Thursday, June 30, 2011

What I Find Most Challenging About Blogging....

What do I find most challenging about blogging?  This is easy for me to answer, really.

.....just being myself....

In many ways, stepping into the blogging community in the year 2011 can be a lot like stepping into a new high school.

Everyone has their cliques, their groups, where they "belong."

"See her.... she's the cool girl."

"Her.... everyone LOVES her because she makes everyone laugh."

"Those girls, they're part of the group that only blogs about __________" [Fill in the blank:  parenting, being a stay-at-home mom, deals, being crafty, and the list goes on and on.]

In many ways, everyone has their friends.  They've carved out a place for themselves among them.  And this can be intimidating to "the new girl" despite how kind I've found many individuals in the blogging community to be.

It's difficult to begin a blog, know your goals, and then to visit the blogs that have already obtained those goals (and way more).

"Oh, well her blog is extremely successful and she does this.  Maybe I need to do that too if I want a successful blog."

"But she does that and everyone loves her blog.  Maybe I should blog about that."

No, I just need to be myself.  I need to blog about whatever I want to blog about, when I want to blog about it, and how I want to blog about it.

Sometimes my blog will be funny.

Sometimes it will be informative.

And sometimes, it may be ridiculous.

But that's me.

And ya know what?  

So just know that what you get when you read this blog is me.

And I hope that what I get when I read your blog is YOU.

My advice for the newbies of the future?  Don't worry about what others are doing.  There's room for all of us.

And of course, whether in the real world or the bloggy world, never forget.... 

This post idea came from Mama Kat's Writing Workshop.  
Be sure to stop by there for creative inspiration!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Great Deals at Walgreens on Dove & Toothpaste: Week of June 26th

If you have the right coupons this week, Walgreens has some pretty good deals!

Deal #1

The Deal:
Participating Dove Products are on Sale 4/$15
Buy $15 worth and Receive a $5 Register Reward (RR)

Items Purchased:  
  • (2) Men's Body + Face Wash @ $3.75
  • (1) Men's Deodorant @ $3.75
  • (1) Women's Deodorant @ $3.75
  • (1) Pack of Gum (filler item) @ $1.29
  • Total Before Coupons: $16.29

Coupons Used:  
[All of these coupons were from the previous week's mail insert.  Sorry I don't have the date!  I'll try to be better with that from now on.]
  • 1 MC x B1G1 Mens Body + Face
  • 1 MC x $1 off body wash
  • 1 MC x $2 off men's deodorant
  • 1 MC x 75¢off women's deodorant
  • $3 RR from previous purchase

  • Total Before Coupons:  $16.29
  • Total Out of Pocket [after coupons]:  $7.20
  • Received $5.00 Register Reward (good for next purchase)
  • Overall Total:  $2.20  
  • [Savings of $12.80]

Deal #2

I'd also like to pass along one other deal.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to take advantage of this one because I waited too late and the product was sold out, (boo!) but hopefully someone will still be able to.  

The Deal:
B1G1 Colgate Total Toothpaste (4.2oz) 

The deal should look like this:

Items Purchased:
  • (2) Colgate Total Toothpaste (4.2oz) @ $2.79 [Price may vary]

Coupons Used:
  • (2) MC x $1 off any Colgate Total Toothpaste (size 4.0oz or larger) [from the 6/12 Smartsource Coupon insert]

  • Total before Coupons:  $2.79 (due to the B1G1 deal)
  • Overall Total (out of pocket):  79¢ for two!!

Dang it I wish I would have been able to buy this.  Grr... 

Just Follow The Sign....

This is the magnet board that hangs on our fridge.  
It was purchased with the intent of being useful, you know... a place to write last-minute phone numbers or items that need to be purchased at the grocery store.  

But instead... it's turned into a place for nonsense.  
And we like that around here.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How To Create a Facebook Page for your Blog & Import Your Posts

Today I set out to create a Facebook Page for my blog and to import my blog posts onto my Page.  Unfortunately, this was slightly more complicated than initially anticipated.  But, after searching Facebook (and the internet) for a little while I was able to figure it out.

If you're interested in setting up a Facebook Page for your blog and/or having your posts imported never fear!

I'll walk you through it!

How to Set up a Facebook Page for Your Blog

1:  Log out of your personal Facebook Account.  This will take you to the home screen.  Toward the very bottom, right below the green "sign up" button, click Create a Page.

2:  Select Brand or Product.

3:  Select Website and enter your blog name (which will be the name of your page).  Select Get Started.

4:  Then you'll be asked to create a Facebook account.  If you have one already, simply enter your login information.  If not, take a minute to create an account.

You'll then be directed to your new Facebook Page (yay!) where you can upload a picture, enter your basic information, etc.  Your page is now officially set up.  

Importing Your Blog Posts to Your Facebook Page

But now, it's time to add your blog to your page so that when you publish a new blog post, it's automatically updated on your Facebook page.  (This was the part that made me want to pull my hair out.  But now that I know how to do it, it won't be difficult to explain.)

1:  Click Edit Info.  (It's difficult to see, but it's directly under the words "Get Started.")

2:  Now, on the left-hand side of the page, select Apps.  

3:  Under the Notes heading, select Go to App.

4:  Then, on the left-hand side select Edit Import Settings.

5:  Then enter your blog URL.

6:  And confirm, and you're good to go!  Your previous blog posts will begin importing.  And from now on, your posts should automatically be uploaded to your Facebook page!  YAY!!

{Edit on 12.01.11:  It seems that sometimes Facebook is super fast about importing my posts and other times it takes it a bit.  Nevertheless, looking back it does appear that they are all importing on their own.  So, for me at least, the process explained here has been successful and it should be for you as well!}

{Edit on 01.17.12:  For some reason my last few posts have not been automatically importing.  I'm sure this has something to do with the fact that Facebook is--yet again--making changes (rolling out Timeline).  I'll keep paying attention to see if this is a problem that's only temporary.  Hopefully it is.}

Okay, so now is the part where I ask very nicely for you to LIKE My Facebook Page!  Pretty pretty please, with sugar on top?  I'll be your best friend!!  :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Signs I'm Using to Determine Whether My Interview Goes Well

In less than twelve hours something crazy happens.

It's good crazy, but crazy nonetheless.

I interview for a job... as an attorney!  [Told you it was crazy!]

We all know that after an interview everyone always asks, "Well, how'd it go?"

I never know how to answer that.  So to help me out, I've devised a list of possible scenarios that may take place tomorrow to help me rate my experience tomorrow as "good" or "bad."

This man is present conduct my interview = bad sign

This man is present to conduct my interview = good sign
[P.S. I've been a very good girl this year.]

Entering room to find pot of gold at the end of a rainbow = good sign

Entering interview room to find an angry leprechaun = bad sign

Being asked my opinion about current laws = good sign

Being asked whether I'm Team Jacob or Team Edward = bad sign

Being handed large sums of cash before leaving = good sign

Being handed trash to take out before leaving = bad sign

Now you know how I'll be determining how my interview goes,
so all that's left to do is wish me luck!!

Update:  I didn't get this job.  In fact, my interview was on a Friday afternoon and Monday I received my "thanks for interviewing but we've chosen someone else" letter in the mail.  Now, I'm no expert on how the postal service works, but considering that I was told it'd be at least a week or two before a decision would be made, unless I accidently hibernated, I'm pretty sure that the interview was a waste of my time & that a previous applicant had been chosen during his/her interview prior to me interviewing.  Fun stuff.  :)  

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mind Your Own Damn Business

Ten things I wish I could say to strangers 
when given unsolicited advice about my parenting skills....

1)  Hmm.... I'd never even considered the fact that he may be sneezing because he's allergic to something.  Wanna know what I'm allergic to?  People who don't know how to mind their own damn business!

2)  Maybe I do need to learn how to be more time efficient.  Say, while you're at the store later multi-tasking, why don't you go ahead and pick me up a bag of mind your own damn business!

3)  Thanks for the great idea!  You know, I have a great idea too!  What if.... stay with me now.... just what if.... you learned how to mind your own damn business!

4)  You sure seem to know a lot about how to parent other people's children.  But, you know what you don't know an awful lot about?  Minding your own damn business.

5)  You're right, I probably should teach him that.  You know what someone should have taught you?  How to mind your own damn business!

6)  That's absolutely fantastic.  You know what else would be fantastic?  If you'd learn to mind your own damn business!

7)  I'll get started on that right away.  You just be sure to start right away on learning how to mind your own damn business!

8)  Since you put it that way, maybe we should give him a sibling after all even though I must admit, he's never complained about being an only child.  You know what he does complain about?  People who don't mind their own damn business.

9)  Well, why didn't I think of that?  Geez, you're so smart.  Maybe you can help me out with this other problem I'm having too... See, I'm having trouble getting you to mind your own damn business!

10)  Oh, really?  Well, I'll buy that book for him then since it taught your child how to read at age 2.  Speaking of books, you know what book I've really come to enjoy?  It's in the children's section and it's entitled Mind Your Own Damn Business!

Whew!  Now, I don't know about you but I feel much better!  ;)

This post idea came from Mama Kat's Writing Workshop.  Be sure to stop by there for creative inspiration!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What Am I Gonna DO With This Child?!

Here are a few memorable moments with Maddox, my silly five-year old, 
that have taken place within the past 24 hours.

Maddox:  [Talking to my husband.]  "Will you make me some cereal?"
Me:  "Oh, I'm sorry babe.  I told him I'd make him a bowl and I forgot."
Maddox:  "Yea, that's why I don't trust you."

Me:  [While singing and dancing like an idiot.] "Drop it like it's hot... drop it like it's hot..."
Maddox:  "If you don't move out of my way, I'm going to drop you like it's hot."

Maddox: "I don't want to eat dinner.  I just ate."
Me:  "If you're not hungry enough to finish everything that's fine, but you're sitting at the table.  The important thing is that we sit around the table together and enjoy . . . ."
Maddox:  "But, I'm on a diet!"


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Available Parent [book review]

Our children grow.  They change.  Suddenly, they're teenagers.  The joyous conversations and similarities between the two of you that once appeared seemingly endless are now a distant memory.  You may feel confused.  After all, who is this kid?  And where did my baby go?

We all know, either because we've raised or are raising teenagers, or because we were all at one time teenagers ourselves, that the teenage years are inevitable and that they bring about unique challenges for both the teen and the parent.  

But what you may not know is that fostering a deep connection with your child during his or teenage years, one that will benefit him as he faces difficult decisions, is possible.  It is possible to guide your teen through these tough years, to be available, without controlling him.  

But how?  

Dr. John Duffy addresses this simple, yet complex, question in his book: The Available Parent.  

Dr. Duffy's book is broken up into three parts.  

Part One:  Your Teenager's Wild World  The first part is designed to help you understand the whirlwind that is the mind of your teen and the reality of your teen's daily life.  

Part Two:  What Never Works  After having a better understanding of the inner-workings of your teen, the second part discusses the many mistakes that (yes, even good-intentioned) parents make in a frantic attempt to help their changing child make the right decisions.  This part also helps the reader understand why these attempts often prove to be more fatal than helpful.

Part Three:  What Always Works  Now that the reader is armed with the knowledge obtained during the first two parts of the book, the author explains the methods that need to be put into place in order to be effective in parenting today's teens--in order to be an available parent.

Dr. Duffy's methods are simple.  His advice is practical.  And his techniques are effective.  

One of the beauties of this book is that its techniques can be applied at any stage.  I have already begun using certain advice of this book with my five-year old (such as not to lecture or smother him).  

Therefore, whether you (like myself) have a small child or have a tween or a teen, this book is one that will help prepare you for the road ahead and aide you in effectively parenting your child as he or she grows and changes while moving toward the teenage years.  

No matter what age your child is, it's never too early (or too late) to be a non-judgmental ear, to be the person that builds up your child through encouraging words, actions, and expectations--to be available.

I highly recommend this book and its teachings to all parents.  

Go ahead, "embrace fearless parenting."  Learn how to "[m]inimize conflict and maximize satisfaction in your relationship with your child."  And in doing so, learn how to "[r]emain available for your child through the teenage years and lay a foundation for a healthy, loving relationship."

To purchase this book (which is available in hardback and on Kindle) or to read more reviews, click here.  

Note:  The book featured in this post was provided to me at no cost by FSB Associates.  
I was not compensated in any other way by this post and the opinions displayed are strictly my own and not influenced in anyway by the author or publisher.  

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I've Missed Couponing :)

Two years ago, during my summer break from school, I started couponing to see what all the fuss was about.

Let me tell you, I freaking loved it.  I thought it was so much fun!

But, because I stay so busy with school I haven't clipped a coupon since the summer of 2009.  However, since I'm not working this summer and am only taking evening classes I decided to pick it back up again.

For me, it's a really neat hobby.  I am always looking for deals and to try new products so if I can do that without breaking the bank, I'm thrilled.  Plus, it makes me feel like I'm somehow "contributing" to the income around here even though I'm still in school.

Just like the last time I couponed, I'm not sure how long I can keep it up considering that once the fall semester rolls around, by my calculation, I will be spending a minimum of 68 hours a week either clerking at the firm, sitting in class, or studying.  :(  But, I promise to enjoy it while it lasts!

Today we were out and about so I made my first coupon trips in two years and thought I'd share my deals.

Walgreens #1

The G-Fit Series is on sale this week at Walgreens so I picked them up for the hubs. :)

Items Purchased:  Prime 01: $1.50; Perform 02:  $1.00; Recover 03:  $2.25
No Coupons
 Total out of pocket:  $5.25
Received a $5 mail-in-rebate
Overall Total:  25¢
[Savings of $5]

Walgreens #2

Walgreens' deal this week:
Buy $10 worth of Suave Products and Receive a $3 Register Reward
Items Purchased:  4 Suave Body Washes @ $2/each + 1 Suave Deodorant @ $2
Total Before Coupons = $10.90
Used 3 Manufacturer Coupons:  2 x Buy 1 Get 1 Free Body Wash + 1 x 50¢ off Deodorant
Total Out of Pocket = $4.40
Received $3 Register Reward (good for next purchase)
Overall Total:  $1.40
[Savings of $9.50]


Items Purchased:  2 @ $3.64 each
2 MC Used:  1 x Buy 1 Get 1 Free + 1 x 75¢ off
Overall Total:  $3.49
[Savings of $4.39]

Today's Totals
Purchase Price (before coupons):  $24.01
Out of Pocket:  $10.14
Rebates & RRs:  $8.00
Total Spent - Rebates & RR =  $5.87
Savings of:  $18.14 (or 75.56%)

Not too bad considering I'm very rusty!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Through Sat 6/18: Free 8x10 Collage Print From Walgreens!

Don't you just love free stuff?  I know I do!!

Now through Saturday, June 18th, you can receive a free 8x10 collage from Walgreens!

Here's how:  

Click here and follow the steps to create a free account (if you don't already have one), upload your photos, and order your collage.

Upon checkout enter the code 1FREEBIE.  Select in-store pickup & you've got yourself a free 8x10 collage.  [If you elect to have your collage shipped, postage charges may apply.]

What will you use your freebie on?

I haven't ordered my free collage yet because I'm trying to decide what photos I'd like to include.  

I'm considering using the ones I took of my son on his 5th birthday.  We'd rented a private plane to fly around the city in for a few hours.

Here are some of my favorite shots from that day of him being silly that just might end up in my collage:

[Note:  I wasn't compensated in anyway for this post.]

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ever Bribe Your Kids? I do!

My child is smart.

No really, he is.  I know he is.  How?  Mostly because he's a smart ass.

And only someone with a high amount of intelligence can be that quick on his toes at age 5.  Well, and I have other reasons too I suppose.... like the fact that he knows the downtown area better than I do (sadly, I'm not joking) and that his spatial reasoning and ability blows mine out of the water (again, not joking).

But he won't perform.

You know what I'm talking about....  The children that randomly come find you at the grocery store, asks you what your name is, and then proceed to tell you that they're 4 years old and everything else they know.

Yea, that's not my kid.

In fact, even when we're at home by ourselves I have a hard time pulling information out of him that I know he has to know.

It's getting better as he gets older, but honestly when he was 4 and his teachers told me he could count to 100 I about fell out in the floor.  MY child?!  Seriously?  I don't think I'd ever heard him count past 10.

He's five and finally a few months ago I heard him sing the alphabet for the first time.  I've known he was capable of doing it for a long time.  After all, the child's been writing his damn name for almost two years.  He'll even "accidently" slip up in front of me occasionally and admit that he recognizes that a certain letter is a lowercase "L," etc.  "Ah-HA!  You ARE smart!"

I don't know if this is because he's a boy, or WHAT but it makes parenting a little scary.  Fortunately, he doesn't act like this at school so I have confidence that he'll do well when he begins kindergarten in August.  And again, it's getting better.

Well, a few months ago I realized that I'd never worked with him on learning my phone number.  And in order to get him to ADMIT to me that he knew what it was (and to recite it on command) I knew I was going to have to bribe him.

So I did what any good parent would do.... I bribed him.

And it was the mother of all bribes.  "If you'll memorize my phone number, I'll take you to Toys R Us and let you buy anything that you want."

Yes, you'd be correct if you assumed the following two things from the previous statement.  1)  It was important to me that I be absolutely certain that he KNOWS my phone number by heart in case of emergencies.  2)  My kid is that unwilling to perform on command otherwise.

So, overnight he had my phone number memorized.  (Imagine that!)  But, to make sure that he really, really had it memorized... that it was permanently stored in his brain, I've made him recite it a few times a week over the past few months.  Let's just say I have no doubt in my mind that he definitely knows it.  (Whew!)

Well last night, the time finally came for me to live up to my end of the bargain.  Thankfully, the damage was only $50.  (We all know it easily could have been 10x that.)

What'd he buy?

Fun for the whole family!  It was a win.  :)  

I got what I wanted (the peace of mind knowing my stubborn child, without a doubt, knows my phone number in case of an emergency) and it only cost me $50.  

Plus, I picked a little something up for me while I was there too.  

Nothing like reliving your childhood, huh?  ;)

So yea, I bribed my child.  Yea, I'm sure you're "not supposed to do that."  But let me tell you... it was worth every penny!

Have you ever bribed your kids?  Do share.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Change is a Happenin'...

Initially the title of my blog really wasn't a title.  It was a quote that I adore (and that is one of my many mottos.)

I intend to live forever, so far so good . . . .
[That's a realistic motto, right?  Whatever.]

But, I couldn't decide if that was like putting a big red neon sign above my head telling fate to try me.  Well, it was either that or that it just wasn't catchy enough for me.  Either one.  

So, I changed it.  

This time I put a lot of thought into my title, and it's probably what most of you know my blog as:

To Find the Line

However, it just wasn't doing it for me.  I suppose that's because I'd initially anticipated my blog being more about a "journey" and all that jazz but really it's just turned into being a place for my random nonsense.  

And I'm all about some nonsense.  So, it has changed again.  And this time, for good.*

Mad Jackie
Blurring the Line Between Genius and Insanity

I feel this title is more fitting of my personality, especially considering one of my other favorite quotes is:

"I'm so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I'm saying."  
[Now, I don't care who ya are... that is pure BRILLIANCE right there.]

And besides, I do think I'm a little mad, in every meaning of the word.  I'm a little crazy.  I'm a little too enthusiastic about life (as if there were such a thing).  And I'm a little too passionate.  So yes, I am definitely mad.  

I hope that you like the new title to my blog as much as I do.  And.... I am happy to announce that very soon you will see another change.... a new design.  :)

*for good = until/if I decide to change it again

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Two Movie Tickets for $9? Yes Please!

Today at Living Social you can buy two movie tickets for $9 using!

You seriously can't beat that!

But just a warning, if you're interested in this deal, I'd purchase it now. It's available through June 10th only and I've seen similar deals actually close early due to such high demand.

To learn more about Living Social or other deal sites that I love click here.

[Note: I was not compensated in anyway for this post.]

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Inspirational Shoes

Most (if not all) of you have probably either heard of Toms, seen people wearing them, or own a pair (or two) yourselves.

If by chance you haven't, Toms are shoes.

But this is not a post about shoes.  This is a post about vision.

Before there was Toms, there was just a guy.  A guy named Blake Mycoskie (who just happens to not be too hard on the eyes, if you know what I mean).

Blake did something so simple.  He saw a need and he addressed it.

While visiting Argentina he noticed that most of the children did not have shoes.

Shoes.  How simple.  How easily taken for granted.

Without shoes these individuals are susceptible to many diseases transmitted through the soil, a leading cause of illness and death in the country.

Additionally, many children without shoes aren't allowed to attend school and therefore won't receive an education.

An education.  Something so simple.  Something so easily taken for granted.

So Blake gets an idea.  "I'm going to start a shoe company.  And for every pair that we sell, I'll give a pair to someone who needs them."


But his idea wasn't the best part.  He actually did it.  He actually made this happen.  I'll say that again in case you missed how awesome this is...

He actually MADE this happen!!
[And that is the part that blows my mind, my friends.]  

Because of his actions over one million pairs of shoes are now on one million pairs of feet that never would have had shoes otherwise.  

One million.

That's a lot of shoes.  

But it's so much more than shoes.

One million little feet.  One million opportunities for an education.  One million smiles.  One million improved lives.  

One million.  From one idea.

And this is just the beginning for Toms.  This company is less than 5 years old and is continuously growing in popularity.

Yesterday, June 7th Blake announced the newest venture for Toms.  Rather than telling you about it, please just take a minute to watch this short video clip.  

We see needs around us everyday.  Everyday.  

Sometimes we even have ideas of how to help.  But how many of them just stay ideas inside of our heads and never become more than that?  

I am inspired by Blake Mycoskie.  He didn't just see a need.  He didn't just want to help.  He put himself out there.  He sold a business to fund this venture and he actually made this happen.

I want to be that person.  I want to have the courage to put action behind an idea and make a difference in others' lives.  So thank you to Blake Mycoskie and all the others like him that remind me of just how possible this is.

I am only one, but I am one.  I cannot do everything, but I can do something.
And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.
--Edward Everett Hale

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Please Sir, Can I have Some More?

[Wood-Oven Pizza from a Pizza Company Downtown]

[Homemade Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Courtesy Of My Hubby]