Category Archives for House Help

How to Keep Your Kids Safe on Social Media

How do we keep our kids safe on social media is one of the most talked about topics when I meet up with my fellow neighborhood Moms. We’ve been discussing it since our kids were in kindergarten. Sadly, things are not getting any easier. If anything, things are getting harder! There are so many more hidden dangers and secret ways for kids to hide things on their phones.

If you have a teenager or a soon to be teenager,  then you know they are all about their phones and social media. Whenever your family decides to allow your kids to have access to phones/social media, it’s important to know some ways to keep everyone safe and stay ahead of the game.

Here are some basic facts about kids and social media.

  • Nearly 15 million teens in the U.S. were “social network users,” and nearly two million
    children (three to 11 years old) also used social networking websites
  • Among teens 12 to 17 years old, 65% have a profile on an online social network
  • 84% of teens polled said they have a Facebook profile
  • 52% of teens have given out personal information online to someone they don’t know offline,
    and one in four (25%) have shared personal photos and/or physical descriptions of themselves
    (twice as many girls as boys)

(Taken from

As we can all see, technology isn’t going anywhere. We need to be in the know of things around us to keep our children safe. These are some scary facts!! Are you prepared for your kids to be on social media? What are your rules and regulations for them? Here are some ideas.

  • Start early talking to your children about social media
  • Set some ground rules
  • Limit their time allowed online
  • Discuss what is appropriate on and offline

Tell them to remember that Nothing is secret when it comes to social media. My kids are still young so luckily we’re not there yet with the phones but we only allow Ipad/laptop use in common areas where we can see. My daughter also has time limits and certain things she can and cannot go to.

What ground rules do you set??? Do you check or monitor their phones? The good news is that there are constantly new apps and ways for parents to stay on top of safety with parental apps and monitoring programs. Here are 2 apps to download and look at to see if they fit your needs:

MM Guardian

Protection for Kids, Peace of Minds for Parents

Advantages: Set time limits for usage, block apps and websites (including porn), parents can view browsing history, prevent sexting and cyber-bullying, get a location of child’s phone at all times, see how much they are texting and who they are texting to.

Cost: Varies/They have monthly subscriptions to try or other plans to try depending on a number of devices.

Advantages:  Block phone numbers, set restrictions, and limits, monitor text message, and activity, time location tracking, more.  You can determine who they can and can’t communicate with, block websites, activity, and more.

Cost: $89 per year

I’m definitely (like many of you Moms) learning as I go with this tricky situation. My oldest is just starting to be at the age where she wants a phone and other devices and I know as her Mom I have to protect her. I want to hear from you and your experience. What are you doing to keep your kids safe on social media?? Let’s band together and help one another with this!

Keeping Kids Safe on Social Media

Looking for Fun Things to Do this Fall? Check out this awesome list of Fall Festivals.

Grocery Pick-Up and Delivery Services

With our busy world today it’s so nice that stores and restaurants are starting to offer more delivery services. We have several around town and some larger on-line companies are using it as well. Save time and shop online! Here are some great choices for delivery services around town.

Kroger Click List: I am new to shopping at Kroger but so far I really like this. It runs like most of the others but they do charge a $4.95 fee for this service. Your first 3 trips are free though so make sure you do at least 3! I haven’t had any issues so far but some items I’ve wanted they’ve been out of so they will sub you with something else. You can also earn your Kroger gas points so this is a great service to me! You shop online and choose your time then go to the store and park in the special parking. You call once you park and say what lane you’re in and they will deliver your stuff to your car. No tips are accepted.

Walmart Grocery Online: Walmart started this service last year and slowly more and more people are trying it. There’s no service fee, but you do have to meet certain total. I think it’s around $30. That is certainly easy to do at Walmart. Stock up on paper products and there’s your $30. If you are new they offer a promo code for first-time customers so make sure you look for that.  It works the same sat Kroger where you call and park and tell them which lane and they will bring it out. The Walmart at Spring Creek/75 does this service and they do have nice covered awnings that will make it shaded so it’s nice in the hot summer! No tips are accepted.

Tom Thumb Delivery: This is not a curbside pick up like the others but a delivery service. You can save $20 and get your first delivery free by using the promo code TWENTY at checkout. They have 1-hour delivery windows and you can get same day delivery if you order before 8:30 am.

Amazon Fresh:  This is a fairly new service through Amazon. There is a $15 a month fee and a $10 fee if your order is under $40. Amazon Prime members can get the first month free! Fresh groceries delivered to your door!


Do you have a favorite grocery delivery or pick up service you just love? Tell us all about it!

Anne Bertelson Photography: Capturing Magic

Anne Bertelson is a Plano newborn, child and family photographer specializing in magical moments. She is so grateful that you’re here to learn more about her and the love she has for photographing little ones.  The big picture is honestly quite easy to paint.  She sees splendor in the mundane.  She finds contentment in simplicity.  Her age belies a very old soul.  And photography is her heart.

With phone cameras so readily available, it’s easy to capture the memory, but not the feeling in it. And that’s what memories are made of, isn’t it? That’s where Anne come in. When she looks into the eyes of a child, she sees perfection peering back at her from beneath sooty lashes. Emotions jump and play with abandon across their unreserved faces and her gift and greatest pleasure is capturing each one with her camera, saving the memory for all the ever-afters.

Just like your children, she can still vividly remember making endless fairy chains in the backyard while the warm summer sun cast shadows around her daydreams.  She remembers the days of tulle skirts tickling her knees and thoughts of glittering fairy dust tripping gleefully through her head. And she wants to capture that moment for you so you can always look back and see how your little girl twirled in the sparkles or your little boy wrinkled his nose and grinned.

Creating heirloom portraits of your sweet babies and precious families is her passion and the service that she wants to share with everyone.

She offers several types of photo sessions to best serve your family including themed mini sessions, styled Daydream sessions, and family, newborn, maternity and senior photos.

Plano Mom Offer: When you mention that you’re a Plano Mom at, she will be more than happy to offer you 20% off your session fee. Being a mom can be a crazy busy mess of a business, but she’s here to help you remember the beautiful moments when they’re grinning their faces off or there are tears in their eyes because they’re your children, and how could that be anything but special?

She would be so honored to have the opportunity to showcase your child and all of the little nuances that make each one of you beautiful.  Anne is more than happy to answer any questions you may have and would absolutely love to hear from you!  From the bottom of her heart, she thanks you for stepping into her world!

Now is the perfect time to get some photos taken! Want to capture your little one’s summer fun? We’ve created a limited time only Ice Cream Mini Session to help you treasure those fleeting moments forever. You can book yours now at or email me at if you have any questions. Plus get $25 off if it’s your first session with me. Can’t wait to see you in the studio, friend!

Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

DIY Ant Repellent

As the weather gets warmer and we get some spring showers you might start to see some of those pesky ants coming out. Before you know it, they will be taking over your house! They are such pests and it’s hard to find a good repellent that is safe around kids.  Here’s a recipe for a DIY ant repellent that is safe and actually works!!

DIY ant repellent

This DIY ant killer should work overnight and help to get rid of the problem ants. What you will need is:

  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of borax

Borax can be found in the laundry area of any grocery store. It’s 100% natural and is actually found in many ant killing compounds. Mix all of the ingredients together. Soak some cotton balls in the Borax and sugar mixture. At night, lay the cotton balls around the areas where you see ants.

The sugar will attract the ants in and they will love it. The Borax will be the killer to these pests and will terminate the ant colony from the inside out.  This is such a simple mixture that is very cheap to make. Way cheaper than hiring an exterminator.

It’s that easy! Others have tested this and said it works great! Are you ready to try?


Reasons to Hire a Newborn Care Specialist

Picture this… You’ve just had a baby that you brought home from the hospital and you have no idea what to do. You were given around the clock care in the hospital and now you’re on your own. Maybe you had to have a c/section and you are still recovering from surgery. Maybe you have other children at home and you need help handling it all. It’s possible you don’t have any family to help at this time. What are you to do?

Let me tell you about a great solution to your needs. Meet Valerie Ybarra, a Newborn  Care Specialist. She has so much knowledge and experience to help make life with a new baby easier on you.


Providing in home mother care, newborn care/education, breastfeeding help, sleep training, care of multiples, and temporary nanny services. Travels to all states.

As a new mother who has just given birth and baby coming home, you will need some mothering yourself. She is a certified postpartum doula with a combined 30 plus years experience as a Doula, Newborn Specialist, Nanny, Traveling Nanny, Nurse Assistant within the maternity unit and  Newborn Educator at a local OB/GYN in McKinney.

She’s here to mother you by providing non-judgmental emotional support when you are feeling blue, anxious, depressed, or just out of sorts and overwhelmed. Just some of the things she provides are a mother’s massage before bedtime, run errands for you and the baby, and chauffeuring both of you to your first doctor’s appointment.

A postpartum doula/newborn care specialist is very nurturing and giving by nature. She will make your first weeks at home a soothing, loving, and calming experience that will support you emotionally and physically. A postpartum doula or newborn care specialist provides overnight newborn care for your baby while you sleep, bringing your baby to you when it’s time to feed. You don’t have to leave your bed if you don’t want to, allowing you additional time to sleep and rest. Then she will work with you on sleep training/coaching your baby.

She will bring the “back to basics” of newborn care with the new information that is given today. As a dai ma, she provides traditional Indian Infant massage with oils right before bedtime to help baby to relax and aid with his digestive system and gas. As a Newborn  Care Specialist and a Postpartum doula, she’s here to educate you. Educating you with the best possible training for you and your newborn.

Valerie can be there for you and assist with the baby’s care. Her services include Newborn Care Specialist, Postpartum Doula, Breast Feeding Support, Infant Massage, Birth Photography.

Call her today and schedule and interview! or 480-236-2924

Offer for Plano Moms: When you sign up for 8 weeks of night care, you will get 1 night of night care for free!

Steps to Get Your Roof Replaced

Plano and North Dallas can sometimes be hit with terrible thunderstorms that include hail. Hail can do some serious damage to your house and car. It’s important to know the what to do when you think you might need a new roof. Here are some simple steps to get your roof replaced.

Possible Roof Damage? Follow These Easy Steps!

*Call Your Insurance: Most home insurance companies will want to come out and give your roof their own inspection before they fork over any money for a replacement. Make sure to call as soon after a bad storm because the longer you wait the less likely you will get all the money you deserve.

*Find a Roofer: In the meantime go ahead and have a few roof companies out and get a few estimates on repairing or replacing your roof. It’s good to have options and you can compare prices to get the best deal for your needs. If you don’t know where to start the best place to ask is in your neighborhood or in Plano Moms.

*Compare Contracts/Decide: With the claim that you filed and the estimates you got on your damages, you’ll need to decide on the right company to hire. Make sure you hire a local company. You’ll want the company to be here if anything should come up in the future.

*Prepare: On repair day plan on lots of noise and a mess! Getting a total roof replaced is extremely loud and can sometimes take 2-3 full days.

*After the labor is done, have your insurance out again to send another adjuster to look over the finished work. Insurance companies will want to make sure you used the money like you said and that the work is completed.  Your new roof and repairs should have a warranty on them so keep all their info to have if needed.

Now that all the work is done you should be able to relax a little knowing your home is safe and ready for the next storm that rolls in.

Here’s a good flyer to keep handy to help you know if/when you might need a roof inspection for the future.

A Moms Guide to Understanding Insurance

Have you ever looked at your policy and it made no sense? Or have you been on the phone with the agent and didn’t know how to answer all their questions? Insurance terminology can be rather confusing. However, it’s one of the most important things you need to understand to ensure you are fully protected. Here is a Mom’s Guide to Understanding Insurance from Jennifer Alameda, at JK Insurance Agency. 

For Auto:

There is property damage and liability coverage when you are at fault. You also need to carry uninsured motorist to protect yourself.

  1. Are you adequately covered? When looking at your automobile policy, make sure the property damage coverage would be enough to replace your car and the other party’s car, if you caused the accident. I often see that people carry $25,000 in property damage. At one time, that was probably enough, but no longer so. Driving around North Texas, I rarely see a car that is under 25,000.  If I only carried 25,000 and I hit a car valued at 35,000 and it was totaled, I would be responsible for the difference. Have your agent review exactly how much coverage you have in each scenario.
  2. Do you need extras like towing and rental car coverage and is it worth it? Most people don’t carry this as an attempt to save money. Have your agent quote it with and without. You can then decide for the nominal increase in premiums if it is worth it. I always recommend this for my clients.
  3. How much should the deductible be? $250, $500 or $1000. It really depends on your situation. The lower the deductible, the higher the premium. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium. I encourage my safe drivers that have a savings account to go with the higher deductible and lower their premium. But there are cases when a lower deductible is preferred. Your agent can walk you through the scenarios and see what is the best fit for you. Ask them to run the quote both ways and compare.
  4. For the underinsured or uninsured motorist, have your agent explain how this works with the coverage you select.

For Homes:

Policies are a little easier to understand. You have property coverage for your home, your possessions and you have liability insurance in case something happens to someone at your home.

  1. Your dwelling coverage should be enough to rebuild your house in a total loss. It doesn’t have to be insured at the price you paid for it. Some houses in our area are selling for much higher prices due to demand. Speak to your agent about what is reasonable.
  2. Your personal property is normally covered at a percentage of what your house is worth. If you have additional valuables (jewelry, collector items, etc) these should be added separately as an endorsement.
  3. Most policies I have seen have $300,000 in liability coverage. If you feel you need more, you can add it, or explore an umbrella policy.
  4. In Texas, insurance companies do not offer foundation coverage caused by shifting of the soil. If you have a pipe burst in your foundation, then it would be covered. But if the earth shifts and your foundation cracks, it is not covered by insurance.


A few last tips….

  1. If you bundle your home and auto, most companies will offer you additional discounts.
  2. Shop around! Your independent agents have access to various carriers and compare quotes.
  3. Ask questions! If you don’t understand something about your coverage or have a question about what you need or don’t need, talk to your agent.
  4. Protect yourself! If you are not properly insured, it can cost you.


Jennifer has created a great offer for Plano Moms. For any Plano Mom who purchases a policy, you will receive a $25 Amazon gift card! The offer is good until August of 2017.  She offers free no obligation quotes for all clients.

Jennifer Alameda, Agent JK Insurance

Check out her listing in the Plano Mom’s directory.     Follow them on Facebook too!

Get a Will Set Up for Your Kids

After you have children it’s very important to have a Will and legal documents in place. It’s not fun to think about something tragic happening to you but it’s best to have a plan in place for if something should happen. Taking the time now to be prepared with a written will is beneficial to the family members that are left behind.


Here’s a question for you,  If you died today, would your family be prepared? It’s not something fun to think about but if something were to happen to both you and your husband, what would happen to your kids? Who would take care of them? What finances would they have set up for the future? You never know when an unexpected illness or accident can occur. It’s best to plan NOW. Thankfully the law offices of Lorie L. Burch are here to help.

If you do not have a Will in place and something happens to you and your husband,  did you know that the court will determine the guardianship of your children?   You will get no say in the matter because you did not have it written in a Will. Your kids could end up with some family member that you would never want them living with. That’s a scary thought!

If you do not have a Will in place,  the state will determine who inherits your estate, and the court will appoint a trustee of your children’s inheritance. You do not want these to happen! Having a Will in place will help your children for the future.

These are just some of the negative side effects of not having a will in place. The law offices of Lorie. L Burch does not want this to happen. She is offering a 10% discount to all Plano Moms!  Her law offices not only help with wills and trusts, but they also help with probates, powers of attorney, and estate planning. The time is now, start your planning today.

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Lorie is a local Plano kid turned attorney who has a passion for helping families set up simple to comprehensive estate planning, including Wills, trusts, powers of attorney, living wills, and probate.  As a mom herself, Lorie realizes how critical it is to protect and safeguard your children…especially if the unexpected happens. While it is difficult to confront these topics, Lorie prides herself on helping parents ensure that their children would be taken care of in the event of disability or death. Lorie has a down-to-earth and compassionate approach to each and every family and takes the time to explain all aspects of this planning that most parents often miss. She is very active in her community and is an accomplished business leader and volunteer outside of her law practice. Lorie’s mission is to make sure every parent puts this vital planning in place to have protection for their family, and peace of mind for themselves.

How to Prepare for Family Pictures

Family picture day can be very stressful for Moms. You are the one getting everyone ready and helping everyone to have their best smiles. You want everything to go perfectly, so here are some tips to help you prepare for family pictures.

*Choose a Photographer: Plano has some great family photographers! Look online for some local photographers. If you like the pictures they have taken of others then you will like yours too.

*Find a Location: Are you looking for a park or urban setting? Look online for some ideas and ask your photographer for advice.

*Pick Out Clothes at Least a Week in Advance: Start planning what clothes everyone will wear. It’s best to have something comfortable, especially for kids or they will not be happy! It’s fun to match but don’t have everyone in the exact same print! There are so many ideas on Pinterest you can look at for ideas. Ask your photographer for some ideas too.

*Get Rest the Night Before and Have Everyone Eat Before: There’s  nothing worse than kids be starving or tired for family photos. Plan a good time in advance and make sure everyone has rest and has eaten before the photo shoot.

*Give Yourself Extra Time:  You never know what could happen the day of the photoshoot. You could wake up late or there could even be rain! Allow for extra time so that you are not rushed. Have a backup outfit planned for just in case.

*Have Fun: One of the best and easiest things you can do for family photo day is to HAVE FUN! Some of the best pictures are the ones that are natural and real life photos. Don’t expect everyone to be looking and saying ‘cheese’ all the time. Having fun will make for some of the best family photos because they will capture real life moments you will want to remember!

Even though this is really only 6 tips, I have one more; I’m not opposed to bribery! I always give my kids a treat or something fun after family photos! Whatever works!!