Tuesday, December 26, 2017

What Will They Be When They Grow Up? *Giveaway*

This is a paid post for AZ 529 Holiday Blog and Coloring Contest.

Giving the Gift of College to Children and Grandchildren

Christmas has come and gone, all the presents have been unwrapped, returned, or exchanged. As the kids get older, it is harder for extended family to find the perfect present. So avoid the stress of finding that one special gift and instead support their dreams. 


One option is to support children’s wishes for what they want to be when they grow up. You can do this through a tax deductible contribution to an AZ 529 account, (www.az529.gov) Arizona’s Family College Savings Program through the Arizona Commission for Postsecondary Education. Contributions from parents, relatives and family friends provide gifts with long-term meaning for their littlest loved ones.



If giving children a card that says, “I helped you save for college,” seems less than magical, AZ 529 has suggestions that will delight youngsters while strengthening their futures.

1. Career Costumes: Give a chef’s hat, astronaut costume, or other career dress-up option with a note saying you believe they can be whatever they wish, and you’ve given $100, $500, or more to help them achieve their dreams.

2. Career Exploration: Give an interesting book about a future career with a bookmark note sharing your 529 contribution.

3. Teaching Toys: Find a toy that can be fun while they learn. Coding is a favorite for my boys. They can take a love of video games and turn it onto a career.

4. Split it 50/50: Instead of buying a large gift, take half the funds and contribute to their 529, while using the other half to buy a less expensive gift.

5. Experience The Future: Take children to a museum or activity that helps them better understand a future career, then login online together to see the funds deposited into their 529 account.

What Will They Be When They Grow Up?

Download this coloring sheet and have your child color me a picture.  One lucky drawing will win a $50 gift card.




Visit www.az529.gov or their Facebook page for more tips to save for college and help children realize their dreams this holiday season.






Friday, December 22, 2017

Post Divorce Holidays - GUEST POST

This is a guest post from Alexis Hall 
and SingleParent.info

Making the best of the holidays for your kids post-divorce

Divorce is difficult for your kids, and if it’s recent, getting through the holidays can be especially difficult for everyone involved. But, there are plenty of ways to make the season less painful and help all of you get through it peacefully.


Image courtesy of Pixabay


Attitude is everything

Encouragement and security.  Your first holiday season after a divorce will be a hard one for your entire family.  Even with encouragement and support from both you and your ex, your children will need reassurance and love.  According to FamilyEducation, you should let your kids know you understand they are feeling sad, worried, and perhaps angry.  Tell them those feelings are okay; things are different, and change is difficult.  Encourage them to remember good times from the past and reassure them there will be more good times to come.  

Be congenial.  Keep relations with your ex positive. Your children will be looking at your interactions together as a predictor of future holidays. Setting a good tone will give them hope.  Make sure both your behavior and your words regarding your ex are positive; if not, your children will pick up on it.

Celebrations

Traditions.  You don’t need to leave old traditions behind, as they may provide some comfort to your children. Experts suggest that if your schedule doesn’t allow a tradition to fall when it normally would, adjust. For instance, if you normally exchange candy on a particular evening and your kids are spending that night elsewhere, bump the event up to the night before they leave.  Also talk with the kids about starting a new tradition.  Let them pick something that excites them, whether you make gingerbread houses, go sledding, or binge watch classic holiday movies together.  Maybe your ex can begin some different traditions as well.  

Gifts.  Discuss the children’s gifts with your ex.  You don’t want the kids to be disappointed, but you don’t want them to be overindulged, either.  If you normally picked out a gift for your ex with your children, keep that tradition going.  Consider connecting during holiday gift exchanges, if you can.  Some people opt for employing technology by using Skype or FaceTime.  Another option suggested by Huffington Post is actually spending the event together with your ex.  
You could even move it to a new location like another family member’s home.  

Keep connections

Extended family.  Include the entire extended family in the holidays, from your ex’s side as well as yours.  Even if you don’t see these people in person, exchanging cards and emails, connecting through social media, or talking on the phone can be helpful.  Knowing they are still connected will allow your children to feel more secure.  Also as pointed out by Psychology Today, family members may not know how to act.  This year you set the tone for them, just like you do with the kids.  Keep things warm and positive.  It tells them how they will be treated at future events, and how you would like to be treated.

Know your limits.  If you find it difficult maintaining positivity around your ex for an extended period of time, experts advise against forcing time together.  Creating tension can spoil the holidays for everyone.  Also sometimes children develop a false hope that the family will be reunited.  Find a realistic and positive balance.

Get through the holidays together.  Your family is being redefined, and the holidays will be difficult. Keep a good attitude, celebrate both the old and new, and stay connected with the whole family. This holiday season will be a new beginning for you all.  You can get through the tough parts together.

Friday, November 17, 2017

A Few of my Favorite Things - Amazon Shopping


Hey Friends!

Next week is Thanksgiving, and besides eating turkey, that means shopping for many families. Black Friday deals are plentiful and some begin as early as 6pm on Thursday. Last year, Amazon offered a ton of great deals. My favorite item was the Instant Pot. 
Not only did I get a great deal, I made money as an Amazon Affiliate. When you use one of the links I shared, a small percentage is paid to me from Amazon. This doesn't cost you any extra money. Signing up is easy, and if you send me an email, I can help you get set up with your account.

As always, Amazon offers 2 day shipping on Amazon Prime. I signed up for Prime when I was a student at the community college, so I got an even better membership price. They have a new discounted membership that can be paid monthly for families on state assistance. If your families receives TANF or SNAP, you might be eligible. 

      

Or send an Amazon Prime membership as a gift. The recipient can sign up from the email that is sent, and start reaping the benefits right away.




What are you currently reading? 
This is a book that is on my list. Hopefully I can make time to read over the Christmas break. What is on your list?

 

I received the Little House box set as a child. I remember finding the present in the basement at my Aunt's house. My present was missing from under the tree. Since I had been snooping earlier in the night, I had found the books. I was super glad to have new books to read. I have always loved reading and I am glad my boys have inherited that love. 

         

The boys and I are currently reading Magic Tree House books together. I am hoping to start Harry Potter next year. They loved Sideways Stories and Magic Finger. 

       

 These are a few other books that they have read this year.

        

Xbox One S
This is the new system the boys are hoping to find under the tree. They currently have a used Xbox360. What system does your family have at home?

          

Nintendo 2DS XL
The boys were able to try these out at a special kiosk Nintendo had set up at the mall. They really love some of the games available for this system. I haven't decided if we really need another electronic device in the house. However, the portable aspect and less fighting would be nice. They are also interested in playing certain 1 player games together on wi-fi.

          

My boys love their Kindle Fire Tablets.
I was able to buy some on Prime Day and save a lot of money. Look for a deal over the Thanksgiving holiday to buy.

      

My Favorite Things
Planners are the IT thing right now. I love my Happy Planner. The PaperMate felt tip pens do not bleed through the page. The Sharpie fine point is perfect for jotting down appointments.

            

The Instant Pot was the item that everyone bought last year on Black Friday. Do you own one? I love mine and makes dinner so much easier for my family. This year, I hope to buy some additional accessories to make using my Instant Pot just a little bit better and more fun. Did you know you can bake cake and breads in no time at all with your IP?

          
           

I hope you all have a nice week with family next week. Keep the arguing to a minimum, eat lots of stuffing but leave room for the pie.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Wal-Mart Black Friday Deals

I saw that the Black Friday ad was released for Wal-Mart, I had to go look.

What is on your list this year?

These are some of the items I am hoping to grab next week.


Wal-Mart Black Friday 2017

We had a Halloween light like this and loved it. I think snowflakes would be pretty.
I love getting new pajamas for the kids. I always snag a few for each of the boys.
They have gotten too tall for last year's footie jammies, so they need new ones.

The socks and slippers are always a great deal. Feet grow fast in this house and socks disappear.
Although I might need to bring home Flip-a-Zoo slippers for Jay.


I love fluffy pajama pants for myself. They are perfect to lounge around at home.
Plus those slippers look toasty warm.

These are gifts for myself. Last year I got the Instant Pot, this year I want an Air Fryer.
Plus I am a sucker for the mixing bowls and plastic food containers. The low prices always get me.
Plus the canning jars are perfect for projects.


The boys really want the Xbox One S.
They have a few games they have wanted to play but they are only available on this system.
This will be the main gift for both of them to share.
They don't play with many toys any longer, so no point in buying. All they do is play video games or use tablets.

This is something I just started to consider as a gift for the boys.