Thursday, October 18, 2018

5 Ideas for Your Family Getaway

Chicago, March 2017

The thought of heading off on vacation with your spouse and children probably fills you with glee, as it will provide you all with an opportunity to relax, have fun and enjoy some quality time with each other. Yet you might not know about the best destination to visit to complement everyone’s needs.
If you are scratching your head about the best places to go with all the clan for an upcoming vacation, here are five helpful ideas for your next family getaway.

1.    A City Break
How does a trip that is filled with museums, shopping and sightseeing sound to you? If your answer is heaven, consider taking your family on a fun city break. Fortunately, you will not be short of options, as you can travel to a city at home or abroad, such as New York, Tel Aviv, Dublin, or Rome. One city you shouldn’t overlook for a family-friendly trip is London, as it offers activities and attractions for all ages, such as many free museums, historical attractions, and musicals for kids at the West End.

2.    A Family Cruise
If you want your children to see the world while they are young, so they have a childhood filled with superb memories, you would be wise to book a family friendly cruise. Not only will you visit different locations along the way, but there will be plenty of children’s entertainment and activities to keep boredom at bay. Simply do your homework to find the best cruise line for your family.

3.    A Tropical Vacation
If sun, sea and sand sound like utter bliss to you, a tropical vacation might be the dream getaway you have been looking for. You can trust your partner and children will have fun swimming and snorkeling. You also should pick a kid-friendly hotel, so they will have plenty of fun in a swimming pool and can enjoy superb entertainment every night.

4.    A Fun Road Trip
There is no better way to explore your home country than embarking on a fun road trip with your partner and kids. They will love jumping into a car to find out where the road takes them, and there are bound to be many superb roadside attractions they will love when driving from A to B. Don’t forget to book hotels along the route to ensure the whole family has a place to sleep each night during an adventure.

5.    Go Camping at a National Park
If you are looking for a fun yet affordable break away with your children, consider going camping at a national park. The kids will love helping to pitch a tent before heading off on a walking trail to explore the beautiful landscape and view wildlife in its natural habitat, which will provide them with a new appreciation for the great outdoors. You can then spend the evening cooking a delicious meal for all the family, making s’mores, singing songs, and staring up at the stars.

Monday, October 15, 2018

November 2018 Free Lego Monthly Mini Build Registration

I think it really says something that I've been posting about this for years and the same employees are
there every single time we go. Lego is a great company!
wrote this FOREVER ago, it seems like, about the LEGO Store monthly mini build! Things have definitely changed. I used to have to wait in line for a long time with a couple of little ones but now they are older and easier!

After the crazy waiting-in-line like for a rock concert only with little kids fiasco month after month, Lego stores changed things up for at least 6 months and the employees would just hand you your mini build kit if you had gotten a card for the kit when you first got to the line.

HALLELUIA! The first time they did that I almost cried. We got our kit, grabbed ice cream and went home to build the kits, saving an hour (at least) of our lives!

The last year or so, however, they have changed it again. They don't do this to be a pain in your butt. They do it to try new things to make as many customers happy as possible because they are Lego and they rock like that. You are basically RESERVING your mini build.

So you have to mark your calendar or you'll forget to register like I do. For instance, today is July 15 and I need to register for the August mini build. You can now pick Tuesday times or Wednesday times.

Sign up HERE for the current mini build.

Sample calendar like they hand out at the build:

One August I was able to take my own kids plus my friend's kids for a total of 7 kids building :-)
You can only sign up 4 kids per session per VIP account email. You can sign up for a VIP account here (worth it ... VIP points add up and you get free Legos!). I am not messing with getting two VIP cards and we only need 4 kits anyway. Callie is not thrilled about building Legos and instead uses them as decorations (Heartlake Grand Hotel, anyone?). BUT ... the sweeties at Lego usually offer her one anyway. And we take it because they are cool!

TIP: Make sure when you do the final page of registering to CONFIRM that the top of your page does not say that you are confirming to be on the WAIT LIST or you do not have a spot! Go back in your web browser and get another spot FAST!

FINE PRINT: In order to participate, guests must be between the ages of 6-14. All guests will be expected to complete the build in the store. Registration on a first come first serve basis. Stores will no longer accept walk-ups on the night of the event.

Friday, October 12, 2018

New Home; New Bills? Surprising Reasons Your New Home Will Cost You Money

When we choose a place to live, we tend to consider the same sort of things:

  • Do we like the house? The neighborhood? Can we see ourselves living there, our family settling in this environment?
  • What is the commute like to our workplace?
  • Can I afford it? Do I need to allocate extra resources to renovating it?
  • What are the schools in the area like?

And so on and so forth - and all are good things to consider. Necessary things; the vitals on the surface of the choice of the place we call home.

Going back to one of those points: "can I afford it?". Within this bracket, you will think about things like the down payment, the monthly mortgage, the property taxes. These are, again, the surface elements. But if you dig a little deeper, you will find that your decision about where you live can have other financial ramifications - and you won't even realize until you're all moved in.

1. It can alter your insurance premiums.

This applies to any kind of insurance you might want to take out, including seemingly unrelated things like pet insurance. It's wise to acknowledge your home insurance can change, but everything else is up for grabs as well.

The way that insurance premiums are calculated is done in such a way as to be almost entirely obtuse. So you likely won't know about the issue when you move. You can find yourself still reeling from the cost of moving and suddenly finding your health insurance premium has gone through the roof. This might happen even if you have only moved a couple of blocks across the city; it's impossible to predict.

Insurance rarely locks you into a contract, so be prepared to shop around and switch to another insurer if you have to. If doing so leaves you struggling to pay your bills, then there are still options. For health, services like can help meet the gap between what you can and can't afford. Similar plans are available for all other types of insurance, too - you just have to be prepared to look for them.

2. You can be given higher quotes by tradespeople.

If you have got a home renovation project in mind, then you'll contact a tradesperson for a quote. A friend of yours who lives across the city could do the same. Same tradesperson; same company; same job - different prices.

Perception is a big part of how these quotes are generated. Tradespeople aren't just looking at the cost of a job, but trying to analyze how much you can afford to pay. If your new home is more affluent, then you're going to see the price go up.

The only solution here is being willing to haggle. If a price isn't good enough, then say so. It's also worth dropping in a mention of the expense of moving and how you're on a budget for this project - it helps make the point that you don't have an endless money pit!

3. The air quality is worse - to the point of causing health problems.

We know healthcare is an expensive thing, and sadly, if you move to a more polluted area then it could rise another few dollars for you. Air pollutants are a major health catastrophe that is already happening, but not in an obvious way. Because no one is inhaling these pollutants and immediately coughing up blood, we've become lax to understand the issues that they pose.

Those issues are substantial. A worsening of conditions affecting the lungs is the primary concerns, while you may also find you or your children develop lung problems or allergies. You can find out more about the potential issues pollution causes at - it really is worth knowing.The treatment for all of these fresh ailments is going to need paying for somehow.   

There are ways and means of mitigating the damage. You can only allow your children to play outside at certain times, for a start. Anything around either the morning or evening rush hours should be avoided. You can also look at filtering the air inside your home, either by mechanical means or with plants that help remove toxins from the air.

While maps of pollution do exist and are worth checking before you move, they are not the most reliable of things. They don't see the fluctuations throughout the day and the information is frequently out of date - but it's still worth a look to identify any potential oncoming problems.

None of the problems listed above are going to be serious enough to cause you to want to move. All you can do is make the adjustments you can and do your best - such is the compromise of a new home you love!

Originally published 12/19/16

Monday, October 8, 2018

Swagbucks October SWAGO Time!

Swagbucks is hosting another round of Shop Swago! What is SWAGO, you ask? It's a bingo-inspired promotion run by Swagbucks, a website that rewards you with points (called SB) for completing everyday online activities. You can redeem those SB for free gift cards. If you've never used Swagbucks, participating in SWAGO is a great introduction to the site and an easy way to earn a good amount of points quickly.   

Click here to get started 
Here’s what you need to know to get your 150 SB Bonus (and don’t worry, you don’t have to make a purchase to complete a pattern):
  • Go to the Swag page and make sure you hit “Join” otherwise you won’t get credit for completing the action items. Each square on your Swago Board will contain an action item to complete.
  • Once you complete the action item in a particular square the square will change color signifying the action item is complete.
  • You have a limited amount of time to mark off as many squares as possible so use your time wisely.
  • Be mindful of the patterns and their corresponding bonuses located on the right of your Swago Board. The patterns will vary in difficulty and bonus value - up to 150 SB.
  • Once you’ve achieved a pattern the corresponding “Submit” button will light up. You can have multiple patterns available for submission, however, you can only submit ONE pattern so choose wisely.
  • The game ends Friday, October 12th at 12pm PDT/3pm EDT. So make sure to hit “Submit” on the pattern you wish to submit. If you don’t hit “Submit” before the game ends you won’t receive your SB bonus.  

Start Saving for Christmas! 300 Bonus SB When You Sign Up Swagbucks in October

It is never too early to start saving for Christmas! I use sites like Swagbucks to rack up points throughout the year for Christmas shopping. Then when I am doing my online Christmas shopping, I get more points to go toward next year's shopping! Win-win!

All throughout October you can earn large bonuses when sign up as my referral on Swagbucks. Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you're probably doing online already, like searching the web, watching videos, shopping, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Target, or PayPal cash. 

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a 300 SB bonus! Here's how: 

1. Sign up using this link 

2. Earn 300 SB total before November 1st, 2018. You'll get a 300 SB bonus for it! 

3. That's it. It's super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I've earned 129,641 Swagbucks since signing up, and it's been a fun ride! 

Give it a try and let me know how many Swagbucks you get!


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