Category Archives: Personal Note

Personal notes about my life and it’s happenings!

Gas guzzler blues

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If you are like me and you find yourself driving across time several times daily from daycare, to work, to schools and sporting activities … we are always on the move.  Gas can get really expensive for an active family costing them an average of $3,000 every year (that’s $250 a month)!!!  Before you get the filler-upper blues, try some of these tips and tricks to keep your wallet feeling a little better about those car trips!

1.  Check your tires air pressure often!  Tires that are low on air can actually make your car work harder and use more gas.  If you check the air-pressure and make sure to top it off when it needs it, you’ll shave off some gas usage.gas receipt  Likewise, keep up with those oil changes!  The smoother your engine is running the better miles/gallon you’ll get!

2.  Join a rewards program.  Many gas-retail establishments now offer reward cards that give you points for purchases of items like milk, bread, or other general goods.  Some even give you points when you fill up your tank.  It could be a credit card with a cash back reward system or a simple free rewards card, but it’s worth it to take note of how you can save.  If you have a gas station on the way home, stop in and find out about their rewards program.  For programs that reward you for buying things in the store, make it a habit to buy your milk and misc.  from

the gas station on your way home, earning you points that you can later use for a better gas price!

3.  Do you want a car wash?  – No you don’t!!!  Don’t get fooled by this clever marketing scheme (unless you actually need a car wash).  Let’s take a look at the math!  While the gas sign reads .10 cents cheaper if you buy that car wash, you now have a car wash to pay for actually making your total purchase cost more than if you just purchased the gas itself.  The car was is usually just a soap and water basic deal, so if you need one it could be a good idea to bundle them, otherwise just hit that big red NO button.

gas buddy

4. There’s an app for that!  Gasbuddy is a great smartphone app that will use your location in order to pinpoint the cheapest gas station near you.  If you are filling up it could be worth it to drive that extra couple of miles to save .5cents on your total purchase (but keep in mind driving out of the way tends to negate the savings).  The app also has a handy tool that let’s you report current gas prices. Each report you make enters you into a drawing to win a $250 gas gift card!  If you don’t have a smart phone, you can report prices from your home computer @ www.gasbuddy.com

5. Use your gps/smart phone to find shorter routes for you.  Many will let you input multiple destinations so you  can find the shortest routes between all your errands saving you time and gas!

6.  Empty out your car!  The heavier your vehicle, the more gas it will use.  If you aren’t needing all that beach gear, roller blades, folding chairs, etc … lighten up your load and thus help lighten that burden on your wallet!

Following some or all of these hints won’t make you rich, but it never hurts to shave of a few dollars here and there.  It can really add up in the end!

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Finding childcare

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I recently have needed to enlist the services of a daycare again, and was super bummed when I contacted my children’s old daycare to learn they are no longer open weekends or past 7:30pm.  I began looking for new daycare’s not really sure where to start only to be halted by finding that all of these childcare sites cost money now.  Some of them want almost $30 a month to post childcare ad’s or contact available sitters.  It has proved rather difficult.  If you live in Michigan, there is a wonderful website called Great start for kids (www.greatstartforkids.org) that can give you childcare centers with hours and openings.  If you live outside of Michigan, contact your local elementary schools and ask them for references.

http://www.care.com (to contact care givers you must be a mebmer.  Membership is $35/month)

Pros: Background checks, references, ratings systems

http://www.sittercity.com (to contact care givers you must be a member.  Membership is $35/month or $95/year)

Pros: Background checks, references, ratings systems

http://www.angieslist.com ($2.50 a month)

-I’d be careful using angieslist when looking for childcare.

http://www.childcareaware.com

 

Remember to do lots of research, meet with multiple caregivers before deciding on one, bring your children to meetings to see how they react to the caregiver, ask questions (there is no such thing as too many), and ask for references and a background check.

 

Relax, tomorrow is a new day

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Today I’ve felt a bit on edge with all the studying my courses are packing on me.  I am studying for my bachelors in child therapy and family counseling.  I have two discussion papers due tomorrow, and apart from the assigned readings in the text, I had 75 pages of medical journals on emotions to read.  Between laundry, housework, grocery shopping, and the school work – I feel the whole day (which was sunny mind you) was spent indoors working.  However, I find personally that even the smallest pocket of time you allow yourself to relax can melt away a day riddled with more work than “self-time”.  For the last hour of my day I gave myself a foot rub with Burt’s Bee’s Foot Creme, had a glass of wine, and watched Triston and Isolde.  I am feeling so relaxed and peaceful at the moment that I feel like a day that flew by with little me time, has melted off thanks to some self-pampering and a good emotional outlet of a movie.

Something interesting I learned today was if you try doing tiresome tasks with a smile, recent studies show you’ll find the tasks more pleasing.  I’m not sure I agree, but I hear smiling burns calories – so what the heck, I smiled away.  After all, if they whistle while they work in fairy-tales, maybe doing it in real life can make life a little more happily ever after.

 

— Prodcut Note –

If you have never tried the Burt’s Bee’s products – I HIGHLY recommend them.  They are natural and honestly wonderful.  I started with the chap-stick and have never been able to use another chap-stick as happily.  I have since moved on to body butters and foot creme.  So far each product I’ve tried has blown other products out of the water. The foot creme is amazing, and thought it requires you to put your foot up a bit after application to allow the oil to dry (who can be mad about that really) it keeps your feet moisturized and feeling healthy (and smelling good!).

http://www.burtsbees.com/c/story/

 

Moving

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I am moving in a few days, and I forgot how tedious it really can be.  I’ve lived in this house for ten years, and it really is amazing all the little stuff that collects during that time period.  Last weeks post talked about spring cleaning, and in most ways I’ve learned the two can be very similar.  To keep things simple, I made lists of what I needed to do to move out of each room.  Some people break down boxes into categories (i.e kids room – toys ; kitchen – pots), and some people just throw everything into boxes room by room.  I think both ways are effective – and I have done a mixture of both with this move.  However, one thing I’m trying differently, is I’m making boxes that are mixes of things from different rooms – the important things I want to unpack first.  When I pack the moving truck, I’m going to put regular categorized boxes in back, mixed boxes in the middle, and furniture up front.  This way I’m unpacking the “bones” of my room first.  The items I’m putting in my “mixed” boxes are surge protectors, bed skirts, lamps, tools, tape, and cleaning supplies as well as blankets, pillows, and toiletries.  This is the stuff I figure I will need first to put every room together.  Bed-skirts for example have always foiled me in moves because you have to put them on the boxsprings before the mattress goes on, but I have never been able to do that because they are always packed in the linen box.  Another thing that can be exhausting about a move is the cost!  Shop around for cheap truck rentals, and if your car has a trailer hitch, you’d be surprised how much cheaper a trailer can actually be (though figure more trips with a trailer a.k.a more gas!), ask at your local supermarket for boxes.  Produce boxes are the perfect size for moving and offer a lot of space in each box which means less trips for you between loading and unloading, and finally keep those receipts!  Some moving expenses you can write off on your taxes!

The Acai Berry

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Due to recent health related issues that have come my way, I have decided to take on an experiment.  I will be incorporate 500mg of raw acai berries into my daily diet.  I’ve done a lot of reading about this “super-food” and one of it’s continued documented benefits is it’s ability to detox your body, liver health, and aiding in your bodies strive for homeostasis.  I have looked at my local food market and they sell the berry frozen as well as raw juice – I think I’ll do a mix of these.  I also wanted to give a product shout to Lean Cuisines new salad expressions.  I had the asian salad the other day and was amazed for a frozen dinner how fresh it all tasted.  The chicken was very tender and the vegetables did not have that frozen taste.  If you are trying to get healthy – don’t torture yourself, find solutions you enjoy or it will be harder to stick to your goal.  I’ll post some recipes for raw acai treats as I try them as well as results I’m noticing in a few days.