Category Archives: Family Life

5 Ways to Invest In Your Children’s Future

Family Time ~ Have fun together!

Family Time ~ Have fun together!

Investing. Typically, when we talk about investing, we are thinking about putting money into stocks, bonds, or mutual funds in a retirement account or a savings account. There is usually a tangible goal in mind: being able to retire comfortably or paying for a child’s college education. That type of investing is definitely something that should be a part of every person’s financial plan. But that is not the only type of investing that is important.

We need to be investing in the lives of our children in a way that is far more critical: emotionally and relationally. Being a parent is so much more than just providing food, clothes, and shelter for a child. Raising a child involves teaching them values, morals, and ethics. Whether you are actually an involved participant in teaching your children this or not, they will acquire a set of values, morals, and ethics, or a lack thereof, depending on the upbringing they receive. So how do you actually invest in your children? How do you know you are achieving your goal when there are no quantitative measures? Here are 5 ways that you can concretely participate in your children lives:

1.  Eye contact—from the time a baby is born, they start to gain an understanding of the world around them and how much they are loved based on the eye contact they receive. Even as an infant, a worldview is starting to form. Take the time every day to look your child in the eye and tell him you love him—it doesn’t matter if your child is 6 months old or 16 years old.

Investment: Self-Worth—by looking in his eyes, you are telling your child, “You have value.”

2.  Say “I love you.”—this one may seem self-evident, but, trust me, you need to actually say it. Clearly communicating this simple message with your child often is critical. Through the trials that they will surely face in life—a mean kid at school, breaking up with a boyfriend, peer pressure—if your daughter knows that you, her parent, loves her, getting through these situations will be easier for her.

 Investment: Security—by actually uttering the words “I love you,” you are letting your child know, unequivocally, that no matter what the world brings their way, you are there for them.

3.  Give compliments—as parents, we are so used to telling our kids what they can’t do and what they did wrong, that is it essential to make a concerted effort to tell them when they’ve done something right. Just to get through the day without someone getting hurt, I feel like I am telling my kids every couple of minutes what not to do—a negative directive: “don’t throw the ball in the house,” “no wrestling by the fireplace,” “pick up your toys before someone trips over something and gets hurt…” Yes, this is a parent’s job, however, it makes it just that much more important to catch them doing something good. It can be anything, even something little: “you did a great job cleaning your room,” “thank you for mowing the lawn,” “I’m proud of you…”

Investment: Self-Esteem—each time you tell your child they did something good, you are building up their confidence.

4.  Spend quality time together—in order to invest in the lives of your children, you need to actually be there. Yes, face-time matters. Maybe you are busy traveling with your job, maybe you are putting in hours around the clock trying to get your new business off-the-ground, but you can figure out a way to carve out quality time for your family. In the grand scheme of life, will your children be able to remember that you went to their baseball games, cheerleading competitions, or awards ceremony at school? Will they remember sitting down and eating dinner together as a family? Will they remember you teaching them to drive? Will they remember being able to talk to you about major life decisions, such as college, a career path, or renting their first apartment? Perhaps, you time is limited due to circumstances in life that you can’t control, but that is not an excuse for not making the time you do have with your kids count. After all, it is entirely possible for a parent to see their children every day, but not really be there.

Investment: Yourself—investing time into your children creates memories for them. Someday when you are gone, the memories will still live on. Don’t live a life that will cause you to look back with the regret of “I wish I had spent more time with my kids.”

5.  Eternity—for me, this is the most important. You may have heard the saying, “the family that prays together, stays together.” I think there is a lot of truth to this. Honoring God as a family helps to keep other priorities in order as well.

Investment: Purpose—understanding that God has a plan for each of us, gives life meaning. Teaching my children about God is investing in their eternity.

Investing isn’t always dollars and cents, sometimes it’s just common sense.

Keepsake Journal

Keepsake Journal | Money Savvy Living

 

The best gift a Mother can receive is something made by her children. Of course, I like jewelry and flowers too! But this year, my husband bought a journal in which each child wrote a Mother’s Day message for me. He let them write whatever they wanted… totally unprompted.

 

I have to say, these sweet, heartfelt messages from my kids just make me smile:

 

Keepsake: Mother's Day Journal | Money Savvy Living

 

The idea is that for Mother’s Day, or my birthday, or any other holiday throughout the year, the boys can write a message, draw a picture or whatever they want, and I will have a journal of their messages to me over the years as they grow up. Not only is it nice to have it all compiled in one book, but no need to buy expensive cards that get misplaced or thrown away.  Saves money AND I have something homemade from my kids…. win, win.

 

It will be interesting to see how the boys’ handwriting and pictures change over the years.  I’m pretty sure one day, they will look back through this book and smile at some of the cute things they wrote when younger.

 

This keepsake journal idea would also be a great gift for Father’s Day (yes, we definitely started one for my husband too!), or for a parent or grandparent’s birthday. A gift from the heart, for any occasion, that is money savvy too, doesn’t get much better than that.

 

Big Savings at Big Splash Adventure Indoor Water Park

bigsplashlogoMy Readers receive $4 off day pass admission OR $20 off overnight stay at Big Splash Adventure Indoor Water Park and Resort with this exclusive coupon from US Family Guide!

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Big Splash Adventure Indoor Water Park & Resort offers an exciting water park adventure for the entire family! Experience tropical luxury in a family friendly environment! 154, smoke free and pet free, Family Friendly Rooms & Suites are waiting – many feature bunk beds!

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Enjoy 40,000 Square Feet of Water Park Fun!

No weather worries! Big Splash Adventure Indoor Water Park is enclosed in a beautiful glass structure – one of the few retractable roof water parks in the world!

As a parent, I know that visiting an indoor waterpark is a mini-vacation for my kids. They absolutely love it! And as a money savvy Mom, I can appreciate saving some money.

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Discount for Hurricane Golf Tour and Online Shop

I am posting about the Hurricane Golf Tour now because I want to be able to come back to this information in a few years when my kids are old enough to participate in this.

For a Limited Time, my followers will SAVE 15% on your next Hurricane Event Registration and look good when you save 15% on your next online purchase at the Hurricane Tour Shop. Use PROMO CODE blog14 – Click here for details.

The Hurricane Tour is comprised of four components: the Junior Tour, the Collegiate Tour, the Amateur Tour, and the Tour Shop (online). Based out of Jacksonville, FL, the Hurricane Tour administers over 150 events all across the country. With three different tours, golfers of any age and skill level are provided an opportunity to play the game.

The Hurricane Junior Golf Tour (#HJGT) was founded in 2008 with the intention of providing junior golfers between the ages of 11-18 an opportunity to play exceptional courses in a competitive environment. The tour’s vision is to provide superb hospitality and make every event a memorable one. With play open to both males and females, nearly every junior golfer is eligible to participate on the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour. Membership for the HJGT is $89.00 and players receive discounted member pricing at each event. Every Hurricane Junior Golf Tour event is ranked by the National Junior Golf Scoreboard (NJGS) and features a chance for players to earn AJGA stars. The top 3 finishers at each event will earn prizes. For a complete list of Junior Tour tournaments, visit: http://hjgt.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/hjgt14/schedule/index.htm.

The Hurricane Collegiate Golf Tour (#HCGT) was founded in 2011 and is perfect for college-aged golfers looking to perfect their game this summer in competitive tournaments at great venues. Whether you are a collegiate golfer looking to practice during the off-season, a future college golfer looking to prepare for the upcoming season, or a non-college golfer that wants to compete in first-class events, the HCGT is the tour for you! Membership to the tour is absolutely FREE and provides access to all 28 tournaments this summer in 11 different states. Top 3 finishers at each event will earn prizes. For a complete list of Collegiate Tour tournaments, visit: http://collegiate.hurricanetour.com/Event/EventList.aspx.

The Hurricane Amateur Golf Tour (#HAGT) was founded in 2014 with the intention of providing golfers of any age and skill level an opportunity to play exceptional courses in a competitive environment, while raising money to benefit the Hurricane Foundation and other charitable organizations alike. In order to play on the Hurricane Amateur Golf Tour, players must become a member for the low rate of $25. Amateurs (men, women and seniors) will compete in one of 10 flights based on their handicap, gender, and age. Senior Flights are for players that have turned 50 years old by May 17, 2014. Every tournament on the 2014 schedule will have a unique “Major Championship” feel to it. A special feature of the Amateur Tour is the “19th Hole Dinner,” where players will have the opportunity to win raffles, giveaways, and silent auctions. The top 3 finishers in every flight will compete for the $2,000 total prize purse regardless of field size at the tournament. The payouts will be in form of gift cards to the Hurricane Tour Shop. For a complete list of Amateur Tour tournaments, visit: http://amateur.hurricanetour.com/Event/EventList.aspx.

Lastly, the online Hurricane Tour Shop was created in 2013 for the purpose of offering golfers of all ages the newest trends in golf apparel, equipment and accessories at PREFERRED PRICING.

SEE OUR MOST RECENT DEALS
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WEBSITES:
Junior Tour: www.hjgt.org
Collegiate Tour: www.hurricanetour.com
Amateur Tour: www.hurricanetour.com
Tour Shop: www.hurricanetourshop.com

Natural Dye for Easter Eggs

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

I have been trying to remove processed foods, preservatives, and artificial flavors from the foods that I buy and from the meals that I make for my family. That is why I was so excited to see the article posted on eMeals that uses natural products, that you probably already have in your kitchen pantry, to dye Easter eggs! Usually, I just let the kids color the eggs and then we throw them out because the chemicals and dye soak through the egg shell and into the egg white. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to eat that and I certainly don’t want my kids eating that! This year, we won’t have to waste those beautifully colored eggs because we will be using fruits, vegetables, and juices to color our eggs.

Red:
Use pomegranate juice or canned cherries with syrup.

Blue:
Boil 4 cups of water. Cut 1/4 of a head of red cabbage into chunks and add to water. Stir in 2 Tablespoons vinegar. Let cool to room temperature and remove cabbage with a slotted spoon.

Pink:
Boil 4 cups of water. Chop 1 medium beet and add to water. Stir in 2 Tablespoons vinegar and let cool to room temperature; remove beets. OR if you have cranberry juice on hand, you can use it.

Yellow:
Boil 1 cup of water. Stir 2 Tablespoons turmeric and add 2 teaspoons white vinegar.

Lavender:
Mix 1 cup grape juice and 1 tablespoon vinegar.

Orange:
Take the skin of 6 yellow onions and simmer in 2 cups water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 3 teaspoons white vinegar.

Green:
Peel the skin from 6 red onions and simmer in 2 cups water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 3 teaspoons white vinegar. OR if you have spinach on hand you could use spinach in boiled water.

*You should note that using all natural dyes tends to yield lighter colored eggs. If you would like darker colors, you may want to let them set overnight in the refrigerator.

Use the discount code: MEALS15 for 15% off. Also, if you purchase a subscription to eMeals right now, you will get a FREE EASTER MENU.

5 money saving tips for planning your next vacation

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Going on vacation can be a nice escape from reality. Visiting somewhere new and exciting with your loved ones is also a great opportunity to create lasting memories. However, all of the costs associated with taking a vacation can really add up. Because things can get a little pricey, here are some tips to help you get the best deals, no matter what your destination is:

1) Take your vacation during the off-season.

  • Taking a beach vacation in May or late August can save a lot of money. Typically, June, July, and early August are the peak season for tourists headed to the beach because those are the hottest times, also when most schools are out for summer vacation. Going just before or slightly after the busy season, can save you hundreds of dollars and, many times, the beaches are less crowded.
  • Save at Disney in September and October. Taking a vacation to Disney during Autumn will save you hundreds (maybe thousands!) of dollars, depending on how long you stay. While you won’t really save on tickets to the part itself, you can save BIG on accommodations. During this time, you can save 50% or more on hotel rooms that are $400-500/night during peak season. The parks are less crowded during this time as well. Undercover Tourist is an app that also gives you an idea of events going on at each park, and based on historical data, it estimates how crowded the park will be on the days that you are looking to visit.

2) Know the cancellation policies.

Whether it be your airline or hotel, make sure you know the cancellation policies. If someone were to get sick or some other reason arise that your family cannot go on vacation, you certainly don’t want to be stuck paying for it. Many times, hotels allow guests to cancel within 24-48hours without any penalty. For airline tickets, it is well worth the small fee per ticket to be able to get a refund. It can literally save you thousands of dollars if your entire family is planning on flying.

3) Avoid holiday travel.

Vacationing during almost any holiday, whether it’s Labor Day or Christmas, can cost you extra. More people are off work during these times and kids are off school, so more people are travelling, which means paying a premium.

4) Visit the Chamber of Commerce or other visitors website of your chosen destination.

Many times, you can find out about free festivals, children’s activities, or local tourist attractions that are inexpensive. Here is one example of such a website for Myrtle Beach, SC. You can also do a search for local restaurants on Restaurants.com to find money-saving coupons on dining. Doing a little research ahead of time can save you a lot of money once on vacation.

5) Don’t buy “necessities” on vacation. Most of us remember to pack toiletries when going on a trip, like toothpaste and deodorant, however, it is also important to remember to take the less essential necessities:

  • Beach/warm weather destination—take sand and water toys for the kids with you. Yes, this is just more stuff to pack, but once you get to the water, your kids will love playing in the sand with their buckets and shovels. Don’t forget arm floaties, sunscreen, sunglasses, water shoes, or goggles for the pool either. These items may not seem significant, but if you end up having to buy them once you get to your destination, it will cost a lot more than getting them at Walmart or the dollar store.
  • Skiing/cold weather destination—don’t forget gloves, hand-warmers, long underwear, wool socks, and even sunglasses for the slopes. If you have to buy these items at a specialty shop, you will end up paying a huge premium.

This article was originally published on my Personal Finance Examiner page.

Monster Jam: A Monster Hit

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Never having been to Monster Jam, I really didn’t know what to expect. But my husband and I figured we really couldn’t go wrong taking our three boys to see monster trucks! And we were right. The boys loved it! From the wheely competition to truck races, the boys were hooked. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the favorite in our house, Superman Man of Steel, won the race!

If you are looking for some fun, family entertainment, (bring your ear plugs!)… and enjoy the show!

Savings on Disney Live! in Cleveland

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disney liveDisney Live! presents Mickey’s Music Festival at Quicken Loans Arena, March 9th!

Mickey Mouse and friends rock the world with the stars from The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story in Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival. Disney hits are remixed to the hottest sounds of today featuring hip hop, pop, swing, reggae, rock, country and much more! The irresistible lineup of performers, including Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy; Ariel, Sebastian and Ursula; Jasmine, Aladdin and Genie; and Woody, Buzz and Jessie; are among the more than 25 Disney stars featured in this jam session fit for the entire family! You can’t resist dancing, singing, playing your air-guitar and laughing with this band of characters! Come join them at Disney Live! Mickey’s Music Festival for a lively concert experience guaranteed to deliver enough rockin’ memories to last a lifetime.

Save $4 using code: MOM4

Click here: Get Tickets Now!
Not valid on Front Row or VIP seats. No double discounts. Service charges, handling and facility fees may apply

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Disney on Ice: fun for all ages

Sorcerer Mickey and the dancing brooms

Sorcerer Mickey and the dancing brooms

The magic of Disney, definitely didn’t disappoint.  Last night, my husband and I took our three boys to see Disney on Ice.  I figured my 2-year-old, who just loves Mickey Mouse, would enjoy watching all of his favorite characters, but even my two older boys enjoyed it so much, they talked the whole way home about what their favorite parts were!  So cute!  As a parent, one of the greatest joys is seeing your children happy and smiling– that is what family is all about.

Even as an adult, I enjoyed watching the story play out, as only Disney can do it– scenery changing, props coming up and down from the ceiling, bright and colorful costuming, familiar songs and characters from all our favorite movies– need I go on?!

As I remember many of the Disney characters from my childhood, Disney is still helping families create memories for generations to come.

Discount Tickets to Monster Jam

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MJ2Quicken Loans Arena Feb. 14-16, 2014

Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam, starring the biggest performers on four wheels: Monster Jam monster trucks! The twelve-feet-tall, ten-thousand-pound machines will bring you to your feet, racing and ripping up a custom-designed track full of obstacles to soar over or smash through!  Monster Jam provides a massive night’s entertainment tailored perfectly for your family’s budget, and these colorful, larger-than-life beasts are sure to capture the hearts of both young and old.

Save 25% off of tickets using code: MOM25.

Click here to get your Tickets Today!

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**Not valid on Front Row or Gold Circle seats. Not valid on Friday night. No double discounts. Service charges, handling and facility fees may apply.

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