Have You Let Yourself Go?

Ok so do you feel like you have let yourself go since becoming a parent.  I do and I have been thinking about my appearance a lot lately.  Me letting myself go was not intentional nor is it because I have become lazy; I just don’t have that much time to pamper myself like I use to.  Thank God I do not have weight issues otherwise I would really be in trouble, however, I am not the slightest bit as fit as I use to be.  If it wasn’t for being a naturally small person vertically and horizontally, I would probably be obese since I feel like I don’t have the time to work out.  My coworker says I remind her of a “Polly Pocket.”  I use to be the girl that wore make up every day and wore high heel shoes just to walk across campus for class.  Now my closet is full of work clothes, every day flats and I’m pretty sure I only have like 5 pairs of jeans, which I don’t even really get to wear unless it’s the weekend.  I feel like I only get to be my old self when I am on date night, getting together with friends or on vacation.

Now I often ask myself “Am I making excuses or is this really how most moms are?”  I only have one child so I can only imagine how I would look if I had more than one.  On top of being a mom and girlfriend, I work a fulltime job, cook, and clean while trying to build www.grademydaycare.com.  I’m not a single parent, but he does work more hours a week than I do so I find myself doing more of the domestic work except laundry.  I hate doing laundry with a passion; it’s more so the folding and putting away more than anything.  I know I have a lot on my plate already and my kid hasn’t even started extracurricular activities yet, but I am trying to fit in becoming a youth mentor.  One day soon I am going to be in a position where I am the master of my own time, but that is another topic for discussion.  So until then, I am going to try harder to put more effort into my looks.  I will keep you posted on how this turns out.


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Are You Making Yourself Unhappy?

“Learn how to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want.” Jim Rohn

The above quote is something that I struggle with constantly.  Patience is not a virtue that I have learned to master and I probably never will; as a result I have gotten into a pattern of making myself unhappy.  I thought I would have accomplished more in my life by now; only to realize that in fact I have accomplished so much just not in the order that I had planned.  I may not have the 6 figure career that I had hoped for by now or my dream house and car, but I will get there soon enough.  I do however have a wonderful son, a relationship with someone that I adore and that adores me back, a flexible job that allows me to work from home two days a week, a place of my own instead of living with my parents, family and friends that I wouldn’t trade for the world and so much more. Who could be unhappy by all that?  So if you find yourself in a similar situation making yourself unhappy, here are a few tips to try and help you bounce back.

  1. Make a list of all the things that you have achieved so far that you are proud of and hang it somewhere as a reminder. This could also be in the form of a picture collage.
  2. Savor the small moments that make you the happiest.  Most of the time it is the little things that matter most.
  3. Surround yourself with positive people.  Now I’m not saying stop being friends with certain individuals unless you feel as though it is necessary to cut them from your life, but limit the amount of time you spend with people that do not have the most positive attitudes.  Negativity breeds more negativity and vice versa.
  4. Take on a volunteer activity.  Helping others should always make you feel good about yourself.
  5. Last but not least, stop comparing your life to the lives of others.  If you knew the back story to how some people achieved their success, you may not want it.

Now relax and enjoy the present and stop beating yourself up over the future.  If you are an ambitious person like I am, you will eventually accomplish all the things you set out to achieve.  Some things may come sooner than other, but as long as you have a plan and take action steps to get you there, you will achieve success. So follow these tips and let me know if they help you stop making yourself unhappy.

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Our Family Adventure: Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire in Manheim, PA

If you enjoy things medieval or just looking to get into the spirit of things for Halloween, the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire in Manheim, PA is worth checking out at least once.  Although the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire starts in August, it wraps up its duration with a Halloween theme for the majority of October.  We took advantage of the “Halloween Days and Spooky Knights” event this past weekend.

There is something for all age groups at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire in Manheim, PA.  You will encounter cast members dressed in all sorts of fun medieval attire, including guest visiting the event.  You will find knights to princess and fairies to ghouls.  They even give out candy to the little ones during these fun filled Halloween weekends.  Now I spent the majority of my childhood growing up in Lancaster, PA and never took advantage of this attraction in my very own backyard, however, I once knew a girl that worked there because she was really into acting.  Just an FYI, Manheim is right next door to Lancaster if you are not familiar with the area, but I know longer live there.

If you take a trip to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, there are plenty of vendors so you can stock up on your medieval gear and swords so have fun shopping.   Also, you will find rides and games for the little ones and beer and wine for the adults, but no getting drunk since this is a family attraction. The majority of the games however are more geared towards older children or adults, like knife and ax throwing. There is plenty of food so you will not go hungry such wide selection, like pickles on a stick and huge turkey legs for the carnivore in you.  One thing that really caught my attention was the chocolate covered bacon.  Now I am a bacon lover, but I could not bring myself to try chocolate covered bacon.  With all of the demonstrations and stage shows, you will not be bored one bit.  Take caution with the stage shows because not all of them a child friendly.  We made that mistake and quickly realized it was not a show for the little one which was completely my fault.  I should have paid attention to the sign. Oh and make sure you stay till the end for the grand finally where the knights battle it out with some other surprises that I will not ruin for you.  Hey I can’t give it all away now can I?

With all of that being said, I’m sure your family will have fun just like we did.  So here is the kicker, plan to spend money at this fun filled attraction because it is not budget friendly.  I assumed we would have to pay for your typical things like food, games and souvenirs, but we also had to pay for the rides on top of the admission fee.  Depending on how many people are in your group, it can quickly add up so be prepared.  Prices may have changed depending on when you come across this blog post so I recommend visiting http://www.parenfaire.com/ for current rates.  I will say children under the age of 5 are free and there is a difference between the adult and child ticket.  If you purchase tickets online, you can take advantage of the online discount, but make sure you have a printer handy to print your tickets.  Also there are participating locations to pick up coupons if you plan to pay at the door so check the event website for details.  You cannot combine the coupons with the online discount FYI.  So I guess your admission is covering all of the stage shows and demonstrations.  Oh and last but not least, if you plan on purchasing bottles of wine, they do have a booth for you to do a wine tasting. You can pick up your purchases at the winery on your way out so you don’t have to carry them around.

Check out some of our pictures and if you do decided to take a trip to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire in Manheim, PA, make sure you stop back by and tell me all about it.


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No Cable

Frugal Living: Living Without Cable.

No CableHave you ever considered living without cable, but just too afraid you would be missing out on something?  Well let me tell you it’s really not as bad as you would think, especially for a busy family like mine that barely has time to really watch television anyway.  Most of my family’s time is spent at work (daycare for the little one) or doing family activities.  I was told that successful people really don’t watch a lot of television anyway, just some food for thought.  When we do relax to watch television, it is normally dominated by kid friendly television shows or movies.  In an effort to cut cost to put more money towards my never ending student loans or at least that is how it feels, we decided living without cable would be easy.  So this is how we took the necessary steps to make the transition:

  • First to insure we were making the right decision, I hijacked my brother’s Netflix account for a week as an alternative. Quickly we realized all of our son’s favorite shows were on Netflix already anyway.  As I am writing this blog post, a Netflix account is 7.99/month and they normally give you the first month free as a trial.  We took advantage of the free trial before cancelling our cable. One feature that has been added since we became a Netflix member is the ability to add multiple profiles under one account and this makes things convenient.
  • Next we purchased an antenna so we can pick up all the basic channels like the news, PBS, sports, etc. Now when I say antenna, I do not mean your grandparents old school bunny ears on top of the black and white TV.  You can purchase a modern antenna box from your nearest electronics store like HH Gregg, Best Buy, Radio Shack, etc.
  • Our next purchase was a Roku Box for our son’s bedroom.  A Roku Box is a digital video player that streams the internet.  Certain apps automatically pop up on your television when you install the box like Netflix.  There is also a Netflix button right on the remote so our three year old can just press the button.  As a toddler I swear he is more tech savvy than I am as an adult.  He can easily navigate to watch whatever kid’s friendly show he wants to watch.  His Netflix profile is already set up for the “Just for Kids” section.

By taking these steps we have made the transition of living without cable very easy for our family in addition to cutting cost.  Since we didn’t watch much TV to begin with, we are no longer paying for a service we hardly use.  If you have not picked up on this yet, you still need the internet to make all of this work, so we didn’t completely get rid of Comcast.  Also, it is helpful to mention that we have an Xbox 360 in our living room to stream Netflix on the family TV.  If you do not have a gaming system, you can easily purchase an HDMI cord to connect your TV to your computer for the same purpose.

Now if you are so obsessed with watching a particular network, another option is to purchase a Hulu account or both.  We do not have a Hulu account because the only network I really watch is ABC so I can watch my shows the next day online at www.abc.com.  I was already doing this anyway since I am normally doing stuff when my shows come on.  So as you can see, living without cable is not as difficult as you may have thought before reading this article.  Try it out and let me know how it works out for you.  If you are already living without cable, share your story in the comments section or email me.

This is not a sponsored post, just me sharing our frugal family tip.

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Example # 2: Unit Price $1.66 per 100 count

Frugal Living: Do You Shop by Unit Price?

Do you check the unit price before you purchase your items at the grocery store?  Knowing the value of your purchase will help you maximize your savings while shopping.  A few years ago, a read an article about how the sale price isn’t always the best deal, so make sure you are checking the unit price to compare items.  This came in handy a few days later when I almost got suckered into purchasing Christmas themed tissues because they were on sale a few days after Christmas.  Since it was a few years ago, I do not remember the exact price, but I do remember they were only a few cents off compared to some regular priced items I was comparing.  The unit price was actually more for the Christmas themed tissue boxes because the box had fewer tissues.  Till this day I shop by unit price for items that I am not so brand sensitive about.

If you are not sure what the unit price is, it is the price of an item divided by the unit of measurement.  There is no need to pull out your handy dandy calculator in the toilet paper aisle, because it is normally printed right next to the sales price; most people just never pay attention to it.  Here are a few examples with the unit price highlighted in orange:

Example # 1: Unit Price 79.6 cents per 100 count

Example # 2: Unit Price $1.66 per 100 count

Example # 2: Unit Price $1.66 per 100 count

Example # 3: Unit Price 82.9 cents per 100 count

Example # 3: Unit Price 82.9 cents per 100 count

As you can see the unit of measurement is per 100 tissues for each box.  So can you tell which is the best deal? If you said Example #1 you would be correct.  Not only does it have the cheapest unit price, it also has the most tissues.  In the long run you are paying less compared to buying the cheaper box in example #3.

So the next time you are in the store shopping, think about this article to help you maximize your savings potential for your household.  The cheapest deal is not always the best deal, so check the unit price.

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Oatmeal Pumpkin Waffles

Oatmeal Pumpkin Waffles

Oatmeal Pumpkin Waffles

Who doesn’t like Pumpkin!?!?

In the spirit of enjoying everything pumpkin this fall season, I came up with a recipe for Oatmeal Pumpkin Waffles.  They were awesome and the little ones loved them.  I came up with the following recipe derived from a basic Oatmeal Waffle recipe I have been using from allrecipes.com.  So here are the details:

  • 1 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Quick Cooking Oats
  • 1 tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Allspice
  • 3 tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups Milk
  • 6 tablespoons Melted Butter
  • 2 cups Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract

Step 1-Get your waffle iron ready to go and do not forget to grease it so the waffles do not stick.  If you do not have a waffle iron, you can easily use this same batter to make pancakes on the stove top or griddle.

Step 2-Mix all dry ingredients into a bowl (flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, brown sugar, and salt).

Step 3- Beat eggs and add to the dry mixture along with all the rest of the ingredients (milk, butter, pumpkin puree, and vanilla).

For a family of four, this Oatmeal Pumpkin Waffle batter is normally enough to last us two days; unless we have guest over.  Let me know how your family likes them.


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Products We Love: Spectrum Naturals Organic Coconut Oil


The health benefits of real coconut oil are endless. Not the stuff that’s laced with a bunch of other things, but pure coconut oil. In our household we use it for cooking, skin and hair care. Three uses out of one product is a pretty good deal if you ask me. Our brand of choice is Spectrum Naturals Organic Coconut Oil. It is 100% all coconut oil with nothing added or at least that’s what the label says. It is bottled in a facility that also bottles peanut oil as an FYI. The cheapest place I have found it so far is at Walmart for at 6.98 for a 14oz jar.

My initial purchase was for an all natural moisturizer to help with my son’s eczema. So far it has helped keep it under control in combination with other things we use for his skin care regime. I also use it for my hair since I made the transition of being a natural beauty instead of using such harsh products. It helps keep our hair and skin very soft and moisturized. Unless you are really into smelling like coconut I highly recommend purchasing the unrefined version of coconut oil. Unrefined coconut oil is pure and has not been altered with bleach or deodorizes to give it that strong smell. Pure coconut oil is light in taste and scent. Because of it not being chemically processed, it is very important to heat before consuming like suggested on the package.

I am not a doctor so please consult a physician, but here are a few more things coconut oil is know to help improve: calcium to help teeth and bones, Alzheimer’s, weight loss, diabetes and heart disease. If you are currently using coconut oil or plan to, please share your story.

This is not a paid sponsor just a product we like to use.

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Our Family Adventure: Shady Brook Farm

For the first time ever, our little family experienced picking pumpkins at Shady Brook Farm in Yardley, PA. It was a fun filled event that took up our entire afternoon. Pumpkin Fest is currently going on from September 28th through October 31st of 2013. This festival is undeniably a place for younger children to enjoy. Keep in mind it is a farm so do not wear good shoes, since we ran into a few muddy spots.

There are multiple blow up bouncy attractions to choose from, but no shoes allowed on these play things so bring an extra pair of socks; unless you are ok with your child going bare foot. Other cool attractions are petting zoo stations, corn maze, Tryke Track, live entertainment, fall treats and more. And of course the main attraction, riding the hay ride out to the pumpkin patch to pick your very own pumpkins. The pumpkins are .59/lbs. so don’t get too carried away like we did since it can quickly add up. Oh and last but not least you cannot leave without visiting the market to pick up some pumpkin ice cream, which was amazing.

The cost is $15 per person including children. If your child is big enough to play you gotta pay. Have no fear you can print $7 off coupons from Valpak and yes you can use a coupon for each person. Just make sure you keep clicking reprint so you get a different barcode for each coupon. The coupon is good up until October 31st although it gives dates for September in the heading. We had fun so I recommend it. To read more about Shady Brook Farms and see additional offers please visit www.shadybrookfarm.com.

This is not a paid advertisement, just something we enjoyed.

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