Many Hats Mommy

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Tropical Traditions Pump Soaps

I don’t know about you, but we go through a lot of soap around here. Part of it is because I live with three of the male species, one big one and two little ones. The other reason is one of those little men can get obsessed with soap and all the wonderful things it can do, and the other is, well, a three year old. Remember how fun bubbles were when you were three?

When Tropical Traditions offered me a chance to try their Organic Liquid Soaps, of course I said, “Yes!” Who wouldn’t want to use a quality organic product? (Giveaway at the end, keep reading!) Continue reading

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Introducing Coupon Mob!

Coupon Mob approached me about becoming an affiliate and having their ad on my side bar. I thought about it for a week and then realized, “Why not?” Save Money Monday was one of my reader’s favorite features back when I had the time to keep up with it, so why not give them a way to save money? Continue reading


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Save $ Monday–Spend Less on Christmas Next Year!

I am very pleased to bring you a guest post today. I asked my good friend Jessica to share with my readers how she has saved hundreds of dollars on Christmas shopping this year so they could use her tips to accomplish the same thing next year. Here is what Jessica had to say…

Ok, so I hope all you Many Hats Mommy readers out there do realize that Christmas is just 19 days away!  Yep, that’s right, just 19 days.  In regards to your Christmas shopping does that number send you into a panic or are you still breathing ok?  Well, in the past I would have been hyperventilating just about now, but not this year.  I mentioned to Jenny that I had almost all of my Christmas shopping done for a fraction of the original cost thanks to some online programs I participate in, and she asked me to share them with you!  I am, most thankfully, completely done Christmas shopping.  A big task since I purchased gifts for 37 people, including my immediate family, extended family, and staff & Sunday School teachers at church.  My total would have been….drum roll please…..$1, 105.98.  Praise the Lord I only paid $380.17!  That’s only 1/3 of the original total!

Here’s how I did it:

1.       I keep a very detailed spread sheet of my Christmas shopping.  It has columns for the people I’m shopping for, the gift, the original price, the price I paid, my total out of pocket spending so far, and last year’s total.  This helps me see each gift and price as well as keep an eye on the big picture so that I don’t let the budget get out of hand.  My goal is always to keep things low cost and to beat last year’s total!

2.       I stalk several blogs, including this one, to help me find the best deals all year long.  There are so many online deals for things that make great gifts (photo mugs and calendars for instance) that you can buy at any point in the year and save for Christmas.  I would never know about these deals if the great women who write these blogs didn’t post them for all of us.  I am very thankful to them!  My favorite money-saving blogs are:

Many Hats Mommy     www.manyhatsmommy.blogspot.com
Spend Freely                 www.spendfreely.blogspot.com
Frugal Coupon Living  www.frugalcouponliving.com

3.       I get what is basically FREE MONEY online by participating in a few ABSOLUTELY FREE programs and earning online gift cards.  I know folks can be skeptical about such things, but my 3 favorite ones I have been participating in for at least a year now, and I have never been asked to spend any money—I’ve only received it!  Here is a rundown of these programs and links to get you started:

1)      Swagbucks:  Swagbucks is basically a search engine.  First you register for a Swagbucks account which is free.  I found it easiest to download their free toolbar and set your default search engine to Swagbucks.  This way every time you search for something online you have an opportunity to win points.  That’s it.  Just use your search engine the way you normally would. You will be awarded points randomly.   You can also earn points by taking daily polls, surveys, and online shopping if you wish.  My favorite way to redeem these points is with Amazon.com e-gift cards.  450 points gets you a $5 Amazon.com e-gift card.  These can add up quickly.  I’ve only been a member for 15 months and I’ve earned $160.00 in Amazon.com e-gift cards!  To get started just follow this link:  http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/Iheartmykids
2)      Mypoints:  Mypoints is probably the least exciting of these programs to me, but still effective.  I think it just takes longer to see fruit for your labors with Mypoints.  With Mypoints you set up a free account and they send you e-mails.  You click on the link in the e-mails and are awarded 5 points for each click-thru.  You make a lot more points when you do online shopping through Mypoints.  If I am going to buy something online, I always check Mypoints first to see if the company participates.  You redeem your points for Gift Cards from various companies.  I like to use these for Christmas presents.  I have given Bath & Body Works, Sears, and Visa, etc Gift Cards as gifts that I got for free from Mypoints.  To get started just follow this link:
3)       Expotv:  Expotv is a product review program.  I get most of my online e-gift cards from Expotv.  I LOVE THIS PROGRAM!!  First you sign up for a free Expotv account.  If I remember correctly you complete some surveys at the beginning so that they can send you invitations to review products you might already have or be interested in.  Expotv will send you invitations to do short video reviews of certain products.  These reviews only have to be about 1 min. 30 sec. long.  Super easy and they tell you how to do it.  There is also a monthly list of “Most Wanted” products you can choose from to review for extra points.  I find items from this list that I already own.  You upload your video and they reward you with points.  Each video is worth anywhere from 500-2500 points.  Again, I usually redeem mine for Amazon.com e-gift cards.  So far this year have earned over $300 in Amazon.com e-gift cards…and I still have some points waiting to be redeemed!  To get started follow this link: www.expotv.com/raf/twocoons
So, that’s the scoop on my Christmas shopping.  I have found that the more I shop throughout the year, not only do I save money, but my holidays are a lot less stressful since I’m not worrying about getting gifts in time or how I am going to afford all these presents and still get my groceries for the month!  I have been so thankful for these resources lately as my list of people to buy presents for continues to grow, but the budget does not!  Just another way God continues to show me that He provides for our needs and sometimes even for our wants.  There really is more joy in giving than receiving, and sometimes the giving is even sweeter when you know that you saved a whole lot of pennies!


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>Wednesday’s Woman–Casey Janowski, Fartsy Arts

>When Noah was around six months old, I was struggling with postpartum depression and not having a car. I discovered that the Guidance Center ran playgroups in the building next to our complex. I think I may have sat there and cried in the Family Resource Center when I found it. They probably thought I was crazy, but it was a gift from God, literally. So was our playgroup teacher, Casey. She was so kind and excellent with the boys. We were very sad when she moved out-of-state to pursue another degree.

Casey and I have kept in touch through Facebook. She is back in Michigan until she is ready to move to pursue a new career. Today I have the genuine pleasure of introducing you to Casey, one of our angels. Here she is in her own words.

Hi!  My name is Casey Janowski and I am very excited that Jenny asked me to be part of her blog! 

To tell you a little about myself, I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and work as a substitute teacher and full-time crafter.  I am the mom of a mini Lop rabbit named Peanut, who is my furry child and my world.  Most of what I would like to share is how I got to where I am today.  I am 28 and feel fortunate to have had all of the wonderful experiences I have had so early in life.  Life is crazy and unpredictable and as much as I get frustrated when things don’t work out, I have learned that doors open all the time.  It’s a matter of walking through them and taking chances.  Sometimes it scares me how things work out so perfectly. We may think everything is falling apart, but give it some time to sink in.  I don’t know if I believe in coincidence.
So, please bear with me as we move through my world.  I promise there will be a point!
I have had many jobs, starting when I was 14 years old.  Most kids have dreams of being something specific when they grow up, I always wanted to be an “artist”.  Knowing nothing of the art world growing up, I did my thing and opportunities seemed to fall in my lap.  My earliest art accomplishment was winning a coloring contest for Farmer Jack and Rice-a-Roni which landed my family a trip to Disneyland when I was in 3rd grade.
When I went to college, I told my mom I wanted to major in Art.  Thankfully, I had parents that were supportive and encouraged me.  Little did I know, having an art degree didn’t bring me many job opportunities after graduation.  I dove into the art scene where I lived and sat on the Board of Directors of an art group that held black tie art shows.  They were successful but I didn’t stick out (and I wanted to!)  Returning to Michigan after living in sunny Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for 11 years, I found myself lost in the drowning economy, jobless, broke, scared, and well frankly…cold!  I found a post for a position in AmeriCorps.   
If you are unfamiliar with AmeriCorps, it’s the domestic version of the Peace Corps.  This was NOT a position to make money.  We received a very small, microscopic even, living allowance, but as hard as it was to stay on a budget, the experiences that I had were priceless.  This job helped me discover my love for teaching which led me to graduate school to receive my recent Master of Art in Teaching for Art Education.  This job also taught me how to network and talk to people, a skill that is so valuable in every aspect of life.  After completing 2 years of service, I took on 4 jobs at once to catch up with my finances.  Unfortunately, 4 jobs still wasn’t cutting it. 
During this time, in late 2008, I somehow had time to juggle 4 jobs and “play” and make art.  My boyfriend introduced me to a nice treasure of vintage magazines and catalogs ranging from the 30’s – 50’s.  I started cutting up the magazines and created a cute little key chain for my boyfriend that basically blossomed into my Fartsy Arts business.  I had so much fun with these magazines that I started making so many items that I couldn’t find anything to do with all of them. 
 Back in 2006 I attended my first Indie Craft Fair – which is basically crafters that make not so ordinary crafts.  The items you find at these shows tend to be a little funky, a little edgy, and super fun!  I remembered attending and telling myself, “I am going to do one of these one day!”  Since I had the product, I applied for my first show in the summer of 2008 and got accepted!  This show was literally 3 months after I started making my goods.  I couldn’t believe the reaction I got from people!  They loved my stuff AND  they were paying me for my jewelry! After this two day show, I became addicted to art fairs.  I applied to every one I came across.  I met so many great people through these shows, vendors and customers, and because I felt comfortable talking and networking, I started putting myself out there and not being afraid to seek out information about this new world I was entering.  My new friends began sharing all of their secrets which allowed me to participate in several shows a year.  I was in heaven!
 The confidence to meet and talk with new people and the passion for what I am doing has been the winning combo to allow me to do what I do and enjoy it!  Never did I think this small key chain I made one evening turn into the small business I have today.  Because of the success and interest in Fartsy Arts by so many people, there are big plans to begin mass marketing my greeting cards and possibly some of the jewelry.  I am thankful that I have several shows lined up for the holidays and I am putting my creativity to work to provide fun and affordable gifts for shoppers this year. 
When Jenny mentioned the part about me teaching you all something, I will admit I had no idea what to write! There are two things that I can give credit to what I am doing now: Passion and networking. 
We all have different passions, but the important thing is that we have them and, there are people out there that share our passions! Now we have to find them, collaborate, help each other, and succeed.  Don’t be afraid to start a conversation with a stranger.  Some of my most meaningful, exciting, and informative conversations were with people I met once and never knew their name.  You never know how people can help you or how you can help them, which can be just as, if not more, rewarding.  Keep your ears open and your mouth chatting! You never know if you don’t try and don’t give up on your passion.  Hey, maybe you will discover a new passion you never knew YOU had! A recent professor of mine really drilled it into our brains that teaching art is advocating to everyone what you and your students do.  Advocate for what you are passionate about and I bet you will grab people’s attention.
I hope you will visit my site and see what I love to do.  I greatly enjoy doing custom work at affordable prices. Keep a light heart and a belly of laughs. 
For those who are interested in Peanut the bunny, he also has his own website and blog.