How to Turn Your Clicks into Cash: Introducing Qmee

connected — may 29 (day 29)

Raise your hand if you browse through the virtual aisles of a store on the internet before even stepping through those automatic sliding doors!

Sometimes when you’re looking for a specific item or just some good deals, Ebay or Amazon can be a superior alternative to wasting gas, driving from store to store. And need I mention the special challenges some of us may have when having to shop with little kids in tow?

You know I’m all for saving and/or earning a little money here and there, especially when it doesn’t require me to turn my life upside down. What if I told you there’s a way to earn some cash while doing what you probably do everyday, multiple times a day?

Let me introduce you to Qmee, a free search-loyalty, cash-reward browser app installed easily into any major browser.  This app rewards you with actual cash micropayments, for clicking on search results you otherwise would click for no reward!

So what does that mean? When you do a search, let’s say, on Amazon, Qmee will post some relevant results on the screen next to the usual Amazon results. If you click on any of Qmee’s results, you get a small cash payment in your account.

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The amounts for each click are small, typically between 4 and 14 cents, but it adds up as you do your internet searches! Even 5 bucks earned in a month through Qmee is still 5 bucks that you didn’t have before when doing your web searches the old way.

What I like about this app is that it works with sites that you probably visit frequently anyway. Google, Yahoo, Amazon … just to name a few. This eliminates having to go to another search engine browser, especially when you’re so used to using Google, for example.

As your clicks translate into coins dropped into your piggy bank, you may come to a point when you want to break open the pig and use that hard-earned cash (web search and mouse-clicking takes a lot of work). You can have it transferred to your PayPal account or donate it to charity.

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So, what do you think? It’s free to sign up and free to get the app!

To learn more, visit Qmee to try it for yourself.

 
Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

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What I Learned From Having a Child with Special Needs

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I sat in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, filling out a questionnaire about my 2-year-old, who was happily playing in the “kiddie corner”.

Does your child eat at least 2 cups of fruits and vegetables a day? YES. Does your child kick a ball? YES. Does your child speak two-word sentences?

I hesitated. My pencil hovered over the check box, and slowly, I marked the box indicating “no.” In the quietness of that waiting room, I felt as though I would explode from the multitude of questions and concerns that raced through my mind.

Is there something wrong with my child because he’s not speaking in sentences yet? Is it a red flag that most of his talking is largely gibberish? Can’t he just be a late bloomer, and it won’t be long before he hits this milestone?

It was a typical well-child exam with our pediatrician but marked the beginning of a journey that we are still on today, taking us to countless evaluations, assessments, speech pathologists, child development experts, doctors, and specialists.

I wish I could tell you I was unwavering in my resolve to care for my child with special needs.

Truth is I am sometimes plagued with doubts, fears, depression, and thoughts of failing as a mom.

What keeps me standing firm in the midst of a lot of uncertainty is God Himself and the lessons He has taught me from this experience of being a mom of a child with special needs.

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There Will Always Be Questions

The first diagnosis we received was that our child had severe language delays (Mixed Expressive Receptive Language Disorder), but as he continued to stall in his development, questions only increased. The gap between him and his peers widened. Later, he was diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder.

But these labels don’t eliminate the questions and concerns. Rather, we realized how much more we need to seek answers, find help, and most importantly, get on our knees to pray.

A Parent Still Knows Best

We’ve seen many so-called experts, and though they may have a lot of knowledge in their fields, we are truly the experts when it comes to our child. We have taken some of the helpful information from doctors and specialists, but it is up to us to determine exactly how best to apply them in all the particulars of our child.

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My Child is Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

I have sought to know and understand my child deeper than I would ever imagine. But still, there is none who is more intimately acquainted with him and all his ways than the One who created him. God didn’t overlook him or make a mistake. He doesn’t consider him unimportant or love him less. My child is God’s creation, “knitted together” and “intricately woven” by His hands (Psalm 139:13-15).

Though, in my humanness, I will occasionally ask the all-too-familiar question, “Why God?”, I am always brought to my knees with the same peaceful answer that surpasses all comprehension.

My child was made for my good and God’s glory!

 

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And the Winner is …

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Congratulations to Shaunie W. on winning the $25 Gyft Card! You will be receiving an email with details on how to claim your prize!

Thank you to all who participated!

$25 Gyft Card Giveaway

 

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3 Obstacles to Enjoying Your Children

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My husband could clearly see I needed a break. He began to gather the kids to take them out, so that I could have some time alone. “Where are you going?” “What will I do while you’re gone?” “Are you gonna do something fun without me?”

Why is it that when I am with the children all day, I sometimes fail to consider how to spend that time enjoying them? And, when they leave my presence, I feel like I’m missing out on something?

Because of the fact that they are with me most of my waking hours, I can sometimes take for granted that small window of time (yes, it is a small window even though it feels like forever) that I have with them. Can you relate?

Here are 3 things that we can allow to get in the way of enjoying our children.

Television

Mesmerizing

PBSkids got me through some rough adjustment periods of being a mom of three children under 4 years old. But just as it can get quite addicting to watch TV, it can be equally addicting to continually turn it on for your kids just to get some peace and quiet.

Perhaps during those few hours they are glued to the tube, you can clean your whole house, make a fancy dinner, pay the bills, and return some phone calls. You may even feel quite productive, but the time you could have spent playing with the little ones or listening to all their funny talk has been replaced by Elmo and Mickey Mouse.

Technology

Spending quality family time together ...

When we have a chance to splurge a bit and go out to eat, it’s not uncommon for us to notice scenes like the one above. Unless they all happen to be texting each other, I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to assume they’re not really having too much bonding time.

Though my kids don’t have their own devices, I’ve been guilty of allowing my own access to technology to get in the way of noticing my children.

“Mommy, did you see me go across the monkey bars?”

Or, did we find our Facebook newsfeed more interesting than our child’s latest playground accomplishment?

Surely, Facebook can wait. Set the phone aside. And, try to have fun with your kids sometimes without thinking about sharing that moment with the whole social media world.

To Do Lists

5/4/2010: To-Do List

This is probably my biggest obstacle. I’m so task-oriented that I run into the danger of seeing time spent with the kids as another duty to check off my list. Or worse, I see it as something that hinders me from completing that checklist.

If, at the end of the day, you failed to cross off even one thing on your agenda, but you read to your toddler, made some rainbow loom bracelets with your daughter, and taught your boy how to dribble a ball, then you accomplished way more than can be quantified by a written set of goals.

Let’s identify those distractions, steer clear of them, and start savoring the simple joys of parenthood!

What keeps you from enjoying your children?

 

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The New Way to Give a Gyft {Giveaway}

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I love the thoughtfulness behind personal gifts … that coffee mug with the cute message that a friend just had to get for you or the soft blanket that someone took the time to crochet for your first baby.

But let’s face it. Sometimes the convenience of a gift card eliminates the guesswork in shopping for the perfect gift. I’ve done it while walking down the aisles of Target, trying to figure out exactly what kind of coffee maker the bride and groom needs or even if they need one in the first place.

Though not a handmade gift, who can deny the usefulness of gift cards? I certainly don’t complain when I receive them from family and friends.

But if you’re like me, gift cards have a tendency to get buried deep down into the oversized Mama purse. Not to mention, I totally lose track of how much value are in those cards.

Here’s a nifty solution for those who are tired of unnecessarily weighing down their wallets with gift cards.

Gyft is a mobile gift card app that can turn this

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into this

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Download the app and sign up for Gyft, and the convenience of gift cards will all be nicely kept in your phone. Here’s how it works …

To buy a new card, select a retailer and the amount. There are over 200 to pick from.

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Then, choose a payment method. After payment, the gift card will immediately appear in your Gyft account.

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When you’re ready to use it, tap “redeem”. You will get a barcode on your phone that can be scanned at the store and/or a promo code to use in an online purchase.

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Easy peasy, right?

You can also add your own cards if it’s among one of the many stores within the Gyft platform.

Here’s another cool feature of Gyft. Whenever you buy a card through them, you earn points, which can go towards buying more cards. So, if you frequent Target for your monthly household and grocery shopping, you can set aside a certain amount to spend at that store by purchasing a Target giftcard through Gyft. It’s money that you would be spending anyway, but now it’s also money that just earned you some points for future Target trips.

It’s free to sign up, so don’t delay! Click on one of the links below to download the app.
IOS
Android

But wait! I have another cool treat for you!

Gyft is giving away a $25 Gyft card to one of my readers.

This card will allow you to choose any gift card available through Gyft. By completing different tasks (see entry form below), you can earn up to 6 entries. This giveaway will end on Monday, March 16th.

$25 Gyft Card Giveaway

Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored giveaway.” The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Click here for more information on my disclosure.

 

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4 Creative Ways to Earn or Save Money

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Back in June of last year, I wrote a guest post on Money Saving Mom about how to survive a season of unemployment. I shared our own personal experience and how we had to find creative ways to get through one of our leanest financial times.

I wrote, hoping that I could encourage someone, who was going through such a difficult trial. But what I didn’t expect was being more encouraged by readers, who commented and shared how they were able to make ends meet during their most challenging financial seasons.

It’s exciting to hear about how people have found ways to live on less, and more than that, they come out of such trials, being more thankful and better stewards of what they have.

If you’re racking your brain trying to figure out how else you can save or earn money to help pay the bills and get food on the table, perhaps the following posts from other bloggers will give you the needed inspiration.

Milk for Sale

bottle V

With my first child, I pumped and stored so much breastmilk in the freezer, one would think I was expecting a natural disaster. Had I known I could’ve sold all that milk and start a savings account for my kid, I wouldn’t have tossed it all out. Though the idea of selling breastmilk may spark some controversy, The Penny Hoarder posted an interesting article about it here.

Reduce Clutter, Increase Cash

Artsy yard sale sign

If you’re looking to have a more minimalist lifestyle and make a few extra bucks in the process, having a yard sale is a great idea. K&M: The Stay-at-Home Life shares some helpful tips on having a successful yard sale.

Save on the Never-ending Chore of Laundry

drying laundry

Whether you’re a load-of-laundry-each-day kind of a person or someone who tackles the whole mountain of clothes in one day, we can all agree that laundry can be a daunting chore as well as a pricey one. Kate from Stay at Home Mom with Money Saving Tips shares different ways you can save money on this necessary household task.

Release the Writing Genius in You

fast fingers

If you want to bring in some income on a more regular basis, and you love to write, check out how Brittany from Equipping Godly Women is able to make real money by accepting writing orders from various website owners.

Your turn! Do you have any creative ideas for saving or earning some extra cash?

 

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Putting the MIU COLOR® Reusable Bag to the Test {Product Review}

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Years ago, during a major shopping trip to Walmart, the cashier asked me if I brought my own reusable bags. I had never brought my own bags to the store, just something I didn’t think about. So, after I told the cashier “no”, she said I could buy some for 20 cents each. Sounded cheap enough. The bags were basically the same size as the regular plastic bags but in the canvas-like material.

Though I bought about 5 of them, I had never used them again. And right now, I honestly cannot find even a single one, so I assume they have all ended up in the “reusable bag black hole” where all the others are.

Reusable bags are a great idea, but not all bags are the same.

I had an opportunity to review a bag by MIU COLOR® that is sturdy, water-resistant, and large enough to hold many items [affiliate link].

[affiliate link]

We put their bag to the test during a grocery run. If you want to know how I do store trips with 4 kids in tow, read on.

I don’t buy a lot and stick to my list.

It’s hard enough when my kids get distracted and start wandering down a different aisle, but when I get distracted by this sale or that, we’re on our way to a store meltdown.

I don’t use a shopping cart.

If I know I’m not buying a lot of bulky items, I avoid the shopping cart altogether. I load the two youngest on the sit-n-stand stroller and clip my reusable shopping bag on. The older kids help me with getting items. This is where a large reusable bag would come in handy, and the MIU COLOR® bag passed the test!

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Our bags do take a beating during trips to the store, but the nice thing about the MIU COLOR® bag is that it is machine washable. In fact, though most people don’t wash their bags, studies show that it is a good idea to clean them regularly to avoid the risk of harmful bacteria from raw foods.

Besides grocery runs, we can use the bag to carry our stuff for library trips, swimming classes, and park days.

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The MIU COLOR® Reusable Bag comes in green, dark blue, and light blue and is available on Amazon [affiliate link]. Though the price is reasonable, I probably would hesitate to pay that much for a reusable bag, but then again, I’m the woman who bought 20-cent reusable bags that were never used again!

The bag has actually received great marks from Amazon customers. So, for a sturdy bag like this that will likely be reused multiple times, it may be worth the price for you!

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Click here for more information on my disclosure.

 

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When Things Are Looking Down, Look Up

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I had one of those days … “Eeyore” days, as I like to call them, where I’m dragging my feet, looking at everything through my lens of pessimism. It was actually a fairly typical day. Typical schedule. Typical routine. Typical conflicts with the kids. Really, nothing major.

But because I had set myself up to sit under a cloud, those minor conflicts and road bumps throughout the day seemed like massive mountains blocking my path.

Are you having one of those days? Perhaps you need that same encouragement I needed … when things are looking down, look up.

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Look up and see the blessings

“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.” (Psalm 127:3)

When I looked up, I saw that I have been blessed beyond measure with my little ones. Toys and books scattered on the living room floor, and there they were, all four of them, happily playing. I sat there, quietly eavesdropping on their amusing conversations.

At the end of the day, I recalled even more little blessings …
… when my 3-year-old woke up way too early and snuggled with me on the bed.
… when my daughter showed me her designs to open up her own salon.
… when my oldest willingly played with his youngest brother when he asked him.
… when my other son skipped out on his favorite show to help me clean up.

Even on what I thought was a gloomy day, there were rays of sunlight breaking through.

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Look up and see others

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4)

There are needs inside and outside my home, far more worthy of my attention and focus than my petty complaints. When I looked up, I saw the friend, who asked for prayer for peace in a family conflict. Then, there’s the text I received from another, who had to start working full-time again after being a stay-at-home mom for the past 4 years. And, my heart is personally drawn to a young mom in my church, who has a child with special needs.

Trials, hardships, and pain abound. People need people.

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Look up and see God

“Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:19)

To fix my eyes on God means I begin to see through His eyes. The mountains blocking my way are but a mirage. The obstacles I face are small pebbles in the Lord’s hands. When I looked up, He lifted me up, giving me a new vantage point, where I realized that, all along, my times have been and always will be in His caring hands.

So, if you are still gazing down, look up! See that the cloud looming over you is no bigger than your fist. It only takes one step to depart from its shadow and bask in the warm sunshine.

What wonderful things do you see when you look up?

 
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10 Ways to Ignite Your Marriage (After Having Kids)

wedding ceremony me put ring on russ closeup

A woman’s passion for her husband can diminish after children enter into the picture. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Plan a date night

Pick up the phone and make those restaurant reservations yourself instead of trying to send those mind signals that you want some alone time with him.

Make a special dinner

If going out is just too far-reaching, then make dinner extra special. Feed the kids ahead of time and let them have a movie night while you and your beloved enjoy a candlelit dinner “alone”.

Pasta, bread, wine

Wear something he likes

I possess articles of clothing that I know my husband would rather see burn in a fire. Since I’m usually home all day, I figure who cares what I’m wearing? But at the very least, I can change into clothes that I know he likes before he gets home from work.

Fix yourself up

I don’t normally wear a lot of makeup, but I can, at least, shower and brush my hair for my husband. In other words, try not to look like that haggard mom, who has been chasing around her kids all day (even though that’s probably true).

Find babysitters

Wouldn’t it be great if you can get someone to watch your kids even before your hubby comes home from work? Imagine how quiet the house would be when he walked in! He’ll think he stepped right into the Twilight Zone!

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Shorten his to do list

Does your husband have a “Honey, Do” list? Why not take one or two things off his list? My husband typically takes out the garbage, but there’s no rule that I can’t do it either.

Shorten your to do list

If your endless to-do list is getting in the way of spending quality time with your spouse, perhaps it’s time to reassess. Save some of your tasks for another day.

Send him a love note

There are many ways to send messages nowadays that we really have no excuse. Tell him why you love him or how you appreciate something he did or just get flirty.

love note / nota de amor

Recall your love story

A good love story isn’t just found in books and movies. Your own love story is probably way better than the latest chick flick. Spend some time reflecting on this (look through pictures or old love letters if it helps), and you may start swooning again when he walks into the room.

Initiate the intimacy

At the end of a day of cooking, cleaning, running errands, and the kids, the only thing on your mind is probably getting some needed sleep (and hoping your hubby will be just as tired). But you know what will really make him happy, right?? ;-) 

Do you have anything to add? What do you do to keep the flames of passion burning in your marriage?

 

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Linking up to
SHINE Blog Hop

Fixing Up Our Fixer-Upper

Special thanks to Urban Compass* for inviting me to participate in their project called “Starter Stories”, a collection of stories from different bloggers about their first place. Here’s my “Starter Story” …

 
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I bought my first home before getting married … the home that we’re living in now.

That wasn’t exactly Plan A. I had opened an account to start saving up for my dream wedding, but, alas, the only wedding bells I heard belonged to my friends. This longer-than-expected waiting period allowed my savings account to increase quickly, but so did my collection of bridesmaid dresses.

With no suitors clamoring for my attention, I decided to put that money in a house instead. It was a competitive market, but I finally found one within my budget. It was liveable but old. If I was on a quest to be even less dateable, buying this fixer-upper put me up there on the list. What guy would want to be with this girl, who now owned this house in need of some repairs? Well, my guy did. Love is blind, they say.

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Fast forward 12 years later … we’re still here, but with 4 additional little occupants. A lot has been done to this old house, but we certainly didn’t tackle them all at once. Taking a slow pace with home renovations has allowed our wallets to breathe a little easier and provided us the time to just enjoy our growing family without the stress of paying off mounting debt.

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So, let me take you on a time tour of the last 12 years and the things that God has allowed us to fix up in this place we like to call home.

The house, when I bought it, was pink. Now, I can stand a little pink here and there, but a whole house?? It’s just not us. On the plus side, people visiting us for the first time never had trouble finding our place.

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I never took a picture of our pink house, so you’ll have to take my word for it. This is the “After” picture (we were actually trying to sell our house before, but decided to stay).

Step inside though, and you’ll discover what the previous owners’ favorite color must’ve been. The kitchen has always been the center of activity in our home. When we would have people over, most of them would end up gathering within the U-shaped counter. So besides trading in the pink tiles, we trimmed the counter to create a more open feel. And to save some money, we kept the cabinets and just painted them.

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After the kitchen, the living room gets the most traffic. To update, we pulled out the peach carpet (so, not pink, but perhaps it just faded to peach over time) and replaced it with wood floors. I was so glad when we did this because with 4 little ones, you can imagine how many spilled drinks, pee pee, and vomit have seeped down into that carpet.

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Our most current project, which is still pending, is the deck. The wood was rotted, and when my husband took it apart, it wasn’t even secured to the bottom posts. The new floors have been laid out and when the weather gets better, hopefully, he can finish off the steps and rails.

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What about you? Do you have a “Starter Story” to share? Do you like fixing up the old to make it new and more you?

 
 

*Urban Compass is a real estate platform that connects folks searching for NYC apartments with the neighborhood that matches their personality and taste.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned.

 

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