Create a Family Friendly Kitchen

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The kitchen is the hub of a family home. It’s the place where everyone gathers to cook, eat, laugh and love, so it is important that you create a family friendly kitchen that everyone can enjoy. Here are some great ideas to help you do just that:

Install Textured Flooring

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The kitchen and bathroom are two places where there is a good chance of slips and falls due to wet flooring. Although you can never completely get rid of the danger, you can make a slip-based accident much less likely by installing textured floor tiles, which offer an extra level of grip.

Curved Countertops

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If you are planning on remodelling your kitchen anytime soon, you might want to think about replacing your boxy kitchen islands and workspaces with curved ones.  By doing so, you will remove many of the sharp edges in the kitchen, so you won’t have to worry quite so much when the kids are running riot in the kitchen.

Add an Island

If you don’t already have one, and you have the space, adding a large kitchen island is a great way to bring the family together. You can be prepping veggies for the dinner as the kids sit around the island doing their homework and your partner works on their taxes, all in the one space.

Keep Dangerous Appliances Out of the Reach of Children

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There are lots of kitchen appliances that make life in the kitchen so much easier for us all. Things like sharp chef’s knives and high-speed blenders take the time and hard work out of cooking, but if you have small children, they could also pose a threat, which is why you should plan for plenty of high cupboards space or installs shelves well out of the reach of little hands.

Install a Whiteboard

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Installing a wipeable whiteboard, or even a classic blackboard with chalk, in the kitchen is a great way to keep the whole family organised. Use it to write shopping lists, dental appointment, homework and even recipes, and you’ll all know exactly what is going on from day to day.

The Kitchen Sink

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If you have a large family or you often have lots of guests over, check out some of the larger kitchen sinks available. Installing a large kitchen sink will stop your dishes from overflowing and creeping on to the counter when you’ve just made a big meal, and you’re not quite ready to clean up.

Add Entertainment

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If you want to encourage all members of your family to spend more time with you in the kitchen, you may want to think about installing a few sources of entertainment to keep everyone happy. You could mount a small kitchen TV on the wall to keep you company while you cook and entertain the kids before family meal time, or you could install a wireless sound system that will let you stream your favourite songs in the kitchen. Of course, you could go quite low-tech and simply bring a radio into the kitchen, but that’s less likely to convince the kids!

We are going to Castaway Bay! Oh and YOU CAN TOO!! #Giveaway

The one thing I love most as a parent is doing fun things with my family.  I feel like that is the great reward after all the work I put in as a mom on the day to day.  Next week we are making the trip to Sandusky, OH to enjoy the tropical paradise at Castaway Bay Indoor Waterpark and Resort.

Please follow along with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, I will be using #CastawayBay2017

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Guess what?  YOU can go too!  First- Castaway Bay has incredible deals starting at  $99 per night.  And that includes Water park admission for four guests!  BUT I am also giving away one four pack of day passes to Castaway Bay on my Facebook Page: Mommy Has A Life.

Go to THIS POST on my Facebook Page.  And Like, Comment and Share to be entered!

Good Luck!!

A Smart Home Is A Comfortable Home

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The smart home is just one of the many emerging tech advancements that have become a big talking point in recent years. The possibility of controlling your lights, locks, HVAC system and other things is obviously exciting, and more and more people are beginning to enjoy the various benefits of smart home tech. Here are just a few smart home additions that will make your home more comfortable…  

Hands-Free Garage Door Opener

We can all remember one instance where we’ve been trying to get in or out of the garage with both our hands full of groceries, tools, or something else. Getting this piece of smart home tech will ensure that you can simply make the garage door swing open, instead of finding somewhere to put everything down. There are many companies out there offering openers that are compatible with common smart home hubs like the Amazon Echo. Once it’s all set up, you’ll be able to use your voice to get your garage open and closed, making those awkward trips from the car to the home so much more convenient. Some interfaces will even let you check the status of the door from your phone whenever you like.

Smart Thermostats

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Smart thermostats are one of the most popular pieces of smart home technology on the market, and have become a star product for many HVAC companies like Academy Air. For many people, getting one of these is a purely economic decision. By programming your smart thermostat, you’ll be able to set certain caps on how much heat or conditioning you’re using, and shave a considerable amount of your usual heating bill. However, there are many features about these great little devices which also increase the overall comfort of your home. You’ll be able to adjust the heat in your home from anywhere provided you have your phone on you, get email alerts to tell you when the temperature is rising or falling outside of your pre-programmed range, and save yourself all those trips to the dial whenever you want to warm up or cool off. Modern smart home thermostats are one of the best ways to test the waters and see if this kind of tech is for you, so start looking!

Smart Locks

Sometimes, how comfortable we are in our homes goes past the temperature, the quality of our furniture and other physical factors. Often, one of the biggest deciding factors in how comfortable we feel is the degree of security we have. While smart locks are still in their infancy, and there are various bugs that need to be ironed out, they’re generally much more reliable than conventional, mechanical locks. While a regular lock can be picked, smart locks only allow access to authorised people, and everything is controlled through smartphones. As these are developed, it’s only going to get harder and harder for would-be burglars to force the mechanism. Aside from the added security benefits, you’ll never have to worry about leaving the house without your keys again!

Get In Your Car For The Road Trip Of Your Dreams

For many travellers from the entire world, it is impossible to think about the USA without thinking of the American highway, without seeing yourself in the shoes of Dennis Hopper in Easy Rider or Bob Dylan’s In Highway 61 Revisited. The USA can be synonymous with the celebration of the ideal of freedom on the open road. There are enough pop songs to enjoy a lifetime of coast-to-coast drives and road trips. But more importantly, there are more than enough adventurous travellers to take the challenge. So if you fancy a holiday without the kids, or if the kids are old enough to join – remember that toddlers, babies and young children will need a different kind of vacation -, why not reconnect with the adventurous spirit of your teenage years and cruise the road through the USA?

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Fall in love with road trips

Summon The Organization Guru

A road trip might be symbol of freedom but it requires a lot of careful planning. For instance, if you intend to use your car, you will need to run a thorough check on its brakes, tyres, engine and suspensions. Do make sure that your insurance is up-to-date and that you won’t be left stranded on the side of the road in case of trouble. Additionally, if you don’t live in the USA, but come from one of the countries that benefits from an easy entry regulation, remember to register online for your ESTA which gives you free access to the USA for a period of up to 90 days. You will need to register at least 48 hours before departure to make sure that your visit can be authorized on time. If you are worried about finding the best itinerary, you can rely on a travel agency specialist in road trips across the USA. They are here to plan for you the journey and provide everything from amazing accommodations to a car up for the challenge.

Visit Incredible Places

There’s one thing about visiting the USA from a car: You can see more of it! From breathtaking sceneries in California if you are planning a Western road trips – including driving of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge – to stunning landscapes in the Deep South, the USA has a lot to offer. Take your pick between a road trip to the East through New York and New England, Florida, the Deep South, the Rockies, the Pacific Northwest region, the Pacific Southwest area, Alaska, and cost-to-cost trips. There is a lot to discover and plenty more to taste!

Reconnect With Your Adventurous Self

How long has it been since you’ve last felt truly young and adventurous? Without having to turn into a modern Bruce Willis, you can use road trip holidays to revive your younger self and experience the dream of freedom that you’ve probably abandoned, like everyone else, when you became a responsible adult. The feeling of the open road in front of you, the sun hitting the car as you drive, is there any better definition of the perfect adventure? Whether you need time to breathe and recharge your batteries, or you want to experience the optimism of youth again, a holiday on the route is one of the best gifts that you could make yourself this year.

The Science of Sleep

What exactly do you know about sleep? Even though we need to sleep each and every night, few of us know a lot about it. Sure, we all know that our body and mind need it to stay healthy, but I’m pretty certain that not many of you will know much about the science behind it. Even though you probably won’t be a scientist researching sleep and the body’s sleep patterns, it is very important to know the basics as it can help you improve your natural rhythms and get a better quality of sleep each night. So, what exactly should you know? Here are some of the simplest facts of the science of sleep for you.

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Circadian Rhythms

Every living orgasm has a circadian rhythm. Even though different species have slightly different rhythms, generally speaking, they are the same between individuals of the same species. This explains why all humans sleep through the night. That’s because our circadian rhythm tells our body to feel tired through the night. However, nocturnal animals such as bats and foxes have a reversed rhythm, which tells them to sleep through the day and wake up at night. But what exactly is this circadian rhythm? It is a 24-hour cycle that our body goes through which tells our body and mind when to wake up and when to fall asleep. It influences our energy levels and feelings of tiredness. If you make sure that you move your sleep patterns so that they are more in line with your body’s circadian rhythm, you will find that it is easier to fall asleep and enjoy a good night’s sleep.

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Relaxation Is Key

If you go to sleep feeling unrelaxed, there is no way you are going to find it easy to drop off! For this reason, you need to take your relaxation before bed very seriously. There are various ways that people like to unwind, some of which will work for you and some which won’t. For instance, it is highly recommended that people take a bath before bed. The warm water can relax muscles and help your mind to switch off. For the ultimate bath, add plenty of bubble bath and spread candles around your bathroom. Some people also like to read in bed before they switch the light off. If you get a good quality mattress from one of the mattress specialists around the country, you can stay cozy while reading and will be able to sleep without suffering from back ache.

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Don’t Go Hungry

One of the most common reasons why people wake up through the night is that they are hungry. Even if they do not feel any hunger, not eating before bed leads to low blood sugar levels, which can cause the body to wake up frequently during the night. So if you have been struggling with broken sleep recently, you should think about having a little snack before you hit the hay. Ideally, it should be a healthy snack that is high in protein. Don’t eat anything with excessive sugar as this can keep you awake. Some good snacks to try are toast with peanut butter or a portion of Greek yogurt.

Scents Help Sleep

This point may sound a bit like an old wive’s tale, but you will be very surprised to learn that it is totally true – in fact, there is a lot of science to back it up! There have been many studies in the effect that various scents have on our sleep, and almost every one of these studies shows that lavender is the most effective for helping people get a peaceful night’s sleep. The studies looked at the effect of sprinkling lavender essence onto bed sheets. Lots of the studies’ participants found that this helped them drop off quicker than usual. But there are other ways you can incorporate lavender into your sleep routine. For instance, try burning a lavender-scented candle in your living room before you head upstairs to bed.

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Use Neutral Sounds

Does your bedroom overlook a busy road? If so, you are probably disturbed by all the traffic every night. There is one way around this, though. You should use neutral sounds to help block out the noise pollution. One way to do this is to play some white noise in your bedroom through the night. This blocks out annoying noises and can help you drift off in a matter of no time at all!

There we have it – all the science you need to know behind a good night’s sleep!

Get New Furniture For The Family Home Without Breaking The Bank

When something breaks in the family home, it can leave moms feeling stressed out. After all, it might cost a small fortune to get a new chair or bed for their child. And they might not have the funds to pay out a couple of hundred dollars right now for the new furniture. But it doesn’t have to be the end of the world when something breaks in your home. In fact, you might be able to replace the furniture without spending a small fortune. Here are some ways you can get new furniture for the family home without breaking the bank.

Look in second-hand shops

When it comes to getting new furniture, it doesn’t have to technically be ‘new’ to be suitable for your family. After all, as long as it’s in good nick, it can be used by your child in the home. And buying it second-hand might save you a lot of money in the long-run. Therefore, you should visit one of the many second-hand shops to see what furniture they are selling. You might be surprised to find something that will go really well in your child’s room. And a lot of the furniture which you can find in second-hand stores is generally in good condition. If you do buy something which needs a bit of love, you could always paint it to give it a new lease of life. Therefore, it will feel like you are buying the item brand-new, rather than from a second-hand store. And remember to look online at second-hand stores too. After all, you might find something great that you can go pick up or get delivered to your home.

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Pay out for it on a monthly basis

You might not have the funds to get a brand-new bed or wardrobe at this current time. And it means you might struggle to pay for items when you hit the stores. But if it’s an essential item, you will need to get it now for your family. However, there are some options if you are short on cash. For one thing, you should see if the shop does any options when it comes to paying out for the item. Some stores allow you to pay for the item on a monthly basis over a year or two. That way, you can just pay out small monthly installments, rather than a massive amount in one go. And then you can still have the items and then pay the money back over time. Or you could even look into getting a small loan from your bank to cover the funds you need to get furniture for your family. Just make sure you can afford the payments, so you don’t end up in debt!

Time to look online

While a lot of us head to the stores when we need to buy new furniture for our family, it might be a good idea to have a look online instead. You might not be able to see the furniture in front of you, but you can buy it for a fraction of the cost you will find in stores. After all, a lot of sites will sell similar furniture for a low price to try and beat off the competition. And if you do shop online, you can take advantage of things like voucher codes to reduce the cost of your item. And not only this but you could also get free delivery if you spend over a certain amount. So you can get the item to your home without having to spend a penny. Just remember if you are going to buy the furniture from a site you don’t know, make sure you read the reviews first. After all, you don’t want to end up spending a ton of money on a purchase from a site that won’t actually send it out!

Build the furniture yourself

When you need new furniture, it’s easy to run to the stores and look online to get it sorted quickly. But if you are feeling the pinch (aren’t we all after Christmas), you might want to consider building your own furniture. For example, if you are after a new chair for your child’s room, you can easily follow instructions online to make a great wooden chair for your kids. And you can get the supplies you need for easy wood assembly from companies like Kenyon Group. Not only will it save you some money, but it can be a rewarding activity to build your own furniture. You could even get your little one to help you when creating the new furniture. Just make sure you build it sturdy to ensure it doesn’t end up falling down in months to come. After all, you don’t want your child to come to harm due to your handmade furniture. You can read my blog for further help on making your furniture last longer.

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Ask your friends

You should speak to your friends if you need to get some new furniture. After all, they might know someone who is selling some furniture they don’t need anymore. And you might be able to buy the furniture from them for cheap. Moreover, your friends might have seen a deal on furniture that you might not have spotted. Therefore, you could end up getting furniture for a much cheaper rate than you are about to pay. Ring your friends and speak with them, or you could even ask on social media. That way, you will know about great deals before you spend more than you need to on furniture!

And remember to check whether the furniture that needs replacing can be fixed first. After all, you could end up saving yourself a ton of money if you just fix it rather than buying brand new furniture. And not only this but if it can’t be salvaged, you could attempt to sell it online. After all, someone might want the furniture to upcycle into something fantastic. And you could pocket yourself some extra money at the same time towards new furniture.

Making Sure Your Bathroom is Family Friendly

A bathroom needs to be suitable for every member of the family, but often it is not designed with this in mind. Unlike the other communal parts of the home, the bathroom can be somewhat impractical for smaller members of your family.

There are, however, a number of ways that you can make this part of your home more child-friendly, ensuring that it everyone feels comfortable using it.

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Make it look brand new

One of the more drastic ways of making your bathroom family-ready is to use a professional renovating team. This is a particularly good option if your bathroom is a little past it’s best and needs a makeover. Smart Style Bathrooms virtual showroom lets you visualise your bathroom interior before work begins, meaning that the entire family can have their say on how it should look.

Toys, toys, toys

To inject a little bit of fun into your bathroom, why not invest in a few waterproof toys to keep your children (and any big kids in the family) entertained. Bath time is meant to be an enjoyable experience and a few toys can add to this, even if it’s just a few rubber ducks to play with. There are a wide range of children’s toys specially designed for use in the bathroom, including stickers and easy-to-clean pens that let them express their creativity.

Accessories for the little people

Other bathroom accessories provide practical benefits for the little ones. Attaching hooks to the wall at differing heights can ensure that everyone has a place to put their towel and there’ll never be a reason for anyone to leave their wet towel on the floor.

Make it colorful

Try to make the bathroom an inviting space for everyone. Although bathrooms usually adopt a clean, crisp design with neutral shades like black and white, a bit of colour can make the room a lot more interesting for your children. This could be in the form of a bright shower curtain or mat and you could even choose one that includes some of your children’s favourite themes, whether they’re into robots or fairies.

Get rid of tricky taps

If your bathroom is going to be of practical use to the entire family then being able to operate the taps safely is a must. However, twist handle taps can be difficult for little children to use and often result in having one scolding hot tap and one that’s freezing cold. By choosing a single lever tap, the temperature can be controlled much more effectively and your kids can operate it themselves with ease. This means that children can gain independence and learn an important lesson about washing their hands and personal hygiene.

Make room for everyone

A bathroom being used by a whole family needs a lot more space than if it was only being used by a single individual. Think carefully about the fittings you choose and consider whether a larger option would prevent an early morning race to the bathroom. Choosing a longer sink, for example, or even opting for two, would enable more than one person to brush their teeth at the same time.

Let everyone have their own space

When designing your bathroom, it’s important for everyone to have a little space to call their own. Storage may be at a premium in many bathrooms, but try to give each family member a little area where they can put their towel and toiletries. You could give everyone their own drawer or utilise open shelving to let everyone have their own personal bathroom storage basket. If you go for the latter, use named stickers on each one so your children feel like they have something of their own in the bathroom.

Give them a boost

Sometimes it helps to point out even the most obvious aspects of your home. For anyone with little children, you’ll be well aware that reaching things can be a challenge, but have you given them a helping hand in the bathroom? Including a small, but stable, stool in the bathroom can help them reach those high up places and give them some added independence that they will begin to demand as they get older.  

Safety first

A family home needs to be a safe home and this applies to your bathroom too. Even something as simple as a non-slip mat, inside the bath and on the floor outside it, can make a big difference to how child-friendly your bathroom is. With some extra safety features installed, your children will feel more confident in the bathroom and you will feel more confident to let them use it unsupervised.

Preventing Appliance Breakdown

As a busy mommy, modern appliances can be a godsend. They enable us to spend less time on chores and more time enjoying family life. However, appliances aren’t always as reliable as they used to be, which means that it is important to take care of them if you want them to last as long as possible and avoid expensive repairs.

Here are some handy tips that could help you keep your appliances running for a decade or more:

Fridges and Freezer

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Keeping an eye on your fridge and freezer seals is one of the simplest things you can do to prevent their breakdown. If the seals get even a little bit loose, cold air can get out and warm air can enter into your appliance. You should also clean your seals carefully with a paste of water and baking soda to keep them clean and functional.

To keep your fridge in tip-top condition, every fourth months or so, you should give the coils a quick clean, Unfortunately, this means pulling the fridge out from the wall so that you can get behind in many cases, but since dirty coils are one of the main caused of temperature malfunctions and a loss of energy efficiency, it is a job that needs to be done and it means that you can avoid taking out home owner loans to replace your appliances for a while longer.

Washer and Dryer

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You should give your washing machines hoses and ducts some attention at least twice a year. Check that the hose is in full working order and does not have any cracks and take the time to clean the ducts to avoid breakdowns, fires and floods.

It is also a good idea to check your machine every time you wash or dry a load. That way, you will be able to handle any small problems before they become major issues.

If you want to avoid a tumble dryer fire, you should clean out any lint from the filters at least once per week as a minimum.

The Dishwasher

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One thing you should never do is put dishes that still have particles of food on them into the dishwasher. By simply scraping your plates before you put them into the machine, you can avoid a build-up of old food that could cause your washer to be less effective. If you do notice a build-up of scraps inside your dishwasher, simply put a cup of white vinegar into the machine and let it run for a cycle.

It is also a good idea to clean your dishwasher’s rubber gasket every 3-4 months to get rid of any dirt and grime which could make it less effective.

Although carrying out regular maintenance on your appliances will reduce a lot of the risk of breakdown, it is not possible to prevent every issue that might crop up, which is why it is never a bad idea to take out warranties on expensive appliances, or start your own emergency repair fund so that you don’t have to go without your appliances for very long.

Gifts That Your Son Will Absolutely Love

As moms, we spend a lot of our lives picking out gifts for our kids. Christmas is barely over by the time you have to start thinking about and saving for birthday gifts! Here are some tips to help you out for ideas…

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Go For Creative Play

As mothers of sons, we spend a lot of our lives thinking about how best to help our sons to grow up into the sort of men that we want them to be – and luckily for us, we are their biggest influences and the people who can mould them into who we want them to be. Obviously, every boy and young man is different – but as mothers it’s our responsibility to show them what being a man really is. And a huge part of that is forgetting about traditional masculinity, about guns and competition and violence – and showing them how important it is to be creative and sensitive too. Not only will you be creating fine young men but you’ll also be forming great husbands and fathers one day. Go for gifts that will help with creativity, from art supplies to dressing up clothes and other items that can encourage imaginative play, from bobbleheads to dolls to stuffed animals. Toys that can teach your son gentleness and creativity will produce traits that will be important for the rest of his life.

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What About Experiences?

Of course it’s great to be able to open some gifts on the morning of your birthday – but as a rule, people remember experiences more than they remember objects. Even if your son is young, he’ll be forming memories every day of his life. Think back to when you were a toddler – your memories are probably hazy but they’re still there! You don’t have to take him to Disneyland to have an incredible time – building his own Build A Bear will be something he’ll remember and treasure forever, and going to see the dinosaur exhibit at your local museum is something that’s bound to produce absolutely rapturous delight. Making precious memories for both of you is one of the most important parts of being a parent.

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Sometimes It’s Okay To Be Part Of The In Crowd

We seem to spend half our lives wanting to wean our kids off the TV, off the common path, away from anything that makes them cool and part of the in crowd – but honestly, it’s absolutely okay to pander to that once in a while. If your kid loves animated movies then that’s great – get him some Toy Story or Zootopia toys to play with. If he can’t tear himself away from Paw Patrol then why not get him a stuffed animal version of his favourite character? It’s easy to be snobby about these things but having the same toys as some of his friends isn’t a bad thing – they’ll have things in common on playdates and topics of conversation – in as far as little kids have conversations! – at school. Plus, can you imagine the smile on your kid’s face when he unwraps his Chase doll? Absolutely priceless.

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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.