• How to Save and Earn Money with Smart Phone Apps: My Top Five Apps

    by Reruns blogger | May 09, 2013

    I recently got a Smart Phone and I’m already earning money and gifts for free with apps.  There are so many apps and sometimes it seems too good to be true to actually earn something free using these apps.  These are my top five favorite apps that I personally use.

    1. Pinpoint Rewards – This is my favorite app that is for the Omaha area only. It’s a loyalty rewards program featuring local merchants. When you join and on your birthday and anniversary, you receive special offers from these merchants. Some rewards are $5, $10 or even $20 off any purchase (freebie alert) and others are buy one get one free deals. Just to give you an idea of what to expect, when I joined, I redeemed free smoothies at The Juice Stop, two free pizzas from Fill R Up in Council Bluffs, $10 off our meal at La Mesa and several other great offers.  Plus, when you shop at the participating merchants, you receive points that will earn you free gift cards when you meet the redemption levels. It’s a great program that gives you extra incentive to shop and dine locally.

    2. Wrapp – Send free gifts to your friends and hopefully, they will reciprocate. Recently, I received $5 gift cards to Sephora and Office Depot and scored freebies at both stores. Simply show the cashier the gift card you received on your phone at checkout. It’s a fun and easy way to shop for free. There is an option to purchase higher value gift cards, but they offer a nice selection of free gift cards.

    3. Endorse – Earn cash back on select purchases at any store when you simply upload your receipt. Recently, I earned $5 back on any brand diapers and $3 back on any brand coffee. These are items I already planned to purchase, so it was nice to get a little extra.

    4. Ibotta – Earn cash back on select purchases at select stores. You must upload your receipt and scan the barcode from the product. It’s a little more involved to receive the cash back, but it’s worth it to get money back on items you purchase regularly. This week I received $1.25 cash back on shampoo that was free after coupons, meaning I actually made money shopping.

    5. Jingit – Earn money by watching short videos or checking in at select stores. This is a super easy way to earn some extra money.

    These are my top five apps to earn freebies and make money using your Smart Phone. I hope you will score some great rewards like I have. What other apps do you use and love to save you money?

    Author: Nicole McDonald, a stay-at-home mom to three kids, age 7, 4 and 2.  She teaches coupon, meal planning, frugal fun with kids and freebies classes and blogs atwww.momsavesmoney.net. Her e-book ‘The Extraordinary Art of Couponing’ is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

  • Share

    by Reruns blogger | Mar 13, 2013

    “This is my room not yours.”

    “I was born first. Not you.”

    “I’m 4. I’m the biggest; you’re the littlest.”

    “You need to share.”

    Here we go again.

    My girls are feuding. This time it’s over a toy spoon. Really, why? * Forehead slap.*

    Sure, I could drop into the conversation or separate the two so my house could go back to a peaceful state — but I’m not going to do that. That, my friend, is the easy way out.
    Share
    They need to learn how to work through their conflict.

    Children are not developmentally designed to share. Young children are naturally ego-centric. Oh, that’s Gabriella all the way. She’s 2 and in the “Mine” stage. Giving up something makes her weak. She seeks power… control… independence. She hasn’t quite developed the social skills that her older sister Alejandra posses.

    And so the power struggle begins.

    “Mine,” Gabriella shouts.

    “I had it first,” Alejandra tries to reason.

    “NOOO. MINE.”

    After a few minutes of “mines” pass, I intervene.

    “What’s going on?”

    Alejandra blurts out the situation. Gabriella lowers her head admitting submission.

    Instead of taking the spoon out of anyone’s hand, I ask them how they can resolve the situation.

    Sometimes being the parent means that we have to gently teach them over and over to recognize and value the feelings of others. Also, help children recognize the power in sharing.

    Sharing requires practice, which always includes mistakes along with the successes.

    That day we started with a positive experience. I asked for the spoon.

    “I’m happy when I have this spoon because I like to pretend it’s a microphone,” I said, and then proceeded to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

    After squawking the tune, because I’m not much of a singer, I then handed Alejandra the spoon.

    “I’m happy when I have this spoon because I like to pretend I’m baking cupcakes,” she said. She then spun the spoon around as if she was mixing batter in a bowl.

    Now it’s Gabriella’s turn.

    “Spoon. MINE!!!!”

    OK. So we haven’t gotten her impulses under control quite yet. But not all is lost.

    After banging the spoon on the hard wood floor in her bedroom for a few seconds, she handed me the spoon.

    She’ll eventually get the hang of this sharing thing. Slowly, but surely. I hope.

    Bio: Josie Loza is a mom to three young children. She blogs about parenting issues, lifestyle and and her family’s quirky adventures on www.momaha.com.

    Go comment!
  • How to Entertain Kids on Snow Day

    by Reruns blogger | Feb 21, 2013

    Living in Nebraska, it is inevitable that there will be a time when the snow cancels school and the kids and parents are home stuck inside. It’s fun to play in the snow, but kids can only be out for a few minutes before they start to feel the chill. As parents, we know that when boredom kicks in, the house becomes chaotic. So, the challenge during inclement weather is to keep the kids entertained and calm.

    What can you do at home to bust the boredom? 

    1. Bring the snow inside – You don’t have to be outside to play in the snow. Get a bucket and fill it with
    snow. Lay out a plastic tablecloth on your kitchen floor and add plastic kitchen utensils. The kids can
    play indoors with the snow and keep their toes and fingers warm.

    2. Paper crafts – There is a plethora of crafts you can make with just paper. You can use scraps,
    construction or plain computer paper to make origami, paper airplanes, collages (with pictures from old
    magazines) or create a story book together. There are many resources online that let you print coloring
    pages or activities at no charge.

    3. Borrow movies from the library – We cancelled cable several years ago and I’m always worried that
    a storm will knock out our internet and Netflix, so I like to have DVDs for the kids to watch. The local
    library has a huge collection of kid and adult movies, including educational shows, and they are free to
    borrow. Our library lets you keep them for an entire week.

    4. Family game time – Snow days are a great time to create a new family tradition of playing board
    games. Add some yummy snacks and have fun. Our family favorites are Uno, Connect 4 and Apples to
    Apples.

    5. Bake – When it’s cold outside, bake some yummy treats to stay warm. Kids can help measure, stir and
    pour. And, when it’s all done, you will have some snacks to enjoy during the snowstorm..

    6. Dance Party – My kids always have tons of energy and need to get up and move. Anytime they start
    to get bored and rambunctious, I turn on some music and we dance. You can find great kid’s music free
    on Youtube and even some free downloads on Amazon.

    These are just a few ideas to help with snow day boredom. What other ideas do you have to keep kids
    entertained indoors?

    Author: Nicole McDonald, a stay-at-home mom to three kids, age 6, 4 and 2. She teaches coupon, meal
    planning, frugal fun with kids and freebies classes and blogs at www.momsavesmoney.net.

  • Tiger Love

    by Reruns blogger | Feb 17, 2013

    It was nap time. Gabriella, my 24-month-old daughter, fussed in her bed — but after 5 minutes she doze off.

    An hour later, I heard her fussing again. So I crept into her room to check on her — and what I found had me running for my camera.

    Every child has those moment, those tearful “mommy, I’m so mad” moments where you can’t help but laugh at how silly they sound even when they’re upset. Well, in my daughter’s case, how she looked. These character building moments are important. I’ll explain why later.

    Gabriella sleeps with her favorite stuffed animals. On this particular day, she chose a tiger with velcro paws that stick together. She loves it when I hang the tiger near her head as she sleeps so she can keep a close eye on “tee-ger” as she calls him.

    When she woke from her slumber, she found the tiger was a little too close for her comfort. In fact, he was stuck on her — literally. Somehow one of the velcro paws attached to elastic hair ties. And, well, the photos say it all. 

    Gabi Tiger Collage

    She tried to shake him off. It didn’t work. She tried to yank him off. That didn’t work either. She pulled harder and had no luck.

    “MOMMY,” she yelled.

    “I’m here, baby.”

    “Mommy, bad tee-ger, bad,” she said.

    I annoyed her even more by taking photos of her.

    There was something so sweet, innocent, curious, yet, helpless about that moment that brought joy to my heart.

    “Oh, no, Gabi,” I said. “It looks like you got in a fight with a tiger and you’re losing.”

    She was determined to get that tiger off — and I wanted her to figure it out on her own.

    Sure, I could’ve ripped it from her hair tie, but what would that have taught her? That I’ll be there to rescue her when she needs me?

    She eventually shook that tiger off.

    Sometimes as parents we have to stop rescuing.

    Have you found yourself rescuing your kids a lot lately?

    “My son is so tired, I’ll do his homework tonight.” “My daughter is too busy, I’ll do her chores this time.”

    It’s an easy habit to get into, but if you want to raise a resilient kid, these are major parenting no-nos.

    So start by setting this rule: “We have a new house policy; No more excuses. You need to take responsibility.”

    Then abide by your rule. Simply stop rescuing. It’s one of the simplest ways to influence your child’s future.

    In Gabriella’s case, it was that mean ol’ tiger. She took care of him alright. The first moment she got, she pitched him in the trash.

    Josie Loza is a mommy blogger and the editor of Momaha.com, a site operated by the Omaha World-Herald. Momaha is an online community for moms to share ideas through blogging. Loza is a mother of two girls and a boy, and she brings her experience and quirky family adventures to the site.


  • I Knew This Day Would Come…

    by Reruns blogger | Jan 21, 2013
    I knew I’d someday be sitting across from my 4-year-old daughter, kissing her forehead and wishing that she’d stay young forever.
    As I sat among a group of parents at our neighborhood school’s kindergarten information night, I realized that day had come.

    My stomach was in knots. Why am I so nervous?  

    Words

    She’s ready to go to school. She knows her ABC’s. She can count to 30 and beyond. She can write her first name. She knows her address. She knows her mother’s and father’s names. She can dress her self and is a self-starter in social settings.

    We’ve prepared for this day. So why are my knees buckling as I fill out her school registration form?

    Everyone tells me she’ll be fine when she enters school in the fall. She’s independent. She’ll forget all about missing you.

    But it’s not her that I worry about as much as it’s me.

    What if I’m not alright? What if I can’t stop missing her?

    Is it wrong of me to say that I’m not ready to let my piggy-tailed little girl go.

    It’s the real world out there.

    I won’t be able to kiss boo-boos, tie tennis shoes or cut her sandwiches into shapes. At least not during school hours, I won’t.

    I won’t be able to hold her hand and leave wet kisses on her cheeks as she walks into the classroom because — let’s face it — “it’s not cool.”

    Someone else will be responsible for the love of my life every day, and letting go will tug at my heart… just a little bit.

    Sigh.

    I guess it’s that thing we all do as moms. You know, worry about everything.

    Realizing she’s growing up is so hard.

    Letting go is even harder.

    After leaving the information night, Alejandra held my hand.

    “It’s OK, mommy,” she said. “I’ll have lots of friends to play with, and when school is over we can play too.”

    Josie Loza is a mommy blogger and the editor of Momaha.com, a site operated by the Omaha World-Herald. Momaha is an online community for moms to share ideas through blogging. Loza is a mother of two girls and a boy, and she brings her experience and quirky family adventures to the site.

  • My Little Girl, Gabriella

    by Reruns blogger | Dec 21, 2012

    I’m a firm believer that art is in the heart of every child.

    It starts with the first soothing sounds of a mother’s lullaby to brightly colored toys and the comforting touch of a favorite blanket.

    Early exposure to the arts lays a complex groundwork of mental, physical and emotional connections that opens the door to a lifetime of curiosity, learning and creativity.

    During a recent visit to the Omaha Children’s Museum, my 22-month-old Gabriella was fixated on painting. I tied an apron around her to protect her clothes.

    After the first three projects, I tried to move her into a different area to explore. She wouldn’t budge.

    Instead, she handed me a paint brush.

    “You want mommy to paint?” I asked.

    She nodded.

    So there we were painting all sorts of random shapes and swirls. Paint speckles landed on my boots. Globs of yellow paint were on Gabriella’s hands. She didn’t mind as much as I did.  We both looked at the now polka-dotted floor littered with paint droppings. Gabriella placed a piece of paper over it and continued painting.

    Smart girl, I thought. 

    Gabi and Mom

    On that day, she was post-Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh. She was making a masterpiece, one that was bold in color, a bit rough in design, but beauty nonetheless. I yanked that painting from the artist easel and placed a new blank sheet in front of her.

    She became Pablo Picasso. She painted shapes, I defined their edges and she slapped more globs of paint on top.

    New sheet. She was Alejandro Obregon. No, Georgia O’Keeffe. No, Arshile Gorky. NO! Willem DeKooning.

    I turned to hand her a new sheet, but she didn’t need one.

    She had yellow-ish, brown paint smeared across her face. She cracked a smile.

    No, she was my little girl, Gabriella.

    Here are three ways you can honor your child’s masterpieces:

    1. Have a place to immediately post the pictures. Your special place could be on the fridge door or hanging for a clothesline in a child’s play area.
    2. Store the artwork in a shelf, closet or drawer. Save the work for some time before going through which pieces you’d like to keep in a scrapbook.
    3. Preserve the artwork by scanning, saving and print it like a photograph.

    Bio: Josie Loza is a mom to three young children. She blogs about parenting issues, lifestyle and and her family’s quirky adventures on momaha.com

  • Say Yes to the Mess

    by Reruns blogger | Dec 13, 2012

    I love my kids, but being a mom of three small children is exhausting. There are always diapers to change, dinners to make, clothes to wash and messes to clean. It seems like a never ending cycle and I find myself saying ‘no’ to anything that might create any mess at all. Any activity they select, I just see the end clean-up and not the process that involves play.

    My daughter cutting up papers for an art project means little pieces all over the floor. Play-Doh means tiny chunks of that sticky dough all over the table, chairs and floor. Baking results in gooey ingredients all over the counter.  Why do I always say no? Because, I am tired, over worked and detest cleaning.

    But, do I want my kids to remember me as the ‘no’ mom? Well, no. I want my kids to be able to have fun, to make messes, to create, imagine and enjoy activities of their choosing. Being a ‘no’ mom stifles their fun. So, starting today, I pledge to be a ‘yes’ mom and embrace the mess.

    In a child’s view, the mess is the process of creativity and imagination. It is how they explore their world, how they create visions and build their sense of self. Play is important. Messes are important. My kids are important.

    The most valuable thing in my life is not having a perfectly clean house, but having happy kids. I want my kids to use Play-Doh any time they want, to create art and to help me cook. I want to be a ‘yes’ mom; the kind of mom that isn’t perfect, but allows kids to be kids.  I will say ‘yes to the mess.’ Today is a Play-Doh kind of day.

    Author: Nicole McDonald, a stay-at-home mom to three kids, age 6, 4 and 2.  She teaches coupon, meal planning and freebies classes and blogs.

  • Baby Food Adventures

    by Reruns blogger | Dec 06, 2012

    There are so many different methods that parents follow. Some choose to not vaccinate their children, to not leave their house until their new baby is 6-8 weeks old and so on and so on. Everyone has different views and different approaches to their parenting techniques and not a single one is wrong, we’re just different. As for embarking our baby food adventures we’ve decided to follow the Baby Led Weaning method. My son, Jordan, was breastfed for a solid two months. When we made the switch to formula it wasn’t easy and I dealt with a lot of guilt over his formula issues. We tried cereal a few times, after getting the okay from his doctor, and he didn’t do well with cereal either. Jordan encountered gas issues, projectile vomiting, lactose intolerance, soy allergies and would get extremely fussy when he had cereal. So with guilt issues and the fear of Jordan encountering more problems I felt I wanted to stay away from store bought food. I thought there were two options: store bought or home made. Which technically there is only those two options but there is different methods to “home made.”

    I did my research and sought advice from other mothers. I learned about pureeing fruits & veggies but I also learned about Baby Led Weaning. For us, Baby Led Weaning sounded like the easiest way for us and the funniest way for Jordan. With Baby Led Weaning we simply steam veggies and cut them into sticks or break off spears of broccoli, cauliflower etc. and put it on his high chair tray and let him have at it (you can also give veggies raw.) Fruits are cut down to a finger food size and he does as he pleases. The idea of Baby Led Weaning (BLW) is that is there is no baby food per say, no hassle of pureeing and mashing up your home-made food instead they are eating real food. From the start they are learning to grab the food and put it in their mouth. For the first year babies aren’t really eating for nutrition but more so for learning. With BLW they are also learning how to chew first then swallow; which is how you eat your food right? With jarred baby food they learn the opposite; swallow first then learn to chew later on. I don’t think Jordan is eating a lot right now but he is sure enjoying learning how to eat! I like that Jordan also feels a bunch of different textures and gets to learn how to put the food in his mouth on his own. We did try a jar of jarred baby food and Jordan spit it out as soon as it entered his mouth. We also tried pureeing a few food items and again he spit them right out. So with being first time parents we have done our research, talked to other parents and spoke with Jordan’s doctor then we explored each route on our own.

    Through our exploring we’ve discovered that BLW is the method for us! Do your own exploring and set out trying each method that seems will work for you! Remember we are all different with the methods we choose so whatever route you take you may come across others who disagree but it’s all about what works for you and your little one!

    Shawna Seaman is a work at home mom with one child who is passionate about remembering what she went through yesterday while getting to today.

    Follow her on Instagram @its_shawna, Twitter @its__shawna and you can visit her Blog.