Can’t Look Yet

That building back there is the non-burned side of my old apartment building. The side that had smoke and water damage, no fire. I now live on the other side of the apartment complex, but the mailboxes are on the side I used to live on. Sometimes, when I check my mail, I have a desire to go look at my old, roof-gone, burned down apartment. To stand there and cry. I don’t know what else. Just do that. 

I think only 1 or 2 times I actually turned the corner and saw it. But not recently. This is the farthest I’ve gotten in a while. 
I can’t seem to bring myself to turn the corner and see it again. I just can’t look yet. 

I’ve been very well taken care of since my apartment burned down. I’ve even started my own business, and it has blessed my life in many ways. Feel free to shop with me if you so desire!

I know I’ll eventually have to look at it. I’ve got some things in a storage unit over there, that was separate from the apartment. I need to move them to my new storage unit, near my new apartment. But not yet. I just can’t look yet. 


Filed under Uncategorized

Every Day is Special

Check out this picture of part of my old apartment, before it burned down. Now, take a moment to read the black canvas. 
This is something I made when I was in college, and it was hanging on my wall during my apartment fire.
Now, here is a picture that the contractors took with my phone after the fire, of the same area, but from a different angle. See that black canvas?! It’s still there! It was saved! They were able to bring it down to me, though it looks a bit more rugged than it once did. And I love it even more. It wasn’t moldy, or smelly, so I kept it!
Oh, and that black/gray thing in the top left of the picture? That’s the roof. Yup. This picture still makes me cry as I long for what was lost. 
However, remember what that canvas says, y’all?
Don’t save something for a special occasion. Every day of your life is a special occasion.

How true this is, y’all. 

How fitting that this is the first thing that I hung up in the living room area of my new apartment.
Y’all, every day of your life is a special occasion. Enjoy things while you can.
I often now think of my fancy hat collection, and that I should have worn them more often instead of saving them for special occasions. I think of my flamingo serving platter that I should have used to simply eat dinner, instead of using it only when someone came over. These and many other things that I have lost I now wish I’d used more often.
Yes, it’s important to have special things that you only use for special occasions….but seriously. Use things. Love them.
Use them. Get out your fancy plates and USE THEM. Get out your special shoes and wear them. Get out your nice dress and enjoy it.
I really love this picture because if you compare it to the first picture in this post, you can see that it has some scars from the fire. And I love it like this. 
Every day of your life is a special occasion.


Filed under Thoughts

Just Like Fire

It’s been one week since I watched my apartment burn down. It’s been one week since I have had to start redefining normal and rebuilding my life. 

This is in no way a full account of events, but a slightly detailed summary, we’ll say. 

On Wednesday, August 17th, I went to work. I’m a special education life skills teacher at a high school, and I love my job. It was the week before school started, and after work I went to visit 3 of my students. They bring me such joy! I then went to Pizza Hut to pick up the pizza I had ordered 4 hours ago, and I STILL had to wait 20 minutes for it to be ready. 

Can I just say that my heart is racing as I type this, because I know what comes next?

I left Pizza Hut and got to my apartment complex 3 minutes later and saw smoke coming from behind the front building. I got worried about what it might be, but never thought it could be coming from somewhere familiar to me. I turned the corner and saw my apartment building on fire. I started freaking out, parked, and called 911. As I was on the phone, I was frantically texting my friend Teo, my friend Danielle, and my supervisor, telling them that my apt was on fire and I didn’t know what was going to happen. 

Teo is my best friend who lives in Romania and was asleep at the time, but she is the one I talk to about everything all the time. 

Danielle is my friend that lives 6 minutes away…I am basically family. I nannied her kids for forever. 

My supervisor needed to know that I didn’t know if I could come to work the next day. 

And then I waited. I wondered what would happen. I pleaded with the fire to stop growing. I tried to breathe. As soon as I saw the teenagers that lived next door to me, I got out of my car and we hugged each other as we watched our apartments burn and let the rain soak us through. I cannot explain how we felt. 

I took this picture after about 5 minutes of arriving home. It was still small. My apartment is up the stairs on the 3rd floor. On the right side of the staircase. I could see that there was already smoke coming from it. 


Danielle arrived and she couldn’t get in because police and fire trucks had already blocked the area. She had to park at the movie theater across the street. Hard is not the right word here, but it was hard for me to walk away and go across the street to her. We were able to walk back, but couldn’t get back to my car. At this point, I just wanted the pizza on the front seat of my car. Because I didn’t know what else to do. As we watched the apartment burn and people being evacuated from surrounding buildings, I cried, tried to breathe, and kept thinking of things that I had lost. My scrapbooks. My flamingo collection. My pictures. My green box (full of super important personal things). My letters. My journals. My quilts. My kitchen. My BOOKS. My personal library! I am a girl of many collections, and I was watching them burn. 


I went through stages of crying, naming things, staring at the fire, and trying to breathe. Danielle called my mom for me (she lives in Utah) and she also called my supervisor. I could not talk to anyone. I could not breathe. 

Danielle recently told me that I kept trying to walk closer to the building, like I thought I was going to be able to save something, and she had to lead me away. 


After a while, everyone from building 3 was called into the front office. The American Red Cross and the apartment management handled the situation very well. The investigator from the police dept (I think) was super insensitive. I got up and walked away from him. It was ridiculous. 

I could not stop crying. Danielle was calling anyone I asked her to, and explaining the situation to them. I did not want to be contacted because I didn’t know what to say to anyone. I had just watched my apartment burn. 

I always have a book in my purse, and I had my purse, so I did what I knew how to do. I read. That was the only way I could be comforted. No words could be said and no action could be done to make me feel better. I needed to escape. So I read. I didn’t get very far before I started thinking of all of the books that I had just lost. And then everything else that went along with that. 


Danielle was amazing. She was right there with me, holding me, helping me, and gathering all pertinent information from the authorities, because I was in no state to remember things. 


When Teo woke up, we finally got to talk. I was in Danielle’s car across the street, charging my phone as we talked. She is my sanity, and I was relieved to finally be able to talk to her. We couldn’t talk for long, because I had to go back to the apartment office and take care of things with Danielle. But it was comforting to finally be able to talk with her. 

Before we even left, I had a small glimpse into the miracles to come. 

Every human and every animal was saved from the building. THAT is amazing. 

Danielle posted about the tragedy on Facebook, and within minutes my friends were rallying together to help me rebuild my life and redefine normal. 

I was amazed at how many people were offering help. Friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers alike. 

Turns out, lightning struck the apartment at 6:30. I arrived at 6:37. We didn’t leave until 11:30, with generous help from the American Red Cross and an offer on a new lease in the same apartment complex. 

I was grateful that I could stay with Danielle’s family, but it was not my home. My home was gone. 

I slept for only about 2 hours. Mostly, I cried. 

The next day, I went with Danielle to sign the lease on my new apartment. I was lucky that they had a vacancy in the same complex, 3rd floor. 

My friend Raspbana showed up to take over when Danielle had to leave. We can equate this to babysitting. I needed someone with me. I simply did. Raspbana was the perfect person for the job. I figured out insurance, signed on the new apartment, and ignored a call from LuLaRoe Onboarding. 

You see, on July 8th, when I was in Romania, I signed up to be an Independent Fashion Consultant for LuLaRoe. I knew there was about a 2-month waiting period to onboard, and I was expecting my call at the beginning of September. I had been doing many things to prepare, and even bought some of the supplies I would need.

My computer was gone, along with all of the work I had done to prepare to be a LuLaRoe consultant. The supplies that I had bought for my new business were gone. I didn’t know what to do. So, when LuLaRoe called me to onboard as a consultant, I didn’t answer, knowing that they would call back twice if I didn’t answer.  

It was very rainy. Each time it rained, I cried. I was thinking of my apartment, with no roof…I knew that anything that could possibly be saved was now getting rained on. Again. Each time it poured. Each time it sprinkled. Everything that was left in my apartment was getting wet. 

Yes, logically it was already wet from the fire hose and the rain on Wednesday night. But it was like pouring salt into a wound, letting it rain on my already burned apartment. 

Raspbana and I went back to Danielle’s house and started to make the list of everything that was in my apartment and the cost to replace it all. Oh, daunting. I can’t even tell you how many little treasures. Well, just think of your house. Try listing each and every thing inside of it, while sitting 6 minutes away. Furniture, books, clothing, trinkets, kitchen goods, floss, everything. And then finding out how much it all costs. And then imagine that you will never see any of that stuff ever again. 

On Friday, I was outside of my apartment looking up at this. 


They were pulling things out of my apartment!!!!! I couldn’t believe it!!! I had to sign a release form so that I could get things…drama. First they said that nobody was allowed in the top 4 apartments. Then they said they were. Then they weren’t. Long story short, the apartment didn’t want anyone in. The cleanup crew said they were going in. So, I am forever grateful that they went in!! It looked like they threw anything in a bag that they could get to, and that looked like it could be saved. 

Then it started to rain. Again. I had to wait my turn for them to get to my apartment, and I needed to be present for them to bring stuff down. So I could not leave. I needed to see what I still owned. 


Eventually, they started bringing my things down. I cried. This time, happy tears. Not all was lost. 


He said there was about this much more up there, but he had to wait until the crew got off lunch and then they would take it down. 

I had nowhere else to go. So I waited. Danielle and Lucas showed up just as I was going through A SCRAPBOOK. THREE of my 12-ish scrapbooks were saved!! The three that my mom had made for me as I was growing up. I turned each page and cried as I savored the half-soaked pages. Worth saving. 


I spoke to Damien, the main guy on the cleanup crew. Oh, he was a miracle worker.


Then they started bringing stuff down. 



See that green box by my left hip? That’s THE green box that I mentioned wanting earlier. AND IT WAS BASICALLY UNTOUCHED. It’s like the fire jumped around some of the things that were most important to me. God works in mysterious ways, y’all. 

Damien was amazing. He kept going back up and getting things for me…passport, journals, and more. The structure of the 3rd floor was unsafe, especially with the ceiling hanging down, but he kept going back. That man is amazing. 

Going through the bags would have been impossible without the support of my friends. Danielle was there, and Raspbana and Sarah showed up shortly after. Their presence was invaluable. 



Honestly, we had to throw most of it out. The water and smoke damage did most of it in. 


We took a lot to Danielle’s garage, and over the next few days I slowly went through things, with a little help from my friends.


I spent hours each evening in the garage…with a hair dryer, drying out journals. But I am grateful to have them. 


The kitchen table at Danielle’s house is full of my journals and scrapbooks drying out. And I am grateful to have them. 


A few days after the fire, I was going through a bag, and I found my box of letters!!! The red and white box itself was ruined, but WHO CARES!? I had the letters!!


We laid them out to dry, but I still have to go back and wipe off ashes and rubble. 


A lot of the stuff we took to Danielle’s garage had to be thrown out. But that’s okay. I just wasn’t ready to let go of it yet on Friday, but by trash day on Monday, I had come to terms with the fact that I had to rid myself of the damaged items that could not be kept, and move on. 


I cannot tell this story without mentioning the love and support that I have received. Danielle stepped right up and basically took over my life, answering questions, receiving phone calls, and managing donations. I don’t know how she could handle it all. 


Once my LuLaRoe consultant friends found out what had happened, they contacted other consultants that they know, and by Saturday I had a whole new wardrobe being built. I HAD CLOTHES!!!!



After seeing the response from my LuLaRoe community, and after talking to some key people in my life, I decided to go forth with my LuLaRoe business. I decided that I wasn’t going to let the fire hold me back. I was going to continue my life as planned, and start a new business venture. Now I just had to wait for LuLaRoe Onboarding to call me back. 

Also, I had to start school on Monday. I had to be there for my students. I needed them in my life, now more than ever. I spent most of the day on Saturday on campus, preparing things. I had missed work on Thursday and Friday, so I had quite a bit to get done. Luckily, an amazing lady, Lisa, came up and helped me with my classroom!

The first day of school came, and I was in full work mode. I didn’t have time to think about my problems. These kids needed me. And I needed them. 

I am glad I went back to work on Monday. Connecting with my students had a sort of healing power that helped me in a way that I cannot describe.

I am overwhelmed at the support I have received in the past week. 

Danielle had created a GoFundMe account, and I still can’t believe how many people have donated. It warms my heart to know that I have financial support to redefine normal and rebuild my life. 

Renter’s insurance, y’all. Get renter’s insurance. And the right amount to TRULY cover your belongings. I now realize that my policy basically just covered my book collection…but at least I had insurance!

Thanks to friends, family, and friends of friends (of friends, too)…my Converse collection is being restocked, my flamingo collection is beginning again, my Alice in Wonderland book collection has restarted, and my personal library is being rebuilt as well. 

The booster club at my school has raised money for me, allowing me to go this weekend to buy new furniture for my apartment, among other things. The support I have received is incredible and unbelievable!

Most importantly, this is not the end. It is a new beginning. Everything that is in my new home will have a story and will be there because someone loves me and supports me. 

LuLaRoe Onboarding called after work on Tuesday. I pulled over, took the call, and became an Independent Fashion Consultant for LuLaRoe. I am so excited for this journey ahead. I am proud to be a part of a company and a support system of ladies that have helped me through this trial in my life. And let’s be honest, I can’t wait to share these comfortable clothes with everyone! Plus, a little extra income right now would definitely be useful as I try to rebuild. Shameless plug: Go ahead and “like” my business page on Facebook! LuLaRoe Chloe Palethorpe

And now for the name sake of this post…Just Like Fire. 

This song came out with Alice Through the Looking Glass in May of 2016. I fell in love as soon as I heard it. I have been jamming to this song ever since I first heard it. And now I listen to it all the time. 

This part of the chorus speaks to my soul:

“Just like fire, burning out the way
If I can light the world up for just one day
Watch this madness, colorful charade
No one can be just like me any way”

I am going to let this fire define me. It is part of my life. It changed my life. I will now burn my own new pathway through life, lighting up the world, even if for just one day. No one can be just like me. 


I still have moments. 

I was driving home from work on Monday, listening to the radio, and I heard a song come on. I remembered that I have a really cool mashup of that song, and then I remembered that it was on my iPod, and then I remembered that my iPod is gone, and then I started thinking of all of the other things that are gone. I had to pull over to cry before I could finish driving home. 

Last year, my class read an adapted version of the book Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. I read the full version before we read the book in class. There’s a character named Aunt Elinor. She is a crabby old lady who lives by herself, and every room of her house is filled with books. And she has a library that has her most special books inside. Elinor left her home to help her niece find her father, who had been taken by Capricorn. When Elinor returned, she found that Capricorn’s men had burned down her house and destroyed all of her books. As I think of the hours I spent standing outside, watching my house burn and knowing that my books would not be spared, I feel connected to Aunt Elinor, as she stood and mourned the loss of her precious books that defined her life. 

I still have thoughts along the lines of “if only Pizza Hut had had my order ready on time…I could have been home.” I tend to think that I would have been able to save more things. I could have thrown things off of my 3rd floor balcony, down into the grass, and then I could have been able to save more of my scrapbooks, my books, my quilts…but people keep telling me that “at least I’m safe” and I don’t know that it would have worked out that way. 

I know they are right. But I can’t help but have these thoughts. 

One week ago I watched my apartment burn. I have seen a lot of positivity since that dreadful night. 


I am forever grateful for the first responders that were there that night. I found out shortly after the fire that my friend Madeline was one of them. She went in towards the end to put out hot spots on the 3rd floor (my floor). About 8 months after the fire, I found out that a friend from high school, Matt, was in my apartment that day putting out the fire. It truly is a small world. These people put their life in danger to save others, and I am eternally grateful for their service. 

Life is unexpectedly incredible. 


Filed under Happenings

DIY Organizer

Check this ouuutttt!!!! I took empty formula containers and made them into organizers!

Formula Cans

I’m currently in Romania visiting my best friend – she works at an orphanage as a psychopedagogue (educational psychologist) and I get to go to work with her…which, for me, consists of playing with children while she does all the work work!!! And I also got to help her move her office into a different room and reorganize along the way.

She had saved these formula cans for me because she knew I would do SOMETHING with them…so I did! 

There’s a video at the end if something doesn’t make sense…enjoy!

Here’s what you need to do this:



  • Empty formula cans (or something similar)
  • Towel
  • Duck tape
  • Glue Gun
  • Scissors – optional, but I use them because you get a cleaner finish on the tape instead of tearing it. 

Ok, so first you have to take off the labels!


Then you gotta rinse those little things…well, you can wash them with soap, but I just rinsed them out well. 

Now, time to dry them! Dry them WELL!!


And now you should have a good little collection…


Now, pick your tape and START TAPING!!


I found it easiest to put between my knees and line it up with the bottom, then take it around. Then do another layer on the other part, making sure to line it up against the lip of the container. 



Now, lay them out how you want them to be glued, and get out that hot glue gun!!


Can you see the clear/white line of hot glue between them?? That’s right where you glue it. Wherever the cans touch, add glue. I just did it on the taped part, not on the lip/edge. That way, you don’t see the glue when you look straight at it. 

I found it easiest to set flat on the table and glue it, that way you can ensure that it’s straight.

If that doesn’t make sense, then watch the video at the bottom. If you just want to watch the video at the bottom, then watch the video at the bottom. 

Check them out! I even make some baby ones. 

Here is the video that shows more of the process and better explains the gluing!

Now, go forth and create!!!

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Filed under Crafts

LuLaRoe Lovin’

In February 2016, I discovered a brand of clothing called LuLaRoe (LLR)…and quickly fell in love. 

Now, I’m the kind of girl who will buy things only if they are on sale or clearance, usually, so…

At first I was like “these are kinda expensive…” 

But now I’m like “these are absolutely worth it…”

Here’s the LuLaRoe website…

But here’s the thing, you can’t buy it directly from the website, and they don’t have a storefront. You have to buy it from consultants. They mostly sell them through Facebook groups and through in-person “pop-ups”, where you invite friends and y’all shop together. 

Also, each consultant has different things, so I’m in probably 100 LuLaRoe consultant groups on Facebook. There are a limited number of styles, and there are various fun prints in each style…the consultants order the styles and sizes from the warehouse that they want to sell, and they don’t know what prints they are going to get…surprise! So you have to keep your eye out in many groups!!

styles and prints

Now, I have a LOT of LuLaRoe…but not as much as I want, of course! I have started to wear it to work every single day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I’m a high school life skills special education teacher and I move a lot…and these clothes are so comfortable and stretchy!

Here’s what I suggest…

  1. Go go
  2. Click on “Schedule a pop boutique”
  3. Search your ZIP code on the map at the bottom
  4. Look at the pink pins on the map and choose a consultant in your area. Contact her, go there, and try on clothes to get your sizes in all of the styles. You might have to find more than one because they don’t all have the same styles. YOU WILL LOVE THEM!!! You might end up buying some then and there!
  5. Time to join Facebook groups! A great starting point is Alissa Donnell’s page. Her link is and it’s called LuLaRoe Alissa aka Mrs. Fancy Pants.
  6. Check out when she is posting her next round of clothes, and get something for yourself! Her page will explain how it all works once you get there. 
  7. Once your addiction begins, you will find yourself in a ton of LuLaRoe groups on Facebook, on the hunt for that one print that you MUST have. 

When I went to the consultant to try things on, she gave me a sizing sheet that I keep and fill out as I try things on. Most people can fit multiple sizes!

If there isn’t a consultant in your area, I will tell you that every consultant I have come across on Facebook has been GREAT at helping me figure out my size in a style I haven’t tried yet. 


Alright, time to show off. 

The clothes are named after people, by the way. 

Okay, Alissa sent me some LuLaRoe clothes for free so I would write an honest review, and here it is!

I picked out 2 items I knew I would love, and she sent me one that I’d never tried before to see how I liked it. 

First, I chose the Maxi skirt. I already had 2, so I knew I would love it. 

Then, I chose a Cassie. It’s a pencil skirt that I thought I would never love, but I already had 3 and loved them, so I chose that!

Then, she surprised me with a Lindsay! I had always been afraid to try it, and so she sent me one! She said “I added the Lindsay because I love her but she does not get the love she deserves – hopeful you love!” And she was right…I fell in love immediately!

I wear a 2XL Maxi. I wear a 2XL Cassie. I can fit the XL in both, but they are just tighter and I prefer them a bit looser. I wear a Medium in Lindsay.

Here are pics of it all. The Lindsay! As soon as I opened the package, I HAD to try it on. The Lindsay is the blue one that I’m wearing. I was already wearing LuLaRoe leggings and a LLR Perfect Tee, so I added the Lindsay right on top before I even took off the tag – It was perfection! I tried to tie it, which looked great from the front and back, but not so great from the side. But it’s an option. I love this new piece!!

Alright, here is the gray Maxi skirt WITH the blue Lindsay!! So comfortable. In these, I am wearing a LLR Maxi skirt, LLR leggings, a LLR Lindsay, and a shirt from Old Navy. So comfortable all around!! 

Oh, also. If you go to and search “LuLaRoe Maxi skirt” you will find video of MANY different ways to wear your Maxi. As a shirt, as a dress, as a cover-up, and so much more. DOOOOOOO IT. 

Now, that Cassie skirt I mentioned. When I saw that LLR had a pencil skirt, I was skeptical. I don’t like to walk around with my legs glued together. But, LLR’s Cassie skirts are suuuper stretchy and sooo comfortable!!! Check out this adorable skirt! In these pictures, I am wearing a LLR cassie skirt, LLR leggings, and a shirt with a Halftee under it. And I’ve got the LLR Lindsay on in one of the pics. 

I think this video might help you realize how much I love LLR’s Cassie skirts. 

In case you didn’t watch that video…you should know that it’s important to hang dry all of your LLR. Machine wash, hang dry. 

Alright, Alissa was smart to do this deal where I get LLR in exchange for an honest review…because, honestly, THESE ARE AMAZING AND YOU NEED THEM IN YOUR LIFE. 

I was doing stuff around the house and I got a little bit cold, so I put on my Lindsay and it was so comfortable just to lounge around in, too!

I wear the Lindsay with so many outfits…here it is with an Old Navy t-shirt, a LLR Cassie skirt, and LLR leggings. I love LuLaRoe. So versatile. 

I like how the Lindsay is light, so I can carry it around with me easily in case I get cold. 

Here I am in Romania enjoying langoși cu telemea și marar, wearing a LLR Cassie skirt, LLR leggings, LLR Perfect Tee, and LLR Lindsay. 


I am definitely LuLaRoe Lovin’.

Click here to get to Alissa’s LuLaRoe page and to get your LLR collection started – you won’t regret it!



Filed under Fashion

No Need to Dust

I was raised in a busy household with 7 children, a cat, and a bird. And always someone’s friends. There was always something to, and someone to do it with. 

In this pic, I’m on the lawn, playing Build-A-Bear with my little sister. 

Notice the alien in the attic window? Within the first few years of living there, my mom put it up there for Halloween…and never took it down. 

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Now, I live in an apartment on my own. I always thought I wouldn’t want that, but now I do and I love it. However, there is something that I am just now realizing… 

Until I lived on my own, I never had to dust. Now I have to dust! Look at all this dust!

While trying to figure out why this never happened growing up, I was thinking “maybe mom just did it all…?”

But who am I kidding. The mom who bragged that “I haven’t mopped my floor in 10 years” (because it was always something the kids did…usually me) would not choose to dust. 

I even asked my mom if she dusted when we were younger…she said there was no need, because we never had any dust in the first place. 

So then I thought some more, and I think I figured it out. 

You see, in our house, nothing had ever been still long enough to collect dust! Every surface was climbed on, played on, or used in some other way. 

No room was off limits. We could play and go anywhere in the house. Well, with the exception of the siblings yelling “STAY OUT OF MY ROOM!”

Even outside…one time I called my mom while I was in college. She was looking out the kitchen window, watching the kids rig up a zip line from the roof of the garage down to the trampoline…using yarn…and a belt as a harness…and she just wanted to see if they could figure it out. We were encouraged to experiment, but I thought that was taking it too far! She didn’t, though…and hey, they were fine!

From looking though old pictures, I found several pictures of kids sitting on the kitchen table, coffee table, or kitchen counter…which is something that I have since learned is indeed frowned upon in most households. 

This was a common way to get down the stairs…

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The kitchen table was okay to be on…


Same kid on the table, just a few years later…this was actually mom’s birthday…Brigdon got her a can of soup…from our pantry…he wrapped it up in printer paper and everything. He was so proud, and she was so grateful. It was precious. 

And that fire extinguisher? We had it as a joke for when she blew out her candles. 

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It was even okay for mom to be on the kitchen table!

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Even I sat on the kitchen counters (this was on Wacky Tacky day in high school…though it isn’t far from my usual attire)…


The coffee table was often just another thing to sit on…sometimes even stand on if we had a performance in the works!

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We would often catch the two youngest troublemakers on top of the entertainment center…not allowed, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen often. 

Moral of the story: There was no need to dust. 

And hey, we turned out alright! This is us kids and mom from Thanksgiving 2015.





Filed under Family, Thoughts

The Best Money Saving Apps

final collageI have recently come across some money-saving apps and after just a few weeks I have already earned and redeemed a $25 Amazon gift card and a $5 Target gift card, and am on my way to more!

Here are the apps I use to save money!

If you download them, please use my referral code and I will get extra money, too!

First I’ll do a short version, then I’ll go into a longer version for those who want more details…

  1. Ibotta
    Basically, you find rebates through the app and get cash back for things you buy. You can withdraw your money into Paypal or a gift card when you have a certain amount. My referral code is ekiudqk (I’ll get $5 when you redeem your first rebate). 
  2. Shopkick
    Basically, you earn “kicks” by walking into stores, scanning specific products, and buying certain products. You can redeem your kicks for gift cards that you must use the same day you click “redeem.” OR you can redeem them for cool items!On your phone, click on (I’ll get 50% of your kicks for the first 2 weeks). 
  3.  Checkout 51
    Basically, you find rebates through the app and get cash back for things you buy. When your balance reaches at least $20, you can “Cash Out” and they will mail you a check. Snail mail, yes, but it’s $20 so that’s fine!
  4. Find & Save
    Basically, you can get cash back by spending money at stores you’re going to go to anyway. When your balance reaches at least $25, they transfer the money to you through PayPal.
    My referral code is K9ZG (I’ll get $3 when you redeem an offer!)
  5. MyPoints
    Ok, technically not an app. It’s through email.Basically, you click on emails to get points. You can redeem your points for gift cards.
    It’s not all emails. You can get points for shopping online, buying gift cards, taking surveys, watching videos, searching the web, and more. My mom did it when I was younger and I signed up as soon as I turned 18. I’ve gotten so many gift cards from them!
    I have to email referrals individually, so if you know me and you want to sign up, let me know and I’ll email you my referral code!

And that sums it up…


Now, if you want more details…read on for a longer version.

  1. Ibotta
    There’s a ton of “any brand” rebates, which are the best. It’s on things like any brand of: cereal, milk, tomatoes, bread, eggs, bananas, and more. It’s also got specific items such as Cheerios, Kid Cuisine, Stouffer’s Entrees, Kleenex, Progresso Soup, Glade Aerosol cans, Krusteaz Cookie Mix, Windex, and A TON MORE!!
    Is this starting to sound like stuff you’re going to buy anyway?
    Well, it is!
    So you might as well get cash back for buying it, right?!
    There’s also some stuff on there I’d never buy, but that’s okay. After you’ve chosen the store you’re at, you’ll choose your item…IMG_0824

    Then you’ll tap whatever item you want to “unlock”…


    You will then see a fact, a “getting acquainted” question, a short video, a recipe, or something like that. 

    Click tap on unlock, and it’s ready to be used!

    Then you can shop as usual. When you get home (or to the car!), you’ll tap “Verify Purchases” and you’ll choose where you shopped and scan the barcode on the items you bought (if applicable….for example, bananas don’t have  a barcode sometimes), then submit your receipt by taking a picture of it through the app.

    You’ll get the cash deposited into your Ibotta account within 48 hours…mine has usually taken less than 12 hours!

    When you have the minimum balance, you can withdraw your cash! I love Amazon, so I was saving up for the Amazon gift card. 

    The gift card options are Best Buy,, Starbucks, Sephora, Walmart, Express, Regal, and iTunes. They might add more over time, but as of when I wrote this post, those were the options. 

    I chose the Amazon card, they emailed me the redemption code, and I bought a new book for my Alice in Wonderland collection!

    Now, get Ibotta and don’t forget to use my referral code: ekiudqk

  2. Shopkick
    There are so many stores you can get kicks for just walking into! Sometimes you can just drive by near the entrance and it will register that you are there, then you can go along your merry way.

    Also, you can scan products. It will list products, tell you how many kicks per scan, and sometimes you can get additional kicks for purchasing that item. It’s stuff I’m personally not interested in buying, but obviously someone would.The items that there are to scan are usually the same or similar at multiple stores, and I’m scanning them each time I go, so after the first time it is faster because I know exactly where the items are and don’t have to spend time searching.

    You tap on the store you are at. Target this time for me. When you walk in, you open the app. It says you need to have Bluetooth on, but I’ve done it both with and without Bluetooth on, so I don’t know why it says that.

    Anyway, when you walk in, that blue circle will pop up. Tap it and you get your kicks!

    Then it will show that you can get “0” for walk ins. Don’t worry, you can get some next time. Unless you go way often, like I do.


    But don’t worry, you can still scan stuff!

    Here’s a screenshot of when I was scanning at Walgreens.


    You tap the item, a scanner pops up, and you scan the barcode!

    Now, let’s talk about getting kicks for spending money.


    First, the “Purchases” section. I use this all the time. You enter your card info and they track the purchases and give you points for how much money you spend. In most cases, you can get 1 kick per $2 spent, but some places are 1 kick per $1.

    In the screenshot below, all I did was have my card connected to Shopkick, spend money at Target (1 kick per $2), and go on with my life. Not much later, I got this notification. And BOOM, I’m 20 kicks closer to a gift card. Win!


    I connected both of the cards that I use most often, to be sure I am getting rewards for purchases, no matter which card I use.

    If you’re not comfortable connecting your card to this app, then simply don’t. You can still earn kicks with walk ins, scans, and submitting receipts, which we’ll come to next…..

    Now, the “Receipts” section. I haven’t used this one yet. If you buy an item that has a “KickBate,” then you get however many kicks it lists.

    In the following screenshot, you can see that I can scan Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blank and get 25 kicks. If I buy it and submit my receipt, I’ll get 150 kicks.

    You’ll see that The Dreaming Tree wine has a grayed out scan…because I already did it. However, the whole section isn’t grayed out because I can still get a KickBate if I buy it and submit my receipt.

    You’ll also see that the Straight Talk Wireless Phone On Display is all grayed out because I scanned it and there is no KickBate, so I’ve done all I can with it.


    If you scan an item at one store, sometimes it will let you scan it at another store and sometimes it won’t. Sometimes it will open up a few days later, too. Just check on it.

    Ready to redeem your kicks?
    Choose your reward! For my first one, I chose a $5 Target gift card.



    Tap “Redeem”…then it will tell you that once kicks are redeemed, it’s final. Tap okay, and you’ll immediately get a code for the cashier to scan! I whited stuff out on mine to post….


    When it’s time to pay, tell the cashier you have a gift card, show them the barcode on your phone, they’ll scan it, then tap on “Mark as used”….you just used a reward! Woo hoo!

    Check it out!


    Remember when I mentioned items? Yep. Items. Check out these options! I’m working towards the red camera now!


    It’ll take me a long time to get there, but the Sony Cybershot I have right now is about 10 years old and is on the end of it’s life…so, I’m saving my kicks for a new one!

    Now go get kicks and redeem them for gift cards or items!!


  3. Checkout 51
    Similar to Ibotta in some ways…they put rebates on their app, you buy them, and redeem for cash!You can “Star” the items you want to purchase, that way they are easy to access.

    IMG_0865After you buy them, you upload your receipt.


    Then you select which items you bought.


    Then, it credits your account and notifies you when it’s finalized!


    It even works for things you buy online! See the area I boxed and starred below.


    I haven’t redeemed enough rebates to get my cash back yet, but I’m almost halfway there! When your balance reaches $20, you can request your check…snail mail…but it will get to you!


    Now, go enjoy Checkout 51!

  4. Find & Save
    If you download this one, please use my referral code – K9ZGThis one is a bit different…you just spend money at certain stores and you get a certain amount of money back. They include stores such as Best Buy, Family Dollar, Claire’s, Target, Walgreens, DSW, Lowe’s, ALDI, Ulta, Kroger, Advance Auto Parts, and more! Sometimes you get a small percentage back, sometimes it’s a few dollars back. Either way – cash back! 


    You simply shop and then tap on the store you shopped at.


    Tap “Add Receipt” and take pictures of your receipt – super easy. Then you’ll get an email saying that it was received!


    On this one, you get your money back through PayPal…see the bottom of the screenshot below:


    Now, go Find & Save as much as you can!

  5. MyPoints
    I have to email referrals individually, so if you know me and you want to sign up, let me know and I’ll email you my referral code!MyPoints is something amazing I have been doing for a long time.
    I’ve been a member of MyPoints since September 2007 and check this out:

    I’ve redeemed $325 in gift cards simply for clicking and shopping.

    Here’s how this one works:
    You will get emails.
    MyPoints Emails
    You click on the emails and you can get points for simply going to a webpage.

    Check that out. Just for clicking “Get Points” you will get 5 points. And if you go further and request a quote (which I did), you will get 100 more points.

    There are many other ways to get points. There are 6 listed below!


    Now, I’ll tell you a bit more about the top 3 of those…

    Surveys are easy – if you have time, go through the whole survey and get all the points. If you don’t have time, don’t let yourself qualify! Just say you are 5 years old or something, and it will still give you 5 points for trying!


    You can also print coupons and redeem them at the store. I’ve never used that, but it’s an option.

    Another way to earn points is searching. You can get up to 100 points for searching!


    Here’s what I do…I type in a letter and click “Search & Earn” 41 times in a row. Boom. 100 points. You can do this once a month. Easy!


    You can also get points by purchasing things online, and even for purchasing gift cards! I use that one. I’ll get a TON of points for purchasing gift cards to places that I know I’m going to spend money anyway – and I get points for it!

    Also, watching videos on their website can get you points. You get 1 point for every video you watch, up to 75 videos each day. It used to be that you could start the video, mute it, and go on with your life doing other things on the computer, going back to click on a new video every few minutes, and rack up points that way.
    Now they’ve got it set up where the video pauses when you navigate away from the video. SO, just start a video, mute it, and go on doing other things around your house, leaving the video up and running, and come back to change it every few minutes.
    Or, you know, sit and enjoy the videos…

    Now, let’s talk about redeeming your points. I like to get Amazon gift cards. They also have Banana Republic, AMC, American Eagle, Barnes and Noble, Chili’s Bath and Body Works, GAP, Game Stop, Jack in the Box, Olive Garden, Nike, Target, Starbucks, Walmart, and SO MANY MORE!!!!!!!!!

I know this is a ton of information about these 5 amazing ways to save money. Seriously – do at least one of them!
If you have any questions, let me know, and don’t forget to use my referral codes!

You can also check out my five-dollar savings plan by clicking here!

final collage

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