and you need an affordable place to stay while looking for a new apartment. Many young adults are moving back home for a variety of reasons, but coming back may be a culture shock. Here’s how to ease the transition”

Jeremy Neal presents What Moms Really Think About Good Dads posted at Discovering Dad.

Vera Lang presents Community Disaster Preparedness Tips – Plan Ahead of Time posted at Be Safe Insure .com, saying, “Emergencies & natural disaster can happen everywhere. Prepare to be safe and well for when this happens. Besides immediate responsiveness to get out of danger, these Top 10 Disaster Preparation Steps can help you and your family to take care of yourselves.”

Signs of a Cheating Spouse presents Personality Traits of a Cheating Spouse posted at Cheating Wife, saying, “Cheaters often have similar traits. Here is a list of characteristics to look out for.”

Hsidea presents Building friendships through homeschool groups posted at Homeschooling Tips, saying, “Tips for building friendships for homeschooled children”

Mother Hen presents Ship Full O’ Pirates » Blog Archive » Man Over-Bored! posted at Mother Hen.

George L Smyth presents One Minute How-To – How To Organize A Clothes Closet posted at George L Smyth, saying, “Nicole Green explains the most efficient way to make sure your clothes closet does not waste your time.”

Brent Diggs presents Nightlife | The Ominous Comma posted at The Ominous Comma.

Global Traveler presents Surviving Marital Infidelity – Signs of Infidelity » Protecting Your Finances In A Divorce posted at Infidelity, saying, “How to make the best use of a vacation guide.”

Metaliphe presents Dreading Family Gatherings? posted at Chandra Unplugged – No nonsense, Straight-up blogging from a Life Coach, saying, “Do you dread family gatherings? If you have a meddling mother-in-law that is constantly critical or a father-in-law that drinks too much and is bigoted, you are most probably anxious at family functions. Learn the best way to deal with these problems before, during and after dinner.”

Ken presents How To Recognize The Signs Of A Cheating Husband posted at Cheating Detective, saying, “How to find out if your husband is cheating on you”

Sherry Love presents Should I remarry after divorcing my husband for 14 years? posted at Sherry Love. net, saying, “Explore a situation when a woman isn’t sure if she should remarry.”

Mother Hen presents Photo Broadside: Fire Away!!!!! posted at Mother Hen.

Life

Christopher Johnson presents Dealing With Stress At Work posted at christopheraaronjohnson.net.

Matthew presents Will You Marry Me? posted at Conservatives and Normals . Com – The Blog, saying, “Thank you.”

Tina presents My Special Blend: Oh, happy dry day! posted at My Special Blend.

Fuel Efficient Driver presents Tips On Saving Gas And Money posted at Getting Better Gas Mileage, saying, “Here is a general list on how to save money on gas.”

Heather Johnson presents Finding an Ethical Partner posted at A Philosopher’s Blog.

Moms

Alison presents 7 Green Gifts for Mom posted at Green Me.

Woman Tribune presents A Little Mother’s Day History posted at Woman Tribune.

GP presents Mom?s Day in the Kitchen posted at Innstyle Montana- Come on Inn, saying, “Mom’s day in the kitchen… and a recipe”

Pregnant Woman presents Third Trimester Diet posted at Pregnancy, saying, “What you should eat in your third trimester for a healthy baby!”

Tip Diva presents Top Ten Tips – Finding The Perfect Mother?s Day Gift posted at Tip Diva, saying, “Mother’s Day is for celebrating that special woman in your life – and not just your mother, but perhaps a grandmother, aunt, older sister or close friend who’s been like a mother to you. Don’t know what to get that person? Here are some creative and unique ideas”

Mother Hen presents Mommie N’ Me Cookies posted at Ship Full O’ Pirates.

Tonya presents First Trimester Pregnancy: Symptoms, Problems, and Solutions posted at My Pregnancy Blog, saying, “Information about the first trimester of a pregnancy.”

Patty presents Inspiring Women to Be Irresistible! Listen in to Christina Wiley, Motivational/Health Coach posted at Parenting, Child Development, Shopping Resources, Recalls and Reviews, saying, “Please consider adding my post and blog to this carnival.
Thanks! My weekly moms support show features bi-weekly guests, authors, experts and women/moms in business.”

Suzanne presents Reaction To Eco Kid’s Birthday Party posted at Mommyfootprint.com, saying, “One of the places that accumulates the most waste and excess is our kid’s birthday parties. Read about the reactions from my guests after we tried an Eco party for our son. We would never go back to a traditional party…”

Tonya presents Natural Labor – Some Suggestions For A More Comfortable Labor And Delivery posted at My Pregnancy Blog, saying, “Natural labor followed by childbirth without any intervention from doctors or medical procedures is safe and most common.”

Parenting

Sam presents Best Children’s Books. Best Kids’ Books. Good Story Books and Picture Books for Children ! Surfer Sam posted at Surfer Sam and Friends, saying, “The best children’s books delight, inspire, and teach. You open the world to a child when you read together. Here are good story books and picture books for children. Would your child like these favorites?”

Fiona Lohrenz presents Getting Parents Involved At Day Care posted at Child Care Only.

Angela Williams Duea presents At least she?s not naked. posted at angelawd, saying, “When does clean=punishment? When you’re talking to a teen, of course!”

Sonja Stewart presents Avoiding arguments part 1 – Gift Cloning. posted at Parenting Squad, saying, “When it comes time for gifts, you can stop a lot of arguments by buying the same thing for every kid.”

Jessica Jones presents Celebrating Womanhood posted at Practical Nourishment, saying, “sharing female rites of passage with our daughters”

Kevin Heath presents Bringing Baby Home – Parenting 101 posted at More4kids.

Kevin Heath presents Tips for Working Parents posted at More4kids.

Linda W. presents Signs And Symptoms Of Dust Mite Allergies posted at The Eclectic Female, saying, “How to tell if you might be suffering from dust mite allergies.”

Nara presents Surviving Marital Infidelity – Signs of Infidelity » Helping Young Children Through A Divorce posted at Infidelity, saying, “Divorce can be hard on young children. Make sure to keep their interests in mind when going through a divorce.”

Summer presents Compassionate Parenting posted at The Attached Mother, saying, “Thoughts on raising compassionate children.”

Jamie McIntosh presents Organic Gardens Blog @ Suite101.com posted at Suite101: Organic Gardens blog, saying, “Get children out of the house and into the garden.”

Dianne M. Buxton presents Parent Volunteers Can Help With Natural Stage Fright Before Ballet Recitals posted at Ballet Shoes and Pointe Shoes, saying, “Suggestions for helping with stage fright in young performers.”

Homework. Dinner. Life. presents 10 Ways to Make Certain That Your Kids Hate School, Become Lazy & Dependent Learners, Drive Their Teachers Crazy, & End Up Living in Your Basement Until They Are 40 – posts – Homework. Dinner. Life. posted at Angela Norton Tyler, saying, “Angela shares a story about doing too much for her daughter.”

Ms. Mystery presents Wife’s Affair Broke Up Marriage: How to Protect the Kids posted at Good Luck and Confess, saying, “I am wondering if I have any rights to protect my children from being around my future ex-wife’s boyfriend. They had an affair and broke up our marriage.”

Kevin Heath presents Parenting a Child with Special Needs posted at More4kids.

Kevin Heath presents Tips For Helping Our Kids Grow Up Green posted at More4kids.

Anmol Mehta presents How to Raise Enlightened Children posted at Mastery of Meditation, Enlightenment and Kundalini Yoga, saying, “Non-dual, spiritual approach to raising children such that they grow to achieve their highest human potential.”

Fiona Lohrenz presents End the whining at day care posted at Child Care Only.

Dana presents A hot water bottle named Grofa posted at Principled Discovery.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Everything Family using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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Protecting Your Family Part 1

When it comes to protecting your family, several things come to mind.  However, is securing health insurance one of them?  Take a look at this blog and share your thoughts.My thoughts on this matter are that while every family should work toward securing health insurance for themselves, I know how hard it is.  With the incredible cost of premiums, insane deductibles and co-payments, it is very hard.

I am part of just one of millions of families that do not have any health coverage in place.  Coming from the low-income working middle class family means that while I know I need it, food is more important.  I do qualify for state health coverage for my son, and I do utilize it.  Thankfully, being young as I am, I do need medical care often, but what I am to do when it happens?

I broke my foot in 2004, when my son was just 11 months old.  I was rendered nearly useless, and racked up over $700 in debt from the emergency room, the x-ray techs, and all the other stuff.  Is this debt still there?  Yes!  Well, a portion of it is, anyway.

The sad thing is that when I carried health insurance ($247 a month for a family of three, provided by my husband’s employer), the one time I actually wanted to use it, the deductible and co-pay was more expensive than outright purchasing the medication!

With the hectic nature and confusion that sounds health insurance coverage, it is no wonder that many of us do not have it, and those who do cannot utilize it to the extent it should be used to actually help them.  That being said, I can offer this advice.

  • Research the provider. Make sure you understand the ins and outs of coverage, and limitations.
  • Get what you can afford. Something isn’t always better than nothing as my case demonstrates though, so that’s where research comes in.
  • Save cash for medical expenses when you can, and however much you can in lieu of coverage.

Share your health insurance coverage stories below!

Looking at Family Finances: The IRS

  In honor of income taxes being due today–I thought I would take some time to discuss family finances and the IRS.  While it may be too late to look at this year (unless you are due a refund, or have a filing extension) it is never too late to look at in preparation for next year.Mind you, I am no tax pro, or legal substitute for tax information.  So please, remember to discuss any issues you see with your personal situation with the necessary experts!Itemizing is more pain than it’s worth for many families, but just because you didn’t do it this yMoney, Family Finances, Taxesear, doesn’t mean you should ignore the option next year.  You can deduct health insurance premiums, co-pays, and many medical expenses. While there are plenty of other things to deduct, you should study up on these as your situation and tax laws change often.  You may be able to take advantage of more!Starting college?  If you or anyone in your family is currently enrolled or planning to enroll in higher education, you can take advantage of tuition credits, even if it is paid through federal aid.  This adds up to $2000 to your return!  Looking at credit possibilities this year will help you prepare for the things you want to do for credits next year.If you make less than $30,000 gross you qualify for free federal filing!  And, your state may allow free filing, too.  Many people are unaware of this, as I just found out in 2006.  That $200 filing fee for H&R block that I saved has made a big difference.  While I lost out on Rapid Refund options, I still had it within two weeks!Keep track of all your receipts, because you never know what may come in handy.  While your groceries do not matter, something purchased with them on the same transaction may be deductible!  I learned this quickly because my printer ink used as a business expense was purchased with a bean burrito from Wal-Mart.  Keeping that receipt will remind me of the $25 deduction that I otherwise would have lost…and while it is not much, it may make a difference when the final numbers are crunched!

Check out the IRS Website for more information. Photo Credit of www.upgradetravelbetter.com/2007/09/

Here’s to getting more of our own money back!  Share your tax tips and tricks below.