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Five free things to do this Summer #5….

dreamstime_s_116033175 free things you can do this Summer #5

Well, another week’s flown by hasn’t it! There’s not long left until they’re back at school so we’re busy packing as much fun as possible in. I loved last week’s guest post from Jen as her five free things to do this Summer were completely different to what I would have thought about doing so I’ve asked another great blogger to share her ideas to see if I can get some more inspiration!

Over to you Angela….

I’m Angela and I blog at The Life of Spicers. I have a 7 year old daughter (and also a grown up one). The Summer Holidays don’t have to cost a fortune; there are plenty of ideas you can embrace that don’t cost anything at all. A sprinkling of imagination, throw in some kids and you’re good to go.

I’m going to share five activities that we partake in that won’t cost any money.

  1. Flying a kite. – We live close to a large open space. Even when there isn’t any wind, we seem to be able to find wind here. We might not have a successful flight but that doesn’t matter.


  1. Joining the Library Summer Reading Challenge. – This year the reading challenge is all about Mythical creatures. Read six books through the holidays to receive a certificate and medal at school in September. It’s a great way to encourage children to read and choose their own books. This is our second year completing it and 7yo really enjoys it.
  2.  reading challenge

    1. Going for a bike ride. It was such a struggle to get 7yo to learn to ride her bike that now she can and has the confidence, we are out on our bikes at any opportunity. Find tracks that lead to exciting places, and discover new areas on your riding travels. It doesn’t matter if the weather’s not that great, you can always jump in the bath when you get home.


    1. Junk Modelling. When the weather is grotty and there is no chance of fresh air, get the junk modelling box out. If you don’t have one raid the recycling box for those cardboard boxes and plastic bottles that are waiting to be collected. Some of our favourites are the puppet theatre, robot, and the table football pitch we made for our dining room table.

    junk modelling

    1. Have a Board Game Afternoon. We love playing board games and the whole of under 7yo’s bed is packed with a big variety of games. Choose one depending on the mood of everybody whether you want a log or a short game. We’ve reviewed some great games from Pumpaloons through to Wordsearch Junior.


    I hope you find some inspiration for when the holidays are stretching and the purse is empty.

Monday’s Parenting Pin It Party #66….

We’re on the home straight of the Summer Holidays now and I’m not too sure how I feel about that.  On one hand I’m looking forward to school starting again and the return of a routine but on the other hand, I do love having them off school.

I’m going to have a few chill out nights on my own this week as I gradually start to introduce a more sensible bedtime routine – one more suited to school nights, so I’m hoping to catch up on some blog reading.

Which is why I’m hoping you all won’t let me down.  I need as many people as possible to join in with this week’s Parenting Pin it Party so I don’t have to look too far for some great posts.  Jenny is hosting this week’s bumper (I hope) Parenting Pin it Party so it would be great to see all of your favourite parenting posts linked up!

If you haven’t joined in before, then all you need to do is add a link to your favourite parenting post to the linky at the end of this post and then add  the badge to your post (not required but it’s always rather nice to do).

Sometime this week Jenny will pop over and pin your post to the Parenting Party Pinterest board (which is a great read if you fancy checking it out yourself.

Next week’s host will then choose  her favourite two posts to be featured in their post next Monday.

Parenting Pin It Party Badge Monday Parenting Pin It Party #21

The Parenting Pin it Party is co-hosted each week by myself, Romanian MumKiddy ChartsMum of OneMummy AlarmAll you need is love and cake and The Fairy and the Frog.


10 ways to be the most organised parent at school….

10 ways to be the most organised parent at school

Here we are, just two weeks left until school starts again! I have no idea where the time is going but the last four weeks have just flown by.  I’ve got a few posts planned over the next few weeks to share my ways to make getting the whole Back to School thing as easy as possible.  Jen from Mum in the Madhouse will be sharing her top tips in a series of posts as well so we decided to make a bit of a linky out of it – just pop over to Jen’s to add your post to the linky.

There have been times (more than I care to admit) in the past where weekday morning have consisted of tears, a little bit of shouting and the odd phone call from the school to say the kids have forgotten their packed lunches!

Lots of things make for a stressful morning, some of which can’t really be planned for – like the child who wakes up in a foul mood for no reason at all, the sudden poorly tummy that has more to do with wanting a pyjama day than any actual illness or the stress of last minute homework that they’ve had for a week and not done!

But there are things you can do to make life easier so whatever the morning throws at you, at least you’re organised and not going to have to spend time looking for a matching pair of socks or filling in a last minute form.  Here’s my top tips:

1.  When my two come home from school, they hang their book bags up and put their packed lunch boxes on the kitchen counter.  I then go through the book bags and get out any letters from the school. any party invites and anything else that has been put in there that day.

2.  Any school forms are filled in where necessary and put back in the book bags ready to be handed in the next day.  Any important dates are added to the calendar on the kitchen wall so nothing is missed.  I also make sure I email the dates to myself at work if I need to put a holiday in for something.

3. Any party invites are replied to straight away (I hate parents who leave it until the last minute or even worse, don’t reply at all) with the dates being added to the calendar so I don’t forget as I may have done in the past.  I also make sure I have something in the present bag for the party.

4. Homework is always due on a set day each week and I make sure I know exactly when this is and make sure that it’s done in plenty of time.  Sunday evening before bath time is our usual time and seems to work well for us.  I try and let the kids do their own homework and make their own mistakes as there is no point me doing homework for them although I’m always willing to help when they ask for help.

5.  Weekly spellings are learned with the kids sat at the kitchen table while I prepare tea on a night although they’re both really quick learners with their spellings so we never spend much time on this to be honest.

6. Uniforms are taken off when the kids get in from school – we used to put them over the back of a chair in the dining room but now that they’re older, they put their uniforms neatly over the radiators in their bedrooms.

7. I buy polo shirts for school and for less than £10 I can buy one for each day of the week so on a Sunday there are five shirts ironed and hung in each wardrobe.  Some weeks they need a clean shirt most days and some they can wear one for more than a day – it depends entirely on what they get up to at school but at least they’re ready if needed.

8. Buy the packs of socks where you get multiple pairs of the same socks – less time spent matching socks up and less chance of sending the kids to school with odd socks.

9. Packed lunches are made the night before and put in the fridge ready to be collected on the way out of the door and any change needed to buy fruit at break time is put out on the counter also to be collected on the way out.

10.  We have a great family calendar in the kitchen – any special days, after school clubs, parties and anything else that I’d be likely to forget are added straight away.  If we need to take cakes in to school for something then it’s on there or if we need a fancy dress costume then that’s on there too.  Basically anything I am likely to forget goes on there!

So there you go.

Follow my top tips and you’ll be the most organised parent at the school gates!

THe Mad House

It’s a cashless society these days….

This is a great post for my lovely American readers….


Why Should I Use a Cash-Free Kit for My Next Yard Sale?

As a frugal family, it is not only important to save money when shopping, but to also find creative ways to make money. You more than likely have a substantial amount of clutter that you have accumulated over the years within your home. By having a regular yard sale throughout the year, according to Real Simple, you can keep that closet clutter-free and put a little more money in your pocket.

Thanks to advanced technology, you can even use a cash-free kit to process sales transactions for those customers that simply do not carry cash. But, should you invest in this type of system for these sales?

Not Very Many Customers Use Cash

Once upon a time, the average customer used cash money to pay for the vast majority of their purchases. Even if they had a credit or debit card, those particular forms of payment were viewed as alternative, secondary options. Times have clearly changed. One study showed that less than 30 percent of all point-of-sale purchases in 2011 were paid with cash. What is even more alarming is that this figure is expected to plummet to nearly 20 percent by 2017, according to the Huffington Post. Therefore, if you want to increase your conversion rate at yard sales, having a cash-free kit to process payment card transactions will come in handy.

Cashless Transactions are Easier to Manage

Another advantage of using cash-free kits to process transactions at yard sales is that they are simply easier to manage. The average number of yard sale attendees each week throughout the United States alone is over 690,000. While most of those interested buyers won’t be traveling anywhere near your yard sale, it does help to put things into perspective. You could be very well be dealing with hundreds of potential customers in one day.

This is especially the case if you decide to have it on the most popular day to host a yard sale, according to Statistic Brain – Saturday. Being able to trust in a cash-free POS system capable of processing cashless transactions will make the entire event run smoothly and save you from ripping the hair out of your head from frustration over having enough change to break large bills, counting change, etc.

Documentation Beats Conversation

Have you ever heard the old saying that “documentation beats conversation any day of the week?” When it comes to any type of sales transaction, it is always great to have documentation. Pulling out the old-fashioned receipt book to manually create individual receipts for each customer is tedious, time-consuming and exhausting for the average person.

Investing in a cash-free POS system, such as one of the models from Shopify or PAYKEY, makes this part of the sales process easy by printing out receipts for you. In addition to having actual receipts to accompany each purchase for your customer, you will also be able to use the kit to keep track of your sales and revenue as well within a manner of just a few seconds.

Reduce Shopping Time for Families

Another important point to keep in mind before you start planning your next yard sale is that your target customer is the family. Even though you will be able to sell a few items here and there to single, childless customers, your goldmine is going to be found within the average family with children. One study showed that nearly 95 percent of yard sale shoppers are making purchases for their kids and over 80 percent will even bring their children with them, according to Infographic Journal.

Therefore, in order to minimize the amount of chaos and disorganized messes this amount of traffic from small children can cause within the average yard sale, your best bet would be to make the shopping experience as quick as possible for these families. Knowing that they can come and get exactly what they want and then use their credit or debit card to quickly pay for those items will do just that.

Not Just for Yard Sales

One of the most important things that you have to get out of your head is that you will be purchasing this cash-free kit exclusively for yard sales and garage sales. Another advantage of this investment is that you can use it for whatever you see fit.

Your children can use it for their lemonade stand business during the spring and summer months. Your teenage daughter can even use it to charge the neighborhood parents for babysitting services. You might even decide to start an at-home business and use this kit to process your payments. Even when your home is clutter-free and there is no longer a need to have a yard sale, you will always be able to get some use and overall value from owning a cash-free kit. 


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