Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My New Favorite Toy...

The Fridge Phonics Magnetic Set by Leap Frog has officially became my new favorite toy for my son! My little man turned 2 two weeks ago, and this was one of the gifts he received. If you read my blog regularly you have noted that I don't do very many product reviews. That's because before I put my name on a product I have to use it and be absolutely in love with it! Well, I am estatic about this Leap Frog product!

This magnetic set features a magnetic letter-reading base that easily attaches to your refrigerator door. All of the 26 letters are also magnetic. When you put it up on the fridge and see all of the colorful letters decorating your doors, it will remind you of the plastic magnetic letters we had when we were little. This set created by Leap Frog easily puts those original magnetic letters to shame. Once you turn it on, your child will pick a letter and place in the base and then push it. When the letter is pushed, the base will start singing a little song for the corresponding letter. The song tells the child what the letter is and also tells what sound(s) the letter makes as well. There is also a music button that, when pushed, will sing the Alphabet Song to your child!

I am not one who enjoys a lot of electronic toys that make a lot of noise, but educational ones such as Leap Frog's Fridge Phonics are gladly welcomed in my home. This toy will hold my son's attention for at least 20 minutes! Not only that, but he has already learned many of the letters and their corresponding sounds! If you have a child between the ages of 2 and 5, this would make a wonderful Christmas gift that they will benefit from tremendously!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Freelance Writing Update and a Few Other Notes...

As you may have already read, I have started a freelance writing business. As of today, I have been doing this for a little over a month now and am happy to report that I have earned right around $150! This may not sound like much to you, but for a stay-at-home-mommy who is doing this VERY part-time, it is quite an accomplishment!

I have decided to create my own website, which I will be working on this week, to get my name out there and promote my services. The money is a nice bonus, but the truth is, I absolutely LOVE my new "job!" I am able to do it when my son naps and after he goes to bed. It provides me with something constructive to do and gives me a feeling of satisfaction after I meet my deadlines.

One of the cool aspects of it, is that I am constantly learning about a variety new things! Over the past month, I have learned about the differences between fiberglass and acrylic bathtubs, the benefits of organic shampoo, how mind-mapping software can be beneficial and so much more! I love getting up every day not knowing what I will learn next, it takes away the monotony of doing laundry, dishes and cleaning.

If you love to write and don't mind doing a little research, I highly recommend tapping into the freelance writing market. It's great for SAHM's like me, college students who want to earn a little extra money, or even women who want to make the transition to working from home and still make a decent income. If you have the time available, motivation, determination, and the necessary writing skills, you can easily make a full-time income by being a freelance writer!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Oh, for the Love of Soccer!

This past weekend we celebrated my son's 2nd birthday. What a celebration it was with the entire family joining in on the fun. He had aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-aunts and uncles, and cousins there - so there were a lot of gifts for him to open.

When it came to opening gifts last year at this time, he wasn't sure what to think. My how things change in a year. The presents were definately the hit of the show for him this year! It is amazing to me how much stuff they make for little ones now. Honestly, I do not remember having anything like the cool electronic toys they have now when I was little. Maybe, all parents are supposed to say that though. Our little man received a string-less/wireless guitar that works by laser light, lincoln logs, legos, building blocks, Mr. Potato Head, lots of tool related toys and many other wonderful, exciting, and noisy gifts!

He was pretty excited about all the above gifts, but the last gift he opened was what excited him the was a $6 soccer ball his father and I picked out for him. We knew our little guy loves to play with any kind of sports ball or bouncy ball - in fact, our house is overrun with them...however, he did not have a soccer ball. So, we decided to go ahead and get him one. We knew he'd like it, that's why we saved if for last, but we had no idea it would be a show-stopper for him! He spent the rest of the night attached to the soccer ball, and if I would have let him, he would have slept with it too!

Isn't it incredible that in this technological world full of iPods, video games, and noisy toys, some of the most enjoyable gifts are still the simple a soccer ball?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

From SAHM to Part-Time WAHM

As you know, I am a stay-at-home-mommy who has a toddler running circles around her. I have been fortunate enough to have been able to stay at home with my son for two years now. I can't believe how fast time has flown by! I have loved every minute of it and every day when I'm able to make lunch for my son and lay him down for his nap afterwards, I am reminded of how truly blessed I am to be able to do this.

Well, over the past month I have not-so-gradually worked my way from the stay-at-home-mommy status to the work-at-home-mommy status. Since I have started this blog, I have re-discovered my passion for the written word and through that I have discovered how much fun it is to actually write! So, after reading through a few forums I discovered the world of freelance writing.

Now, I had never written anything major before, but a lot of people have complimented my writing so I decided to take a leap and answer an ad on a forum from a lady looking for content writers for her website. She started out giving me a weekly assignment of writing one 300 word article per week over one of the following subjects: parenting, environmental issues, or saving money. After the first couple of weeks, she informed me that she was impressed with my writing and then sent me 6 articles she needed completed in a week. After that she requested 2 travel articles from me and 3 rewrites. Keep in mind, this is in addition to the weekly website article I was continuing to write for her.

Over the course of two weeks I had gained a second client and had written a total of 13 articles - earning myself roughly $65! Therefore, I averaged $5 per article - while it may not sound like much, considering the very short length of the articles, it is a nice part-time income. I have to say that this has been the easiest $65 I have made from home. I learned to research during my son's nap times and write at night when he was in bed. So, it doesn't interfere with the time I spend with him during the day.

So, now you know how I have rather quickly transitioned from a stay-at-home-mommy to a work-at-home-mommy. I am no different then a lot of other women out there who have tried several work at home business such as selling Mary Kay, Usborne Books and several other products. While I loved each and every product I sold, I just didn't enjoy selling the products as much as I did using them. I have had a completely different experience with this. I don't mind doing the research and I love writing the articles and seeing the finished product. And the extra cash I'm earning while doing it is wonderful! Who knew working from home could be so much fun?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My 4-Day Diet Results

Well, I have completed my 4-day diet experiement and am here to report the results to you! The article in Prevention magazine stated that by following a few simple rules, I should be able to lose 7 pounds in 4 days. So, I followed their rules and kept a journal of my daily calorie intake which allowed me to cut my calories down. Also, instead of having just 3 meals a day I followed their rules and increased that to 4 meals per day scheduled every 4-5 hours apart. During each meal I incorporated 1 serving of a MUFA food to combat hunger and fat build up.

On Friday, I weighed and had lost not 7, but 2 pounds. So, the 7 pounds in 4 days did not work for me...but, I did notice some other positive changes during that 4 day period. First of all, I was sleeping better at night and I was waking up refreshed and with more energy! (It's important for you to understand here that I was not sleeping any longer then before.) It was not uncommon for me to wake up and still be tired, and then to try and catch up on my sleep, I would sometimes nap when my 2 year old did. Well, during my experiment last week - that was not the case. Because I was waking up more energized, I feld better and I got a lot more accomplished during the day and all without taking a mid-day nap!

I think I will continue to add a serving of MUFA foods at every meal from now on. The extra boost of energy that I've received from it, makes it well worth it to this toddler-mommy. If you haven't tried this diet out already - you should give it a 4 day trial like I did and see how you feel afterwards about it. If you don't know what diet I'm talking about, then read my last two blog posts and you will be caught up to par. Also, there is a book called "The Flat-Belly Diet," which was written with these principles in mind, so if you are really interested in learning more then go and check out that book!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Our Future

"The way America sees itself and the world is changing and it worries me because we used to have a common vision. But now that vision is split and what I believe is the prevailing vision, has been relegated in the mass media to the fringe. Things like: Belief in God over government; parents' rights over children's rights; the honor of military over the honor of the politician; being willing to do the hard thing now and have less so that our children can have a chance at having more." Glenn Beck

I am not a huge Glenn Beck fan mainly because of the way he presents some of his information, but I have to say that I agree 100% with the statement above. As a mother, it upsets me to look around and see the way this country is headed. Glenn really nailed down every major issue I have with this country. Why have we let the government put limits on God in this country? Things such as where we can and cannot pray, taking the Pledge of Allegience out of schools because of the word "God" and now considering removing "In God We Trust" from U.S. currency? Does this baffle anyone besides me?

The next is one of my pet peeves. It is giving our children more power then we, as parents, have. I understand there are many children out there in abusive situations, and they should by all means be removed from that situation, but by telling parents how they can and cannot discipline their children, our government is taking power out of our hands and placing it in our childrens' hands. I am not saying I support excessive spanking, but I do believe that sometimes it is necessary to effectively discipline our children - which is the process parents have to take in order to produce well-mannered and respectable adults. It's no wonder the majority of the younger generations are so lazy, rude and have no comprehension of what manners are. It doesn't take the smartest person out there to see where this is going to land us in a few short generations.

What parents are not willing to go with less now so their children can have more later? Well, just look around, because there are quite a few of them out there. Why? Because their parents made the mistake of giving them everything they wanted and not teaching them what it means to go out and earn their "stuff." I was very fortunate that my parents raised me differently. Did I enjoy the fact that I had to do chores around the house to earn money instead of getting a weekly "allowance" like other friends of mine did? Of course I didn't - I was a child! This is where my parents had enough wisdom to understand that if I didn't learn at an early age what it meant to earn things, then I would grow up to be a lazy member of society who is always expecting a hand out. We are now seeing parents who are part of the "me" generation, who are more concerned with their own happiness then they are about their children's welfare.

I am so sad to see this. It scares me to think about what the world will be like when my son is in school. There is not a doubt in my mind that my son will think he has the meanest parents alive. My husband and I are willing to go with less now and in the future- in terms of how our son will view us - so that he can have more later. More what? More self-respect, more character, more work ethic, more love and more opportunities. And when that time comes, my husband and I will suddenly be more appreciated by him for not giving in to his every whim when he was younger. I know because I have been there and now I have a tremendous amount of respect and appreciation for all of that "tough" love my parents bestowed upon me.

Our society, country and world are all in terrible shape and the future looks even bleaker. It will not change if we just stand passively by and wait. It must start with us. We need to voice our concerns - peacefully of course - and not stand by and do nothing. And most importantly, we need to instill our values and beliefs in our children and teach them to be strong and stand up for what they believe in, because, like it or not, our children are our future.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The New Diet

Yesterday I blogged about the Prevention magazine article I stumbled across that claimed I can "Lose 7 pounds in 4 days" by following a new diet involving MUFA foods. If you read that post, then you are familiar with what MUFAs are - if you haven't read it, then you should check it out so you will understand how this new diet works.

First thing you need to do is to have a daily calorie goal. The magazine article suggests 1600 calories per day split up into 4 meals. These meals need to be eaten every 4 or 5 hours to make sure you keep your metabolism, blood sugar and hunger all under control. Now, the key is that at every meal you include at least one serving of MUFA food. After reading about the 5 different varieties of MUFA foods, I don't feel that this is something that will be hard to do at all.

I have decided I'm going to try this diet out - starting Monday. That gives me time this weekend to make sure my pantry is stocked with plenty of MUFAs! The article stated that after trying this diet out on 11 panelists for 4 weeks, the results showed they had lost a total of 91 pounds! 91 pounds is amazing in itself, but how about the fact that they lost a combined 83 inches with that 91 pounds?! That has given me some motivation to test this baby out and see how it works. We all know exercise is good for us, but the best part about this diet is that it is not required! So, check back next Friday and I will post an update!