Thursday, May 26, 2016

3 ways to make an extra buck online

I always like to have a couple extra spending bucks and so I do some "funky" things to make a little extra, and thought I'd spread the word in case anyone else needed ideas!

1- Inbox Dollars

This is a survey site.
I've done this on and off since 2013 and made over $200. By no means am I getting rich off of this, but it's easy and it pays for a date night, or a babysitter, or just pads the bank account. I spend about a half hour each day and make about $30 a month. There's tons you can do to earn money but I only do 4 things:
       - check emails
       - watch videos (on mute and in the background)
       - spin the wheel
       - take surveys
(and I enter their sweepstakes with the free entries they give me but I never win)

Here's a real peek inside my account

Interested? Learn more or sign up HERE

I've also heard decent things about Vindale Research and Swagbucks.

2 - Ibotta

This is one of my new favorite things because it's a money saver, and I am a saver! I love a good deal, a sale, or just saving money on things I'd buy anyway, which is exactly how Ibotta works!
You go shopping like normal, grocery or elsewhere, come home and check the stores you shopped at for "rebates". Usually it's only about .50 per item, but it adds up! And like I said, it's stuff I would have bought anyway, like onions, milk, cereal, bread, eggs, you get it. Here's a screenshot from today.

Check it out HERE it's kind of fun and super easy!

3 - Toilet Paper Rolls

This is the real reason I call these the "funky" ways to make or save a buck online. This one I thought was a bit of a stretch, but it seems to be legit! People will PAY for your old toilet paper rolls...what?! Again, not going to make a lot of money off this one, but for something that I am always going to buy anyway, I figured it wouldn't hurt to get a little something in return! Turns out there's a market for them on ebay!

Any other "funky" ideas I should be trying?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Being happy in the moment.

I think there's two kinds of people,
those who are consumed with today and what's going on now and getting through this moment.
And then there's people like me who live in the future.

I tend to worry about 5 years from now way more than I worry about tomorrow.
I wouldn't say that's bad, except sometimes I get so caught up in the future I forget about having fun and living life in the here and now.

I remember being 24 and single (man I felt OLD) and talking to a friend about how life would be SO much easier once I was married. Life would just be figured out and we'd live happily ever after.
Fast forward a year or two, we are both married and having a conversation like "hey remember when we thought life would be so much easier once we were married and now we're married and we remember how much easier it was to be single?"

Turns out I don't think there's any life events that can make you happy. You have to find the happiness in the midst of life.

This is one of my new favorite quotes, you are responsible for your attitude, your emotions, and ultimately your happiness. No one, no thing, no event, no amount of anything can make you happy. So just do it for yourself.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Be somebody who...

Do you ever wish you could redo certain events or situations in your life? 
Maybe it's just me, but I have a handful or memories that I'd really love to go back and do over, 
I'd even take a mulligan for them.
Most have to do with me not being the nicest person,
hurting someone's feelings,
talking poorly about somebody whose situation I didn't know,
trying to "get even" with somebody.
Worse yet, ignoring someone,
not taking the time to get to know people.

Thankfully, I have a few redeeming memories.
I remember in elementary school some kids a grade or two younger than me were making fun of a boy for having a hairy tongue. Which is sort of humorous now, I have no idea if he had a hairy tongue, but I remember telling them to leave him alone, and they did. The boy then proceeded to follow me around for a few days.

Being shy certainly didn't help. 
I wish I would have talked to more people, 
been nicer, 
made more friends, 
said some things I wanted to to some people, 
and not said some things I did to others.

Some people have a way of befriending everyone and making them feel important. 
Some of us are trying.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Favorite Thing Friday

I'm super excited to tell you about one of my newest favorite things for kids. A few weeks ago a friend posted about it on Facebook so I thought I'd check it out, and I'm so impressed, one of the coolest kid toys ever!
It's called Water Wow and its by Melissa & Doug, so you know it's good!
Also, they have a 5 star rating on Amazon with like 500 reviews.

Here's how it works:
It's a spiral notebook of heavy-duty cardboard pages and a chunky "pen".
It has a paintbrush like tip so it isn't really a pen, but that's what they call it.
You open the pen and fill it with water.
Then, each page is a plain white picture that when you color on it with the pen, color comes through!
At the end, you end up with a really vibrant, colorful picture and with no mess and no chance of kids coloring on things they shouldn't!
The best part it when it dries, which takes maybe 2 minutes, it turns white again so you can color again immediately!

I bought a pack of 3 for $15 but I just saw they're on sale for like $12 HERE

We only let Spencer use these at church on Sunday's, so it's a special treat for him.
But we have a road trip coming up that I think they will be an excellent distraction for as well.
I've also heard they're great on airplanes.

Here's a little video to see it in action (from my phone so its a little blurry, sorry).

Thursday, May 12, 2016

"The things I used to trip on, I walk over now"

I love this quote simply because it tells me I can overcome anything.
I remember working at the Boys & Girls Club and there was a quote on the wall that said,

"Use it to your advantage, abandon it when it becomes your limitation."

That has always stuck with me, to always be on the lookout for what's helping me or hindering me.
Life can be hard but we often make it harder on ourselves than it needs to be when we let our weaknesses hold us back.

I have this somewhat irrational fear of being attacked by a wild animal. A few summers ago we were camping at a yurt and I was left alone with the baby at a campsite while Nate and my dad went to get the rest of our camp stuff out of the truck. I'm pretty positive I saw a mountain lion on the hillside opposite of where I was and it totally freaked me out. I went and hid in the yurt for some time, sure that the lion was coming for me.

Funny now, but it wasn't the first time fear had paralyzed me and kept me from enjoying what I was doing.
I often fear getting chased or attacked by a dog while on a walk or on a run.
I'm probably about the only weirdo that worries about things like that, but some days it keeps me from going on the walk or run!
I don't want to feel trapped inside because of things that "might" happen. I want to enjoy everything! So here's to living life anyway and not letting things hold me back and overcoming my silly fears!

I recently heard another mantra that goes along with this too,
"The universe is for me, and so is everything else."

I'm going to take advantage and make the most of life.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Yesterday was a rough day. 
I didn't get enough sleep, I ate like 5 more cookies than I should have, I couldn't focus, and I just wanted to go back to bed!
So I did my daily yoga, I took a shower, started some laundry, and made dinner.
I started to feel better.
I got more motivation.
Then I watched my little boy ride his "bike" (which is really more of a big wheel and his feet don't quite reach the pedals so it's entertaining).
We went for a walk and enjoyed the sunshine.
We watched the ducks in the canal, we kicked rocks, and we enjoyed life.

It's all about recognizing the good because there is beauty all around!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Nate: When I die I only want to be kind of buried.
Me: Kind of buried? Like with your toes sticking out?
Nate: Or maybe my arm...yeah, my arm.

(but then he told me in all seriousness he'd rather be "dumped in a heap" up in the mountains...I'm not sure which I prefer actually.)

Ordering groceries online!

If you have kids, you know the hassle of trying to grocery shop with them. I know many moms who wait to grocery shop until the evening when their husbands are home to watch the kids so they can go in peace. But sometimes you just can't wait, you need something NOW!

Wal-Mart now has grocery shopping you can do online and then go pick up! What a wonder! I know so many moms who say this has changed their lives! It sounds silly but 2 or 3 little kids not only already fill the cart, but they squish things, they whine and cry so everyone stares at you, they throw things out of the cart, or grab things you don't want or need.

This is a wonder! I just did my first order and it was awesome! I found everything I wanted from the comfort of my bed! How easy is that? And the best part is, you can get $10 off your first order by using by using the code REALEASY
Try it, it will change your life!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Be happy.

I remember thinking like would be so much better and easier when I was "all grown up". And here I am, mostly grown up, and that is not the case.
Life is hard!
I took the round-about way to adulthood, and it has been a struggle.
But I keep hearing and being reminded that one day I'll look back on these tough, broke, busy, sleepless years and think "those were the days".
So today I'm just taking it all in and enjoying these moments to be alive.

Sunday, May 8, 2016


It wouldn't be right to let this Mother's Day pass without acknowledging not only my mother, but every mother and woman who has sacrificed, given selflessly, loved unconditionally, and been there consistently for not only their own children, but other people's children as well.

I'm probably the least musically inclined human on the planet, but my mom is the opposite and try she did to instill the love of music and all good things into her children. This song will always be my favorite tribute to my mom and all moms.

She Put the Music in Me

Edit: I just found out one of my cute friends from high school wrote a little song so I'm sharing it too!

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 6, 2016


As a kid I loved to read. I remember reading everything from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to Hank the Cowdog. From Harry Potter to Watership Down. As I got older I fell out of friendship with reading. I got busy and it lost priority.

But what better way to experience new places and new adventures than by reading? Open new doors, new experiences, new ideas, by opening a book!

Here's a peek at what's on my reading list:

Want to see the rest, click HERE!


Greatest thing.

What's your favorite book?

Thursday, May 5, 2016


As a kid my mom forced me to take piano lessons. Every week I dreaded the day the piano teacher would come for my lesson. I remember her beat up old car pulling up to the curb, her hair pulled back into a barrette. I would hunker down hoping my mom would, you know, let me skip this week's lesson.

I'd sit down at the piano and start sweating. I hadn't practiced and I was so scared the piano teacher would be upset about it. She'd listen to me struggle through a song, one wrong note after the next. When she finally got sick of it she'd curl her lips under and bite her mechanical pencil between them while she played the song for me so I could hear how it was supposed to sound.
Then she'd have me try again. And again. And usually one more time. Probably because she knew this was the only practicing I'd do all week.

She'd flip her thick hair back behind her shoulder and write more notes in my spiral notebook for what I was supposed to do and which songs to practice for the upcoming week. She'd tell me to trim my nails, and then she'd leave.

I hated the piano.

I'm not exactly sure when I was finally able to quit. It was at least a few years I was forced to play. Then after a few years of a break there was a new teacher and the lessons started again. I quit for good sometime at the beginning of junior high. I was so happy to finally be done with piano lessons!

I wish I had been forced to stick with it. Actually, I wish I had had the motivation myself to want to be good at it, to want to develop a talent. I wish I had been less consumed with trying to be "cool" and watching too much TV that I would have developed an interest in the piano.

Piano players are graceful, they're even said to handle stress and criticism better. Playing the piano teaches self-discipline. It gives kids an outlet as well as a hobby to keep them out of trouble.


Greatest thing.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


In July 2014, I ran my FIRST ever 5k! It was brutal and took me like 45 minutes (hey I was pushing a stroller!). My only goal was to finish the race and to RUN the whole thing. And I DID!
It sparked something in me, but for the first time in my life I actually enjoyed running!
I kept at it and in October 2014 I ran my first 10k, then in April and May of 2015 I ran my first half marathon!

That's 13.1 miles of straight running!
My time was 2:29:01 which I was proud of.

I was in the best shape of my life, even after having a baby, and I felt wonderful!
There's something about running and pushing myself that just felt great.
I was so impressed with what my body could do (more impressed then than when it pushed out a baby even).


Greatest thing!

Starting Over!

It's been a few years, but I think it's time to revamp and bring back the 'ol "Greatest Things" blog. I want to inspire myself to do better, be better, and feel better. But I also want to share the things I love (and hear what you love, too!). I want to start collaborating with fellow free spirits to get the most out of life!
I'm reviving this dead horse, and we're off to the races to make life worth living by spreading the things we love!