Heather Leach Founder/Editor Mother to four children under the age of nine and married Twelve years to her high school sweetheart. Heather formed This magazine, and has many other projects going, to help Raise money for the local school for special needs children. All revenue goes to support this and other similar schools.
Nicole D. Preschool Featured Columnist Nicole is a wife and mother from Texas who has taken time off from teaching to raise her two children. Her passion for education can be seen in her featured educational & fun activity column and throughout her website: The Activity Mom.
Anna J. Business /Marketing Columnist A native Houstonian, and a wife to a wonderful and very supportive man that she met over 17 years ago; and a mother to a teenage son. Anna has learned to balance home and run a successful business. She uses her knowledge to help support other business owners via her â€œAnna Knowsâ€? website.
Kristy H. Fiction & Interview Columnist Kristy has a love for writing and has a unique look at human nature. She writes with humor and heart. We are looking forward to great articles from her once she returns from her honeymoon in October! Congratulations Kristy!
Dianna R. Freebies/Sample Guru Dianna, aka “Sample Momma”, contributes her findings daily to our site via her blog “ Free Sample Momma”. We are thankful for her legitimate finds & happy to see the free stuff in the mail!
Interested in writing? We are looking for either featured writers or monthly columnist in a variety of categories. Fiction, Devotionals,”How to” , Book/Movie reviews, Recipes and more. Contact us: This could be YOU! We are looking for either featured writers or monthly columnist in a variety of categories: Family, Fiction, Devotionals,”How to” , Book/Movie reviews, Recipes and more. Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Featured Sponsor What’s For Dinner? Menu Planning Tips for Busy Moms Dinner is the last meal of the day and a time when families can get together and discuss their day. It is also a hectic meal for busy moms who are just getting off of work or who have been busy with other activities all day. If you are a busy mom or you know a busy mom, here are some menu planning tips to help make dinner meals easy and even fun. Click Here For FREE Sample Menu 1. Schedule your meals a week in advance. This is one of the most important planning tips for meals. Knowing what you are going to eat throughout the week means less chance that you will stop off at the closest fast food joint for a convenient, but unhealthy meal. Decide on the last day of the previous week (let’s say Saturday for the sake of argument) what the menu will be for the following week. Create your shopping list from the list of ingredients to avoid buying what you don’t need at the grocery store. 2. Look for bargains. coupons, read advertising circulars and the like to decide where the best grocery to shop is for your menu items. If one ingredient is a common denominator in many meals, consider buying in bulk to save money. Common staples like milk, eggs, bread and sugar can be bought in bulk as well. Some stores will have double or triple coupon days when you can save even more. 3. Search online. After a while your family will get tired of chicken and rice every Thursday. You can get into a menu rut sometimes. Use the Internet to search for new and exciting recipes. Learn to put a twist on old recipes for a new taste. 4. Have a leftover night. After preparing meals for five or six days, there is bound to be some food left over. Designate one night to be leftover night and let everyone mix and match for dinner. It saves mom from having to throw away any food. 5. Cook your meals in advance. After deciding on a menu plan for the week, go ahead and fix as many meals as you can. Choose a day when the entire family can help like Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon. Each person can take one meal and fix it for the following week. Once everything has cooled, store it in sealed containers or casserole dishes to be frozen until the night it is needed. 6. Do prep work in advance. All of the meals can’t be cooked at once. Some foods just taste better freshly prepared. For them, so as much prep work in advance as you can. Enlist your kids to help chop (give them the kitchen shears instead) vegetables, dice cooked meat and mix together dry ingredients. The night of the meal, all that is needed is to add the wet ingredients and bake.
Meal time doesnâ€™t have to be all on mom. The entire family can help with dinner so it is a relaxing meal for everyone.
More fun ideas : Sidewalk Chalk Paint - Make Your Own We had a great time making this sidewalk chalk paint and covering our driveway in it! 1.) Mix together 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of cornstarch
2.) Stir and add 6-8 drops of food coloring.
Stir some more and have fun!
Cutting Grocery Expenses: Not as Hard as it Seems There are a few things in this world we cannot live without and food is at the top of that list. We all need to eat and we need to eat foods that are both tasty and nutritious. For many people, that means spending a lot of green. At least it used to. Not anymore! - While finding a good deal or sale on something was nice before, it’s a necessity for almost everyone in today’s world. Unless you’re blessed with being rich and famous, the current economic state, along with your motherly instinct that tells you saving is the right thing to do, has most of us forced into being frugal whether we want to be or not. So, how do you stretch the money you do have to get the most out of it when it comes to grocery shopping? It is possible to buy food that is both good to eat as well as good for you without draining you bank account every week or two. Once you’ve finished reading this short report, you’ll discover ways you can cut your grocery bill down considerably, without sacrificing quality, flavor and nutrition. 1. Throw away any out of date, leftover, spoiled, or stale items. 2. Make note of any staples you need that you’ve either run out of or were thrown away earlier. 3. Make note of things you got rid of that you never used. You wasted your money on those things and should only buy them if you’ll use them before their expiration date. If you only used part of the item, next time buy a smaller portion. 4. Next (and this part isn’t necessary but will make the next few steps easier) – make a list of the things you DO have. You now have a current and complete inventory. By going through your cabinets BEFORE you go shopping, you immediately eliminate extra spending. You already know what you have on hand and what you need. This step may seem like it takes a lot of time, but it’s really only a few extra minutes and over time it will save you a bundle on your shopping trips. Not to mention, if you do this prior to every regular grocery store trip, you’ll have very little to clear out and you’ve just implemented cleaning your refrigerator into a regular schedule. CONTINUED ON PAGE 11
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PART TWO Step 2: Meal Planning Whether you’re shopping for a week or a month, planning your meals ahead of time, is one of, if not the biggest ways to save money on your grocery bill. By planning what you’ll have for each meal (and snacks) every day, you can accomplish quite a few things to make your life easier. Meals plans can: Decrease impulse buying or guessing. - You can quickly and easily create a grocery list for everything you need (and ONLY the things you need) when you go shopping. Eliminate (or at least decrease) the “What’s for dinner?” questions. - I’m willing to bet you hear this question at least once a day if not repeatedly. You can create and print your meal plan and post it on the fridge for the entire family to refer to. Make it easy for the kids and hubby to pitch in and help. - When you post the meal plan for all to see, other family members can easily be assigned the duty of helping to prepare dinner or their own lunches for the next day. This is a great way to teach kids important skills and remove some of your daily stress. Lessen unnecessary trips to the store. - When you plan your meals ahead of time, there’s no need for quick stops to pick up dinner because you already know what you’re having and have bought it on your regular grocery trip. To help make it easier to start your meal planning, you’ll find a weekly fill in the blanks template on the next page. If you shop for multiple weeks at a time, simply print out enough sheets for that amount of time. Each day has room for 3 meals and 2 snacks. Modify it to fit your needs as necessary, use it as is or simply as a basis for your own meal plan template. Once you’ve filled it in, print it out, save it for the next step. Don’t forget to put it on your refrigerator when you’ve completed Step 3. Tip: Take into account any special dinners or events within the time frame you’re shopping for and put those on your meal plan as well. This will help make shopping for the items you need for the event easier and you can do it at the same time you purchase your regular groceries .
Step 3: Make a List Before you head out to the store, you’ll want to make a list of the foods you need and their quantities. This step is done after raiding your cabinets and planning your meals to make sure you know exactly what items you are lacking, what you already have and what you’ll need to prepare the meals you plan to make. One of the best ways to do this is by organizing your shopping list so that it matches the layout of the store. This way you can go straight down the list as you move through the store. This will make it easier for you to get the things you need without missing anything or having to backtrack through the store. Remember the tip in the last step about including your special events/meals in your meal plan? Include those items within your regular grocery list. Keep in mind that if you are expecting 10 people for the event, you’ll need to make sure to include the quantities you need for each item. Now that you have your list sectioned out, get out your list of “needed items” from Step 1 and your meal plan. Add each item you need to prepare each meal and as you come across something you need more than once simply up the quantity. STICK TO YOUR LIST!!Don’t deviate from it and you won’t spend more that you budgeted. Step 4: Leave the Growling Tummy at Home – Take water or a snack with you so you aren’t tempted with those budget traps! Step 5: Use Those Coupons & Make it Easy on Yourself to Do So - Save those coupons and keep an eye out for double coupon specials. Step 6: Shopping Clubs & Memberships Many grocery stores have “clubs” or memberships that are free to join. Generally, all they need from you is your name, address and possibly an email address so they can send you coupons, specials and notify you of upcoming discounts. For every grocery store you go to sign up for this service and get a card. The savings you can amass can be great and the stores who notify members through email newsletters about upcoming specials can help you plan your meals and shopping lists as well. Step 7: Choosing a Grocery Store - Shop where the food is least expensive and offers the best coupon deals. Who cares where you go…it’s all the same for the most part so go where you’ll save the most money. Some stores have better fresh products, such as meat and produce. I personally prefer the stores where I can have my meats cut to order, but if I’m really trying to save money I will go to another who has quality meat for less. But, as far as the pantry/dry food items, there’s no difference really. Shop smart, not snobby. CONTINUED ON PAGE 13
Step 8: Generic Brands are Good Food Too Most grocery stores offer their own versions of many of the brand name products they have on their shelves. Most people are aware of this in the medicine aisle and will buy the generic headache pills over the name brand because they all have the same exact ingredients at half the price. This happens with food as well. One of the most well known products this happens with is cereal. As we all know cereal is crazy expensive and kids will go through a box of that stuff in a matter of hours if we aren’t careful. When shopping look at the item you are about to grab off your list and see if there is a store brand version for it. More times than not, the store brand versions are just as good as the name brand version and normally at about half the price. You should give these brands a try. Just by switching to generic brands on a few of the items on your list, you can take a massive bite out of your grocery bill. Life is too short to drink BAD coffee – so if you prefer something “name brand” go for it, just be willing to try something else generic to take its place. Step 9: Tips for Saving While Shopping Look for specials like a 10 for $10 deal and this does not necessarily mean you need to buy ten of that item to get the bargain price. When you are buying something that will keep for a long time, such as rice or canned goods, buy in bulk when appropriate. Look for daily specials on meats. Many times if a cut of meat is going to go past it’ sell by date in a day or two, the stores will mark the price down a lot. You can buy something on it’s sell by date as long as you do one of two things. You either have to: 1. Cook and eat it the day you purchase it. Or 2. Freeze it once you get it home.
Step 10: Saving Shouldn’t Stop Once You’re Home All your hard work can go up in smoke if you don’t store the foods you buy correctly. Put your newer items behind any you already have of the same item. Use the older foods first. As long as you store the food properly and rotate the new behind the old, you won’t be neglecting and eventually, throwing away old food (and your hard earned money). Storage is equally important, as most foods don’t really like light all that much and I know that sounds odd but it’s very true. Keep perishable foods out of direct sunlight and warmth. Most foods like a cool, dark place. Now, you know why the light in the refrigerator goes off when the door is closed! ;-)
August Frugal Dinner Menu August Menu! I am going to try and buy most everything at Aldi's and see how much I actually save. There are a few things that I know I am going to buy at WalMart because we like the name brands better. Few Notes on my Menu: 1.) (CP) = Crock Pot
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CSN Stores $40 Gift Certificate CSN stores has it all! They have over 200 online stores where you can find everything from dining room sets to lamps to kids' toys! They even have things you might not think about like chalkboards and printer ink. What's better than a store that has it all? A gift certificate to a store that has it all! What would I pick if I won? One of the Play Tents or the Car Seat!
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Ways to Get Free Traffic Four Effective Ways to Get Free Traffic Want to get massive traffic without paying exorbitant amounts of money in advertising? Then read on to learn how to build a high traffic website without spending a dime in ad money. (Click here for free traffic tips) The #1 Secret to Free Traffic: Consistency Many beginner marketers want to build a successful business overnight. It just doesn’t happen that way.The most important thing to getting a ton of free traffic is consistency. You won’t get a ton of readers by publishing one good article. You won’t’ get a ton of watchers by releasing just one video. You won’t rank highly in search engines overnight. The key to consistently getting high traffic is putting out great content on a regular basis. This builds trust in both your customer’s eyes and the search engine’s eyes. #2 The Most Instant Method: Article Marketing Article marketing has been around for about five years now. The technique is simple: Write an informative article and publish it to an online article directory like EzineArticles. The keywords you target are important. Try to pick out keywords with a small to medium amount of search volume with low competing keywords. Try PLR Articles - Private Label Rights Articles (PLR) are a fantastic way to add new content to your website! (See here for best online PLR resources) A Great Way to Build a Name: Video Marketing Another great traffic source is video marketing. You can easily create a content video and distribute it to hundreds of websites – In just minutes. Again, consistency is the name of the game. You probably won’t be able to get a flood of traffic by submitting one video. But if you establish yourself as a well known expert through video marketing, you can easily build yourself a name, a ton of traffic and a ton of backlinks. (Get tutorials here)
#3 Search Engine Optimization SEO is perhaps the most powerful method to get free traffic. It’s also the method that takes the most time, is the most competitive and has a certain amount of randomness factor to it. There are several key factors that play into getting your website highly ranked. Having great unique content is one. Having a ton of backlinks to your website is another. Finally, selecting the right niche, subniche and keywords can make a world of difference. If you have unique and innovative content, other people linking to your website consistently and you choose a market with not too much competition but enough traffic to make it worth your while, then you have a good chance of having your website make it to the top of the search engines. #4 Social Media Social media like Twitter, Facebook, Digg, StumbleUpon and many others are often overlooked by internet marketers. Getting your website to the top of Digg can get you so much traffic that it could get your hosting shut down – Even if you’re running a dedicated server. There are two types of social media: Media that will generate traffic, such as Digg or StumbleUpon, or media that will help you get people who are already interested to come back – Such as Facebook fan pages or Twitter accounts. The key idea behind social media is becoming a part of the conversation of your target market. If you’re in the yoga health community for example, your goal is to become well known enough in that community that your name means something. All these social media outlets are tools to help you do that. How Successful Can You Be With Free Traffic? There are hundreds of examples on the internet of people building six or even seven figure businesses online all without paying a dime in advertising. The secret is producing consistent high quality content and marketing it well. If you apply even just one of the techniques above properly, you’ll get yourself a very nice stream of traffic.
I love being behind the lens, photography is a passion, MY passion! . I would love the opportunity to capture those special moments in your life for you to cherish forever. I have a unique style. I am not a pro at photography but it is something that I am very dedicated to and am improving everyday. I want you to have photographs of that special day, event or even a day at the park to be memorable. To capture a moment that you would have never noticed or seen. I am still working on my portfolio and plan to have much more added soon. Each day is a new opportunity and each client is a new learning experience for me. I use a Nikon D3000 (slr) digital camera. If you are interested in allowing me to capture those moments in your lives or have any questions please contact me. TinaKeen-Photography