My Eclipse Experience

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All I have heard about for the past month or so is how this solar eclipse was a once in a lifetime experience. I didn’t want Danyella and I to miss out on the experience so I tried my damnest to acquire the glasses that were safe to use during the eclipse but everywhere was out unless I wanted to pay hundreds of dollars just for a couple of pairs… I think NOT!

There were lots of tutorials on how to make eclipse viewers from home that were safe for your eyes so I decided to go with the tutorial using a cereal box, paper, tape and tin foil put out by the National Weather Service. It was super easy especially since we had cereal boxes that I needed to get rid of because my family decided to boycott eating specific cereals. (I hate wasting the food but you can’t force them to eat it.) We had a Star Wars lucky charms viewer, Honeycomb viewer and Boo Berry viewer!

As the eclipse started in Oregon, we watched on my mom’s tv (we have gone without cable for a year now and just run everything off of the internet) as the total eclipse made complete darkness on the West Coast. It was the coolest thing to watch as the total eclipse started and ended in one place and moved onto the next. By the time it reached Missori, I headed home because I wasn’t feeling so great.

The peak of the eclipse in New Jersey was happening at 2:45 EST so I laid down for a while and watched NASA’s livestream on Facebook. At its peak in New Jersey, 87% of the Sun was to be covered by the moon. As the time approached, the clouds rolled in over our area which made it super hard to actually see the eclipse happen.

This is the view I had from inside my viewer: Photo Aug 21, 2 45 47 PM

 

 

 

 

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One thing I learned from others that experienced the eclipse before me, use your selfie mode on your phone to take a picture without hurting your eyes. This is one of my views from selfie mode at the peak time:

 

 

 

 

One of the coolest parts of the eclipse was feeling the tempeture drop. I wish it would have dropped the humidity but no such luck. As I stood outside I could feel the nice coolness over my hot skin.

Here is an photo from the eclipse in Missori: 20935089_1921539227862865_5155357038067295748_o

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a better picture someone was able to take through their solar lens telescope from my area: 20914452_329140380879770_5259685681633691618_n

 

 

 

I might not have gotten to experience what everyone else expierence but at least I can tell my grandchildren and great grandchildren that we were able to experience at least. What was your experience?

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My Secret to Motivation

My Secret To Motivation

As someone who struggles with anxiety and depression, finding the joy in everyday living has been a struggle or better wording has taken A LOT of work from me mentally, physically and spiritually. There have been days that I don’t work on my self-care and those days have been the ones that make me realize that I need to work twice as hard the next day.

About 8 years ago, I found myself in the biggest depression of my life. I was a single mom struggling to make ends meet. We had to have a funeral for my brother who had just lost this battle to drugs. I was in a toxic relationship with an alcoholic that I felt I needed to save from himself.  I had to hold it together because that is what I do.

I don’t know how I came across the books by Louise Hay but they changed my life. Reading her books, made me realize that I held my own power over my life not my circumstances or other people. I was the one who had to take a stand with myself, for myself.

After reading 2 of her books, I was focused and working on myself everyday for about a year. Slowly, I got away from the positive habits I had worked so hard to achieve and the old, bad habits started creeping up.

About 2 years ago, I was flipping through suggestions on Netflix and The Secret came across on my list. I had no idea what the movie was about but it looked intriguing so I watched it. Wow!! The things that the people in the video said spoke to me in ways that I didn’t even know I could be reached mentally and spiritually. I looked into the book and found it on Audible.com which is my latest way to “read” books when I don’t have the time to sit and read.

I began to listen to the words over and over again. Some of the chapters I have repeated after listening to them once then over again because there is a message in there that I need to stick in my mind and soul. I was so grateful for these words.

Nearly everyday, I start my day by listening to the audio version of The Secret because I am at a point in my life that when I am stressed out I need the reminder to be set back on track. Listening to the wonderful things they have to say, the affirmations that adapt for my life and the success stories keep me motivated to keep working on myself. If I don’t work on myself then no one else will work on me and I will end up back in the deep slump I was in before and I don’t want that at all.

The great thing about having The Secret on audio book is that I can listen while I am making breakfast, taking a walk, doing laundry… just about anything and anywhere (as long as I remember my earbuds and new adapter)! Listening to other people acheive their sucesses through self care keeps me motivated to keep on going. To take the time everyday to work on myself and love myself.

My motivation for all of you on this Solar Eclipse Monday is to watch, listen or read The Secret and take the time to work on yourself even if its 5 minutes everyday…. You are worth it!

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My Favorite Savings App

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With the hundreds of money saving apps out there it is hard to decide which one is worth your time to download and use. When I was introduced to the FREE IBOTTA app, I was clueless about how it worked but I was intrigued because my friend Erin raved about it. I figured I didn’t have anything to lose just to download it and try it…

One thing I had to learn was the Ibotta uses rebates which collect in your account and you can redeem for money or gift cards. (I will get into that later) Now please now that rebates are different from coupons because with coupons you get the money discounted at the register so pay less. With rebates, you get the money back AFTER you purchase the item.

I was right and super happy that I followed my instinct to try this app out. They have rebates for major stores and websites like Walmart, Amazon, Target plus other local stores which for me the big one is Shoprite. You can search for the type of rebate you want or browse through the stores they offer rebates.

Now please now that rebates are different from coupons because with coupons you get the money discounted at the register so pay less. With rebates, you get the money back AFTER you purchase the items.

Normally, I use Ibotta for my grocery shopping at either Walmart, Target and Shoprite. They seem to be the ones I get the most rebates for plus bonus rebates. (Yes I said bonus rebates…. just wait because it is cool) Honestly, I prefer Walmart because when you go to redeem your rebates all you do is scan the QR code at the bottom of the receipt instead of taking a picture of the ENTIRE receipt. With the other stores, at least so far, you have to take a picture of the entire receipt and if it is to dark or blurry then they reject it and you have to start all over. I just get to frustrated to deal with that sometimes.

After all of that information I am sure you are a little lost, so let me walk you through the process. You must begin this process BEFORE you go shopping because the rebates only count if they are selected before you purchase something! Select the store or rebate you want to look at, click the specific rebate you are interested in, click to get the rebate, complete either the survey or watch the video (its a pain but worth the rebates) and then you can check whether the item you are looking at in the store is qualified for the rebate (sometimes specific flavors or types of items are excluded), purchase your qualifying items, redeem your rebates then watch the money grow in your account.

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Let’s talk about the cool bonuses they offer! If you connect your account through Facebook then everytime one of your friends joins Ibotta they become part of your “team”. When you have a team of friends, you and your friends earn towards different levels of bonuses everytime you redeem a rebate. These rebates start at $1 when you personally redeem 8 rebates and your team redeems $10 in rebates. Then you have different bonuses from manufacturers, stores/sites or Ibotta boosts (the company will give you an added bonus for redeeming so many rebates in a specific time period). These bonuses are how I have really made some extra money.

The last bonus is the invite your friends bonus where you can make $5 for each friend that joins under your referral code. The bonuses escalate with each friend you have join under your code which can add up really fast. I have yet to have someone join under my code because I am not pushy at getting my friends to do the things I am doing. I will share it on my Facebook or Twitter once in a while but that is about it.

 

Last but not least the awesome ways you can redeem your rebates! First you can withdrawl the rebates for cash into your Paypal or venmo accounts with a $20 minimum. Or you can redeem your rebates for cool gift cards like Itunes, Uber, Walmart, Amazon, tons of restuarants and other stores. Each of these gift cards has a minimum that needs to be in your account before you can redeem them. Personally, I use my bonuses to redeem Regal Movies Gift Cards  because Danyella and I love to go to the movies. One $25 gift card is enough for us to buy movie tickets and then I just need the money for snacks. Photo Aug 20, 11 38 13 AM

So far, I have redeemed $271 in rebates over the past year and a few months! That is alot of movies we have seen just for buying things we use. Another nice thing about this app has been finding new foods or brands that I wouldn’t have normally tried but saw a good rebate so I tried it anyway and now have a new favorite. There is money to be made and fun you can have with this app so I highly recommend it. For the little time it takes to find the rebates, you can earn FREE money for the purchases you would be making anyways.

 

If you are interested in the Ibotta App here is the link to the website or you can find it for your smartphone in your itunes or android/google store. 85b1e55bab94bd80c698b64c678125f7

*For those of you that do not want to use the app there is a website version that you can add the rebates to your account but you need the app in order to redeem the rebates.

**Please note that is not a paid endorsement from Ibotta but a review with my own opinions and love for the app and company.

Half Way Done, So Why Am I Not Happier?

Half way done with my pregnancy and I should be doing the “Happy Dance” but I physically cannot because the pain in my back makes it hard for me to even walk let alone dance. Add to that, I woke up this morning with my feet so swollen that it hurts to put any pressure on them. The list could go on….

 

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I made the joke to my OB nurse/friend the other day when she asked me how I was doing: ” Eh, miserable like usual. I feel like I am experiencing every single negative pregnancy symptom with this baby”. Well, of course, since I put it out to the universe, the universe answered by giving me new symptoms to deal with and now I would be willing to deal with just the old symptoms like the heartburn, constipation and hemorrhoids. (Yes I know TMI but what do you think pregnancy and giving birth is… putting your whole body out there for people to touch, prod and poke so why hold back on what looks like just a cute baby bump everyone wants to touch.)

Now in my reality, my half way mark could have come and pass because of my history of preemies but I would like to keep Baby Evelynne inside her little incubator for at least another few months for her own good. I just wish these symptoms would let up just a little bit or at least have just one at a time. (lol the small things that you begin to appreciate)

In my baby group, another mom expressed the same thing of how she is just miserable in her pregnancy. No Glow, No Happy Moments just symptoms that make your survival through each day a challenge. For any other moms going through the symptoms of pregnancy, you are never alone! There is always other moms going through the same symptoms and feelings!

Something to look forward to is the big anatomy ultrasound on Wednesday (I know, I know we already know the sex but still getting to see how big she is compared to making sure my cervix is “nice and long will be a nice change). I know that I am supposed to count up with the weeks like next week will be 21 weeks, but I will be going the other way… next week is 19 weeks to go!

 

My Day to Rant

Having a filter is something that has disappeared over time and experiences in life. I have learned to control how often and when I rant about things but like a steamer pot, eventually I need to blow some steam off before my lid explodes and people get hurt. That is why I am making Thursdays my day to rant over things that I have either experienced in my life, things I just don’t agree with or just something I want to rant about.

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I am hoping that if I keep my ranting to one day a week, I will start to feel the good things in life that I feel like I have missing out on. Listening to The Secret everyday has made me realize that I cannot focus on the negativity in life in order to live a positive, happy life. The reality of life is that not every experience is going to be a happy one so letting the negative things out is essential to keep me from going completely insane.

Today’s rant is going to just be a small one….

If you read my post yesterday, you know that it was my boyfriend’s birthday. My birthday shopping on a budget was done at Walmart because I could get all of the supplies for his gift and a card within my budget. Or so I thought….

Since being on a budget limited how much I could spend on him, I started off looking at the “affordable” birthday cards (cards are one of the most over priced things for a piece of paper) but they were either geared to children or just lame. So I went over to the “over-priced” card section. I see the banner that states “Birthday for Him” looking for a section that is birthday cards for Boyfriends. I see Husbands, Dad, Fathers, Grandfathers, Sons, Nephews, Uncles but NO BOYFRIENDS!

I guess corporate America doesn’t believe boyfriends deserve birthday cards personalized for them. Even in the Husband section, every single card had Husband printed on it somewhere so that wouldn’t work since he is still not wanting to marry me. I am sure if he received a card that said husband and I tried to cross out husband and write in boyfriend it was meant as a jab (not that thought hasn’t crossed my mind because the temptation was real).

So back to the cheap, generic cards I go…. instead of finding a nice, romantic card like I wanted, I had to settle for a funny card. The card was something that fits us but still left me disappointed that I couldn’t find what I wanted because corporate America doesn’t think we need cards for Boyfriends. In a day and age where more people are getting divorced or taking years to get married, you would think they would take advantage of charging $5 for a boyfriend card….

Ok rant for today is over! Now onto the positive things for the day…. Enjoy your Thirsty Thursday and if you are having a drink to celebrate have an extra one for this pregnant mama!

Looking For the Bright Side

It’s a Tuesday morning which means life will be less stressful than Monday morning and a little more relaxed.

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That was my exact thoughts as I lay in bed this morning debating on whether to sleep in a little longer since Danyella spent the night at my mom’s and I don’t have an appointment first thing. I mean if there is no rush to get up then my pregnant butt should relax for as long as I could… right?

Well that was BEFORE I made the mistake of looking at my phone….

First email that caught my eye was from the HR department of my job basically telling me that I was in non compliance because my OB hasn’t been able to finish the 30 pages of paperwork for the FMLA so that I can collect a little for a little bit time while I am on bed rest. So that has been a going back and forth  with HR all day hoping and praying that I will still be able to collect something because my family needs any extra money we can to get ready for this baby girl.

The second email was from my college telling me that I was selected for the IRS verification for my FAFSA application. So they give me all these instructions on how I can do this online but it doesn’t work. I go to the FAFSA homepage hoping to find answers on how to get this to work only to find out that FAFSA disabled the ability to do the online verification until the next season which who the hell knows when that is! Next option is to access my transcripts online instantly through the IRS website but I don’t have a credit card, mortgage or auto loan in my name (downfall of trying to keep my expenses down and not fall behind on loans by not having loans). So onto the third option, order my transcripts to be mailed to me. According to the site it can take upto 10 days to process my request… well classes start in 3 weeks so I might be able to start classes because I do not have any money to put towards my tuiton fees. I did email the financial aid woman but have yet to hear back about how long this will take to process will take and if I should stop my plans to go back to school (yes I shed more than one tear over this today).

On a bright note…. I stopped into work and was able to see some of my friends and eat my favorite French Onion Soup. I have 3 weeks to try to hope, pray and keep on top of the financial aid woman to process my aid so I can start classes (squeaky wheel gets the oil first). And best of all…. my local Starbucks secretly has Pumpkin Spice Lattes back plus I got 2 more maternity clothes for $10 on clearance at Target. A win win day after all!

Somedays are harder than others to find that bright side but there is always a bright side to every dark side of life. One thing that listening to The Secret (I listen to the audiobook everyday) and other positive life changing books has taught me that if you dwell on the bad then more bad will come but if you find the good in each situation then the good things will occurred more often. Stay positive and stay happy on this Terrific Tuesday!

Vision Board Challenge

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Recently, I joined a Mom Boss Bloggers Facebook Group because I want to expand my horizons and see what other mommy bloggers are posting about in their lives. I know that I haven’t been posting about my business lately but this will be changing this week because I need to get back to expanding my business. Anywho…

Another blogger is looking to feature vision boards on her blog and was looking for volunteers. I have had a vision board for the past 8 years after reading Louise Hay’s inspirational books where she tells her readers to make a board of what you want to see in your life so that the world knows what to bring to your life. I strongly believe in vision boards and how powerful they can be if you continued to grow your visions and your boards.

To me, my vision boards are a continuous work in progress because when one goal on my board is accomplished then it is time to find a new goal. Sometimes my board has been full of pictures, words, quotes and goals I have written onto the board. Since I was a teen, I have collected old magazines my grandmother would get rid of because I wanted to keep the recipes or crafts I wanted to try. Since starting my first vision board, I have been able to go through those magazines to help create my boards. Each day, I take one magazine cut out things for my board and other things that I want to keep.

My current board has been reworked over the past 2 years and some of those goals have been accomplished but some have not because I got away from my self-care and vision board. The blogger I will be working with on my new vision board requested a board having to do with positivity and how to stay positive. So this board will contain a lot of quotes, positive words and images.

This is something new because I will not be including specific goals that I want to achieve (that will be kept to my other board) but keeping to the positivity and self-care theme. I believe that things happen for a reason and that this new challenge for a vision board has come at a time where I have started my self care journey over. I cannot wait to share my new board when it is finished!