Essential Blogging Tools You’re Going To Need

If you're serious about blogging there are some essential blogging tools you're going to need. Get the break down of each and why you need them.
Legalese Disclosure Nonsense: This post is brought to you today in partnership with Nakturnal. They and their sponsors made it possible for me to share their and all my other favorite blogging tools, with you!

 

Today I wanted to share some of my very favorite “Must Use” blogging tools and resources. I’ve had to learn everything the hard way, which is why I love to share my knowledge with everyone else so they don’t have to battle through it all!

If you hope to make any money from your blog someday, I’d absolutely recommend looking at each of these blogging tools to consider if they’d help simplify your life! I have used, loved, researched or tested each of these!

Essential Blogging Tools You’re Going To Need:

Virtix IT

Consider Outsourcing

I know, I know. As an entrepreneur, this can seem counterproductive and it’s something I balked at for a long time. However, it wasn’t until I outsourced the things I could do, but wasn’t great at, that my income took off. A few things that are no-brainers to outsource are Website Design & your IT Support. Many companies like Virtix IT will give you complimentary consultations so you can see how they can best benefit you, and what your needs and budget work best with. Especially if you plan on expanding your blog to become a site with several offers, or one that integrates products or services you sell, advanced IT support is crucial.

You might also consider hiring a Virtual Assistant to take over tedious tasks that eat up hours of your time. I found that bringing someone on helped free up huge chunks of time to allow me to focus on growing and finding more streams of income.

Google Drive

Use Google Products (Gmail, Drive, Calendar, Sheets, Docs)

So I give the whole scoop on how much I LOVE the Google set of products in this video here where I taught you how I use Google Calendar to organize my life. (seriously, it and my Google Sheets are my brain!). The Google products are basically like Microsoft Office Suite, but FREE and you can access them anywhere you have internet. A-MAZ-ING. All you have to do to access them is sign up for a Gmail email account. It’s also my favorite email provider.

GMass

So Gmass basically takes all of the amazing Google services I know and love and raises them to the next level! GMass is a powerful mass emailing service that integrates seamlessly with Gmail, Google apps and Google Drive. It has the ability to send emails as either a brand new email or as a reply to a previous thread and offers up to 8 automatic follow-ups that you can set and forget (because people are really busy and sometimes you just need to send a gentle reminder).

It also breaks daily sending limits, avoids spam filters, and allows for unlimited personalization in mass email campaigns. Recently, they added a feature where you can get your emails proofread by an English expert to correct common spelling and punctuation mistakes, and give suggestions on how to improve your email’s grammatical & contextual strength <—a must for me as I’ve always loved writing but am atrocious at spelling and grammar. Comma placement is my kryptonite.

This is great for me because as a campaign leader for Social Fabric I often have to send out Mass emails regarding campaigns. This is so much more elegant and personalized than just bcc-ing everyone and then having one, long, messy stacked message that it’s easy to lose things in (ask me how I know).

Like many of the other options I’m recommending here it is free to install and use send 50 emails per day. This is what I use for me! The installation process is quick and easy.  If you do a bunch of mass marketing there are also several monthly subscription choices available with different affordable pricing options. If you’re coordinating with a team, doing social media promotion, or running campaigns this is definitely something to consider.

Akismet

I didn’t have WordPress for very long when aaallll the spam comments started rolling in.

(P.S. If you’re serious about blogging you NEED to be on WordPress, so I’m just going to assume you are for the rest of this post. For an entire video on this check out So You Want To Be A Blogger: Getting Started on WordPress  )

Worpress has a lot of amazing plugins to help you make blogging life a lot more simple. For a while I had my Virtual Assistant going through and deleting all my spam comments for me but it was taking waaaayy too long for her each day. Then I found out about Akismet. They filter all the comments and automatically detect spam and delete it for you. They do have a free version, but since I make a profit off of this blog I opted for their Professional version that’s only $5 a month and well worth it!

EasyRecipe

Another WordPress Plugin I adore is EasyRecipe. It’s how I insert printable recipes into all of my Recipe posts, which I feel is very valuable. I hate it when I find a favorite recipe on a blog but I can print it off. After destroying one laptop while cooking I don’t bring them into the kitchen anymore! If you post about recipes or food this is a must-have! They also have a fancy paid version, but I’ve been totally happy with the free version for my needs

Grammarly

I *adore* these guys for grammar checking my blog posts. Again, I use the free version. I just go into my account and copy/paste my blog posts in before I proofread them myself. Again, they have a premium version but I’ve loved their free services. I actually *don’t* recommend the Grammarly extension, though, as it really bogged my computer down. I’d go with the GMass feature for email proofing instead, but this is great for posts or papers!

 

Extra Posts To Read & How I Became a Serious Blogger

My blog just seemed like something fun to do as a stay at home mom who loved writing and photography. Since then my blog has grown, morphed, changed, and matured. It has opened up a wild, crazy path of a career that I absolutely love as well! I share my complete work from home journey here in my post How Anyone Can Successfully Work From Home.

I have another post:  How To Be An Amazing and Well Paid Blogger Right Off The Bat, in which I share all my training videos I put together for the different contributors on this site. You can go here to repin that to save for later!

I had been blogging for just a few years when the messages on Facebook and email started pouring in. My friends were curious about my new job and had questions! . After repeating the same schpeel over and over and over again I decided to get smart and created a Facebook Group called So You Want To Be A Blogger where I put the answers to all my FAQs. If you’d like to join we’re not super active but I still have everything in there!

There you go! Those are my very favorite blogging tools! Which blogging tools do you love that I missed? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Save

Save

How To Keep Your Produce Fresh & Very Berry Salad Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SeeHowFreshWorks #CollectiveBias

Summer is in full swing and our family is doing our most to make the most of it and cross off items on our Summer Bucket List! My very favorite summer tradition since we moved to Texas is picking Blueberries each year. I remember growing up reading berry-picking stories and I always dreamed of getting to do it for myself. It is just as much fun as I always dreamed and the fresh berries are simply amazing. I’m not even a huge blueberry fan, but I can eat these by the bowlful.

This year we tried out a new farm that’s closer to our new home. It was a great experience, but they sell theirs by the gallon.  Which means that we ended up with a whoooole lot of blueberries.

Another thing I learned quickly after moving to Texas is that fresh produce goes bad, sooo quickly. I rinsed and left some strawberries out and overnight from the heat and humidity they’d molded by the next day.

So when I found out about the new Rubbermaid® FreshWorks™ Produce Saver I knew that I needed it in my life in every size! Their Patented FreshVent™ Technology keeps produce fresher, longer. It does this by allowing excess CO2 to escape, delaying produce spoilage.

Then the Crisp Tray™ elevates produce away from moisture and promotes proper airflow to help prevent spoilage. My favorite part? Lid, container, and tray are dishwasher safe and BPA free. My least favorite chore is hand washing dishes so this is an absolute must for any item I’ll be using frequently. (Get $2 cash back on FreshWorksTM Now From Ibotta, offer valid while supplies last)

I’ve been making All-Things-Blueberry to use up that huge amount we picked, and as much as I love dessert I wanted to opt for something a little less processed sugary for the weekend. When I was at Kroger picking up my Rubbermaid FreshWorks Produce Savers from the food storage aisle I looked around for inspiration. This is when I discovered that they had some drool worthy Raspberries, Blackberries, and Strawberries in the produce section. They made the choice to whip up a Berry Salad a no-brainier!

I also picked up a big bunch of Kale to make Kale chips. This fits perfectly in the FreshWorks Large container which is designed for heads of lettuce or an entire bag of grapes. Me and the kids looove Kale Chips. If you’ve never made them before they are super easy, super delicious, and so much better than any packaged form of chips!

The Rubbermaid® FreshWorks™  by putting the produce into it whole, without washing it first. It basically replaces the container from the store to keep it fresh while you’re waiting to make your recipe or eat it! If you’d like to learn more about this cool new product check out the Rubbermaid® FreshWorks™  website!

Now that you’ve got everything stored freshly away it’s time for the recipe!

Very Berry Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

Use all fresh produce, if it’s a little early or late in the season for any berry try the organic section for better-looking options. If you have a U-Pick place anywhere close use those berries instead and just put them in equal amounts to all your other berries.

  • 1 Package Blackberries
  • 1 Package Raspberries
  • 1 Package Blueberries
  • 1 Package Strawberries
  • 1 Lime
  • 1/4 -1/2 Cup Orange Juice (fresh squeezed or from a container)

First, cut off tops and slice up strawberries.

Next, rinse and put in all the berries together in large bowl.

Now you’ll cut the lime in half and juice both halves over berry blend.

Pour Orange Juice over berries and stir together gently till well blended. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

This salad couldn’t be more simple but it’s absolutely delicious! The kids and I gobbled it all up! It’s so easy you probably don’t even need a printable recipe to remember–but just in case here you go!

Very Berry Salad Recipe
Recipe Type: Salad
Author: Nicole Elliott
Prep time:
Total time:
This Very Berry Salad is super simple but bursting with delicious, fresh summer flavor. Use Rubbermaid FreshWorks to keep produce fresh until needed.
Ingredients
  • 1 Package Blackberries
  • 1 Package Raspberries
  • 1 Package Blueberries
  • 1 Package Strawberries
  • 1 Lime
  • 1/4 -1/2 Cup Orange Juice (fresh squeezed or from a container)
Instructions
  1. Cut off tops and slice up strawberries.
  2. Rinse and put in all the berries together in large bowl.
  3. Cut lime in half and juice both halves over berry blend.
  4. Pour Orange Juice over berries and stir together till well blended. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Find more Rubbermaid® FreshWorks™ inspiration and learn about how the product works here

Save

6 smoothie benefits for your skin and health

There are several benefits that a smoothie is going to have to your skin. Some of these benefits include increased energy, improved mental focus, glowing skin, a better immune system that can fight many diseases and infections, rich in fiber, healthier teeth and bones, a slimmer and sexier body, and the ability to take the smoothies with you.

Increased energy

The first benefit is that your energy will greatly be increased and your mental focus will improve. This is because of the fruits and vegetables that will be mixed into the smoothie. There are a variety of different healthy minerals inside of these fruits and vegetables. Therefore, you are going to feel the boost of energy almost as soon as your get through drinking the green smoothie.

Glowing Skin

The second benefit is that the person is going to have clearer skin that glows. This is because of all of the antioxidants that are inside of the smoothie. Therefore, your skin is going to be healthier, which is what is going to give you this completely natural glow to your skin. This means that your immune system is going to kick into overdrive if you drink a lot of smoothies. You will be more resistant to catching the nasty bugs that could be going around. The smoothies can also help with the prevention of diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Rich in fiber

The third benefit is that the smoothies are high in fiber. This means that they will be able to help you get rid of all of the waste materials and toxins that they have been inside of your organs. It is very important that you do not need to get rid of the good stuff when you are making a smoothie. The fiber is a big part of a person’s healthy digestion. The smoothies also help reduce the amount of gas that a person will have along with getting rid of the feeling of being bloated that comes with gas.

Healthy teeth and bones

The fourth benefit is that the person is going to have stronger teeth and bones. Of course, this is because of the calcium from the milk inside of the smoothie. The vegetables inside of the smoothie can neutralize the excess acid inside of the stomach that can make the teeth weaker.

Slimmer you

The fifth benefit is that are you are going to be slimmer. This is going to make you feel sexier about yourself. The smoothie can help curve your food cravings so that you do not feel hungry in between your meals. This means that you will not have the urge to snack or eat unhealthy foods when you are hungry. Therefore, you are going to lose a lot of weight since you are not going to be eating all of the time. The smoothies are high in nutrients and fiber that your body needs when you are losing weight. One of the best smoothies that you can drink to lose weight in the green smoothies since they are low in calories.

An on the go drink

The sixth benefit is that you can take the smoothies with you no matter where you go. It is only going to take about five minutes to make a smoothie unlike if you are trying to prepare a meal that is fully balanced that will take an hour or two to make. You just throw all fruits and vegetables into your smoothie blender, pulse a few times and blend to your heart content. That makes plenty of bottles to carry around. Using a spilling proof bottle would make it even easier to take your smoothie with you when you are on the go.

—————————————————————————————-

 

Victoria is a home cooking mom and a food blogger behind How Daily. Her enthusiastic is in creatively cooking and seeking new flavors. She also loves to share about her experience on the journey through authentic, original taste or traditional cuisine.

When And How To Introduce Your Children To The Internet

Legalese Disclosure Nonsense: This post is brought to you by sponsors and affiliate links. That means I got a little bit of money and/or if you click on the link and sign up for anything I’ll get a little bit of money without it costing you any additional! I love a win/win for us!

 

My first experience with a computer was playing the Oregon Trail in elementary school in the computer lab. I remember dying of dysentery and running out of supplies. I’d go back after school to click and clack out a chicken pecked story on those big, bubble, colorful Apple Computers.

Computers in our home life, however, simply didn’t exist. I didn’t have an email address until I was nearly out of high school, and our family bought our very first home computer – just one for all six of us, right before I was heading to college. I remember our parents shouting at us to get off of the Internet so they could make a phone call.

Obviously, that’s no longer the case. If you’re reading this you’re probably even guilty of letting your two-year-old play an educational app in the grocery cart at the store. When you make the jump from that, to introduce them to the Internet, though, is a line that can be a little fuzzy and be intimidating. I have always been very conservative until the kids started school. I was shocked that my Kindergarten was using the computer and iPad daily, and pretty soon was as comfortable as I am navigating them. This last year for 3rd grade Amber was assigned her own iPad, and most of her books were on it. I quickly was introduced to how many amazing tools there really are online for kids, and have since allowed them to be on the computer quite a bit more at home.

Of course, like everything in parenting, this is going to vary wildly depending on your family and your child. Today I’m just sharing what works for us, in hopes that it might help you decide what works for you!

Get The Right Tools

 Old Computer The next time your laptop gets sluggish and you upgrade hang on to that out of date one. The last thing you want is for your six-year-old to “accidentally” anything on your $4,000 MacBook. Having an older, slower laptop for your little to bang away at will make everyone a lot happier. The same goes for old phones! Before you deactivate that old phone download all the free games and educational apps you can find. Even without cell service, it works amazingly well for keeping kids entertained during Dr. Office waits!

Ad Blocking Software Once you get the hardware you’re going to want to get the ideal set-up. I highly recommend installing an ad blocker on your computer and your phones. While I always allow ads on sites like blogs or Youtube that the content creators depend on that income when it comes to your child’s computer you want as little “stray links” for clicking as possible.

Antivirus Protection The next thing you’re going to want to invest in is a good AntiVirus App for your phone and software for your computer. As I just mentioned, you’ll have those weird links to a minimum, but you still can’t be positive they won’t end up somewhere weird. Making sure you have great protection is a must! Especially with PC and for Android Security.

Parental Blocking Software There are lots of great options out there when it comes to monitoring or blocking software. These can make sure your child stays away from those really sketchy sites. To be honest I don’t have this for us yet. Amber and Tyler are 9 and 6 and haven’t used the computers without our direct supervision yet. I figure once they are closer to teens and we give them a little more leeway I’ll start researching these more in depth.

Use The Right Sites

Now that you’ve got everything “kid ready” it’s time to discover the right places to send them online! Here are my very favorite FREE, fun, educational, and kid friendly!

PBSKids.org – If you have little kids you are surely big fans of PBS Kids already. Their website is equally great with games that are educational and fun and feature all your kid’s favorite characters

DisneyJr.com – Same as above, lots of fun with your kid’s favorite show characters. This one is a lot like the tv channels are to each other with Disney being educational but more on the line of fun and not so educationally based.

Prodigy – We discovered this free math game this year through Amber’s school. It starts out at 1st grade but Tyler wanted to do it so bad after watching Amber that I signed him up and he’s been able to do the work with a little bit of help. The kids absolutely love this site and beg to play it—even with the math snuck in!

ChessKids – I found out about this website when Amber participated in Chess Puzzle this past year. It teaches kids how to play chess through fun videos and they can solve puzzles or play against other kids.

ABCMouse.com — I’ve heard amazing things about this site for years, but we have just started playing on it this summer. I’ll be bringing you our full review of it soon!

Yepi – This is another site that I found out about from Amber’s school. It has a ton of free games to play online. I will mention that these are NOT educational and I would CAREFULLY screen them before your children start playing them. Tyler found some Zombie/Ghost games (like Plants VS. Zombies) before I realized they were there and while they really are harmless they did scare him. So I recommend this with those disclosures.

Your Local Library Website – Many libraries’ have sections online dedicated to fun games!

Hopefully, these tips will give you a great starting point for your family! If you have any tips or know about any amazing websites I’m missing out on please let me know! I’m always looking for more amazing tools to use!

Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch Coupon

I’ve partnered with Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch and the US Family Guide in exchange for tickets to the ranch. All opinions are mine alone!

Recently I shared with you all How To Plan the Perfect Staycation. This summer we’re mostly going to be staycationing ourselves. Even though we’ve been in Texas for four years now we’ve barely scratched the surface of some of the things there are to do in our area, and I can’t wait to scratch some more of the destinations off of our Becoming A Texan Bucket List!

As a family we all love animals, so I was super excited to find out about Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch. Here’s a little about this amazing place that I can’t wait to visit this summer, along with how you can save!

Your next wild adventure!!!! Get ready to come face to face with exotic animals from around the world! Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch is a 501(c)3 non-profit, interactive educational wildlife ranch. Our unique facility sits on 126 breath-taking acres and is home to over 100 animals. Sharkarosa offers field trips, private tours, and birthday parties. Our facilities are perfect for company prarties, family reunions, club meetings or just a great day of family fun!!! Open to the public Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
$2.00 Off Child Admission – This coupon may be redeemed for $2.00 off one child entry with the purchase of an adult entry. Not valid with any other offer or coupon. Limit two discounted child admissions with the purchase of two full price adult admissions.

I’ll be back with a full detailed review with all my best tips and tricks for planning your visit soon! If you go before me be sure to come back and let me know what you thought!

How To Combat Rosacea

Rosacea is a very common skin condition that affects a lot of adults. Also known as adult acne, it is often characterized by excessive redness and pimples at times over certain part of the face. It is also called adult acne because it is usually known to cause flare ups or outbreaks, just like acne. The condition is generally harmless until it reaches the eyes. It can cause burning sensation and soreness to the eyes. It usually starts around cheeks and continues to spread to around the nose and then to forehead. There can be redness on neck in severe cases. It is very rare for people with darker skin to have this skin condition.

Dealing with Rosacea Depending on Its Severity

<Image source>

While rosacea might not be that uncommon, it does require you to find out ways to combat the condition. If you feel you are suffering from the skin condition, it is advisable to make an appointment with a dermatologist. You will be guided with ways of treating the condition.

Having said that, there are certain things you should consider doing before you actually decide to go see a dermatologist. You need to determine if the skin condition is severe enough for you to go to the doctor. Although exact root causes of rosacea are unknown and are likely to be an inherited condition, there are various lifestyle triggers that are known to cause the rosacea flare ups. Factors like stress, extreme changes to the temperature and even the beverages you drink and foods you eat can be responsible for worsening the skin condition.

Do You Have Rosacea?

<Image source>

Before you decide to do anything about it, you must be sure that you actually have rosacea. It is basically acne like eruption that occurs in the central face and it usually affects adults. It is very common amongst women of ages 30 to 50. Fair skinned people are likely to have rosacea. The three physical components of rosacea include red pustules and pimples, flushing and also permanently dilated blood vessels. If you notice all three physical components, you are likely to have rosacea. If you simply have breakouts and other signs are missing, there are chances you just gave common acne. If you don’t have pimples or flushing but have visibly dilated blood vessels, you may or may not have the condition. In that case, you need to check with a dermatologist if you aren’t completely sure.

Why is it Important to Combat Rosacea?

<Image source>

The thing with rosacea is that if you leave it untreated, it usually gets worse, with more pimples, redness and dilated blood vessels occurring. You must also know that that several products advertised to treat rosacea are usually not that helpful for the skin condition. These products generally contain anti-inflammatory agents but they are rather adjunctive instead of providing primary care. So, if you have persistent flare ups associated with rosacea, it is important you find out ways to deal with it. Otherwise, the condition might just get worse and worse.

Tips to Combat Rosacea

<Image source>

  • Avoid Triggers:

Rosacea flare ups may be triggered by alcohol, spicy food, stress, extreme temperature changes and even certain skin care products. You need to find out what exactly is triggering the symptoms of rosacea in your case. Once you find out the trigger, you should try to minimize the condition by avoiding. There are certain triggers that can be avoided, while others can’t. When you experience a flare, you should take a cool shower and clean your face gently with products for rosacea skin care. You shouldn’t scrub as that could worsen things.

  • Moisturize:

When it comes to rosacea, moisturizer is a vital skin care product. If you are suffering from the condition, you should use moisturizers on a daily basis. They help controlling the symptoms by creating a barrier and locking out the irritants. However, if you choose the wrong moisturizer, the redness could worse. When choosing the best face moisturizer for rosacea, you should look for one that is fragrance-free, oil-free and hypoallergic.

  • Gentle Cleanser:

Even the kind of cleanser you use can have its effect on rosacea. You should avoid astringents and harsh cleaners, as they are known to make it a lot worse. Rosacea might look like acne, but a lot of acne treatments can be irritating for rosacea. You shouldn’t use products that contain salicylic acid and retinoids. Just like your moisturizer, the cleanser you choose should be hypoallergenic and fragrance free.

  • Skip Facials:

Things like chemical peels, certain treatments and even facials might be good for a normal person’s complexion, but they can potentially make rosacea worse. These treatments are known to irritate skin, which results in aggravating rosacea. You need to find an alternative skin care option that is safe for your skin.

  • Be Careful with Your Makeup:

Makeup can be used for covering up the redness caused by rosacea, but it can even worsen the symptoms associated with the condition. You should opt for a makeup that is mineral based and fragrance free. Such makeups are likely to irritate the skin much less than a regular makeup.

  • Be Safe from The Sun:

It has been seen that sun exposer is one of the top triggers of rosacea. Sun is known to trigger flares in most people having rosacea. You should avoid sun as much as you can. When you go out in the sun, you should apply a sunscreen, stay in shade as much as possible and wear a hat.

  • Calming The Flares:

When you have rosacea, flares are bound to happen. For minimizing the symptoms of rosacea, you can place ice packs on your face for calming down the inflammation. Even green tea extracts are known to be soothing.

  • Treat Rosacea:

There might not be any cure for rosacea, but you can still combat it with some tailored treatments. Topical treatments such as lotions and creams are known to help. There are even oral medications known to reduce the redness and inflammation.

Santanu Majumdar is a part-time blogger and currently blogs at healthresource4u.com . He is also a health and fitness lover who loves to share his ideas on health, fitness, and beauty. You can check him out on Twitter and Facebook

Simple Ways To Save & Make Money This Summer

Legalese Disclosure Nonsense: I’ve partnered today with Dealspotr to bring you these simple ways to make and save money this summer. If you sign up using my link and start saving money I get some points also. I just love a win-win situation. As always all tips, tricks, and opinions are mine alone.

Who else is LOVING Summer?! *Raises hand and flings it around wildly* As you know we were so excited for the summer break this year, and are trying to make the very most out of it. Summer brings with it so many fun things. Vacations, staycations, outdoor adventures, and family time together. There’s just one thing that comes along with these, though, that I never realized in my blissful childhood summers.

Everything comes with a price tag attached.

Those days of fishing that should seem like one of the least expensive treats? Yepp-picnic lunches, gas money, poles, bait, drinks, and snacks all add up. The days to the amusement parks or zoos or flying to see Grandparents? What I ran into happily as a kid my eyes pop out at the price tag attached as an adult. Summer time and all its fun can quickly drain your bank account. So I wanted to share with you all some simple ways to make and save money this summer in your everyday life so that you have more money to put towards making those memories!

Simple Ways To Save & Make Money This Summer

I shared my huge How Anyone Can Successfully Work From Home post several years ago now. In it, one of my key points was Thinking Outside The Box and I shared how a big part of my strategy was to save and make money through saving online and using rewards programs like Swagbucks or loyalty programs to gather rewards and then cash them out for gift cards. I recently found out about a cool new website that helps you save money, help others save money, AND earn points for gift cards along the way. So, of course, I had to tell you about it!

Use Online Tools To Find Deals & Earn Gift Cards

The website I’m talking about is Dealspotr!

If you’re anything like me you do a lot of shopping online. It’s just so convenient and I love how I can easily compare all my options and prices from the comfort of home! If you’re also like me, anytime you see that little promo code/discount box at the checkout and it’s blank you’re not happy! I refuse to pay full price for anything online these days if I can at all help it. I used to just try to go and use Google to find codes, but more often than not I just wasted a bunch of time trying code after code from years ago and still ended up paying full price.

Dealspotr! was created to help that not happen! Think of Dealspotr as the Wikipedia of deals. All the deals are added by people just like you, ensuring accuracy. They actually have more codes and fewer expired ones than RetailMeNot, Coupons.com, Groupon, or any other coupon site. Want proof? you can check out the data of their test of 550 promo codes.

So using it to find codes and save money is a no-brainer! The cool thing is that if you want to, you can actually use Dealspotr to make money, too! It’s super easy to earn gift cards using Dealspotr, it’s even reasonably easy to earn your first $10 gift card on your first few days using Dealspotr. Plus, you’re helping shoppers save money (and saving money yourself) while you’re earning. Want to make it REALLY easy? If you sign up using my Referral Link Right Here you’ll get 5,000 points to start off with and be halfway to your first $10 gift card!

 

So how exactly do you earn points with them? By finding and posting deals, or validating and editing ones that are already there! This is actually not hard to do, and they have SO many stores and even restaurants to choose from. I actually used it to post my personal coupon code from my prAna post that I did recently. That’s another cool thing about Dealspotr, you can find those kinds of codes that you can’t find anywhere else because bloggers just like me are on there sharing them! You can also follow people on Dealspotr so you can see what they’re posting, or you can personalize your feed so you just see deals from the stores you’re interested in.

So sign up for an account and get to poking around, saving money, and helping others do it too!

Have a Garage Sale or Shop At Them

Growing up I never frequented garage sales but once we moved to Texas I discovered a whole new world! They are my favorite spots for finding household decor like picture frames, kid clothes, toys, and books.

They’re also so popular in many locations that you can make a tidy amount to put towards your summer vacation if you host one yourself!  My biggest tip for making it simple is to not host one until you’ve become a frequent garage sale shoppper. This will give you an idea of where your price points should be in your area. This way you won’t price so high nothing sells, but you won’t be giving things away for pennies, either. My biggest “keep it simple” trick for hosting a garage sale is to use wide, sweeping prices and put them up on signs. For example Hardback Books $3, Softcover Books $1. Only price items individually that are worth more, like tools or a bike. So much easier than going through and putting little round stickers on every.tiny.thing.

Like this idea but want to make it even less complicated? That brings me to my next trick:

Host A Swap With Friends

I did a whole post here on how you can host a Toy Swap with friends. Think of it like a multi-family garage sale but everything is free! You bring what you don’t want and grab anything you do, and invite anyone who might be needing those items.  This was always a big success for us. It doesn’t have to be a toy swap, the items are only limited to what your group of friends is into or what life stages you’re in!

Check For Discounts on Bills

Summer means you’re not spending hours in the car line or hauling kids back and forth to extra-circular activities. Use that extra time to do some research into different companies and their pricing options. We all have bills we’ll always have to pay, so make sure you’re paying the least you have to! The best place to start is with your phone bill, there are so many options these days that are affordable and reliable. You should re-evaluate your entertainment bills as well. Consider cutting back to the basic packages on services that you won’t be using as much with the nice weather.

Borrow On Vacations

If you hadn’t noticed, luggage these days costs an arm and a leg when you fly! If you’re traveling with kids to visit family try to bring as little as possible and borrow things once you arrive. This especially works great when you’re traveling with babies and toddlers. Most of the time a cousin or church friend are more than happy to pull a stroller, bouncy seat, or high chair out of storage for you to use during your visit.

Well, there are some simple tricks to help you Save & Earn money this summer! Don’t forget to sign up using my Referral Link Right Here to get 5,000 points to start off on Dealspotr and be halfway to your first $10 gift card!

Save

Peanut Butter Brownie Sundae Recipe

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerSundaes #CollectiveBias

School is out, the needle on the thermometer rises higher and higher, and the busy hustle of structured days gives way to sleeping in and relaxing.

There’s no denying it, summer is here! We absolutely love the freedom, the time together, and all the fun that summer brings along with it. To me, every day spent with people you love is a reason to celebrate.  I love creating special moments and fun little traditions that will turn into memories for our family.

One of my favorite, easy and delicious ways to celebrate any time is Ice Cream Sundaes! Any day becomes special when you have this treat that everyone adores. To make the moment even more memorable, I decided to create a recipe that take this classic favorite and put a fun, new twist on it! For this recipe, I use the must-have standard ingredients of Smucker’s Hot Fudge Spoonable Ice Cream Topping and Reddi-Wip® original whipped topping. To create the twist I used the  New Blue Bunny® PB ‘N Cones™ to give the classic vanilla ice cream a fun flavor that paired perfectly with the Brownie Cups I created to serve the Ice Cream Sundaes in. Add all these together for perfectly portioned delights that will make your families eyes sparkle!

Of course, I headed to Walmart to get everything I needed to create these delicious treats.  Here’s what you’ll need to pick up there to recreate these perfectly paired Ice Cream Sundaes!

Peanut Butter Brownie Sundae Recipe

Ingredients:

Sundae Fun Day Tip: For a quick and easy celebration, prepare the Brownie Cups the day before so they have time to bake and cool completely! Then you can quickly and easily assemble your Ice Cream Sundaes and enjoy!

Your first step is to prepare the Brownie Mix according to the box. Then, spoon the batter into a muffin tin. You’ll want to bake for a shorter time than you would for an entire pan. These brownies called for 39 minutes for the smallest pan, so I set the timer for 30 minutes. You’ll know the brownies are done when the tops are firm.

Remove from heat and allow to cool for just a few minutes. Then use a press or the bottom of a small glass and push down the centers to create cups. Allow brownies to cool completely.

Once brownies have cooled completely you can remove them carefully from the pan and you have your perfect Brownie Cups!

How cool does the Blue Bunny® PB ‘N Cones™ look? I love the ribbons that run through it! All the new Blue Bunny treats give classic flavors a fun, unique twist, exactly what I was going for with this recipe. Can you believe that Blue Bunny® has been bringing delicious ice cream for over 80 years?! Use your ice cream scoop to create single, perfectly round scoops of ice cream and top the brownies.

Now it’s time for the Smucker’s Hot Fudge Spoonable Ice Cream Topping! Follow the instructions on the bottle to heat. For our Ice Cream Sundaes, I used a bag to drizzle the hot topping, but you can spoon it on as well!

The final step is the Reddi-Wip®! Create a beautiful and delicious dollop of it and serve immediately!

Here’s the printable recipe and don’t forget to pin this so you have it handy to refer back to!

Peanut Butter Brownie Sundae Recipe
Recipe Type: Dessert
Brownie Cups & Blue Bunny® PB ‘N Cones™ Ice Cream bring delicious twists to this classic favorite.
Ingredients
  • Blue Bunny® PB ‘N Cones™
  • Smucker’s Hot Fudge Spoonable Ice Cream Topping
  • Reddi-Wip® original whipped topping
  • Box Brownie Mix & Ingredients to make
Instructions
  1. Prepare the Brownie Mix according to the box & spoon batter into muffin pan.
  2. Cook Brownies at heat listed on box until tops are firm (approximately 10-15 minutes less than you would bake for a full pan)
  3. Allow Brownies to cool 1-3 minutes and press centers firmly down.
  4. Allow Brownies to cool completely before removing from pan.
  5. Using ice cream scoop to top Brownies with one scoop of Blue Bunny® PB ‘N Cones™
  6. Heat Smucker’s Hot Fudge Spoonable Ice Cream Topping according to jar & top ice cream
  7. Finish off by topping with dollop of Reddi-Wip® original whipped topping

Go Here For Even More Delicious Ice Cream Sundae Recipes!