3/2/13

How to Win a Sweepstakes

Over the years, I've won lots of great prizes from sweepstakes. Whenever I tell people about what I've won, they often say, "I never win anything. How do you win so much?" I ask them if they enter to win and their answer is something like "sometimes." Well, that's not the way to win a sweepstakes. The odds of winning a sweepstakes depends on the number of entries and the number of entries by each entrant. If it's a one-time entry only, then you only get the one chance to win. If it's a daily entry, weekly entry or monthly entry, you can increase your chances to win prizes in that sweeps by going back regularly and entering again. I've only won a few prizes that were one-time entry sweeps. Most of my wins were ones I entered over and over. So first, you need to enter consistently.

I also look at entering sweepstakes as a hobby. I don't enter expecting to win, but hoping to win. You need to be persistent at entering because even if you don't win something the first month or the first four months, you will eventually win because it's all about the numbers. The more you enter, the better your chances of winning. The longer you enter sweepstakes, the better your chances of winning more great prizes. This requires a bit of time on the computer each day, but most people already waste tons of time on their computer anyway. Instead of playing games where you don't win anything, play instant win games and maybe you'll instantly win a trip to Daytona 500 like I did in 2009.
I've won several trips, tons of t-shirts, kitchen stuff, video games, a computer, and a media server. I've won a flute, a pair of diamond earrings, shoes, food, stuffed animals, and even a dining room table and chairs. You can find sweepstakes all over the internet to enter. There are also directory sites that list available sweepstakes and giveaways. Some of them even have a function to track which ones are daily entries so that it's easy to go back and enter again. So just be persistent and consistent and let me know when you win something amazing!

Love Disney's CARS? Here comes PLANES!

Dane Cook has been tapped to voice the lead character Dusty, a plane with high hopes in “Disney’s Planes.” Inspired by the world of “Cars”, “Disney’s Planes” is an action-packed 3D animated comedy adventure about Dusty’s dream of competing as a high-flying air racer and his unfortunate fear of heights. The film takes off in theaters in 3D on Aug. 9, 2013.

For more information, check out Disney.com/Planes,
like them on Facebook: facebook.com/DisneyPlanes 
and follow them on Twitter: twitter.com/DisneyPictures.

Winner's List Updated

Here are our two newest winners on Planet Weidknecht!

Christy Ehrlich - Master Lock's Heart-Studded Lock

Amanda Shute Taylor - "You're So Invited" Book

Enter more of my giveaways HERE!

Small Town Deals Are Often Better

We just spent the day in San Marcos, Texas, visiting my son's future college, attending information sessions, and finding out more information about the scholarship he was awarded. I feel very good about his choices and his plans and I'm confident that he will be successful in college. It's only about an hour away but I'm amazed at the differences between the city of Austin and the city of San Marcos. It's a much smaller town and as we drove around, I noticed many of the "deals" are better there than they are in Austin.
One of the biggest differences I saw was that the car dealerships offer greater incentives for car sales and car lease deals. I guess that's because they try to entice people from the bigger cities to travel out a bit to save. Although it makes sense, it seems that car dealerships in Austin could actually offer better deals because they sell more cars and can negotiate better deals with the manufacturers.

We stopped for lunch before we headed home and I noticed differences there too. For one, the college provided coupons for each student and their parents, so we saved $19.50 on our lunch at the steak house. That was definitely a great deal. The service seemed friendlier and more laid back than many of the places in Austin. I'm very happy that my son chose Texas State University. It's a great school and with the scholarship he received, it's possible he could graduate with no student loan debt. San Marcos seems like a wonderful little city and I'm sure he'll be very happy there. Only three months until he graduates from high school!

Iron Man 3 - New Posters Available

“Like” IRON MAN 3 on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ironman
“Follow” IRON MAN 3 on Twitter: @Iron_Man
Visit the website: http://marvel.com/ironman3

IRON MAN 3 releases in theaters on May 3rd




2 Wrought Iron Art $1000 Scholarships Available

Art Metal Workshop Inc will be giving $1,000 to two students, pursuing further education beyond a high school level, as part of the 'Wrought Iron Art Scholarship' program.

Wrought Iron Art Scholarship details - Two $1000 scholarships for two students enrolled in fall/spring school year of 2013/2014 at any college, university, trade or technical school within the United States or Canada (no fees to apply, free for all students).

For more information visit http://www.art-metal.ca/scholarship.html.

3/1/13

Confessions of a Retired Childcare Provider

This is an article I've been excited to write. I'm officially retired from daycare now. Today is my first day of a whole new life. I got to sleep in this morning. I didn't have to get up at 6:30a.m. today. No one knocked on my door at 7:00a.m. I got to take a long luxurious shower. I said goodbye to my kids from my bed as they left for school. My sweet husband fed the dog and made the coffee this morning. I don't have to answer my door this morning. I don't have to "kennel up" my dog ever again. I can put my knife block on my kitchen counter now, instead of on top of the fridge. I took all the outlet covers off my electrical outlets as soon as I kissed the last daycare baby goodbye last night.

This morning, I've sat here at my computer, contemplating what if anything I should do today. I've decided this post is probably the only thing I'm going to do. Although I did make another pot of coffee. I never again have to let a stranger in my house to inspect my toys, my enrollment records, or my training records. The next diaper I change won't happen until one of my children has children, which won't be anytime soon. The only nose I ever have to wipe again is my own. I can do my grocery shopping on a Wednesday morning and clean my house on a Thursday afternoon. I can do my laundry on a Monday afternoon and run errands during the daytime any day of the week that I want.

I can leave my vitamins on my counter, my cleaning supplies in the bathroom, and let the cords on my window blinds swing free. I could even have an alcoholic drink at noon if I want. I won't ever have to watch children's television programming again. I can sell every last toy and tiny piece of furniture in my house. I won't have to buy baby wipes or latex gloves ever again. I can say a curse word aloud if I stub my toe, instead of yelling "fiddlesticks!" I can take the dog for a walk every morning. I can leave my shoes downstairs. I can leave the dishes in the sink for three days if I want. I could even leave the bathroom door open when I go.

I no longer have to read nutritional labels and track what meals I make and serve. I don't have to keep grocery receipts ever again. I don't ever again have to throw away uneaten vegetables. I can sit in complete silence for hours at a time. I can throw away the naptime CD I've listened to a billion times over the past 25 years. I no longer have to hang a sign on my door at naptime to deter delivery drivers from ringing the bell. I can take my own nap if I choose. I can leave the garden hose strung out across my lawn and not worry that a child might trip over it. I don't have to scour my backyard for dog poop every single day. I can wear my pajamas all day. Or nothing at all.

Will I miss the children? Yes, of course. Will I miss the parents? Yes, of course. Will I miss the hugs and kisses from the kids? Yes, of course. Will I miss hearing, "I love you Miss Lisa!" every single day? Yes, of course. Do I know that God in all His great wisdom will find another way to keep me involved with young children and their development? Yes, of course He will. After all, working with young children is my "God's work" and I'm certain He's got something very interesting in store for me. For now, my short term plan is to relax, well, learn to relax. I'll be exploring this new life, blogging, creating a website for childcare providers to download training classes, and setting up an occasional classroom training for daycare teachers. The world is wide open to me at this very moment and I'm excited to see where my new path will take me!

2/28/13

Passing Down Family Heirlooms

As I've been going through my closets and memory boxes, it occurred to me that if something were to happen to me, I don't know if anyone in my family would know the stories behind the family heirlooms I've kept. I have items given to me by other family members and special things I've saved from my own life as well. To make sure that my stories get passed down to future generations with the family heirlooms, I got a great idea that I thought I'd share in case anyone else wanted to do this too.

I'm taking a photograph of each individual item and writing down all the information that I have that goes with each item. For example, I have a pouch of my dad's tobacco and one of his pipes. My own children never knew my dad, so they don't know the story of how he quit smoking cigarettes and took up a tobacco pipe instead. He was really an inspiration to me in many ways and the pouch of tobacco smells like my dad. Whenever I'm missing my dad, a whiff of his tobacco makes me feel close to him. I'm going to store the photograph and the story for each item with the item, so that if I'm not around someday to share my heirlooms, someone else will be able to go through my things and know what items were meaningful to me.

One of my favorite personal items is a sheepskin bomber jacket. There is no fancy story behind it, but it's been my favorite jacket for years and years. I have memories that I associate with it, so it's hard to let it go. I have a few other clothing items I've kept over the years that are reminders of special occasions, like my graduation cap and my wedding dress. I also still have my childhood teddy bear. I think it's very important to make sure the stories get passed down with the family heirlooms. What's your favorite family heirloom?

Win $100 Amazon or Paypal - Guardians Inc The Cypher Book Blast

GUARDIANS INC.: THE CYPHER

A chance reading of a newspaper ad will send 16 year old Thomas Byrne into the world within our world.

Following the ad he will find Guardians Incorporated. A seven thousand year old organization charged with protecting the balance between Magic and technology.

Through their guidance, technology has kept Magic at bay since the Renaissance, but the balance is shifting and soon all those creatures we've driven into myth and legend will come back with a vengeance.

To protect the present, Guardians Incorporated needs to know the future and to unlock the future
they need a Cypher.


CLR Bath and Kitchen Cleaner to the Rescue

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of CLR for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I hate to clean. I mean, I really hate to clean. Lucky for my family, I hate a dirty house worse. Cleaning the bathrooms and the kitchen are a constant chore in my house. I tease my family that if they'd stop eating I wouldn't have to keep cleaning the kitchen. Since I have two teenage boys living here someone is always cooking something else to eat. Their idea of cleaning up after themselves is much different than mine. The bathrooms are even worse, especially the boys' bathroom. Ugh, the stains, the dirt, the rust, the mildew - it's unbelieveable! I wondered if CLR Bath & Kitchen Cleaner would be able to tackle the chores around here, but it really helped to ease the pain of cleaning.
 photo Jelmar|WeCleanMoreThanYouThink-Home_zpsc4d6b490.jpg
It is fast-acting and powerful, and worked on all the toughest spots in my kitchen and bathrooms (even the boys' bathroom messes). CLR Bath & Kitchen Cleaner cleans quickly and effectively, making short work of stubborn dirt, calcium, lime, hard water stains, and soap scum. Those are all challenging cleaning problems here because the water in my town is very hard water. Even our water softener doesn't help much. I'm very happy that it has the Environmental Protection Agency's DfE (Design for the Environment) designation, because that means its safer chemistry is not harmful to everyone in my home. Try it out for yourself! You can also follow CLR on Twitter at @CLRCleaners.
Visit Sponsor's Site

2/27/13

Box Tops for Education Pantry Stock Up Giveaway

In celebration of reaching more than $500 million to schools since the program started in 1996, Box Tops for Education (the nation's largest school fundraising program) and its popular brand partners are offering one lucky Planet Weidknecht reader a chance to share in the great news while stocking their shelves with some of the most trusted household brands!

This program is a fabulous fundraising program that I've participated in year after year through my children's schools. This package of products is huge and we've enjoyed everything in the box. You definitely need to enter below to win!
Filled with delicious and nutritious snacks and meal solutions, home organizing and cleaning products and cost-cutting coupons, the Pantry Stock Up gift pack includes:
 New Peanut Butter Toast Crunch® cereal
 Nature Valley® Chewy Trail Mix Dark Chocolate Cherry and Protein Salted Caramel
 Fiber One® Protein Bars
 Progresso® Recipe Starters
 Food Should Taste Good® Chips
 Green Giant Fresh® Box Tops for Education pencil pouch
 Hamburger Helper® Sweet & Sour Chicken and Parmesan Crusted Chicken
 Betty Crocker® Mac & Cheese and Au Gratin potatoes
 Kleenex® wallet pack and 184 count box
 Scott® toilet paper (4 roll) and paper towel roll
 Avery® dry erase weekly calendar
 Ziploc® bowls and bags
 Yoplait® Frozen Yogurt free product coupon

To enter to win the Pantry Stock Up Package, just fill in the Rafflecopter form below. You must be at least 18 years old and reside in the USA. Only the first entry is mandatory; bonus entries increase your chances to win. Giveaway ends at midnight ET on 3/10/2013. Good luck!
Disclosure: I received these products at no charge in exchange for my honest review.

New Monsters University Poster Released

Which character is your favorite? 
I like Mike!

“Like” MONSTERS UNIVERSITY on Facebook: http://facebook.com/PixarMonstersUniversity
"Follow" Disney/Pixar on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DisneyPixar

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY releases in theaters on June 21st!

Wedne$day Wealth Giveaway Linkup

Link up your giveaways and enter to win some great prizes!
Thanks for stopping by today!

Where and what was love on Valentine’s Day?


Valentine’s Day, a day where the question of what love is, is on everyone’s mind, actually mostly on female minds. Working at an all-girls school this preoccupation is out in force amongst the teenage population. A small percentage come to school on this day feeling safe and secure that they don’t have anything to worry about. They are certain they will get a call from the school office to come and collect a bunch of flowers that their dutiful teenage boyfriends have sent. I see these girls walking across the school yard proudly carrying their flowers like a prized trophy, aware of the envious glances from those around. Some break into a smug strut, confident in the knowledge that they have hit the holy grail of what every teenage girl dreams for – a boyfriend. When I see these girls I often think bravo to the boyfriends. How is it that a 15 year old boy has the smarts to know that if he sends flowers to school and not to home or even in person that he has hit the jackpot? I often wonder too where do these boys get their money? And how do they know what flowers to choose? Some (the ones who want to stay queen bees), the rumour mill has it, send these flowers to themselves! Even though I find this hard to believe it does reflect the credibility associated with the elusive delivery.

The rest of population of girls sadly are preoccupied with questions of the heart - what is love, where do I find love and how do I make someone love me, what is the secret to love and worst of all what am I doing wrong? I hate seeing these girls on Valentine’s Day become insecure and anxious, made to feel inadequate on this one silly day in February. I try to tell them it is a manufactured commercial day completely hyped up by the media that isn’t meaningful at all but that doesn’t seem to help. I want to reassure them that there is plenty of time for them to meet someone who is just right for them and that there is nothing wrong with them just because the front office hasn’t called for them. They are beautiful, fresh and lovely as they are but this would sound weird and inappropriate and freak them out.

More often than not they view it as my own excuse for my own lack of bounty. But luckily some girls seem to have the day in perspective. For example one girl baked heart shaped cookies for all her friends. Perhaps this is simply easing the pain but I like to optimistically think that they are one’s who have taken the opportunity to share their love for what is real in their lives which is their friends.

So onward and upward as we move towards March and await another year of heart soaring and heart breaking and all the old cliches come out in bloom again!
-contributor: MVM / World Transformation

2/26/13

Harlem Shake - Watch my Daughter's Group

This is the video of Harlem Shake, created by my daughter, who is the program director for the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club! Please watch it, like it, and subscribe to it! Thank you!

Staging a Home to Sell Takes Thought

Dining Room as a Daycare Room
Since we're in the process of getting our home ready to go on the market, I've been thinking about different ways I'll be staging each one of the rooms in my house. One of the two daycare rooms is now completely empty and will be turned back into the formal dining room. We'll be moving our big kitchen table and chairs to the dining room, and adding the extra leaf to the table. We're going to take down the ceiling fan and hang a nice chandelier over the dining room table. I have one in storage but I'll need to get some halogen replacement bulbs for it. I'll probably set the table with my nicest dishes for staging the room, plus add a centerpiece and maybe some taper candlesticks for a romantic look.

The other daycare room is still a playroom right now, but when all the children have gone on to new schools that room will become the formal living room. Although people don't often use formal living rooms, so I'm considering moving my desk set to that room and maybe putting the love seat and a side table in that room. That will stage the room like an office area which is probably more common for most families these days. By moving the love seat and a table in that room, it'll allow me to thin out the family room. Too much furniture in a room makes it feel smaller, so it's important to make the room feel more open.

We are toying with the idea of setting up the breakfast nook with our poker table and folding chairs. That will give the room some personality and functionality. We don't currently have another table to put in there, so we're trying to do this on a tight budget especially since I am retiring from daycare a few months sooner than we expected. It will allow me plenty of time to get the rest of the chore list completed so we can list it for sale, but it also cuts into our income. We hope to sell quickly! I'll be taking photos as I stage the rooms, with before and after pics and some helpful tips. Stay tuned!

Fisher-Price Printable Coupons - Save Big

offer expired

2/25/13

Yogarilla Review

Teach your kids the joy of learning to stretch their body and their mind at the same time! This Yogarilla card deck is packed with 55 cards full of dozens of great activities. Each card is a huge 6"x8" size and OTis will show them how to do each yoga move.
On the back of each card is a detailed explanation for moms, dads, and teachers to extend the yoga even further. If you're looking for some kind of exercise program to do with your children, this is it. The colorful cards will entice your little ones and even your older ones, and these yoga moves challenged me too.
If you find your children are overactive and need some calming peaceful activities, yoga is highly recommended. I found that even the most active of my preschoolers were happy and eager to participate. As a preschool teacher, it's like finding gold when you find a quiet activity for an entire group.
In addition to doing Yogarilla as a group, I also left three different cards on the easel each day for two full weeks. Every single one of the children tried out all the cards I placed out. As the days went on, the easel was the first thing they checked when they arrived in the morning.
All the cards store in a tin box that closes like the old-style lunch boxes, so it's easily opened by little fingers, but also stays clasped shut even when the box was dropped a few times. The cards are made of a high-gloss heavy stock, so they will last for years.
You can find Yogarilla at Super Duper Publications, as well as tons of other great learning toys, games and activities for all ages of kids. Be sure to follow them on their accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube, then enter below to win a $50 Gift Certificate to spend at their webstore!
Disclosure: I received this product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
Win a $50 Super Duper Publications Gift Certificate!
To enter, just fill in the Rafflecopter form below. You must be at least 18 years old and reside in the USA or CANADA. Only the first entry is mandatory; bonus entries increase your chances to win. This giveaway ends at midnight ET on 3/10/2013. Good luck!

New Clip of Oz The Great and Powerful

“Like” OZ THE GREAT and POWERFUL on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/ozthegreatandpowerful 
"Follow" OZ THE GREAT and POWERFUL on Twitter: 
https://twitter.com/disneyozmovie 
Visit the website: http://www.disney.com/thewizard 
OZ THE GREAT and POWERFUL lands in theaters on March 8th!

How to Maintain Healthy Skin After Leaving the Facialist

When you’re feeling a little stuck in your beauty routine, or winter dry skin has you breaking out, there’s nothing better to do than to get a facial. In addition to helping your skin, it can be a welcome retreat away from kids and life to refresh and rejuvenate your spirit as well. Not everyone can afford to visit a facialist on a regular basis -- even with online deal sites, regular visits can get expensive, especially with the good but costly products facialists usually recommend. There are a few things you can integrate into your skin-care routine to help support and maintain the positive effects of a facial.

Ask Your Facialist’s Advice
If you’re living on a tight budget or simply can’t justify the cost of expensive skin care products, explain that to your facialist and find out if there are any natural alternatives you can use to care for your skin. Depending on your skin type, natural substances such as coconut oil or honey masks may help hydrate and clear your skin. If your facialist is unable to help you, visit a dermatologist, or simply do you’ll research. You’ll want to have a good knowledge of your skin type before doing so, so you can treat the right things.

Pycnogenol 
Pycnogenol capsules are a natural substance loaded with antioxidants. They help protect and maintain collagen, which helps you maintain healthy, youthful looking skin. You can find them online and take them with your morning vitamins. Eat healthy foods to aid in the absorption of vitamins and supplements. Be sure you drink a big glass of water with your vitamins every morning. The consumption of water will also help consistently refresh your skin. 

Weekly Masks
Weekly masks can help refresh your skin, clear up scarring, diminish the size of your pores, and moisturize. You can buy a specific mask from your favorite makeup brand or skin-care line, or you can find several recipes to make your own online from household ingredients. Develop rituals for skin-care on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Taking time for you will also help you spiritually. When you use a mask, consider resting with it on your face in a soothing environment, even if it’s just for fifteen minutes. Beauty rituals can restore the soul as well as the skin.
-contributor: Sierra Paige One

Tax Tips for Bloggers

I am so glad to be done with my 2012 taxes. It's one chore I really dislike doing, especially since I work at home. It does mean I get tons of deductions so that really helps to reduce my tax burden. One of my work at home jobs is running a home daycare and I also have to report my income for blogging activities. Since I already have an EIN (Employer Identification Number) I can report all of my income under that number. I probably spent a total of six hours doing my own taxes, but I learned from my dad that doing my own taxes is the best idea because trusting my money to someone else might not be in my best interests. I thought I'd share some of my tax tips for bloggers to help you save some money this year.

First, keep really good records. Record every bit of income you earn from your blog. You don't need to invest in an expensive accounting program. You can create and use an Excel worksheet to record the date you earned the money, who you earned it from, and how much you earned. It's also a good idea to choose a category for the income (such as "guest posts" or "products received") so that you can sort the Excel worksheet at the end of the year to easily add up your category totals.

You also need to record every bit of expense you spend on your blog. An Excel worksheet works well for this too. You can use two worksheets, like I do, one for income and one for expenses, or you can combine them into one worksheet and use double columns like a checkbook. Again, record the date you spent money, the company name, and the amount you spent.

Expense categories are very important, because you will need to itemize your expenses on a Schedule C to best take advantage of tax deductions. Include categories like "advertising" and "office supplies" as well as specific categories like "small business web design" and "computer software." The more specific your categories are, the less likely you will raise a red flag that could trigger an IRS audit.

Make sure you save all receipts to prove what you spent. I always make a photocopy of every receipt because receipts often fade; staple the original receipt to the copy and save them all. Save your tax records for at least seven years because the IRS can ask for those records during an audit. Don't be afraid to do your own taxes! It simply requires you to read the directions on the tax forms. You can do that, right?