Tag Archives: Tips

Tips to Help Keep Your Kids Safe on the Internet

Your Child Will Be Exposed To The Internet

There are a wide range of threats to children online. These threats come in many different forms, from cyberbullying to identity theft schemes to predators who want to meet your child offline. These threats can be daunting and difficult to fathom, but with solid awareness and a plan to keep your child protected, your child can avoid most online pitfalls.

Your child is going to be exposed to the internet. In this day and age, it is unavoidable. Your child will be online at school, or at a friend’s house, and you won’t always be able to directly monitor them. You can’t prevent your child from being online, but you can instill good habits and keep tabs on their internet use in general. Here is what you need to do in order to keep your child safe when they are online.

Defining Safe Internet Use For Children

The first thing that you need to do is work to understand what safe internet use for children is. You should instill in your children that they need to keep their phone numbers, home addresses, and personal contact information offline. They shouldn’t talk to strangers online, and you should let your children know what types of websites are acceptable for viewing and which types of websites to avoid.

A child without direction could give away personal information to a stranger in a chatroom. If a child feels uncomfortable or that they made a mistake online, they should contact an adult they know and trust immediately. One easy way to keep you and your child’s personal information safe is through the use of a VPN.

 

Parents And Children Need To Stay Aware Online

There are new dangers popping up online each year, and parents need to know the dangers so that they can keep their children protected. There are email phishing schemes that seek to gain access to children’s personal information with a seemingly harmless email message. There are the risks of cyberbullying and pornography. Parents should stay aware of the risks and keep their children up to date on new potential threats online.

 

Tips For Parents

The good news for parents is that when children stay safe online, they can have a good time and learn more than if they were offline. The key is to establish rules early in the process so children know what is in bounds and what is off-limits. Make sure that your children use strong passwords and always log out of their email and social media accounts, so that they don’t allow access to the next person who uses their computer (such as at a school computer library).

Parents should always read the fine print on social media sites that their children join, so they are aware of the information that brands and other third parties can gain access to.

This is a sponsored guest post that does not necessarily represent the views or ideals of Mommy Ramblings.


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Living on a Tight Budget? 6 Creative Ways to Be More Charitable

The holidays often inspire people to give back to those less fortunate. However, if you’re on a tight budget, you may not think that you have the means to do some good. Giving can be done any time of the year. You also don’t need to be a professional athlete or Hollywood actor to make your own mark in this world. Here are 6 creative ways you can be more charitable without breaking your budget.

Offer Your Time

If you’re looking to be more charitable, your time can be a precious gift. If you’re handy and do a good job maintaining your home,  you can volunteer to build houses for those in need. For those who love and adore animals, you may want to foster dogs and cats until they’ve found their forever homes. After work, tutor kids in language, math or reading at an under-privileged group home. During the holidays, offer to serve meals or hand out food at a food bank or soup kitchen.

Save Spare Change

Between work and family, your life may be filled with challenges. Money struggles, going through a divorce or being falsely accused of domestic violence can prove devastating. The struggles can even ruin your reputation and hinder you from getting ahead with your career. However, by becoming more charitable, you’ll be bringing good into your household. With the wide number of groups and organizations that are looking for assistance, you may not have the funds to assist everyone.

If you’re limited on cash and have spare change lying around, put it in a bucket. Every time you pay for groceries, clothes or other necessities, you can put your change into this container. As the money adds up, you’ll have enough coins to put toward charities such as the Salvation Army kettle. There are other small monetary donations that won’t make too much of a dent in your checking account. Popular methods include when the cashier at a retail establishment asks you to donate $1 to help a homeless pet shelter or child with cancer.

Keep Your Eyes Open

Your local supermarket or retail clothing store may offer two-for-one sales or discounts on items. If you get an extra set of freebies, think about donating goods to a homeless shelter. The holiday season is a great time to declutter your home. If your used merchandise is in good condition, your local Goodwill center or thrift store may benefit from the clothes, shoes, coats and housewares. Your old electronics may also be valuable as they can be refurbished and sold to families in need. Eyewear can also be costly. Instead of tossing out your old glasses to make room for new, the Lions Club has a sight program that collects used eyeglasses.

Be Kind to Planet Earth

The Earth has taken a beating in recent years as pollution and other contaminants continue to harm the planet. If you’re looking to protect Mother Nature, adopt eco-friendly habits with the family. If you get the paper or magazines delivered, recycle the material. You can also use cloth bags routinely when grocery shopping or tote a reusable mug when bringing your coffee to work. You may also volunteer for your cities trash cleanup program designed to keep roadways and highways litter free.

Get Moving for a Cause

If you’re looking to become more charitable and stay fit, you can walk or run for a cause. There are a number of organizations such as finding a cure for breast cancer and helping the hungry who use walks and races to raise money. Encourage your friends and family members to get more involved and make a day out of the event. The Internet has a host of offerings, and the money to race is typically minimal.

Focus on Your Family

Some say that charity begins at home, and it actually does. Although you may have plans to save the world, offer your family some love and undivided attention first. Instead of burying your nose in your laptop or cell phone, ditch the electronics and focus on your children, pets and partner. Break out the games or get outside and go for a walk or bike ride.

If you’ve stretched your finances to the brink, it can be challenging monetarily to offer your assistance. But giving back to those who are in need doesn’t always mean reaching for your check book. Using the above strategies, you can become more charitable and still stay on target with your budget.

This is a sponsored guest post that does not necessarily reflect the views or ideals of Mommy Ramblings. 


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25 Ways To Personalize Your Family Home

Moving into a new home, or even just wanting to spruce up your current residence, can be a challenge. It takes time to make a house into a home, adding those essentials family touches help to transform it from a dull space into one with soul.

There are many different things you can do to personalise your home and make it your own, from adding a new coat of paint to hanging your family pictures on the walls. You can be as creative as you like and it doesn’t need to cost a small fortune. Here are 25 ideas you can use to add your personal touch to your home.

1. Paint The Front Door

The first thing anyone will see as they approach your home is the front door. It might not seem like the first place you would want to change, but painting your front door immediately adds character to your home. It gives any visitors a small insight into who lives inside.

2. Hanging Baskets

Once your door is looking brand new and shiny, you can decorate your entrance further by adding some plants. If you have the space either side of your front door, placing hanging baskets full of beautiful flowers is the best way to make your home feel inviting and well-looked after.

3. The Front Garden

If you only have a driveway, there’s no need to worry about this. If you take pride in what you home looks like to the outside world, tending to your front garden is an excellent way to make your home feel tidy and bright. Adding hardy plants such as Rhododendrons or Buddleia will make your garden spring to life without having to worry too much about the upkeep.

4. The Back Garden

There isn’t much which is more relaxing than coming home on a summer’s evening and sitting in the garden with your family enjoying a glass of wine. Having an inviting and open garden, no matter how small, is a great way to utilize extra space around your home. You can even include a swing set and trampoline for the kids!

5. Paint The Walls

If you are short on cash and want an easy way to add your own flair to a room: paint the walls. You can mix your own paint color or choose one from the store, either way; you’ll be adding your personality to the room.

6. Add Soft Furnishings

Throws and cushions are the easiest way to feel like an interior designer, adding new dimensions to your home. Picking up some boldly patterned cushions and placing them over a pastel sofa instantly creates an element of style in your living space.

7. Grab A Bargain

Gumtree is the perfect place to find local people who have secondhand furniture they want to sell. You could score a real bargain on a new table or chairs, and even have them delivered to your home. It’s a much cheaper way to spruce up your home than visiting traditional  retailers.

8. Seasonal Touches

Aside from the obvious festive decorations, you could also make your home more seasonal by adding some simple touches. Christmas bedding sets will transform your room into a winter wonderland, cute festive cushions and a new tartan throw will add that element of winter to your home.

9. Lighting

Spotlights, LED lights and fairy lights are excellent additions to your home, making it feel cozier and adding ambience to your home effortlessly.

10. Make It Cozy

On cold winter nights, the most satisfying feeling is to snuggle up on the sofa with your family. You can take this a step further by lighting scented candles around the house, turning on some soft fairy lights and cuddling up under a thick throw.

11. Buy New Mugs

A cute way to put your stamp on the kitchen, is to buy new mugs for you and your family. Let your children each choose their favourite mug, and store them on a shelf in the kitchen. You and your family will automatically have a cute personal item to use every day.

12. Replace Your Faucets

Old, rusty faucets can make even the most beautiful room look dull. You can buy really beautiful chrome or brushed nickel faucets online and instantly make your kitchen and bathroom feel clean and new.

13. A New Mattress

New mattresses will help you sleep, relax your muscles and allow you to wake up in the morning feeling ready to tackle the day ahead. No matter what your budget, you will be able to find the right mattress for you and your family. There are details at mattress-guides.net for how to choose the right one for you.

14. Chalkboard Paint

To stop your children from drawing all over the walls, why not try painting some chalkboard paint on the inside of your cupboard doors? Give your kids some chalk, and they can doodle all they like without it being on display, and without it becoming a permanent feature in your house.

15. Wall Art

If you want to vamp up a blank wall, the easiest thing to do is hang some art. You could hang up your children’s drawings, a pretty watercolour or even an inspiring quote. Whatever you choose, it will liven up the space and give it some life.

16. Family Photos

The ultimate way to put your stamp on the home is the hang personal photographs. You could opt for a professionally taken family portrait, or a collage of candid shots from your family vacation.

17. Add Some Houseplants

Do you ever feel like there’s  a small space which needs to be filled in your home? Well, the perfect solution is to add a few plants. Plants not only add colour and vibrancy to your home but also produce oxygen and are proven to relieve stress.

18. Install An Herb Garden

If you love to cook, then adding a herb garden to your home is an excellent idea. You will have constant access to fresh flavours and never have to repurchase a dried sachet.

19. Make The Most Of Natural Light

Natural light is the most fundamental tool in decorating your home. It can make the smallest space seem huge and adds a beautiful ray of light to every nook and cranny in your home. Open up the windows by ditching the large curtains and opting for blinds instead. You’ll gain space and light instantly.

20. Keep It Simple

Although you may be tempted to go all out and make everything in your home a feature, try and refrain from doing too much. It can be confusing to the eye and doesn’t look as put together as a simple design. All you need is 2-3 colours for a room, one bold, one pastel, and black or white. If you stick to this rule you will see a huge difference in the overall feel of your living space.

21. Disguise Old Furniture

If you would rather avoid having to invest in a brand new sofa, you can disguise it instead. Adding soft furnishings such as cushions and throws will immediately give a dull piece of furniture a new lease of life. Find some great ideas on revamping old furniture, HERE.

22. Get The Kids Involved

If you have children, let them have some input on your decisions. You could let them design their own bedrooms, pick out paints, wallpaper and soft furnishings to make them feel part of the process. Although children might have some crazy ideas, it might be fun to let them have free rein on their own space in the house. It could mean that you end up with a Disney princess palace in your home, but to see the look on your child’s face when it’s ready; it’s all worth the effort.

23. Match Your Appliances

When you decorate the kitchen, you will usually get new cabinets, countertops, backsplash and new tile for the floor. Once you’ve implemented all of these changes, why not finish it all off by matching your small appliances to the theme of the room? Buying a kettle and toaster to match the decor of your kitchen is a simple and effective way to tie the room together.

24. Add Accent Walls

Accent walls can be a great design feature. Painting one wall a bold color, or hanging some wallpaper on one wall of a room can bring it to life and draw the eye to that area, making the room feel and look a little bigger than it really is.

25. A Book Nook

If you or your children love to read, why not transform a small corner of the room into a cute little reading nook? Add lots of cushions, a beanbag and storage for your favourite novels, and you’ve instantly created a personalized space for you and your family to enjoy quiet time.

This is a sponsored guest post that may or may not represent the views or ideals of Mommy Ramblings.


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Filed under Home, Home & Garden, sponsored guest post

Tips For Planning A Community Charity Event

Are you planning to raise money for your community? Although some online platforms such as Plumfund.com allow you to raise money online, some people still prefer the traditional way of fundraising.

If you are one of those people, here are some tips that will come in handy when planning a charity event:

Choose Your Target Audience

Once you decide who your target audience is, the event type, venue, and theme options will fall into place. For instance, if you want money to help the homeless in your neighborhood, whom will you target? Is it a general event to which you will invite everyone or do you plan to invite a specific group of people only?

Set Your Goals

Once you define a specific project idea and decide to go through with it, you will need to set some clear goals. Make sure your goals are SMART –  specific, attainable, measurable, timely, and realistic. How much money are you willing to spend in organizing this event?

Choose The Event Type

When you know the type of people you want to invite, come up with an event that will resonate with your target audience. Start by doing some research to find out the events that have been successful in your community. Once you find some inspiration from previous events, you should be motivated to go a step further.

Find Collaborators

Find team members who will take over tasks before getting in touch with external vendors. You need to get in touch with caterers, wholesale bulk candy suppliers, and drink suppliers. Make sure you keep in touch with all these people to ensure they are playing their part.

Create A Budget

Once you have a list of external vendors and assign tasks to teammates, start coming up with a budget. Include the expenses needed to hold the event and consider your fundraising goal. When writing down the final number, leave some room for unforeseen costs.

Draw Up A Marketing Plan

If you already have a budget for the event, it is time to publicize the event so your target audience knows about it. Come up with some enticing ways to convince them to attend the charity event. You can use direct emails, social media, and flyers to let people know about it. Do not underestimate the power of word-of-mouth.

Create A Timeline

The deadline for making plans falls on the day of the charity event. Before that day arrives, keep yourself occupied with plans to make the event succeed. Coming up with a timeline will help you to keep things simple.

Follow Up

When the event is over, you need to get some feedback from the attendees. You can send an online survey to people who attended, asking about their thoughts on the event. Do not forget to thank everyone who helped you make the event a success. This is very important, especially if you want to maintain great relationships with your supporters and vendors. Thank the vendors even if you did not like their work; just make sure you find other vendors for your next event.

Organizing a charity event can be a challenging feat that requires a lot of effort and time. If you do not have enough time to plan it yourself, consider using an event planning software. When you do this, make sure you check in on the progress occasionally. Moreover, do not shy away from asking your friends and family for help.

This is a sponsored guest post, it does not necessarily represent the views or ideals of Mommy Ramblings. 

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The Hard Truth New Bloggers Need To Hear

I belong to a few blogging groups on Facebook. I really don’t frequent them, because I have always been the kind of person that does my own thing. A lot of those groups are full of things that bloggers “need” to do, to be successful. What I see now, are many people starting blogs to make money.

When I started blogging, making money from blogging did not even enter my mind. It truly didn’t. I started blogging because I wanted to share things about my family and myself with the world. When I started doing posts about products I loved, that was natural for me, since I was always recommending things to friends and family.

It was not long before I was courted by influencer networks to join them. I was very resistant to join and waited several months before I accepted their invitations.  When I was selected for a campaign a short time after and was paid, very well, for a post about a mom’s comedy site, I was shocked. After that, I had constant work coming in, I was paid to create and teach a course for bloggers on that same network, and before long, blogging was a substantial part of my income.

Besides just earning money, there have been other perks like big-ticket items for our home, tickets to area attractions, vacations, large recreational toys and more. I am also invited and paid to attend all kind of events in New York City and the surrounding area.

Blogging has enhanced our lives in many ways. I know the reason I am successful, is because I blog to the beat of my own drum. I don’t follow cookie cutter courses, I don’t get hung up on numbers, I write about what I am passionate about and I use my marketing and advertising background to connect with companies and PR agencies for all kinds of projects.

My blog was the reason I was approached by a large retail promo code site, and asked  to be a staff writer for them. Before that, I was a staff write for a children’s industry press publication. I have several streams of income that allow me to work from home, a real blessing.

So, when I see posts from new bloggers asking why after 2 months of blogging they do not have the stats they want and then start complaining, it irks me. When they say they are going to try it until the end of the summer and then… I just want to tell them, get out now and do yourself a favor. When you say something like, “I am just going to try it until…”, your foot is already out the door, so just keep walking.

Blogging takes commitment, there are no overnight successes in anything, so chin up buttercup. If you don’t really like to write, if you don’t want to write about what you know and are passionate about, blogging will be a drudgery for you. Stop worrying about numbers, learn some basic SEO and write about what you love, take photos, connect with your readers. Learn to write better headlines, promote your site and just relax.

If you want to just create niche sites for passive income, they take time too and they often fall flat if you do not have a real desire to write Most “want-to-be-bloggers” lose interest and their sites die out within the first year.

Here are some other things for new bloggers to know:

  • Don’t whine, it is not attractive and gives you the wrong mindset. 
  • Don’t work for free, EVER. 
  • Believe in yourself and what you do, never minimize it.
  • Connect genuinely with other bloggers, and I don’t mean just following for follows. Engage, get to know them, read and genuinely comment on other blogs that you are truly interested in. 
  • Join blogging and influencer networks. 
  • Take what you read in Facebook blogging groups with a grain of salt. I have seen so many filled with erroneous advice from bloggers who have just started. 
  • Don’t be afraid to do your own thing. 

Lastly, reach for the stars! I started in my first year working with companies that one might have said, were way too big for me to be working with. The reason I had dynamic partnerships with these companies, was my confidence and my unique blogging style. They liked my photos, they liked my style, they felt my passion, they loved my advertising and marketing background, and the presentations I made.

I have been blogging for nearly a decade, and I am getting ready to reveal some incredible partnerships with companies that I am ecstatic to be working with. Many are working with us on our home renovation series and others for some tech savvy campaigns and sporting equipment. These are going to be very different from anything we have ever done before and will include blog posts, social media posts and video content.

I will also be filming videos about cooking, baking, using essential oils and DIY. I am excited to get more connected to all of you, and hope you will enjoy the new content. We have so much planned for the rest of this year and 2018. Thank you so much for being such loyal Mommy Ramblings readers. I appreciate and care about you all so much. I have had the pleasure of getting to know many of you very well and have made many friends. I am looking to get to know more of you and share things you want to see.

Let me know what kind of video content you would like to see. Do you want to start a blog and don’t know where to start? Follow my step-by-step guide and get your blog started in about 15 minutes!


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Best Kitchen Renovation Tips Revealed by the Experts

This is a sponsored guest post that may or may not represent the views of Mommy Ramblings.

There are all kinds of renovations you can do in your home, but few have as much impact as a kitchen renovation. With that said there is a lot to consider when you are planning the renovation, going through the design process, and picking your materials. In order to ensure you don’t feel overwhelmed during the process, here’s a look at some of the best kitchen renovation tips from the experts themselves.

Make Sure the Design Stage Gets Enough Attention

While it’s easy to jump ahead and start envisioning what your perfect kitchen will look like, it’s important not to get too far ahead of yourself. Perhaps the most important step in the renovation process is actually the development of the design.

Ideally you want to hire a kitchen designer who will work with you through this stage. This is even more important if you plan on changing the configuration of your kitchen. You want to be sure the design is well thought out, flows, and makes sense. This is also the time you will be discussing the budget. Sure it would be great to design a kitchen without any concern for the costs, but that’s probably not reality. The designer should be made aware of your budget right from the start so it fits your needs.

As a side tip you may find it helpful to go through various design magazines that showcase kitchens before you meet with the designer. You want to be able to share your thoughts on the configuration, size, color scheme, materials, etc. Showing the designer pictures will help create an idea in their mind.

Picking Your Materials

For many homeowners the most exciting part about a kitchen renovation is getting to pick their materials. This is typically the area that also seems to have the most “opinions” involved. Designers can help you through this process as well, especially when it comes to sticking to the budget.

The designer and contractor can discuss what materials will work best for your needs and what will work with the design. Some of the items you’ll be picking include appliances, countertops, backsplash, cabinets, lighting, paint color, flooring, etc. If possible, it’s always handy to find a place that allows you to take samples home to try them in the space. It also gives you a chance to see how all the different materials work together.

Beautiful custom kitchens are built around materials and designs that not only look great, but also work well for that client’s needs.

Understanding the Timeline

The last process or step is to get an idea of the timeline. Obviously once you decide you want to go ahead with a renovation project you want to hurry up and get it done, but that isn’t usually possible. In general the typical timeline is anywhere from four to six months if you’re talking about a complete demolition job. Obviously this can be shorter or longer depending on the job, the materials chosen, and the construction crew.


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How to Talk to Your Kids About the Importance of Mental Health

This is a sponsored guest post, that may or may not express the views of Mommy Ramblings.

Years ago, mental health was more of a taboo subject, and people were more likely to hide their struggles.

Thankfully, we’ve come a long way as a society. Most people now understand that mental illness isn’t much different from physical illness. The brain is a muscle that we must nurture and exercise in order to avoid issues. Now for explaining this all to your kids…

Why it’s important to discuss mental health

According to data from the CDC, suicide rates are on a steady incline for the first time in over three decades, and one of the most concerning demographic group is girls between the ages of 10 and 14.

To be honest, no one is really sure why suicide rates have increased so drastically in this group, but one theory has to do with puberty.

If you have a teenager, you are intimately familiar with the way hormones can impact your child’s mood. And there’s a ton of research that links puberty with depression in both boys and girls.

To say the least, it’s a precarious time for the child and parent.

Opening the discussion of mental health can let your child know that it’s ok to feel down sometimes, but it’s also important to talk about your feelings.

 More consequences of mental health issues

Suicide is a terrifying consequence of mental health issues, but it’s not the only one. Teens who struggle with anxiety and depression are more likely to experiment with drugs in an attempt to self-medicate. Not only is this a problem for teens, but it can lead to bigger issues in adulthood. No less than 90 percent of all adult addicts in the U.S. started smoking, drinking, and/or using drugs under the age of 18.

Tips for talking to your kids about mental health

  1. Start with the basics – Talk to your kids about mental health as it relates to overall health. Let them know that it’s as important to be mentally healthy as it is to be physically healthy, and there’s no shame in having mental health struggles.
  2. Have compassion for others and for yourself – If someone is or seems to be struggling with mental health, try not to take it personally or react in anger. Their actions are not this person’s fault any more than they are your fault. Have compassion. Treat this person with kindness to the best of your ability. The same applies to yourself. If you find that you’re struggling with mental health issues, show yourself some compassion. Try not to be hard on yourself.
  3. Talk about your feelings – If you notice you’re having a lot of negative feelings that you cannot control, don’t be afraid to get help. Let your kids know that they can talk to you about anything. If they don’t feel comfortable talking with you, let them know that you can make a counselor available to them. The important part is to talk to someone.

The topic of mental health should never be taboo – and your children should always know this. They should always feel comfortable talking to you about how they are feeling. And this is more likely to happen when you open the dialog.


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Simple Steps To Make Buying A Car Easier

This is a sponsored post for Cars.com. As always, my words and opinions are 100% my own.

When you are shopping for a new or used car, the process can be daunting. Everywhere you look you will find different information. All of it can leave your head spinning and wondering what to believe. I understand the frustration, so I want to help by giving you some simple steps to follow to find the right car for you.

First things first, do your research. If there is a car you want, check out and learn everything about it. One resource that I like is Cars.com, it has a wealth of information that will let you do your due diligence and make an informed purchase. They even have a Video & Reviews feature where you can see extensive reviews for all different makes and models of vehicles.

Don’t worry that you will be seeing some bogus reviews, they shoot straight and you will see the good with the bad. They are not going to hide bad reviews, performance records or anything else. This is one of the reason, you should check their site out. So dive in and do your research, the more information you have, the better decision you will make and not have buyer’s remorse. What you will have, is the best car for you at the best price. That will make you and your wallet feel great!

Don’t get stuck going to just one dealer. I know there are mega dealers that have huge inventories of many makes and models of vehicles, but that does not mean their prices are the best. Try checking out other dealers for the kind of car you want, this will help you get a baseline price. With that in mind you can easily get the best price, because you know what you should be paying.

If you are shopping for a used car, checking out different dealers is a must. One of the most important things to take into consideration is the mileage. The higher the miles, the more wear and tear the car has, and that affects the price. Don’t try to guess the value of a used car based on the mileage, because that is not reliable. Visit a few different dealerships to price similar used cars, this will arm you with the knowledge you need to show the salesperson you are informed and ultimately get you the best price.

Don’t rush, I know you may be chomping at the bit to get your car, but take your time and do your research. There are so many types of cars available with different features that making a rush decision will probably leave you with regret. When you finally make your decision, it is one you should feel right about. A car is not something you are going to buy every day, so make sure it is what you really want and need.

Enjoy the journey and follow these simple steps to find the right car for you at the best price. A little research goes a long way, especially when you are shopping for a car. When you break it down into steps the process does not seem so stressful or complicated. Knowledge really is power,  the power to put you in the driver’s seat when negotiating a deal and driving your car off the lot.


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5 Easy Spring Lawn Care Steps #ILoveMyLawn

This is a sponsored post through the Mom It Forward Influencer Network. As always my words and views are 100% my own.

We are transitioning into spring in New York and the massive snowfall we were buried under, is finally melting away. As the ground becomes visible, I am filled with excitement about being able to see green grass again.

Grass evokes so many emotions, there are songs about grass, we relish the smell of fresh-cut grass and love the feel of grass beneath our feet. Our yard has a large lawn and it is where we spend a great deal of time. It is a place where our children practice their baseball skills, we gather on a blanket for a picnic, our dogs happily sprawl out for an afternoon nap, we watch the squirrels and birds frolic, entertain our friends and family and sit at night gazing up at the stars.

Lawn games are fun too, our neighbor just gave us a bocce ball set and my kids cannot wait to play. Our lawn adds beauty to our home; it is like a gorgeous carpet that compliments my perennial flower gardens. I am so thankful to live in a community where lush, green lawns are plentiful.

Lawns are beneficial too! Living on a hill at the top of a mountain, our lawn helps prevent erosion from heavy rains and wind. Beyond that, grass is beautiful and naturally calming. The visual appeal of green grass helps our mental health and reduces stress levels.

Having a nice lawn does not mean you need to be a slave to it. Sure, lawn maintenance is important for a healthy-looking lawn, but it does not have to consume your life. Did you know that the best season to revive and repair your lawn is spring? If you follow five simple steps now, you will ensure an amazing, summer ready lawn!

Rake

I like to enlist the whole family for this. We each grab a rake and get to work removing old leaves, dead grass and other debris that accumulated over the winter. Raking allows us to easily see any areas that need attention as well as providing more soil contact when seeding, which helps grass grow more easily.

Aerate

This is very important if your lawn is like ours, and has been buried under snow which causes the soil to compact. My dad used to joke that by walking on the grass wearing his golf shoes, he was doing his part to aerate the lawn. Seriously, there are core aerators you can rent or you can hire a professional lawn service to do this for you. Aerating will pull small plugs of soil out of your lawn which allows increased movement of water, nutrients and oxygen into the soil. It will also help to promote growth of new seeds by providing more soil contact.

Seed

Spring is the ideal time to seed any spots that are bare or thin. If you are planning on expanding your lawn, spring is the best time for that too. When you start in spring, the grass has ample time to grow healthy and strong before summer. Selecting the right seed for your area is imperative, ask a turf specialist at your local garden store or university extension office for guidance. After seeding, water lightly and regularly to ensure the area stays damp until the new grass grows.

Control Weeds

Did you know healthy lawns will squeeze out weeds? They will, but damaged lawns that are overrun with dandelions and crabgrass may need some help. Talk with your local garden specialist to decide what weed control options are right for your lawn and your family.

Tune up That Lawn Mower

Get your mower in top shape with an annual service including changing the oil, replacing the spark plug, cleaning or replacing the air filter and sharpening the blade. When the grass is about 3 inches high, it is time to mow. Newly seeded areas should be mowed when they reach 2 inches in height until the new grass is established. Mow with a frequency that allows you to cut less than one-third of the height of the grass. An easy-to-follow rule is to not let grass grow taller than 3 inches and not to cut it shorter than 2 inches.

Following the steps above will leave you with a lush, green lawn to enjoy this summer. I can’t wait to kick off my shoes and feel that grass between my toes! What do you love most about your lawn?



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Do You Feel Like You Are Failing As A Parent? You Are Not Alone!

Raising children is not for the faint of heart. Have you ever felt overwhelmed, frustrated to the point you lose your temper and yell or scream at your kids? Do you feel at your wit’s ends fighting the same battles, day after day with your children? Is it hard for you to wrap your mind around how they cannot stop doing the things that are getting them in trouble?

frustrated-child

No matter what you do, the same behavior is repeated again and again. Does it leave you so frustrated that you count the hours until bedtime? Do you feel guilty for sometimes not wanting to be around your kids because of how they behave? Do you feel terrible for this and feel you are a failure as a parent? Do you think you must be doing something wrong?

You don’t have to tell me the answers to these questions. If you are a parent, it is safe to say that you nodded your head in agreement to most of these things, maybe even all of them. I want to tell you, that it is okay, you are not the only one. We will fail as parents, many times.

I picked up a really good parenting book the other day. The book is titled, Parenting: 14 Gospel Principals That Can Radically Change Your Family. The author, Paul David Tripp, is the executive director for the Center for Pastoral Life and Care in Fort Worth, Texas. More than that, he is a dad, a dad who has felt those same things.

parenting-book

I will admit when I picked up the book, I expected it to be preachy and written by a man who was a “perfect” parent, who would tell me everything I was doing wrong. I could not have been more wrong. Right from the Introduction, I saw this was a parent I could relate to, one that struggled in the same ways I did. Nothing was sugar-coated, he was real and the pages are full of wisdom. It is real, he writes about situations of parents who are struggling through parenting. If you are like me, you may find their stories very familiar. Sometimes it is nice to know we are not alone.

frustrated-child-crying

One of the things I think will resonate with most parents is the chapter on authority. The author says to never exercise your authority over  your child in an angry, impatient, abusive or selfish way. This means, you do not let your anger at your child’s disobedience control you so you do things you should not. For example, it means that you do not pinch, poke, slap, yank or shove your child. It also means that you do not combine your discipline with berating, condemning or demeaning talk. That means you don’t say things like; “What are you, stupid?” “I can’t believe that you’re my daughter!” and other similar phrases.

mother-angry

He does not say this as a perfect parent who has never done this but as one who openly admits doing this to his son after a particularly grueling day. He admits his shortcomings but lets us know that through God’s grace we can always start new. Facts are, we will fail many times as parents and that is okay, we don’t have to feel guilty because we have that grace.

parenting

The chapters are the 14 Gospel Principals as they apply to parenting; Calling, Grace, Law, Inability, Identity, Process, Lost, Authority, Foolishness, Character, False Gods, Control, Rest and Mercy. The author’s favorite passage in the Bible about parenting is one you might not expect. It is one of the final commandments Jesus made to his disciples.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and          make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,                teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold I am with you always, to the end of the                age.” (Matt. 28:18-20)

There is so much in this book that is just profound and really hit home for me. You can read an excerpt HERE or listen to an audio click HERE. I hope you check it out and let me know what you think. You can also enter to win a copy below in our giveaway.

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Giveaway:

Parenting: 14 Gospel Principals That Can Radically Change Your Family Book Giveaway on Mommy Ramblings Rules:

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below.  Good Luck!!!

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Filed under Books, Faith, Family, Giveaway, parenting