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Monday, January 16, 2017

Little Wedding Additions: Should You Have Kids in the Wedding Party?

A lot of couples contemplate having kids who are special to them in their wedding party. They're often a family member or the child of close friends. There are specific roles that kids usually fill if you decide to have them be part of your ceremony. However, not everyone ultimately decides that it's a good idea to get children involved. There are pros and cons to having them in your wedding party, and you might decide that it's not the right choice for you. If you're thinking about making some special kids a part of your ceremony, there are a few things you should think about.

Suitable Roles for Kids

You might want to start by thinking about what sort of roles a child could play in your ceremony. Traditionally, there are several positions that are reserved just for kids. So it's a choice of whether to have them, rather than whether to have a child instead of an adult. For example, a lot of people choose to have a flower girl who spreads flowers or petals in front of the bride. There's also the ring bearer, which is usually a boy, and you could have a young bridesmaid or pageboy. Of course, any of these roles could be suitable for either gender, if you're not a stickler for tradition.

Yes or No?

The big question is whether you should have kids in your ceremony at all. There are some great reasons to have them. You have children you care about a lot, and you want them to be part of your day. It's cute to have them there, and they can symbolize family and the future. On the other hand, kids can be prone to meltdowns. They might be nervous or reluctant on the day. Sometimes it's the adults you have to worry about too. Including some kids but not others can cause resentment.



If you do decide to have kids in your wedding party, you need to think about their outfits. The question for a lot of people is how formal they should be. Some people don't want to dress up a four-year-old in a three-piece suit, but still might want them to look smart. You can find plenty of formal but still child-appropriate clothes that will work. I found flower girl dresses from Red Hill Couture that offer cute choices. Instead of a full suit for boys, a pair of smart pants and a shirt can look just as good.

What to Do If They're Not Up for It on the Day

Children can often be unpredictable. Even if they're excited for their role on the runup to the big day, they might not feel so confident when it arrives. Firstly, you can never predict a toddler tantrum. And even kids in a good mood can get nervous or want to back out. It's a good idea to think about what to do if your munchkins don't want to walk down the aisle on the day. Are you going to forego their part in the ceremony or replace them with someone else?

Kids in your wedding party can make the day a little bit more special. But you need to decide if it's the right choice for you.

Friday, January 13, 2017

How To Escape The Everyday And Embrace An Alternate Living Style

Many people dream of ditching the mainstream and embracing alternate ways of living, but they are often unsure which lifestyle to pursue.

Maybe you want to try something different, meet new people or simply get away from it all. If you enjoy life off the beaten track, take a look below at some of the more unusual options available to you today.

Spiritual Communities

Spiritual communities are usually one of the first things that people think of when they hear the words “alternate living style”. Offering some respite from the hectic pace of modern life, spiritual communities provide some peace and quiet.

Different communities will focus on different areas, with some having a more religious element than others. It’s important to ask yourself what you want to get out of the community before joining and, of course, to enter into it with the right focus. Spiritual communities can be found all over the world, so your new life could be just around the corner.

Mobile Home

Mobile home sites are tight-knit communities, but ones that also welcome newcomers and holiday makers. There is a huge variety of homes available, so it’s important to think hard and shop around before making a purchase.

Do you want to live by sea, somewhere rural or near to a city? Do you want a new mobile home or would you be open to buying one second-hand? What additional transportation or leasing costs are you likely to face? These are just some of the questions facing those that move to a mobile home.

Fortunately, a recognised mobile homes dealership will be able to help with many of your queries and existing mobile home residents should also be willing to offer some advice to a potential new neighbor.
Image source: Wikimedia

A Retreat

Do you want to get fit, meet new people and enjoy a lifestyle that’ll leave you feeling both energized and restored? Then a retreat could be just the kind of alternative lifestyle for you.

Retreats are dotted all over the world and usually involve a healthy mix of classes and downtime, so you shouldn’t feel pressured into doing more physical activity than you can handle. Keeping fit is hugely important for both body and mind, and a retreat offers the chance to do this while also meeting like-minded individuals.

Digital Nomad

More and more people are becoming self-employed and this often provides them with the freedom to work any time they want from anywhere in the world (providing they have a good internet connection).

Imagine spending one week hiking in the French Alps and the next taking a gondola ride along the Venetian canals. Becoming a digital nomad offers you the chance to see the world and experience new cultures, all while earning a living.

Although it can be daunting moving from place to place, the rewards are huge and there’s plenty of support available. So why not ditch the humdrum of everyday life and embrace an alternative lifestyle instead?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Super Organize Me: Inspiring Habits Of Men Who Like To Keep Things Tidy In Life

There are two types of people in life: The messy ones who can’t manage to find their socks or remember an appointment, and the hyper organized ones who are ahead of the game at every single step. While everybody dreams of managing the chaos that life can naturally turn into, here are a few tips coming from very organized men to help you through. Why men only? Because their ability to focus on the essential in life - and not to worry about the pair of shoes they are wearing or whether they need another shade of lipstick - has made them the ideal model for this little game of organization.

It’s A Lifestyle

Being organized does not only mean buying a new storage divider for your drawer. Being organized requires the adoption of new habits; it’s more than a few clever items: It’s a complete change of lifestyle! Thankfully, it’s a lot easier than it sounds if you follow these small secrets of super organized people:
  • Learn to simplify and eliminate: The key to organizing your closet or your time is to be realistic with what you have available and what you need. In short, there’s no point trying to set a sense of order in your wardrobe if it’s full of stuff that you don’t wear anymore. The same argument is valid for time management; a day crammed with meetings will not improve if you note them in a specific order. Therefore the first rule of organizing is to get rid of everything that isn’t necessary. Only then can you start organizing.
  • Write down important things: It’s the best way to make sure that you don’t forget an important appointment.
  • Have an inbox routine: Place everything that arrives in a box, whether it’s a bill, a note or even advertising mail, and process it frequently, just as you would with your electronic inbox.
  • There’s a place for everything.
  • Put things away now: Don’t leave it lying down to do it later.
  • Make cleaning a daily habit: Don’t leave the dishes hanging for weeks, just clean as you go.
  • Develop a system so that everything can stay organized all the time.

Organize Your Handbag / Men’s Bag

With time, more people, including men, are using a bag instead of pushing their phones and wallets in their back pockets and hoping for the best. The key to keeping your daily life organized lies in your bag: Keep it clear and accessible. Finding your keys, wallet and phone should be easy in it. While women’s wallets are generally easier to spot in any bag as they tend to be large and playful, men tend to prefer slim wallets that need a clean bag to be spotted - read this for more information about men’s wallets. Consequently, there’s one piece of advice that works here, and it's decluttering every week.

Organize Your Wardrobe

It’s somehow easier to have a clean and spotless house than to clear out your wardrobe where stuff is often left to accumulate with no sense of order. You can take inspiration from this men’s organizer to find out ways to put your essentials in sight and at hand. For women’s, essentials will naturally be of a different nature, but you should find your everyday office gear such as a badge or the office key, your work jewelry and makeup, and your belts.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

It's Cold Outside!

Hi neighbors!

Well, since it has been so cold outside, I think we need to have a fun giveaway.  How about a $15 Build a Bear Gift Card?  I picked up a fe different gift cards over the holidays, and this is one of them.  So, while we have this little winter giveaway going on, I thought I might share a few recent pictures taken on a very, very, cold day.

The river is almost frozen over, but there are a few spots where the water is still moving.

We even saw a few eagles, though most of them were quite a distance away.  We found out that they stick around this area because of the dam, which keeps the water from freezing entirely, so they can still catch fish.

Here are a couple more of the icy river.

Last one.  These two were laying in the pasture with snow on their backs.

So, now we have a special giveaway going for this crazy winter.  Leave a comment below letting me know which picture here is your favorite.  That will be the mandatory entry.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Four Creative Ways To Make Sure That Your Home is More Secure

Our homes are our havens, and it is important that they always feel that way. If we don’t make sure that our home is secure and looked after, then it can be difficult to keep that feeling of it being a haven. None of us want to experience a burglary, so it is important that we take the necessary precautions to keep our home secure. As well as just splashing out on a fancy home security system, there are some simple things that the whole family can do. Then you know that you can have some peace of mind that your home is secure. Why not try these out?

Make a Family Plan

Making the security of your home a priority is a good idea. When the whole family knows about it, it is an even better idea. As you might make an emergency plan if your home were to catch on fire, you should make a plan of how you will all do your part to keep your home secure. Having regular meetings together and discussing it openly will really help. You could all have the responsibility to lock the windows in your bedrooms and check they are locked before you leave the house. You could all agree to keep your door locked at all times, even if you are just in the yard. That might mean getting a couple more keys for the house. But that is a relative inconvenience to the inconvenience of being burgled.


Check Doors and Windows

All can go well locking your doors and windows. But if they are faulty, there will still be a way that someone could get into your home. Is your front door old and wooden? Does it have a few cracks in it? If so, someone could easily gain access. Are your windows on wooden frames or do they have any cracks in them? If the answer is yes, then they could be broken into. You need to think about things like garage doors too. How secure are yours? If they aren’t very secure, are you always locking the interior door inside the garage? If you don’t have very secure windows, front door or garage doors, then it is important to replace them as soon as you can. You could look somewhere like PJ Garage Doors, for example. You don’t want to give anyone a reason to target your house. So make it look hard to break into.


Don’t Keep a Key Outside

In some neighborhoods, it is presumed safe to leave a key outside. But at the end of the day, if people are going to break in, they will look around the outside of the house first. If there is a stone statue or an upside down bucket, they will check under them. So be smart and don’t leave a key outside for all to see and find.

Stage a Break In

It can be hard to see something from an outsider’s perspective when you see the home every day. So with a friend or family member, how about asking them to ‘try’ to break into your home. You could be with them as they do it. It is just a good idea to see what they can find and if they are able to do it (without damaging property, of course).

Will You Buy Or Will You Build? It All Comes Down To Point 5!

Regardless of what your desired home looks like in your mind, we all dream of eventually living in a home that we love. Sometimes, it’s all we can think about. So, we work and work and work until we can make it happen. When you get to the point of being ready for the next step of getting your dream home, you can be faced with a lot of choices. Not only do you need to find the perfect place, but you also have to work out whether you want to attempt to buy it, remodel an old home to create it, or build it yourself from scratch. If you’re not sure what you want to do, these points might help you to decide.

Consider Your Budget

As much as you’d love to make this decision based on dreams, you actually need to do it based on your budget. Now, if you’re smart, you’ll work and save until you reach your target. But, if you’ve got time constraints and need to work with what you’ve got, that’s okay too. Once you have your budget in mind, you need to look at your options. You need to be realistic with your budget for a new home and take a look at what you can actually afford.

Shop Around

With your budget fixed and firmly in your mind, you’re going to want to shop around. You might think that you want to buy, or to build and be 100% sold on the idea, but it’s important to look at the market before you get your heart set on one or the other. When you’re buying a new home, or looking for a plot of land to build on, you need to see what is available and the average price of what you might want. This step alone could weed out some options, leaving you with what’s available within budget.

Write A List

Next, you’re going to want write a list. After your first look on the market, you usually have a better idea of what you’re looking for. But, it’s still important to prioritise your needs. Write up everything that you’re looking for. Whether that’s a large garage, the number of bedrooms or the size of the yard. Then, colour code everything so you know what’s essential, what’s desirable, and what’s a bonus. Then, you can start to make your choice and get a little more serious.

Get Estimates

Then, you’re going to want to get a better idea of what the overall cost is going to be. The price of land or a home is one thing, but it never really just ends there. You have the costs of renovating to think about, and the build itself if you’re looking to start from scratch. Consult a home builder for an idea of what building will cost you, and get advice from a contractor to discover the costs of renovations that may need doing on the house. That way, you’ll know which option seems the better choice.

Weight Them Up

And finally, it’s time to weigh up your options. You might have ruled out all other options early on in this process, but if you’re stick stuck between the two, you’ll need to figure out the pros and cons of both. Work out which option fits best into your lifestyle, which you can afford and which will give you exactly what you’re looking for in the long run. Then, it should be clear to you whether you want to buy or build.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Planning Our Cruise!

Hey neighbors!

The excitement is building!  Only 5 weeks before we leave to head south for the Singing At Sea Cruise with my daughters.  Yes, just the 4 girls and I.  My husband is staying home and caring for the dogs and such.

We will head to Alabama first to visit some friends, some of whom are also going on the cruise, before we head down to the port.  We leave from the port on a Monday and return to port on a Friday.  This is the girls second cruise, but it will be my first.

Anyone here been on a cruise before?  Any recommendations?  Be sure to leave a comment and share any tips you may have.

I am really going to enjoy this cruise, because it is all southern gospel music and several groups will be there, that we consider friends.  I also like that they rent the entire ship and shut down all the bars, well, almost all.  The ice cream bar, pizza bar, etc. will remain open.

We will be on the Enchantment of the Seas.  We will have stops in Nassau and a private island, Coco Cay.

I already purchased a special bag for my camera, along with a rolling duffel and a rolling carry-on.  I have sunscreen and after burn lotion.  Oh, and of course we will stock up on lip balm.  Any advice?

I will be sharing updates as we go along!

Zonderkidz The Beginner's Bible Review

The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}

Hey neighbors!

Well, it is time to start up new homeschool reviews for the Homeschool Review Crew.  First on my list this year is The Beginner's Bible, Timeless Children's Stories, from Zonderkidz, division of Zondervan.

Before I begin this review I want to state for all me readers who are KJV only, please remember this is a retelling of Bible accounts for young children.  Yes, they are told in a form young children will understand and yes, they have cartoon type drawings.  Yes, I personally have an issue with calling them stories, as they are true accounts of events that actually happened.  I also want to point out here, that I do not agree with the cartoon ark, as it is not very realistic for the size of the true ark, nor could it hold the amount of animals that were loaded on the ark.

The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}

Now, with that done and out of the way, the Zonderkidz Beginners Bible is written in an an easy to understand manner to begin teaching young children Bible accounts.  You will find many of the well known Biblical events.  This book can easily be read to your child anytime of day.  Bedtime is of course a favorite time for reading out loud.  You can also use this book to encourage your child, at an early age to spend time reading and learning about the Bible daily.

The illustrations are very colorful and will hold a young child's attention.  The accounts have been shortened, quite a bit, to fit a young child's attention span.  For example, Noah's Ark is about 30 sentences long, some of them being two word sentences.  The Beginner's Bible starts with Genesis and works through the New Testament.  They also have a small dictionary at the back to explain a few of the larger words used, like armor or widow.  The book is 511 pages long and has 48 Old Testament accounts and 46 from the New Testament.  The age range for read aloud is 4-6 years of age.  This could also be used once a young child has started to read as they do try to keep the reading level easy.  The Beginner's Bible is the perfect size for young hands and the glossy, pages are pretty sturdy for those young hands to turn pages.

Place this book on a shelf where your child can easily reach it for themselves.  This gives them the ability to at least look through the pictures.  You can also allow them to hold this and browse through as you do family devotions.

You will also find many extra resources on their website to add to your child's learning experience.  They have videos, coloring pages and a free app.

As always, be sure to check out their social media and follow where you can:






Click on the banner below to see what other members of the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about their experiences with The Beginner's Bible.

The Beginner's Bible {Zonderkidz}

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Sweepstakes Fanatics $100 Paypal Giveaway

2017 Happy New Year

As we rang in 2017 many of us made resolutions that focused on 
new beginnings, health, and family. I know many overspent this holiday and your resolutions are about on saving money, getting out of debt, etc. I was lucky enough to win or receive for evaluation many of the gifts I gave this year. 
Many ask how I got started. Well, I stumbled upon blogging several years ago while entering a contest. There was an entry to post about the giveaway. From that entry, PaulaMS' Giveaways, Reviews, & Freebies was born. However, as my blog grew my love for entering did not diminish. I enter at least fifty things a week and have a few sites bookmarked that I visit several times a week to find giveaways to enter and Sweepstakes Fanatics is one of my favorites to visit. They're fanatics for Sweepstakes, Contests, and Giveaways just like me! One thing I really love about this site is that I often find something to enter that I haven't seen anywhere else. If you're all about winning sweepstakes, contests, or giveaways in the US or Canada, then this well-organized site is a must visit.

Sweepstakes Fanatics

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Prize: ONE lucky reader will win $100 in PayPal Cash

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This giveaway is valid where allowed by law and open to anyone who can legally open up a PayPal account. No purchase required to enter or win. Odds of winning depend on the total number of eligible entries received. Winning entry will be verified.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Is It Chaos In Your Kitchen? Calm It Down With These Creative Tips

Regardless of your personal design tastes, we all want a kitchen that works for us. We want to be able to enjoy the space, cook away and create new things and enjoy an easy to look after space too. Sometimes, the reality of your life in the kitchen couldn’t be any more different. In fact, you might find that it’s actually quite chaotic.

If you’re struggling with a kitchen that is the opposite of calm, you might want to work on design ideas that work to channel a lot of peace and ease. It’s not always an overnight fix, but if you want the kitchen of your dreams to be chaos free, these simple steps should help.


The first step in creating a calm kitchen is to declutter. If you have lots of junk piled up on the counters or on your kitchen table, you’re going to struggle to create a calming effect. What you need to do is work through the steps needed in order to keep your kitchen clutter free. Then, when it’s serene and spacious, you need to work on keeping it that way.

Choose Colour

You might love a certain color or have chosen the shade on your kitchen walls because it’s fun, but when you’re trying to create a calming effect you need to think smart. Bright and brash colors might seem cool, but they’re going to look chaotic on the walls. Instead, you're going to want to choose calming neutral colors for your kitchen walls - especially if you want to be able to relax and enjoy your kitchen.

Make Every Moment Count

It also helps to make sure that every moment spent in your kitchen counts. If you’re always digging around for items that you’ve lost or constantly waiting on appliances, if can feel like you’re never getting anything productive done. Instead, speed things up by having a storage system that works and considering a great range of boiling taps that will stop you from waiting around so much. That way, you’ll be able to make your time in the kitchen more efficient and find it easy to get things done.

Create Comfort

If you’re trying to create a calming effect, you’re going to want to think about comfort. Chaotic kitchens will often feel cold and unwelcoming. Instead, to calm everything down, you want to create a comfortable atmosphere. If you have seating space, try and cozy it up with cushions, textures, and even a few candles. You could even add in a lounging space to make the room both comfortable and multifunctional.

Involve Your Children

And finally, it's often the case that a kitchen is a place that you find friction with your children. If you have fussy eaters or find meal times a challenge, you’re going to want to get your children more involved in the kitchen. Not only will they love to spend the time with you, but they’ll learn a lot more about cooking and food. So much so that they’ll be more likely to try new things and eat all of their vegetables.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Stealthy Healthy Eating: Persuading Your Kids To Try Vegetables

Any parent will be familiar with the following conversation, usually held in hushed voices with a fellow parent:

"I love him, I do. It's just... he will not eat what's good for him! I don't know what's wrong!"

"Oh, I know. Mine are all like that. I've tried everything, but they're so stubborn..."

Before you have children you look at other people's, see what they are eating and are mystified. "That can't be good for them!", you mutter to yourself as you see the child eating chips, or peanut butter and jelly. So why are they being given it?

As any harassed parent will tell you, it comes down to one simple fact. While what your kids eat is important, it's not as important as their need to eat something. You might want everything to be nutrient-rich and healthy. But sometimes your kids will disagree.

Before you get too frustrated with them, take yourself back to when you were their age. Did you eat broccoli, carrots or bean sprouts without protest? Really? It's a fact; kids tend to be picky eaters.

So what's the deal? Do you abandon the well-meaning plans to feed them healthy food? Accept that it's a life of burgers and nuggets or nothing? No - keep the healthy eating flag flying. You may just need to get creative.

Hide The Veg, Trick Your Child

Many parents will be horrified by the idea of conning their kids into eating right. "What kind of a lesson does it give if I'm using subterfuge to keep my son healthy?" you may ask. Well, that's just it - no lesson at all, if you do it right. They won't know.

Using the right knives, from sources like Cut it Fine or others, chop the veg up real small. Use it in their favorite sauces, and invent a name for it. After they've been eating it for long enough, you may admit to them that the meal has a "secret ingredient." Without realizing it, they've found they quite like courgette, onion or similar foods.

Presentation Is The Key

One of the reasons the above trick often works is because kids are very visual. If they recognize a food as something they like, they trust it and go with it. If they feel the opposite way, they will rebel. This is why it can be a good idea to play with how you present veggies, and which veggies you pick.

Peppers look exciting and colorful - and if you stuff them with spaghetti sauce and some meatballs, they can be delicious too. Once your kid likes one healthy meal, they'll be more open to trying others.

Have Fun With Mealtimes

As you gain your kids' trust as someone who knows their way around the kitchen, you can have more themed days. Get them to be excited about trying new things by having a day set aside where you'll make something different. Another night can be "breakfast for dinner" night. As they get used to this kind of routine, you'll find it easier to establish the right way of eating.

At the bottom of all this, it is important to remember that truth. The fact that your kid eats is more important than what they eat - but if you can make them see the good in healthy food earlier, it's a gift for life.