Turn Trash Into Treasure

You don’t have to be a dumpster diver to find cheap treasures; rather, with a little planning you can turn waste into wonderful works of art. The next time you’re about to toss an empty paper towel roll into the garbage; stop, and place it in your craft bin instead.  There are dozens of ways you can recycle the cardboard rolls, including the following projects that are so simple even your youngest children can get in on the fun. Napkin Rings Materials: Empty paper towel rolls Scissors Newspaper Paint Directions: Cut the empty paper towel roll into five equal pieces … Continue reading

Shortening Summer Vacation

Know how to shut down an unruly kid in record time? Tell him that his school is shortening summer vacation. I’ve never seen a mouthy child go silent as quickly as I did last week while watching the evening news at our neighbor’s house.  Education leaders recently began serious talks about lengthening the academic year here. Of course, all my neighbor’s rowdy kid heard was:  “Next year, public school kids across the state could be dealing with a much shorter summer vacation.” The news reporter’s last three words nearly triggered an aneurysm in my neighbor’s kid. My child attends parochial … Continue reading

Summer Bedtime Battle

If you have young children, getting them to cooperate at bedtime can be a challenge during the school year; however, during the summer months, the conflict typically intensifies. In my home, bedtime battles are as heated as the Sahara sun. If even a sliver of daylight can be seen on the horizon, my 8-year-old thinks she should be wide awake and as far away from a bed as possible. So, you can imagine how brutal bedtime is when the sun rises just after 5 a.m. and doesn’t set until nearly 9 p.m. Summer’s extended daylight is great for farmers, but for … Continue reading

Inexpensive Welcome to Summer Ideas

Today is the last day of school for my two older children. I have some interesting things planned for them (insert evil cackle here). All of these things are free or inexpensive, but I hope they make a big impact in welcoming my kids home, to roughly two months of warm summer days of fun. My kindergartener just got up from bed. He has been out of school since last week and already getting quite used to sleeping in. He will be my partner in crime today, helping me to set up and execute our welcome to summer projects. First, … Continue reading

Inexpensive (and Easy) Summer Meals

For my family, summer is not all about cooking, unlike during the winter holidays. Instead, it is about spending time outdoors, going on summer adventures, visiting with friends and family, days at the park or pool, and nights on the grass watching a movie or music concert under the stars.  It is about inviting the neighbors over for a campfire and smores, catching lighting bugs, trying to get all of the ice cream drips before they run down your arm, and re-experiencing the feel of a light breeze coming off of the ocean. Still, we all have to eat, so … Continue reading

Summer Vacation Savings

Spend less this year on your summer vacation, no matter where you plan to go! Compare Rates There is more than one way to go on vacation, so make sure that you do your research before booking anything. Compare costs for both packaged deals and separate travel and accommodations. The only way to know if you are getting a good deal is to compare it to other offers out there. Sometimes you can save quite a bit of money just by choosing to start your vacation on a certain day of the week. While this may not make much difference … Continue reading

Simple Summer Sanity Savers

School’s out for some kids, while others are just a few weeks away from enjoying the freedom of summer vacation. For parents, the end of the academic year brings excitement and some trepidation.  After all, most moms and dads know it’s just a matter of time before seasonal boredom sets in. To preserve your sanity in the weeks to come, consider keeping your kids busy with the following summer-themed crafts: Sugar-Free Ice Cream Cone Not only is this adorable ice cream cone sugar-free, it’s also calorie-free and drip-free.  All you need to make this cute craft are a few sheets … Continue reading

Make a Splash Without Spending a Ton of Cash

There’s no better way to cool off this Memorial Day weekend than hanging poolside with your friends and family.  Fortunately, you don’t have to drain your wallet to keep your clan entertained in the water.  If you are tight on cash, skip the fancy pool toys and try these splashtastic games instead: Fish, Fish, Whale:  This simple yet fun game puts a spin on the classic “Duck, Duck, Goose.”  To play, have kids stand in a circle in the shallow end of the pool.  Select one person to be “it.”  That player then goes around the circle and taps each … Continue reading

Plan Ahead for Sun and Fun

It seems like just a week or so ago we were still waiting to go outside until after lunch and wearing sweatshirts every day. However, for the past couple of days, it has actually felt more like summer than spring. After a winter that seemed to last forever, I’m not about to complain. Summer is so much fun, but for those of us with home – based businesses there is a bit of advance planning that must be done in order to ensure that everyone (including yourself) can enjoy it. With all of the family vacations and other fun things … Continue reading

Should Teens Be Allowed to Sleep in Late during Summer?

Don’t you love when you give a command or tell your child they have to do something and after they ask why, you don’t have an answer? I have discovered that oftentimes I make decisions as a parent without really thinking it through. That was a recent issue here in my home as I told my teens before school let out that they weren’t going to be staying up all night and sleeping in until noon the next day. Not much was said until summer break started. The first few days I would wake my kids up by 9 a.m. … Continue reading