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Happy Family Tips

Coupon How-To From a “Been There, Doing That” Mother and Wife

Having a family of eight, almost nine tends to cause you to look for ways that you can save money or cut costs. Many of us have a very fixed budget, especially with the economy now. This makes it difficult to see areas in your budget that are flexible or have any areas to give. Some of us have cut deeply out of our entertainment budget, or in my case, our coffee house budget because that is one area that can actually be cut. Even if you don’t have a large family like mine, doesn’t let you off the hook. We can all stand to make some changes. That led me to find a solid “coupon how-to,” and now I’m passing that on to you – free of charge, without the need for a coupon, this time.
For years I have been anti-coupon. I just never saw the point. Why would I waste all my time cutting out coupons for 35 cents off of a name-brand item, when I can still buy the store or generic brand item more inexpensively? I also thought that if I had cut all of these coupons, I would be compelled to buy things that I had coupons for that I would have never normally bought. I sort of thought this because I had done just that a few times when I had tried the “coupon thing”.
I could also envision mass amounts of coupons spilling out of the top of my wallet, or crumpled up at the bottom of my purse. Let’s face it, my purse doesn’t need any help in the crumpled up paper department. I do have 6 kids after all. I pictured myself standing at the check out with a mile long line behind me, three to four unruly children begging for candy, and me digging through the bottom of my purse in the hopes that I could find THE coupon that would save me a bunch of $$$ only to find it and realize it was expired. No thank you. I tend to be a spectacle of sorts, as it is, if I travel through the aisles with all of my children. Adding the vision of the coupon fiasco to the mix was something I was not interested in.
So, when my sister-in-law mentioned to my mom that she had started “couponing” I gave her the eye-roll. (Behind her back of course. I am not that rude!) As she was describing all of the free stuff and super inexpensive stuff that she had picked up, I couldn’t help but be curious enough to ask the one question you never want to pose to a couponer, unless you want to become one yourself: “How?”
Her answer has become this “coupon how-to,” a crash course in all things coupon. By the time the conversation was over, I was not sold per se. But, I was intrigued enough to do a little more investigating of my own.
**Warning!** If you don’t want anything to do with coupons, you should probably stop reading this article now. You just may be sucked into the coupon vortex like the rest of us.
What I discovered is that every idea I had about coupons was, well…wrong. I do so hate to be wrong. If it involves saving money, I can be big enough to admit it. Couponing is very strategic. It requires planning, organization, research and mad skills. Okay, perhaps that is an exaggeration of sorts. But, the 1st three are definitely required.
Coupon How-To
– Supplies –
A new attitude about frugality and spending – non-negotiable!
4-6 Sunday Papers, depending on family size (Make sure they have all coupon inserts!)
Organizer – a baseball card organizer (in a 2-3 inch three-ring binder) works great for coupons.
Notebook dividers for above
– Directions –
Every Sunday pull out the store ads and match up the deals to your coupons. Better yet, find blogs in your area that have done all of the work for you. There are a ton out there. Some in my area even host monthly classes on how to become a “coupon queen.”
Label the dividers with different categories: baby, beauty/haircare, first aid, dairy, etc. You will find categories that work for you – but the best way is to label them in such a way that the coupons reflect the store aisles. Then start cutting those coupons and loading up your binder.
The goal of the coupons is to know when to play them. You don’t want to just make a list and see if you have a coupon for it. You want to use your coupons on items that are already on sale and at rock-bottom price. Then you use multiple coupons to stock up on the item. Because you can also …

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Balance Work and Family Tips

Finding The Right Breakfast For Your Family

From the “breakfast of champions” (a popular cold cereal in America) to KimChee (a fermented cabbage made in Korea), breakfasts around the world can feature a wide variety of food items. Taking into consideration what is grown in a country and its availability to the folks, compare the simple breakfast of boiled eggs, olives, cheeses and fava beans in the Middle East to an American full morning meal of bacon or sausage, fried eggs, hashed brown potatoes, toast or biscuits with butter, jam or jelly and coffee or tea.
These are a couple of ways to ‘break’ your ‘fast’ after going the entire night with no food. The first meal of the days is said to be the most important, supplying the required nutrients to start a busy day, no matter where you are located. Especially important for children.
These two breakfasts are an example of a simple, easy and quick meal and one that is more complicated, demanding and time-intensive. That is not to say that both countries, and others worldwide, do not have both. It depends on the day of the week, in many cases, and how much time is available as to whether a quick meal is best or one that is prepared and eaten in a more leisurely fashion is desirable.
‘Fast food’ became popular as people became busier but still wanted to eat something, preferably healthy, in the morning. Even in Thailand, Japan and China, for instance, one can purchase their food from street vendors, extremely convenient and trendy now-a-days.
On many of the continents will be found fast food establishments that have been adopted from the United States of America by countries. Starting out sacrificing health, perhaps, for quick and speedy, many of these vendors have now adjusted the items they have available to include more healthy choices, including English muffins, biscuits or croissants filled with your choice of sausage or bacon, egg, cheese. Some countries have a very extensive menu of foods that one can choose from, any time of the day. Thai residents have been known to say that they can have whatever they want for breakfast!
In planning the nutritional content of breakfast, one would attempt to supply carbohydrates, protein, dairy and as many vitamins and minerals as possible. Many countries are not able to accomplish this, but do the very best they can with what they have. Breakfast around the world can include such items as eggs (fried, boiled, scrambled and made into omelets), rice, veggies, fruit and so forth.
So far discussed has been eating the morning meal at home and choosing from street vendors or fast food establishments. There are restaurants, as well, that cater to the first meal by serving individually prepared meals from the menu or by offering what is known as the ‘buffet’. The buffet is a huge variety of food items from which one can choose as they like, many stores operating with ‘all you can eat’ buffets at a fixed price. This may not be the healthiest option unless one is able to control their appetite and choices. However they are very prominent and fashionable.
Healthy breakfasts in America and Europe, for instance, often include eggs prepared in such ways as soft boiled with toast, a small bowl of fruit or fresh fruit and a beverage. Omelets are acceptable too, as in some of the African cultures. France citizens also put together “omelettes”, and include in their healthy breakfast perhaps a baguette with large bowls of latte or hot chocolate! Wherever a person lives, fixing up breakfasts that are healthy as well as tasty often include eggs, fruit and veggies.…

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Happy Family Tips

Saving Your Sanity, Teaching Children Respect and Creating a Happy Family!

Teaching Children Respect
It is always with astonishment that I see parents bully and belittle their children and then complain that those same children are hateful or disrespectful!
Honestly, how loving and respectful can a child feel about someone who constantly criticizes and frightens them? What must it be like for a little kid to be yelled at constantly? I wonder how it must feel to have Mom or Dad, the most important people in your life, always demanding that you DO something, eat right now – or else! Go to sleep this instant! Can you imagine always being threatened and being told to shut up! Sit down! Go away! Wow! It is an echo of our own childhood that is behind this crazy parenting behavior. We feel justified because it feels so normal and familiar. In reality there is no justification for such abuse towards the smallest and weakest among us. We should not condone this treatment of children and we should challenge ourselves to become better more enlightened parents.
The attitude of “spare the rod and spoil the child” is rampant in our society. Many parents that would never physically strike their child may still use the “rod” of words. Words can sting much more than a spanking and may never be forgotten. Think of your own childhood, and chances are that you still have a few hurtful sentences running around in your head! I know I do.
Children are born sensitive beings. From the moment they are conscious they are watching us. Learning from every example, every word spoken, every attitude that we project. The idea that children should “Do as I say, not as I do” is ridiculous! It might make a struggling parent feel better to say that, but it’s just not the way it is. Children learn what they see. They model the behavior that is in front of them. Parents are the most important and influential role models for their children. Hands down. I suspect that the saying “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” is more from modeling than genetics! I certainly hear my Mothers words randomly coming out of my mouth!
Being a parent is a very challenging journey. It never ends, and children will always reflect back the dysfunction within a family. Perhaps the greatest challenge is not just the daily work of raising kids, the feeding, clothing, watching their every move, but rather in the personal growth that is demanded of a parent. My own on going journey through Motherhood has brought me to my knees more than once, and forced me to examine and challenge my own attitudes about everything. It has pushed me to mature and grow in ways I couldn’t have imagined possible, and at the end of the day has brought meaning, joy and connection to my life that has made it all worthwhile. More than worthwhile…Priceless!…

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Family Tips

Family Massage

Did you know if you massage your family members and they return the favor, your family can become a very happy family? Studies have shown families that massage one another are far more likely to have close relationships with each other.
Sharing is caring too. But the problem is, you might not know how to go about it. For example, your family member might not want to remain still when you are trying to massage them. Likewise, it is also difficult to get your brother or sister to massage you. Everyone has their own privacy, their own space and their own things to do. But you are the only one that is into this whole massage thing. What can you do about it? How can you convince everyone to jump into the massage boat with you?
Here’s the magic steps you can take to convert them into masseurs and masseuses.
Give a foot massage to the member who always seems to be watching the television on the couch.
If you are a parent, give your children a nice massage after they finish their homework.
If your wife cooks a good dinner, give her a good back rub after everyone has eaten.
Go slow at first and massage them while they are fully clothed. You don’t have to force them to be naked and lie on the bed if you want to massage them!
If they don’t want the massage, respect their decision even though they clearly need one. But do point out to them the cause of the pain and where to apply pressure on their bodies to solve the problem.
What if someone finally agrees to your massage? Then you should always start with a gentle and soft stroke. You can always go harder the next time around.
You must be the one who are willing to offer the massage first. Don’t expect them to convince themselves by instructing them to massage you at first!
Remember, you must be the giver. There can be no other ways.…

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Financial Family

How to Know If Your Kid is Really Smart

This is a question very common to parents, grandparents and even to aunt’s and uncle’s. So how would you really know if your kid or grandson/granddaughter or nice/nephew is really smart?

Determining if the child is smart is quite hard in the first one year and below since he/she can’t talk that well or express himself strongly, but as he/she grows you would know if he is really smart by observing the following signs…

Starts to reason out every time you correct him/her

Ask a lot of question and sometimes, his/her questions are something you can’t answer

Observes everything in his/her surroundings

Imitates you or whoever that he/she thinks is doing something cool or different

Loves to learn, you would find him/her asking you to teach him how to do something such as; read, write or spell

When you try to ask him/her a question you would find his/her answers pretty amazing and you would end up wondering where he/she got it

Understands your instructions and will never whine in front of other people

Always wants to take the lead and be ahead of other kids but also knows how to give way

You would see him/her educating other kids if that kid did something not really nice

Does what he/she is told but you would always see him/her doing something out of curiosity

Now these are just one of the many signs you can see from a smart kid, now let me just inform you that kids who are really bright tend to be really persistent on asking questions and would not stop until you give them an answer that will satisfy them. In this situation it pays to be extra patient and though they are getting into your nerves just think of the brighter side that you have a gifted child.…

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Happy Family Tips

3 Effective Positive Parenting Tips

Positive parenting is focused on encouraging and rewarding positive behavior in children rather than punishing unwanted behavior. Positive parenting isn’t about being overly permissive, though. All children need certain boundaries, both for their own safety and to teach them what is and isn’t acceptable. By focusing more on positive behavior, however, you’ll be more effective in leading your children to the right direction. Let’s look at some of the basic principles of positive parenting.

If you want to be a positive parent, you must devote some time out for yourself. If you are stressed out, you will not be able to give the right kind of attention to your kids. Your energy and patience are in limited supply and you also have to learn not just to take care of your children but yourself as well. It can be difficult to look after yourself when you’ve got kids because they take up most of your time and energy. Yet you should make sure you are eating well and getting enough rest and exercise. If you are under stress, whether it’s from your family, job or other issues, make sure you address this. Look after your well-being because doing so will give you more energy to devote to your children.

Reading is an essential skill that can be a source of great pleasure. While your child is young, make it a habit to read to them. This will encourage your child to love reading. As your child gets older, the two of you can read together. sure, your child will learn how to read when he goes to school, but it’s never a bad idea to help your child get started on reading. You’re bonding with your child when you read with them. Not only that, but you’re teaching them to appreciate books and enjoy learning. You can uncover interests and talents in your child if you expose him or her to a variety of reading materials that are appropriate for their age.

One aspect of positive parenting you should not overlook is encouraging healthy habits in your child. This includes eating a healthy diet and getting enough physical activity. This may be hard to do these days because your child is surrounded by a lot of temptations that could cause them to develop habits that are not healthy at all. What you can do, however, is make better food choices and cook healthy meals for your child. You need to make sure your child is active as well. It’s not healthy for your child to spend most of his or her time watching TV or on the computer. You’ll need to set limits and not let your child be dependent on passive forms of entertainment. You’ve just learned a few effective ways you can be a more positive parent to your children. Expect to face many difficulties along the way, as it’s not an easy thing to be a parent. Keep in mind, though, that if you consistently listen and communicate with your child and encourage and reward good behavior, you’ll find your job becomes a bit easier.…

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Family Tips

Part 4 – Divorce Is Not Chess and Children Are Not Pawns

In my last article I wrote about the teamwork that is needed to make sure we don’t treat a broken relationship like chess and use children as pawns. We have the parents, the friends, family, new partners and sadly the children emotions all tied up in this horrible game of tug of war. Have you ever seen a real tug of war? It only ends up one way wherein one side is stronger than the other and the losing side usually ends up being dragged over a line that has been placed on the ground that they don’t want to go. The losing side then fall over and the game is over, stronger side wins. The other interesting part of a tug of war are the players on each team. The players have to really dig their feet into the ground to make sure they get a good strong hold of their position to make sure that the other team is always struggling for grip which makes the potential of losing even higher.
Now, do you see the similarities of tug of war and a couple who broke up?
Line drawn in the sand, feet dug in, make life as difficult as possible for those on the “other” side and in the middle we have the child or children watching this horrible back and forth and positioning.
Well what if the tug of war was a different game? What if on one side of the rope was all those involved in a relationship breakdown and what if the other side had as its team members all the nasty things that get involved those being, Bitterness, Anger, Rage, Pay back, Abuse, Denial, and the team captain BLAME. What if all those team members got dragged across a line and ended up in a big huge hole those got covered in dirt and was never seen again? Wow that would be prefect wouldn’t it? Am I dreaming is it possible? Could all sides totally cast away all ill feelings for each other and focus on the major goal? Is that goal being for the Children not to end up as pawns in a game of chess?
I believe it is possible and I have done it and so have many others and it comes back to what I closed my last article with. What we need to look at is TEAMWORK, but I will give you the heads up, it’s not going to be easy but nothing worth having is ever easy. The plan for teamwork will take eating a bit of humble pie, it will involve meeting and discussing situations and circumstances with people you have most likely vowed you would not spit on if they were on fire, but sorry better get that spit ready!
So how do we arrange the team, well the major players and usually the biggest enemies that being the Boy and Girl involved in the relationship, and that means you’re going to have to sit down and put all the other stuff aside that has nothing to do with the kids and work out a structured plan of how the role as “parents” will not only survive this trauma but prosper. Let me remind you I say the role as “Parents” as it’s totally separate from “Partner” and the game of chess is fueled by the inability to separate those two roles, so are we clear? NO choice or option on this if we want to move forward to TEAMWORK we have to bite the bullet on separation of roles, OK now I have your buy in on that we can move forward.
In your team meeting you have to look at every activity that normal parenting has as part of its role. That will be school, sport, family events, discipline, love, birthdays, doctor, dentist the list can be long but all of it is part and parcel of “Parents” not “parent” and once the list is complete there must be total agreement that both of you are responsible for all of it, yes there may be actions that are done by an individual but the planning, discussion and follow up is a PARENTS responsibility not a PARENT.
The next step of this meeting is to discuss what events would create the environment for a tug of war to begin? Let me help you out and remind you of the McDonalds access children change, if you think that will involve trauma both of you better eat some humble and stick to easiest of Changing station that being HOME. OK so he left you or she left you well sorry get over it, the house may have bad memories with the partner but to kids its home so get sued to picking them up and roping …