15% Off The Creative Homemaking for Little Homemakers! Offer Ends Monday!

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I can’t wait for this workshop! I’m nervous, but excited about starting something new! If you live in DC metro area I would love for your daughter to come! She’ll learn, have fun, get some great goodies, and make some new friends! Register by Monday, you’ll get 15% Off! Also if you have more than one child attending you’ll get 50% off on the other registration!

Hope to see you!

Guest Post! Summertime Safety: “Keeping Kids Out Of Harm’s Way During Outdoor Activities,” By Sean Morris

sean

Kids look forward to summertime all year, waiting for the day when they can say goodbye to school routines and sleep in a little later, take vacations, and leave homework worries behind. But any parent knows that with the long, warm days also come activities that can present hazards to little ones, so it’s important to keep in mind a few safety measures that will keep accidents and worry at bay.

Bike rides, trips to the park, and fishing at the lake are all great examples of summertime fun that come with risk. Here are some tips on how to ensure your child is safe while he or she is having a blast.

Know the environment

If your child loves to play outside, chances are you’ll see some bug bites at the end of the day. Some kids aren’t bothered much by mosquitoes and other biting pests, but others are highly allergic and break out in large, itchy welts. You can protect your kiddo by having them avoid using scented perfumes or lotions, which attract many types of bugs, and spraying their skin with a safe insect repellent before they go out to play. In areas with high grass and brush, it’s a good idea to have them wear long pants tucked into boots to keep ticks at bay.

Use safety equipment

For bikers, skateboarders, and kids who ride scooters, it’s important to find the right safety gear. Helmets, knee and elbow pads, and even mouth guards are recommended depending on the child’s age, and finding the right fit is imperative. Let your child know that using equipment without being properly suited up is dangerous and that sometimes, borrowing items from friends won’t do any good because the fit will be off.

For many kids, these methods of transportation are essential in the summertime for getting around the neighborhood, but accidents can happen. Make sure your child knows what to do in the event of a spill, and it’s always a good idea to keep a first-aid kit around for scrapes and cuts. For mouth injuries, sometimes there’s nothing to do but call the dentist immediately.

Take extra precaution in the water

Water safety is something that should be taken very seriously no matter what the child’s age or experience level is. Whether they’re in an inflatable pool or at the lake, adult supervision is always recommended. Keep in mind that younger children can drown in mere inches of water, and that swimming pool rules–such as no running or diving–must be obeyed by everyone. Make sure life vests are in good shape and fit well. Teach your child the do’s and don’ts of swim safety well before they go into the water, then help them enforce the rules by being present without distractions.

Don’t rely on someone else supervising, especially at a crowded beach or pool. Even lifeguards can’t watch everyone at all times. As always when a child is outside, make sure they are well protected with sunblock, and don’t forget to keep them hydrated.

Make rest a priority

It’s also a good idea to make sure your child is well-rested before they play in the water, which can be tiring. Staying up late when school is out is part of the fun of summer break, but it can be dangerous when they need to focus. Making sure they put down their phone or laptop at least an hour before bed is a great start; studies show that this helps with a good night’s sleep.

Be careful when cooking outdoors

Many families enjoy fire pits, bonfires, and grilling during the summer, so it’s important to teach children how to be safe around all those flames. Keep grills well away from the house and out of heavily-trafficked areas. Always supervise cooking over an open flame; making s’mores can be great fun on a camping trip, but little ones should have help from an adult. If you use a gas grill, it can be helpful to set a timer–perhaps on your phone–to remind you to check and make sure it’s turned all the way off after cooking is finished.

Summertime is full of adventures for kids, and while some of them can include a bit of risk, it can be a relatively stress-free time for you if you plan accordingly.

About the Author

Sean Morris is a former social worker turned stay-at-home dad. He knows what it’s like to juggle family and career. He did it for years until deciding to become a stay-at-home dad after the birth of his son. Though he loved his career in social work, he has found this additional time with his kids to be the most rewarding experience of his life. He began writing for LearnFit.org to share his experiences and to help guide anyone struggling to find the best path for their life, career, and/or family.

 

 

 

 

Make Time for Simplicity This Summer

STRAWBERRIES

I appreciate the simple life and summer is a perfect time to be intentional about white space simplicity. Around the end of April beginning of May moms are always asking me what I have planned for Anya during the summer? We barely get to June and already the plans are being laid out. Believe me I get it, especially when you work in the office, camps fill up fast and a plan is essential. But, since I’ve been working from home and Anya is older I’ve been more relaxed about how she fills up her days. Watching t.v. all day isn’t an option, but I do want to give her the room to experience lazy days with no set agenda. During the previous school year she had 3 dance classes per week not to mention rehearsals every weekend for the Joffrey Nutcracker from September to November. The girl needs a break and I’m happy to give it to her. So what does our simple summer look like?

  • Strawberry picking and gem mining on the farm
  • Sitting on the porch watching movies
  • Board games
  • Sleepovers (we’ve had 3 so far)
  • Trying new recipes
  • Lounging at the pool
  • Reading
  • Bible classes and VBS
  • Leisurely trips to grandma’s house with pit stops on the way
  • Crafts
  • Drive ins
  • Catching lightning bugs (letting them go)
  • Long walks with the dog (we did 5 miles a few days ago)
  • House projects

All of these things are inexpensive and make great memories. Summer is an opportune for quality time that can be as relaxed as you want without a lot of hooplah!

Enjoy your summer moms!

Late Night Summer Fun! Fun Doesn’t Just Happen In The Day Time!

It’s good to step out of routine for both kids and adults and summer time provides that laid back free landscape we need to do just that! What better time to be spontaneous than at night! I’ve tried to teach my daughter that not every minute has to be planned out and going with the flow can produce some of the best memories. If your days are packed with work and the kids are at summer camp trying to doing a few fun things at night with them. Here are a few things we’ve done that I’d recommend trying on one of those summer evenings!

-Find a late night coffee shop, sit outside and have a treat. Anya and I went to a coffee shop by her school around 8:30 in the evening and just enjoyed the night air with a cupcake and some coffee.

-Go to the bookstore! I can literally go to the bookstore anytime. I really like small bookstores, but they rarely stay open late, but Barnes and Nobles is open until 11:00 pm. One night around 9 I told Anya to hop in the car and we browsed the bookstore and hung out reading and purchasing a couple books.

-Hang out at a late night diner. This is the same idea as the coffee shop but hey who doesn’t love breakfast at night! It’s great bonding time too! We did this one night by going to IHOP and having pancakes.

-Catch an outdoor movie. Check you local area to see if they sponsor a screen on the green. These are so much fun and are normally free. If you can’t find one then try to find a drive in and bring a few pillows and a blanket to cozy up. Nothing says summer to me like the drive in.

-Take a ride. I find myself in the car a lot these days and I love the open road. Load into the car, throw in a great CD and just drive and sing as loudly as  you want and just have a good old laugh with your kids!

-Sleep outside. Surprise the kids one night and tell them everyone is sleeping outdoors! If they are younger most likely they will love the adventure of staying outside all night.

-Is there a special place where the stars and moon shine just a little brighter? Go gazing. Find a great parking space, sit on the top of your cars and just enjoy staring up at the sky! Teaching our kids to appreciate natural beauty is underrated.

-Find a summer concert- Many summer concerts are free so hang and listen to music under the twinkling stars!

-Take a walk in your city. If you live close to a major city take some time to walk around at night to admire how different it looks in the night time. I live near DC and viewing it at night is always a different experience.

-Simply sit on the porch- Enjoy some ice cream delight in your evening.

Okay, so are you ready to become a night owl yet? Of course safety is always first and if any of these suggestions would pose a danger to you or your family by all means don’t do them! You may want to have another mom and her kids come along. The more the merrier right? I guess the point is any time that we get to appreciate one another’s company we should do it, whether if it is in the evening or during the crack of dawn, the goal is to log time with our family and cherish the moment!

Late night at the drive in with gram
Late night run to Baskin Robbins!
Star Gazing

Got Summer Household Projects? Assign Them to the Kids!

Operation bathroom sink organization  underway!

Operation bathroom sink organization underway!

Summer time is fun time, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a few projects around the house finished! Why not let the kids earn some extra money by assigning them age appropriate projects? It is a great way for them to learn some homemaking skills and add some responsibility to their plate. Here are a few projects my daughter will be working on this summer to earn a little cash.

  • Grind the coffee beans and put them in a container
  • Bathroom Sink organization
  • Linen closet organization
  • Putting fruit  into storage containers
  • Cleaning out the drawers
  • Assisting me with pantry organization
  • Assisting me with cleaning the basement (this is a long project)
  • Assisting me with filing and paper organization (this includes organizing her desk)

Some of these are really easy weekly chores, like grinding coffee beans and storing prepared fruit, however some of the skills I’m teaching her are how to cut a pineapple or watermelon (don’t worry she’s not using the knife), how to properly clean fruit and veggies, where to look for an expiration date on medicine bottles (under supervision of course),  and just the overall principals of organization. She’shaving some fun, helping me out and earning between .25 and $5.00 depending on the project. Whenever, they crying how bored they are think of a project that will keep them busy, teach them some household skills, and maybe put a little cash in their pocket!

8 Ways to Live on a Single Mom Budget Without Sacrificing the Fun! Guest Post By Nicole Blean!

 

 

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Many of my single mom friends and I live on one income. While this can be ultra-frustrating and stressful at times, it is not impossible to make ends meet, especially for those willing to be a little inventive and rise up to the challenge. In fact, I believe intentionally managing money builds character and creativity in moms because they tend to think more about using what they already have rather than falling into the trap of unnecessary consumerism. Being thrifty also teaches their kids to value money and manage it wisely, too.

Next to Christmas, summer is typically the toughest time of year in terms of sticking to a budget, especially for teachers or others who only get paid tens months out of the year. Even for those who do get paid every month, with added costs of vacation, daycare, and back-to-school supplies, most of us are almost broke come August. The question is, how do you live on a single mom budget this summer without giving up the good times? Try the following realistic, yet effective tips for stretching your money all the way to the end of August and still have a phenomenal summer.

1) Your first priority is to know where your money is going. First, do your homework by tracking your spending for one month so you can identify where you are wasting money. Upload an online budget sheet or use a free website like mint.com to track your spending habits.

2) Next, write out three financial goals for the rest of summer or the rest of the year to keep you focused (i.e. paying off a credit card debt, cutting your food costs in half, or saving a specific amount of money for Christmas). Place these goals in a spot you can view on a daily basis to serve as a constant reminder. Then tell a friend so she can hold you accountable.

3) Decide what you can live without. For example, cancel your cable service and subscribe to Netflix instead, make a commitment not to buy new clothing or accessories for the rest of summer, or stop buying new books, magazines, and movies and swap with friends instead.

4) Make a list of tasks you can do yourself such as manicures, pedicures, cleaning, yardwork, washing cars, dry cleaning, alterations, painting, and baking. While you are at it, add to the list making your own pot of coffee (how hard is that?) and you can save a whopping $50-$100 a month if you are a daily Starbucks fanatic.

5) Get organized about meals and save a bundle. Cook “convertible” meals that you can turn into lunch the next day, use coupons when going to restaurants or buying fast food, eat at warehouse stores where you can buy a hot dog and drink for $1.50, pack picnic lunches in a cooler when running errands, and freeze leftovers for go-to meals later.

6) Replace the shopper’s high with a habit that is more meaningful—and cheaper! Do something you’ve been eager to do but keep putting off like engaging in a hobby you love, meeting a friend for coffee, or volunteering for a cause you are passionate about.

7) Plan ahead and buy discount tickets for entertainment. Warehouse stores carry an abundance of discounted vouchers from restaurants to movies and theme parks. If you are an Automobile Club member, take advantage of a variety of discounts from hotels to dining. Lastly, check online ahead of time for coupons or other price cuts on summer activities.

8) Rethink summer fun by living simply and taking advantage of FREE events in your area. Be creative and make your own budget bucket list this summer, such as exploring outdoor farmer’s or flea markets, blowing bubbles in the park, making s’mores over the fire pit, camping in the backyard, going to outdoor movies, enjoying summer concerts in the park, amusing the kids with craft activities at the library, Barnes N Nobles, or Home Depot, and taking free online craft or sewing classes.

Although it can be challenging, if you think of summer budgeting as a game, you can WIN without sacrificing the pleasures and fun of the summer season!

Read more of Nicole Blean’s tips and articles at http://180degrees4singlemoms.blogspot.com/

Don’t Have Mother Guilt for Not Sending Your Kids To Camp

lazy days of summer :)

lazy days of summer :)

Most single moms have to work during summer, so summer camp is not an option it’s pretty much a must. However, if you don’t have to send your child to summer camp and they really don’t want to go, please don’t feel guilty about not sending them! I’m all for enrichment, Anya has gone to a number of camps and enjoyed them, but after I started working from home she asked me if it was okay for her not to go to camp all summer. She wanted time to just be at home. I was fine with that idea because Anya has a great imagination and left to her own devices will create and play all day happily. Now, what I didn’t want her to do was sit at home in front of the television for 8 hours until I was finished with work, which didn’t happen. My point is that in order for kids to have a good summer they don’t necessarily have to attend summer camp.

Moms start asking me in April if I have chosen summer camps and when I tell them no, they look concerned. I have found that giving Anya free space and a combination of some structured play is a good mix. For example last summer we went to my mom’s house for 4 weeks, she did 3 weeks of summer camp and the rest of the time she was home playing and using her imagination. She had a great time! Giving our kid’s the opportunity to just play in the yard, read a book, get dirty, and  hang out at home is not a bad thing and you are not a bad mom if you don’t send your kid’s to camp for the summer. Some kids love summer camp and that’s great, but if your kid’s like mine and want to spend some time hanging at home and you are able to do that, then by all means let them! Most kids are busy all through the school year with homework and extracurricular activities, if they want a break do you blame them? I don’t recall going to summer camp and I always had a great summer playing hide and seek, getting squirted with the house and sitting on the porch drinking lemonade with my gram.

If you are working at home, I would make sure that there were activities for them to do, because you are working. Or an alternative is sending them to a camp that is a half day. Have a talk with them before summer starts and discuss what options work best and the type of activities they’d like to do and make sure you suggest some ideas like painting, crafting, reading, selling lemonade, making a fort, having a tea party for their dolls, or visiting grandma. Make sure they know the boundaries especially if you work from home and put limits on television and technology if you forsee that being an issue. Enjoy a lazy summer with no mommy guilt! If it is feasible for you and your kids would rather not go to camp allow them to enjoy their summer in the comfort of their own home!