Thursday, July 28, 2016

Preschool-Stay Home Learning Part 3

My Baby Girl is growing up so fast, she's already starting to trace letters and numbers all on her own as opposed to me helping her.  A friend of mine suggested. getting a dry erase book for her to trace over and over.  Using a dry erase book is such a great idea, not only are you not using multiple pages of paper, (which can be costly and un earth friendly), but your child can keep practicing over and over again.   

So I was on the hunt for a dry erase book that I could purchase for my little girl to use this summer.  While I was visiting my family with the girls we went to a Dollar General and guess what I found.  A dry erase paper sleeve.  Now it wasn't a dry erase book, but I could put any papers in this that I want to and it was only $1.00!!

Now instead of printing pages, or drawing tracing pages over and over, I only have to make 1 and then put it in the dry erase sleeve.  Even better the sleeve works on both sides, so I can print 2 sided, saving even more paper! 

Want to make your own?  Here are a couple sites I used to print off papers to use to trace:

This post includes affiliate links, which means if you click on the link I get a portion of any sales at NO COST to you.  See my disclosure page for more details. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

10 Things to do this Summer

10 Things to do this summer that are cost friendly.  My version of cost friendly, about $10.00 or less.  Free is always my top choice though.

1. Movie:

Let the kids pick their favorite movie, make some popcorn, turn down the lights and have a movie party.  You can even take it a step further, have them invite some friends, make homemade tickets, grab some sleeping bags and make a night of it!

2. Water play:

1, Tarp with hose ~ Grab that tarp, grab the hose and let the kiddos go!
2. Kiddie pool
3. Buckets of water and squishy water balls ~ Let them have their own water fight in the backyard.

3. Outside Scavenger Hunt

Check out this great site.  You can also check out my review here.

4. Parks

Every town or city has a park.  Try out different parks, take a day and plan a new park adventure.  You'll be amazed at how just changing up a park can be fun for the kids.

5. Picnic

Grab that picnic basket (or anything you have to hold your food), a blanket and some yummy food and go for a picnic.  You don't even need to go far, your backyard or the local park works well.

6. Bike ride

You're never too old or young for a bike ride.  My Baby Girl is just getting into riding a bike, but before that she could ride a trike just well.  We might not have been able to go far, but we could still ride as a family.

7. Start a small garden veggie or plants. 

Get your kiddos to help plant, water and maintain the plants.  They love helping and most kids love getting dirty too so it's a win win! 

8. Walk with a friend(s)

For 4 years now a friend and I have walked almost every day in the summer together.  4 years and not only is this a great thing to do in the summer, but we've really grown in our friendship because of it!   Now that we both have kids the walking is a little different; however, we have a routine to walk every morning and for 1 hour in the morning we are occupied.

9. Make homemade popsicles

You can make these however you please, here are a few different recipes that I've tried

10. Check out your local library

The library is always having something.  Check out your local library to see what's happening.  This one can also be carried through for fall/winter for any of you who stay at home.  Again there's always something happending at the library.

This post includes affiliate links, which means if you click on the link I get a portion of any sales at NO COST to you.  See my disclosure page for more details. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

5 easy ways to save money

July is the time when the hubby and I look over our finances and see what we need to change.  It just works best for us to do this in July, because that's the beginning of his fiscal year and so there's usually an increase to our income.  While crunching the numbers this year we wanted to try and save a little more than what we were, we just decided that we could do a little more to save some pennies. Here are a few things that we decided to do, that are really simple, and could be something that may help you too.

1. handwashing vs. running the dishwasher
While I hate to admit it, the dishwasher definitely uses more water than hand washing.  Now ours isn't super new, but it still has some ways to conserve on the water it uses, but that's still no match for hand washing.  I only know it uses more water, because we noticed our water bill increased in the last year and this last year I started using the dishwasher again as opposed to hand washing.  It really came down to convenience while doing daycare, but if I want to save some money this is one place to start.  Now, I have to say I only ever used it once a day, that was my limit, but even that added up, so if you're one that uses it 2x a day or even after each meal, try and conserve by skipping one time and see how much it saves next month's water bill.

2. turn temp up (in the summer) turn temp down (in the winter)
Both my husband and I love to have the windows open whenever we can. Not only because it conserves energy, but because we like the fresh air.  Unfortunately we don't live in a climate that allows us to have them open all year long (is there such a climate?), so the times we do need to run the heat or air we try to keep it at a constant rather than open windows and then make it work hard to get the temp back up or down at the end of the day.  With that we just turned the air up a couple degrees and the heat down a couple degrees.  It's amazing what a couple degrees can do. You can always start with just 1 degree and work your way up or down to the desired temp over time.

3. Cable/Netflix/Amazon Prime/Hulu
I don't know about your family, but awhile back we switched from cable to Netflix.  That was a big savings switch which was nice, I mean we didn't really watch TV as much after our first was born and so we figured why pay for the 1-2 hours we watched a week.  Recently, we realized that most of the shows we watch on Netflix, with exception of a couple, we own on DVD's, or we can check out at the library.  Now again we don't do the movie part of Netflix, so we're talking about 8.00/month, but take that and add it to the 2-3 dollars/month your saving on water, plus the $1.00/month for temp (these are all speculating) that's starting to add up. And if you have more than one of the show options that can be more savings.  Eliminating Amazon Prime and Netflix together save about $18.00/month alone.   

4. Turn off or unplug electronics/lights when not in use
While I feel we do a pretty good job of keeping lights off we don't use towards the evening or while we're away from the house, we can do better while we're at home during the day.  We also realized we have our printer on all the time.  Talk about wasteful energy and money.  Are there electronics in your house that are just constantly on due to convenience?

5. Showering every other day
Now this one might not be everyone's cup of tea, but you could start alternating shower days as opposed to taking one every day.  Want to still shower every day, but save some water, you could take the Suave's challenge I wrote about a while back.  Turn the water off while you shampoo and condition, it's just minutes, but again every little thing adds up. You can read the full post here.  Something you could do for the kiddos is use less bath water, baths are getting larger, but that means using more water, we've never filled the tub full for the girls, but they still don't even need it halfway.

Those are just 5 easy ways to can start saving some pennies around the house, and remember those pennies start to add up!  

How are ways you save around the house?  I'd love to hear some ideas!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Treasure Hunt

Scavenger Hunts, Treasure hunts, whichever you want to call them, there's no questioning that they're fun to do! However, making them yourselves isn't always easy, especially if you want to make multiple different ones or you want them to be a little more complex than your average treasure hunt game. So when reached out wanting to team up on a post I was super excited. Here's  the one that I tried from What I think is great is that they have many different puzzles, and you can pick what your 6 clues get to be.  Keep reading for a chance to win your own free game! 

These are perfect for a rainy summer day, cabin fever winter day, summer play, birthday party, or whenever you want.

To start off with what I really liked about this site is that you can pick where I wanted the 6 clues to be. From the beginning making this game was very personable. There are many possibilities of clues and you can make custom ones, but they help you out with places you can start like your mailbox, garage, sink, carpet, couch, trampoline, floor lamp, or microwave. After you pick your 6 clues you are able to then pick the order you want them to be played. If you like the order you picked them in you can leave it or if you want to rearrange them you have the option to which is easily done by just moving the square symbols around. 

From there you continue onto the actual clues. Not only are you able to pick the order of the clues, but you are also able to pick what you want the clues to be.  There are 5 easier ones and 4 harder ones.  What's nice about this is you can gear it to what works for the kids or adults you are making the treasure hunt for.   You are able to change each clue if you want and you are able to use the same clue in one game if you'd like.

I played this game with my 3 year old. While she can't read, she still had fun! She loved guessing the clue, even if a couple times she needed a little more guidance. I was surprised to see what she did know, there were a couple she got right away! I would make sure you pick clues that you know your kiddos can do because it's that much more fun for them.  

After you pick the clues you want, its just a couple more clicks and you're done. For what you get I'd say these games are affordable. There are 3 ways to buy, $10.00 for a single game, $20.00 for the Party deal, you get 4 game credits, or $30.00 for 10 game credits. With the 2nd two options you can use the credits whenever and they don't have a expiration date.  Then from there you purchase the games you chose and you can download the game right to your computer. 

One more thing that I appreciated about this company was that when you get the download and you print your clues, they also include a sheet that has the answers, and how to hide the clues.  This was particularly helpful for me because I get a little confused easily as to which one goes where. It made it so simple to hide each clue. 

Other than a couple ways to make it work for you, this game really was fun and even my 3 year old loved it!

Here were a couple of her favorite clues:
1. Mirror; you hold up the paper in the mirror to see the clue.
2. Circle all the blue letters: I'm not sure if it's always blue or if they change the color, but my daughter loves blue so she had a blast pointing out the blue letters and even circling a few herself.
3. Letters fell down; my husband really liked this one.  It's just as it sounds you ,move the letters up to blank spaces and then solve the puzzle.

Finally, a couple things to know to prepare, which they tell you on the site:
1. Some clues need color to help you solve so you will need a color printer for your clues.
2. Some need scissors, or pens to solve, so have them on hand.
3. Allow for time, this isn't your average treasure hunt, kids are going to need a few minutes for each clue.  They say on their site it can be about 60 minutes of fun, about 10 minutes per clue, so plan accordingly.

Here's a little sneak peak of our treasure hunt. 

Check out my facebook page and like or comment for a chance to win your free game!! You can check out my facebook page here or click the facebook icon on the top right side of my page. Winner will be selected at random and I'll reach out via a facebook message to let you know if you've won! Contest is open until 7/17/16 at 5pm CST. Good luck! :) 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Summer Toys

Oh Summer! Summer comes and so do all the outdoor toy options. However, if you're like our family you buy what works for you at the moment and then later need to upgrade due to more children. When our 1st turned 1 for her birthday my parents bought her a sandbox. It was absolutely perfect just for her and a friend. However, now that our oldest is an older sister and she has friends that come over, we plan to upgrade a couple sizes for next summer. We were going to purchase a 2nd pool so that the littles would have a kiddie pool and the older girls would have a pool that they can use the slide in without hurting the littles. Knowing that we plan to upgrade the sandbox, we decided to keep the old sandbox and convert it into a kiddie pool. This isn't going to happen until next year, but now we can save some money and instead of buying both a second pool and a larger sandbox, all we have to purchase is a larger sandbox. Yes, an additional pool is only $10.00, but why spend the $10.00 when we don't have to? 

This summer use what you have, just because it's made to be one thing, doesn't mean you can't convert it to be something else that works for your family. Get creative and show your kiddos that it's good to think outside the box. Reuse and Repurpose this Summer!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Household Items

My parents both saved money in ways that they didn't plan to, but rather they did these things because they wanted to.  These are ways that can be helpful when saving some money and they go hand in hand with helping the envirnoment, which if you haven't noticed I'm pretty big on.  

The first thing is using vinegar and baking soda whenever possible in place of other cleaning chemicals, which can be costly. 

Vinegar and baking soda for cleaning:

My Mom uses vinegar and baking soda for everything! Here are just a few ways she uses these items:

1. Cleaning the floors (vinegar and water ) ~ Vinegar will get out almost any stain in carpets.  Mix a solution of about 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water. 
2. Declogging the sink (vinegar and baking soda) ~ Combination of 1 cup baking soda, 1/4 salt, then 1-2 cups vinegar poured down drain, then 15 minutes later pour as much as boiling water down the drain as you can. 
3. Cleaning the shower (baking soda) ~ Sprinkle some on let it set for 30 min or so, scrub, and then rinse away. 
4. Cleaning the sink (baking soda) ~ Sprinkle some on let it set for 30 min or so, scrub, and then rinse away. 
5. Rinse aid in dishwasher (vinegar) ~ Add vinegar to your rinse aid compartment 
6. Cleaning hard water stains (vinegar) ~ Heat vinegar just until boiling, and pour over hard water stains, or soak the heated vinegar with paper towels and drape on the hard water stains, set for 15-30 min and then wipe off. 

Another use for vinegar that a friend told me about; use vinegar in place of fabric softener.  Not only does it work as a fabric softener it also works as a stain remover so it's double helpful in the wash.

Finally, baking soda and vinegar are great ways to help relieve diaper rash.  One day my Peanut got a diaper rash bad and so I googled natural rememdies for diaper rash.  These two are ones that not only worked great, but are cost friendly:

1. Baking soda bath: 1 Tablespoon baking soda dissolved in bath water.
2. Vinegar wipes: 1 teaspoon vinegar to 1 cup water, mix and add to a washcloth to use to wipe.

While my Mom saved money on cleaning the house, my Dad saved money on things we used in the house, like electricity. 

Turning off the lights: 

Growing up my Dad was always having us turn off the lights whenever we weren't in the room.  Now owning my own home I realize how much you can save by turning the lights down when you aren't in the room.  Although, I'm not a big fan of dark, so when I'm home alone I like the lights on, but I've found I can save a little by using lamps instead of the overhead lights.  Plus, during the day, open those curtains and windows, let that natural light in and turn off the lights!

This post includes affiliate links, which means if you click on the link I get a portion of any sales at NO COST to you.  See my disclosure page for more details.