Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wednesday Wisdom


Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without. - Confuscious


Something I keep having to remind myself is that I'm not perfect. Or more exactly, that I'm not able to be perfect. A lot of times I get hung up because I'm not able to do and be all of the things I want to. I want to be Brie from Desperate Housewives. I want to look tragedy in the eye and polish my silver first because it needs to be done. I want to box up my emotions and put them on a shelf in the closet until I'm ready to deal with them and have time to deal with them. Then take out one small box at a time. I want to be so impeccably dressed that a single stray thread on my clothing draws my attention to fix. How amazing would that be? However, as I've also learnt from Brie is that an image of perfection is not truly perfection. What good is it to appear perfect if you have to hide away from reality? No one is perfect. No one. Even if they appear to be. That's one of the things I disliked about traditional employment. I could work all day as hard as I could, and as smart as I could, and be at the top of my game. But someone was always there to point out the small flaw in my full day of spectacular work. Was the small flaw a major thing? No. Was it unfixable? No. But since it was a mistake, attention was drawn to my flaws rather than my successes. No one is perfect, yet in every job I've ever had, I was expected to be perfect. Then of course, I turn around and deal with people in other jobs that are so bad or uncaring at what they do that it's ridiculous.


On top of all that, we tend to be harder on ourselves than others are on us. Why is that? For me, I keep expecting that I should be able to be perfect. I try to do everything right. I'm mad at myself when I make a mistake. That's part of what makes it even harder to have someone else point out the mistake.


So what can we do about it? First off, if you're running your own small business, whatever stage you are at, don't be so hard on yourself. Set realistic goals. Realize that you will make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes. That's what they are there for. Think about how you would fix that mistake in a normal job. Most likely, the exact same way. Except then you would have seventeen people giving you a hard time for making it, even though it's already fixed. Laugh at yourself. Laugh at the craziness of the world. And remember how wonderful it is to be a great big ole diamond with a flaw.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Vocal Point

Well, there's nothing like changing your mood like freebies! Not that anything could really cancel out the prior post other than resolution, but you get happiness and distraction where you can.

So, Vocal Point. This has been the number one freebie site that I have signed up with. You just set up a free account, and they randomly send you free things!!! Today I had a sample size box of Kashi cereal waiting for me, which came with a coupon for a free full size box, along with several other coupons for $1.50 off. I have also received coupons for the new Bounce bar, free Rice Krispies, free Frosted Mini Wheats, and those are just the things I can remember offhand while other things are on my mind.

Set up your account at Vocal Point and just wait for the freebies to start rolling in. You never know when or what you'll get. But it sure is a nice surprise when something arrives.

Time Out Tuesday - UGH

Well, I hesitate to write this post. The thing most on my mind today is causing a lot of anger for me. But it's pretty much the only thing on my mind today, so there it is. And in the pursuit of writing an honest blog and sharing issues with others, I've decided to go ahead and write about it. Any other day I would have let it go. But on Time Out Tuesday, the whole purpose is to share a little bit more about myself and my family rather than just my business and deal shopping. So here goes.

My husband has three kids from another marriage. In the internet world, they are skids. Short for step kids. And their birth mother, although referred to in a multitude of nicknames in my household is abbreviated as BM. I like the double entendre implications there, although I tell you, I would have never named my blog Business Mommy if I had realized that the initials were the same. That is why you will NEVER see it abbreviated!

Anyway. My husband is a wonderful father. Definitely to our little boy, but I seen him in action first hand with his other kids once we were in a serious relationship. We all got along great too. To make a long story short, the same second we announced our engagement was the same second BM started keeping the kids from my husband. And after three years of trying to stop her from her manipulations, and a guardian ad litem (lawyer for the kids appointed in extreme cases) named MARTY HAAS doing what was easy rather than what was right, we've been through family therapy, court orders and everything trying to make her give my husband his kid time, and she has fought it in such extreme ways that my personal therapist (which I needed to help me get through all of this specific craziness) can't even believe what the legal system has let BM do to keep his kids from him. My therapist doesn't humor us either. He tells us how it is. And the court ordered family therapist specifically told us that we needed to play nice because BM was playing dirty and the easiest way through it all was to make her feel ok with things. Well, since I don't curse on this blog, my answer to that is BS. (I originally started the couponing when I was going to be regularly feeding three extra kids a couple times a week.)

So again. I know that I said I would try to make the long story short. Believe me, I am. The point we are at is that it was determined that BM has brain washed the kids so much that it is impossible for the kids to have a real relationship with their dad at this point. So he's allowing the step father to adopt them and stepping back so they don't have to be a part of this battle their entire childhood.

So this woman is crazy. I know. Everyone says that about their spouses ex. I was actually fine with her for the most part in the beginning. My hubby always told me she was crazy. But everyone thinks that about their ex too. So I was operating under the impression that anyone gets away with what they can if you let them. So for the sake of brevity, let's just assume that I'm right when I say that she's crazy. And not in the fun and harmless way that I am. :-) In a way that she is willing to put her children in extreme situations just to keep them from their father.

So here we are. Part of allowing the stepfather to adopt them and my hubby to stand back until they are adults and can make their own decisions, is cutting off child support. The one good thing in all of this. All of this stuff had been decided back in February. And the child support was supposed to stop on August 1st. And guess what, it hasn't. Her lawyer has even sent us mocked up documents (yes, we are filing an ethics violation charge) saying that child support cessation documents had been filed and were in process. Today is when we are finding out about this. Our lawyers were finally able to get ahold of her lawyers who have been putting us off for three weeks now. And now they are "sending a letter." Which means there is some other issue going on. I don't know what the letter entails yet. But odds are that it isn't good. So I'm freaking out in a major way. I'm feeling like an animal backed into a corner. Someone is about to get hurt. But because I'm a nice person, it's most likely going to be me imploding on myself.

I'm sorry to write such a long post about this. Oh, and Marty Haas is in Northern Kentucky. Do not give him your business if you have need of him. He is supposed to be an advocate of the children, but he realized early on that my husband and I are easy to get along with, and BM isn't, so we've been the ones that he argues with because we listen. All therapists have told us that it is in the best interest of the children for the father to be in their lives, even if the father is a loser, which my husband definitely is not. But Marty, although he pretends to be sympathetic and even angry when she does things she isn't supposed to, has never done anything to try to make her stop. He wouldn't even make her take them to the court ordered therapy.

So this is my personal issue of the day. Strike that, week. No wait, FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS. So I'm getting a little cranky. But, even though it doesn't help me at the moment, what it will turn out to do once things are over and I've settled down . . . the lesson here, for life, for business, for whatever, taking the easy way isn't always the easiest way. If my husband and I had been harder to get along with earlier on and had been squeakier wheels, then BM most likely would not have gotten away with the things that she did. Her brain washing of the children would not have been able to go so far, and we would have a normal blended family. Which isn't easy. Even when things were good, it was never easy. But it was still fun, and everyone got along and had a good time. Other than normal kid stuff, along with my own personal problems of having not been around children much, then being in a mother type role to pre teens. Certainly less of a mother role and more just assisting my husband in his parenting role. But before you've had kids, it feels like a mothering role.

So please pray for my family. We've had one disaster after another for three years. Not just in the step kid department. I keep saying, we don't need things to be easy. We just need for everything little thing to not have to be such a struggle. This adoption thing was supposed to be easy once it was decided. Ceritainly not easy emotionally, but everybody has signed their stuff, so it was just to be a waiting for stuff to be finished thing. I'm hoping that our three years of bad luck will be canceled out by winning the 250 million dollar lottery tonight! LOL. If you don't play the lotto, wish us luck. If you do play the lotto, then I understand your conflict of interest!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Competition




My prior post touched on this a little bit. If you're in business and someone realizes that you're doing good, you will have copy cats. It takes ten minutes tops of opening up shop for someone to come in and think "that's a good idea, but instead of buying it, I'll go home and make it myself." It's frustrating of course. You put the effort into the idea, and someone else is just going to copy it. Or maybe they buy one to take it home and copy it and sell it too. Either way, no fun. But there's nothing you can do about it. I suggest remaining friendly to those types of customers, and realize that theirs won't turn out anywhere near as good as yours. You have much more practice and knowledge. I always have a mental chuckle when people see my hand painted incense bottles and say that they're going to make one themselves instead of buying mine. Yes, sometimes people are rude enough to even tell you outright. It's even funnier when they ask for directions on how to do it. LOL. "Trade Secret" is the phrase to use. Another very infuriating question that I sometimes get from people is "who is your supplier?" Are they serious? I never tell those kinds of things. It's possible to find out. But if they're asking me outright, they most likely don't have the sense to do the research. I'm usually too flabbergasted by the question to have any sort of good comeback. I'm still trying to decide if it's better to make a joke of it with someting along the lines of, "if I tell you, I'll have to kill you," or if I should be a little bit rude right back. The important thing to remember is JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE ASKS, IT DOESN'T MEAN YOU HAVE TO ANSWER. I've found it hard to do. But it's necessary. I think our natural inclination is to answer whatever questions others ask. In any part of life. And if you're able, turn the conversation to your advantage. Here's an example that I was able to turn into a sale . . .



Customer: How do you make candles?


Me: (in a vague and summarized way) Melt wax, add scent and color and pour it into a mold.


Customer: Where can I get the scent? (or the ruder version . . . Where do YOU get the scent?)


Me: These fragrance oils over here (theatrical wave of my hand towards my fragrance oil selection) can be used for making candles. They can also be diffused in an oil warmer, . . . (insert entire sales spiel here) and they can even be worn.


Customer: How much do you use to make candles?


Me: Up to an ounce per pound of wax. I have a hundred and sixty different scents . . . here, smell. (I open a popular scent and hold it out.)



By this point the person is usually distracted. I've found that including the ounce per pound figure is complex enough to make them realize there's more to it than they thought. And if the person is truly interested in making their own candles, then they realize that my fragrance oils are wonderful and reasonably priced.



Prepare yourself for these types of customers and have an idea of how you want to respond. If you're like me, then you'll still be taken a bit off your game when you actually have to deal with it, but at least you can pick your chin up off the floor and have your talking points already planned out to fall back on.

No Shopping Time

Well, I think it's about that time again. I'm taking a small shopping break. Of course, I'll still need to run out for milk and a couple minor necessities (i.e. beer) but with all of the great deals from last week, I'm sick of messing with it for now. I need to take some time to get my coupons back in order. And it's the end of the month, so that means going through everything to get rid of expireds too. But I intend to go about three weeks without any major shopping trips. After doing a soda and snack run at Walgreens anyway. They have good deals on Pepsi products this week. And on Tostitos too. I have tons of salsa from a couple months ago, and it's a fairly healthy snack (comparitively.) And I've got a gazillion boxes of cereal, so I think I'm set for a while.

While I'm on my shopping hiatus, I'm going to focus on organizing what I've got, doing some intense yard and house work, and working on my candle business like crazy. I just got a huge order for my Birthday Cake candles!!! So that has renewed my enthusiasm. . . . and a word from our sponsors . . .

Birthday Cake candles are great for a gift, or for yourself. The scent of freshly baked white cake topped with buttercream icing. The candle is white with confetti colors inside of it. Get them fresh out of the oven at www.lmfcandles.com.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming. Seriously though, I put a lot of love into my candles, and the birthday cake ones are something special. I'm pretty impressed with myself on those. LOL. This is my most popular scent in candle form.

Ok, ok. So this coming week I'm going to be working very hard on my business. I will be researching marketing options and getting the shop in my garage back into shape. I had a minor setback with it due to some leeching. Someone sees your good idea and wants to do it too. Which is fine in some circumstances, but in this one it's just too close for comfort. Took the wind out of my sails a bit. But I'm back, and I'm not going to let it bring me down. All it's going to do is change the way I market.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Product Review - Pledge Mulit Surface Spray


I got a bottle of this Pledge a few months ago, and finally decided to try it out. I LOVE IT! I almost used the whole bottle in one night because I was trying to find more things to clean. I liked it so much that I might even pay full price for it. With a coupon of course. I didn't fall off the wagon or anything. Just that I won't be waiting around for a sale to get it for a quarter if I need a new bottle right away.


You can use it on practically all surfaces. So I had one rag and one bottle and could wipe down anything in sight. It smells like a light version of regular Pledge. So it's nice not to have the strong chemical smell. It does a great job on everything.


One complaint. On the bottle it says streak free and no residue. Well, you can tell from the photo that there are streaks on my stove. Could be my fault. My rag might not have been optimal for streak free cleaning. But still. There it is.


All in all . . . This is DEFINATELY a product that I find to be worth the money.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Time To Give

Part of learning about coupons and building my stockpile has made it more important to me to give to others. I have so much stuff that I get for practically nothing, that I've found myself wanting to share my information and my stockpile with others. I wrote yesterday about how I dug into my stockpile to give my brother bunches of things to help him get started in his new house. I've also taken little things with me to festivals to give out to the kids while their parents are shopping in my booth. Little girls love getting their own bottle of lotion. One other thing that I love to do is put together cute little gift packs with my deal shopping finds. But once the recipient gets all excited about it, I point out that the entire thing cost me about $3.00, and the most expensive part was the cute container I put it in. This tends to get people excited about couponing, and I love getting others addicted to this game.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Inventory

My pantry and storage closets are bursting at the seams. I've found the need to take an inventory of what I have. I will continue buying things that are free or super cheap to give away or stock pile. My brother moved into a new house a few days ago and I enjoyed having extras to give him so he could get his supplies started out. It's rough when you're starting out and have absolutely nothing in the fridge or pantry. It made his life easier, and I felt good about being able to help him out with my hobby.

The way that I'm going to manage my stockpile is to go through and take an inventory of different items. Then I'll figure an approximate date on when I expect that I'll start running low. Let's say that I have six bottles of body wash. That should last me about four months. So I'm going to put a note on the calendar towards the end of the year that I need to look at body wash and see how my supply is. Maybe I've found more super deals and bought more so I'll just change the date. Or maybe I'm running low and need to start keeping an eye out for good deals. At this point in the year though, I don't want to have to worry about running low during the holiday season. So I want to try to have a six month supply of essentials. My mind will be busy with my business. I won't want to have to think about shopping for normal stuff as much.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More Vista Print Info


Ok. So if you've been reading my site longer than two days, you know how much I love Vista Print. In my ordering today, I noticed a couple tricks to ordering. First off, they ALWAYS have sales with free or discounted stuff. So if there is something you want, just wait around for a few days and your sure to find a deal. Make sure you're on their email list, and make sure you navigate to their page from the emails they send you. I attempted to fill my cart with free and discounted things, then went to Mr. Rebates and came back to the site. Silly me. That didn't work. The prices all changed. My total had originally been $21. It changed to like $70. So I just went back to the email and followed a link and my cart changed back to what it had been. So getting the rebates definitely isn't always worth it.


Also, there are some things that are kind of pricey. It may be worth it to buy a larger amount at a later date, but for now, my business can't afford it. So every time those things come up free, I grab some. Along with a small order of something else. There's still a processing fee, but if they are things that I truly need and can put to good use, then it's worth the processing fee.


I'm still loving the email marketing too. It's so easy to do. I did come across a small hiccup when I sent an email yesterday. It somehow didn't send to anyone. I know I selected people for my list. But since I checked right away to see if any bounced back, I seen the problem and resent it successfully.

Wednesday Wisdom - Courage


"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" Winston Churchill


I don't think it would have been possible to find a more appropriate quote for me this week. As I'm trying to get myself ramped back up from past failures to be able to face my next plan of attack. Although I don't like to even think of them as failures per se. Things that haven't worked out right are more like learning experiences where I've found out what doesn't work.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Kroger Trip 8/18


Ok. I'm impressed with myself today. I scored some better than free Chicken Helper. And what's better than free you ask. It was 90 cents for three boxes, and my coupon took off a whole dollar! They paid me to take their food! You can't get much better than that.


So here's the run down. I paid a total of $19.71. Let's see. I got 4 boxes of Total cereal, 3 boxes of fruit snacks, 3 cans of veggies, 2 packs of pillsbury cookie dough, 10 rolls of Grands biscuits, 12 boxes of Chicken Helper, a package of chicken tenderloins, a bottle of terriaki sauce, 4 bars of Neutrogena soap, and a box of raisins.
There's only one type of the Chicken Helper that is on sale for that low price. Not sure why. But it's a type that my family loves, so it works for me. I made up three boxes of it, added three cans of veggies, made some mashed potatoes and Grands, and put it all together. It's like chicken pot pie without the pie. And an easy and painless way to get my family to eat extra veggies. And now I have easy leftovers for lunch for a few days too.

Time Out Tuesday

Excuse any typos you may find. As I write this, my little guy is napping on my back. What started as a "let's annoy Mommy so she will get off the computer" maneuver turned into a cozy place for a nap spot.

So. What has been going on with me outside the world of small business running and deal shooping? Not a whole bunch. I had been in a bit of a mopey, feeling sorry for myself state for a while. I feel like I've been working so hard with zero results. And with only one working car right now and that one being used by the hubby for work, I've felt trapped inside. True, I rarely went out when I had the car here to use, but just knowing that I was able to if I wanted to made a huge difference.

After spending a few days in the doldrums, I decided that it isn't pretty, so I need to pull myself together and get back into my groove. So I leaped out of bed this morning at the crack of noon and got busy. Even put on a touch of makeup. So I'm feeling pretty good today. I was awake until 4:30 am last night. Thinking about all of the things I wanted to get done today. I should have just gotten up and done a couple of them and I might have fallen asleep earlier. But that would have gone against the procrastinators mantra. Why do it today if you can put it off until tomorrow? Stay up all night worrying about it instead.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Couponers Unite!

While I was at Kmart today taking advantage of their super double coupon promotion . . . (any coupons up to $2 are doubled) I overheard a woman telling someone about how she never pays for most of the stuff she gets because of coupons. As she walked by, she seen me with my envelope full of coupons and we got to talking for a few minutes.

It's fun to go shopping and run into people that share your hobby. We shared some tips with each other, things that were new to each of us, and we complained about how we couldn't get our friends and family members to join in as much as we would like. (Come on guys. I do the hard part, all you have to do is take the coupons I hand you and go to the store and pay your 15 cents for your toothpaste.)

It was also helpful because she had already scoped out some of the coupon matchups, and so had I. So we were able to save each other time by pointing out if something was already gone, or if we had seen something that was a great deal. We couponers are our own little club. It's easy to become a member. Just start clipping your coupons and reading some blogs. Especially if you can find local ones. Then you may even be able to meet with the writer and get one on one info!

Friday, August 14, 2009

FREE, FREE, FREE


Several items I will never pay for again . . .


With combining sales and coupons, there are several things that I should never had a need to pay money for ever again.


Toothpaste - I have gotten so much free toothpaste, that I probably have a big enoug stockpile to last for the rest of my natural life. At least for as long as I have teeth. LOL. I still "buy" more when I get it free, and I also give it to friends and family. Not everyone has time to coupon and deal shop, so I feel better knowing that my work can still help them out even if they aren't the ones showing up at the store with coupons in hand themselves.


Deoderant - This one is a bit trickier. I can get a lot of deoderant free, or next to free. But my husband insists on a specific type that usually isn't free. He doesn't so much care which brand, but he has to have the gel type that squeezes through the holes. So I recently had to pay 50 cents each for a dozen deoderants for him. My needs are less specific, so mine is always free, or maybe 9 cents.


Mustard and hot sauce - I think I have a big enough supply of these two condiments to last for the rest of my life! I still "buy" more when I get the coupons that make them free. Although I do usually take a quick look around the aisle to see if anyone else wants my coupon to get a bottle free before I grab it myself. I'm planning to put together some cute gift sets with it. Throw in a cute basket and a cute, inexpensive pot holder from IKEA, and a couple other odds and ends and it will be beautiful.


Celestial Seasonings Tea - around the winter holidays, Kroger marked these down to $1 a box. With a 50 cent off coupon that doubled, these were completely free. I'm not much of a tea drinker, but for free, I'll have it occassionally. Besides, I want to drink more because it's healthy. These are also good for gift sets. Put it in a basket with a mug or two, and you have a wonderful Christmas gift.


Lots of other things - There have recently been a lot of really good beer rebates out there. One that my family did was the 12 pack of Smithwicks. You spend $50 on groceries, buy the 12 pack of beer on top of that, then get $20 back. I've been doubling up on rebates. I just inform the cashier ahead of time that I will need multiple receipts. Then I spend my $50, and I try to include as many other rebate items as possible to lower my total after rebate amount. Recently it's been the $20 back from the beer, $6 back on a case of Snapple, $7 back on a pack of Pediasure, and $10 back on 10 cans of AMP. So out of $50 worth of groceries, I end up getting $44 back. Is that a deal or what?!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Internet Shopping Rebates

As you can see from my banner, I really like the Mr. Rebates website. I have explained how this works before, but I will touch on it again just a bit. Any shopping that you want to do online, go to the rebate site first, do a search for the store you want to shop at, then click the link to take you to that store. Any purchase you make, you will automatically get cash back on.

Mr. Rebates is my favorite. There are other sites out there too that work the same way. Cashbaq and Ebates are the other ones I'm familiar with. If you have an account at all three sites, just compare the percentage rates at each one to determine which site to use. For example, if I was making a purchase at Brylane Homes, Mr Rebates gives me 5% back, Cashbaq pays 2.5% back, and Ebates pays 3% back. So I would use Mr. Rebates to make the purchase.

Don't forget to do a separate search at Retail Me Not to find a coupon code!

This is especially great for the Vista Print products and services. Mr. Rebates gives you 10% back on Vista Print products.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I heart Vista Print

Well, I talked about the Vista Print email campaign thing a few days ago. I love it! I've sent my second campaign now, and it is such a useful tool. For all the reasons I stated before. I won't go in to all of the details again since you can just go back and read it. It's fun! It's only been a week and I'm already nearing the limits of the free trial. I have 45 email addresses to use, and I'm going to need to be entering more before my email next Tuesday. So I'm going to have to pay the $10 then I'll be able to have up to 250 email addresses. I anticipate that I'll be needing the $30 package by the end of the year. That allows me to have up to 2500 emails.

Anyone who has looked into advertising at all knows that $30 a month to make that many contacts is a reasonable price. As a comparison, think about how much 2500 stamps would cost. And think about how much time and effort it would take to deliver 2500 flyers door to door. Print advertising is more expensive too. This way you are reaching an audience that wants to hear from you. And if they don't, they can unsubscribe and you can stop messing with them.

Another point I want to make with this . . . I have attempted to send a mass email before. I have a huge list that I got from doing a bridal show. (Very expensive, boring, and a lot of follow up work required to get orders, I don't recommend it.) I had attempted to use that list to send a mass email a couple months ago. A lot of them were invalid email addresses, and a lot of people unsubscribed. With me doing it manually, that means I need to go through my list and delete those people. It's a lot of work. Plus, just sending the emails bogged down the system. I must have reached some sort of limit on outgoing emails because after about 100, they stopped sending. Frustrating and time consuming. And of the people that didn't bounce back or unsubscribe, I have no idea if it's hitting their junk folders and never being seen, or if they're ignoring it, or reading it or what. With Vista Print, if I see that a person isn't opening the emails I send, I can delete them from my list.

Wednesday Wisdom


Restlessness and discontent are the first necessities of progress. -Thomas Edison


It's nice to think that there's a reason for all of the problems that are going on in my life! I do feel that there's a reason for everything and that our problems and suffering are there for us to learn from. BUT IT'S SUMMER VACATION. I'm supposed to have a break from learning during summer break, right? Oh well. Nothing I can do about it if I'm supposed to learn something from my hardships. I think that these things keep happening to push me forward with my business. If I didn't have so many things that I need money for then I might not work so hard to make my business successful.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

One small step for Business Mommy!


Thank you to all who visited yesterday! I reached my first goal of having 50 visitors in a single day! This is largely due to my muffin tin post that was linked to Her Cup Overfloweth. Thank you Michelle for giving me a fun post to be a part of, and thank you for coming up with the idea that is helping me feed my little guy, Dawson, in a way that he is loving!


Michelle also posts a lot of fun craft ideas for kids. Maybe you can find something fun to do with your little ones too, or maybe she can inspire you towards a new idea for your own crafts.

Band of Barbies

This is a new blog that I've started reading. Band of Barbies is written about small business issues. Particularly those that face women. The most recent post is about the difference between businessmen, and businesswomen. Most notably, the women are labeled as bitches. I think most women deal with this stereotype, whether you work in the business world, or if you own your own business. The key is to take pride in being called a bitch! All it means is that you've outmaneuvered a man to the point that he has no other recourse to cover for himself other than to call you a name!

Time Out Tuesday - Sometimes Life Sucks

Have you ever had one of those days where NOTHING goes right? Have you ever had one of those years? I swear, the past three years of my life have felt like that. There have been a couple spectacularly good things. Meeting and marrying my hubby, and having my baby. But everything else just seems neverending. I'll give you the short list. Trees falling in the back yard, breaking a cap on my tooth, hubby breaking a cap, lap top died, other computer died, hubby got laid off, got new job, got laid off again, luckily got new wonderful job, I got laid off, lots of expensive medical fees (happily not for anything life threatening,) dealing with an unpleasant person on an almost daily basis, dealing with a herd of little unpleasant people, and dealing with the side effects that come with being laid off and having lots of medical (and ahem. . . legal) expenses.

And remember, that's the short list. LOL. It's feeling like things are never going to get to a normal level. I certainly don't expect life to be perfect. I'm just ready for it to not be so freaking hard. I feel like I'm in a leaking boat and throwing out bucket after bucket of water to keep from sinking. Most of the time I'm able to just barely stay afloat, then as soon as I start to make some progress, another wave comes along. At least I have my family. And all of these hardships have pointed me in the direction of learning about the saving money websites out there. And my own challenges of finding money leftover to still be able to work on my business when it feels like every penny goes out the door has inspired me to write this blog and hopefully help others in similar situations.

All of this hardship in my life should be ending in the near future. And when it does I'm going to be fortunate to have gone through all of this. I'll already know how to live frugally so that I'll be able to get the most for my money.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Muffin Tin Monday


Lunchtime!

The muffin pan has turned out to be a spectacular way to feed my son his lunch. I did it three times last week. He loves it! It's easy for me because it allows me to have a better idea of the kinds of serving sizes and variety that I want to be giving him. And he loves sticking his fingers in the holes to find his snacks. I try to pick things that aren't too messy so he doesn't have to get in the high chair for them. His favorite is peanut butter sandwiches made out of eggo waffles. The peanut butter melts into the waffle squares a bit when they're still warm, so it makes it less messy for him to eat. So there's two holes with sandwich sections, then two holes with fruit, then I usually put a dessert in one, and a snack in one. The snack has been Quaker rice cakes. He loves them. And the dessert has been M&Ms. He usually starts with dessert. He takes after his momma. I don't include veggies because he won't eat veggies when he has options. If they are the only thing in front of him, he likes them. Next to anything else, forget it.

I've found that the muffin tin is also good for his memory. I put it on a tv tray and try to get him to sit on the couch with me to eat. Nope. He's too busy for that. But he pays attention to where everything is, and he sticks his hand up to grab and gets exactly what he wants. I realized this when I turned it around once to try to convince him to eat something other than M&Ms first. He got so frustrated and kept looking under his rice cakes trying to figure out why the candy wasn't there when it should have been. So I don't trick him anymore. So long as he's eating other things too, let him start with the candy.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

How to tell if you're stressed


1. You wake up in the morning with sore muscles because you couldn't relax even while you were asleep.


2. You don't wake up in the morning with sore muscles because you didn't sleep.


3. You don't wake up in the morning with sore muscles because you don't wake up until the afternoon.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Vista Print Email Campaigns


This is the coolest thing in the world! If you like Vista Print like I like Vista Print, then you'll love this new feature. Go ahead and sign up for the free 1 month trial if you have a small business or a blog you want to advertise. It's simple to set up. You can enter email addresses manually, or import a file. I did mine manually, so I don't know how well the import works. Then you can very easily create a snazzy looking email to send to everyone.


A really nice feature that I like is that you can set up your emails to be sent on a certain date, and you can send them to your list up to six times a month. This will be super nice for me because I can sit down and create all of my emails at once, then schedule them to send automatically for the whole month. I will still need to log in throughout the month to add more email addresses (hopefully.)


Another totally awesome feature is that once you've sent an email (called a "campaign,) you can track it. You can see how many of them bounced back to where the email address is wrong or no longer in service. It also tells you who the unbelievers (ie, unsubscribers) are. And it also tells you who has opened your email! Another feature that I think is super nifty is that over time, you can get stats on the people who NEVER open your emails. So you can delete them from your list and only send to the people that care.


The free trial is for an email list of up to 50 contacts. If you do any networking at all, hopefully you're already close to this number. After 1 month, it costs $5 a month. For a list of up to 250 it is $10 a month. I think this is a great price for a valuable marketing tool. And an easy way to track how well your marketing is working. Fingers crossed that I can actually get some sales this way!

One last tidbit. There is also a feature where you can create code to put into your website to allow people to subscribe to your email. You can see the box I added on my website. www.lmfcandles.com. As you can tell from the length of this post, there are a gazillion things that make this a wonderful service to have. Click my link to Vista Print in the side bar to see more!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Everlasting Green Onions?

I found this post today . . . http://mommy-wise.blogspot.com/2009/08/did-you-know.html Pretty cool for green onions for the rest of your life! LOL.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Time Out Tuesday - My Little Shark


Those of you in the Cincinnati area . . . did you hear those awesome thunderstorms this morning?!!! Now that all the trees are already down in my backyard, thunderstorms are wonderful again. Although they do usually start with a St. Bernard and Canaan dog on top of me and husband wanting to be snuggled and protected from the mean thunder.


Dawson is in a stage now where he loves to be kissed. He will give kisses, and if he wants a kiss he will lean his head in to mine. Last night I had him with me watching a movie in bed. Dave was downstairs watching his Monday night wrestling. (men.) Dawson kept giving me kisses. After a few, he decided to try it with his mouth wide open and bit my chin. Ouch! He thought my little squeal was hilarious, so he kept doing it. So from my point of view, all I see is a baby mouth wide open and little teeth coming at me. It was so funny and cute, and he wasn't being mean or hurting me, so I let him keep up the game. The little booger chased me all over the bed biting me and giggling while I screamed in pretend outrage.

Kroger Deals

There are a few really good Kroger deals this week. I'm going to highlight a few, but remember, The Grocery Game has a much more extensive list. And even better, now the trial period is completely free. So try it out!

One other thing to mention before I highlight a couple Kroger deals . . . P&G Esaver. If you aren't using this yet, get with the program!!! All you do is set up a free account, add your Kroger card number, and then go through their list of coupons and select the ones you want. The coupons are added to your card and automatically come off at the register when you purchase those items. Even better, you can combine the esaver coupons with regular manufacturer coupons! Some of the great deals I'll be getting this week have both a paper coupon and an esaver coupon.

Lady Speed Stick on sale for 88 cents, $1 off 2 MQ makes them 38 cents each!

Right Guard Deodorant on sale for $1, $1 off 2 MQ makes them 50 cents each!

Tampax Tampons $1.99 w/ four item purchase, .50 MQ doubles to $1 off, PG esaver .50 makes them 49 cents a pack!
(and speaking of this . . . I'm not pregnant. . . yet.)

Puffs Tissues - Buy 3 boxes, and make sure you buy something else that gets you to the 4 item purchase price which is 79 cents a box. MQ for .25 off 3 and PG esaver for .25 off 3. Equals 54 cents a box.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mean People vs. Couponers


Well, I had an interesting experience at Walmart today. It was coupon day, and four inserts in the paper, so I was out grabbing my extra papers. At Walmart there's a great big display of them with four sections. I always go to the back corner section so I'm out of everyone's way. That way, normal paper readers can grab a paper. But I have to flip through and make sure that the papers I'm getting have all of the coupon inserts in them. Tim, my friendly Walmart greeter, was not happy with me at all. I had come across one paper that did not have all the coupons in it, so I put it aside. He felt the need to come over and complain to me about how I was messing up all of his papers. I told him that I was checking to make sure that they had all the inserts. He gave me a huffy, "they all have the same things." As anyone who pays attention to the coupon inserts knows, newspapers are put together by people, who are not perfect and make mistakes. It's pretty common to come across papers that are missing pieces. That said, I bought five papers, all of which had their coupons, but I ended up with only one Kmart, Staples, and Office Depot ad, and did not receive ANY CVS ads.

So anyway. Tim stood there and gave me mean looks the whole time, and I tried to hurry. Not that I care so much about what Tim thought about me, but it did make me uncomfortable to be stared at. And as chance would have it, Tim was not even wearing a name tag, so I asked him specifically what his name was. I checked out then went directly to customer service. Yes, there was a line. But I've had enough run-ins with rude greeters whose very job description is to make customers feel welcome in the store that I feel it's my obligation to say something. Especially when it's on behalf of couponers. Plus, the mystery shopping thing also puts me in that mindset. Places pay me money to let them know if their associates are doing their job. Although Walmart is not one of those places, when it's my personal experience at the store that is suffering, and assuming I have a few minutes to spare, I try to speak up.

So anyway. I stood in line at customer service to complain. The customer service cashier got a manager for me, and was also aggravated because she also buys the Sunday paper just for the coupons, and also checks to make sure it looks like everything is there. So the manager came up and I told her my sad story. She seemed honestly concerned about it and said that she would say something to Tim. She told me to go ahead and check through my papers there at the counter to make sure they had what I needed.

While I was standing there checking the papers, another customer came in with a coupon complaint. One of her coupons wouldn't scan, which again, any couponer knows, this happens. It just does. Maybe the ink didn't print perfectly or something. I don't know. Lots of reasons. It happens. But she was told that it must be a fraudulent coupon. In front of everyone she was accused of committing coupon fraud. She ended up telling the cashier to just take the item off her order and she would use her perfectly good coupon elsewhere. If it was me, I would told the cashier that I would wait while she got a manager and/or called corporate if that was necessary. I figure it's my job to be as big of a pain in the you know what as possible if anyone tries to give me a problem with something that I know should work just fine.

Anyway. My papers were fine, so I left. And on the way out, I noticed that Tim was suddenly wearing a name tag. I tried to give him a mean "neener" stare, but he was working hard to keep from looking at me. LOL.