We make financial decisions every single day – from planning a birthday party to setting aside money for the children’s college education, among other important life choices can affect the whole family. With debt per capita increasing from $51,810 in 2005 to $67,010 ten years later, healthy financial management has never become more relevant. According to the National Resource Center for Healthy Marriage and Families, financial planning and money management plays an important role in family relationships.
*Bad Spending Habits May Lead to Divorce*
When partners disagree on how the other spends money, conflict is inevitable, the National Resource Center for Healthy Marriage and Families says. Not getting the right loan or not studying the financial impact of a
particular loan, for example, can cause disagreements and resentment especially if the financial savvy of one partner is not of the same level as that of the other. Spending too much on unnecessary items can become a point of contention, too. This is supported by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts based on their 2013 survey. According to the organization, financial issues is the third leading cause of divorce.
*Financial Savvy, Happy Marriage, Happy Family*
Knowing one’s rights when borrowing money and determining if the loan is truly needed reflects good financial education but couples also need to understand each other’s attitudes
towards money to ensure a healthy discussion about their finances. This does not only apply to loans but is also applied in other day-to-day decisions that affect the household’s financial standing or the financial education of its more impressionable members. According to the American Psychological Association, opening a dialogue about money is healthy and involving each family member is a good idea. The APA also stresses that choosing the right words can also inspire better spending habits. Instead of saying, “We can’t afford it,” parents are encouraged by the APA to say. “That’s not how we choose to spend our money.”
*Taking Care of Household Finances*
Families need to be comfortable with money discussions as each financial decision can affect not only their budget but their future. With money being a taboo subject in 36% of American families, according to the APA, changing our attitudes towards money matters is the first step to better financial management. Households who budget and plan together are also happier than those who do not talk about money.
Many of us are ready for Spring. Even here in Hawaii I can’t wait for Spring and the end of Flu Season. We’ve certainly had our fill of the flu! Although Spring ushers in warm weather and marks the end of flu season it also brings us rain; lots of rain. At our house the kids don’t mind the rain, it just means they can play video games all day. It drives me crazy! I’m always on the look out for rainy day kids’ activities to keep them off the video games and doing something more productive.
Sometimes it’s hard to find kids’ activities that will interest kids of different ages. But I’ve found some rainy days kids’ activities that works for kids of varying ages; particularly activities that involve making stuff. You’d be surprised what holds the interest of older kids! By the way these ideas are for snow days too!
One of the most popular kids’ activities in our house is baking. Kids love to “play” in the kitchen.
Baking cookies, cupcakes or whatever is an activity kids of all ages can do. The older ones can mix ingredients together and put pans in the oven. Younger ones, even toddlers can help decorate or frost the baked goods.
Be prepared for the mess, kids in the kitchen can get pretty messy.
One of the easiest things to bake are Snowball Cookies.
Kids of all ages can roll the dough into balls then later roll the baked cookies in powdered sugar.
Homemade Play Dough
Kids love play dough and there are several versions of homemade play dough. Part of the fun is in the making!
Here’s a recipe for Edible Marshmallow Play Dough from One Little Project. This play dough doesn’t just look pretty and fun to play with, it’s yummy too! Click here for directions.
You can also make play dough using flour. Click here for Paging Fun Mums No Cook Playdough Recipe!
Or you can make Jello Playdough! Click here for Modern Parents Messy Kids playdough recipe!
Fluffy slime, stretchy slime, glitter slime, you name it kids love slime.
730 Sage Street has 10 slime recipes to choose from. Make one or make them all, the kids will love it!
Click here for slime recipes![spacer height=”-20px”]
Pipe Cleaner Crafts
Here’s a classic kids’ activity, Pipe Cleaner Crafts. This has been around for ever, even I remember making all sorts of things from pipe cleaners.
But these days pipe cleaners come in a host of colors!
Click here for In The Playroom’s Pipe Cleaner Animal Crafts![spacer height=”-20px”]
The kids will love making these adorable bird feeders by Eighteen 25! When their done you can hang them outside and watch the birds they’ll attract!
Click here to for instructions![spacer height=”-20px”]
Build an Indoor Fort or Tent
Keep kids busy by building and playing in a tent or fort. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, a sheet covering a table is good enough. The kids’ imagination will do the rest!
Click here for indoor fort ideas from KidsActivities.com[spacer height=”-20px”]
Give the kids a list of things they can find around the house and send them on a scavenger hunt. This activity will keep them busy and active for quite a while![spacer height=”-20px”]
Building sculptures with candies and toothpicks is fun, educational, and creative. Turn sticks, toothpicks, or straws into creative sculptures. You can use any type of soft candies like jujubees or marshmallows to connect the sticks.
Click here for ideas from Kids Craft Room.[spacer height=”-20px”]
Painting – with fingers , brushes, or sponges
Painting is always a fun activity! Save money by making your own paints. It’s easy, the kids can help too!
Click here for paint recipes from DIY Joy. [spacer height=”-20px”]
There are lots of kids’ activities to keep your kids busy on rainy or snowy days. Do you have a favorite indoor activity? Please share it with us!
A few years ago I was telling a couple of girlfriends that my husband and I had gone for an evening drive around the island the night before; they both giggled and said, “Oh how cute, you had a date night”. That was the first time I’d every heard the term “date night”, and I liked it!
The “date night” concept wasn’t a new and revolutionary idea, in our 30+ years of marriage my husband and I have gone out many times. We just didn’t call it “date night”.
We called them going out to dinner for our anniversary, birthdays, and Valentine’s Day; these fell in the special occasion category. When we went to the movies, the beach, and other places we just said we were going out. Going out covered many activities including a trip to the ice cream shop, fishing, and evening drives around the island. When I think about it I guess “going out” really was a “date night”. So clearly I been having date nights all my adult life.
I think the term “date night” can be misleading, implying that the date must be in the evening. It can give the impression that you must go somewhere and do something special and romantic the whole night. It can also be interpreted to mean that a date night must cost a small fortune. It can be all of that or none of them.
In my opinion a date night can be anytime, anywhere, and last as long as you want it to. It can be extravagant or almost free. It can be romantic, fun, educational, or just about anything you want. The idea of date night is to spend alone time with your partner in an enjoyable environment.
Here’s some date night ideas for every month of the year to fit just about any budget. I like to mix it up, do something extravagant at times and something cheap at others.
I’ve listed 3 different ideas per month ranging in price from extravagant $$$ to almost free $. You’re not limited to doing an activity once, if you both enjoyed it the first time, then by all means do it again. Remember the idea of date night is for you and your partner to spend time alone doing something you both enjoy. If you have kids plan for childcare; love the kids but date night is adult only!
January – Ring in New Year’s Day with a date night. Drop kids off at grandma’s New Year’s Eve for an over night stay if you can.
$$$ Check-in to a luxury hotel, bed-and-breakfast, or resort on New Year’s Eve. Ring in the New Year in style at a near by night spot. Wake up on New Year’s Day and enjoy a romantic champagne breakfast in bed. If you have kids this will only work if you have overnight childcare for them.
$$ Have a lovely brunch at a restaurant near you. Arrange to leave the kids with a friend or relative for a few hours if you haven’t already dropped them off to spend the night at grandma’s the night before.
$DIY breakfast in bed. Plan to feed the kids earlier and have an activity that will keep them entertained for a couple of hours, better yet drop them off at a friend’s house if possible.
February – Folks dealing with nasty winter weather are more than likely sick of it and are dreaming of a tropical getaway by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around. Make this month’s date one of those special occasions. Turn the heat up by planning a fabulously romantic Valentine’s Day date.
$$$ Fly off for a weekend at a tropical resort or set sail on a Caribbean cruise. Bask on sun soaked beaches or enjoy a fruity drink on the pool deck. Watch romantic sunsets on the beach and pamper yourselves with a couples massage at the spa.
$$ Reserve a table to dine at a romantic restaurant in your area. After dinner go home and snuggle up to a nice romantic movie. Set the stage for romance with candles and flowers, and don’t forget the bubbly!
$ Create a romantic nest in your living room floor with cushy pillows, soft blankets, flowers, candles, and soft music. Then have a picnic in your living room and let nature take its course.
March – Spring is in the air, warm breezes are ushering old man winter out. Take advantage of warmer weather and take your date outdoors.
$$$ Spend a day or two in our Nation’s capital while the cherry blossoms are at their best. Visit a museum or two, dine at one of the fine restaurant this city has to offer, and stroll along the Potomac on a moonlight night.
$$ Go for a horseback ride in the country. Many ranches offer trail rides and horse rentals. Find one not too far from you and plan to spend the day there.
$ Go for a walk at your neighborhood park and play on the playground equipment. Don’t be afraid to push each other on the swings and ride the teeter-totter.
April – Spring is definitely here bringing along some April showers. Spend rainy days doing something fun indoors.
$$$ Nothing is better than Paris in springtime. Fly over for a few days of dates. View masterpieces at the Louvre, stroll along the Champs Elysees, and have dinner at the top of the Eiffel Tower.
$$ Spend the day at the local museum and go out for lunch at your favorite bistro.
$ Whip up a meal of your favorite rainy day comfort food. After dinner surf the web together and explore new places. Spend the evening making your travel bucket list.
May – Summer’s almost here which means the kids will be out of school very soon. Take some time this month to charge up for the summer.
elebrate Cinco de Mayo in San Antonio, Texas
. San Antonio’s Market Square turns into party central on May 5 with concerts, dance performances, and more. End the day with dinner at one of the fine restaurants on the River Walk where you can get some awesome Mexican food and mean margaritas.
$$ Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at a Mexican Restaurant near you. Enjoy the food, the drinks, and the mariachi band.
$ Cook up some hot tamales, mix up a pitcher of frosty margaritas, and watch a DVD of Nacho Libre in your living room.
June – The kids are out of school and in your hair. The first days of summer are fun times with the family, the summer doldrums have yet to set in. Take some time for yourselves to recharge from all the summer activities.
$$$ Go on a balloon ride. It’s amazing!
$$ Meet your partner for a long leisurely lunch at your favorite cafe while the kids are at their friend’s house. It’s a good time to catch up with each other and plan the rest of the summer.
$ Go for a hike at a nearby nature trail at sunset. Pack a picnic dinner and gaze at the stars.
July – For many July is family vacation time. We’re busy traveling by planes, trains, and automobiles. Squeeze in a date or two wherever you may be.
$$$ Find a concert, Broadway show, or ball game nearby and score some front seat tickets. Indulge in a romantic candlelight dinner at a fabulous restaurant before or after the show.
$$ Spend an evening at the county fair. Enjoy childhood favorite fair foods such as funnel cakes, BBQ, and sno-cones. Ride the thrill rides and play carnival games. End the night on the ferris wheel just before you go home.
$ Watch the Fourth of July parade in your town then head out to the park at night to watch the fireworks
August – By now the summer doldrums have set in, the kids are bored and you’re ready for school to start again. It’s a good time for a break.
$$$ It’s the best time of year to be in Rome. The locals have left town for their vacations so there’re less crowds. Enjoy a romantic dinner in an out of the way trattoria, toss a few coins in the Trevi Fountain, and rent a row boat at the Borghese Gardens.
$$ Play a game or two of miniature golf at the local fun park, looser buys ice cream.
$ Go for a moonlight stroll along the seaside or lake. Take some time to stargaze and dream.
September – It’s autumn and the kids are back in school. Life is getting back to “normal” and we’re gearing up for the busy times ahead. Get away before the holiday chaos begins.
$$ Get a couples massage at a day spa.
$ Go for a drive to see the fall colors
October – The leaves are definitely falling! In our house October ushers in the holiday season. From Halloween to New Year’s everyone is busy crafting, baking, shopping, and entertaining. Don’t forget to schedule some couple time in the midst of the madness.
$$$ Rent a cabin in the Adirondacks one weekend. Spend some time outdoors before the weather turns cold, and romantic evenings snuggled up in front of the fireplace.
$$ Take a ghost tour or visit a haunted house
$ Rent a horror film to watch once the kids are in bed. It’s a good excuse to cuddle, just in case you need an excuse!
November – This is a very busy month, too much going on. Be sure you plan a break or two to unwind and relax.
Book a full day for two at a fancy day spa, the relax and be pampered from head to toe.
$$ Go to a Murder Mystery Dinner, it’s lot’s of fun.
$ Romantic movie night at home. Choose one chick flick and a guy movie to watch and curl up in front of the TV with a bottle of wine, cheese, and chocolate covered strawberries.
December – This is the most wonderful time of the year, and it’s also the most hectic. Our lives center around family activities and it can get a bit crazy when relatives come home for the holidays. Scheduling a date night or two will help you keep your sanity.
$$$ Get away for a day or two to a ski lodge before guests arrive. Even if you don’t ski the food is good, and sipping wine in front of the fire place is romantic.
$$ Have high tea at a local teashop, it’s a great place to find a quite corner and just enjoy each other’s company
$ Put the kids to bed early and enjoy a glass of wine in front of the fireplace. That’s so romantic!
Ready for your next couples getaway? Call Savvy Nana Travel for all your travel needs!
I’m not sure how everyone feels about Santa Claus. I know that there are two schools of thought, those that love the magic of this beloved Christmas tradition, and those that refuse to perpetuate the myth.
The Santa debate briefly raged in our house a few years ago just before my youngest daughter’s wedding. Her fiance, tho not entrenched in the non-believer camp, put forth the argument that children should not be encouraged to believe in a mythical man. My daughter declared this to be a deal breaker; if their future offspring could not be raised believing in St. Nick the wedding was off. They are happily married and the doting parents of a precocious 4 year old who will be celebrating Christmas this year complete with an annual photo and breakfast with Santa. The skeptical man is now fully invested in Santa; he even takes the family dogs for photos with the jolly old elf! We surely made a believer out of him!
Our family definitely falls in the believer camp. We do everything we can to keep Santa real for the children in our family. My then 12 year old grandson wavered in his belief one year, but with a little help from technology we were able to keep Santa real for him at least another year. (He’s now 15, unfortunately there is nothing we can do to persuade him that Santa is real. But he keeps up the front for his younger brother and cousins!)
I know some will disapprove, but in my opinion kids grow up to soon in our fast pace world. I see no harm in encouraging them to believe, reality will come crashing down on them soon enough.
Eventually when they discover the truth they might be disappointed, but if you’ve focused the what the holidays mean to you – family, friends,, faith, and sharing – then the magic of Christmas, and Santa will remain with your children forever.
Here are some tips and activities on how to keep Santa real for your kids this year.
Breakfast, Lunch, or Tea with Santa
We have been going to Breakfast or Lunch with Santa ever since my kids were small. It’s a tradition we keep up with the grandchildren.
Letters from Santa
Watch your kid’s eyes light up in wonder when he receives a letter or package from Santa. This brought a sparkle to my 5 year old grandson’s eyes and even impressed his doubting 12 year old brother that year.
You can order personalized letter and packages starting at $14.95. Click here to begin!
Phone calls from Santa
Download this App for $1.99 and use it every year. Santa will call and speak to your child, you can even request a “naughty” message.
Click here to purchase!
Emails from Santa
Kid’s can email Santa on this App and a few hours later he will respond.
Get this App for .99 Cents here!
You’ve Been Jingled!
Play the neighborhood game You’ve Been Jingled! Have older kids help out Santa boy delivering anonymous gifts to the neighbors, they can be one of Santa’s elves for a day. This game helps teach kids that Christmas is just about getting gifts, it’s more about giving and sharing.
Click here for free printable! [spacer height=”-20px”]
Track Santa as he delivers gifts on Christmas Eve!
Track Santa’s progress around the world on Christmas Eve, we certainly do! Norad has been tracking Santa since 1955. These days they have an awesome website complete with maps, videos, and a peek at Santa’s Village. Click here for the officila Norad website.
Read a “Santa” book with your children during the holidays.
We always read Clement C. Moore’s classic “Twas the Night Before Christmas” poem before bed on Christmas Eve. We have several illustrated copies in our home library. [spacer height=”-20px”]
Help your kids set up cookies for Santa. You can learn how to make this simple Santa plate set hereor use what ever plates and cups you already have.
The most important things is to remember to consume the milk and cookies before the kids wake up Christmas morning![spacer height=”-20px”]
Found on smartschoolhouse.com
Don’t forget Rudolph and his pals.
Be sure to leave out reindeer food, you can have kids make some, learn how here! Or leave out some carrots.
Whatever you use be sure it’s gone by morning.[spacer height=”-20px”]
Embrace the Elf!
Buy and Elf on a Shelf, share the concept of the Elf with the children, and have a great time devising and keeping up with the Elf’s antics![spacer height=”-20px”]
Found on scontent-b-iad.xx.fbcdn.net
Leave Santa evidence.
Just follow the directions here![spacer height=”-20px”]
“Santa” Gift tips:
1. Make “Santa” gifts fun and unexpected.
Kids will surely know it’s not from Santa when they open a “Santa” gift that’s a pair of socks or mittens. You don’t have to buy anything very expensive nor does the gift have to be something on a potentially long wish list. Just make sure it’s fun and not something you would normally gift your child.
2. Shop for Santa gifts without the kids.
No matter what you say if the kids see the gift in your Walmart shopping cart they will KNOW it’s not from Santa.
3. Hide Santa gifts where the kid’s can’t see them.
Keep them hidden until the kids go to bed on Christmas Eve.
4. Use special “Santa Gift Wrap”.
Don’t use the same wrap you use for all the other presents. Keep the Santa wrap hidden as well.
5. Make sure Santa’s handwriting doesn’t look like your handwriting. This is a first give away, specially for older kids who are familiar with your handwriting.
1. When kids ask questions about Santa it’s best deflect the question with your own questions “What do you think?” and ask them why they think that.
2. If you do have to make up an answer keep it simple so you can remember it and reply with the same answer the next time you are asked. You may not remember your answer, but trust me the kids will and will call you on it!
3. Watch what you say when kids are around. It really is true that “Litter pitchers have big ears”.
4. If you have friends and families who don’t encourage the belief in Santa, respect their opinions and ask that they respect yours. Meaning they should tell their children to refrain from sharing their non-belief with your children.
5. Sooner or later school age children will come home from school to say that one of their friends or classmates has challenged his belief in Santa Claus. It’s a good time to teach children to respect other people’s point of view. You can start out by asking your child what he thinks and why. Keep your discussion positive and simple. You can tell your child that there will always be people with differing opinions and that we should respect those opinions even if we don’t always agree with them.
Here’s a printable Christmas Eve checklist from iMom.com
to help you play Santa this year. Be sure to keep it away from kids’ eyes!
I have to admit that this year’s Sesame Street Live performance is the best one we’ve seen in a while.
I’ve been attending Sesame Street Live performances for years now. That’s what you do when you have 5 grandchildren ranging in age from 2 – 15! We attend the show every year when it makes its way to Honolulu, usually sometime in the summer, but we’ve also seen it performed in Colorado Springs.
Every year Sesame Street Live has a new story to tell. This year’s theme was all about MUSIC, hence the title “Elmo Makes Music”.
This year’s show revolves around “Jenny” a music teacher who has just moved into the neighborhood.
When Jenny introduces herself to the various folks in the neighborhood (Ernie, Burt, Big Bird, Elmo, and the gang) they are all thrilled that she will be there to teach them how to play their favorite instruments. But there’s a problem, of course there is! The truck bearing Jenny’s instruments hasn’t arrived and everyone is worried and a bit sad.
So Jenny teaches them that you don’t really need real instruments to make music. You can use anything you have around including hands, feet, pots, cookie jars, and more.
Once the monsters on the street learn that anything and everything can make music they decide to make to each make Jenny a surprise musical welcome gift, just in case the real instruments fail to arrive.
Now remember this is Sesame Street so the show also has a letter and a number of the day. This year it’s the letter “J” (for Jenny) and the number 8 (the musical scale has 8 notes).
I’m sure by now you’re wondering why I said this year’s show is the best one I’ve seen so far. Sure the past shows were all entertaining and educational for the kids, but this year even the adults were entertained.
This year’s show showcased a variety of music genres. From Broadway to Disco, Rock N’ Roll to Hip Hop; this show covered music that was familiar to most of the audience no matter their age. Of course the lyrics were altered to fit the show.
So along with all time favorites including the Sesame Street theme song and the Alphabet Song you’ll sing, stomp, or clap along to many types of songs.
In one segment the monster and Ernie busted out on stage doing the “Hustle”.[spacer height=”-20px”]
Then you had Burt channeling John Travolta in his rendition of “Staying Alive”, the song made popular in the Travolta movie Saturday Night Fever. [spacer height=”-20px”]
And everyone loved Big Bird’s rendition of the popular 50’s classic Rockin’ Robin!
For Carpenter’s fans they did a lively performance of “Sing” as well as many other songs from different genres.
I’m fairly sure everyone had a great time, I know we did! My 2 year old granddaughter, Harper, spent the entire show dancing and singing on her seat, her twin brother, Sadi, was enthralled. I caught my 9 year old grandson, Devon, and his friend, Chase, tapping their feet and clapping to the beat of the music. (They weren’t really sure they wanted to be their in the first place and to this day refuse to admit they had a good time!). And I have to confess the show had me chuckling more than a few times!
So if you and the kids want to have a great time don your Sesame Street T-shirts (the twins did) and get ready for an hour and a half of great music and wholesome family entertainment when you go see Sesame Street Live: Elmo Makes Music!
To find a show near you click here!
A couple of years ago when my grandson Devon was 4 he developed a fear of sleeping in his own room. He claimed there were monsters in his room just waiting to get him. Bedtime became a nightmare. Many nights we’d find him sleeping in our bed. Other nights he’d sneak in to his brother’s room and curl up on the floor.
We tried night lights and leaving the door open. I’d even stay in his room until he fell asleep, but he’d wake up in the middle of the night and move to a different room or start crying until someone went to comfort him. Nothing seemed to work.
I searched online for more suggestions and ideas on how to get this child to sleep in his own bed. I came across a company that was selling “Monster Repellent” for $7.99 a bottle, it comes with a little tale to tell the child as you spray the room. It was really aroma therapy, a small spray bottle filled with this magic liquid that keeps monsters away. I thought it was worth a try and was ready to buy it, then the light bulb went on…why buy something I could easily make with ingredients I already had at home?
That afternoon I told Devon about my new found knowledge… I’d found the recipe for “Monster Spray”! He was intrigued and wanted to know all about it. I explained that together we could make this spray and use it every night at bedtime, I assured him that the spray would make the monsters go away. He loved the idea and wanted to make the spray right away.
Together Devon and I mixed up a batch of Monster Spray in the kitchen. I really think having him help make it up made it more believable, it also empowered him to overcome his fear of monsters.
That night he was ready for bedtime, armed with our Monster Spray and the Magic Words we sprayed his entire room, his closet, and under his bed. We sprayed everywhere a monster could be hiding. He had a very good night’s sleep. He told me the next morning the Monster Spray worked great. We sprayed his room every night, we had to mix up several more batches until he started kindergarten, at that time he assured me that he was over his fear of monsters.
The recipe for Monster Spray is below, it uses lavender essential oil and water, all natural, but don’t let the child drink it or rub it directly on the child’s skin. Most essential oils are safe to use but should always be diluted. To avoid any type of irritation don’t spray directly on bedding. Devon has asthma and allergies but the spray did not cause any ill effects. If your child has allergies it’s best to check with your doctor if a diluted lavender spray is safe to use around your child.
Click here for the FREE printable Label and Magic Words!
You will need:
Spray bottle – you can use any kind, I used an old one I had from L’Occitane that was used for linen spray. I rinsed it well and removed the label. You can buy new Fantasea Fine Mist Spray Bottle, 2.5 Ounce on Amazon.com
Bottled water – enough to fill the spray bottle
4-5 drops of Lavender Essential Oil. You can buy NaturEarth French Lavender Oil 4 oz 100% Pure Premium Essential Oil w/FREE SHIPPING on Amazon.com
Bottle label & Magic Words FREE Printable click here!
1. Fill spray bottle with water.
2. Add essential oil.
3. Secure bottle cap and shake well.
4. Glue on label.
5. Spray room while saying the Magic Words. Be sure you get the corners, under the bed, and the closets. Avoid spraying directly on bedding and clothing. Don’t spray on child’s skin. Don’t let the child drink the mixture.
Hope this helps your child overcome his fear of things that go bump in the night!