Wednesday, June 29, 2011

5 Little Sayings to Help You Get Organized

'Spring Ahead. Fall Back.' That little saying always helps us remember whether we should set the clock ahead or back one hour. Similar little sayings, are also great for helping you to get and stay organized. Here are just a few:

1. A HOME FOR EVERYTHING AND EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE. Every item you have, no matter what it is, should have a designated home. For instance, the home for your magazines might be your magazine holder, which is located on your bookshelf. Or your home for your extra file folders and labels, might be the top shelf of your office supplies cabinet. If an item doesn't have a specific home, it's considered to be 'homeless.' Something that is homeless, tends to get lost. Designate a specific home for all of your stuff. Then, be sure that everything taken, gets returned to its home when done being used.

2. DON'T PUT IT DOWN. PUT IT AWAY. When you remove something from its home, the best thing to do when you're done using it, is to put it away. Yes, sometimes it seems easier to just place it on the kitchen table until later, or to put it on your desk until tomorrow. Unfortunately, this often results in many items being out of place, which can leave your home or office in disarray. Never mind the fact that it presents a bad example for other family members, or staff members. Don't give clutter a chance to form. Put it away now. You'll find it when you need it, and your environment will remain clutter-free.

3. FILE, DON'T PILE. It is very easy to get overwhelmed with paper. Our paper volume increases on a daily basis. Between lists, mail, bills, school papers, documentation, warranties, etc., it's often seen as a pain to take the time to handle those papers immediately. However, if those papers begin to transform themselves into piles--and they usually do--it's going to be even more of a pain to get them under control. Piles tend to get taller and taller, until even the idea of dismantling them seems colossal. This results in lots of piles, and even more stress. If you DON'T need a piece of paper, get rid of it immediately. Either recycle it, or give it to the appropriate party. If you DO need a piece of paper, file it right now. Don't put it down, even for a minute. Either place it in your filing cabinet, your Tickler file, your bill paying system, etc. If you take the time to file it now, it won't stand a chance of growing into a huge pile.

4. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY. Clutter and chaos go hand in hand. The more things you have, the easier it is for clutter to form and grow. Always remember to place your emphasis on quality over quantity. In other words, it's not important to have a lot of things, many of which you never use. It's more beneficial to have fewer things, all of which you use and/or enjoy. Simplify your life and you will get and stay organized!

5. FIND EVERYTHING YOU NEED WHEN YOU NEED IT, GET EVERYTHING DONE WHEN IT'S DUE. Many people think that getting organized is about being neat and tidy. On the contrary, a person who is not very neat or tidy, can be very organized. Being organized actually entails 'finding everything you need when you need it, and getting everything done when it's due.' If you can master these two things, you are well on your way to being organized.

Post submitted by Maria Garcia
{Originally submitted to CharlotteMommies}
Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wonk Wonk Wonk ~ How to Train Your Kids to Ignore You

It started with a trip to the grocery store. While I waited for the cashier to ring up my items, a mother behind me was delivering a soliloquy (only she didn't recognize it as such!).

"Suzy, you're not going to take that home."
"Suzy, you can carry that around but I'm not buying that."
"Suzy, you've been naughty. Why should I buy that for you?"
"Suzy, put that away. I'm not paying for it."
"suzy, everyone is looking at how much trouble you're causing."

And on and on and on...

I was so thankful when the cashier gave me my total. I was tired of this woman blathering on and I don't have to live with her! Poor Suzy. She is being trained to ignore her Mother. The more Mom talks, the less she hears.

Mom needs to learn rule number one:

Less Talk, More Action

Remember the Peanuts cartoons? When one of the adults spoke, all the kids heard was "wonkwonkwonkwonk". The more you lecture, threaten, warn, count to 3, etc... the less your child listens. Stop diluting your effectiveness as a parent with these non-actions. Use natural consequences as often as possible, and deliver the consequence calmly and swiftly. For example:

If your two year old won't stop running into the street, clearly explain to her that if she does it, she will be taken inside for the day. Then, when she does it (and she will, of course, cute little Scientist that she is!), calmly and without fanfare, escort her inside. Don't give her warnings or "another chance".

Toddlers and young kids don't understand an abstract concept like getting hit by a car... something they've never seen, felt or tasted. So talking about it until you're blue in the face is unlikely to do any good.

But what they DO understand is cause and effect. "If I do "X", then Mommy does "X"....EVERY TIME. Even young babies learn this. Ever noticed how excited your baby gets right before you feed him? He's learned that when you hold him a certain way, food is forthcoming. Our kids are smarter than we think sometimes.

Another example: Two siblings are fighting about a toy. Don't waste your time trying to figure out who is in the wrong, it's virtually impossible and just encourages tattling. The children will learn how to work out their own negotiations if involving the parent means unpleasantness. The toy is put up for a period of time. End of story. Toy squabbles will dramatically decrease almost magically!


Let Your Yes Mean Yes & Your No, No

Do what you say you will do. If you tell your child that acting up in the grocery store means no cookie from the bakery at the end of the trip, MEAN it. I'll never forget the look on my 2 year old daughter's face as she watched her brothers eat huge chocolate chip cookies while she went empty handed! Few things impress a young child more than you holding to your words, calmly and without a lot of emotion (that just makes you look like an idiot). Children don't respect you if you are always swinging back and forth like a pendulum. Decide what's important to you and expect those limits to be respected.

This rule makes parenting so much easier because your kids will stop testing you so much, which is just their way of saying "Do you really mean it?".

The flip side of this is that when you promise something positive, you had better make good on it! If you do this, your children will learn that you mean what you say.

{Originally posted on SaltLakeCityMommies}
Monday, June 27, 2011

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Share Your Viewpoints with The Mommies Network!


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Strawberry Sparkles





I love strawberries, they even may be my favorite fruit. There really isn't a strawberry recipe that I will turn down. So when I was scrambling my brain and the internet for a dessert idea for my friend's BBQ I thought Strawberry Sparkles. Such a simple recipe and quick. Both things that I love, since my baking skills are still developing. 





Ingredients

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar
4 teaspoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup white sugar
2 drops red food coloring
1 pint fresh strawberries






    In a small bowl, beat together cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth. Chill 2 hours in refrigerator.

    Side note and funny story, confectioners sugar and granulated sugar are not the same. Yes sugars still to this day can trick me. So I ended up putting granulated and confectioners sugar in my mix. The end product just came out a little more grainy then what it should have been. Still Yummy all the same!



    Stir together white sugar and food coloring. Dip strawberries in cream cheese mixture, then in tinted sugar. Refrigerate until serving.

    This recipe was a snap to make and a simple dessert to take to any get together. I didn't hear any complaints from the crowd at the party. They were yummy!



    Post submitted by Kathy (absolutelykathy) from CentralPiedmontMommies.
    {Originally submitted to CentralPiedmontMommies Blog on 6/7/2011}

    Wednesday, June 22, 2011

    You Are Not Just A Mother, You Are YOU First!

    Mothers face many challenges in today’s world. They carry the responsibility of many roles. Through these roles we become different things to different people. Sometimes we get divided over having a career and having a families or find conflict between the different jobs that we try to do. Making the question “Who am I?” even harder to answer.

    It grows harder because mothers see this little person that looks up at them with innocent trusting eyes, mommy is everything to that little one. She makes the hurt from boo-boos go away with a kiss, chases the monsters from under the bed away, and rocks them after a bad dream. Every mother takes that responsibility and carries it with her no matter where she goes. It is an awesome responsibility of caring for this wonderful little person and being mom is always on the mind. As much as it is wonderful to revel in mommyhood, we still need to remember that being a mother is just one part of us, the more we allow ourselves to see who we are the better examples we can set for our children to leading a balanced life.

    As a mother, I have struggled to find my own identity. I am a mother, a wife, a daughter, a business owner, a sister, a friend…..but who am I? It is easy to define yourself by what you do and what you mean to other people. As we take on these different roles our own identity gets blurred. It is harder to make the distinction. Who am I if I am not Logan’s mom or Ben’s wife?

    Who are you? A wife, a mother, an employee, they are all a part of who we are, but they do not define you. We are the only ones that are able to define who we are. When are we just women? Women that have our own values, ideas, and philosophies, women that are able to embrace their different roles in life, but still are able to maintain there sense of “self”.

    The importance of women defining who they are is giving them a chance to grow as women. To recognize that they need to take off all the different hats that they wear during the day and take time to honor who they are.

    The problem is that because they are in so many different roles that they stop seeing themselves separate from them. They stop taking time for themselves, because they are giving so much to everyone else. Does this sound familiar? Have you lost your identity among the different jobs that you do everyday? How do you see yourself?

    Here are a few questions that can help you determine if you are defining yourself by what you do instead of who you are:

     Do you spend at least an hour a day doing the things that you want to do? (Reading, participating in hobbies, watching your favorite TV program, etc)

    When asked to describe yourself do you start with “I enjoy…” or “I am a woman that believe/feel….”? Or do you say, “I am a mother…” or “I am a nurse…”

    Are you able to say “no” to things that interfere with the things that you want to do? Or that you do not have time for?

    Do you feel that your life is in balance? Which means that you get enough time to pursue your own interest instead of just the interest of your children or significant other?

    Do you feel that you spend time equally on yourself as you do on others?

    If you answered “no” to any of the questions it is time to get back in touch with yourself. You need to not only stop defining yourself by what you do but you need to spend sometime getting to know who you are.

    Here are some tips for you to get in touch with the forgotten woman inside.

    Make sure that you spend time perusing your own interests. The problem with defining yourself by what you do is that you don’t give yourself time to do what you want to do; your time is spent doing for others. Do something that you have always wanted to do; take a class, start a book club, anything that gives you some time to just do your own thing. Above all make the time to do it! It’s ok to do something for yourself.

    Say “NO” frequently! Just because you take on different roles does not mean that you have to do everything for everybody. Recognize when there is something that others could really do for themselves. Do not let yourself be taken advantage of! REMEMBER it is just as much of a benefit for others to learn how to do for themselves as it is to you.

    Make sure that you have OFF DUTY time! Just like a conventional job, make sure there is a time of day when you are done. Don’t work right up until you go to bed. Give yourself time to unwind, distress, and relax. Wait until the kids are in bed and take a long hot bubble bath. Curl up in your favorite chair with a good book. Meditate or do yoga. Do whatever relaxes you. You need this time to maintain some balance. Because of you multiple roles you are “on the clock” the majority of the time. You have to have time to distress! Without it you are going to “burn out”. Visualize your bank account if you keep making withdraws without making a deposit, eventually you are going to just run out of resources. Make sure to take time to revitalize yourself.

    I have found that by maintaining my own identity that I am a better mother, wife, daughter, business owner, sister, and friend. It maintains balance in my life because I know that even though I am different things to different people; I know what it means to just be me.

    {Originally posted on TriadMommies}
    Monday, June 20, 2011

    Hey Mom, Why Does Your Kid Wear that Football Helmet?

    Childbirth, we all pray for it to be easy, but I was one of the not-so-lucky ones. I had a long and painful labor, my son was stuck against my pelvic bone for hours, and when he was finally suctioned out, his head was severely misshapen. Many kids come out with crooked heads, isn’t this what that hoodie in the hospital is for? “Give it a few weeks, the doctors say”. Well, I gave it a few months, and the condition only got worse. My son developed severely restricted head and neck movement, which in turn resulted in hearing problems and infections that we are still dealing with 18 months later.

    So what is this called? The condition is called plagiocephaly, Greek for “an oblique head”; plagiocephaly results from external forces applied to a soft and malleable infant skull. This can be the result of childbirth, but can also develop from a number of external circumstances such as sleeping on the back with little tummy time, or only turning the head in one direction due to torticollis (restriction of the neck muscles), and prolonged use of an infant car seat, carrier, or swing (perhaps due to reflux). Whatever the case, many of us are mistakenly told by our pediatricians that the asymmetry will fix itself. However, in moderate or severe cases, this is untrue. Sure, the child’s hair will grow and perhaps the deformity will be slightly camouflaged, but this condition is not one that is self-correcting.

    So what does this mean? Many people, including some insurance companies, also believe that plagiocephaly is merely a cosmetic problem. This is not the case, facial asymmetry can cause eating and chewing problems, vision problems, and in my son’s case, hearing problems and ear infections. This is a medical condition, and one that as parents, we should probably be aware of. Well, we all know that babies need to sleep on their backs and ride in infant carriers while in the car, so what treatments are available to assist in correcting the head shape? The child will most likely have to wear a custom-fit helmet or band for 23 hours a day for several months to correct the problem. The helmet, though it looks obtrusive, is quite lightweight and rarely bothers the child. My son actually cried when we took his off! The specialist will cast a mold of the child’s head to develop a band for the child that will slowly correct the deformity through constant pressure. The band will be adjusted weekly to accommodate growth and development. Many children are treated after two or three months, though some will wear their head accessory for as long as six months. Treatment is most successful if started between 4 and 6 months; however, a child can start treatment at as late as 18 months. Additionally, physical therapy is also affective in reinforcing the treatment.

    So, the next time you see a child running around in a white or painted helmet that looks like they may be a baby wrestler or football player, you will now know that that child is being treated for plagiocephaly. And moms and dads, if this happens to your child, please learn the facts, know that this is a medical condition and does require attention, but also know that it can be treated without painful or intrusive surgery, and most important, know that this is not your fault. Let’s educate one another, our doctors, and our insurance companies. Stay aware of your child’s development and be proactive in his treatment. And hey, look at the bright side, I was actually thankful during a few baby tumbles that my child was well protected in his headgear! And the bands are a great way for your child to express his individuality.

    For more information, please visit http://www.cappskids.org or http://www.cranialtech.com.

    {Originally posted on RichmondMommies}

    Do you have a child with special needs?  Find support at SCValleyMommies.com
    Friday, June 17, 2011

    Dirt Cake


    Dirt cake is one of my favorite desserts. Brings back memories of childhood when I played softball in a summer league. Every summer we would have a end of season banquet to pass out trophies and to have a cook out. One of the mother's would always being dirt cake.  It was always the hit of the cook out. The recipe below has been doubled since I am using a large flower pot. If you want to use a smaller potion please half all the ingredients.


    In a large bowl mix two (16oz) packages of cream cheese, half a cup of butter, and two cups of powdered sugar together. Note: Make sure to use a large bowl. Also I used a mixer when mixing all the ingredients together and it flew things everywhere. I found that if I used a spoon first to mix and then use the mixer that it worked better.


    In a separate large bowl mix 16oz. container of whipped topping, four small packages of instant french vanilla pudding, and seven cups of milk together. 




    Note: Make sure to use two bowls to mix the ingredients together and then pour together into a large bowl. I had a tough time mixing. I need to buy a larger bowl. 



    Combine both mixtures together until smooth.




    Crumble Oreos in food processor or roll with a rolling pin. I used two large packages of Oreos. 




    Note: When I make this recipe again and if I use the same size container I would use three packages or Oreos.




    If you decide to use a clean flower pot, line it with tin foil for added protection.



    Layer the Oreos and pudding mixture to the top beginning and ending with Oreos. 


    Chill for several hours or overnight. Decorate with gummy worms, silk flowers, or 
    construction toys. You will be sure to be the hit of your Memorial Day BBQ. 

    Post submitted by Kathy (absolutelykathy) from CentralPiedmontMommies.
    {Originally submitted to CentralPiedmontMommies Blog on 5/28/2011}
    Wednesday, June 15, 2011

    First-Born Jealousy

    Question: Our first-born is showing extreme jealousy towards the new baby. He’s obviously mad at us for disrupting the predictable flow of his life with this new challenger for our attention. How can we smooth things out?

    Think about it: Before the baby entered your family, your toddler was told he’d have a wonderful little brother to play with, and how much fun it would be. Then the little brother is born and your toddler is thinking, “Are you kidding me? This squirming, red-faced baby that takes up all your time and attention is supposed to be FUN?” He then “plays” with the baby in the only ways he knows how. He plays catch. You yell at him for throwing toys at the baby. He plays hide-and-seek. You yell at him to get the blanket off the baby. He gives the kid a hug, and you admonish him to be more careful. Is it any wonder that your toddler is confused?

    Teach: Your first goal is to protect the baby. Your second, to teach your older child how to interact with his new sibling in proper ways. You can teach your toddler how to play with the baby in the same way you teach him anything else. Talk to him, demonstrate, guide and encourage. Until you feel confident that you’ve achieved your second goal, however, do not leave the children alone together. Yes, I know. It isn’t convenient. But it is necessary, maybe even critical.

    Hover: Whenever the children are together, “hover” close by. If you see your child about to get rough, pick up the baby and distract the older sibling with a song, a toy, an activity or a snack. This action protects the baby while helping you avoid a constant string of “Nos,” which may actually encourage the aggressive behavior.

    Teach soft touches: Teach the older sibling how to give the baby a back rub. Tell how this kind of touching calms the baby, and praise the older child for a job well done. This lesson teaches the child how to be physical with the baby in a positive way.

    Act quickly: Every time you see your child hit, or act roughly with the baby, act quickly. You might firmly announce, “No hitting, time out.” Place the child in a time-out chair with the statement, “You can get up when you can use your hands in the right way.” Allow him to get right up if he wants – as long as he is careful and gentle with the baby. This isn’t punishment, after all. It’s just helping him learn that rough actions aren’t going to be permitted.

    Demonstrate: Children learn what they live. Your older child will be watching as you handle the baby and learning from your actions. You are your child’s most important teacher. You are demonstrating in everything you do, and your child will learn most from watching you.

    Praise: Whenever you see the older child touching the baby gently, make a positive comment. Make a big fuss about the important “older brother.” Hug and kiss your older child and tell him how proud you are.

    Watch your words: Don’t blame everything on the baby. “We can’t go to the park; the baby’s sleeping.” “Be quiet, you’ll wake the baby.” “After I change the baby I’ll help you.” At this point, your child would just as soon sell the baby! Instead, use alternate reasons. “My hands are busy now.” “We’ll go after lunch.” “I’ll help you in three minutes.”

    Be supportive: Acknowledge your child’s unspoken feelings, such as “Things sure have changed with the new baby here. It’s going to take us all some time to get used to this.” Keep your comments mild and general. Don’t say, “I bet you hate the new baby.” Instead, say, “It must be hard to have Mommy spending so much time with the baby.” or “I bet you wish we could go to the park now, and not have to wait for the baby to wake up.” When your child knows that you understand her feelings, she’ll have less need to act up to get your attention.

    Give extra love: Increase your little demonstrations of love for your child. Say extra I love yous, increase your daily dose of hugs, and find time to read a book or play a game. Temporary regressions or behavior problems are normal, and can be eased with an extra dose of time and attention.

    Get ‘em involved: Teach the older sibling how to be helpful with the baby or how to entertain the baby. Let the older sibling open the baby gifts and use the camera to take pictures of the baby. Teach him how to put the baby’s socks on. Let him sprinkle the powder. Praise and encourage whenever possible.

    Making each feel special: Avoid comparing siblings, even about seemingly innocent topics such as birth weight, when each first crawled or walked, or who had more hair! Children can interpret these comments as criticisms.

    Take a deep breath and be calm. This is a time of adjustment for everyone in the family. Reduce outside activities, relax your housekeeping standards, and focus on your current priority, adjusting to your new family size.

    {Originally posted on TriadMommies}
    Monday, June 13, 2011

    Taking Care of Mama

    The class I’d like to see childbirth educators add to their list.

    When I was pregnant with my first child, I took every class the hospital offered, from Breastfeeding to Taking Care of Baby. But what really would have helped me is a class that doesn’t exist. A class I’d like to call “Taking Care of Mama.” You know the old saying, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”



    About a week after I got home from the hospital with my perfect little baby, nobody in my house was happy because I was miserable. I remember standing at the window in the early morning darkness of a cold rainy Monday watching my husband’s car leave our driveway his first day back to work. All I could think was “The world is going on without me.” I’d given up my career to stay at home with my baby, but suddenly found myself wondering what the hell I was thinking. My days now consisted of changing diapers, trying to (unsuccessfully) breastfeed a fussy baby every 15 minutes, washing endless loads of laundry and watching way too much mindless daytime television. I signed up for this?

    Two weeks later I was consumed with dark feelings. When I had to force myself to eat, I knew this was a problem bigger than the “baby blues.” I knew this was postpartum depression, even though I couldn’t make my mouth form the words.

    You have to understand, I was the woman who couldn’t wait to be a stay-at-home mom. So when the dark feelings came out of nowhere, I was completely unprepared. I went to all those classes to learn how to diaper and swaddle a baby. I knew how to give the baby a bath and I was even prepared for that ugly umbilical cord stump thing, but I wasn’t prepared for this.

    At least one out of every ten women who give birth experience some form of postpartum depression. It’s all over the news. You’d think someone might have at least mentioned it in one of those classes. Nope. Did anyone ever say, “For the next six weeks your hormones will be on a roller coaster ride that will make you feel, at the very least, not yourself. Your body will be recovering from the trauma of birth, while at the same time being more deprived of sleep than a Marine at boot camp. Oh, and you are also now responsible for the health and well being of another human. Life as you knew it is over. Therefore, do not be surprised if you experience an adjustment period.” C’mon. Would a little warning have been so hard?

    Yet, alas, none of those healthcare professionals ever seem to mention taking care of yourself as a new mama except for instructing you to wait six weeks before having sex (as if anyone who’s just passed a seven-pound baby through her nether regions needed to be told that). No, all the classes are about the baby. Taking care of the baby, feeding the baby, massaging the baby, diapering the baby and (God-forbid) administering CPR to the baby. The mother is completely left out of the equation. What about the major emotional, financial and psychological turn your life has just taken? Sorry. You’re on your own there sister.

    After a few weeks of feeling awful, I went to see my doctor. He knew exactly what I was going through. He told me if I hated breastfeeding, I should stop trying (and not to feel guilty about it), to get out of the house every day and to exercise. Then he gave me a prescription for an antidepressant. I left his office feeling like I might actually survive. And that was a feeling I hadn’t had in what seemed like a really long time.

    I had no idea so many other women had gone through the same thing. It sure would have helped to know I wasn’t alone and to hear stories of success from other new moms who suffered from postpartum depression. To be reassured that I wasn’t destined to be a horrible mother and feel like crap the rest of my life. But sadly, few mothers admit publicly or even to their close friends what they are going through.


    So here’s what I would tell moms-to-be in my “Taking Care of Mama” class: First, you have to make time for yourself. Get out with your friends, your husband. Get a babysitter. Not only is it okay to take time for yourself, but you’ll be a better mother if you take some time to recharge. Second, everything is a stage. As new moms we have a tendency to think of now as being forever. But the baby will eventually sleep through
    the night and smile back at you and laugh and life will get better. And if you are feeling depressed, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Go talk to your doctor. He or she can help. Be empowered to do what works for you. Just because something worked for someone else doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

    I’m glad I learned all those lessons. It just would have been nice if someone had given me the Cliff-Notes version ahead of time.

    (Post originally submitted to CharlotteMommies)



    Do you or someone you know suffer with Post-Partum Depression?  Register at SCValleyMommies.com to find support!
    Thursday, June 9, 2011

    Help The Mommies Network with a simple "like" on Facebook!


     
    Vivint is giving away $1.25 Million to charities. Help us win!


    Help The Mommies Network with a simple "like" on Facebook! 

    Here's the lowdown:
    The Vivint Gives Back Project is a program run by Vivint, Inc. It is an opportunity for Facebook users to help Vivint support charities that are doing good work in neighborhoods and communities across the United States. It is great opportunity for these local charities to be recognized by their supporters. This program is also designed to help direct Vivint's philanthropic dollars, which are donated by Vivint employees to eligible charities who are helping restore hope for families across North America. The charity that receives the most votes will receive $250,000, while the remaining top charity in each of the five regions will receive $100,000 each.

    Nominations/endorsements for local charities will begin on April 25, 2011 and will run until 11:59:59 p.m. ET on June 11, 2011. Voting for the top local charity will begin on June 14, 2011 and go until 11:59:59 ET on August 27, 2011. The top 100 charities from Phase I, as well as the final six winners from Phase II will be determined once all of the endorsements and votes have been counted and it has been determined that each of the charities has satisfied all of the program eligibility requirements.

    To vote for us, you can either visit our endorsement link HERE, or click the banner at the top or bottom of this post! You can vote for us once per day!
    If you have any other questions about this project, check out the overview page of the Vivint.givesback Project website.
    Thank you for your support!



    Vivint is giving away $1.25 Million to charities. Help us win!
    Wednesday, June 8, 2011

    How To Save Money On Your Grocery Bill

    1. Shop In Season
    If you buy fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season, you will spend less money. As an added bonus, your food will taste better too. Foods that are shipped in from faraway places so that we can eat them out of season - think strawberries, oranges, cucumbers in the winter - have the added cost of transportation to get them to the store. Resist buying that hot house tomato in January. It isn't going to taste good anyway! If you have Farmer's Markets in your area, consider shopping there for local produce. Chances are it will be less expensive, taste better and be organically grown.

    2. Shop Sales
    Pay attention to the sales that your store is advertising. Buy only what is on sale, instead of buying based on cravings. Most stores post weekly and monthly sales. Find out the sales cycle of your favorite grocer because they don't all run Sunday to Saturday.

    3. Plan Meals around Sales
    Plan your meals for the week around the weekly sales. Chicken and ground beef are on sale this week? Great - plan your menu to include chicken enchiladas, stuffed chicken breasts, tacos and sloppy joes.

    4. Sign up for Store Rewards Cards
    By signing up for store rewards cards, you will pay the lowest price for the items in that store. You will also be eligible for special deals and promotions and may receive coupons in the mail directly from the store itself. Your receipt will show you how much you have saved just by having that special card.

    5. Sign up for Store email Notices
    Many grocery stores now have online coupons and unique online specials. If you sign up for their email notices, you will be in the know about these special coupons and deals. Stores also use their email lists to notify customers of events like super doubles and triples.

    6. Use Coupons
    Shop with coupons. You can find coupons in the Sunday paper, online, in the grocery store fliers, on special bulletin boards throughout the grocery store, on store shelves, on wine bottles and in blinking machines situated inside grocery stores. You may think that buying generic is always cheaper, but that is often not the case. By combining sales with coupons, you can often get items for free.

    7. Plant a Garden
    Feed a man and he eats for a day. Plant a garden and you can eat all year long. Fresh fruits and vegetables are expensive, even in season. Buy seeds and plant a garden for a fraction of the cost. Even apartment dwellers can plant small window gardens.

    8. Eat Before you Shop
    Never shop on an empty stomach. Make sure you eat before you head to the grocery store. Studies show that hungry shoppers spend more money.

    9. Leave your Kids at Home
    Shop by yourself whenever possible. Children often ask for empty calorie foods and have no concept of cost. Many a mom has broken down and handed over as box of cookies just to get some peace and quiet. Leave them home, shop in quiet and stay on budget.

    10. Take a List and Stick to it
    Get out your sales fliers, your coupons and your email notices ahead of time and make a list of what you need to buy for the week. Be sure to take your list and a pen with you on your shopping trip and determine to buy only what you have on the list. You will avoid impulse buys this way.

    Post submitted by Melissa from TriangleMommies
    {Originally submitted to The Mommies Network Blog on April 29, 2011}

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