Category Archives: Uncategorized

Won Big? Ideas For Spending Your Winnings Wisely!

If you are a single mom, then you will know just how important every penny is – let’s be honest about, bringing up a child on your own isn’t easy. So, when we win big, be it at the local bingo, on a lottery ticket, or even if you’ve been left some money in a relative’s will or your boss has given you a bonus, it’s important to spend it wisely. The question is, how should you go about doing that? What would be a wise way to spend any money that you’ve come into?

Take a vacation

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Spending some of the money that you’ve come into on a vacation might seem like a waste, but it’s not if you’ve never been able to take your little ones abroad before. The chances are that you’ve been dreaming of taking your kids on a proper summer vacation for years, but until now have never been able to afford it. As long as you don’t spend all of your money on a vacation, there’s no reason not to take one, after all, nothing’s more important than quality family time.

Add value to your home

Another option for spending your money is to use it to add value to your home. You see, by adding value to your home, you can increase how much it will sell for in the future, giving you a better profit. There are lots of simple ways you can add value to your home, from increasing the size of the property with an extension, attic conversion, or a conservatory, to making it more eco-friendly, it’s just a case of deciding what would be the best option for you. Because as well as adding value to your home, you also want any updates that you make to positively impact yours’ and your children’s lives. So, say you want to save money, then you need to think of ways to do that, such as by transforming your home so that it uses less energy, for instance. The first step to doing that is undergoing a free energy analysis, so that you can see the best options for cutting costs, such as by installing solar panels or a smart thermostat, for instance.

Save it

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This might be the most boring option but if you want to ensure that your children have the best possible future, save the money up. Open a high-interest savings account and put all (or the majority) of your winnings in there, so that when your children need money for college, their first car, or maybe even for a deposit on a house, they have something to help them. Saving the money might seem boring, but there’s nothing boring about being mindful of your children’s future, now is there?

Start a business

Do you hate your job? Have you always dreamed of starting a business of your own? Then now could be the perfect opportunity to do so – you’ve got the money, all you need is an idea. Perhaps you already have an idea that you’ve been thinking about for years? Either way, if you’ve always wanted to start a business but have never had the funds to do so, now could be the perfect time to take the leap and go for it.

Won big? Make sure that you spend it wisely and don’t just waste it.

NAME-STAMP BLOCK Tutorial #FamilyFunMag

Another fun Winter- time craft, make your own NAME-STAMP BLOCK!  Idea courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine!

Great for new spellers—or anyone who likes to make her mark!

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What you’ll need
Paper
Craft foam
Craft glue
2-inch wooden block(s)
Stamp pad & notebooks (optional)

Instructions

  1. Write your recipient’s name in 1¼-inch-high block letters on a piece of paper (you can also use a stencil or print out the letters in a font you like at 100 points). Cut out each letter. You can get six characters onto a block, so if she has a short name, fill in any blank spaces with a fun design like a heart or a star; if she has a long name, use two blocks.
  2. Trace two of each letter onto craft foam; cut out.
  3. Stack the letters and glue them together. Then glue each letter to a side of the block backwards. Repeat for all letters.
  4. If desired, package your blocks with a stamp pad and notebooks.

Easy how-to Kid’s Craft: FISH FRIENDS

Are you looking for an easy craft kids can make while they are couped up inside this winter?  Check out this easy how-to tutorial for instructions on making stuffed Fish Friends.  

Your kids can make a whole school of these quirky stuffies for their crew!

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What you’ll need

Fish templates (find them at familyfunmag.com/printables)
Fabric (about ¼ yard per fish)
Chalky colored pencil
Kid-safe needle
Embroidery thread
Opaque white fabric-paint pen
Beans or fiberfill

Instructions:

  1. Cut out the templates and trace onto your fabric with colored pencil (feel free to let kids draw their own fish bodies too!), then fold the fabric in half and pin. Cut through both layers about ½ inch outside the marking.
  2. Starting at the bottom, stitch the fish together along the chalk line, leaving about 6 inches open along its belly.
  3. Add the fish’s features with the paint pen, letting each side dry in between. Help your child iron to set the paint per manufacturer instructions.
  4. Stuff the fish with beans or fiberfill, and then stitch it all the way closed.

Don’t Just Waste Your Money – Make Wise Investments, Today!

You’ve probably heard friends, relatives, and colleagues talk about the importance of making investments. If you are someone who has a tendency to splash their cash the moment it arrives in their bank account, investments might be an alien concept to you! But if you are a natural saver, you might already be well on your way to making some good investments. But whichever side of the financial fence you lay on, there are a few things you need to know about investments before you make any big decisions. It is always best to approach a financial advisor with your plans before you take the plunge and make any kind of investment – as many investment plans that look good initially might actually turn out to make you a loss. Some can even turn out to be scam pyramid schemes, which can actually leave you penniless. So never rush into an investment; always evaluate it first. That said, there are some rock-solid investments that provide a worthwhile path for your money. If you have a large sum of money at your disposal, it might be worth looking into some of these investment options.

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Your child’s education

Anyone who is a parent knows how important it can be to invest in your child’s future. We all want to give our children the best start in life – and for most of us, that means providing them with a great education. It is virtually impossible for young adults these days to attend college without some form of financial support from their parents. This is why many people these days are saving for their children earlier than ever – some before the child is even born! It may seem a little ludicrous, but anything that gets the job done and takes the pressure off you can’t be that bad, right? The best thing to do when deciding to invest for your child is to shop around for different saving accounts to find the most desirable interest rate. Don’t think you simply have to go for ones aimed at children – you can find competitive rates elsewhere and simply put your child’s initials on the account. Many of these accounts, however, have limitations for just how much you can put in per month – so work out what you are going to be able to afford and make your decision based on that.

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Property

Everyone knows that property is an asset. You home will probably be the most expensive thing you buy in your whole life – even though, of course, you probably won’t buy it outright! Nearly everyone gets a mortgage to help them get on the property ladder. Getting on the ladder is a priority for a lot of us, and the opportunity to purchase a property is now being extended to more people than ever. For low-income families, financial support can be offered in the form of an FHA loan. Websites such as Lending Tree can help you calculate what you will be able to access in terms of a loan like this. These kind of schemes can be incredibly viable for many people as property is one of the most secure investments out there. Generally speaking, homes go up in value nearly every year. If you do some work on your property or if a good school gets built near it, you may find that it’s value goes through the roof. This can leave you with a sizeable amount of equity in your home, which in turn acts as another investment opportunity.

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Shares

Think of the stock market and you probably think of the Wolf of Wall Street – stressed out brokers yelling down the phone whilst watching shares fall on an outdated computer screen. But, as is the case with most Hollywood movies, the reality is very different. Stocks and shares are actually another solid way to invest your money. There is, of course, some level of risk involved. Shares can go down as well as up, especially if something dramatic happens, such as a market crash or an event like Brexit. But overall, the returns you can make from shares tend to outperform other investments such as corporate bonds and even property. The important thing to remember is that investing in shares is no quick fix. You may need to invest your money for ten or even twenty years before it actually starts to be worth your while. So, if you are someone who tends to fall at the first hurdle, getting involved in the stock market may not be for you. Investment is different for everyone because everyone’s circumstances are different – so think carefully about what to do with your money.

Hosting Christmas? Here’s How To Make It A Guaranteed Success

Hosting a big family event is never a walk in the park. There’s a lot of pressure on you to get it right, and you may find yourself panicking as the day draws nearer. Now we are officially in December, that big event that is just around the corner is obviously Christmas Day. Hosting Christmas Day for your family can be a very big deal. After years of going to your parent’s for Christmas, or visiting an older family member, hosting Christmas yourself is your chance to give back. Plus, doing it on your own is a big achievement – it’s just something that takes quite a lot of planning. If you are waking up in a cold sweat every other night worrying about how you are going to pull it all off, relax. As long as you plan in advance and stay calm throughout, there is no reason why you can’t host a Christmas Day this year to rival all the others.

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Sort out where people are going to sleep

One thing you will need to bear in mind is that people probably won’t just to staying for one night. If you have family who has travelled a fair distance to be there for Christmas, it makes sense for them to make a few days out of it at the very least. With that in mind, you will need to have space for people to sleep in comfortably, rather than just crashing on the couch. If you have a spare bedroom that you haven’t really touched since you moved in, now is the time to turn it from a storage room into a beautiful guest room! You may also want to provide extra bedding for those people who WILL need to sleep on your sofas. If all bed and sofa space has been taken up, you may need to get imaginative – invest in some blow up mattresses so that the people who will need to commandeer the floor can at least be comfortable.

Get hold of any extras you may need

Imagine the horror of planning out your festive meal, only to realise that it is logistically impossible in your current kitchen. In order to pull off what you’ve planned, you need another oven, probably another fridge and a spare dishwasher wouldn’t hurt either. If you do find yourself in a situation like this, don’t panic. You can now actually access Appliance & Furniture Rentals for those scenarios where your own home doesn’t play ball. Of course, no one has actual appliances installed around Christmas as it can tear up half your home. So renting one instead is an easy solution to your problem.

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Make the necessities accessible

In order to have a relaxing festive holiday, the last thing you need is eight family members in your ears asking where everything is, or if they can use something of yours. Make it clear from the start that whilst there are certain things they need to ask to use, the rest is all theirs. After all, you are family! Have basics like bread for toasting, teabags, shower gels and towels all at hand for everyone to use. Christmas is all about giving, so encourage everyone to share and share alike.

Your House Isn’t Haunted It Just Needs Some TLC

With the release of the Ghostbusters movie, it seems like everyone is looking out for worrying home problems that could be evidence of the supernatural. But whether you believe that ghosts exist, or you think it’s a load of hokum, most houses aren’t haunted they just need a bit of tender loving care.

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Mysterious footsteps

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Do you hear clomping footsteps in the night that seem to be coming up the stairs, or moving about in the attic overhead? If so you could be scared out of your wits thinking that you have a spectral visitor. But before you call a priest, call a plumber. Aging water pipes can cause such noises, especially in houses over 15 years old. Don’t forget that it could be that the air pressure in your plumbing system is off and that is why you hear the knocking. Or the pies could be expanding or contracting because of the temperature of the water.

Oozing Walls

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Oozing walls is a common sign that a house is haunted. If you are getting reams and reams of ectoplasm, you can just skip ahead and call the Ghostbusters! But if your problem is not quite that severe, you may want to consider a less paranormal solution – damp.

Damp is something that can affect any age of home. It can be caused by different reasons. Sometimes it is because water is not being removed from the outside of the house or roof quick enough when it rain and so it soaks through to the inside. It can also be caused by flood damage or even water rising through the building from a particular damp ground around the house.

The solution that you choose will depend on the type of damp you are experiencing. Flood damage and rising damp can be dealt with by a company that does water damage restoration. They will be able to dry out your room, fix the damage and treat it to prevent future problems in the future.

Chattering

Do you hear things when its deadly silent and you are alone in your home? Can you listen to a chattering or rustling that seems to be coming from behind the walls? Don’t worry, it’s probably just a bug or rodent infestation.

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Rodents and insects are so clever at getting into warm, dry places and making their nests. Whether you have mice, roaches or termites call the exterminator to assess your problem and then recommend a course of treatment.

Moving Tables

You may think that a spirit from the other side is trying to contact you through rapping on the table. But before you call in the parapsychologists, check that all the legs are equal!

Also, make sure that you haven’t placed the table on a weak point in your floor. It may be that a previous renovation has removed a supporting wall, causing it to be less stable in this area. While you’ll probably be very relieved to find out that this is the case speak to a builder quickly as this can be a safety issue for you and your family.

Ghostly Gusts

Can you feel a spectral breeze even when the windows are closed? Do you get a cold shiver now and then and can’t explain why? While it may be an apparition trying to get your attention, it’s much more likely to be some poorly sealed windows and doors. You can try a draught excluder, but they best way to prevent this is to reseal your windows and doors to prevent the cold getting in and the heat getting out. This should also save you some money on your heating bills, as less heat will be escaping, so your place will be a lot cozier for less money.

Lights that go on and off

Are you having trouble with flickering lights? While it might seem like Aunt Mabel is trying to bring you a message from the other side, it may actually just be an issue with your electrics. Electrics are not to be taken lightly and if faulty can cause dangerous fires.

You may have overloaded circuits or loose wires. These are something that should be dealt with by a professional. If possible stop using the circuits or isolate them via the fuse box until they have been fixed as they pose a serious fire hazard.

Rotten food

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Apparently, a ghostly presence can cause food to turn rotten and moldy. If this is happening in your fridge, it could be a real worry! Before you reach for the holy water, get a fridge thermometer and make sure that the temperature is right. Maybe it juts a fault with your white goods? Or maybe not…?

Reboot And Recharge: 4 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Free Time

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Free time is precious, whether it’s a quick coffee before a meeting or Sunday afternoon with the family.  Time spent away from work and household chores allows us to relax and recharge.  But if we spend that time worrying about the things we’re not doing, it defeats the purpose. Follow our quick tips to make the most of your time and enjoy every minute.

  1. Plan, Schedule, Organize

We’re used to keeping a diary for work, but we don’t always do this for our free time.  The problem with this is that work and housework tend to take over.  If there’s nothing in the diary, it’s tempting to keep on going to get everything finished.  Unfortunately, it will never be finished.  There will always be something to do.  Your to-do list will never be empty.  And you know what?  That’s okay because that’s just life.  So forget about getting everything done and schedule downtime and family time in the same way you would a work event.  

Being organized and planning ahead also helps.  This includes everything from parties at the weekend to vacations.  If you’re organized, things will run smoothly.  

  1. Delegate

To create time in your schedule in the first place, you need to delegate.  This not only refers to your work life but your home life too.  It’s everyone’s responsibility to ensure the smooth running of the house.  It shouldn’t all fall to you.  So ask for help when it’s needed.  If there are larger jobs that need completing, consider handyman services. They can do everything from building an IKEA bookcase to working with electricals.  This will clear your repair list and free up your time to spend with family.

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  1. Get Up Early At Weekends

After a busy week of early get-ups, it’s tempting to stay in bed at the weekend.  The problem with this is that you will sleep away your free time.  While it’s fine to set the clock a littler later, try not to sleep in.  Give your free time the same consideration as your work.   Of course, to do this, you need to ensure that you get enough sleep.  So avoid too many late nights.

  1. Be Present

To eek out every drop of enjoyment from your downtime, you need to be fully present.  Try to forget about the stresses of the week.  Don’t spend your time thinking about what needs to be done.  And don’t dwell on things you can’t change.  Instead, immerse yourself fully in what you’re doing.  Give it your full attention.  

One important way to be present is to switch off your mobile devices.  This means no checking emails and voicemails.  

Being present is not always an easy skill.  But it gets easier over time.  So stay with it. Practicing mindfulness can help with this. It’s all about appreciating the ‘now.’  Look at what is right here in the room with you and forget the past and future.

The next time you have some time off, think about how to make the most of it.  Clear your schedule and plan if necessary.  Above all, have fun and live in the moment.

Three Amazing Family Friendly Vacations

Proper planning and keeping the kids entertained is the key to a successful family vacation. Choose one of the options below for a fun packed holiday that is sure to be a hit with the kids.

Disney

Of course, number one on the list has got to be Disney. Meet your favorite characters, see the parade and ride the roller coasters. Disney is set up for children of all ages.

Disney Parks

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Disney is a great US based holiday, and you can either stay in one of the park hotels or get a villa near to the park. If you go for a villa, make sure to rent one with a pool so you can cool off in the hot weather. If you decide to go for one of the fabulous themed Disney hotels, take a peek at the free dining packages as they can save you a packet.

If you are looking for a more international adventure, try the Paris or Shanghai locations. If you choose the Paris park, rent a car and make sure you take in the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and the love. Kids will get a kick out of seeing the mummies in the Egypt exhibit.

If you go for the Shanghai location, make time to absorb some Chinese culture. Popular activities include a Huangpu-river-cruise at night, a food led city tour or check out an acrobatic show.

Brilliant for kids and adults alike, there are now Disney themed cruised available.  The grown-ups can relax while the little ones are entertained by their favorite Disney characters.  So it’s definitely a win-win situation.

RV Trip

A good old American road trip is something the kids can get into. Get them involved with planning the journey and picking out the locations that they would like to visit. Take the well-traveled Route 66 or go for a more usual option like a tour of America’s weirdest museums.

If you are consider buying your own RV for the trip, there are plenty of local dealerships with  a wide range of motorhomes for sale. Remember to pick one that has enough space for the whole family as you will spend the majority of the day in there together. Motor homes make an especially good option for families with food allergies or special diets. You can use the kitchens to cook your own food and ensure exactly what goes into it.

Grand Canyon

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The 277 mile long and 4000ft deep Grand Canyon, is a brilliant location for a family friendly vacation. Its spectacular beauty is great inspiration for artists, so why not get the kids sketching or taking photos for their journal?  A helicopter ride, down into the canyon will up the excitement level,  and if you want to go all out, why not horseback ride through the canyon itself? Of course, you don’t want to miss the sky walk either! As the Grand Canyon is set in its own national park, there are plenty of other activities to do. Think river rafting and trekking. The kids can even become a junior ranger!

Ways to Overcome Your Fear of Learning to Drive

If your fear of driving is holding you back from learning to drive and being independent, you’re not alone. More people than you probably realise have a phobia of driving, whether they have been in a road accident themselves or have witnessed a bad crash on the roads. A fear of driving can definitely limit you, with driving being an essential skill to have in today’s day and age. However, you’ll be glad to hear that a fear of driving can certainly be overcome. With the right driving instructor and enough practice, you can soon be on your way to driving on your own with confidence and ease.

Learning to Drive

Start Early

If you are thinking of taking driving lessons and need to overcome a fear of driving, the best thing to do is get started as early as possible. Rather than setting yourself a time limit on passing your driving test, endeavour to give yourself as much time as you need in order to ensure that you build your confidence and overcome your fears. Before you start taking driving lessons, it’s a good idea to take your driving theory test so that you have one less thing to worry about and also have a good grasp of the theory side of driving. Click here for some free driving theory mock tests.

Find a Good Instructor

In order to learn to drive successfully when you need to overcome a fear of driving, it’s vital that you have a great driving instructor who is willing to put the work in and give you plenty of patience and time to overcome your worries. Some driving instructors will even offer lessons specifically designed for nervous drivers and will be able to talk you through fully gaining or regaining your confidence at the wheel. The most important factor of learning to drive as a nervous driver is finding a good instructor who is both understanding and patient. Doing your research beforehand to find a driving school or instructor who is reputable and good with nervous drivers can definitely help you a lot.

Practice Makes Perfect

It’s absolutely natural for anybody who has not done much driving to be nervous. But, as you practice driving more often and get more used to being on the road, you’ll find that your fear begins to subside. Because of this, the more practice that you get when learning to drive, the more likely you are to pass your test and start driving on your own with confidence. If you pass your test and still feel nervous about taking to the roads by yourself, you can book a range of post-test driving lessons such as the Pass Plus course which will help you build your confidence with driving as a qualified driver, for example motorway driving. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

If you’re feeling scared and nervous about learning to drive, you can definitely overcome this with lots of time, patience, practice and the help of a good driving instructor.

How to Fit Studying Around Your Life as a Mother

It’s no secret that being a mom is one of the busiest jobs that a woman can ever have. As a mom, you have to be on call 24/7, and you definitely don’t get that many breaks! For many busy moms, the idea of going back to school to further their education is a tempting one, but many are discouraged as the thought of trying to juggle education, motherhood, and possibly even a career at the same time is simply too much. However, it is possible if you know how– read on for some top tips on how you can easily fit education and studies around being a mom.

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Online Learning

It’s no wonder that online learning is popular with moms everywhere. Allowing you to study from the comfort of your own home and set your own study times for when it’s convenient for you, online education is available at all levels and with a wide range of subjects to choose from – even in the medical field, which is great for those who want to study subjects such as nursing. Using that example, it’s definitely possible to study to become a nurse online, from undergraduate level right up to a doctorate in nursing practice. With online learning, you can take a DNP online, and become a Doctor in Nursing Practice without having to attend any physical classes! See Bradley University for more information.

Part Time Study

Along with online learning, part time study is also a popular choice amongst busy moms. Rather than committing to a full time course, studying part time can be much easier to fit around motherhood and also gives you more flexibility if you need to continue working in order to support yourself and your family. If you’re thinking of applying to college, ask about the course options that they offer for non-traditional students, and whether or not they would recommend that you study part time given your situation. Although it usually takes more time to complete a part time degree, the lower stress levels and smaller workload can make it much easier to fit around being a mom.

Support for Parents

With more parents going back to college in order to further their education, pursue career progression or even change their career completely, colleges are bringing in additional support for those students who have children. College-provided childcare, financial aid, and flexible learning options can all be arranged when you enroll to ensure that you can easily fit your studying into your life as a parent and find a good balance. For the most part, colleges are very accommodating of non-conventional students and will be willing to help you out in whatever way you need. If you’ve enrolled at college and need to discuss the support available to you as a parent, having a chat with a college counsellor or your program leader can help.

Fitting education around motherhood is definitely not the easiest of things to do, but with the right support and planning, it can certainly work out.