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Christmas Wishes and New Year Dreams

Now that Christmas has come and gone, I am relieved, as usual. There is so much stress for me around Christmas time that I am glad it only comes once a year. Especially this year with the economy the way it is. I can't say exactly how much it is we spend each year on presents for the kids, but I can say we easily spent over $1000 this year on all 5 kids. Don't get me wrong - I love seeing them happy and ripping open their gifts. Nothing makes me happier than be able to shop for them and give them the things they have been dying to get.

The thing that stresses me out is not having the money to buy them much. Well, we really don't have the money to buy them anything and we end up going totally broke. Now our rent money is nowhere in sight and the 1st is around the corner. Since the housing market has gone all to hell, my husband, who works in construction putting street lights in new housing developments, has had less and less work. So he has now been sitting home without work for over a week. It really sucks.

So I have continued to keep looking for a work at home job. I don't know if you can imagine how much it would cost to put 5 kids in daycare - or even 4 if we let the 13 year old stay at home alone (nothing spells disaster like that). I pray and hold faith in my heart that something good will happen for us. I believe that things are meant to be and I know that whatever is meant for me will happen. In the meantime I have been plugging away at working on an information website about cloth diapers, in hopes that I can someday build it up enough to earn money through Google Adsense and other ads. Trying to get visitors to a website is the hardest part. I have had to teach myself how to create the whole website, learn some html, and create a header and learn how to publish it, but getting people to the site has by far been the hardest part!

So I cross my fingers and hope for a better new year. Happy New Year's to you and your families!

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Why I Love Blog Advertising

Blogging is one of my favorite discoveries on the internet. With my love of writing, it is the perfect outlet for me. I can be creative, insightful or just silly if I want. The best part is that blogging is a wonderful way to reach out to other people all over the United States or even further. When I started this little blog, I had no idea that you can actually make money from blogging. I had heard of it, but never really understood how. It was all a faraway concept to me. One that sounded great, but was just out of my reach. That is when I found out about blog advertising.

What is blog advertising you ask? Well it's when you write posts on your blog about interesting websites, products, companies and services and get paid to do so. This is a fabulous way to make some extra money, especially with the way the economy is now. I looked around at a lot of different blog advertising companies so I could find one that was right for me. That is when I found Paying Post. Paying Post has quickly become my favorite place to go to find opportunities for blog advertising. They have tons of blog advertising opportunities and it is a very easy program to do.

Now I know what you may be thinking - most of the companies that do blog advertising have a so many rules and criteria you have to meet before you can even have your blog approved. Not so with Paying Post. You simply need to sign up, verify your blog, and then log in to see what opportunities you are open to you. It really is that easy. I have already gotten started with Paying Post and I'm really happy with them. If you are at all interested in blog advertising, then I highly recommend Paying Post. I think you will be quite happy with how easy it is to join their program.

You Get What You Get And You Don't Throw A Fit

Children love to see how much they can get away with and how far you will let them get. (Well so will adults for that matter) If you tell them no, they love to try to whine, cry, beg and hound you into changing your mind. For example, to save money this week (my husband who is in construction hasn't worked much) we bought a big old bag of generic "toasted o's" for breakfast. Yesterday, the oldest son asked where the sugar was, and I didn't realize it was for the cereal told him where it was. (I am opposed to using refined sugar if I can avoid it) So, today one of the other boys, knowing that the oldest boy got sugar in his cereal, decided it was his mission to try to get me to let him have sugar in his cereal. Let me just tell you, I have been a parent for almost 10 years not, and those kind of games don't work with me (not like when I was much younger and unwise to these things)

So, he gets the cereal out of the cuppord and proceeds to come over to me to tell me how disgusting the cereal is, how he's not going to eat it, and it's just disgusting. I simply tell him that's whats for breakfast and if he doesn't want it, then I don't know what to tell him. He might just have to go hungry. Of course, that did not deter him easily. He felt the need to continue to tell me how disgusting it was for another minute and then huffed off. That is until a few minutes later he comes back to ask for oatmeal. I also have a policy on this. We have some flavored microwave oatmeal that is not very filling and kind of a treat, so the kids cannot have oatmeal untless they have eaten some cereal and are still hungry. So I tell him, no. Well one of the other kids is in the kitchen preparing some oatmeal and this of course drives him crazy. So he finally decides to get the 'disgusting' cereal.

After he sits down at the table and tells me again it's disgusting, I tell him if I hear another complaint he will go directly to a time out. Time out's work pretty well here. So the next thing I hear him say is that the cereal is actually pretty good, and that he's glad he got alot. I just have to laugh. I don't think as many parents realize that children really do need and want rules to live by. Yes, they will rebel and complain, such is life. Without rules and someone to guide them, what would become of a young person. I think you can just look around society today to see the answer to that. I am very proud to know that when I take my children out to eat, I always get complimented on how well behaved they are. I just wish that other parents had some of these values for their familes as well.

My New Years Resolution

As Christmas quickly approaches, I start to realize, so does the new year. 2009. I can't believe how fast this year has gone by. So many things have happened as I have watched my youngest son grow through his first year of life. When I think of New Year's and what it will bring, I have to ask myself, what does it really mean? So many people make their New Years Resolutions to make a better 'me' and celebrate the coming of a fresh start. But what really is the difference between December 2008 and January 2009? Can we not make a fresh start whenever we choose to? Can we not make resolutions more often than January of every year?

This makes me wonder what brought about the trend of the New Years Resolution. I know people are always looking for ways to better themselves (or at least I am) so I guess it's natural to want to make positive changes. I just think it's the pressure of the New Years Resolution once every year that people put on themselves that makes them never stick to them. So I have firmly placed a No New Years Resolution rule in place for me. I find it works well. That way, when I have something about myself I want to better or change, I just work on it when I realize it. If I am going to procrastinate on my better 'me', I'm doing it because I'm not ready to yet, and that's OK with me.

So, what's your New Years Resolution?

Take Care Of Yourself Moms

To all you moms out there. I know how hard you work taking care of your home and family and some even a job too. So in light of the holidays and all the hard work that us moms do, especially during this season, I thought it would be a great idea to make a list of the things that we can do for ourselves to show ourselves some much deserved love. I have created the top 5 things moms can do for themselves that are either free or low cost and don't take alot of time either. Every mom should do at least one!

#1 - Take Some Me Time

I mean real me time - leave the kids with your husband or a sitter and leave the house or lock yourself in another room away from everyone and everything. Sit in a nice relaxing bath with music playing if you have to. Real me time leaves you refreshed and is guilt free. Go to a coffee shop and read a magazine and turn off your cell phone for a half an hour. Just enjoy being free of responsibility for a short while and love it!

#2 - Get a Hair Cut

With life so busy all the time, sometimes it's hard to even remember you need a hair cut. A hair cut or new style can be invigorating. It can make you feel great about yourself and get you out of the house for a bit to chat with other adults. Then when you come home your husband is excited by your confidence and the kids are happy to see you. Best of all, a cut doesn't have to cost much!

#3 - Take A Class

Whatever kind that interests you. Yoga, dance, karate, whatever. Many local community centers have classes one day a week for a fairly low price so even if you are on a budget, you can find a class that suites your interests and doesn't break the bank. Just imagine yourself kicking butt in a Taekwondo class or jumping around the dance floor in your hip hop dance class. Super fun!

#4 - Start A Hobby

Maybe you don't fancy yourself the crafty type, but that doesn't mean you can't have a hobby. If you aren't into making things, you can try photography, gardening or scrapbooking. Just about every mom already has a camera - make it fun to go around the city and take pictures of things that inspire you. Or plant an herb garden in your window so you can use them to cook. And you can take all those pictures you have tucked in your closet and organize them and make it fun.

#5 - Write A Blog

Everyone is blogging now days and it's super easy to get started. Blogging is free and it's a great way to get some stress out and get things off your mind. It's also a great way to communicate with friends and family or just anyone at all. You can go to Blogger or Wordpress and have a free blog up and running within minutes. Then all you have to do is get writing. There's nothing like getting those creative juices flowing or just venting about something that happened.

Thank You Mama

Being a stay at home mom can be a lonely and thankless job. You work your butt off 24/7 cleaning, cooking, taking care of children, paying the bills, doing the shopping, etc. Yes you do it because you love it and you want to, but do you really get the appreciation you deserve for it? Does your husband tell you thank you honey for taking care of our home and children? Do your children say thank you mommy for taking care of me everyday? Most likely not. Sometimes they need a reminder of how hard you work (other than on Mothers Day) and sometimes you need to remind yourself too by taking a well deserved break.

I have to say, I am thankful of the Internet and it's capabilities in this day and age. Without it, I don't know what kind of connection I would have with the outside world (other than TV and ppl at the grocery store, lol) I have been able to reach out and connect to tons of people and get exposed to more information that I could ever imagine. It defiantly makes being at home all day a little less lonely.

So, for all you stay at home moms out there, give yourself a pat on the back, sit down with a hot cup of coffee/tea/whatever and relax. Do something that makes you feel good about yourself. You deserve it! You are doing one of the most important jobs there is out there and I commend you for it!

No Use Crying Over Spilt Milk

So I have almost officially given up the search for work at home. I mean I already have a full time job at home anyway - 5 kids and a husband. Shouldn't that be enough? Well it is to me, but financially, it doesn't pay the bills or anything.

I thought I had actually scored a great work at home job as a Virtual Assistant. Turns out the lady didn't want to work with me after all. Not sure why, but I had a bad feeling from the start. I think I am finally learning to trust my instincts again and relax a little more. I have really spent the last month or so stressing big time and being super depressed about not having a job and not having money for Christmas. Turns out that being totally scammed out of $1000 was not such a bad thing. We were able to get it all back and use it for Christmas. And I have learned a huge lesson.

So now that I don't have any eggs in my basket so to speak, and I have decided to stop obsessing over working at home, I am feeling alot better. I did get alot of retail therapy though. Theres no better feeling than going out and buying your kids all the things they have been wanting for so many months. It makes me really happy and I think it's going to be a great Christmas.

I was really upset about loosing potential jobs, but maybe it's the Universes way of telling me I need to focus only on my family. I guess if there is something more for me, I will find out soon enough.

Scams & Shady Business

So last year in my search for a work at home job, I got caught up in a huge scam. A "company" called The Global Speculator was hiring researchers, writers and more for telecommuting jobs to help create and maintain their website. It really seemed legit. That is until a few weeks into it everyone was freaking out because they weren't getting paid. I mean there were about a hundred "employees" for this place, most of whom had started working over a month before I was "hired". The funny thing is, the "owner" had set up a company email system where all the employees could get mass emails from managers. This allowed them all to communicate and therefore find out that no-one was getting paid. So, I was scammed and had given out my social and my bank account number. Of course I was livid. I was worried about what was going to be done with my information. One of the people that had also been scammed said they had signed up for a free trial of an identity theft program and recommended it. I went to check it out and signed up for the free month.

Fast forward a year and a half later. I am looking at a bank statement and see two charges from some company I have never heard of. (or so I thought). These charges had a website address by it, so I get on the web to check it out. PM Identity & Privacy Matters. The company I signed up for a free 30 day trial with. I keep all my bank statements (even though I never seem to look at them) and went back looking through them. I find more charges - twice a month - for this company with two names. I am extremely angry at this point. So I call these people up. The customer service agent informs me I signed up for a free 30 day trial and after that it automatically went into a charged monthly fee. WTF???? I asked to speak to a manager and boy did I GO OFF on this guy!

Obviously he didn't even know what to say. After I explained the situation to him and expressed my anger to him, all he could say was, "well what do you want me to do?" Ummm, duh! I want ALL my money back. I actually got him to agree to four months of charges back and got off the phone with many threats. I went through all the bank statements I had saved with my husband and realized they had been charging me every month, twice a month for 15 months! For a total of $1018! And I never even knew because I don't check my statements!

The questions in my mind were: how the hell can they do this? I was never told I would be getting charged anything after the free trial. And if I was automatically signed up for the program, how long do you get signed up for? Life? I mean usually a place puts you on for a year. It was a year and a half! So I had my husband call them, because he is able to be much more calm during these situations. Then he was told we were getting a refund for 11 of the months. He got off the phone. We talked and figured out exactly how much we were owed so he could call them back again. This time he was told had indeed credited our account back for the full 15 months of charges and that it would be two business days for us to see it. I was relieved, but a bit wary.

The thing that really gets me is, they obviously know what they did was wrong, otherwise they would not even consider a refund. I'm not really sure what the next step in this is, but I did get emails today stating that our account was being credited. I am really crossing my fingers here.

I guess the moral of this story is, (in case your anything like me) never give your credit card # out unless you trust the company you are buying from (or getting a free trial from), always check your bank statements and trust no one. I realize not everyone makes such foolish mistakes as I did, but I also know that this company is defiantly doing this to other people all over the United States. If they can do it to me, I know they are doing it to alot of other unsuspecting people. So be careful and beware!

Christmas Tree, Oh, Christmas Tree

Today we took are annual trip to Apple Hill to cut down our Christmas tree. Every year we look forward to driving up into the mountains and eating apple treats and searching for that perfect tree. This year was a little more special than other years though, because my youngest son is one this year, so he was able to really enjoy himself. It was also the first time to Apple Hill for my youngest step son, who just came to live with us over the summer. So the trip was filled with alot 0f excitement and sentimental moments.

In the car ride up to Apple Hill, my step son was talking about a mile a minute. I could really tell how excited he was. I think it made him happy to know he was really a part of our family to be included on our Christmas tree tradition. He kept asking the same questions over and over again and talking about what it would be like there. It was very sweet.

When we finally got there the only thing the kids could think of was apple pie. A part of our tradition is to get apple pie or cake or donuts or something delicious like that. I had to hold them off until my stomach could catch up to me from the long car ride. So we walked around and looked at homemade crafts and watched people fishing in the pond. After awhile we went to the Pie Store to get our apple pie. I have to say, the baby just loves apple pie. lol!

After that we went to go get apple donuts.( I can't refuse) and that's when we say a Christmas tree farm right there on the property. The sign read "$55 for a tree and a lb of fudge". I am so there! So we got to hunt through the tree groves for the perfect tree. The baby loved it! He was running around, playing in the mud, exploring the trees. It was a blast. And so worth the fudge. Heaven.

Then it was time for the long trip home so we could put the tree up. I just have to say, having a Christmas tree with a 1 year old - not an easy thing. He wants to hit the tree, pull on it, put his mouth on the lights, go behind it, etc. He went behind the tree so many times his hair was sticking up with sap. It was adorable. So the next project is to decorate and find a stocking for my baby and step son. I think this Christmas will be wonderful.

Santa Clause Is Watching You!

Well it's that time of year again! Time to warn your children that "Santa Clause is watching!". When they decide to scream and cry, whine and tell you "no!" they won't do their chores/homework/bath/go to bed. So you break out the old "Santa's watching" threat. I remember when they were little and it worked. They would be so worried they wouldn't get presents, or worse - a lump of coal! Now they are older and I think they pretty much know that Santa will be coming down the chimney no matter what.

And yes, my 7, 9 & 10 year olds believe in Santa. How awesome is that? I think it's sweet and precious. They are only innocent for a short time, so I want them to enjoy it. Pretty soon all their Christmas illusions will be ruined. I remember when I was a kid and didn't believe in Santa anymore. I spent my time waiting to sneak around my parents closest for presents. Yes, I was a naughty little child. Well, kinda. C'mon, I had to make sure I wasn't really getting a new feather duster and broom with matching dust pan like my Dad said.

Now that I look back, I love that he joked with me like that. Then, not so much. I was joking with one of my sons like that last night. Ah, the memories.

Baby Blocker

Why is it that the one time a month my husband and I can stay awake so we can "spend time together" (if you know what i mean, wink wink) that my 1 year old has to wake up right then! Seriously, with 5 kids we are both dog tired by 9 pm when they are all finally in bed. Then it's TiVo time. I know what you're thinking - turn off the TV! But how can I when I have 8 shows on TiVo that need to be watched? So anyway, after an hour show, my husband is usually asleep on the couch. Which I totally understand! And if he's not, then I am just too tired to function. So we both pass out thinking about it, but not doing anything. LOL. So yeah, I think my baby has some sixth sense about these things. Because he can otherwise sleep for many hours of the night without waking. Except on those nights. *Sigh*.I know other moms have this same problem, so holler at me!

Another 'Aha!' Moment

Today something happened that really reaffirmed my belief that things happen for a reason. This weekend, I was given the opportunity to speak with a woman who needed child care for her 5 children during the week. I was very excited about this opportunity because I thought it would be great for the kids (hers & mine) who all go to school together, and it would help me generate some much needed income for my family. I emailed with the lady several times and we agreed to meet after she went out for a couple of hours.

I had my kids help me clean up the house and told them that some other children from their school might be coming over for me to babysit. They worked really hard to help me clean and then waited patiently for the lady to come over. The time when I was supposed to hear back from her so I could give her my address, etc., came and went. Then several more hours after that dragged by. The kids were increasingly anxious and I was a nervous wreck. I really needed to get this job.

Finallly, that evening I hear from her and she still wants to meet. When she calls I'm in the middle of dinner, which I totally abandon to talk to her. I find out that her children have never been in day care and she's very upset about the whole thing. She still wants to meet with me, and says she'll call me back after she talks to her ex husband about coming along. By the time the kids went to bed and I hadn't heard from her, I knew it wasn't happening. I was really upset about the whole situation and had little hope about it working out.

The next day, I emailed her to ask her to please let me know if she had changed her mind. I mean I waited all day and into the evening for this person! Anyway, she finally got back to me to let me know she was able to arrange it so she didn't need to put them in day care anyway. Fine. The problem for me was, I really needed the money from this gig. Without it, I didn't know where to look next for work. I need to be at home with my children. I couldn't understand why something that seemed so perfect just slipped away so easily. I even talked to my husband last night about what meaning it could possibly have.

Then I got an email from a virtual assistant position I had applied to. I scheduled to talk to this person about my services and what they needed. I was hopeful, but wary. I didn't want to get excited again. Well the good news is, I have my first virtual assistant client! yay! And the funny thing is, I could not have done this job if I were to do the babysitting job. The hours would have conflicted. So how is that for having a deeper meaning! I love when things like that happen. Now if I could just relax and wait for it instead of questioning myself. I'll work on that next.

A Post A Day Keeps The Dr Away

Since I have started blogging, I have found it rather therapeutic. It really makes me feel good to write, to get creative juices flowing, to get out feelings and ideas. I have been writing since I was 13, and there have been many years where my pen never touched a paper other than to write notes at work or grocery lists.

I remember the first poem I wrote at 13. It was very dark and depressing. Then again, at that time, I was dark and depressed. It was the beginning of me though. I am a writer, through and through. It starts at the core of my soul and goes through to my heart. Writing has gotten me through some of the worst times in my life. Writing stories has gotten me into another world when my own was unbearable. Journal entries have helped me to sort out so many conflicting feelings. Poems have helped me cry out to the world and share my soul. It is who I am.

As much as I love to write, it has always been hard to share my writing with people I am close to. The thought of being judged, or really not accepted and loved, is enough to injure my emotions in a whole new way. If someone I loved were to read a poem I wrote for them, and didn't react as if they loved it, it would be like a 1000 deaths for me. I know that sounds funny, but like I said, I am the writing.

So now, as an adult, a mother of 5, and a wife, I am very busy. Writing is something that is very hard to find time to do. That's why I am very glad I have found the world of blogging. The best part is, it is anonymous, so I don't have to care what anyone else thinks of these words. Thanks for reading them.

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