Monday, May 22, 2017

#Amazon Prints: It’s time to finally start printing your photos the easy way. $1000 of Amazon Gift Cards to be Won!

I am so excited to tell you guys about a new service from Amazon called Amazon Prints! Amazon Prints is the easy way to print your memories! It's so simple! Here's the deal! All you do is upload your photos to your Prime Photos account, print the product of your choice, and get free delivery! If you’re not a Prime member, you’ll receive 5 GB of storage free on Prime Photos and be able to print your favorite photos.  Prints start as low as $0.09, so it's super affordable!

I LOVE the idea of this new service! Now, I can get large canvases, photo calendars, cards, photo gifts and more, all with the click of a mouse. Love it! You can check out Amazon Prints for yourself by clicking here! This is going to revolutionize the way that people order photos, cards and more, and I am really excited about that. Plus, Amazon is giving away tons of gift cards to help people get used to their new service! Check out their awesome giveaways below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to Amazon for sponsoring this post and providing prizes for the giveaway!Amazon, Fire and the Amazon Fire TV logo are trademarks of, Inc. or its affiliates.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

4 Insurance Plans That Protect Your Family and Financials

Insurance is an interesting thing. You pay for it every month, but you pray you never have to actually use it. But when you do need it, boy is it nice to know you’re covered.
Many people think of insurance as gambling against yourself when in actuality it’s an investment that protects your family’s financial stability. For the majority of people who live paycheck to paycheck, even a small accident could drain their savings account. Instead, you can use insurance as a safety net and sleep a little easier at night.
Auto Insurance
The experts over at know a thing or two about planning for all the unexpected events in life. Every day they help people handle the aftermath of car accidents. Their team notes that between property damage and potential medical expenses even a small accident can be very costly.
Given that in 2015 alone there were 6.3 million police-reported car crashes the chances that you’ll be involved in one is high. That’s why auto insurance is at the top of this list. Out of all the types of insurance, you can purchase, this is one that is most likely to be used. When you’re selecting an auto insurance plan pay attention to:
  • ·  The monthly premium
  • ·  Deductible amount
  • ·  Actual cash value for replacing your vehicle
  • ·  Liability insurance coverage (for damages caused by your vehicle)
  • ·  Collision insurance coverage (for damage done to your vehicle)
  • ·  Comprehensive insurance (covers theft, vandalism and damage done by nature)
It’s also important to check the state auto insurance requirements. Most states require that all drivers have a minimum level of coverage.
Homeowners or Renters Insurance
The next most common type of insurance is homeowners or renters insurance. Let’s be honest. As a homeowner, I know from personal experience it’s the largest investment most of us will ever make. Insurance helps protect that investment and can ensure your family has a roof over their head if the worst happens.
There are a lot of options when it comes to homeowners and renters insurance, but one thing you’ll want to pay close attention to is how your possessions are covered. You can choose one of two options:
Replacement Cost – You’ll be reimbursed in the amount that it would take to replace the items that were stolen, damaged or destroyed.
Actual Cash Value – You’ll be reimbursed based on the value of the item at the time it was stolen, damaged or destroyed.
Typically, the replacement cost option has a higher monthly premium, but it offers better coverage. If you have really expensive items like an heirloom or piece of artwork you may need to add what’s called a rider for additional coverage.
Two other types of property insurance you may want to consider are mold and flood insurance. These are separate policies that you can add onto a conventional homeowners insurance plan.
Disability Insurance
A growing number of people are switching from salaried positions to independent freelance or consulting work. It can give you more flexibility and actually increase your annual income, but you don’t have the coverage provided by an employer if you get sick or have an accident.
Without worker’s comp, sick leave and PTO you have to find another form of coverage if you can’t work. This is precisely what disability insurance is for. In the event you are injured and unable to work, your insurance plan will provide periodic payments to help you cover expenses while you recover. Usually, disability insurance payouts are 45-65% of your gross income. That may seem a little low, but the funds are tax-free.
If you operate your own company (even if it’s a one-man operation) you may want to look into business insurance as well. In addition to disability insurance, you can also get property and personal injury coverage.
Life Insurance
If something were to happen to you and your significant other or spouse would your kids be financially secure? Would your family be able to cover the cost of a funeral?
Death isn’t something most people enjoy talking about, but it’s a fact of life. If you don’t plan for the worst your kids could be the ones that really suffer. On top of having to deal with the loss of their parent(s) kids are suddenly left without a provider. Even if another guardian steps in they may not be in the position to offer the same amount of financial support that your kids are used to.
Life insurance is a way to guarantee your kids are financially secure. Make sure the payout would be enough to cover funeral arrangements, pay off outstanding debts and cover all of the standard living expenses until your kids are at least 18 years old. If you want your kids to go to college bump up the policy amount to cover in-state tuition as well.

5 Habits to Drop When Pregnant

The joys of pregnancy are numerous and there will be plenty of exciting moments as you grow your sweet child within your womb. Naturally, your health comes into play with pregnancy and we often must change our habits once we realize that we are sharing space with another human. 
Here are 5 habits you should drop when you become pregnant:
Cigarettes are highly addictive and cause so much damage to our bodies. Between destroying our lungs, harming our hearts, and increasing our chances of cancer, it’s a fantastic idea to stop smoking before conceiving. Love yourself and your body enough to want to get healthy before bringing in new life. However, if you are already pregnant and still smoking, now is the time to talk with your doctor about options. Smoking while pregnant can cause low birth weight, birth defects, premature birth, and increase the risk of a stillbirth. With your doctor and family there to support you, quitting can happen. We know you want what’s best for your baby and we are ready to cheer you on!
Alcohol and Drugs
We know you may love your after-dinner glass of wine or even a nightly beer, but when trying to get pregnant or are pregnant, it’s all about positive health changes. Alcohol can contribute to fertility issues, so if you aren’t pregnant yet, now is the time to step back and take a break. Drinking while pregnant can cause Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder since what you ingest is passed on to your baby. The sooner you quit drinking, the better your chances for having a healthy child at 40 weeks!
Illegal drugs are also passed through to your child, no matter how you are taking them. If you are trying to conceive, your drug use could cause serious fertility issues. To have a baby, your body needs to be in great shape and ready for the task. Unfortunately, drug use works against that. If you are already pregnant and still using, we highly recommend stopping as soon as possible. No matter where you are in the pregnancy game, we highly recommend seeking out exceptional treatment. Something like a well-regarded facility or substance abuse rehab southern california residents have access to, just in your neck of the woods. A trip away for healing will go a long way!
Avoid Tuna
Eating tuna has been a debate for quite some time. The goal is that you want to lower your mercury intake and yet eating fish is a high priority for pregnant women. Canned tuna is simply higher in mercury than other fish. Some obstetricians say you can limit your intake and be safe. Others say it’s hard to know exactly how much mercury is in each can. We say you should just avoid it all together and substitute salmon, shrimp, tilapia, and even clams. It’s your call, your best bet is to talk to your obstetrician.
Kitty Litter and Pregnancy
Did you know that cleaning your cat’s litter box is a no-no? It is! There is a parasite called toxoplasma present in feline waste that can cause birth defects and mental disabilities in our children, either at birth or later. However, this does not mean you need to get rid of Mr. Cuddles. The ideal situation is that your partner or other family members clean the box for you. It should be cleaned daily to avoid the parasite lingering. If you must take care of it, where rubber gloves and a face mask so that you don’t touch it or breathe it in.
Drop the Dog
Certain meats are a breeding ground for listeria. Hot dogs, salami, and cold cuts top that list and should be avoided or cooked. Cooking the meats will kill the bacteria and make them safer for consumption. Or you can avoid them all together. But a good salami sandwich is hard to pass up, so just be sure you cook it up!

Pregnancy is a fantastic journey into the mysteries of the life cycle and a introduction to motherhood. We hope you are able to change some habits so that you have a happy and healthy baby in the future! And, if you are looking for some healthy pregnancy-friendly recipes to cook, you can check out this helpful post

Monday, April 17, 2017

Understanding Birth Defects

Roughly 1 out of every 33 babies born in the US each year are diagnosed with a birth defect. In fact, birth defects are the leading cause of deaths in infants and are responsible for 20% of infant mortality.
A birth defect is a structural or functional abnormality in the growth and development of a child that can be inherited or caused by environmental factors. Birth defects can be mild or severe, and not every child diagnosed with the same birth defect will experience the same symptoms at the same level of severity.
How Does a Birth Defect Occur?
Birth defects can happen in two ways:
1.  Inherited single-gene disorders - In these types of disorders, the condition is passed down to the child from the parent. We mostly associate genes with characteristics such as eye and hair color. However, genes are responsible for all aspects of our physical and intellectual growth. When a mutated gene is passed on to a child, it may result in a birth defect.
2.  Chromosomal abnormalities - Birth defects that occur as a result of a chromosomal abnormality typically occur randomly or due to environmental factors. Chromosomes are structures that carry our genes. When there is an abnormality in the number or composition of the chromosomes, a birth defect can occur
Who is at Risk of Having a Child With a Birth Defect?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outline the following situations that put mothers at a higher risk of having a child with a birth defect:
●  Smoking, drinking, or using harmful substances or certain medications while pregnant
●  Being of advanced maternal age 35 or older at the time of pregnancy
●  Having a pre-existing chronic condition such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and/or obesity when pregnant
●  Having a family medical history of a certain genetic condition or birth defect
How is a Birth Defect Diagnosed?
Depending on the type of birth defect identified, a diagnosis can be made before birth, at birth, or after birth.
Diagnosis during pregnancy - Throughout your pregnancy, you will undergo ultrasounds and routine blood tests to monitor your health and the health of your baby. If you are of advanced maternal age (35 years or older) at the time of your pregnancy, your doctor may recommend noninvasive prenatal genetic testing. Using a blood sample, placental DNA is analyzed in order to assess the risk that your child may have a chromosomal abnormality, without the risks associated with invasive prenatal testing.
Diagnosis at or after birth - If you choose to forego prenatal screening and testing, your doctor will diagnose a birth defect or a chromosomal abnormality at the time of birth. The majority of birth defects are identified within one year of birth. If your doctor is unable to make a diagnosis at the time of birth, he or she may recommend that you see a specialist in order to conduct a physical examination or a blood test using a blood sample from your baby.
Is it Possible to Prevent Birth Defects?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend following these behaviors when trying to conceive and during pregnancy in order to prevent birth defects:
●  Make sure you get 400 mg of folic acid daily
●  Avoid consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and other harmful substances
●  Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and manage chronic conditions such as diabetes
●  Communicate with your healthcare provider regularly
If you are planning on becoming pregnant, or if you have recently found out you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about how to maintain a healthy pregnancy. If you think you may be at risk of having a child with a birth defect, your obstetrician can help you understand your prenatal testing options. If you are looking for some healthy supplements that can help to improve your overall health before getting pregnant, check out these tips! 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

7 Things To Do Before Selling Your Home

Selling your home is probably one of the bigger financial transactions you will ever encounter. Before actually putting it up on the market, consult your local real estate agent to see what you could reasonably sell your home for. She should be able to give you a list of homes that have sold in the area over the past few months. While your agent works on that, here are a few tips you can use to improve the appeal of your home to give it a pop and get you a higher sales price.

  1. Keep it tidy – cleanliness implies that a home has been well taken care of and your prospective buyers will definitely notice these things. Even the small things can make your potential buyer hesitant, such as excessive dust or dirty dishes in the sink. Remember, first impressions are lasting impressions and you want to make sure you come across as though you’ve treated your house like a million bucks (or more).
  2. Choose your colors wisely – putting on a fresh coat of paint can make the difference between night and day. If you have “colder” colors on your walls now consider repainting. Warmer or neutral colors are more inviting, make the rooms appear larger and are more modern. Keep in mind that you always want to know what your buyers are looking for. Something as small as changing the color of your walls can go very far and oftentimes is a great return on your investment.
  3. Get packing – clutter is a huge turnoff for any potential buyer! They don’t want your old worn-out stuff and could be that last, final observation that keeps them from putting in an offer. Not only that but it makes the room looks smaller, it keeps some natural sunlight out, and makes it very hard for your buyer to envision their furniture in that same space. Take the time to throw away or donate any unused items and give your home some breathing room – your buyers will appreciate it.
  4. Get the carpets cleaned – if your carpets are beyond being salvageable then have them replaced, otherwise, it would be In your best interest to hire a professional carpet cleaner to erase some of those stains due to normal wear and tear. Not only that, but if you have pets, they help remove any pet stains or odors that could be buried deep in the roots of the carpet or locked within the fibers. Addressing the high traffic areas in your home is also important as this is where a lot of stains, dirt and debris will collect. In addition, your carpet cleaner will also finish off your carpet with a nice scented fragrance to leave the air smelling pure and deodorized. Doing this one thing gives you a huge bang for your buck and a nice return on your investment.
  5. Keep the plumbing in order – If you live in a rural area or your home is on the older side, you may have a septic tank. Septic tanks are individual systems to hold and rid your home of waste water and matter. You can give your buyer sound peace of mind by letting the know that you just performed a septic tank pumping recently. This will not only give them another 3-5 years without having to pump the septic tank again, but will keep the longevity of the septic system going well into the future. Not taking care of your septic system can cost you well over $15k in replacements if you don’t perform periodic maintenance.
  6. Window treatments – these are important because they can stage the mood of a showing. If your treatments aren’t properly adjusted, they can affect a room’s temperature by not allowing enough sunlight to enter. Make sure to adjust shades or blinds appropriately when showing your home in the morning, afternoon or evenings.
  7. The back side – part of selling your home quickly includes having great curb appeal and backside appeal! Clean up the area in the back as much as possible. Home owners like to see nice green grass that has been freshly cut. Again, it gives the appearance that you have really taken care of the home. If possible, plant some flowers and shrubbery to make the backyard more inviting and so that it encourages you to want to stay.

Implement these 7 tips when trying to sell your home and you are sure to realize the upside potential you were hoping for. Remember, staging your home is vitally important for a quick, top-dollar sale. Don’t skimp on the smaller ticket items, and P.S., great smelling candles also help.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

15 Ways to Warm Up Without Cranking Up the Heat

So many people plan ahead for winter, but it’s easy to forget how long the season can be in certain areas of the country. The shortened days, icy road conditions and cold temperatures can really take their toll once the holidays are over.
After a long winter with larger utility bills, the last thing you want to do is crank up the heater. Space heating is one of the biggest energy uses in the home, taking up nearly a tenth of the annual cost of electricity. While the weather is finally warming up outside you can use a few hot tricks to stay comfortable indoors without adjusting the thermometer.

Throw on a Beanie
A lot of heat is lost through our heads. Even though it only takes up 7-9% of our body surface, our heads account for about 10% of heat loss. Pulling on a fleece beanie can feel almost the same as bumping the temperature up a few degrees inside.

Throw on Some Socks
Another part of the body that can get chilly quick is the feet. The University of San Diego has conducted studies that found when people had cold feet they felt colder overall. Parents can pull on a pair of wool socks for warmth, but kids can be a little trickier. Seamless socks for kids are a great option for layering since they’re warm, comfortable, and less bulky. Just be sure the little ones are careful when they walk around on hard surfaces.

Throw on a Sweater or Two
Layering your clothes can help you keep warm outside or inside. In the late stages of winter an extra sweater is usually all it takes to get comfortable indoors. But it’s sometimes hard to stop kids from shedding their clothes. Like their socks, you’ll want to make sure sweaters are extra comfy so they keep them on.

Throw on Some Blankets
While you’re vegging out in front of the TV or asleep in bed layer on an extra blanket or throw. It may get a little cold when you get up but you’ll be toasty while you’re sitting or lying down.

Sip on Hot Beverages and Soups
Sipping on hot liquids can warm you up from the inside. Plus, they’re a delicious way to enjoy colder weather before the spring sets in.

Move Furniture Away From the Walls
Cold can seep in through the windows and walls. If your furniture sits right up against the wall you’re more likely to feel it.

Use Your Curtains Strategically
If you’re at home throughout the day use your curtain to let heat in and keep it inside. During the warmest part of the day open the curtains to allow heat and light in. Once it starts to cool off close them again.

Stay Physically Active
If you start to feel cold and want to warm up then get on your feet. A few sets of squats or a quick kitchen clean up is enough physical activity to warm up the body naturally.

Plug in the Humidifier
A lot of things contribute to the temperature of the air, including humidity. The more humid it is inside the warmer the air will be. Don’t have a humidifier? Then keep the bathroom door ajar when you take a shower to add more moisture to the air. Also, don’t use the vent when you shower or it will suck the humid air out.

Reverse the Turn on Your Fan
At the start and end of winter, you can actually benefit from keeping ceiling fans on the lowest setting as long as the circulation is reversed. Fans have a switch that allows you to control the direction that they turn. During the winter set the fan so that it turns clockwise to draw cool air up to the ceiling and push the warm air down.

Weatherize Around the Doors and Windows
If you haven’t already, weatherize around the doors and windows. This means sealing all the cracks and crevices around the edge where air leaks in. For about $10-15 you can make the temperature inside more comfortable year round with caulk and weather stripping.

Use Your Fireplace
If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace this is a great way to warm up the immediate area without a heater. Just make sure to close the flue when a fire isn’t going.

Change the Sheets on Your Bed
Staying warm while you’re asleep largely comes down to your bedding. Instead of cotton sheets use fleece or flannel materials.

Warm Up Your Bed
Before crawling into bed you can make it warm and snuggly with a hot water bottle or hot soapstone.

Close the Doors of Unused Rooms
To help direct the heat into the living spaces keep doors to other rooms closed. If you have a guest bedroom or office that’s rarely used shut the vents to the room as well.

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