Involving Your Kids With The Family Budget (It Can Be Fun)!!

1015151153aKids and budgeting. The two really should go hand in hand. So why aren’t more of us involving our kids in the budgeting? Why have so many of us grown up without having been taught how to create, and live by, a budget?


Whatever the reason(s), this is something we can fix in our families. We can change our children’s futures for the better by teaching them this essential skill! Wanna know where to start? Let’s look at some simple things we can do:


  • Pay your child(ren).  Different families have different opinions on how to do this.  Some prefer to have the allowance be just that, an allowance that is given without conditions.  Others like the idea of paying kids after they’ve done something (chores, usually) to earn that money.  I say pick what works best for your family!  I’ve done it both ways, and I personally prefer to allow my kids the opportunity to earn their payment each week.  I like using a chart with a few items on it that I would like each child to do.  When a chore is completed, they are able to check it off for the day, and at the end of the week we have payday, during which we look at all that was completed and pay out accordingly.
  • Include kids in things like shopping and vacation planning.  I never go shopping without a budget, and if my kids are with me, I let them know what that budget is.  For example, we went shopping for Halloween costumes earlier this week, and I let the kids know at the very beginning how much we could spend.  I made it clear that the money I had in the purse had to be enough for ALL of us to get costumes.  When my daughter was trying to decide between two costumes that she liked, she was able to look at the price tags and make the decision.  My son, on the other hand, had a really hard time accepting that he could only pick one.  Which leads me to the next point…
  • Allow your kids to spend their own money (and sometimes that means making their own mistakes).  My son has some money saved up.  He currently is trying to save for Disneyland (what can I say, he dreams big!).  When he got upset while trying to pick just one costume, I gave him the option to spend his OWN money on the 2nd costume.  I reminded him that he is currently saving for and he chose to spend some of that money.  He later felt a little bummed out that he now had less money in his Disneyland fund, but then he put on his costume and wore it all day and decided it was worth the $8 he spent!  I have also found that kids are automatically more cautious with their spending when it’s their own hard-earned moolah!  images
  • Include your kids with grocery shopping, too!  My children and I have had many discussions about the importance of healthy eating, and they know as well as I do that organic foods cost more.  I allow them to make decisions with me at times as to what food brands, flavors, etc to purchase.  They seem much more willing to eat meals and food that they helped to plan out and purchase!
  • Create visuals.  If you have a child saving up for a fairly big-ticket item, something that may take a while to save up for, give them a visual to see that they are getting closer.  Perhaps it’s a coloring page of that item and each time they put another dollar into savings, they are able to color a little more.  Maybe it’s a simple bar graph with preset dollar amounts drawn in that they can fill up as they save.  It’s so fun to see progress being made, for kids and adults, and it will help with motivation.
  • Don’t be afraid to be honest.  Of course we don’t want our kids to be sick with worry if Mom and Dad don’t know how the mortgage will be paid this month, but it’s okay to let our kids know about our own financial mistakes, and the plans we have.  My kids know that we are ALL working together to pay off the rest of my medical bills.  They know that we need to be careful with the money we have.    They also know that they will be fed.  They know that they will always have a place to rest their heads at night.  We give them the assurances they need to feel safe and comforted, and we also keep them informed on the financial progress we are making.  You will know how much to share with your own kids depending on their age levels and maturity.

I love my team!

One of the best things about keeping kids involved is the feeling of unity, of teamwork that it can provide.  My kids know that we are ALL a team, and that we can all contribute and work together to reach our financial goals.



How do YOU involve your kids in your family finances?  Leave a comment and let me know!





A Gift for you, a Gift for me Giveaway – Blogger Opp! 2 comments

Blogger Opportunity: A Gift For Me - A Gift For You Giveaway Sign Ups End 10/24

Welcome To The
A Gift For Me – A Gift For You Giveaway
Sign Ups
This giveaway is for two of each prize – One for the winner and One for a friend!

Retail Value of All Prizes is $550

Hosted By
PaulaMS’ Giveaways, Reviews, & Freebies

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Dates: October 27th, 2015 at 12:01 am EST through November 27th, 2015 at 11:59 pm EST

2 Prize Packages!

One Lucky Reader and a Friend will win a prize package valued at $225 EACH


The Hashtag for this opp will be #HolidayGifts
Giveaway open to US residents 18 and older
Sign Ups End October 24th at 6 AM

1 FREE Link for Promoting the BLOGGER OPPORTUNITY  and 1 FREE Link forPosting the GIVEAWAY within 24 hours of it starting

You can choose Any Two Social Media Accounts*

Co-Host spots are available for $7
Included is a co-host page with any 5 links of your choice* in addition to the 2 free for a total of 7 plus a link back to your blog.

Paid Options: Any Additional links from the Free Link Options Above, Daily Votes, Page Visits, Retweets, CAPTCHA Subscriptions, and Blog or Facebook Comments are $1.50 each or 6 for $7.50. Limit 6 per person

Secret Word Pages Available for $3 (I provide the HTML) or $2 (You Create)

*Anything you like as long as it meets user terms of service (ie no mandatory Facebook likes allowed)

Please send Paypal payment to paula_stewart@ymail.com

Put HolidayGifts in the comments

Get Announcement HTML HERE

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If you are a Preferred Giveaway Ambassador you do not need to do anything.
I will email the giveaway HTML when it is ready.

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Two Rivers Premium Coffee Gift Box for Keurig K-Cup Brewers, 21 Count
Set of 2 Pure Copper Mugs with Bonus Copper Shot Glass
Aoneky Bearing Jump Rope with Comfort Handles
Elitea® 100g Imperial Jasmine Downy Dragon Pearl Buddha Tears Silver Needle White Tea
Zenik Lavender Eye Pillow
Kitchen Classique Stainless Steel Salt and Pepper Grinder Set
Elitea® 200g Prime Quality Chinese Daily Green Tea

Menu Monday and Weekly Goals: August 31 – September 5

Oh me, oh my, what a week I had.


Last week was my first week with the students at my new full time job.  My gosh, it was rough.  I’m told that the first week of back to school is always the worst, and that things will get easier as the students get settled into a routine.  I hope and pray this is the case.  I’ll tell you what, I have SO MUCH more respect for special education teachers now.  Working with students with behavior management, focus, anger, anxiety, and other issues is tough.  I’m so grateful for the opportunity.  I am convinced that if I survive, it’ll be one of the greatest career experiences of my life! 😀


58f0a8884892aa3ded878c8b76332909I’m not quite adjusted to the full-time schedule yet.  I have been EXHAUSTED.  I’m sure that I’ll adjust in time, and keeping meal times organized will help a lot with that.  We’ll be keeping it pretty simple this week, with breakfasts and lunches being pretty much the same thing each day.  My son will eat his whole grain toast with fresh fruit that he loves.  My daughter will consume her cereal with fruit and carrots like usual.  I’ll continue to eat the country breakfasts.  For lunch, my daughter will have school lunch and my son will have his standard bread, bacon, carrots, blueberries and vitamin.  I’ll have a salad for lunch each day.  Dinners will be varied, of course.  Thank goodness, right?  I’m so boring sometimes.


Monday – Chicken and Dumpling soup – I have some leftover gluten free biscuit dough, so I’ll use that with some of our shredded chicken in the freezer.  I’ll serve this with a lettuce salad

Tuesday – Taco soup – this is another meal that is in my freezer.  I’m so glad I did some freezer cooking over the summer!

Wednesday – Hubby is cooking since he’s off work.

Thursday – Breakfast for dinner (french toast, turkey bacon, fresh fruit)

Friday –  leftover night

Saturday – Out to eat

Sunday – Baked Potato Bar with a Lettuce Salad Bar


The goals for this week are simple, just because I’m a wimp, and I’m convinced I’ll be busy enough at work and cleaning house. :)

  1. Write up and post August’s expense report.
  2. Harvest garden tomatoes and can a batch (or 2) of spaghetti sauce.

That’s it for me!  What great plans do you have for the week?

Creativity Never Stops Giveaway Sign Ups

Blogger Opportunity: Creativity Never Stops Giveaway Sign Ups End 9/19 at 6 AM #crochet - FREE & PAID Options Available

Welcome to the
Creativity Never Stops Giveaway
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Two Great Prize Packages That Are Sure To Get Your Readers Creative Juices Flowing!
Hosted By
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August 21, 2015 at 12:01 am EST through August 30, 2015 11:59 pm EST
2 Prize Packages
1 Coats and Clark Grand Prize Package $200 RV
1 Crochet Lovers Prize Package $63 RV
The Hashtag for this giveaway will be #Creativity
Giveaway open to US residents 18 and older
Sign Ups End August 19th at 6 AM
1 FREE Link with Announcement and 1 FREE Link for Posting the Giveaway no later than August 16th at 9 AM
You can choose Any Two Social Media Accounts*
Co-Host spots are available for $7
Included is a co-host page with any 5 links of your choice* in addition to the 2 free for a total of 7 plus a link back to your blog.
Paid Options: Any Additional links from the Free Link Options Above, Daily Votes, Page Visits, Retweets, Instagram Picture Likes, Newsletter Subscription, Blog or Facebook Comments, anything within reason are $1.50 each.
Secret Word Pages Available for $3 (I provide the HTML) or $2 (You Create)
*Anything you like as long as it meets user terms of service (ie no mandatory Facebook likes allowed)
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Coats and Clark Grand Prize Package

$200 RV

Coats and Clark Grand Prize Package $200 RV

The items in this prize package are:

  • Coats & Clark Dual Duty thread 50 spool assortment
  • Make It Coats Bag
  • Make It Coats Mug
  • 2 Make It Coats pens
  •  Free Spirit Fat Quarter Bundle
  • Rowan Kaffe Fasset Design Roll
  • Susan Bates Digital Row Counter,
  • Susan Bates Cable Stitch Holders & Handi Tool
  • Susan Bates Yarn Essential Kit
  • Susan Bates Aluminum Stitch Holders
  • 5 Coats & Clark zippers
  • 3 balls Red Heart Boutique Unforgettable
  • 3 balls Red Heart Sparkle Soft
  • 3 balls Red Heart Grande
  • Red Heart Tape Measure

Crochet Lovers Prize Package

$63 RV

Crochet Lovers Prize Package $63 RV   
Crochet Lovers Prize Package $63 RV

The items in this prize package are:

  • Skein of Tie Dye Resilient Wool Sock Yarn from Expression Fiber Arts
  • LoveArtsCrafts Ergonomic Crochet Hook Kit

HP Ink Promotion – Great Deal!

This is a sponsored post as part of a promotional program with HP and MomSelect.  The opinions are mine alone.

Right now HP is offering a great promotional deal:  Buy one Original HP Ink, get a 2nd cartridge of equal or lesser value for 50% off.

o   This is the best deal on HP ink since 2012!!  

HP Ink 3


This is something I’ll be taking advantage of for sure, since we use a ton of ink during the school year.  My oldest is entering junior high this year.  Am I going to need to use more than before?  I’m assuming I will…but really, I’m a newbie to this teenager education thing.


This deal is available online, as well as at retail stores like Office Depot, Best Buy and Staples.


HURRY QUICKLY – This promotion ends August 1!!!


You’re welcome. :)


Tumerex Tumeric 95% Extract – Review


In the last year, I’ve been trying to do a lot to reduce the inflammation in my body. For awhile I thought I was getting arthritis, but after some really clean eating and supplement taking, I was able to completely eliminate the pain I had in my hand joints. The supplements I was taking were WAY too expensive though, so I’ve been searching for other natural options.


Turmerex is a professional-grade turmeric supplement standardized to 95% curcuminoids. Turmeric has been used for thousands of years in India as a spice and for its medicinal properties. Each Turmerex capsule contains 712.5mg of curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, that has been studied for its ability to support the body’s ability to fight many health related issues.

Turmeric 95% Extract (750mg), BioPerine® (5mg).

1 capsule daily preferably with a meal or as directed by a healthcare professional.


My Thoughts:
Tumeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory spice. It also helps to neutralize free radicals in the body. I’ve tried increasing my tumeric consumption in foods, but I know I’m not getting enough like that, so I was quite excited to learn about these Tumerex capsules. They’re an easy-to-swallow capsule that gets you a ton of tumeric.

I’ve been mostly pain free for a few months now, and I’m hopeful that using this will help to aid me in this continuous journey, for less money than the supplements my doctor(s) gave me. So far, so good!

The only reason I’m not giving it 5 stars is that the packaging was dirty when it arrived. I’m not sure what happened, but the label had come loose in the middle and was bubbled out, and the bottle was dirty. Everything was sealed, so it wasn’t a terrible thing, but it would have been nice, mentally, for me to see a clean, new looking bottle.


The product retails for $119, but right now you can get it for 67% off – only $39.95!!  I don’t know how long that pricing will last.

* I received the product free of charge in exchange for an honest review.  NO monetary compensation was received.  The opinions are mine alone.

My River Trip – Cleansing for the Soul (And Stinky Shoes)

*I received a sample of the product discussed in exchange for an honest review.  NO monetary compensation was received.  The opinions are mine alone.


Not the cleanest river ever...

Not the cleanest river ever…

When I went on my river trip, I had such a blast!  I’m totally afraid of water too, so in addition to getting away for a few days, I had the opportunity to really face some fears, and to cleanse my soul.  It was incredible.


My shoes got very wet on multiple occasions, which didn’t bother me, cause hey, it’s a river.  However, I noticed them getting more and more smelly.  Upon arriving home, I found I had a package.  It was this all natural shoe odor eliminator.  Talk about good timing! Ha ha.


This odor eliminator is safe for the whole family.  They use proven science to eradicate the stench and keep resize_d968c9c321c7f418fda3a479a5d0308fb7df2fbb4c90909cb64374d19b50e6c62217ae42256256shoes smelling fresh.  They offer a “Stink Free Guarantee.” 100% Satisfied or your money back.  In addition, 10% of all sales go to build a well in Africa. Sweet, right?


I knew I had to try it out immediately.  On all shoe types.  My daughter’s shoes tend to get kinda smelly, so we tested it out on those.  The smell was eliminated.  NOT covered, but gone!  We tried another pair.  Same results.  But we hadn’t given it the real test yet.  I hadn’t tried it on my smelly river shoes.  They were so bad that I couldn’t bring them in the house.  They just sat outside, stinking away, and I forgot about them for a few days.  I tried this odor eliminator and it helped, but they were still smelly.  So, I tried again.  I figured I’d keep spraying them each day until the smell dissipated.  It was a great idea except for the fact that I left the shoes outside while waiting.  That wouldn’t be a problem if we hadn’t had all the rain.  It rained every day for a week or so.  That doesn’t happen often in our area.  Oh yeah, so those poor shoes got wet and dry and wet and dry over and over.  lol.

After about 5 applications (twice per day for 2-3 days), the smell was….GONE!!!  I brought my shoes back in and even wore them for the first time in 2 weeks!  This stuff really works.  You can buy 2 bottles for $12.95, so about $6.50 each…not bad.  You can also buy higher quantities for an additional discount.


Have you ever gone on a trip that you felt just cleansed you on the inside?  This trip was that for me.  We had a lot of challenges and struggles, and I think it was just what our group needed.  Having challenges to overcome, and then overcoming them, was a powerful thing.  Facing my fear of water was freeing.  In addition to them providing all the meals for us and rafting us, the volunteer guides provided presentations and activities designed to help us to empower ourselves as mothers of kids with autism.  Stress relief, self empowerment, and more was discussed.  It was a trip I’ll never forget!

sanjuan52 sanjuan98



1 Good Thing to Use “Cheap” Essential Oil For

Y’all know how I love my essential oils and natural living products. :)


essentialoilI’m a big believer in saving money, but I’m also a big believer in getting quality products.  Buying a cheap essential oil isn’t going to be worth the money that buying pharmaceutical-grade is, in some cases.  I try to buy high quality essential oils from trusted resources.  If I’m going to spend money, I want to know it’s going toward something worth the money!!


That being said, I realize that money is tight for many.  The idea of spending $20 – $90 or more on a small bottle of essential oil is intimidating.  I mean, holy cow, do you know how many groceries I can buy for that much money?  It’s actually a lot like the grocery dilemma:  the higher quality, non GMO, organic foods cost more, and it can be hard to justify spending the extra $$$, even when we believe it’s better for us.


When is it okay to use a more affordable essential oil?  I would never recommend doing so when you are using it for health purposes.  If you are ingesting or applying topically, I think it’s worth using the good stuff.  Our bodies are worth it.  I do feel, however, that at times, it’s okay to go for the more affordable option.


For example, I have a big bottle of lemon essential oil.  It’s labeled “Pure”, but not food-grade or pharmaceutical-grade.  It is 4 oz (114 ml), so much bigger than the standard 5-15 ml bottles.  Yet it costs less than the typical $15 (for 15 ml) or so price.  I love it and use it all the time.  Wanna know when?  I use it in my bathroom.  I usually deposit a drop or two in my toilet bowl to keep it fresh.  I do it each day, as well as in between big restroom breaks. :)  It’s cheaper than Poo-Pourri, and works just as well, ha ha.   I also use a bigger tea tree oil bottle and put a few drops or so in my garbages every once in awhile.  It really helps to deodorize.


What are situations that you feel a more affordable EO option is worth it?

Menu Monday and Weekly Goals 07/13 1 comment

Well, hello!


0708151137bIt’s been awhile since I’ve posted something personal on the blog.  We went on vacation last week as a family, and it was great.  We do mini-vacations…a 4-6 hour drive away from home and stay for 2-3 days.  It’s nice to get away, and it’s nice to be frugal about it.  We are fortunate to live fairly close to a lot of national parks and beautiful scenery, so there are a lot of affordable, fun outdoor options.


Now that we’re back and trying to get back into the swing of things, I find myself very grateful that I’ve gotten used to menu planning each week.  I’m hoping to start trying a new recipe each week or so, simply to expand our family’s diet.  We’ve found ourselves in a bit of a funk, eating the same things over and over.  We’ll see if we can’t fix that in the next few weeks!  In the meantime, this week’s plan is fairly standard, simply to give me time to make some plans and do some recipe searching:



  • Protein Smoothie (for me)
  • Toast (for the kids)
  • Fresh garden raspberries
  • Scrambled eggs with spinach


Monday – Sloppy Joes, fresh carrot/celery sticks

Tuesday – Chick-fil-A  (It’s Cow Day; you can dress up as a cow and get a free meal!)

Wednesday – Enchiladas, salad

Thursday – Leftovers/YOYO (You’re on your own)

Friday – BBQ with my river sisters!

Saturday – Tacos, taco salad

Sunday – Family dinner at my mom’s house!


*Want more menu ideas?  Head over to OrgJunkie, where dozens of other bloggers link up with their own meal plans!!


GoalsThe goals for the week?  Well, I just started a new chore system with my kids.  The bigggest goal I have is to implement it and enforce it, ha ha.  I basically just made up some mini posters with all of the items that need to be done when cleaning the kitchen, or the bathroom, or the living room.  Each day my kids will get a new mini poster and they will be in charge of completing the checklist on that poster before they are allowed to play with friends or use electronics.  They already are doing their personal chores like bedroom cleaning, and it’s time I start giving them more responsibility.  Sooo….

  • Implement and enforce new chore system with kids.
  • Make cookies for our last cub master as a thank-you.
  • Declutter and reorganize bathroom makeup drawer.

Have a great week!!

Menu Monday and Weekly Goals – June 15

sanjuan3I had an amazing week last week.  I went on a river trip with a group of strangers with a non-profit organization called Soul-R-Eclipse.  They took a group of autism moms on a 4-day trip, and it was incredible.  I accomplished more internally than I would ever have imagined.  I will be sharing more photos and info about the trip on Wordless Wednesday this week.


So anyway, I’m back to reality, and the summer break has begun.  I’m excited to start a new, more relaxed, and still productive, routine.  A huge part of that will always be meal planning.  Because I don’t work during the summer months, our income is less, and our grocery budget is less than the rest of the year.  This menu plan will probably reflect that a bit.  Here are the meals I have planned for the week:


  • Chicken n’ Dumplings
  • Hawaiian Haystacks
  • Chicken Fajitas
  • Spaghetti (served with noodles for the kids, and quinoa for me)
  • Taco Soup
  • Leftover night
  • Family dinner for Father’s Day

I also have a set of goals for the week, but it mostly involves getting my family into a routine, so we don’t waste all of our summer days away:


  1. Call and schedule doctor appointments for both kids.
  2. Begin de-cluttering process in each room of the house.
  3. Create a weekly chore schedule for myself and the kids.  This will include “online” chores, such as scheduling blog posts, household chores, and “physical” chores, like getting a daily walk in, etc.
  4. Take my daughter to her first young women’s camp.


That’s about it from me.  I hope everyone has a blessed week!


*Linked at OrgJunkie.