Auto Insurance for Teenagers

When my two boys turned 16 years old, I knew our auto insurance rate was going to shoot way up. I was so right. We went from paying $120 a month to paying $360 a month. OUCH. We've got three cars on our policy, all carrying liability only. We certainly can't wait until the boys are 18 and off our policy! Until then, I'm charging each teen $70 a month for their share of the car insurance.

Are you looking for information about insurance for yourself or your teens? Maybe you feel you pay too much and want to compare rates? I came across this website, AIM AUTO INSURANCE, that has a great overview on the different types of insurance available. It even has a form you can use to get a quote. I hope it saves your family money. Drive carefully!


Paid post.

Giveaway - Two Children's Picture Books by Lisa Weidknecht

My first giveaway will be a set of autographed copies of my two self-published children's picture books. My first book is called "Raindrop Dream" and it will probably always be my most favorite story. My second book is called "E is for Emotions" and I really love this ABC book with simple scrap-booking throughout the book.

Here are the rules:

YOUR FIRST ENTRY (mandatory or other entries will not count) - Please publicly follow my blog via Google Friend Connect. Once you are signed up via Google Friend Connect, make a comment below about which book you will read first.

One random winner will win an autographed copy of both of my children's picture books. This contest ends at midnight (CST time) on April 30, 2011. Want some bonus entries? Keep reading!

BONUS ENTRIES (complete first entry above) - For each completed task below, please leave a separate comment as a bonus entry into this giveaway.
a. Follow via RSS.
b. Subscribe to my emails.
c. Vote for me by clicking the On The Fence button (can be done daily).

A random winner will be selected by May 3, 2011. The winner will be emailed. Winner must respond within five days or prize will be forfeited. At that point another winner will be randomly selected and emailed, same rules apply. Click the Legal Stuff tab for disclosure and privacy policy. Prize shipped at sponsor's expense. Open to US and Canada only. Must be at least 18 years old. MSRP $25 set.  Make sure you leave appropriate contact information in your comment so I can let you know if you win!


Step2 Gather and Grill Playhouse Giveaway

WOW! My blog friend Mom Spotted is giving away a Step2 Gather and Grill Playhouse on her blog. This playhouse is so awesome. My daycare kids would love it if I won this playhouse. All the Step2 outdoor toys that I already own have held up wonderfully under the constant play of dozens of different children over the years. I trust Step2 products and love the purchases I've made from them. Here's the playhouse Mom Spotted is giving away:


And Step2, if you're reading this, I'd love to review your newest products with my awesome half-dozen kids! And while you are here, I would love it if you would follow my blog! Lots more great stuff to come!

Now THAT'S a win!!!

Instant win games rock! My afternoon just got a whole lot more exciting. I just won Footlong Subs for a Year from the Subway sweepstakes. How cool is that?

A Win for Me from Dentyne Sweepstakes

I was so excited to get mail from amazon.com. I knew it had to be a win. The front of the card says Gift Card on it. With eager anticipation, I open it up to find this:

Look very closely at the amount on the card......$1.29. It likely cost more than that to manufacture the gift card, congratulations card, and envelope, plus mail it to me. Ah well, a win is still a win! Maybe I'll buy a pack of Dentyne with it.

Who doesn't want extra money?

Today I came across a website called InboxDollars, sponsoring a new program called Cash Tasks. Well, I like cash, so I wanted to find out more. Every single day, they list a bunch of available tasks for members to choose to complete. Once completed, they put a cash reward in your account. Best of all, it’s stuff I already do like read emails, complete surveys, try new products, and shop online! It’s even free to join InboxDollars! 

Some other great things I discovered while signing up:
  • Every member is eligible for every task.
  • There is no limit on the number of tasks a member completes.
  • Member’s accounts are credited the same day the task is completed.
  • New members get a $5 bonus for signing up now.
  • Just click the link below to get started.

Paid post. Opinions are mine. 


A Blog Hop Lesson for Me

So, I've been researching ways to grow my readership and have actually learned quite a bit. A quick google search gave me several interesting articles to read. One of the recommended ideas is to participate in a blog hop. Okay, well, then what is a blog hop, I asked myself. Googling that led me to some outdated blog hops, but also an explanation of a blog hop. A blog hop is generally hosted by a couple bloggers. Together they collect a list of bloggers who are seeking higher readership, and those who participate in the hop are on the honor system to go become followers of everyone else in the hop. An interesting concept.

So, the hop I chose to participate in, has this adorable little frog on the button. And since it's Thursday night, and it's a Friday blog hop, I'm getting in pretty early, which appears to be a good idea because at some point I suspect some people grow weary of adding new GFC followers at some point and find something more interesting to do. So I signed up for the hop. Put my own blog information in their submit form, signed up to follow the hosts of the hop, and put that darling little froggie on my sidebar. Now I just wait for my number of followers to shoot up. Interesting concept.....Sign up here, leave your blog link, click on all these other blog links, and hope they all click on yours. But the frog is cute.

FREE Curly FryDay at Arby's on 4/15/2011

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Teach them with Songs

My daycare kids and I absolutely love to sing. I'm just glad they don't know I can't carry a tune. One of the easiest ways to learn a new concept is through memorizing a song. It's also a great activity when they are wiggly and I need them to wait for something. When motions are used, the children develop their small and large motor skills. Songs are a super group activity and foster social skills. Most importantly, it develops their listening skills and don't we all want our children to listen better?

Here is a list of our favorite songs:
* ABC song
* Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
* Itsy Bitsy Spider
* Five Little Ducks
* Five Little Monkeys
* If You're Happy and You Know It
* Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
* I'm a Little Teapot
* Jesus Loves the Little Children
* Jesus Loves Me
* Do Your Ears Hang Low?
* Rain, Rain, Go Away
* Hickory Dickory Dock
* Ring Around the Rosies
* Butterfly, Butterfly
* I Love You
* Humpty Dumpty
* The Wheels on the Bus
* Old MacDonald Had a Farm
* Mr. Sun
* Mary Had a Little Lamb
* This is the Way We Wash Our Hands
* Five Little Hotdogs
* Row Your Boat

Provide props for them too! Scarves, long ribbons, musical instruments, play microphones, and unusual hats encourages children to be more dramatic in their song and dance. This is great exercise for a rainy day activity when the kids are climbing the walls and need to move. Maybe you'll discover your child is the next singing star too!

Need Holiday Gifts?

My favorite type of gift to give is a personalized gift. Each year, I give each of my daycare families a calendar for the upcoming year, with photos of their child taken over the last year.  I came across VistaPrint and was so excited to see that they are now offering tshirts, hoodies, mugs, keychains, calendars and so much more. I also noticed they offer lots of FREE products for businesses, entrepreneurs and families. Click HERE to check them out!


Fun and Simple Art Experiences for Young Children

Providing art experiences for young children is very important. Using art materials helps children develop their small motor skills. It also fuels their imagination and allows them an emotional outlet. It is best to not offer suggestions or help, instead just provide the materials and let the child decide how to express their art. Here are five creative (and not-too-messy) ways to provide art experiences for your preschooler.

1. Give your child a cup of water and a paintbrush. Take them outside and let them paint a wooden fence or a sidewalk. A large "canvas" also provides the opportunity for using large motor skills.
2. Give your child an old magazine and a pair of safety scissors. Scissor practice is important to master before starting kindergarten. If your child gets frustrated trying to cut, perhaps they can tear out pictures first.
3. Give your child a piece of white chalk and some black construction paper. Chalk is fun to use on a wooden fence "canvas" too.
4. Give your child a roll of tape (the kind that comes with its own plastic holder) and several pages from a newspaper. Oftentimes the tape itself becomes the fun part of this art experience.
5. Give permission for dirt play. If you are feeling adventurous and don't mind the mess, give them some water too. Provide a spoon for digging and a stick for "writing" practice.

Remember that art should be fun. There is never a wrong way to do art. Celebrate and appreciate the things they make, as they often see their art as a personal extension of who they are. Even Picasso started out scribbling!


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Healthy Snacking for Families

With two teenage boys in the house, snacking occurs as long as they are awake. Although I have two healthy, slim, active teenagers, I want them to continue to eat foods that are good for them. Since they both work at Dairy Queen, I know they get plenty of soda, ice cream, and fried food during their work shifts. Between school, work, church, and social life, those boys are always on the run. Convenience often drives what they choose to eat so taking ten minutes to prepare something usually isn't an option. I had to find a way to make sure they were choosing the good foods.

First, we stopped buying soda. Okay, we stopped buying soda for them. The little fridge in our bedroom is stocked with sodas for our nightcaps but they aren't allowed in there. We instead purchased extra milk, chocolate milk mix, and a variety of great fruit juices. If the soda isn't in there, they won't be drinking it. They also have the option of filtered water from the tap, available all the time.

Second, when they open the fridge, they are not confronted with jellos, puddings, and sugary foods. Instead, they find bowls of fresh fruit, already washed, cut, and ready to eat. Right now there is a container of honeydew melon balls, a container of cantaloupe balls, and several grab-and-eat fruits like plums and nectarines. Veggies are important to a healthy diet, so they can find containers of celery, carrots, and grape tomatoes to nibble at will. Proteins are important to healthy growth, so hard-boiled eggs (already peeled) wait for teen snackers, as well as cheese cubes and cheese sticks. You might see that I've started a trend of reducing carbs in their snacking diet choices. I noticed that most of what they were eating was cereal bars and such, which can be healthy choices but too many carbs turn into sugars in the body and make teenagers sleepy. So far, they are responding well to the new choices. Since I really have no influence over what they eat away from our house, I felt it was important for our household to make changes here. And yes, I still have a hidden chocolate stash, but don't tell them.


While You Are Here.....

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Open for Business!!!

Okay, I've decided that I'd like to review products and sponsor some giveaways. If I do this wrong, I apologize right now. If you have a suggestion on something I should change, or a law I should be aware of, please email me at [email protected]. I'm establishing my policies and if you'd like to sponsor a giveaway and have me review one of your products, I'd love to chat with you!  You basically get free advertising for your product when I review the one you send to me, and by giving away one of your products on my blog review you can generate interest about your product which will turn into sales. Okay, with all that out of the way, I'd love to help out a few friends! If you have a product and would be willing to sponsor a giveaway, let me know! If you are a small business looking for more interest, send me an email! If you are a big business and want an honest and educated review of your products, contact me!