Archive for the ‘Your Home’ Category
by Jason Benton
Technology has revolutionized the way people communicate, access information and work. And after how far technology has taken us, the next logical question is how it will shape the world of the future. But given the choice, most people would rather forgo the lofty pontificating and find out how technology can get them discounts on stuff. That’s where mobile apps come in.
For years, Apple had the market cornered with mobile apps, and indeed their flagship provider – the App Store – doesn’t show any sign of waning in popularity. But Android is catching up on the mobile app front, and users of these devices have their pick from an extensive library that features apps in all genres – including coupons and savings.
Here are just a few coupon app options that are available for either the iPhone or Android – many for both! And the best part is they are all free.
RetailMeNot – free, iOS/Android
This is one of the most popular options on the list for the simple reason that RetailMeNot offers thousands of discounts from a variety of online and brick-and-mortar retailers. The app is location-based, so users can get real-time alerts on deals when browsing their favorite shops at the mall. The simple drag-and-drop interface also makes it easy for users to redeem their mobile coupons.
SnipSnap – free, iOS
The days of clipping mass amounts of coupons may be long gone, but there are still deals to be found in that antiquated information vessel of yesteryear known as print media. Those who do happen to come across a sweet deal in paper form needn’t panic because SnipSnaprescue! All that’s required of the users is to use their smartphone’s camera to snap a photo of a coupon barcode and the app stores the information for future use.
EZ Coupon – free, Android
There’s no reason for Android users to feel left out of the coupon-scanning scene. With EZ Coupon, users can scan a variety of formats straight to their handheld device.
ShopSavvy – free, iOS/Android
Great for comparison shopping, iOS aggregates price information from a variety of sources. All the user needs to do is scan any item’s barcode using the app’s built-in scanner and the price info from various online and brick-and-mortar retailers is then displayed front and center. Users can even purchase the lowest-priced item right from the app, as long as it is on offer from an associated retailer like Best Buy or Walmart.
ShopKick – free iOS/Android
This is another location-based mobile app that offers consumer rewards in the form of “kicks” that the user receives merely by walking into his or her favorite retail store, as long as the store in question is in ShopKick’s network. But this an extensive network that includes retailers such heavyweights as Target, Starbucks and Macy’s. Once the user accumulates enough of these kicks, he or she can then redeem them for gift cards at the same store or another one in the network.
CouponCabin – free, iOS/Android
This is sort of the Swiss Army knife of mobile coupon apps. CouponCabin does it all, from searching daily deals across the Internet to keeping track of discount and rewards cards. Users can also browse their favorite stores and brands, look for grocery coupons, compare gas prices, find in-store offers and share all of the above info with friends.
The above list of coupon-app options should provide iPhone and Android users with all the discounts they could ever want and more. On a final note, shopaholics should pay close attention to the location-based technology used in many of these options, as it stands to be the prime driver of consumerism in the near future and will shape the culture of retail savings and discounts.
It’s fun to make homemade decorations for Valentine’s Day. Let your kids get in on the fun in making these easy DIY Valentine’s Day garlands.
Paper Heart Chain
This cute heart-shaped paper chain can be made out of sheets of white, pink, and red paper. Cut pieces of construction paper or scrapbook paper lengthwise into strips of 1 inch each.
Fold each strip of paper in half lengthwise. Tuck the two ends of the strip down towards the fold into the shape of a heart, and staple them together. Loop the next strip through the first heart and then fold the second strip into the shape of a heart and staple that one together.
Continue adding strips and creating hearts until the chain is the desired length. This is an easy, cute paper chain that kids of all ages can help make.
Playing Card Garland
Another cute garland you can make for Valentine’s Day is made from a deck of playing cards.
Punch two holes in each playing card (just use the cards with hearts on them). Place one hole next to each edge of the top of the card.
Thread the playing cards onto a piece of yarn or ribbon. You can also tie or knot additional pieces of ribbon or strips of fabric in between the cards on the garland for added decoration.
This craft only takes a few minutes to put together, and it comes apart easily after Valentine’s Day.
Purchase heart-shaped doilies in a variety of colors and sizes. Cut a piece of ribbon the length you want the garland to be. Use mini clothespins to pin the doilies onto the ribbon, and the garland is ready to hang.
This garland is so easy to make, yet pretty too!
Hanging Heart Garland
This is a creative way to string hearts together to hang from the ceiling or from a curtain rod.
You will need some cut out hearts of different colors and shapes. You can use construction paper or scrapbook paper.
To string the hearts together you will need to use a sewing machine. Sew down the center of the first heart, from top to bottom. Pull out an inch or sew of thread and then sew down the center of the next heart. You will end up with a string of hearts that you can hang from the ceiling, and stitching them in this way looks a lot nicer than using glue or staples to attach them to ribbon or string.
Felt Heart Garland
This garland is similar to the hanging hearts garland in that you will use a sewing machine to sew the hearts together.
Cut hearts of a variety of colors and sizes out of felt. They can be red, pink, white, or you can make your garland multi-colored.
After you have cut out the hearts, sew them together like for the hanging heart garland, leaving only a half inch or less of thread between each felt heart. The garland will be hung horizontally this time, instead of vertically, but you still want to sew through the hearts from top to bottom like before. The hearts will be laying on their sides when you hang them up.
These are great sewing projects for beginning sewers. You only need to be able to sew a straight line.
If you don’t have a pattern to use for a heart shape for these garlands, then just search Google Images for heart clipart and you will find many options to choose from.
These ideas should give you some inspiration for making some great homemade garlands for Valentine’s Day. Kids love making holiday crafts, so let them help you decorate your home for Valentine’s Day.
Copyright 2012, Christian-Parent.com. This article may not be reprinted.
Follow my Valentine’s Day board on Pinterest.
by Inez Haythorn
If you work outside the home, you know how hard it is to keep up with housework, laundry, and meals. You come home from work tired and start in on your “second job”. Here are some suggestions that may help you feel less frazzled by the end of the day.
Before you make out your daily schedule, think seriously about what your priorities are. This will depend a lot on the age of your children and your family’s activities. My priorities are God, family, and then home management. This is a suggestion for a sample daily schedule.
1. Try to get up a little early and spend some time in Bible reading and prayer. I have found that the rest of the day goes so much better when I do this.
2. Prepare a healthy breakfast for yourself and your family. Make beds. Get everyone ready and off to work and school.
3. If possible, take a little time to unwind and catch up with your children’s and husband’s day.
4. Start dinner. Meanwhile, unload the dishwasher and throw in a load of laundry.
5. Have a relaxing, sit-down dinner with your family. Make this a pleasant time of closeness and communication.
6. After supper, do the dishes, tidy up the kitchen, take out garbage. Set up the coffee for the next day.
7. Put laundry away, do a quick tidy of your living room.
8. Enlist the help of your children if they are old enough.
9. Make sure homework is done, backpack and supplies are ready, and clothes are laid out for the next day for your children.
10. Now relax and have some family time. An immaculate house may be nice, but not a requirement. Don’t waste precious time with your kids being a slave to your house. The time passes too quickly. The house will still be there when they are grown. Read together, play games, or just sit and talk. What you invest in your children now will reap great benefits and rewards later.
Finish the day with a Bible story or Bible reading and prayer with your family. Get to bed early for a good night’s sleep.
Inez Haythorn is a Christian wife, mother, elementary school teacher, pianist, and freelance writer. Her goal is to glorify and honor God, and bless and help others.
My boys and I have started doing some fun fall activities. I picked up a copy of Pillsbury’s magazine of Halloween recipes and tips at Walmart and they have some really cute ideas for recipes you can make with your kids. We tried the Scarecrow Taco Dip today. Ours looks a little different than theirs did, but it turned out pretty cute. My boys loved the scarecrow’s face. I told them they could make up their own faces next time. The sliced olives work really well for face making.
If you want to try this yourself, mix together a large can of refried beans, a cup or so of sour cream, and a cup or so of salsa. Spread the bean mixture on a small plate and decorate face with sliced olives, grated cheese, and tortilla chips. You can also use tomato slices.
by Paula Eichermuller
Are you constantly tripping over books, clothes, and toys in your child’s room? When you ask them to clean their room, does everything get shoved under the bed? If the answer is yes then it is time to attack the clutter and get their room in order.
A well thought out plan of attack will unclutter and organize your childs room once and for all. We need to begin by using the methods below.
> Define & Organize
You will need to get a clear picture of the problem areas and then determine a solution. What is the purpose of this project? Does your child have too much stuff? Are toys and clothes scattered everywhere? Is the child unable to utilize space? What are your childs interests and hobbies? After asking yourself these types of questions you need to make a list.
Draw a line down a piece of paper. On the left side of the page write the word Problem, on the right side write the words Needs/Solution.
toys under bed——————-’——- storage containers
dirty clothes on floor———–’——–hamper
books in toy box—————–’——–book shelves
no place to build models———’——–table/good lighting
dresser drawers overflowing——’——–get rid of old clothes
You get the idea. After determining your needs for this room you will need to gather some supplies.(Some storage ideas are located at the end of this article.)
Now you need to start removing things. You will need to have some boxes and garbage bags for the items you will be getting rid of.
> Doesn’t fit–Can be handed down to siblings, or donated.
> Beyond repair–Torn/stained clothes. Simply throw away.
> Missing pieces–Games, puzzles, action figure arms! Toss.
> Doesn’t belong here–friends toys, clothes, books, etc.
> Outgrown Toys–Keep only age appropriate toys. Donate.
> Outgrown books–Donate to library or children’s hospital.
> The dirty dishes lurking under the bed. Restrict eating in the bedroom!
Try to get your child involved in physically bringing the donated items to their new “home”. Once they see that others have a real use for their old stuff, they will get a sense of pride knowing that they helped someone.
Now that you have removed at least half of the stuff from this room, you should be able to see the floor. Take advantage of this by giving the room a deep cleaning.
> Wash curtains
> Dust mini blinds
> Clean windows
> Scrub and polish furniture
> Sweep and scrub floors
> Vacuum carpets
> Dust shelves
> Flip mattress and vacuum
* Don’t forget to clean inside the closet*
After purging you should have significantly less stuff to deal with. Now it is time to organize this wonderfully clean space. Now I will give you some ideas on how they should function.
DEFINE SPACE & ORGANIZE
Below are the basic areas a child needs in their room. I call these areas “stations”. Does your child have the proper stations in their room? For a child to function productively in their environment they need the following areas:
> Sleep station–This one is a no brainer, your child sleeps here, but if your child also enjoys reading in bed, be sure you have proper lighting and perhaps a nightstand or book shelf near by.
> Study Station–A sturdy desk with proper lighting is a must. If your child does their schoolwork here make sure all of the necessary supplies (pencils, paper, calculator, ruler, etc.) are neat and organized. You can use an inbox for spare notebook paper, an old mug can hold the scissors, pens, etc.
> Games/Playing Station–Designate either a place on the floor or a table for board games. Board games should be stacked near this area. Book shelves will work fine or they can be neatly stored under the bed. For action figures and dolls, use see through plastic bins for storage. For accessories (doll shoes, action figure weapons, etc.) you can use an empty egg carton.
> Creativity Station–Let’s face it children love crafts, so this area is a must. Use old coffee cans for storing paint brushes and crayons. Glue, paper, scissors, play-dough, etc. can be stored in old shoe boxes.
> Dressing Station–Place a hamper near either the closet or dressser. This should help to encourage your child to not drop them on the floor. Lower the rod inside closets(if possible) so little ones can reach their clothes. You can also purchase a rod that hangs on the existing one which not only makes it easier for children to reach, but it also adds additional storage.
Go over each area with your child explaining each stations function. You will be surprised by how neat they keep their new space. Children don’t like messy rooms any more than we do, they simply need to be taught how to be organized. Remember the saying “A place for everything and everything in its place”. Once everything has a home your child should have no problem staying organized.
Explain to them that if they are done in one station, they must put everything away before they can play in another station. At the end of every day before bed give your child 10 minutes to pick up the room.
When you place items into a storage container, be sure to label it. This will eliminate the excuse of not knowing where something belongs.
An over-the-door see-through shoe holder can be used to hold: Barbies, Action figures, markers, crayons, stuffed animals, craft items, building blocks, baseball cards.
Clear plastic containers–everything mentioned above PLUS matchbox cars, puzzles, paints, papers, un-assembled race tracks, photographs, comic books.
A net hung in the corner of the ceiling can hold stuffed animals, sport balls, baseball gloves.
A ribbon or rope strung across a wall can hold art work, photos, awards, greeting cards, hair clips, and hats. They will attach easily using clothespins.
These are just a few ideas. Look around the house for your own storage ideas. Here are a few things you probably have lying around: Wicker baskets, cleaning caddy’s, clay pots, and milk crates.
Now use your imagination to see what you can store in them. Of course everything mentioned will not apply to every child. Make any necessary adjustments to accommodate the age of the child.
Reprinted with permission.