Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Love in the Time of Corona[virus]: 19 Ideas for At-Home Date Nights

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020

Love in the Time of Corona[virus]: 19 Ideas for At-Home Date Nights

Stuck at home, but still looking for some fun ideas for quality time with your spouse? We have 19 creative and fun ideas for spending alone time together during these crazy days.

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

Remember six months ago, when we thought making time to date our spouses seemed so hard?

Or we agreed that sometimes, it’s just not possible to go out?

That because of budgets or babysitter shortages or whatever other reason that wasn’t “the pandemic,” because we had no idea that could be a real situation we’d live through, we would just have to figure out how to make a date night happen at home?

Oh, Six-Months-Ago Mary, you had no idea.

We didn’t know what was coming, but now we’re here and though our whole world feels like it’s upside down, the basic needs of a marriage are still the same.

Married people need time together.

We need the chance to look at our person, right in the eyes, and connect.

We need to remember we’re on the same team. We need everything a “date night,” whatever that may look like in this season, offers–possibly more than ever before.

Now, obviously, I could just list off random activities and add “strip” to the beginning or “by candlelight” to the end.

But in case you need a little more than that, here’s a list of 19 creative ideas for connecting during the time of coronavirus.

Love in the Time of Corona[virus]: 19 Ideas for At-Home Date Nights

19 Ideas for At-Home Date Nights

Learn a new board game

Of course, the first thing that popped into my mind was, “play a board game.”

But I can honestly say I haven’t played a board game with just my husband in years, if ever.

I’m not sure he’d be too excited if I asked him to play Scattergories with me this weekend.

But maybe…maybe he’d be up for us learning to play chess together.

Or, you know, something less mentally taxing. I’m going to give it a try!

 

19 Ideas for At-Home Date Nights

 

Build something with cards or dominoes

Talk about working together as a team! Have you ever tried building a house of cards with a partner?

It takes some teamwork and patience — but can also lead to a lot of laughter (or pride in your accomplishment if you’re better at building than we are)!

 

19 Ideas for At-Home Date Nights from MomAdvice.com

 

Become a LEGO Master

I know, I know, you just got your kids to put away all those pesky blocks. But why not try to make something yourselves?

Fire up an episode of LEGO Masters on Hulu or Google some ideas for using the blocks you have on hand.

Then get creative! (You could even play a guessing game, where you each make something then the other person has to figure out what it is…)

 

19 Ideas for At-Home Date Nights from MomAdvice.com

Nothing wrong with a good ol’ movie night

Seriously.

I’m all about creative ideas, but the truth is, the go-to choice at my house is always going to be a movie night. (Here are a few movie recs, by the way!)

Make it the real deal with low lights, yummy snacks, snuggly blankets, and no phones. 

 

19 Ideas for At-Home Date Nights from MomAdvice.com

Cook something new

Especially in a time where more people are in our houses more often, demanding more meals and snacks than usual, cooking can be a real chore.

But what if you start with a clean kitchen and make something TOGETHER that you’d never made before?

What if you try a copycat recipe for one of your favorite restaurant dishes?

What if you make something you and your husband will love but you KNOW the kids would never eat?

 

19 Ideas for At-Home Date Nights from MomAdvice.com

Take an online class

You can find an online class to learn how to do just about anything.

From building a birdhouse to giving each other massages, just search. It’s out there.

19 Ideas for At-Home Date Nights from MomAdvice.com

Slow dance in the living room

Pick up all the toys and papers and shoes and dishes that have made your living room their home. (Or, I don’t care, shove them in a basket and set it behind the couch! And obviously you don’t have to pick the living room…)

Turn down the lights, light a candle or two, and fire up a playlist of your favorite slow songs.

And just…dance.

It might feel silly at first, but what if you do it anyway?

Is it possible you could connect with your person in a way you both need? Maybe…!

 

19 Ideas for At-Home Date Nights from MomAdvice.com

Break a sweat with a good workout

If you all are the exercising types, why not work out together?

You could even make a plan to try a new fitness video once a week and vote on which ones you’ll add to your regular exercise routine.

Or simply take the opportunity to cheer each other on as you try to break your personal records running around the block.

 

19 Ideas for At-Home Date Nights from MomAdvice.com

Put together a puzzle

Did you know you can make a puzzle out of any picture?

I’ve made a couple out of photos I took in Kenya, but I’d imagine you could have some fun putting together a puzzle made from a photo of the two of you on your wedding day, during a favorite vacation, or simply making a funny face for the camera.

I made mine through Walmart Photos, but most photo printing companies do this.

 

19 Ideas for At-Home Date Nights from MomAdvice.com

Binge a show

It doesn’t to be Tiger King.

But if it’s Tiger King, I’m not here to judge. Haha!

Pick an old favorite you want to revisit, or something that’s all the rage right now, or something that’s been in your queue for a while but you just hadn’t gotten to it. 

19 Ideas for At-Home Date Nights from MomAdvice.com

Walk around the neighborhood

Speaking of all the rage, neighborhood walks are really experiencing a renaissance right now, aren’t they?

And for good reason. Fresh air, a little cardio, seeing other humans (from a distance!), and reconnecting with the world for a few minutes–it’s all good for our minds, bodies, and hearts.

 

19 Ideas for At-Home Date Nights from MomAdvice.com

Go get groceries

But stay in the car!

Order your groceries online and drive to pick them up.

Wear your masks and use your hand sanitizer. (Or, if this isn’t safe or comfortable, don’t do this one!)

19 Ideas for At-Home Date Nights from MomAdvice.com

Support a local restaurant by getting takeout

Be fancy about it.

Set the table with dishes (and, obviously, the candles).

Play some music — bonus points if it’s the same style the restaurant plays!

Put away your phones and enjoy that meal together.

19 Ideas for At-Home Date Nights from MomAdvice.com

Tackle that home project you’ve been putting off

Stain the deck, re-arrange the guest room, finally create a gallery wall along the stairs, organize the garage.

Those are the things on our list, things we’ve wanted or needed to do, but haven’t had time.

Well, now we have time. Why not tackle these things together?

 

19 Ideas for At-Home Date Nights from MomAdvice.com

Dream about the future

We won’t be staying at home or sheltering in place forever.

Even for those of us whose finances are being destroyed by what’s happening, times won’t always be quite so difficult.

Together, dream about what you might do when days are different!

Will you go visit those friends or family member?

Take a family road trip?

Go on a romantic getaway?

Make a list if you’re a list person and keep it somewhere special.

On the days you’re feeling trapped or crowded, pull it out and remember that–even if you don’t get to those particular goals–you will get to go somewhere together again!

 

19 Ideas for At-Home Date Nights from MomAdvice.com

Write letters

Together, come up with a list of people you want to reach out to.

Maybe you decide if you simply want to send notes, or a gift card, or a photo, or even a picture you color or sketch.

Then divide up the tasks and get to work reaching out! (My husband isn’t much into writing letters and certainly not excited to get crafty or creative with paper products. But I know he’d help me make a list and stick stamps and return address stickers on the envelopes!)

 

19 Ideas for At-Home Date Nights from MomAdvice.com

Get drinks

At home, though. Open that bottle of wine (or whiskey or whatever your beverage of choice is), and take turns asking each other get-know-know you questions or conversation starters.

Pinterest is full of these kinds of lists, by the way!

19 Ideas for At-Home Date Nights from MomAdvice.com

Go on a (virtual) field trip

So many amazing things are FREE to watch and listen to online.

Visit a zoo, a museum, or a national park. Watch a stand-up comic or listen to an orchestra.

We might not be able to physically go out, but we can still experience new places together!

 

19 Ideas for At-Home Date Nights from MomAdvice.com

Work together to help others

Assemble care packages for those in need, bake cookies to deliver to neighbors, draw encouraging messages or an elaborate hopscotch board on your driveway, or even sew masks together.

As many needs as there are in our communities right now, there are just as many ways to help. 

How have YOU connected with your spouse during this season?

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Don’t miss these other great ideas from MomAdvice:

Rules for Watching TV with Your Spouse from MomAdvice.com Rules for Watching TV with Your Husband

11 Rom Coms for the Perfect Date Night Romantic Comedies for Date Night

 

 

DIY Outdoor Movie Night from MomAdvice.com DIY Backyard Movie Night

 

 

DIY Swiffer pads from MomAdvice.com DIY Swiffer Pads

DIY Orange Sugar Scrub from MomAdvice.com DIY Orange Sugar Scrub

 

Weekly Chore Routines from MomAdvice.com Weekly Chore Routines

Recipes from Pantry Ingredients from MomAdvice.com Easy Recipes Using Pantry Ingredients

How are you being creative with date nights right now?

Love in the Time of Corona[virus]: 19 Ideas for At-Home Date Nights

Easy Crafts for Kids to Keep Them Entertained

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

Easy Crafts for Kids to Keep Them Entertained Header

Looking for new crafts to keep kids entertained in these upcoming weeks? Today I’m sharing super easy craft projects for kids of any age. If you are looking for super cute paper crafts, diy science projects, or homemade craft activities made from kitchen ingredients, MomAdvice has you covered!

This week happens to be our Spring Break and, I have to say, this is quite an unusual for most families.

I wanted to gather some fun ideas for keeping the kids entertained, if you happen to be looking for a few great ideas for boredom busters.

While many of these crafts rely upon common household items, I do want to share a list of my favorite resources for purchasing craft supplies right now.

Where to Buy Affordable Craft Supplies Online

Where Can I Get Supplies Right Now For My Projects?

First, be sure you are signed up (or signed in) with your Rakuten account to get money back on all your purchases. 

If you haven’t signed up, this referral link should give you $10 to put towards your craft supplies. 

Haven’t heard of it?

Here is a whole post on why this is a great app for receiving cash back rewards, especially as we all have switched (mostly) to online ordering.

Once you have that set up, here are some of my favorite resources to check out!

Bluprint If you are looking for even more craft ideas, Bluprint is offering their classes for FREE through April 16th.

I have taken so many fun classes through this platform. In fact, that’s how I finally got the hang of food photography!

Oriental Trading Company- This is one of the most affordable sites for good deals on shopping for kids crafts.

They offer so much in bulk, which is perfect for bigger families or even splitting the cost on craft materials with a friend or neighbor.

Dollar Tree Did you know that you can order your arts & crafts supplies online from this budget-friendly dollar store? 

In fact, the store has even more offerings online than they care on their store shelves.

Etsy Did you know that you can shop Etsy for your craft supplies? Crafting has been a huge part of my job and one of my favorite discoveries is how affordable it is to buy my supplies in bulk from Etsy sellers.

To make sure that I receive my orders in time, I try to filter by results that are within my own country, just to reduce those long days waiting to do our projects.

Michael’s Of course, this has always been my go-to in town so this will continue to be my go-to online.

Be sure to download their app or subscribe to their email list to receive coupons to put towards your craft supplies.

JoAnn Fabrics Order online or take advantage of their curbside pick-up to grab your craft supplies.

Also, don’t forget to download their app so you can take advantage of additional coupon savings!

Now let’s get crafting!

We have arranged these projects by age groups today.

Easy Crafts for Kids to Keep Them Entertained Header

Easy Crafts for Kids to Keep Them Entertained

Arts & Crafts Ideas for Early Childhood

Bubble Snakes from MomAdvice.com How to Make Bubble Snakes from MomAdvice

You are going to be amazed at the difference in this solution versus what you buy at the store and the staying power of your bubble snake. Not only are making bubbles and bubble snakes fun, but they are also a lesson in science.

Boredom Busters / MomAdvice.com How to Make Recycled Crayons from Good Life Eats

These Easy Recycled Crayons are a fun project for to do. Plus, you’ll get the bonus of your art supplies getting dejunked and reorganized in the process.

3 Ingredient Cloud Dough from MomAdvice.com 3 Ingredient Cloud Dough from MomAdvice

Here is an easy 3-ingredient Cloud Dough recipe that you can make for your kids! This fluffy dough is a great sensory activity for kids and is so fun to play with that even adults want to get on the action.

 

Boredom Busters / MomAdvice.com Amazon Alexa Games for Kids from Living in a Happy Place

20+ fun and learning games kids can play with Alexa! Get a free printable list.

DIY Chalkboard Door from MomAdvice.com DIY Outdoor Chalkboard Door from MomAdvice

Here is an easy DIY Outdoor Chalkboard Door that I created to entertain the kids! Give your kids some chalk and the chance to create their own welcome sign for your guests outdoors! The best part is the hours of enjoyment they get and the lack of dirt showing on my outdoor door in the backyard.

Boredom Busters from MomAdvice.com Nerf Gun Games with Target Printable from Crafting with Kids

Learn how to create your own nerf wars with targets made from household items.

Homemade Playdough Recipe from MomAdvice.com Easy Homemade Playdough Recipe from MomAdvice

Homemade playdough lasts forever and can be created in whatever vibrant shades your heart desires. This homemade playdough recipe is an easy one to create from items you already have in your pantry and homemade playdough with a big stack of cookie cutters? Well, that just equals hours of fun in our house.

 

Boredom Busters from MomAdvice.com Fizzy Dinosaur Egg Play from Simple Everyday Mom

These fizzy dinosaur eggs are a fun dinosaur STEM project that your kids will want to do over and over again.

 

Shower Curtain Art Canvas from MomAdvice.com Shower Curtain Art Canvas from MomAdvice

A day stuck inside is the perfect opportunity to break out one of my dollar store activities for our kids. I bought a shower liner ($1) and had the kids decorate the shower curtain with whatever their heart’s delight was. I don’t know about you, but my children like to go through a million pieces of paper a day so this was the perfect canvas for their artistic souls.

Boredom Busters from MomAdvice.com Soccer Fun Cootie Catcher from Rock Your Homeschool

Now, your soccer fans can enjoy awesome indoor fun with this free printable soccer cootie catcher!

 

DIY Pom Pom Bunnies from MomAdvice.com DIY Pom Pom Bunnies Craft from MomAdvice

You can create the cutest craft to celebrate spring! We are making DIY pom pom bunnies from a few common items you probably have in your craft supplies and recycling drink containers.

Boredom Busters from MomAdvice.com Easy Salt Dough Recipe for Kids from Unsophisticook

This simple and easy salt dough recipe is the perfect rainy day activity… Kids will master valuable kitchen skills while learning how to make salt dough, and then spend hours playing with it! 

 

Rainbow Science Experiments from MomAdvice.com 3 Easy Rainbow Experiments from MomAdvice

These rainbow experiments are not only fun, but also educational. We know we are guaranteed spectacular rainbows with these 3 fun activities.

 

Boredom Busters from MomAdvice.com Lego Challenge: 30 Days of Play Calendar from That Brick Life

Keep the kids busy with this 30 day LEGO Challenge!

 

Sidewalk Chalk Paint DIY from MomAdvice.com How to Make Chalk Paint from MomAdvice

This is my favorite homemade sidewalk chalk paint recipe. Making DIY sidewalk chalk paint couldn’t be easier and many of the supplies are likely lurking right in your cupboard.

Easy Arts & Craft Ideas for Tweens

DIY Elephant Toothpaste from MomAdvice.com How to Make Elephant Toothpaste from MomAdvice

Who doesn’t love a crazy chemical reaction? Since we have older kids, we have found it takes a lot to wow them so I wanted to create some science fun that they had never seen before. Grab your safety glasses and dive into a fun science experiment with us as we make Elephant Toothpaste and learn a heck of a lot of science in the process.

Boredom Busters from MomAdvice.com 10 Patterns Perfect for Kids to Embroider from Swoodson Says

Help kids learn how to hand embroidery with one of these simple patterns for kids to stitch!

DIY String Art Tutorial from MomAdvice.com DIY String Art Tutorial with Heart Template from MomAdvice

With tiny nails, embroidery floss, and our free heart pattern, you have everything you need for your first string art project. Learn how to make your own heart shapes with this easy diy project for you or for your kids.

 

Watermelon Pirate Ship from MomAdvice.com Watermelon Pirate Ship from MomAdvice

I have crafted up a watermelon boat that you can share with your kids for your family night together. This fun food craft can be created together, adding your own personal pirate touches, or you can create it to surprise the kids for your family night.

DIY Dream Catcher from MomAdvice.com DIY Dream Catcher from MomAdvice

Here is a DIY dream catcher that is a fun way to capture dreams and wished. This was an easy one hour project that really gave me and the kids some time to bond and talk about our wishes for the upcoming year. 

How to Make the DIY Fluffy Slime Recipe With These Fun Slime Ingredients Header DIY Fluffy Slime Recipe from MomAdvice

Looking for a new DIY recipe for making Fluffy Slime? Making slime is a lot of fun and a great way to teach your children how to measure ingredients.

Boredom Busters from MomAdvice.com Lego Coding Activity from Brain Power Boy

Use LEGO bricks to learn to code! Easy to pull together activity to get them learning coding while being offline.

 

3-ingredient-star-cakes from MomAdvice.com Mini Star Cakes from MomAdvice

Check out these mini star cakes that you can prepare out of just 3 items from your pantry. These cakes are easy enough that your kid can put these together and impressive enough to share with your friends.

 

Pom Pom Flower Bouquets from MomAdvice.com Pom Pom Flower Bouquets from MomAdvice

What could be more fun than a bouquet of pom pom posies that you can enjoy all year long? You won’t believe how easy it is to make pom pom flowers for a special someone in your life. And it is a great way to use up scraps of yarn!

 

Book Series for Kids who Love Harry Potter from MomAdvice.com Book Series for Kids who Love Harry Potter from MomAdvice

I know I’m not alone in navigating the challenge of a tween who loves books and can read at a higher grade level than she’s in – or ready for. So just in case you have a kid who loves Harry Potter (but has already read them all or isn’t ready for the next book in the series) in your life, I’ve got a few other series that might keep your bookworm busy.

 

Boredom Busters from MomAdvice.om Harry Potter Brain Breaks for Fantastic Fun from Rock Your Homeschool

Your Harry Potter fans can enjoy magical fun with these special brain breaks. Includes prompts for hands-on activities & to get kids up & moving!

Coffee Filter Flowers from MomAdvice.com DIY Coffee Filter Posies from MomAdvice

I have been dying to make coffee filter flowers and wanted to share with you just how easy and inexpensive it is to make these for a fun table centerpiece or just a few posies on your nightstand to brighten up your room.

 

How to Make a Minecraft Steve Costume from MomAdvice.com How to Make a Minecraft Steve Costume from MomAdvice 

Got a Minecraft fan? Here is a fun Minecraft Costume you can create for your very own little Minecraft-addict. DIY Minecraft costumes are fun to make with your kids and give you a chance to spend time together.

 

Easy Arts & Craft Ideas for Teens

DIY Terrarium from MomAdvice.com DIY Succulent Terrarium from MomAdvice

Succulents are my kind of plants because they are so low maintenance and they don’t require a lot of water. Here is an easy DIY showing you how to make a succulent terrarium as budget-friendly as possible.

DIY Book Page Flower Tutorial from MomAdvice

Learn how to make book page flowers out of old books to brighten someone’s day. These book flower bouquets are beautiful to display or to give as a treat to someone else!

How to Dye Canvas Shoes from MomAdvice.com How to Dye Canvas Shoes from MomAdvice

I am such a fan of fabric dying and we wanted to show you a way that you can customize your style. This is a fun way to customize your gym shoes or to refresh an old pair of sneakers.

 

DIY Watercolor + Digital Art from MomAdvice.com DIY Watercolor and Digital Art from MomAdvice

Does your child love to watercolor? Have them create their own water color and teach them how to transform into their own digital print that they can share with someone they love. You can also snag this free DIY Watercolor Printable that we made for you for Spring! 

 

DIY Slowcooker pumpkin spice candles from MomAdvice.com DIY Slow Cooker Candles from MomAdvice

Learn how to make your own DIY candles in your crockpot or slow cooker. Did you know you can make pumpkin spice scented candles at home with just wax, a wick, and essential oils? This easy tutorial will have you make large batches of candles in no time. Just switch up your oils for a different scent!

 

How to Knit an Easy Warmer Headband from MomAdvice.com How to Knit an Ear Warmer Headband from MomAdvice

Learn how to knit this chunky cable knit headband. This is the perfect beginner pattern to lean how to cable. The best part? No cable needles required! Use this free knitting pattern to make these this gorgeous knitted craft, perfect to stash away for people in need! 

 

DIY Book Tote with free printable designs from MomAdvice.com DIY Book Tote with Free Designs from MomAdvice

A good book bag is essential, isn’t it?  Here are some awesome book totes for you to take along using a simple set of canvas tote bags and our free set of printables. Simply print and iron on your own canvas tote bags for a fun craft day! These also make for such a great gift for the book lovers in your life – there’s a grown-up quote, a floral heart and an adorable gal or guy fox to choose from.

DIY Vintage Book Page Art from MomAdvice.com DIY Vintage Book Page Art from MomAdvice

Make some beautiful Springtime art to hang in your home, use for cardmaking or crafts. 

 

Easy Arts & Craft Ideas For Any Age

Create a Family Cookbook from MomAdvice.com Create a Family Cookbook with your Kids from MomAdvice

Have you ever wanted to tackle making a family cookbook with your kids? I’m so excited to show you how we made a scrapbook of our favorite foods and food traditions together. Making a cookbook with your kids is a fun activity that any family can do together.

How to Find & Write Pen Pals from MomAdvice.com How to Find and Write Pen Pals from MomAdvice

Pen Pals are a beautiful thing in a digital age where pen, paper, the process of writing, and waiting are so hard in our fast moving culture. Here is our experience with finding and writing pen pals that I hope will inspire you to find a pen pal of your own for your child.

 

Boredom Busters from MomAdvice.com 150 Educational Shows to Stream on Netflix from Homeschool Hideout

Create a separate profile on Netflix for these upcoming homeschool days. Name it “School” and add ONLY educational materials to this profile.

 

DIY Herb Garden & Markers from MomAdvice.com DIY Herb Garden & Markers from MomAdvice

Gardening is a hobby that is great to share with children. The herbs are small and easy for them to take care of. You can make extra and drop them off as gifts to neighbors!

 

Boredom Busters from MomAdvice.com How to Regrow Vegetable Scraps from Simple Bites

Check out this earth-friendly craft for turning kitchen compost scraps into pretty spring greens.

 

How to Make Homeless Care Packages from MomAdvice.com How to Make a Homeless Care Package from MomAdvice

Blessing bags for the homeless are such a beautiful act of kindness for those in need. This post will show you how to make homeless kits for those in need. These hygiene kits are handy to keep in your car, for those that live on the street, or can be given as gift bags for your local homeless shelter. Be sure to print out our free printable supplies list for your homeless care kit.

How to Make Car S'mores from MomAdvice.com How to Make Car S’mores from MomAdvice

Have you ever ate a car s’more? No? Well, in my opinion, you haven’t lived until you have tried this fun food activity together. I guarantee that your kids will flip for this and I am betting that years from now my kids will be talking about that one time when their crazy mom let them make s’mores in the car.

Boredom Busters from MomAdvice.com Cardboard Tube Bird Feeders from Glitter on a Dime

Recycle those toilet paper and paper towel tubes into easy bird feeders.

 

DIY Outdoor Movie Night from MomAdvice.com DIY Outdoor Movie Night from MomAdvice

Have you ever wanted to create your own DIY Outdoor Home Theater? We have had this on our bucket list for years and this summer we decided to finally put together our very own DIY outdoor movie night together with our kids and are sharing it with you! There is something truly magical about watching a movie together under the stars and I love that you can do this right in the comfort of your very own backyard.

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Here are some other fun craft ideas from MomAdvice.com: The Easiest Burlap Wreath You Will Ever Make from MomAdvice.com Easy Burlap Wreath Tutorial

 

 

Chunky Knit Blanket from MomAdvice.com Chunky Knit Blanket with Free Pattern

 

 

 

How to Make a Yarn Pom Pom Wreath from MomAdvice.com DIY Yarn Pom Pom Wreath 

 

 

Crafting with vinyl from MomAdvice.com Crafting with Vinyl Records

 

DIY Bike Makeovers MomAdvicce.com

DIY Bicycle Makeover Ideas

Happy Crafting!

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Creating a Weekly Cleaning Routine (Free Printable Charts)

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

Creating a Weekly Cleaning Routine (Free Printable Charts) Header

Are you looking for some new ways to divide the daily chores and house cleaning? This weekly cleaning schedule teaches kids to participate in household chores and helps them learn valuable life skills. Use these free printable chore charts to motivate your kids to participate in achieving a clean home and learn how we have taught our kids to help at all ages of life.

Before I launch into our household routines, I just want to acknowledge that we are all in VERY different places, both mentally and physically, since this pandemic has descended up on our world.

For me, I have been very consumed by worry for our family’s health, a growing concern for my sister who works in healthcare, and about our extended family members.

This pandemic, in fact, became so all-consuming that I reached out to my physician for some anxiety medication and have found a heightened sense of insecurity with my own safety being out in our world.

Although this week is better, I do find myself hitting big waves of grief, anger over others not doing what they are supposed to, and frustration with communication from politicians.

I do believe these waves will continue, especially as more and more people around me have been diagnosed or as jobs are lost and financial struggles have increased.

What I do know is that, FOR ME, I was also feeling really unprepared with everyone being here all day, the endless food preparation, and our home feeling more and more chaotic.

Can you relate?

My husband said it would be incredibly helpful if I would start making a list of all the things that need to be done around our house and begin to split these duties.

Chore Tickets download my chore and tech tickets for younger kids

When the kids were young, I was big on the weekly chore chart and even made these punchable tickets for tackling chores and reducing screen time.

When I started to have health problems, we decided to hire a cleaning service to help me with our weekly cleaning tasks.

Anyone who has had the privilege of hiring a cleaning service knows that a lot of preparation is required before the cleaning.

I would, honestly, spend an entire day prepping for their arrival and welcomed this as part of our bi-weekly routine. #whiteladyproblems

Hiring them was more about the accountability than just the help with the harder physical tasks of cleaning.

I fully acknowledged, without this visit, our house would start falling apart.

Now that we are all home together (and practicing social distancing), I needed to figure out chore lists that would give my kids responsibilities and divide up tasks evenly so that all the chores did not fall on me.

Family

For the record, my kids are 17 and 14 so they are more than capable of pitching in to assist. I don’t have to worry as much about kid chore charts or making sure they are age appropriate chores, they really are becoming mini-adults.

What I DID have to do though was teach them how to do these tasks so that we could all enjoy our space.

If anything comes out of this awful time it is that my kids are learning some very valuable life lessons about caring for a home, preparing food, and working more as a family unit.

I am sure these are all things that we could have been doing before, but having the space to do them has really helped our family a lot.

Creating a Weekly Cleaning Routine (Free Printable Charts) Printable Example examples of tasks for my 17 year-old

Creating a Weekly Cleaning Routine (Free Printable Charts) Chore Chart examples of tasks for my 14 year-old

Creating a Weekly Cleaning Routine (Free Printable Charts) Example Chart examples of tasks my husband is assisting me with

Creating a Weekly Cleaning Routine (Free Printable Charts) examples of tasks I’m doing each week

Creating a Weekly Cleaning Routine (Free Printable Charts)

Make a List of Tasks That Need to Be Done

I started with a lined sheet of paper and wrote down every chore that I would like to see happen throughout the week.

Chores around the house were jotted down, as well as more general tasks like laundry, menu planning, changing the air filters, checking our water softener, moving the cars around, and grocery shopping.

Divide Routine Tasks So They Don’t Fall on One Family Member

Instead of telling one kid that they need to clean out the kitty litter box, for example, each family member is rotating a day on that single task.

This means that we all get a turn cleaning up our cat’s poo-poo.

How fun is that? Hahaha!

Figure Out How You Can Do These Tasks In Tandem Together

The idea of working as a family unit is that no one person is responsible for everything.

Instead of just one person working in the living room, for example, each person is assigned a task in that room or a task that is on that level in the home.

To tackle cleaned bathrooms, for example, we have the family divided working in our two bathrooms and doing one or two elements of that routine.

One person is quick vacuuming the floors, swiping sinks, and emptying trash.

Another person is cleaning the tubs, washing the throw rugs, and restocking bathroom supplies.

We do have to work together to nail the order down of task completion, but this system is already proving to be really effective in not weighing one person down.

To make this happen, I also did have to purchase some more cleaning equipment (welcome to your new cleaning caddy, kids!)  so that we all had the tools that we needed. 

If you are looking for a good online source, this is the site that I would recommend for doorstep delivery. (affiliate link, but should give you a free 5-piece cleaning set to get started!)

Daily Tasks During Quarantine

Try to Make Daily Standing Routines

While practicing our social distancing, I’m trying not to fall into a complete slump with personal hygiene, getting dressed, and moving. We made a list of things that are important to us (like, a daily walk!) that help keep us moving and help us manage our day better.

This was inspired by this incredible guidance on how to reduce anxiety while we are quarantined.

It really is incredible how much this helps.

I also will say that limiting myself to a coffee hour and a virtual New York Time subscription has allowed me to feel informed and not consumed.

These don’t have to be productive routines, just routines that you know will work well for your mental and physical health right now.

Don’t Be Afraid to Rotate Tasks

Even though I have tried to make things as evenly as possible, in our home, I have offered that the kids can switch roles monthly so that they don’t get stuck doing the same tasks over and over again.

If your kids are liking their habits though, don’t switch it up unless it is necessary.

Allow Room for Rest

I don’t want to clean on the weekends and feel like we ALL deserve to put our feet up on the weekend. That means that our routines are just outlined for Monday-Friday. This gives us Saturday and Sunday with the freedom to allow for rest and relaxation.

Once again, you do NOT need to be doing chore charts if you don’t care about this right now.

YOU DO YOU.

For me, establishing routines (even if it is just 15 minutes a day) makes me feel normal and helps give flow and purpose to this time.

I hope this helps inspire you to create your own routines that help you feel a little more like yourself too.

Sending loads of love and protection over each of your families. 

Click here to download my blank chore chart

Click here to download a blank daily schedule chart

Tech-Chore Tickets Free Printable Click here to download our printable chore or tech time tickets

Click here to read how we did our chore charts when our kids were small

Looking for more help around the house? Check out these articles!

how to successfully menu plan

how to make diy swiffer pads

how to clean and stock your refrigerator

How have your cleaning routines changed now that you are all home together? 

17 Movies From the 90’s You Must Share With Your Kids

Thursday, March 26th, 2020

Looking for some fun family time? Sharing favorite movies from your childhood with your kids is a great way to embrace the nostalgia. Whether you love sci-fi, box office mega hits or an academy award winning tear jerker, 90s movies had something to offer everyone. Here are some of our favorites that we can’t wait to share.

From our marriage & parenting contributor,Mary Carver.

17 Movies From the 90’s You Must Share With Your Kids

A couple years ago I realized my kids were entering a magical stage, one in which they could appreciate some of the movies from my own childhood.

Finally, we could watch non-animated movies together, and they were old enough to understand but not be scared.

And, if I was lucky and played it just cool enough, they were still young enough to be delighted and entertained by the movies I have loved for decades.

Of course, there is no accounting for taste when it comes to my kids (or any kids, I suspect).

The first time I showed them The Princess Bride, they were not impressed.

Inconceivable!

Little do they know I’m planning to give it another try over spring break…

So far, my kids have loved Hook, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and Lindsay Lohan version of The Parent Trap.

And while I don’t think they’re quite ready for My Girl, I cannot wait to track down The Sandlot and show them that one.

Head’s up, though: While I don’t know the exact standards for movie ratings during our childhoods versus today, it seems that older movies rated PG include more language, violence, and adult references than today’s PG movies.

So while each one of these movies is rated PG, keep in mind that might mean something different than you remember or expect!

Think you might want to show your own kids a few movies from back in the day?

Start with this list of 90’s movies!

90's Movies

For the sports fans:

Space Jam (1996) – recommended for ages 7+

Bugs Bunny, Michael Jordan, and alien basketball.

Bugs and friends have to win the world’s most important basketball game, so the enlist none other than Michael Jordan to come to their aid. A sequel is coming out in 2021!

The Sandlot (1993) – recommended for ages 8+

Baseball, friendship, and 1960s nostalgia.

In this heartfelt coming-of-age comedy, a new kid is taken in by a group of baseball loving misfits. A reboot is rumored to be coming to Disney+ !

A League of Their Own – recommended for ages 10+

Women’s baseball, Tom Hanks, and Geena Davis.

There’s no crying in baseball! Based on the real-life Girls All American Professional Baseball League founded in 1942. A tv series based on the movie is in production for Amazon streaming.

The Mighty Ducks (1992) – recommended for ages 11+

Hockey, underdogs, and Emilio Estevez.

As a community service requirement, a selfish lawyer must coach a losing youth hockey team. A series based on the film is in development at Disney +.

90's Movies / MomAdvice.com

For the animal lovers:

Free Willy (1993) – recommended for ages 6+

A boy, a whale, and some intense emotions.

An orphan boy befriends a captive killer whale and aims to release him back to the wild. There are three sequels: The Adventure Home, The Rescue and Escape from Pirate’s Cove.

Babe (1995) – recommended for ages 6+

A pig, a farm, and some harsh realities about where food comes from.

Can the other barn animals accept a nontraditional pig? Yes, when he’s as cute as Babe. Oscar winning piglet!

Dr. Dolittle (1998) – recommended for ages 8+

Animals, Eddie Murphy, and a whole lot of potty humor.

Once the animals in town find out Dr. Dolittle has the ability to talk to animals, they all come visit!

90's Movies / MomAdvice.com

For anyone who loves fantasy and make-believe:

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989) – recommended for ages 6+

Inventions, adventures, and Rick Moranis.

Whoops! Four kids are shrunken to the size of ants by a shrimp ray and must fight their way through the backyard, while their scientist dad searches for them. A new film, Shrunk, is in production at Disney.

George of the Jungle (1997) – recommended for ages 6+

Abandoned baby, raised by apes, grows up and visits San Francisco.

Just try and get the theme song out of your head. Tarzan spoof action adventure based on a cartoon series. The cartoon is getting a reboot for CBS All Access.

Matilda (1996) – recommended for ages 9+

Clever girl has powers in fantasy based on Roald Dahl book. includes the world’s worst principal – Miss Trunchbull. Netflix is developing a musical reboot.

Hook (1991) – recommended for ages 10+

Grown-up Peter Pan, campy Captain Hook, and kidnapped kids.

Directed by Steven Spielberg grown up Peter (Robin Williams) and Tinkerbell (Julia Roberts) must face their old nemesis Hook (Dustin Hoffman).

90's Movies / MomAdvice.com

All about friends and family:

The Parent Trap (1999) – recommended for ages 6+

Separated twins, reunited parents, and little Lindsay Lohan.

A remake of the classic 1961 Disney film.

My Girl (1991) – recommended for ages 11+

Friendship, death, and baby Macaulay Culkin.

Get ready for all the feelings watching Anna Chlumskey play an 11 year old being raised by single dad Dan Ackroyd.

90's Movies / MomAdvice.com

A couple lesser-known (but fantastic) animated legends:

Anastasia (1997) – recommended for ages 6+

Long-lost princess, evil Rasputin, and more fun than facts.

Includes the vocal talents of Meg Ryan, Angela Lansbury, Kelsey Grammer, Christopher Lloyd and John Cusack.

Hercules (1997) – recommended for ages 7+

Gods and heroes, a gospel Greek chorus, and intense animated action.

Disney animates Greek mythology!

90's movies / MomAdvice.com

Treats for the holidays:

Hocus Pocus (1993) – recommended for ages 10+

Halloween, witches, and spooky stuff.

One of the best Halloween movies ever. Reboot announced for Disney +.

Home Alone (1990) – recommended for ages 10+

Mouthy kids, careless parents, and holiday hijinks.

More Macaulay Caulkin, but this time he is battling Joe Pesci. Also includes the fabulous Katherine O’Hara and John Candy. Yes, also on reboot list for Disney +.

Do your kids like movies from the 90’s? Which ones are their favorites?

Note: Age recommendations come from Common Sense Media.

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Don’t miss these other great stories from MomAdvice:

5 Reasons I Let My Kids Watch TV / MomAdvice.com

Reasons to Let Your Kids Watch TV

How to Monitor Tech Time / MomAdvice.com

Screen Time Rules for the Middle School Years

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Teaching the Importance of Failure to Children

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Rules for Watching TV with Your Spouse

11 Rom Coms for the Perfect Date Night /MomAdvice.com

11 Romantic Comedies for Date Night

We hope you love this list as much as we do!

17 Movies From the 90's You Must Share With Your Kids

11 Rom Coms for the Perfect Date Night

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

11 Rom Coms for the Perfect Date Night

Whether you are trying to avoid the crowds and freezing weather on Valentine’s Day, or just looking for the perfect low-key romance, here are some favorite romantic comedies for date night.

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

When my husband and I were first married, every trip to the video store (remember those) would end in a fight.

He wanted action; I wanted romance. Movies, I mean (although I suppose you could interpret that another way, accurately).

I’m not sure why I was so dead set on forcing him to watch every single romance or romantic comedy in existence, but I was.

Eventually, I realized this was not the healthiest pattern.

And also, as it turns out, I quite enjoy action movies myself.

Long story short?

We didn’t watch a lot of rom coms together for quite a while.

But recently, we’ve started something new.

After almost two decades of marriage, we’ve learned to compromise.

I’ll pause while you gasp in astonishment.

Seriously, though, over the past few years we’ve fought hard to fight less — and it involves a whole lot of compromise.

Of meeting in the middle.

Of me watching baseball movies and baseball documentaries and baseball games, and him watching people find true love in romantic comedies.

It’s been beautiful. (Except for the baseball games. Even my deep, abiding love of my husband can’t make me actually like baseball games.)

Anyway. All this means we can have legit movie date nights at home! (Yes, yes, I realize we could, in theory, watch an action or a drama at home. But, I don’t know, we just usually don’t.)

I realize this might seem silly to you.

Especially if you’re a movie date night at home pro.

But whether you and your husband snuggle on the couch to watch a movie every weekend or you’re new to this like we are, I’ve got a list of rom coms perfect for your date night at home.

All of these love stories are currently streaming, and each one should be a hit with both of you (no matter what genre each of you likes best)!

Check out my list and let me know what kind of movies you like watching with your husband!

11 Rom Coms for the Perfect Date Night

11 Rom Coms for the Perfect Date Night

11 Rom Coms for the Perfect Date Night

Set It Up

Set It Up – (Netflix)

Who knew Netflix could make their own sweet, funny romantic comedy?

This was the first one that caught a lot of attention and for good reason.

Snappy dialogue, charming leads, fun premise (two overworked corporate assistants set up their bosses and then make their own connection).

This is a good one! Stars Zoey Deutch and Glen Powell. Rated TV-14.

Always Be My Maybe

Always Be My Maybe – (Netflix)

Seriously, I wish Netflix would quit doing all the other things and just make rom coms.

Because this one is great, too!

Childhood friends hook up once, then don’t see each other for years.

They reconnect later when she’s a celebrity chef and he’s still living at home and working with his dad.

Also, the best Keanu cameo we didn’t know we needed.

Stars Ali Wong and Randall Park. Rated PG-13.

Before We Go

Before We Go – (Amazon Prime)

Two pretty people (including Chris Evans) meet in NYC and spend a night together.

No, not like that!

On an adventure!

It’s sweet.

And bittersweet.

Gah! I’ve said too much.

Just watch it.

Stars Alice Eve and Chris Evans. Rated PG-13.

Man Up

Man Up – (Netflix)

A woman takes the place of a man’s blind date.

Hijinks (and romance) ensue.

This one is so funny and surprisingly sweet.

I’m glad I took a chance on it (after assuming it would be bad, based on the poster and the actors).

Which is, coincidentally, similar to the journey these characters go on.

Stars Lake Bell and Simon Pegg. Rated R for language.

What If

What If – (Amazon Prime)

I wasn’t sure I could see Daniel Radcliffe as anyone other than Harry Potter.

As it turns out, I sure can.

This movie asks the notorious question: Can men and women just be friends? (No. Not in the movies, duh.)

Stars Daniel Racliffe and Zoe Kazan. Rated PG-13.

Plus One

Plus One – (Hulu) 

Longtime friends decide to be each other’s dates to a bunch of weddings.

If you think you know how this ends, you’re probably right, but the getting there is interesting and funny and moving.

Stars Maya Erskine and Jack Quaid. Rated R for language and sex. 

(Another movie with a strangely similar plot is The Wedding Year (Amazon Prime). Stars Sarah Hyland and Tyler James Williams. Rated R for language and drug use.)

Hitch

Hitch – (Netflix)

Why not kick it old school with this classic from 2005?

A dating consultant falls for a reporter who doesn’t know who he really is.

Also, Kevin James dances. It’s all so adorable, really.

Stars Eva Mendes and Will Smith. Rated PG-13.

Date Night

Date Night – (Amazon Prime)

If the grind of middle-age and suburban life is your stage of life, this one will probably resonate with you as much as it does with me.

They just wanted a date night, man!

Comedy, action, and sweet married romance.

Stars Tina Fey and Steve Carell. Rated PG-13.

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society – (Netflix)

If you and your husband prefer something historical, this is a great one!

Is it as good as the book?

No, but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess your husband hasn’t read it.

So just sit back and enjoy it as a completely separate and completely sweet story about a writer who connects with the people of a small island following World War II.

Stars Lily James and Michiel Huisman. Rated TV-14.

Isn't It Romantic

Isn’t It Romantic? – (HBO through Hulu or Prime)

A single woman hits her head and wakes up in a romantic comedy, but it turns out that life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

This had the potential to be simply silly, but if you’ve ever questioned how love-able you are, this will be as meaningful to you as it was to me.

Also, you don’t want to miss the musical scenes in this comedy!

Stars Rebel Wilson and Adam Devine. Rated PG-13.

Second Act

Second Act  (SHOWTIME through Hulu or Prime)

A working class woman fakes her way into a high-level executive job and both finds herself and loses herself in the process.

This was surprisingly emotional, and the romance isn’t the main part of the story, but it’s all very sweet (and funny, too).

Plus it stars two of my very favorites: Jennifer Lopez and Milo Ventimiglia. Rated PG-13.

Those are my suggestions. I’d love to hear which movies you love watching on date nights! And for more romantic comedies you might not have seen yet, you can find a longer list on my blog

What’s your favorite rom com for date night?

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This post contains affiliate links.

 

Looking for some more fun Date Nights? Check out these ideas:

9 Frugal Date Nights MomAdvice.com

9 Simple Ideas for Frugal Date Nights

How to Create Date Night Playlist MomAdvice.com

How to Create and Anniversary or Date Night Playlist

9 Spring Dates for Any Budget MomAdvice.com

9 Spring Date Ideas for Any Budget

5 Movie Date in 10 Days MomAdvice.com

What I Learned from 5 Movie Dates in 10 Days

Happy Valentine’s Day!

11 Rom Coms for the Perfect Date Night

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Mint.com: Find the Hidden Leaks in Your Budget

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020

Mint.com: Find the Hidden Leaks in Your Budget Header

Are you looking for easy ways to earn extra cash for your family? Today I’m sharing budgeting apps that can help you reset for your financial future. This tutorial shares all about the Mint app and a creative robo tool option to reduce your recurring expenses.

This is the third challenge in our Passive Income for Busy Moms series because SAVED money is EARNED money. Be sure to visit our Passive Income Ideas for Moms Series all year long as I challenge myself to find new ways to earn money for our family.

Now that the holidays are over, I am sure that many of us have made resolutions to restore the order in our financial life.

Here is the honest truth. I am an incredible saver of money, but I am terrible about tracking our family expenses.

As a busy mom, this is just one more ball that I have to keep in the air.

While some might not consider analyzing the budget a passive income builder, I am here to beg to differ.

One deep dive into your finances, should indicate hidden leaks in the budgeting boat, that often drain your account month after month.

While I have been terrible about tracking, my husband has done a great job keeping up with our complete financial picture and alerts me when he sees questionable charges on our account.

It shouldn’t be just his job to save money though, especially since I handle the majority of our day-to-day expenses.

After reviewing loads of apps and trying them out, we are still keeping our feet firmly planted in Mint.com, to track our expenses.

Not only is this a program that I trust to help me be my best financial self, it is also a free app that becomes an effortless money manager once your accounts are connected.

Mint App on Phone

Mint.com: Find the Hidden Leaks in Your Budget

What is Mint And How Can It Help Me?

Mint is an app (available on Android or Apple devices) that you can use to manage your family finances. Mint is currently owned by Intuit that makes many of the financial products that we use for our family and business. You may be more familiar with their other products like TurboTax & QuickBooks.

All that is to say is that it is a familiar company which helps me feel more secure.

While tracking your expenses is an important element of the app, you will also discover lots of other benefits.

Some of my favorites are free access to your credit score (at all times with no penalties), tools to help you establish a budget (that becomes more intuitive with your spending habits), pie charts that illustrate where the heck your money is going, an up-to-date property estimate (through past sales in your area on Zillow), your total net worth, and it easily monitors your investments.

With all of our accounts linked, we now know EXACTLY what we have and where we stand with our retirement.

How many people can say that they know their exact dollar worth down to the cent?

Why is Mint Free?

Mint works just like most online businesses, including the site you are visiting right now.

Mint partners with different companies to offer you additional ways to save. When scanning through the product offers, the majority of these are credit card offers. Additionally, if you want to explore investing, they have partnerships with brokerages that can help you.

Credit Card Offer Disclosures

Here is an example of a credit card offer that is displayed on my page.

You can see the exact disclosure statements that are attached to the offer.

In an online world where transparency isn’t always given, I think they do a great job letting you know that they are benefiting from the exploration of the services they offer.

With over 20 million users, I am sure that many take advantage of these offers and that is what allows your account to be free. Each transaction yields a compensation that pays the company.

Is Mint Safe?

There are tons of budgeting apps (paid and free) and you can’t always know if your information will be safe. I did a lot of research on the security of Mint and found that this article was really helpful in explaining how Mint keeps your data safe.

Most of the top financial gurus would back that Mint is a really secure option for anyone who does not want to go the spreadsheet route.

They do use a multi factor authentication that is explained well in their terms of service.

Will I Be Penalized for Accessing My Credit Report on Mint?

Having access to a free credit score is amazing, but will there be a penalty to have this information readily available to you?

The good news is NO.

According to the Mint site, when you check your credit score, you are performing what is called a soft credit check. This credit inquiry won’t impact your credit, no matter how frequently you view your credit score.

This means you can check your credit score as many times as you like without a penalty.

They also offer you the option to be alerted, via push notification, when your credit score drops.

How Can I Get Started With Mint?

It only takes about ten to fifteen minutes to link your Mint account to your financial institution.

Once you have your bank account linked, you can begin plugging in additional information like any other bank accounts, credit cards, debit cards, investments you have made and more.

Once everything is plugged in, you can see EXACTLY where your money is going and your account balances. Mint will do its best to set up the proper category for you, but it will require you to review each of the transactions to make sure it is in the proper category.

This clear snapshot allows you to form a budget for your family.

Mint observes your spending habits and provides an approximate on the cap of each category that you should spend.

Ideally, you can set your own budget and try to narrow down expenses.

What I Earned From One Month With Ellevest from MomAdvice.com learn all about ellevest by clicking here

I Signed Up With Ellevest Last Month. Can I Connect My Ellevest Account to Mint?

Good news! You, absolutely, can connect your Ellevest account to Mint so you can monitor your investment.

Also, can I just say how proud I am of you if you started your own investment account. #girlboss

To view your Ellevest Digital/Premium goals on your account aggregator (like Mint.com)- read it all here:

  1. You must be an Ellevest Client – You need to have eSigned on the Ellevest Dashboard to get this process started.
  2. Find your Folio login and create a password. To find your Folio username, log into your Ellevest Dashboard, click the user icon in the top right-hand corner, and select Login from the dropdown menu – you will see your Folio login at the bottom of the page. You’ll also see a link to instructions on how to create your Folio password – if you’re having issues, send us a note.
  3. Look up Folio Investing. Folio is the broker/dealer and custodian for your Ellevest account, and Folio Investing will be the company name you’ll need to search for.

Push Notifications on Mint.com

I’ve Got Everything Plugged In, But How Can I Reduce My Expenses With Mint?

Once Mint has all your financial information, it can use this financial data to send you notifications when potentially problematic issues arise.

This is done through push notifications that you check that you would like to receive. These notifications include spending alerts, credit score updates, bill reminders, and a quick summary of how you are doing.

Should you need financial advice, it can offer that too.

You can adjust how many and how often you receive these push notifications in your Settings panel.

Utilizing tools like these will help you stay in tune to your spending habits and reduce late fees on potential bills.

I plan to take this a step further though to find all of the hidden leaks in our budget:

Recurring charges- Have you ever signed up for a 30-day trial of something, only to realize that you never cancelled it? Do you have any recurring charges for services or apps that you don’t ever use? I plan to find any hidden leaks and cancel these accounts.

Reduce grocery spending- Holy heck, we have been spending A LOT of money on groceries. I plan to try to reduce this expense immediately by being more intentional about what we are eating and cooking from scratch more.

Reduce the dining out- We are a bit snobby about food and that has not helped our budget AT ALL. Fortunately, I can cook and plan to master a few of our restaurant faves so we can reduce this expense more by eating at home.

Analyze our standard household expenses- Are we *really* getting the best deals on home insurance, auto insurance, internet, and our mobile services? I, honestly, don’t know, but this month I plan to investigate.

Trim Financial Services Review

One Last Option To Try- Robo Tools for Adjusting Your Bills For You…With Some Disclaimers

As I was researching for our Passive Income for Busy Moms series, I stumbled upon a service called Trim.

Trim is, basically, a bot service that negotiates rates, on your behalf, to lower your payments. You, basically, give them permission to act on your behalf and see if they can secure your family savings.

I set them to work on our expenses so I could give you a personal review of their services.

Our Comcast internet bill was $80 a month.

Trim sent me a text that they were able to get a fee refund (of $2.32) and they also applied for a promotion for $9.95 off for 12 months.

That is a savings of $119.40 over the course of the year.

What’s in it for Trim? Well, they take 33% of the savings they get on the bill. We were immediately charged $40.17, but we still ended up saving $79 for the year.

They also were able to flag a few things that were monthly charges that we may not want to continue spending money on.

The best part was that they also sent cancellation requests for you so you don’t have to add it to your to-do list.

If you have a lot of personal debt, it also can negotiate credit card rates and they offer premium services, to utilize a financial coach, to reduce your debt and get you on a better path.

You Saved Money with Trim. Why The Disclaimers Then?

I went through a lot of reviews and complaints on BBB, which is why I did not dedicate a separate post to this.

Many people were disheartened about the charges after the bill negotiation (which I think they are pretty clear about) and some people felt that their established services rose in cost in the months that followed.

There were also complaints filed that they could not discontinue services when signing up for premium membership plans.

For that reason, I also signed up with their premium membership, waited a month, and then canceled it.

The cancellation went through with no hitches at all.

I have not had any bills raised since I used the service and I was really happy with the savings of almost $80.

That said, if you are nervous about a bot negotiating for you, start investigating the current deals and contact the cable, phone, and internet company to see if you can get your bills lowered.

After all, the worst they can say is no.

Join My January Passive Income Challenge

Sign up for a Mint account (or similar budgeting app platform) and link your accounts.

Once you have your expenses categorized, reflect on your past expenses and habits.

Decide what your new 2020 budget will look like and check in daily to see how you are doing.

Consider canceling any recurring expenses that aren’t benefiting your family anymore. Do this by contacting companies directly or utilize a bot tool to reduce some of your basic expenses. Be sure to ask about loyalty plans, if there are plans that make more sense for your family (based on usage), or see if you can get discounts if you are requesting to cancel services.

I can’t wait to see what you are able to save with your new habits! 

Think of this as this month’s paycheck for all your hard work! 

Love this post? Here are a few others you might love!

Passive Revenue Ideas for Busy Moms from MomAdvice.com passive revenue ideas for busy moms

Earn Money With Rakuten Cash Back Offers from MomAdvice.com earn money through rakuten cash back

Real Rakuten Results Cash Back Earnings Report from MomAdvice.com do you really earn money with rakuten?

how to invest in yourself with ellevest

What I Earned From One Month With Ellevest from MomAdvice.com what I earned from one month with ellevest

 

Don’t forget to follow along on our Passive Income Challenge series. You can head here to see all the posts in one place. Have you used Mint for your budget before or do you use another budget app service? I’d love to hear your experience with budgeting apps today! 

Mint.com Find the Hidden Leaks in Your Budget

 

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How to End the Year Well

Monday, December 23rd, 2019

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

How to End the Year Well from MomAdvice.com

 

At this time of year, it is so easy to only be looking forward to the next big event. This year we are going to try and use the holiday season to make the most of he days left in the year. We aren’t going wait until January to make our resolutions and appreciate what we have.

 

 

Last week I read an article about how to create a dumpster fire ornament, in honor of the year we’ve had. It was hilarious – and sad.

I mean, yeah, I laughed, but only so I didn’t cry.

Because, for a million reasons, this year has been difficult at best and devastating at worst.

 

I know I’m not alone in looking forward to a fresh start as we flip over the calendar.

 

But before we head into a new year, we still have a few days left in this one – and I’m determined to make the best of them.

Rather than simply throwing up our hands in disgust or defeat, let’s take back what’s remaining of this challenging year.

Let’s celebrate what actually worked or went well, and let’s give thanks for the blessings we received in the midst of hardships.

No matter how this year has treated us, I believe we can still end well. Here’s how:

 

1. Make a gratitude list.

I know, I know, you’ve heard this one a thousand times.

But there’s a reason for that: it works!

No matter how bad a situation (or calendar year) might be, we always have something to be thankful for.

Are you healthy?

Do you have a place to live?

Is your family nearby – or far away?

Do you have at least one person to love and who loves you?

Did you read a good book or see a great movie?

Have you created a piece of art or finished a project?

Did you make it through Thanksgiving or the election cycle or a trip to the post office without coming to blows with anyone?

Then you have something to be thankful for!

 

How to End the Year Well from MomAdvice.com

 

2. Look at the photographic evidence.

Instead of clicking over to Facebook one more time, open up the gallery on your phone.

Scroll through your own photos and take time to appreciate those goofy smiles, those messy faces, the trips to the zoo or the doctor’s office, the impromptu road trips or picnics, the selfies and the you-can’t-make-me-smile serious faces.

Remember the sunset, the finish line, the delicious dessert, the colorful leaves.

Whether you’ve already printed all your photos and placed them in a lovely album or scrapbook, or they’re stacked up on your phone (and hopefully saved in the cloud), I bet you have some evidence that this year brought something lovely, something beautiful, something good.

 

3. Find the silver linings. I’m not sitting at a desk gazing out the window to a pastoral scene as I type this post.

Nope. I’m sitting in my living room, balancing my laptop on a TV tray while my toddler sits on my lap smelling slightly of her overnight diaper and watching Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.

And as often happens in our house, Daniel Tiger is sharing a message that is almost unnervingly relevant for our day. Daniel and his friends are singing about disappointment, and here’s the advice they have for us all: “When something seems bad, turn it around and find something good.”

Seriously, Daniel Tiger?

Seriously.

You really can’t argue with that preschool wisdom.

And as I’ve reflected on the last year, it really is something I’ve considered.

What are the silver linings hiding on the edges of this hard season?

For me I’ve had to face how my fear of confrontation has led to unhealthy relationships and behaviors. (Which is, initially, still a bummer but ultimately a good thing to realize.)

I’ve also been forced to stop waffling on some political issues as this divisive year has made it clearer than ever what my priorities and values are.

And, most importantly, going through a tough season is always a catalyst for appreciation and gratitude for me, making me more thankful than ever for my family, my freedoms, and my faith.

All of these silver linings come at the cost of some very dark clouds, but I am grateful for them nonetheless.

 

How to End the Year Well from MomAdvice.com

 

4. Give back – and then some.

One of the most encouraging messages I’ve seen following some of this year’s troubles is a call to action.

No matter where you fall on all the issues that have divided our world, every one of us can reach out to others, serve others, love others.

Just like the well-known and oft-quoted advice from Gandhi suggests, rather than complaining about a dumpster fire of a season, be the change you wish to see in the world instead.

The benefit goes beyond what you give to other people, too, because not only does helping those in need combat injustices you perceive, it also helps you adjust your perspective.

It gives you a bigger picture and more accurate way to gauge your own circumstances.

It also gives you a sense of more control and therefore increases your overall satisfaction.

Talk about win-win!

 

5. Don’t wait for January 1.

We don’t have to start a new habit on a Monday, and we don’t have to wait for January 1 to turn over a new leaf of gratitude, compassion, and positivity.

We can do that today.

The world may seem like it’s spinning off its axis some days, but we are still in control of our own choices.

We get to decide how we receive news, how we process situations, how we respond to circumstances.

We get to choose.

Let’s make the best of the days we have, friend, no matter what the calendar says.

Let’s be kind when we don’t have to, let’s be thankful even when it’s difficult, let’s look for the good and be the good.

Let’s end this year well.

 

How to End the Year Well from MomAdvice.com

 

 

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How to Make Homeless Care Packages from MomAdvice.com

How to Make A Homeless Care Package

 

 

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How to Make a Homeless Care Package (Free Printable Supplies List)

Tuesday, December 10th, 2019

How to Make Homeless Care Packages from MomAdvice.com

Blessing bags for the homeless are such a beautiful act of kindness for those in need. Today’s post will show you how to make homeless kits for those in need. These hygiene kits are handy to keep in your car, for those that live on the street, or can be given as gift bags for your local homeless shelter. Be sure to print out our free printable supplies list for your homeless care kit.

One thing that you may not know about our family is that we are really passionate about caring for the homeless.

Creating a homeless care package (also known as a Blessing Bag) can be one fantastic way that your entire family can be involved in caring for those in need.

Today we want to provide a checklist of supplies for the homeless bags, a local resources sheet you can print out (if you are in our area), and some tips for involving the whole family in this project.

After all, homeless gift bags are a great idea to help teach your children kindness.

These homeless packs have been replicated by so many people and are the perfect activity for volunteer organizations you may be part of.

By involving others, you can alleviate some of the expenses by asking everyone to bring the materials to craft these bags.

Distribute the list and allow each attendee to bring travel size items, food, socks or bags to help the homeless in your area.

How to Make Homeless Care Packages from MomAdvice.com

I also appreciate that these homeless care packages can be prepared for your local shelters or kept tucked away in the trunk of your car for those you may see on the street looking for your help.

I love feeling armed in these situations and these kits are a simple way to show how much you care.

Over the past couple of years, I have also had the opportunity to work at our local food bank and food pantry. What many people don’t realize is that many of these items cannot be purchased using food stamps.

Items that are not food (like toothpaste, paper products, deodorant, shampoo, toothbrushes, etc…) are not eligible and that is why these items are often in high demand at church community pantries.

It is why these are the items that I choose to donate to our shelter each year.

How to Make a Homeless Care Package from MomAdvice.com

I wouldn’t be truthful if I didn’t tell you that my husband inspires me every day with his giving heart. Last winter, he was coming home late from work because he would see people in need and run to stores to get them supplies and gift cards.

That is his heart.

That is why I love him.

If there is one thing I firmly believe in, it is that giving should be a family affair.

We have to lead our children by our example.

I want my children to remember that what made our family special is that we always gave with our whole hearts.

My kids assisted in every aspect of this project.

My son came with me and did the number crunching on a good old-fashioned calculator, my daughter helped sort and organize all of the items we bought, and both kids helped fill the bags with all of the necessary items.

Here Are My 3 Essential Elements to a Great Homeless Care Package

Feed Their Needs

One of the greatest gifts you can give to someone who is homeless is personal hygiene items and food to nourish their bodies.

Begin by picking up items that will satisfy this area in their life first.

Simple items like shampoo, a razor, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, deodorant, a toothbrush, toothpaste, a comb, a bar of soap, and tissues are all great items to keep on hand.

Food like granola bars, crackers with peanut butter, beef jerky, trail mixes, dried fruits, and a bottle of water are also great items to tuck into your bags.

If you have the funds, small denominator gift cards (we did $5 Walmart gift cards) can also be great to give so that they can pick up a meal or item(s) they might need.

How to Make Homeless Care Packages from MomAdvice.com

Provide Warmth

We live in Indiana and the winters here are brutal for homeless people.

I can’t imagine how cold it would be to stand on the streets without the proper items

I need for warmth.

Add items like thermal boot socks, gloves, scarves, and hats to your gift bags.

Items like these may seem out of your financial reach, but I found all of these at the dollar store and the sets of gloves were a mere $.50 each.

Feed Their Souls

I am sure it goes without saying, but feeding someone’s soul is just as important as feeding their needs.

You can feed their souls in a variety of ways depending on your families beliefs and resources.

We created a local resources list (available for local residents to download) that they can tap into for further resources in our town.

A note that lets them know that they are on your prayer list, a note of encouragement by your children, or a scripture that you find comforting can also be excellent additions.

If these are not enough ideas, I encourage you to spend a bit of time browsing through the comments on this post.

Many people regularly volunteer at their shelters and food banks and have some great ideas to help.

Please also know, that we are real people (sometimes that doesn’t seem that way on the website, am I right?) and we did OUR personal best to put these together so we appreciate your KIND words on this post and definitely encourage you to share your own must-have items in a care package while being respectful of others in these comment threads.

How Do I Order My Homeless Care Package Supplies in Bulk?

Did you know that you can purchase items from Dollar Tree IN BULK.

Looking to save even more? Consider using this incredible rebates app to get cash back on ALL your holiday purchases.

We were able to place a bulk order with Dollar Tree and pick up the items we needed for these kits from our local store.

Don’t have room in your car?

No worries!

They can ship all the items directly to you.

How cool is that?

What Our Readers Suggest Adding to Your Hygiene Kits for the Homeless

I love seeing what contributions YOU recommend for these packs! Here are some of my favorites you shared!

“My husband and I travel a lot when he’s working on contract.

I save all the little complimentary shampoos, conditions, soaps, etc and when I have quite a few saved, I sew up pretty drawstring bags, divide the items I’ve save between the bags and then donate them to our local women’s shelter.

I’ve also started adding toothpastes and toothbrushes that I purchase to the bags.

Many times women arrive with nothing but the clothes on their back and this way they can be given their own personal care kit. I make each bag different so that they don’t feel like they are getting something that is assembly line, but something that was made just for them.”

“Many homeless also have dogs.

Perhaps you could add some things like treats, small pouches or pop-top cans of food, grooming supplies and toys.

And with the winter months coming, both owner and pet need to stay warm and dry…some large trash bags to put on the ground to keep from getting wet and even colder.

And I have seen fleece throws just recently at Walmart for like $2!”

“I currently make and deliver hot chocolate to a few homeless people I see on my way home from work (I work in downtown Chicago) and I pass out cold cans of pop in the summer.

I also make plates of food from leftovers after work luncheons and pass them out after work. (I don’t consider this stealing because I know that by 4:30 anything left in the kitchen will be thrown away.) I

know it isn’t not much, It won’t make a huge difference in the world, but it might make a world of difference to the person I’m helping.

Thanks for the list. I’m glad to see there are others out there who are concerned for the homeless and actually do something about it.

I hope the care package(s) I pass out, make the receiver(s) feel loved, thought of and cared for.”

“This is a wonderful idea! I got so excited when I saw this-I immediately began to think of other items that might be added, such a bar of soap or bottle of body wash, plastic glass and mug, plastic cutlery and plate, tissues, pen and notebook, small clock, personal wipes, instant oatmeal packets, instant soup packets, hot chocolate packets, instant noodle packets, towel, facecloth, thermal blanket, and in the summer, a sun hat, sunscreen, inexpensive umbrella and a fly swatter!

Many of these things can be found on sale, at Walmart, and the dollar store. They don’t have to be bought all at once and do lend themselves as a project for a family, like yourselves, or amongst a group of friends, a Sunday School class, a school class or a Brownie troop.”

“You might also check with your school district if they have children.

All our local schools have a homeless liaison who works to get food, clothing and housing for homeless families.”

“I regularly carry around coupon books from various restaurants, but this goes even further.”

“As truck drivers, my husband and I see many people standing on the exit ramps of the interstate highways.

We give ziplock bags with toiletries, (in a separate bag) and foods like you mentioned, plus single serve packages of oatmeal, grits, hot cocoa, ect. I add pack of sugar, jelly, peanut butter, plasticware, napkins, whatever we get from the take out and fast food restaurants.

I also pick up dollar store gloves, hats, socks, ect. We have added stamped postcards, Christmas cards and candy canes in season.

Notepads and pens are welcomed as are throws we get at thrift stores.

We were giving the gift books from the fast food places, but now they’ve gone to gift cards.

Chapstick is a good idea, as are deodorants, comb, sanitary items for the women, (yes, we see homeless women and children too).

We give small toys, stickers and tattoos for the kids. We stay in motels a lot and always ask housekeeping for extras.”

“I love this post. I am in the middle of coordinating a SOCKS party here in Nashville.

We are getting the big, thermal socks, and filling them with different items for the homeless.

We’ve been fortunate to have my dentist donate the toothpaste and floss, and McDonald’s donated 1,000 Cards for a free dollar menu item.

We also have tons of shampoo, conditioner, and soaps from hotels.

We’ll stuff it with snacks, hand warmers, and other items (many on your list).

We are getting together for our SOCK party and letting the kids stuff the socks and make the tags, which will say “I care”.

The kids are excited and I love what it’s teaching them. Thanks for inspiring others to give back!”

Aren’t my readers incredible? Just think of the possibilities with this one!

God has been so good to us, but 10 years ago we were in a very different place than where we are now.

My husband was unemployed for almost an entire year, our financial situation was a house of cards, and my heart was in a bad place.

Although I don’t like to admit it, I wondered what my purpose on this earth even was.

I never have forgotten that dark place and it is why we still try to be so careful with the resources we have been given and why I have such a tender place in my heart for those who are struggling.

If you would like to read more about it, I encourage you to read my book where I share how we recovered from this difficult financial period in our life.

Being careful though doesn’t mean that you can’t be a giver.

There are fantastic ways to give, both big and small, around the holidays.

Be sure to check our list of ten painless ways to give back to charities to help you get started.

I call these smaller ways to give the, “scraps of life giving.” I have talked a lot about that with my partnership with Pure Charity as well!

We want to help you give back to your community! Here are some resources to do just that!

Grab our Free Homeless Supply Checklist for your your care packages.

Don’t just click on the picture, head to this link to grab a full-size PDF version!

Grab our Local Resources List for your care packages (if you don’t live in Michiana, you can use this as a template for your own sheet)! Don’t just click on the picture, head to this link to grab a full-size PDF version!

Looking for more great ways to give back? Here are a few other great ideas!

diy no sew hand warmers

cabled ear warmer pattern diy cabled ear warmers

diy chunky knit blanket pattern

How do you give back in your community? How do you teach your kids to be givers?

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

this post contains affiliate links.

How to Make a Homeless Care Package from MomAdvice.com

How to Make Homeless Care Packages from MomAdvice.com

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11 Sitcoms to Help Get You Into the Holiday Spirit

Monday, December 9th, 2019

11 Sitcoms to Get You in the Holiday Spirit from MomAdvice.com

Here’s a guide for every episode you need to stream on television get into the holiday spirit! These 11 tv shows, with hilarious holiday episodes, prove that this season really is all about family – no matter how dysfunctional. Be sure to pin this post so you can remember this list of holiday episodes for a new family Christmas tradition.

 

From our marriage & parenting contributor, Mary Carver.

The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, as we all know, but also the most hectic time of the year. 

From shopping to baking to figuring out what to wear to the fancy party that sounded so fun when you agreed to go, most of our lives are nonstop chaos from about October through New Year’s.

With that in mind, it might seem silly that we’re bombarded with so much holiday programming on TV. 

Who has time for that this holiday season when we have gifts to wrap and end-of-semester or end-of-quarter deadlines to meet and family dysfunction to navigate?!?

Well, nobody, I guess. 

But while we may not have time to sit back and watch fictional characters and their holiday hijinks, I believe we might just need it.

Because sometimes we need a break. 

Sometimes we need to laugh. 

Sometimes…well, sometimes we need to watch a family way crazier than our own to regain our perspective on these people driving us nuts in real life!

Fortunately, in addition to the onslaught of holiday movies (of which I am a giant fan) and Christmas specials (of which I have made an exhaustive list), our favorite tv series are HERE FOR US with their very special holiday episodes.

Now, I won’t deny that some of our most beloved dramas have given us so much at holiday time. 

From Chrismukkah (The O.C.) and winter festivals (Gilmore Girls) to the most romantic proposal in the snow (Downton Abbey) to even the most dark and twisty characters getting into the holiday spirit (Grey’s Anatomy), these shows can really do a number on our already seasonally fragile emotions. 

There’s a time and place for all that, but right now, I’m leaning more toward the fun and funny type of holiday episodes. 

That is what I think is going to help us not just get through the holidays, but actually enjoy them.

 

11 Sitcoms to Get You Into the Holiday Spirit

 

Blackish Christmas

Black-ish

What other family sitcom addresses real family life and serious societal issues with so much humor and heart? 

Making us think (and sometimes tear up) while laughing so hard is a Black-ish specialty, and that’s no different during the holiday.

Stream on Hulu.

  • Black Santa/White Christmas – season 1, episode 10
  • Stuff – season 2, episode 10
  • Just Christmas, Baby – season 3, episode 10
  • Christmas in Theater Eight – season 5, episode 8

 

Bob’s Burgers

I’m new to this show (thanks to Amy’s recommendation on my podcast!), but I can already tell I’m going to love this bizarrely lovable (or is it lovably bizarre?) family’s holiday shenanigans.

Stream on Hulu.

  • Bob Rest Ye Gentle-Mannequins – season 3, episode 9
  • Christmas in the Car – season 4, episode 8
  • Father of the Bob – season 5, episode 6
  • Nice-Capades – season 6, episode 5
  • The Last Gingerbread House on the Left – season 7, episode 7
  • The Bleakening – season 8, episodes 6-7
  • Better Off Sled – season 9, episode 10

Community Christmas

Community

Though I always enjoyed the times the Community gang simply sat around their study table in the library, the themed episodes where the whole show goes off the rails are really the best.

Two of the Christmas episodes fit that bill to a T, one being filmed in stop-motion animation and one a musical send-up of the TV show, Glee. 

If you like your holiday shows on the absurd side, Community has got you covered.

Stream on Hulu.

  • Comparative Religion – season 1, episode 12
  • Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas – season 2, episode 11
  • Regional Holiday Music – season 3, episode 10
  • Intro to Knots – season 4, episode 10

Happy Endings

This group of friends always makes me laugh so hard with their ridiculous antics focused on outsmarting each other in some competition or another, while also caring for one another with the most outrageous (and often back-firing) gestures imaginable. 

Also, as a fellow December baby, I’m all for friends who go overboard trying to make their friend’s Christmas birthday special.

Stream on Hulu.

  • Grinches Be Crazy – season 2, episode 9
  • No-Ho-Ho – season 3, episode 7

 

How I Met Your Mother

How I Met Your Mother is better known for its Thanksgiving (or, Slaps-giving, if you will) episodes, but it had some great Christmas episodes, too. 

And while this show is based on an outrageously unrealistic premise (“Kids, let me tell you every sordid detail of my exploits as a young single guy in the big city…”) and had that ending we all agree was major disappointment (*salutes* Major Disappointment), it also really did address issues many of us face as young (and not-so-young) adults. 

Navigating friendships in the fallout of a breakup, dealing with homesickness, going through life changes like pregnancy and moves: somehow How I Met Your Mother makes “adulting” hilarious, especially in these holiday episodes.

Stream on Hulu.

  • How Lily Stole Christmas – season 2, episode 11
  • Little Minnesota – season 4, episode 11
  • False Positive – season 6, episode 12
  • Symphony of Illumination – season 7, episode 12

New Girl Holiday

New Girl

Every character in this ensemble is intense — but in the super funny, strangely quirky sort of way. 

And like in real life, the holidays just amplify what’s already there, turning everything about them, good and bad, individually and collectively, up to an 11. 

But in the very best sort of way.

Stream on Netflix.

  • The 23rd – season 4, episode 9
  • Santa – season 2, episode 11
  • LAXmas – season 4, episode 11
  • Christmas Eve Eve – season 6, episode 10

Parks & Recreation Christmas

Parks and Recreation

Does anyone even come close to possessing the enormous amount of genuine (and productive) holiday spirit as Leslie Knope? 

Nope. (See what I did there?) 

She outdoes us all, and darn it! 

We love her all the more for it. 

Despite serious political distractions in these holiday episodes, Leslie and friends give us even more feels than normal, even when we’re not invited to Jerry’s Christmas party!

Stream on Netflix.

  • Christmas Scandal – season 2, episode 12
  • Citizen Knope – season 4, episode 10
  • Ron and Diane – season 5, episode 9

THE GOLDBERGS Hanukkah

The Goldbergs

Who can rock a hideous Christmas sweater while also turning Hanukkah into a competitive sport better than Beverly Goldberg? 

Nobody, that’s who.

Stream on Hulu.

  • A Christmas Story – season 3, episode 10
  • Han Ukkah Solo – season 4, episode 10
  • We Didn’t Start the Fire – season 5, episode 10
  • Yippee Ki Yay Melon Farmer – season 6, episode 10

The Mindy Project Holiday

The Mindy Project

If a wine bra and a dancing Danny Castellano aren’t enough to convince you to watch the holiday episodes of The Mindy Project, then I just don’t know what to tell you. 

The holidays might be for spending time with the ones you love, but in this show, they’re also for planning and scheming and so many silly twists and complications we can barely keep them straight. (But we totally can, because sitcom complications are rarely all that complicated, and we are smart people.)

Stream on Hulu.

  • Josh & Mindy’s Christmas Party – season 1, episode 9
  • Christmas Party Sex Trap – season 2, episode 11
  • Christmas – season 3, episode 11

The Office Christmas Party

The Office

The holiday party planning committee and all its many, many problems is one of my favorite parts of The Office. 

Michael Scott going overboard in a ridiculous manner for a ridiculous reason? 

Not so much my fave. 

But somehow, these holiday episodes combine these two show ingredients into something stupid funny and great examples of what made The Office so popular.

Stream on Netflix.

  • Christmas Party – season 2, episode 10
  • A Benihana Christmas – season 3, episode 10
  • Moroccan Christmas – season 5, episode 10
  • Secret Santa – season 6, episode 13
  • Classy Christmas – season 7, episode 11
  • Christmas Wishes – season 8, episode 10
  • Dwight Christmas – season 9, episode 9

Will & Grace

If decking the halls includes donning our gay apparel, then obviously the foursome on Will & Grace are the right ones to help us do the holidays right. 

I’m hoping we get one last holiday episode this year, but even if we don’t, we have plenty of classics to choose from.

Stream on Hulu.

  • Jingle Balls – season 4, episode 12
  • All About Christmas Eve – season 5, episode 11
  • Fanilow – season 6, episode 10
  • Christmas Break – season 7, episode 12
  • A Little Christmas Queer – season 8, episode 9
  • A Gay Olde Christmas – season 9, episode 7

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What’s YOUR favorite holiday TV episode? 

 

11 Sitcoms to Get You in the Holiday Spirit from MomAdvice.com

What I Earned From One Month Investing With Ellevest

Sunday, December 1st, 2019

What I Earned From One Month With Ellevest from MomAdvice.com

 

Are you looking for an easy way to start investing? Robo investing might be the perfect option for you and I am sharing the scoop on what I learned from investing with Ellevest.  Today I’m sharing what I really earned and about the process of getting an account started as we explore passive income money making opportunities for moms. Be sure to visit our entire Passive Income Ideas for Moms Series all year long as I challenge myself to find new ways to earn money for our family. 

I can’t believe that we have another month behind us in our Passive Income Ideas for Moms series.  I have been SO thrilled to get so many messages and comments from women who have been taking this challenge with me and are feeling empowered to start investing in themselves.

Today I get to reveal the results from my month of investing with Ellevest.

Honestly, as exciting as it was to share with you about Rakuten, I was ten times more excited to start my first portfolio with some of my earnings from MomAdvice. 

If you have been intimidated by the investment process (*raises hand*) I think you will be really happy to hear how easy this was and how incredibly thankful I am that I started doing this.

What I Earned From One Month Investing With Ellevest from MomAdvice.com

(click here to get $20 to start your Ellevest portfolio today)

What I Earned From One Month Investing With Ellevest

What is Ellevest?

Ellevest is a woman-owned company that focuses on building investment portfolios. What makes it unique is that they have something called an, “Impact Portfolio,”  that allow you to invest in stocks that support women in business.

This is a robo advisor tool that makes investing easy and also doesn’t cost the consumer an arm and a leg.

Robo advisors (also known as automated investing services or online advisors) use computer algorithms and advanced software to create an investment portfolio for you.

They are referred to as robo because this is mostly an automated process that requires little to no human interaction.

This translates into cost-savings for you because they are using these automated tools to build your portfolio.

The biggest difference between this company and other companies is that their focus is on wealth-building for women by investing in other women.

They call these portfolios, “Impact Portfolios,” because you are making a positive impact on women.

Pretty cool, right?

For an Impact Portfolio, they use these three key criterias in selecting your investments:

WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP

Funds investing in companies with more women leaders and policies that advance women.

SUSTAINABLE, ACCOUNTABLE COMPANIES

Funds investing in companies working to meet  for sustainability and ethical practices.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Funds providing loans to support women-owned businesses and companies that provide community services – child education, performing arts, and housing and care for seniors and individuals in need.

They also realize that women have different life spans than men and they adjust your retirement requirements accordingly.

Want to learn even more about Ellevest? Be sure to read this introductory article to Ellevest that includes a really awesome interview with the Ellevest CEO, Sallie Krawcheck!

How Much Did I Invest This Month with Ellevest?

Just as a reminder, there is no minimum balance to open your account!

I decided to set up a one-time deposit of $2,000 into this account and then set up automatic deposits of $300 monthly into my wealth-building account. 

I also wanted to create a little vacation fund for us so I have $50 going into a one-time splurge account that we will be able to earn some money on while we save. 

Just as a reminder, I did work one month ahead so I could walk you through the process of setting up an account.

Technically, I invested $300 in my wealth-building account and $50 into our splurge account for the month of November.

Investment Goals with Ellevest

What Types of Accounts Did I Invest in With Our Money?

Ellevest is set up in a simple goal-oriented format that, basically, allow you to set up buckets for investing. 

Anyone who has been a fan of the envelope system for savings will appreciate this. Basically, it is a virtual envelope system to invest in yourself.

I selected their Impact Portfolio over their Core Portfolio because my goal is to have a great retirement…while lifting up other women.

Choosing this portfolio allowed me to do both those things. 

I also created a splurge fund to put towards a future family vacation.

Was It Easy to Earn Money Through Ellevest?

YES, this is SO easy because you are putting your investing on automatic. 

Once you set up those goals for your account, you tell Ellevest what day of the month you would like your automatic withdrawal to happen and that’s it.

I haven’t had to think about investing at all because it all has been done for me automatically.

If there is anything I’ve learned through this wealth-building series it is how important it is to automate these investments in myself.

What I Earned From One Month Investing With Ellevest

What Was the Outcome of My Ellevest Portfolio?

In October, I earned $56.89, in net returns, after opening my account with $2,000. 

In November, I deposited an additional $300, earning me $71.64 (for the month of November).

In total, I’ve earned $128.53 with Ellevest in two months.

I don’t know about you, but that’s a heck of a lot more than what I was earning with my money sitting in my bank account.

For my modest $50 splurge fund deposit, I earned $2.80 on my monthly investment.

What Did It Cost Me to Invest With Ellevest?

This tool is much cheaper than hiring a financial advisor because a more personalized services can charge you a whopping 1% annually.

With Ellevest, your annual management fee is .25%.

If you saved $5,000, for example, you would pay $12.50 for the entire year. 

For the amount that is within these accounts, my charge was $1.80.

This amount will shift as more money is invested, of course.

Ellevest Impact Portfolio Example

Did I Really Support Women By Investing With Ellevest?

Earning money is great, but did I make any impact on women in business?

Good news… I did!

How do I know this?

If you look at my Impact Portfolio (see the image above) you will see these green circles with icons that tell me why they picked these stocks and how it impacts others.

This icon tells me that I’m supporting Women in Leadership. These funds invested make an impact on women leaders and policies that advance women.

This icon tells me that I’m supporting Sustainable, Accountable Companies.

These funds invested make an impact on companies that are working to meet higher standards for sustainability and ethical practices.

 

What I Earned From One Month Investing With Ellevest from MomAdvice.com

 

As you can see, 53% of my portfolio really goes into those impact funds. Impact funds are the ones that are distributed to women in leadership, sustainable companies, and to community development.

Why am I not 100% invested in women though?

As a fiduciary, Ellevest prioritizes the appropriate mix of investments to help you reach your goals.

This means a low-cost, globally diversified portfolio invested across many asset classes.

At this time, there are not sufficient impact investments to meet their fiduciary criteria for all of their asset classes.

They do continuously monitor the marketplace for new impact investments that they believe are suitable for your Ellevest Impact Portfolio.

In a nutshell, they research each impact investment in your Ellevest Impact Portfolio to ensure it meets their fiduciary standards.

Then they make it even greater by investing to make a positive impact in the world.

Did I Really Earn Money on Referrals Through Ellevest?

Ellevest does have a referral program (open to everyone) that you make a referral credit for each person that signs up and have created an actual account. 

That means, the accounts must be fully funded for you to receive a referral credit. 

Credits are then applied to your highest-priority funded goal.

If it’s a taxable account (not an IRA), the credit is applied as a one-time deposit and you’ll see it as a pending transaction in your goal.

The major complaints about Ellevest had been about the referral program.

If people haven’t went through the process of establishing the account and making a deposit though, you don’t get credit for that.

For example, I have 13 pending accounts that just might be waiting for this results post before they go through the process of setting that up with their bank.

For now, I have earned $100 on referrals that are being added to my account.

Not only that, but once you refer two friends (that have fully vested) you are considered an Elle Raiser Ambassador.

The title “ambassador” just tells the world about the leadership role you’ve taken on in the Elle Raiser community: talking the talk, walking the walk by bringing their friends, family, colleagues — fill in the blank — into the movement of supporting women through your investments.

If you didn’t know,  MomAdvice is all about empowering women and I’m proud to be doing exactly what I set out to do over sixteen years ago.

Will I Continue Investing With Ellevest?

YES!  This has been such an easy thing to automate in my life and I’m so proud to be investing in myself.

November ended up being our most profitable month on the site and once that money deposits, I’m moving it right on over to my retirement.

I can’t imagine not investing in myself now.

If you want to start investing in yourself too, here is $20 to get your account started!! Don’t hold me to this, but I noticed they are now giving you $50 to start an account so don’t be surprised if you get a $50 deposit instead!! 

What I Have I Earned So Far With Ellevest?

I have earned $130.22 with Ellevest and an additional $100 through their referral program.

Earnings totaled: $230.32

What Have I Earned So Far With the Passive Mom Income Series (started in October 2019)?

In an effort to be completely transparent with this series, I will share with you what the outcome is each month and how much was earned from a year of dedicating my time to this project. 

Rakuten- $601.47 (read more about this passive income opportunity)

Ellevest- $230.22 (read more about this passive income opportunity)

Total Earned So Far With the Passive Income series- $831.69

See you on the blog tomorrow for our December Passive Income For Moms Challenge!!

This post contains affiliate links. 

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how to invest in yourself with ellevest

Don’t forget to follow along on our Passive Income Challenge series. You can head here to see all the posts in one place. Did you sign up for to invest with Ellevest? What was your experience with this passive income money maker for November?

What I Earned From One Month With Ellevest from MomAdvice.com

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