Crafts and Projects · Ramblings

Display Spring and Summer Activities

The first day of spring was already 24 days ago!

I’ve mentioned in the past that my daughters and I brainstorm a list of activities to do for spring and summer in early spring and a list of activities to do for fall and winter in early fall, and we find a fun way to display them.

We had “bucket lists” for quite a few years using buckets I had purchased at the Dollar Tree (2/$1) and clothespins.

After my daughters each decorated a bucket, we wrote the activities we wanted to complete for the upcoming two seasons individually on the clothespins. These clothespins were then placed inside of the buckets. As we completed the activities, we clipped the clothespins to the outer rim of a bucket.

bucket lists

The buckets were fun, but we have since moved on to other ways of displaying our seasonal activities.

We’ve built ice cream cone scoops for our spring and summer list for a couple of years. As the activities were completed, they were added to the ice cream cone.

display your spring and summer activities

We’ve built a wreath with paper leaves and light bulbs for our fall and winter list.

Display your winter and fall activities!

This past fall and winter, we decided to write on leaves and light bulbs again for our fall and winter activities, but we decided to display them differently as they were completed.

We created a tree with the completed activities using the paper leaves and light bulbs.

Fall and winter activities

Now that it is spring, it is time to create a new list of activities for the upcoming spring and summer months. We have done the ice cream cone for a couple of years now, and we decided we wanted to try something a little different this year.

After some brainstorming, we decided to show our spring and summer activity list this year with bubbles.

We had a large circular hole punch that we were hoping to use for the bubbles, but it unfortunately broke after making just a few circles. So, my daughters traced circles on white card stock using the few circles that they were able to punch out.

They wrote the activities individually on each of the bubbles, cut them out, and added a small line on the top of each circle trying to make them appear more like bubbles.

Then we taped them to a wall using painter’s tape.

spring and summer activity list

On the adjoining wall, we taped a bubble wand one of my daughters drew on yellow construction paper and cut out. As the activities are completed, they get moved to this wall.

We’ve already completed some of the activities, so they have been moved.

spring and summer activities

When we do activities that weren’t written down, we will create new bubbles to add to the completed list, too. That way at the end of spring and summer, we can look back on all of the activities we have done.

Show spring and summer activity list.

I have always enjoyed doing these lists because it gives us some ideas of activities to do on days when we may not have anything else planned, makes me more intentional with doing activities with my daughters, and shows us what we have been able to do together.

It’s fun to listen to my daughters as they remove the activities from the previous seasons because they talk about some of the activities in detail recalling what we had done.

What will you be doing this spring and summer?

 

For more information on seasonal lists, check out these posts:

 

Ramblings

Master Your Money Super Bundle 2019 Available

(This post contains affiliate links which means I may make a small commission at no extra charge to you if you click a link and make a purchase. Thank you!)

If you are serious about “mastering your money”, you should look into the Master Your Money Super Bundle 2019.

Master Your Money Super Bundle 2019

Recently I shared some money saving tips from kids, which doesn’t even come close to the amount of tips and helpful information you would get from the Master Your Money Super Bundle being offered by Ultimate Bundles.

The Master Your Money Super Bundle includes 7 products about better budgeting, 5 products about defeating debt, 6 products about family finances, 7 products about increasing your income, 11 products about managing money, 6 products about money mindset, and 4 products about saving money.

master your money super bundle ebooks

These products include 12 eBooks, 12 eCourses, 11 videos, and 9 workbooks/printables with a value of over $1,000 if they were all purchased individually.

All of these products are available for the price of $49.97, and Ultimate Bundles offers a 30 day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the purchase.

I purchased a bundle from Ultimate Bundles last year, and I was happy with the contents, price, and customer service.

It was overwhelming to receive so many products all at once, so I ended up spending quite a bit of time writing a list of each of the products, how they were presented, and what they were about. From that list, I was able to prioritize which items I wanted to view first. It’s amazing how breaking something into smaller steps is much less intimidating!

Well, Ultimate Bundles has done all of that work for you! They created cheat sheets that break down each of the products, so you can easily prioritize and focus on the products you are the most interested in. These cheat sheets are available for an additional $10.

You can find more information about the Master Your Money Super Bundle 2019 and the additional cheat sheets here.

If you do end up purchasing the bundle, I would love to hear what you learn.

 

 

Ramblings

Money Saving Tips from Kids

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission at no extra charge to you if you click on any of the links and make a purchase. Thank you!)

Have you ever seen recipes written by young children? They can be rather entertaining! Oftentimes, the directions involve cooking something such as cookies at a high temperature (500°F) for a long period of time (2 hours).

Hopefully the kids’ cooking knowledge improves as they get older even if they never end up on a cooking competition!

Recently, I downloaded the free 139 page ebook released by Ultimate Bundles entitled Get More From Your Money: 140 Tips to Help You Save Money Faster.  It provides short answers from finance and frugality bloggers who were asked a series of seven questions about saving money and budgeting.

As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom, I have found many ways to save money and stretch our family’s budget. I kept thinking of how I would have answered each of the questions as I was reading through the ebook.

The Get More From Your Money: 140 Tips to Help You Save Money Faster is not longer available; however, if you are interested in mastering your money with 14 ebooks, 10 ecourses, 10 printables, and 11 videos about better budgeting, defeating debt, family finances, increasing your income, managing money, money mindset, and saving money for only $49.97, check out the Master Your Money Super Bundle here.

master your money super bundle ebooks

So, what does all of this have to do with recipes written by kids?

Well, I have enjoyed teaching my daughters about money, and I thought it would be fun to ask them the same questions (or similar questions) asked within the ebook.

Piggy Bank

Kind of like recipes for saving money according to an eleven year old and a twelve year old.

I gave my daughters each a list of the questions and told them to answer them for an adult who may ask these questions. I was curious how they would respond.

They took the assignment seriously and came up with the following answers on their own (which they typed and told me I could share). My 12 year old daughter used a lot of exclamation points, and she apparently has an aversion to cable!

What is your number one tip on saving money?

11 year old-

Don’t spend more than you earn and don’t get caught up with the “newest” or the “greatest”, primarily if your money situation is tight.

What is your number one tip on saving money?

12 year old-

Be smart, don’t be lazy, and do something! Also, make sure you know why you want to save money. Do you want to get out of debt, go on a dream vacation, retire early, have money for emergencies, or something else? By knowing this, you can draw the line on how much you are willing to sacrifice.

What are some tips for saving money on groceries?

11 year old-

Only buy what you need. Look at prices and compare them with others and make sure not to stop at the sale price- also look at the size of what you’re buying and what you know you’ll use before it expires in the case of food. Keep your eyes peeled for sales and coupons, and remember to always bring coupons with you.

Make meal plans for the week so you know what to buy with only one trip to the store for the whole week, but make sure you still have some more food, allowing your schedule to stay flexible.

What are some tips for saving money on groceries?

12 year old-

Have a list and watch what you spend! Impulse purchases can add up in cost. Make sure what you are buying is really something you need.

You have probably heard to use coupons and look through the ads. Coupons are great, and so are ads, but don’t fall for the marketer’s traps! By looking through the ads, you may want to buy other objects.

Also make sure that you will eat all that you buy (if it is a food item). You may think that the big package of cheese is cheaper, but will you and/or your family eat all of it before it goes bad?

Try not to be name brand loyal. This is, again, another marketing trap! In many cases the name brand and the store brand have about the same ingredients in them and taste the same (or look and feel the same if you are talking about clothes or other products).

Shop around to many different places. In the past, we have gone to 4 or 5 different stores and looked at the prices of various items. We made a chart and then recorded the different prices of each of the items on the chart. While one store may be cheaper for a can of mushroom soup, their peanut butter may be a lot more expensive.

Watch what you are buying and ask yourself if you really need it or can get it somewhere else cheaper!

What are some ways to cut costs on kids’ clothes, school expenses, activities, or lessons?

11 year old-

Buy things when they’re on sale. School supplies are usually sold at a cheaper price right before the school year, so stock up!

Shirts, pants, and shorts can be worn second-hand. Goodwill usually has clothes for very low prices, and sometimes you can find clothes with their tags still on. You can also take pants that fit but have holes in the knees and cut their legs shorter, turning them into shorts. It’s simple, and yet it’s frugal.

When buying products, keep this simple phrase in mind: Know what you are buying. Do some research on the product or service, especially on big purchases. What do others think? Will you really get what you want out of it? Are you sure it’s worth the cost?

What are some ways to cut costs on kids’ clothes, school expenses, activities, or lessons?

12 year old-

For this question, I am going to break it into different sections.

  • Clothes

Clothes are good to buy second hand, whether at rummage sales or thrift stores. Many times you can find clothes that still have tags on them-and nowhere near the same price! Always double-check the clothes have no holes or stains on them.

While I don’t mind having an already used pair of jeans that are still in really good condition, I still think you should draw the line somewhere on buying used clothes. I would not be too happy if I started to get used underwear!

Watch and guess when your kids will get a growth spurt. There is no point in spending a lot of money on clothes or shoes when they are going to outgrow them in a couple of weeks! You can buy items a couple of sizes too big for them to keep for many years.

Every year when summer rolls around, my sister and I will get a cheap pair of flip-flops from Walmart for $1 to wear outside. When we water the garden or check the mail, we can quickly put those on. Of course, you can go barefoot (and that’s what I’d prefer), but then your feet can and will get dirty.

Reselling clothes can also save money, but you have to find a place to sell them. The majority of the time, our family just donates our old clothes.

  • School Expenses

Buy a lot of the school supplies when they are on sale right before school starts again.

Since we are homeschooled, we also need to buy our text books. Mom knows a lot of websites that she checks to see if people are selling their used text books. Since we write in the workbooks, they often need to be bought new, but we shop around at different places online, trying to find the best price. Since we don’t typically write in the teacher guides or the actual textbooks, those can often be resold again.

  • Activities and Lessons

Prioritize which ones are the best for you and your kid. Lessons can not only be expensive, but can take up a lot of time, so make sure that they are ones that your kid enjoys, will benefit from, and ones that he or she will stick to! Try to find the cheapest lessons while still finding a good teacher/course. You may also want to look into teaching the kid yourself.

What are some fun family activities to do on a budget?

11 year old-

You can play games and watch movies at home. Going to free local museums and free nearby parks are also cheap.

What are some fun family activities to do on a budget?

12 year old-

Borrow movies from your library and have a movie night. (Learn to love your library!)

Many parks or trails are free, and it can be a lot of fun to go for a hike or even just a walk around the neighborhood as a family.

While some kids might not be very open to it, volunteering is a lot of fun and you can teach your kids to help others. Sometimes you may need to buy a shirt to show you are a volunteer or something of that sort, but most of the time it should be free to help out. Also, some places may have an age limit (such as the humane society), but I was able to volunteer at our local food shelf for many, many years.

Whatever you are doing, make sure that it is right for you and your family. Small things like growing a garden are fun too, and you can get food from it!

Many places will offer free passes for kids during the summer (bowling alleys, theaters, etc.).

Playing board games as a family can be a lot of fun, but you need to buy the games to get started. We play many board games and will also sometimes play Wii instead of going to a real bowling alley.

What is something you can do for fun that you enjoy without spending a lot of money?

11 year old-

If you’re crafty, learning to knit or making something to give away or sell might be inexpensive but of interest. Some hobbies like riding bikes, going on hikes or walks, and writing are also inexpensive.

What is something you can do for fun that you enjoy without spending a lot of money?

12 year old-

There are many things that you can get for free or for little cost if you search. Learn to love your library! You can borrow many books and movies. Take some time and relax while watching movies or by reading a book.

Many things you can do (or make) yourself with little to no cost. It is amazing! Recently, we made our own pillows for our living room couch, and they turned out awesome! However, you do need to know your limits on what you can and can’t do yourself. There are definitely times when you may need a plumber!

What are some ways you can reduce the cost on household bills such as gas, electric, phone, maintenance, repairs, etc.?

11 year old-

Try to do as much as you can yourself. Even the small things like simple maintenance on cars, replacing door knobs, painting, and easy plumbing all do a little bit extra to save money from having to pay someone else to do it.

Most libraries have computers and Wi-Fi, so you can use those instead of your own. Turn down the heat when you leave the house for a few hours. Do your research to find the best phone carrier for the lowest cost and make sure their plans fit your family.

What are some ways you can reduce the cost on household bills such as gas, electric, phone, maintenance, repairs, etc.?

12 year old-

First, get rid of cable. What is cable even good for?!? I really don’t need another distraction. I have lived all of my life without cable and I really, truly feel like I am missing out on absolutely nothing!!!

Use less water and electricity. When you aren’t using the TV or lights, turn them off.

We have a water filter, so we use the kitchen sink for all of our drinking water. We fill a jug and keep it in the refrigerator to fill our cups during meals. We each have our own bottles, and keep those filled ourselves. This way we don’t have to pay for water bottles constantly. We have also been getting new shower heads so we use less water.

For phone and internet bills, you can call the company and ask for a lower price. Sometimes this works, but not every time.

What if you feel like you are already doing a lot of things to save money~are there any other tips for saving money?

11 year old-

Make a budget. What are you making minus what you’re spending? Then look at what you don’t need and cut that all out. Paid newspapers and cable are two things that no one absolutely needs. Cable is a big thing that is just a want and sitting in front of the TV isn’t going to make you much money unless that’s your job. Having the TV on also raises your energy bill, even if it’s only a little.

Don’t eat out as much- you’re not that bad of a cook!

Stop giving your kids allowances. Instead of having an allowance, let the kids decide on their own financial future. Encourage them to be entrepreneurs and make their own money, and you can help a little by bringing them places to sell their product or service or pay for a small percentage of their supplies. This will teach them to work for what they want without needing the allowance, saving some money on your end as well.

Pay off any debts you have and stay out of debt.

Reuse what you can. This includes gift bags and newspapers. The gift bags can be filled with presents you’re giving. Free newspapers can be used as low-cost wrapping paper and to cover the table or floor when someone is doing something messy like painting.

What if you feel like you are already doing a lot of things to save money~are there any other tips for saving money?

12 year old-

No one can do everything, so chances are you aren’t doing everything! Take at least a month and track everything you spend your money on. Food, clothes, restaurants, utility bills, everything. At the end of the month, look at what you spent money on. What can you get rid of next month? And the month after that? Start cutting what you spend on things you don’t need!

You don’t have to keep up with everyone else! Do something useful with your time instead! Know your goals and stick to them!!!

All of this being said, here are 6 things to know and do:

  • Be smart
  • Do something!
  • Know your goals and priorities
  • Spend less than what you make
  • Don’t go into debt
  • Know where to draw the lines

~~

Well, that’s the end of their answers. I’m curious to see how well they listen to their own advice as they get older (or if their views will change).

If you would like to read the tips from (adult) finance and frugality bloggers, you can download Get More From Your Money: 140 Tips to Help You Save Money Faster for free until March 18th here

What do you think of the money saving tips from kids?

Ramblings · Writing Appearances

National Potato Chip Day and St. Patrick’s Day Activities

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase after clicking a link. Thank you!)

Did you celebrate any of the holidays in February? Well, every day can be a day to celebrate!

Check out National Day Calendar for the National Holidays in March 2019.

There are so many national holidays to choose from throughout the year. Do you think kids would be as excited as their parents to celebrate National Napping Day? Okay kids, time for a nap…it’s the best way to celebrate today!

Celebrate National Napping Day

My cats think every day is National Napping Day.

What about National Potato Chip Day on March 14th?

I recently finished creating a unit study for an online website, which I hope to share more information about in the near future, that included 26 different foods. One of the foods within the unit study was potatoes.

We have grown potatoes in our garden in the past, but it was interesting to learn about how potatoes are harvested and manufactured on a large scale. I also enjoyed learning how potato chips are made in a factory.

red potatoes

Some red potatoes from our garden a few years ago.

You can celebrate National Potato Chip Day by watching this two and a half minute video showing how stackable chips are made and packaged in a factory and this three minute video showing how other potato chips are made in a factory.

You could also read Mr. Crum’s Potato Predicament by Anne Renaud and The Greatest Potatoes by Penelope Stowell, which are both fictitious children’s books about how potato chips were created.


Both of the books include real information about how potato chips were invented in the author’s note section.

Of course, you could also eat potato chips to celebrate National Potato Chip Day!

lays dill pickle chips

The holiday that most people think of for March is probably St. Patrick’s Day. Shamrocks, leprechauns, rainbows, and lots of green!

If you are looking for some St. Patrick’s Day crafts to do with little ones that promote fine motor skills, you can check out the roundup I did for Hands On As We Grow of 33 St. Patrick’s Day Craft that Boost Fine Motor Skills. My roundup was published with the words “St. Patrick’s Day crafts for kids are on tap in our house”, which must have been edited in after I had submitted the activities.

May you have fun celebrating whatever you choose to celebrate this month!

Ramblings · Writing Appearances

2 Websites for Children’s Book Writers

(This post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you if you click on one of the links and make a purchase. Thank you!)

I have learned a lot since beginning my writing adventure.

There is so much to learn! Publishing options, query letters, manuscripts, point of view, literary agents, publishers, research techniques, different styles of children’s books, magazine articles vs. book manuscripts, marketing, page turns, and the list goes on.

Of course, I’m still learning.

In the process, I have published two books, been interviewed on live TV, led preschool story times, celebrated National Pickle Day, attended SCBWI conferences, found a writing group, become a Network Chair for SCBWI Iowa, and more.

live interview of Pickles, Pickles, I Like Pickles

One of the requirements I have as a Network Chair for SCBWI Iowa is to write a post for the SCBWI Iowa website. For those of you who don’t know, SCBWI stands for Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. It is an organization that helps writers and illustrators of children’s books by providing resources such as The Book, offering conferences, creating opportunities for writers and illustrators to communicate with one another, and more.

SCBWI The Book

Since SCBWI builds a community and encourages writers (and illustrators), I tried thinking of a way I could write a post that would benefit all of the writers who may read the post. My answer came just a couple of days later when I read an announcement about a website created for authors by another SCBWI Iowa member.

I investigated the website and found that it had a lot of useful information and resources for writing, marketing, and publishing. So, I decided to reach out to the creator of the website and ask if she would be okay with a virtual interview about her website to share with others.

That website is Journey to Kidlit created by Brooke Van Sickle. Brooke was very gracious and answered all of my questions.

I also knew of another website created by a group of authors including SCBWI Iowa member Linda Skeers (author of 52 Women Who Dared) that focuses on nonfiction writing. So, I also reached out to Linda to see if she would be interested in a virtual interview about her website Nonfiction Ninjas. She also graciously answered all of my questions.

If you are interested in writing books for children, I highly recommend checking out both Journey to Kidlit and Nonfiction Ninjas.

You can read those interviews on the SCBWI Iowa website here.

May you have a wonderful day!