Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Mom Hacks To Make Ends Meet On A Modest Budget

Written by a contributing writer

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It’s hard to make ends meet in the modern world. Whether you’re a single parent or you have a partner who helps out, money is tight when you’ve got an entire family to support. We all should put some thought into the family budget; this is the most important part of financial security. A low income can still go a long way if you spend and save your money appropriately. These mom hacks should help you to cover your family’s costs on a modest budget.

Save money on the essentials.

Maybe you’ve already made a budget for the family (you certainly should if you haven’t done so already). However, you might still be struggling to make ends meet even with a well-considered financial plan of action. Perhaps the costs of living are still too high to be covered by your income. Yet, you can do more to save money than simply giving up luxury expenditures for a while. You can save money on the essentials in life. And this doesn’t mean you need to deny yourself the food, energy, or water you need to survive. It just means you need to be a little smarter about the way in which you spend money.

For starters, you could save a lot of money on your weekly grocery shop if you started growing vegetables in your own garden. You’d have a self-sustained source of fresh food, and that could save you a lot of money every year. You could save money on your utility bills by getting thicker glazing for your windows. This will reduce the energy needed to heat up the house. Additionally, you could look into a pants hemming service if your kids are forever ripping or ruining their clothing. There’s no need to spend a fortune on new attire because your kids will continue to make a mess of their clothes.

Look out for cheap luxuries

Obviously, you don’t want to deny your kids a fun life. Budgeting doesn’t always have to be boring; there are ways to save money and still treat the family to the occasional luxury. It’s all about looking out for “cheap luxuries”. In other words, you should make sure that you’re getting a good deal when you do want to treat your family to something nice. If you’re going out to a restaurant, for example, then you might want to eat at an establishment that has cheaper meal options for children. And if you’re going to get somebody in the family a new laptop then go for a model that’s already 2 years old. It’ll still be modern, but it’ll be far cheaper than newer models. You’re allowed luxuries in life, but do your research to make sure that you’re getting the cheapest deal out there.

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Always set aside a little bit of money.When you’re struggling to make ends meet, the idea of setting aside some of your earnings might seem strange. However, it’s important that you think about more than the present day. Planning for the future is essential for everyone in your family. You should put a jar on the kitchen counter for loose bits of change that can become your family’s emergency fund. You can’t always predict every cost in life, so it’s good to have a financial safety net in place for unexpected events. Maybe your car will unexpectedly break down, for example. It’s also smart to start a savings account for your children; if you gradually put money into it for years to come then they’ll have substantial funds that they can use for college or a house in the future.

Monday, March 19, 2018

How to Entertain Your Kids When You're Busy

Written by a contributing writer

When your kids are bored, they tend to come to you and make a fuss until they have something to do. However, that’s not exactly ideal during times when you’re busy with important matters that are demanding your attention. Maybe you have some work that you’ve had to bring home with you or you’re sorting out your taxes. Whatever the case is, you need ways for your kids to stay entertained independently.

There is a variety of different things you can do to keep your kids entertained, so if you’re short of ideas, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll guide you through some of the best ideas so that you can focus on the things you need to and your kids won’t be bored out of their minds for any longer than necessary.

Those busy days are never fun and a busy day with fussy children is even worse. Here’s how to keep them entertained.

Indoor Camping Fun

You don’t have to let your kids play around in the garden without supervision in order for them to have fun camping. Indoor camping can be just as fun and it allows your kids to use their creativity and imagination as they play too. You just need to set up a simple tent in the home and let them have some fun with it. Of course, this idea only really works if your kids are young enough to be into this sort of thing, so keep that in mind. If they are, they’ll most likely have a great time.

Embrace Netflix

Sometimes, you just need to put something on the TV so that you can focus on what you’re doing while your kids relax in front of the TV for a while. Of course, you don’t want your kids to be doing this all the time, but there are some circumstances in which there’s nothing at all wrong with embracing the power of Netflix. The great thing about the platform is that there is a nearly endless stream of kids content to keep them occupied.

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Find Suitable Games for Them to Play

Video games are not the boogeyman they once were. You can let your kids play games that keep them entertained and not worry about it. Modern consoles and smart devices allow for parental control settings so that you can stay in control of what your children are playing and seeing. If they’re a little older, you might let them download and play Final Fantasy XV or something similar. If they’re younger, a Mario game is always a good option to consider.

Set Helpful Tasks
If you’re doing some work, there might be small ways in which they can help you out. Giving them little tasks and responsibilities might even be fun for them, so give it a try next time you want to keep your kids busy while also getting your work done faster. Of course, you won’t want to trust them with anything particularly involved but if it keeps them busy and makes them feel useful for a while, then where’s the harm in it?

Call in a Favor From Friends Who Also Have Kids

Other friends with kids can be real lifesavers when you need time to yourself. You can ask them to do you a favor in return for you doing them favors when they need time alone. Your kids can spend time together under their supervision while you focus on the important things that are taking up your time. There’s nothing wrong with this, and it’s a great way to help out one another whenever that’s necessary.

Start an Art Project

Art projects can be great for keeping young minds focused and entertained while you work on other things. It might get a little messy without constant supervision, but that’s all part of the fun. Simply set them up with the paper and creative resources they need to get started. They’ll be creating miniature masterpieces of their own in no time at all. And you can check in on them and see how they’re doing every so often.

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Leave Them to Their Imaginations

A child’s imagination is a very powerful thing indeed and it certainly shouldn’t be underestimated. If you want them to have a good time but you’re not sure what to let them do, why not simply let them decide? They might have ideas that you would never have thought of. You’ll be surprised at how often you can leave your kids to occupy themselves with their own imagination and nothing more.

Encourage Independent Reading

If your child is now old enough to read alone without you having to read the words to them, you should encourage them to practice their independent reading while you focus on what you need to focus on. This will really help with their development and education because kids who read in their spare time are far more likely to get high grades and succeed in life than those that don’t. They might even develop a love of reading while they’re at it.

Audiobooks Are Good Too

If they’re not yet old enough to read independently, you could always call on audiobooks to help you out with the situation. You simply press play and let them roll. It’s like having a story read to them, and they can be completely captivating if the story is right for them and their age. It’s a nice way for them to hear stories during times when you don’t have enough free time to read to them every day of the week.

Keeping your kids busy using the methods discussed here will help you to focus on whatever you need to get done. So make the most of these ideas and make those busy times easier for you and better for your children.

Friday, March 9, 2018

New Skincare Products You Should Try!

Skincare is everything. Well, in my little beauty world it is. If you take care of your skin, walking out of the door sans makeup is a breeze. Plus, it's so much fun! It seems like everyone is into skincare these days. And brands have noticed. So many are working to come up with the latest and greatest products for keeping your skin healthy, glowy, and bright. Not every product lives up to its hype, but the products below are so outstanding, they've become my new favorites.

Kiehl's Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate
If you haven't tried anything from Kiehl's yet, I'm not sure what you're waiting for. I am continually impressed by the quality of the products this brand puts out. But this concentrate has to be my favorite. I use it EVERY NIGHT before bed. It has brightened and evened my complexion while leaving my skin moisturized (not greasy) and taking it from dull and tired to revitalized. Plus my skin looks SO SMOOTH! There is a slight warming sensation when the serum is first applied. This was something I wasn't expecting (and worried me a little at first) but now that I know this is to be expected with this product, it definitely makes for a relaxing experience.

Pacifica Sheet Masks (Vegan, Cruelty-Free)

These are so much more than expected. I often pick up a few new sheet masks when out and about running errands. Whether I'm at the grocery store or Marshall's, I'll stroll through the beauty section and pick up any sheet masks I find intriguing. Why? Because sheet masks are SO EASY. I put them on after a shower while watching TV before bed.  I found these Pacifica ones at Target and I got so much more out of them than I thought I would. They leave my skin looking refreshed. I especially love the Stress Rehab and Pollution Fight ones. (I REALLY want to try the Energized Glow mask but haven't found it at "my" Target yet.)

Masque Bar Pretty Animalz Sheet Masks (Cruelty-Free)

Ok...these are a bit bizarre. But they are sheet masks that work wonders in just 10-20 minutes. I'm also pretty sure these are my favorite sheet masks at the moment. And... yes... they are printed to make your face look like a cartoon animal face.  And it is a little creepy looking when you put these on. But, my goodness! The results! My favorites are the Otter and the Fox masks. (They also come out with seasonal masks. During the holidays last year they had a Reindeer mask!)

Cerave PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion Ultra Light (Oil Free)

When I need a little extra moisture (usually due to cool, drier weather that my skin is just not acclimated to) I add this Cerave moisturizer to my skincare routine at night (and sometimes during the day too). It's light but packs a punch. With Hyaluronic Acid, this moisturizer melts right into the skin while leaving a smooth, light finish.

Jason Vitamin E Age Renewal Moisturizing Crème

I know some people use this cream for scars. Some use it for stretch marks. I use it under my eyes. It's super thick so a little goes a long way. And since I only use it under my eyes, it's going to last awhile. If you have super dry skin this may be a great nighttime cream for you. I have used it all over my entire face several times in the past. It leaves my skin moisturized and absolutely gorgeous, however, it seems to be too rich for my oily/normal combination skin. But under the eyes------MAGIC!

Keeping Your Baby's Routine Normal

Written by a contributing writer

If you enjoy traveling and have children, then you might want to consider renting the equipment that you need instead of hauling it along with you every time you leave home. Many companies offer a way to rent baby equipment when you arrive at your hotel. Some companies ask that you request the rental a few weeks or days before you plan on traveling to ensure that the items that you need are available.

There are several pieces of baby equipment that you can rent while traveling or even when your baby first comes home from the hospital if you don't want to invest in buying items that will only be used for a few months. Strollers, high chairs, and cribs are among the most popular items that are rented by parents. These are often the largest items that are used when you travel or when you're at home as well. When you rent equipment, you don't have to worry about packing everything in your car when you get on the road and unpacking everything when you get to your destination.

When you rent equipment, you can save money because the fees associated with the rentals are usually affordable. You won't have to buy new pieces of equipment to take to a family member's home or to have with you just for the purpose of traveling. You'll also be able to save the nicer pieces of equipment for your home so that they aren't damaged while you're traveling. Each item that you need can be rented when you get to the destination and is a safe product to use. You can take rented pieces of equipment to the park, to the store or to someone's home, allowing you to keep a normal routine for your child instead of disrupting sleep time or the feeding schedule.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

4 Reasons to Visit Ireland this Year

Written by a contributing writer

Ireland is one of the most inviting and beautiful European countries, explaining why people love to visit, relocate and even live there. Home to friendly people, many pubs, great food, beautiful scenery and things to do, there are many reasons why people love to visit Ireland. The country is popular for its vast drinks and great wet weather that keeps changing throughout the year.

Whether you’ve been to Ireland before or not, it is a must-visit. The country is a top tourist destination worldwide with an exceptional natural beauty. Is Ireland calling you for a vacation? It doesn’t matter whether you’re visiting for business or leisure. Here are the top reasons to visit Ireland this year:

Top 4 Reasons Why Ireland is a Must-Visit in 2018

1. It Has a Rich History

Ireland has a rich history dating back to prehistoric times, making it a top destination for historians and enthusiasts. It is home to magnificent traditional houses built in the early times, museums and other historical sites, a true indication of the country’s rich history. Visit Ireland’s Historical Art Centers to gain insight into its rich heritage.

Located in Meath County, Newgrange was built prior to the Great Pyramids. The hundreds of restored castles are accessible all year round. Ireland trips aren’t just fun and educational, but also memorable.

2. Rich in Music, Culture & Dances

Ireland is popular for its Irish music, rich culture and love for live performances. Traditional Irish music is played at least once every week, making it one of the most sought-after destination in Europe. Amateur musicians usually gather in pubs to entertain both guests and locals.

Home to all sorts of bodhrans, guitars and whistles, among other cultural designs, Ireland is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves the arts.

3. Hosts Various Irish Festivals

Various festivals are held in Ireland throughout the year, meaning whichever time you decide to visit, you’ll be able to attend one. The festivals are typical of great food and drinks you can taste and eat for a feel of what the nation has to offer its visitors. Irish festivals draw people of all kinds from different nations worldwide.

With thousands of visitors attending festivals annually, the events are often packed. Whether you want to party, indulge in the country’s best foods or simply attend global events, there’s something for everyone. Widen your social network by mingling with other attendees, try different foods and sail, etc.

The Galway Oyster Festival and the Tralee Rose are some of the most popular festivals in the nation. Pick a festival you’ll get to enjoy for the best times. Choose vibrant festivals with lots of things for you do.

4. Visit Ireland’s Vibrant Cities

Ireland is home to many vibrant cities such as Galway, Cork, Belfast and Dublin. The country booms with a busy night life to improve your social life and high-class restaurants for some of the best dishes the country has in store for you.

Located along the sea, Dublin is the capital city of Ireland and has luscious parks, elegant architecture, lively bars and restaurants to keep you busy during your visit. Adjacent to the Irish Sea and Michelson Star restaurants, the city has beautiful views you’d love to see first-hand.

On the other hand, Galway has a busy lifestyle to accommodate both locals and visitors. Ireland is also home to snow-capped mountains, wildlife, inland waterways, beautiful sandy beaches and natural landscape with breathtaking views, making it a top global destination.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

A Few Benefits That Come from Purchasing Your Own Home

Written by a contributing writer 

Many people are facing the decision of purchasing a home or renting one. While each individual has to decide for themselves what will be best for their family, there are a lot of reasons why purchasing a home may be the better option.

When you purchase a home as opposed to renting a home, you are putting your money into something that will benefit you over the long run in a financial sense. Renting a home or an apartment means that you are only taking care of your immediate needs. You pay for the month, so you have a place to stay for the month. It does nothing for your long-term financial goals or well-being. At some point in the future, you will own your home. You will have the ability to sell it if necessary. Of course, you need to make sure that this is the best financial choice for your circumstances right now and in the future.

New home construction Mandarin allows a person to choose exactly how their house will be designed. This is a great idea for individuals who are interested in purchasing a home that they plan to live in for many years and even pass down to their children and grandchildren. If your life goals involve staying in one home for many years or even the rest of your life, having the ability to design a home that you love may be the right option for you.

While you may not be able to control exactly what goes on in your neighborhood, if you take the time to do research and to get to know your neighbors, you can choose an area that will be a safe place for you to live and for your children to grow up in. Take time to do research beforehand about school districts, crime in the area, and other similar information. In some cases, renting a home may mean that you do not have as much control over the neighborhood you live in and the individuals around you.