Don’t you just LOVE Halloween? The caramel apples…the pumpkin patch…peeing your pants from watching scary Halloween movies?! I’m actually not so great with that last one, which is why I have the Greatest Spooky List of Halloween Movie Favorites for you EVER:

Halloween Movie Favorites

Halloween Movie Favorites

20 Halloween Movie Favorites for Tweens 

(or scaredy cat adults)

 

hocus-pocusHOCUS POCUS

There’s no way to go wrong with this one. It has it all: Comedy, Flying Witches, and a Dance Number that will be stuck in your head until Santa shows up!

After 100 years in the ground, the Sanderson Sisters are back to round up the children of Salem in an attempt to make themselves young and beautiful.

Did I mention there’s a talking cat and Bette Midler?

Halloween cinematic gold!

THE ADDAMS FAMILYadams-family-1

They’re creepy and their kooky, mysterious & spooky…

How can you get through Halloween without the hijinks of the Addams Family?

Uncle Fester is missing? Or is he?

This movie is a film adaptation of the show we all watched and loved as kids with Christina Ricci knocking it out of the graveyard with a hilariously sinister portrayal as Wednesday Addams!

aadams-family-2ADDAMS FAMILY VALUES

If The Addams Family wasn’t enough and you’re still wanting to see if Pugsly makes it out alive, try the sequel-Addams Family Values! Joan Cusack plays a kooky femme fatale out to get Uncle Fester’s fortune and Wednesday’s ready to burn girl scouts at the stake to get out of Summer Camp!

 

 

 

LABYBRINTHlabyrinth

Back in the day before vampires ruined glitter- there was a Goblin King that would snatch your obnoxious, crying brother if you asked him!

Jim Henson teamed up with David Bowie to produce a movie gem perfect for getting you in the Halloween mood. Sarah’s a girl with a big imagination and a squalling toddler that has to venture into a fantasy world and snatch back her brother before her parents get home from ‘date night’.

 

beetlejuice BEETLEJUICE, BEETLEJUICE, BEETLE.. I’d better not!

Ghosts, a Farm House, and Winona Ryder make up the scene for this 80’s cult classic where a newly deceased ghost couple (barely cold in the ground) have to take extreme measures to keep their home from being taken over by yuppies.

Michael Keaton dons some goofy duds and decides to clear out their house in exchange for marriage with the new family’s eno daughter!

 

CLUEclue

It’s a game, it’s a movie, it’s a ‘choose your own adventure’ wrapped up into 90+ minutes of mayhem and mystery!

Follow your old favorites like Professor Plum, Ms. White, and Colonel Mustard as they try to figure out why they’ve been brought to such a spooky old house and who’s killing off the guest. While there are a few scenes with minimal blood, this movie is more about being goofy then gory so it’s scaredy-cat approved.

 

edwardscissorhandsEDWARD SCISSORHANDS

Wanna watch a movie about a guy with razor sharp digits but Freddy’s a little too hard to stomach? Edward’s your guy!

Johnny Depp gives another crazy-good performance about a misunderstood stranger that would rather bathe your dog and trim your hedges than cause you any nightmares. Winona Ryder pops up again as Edward’s love interest that must keep her testosterone-fueled boyfriend from taking advantage of the timid monster.

THE CORPSE BRIDEcorpsebride

In case you’ve gone longer than 5 minutes without watching a spooky collaboration between Johnny Depp, Helena Bohnam Carter and Tim Burton, sit down and enjoy this stop-motion film about lost loves and ‘doing the right thing’.

Don’t let the ‘Corpse’ part fool you- She’s prettier than most living women and aside from the worm inside her head- scare free. If you loved ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’ then you’ve got to check this one out too!

 

nightmare-before-christmasNIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS

Speaking of which, if you haven’t seen it, this flick is bound to get you into the Halloween spirit. Jack Skellington, the king of Halloween Town, is just a guy trying to find out if he’s missing out on life.

With his trusty skeleton dog named Zero in tow, Jack’s determined to change his fate and bring Christmas to his band of misfit, monstrous Halloween Town citizens.

The love interest Sally ‘seems’ to think this is a good idea and lends aid although her ‘seams’ keep holding her back.

GOONIES goonies

There are few things from the 80’s better than this tale of a group of misfit friends trying to save their seaside neighborhood from a group of yuppie, golf course developers.

Following a map they find in the attic, these adventurers go in search of an illusive pirate treasure while trying to avoid ‘boody’ traps and a family of blood thirsty convicts. Sloth’s not easy on the eyes but he’s not pushing the  ‘terror’ meter and except for a little language, this movie is a great way to get ready for pumpkin season!

hotel-trans-1HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA

Who doesn’t like Adam Sandler? blah, blah blah

Dracula has moved out of the crypt and is the sole proprietor of a luxury resort for monsters. He’s got everything- including a 118 year old daughter ready to spread her bat wings and experience the world. That’s a major headache when you’re trying to keep her inside and shield her from all humans.

Add one wayward traveler and a whole cast of traditional spooky favorites and you’ve got a great movie for kids and adults alike.

HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2 hotel-trans-2

Dracula’s got a new grandson and everything would be perfect if little Dennisovich would just pop out some fangs.

While Mavis and Johnny try to figure out whether the hotel is the right place to raise their spawn, Drac and his buddies are determined to ‘scare’ the monster right out of the little tot.

Between trying to keep Mavis from moving and entertaining his overbearing and judgemental father, Drac is losing the battle to keep his human in-laws a secret.

the-witchesTHE WITCHES

Luke is convinced there’s something fishy about the convention of women descending on the hotel where he’s staying with his grandmother. He’s right-they’re witches!

They’re out to get rid of all of the children in England and Luke’s got to stop them before it’s too late.

THE GOOD WITCHthe-good-witch-the-movie

In case those other witches aren’t to your liking, you might enjoy this little movie about a mysterious outsider that takes up residence in a small town’s notoriously haunted house. She’s running a strange little shop full of strange little things but she seems harmless enough.

This made-for-tv movie is pretty short on scary and a great ‘halloween’ treat for even the most scaredy scaredy-cats!

THE BOOK OF LIFE

book-of-lifeIf you like sugar skulls and festive parties, this movie is a good choice. Manolo is trying to be true to his heart while still honoring the wishes of his family.

What we have here is a guy that would rather play the guitar then wrestle a bull and to make matters worse- he’s caught in a love triangle between his childhood sweetheart and the town hero. When the Mexican folklore Ruler of the Remembered and the Ruler of the Forgotten get thrown into the mix, mayhem ensues.

 

 

THE WATCHER IN THE WOODSwatcherinthewoods

Let’s face it- Bette Davis can be scary!

Even so, you can safely watch this 80’s Disney film about a normal family that moves into a old English Manor that they are renting from a cranky ol’ Bette Davis.

It’s not long before they’re hearing voices and wondering if their new home is haunted with the ghost of a missing young girl.

 

something_wicked_this_way_comes-frontSOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES

While we’re traveling down this spooky memory lane, all you scaredy cats should pick up a copy this old thriller.  The title alone should make this film a Halloween favorite in your house.

Two friends find a curious oddity in the woods and before you know it, the mean people in the town aren’t problems anymore and the boys’ dreams are coming true.

Step on up to Mr. Dark’s Pandemonium Carnival. You’ll get everything you ever wanted and it won’t cost much…just your soul!

THE BURBSthe-burbs

Ray…poor Ray. He’s on vacation and so bored that there’s nothing to do except spy on his weird neighbors. (In his defense, one of them makes Boo Radley look like the guy next door.)

When the old man down the street goes missing, Ray gathers his equally paranoid suburbanite friends and before you know it, they’ve broken in next door and set the place ablaze.

Good times.

practical-magicPRACTICAL MAGIC

Sister witches. Is there anything better than sister witches?

How about three sets of them?! Sally and Jillian are just average witches plagued by a curse that kills every man that dares to love an Owens woman. When their curse ends up landing them in hot water, the two are left trying to clean up their own mess without the help of their aunts played by the most awesome Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest!

It’s a story about learning to accept yourself, whipped cream, and midnight margaritas.

THE HARRY POTTER MOVIES

harry potter

Harry Potter Movies

Last, but not least, there is no better holiday than Halloween to curl up onto the sofa with a mug of butterbeer and binge watch muggles and magical folks for about 20 hours.

Feel free to also try this at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Fourth of July or even next Saturday if the mood strikes.

 

What Halloween movie favorites does your family enjoy in October? Help me make a complete list for scaredy cats!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Please follow and like us:

Marriage Relationships

All the hens I know do it in some form or fashion in their marriage relationships: Undermining our husbands. Find out 5 ways I was undermining my husband and why I’m determined to stop and build him up instead.

Stop Undermining Your Husband and Improve your Marriage Relationship

Stop Undermining Your Husband and Improve your Marriage Relationship

It’s sometimes a lot easier to tear down and undermine the people we love instead of taking the time and making the effort to build them up. After 15 years of marriage, four kids, a house, and two cats I seem to find plenty of ways to undermine my husband’s thoughts and feelings while struggling to keep our house operating from week to week.

We all have bad days and even worse moods, but this pattern can have a devastating effect on marriage relationships and how supported our husbands feel in their own home. Some are overt and some are thinly veiled, but I’ve identified 5 things that I was doing in my marriage to create a nasty pattern and how I’ve decided to stop it in its tracks.

Keeping a List and Checking it 1,000+ Times

Santa’s not the only one with naughty and nice lists. I am a great list maker. Know which list I am the best at compiling? A list of every annoying thing my husband has ever done and every mistake he has ever made. Before you start thinking Mr. Rooster is just married to a dragon lady, let me assure you I am NORMAL chicken. It’s just human nature to forget the way that doughnut we just ate tasted and remember every single detail about the day our husband gave us with a toaster for our anniversary. No matter how hard you might try, you can’t help but remember past wrongs whenever the bloom is falling off the “love” rose.  We may have even forgiven wrongs committed by our spouse in the past, but short of some science fiction mind swipe- you’re not ever going to forget.

Want to do know what you can do though? Refuse to bring it up ever again. This is the part of the story where I usually fail but I’m ready to fight-like-mad to fix. We might not have control over the memories that enter our brains, but by God, we have the ability to control the words that come out of our mouths! If you are like me and struggle with regurgitating old wounds while in the midst of arguments then think twice before doing it anymore. Bringing it up over and over again could be doing more damage to your marriage then the original event/harsh words/etc. ever could.

If you’re in the heat of an argument and your best defense or evidence is an incident that occurred 10 years ago, chances are you don’t have a great foundation for your position.

Woulda, Coulda, Shouldas

My second favorite past-time (besides list making) is concentrating on all of the things that I find distasteful, frumpy, or obnoxious about my true love. He should wear different shirts to the football game, he really could shave that part of his neck that is scruffy and scratchy and he would rather sit at home watching hours of the most ridiculous shows on T.V. then go out to eat with friends. I like to think about all of these things when we are arguing or there’s an undercurrent of tension in our home. I figure it’s ok because I never actually “say them” out loud.

But, is it?

Marriage is a game of give and take and sometimes we want to change things about our spouse to make them fit some perfect image that we think would make us happier. Who doesn’t want to be married to their dream guy? But, when I am concentrating on my husband’s negatives, I don’t leave a lot of room in my brain for focusing on his positives.

We’re really good at finding greener grass but really bad at fertilizing our own lawn. When I find myself thinking about the things I would change in Mr. Rooster, I am going to make a conscious effort to stop and think of three things about him that I couldn’t live without. If we spent three times the amount of brain power concentrating on our husband’s positives rather than negatives, I bet we’d even start remembering why we liked those guys in the first place!

Mum’s the Word

Often called the “cold shoulder” or the “silent treatment”, I am a master at shutting down verbally. BUT ONLY when it suits me. Sometimes it suits me in the heat of battle and I shut down all communication to “win” an argument that I am seriously “losing”.

Other times, I deploy this tactic when we’re not even fighting (that’s when it’s called pouting I think) and I’m just not happy with the way the world is spinning.  We tell ourselves that we are just trying to avoid more conflict and harsh words, but is that really the truth? Silence can be used dismissively. It says that the person it is directed towards is not in control of the situation. That whatever they want to communicate is not as important as your need to withdrawal.

If you’ve ever been asked by your husband what is wrong and you’ve replied with “Nothing” there is a possibility that your husband has felt belittled or undermined. While there are always times that it would be better to say nothing at all then to speak hurtful words you don’t mean, make a conscious effort to evaluate the situation the next time you are tempted to hold your tongue. Will doing so improve the situation or are you just using the silence as a way to gain the upper hand or to punish your spouse? Too many times I’ve chosen silence over civil conversation and I’m determined to reverse this trend and talk things out with my husband sooner rather than later.

The Bestest Mom- EVER!

I am a super parent and know EXACTLY what to do with children regarding all things and in all situations. This, of course, is only the case when my husband thinks we should say, do, or decide something different when parenting our kids. For the most part, Mr. Rooster and I see eye to eye on a lot of things: We like the same movies, we both love the outdoors, we share the same last name…

BUT, when it comes to our kids, I am always ready to jump to the conclusion that I know a better way or have a higher parenting I.Q. I’ve been known to scream “I don’t care what your father said, that is NOT how you clean your room” on many occasions. It doesn’t really matter whether he’s picking out church clothes or mending a scratched knee, if I am around I am convinced I can do it better.

Most of the time, I make my superiority known after the fact. I’ll ask Mr. Rooster to help get the kids ready and then question why he’s putting plaids with stripes. Not only is this demeaning to my husband (who is a really great father and tries really hard btw), it’s demeaning to my husband IN FRONT OF MY KIDS! I know I have let this pattern get bad when the little monsters start running to me AFTER they have already asked their father’s opinion. What does that say to my husband? I’ll tell you what it says! It says that my husband’s best is not good enough for his own offspring. I’m determined not to say that any more! Sure, my kid may end up taking school pictures in his awful holey Batman t-shirt, but my marriage will need a little less saving.

He’s Got the Moves Like Jagger

I like Mr. Rooster to romance me. I think it of it as one of the top duties in his “husband” job description. He should plan fancy dates for us and remember my favorite perfume, and tell me I’m beautiful, etc. etc. etc. Basically, if there’s any romancing going on, my husband should be the instigator since he loves and admires me SO much! Right?

Wrong answer. We’ve been married for over 15 years and seen hundreds of married couples and I am here to tell you, your husband needs to be pursued. When we leave all of the romancing and pursuit to our husbands, we are inadvertently denying them of something that we expect to receive all the time…admiration. You know how great it feels when your husband remarks that he likes your new dress or that you look sexy? That’s how he feels when you say the same things to him.

I’m not advocating anything rude or unseemly, but I’m ready for a change. Instead of getting upset that Mr. Rooster doesn’t ask me out to dinner for our anniversary, I’m going to ask him. I can plan a romantic weekend getaway at a local bed and breakfast just like he can! Ladies, its time we became the pursuers (just a little) instead of always expecting to be the pursued. It might not make YOU feel cherished to worry with the dating details but it will make HIM feel like a million bucks!

Do you struggle with showing your spouse respect or find yourself undermining your husband? Share your experiences and if you’ve been working to stop.

Stop Undermining Your Husband and Improve your Marriage Relationship

Stop Undermining Your Husband and Improve your Marriage Relationship

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Please follow and like us:

Daith Piercing for Migraine Relief

If you suffer from debilitating migraines, you’ll do anything to make them stop…even put holes in your head! Find out why I chose to get daith piercing for migraine relief and if I’ve had success so far.

Daith Piercing for Migraine Relief

Daith Piercing for Migraine Relief

I was diagnosed with Basilar Arterial Migraines in the Fall of 2014 after being rushed to the emergency room thinking I was having a stroke at 39. Twice. Up until that point, my experience with headaches had been taking an occasional tylenol for temporary pain of the normal stress, fever, sickness induced variety.

My life radically changed that Fall.

For 18 months straight I suffered from nausea, vertigo, general fogginess, left side body/facial numbness and visual disturbances and was 85% convinced that I was about to die at any moment. It was a REALLY long year and a half.

After 3 MRIs, CAT scans, EEGs, enough blood work to feed a small army of vampires and a heart cath, they were finally able to diagnose me and I am still fighting an ongoing battle to rid myself of the awful accompanying auras with pharmaceuticals.

Needless to say, the idea of putting additional holes in my head to help stop them didn’t seem like that big of a stretch. Besides, daith piercings are cute and funky. I spent hours researching daith piercing online. Like all alternative treatments, the verdict on successful migraine treatment with daith piercing was mostly he said/she said with both sides adamantly agreeing to disagree on its effectiveness. I was left with no alternative but to suffer the needle and see for myself.

Daith Piercing Adventure #1

One month ago I went to my local tattoo parlor and got my right daith pierced.  I chose the right side because while my aura symptoms affect my left side, any pain I have is always on the right. (Yes, you read that right…I have the type of migraines that rarely produce the “headache” part).  I was often asked if it hurt. Yes, it hurt. It DID NOT hurt as much as birthing a child, so if you’re a mother contemplating getting this done- You’ve got this one in the bag! Immediately after getting the piercing, I suffered a pretty severe headache.

Daith Piercing Adventure #2

After allowing my right ear to heal for two weeks, I went and got my left ear done. At the time, I was in the middle of my aura phase and the left side of my face and tongue were very numb. Immediately after getting the piercing, I regained feeling in the left side of my face. WooWho! I also didn’t get a rebound headache after the left piercing.

Daith Piercing and Migraine Relief

Since having both ears done, I feel pretty confident in saying I believe it has helped with my symptoms though I have had one migraine since. This migraine was mild in comparison to past events and I was even able to go and enjoy a high school homecoming football game during it. (Normally it is straight to bed) Everything about that migraine (aura and pain level) was noticeably weaker and I was able to function like a normal human chicken. I am hoping that, given enough time, my migraines will continue to be mild or vanish all together.

Daith Piercing and the Healing Process

The only downside to these little earrings so far has been the healing process. Although I am using the salt water and cleaning as suggested, healing the two piercings has been a slow touch-and-go. I probably fiddle with them too much and that is causing the process to take longer. If you are considering getting this done for migraine relief, I suggest that you follow the instructions to not touch the piercings with your fingers, use the warm salt water twice a day, and additionally dab them with tea tree oil on a qtip in between cleanings.

Do you suffer from migraines? Why type do you have and what have you done to treat them and get pain/aura relief? Has anything been successful? Please share.

signature

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Please follow and like us:

Say No to Spending

The urge to shop and spend money can be a powerful siren. Her song isn’t always diminished by your determination to get out of debt or be more financially savvy. Even the most dedicated of savers and budgetees can fall under her spell. Here’s how to tame your inner shopaholic and JUST SAY NO TO SPENDING!

Say No to Spending

Say No to Spending

No Spending Tip #1: Visualize Your Goals

Budgeting and being thrifty is a little like dieting. You know how sometimes taking a look at your skinny jeans is enough to make you put down the doughnut?  You can employ the same tactics to help reach your goal of paying off debt or becoming more frugal. Are you saving up to buy something big without financing? Are you hoping to get completely out of debt and become financially free? Whatever your financial goal, keep tangible reminders around to keep you energized and on target and to help curb those spending urges. Concentrating on something physical that reminds you of why you wanted to save money in the first place will make it harder for you to justify splurging on a new purchase now.

No Spending Tip #2: Know Your Temptations

Do you spend money when you are bored or feel lonely? Is shopping a way for you to socialize and spend time with friends or family? Think about what is happening in your life and what emotions you are having when you get the urge to spend on something unexpected. By knowing your spending triggers, you can more easily avoid those situations that make you weak or set off your inner shopaholic. Learning more about your spending habits and impulses goes a long way to helping you say no to spending money.

No Spending Tip #3: Accumulation Evaluation

A surefire way to curb your desire to bring more into your home is evaluating everything already stuffed inside it. If you’re a true shopaholic then you already have excess “things” that require maintenance, cleaning and/or stowing. Take a good, long and hard look at all of it and inventory how much of your living space you are currently taking up with things you have already purchased. It’s easier to resist temptation to add to the collection when we are confronted with our current excess .

Often we buy new things because we forget about the old things we already have. Pulling our things out of all the nook and crannies can curb your urge to spend by reminding you of things that you previously bought but have not recently used. You might be willing to pass up on buying a little black dress if you know you have three already hanging in your closet.

No Spending Tip #4: Hang Out with Other Non-Spenders

Birds of a feather should flock together, unless it’s a group of shopaholics mixed with one reformed shopaholic.   Make a conscious effort to spend time with like minded frugal friends or even make some new friends with others trying to reform their shopping ways. Don’t start over with a new circle of friends (that’s just crazy). Take into consideration who your “shopaholic partners in crime” might be and suggest activities together where the ability to shop/spend is limited.

No Spending Tip #5: Stay Out of the Stores, etc.

Humans are visual creatures. We like to look at things which often leads to wanting things which in turn leads to buying things. Get the picture? You aren’t likely to run into a bedspread you just “have to have” on a nature trail and I’ve seldom felt a sudden urge to purchase a new shirt while having a movie night with friends. If seeing what you could buy keeps you from staying on track and being frugal, your best option might be to avoid stores, shows, television ads, etc. that give you the “gimmes” and instead concentrate on activities where you won’t be so tempted to spend.

Do you have any great tips on how to make it easier to say no to spending?

 

signature

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Please follow and like us:

Things to Consider Before Dropping a Class

It happens. You take a class that stinks or that you’re not prepared for academically. Your professor is awful or you just can’t make yourself get up for an 8 o’clock class. There are a lot of reasons for wanting to call it quits. Consider these 5 things before dropping a class:

5 Things to Consider Before Dropping a Class

5 Things to Consider Before Dropping a Class

 

Have You Checked with Your Advisor?

You should always consult your academic advisor before pulling the trigger and hitting “drop”. Are you in a program that requires you to stay in the course for that specific semester? Is the icky class offered every semester or do you run the risk of dropping it to find out that you have to wait another calendar year before it’s scheduled again? Is the class a prerequisite or co-requisite course that has to be taken at a specific point in your degree plan? The answers may all be “No” but it’s best to hear that from someone that specializes in your field of study and knows the ins and outs of your college major requirements.

It’s better to check before so that you know you won’t be surprised later by having to take an extra semester to complete all of your requirements. That would really suck.

Have You Checked with Financial Aid?

You might think you’re ok to drop that Chem course because your roommate tells you it won’t affect your financial aid. The problem is your roommate (though filled with the best intentions) may be devastatingly wrong. These days, students are coming to college with more complex financial aid plans than ever before. There are usually grants, loans, scholarships, etc. that make up part or all of your financial package. It can get really confusing trying to keep up what the restrictions and requirements are for each.

Before dropping that course, go to your financial aid office and have someone pull up your personalized account package. Make sure that dropping the course won’t negatively impact your ability to continue receiving all of your financial aid. Nobody likes going to the Financial Aid office! Sure, the line is long and you’re going to have to wait a while. It’s better to wait in line a while then to find out you’ve dropped below the minimum hours and can kiss your 20K in expected scholarship money goodbye.

Can I Save This Train Wreck?

There are times when you have to cut bait. Make sure this is one of those times. Before freaking out that you can’t make a decent grade and dropping the class altogether, seriously consider how much time is left in the semester and how many available points are left to be earned.  While you might feel awful and panicked because you flunked YOUR FIRST TEST EVER, if it’s only worth 20 % of your grade, you might not be in as bad a shape as you think.

Professors are people. Even the mean ones. Go to your professor and talk with them if you are having trouble in a class. They might be able to offer you a way to improve your grade or have ideas on how to get extra help and pull through. It’s not a wise idea to pay for classes that you don’t get any credit for. That’s exactly what you are doing if you drop past the date to receive a reimbursement. It’s like taking a Lit course that costs $700 worth 0 hours! No one would do that. Make sure there is no way to salvage the grade before throwing in the towel.

Consider the Money, Time & Energy

Speaking of wasting time and money…exactly how much have you devoted to the class you are wanting to drop? You might hate dragging yourself to class every other day, but you have already devoted a lot of time and energy into the course. Think about your total effort before dropping a class.

Do you just not like the material or the instructor? Is it really so bad that you are willing to overlook how much you have invested? If you’re only a few weeks from the end of these semester, it might be more beneficial to suck it up and stay in rather then to drop it late and receive no credit. Sometimes students get overwhelmed with the amount of work left to complete and turn in. You should also consider how much you have already been able to accomplish in the class.

If it is a required course for your degree, ask yourself it is worth taking the same boring material again. The only thing worse than sitting through Physics might be sitting through it for a semester and a half when you could just push through the last few weeks and be done with it once and for all.

What About Off Schedule?

You’ve carefully considered and still believe that dropping is in your best interest?  There are some things you can do to maintain your academic status for financial aid and completion reasons. Many colleges today offer off-schedule courses that only meet for a portion of the regular semester. Many times they are classes offered during the first half or second half of a regular semester.

If you must maintain 15 hours but you just can’t stand World Civ for one more minute, check to make sure you can’t drop World Civ and pick up another half semester/off schedule course. This will keep your academic course load at 15 hours. You’ll still end up paying for the extra class. However, it might be worth it to preserve your GPA and keep from losing your federal financial aid package or scholarship.

Have you ever dropped a college course and then regretted it? I did, only to find out that it was only offered in the Fall semesters so I had to wait the calendar year to take it again? Tell me your story…inquiring chicken minds want to know!

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Please follow and like us:

Encouragement When Starting a Blog

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, then to write for the public and have no self.” ~Cyril Connolly

Starting a blog can be very frustrating. You’ve poured your soul into it, studied SEO til you’re blue in the face, and have great site graphics but still can’t get anyone to read? Be encouraged! You are not alone. We are many.

 

Starting a Blog- Support

Starting a Blog

There’s nothing more frustrating than giving something your 100% only to see it returned with mixed results. Most new bloggers start their writing journey with the same dreams.  They’re hoping to quickly develop a loyal following and expand their online presence. Many are hoping to leverage their love of writing into a side hustle to generate income.

Often, their dreams are harder to achieve then they envisioned. There are a lot of reasons that a blog can fail: bad design, crappy and/or inconsistent content, lack of promotion, etc. But what if you’ve covered your bases? What do you do when you’ve devoted time to all of these areas and still can’t pull in readers?

Encouragement When Starting a Blog

If you are a struggling new blogger- You are NOT alone! If you’ve spent anytime researching blogging and blogs on the internet, it seems like EVERYONE has a successful blog but you. It’s easy to get disheartened and feel like giving up.  That’s the one way to ensure that no one will read your content- stop writing it! Below are a few words of encouragement and ideas to keep you motivated when you feel like throwing in the towel and logging off for good.

Keep Learning and Growing in Skill

The keeping and caring of a blog feels a lot more like a marathon than a sprint. Unless you came into the market with an extensive background in online advertising, writing, programming skills, and a wee bit of graphic design you’re going to find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer amount of knowledge needed to keep up with the big boys (or girls). Almost anyone can start a blog with a template and post a few lines of text in a few minutes.  Achieving a professional looking and operating blog takes a lot of energy and ‘know how’.

Even if you’ve done your homework and feel like you have a handle on all of the components to a successful blog, resist the urge to settle back and stop learning. When I become frustrated by readership numbers or my Adsense account balance (seriously, it’s currently sitting at $.02 as I type) I try to focus my frustration on learning even more about new apps, add ons, and SEO marketing in hopes of increasing my skills and in turn, increasing my reach. Even the best blogs and bloggers can benefit from increasing their skill set. So, keep learning- You never know what little change or tweak might get you noticed.

Be Willing to Try Something New

It takes a lot of courage to send your thoughts and words out into the cyber unknown. Blogging is not for the faint of heart. Keep building on that initial courage and be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new with your blog. Try out promoting on a new social network that you have found too overwhelming until now. Start your own shared Pinterest board and invite other bloggers to contribute. Mix up your use of pictures or colors or…ANYTHING to shake things up a little.

A lot of online success stories have occurred because someone was paying attention to trends and ran with it. Keep your eyes open for hot topics of interest that you are passionate about or new tools available to bloggers to make more mundane tasks (like social marketing promotion) less time consuming. This will free you up to spend more time on creative content for your blog.

Look for unique ways to market your blog. I once checked out a book from my local library on soapmaking. Hidden inside the pages were post it notes with the same online essential oil business. What a clever tactic for drumming up interest in your site. Think outside of the box.

Stay True to Your Content and Your Voice

When your blog is struggling to find interest, it’s very easy to assume that your graphics, your blog style, or even your writing style is unappealing. You can get caught up in measuring your site against successful bloggers that are getting the kind of exposure you crave. While you can always improve, you have to be careful not to adapt your sense of creativity to mimic others.

I see a lot of very successful sites with flowery images, soft colors, and swirly scripts and wonder if I should change my whole approach. Then I remember… I’m a crazy, quirky chicken and if I tried to stifle it, I’d be selling out! While it might seem like my voice is not very popular- IT’S MY VOICE. I can’t be “Pretty in Pink” when I’m “I Love Rock and Roll”. Unless you feel really compelled to change your content focus, keep going a little longer. Stick it out. Make sure your lack of visitors is due to your blog style and content. It could be because of bad SEO and too little or ineffective promotion.

Watch Peers with a Weary Eye

We’ve all seen them. They’re the inspiration for this post. Multitudes of pins on Pinterest claiming thousands in profits per month from bloggers across the U.S. and beyond. It’s really disheartening to see “I made $25,000 my Second Month of Blogging” pins when you’re wondering if your readership will break single digits today.

While a lot of bloggers have found a ginormous following by just plugging along with great content, a lot are using very sophisticated marketing and professional promotion. You’re up against some major players that are spending big bucks. That’s hard to compete with no matter how great your blog content. Sure, I’d much rather be the owner of the “$25,000” pin then the “$.02” pin. Who wouldn’t?  But I know if I dwell on in and let it get me down, I’ll never be able to use writing as a side hustle because I simply won’t write anymore.

If you really feel like you have good writing skills and offer value to potential readers, you owe it to yourself to keep going. I’d say that’s  my “$.02” on the subject, but if I gave it to you…I’d have nothing left. haha

Are you a struggling writer trying to find readership after starting a blog? Feel free to comment and share any encouraging tips for others below.

signature

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Please follow and like us:

The Year We Skipped Christmas and Lived

The year my husband and I got serious about getting rid of all of our debt…we got REALLY serious. How serious? Serious enough to skip Christmas…almost! This is the story of how a perfectly normal family made the decision to continue SAVING MONEY over the holiday season and lived to tell the tale.

savemoney

Saving Money During the Holidays

Things were moving right along in our family plan to stop spending, save money, and get out of debt once and for all. Then, we hit a snag. When I had put my foot down about no extra spending, I hadn’t anticipated that this declaration was going to come to a head around October of that same year. (Evidently, Chickens don’t look very far into the future.)

After much discussion, we decided that our spending freeze WAS going to extend over the holiday season and when we declared our intention to “opt out” of Christmas with our extended family, you would think we had decided we were going to marry the girls off to Russian spies on the Black Market.

It was ugly. At least…at first.

My mother worried that we were short changing the children. Other family members were convinced that we were really destitute and just didn’t want to talk about it. I think one Aunt was worried she would see our faces on milk crates or some such.

None of that happened. In fact, it was pretty awesome.

Saving Money Didn’t Freak Our Family Out

After the initial shock wore off, it was really like any other Christmas holiday. I was so concerned that we were going to feel strange or ostracized when we showed up to the get together with our family size bag of chips and dip and no presents for anyone. We didn’t. While everyone else tore into wrapping and gift bags, we sat around in the circle cheering them on. My kids were excited to see what everyone got and I think for the first time, we focused our attention and seeing our loved ones get excited instead of concentrating on what we were tearing open.

Not only did I not feel like a Christmas leper, I had several family members tell me how they admired our commitment to our goal. I wasn’t called a cheapskate and banished from the family. Some even remarked how they were a little jealous that I seemed so much more relaxed during the holiday season and that they wished they were brave enough to just “take a year off”.

Saving Money Meant Less Shopping & Less Stress

I can’t express to you how much less stress there was while “skipping Christmas”. Although we bought several individual small things for each child and did stockings, I was able to reduce our gift shopping and buying by at least 75%! No running from store to store looking for sales. No wondering if the person was going to like the present that was selected! IT WAS BLISS! I spent the time I saved by not shopping, buying, and wrapping on more important things like cooking and baking with my children and making some new ornaments for the tree.

Saving Money Refocused Our Idea of Christmascindylouwho

We were the typical American family. Over the years, our holiday focus seemed to shift from family and spiritual connections to present and gift acquisitions. We all spent so much time and energy picking out items and then wrapping said items that we had very little time left over to concentrate on why our family chooses to celebrate Christmas at all. During the year that we “skipped Christmas” I would stop and find myself feeling a little like Cindy Lou Who. It was like being a spectator to a sport that I had played my whole life but never really thought about why I was playing.

We didn’t get a lot of gifts the year we “skipped Christmas” but, as a family, we did spend more time focusing on learning about our beliefs and making new traditions then we spent filling up our baskets. That worked out pretty good too.

Saving Money as the World Kept Spinning

All told, the most crazy thing about ducking out of the holidays was the fact that it didn’t really feel all that crazy. I like to buck the system now and then, but even I was worried. What would happen if we didn’t spend a lot of money and have as many gifts as usual? Would the chicks revolt? (Nope) Would our family and friends think we were weird? (No weirder than normal) Would Christmas come and go and feel like just another day on the calendar? (Didn’t happen either) We just simply didn’t have as much stuff to put away after the holidays. I also had help making Christmas breakfast instead of everyone vanishing right after the wrapping was shredded.

I was afraid that we would miss the “feeling” of Christmas…but it turns out we might have rediscovered the “meaning” of Christmas instead.

What’s the craziest thing you ever did to keep saving money? Have you ever thought about “skipping Christmas”?

signature

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Please follow and like us:

Online Courses: A Convenient Alternative…But are they for everyone?

Should you take an online course?

With technology invading every aspect of our lives, it seems like a slam dunk to meet part of your course requirements by taking a few online classes (sometimes referred to as Web-based courses) while in college. I mean… who doesn’t want to go to class in their pajamas? Just because you CAN doesn’t necessarily mean you SHOULD!

What am I Getting Myself Into with an Online Course?

First and foremost, be aware of what most online professors and instructors expect. They expect you will be knowledgeable with their online Learning Management System before you ever even sign up for class.  While they will try to make things as easy to access as possible, there will likely be no tutorial on how to actually maneuver within the system or how to upload homework or participate in online activities. This is crucial because most online courses NEVER MEET FACE TO FACE and sometimes the instructor doesn’t even keep office hours on your campus! It’s up to you to know how to do this from day one. Be Ready!

What Kind of Student Succeeds in an Online Course?

Online course taking requires a slightly different set of skills than a traditional lecture based class. Before embarking on this new pajama wearing journey, ask yourself three questions to determine if online classes are right for your personality:

Are you good at finding/using help?

When you are in an online(web based) course, it is likely that you won’t know or even meet anyone else in your course during the semester. Sometimes, the instructor can only be reached by email. If you run into problems, it is up to you to solve them. Are you good with software and hardware issues? Do you know how to google your way out of an incompatibility error? Finding resources and using them to problem solve are crucial when taking an online course. You have to be willing to go the extra mile.

Are you annoyingly persistent?

Speaking of the extra mile? As mentioned before, you likely won’t be seeing your instructor face to face during the entire semester. If an assignment seems unclear or you have a question about a reading example, it is up to you to pursue an answer with your instructor or reach out to another online classmate for help. It takes a lot more effort to search someone out on the web then it does to lean over to the guy or girl sitting next to you in a traditional class and ask a question. Again, you have to be willing to go the extra effort to find the answers you are seeking.

Are you a time management ninja?

Most online courses require the same amount of time and energy as traditional lecture classes. Some require even more. Often, these classes are more fluid in their scheduled readings and assignments. Since there won’t be anyone to remind you of due dates, it’s up to you to plan! You must be able to make sure you complete everything on time. I have seen many good students bomb online courses because they simply “forget” to keep up with their online classes or to check their accounts regularly for added assignments. Don’t let the convenience of an online course tank your GPA!

Have you had a lot of success with online courses? What skills do you think are crucial to online course success?

signature

 

Please follow and like us:

You Must Let Go to Get Out of Debt

You know that spending too much of your earnings will keep you in a never ending loop on the Debt Express. You can also get trapped in debt by refusing to let go of things holding you back from financial freedom. Here’s a list of things You Must Let Go to Get Out of Debt:

You Must Let Go To Get Out of Debt

Let Go of Keeping Up with Appearances

If you continue to worry about having the latest and greatest gadgets, cars, and clothing, you are never going to have surplus income to make a dent in the overspending you have already accumulated on your outdated gadgets, cars, and clothing.

You can’t get out of debt while keeping up with the Joneses. Things at the Jones’ house aren’t as great as they seem anyway. They’ve maxed out both their credit cards and their nervous systems. Any friends that judge you for your scuffed Nike’s might be part of the reason you are in your current financial predicament anywho!

If your debt level is severe or you are really committed to paying all of your debt off, you are going to have to go without some luxuries for awhile. Don’t worry. New and shiny things will still be waiting for you on the store shelves when you’re done. You won’t have even a smidgen of guilt when you load up your cart at your local TJ Maxx! Win win. Don’t tell yourself “No”, instead tell yourself “Not right now”.

Let Go of Bad Habits that are Holding You Back to Get Out of Debt

You have to be willing to let go of all of the financial habits that brought you to where you are now. Even little bad habits can add up to big bad problems. That daily cup of coffee at Starbucks might only costs $5 a day, but over the course of a month that’s $150 you could be applying to your Visa bill! Resist the urge to “reward” your fiscal self-control with anything that requires spending. You’ll soon find rewarding yourself for saving $5.75 at the grocery store with a new $10 shirt a good idea.

Some lucky people hate to shop and don’t struggle with the “gimmes”. If you aren’t one of these lucky folks, minimize the amount of time you spend in stores (both on Mainstreet and in cyberspace). Seeing available items will increase the chances that you make a purchase. In fact, get crazy and cancel your cable. This was one of the best things we did while eliminating debt. Advertisers are very good at making us feel like we need things that we really just want. Don’t fall for their traps!

Communicate with your significant other about money issues if you’re in this battle together. Money is one of the major reasons that marriages hit the rocks. While financial freedom gets rid of a lot of stress, the actual reduction phase can be stressful. Work together by keeping communication lines open.

Don’t hide from your issues. Admit your bad habits and begin replacing them with good financial habits. Check you checking balances and accounts for accuracy everyday. Come up with a budgeting system that works for you. Start a side hustle to get rid of the debt even faster. Control your money and stop letting your money (or the lack of it) control you! You can’t get out of debt using the same decision making that got you into debt.

Let Go of Huge Obstacles in Your Path to Freedom to Get Out of Debt

This is a hard thing to let go of. It’s downright scary.

Evaluate what large obstacles are in the way of your success. Think about three to five things in your lifestyle that were they to magically disappear, you would be able to get out of debt faster. Write them down. Rank them in the order of least to greatest cost to you (e.g. 1 being the greatest and 5 being the least costly). Next to this, rank these items again in the order of importance to your lifestyle (e.g 5 being the greatest and 1 being the least). Identify two areas where the level of cost is the greatest but the list of importance is the least. Target these “issues” for removal.

Be bold. Mr. Rooster and I decided to sell our fancy smancy suburban house to be able to get out of debt faster. Our friends and family thought we were crazy but I don’t regret it in the least. In fact, it was one of the best decisions I have made in my adult life! We didn’t even have to live in a cardboard box as my mother suggested. Go figure!

Don’t worry. You can always buy whatever it is back later when you can pay cold hard cash. Afraid you won’t ever find such a great deal as you got on your currently financed boat? Try going to a dealer and offering cash off season!

Let Go of Feeling like You are “Missing Out” to Get Out of Debt

Debt reduction is mind over matter. Plain and simple. It is a lot like starting a new diet. I don’t ever crave a doughnut until I can’t have one. Debt repayment is just like that. People often start debt reduction but can’t seem to let go of feelings that they are missing out on life. This causes them to abandon their plans and fall off the wagon.

Hang on to the wagon! Remember what I said earlier. Don’t tell yourself “No”. Tell yourself “Later when I don’t have to charge it”. There is light at the end of the tunnel and by sacrificing some things now you are opening up a lot more opportunities for yourself financially in the future.

To get through this phase, do exactly what you would do if you were dieting- gather some like minded friends! Go on a “spending diet” together so that at least when you feel like you are “missing out” you’ll have others to remind you that you’ve still got camaraderie to keep you going. It’s always easier to keep fighting the good fight when we have others in our corner fighting alongside us!

Let Go of Bad Financial Advice/Teaching to Get Out of Debt

Parents and family members can pass down little or no financial advice. Worse yet, some pass down awful financial advice. Some people believe that you should always take out as much home loan as the bank offers because real estate investments always go up. Those same people probably lost a lot of their personal wealth during the last recession as housing markets took a beating. No investment is without risks and it is always wise to seek the counsel of someone with knowledge about finances before making a large purchase.

Another common money myth is that debt is necessary. While this might be true on a very limited personal scale or for small/large business owners, your ability to acquire personal wealth will ALWAYS be restricted by accruing debt unless that debt is taken on for the sake of increasing income or generating additional money through investments.

If you have a limited or incorrect knowledge of personal finance, take the initiative to learn everything you can about the subject and become educated. There are plenty of people in this world willing to help you figure out ways to part with your money but not that many willing to help you figure out ways to grow your personal wealth.

Mr. Rooster and I like a lot of what Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman have to say about personal finance. In fact, we used the snowball method to get rid of our debt. We paid off over $50,000 in debt and saved $50,000 in cash assets in the span of 2 years to achieve financial freedom.

Let Go of the Fear of Failure to Get Out of Debt

Fear of the unknown can cause us to shut down. Fear of not reaching our goals can cause us to scrap great ideas all together and never get started on things that can totally change our lives. Look at it this way: What you are currently doing isn’t working. There are scores of people that have gotten out of debt that swear it’s possible and that it is totally worth it! Debt reduction can be a scary change. You just have to be more afraid of continuing on your current path than you are of what happens if you commit to working for a better life.

You can’t get out of debt by worrying more about what “might” happen then what you are currently “letting” happen in your life.

 

Please follow and like us:

10 Things Freshmen Need to Know from Day One

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
You feel like a stranger in a strange place and it’s everything you can do to remember to bring your ID card everywhere and go to the right building and class at the RIGHT time. Settling into college life takes a while. Here are 10 Things Freshmen Need to Know from Day One to make your transition from rockin’ senior to newbie freshmen a little easier to bear.

10 Things Freshmen Need to Know Day One

10 Things Freshmen Need to Know from Day One

    1. Your syllabus is your lifeline! PRINT THEM OUT or carry an electronic copy with you at all times….ALL TIMES! Almost everything you need to know is found in a good syllabus and schedule. Pay attention to your instructor office hours and contact information. Also make note of the number of assignments you will have and their due dates. Keep a copy with you in class in case your instructor makes changes to the due dates or cancels/adds assignments. Here’s a blog on the wealth of information that is your syllabus.
    2. Find and get to know your Academic Advisor- Don’t wait until it’s time to plan for next semester. Your Academic Advisor is a wealth of knowledge about everything on campus. You need to go to them with questions about dropping/adding classes, finding resources, and degree considerations.
    3. You are paying a lot of people a LOT of money to work on campus to answer you questions. They can help you out of any jam…as long as you seek assistance BEFORE it is too late! USE YOUR RESOURCES- You’ve already bought them! Don’t hesitate to visit campus offices to ask questions or voice concerns. Know where these offices are just in case you are in need of assistance. Student service offices are usually located in close proximity to each other on a campus. The only stupid question is the question you didn’t ask.
    4. You are more likely to be respected as an adult if you act like one and treat your professors/instructors with respect. If you want them to pay attention to your concerns, pay attention to them when they are speaking. Don’t cruise your phones for interesting pins or the latest basketball stats while they’re trying to lecture on what you need to know to pass your Biology exam. Take responsibility for your education and you’ll find professors more willing to mentor you with help and advice.
    5. You don’t have to “like” your instructors/professors. You only need to listen to them and figure out how to make your learning style mesh with their class style. Yes, your Philosophy instructor might be boring and rude but that isn’t why you aren’t doing well in their class. You have failed to use what you know about their teaching style and incorporate it with what you know about how you learn best. Don’t know how you learn best? Penn State has a great online survey to help you determine your primary learning style.
    6. Do NOT argue your assignments with your teachers! Enough said. This might have worked in high school. Don’t try it in college. You’ve been warned.
    7. Do NOT believe everything you read on RATEMYPROFESSOR.COM. You can find many helpful, honest reviews of instructors on this website. However, students often go to these sites to vent their frustrations when their own bad habits have resulted in poor grades or stressful semesters. Take everything you read here with a grain of salt. If you’ve never heard of RateMyProfessor, it’s a website organized by college and instructor with anonymous reviews from previous students. It’s much better to ask a friend with first hand experience that you can trust.
    8. Embrace the concept of the “Master Calendar”. A lot of student will eventually figure out that if you don’t keep an academic planner, you might as well drop out of college. I have written an entire blog about what I think is the #1 college hack every student should use! Most students fail to take it to the next level. Keep your academic AND social tasks on the SAME calendar so that you know when you heaviest social/academic times are and can plan accordingly.
    9. You need to get used to technology. You will be required to use technology and many of your assignments, etc. will contain an electronic element. You are going to be required to use more technology in college then you did in high school. Some campuses require incoming students to have specific computers/tablets and almost all use a Learning Management System to conduct assignment and grade submission. Don’t fight it. If the idea of using so much technology overwhelms you, get with a new friend that seems to be a Jedi-Technology-Master and have them share their skills.
    10. Have high expectations for yourself. Yes, your parents and other loved ones want you to do well while in college. It is ultimately up to you to find the internal motivation to succeed in college. Are you driven by getting a job in a competitive career field? Do you want to learn how to help others or become a community organizer to effect positive change? Whatever reason you have for attending, make sure it means something. It has to be personally rewarding to you so when you don’t feel like waking up for that 8 am class or staying up late to finish that Lit paper you somehow pull out the motivation to do it anyway.

Bonus Tip: EVERYONE is nervous! Starting a new semester is just like the first few weeks of a new school year. Hang in there! By week three things will usually seem a lot more smooth.

Do you have your own 10 Things You Think All Freshmen Need to Know? Comment below and share!

Please follow and like us: