Friday, May 22, 2015

Budgeting Your Dream Vacation

Planning a vacation is extremely important, especially if your goal is to save as much money as possible. If this is the case, you must start the wheels in motion on your plan several months before you want to depart. This is because some of the biggest savings you can get come from advance bookings. Along with this, you must consider other details, rather than wait until the last minute. In order to create a budget and stick to it, it is important to know exactly where you will be going and how long you will be staying there. Here are some of the ways to go about budgeting your dream vacation.

1. Hotels

As mentioned earlier, there are substantial savings to be had, provided you are prepared to make your reservations early enough. Take a look at many San Diego hotels to see which ones offer the biggest discounts for booking a room in advance. Find out if the discount goes up the further in advance you book your room. If this is the case, book your room as far in advance as is necessary to get the biggest discount.

2. Plane tickets

This is where it is vital to make your booking in advance. Airlines have no sympathy for people who book their flight at the last minute. Ideally, you should book your flight three to five months ahead of time. However, find out how far in advance you will need to book your hotel in advance, then book your flight for that specific time. The money you will be able to save on your hotel and airfare will be very significant. 

3. Rental car

When you book your flight and hotel, you should also book your rental car. Not only will this allow you to get a discount on when you will pay for the rental car, it will also ensure that they will have the exact rental car that you want for your particular trip. Keep in mind that if you plan on dropping off your rental car at a different location than where you originally rented it, you will be forced to pay a lot more than if you bring it back to the same location. Therefore, it would be wise to rent a car, do some sightseeing in an area, bring the rental car back to the same location and then take a bus to your next destination.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How to Find the Right Contractor for Your Project

Want to give your kitchen a modern update? Dying to redo your laundry room or finally turn your basement into a family room? You’ll need to hire a contractor, even if you’ve vowed to handle some of the renovations yourself. Here’s how to find the best contractor in your area.

1. Understand the warnings of a bad contractor. You should never feel pressured to make a decision before you’re ready. Also, a contractor should accept various methods of payment, not just cash. Lastly, if the contractor suggests skipping getting a building permit, that should be a red flag that you’re not working with someone dependable. 

2. Check out review websites to see which local contractor is highly recommended. If a lot of people give the same type of review, whether positive or negative, chances are that you’ll have a similar experience. Check out the Better Business Bureau which should have reviews of home contractors.

3. Before making a final decision, compare bids. You should have a minimum of three bids from contractors you’re seriously considering. In order to get those bids, the contractors should survey your property in person. When checking out the bids, look at their plans and the materials they’re planning on using.

Even if you don’t plan on putting your house on the market any time soon, you should still make sure the renovations are done as best as possible.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Frenemy Jane Review And Giveaway!!

** We received a copy of Frenemy Jane in return for our honest review. All statements and opinions are my own. **

We have a couple issues here at our house, at our school and we have had our share of bullies, all different types of bullies. 

It hurts a lot to have to send my oldest son to school sometimes and I sometimes wonder if some of his stomach pain isn't caused by stress from a couple kids in his school. He was diagnosed with a few  disorders, like, celiac, gastroperisis, GERD, acid reflux and the latest, possible gall bladder disease.

At the beginning of his school career, everything was fine, he had lots of friends and loved school and did exceptionally well with his grades. After a couple of years, as they grew up a little bit, my son started having bad stomach pains and was often sick, especially at night and in the morning. He always loved school, so, I didn't think there was anything wrong at school, so, we started taking him to our doctor and from there, GI specialists. 

Since he was diagnosed after several tests, I didn't think much about the fact that there could still be a problem with anybody at school.  

One day, I asked about one of his friends and he didn't really seem as happy as he usually was when talking about this specific friend. I figured right away, something was wrong and we ended up having a nice long chat about his "frenemy".

He has a few very close friends, which is nice. I don't know why he decided to stay friends with this other boy at school, who started being mean, calling names, spreading rumors and just randomly making fun whenever he saw my son on the bus or at school. 

As they got older, (they are both in 5th grade now.), his "frenemy" has acquired a few friends, including one of my son's friends, which really hurt him pretty bad. He still has his few close friends and we try to have them over as often as we can and we are dealing with his stomach concerns as best we can. 

To be honest, the school doesn't seem to be much help so, we do our best to include his friends, help with his self esteem, confidence and talk daily about his day, who did what, etc etc. Oh and now he has a younger sister who is attending the same school so, she has been known to stick up for her big brother on the school bus! (We try to teach our children how important family is and how important it is to stick together and help family or friends when they are in need So, we are very proud of her for that!)

Stephanie Sorkin has written some of our most favorite books! This book, Frenemy Jane, is no exception! 

Now, my oldest son may think or act that he is to "big" for this book, BUT, he has heard his little sister read it and even made the remark that, "OMG! That is exactly how it started with ..." 

We love Stephanie Sorkin's books, because she writes about things that affect our children and she does it from a child's point of view! They are very easy to read, so, our 8 year old is always happy to read them, even to her class! (Her classmates were lucky enough this past year to listen to 3 different stories by Stephanie Sorkin and even her classroom received a copy of each book!)

The illustrations are adorable and one of the best parts of this book, is the classroom discussion questions. This is a very important topic and sometimes I don't think that just having a "Bully Week" is enough. I wish, Frenemy Jane was in every classroom in every elementary school. The discussion questions in the back of this book, could be a whole lesson in class that I'm sure any teacher can fit in to their busy schedules! 

There is even a gluten free recipe in the back, which would make a wonderful ending to one of the most helpful books and discussions in class. 

Frenemy Jane follows a little girl named, Maddie, who has a "friend" named, Jane. They knew each other since preschool and have been friends for a while. However, as they get a little bigger, Jane starts to do mean things to Maddie and Maddie starts to question their friendship. 

Luckily, Maddie's mom started to notice something wasn't right, so, Maddie told her mom about her "friend" Jane and they and a nice long talk about their friendship. Maddie went to school the following Monday, with confidence and knew just what she had to do. 

Oh, I almost forgot to mention.. Stephanie Sorkin is donating a portion of the author proceeds to, PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

End of Watch (Possible Spoiler)

This script is taken from the end of this movie....

"This film is dedicated to the men and women of the law enforcement community who face danger daily on our behalf. It is especially dedicated to our fallen heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. This is for all that fight evil so we may not know it. 
God bless you all." 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Share Your Hylands Mom Moments For A Chance To Win!

** I received Hylands products in return for promoting and sharing the Hylands Mom Moments giveaway. **

Hylands has put together an incredibly awesome Mother's Day contest and you could be one of 3 winners!

All you need to do to enter is grab a photo, try and find the funniest, most real, maybe even slightly embarrassing, but we have all been there and we all know what it's like, so, don't worry if your hair is messy, or your floor is covered in diapers, toys, food, trust me, this is something all moms have in common and there is nothing to be ashamed about!

The funnier the captions, the better! Of course, don't forget to hashtag #HylandMomMoments so your picture can be seen and possibly shared by Hylands!

What does mothering mean to you? If you need some inspiration, check out Hyland's Instagram page for some other #HylandsMomMoments!

I collected some of my own, um, interesting, mom moments, to share with all of you, just to show you what I think mothering is all about :)

This is just 1 of maybe 200 selfies of my youngest daughter, that I found in my cell phone once. (Ok, not once, but a few times.) They are always in my phone and snapping several pictures of all kinds of odd things and lucky me, gets to find them when I am trying to figure out why I have no memory space left. (Of course, I couldn't delete them!)

This is our youngest, in the middle lol. This used to happen a bit more often when he was tinier. (He will be 5 this coming Friday) but, this was a daily occurrence.)

This is one of my favorites and it seems to be a regular deal when we try and get those lovely photos of the kids, to share with family and friends. Our oldest daughter is moved out and was during this photo but, we have plenty with her doing the same kind of fun stuff.

We love to do DIY crafts, cook, bake, all kinds of good stuff. But, that doesn't mean it is as clean and well kept during and after as it may sometimes seem when I write a post about it! Actually, everything looks like this, all the time!

It may be hard to see from this photo but this was a few years ago when our oldest son decided he would like an arrow shaved into the top of his head, (Yes, from the movie lol.) But, he loved it and we like to let our little ones be their own individuals!
Plus, we had some good laughs because he reminded us of Private Joker from Full Metal Jacket! (Just in case you have seen that movie!!)

So, see? That wasn't so hard and no, I'm not embarrassed! I love sharing pictures and stories and Hylands is making that much cooler since you can win prizes for doing so!!

What can you win?

3 winners will win a tremendously excellent prize package! Complete with some of the best Hylands products, a $50 Target gift card AND a $100 Spafinder gift card!! (YES! 3 winners win all 3 prizes!!)
You can read more about the rules, here. 

Where can you enter to win? Well, Hyland's Facebook page, of course!

You have until 11:59 EST on May 7th to enter, so, quick! Snap some fun pics!

We would love to see your #HylandsMomMoments and hope to hear that one or more of our readers won one of these spectacular prize packages!!


Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Why Floyd Mayweather Is The Best Ever

I think just like voting, in order to watch a boxing match and have an opinion afterwards, just so you don't go running your mouth like a fool, you should be required to pass a test so you know what boxing is.

Boxing is NOT UFC, (thank God), it isn't WWE (thank God), you don't usually get bloodbaths, (It's a shame but there are different types of fighters with different skills), knockouts don't always happen, blocking, ducking and "running" is necessary and vital duh. Do you really believe a boxer is to be just standing there, arms down, by the ropes, just taking a beating? Nope. He/she is to duck, get out of there and get in a better position. Speed, agility, footwork, it's all a scientific process and not a lot of boxers have this down 100% or even 50%. But, Floyd Mayweather does.

Manny didn't ever stand a chance in there last night. His only hope was a lucky punch and a knockout. It didn't happen because Floyd doesn't get hit, he's to fast, smooth and will gain energy and power, the longer you make him duck and block.

Apparently, a lot of people who aren't boxing fans, bought this fight or watched it somewhere and assumed they would see some bloodbath and I'm sorry you didn't realize what either boxer is. It wasn't going to happen between these 2 fighters.

What did you pay the $100 for?

Undercards, the main event, witnessing the best boxer in all of history, win fairly and you were a part of the crowd who got to see the most incredible, most fascinating boxer ever known, prove once again, that he is capable of studying his opponent, ripping his opponent down, training for months just to beat that style, Mayweather and Mayweather alone, has proved to the world, once again, that he is unbeatable. WHY? It's simple. He knows the sport. He can beat any style fighter, he masters every technique, nobody can get a lucky punch in, he's to alert, he's to aware, he knows what his opponent will do even before his opponent knows what he's going to do.

Hate him all you want, but you have to be fair and give credit where it's due. Floyd managed to break the entire sport down to his own science and he is the professor. He figured out how to tackle the world of boxing and has come out on top and he just keeps getting better. It's quite an unbelievable experience.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The New AMD FX APU HP Envy Touchsmart Laptop

**  The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free **

If you happen to be in the market for a reasonably priced laptop with a totally sleek and super cool design, the new AMD FX APU HP Envy Touchsmart Laptop may be your prime choice! 

At first glance, the HP Envy may just seem like a typical laptop and at $629.99, it fits into almost every budget. But, like our parents taught us, "Never judge a book by it's cover" (Although, in this case, the cover is exceptionally nice!) 

I don't know where to start here, so, I'll start with the first thing that really pops! The 15.6" touch screen. It's the perfect laptop screen size for me! I love that it's big enough to multitask and have lots of room for bloggers, busy moms, busy dads and even online shopping. I am notorious for having several tabs open at once, whether I'm blogging, checking emails, shopping or checking prices at  several websites, researching, paying bills or checking my balances on rewards points sites so I can turn them in for more gift cards so I can shop some more! (Actually, I need a 15.6" screen just to have ample room for updating social networks.)

The next nifty feature, which makes this laptop, so far, the best multitasking laptop around! 6GB of system memory, more than enough for even the busiest of them all, to get everything done all at once and maybe have some time to get stuck on Youtube for a bit. ( I can't be the only one who starts looking for a video from my favorite band and then gets lost in the "suggested videos" and ends up watching a documentary on how the world would be without zinc, right?) Well, if you get lost in the interwebs and need lots of memory, the HP Envy Touchsmart Laptop, may be for you!

So far, so good, right? It's probably becoming the most fascinating busy mom (yes, or dads and I can't forget the grandparents!) laptop around? I would vote, YES! Oh, did I mention the energy efficient LED backlight yet? Or the 750GB hard drive which means, you guessed it! Lots and lots of storage space for music, movies and pictures! (A serious must have for any hardcore multitasker!)

Lets discuss music and movies for a second. You most certainly can not have a laptop without built in dual speakers and a subwoofer! Beats Audio guarantees you will have one of the most incredible sound, the richest, smoothest sound. Throw in some of the deepest bass and you just found yourself being the envy of all of your friends! (Wait a minute!! I think I just figured out why this gem is called, Envy!)

Why else would you need all of these things and more? (Yes, there is a LOT more!)... GAMING!
Unbelievable right? But you better believe it. Yes, this laptop is handy for the gamer in all of us. Even your teens, preteens and younger kids will love what the new AMD FX APU HP Envy Touchsmart Laptop has in store for the ultimate gaming experience.

I bet you are imagining yourself getting all of your work done and taking care of your gaming fix right now.......

This laptop has the AMD FX Special Edition APU, award winning AMD Radeon R7 graphics, the processing power of 10 computer cores (4 CPU + 6 CPU), Dragon voice assistant capability, 2 USB 2.0 ports AND 2 USB 3.0 ports! All of this and more to bring you the most ultimate gaming, it will definitely be had to walk away. Smooth gameplay, wicked processing and a fascinating entertainment experience.

Ok, we're almost done here but, just a few more things we have to discuss. It has been really hard for me to research and investigate this laptop and try to explain to you why this is quite possibly, one of the best items to come out of 2015.

These are just some extras that I believe come in handy. The new AMD FX APU HP Envy Touchsmart Laptop only weighs 6.1 lbs and measures 1.2" thin. Your new entertainment/gaming toy will come with the Windows 8.1 operating system, an HDMI connection, a multimedia software collection and a built in HP TrueVision HD webcam with dual array digital microphone.

Where is the best place to snag this beauty? Best Buy, of course!
Along with the sweet price of just $629.99, you can get free shipping with a $35 purchase! Or free in store pick up! (Your order will be ready in 45 minutes!)