How to Break the Diet Coke Habit

If you’ve been following along, you will know that, over the course of the last three years, I have really been making improvements in my life. I was able to successfully get rid of my sugar addiction. It wasn’t easy, but what was easy was physically feeling how much better I felt without the sugar. The one vice I still had was my Diet Coke habit. I’m finally at the point in my life that I want to break that habit.

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diet coke habit

As you know, my husband and I embarked on a new lifestyle a few years ago. The Keto diet helped us lose a combined 215 lbs. We felt better, looked better, it has been amazing. Recently, we decided to change things up a bit and give Weight Watchers a try. I had been stuck in a place of not losing so I wanted to jumpstart my body and give a new lifestyle a change for a bit, while hanging on to a lot of the principles that I learned from doing the Keto diet for so long.

While I felt like I mastered the ability to not want or care about sugar any longer, I was still not great about drinking enough water. I am amazing at drinking Diet Coke. I could drink that stuff all day long, like it was water. That’s one of the main reasons I don’t buy a case of pop at Sam’s Club to have at home. I would drink way too much per day. It was time to break that Diet Coke habit.

Breaking the Diet Coke Habit

As addicted to sugar as I was, I am probably more addicted to Diet Coke. I don’t drink coffee, so my only source of caffeine comes from pop. Believe me, I wish I liked coffee. For many reasons. The caffeine being one of them, but also so I can drink out of fun coffee mugs like this mugdiet coke habit. But more than needing caffeine to get through each day, or wanting to drink out of fun coffee mugs, I need to up my water intake.

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Back before I started the Keto diet, I was really into Young Living essential oils. I still use the oils for things, but not like I did. That changes now! One of the ways I got my water in then, was putting my favorite Young Living essential oils in my water. Not only did the flavor help, but the oils are good for you!

Why Essential Oils?

Grapefruit essential oil (my favorite) is very high in D-Limonene. If you are not sure what D-Limonene is or what it is good for, check this out. While all of those benefits are great, I like that it makes my water taste good, as well as benefit my health at the same time. As a side note though, not all essential oils are created equally. I would only add Young Living oils to my water (and only those approved for ingesting). Other Young Living essential oils that I like to add to my water are lemon, orange, and lime.

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So What’s My Plan?

Am I giving up my Diet Coke habit for good? No, probably not. I want to break the habit of feeling like I “need” a Diet Coke to get through my day. Which, let me tell you, I’ve been up since 5 am and I’ve yet to have any caffeine and I’m still wide awake! However, with that said, I see the Diet Coke habit the same as I used to see my sugar addiction. I want to get to the point that I don’t care about whether or not I have it. Once I get to that point, then I know I can have a pop and it won’t trigger me to have more, just like I can have a piece of candy and not eat another for days, weeks or months. To me, that would be breaking the Diet Coke habit.

Smart House Technology for Saving Energy

Electricity is not cheap. In fact, the average cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in the United States in May 2018 was 13.15 cents. Unsure of what that means? A kWh is a measurement for the amount of electricity you’re using. One kWh equals the amount of electricity needed to run a 1,000-watt appliance for one hour. With that in mind, something like a 100-watt light bulb would require 10 hours of being on to consume 1 kWh of energy.

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Paying only 13.15 cents for 10 hours of light doesn’t sound too bad. However, when you consider all the other electronics in your home, it can really start to add up. For example, taking a six-minute shower in a 10,000-watt shower uses 1 kWh. Watching the TV for three hours burns 1 kWh. And cooking in a 2,000-watt oven for a half hour will utilize 1 kWh. Throughout the course of a single day, nearly everything you do collectively piles on to your monthly energy bill.

Want to find ways to lower your monthly energy bill? That’s where smart home technology comes into play. Smart technology allows you to cut back on your energy usage by turning your heat or air conditioning off when you’re not at home, remotely controlling electronics, and automatically closing your window shades to keep your temperature-controlled air from leaking out. Of course, these are just a few of the ways these energy-saving systems work. To learn more about how smart technology can help in your home, check out the infographic below.

smart house technology

Emergencies to Plan for Before an International Trip

Many people have international travel on their bucket lists. I know I do! Whether it’s a week in Paris or a month in Costa Rica, traveling internationally is as educational as it is exciting. But what happens if you experience an emergency on your trip? Do you have a game plan for that situation? Here are three emergencies to plan for before an international trip.

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international trip

Natural Disasters

international travel

Image via Flickr by NASA Goddard Photo and Video

Before traveling to your destination country, be sure to educate yourself on what type of natural disasters could happen. Are tornadoes common in the area? What about hurricanes? Although experiencing a natural disaster while you travel may be rare, it’s still important to take precautions in your planning.

Designate a location where your family or friends could meet in case of separation. Pack a first aid kit, a flashlight, and some food. Check in with the State Department for natural disaster information. Also, make sure you have copies of your passports, visas, and travel information so you can leave quickly if needed.

If a natural disaster does strike, seek out evacuation routes. Follow any instructions given by emergency personnel, including the Red Cross. Find a safe place to wait for help. Only eat food and drink water that you know is safe. Avoid downed power lines and flooded areas. Pay attention to television or social media alerts. And, after the natural disaster passes, be sure to check in with your family and friends; they’ll want to know you’re safe.

Terrorist Activities and Violence

Terrorist activities and violence, whether criminal or political, can happen without any notice. The State Department recommends that travelers stay aware while traveling abroad. It’s also a good idea to register your trip with the State Department to receive security messages and travel advisories.

Keep in mind that terrorists look for “soft targets,” such as airports, public transportation, sporting events, and hotels. Be aware of suspicious activity when you are in or around these locations while traveling. Pay attention to the local news. Also, make sure you know the location of your home country’s closest embassy or consulate. Finally, you and your travel companions should stick together. Don’t wander off alone.

Medical Emergencies

If you get sick or injured while you are traveling, having the right protection is important. For example, a membership with MedjetAssist can provide additional assistance to you in case of an emergency. MedjetAssist can arrange air medical transport from the hospital in your destination country to a hospital of your choice in your home country.

By upgrading your membership to MedjetHorizon, you will receive additional protective services in the event of a natural disaster, terrorism, kidnapping, or violent crime. Additionally, you will receive crisis response services including evacuation, legal assistance, and communication with your family members back home.

Although you hope to not deal with a crisis during your international trip to Paris or Costa Rica, being prepared for an emergency abroad will give you comfort. To enjoy your international trip and stay safe while traveling, education and preparation should be on your to-do list.

Summer Daily Planner for Kids Printable

Last summer, the last thing I wanted was for the kids to wake up and spend all day, every day on their electronics. I also didn’t want to spend my day nagging them repeatedly to do their chores. So I started leaving little to do lists on the counter for them with various chores that they needed to complete before they could even think about pulling out an electronic. It worked fairly well. It allowed me to sleep in a bit too (well…if you call sleeping until 7:30 am, sleeping in)! This summer, I want to do the same thing, but go a step further. I will be using this summer daily planner and attaching it to the fridge every night.

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summer daily planner

Print your FREE Summer Daily Planner printable HERE

I think it is very important for kids to have chores during the summer (and during the school year). We do not pay an allowance right now, as the chores we ask the kids to do are things that help out the family from day to day. Things we do pay for are extra things. For example, cutting the grass, doing a load of laundry, etc. My husband and I like to listen to Dave Ramsey and I believe he had a podcast all about how your kids can earn commission for various jobs. Basically you will put up a job chart and the kids can pick and choose extra jobs if they want to earn a little extra money. It works out well (usually).

summer daily planner

The nice thing about this summer daily planner is that you can write out one sheet for both kids. I just make sure to label who does what or they would fight. Seriously…I don’t know about your kids, but mine seem to fight about everything lately. Since my kids are older, one thing they are responsible for in the summer is making their own breakfast and lunch. I take care of dinner. However, what I hate is when I see them standing in front of the fridge just staring at the food like it’s going to spontaneously change into something new. By giving them two choices, they feel like they are making their own choices, which they are, but you are still ultimately getting them to eat what you want them to eat!

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So how do you get this summer daily planner sheet to work for you? Simply fill it out accordingly and slip it in to a sheet protector and hang it on your fridge. At the end of the day, slip your daily planner sheet into a binder. This way, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every single day. Lets face it, a lot of these daily chores, as well as the meals, can be repeated! Definitely take a look at those InkJoy Gel Pens. They are super nice to write with AND they come in pretty colors. I don’t know about you, but I just love writing in different colored ink!

What are you waiting for? Download your FREE summer daily planner printable today!


How to Set Up the Our Pact Premium App

Do your kids have cell phones? When my kids were younger, I said that my kids wouldn’t get cell phones until they were driving. That changed! Getting them phones earlier has actually been a benefit. There are times I need to be in two places at once, which means one child gets dropped off somewhere earlier. Having that phone makes me feel better. Besides that, having a phone gives me something I can take away. It’s all about finding what’s meaningful with punishments, right?!? However, taking away the phone defeats the purpose of why I initially got it for them. That’s were the Our Pact Premium app comes in.

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our pact premium
Image via Pexels

What is Our Pact Premium?

A lot of parents joke that they give their kids electronics like phones or an iPad so they have something to take away. As parents, we know we have to discipline our kids and take things away. In order for it to be effective, it has to mean something to them. Taking away the phone leaves kids without the very reason you gave it to them. So they can contact you if need be. Our Pact Premium is an app for both iOS and Android that allows you to manage exactly what they do on their phone and when. It’s a parenting game changer. Goodbye are the days when you collect the phone and take it away for X amount of days. Just turn off what you don’t want them using (games, YouTube, etc) and hand the phone back to them.

 

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Installing the App

It is very important that you read this section. I do not want another person to have the trouble I had installing this app and setting it up. At 9 pm I started setting it up and at 3 am, I was still trying to set it up. Nothing was working right. The directions on their site are a little vague and the step by step directions tech support emailed me didn’t work either. I finally gave up and went to bed and figured I would try again in the morning. When I woke up this morning, I had an idea as to why it wasn’t working and decided to try a different way. It worked! Had two phones set up in less than 25 minutes.

First things first…if you are planning on going with the Premium plan, set that up FIRST. Trust me. Once you have the Premium plan paid for, you will be prompted to download the Our Pact Utility onto your computer. Once that is downloaded onto your computer, do the following:

  1. Plug your phone iPhone into your computer.
  2. Run the Our Pact Utility program and follow the directions on the screen.
  3. Follow the prompts on your iPhone. When it asks you about allowing configuration, click “skip configuration”.
  4. Pair your phone by going to pair.ourpact.com.
  5. Log into the parent app and start setting up the schedules and blocks.

So why didn’t it work before?

When I initially tried setting up the app, I didn’t purchase the premium plan at first. By not doing that, I set up the free account. With the free account you do not need to use the Our Pact Utility program. Should be easy to upgrade from the free to the paid accounts, right? Wrong. In order to set up the paid account, you have to fully remove the free account. That’s easy enough. However, you cannot use the same name for the paid account that you used on the free account. So be sure which account you want from the beginning. I will say, in my opinion, this app is not worth it unless you pay for the premium plan.

Our Pact Premium App Features

You will know you have your account set up with the premium features when you see “access granted” and you can start blocking apps.

our pact premium

Next you will want to decide which apps you will always allow, which apps you would like to block for now and which apps you would like set up according to a schedule (more about that later). The nice thing is, if you decided to block an app, it disappears from your child’s screen. When you unblock it, it reappears.

our pact premium

Once you’ve decided on what to do with the various apps, you will want to set the schedules. On my kids phones, I have all the apps that I do not want them having access to during the night set to disappear at 8:15 pm and stay gone until 6 am (Monday through Friday). Since I would like them to not wake up at the crack of dawn just to watch YouTube, I also set a schedule for Saturday and Sunday.

our pact premium

Another really great feature is the ability to limit how much time your kids will be on their phone and iPad. You can set a daily allowance for them. When their time is up, they are done! I know when my kids were much younger, I was very strict about electronics during the school week. By setting daily allowances, your kids and their device self monitors and you don’t have to sit and watch the clock!

our pact premium

As if this app was already great enough, this next feature allows you to completely block adult content. I don’t know exactly what constitutes as “adult content” (besides the obvious), but I like that there is that extra little feature to help keep that stuff away from the kids. We have the settings on their iPhone to block it too, but as you’re probably aware, things can slip through.

our pact premium

Tonight we were at Sam’s Club picking up a few items and when we got in the car, Bella said “hey, where did all my apps go?”. So the bedtime schedule worked exactly the way it was supposed to! Besides the issues I had setting the app up with my sons phone, I am very happy with the Our Pact Premium app.

Have you used the Our Pact app?