Monday, July 27, 2015

Rany Zany Rain Boots Review

Rany Zany rain boots are a joy to any toddler or young child. With easy handles and colorful fun prints, what’s not to love! I received a pair in the Ooh La La Owl print and Marlee absolutely loved them. She wore them everywhere. Here she wore them to the YMCA both in the locker room prior to changing for swimming and after while we were outside getting ready to go in the pool. She loves her Rany Zany Rain Boots.

Marlee thinks she is going to drink mommy's tea while sporting her RanyZany boots.

 Getting ready to go swimming.

She is running away with mommy's Naked juice. She runs fast, even in her RanyZany boots. Good thing for her they are made of such light weight materials.

Here is a short video of Marlee almost cooperating to put her boots on.

I love that RanyZany boots are made with natural rubber with a slip resistant rubber sole. The soft cotton lining makes it super comfy to wear with no sock. Because who wants to wear socks with rain boots? I especially love that in buying these quality made boots, I am showing support to a family owned company. 



Here are just some of the fun designs you can choose from.
Are you ready for your very own pair of RanyZany boots? Here’s where you can find RanyZany?







More about this terrific company...


"The idea of RanyZany sparked in my head one day as I shopped for my boys and didn't come across anything I found playful yet modern and fashionable.
That is all my husband, an entrepreneur at heart had to hear.

We have since worked very hard to make this dream, and now an adventure come to life. My favorite part about RanyZany is that it is a family journey. We are thrilled and thankful to have this opportunity. We are based out of Charlotte, NC. We love to work hard and our kids, well, they are our inspiration!
Constructed of Natural Rubber, a Slip-Resistant Rubber Sole, Soft Cotton Lining and a Removable Cushioned Insole all of our boots are designed with quality and comfort in mind. We want to bring color and fun, fresh looks to our rain gear with of course a main ingredient…comfort! RanyZany represents love, faith, fun and making a big SPLASH in style!!"

I was not financially compensated for this review. I received a sample product from RanyZany for review purposes and all opinions and statements are my own based on my experience. 

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Homemade DIY Taco Seasoning

Does your family love tacos? Mine sure does and it is a win for me too. Tacos are one of the easiest meals I can prepare as well it is one of the quickest. I do not like buying taco seasoning in the packets. With added ingredients and too much salt, I prefer to make my own. It is super easy, let me show you.
Makes 2 tablespoons







I'm not going to hide the fact that this recipe is in fact from AllRecipes.com. I actually just combine all of the ingredients until it looks and smells right. If that makes any sense. I don't actually measure anything. Additionally, I add a pinch of sugar to offset the spiciness of  the red pepper. 


I like to make taco seasoning in batches and reuse an empty spice bottle. Like this one.




This taco seasoning can be used for so much more than just beef or turkey for tacos. Use this combo to season chick peas, chicken, zucchini, potatoes, and so many more veggies or anything that calls for taco seasoning. 

What have you used taco seasoning for? What is your favorite mix for taco seasoning? Please share in the comments!

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Back To School Giveaway Blogger Opportunity


Mead Five Star Giveaway Announcement Post Start

This is a Blogger Opp for a great giveaway of

Mead Five Star Giveaway 
1 Winners
(ARV $70)

Hosted by:

Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews


Free and Paid Options 
Co-Hosts Wanted and Needed

Click Here: Announcement Post

or below

This is a giveaway for Mead Five Star Expandable 2 Inch Binder with Zipper & Mead Five Star Expandable Backpack ($70 ARV)

Each blogger will receive 2 free links for posting and sharing (Facebook & Twitter). 

Open to US
Start 8/1/15
8/15/15

Co-Hosts & Paid links will be listed on the main form. 

If you would like to co-host this event it will be $7 for 5 extra links (plus your 2 free links+ 7 total) and a back link to your blog. (Daily comments email sign-ups secret word pages & all other premium links are included in those 5 co-host links so get crafty!)
Premium links for co-hosts to add on are $1, limit 5 extra

Non-Co-Hosts 
(or additional co-host links over limit)

Secret word pages are $3
Adding social links or Daily Comments, retweets etc $2 each, limit 5
email sign ups $2


If Co-Hosting or purchasing links- send to grovesamy81@gmail.com as a gift,  Mead in the notes.

Posting will be required within 24 hours of launch.



Please share 3-4 times a week. The success of the giveaways depends on how much they are seen.

I hope to see you there.



If you have any questions or comments about this giveaway, please contact Amy & Aron's Real Life Reviews at grovesamy81@gmail.com


Look forward to a great giveaway! Glad you can join us.
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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Banana Swirl Ice Cream

I love bananas! One of my favorite snacks. I love them for my kids. It's usually a pretty non-messy experience and they are so easy to transport. You know what I love even more than bananas? A healthy dessert like banana ice cream or as the kids call it banana swirl. Delicious and healthy.

The kids saw a commercial on PBS on how to make banana swirl. I did not see it. The kids taught me how to make this delicious treat. That's how easy it is!

The process is so simple and quick. The only thing that takes a long time is waiting for the bananas to freeze. The rest is super easy. Enough chatter, let's make some banana swirl! 

Banana Swirl

What you'll need:
Blender
Frozen, unpeeled bananas

Process: 
Place frozen bananas in blender and blend. No need to add anything else. It will be the consistency of ice cream and is a perfect summer treat. 

Variations:
Add strawberries, blueberries, cocoa powder or vanilla. Anything you'd like. Play around with it until you've accomplished you family favorite. It can be so much fun.

Printable Recipe

Have you ever made banana ice cream before? Please share in the comments!

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Budgeting Is Painless

Do you remember when you were a kid and you saw something you really wanted to buy? But you did not have enough money and you would have to save up for it. The feeling you had before you could buy it {bummer} versus the great feeling you had when you finally had the money to buy it {yay!}. Money, moreso spending money is an emotional thing. There is this sort of pain when we spend a large amount and this overwhelming sense of accomplishment when we save up for a purchase. There is also a feeling of sadness when we cannot buy something because we don't have enough.

I want to talk to you you today about budgeting. I know the big "B" word scares some of you, but don't let it. Last year my husband and I took the Financial Peace University through our church where Dave Ramsey taught us about money, getting out of debt, and making purchases. All of it centered around one thing... You guessed it, the budget. It is not as difficult and painful as you think and once you get two or three months in, you'll discover how useful the budget really is. 

There are all kinds of online budgeting tools and apps, many of which offer great insights. Though Dave suggests writing it on paper, so you can see it, really see it, dollar for dollar. I have attached a free printable at the bottom of this post to get you started. But first, let's have a look at the steps to making a budget.

Income

First things first, you have to know how much green is coming in so you can delegate where it will go. Dave Ramsey talked about a zero based budget. Spend every dollar on paper, before you even get it. Know where every cent is going to go. To do this you must know how much income there will be. 

This can be difficult, especially when you have a varying income. I take the low average and delegate it and when it ends up being a little higher than expected, it goes to savings. 

Payouts

Next determine what needs to be paid and the amount. I did my budget divided up into four weeks so I can see with which paycheck that bill will be paid. Dave's budget is great too. I love that the first row is giving, thereafter saving, emergency fund, and so on. Write down all of your expenses at the beginning of the month, add up all of your columns to match the amount of expected income. make sure it adds up perfectly. If you have $100 left over, great put it in savings. Sounds easy enough right.    

Find your problem areas

Go through your monthly spending to see where your money has gone in the past month. I did this and was amazed that I had spent over $700 on fast food and dining out. Chick-Fil-A and Little Caesar's, and other quick and easy dinners really adds up. Look through your monthly bank statement to see where you might have overspent the previous month.

Determine your financial goals

Do have debt you want to payoff? Are you saving up to buy a new couch or car? Determine your financial goals and place extra money towards that goal. Dave talked about gazelle intensity. I could never write out the way he described it. It's one of those you had to be there kind of things, but the basic idea is that when the cheetah attacks all of the gazelles run as fast as they can for their life. Well Dave said to put that kind of enthusiasm into your financial goals with gazelle intensity.

Stick to it

Once you write all of your spending down on paper, stick to it. I will be the first to admit this is the most difficult part of the budget. Dave talks about the cash envelope system to which you put your allocated funds in different envelopes and only spend from that envelope. For instance, groceries are a good one for the cash envelope system. You have budgeted $100 for the week, you place that $100 in your grocery envelope. You spend not a penny more than $100 and should you have extra by next payday, great it rolls over. No borrowing from other envelopes and once its gone, it's gone. You begin to get more creative to make that $100 go further. Like making sure everyone eats left overs and using coupons.

Cash or credit

The great debate of cash versus credit. When spending cash, you FEEL it as you hand it over. It almost hurts when you pay with cash. I remember Dave talking about this. That when you feel that pain handing it over, you begin to reevaluate what you hand over your cash for. Money is an emotional thing, spending, saving, and earning all have emotion connected to it. 

Some examples of the cash envelope system are groceries, gas, clothing, and other things you may want to use cash for. When doing your budget put a little symbol next to the things you want to go to an envelope. I put at the bottom of my budget form a row for withdraw from bank and transfer to Paypal. This way it is easy when the day comes, it's already added up for me to go to the bank and withdraw funds. I then place them in the envelopes. 

Do you prefer to only use your debit card? I read about how one mommy did the envelope system to where she placed all of her receipts in the envelope and wrote on the outside of the envelope to track her spending. That's great too. At least you know where your money went. 

See, Painless

Creating the budget is painless. The real challenge is sticking to it and the real reward is when you finally reach that goal. Hope this helps. Here is a blank version of my monthly budget or you can easily make your own to fit your needs. You are welcome to download this and change it around to make it work for you. I would love to hear from you! What tools or methods have you found to best do your budget?

Helpful links

Dave Ramsey's website (with loads of financial info)
Financial Peace University (classes to help you learn more about your finances, great program)
Dave's financial books (many of these can be borrowed at the library, don't tell Dave I told you)

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