Monthly Archives: March 2015
|March 10, 2015||Posted by Holly Marie under Life and Times in our House||
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MarchIntoSavings #CollectiveBias
Today I am sharing our top five family money saving tips! As we move into March and the temperatures heat up here in the Valley of the Sun we need to make sure to save some serious change for the summer months! Our AC unit will soon be on non-stop from May through September and our electric bill will undoubtedly DOUBLE. But another reason we are saving up is our annual trip to the happiest place on earth- Disneyland! What better reason to save then making memories with our little ones this summer?!?
TOP FIVE FAMILY MONEY SAVING TIPS
ENTERTAIN AT HOME
Movie Nights: Family movie nights on the couch once a week are a great way to unwind from the week and come together as a family. We either pick one from our collection or use a FREE RedBox Code to get a new release.
Sprinklers: As the temperatures heat up we spend more time around water here in the desert. We use our old hose and attach our sprinkler for fun in the sun(while also watering the lawn). We just make sure to turn off the programmed drip system on days we play in the water. No need to water twice in a day and waste water(and money).
Games: Board games are just starting to be a hit with my little ones. Chutes & Ladders, Hi Ho Cherry-O, Red Light-Green Light, Playing Dress-Up, and our new Secret Hideout. We save a lot of money by buying our games at second-hand stores, along with lots of dress-up clothes. Easy entertainment that lasts through the years. Big savings for our family.
WALMART FAMILY MOBILE
CELL SERVICE: Walmart Family Mobile service is $29.88/month (for the first line) Unlimited Talk, Text & Data service plan which includes up to 500MB of 4G LTE data. We literally will be saving over $1,000 cash this next year with this service. My Alcatel Evolve 2 phone is perfect for all of my social media needs AND I no longer get any dropped calls. I picked it up at my neighborhood Walmart last week!
For the longest time my phone would not call out or receive calls if I was in a certain location in my house. Talk about frustrating. And then of course as a mom I got to worrying about emergencies. What if I needed to call 9-1-1? Could I count on my service being clear? The answer was glaringly obvious. We made the switch AND with just this change our trip to the happiest place on earth is guaranteed.
Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to http://cbi.as/aafid or your local Walmart for current pricing.
Social Media Expert in Training
CFL/LED BULBS: Big Box stores put these on sale at least once a year with a hefty tax rebate. The first update we did when we moved into our house was to replace ALL of our light fixtures with CFL bulbs. Now we are working on replacing the bulbs we use the most with LED bulbs.
CLEAN AIR FILTERS: Don’t let your furnace or AC unit work over time with clogged filters. If the unit has to work extra hard you can bet you are paying for it.
UNPLUG EVERYTHING: Any appliance not in use is unplugged. Every day, all the time. We noticed a DRAMATIC difference in our electric bill when we made this switch. Have you ever felt a charger that was plugged in to the wall-yet not plugged into the appliance? They are HOT. That’s because they are using energy. Energy you pay for that could result in BIG savings. Savings that mount up to that vacation you’ve had your eye on.
WORK IT: Use the weather to your advantage when you can. When it is cold out, but the sun is shining- I open up all of the shades to let the light flood in and warm the house. During the summer and the devastating heat we use reflective film, sun screens, and drapes to keep the heat out.
MAKE A LIST: We plan out our weekly menu ahead of time using the staples we currently have in our pantry. We always try to make just enough to have leftovers for lunch the next day. Sticking to the list has helped us save tremendously. We spend less than $100 a week to feed our family of four. All meals are eaten at home, save for the rare occasion to a trip to an allergy-friendly spot. Food allergies make it a necessity to eat at home.
BBQ AT HOME: We BBQ year round! Love making burgers with grilled onions and adding a couple ears of corn. There are so many different veggies we grill that spice up the variety of foods we eat. Our propane tank only needs to get filled up once a year and is much cheaper for us than using our electric stove.
DEEP FREEZE: We buy our meat in bulk when it goes on sale. We separate the meat into freezer bag meal portions and save a ton of money for just a little extra work.
REC CENTER: Our local community rec center has lots of great activities that are either free or at a greatly reduced price. We take swim classes, gym classes, and go to weekly events that include: Bubbles, Trikes, Bounce Houses, and Tunnels. My toddler and preschooler LOVE spending time at the rec center. At just two dollars a visit it hardly breaks the bank!
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC KIDS: An hour program that includes a craft, toy, snack, and songs. These classes are FREE and offered nationally at Malls during the week.
PHOENIX ZOO: Our zoo is LARGE and a great place to stretch our legs throughout the week. The price tag is hefty if you only visit once, BUT a family membership pays for itself in under four visits. We go between 60-70 times a year so it REALLY pays for itself.
I’ve shared the top five ways our family saves money. How do you save money throughout the year?
Would love extra tips on how to save up as we head into the summer! Thanks for sharing!
|March 7, 2015||Posted by Holly Marie under Life and Times in our House||
I am writing this post in exchange for a discounted conference ticket; however, all opinions are mine and mine alone. #SoFabUOTR AND #cbias
I am beyond excited to be going to SoFabU on the Road in Phoenix! I love the opportunity to learn more about blogging and can’t wait to see what they have in store for us! The day-of schedule looks phenomenal-and I just love building a community of local bloggers I can network with. Loved attending my first blogging conference this past fall and I can not wait to build upon that knowledge.
I made the switch to WordPress- my second try-but now with the hosted version so that I can rightfully build my brand and market myself. AND I didn’t lose ALL of my pictures from the past five years… goodness was that troubling. Now that I am working on coding… WordPress isn’t so scary. Thanks to JoAnn at Whimsicle I am now a proud member of Collective Bias and have started taking classes to better my craft. Goodness do I need to learn how to style food shots-I SWEAR my food tastes delicious-it just doesn’t look like it, YET. I will get there. And thanks to SoFabU I get to take classes whenever I can fit them into our daily schedule.
I would love to connect with more bloggers and social media influencers… there are still tickets available for Phoenix!
The event will be at The Scottsdale Plaza Resort on March 28th. Speaker info: Aliza Sherman, who helped pave the way for women online and in the Internet industry, will be speaking on harnessing your content with a social media strategy and editorial calendar. She’ll discuss learning to plan ahead, attracting the best audience, boosting your online presence and saving yourself a whole lot of time. There also will be networking, brands, a city-specific Adventure, and other learning opportunities (check out the agenda on the SoFabUOTR website!)
ADVENTURE?!? I’M IN.
About SoFabU on the Road
SoFabU on the Road is a unique event that allows influencers to take advantage of educational opportunities that will help set them a part from the rest.
SoFabU on the Road features hands-on, interactive sessions for influencers to implement what they’re learning on the spot. The sessions are paired with fun city-specific adventures where attendees get to practice their newly learned skills.
Events are open to all bloggers and influencers!
March – Phoenix
April – Cincinnati
April – Seattle
May – Dallas
June – NYC
July – Chicago
Aug. – Minneapolis
Sept. – Atlanta
Oct. – Bentonville
About Collective Bias and Social Fabric
Collective Bias® is the only shopper social media company that solves shopper marketing problems by weaving together organic social content with engaging, real-life stories to generate millions of impressions, increased share of voice, SEO and retail sales for brands and retailers. Top brands such as Tyson, Nestlé and Duane Reade rely on Collective Bias to sell their stories socially. Based in Bentonville, Arkansas, with satellite offices in New York City, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Cincinnati and London, Collective Bias was named one of America’s 25 Most Promising Companies by Forbes and a part of the Inc. 5000.
Social Fabric® is Collective Bias’ proprietary community of nearly 3,000 shopping-focused influencers with an aggregate multichannel reach in excess of 130 million.
Have you ever attended a conference? Any local(or traveling) bloggers attending in March?
|March 6, 2015||Posted by Holly Marie under #ToddlerApproved, Kid's Activities||
Loved hosting our #DisneySide @Home Valentine’s Day Cars Celebration with a bunch of our little preschool friends! Our #DisneySide Box was full of party supplies, games, and fabulous party favors for our guests(and their parents!). You can check out our #DisneySide Box Reveal- HERE.
FYI Toddlers and Preschoolers do not know the meaning of silence… as anyone who has ever tried to make an important call with them in the background knows full-well….
I am so thankful for being able to host this #DisneySide @Home Cars Valentine’s Day Celebration with our friends and family! My kids had so much fun helping set-up-which of course meant that everything took longer- but it was well worth it. Everyone left with a large swag bag full of toys, stickers, HP Photo Paper, Chore Charts(they are fun ones I swear), and Cars treat bags with goodies. We ended the night with popcorn in big red solo cups watching the original Cars movie.
|March 4, 2015||Posted by Holly Marie under Body After Baby|
At the start of February I started working out with The Fit Tutor completing the 8 Week Get-Fit Program. I discussed the hardship over the past year and a half as I struggled to deal with my body during breastfeeding. My body worked differently than the other stories you hear- and that is okay, just would’ve like to know that I was not alone. After nearly a year I broke down and saw specialists. They all thought I clearly had hypothyroidism with what I was eating and with what I was doing to work out- nothing made sense. So after four specialists. An added vitamin- rock it B12-and finding out I have massive amounts of food allergies(now we know where Raymond gets it from-sorry buddy)- I was told that at least I’m not crazy. I was doing everything-and I mean EVERYTHING right.
But I digress.
As soon as Emma Marie decided to wean at 15 months old I lost 10-15 pounds a month. A month.
SO yep- my body was a bad a** breast-milk-making machine. Now I’m not one to say breast is best. If you know anything about my story with both of my littles it is a tale of two extremes. So rock it bottle mommas-I’ve been there too.
When I started Allison’s Program I was stuck on a plateau-number wise and fitness wise.
As a mom of a toddler and preschooler I tend to not have much free time during the day and thought that where I was-was the best it was going to get. Which frankly, was not a bad place to be in-BUT I have a different heart and I really want to make sure that I get to watch both my babies grow up.
Being fit is more important than being thin.
Always has-always will be.
Goodness just four weeks in and I am feeling strong. Stronger than I have in YEARS. Goodness does pregnancy do a number on your body.
But after working out every other day for the past month I am now seeing abs. ABS PEOPLE. And I fit into all of my college clothes. Those flare leg pants look awesome… someone please tell me I can wear them??? Making a comeback? Yes?!?
Grainy iPhone pictures are exactly what you wanted to see. Well frankly this is way out of my comfort zone for this blog-but I wanted to show you what was working for me. The workouts are working. They are challenging in the best way possible. I feel the burn nightly.
You see that slight curvature on the belly-not holding anything in(need to be honest-WHAT?!? Honesty on the Internet?!? Yes.) And that my dear friends is the result of my lovely coffee creamer. If I eat any dairy I immediately bloat out. You should see me after eating gluten AND dairy. Five months pregnant. I wish I was kidding. But I know myself and I love coffee-soooo this is a reality.
As for numbers I am down ten pounds in this month. No more plateau for me! I will give you all of the numbers-before and after- at the end of the 8 Week Get-Fit Program. Please know that I am not trying to lose to get to a certain number- I am trying to get leaner and build up my muscle mass. I miss my muscles.
One month in and I can do 45 real push-ups in a row.
I should have done a fitness test to give you a real show of just how much stronger I am… that would’ve been thinking. Like in PE at school.
Let’s just say I was shaking in my boots with 8 real push-ups at the start of February.
Let me know if you have any questions!
What time do you workout? I work out at night right after Em and Raymond go to sleep. I love being able to workout in silence.
What are your fitness goals? I want to work in more family fun-runs-like The Color Run!
Would love to hear from you!