Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Ultimate deals at Amazon ~ Sweet shopping for Mom, tech, music, seasonal goodies < #AtoZbloggingchallenge >

FOund some amazing deals at amazon this week....
Stopping in to share with you!
Take  a look: 

A new way to stream live TV

Just sign up, install the app, and start watching immediately. 
Plus, prepay for 1 month of DIRECTV NOW and you’ll get a
so you can watch it all on any HDTV!



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Echo Dot 
2nd generation


Buy any 3 Echo Dots, save $20

Place three Echo Dot devices in your cart 
and receive $20 off your order with code DOT3PACK






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Perfect presents for Mom
at the Mother's Day gift shop
Second Sunday in May is right around the corner......


So many clever gifts!

    



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I'm happy to participate  in  the annual A to Z blog challenge!

U is for ........Ultimate deals at amazon this week!
And here are all of my  2016 A to Z  Blog Challenge posts~~ ~!


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Thank you for spending some of your precious time today
here at my home on the web! 


Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just click here to 
quickly and easily  so we can be in touch regularly!
You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....

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This post contains amazon affiliate links....
If you are shopping at  amazon and Target
why not consider clicking through my link
In this way, I will receive a small commission on the purchase.....
at no cost to you.
THANK YOU!

Until next time,

~Chris

Sunday, April 23, 2017

"That Love Which is Benevolent" ~ Divine Mercy Sunday < #AtoZbloggingchallenge >

"There is nothing more man needs than Divine Mercy - 
that love which is benevolent, which is compassionate, 
which raises man above his weakness 
to the infinite heights to the holiness of God."
~Pope Saint John Paul II
Leader of the Roman Catholic Church  1978 - 2005
Canonized 2014



You know I'm a huge fan of my JPII, affectionately known as Karol
around here, as my oldest son took our Holy Father's given name
 for his confirmation  three years ago...
and right around the time the former pontiff was canonized.......


...my post on celebrating confirmation is right here,
anyone who's planning and would like to peruse.

Well, what is Divine Mercy all about?

The Feast of Divine Mercy was granted by Pope John Paul II on the occasion of the canonization of Sr. Faustina on April  30, 2000. 
About Divine Mercy, our Holy Father stated, 
"Throughout the world the Second Sunday of Easter
 will receive the name Divine Mercy Sunday,
 a perennial invitation to the Christian world.
Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day
 will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment." 

Sounds magnificent, doesn't it? 

More info on this divine feast can be found here
and
for those who'd like to actively celebrate this day
with the littles in craft and treats, there's
no better place to visit than my friend Tracy's blog
for all her amazing tips.
She'll take you step by step through her family's celebration!  
In fact, I have to steal one of her photos so you get a glimpse of
what's going on in Tracy's house right now....



You guys much get over there and visit her home on the web
for the inside scoop!

Amazing, right?


We were graced to be in our pontiff's presence a number of times.
Here, in America, twice.....once, in Rome.
Previously, I've written about our  JPII here:

And.....my story of being in the presence of our current pontiff in
NYC in September of 2015,

Papa Rocks The Garden

Join Us in The Big Apple As We Relive Pope Francis's Historic Visit



    

Also, friends, if you are not Catholic and you'd like to learn more about
this beautiful Faith,
OR
if you are Catholic and have not been involved in the 
practice of the Faith but would like to come home,
there is nothing that would make our Lord happier!
Please do not hesitate to contact me~~ 
 I'll put you in touch with 
a priest who can assist you!



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I'm happy to participate  in  the annual A to Z blog challenge!
T is for....."That Love Which is Benevolent" ~  Divine Mercy Sunday
Day 20 of the challenge!

And here are all of my  2016 A to Z  Blog Challenge posts~~ ~!


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Thank you for spending some of your precious time today
here at my home on the web! 


Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just click here to 
quickly and easily  so we can be in touch regularly!
You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....

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This post contains amazon affiliate links....
If you are shopping at  amazon and Target
why not consider clicking through my link
In this way, I will receive a small commission on the purchase.....
at no cost to you.
THANK YOU!

Until next time,

~Chris

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Similes, Sonnets, Structure: The Best Sources on Style for Any Writer <#AtoZbloggingchallenge #QT>


Writing and literature are my passions, as you know....
< well,  blogging must = love of writing, right? 😉 >
In addition to a love affair with the beauty of words,
I've made a practice, through the years,  with my own writing
and in my teaching and homeschooling, 
of sharpening my grammar and composition skills
and in fact, have garnered several sources upon which
I greatly rely for The Answers to any style questions.
Now, as you know, certain schools require that a specific form
be adhered to. 
But, for the writer in all of us, who simply wants precision 
of grammar and structure, these references that follow,
 might be enjoyed.

  My absolute favorite book on composition and grammar,
The Elements of Style, has, as part of its introduction, these words:
This book aims to give in brief space the principal requirements of plain English style. 
It aims to lighten the task of instructor and student by concentrating
 attention on a few essentials, the rules of usage and principles 
of composition most commonly violated.
Now, literary geek, that I am, those words, to me, are rapturous!
Imagine  a book solely ABOUT THE USAGE OF OUR LANGUAGE!

I've decided, for  today's installment in the 
#AtoZbloggingchallenge, to compile my favorite sources ....
S is for style! 
Enjoy!



By far the most thorough, comprehensive, usable guide, to me!
And we ALL love E.B. White, of course!




Workmanship in Words
A classic go-to guide categorizes usage by subject/ interest area.
For example, architecture, art, music, law, science.







Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association


The standard, staple for legions of writers
and institutions of higher learning, aka the APA manual.
User friendly, easy to access whether searching endnote format
or thesis structure.






On Writing Well



The Zinser classic, On Writing Well offers you fundamental principles
 as well as the insights of a distinguished writer and teacher. Stood the test of time and remains a valuable resource for writers and would-be writers.



The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation



Simple explanations of grammar, punctuation, and usage; scores of helpful examples

The Writer: Perfect Words
I stumbled onto this website recently and became immediately comfortable
with its accessibility and convenience.
Here, from their website, is a statement of "what they do:"
<< We usually say we do five big things:
tone of voicewritingtrainingcontent and naming

You’re welcome to get just one of those things from us. 
Or a combo, like defining a tone of voice then training people in it. >> 
Sounds fantastic, doesn't it?



And by the way, I've a post upcoming in a few days
about writers' thoughts on the writing life...... 
that'll be my "W" post in the #AtoZbloggingchallenge.....!

By the way, shameless self promo, speaking of all things
writing~~~~ here are some details on the writing
services I offer, should you be interested.




I'm happy to participate  in  the annual A to Z blog challenge!
S is for.... Similes, Sonnets, Structure:  
The Best Sources on Style for Any Writer

Also, linking to Carolyn's monthly #OpenBook party!
If you're looking for book rec, Carolyn's is the place!

...and Kelly's Quick Take link up....
Head on over to Kelly's for some fun posts!



And here are all of my  2016 A to Z  Blog Challenge posts~~ ~


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Thank you for spending some of your precious time today
here at my home on the web! 

Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just click here to 
quickly and easily  so we can be in touch regularly!
You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....

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This post contains amazon affiliate links....
If you are shopping at  amazon and Target
why not consider clicking through my link
In this way, I will receive a small commission on the purchase.....
at no cost to you.
THANK YOU!

Until next time,

~Chris

Friday, April 21, 2017

Roadtrip! How to Economically Travel Cross Country ~ 5 Simple Tips


I've definitely gotten vibes and  flat out statements of "Someday...." 
from reader comments and emails, that my family's trips, 
while they appear adventurous  < and educational at times > 
 seem to some,  difficult to afford and even exorbitant.




Nothing could be further from the truth!  


If  you think a cross country road trip is  financially unattainable,  
or at the very least, to be put on the back burner  for
 some-day-in-the-future-when-you-can-afford-it, think again. 
These travels are very  doable.
 And by the way, check out my   list of 5 personal essentials to bring on the road

.........Maybe there's  a helpful tip or two here.


 As a stay at home, homeschooling mom who has not drawn a  salary in seventeen years,

 I can absolutely attest to the fact that a  family road trip can be in your future sooner than you think  -- - a trip that can be enjoyed  abundantly and without tremendous sacrifice....that is, unless you're aiming to hunker down in a villa at the Hilton, ordering margaritas  at your private pool.  In which case, you're reading the wrong blog! 
Now I wouldn't be too quick to call myself an expert in anything, but since necessity has dictated, I can honestly say I am adept in saving money and in traveling richly---so here are my tips  or doing both and living a family journey that is bountiful and memorable......




~ 1 ~ 
Plan your trip 

You'd think a vacation, for heaven's sake,  an opportunity for a change of pace  and maybe even relaxation, wouldn't require quite so darn much time and effort, wouldn't you? Not so.
However, you should know  that allllll the energy you put into the trip will yield you dividends in terms of money and time saved on the road...as well as a clearer picture of your family's itinerary. 
Let's face it, you're hopping into the family vehicle for a journey of several thousands of miles across many states, seeing many sites and requiring food, lodging, gas and entertainment. You'll be gone for weeks........In fact, it seems that it's taken you weeks to plan and to pack!  But this is huge and requires much preplanning, right? 
Rest easy,  the internet makes trip planning a breeze.  Check out these sites for invaluable and free info from your local library or right here on amazon so you're armed with all you need prior to setting out : AAA Motor Laws site,    National Park Guide,   Discover America
Also, Fodor's books borrowed  from your local library or acquired used on amazon are a hugely helpful resource! 
Annnnnd, I've recently become a hotels.com affiliate!
So if you're planning on booking through them, you can do so right here!




 Lodging on the Cheap

 ~ 2 ~
Let's go camping!
Sleep under the stars:

Don't think you're  up for sleeping on the ground and schlepping to a
public bathroom on your vacation...? Here's the scoop: 
Years and years ago, I didn't think I was either, 
but  under $10 per night for accommodations
at Grand Canyon National Park's Desert View Campground?
Most campgrounds do however, 
charge in the $18- $30 range for a tent site.
If this sounds
about right to you, here's what you need:
five person tent,  cozy sleeping bags all round, a sturdy, reliable lantern, and a few flashlights plus extra batteries from your dollar store.
That's it. There's nothing fancy needed....
Throw in your own pillows and blankets from home; 
don't buy special camping gear for this.
Forget the inflatable mattress pad and all the 
paraphernalia at  that  Coleman outlet store you may 
have wandered into once upon a time.
Here are more in depth details in my post,
5 Essentials for Your Next Camping Trip or: 
All Rain Flies are Not Created Equal

I've camped across the US  numerous times and I can tell you,
 none of it is necessary. ( Sorry, Coleman!)
Hey, if you want to splurge, please go right ahead.
Maybe you saw some nifty LED lantern lights that you can't resist!

photo credit - amazon

Why not? They'll light up your campsite adorably, won't they?
But the point here  is frugality, not luxury.
(Almost seems like "camping" and "luxury"  don't belong in the same sentence, no?)

Added bonuses~~~~~~ 
you  get to spot those constellations through the skylight in your tent.....
AND....
there's no worry about bedbugs because you have your own linens!


~ 3 ~
But what if tenting it is not my thing?
If you're still not convinced that camping is for you---don't worry.
There's a happy medium between The Ritz and the KOA.
In fact, this summer, monsoons seemed to follow us across the country, making
camping downright dangerous.
In that case, we were able to go to Hotels.com to click around for the 
best prices on a hotel/motel in our  area.
I'm not being compensated for this; I've just had really good luck
finding lovely, clean, even upscale at times,  lodging  at extremely reasonable rates.
How about a gorgeous, newly renovated 
Rodeway Inn right outside the entrance 
of Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
 for $59 plus tax with a full breakfast the next morning?
Great deals are out there. Just don't pull into the first hotel
off the interstate. Shop around.



~ 4 ~ 
Eating on the Cheap

How, you might ask, can you afford to reasonably and nutritiously feed your family
on the road without access to a kitchen?
Here's how:
*Load up your cooler, before you leave home, with lots of snacks and mini meals to get you through  the first couple of days. ...milk, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, sliced meat for sandwiches, bread, fruit, veggies, etc. 
*Box up tons ( yes, tons...as in 1/2 a dozen boxes) of non perishables....cereal, cans of tuna, peanut butter, jelly, pasta sauce.  You want the supply to last you so that you can inexpensively make meals at a rest area, not waste time and money whenever someone is hungry. 
*Bring food that can be cooked at your campsite for a quick and simple meal....pasta, mac n cheese, cans of soup. 
*Stop at a local grocery store or a Walmart ( they are everywhere, on every interstate all over America) for food items as you run out of them---you can pick up anything from cold cuts to salad fixings to breakfast pastry for the day....also ice to reload the cooler.
*Every once in a while, splurge on a lunch or dinner out at a quaint eatery. But don't order dessert or drinks with the meal. Stick with water. Any extra you'd like to spend...just give it ina tip to your server. Don't spend excessively on non essentials.
Just as IMPORTANT ~~~
* Be sure to make a list of all the accessories you'll need, such as paper plates, utensils, napkins, wooden spoon, colander, egg slicer, plastic cups, ice cream scooper ( ! )  etc.....
*When splurging, look at the big picture. For example, it will cost you less to indulge in frozen treats for the family by purchasing a gallon or two of your favorite ice cream, cones and syrup than it will to buy individual cones for all especially in a high end touristy town.  Yes, they're out there and they'll prey on your vacation mentality. ......
I'll never forget the time I went into a bakery on Main Street in Durango, Colorado in August of 1994 to buy bagels for the next morning's breakfast. I gave the cashier  a $10 bill for 4 bagels and Got No Change. Not kidding. I asked for the change and she said each item was $2.50. Yup. Now, I live in the bagel capital of the world. The best bagels at that time were 20 to 25 cents each depending on which corner store you frequent. Ten times that amount for a pile of dough? I think not. So watch out. They see you comin.'




~ 5 ~
Gas
The most costly of your expenses

The secret to saving is in comparison shopping, once again.
Don't wait until the car is on vapors to start looking to fill the tank.
You can easily hop on gasbuddy .com or at the very least, 
eye the prices at 
all the gas stations at an interstate's exit
 before you pull into one.
We've driven in excess of 10,000 miles on certain trips 
and here are some of our cost saving tactics:
*Use cruise control when possible
*Use the fan or open the windows instead of A/C when possible to reduce the load on the engine over long distances. Not always doable, esp when traveling in Death Valley, where it was 118 degrees the day of our visit this July.
*Choose routes that avoid steep inclines or stop-and-go traffic. This isn’t always an option (such as when driving through mountain ranges like we did), but it’s important nonetheless.

*Use gift and rewards cards at participating gas station chains. You’ll often get as much as a $0.04 discount per gallon.



Happy to join in the 2017 A to Z challenge!



R is for Roadtrip! How to Economically Take that Cross Country Trip:
 5 Easy Tips 

And here are all of the 2016 A to Z  Blog Challenge posts~~ ~


Thank you for spending some of your precious time today
here at my home on the web! 

Have you signed up to receive my posts in your email inbox?
   If not, just click here to 
quickly and easily  so we can be in touch regularly!
You might wish to follow on Facebook as well.....

Image result for new york city themed blog post dividers
This post contains amazon affiliate links....
If you are shopping at  amazon and Target
why not consider clicking through my link
In this way, I will receive a small commission on the purchase.....
at no cost to you.
THANK YOU!

Until next time,

~Chris