Monday, June 30, 2014

Selling Used Books Online

The links in this post are affiliate links.  Most companies will reward you for referring your family and friends to their sites, so once you see how great this is, make sure to pass it on to others!

If you are anything like me, you have shelves and boxes full of books you will never read again.  Maybe old text books or novels that were read once and now take up precious space in your home collecting dust.  Every few months I go through the books I know I will never read again and try to sell them online.  This may sound daunting but please read on.  This is a very fun, potentially semi-lucrative hobby.  De-cluttering, money-making, and fun... there's nothing to lose! 

Online booksellers are always looking for books that they can buy from you and resell to other readers. Now you know where the used books that you can buy online come from... people like me (and soon to be you)!  Basically you enter in the ISBN numbers (those little numbers by the barcode, often on the back cover) from your books on any number of websites and if that particular company is interested in buying the book you have they will make you an offer.  Should you choose to accept their offer you just print out their pre-made, pre-paid shipping label (or they will mail you one if you don't have a printer), package up your books, send them in, and wait for your check or paypal payment!

Now, I'm going to be honest, sometimes I only get offered maybe 73 cents for a book I paid over $10 for but I look at it this way... if I honestly will never use the book again and I can get more from these companies than I could get at a yard sale (a quarter), then it's worth it.  Less things in my house to dust, and a little extra cash in my pocket.  Some of the companies require a minimum total with a sell back but gather all your books together and you'll be surprised how quickly they add up.  Plus, you never know what little treasures you might find.  Sometimes I expect to get nothing for a book, and get offers for close to the amount I originally paid... for expensive textbooks, this could be a lot!  

Don't be discouraged if you search a bazillion books and only get a few that anyone wants to buy back.  I have found that these companies are not always looking for all books one day but they might be a few days or months from now.  I set the ones I can't sell aside and try again next time.

Here are some things I find to be helpful in keeping myself organized while I do this:
  1. Visit Bookscouter or get their phone app - they do a nice cross search of several sites so you know where to start.  The phone app allows you to scan a book's barcode so you don't even have to type!  This step is not a necessity but I find it helpful to get started.  Other times I have just opened a link to each website on my computer at once and copied and pasted the ISBNs into each page to search and find the best deals.  Using something like bookscouter saves you a little bit of time but you are trusting someone else to find your deals for you... sometimes I prefer to do the work myself.
  2. Put a sticky note on the cover of each book and write how much different companies are offering you.  I like to do this rather than just automatically accepting the highest offer.  Sometimes you have to do some creative math and mix and match a little bit when the company requires a minimum buyback.  You might accept an offer for $1 one place instead of $1.10 another place because you already have books going to the first place and need to sell back $1 more.  Know what I mean?
  3. Go to the websites that have given you the best offers to enter your info, the book's info, and follow the prompts to complete your sale.
  4. Keep all the books for one company piled together with the shipping label on top until you package them.  I usually write in the corner of the shipping label paper what company it is.  It's such a pain to get things mixed up and forget what is going where.  Most of the shipping labels do not print with the company name on them!
Here are some of the book selling websites I would suggest checking out.  It's not an exhaustive list.  A google search will show you there are tons of sites to choose from!  Some sites only offer you credit toward their online stores (or offer you more if you do this instead of getting paid out other ways), others pay in check or paypal.

Valore Books

To see all this in action and to find out how much money I've earned with this little side hobby, watch the video of my chat with Leslie Gaydos of New England Cable News!

The links in this post are affiliate links.  Most companies will reward you for referring your family and friends to their sites, so once you see how great this is, make sure to pass it on to others!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Creamy Tangy Homemade Coleslaw

First of all, it's really hard to get a good picture of coleslaw.  Thankfully looking good and tasting good are two different things.

Regardless of looks, I've come to the conclusion that everyone needs a good homemade coleslaw recipe.  Before I married, I couldn't have cared any less about coleslaw.  I sort of thought it was a garnish.  You know like the dry clump of coleslaw that is served next to your main entree in many restaurants?  There was no need for a coleslaw recipe then. But, as I've said time and time again, my world expanded when I married my husband.  He can't eat a hot dog without coleslaw.  Or sloppy joes without coleslaw, or barbecue anything without coleslaw.  He can't have a cookout without coleslaw.  Period.

So, after we got married, I quickly learned which local grocery store carried the best coleslaw.  It has to be chopped to just the right size, have the perfect creaminess, and have just the right amount of tang.  We usually just buy a little tub, store made, when we have a cookout.  Periodically I've gotten bags of dry cole slaw and mixed my own dressing for it.

Well, this weekend, I ran into a problem.  I went to the store and they had a kind of pre-made coleslaw that would never fly around here and they were completely out of bagged slaw mix!  We had a cookout planned for that afternoon and I was basically up a creek without a paddle.  I looked at the woman at the customer service desk and said, "Okay.  I'll just buy a head of cabbage instead."   She looked at me like my head was made of cabbage because people around here don't eat coleslaw, never mind make homemade cole slaw.

I brought my head of cabbage home, pulled out the food processor and fixed up this creamy, tangy, deliciousness.  You could totally do this without a food processor, just cutting by hand.

Love, love, love.  It passed the husband test, so it makes it to the blog!

  • 1/2 head of cabbage
  • 8 baby carrots
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • black pepper to taste

  • Chop cabbage and carrots in food processor and put in a medium bowl
  • Add mayo, vinegar, sugar, and black pepper
  • Stir, stir, stir
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve (preferably at least an hour to let the flavors mix)


Monday, June 23, 2014

Fun Spring & Summer Outdoor Activities: Our Family-Made Playmaker Playspaces

As a member of the Children's Claritin Mom Crew, I receive product samples and promotional items to share and use as I see fit. No monetary compensation has been received and all opinions expressed are my own.

We love, love, love being outside.  Outdoor space is so important to us.  We've lived in country settings and we've lived in city settings, we've lived in small indoor spaces and we've lived in larger indoor spaces.  There have been pros and cons to all, but in the end we have established one rule about our dwelling place.  We must have outdoor space; its importance far surpasses the details of our indoor space.  It may sound silly, but for us, it's true!  Being outside is healthy, it's therapeutic, it's educational, it's productive, and it's fun!

Where we currently live, we don't even have an outdoor playset (gasp!).  I wish we did, but right now we don't.  There is no boredom here, however!  You don't need a professional playset to play.  You don't need any fancy equipment or supplies.  In fact, you don't even really need a big yard!  Anyone can be a playmaker and create a playspace that is conducive to adventure, learning, and fun!  Here's a list, in no particular order, of some of our favorite family-created outdoor playspaces and our favorite spring and summer outdoor activities.  They are easy to pull together, inexpensive if they cost anything at all, and have provided us with hours of fun.  None of these ideas are fancy, but as a mom, I know that sometimes it's easy to feel stuck and to need something new and exciting to do. Hopefully this list will provide you with at least one new idea to enjoy with your kids during this sunny season!

And one more thing.  It's okay if your kids get dirty, it's okay if your kids get wet, and it's okay to make a mess!  I'm writing this to myself as much as I am to you.  You're outside. Let me challenge you (and myself) to take a deep breath, and say "yes" more than you typically do.  Grab a hose and a towel and clean up later!

On with the list!

Go on a nature walk...
We have a fairly large wooded area right next to our house.  We've cleared some of the trees and brush and created some nature trails to enjoy.  Other than the mosquitos, it's the perfect place to adventure!

Make mud pies and mud cakes...
Just gather together some trays or dishes and some cooking supplies (the more actual kitchen ones the better... like measuring cups, spoons, something in addition to typical sand toys... you can wash them later!)  Get some dirt, some water, and some nature (rocks, sticks, pine needles, leaves, flowers, etc) for mix-ins!

Draw with sidewalk chalk...
The possibilities are endless!  You can do hopscotch, balance beams, trace bodies, practice letters and numbers, or simply draw and color!

Blow bubbles...
The more bubble blowing supplies the better but even just a simple bottle of bubble solution and a wand will work.  Or make your own from dish soap and water!  We've gotten lots and lots of bubble supplies from our local freecycle list.

Play in the dirt...
Maybe build a sandcastle, create a village for animals or toys, or just jump around and get dirty!

Play sports...
We enjoy soccer, catch, tag, frisbee, whiffle ball, basketball... I'm sure there's more!

Paint with Colored Ice...
This is perfect for a hot day.  Just add some food coloring to your ice cubes, freeze with a stick in them, and paint paper, shells, tree stumps, or rocks!

Paint with Water...
It doesn't get any easier than this!  Just get a bucket of water, a paintbrush, and a dry surface!

Learn about floating and sinking...
You'd be surprised how early you can start this educational activity.  I think my daughter had just turned 2 when I got her a bucket of water, explained the general concept of some things floating and other things sinking, and then sent her to find items to explore with.  She still, just short of age 4, loves this.

Find critters...
We have a nearby pond with tons of tadpoles and a yard full of frogs of all different shapes, sizes and colors!  We also have snakes, chipmunks, squirrels, bunnies, and bugs.  Some we find, but we don't touch them all.  My daughter has recently enjoyed collecting the small frogs and creating a habitat (more like an obstacle course) for them.  She gathers up some rocks and lets them hop their way out! Earlier today she put a small pile of dirt in the driveway, added some puddles of water, and tried to entice ants to come set up a new home there.

Make nature bracelets...
All you need for this is some packing tape and pieces of nature.  It's so easy and fun!

Run through the sprinkler, swim in the pool, or play with the hose...
This is self explanatory but a lot of fun.  We have a big pool but love having a small pool that we fill early in the morning on warm days so it's warm enough to swim in when the sun is hot.  It keeps me from having to go in the big pool if I'm not in the mood and it provides my daughter with hours of entertainment.  The sprinkler is just as fun... or even just playing with the hose.

Ride a bike or scooter, fix a bike or scooter, or take a pretend trip through the drive-thru...
My daughter loves to ride her bike and scooter but she also loves to bring out her toy tool box and fix them.  Another more recent twist has been me sitting in a chair (yes!) and her riding up on her bike to order some donuts, hot chocolate, or a new shirt.

Have a picnic...
We love picnics and my daughter requests them almost daily!  Just grab a blanket and a lunch!

Jump in puddles...
Remember, you can always dry off later!  Put on some water shoes, a bathing suit, clothes, PJ's, or panties!

Plant a garden...
We have a big garden that my husband works on but he tries to let our daughter help with tasks that are kid-friendly.  We also have a patch of garden just for her where she planted some wildflower seeds that she picked out herself at the store.

Play hide and seek...
We have our favorite hiding spots, like behind this old tree, and stick to those but the fun never gets old for our daughter.

Make a bird feeder...
We have regular bird feeders that our daughter helps fill, but we've also made our own out of an old milk jug!

Pick dandelions or search for 4 leaf clovers...
Talk about a productive game, right?  Picking the weeds!

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it's a good start!  Get your family outside to play!  I (along with the makers of Children's Claritin) want you and your family to feel inspired to be playmakers and create your own innovative and fun outdoor playspaces... and to be able to enjoy the time you spend outdoors, free of allergy symptoms!

What are your favorite outdoor activities?  Are you able to enjoy them allergy free?

As a member of the Children's Claritin Mom Crew, I receive product samples and promotional items to share and use as I see fit.  No monetary compensation has taken place and any opinions expressed by me are honest and reflect my actual experience.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

We're heading to Philly!

It's time!

Tomorrow we hit the road and head to Philadelphia for the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration On The Road, and in case you couldn't tell, I am super excited!

Today, I followed along via social media to get a glimpse of some of the action from the the first stop on this three city tour ~ Chicago!  I was inspired by the speakers, saw so many fun photos, and am now even more excited about this opportunity than I already was.

I hope you'll follow along on social media so you don't miss a beat this Thursday, June 19! We start bright and early so pour a cup of coffee and be ready!  You'll be able to watch live on starting at 8:30 AM EST and follow live tweets, pics, and updates by following the hashtag #DisneySMMoms on all your social media channels.

You can follow me directly through these links!

See you there, either in person or remotely!  Let me know where I'll find you!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Chipped Beef & Gravy

In honor of Father's Day, I figured it was about time I posted the recipe for my husband's very favorite dinner, Chipped Beef & Gravy!  I make this meal on his birthday each December but this year decided to surprise him on Father's Day as well.  I think this might be a new tradition!

I had never eaten or heard of Chipped Beef & Gravy before meeting my husband, but when northern girls marry southern boys, there is much to be learned!  Thankfully, he tells me this tastes just like it did when his grandmother used to make it, so I consider the recipe a success.


  • 5 oz dried beef (In our stores, it's sold in a glass jar near the tuna)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup white flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • salt & pepper to taste (I don't typically add salt because the beef is quite salty already)

  • Cut beef into strips with scissors
  • Melt butter in saucepan
  • Slowly add flour, stirring constantly until blended
  • Whisk in milk
  • Stir over medium heat until gravy begins to bubble and thickens (5-10 minutes)
  • Stir in beef
  • Season to taste

We typically serve our Chipped Beef & Gravy with homemade biscuits, but you could also serve it over toast.  And we always add a side of french style green beans (because that's another of his favorites!).  

Hope you enjoy this easy and delicious meal as much as we do!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Mickey and Minnie Mouse Paper Chain

We made this super cute Mickey and Minnie paper chain garland decoration for our Disney themed party over three months ago and it still hangs over a doorway in our house!  It was such an easy (although a bit tedious) project and it really helped set the mood for our fun day.

You'll see that we used black for Mickey and Minnie's heads, red for their clothes, white for their buttons and polka dots, yellow for their shoes, and white for their hands... or to separate them... however you want to interpret it...  Get it?!  We also used some pink for Minnie's bows... I intended to use red to match her skirt but my 3 year old informed me that Minnie doesn't wear red, she wears pink... oh, how times have changed!

Here's what you'll need:
  • construction paper - black, red, yellow, white
  • hole punch
  • tape or glue
  • ear template (small circle shape with a tab to attach to the black loops)
  • bow template (small bow with a tab to attach to alternating heads)
  • a little helper

Here's what you'll do:
  • cut strips of construction paper in desired width
  • trace and cut ears out of black paper and bows out of pink or red paper
  • punch out lots of little white dots
  • loop paper strips inside of one another, alternating colors, and secure with tape or glue
  • attach ears and bows
  • attach dots
  • hang and show your DisneySide!

I am so excited that one week from today I'll be showing my DisneySide at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration On The Road in Philadelphia!  I hope you'll follow along from home if you won't be there in person!

Thankfully when I return home, I'll still have my Mickey and Minnie decorations to greet me and keep me in the Disney spirit!

BUT, you don't need a party or a conference to show your DisneySide... how do you show yours?

photos courtesy of Keiko S. Dowell Photography

Friday, June 6, 2014

Treasure Trax ~ Review and Giveaway!

I received free product to facilitate this review and giveaway.
All opinions expressed are my own.

We love having fun!  Who doesn't, right?  Well, we are always looking for new games and activities that are both fun and educational, that we can add to our list of favorites, so we were very excited to have the chance to try out this new brand new game from USAopoly, Treasure Trax - The All In One Scavenger Hunt Game!

When I first viewed this game online, it looked liked something my daughter would really enjoy.  It was something new and different than we had tried before and that's always a good thing.  We patiently waited for the arrival of our new game in the mail.

And then it came!  And let me tell you something.  The quality of this game totally took me by surprise!  Both quality and fun factor far surpassed my expectations which is why I asked the company if they would consider giving away one of these games to one of you.  It's just so, so good!

This is basically how the games works.  It comes with a series of cards that are big, bright, colorful, and high quality.  Each card has a picture on it... it might be a location, a color, a letter, or an animal.  There are a few different ways you can play but the basic premise is that you will leave a card somewhere and that card has a clue such as a picture of the bathtub.  So, then you'll go the bathtub and find another card there that might have a picture of the refrigerator.  So then you'll go to the refrigerator... and on and on and on.  Get it?  It's a treasure hunt!  You can use the animals as little things to find along the way if you like.  You can add clues like letters and colors.  So for instance, maybe you're at the bathtub and you find clues for the bed, brown, and something that starts with T.  Maybe you'll go look on the bed for the brown teddy bear and find your next clue!

I have a daughter that will be four next month and I cannot even express to you how much she loves this game!  She prefers to only use the location cards right now.  She says the animal cards are "too distracting" for her.  HA!  This is serious business!  She loves letting me hide the cards and then she walks around the house with the little purple (her favorite color) card-sized bag that comes with the game, following the clues, and collecting the cards.  We decide together what the treasure will be at the end that will signal that the last clue has been found... could be an animal card, a special stuffed animal, or even the display sign that is included with the game!  Now that we've played the game enough times, she has mastered hiding the clues on her own too... which is actually really impressive to me because it takes a lot of brain power for a little kid to place all of these cards, in order, around the house, rather than placing them randomly.  I can see her brain stretching and her little wheels turning the whole time, which I love!

This game keeps my daughter excited and occupied for a long time.  In fact, I don't think she's ever stopped playing on her own!  It's usually only because it's meal time or bed time!.  And, (because this is kind of important to parents out there) I actually don't mind playing this game either  And, you can only say good things about a game that you are cleaning up as you go, leaving nothing to deal with when you're done, right?!

This game is geared toward 3-5 year olds but I bet even one a little bit older would enjoy it too.  It retails for $19.95.

"Anyone who has ever been on a scavenger hunt knows the thrills it entails.  Treasure Trax captures that excitement and gives you everything you need in one neat package to set up a full-blown adventure around the house in a matter of minutes."
~ Tillywig Toy Awards

You can check out more about Treasure Trax on the USAopoly website and enter to win one of your own here!  Just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below.  It's totally free to enter and there are no required options... just do as many or as few as you wish!  The more entries you have, the higher your likelihood of winning, and you can come back daily for more entries.  This giveaway is open to residents in the USA only, ends Monday 6/16, and you'll have 24 hours to respond if you get an email from me that you're chosen as the winner.  USAopoly will be mailing out the prize.

Here we go!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

Many years ago, my great aunt introduced us to Ice Cream Sandwich cake and I'm sorry to say that I have not made it nearly enough times since then!  Yesterday morning, both my husband and I had a random craving for this perfectly delicious frozen dessert, so off to the store I went.

I don't really know what else to say about this amazingness except that it is amazing.  It is the absolute perfect summer treat and it really is so easy.  The only thing that could make it easier would be if ice cream sandwiches came without wrappers but it's totally worth the unwrapping.

  • 24 ice cream sandwiches
  • cool whip (An 8 oz tub is fine.  I used more because I had it, but whatever you prefer is fine!)
  • chocolate syrup
  • crushed chocolate sandwich cookies or chocolate chips or any cruchy-ish treat you love

  • Unwrap ice cream sandwiches and use half to line bottom of 9x12 pan (you might need to squish or break the last one in half)
  • Spread a layer of cool whip over top
  • Squirt some chocolate syrup on top
  • Cover with crushed oreos or whatever crunchy-ish treat you decide on
  • Add another layer of ice cream sandwiches
  • Add another layer of cool whip
  • Add another layer of crunchy topping
  • Lick your fingers
  • Enjoy!

You'll want to serve this cold and store in the freezer.

This recipe is totally fool proof and you can totally switch it up with flavors and layers you love.  You could add another layer of chocolate syrup if you prefer.  I noticed at the store yesterday that there are a few new fancy ice cream sandwich options like mint and cookies and cream... either of these would be incredible in this recipe!  I'm also thinking of adding something like M&M's or Reese's Pieces next time... mmmmmmmmmm.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

"Do You Know?" from Genevieve!

I was sent a copy of "Do You Know?" by Genevieve Goings to review as an influencer with Entertainment New Media Network.  All opinions expressed are my own.

photo courtesy of Genevieve Goings' Facebook page

We are so super excited about a new rockin' preschool album coming out THIS TUESDAY!  Remember when we shared with you how much we love Genevieve Goings and her catchy tune "My Telephone Number Is..."?  Well that song is on an album that you are going to need to get your hands on THIS WEEK!

You know Genevieve, right?  Choo Choo Soul?  Disney Jr.?  New host of Radio Disney Junior Hour?  Well, Genevieve is going solo this time and you and your kiddos are going to love, love love her new album "Do You Know?".

"Do You Know" is all about the little things your kiddos are learning on a day to day basis in their preschool years... things like potty training, using their inside voice, counting, telling time, and learning their phone number.  The songs on this album are educational and amazingly catchy!

You can preorder your copy HERE!  
When you preorder, you'll get instant access to one of the songs,
"Gotta Do My Business" to hold you over until Tuesday!

For a preview of coming attractions, here is my preschooler, one of Genevieve's biggest fans, singing a portion of "My Telephone Number Is..."  Of course, I had to video it about fourteen times to get to her stop singing our phone number because I did not want that posted all over the internet, but you should know that she knew her phone number within the first couple times that she heard this song!

Isn't she great?!  Well, so is Genevieve!

Head over to my previous post about this release and watch Genevieve's music video!  I promise you will love it!

You can find Genevieve on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram... just follow the links!

I was sent a copy of "Do You Know?" by Genevieve Goings to review as an influencer with Entertainment New Media Network.  All opinions expressed are my own.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...