Teaching the Gift of Money Management with the Game CASHFLOW

Today’s post is sponsored by RichDad, but my love for their CASHFLOW board game is all my own. Honest opinions is what you get here.

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One of my big pet peeves is that kids don’t really learn anything about the real world when they are young. It’s up to the parents to teach them, but honestly, so many parents don’t really have the skills they need either. Managing money is hard… really hard. Unless you make millions of dollars a year, but then you probably have already hired people to manage that for you.

When I went away to college, I set up a checking account because I would need to pay for things like books and art supplies. I didn’t have a credit card (good thing) so this was my only option. It wasn’t a good one. I never had anyone teach me how to manage a checking account… or how to set a budget… or how to figure out how much things would cost. And holy cow… checking fees when you go over your limit are expensive! Nobody ever told me that!

We’re trying to set the example for our kids and really teach them not only about managing a checking account, but how to budget, how much things cost (like gas and water and food) and what to do with your money when you finally get a paycheck. CASHFLOW is a board game created by Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, and Kim Kiyosaki, author of It’s Rising Time. The game teaches you and your kids about the really important things you don’t usually learn until you are thrown to the wolves (I mean, out in the real world).

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The game shows you hot to get out of the Rat Race and onto the Fast Track… you know, how to really make your money work for YOU. And there’s the trick… you think it’s a game for your kids… but it’s really a game for EVERYONE. Simulations teach valuable lessons about personal finance and investing… with no actual financial risk. Learning is best by doing… and the game covers accounting, finance and investing all at the same time… making learning actually FUN!

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There is something for everyone in CASHFLOW: Stocks, Real Estate, Unexpected Purchases, Children and Family. You know… it’s all about how to manage your finances when the unexpected comes up or what to do with the extra money you have. Where do you invest? How much do you invest? Just like life, the game throws you some challenges.

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Want to try the game out for yourself? It’s the perfect holiday gift… the gift that keeps on giving.

Enter code: CASHFLOW for 10% off.

 


5 Small Goals are Better than 1 Big Resolution

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LoveV8Protein #CollectiveBias

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I don’t practice what I preach. There… I said it. I am always on the kids to get our and do something active. Temera has been playing tennis (and is on her high school tennis team) and Amanda is getting ready to start competitive swimming. She begins the end of January and will hopefully be good enough to get on the high school team in 2 years. Lauryn is still finding her way, but she really wants to get involved in gymnastics. I’m pretty sure she isn’t going to be winning any awards (hard to do when you don’t start until you are 10) but she really wants to be a cheerleader… and I can totally see her doing that in high school.

And then there is me. What do I do? Hmmm! I did sign up for a 6-week boot camp a few months ago… and I really loved it. But… when my 6 weeks ran out, I just couldn’t afford the monthly fees to continue. Considering I ended up, a few weeks later, working full time, it was probably a blessing in disguise. But the fact remains… I don’t do enough to take care of myself. And I’m not getting any younger.

I hate making New Years resolutions when it comes to my health and fitness, because, hey, who ever actually follows through with all that? So, instead of resolutions, I’m going to just try and do some simple things to get myself on the right track. No big diet plans, no big marathon goals, just the things I need to do to feel better, have more energy and reduce the stress.

1. Water

I hate water. I really do. On a super hot day when you are drenched with sweat, water is like heaven. All the other times? Not so much. I’ve never been a water drinker. I’m not much of a soda drinker, but I will absolutely reach for some grapefruit or cranberry juice when I’m thirsty. I’ve been wanting to buy a new water bottle for a while now, thinking that would make me finally start drinking water again. I purchased this really great Contigo water bottle at Walmart WEEKS ago. It was sitting on my counter until yesterday…… unopened and untouched. Here I go… washing it out and filling it up. Go me!

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Water is good for you… we all know that. But it also helps you lose weight, clears up your skin, prevents those nasty leg cramps that wake you up in the middle of the night. (Don’t even tell me you haven’t had one of those!) It also helps you feel full, makes your hair and nails strong and shiny, and stops your skin from drying out so much. So if water is the wonder food… why am I not drinking more of it?

2. Eating Healthier

I hate breakfast. Seriously… it’s my worst meal of the day. I don’t get hungry early in the morning and it’s so hard to eat when you aren’t hungry. Okay, actually it’s probably the best time to eat… because you will more likely eat healthier and fill up faster, but ugh! I don’t like breakfast foods. This is my big problem… what to eat when I don’t want eggs or cereal or oatmeal? I eat that stuff on the weekends, but during the week I don’t have time for any of it. Back to Walmart to find something that I can eat in a flash, that tastes great, that is good for me, has enough protein to keep me full, and can be grabbed when I need to get out of the house early in the mornings. Found: V8 Protein Bars & Shakes. We’ve been huge V8 fans for a long time… my girls are addicted to V8 Juice (all kinds) so I know that they would have really great ingredients.

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The V8 Protein Bars come in 3 different varieties: Oatmeal Raisin, Chocolate Peanut Butter and Chocolate Pomegranate. I picked up the Chocolate Peanut Butter (because anything that tastes like dessert is going home with me) that contains 10 grams of protein. That’s pretty awesome. They are also full of carrots, brown rice syrup, soy protein and sweet potatoes… it’s V8 so you know there are going to be veggies hidden. The V8 Protein Shakes come in Vanilla and Chocolate and Chocolate Raspberry. These are definitely not your usual protein shakes, however. These taste GOOD. You know I got the chocolate… with 12 grams of protein and NO high fructose corn syrup.

3. Exercise

Don’t get me started. I hate exercising. Except for the Boot Camp I mentioned that I really did love, I don’t like to run and get all tired out. My knees and ankles have always been pretty weak so it’s hard to find things that don’t put too much pressure on them. I was playing tennis with Temera during the summer, but we don’t get much chance to do that during the school year. I kind of hate walking because we have so many hills around our house that it’s just not fun. I have a bike that I like to ride, but again… the hills make it more of a chore than something fun to do on a regular basis. We don’t have a pool. My only real options are for work-out videos. I know I can carve out 30 minutes in the morning for a work-out video. Okay, going to give that one another go.

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I can do this. If I can just do a little something a few days a week, it would make me less tired and crabby, help with my hunger (exercise does that), help with my focus (it sure does) and make me feel like I’ve actually accomplished something.

4. Focus on ME

I’ve been taking a Life Coaching Class since October. It goes until January… that’s a long time for me to do anything. One of the key points is that you have to do something for YOU each and every day. Whether that be exercising (yuck) or watching TV, or playing the piano, even 20 minutes a day will help you reconnect with what is important to you. It’s your time to feel relaxed and at peace. For me, that ME time is reading. I love reading for pleasure and I get so busy sometimes that I don’t have time to finish a book for my Book Club, or even start one some months. I’ve resolved to find at least 20 minutes each day to just READ.

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I’ve got lots of books calling my name, but seriously… I can absolutely go to bed 20 minutes earlier each night and just read for a while. I find that it helps me shut out everything else I’ve been dealing with for the day and I can just concentrate on something other than work, or the house, or the kids.

5. Take 5

I recently read a book called The “Perfect” Parent, by Roma Khetarpal. The book is all about building better relationships with your kids by learning to better communicate. The book suggests taking at least 5 minutes each day to just BE with your kids. (I have 3 kids so that would mean finding 15 minutes each day – that is the OLD math in case you were wondering.) It’s so important these days to spend a few minutes just listening and finding out what your kids are doing. I think when I get so caught up in the day-to-day, I tend to forget that THEY are stressing about things too… school, friends, siblings. I need a chance to keep the lines of communication with them open… and they need to know that they can come to me with anything at any time.

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Taking those 5 minutes to spend with each of my girls reminds me what is truly important in my life. My kids always come first. As long as I remember that… and as long as THEY know that… we’re on the right path.

 

Now it’s your time to get with the program and start setting (and following) your goals. I designed this fun little PRINTABLE that you can print whenever you need to manage your day.

 

Printable

 


Easy Meals for Holiday Entertaining

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

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I am the Queen of last minute holiday entertaining. Go ahead… ask my husband. I can’t tell you the number of times we decided on having people over at the last minute and I stood like a deer in the headlights and said, “What? I have nothing to serve.” The funny thing is, however, I always have something I can serve. I’m not quite sure how I do it, but I can whip up a spread and create some easy meals in a flash. It’s like my favorite movie of all time… Sabrina, with Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. Audrey plays a chef who whips up a souffle with some eggs and crackers. That’s me… give me some basic things and I’ll feed you good.

I wanted to share some of my ideas for when you get a knock on the door and find out you have last minute guests. Seriously… these easy meals are fast, inexpensive, and will make a fantastic impression. Your guests will think you’ve been planning this for weeks.

The last time I was at Walmart (because I am always at Walmart), I picked up a few things that I always like to have on hand. I picked up some veggies and sour cream and chips.. you know, the basics of any get-together. I also picked up some CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN® Crispy Thin Crust Frozen Pizza – the BBQ Chicken kind. Our absolute favorite. We eat a LOT of pizza in our house and we love that we can get gourmet pizza in the freezer aisle. I always have some of these around because they are unique and delicious with vine-ripened tomatoes, Fontina cheese, and extra virgin olive oil. You know… they taste like you are eating inside the restaurant. Walmart is always my first choice for shopping because I hate having to go to a ton of different stores to get what I want and Walmart always has it all, especially when I only want to make that one trip.

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So when that knock on the door happens and you start stressing, take a deep breath and look in your kitchen for some staples you can put together into a simple, easy meal.

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I always have eggs on hand, and apples and some kind of vegetables. I had picked up the chips and pizza… and I usually keep sour cream and some kind of dessert in the freezer. Why? Because you just never know!

So what are my go-to easy meals when company is coming?

DEVILED EGGS

We eat a ton of eggs in our house so I always have enough on hand. Deviled eggs are one of those things that always seem a little decadent, but are so easy to make.

Ingredients:
Hardboiled eggs
Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip (I use Miracle Whip because it has a sweeter taste to it)
Dijon Mustard
Salt
Garlic Powder
Paprika

Cut the hardboiled eggs in half and scoop out the yolks. In a bowl, mash them together with the Mayo or Miracle Whip, Dijon Mustard and salt and garlic powder. When they are creamy, scoop a small amount back into the half of egg. Dust with paprika.

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SPINACH DIP

Who doesn’t love spinach dip? It’s another go-to party food when you need to quickly throw something awesome together. I always have a bag of frozen spinach in my freezer and I usually have sour cream, or can pick some up quickly. Add some dried onion or vegetable soup mix and you have an instant appetizer, good with chips or veggies.

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CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN® Crispy Thin Crust Frozen Pizza – BBQ Chicken

This isn’t your normal frozen pizza. With great ingredients and the same great taste you get in the CPK restaurant, these are great to have on hand in case of unexpected guests or if you need to bring something to a pot-luck. Keep a bunch in the freezer and you’ll always be prepared.

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Mini Apple Tarts

It is definitely NOT a party without dessert. Desserts that are easy to throw together are ice cream sundaes, brownies, and these mini tarts. I always try and have something to make for dessert and I had recently bought some frozen pastry cups. If I don’t have these, I sometimes have filo dough that can easily be made into little apple tarts. I always have apples in the house because my kids eat them every single day.

Ingredients:
Apples, peeled and chopped up small
Butter
Cinnamon
Brown Sugar
Pastry Cups or Filo Dough

Mix the apples, butter, cinnamon and sugar into a saucepan and cook until the apples are soft. Use your judgement when it comes to amounts of the ingredients. Some people like more sugar, some don’t like any. I add a little butter just to make the apples creamier, but you can certainly leave it out if you like. Add the apple filling to the pastry cups and bake for about 10 minutes.

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Festive Drinks

This is the easiest part. You always want something fun to drink. I had these cute little sparkling cider bottles, but you can also throw together a punch with soda and fruit juice, red wine and fresh fruit together will make a nice sangria, or you can set up a little bar area for the adults and make fruit juice cocktails for the kids.

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The food is simple and easy to prepare with ingredients you most likely either have in your home already, or can get easily if you have a few moments to pop over to Walmart. But the real fun comes in looking around your home for fun decorations you can use to jazz up your tablescape. When you don’t have much time (or much money) you need to get creative. I started looking around my house to see what holiday inspired things I could use for my holiday spread.

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I had a table runner, tiered plates, fun green bowls and little red custard dishes, candles and mason jars. You can always find something festive hanging around the house.

See? You don’t need to get all worked up about preparing some last minute, super easy meals during the holidays. Entertaining doesn’t have to be stressful. The point is to use what you have on hand, make it simple, and have a great time with your guests!


Custom iPhone Cases at Zazzle – Giveaway

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It isn’t often I get excited over a product… but I’m so stoked about my new iPhone cover that I even agreed to write about it in exchange for a complimentary custom design.

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How cool is this? Ever since Melissa and I started our social media business, I’ve wanted a custom iPhone case with our logo on it. I used to have a custom case with my blog logo on it, but I’ve since changed blog designs so it doesn’t apply anymore. This one… I so love! It’s also a fabulous marketing tool… right?

So here are the details… Zazzle makes it almost too easy to customize your own iPhone case. And you can get one for any type of iPhone… not just my fabulous new iPhone 6. You do everything online. You can choose from one of their own designs (and they are so amazing I’m thinking of having a few of them around to switch out my moods) or you can upload your own like I did. I went with just a white background because I really wanted the logo to pop, but you can create any colored background you want. You can also put on photos… of your kids, your wedding, a trip you took. The options are endless.

Okay, what you really need to know too is that the case is absolutely protective. It is really sturdy and has some give to it so it’s not going to crack on you like some really hardened cases do. Shhh… don’t tell my husband but I might have had the phone slip out of my fingers once or twice. It’s as good as new. The colors are very true and didn’t come out smudged or faded. The logo was clear and looked exactly like I placed it on the phone. (I purposely had the logo go off the edge.) I’ve tried a few other custom phone case companies and it was really difficult to place the logo right. This one took less than a minute.

Not into customizing your case? That’s okay… Zazzle has a ton of really amazing designs, created by different artists, that you can purchase. Here are some of my favorites.

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Not into cell phone cases? That’s okay too, because Zazzle has t-shirts, mugs, buttons, hats, and just about everything else you can think of. Find one of their incredible designs… or use your own creation.

Still not convinced? How about if I gave you $50 to use to find out how fab Zazzle is for yourself? Winners will be chosen at random. Available to U.S. residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


SoFabU On The Road – Great One-Day Blogging Conference Here in Los Angeles

I get calls, messages, texts and tweets all the time from new bloggers asking for advice. Suddenly, I’m the veteran blogger and have all the answers. Well, not ALL the answers, but I do have a lot of years behind me and I think I can safely say I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t. Blogging is an ever-changing medium and the biggest advice I can give to a new blogger is to KEEP UP. Keep up on the latest trends, the new platforms, the changing algorithms and analytics. Like any other industry, you need to be constantly educating yourself. One of the tips I would give to anyone who wants to blog, especially if you are looking to earn money doing it, is to attend a blog conference. Yes… there are a ton of blog conferences every year that will teach and inspire you in ways you can’t even imagine.

I try and attend as many conferences, seminars, workshops as I can each year. The first one I’ll be attending in 2015 is the SoFabU on-the-road. Social Fabric® is a community of nearly 3,000 shopping-focused influencers with an aggregated reach of over 130 million. Crazy, right? That’s a whole lot of influence. SoFab (as it’s affectionately known) is part of Collective Bias®.

Collective Bias® is the only shopper social media company that solves shopper marketing problems by weaving together organic social content with engaging, real-life stories to generate millions of impressions, increased share of voice, SEO and retail sales for brands and retailers. Top brands such as Tyson, Nestlé and Duane Reade rely on Collective Bias to sell their stories socially. Based in Bentonville, Arkansas, with satellite offices in New York City, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Cincinnati and London, Collective Bias was named one of America’s 25 Most Promising Companies by Forbes and a part of the Inc. 5000.

I’ve worked with Collective Bias and Social Fabric for over a year now as a Campaign Leader on a variety of product campaigns. Part of my job is to be a mentor to bloggers and it’s the part I love most. After two years of having a large-scale blog conference in their hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas, SoFab is taking it on the road and coming to 11 cities over the next year. Lucky for me their first stop is LOS ANGELES!

Now known as SoFabU, this unique event will allow influencers take advantage of educational opportunities that are going to set them apart from the rest of the crowd. These local events will have more hands-on and interactive sessions so that we’ll be able to implement what we learn on the spot. Influencers are encourage to bring their laptops and get to work. The real beauty of these local events is that they aren’t open to just SoFab members… they are open to ALL bloggers. Such a great opportunity to learn from the best.

Each location will be focusing on a different topic and I’m really excited that the speaker for the Los Angeles events will be Alea Milham. Alea will be leading a hands-on training on “How to Strategically use SEO and Social Media to Increase Traffic and Income.” There will also be opportunities to network with brands, participate in a city-specific Adventure, and other learning opportunities. If I know SoFab (and I do), there will be lots of surprises.

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SOFABU ON THE ROAD – LOS ANGELES
JANUARY 30, 2015
SPEEDZONE
CITY OF INDUSTRY, CA

LA HOST & LUNCH SPONSOR: JOHNNY ROCKETS

The Los Angeles event is limited to 50 attendees so if you are considering going, you’ll want to purchase your ticket ASAP.

SoFabU will be coming to the following cities:

Jan – Los Angeles

Feb – Miami

March – Phoenix

April – Cincinnati

April – Seattle

May – Dallas

June – NYC

July – Chicago

Aug. – Minneapolis

Sept. – Atlanta

Oct. – Bentonville

 

The food sponsor for all the events is Johnny Rockets (seriously hope there will be shakes!).

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Follow SoFabU on-the-road on Twitter.