Netflix for Books?

I love movies so my household was into Netflix very early on.  We eventually switched to Blockbuster, though, because of the option to use the store as well mail.  You know what else I love to do?  Read.  And I recently learned of a Netflix-like program that allows you to rent books to read. 

I suppose I watch movies more than I read just because I sometimes plop down on the couch exhausted with the tube in front of me.  It’s easy to drift off into sleep watching TV.  It’s even cozy.  Whereas falling asleep with a book means the lights got left on and you are going to wake up with paper cuts on your chin from where you were rubbing up against the pages. 

Nonetheless, I like to have books on hand to read.  For $15 a month you can have 3 books checked out at a time.  Bookswim pays for the shipping both ways and provides easy mailing supplies for your return. Bookswim also has that cool feature where you can build a wish list of books in your cue and the company automatically sends out the next one on the list upon return of the last book.   Fun, right?

I just bought some books to keep me busy for a month or so on our last Friday night outing to Waldenbooks but I put it on my calendar for November.  If you get a chance to try it first, please let us know what you think of the service!


I am curious how many people use the Netflix or Blockbuster movie rental service.  How do you feel about having the option available for books, as well? 

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? 

Come On Moms, Get Real

motherhood-is-hard-admit-it.jpg 

You know, one of my biggest problems when I became a Mom was my perception that everyone and everything around me was perfect. If somebody had just confessed to me that they suffered doubt and frustration too, I might not have beat myself up so bad.

New (all?) Moms are so tough on themselves and insecure that they might not be doing something right or that their child is not developing appropriately. My Kids were 3 and 7 at adoption and they lacked skills and knowledge of other kids their age. Now the focus should have been 100% getting them caught up. Instead I was dealing with about a 30% feeling of inadequacy because my kids were lacking basic tools for their ages.

Meanwhile, I was seeing Moms all around me who appeared to have everything perfected. When I shared my struggles with them and inquired how they did it, they gave me tips and elaborated on how great their lives were but they never shared any struggles in return. So I assumed the struggles didn’t exist and became more ashamed and disappointed in myself that I didn’t have this natural mother thing that everyone else had.

It wasn’t until not long ago that I learned the truth. You ALL have issues! :-) There is just a need to appear “perfect” or “super woman” to the outside world and keep all your difficulties to yourself. Make it look easy no matter how hard you might be struggling.

I am thankful to the few Moms who finally let me in on the secret so I didn’t feel like such a loser. We shouldn’t have to put on our sunday best for our girlfriends and fellow mommies. So Ladies, help your Sisters out when you see them struggling. She doesn’t really need your tips. She needs to know that you, Supermom, once had the same problems and fears.

There is a great website that was brought to my attention today called True Mom Confessions. Some of it is sad and some of it is laugh out loud funny, so check it out. You’ll find out that your are definitely not alone.

Holy Ciccone!

MadonnaSo everyone’s gone to bed kind of early tonight and  have the opportunity to get caught up on some work I fell behind on over vacation.  Yay!  But I don’t feel like it.  Boo.  I kind of just want to play Bookworm or something but it goes too slow on my puter.  So I’m looking around and decided that now is the time to click on that StubHub banner I have flashing in my margin.  I know it’s a ticket place but I never heard of it. Have you?  Am I sheltered?   :-)

I looked around and it caught my attention immediately that Madonna is touring!  Now you may think that a blog about Madonna on a family and parenting is way off topic BUT I know there are lots of you Moms out there who are my age that dressed up in black skirts, leggings, beads and leather bracelets and went to see the Virgin Tour before we could even drive.  Nanette I know you’re reading. The bows in our ratted hair, sunglasses… and we weren’t the only ones!  Well we’re all Moms now.  Madonna is a Mom.  Her tickets are being sold at a place that links to this very site.  Ha!  Totally on topic!

So I was there and I clicked to get info and I am freaked out from what I learned!  In fact, I may no longer be her biggest fan. 

  • There were tickets on the main floor for $9,000!  Some for even more than that but I can’t remember I was so flabbergasted.  I had to log outta there to breathe.  What is wrong with her?  Has she totally lost touch with the reality of her fans?
  • I did not see any Michigan tour dates.  Is she snubbing us AGAIN?!  I think the last time she was here was about 6 or 7 years ago.  A bunch of us girls got tickets and a blinged up limo which the owner of the company RECALLED on us when we were half way to Detroit because Wayne Brady needed a limo and they gave him OURS! We missed the opening act not that anyone cared, but I haven’t felt the same about Wayne since.  “Who’s Limo Is It Anyway”, that’s all I’m saying.  Where was I?  Anyway I think she toured just before or just after that and skipped Michigan.  What a b*tch.  I hate her.
  • You know what else I learned?  I can get 2 main floor tickets to her show in LAS VEGAS in November for only $700! Maybe if you guys start clicking and browsing my ads I can make enough money in time!  I love her! Holiday…

On the serious, there are some really good shows coming up.  Check out my link over there to StubHub for a list of the variety of shows coming to your neighborhood.  I promise they won’t all cost that much.  Unless of course you’re looking for Miley Cyrus. :-)

Hey Grown Up Mommies! Who was the first concert you went to see?  And who was the LAST one you saw since becoming a Mom?   

Flat Belly MUFA!

avocado

Hey Ladies! A fellow blogger recommended I look into the MUFA diet for one of my other blogs.  I have barely begun to research it but since I am loving what I have learned AND I need to practice quoting and embedding from other sources (which I have just figured out is embarrassingly easy) I am going to give you a glimpse of it.  I am a recovering fad dieter and am not at all interested in the actual “diet” involved here, but I am intrigued by the idea.  Here’s a snippet from Prevention Magazine

” There are five major categories of MUFAs: (1) oils, (2) nuts and seeds, (3) avocado, (4) olives, and (5) chocolate. Eating one serving of any of these foods at every meal will help reduce your accumulation of dangerous belly fat; control your calorie intake and you’ll lose inches and pounds, too–especially around your waistline. These mouth-watering recipes make it easy. Each portion contains high levels of MUFA, plus serving suggestions that allow you to create a meal that contains around 400 calories–enough to control your hunger and boost your energy without exceeding your daily needs. You can easily fit these meals into the Flat Belly Diet menu plans, but even if you’re not following the diet, you can still enjoy the rich flavor of MUFAs and their numerous health benefits. For centuries, these foods and fats have been hard to resist.”  complete story.

 Avocados and chocolate are good for me?  Count me in!  But on my terms, not theirs. 

I looked at some of the recipes for the diet and they are too involved for me.  For a minute I considered developing my own menu incorporating their rule of 4 meals of 400 calories and a MUFA at every meal with my new meat free design but it’s too much work.  Instead I am going to just try adding a MUFA to each of the small meatless meals I eat every few hours currently. Check out the rest of the article and see what you think of it. 

Am I the only one crazy about the 5 MUFA foods?  Has anybody tried the FLAT BELLY DIET?  I’d love to here about it. 

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.

Today I am Grateful…7/15/08

In continuing with Cin’s idea, and out of a desire to do it myself, here’s my edition of Today I am Grateful.

Today I am grateful for

…the roof over my head.  I say this because, for the first time in a long time, I’m back at home.  The economy and finances have killed me recently, and I’m just very grateful for the fact that my grandparents have this apartment downstairs that my Dad was willing to move out of to let me have, for free.  All I have to do is take care of my food, and pay the difference in the utilities and I have been directed to save, save, save!  Isn’t that a blessing?

…the hugs and kisses my son gives me.  It’s not cool to hug and kiss Mom anymore.  So, when I get them, I am very thankful for them.

…this blog.  Yes, it’s true.  It’s because of this blog that I have met some amazing people, and started to make a name for myself in the blogosphere.  This blog has helped me to continue to build my name in the freelance writing world, too.

…my window air conditioner.  In the recent days, it’s been sweltering hot.  Rain has cooled it down, but it stays very humid here.  Where I just moved from, and upstairs at my grandparents, they have no air conditioning at all.  This house (and the one I just moved out of) are 70+ years old, so central is out of the question without a chunk of cash we don’t have.  So, the one unit in the window does more than I’ve been used to in the last 2 years!

What are you thankful and grateful for today? Please share, and give Cin something good to read when she gets back from her vacation!

Today I am Grateful… 7/2/08 Edition

I have started a routine of counting my blessings every day but I am having a difficult time remembering to post them at the time that will be appropriate and make sense with the blog!  LOL.  So I have made a decision to just post them regardless of whether or not the timing makes sense.  :-)  It’s my blog, right?  No one can yell at me. 

I am grateful for that!

In case you don’t know, I took the 30 day challenge at www.goveggie.com to be meat free for 30 days.  Yesterday I crashed.  I had nothing good in the house to eat… just the boring basics.  I was out of hummus and carrot juice, and organic chai, and all the “condiments” that keep my veggies exciting and nutrient filled.  After everyone went to bed I actually busted out a can of chef boyardee spaghetti and meatballs and ATE IT!! I had been insane with cravings all day.  I was disappointed and depressed that I made it so far in the challenge only to fail. 

Here’s the grateful part…

  • The meat didn’t satisfy me.  When I was done, I could still only think of cucumbers and hummus!  My body was craving something GOOD!  Yeah!
  • I pulled out the calendar and counted days to see how far I’d made it.  I was on DAY 31!!!! Yippppeeeee!  I had met and survived the 30 day challenge. 

I am grateful for those things and my renewed enthusiasm to continue. 

Everything we do holds the potential for set backs.  Our work outs, our jobs, our relationships, our parenting techniques.  When we stumble, we have the ability to get back up and keep going.  Start over.  Re-do.  Emerge smarter.  What an amazing gift. 

I’m grateful for that too!

Today I am grateful…

… for night time jumping on the trampoline and catching lightning bugs with the kids Saturday night.

… for the potted fresh mint plant that came back this summer and tasted yummy in my Mojito!

… for lazy Sunday lunch at Rainforest Cafe and seeing new Indiana Jones movie.

What are you grateful for today?