Vintage Homeschool Moms

Summertime Healthy Snacks

Summer Time SnacksTop Summertime Healthy Snacks Episode 281

Summertime Healthy snacks do not have to taste like cardboard or break the bank. In this episode, of Vintage Homeschool Moms, I will share some yummy snacks with you that are crowd pleasers and even the kids will love them–promise!

Thanks to our sponsor…The Well Planned Gal and her amazing planners! Visit the Well Planned Gal Planners to learn more.

There are so many healthy snacks that appeal to kids! However, I’ve learned that my kids will eat different things when they help in the prep! Teach kids some safety rules.

  1. Wash hands before preparing any food to eat.
  2. Use care with knives. Don’t put your hands by the blade.
  3. Use a cutting board when slicing fruit or vegetables.

Listen to the audio to learn about many more! 

Summertime Healthy Snacks

  1. Cucumber sandwich – you can use two slices of cucumber, sharp cheese, and sliced meat.
  2. Crackers and peanut butter.
  3. Frozen yogurt
  4. Hard boiled eggs.
  5. Cucumber and tomato salad. Drizzle olive oil.
  6. Smoothies – use your child’s favorite fruit and blend with ice.
  7.  Banana and peanut butter popsicles. Blend bananas and peanut butter until creamy. 2 large bananas or 3 small bananas – ripe work best plus 2-3 Tablespoons of peanut butter (or your favorite nut butter). Nutella works well.
  8. Apple muffins are always a favorite. Use grain-free alternatives if needed for gluten-free.
  9. Ketogenic – high fat, low-carb. Shakes as well as various snacks such as coconut balls. See recipe here.
  10. Chocolate peanut butter: Mix 1 tablespoon of peanut butter with 5-10 chocolate chips, eat with a tiny spoon
  11. Melt peanut butter with coconut oil – unless you live in FL like I do and coconut oil is liquid here, stir in the cocoa and add the sugar. Take it off from the heat and mix in the van. extract. Pour it into a candy mold – or simply line a cookie pan – lipped with wax paper and pour it in, cut into tiny squares or break once it is cooled. You may need to put it in the frig to Harden.
  12. Use mixed nuts and place in a shallow pan, toast them in the oven and sprinkle’ with sea salt. Drizzle with melted chocolate and refrigerate until set. Store in a mason jar and enjoy
  13. Kale chips – wash and place leaves on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and drizzle with olive oils – be sure to watch carefully and bake until toasty – break up into chunks, cool and eat. Very low cal and yummy. Great rainy day activity.
  14. Homemade Applesauce – Wash apples in vinegar to take off waxy polish sometimes on the skin. Core the apples and place whole in boiling water until mushy. Take out and process in a food processor or remove the skin and mash with a fork. Sprinkle with cinnamon and enjoy!
  15. Roll banana in peanut butter and then roll in crunchy cereal
  16. Snack tray — pretzels, applesauce, banana chips, raisins, nuts, cereal
  17. Yogurt and fruit parfait. Try instant pot recipes for yogurt – super yummy!
  18.  Yogurt bark. Spread yogurt on parchment paper, top with fruit such as blueberries or strawberries. Freeze. Break into chunks once froze. A family favorite.
  19. Frozen banana pops. Cut bananas in half, thread popsicle stick in banana. Dip the banana in melted chocolate. Place on wax paper lined cookie sheets and freeze.
  20. Pinwheels: take a soft, tortilla and use a spread such as mayo or mustard. Layer your meats or cheeses, add lettuce, tomato, roll up and slice. Have the children add their favorites.
  21.  Melted chocolate. Use fresh fruit to dip!
  22. Frozen grapes. Try them, they are a yummy snack!
  23. Homemade trail mix – add your favorites.
  24. Fruit and veggie platters. Use favorite salad dressing for a dip.
  25. Scooped chips filled with fresh salsa.

This list of twenty five snacks will help to jump start your own ideas. What did I leave out? Leave your favorites with me!

Summertime Rainy Day Activities

rainy day activitiesBest Summertime Rainy Day Activities

Episode 278

Are you ready for some fun rainy day activities? Unless you live in a frigid place there will be a time that rainy day activities will come in handy. I guess it if is winter change it to “snow day” activities! Here we have some fun ideas that will help you entertain children with the least amount of tears!

Thanks to our sponsor the Well Planned Gal, Rebecca Farris! She has various planners for every homeschool need and the Prayer Journal is brand new. In just a few minutes I can’t wait to tell you more about them…

This month it is all about making memories and keeping some last minute plans in place for those unexpected events is so helpful. In my early years as a mom and homeschooler, I subscribed to different mailed sets – one was a kit to do with your kids and it involved crafts and things to build. However, I found that while some of the ideas were great many were not anything that interested my children. So I started and proceeded to lose lists! Sound familiar.

Rainy Day Activities

Now that I’m so much older I have a wealth of experience and information at fingertips! I know what works and what does not, and it is amazing how these old ideas still work well. I’m happy to share my ideas with you—and you can keep these handy and we plan for your own rainy day activities.

I know, I know – kids are all different, and what makes one kid excited can leave the rest yawning, so I add a few little ideas to the list of my favorites and that enforcing good character qualities in our children through every-day events.

My children all struggle, we all struggle with different things such as patience, sharing “our” things, waiting for others who are slower, perfectionism, doing things we don’t want to do.

At times I would plan out fun things to do only to have kids say they don’t want to participate! Talk about a fun-damper, right? So… instead we want to set up the kids for success and keep our sanity by planning out even their reactions!

Before we do anything, especially with little children I remind them of the rules.

  1. We are thankful for everything and everyone.
  2. We will be grateful
  3. We will share and be happy for others
  4. We won’t touch anything until given permission

Quick opinion on rules: I grew up as a teacher in the era of coloring without lines and classrooms without walls – this permissive atmosphere cause kids to be confused about what was expected and certainly did not encourage the creativity and “free thinking” it was meant to instill and allow. Yet, I continued to use this type of methodology in my parenting. It made parenting at times very difficult because I had little kids that were “exploring” and loving their surrounds but certainly not listening to anything I had to say. I learned to change my methods and teach them some rules of what I expected and wonder of wonders, they learned to obey and listen! Life was much happier.

An overview of rules allows kids to know what is expected when we played games or before we left the house – even in the car, I made sure to go over what I expected. I didn’t want to be embarrassed on our outings and my kids were sure to get excited when they saw friends or shelves full of fun things to pull off in the store! I think shopping carts are probably an invention by a mom to keep kids contained while shopping!

Kids will still enjoy themselves and believe me rules will not starve creativity! I met a lady recently who works with parents, she is a parenting expert and helps moms and dads learn how to parent — there is even a certification for this! For many of us this is probably not surprising and I’m sure it is much needed.

So, as we look forward to rainy day activities be sure to let the kids know – we will have fun, but we do have some rules we want to follow.

Are you ready for these tried and true ideas for 10 fun rainy day activites?

  1. Reading
    1. Books saved particularly for rainy days – read aloud – get the pop corn out and erect a tent!
    2. Books kids want to read on their own – again save special books for a special occasion.
  2. Crafts
    1. T-shirts – use fabric makers or paint
    2. Clay
    3. Mason Jar terrariums
      1. Use soil and small plants – poke holes in lid and keep an eye on the soil moisture
      2. Use sand and shells for a great beach memory craft and something to do with those shells the kids like to collect
  • Use for rock collections or any type of “nature walk” collections the kids bring home.
  1. Paints
    1. Use ink pens – draw a picture and color it with watercolors
    2. Make a mural – use large pieces of paper (packing paper – keep it!)
  • Use fingers to make prints and create fingerprint creatures
  1. Balsa wood – models, etc.
  2. Mini-marshmallows and toothpicks – build!
  3. Ready made kits
    1. Beads
    2. models
  4. Games
    1. Board games with Play offs
    2. Video games
    3. Active games
      1. Charades
      2. Hide and Seek
  • Don’t step on … avoid different areas.
  1. Learn a new dance
  2. Games that are interactive
  3. Inflate balloons and allow the kids to play games with them!
  1. Movie marathon
    1. Series of movies to watch
    2. Short movies and then act them out
  2. Indoor tents or forts
    1. Set up a pop up tent
    2. Use sheets and blankets and chairs
  3. Puppet show / Plays
    1. Use an box as the puppet stage
    2. Make hand puppets
    3. Act out a movie, or characters from a book
  4. Indoor Scavenger hunt
    1. Monthly printable for June – subscribers only
    2. Go to the place where you enter the home – there you will find the next clue
    3. Be sure to set up your rules first
  5. Baking cookies or bread
    1. Be sure to have ingredients on hand
    2. Create a dough that requires rolling out and cut outs for added fun
    3. Learn to braid bread
    4. Make cinnamon rolls or other breakfast breads
  6. Learn something new
    1. Learn simple vocabulary for a new language – Spanish, French, Italian learn how to say hello, please, thank-you, etc.
    2. Learn how to eat with chop-sticks
    3. Learn to juggle
    4. Learn to paint
  7. Activities
    1. Ice or roller skating
    2. Sock skating indoors
    3. Make and fly paper airplanes
    4. Create slime
    5. Exercise
    6. Give the kids a bag of recyclables and ask them to create something – have contests to see who wins.

Remember, whatever you do –do it with fun in mind! Have some activities ready for when the rains come, and you will create a fun atmosphere without resorting to placing the children in front of the TV!


Special Thanks to Our Network Sponsor – Well Planned Gal

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Summertime Making Family Memories

creating family memoriesSummertime – Making Family Memories

Episode 277

Making family memories is one of the most important things you will ever do as a family. As homeschool parents, we naturally make memories with our children each day, but in this episode, we explore making positive memories!

Thanks to our sponsor – Media Angels Membership. For your curriculum needs on a budget visit the website to learn how to receive all the books and classes I’ve created to give your children a Christian worldview!

I was at a homeschool conference once where the customer asked if I could come and teach her child the subject, of course, we both laughed. But, in one of the bundles you will find classes where I teach your children the content in my study guides – visit MediaAngelsMembership.com for more information – and we will learn more a bit later on!

The topic of making family memories is very important to me, and I recall my own parents trying very hard with a meager budget to create memorable events for us each summer. There were eight siblings and they all pitched in to buy a house in upstate New York. I remember the house being very small but most of what I remembered was the stream with running water that ran across the property and we happily played in, the baths outside in a big steaming metal tub, and the huge play balls we enjoyed with my cousins. The food was delicious, the fresh watermelon and barbeque chicken on the grill.

This was a family adventure and we spent time there every summer up until I was in the third grade. One of my uncles was part owner of this house and when he aged and retired to Florida, he and my aunt were frequent visitors to our home and family events. He would smile as he surveyed the table, the decorations or the big homemade cake and his comments resonated with me, he would say that no matter what we do with our children each day, making memories is the most important.

I recently heard the same quote at a business meeting – and that seemed like the Lord’s confirmation that this is something so many of us need to hear. The quote was something like this, “People will forget what you say, what you do, but they will not forget how you make them feel.”

This is the basis for so many successful businesses. How do you feel when you walk into a coffee house, or a small mom and pop business where people say hello when you walk in the door? There are several brands that focus on the user experience – and that is the key to their success. Another brand continually updates their food, their product line because they listen to the customers and again they want to make the customer welcome and a “regular.”

Applying business principals to our families seems rather cold, but in reality, it is a good way to look at things through a different set of filters. I know what it is like to be sleep deprived and wake up early to see my husband off to work, then stay up late with a little one who just would not go to sleep! There was nothing special I thought I was doing during those years, but I was wrong. Spending time with your children is so important – listening to your children is another aspect of parenting often overlooked.

When I discussed this podcast with my husband I asked him for his input and this is what he said was important and foundational for him:

  1. Sharing the children’s interests
  2. Learning about their passions
  3. Making an effort to listen and be involved

Making memories with your children takes into consideration so many different aspects of raising kids. It’s those little things that the kids will remember and believe me, the strangest things you’ve done as a family stand out. When I asked one of my kids what they enjoyed the most about their week, they said helping Daddy paint! I have to admit it was a bit of a messier proposition than my husband had hoped and of course, it took longer but my son remembered that as the fun activity of the week.

Top 10 Activities to Make Memories with your family 

  1. Faith building events
    1. Retreats
    2. Camps – as a family
    3. Bible studies
    4. One day events
  2. Camping
    1. Slowly build up your camping gear
    2. Look for sales
    3. Ask around or borrow
  3. Campfire Stories
    1. Begin with a topic
    2. Each person adds to a story
    3. One person shares a made up story
  4. Cooking together
    1. Use a boxed set of ingredients
    2. Try something new
    3. Use skewers
  5. Work on a project together
    1. Painting
    2. Planting a garden
    3. Set up swing set
  6. Pets
    1. Visit pet store
    2. Think about pet sitting
    3. Think about purchasing a pet
  7. Road trips/traveling
    1. Day trips – upcoming podcast
    2. DIY trips – here and here
    3. Visit friends or family on the cheap
  8. Volunteer work as a family
    1. Habitat for Humanity homes
    2. Soup kitchen
    3. Ask at your local church, adopt a family
  9. Backyard or neighborhood stargazing
    1. Learn about the stars
    2. Invest in good binoculars
    3. Go to the planetarium or local nature center
  10. Collections – rocks, shells, antiques, etc.
    1. Decide on a collection
    2. Figure out storage – box under the bed or shelves, etc.
    3. Go on trips to collect

Is Free Curriculum Really Free

free curriculumDo you love to get free curriculum? Is free curriculum really free? I love freebies, but sometimes it costs so much more than it is worth. In this podcast, we discuss the real cost of free and how you can organize your freebies and really get the most out of them.

Homeschooling on one income means learning to be frugal and cut corners. It also means that you look for sales and bargains and freebies and printables fit that niche. Many times you can find freebies on a composite website or post, where many different freebies are listed and often in the blogger is nice–sorted into grade-specific or topic-specific categories. With little time and organization, you can get some wonderful printables for your kids.

Do you have a plan for your homeschool, for example, specific subjects you are teaching and the time of the year this is taking place? This is very important, so you can make your freebie work for you. If you are teaching classical music in December, this is a good time to use a freebie on the composers. You can use a one month calendar and list your themes or topics that you will study.

Even if you use a boxed curriculum, you can use a

Is Free Curriculum Really Free?

Episode #275

Pro’s of Free Curriculum

  1. You don’t have to pay for it.
  2. Innovative freebies and printables.
  3. Something for every grade and subject
  4. Don’t have to leave home
  5. Use it for multiple kids

Con’s of Free Curriculum

  1. You don’t know how it use it.
  2. You have to print it out.
  3. Printing is expensive.
  4. There is too much of it!
  5. It is not very good, or it is not complete

How to make free curriculum work for you:

  1. Make a list of what you have downloaded. Use a spreadsheet to keep track, it is easier to search on a spreadsheet. If you do not have a word processing program use google docs or some other free program. You can download the document as a PDF and print it out or search the document.
  2. Before you print the document, look through it and see if you can use all or part of the printable.
  3. Organize your freebie in grade levels or topics.
  4. Decide how the printable will work with your existing plan.
  5. If you can’t use the printable now, write down when you can use it. If you have your printables organized you can put down a date, or start a new page (on the spreadsheet) with the year, and place the printable name there.
  6. Do not print out the printable until you need it — that saves on storage, and you may change your mind.

If you have a money saving idea or ways to make freebies work for you that is helpful, please share your idea with us!

 

Affiliate information and privacy policy here.

DIY Travel On The Cheap

DIY Travel On The CheapHow about DIY travel on the cheap with your hosts, Felice Gerwitz and Meredith Curtis? Many people would like to travel but feel they can’t afford the cost. That’s exactly right, but in this podcast, we share some top secret tips!

Visit Meredith Curtis here:

PowerlineProd.comMeredithCurtis.com and her podcast Finish Well with great family podcasts here.

Visit Felice Gerwitz here:

And Felice on her website MediaAngels.com and MediaAngelsMembership.com

Episode 274 with Felice Gerwitz and Meredith Curtis

Research for DIY Travel on the cheap!

  • Where do you want to go?
    • Must see vs. I’d like to see if we have time
  • Look online, DK Travel Guides
  • Keep a folder on Pinterest

Look For Deals

  • TravelZoo
  • Goupon
  • Living Social
  • SkyScanner
  • Hotel.com

What do you want to see?

  • List of must-sees
  • List of  what you’d like to see, but only if time

Saving money can be done with little know tips such as packing snacks, renting condos or homes outside of bigger cities or famous attractions, and being prepared to fly instead of drive if the airfare is cheaper — yes, it often is… I can fly from Fort Myers to BWI (Baltimore/ Maryland) for less than $100 round trip! Gas to get there is more, as well as wear-and-tear on the car! Look for deals for DIY travel on the cheap tips.

Where will you stay?

  • Hotels
  • Rental homes
  • Rental condos
  • With a friend

Where will you eat?

  • Restaurants
  • Bring food, nonperishables
  • Take water on the plane if you fly (must buy it after security point) or bring an empty water bottle and fill it at the airport for free
  • Roadside kiosks (depending on where you visit, this may be an inexpensive option).
  • Buy food to cook.

Sights

  • Plan your itinerary. Where will you go first?
  • Plan transportation if you are taking the bus or train
  • Costs – be sure to account for the cost of travel

Check the Weather

  • When you have a travel date look at the weather
  • Plan indoor activities if the weather is bad
  • Layer clothing, it is better than taking big, bulky clothing

 

 

 

Best Experiential Gifts

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best experiential gifts everThe Best Experiential Gifts

Episode 273

 

What are the best experiential gifts you can give? The ones that last a lifetime in memories!  Whether the gift is for graduation, birthdays for that hard to buy for person in your life. While opening presents can be fun, the glamor soon wears off and the gift is forgotten. In fact, how many times can you remember wanting a gift, only to receive it and see that it wasn’t worth the wait! In this episode, I explore various trips, and events to create lasting memories with your teens or even for the adults in your life who have “everything,” or want “nothing!”

Thanks to our sponsor – Media Angels Membership. For your curriculum needs on a budget visit the website to learn how to receive all the books and classes I’ve created to give your children a Christian worldview!

The Best Experiential Gifts 

  1. A trip – giving an experiential gift and making a lasting memory on a trip can be the most rewarding with some planning. As a caution, I am not a fan of allowing your teens to travel to far-off places alone, especially trips to the Islands, where cheap flights and hotels lure many unsuspecting tourists. However, visiting as a family is recommended:
    1. Hiking
      • Plan ahead.
      • Check the weather
      • Know the trails you will hike
      • Bring neem spray or bug repellent
      • Wear comfortable clothing
      • Bring food
      • Take lots of pictures
    2. Camping
      • Plan ahead
      • Off the beaten trail
      • At the beach
    3. Beach
      • One day trip
      • House rental
    4. Extreme Sports
      1. Cave exploration
      2. Water Rafting
      3. Mountain Climbing
      4. Sky Diving/ Para Sailing
      5. Sailing
      6. Water Skiing
    5. States Exploration
      • Planning Trips State Side
      • State Fairs
      • Rodeo
      • Williamsburg
      • Visit New York
      • Yosemite Park
      • San Antonio Texas
      • Grand Canyon
      • Theme Parks
    6. Europe
    7. A staycation event
      1. Party
      2. Family Camp Out
      3. Town Events
    8. Lessons
      1. Art Classes
      2. Cooking Classes
      3. Tennis Lessons
      4. Sports Training
      5. Flying Lessons
      6. Parachuting

Packing Tips

packing tipsPacking Tips

with Felice Gerwitz and her special guest, Kim Kautzer

Do you need some great packing tips? In this episode, veteran homeschool mom and world traveler, Kim Kautzer shares her packing tips! When we both showed up for a week-long mastermind retreat, me with my larger bags, extra carry on, purse, computer bag, etc. etc and saw Kim’s one backpack and overhead compartment roll-on suitcase, I just knew we needed this podcast! And, Kim shared her best secret, it’s okay to wear the same thing twice. Gasp! Kim travels in all seasons and for many reasons, personal or business.

Kim lives in California yet travels all over the US and into Europe as well. She travels alone, with her husband or with her grandkids. She has learned to pack this way whether driving or flying. She even attended her son’s wedding in England, a two-week vacation tied in, adding one carry on dress bag! She encourages us to travel light and in this session, she details her steps.

Kim is the owner of Write Shop and the sponsor of today’s episode. Visit WriteShop.com for all your writing needs.

Show Notes: Smart Packing Tips —

Handout of close up photos of packing by Kim Kautzer. All Rights Reserved. PackingTips-WriteShop.comSponsor

Rolling Bag:

  • Use rolling bags that fit in the overhead bin
  • Everyone has their own bag
  • A personal piece should be a backpack – you can fit a small purse
  • Be sure not to overload the expander or it won’t fit in overhead compartments

What to Pack:

  • Clothes, it’s okay to wear clothes more than one time.
  • Mix and match as many pieces as you can.
  • Don’t bring one use pieces.
  • Tops that can go both ways, layers or stand alone
  • Layers work in winter and summer
  • Double duty — dress up or dress down
  • Enough underwear and tops for one week
  • 3 bottoms: capri – cropped pants, jeans skirt or 2 different jeans and dress pants
  • Wear bulky clothing on the plane
    • Wear boots or tennis shoes on the plane
    • Jacket
    • Scarf and a pashmina, which is larger scarf can be used as a wrap comes in solid colors, roll up as a pillow, use as a shawl or wrap.
    • Socks in the backpack
  • Pack a vest which can be worn over a long sleeve shirt for a totally different look.
  • Sleeveless shirts, tank tops or short sleeves wear long sleeves over top to layer
  • One or two long sleeve shirts — use alone or to layer
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Roll clothes to fit the cubes
  • Layout bags — cubes, modular and arrange however it best fits

Cube System:

Cubes are separate, contained and you can keep them organized and separate and a wonderful time saver. For children instead of packing cubes, you may want to use various sized clear baggie.

  • Use cube system to pack clothes, fits better
  • Different sizes, buy online or in discount stores
  • Largest length fits entire length of the suitcase, shoes go on either side
    • Roll slacks and jeans into 3/4 — put them in like envelopes
    • Pack hoody with jeans
    • 1 pair of Pj’s maybe two tops
  • Medium width – 1/2 size of the large
    • All the tops
    • Fold in thirds and then roll up
    • 7 to 8 tops
  • 1 small cubes
    • lingerie, scarves
    • socks
    • 2 pairs of earrings, one post and 1 dangly
    • 1-2 necklaces
    • Dressier items
  • Second small cubes
    • travel iron (Kim recommends BaByliss Pro Tourmaline Titanium travel dryer –not a sponsor, we get nothing for the plug!)
    • travel straightening iron (Kim recommends BaBylissPro Nano Titanium mini straightening iron)
  • Quart Size: 3 oz. maximum
    • Liquid or jells
    • Shampoo and conditioner
    • Liquid makeup or foundation
  • Small makeup bag:
    • no liquid — powder
    • put in suitcase

 

 

Mother’s Day Gifts

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Mothers Day Gifts

Mother’s Day Gifts aka “What Mom Really Wants” is the topic for today’s podcast. As a long time mom – my first child was born in 1980 – I’ve had some experience *WINK* celebrating Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day has been a time of joy and truthfully a time of hardship! We moms want to be grateful with whatever we have, right? While this is true and I am grateful I’ve also struggled. Listen, as I share some tips for the best Mother’s Day gifts ever, and, be sure to subscribe to the Vintage Homeschool Moms podcast!

Mother’s Day Gifts – What Mom Really Wants

Episode 271

I’m including something personal at the end — so stay tuned for Mother’s Day Gifts that I now learn to except and enjoy!

I’ve had some exhausting Mother’s Days! When my children were little I was sleep deprived, and I just don’t do well with little sleep. I’m not one of those people that thrives on four hours or less and feels so productive. No, I’m the crash and burn Mom who would fall asleep while nursing my baby in the middle of the day. When baby number two came along, baby number one was a wild-man two-year-old and he kept me awake in the day, so no worries about falling asleep! At least baby number one was sleeping through the night and two, well let’s just say she finally slept all night long at age four!

Then came number three, four and five. A larger home and guess what? Our home turned into party-central. All of the family came for Mother’s Day dinner, and somehow my day turned into a frustration for all. The kids and my husband had to help clean up, I had to cook and everything had to be perfect when the first mom came! I finally became wise and learned that with these easy tips, I could reclaim my Mother’s Day! First of all, I had to think about what I really wanted to do. Did I want to go out to a costly meal? Did I want a gift that we couldn’t really afford? Did I want to stress my husband and kids wondering, “What does mom really want for Mother’s Day?

Truthfully the best Mother’s Day gift is to be appreciated, and loved.

Those precious hand written cards with “Mommy I love you!” are the ultimate, best!

Mother’s Day gift selection for me from my family was not working! After years of costly presents, presents that didn’t fit, household items I didn’t want, and the worse, costly flower bouquets ordered and delivered by the florist–have you seen how much they cost?! I said enough! We needed to cut back financially and it was getting so out of hand. It all came to a head, after the following event.

One Mother’s Day, after church and breakfast, my husband decided to take the younger three children fishing. Our subdivision has many small ponds and drainage streams/ ditches where fish abound. He was doing this to give me “alone time.” As I sat with my feet propped up, enjoying my day, my older son came home and looked smug. I knew something was up! Later I learned from the little kids–you’ve gotta love them, they just can’t keep a secret–“Dad called up Neal and asked him to buy and bring us flowers — your Mother’s Day gift — to us– at the pond! Isn’t that great mom?” So much for secrets. I certainly gave flower delivery an entirely different spin!

Yes, as my husband walked in to hand me flowers! A gift. And, I was grateful, especially for the smaller price tag, but I decided that day…it’s now or never time to take charge of my own Mother’s Day gift!

 

First my sanity tips for Mom and next my ideas for the best gifts ever — or ones I’d enjoy!

Here are my Mother’s Day Sanity tips:
1. If you are cooking make an easy meal: Baked Ham, store-bought scalloped or mashed potatoes, frozen or canned veggies, and prepared salads.
2. Do a potluck. Everyone loves to show off a special recipe. Assign different entrees or sides and deserts to those attending and let everyone else help with the meal.
3. Use paper products. The trees will survive another day.
4. Flowers. Buy yourself some. You can get them locally at a discount. Make your own arrangements. Hint: Use all of one color and baby’s breath for filler. You can not mess up. I promise!
5. Do something for you. Is it a 15-minute uninterrupted shower or soak in the tub? Is it a manicure? Is it a book that you want to read?
What I’ve learned from the thirty-eight years of being a mom… many times your family wants you to have the perfect day because they really do love and appreciate you, they just need help! Being proactive goes a long way to making your day wonderful!
My favorite Mother’s Day gift was going to church then out to the beach, and one of our favorite casual restaurants. There is a pizza restaurant that has an extensive sandwich, salad menu as well. Here we can sit with an amazing view and enjoy each other’s company. The food is delicious and then, we can go to the beach and enjoy a few hours before it gets too hot! When we get home, the kids help clean out the car, it gets vacuumed, while I shower. Then, prep for an evening meal handled by my now grown up teens and husband! Things have changed but then, I had to ask for the change something we moms don’t want to do!

Suggestions for Great Mother’s Day Gift Ideas:

1. Gift Subscriptions – sometimes there are subscriptions I just won’t buy for myself and I really want. This is my top list. DO you have any you would add?
  • Audible
  • Kindle Unlimited or other eReader subscriptions
  • Streaming movie channels – like Hallmark *wink
  • Streaming radio channels
2. Coupons from kids
  • I love you mommy notes!
  • Neck messages
  • “Chore upgrade” coupons
  • Car wash
3. Flower bushes
  • Rose bushes
  • Flowers planted
  • Mulch
  • Tree planted
4. Household
  • Trash emptied each day!
  • House cleaned
  • Floors cleaned
5. Devices
  • Sleeve for laptop
  • New phone case
  • eReader
  • Battery charger
Relax. Have Fun. Enjoy Your Day.

 

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DIY European Travel on the Cheap

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DIY European Travel on the Cheap!DIY European Travel On The Cheap

Episode 270 with Meredith Curtis and Felice Gerwitz

Did you know that DIY European travel on the cheap is possible? Is traveling to Europe a far-off dream due to finances, time, or both? In this podcast, Meredith shares how her entire family went to Italy and how they did it on a shoestring budget! If you’ve ever wanted to take a European vacation, this podcast provides helpful and money-saving tips!

Thanks to our sponsors, Media Angels Membership and Power Line Productions.

Show Notes: DIY European Travel on the Cheap

1.Research: Where do you begin? With research of course. Sometimes group travel companies can provide deals but many times DIY deals are better. Compare and contrast.

  • Do I want to be with a group or just my family? This is where DIY travel on the cheap comes in, do your research and you may find amazing deals.
  • Do I want to explore “off the beaten track places,” or tried and true?
  • What is the must-see list?
  • What is the secondary list, would be nice but only if we have the time or the funds.
  • Talk to other people, what do they say about traveling?
  • Use guides such as those recommended by Meredith: DK Travel Guides
  • Watch travel videos
  • Keep a Pinterest travel board
  1. Tours:
  • What are the benefits to your family?
  • Cost vs. convenience?
  • Benefits of both.
  • Find cheap tours on Groupon, Travelzoo, Gate One Travel, Tour Radar
  • Tours provide guide who speaks the language
  1. Foreign Country Concerns:
  • Know the rules and regulations.  Here is a great podcast on Travel and First Aid Tips
  • Churches: must have arms covered for women and no short-shorts
  • Currency
  • Transportation
  • Speaking the language
  1. Travel and Transportations
  • Planes:
    • Keep hydrated
    • Wear comfortable clothing/ shoes
    • Bring headphones
    • Earplugs for altitude changes
    • Chew gum, or let little ones drink when taking off or landing
  • Trains
    • Foreign currency or buy a ticket for all trains (metro cards)
    • Schedules and timelines
    • Rush (don’t get caught separated – it happens!) Stay together.
  • Rental Cars:
    • Only if you have experience driving in foreign country!
    • Rules are different (suggestions in some!)
    • European cars tend to be small
  • Buses:
    • Foreign currency or buy a ticket to ride all
    • Schedules
    • Less expensive
    • Some drive very fast!
  1. Packing
  • Suitcases
    • Rolling clothes to save space
    • Pack for comfort
    • No valuables
    • Small containers – toiletries
    • Disposables
    • Leave room for souvenirs
  1. Souvenirs:
  • Keeps sakes
  • Magnets
  • Keychains

 

 

Running Your Family Like A CEO

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Running Your Family like a ceoRunning Your Family Like A CEO

Podcast 269

Can you imagine running your family like a CEO? In this podcast, we explore that and much more. Did you know that a CEO is a leader (mom or dad), is responsible for day-to-day management decisions (mom), and for implementing the goals long and short-term (mom and dad). The CEO communicates and is a liaison between a board of directors (kids and spouse). And, yes, there are many more similarities!

Thanks to our sponsor: Like Arrows – a movie that examines family values and bringing up kids!

My husband is the head of his company, and often during the day he will call me, say hi, quickly and then launch into something he needs. Or, he calls and expects me to take notes to remind him to do something later. My official title is “secretary-treasurer” of the company, however, with kids at home and homeschooling, it sometimes becomes very hectic for me but not him! He gets lots done, he is efficient, he is a delegator, he knows how to bring things in under budget and with a profit.

This gave me an idea! What if we ran our family lives like we ran a company? Would we be wasteful? Would I allow inferior quality work (school work or chores) to continue? Would I keep an employee (child) in a job that didn’t match their qualifications? More importantly, would I give an employee a job and not explain how to do it? Hmm…

Helpful Tips In Family Dynamics:

  1. Relationship with God. If your relationship with God is “off” we will transfer that to our spouse or our children.
  2. Relationship: in families relationships are the most important and how we treat each other shows what’s in our hearts! Think about it.
  3. Job description: how can we do a job well

So, a CEO –

  1. Leader
    • As parents, we lead by example. If we aren’t doing our part our kids will see this.
    • Sloppy parenting. Do what I say, but not what I do.
    • Ineffective leadership.
      • Plans fall through all the time
      • Promises not kept
      • Never around
  2. Determines strategic direction
    • Family goals — are we following the Lord as a family?
    • Praying together, worshipping
    • Spending time together
    • Focus on strengths
  3. Organization and delegation:
    • Oversee what are your family needs
      • Follow through on delegation
      • Clean home, focus on particular character quality
  4. Responsible for day-to-day management / accountability
    • Teaching children responsibility
    • Educational needs of each child
    • Working on character
      • Job descriptions and follow through
      • “Hires and fires” — if a job is done ineffectively course of action
      • Delegate jobs and explanation of how you want them done
      • Accountability – are jobs done daily/ weekly – how are they accomplished?
      • Ineffective job completion – do it again until it is right or
      • Fired from the job and given another job more suited (not necessarily a punishment, this could be a demotion!)
      • Hiring for a supervisor job – but be sure there isn’t a sibling abuse of power!
  5. Communication: Identifying needs and remedies
    • Time spent with God — the importance of relationships — A Few Minutes with God Podcast
    • Time spent with your spouse – importance of relationships
    • Time spent with children!
  6. Resources: Focused and centered on family dynamics
    • Family resources – time, time, time
    • Planning family outings
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