Last winter I went to a "Favorite" party. I have been wanting to blog about it for about eight months now. I want to share some of the ideas from the party.
First, a little background, each person who was invited was instructed to bring a handout with some of their favorite things. The handout could include anything! (We also brought our favorite recipe and the dish to share, but that is a whole other blog entry for another time.) For most of the party we spent time going around the circle sharing our tips with each other. It was AWESOME! Following are some of the tips that I have used (or hope to use) in no particular order:
Favorite parenting resource: Family Information and Resource Center in Logan (www.loganfamilycenter.org) They offer free checking out of books, games, and other family and children's resources (and there are no due dates).
Favorite online family management system: onlinefamly.norton This is a Free online security. It allows you to manage where your children go online, how long they're on and show you what they're doing.
Favorite Pie Crust Dough: You can get it at Anderson's Seed in frozen balls. Ask for it at the seed counter.
Favorite Vacationing: You can rent houses at www.vrbo.com which stands for Vacation Rentals by Owner. It is a great way to travel with a family especially if you are going to be staying in one spot.
Favorite Sleep Aid: Homeopathic Melatonin the drops or spray work great for kids too.
Favorite Helpful Idea: When on a vacation in large crouds, put a lanyard around small children's neck with your cell phone numbers and names in case you get separated.
Favorite Time Saver: Buy precooked bacon at Macey's. Keep it in the freezer in a heavy duty freezer plastic baggie, and the next time a recipe calls for cooked/crumbled bacon - wa la - you don't have to cook it.
Favorite Lotion: Working Hands (at Kitchen Kneeds) in a green container.
Favorite Spiritual Tip: Listen to a general conference talk on CD while you get ready in the morning.
Favorite Hair Blog: www.shedoeshair.blogspot.com is a great resource to get ideas for doing little girls hair.
Favorite Cleaning Tip: Don Aslett's Wood Floor Restorer It takes some work to apply this stuff, but is well worth the time. It is amazing. My story is very similar to the gal who gave the tip. After being in our home four years our wood floor was starting to look worn in spots, but they weren't ready to refinish. This Wood Floor Restorer was like a miracle. It is awesome stuff!
Favorite Parenting Tip: (I haven't bught this yet, but this is what the gal said. I want to get it.) It is Children's Miracle Music "This CD was the answer for me to quit nagging. It lovingly explains each task that a child should do in order to get ready ON TIME in the morning and into bed at night. It truly has been a miracle in our home."
THOSE ARE SOME OF THE TIPS I REALLY LIKED FROM THE PARTY. I HAVEN'T TRIED ALL OF THEM, BUT I WANT TO. FOLLOWING ARE THE TIPS I SHARED. I DECIDED TO GO WITH THE "ONLINE THEME."
Carrie's Favorite Things . . . Online . . .
Saving Money on Groceries:
I am not a coupon clipper, but I check the site PinchingYourPennies.com before I go to the grocery store to see what groceries from that weeks ad are really a good deal. They have a five star system to show the best deals. If there is anything that has four or five stars, that my family uses, I stock up on it. To get to the Utah Grocery Stores use the following link: http://www.pinchingyourpennies.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=62. Scroll down and select the grocery store you are going to. It is awesome to know what sale items are really worth buying.
Bountiful Baskets came to Cache Valley last winter. To get involved sign up online at bountifulbaskets.org. It costs $16.50 each time you participate and I figure it is about half of what I would pay at the grocery store for a big basket full of fresh produce. It is so fun to pick up my basket on Saturday morning and enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables all week. The trick with this group is that there are a limited number of baskets available each week at each site so you have to sign up on Monday night or Tuesday to get a basket for the next Saturday. Also, everyone is asked to take a turn volunteering about once for every 10 baskets they order.
I use blurb.com to turn our family blog into a book. I have created a book for each year I have blogged. Blurb has a program that downloads all of the photos and text into a book template to give you a great start. It requires some work from you to make things fit just right, but it is a rewarding project. The blog finally feels like the journal it is intended to be now that it is in print.
If you are planning a trip to Disney Land go on KSL.com and go to the classifieds. (If you haven’t shopped on KSL Classifieds before they are awesome.) Search for “Disneyland Tickets.” You can share a six-day park hopper pass with another family. You have to use them within 14 days of each other, I believe, but our family did it last summer and it cost us about $20 per person per day for three days at Disney.
I always knew that Priceline.com was a cool place to get flights, but I didn’t realize the great deals you could get on hotels. The best deals come when you “make an offer.” Choose the number of stars that is the “best value.” Last summer we stayed at a four star Hyatt down town San Diego for $69 a night. Normally, that hotel starts at $200 per night. When you are making an offer start lower than you think will be accepted. You can get awesome deals near Disney Land too.
I really like the Travelocity.com fare watcher program for flights. You can create an account and then pick up to ten destinations that you would like Travelocity to watch for you. Go to the “my Travelocity” tab on the top of the site and select the “your fare watcher” program. I have gotten some awesome deals this way.
When I first heard of Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons by Siegfried Engelmann I thought it was hokey, but it really is a great program. It is scripted and the book isn’t very pretty, but it really does work. You can get it on Amazon.com for $15.
I don’t really believe in parents teaching their own children piano, but with a college minor in music education I thought I would get my kids started. I am a big fan of My First Piano Adventure by Faber. You can learn about the Faber’s programs at pianoadventures.com. Their program isn’t at all like the way I learned piano. It is so fun and intuitive.
Preschool and Early Elementary Kids Web Sites:
(We don’t have a TV, but my kids keep up on the latest with these great sites. These sites were the best thing that ever happened to me while I was pregnant with number four.)
Click on “kids” at the top of the page. You will find hundreds of games and episodes. My four year old can navigate this part of the site with no problems and with very little help she can play almost all of the games. If your child is new to using the web and the computer I would start with this site.
My kids could spend countless hours on this site. This section of the site is designed for preschoolers with Playhouse Disney episodes, games and interactive stories.
I really like this site because the episodes and games are more educational, but it requires an early elementary child to navigate it independently.