Summer Fun at Home

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I’ve been wracking my brain trying to plan this summer with my five children.  So far, I’ve just got summer school in the mornings for a few weeks.  But, what about the rest of the summer?  Those long, hot, summer days need to be filled with… filled with… FUN!!  Fun for EVERYONE!  Keep those kids busy, busy, busy, so I don’t lose my mind, mind, mind.  HA!

Let’s create a kick-a$$ summer of fun at home, starting with the backyard!

BUBBLES!!!

Fun with Bubbles!

Kids love bubbles, so that’s what they’re getting!  Lots and lots of bubbles.  Bubble wands, bubble guns, bubble machines, a bubble paradise.  Making your own bubbles makes this activity cost effective.

 Just mix up some water, sugar, and dish soap!  So easy, right?

You can also make your own bubble wands with an old wire coat hanger, or just pick up some cheep plastic ones from your local convenience store or order from Amazon.com

 

WATER!!!!

What is a hot summer without sprinklers, squirt guns, and water balloons?  It’s crap, just absolute crap!  At least that’s what I’m assuming my kids are thinking.  And, I think I’d have to agree.  I’m thinking we’ll get a fun, silly kids sprinkler.  You know, the ones that wiggle around and spray everywhere.  Or, maybe to avoid excessive screaming, we’ll just use the boring predictable one to start.  I’ve also been wanting to try out the water balloons that come in a big bunch and fill up in under 60 seconds, or is it under 30 seconds?  I forget.  I just remember that I saw them at Costco, in a huge box of course.  O, and a water table with bath toys sounds like hours of fun for my youngest boys!

SAND, SAND, SAND!

Kids could spend hours at the beach!  So, why not make them feel like they’re at the beach by getting a sand box or sand table?  Or, to create a portable beach box, just take a big plastic storage bin you’re not using at the moment, fill it with sand and Play-doh toys, a play kitchen set, and any beach sand toys you may have.  You may want to put this somewhere with shade to avoid sunburn, heatstroke, or dehydration during those hours of fun they’re going to have with it.

 

CLOUD WATCHING… IT’S A HORSE!

 

 

 

 

 

MOW THE LAWN, BACK AND FORTH, BACK AND FORTH…

 

MORE IDEAS:

TENT/FORT/PLAY HOUSE for PRETENDING (or HIDING:)

NERF TARGET PRACTICE

CHALK, CHALK, EVERYWHERE!

PLAY SET, SWINGS, SLIDE, CLIMBING FUN!

I will try to add more ideas as the summer unfolds.  For now, I just want to get these ideas out there so that you can plan the rest of your summer.  Have fun in the sun everyone!

 

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Valentines Day Ideas, Savings, Coupons, and Promotions

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VDBanner

Breakfast in Bed

 

Wake your Valentine up with the smell of Cinnamon Rolls and Coffee!  

Get $1.00 off when you use Pillsbury’s refrigerated dough.  

Just click, print, buy, and bake!







 

 

Something Sweet for Your Sweet

You can’t have Valentines Day without something sweet!  

So, grab that box of chocolates or make something special for your sweetheart.  

Get 20% off when you sign up for Russell Stover’s e-mail list!


 

 
20% off Mars Chocolate at Amazon
 
Save $1.00 on Mars Valentines Day Chocolates!  

Brands include M&Ms, DOVE, SNICKERS, TWIX, Milky WAY, and 3 MUSKETEERS (2.0 oz. or larger)



 

 

VdayThumb-LentilCloseupOR!  Customize your M&Ms with MyMMs.com.  

Don’t forget to click through TopCashBack.com first to get 10% cash back on your order!  You can also find other websites that you shop regularly and get cash back every time you shop.  So, don’t forget!  The savings can really add up!

 

Check Snacks and Chocolates Coupons on Amazon.com for more great savings on sweets for your Sweet! 

Make Jello-O Hearts when you save $1.00 on JELL-O





 

The Perfect Gift

Save Money on a Classic!  Valentine Roses


OR Browse a wide selection of gifts on Amazon.com.  Don’t forget to check Amazon Coupons

Date Night

Make a home cooked meal or search Yelp for local restaurants and get up to 90% off.  Don’t forget the Wine!

Set the Mood with Candles and More!

Nothing is more romantic than breakfast in bed, chocolates, a night on the town or snuggled under a warm blanket, and…

the right lighting and the right music.



 

American Express Savings for Valentines Day!

When you use your American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card, you can get additional cash back and discounts at the following websites.  *Make sure you login to your online American Express account to add these offers and benefits to your card before using it.

  1.  Teleflora:  Get 30% off
  2. 1800Flowers.com:  Get $15 back when you spend $50 or more
  3. Shari’s Berries:  Get 20% off
  4. FTD.com:  Get 25% off
  5. Godiva:  Get $10 back when you spend $50 or more
  6. Flemings Prime Steakhouse:  Get $25 back when you spend $100 or more
  7. Hilton Hotels and Resorts:  Get $60 back when you spend $300 or more
  8. Ghirardelli Chocolates and Gifts:  Get $20 back when you spend $100 or more (Exp: 02/08/16)

And MORE!  Sign in to your American Express account to view all offers.

 

Get more ideas on Pinterest

Follow Marissa’s board Valentines Day Ideas on Pinterest.

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I Hope You Dance

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I love dancing, don’t you?  How about music?  I like music too.  The two go hand in hand of course.  You can’t really have one without the other.  Even if you’re not dancing outwardly when you listen to music, I bet you’re dancing on the inside.  For the past couple days, I’ve been walking around my house with my iPod in my pocket and ear-buds in my ears.  My husband and children have caught me dancing many times.

I’ve found that music motivates me.  It motivates me to clean the house and keep going until the laundry and dishes are all done.  It motivates me to be active.  Dancing isn’t the only thing we do to music.  I often see people out walking or running with their MP3 Player.

Depending on the song, it can motivate me spiritually by lifting up my soul to my Creator God.  A life without music and dance is a life that is unfulfilled.  So, not only do I pray that you’ll be motivated by music… I hope you dance!!!!!!!!

 

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A Poem About Money

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My husband wrote this poem years ago when I was going through a poetry phase.  It’s a little silly in some parts but has an overall great lesson to be learned.  I hope you enjoy it.

 

A Poem About Money

I’m looking at a penny sitting lonesome on the street

And I can’t help but think of how it reminds me

That if I were to pick it up and receive it as my own

No one would care

They may wonder why…

 

So I’d tell them a story of when I was a kid

How I lived on the street and my home had a lid

Where the sound of a car horn was my ambient noise

And I had hypodermic needles to play with for toys

 

When it rained I’d get wet, when it snowed I’d be cold

And the corner of Concord and 1st is where I thought I’d grow old

People ignored me and counted my worth

Just like the pennies which had fallen to earth

 

So I collected each one to make as a friend

And before I knew it, one became ten

As I saved that small ten, I still found more

And in just a few short years, I had ten thousand in store

 

I became quite well known to entertain a laugh or two if you threw me some change

In their arrogance they chuckled that I would scurry to obtain

Money so worthless they were glad to throw away

And just as my pennies grew in numbers so fast

So did the people who would throw change for a laugh

 

When I was a few years older, I had saved quite a bit

So I bought the small store on the corner where I would sit

I really only bought it cause I knew it so well

I didn’t have much of anything that I could sell

 

Well I rented it out for the right market cost

And I changed just like that from servant to boss

Then I learned from a paper that I found on the road

That a bank would lend me money, in lieu of the store that I owned

 

Then a man that I knew cause I saw him every day

Who owned the building that was down the street a little way

He told me of how he wanted to sell

So I said, “Sure!  I’ll buy your hotel!”

 

The street that I grew up on, I now own every store

And my purse at the bank just grows more and more

Now the very same people who found humor in my want

Now pay me rent on the first of every month

 

Although a penny by itself is rather worthless indeed

When put into a person’s hand, it’s potential is freed

 

Author:  Jesse Lee

Money Poem Image

 

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How We Made Extra Money Using Craigslist, Ebay, and Rummage Sales

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I love looking on Craigslist at what people in my area are selling or trying to barter.  It can be a great place to find stuff you need, sell stuff that you don’t need, or resell something to make extra money.  Sometimes you can even find some good stuff for free that you can sell to make extra money!  This weekend, I will be listing a bunch of our stuff on Craigslist to make extra money.  We’re hoping to get enough money to replenish our emergency fund after we cleaned it out to buy a used van (more about that later.)

I would normally blog about Frugality on Fridays, but I’ve decided to combine topics today.  Topics will include Frugality, Fitness, and Fun.  And, they will all relate to making extra money with Craigslist somehow.  So, here we go…

Frugality

  • Make extra money by listing things you don’t need anymore on Craigslist.  Easy, right?  Just look around your house, take some pictures of the things you don’t need anymore, and post it on Craigslist for free!  Then, just wait for someone to call you, pay you, and pick it up. And, if there’s no one in your area that wants it, there’s sure to be someone out there in eBay Land that wants it.  We actually tried selling a Limited Edition Harley Davidson Leather Jacket on Craigslist, had someone come take a look at it, and they passed it up for $300.  Then, we listed it on eBay with a starting bid of $0.99 with no reserve.  The winning bidder paid $600!  So, we made twice as much money by listing it on eBay.
  • Save money when you purchase things on Craigslist.  Make sure you don’t pay the asking price by offering to pay cash at a lower price.  We bought our used mini van off of Craigslist just yesterday.  We offered them cash if they would knock off $600.  They agreed and we are now the proud owners of a 2005 Chrysler Town and Country that we paid only $2800 for.  Many people are more than willing to negotiate and come down on their asking price.  Just have the courage to ask and bring cash if you can.Garage Sale
  • Have a Rummage Sale and list it on Craigslist!  Some of my family will be having a rummage sale this weekend and I was more than willing to put an ad on Craiglist for them.  Why wouldn’t you put your rummage sale on Craigslist?  It’s free advertising!  Of course you’re going to list your rummage sale on Craigslist when it’s free!  Who’s going to pass up free advertising?

Fitness

  • So, I purchased a Malibu Pilates Chair with 3 Workout DVDs from a woman off of Craigslist for only $25!  It was still in the box!  Everything was still in the packaging.  It retails for around $500!  It will give you a great workout if you have a little extra space.  Sadly, I found that we don’t have a little extra space.  At least not any usable space.  Having 4 small children doesn’t really allow for personal space other than our bedroom.  If I were to set the chair up (which I did by the way) in my living room, my kids would think I had bought a jungle gym for them to play on in the house (which they did by the way.)  My two year old especially couldn’t keep his hands off of it.  So, back in the box it will go.  I’m still debating whether I should keep it or sell it and make some money off it.  I’m leaning toward selling it to make some extra money.
  • The Malibu Pilates Chair is a great exercise tool and would be great to have if I had my own workout room.  I’ve discovered, though, that I really only need a couple of 3 pound weights and an exercise mat to get a good workout.  I’m thinking that I’ll try making a couple hundred dollars off of the Malibu Pilates Chair and put that money toward my healthy food plan.  What is my healthy food plan you ask?  It’s simply that, a plan to eat healthy.  I plan… to eat healthy!  But, healthy food costs a lot more than empty calories.  So, we just have to make it a priority to eat healthy.  Which means, any money we can spare will go toward healthy eating.  It’s a work in progress.  Just put some of that “extra money” toward buying some cook books with gluten free and sugar free recipes.  I made the gluten free/sugar free chicken fingers last night and they were AWESOME!

FUN!

  • Isn’t it fun to go to rummage sales?  I just love looking through all of the junk until something catches my eye.  My husband and I mostly go looking for things that we can purchase for less than $50 and sell for over $100.  We did make a large purchase one time, though.  My husband found a Vintage Slingerland Drum Kit and paid $300 for it.  We turned around and sold it for $800.  That was the most we’ve ever made on a resale item.  And, the whole experience of buying it and finding out how much it was really worth was a lot of FUN!  It’s such a thrill!
  • When finding things on Craigslist, at rummage sales, and at thrift stores, it’s not really about making money.  Making extra money is a nice outcome.  But, for me, it’s mostly about FUN!  It’s fun to hunt for treasure!
  • Want to read some Mindless Banter about Rummage Sales?  Check out my husband’s blog post.  You’ll either laugh until you cry or be completely dumbfounded.
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10 Best Apps for Homeschooling: Early Education (Pre-K, K5, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, and 3rd Grade)

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The iPad and iPod have been instrumental in educating our young daughters. They use the iPad almost every day to learn and play. Our oldest daughter, who is 7 now, has been using the iPad and iPod for homeschooling since she was 3. Our youngest daughter, now 4 yrs old, also uses the iPad and iPod for homeschooling. I’ve found that my oldest daughter has excelled through this type of interactive learning. She has a very “hands on” personality and enjoys learning more when she can interact with it. On the other hand, my youngest daughter has been doing well with, and enjoying, her workbooks. But, she has also come to love the educational apps we have gotten for her on the iPad and iPod. Every day there are new, fun children’s educational apps introduced for the iPad and the iPod/iPhone.

We believe that the use of tablets, such as the iPad, in schools and for education will increase exponentially as our children get older. We would be doing them a disservice if we did not teach them the latest technology. The iPad and the iPod have ushered in a new form of homeschooling. It’s a form of homeschooling that is more efficient and more fun! As a parent, I’m always looking for the best ways to educate my children. With the iPad, I feel confident I’ve found the best tool for teaching my children at home.

 

Eliza with the iPad

My 4 yr old with the iPad

10 Quality Educational Apps We Use for Home Schooling and for Fun

  1. TeachMe: Toddler, Kindergarten, 1st Grade, and 2nd Grade
    These educational apps are by far my favorite homeschooling apps for the iPad and iPod!  They’re only $0.99 each and my children love them!  They are fun, educational, and super easy to navigate.  You can also change settings and add/delete users quickly.  I love that I can just hand the iPad or iPod to my girls and they can navigate through each app easily with little to no help from me.  I can not say enough good things about these apps.  They are wonderful!
  2. PBS Kids Video
    This is the best free app for early educational videos on the iPad and the iPod.  I love that my 2 and 4 yr old can watch Curious George, Sesame Street/Elmo, and Cat in the Hat for free without being subjected to advertisements.  We also have Netflix, but I would rather have them watching only educational videos.  PBS Kids Video is easy to navigate and I feel comfortable letting them use the app unsupervised.  My 7 yr old also likes this app.  She watches Arthur, Word Girl, and some of the other educational shows on PBS Kids Video for iPad and iPod.
  3. BrainPop Jr and BrainPop
    The BrainPop Jr and BrainPop Featured Movie are free educational video apps that add just a little extra knowledge to our weekly routine.  These apps offer 1 free video and quiz each week, but you can upgrade at any time in order to view more videos and take the quizzes that go with them.  (WARNING:  The videos available through this app may teach the theory of evolution and may need to be monitored by young earth creationist parents and others apposed to the theory of evolution.)
  4. Kids Reading Comprehension: Level 1 and Level 2
    These reading comprehension apps are a great choice for any child that is ready to read on their own.  My 7 yr old has gone through Level 1 and is now going through Level 2.  I love these apps because they aren’t only teaching reading comprehension.  Each Level is filled with short, educational reads that contain photos and illustrations.
  5. Monkey Preschool Apps
    Monkey Preschool Lunchbox and Monkey Math School Sunshine are great apps for 3 and 4 yr olds.  My 4 yr old daughter has lots of fun just playing with them.  The fact that they are educational is just a bonus.  The 99 cent price tag is great too!
  6. ABC Pocket Phonics
    When it comes to learning how to read and write, this app is a great option.  It is great for that extra practice time that is often needed, but not always wanted by you know who.  My girls never had a problem sitting down with this app and using the “magic pen” with the iPad.  It’s a great addition to our Reading/Writing time and a welcome tool for homeschooling.  The full version of this app is $2.99 and well worth it.  A great find!
  7. Stack the States and Stack the Countries
    If you’re looking to get your youngster started on geography, then these are a great way to get them excited about it.  These geography apps for kids are colorful, cute, and fun.  Stack the States is only $0.99 and you can get Stack the Countries for just a dollar more.
  8. Telling Time
    A wonderfully customizable teaching tool for learning how to tell time.  I can start my youngest homeschooler out with the simple hourly and half past analog recognition.  After those are mastered, I’ll just switch on the quarter past analog recognition and move forward from there.  A very clean and comfortable app.  Love it!  $0.99 for an app you can grow with.  The developer has many other apps I would like to try soon.  If you’d like to check them out, the website is www.grasshopperapps.com.
  9. MindSnacks: Learn French, German, Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and English
    After going through a French immersion week, my 7 yr old was delighted with these free language apps.  Although the first level is the only free part, it’s enough for a beginner to start off with.  We may choose to upgrade once she has the counting down.
  10. Nth Fusion Apps
    The app that my daughter is using right now is the Geometry 4 Kids app.  It teaches geometry basics in a clear and easily understandable manor.  I’m excited to try out all of the other early education apps by this developer.  I will definitely be getting the Book Report app and the Body Organs app.

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Disney Vacation 2012

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We’re back!  I haven’t had that much fun in a LONG time.  What a blessing!

I just want to jot down a few things I want to remember for the next time we go.

10 Things You Must Take On Vacation If You Hope To Survive

  1. Sunglasses– I would have gotten a headache every day without sunglasses that completely covered my eyes

    TiggerTimmy

    Tiny Timmy Tigger

  2. Hat – My scalp would have gotten really burned without a hat
  3. Sunscreen – I didn’t put sunscreen on the day we went to Downtown Disney, because I thought we would be inside the shops most of the day.  My shoulders were beet red by the end of the day!  The spray-on kind is very convenient.
  4. Cash and Quarters – For tips, arcades, drinks, and going out to eat with other family’s
  5. American Express Credit Card (best when going to Disney) – I didn’t call them before we left and I didn’t have a problem making any transactions
  6. A list of top attractions (must see places, restaurants, and rides) – We had a list for each park we went to and picked out a couple of restaurants we really wanted to try
  7. Fan/Spray Bottle for in the parks – This really helped with the heat
  8. Double stoller for the little ones and a rental stroller for the “big” kids – we brought our own double stroller for the boys and rented one for the girls
  9. Snack bag – we decided not to bring one into the park and we ended up buying a few snacks throughout the day, so now I wish we would have taken one
  10. Disposable water bottle – I brought one water bottle for everyone to drink out of and fill up over and over again(just don’t put your mouth on it if you don’t want to spread germs)
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Planning a Disney World Vacation on a Budget – Part 3: Entertainment

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Saving Money on Tickets and Attractions in Orlando, FL, and the Walt Disney World Resort

 

Disney Park Tickets, Universal Studios, and More!

Our family will be going to Magic Kingdom one day and Universal Studios another day while we are in Orlando, FL, on our vacation (only 7 days away!.)  Park tickets are around $100 per ticket, depending on what kind of ticket you purchase.  So, naturally, I searched for ways to save on Disney Park tickets and Universal Studios tickets.  Here is a list of great resources to help you find discounted Disney Park Tickets and Universal Studios Tickets.

  1. The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2012 : This book has many great pointers on saving money while you’re in Orlando, FL, and having fun in the parks.
  2. Mousesavers.com:  This website is my favorite resource for ways to save while you’re on vacation in Orlando, FL.
  3. Florida Hospital for Children:  This is how we purchased our tickets for our day at Magic Kingdom
  4. Ebay:  We purchased discounted Universal Studios tickets through Ebay and also received free parking passes with our ticket purchase.  When purchasing through Ebay, always make sure that the seller has a great rating and don’t buy any tickets that have been used or are signed.
  5. Entertainment Book
    Save on all the things you love to do!
    (purchase through Ebates.com and get 17.5% cash back):  I was able to get an Orlando Entertainment book at a great price by purchasing through Ebates.com and waiting for an Entertainment.com 50% off sale
  6. Free Orlando Magicard Discount Card

 


 

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