Nov 282014
 

With Christmas right around the corner, the holiday shopping season is in full swing.  I know from experience just how easy it is to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everything and lose sight of your financial goals. 

I think I have mentioned a time or two before that I was previously married to someone who spent money like it grew on trees.  He ended up getting us into a lot of debt, by spending our paychecks before they had even hit our bank account.  Before I knew it, we were 3 months behind on nearly all of our bills, and I was constantly on the phone with our creditors trying to make payment arrangements. 

Not only were we pretty far behind on all of our bills, but we were getting slammed with huge late fees and interest charges too.  Those late fees add up FAST and can quickly turn your small bill into a very large one.  Needless to say, I was completely stressed out and miserable all the time, and it eventually ruined our marriage.

After my ex-husband and I divorced, I vowed to turn things around.  I was stuck paying off all of the debts that had been racked up, and I wanted to pay them off as quickly as I could.  I set up a very strict budget, and stuck to it until all of our bills were finally paid off.  It took me a couple of years to pay them all off, but every time I paid a debt off, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. The weights just kept coming off and off, and I finally felt like a free woman again.

Saving Money

It can be so easy to get trapped under a mountain of debt, which is why it’s so important to keep an eye on your finances all year long, and especially during the holidays. 

Have you ever heard of the January “hangover”?  And no, it’s not what you get after binge drinking on New Year’s Eve.  It’s when the holidays have come and gone, and you wake up one morning in January to realize that you spent way more than you should have when you were all giddy with the holiday spirit.  You feel sick to your stomach, because you don’t know how you are going to pull yourself out of the financial mess you have gotten yourself into.  Right now is the time to make your financial resolutions, and stick to them.

I am now remarried, and my husband John is very responsible with money.  I have to say, I think it’s one of his most attractive qualities!  I love that we now have our bills paid on time, or even ahead of time every month.  We have some money saved in the bank, are working on a retirement fund, and bought our first home this year.   And the best thing of all, we have paid ZERO late fees!! 

It’s so nice to finally have “financial peace of mind” after many years of struggling just to keep the electricity turned on.  That’s never a place I want to be in again, and that is why John and I take steps to make sure that doesn’t happen.  If we don’t have the cash to purchase something we “want”, then we don’t buy it.  We do use credit cards, but we use them responsibly, and make sure that we have the money to pay the credit card bills when they are due.  We never keep a large balance that we are unable to pay off within a reasonable amount of time.  The most important thing to us, is keeping our bills paid on time and avoiding unnecessary fees. 

Capital One has a great Black Friday Sale going on right now, and this is one that won’t leave a big dent in your pocket.  Check these out:

Capital One Black Friday Sales

Visit http://clvr.li/cap1bfs to give yourself the lasting gift of financial peace of mind by taking advantage of Capital One 360’s deals on banking, brokerage and mortgage products.

In addition to taking advantage of deals on banking, brokerage and mortgage products yourself, you can give your friends and family the gift of financial peace of mind by encouraging them to take advantage of the deals and refer them to the sale. If they sign up, you may be eligible for a $40 referral bonus!  How awesome is that?!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

 Posted by at 11:36 pm
Nov 282014
 

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Modern Mom Insider for Hellmann’s. All opinions expressed are 100% mine.Hellmann's Mayonnaise logoWell, I don’t know about you, but we sure did have an eventful Thanksgiving in our house this year.  John and I had planned to drive an hour north to my parents’ house Thanksgiving morning, but we got 14 inches of snow overnight on Wednesday, so our morning was spent digging out from that instead.  We also lost our electricity for about 15 hours!  Luckily, most of that was during the night, but still, it puts a damper on things, especially when you’re trying to plan a holiday that’s centered around eating tons of food!

I knew this storm was coming, so on Wednesday I spent most of the morning cooking my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes, including mashed potatoes, stuffing, squash, sweet potatoes and green bean casserole, just in case we lost our electricity.  I figured we could at least heat everything up on our grill, and have a somewhat normal Thanksgiving meal.

John had also bought a 9 pound turkey, in case we weren’t able to make it to my parents’ house, but I didn’t have time to cook it before the electricity went out.  I crossed my fingers that we’d be able to cook it at some point on Thanksgiving Day.

When the electricity finally came back on at about 11:30am on Thanksgiving Day, the first thing I did, after I jumped for joy, of course, was get the turkey in the oven.

Since it was only John, Kayleigh and I eating the turkey, we had plenty of leftovers.  Doesn’t there always seems to be a ton of turkey leftover after Thanksgiving?  I wanted to use up some of that turkey for lunch today, but as you know, it can taste pretty dry the next day. 

I figured if I used the turkey in a panini, that I could bring it back to life and make it moist again using some Hellmann’s Mayonnaise.  Hellmann’s Mayonnaise has this great ability to help bring flavors together to keep every bite satisfying, and it’s made with real, quality ingredients; like eggs, oil and vinegar.

I really love making paninis.  You can add whatever ingredients you want to them to create new flavor combinations, and they are tasty and filling, without making you feel stuffed.

I started to put my panini together.  While I love Hellmann’s Mayonnaise just as it is, I thought I’d add even more flavor to my panini and get rid of more leftovers at the same time, by making a cranberry mayonnaise.  I just took 6 tablespoons of leftover jellied cranberry sauce and mixed it together with 1/2 cup of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise until it was smooth.  Then, I added a tablespoon of honey and a dash of salt and pepper. 

Cranberry Mayonnaise

The cranberry mayonnaise was so creamy and delicious.  It had a bit of a tang from the Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, the cranberry sauce added a rich pop of color, and there was just a hint of sweetness from the honey.  It really added so much flavor to the panini, and I think it would taste great as a dressing on a salad too!

Cranberry Mayonnaise

I spread that beautiful cranberry mayonnaise on the insides of two pieces of sourdough bread, then layered on my leftover turkey, some Swiss cheese and bacon that I had on hand, and topped it with a spinach/arugula salad mix. 

Turkey, Bacon & Swiss Panini with Cranberry Mayonnaise

Turkey, Bacon & Swiss Panini with Cranberry Mayonnaise

I rubbed the outsides of my panini with olive oil and cooked it on a hot griddle until it was golden brown and the Swiss cheese was all warm and melty.

Turkey, Bacon & Swiss Panini with Cranberry Mayonnaise

This panini was so wonderful.  I really loved the flavor combination of the turkey, Swiss cheese and bacon, and the cranberry mayonnaise took it to a whole other level, and also helped to keep the turkey nice and moist.

Turkey, Bacon & Swiss Panini with Cranberry Mayonnaise

Turkey, Bacon & Swiss Panini with Cranberry Mayonnaise

Ingredients:

  • Panini bread (I used sourdough)
  • Leftover Thanksgiving turkey
  • Swiss cheese (1-2 slices per panini)
  • Bacon (2-3 slices per panini)
  • Lettuce (I used a mix of spinach and arugula)
  • 6 Tablespoons Leftover Jellied Cranberry Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1/2 Cup Hellmann’s Mayonnaise
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

Instructions:

  1. Make cranberry mayonnaise by mixing 6 tablespoons of jellied cranberry sauce with 1/2 cup of Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of honey and salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Spread cranberry mayonnaise on the inside of both slices of panini bread.
  3. Layer panini bread with leftover Thanksgiving turkey, Swiss cheese, bacon slices and lettuce.
  4. Place remaining slice of panini bread on top, rub both outside slices with olive oil and cook on a hot griddle until golden brown and cheese is melted.

Turkey, Bacon & Swiss Panini with Cranberry Mayonnaise

Doesn’t that look incredible?!

For more information and recipes, visit www.hellmanns.com  or www.bestfoods.com.

What tasty dish will you create with Hellmann’s Mayonnaise and Thanksgiving leftovers?

 Posted by at 4:36 pm
Nov 252014
 

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Influence Central for TruGreen. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.TruGreen LogoAs many of you already know, John and I bought our first house earlier this year.  Our house sits on a little over 2 acres, and has a huge front and back yard.  We absolutely love having a big yard.  It provides us with privacy, a great space for entertaining family and friends, a place for our kids to safely run around and play in, lots of room for gardening, and so much more.  The photos below show a large portion of our front and back yard, but there is even more that I didn’t take photos of!

Front Yard

Since this is our first house, and we have always rented before, we really don’t know anything about lawn care, and we have a HUGE lawn to take care of!  I have a cousin who is a professional landscaper, and I often bug him with my questions.

Back Yard

I was so happy to receive this awesome infographic from TruGreen, packed full of tips to prepare your lawn for winter.  We live in Maine, so I just know that we are going to get a ton of snow, and I’d really like for our lawn not to look all dead and ugly when it finally melts in the spring.  We already had one storm this month that dropped a foot of snow in our yard.  Luckily, it melted within a few days, but we are due for another big storm tomorrow evening!

Tips to Prepare Your Lawn for WinterOur lawn was already mowed short to prevent mold, but we have now cleared the leaves from our lawn, so they don’t suffocate our grass, removed the thatch (I didn’t know it was called this. Did you??) from around our plants and trees, so our roots are not deprived of water and nutrients, and used wind breaks on our most fragile plants to prevent winter injury and mold.

I  learned so much from these tips from TruGreen, and I hope they will help you prepare your lawn for winter too!

Did you know that you can sign up for TruGreen lawn care service now so that TruGreen specialists will already have you in the system and be out on your lawn at the first sign of spring?  Follow TruGreen on Facebook and Twitter for more tips and information.

What steps do you take to prepare your lawn for winter?

 Posted by at 11:59 pm
Nov 252014
 

FreeShipping.com Logo

Christmas is only a month away!  Can you believe that?!  I’m finally just getting around to starting my holiday shopping, and this year, my strategy is to shop ONLINE! 

I’m not big on crowds, especially now that I’m 26 weeks pregnant, and have a toddler that goes everywhere with me too.  Going out to shop in a crowded store just doesn’t sound like a fun day to me at all.  I’d rather shop from home, sitting on the couch in my pj’s, while relaxing and watching some TV.  I don’t have to get Kayleigh all bundled up to go outside, mess around with getting her in and out of her car seat multiple times, and be on my feet for hours at a time.  Not only is online shopping much more comfortable for me, but I actually end up saving a lot of time, and money too!

5 Ways I Save Money by Shopping Online

1)  Comparison Shopping – When you shop online, you can browse tons of different stores all at the same time, easily allowing you to find the best price on whatever it is you are looking for.

2)  Item out of stock? Find it at another store! – Have you ever gone to a store to buy a specific item, only to find it was sold out when you got there?  That is so frustrating!  Then you have to drive around to different stores trying to find that same item in stock.  Well, when you shop online, if one store doesn’t have the item you want in stock, you simply browse to another store to find that item.

3)  Coupon Codes – There are so many great coupon codes out there to help you save money on your online purchases.

4)  Cash Back – Oh, I absolutely love getting cash back on my purchases!  Those rebate checks always seem to arrive in my mailbox when I need them the most.

5)  Free Shipping – When shopping online, there’s one thing you really have to watch out for, and that is shipping costs!  Those can really hit your wallet hard if you are not careful.  Free shipping is where it’s at!

I recently signed up for an account at freeshipping.com, and they offer all 5 of the above ways to save money on my purchases, right in one convenient place.  They have over 1400 retail partners to choose from, offer free shipping and returns, coupon codes, and 10% cash back!  They also offer price protection that pays members the difference in price if they purchase an item and find it advertised for less within 90 days!FreeShipping.comThe search tool on freeshipping.com instantly compares the prices of any of over 100 million items sold by their 10% cash-back retailers, so members can get the best possible deal.  How awesome is that?!  What a time saver!

I am hoping to get Kayleigh a doll stroller for Christmas this year.  She has been playing with her baby doll so much lately, and with me having another baby in March, I think this would be the perfect gift for her.  She loves to copy whatever it is that I am doing, so I just know she will have a blast pushing her baby doll around in a stroller.

I typed “doll stroller” into the freeshipping.com search box, and 32 results came back, all with a photo and price for me to compare.  I am in love with this search box already!!

Doll Stroller

Getting money back is really easy with freeshipping.com.  It only takes two steps!

Shipping Rebates

FreeShipping.com will be offering 20% cash back at five different retailers per day from Black Friday (November 28) through Cyber Monday (December 1).  Just some of the participating retailers include Walmart, QVC, Sears, Children’s Place, Gap, and Nordstrom!

Cash Back

At the end of every calendar quarter, freeshipping.com tallies up each individual member’s cash-back earning over the previous three months and send them a check for all their earnings in that time span.

Are you ready to try freeshipping.com yet?  Sign up today, and you’ll get 30 days free when you use coupon code HOLIDAY2014!  After your free trial runs out, you’ll also receive a discounted monthly membership rate of $9.95/month.

I can’t wait to do my Black Friday shopping online this year!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

 Posted by at 10:16 pm
Nov 242014
 

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of UPS. All opinions are 100% mine.

Ups_2color_shield

Have you ever had a wish come true, or watched the pure joy spread across someone’s face as a wish of theirs came true?  There’s this incredible, overwhelming feeling of love and warmth that comes with the granting of a wish, no matter how big or small.  It’s magical.  

This year, UPS is asking everyone to share their wishes, as part of their #WishesDelivered campaign.  From November 10, 2014 through December 31, 2014, UPS will donate $1.00 to one of their charity partners, for each wish submitted, up to a $100,000.00 total donation.  Just think of how many wishes could be granted with $100,000.00!  There are so many charities in need, and this is a perfect way to help them!

Your_wishes_delivered

I’ll be sharing my wish with you in another post, but I’d love to hear what your wish would be.  There are just a couple of things you should keep in mind when making your wish.  Please make your wish for someone else, and make it meaningful.  That means no wishing for a new iPhone 6 or something like that.  That’s easy enough, right? 

All you have to do to submit your wish, is post your wish on Twitter or Instagram, and include #WishesDelivered in your post, or you can submit it directly to the #WishesDelivered site.

So, tell me, what will you wish for? Share a link to your wish in the comments below!

Visit Sponsor's Site

 Posted by at 2:18 pm
Nov 232014
 

I have enjoyed I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter® for a long time.  I used to spend a lot of time at my grandmother’s house when I was a kid, and she always had I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter in her fridge.  It had a rich, buttery flavor that I loved.  My favorite of their products was the spray bottle, which was really easy for me to spray on bread, muffins, corn on the cob, or anything else really.  When you’re a kid, using a knife can be a bit of a challenge, so I thought the spray bottle was extra cool.

Now, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter® is even better, because it’s made from real, simple ingredients you can recognize like a delicious blend of plant-based oils, purified water and a pinch of salt, and no artificial preservatives.  I really love it when a company listens to what their customers want, don’t you?

NEW I Can't Believe It's Not Butter

How Is It Different?

The NEW I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter® is is offered in Original, Light, and Olive Oil varieties, and is still incredibly delicious!  It is also the first spread from Unilever in the U.S. to be made from non-GMO sourced ingredients.  Unilever spreads can be part of an overall healthy, balanced diet and provide a source of good fats, similar to the good fats found in avocados, walnuts and almonds.  The NEW I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!® spread has 40% fewer calories and 70% less saturated fat than butter.

The NEW I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!® offers a fresh butter taste to add flavor to any meal, and is so versatile that it can be used for spreading, topping, sautéing, cooking or baking.  My favorite thing about the NEW I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!®, is that it’s spreadable right out of the fridge!  There’s no need to wait for it to soften, which is a blessing for a busy Mom like me. 

I recently did some holiday baking, and put the NEW I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter® to the test.  I made two different varieties of shortbread bars – Cherry Almond Shortbread Bars with a White Chocolate Drizzle, and Cranberry Vanilla Walnut Shortbread Bars with a Milk Chocolate Drizzle, and they came out great.  They had a very nice buttery flavor to them, and John couldn’t stop eating them!

I Can't Believe It's Not Butter

Cranberry Vanilla Walnut Shortbread Bars with a Milk Chocolate Drizzle

Cranberry Walnut Shortbread Cookie Bar

Ingredients:

2 Cups I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Spread
3/4 Cup Sugar
2 Tbsp. Almond Extract
4.5 Cups Flour
1 5 oz. Package of Dried Cranberries
1 Cup Chopped Walnuts
3/4 Cup Milk Chocolate Chips

Directions:

1. Cream the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and sugar for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
2. Beat in the vanilla extract.
3. Fold in the flour 1 cup at a time.
4. Fold in the cranberries and walnuts.
5. Press mixture evenly into a 9×13 baking pan.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.
7. Allow to cool in pan for a few minutes, and cut into bars while still a bit warm.
8. Leave in pan until completely cooled, then transfer bars to a wire rack, with sheet of wax paper underneath.
9. Melt chocolate chips and drizzle over the top of the shortbread cookie bars. 
10. Allow chocolate to harden, then serve!

Cherry Almond Shortcake Cookie Bars with a White Chocolate Drizzle

Cherry Almond Shortbread Cookie Bars

Ingredients:

2 Cups I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Spread
3/4 Cup Sugar
3 Tbsp. Almond Extract
5 Cups Flour
1 5 oz. Package of Dried Cherries
1 2 oz. Package of Sliced Almonds
3/4 Cup White Chocolate Chips

Directions:

1. Cream the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and sugar for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
2. Beat in the almond extract.
3. Fold in the flour 1 cup at a time.
4. Fold in the cranberries and walnuts.
5. Press mixture evenly into a 9×13 baking pan.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.
7. Allow to cool in pan for a few minutes, and cut into bars while still a bit warm.
8. Leave in pan until completely cooled, then transfer bars to a wire rack, with sheet of wax paper underneath.
9. Melt chocolate chips and drizzle over the top of the shortbread cookie bars. 
10. Allow chocolate to harden, then serve!

For more great-tasting recipes, visit www.icantbelieveitsnotbutter.com/recipes.

 Posted by at 12:14 pm
Nov 212014
 

This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Duracell.  All opinions are 100% my own.

Did you ever open a battery-operated toy on Christmas Day when you were a kid, only for your parents to forget to buy batteries to go with it?  Suuuuper frustrating, right?!  All you want to do in the world is play with your toy, only you can’t because there are no batteries anywhere in sight, and no stores are open to buy any.  It’s enough to crush any kid’s holiday spirit.     

Kayleigh was only 7 months old last Christmas, so we really didn’t get her too many battery operated toys, but this year, she will be 19 months old, and we have big gift plans, which include several battery operated, educational toys.  So, I am preparing ahead of time, by stocking up on Duracell batteries with a 16 pack of AA’s, and by also including a 4 pack right in her Christmas stocking.   There’s absolutely no way we’re going to forget the Duracell batteries this year!

Duracell Batteries

We are always using batteries in our home, from the TV remote control to flashlights and more, so it’s nice to have a stash of batteries on hand for when we need them.  Batteries are just one of those things that are better to have on hand, than have to run out to the store to get in an emergency situation.  With storm season rapidly approaching, I feel much better knowing that we are well stocked. 

Duracell Batteries

Duracell batteries are great because they are dependable, and long lasting.  They are the ideal choice for toys, radios and other electronics that will get a lot of use.  They  also have a 10-year guarantee in storage with Duralock Power Preserve Technology, so they are perfect for your emergency preparation stash.

Did you know that Duracell is the #1 trusted battery brand of first responders, pharmacists and parents? That’s how you know it’s a brand you can trust!

Follow Duracell on Facebook and Twitter, and don’t forget to stock up on Duracell batteries this holiday season!

Have you ever forgotten to buy the batteries to go with your kids’ toys?

 

 Posted by at 7:57 am
Nov 202014
 

John and I purchased our first home earlier this year.  We live in Maine, where the temperatures get very cold in the winter, so it is very important to us to make sure that our home is as energy efficient as possible.  We were spoiled for the last 2 years, when our landlord paid for our heating oil, but now that we are paying for it ourselves again, we want to make it last as long as possible.  Heating oil is not cheap!

A few years ago, we rented a very large, old, drafty farmhouse, where we were required to pay for the heating oil ourselves.  We were burning through almost a full tank of oil per month, at over $4.00 per gallon, and it was STILL only 58 degrees in the house all winter long.  What a miserable winter that was! 

As awful as that experience was, it certainly  helped us to know what to look for when we bought our own home.  That old farmhouse was about 2500 square feet, and our new home is only about 960.  A smaller house is much more energy efficient than a large one, and we are quite comfortable here.  We made sure to find a house that had a very open layout, so we don’t really notice how small it is on a daily basis.  A large house may be enticing, but if you don’t really need all that extra room, consider buying a smaller home that will be more energy efficient.  Being energy efficient will save you time and money, and improve your quality of life!

Another way we save on energy costs, is by turning down the thermostat when we go to bed at night, or when we leave the house for a while.  At night, we are nice in warm in our pajamas, and under the covers in our bed, so there is really no need to have the heat turned up.  Did you know that three to five percent more energy is used for each degree the furnace is set above 68°F?  You can find more warm weather, cold weather and everyday savings tips (conveniently broken down by no cost, low cost and investment solutions) from here.  These tips from PG&E are really great!

Replacing all of the windows in our home is on our to-do list, but we probably won’t be able to get to that until next year, so we keep our shades drawn as much as we can to keep the cold air out as best as we can.   Replacing your old windows with high-efficiency ENERGY STAR® windows can reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 15 percent!

One of the worst windows in our house, is in our daughter, Kayleigh’s room.  I have noticed that a lot of cold air leaks in from the bottom of her window, even with the shade drawn, so I thought that I would make a draft stopper to place on her window sill to block all of that cold air from entering her bedroom. 

When I was a kid, my grandmother always had a handmade draft stopper at the bottom of her front door and it worked very well to keep the cold air out.  Since I am making this one for a toddler’s room, I wanted to make the draft stopper toddler-friendly and turn it into a cute little dog.  You could just fore-go the embellishments and leave it plain if you wanted to, however. 

Dog Draft Stopper

This draft stopper was really very easy to make, even for a non-crafty person like me!

DIY Draft Stopper

Materials needed:

1 pair of heavy tights or leggings
Craft eyes
Pom-poms
Pipe Cleaner
Scraps of Felt
5 Pounds of Uncooked White Rice
Scissors
Tape Measurer
Needle and thread
Krazy Glue

Directions:

Step 1.  Measure the length of the area you will be placing your draft stopper.
Step 2.  Cut off one leg of the tights, also snipping off the foot just above the heel.  I used leggings, so there was no foot part to cut off. 

Dog Draft Stopper

Step 3.  Turn the material inside out and sew one of the ends together, then turn the fabric back out to its original state.  You will now have one end that is sealed.

Dog Draft Stopper

Step 4.  Fill the draft stopper with rice.  Using a funnel helps cut down on the mess!

Dog Draft Stopper

Step 5.  Once you’ve filled the tights or leggings with enough rice to make your draft stopper the appropriate length, sew the top closed.  Now you have a draft stopper!

Step 6.  Next, add embellishments to make it look like the animal of your choice, if you wish. I added craft eyes, cut out ears, paws and a tail with the felt I had, and added a pom-pom for the nose. I attached these to the leggings with Krazy glue.  I used a pipe cleaner to make a collar around the neck area.

Dog Draft Stopper

Your cute little draft stopper is now ready to stop drafts, conserve heat, and save money!

#PGEhome Instagram Photo Challenge Contest

Now through November 23, 2014, you can enter the #PGEhome Instagram Photo Challenge Contest for a chance to win one of seven $100.00 Home Depot gift cards!  That could help to pay for some great energy saving tools for your home! Click here for more details.

What are some things you do to make your home more energy efficient?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

 Posted by at 10:37 am
Nov 202014
 

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

Best Buy LG OLED TV

While I am really excited to start Christmas shopping for Kayleigh this year, now that she’s old enough to really have fun opening gifts, John and I also want to buy a Christmas gift that the whole family can enjoy.  Since we became parents, we don’t really buy gifts for each other anymore, but we like to buy something we will both enjoy.

On our wishlist this year, is the LG OLED TV, available at Best Buy.  Our current family television has a very ugly and distracting line right through the middle of it, and has for over a year now.  John and I have started gaming together again recently, and the line can be quite annoying at times.  We’d really love to have a new TV with awesome picture quality, and the LG OLED TV sounds amazing!

Best Buy LG OLED TV

Check out these awesome specs:

  • Only 0.21″ thick at its thinnest point.
  • Spectacular picture quality.
  • Infinite Contrast that ranges from the most blazing whites to the deepest blacks.
  • LG’s exclusive 4 Color Pixel technology delivers bright, vibrant colors.

With deeper and richer colors, stunning contrast and ingeniously curved screens, the LG OLED TV is unlike any technology you’ve ever seen, and it delivers a picture that exceeds your wildest imagination.

Best Buy LG OLED TV

You can get the LG OLED at Best Buy for $3,499.99, which is a savings of $500.00 off the retail price!

Do you love twitter parties as much as I do? Best Buy is hosting an LG OLED Twitter Party on Thursday December 4th at 7PM CST. Join this party for a chance to receive Best Buy gift cards and other great prizes. Tweet #HintingSeason with your top gifts that you want this Holiday from Best Buy.

 

 Posted by at 12:22 am
Nov 182014
 

This post represents a sponsored editorial partnership with the American Cancer Society. All storytelling and opinions are, of course, my own.

GASO-life

My husband, John, started smoking cigarettes when he was only 13 years old.  I think that most people who smoke, started smoking at an early age.  There’s so much peer pressure, and curiosity to try new things.  It’s really easy to give in to that at such a young, vulnerable age. 

When Your Partner Smokes, and You Don’t…

Never having smoked before, it was quite an adjustment for me to start dating a smoker when John and I first got together.  We’d be in the middle of doing something, and I’d have to stop what I was doing to wait for him to go have a cigarette.  There was the constant smell of tobacco on him and all of his clothing, which I was not used to.  There were the multiple trips to the convenience store (sometimes very late at night, or in the middle of a snowstorm, etc.) to buy more cigarettes.  Above all, there was the concern I had for his health. 

For a while, I had hoped that he would quit smoking, but I never pressured him into it.  We talked about it on a few occasions, and he expressed interest in it, but I didn’t force the issue on him.  I just told him that I would be there to support him if he ever did decide to quit, and I reminded him of all of the things he would gain if he did – whiter teeth, easier breathing, more money in his pocket, better health, etc.

When They Finally Quit…

John had tried to quit multiple times in the past, but as any smoker will tell you, it was very difficult, and he didn’t succeed.  About 6 months into our relationship, he decided to try again, cold turkey.  It was a rough few months for him, and I did my best to be there for him and support him.  I listened to him when he needed to vent, I distracted him when all he could think about was smoking.  He succeeded in quitting that time, and even though he had quit for 3.5 years after that, he still craved tobacco, especially when he saw other people smoking, or got a whiff of cigarette smoke.  It was a constant struggle for him, and I was so proud of him for not giving in.

When They Start Smoking Again…

A few months ago, as we were preparing for our wedding, and his family to come to stay with us for a few days, he became very stressed out and started smoking cigars.  He didn’t tell me at first, because he was ashamed and embarrassed.  I smelled tobacco on his breath one night after he came home from work, though, and confronted him about it.  He broke down and told me how stressed out he had been feeling, and that he was sorry to start smoking again, especially during what was supposed to be one of the happiest times of our life, preparing for our wedding.  He promised to quit after everything settled down, and that he just needed to get through those couple of weeks. 

Inside, I felt very disappointed.  We have a one year old daughter, I am pregnant with our son, and we were preparing for our wedding.  I felt as though he was being very selfish, but I tried my best to put myself in his shoes and instead of yelling at him, which is what I really wanted to do, I just told him that I would be there to support him again when he was ready to quit. 

How Becoming a Parent Changes Things…

I reminded John that we now had children to think about, and hoped that would help to give him more motivation to quit. Even though he wasn’t smoking in front of our daughter, the smell was still on his clothing and in our vehicle, and she was being exposed to third-hand smoke, which is contamination by tobacco smoke that lingers, even after a cigarette has been put out.  

John has now quit smoking again, and I could not be any prouder.  I know it’s so very hard for him, every day, and especially when he has a particularly stressful day.  I try my best to just be there for him on the days when I know all he wants to do is smoke.  I think it’s very important to be as supportive as possible when helping a loved one quit smoking.  That means not getting mad at them if they fail, not saying mean things, or making them feel ashamed.  I know it’s very difficult and frustrating to watch someone you love smoke, but doing things like that doesn’t help their situation at all.  They are already feeling ashamed enough, and making them feel worse isn’t going to help them quit.  In fact, it may do just the opposite, and cause them to give up on quitting.  The best thing you can do is just be there for them.  Listen to them, encourage them, and if they fail, just let them know it’s ok, and that you’ll continue to be there for them when they are ready to try quitting again.    

The Great American Smokeout…

If you have a loved one that smokes, here is a great opportunity to help support them and encourage them to quit:

Thursday, November 20th marks the American Cancer Society’s 38th year of the Great American Smokeout (GASO).  The GASO is an initiative to encourage smokers to commit to quit or make a plan to quit on that day.  Sometimes just knowing that other people are going through the same thing can help tremendously.  By quitting, even for one day, smokers will take a critical step to a healthier life that can reduce the risk of cancer.

Great American Smokeout

“Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the US, yet about 42 million Americans still smoke cigarettes — a bit under 1 in every 5 adults. As of 2012, there were also 13.4 million cigar smokers in the US, and 2.3 million who smoke tobacco in pipes — other dangerous and addictive forms of tobacco.” – cancer.org 

Those statistics are just astounding.  Let’s all try to help and encourage our loved ones to get help and quit smoking for life.  When John quit smoking, he got his life back, and I feel like I got mine back too.  Our future looks so much brighter without tobacco in it.

If you’d like to know more about the Great American Smokeout, you can call 1-800-227-2345, or visit the Quit for Life Facebook Page.  Their website also has loads of amazing resources and information on quitting smoking, including the benefits of quitting.

Will you encourage a loved one to quit smoking during the Great American Smokeout?

 

 Posted by at 9:29 am