Musings

5 Easy Steps to be More Eco-Friendly

by Jennifer Wieland
5 easy steps to be more eco-friendly in your daily life.

Try These Eco-Friendly Tips Today

With all the buzz about the current state of our planet, people often feel helpless and discouraged, thinking there’s nothing they can do to help. However, being eco-friendly is easiest than one may think. There are many small things you can do each day to reduce your carbon footprint and reduce the number of greenhouse gases that are released into the environment.

5 easy steps to be more eco-friendly in your daily life.

Rethink Your Commute

Did you know that if you cut back on how often you use your car, even by a small amount, you could reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by thousands of pounds a year? That may not seem like a lot when thinking globally, but if more people were conscious about how often they used their cars, we could cut our emissions back drastically. Instead of taking your car to the store, walk or ride a bike. Not only is it better or the environment, but it’s also better for your health. For those longer commutes, such as your daily commute to work, find a carpool buddy and take turns driving or take advantage of public transportation by using your local bus or metro system. When you do use your car, make sure you keep it in good working condition by keeping the tires properly inflated and balanced, which can increase your fuel economy and reduce the number of trips you make to the gas station for a fuel up.

Be Energy Aware at Home

Consider your energy use around the house. Do you and your family tend to leave lights, computers, or television sets on when you’re not in the room? When you leave town for a trip, do you leave all your appliances plugged in? Doing so not only raises your monthly energy bills, but it also increases your carbon footprint and can hurt the environment. Certain appliances, such as washers and dryers, microwaves, televisions, and toasters are considered vampire appliances because they suck energy from your outlets even when they aren’t on. Take a few minutes to turn off appliances when you’re not using them and unplug them when you’ll be away for an extended period of time. Check your light bulbs to see if they’re energy efficient or if you could make them more eco-friendly by upgrading to compact fluorescent light bulbs, which not only last longer, but also use less energy.

Watch Your Water Usage

It may not seem like a big deal to leave the faucet on while you’re brushing your teeth, washing dishes, or scrubbing your sink, but it can make a huge difference. Letting the water run can waste hundreds of gallons of water a day, so try to remember to turn off your faucet when it’s not needed and take shower showers, which can be huge water wasters. Another thing you can do to be more mindful of your water usage is to drink from a reusable water bottle, which cuts back on the number of plastic bottles that end up in landfills. You can also opt to wash your clothes in cold water (and skip the dryer), which can drastically reduce the amount of energy output from your household. You may even want to get your community involved by sharing water-saving tips, particularly in the warmer months, which can be dry. Some communities have seen an investment into their water usage on a larger scale, thanks to the Cadiz Water Project, which takes advantage of using our groundwater to help protect the environment.

Shop Local, or Online

Years ago, it wasn’t uncommon to make a day out of loading up the family vehicle and taking a day trip to neighboring towns to go shopping. However, with the number of SUVs on the road, those day trips can actually be harmful to the environment. Instead, shop local whenever you can, which reduces the number of emissions you put into the atmosphere, and helps your local economy by supporting small businesses. If you’re looking for something you can’t find in your neighborhood, get what you need online, which almost always takes up less energy than driving from store to store in search of what you need. You may also want to consider buying things used rather than new whenever possible. Doing this cuts back on the number of usable items that end up in our landfills and can save you money over buying brand new.

Recycle

Recycling seems like an obvious tip, but many people only think of recycling as throwing old cans and bottles into green bins or reuse. However, there are a number of things you can do to recycle that can help the environment. Rather than throwing out old totes, use them as grocery bags, which cuts back on the number of plastic that our grocery stores hand out. Recycle old food by making it into compost. Composting produces valuable nutrients our soil needs and can be used as garden fertilizer. We have a responsibility to take care of our planet so it’s a healthy place for our children and grandchildren to grow up. These easy tips are a few ways you can get started in making a difference today for the world tomorrow.

 

 

 


The 5 Best First Time Car Buying Tips

by Jennifer Wieland
The 5 Best First Time Car Buying Tips #CarsCom
This is a sponsored post by Cars.com. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

The 5 Best First Time Car Buying Tips #CarsCom

Car buying can be a scary prospect. I know every time I have to start the hunt I cringe a little. The reason? It’s a big purchase and can greatly affect your life. My oldest son is 24 and just recently bought his first car. I did share with him the 5 best first time car buying tips to make the whole process a lot easier and less overwhelming.

The 5 Best First Time Car Buying Tips  #CarsCom

Do Your Homework Before You Head Out

My son was just going to head out and just randomly roam around dealerships to look at cars. I told him not to waste his time with all that. Look online at Cars.com and research what’s available at what dealerships. Then you can contact the dealerships online too in order to verify that the car you actually want is in fact still available. Doing his research online really helped. He was so sure he wanted a brand new Honda or Toyota Sedan. In the end, he went a totally different route with what he bought after he did his research.

Know What You Can Afford

My son, like most college graduates has student loan debt. He makes good money and lives at home with us to pay his loans from school down faster. With all that though I still wanted him to know that most experts suggest your total car budget (payment, insurance, gasoline & maintenance) don’t total more than 15-25% of your gross income. You don’t want to end up car poor. My son had to take into account that while he was taking on a payment and picking up paying for his own insurance for the first time. He also needed to realize that a newer car would get him MUCH better gas mileage than his old car did and wouldn’t need the frequent repairs that had been hitting his wallet.

Know What You Have to Spend 

Walking into a dealership with a pre-approval from a bank makes car shopping SO much easier! I told my son to contact his bank and credit card companies to get pre-approved for a car loan. Walking in to a dealership with a number in your head makes the process easier. There’s no guessing at numbers or hoping you can get what you want. My son had no credit cards after graduation and had waited to open some. That meant he didn’t have as much credit history built up as some kids his age might have had. He was pre-approved for a decent amount $15,000 from one of his credit card banks. That’s not a bad amount but that a new car was out of the question and he then had to look at his other options. In the end he was able to find a car he loved and the paperwork took no time at all since he already had a bank approval.

New Isn’t Your Only Option

New cars are great and that new car smell is awesome! Buying a brand new car though is not the only option that’s out there for car shoppers though. You can get a really good, budget friendly, low mileage used car. The advantages of a used car is that the cost is way less. It also means you may be able to get more bells and whistles than you could afford on a new car. You may only be able to afford a base model car if you buy new. If you opt for the same car that’s got low miles and is a year or two older you may be able to get an upgraded model. Think leather seats over cloth. The other options is leasing. With a lease you get the brand new car that your basically renting on average for 24-36 months. The payments are generally lower than if you bought the same car. The other nice thing with a lease is that maintenance is usually included which reduces your out-of-pocket expenses.

Try It Before You Buy It

Once you’ve done all of your homework and think you know what you want it’s time for the real fun to begin. Head out to the dealerships that have the cars you’ve settled on. Take the cars for a test drive. You may find once you test drive a car that it’s not at all what you wanted. You may not find you like the dashboard layout. The ceiling height may not suit you. It can be all sorts of things. My son was so set on a sedan. He found after his initial search and test drives that he didn’t want a sedan at all.  

Buying your first car or any car is a huge step. It effects your budget, your family and can even change your life. Knowing how to make the process go more smoothly can take all the stress sand anxiety out of the car buying process.

So What Did My Son Buy?

My son was able to buy his very first car and he loves it! In the end the idea of new went out the window. Along with that he also bypassed his idea of a Toyota or Honda Sedan. He instead ended up with a 2014 Volkswagen Tiguan. The Volkswagen Tiguan is a compact crossover SUV. The one he purchased only had 21,000 miles on it and came with the remainder of the warranty.

The 5 Best First Time Car Buying Tips #CarsCom Now that he has this safe and awesome new car, I can have him do all sorts of things like run his younger siblings around for me or my sister can have him come babysit his godson. To make sure his siblings and godson are safe in his car. I’m going to have him learn all about car seat installation since this week is Car Seat Safety Week.

 

 

 


College Saving Tricks for Moms

by Jennifer Wieland

As a mom, it is your job to keep everyone on track. You are responsible for ensuring everyone is fed and clothed. You also have to think ahead to college. By taking control and starting a college savings account for your children, you can help to give them a bright future. However, when finances are tight, as is the case in many homes, it can be tough to figure out how to save. Here are some college savings tricks you can enjoy.College Saving Tricks for Moms

Know the Options

While you certainly can open a savings account to put money aside for your child’s college, there are some other options that allow you to make more use of your money. The most popular choice is a 529 plan. You can either use a 529 savings or 529 prepaid tuition plan. The savings plan is similar to a retirement account except you can get a lot of tax breaks with them. The money in these accounts is invested to hopefully help build it at a quicker rate.  The prepaid tuition plan, as the name suggests, lets you prepay tuition at your chosen institution at current rates, which can save you big on inflation. Reviewing your college savings plan options is a good first step.

Develop a Plan for Saving

Before you can start to save, you need to know you have the money to do it. You should go over your budget and add in college savings as an expense. Putting it in your budget makes it much easier to just slip the money away each time you pay bills.
You also can go over your bills and try to find a way to reduce them. Often shopping around or just calling in can help you get lower rates. A good trick for saving on insurance is to visit a local insurance office. The face-to-face interaction makes things more personal and encourages them to work hard to find you a good deal.

Give Up Something to Help Out

Sometimes extra money is hard to come by. However, most people have one or two things they spend money on that they don’t really need. Fast food lunches and expensive coffee drinks are two examples. These things may be something you really enjoy but cutting them out or just cutting them down can free up a nice amount of money that can go towards the college savings.

Use the Grocery Store Trick

When you are shopping for groceries, always hunt out the deals. These days most grocery store receipts will include a line that tells you how much you saved. This leads to a nice trick to saving money easily. Every time you grocery shop, you put whatever you saved in a savings account. This can add up really fast, especially if you shop for deals and use coupons.
Saving money for your kid’s college expenses doesn’t have to be a stressful endeavor. You can work ways to save into your everyday life easily. It is all a matter of just being a bit more aware of how you spend and making a few new choices in what you spend.

Are you or did you save for your child(ren)’s college?

 

 

 


How to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthy

by Jennifer Wieland
How to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthy

 

 

Most parents will tell you that getting their kids to eat healthy is an uphill battle, surpassed only by wrestling kids down for a nap or perhaps getting them into the tub for a much-needed bath. And yet, it’s critical to get something of real, nutritional value into your kids’ bellies. They can’t just eat pizza and fruit snacks all day, every day—so what’s a poor parent to do?

Well, a lot of it boils down to creative thinking. Think critically about how you prepare, present, and plate healthy foods, and you may be surprised by how willing your kids are to eat substantive, nutritious foods.

We’ll show you what we mean in the list that follows.

Creative Ways to Present Healthy Food to Your Kids

How to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthy

Img: foodbeast.com

Some unique ways to make healthy eating fun for your kids include:

  • Turn sunny-side-up eggs into egg flowers! Use colorful bell pepper pieces to create the outer edges of the flowers, with the eggs themselves in the middle.
  • You can also use veggies to create a skeleton! Use a bowl of ranch dressing as the head, making a face in it with tomatoes or bell paper pieces. You can use sliced cucumber, peppers, and carrots to fill out the rest of the body. This is an especially fun idea for a Halloween-themed veggie tray!
  • This one will be a bit labor-intensive, but if you’re willing to cut some equal-sized cubes of fruit, you can stack them together to form a visually stunning Rubik’s cube fruit salad! Whoa!
  • Another fun idea is to cut an apple into the shape of a friendly owl! To see how, check out these images and instructions.
  • You can pretty easily smuggle broccoli into your kids’ mac and cheese—a great compromise, letting them enjoy one of their favorite meals while also ingesting something of actual, nutritional substance.
  • Make a bread boat! Cut pieces of whole grain bread into the shape of a boat and its sails, then use celery sticks and raisins to decorate. Goldfish crackers can make for a thematic side dish!
  • Use colorful fruits and berries to make your own original work of art—a colorful arrangement or design that will catch eyes and get your kids pumped about eating something yummy.
  • For dinner one night, create a burger bar! Lay out some yummy toppings and replicate the experience of your kids’ favorite burger place! Make black bean burgers if you want to really play up the healthy angle; your kids likely won’t be able to tell!

Really, anything you do to make the food look exciting and fun will go a long way toward helping your kids forget about their qualms and give it a try. Of course, some of these strategies will work better than others, just depending on your kids and their taste. Play around with some of them today, and see which ones go over the best!

 

 


Twenty-One Years Ago My Life Changed Forever

by Jennifer Wieland
Happy 21st Birthday Brandon

I started college when I was seventeen and found out a few months in that I was pregnant. I was terrified! I lived at home and my mother always told us kids if we got pregnant or got anyone pregnant (for my brother) to not bother coming home. With that drilled into my head I was petrified to tell my parents that they were on their way to becoming grandparents and I did a pretty good job of hiding it from my family until the end of March. At that point I finally started showing and they pieced it together and promptly freaked out when they found out how far along I was. Luckily though they did not kick me out but helped instead. What a relief that turned out to be because about four weeks before my due date I got preeclampsia and blew up like a balloon overnight due to all of the water I was retaining. Hello 68 pounds in two weeks! So thirteen days before my due date at 3:36 a.m. after 24 hours of back labor twenty-one years ago my life changed forever in the most amazing, wonderful and awe-inspiring way for the first of six times. I welcomed my son Brandon Michael into the world where despite being a couple of weeks early he came in at a whopping 8 lbs. 12 oz. and 22″ long. (Thank God he did not have time to get any bigger!)

Happy 21st Birthday Brandon

Having him when I did made me a single, teen mother and it was hard and I worried whether or not I would do a good job all of the time. I didn’t care that I couldn’t go out and party. In fact, I didn’t want to because honestly I already had the greatest little guy at home. So instead, my little man and I hung out together and have continued to throughout the years. (He’s such a great kid he went and sat through Les Miserables with me just to make me happy one night while he was home from school.) While he knows I am Mom and not his friend he knows he can talk to me about anything and he often does still, which makes me happy to know that he still needs me for advice. Sometimes there were points that it felt like we were growing up together. Me trying to stumble my way through adulthood and him through childhood as best as we both could while holding each others hands. We made it through though and he is a smart, kind and caring man now who I couldn’t be more proud of. He is heading into his senior year of college at a great private school with a 3.7 GPA as a Geology major with a minor in Economics. He has landed a great internship for this summer and last and is looking at grad schools now.

Happy 21st Birthday Brandon

He is now all grown-up and a man but he will always be my first baby, the first of the six pieces of my heart and my one constant throughout my adult life.

Happy 21st Birthday Brandon

Happy Birthday Brandon!

 


#LoveMe Challenge Day 9

by Jennifer Wieland

It’s funny, yesterday I shared a picture of my right foot for day 8 where we had to share a scar. You can see it here. You see my bovine graft scar on my ankle and my splotchy legs and feet from Schamberg’s Disease make me very self-conscious in warm weather months. People always start or ask questions. I think they think it’s contagious or something.

Anyway, today is day 9 of the #LoveMe Challenge and we are supposed to share something beautiful. The reason this is all so funny to me is that the thing I think is beautiful is also scarring that many people hate. I had my first baby at 18. Got pregnant at 17. I have had 5 more babies since then. With almost every one of them there was some medical issue. With my very first one I had preeclampsia and I retained so much water that in a couple of weeks I gained 68 pounds. Now let me tell you, that will do horrible things to your body when you bloat like that. I went from hardly being able to tell I was pregnant to having to wear men’s shoes because my feet would not fit in anything else. I also got almost instant stretch marks.

I hated the stretch marks for a long, long time. I thought this just makes me look awful no matter what size I am. Then one day a few of years ago something clicked and my perspective of them changed. My now nine-year old son saw my stomach when I was reaching for something up high. He said, “What’s that?” Then proceeded to poke me in my stomach. I asked him what he meant? He said, “How did you get those zebra stripes?” I then explained to him that when mommies have babies in their tummies sometimes the skin stretches too much and it leaves those marks. He said, “Cool! We gave you zebra stripes! I wish I had some!” I smiled and giggles at that. I also realized he thought it was cool that all of my babies had left me with a mark and I realized that he was brilliant.

So now I realize that my stretch marks aren’t ugly. They are my zebra stripes that my babies gave me to always remember them by and there is nothing more beautiful than that.


#LoveMe Challenge Day 6

by Jennifer Wieland
#LoveMe Challenge Day 6

 FTC Disclosure

#LoveMe Challenge Day 6

#LoveMe Challenge Day 6

A Note to your future self…

Dear future me,

Now it’s time for you. You have raised your children and mothered your entire adult life. Go, enjoy some freedom, some fun. Take some time to find out more about you. Don’t keep dreaming about seeing the world, get out there and do it. You have earned it. Don’t let others hold you back from finding your happiness, not even if one of those people is you.

I am sorry that this will end up being hard on you. It’ll be scary because I never demanded that I have me time. That my happiness matter. Others need to learn how to function without you doing everything and you need to learn how to function where you are a priority.

Have faith in yourself! I know you can do it!

Sincerely,

Your past self

Do you want to follow along and see what other bloggers are participating? Then head on over to Pepper Scraps. The #LoveMe Challenge is a one month challenge to learn to love yourself.

What would you tell your future self?


#LoveMe Challenge Day 5

by Jennifer Wieland
#LoveMe Challenge Day 5

FTC Disclosure

#LoveMe Challenge Day 5

Today’s #LoveMe Challenge on Day 5?

A note to your past self…

Dear 17-year-old me,

I know you are a freshman in college with a bright future and you think you are on top of the world. You think you are going to be an artist and travel the world. Soon, you will learn that you are pregnant with your first child instead. His father will not be in your life for half of the pregnancy or in the child’s life except for two visits when he is one. You are going to end up hiding your pregnancy from your parents out of fear for nearly seven months. Once they find out though things get even worse. Family and people in the community will talk about you and not in a positive light. You will question yourself. Wonder if you are making the right decision.

This child is going to change your entire existence. You will lose friends. They won’t understand that you can’t go out because you are exhausted from being up with a sick, teething or fussy baby all night. They will have no concept of what it’s like trying to get a babysitter because they are young and carefree still. That you can’t go to the mall to shop because you need to buy formula and diapers with the money you have.

You will struggle! You will have to work hard to advance in the work place because A) your female and B) you dropped out of college and chose the technology field to work in. You’ll succeed though and you will advance and become a very hard worker always willing to take on more just to learn more. You will have two more out of your six children while young.

You will learn that there are many good things to come with this future life too. You’ll learn what complete and total love is the first time you see each of your children born. You will understand wanting to give someone else everything that you are and everything you have. That every milestone is like the greatest miracle you can be given. You will watch your children grow. You will survive and come out stronger from an abusive relationship and find someone who loves you and the three children you bring with you. You will add three more children. You will learn that you can face raising special needs children and do it well. They will grow and beat all of the expectations people give them. You will watch all of them grow and love it and them to the moon and back. You will end up being a teen mother who raises a child who goes to college as an athlete and academic and continues to excel.

Don’t doubt yourself. You can do it!

Sincerely,

Future you

Do you want to follow along and see what other bloggers are participating? Then head on over to Pepper Scraps. The #LoveMe Challenge is a one month challenge to learn to love yourself.

What would you tell your past self?

 
250x300 logo - Electronics

 


#LoveMe Challenge Day 4

by Jennifer Wieland
#LoveMe Challenge Day 4

FTC Disclosure

#LoveMe Challenge Day 4

I did a blog post on the first to kick off the #LoveMe Challenge. The last two days I have done the challenge via my social media outlets as those two seemed to be better suited for that. Today I think an actual blog post is more fitting. Today is day 4 of the challenge and for today we are supposed to name a person who loves you.

I figured this one would be easy. I mean how hard could it be to name someone. Then I thought about it and realized I was not sure who to name. Should I pick my husband? What about one of parents? Maybe one of the kids? My sister? Hmmm… who to pick? Trying to pick became difficult because then I started thinking about who loved and WHY?

Then it hit me. That is the whole point of today’s exercise. Trying to figure out who you should pick shows you everyone that does in fact love you. It makes you realize how lucky you are to have so many people in your life that do love you and if they love you then there must be a reason they do, right? I know my parents love me and it’s not just because I am their daughter. No, I know my mom loves me because she thinks I am a good mom. I know my father loves because he knows I will always try to take a chance and I work hard. My husband loves me because I care for him and the kids and give everything for them and ask for little in return. The kids? Of course they love me, I am mommy. I will say in this though, my oldest loves me because he can now understand how much I sacrificed to have my oldest three as young as I did. My sister? She loves me because we are sisters and also because we are best friends. We may fight or argue but we know nobody will defend us to the world like the other will.

So, who you may ask did I pick as my person? Once I realized all of the stuff above it came to me. The person who loves me is any person I love. You see, I would only love someone who could love me in return.

So now you tell me… Who is a person who loves you?

Check out my responses for day 2 & day 3.

#LoveMe Challenge Prompts

 

 


#LoveMe Challenge: Learn to Love YOU in February: Follow & Join In

by Jennifer Wieland
#LoveMe Challenge Prompts

A few weeks ago Pepper over at Pepper Scraps asked a bunch of us bloggers if any of us would be interested in doing a #LoveMe Challenge this month. It sounded like a great idea to me. So many women have body and self-worth issues and I know I am one of them. I decided I was going to jump on board and give this a try. Some days I may be posting to the blog. Other days I will be broadcasting that days item to a social media channel instead.

#LoveMe Challenge Prompts

Today’s challenge to kick things off is to answer why we are doing the #LoveMe Challenge. Well,  I am doing the challenge for me. I need to find me and be happy with the person I find. I knew I had self-esteem issues but last week they just slapped me in the face talking with my daughter.

This is what happened… I was talking with my daughter who just turned 5 today. I looked at her and said, “You’re so pretty!” Her response threw me for a loop. She looked back at me and said, “I know I’m bootiful! Eveyyyyyybody tells me so.” Then she proceeded to bounce off and go play. I looked at her and I was shocked. All of my children have an immense amount of self-confidence and high self-esteem. People have actually commented on it to me at times and I wondered after talking to my daughter how on Earth did I give children such great self-esteem when I am one of the most self-deprecating people you will ever meet. There are only a few small things about myself that I feel comfortable or happy with and I realized that this needs to change. My daughter who is so small sees her worth better in her few short years on this Earth than I do in all of the almost 40 that I have been here. How sad is that?

I now see that I need to learn a few things from others and learn to respect, value, appreciate and #LoveMe for who I am. I need to get past the negative that I bring into my own soul and that I allow others to give me. I need to find my happy and accepting place.

Do you want to follow along? Then be sure to follow my social media outlets and you can head over to Pepper’s blog, Pepper Scraps and check out the other bloggers that are participating and see what each of them is sharing throughout the challenge. You can also share and answer the prompts each day via your own social media networks. Let’s make this a month of being happy with you!


Top
Theme by Selim Alvele | Copyright 2017 My Sweet Sanity | Powered by WordPress | 78 queries in 1.263 seconds.
WordPress Backup