I am very big into family, and I have a big family as well. 5 brothers and sisters (I'm the 5th of 6). 14 nieces and nephews (R Russell Patrick II joined us 10/13/13). 5 great-nephews & 6 great-nieces (Brooklyn Grace joined us 10/2/13). And no, with that many family members, I do not keep up with birthdays very well. Not well at ALL! Even with a master list on my fridge.
I'm also married. My husband and I got married here in San Antonio at the historic Sheraton Gunter Hotel downtown. And we are the proud parents of a 12 year old Alaskan Husky named Moo and three 1 year old kittens: Wicket, Willow, and Winter.
Like all Texas moms, I made my kid pose in the bluebonnets.
I love giving presents! It’s fun and I love seeing the smiles on my loved ones’ faces. But how do you keep to your budget?
Remember the Extras
When drawing up your list, go beyond gifts. Prep for all the other expenses that are likely to crop up — from travel to greeting cards & stamps to parties and (head-slap!) tips for the babysitter, the hairstylist, and others.
Ready, Set…Go Shopping!
It may sound strange, but the earlier you begin your shopping, the less you're likely to spend.
Keep Your Hands to Yourself
If you want to avoid unwanted splurges, resolve not to touch those amazing display items. Handling an object sparks possessive feelings, says research in the field of haptics — the science of touch.
Look into other ways not to spend too much here.
I'm a big fan of paying it forward, and doing-good videos are just one part of that. I love how some people figured out who was doing it, while others never did. This will make you feel great!
(My favorite is when he tries to hide in the bushes)
Photo courtesy: City of San Antonio Dept of Communications & Public Affairs
The city just added a great new FREE mobile app that may make your life just a little easier.
The "San Antonio 311" app allows you to be actively involved with your community. Anything you would need by normally calling 311, you can now get with the app. You can report graffiti, pothole repair, damaged garbage or recycle carts, and more. You can even attach photos, identify a location, and keep track of the status of your reports.
Get more information about the app and instructions on how to use it here.
Photo courtesy: Shutterstock/Ilike
Sure, there are people out there that love cleaning. But if you compound cleaning the house plus watching the kids and keeping them entertained, it becomes quite the chore. Why not try to make cleaning fun for the kids so that they not only help but also look forward to it. Man, I wish my mom had done these with us.
Trash Dash (two or more): Have your child or children put toys in different containers or large plastic bins. Have a race to put away the toys and see which child can do it faster, or if your child can do it faster than you can. The winner could get a special prize or treat for winning games related to cleaning.
Puppet Dusters (one or more): Make sock puppets and have children slip them on their hands for dusting. Start a contest to see whose puppet gets the dirtiest.
Race on the Floor (two players): Start two children on opposite walls in the same room. Give each child a sock or rag for dusting the top of baseboards. The child that gets to the end of their wall first wins a prize.
Look into what else you can do here, and tell us below how you make cleaning fun for your children.
Photo courtesy: Shutterstock/rSnapShotPhotos
If you can’t find your birth certificate or you’ve misplaced your passport, here are some helpful hints.
Get a Copy of Your Birth Certificate
Find it at the vital statistics office in your birth state. Go to www.cdc.gov, a website run by the NCHS, to get the phone number and address of your state’s office. Or check the government pages of the phone book.
In person requests could get you the certificate in minutes. By mail, expect it to take about 4 weeks.
Get a New Social Security Card
Get it at your local Social Security Office (Click on socialsecurity.gov to find locations; there are about 1,300 offices around the nation.) You can also download an application form from that site.
In person, your request can be processed in minutes and you’ll receive it by mail within two weeks.
Keep important papers in a safe deposit box, fireproof safe, dry spaces, accordion file.
Find out how to get replacements of your college diploma, passport, school transcripts, tax returns, car title and more here.
Photo courtesy: Shutterstock/Sergey Novikov
There is such a benefit to playing! Not only is it fun, it teaches us so many life skills:
Imagining Future Possibilities
Different toys and scenarios help these different skills, and luckily, there is very little we have to do to point kids in the direction of play time.
Read more here.
This British boy has dyslexia and has a really hard time learning. His father helped him study for his math test (or 'maths' as they call it in the UK) and wasn't even sure that the son would do well. The father's reaction is probably the greatest response to a good test grade that I have ever seen. So touching!
Watch the video and see why it won the 2013 MTV VMA for Best Visual Effects. No wonder it has almost 33 million views!
Photo courtesy: Shutterstock/Wlad74
You may want to grab another coffee or some candy, but sugar and caffeine are probably the worst things for you. What you really need is protein. Sugar blocks the neurons that make you feel awake. Protein, on the other hand, will help you feel fuller longer so you don’t snack throughout the rest of the day.
Yummy things to snack on include:
Edamame – you can buy it frozen at the grocery store and just pop it in the microwave
Nuts – walnuts and almonds are great for a pick-me-up
A Hard Boiled Egg – it travels well
Greek yogurt – which has more protein than regular yogurt
Learn about other great afternoon snack ideas here.