Tuesday, June 28, 2016

How to Find the Best Current Account Deals (Guest Post)

How to Find the Best Current Account Deals
If you’re looking for a new current account and want to change banks, finding a good deal is important. These days, current accounts are so much more than just a secure place to store your money and make payments from – you can get current accounts which offer a huge range of benefits, whether it be free travel insurance, a free membership to a video streaming site such as Netflix, and reduced rates and cashback offers for many different shops and stores. With so many different banks offering a range of current accounts each, how can you be sure that you’re getting the best deal?

Contacting Banks
In order to try and get the best deal, it can be a good idea to contact different banks directly. Maybe you’ve seen an exclusive offer on an advertisement, and want to know whether or not you’ll be able to take advantage of it – or, perhaps you’d like to try and talk the bank into giving you an even better offer. In some cases, you could even get in touch with the bank that you’re currently with and threaten to close your account down in the hopes that they’ll come up with a juicy offer to try and keep you on board. But, banks can be notoriously difficult to get hold of, so head over to www.contacttelephonenumbers.com to find the numbers you need.
Comparison Websites
If you’re looking for a great deal on just about anything, comparison websites should be your first stop. By using comparison sites which deal with current accounts and other financial products, you’ll be able to enter all of your requirements for a new current account and then browse through the results to find which is the best one for you. Usually, the comparison site will also tell you straight away which deal is the best of the bunch, meaning that you can easily find the latest great current account and do just a fraction of the legwork.
Reviews and Recommendations
No matter how great a current account deal may look on paper, it can be a very different story once you’ve joined the bank and got the account set up. Because of this, when looking for the best current account, it’s always a good idea to search the web for online reviews and perhaps ask people you know which current accounts they would recommend. Don’t count on what the banking group themselves say about a current account deal – after all, they’re advertising it and want people to join. There are tons of options online for finding reviews of current accounts and other financial products where you can learn more about honest opinions of the current accounts your considering and also discover more about what people think of different banks based on their personal experiences.

With so many different current account deals to choose from out there, making sure that you get the right one for you is no easy feat. By using these top tips and doing your research beforehand, you can open an account that you know you’ll be happy with.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Amazing High-End Restaurants in Kansas City #BlueStem #Westport #FineDining #Roasterie #DateNight

On June 2, my amazing husband took me out for a surprise date. I was SHOCKED at the place he took me to! We went to BlueStem in Westport because my cousin Derek Solsberg used to work there as a chef but he had since moved on. We went anyway (love you, Derek!).

My first thought was, "We'd better refinance the house for this outing. I just told my man we are trying to save money and here we are at possibly the most fancy restaurant in town."

My second thought was, "Wow. I am so blessed to be able to eat at a place like this with my husband while my kids are safely tucked away at home and taken care of. My man works hard and deserves this culinary treat! What a great date night and bring on those 5 courses!"


We each did the 5-course situation and then for dessert I chose the mousse tart (of course!) and he chose the olive oil cake

The service was insanely amazing ... everyone worked together like a well-oiled machine to keep fresh utensils on our table and to keep our drinks filled. Aron got the wine pairing and the wine dude was knowledgeable and offered the perfect wines.

I have never before in my 45 years tasted mint ice cream like this. I closed my eyes and took it in, like I was in a mint patch and I could have died right then.

I just found out tonight that this is The Roasterie coffee BlueStem blend! My friend Nathan Jones is the Ops Manager and loves it there. I have to say it was the best cup of coffee I ever had and I didn't need a ton of cream like I usually do. I want The Roasterie to open up drive-through locations everywhere I will be :-) I've been on the tour with the kids and that place is off the chain!

Date night!
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Monday, June 20, 2016

Whole Foods Grocery Store as Relaxation and Goji Berries

I didn't set out to buy soy milk from Whole Foods the other night. It was an accident.

Aron had been out of town all week and I was stressed when he got home. I was trying to eat better but REALLY wanted to run for the nearest Sheridan's for a nasty treat. But I also want to lose weight and feel better.

So I escaped to Whole Foods, where I never shop. I usually shop at Aldi because it's cheap and Price Chopper when I need produce and some other stuff Aldi doesn't carry.

I never shop at Whole Foods because it's like a foreign country to me. That's why it was the PERFECT idea of a place to go when I was stressed and needed to calm down.

The place SMELLS good, first of all. And most everyone there is all calm and cool. And they have all kinds of stuff I've never heard of in my life. Tresa brought over some chocolate-covered Goji berries from there the other day, so I had to grab those. She said they're like chocolate-covered vitamins!

Next time you're stressed, don't go where you'd normally go (to the cigarettes or booze or Valium or McDonald's or bubble bath). Try something new!

*Originally posted 2/3/2010

#FirstDayOfSummer 2016

So here is my First Day of Summer in a few words.

A couple of kids had a water balloon fight

Pork loin in slow cooker (thanks, Lisa!)

Lightning fast mammogram

School lunch with 6 kids

Pool with 7 kids

Take and pick up daughter to/from sewing class because I'm a sewing moron and she wanted to make a dress and it's my job to "make it work"

Massive payment on 12-passenger van where I sent the little canister and told the lady working there, "I'm making a payment on YOUR van."

May have fallen asleep in teen's bed for 10 minutes after lecturing other teen

Starbucks (thanks, Mom!) for a mocha frappuccino light

Giggle thinking of prayer time last night and my husband saying "And then?" after every single thing my kids said (see the movie Dude, Where's My Car? drive-through scene)

Tower of recycling

That's pretty much how the whole summer is going. How is your first day of summer?

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

How Virtual Reality is Changing Your Decor Design

Please enjoy today's guest post as I struggle to get my proofreading work wrapped up while also keeping my kids and their friends occupied before our staycation this long weekend for my 45th birthday and for Father's Day. I personally have zero imagination or vision when it comes to decorating, so I'll take any help I can get. Have a great rest of your week!

How Virtual Reality is Changing Your Decor Design 
You’d be forgiven for thinking you still need to draft a 3,000-word speech to explain to your interior decorator what your vision is for your design. Virtual reality only started revolutionizing the industry in 2016, but it’s changed everything. It lets you experience and tailor a vision for your home before it’s even built, let alone furnished. 3-D modelling has, until now, only been able to give you an impression of your evolving design that’s small enough to fit on your monitor. Now, virtual reality brings your fantasy to life.

More than a Photograph
Your floor treatments and lighting pull your entire design together, so no application can do much good unless it can build on what’s already in the room. 3-D software extrudes photographs into three-dimensional images, which means you can place your chosen furniture, MaestroBath fittings, and wall treatments into your rooms before they're fed into the virtual reality application. As you shop, you can upload individual items into that space, even getting an impression of new lighting should you change your window treatments. Because everything is to scale, you can rely on absolute accuracy.
As yet, virtual reality is an expensive solution, so only a few large retailers are experimenting with it. Other developers have been working hard on alternatives for those with more reasonable budgets.

Augmented Reality
Image Courtesy of PicJumbo.com

Virtual reality applications require you to wear goggles, while augmented reality functions out of a screen or, in the future, a pair of glasses. Rooms are modeled in the same way, to scale, and you are still able to wander around your house looking at it from all angles. The image on your mobile phone simply changes as though you’re looking through a camera.

Light and Hue
Image Courtesy of Pixabay.com

Your palettes affect your design more than most other elements, but it’s far from uncommon to approve a color set that doesn’t quite work at night as well as it does when the sun’s rays are at their brightest. Your lighting and window treatments need to be selected according to both night and day, and this is where all augmented and virtual reality applications truly shine. They let you view what your room will look like at all times of the day. It’s imperative that you have an accurate impression of how color works early on so that you can adapt your lighting to suit your needs and preferences. This is something that a set of swatches simply cannot compare to.

Decorators and Architects Unite
With design communities being colossal in so many parts of the world, it’s difficult to get your architect and decorator in the same room with your contractors. 3-D modelling achieves this without requiring you to create a complex schedule. Each facet of your team simply works with the same software, building your design in layers.

The Race
Augmented reality will work best if it can be transmitted onto a pair of glasses far smaller than Google Glass, and Mark Zuckerberg intends on leading the race. In future, 3-D images will be scaleable to your preferences, and Zuckerberg hopes that augmented reality apps will cost a mere $1. The lenses will need to block out the external world so that you can see a clear image of your design details and hues.

The ability to communicate your vision with your decorator is key to being able to develop the interior of your dreams. With the help of technology, this is already achievable, but Zuckerberg predicts that large-scale virtual and augmented reality will eventually merge to achieve greater design ambitions.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Home Schooling Through College: Is It Possible?

Home Schooling Through College: Is It Possible?

Parents who choose to homeschool their children do so for various reasons. Some parents home school because they tend to travel a lot and don’t want to disrupt their child’s learning or because they’re not satisfied with the level of education available in their area. It can, however, be very demanding, as you are tasked with ensuring that your child is best equipped to succeed academically and socially. As a homeschool parent, you may have discussed homeschool at degree level with your child. As online learning becomes increasingly popular, a growing number of college students are choosing to study from home instead of traditional institutions.

College from Home – Is It Cheaper?

Whether you plan to pay for your child’s college education or are looking into taking out student loans, there’s no denying that college is a very expensive experience. Although degrees are enriching, going to college means that your son or daughter may be saddled with large debts. Additionally, attending college in general can also be expensive, including finding somewhere to live, buying textbooks or commuting to classes. Because of this, it’s no surprise that both undergraduate and postgraduate students are opting to do courses such as a Master of Science in Nursing online, available from Bradley University.

Online Learning Is Just as Effective

Parents may worry about whether taking an online degree will give their child the same opportunities as studying for a traditional degree at college. Online learning has definitely developed and advanced over the years, and many colleges also offer online courses in addition to courses studied on campus, with exactly the same results upon graduation. The range of degrees offered online is growing, with options for students to take degrees in a whole range of different subjects, from business to the medical field. Studies show that online learning can actually be more effective than classroom learning, as students get more one-on-one time with their teachers via email or webchat and can tailor their studies to fit their learning style.

Online Learning Is Suitable for Any Profession

No matter which career path your child is hoping to take, there are hundreds of online degree programs available at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Thanks to online learning, students can learn from home all the way from graduating high school to getting a master’s degree or even a doctorate. Certain courses may require placements or work experience, which can be organized by the university or online school in an area which is convenient.

Whether you’re already homeschooling or have a child who is expressing an interest in studying for a degree from home, online learning makes it all possible!

The Day the Catholics Invaded IKEA in Merriam, Kansas

Yes, the time finally came May 31 for the Catholics to invade IKEA. Here's who went: myself, my 5 kids, Julia and our neighbor Matthew. Eight Catholic peeps walked into an IKEA ... ate some dinner ... and wandered the place for over an hour having a blast! This girl with Swedish roots was IMPRESSED and is ready to go back ASAP.

Tuesday is kids eat free night ... buy one adult meal and get two kid meals free. Still not cheap but not a horrible deal either! And AMAZING food. We got some Swedish meatballs to go for Aron, who was working late.

This is the little spot where your trays go.

This is my dream kitchen.

The kids wanted me to take pictures of things they liked. I don't think there is anything there I did NOT like, and I knew that would be the case. I am dying for a sectional couch in our new house!

The girls want this to be my office in our new home. Me and white don't traditionally mix so this room would be gray pretty quickly with dirt and grime. But it's nice to dream.

What a cool kid room with bunk and desk!

I figured this might be my husband's dream kitchen. We could have his and hers kitchens. Nothing wrong with that.

I'm so upset I didn't get Michael in this picture but he had gone up ahead in his excitement. He was like our leader.

More insanely awesome, space-saving bunk/couch combos.

Joel and Michael got some cheap pillows and blankies. They can't pass up a deal on cool snuggly things.

The warehouse. DANG.

I am initiated and now can get deals and save money.

Gotta get some Swedish fish and an umbrella when you are at IKEA.

Daddy's work! We took him dinner and he served the kids hot chocolate and gave them chair rides, which is putting them in an office chair with wheels and racing them down a long strip of office until they squeal.
I give this day 10 thumbs up and we want to go again as soon as we have some cash to spend on furniture and other fun things for our new place. Still hunting for a house so stay tuned.

Please sign up for an email subscription on the sidebar so you never miss the fun! We have a lot of cool junk planned this summer!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Healthy Granola Bar with Wheat Germ Recipe #KidFood #AdultFood

This is a recipe in my book The Tater Tot Casserole Cookbook. Enjoy!

What you'll need:
2 cups oats
¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup wheat germ
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup wheat flour
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup honey
1 beaten egg
½ cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips
½ cup almonds

Mix it all together in any order you like because you know that’s how I roll. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. Cut while still warm or they will be hard. Once they cool, store them in a Ziploc bag, but NOT IN THE FRIDGE unless you are trying to make hockey pucks.

Who knew wheat germ was so awesome? Only 2 tablespoons has 2 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein, as well as vitamin E, folate, iron, thiamine, phosphorus, zinc and magnesium. I’m going to start sneaking this into all sorts of foods my kids eat.

The downside of these is that now my kids won’t eat the store-bought granola bars because they taste like crap compared to these.

This wooden puzzle was on clearance at Michael's for like, a dime. He is guarding some granola bars I made (recipe a couple of days ago in blog post format). You can see my formica breakfast table in the background. If I could, I would decorate my house like the year it was built: 1966. That's also the year my husband was born, so it was an excellent year.

Originally published September 17, 2011


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