April 13, 2016

Tips on using the public bathroom with your kids

I am a stay-at-home mom but I like going out with my kids at least three times a week. That includes buying groceries, refilling at the gas station, going to the library, park or wherever my daughter likes, some window shopping for relaxation and just roaming around looking for clearance items. LOL.

The only thing I do not like about going out is the part when my daughter wants to go to the bathroom. Oh yes! She can be very demanding when she's in the bathroom. "Lock the door immediately", "Do not look!", "Put tissue here, here and here!", "Can you give me more wipes, please?", "Can I touch this and that?", "Make sure somebody does not come in". Oh my. I have a baby on one hand but I have to like obey my other daughter's commands in an instant. But what scares me the most is when she says, "I want to sit!".

It's even harder for me because I think I have OCD so I just don't touch anything, and I do not let her do the same! The thought of germs are killing me already. That's why I came up with some tips about using the public restrooms with your kids.

1) Before roaming around the store, be familiar with the amenities. Know where the bathroom is so you won't have to go searching when your kids demand a break.

2) Tell them that they need to say in advance if they feel the urge to go to the bathroom. This maybe hard because sometimes, they just need to go. But there's no harm trying, who knows, you can have 5 minutes to walk and not rush yourself to the bathroom.

3) Bring a lot of wipes! Not just for cleaning the you-know-what. Wipe the knob, the 'seat' and anything they might touch. Better yet, consider getting a potty cover. I got a few samples and I like how it makes me feel that my daughter can safely use the bathroom. It's available at Amazon for about a dollar each. They are individually wrapped to avoid contamination and so it'll be easier to put in a bag. I don't use it every time, just when I am in a hurry and can't really help my kid. As I said, most of the time, I have another baby to look after.
4) Wash hands before and after using the bathroom. For after it's no-brainer, but why before? Because I bet s/he already touched some other stuff (how about the door knob?) and s/he can avoid spreading it on her body by doing so.

It's not just the germs on her hands that worry me, it's the kind of illnesses like UTI perhaps (though UTI is not really an illness, but you get what I mean, right? Those tips only applies when you're out with your kids, but perhaps not at school. And also, don't worry if you're not as OC when your kids uses public restrooms, I just hope to you bathe them once you get home. :)

How about you, what do you teach your kids when using public restrooms?

April 3, 2016

When to replace AC and furnace filter

If you still haven't, now is the time to replace your furnace filters. This prevents dust from building up in your old one and releasing them in your home. If you notice dust particles on top of your shelves or glass stuff really quick, not that I am saying it's the only cause but that could mean your filter is filthy. I experience it like almost everyday, even after vacuuming and wiping! OMG. I remember it wasn't like that before. And then my husband said it's because he hasn't replace the filters. And I was like, "Seriously?! We have a baby!".
I've read people change their filter twice a year while some change theirs every 60-90 days. When and how often you should replace your filters depend on several factors:

  1. If you are expecting, you have a baby or kids at home.
  2. If you have respiratory-related illnesses
  3. If you have allergies 
  4. After a recent construction at home 
  5. Before you turn on your heater
  6. After using your heater/Before you turn on your AC
  7. At anytime, after checking if your filter and filthy
There's a lot more advantage to replacing your filters than not. I only know one disadvantage of replacing furnace filters, if it's expensive! Oh yes, sometimes they're just way out of your budget. But these kinds that could affect your health should not be compromised. There are a lot of different kinds available in the market especially online where you can find affordable furnace filter.

What I recently provided a 6-pack (Yes, six!) of MERV 8 furnace filters from Aerostar to review. I think the quality's fair for the price. Each has pleated electrostatically charged synthetic materialsupported by very thick neatly cut cardboard. It's fairly thick and I found no holes on the filter. If you prefer higher MERV ratings (the higher, the better!), check out their product page here.
Aerostar Furnace FilterAerostar Furnace Filter
I read indoor pollution is worst than the outdoor and I believe that. So I want to know, when was the last time you changed yours?

March 23, 2016

How to teach your kids about responsible money management

I am a stay-at-home mom but sometimes, I imagine myself going back to the business world. There's only one problem though, I am not certain where I should be. My friends say I should be in the marketing business because I talk a lot and I make friends easily. They also added I should be in a position where money is involved, because being good with it is one of the qualities they admire about me. Since I mentioned about it already, I wanted to share my current financial achievement.

I am debt-free!

At least for credit cards (mortgages and cars do not apply to that term 'debt'). Haha. It's a great feeling though. I've zeroed my cards three times already but something always come up. Before I paid all of them, I understand where most of our bills came from, it's because we bought a home and had several renovations amounting to more than twenty thousand dollars. Oh, yes. Just for renovations. Trigger-happy eh?

I am afraid though that this wouldn't be the case for long. The only person who's earning money in our household is my husband. And bills are increasing tremendously, especially that we had a recent addition to our family. I wanted this debt-free thing to be forever! But I am already seeing a bulk of spending ahead... Like in the next few months!!! *Sigh*
Money Savvy Pig bank
But you know what? I am trying to be positive about it and good thing I was given a chance to review the Money Savvy Pig. It made me realize a few more things about budgeting and spending at the same time. I guess it made me realize that I am not that good in handling money, because I could always do better.

This Money Savvy Pig I am talking about is actually a piggy bank meant for kids 4 years old and above. My daughter is four and I always believe that the earlier you teach your kids about money matters, the more they'll be aware on how to spend money wisely. What's good about this piggy bank is that it's not just about 'you', it also teaches you how to help other people by donating. This piggy bank is divided into four parts - Save, Spend, Donate and Invest. There are several stickers and the pig comes 'clean' so you can help her decide to on which ones the money should go.
The stickers with pictures on where you want to spend your 'savings'.You decide where the money will be spent.
Here's where my daughter (with my guidance and some explanation of course) plan to put hers:

  • Save - Vacation as noted by the 'world' sticker. Our family loves going on vacation and when we're out, we kind of splurge. For my husband, it's like 'work hard, play hard' kind of thing. And also, this is what I was talking about earlier, the big spending coming up. I asked my daughter again why she chose it and she said: "Because we don't have more money to visit my lola in the Philippines." 
  • Spend - Food as noted by the 'burger' sticker. Okay, who doesn't love to eat!? Well, I do not save when it comes to food but I want to teach my daughter that it's important we spend it wisely on food that will nourish our body. Ironically, this slot is for her desserts and special treats. Because she doesn't always get one.
  • Donate - Noted by the 'giving hands' sticker. She surely know this stuff because I go with her to the nearest local community donation center every time our box is full. According to her, "If I don't use my toys anymore I'll donate it". The money here will be spent during Christmas season to get one of those "wishes" from our Church's tree.
  • Invest - Education as noted by the 'graduation cap' sticker. I always tell her that learning is important and I am not just pertaining to books at school. This could be for the extra-curricular activities she's interested in. Like ballet and swimming classes. The money could be spent on a new pair of ballet shoes, or a swimsuit on clearance aisle that she really likes. :P

For you parents, here's something from the booklet which I thought is worth-sharing, because you know, saving is sometimes not enough. It's also good though it's a risk to invest. This is an except from the booklet that came with the Money Savvy Pig.

7 Smart Investing Tips
1. Talk with your family to get their advice before you invest.
2. Pick a company you like and know something about.
3. Learn about how this company earns money and makes a profit.
4. Find our if the company is profitable and why.
5. Look into how this company plans to grow bigger and better.
6. Discover who this company competes with and decide if your company is better than they are.
7. Plan how you will keep track of your company's sales, profits and stock price.

If you want to learn more about this Award-Winning Money Savvy Pig Bank, you can check out their site here.

How about you, how do you teach your kids about responsible money management?