Mom Knows Best

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Banza Mac and Cheese Party

I discovered a new mac and cheese! Banza mac and cheese is made from chick peas and is way healthier than regular pasta, just don't tell my boys. My boys don't need to know that this pasta has 25 grams of protein, 13 grams of fiber, and 43 grams of carbs all they need to know that it tastes delicious. Banza sent me several boxes of their delicious mac and cheese so I could share with friends. I made a big batch to bring to my Friday home team. My boys, of course, had to be my taste testers. 

The awesome thing is Banza looks and tastes like regular pasta. It also is gluten free! Their mac and cheese is so cheesy and creamy. My friends loved the mac and cheese that I brought. They, of course, loved the free box that I gave them. Go here to discover more 

"These opinions are my own and I received products from Banza and Tryazon to facilitate this post and party."

Friday, January 20, 2017

Gourmet Gift Baskets Valentine's Day Giveaway

Teddy Bear & Chocolates Valentine's Day Gift Basket Giveaway

Valentine's Day will be here soon. This basket would be an awesome gift for the one you love!

Prize: Teddy Bear & Chocolates Valentine's Day Gift Basket RV $59.99
With a cuddly teddy bear and an abundance of delicious chocolate treats, this Valentine's Day gift basket is the perfect way to let someone know you care. Enjoy slow-melting truffles, sweet chocolate covered cherries, crisp cookies and more in a gorgeously packed basket.
Dates: 1/21-2/4
Open to: US Residents 18+
Enter to win using the widget below. Good luck!

More Bang For Your Buck: Affordable Beauty

Looking good can be an expensive profession! So we’ve pulled together some of the best money saving ideas to looking and feeling good.  The greatest bit of all is that no one will know you are working on a budget!

Let’s start with the foundation of all beauty.  Your diet.  Instead of forking out on the latest high street trend to make your skin glow, start with the most important and simple step.  What you eat will shine out of your skin or dull it down.  We’ve got The Ultimate Guide To What Not To Eat here but for a quick guide on what to eat read on.

Hydration is king.  Keeping to 2 liters a day as a minimum.  Add lemon and a little Manuka honey to hot water for added health benefits.  Think clean.  Instead of saving money by purchasing ready-made and processed foods, ditch that plan.  Save money on repairing creams by investing a little more into fresh fruit, vegetables, and fish.  Be creative and feel a little bit smug knowing every bite is going to give you a more glowing complexion.

If you’ve nailed your diet then the next step is a beauty regime that isn’t going to break the bank.  Spa treatments are an expensive luxury but do give really good and long lasting results.  To save money there are hundreds of ways you can give yourself a little indulgence, reap the benefits and see great results.

Homemade face masks are a god send and if your food store is stocked with clean foods, you will have everything you need to recreate the same treatments they use in the most expensive spas.  Recreate the relaxing feel by ensuring your bathroom is tidy and add a few candles.  Little touches like warmed towels or some lavender oil will help you relax and take you away in your own zen moment.  We’ve found a great list of face masks you can make at home so give them a go!

Makeup bags can end up being worth more than your handbag so it pays to shop around.  Get online and find some good discount beauty supplies you’ll end up with more products and brushes for your money.  Giving you a bulging bag of beauty for half the price.  There are loads of cheaper brands available that offer just as much as the larger branded products.  So get into the stores and play around.  

The last step is fashion. How to recreate that designer look for less?  Vintage fashion can be a great place to start although there are loads of expensive retro boutiques now.  Ebay can be a great source for buying second-hand designer clothes but beware of imitations. Far better to buy worn once items than brand new.  People often wear ball gowns or cocktail dresses once so you can find some real gems online.  And the thrift shop will offer all the basics you need to style up your wardrobe.  A few quality items are all you need.  Shop smart and you’ll soon be able to sniff out the bargains.

Images from Unsplash

Free Annie's Natural Mac and Cheese

Free Annie's Natural Mac and Cheese Receive ONE (1) FREE Annie's Natural Mac and Cheese, any variety (5.25-6 oz). Available in most stores.
Exp 02/05/2017

This Friday, January 20th, 2017– ONLY, you can load a coupon to your Kroger (or Affiliate) Plus Card for Free Annie's Natural Mac and Cheese
Although 01/20/17 is the only day that you can load the coupon, the coupon offer is redeemable through 02/05/2017

I love Friday Freebies!

While you are loading your freebie to your card, check out New Game Day Savings & More in the Promotions tab. You can Save with digital coupons for game day favorites! Plus, you can browse recipes, play The Big Play instant win game for a chance to win prizes and more from the all-new Game Day Greats site.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Save, Invest, or Reduce Your Debt: What to Do With a Windfall

 It probably doesn’t feel like that long ago that your finances were really messy. You can probably remember the fear of opening your mailbox and calls from collectors all too clearly. So many of us have been there before and we know what it feels like to finally get out from under that mess.
Maybe you simply reorganized your debts by choosing one of the options for alternative payday loans online (also called installment loans). Now you have fewer payments to make every month and you’ve automated most of them but you still feel the hot breath of the debt wolf at the door.
Maybe you went the social funding or crowdfunding route and raised money from family and friends to help you get everything back on track. And, because friends and family tend to be extra generous, now you have more than you planned on having at your disposal. What do you do with the extra money?

 For many people, sitting on extra cash presents a strange sort of dilemma. If you’re used to never having disposable income, you might be tempted to splurge and buy something big that you’ve always wanted. Resist this urge! Spending your extra cash in one fell swoop feels great...but only for a second. Then the reality of all of the other ways you could have put that money to work for you start to set in and you can’t enjoy your new purchase the way you hoped you would.
There are three better options available when you have extra money on hand: you can save it, invest it, or use it to put a huge dent in your debt.

This is the simplest decision to make. Instead of figuring out what to do with the money, simply tuck it away in the highest yielding savings account you can find and let it grow. It can be your rainy day fund, your emergency fund, your future down payment fund. Whatever the end goal--stashing it and forgetting about it (or better building on it over time) is the easiest and most trustworthy way to go.

Investing is something that every person who hopes to find financial success should do. Investing is where you literally use your current money to make more money. Most people immediately flash on the stock market when they think about investing. There are, of course, other methods available. You might choose to invest in bonds or real estate or business. If you do decide to invest your money, don’t try to do this by yourself. Work with a trusted and professional financial advisor.

Paying Off Debt
If you still have debts that need to be paid, you might be tempted to throw all of your extra money in that direction. The less debt you have, the freer you will feel, right? Unfortunately getting out from under debt is something that should take a while. It is how you will learn to be more frugal and to put more thought into your spending in the future. Plus, paying off debt over time helps you build/rebuild your credit.

So which should you choose? What is the best use of the money into which you’ve fallen?
The answer to that is: don’t choose.
Wait, what?
You read that correctly: you don’t actually have to choose between those three options. A much better plan is to take your windfall and split it up evenly among these three choices. Put a third into savings, a third towards your debt, and invest the last third. This way you accomplish each goal.
From here it is important to put some safety guards in place so that you don’t fall into this hole again.
The best thing you can do now is put together a workable budget. You will be tempted to restrict yourself as much as possible. Don’t. It is much better to budget for fun expenses like new clothes, seeing movies, etc than to try to go completely without. If you deny yourself too much you’ll be more tempted to cheat.
After you’ve built your budget stick to it. If you don’t have a great track record here, you might want to try using the envelope method for ensuring that you don’t borrow from one part of your budget to fund another.

Obviously, there is no absolute safeguard against future financial difficulty. Even if you follow our suggestions and do everything perfectly, surprises can happen. Still, if you follow these tips you’ll be much better prepared for that eventuality than if you simply use your windfall to go on a shopping spree. 

Going Away For a While? How to Get Ready

Leaving home for a day or two or even a week doesn’t feel like a big deal. But what if you have to leave for an extended period of time? What if a work trip or a familial obligation will keep you out of town for weeks or even months? You don’t want to give up your apartment but how will you make sure it (and everything/everybody in it) stays safe while you’re gone?

#1. Insurance
Let’s get the worst case scenario out of the way first. If something does happen to your apartment while you’re gone, it is important that you aren’t held responsible for the financial effects of what went wrong. This is where renters insurance comes in handy. In fact, your landlord probably requires you to have a policy to remain a tenant. Call your insurer to make sure you will still be covered if catastrophe strikes while you are away. Make sure that, if you have a house sitter (we’ll get to that in a moment) any damage they cause is covered as well.

#2. House Sitters
There are two types of house sitters. The first is the type who stops into water the plants, check the mail and generally make sure no disasters need cleaning up or fixing. They usually come over every few days and, typically, only for a few minutes at a time.
The second type of house sitter is the type who moves in for the duration of your trip. For that time, your home is literally their home. There are several advantages to finding this type of house sitter:
  • You know someone will be on hand to take care of issues immediately
  • You can ask them to pay a portion of your rent (or even all of your rent) and for the utilities, they use while they are in residence, which reduces your financial burden.
  • If you have pets you won’t have to displace them.
  • You don’t have to worry that any nefarious types scouting the area will suspect that your home is empty.
#3. Rent and Utility Payments
If you sublet your space for the duration of your trip or you invite someone to live there while you’re gone, that person can help alleviate the financial burden of your rent and utilities (if you sublet, you can also require a security deposit). Talk to your landlord about the possibility for temporary subletting or having a friend stay in the space. There might be details in your lease that you will have to manage before this can happen.
 If you aren’t going to have a live-in house sitter, talk to your landlord and your utility companies about your situation. Arrange to mail your payments in or have a friend drop them off. You probably won’t be able to turn off your electricity (some of your appliances will need to stay plugged in) but you can put your cable/internet subscription on hold and have the gas turned off. If you are able, set up these payments to be processed automatically to prevent distractions getting in the way of your paying on time.

#4. Pets
If you have a drop-by house sitter, though, you will have to make other arrangements for your pets. Fish and creatures that live in enclosed habitats are fairly easy to relocate for a few weeks or months. Cats and dogs, however, require more care. You probably don’t want to have to pay to board them for the duration of your travels. Long term boarding can also be detrimental to a pet’s health. Instead, ask friends your pets already know and trust to take them in temporarily and care for them. It will be easier on you and your furkids. And, of course, promise to reimburse your friends for all of the food and any veterinary costs that might be incurred while you’re gone. And remember to bring them back a really great present!

#5. Everyday Stuff
Talk to the post office about putting a long-term hold on your mail delivery and putting a hold on any newspaper deliveries you might have. You don’t want people to see a front porch covered in newspapers, etc. If you order deliveries while you are gone, have them sent to a friend’s house for safekeeping. Make sure that you don’t leave behind any perishable food in your fridge (unless you like the idea of coming home to a mold-encrusted fridge). And give your home a thorough and deep clean before you leave so that you don’t have to come home to a mess.

Make a list of all of these things and then work through it. The more details you address before you leave the more peace of mind you’ll have while you’re gone. 

Review of Tia Shurina's Book "Everything and a Happy Ending"

Everything and a Happy Ending Book Review

"May today there be peace within. May I trust my highest power that I am exactly where I am meant to be. May I not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May I use the gifts I have received, and pass on the love that has been given to me.”

 When was the last time you read a book that you can relate to? Tia Shurina's book Everything and a Happy Ending is one that I can relate to. Tia had a father who was not present in her life as a kid due to an addiction. She had four siblings. Money was tight growing up. She questioned why her dad could not change. She felt like her family was dysfunctional. The list can go on in the similarities. While my dad's addiction was a bit different than Tia's, her childhood feels just like mine did. I really never knew my dad as a kid either, but like Tia it all changed when I grew up. I guess as an adult we can see things in a different view and see that there is a happy ending.

This book is all about Tia's life and how the death of her father made a big impact in her life. Tia shares her life journey in her book. She shares things most would be afraid to reveal. Tia talks about her love life and her kids. She shares her talks with her deceased dad. She shares how her faith helped her also.  I just love the quotes throughout the book and at the end of the book. She helps me to realize that there can be happy endings.

 Here are some of the quotes that I enjoyed reading. Read on to discover more about this book.

“There is a reason God limits our days. To make each one precious.” 
Mitch Albom, The Timekeeper

“Probably we will all regret to leave this world, yet I believe that after I have drained the first cup, and have possibly grown a bit weary of its flavor, I will then turn not unwillingly to the second cup and to the new and thrilling experience of exploring the unknown.” 
Edmund N. Carpenter II, “Before I Die”

“I’m going to find myself a girl who can show me what laughter means, and we’ll fill in the missing colors in each other’s paint-by-number dreams.” 
Jackson Browne, “The Pretender”

EAAHE, a memoir published by Mascot Books, details the journey & soulful shift of her story as Tia shares her holy grail & trail she took to transform her life. After moving through her own metamorphosis she then helped an old friend, Ray Romano, move through his own transition, going with the flow very privately, but most profoundly.

My journey almost destroyed me. Almost. Boy have I come to like that word. What a pleasurable word almost can be. You may almost be ready to buy my book. You may almost be ready to begin an amazing new journey of your own. You may almost be over that rainbow Judy Garland sings about. What great potential almost can hold if you can flip your way of thinking. Just imagine, controlled pessimism, doubt & fear flipped into blind optimism, faith & love.” That flip helped Tia move to a place where heaven meets earth…the pearly gates of her own happy ending. Changing the ending for her story brought a pure, precious, peace of heart, but kicked her butt a bit as she made her way…committed to keeping her faith. The book was a Plan C, maybe even D, but Tia was determined, after a dedicated intention & divine decision to start swimming more with the current of her life, instead of bucking that flow. Her ordinary, relatable story took an extraordinary, fantastical turn when she showed the Universe she was committed to her intention & her desire to be given an opportunity to make some new, different choices. EAAHE is a memoir that shares the “how’d that happen?” & the “how’d she do that?” in a holy hope of helping others to see life in a new way. EAAHE recounts 3 inter-connected relationships & love stories that enabled Tia to love truly, deeply, & most of all, love herself. Three special circles she rounded with Ray, her dad, & her ex-husband. A true woman’s full circle journey to learn how to really trust, how to “thine own self-be true”, & then, the real & true love it led her ‘round back to. It shares how the power of love & a journey to intimacy helped her make a faithful flip which began a sacred circle & new chapter…one that would allow a different ending for a story she had begun writing for herself when she was much younger. One that Tia feels strongly will inspire other women of a certain age to keep faith that it’s not too late to write a new ending for their own, as they embrace their history, not try to re-write. Tia is, most days, filled with joy. She is, every day, filled with peace. She looks forward to a happy ending each new day now, however it unfolds, whomever it holds, & whatever way the Universe molds, as she continues to create a new “happily ever after”, staying committed to rising above her fears, moving out of her comfort zones, and going with the flow of her life. Here is what the customers are saying about the book on Amazon -

If you are interested in reading the book, here is where to find it - check out on Amazon - or from Tia's own site -

                                               Here is a Press Release about the book -

This is a sponsored post. Some of the links in the post may be affiliate links which means that the blog you are reading it on may receive a small percentage of compensation if you decide to purchase the book on this site.  
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