Friday, January 31, 2014

7 Quick Takes Friday -- Snowed In edition

I decided to switch things up and join a different link up this Friday.  This is my first time at 7 Quick Takes Friday so if you are linking in from there, please be nice.  (Although I'm sure you would be!)

We actually had more snow than this, but I found this photo from a couple years ago. of our back porch.  It looked the same this time, except a bit more of it.

Because I have been sick for a while it has been 11 days since I have been out of the house due to a combo of sickness and such, this is what the last 11 days have consisted of since it has all morphed together into one week in my mind.

1.  Mom is in the hospital.
 A week ago today Mom was admitted to the hospital.  She has pneumonia and I started getting sick almost immediately.  I started on antibiotics last weekend and am feeling better myself.  Mom is still in the hospital and likely to remain there until Monday at the earliest.  Because of her being in the hospital is one reason I have been able to hibernate like I have.  She is on dialysis three times a week and while my boyfriend often takes her these days, I sometimes tag along.

2.  RCIA was cancelled.  As was life.

With a huge snowfall last week and -11 tempertures this week, RCIA got cancelled.  As was school.  And pretty much anything else that happens around here.  Except for people making mad dashes to the grocery store for French Toast ingredients (milk, bread, eggs). 

3.  We cleaned the pantry at meals.

You know how there are often boxes that linger in the pantry.  "Oh look, there's two waffles in this box.  This will be my breakfast."  or  "You know, this might be a good night for that Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee pizza in the back that has been there a while."  Just seemed a good time to do this because my mother is on a very restricted diet, and this is something that has needed done at times.

4.  I made my boyfriend suffer through some old home movies, putting together a puzzle, and we cleaned.

I used to always have a video camera on my shoulder.  I pulled out some old home videos from years past.  My dad passed in 2006, and my boyfriend never met him, but we were laughing at Dad's antics on the videos.  I just wish my dad could have met my boyfriend. 


I love to read and when I was growing up our school got rid of the reading books they had used for ten years.  I adored this series and we each were given a book at the end of the last school year we used them.  I have collected the entire series over the years at garage sales, and I started sharing them with my boyfriend.  (Yeah, I'm a nerd, what can I say?)  I also read blogs, two books, and various cereal boxes.

6.  eBay 

I sell on eBay.  You know you want to check out my junk -- I mean, treasures --  that I have for sale.  I did a lot of eBay listing, and my boyfriend even helped clean the eBay room where we found some interesting stuff that I had bought at garage sales and tucked in there and had promptly forgotten about it!  I always used to wonder why all the good guys were always taken, and after waiting so long to meet my boyfriend, I have a feeling that there are single women out there wishing they had a boyfriend like this, but sorry, ladies, he's taken.

7.  Contests and Giveaways

I love entering contests and giveaways.  I really win, too.  Here's my post on the basics of winning sweepstakes because every time I mention it, I get questions, so I'll just post the link now.  Because Mom has been in and out of the hospital since August, I had gotten behind, and I have a big announcement -- I am now caught up!   Plus I won a couple instant wins this week, the biggest of which was a $25 pre-paid Visa.  Yeah!  I always love winning those, because I make so many dreams of what I might spend it on -- a new book or some subs from my favorite sub shop.  But somehow it always ends up being groceries.

For More Quick Takes Friday visit

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Book Review: Say Goodbye to Survival Mode

FTC disclaimer:  I was provided a book by the publisher for review purposes.  All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. 

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life by Crystal Paine

I was captivated with just the title of the book Say Goodbye to Survival Mode.  After all, what woman feels she has enough time to do everything she wants to do?  It doesn’t matter if you are single, married, young, or old, this book will apply to you.  What Chrystal Paine does is outline nine steps to help you get rid of the haired, rushed feeling you often have and learn to live in a more peaceful environment.  It won’t happen overnight, and it’s not a super-easy quick fix, (after all, chances are you got yourself into this situation by saying yes one too many times!) but it is do-able to have a bit more simplistic life — even if that “simplistic” life includes lots of business trips or a large number of children!

She gives baby steps to achieve these goals, yet doesn’t talk down to the reader as I’ve seen some books do.  Instead, the author can sympathize with you.  She once was overly stressed and learned how to manage it one step at a time — one sticky note at a time, and one load of laundry at a time.

Two chapters I really enjoyed were “When you Feel Like a Failure”.  I don’t know about others, but when I feel like a failure that’s when I want to throw in the towel and just say “That’s enough, I quit” but then I just get right back on the ‘treadmill’ that was causing me so much stress in the first place.  I work at home and recently my mother was asking me about a time I decided to quit my job.  It lasted three months.  I didn’t make any major changes until recently in that, and the stress continued just as it had been.  Now I have a new sales technique, new way of dealing with customers, and it’s a much happier experience for me — but usually I just continue doing what got me so stressed in the first place!

Another chapter I enjoyed was “You Can Make a Difference”.  The author runs the popular blog, Money Saving Mom.  She talks about how she was able to give out of her abundance she had gotten free with coupons.  I’ve always tried to be a giving person.  There were times when I was a teenager we could barely afford necessities but because of my coupons, I was able to give to others (and just like her in one place in the story, there were even times I would have missed on social occasions if I wouldn’t have been able to take food in place of paying an amount for cost of snacks!)  The author reminds us that while we may have busy, almost out of control lives, there are always people worse off than we are. 

This book is a fantastic read.  It is like a chat with the author, and I highly recommend it if you are stressed and want more peace in your life!

You can read a free preview below and purchase the book at Amazon.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Visit.

Five minute Friday is a link-up where we write for five minutes.  No editiing.  Just writing.  And what you see from this week's results are here.

Today's topic:  Visit.

This is a photo taken about 1983 of my grandmother and her brother when her brother and wife were visiting from Florida.  (Left to right:  my step-grandfather, my great-uncle, my grandmother, my great-aunt.)


Start. . . 

My Uncle Ira was one of my favorite people.  Both of my biological grandfathers passed before I was born, and my (Great) Uncle Ira stepped in and filled a grandfather-type role to me.  He was my first pen-pal, and he'd tuck fun things into the envelopes -- one of my favorites was a handmade card where he used my head on different characters.  Often I'd get $1 for bubble gum.  Our paper had a bank advertising IRA investments and I'd often send him those clippings that said "I love my IRA"

Nothing beat when they would visit, though.  I can remember one time the phone rang, and my mother said, "Guess who is over at Grandma's?"  I didn't answer her, I was out the door faster than if the house had been on fire -- I couldn't wait to see Ira.  I remember I didn't stop running until I was hugging him.

I loved his visits.  I just loved having him around.  I'm not sure what the connection was between us, but I thought he was fantastic.  A WWII veteran, he once sent me a photo of him on D-Day that was printed in a Florida paper that he was in -- the fact he was in it and it was printed in his paper was totally random.  He refused to talk about the war.  

I especially loved how he took a walk every evening.  He had to "Stretch his legs".  Walking with him was so neat, I loved the attention, being able to talk to him and it being the two of us, or three of us if his wife came along.

I loved his visits and remember them fondly.

. . . stop.

You can read more Five Minute Friday posts here:

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Valuing Yourself

Have you ever had someone say directly to you, "I don't value you"?  Chances are you haven't.  I have.  I had been volunteering for a Christian ministry for a number of months.  I was told I wasn't valued and the work I had been doing was not valued.  In fact, I was told some of the reports I worked hours on were deleted because "they were too long".  I quit the moment I was told I was not valued and my work wasn't valued, but I can't help but wonder if I had been willing to continue if they would have let me because it was free labor.

Growing up and even into my early thirties I had believed that I should tolerate this kind of behavior by others.  After all, it's turning the other cheek, right?  It's the Christian thing to do, correct?  It lines up with those neon letters wore around my wrist in the mid-1990s "WWJD".

But think about it for a moment. . . Jesus invested in people who appreciated Him.  He had TWELVE disciples.  The inner circle was three men.  Some may think I'm stretching to make this point, but I don't believe I am.  Jesus knew the value of time, He only had 33 years on earth.  He wanted to spend it wisely.

So why should I be doing things for people who don't appreciate them?  I have given generously to others, sometimes without even a thank you in return for hundreds of dollars of items given.  I'm tired of doing and people just expecting it.  Being a Christian should not mean I'm a doormat, nor should I be made to feel guilty because I value myself and my work.

I have a friend who posts some beautiful photos on Facebook.  She sells them, too.  I've told her she needs to put a copyright across them because people have been downloading them from Facebook and having them printed, therefore not valuing her time and talents to reciprocate.  I had this happen to me with a photo I took of my guinea pigs.  I didn't put my guinea pigs' fan page in text on the photo, and it got shared on the Internet without giving me credit for it.

I saw a joke on Facebook recently that said, "Your camera takes great pictures.  Thanks.  I thought it everything it knows."  Good photography isn't something that comes automatically with a camera.  I took four college level photography classes.  Or in layman's terms, I spent almost $2,000 in photography training.  (Of course I had grants and scholarships, but still.)

Do you go to a doctor and decide what you are going to pay him?  No, he spent lots of time and money going through school and as the Bible says "the worker is worth his wages".  You (or your insurance) will pay  $200 for seeing him for fifteen minutes. 

Just because someone is a friend doesn't mean that you don't need to value their expertise.  I have a friend who is a doctor.  I don't even call him "Doctor".  I have, however, called him at times trying to determine if I should go to the emergency room or not.  I don't take this lightly.  Even though he makes a nice income, he is someone I'm really hoping to win something nice to give him at some point because he has been so generous to me with his knowledge and time, I want to be generous with what I have as well.  (I enter contests and sweepstakes as a hobby.)

Not only is the world better off when we value ourselves, we tend to value others as well.  Plus it makes others feel better about doing things and sharing with you in the future if you give as generously as they do.

I chose this photo to display on my blog today because that is an Olympic torch from the Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta.  Just like Olympians know the value of their hard work, it's important for all of us to know the value of our contributions to society!

Friday, January 17, 2014

About Me.

I am Jenn, and I live in beautiful West Virginia.  I decided on the blog name, "Books, Bargains, Blessings" because I thought it was the best way to sum up my life in three words.  (Plus I inherited my mother's love for alliteration!)

I am a prolific reader, and I started learning to be frugal and budgeting at a young age.  I remember hearing my parents tell me how expensive college was, and I asked them if I could open a savings account and put money in it so I could help afford college.  I was five years old.  All birthday and Christmas monies always were tucked away in the bank.  I still have that savings account today, although I did use my childhood savings for my education!

I was into extreme couponing before it was cool.  In the early 1990s I was heavily involved in the coupon hobby.  Finances were such that if I wasn't, we just wouldn't have eaten.  So I know what it is like to have to make do with little.  That's one reason I talk so much about finances, budgeting, and how to find good deals on my blog.  I know there are others out there who, like I once was, are in debt and having to stretch every dollar until George Washington screams.  I have worked at home my entire adult life.  I often share advice on how to make money online.   I have received several awards from eBay over the years for being an outstanding seller.

The "Blessings" part of my blog encompasses family (my husband and I are hoping to adopt even though we were only married in 2015).  Also, my faith is very important to me.

I invite you to follow my blog on social media and subscribe to my newsletter.   (Don't worry, I don't send e-mails too often, maybe once a week, and of course will share good deals on days like Black Friday.)

If you have any questions, I'd love to answer them.  I also love hearing about things you would like me to write about on Books, Bargains, Blessings.

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My Favorite Bookstore (of my Childhood)

"I use Grammarly's free plagiarism checker because great minds think alike, but I know mine is brilliant"  :)

When I was growing up, my grandmother was an amazing crafter.  I saw her create yarn into beautiful afghans, fabric into clothing -- and even bowls!  One day we stopped at a little  craft store near where I lived.  I don't even remember the name of it, but that store was a highlight of my childhood.  I discovered the back part of it was a used bookstore.

While I enjoyed crafting, the real treasure to me was the dusty stacks of books.  Sometimes people use that term lightly, but everything was covered in a thin (or sometimes a thick) layer of dust.  They didn't have enough shelves, and there were boxes stacked everywhere.  They also bought books, and sometimes the books would arrive straight to the stacks in the same box they came in.

It was so fun digging.   There were back issues of magazines.  As I grew I discovered how much I enjoyed Guideposts Magazine and found issues back to the 1950s.  To a 13 year old in 1986, that was ancient history!  I was also 13 when this store closed, but I had about five wonderful years shopping there.

Another fun find I had there was a stack of Judy Bolton books.  My mother had a couple from when she was little.  They were priced high for that store (about $3.00 each)  so I might only buy one a month or so.  After all, they didn't seem to be that popular to the tweens of the 1980s.  They had old covers from the 1950s, and just weren't the psychedelic neon colors of my era.

Many times I would go to pay and the older proprietor would say that they were running a special on just those books and only take one or two dollars for the dozen books in my stack.  Or he would insist on throwing in a couple extra volumes he thought I would enjoy.  I still see him in town from time to time.  His love for the printed word has not waned, neither has mine.   I think of him in a small way as my reading mentor.

Three of my favorite books from my childhood I purchased there.  I read 100 pounds of popcorn nearly a dozen times.  I still have the copy I purchased there, and inside is mark it was 25 cents.  Another book I loved was The Toothpaste Millionaire where a boy starts his own business selling toothpaste.  (I was always an entrepreneur even at a young age.  I loved to dream big and the main character in this book hit it big with toothpaste while being in 8th grade!)  My favorite chapter book, though was Katie Kittenheart.  This book was originally published in 1966 about a sweet girl who was a heroine to all who knew her.  While others my age were reading the newest popular books, I was in the depths of a used book store finding treasures for a quarter each.  

In fact, one year at Christmas, a girl in my class and I decided to exchange gifts at Christmas.  She, too, was a reader, and I was able to get her almost a dozen books because they just so happened to be running a "special" at that bookstore that day and books were 6 for $1.  She couldn't believe I found her so many books on horses under our price limit.

As an adult I realize the sales, special, and bonuses were likely given because I was a child who loved reading as much as I did -- and still do.  It was a very sad day for me when that bookstore closed, and I have many fond memories of it.  There will never be a bookshop as wonderful as that one at least in my mind!


Friday, January 10, 2014

Five Minute Friday: See

You can find out all about Five Minute Friday here.  Basically we are given a topic and we write for five minutes and publish whatever comes out.

Start. . . .

See.  The world around us is a great big place, but how many people go through their lives without seeing what is right next to them?

Recently my boyfriend and I were driving through West Virginia.  I've grown up here.  Lived here my whole life except for two years I spent in college in Tennessee.  We were driving through what I call "The most boring stretch of Interstate".

What did he see?   He saw mountains, hills, trees, the New River Gorge where people bungee jump each year.  Tunnels through mountains, interesting shops with unique names peppering the Interstate.  He said when he moved to West Virginia how many people told him how lucky he was to be moving to such a beautiful area.

What did I see?  Concrete.  Mile markers.  Miles of boring nothingness.  I'm used to it. 

I've traveled that road many times.  He hasn't.  He saw.  I did not.  

Sometimes we become too familiar with our surroundings to see.   Our focus becomes not of the beauty around us but on the mundane.

. . . Stop

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Review: The Ragamuffin Bible

I recently discovered Brennan Manning, and have not read all his books.  Even if I had, I doubt I could have grasped all the deep truths contained in them in just one reading.

When I was given the chance to review NIV Ragamuffin Bible: Meditations for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Brokenhearted I was excited because I have enjoyed the Manning works I have read.  I was disappointed, though, that the Bible was in the NIV translation, which is not one of my favorites.  I wish it came in other translations, but I knew the version from the outset, so I can't be too disappointed with that.

The quality of the Bible is good.  It's a hardcover which should last for years even with heavy use.  The print size is the right size, and physically the only downside is because it is hardcover, it is a tad heavy.

I'm not sure about the cover saying "Lifetime work of Brennan Manning".  While I understand the concept, when the majority of the text in this book is the Bible, I would think a different blurb might be more appropriate.

That said, this Bible includes 104 devotions, 250 reflections, and 150 quotes.  These are good, and while I didn't read all of them (I read several books of the Bible to write this review, did not read the entire Bible cover to cover.)  The ones I read were very good and nuggets to savor.  An example of one of these is from page 693 "How would you respond if I asked you this question: Do you honestly believe God likes you, not just loves you because theologically God has to love you?" 

Another thing I will say is there seems to be fewer of Manning's writings sprinkled in certain parts of the Bible.  While I understand that it is difficult posthumously  to find writings that fit some of the portions of the Bible that most of us tend to skip over, if you would decide to read through the entire Bible, you wouldn't get nearly as many devotions in those sections of Scripture as you would in the Gospels.

Overall, I think I would really enjoy this as a devotional Bible if I enjoyed the New International Version a bit more, but it's still a Bible I will use on occasion.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Thoughts on a washing machine overflow. . .

I'm not even married yet and I'm thinking "For This I went to college?"  Backstory:  Growing up I heard what a wonderful blessing it was for women to stay and home, do housework, and have things wonderful for when their man arrived home and how this is God's plan for women.   (I grew up in the 1980s, by the way.  Not the 1950s.)

My boyfriend recently moved into the guest room in our house.  My mother is on dialysis and recently had major heart surgery.  I am thankful for the extra pair of hands to help out.

I had been riding along when taking my mother to dialysis appointments (20 minute drive each way.)  She told me last night it wasn't needed and so I decided to stay home and get some stuff done today.

I got up, brewed a pot of coffee.  We don't have a dishwasher (unless you count my boyfriend and me!) I did as many dishes as our drainer could hold, and then I started prepping the tuna noodle casserole I will have ready for when he and Mom arrives home.  I decided to be extra Donna Reed-ish and started the bread machine.

Then I went to the laundry room.  I had spilled a huge pot of water the other night while doing dishes.  We used every towel in the house we could find to clean up the spill.  I had thrown them in the washing machine, and then I discovered they were frozen in there!  So I thought the way to get them out was to run them through again.  I started the machine and then headed to the living room to sit down with a cup of coffee and enjoy a productive morning before I went upstairs to pack the eBay item that sold so I could get it mailed today.

Then I decided to check the laundry.  There was water everywhere.  I called my boyfriend, located some more towels and mopped the mess.   It was starting to turn to ice in the garage.  Eventually I lugged the towels (wet in a trash bag) upstairs so they could drain some in the bathtub (I hung them breiflly in the garage and they started freezing.)

I don't yet know why the washer overflowed.  Maybe even a burst water pipe.  The temperature was down to minus thirteen degrees the other night.  All I know is there is water in the washing machine, I wrung out the towels that were in there, threw them in the dryer (we'll need something to dry ourselves after a shower).  I'm leaving that for my boyfriend.  And while I'm thinking "For this I went to college"?   He is probably thinking similar.

Tomorrow is another day, though, and maybe on Friday I can be the Suzy Homemaker I was told it was so wonderful to be.  :)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My Eight Favorite books of 2013

I usually read about 100 books a year.   However, in 2013, so much was going on -- my mother went into the hospital in August and wasn't released until December.  (She was home a few days but had to keep going back to the hospital or rehab.)  So I only read about 40 books in 2013.

Here are a few of my favorites (In the order I read them)

1.  A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband "Master"  I loved this book because it was a great view of what if everything in the Bible was taken 100% literally and women still had to sleep in tents away from their husbands at times?

2.  Etched...Upon My Heart: What We Learn and Why We Never Forget  This book was written like a letter to her daughters reminding them of important lessons.  It was an amazing read written by the wife of Jim Kelley, former NFL quarterback, and they lost a son.  She has a lot of wisdom to share.

3.  I'm not usually a fiction fan, but The One Good Thing: A Novel was a fantastic book and I would highly recommend it.  What if we all did something nice for someone everyday?  What if we did that without carrying a secret that nearly tore a family apart when it was found out?

4.   Fill These Hearts: God, Sex, and the Universal Longing may seem like an odd book to make this list, but it was a great book that had so much depth to it I read it in small bits to absorb it.

5.  The Catholic Home: Celebrations and Traditions for Holidays, Feast Days, and Every Day
 had a lot of great ideas on how to incorporate faith into everyday life!

6.   The Church: Unlocking the Secrets to the Places Catholics Call Home was written by Cardinal Wuerl.  Anything written by him is a favorite.  I used to watch his show when he was a Bishop in Pittsburgh and he has taught me so much.

7. Set Free: The Authentic Catholic Woman's Guide to Forgiveness is a book that I would recommend to women -- OR MEN who may be struggling to forgive someone.

8.  Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale is the second fiction book to make this list.  A megachurch pastor gets fed up with the life of faith he's been living, leaves town to go to Italy to hang out with his uncle who is a priest, and he finds authentic faith.


I am hoping to read a lot more this year than I did last year and maybe next year I can give a top ten list instead of a top eight, and I'd love to be able to do a top ten fiction reads and top ten non-fiction reads, but until then you have my eight favorite books of 2013.  

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Achieving your New Year's Resolutions via your Moble Device

FTC disclaimer:  This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.

U.S. Cellular offers a FREE PRINTABLE Parent Child agreement to help you discuss safety of the Internet, cell phone usage, limits, and courtesy with your teen or tween.  You don't even need to be a U.S. Cellular customer to access this, although I have been for 10 years and highly recommend them. 

It's January 5th as I write this.  We're five days into the new year, and I asked my boyfriend the other night about what goals he had for this year.  He said he didn't like to make resolutions.  I said we wanted to set goals.  Things we can achieve, not things we dislike about ourselves.  We talked about it, and here are a few things we decided to do:

We want to get healthier.  While weight loss is a part of this, health is a whole body issue.  Less stress can also make you healthier.

We want to get out of debt, manage money better, and make more income in our spare time.

We also want to stay in touch with family who live far away.  We just got back from visiting his grandfather in Alabama.  His grandfather is 98 years old.  It was my first time meeting him and I felt like I was not just talking to someone who is family, but I was sitting with history.  (He served with John F. Kennedy during World War II.)

So how are we planning on achieving these goals?   Our mobile devices from U.S. Cellular can certainly help.

To stay in touch with family who are spread across the country and around the world, we both have Skype downloaded on our iPad Airs.  It doesn't matter if you are wanting to talk to someone in the next state or in Russia, you can set a time to talk and you can talk to that person for free with the Skype app.  An added bonus is you can see that person as well.  When my boyfriend and I were not living in the same state, we used the Skype app nightly to be able to stay in touch with each other.  Now we are using it to stay in touch with family and there's still some close friends of mine who don't live nearby who have yet to meet him.  We are planning on Skyping soon with a close friend of mine who lives in Russia.   Such a wonderful app to bring everyone together.  In fact, my friend who lives in Russia, sometimes his family who lives in Maryland will set up an iPad and let them view the family get together via Skype.  Technology allows better moments for everyone near and far!

To become healthier, there's a few apps we are relying on.  One is MyFitnessPal.  I've been using this one since I learned about it when I went to a weight loss week in May.  It can track your calories eaten for the day, and you can set it up to show you how many grams of fat, protein, carbs, etc. you have eaten.  I didn't realize until I went to this fitness week that you NEED a certain amount of fat in your diet to lose weight.  I had been buying all fat free food items and therefore was inadvertently making myself not lose as much weight as I could have been with the same effort.  Who knew?  I didn't!  In addition, if you have a blog you can get a great little button to put on your blog saying how much weight you have lost.  (You can see mine on the right side of this blog.)  You can also track your exercise in MyFitnessPal and it will give you an approximate number of calories burned based on your activity when compared to your height and weight!  Another app that I learned about when I was at camp and I want to use more often is Fooducate.  I downloaded this into my U.S. Cellular Samsung Galaxy S4 and it's a great resource to decide which is the healthier choice of foods.  When in the grocery store, just scan the bar code of a food you are considering buying with your phone and it will give it a rating.  It analyzes calories to nutrition, if there are GMOs in the food, etc.  If it is a C or D rating, it will give you suggestions of similar but healthier products you can purchase.  To help encourage my boyfriend and me to be out and about, I have the Geocaching app.  (This one is $9.99 in the Google Play or app store, but the others I mention in this post are free.)   Geocaching is like a treasure hunt.  People have hidden small containers around the world, and you use GPS coordinates to find them.  It's a fun way to get outdoors!  Also, when you need to fill prescriptions, check to see if your pharmacy has an app.  Ours does and I can scan a barcode on my prescription bottle and it will be ready to be picked up when I go into town.  That way I don't forget to fill my prescriptions and that means staying healthier!

Another way of staying healthy is eliminating stress.  An app I just downloaded to help with that is Evernote.  It can help keep you organized, help you know when you have appointments (and with trying to keep tabs on schedules for myself, helping my boyfriend remember things, and keeping track of my mother's doctor appointments, just keeping an organized calendar is a huge stress reliever because I can pull out my tablet and tell a receptionist "We have a doctor's appointment then, but what about the next day at the same time?" 

Finances?   Be sure and check out your bank's app.  At my bank, we can even make a mobile deposit by snapping a photo of the check with our mobile device.  It's quick and easy!  I can download the eBay or Amazon apps if I want to sell something online.  Plus I can keep everything organized in the Mint app.  I can see how much I have in my bank account, track spending, and create budgets.

As you can see, there's a lot I would like to accomplish this year, and I'm glad I have a mobile device through U.S. Cellular to help me get healthier, get my finances on track, and to stay in touch with family.

How did people achieve New Year's resolutions (or achieve goals) before we had cell phones?  What are your resolutions and what apps are you utilizing to help you achieve those goals?