Monday, January 18, 2016

Why it's important to have a Command Center

Why command centers are important and why you need one

When you're a mom, life can get a little crazy. With work schedules, school schedules, sports and other activities, bills that need to be paid , appointments and meal plans; there needs to be one place to write it all down. A command center helps organize the schedule chaos! It is important for everyone in your family to have access to it and be able to check it daily. Here is our command center calendar. I normally have things thumb tacked to the cork board part as well. Reminders, etc. However I took them down for privacy reasons. This hangs in our kitchen where the whole family (those who can read any how) can read it daily and see what is going on.
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As far as menu plans go. Here is what we use for a weekly view for our family.
Personally I carry a personal planner with me everywhere I go. That way I have all of this with me, and if I need to schedule something when I'm out and about I can pull out my planner and see when I'm available. However, it is crucial that I keep everything updated in both my personal planner and the command center so that everyone knows the plan and we don't over schedule or double schedule. I also have a place in my planner that shows what meals we are having for the week.

Creating your own

Creating your own command center is very simple!
You have to find what works best for you and your family. You could use a wall calendar 
and hang a pen or pencil near by. You could make your own here 
or you could buy a dry erase calendar.
Hang it in a location that everyone will see. Most command centers are in the kitchen. The kitchen is a place where each and every person in your family will have access to and see the calendar each day. As long as your kids can read, they will have no excuses. Here are some other accessories you might hang in your command center. Here are some more command center ideas for creating your own. Remember what works for someone else might not always work for you and your family. Tweek it and make it your own. 
Do you have a command center?
How do you keep track of your families schedules and appointments? 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Cheap or free family fun

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 Photo by photostock at freedigitalphotos.net

Our family loves spending time together. There are so many things we all enjoy doing. However, things like bowling, sky zone, and lazer tag, etc.... all cost quite a bit of money when you're paying for three or more people at once. So I decided to share some of our favorite ways to have cheap or free family fun. 
  • Library - We love to read and we encourage our kids to read as well. Also most libraries offer free programs. Our kids enjoy reading buddies, Lego time, craft time, story time, and so much more. 
  • Park- Weather permitting, let the kids burn off some energy. If you can chase them or play ball, it can be a great way to exercise as a family and have fun.
  • Picnic in the park- Pack a lunch to eat at the park. You can spread out a blanket or sit at a picnic table if one is available. 
  • Fly a kite- Don't have one? Make your own kite.  
  • Hot wheels race-  Before we moved, the library we used to go to had a Hotwheels race day. They set up tracks everywhere. It was AWESOME!! It was also FREE!!! All you had to do was bring your own Hotwheels.
  • Window shopping- It's fun to dream about the things you want, or play with toys in the store  (this is where we get great gift ideas for our kids. Not that I would EVER find all of the noisy toys and set them all off at once!) It's also fun to try on clothes and see different styles on you. Styles that you normally wouldn't wear to be goofy and fun. 
  • Obstacle course- Our kids love to do this on rainy days. Make your own. 
  • Hide and seek- Here is another great rainy day idea. 
  • Scavenger/ treasure hunt- Not only is this a great idea for birthday parties, this is fun anytime. Make your own Scavenger hunt or Make your own treasure hunt.

     
  • Side walk chalk- If you don't have sidewalk chalk you can buy it at most dollar stores. I believe even  Dollar Tree sells it now. 
  • Play Doh creations- Play doh is great for sensory, it can also help strengthen hand muscles, hand eye coordination, and creativity. Make your own. 
  • Charades
  • I - Spy- Our kids play this in the car on trips.
  • Make puppets and put on a puppet show.
  • Star gazing- Lay outside on a blanket or grab a telescope of you have one. How to find constellations. 
  • Camping in the backyard.
  • Watch a movie.
  • Craft- There are so many things you can create.   www.pinterest.com  has a ton of ideas.
  • Paint
  • Teach your children a life skill while having fun- Cooking, baking, sewing, etc...
  • Flash light tag.
  • Wii Challenge- We love Mario Kart, ski ball, bowling, and just about anything that you could be competitive at. Nintendo Wii 
  • Museum or Zoo- Some Museums and Zoos have a free day as a customer appreciation day or to celebrate their anniversary. Check into your local Museums and Zoos to see what they offer. You might be surprised. 
How do you and your family have cheap or free family fun?




Saturday, January 9, 2016

Cheap or free family night ideas

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Having a family night helps you stay connected with your family. After a hectic week it can also help you unwind. When choosing a family night, sit down for a family meeting and discuss everyone's schedules. Pick a night that works for everyone. Try to have family night on the same night every week. However, if your schedules won't allow the same night every week that's okay too. Just make sure you write what night your family night is on the calendar in your command center

Below are some Cheap or free family night ideas:
  • Star gazing. Not only is this cool, but you can you this as a teaching moment. Spread out a blanket and find some constellations . If you have a Telescope that is a plus. 
  • Camping in the back yard. Put up a tent, drag out the sleeping bags and flashlights. If you have the supplies, you can build a fire and roast some s'mores. 
  • Family game night. Grab your favorite board games and let the competition begin. 
  • Bake cookies together. http://allrecipes.com/recipes/362/desserts/cookies/
  • Read the bible together.   Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 God doesn't just want a weekend relationship with you. He should be part of your daily life. This is a great time to answer any questions your kids may have. This is the kids bible we use with out little ones.
  • Movie. Pop some popcorn and put on a funny family friendly movie. Here are some of our family favorites.... Inside out   
Flushed away and Ice age. These are just a few of the movies we can get a few deep belly laughs on. What are some of your favorite movies?

Family night doesn't have to be this huge over planned, stressful thing to add to you To-Do list. Family night should be fun and relaxing. A time when you and your family can laugh and unwind together.
What do you do for family night?
 
 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

At home date ideas

                                                                   
                                                                                Photo by marin at freedigitalphotos.net

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It's important to stay connected as a couple even when you're broke and can't afford to go out on a date. Here are some at home date ideas.
  • Netflix or Redbox movie. (If you have retailmenot you can get codes for discounts when they are available.) Pop some popcorn and cuddle up on the couch, or spread a blanket out on the floor and watch a movie. 
  • Put the kids to bed and have a special adult only dinner. You could even cook it together.
  • Bake a yummy dessert together.
  • Take a bubble bath.
  • Light some candles and give each other a massage.
  • Flip through some old photo albums and have fun talking about "The good ole days". 
  • Put on some music and dance.
  • Video game battle.
  • Board game or card game you both enjoy.
  • Work on a project together.
  • Get to know your spouse all over again. Learn their love language or 50 Questions to ask your spouse on a date night. People change over the years. Learn what your spouse likes and dislikes. Somethings may have changed since you got married.
  • Star gaze. You might remember my favorite date night from this post  Date night on a budget
  • Invite another couple over for dinner and couples game night. If you need a budget friendly idea ask them to bring a side or dessert or even go half in half on the meal. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Date night on a budget

                                                                Photo by koko-tewan at freedigitalphotos.net
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As a mom it's not very often my husband and I get to go out on a date. After paying a babysitter to watch 3 very active boys, we can't really afford to go out to dinner and a movie. Over the years we've gotten creative and learned how to be frugal or content with at home date nights. Here are a few tips to date night on a budget...... 
  • Groupon
  • Have a friend watch your kids. Offer to watch their kids as a form of payment.
  • Groupon- You can get all kinds of deals on Groupon.
  • Coupons- Some restaurants have coupons or specials on certain nights.
  • Picnic- Go to a park before it gets dark, have a picnic on a spread out blanket, watch the sunset together. 
  • Star gazing- The most romantic date I'll never forget is when my husband and I were still newlyweds, we were broke and driving around just to get out of the house. We lived in Texas at the time, near the desert. We drove about 15 miles or so outside of the city so we could get away from the city lights. My husband pulls the car over in the middle of nowhere desert, he literally parks in the sand. He grabs a blanket and lays it across the hood of the engine. He has me close my eyes and climb on top of the car, lay down on the blanket and lay back. When he told me to open my eyes I was shocked and literally had my breath taken away. STARS like I have never seen before. EVERYWHERE I looked were stars.
     
It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen! As many wonderful dates that we've had, I don't know if he will ever be able to top it. It's not about the money, or how fancy of a place you go to. It's about being with the one you love and sharing what you love. Those are the memories that last forever!
  • If you go to a movie, go during matinee hours. It's so much cheaper.
  • Watch a movie in the park for FREE. Some parks will play movies for free once a week. Check your local listings for dates and times. 
I would love to hear about any ideas you have for a budget friendly date night. Please leave a comment below.
Date night gift cards is the perfect way to show another couple how much you appreciate them.