15 Simple Ways to Save Money this Summer

This post has been sponsored by Lexington Law.  All opinions are mine alone and are honestly conveyed. 

 

Summer is here.  The kids are out of school and the weather is nice and warm.  While there may be some summer activities that can be expensive, the warmer temperatures and longer daylight hours also give you a nice opportunity to take advantage of some simple ways to save money as well.  Put that saved money toward paying down account balances or getting bills up-to-date and improve your credit score for a brighter financial future.

15 Simple Ways to Save Money this Summer // Money Savvy Living #summer #savemoney #waystosavemoney #lexingtonlaw

Try these 15 simple ways to save money this summer and help get your finances back on track:

Grill out—not only is it a fun time to grill out when you have a backyard bar-b-que with friends, but grilling out during the warmer temperatures can actually save you money.   Instead of turning on the oven and heating up the entire kitchen, fire up the grill and keep the heat outdoors.

Give your dryer a rest—with warm summer temps and a nice breeze you can hang your clean clothes outside to dry rather than running the dryer.

Turn off the lights—another great way to save money during the summer is to turn your indoor lights off.  You may be used to just flipping on the light switch during the darker winter months, but longer daylight hours during the summer can help you save on your electricity bill by just opening the curtains and letting the natural light in.

Look for free community events—many communities offer events throughout the summer that are family-friendly, fun, and free!  From concerts at the park, to parades, festivals, and carnivals, three are many events throughout the summer that are sponsored by local organizations for the benefit of the community.  Check with your local visitor’s bureau, chamber of commerce, or community calendar for free local events.

Go camping—you really don’t have to go far to have a fun camping experience– you can just camp out in your own backyard!  Of course you can find a nice campground for an economical price, but you can just pitch a tent in your backyard and have fun “roughing it” for a few nights.  Cook hot dogs over a little camp fire and roast some marshmallows and get the full camping experience!

Make a day of fun at the park—pack a picnic lunch and take the kids to the park for the day.  Do a little research to see if there are any local parks that offer a splash pad or water activities– which would be especially refreshing on a hot summer day.  Your kids will have fun for countless hours at the local playground.  Pack a picnic lunch and don’t forget to take the cooler for some ice cream treats.

Go to the library—signing your kids up for a summer reading club will help avoid the summer learning slump, but there is a lot more to do at the library than just picking out books.  Your local library often times has train tables, Lego building area, coloring and so many more activities for kids.

Take a day at the beach—if you live close enough to drive to the beach for the day, you can have fun just soaking up the sun, swimming, or building a sandcastle.

Have a fun day at the lake—even if you aren’t close enough to a beach, you can probably find a lake nearby.  Have a family fun day canoeing, water skiing, boating, or just splashing in the lake.

Visit a national park—not only can you see the beauty of nature all around the country, many of these parks offer free admission.  Even the ones that do require payment are free for you and your fourth-grade student.  Learn more about the Every Kid in a Park program to plan your visit.

Catch fireflies—sometimes just being outside alone in nature can be beautiful and entertaining on its own. Take time to enjoy the beauty of the fireflies lighting up in the evening, look at the stars, and listen to the sounds of the crickets…

Watch fireworks—many towns across the country have fireworks displays, along with parades and other free activities around Independence Day.  Research the schedules ahead of time and take in a few shows.

Let the breeze in—on cool summer nights, turn of the air conditioning and let the cool breeze in.  It will save you a few bucks and it is just as refreshing.

Grow a garden—think about how much it costs to buy a salad or even lettuce at the grocery store.  If you plant your own, you will spend less for the seeds than what you can buy it for at the store, and you will have salad all summer.  Plant some veggies and herbs and you can greatly reduce your grocery bill over the summer.

Go to a discount movie—several theatres nationwide offer summer movies that you can take your kids to for $1.00 or even less if you buy the package ahead of time.  Many of the theatres offer special deals on popcorn and drinks for these events too.  Check out the summer movie schedule here:

15 Simple Ways to Save Money this Summer // Money Savvy Living #summer #savemoney #waystosavemoney #lexingtonlaw

How can the summer savings help you improve your credit?

Utilizing free or cheap summer entertainment or even being able to save some money on regular expenses gives you a bit of extra spending cash.  But be aware and make sure that you don’t spend that money frivolously—use that money to pay down credit card balances, or even get some of your bills up-to-date that may have slipped behind.  Perhaps, you are at the point that you need to track and protect your credit, finances, and identity.  Taking a few dollars of your summer savings to invest into monitoring these aspects of your life can help to set you up for a better financial future.

 

 

 

7 Foods to Use as Natural Dye for Easter Eggs

7 Foods to Use as Natural Dye for Easter Eggs

This post may contain affiliate links or sponsored content.  All opinions are conveyed honestly and are mine alone.  

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.

7 Foods to Use as Natural Dye for Easter Eggs // Money Savvy Living #Easter #eastereggs #naturalfoodcoloring

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.

 

 

If you are looking for colorful cookies, without using food coloring or dyes, check out my Easter Drop Sugar Cookies.  I use blackberries, strawberries, lemons, and limes for color and flavor!  And they are so pretty too!

Drop Sugar Cookies ~ 1 easy reicpe, 4 delicious flavors // Money Savvy Living

 

More Easter Fun!

 

 

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.

Healthy Oat Bran & Beet Muffins

Healthy Oat Bran & Beet Muffins

This post may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. Please know that all opinions are honestly conveyed and are mine alone.

One thing that I have really been focusing on lately is reducing food waste.  This is way more than just not letting food go bad sitting in the refrigerator.  I am trying to use things that I might have just thrown out before.  For instance, when I make Beet Root, Carrot, & Apple Juice, I would normally throw the pulp out and just drink the juice.  But why throw it out?  I have washed and prepared all of those healthy fruits and vegetables, so I may as well use the fibrous part too!

So something that I normally wouldn’t even bother using is going to be the sweetener and healthy boost to some healthy oat bran & beet muffins!  And the beautiful color that the beet adds to these muffins make them the perfect festive treat for Valentine’s Day or a Mother’s Day brunch.  Not to mention… they truly are guilt-free muffins!

I have to say, the thing that I like most about these muffins is that they are not sweetened with sugar… honey is used instead. Of course, the beet, carrot, and apple pulp is pretty sweet too!  The only sugar in this recipe is totally optional, and that is the glaze that goes on top. Sometimes you need to allow yourself to indulge a little…

 

Healthy Oat Bran & Beet Muffins

Healthy Oat Bran & Beet Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose gluten free baking mix
  • 1 cup oat bran
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 medium banana, mashed
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup beet, carrot, and apple pulp (*This is what I have left over from juicing earlier today)
  • **For a bit of a healthy boost, replace the baking mix with Vanilla Juice Plus+ Complete)
  • Glaze **optional**
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 Tbsp milk (add one at a time and stir until proper consistency)
  • just add a few drops of the beautiful beet, carrot & apple juice that is left over from juicing to get a beautiful pink glaze...

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine baking mix, Vanilla Juice Plus+ Powder, and oat bran.
  3. Add applesauce, egg, honey, vanilla, and baking soda.
  4. Stir until combined.
  5. Add in mashed banana and beet pulp mixture.
  6. Spoon into muffin tin.
  7. Bake for approximately 12 minutes.
  8. ** Drizzle with glaze while muffins are still warm.
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https://moneysavvyliving.com/2018/02/07/healthy-oat-bran-beet-muffins/

*to order Vanilla Juice Plus Complete for a nutritional boost to this recipe, click here.

 

These muffins are so sweet and tasty… and it’s a sneaky way to get your kids to eat something that is actually good for them and they won’t even know it!

Enjoy!

Valentine’s Day Glitter Slime

Valentine’s Day Glitter Slime

Do your kids love to play with slime?  I think pretty much every kid loves to play with slime, right?!  So instead of the standard boring green or yellow slime, we are getting a bit festive for Valentine’s Day, because, after all, nothing says “be mine” like some Valentine’s Day glitter slime!

Your kids may love playing with it, but do they know how it’s made?  That is part of the fun— mixing all the ingredients together and actually making the slime!  Your kids can get messy, and maybe even learn something too!

This is a fun science experiment, but you don’t have to tell them it’s actually educational.  That can just be our little secret…

Here is what you will need to make the slime:
  • clear glue
  • baking soda
  • contact solution
  • large paper plate
  • plastic fork or spoon
  • glitter
  • food coloring *optional
  • plastic bag (for storage and later disposal)

Directions:
  1. Mix 1 cup of clear glue with a ½ teaspoon of baking soda. 
  2. Sprinkle in the glitter.  For Valentine’s Day, we are using pink glitter and pink, red, and silver heart-shaped glitter.  
  3. Add contact solution, 1 tablespoon at a time. 
  4. Combine on the plate until the mixture is somewhat stiff, yet gooey.
  5. This is where the get-your-hands-dirty part comes in… now you need to pick up the slime and kneed it with your hands— and pull it and stretch it until it is very elastic-y.

 So pretty and festive!  Happy Valentine’s Day! 

 

*Make sure to dispose of this concoction in a plastic storage bag. You DO NOT want to pour this down the drain, as it could cause a blockage.

Bring the Magic of Christmas to your Child with Portable North Pole

Bring the Magic of Christmas to your Child with Portable North Pole

This post may contain affiliate links or sponsored content. Please know that all opinions are honestly conveyed and are mine alone.

The best part of Christmas is seeing how magical it is through the eyes of a child.  To hear a little one gasp with excitement when they see Santa or open the smallest of gifts, yet smile so big… and another way to help bring the magic of Christmas to your child this year is with the Portable North Pole.

 

Portable North Pole gives you several options to customize a video message or a phone call for your child.  While, it is a basic script, you are able to upload pictures and the name of your child to somewhat customize the message.

It even has messages for groups of grown-ups too.  So if you want to liven up your workplace during the holidays, it could add a bit of fun!

You can create several different videos or calls and your account is active until next year… so if you need to send a call to your child in July to remind them to be good and that Santa is watching all year long…. well, this just might do the trick to keep them on the nice list all year long!

 

Make Christmas Magic with Portable North Pole Portable North Pole 2017 (PNP) lets you make Christmas even more magical by sending personalized video messages and calls from Santa from the enchanted North Pole to children young and old. Watch them be amazed as they see Santa in his home, the magical reindeer, and the hustle and bustle of the elves as they prepare for Christmas Eve. As the top free mobile Santa app with more than 160 million videos viewed, PNP is a cherished, modern holiday tradition for families worldwide. In just moments, create an adorable video from Santa that you and your child will remember forever. Simply visit the PNP website or download the mobile app on iOS or Android.

PNP offers a free video for every child with a new option to purchase a single premium video ($4.99) or upgrade to a premium package, including the Video Pass ($9.99) or Magic Pass ($13.99). Both packages provide six enchanting video storylines to choose from, with each offering five or more minutes of footage to watch, from exploring Santa’s workshop to the amazing gift-wrapping machine, as well as the Reaction Recorder (available on mobile app only). In addition, you can create an unlimited number of videos, and receive a special “Santa’s Coming” video to watch on Christmas Eve…

 

 

 

5-Minute Homemade Christmas Tree Ornaments

5-Minute Homemade Christmas Tree Ornaments

Do you ever look at all of the beautiful DIY Christmas crafts on Pinterest and think to yourself, “there’s no way that I could ever do that!”  Well, these Christmas ornaments are not only beautiful and sparkly on the tree, but they are quick and super-easy to make!  You can literally make these ornaments in less than 5 minutes!But I promise that no one will know, because they are so pretty it will look like you spent hours on them… it will just be our little secret…

And because these ornaments are so easy to make, they are perfect for your kids to help make.  Did I mention that all of the paint, glue, and glitter go inside the ornament??  So no worrying about letting the paint dry or having glitter fall off.

 

No mess, quick, easy… and last, but certainly not least, these ornaments are actually plastic (not glass!) so you don’t have to worry about your little ones or pets making them fall off the tree and break.

 

4 Ornaments in 5 Minutes:

 

Mixed Paint

  • Take the top off the ornament
  • Choose 3 colors of paint, carefully pour inside ornament
  • Put the top back on
  • Swirl paint around until inside of ornament is fully covered

Tip: Turn ornament occasionally until all the paint is dry inside to prevent paint from pooling in one area

 

Gift Wrap and Sparkle

  • Take the top off the ornament

Fill with gift basket filler, pieces of tinsel, pom-poms, etc…

  • Put the top back on

 

Glitter

  • Take the top off the ornament
  • Carefully pour clear glue inside ornament
  • Swirl around until the glue even coats the inside
  • Pour glitter in the ornament
  • Put the top back on
  • Shake around to help evenly spread out the glitter

Tip: Make sure not to pour too much glue in, just use enough to coat the inside.

 

Snowball

  • Take the top off the ornament
  • Carefully pour clear glue inside ornament
  • Swirl around until the glue even coats the inside
  • Pour iridescent snow flake sprinkles into ornament
  • Put the top back on
  • Shake around to help evenly spread out the snow flakes

 

Quick, easy and no-mess tutorial for making the ornaments:

 

 

More Christmas Crafts:

You might also enjoy learning how to make this ‘Warm Up with a Cup of Cheer’ DIY Rustic Christmas Sign.

 

Merry Christmas!

Northeast Ohio Christmas Lights Display: Magic of Lights

Northeast Ohio Christmas Lights Display: Magic of Lights

This post may contain affiliate links or sponsored content.  Please know that all opinions are honestly conveyed and are mine alone.

Every year, we try to fit in fun Christmas activities and events leading up to Christmas.  It is easy to get busy with all of the things that have to get done, that actually relaxing and enjoying the holiday can get overlooked.  So just taking a family night to go and look at Christmas lights is a lot of fun!  This year, we chose Magic of Lights at Victory Park in North Ridgeville for our night out.

Magic of Lights features a variety of festive scenes celebrating the holiday season.  This light display is drive-through– which is great, because it was cold and snowy the night we went!  To add to the Christmas mood, it is suggested that guests tune into Cleveland’s Star 102.1 FM and enjoy Christmas music on the drive through the lights.

Magic of Lights  offers a winding 1-2 mile course through the park to view sparkling LED displays depicting the favorite characters of the season, including animated snowmen, elves, poinsettias, candy canes, and more!

It was pretty cool to find out that the light displays were actually created by local STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) students!  That had to be a fun learning activity!

The lights display even ends with a drive through tunnel!

You can pay at the gate, but you get a bit of a discount if you purchase your ticket ahead of time online at MagicOfLights.com.

 

Merry Christmas!

Package from Santa: a review

Package from Santa: a review

This post may contain affiliate links or sponsored content.  Please know that all opinions are honestly conveyed and are mine alone.

My youngest son is six years old… and has two older brothers, so keeping Christmas magical for him can be a bit of a challenge.  His older brothers are really good, though, about keeping the secret and helping to make things fun for him while he is still little.  So, this year, I thought it would be fun to surprise my little guy with a Package from Santa.

At packagefromsanta.com You can get personalized LETTERS, PACKAGES, CALLS and VIDEOS from SANTA!

As a parent, it is truly a joy to see your children’s face light up with excitement.  And it seems like Derek really thought his package from Santa was pretty cool!

One of the things that I liked the best is that there were several themes to choose from:

This way, no matter what your current situation is, there is a letter that would be just perfect!  Once you choose a theme, you are still able to fully customize the letter to make the specific wording just the way you want.

Every package also comes with a FREE personalized CALL and VIDEO FROM SANTA that can be scheduled any time– so we chose to get a call from Santa on Christmas Eve!  I think he’s going to love hearing from Santa and knowing that he needs to get in bed so Santa can bring his gifts…

Review:
  1. Quick Service–Once ordered, our Package From Santa arrived within a few days.  Emails were sent confirming the order and letting me know when the package had been sent.
  2. Affordable pricing options– there are different packages to choose from, so it is easy to find one to fit your budget.
  3. Easily Customizable– I really liked all of the themes to choose from, and that each theme was fully customizable.  Having the ability to make the edits that I wanted to make it personal for my son truly made it more meaningful!

 

Get one for your child:

Click here to see a video to learn more about this very special Santa memory service that will be a part of my family for years to come!

The Silver Package ($24.95) comes in a red box & includes:

  • Personalized Letter from Santa
  • BONUS! Personalized Video from Santa (retail $9.99)
  • BONUS! Personalized Phone Call from Santa to a cell phone OR land line! (retail $9.99)
  • Personalized Nice List Certificate
  • Autographed Santa Claus Photo
  • Autographed Rudolph Photo
  • Genuine North Pole Stamp
  • …and so much more!

It also comes with a 60-Day money-back guarantee because they are THAT confident your child will LOVE it!

There are 3 different packages offered, so you can choose a price point that works with your budget. I will be reviewed the Silver package ($29.95).

 

How to order:

Order this holiday must-have for your child at PackageFromSanta.com and save 25% OFF your order when you use code: FAMS17 at checkout.

 

Peppermint Candy Cane Christmas Sugar Cookies

Peppermint Candy Cane Christmas Sugar Cookies

Here’s a fun twist to a Christmas cookie classic!  These peppermint sugar cookies are a great way to make festive-looking Christmas cookies without having to take the time to frost and decorate…

Of course, you can add icing and decorate with sprinkles, but these candy cane sugar cookies are beautiful on their own…

If you’ve ever made cut-out cookies, there are only a few extra steps that you need to take to make these beautiful, candy-cane striped cookies.

  1. Separate cookie dough into two parts
  2. Add red food coloring to one of the parts
  3. Refrigerate 15 minutes before using
  4. Take small pieces of each color and start rolling into long “ropes”
  5. Alternate color strands
  6. Roll out
  7. Cut out in candy cane shape

Here’s a quick video to walk you through the process:

Full recipe:

Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

Candy Cane Sugar Cookie Recipe

  • 3¾ cups sifted, all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Red food coloring
  • *Optional* Peppermint extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, stir together flour and baking powder.

In another bowl, beat butter with sugar until fluffy and light.

Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Stir in flour mixture, a third at a time to make a stiff dough.

Separate dough into two equal parts and add red food coloring to half.  *Optional* You may also choose to add some peppermint extract.

*For best results, refrigerate for 15 minutes before rolling out cookie dough.

Take a small ball of dough and use your hands to roll into long cylinder (you know, the way you used to make a “snake” out of Play-doh?!)

Make several of these long ropes of cookie dough.  Alternating the red and white pieces, place close together and roll out, using a piece of wax paper between the dough and rolling pin.

Roll dough out on floured counter-top.  Make cookies approx. 3/8 inch thick.

You should be able to reuse the dough that remains around each cookie and still separate the colors if you keep it refrigerated between each use (if you let the dough get too warm, you two colors of dough will stick together and you probably won’t be able to re-use it).

Bake 8-10 minutes.

Icing
1 Tbsp butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla (or peppermint)
2 ½ cup confectioners sugar
3 Tbsp milk
Beat butter, vanilla, and confectioner’s sugar until smooth.
Add in milk 1 Tbsp at a time.

Make Christmas Magical for Your Child with a Package from Santa

Make Christmas Magical for Your Child with a Package from Santa

This post may contain affiliate links or sponsored content.  Please know that all opinions are honestly conveyed and are mine alone.

Start a new and memorable tradition this Christmas with a Package from Santa.  You can get personalized LETTERS, PACKAGES, CALLS and VIDEOS from SANTA!

As a parent, it is truly a joy to see your children’s face light up in amazement.  And this is sure to happen when they get a personalized letter from Santa Claus!

This not just a letter from Santa. It’s an amazing experience – it’s joy, memories, wonder and happiness in a box! You can choose a specific letter theme and then customize it yourself to include details that only Santa would know!

Every package also comes with a FREE personalized CALL and VIDEO FROM SANTA that can be scheduled any time. I have a feeling me little guy is going to be absolutely amazed to receive a call and video from Santa!

Here are the details:

Package From Santa has an A+ Rating with the BBB due to their unmatched, high-touch customer service so you can be confident that you are making a wise purchase. They have real people on the phone ready to help answer questions.

Click here to see a video to learn more about this very special Santa memory service that will be a part of my family for years to come!

The Silver Package ($24.95) comes in a red box & includes:

  • Personalized Letter from Santa
  • BONUS! Personalized Video from Santa (retail $9.99)
  • BONUS! Personalized Phone Call from Santa to a cell phone OR land line! (retail $9.99)
  • Personalized Nice List Certificate
  • Autographed Santa Claus Photo
  • Autographed Rudolph Photo
  • Genuine North Pole Stamp
  • …and so much more!

It also comes with a 60-Day money-back guarantee because they are THAT confident your child will LOVE it!

There are 3 different packages offered, so you can choose a price point that works with your budget. I will be reviewing the Silver package ($29.95).

Order this holiday must-have for your child at PackageFromSanta.com and save 25% OFF your order when you use code: FAMS17 at checkout.

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