Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Perfect Bible for Kids

There are a lot of great Bible for kids out there with different themes that cater to different ages. Usually, when I buy Bibles to give or for our own kids, I have several guidelines. Guidelines such as: are the context too small to read for children, are there any colorful and attractive to keep them engaged, are there special features like memory verse, and lastly, the understandability of the Bible.

The understandability of the Bible is the most important feature. While there are several versions of the Bible, we need to choose a Bible that conveys the word of God and allows them to fully soak the power of his message through reading His Word with enthusiasm. Imagine a kid reading a King James version?

According to Bible Gateway, the New International Version (NIV) is a "completely original translation of the Bible developed by more than one hundred scholars working from the best available Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts" (Version Information, para. 1, n.d.). In my humble opinion, I prefer NIV because of its readability and understandability.

With over 9 million copies sold, the Adventure Bible brand is beloved by Christian schools, churches, and families alike. Now, the #1 Bible for kids, including all of the trusted essentials loved by parents, is available in an exciting polar exploration theme! Ready for a frosty Adventure? Embark on a fun, exciting trek through God’s Word with the NIV Adventure Bible, now in an all-new polar exploration theme! While on this arctic adventure, readers meet all types of people, see all sorts of places, and learn all kinds of facts about the Bible.

 And most importantly you’ll grow closer in your relationship with God.

 Features of the NIV Adventure Bible, Polar Exploration Edition include:
• The same trusted Adventure Bible content in a frosty new theme.
• Full-color images of polar animals, arctic outposts, and icy landscapes throughout make learning about the Bible even more engaging
• Life in Bible Times—Articles and illustrations describe what life was like in ancient days
• Words to Treasure—Highlights great verses to memorize
• Did You Know?—Interesting facts help you understand God’s Word and the life of faith
• People in Bible Times—Articles offer close-up looks at amazing people of the Bible
• Live It!—Hands-on activities help you apply biblical truths to your life
• Twenty polar-themed pages focus on topics such as how to know you are a Christian, famous people of the Bible, highlights of the life of Jesus, and how to pray
• Book introductions feature arctic art and important information about each book of the Bible • Dictionary/concordance for looking up tricky words
• Color map section to help locate places in the Bible • Complete text of the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible
• A thrilling new glacial cover on metallic paper.

What's my favorite feature? That is very hard but if I were to choose, I love the "Did You Know" section as it adds more insightful information to a young kid, the "Live it" section as it an application, and the "themed pages" such as the feature on ten commandments, how to know you are a Christian , and the famous people of the Bible to name a few.

If you will ask me, it is a perfect gift for kids who are ready for chapter books and this is a great nightly family devotional too.

About the Bible:
Age Range: 8 - 12 years
Grade Level: 3 - 7
Series: Adventure Bible
Hardcover: 1472 pages
Publisher: Zonderkidz )
Retail price: 29.99
Amazon Price:19.49
Can Purchase HERE as well and it includes several resources.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. The winner is subject to eligibility verification.

To win a copy of this awesome Bible, follow me on INSTAGRAM!

Bible Winner!

Gavin Toledano
603 Hampshire Lane
Bolingbrook, IL 60440

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Bible Gateway (n.d.). "Version Information". Retrieved from https://www.biblegateway.com/versions/New-International-Version-NIV-Bible/

Friday, November 23, 2018

Saving Money

     For decades, people worked toward retirement. They scrimped and saved and sacrificed things they wanted in their youth for the promise and security of a retirement that was comfortable and full of all the things life promises us. Unfortunately, those hay days didn’t last long, and the reality of retirement is much less ambition these days. Many seniors are working well past 65 years of age and some are even 75 or 80 years old holding down some form of employment.

     For some, a job is a way to stay active and interact with people, but for so many more, it is about survival. “Save your money for a rainy day” isn’t just something your mother said to keep you from spending that money that was burning a hole in your pocket - it’s a way of life. And you can start at any age. Here are five ways to save money for a rainy day so that you never find yourself without even a little money.

Pretend You’re a Squirrel

 Whether it’s one dollar or one hundred dollars. If all you can muster is a few dollars or some spare change, put it in an account or a dish on your dresser. For seniors, a few dollars here and there can make all the difference in their grocery bills. But you don’t have to be well into retirement to save your change: starting to save money at any age is a good thing. Don’t tell yourself it’s too late or you won’t be able to save enough. Stash something away a little at a time and you’ll be glad you did.

Don’t keep it All Bottled Up

In some areas, you can return plastic bottles for money. If you drink a lot of bottled beverages or use tetra packs for juice or almond milk, you can return them for a few cents each. Now, a few cents might not sound like a good way to save money, but if you add that money up all year, year over year, you’ll end up with quite the little nest egg. A large bag of plastic bottles will yield between $10-$15 per bag depending on the return rate in your area, but imagine if you got that money just for returning bottles to the recycling depot month over month. That would surely add up. As a senior, if you have a CDPAP program in place, you can get help to run your errands and ensure your monthly expenses are paid on time.
Let it Go
Just like the song says, “Let it Go!” Don’t hang on to things just for the sake of hanging on to them. Instead of letting your stuff collect dust, you could be collecting some money for them. Old movies, records, housewares, and even clothes are all worth a few dollars each and if you had someone help you organize a yard sale, you could put a little something away for a rainy day. Most yard sales bring in a hundred dollars, especially if you have some old furniture you can sell. People have a tendency to hang on to their belongings but if they’d be better served with someone else, it might be worth it to cash in on what you’re hanging on to.

Invest Like the Rest

Many people think you need thousands of dollars to start investing for retirement; but with just a handful of dollar bills and a good financial advisor, you can make your money work for you. Some people invest as little as $25 a month. While it can take time to see some return on your investment, you can at least rest easy knowing that you are stashing away that $25 or more each month and it will be there when you need it later. You don’t need to put away a lot of money to benefit from it later.

Buy Gift Cards

If you know you’ll spend your cash, get into the habit of buying gift cards that you can use later. This is a great way to save money for Christmas or birthdays. If you have some extra money, use it to buy gift cards that you can give as gifts or spend yourself later. This is also a great way to buy groceries or gasoline for your car. Most gift card companies have lifted the expiration dates on gift cards so you can hang on to them for years, as long as the company doesn’t go out of business. So pick up a $10 grocery card next time you are shopping and put it in a drawer at home for a rainy day. Little by little, it all adds up. So whether you are 16 or 66 years old, you are never too old or too young to start saving money.

About the Author:

Kristen Heller: Kristen is a passionate writer, teacher, and mother to a wonderful son. When free time presents itself you can find her tackling her lifelong goal of learning the piano!

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Friday, November 16, 2018

The Greatest Showman: Reimagined

I can't even begin to tell you how many times our family had watched The Greatest Showman. It made us laugh, cry, and realized how family matters the most. It is a great reminder not only about the importance of family, acceptance, and inclusion but it was a sweet marriage reminder - to stick together no matter what.

We love all the cast and the soundtrack!! We do listen to it on Spotify every single day (thanks to our youngest daughter Lily)..that's no exaggeration! If you haven't met a first grader who is totally obsessed with the soundtrack-- meet our sweet Lily.  I equally love singing with and watching her sing and dance. She knows all the lyrics by heart. This girl even asked for a The Greatest Showman theme for her 7th part next year! (Which I will be happy to give).

I am truly thankful and excited to review and listen to the album "The Greatest Showman: Reimagined."

The album is available today!

About the Album:
(Atlantic Records)

 "The Greatest Showman - Reimagined"" sees songs from the film, all written by GRAMMY®, Tony, and Academy Award-winning duo Benj Pasek & Justin Paul (La La Land, Dear Evan Hansen) covered by a remarkable cast of artists. The album is highlighted by a new version of the 3x platinum certified smash, "This Is Me," performed by Keala Settle, Kesha and the legendary Missy Elliott. Other superstars contributing include Panic! At The Disco, P!nk (and her daughter, Willow Sage Hart), Kelly Clarkson, Sara Bareilles, Years & Years and Jess Glynne, MAX and Ty Dolla $ign, James Arthur and Anne-Marie, Zac Brown Band among others. As if that weren't enough, the album will include four bonus tracks, performed by Pentatonix, Craig David, Kesha, and Zendaya.

Track List:

  1.  The Greatest Show – Panic! At The Disco A Million Dreams 
  2.  P!nk A Million Dreams (Reprise) – Willow Sage Hart 
  3. Come Alive – Years & Years and Jess Glynne 
  4. The Other Side – MAX and Ty Dolla $ign 
  5. Never Enough – Kelly Clarkson 
  6. This Is Me (The Reimagined Remix) –Keala Settle, Kesha and Missy Elliott
  7.  Rewrite The Stars – James Arthur and Anne-Marie 
  8. Tightrope – Sara Bareilles 
  9. From Now On – Zac Brown Band 
  10. BONUS: The Greatest Show – Pentatonix 
  11. Come Alive - Craig David 
  12. This Is Me - Kesha 

 The Greatest Showman - Sing-A-Long - Available Now Hugh Jackman's dazzling performance as P.T. Barnum in this musical based on the creation of the Barnum & Bailey Circus has fans buzzing. Now everyone can sing along! “The Greatest Showman Sing-A-Long” is a deluxe edition of the bestselling soundtrack is presented as a hardback CD book, with a 32-page booklet containing all song lyrics from the film, as well as a bonus disc of instrumental sing-a-long tracks giving fans the chance to be the stars of their favorite songs.

I just love all the line-up of singers!! Grab your copy and have a sing-along , rock-out party with your family!

Here are Lily and I singing, This is Me (My favorite!). Speaking of This is me, have you seen the You tube video of Keala Settle singing the "This is me" live? Goosebumps and I cried. It is so beautiful! Visit my Instagram Stories of Lily singing her favorite "A Million Dreams" while we are on a road trip!

I've been asked what my most favorite song is from the soundtrack? It is so hard, they are all so good! But if I were to choose my top 3:

This is Me- because it reminds me to be brave regardless of how unique we are or how we perceived ourselves.

Tightrope- because it reminds me that no matter how tough life can be if my husband and I are in it together, it will always be worth it.

A Million Dreams- Well, does hopes and dreams doesn't keep you awake sometimes?

Here's a video of Pink with her daughter, Willow Sage Hart. It will melt your heart!

Don't forget to grab your copy of The Greatest Showman: REIMAGINED.

It will not disappoint.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Atlantic Records but all opinions are my own

Thursday, November 15, 2018

10 Effective Ways to Build Your Email List

If you haven't built your email list yet and just starting, be assured that this task is not overwhelming when you have the right tools. While there are a lot of marketing platforms or ways to connect with your target audience, email marketing delivers effective results. If you plan on monetizing your blog or have a blog on top of a shop, an email list will boost your conversion rate.

As for me, I do love sending a monthly newsletter. Truth be told as a consumer myself. I do not want spamming even no matter how much I love a company. Once a month newsletter gives me the opportunity to connect with my readers. However, if I have a product that I am passionate about, such as the Ultimate Bundles, I do send once a week and maybe twice a week reminder most especially if a bundle is available for a limited time only.

Do you really need an email list even if you know that your social media platform will get high interaction? The answer, undoubtedly is YES! Facebook or Instagram are great tools for small business owners, bloggers, famous brands, and entrepreneurs. BUT, you need to have your own platform. Algorithm's are always tweaked! It can be frustrating when your post or content is not seen. However, building your own email list gives you a chance to develop relationship, loyalty, and connection. Revenue is also promising through your email list.

Now, are you ready? There are easy and effective ways to build your email list even if you are a new blogger!

1. Constant Contact 's Sign-up Forms

Constant contact had been in the email marketing business for 20 years. In fact 9 years ago when I used to work for a wholesale and retail fashion jewelry company, we used Constant Contact as our email marketing platform. It delivered revenues. Seventy-five percent of orders came from our newsletter featuring our new products. It also became our platform for announcing our trade-show events. Even though we mailed post cards with our upcoming trade show events, the email newsletter was an automatic reminder for customers.

You can build your email list by creating a sign-up form in your blog. I signed up for a free trial because the ease of use is very important for me. I do not want to figure out a bunch of new terminologies and complicated steps just to make a newsletter. NOBODY's got time for that.

From what I remember with their interface before, I can truly say that Constant Contact's features upgraded for the better. It is user-friendly (thank goodness!) and I love all the templates. They are stylish and professional looking. I was able to do a newsletter under  15 minutes. It actually took me more time to figure out which blog post should I feature.

They have a drag and drop feature and my favorite part is their technical support. I called to ask a few questions and to see how knowledgeable, helpful, and friendly they are --- because this is crucial too, right? I am very pleased and impressed. I also find the integration very helpful! I planned on transforming a portion of the blog to a store someday and it was neat to see that they integrate with Shopify.

Speaking of integration, do you see the Facebook sign-up form? You can also collect and capture emails through your Facebook page. Since I am using a different email marketing company and based on what I have seen (experienced) so far, I will be making the switch.

Grow your business with the leader in Email Marketing. Sign up for free 60-day trial of Constant Contact.

Why don't you try it for yourself and do share your experience with Constant Contact.

2. Facebook (Blogging) Groups

I am an admin of a Facebook group, Bloggers Social Media Support Group. Facebook blogging groups emerged as a support and reciprocation platform. It is hard to keep up with the changing algorithm's and with hundreds and hundreds of blogs out there, how do you stand out?

Usually, Facebook blogging group will offer support such as if you have any questions or help with the technical side of Wordpress or Blogger or any blogging related questions. Some groups offer threads, such as Blog Subscribe thread wherein bloggers help each other grow their email list.

3. Offer freebies (Ebook or printables)

Going back to sign-up forms, you can offer a hard to decline ebook, printables, or even training depending on your niche. Some bloggers embed sign-up forms on different blog post not just on their homepage as a pop-up form.

4. Training Class

Most of the bloggers that I follow and admire offer free classes or training. Some are blogging related  courses some are for personal development purposes. Leverage on those opt-ins!

5. Host a giveaway

You can host your own giveaway or sign-up to be a product reviewer that offers another product for giveaway. You can opt for email sign-up as an entry.

6. Call-to-Action

Have a Call-to-Action button on your Facebook page. As I have mentioned above, you can link your call-to-action landing page that will require an email address to access your resources.

7. Other platforms

I'm sure you have heard how audience interaction is important on Instagram. If you have a wide and active audience, be creative and authentic on a post that will encourage your readers to sign-up on your email subscription. Make sure that your profile on Instagram has your website link too! Pinterest is also a effective and great tool. My page visits increased significantly because of Pinterest. You can create well-designed graphics for the resources and ebooks that you are offering. You will be amazed with the leads generated by Pinterest.

8. Link Parties or Blog Hops

While Facebook blogging groups are famous nowadays, do not forget that hosting a link-up or a linky party is still effective. In my opinion, it is more intimate and you will be building authentic relationship with other bloggers. Offer an email reminder sign-up for when the party is live.

8. Guest Post

Build relationship with other bloggers by offering to guest post. It does not only expand your audience and reach but you can also include a call-to-action or include your blog website by the author byline.

9. Webinars

Offer a webinar that will benefit your audience. The webinar will require an email address for registration and reminder.

10. Facebook Ads

As with Facebook Ads, you can select your target audience. Start by creating an effective graphic or image with your email URL. I'm sure you have also seen ads that are sponsored that has a sign-up option. For a little as $5, you will be able to build your email list!

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Design professional-looking emails in minutes with Constant Contact. Sign up for a free 60-day trial today.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Top 10 Worship Songs for Kids

I used to be a Sunday school teacher and one of the favorite things I love to do with the kids is the worship time. I love seeing all the children dancing their heart out. Their spirit, energy, and willingness to give it all out is inspiring. It is true that it is such a joy to dance like no one is dancing. Watching my own girls dance and sing to worship songs brings  happiness to my mama heart. My prayer is that they do not lose sight of joy in worship when they grow up.

I am sharing our top 10 worship songs that we absolutely love to dance with.

1. God'sNot Dead by Newsboy
2. Alive by Hillsong Young and Free
3. Wake by Hillsong Young and Free
4. The River by Jordan Feliz
5. Backseat Driver by TobyMac
6.Light Shine Bright by TobyMac and Hollyn
7.Sinking Deep by Hillsong Young and Free
8. This is Amazing Grace by Phil Wickham
9. Brighter by Hillsong Young and Free
10. Marching On by Rend Collective

I'm excited to share a new DVD by Hillsong kids, "Can you believe it"? It contains 14 songs. Not just songs by lyric videos!! So your kids can totally sing-along and dance with the songs that declare Bible truths. Both of our girls got so excited when they saw Funny Man Dan. They loved and knew Funny Man Dan from our church's kids ministry curriculum. We also enjoyed the music videos from select songs. In our society, we definitely need more of this. More kid-friendly resources that leads them to our Heavenly Father. Planting that seed of faith to our young ones is fundamental.

Here's Lu, loving her copy!

Are we friends on Instagram? Watch her singing-along to Oceans!

A Bountiful Love on Instagram

About the DVD

Hillsong believes that teaching children to love God and others takes place in both the home and in the church. For this reason they seek to partner with parents (the greatest teachers of all!) and with church pastors and leaders, equipping them with great resources. Through fun experiences, meaningful music and ministry that encourages kids to participate, Hillsong Kids presents Jesus Christ and His Church in a relevant way, creating moments which children will never forget.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. 

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

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Monday, November 12, 2018

Minimalism with Kids

Minimalism seems to be a daunting and overwhelming task. I remember my sister calling me that they will be heading to a minimalism journey and I was GENUINELY impressed. They have a huge house, so it seems like accumulating stuff is easy. However, I recently asked her if they were able to keep that lifestyle. Unfortunately, they did fall off the wagon. Consistency and self-discipline are two significant keys to minimalism.

I have purchased a book on Amazon, Spark Joy by Marie Kondo  (An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up (The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up). I read all the reviews that suggested to start with her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing but I did not, I went ahead and read the Spark joy.

I really like the concept and it just makes sense, keeping things that bring us joy. I love how detailed the book is, as far as where to begin the task. When I would declutter before I would start by area. I never thought about starting the task per category.

I have also watched "Minimalism" on Netflix. I was impressed with the dedication, discipline, and commitment. It just makes sense, too much stuff surrounding us is OVERWHELMING. It is not just the material things, it is the overload of information, social media connectedness, and the lack of simplicity.

How about with kids? How do we do minimalism with kids? We only have two girls but I can truthfully say that this is an area that I still struggle with. I am willing though to give our house a zen. A sense of peace and tranquility. We only have a small space and everything have its own place. BUT it's just too much! Few weeks ago, I started in the bathroom just because I couldn't take it anymore. It felt like the doors were closing in with the abundance of our bathroom products. Can you believe that a family of four has 11 lip balms? I was amazed by how much hair accessories our kids have. Then, i wondered, it all costs us money. It would have been nice if that money was kept in our wallet instead of sitting under the sink.

We are still in the middle of this journey. Minimalism by not mindlessly getting rid of stuff but keeping the things that brings us happiness. Minimalism by living within our means and realizing that being content is a state of mind and heart. Minimalism by being grateful for the essential and useful things in our house.

Here's our practical guide as you embark on your own journey:

1. Involve the kids
 It is their toys, their clothes, shoes, and books. Let them know that we are just gong to pass it along to those who will need it and will pass the joy that the things brought us. We don't want them to feel resentment that we are too quick to get rid of their possessions.

2. Think every purchases.
This may be too much for some but trust me, it will be a habit. Before you buy another pair of shoes or a vase. Ask yourself? Is it really important? How many do I really have? (how many shoes?) Will this be a smart purchase or I just have an urge to buy because you want to feel happy?

3.Keep  or have things that are multipurpose.
Maybe an ottoman that serves as a footrest and storage too?

4.Keep in mind that minimalism will set  you free.
Your time will be spent on each other instead of cleaning all the time.

5.It is a process. Be patient.
It will not happen overnight. While you are in the process of minimalism, control the urge to shop. Keep in mind that you can control your spending and purchasing habits. More money in your bank? Hell yeah.

6. Invest in memories instead of things
How about saving for a family trip that will bring great memories for your kids.

7. Love is not shown in stuff.
Parenting guilt is real. We will mess up and we will learn from it but we can not coat our shortcomings by giving them more stuff.

8. Do not push your conviction to others.
While it is really tempting to preach and share about your journey, some people may not find minimalism beneficial. And that is okay! Keep your eye in your journey, sooner or late you will reap the benefits and inspire others!

9. Remember that minimalism is not just about stuff.
We can be minimalist in several ways, minimizing time spent on social media or minimizing our time spent on overthinking and unhealthy thoughts.

10. Lead by example.
We can not teach our kids about simplicity if they do not have good role models.

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