How To Survive This Summer At Home With Your Kids

 

Ah, school is finally out and summer is in full swing at our household.

The weather is hot and the sun is shining.

There are pools to jump into and bikes waiting to be ridden by eager kids.

 

 

Are your kids driving you mad yet? Mine are! Lol

No one has time for schedules and appointments when there are way better things to do!

You know, like eating ice cream and watching movies all day long and even sometimes…

Dare we admit it?

All NIGHT LONG!

Mine were watching (who else) Captain Underpants on repeat for the 47th time!

 

Gretchen Rubin said, “the days are long, but the years are short. ”

 

 

And it’s true, because boy, have they flown by quickly.

Just like that, in the blink of an eye, they are out of diapers and are finally saying

their first words.

Blink again and they are running around the neighborhood with their friends and

can care less about coming home in time for dinner.

They will be grown before we know it.

So let’s all enjoy them and each other while we are all still young at heart.

 

So, now, after about a week or so of this, the boredom monsters start to creep their ugly heads

out and all you hear is:

“Mom! I’m bored! There’s nothing to do!”

 

Me: “What do you mean there’s nothing to do? There are a ton of things you can do. We even made a list of those things to do this summer, remember?

Kids: “Yeah, but we did those things already and now we’re bored.”

 

Does this sound familiar to you too?

If so, I have a solution for that down below, check it out, below.

 

 

 

 

After all, kids need structure and moms and dads still have to work and get things done around the house as well.

Unless we have clones to do it for us, that does not include entertaining our minions 24/7.

So what better way to help them figure out what to do than to decide together how to get them on a summer routine that will work for everyone.

 

Check out this freebie below.

 

I have created a Summer Schedule that is going to help you reign in your babies and bring order back to your household.

There are 2 versions of the Summer Schedule.

One has already been filled in with some of the routines that we have in our own household.

The other version is a blank one that you can fill in whatever works best for your household.

 

 

Some Tips To Help You Get Started:

-After printing out your Summer Schedules, you can slide it inside a page protector.

-You can also laminate it, and use it with a dry erase marker (to change things up per day)

-For instance, you can take it with you on vacation, and change up your routine easily with a swipe of your dry erase marker and keep everyone on task.

-This will give you a sense of order even when things change on a whim.

 

C’est La Vie (such is life)!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Not Go Insane While Traveling With Your Family

Grab Your Free Travel Check Lists Below!

 

So you’re on your way to your destination. Bag in hand, kids in tow, and hubby is all ready to go.

 

This isn’t your first time traveling with your family. But somehow, someway, it always feels like it.

 

As always, you’re the last one to leave, so you rush out the door like a chicken with its head cut off.

 

But before, you do you make sure to lock all the doors. Grab any last minute items.

 

And of course, call out the door at your family for one last potty break before you finally decide to hit the road.

 

Because you know that inevitably someone’s going to have to go to the bathroom as soon as you pass the only rest area 3 miles down the road where there is no sign of civility anywhere in sight. (Smh)

 

No matter how much you think you’ve prepared ahead of time, it seems as though Murphy and his law is always out to get you. Rearing it’s ugly head at you, despite the fact that you’ve already done this same song and dance routine many times before while traveling with your family.

 

Short of leaving post-it notes everywhere or setting up reminders on your phone, you always seem to forget something…

 

“Arggh! Not again!” you tell yourself.

 

“What’s wrong with me?!”

 

News flash – mom brain continues well after pregnancy and giving birth! If anything, it gets worse! :/

 

At least this is the case for my family and I.

 

So on a recent road trip a couple weeks ago, a light bulb turned on and lifted the clouds from my foggy brain, as of late.

 

I sat down at the hotel desk and wrote down all of the things that we have forgotten from home, right onto the hotel notepad.

 

I also took the opportunity and made a game out of it by asking my very-bored-kids what they would have liked to take with them had they remembered to bring some of their belongings too.

 

And with their help, I wrote down everything that we could think of just to remind myself, not to forget about this for the next time we travel again in a couple weeks.

 

Thus giving rise to these handy dandy Travel Lists, one version for grown-ups and the other version, for kiddos.

 

You can download these Travel Check Lists below for free.

 

 

These lists will help you and your family to eliminate that,

 

“I can’t put my finger on what it is I am missing,” feeling the next time you are headed out the door with your hubby and kids in tow.

 

Just print one out for each family member, laminate it or put it inside of a sheet protector, and stick it right inside their duffle bag or suitcase so that you are all ready to go at a moment’s notice.

 

Because we all know that backing out of your driveway, driving down the street waving goodbye not once, not twice, but three times to the same neighbor will not win you any brownie points with anyone.

Especially your kids, who have learned to just roll with it and duck down further in their seats out of shame by the second time you’ve waved to the same said neighbor. (gulp)

No, we cannot turn back the hands of time, but we can all certainly benefit from my family’s constant mishaps of humanity and win at life with these free Travel Lists.

 

Enjoy! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Tricks You Must Do Right Now To Get Rid Of Your Debt Quickly!

Grab your free printable Weekly Expenses Tracker below!

 

So now that you have graduated college, landed a good stable-income-producing job, you are now considered a bona fide adult. (Right?)

Not only are you now considered legally allowed to vote, consume alcohol, and pay taxes all on your own. (Yay you!)

Even though cash is king, there are several instances in life where cash is not preferred such as buying a plane ticket.

You may have already noticed that before landing your job, renting your apartment, or leasing your car that you were asked for consent to do a background check as well as a credit check.

This now makes you a bona fide credit user.

Whether you like it or not, you are now on the government’s radar, my friend. 😉

This means that, if you have not already done so yet, you are now subject to credit checks by credit agencies like TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax.

So what exactly does this have to debt with getting rid of debt and more importantly, what does this mean for you, exactly? You may ask.

The short answer is, everything.

From the small purchases you make like your usual morning cup of latte to your one of your largest purchases like your first home, credit usage will depend largely on your ability to pay down and eventually pay off your debts, on time, every time.

 

Utilizing these 10 tips will quickly help you chip away at your debt and propel you forward in your life.

 

1-Freeze! (Stop Your Spending): Cancel all of those subscription services, cut up those credit cards, and let’s stop the trickle of spending from occurring to prevent a constant money leak from happening every month.

 

2-Assign Every Dollar & Every Cent: Track your money and really examine each dollar into and out of your wallet by first making a simple spending journal each week by writing down all your expenses for the week (to the penny) do this for about a month. Unlike that checking and savings account ledger that’s buried somewhere in one of your purses collecting dust, this will be an eye-opening exercise for you to really hold yourself accountable.

 

3-Needs -VS- Wants: Ask yourself these questions in your head each time you are faced with the decision on whether or not to spend money. It will soon become like second nature after a few times of practicing. “Is it really necessary for me to buy this now?”  “Will I die without it?” “Can this wait until I can actually pay for it in cash and not feel like I need to take a couple of doses of Pepto-Bismol to justify my purchase?”

 

4-If you must buy, then buy used: Contrary to popular belief, not everything you buy needs to be new. For instance, we buy used; books, electronics, appliances, vehicles, and even clothing (all except underwear because we believe in clean undies.) All of these are good contenders for this “rule.” We have recently bought our cars used and paid for them in cash and we couldn’t be any happier.  We even bought one of them online! You can check out it out here on: Carvana.com

 

5-De-clutter and sell your stuff to pay down debt: If you feel inclined to do so and if you’re brave enough, take this idea even further and go dumpster diving to flip goods for extra cash. If you have ever received any hand-me-downs from friends or family in great condition or new with tags, try your hand at re-selling them on some platforms like eBay, thredup.com, or swap.com for a profit. Our family does this on a quarterly basis as our kids continue to grow out of their clothes and shoes so quickly. It is a great way to save some much-needed space in their closets and, of course, recoup more money back into our pockets for a rainy day.

 

6-Downsize Your Residence: Is your high-end loft in the city costing you more than your arm and your leg? Then it’s time to trade down to start keeping your wallet from going empty and finally be able to hold onto your hard earned cash. If you are concerned about living in a certain area because of a school district, consider compromising by downsizing into an apartment to save up for a bigger place for the next school year. 

 

7-Meal Plan And Avoid The Drive-Thru: This doesn’t mean eating a consecutive meal of rice and beans for breakfast lunch and dinner for the entire month. But maybe you can consider buying your staples, such as rice, beans, and other dried goods, in bulk when they are on sale to get you through the winter months. Cooking a large meal once on a Sunday and then freezing the leftovers for a quick one-minute microwave warm-up will be a lifesaver on those busy swim meet nights. Revamp that rotisserie chicken that you got from the deli and turn it into two meals instead of one. You can serve rotisserie chicken one night and then make a chicken pot pie meal with the leftover chicken meat on a different night during the same week. We have done this on numerous occasions making shredded barbeque chicken sliders one night and then using the leftover meat for kicked up spicy chicken ramen bowl on a different night of the same week.

 

8-Kill Two Birds With One Stone: Put feelers around the office water cooler and offer to carpool to work with a few local coworkers and switch days or take turns driving. If that just won’t do, you can try biking to work and get in some much-needed exercise to boot. You will benefit not only in health (the exercise) but also in wealth (saving you gas money and wear & tear on your car)!

 

9-Swap Meals: Host a potluck dinner party with some close friends or neighbors. Ask each person to bring their own side dish and/or beverage to share. Take turns doing this each month or if you’re all really tight with one another, on a weekly basis and watch your wallet grow! Not only was this a popular choice for us during college, but it has proven to be a lifesaver for us during these child-rearing years as well. Everyone seems to benefit from eating something different and we all enjoy each other’s company just as well.

 

10-Switch your phone lines and share: Looking back on it now, I just cringe at the thought that we used to pay $118 per month on our cell phone bill for my husband and me when we had a plan with Verizon. 🙁 But since we switched to Ting.com we’ve only paid anywhere between $45-$60 per month, depending on data usage and roaming charges. Even so, we never had any complaints about our Ting service. That’s a huge difference in cash savings for us! We’re so glad that we finally made the switch and start keeping more of our hard-earned cash right in our pockets where it belongs.

So whether you are pulling out your credit card for that morning latte or saving up to plunk down a chunk of cash for a deposit on your first home, reducing and eliminating debt is vital to maintaining your financial health.

To help you further keep track of your hard earned cash, I have created this free printable Weekly Expenses Tracker so that you know exactly where to plug your money leaks. Start off slowly one week at a time and see where your money is actually going.

 

Once you’ve gotten the hang of this, you’ll feel more confident about how to handle your personal finances.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll even try your hand at creating a budget too!

Enjoy!

Cheap & Simple DIY Felt Succulent Wreath for $1.11

 

Photo Credit: taken from my iPhone

 

As you may have seen and heard, succulents are all the rage nowadays.

Anywhere you look, there seems to be no shortage of succulents in all the stores.

 

Succulents are all the rage everywhere we turn nowadays, like this gorgeous wall decor from Pottery Barn. However, the price tag, is anything but… :/

 

Real ones, fake ones, paper ones, and felt ones, you name it? They have it.

Even I had to succumb to the siren calls of those fascinating plant life material.

There’s just something about it, an aura maybe?

That exudes classy, elegance, and timelessness, much like it’s counterpart, the orchid.

(I love orchids!) I just can’t seem to have enough. I also love to give them away as gifts for any and all occasions!

Anyway, I feel the same way about succulents too. There can never be one too many succulents whether you decide to keep them as natural air purifiers aka home decor or you decide to give them away as gifts.

They will be well-received by most folks.

Well, nothing seems to scream, “Spring is here!” like fresh succulents.

Imagine my surprise when I found a couple of these lovely strands of succulents on clearance at Target for (Warning: brace yourself now-wait for it)

10 Cents! Can you believe it?

 

Now some of you may be thinking, “Sweet! Can’t mess that up too badly for that price!”

And you’re absolutely right!

So, I paired the felt succulent strand up with a simple twig wreath from the Dollar Tree and created a beautifully simple yet elegant Spring wreath.

Looks so fresh, this wreath will make any leprechaun green with envy.

All you need are 2 things:

-a willow wreath from the Dollar Tree for $1.00 (before tax)

-and a string of felt succulents banner on a tweed rope that I was able to find on clearance at Target for just $0.11,  after Valentine’s Day (before tax)

 

 

No need for any messy glue guns or tape.

Just tuck the ends of the tweed string into the willow wreath.

That’s it! Easy, affordable, and stylish!

Just in time to redecorate your home and finally usher in Spring!

 

 

Disclosure:

The purpose of this blog is to provide insight and enjoyment only. I am not nor do I claim to be an expert or professional in any manner. All opinions are 100% my own. Please do not copy any content from my website without my prior permission or written consent from me. However, you may link directly to my post for reference and to give credit.

 

Disclaimer:

This website contains affiliate links and sponsorships. I do not endorse nor would I recommend any products that I have not used nor trust to my readers. Thank you so much for your continued support in helping our small blog grow- at no costs to you whatsoever.

 

Contact:

Please contact me directly via email:  admin@fulloffortunes.com, if you have any questions and/or comments. Thanks for stopping by! ?

10 Mistakes To Avoid When Staining A Staircase

Are you planning your next home improvement project soon? Get instant access below to my free printable DIY Project Planner to help you figure out the costs, materials, and labor before you tackle your next project. Photo Credit: taken from my iPhone

 

If you’ve read my post about my kitchen cabinet makeover and/or my whole house trim makeover, you will be able to see without a reasonable doubt that I have a very strong aversion to honey oak wood.

I just hate Honeywood oh so much! (Yuck!)

I am “allergic” to honey oak wood. It is the bane of all types of wood out there. It conjures up a feeling of being trapped inside a giant peach or a honeycomb, for me. I am constantly bothered by the mere sight of it.

Every time I walk into my kitchen, I can’t help but lose my appetite. It’s not like I can cover my eyes and avoid my kitchen cabinets. They’re always there staring right back at me, mocking me with their angry orangey hue.

Not to mention that staircase, what a lovely sight for sore eyes. If only it were any other color other than orange honey wood oak, of course. Oh, honey wood, how I loathe thee so…

Now, if you’re a fan of it, great! To each, her own! 😉

But as for my family and I, we choose to burn the honey wood DOWN to the ground!

Or, rather, the more sensible approach, stain and/or paint over it with a more current, modern, and trendier style preferably found in this decade. Anything, but honey wood oak is fine with me.

Like a cat, ready to pounce on the next sneaky mouse that scurries by, I was bound and determined to get rid of that honey wood oak once and for all. Even if that meant, I would have to do it myself!

So I hopped on Pinterest and scoured through tutorials like a mad woman. Then I went to all the places that the contractors would often frequent:

Lowes, check

Home Depot, check

Menards, check

Sherwin Williams, check

Amazon, check

ReStore, of course, check.

I decided to settle on Amazon because as you know, I’m frugal. I used a gift card that I had previously earned from Swagbucks and I ordered a can of Java Gel Stain and a can of Clear Poly from Amazon.  Two days later when it finally arrived, I got right to work and prepped the entire surface of the staircase and banister.

Photo Credit: taken from my iPhone

 

Here’s what I did:

1-I started by wiping down the surface with a warm soapy water mixture and rinsed it off with clean water.

2- Then I let it dry overnight and left the windows open to speed up the process.

3-I lightly sanded the clean surfaces down with fine sandpaper.

4-I taped up all surrounding carpet with blue painter’s tape and covered the new burbur carpet with plastic sheeting and a drop cloth.

5-I stained the stair rails first, with a couple coats of the Java stain.

6-Then I primed and painted the spindles last with the white color HGTV Brand Paint and Primer in one. The spindles took about 7 coats total in between all the sanding and painting.

Photo Credit: taken from my iPhone

 

Warning: This was a lot easier to do on the rails than the spindles. The spindles took FOREVER and I mean FOREVER. By the time I was done sanding them individually, my hands and fingers were so sore I could not bend them for days! But I have to say, though, that it was worth the effort.

Now, I could not have done this myself without my husband’s help and support as well as the advice and know-how from these Pinterest ladies. Check out my Pinterest board to see and read about all of their eye candy results. If you are looking to redo your staircase, check out these similar tutorials below for more ideas to help you finish your project and do it right.

http://www.practicallyspoiled.com/2014/10/23/how-to-gel-stain-oak-banisters/

http://www.yourhomeonlybetter.com/painting-stairs-diy-faqs-and-tips/

http://timelessandtreasured.blogspot.com/2016/01/diy-how-to-stain-and-paint-oak-stair.html?m=1

Photo Credit: taken from my iPhone

 

Here is a list of Materials that I have used on this staircase project:

-General Finishes Java Gel Stain

-General Finishes Clear Poly

-small Angled sable brush

-large straight edged sable brush

-plastic Saran wrap (to temporarily wrap the wet paint brushes during break times)

-aluminum foil (to wrap the paint tray for easy clean up)

-paint tray

-paint thinner

-paper towel roll

-sandpaper (fine, medium, and course)

-sanding block

-protective gloves

-frog tape

-heavy duty plastic sheeting or drop cloth

-mask

-protective eyewear

-various sized foam brushes

-rags (old socks with holes in them are great for these staining types of projects)

-a bucket of water (for cleaning up the socks or rags in between coats or touch-ups)

 

Photo Credit: taken from my iPhone

 

Here are the 10 mistakes that I have learned to avoid for the next time I decide to take on a project of this caliber again:

  1. Not Prepping The Area: Clean all the parts of the staircase that is going to get painted or stained with soap and water, TCH powder (drying agent that is found in the paint aisle) So, a few months after finishing my staircase remodel, I got this nice juicy tidbit from a very knowledgeable guy at my local Lowe’s store to wash down the wood with TCH powder. Too bad, it was too little too late, but I appreciate the advice anyway. I will definitely be doing that to my future remodeling projects from now on. Thanks, Dude! 😉

2. Not covering or blocking off the surfaces and nearby areas with tape and plastic sheeting. This is SO SO SO important! Plastic sheeting is so cheap and furnishings are not, enough said. 😉

3. Not reading or failing to understand the instructions of others. Ok, so this is like driving in the car with your husband and refusing to ask for directions. You both know you’re lost but you say nothing because he knows exactly what he’s doing, right? Unfortunately, no. There are just no detours when you are working with wood stain. If you’re going to spend the time to do it, save yourself more time and frustration by doing it right the first time. (i.e.see white spindles above):/

4. Not asking for help when you are clearly in over your head and have no idea what you are doing. (See #3 above) Clearly, I was way in over my head. Correction, anytime I get an idea like this, I need to be reminded that I am way- in- over- my head.

5. Not staying focused on the “SQUIRREL!”… the task at hand. Yes, I get so easily distracted by all-the-things…

6. Not finishing the work you started due to frustrations that it’s taking longer than you’ve originally anticipated. Fantasy: I had originally anticipated that this project would only take me 1 week to do, from start to finish. Reality: The end result took a good 10 weeks. Yes, we lived in total chaos for about 3 months and we can’t even blame the kids for it. How is that for a dose of humility? 😉

7. Not ventilating the area very well. For the bulk of this project, especially the sanding, priming, and clear finishing parts, we sent the kids to their grandparents’ house. We also kept all the windows and doors open to let out all the paint fumes. However, traces of the paint smell can still be detected whenever we’ve left the house for any period of time and came back inside the house.

  1. Not waiting for it to dry in between coats and rushing to just get it done. Whoever said, “patience is a virtue,” cannot be more right. Ten weeks felt like FOREVER! But, let me reiterate, it was worth it because of the money we saved by doing this project on our own.

9. Not Sanding in between coats. This is so important, see #3. Seven coats of paint and primer will mean absolutely diddly squat if not for sanding.

  1. Not taking care of yourself because you think the project is more important than your basic needs, i.e. skipping a few meals or nights of sleep just to get it done. Paint fumes, dehydration, lack of sleep, and starvation will lead to some very interesting hallucinations.

 

To help you with planning your next home improvement project, I have created a free printable DIY Project Check List. It is a handy dandy little sheet to help you figure out the costs, materials, and labor before you tackle your next project.

Get instant access to my free printable DIY Project Check List below:

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: taken from my iPhone

 

 

Photo Credit: taken from my iPhone

 

Remember, above all else, your health is paramount. Nothing is worth more to you, your family, or your friends if you are not around to share the gift that is you. Take care of yourself and each other.

 

Disclosure:

The purpose of this blog is to provide insight and enjoyment only. I am not nor do I claim to be an expert or professional in any manner. All opinions are 100% my own. Please do not copy any content from my website without my prior permission or written consent from me. However, you may link directly to my post for reference and to give credit.

Disclaimer:

This website contains affiliate links and sponsorships. I do not endorse nor would I recommend any products that I have not used nor trust to my readers. Thank you so much for your continued support in helping our small blog grow- at no costs to you whatsoever.

Contact:

Please contact me directly via email:  admin@fulloffortunes.com, if you have any questions and/or comments. Thanks for stopping by!