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Save Money This Holiday

by EJ on November 18, 2013
category: Finances

Tis the season to start looking for places to save some money. With all of the holidays coming up, traveling expenses, families getting together and gifts to give out, it all starts adding up fast, sometimes too fast. This year get the jump on all the holidays. Whether you’re looking for the best deals on turkeys and cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, awesome gifts to meet everyone’s Christmas lists or maybe it’s just time to update the cabinets in your kitchen and shutters on your windows. Right now is a great time to start searching for those discount coupon codes online, in the local newspapers for coupons to clip and if your one of those Black Friday shoppers check out the Black Friday Ads to find the best prices and deals.

Here are some of the many places and ways to look for coupons and deals. My absolute favorite way to hunt down coupons is online. This way I can snuggle up in my pajamas, drink my coffee and compare coupon offers to find even more ways to save. For example finding a code for 20% off a single item and then adding a Free Shipping code on top of it, all from my couch! There are a ton of great coupon websites out there. I also like to grab the paper on Sundays and thumb through the pamphlets in there. They normally have fantastic ads for sales at ToyRUs, Wal-mart, K-mart etc. Not to mention the Redplum and SavingSource inserts which help you save money on your groceries and household items.

For all of you Costco and Sam’s Club members, don’t forget to go to their Customer Service Counter each month and pick up a Coupon Booklet to find out what sales they are running, and pick up those yummy free food samples while you do your shopping!   If you are a military family, you can pick up a free coupon booklet as you are walking into the commissary and there is even a nifty box that you can look through already clipped coupons that people either didn’t use or didn’t need that you can dig through to help you save even more. Not to mention all the coupons they have hanging off the shelves.

Nowadays with all this fancy technology we have, you can find coupons on Facebook coupon swapping sites, Ebay.com and even find a local coupon swapping group on craigslist for you to join or make your own group. If you’re new to the world of couponing I suggest finding a Free Coupon Class to take to help you learn about coupon stacking, doubling, how to use expired coupons and even how to store and organize your coupons. This is the perfect time to start learning how to coupon so that you and your family can save on holiday gifts, groceries or household items and take out some of the unnecessary stress of the holiday season. Have a happy, safe and a little less expensive holiday season this year.

DIY Bowling Game

by Michelle on November 11, 2013
category: 1 – 3 year (toddler),Fun time & Toys

As fall begins, many families are facing colder weather. This means we all need new ways to entertain the children inside on these cold or wet days.  Art activities are fantastic, but sometimes it is fun to be able to get some gross motor movement in! An easy indoor activity is bowling! Using items you have on hand, you should be able to have a set quickly. A hallway works the best for the bowling lane so that there is confined area to roll the ball in. Make sure you get any items off the floor that would get in the way of the game!

Where to Begin:

The first step will be to find bottles to use as your pins. I often have empty water bottles in the recycling, so that is an easy way to start! Using water bottles also saves the step of having to clean out the sticky soda or juice  DIY Bowling Game from the bottle. A traditional bowling game has 11 pins, but that can be too many for a small child. Starting with 6 is a good way to introduce children to bowling. A ball also needs to be found to knock the pins down with. It needs to have a little weight behind it to knock the pins down.

 The pins can be decorated or left as they are. A fun way to decorate them is to squirt a small amount of paint into the bottles, add a tablespoon or so of water and shake it together to coat the inside of the bottle. When it is coated, the excess paint can be poured out and the bottles need to dry overnight. An even more simple idea is to just wrap the outsides in a piece of scrapbook paper. This can also be an activity where each child gets to decorate pins themselves! Each pin doesn’t need to match, so it can be fun!

We have found we like the pins to have some weight to them. This can be achieved by adding some rice or beans to the bottle. The amount will really depend on the skill set of children you are playing with. The great thing about the bottles is that you can empty out or add more filler as you play. They can be left empty as well. Water can also be used to add a little weight to the bottom.  Also, the weight of the pins may have to change depending on the ball that is used. A lighter ball will need lighter pins to be able to knock the pins over.

No matter what size bottles you use, or how you decorate, this activity will be a lot of fun for children. It really is a fun game to play with toddlers! Smaller kids are really fascinated with cause and effect. And this game allows them to safely test out those actions without breaking anything! Just make sure to  show your toddler how to roll underhand! This is also a great game to learn about taking turns.

Enjoy your bowling set!

Written By: Gena W., The Mom Crowd Contributor

 

How to Become a Mompreneur

by Sheila on November 10, 2013
category: Finances

The newest buzzword surrounding moms in the business world is “mompreneurs”. Mompreneurs are women who are mothers and entrepreneurs all in one. They are using their business knowhow to start small businesses or startups and are still able to juggle motherhood. How are they able to do it and how does one become a mompreneur?

Many mothers have a lot of understanding of what other mothers need and want, so many mompreneurs start businesses with a mommy-based clientele. Mompreneurs will start businesses that help parents find reliable sitters or start a chain of daycares. They will think to start a mobile spa business to visit stay-at-home moms during naptimes to give them manicures and haircuts without having to arrange a sitter or skip naps. Or maybe they will start a couple of consignment businesses within the same area for children’s clothing and baby equipment. mompreneur

Whatever a mompreneur decides to start as their business, there are going to be several required elements of business before it can open its doors. After preparing a business plan and thinking of a name, a soon-to-be mompreneur needs to register their business name (i.e., Doing Business As or DBA), and decide the legal structure of the business (LLC, corporation, nonprofit, etc.). Seeking legal advice during this piece of the business process is a smart decision to be sure all state and national business laws are being followed.

Once the legalities of owning a business are taken care of, there may be a need for financial backers or a business loan to purchase the necessities of a business. Finding and buying the location for the business is one of the most important parts of opening a business. It can be done fairly inexpensively, but buying business supplies such as desks, clothing racks, signage, a point of sales machine, and decorations (paint, flooring, etc.) are very exciting decisions for a new company. Once the business is physically ready, deciding on hiring, date of grand opening, advertising, and pricing will be key decisions for a mompreneur.

Once decisions, purchases, and legalities are out of the way, the mommy business is ready to open its doors! Congratulations on being one of the few mompreneurs who can balance being a mommy and owning a business. We wish you all the success in the world!

Mom vs Mom Comparison

by Michelle on November 4, 2013
category: Mom Advice

We all do it. Some of us do it on purpose every single day while the others do it on accident. When you become a mother, you become aware of other things that you did not recognize before. The amount of women with

Two Women Arm Wrestling

children in grocery stores. The types of cars mothers drive. How you want to look as a mother and how you don’t want to look as a mother. So we all have done the mom vs mom comparison but how often do we do it and why we do it are the true questions.

How often we do it depends on these factors:

  • Job – Do you stay at home or do you go to work? What type of job is it? Staying at home will offer endless opportunities to view other moms around you at playdates, school, social meetups with the children. While as the mothers who attend a 9-5 daily job will not get to see how the mothers act around their kids.
  • Social Circle – A mom who has a circle of friends that are moms allows ample opportunities to compare herself. A mother who is the only mom of the group will be comparing herself to her kidless friends; which is not a fair comparison.
  • How many Kids- Mothers that have more than 1 kid will have extra time to compare. If one mother goes to one soccer game that night and the other goes to two; then she has an extra hour and a half to compare.

Why we do it depends on these factors:

  • Appearance – How did she get to be so skinny and I still have baby weight? Simple because we are all humans and not one human is alike. Why is that mom dressed in a baggy t-shirt and sweatpants…would it kill her to put on actual clothes? You have no idea what kind of day that mother has had. Maybe she has 6 kids that were all up last night and that was all she could manage at the moment. At least she has clothes on!

  • Status – Did you see that mom’s purse? Is she crazy to bring that into a elementary school! Look at that car she is driving…that can’t be safe.
  • Child- This is the worst. We judge the mom off of the child when we know nothing about their situation. We all know that kids are kids. They all have their moments and we do too. Just because a child is having a meltdown in aisle 4 of the grocery store does not mean that is how they typically act.

So why do we do this mom vs mom comparison to ourselves and each other? There is no one right way to be a mother. She may be better at some things but you are better at others. There is not a mother I know that is perfect and we should not try to be. Learning and accepting who we are will help each of us understand that there is not an award for “Best or Worst Mother.”

Written By: Courtney C., The Mom Crowd Contributor

Simple Halloween Favors

Halloween has always been a favorite holiday around here. It has become more fun in the past years with little kids around to dress up and introduce the holiday traditions. Halloween parties are always fun, and more and more are happening that are really family friendly. Here are some fun ideas to liven up your own party or to take to a friend’s party to have some fun. These are all easy ideas that can be made with items on hand or some from your local dollar store.

Spider Ice Cubes

A great and easy favor is to buy the small spider rings that are everywhere during the Halloween season and make them into ice cubes! There are the tradition

al black ones, but I have also seen assortments of spider rings in many colors. I found a bag that had some purple, green and orange mixed in with the black! Use your imagination! There are often bags of goodies that you can find at the store, it doesn’t have to be limited to just the spider rings. Just make sure whatever favor you pick, you choose one that won’t get ruined being soaked in water.

The ice cubes are made in a regular ice cube tray you most likely already have. Just place one spider ring in each ice cube section and pour water over! To make it even more fun, I will often use the juice or punch that I plan to use at the party and make ice cubes out of that. So when the ice melts, instead of watering down your juice, it just adds to the flavor. There are many recipes floating around online, so use your creativity. But this is a great and easy way to add some fun to your party.

Spider Ice Cubes

Ghost Lollipops

Another fun treat that you can use for a party or even trick-or-treaters is ghost lollipops! This is an easy craft that you can get kids involved in making. You just need some suckers from the store, some white fabric (or tissue paper), some ribbon, scissors and markers. The squares need to be big enough to cover the suckers to make their heads with enough leftover to make the body. You will tie your ribbon blow the head of the ghost and then add a face with the markers! This is an easy and fun craft that has been around since I was little.

Whatever your Halloween plans end up being, these are easy crafts that can be done with some cheap supplies. That is always a bonus when planning for a party, or for special treats to be handed out to trick or treaters. Even if you don’t have a party, it would be fun to make the ice cubes to have for a special Halloween dinner! These ideas can be used any time of year, just swap out the spiders for another fun prize and accessories can be added to the ghost lollipops to make them almost anything! Just remember to have fun!

Ghost Lollipops

Written By: Gena W., The Mom Crowd Contributor

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