When I Say I get Free Products, I Really Don’t!

I want to apologize to all of those who I have given the impression that I get free, high-value stuff all the time.

I’ve been asked quite often how I get all of these nice things, and unfortunately I’ve seemed to boast about them. I founded Coupon Friendly over 4 years ago…and it took 2 of those years to really get my name out there, and finally legalize it as a business (hello, LLC.). I not only share deals, but I also test products out. I have a job (besides being a mommy of 5) – a mommy blogger…and yes, that is actually a job title. I get compensated in both money and products to try out. They pay for my time and my readership. So when I say I get free products, I really don’t.

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Being a mommy blogger isn’t one of those “get rich quick” schemes. You have to work for it, just like everything else. And patience…which was personally hard for me, because I simply have none! ūüôā ¬†Companies out there are always looking into finding ways to get their names out there. One of the cheapest ways to do that is to work with bloggers with a high number of readers. It not only is cheaper, but it eases the company’s mind knowing they most likely won’t get taken advantage of. Unfortunately there are people out there (including a few bad bloggers) who will take the product (or money) and run. As an LLC. – and even if I didn’t have a legal business – I have a reputation to uphold. I want to grow Coupon Friendly enough to have steady income to help my husband¬†(who also owns his own business, and is my IT Director for my website – lucky me!) and our family’s income. We have 5 young children to take care of.

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I work at home, on my own time (sounds like I’m self-employed, don’t I? haha), which I love. If I have an emergency with one or more of the children, I can take off work as long as I want. I don’t make money at that time, but that comes with the territory. It’s great having this opportunity to be a work at home mom. But that’s what I am….a work at home mom. I run a mommy blog. So when you see me post about “free” products that I have received, or compensated opportunities, let me reiterate what I should have been saying before. I greatly apologize. They’re not free. I work with that certain company and am paid in products.

With all that said, by checking out my Coupon Friendly website, you are helping support my business. Print coupons, share a recipe you enjoy, and comment on a review you liked reading. Every little bit helps!

If you have a blog, please comment below the link and what you’re all about, so we can check it out. Share your passion!

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I Don’t Want to Become My Mother

Out of all of the things posted, positive memes and messages that friends share on Facebook about their mothers probably bothers me the most. I think out of all five of her kids, I was the one closest to her as a child, but that soon changed once I became a teenager.

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Unfortunately, I don’t speak to my mom, which breaks my heart to the fullest. Many of my close friends have a pretty good relationships with their mothers – and believe me, I observe it closely, and have felt envious of the situation. A mother’s (just like a dad’s) position in a child’s life is vital. They watch us like a hawk, mimicking what we do and what we say. I didn’t have a good example. Occasionally, she would blame her ‘bad example’ on how she was raised, further explaining that God was understanding. I read that as “Oh God is okay with how I act, because I didn’t have a good childhood.” Growing up, I couldn’t help but to pardon her abusive actions towards my siblings and me, simply because of that statement. Nowadays, my siblings and I have little-to-no contact with our mother, which is sad all around.

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This does not work. Plain and simple!

I can’t tell you how often I fear of becoming my mother, and the strength of that fear sometimes overpowers me. So often, that I’m constantly reminding my kids how much I love them, and how sorry I am when my fuse is shorter than usual. Never do I want my kids to doubt my love for them. Never do I want my kids to remember their mom ¬†as being unhappy and always frustrated and overwhelmed, but as the fun, crazy, silly mom who loved her family and had a strong faith in God. I don’t call my kids names….why? Because I was called every name in the book, and grew up thinking I was worthless. I want my children to know how how important they are to me, and that they deserve all the happiness in the world. I want to have a good relationship with them. I want to know that when they grow up and have their own family, that they will strive to be good parents, love their spouses, and love their Heavenly Father.

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My kids asked me today if I loved my mother. It was so easy to answer. “Yes, absolutely” I replied. Of course I love my mother. My oldest explained that it didn’t seem to make sense to love someone who did bad things to others, but it was kind of like when her and her siblings would misbehave, I would still love them.

I believe hating someone leaves bitterness in your heart, and that grudge won’t let you move forward in your life. As Heavenly Father has forgiven me for my wrongdoings, I forgive her, and pray and think about her a lot, and hope she’s finding peace in her life, like I am. And I’m finding my peace by strengthening my faith in God.

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Hating others is a waste of time.

I’m grateful for the women who have been mother-figures, and great examples for me (you know who you are!). Family is essential to Heavenly Father’s plan, and it’s our job as parents to teach our kids love, compassion, respect, manners, and some silliness mixed in, so that we can help make this world a better place.

I’m Happy the Kids are Going Back to School

Yeah, you heard correctly, and I’m tired of others making me feel bad for thinking that way.

I’m a happy mother of five young children. I count my many blessings every day for this wonderful life my Heavenly Father has given me. ¬†Many of my close family members and friends have one or two kids, and a few have way more than five. Some of these parents even homeschool their children. I admire them, just as I admire two working parents. It’s not an easy job being a parent, plain and simple! It takes sacrifice, dedication, and a whole lot of sleepless nights. Some days are happy, peachy-keen, full of rainbows, unicorns and gumdrops galore, others – well not so much. You take what you can get, one step at a time.

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My husband and I had our 5th baby at the end of April, about 3 weeks before school let out. This sounded like a good plan – I could sleep in, I didn’t have to wait by the window at 3:45 pm to make sure the kids got off the bus every school day…I could just relax and let them have fun out in our back yard while I stayed inside, feeding and relaxing with the baby.

But that. Did. Not. Happen.

I was up in the middle of the night every couple hours with our little one. I was up between 6:30-7 almost every morning with the other kids, making sure they ate breakfast, read scriptures, and did their chores before their ‘playtime’ started. I was doing my own set of chores and e-mailing potential clients for my company while our baby was sleeping. As a coupon/mommy blogger, I had to stay on top of finding and sharing deals as well. I fed the baby every couple hours, played with her and rocked her back to sleep, while the other kids were getting on each others nerves (“Mommy, Mommy!! He’s copying everything I say!!”) As hectic as half the days go, I’m always trying to find ways to spend time with my other kiddos as well, by playing board games, coloring/drawing, taking goofy pictures, and watching movies with them. When dinner time approaches, my wonderful, hard-working husband (who owns his own business as well) comes home, and tries to spend time with all of us, before being pulled away with a phone call or a broken website that needs to be fixed pronto! I make sure the kids finish their dinner before returning back to their ‘playtime’ before the dreaded bedtime comes along….

….okay, well bedtime in our house isn’t really all that bad…most days.

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These busy days don’t count all of the doctor/dentist appointments, playdates, and other events we attend. Having five kids is hard. I would be lying to you, and myself if I said it wasn’t. Some people can make having lots of kids look simple, and fun. And others would say “oh yeah, I could totally do that! It’s a cake walk!” ¬†I look at them and say “that’s not accurate.” But seriously, it’s not. School is now a couple weeks away, and I’m excited. And my kids are excited. We can high-five each other now! I won’t have an empty nest though. I’ll have my two year old, and my 3 month old with me while the other three are in school.

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I’m happy the kids are going back to school, and I’ll tell you why. As a mother, it’s important that I’m able to regain myself often, so that I can be a better mother and wife. Because us mothers give so much, and hardly get much in return. The other day, my husband texted me this message, “I just get worried about you when you have to give so much and work so hard to take care of everyone else, ” also including in his message about¬†him watching the kids for me when he got home so that I could shower. We appreciate showers, don’t we ladies? Especially without an audience!

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But how can we be a better parent and spouse by taking time out for ourselves? Some people would call that selfishness. But it’s not. My husband plainly told me to imagine our family on a plane, and suddenly the plane is in emergency mode. The oxygen masks drop. Us parents want to automatically go into our “mommy-modes” and want to put the masks on our family’s first – when what we should be doing is putting a mask on first (taking care of ourselves), THEN helping put the masks on our children. If we don’t, we pass out, and we’re no good, right? Then who helps the children? Our jobs as mothers are SO important, but it’s also essential to take care of ourselves, so that our stress levels are lower, our minds- more focused, and our attitude- more positive, so that we can BE better mothers and wives.

So all of you mothers out there- if and when you can, take time out for just you. Because you matter too!

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Ella’s Spit-Up – How Do I Help Fix My Baby’s Issue?

Okay, so it’s more than just spit-up….literally!

So, I had a parental concern with my baby, Ella. And it’s something that bothers me to no extent, especially since I have never had this kind of issue with any of my other kids, besides my first-born, that only had breathing problems for a very short time during her first month.

When she was born, she took a huge gulp of amniotic fluid, which raised breathing concerns to the doctors, and landed her in the NICU for a few hours. It was the longest few hours of my life. Forget the amount of intense pain I was in (I had a c-section + abdominal muscle surgery), I just wanted my baby! Since being born, she’s done more than just the “normal” spit-up.

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She’s almost 3 months now, and projectile vomits almost every morning (about 30 minutes/hour after feeding). It seems to startle her, but she doesn’t act like she’s in much pain. She’s usually a very happy baby, naps often, is gaining weight normally, and spits up almost every feeding. We mentioned to her doctor about the projectile vomiting, and he gave her Zantac medicine to see if it would help. Every time I had given it to her, it made her spit up or projectile vomit.

I really hate seeing the stress in my baby’s eyes when this happens, and am worried that I’m going to have to stop breastfeeding and possibly switch to formula – however, I want to do what is best for our baby Ella!

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Does she have acid reflux? Is there anything I could try to possibly ease this issue? I can’t be the only parent! Please help!

I was grateful to those who have responded on Facebook, and have appointments with the doctor to figure this all out. I’m hoping to get more insight on the subject. Thanks for your help!

Tonight, I had a Panic Attack…And Made a Memory

To be honest, I really don’t understand the reasons for panic attacks. They’re stupid…plain and simple. I recall my mother having them when I was a kid, and her fear of having them kept her in her house. All. The. Time! I had hoped, growing up, not having to deal with such issues…but alas, it has happened. I heard panic attacks can be hereditary, but I don’t know for sure.

Anyways…tonight, I had a panic attack. I was already in a funk as it was, dealing with certain issues that I most certainly did not want to encounter – but I had to. We got home from an out-of-town trip, and it hit me slowly, growing with each passing minute. Then, it was to the point where I couldn’t take it anymore. I ran to our bedroom, where it was mostly quiet, and broke down. I hate feeling like this, I thought. I informed my husband of what was happening, and he assured me that he had the kids taken care of, and to take my time to calm my body down. 30 minutes later, I had chilled long enough…and I craved a walk. Not a long walk…maybe 15 minutes would do the trick.

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Two of my younger kids decided to come along with me, while my husband watched the others. And off we went – exploring our small neighborhood with a nice little walk in the sun. We played around, we sang together, we held hands, and I took a few beautiful pictures. After all, exercising releases the ‘happy endorphins’, right? Though it was a wicked hot 89 degrees outside, it was incredibly nice to spend a little bit of time with Sophia and Benny. They may not remember the memory, but I sure will. I love my kids!

Through the bad, came some much needed good!¬†I’m grateful to my Heavenly Father for opportunities to better my situations, both big and small.

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Does anyone else suffer from panic attacks? How do you cope with them?

Dear Dad

My Dearest Dad,

It’s been 14 years since your passing, and I can still remember the phone call that I received from mom when it happened. One of the saddest days of my life, and still makes me tear up a bit. So much has happened to me within that 14 year period. Some parts I wish you wouldn’t have missed, others that I’m glad you weren’t there for. Did you notice how mom went downhill after you left? She was already unstable as it was, but your passing had made it worse. All of her kids grew up and moved out of the house as quickly as they could to get away and tried to retain whatever “normal-ness” they had left.

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When you married my mom, I was 7, and under the impression – because she said – that you never wanted children, nor did you care to take on the roll as “dad” for her 5 children. I felt it was nothing against us, because you made sure that we were fed, clothed, and had a roof over our head – you were just content with being “Robert”…or Bob, as we called you. But you were so much more than just “Bob” to us. You were the male role model that we looked up to. You were the dad that we needed at that time, when we needed you the most. Two jobs – you worked so often, we hardly saw you…but when we did see you, it was wonderful. You had set an example of what my moms boys should grow up to be, and what kind of husband my moms daughters should have – a hard-working, God-fearing man, who loved and cared for his wife. We were told after your passing that you had never really loved us, but despised us, and could only remotely come close to tolerating me. I felt deep in my heart that it was a lie, and here’s why: I remember one rainy morning when I was about 10, you took me to my bus stop to go to school, and I’ll never forget the advice you had given me. You said to never settle for less than I deserved – that when I became an adult, I needed a man who loved me unconditionally and who worked hard to take care of me and our children. What step-father would give such heartfelt advice to his step-child if he didn’t care? We meant something to you, just like you meant something to us. And that’s no lie.

Now, 14 years later, I’ve been married twice, and have five beautiful children…all whom I know for sure you would have loved and enjoyed spending time with. They possess so much energy and¬†the goofy qualities that I remember you having when I was a kid. I talk about you often to them, and mention how much I miss you. My oldest, Hayden told me that she wishes she could have met you. You would love her, Dad…she has such a soft, kind heart, willing to serve and help others. Noah and Benny are my goofy boys, finding every opportunity to make others laugh. Sophia and Ella can melt your heart in every way. I just know you would have enjoyed falling asleep with them in your arms in your favorite rocking chair.

I unfortunately can’t find any pictures of you…though, mom gave me a box full of your military stuff when you served in Vietnam. When I clean out my garage, I go through it to make sure everything is in its place. I’m glad to have at least something of yours.

I know you would have struggled alongside us if you were still here. You had made your mistakes, but you were there to admit your faults, pick up the pieces, and move forward. I know that my sister, Shannon was thankful as well. Her recent passing was hard on me too, especially with the relationship (or I guess I should say ‘non- existent relationship) that we had the past couple years. I still loved her and thought about her often, and prayed….oh man, did I pray! Please, take care of her up there for us!

I’m grateful for the time that I got to spend with you on this earth. I hope you’re proud of me – through the mistakes and triumphing over them – of the woman that I was before to the woman I am now. I want to thank you for all that you did for me, my siblings, and my mother. I will never forget you.

 

With love and remembrance,

Kristin

My step-dad's obituary. My brother, Aaron is missing from the list of my mother's children

My brother, Aaron is missing from the list of my mother’s children

 

My First “Where There’s A Willis” Post….But Not Really!

I’m a blogger – a coupon blogger, a mommy blogger, which ever one you consider me to be. I try to do it all within my Coupon Friendly blog (my LLC. – yep, I’m a legal business owner – go me!), including but not limited to sharing deals, freebies, DIY projects, super easy recipes, and reviewing products. I try to be pretty personal on there, but there’s only so far that I will go. 11143602_750062168447269_5896240061547780292_nToday, I thought to myself, “Hey, self! How about trying out a simple little personal blog, to keep family-friendly memories on to share with friends and family?” Yes! I concurred. What a fantastic idea. But what about a name?

It MUST be catchy, and clever. How could I incorporate my name in the title? It hit me quickly…

There’s a saying “Where there’s a will, there’s a way!” What a quote, right?! In the words of Jimmy MacElroy from Blades of Glory¬†(okay, it was actually Walt Disney), “If you can dream it, you can do it!” I’m not a perfect person or parent, but I’m working hard…and I have a strong desire to give my family the life that I didn’t have growing up. And if I want it bad enough, I can do just that.

So there we have it. “Where There’s A Willis”¬†was created. I’m so excited to be starting this new journey in my life. My posts may share some struggles I’m enduring, along with positive situations, hoping to show others that though I have gone through some hardships growing up, I’m going to come out of it better and stronger – and if I can, then anyone can! And I’ve come out of it because of my faith in my Heavenly Father (which I will also be writing about on this blog). I won’t be forgetting fun tips, projects and recipes, so stick around!

You’re about to learn about me…the REAL me. Get ready!

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