Can Your Family Afford to Eat Out? and more


Can Your Family Afford to Eat Out?

Can Your Family afford to eat out | Tips for Healthy, Cheap Dining With Kids
Disclosure: I received a complimentary lunch at Zoe’s Kitchen in exchange for a review on social media. All opinions are my own.

Can your family afford to eat out? | Tips for Healthy, Cheap Dining With Kids

Can your family afford to eat out? For our family of five, dining out is super-expensive. Unfortunately, we have limited options within our budget that would qualify as “good food.” Even a fast food meal for us totals in the $30-$40 range. That’s why I was so excited to learn about Zoe’s Kitchen‘s new Mediterrean Family Meals.

For that same $30 – $40, our family can eat a much healthier and much fresher meal at Zoe’s. Plus there’s a LOT of food in a meal—hopefully enough for leftovers for lunch the next day.

My friend and fellow blogger, Blonde Mom Blog, and I were lunch guests at the newest Zoe’s location in Belle Meade. This restaurant is only about 15 minutes from my house and is “on the way” back and forth to our church. It’s going to be a frequent stop for us, I know.

I have loved Zoe’s for many years, so it was a special treat to enjoy my favorite Greek Chicken Pita with the Marinated Slaw (with feta cheese!) as a side. We also got to try the Hummus Trio. I loved all three of the hummus flavors, but I think the Red Pepper hummus was my favorite. Dessert was a delicious oatmeal raisin cookie. Of course, I liberally doused it all with Zoe’s Greek Dressing (oh – but not the cookie!). I could take a bath in that dressing I love it so much.

Can your family afford to eat out?

Zoe’s food is fresh and delicious, made on the premises with natural ingredients. Zoe’s is more than a salad place, too. Their salads are to die for, but they also offer kabobs, rice pilaf, pitas, pizza, white beans, pasta salad, and roasted veggies. They have a kid’s menu and offer vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.

The Belle Meade location has a beautiful patio for outdoor dining and they are planning to serve beer and wine soon, as well.

I can’t wait to stop by Zoe’s Kitchen one afternoon to pick up a meal for the family. It’s definitely going to be my first choice for affordable “take-out.”

Help So You Can Afford to Eat Out With Kids

Here are a few more options for discount dining in Nashville. I purposely omitted fast food restaurants with one exception—Chick-fil-A. These are specific to the Nashville area. To find more meal deals where you live, check out the Kids Meal Deals website and mobile app. And before you head out, it’s a good idea to call ahead to make sure the restaurant is still honoring the meal deal.

I’d love to hear about your favorite discount dining tips!
What are your favorite restaurant meal deals?


 

Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

Can Your Family Afford to Eat Out? is a post from: Mary Bernard

    

Keep Your Home Based Business Going When Life Gets Crazy

home based businessLiving our lives to the fullest—that’s one reason why we’ve decided to have a home based business, right? Whether you’re freelancing and contracting with clients, representing a product in a direct sales company, or managing your own website selling goods or services, you appreciate the flexibility to do what needs to be done on your own schedule.

I consider it a blessing to be able to be home when my kids are home from school in the afternoons. I love having the flexibility of being able to rearrange my day to attend a mid-day honors program or help set up and decorate for my daughter’s band awards night.

I guess there’s always a flip side, though, right?

If your month of May is anything like mine, you’re struggling right now. You’re tired. You’ve been at something every night this week and have lost count of how many brownies or napkins need to be at this or that event tomorrow, Friday, and next Tuesday.

One of my friends last week posted that her school year had devolved into signing permission slips with a crayon.

I so get it.

It’s weeks like this that seem like doing business actually gets in the way of doing life. What do you do during those busy times of year (beginning/end of school, holidays, vacations) or when the unexpected occurs? How do you keep running your business and do everything else that needs to be done?

Here are a few tips to help you through the tough times. With a little pre-planning, your business shouldn’t miss a beat, even when life is busy, hard, or unpredictable.

Take a Deep Breath

Start by taking a deep breath and giving yourself a little space to relax. Yes, it’s important to keep the wheels turning—but it’s also important to give yourself a little space. Don’t beat yourself up over having to give your life priority.

Put some Stress Away or Peace & Calming essential oil blends in the diffuser and spend a few moments in prayer. Just a few moments of “centering” will help put things into perspective.

Eliminate All But the Essential

Look through your task list for the upcoming days and weeks. What can you cut out? What projects aren’t essential?

Trim your workload to just the bare bones. Put on hold any business expanding efforts. Do just enough to maintain your client base and keep your business running—no more.

Outsource as Much as Possible

Outsource as many tasks as you can to someone you trust.

Business owners, especially home based business owners, are often hesitant to outsource. If you have to pay someone $25 an hour to keep things running in your absence, that can seriously cut into your profits.

In normal circumstances, that’s certainly true. In an emergency situation, however, paying someone a respectable hourly rate to keep your business going is a wise investment.

Find someone who understands your business model and all the tools your business needs to keep running, and ask them to run your company for you for the days or weeks you need to take off.

For virtual assistance help, I highly recommend my friend and colleague, Heather Santo at The VA Geek. She offers a wide variety of social media and client care services, but if your needs are not a fit for her, she can help you find someone who can help you.

Work When You Can Fit It In

Don’t just drop your business entirely. Instead, do as much work as you can when you can fit it in.

I carry a pen and notebook everywhere I go. Take your laptop with you if you know you’ll be waiting for awhile. I’ll often have good intentions to work while I’m waiting for my kids at dance or ball practice. But I know that if I actually go into the dance studio or sit down on the bleachers, I’ll end up socializing with other parents. I will often sit in my car in the parking lot, just to make sure I’m not too distracted to squeeze work into those spare moments.

Work in Time Chunks and Schedule

One of the most helpful habits I’ve been introduced to this year is “batch working”—doing several similar tasks during one designated block of time. If you only have two hours to work, choose one type of task and just work on that. Write several blog posts, emails, or social media updates back to back.

A close cousin to “batch working” is scheduling posts and social media updates. Use a tool such as Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule social media updates. You can do the same with your blog posts.  Work ahead as much as possible so that that aspect of your business can run interrupted “in the background” while your attention is focused elsewhere.

These tips will help you put your home based business on a bare-bones life support system. Your business certainly won’t grow, but it also won’t shrink. Dealing with hiccups in the routine are toughest when you don’t have a contingency plan. Once you know who you can turn to and how to respond when life gets crazy, these situations become a lot less stressful.


 

Maybe you don’t yet have a home based business but would like to start one. If that’s you, you’ll want to download my free ebook, 5 Easy Steps to Discover the Home-based Business That’s Perfect for You.

start a blog - FREE DOWNLOAD - 5 easy steps to home-based business

Don’t miss a post! I send out a weekly newsletter with highlights from the blog plus other announcements and news. Subscribe below.

Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

Keep Your Home Based Business Going When Life Gets Crazy is a post from: Mary Bernard

    

5 Easy Steps to Start a Blog

5 Easy Steps to Start a Blog

I have been writing a blog since 2008 and I have worked as a blog editor/manager and ghost blogger since 2009. Every week or so, I have someone ask me about how to start a blog.

This is by no means an exhaustive explanation, but I offer you my best overall tips for how to start a blog:

1. First, decide where you see the blog going—will it be for hobby or for profit? Would you EVER want to make money on the blog? Even if you don’t think you’ll want to make money on the blog, I believe you should set up as if you did. Here’s why.

When you set up the blog with its own URL and its own hosting, you own it. You are not at the mercy of some large blog network. You are also able to earn affiliate commissions and/or place ads on the blog and earn revenue from them.You can do all of these steps for less than $20 a month, and I believe it’s worth it.

2. Next, you’ll want to determine your blog’s URL and/or name. This can be tricky. If your personal name is available, it may be a good idea to use that. Or if you have a clever name as a title for your blog and it’s available as a URL, use that. I think it’s mostly personal preference and how you plan to grow in branding. Generally speaking, go with a .com and make the URL one word with no numbers, hyphens, weird spellings, etc.

3. Buy your URL from a registrar. You will also need to purchase a hosting account. You can do both of these with my favorite hosting company, Mom Webs. For a small fee, they will also set everything up for you with WordPress installed, so that you are ready to begin posting immediately. I think it’s well worth it, but if you are sort of techy and enjoy figuring those type of things out for yourself (that’s me!), then you can totally do it yourself.

4. The next step is posting to your blog. If you are starting this blog for profit, then it’s truly best to think through an editorial direction for the blog. Determine your main topic and how you will deliver that to your reader. Identify your target reader and craft your content to serve those people.

For example, if your main topic centers around gourmet coffee, then you may want to use written posts and videos to reach your readers. Let’s say your target reader is women aged 35-60 who enjoy making gourmet coffee at home. Your editorial plan may include posts about how to find the best brands of gourmet coffee, what is the best coffee maker, how to save money making your own gourmet coffee, and so on.

Maybe you also post videos once a week of new specialty coffee drink recipes.If you do decide to create a niche (this is called “niche” when it is specifically focused on a targeted topic and demographic) blog, it’s super-important that you are passionate about the topic. Passion is even more important than knowledge, in my opinion. Even if you know very little about the topic, you can invite the reader along on your journey as you learn more about it. Passion will also sustain your interest in the subject matter when the blogging journey becomes tedious and challenging (as it sometimes does).

Niche blogs can be huge money-makers, and many have done well with them. If you are interested in learning from the best on how to do this, I recommend reading Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income. I have toyed with the idea of publishing a niche blog (purely for profit, not necessarily a topic I’m in love with), but the passion component stops me every time. Some people are terrific at publishing on a niche topic (which they may not have a lot of personal experience or inherent passion for), but they are passionate about the process and the business. Definitely consider all of these as you think about your new blog.

5. If you are creating a hobby blog, then, obviously, editorial strategy is not of primary importance. But anytime you can incorporate a little bit of forethought and planning to your posting, it will serve your readers well.

Those are the basic steps to setting up a new blog. You’ll want to follow the best advice from blogging pros as you consider starting a blog. These are just a few of my favorite bloggers with links to their sites:

amylynnandrews

Amy Lynn Andrews – How to Blog

darrenrowse

Darren Rowse, ProBlogger – 31 Days to Build a Better Blog

crystalpaine

Crystal Paine, Money Saving Mom – How to Make Money Blogging

pat-flynn-start

 Pat Flynn – Smart Passive Income

My Recommendations

  • I can’t recommend highly enough Mom Webs Hosting for help with getting your new blog up and running. They have the best customer service and tech support. I think they excel at serving the newbie and those who are less “techy” when more serious glitches come up with your website (not that I would know anything about that – ahem!).

Mom Webs Hosting

start a blog - FREE DOWNLOAD - 5 easy steps to home-based business

Don’t miss a post! I send out a weekly newsletter with highlights from the blog plus other announcements and news. Subscribe below.

Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

5 Easy Steps to Start a Blog is a post from: Mary Bernard

    

Lose Weight With Grapefruit Essential Oil

lose weight with grapefruit essential oil

Last year, I posted about how I was able to curb my appetite and lose weight with grapefruit essential oil. I have had several people ask for an update on that.

I would like to tell you that I lost a ton of weight by doing that, but I can’t. When I started using the grapefruit essential oil, I was not eating any sugar or gluten. I believe that my cleaner diet contributed to my success with the grapefruit essential oil.

But then I ran out of the oil about the same time I started noticing some really uncomfortable detox symptoms. My skin got really itchy, and I would often feel nauseous within a few hours of drinking my grapefruit water.

So, I backed off using the grapefruit essential oil regularly. And then I slacked off my cleaner diet. And then I got distracted. And then I was back to my old ways of eating.

(Big ole sigh.)

During the last few months in my reading and researching (and still struggling with weight/appetite problems), I have found the Petrochemical Weight Loss Protocol, developed by Tiffany Rowan. Her website is packed with great info. You can also find testimonies on YouTube from others who have tried it and/or tried versions of it.

I have decided that I want to do a modified version of this and invite you along to do so with me.

I made a video with all this information for you, too. Watch the video below:

 

Lose Weight With Grapefruit Essential Oil and the Petrochemical Weight Loss Protocol

Here’s what I’ll be doing:

  • 1- 15 ml bottle of Citrus Fresh essential oil blend with 10 drops Ledum essential oil added
  • 10 drops grapefruit essential oil in a capsule

Every morning and night: Rub 4-6 drops of the Citrus Fresh oil mixture over my middle section area (tummy, waist, hips).

Every night: Take a capsule of 10 drops of grapefruit essential oil at bedtime

Physical activity 3 times/week: 20 minute walk or 20 minute Fitness Blender video

Diet: avoid sugar, processed food, grains, gluten; eat primarily whole, fresh foods

Water: drink tons of water (with lemon essential oil); goal – 64 ozs. daily

Timeline: 3 weeks

Do you want to do it with me? Let me know by signing up below. (For NEW orders/sign-ups under me with Young Living), I will give you a FREE bottle of Citrus Fresh if you sign up by Friday, May 8.

We’ll start the Weight Loss Challenge on Monday, May 11 and finish on June 1.

I’ll be keeping a journal of my days during the Challenge and will post it here. You’ll get the good, the bad, and the ugly—I’m just telling you now. Life is NUTS this time of year and it’s going to be hard for me to make good choices as I’m shuttling kids and away from home during these last few weeks of the school year.

But—I want to give it a good faith effort. I am hopeful that this challenge will help tame the cravings, shrink the inches, and give me a much-needed boost to kick off the summer a little bit lighter.

Join me! Let’s start the summer strong!


Reminders & Notes

  • I only recommend using Young Living Essential Oils for internal use. Young Living oils are 100% pure, therapeutic grade. Read more about their Seed to Seal guarantee here.
  • Only use Young Living Essential Oils with liquids in glass containers for drinking (do not use plastic or Styrofoam). I will be using my glass water bottle when I drink the lemon essential oil in water for hydration.
  • Do you have concerns about grapefruit essential oil interacting with prescription medications? It’s important to check with your doctor or pharmacist before beginning any new weight loss regimen. Also, here’s a helpful article from Dr. Lindsey Elmore, Young Living’s Director of Global Education and Health Sciences on this topic. (You can always use lemon essential oil in lieu of the grapefruit essential oil.)
  • For more information about purchasing the oils you’ll need for this protocol recipe, you can send me an email at mary [at] writingmomof3 [dot] com and visit my Get Started With Essential Oils page.

Don’t miss a post! I send out a weekly newsletter with highlights from the blog plus other announcements and news. Subscribe below.

Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

Lose Weight With Grapefruit Essential Oil is a post from: Mary Bernard

    

5 Secrets For Standardized Testing Success

5 secrets for standardized testing success

Yes, it’s here once again! Standardized testing time in Tennessee. You can hear the collective groans around the state this week as parents, teachers, and kids feel the pressure of test-taking.

How do you prepare your kids for doing their best when they face any kind of exam, presentation, or project? I have a few tried-and-true tools that I always pull out during standardized testing week and anytime that the kids need an extra “boost” to perform at optimal level.

Sleep

We all know that sleep is important, but actually getting the kids to bed and to sleep can be another story. We work hard to make sure the kids get a good night’s sleep two nights before the first day of testing. Being caught up on sleep a day prior helps them have a healthier sleep routine when it’s bedtime the night before.

Food

We strive to have balanced meals all the time, but during testing week, I’m super-aware of what the kids eat. We keep sugar to a minimum, and load up on the protein, fresh fruits, and veggies. Breakfast each day is heavy on protein—usually scrambled eggs and bacon—with a frozen fruit smoothie. I make mine with a superfood juice supplement called Ningxia Red® from Young Living. The entire family loves this smoothie. Add one drop of an essential oil gives even more health benefits and cognitive support. Here’s my recipe:

Ningxia Red® and Fruit Smoothie

  • 4 ozs. Ningxia Red®
  • 2 cups of frozen strawberries, blueberries, raspberries
  • Unsweetened almond milk (or juice) – about 2 cups
  • Stress Away™* essential oil (or oil of your choice)

Fill the bottom of the blender with Ningxia Red®. Pour in frozen fruit. Fill with unsweetened almond milk until the liquid is over the top of the fruit. (You may also use a fruit juice.) Add 1 drop of Stress Away™* essential oil blend. Blend and stir. Makes 3-4 servings, depending on how much you pour.

*Only ingest essential oils that are 100% pure, therapeutic grade, and generally regarded as safe for ingestion. I only use and recommend Young Living essential oils.

Rest

When the kids are home, it’s down time. I encourage them to play outside and ride bikes. My daughter enjoys playing her flute or reading a book for pleasure. We will allow some screen time but limit it. As a family, we’ll only watch funny TV shows—nothing suspenseful or scary. We keep extracurricular activities going, but we do not stay out late at the dance studio or ball park during testing week. In fact, this week we turned an opportunity for my daughter to babysit a couple of neighbor kids. Ordinarily, I would have allowed her bedtime to slide. But not this week. The idea here is to maintain a relaxed routine with as few demands and “add-ons” as possible.

Essential Oils

Using essential oils is the norm for everyday in our house, but my kids have especially come to expect certain oils for test week. We use Clarity™ blend, which my sons like to call their “concentrating oil.” I like to dab a drop on each wrist. I tell the kids when they are taking the test if they feel stuck or a little sluggish, to put their elbows on the desk and cradle their face in their hands. Take a big inhale of the oil on their wrists. Here’s the official description from the Young Living website:

Clarity™ promotes a clear mind and alertness. It contains stimulating oils including peppermint and rosemary, which have been used for many years to promote mental sharpness. A study performed by Dr. William N. Dember of the University of Cincinnati found that inhaling peppermint oil increased the mental accuracy of students by 28 percent. Clarity can also be used to help restore mental alertness or wakefulness when you are experiencing fatigue or drowsiness.

During test week, I’ll also diffuse peppermint in the mornings before school to help those sleepy heads wake up and I’ll diffuse lavender at bedtime to help everyone settle down. And if anyone is especially worked up with test anxiety, I’ll put Stress Away™ on the bottoms of their feet, both at bedtime and before they walk out the door.

(If you’d like to get started using Young Living essential oils with your family, you can find out more information here.)

Prayer

I couldn’t close this blog post without mentioning the most important tool of all—prayer. We pray with the kids and for them specifically about the tests. We pray that the Lord would help them remember what they’ve learned, help keep anxiety away, and help them take their time on the tests. We thank God in prayer at the end of the testing days and for his helping them through.

What are your best tips for helping your kids succeed with standardized testing?


Don’t miss a post! I send out a weekly newsletter with highlights from the blog plus other announcements and news. Subscribe below.

Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. Any statements made on this blog about essential oil use are not meant to treat, diagnose, or cure any condition. My statements about essential oils are my opinion and are based upon my own experiences and research.

I occasionally feature affiliate links in my blog posts. Should you follow my link and make a purchase or join a membership website, I will be compensated for my referral.

5 Secrets For Standardized Testing Success is a post from: Mary Bernard

    

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