Thanks to one of my favorite BFF’s Lorie M. for sharing this hysterical video. As a mom of boys and an admitted occasional helicopter mom :), this video will crack you up…check it out…
Ashley McCann writes about being a mom – and being frugal – at PushPenny.com. Named to Ignite Social Media’s “100 Women Bloggers You Should Read,” McCann shares some ideas to start and maintain a budget, including some free and some paid solutions. Also check out other articles on the topic here at The Lounge, “Money Matters” including our free downloadable budget spreadsheet, “Monthly-Annual Budget” (in the pink box). – Amy
Somewhere in the back of our busy mom brains, we know it’s wise to have a plan for our money. However, due to all of the other plans mom is in charge of making and maintaining, it’s easy to let that particular “to do” fall to the wayside.
Creating a budget doesn’t have to be another “mom-umental” task; use the following services to help save time while you work on saving money:
1. Mint.com–Quick, easy to set up, and seamless to incorporate into every day life, Mint.com is the budgeting solution for many. Best of all, it’s free! How’s that for budget-friendly? Mint does the work of analyzing your spending habits and presenting it back to you in handy, “I spent how much on fast food?!” charts and graphs. The program easily integrates with your bank accounts so that time investment is minimal and also features a phone app that makes it easy to track spending on the go.
2. YNAB–Although there is an upfront cost ($60), You Need a Budget is one of the most popular budgeting software systems on the market. The core idea of this program is knowing what needs to happen now so that you can handle whatever happens next. YNAB helps create spending categories for normal but unexpected-in-the-moment future purchases such as home and car repairs, and also sets users up to get a month ahead on their bills in order to get out of the rut that living paycheck to paycheck creates. Download the 34-day free trial to see if it meets your expectations.
3. Quicken–It’s been an industry leader for quite a while now, so Quicken is clearly doing something right. This software ($39.99) automatically syncs with your bank account, categorizes your spending and creates a budget based on past habits. The new “Snap and Store” feature allows you to quickly photograph your receipts for easy paperless access to them later.
4. Excel–With a little bit of spreadsheet-based knowledge and some dedication, you can create your own record of spending and saving with a program like Excel. Spreadsheet templates are available online to help get you started. Only the calculations will be automatic, so it requires a time investment and some involvement on your part, but that can be a good thing for fiscal accountability.
5. Financial Peace University– It’s slightly more time intensive than the other options, but if you are truly clueless about the whys or hows of creating and committing to a budget, this Dave Ramsey course might be just what the accountant ordered! This home or church based study program helps people rid themselves of debt, learn to spend and save wisely, and goes over how to set up a cash-based budget.
Now all you need to do is to pick the program that makes the most sense for your lifestyle and savings goals and begin the set-up process! Like most things, deciding to get started is the bulk of the work. Once you have a system in place, you’ll be spending and saving responsibly in no time. And don’t forget to financially forecast for that vacation you’ve earned!
Ashley McCann writes about being a mom – and being frugal – at PushPenny.com. Named to Ignite Social Media’s “100 Women Bloggers You Should Read,” her candid humor and frank advice puts a fresh spin on motherhood in the new millennium.
With winter lingering, it’s hard to think of summer jobs, but kids can earn money year-round with a little bit of effort and planning. Our boys grabbed snow shovels with the first snowflake, and learned a lot about teamwork, division of labor, and money management between siblings of different ages and abilities. Great life lessons.
Who doesn’t love a lemonade stand? It shows creativity, resourcefulness, and is a great way for kids to understand the value of work. This article gives kids a huge toolbox of ideas and resources to find ways to earn money. I remember my first jobs as a babysitter, as a cashier (loved that!), as a waitress. I learned so much about people and carry those lessons with me. (Please don’t ask about the time I forgot a customer’s order under the heat at Hot Shoppes and tried to deliver eggs that looked like they were from the Dinasour age…didn’t go well!).
Enjoy this guest post from Steven Cooper, founder of How to Make Money as a Kid, a great website loaded with free tips and resources to help kids create ways to earn cash. He shares some great tips and free downloads here at the Lounge – enjoy! – Amy
Make a plan now.
Why start now? Though summer is still a ways away, you can be ready and prepared to make money as soon as school gets out. You won’t have to waste potential time you could be earning money trying to figure how and what you’re going to do. You will get a jumpstart on other kids and get more clients. Let’s say you decided you wanted to mow lawns. If you figured out the logistics of your business and started pre-selling your services now, you could get all the potential business before any other kids or professionals do.
What is your why?
It is essential to have a goal for how much you want to earn. You’ll also want to know what you want to buy or do with all the money you earn. If you have an exciting goal then when the work gets tough you will push through and succeed.
Choose your idea.
If you cant think of an idea of how to make money this summer, you check out my list of 200 plus ideas for how to make money as a kid. Choose one and get feedback on the idea you choose from your parents. Editor’s Note: The site lets you sort ideas by age as well.
Get a mentor.
Find someone who can help you set up your business and give you an insiders view. With a mentor helping, you can try new ideas and feel confident you will succeed. Going back to the lawn-mowing example. A good mentor would be a professional landscaper. He would know the ins and outs of the business like how much to charge and how to do a good job. Learning from their advice could save you a lot of time and money by learning from their experience.
Develop a strategy.
Talk with your mentor and develop a strategy that will work for you. See what resources you will need and how you can get them. Decide how much to charge and think your business through as if you were your own customer. This will make sure that you have thought of everything that needs to be done.
Pre-sell your idea.
By pre-selling your idea, you can have clients already lined up before any other kids have even started to think about how they are going to make money this summer. If you find your idea is not selling, then talk to your mentor. If it’s still not working, consider trying something else. The good thing is that by starting now you haven’t wasted any time. You can start a new idea that works before summer hits.
Get everything you need to do your business in place. You might even want to start earning money after school and on the weekends. Get my kids’ business starting guide for free to help you through this process. Editor’s Note: Site asks for an email address first, but what a great resource he’s offering for free!
Author Bio: Steven Cooper is the man behind howtomakemoneyasakid.com. He was an entrepreneur as a kid and now provides how-to guides, 200 plus ideas, tips for parents and a community of kids networking and making money.
This story came across my desk as a New Year’s Resolution idea, but I think it fits year-round. I recently took a practice ACT English section at home at my son’s request, and even as a journalism major who follows grammar rules year-round, school and tests are hard…It gives you a lot of respect for how hard our kids work every day.
Larry Martinek, Mathnasium‘s CEO, had some great inspirations for kids to ramp up their math skills in a fun & motivating way. Martinek offers the following ideas to get students and parents inspired:
Editor’s Note: I think these are great…and I also think “Mathnasium” qualifies as a #MomTastic business name.
Mathnasium Learning Centers, the nation’s leading math-only learning center franchise, specializes in teaching kids math in a way that makes sense to them. Students go to Mathnasium year-round to catch up, keep up, and get ahead in math. Kids who are behind in math receive all the help they need to improve, while stronger students work to realize their full potential and truly excel. All students are taught using the proprietary Mathnasium Method™, which is the result of 40+ years of hands-on instruction and research. Franchising since 2003, Mathnasium has become one of the fastest growing educational franchises, with a new center opening each week. There are more than 400 Mathnasium franchises in the U.S. and abroad.
Review/Sponsored Post — Comment on this Post for a Chance to Win $25 GiftCards
I was recently asked to take Food Lion‘s “MVP Coupon Hub” for a test drive. It’s a great integration of coupons, savings, and a loyalty card, that takes the paper out of the process if you want to trash the coupon caddy. (You can, of course, go online and select/print coupons as well). It’s super easy, and takes minutes to set up, even if you don’t currently have a Food Lion MVP card.
Here’s how it works…They’re featuring it on their home page, or you can go directly to the MVP coupon hub here. Then, you can either “load to card” so the coupons you select are loaded directly onto your loyalty card, and you simply swipe and save at checkout. Or, you can “print at home” if you’re a traditionalist and like to bring the paper coupons into the store. They have a great selection, and you can sort by expiration date or value. When I sorted by value, I got everything from “free (buy one/get one)” to $3 and below. So the savings are great, and they’ve streamlined it, so it’s super easy to click what appeals to you at home, and have the savings pre-loaded on your card, so you’re saving money AND time. (Time is priceless as busy moms know!). It’s kind of like a coupon buffet.
Also, for anyone who uses the new MVP Coupon Hub, Food Lion is hosting a “Save to Win” sweepstakes until March 4th, where they’re selecting 8 winners a week t
Busy parents, tune in to this fun post with ideas for colorful, healthy, “one-utensil” snacks from journalist Kristin Hackler. – Amy
It’s a daily challenge trying to get kids to eat healthy, and it’s not just because they have a tendency to sneak junk food when you’re not looking. It’s because having healthy snacks readily available often takes more effort than just buying a box of ready-to-go edibles at the grocery store, and a lot of busy moms just don’t have the time for prep work.
Fortunately, there is a happy medium. With a little creativity, you can provide your ravenous brood with tasty, wholesome snacks that take very little effort on your part. In fact, the following recipes can be made with just one kitchen utensil each:
Fruit Graham Canvas (pictured at top of post)
Utensil: a butter knife
Give your kids a reason to grin with this super simple snack. All you need are:
Spread either cream cheese or nut butter on the graham crackers and let your kids decorate each with a fruit-inspired piece of art. You can even shake things up a bit by adding whole or chopped nuts, unsweetened coconut flakes and dried fruits such as apple rings, raisins and small slices of candied ginger. Build a few before you set out the supplies to give them some ideas and let them know that the more fruit they want to pile on their graham cracker canvases, the better!
All Natural Strawberry Jello
Even though it’s easy to just grab one of those little powder packets at the store, making all-natural jello from scratch doesn’t take that much effort.
There are plenty of ways to get creative with basic, healthy ingredients. Ants on a Log is a classic kids treat that combines peanut butter, celery and raisins, and banana boats with fruit passengers can be as entertaining to make as they are to eat.
What are some of your favorite quick and easy snack ideas?
Kristin Hackler is a community contributor at eBay.com for culinary, family and home decor related topics. Kristin is an experienced journalist as well as a mother and children’s book author.
I’m definitely a New Year’s resolution advocate. I know, I know, the parking lot at the gym isn’t as crowded 3 weeks from now, but who cares? If the New Year prompts some healthy thinking & acting, I’m all in!
After a 40th birthday trip with my best friends, we were asked to commit our goals to paper, and received them by mail 3 months later. Good wake-up call and opportunity to reset.
This infographic from Tada is really interesting, and I love reading through the trends and some of the more innovative resolutions they surveyed. They report that while women are more likely to make specific New Year’s resolutions (54%), they are also more likely to not make them at all (20%).
Check it out:
Get more coupon data at Tada.
What’s your resolution this year?
This is so haunting…and making headlines around the globe. A New Zealand anti-speeding commercial uses freeze frame to show you how fast a crash can happen…it’s chilling and worth a look.
Mashable reports most accurately that the ad will give you goosebumps. “The public-service announcement from NZ Transport Agency, dissects an accident by freezing the moment before impact,” Mashable says. Well done indeed….
Thanks to my childhood friend Liz L., for sending her friend’s article, “The 12 Step E-Tox,” recently published in Working Mother. We’ve all heard of the detox trend, but this is a parenting cleanse, as Adina Kalish Neufeld writes, a way to tune out your technology so you can tune IN with your family. I’m guilty as charged, but have tried to put the phone down when the kids are around. Meal time is definitely a “no phone zone,” and our boys know we’ll take the phone away if we catch them texting during precious family time.
Adina has lots of great tips that liken technology addiction to any vice, so it starts with admitting there’s an issue and deciding where to start. I’ll share some quick highlights but do recommend you check out the full article. Adina recommends you
And for kids, she recommends…
Love that last tip – we’re so inclined to be constantly entertained, that we sometimes grab for the electronics ourselves or hand them to our kids too quickly.
And if Adina’s tips don’t convince you, I bet the testimonials from her kids will…
Perfect time for a guest post on picky eaters, as I’m gearing up for my radio interview with “Better Food Choices.” Thanks to Katie Bugbee, the senior managing editor and resident parenting expert of Care.com, for this timely post about how to get picky kids to be less…picky!
Chicken Nuggets for Dinner Again? By Katie Bugbee
I have a love-hate relationship with chicken nuggets. They’re easy to make – and a sure way to get kids to eat. But there was a time when my kids thought chicken always came in breaded dino-shapes. And that needed to change.
When my babies first started eating solid food, I gave them healthy grown-up foods. They loved fish and veggies. They ate what I spoon fed them.
But at ages 3 and 5, they have their own opinions. And food is an area where they rule our roost. Until last year. That’s when I got grossed out by their food choices.
Pickiness is a big problem – and a common one – among kids. Food becomes a battle. We want our kids to be strong and healthy. And so we cave. Don’t want to eat it? Okay, I’ll make you a grilled cheese.
But we need to be stronger. I made a few changes last year, and am happy to say we’ve had a few success stories. Here is what I suggest you try to make your child a little less picky.
1. No other choices. First, you just have to stay firm that there is no other dinner. No snacks. No dessert. No toast. Nothing except what’s on your plate. Don’t want to eat it? We suggest you try it – otherwise you’ll be pretty hungry later. You might have a few nights where they literally don’t eat. But at bedtime they whine and beg for a sandwich. This sounds brutal. But saying that they should have had dinner is the best way to get them to eat what you make tomorrow night.
2. Limit the afternoon snack. If your kids have dinner at 5 like mine, don’t serve a snack after 3:30. And if you need to, make sure it’s not protein and fiber rich, which will fill them up, making them less likely to eat your meal.
3. Create a 3-bite rule. My kids can do what they want as long as they’ve had three bites of dinner. My 5-year old son has a 5-bite rule. This is always the amount of bites they have to take after they say they’re done. This rule enables them to have a bedtime snack or dessert of their choosing.
4. Serve small portions. Kids can get overwhelmed by a lot on their plate. Start small. A spoonful of each item will seem like they don’t have to eat much to clear their plate. They’re more likely to ask for more this way.
5. Let them add toppings. Dipping veggies and meats into sauces can make eating more fun (and tasty). So can sprinkling parmesan cheese on broccoli and pastas. This is the only way my kids eat salad – with “dip.” We offer ranch and Greek dressings, honey mustard, barbeque sauce — and they’ve helped significantly.
6. Make extra grownup dinner. My kids eat at 5, while my husband and I don’t get to eat until 7 or 8 at night. I try to prep our nightly meal the night before. Then I’ll either leave the recipe out for our nanny to make for all of us. Or, I’ll throw it together once the kids go to bed – and save the leftovers for their next dinner. Either way, we’re all eating one meal.
7. Make the meal less of a show. Because my husband and I don’t usually eat with the kids, one of us (myself or our nanny) is usually standing across from them while they eat at our kitchen counter. And it occurred to me, that their whining and carrying on was a performance – with us as their audience. But move us to the table with them – and things became a little more normal. Less theatrics, at least.
8. Eat together. Piggybacking off of the previous idea, I do try to have a family dinner every Sunday night, in which we all eat the same thing at 5:00. It’s nice to have the kids see us eat the same thing – and not complain about it.
9. Shop, cook and grow together. The more involved your kids are in picking their own meals, the more they’ll eat it. Go through recipes together. Take them grocery shopping. Then let them add ingredients to the pan or crock pot, mix and stir. If you have a garden, grow your vegetables for fresh and exciting eats.
Editor’s Note: Love Katie’s ideas…and think they could apply to kids of all ages. Try one a week, and the next 2 months could move your family toward more varied flexible meals.
Katie Bugbee is the senior managing editor and resident parenting expert of Care.com. A busy working mother of two, she’s an expert on many parenting dilemmas, from appeasing picky eaters to finding the perfect babysitter.
Photo provided by Care.com via Shutterstock.
Thanks to fellow Mompreneur Ellen Briggs, Founder of Family Food Experts, for hosting me Wednesday December 18th on her radio show, “Better Food Choices.” The feature, “But I want it,” will address how to diffuse the whining while grocery shopping syndrome. It airs on Health Cafe Live, and here’s the “411″ on how to listen or call in with your questions:
1:00 pm – 1:50 pm EST
To call the host during the show, dial 516-623-9442.
I’ll report back after the segment airs with some more thoughts on the topic.
Home of the Kid Critics Approved Seal, love their motto: “Eat good, feel good, do good!”
The folks at Best Education Degrees pulled together some data about cyberbullying, since “80% of teens (are) on cell phones and…social media sites, and it’s time to understand that technology is connecting teens in ways they can’t escape.” And, as they report, the results can be extremely serious. (Thanks to MomTini reader Stephanie from Illinois for sending this my way).
I’ll share their tips for parents and educators here:
Tips for parents
• Unconditional support.
• Inform the child of options in dealing with the bully.
• Work with school officials.
• Work with the parents of the bully.
• Contact IT providers to get content removed and bullies blocked.
• If necessary, contact the police.
Tips for Educators
• Teach that cyberbullying is wrong.
• Listen and respond to all reports of bullying.
• Have students work on projects against cyberbullying.
• Have a system for complaints to be documented.
• Host speakers on the topic of bullying.
• Ensure that school is a safe place; free from cyberbullying.
…and this great infographic with a snapshot of this epidemic…
Source: Best Education Degrees
Image courtesy of onemorephoto
Guest author and technology guru Kyle Albert sent some interesting stats and tips on how to raise happy kids. Who could with argue with that goal?
Raising Happy Kids
The levels of day-to-day happiness, for some people is slowly decreasing, as we become more dependent on technology. Harris Interactive conducted a survey last April 2013, and it showed that 33% of American adults aren’t happy. Regina Corso, Harris Interactive’s Senior Vice President, said that “our happiness index offers insight into what’s on the minds of Americans today and is a reflection of the state of affairs in our county.” If happiness is indeed a state of mind, how can we raise happy and confident children in this Age of Information?
Do Shared Projects
Before, parents would usually do some sort of shared projects with their kids. It could be a flower pot, a LEGO building set, or even a tree house. Nowadays, kids already have their tablets and smartphones to keep them occupied. Since they’re more digitally-native than most adults, a tech project would definitely pick their interest. If you want your kid to learn more about how electronic devices work, you can start with the LightUp magnetic building blocks. From remote controls to nightlights, you and your kid will definitely enjoy doing these projects together. If you want to start your kids early in programming, Verizon Wireless recommends using apps like Kodable to make learning fun. Doing shared digital projects will definitely create stronger bonds between parent and child.
Enjoy All Forms of Play
Image courtesy of Marcin Banaszek
Some might think that play or playing is only for kids; it’s also a good form of relaxation for adults. Usually, we just let our kids play with their toys, tablets, or handheld gaming devices while we engage in our own “adult time”. However, in Stuart Brown, M.D’s book entitled “Play”, he stresses that play is all around us, and goes mostly unnoticed or unappreciated until it’s missing. Engaging in different form of play with your kids gives you an opportunity to talk to them. It also reinforces your relationship, which creates a deeper form of intimacy with them. Basically, here are the three main forms of play that children can enjoy:
1. Parallel Play – playing alongside another child or their peers
2. Associative Play – playing with another child or a group of children
3. Solitary Play – playing alone and using age-appropriate toys or gadgets
Whatever type of play you want to encourage your child to try out, it’s important to guide them through it. Remember that play helps them build their confidence and develop their social skills.
It’s Okay to Lose Sometimes
Winning is the best feeling anyone could ever experience, but losing can also ruin our day. For most parents, especially the competitive ones, winning is everything. We’ve seen them running to the baseball field, screaming at their child after losing a game. These parents don’t realize that these kids might end up frustrated, impatient, and angry when they grow up. The best thing to do is to assure them that winning isn’t everything, and it’s okay to lose sometimes. Be patient with them and teach them slowly. Encourage them without pushing them too much. Once they learn to manage defeat and frustration, they’ll grow up to be happy adults.
Coach Them to Happiness
Parents will always be the first adult influences of children, and it’s an opportunity for them to establish their emotional stability. Since emotions are contagious, the first step in coaching them to happiness is to smile. When your kids see that you’re smiling, they’ll follow suit. In an article published on Parentables; kids smile at least 400 times a day, while adults only smile 20 times a day. Smiling actually stimulates the reward area of our brain, which is comparable to eating 2,000 bars of chocolate. It’s also good to bring your child to places which make them happy, and visit places that make you happy as well. Have fun together and better yet, laugh together when you’re at these places.
Always Unplug Before Retiring for the Night
The National Sleep Foundation’s 2011 study revealed that 63% of Americans aren’t getting enough sleep on weeknights. Since most of them are usually online an hour before going to bed, technology is affecting their sleeping habits. Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Charles Czeisler said that “invasion of such alerting technologies into the bedroom may contribute to the high proportion of respondents who reported that they routinely get less sleep than they need.” Bottom line is to refrain from any screen time two hours before going to bed. Why not read them a bedtime story instead?
Raising kids is a balancing act and there’s no manual for it. As kids are getting more tech-savvy, we need to remind them that there’s life outside the digital world. We need to allow them to enjoy physical play, lose at soccer games, enjoy bed time stories, and build projects together. Let’s raise them to be happy kids, and future leaders of a smiling nation.
About the Author:
Kyle Albert, always interested in tablets, latest trends, startup businesses, fashion and design. He is also a keen social media user. Inclined to share and write about technology and how it can help people with their daily lives, how it can make things easier and for personal development as well, may it be for kids, adults, people in every walks of life. You may reach him at his Google+, Linkedin and Twitter.
We get tons of news & tips in every area of parenting – from baby to toddler to teen and beyond. Lately, I’ve been receiving some interesting news and resources on the college front, including admissions, financial aid, and more. So this page will be a collection of #MomTastic college tips and tools. Feel free to send any unique resources my way for consideration at News@MomTiniLounge.com.
One person can make an impact by reducing their carbon footprint, but an even larger impact is made when we share this with friends, family members, and neighbors. One of the most important generations to teach about using less and conserving more is our children. It is important to teach our children conserving habits while they are young so they become lifelong habits that can continue to help the world flourish. Here are 5 easy practices that you can teach your children in order to conserve more as a family.
Recycling is an important part of reducing a family’s carbon footprint. Teaching your kids about recycling can start them early on a lifetime habit that will help keep usable items out of landfills. Helping them understand which types of materials should go in the bin is also important. Setting up a station at home can be as easy as keeping a separate garbage can for recyclables. This can also be great for teaching kids responsibility by adding it to their chore chart, but find a way to make it exciting and fun so they want to take part in helping recycle.
2. Turn Lights and Electronics off
When a child is old enough to turn lights on and off, teach them why it is important to turn them off when no one is using them. In addition, teach them to turn off and unplug electronics when they aren’t being used because these can also use electricity simply from being plugged in. Make sure that you explain it in a way that children can comprehend and care about. Because children don’t think in terms of cost or understand the value of money, don’t explain it to them that it saves you money. Instead, teach them about the ecosystem and how it helps make the planet healthier.
3. Conserve Water
When your kids learn to brush their teeth, you can start teaching them about water conversation by simply turning the water off while they’re brushing. If your kids are older, it’s not too late to educate them on this. Faucets waste 2-3 gallons of water per minute if left on. In addition, teach your children the 7-10 minute shower rule. By reducing running faucets and taking shorter showers it is incredible how much water you will save from wasting annually.
4. Collect Rain Water
Collecting rain water in barrels is great for things such as watering plants, washing the car, etc. Get your kids on board by teaching them the importance of collecting rain water. This can even be turned into a craft where your kids get to decorate their water container that is placed in the yard and get to use it to water their plants in the garden.
5. Start a Self-Sustainable Garden
Having fresh produce right outside your back door is a great convenience and great for the environment. If you don’t have the option to grow vegetables or fruit from home you should choose to purchase food locally. Our food sometimes travels over 1,500 miles before actually making it to our plate. This burns tons of fossil fuels and depletes the ozone system. Teach your children how to have fun waiting and making progress of the crops growth, or allow them to go with you to the local farmers market. The kids will love to be involved helping pick out produce. Encourage them to ask the local farmers questions to get more interested about where the food they eat is coming from
Children whose parents teach them about conservation can become the leaders of the next generation’s conservation movement. When environmental topics come up at school, they can teach other kids what they have learned at home, and how they are currently helping to conserve precious natural resources. As adults, they will have a lifetime of experience with ecological concerns. They will also have good habits ingrained that will help make a difference throughout life. Get your kids started on an eco-friendly path today, and teach your little conservationists how they can make a difference now.
Author Bio: Maya Rodgers is a pet owner, animal lover, and small-time environmental activist who always keeps her ears open for ways to green herself and her family. Always having an interest in bugs, she enjoys working for Terminix in combating families’ pesky pets and returning the comfort to their homes.