parenting · Saving Money · Summer

Keeping Busy in Summer

“We’re bored! There’s nothing to do.”

One of my most useful and successful tools I’ve made for the summer is a list of possible options of what we can do and how much they cost.

Too often my kids find themselves wandering towards screens because they don’t know what else there is and screens are easy to fall back on. This is why we made a list of ideas to help us.

We try to pick something off the list quite often. Typically every day unless we’re already super busy with something special.

Being that I have my girls every day, I found it was getting too expensive to just have them pick whatever adventure they wanted all the time, and whole I like to them about budgeting, I like to refrain from complaining about money too often.

Creating our list into categories gives them a better understanding of what type of activity we’re looking to do.

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I might say “you can pick from the whole list today” or “we just did something from the purple column. Let’s go for a blue today please.”

They’re just as happy with this because everything in the blue column is spending time together and sure to be a great time.

This list also gives me a reminder of everything we’ve looked up to try in past summers, and what’s locally available to us. This way I’m not starting from scratch each summer with ideas to stay busy.

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parenting · Saving Money · Summer

Book club for kids

My 7 year old has been part of a book club this summer thanks to a friends suggestion. (Thanks Heydie!) She and a few friends read half a book each week and then we all get together to discuss what they read and how they felt about it.

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We go to the library together and pick out a book that they all think looks interesting. The girls (this would be great for boys too) read a portion of the book and then we get together for them to discuss it.

They answer questions together like:

Who are the characters?

What is the setting?

What is the main idea of chapter 1, 2, 3…?

What do you predict will be the ending?

What was your favorite part?

It’s been so much fun and such a great addition to our summer. It creates a fun way for her to make sure she gets her reading in, while also working on her reading comprehension during the summer months.

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We jazz it up with tea parties, snacks or lunch, and playtime afterwards, which makes the girls even more excited to participate.

I thought this was such a good idea and so enjoyed by all of us that I would share this creative and cute idea with you.

parenting · Saving Money · Summer

Blog break is over and what we made today with these parts that cost only $16!

I had just started my writing adventure when everything around me became too much. Every area of my life had so much going on that I couldn’t have a proper thought for myself and if we find we aren’t good for ourselves at the moment, how could we possibly be any good for others?

So, against what I wanted, I set everything aside and focused on what I had to. One day at a time, one project at a time and one emotion at a time. Lots of deep breaths, lots of hugs from my kiddos and many chats with wine with my besties. This last part of the plan, video chats work beautifully if you can’t see them in person, is 100% essential to the healing process and should never be ignored.

Now that “schoooool’s out for…summer!” I’m enjoying time with my babies and planning adventures (cheap ones…hey this girls on a budget and I LOVE cheap, fun projects!!) What better ways to spend time with your kiddos then building new things and going new places while not breaking the bank. I plan to write mostly about these adventures this summer unless, of course, I have one too many glasses of wine and see a picture of Ryan Gosling without his shirt on…then I may feel compelled to write about that instead.

Today’s fun project? This fabulous sprinkler/bike wash toy.

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It cost $16 in parts from Lowe’s. Any other hardware store, with plumbing parts, would do just fine. It took us approximately 30 minutes to complete the project from start to finish and it proved to be loads of fun that will be great all summer! This kind of project is one of my favorites because it costs a small amount of money only one time, we built it together as a team and it can be used over and over on a hot day. Who needs an expensive water park? Not us!

 

parenting · Saving Money

Making a doll wardrobe for free

Does anyone else become completely frustrated with the inflated price of doll furniture? I do.

While I love my kids, unless they receive it as a gift, I’m not spending $60 on a wardrobe (as seen in the Target version, called Our Generation, in the picture on the left) or a whopping $120 (as seen in the American Doll furniture picture on the right).

Seeing these sticker shock prices is what drives our creativity. We decided to make one of our own and for FREE!

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My daughter had received an American Doll gift in an adorable box, which we chose to use. You could also use an ordinary box and paint it and/or cover it with your favorite stickers to make it more special.

First, I removed the lid, laid the box on it’s side and cut one side off with an exacto knife (or any blade would do).

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Sitting the box upright again, this is what it looked like. While it was on it’s side, I reinforced the bottom with gorilla tape we already had on hand. Packaging tape would also work because it’s clear, as well, but being that’s it’s on the bottom and not viewed, duct tape would also be just fine.

I then cut two small slits in the middle of each side of the box. This is to hold the support that is to go across for the hangers. I had originally tried placing string across the box (pictured) but found the weight of the dresses/hangers to be too much.

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We then decided to use 2 strips of cardboard that we cut off the side I had removed, glued them together back to back to reinforce the cardboard, and then placed the strip in both slats and taped it down to reinforce it. It would be even better if you had a small piece of wood/dowel to place across the box that would hold even more weight.

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This was the end result which we found adorable! It was the perfect size for what she needed and we didn’t spend a dime. (She used hangers she’d saved from build a bear visits and hangers that came with different doll clothing purchases and gifts over the years.)

What have you/can you create that saves money and is functional and adorable for your kiddos?

Uncategorized

Here’s to the jerk parent!

As I was driving around today, picking up new bikes for my kids I purchased from other people whose kids had outgrown them, I started to tear up hoping they’d like the bikes because their dad just went out and bought them each new $200 mountain bikes.

My ex and I have very different ideas when it comes to raising kids and how to show love.

When my kids ask for something, he says yes. If it’s not a birthday, holiday or need, I ┬átypically say no. I’m the jerk parent.

They visit the Nike store regularly and the girls have so many Nike sweatshirts and tennis shoes, it’s ridiculous. Here they get excited about our consignment store “binge purchases” where they each spend $60 and receive roughly 14 new (name brand) outfits each.

When they want to watch, read or try something new, he buys it. At my house we try the library, dollar store and finally consignment shops first for ideas.

When my 11 year old loses her lunch box, he buys her a new one immediately. I would’ve had her brown bag it for a few weeks in hopes she learns to take better care of her belongings or at least look harder for them. I’m the jerk parent.

He does all the expensive and extravagant vacations. I believe kids can have fun on road trips to wherever and make your own nachos in the kitchenette after a day on the beach. (And I was right on that one, we had a blast.)

This doesn’t mean that his versions are any more right or wrong than mine, but if he’s going to choose all the expensive ones, then I’ll gladly chose the lesser to keep my kids feet on the ground.

I hope to help them understand that shiny and brand new does not always mean it works or looks better. Wearing the latest thing or name, means nothing. I just recently bought a cute, flowy shirt from Rite Aid for $8 (Yes! Rite Aid), and I had so many compliments on it at work and no one could believe it. My girls thought it was hysterical.

So I get to be the jerk parent who has to make sure they keep from being spoiled and hopefully have a better understanding of reality and money as they get older. I get to be the parent who says no, write it on a list, sorry you’ll have to go without, you’ll be ok without it, and you could save up for it. I’m ok with that.

As adults, we can’t just walk around randomly asking for everything and receiving it. I wish. So if I have to be the jerk parent who says no, but they become better people for it later, I’m ok with that too.

My kids love me and the amount of time that we spend together coming up with cheap, hair-brained ideas. Our time together and the memories are better than any store could provide. When their Nike sweatshirts and shoes don’t fit anymore, my girls will have all the pictures and memories of how mom did just as great and with so much less.

So cheers to being the jerk parent…some day they’ll get it.

Are you a proud jerk parent?

 

 

Life · parenting

Here’s to the jerk parent.

As I was driving around today, picking up new bikes for my kids I purchased from other people whose kids had outgrown them, I started to tear up hoping they’d like the bikes because their dad just went out and bought them each new $200 mountain bikes.

My ex and I have very different ideas when it comes to raising kids and how to show love.

When my kids ask for something, he says yes. If it’s not a birthday, holiday or need, I ┬átypically say no. I’m the jerk parent.

They visit the Nike store regularly and the girls have so many Nike sweatshirts and tennis shoes, it’s ridiculous. Here they get excited about our consignment store “binge purchases” where they each spend $60 and receive roughly 14 new (name brand) outfits each.

When they want to watch, read or try something new, he buys it. At my house we try the library, dollar store and finally consignment shops first for ideas.

When my 11 year old loses her lunch box, he buys her a new one immediately. I would’ve had her brown bag it for a few weeks in hopes she learns to take better care of her belongings or at least look harder for them. I’m the jerk parent.

He does all the expensive and extravagant vacations. I believe kids can have fun on road trips to wherever and make your own nachos in the kitchenette after a day on the beach. (And I was right on that one, we had a blast.)

This doesn’t mean that his versions are any more right or wrong than mine, but if he’s going to choose all the expensive ones, then I’ll gladly chose the lesser to keep my kids feet on the ground.

I hope to help them understand that shiny and brand new does not always mean it works or looks better. Wearing the latest thing or name, means nothing. I just recently bought a cute, flowy shirt from Rite Aid for $8 (Yes! Rite Aid), and I had so many compliments on it at work and no one could believe it. My girls thought it was hysterical.

So I get to be the jerk parent who has to make sure they keep from being spoiled and hopefully have a better understanding of reality and money as they get older. I get to be the parent who says no, write it on a list, sorry you’ll have to go without, you’ll be ok without it, and you could save up for it. I’m ok with that.

As adults, we can’t just walk around randomly asking for everything and receiving it. I wish. So if I have to be the jerk parent who says no, but they become better people for it later, I’m ok with that too.

My kids love me and the amount of time that we spend together coming up with cheap, hair-brained ideas. Our time together and the memories are better than any store could provide. When their Nike sweatshirts and shoes don’t fit anymore, my girls will have all the pictures and memories of how mom did just as great and with so much less.

So cheers to being the jerk parent…some day they’ll get it.

Are you a proud jerk parent?