WHY YOU’LL NEVER BUY POPSICLES AGAIN

Popsicles are a regular food item in our house. They’re especially a favorite during the warmer months, but it’s not unusual to have a stash in the freezer during the cooler months. There are so many different varieties of brands, flavors, sugar levels, and colors. You have popsicles that specifically for parents made with favorite flavors of chocolate, truffles, white chocolate, toffee and the like. Then you have those geared towards children that are a color explosion just waiting to happen. Either way, these little ice treats are enjoyed by ages young and old. So, what’s wrong with them? Why am I listing reasons why you’ll never buy popsicles again? Because you’ll benefit from it, of course!

Why You’ll Never Buy Popsicles Again

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Okay, so let’s put out the fires before they start. You can totally buy your favorite brand of popsicles if you like. They are pretty healthy, for the most part. Although, a couple weeks ago, my son took his red popsicle into his room (which he knew he shouldn’t) and spilled some of the juice on his freshly shampooed carpet and then tried to hide it. Dad found it later on that evening and attempted to clean it up, but the red would NOT come out! I even got a well-known brand of carpet cleaner and tried scrubbing it out… the stain won that battle. If the stuff in popsicles stain carpets and refuse to move no matter muscle power you put into scrubbing, I have to question what in the world they are putting into our children foods?! I’m just saying.

Moving on, the reason why you’ll buy popsicles again is because it so easy to make them yourself! Like super duper simple or easy peasy lemon squeaky, as my daughter would say. Here’s what you need to do. Stop by your local grocery or home goods store and purchase two or three popsicle mode containers. I even picked up some decent ones at the Dollar Tree for $1 each! Then, grab your favorite fruit juices (feel free to dilute if that’s your thing) and pour into the cleaned popsicle containers. Replace the tops or handles on the container and freeze for 2-3 hours. Having multiple containers make it easy to get a good rotation going. As soon as one is emptied, refill and freeze. That’s it! Talk about the money and trips to the store that you’re saving yourself! A box of popsicles cost about $4 – $5 per box, maybe even more depending on the brand, and you can get a whole jug of juice for less than this!

Not really a juice drinking family? That’s cool. Blend up a smoothie and freeze it for a healthy, nutritious cold treat. Or keep it super simple by freezing flavored water and fruit infused water. Gatorade, lemonade, and even tea works! The possibilities go on and on and require very little from your pocket and time without having to wonder about ingredients that stain carpets with a vengeance! Put your kids to work and let them join in the fun of making their own special popsicles. Maybe even have their own popsicle containers and be responsible for refilling it once it’s low. One less thing for you to worry about. :)

Simple never tasted so good.

3 Important Tips for Moving With Kids

I always knew that moving to a new home in a new part of the city would be a transition. I knew that it would be a transition for me and for the kids, however, I didn’t realize just how much of a transition it would be. During the whole house searching phase, in the back of my mind I knew that the kids would probably take it a little hard leaving their childhood home and backyard basketball rim. When we finally found our new home in the heart of the city, I knew that the kids would miss seeing their next door friends who would enter through our side gate and walk right into our house. When we moved in, I knew that the kids would need to see that there were parks near our new home and plenty of kids on our new block. What I did NOT take into account was the affect this transition would have on me! The wear and tear and the lessons that would come from it. Over the past weeks, I’ve learned 3 Important Tips for Moving With Kids. Tips that will affect them directly and indirectly, but that will have a huge impact on the way your entire family experience the start of this new season in your lives.Related image

The New Place

I’d been so concerned about how the children would respond to this new move that I didn’t allow the space for my own processing. Our new home is beautiful, on a picturesque street, and filled with friendly neighbors but… it’s still new. It’s very different from our old home in space and age, with most of it’s decorative wood finishes dating back 200 years or more. 12 foot ceilings and 10ft windows that welcome in light from the early morning dawn to the last glimmer of dust. Another difference is in the space. Older homes usually mean great design features but smaller rooms. Not a big deal and definitely no reason to complain (this is not complaining), it’s just different. New. How to say goodbye to a home that I’ve lived in for almost eight years? A place that was the only home I’ve ever lived in. Like ever. Yet, as life and seasons change, so must we. And that’s just what we did.

Where am I now after having finished a full week of living in our new home?

Making my way. I’ve had a couple silent melt downs after being confronted with yet another box that needed to be emptied. Got a little discouraged at needing groceries and having no clue as to where there nearest store was. Completely overwhelmed when my 3 year old got strep throat (probably a present from a friend!) and wanted to be held for two days straight. And definitely worn out when my two older children both spiked over 102 degree fevers at the same time (thanks to little brother!). Yet, I also experienced gratefulness when I looked out at my clean and organized living and dining room – let’s not talk about the other rooms yet. lol! I felt comfort laying on couch and watching a movie with my hubby after the kids had gone to sleep. And I felt excitement at knowing that our new location will allow my husband to arrive home a whole hour earlier than before! Give and take. Step by step. Breathe, feel, and then find something to be grateful for. That’s where I am.

What I’ve Learned and Tips to Share

I don’t know if moving is ever an easy feat. Whether you’re moving from one floor to the another (we’ve done this before), moving to another city, state, or country. Moving is hard! Yet there are ways that you can make this time go as smooth as possible… especially when you have little people in tow.

3 Important Tips for Moving With Kids

 

1. Pack Ahead of time!

Don’t wait until the week of to start packing. You may think, “There’s seven days in a week, surely that’ll be enough time.” It’s not! Start packing two or three weeks ahead of your move date. Depending on the size of the home, you may even need a little more time. Something that I found helpful was to go room by room and figure out what needed to be donated or thrown out. This way, after all of those things were removed, I knew everything that was left was going with us to our new home. This goes for the bathroom cabinets and even the pantry! You’d be surprised at what expired “gems” you’ll find all the way in the back corners.

Boxing up out-of-season clothing, bedding, and anything else that you won’t need for a while will help with your early packing, too. Then as you get even closer to moving day, maybe a week before, pull out outfits and items you’ll need for that week and box everything else up. It may sound like a lot of work (and it is), but spreading it out and packing ahead of time will help balance getting ready for your move and taking care of the everyday demands that are sure to continue.

2. Get Help!

You ARE Superwomen! You ARE Supermen! However, even superheroes need help from time to time and believe me, moving is one of those times! ha! There are numerous ways you can get help with your move. You can gather a group of your most awesome friends to come help with cleaning, packing, loading, moving, and/or unloading. Hire a moving company to take your packed boxes and furniture to your new location. Or Hire a moving company to do it all! There are companies who will pack up your entire house, take it to your new home, and unpack everything for you! Crazy, right? Definitely a price difference between this and ordering a couple of “thank you” pizzas for your friends, but it’s still an option.

Another way that you can ask for help is with childcare. Be sure to reach out to family members, close friends, or neighbors that you trust and ask if you’re kids can hang out with them for the day or overnight. Having time to direct all the movers and unpack some boxes without breaking up fights or answering the same question 20 times in a row is so worth it!

3. Give Grace

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, moving is a transition and transitions can be difficult for both children and parents. Give each other grace. Give grace your child as they jump with joy about your move one minute and are clinging to you in tears that they will miss their old room in the next. Give grace to yourself when you realize that your living space will be different or that you will have to find a new grocery store, community center, sport camps for your kids, and group of friends for yourself. Moving = growing. Internally and externally and, although exciting, it may will time to find your “familiar.” (Totally preaching to the choir on this one!) So, before the big day arrives, start the conversation and let grace be a BIG part of it.

Ahh, moving. It’s like a huge piñata covered in bright cheery colors. Enticing and yet filled with so many different emotions and experiences. Nevertheless, it’s another family adventure and one worth taking. So, grab a stick and break open that box because it’s time to move!

Did you find these 3 Important Tips for Moving With Kids helpful? Let me know in the comments below.

HOW TO TAKE AMAZING FAMILY VACATIONS ON A BUDGET

My husband and I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Mexico to celebrate our 13 year wedding anniversary. The best part about this trip was that it was child-free! I love my children dearly, but it is nice to get away with just the hubby. Gotta continue to pour into the marriage side of things, you know?! While there, we encountered something that left me a little troubled and wondering how to take amazing family vacations on a budget. I have a few ideas, but I want to learn a bit from you. How do you take great vacations with your family on a budget??? Let me back up a little and tell you the full story..

My husband surprised me by booking a beautiful all-inclusive resort by the ocean in the lovely country in Mexico. This was our first time staying at this resort and we were pleasantly surprised to find that it was one of the best resorts in that city. We had no idea and totally lucked out by waiting until the last minute to book. Not by choice, mind you. We weren’t even sure we’d be able to pull it off this year because we just moved, celebrated two birthdays, his parent’s anniversary, and had one more birthday coming up. Funds were a little s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d to say the least. Nevertheless, we were becoming teenagers (13 yrs) – we had to celebrate! In comes the last minute vacation booking by the hubby.Image result for HOW TO TAKE AMAZING FAMILY VACATIONS ON A BUDGET

We arrived and were whisked away to get our room information and to sign up for any excursions that we might be interested in. In addition to this, we were offered a romantic dinner and two couples massages for taking a tour of the hotel and listening to a brief presentation. Two free 50 minute massages? Done deal. We signed up, did the tour, and listened to all the wonderful features that this hotel chain offered for it’s “members.” Of course, nothing really mattered until we started talking numbers. (I’m a numbers girl, baby. Tell me how much and I’ll tell you what I can do.) In the end, the pay out (not including the monthly pay) was just too high for us at this season in our lives. Was it something that I would’ve wanted to do? Yes!!! This is still a sore spot for me because what they showed me were numerous opportunities for me to expose my children to different parts of the world and cultures. They showed me how I could take my only living parent and my in-laws, who are like my second set of parents, on amazing vacations and spoil them the way that they spoil me. And they really got me when they said that I could save more than half of what I’d normally pay to take these same vacations. Half?!?! Remember, I’m a numbers girl and, so far, the numbers were looking really good.

It wasn’t until we started talking about down payments in addition to monthly payments that things took a u-turn. That light that I started to see began to fade and with it, a little bit of my joy. I know that they are plenty who are able to pay what was being asked with no problem, but we we’re just not at that place right now. Does this mean my children can’t see all those wonderful sites? Or that I can’t splurge on my parents? Or that I can’t take amazing family vacations without spending an extreme amount of money? If so, then this revelation is bordering on some serious discouragement.

 

The only thing that came to me was that there has to be a way! And my determination of finding them just revved up even more! I have a few ideas, but I know many of you are doing it already. Many of you are traveling the world with your family and learning and making memorials that will last a lifetime… on a budget! I want to learn from you. We (other parents feeling the same the thing) want to learn from you! Maybe there will come a time when we won’t have to worry about the price of things, but right now we do. So, how do you do it? In the comment section below, share with us how to take AMAZING family vacations on a budget… because everyone, no matter the amount in your bank account, should be able to experience the world they live in.

There are many more ways, but here are a six to get the list started. Add on!

How to Take AMAZING Family Vacations on a Budget

 

1. All-inclusive vacations – booking off season will add to the savings

2. Vacation Rentals – save a ton on housing and live like a local

3. Take a group trip – traveling and staying with friends or additional families can help bring the total cost down

4. Take advantage of discounts – be aware of special deals going on for your location of choice

5. Road Trips – Driving can shave off a pretty penny when traveling with kids. They are also great for last minute trips!

6. Visit friends and family – Have friends or family in different states? Crash their place! Even offering to help out during your trip will be cheaper than having to pay for housing and food by yourself.