Saving Tips for Michael’s

Michael’s just so happens to be one of my absolute favorite stores. I spend a fair amount of money there on a regular basis buying everything from holiday decorations to floral pieces and scrap booking items, but did you know about these super saving secrets?

Michael’s is always having some type of sale, but one of my favorite things that they don’t advertise is grab bags. Once or twice a month they will clear out all of their 80-90% off items and put random things in shopping bags, tie them shut and sell them for $2. They put just about everything in these bags from seasonal to scrap booking and everything in between. There’s no limit to how many bags you can purchase at one time so I often end up walking away with 5-10 bags.

Have a friend or family member who is a part of the Michael’s team?

Michael’s gives it’s employees a discount card for 30% entire purchase which only excludes clearance over 70% off. Michael’s employees aren’t allowed to buy grab bags so if you plan on using their discount card make sure that you don’t have grab bags on the same transaction. Also, there’s always coupon sheets behind the register so if you forget yours or just don’t have one always ask your cashier if they will scan their coupon for you. They don’t have to do this for you, so if you’re nasty to them chances are you will pay full price.

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Where to Find Free Images For Your Website

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If your looking for websites that give you free photo’s to use on your website then look no further! I love adding photo’s to my posts although it can be hard to find just the right one, but with these sites it’s a little easier.

Free Digital Photos

Freedigitalphotos requires a credit but makes it easy. You just copy and paste and their quality of photos is great.

StockVault

Over 13,000 free stock photos.

Free Stock Photos

Download free images to use for professional or commercial use.

Unsplash

These photos are amazing. Mostly scenery.

PhotoGen

High-resolution images available for free download, no sign up required.

MorgueFile

These aren’t usually very high quality, but I still use them from time to time.

Mayang’s Free Textures

Free texture library with over 3,800 free high-res textures available to download.

Every Stock Photo

Search engine for free photos – membership is free.

BigFoto

Great variety of free images, sceneries etc.

Free Pixels

Free stock photography for any use.

Photopin

Photo Pin is a free tool that helps bloggers and designers find beautiful photos for blogs and websites using Creative Commons licensing.

FreeFoto

Over 3,000 categories and over 100,000 images! A link back is required for some.

Free Range Stock

Free membership, full of high-resolution free stock photos and textures. Images are at least 2400 x 1600, and can be used for personal and commercial use.

Geek Philosopher

Beautiful photos! Required to post a link back/credit.

ImageBase

Free high resolution photos and PowerPoint Templates.

Turbo Photo

Download over 2,000 free stock images.

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Farm Life Update

It’s been a few months since we moved from our small house in the suburbs to a large piece of land far out in the country. The space is nice but we highly underestimated the work that is required to keep up such a large property.
We also should have done a lot more research on the creatures that would be coming in to our yard at night. To be more specific, coyotes, foxes, armadillos, and hogs. Our flock took a big hit which left us with only 5 hens and a bantam pullet. We lost 4 hens, 3 bantams and 14 chicks to stray dogs and wild critters.
We also made enemies with one of the five neighbors on our street after his pack of dogs tried to attack my son while he was riding his bike. Ordinarily I would have taken it up with the neighbor directly however his dogs were running at large and are known to be dog aggressive and human aggressive so I had to contact the police. The neighbor left his gate open that day and after the dogs ran back in to the yard I walked over to close the gate, however a very protective pup met me before I was able to do so. Ever since the neighbor has been leaving his gate open daily. Next time his dogs get out will be the last time.
You may have seen my post last week about my little one starting school and my strong dislike for his teacher. Well now I have a reason for not living her, it’s been one thing after another. Most recently she sent home one of my sons art projects with a note on the back saying “Make sure colors make sense. Have you ever seen a blue lion?”. That sent things in to a bit of a downward spiral considering my wife is an artist and my sons favorite book is The Blue Lion.
Although we have had many things go wrong since the move we truly love our life out here in the middle of no where. Things can only get better right?

Posted in byc, DIY, Education, Family, Home, Nature, Outdoor, public education | Comments Off on Farm Life Update

Paper Trax Review and Giveaway

If you have a little one that loves cars chances are your little one has seen the Hot Wheels wall tracks, maybe you even purchased the wall tracks for them! If you did then you are all too aware of how easily they fall off the wall, the pieces that disappear never to be seen again, and the difficulty of putting them on the wall to begin with.

Say goodbye to complicated directions and tracks that don’t stick to the wall and say hello to Paper Trax!

Paper Trax was created for the owners 18 month old son who inherited a goldmine of matchbox cars from a neighborhood child who outgrew them. He hadn’t had cars before and quickly got bored with driving them around on the floor with no tracks. Owner and creator of Papertrax grabbed a cereal box, folded it some and figured out how to attach it to the wall. Thus the idea of Paper Trax was born.

Paper Trax Toys: Dino Pack

My son loves all things transportation related and has had his fair share of wall tracks in the past. Usually they don’t last more than a few hours on the wall because they are too heavy. He has had his Paper Trax on his wall for almost a month now and not a single one has fallen off the wall. The tracks are light weight and made with durable cardboard and folded perfectly for maximum strength. Did I mention they are 100% recyclable?

If you would like to learn more about Paper Trax visit their website!

Giveaway!

Prize: Winner will receive a set of Paper Trax from papertraxtoys.com

Start: August 11, 2016

End: August 29, 2016

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Posted in Home, Kid | 1 Comment

Where Will Pokemon Go Take You?

It’s been nearly a month since Pokemon Go made is debut in the US. I was one of the first people to download it once it came out but didn’t play much for the first week because the idea of leaving the house to play a game on my phone in the middle of summer wasn’t very appealing. It wasn’t until my niece and sister-in-law Jenn downloaded it that we really started exploring.

We really dove in to Pokemon go and even dedicated days to go hunting for 7-8 hours at a time. My sister in law would drive while I operated her phone and mine, my niece would sit in the back with my son with a large lunch that I packed the night before. What would usually take an hour to reach the playground at Front Beach took us 6 hours because we would constantly stop to battle gyms and catch PokeStops. After a couple weeks of playing we started reaching out to other players and participating in Pokemon related events.

Pokemon Go brought us to the lighthouse where we sat in the median with dozens of other players and laughed as we battled gyms and joked with other players. One of our favorite places to play is at a large playground with a splash pad and fishing piers. We’ve met people, exchanged contact info and even met people from our hometown in Massachusetts.

Although I have lived in the south for almost 6 years I didn’t know where many things were. That all changed after playing Go. I learned where many things were because they are PokeStops, I even know where things are that my wife doesn’t know about! Downtown is one of my favorite places because it has close to 50 PokeStops in 3 miles. Last weekend we went to a PokeCrawl and walked 6 miles from a blues bar to the beach.

If you haven’t downloaded Pokemon Go what are you waiting for?

Posted in Family, Kid, KidTech, MommyTech, Outdoor, Pokemon Go | Comments Off on Where Will Pokemon Go Take You?

Chocolate Icebox Pie

Ingredients

Crust (or use pre-made graham pie crust)
• 1 1/4 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon,
• 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Filling
• 1/3 cup hot water
• 2 tablespoons All Purpose or Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 1 1/3 cups bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks
• 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
• 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
topping
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Directions

1) Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9″ pie pan.
2) To make the crust: Combine the ingredients, and press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Freeze the crust for 15 minutes then bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until it’s lightly browned around the edges. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
3) To make the filling: Combine the hot water, cocoa, and vanilla in a small measuring cup and set aside.
4) Microwave the chocolate chunks on high for 1 minute, stir until completely melted, and let cool for several minutes. Or melt over low heat on the stovetop.
5) Whip the cream, sugar, and salt with a hand or stand mixer until soft peaks form.
6) Stir the cocoa mixture into the melted chocolate.
7) Using a whisk, fold the chocolate mixture into the whipped cream until no white streaks remain.
8) Spread the filling evenly into the cooled crust.
9) Refrigerate the pie for at least 1 hour before serving, or until the filling is firm.
9) For the topping, whip the cream and sugar together until soft peaks form.
11) Slice the pie, and top each serving with a dollop of whipped cream and a chocolate curl, chips, or chunks, if desired.

Posted in chocolate, DIY, Food, pie | Comments Off on Chocolate Icebox Pie

Fears of Transitioning in to Public Education

Our little one starts school this week and I’m beyond nervous as to whether or not he will do well. We have been home schooling our little one for the last couple of years but after moving to an area with a fantastic school we couldn’t pass it up. It’s a beautiful school with roughly 900 students ranging from kinder to eighth grade and they also have a 9:1 student teacher ratio which is unheard of in the surrounding school districts.

Tonight was orientation where we could meet his teachers and the other students and parents. The teacher aid seemed friendly and was very helpful while the teacher basically ignored us. I got a very strange vibe from her the second I met her but I’m unsure why. Something is just unsettling about her. Our little one didn’t seem thrilled with her either but maybe he will warm up to her eventually, he can be shy at times. I think one of the things that bothered me the most was the lack of space for creativity. There was no room on the walls for the kids to put up pictures and the windows were opaque. As a child I can remember looking out the window while I was upset in order to recenter. Not this school… Even lunch time seems to be militant. The hallways are covered with signs saying Remain Quiet in Hallway at All Times and Quiet at all Times in Lunchroom. Which means no talking at lunch time? That’s crazy to me.

His teacher went through her power point quickly, discussing every piece of paper that we needed to sign with great detail. All except one! This one pictured below..

Are these people for real?

Are these people for real?

Yes you read it right, corporal punishment, they wanted permission to paddle my son. It’s like saying “Let us hit your child or they will be suspended”. We believe in peaceful parenting, I’m not going to say our son has never received a spanking but we certainly don’t support spanking nor would we ever allow someone else to spank our little one. In kindergarten they wanted permission to spank! Outrageous right?

Even with the hiccups of punishment, a possibly evil teacher and the fact that the school in general reminds me of a prison for children it may be the best place for out little one. It’s the third best school in our state with wonderful reviews, and while I would love to continue to home school my little munchkin I also want him to have his own space. Later on down the line if he decides he would rather home school we can discuss it, if public school just doesn’t work for him, we can discuss it. The decision was more so my wife’s over mine. Honestly I’ve been crying about it for weeks but she keeps reminding me to be strong and that we have to at least try.

Will keep ya’ll updated!

Posted in Education, home school, kinder, public education | Comments Off on Fears of Transitioning in to Public Education

Galaxy Note 5 Giveaway

Is My Child Ready For A Cell Phone?
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This is a huge question now-a-days.  There is the worry of when your kid is dropped off somewhere.  If something happens at school can you get a hold of your child?  What about the child having divorced parents and you want to get ahold of them?  Let’s not forget peer pressure.  Some how I managed my youth without a cell phone.  We  used house phones or payphones.  But both are a thing of that past.  Many households don’t even have landlines.  There are questions to ask, to know if your child is ready for a cell phone.   Sprint is there for parents to help tackle tough questions.
 
Average Age Of Kid With A Cell Phone.
When I read this I was shocked.  If this is the average, what is the low age?  8?  That means either you have to have a very responsible kid or make sure you have a customized phone to protect your kid.  There are a lot of predators on social media.  If you are in doubt take the Online Quiz Sprint offers to help parents make informed decisions.  There is even a customized parent-child mobile contract to set parameters and agree upon rules and limits. 64 percent of kids already have internet access via personal tablets/laptops.  According to Sprint 1 in 2 kids will have a social media account by age 12.  I think in the last year that number is higher. So, when is your child ready for a cell phone?
 
Questions To Ask  Yourself:
What will my child be using this phone for?  Is it a want or a need?
What rules do I want in the cell phone contract?
What will happen if my child breaks the rules?
Do I want my child to have full access to the internet or what restrictions am I setting up the phone with?
Do I want my child to have social media?  If yes, make sure you write all user names and passwords in the contract.
Make sure to discuss what to do if cyber-bullying happens.
 
Check out Sprints Kid’s First Phone website for expert advice, online quiz and other resources.  Learn about all the social media sites out there and the cautions about each one.
Facebook.
Twitter.
Instagram (most tweens and teens have this).
Tumblr.
SnapChat (known for by sex offenders to search for children- my kids are not allowed to have it).
KIK.
Periscope.
Pinterest.
LinkedIn (mostly business networking for adults).
Google+
YouTube.
Vine.
Reddit (and Sub-Reddit groups).
 
 
There are new ones created all the time.  Stay current with the latest social media and make sure you know which ones your kids are on.
 
Right now one lucky person will win a Samsung Galaxy Note 5.  An awesome giveaway by Sprint.  Winner must be of the age 18-years-old, or older and live in the Continental. U.S.  To enter simply follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below.
 
Disclosure: Mom Are We There Yet received this phone for a review and is hosting the giveaway.  All opinions are 100% honest.  All participating bloggers helping to host this giveaway and Mom Are We There Yet are not responsible for items lost in the mail or not shipped by the sponsor.  No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. Odds of winning are based on number of entries received. Giveaways on this blog are in no way affiliated with Facebook or any other social media networks.

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Posted in Kid, KidTech, MommyTech | 4 Comments

Freshly Picked Review & Giveaway

What’s cuter than a baby in a pair of moccasins? A baby in Freshly Picked moccasins!

Freshly Picked is one of my favorite companies for children’s’ shoe companies because of the dedication and love that they put in to each and every pair of moccasins that is sent out. Freshly Picked has dozens of soft soled moccs as well as a variety of hard sole shoes for once your little one starts running.

You may remember my post last year when I reviewed Freshly Picked, I had no idea my son would literally wear the toes out. He wore his “bear shoes” as he calls them every day until his big toe finally broke out, and that still didn’t stop him from wearing them. He still has them and still wears them. They have been used and abused and he absolutely loves them. I have no doubt that the same thing will happen with his new FP.

Another favorite thing about Freshly Picked? Read below!

After a summer of constant work, owner Susan scrapped together $200 to start Freshly Picked. She designed the ultimate soft soled baby shoe right at her kitchen table. These shoes are terrific in every way. No laces to tighten and tie, no zipper that sticks. Just an elastic covered in soft leather. As a parent these shoes are a dream come true, and I only hope they will soon come in adult sizes too. They are well made and durable, but most importantly they stay on my sons feet and no blisters on his sensitive ankles. There are dozens of colors and different styles to chose from so you can find the pair that best shows off your little ones personality.

Baby shoes come in every style imaginable, but many people don’t know that hard soled shoes can actually be damaging to the growth and development of a babies feet. Shoes with flexible thin soles are often best for your babies. They are also more comfortable than traditional shoes because they aren’t as hard and rigid.

Giveaway!

Prize: Winner will receive a pair of moccasins of their choice from Freshly Picked!

Starts: July 25, 2016

Ends: September 1, 2016

Must be 18 or older and live in the continental US.

 

 

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Posted in Baby, Freshly Picked, Kid, kinder, Moccasins | Comments Off on Freshly Picked Review & Giveaway

The Loved Dog

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House Rules for Dogs?

All dogs should have rules, and these rules should include ones for the house. They shouldn’t be allowed to do what they want, when they want, since this can lead to the dog thinking that they’re the alpha over the humans that are supposed to control them. This can be a big problem inside a home with a big dog. Make sure to be constant with training, and always assert your authority over them when it comes to the house rules, as well as other rules that they must follow while living there.

House Training Your Dog

With so many dog training books telling you what to do, you might be at a loss on what you actually have to do when it comes to house training your dog. You want to make the best decisions possible when the time comes. House training a dog can be done easily and effectively through the best methods, as long as the owners are consistent with it.

Your dog should not be allowed to do whatever they want inside the home; they should only be able to do certain things. Teaching them this will put them in the best place possible, and also allows you to have the best behaved dog possible that actually listens to you when it comes time to tell them what to do inside the home or even outside.

At The Loved Dog, you can make sure to speak with professionals that know how to handle dogs and can provide you with awesome house training for a dog tips. They’re able to walk you through the process, commands and other things that need to be done in order to make the most of your time living together. Speak with them today to find out what they think about the training you want to do.

For the best services in Los Angeles dog boarding and training, visit TheLovedDog.com

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