Summer Reading! – For the kids?

So, it’s that time of year. I know everyone focuses on which activities we need to get our kids to do to keep them active and not on video games the entire time.

But I feel like this needs some attention as well! It helps the brain do some wondering and exercising as well, and that is just as important.

Now, here is the hard part…
Which books to have the kids read?

I remember back in the day when I was little-er I used to love these books:

But what’s out there today?

I started asking some other moms, and here are some books that they told me about:

Now I got excited because I recognized the Author!

Apparently this has been out for a while as well, I just haven’t seen it. *laughs*

I know they made a movie of this lately, and what’s interesting is that boys can enjoy this too!

A newer series I had to look up. I thought maybe it was older, but definitely a newer one. I had heard of it before because they made a movie from this as well!

Now, I have never heard of this one, but I will need to look into it for my daughter.

Another book a Boy can enjoy!

These are starters for younger kids, but it’s fantastic! I think it’s a good list to begin with, and if you are an “out of touch mom” like me, you’ll be glad for this list!

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Designer of the Week!~

This week, the designer is the lovely Sandra Korka!

Now, when I first started learning about her,  I immediately she would be interesting: she is contacting me from Greece! Now if that isn’t  fantastically awesome, keep reading. She was an absolute pleasure to write!

How did you start? 

Architecture is the beginning of arts (translation from Greek!), and that is her beginning! She studied Architecture and she absolutely loved it. She had fun while learning her studies, and since it is a broad field, there are a lot of aspects to it and it can be applied to many things.

With this, she chose to work on interior spaces: design and construct (new or old that need renovations). Now how is that for knowing the ins and outs of a business!

Anyway, she truly begins “right after the concrete structure of the building is finished. Then, all parts of the interior are formed and designed, working closely with the clients, as the end product should reflect their personalities, their needs, and requirements for their new spaces.” (Lovely to work with people that you just HAVE to use their wording! Love it! <3) She worded that perfectly and I could not have said it any better.

From there, she still works close with her clients but visiting stores, suppliers, etc. And after all the designing is done and the proper things ordered, the construction begins. She works with a very skilled and knowledgeable crew that she sees daily on the work site. Now, I just HAVE to quote her again (You can see the passion!). “It is up to the client to visit or not. I pay everyday visits on site to supervise the construction works process, as I have to make sure that the design, as well as every technical detail are absolutely followed. I pay very a lot of attention to construction details, as the details make the difference. I may have designed the most beautiful thing, but if it is not made according to the design or caring about finishes, joints, etc, then it does not mean anything and as a result, the client will not be happy. ”

She is there for every detail and every need. It is amazing to hear about and I absolutely love it.

And she doesn’t only deal from the very beginning, she helps with any and every space. Even designs small apartments! She can make any space a designed and beautiful space. Check out her blog, http://www.sandrakorka.blogspot.com/, it shows GREAT examples. Right now she is working on a project that if I talked about, this would be a LOT longer. *wink*

Favorite Design: 

“Contemporary modern. That is, nothing too extreme, simple forms and lines and earth tones that do not wear out by time.” This is her choice, and I see why she would chose it. “I do not always follow this style in my work, as I design a space focusing on the client,” she has told me. “The space [will] reflect the needs and wants of the client, who should be happy to use it and feel comfortable and relaxed.”

Tips and Advice: 

Since she is not a big fan of trends because they fade away after time, she always recommends to “keep simple colors on the basic pieces of furniture and play with the colors and the patterns of the parts that can be changed easily.” (Curtains, rugs, cushions, etc.) “That way, when changing these parts, the space looks brand new and this can do miracles to the psychology of the users of the space in question!” (Yes, that is her wording. Brilliant isn’t it?) She has also mentioned to keep wardrobes and room doors as light colored because they allow the room to breath. They are the bigger focuses and it may be easier to play with that way.

And the other great advice: Trust the person they have hired,” as they are trained and have the skills and experience, as well as know the market. They are on your side. They want to work with you, not against. And I would listen to that great advice. “I always, always, say at the very beginning that they should not listen to what others say, because others speak from their own perspective and with their own background and no matter their good will, things get messy and difficult!” Trust your instincts and that of the one your hired! Together, you will make something great! It is supposed to reflect you after all, not someone else.

My Say:

She DEFINITELY has passion and love for what she does!~ She apologized about how much she had said, and let me tell you, I LOVED every minute of it!  There are a lot I didn’t mention, but it is quite fantastic getting to know her!

Definitely look through her photos, they are amazing. The link to her blog is included somewhere above, and it is worth the visit! Contact her if you can. Definitely worth it.

PS!! She has not only done homes and offices, she has done STORE FRONTS. Like the set up of the store and everything! That is a first for me! And it is quite fantastic.

It’s Couponing Time!

(Banner from http://happycouponing.blogspot.com/)

Now, when you hear that word/words, what do you think? Do you think of the EXTREME TLC show about people who just do it to a huge extent? Or do you just do it casually once in a while if you just happen to remember and you were getting the item anyway?

These are the two extremes. Honestly, there is a huge following between those two extremes, just people don’t know it.

And my husband and I used to talk about it all the time, especially after watching Extreme Couponing on TLC. But we never got to actually DOING it. But as I was standing in line yesterday, I was behind a lady using coupons. Now, she wasn’t as pushy as some/a lot of the people on the show, but she was very kind and and giving the cashier the coupons. (The cashier was also a sweetheart and very patient.) And I literally watch her total go from about $300 to $119. …. O.O

SEROIUSLY?

I watched it happen before my very. Own. Eyes.

Yes, seriously. It HAPPENS people! And she wasn’t doing it for a stock pile or anything. She was honestly just trying to get food to feed her family on a very strict budget.

And it seriously amazed me. I swear, my face looked like this:

I was in shock people. IN SHOCK. To see it happen in person, and just a normal person with her family…

Yeah.

So I am inspired to figure out how to do this. My family’s food bill doesn’t have to be as large as it is right now, and I think this is a way to help with this problem. And so I did what anyone would do:

I asked. I asked her where she gets her coupons, and how she learned to do this. And she was such a kind and sweet person. Both her AND the cashier gave me some sites that I can go look at.

Now, here is my dilemma. I am iffy about online coupons because there are a lot that are scams. But they gave me some hints and some safe coupon sites that they personally use.  So, what I will do is list the sites below, and possibly write down what I am going to try to figure out. This may be a blog with more than one entry because I think the details in this may be too much for just one. ;P And I’m just trying to start. O.O

List of things I need to do:

1. Find where to get coupons.

Now, besides online, all I knew about coupons is that you can get them from the newspaper. (And there are a few newspaper choices around here. But I have found that the Charlotte Observer has the BEST selection of coupons and the MOST coupons than the other ones I have looked at.) And I just got to thinking;

Where else do you get them? Now, I will list a few sites at the bottom, but this was an idea I had: Around here, there is a place where you can go where you can go and throw away your trash, but also recycle things. And I have noticed a section for newspapers. Now I wonder, would they let me go through that and see if I can find some? This is definitely a question that is worth asking, and after I talk to them, I will let you know. *laughs*

2. Find out my store’s coupon policies, as well as those around me to see which is best.

Luckily, the store I like going to (Bi-lo!~) has a NICE policy, from what the cashier was telling me. They double all coupons under 99 cents (except those that say DO NOT DOUBLE) up to 10 of the same coupon. (You can break it up into separate transactions is a possible way around that. *whistles*)

Now, there are more to this whole thing, but I recommend looking at the terms your store has for coupons. And if you don’t understand anything, don’t be afraid to ask! (I did my research for Bi-lo!)

3. Start PAYING ATTENTION TO THE SALES.

You know those things in the newspapers or at the front of the store that tells you a lot of the sales in the store? (Keep in mind it’s not all, but it’s a good start!) Stop throwing those away! I know I do that a lot, and not really pay attention. But those have a lot of good details in it.

A lot of stores have it so you can check online now about their sales. It is quite fantastic.

And…

That’s my list so far. *laughs* It may not seem like much, but it is a start! It’s a great way to try to save money, and maybe afford more of the stuff I WANT to get and save on the things I NEED to get.

That, and being able to save money for emergency situations is nice too.

Do you coupon? Do you have any suggestions or recommendations for a beginner? I would love to hear from you.

Or, are you just starting or interested? Contact me! We can start this thing together and find answers using each other resources! It never hurts to have two or more heads working on something!

And at last, I leave you with that list of sites that I was given. May they help you as well.
(Tip: Here are the tips that the cashier and coupon lady gave me. Be careful of coupons that have a huge amount off. Like $5, or even just above a $1. They are more likely to not be real. Also be wary of the coupons that say FREE. Those also might be hints of possible fake ones.)

http://www.valassis.com
http://www.redplum.com/
http://www.couponmom.com/
http://www.pgeverydaysolutions.com
http://www.coupons.com/

Those are the ones I have on hand. Any others?

The Running of Ideas…

We’ve all had it happen to us. We’ve all done it. We’re asked to come up with an idea. Chose a topic. Be creative.  And for a good amount of the time, yeah, maybe we can think of something. Give an answer. Actually chose a topic.

But if you are like me, your face can look like this: O.O

Oh yeah. I blank. Easily. I honestly don’t know what I want to write about, can’t think of a creative idea. I HATED having to chose a topic to write about in High School. I preferred that they chose it so I could at least start. I LITERALLY took days, sometimes WEEKS to finally decide upon something.

So, what do you do to help to think of something and actually get out of these sticky situations so you can go on your way and be productive? Actually do it. And here are some ideas to help get those ideas flowing!

1. Talk to someone.

Yup. That’s right. The best topics are those you are actually interested in, and sometimes just talking may spark an idea or some sort of thought that will lead to an idea. I know that I have had a few blog entries just from conversations with my friends. (For example, my friend was talking about the latest lotto and how there were three winners. It was what inspired “Feeling Lucky!”)

2. Look online.

Hey, sometimes just some suggestions are a good thing. I know that many people don’t even know where to start, and tips from seasoned pros tend to be a good thing. Why not get advice from someone who has done it before?

3. Brainstorm.

Yes, the good old fashion brainstorming. Now what I recommend is write down a list of ANYTHING. Yes, anything because you never know which one may be a good idea after all. Write down ridiculous things. Things you think has too much information. Random fun things that may relate. Anything. And time yourself. After writing all you can in one minute, go over it, and sort through your list. The ones that are too general, you can break up and see if you’d want to do anything with those. Those silly words may inspire an idea. You never know. But what matters is that you were able to get something on paper that you can at least work off of.

Those are my best. I usually talk to people and my mind wanders and it stumbles across an idea. ;P Feel free to do anything and see if it works for you.

And, if you have any ideas, feel free to comment below! I may be able to add it to my list above. And I promise, I’ll let everyone know you recommend it. ;P

Everyone Has Their Hard Days

 

Everyone has their bad days. It is unavoidable. There is nothing we can do about it. But there is things we can do to get us out of that sad feeling.

Everyone is different so each method may not work best for you. But here are some things I found useful, and I will add comments and make some suggestions of my own.

Here is the article I am getting a lot of suggestions from:

http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Happy-when-You’re-Sad

1. Talk to a friend.

Sometimes just talking to someone can make a world of change. I know that everyone has their person that they can go to. It can be a friend, a family member, counselor, anyone as long as you can get it out. Once you do, most of the time, it helps a lot. It’s part of the healing process. Bottle things up too much, and it has negative effects.

2. Watch a good movie.

Some people would probably prefer to watch a funny one, but there are some who prefer sad ones so they realize maybe what they are going through isn’t so bad after all. Either way, make sure it’s one you have seen before and you  know you enjoy. Watching one that you haven’t seen and it turns out it just… isn’t your type, it may not help.

3. Express yourself.

There are MANY ways to do this. Write! Draw! Sing! Dance! Anything and enjoy it! Some people sing a happy song, some write a dramatic story. Do whatever you love doing, and enjoy!

4. Cry.

Sometimes all you need is just a good cry. I can definitely say that it is true.

5. Give yourself a treat!

Now, I am not saying always eat when you are sad, but sometimes, you need to treat yourself. Some would treat with a movie. I would treat myself with a delicious dessert. (Want a recipe? Just the bottom of the blog. *wink*)

6. Dream.

Sometimes just letting your mind wander and dream on your own helps. Think of that dream wedding. Look at those rugs you have always wanted. Think of names for you future children. Imagine your speech that you will give when you receive your Grammy! Some people, it makes them sad, but me, it reminds me of the possibilities that are out there, and reminds me that not all is bad.

So, what do you do to help cheer yourself up? Your suggestion may help another.

Better Than Sex Cake! (Oh yes, it is very delicious!)

Now for this, I must say that when I was originally taught how to make it, it included marshmallow fluff as well! I do not recommend making it all the time, but once a year is fine. ;P

Ingredients

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix
  • 1/2 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 ounces caramel ice cream topping
  • 3 (1.4 ounce) bars chocolate covered toffee, chopped
  • 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Directions

  1. Bake cake according to package directions for a 9×13 inch pan; cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Make slits across the top of the cake, making sure not to go through to the bottom.
  2. In a saucepan over low heat, combine sweetened condensed milk and caramel topping, stirring until smooth and blended. Slowly pour the warm topping mixture over the top of the warm cake, letting it sink into the slits; then sprinkle the crushed chocolate toffee bars liberally across the entire cake while still warm. (Hint: I crush my candy bars into small chunks as opposed to crumbs – I like to have pieces I can chew on!)
  3. Let cake cool completely, then top with whipped topping. Decorate the top of the cake with some more chocolate toffee bar chunks and swirls of caramel topping. Refrigerate and serve right from the pan!

Juicing – The Healthy Treat

I hate vegetables. This is a fact. I feel terrible as a mom that I cannot stand the good habits I need to teach my daughter so she grows up healthy and strong!

But there is a way around this! Where I CANNOT taste most vegetables but it is SO healthy and everyone enjoys it! Including me! (My daughter is young enough where she will try anything and enjoys just about everything.)

And what is this way, you may ask? JUICING. Yes, the wonderful world of juice!

I could go into this long thing about why I started, the good stuff it has done, the weight I have lost (Yes, I have lost weight from this and let me tell you, with all the stuff I have tried, it is amazing how this natural thing works so much better than anything else), I decided I’ll just stick with writing some “recipes” we have done and love! That way you can try it and like it, THEN find out how awesome it really is!

It’s really easy. If you don’t have a juicer (I highly recommend one. I mean, what’s better than fresh Orange Juice or Apple juice that you make yourself so you know EXACTLY what is going into it?) just get something that basically liquifies the fruits and veggies.

Now, here are some easy Juice mixes I highly recommend. They’re healthy, and boy do they taste good!

My husband and I experiment together, so a lot of these may appear to have a lot of the same things. Mix things up and see what you like. Remember, do fruits AND veggies!

Our all time favorite is:

Kale
Cucumber (1)
Apple (2)
Broccoli (1 steam full or just do a bunch of the actual little things)
Carrots (4)

It gives enough to give us BOTH a full glass!

Now, the reason I didn’t list the amount of Kale is because it is at your discretion. A lot of people do not like the taste, but it is one of the HEALTHIEST things out there for you. Me and my husband, our juice tastes weird if we DON’T taste it.

That’s right, we LIKE Kale. Crazy huh?

Another juice to try:

Kale (Again, use a little, use a lot. Up to you. I recommend adding a little at first, to see how it affects it and adjust)
Apple (1)
Broccoli(1)
Celery (this has  a stronger taste than you’d think. Again, try one stalk, taste, then add more if you’d like)
Pineapple (1/4)
Cucumber (Cucumber adds a bit of juice)

Now, for  a fun juice I call a dessert juice!

Apples
Strawberries
Pineapple
Orange
Carrot

This juice helps curb your sweat tooth and tastes FANTASTIC.

Hope this all helps you like it has me. Just try it. Taste it. Fix it to your own liking. ANOTHER TIP: Apples are your friends. If you don’t like the taste of something, add apples. They tend to cover a lot of tastes that you may not enjoy and make it easier to drink.

Now go on, try it.

Trust the Monkey.