Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Definitive Guide To Cutting Back On Alcohol

Some people use alcohol as a way to wind down and relax after a long day. Some people use it because they’re bored. Some people use it to socialize. There are so many different ways that alcohol is used in this day and age. So much so, that some people don’t realize that they are over indulging. Drinking a little alcohol, such as a glass of red wine a few times a week can have health benefits. However, drinking too much of the stuff will leave you more susceptible to developing diseases and encountering other problems. Not to mention you can start to rely on it. In other words; it’s addictive. This definitive guide to cutting back on alcohol should help you:

Figure Out What It Is That Makes You Overindulge
There are a number of ‘triggers’ that can make people overindulge. Perhaps you’re just bored. Maybe you’ve had a really stressful day at work and alcohol is your only release. By taking a closer look at yourself and your habits, you should be able to figure out what makes you overindulge. When you know what it is, you can become more aware of when the situations arise and come up with ways to combat them.

Think Of All The Ways Alcohol Holds You Back
Take a moment to think of all of the ways that alcohol holds you back. This may not be enough to make you stop alone, but it can definitely encourage you to try harder. Perhaps it’s stopping you from advancing your career. Maybe it’s stopping you from spending time with your family. Make a list of all of the ways that alcohol is stopping you from living your life right and then keep that list in mind when you feel like overindulging.


Clue Yourself Up On The Health Side Of Things
It could be a good idea to read up on the health side of things. Knowing what alcohol is doing to your health should be a huge motivator to quit. It can damage your liver, make you put on excess weight, give you cancer, and do so much more damage. The more you drink, the more susceptible you make yourself to these problems.

Don’t Keep Alcohol In The House
Buying alcohol and keeping it in the house could be a huge trigger. If something stresses you out at home, then you’re more than likely going to want to reach for a drink to help you calm down. Avoid buying alcohol in large quantities and keeping it for no reason.

Designate A Friend To Cut Back With You
Perhaps a friend is having the same problems as you. Designate them to cut back with you. You can both discuss your problems, come up with a plan, and keep one another accountable. Make sure this person is serious about cutting back, or they might actually encourage you to ‘fall off the wagon.’ If you feel like having a drink, then you can call them and they can help you to calm down, and vice versa.

Alternate Drinks With Soda Or Water When You Go Out
If your problem is drinking too much when you go out with your partner or friends, remember to alternate your drinks with soda or water. By doing this, you’ll save money, and feel so much better the next day. Not just that, you probably won’t black out or do anything stupid that you tend to do when you’re really drunk. Most people buy another drink before the previous drink has even kicked in. This is how people end up so drunk! By giving your body time to process the drink you’ve just had, you’ll also be able to monitor just how drunk you are and stop or completely slow down when you’ve had enough.

Speak To A Professional If You Need Help
Perhaps it isn’t as simple as cutting back for you. You’re not alone. Don’t delay; speak to a professional. You may be able to visit a centre like to help you deal with your problems and get clean. It might sound like a lot to take in, but sometimes this is the only way to get your problem under control. If you like, you could speak to a friend or loved one first, and they can help you to get the help you need. Admitting it and getting it off your chest can be one of the best things to do in situations like this.

Find Other Ways Of Dealing With Your Problems
There are many other ways of dealing with your perceived problems. If you’re stressed at work, try speaking to your boss, reducing your workload, or even finding a new job. Your sanity is the most important thing. Find a hobby, so that when you get home you’re not tempted to drink. Exercise will make you feel great, but you could also start a creative hobby. Maybe knitting, or trying something else that you’re interested in will do you the world of good. Also, don’t underestimate the power of meditating. This can help you to distress and improve other areas of your life in a big way!


Don’t Be Hard On Yourself
When you’re hard on yourself, you get into a negative self talk spiral which can lead you to drinking even more. This doesn’t mean you should relax and not worry too much about cutting back. It just means that you should realize you are human, and that’s OK.

Keep The Person You Want To Be In Mind
Who do you want to be? What do they do each day? What do they look like? Who do they spend time with? Keep this version of yourself in mind and do what you can to become them each day. Take small steps towards your goals, and never let go of that vision.

If you have children or even grandchildren, it’s important you set a good example for them. Watching them grow up should be a big motivator in quitting. However, above all else, you need to do this for you. You are worth it and deserve health and happiness!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The First Trial of Marriage Starts Before Your Wedding Day

When you finally meet ‘the one,' life takes on a whole new meaning. Even the gray days become colorful, and you can’t imagine anything could be better. Then, as though to prove you wrong, he gets down on one knee and confirms that he wants to spend the rest of his life with you. You spend a day or two on cloud nine, wrapped in his arms and dreaming about the life you’ll share. Then, reality hits. You have a wedding to plan. A WEDDING! Let’s be honest; it’s no easy task. Before you know it, your bubble of romance is gone. You and your man start spending less time together while you scrabble around and make arrangements. When you do get to see each other, you speak about weddings the whole time.

If the above sounds familiar, know that you aren’t alone. The stress of planning a wedding is extreme, and the lead up isn’t romantic at all. It may well be the happiest day ever, but it feels far from it when things are going wrong. The risk, during those planning stages, is that you and your man drift apart. It makes no sense. You’re planning a day to cement your lovel. But, when you’ve both got your heads somewhere else, it’s easy to neglect what matters most. And, make no qualms about it, your love should be the priority. After all, there won’t be a wedding if that love doesn’t survive.

So, how can you make sure you keep your love alive through the mayhem? As with anything, it’s important to do things together. There’s an age-old belief that the woman should be the primary wedding planner. We are, by nature, the planners. Of course, that’s not true for every relationship. Your man may be the one with a plan. But, the outcome is the same. One of you does all the work, and the other is left out of the loop. Sharing responsibility could be what you both need. It’s a day for both of you, and working on plans together will keep your connection strong. Plus, it will ease the burden. No one person should have to take on that much work. If you’re worried about letting go of the reins, turn to something like these free wedding invitation templates to show your man what to do. But, make sure not to boss him. You’re in this together. What he wants is as important as what you want. Let him have his say, too.

It’s also important to spend time together away from the wedding prep. Chances are, weddings are all you’ve spoken about for too long. Remember that you fell in love with each other when a wedding wasn’t on the cards. There’s more to your relationship than that. Conversation about other things will help you through. Set aside one night a month or so where you ban all talk of weddings. Go out for a meal and enjoy each other’s company the way you used to.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

How to Make Underwhelming Gifts A Thing Of The Past!

Do you ever buy gifts and get the feeling that the receiver was a little underwhelmed? Maybe the receiver was super nice about the gift, but you felt underwhelmed giving it to them because you just couldn’t think of the ‘perfect’ gift. Now you can make underwhelming gifts a thing of the past. Use these tips to buy an amazing gift next time you have a special occasion coming up!

Be Really Thoughtful
Ok, this probably goes without saying, but you should be really thoughtful if you want to make underwhelming gifts a thing of the past. Make a list and brainstorm. Make a list of the receivers hobbies and loves, and then branch out from them with gift ideas that they might like. Use the internet to help you. You could find great gift ideas for men and even awesome gift ideas for fitness fanatics. Then of course you’ll need to take your budget into account, and your relationship to the person. That should help you to find a suitable gift that you feel incredible giving!

Give the Gift of Time
The gift of time is hugely underrated, and should be given more! Why not give your time to the person, rather than a physical gift? You could take them out for the day. Maybe you could have lunch and explore some free museums if money is tight. Maybe you could treat them to a day at the spa. There are so many things that you can do that will allow you to give this person your undivided attention. It’ll feel great to the person that they are so important to you.


Make the Present More of an Event
If you want to make sure the present gets the attention that it deserves, then you should make it more of an event. Let’s say you plan on taking this person somewhere. Instead of just handing them the tickets and yelling ‘surprise!’, you could spell out what you are going to do with different sized letters, cut them out, and then make them put them back together. This can make the event really fun, but remember not to make it too hard. It’s supposed to be a gift, not brain training.

Do a Little Stalking
When it comes to gifts, there’s no harm doing a little stalking. Most people have a wishlist and favorites on different websites, so if you can manage to find them you’ll have a ready made list of what this person wants! You could also look for clues around their home, look at their social media, or if you really need help, ask a close friend or family member.

Do Something Funny
Why not make giving the gift a humorous event? You could hide the real gift inside of an underwhelming gift. For instance, you could hide a kindle inside of a book that you know the receiver would never read in a million years! You could do the same with a gift card to a book shop. This will make the gift more exciting and surprising, and a simple gift will automatically become more magical. You could place a tiny gift inside of a huge box. Use your imagination to think of something funny you could do with this person’s gift.

Make Something Yourself
How about making something yourself? Taking the time to make things yourself is really thoughtful and meaningful. If this person is sentimental, they’ll likely love a handmade gift from you more than any store bought gift! You could make some jewelry, a key ring, a plaque, a piece of art…the list goes on. There’s a tutorial for absolutely everything online. You can make sure that the gift is perfect for them, and personalize it. Don’t forget to put a little mark on it somewhere, like your initials, so that they know you made it!

Give to a Cause That Matters for Them
If you can’t think of anything because this person really does have everything, then why not give to a cause that matters in their name? You can then present them with the information inside of a card. They should be really happy that their special occasion, whether it be a birthday or a retirement, has helped others.

By putting a little extra thought into gifts, you can make them much more exciting. You don’t even necessarily have to buy different gifts; you can just make opening them more exciting. Do you have any tips of your own that you’d like to share? Leave your comments below!

Going Rural Does Come With Challenges

You’ll find that you have more problems with a home in the country compared to one in the city. That shouldn’t stop you choosing a beautiful rural home, but you do have to be prepared for the issues present. I’ll give you a quick example, power cuts. If you live in the city, there’s every possibility that you have never had to deal with a power cut in your life. In the country, things are a little different. When the winter weather kicks in, winds blow, snow falls, and power poles get turn down. You can be left in the darkness for hours, even days. It’s a nightmare that you don’t want to have to deal with, but luckily there is a solution.

First, you can buy an emergency gas heater for your home. This is useful for the winter months if the power does go off because it will allow you and your family to stay warm. But, you may also want to think about an emergency battery for your home too. This will ensure that your home stays lit up and you don’t have to go rummaging around for candles. Backup power supplies for the home are quite expensive. So, if you don’t have the money in your budget for this type of feature, make sure you at least have rechargeable lanterns. This will ensure that you at least have a source of light if the power turns off for whatever reason.

Weather Worries

Of course, a blackout isn’t the only issue bad weather can cause in the country. In the city, you are mainly protected from bad weather. This is because there are a lot of buildings around to shield your home from the worst of the wind. In rural areas, homes are more spread out. On the bright side, this gives families a lot more space to enjoy. But it also means that wind and rain can do more damage to the home. For instance, you might find that the wind actually does quite a lot of damage to your roof. Luckily, there are companies like Mr. Roof. With a business like this, you can guarantee that damage to your roof isn’t a lasting effect that you have to deal with. Instead, you can get it fixed up in no time.

There are changes you can make to your roof as well that are going to be useful. For instance, you can get shutter gutters. Shutter gutters are exactly as they sound. These gutters have plastic covers with gaps in between them. That means that you can still drain the water from the roof without the gutters getting clogged with leaves and anything else that is blowing around.

Bugs And Beasties

We’re not going to mention the scary report of how far you are from a spider at any given moment, but there is definitely a lot more bugs and beasties in your home if you live in the country. You’ll see them creeping in, hanging from ceilings and running across the floor. If you’re not used to it, you might even think that you have an infestation and yes, the bugs can be bigger. But you just have to remember to use little tricks like anti-bug spray around cracks and crevices where they can get in. And, do make sure that you keep your home as clean as possible. If you have kids, it’s best to avoid letting them eat in their rooms. If they do this, there’s a good chance they are going to drop crumbs everywhere. This will attract interest from little bugs and miscreants.

As much as you might hate spiders, there’s good news if you see a lot hanging around your home. The eight-legged creepy crawlies only set up home in clean properties and will keep your house clear from pesky bugs like gnats.

Colder Out Here

Yes, it can definitely be colder in the country. Again, it’s due to not having as many building in a smaller space. But, this just means you need to protect your home and your car. If you do feel the temperature starting to drop, put the car in the garage. Do that, and you can make sure that ice or frost doesn’t damage the vehicle. Or, worse, that it doesn’t start when you need to get the kids to school in the morning.

As you can see then, living in the country is definitely going to be different from what you might be used to. But there’s a solution to every problem that you could encounter, and there are plenty of benefits to having a little more space out in the open.

There are Big Benefits of an Online Degree

Avid readers of my blog will know that I’m a big fan of the homeschool model. I think it presents a number of advantages that simply aren’t present in the typical education system. For instance, by homeschooling a child you can focus on their needs instead of them being neglected in favor of another child with greater issues. But what you may not realize is there are also benefits of home studies at a later stage in life. You can earn your degree online and, if you do this, you’ll gain a few key benefits.

Smaller Classes
Online classes often have a smaller number of students. This means that lecturers and professors have more time to focus on individual students and keep them on the right track. As such, you can get a more rounded education because you are receiving a greater level of attention.

Study Your Way 
Studying online, it’s possible to choose how and when you learn. You’ll still need to put in a set number of hours into your studies. But you’ll find it easier because you won’t have to be in a certain place. Instead, you can work from the comfort of your home without any trouble or issue. Naturally, this is also going to make your education a lot cheaper and easier to manage financially.

No Limitations 
Finally, you might think that by studying online, your higher education will be limited somehow. However, that’s not the case at all. In actual fact, those who study at home can gain the same level of degree as someone attending a prestigious college. You can have a look at an example of this in the following infographic.
Infographic by Case Western Reserve University Online Social Work Degree

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Highlights Puzzle Buzz and Swagbucks = $8 Bonus!

Swagbucks is running a great deal where you get 800 SB (equivalent of $8) when you get two free Puzzle Buzz books for your kids from Highlights! You pay $2.98 in shipping and handling, meaning that you walk away with a $5 gift card of your choice. This deal is running through the rest of March and is perfect for the little readers in your life. Even the youngest child learns to tackle activities independently — and puzzle-solving skills grow.

Here's what you need to do:

1. Click here to get to the deal and create your Swagbucks account if you don't have one. You'll be my referral!

2. Click "Continue" and complete the offer. Your SB will be credited almost instantly!

3. If you're signing up as my referral, you'll get an additional 300 SB bonus for completing this offer, meaning that you'll net $8:

Complete offer: $8
Bonus: $3
Shipping and Handling: -$2.98
Net bonus: $8.02

If you're not familiar with Swagbucks, it's a rewards site where you earn points called SB for discovering deals (like this one), online shopping, taking surveys, watching videos, and even searching the web. Then you can turn those points into gift cards from places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, PayPal, and more like I've been doing for a few years now!

Monday, March 20, 2017

#Swagbucks Spring Reading Team Challenge!

Here's another fun team challenge to help you earn SB from Swagbucks! For those of you who don't know what Swagbucks is, it's a website where you can earn cash back on everyday tasks you do online like shopping, answering surveys, discovering deals, and watching videos. You can even earn for searching the web! 

If you've never tried Swagbucks before because you didn't know where to begin, their Team Challenges are a great way to learn the ropes! Their latest, the Spring Reading Team Challenge, begins Monday, March 20th. 

Here's how you can join the challenge and the site:
1. Click here to join the challenge and be assigned to a team. Pre-registration is going on right now! If you don't already have an account, you can sign up on this page as well.
2. Starting March 20th at 8am PT, in addition to earning SB you'll contribute points to your teams total as you complete different activities on Swagbucks.
3. Check back on the page often to see the scores and what you've contribute so far. 
All members who participate and contribute at least 400 points to their team’s total will receive a SB bonus in the form of a SB Swag Up Rebate on their next gift card! 

Not only that, but if you earn 300 SB before April 1st, you'll get a 300 SB bonus (as long as you've signed up under me)!

Members of the 1st place team will receive a 50 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 2nd place team will receive a 25 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 3rd place team will receive a 10 SB Swag Up Rebate. Your SB Swag Up Rebate will be made available on Friday, March 24th and will expire on Sunday, April 9th 11:59pm PT

#TheKerrieShow Goes to #Chicago Day Two: Adler Planetarium and Public Transportation

Here is my best tip for day two: call your bank before you leave town so they don't think someone stole your credit and debit card and are buying 6 one-week Ventra train and bus passes in Chicago. You're welcome.

Another tip is when it's freezing cold, make sure you take note of your stall number in the parking lot so you don't have to send your son back to get it so you can punch it into the parking meter. Parking at train station = $7 per day. Adler Planetarium today was FREE (get a Kansas City Science City/Union Station Membership, people from KC!). Other costs include a few hats at Walgreen's, lunch at Pot Belly and Dunkin Donuts for the train ride home. Read on.

This was our view out of our hotel room in the morning.

Our own little breakfast nook at the hotel ... free breakfast every day at the Marriott Residence Inn in Rosemont by O'Hare airport and free dinner two nights. Free dessert one night and free coffee 24/7.

So excited to wear my new Old Navy look in Chicago! I call those my hot pants!

Hotel living is the life for us! Minimalism rocks. Holy crap I am looking like a woman in my 40s and I don't really care!

Waiting for the train to Downtown. It took about 45 minutes each day there and 45 back with all the stops.

All aboard! Rush rush rush before the doors close!

That chick with the wolf hat is about to become a train pro!

Train pros. City kids. No problem. No strollers, easy peasy.

Mommy and Callie on the train keeping warm.

Woo hoo! We made it! Now what?

Eva being cheesey.

Sammy being cheesey.

Now we have walked down stairs and through a long tunnel and up some stairs and onto the Red Line train.

We left the train station and I started walking the kids the wrong way (deja vu, like I had a dream about this or something; need to check my journals). We realized it was stinking FREEZING and we went back to Walgreen's for hats. Yes, only Eva and Samuel brought boots but we survived the week.

Here we are in the big city, people.

Forget this. Let's go to PotBelly's for some lunch. Vegetarian-for-Lent Callie was a challenge but we got this covered.

Then we set off on our trek toward Museum Campus and Adler Planetarium, not quite sure how far away it was. What kind of mother traipses her kids all over Chicago like this in the snow?

Come on, Sammy!

I had to stop for pictures because there are SO MANY BUILDINGS. I was here this week THIRTY YEARS AGO exactly with my parents, only we stayed downtown and took a regular-sized cab everywhere.

I am SO EXCITED to get to travel and take my kids with me ... so blessed my husband has the job he has!

Getting there! Soldier Field in the background.

Museum Campus! We have arrived? No, still a long way to walk.

May as well make it fun, right? Barely any snow in KC this year but we have ALL THIS!

Shedd Aquarium. We'll hit that tomorrow.

My kidlets in Chicago. I found a passage from my journal last June 18 where it said how cool it would be to take them to Chicago. I had no idea it would really happen so soon!

A bit chilly

Sitting in the bus stop for a second for respite from the wind coming off Lake Michigan. 

A quick pic of Shedd from the back.

Ground Control to Major Whoever. Adler Planetarium in the space part!

Pose for a pic for Daddy so I can text him!

Callie on the  moon!

Boys on the moon!

Checking out the moon's surface.

These kids are my whole world :-)

LEGO lab ... build something that can travel down a zip line without falling off and without being pushed.

Up for the challenge. I didn't want to stop in here because I wanted to see the rest of the museum but it turned out to be so great for them to just sit and build ... they all did it!

We need this kind of LEGO room in our house!

Crazy cool heading into more space stuff.

Eva really wanted to see the telescopes. I was surprised at how much they geeked out at this place and it was FREE with our reciprocal membership through Union Station/Science City from my grandma for Christmas!

Some sort of geo-thermal camera thing? They put ice on their faces and their faces turned bright pink on the screen. Then the kids wanted to eat the ice and the lady working there was like, "Oh, that's a big deal because it's a choking hazard, you have to ask your mom." Hahahaha! And my question is: won't ice melt in your throat before it kills you?

Camping out probably on the moon or something.

My kids look good manning a rocket ship.

Callie says, "Hey, she stole the hand on the hip from me!"

A book we would like to read.

On the bus since the guy in the LEGO spot told us which bus to catch; I almost hugged him. We can figure out this #$%^ bus system, I just know it. MUCH warmer than walking.

Bus boys.

Waiting for the train with their Dunkin Donuts.

Roosevelt station rocks. People play music at the red line stops ... and it smells like weed.

On the train.

What a beast standing on the train.

Heading down the red line tunnel to get to the blue line to get home. What a flipping process!
All I know is that we survived our first full day in Chicago, Illinois, Windy City, in 20-degree weather with snow. I feel like a total savage. When we got back to the hotel Aron was already out of training and we went to the lobby for our FREE dinner of chicken tortilla soup and chips and salsa.

Click here to see Day One of arriving in Chicago.

Frantically working on Day Three in Chicago, when we went to Shedd Aquarium. I have lots of tips and opinions here.


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