Friday, September 28, 2018

Little Women Releases 9/28

Hey neighbors!!

I was given the opportunity to view of screener of the new movie, Little Women that is being released in theaters on 9/28.  I honestly came away with mixed emotions.  I grew up on Little Women and other books of like manner.  I made sure to have those books in my home library for my children as they grew up.  Yes, I am giving away my age.  My daughters all loved the books and liked to re-enact the scenes from the book.  So, what did I think of the new movie?

First off, if you are expecting anything like the book, realize that this is a modern view.  The movie does loosely follow some of the book, and you will see modern day versions of some of your favorite scenes.  I would not take younger children to see it unless you have previewed it and deemed it acceptable, because of some of the dance scenes, drinking, and one scene where a young man forcefully kisses Meg and starts to go a little further.

The movie is slightly disjointed as you go back and forth between present day and memories of growing up.  Also, although you see the book Pilgrim's Progress sporadically in the movie, I believe some of the references to Pilgrim's Progress will get completely overlooked due to the vague allusions to the book.

Now, as I said I have mixed emotions because other than those areas, I did enjoy the movie.  I was impressed by the young man, Lucas Grabeel, who portrayed Laurie.  He clearly understood how to depict the caring young man that Laurie was in the book and as a dear friend of the sisters.

By the end of the movie, you are definitely caught up in the struggles and cares of the March family.  Yes, I even shed a tear or two at the more emotional scenes, so you might want to bring tissues.  So, my final thoughts on the new Little Women is to see it expecting something different.  If you are as caught up with the book as I am, you will probably come away with mixed feelings regarding the movie itself.  Overall it was an enjoyable movie.  It is rated PG-13.  You can view the trailer below.



Thank you for stopping by today!! See you again soon.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Parting Gifts for People Traveling


Increasing numbers of people are heading overseas to travel for extended periods of time. If a friend or family member happens to be doing this, you are bound to be excited for them, but you are also going to miss them while they are away on their adventure. It’s not all too surprising that you may want to offer them a parting gift to show that you care for them! Now, seeing as travelers tend to travel light, you’re going to want to make sure that your gift is small, as well as functional and useful for them. So, here are a few ideas to make sure your gift is both thoughtful and practical.

A Travel First Aid Kit

Let’s start with safety first. You’re probably going to have concerns about your loved one’s safety and wellbeing while they are away. This is only natural. As long as they have had their recommended vaccinations and act responsibly while they are away, they should be equally safe as if they were back home. However, you can always help them to tackle minor problems along the way by gifting them a travel first aid kit. You can get these kits ready packed, or you can create one yourself. Try to make sure that it contains bandages, plasters, medical tape, a small pair of scissors, an eye bath, and antiseptic wipes. If you are particularly thoughtful, you could also add over-the-counter medication such as Imodium or Pepto Bismol, plasters especially designed to prevent and protect blisters, and treatments for bug bites.

A Toiletry Bag

A toiletry bag is an absolute essential when it comes to traveling. Many people find this out the hard way - a toiletry product that has been left open, burst, or leaked in your bag can destroy tech or paper-based items you may be carrying and will generally mean having to wash the entire contents of your bag in order to have clean dry clothes. This is extremely inconvenient when you are away from home. A John Henric toiletry bag for men can contain any spills or leaks, preventing this problem from occurring in the first place!

A Battery Pack

People tend to use their phone less for socializing while they are traveling, however, a smartphone can prove to be an essential tool for travelers all the same. It can give them the means to call for help if needed, as well as serving as a map, and a means of translating what they want to say into a local language. So, they’re going to want to make sure that their device is fully charged at all times. This can be relatively difficult if they are away from sources of power for extended periods of time. This is where a rechargeable external battery pack can come in extremely useful. These can be charged up and will store power until it is required, allowing the traveler to top up their battery levels at any given time.

These are just a few ideas when it comes to gifts for travelers, but they are all extremely useful and functional, so well worth your consideration!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Goals For Your Business



Hey neighbors!!

How many of you own your own business?  You may own a physical business or an online business, or perhaps you provide a service, but either way, I am sure you have goals in mind.  Most businesses have a business plan with goals they would like to reach, and as the business grows, the goals may change, but you still have goals.  I am sure that your goals will grow and change as your business develops.

Customer success may mean different things to different individuals.  To some, it may be that customer success is to have your customer leave happy with their purchase.  To another customer, success may be having the customer so satisfied, that they continue using their service.  Maybe this is a new idea for you.  If so, take a minute and think about your personal goals for your customers.  What does customer success mean to you?



Another goal might be to see your business reach a certain sales mark within a specified length of time.  Do you have sales goals for your business?  You should have both long-term and short-term goals.  Also, set a specific date to assess how your business is doing.  See if your goals are realistic, or if you need to make some adjustments.  By having business goals and deadlines set, you will have something to work towards.

If your business is service related, one of your goals might be to see a certain number of return customers, or an exact quota of people who have signed up long term for your service.  You most likely have plans in place to boost your sales and customer base.  You might want to consider taking a survey to see how you can improve your customer service and/or the service itself.  See if there are add-on services that would make your business more desirable to your customer base.



In today's internet world, do not forget to set up social media pages.  Try to set goals for each of your business social media pages.  Try different sites for a month or two and then evaluate which ones are working best for your business and weed out those that do not assist you in your goals.  You may find that certain days or times work better for posting.  Be sure to check out apps that allow you to schedule posts, as this will cut down on the actual amount of time you spend using social media.  Interacting online with the people who respond to your posts is a benefit.  Once you have decided which social media outlets work best for you, set goals of how often you will be posting, and set a budget if you are paying for advertising through social media.

Profit is, of course, a major goal for a business.  I mean, most people do not start a business just to waste time and lose money.  It may take you some time to reach your goals, so be sure to set realistic goals when you begin.  Most business ventures are not an overnight success.

As you set these goals, be sure to schedule time for you to have downtime.  Time with your family and/or friends where you talk about anything but business.  Just relax some.  This will allow you to come back feeling refreshed and ready to continue to grow your business.

If you own a business, share with us some of your goals and strategies.  Thank you for stopping by.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Need a Photo Book? Check Out Blurb!

“This post contains affiliate links and I received free product for this post”



Hey neighbors!!

I have to share this beautiful photo book that was created using Blurb!!  I was so pleased with the quality of the book.  Many of you know, that I love to take pictures.  I have shared a few on here.  Over the years I have ordered several different photo books and I actually think this one is just a step above what I have previously ordered.  Making a book through Blurb is so easy!! They make great gift ideas too!! I used my photography name for the book.



Creating a photo book on the Blurb website is as simple as following the steps that they guide you through.  First of course you must pick the size of book you are wanting, as well as the shape.  Next you will choose if you want a soft or hard cover.  You can even opt for a hardcover with a dust jacket.  Last of the choices here, is to choose the type of paper.  I personally chose a matte.  The books start at 20 pages, and you can add pages for a small fee per page additional.  I downloaded their BookWright app to create my book.



The program will show you the safe area to place your photos, so none get chopped off.  The first option is to title your book and add any additional information.  At this point, you can upload photos you want included in your book.  I added several, and in doing so added a few extra pages to my book.  You will have several layouts to choose from for each page.  Pay attention, because some a photo boxes, and others are text boxes.  You do not have to use all of them.  I did not want text on every page, so opted out on many of the text boxes.  The program let me know if my pictures were not going to look good enlarged, so I was able to choose other options.  When you are completely done placing your photos, and adding text where you want it, you will be asked to review your book. Take the time to do this, because I found a couple of mistakes I had made, and was able to go back and correct them.  When I was totally satisfied I uploaded my book and placed the order.



When you place your order, you have a couple decisions to make.  Not only did I choose my hardcover photo book, but I was given the option of receiving my book in ebook form.  I was pretty excited about that.  Once those decisions were made, I entered my information for purchasing, as well as choosing how I wanted it shipped.  I chose the standard shipping.  The ebook was immediately available.  Then I just had to wait for the book to arrive.



All I can say is totally impressed.  My photos look wonderful!!  The entire family took turns looking through the book.  The cover is beautiful and the pages are of a very good quality.  I would definitely recommend Blurb.

I have told my husband about Blurb, because he is presently working on a book, and they do regular books as well as ebooks.  When he is done, I have a feeling he will be checking out their site.  


Monday, September 17, 2018

Mary Poppins Returns in Theaters December 19th


Hey neighbors!!

How many of you remember Mary Poppins?  My whole family enjoyed the original movie and nowhere anxiously awaiting Mary Poppins Returns.



Mary Poppins Returns: is directed by Rob Marshall. The screenplay is by David Magee and the screen story is by Magee & Rob Marshall & John DeLuca based upon the Mary Poppins Stories by PL Travers. The producers are John DeLuca, p.g.a., Rob Marshall, p.g.a. and Marc Platt, p.g.a. with Callum McDougall serving as executive producer. The music score is by Marc Shaiman and the film features all new original songs with music by Shaiman and lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman. The film also stars Ben Whishaw as Michael Banks; Emily Mortimer as Jane Banks; Julie Walters as the Banks’ housekeeper Ellen; Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and introducing Joel Dawson as the Banks’ children, with Colin Firth as Fidelity Fiduciary Bank’s William Weatherall Wilkins; and Meryl Streep as Mary’s eccentric cousin, Topsy. Angela Lansbury appears as the Balloon Lady, a treasured character from the PL Travers books and Dick Van Dyke is Mr. Dawes, Jr., the retired chairman of the bank now run by Firth’s character.



Be sure to watch the trailer below.



I have a feeling this will quickly become a family favorite! Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Ensuring You Can Always Provide for Your Little Ones


When we have children, almost all of our priorities in life change. They become the center of our worlds and we want to ensure that they always have the best, no matter what. In order to ensure this, we need to make plans and live our lives in a manner that will guarantee they are always taken care of properly. Here are just a few steps that you can take to achieve this!

Pursue Higher Education
A good place to start when it comes to being able to provide for your little ones is pursuing a higher education. Now, this may sound a little odd. After all, many of us will ask how pursuing an education of our own can benefit our kids. Often, holding a bachelor’s degree or even higher degree can significantly boost your earnings and make you more desirable to employers. It is estimated that an individual holding a bachelor’s degree will earn an average of $400 more than an individual without a degree on a weekly basis. You are also likely to snap up new jobs a whole lot faster. So, start browsing a range of courses that appeal to you sooner rather than later. There are plenty of online courses like an online masters in supply chain management out there. These can fit easily into your current schedule, as you can fit study around your present responsibilities.

Begin Saving
The majority of us live our lives by a budget. We consider out take-home pay after taxes and other charges have been removed. We deduct our essential outgoings like rent or mortgage payments, energy bills, and grocery shopping. Then we are left with our disposable income, which we do our best to remain within, never spending beyond our means. But, many of us make the mistake of spending what leftover income we have. Sure, this is tempting, but it’s also extremely important that we dedicate a portion of our leftover income to a savings account. This ensures that we have a supply of cash to fall back on should we lose our job or should a large unexpected expense come up. This can help to prevent us from falling into debt and allow us to support our family in the future, regardless of circumstances.

Take Out a Life Insurance Policy
While we don’t tend to want to talk about negative possibilities that could lie in the future, it’s extremely important to be prepared for them, should they occur. This is why you should take out a life insurance policy. A life insurance policy will ensure that your little ones receive a payout should the worst happen. This can help to support them financially in the future.

There are plenty of other steps that you can take to ensure that your little ones are always provided for. But these are some good starting points that will allow you to head off in the right direction!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Sign Up For Swagbucks and Save For The Holidays!!





All throughout September you can earn large bonuses when sign up as my referral on Swagbucks. Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you're probably doing online already, like searching the web, watching videos, shopping, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Target, or PayPal cash.  

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a 300 SB bonus! Here's how:  

1. Sign up using this link 

2. Earn 300 SB total before October 1st, 2018. You'll get a 300 SB bonus for it!  

3. That's it. It's super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I've earned several Amazon Cards, as well as had funds deposited in my PayPal account.  

Monday, September 10, 2018

September Swago Board!!




The digital rewards site Swagbucks is offering big payouts during on their September Swago Board, which runs from September 10th through September 17th at 9am PT! Swago is just like bingo, but in this case you're filling out squares as you earn points on their site for doing things you already do online. If you're thinking of trying Swagbucks, this is a great chance to learn all about how the site works and earn bonus points while doing it, meaning you can get more gift cards faster. Here are a few tips: 

  • Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete. They can be anything from getting a search win, completing a survey, or just visiting one of our popular stores!
     
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
     
  • You have until 12pm PT/3pm ET on Monday, September 17th to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
     
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value. Once you’ve achieved a pattern, the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • Each activity you successfully complete on your Swago Board will give you anywhere from 1-20 spins on the Spin & Win Wheel. PLUS, when you submit your board for a bonus you'll get additional spins. The number of spins will depend on the pattern you complete. The wheel has all sorts of great prizes that you can win, and each spin is a winner!

The Spin & Win Wheel will be available all throughout Swago and you have until 11:59pm PT on Monday, September 17th to use all your spins. 

Fill up your board and then submit your pattern to get even more points - if you can fill in the whole board, you get a 500 SB bonus, which is enough for a $5 gift card from the retailer of your choice.  

Click here right now and click "Join" to get started! If you don't already have a Swagbucks account, you'll be able to quickly sign up; PLUS, if you earn 300 SB before the first of October, you'll get a bonus 300 SB!

Do I Need A Consultant?


Hey neighbors!!

Glad you could stop by today.  Do any of you own your own business?  Are you starting your own business?  It might be wise to consider hiring a consultant as you formulate your business strategy.  An expert who can help you get your business up and running and who can guide you in the right direction to grow your business.  Or perhaps you already have a business up and running, and you have a specific problem or you need a new direction for your company.  Hiring a consultant could very well be a wise choice.

Many people when they hear "consultant" think of a large firm with many employees, who take surveys, answer questions, and help businesses.  Oftentimes though a consultant is an individual who is experienced in a field, who are willing and able to hire themselves out.  

Let's define consultant.  A consultant is a professional who provides expert advice in a particular area such as security, management, education, accountancy, law, human resources, marketing, finance, engineering, science or any of many other specialized fields.

Why would you need a consultant?  

1. A consultant can find problems and issues with your business plan.  He will be able to point out areas that need changed or improved.
2. A consultant can be hired for a specific job, rather than hiring a full time employee. Once they have accomplished what needs done, they move on.
3. A consultant will have expertise in the specific area that you hire him/her for.  They will have extensive knowledge, to help you in your field.  
4. A consultant can bring a fresh perspective to whatever problem you are trying to solve.  They will see things that you do not see.
5. A consultant can help you change the focus or direction of your business. Perhaps it is time to move forward or change direction and goals.
6. A consultant can bring a spark of life to your business. If your business seems to be stagnant and doesn't appear to be growing, a consultant can help you find ways to bring new life to your business.
7. A consultant can come in to teach employees new skills so you can stay competitive with .
8. A consultant can help you decide if/where you need to cut back. Perhaps you need to downsize, rather than expand.

Remember a consultant is just a professional who will come in, look over your business and give impartial, expert advice.  They do not take over your business and should you disagree with any of the advice they give, you obviously have final say.  A consultant is someone who is there to help you make the tough decisions and to fine tune your business.




Could your business use any help in these areas?  If so, you might want to consider hiring a consultant.  Whether you are trying to solve a problem or bring new life into your business, a consultant might be exactly what you need.  Before hiring a consultant, check their field of expertise.  If possible, get recommendation either from friends, the Better Business Bureau, or check with other businesses that have previously employed them. 

Are you a consultant?  Feel free to leave a comment.  Have you ever hired a consultant?  Leave a comment and let us know how they helped and leave a tip or two for hiring a consultant.  Thanks for stopping by! See you soon! 

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Considering a Loan?



Hi Neighbors!!

Today we are going to talk a little about loans. There are many reasons that people decide to get loans.  For instance, we had some credit card debt, as well as, one of my daughters needed braces.  I did not realize how expensive braces are these days! I mean they have always been somewhat expensive, but $4500-$6000?  Anyway, we ended up taking out a small mortgage on our home rather than a home equity loan.  We made this decision after some discussion with one of our sons, who is a loan officer.  He helped us to make educated choices when we were offered the two different types of loans.  Our loan has a set interest rate that will not change for the duration of the loan, and there are no penalties for paying off the loan early, as well as a few other benefits.  Remember that what worked for us may not be what will work for you.

Now, if you are anything like I am, you might be wondering, how many kinds of loans are there? I mean, you just go into your financial institution and get a loan, right?  I did a little research.  Just consider the type of loans available: conventional loans, conforming loans, non-conforming loans, secured loans, unsecured loans, open-ended loans, close-ended loans, personal loans, business loans, even payday loans. If you are self employed, there are self employed loans you can apply for even though you do not have pay stubs from week to week to show your income.  Which one is right for you?  These are all good questions and yes, you can receive a loan while self employed, you just have to have the proof of income and whatever else is needed by the institution you are getting the loan from.



You may want to get advice from friends or a financial advisor before you make your final decision.  I was so glad we were able to go to our son with questions.  Below are some question you will want to ask the loan officer, or at least know the answers to before signing the paperwork.
1. Is there a fixed term?
2. Is it a fixed interest rate, or does it vary or change?
3. Is there a pre-payment penalty?
4. Do they bundle insurance in with the loan?
5. What fee is charged on a home loan if they have to send someone out to do an estimate on the value of your home?
6. Are there any hidden fees?

Make sure all your questions are answered and you fully understand what they are describing before signing.  We actually had 48 hours in which to change our mind after signing the paperwork, just in case we decided to back out or go another route.  Our bank's loan officer was very helpful and answered all the questions we had.  I am sure we drove her crazy sometimes with questions, but never be afraid to ask those questions.  We are very happy with the way our loan worked out and are satisfied with the terms of our loan.  Now all our credit card debt is paid off, my daughter has her braces on and we are working towards paying extra on the loan to pay it off early. I hope that some of this information will help you make a knowledgeable decision.

Have a great day!  See you soon!







Monday, September 3, 2018

Healed By Grace 2 Review + Giveaway!

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Hey neighbors!!
I received the opportunity to preview Healed By Grace 2.  Here is the "about" information from the makers of Healed By Grace 2:
Jesse is approaching her 15th birthday and the only gift she desires is a horse. Unbeknownst to Jesse, her mother Brandy is in the throes of a cancer diagnosis which has Jesse’s father jumping through unexpected obstacles.  He signs Jesse up for summer camp, but when summer camp falls through he decides to have her stay with her estranged grandfather, an old gruff horse trainer named Gauff. Gauff, still recovering from the death of a special horse named Grace, now faces the challenges of teen negotiation. Gauff finds he must swallow his pride and ask his daughter Brandy for forgiveness.  A humorous and inspiring story of how God’s grace works in mysterious ways. Actors/Actresses include:Sean Young, Kennedy Martin, Natalie Weese, David Matthew Weese

I believe you will find this a perfect film for family entertainment, especially if you have a daughter/daughters that love horses.  The storyline teaches about forgiveness, reconciliation and faith.    Watching the story of Jesse, her grandfather Gauff and her parents is not only entertaining, but teaches us some life lessons.

You can find the DVD on Sept 18th at:
The digital version is already available.

I am being allowed to host a giveaway with the Healed By Grace combo pack.  The winner will receive Healed By Grace (original) and Healed By Grace 2.


A Few Thoughts on Going Green

Hey neighbors!!

Great to see you today!  Just wondering how many of you are practicing "going green"?  We have implemented a few different ideas in our home, but I would say we are still far from being considered a "green" family.  We have re-usable water bottles and drink containers that we use on trips.  We also have different snack containers so we are not using plastic bags.  I still do not consider us green though.  So, I am going to share a few ideas here if you are considering going green.  Remember going green can be as small as no longer using bottled water, to totally changing how your home receives power. You can learn more about Going Green and Climate Change here with, Adrian Rubin.

1. Start simple.  Purchase re-usable water bottles, preferable not plastic, and snack containers.  Consider buying a few totes, for carrying your groceries and other purchases home.  Keep one or two in your vehicle so you have them with you when needed.  These are simple easy changes you can make to start going green.



2. Cut back where you can on water and electric.  Teach everyone in the family to turn off lights that are not in use.  Also turn them off anytime you are leaving a room, unless someone else in in there of course.  Take shorter showers.  Consider having a timer so teens and younger children know when they need to finish.  Also, you can hand wash dishes.  By the time you rinse all your dishes, and then run the dish washer, you have used quite a bit more water.

3. Use a clothes line to dry your clothing during good weather.  Some of you may even be able to hang your clothing inside to dry, depending on space.  Use towels more than once.  We give each person a towel and they are to hang it up to dry after use and they are to use it for several days before putting it in to be washed.

4. If you have the space, consider starting a compost pile. This will cut down on trash going to a landfill.  Growing up I remember my grandparents had a worm bed, where they composted discarded food.  We had the best worms for fishing!!  They also had a burn barrel to burn paper and cardboard rather than throwing it in the trash.

5. Along the same lines, consider growing food, such as vegetables, berries and fruits.  My daughter loves to take care of a small garden.  You can find many different ideas online on how to garden in small spaces.



6. Use Green Products in the home for cleaning, bathing, washing your hair, etc.  This is something you can also easily find on the internet.  These products are designed to cut down on the effect on the environment. There are even perfumes and makeup that are environmentally friendly.  Test some out to find the products that work for you.  Using green products will make your home safer for your family as you are not using a bunch of harsh chemicals.

7. We also use essentials oils in our home for many purposes.  We have diffusers set up in several rooms.  Different essential oils can be used as cleaning products and for your health.



These are just a few of the easy to implement steps you can take to help your family to live green.  There are of course many other ways to make your home more energy efficient and to leave less of a footprint on the environment.  For instance we have considered installing solar panels, but as I said, that is a much larger step.

If you have any good suggestions for "going green", be sure to share them in the comments.  Thanks for stopping in!