Education, Gift Guides

Family Game Night – Break Free and Safe Breaker

This feature is in partnership with YULU Toys

Family Game Night - Break Free and Safe Breaker

When was your last family game night? I remember when my son was younger and we introduced him to board games. He was so enamored and we played games so often with him. Now he is 9 and the games he wants to play involve video controllers. I want to take game nights back and so I needed a strategy…literally. He likes strategy video games so I needed strategy board games. YULU Toys sent me Break Free and Safe Breaker and our game night happened again.

Break Free is so simple yet addicting. First you insert a maze into the main cuff area then everyone puts a handcuff on. Now it is a race to solve the maze in a series of tweaks and turns and whomever solves it first breaks free.

Safe Breaker is similar yet different in that you have a safe instead of handcuffs and you solve number clues and race to not get caught instead of a physical maze. This is strategy in a few versions for a variety in you family game nights.

Break Free and Safe Breaker are part of the Spy Code games series. Take the #BreakFreeChallenge and record and share your race to escape on social media.

Tip: you can come up with different challenges each round, like playing blindfolded or race to escape after a series of relay races, making the game an endless amount of unpredictable and creative fun! Available on Amazon and Target stores.

Moving with Children, Parenting

How-to Get Everyone Involved During a Move

It has been a rough few weeks of packing and saying goodbye to friends. I have been posting about our move in topics here on the blog as we plan, pack and finally make the final transition. Let’s talk about cooperation.

Photo Source: Pixabay

Planning a move anytime soon?

Moving onward to greener pastures with the family is an exciting, new adventure for all. The thrill of a new place to call home, opportunities to make new friends, and so much more to do and see! It’s a big task to move a home especially when you have children of all ages romping and rolling.

There are concerns for:

  • Costs
  • Safety
  • Stress

Your spouse and children will feel these same concerns. But alas, the move can go without a hitch if everyone is onboard and willing to pitch in! This article will share how to get your family involved with helping during a move and a few ways to stay safe, lower the costs, and cut out the stress.

Cutting Down the Costs of a Move

The costs of a move aren’t as high as you may remember.

Packing materials (boxes, bubble wrap, tape) can be bought in bulk from moving companies, big box retailers, or home improvement stores. These materials are sturdy so there’s no need to double box which would add to costs.

The actual transit and logistics are inexpensive, too. Long distance interstate movers provide the necessary help, equipment, truck, and experience. These professionals come at competitive rates and save you a great deal of money when factoring their inclusion of insurance and ability to navigate the dangerous roadways.

Your family may help with the costs by helping reduce the amount needed to bring through a yard sale, running to drop off donations, or accepting unneeded items. The less you need to bring – the less you’ll spend on materials and labor.

Keeping Safe Before, During, and After the Move

The principles behind teaching your children to keep a clean space can be applied in the move.

This includes:

  • Showing them how to properly pack their items
  • Incentivizing their efforts in helping
  • Forming a routine so each day something is packed

The dangers of a move happen when large options are moved from the home to the rental truck. Items blocking the paths become hazards which could lead to unfortunate accidents. Children that are active in cleaning their mess will help reduce these dangers.

Encourage them to play elsewhere, away from the paths, and to help by keeping it clear if they want to stay around and gander at what’s going on.

Removing the Stress of Feeling “Uprooted”

Stress will get to you during a big move.

You and your spouse already have a million thoughts going through your heads. Now imagine what’s going through the minds of your children.

They’re excited but worried about whether they’ll fit into the new area. It’s a big leap for them.

There are ways to help reduce the stress of feeling “uprooted” with your children:

  • Let them vent their frustration and talk about their feelings
  • Show them around the community and talk about all the wonderful adventures to be had
  • Encourage them to get out and explore new areas (and have them tell you about them)
  • Add them to after school programs, sports, and other clubs (to their liking)

This is a family project – try to be involved in making each other’s lives as fun as possible. You’re in your new home! Your new community! This is an exciting adventure you all get to experience.

What have you done in the past that has helped with moving that got the family involved and kept it cost effective, safe, and stress free?



Apps, College Bound, Education, Gift Guides, Money Saver, Parenting

Learn How To Invest in the Stock Market. It’s Fun!

In exchange for my honest and unbiased review, I received a $25 gift card to try out Stockpile.

Learn How To Invest in the Stock Market. It's Fun!

Let’s talk about the stock market (did you just yawn?)! Wait! Before you leave what if we talked about apple pie? How does apple pie relate to the stock market? No matter how much effort that goes into creating the recipe it is always worth the taste and fun to eat. Plus, a pie is sliced so you can enjoy only as much as you want. Making pie can be fun especially if you can find a recipe easy enough to get the entire family involved as so can making your very first stock market investment. Give me a try as I explain how easy it can be and in the end I have a little freebie for you to get you started.

Stockpile is a website and an app (if you prefer) that guides you from start to finish with your investments. So let’s make it simple. Think about that apple pie all baked and ready for you to take action and slice into it. Do you plan on eating the entire pie at once? Of course not. So you just want a slice? There are many slices available and you know what? No one is going to force you to eat your entire slice either. You may want the whole slice and all the goodness (and calories) it comes with, but what if you only want a bite or two? You want to start small and maybe you’ll finish the entire slice later on…or not. That is like investing with Stockpile.

When you sign up at Stockpile which consists of assigning an account someone (yourself or child) and giving some basic information you aren’t dealing with pies but businesses. I was given a $25 stock gift card to invest and I chose Amazon. Now I hold a stock that starts out as zero cash value on a number line and can check in anytime to see if it falls or rises.

Fact (lesson): ‘Prices go up when there are more buyers than sellers. Prices go down when there are more sellers than buyers.’ So let’s all buy a little piece of the business pie. You get to choose your flavor (Amazon, Apple, Nike and over a thousand more).

Remember my analogy of taking 1 slice of apple (or your ‘flavor’ of choice) and only wanting a part of that slice? Stockpile allows you to put the amount you want and that can be as low as $5 to start into 1 share. A share can go for as much as hundreds or even thousands of dollars in trade but you buy into it as much as you wish. Any return if it doesn’t fall is calculated based on your investment.

Now once you just start with a minor dollar amount you still cannot really dive in deep without an investment plan. Whoa! Heavy phrase! That’s OK, Stockpile will teach you about index funds (such as the S&P 500) and individual stocks. The difference in short? Index funds are a collection of companies that come together as one investment option and individual stocks is putting your money into only 1 company. There are risks and advantages to both and that’s the fun part. What would you choose to learn more about?

You won’t get rich quick. There are no guarantees. You can lose your investment. I chose Amazon so do you think that is a big risk or a little risk? Amazon has been around a while and is more established than a brand new start up. Amazon has had steady stock prices for the most part and are past the new start up price spikes. That makes a brand like Amazon a safer risk. Think about that as you invest your first $5.

Guess what? I am giving you your first $5 to start. Just for fun. Just to really feel motivated to dive more into Stockpile and learn about how you can sign up a child, family member or yourself. GET your FREE $5 (I promise there is no catch-I would never do that to you). I will say that if you sign up I get a $5 bonus to invest somewhere just like you did and that is a lot of fun. But I am not telling you to create this free and easy stockpile investment out of greed. Once you complete redeeming your $5 you can get a referral code to and pass it on to others yourself.

Start now with $5 from me (well, technically it is fro Stockpile). Ready? Go!

This post contains a referral link. I am not a market professional and not responsible for gains or losses that you may experience. I am not affiliated with or own an investment in any company or brand mentioned, and have no plans to do so. Securities products are not FDIC insured. Not bank guaranteed. May lose value.

Healthy Living

Knowing the Right Time to Buy or Alter Your Health-Insurance Plan

Health insurance is a critical piece of coverage to have as you develop through life. As an adult, your bare minimum of care should involve yearly physicals with checkups during those unexpected sicknesses. Buying or changing your health-insurance innovations  of life’s evolution too. Compare your life to the coverage in your current policy so that you can cover all of your loved ones without fail.

Knowing the Right Time to Buy or Alter Your Health-Insurance Plan
Photo Source: Pixabay

Being Aware of Your Health

In today’s insurance world, many policies have bundles or sections that you can select or omit. Dental, vision and other bundles are under your discretion to choose when it’s necessary in life. You may have perfect eyesight in your 20s, but it will decline in time. Consider vision insurance for yourself as you enter the 30s and 40s. In most cases, you can add it on during your yearly enrollment period. Don’t wait until your eyesight is truly poor, however. Some of the new coverage may not apply to your situation with such bad eyesight.

Adding a Spouse

If you’re engaged to be married, discuss your health-insurance options well before the big day. Your spouse may have coverage from an employer along with your policy. These coverage amounts can actually complement each other by continuing to hold them through the marriage contract. If you find that one policy is much better than the other one, you can always cancel the inferior coverage. One spouse will simply need to add the other person onto their policy when the enrollment period comes around again.

Enjoying Pregnancy Care

A spouse who becomes pregnant will be covered under their current policy for most prenatal needs. Discuss any delivery concerns with your insurance provider, however. Depending on the circumstances, you may need extra coverage when the due date arrives. Certain professionals, such as Health Insurance Innovations, can give you guidance regarding the proper products. As soon as the baby is born, the child is immediately covered by the policy until you designate extra or alternative coverage.

Concerning Elderly Parents

When your parents grow older and enter their retirement ages, you may be tempted to add them to your insurance policy. Read the fine print on your policy, however. It’s a fact that most policies don’t cover dependents who aren’t your children. Look for potential coverage under “adult dependents.” Your insurance may have this choice as an add-on feature. Most seniors rely on government insurance and their personal policies to keep up with their health. It’s only in rare instances that you’ll need to cover any part of their care.

Stepchildren and Grandchildren Additions

Adding grandchildren onto your policy is different than basic dependents. In most cases, look for an insurance rider that’s defined as a “child only” policy. You’ll be able to cover the grandchild as long as you pay that particular premium set up during an enrollment period. Stepchildren, in contrast, are technically dependents when you’re married to the parent. They’ll be covered under your typical policy as if they were your biological children. Simply verify that every detail is accurate on your insurance before agreeing to the policy.

Speak with your insurance professionals, such as Health Insurance Innovations, whenever there’s any questions. Understanding your policy and the marketplace options will only help your family grow and thrive well into the senior years.


Rules for a Solid Joint Custody Agreement

When you’re going through a divorce, a family law attorney will focus on helping you and your ex determine custody of your children. For most parents, this is a difficult decision, as neither of you want to give up control of the children you love more than anything in the world. For some parents, opting for joint custody is the best way to ensure both parents have an equal role in the children’s lives. In order to make your joint custody agreement work, it’s a good idea for you and your ex to follow these rules.

Rules for a Solid Joint Custody Agreement
Photo Source: Pixabay

Keep your mouth shut.

No matter what type of feelings you may have for your ex, it’s very important you keep these feelings away from your children. After all, they are not at fault for your divorce, and you don’t want to put them in the middle of it. Be sure that both of you only talk pleasantly about the other parent in front of the children. You need to remember they are still your children’s parent, and you cannot take that away from your child or try to sway them in any way.

Make smart scheduling decisions.

Although you want to spend as much time with your children as possible, you need to make smart scheduling decisions. For instance, if you work a full-time job, you don’t want to demand your child be with you when you’d have to find a sitter. Work it out with your ex so that you spend equal time with your children that is conducive to both your schedules. Doing this will ensure the time you have with your children is time YOU can actually spend with them.

Communicate effectively.

Even if you have hard feelings for your ex, you want to be sure you communicate effectively with your ex. Be sure to have an organized calendar that spells out the joint custody agreement so you know where the children should be and when. In addition, make sure you find the best way to communicate with one another when you have to, whether it’s via the phone or text. When both of you are on the same page, you’ll eliminate the need to argue.

Share information.

As your children get older, their schedules and activities will become busier, and it’s important for you and your ex to share information. For instance, if your child plays a sport, you’ll want to be sure both parents have access to schedules and team communications, so have each of you sign up for team emails or put both contact phone numbers down. This way, you can both take responsibility into your own hands and don’t have to rely on the other parent to provide you with information.

Make adjustments if necessary.

Although most joint parenting agreements are legally binding contracts, it doesn’t mean they can’t be altered. Things change over time, whether it’s your own schedule or your child’s needs or schedule. Make it a rule to meet every year and determine if changes need to be made to the agreement. If so, talk to your family lawyer to legally make the changes necessary so you and your ex have a resource for your parenting agreement.

Joint parenting is a great way to ensure your divorce still gives your child the most time with both parents. By following these rules, you and your ex will have a joint parenting agreement that benefits both of you as well as your children.

Kids, Parenting

Debunking Some Myths Of The “All Natural” Parenting Craze

Overall, the push for parents to be more natural in how they run their homes and raise their children is a good thing. After all, kids who are raised eating healthfully are more likely to have healthy food habits later on in life. Furthermore, there’s absolutely no harm in teaching your kids about recycling or living a “green” lifestyle. In fact, it will make them better and more responsible citizens as adults.

Debunking Some Myths Of The All Natural Parenting Craze

However, there is sadly a new movement of parents who take “all natural” to a level where it becomes downright dangerous to both them and their children. To ensure that you have a natural household but not a dangerous household, here are some natural parenting myths, debunked.

Myth: Vaccines Are Dangerous For Children

Sadly, there are too many parents out there who believe the myths promulgated by celebrities over the expertise of obstetricians, such as Max Izbicki. Max Izbicki is one of the growing list of medical professionals who are seeing more and more patients who are reluctant to vaccinate their children based on something they read on social media.

Remember, there is absolutely no evidence that vaccines cause any sorts of diseases or mental health issues. However, there have been cases of children becoming very ill or even passing away due to illnesses that would have been preventable had they been vaccinated. Do the smart thing and just say no to the anti-vaccine movement.

Myth: Breastfeeding For Many Years Is Good For The Child

There is currently a big trend in mothers breastfeeding their children far past infancy, with some kids being upwards of 12-years-old and still breastfeeding. While breastfeeding older children used to be something that only “crazy people” did, this trend has become more mainstreamed thanks to supposedly holistic “mommy bloggers.”

There is no evidence that breastfeeding an older child has any mental or physical benefits. Furthermore, there is actually evidence that when older children breastfeed, it sets them up for potentially serious dental problems down the road. The exact age when you should stop breastfeeding varies, but it’s far younger than 12-years-old.

Myth: Gluten Is Bad For You

More and more “natural moms” are removing gluten from the equation entirely when it comes to feeding their families. There is only one time when removing gluten from the diet is necessary and that’s when you have an allergy to it. While gluten-free enthusiasts swear that they feel more energized without gluten in their lives, it is most certainly a placebo effect, as there is no scientific reason as to why a gluten non-sensitive person would feel improved health after cutting out the substance.

Essentially, unless your child has Celiac disease, let them have toast. Depriving your child of a perfectly healthy substance that they have no allergy to is extremely unnecessary. If you think your child might have a gluten sensitivity or allergy, have them tested by a doctor.

It’s admirable to want to raise your child as naturally as possible, but you should never take this too far. Some “natural” parenting techniques can actually end up having a harmful effect. If you want to be natural, focus on feeding your kids a clean diet, teaching them about the earth and imparting upon them the importance of medical professionals.