Guest post written by Joseph Finch

Having Vancouver wireless internet has made life so much easier for me. I left my fulltime job for 3 months to stay home with the new baby and when it came time for me to go back to work I just couldn’t do it. I love my daughter so much and the thought of having to leave her with a nanny all day just made me mush inside – it’s really important for me to be able to provide for my daughter but at the same time be there for her. So I talked to my boss and we worked out a solution where I’m going to work from home. I don’t think he’s too crazy about the idea but after a few weeks he’s going to see that it makes a lot more sense to keep me on than to train someone new and he won’t even notice a difference from when I was in the office. I love being a mom but I also love working so this is the perfect compromise.

Budding Little Artist

Little Man drew this heart on a white board while waiting for dinner to be made. I thought it was awesome and had to share!

I’ve always wondered if he will be an artist when he grows up, and after seeing this drawing, I’m convinced he’s definitely got a knack for it!  When I asked what his inspiration was, he pointed to a rusty metal heart statue that’s sitting in the garden. It looks NOTHING like the drawing which makes it THAT much more artistic! :P


FREE Gas Cards From Kellogg’s

If your family loves Kellogg’s as much as mine, then you really won’t want to miss this AMAZING deal they have going on right now!

For every 10 UPC’s {from participating cereals} that you collect and send in, Kellogg’s will send you a $10 debit Mastercard card!!  Because you can do this up to 5 times, that’s $50 just for eating your favorite cereals! =D

The offer ends 4/30/2012 and all letters must be postmarked by that day and received by 5/07/2012. All you have to do is cut out the UPC’s, print and complete the downloadable form, and mail them in!

For more information on this promotion including which cereals are participating, be sure to check out the Kellogg’s AARP Rewards program!

Too Much Sugar = Crazy Toddler

When Little Man and sugar combine, the outcome is never pretty. Sugar rushes thru his little body like a raging river and he turns into an uncontrollable cyclone of energy.

After the rush wears off, Little Man always gets a defiant attitude about him that doesn’t seem to go away until he lays down to sleep. Talk about frustating!

That’s why I was so happy when my roommate pointed out that the cereal we were giving Little Man was chock full of sugar and probably to blame for his recent bad behavior. Daddy and I immediately looked at each other and had one of those, “Why hadn’t we thought of that?!” moments. We’ve always tried to provide Little Man with healthy snacks, but never considered that his breakfast – the most important meal of the day – wasn’t really that healthy.

Since this suggestion, we’ve pretty much completely cut sugar from Little Man’s diet. He’s been having honey oat cereal for breakfast with the occasional egg or pancake.

Have you ever had one of these AHA moments regarding your little one? If so, please share! I’m always open to ideas and tips!

Regaining Control Of My Blog

It’s been over a year since I started CA Monkey Momma and I have to admit, it’s been a bumpy road. More than once I’ve considered throwing in the towel and finding a new profession. As a writer, though, there are few occupations that allow me the artistic freedom that blogging does. For that reason, I’ve always pushed through the rough times and been happier for it.

With our recent move and general chaos that surrounds my life, I feel like my blog has suffered. Every time I start to write a post or scan the internet for interesting topics to write about, I get distracted with something else like laundry or cleaning. While they are legitimate reasons to put the mouse down and walk away from the computer, all I’m really doing is making my job harder and more stressful when I DO finally get time to blog.



Whenever I need inspiration and motivation, I always turn to Mama Makes Cents. Nikki has been a WAHM for a few years now and has done more research on the subject than anyone I know. Whenever I need to make a few extra bucks, she’s always ready and willing to help with a long list of reputable and legitimate money making web sites.

To help me get my life and job back on track, I knew to turn to Mama Makes Cents. In one of Nikki’s posts, How Bloggers Are Considered Part Of The Work From Home Craze, she discusses how she has a schedule {or check list} of daily activities she does concerning her blogs and writing. I seriously think this is something I’ve been lacking and have begun my own list of activities I’d like to get done daily. I think having a list to go off will help me stay organized and happy.

If you’re like me and trying to regain control of your blogging career, check out Mama Makes Cents and try a few of these helpful tips:

  1. Get Organized – Maintaining a healthy balance between work and home life when you work at home can seem overwhelming at times. Getting organized can help ease the stress. Organize your desk so that everything has a “home” and make sure you spend a few minute sat the end of the day putting everything back in it’s “home”. You’d be surprised how much stress you can relieve by simply being organized.
  2. Make A Schedule – I’m a Mom who is constantly on the go, jumping around from task to task. Creating, and sticking to, a schedule is the only way I can ensure that I get thru every task I set out in a day.
  3. Network -  Whether it’s commenting on blogs similar to your own, or visiting forums to educate yourself on the newest blogging tools and ideas, networking is a VERY important part of blogging. How is anyone supposed to find you if you don’t put yourself out there? Showing off your blog and informative posts will bring more readers to your site and ultimately, build your site’s ranking making  you more influential in the blogging world.
  4. Social Media – I check my media outlets {Facebook, Twitter, etc.} multiple times a day. Since people check their own pages at various times of the day, posting often will ensure you catch the eye of as many readers as possible. Interact with them, show-off interesting posts, and share deals you find on products you know they’ll enjoy trying!

Crafting with the Kids: 3 Big Tips to Save your Sanity

If you’re looking forward to enjoying some arts and crafts experimentation with your kids, you have plenty of fun and freeform creativity to get excited about.  At the same time, however, as any parent can tell you, doing arts and crafts with the kids can also be a logistical and emotional nightmare.  Staving off temper tantrums, avoiding paint spills, and making everyone feel equally accomplished can be tricky waters to navigate.  To help parents save their sanity during their spirited attempts to connect with their children through art, consider the 3 big tips below and how they can help you during your next kids-and-crafting event.

#1 – Pad the area

Basically, when doing art with your kids, you want to make sure the environment is stress-free, both for you and your children.  Parents often get worried most about having to clean up after gigantic messes, so padding the area for parents mostly means making sure there is something protecting the carpets, hardwood floors, and other expensive parts of the home from paint spills and such.  Use an old tablecloth or blanket and put it under the crafting/painting area so that any spills will be caught right away.  For children, padding the area can mean putting space between the kids, at least when necessary.  Kids sparring over the same color of paint or the same two feet of work space can be a real hassle, so making sure everyone has plenty of room to move around, and plenty of padding between one kid and the next, can help spare your sanity a meltdown for now.

#2 – Protect those clothes

Buying children’s clothing is expensive enough when you just have to replace the kids’ clothes as they outgrow their last wardrobe set.  It’s even more expensive if clothes become useless through other more avoidable means, such as accidental paint spills during your kids-and-parents arts and crafts time.  Sure, every parent has to expect a pair of jeans ripped at the knee from playing outside, or a t-shirt stained from a juice spill now and again.  But avoiding as much damage as possible is essential for protecting your family’s budget and your sanity.  So when the kids are painting, make sure they wear some art scrubs.  These can be picked up at stores that sell general nursing scrubs, and sometimes even at discount and thrift stores.  Unlike more makeshift art scrubs, nursing scrubs are quite durable and will be around for use after use, and they do a great job protecting clothes from all kinds of accidental spills.

#3 – Go for balance

As a parent, you often have to balance what’s best for your kid with what’s best for your family unit.  When it comes to arts and crafts time, you’ll have to balance between what planned art activity you have and how your kids see fit to approach it.  Your best bet is to allow for plenty of leeway, but not let things get out of hand.  If you have three children, for instance, and two are following your ‘create a sparkly paper cutout zebra with glitter’ project perfectly, and another simply decides to make a sparkly giraffe, that’s usually not a problem.  If that same child, however, decides to make a fuss and throw glitter all over and affect the fun of the project for the other children, you may need to remove that child from the activity he cools down, in order to preserve the fun event for everyone else.  As a parent, only you can know how best to set these rules, but it’s best to have a backup plan for every single arts and crafts event.  Kids can throw tantrums for no apparent reason at all on occasion, and when there’s glitter and paint around, it’s best to avoid a lot of kicking and running around.  If you have some rules you’ve gone over in advanced with your kids for arts and crafts time, you may not be able to avoid every problem, but at least you’ll have a fair way of dealing with any that may arise unexpectedly.

Where To Find The Best Coupon Codes

As an avid coupon clipper, I never buy anything without checking to see if there is an available coupon somewhere. Between the Sunday newspaper and the internet, I rarely pay full price for anything.

If you’re looking for a great place to find online coupons, check out Coupon Chief!  Coupon Chief hosts a huge collection of valid coupon codes for all of your favorite stores. They have coupon codes for stores like Target, Home Shopping Network, and even Expedia!

One of my favorite things about Coupon Chief is how well everything is organized. You can easily search through their alphabetized list of stores that they have available coupons for. When you find a coupon for the store you’re looking for, you simply enter the discount code into the special box that says “Coupon Code” or “Promotional Code” and click Apply.

That’s it!

The discount is taken off of your total and you saved a percentage of your bill in a matter of SECONDS!

I’ve tried other coupon and discount code web sites before, but am constantly disappointed by invalid or expired coupons. Because Coupon Chief is updated and monitored, you can be sure that the codes you find on there will be awesome and useable.

If you love saving money and would love up-to-date updates on the newest discount codes, be sure you Fan Coupon Chief on Facebook! Since I’m constantly on Facebook, it’s great scrolling through the savings as I keep up to date on family and friends on my Facebook wall.

To Watermark Or Not To Watermark, That Is The Question

Watermarking my pictures has been a concern for me since I first started blogging. While I love the security that they add to my postings, I feel that the watermark, however small or big, takes away from the picture I’m using.

Here, let me show you:

No Watermark


See the difference?

I feel like having the watermark there draws your eyes away from the flower and down to that obnoxious little symbol!

So why am I having this struggle?

One of the first things I learned as a blogger was how easy it is for someone else to steal your work. Whether they were taking your picture and claiming it as their own, or they copy and paste the entire article you’ve written and posted it somewhere without giving you the rightful credit you deserve, copyright infringement is a big occurrence in the “blog-o-sphere”. I’ve had a few people close to me get their material stolen and I really don’t want to deal with the headache of contacting someone for taking MINE.

From now on, I’ve come to the conclusion that I won’t be watermarking MOST of my pictures. If my son is in the picture, though, I’ll be taking the time to slap a watermark symbol on there. While I know it will bug me, it would bug me more to find a picture of my son on some stranger’s web site.

What’s your views on the subject?  Have you ever had or known someone who has had their pictures and/or content stolen? If so, how did they deal with it? What are some routes you {or they} took to get the content taken down?

Walking Daily & Loving It!

I’m not calling it a New Year’s resolution…

I’m not putting that much pressure on it…

I’ve made a pact with myself to walk daily and, for the past week at least, I’ve been walking daily!

Now that we live in the city, I’ve made a deal with myself that I have to walk somewhere at least once a day, even if it’s just down the road and back. Walking just a little a day will be such a big step towards a healthier lifestyle.

One way that I’ve made it a pleasurable experience is by making it my “me” time.  It’s once a day that I’m pretty much guaranteed to just clear my mind of all worries and responsibilities. It’s a time that allows me to think through any issues I’m currently working on or absolutely nothing at all.

I’ve also been making a conscious effort to drink more water. My roommates are trying to drink more water, too, so we’ve been keeping 2 large containers of water in the fridge so there is always cold water available.

While I refuse to call it a resolution, I am excited about my new goals towards a healthier lifestyle… that happened to coincide with the beginning of 2012… ;)

I Guess It’s Our Turn To Battle The Flu

Well, what was supposed to be an education-packed day of letter recognition, shape searching, and playground time officially became a LAZY DAY this morning when I woke-up to a raspy voiced toddler – not fun!

It’s amazing how quickly a day can go from good to bad when you realize your little one isn’t feeling well. From the moment he awoke this morning, he’s been laying in my bed and complaining that his belly & body are aching.

I feel so bad when Little Man feels sick.  He’s been running a fever all day and has only left the bedroom to go to the bathroom – both times he returned complaining that his belly and head hurt after walking around. I’m hoping he feels better in the next couple days. He has a play-date on Thursday and I know he will be heartbroken if we have to miss it! :(

On a lighter note, I’ve gotten quite a bit done on my blog today! With Little Man kind of quarantined to the bed, I’ve been free to concentrate on uploading my new theme and tweaking the settings to my liking. I’m sure it doesn’t look much different than you’re used to seeing when you visit {as though there are thousands of people who visit CA Monkey Momma every day LOL}, but it’s definitely a lot cleaner than it was and I have much more control over the colors, images, and other various settings that compose a functioning web site.

As I’m sure Little Man will still be a little “icky” tomorrow, I’m trying to figure out how I will spend the day. My room could use a little re-organizing.

How do you spend your day when your chid{ren} are feeling ill?

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