Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Christmas in July. It's Real! (Infographic)

Did you know that Christmas in July is a real thing? People are already saving up for the holidays, and the online rewards site Swagbucks surveyed its members to learn more. Check out these fun facts and start YOUR holiday saving today!

In case you haven't heard me talking about them already, Swagbucks is the fun rewards program that gives you free gift cards and cash for the everyday things you already do online. You can conveniently earn points (called SB) when you shop at your favorite retailers, watch entertaining videos, search the web, answer surveys and find great deals. Redeem your points for free gift cards to your favorite retailers like Amazon or Walmart, to name a few, or get cash back from PayPal!

One of the best parts is that it costs you nothing to join and be a member! You decide how to earn, and you can do it at home or on the go (using their mobile apps)! Join today and start earning for December - it'll be around the corner before you know it...

P.S. I have earned over 10,000 Swagbucks this year, which is the equivalent of $100 in gift cards, just from doing the simple things I do every day, including searching the web and filling out surveys.

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Friday, July 8, 2016

I Spy on My Teens (I Admit It) When They are Online

I have already confessed to being a helicopter mama (over and over again) right here on Mommy Rantings, as well as in my books. Sure, I do hover over my kids, in hopes that my overprotectiveness will keep them safe and sound. I'm not ashamed of it. It is what it is. I am a mama bear.

I am just not built to be a laissez fairs mama - one who stands back and lets her kids learn (often hard) lessons on their own all the time. I've heard this type of parenting termed so many things. One of my favorites is "safety net parents." So, pretty much, this type of parent stands back and waits until the kid needs a safety net...

And there are a lot of parents who think Safety Net Parenting is "normal" compared to Helicopter parenting. But, I have to disagree.

My mother-in-law recently told me, "You can't make all of their decisions for them. You have to start letting them make their own decisions and learn lessons based on their choices." She was chastising me for being frustrated with my oldest son loading himself down with extra curricular activities at school.

She was right, although it was difficult to swallow the words. I did have to back off from hovering over my 16-, 15-, and 14-year-olds and let them start making decisions on their own. If they wanted to load down their schedule with too many after school activities, they would have to live through the madness and come to the conclusion - on their own, without me nagging every step of the way, of course - that they had chosen to participate in too many endeavors.  

Now, with ten kids, understand that I do not have time to hover over every single one of them all of the time. That would be a feat that I would love to challenge anyone to! However, I do tend to make decisions about what they are going to eat, wear, how and when they do their chores, which activities they will participate in, which schools they will attend, what they can do on the internet, and I even want to meet their friends so I know what types of people they are hanging around with at school. Everything. I make their decisions about everything.

Sadly, this has led to my older children not feeling comfortable with taking initiative in their lives. I also believe it has hindered their ability to complete simple tasks, like their chores, without me standing over them and instructing them every step of the way. Not all of my teens are like this, but at least one shows signs of requiring substantial (and often exhaustive) guidance in carrying out some of the most simplest of things.

I have wandered off of the point for a moment, but I will bring it back to what I was going to say in the beginning. As a proud helicopter mama, I admit that I spy on my teens. I listen in on their conversations, whether they are talking through their Chrome Books, tablets, or computers. I will also stand behind them - or around the corner or peering around the edge of a door - to watch what they are doing online. I read their text messages.

I mean, I don't stand for hours spying on each and every one of them. Who has time for that? I certainly don't! But, when they least expect it, I pop in and check out what they are doing.

Now, there are definitely going to be parents who read this and think, That is just wrong! She should trust her kids and let them breathe! You can feel that way all you want, but at least I know what my kids are into, who they hang out with, and that they are not getting caught up in some of the crazy temptations - or even traps - that the internet has lurking in every corner. Sure, I trust them...

Poor Lorin Lafave was a lot like me. She was a helicopter mom, too. Regardless of her hovering and being fully aware of what her 14-year-old son, Breck Bednar, was doing on the computer, he was still murdered by an 18-year-old online predator. If you think I am crazy, you might want to read her story. He was a trustworthy, good kid. It can happen to anyone. Especially if the kids are sheltered and naive.

I will admit it to my kids' faces, too. In fact, they know I do it. And they don't seem to mind a bit. The thing is, if it bothers them that I am listening in on - or reading - their conversations or watching what they are doing, then something is wrong. And I should start reading and watching more.

I am not and will not be ashamed of my hovering mama issue. Lorin Lafave will tell you herself: you can't be too proactive in your kids' lives. You can't hover enough.

I will try my best to heed the advice of my mother-in-law and let them make their own decisions more, but I won't stop spying on them, I will embrace my helicopter mama license as long as I am a mom.

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Back To School With Swagbucks [US ONLY]

While the kids have been out of school, it’s like I’ve been MC Mommy: Entertainment Guru for the past month. As fun as it is, I’m ready for class to resume. 

And although the only part of summer ending that my kids like is Back-To-School shopping, that hefty receipt hangs over my head from the start of July until the middle of September. Didn’t I buy them enough pens and binders last year?!

Well, I think it’s about time for Mommy to be rewarded. 

From now until September 1st, Swagbucks is offering double cash back in the form of points (called SB) when you shop for all your back to school essentials. 

Walmart - Up to 7 SB per $1
Target - Up to 2 SB per $1
eBay - Up to 2 SB per $1
Amazon - Up to 7 SB per $1
Macy’s - Up to 6 SB per $1
Gap - Up to 2 SB per $1
Old Navy - Up to 4 SB per $1
Priceline - Up to 10 SB per $1
Expedia - Up to 8 SB per $1
And so many more

Points can be redeemed for gift cards to stores like Amazon, Walmart, Target or Paypal cash so I can treat myself. 

Who said back to school shopping is all about the kids? Swagbucks also gives you 4% Cash Back at Starbucks, so order your Java Chip Frappuccino tumbler online and treat yo’self when you pick up your kids’ back to school goodies!

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Friday, June 24, 2016

Swagbucks Three For All

Want to make a quick buck? (or six?)

Then it’s time to try Swagbucks! Just in time for Summer Vacation, Swagbucks has announced an another promotion where you can get a $3 (300 SB) Bonus just for signing up through our site and earning your first 300 SB. So open up your umbrella (not in the house!) and put on your slicker and galoshes because it’s about to pour 300 SB Bonuses for you and your family and friends.

New to Swagbucks? Great! It’s a site where you earn free gift cards for the things you already do online. You get points (called SB) and redeem them for PayPal or Visa cash and gift cards from Amazon, Walmart, Target and other great retailers. Here’s how to earn your 300 SB in an hour:
  1. Sign up for free through this link
  2. Watch a few short clips from Top Sports Headlines, World New Headlines, cooking shows, and the Latest from TMZ and earn 26 SB
  3. Take a 5 minute survey for 60 SB and a 13 minute survey for 100 SB. Even if you get DQ’d, you get paid up to five times for a total of 5 SB.
  4. Print a $1 Off Flintstone’s Vitamin Coupon and earn 25 SB
  5. Sign Up for Zulilly's free mailing list and earn 50 SB
  6. Click through entertainment-focused web content with NCrave for 20 minutes and earn 20 SB.
  7. Install the Hulu App on your phone and earn 24 SB.

That’s it! You’ve just earned 300 SB (worth $3 on its own) and you’ll get a $3 Bonus for your effort!

Already a Swagbucks member? Here’s how to get your $3 Bonus:
  1. Refer a friend to Swagbucks between Now and Tuesday, May 31st
  2. Your referral earns 300 SB by April 30th (see above!)
  3. You AND your referral will both be awarded an additional 300 SB each
That’s it! (the 300 SB bonuses will credit by June 5th) So once again, starting today, send out those referrals, a 300 SB Bonus could come in handy for a rainy day!

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Saturday, June 11, 2016

MGC+ Father's Day Sale [US Only]

According to a recent Swagbucks survey, the #1 item dads want for Father’s Day is Gift Cards. Forget the ties and sweaters, give dad what he really wants and earn Cash Back* in the process with MyGiftCardsPlus. Everyone wins!

Plus, from now through June 12th earn Cash Back and a 100 SB bonus** when you purchase Gift Cards to Lowe’s, The Home Depot, AMC, eBay, and Sears.

Make dad feel like this on Father’s Day:

*Cash Back is paid in the form of SB points good for popular gift cards or PayPal cash.

**The SB Bonus Offers apply to one purchase per gift card listed above (Lowe’s, The Home Depot, AMC, eBay, and Sears). This offer expires at 11:59pm PST on June 12th. Your SB will credit when your electronic gift card is delivered.

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