I was in my mid-thirties before I was able to accept my naturally curly hair. My entire life, especially as a child, I wanted to be just like the rest of the world with straight, no-fuss hair. After all, straight hair was always in style and what everyone else had/wanted. Or so I thought. I'm the type of person who rather blend in with the crowd but with naturally curly hair like mine, you tend to stick out. I hated that. I hated that elderly women would touch it and admire it at the same time the younger crowd, especially those in the hair industry would offer "advice" about straightening my hair. For as long as I can remember, every time I got my haircut the person doing my hair had some sort of magic "fix" for my hair. Someone they knew always had hair like mine and fixed it by doing blah, blah, blah. As a teenager and young adult, when you hear things like that over and over, of course you are going to think something is wrong with your hair.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone.
This past Monday I received an email from our new school district regarding all of the upcoming information about this coming school year - including the date of the first day of school. Our new school district in our new state of Minnesota starts really early (for us) on August 31st - and I immediately panicked because I hadn't bought one back-to-school supply! I've learned my lesson in the past waiting until the last minute so my 10 year old and I headed to Walmart to get school supplies.
On our way to Walmart I remembered filling out his school enrollment papers and how lost I felt when I needed to give emergency contact numbers. This situation is definitely a first for me. We have always lived within 30 minutes from family, and we always had neighbors and friends we could depend on. Before we moved to Minnesota, I had a dozen people to choose from when filling out an emergency contact form! I'm sure in the future, the longer we live here and the more people we meet I will not have any issues filling out that form, but for now, I needed to do something that would make my son and my husband and I feel better about living in a new city.
While filling up our cart with school supplies, I noticed this Walmart Family Mobile display located in the electronics department. It would certainly make me feel better if family and friends were just a phone call away for my son. The $29.88 per month charge for the unlimited talk, text, and up to 1GB of 4G LTE was very appealing. Adding another line to my current cell phone plan would be too costly. Plus, this would be a good way to see if the entire family should switch to this plan since I KNOW we are paying too much right now. The coverage map looked impressive on the T-Mobile Nationwide Network so if we don't have any issues living in our semi-rural area, we are definitely going to switch all lines to Walmart Family Mobile once our contract is up with our current provider.
At $29.88 per month, this was a great plan for my son to have since he could learn some financial responsibility by contributing to the cost. With Walmart Family Mobile, it's not a typical prepaid service, it is a postpaid service so you get your bill at the end of the month. I like this idea for teaching financial responsibility because postpaid bills are what he will encounter more of as an adult. The initial cost for this extra added back-to-school expense ended up being the cost of the phone which was $149 and the Walmart Family Mobile Starter Kit for $25.
We went with the Samsung GALAXY Grand Prime because it is a phone that will grow with him. We learned our lesson on "starter" phones with our daughter and they always ended up breaking easily or needed some sort of repairs Also, my daughter and I have been iPhone users for quite a few years and since my husband has a Samsung GALAXY, I figured my husband could do all of the set-up and explain to him how to use this phone (and let me off the hook). :)
Now before you go thinking I'm crazy or asking for trouble that my 10-year old has a smartphone, relax. I wrote up a contact for him to sign so we were both clear on the purpose for this phone. For those of you interested in writing up your own contract for your school aged child, here is what our contract consists of:
- This phone is owned by my mom & dad, not me.
- My mom, dad, and sister will always, always know the password.
- This phone is solely for the purpose of getting ahold of my mom, dad, sister, grandparents, or other trusted adult.
- This phone will remain in my backpack at school turned off.
- When I take this phone to a friend's house, I will ask the adult to keep my phone until I leave.
- I will not bring this phone with me everywhere I go, especially if I am with my parents or sister.
- I will not use this phone to be rude or mean.
- I will always answer this phone if my parents, sister, or other family members are calling.
- I will not add any apps, games, or music to this phone without consulting my parents or sister.
- I will not use this phone to surf the web.
- I will never share information like my name, address, current location, or phone number. If anyone asks me for this information, I will immediately tell my parents, sister, or trusted adult.
- I will respect this phone. It does not belong to me so I will take extra special care of it when in my possession.
- I will make sure it is always charged before I take it to school, after school activities, or when I'm with friends.
Since this is my first ever parent / child phone contract, feel free to leave a comment letting me know what I may have missed! I know that a signed piece of paper does not guarantee all of these rules will be followed, but at least we are both clear on what the rules are!
Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to http://cbi.as/kxt3 or your local Walmart for current pricing.
Two weeks ago today my family was unpacking all of the moving boxes that had been in storage for the past 3 months. It's hard to believe that everything is unpacked and has a home especially since while the movers were unloading the moving truck, I kept telling myself it would be a month before we sorted through it all. Talk about feeling weighed down.
After being on the market for 6 months with my husband commuting back and forth from Wisconsin to Minnesota, we sold our house in Wisconsin and packed only necessary things that we would need to live. We moved those items into a very small apartment in Rochester, MN while our house was built just outside of Rochester. Everything else went into a moving storage facility and during the unpacking process, each member of my family, including myself, would come across something that we completely forgot about. The more we unpacked, the more we started to question why we brought most of the items with us. I'll get to what we did with all of that another time.
Before the moving company showed up at our house in Wisconsin to pack us up we sold, gave away, and donated many of our things. We must've made at least a dozen trips to Goodwill and St. Vincent De Paul. Well, at least we thought we did. As a matter of fact, our friends, family, and neighbors were starting to ask if we had anything left because we were unloading so much stuff.
Having fewer choices
Something happened during those 3 months of apartment living. Remember when you moved out for the first time and had very few things to get started? That is how we lived. And guess what? We were actually able to make do with what we had and as we went along, I realized that life just felt easier. Instead of 6 different mixing bowls, I only had 2. That stockpile of cleaning supplies that took up space in the basement at our old house, we brought 2 - 3 bottles with and everything still got clean. During that time we attended a wedding and I had only brought 2 pair of earrings to the apartment; one gold pair and one silver pair. I remember how easy it was to grab a pair to wear because the choice was limited. If I had my huge jewelry armoire, it would have taken me forever to decide what to wear. And speaking of what to wear, that became much less complicated because there was only so much to choose from.
I no longer like "stuff"
3 months ago you could have asked to borrow a slow cooker. Sure, why not? I have 4 of them. Need some deodorant? Take your pick from these 12 bottles. Having a party and need 6 chip bowls? I got you covered.
After living those 3 months without all of that, I don't want it back. I don't need it back. Looking back I realize how it was all so overwhelming. Yes, having excess stuff can be overwhelming. I guess this is a concept I would have dismissed before and can only understand it now because we forced ourselves to temporarily live that way thinking "it's only 3 months". Having those things did not make me happy, fulfilled, or a better person. And those things that I thought had meaning, really did not; they only took up space. It was all just more to clean, more to organize, more to stress out about, and more exhausting to make choices.
I've never been one to live in a cluttered home. I'm not sure there is a single person out there who could say they came into our house and found it to be cluttered. However, for those that would tease me about my immaculate home, what they may not have realized is that to them it appeared to be neat and tidy, but to me it was a mess. I've been asked before if I had OCD because I would clean an already clean house. My house never felt clean. I never felt organized. I struggled with this all of the time. I never understood why I felt this way up until recently.
Material possessions were cluttering my mind
If a professional sat down with me before our apartment living experience and told me that the reason my mind was cluttered and I was constantly cleaning a clean house was because we had too many material possessions, I would have thought the person was on crack. I would have also listed 100 reasons why I had to keep those things; I spent money on that. My mom gave me that. It matches that other thing. I might need that one day. And finally, I would have said that my house is clean and organized so they must be wrong.
I'm glad it didn't take a professional to tell me that, and it only took an experience for me to figure it out on my own. It's freeing to have fewer material possessions. It's peaceful really. And in the long run it will eventually put more money in my pocket. I realized that today when I drove right past one of my favorite (or used to be favorite) craft stores. I didn't have the strong desire to go in and look around. I only thought to myself that whatever I would find in there would not go with our new "less is more" decor.
I realized as I drove past the store that I had adapted this new minimalist and simplistic way of living in more ways than one. And it's a damn good feeling.
How to Use Essential Oils When Cleaning Your Home
Many people find essential oils to be, well … essential. That’s because these naturally derived serums have many soothing and healing properties. They smell pretty good, too.
Fortunately, the benefits of essential oils don’t begin and end with our bodies; surprisingly, they can also be used when cleaning your home. Below you’ll find five ways to incorporate essential oils into your cleaning routine. When you’re done, take a deep breath and enjoy an even sweeter smell of success.
1. Freshen the Air
Sometimes, the air in your home can smell a bit stale, and rain or cold temperatures might make cracking a window an impossible option. In that case, try creating your own air freshener with the help of essential oils.
First, you’ll need to find an aromatherapy diffuser that releases just enough of the oils’ scent into the air. Then, all you have to do is find the right scent(s) for you. For example, you might try lemon oil in your kitchen or lavender in the bathroom. Alongside lemon and lavender, my favorite air fresheners are ylang ylang, Roman chamomile, peppermint and lemongrass.
2. Scour Power
You probably already have a go-to cleaner, but there’s a good chance it’s full of chemicals and other unnatural substances that you don’t want around your family. Luckily, essential oils make it easy to make a home cleaner that’s both effective and fresh-scented.
In a spray bottle or other container convenient for cleaning, combine one cup of distilled white part vinegar and three cups of water. Then, add about five drops of lemon or wild orange essential oil. You can add more or less depending on the strength of scent you desire. No matter what, the concentrated state of essential oils means you won’t need too much to make a delightful-smelling solution.
3. Beat Bathroom Build-Up
No matter how often you clean your bathroom, you still might have pesky, dingy build-up on your shower curtain. This scum isn’t just unsightly — it’s mold, and you don’t want it in the air while you’re in the bathroom. To eliminate it, simply fill a spray bottle with warm water. Then, add four drops each of eucalyptus and tea tree oil. Together, they fight off mold and keep your shower clean, just like it keeps you clean!
4. Dust Be Gone
Unfortunately, essential oils won’t do your vacuuming for you. They will, however, help you rid your vacuum of its dusty smell. Simply put a few drops of lemon essential oil onto a tissue. Then, suck the tissue up with your vacuum. Once inside of the machine, the essential oils will work their magic, sweetening the smell of the air with just enough of a scent. Goodbye, dingy vacuum!
5. Peppermint Your Pests
Spiders, mice, and rodents, oh my! It turns out many of the most common household pests have an aversion to the smell of peppermint. Use this to your advantage! All you have to do is drop some peppermint oil onto cotton balls or put a few drops into a spray bottle with water.
Place the cotton balls in areas that you have pest problems. Use the spray near doorways that lead to the outside or even on window screens.
You can also use peppermint oil to mask the scent rodents leave behind to signal their fellow mice where to go. Then, make sure that you re-spray or replace the cotton balls once a month so the scent stays strong.
BIO: Ali Lawrence blogs over at Homey Improvements about DIY projects and good ol’ fashion home advice. She has been using essential oils for over 3 years. Connect with Ali on Twitter @DIYfolks.
He's a handsome pooch, isn't he. When we brought him home from the shelter almost 2 years ago, we never thought our biggest complaint would be the little bit of whining he does when he gets excited. And honestly, I wish he barked more. He will only bark on command for treats and to go outside or come inside. He doesn't bark at people or other dogs or when the doorbell rings. Somehow we ended up with a incredibly social, well-behaved Mountain Cur mix. If there was one word that describes Sam, it would be polite - both with humans and other animals.
Sam was our first ever family pet and when we got him we knew very little about taking care of a dog. We had a little bit of experience with the dog next door and just like when someone has a baby, everyone has advice to give - especially when it comes to what kind of dog food to use.
After trying out different brands of dog food, we found that Sam likes Purina® Pro Plan® the best. With Purina® Pro Plan®, you are getting real chicken, beef, lamb, or salmon for the #1 ingredient in all Purina® Pro Plan® dry formulas.
"Our goal is to give your dog the nutrition to be his absolute best, helping him to be energetic and resilient, and maintaining an ideal body condition, healthy skin, and a stunning coat."
Sam has a beautiful coat and expressive bright eyes and I do believe that this is the result of feeding him high quality dog food. With other foods that we tried, the food would sit in his bowl all day long until late at night when it was obvious that he was just eating it because he was so hungry. With Purina® Pro Plan®, the minute he hears the dog food container open, he's waiting patiently a few feet from his bowl until he's given the command to eat his food.
This past weekend we took Sam for a car ride to one of his favorite destinations - PetSmart. Of course PetSmart is one of his favorite places to go because when we go in and shop, he can come with as long as he is on his leash. PetSmart has a great selection of Purina® Pro Plan® dry food and great prices as well. Be sure to sign up for their PetPerks Rewards program so you can save on all your pet needs.
Right now you can visit the Purina® Pro Plan® MyPLAN website to get your dog's MyPLAN recommendation and a rebate offer for a free bag of Purina® Pro Plan® Dry Dog Food (4-6lbs, up to $18.99.) Good only in U.S.A. A.P.O's, F.P.O's. Void where taxed, prohibited, restricted. Allow 6-8 weeks for shipment. LIMIT ONE REQUEST PER INDIVIDUAL, ADDRESS, or EMAIL ADDRESS. Offer expires 04/30/2015. See full terms.
Sam can sometimes get bored during the day and even though the weather is getting nice, we thought it would be fun to make a food/treat dispenser out of a few pieces of wood and plastic bottles to amuse him.
The project took very little time and if I had to estimate cost, well under $5.
The entire project is constructed using one 1x4 that is 8’ long and a 3/8” dowel that is 4’ long.
Step #1 Cut the 1x4 into (3) pieces that are 16” long (sides and base of food/treat dispenser)
Step #2 Cut the remaining 1x4 into (2) pieces that are 10” long (stabilizers for the sides)
Step #3 The dowel is cut to a 17-3/4” long piece.
Step #4 Drill a 3/8” hole through (2) of the 16” pieces about 4” from the top so they are aligned with each other.
Step #5 Drill holes through the sides of each bottle.
After all the pieces are cut, assemble the bottom and sides using wood glue and then nails.
The dowel should be a snug fit in the hole. It should not be nailed or glued so it can easily be removed to replace the bottles.
So how did Sam like his new food/treat dispenser?
Well, he is just too well-behaved to touch something when he's not sure it belongs to him. He sniffed at the food, but wouldn't touch the bottles. Even when we tried to help him out a bit, he made sure not to touch the bottles or the wood stand. He's just that kind of dog. :) How a dog so kind, well-behaved, and gentle ended up at a shelter I'll never know. But I'm thankful that he was because even though he doesn't bark when the doorbell rings, he's pretty much the perfect dog (for us).
Purina® Pro Plan® on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ProPlan
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Don't forget to take advantage of the free Purina® Pro Plan® rebate offer!