Thursday, May 26, 2016

7 Money-Saving, Kid-Friendly Home Renovation Strategies

Children are Great Home Helpers! 


7 Money-Saving, Kid-Friendly Home Renovation Strategies

            When it comes to home renovating, saving money, and children, most people simply hire a babysitter while they work on a DIY project. There are fun ways to ditch the babysitter and save money by including your children as little home helpers.

            Every home project should be aimed at increasing home value. Without cutting corners, make the most of your next project by taking advantage of the situation. Make your next home renovation project enjoyable, lucrative, and family-friendly with these child-centered home renovation activities.

Project 1: De-Stash for Cash
Enlist your children to help with the renovation ‘clear out’. Save money by listing unwanted items on Craigslist, and have them help you decide what to list and for how much. Your children will love throwing around some old toys and home items, it will bring in some extra cash, and save you the headache of bringing unwanted items to the donation sites. Need help with the Craigslist process? Check out this guide.

Project 2: Play ‘Shop Owner’
Children love to play ‘shop’ no matter what age group. Let your kids be a part of the renovation process and save some money by having a yard sale, and putting in some of their items, along with some of the renovation cast-away items up for sale.

If you’re shopping for items to install or food for a quick meal, visit your local co-op for eco-friendly, lower cost items to bring into the home, and include them in the choosing and purchasing process.


Project 3: Play Decorator
When choosing what materials to use, or what colors to paint a room, invite your child’s input. Beforehand, let them know they are participating in a group decision, and you want everyone to make a vote. Helping to decide what will go into the home empowers them and helps build ‘teamwork’ experience.

Moreover, depending on the project, you can also allow your children to pick one aspect of the renovation project that is ‘theirs’. Choosing one item for a new room, for example, will provide valuable critical thinking experience as well as decision making practice.

Project 4: Enjoy the Chaos
Renovations can be a difficult time for everyone involved. Turn a chaotic situation around by embracing it. Rather than escape the house for fun excursions during the renovations, save some money by taking advantage of the mess.

Have an impromptu living room camp-out, complete with tent, flashlights and ghost stories. Plan a fort-building session with painting tarps, stepladders, big buckets and pails and other safe items you can find, either in the area about to be renovated or in another room entirely. You can always organize later!


Project 5: Construct and Destroy
Home DIY renovations can be fun, cost effective and very rewarding. For your DIY projects, give the kids some items that are safe for them, in a safe space, to allow them to feel what it’s like to use their hands, get dirty, and have some construction fun. Check out this resource for more fun tutorial ideas!

Children learn from every experience they encounter. Take advantage of this process for them to learn about tools and the rewards from a job well done. Let them find their plastic toy hammer, and hand them an extra plank of wood. Let them smash, pound and be loud! Give them a paintbrush and some paint and let them paint on the wood at a safe distance while you work. Talk to them about what you’re doing and why. Let them put on safety goggles, put on work boots and, even get them an apron to be a part of the home construction project.

Project 6: Rent Your Extra Rooms
Whether you are going away for a period of time or have extra rooms in your home, renting a room is an amazing way to earn some extra money and build home value. Get the children involved by having them be the breakfast ‘cookers’ of the home. Guests love breakfast, especially free breakfast, and including your kids is a perfect way to keep the money flowing in.

While I love this tip, it is important to make sure you know how to find the best renters. Especially with a family, it is important to know who is going to live in your home. Airbnb, HomeAway and Craigslist are good places to start. However, when trying to find out more information about a renter, there are great resources out there, like this one, that keep all information private and still show any history of violence or bad rental outcomes.


Project 7 (A&B): Start a Kid’s Garden
Whether the renovations are outside or inside, offset some improvement costs by starting up a community or private garden. It’s an excellent way to save money and get kids involved in a home project. Furthermore, a garden itself is a huge home value builder!

A.      Home Garden. A home vegetable garden can provide food for the family for a whole summer, or even through a winter, at a fraction of the cost of regularly purchased grocery produce. One bag of potatoes, can cost anywhere from $2-$5 dollars, but a few potatoes planted in the garden will make more potatoes for years to come. Include carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, beans, spinach, lettuce and beets, and you have an array of healthy foods for the initial cost of just the seeds some dirt, and a few hours or family fun.

B.      Community Garden. If you have ample space, convert landscaping in your front or backyard, and start a community garden. Post an ad in you online community bulletin, or just a sign in your yard, and offer up backyard or front-yard space to neighbors to come in and plant for a monthly fee. Include your kids in the planning, advertising, communicating and pricing process for an exciting family home-business adventure!

Need more garden help? Check out this resource for a great place to start!

Renovating to improve your home value doesn't need to be an emotionally and financially draining ordeal. With these tips, and some creativity, patience, and resourcefulness, you can save money and offset a portion of the costs, while also creating a great bonding time and learning opportunity for every member of the family.

Author Bio: Hank loves ice cream, Sour Patch Kids, and DIY projects that save money. He is a new landlord and loves to blog about the home. He hangs out on Twitter @hombyhank when he is not in the garden or working on a new project.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Disneyland Food You Have to Try Part 5

Ready for another installment of Disneyland food you have to try?

You HAVE to try the Churro Funnel Cake from Hungry Bear Restaurant. It is one of my all time favorite treats at Disneyland. You can thank me later.
Hungry Bear Restaurant will have seasonal funnel cake flavors so this isn't always available.

The Creamy Corn Chowder (served in a bread bowl) from the French Market Restaurant was delicious! Perfect for those colder Disneyland nights.

People always talk about the Mint Juleps at the Mint Julep Bar. They are pretty good and worth trying at least once so I had to include them. Of course if you are like me you would prefer something sweeter, but definitely worth trying.

What are your favorite things to eat at Disneyland or California Adventure?

See all the Disneyland food posts here

Monday, April 11, 2016

Child Bike Safety: The 5 Most Important Tips

By Christensen and Hymas Utah Bicycle Accident Lawyers

Teaching your child how to ride a bike is one of the traditional joys of parenting. Family bike rides are a great way to bond and spend time with each other. However, there are also many risks involved when kids ride bikes. Children and young adults are involved in over half of the most serious bike accidents across the country. Child bike safety is extremely important.

What are the most important and effective parts of child bike safety? As Utah’s Bicycle Accident Lawyers, we understand what kinds of mistakes lead to the most accidents. Here are some of our tips on keeping your kids safe while riding:

·         Always wear a helmet!
It is impossible to overstate the importance of wearing a helmet. Children and adults should wear a Consumer Product Safety Commission-approved helmet every time they ride a bike. You can know if your child is wearing an approved helmet by checking for a sticker on the inside of the helmet.
In addition, make sure that your child’s helmet fits and is fastened properly before they take off.

·         Wear the right clothes
Ill-fitting clothing can result in bike accidents. A key aspect of child bike safety is ensuring that no loose pants or untied shoelaces will be tangled up in the bike chain while they ride.
Proper shoes are also very important. Closed-toe shoes like sneakers with gripping soles will help your child’s feet stay on the pedals.

·         Ride a bike that fits
Making sure that your child’s bike is not too small or too big can play a big role in their safety. Experts suggest testing their bike’s size by comparing it to their height. Your child should stand straddling their bike’s top bar. There should be about 1 to 3 inches of open space between your child and the bar. 

·         No flat tires or sticky brakes
Flat tires and faulty brakes can make it difficult and even impossible for your child to steer and control their bike. Fortunately, these are both fixable problems. You should consistently keep up with the brakes and tires on your child’s bike. You can do this yourself or take it into a local bike shop.

·         Obey the rules of the road
Your neighborhood roads may seem quiet and safe, but it only takes one careless driver or one mistake by your child to cause an accident. Following road rules is crucial to child bike safety. You should teach them the basics of road safety, such as:
o   Obeying stop signs
o   How to act at intersections
o   Looking both ways out of the driveway
o   Using both hands to control their bike
o   Exercising extreme caution around cars, whether parked or moving

These tips are only some of the many ways that you can help your kids stay safe while riding their bikes. Always remind them to use caution and keep these things in mind.

We are experienced bike accident attorneys, who are dedicated to helping injured cyclists. If you have any questions about bicycle safety or laws, do not hesitate to contact us.

Friday, March 4, 2016

5 on Friday

Spring training is in full swing and I couldn't be happier, well if MLB showed more of the Cardinals Spring Training games I could be happier. But really I am so excited for baseball season. Go Cards!

I am obsessed with the Tupperware Modular Mates. I have been working on organizing the contents of my kitchen and pantry for awhile now and I cannot put in to words how much I love these containers! They are the best and free up so much space.

With Sammy and Sadie starting preschool this week I have realized how fast time with my little ones is flying by. My girls are not the easiest, in fact they can be down right hard most of the time and taking them out and about is no easy feat, but I have decided that I want to do more with them. Today we ventured out to the zoo and had a great time! Here is to more adventures with my kids!

I am getting ready to revamp my family's 72 hour emergency kits. What do I need in them?

I have the travel bug right now and wish I was planning another trip to Hawaii.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Sadie and Sammy

And just like that my babies are three years old! And they started preschool today! Where does the time go?

Because of Sadie and Sammy's speech delay, our school district placed them in an early 3 preschool class where they can get the speech therapy they need. Today was the first day. 
Dealing with the girls speech problems has been tiring to say the least. Lots and lots of testing, therapy sessions, working with the girls, etc but the hardest part of all of it has been the frustrations and tantrums because we just have not been able to understand them and what they are trying to say to us. The terrible twos are hard enough without having twins but imagine having the terrible twos with twins who are frustrated because their mom and dad can't understand them. Let's just say I pray for patience on a daily basis. Ha!

The girls were really excited to start preschool and we are really excited for them to get more help with their speech! Oh and an extra hour to myself twice a week.

Om a side note, trying to take a picture without at least one of these girls giving a thumbs up is hard.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Disneyland and California Adventure Food to Try part 4

With Disneyland (and all their yummy food) on my mind I decided it was time for another round of Disneyland food you have to try.

The nutty maple fudge found at Pooh Corner in Critter Country, is a tasty treat. It is quite rich so plan to share or save half for later.

The corn dogs in Disneyland are a must eat! They may possibly be one of the best corn dogs I have ever had. Found at the red wagon on Main Street in Disneyland.

Can you really go wrong with pulled pork? Nope. This a great way to get in a quick meal before hitting up your favorite ride. quick service, good flavor, it's a win. Found at California Adventure, Cozy Cone Motel. 

Ok, what are your favorite things to eat at Disneyland or California Adventure?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Reading List

Here is another round of what I have been reading.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern 
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des RĂªves, and it is only open at night. But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway.

I enjoyed reading this book. A very imaginative story that had me right from the beginning. Morgenstern is a great storyteller!

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Two weeks before the events of this book, young Hannah Baker killed herself, but she left behind a sort of audio will that explained her reasons for taking her life. Each of those thirteen reasons involves cruel acts, misunderstandings, or guilty acts of omission that involve other students.

I don't want to say that I like this book because it about suicide, however I couldn't get this book out of my mind and found myself drawn to the characters. I liked the writing style and the message it sends.

All the Light we Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

Of course anything during World War 2 always catches my interest so I had to read this. It is a great book! It took me a few dozen pages to get into this book but once I did, I fell in love with the characters. Very beautifully written.