Ask Me! Time Management....??

About a month ago, @mrs07c {one of my fab BlogHer roommates} wrote on my facebook wall and asked how I do all that I do...and only in 24 hours.

How many hats do I wear?

Event planner {kiddo's birthday, Mom's wedding,bff's baby shower}
Artist
Mom
Wife
Woman
Co-Chair for Ovarian Cancer Walk of Hope {London, ON}
Blogger
Freelance writer
Baker

I'm sure that there are more...but they're escaping me right now!

How do I do it all? Well...here are some tips!

Blogging
  • have an ongoing blog planner open in Word
  • plan all of the blogposts that pop into your head on their appropriate days
  • try and get as many blogposts done as you can in one hour; sit down a the computer after the kiddos go to bed and write as much as you can
  • schedule your blogposts one month in advance and you'll always be on top of things!

Party Planning
  • start as early as possible...it is absolutely not crazy to plan a party a year in advance {even if others make fun of you for it!}
  • if you have an online shop, put up a vacation notice the week of your party so you can focus on the task at hand
  • hire someone to do the cake
  • set out the party platters and food cards the night before

General
  • regular scheduled dates with your significant other
  • regular scheduled date nights with yourself; I firmly believe that when you take time away for yourself you are able to be better to those around you
  • don't feel bad if you don't get everything done...seriously! What doesn't happen today, can happen tomorrow or the day after. Chances are if you didn't prioritize it today,it means that it likely wasn't that important in the grand scheme of things.

SWH4T$: Quick and Easy Strawberry Tips

We've all been there and done that...lopped the leaves and stems off our strawberries and cut away nearly half of the berry itself.

Here's a tip that will save you time, money and berries!


May I introduce to you...the straw method!

Simply get a straw, and slide it through the core of the berry and out through the top! Remove the stem and leaves, repeat with the rest of our quart!

It's seriously so easy, and will save you a tonne on clean up time, and prep time when you're actually doing the task. Get the kiddos involved to...no sharp knives, and they can snack on a healthy fruit all at the same time!

Happy Summer!

SWH4T$: Disney Movie Club

Another Thursday, another week of awesome money & time saving tips!



Blog Hop Rules

1) Follow your hostesses, Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's, via GFC or BlogLovin'

2) Post our button on your blog for others to follow along

3) Link up a post that helps you save time, money, frustration...your sanity!



Have fun linking up and reading other mama tips!





SWH4T







 
  
Disney Movie Club

I've gotten these flyers in the mail for quite a while now, for the Disney Movie Club.  I kinda blew them off at first, but since Jack has become obsessed with Disney Cars, we bought him the DVD and I realized how freaking expensive those things are!  I remember when I was little we had all the Disney VHS tapes and would watch them all the time.  I wanted the same for Jack, but I'm too cheap to pay $29.95 each for DVD/BluRay.



Enter the DMC.  I surveyed all my mommy friends, and my resident Disney expert, Cousin B.  All of them said that it was a good deal, so I signed up.

The details are that you pick out 5 DVDs or BluRays initially.  You can chose to pay $1.99 each for the first initial 5, or if you pay with your credit card, you get them for $1.00 TOTAL.  Then, you agree to purchase 4 DVDs/BluRays over the course of 2 years at the regular price of $19.95 for DVD and $29.95 for BluRay.

You're probably thinking, what is the big deal if you are going to pay full price for 4 movies?  Well, if you do the math...you're saving a whole lot of money!

We have a BluRay player, so we did the BluRay option (plus, most of those come with DVDs with bonus features, so that's even more bang for your buck).  

For our initial 5, we got Dumbo 70th Anniversary Edition, Toy Story w/ bonus DVD, A Bug's Life w/ bonus DVD, Up w/ bonus DVD and Cars 2 w/ bonus DVD.  We opted for the $1.00 option by giving our credit card.

So, since we will end up purchasing at least a total of 4 BluRays including our initial 5 (for a total of 9), we would have paid $269.55 retail price.  However...since we joined the DMC, we will pay only $119.80, a savings of $149.75!!!

PLUS, each DVD/BluRay comes with a Disney Movie Rewards code, which you can enter on their website and redeem the points for prizes like toys, DVDs, apparel, memorabilia and more!  Winnah Winnah!!!

I feel like Disney movies are timeless, and honestly, I would rather put on a movie that he may not be completely 100% interested in right now, as opposed to Dora or Diego which I feel like rots his brain.  And Disney is wholesome, classic, and brings a lot of good memories back for me, so I want to pass those on to my son :)



SWH4T$: If it's Free, it's for Me!

Welcome back to SWH4T$ - a blog hop for money {and time} saving mama bloggers!




We just have three very simple guidelines!



1.) Follow your hostesses at Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's via GFC


2.) Link up a specific post that relates to money and time, your job, your business, couponing, anything that shows how you "work hard for your money".



3.) Post our button on your post




Have fun linking and finding new blogs to read!







SWH4T

If it's Free, it's for Me!


Since funds are tight at the Shmizz household, we've been tapping into a lot of free local resources for things to do on the weekend with Jack. It's amazing what you can find for free in your neighborhood if you just look around a little harder :)



Library




Our library haul from last week

This might seem like a no-brainer to some, but for us, it was something new. We started bringing Jack to the library every weekend to get some new books, videos to watch, CDs to listen to. What's nice about the library is that you can have a constantly revolving collection of books at your house, so he never gets bored. Or, for that matter, when you are sick of reading Tip Tip, Dig Dig for the 4,568,752nd time, you can just bring it back and get something different :) Most libraries will also have a free story-time or sing-a-long that you can join in on, which is great for socializing and toddler stimulation.



Playgrounds




At the playground last weekend with Auntie Kellie

Moms of toddler boys know that burning energy is essential to having a happy toddler. Sure, girls can be like this too, but we all know that boys are a little crazy at times and need to let loose. Now that the weather is starting to get warmer, we are constantly looking for nice playgrounds to check out. The best are ones that are fenced in, and have smaller structures that are good for smaller toddlers. Not sure where the playgrounds are in your area? Check out this website to find them! They also have a mobile app for both iPhone and Android platforms, so if you get to a playground and the elementary school bullies are being mean to your child, or the place is over-run with nannies on their phones texting and not watching their charges, you can always move on to a new park...this may or may not be coming from personal experience...



Playdates

Is your kid getting sick of their toys? Instead of buying new ones, have a playdate and go over a little friend's house and play with their toys! Its a win-win situation for you, because you can hang out with the mom/dad and the kiddos can play and amuse themselves. Another bonus, if you have a playdate in the morning, kids get tired, take awesome naps and life is good for all :)



The Dollar Store

Ok, so this isn't exactly free, but its about as close as you can get these days. Toys, snacks, crafting supplies, you name it, they probably have it. I even got all the supplies for Jack's birthday party goodie bags for 10 kids for $60 (another post for another week!). Glow sticks in the bathtub, coloring books, balloons, shovel & pail, Matchbox cars, Playdough. Tell yourself that you are going to skip getting coffee at Dunkin/Starbucks that week and spend the $5 on your kid at the Dollar Store that weekend; kiddo will feel like they won the lottery when they walk out with 5 toys :)



What sort of free things do you do with your kids? Link up and share!




Local Love Monday: WhenIsGarbageDay.com

I started brainstorming a couple of weeks ago, and there are some really awesome small businesses in London, Ontario that deserve a shout out or two, so why not a Local Love series??

Why they are certainly local businesses, I'm sure that their reach is much further than the local community. Take WhenIsGarbageDay.com for example...

Is your community on a 6 day garbage rotation? Find that you're always searching to see when the neighbours have put their recycling out, or trying to remember where you put that garbage collection calendar that always seems to go missing at the worst possible minute?

Well...here's your answer!



It's so fool proof, and I love it. You can set up a reminder that will be delivered directly to your email to say "Hey! it's Garbage Day!", meaning that you'll never forget again!

Coming soon: text message reminders!

Brilliant!

I love that this is a local company and that they're all about saving you time and frustration. I know in our home, we often forget and then hear the garbage or recycling truck go down the road. More often than not, it happens just before a holiday weekend, or on a Friday when there isn't garbage collection for a full week.

A full week. EW!

Definitely a local company that I recommend and fully support! Check out WhenIsGarbageDay.com today!

SWH4T$: Energy Bites

Welcome back to SWH4T$ - a blog hop for money {and time} saving mama bloggers!

We just have three very simple guidelines!

1.) Follow your hostesses at Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's via GFC

2.) Link up a specific post that relates to money and time, your job, your business, couponing, anything that shows how you "work hard for your money".


3.) Post our button on your post

Have fun linking and finding new blogs to read!

SWH4T


Energy Bites

I saw these a few weeks ago on Pinterest, and since I really love to make our own treats and ensure that we're eating wholesome goodies, decided to whip up my own version!

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cup (dry) oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)
  • 1 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

It couldn't be easier to make these energy bites! Literally put everything in a bowl, mix it really well, and then chill for 30 minutes. Roll into balls. I rolled these ones about 1", but definitely could have gone bigger given that my Hubs and kiddo were gobbling them up two or three at a time.

Then put into a plastic container with lid (rubbermaid...whatever), and use wax paper between the layers so that the bites don't stick together. Toss them in the fridge for about 30mins

Makes about 20-25, depending on size

Easy peasy, and the toddler LOVES them!

Do you have an easy, money saving tip to share this week?? Link up with us!






SWH4T$: Time Saver Pancakes

Happy Thursday everyone, and welcome back to She Works Hard For the Money - a bloghop for hard working mamas who do everything they can to save time and money!

The rules are simple...

1.) Follow your hostesses at Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's via GFC

2.) Link up a specific post that relates to money and time, your job, your business, couponing, anything that shows how you "work hard for your money".

3.) Post our button on your post


Have fun linking and finding new blogs to read!





Time Saver Pancakes

I find myself in a bit of a rut sometimes. Between my crafty, artsy business...another new business that I'll be launching with a great Mama friend of mine...my Husband having his own business...plus our son's activities...I'm stretched pretty thin.

Because of that, I try to plan at least one meal ahead of time to save myself time, frustration and allow myself to enjoy a meal with my son throughout the day. Breakfast seems to be the easiest, and I've developed a recipe for success!

I make one or two full batches of pancakes at the beginning of a week, and whatever we don't eat that day goes into a Ziploc and into the freezer. Then, I can pull out pancakes as needed, pop them into the toaster and know that my son is getting a super wholesome breakfast.

Here are two varieties, that just so happen to help with fussy eaters who don't get alot of fruits or veggies.

Pancakes...two ways


Whole Wheat Oatmeal Mixed Berry


Whole Wheat Oatmeal Asparagus (yes..you read that right!)

Preheat griddle or frying pan while you mix the batter

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup milk
1 beaten egg
2 tbsp oil (I used canola, but you can use whatever you'd like. I would not recommend EVOO as it has a distinct flavour that will alter the pancakes)

Mix all ingredients together

For Berry Pancakes, mix in 1 cup of mixed berries. I used frozen berries that I had on hand, which I thawed in the fridge overnight.

For Asparagus pancakes, finely chop approximately 6 spears, and add that to the batter.

Each full recipe will make approximately 8-10 pancakes.

Once cool, put in a Ziploc and pop them in the freezer!

Enjoy!

Have a time saver recipe, coupon, trick or tip? Link up with us today!





WAHM Wednesday: Carving out Me-Time

I've recently noticed that if I'm not taking care of my son...rolling around on the floor, reading books, going to the library or Little Gym, watching a movie snuggled up on the couch...then I'm in my studio creating, on the laptop blogging, networking with other artisans

What about time for me?

Even during naptime (Owen's naptime, that is!) I'm working. When he goes to bed...I'm working. I might be sitting on the couch on the computer, but I'm still working!

I take little time for myself. Maybe once I realize it's 10pm and I need to get my brain to shut off...but until then...I'm everything to everyone else, but myself.

The same goes for when we're out shopping. I put Owen and Sweet Stella's first and then wonder why I don't have clothes that fit, or shoes that aren't stained with salt and are 10 years old...

Well, this is my chance. I'm going to carve out some me-time everyday. Whether it's a bath, a nap, time to paint a piece for our new home, or even just time to lie on the couch and watchi some Sex and the City, it'll be my time...

I might even turn my phone off!!

SWH4T$: Repurposed Jars

Welcome back, crafty, thrifty mamas!! We're so happy to have you back for She Works Hard for the Money!

Before we get hopping, we've got some rules...

1.) Follow your hostesses at Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's via GFC

2.) Link up a specific post that relates to money and time, your job, your business, couponing, anything that shows how you "work hard for your money".

3.) Post our button on your post


Have fun linking and finding new blogs to read!




Repurposed Jars

Before the holidays hit, I was looking for some simple crafty projects to take my mind off of a super stressful time (packing to move...selling our home...going on vacation...coming home...moving).

Have some empty salsa jars lying around the house? Maybe some funky patterned paper? Podge?

Well that's all you need for this project!!





Choose your paper...I chose some grey and blue tones so that it will fit nicely into my new studio once we move

Wrap it around your jar, and make a mark where the paper meets

Cut out the pattern that you desire. I cut around the flowers and vines, but there are really no rules to this project!

Smear adhesive to the jar, and attach paper. Seal the paper with more adhesive



For me, they make perfectly pretty water jars (and drying jars) for my paint brushes but they would also be great with some inexpensive flowers for a hostess gift (I'd tie ribbon round the top to finish it off), some stones and fallen branches for some bathroom or kitchen decor



Happy repurposing!






SWH4T$: Coupon Organization

Time again to link up! I'm starting the year off right by trying to save money, let me show you how!



1.) Follow your hostesses at Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's via GFC



2.) Link up a specific post that relates to money and time, your job, your business, couponing, anything that shows how you "work hard for your money".



3.) Post our button on your post




Have fun linking and finding new blogs to read!





















This post is a double whammy: I'm going to gush about couponing and organization all at the same time! YIPPEE!!!!!!!

Are you as excited as I am? Probably not, but I'm a dork like that :)



My sister Kellie is big into couponing too, and she has always been an organizational freak. She made herself a coupon binder, and then made me one for Christmas. I used to use an accordion file, which worked, but it was a pain in the arse to sift through all the coupons. Now, with my binder, they are all organized in clear baseball-card holders and I can see them all at first glance. This makes it so easy to see the expiration dates, purge what I don't need, and organize better by category.



Here is a tour of my new BFF, my coupon binder :)






My binder is a 1 inch 3-ring binder, and it has 8 tabs:


Household Items, Hair & Body/Meds, Baby, Grocery Items, Dairy/Refridgerated, Frozen Foods, Pet Supplies and Other (this is where I put my Target coupons, and other store-specific coupons.







Each divider page has a folder on it. I use these folders to hold my store flyers, along with a list of what I need, and the coupons I've pulled according to matchups with deals in the flyers. Then, when I get to the store, I have my list with my coupons, and the flyer if I need to refer to it, all in one place.







The inside front cover folder holds a small pad to write my list on, and coupons that I have yet to file. I also keep a pen clipped to the binder rings, and my CVS Green Bag Tag is hooked around one of the rings.







And, the piece de resistance, the coupon pages! Kellie put in a bunch of those clear baseball card holders, that are the perfect size for most coupons. If the coupon is a little big, I just fold it so I can see a bit of the product so I know what its for, but most importantly so the expiration date shows. I don't have them organized yet from first expiring to last expiring because I haven't figured out a way to do that without moving every coupon around when something expires so I don't have an empty space. However, with them organized like this, its very easy to scan for dates. I keep duplicates grouped together also.





So there you have it! That's my new way of organizing my coupons, and I'm so happy that Kellie made this for me, because its made my life a whole lot easier! A lot of people say they don't have time for couponing, but honestly, I spend maybe an hour a week total clipping, organizing and matching deals. I'll admit, in the beginning it took a lot longer, but once I found a system that worked for me, its gotten so much easier. I've heard many couponers say this before, but I really can't believe I didn't start this sooner. So far, its January 12th, and I've saved a total of $34! And I only coupon for things that we NEED and USE, so that's $34 that I would have spent anyway, but now thats $34 in my pocket :)





So, how do you organize your coupons? Any tips or tricks for us? Link up and share!





























SWH4T$: Holiday Baking

Welcome back to Week 9 of She Works Hard 4 The $ (SWH4T$)! We are so pleased for you to join us this week, and look forward to many holiday tips and tricks!

The Rules? They're pretty simple!

1.) Follow your hostesses at Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's via GFC
2.) Link up a specific post that relates to money, your job, your business, couponing, anything that shows how you "work hard for your money".
3.) Post our button on your post

Have fun linking and finding new blogs to read!





Holiday Baking



Have a teacher, garbage man, mail delivery person, post office worker, member of your church family or some other person on your list this Holiday season? I know that I do, and that list keeps growing by the day when I think of all of the wonderful people in our lives!

So! This year...into the kitchen I go with my beautiful standmixer that is likely exhausted at this point. However, this batch of particularly yummy cookies yeild about 75 cookies...

Translate that into 10 cookies per cello bag, tied with a lovely tag (that you can make at home to save even more money! I had this one lying around our Christmas wrapping paper stock) and you've got gifts for 7 people, plus 5 cookies left for you to snack on!

And what's even better, you likely have all of these ingredients (minus the molasses...let's be serious, who has molasses in the house!? But...it's only $4 at Walmart!) in your kitchen already!

Ginger Molasses Cookies

Preheat over to 350F

Mix in your standmixer bowl
  • 4 1/2
    cups all-purpose flour
  • 4
    teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2
    teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2
    teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4
    teaspoon salt

Cream in

  • 1 1/2
    cups butter
  • 2
    cups granulated sugar
  • 2
    eggs
  • 1/2
    cup molasses

Roll cookies into 1" balls, and roll them in a bowl of

  • 3/4
    cup coarse sugar or granulated sugar

Place on a cookie sheet, and bake for 13-14 minutes. You'll know that they're finished by when the tops crack! Be careful not to overbake though!

I then took a bunch of the cookies, put them in a cello bag (you can get these at Michael's for about $2.50 for 12 bags. I get mine from Nashville Wraps in bulk, so I had them on hand already) and tie with a lovely tag!

Total cost on these babies...$6.50. Cost per gift...$0.92!

Beautiful, thoughtful, cost-efficient, and yummy!





SWH4T$: Happy Thanksgiving!

Welcome back to SWH4T$! We are now featured on Blog Hops Everyday's listing for Thursday hops! Go us!

Don't you want to join in on the fun?

A few rules:

1.) Follow your hostesses at Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's via GFC

2.) Link up a specific post that relates to money and time, your job, your business, couponing, anything that shows how you "work hard for your money".

3.) Post our button on your post

Have fun linking and finding new blogs to read!






Happy Thanksgiving!

In celebration of American Thanksgiving, I thought I would feature a few ideas on how to stretch that Thanksgiving turkey a little further.

I remember when I was little I had a book about Thanksgiving and the little boy in the book used to always complain about how for the week after Thanksgiving they would have turkey every.single.night for dinner. I always wondered why that didn't happen in our house; either my family was a bunch of hungry pigs and ate it all that day, or we just had a really small turkey. Either way, I know in most households the turkey gets transformed into various & sundry leftover masterpieces :)

Everyone knows that leftovers are a great way to make your food dollar stretch. Moms know this, Chefs know this. It just works. Kitchens save money on feeding their staff by using leftover ingredients to make meals for the kitchen & waitstaff before service. Mizzle is always talking about the crazy things that they can do with pasta & chicken scraps.

My favorite thing to do with the leftover turkey is to make Thanksgiving Shepard's Pie. I have no idea where my mom got the recipe, but she's made it for the past few years and it is awesome. It's great because it also uses up your leftover mashed potatoes & stuffing.






Its really easy...even I can make it!

Layer as follows:
-stuffing (my dad makes sausage & sage stuffing)
-turkey with a bit of gravy
-veg of your choice (I like corn, Mizzle likes Green Bean Casserole)
-potatoes (my mom usually splits the pan in half with half regular mashed and half sweet potato)
-shredded cheese
Bake at 400* for about 30-40 minutes, or until warmed through and cheese on top has melted.

Other ways to stretch your bird:
-make stock with the carcass (speaking of which, carcass is such a weird word, isn't it?), freeze in ice cube trays and then transfer to a ziploc bag to store in the freezer to use in recipes throughout the year.
-make turkey soup or turkey gumbo
-Thanksgiving Sandwich (layer turkey, stuffing & cranberry sauce in between 2 hearty slices of bread with a thin shmear of mayo. Mmmmmm!)

And, as always, the best and cheapest way to enjoy your leftovers is to arrange them on a plate, pop them in the microwave or oven, and sit down at the table with your family and eat all together. Nothing is less expensive yet so incredibly rewarding all at the same time than spending time with family...

What do you do with your Thanksgiving leftovers? Have any creative ideas that you would like to share? Did anyone do any creative budgeting for their holiday meal? How did you organize your cooking time? Link up & share!






SWH4T$: Homemade Scrubs

Welcome back to She Works Hard For the Money!

A few rules:

1.) Follow your hostesses at Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's via GFC

2.) Link up a specific post that relates to money and time, your job, your business, couponing, anything that shows how you "work hard for your money".

3.) Post our button on your post

Have fun linking and finding new blogs to read!




Homemade Scrubs
It's almost that time of year...

The air turns cold and takes your breath away...carolers will soon be out on the streets...and jolly old St. Nicholas will be bombarded by letters from little ones.

That also means gift giving as well, and I don't know about you...but homemade and handmade gifts from the heart go a very long way!



The other day, I made these for my mom as a part of her birthday gift. A yummy and glorious Brown Sugar Honey Oat Body Scrub, and a super fresh Peppermint Foot Scrub.

I finished them both with beautiful ribbon, and cardstock tags.

Here are the recipes and how-to's!



Find a jar that you have around the house...salsa, jam, jelly...whatever you have! Clean it thoroughly and dry it completely.

Combine in a bowl (I actually did it right in the jar)

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 2 tbsp. honey (a natural preservative)
  • 1 cup oil (I used canola since it is nonsmelling and that's what I had on hand)

Transfer into your jar, and twist the lid on tightly!

Finish off with a ribbon and your tags, and viola! A yummy body scrub that can double as a delicious dessert topping!

For this one, I found that after I cleaned my salsa jar there was some residue on the outside from the previous label. So...I made my own and podged it onto the outside of the jar! I also covered the lid with scrapbooking paper and podge!

In a bowl combine (and I actually did this one in a bowl)

  • 3 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp oil (again, I used canola)
  • peppermint extract (for this, I just did it by smell...so maybe a tsp.)
  • 6 drops green food colouring

When it's all mixed and lovely, transfer into your jar, making sure to put the lid on tightly. Tie with ribbon and your tag!

Are you making anything for the holidays, or a special birthday, this year? Share your tips and tricks for saving time and money!






SWH4T$: Money Saving Apps

Rules of the Hop:


1.) Follow your hostesses at Baby Shmizz and Sweet Stella's via GFC

2.) Link up a specific post that relates to money, your job, your business, couponing, anything that shows how you "work hard for your money".

3.) Post our button on your post

Have fun linking and finding new blogs to read!









Money-Saving iPhone Apps

So many of us have iPhones nowadays, I thought I would share with you which apps I use to help me save money. I know that Android phones are just as popular (I was a Droid girl before my iPhone, and Mizzle has a Droid too), and most of these apps or something similar can be found in the Android Marketplace too. And, because I'm a cheap-ass, all of these apps are FREE, of course :)

ShopSavvy




This app is by far my favorite. You use the scanner to scan any barcode, and it will give you listings of where you can buy that item so you can find the cheapest place to buy it. It also includes online retailers as well. How many times have you been at the store and bought something, and then get home to find out there is a deal on Amazon and you could have gotten in cheaper? Not gonna happen anymore!

The Coupons App




This app has coupons, online deal codes and links to freebies. It also uses your location to tell you where the cheapest gas is in your area.

Grocery Pal




This app uses your location to allow you to search through the local store sales flyers. It also gives you available store coupons within a 5-mile radius of your location. You can also create shopping lists with the items from the flyers, and add coupons to them!

Target




We all know I love me some Target. This app allows you to surf the weekly ad, check out the Daily Deal, and sign up for mobile text alerts with coupons. And, if you are desperate for a fix, it uses your location to tell you where the nearest Target is.

Jo-Ann Fabrics




Jo-Ann Fabrics is my go-to store for crafty supplies, especially fabric. They often have coupons in the newspaper, however they have a separate set of coupons on this app. You just click to display and show the cashier so they can enter the discount. It also will use your location to tell you where the nearest store is.

CardStar




This app is more of a sanity saver than anything. I don't know about you, but my keys are HUGE. I have about 10 little store card tags on there, plus 2 car keys, 2 remote starter fobs, plus 5 assorted housekeys. And, I HAD to have my 2 Coach keychains on there, natch. So, instead of carrying around all those little tags, and since I'm married to my phone, I use this app to house all the barcodes for my store tags. You just scan all your tags in, and then at the store you click on whatever tag you need and it displays a barcode for the cashier to scan just like your little tag! Genius!










MOMpreneur Monday: Cherry Tree Soaps

Just in case your weekend was a little ho-hum, I have someone very cheerful, lovely and sunshine-y to introduce you to today; Kristine Bessell from Cherry Tree Soaps! Kristine is kicking off the last series of MOMpreneur Monday posts for the year.

Each week, you'll meet a new mama who is crazy creative, juggles a busy family with a busy business, and get some advice from these incredible women about how you too could be a MOMpreneur in the making!

Kristine runs a lovely shop called Cherry Tree Soaps, and quite honestly...from the first look at her sugar cube scrubs, I was in eye-candy-heaven! She's fun, flirty, but oh-so-real and she comes from such a wonderful and honest place...it's hard not to fall in love with her!



What do you do? I create fun, fresh, natural and gentle soaps, as well as other bath and body products that are good for your skin. All of my items are handcrafted with care, using only the finest natural ingredients available. You won’t find any harmful chemicals or harsh detergents in any of my products. And I have tons of fun dreaming up colorful, unique, and deliciously-scented soaps – the wheels are always turning, and you never know what I will come up with next!

How do you maximize your time as a busy mom running a business?
It
’s definitely a challenge! I have two very active little boys, ages 3 and 1 ½, who keep me on my toes all day long. I have learned to sneak in working time while they are playing nicely and quietly together (which is rare, LOL!) but mostly I work while they are napping or are in bed at night. I also have the absolute best parents in the world, who help watch the boys for me during very busy times with the business. I can’t yet say that my days flow perfectly with everything on my plate, but I continue to work hard at finding just that right balance between my family and my small business.

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What do you see as your greatest challenge being a MOMpreneur? Most moms will agree that once you become a mother, your own needs fall to the wayside as you strive to provide for and take care of everyone and everything else around you. With two little boys at home and a husband who has a very demanding job, I am no different than these mothers I’ve described. Add a self-run small business to the mix, and it magnifies the issue. My biggest challenge right now is finding time for myself, and trying to take care of my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being, so that I can function at the top of my ability for my family and for the business. An overwhelmed, exhausted, and malnourished mom/business woman is not good for anyone, so I need to constantly remind myself that I need to be taken care of once in a while, too!


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What advice do you have for other moms looking to start a business? Start slow. There’s always room and time to grow, and you want to make sure you do this right. The biggest mistake I’ve probably made is to jump in with too much, too quickly. From the beginning, I’ve had people all around me making requests to see this product or that in the online store, and in an effort to try and please everyone and accommodate every request, I quickly became overwhelmed. Trying to do everything all at once soon made me realize that I needed to take a step back, evaluate what my very best products were, scale-down a bit, and re-focus. I now have a much more clear vision of my brand, and where I would like my company to go.


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Is there anything additional you'd like to tell our readers?
Cherry Tree Soaps is currently having a giveaway! To enter, visit my blog and follow the directions posted there. You could be the lucky winner of TWO huge 15 ounce jars of our brand new Bath Salts in the scent of your choice!