Ideas for Summer Fun

As a stay at home mom I am always looking for fun ways to keep my kids busy in the summer! But, I also don’t want to go broke funding their adventures… after all they are elementary school aged. I started writing a list of ideas to keep the kids happily busy, having fun without going broke and I wanted to share these ideas with you.

Story Time At The Library
This gives the kids a chance to socialize with friends, old and new. They hear several books with the librarian, make a craft and have a blast. I get to socialize quietly with other parents. I think this is a win win situation for my family.

 

Summer Reading Programs
The library has one, Barnes and Noble has one, as does Scholastic. After story time we select one book for each program we are participating in. This insures they are reading for about 15 minutes a day all summer long to complete the programs and earn free books.
Park Picnic Day
We made an agreement as a family, if we can all be helpful, and get along with each other, every Friday we will have a park picnic day. We will take our lunch to the park, play for a few hours and enjoy the chance to be outdoors! This is a good way to remind the children to be helpful during the week so that our special Friday routine is possible.
Back Yard Camping
Last year we put up our tent. No one slept in it, but the kids had a lot of fun playing in it during the day and pretending to go camping! I can only imagine how much fun they will have when they sleep over night in the tent this year!
Swimming Lessons
We have several options in our area. $15 for 5 lessons in the next town, or $35 for 8 weeks of 30 minute lessons two times a week. The kids like the water time, and swimming is an important skill for them to develop. Some areas will have free lessons! Check around!Do you have any ideas for frugal summer fun?

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Mason Jar Salads

I am currently a stay at home mom. I always have a hard time coming up with lunch ideas. Then I seen this post about making mason jar salads. I love salads and could eat them everyday. There are a ton of recipes online to choose from.

I decided to make cobb salads in mason jars. Once you make them which only took me 15 minutes you just put them in the fridge and when you are ready to eat them you just shake them and put it in a bowl and your salad is ready.

Mason Jar Salads

I ordered the mason jars through Amazon because I couldn’t find them at Walmart. Then I went to Aldi to buy everything else. They have great prices on produce.

Here is everything I put in the cobb salads

  • mini cucumbers
  • tomatoes
  • hard boiled eggs
  • ham
  • turkey
  • romaine lettuce
  • Olive Garden Italian dressing

I didn’t have bacon but next time I am going to use Hormel crumbled bacon. It is much faster than frying up bacon. I already had the Italian dressing.

I made up five salads for the week. I am so excited to have a quick lunch or even a snack.

Here is the original recipe for Chopped Cob Mason jar Salad. There is a ton of other recipes for Mason Jar Salads you can find some here.

I also created a Pinterest board for Mason Jar Salads if you want to check out some more recipes .

I hope you have a great day !

 

 

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By Spending More, I Spent Less

We shop around for late deals, browse the best value beachwear and snap up our sun cream when it’s at its cheapest after summer. With purse strings pulled tighter than ever, every little helps when it comes to saving on holiday extras and making sure you spend your money where it matters most. Cryptic title aside, we’ve got some tips on how you can make your money go further, simply by spending a little more to begin with. Sometimes spending a little more short term, can mean you spend much less in the long run!

Fly Local

Flights from Heathrow or Gatwick are often cheaper than those from regional airports but factor in the added cost it will take to get you there and you are often better paying a little extra to fly from an airport closer to home.

Taxis, trains, airport hotels, airport parking; it can easily add up into the hundreds for a family holiday and that is before you have even set food on a plane. Factor in a snack stop on your way to the airport hotel, a meal in the ridiculously expensive (and often distinctly average) hotel restaurant and something to feed the weary and hungry family on your return and that extra £50 each to fly from an airport that is a 30 minute taxi ride from home doesn’t look so bad after all!

Go All-Inclusive

All-inclusive used to be reserved for honeymooners and those who like to live a life of luxury when aboard. Today however, more people than ever have cottoned on to the great value offered by all-inclusive deals. Yes, it will cost you more initially and you will often be limited to local ‘specialities’ when it comes to alcoholic beverages, but you can eat and drink to your heart’s content (or your stomach’s limits).

Self-catering holidays often appear at a price that seems too good to be true but factor in the endless requests for ice creams, cold drinks and mid-afternoon snacks and you can soon spend more on food in a couple of days than the whole holiday cost you for a week.

While all inclusive is widely available in destinations such as the Mediterranean, it is very rare in city centre hotels in places such as New York and Paris. If the option for all-inclusive doesn’t apply, opt for bed & breakfast instead. You will pay a little extra to have breakfast included but will often be so full from a good breakfast that a mid-afternoon snack will put you on until your evening meal.

Think Cruise Rather Than Multi-Centre

Multi-centre breaks are a fantastic way to see more than one destination, especially if you love to travel but are limited when it comes to annual leave entitlement.

If you are looking to save money, cruising can be a great alternative to the traditional multi-centre holiday. You will visit new destinations almost every day, unpacking just once rather than over and over again in each hotel, as you would on a traditional multi-centre. Cruise ship accommodation is often comparable to that expected in a boutique 5-star hotel and cruise lines offer all meals as part of your cruise fare, saving you a fortune on dining out. Fill yourself up with a hearty breakfast before heading out for a day exploring ashore, treat yourself to afternoon tea as a treat for all that walking and enjoy four course haute cuisine or juicy steakhouse grills at dinner; all included in your fare. You can even treat yourself to a midnight snack if you’ve still room to spare!

 

Get Insured!

It is tempting to overlook those niggling pre-existing conditions when booking your travel insurance, especially when you see your premium drop if you fail to mention them. What could possibly go wrong in a week, right?

Wrong! 3,157 British holidaymakers were hospitalised in 2014 and those who had failed to disclose pre-existing medical conditions faced a hefty bill. It may cost you an extra few quid but make sure you declare everything if you want to be sure your insurer will pay out in the worst case scenario.

Prepare to Roam

We have all heard the stories about holidaymakers coming home to a £1,000 phone bill after spending their whole holiday Facebooking, Tweeting and Instagramming to their hearts content.

Mobile calls and data cost significantly more outside of the UK, and it isn’t unthinkable to spend £15 using the internet simply to find an address on Google Maps. Downloading video can run into the hundreds! Always let your network provider know that you are leaving the country and arrange for an add-on package to be incorporated onto your contract for the duration of your holiday. You can expect to pay around £3 a day with most network providers but this is a small amount to pay compared to normal roaming charges.

 

Michael Wilson is the Managing Director of Bolsover Cruise Club who are based near Chesterfield, Derbyshire. Michael regularly writes about a variety of travel and cruise related topics.

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New Coupons to Print

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Quote of the Week

There are only moments. Live in this one. The happiness of these days.

-Kate Millett

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Tuesday’s Tip of the week

I have been on a declutter mission lately so I thought this week the tip would be related to decluttering.

Use the one in on out rule-every new thing you bring into the house you must get rid of another item.

 

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Menu of the Week

april (1)

 

Homemade Pizza. I love this recipe it makes two pizza crusts and you can freeze them.

Crockpot Beefy Noodle Casserole/crossaints

Wild Rice Chicken Casserole

Easy Oven Baby Back Ribs/beans & cornbread muffins

fish sticks & fries

breakfast night- we either do french toast or pancakes with bacon or sausage

Dessert of the week – OHenry bars

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Lessons I Learned from the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge

I feel like I am always organizing/decluttering my house. When I found out about the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge I was all for it and excited to start and see the inspirational posts from other people participating in the challenge.

You can read more about the challenge here. There is also a Facebook group you can join to see all of the posts from other people participating. Everyone is so helpful, sweet and inspirational, you can join the group here.

I did not keep track of how many bags I got rid of, I used Walmart/Target plastic bags and as I filled them I would put them in the trunk and once it got full enough I would take a load to Goodwill.

I first worked on my kitchen because we were getting a backsplash installed so I wanted the kitchen extra clean. I went through every cabinet and every drawer and got rid of anything I didn’t use. When I went through my utensil drawer I couldn’t believe how many spatulas I had. I also cleaned out my pantry, I threw out any expired foods and organized everything.

I went through my bedroom closet and dresser drawers any clothes I didn’t love or wear I got rid of. I also went through my makeup/nail polish and got rid of anything I didn’t use or that was old. While I was working in my bedroom I decided to go through my four bookshelves full of books. I got rid of 95% of my books, I donated the books I thought there might be a chance I may someday read again. I sold the other books to Half Price Books, I didn’t make a lot of money from them but having the bookshelves look so nice and even have empty space is so nice.

 

The basement was the worst area in my house, it is the place where I put things that don’t have a place or that needs to be put away. It is an easy place to get cluttered no one goes down there but that is where everything gets set. We have a built in bar area. It has a huge counter that is always covered in stuff. I cleaned that off completely, it looks awesome.

My kids had a small play area down there I had them go through everything, and anything they haven’t played with in a while I got rid off. I decided to take out the play area completely because we just don’t go down there often enough. Anything that they kept had to go up to their rooms.

They even went through their movies and got rid of any movies they didn’t like anymore, or just didn’t watch anymore. I also organized their movies so now they can find their movies faster.

I learned a lot from participating in the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge. I learned that I am not alone with having a lot of stuff, reading and seeing the posts of others participating in the challenge really helped me and inspired me to keep going. It also made me realize how much I really hate clutter and how clean open space makes me smile. The challenge has also made me rethink my purchases I have been following the one in and one out rule.

I am currently reading a book called Clutter Free by Kathi Lipp, it is a really good book. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you are going through all of your stuff.

Do I currently use it?

Do I really love it?

Would I buy it again?

I now have a basket in my room that anytime I find something that doesn’t fit or something I don’t use I immediately put it in the basket when it is full I put it all in a bag and take it to Goodwill.

Are you ready to start decluttering?  Join the challenge and join the facebook page for the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge.

“You only have one life to live. How you live that life is your choice. As far as I know, no one has ever had ‘I wish I had bought more stuff’ inscribed on their tombstone. What you own can easily blind you to who you are and what you can be.”
― Peter Walsh

I would love to hear how you keep your house clutter free.

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Control The Urge – How You Can Avoid Impulse Buying

Are you looking to save money when purchasing things? Are you being buried by Amazon orders and are the boxes filling up your house? Impulse buying is a big problem in the United States. It is the leading reason for debt, and can end up costing you far more then you would initially assume. Let’s review some of the ways that you can save money and control impulse buying.

 

 

Make Use Of Coupon Codes

 

Online coupon codes are a great way to save money on the things you love. If you can’t find one and have to wait for a coupon code to appear, you will stop yourself from impulse buying, and save money as a result. In addition, using coupon codes means that you purchase only what is listed in the code. This will stop the temptation of ordering more from the same location. If you’re new to using promo codes, I suggest you visit Discountrue and see the myriad of ways to save with coupons.

 

 

Create A List And Buy Only What You Must

 

If you really want to save money, then hold yourself to a list. On the list, write everything that you strictly need. Be sure to separate what you need from what you want. While this may seem simplistic, the line can often become blurred if we are feeling particularly impulsive. With a clear list, you can keep yourself to only what is on the list when you go shopping. In addition to writing the list, you can make a personal rule that you are not allowed to add to the list once you leave the door. This way, you can keep yourself to the list and not risk simply adding more to it to justify your impulsive nature.

 

 

Spend Only From A Buying Fund

 

Many people set aside a certain amount of money per year for discretionary funding. Done as a part of creating financial budget, allocating funds for impulse purchases will allow you to buy to your hearts content, until you run out of money. You can set up the fund to be renewed weekly, monthly, and even yearly depending on the amount of the discretionary funds you have.

 

 

Avoid Temptation!

 

What do you do when idle? Do you surf through online retailers? Do you head over to the mall? The best way to stop impulse purchases is to avoid the temptation in the first place! Pick up a hobby, find ways to relax that don’t involve making purchases, and save a lot of money.

 

This is just a handful of tips but if you follow just these few, you can be sure to save lots on your purchase and prevent the storage of of the unwanted or at least not necessary stuff from growing. If you want to learn more, pay a visit to Discountrue blog section and you’ll find plenty of more tips there.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post

 

 

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PC Payback: Are Free Online Games Really Free?

Free and legal, online games which are not copyright infringing are popular with gamers all over the world. However, whenever something is free, there is usually a catch somewhere. So what is the catch with free online games? Here are a few things that you should look out for when you play games online that could affect your enjoyment of the games.

 

Demo Versions

 

One common issue with free games is that you may not be playing the complete version of the game. This is not a problem in itself if you are aware that it is a demo. However, if you think you are playing the full game and invest lots of time in it only to find out that you cannot complete it, this can be frustrating.

 

Unwanted Ads

 

Sometimes games are free to play but they make up for this by inserting ads to try and attract your clicks. Usually this is just frustrating more than anything, but it can affect your enjoyment of the game.

 

Another potential problem is that you are asked to sign up to a mailing list to play the game. Again, this may not be an issue if you are sent useful information, but if you start to receive a large number of unwanted emails, it can become frustrating.

 

Unprofessional Designs

 

Some free games are very impressive, but others can look amateur. Games don’t have to have the best graphics to provide a good gaming experience, but if you are used to playing on the professional console games, it can be disappointing.

 

Safety Issues

 

Perhaps the most serious concern for people who like to play online games is the issue of safety. For example, your safety may be compromised by clicking on an ad that takes you to a site where your computer could be affected by malware. It is therefore essential that you only play on sites that have a good reputation, and that you always have up-to-date antivirus protection on your computer. Also, try to avoid clicking on links to other websites unless you are sure of where they will take you.

 

Another potential safety issues arises when you are required to use a password. To avoid any problems, always use a unique password that you do not use for any other online accounts. That way, if the password gets hacked, the damage will be limited.

 

So What Are the Benefits of Free Games?

 

The above issues can be problematic, but as long as you are aware of the potential issues, you should not have to worry too much. The fact is that free online games actually have a number of benefits.

 

For a start, you don’t have to pay anything to play them, compared to expensive console games. In addition, many games are very creative and serve a specific niche. This may make them unsuitable for a console game, but they could be perfect for your needs.

 

Where to Find Free Games

 

You can find free, non-infringing games a number of ways. There are a number of websites where you can find them, but try to stick to the ones that have a good reputation. In addition, you may be able to download open-source games, or games where the copyright holders have authorized or licensed them for free distribution by using a file sharing client like Vuze, so get searching and see what you can find. Make sure the games are not restricted by copyright and are available for free distribution.

 

Play for Free Whenever and Wherever You Want

 

Whenever you play free online games, you should keep the above issues in mind. Some free games are excellent and will provide you with hours of entertainment for free, which is a pleasant alternative to expensive console games. However, just keep in mind that they can come with a few potential issues to be aware of.

 

Linda Benton is a web developer with a gaming hobby. From explaining basic designs and platforms to resources for trustworthy quality entertainment, she enjoys blogging about all things online games.

 

 

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Cooking Healthy With Cast Iron Pans

Most people are becoming concerned about not just the food they eat, but how it’s prepared. When you make good, healthy, food at home, the last thing you want is for it to be tainted by cookware that leeches bad chemicals or contaminants into your food.

 

Cooking With Cast Iron

 

Cooking in a cast iron pan has a lot of advantages. While it’s merely OK as a heat conductor, its strength more than makes up for that – it retains heat like nobody’s business. A cast iron pan will stay hot for a really long time.

 

Once you finally do get it up to temperature, you shouldn’t have much trouble keeping it there. Cast iron can be taken from the stove top and put right into the oven. You can even transfer it to the grill, if you want to.

 

Since it’s pretty rugged, it will even find a home over open flame if that’s your thing. Basically, these types of pans are virtually indestructible. If you’re new to cast iron cooking, start out with a good 10-inch pan from a reputable store.

 

When you’re more experienced, look for vintage pieces.

 

The Benefits Of Cast Iron

 

Cast iron cookware should last you forever. An often overlooked benefit of cooking in cast iron is that it can become a supplemental source of iron if you ever cook acidic foods in it. When properly seasoned, the pan will be slicker than teflon, and yet easier to clean than most other types of pans, even stainless steel.

 

Cast iron is also more rugged than just about any other type of pan on the market. After you’ve seasoned it, it’s also relatively maintenance free. Most of the foods you think of as problematic, like eggs, will not stick to a properly-seasoned pan.

 

How To Take Care Of Your Cast Iron

 

Taking care of cast iron can be either terribly difficult or ridiculously easy. Most of the time, when you hear people speak of the ills of cast iron, it’s because they didn’t season it correctly. Most people do not know how to season cast iron. The usual directions – slather on a bunch of oil and cook it for 2 hours – is not seasoning. You don’t want to cook oil in the pan in the hopes that the oil will “absorb” into the metal.

 

You want to coat the oil lightly and then heat it sufficiently to cause polymerization. This simple “how to” will walk you through the steps. Make sure you’re using an edible drying oil high in ALA and that you’re not using too much oil. Check the seasoning periodically to make sure it’s fully intact and then keep your eye on it – once a year it should be redone.

 

Avoiding Teflon and Ceramics

 

You should avoid teflon and ceramics at all costs. Some newer cast iron is coated in ceramic, which sort of defeats the point of cast iron, but it also introduces a contaminant into your cooking surface – lead. Avoiding ceramics and teflon coatings will go a long way towards ensuring the health of you and your family.

 

Erin Perryman loves to cook using her cast iron cookware. An avid writer and home chef, she enjoys sharing her insights with others online. Look for her appetizing articles on a variety of websites and blogs.

 

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