Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday Thought....




Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Arm & Hammer Ultra Last Cat Litter!





Our cat, Percy, is a feisty little thing. Well, not so little anymore. He's about 9 months old and getting to be pretty big! We actually are thinking he has some Maine Coon in him. Anyhow, he just LOVES to get into trouble. We haven't had a cat in years, so I didn't remember how much they actually use their litter box. Percy can fill a litter box in a day, no joke. 

Well, as you can imagine, all that litter box use can leave the house not as pleasant as it should be. We were excited to try out Arm & Hammer Ultra Last cat litter to see if it made things a bit better around here.

Arm & Hammer Ultra Last cat litter is different from others because each granule is coated with Arm & Hammer Baking Soda and powerful odor destroyers to keep things fresh. In fact, they claim that you can even skip a day scooping! 

Well, we headed out to Walmart (Ultra Last is available at Target stores as well). It must have been a fairly popular product, because there were only a few boxes left on the shelf. 


The first thing I noticed when we filled the litter box is that it is definitely scented. It was pretty strong at first. Now, Percy is a cat that goes bonkers when the litter box is taken. He literally will lay in its spot and roll around and meow and howl until it's back...and then promptly claim it as his by soiling it the second it is put down.  Of course, it was no different this time, but I was surprised at the amount of "fresh" smell that came from the box.

We've been testing the litter out, and have been scooping every other day instead of every day...and so far, we haven't noticed any foul odor! I am really pleased with Arm & Hammer Ultra Last, and am very much considering switching permanently. My only wish is that it came in a larger size.

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf Arm & Hammer and received a product coupon to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Enterprise Rent-a-Car opposing recall law?




Below is an email that I received from change.org. I have only done minimal research on this, but I felt compelled to share this. I'm not sure why a company wouldn't want to ensure the safety of it's customers! 

Cally Houck's two daughters, Raechel and Jacquie, rented a PT Cruiser from Enterprise Rent-a-Car in 2004. What they didn't know about their car was it had been recalled for serious safety problems a month earlier, and that Enterprise didn't fix the car.
Raechel and Jacquie's rental car caught on fire because of the very issue that prompted the recall. The young women crashed their fiery car into a tractor-trailer, killing them both.
In just a matter of days, Congress is set to consider a new law that would force rental car companies to fix recalled cars, but Enterprise Rent-a-Car is lobbying against it -- and hard. Enterprise's opposition could block the bill, allowing Enterprise to continue to ignore car recalls like the one that killed Cally Houck's daughters.
Cally Houck has dedicated herself to making sure that rental car companies fix recalled vehicles so no other parent loses her daughters to rental cars that are known to be unsafe. She says it's critical to stop Enterprise's opposition now, before they kill the law. Cally started a petition on Change.org asking Enterprise Rent-a-Car CEO Andrew Taylor to stop opposing the law to force rental car companies to repair recalled vehicles
These two young women weren't the first to die from rental cars under recall, and they weren't the last, according to a USA Today report this weekend. Despite knowing the risks, companies like Enterprise choose to keep unsafe cars on the road.
When a vehicle is recalled because of safety or performance issues, the government says all vehicles should be fixed immediately. That why car dealerships aren't allowed to sell new or used cars under recall that haven't yet been fixed.
For Cally, it's hard to imagine why rental car companies would be okay with renting cars that they knew to be unsafe. Before her daughters rented the car that killed them, three other customers had rented it from Enterprise after the safety recall. 
There is hope -- Hertz, a major rental car company, bucked its competitors and is actually supporting this new law. Cally hopes that by calling attention to Hertz's willingness to protect its customers -- and by showing that Enterprise is willing to let customers drive what she calls "ticking time bombs" like the one that killed her daughters -- Enterprise will stop opposing this law.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Organize your life with Clipix!



Have you heard of clipix yet?

If not, you should check out this neat little tool!


Clipix is a super easy (and fun!) way to basically bookmark those sites that you want to go back to... or share fun ideas with friends.

One thing I love the most about Clipix is that you can make a board that is just for your eyes, just for your friends and you, or one for everyone. You can also have a collaboration board! Say you want input from some friends on... wedding dresses. Well, make a wedding dress board collaboration! Then all of your friends can help you find gorgeous dresses to look at!



I like looking at cookies, so I decided to make a cookie board. There are so many great ideas for super cute cookies!

Also, if you have an iPhone, you're in luck! There is a Clipix iPhone app so you can take all your clips and boards with you! Have some outfit ideas that you want to try to recreate...clip them to your boards and head to the store! Have some really cute cake ideas? Clip them and show the cake maker! It really is simple and easy. 

I can envision Clipix being used for baby shower registries, wedding registries, superbowl party ideas, birthday party ideas, wardrobe revamping...really, the possibilities are endless!

Clipix also allows you to rearrange your boards how you want...so you could put together a timeline of sorts! You could plan a bridal shower, bachelorette party, wedding reception, baby shower, first birthday, second birthday.... and put all of your boards in order for optimal organization!

What would you use Clipix for?


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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Healthy Living!


This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walmart for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
Healthy living is pretty important to most people. My family has recently made some changes to make our lives a little more healthy. We all need more activity, and more fruits and vegetables!

Walmart has made healthy living a priority as well!

Walmart has announced that they are donating $9.5 MILLION dollars to help U.S. families access the information they need to live healthier.


One of my favorite organizations to recieve the grant money is Action for Healthy Kids.  Action for Healthy Kids helps school aged children learn how to be healthier, both by choosing more nutritious food, and staying more active.

Dr. Ro will also be helping families to learn to eat healthy on a budget! I personally know that it can be a huge challenge to do this... I'd be very interested in hearing her tips!

Another great organization (in my opinion) that will benefit from Walmart's grant is the National 4-H Council. I really think that all of the organizations that have been given grants will be very beneficial to all those that they are able to help.

Have you done anything, or would you like to do something to make you, your family, or your community healthier?
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy V-day and updates!




Oh my goodness...sooo much to catch up on! But first, HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY to all my wonderful readers!


So you may have noticed that things have been a little quiet recently! Some of you may remember I am now working for the post office, well the regular mail carrier had to train new carriers, so I was working full time all last week!  Phew!

And just before that, I was in an accident. Unfortunately the weather here in Michigan is NOT the best at times....and being a mail carrier we have to be out in it. A couple Saturdays ago the weather was terrible...it had rained, then snowed, and continued to snow. After leaving a mailbox I started to fishtail, and I couldn't correct my vehicle. I ended up in a tree.


:( 

 I wasn't wearing my seatbelt since I was delivering the mail in a left hand drive vehicle (so I was sitting in the middle). I did bonk my head...and apparently a few other places. No worries, I wasn't really hurt (just a few bruises), but it was fairly scary! I was actually really lucky, a rock, that you can't see from this angle in the picture, kept my vehicle from rolling down the hill. And if I hadn't hit the tree, I would have likely have rolled as well. The airbags didn't go off since I was under 30mph and there was only moderate damage to the front end! The police officer even said he thought I was lucky and that I should go play the lottery, lol!

In pregnancy news....

I am currently 19 weeks pregnant! 

I still don't have a baby bump, but that's pretty normal for me. Also being a plus size momma means it is much less noticeable when I do get my bump. Although there is no bump yet, there sure is a lot of movement in there! We have a very active baby!

I'm hoping to get our ultrasound scheduled at our next baby appointment next week! I cannot wait to find out the gender of this little one! 

Not a whole lot going on with the pregnancy, mostly a bit tired and craving chocolate milk again! :)

Well thanks for reading, and I really hope you all have a wonderful rest of Valentine's day! Remember to LOVE yourSELF, too!


Thursday, February 2, 2012

The hunger of pregnancy..



I am 17 weeks and 4 days pregnant currently, and for the last 5ish days I have been SOOO hungry! It is insane! 

I've lost about 10 pounds so far this pregnancy, which is pretty normal for me. I usually lose weight when pregnant (but it's nearly impossible to lose when I'm not)!  However, I don't remember being as hungry as I have been in the last 5 days ever!

I skipped breakfast this morning (I was in a rush to get to work), but once I came home I ate a bowl of soup and two cupcakes. Now, less than an hour later, I am starving yet again!

In other news, the little one has been very active the last few days... it is such an amazing feeling to feel another living being growing inside you! It's slightly bittersweet since we are nearly 100% sure this will be our last child (thus my last pregnancy).  I will be 20 weeks pregnant at my next doctor's visit, so we will then schedule an ultrasound. I CANNOT wait for the ultrasound, and to find out if we will be blessed with another girl, or boy! 

Back onto the topic of food, in the very beginning of my pregnancy I couldn't drink enough chocolate milk. I would drink at least a gallon of the stuff each day! I've also been craving salads... and Coca Cola! I personally find pregnancy cravings to be very interesting and I always wonder WHY I crave certain things.

Did you or your significant other have any pregnancy cravings or crazy pregnancy hunger? 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Student loans are EVIL!


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Okay, okay.. they aren't EVIL. But right now I feel like they are! 

I know that student loans are how many people made it through college... and some of them are very thankful. However, I feel like I was taken advantage because I was young and stupid. 

Back in 2007, I decided I needed to go to college. It had always been a dream of mine... but since I moved out at 17 and had to support myself the dream wasn't realized immediately following high school. In high school I had a couple scholarships and thought that college wouldn't be too hard on the budget. I earned good grades and figured that most colleges had scholarships for those who did. 

Well, anyhow. In 2007 I already had four young children (four under 4 in fact). I knew it wasn't possible for me to go to a traditional school, so I started to look at online schools. I decided that University of Phoenix seemed like the best option. I put in my info to be contacted and within minutes I was called. 

After that everything happened SO fast. Within a few hours I was signed up for college, had my loans and financial aid stuff filled out and signed, and was getting ready to start the very next week. 

I remember there were two types of loans that I signed up for...and I did not understand what they meant. I was told that I was getting both subsidized and unsubsidized loans.  In addition, I was getting a Pell grant. With all three of those I would be able to go to school with no money out of pocket. I was psyched (but boy, I shouldn't have been)! I honestly thought one of the loans were a type that could be forgiven. I probably misinterpreted the person I spoke with, but perhaps it was made to seem that way. 

Now I know that subsidized means that the government pays the interest while you are in college, and unsubsidized means that the interest on the loan accrues. 

Now let's jump to current time. I have been out of school for nearly 6 months...my loans will need to be paid soon. I borrowed them, so I know I have an obligation...but boy do I wish I would have realized how much I was really borrowing and how much it would cost to pay back. 

For my associate's degree alone I have over $30K in debt. Now, this has a lot to do with the school I went with... online schools are not cheap. I just wish I had realized this... it would be nice if FAFSA could give you a total of how much you have borrowed to date each year when you reapply. 

Another thing I did not know about student loans is how unforgiving they are. They never go away (unless paid), you can't claim bankruptcy with them, and since they are government loans they can easily garnish your wages and keep your tax returns if you are late on the loans.  I can say my knowledge of these loans is not great...and I have a LOT to learn still (especially going into the repayment phase) so please don't count on this little post for perfect information. 

I also learned that banks do not like to give out a mortgage to people with a lot of student loans. Our household income is not huge, so the student loans make our debt ratio scary. With the student loans banks are also leery because they may not be the first to be paid... you can't put a student loan "below the line" in your budget because you simply have to pay it, or else.

So, if you are looking to get loans... BE CAREFUL. Do not go into the process hastily, it could seriously turn into a bad situation. Research to see whether or not you really should get student loans... and all the details that student loans entail. If at all possible, avoid them. And never, ever, trust a person who is trying to get you to go to a for profit school to tell you the complete truth... they are probably paid based on how many people they can get to sign up because the school wants as many people to go there as possible. 

To top all of this off... I now have an associate's degree that hasn't helped me further my career, and hasn't helped me get into a better job to pay for all these loans. Hopefully it will eventually (so that I at least feel justified for getting these loans and taking time to actually learn the knowledge needed for the degree), but for now I feel like it was all for nothing and I am stuck with an enormous bill.

This post is completely my own opinion personal opinion. Please do research on your own and do not rely on what I have in this post to be all the information there is or the most accurate. I am not responsible for any financial decision you make or don't make. 
 
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