Thursday, April 19, 2018

Fix A Slow Running Coffee Maker

Lately my fairly new coffee maker has been running really slowly. I turn it on as soon as the alarm goes off and it seems like fifteen minutes later it still isn't done brewing enough for one cup. It's creating a problem in the morning because my husband only has so much time to get ready and as hard as he works getting up earlier to have time for coffee isn't an option. Generally coffee makers start to run slow when they get a build up of minerals in them. The good news is that it's really easy to clean your coffee maker and you don't have to rush out and buy a new one. I purchased my coffee maker when we moved back in October so I'd say a good rule of thumb is clean your coffee pot about every six months. I use a drip coffee maker and not a single use but I'm sure you can clean those the same way!

All you need to clean your coffee pot and get it brewing like new is some plain white vinegar. I just buy the store brand, you don't need anything fancy. Vinegar is a natural cleaner so you don't have to worry about any chemical residue being leftover after the cleaning process. I poured about two cups of vinegar into my coffee maker and let that brew just like you would coffee, of course you don't want any coffee grounds in there while doing this! After the two cups has gone through add another two cups of water and let that run. Things should be starting to work a little bit better already! Now dump that pot of vinegar water out and let cool. Once it's cooled down refill the coffee pot with water and let it run through the brewing cycle. Repeat this step at least twice letting the machine cool between brews. This will rinse the coffee pot out and get all that vinegar smell gone. I timed my last brew cycle and the whole twelve cup pot was done in only six minutes. That's a big improvement from it taking fifteen or twenty minutes for two cups to brew! If your pot is running slow and messing up your mornings then give this vinegar cleaning a shot!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Prom In America

I think we can all agree that prom is a pretty special event in the lives of teenagers. The cost of prom is rising though and I'm right in the middle of learning first hand just how costly it can be. My seventeen year old high school Junior is going to her first prom in May. We started shopping for dresses in January, so I feel as if I have been in Prom mode for awhile now. This is my daughter's first prom and I obviously wanted to make sure it was special for her. However, things have surely changed since I went to my prom twenty years ago! Back then I spent a hundred bucks on my dress, which felt like a lot! A friend of mine did my hair for free and I did my own make-up and nails. I think my dad gave me thirty bucks for a nice dinner at Bennigans with my then boyfriend, now husband and our friends. I can't remember what the cost of the ticket was but I don't imagine it was very much!

Prom isn't even just about the dress anymore, there are so many other factors that your teenagers are thinking about. Have you ever heard of a Prom-Posal? Teens are now spending more money that ever just on asking that special someone to the event. Make-up, hair and nails are being professionally done and that can really add up! Going back to the dress you also have to have the perfect shoes and don't forget the jewelry. We spent quite a bit of time trying to pick out the perfect necklace and earrings to match my daughters dress. Thinking back to my prom again I just wore a necklace I already had that was special to me and probably the same little diamond studs I've worn since I was sixteen when my mom gave them to me.

I was curious as to what the national cost of prom was and was surprised to learn the average was $1,139.00 in America. In Canada the average cost is a little lower coming in at $804.00. We can safely assume that most teenagers aren't paying for prom themselves so parents are really forking over the money for this event. That gets me to thinking about how hard this all must be for kids whose parents are really struggling and don't have the extra money to spend on something like prom. I'm not sure how prom turned into such an expensive event. I hope that the magic of the event isn't outweighed for most teens by the rising cost of everything and worrying about how it's going to be paid for. We plan on donating my daughters prom dress to our local school next year to help someone in need. There are quite a few prom oriented charities that help teens who can't afford to get a dress. If you have some prom dresses or maybe even bridesmaids dresses laying around consider donating them to your local community. I'm sure there a bunch of girls out there who would really appreciate it!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Dear Victoria Secret: Please Bring Back Your Bathing Suits!

Ladies, I think most of you can agree with me, we miss Victoria Secret's bathing suits. I'm actually still mourning my loss of my favorite brand and until recently I hadn't even bought a new swim suit. I was just making do with my old favorite Victoria Secret bikinis since they quit selling them. I realize that they are still selling swimwear under the PINK brand, which is fine for my seventeen year old, however I miss the old VS Swim selection.

So about a week ago I finally broke down and ordered a super cute bikini I found online and patiently waited for it to arrive. Now I know buying bathing suits online isn't practical but I live in a very small town and also take care of my father in law, so getting out is limited. I knew my size with Victoria Secret and that made buying online so convenient. So my new bikini showed up and was a little skimpier than I'm used and the top had no lining! Hello, these nipples need coverage, I know I can't be the only gal that doesn't want to have those headlights blazing on the beach! I'm still debating on whether or not to send it back since my husband didn't mind the skimpy bottoms!

I've been asking my girlfriends where they buy their suits and time and time again they all are agreeing that they too miss Victoria Swim! I'm hoping, wishing and praying that they change their minds and decide to bring the swimwear line back to stores and online! What I really liked about their suits in particular is that they had all sorts of coverage, from super skimpy to more modest. The pieces were pretty much mix and match and they always had the best colors! When you buy the same bikini in different colors you know you have a winner and I had that in Victoria Secret swimwear.

So what do we need to do Victoria Secret? Start a petition? Write, call and post to social media? I mean I really need you guys to figure this out! Summer is coming! If you are a fan of Victoria Secret Swim and miss them leave a comment and let me know where you've found bathing suits since they quit selling them.

Paying Off Debt With Free Money Online!

Over the last year we've accumulated quite a bit of debt after a change in living situation. My father in law, a Vietnam Veteran, got sick last year at this time and had to move in with us after spending eleven days at the VA. I quit my full time job to take care of him on a daily basis. On top of this we decided to renovate his home so we could move out of our rental and eventually save money! My husband worked hard all last Summer fixing up the house and we were able to move in last October when our lease was up. I've always made money online here and there from various sites. Whether it's PayPal money which I can use to buy anything, including paying my bills, or with Amazon cards which I save up to buy gifts or everyday household items. Now I really had a purpose to my earning which was also part of my New Year's Resolution...to save money and pay off debt. As we all know things always come up and it makes saving very hard. I recently decided to use my online earnings to help pay of this debt!

One of my favorite earning sites is Super Pay Me. You can check it out and sign up to earn here. As you can see from the photo above I've made over four hundred dollars on that site, which is pretty darn good. I have the PayPal business MasterCard which I can use to make payments on some of my accounts. I'm starting with my smallest debt and working my way up, focusing all of my extra money to that goal. So far in the last week I've managed to make an extra ten dollars in payments to my account that I've working to pay off first. Hopefully by making these extra payments before my next statement comes out I'll be able to not only pay this balance off faster, I'll save some money in interest charges!

I earn the most money on Super Pay Me by completing surveys. My two favorite survey walls are Tap Paid Surveys and Your Surveys. You can also earn money by completing various offers on their offer walls and also by referring friends. I dedicate a separate email for signups so my main email doesn't get slammed with spam! It's pretty easy to earn on that site and there is also a chat wall where you can see which offers are crediting and how much people are making. You'd be surprised by how well some people do! Obviously you're not going to be able to make enough to quit your job but if you are like me and could use a few extra bucks while sitting at home this is perfect for you!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

USPS Releases Mister Rogers Stamp

Recently I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed and I happened to see that the United States Postal Service had released a Mister Rogers stamp. Being a fan of the show growing up my heart warmed at all the memories I had of watching Mister Rogers' Neighborhood on PBS. The first chance I got, I went down to my local post office to get my hands on a set of those stamps! They are limited edition and of course they are a forever stamp, so you can buy now and use them forever! The price of stamps are fifty cents a piece now in case you haven't bought any in awhile. That makes the whole sheet of them ten bucks. My post office only had two sheets in total and they weren't even in the system yet. I patiently waited for the helpful clerk to add them to the computer so they could be sold. If you have trouble finding them in your area you can buy them online but you will have to pay for shipping.

Fred Rogers was a great man and he did a lot for children's television. He taught kids how to deal with their feelings, how to be a good friend and all sorts of useful things. Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was a half hour show full of fun and entertainment! I remember once a show on how crayons were made, to me that was the coolest thing ever! Things like that fascinate children, I know it fascinated me. Mister Rogers made you feel safe and loved and was such an asset to children's television the decades his show was on! So if you are a fan of Fred Rogers like I am show your support and pick up a book of stamps while they are available!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Exploring Florida: Caladesi Island State Park

Most people when they think of Florida think of one thing, the beach! Being a peninsula and benefiting from both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico we do have plenty of beaches! Some of Florida's most gorgeous beaches in my opinion are the Gulf Coast beaches down near Clearwater. Some of these beaches have been voted 'Best Beach' over the years and I can really see why!

What makes Caladesi Island so special to me is that you can't drive your car there! You have to either paddle up on kayak, take your boat or catch the Caladesi Connection ferry from nearby Honeymoon Island State Park. Caladesi Island has plenty to offer you and your family if you are wanting a beach day that isn't your typical commercial beach! There is plenty to do for everyone! Swimming in the clear warm water of the Gulf of Mexico, I enjoy this much better than the rough waves of the Atlantic Ocean. You can fish from the shoreline or boat and maybe catching your dinner. If you want to really see the island check out the three mile nature trail or if you're in the mood to paddle you can go through the mangroves on the kayak trail. If the kids get tired of swimming you can head to playground or have a picnic. Caladesi Island also has a concession stand selling items you might have forgotten as well as food.

There are a few things you should take into consideration if you are planning a trip to Caladesi. You'll have to remember you are on an island you you'll be getting plenty of sun and there won't be tons of shade. Make sure you have plenty of sunscreen, hats, sun shades or umbrellas. If you are taking the ferry you should plan on being at the island for a few hours. A cooler with plenty of drinks and food is a great idea. The park does have restrooms which are handicapped accessible.

Camping on Caldesi Island is limited to boat camping. They have a full service marina with power and water. Pets are not allowed on the ferry or on the beach but are permitted on leash in other areas of the park. For more information about hours, fees and directions you can visit their website here. Caladesi Island is so beautiful it's definitely worth a visit if you are planning to be in the area or if you want to make a special trip.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Bacon Lovers Beware!

As a person who buys, cooks and loves bacon this recent discovery has me feeling sad! I was making some good ole homemade macaroni and cheese with bacon the other day and I found someone shrunk my bacon! I guess it's more of what they call down-sizing but either way it's still shrunk! My beloved pack of bacon went from a plump 16 ounces to a measly 12 ounces overnight. Well I'm sure it took more time than overnight but it sure felt that way. It seems like half the bacon is gone! I know a lot of companies do this to 'keep the costs' down. Honestly I'd rather pay a little more for a full slab of bacon that I'm used too, than pay the same amount for less! The brand of this bacon was Gwaltney, a brand that I use all the time. I haven't checked to see if the other national brands have shrunken as well but you can bet while I'm grocery shopping next time I'll be looking!

What have you noticed that has downsized lately? Has your bacon shrunk in your area too? I can't say I'll be buying less bacon since I love it so much but I can safely say I'll be checking the packages a little more closely!