What to Do If You Cannot Afford Your Kid’s Birthday

For most children, the excitement reaches fever pitch when their birthday is just around the corner. They can’t wait to have a party with all of their friends and, of course, they probably have a wish list full of presents. This can be a worrying and upsetting time for any parent that is struggling financially. It is made even worse by the fact that other kids seem to have the latest mobile phones and games consoles, and you don’t want your child to be left out. So, what can you do if you cannot afford your kid’s birthday?

pixabay-birthdaygirlPhoto Credits

Start saving
If your child’s birthday is several months away, you still have some time to save. You may think that it is impossible to put away money every month when you are struggling as it is, but you would be surprised where cut backs can be made. Here are some suggestions to help you with saving when money is already tight:

Sell things – Do you have clothes, games, or furniture around the home that you no longer use? There are bound to be plenty of people that would give them a happy home. Plus, with auction sites like eBay, it is easy to get things off your hands these days.

Use cash-back programs – There are so many different cash-back programs today. Whenever you make a purchase, you will get a percentage of it back as cash. You can add this into a savings account for your little one’s birthday.

Find cheaper gas – There is no denying that gas is a costly expense. However, you can search for the cheapest gas in your area by using the GasBuddy app. This app uses your location to determine the cost of gas around you. You can then save a few bucks every time you fill up.

Change your car insurance – If you have not changed your car insurance in a while, you could find that you are missing out on a lot of savings. Use a comparison site to see if it would be cheaper switching provider.

Go meatless – Next time you do your grocery shop; try to reduce the amount of meat you spend. If you only eat meat once or twice per week, you will save a lot of money. Plus, it is a lot healthier too.

Eliminate unnecessary expenses – It is time to rethink what the word utility means. It should mean the sort of things that you cannot live without. Do you really need your expensive cable package? If not, switch it for a cheaper Internet-based service and add the savings to your child’s birthday fund.

Unplug electronics – Even when the switch is off at the plug, your electronics still leech electricity. Start unplugging them altogether.

Ask friends or family
Have you tried discussing your money issue with a close friend or family member? The likelihood is that they will be more than happy to help if they are able to. After all, they will want your child to have a great birthday too. Bring up the subject with them and see if they offer to help. If they don’t, and you feel comfortable, you could ask them politely if they would be willing to lend you some money and if you could pay them back over time.

Have you considered a loan?
Nowadays, there are many different forms of financial aid available, and taking out a loan can be a good way to ensure your kid has a great birthday. It is simply about finding the right loan for you. Don’t take out more than you need to. Simply borrow a couple of hundred dollars or whatever is required to buy your child a present and give them a good birthday. Just because you can borrow thousands does not mean that you should. Making payments over time is a lot more manageable for most people, and a lot of lenders will enable you to choose a repayment period that is suitable to your situation. This is a good option for those that don’t want to discuss their financial situation with their family and friends. If you know you have income coming in regularly and you can make the repayments on time, it will actually boost your credit rating too, which will help you when borrowing money for any reason in the future.

Make sure you stick to a tight budget
You don’t have to spend a fortune to throw any amazing birthday party. Even if you secure a loan or a loved one offers to lend you some money, you should still set yourself a strict budget. Plus, if you throw an elaborate birthday this year, they will only expect an even bigger one next year. Don’t waste money on private venues or hiring an entertainer for several hours. Do things the old fashioned way. You can easily host a party at your own home, and it doesn’t need to cost a lot to put on a buffet and make some party bags. You could even ask some of the parents if they would be willing to bring something to add to the buffet. You don’t need to buy fancy invites either, as there are plenty of templates online today, which you can easily print out and use. Make sure you have one invite per family. If you are inviting a brother and sister, there is no need to put both names on the invitation.

You can also take care of the entertainment yourself. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a professional service. Enlist the help of one of your friends to do face painting. There are plenty of courses and videos online showing you how to face paint, balloon model, and perform magic tricks. And, there are always the traditional games that provide a lot of fun and make everyone laugh, such as musical chairs and pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. To make the birthday even more special, why not have a theme? From pirates to fairies, there are so many different options.

Top Tips For Creating The Perfect Playroom

As parents, we all know that we spend much of our time either looking after the kids or cleaning up after them.

If you are a stay at home mommy trying to work from home, this can make your life very difficult and trying to keep your little ones out of the area from your designated workspace can be a challenge.

One way to preserve your home office space (and your sanity) is to create an area specifically for the kids. If they have their own space, they are much less likely to want to venture into yours.

playgroupPhoto Credit

So where do you start? Firstly, you decide which room or area in your home you are comfortable with handing over to your kids. It could be an unused bedroom or redundant utility but whatever you decide, creating the perfect playroom will, in turn, make your daily life much less stressful.

If you are lucky enough to have a healthy budget for your project but are short of time, then it makes sense to enlist the help of a team of interior designers. Experts in their field, designers will be able to help your decision process and choose the most suitable materials for the job while staying in budget.

However, if you decide to tackle the project yourself, you may need a little guidance and advice.

Flooring

Kids are messy. Fact. Therefore it is imperative that you choose hard flooring for your play area, it is hardwearing and easy to clean. Footprints, mud, and spillages can all be wiped off quickly and easily without leaving any lasting stains.

Walls

Although you may well decide to simply emulsion the walls with a wipe clean paint, you can make things more interesting. Why not choose a feature wall and decorate it with some laminated wallpaper or pictures to inject some of your kids’ personality into the room.

Furniture

Any furniture that you choose needs to be practical in both colour and design. Dark colours or busy patterns are preferable as they won’t show up marks or stains. If you opt for a lighter colour palette, choose leather which can be easily wiped clean or fabric which has been pre-treated with a fabric protector to repel dirt and stains.
Choose small sized tables and chairs; it will really make them feel that this is their space.

Comfort

Make sure that there is somewhere for your little ones to relax and have some down time in their new environment. Beanbags or cushions with washable covers are a great option, and can also double up as mattresses for sleepovers.

Storage

Kids accumulate a lot of clutter, so it is important to have plenty of storage available to hide it away. Stackable boxes are an inexpensive and practical option which can be added to over time.

If you take account of these few simple steps you are sure to keep your kids happy, leaving you to get on with your day in peace and quiet.

LunchBox Baon Ideas and Jolly Products

School is back and I’m back to my everyday challenge on what to fill in on my daughter’s lunch box for her baon. My daughter’s appetite is improving now that she is a tween and to ensure that she still gets the nutrients she needed especially during lunch, I had to make sure I’m giving her nutritious and healthy meal.

Good news for me, the husband knows how to cook and have lots of creative ideas.

And then there’s  help from Jolly Eats Products . Jolly Products are imported and distributed by Fly Ace Corp., one of the leading food and beverage consumer goods companies in the country, Jolly’s canned food products are available in leading supermarkets nationwide.

Our last week’s sample menus:

Day 1:
PadThai (from Maya Adam’s recipe), Fried Fish, Corn Salad (a mixture of  Jolly Whole Corn Kernels, chopped cucumber and tomatoes sprinkled with lemon juice). Rice was put in a separate container in case she needs it.

Jolly Lunch Ideas Day 1

Day 2:
Chopsuey (stir-fry of mixed vegetables and meat), Chicken Adobo + Rice

Jolly Lunch Ideas Day 2

Day 3:
Pancit Lomi (thick soup with noodles, vegetables and egg), Fried Pork Chop, Sliced  Apple (and Rice on a separate container)

Jolly Lunch Ideas Day 3

Day 4:
Fried Marinated Chicken + Mixed Vegetables + Jolly’s Lotus Biscoff Biscuits (and Rice on a separate container)

Jolly Lunch Ideas Day 4

Day 5:
Spaghetti, Egg Omelette, Fried Sweet Potatoes (and Rice on a separate container)

Jolly Lunch Ideas Day 5

Disclaimer: I received Jolly Eats Products mentioned above. No other compensation received and opinions are my own.

Getting the Kids More Active This Summer

Its summertime in the other side of the world, the sun is out and the kids have a chance to be active. But with the gadgets available nowadays, a lot of children aren’t as active as they should be. In this side of the world, school is back and kids spend much time the classroom. With a lot of school activities, they may also spend less activity after school. But did you know there are still a few ways to encourage kids to be active.

kids-activitiesPhoto Credit

Lead them into the garden

What with all the video games, TV channels and movies that are so easily accessible in this day and age — even to our children — it’s easy to allow them to stay in the house and indulge in them. It’s easy for you to give into their demands to want to be inside. In fact, it’s easy to join them inside too. But if you want your children to be more active this summer then you need to entice them outside. And to do so, you need to make coming outside and staying fit as appealing as can be. Something that you can try in this particular venture is to set them up an area where they can physically play and express themselves in as free a way as possible. If you have the space to do so, this area should be in a separate part of the garden to the space that you generally use so that they can be as active, loud and destructive as they want. And if you have the funds to do so, you should have artificial grass, such as that offered at www.astrodeck.com.au, laid down too. This will mean that no natural grass will ever be harmed as your children run around and play on it. Thus, you can retain a garden that works for the whole family, and not just the kids. So, not only will having artificial grass laid suit your venture of getting the kids active, but also your desire to retain a garden that is free of wear and tear.

Take them cycling

Cycling is most definitely a summer sport that you should get your children involved with as much as possible over the coming months. By taking your children out on bike rides, or even signing them up to a cycling club, you can be sure that you’re doing all you can to keep them not only active, but fit too. One reason for this is that cycling improves cardiovascular fitness twofold. It improves lung capacity and increases endurance. So, get your child a bike, fit some stabilisers on it if they’re too young to ride without one, and watch them cycle their way to fitness this summer.

Keeping your kids active whilst they are still children is imperative for their growth and general wellbeing. So, don’t just treat this summer as a chance for you all to enjoy and create memories in the present. No, also use it as time to ensure that your children’s physical futures are as safe and as steady as possible.

Back-to-School Checklist and Jolly’s Baon Ideas

While some students were already back at school, my kids are still at the house still waiting for classes to start next month. That means they still have 2 weeks to wake up late, play, complete their assignment or just get bored. As for me, this means we still have 2 more weeks to prepare school.

This school year will be my tween’s last year in her primary years. She’ll be a high-schooler next year and that story deserves another post :). Its “Hello primary years” for my son as he will be first grader this school year and thankfully has the same schedule during his kindergarten years — morning session and will only spend 5 hours of school activities. Sure enough our early morning chaos like the constant nagging and fighting will definitely resume. Part of our morning routine to making sure they have eaten their breakfast before going to school and that they provided with snacks (baon) in case they get hungry.

Since, it is back to school time! We’ve been checking the back to school list and so far we’ve done notebook & shoe shopping, bag fixing, uniform fittings, looking for lunch boxes and water bottles that are leak-proof, checking for new baon menus and everything school stuff.

Here is our Back-To-School Checklist:

  • Books – should be covered and labeled
  • Bags – check theirs from last years
  • School Uniforms – check for lost buttons, broken zippers or torn pocket
  • Inner Wears – check if it still fits
  • Shoes and Socks – last year’s shoes might no longer fit
  • School Supplies – notebooks, pens, pencil, crayons or rulers
  • Get the kids haircuts
  • Completely accomplished summer assignments
  • Baon (Snack) Boxes / Lunch Boxes – last year might still be usable
  • Baon (Snack) / Lunch Menu – varied options to add excitement

LotusBiscoffandJollyChocolateMilk

I’m also excited with going back to school because this is again an opportunity for me to prepare their school lunches and snacks. My way of showing my care despite being busy at work. While I make sure I give them home-cooked meals for their snacks and lunches, I run out of ideas. Good thing we have biscuits and ready-to-drink drinks to give them. However, if I give them the same baon combination, expect the biscuits to be untouched sooner. They hated the same combination.

Thankfully, Jolly Eats of Fly Ace Corporation introduced me with Lotus Biscoff Biscuits and Jolly Cow Chocolate Milk Drinks. Aside from the fact the biscuit is my namesake, the kids like it so much that they already consumed it even before the start of classes. This is definitely an addition to our snack options.

LotusBiscoffandJollyChocolateMilk_Jiggy

Disclaimer: I received Jolly Eats Products mentioned above. No other compensation received and opinions are my own.

Tips To Save Yourself and Your Family Time

pexel-people-sitting-on-green-grassPhoto Credit

When you’re a busy mom, you can often feel like you’re running at a mile a minute (and on empty). To say that life can be tough is an understatement. But just because it’s tough, it doesn’t mean that it has to be a challenge. In fact, there are ways that you can make life fit into your business schedule and not the other way around. If you want to be able to enjoy more time with your family after work, and not focus on all the other jobs you have to do at home, here are some of the ways you can speed things up.

Fun Plans

First up, let’s make time for those super fun plans you always mean to make. When you get in from work, you want to relax, not start planning and organizing and arranging, right? So, you need to make this as quick as possible. Be sure to plan your fun activities in advance – definitely by weeks, by months too if you can. Then, you have more things to look forwards to throughout the year. Whether it’s a playdate with friends or a trip to the zoo with family. Spend an hour or so each month or every few months booking in plans and then forget about it until you need to add more.

Cleaning

Unfortunately, cleaning is just one of those chores that have to get done – especially if you like living in a clean and tidy home. But, it doesn’t mean that you have to spend lots of time each week doing it. If you’re super busy and the budget allows it, hire a cleaner. For a small fee each week, your home will stay spotless and your time is freed up to spend with family. If that won’t work for you, make up a cleaning schedule and stick to it. That way, you can spend more time with your kids.

pexel-family-beach-holidayPhoto Credit

Checkups

Then there are those regular health checkups that we all know we need to make (and attend) but always forget about. So, now you’re going to book everything a year in advance and mark it on the calendar. Job done! From your routine doctor appointments at the local clinic to your dental checkups at somewhere like Care Family Dental, by booking in advance, you just have to turn up.

Vacations

We all want to go on regular vacations, but the thought of finding a week to do it in, finding a hotel and booking everything can be a little bit too much. So, to make it easier, why not book a break at the same place each year? Especially while your children or young. You could even think about buying a vacation home so that you don’t even have to make standing arrangements each year.

Cooking

And then there’s the dinner. Planning meals can drive a mom mad, but it doesn’t have to. Find yourself some crock pot recipe inspiration and sort everything in the morning before work. Then, when you get in, you’ll just have to prepare a salad or some rice and serve up. Easy peasy!

Spending Summer

As the seasons change, so do our lives. Whether it is summer, autumn, winter, or spring, we look to make positive resolutions that better the lives of ourselves and our family. There are ways to improve the relationships with our families at the start of every season, so with summer still on us, let’s take a look at four activities and habits that you can share with your family.

Personal Paradise

The outside of your home is just as important as the inside of it. Utilising nature is one of the best ways to enjoy your time spent outside for the development of your children. However life’s simple luxuries are not important to only children, but adults as well. We sometimes get lost juggling between family and job or work responsibilities that we forget to enjoy the fresh air and greenery around us, and there is no better place to do this than in your own garden.

Your home garden is the perfect place for you to wind down and clear your mind after a long day of hard work. One of the most important parts of an enjoyable and well-defined outdoor living space is furnishing it comfortably to suit your style with items such as Bridgman garden furniture. Fill it with life and a natural perfume scent to match by planting vibrant flowers and fruits. Landscaping and adding stone pathways or ponds are also things you may be able to consider, but they are fairly costly renovations that need to be planned in advance in order to be ready by summer.

pixabay-white-outdoor-patio-furniturePhoto Credit

An Apple a Day

With summer just around the corner, now would be a great time to alter your diet. As tempting as grabbing a bowl of ice cream may sound during the hotter months, try curving your desires to a more healthy choice. Everyone’s favourite fruits and vegetables are in season during these months including apples, bananas, strawberries, oranges, and more! Do not miss out on eating the refreshing healthy foods you enjoy while they taste the best. There are lots of unique ways to prepare meals and snacks with fresh fruits and vegetables in mind for your family.

pixabay-apples-jonagold-health-improvementPhoto Credit

Around the World

The start of summer signals the closing of schools. Your children are free from drowning in homework assignments and after school activities are over for the next few months. Spending time with your family is made easier so take advantage and go on a vacation together. Travelling to see sites as a tourist, attending amusement parks or special events, or going to beaches, camping trips, and cruises are all family-friendly activities that everyone can enjoy.

Reflect and Learn

Recall previous resolutions you and your family made and bring them back to life this summer. Reflect on how your goals went for the spring season and how you can revitalise and improve them in the coming months. Share them with your family and work together to accomplish the new obstacles. Coming together and discussing what everyone would like to accomplish over the summer season can spark new creative ways you and your family can move forward.

Using Nature to Nurture

pexel-sky-beach-vacation-summer(Image Credit)

Nowadays, fewer kids are getting experience the thrill of the great outdoors and mother nature. Cities are becoming less green. And, more people are living in cities than ever. So, to make sure you kids get their fill of the natural world; you have to force them into it. This might not be easy. And, you might have to spend a little bit of money along the way. But, it will be worth it when you see your kids enjoying something so simple with such vigor. To help you out, this post will be going through some of the ways to get your kids outside. And, why it’s so important that this is a part of their life.

pexel-autumn-colors-deciduous-enjoy(Image Credit)

First, you should think about the spaces away from home. It’s very unlikely that you have a woodland or forest attached to your property; especially in the city. But, these are some of the best places for kids to enjoy nature. They enable your child to see things that they would never see at home. And, they give your child a chance to explore something they may have only seen on television. Along with wooded areas, beaches can be great for kids. These spaces are usually nice and safe; as long as you keep your eyes open. You can do a lot of this for just the price of travel. This is much cheaper than most modern days out. And, it will provide your kids with much more.

pexel-close-up-photography-of-green-pine-tree(Image Credit)

Next, you can start to consider the space you have at home. Your kids will spend a lot of their time in the garden. They will want to be outside for a lot of the time during summers. And, they will enjoy having somewhere to play with friends. Your garden provides a great place for you to let your kids run free; without having to worry about strangers. Of course, you have to make sure that the space is safe, though. To start, it’s a good idea to talk to a landscaping company. They will be able to work on your garden to make it as safe as possible; while still making it look nice. Having this work done for you will give you a chance to think about the other parts of your garden; like swings and other toys for the kids.

pexel-adventure-beautiful-camping-dramatic(Image Credit)

Kids who spend more time outside will almost certainly have a more fulfilling childhood. The time that they spend in these places will teach them about the importance of nature. Hopefully, it will give them a strong feeling of empathy towards animals. And, it could even have an impact on their education. Screens and digital devices aren’t the most enriching ways to entertain yourself. Instead, it’s better for a developing child to have to deal with natural challenges; not digital ones.

Hopefully, this will give you a good idea of what can be done to give your kids as much outdoor time as possible. This sort of work will be greatly beneficial to your kids. And, they might not know it; but, they will appreciate the work you do into their later years.

Kudos to mommies who love outdoor adventures and bringing with them their children when exploring the nature. :)