Parenting Archives - Page 10 of 11 - A Crafty Spoonful

Tips for Keeping Kids Entertained at a Restaurant

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Ever have that moment when you wonder why in the heck you thought it was a good idea to take the kids out for dinner? Get to the point where napkins are on the floor, the salt is spilled everywhere, and sugar packets are strewn across the table? Yeah… me too.

So we started to come up with a great ways for keeping kids entertained at a restaurant. While some might sound simple enough, they truly are great at distracting our kids long enough to bridge the gap between ordering our food and being served.

Keeping Kids Entertained at a Restaurant stacking creamers

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Creating a Summer Bucket List For Kids

This summer my kids are finally old enough to truly enjoy summer. They’ve already had quite a few fun experiences and we’re only a few days into summer. So we decided to write down all of our fun ideas and create a summer bucket list for kids to help keep track of everything we want to do.

If you have kids and want to get them involved in planning their summer fun I definitely suggest having them involved in writing them down. Whether on a huge chalkboard like we did or by creating a notebook like Stacie of SimplyStacie.net did with her daughter.

I made sure to keep the kids involved and asked them what they wanted to do. When they were vague or unclear I simply asked a few questions to determine exactly what they wanted to go do.

Here’s what we decided on:

Summer Bucket List Fair Fun

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Date Night Ideas In The Afternoon: ArcLight UTC

Arclight UTC Cinemas

When my husband and I head out for an afternoon alone without the kids the one thing we’re looking for is easy. And we get just that with the ArcLight UTC.

We purchased our tickets online in advance and chose the seats we preferred, then we headed to the mall for a little shopping pre-movie. As we got closer to movie time we made our way over to the Arclight and settled in to their cafe.

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5 Great Ways to Get Outdoors With Kids

Ways to Get Outdoors With Kids

Now that summer is here we’re making our “must do” lists for what we want to to do this summer. And in creating this list we’ve looked back at the other fun things we’ve done with our summers in the past. And most of them seem to involve being outdoors.

I think that getting outdoors with kids is a very important part of summer fun. And having a few activities in our back pocket to bring out and do with our kids might kick start that summer fun.

Below is a list of 5 great ways to get outdoors with kids this summer. I’d love to hear your ideas as well!

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Planning for the Future: Retirement Planning

While I am far from retirement I have started planning for it from an early age. The one thing my dad always talked about as soon as I was old enough to get a job was to start saving early so I would have enough put away when I was ready to retire. Yes, at age 16 I was already well aware of retirement planning.

And I did what I’m sure other teens did not do. I listened to my dad. And at the age of 17, when I was eligible per my company’s regulations, I opened up a 401K. At first I simply put in a certain percentage, not quite sure what matching was and how it would benefit me.

Then my dad taught me the benefit of being aware of how company matching could do for my savings and I increased the percentage I was putting away each week. Lucky for me my husband also felt the same way about early retirement planning and had already started his 401K as well.

But I’m sure many aren’t lucky enough to have a dad like mine who pushed me to save at such an early age. So I’ve come across some great tips while researching ways to continue my retirement planning now that I’m a work-at-home mom.

Retirement Planning at an Early Age

1. Set up an automatic retirement savings plan –

Whether you contribute to a 401K through your work or set up a savings account on your own, start putting away a percentage of each paycheck starting now. The sooner you start saving – and investing – the sooner you’ll be able to retire.

2. Take advantage of employer contributions –

As I mentioned before, the company I worked with would match our 401K contributions up to a certain percentage. If your company offers this then you should definitely be taking advantage of this. Who can say no to free money? Usually there is a cap on what they’ll match to so make sure you know all of your company’s guidelines and regulations.

3. Leave your money where it is –

While it may be tempting to cash out on your 401K for that new car or a down payment on a house, you aren’t doing yourself any favors! Consider sitting down with a financial planner to plan out how to save for large purchases or investments without touching your savings. You’ll be thankful in the long run.

4. Sit down with a professional –

Still lost with all of this talk of savings? Consider sitting down with a professional and going over your finances. From there you can determine just how much you can be putting aside for retirement and how long you’ll continue to do so. There are so many great resources and apps out there for us to use. Take advantage of the knowledge at your fingertips!

Have you started planning for retirement?

With our financial planning laid out and a plan for retirement always in the works I feel a lot better about our future. I definitely don’t want to be working past 65 if I don’t have to. And if my husband and I are still lucky to have our health by then we want to be able to use that time to enjoy ourselves.

Planning to retire a little sooner than I am? Consider reading this article on 7 Tips for People Planning to Retire in 2013 to find out if you’re ready to retire sooner!

Disclaimer: Information for this post is sourced from Genworth Financial in partnership with the SheHeard Influencer Network. All opinions are my own.

Encourage Reading with Kids Reading Nook Ideas

The one thing I will never deny my child is a book. No matter where we are, if my kid finds a book they love, I’m going to get it for them (within reason). I can say no to more toys, more clothes, more shoes, but I can’t say no to books! So I decided to find out how to encourage reading even more and was amazed at the great kids reading nook ideas I came across.

Not only would the kids be able to have a place to access their books, they could cozy up and read them as long as they want.

I read somewhere that the biggest hurdle at home to get kids to read was the lack of books available to them. They either didn’t have many books to access or there wasn’t a place to put them. So from a very young age I’ve made sure that my kids have access to many different books. And we may have taken it a bit overboard.

We have books pouring out of every room in the house. So having one central location for most of the kids books was a big priority when we rearranged the room and moved some furniture. And with this change we created our kids reading nook.

Kids Reading Nook Ideas

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Money Management Tips: How to Prepare For an Emergency

Since taking over the family’s finances when I became a work at home mom and attempting to reign in on our spending and pay off our debt I’ve come to realize just how important it is to prepare for the unexpected.

As important as it is to recognize the day-to-day expenses, it’s also very important to set aside funds for things that just happen. A few months ago my daughter was bit by the family dog. All is fine with her now but at the time I had no idea what our bills were going to look like after our ambulance trip and ER visit.

Lucky for us we put aside funds for emergencies like this and are prepared. And while it was a very scary thing to go through, not having to worry about paying the bills afterwards was a relief.

money management tips emergency

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Enjoying a Fun Date Night In San Diego with National Comedy Theater

NCT - Fun Date Night in San Diego

The one thing my husband and I have been pretty diligent about even after having kids is making sure we have at least one night a month dedicated to date night. I was even writing a monthly post for Date Night 411 (before the site was closed) and loved sharing my date night ideas with others who are looking for things to do.

So I’m going to start sharing the things we do on our date nights again. And this time it’ll be on my blog so I don’t lose all of the photos and the content when the websites I write for are gone (sorry… a little vent… but I’m done now!).

One place we LOVE to go to at least every few months is National Comedy Theater on India Street. I first heard about this show after being asked to check it out as a blogger. Now I love going even when I’m paying for tickets! Not only is it an awesome improv show that changes nightly, it’s also next to some fabulous restaurants!

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Prepare for Your Child’s Education with a ScholarShare 529 Savings Plan

Before our son was even born my husband and I began discussing college savings for him. Coming from a family where I was expected to pay my own way through school and having a husband who was lucky enough to have parents who were able to save up for him made us both realize how important it was to tackle this issue early on.

A few weeks ago I posted a poll on saving for our children’s college education. And the results were quite different from what I expected. Half of those polled had not yet considered a college savings plan for their child and weren’t quite sure what they were going to do once the time came.

ScholarShare 529 Savings Plan InfographicsREV2

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5 Great Ways for Moms to Get Out in San Diego

Being a mom doesn’t mean that we can’t get out and have fun anymore. It just means that we need to get a little creative to do so. Lucky for me, I live in a city filled with entertainment and a never-ending list of places to go and things to do.

Since my time away from the family is much valued but short lived, I need to make the most of it and really create great memories to hold me over until the next time I get out.

Here are a few ways I like to enjoy my time away from the kids and family while enjoying the city I live in.

5 Great Ways for Moms to Get Out in San Diego

1. Happy Hour – 

Now happy hour is not the same as it was pre-kids. No longer are we heading to an upscale bar after work for a few drinks, appetizers, and some girl time that goes late into the night.

Happy Hour has now become any time the girls get together at a place with food without the kids. Drinks may or may not happen but all we know is that we’re eating a whole meal without having to feed another being.

We also will be able to eat our meal while it’s still hot and won’t have to worry about asking for it to-go because of a tantrum. Meals away from the family means chit chat and girl time at its best… un-filtered!

And if there is booze involved… watch out! Cause moms are usually quite fun when tipsy (but always safe)!

2. Networking in Disguise – 

One of the best things about my life as a mom is the fact that I get to hang out with other cool moms all the time. And sometimes we get to network with each other finding out that we might be able to help each other more than we thought!

And one event that brings moms together to do just that are the SD Mom’s Night Out events. They are an absolutely amazing way to relax, reconnect, and network with other moms in San Diego who you might not have known about. From Momtrepreneurs to bloggers to stay-at-home-moms looking for a great way to get out and explore. Each event is different and has something else to offer.

The next event is their one year anniversary and it isn’t to be missed! Not only is it being held at Kin Spa, it also includes some amazing perks and goodies! To read more about the SD Mom’s Night Out Anniversary Event, check out my post here.

Click here to purchase tickets for the event.

3. My Favorite Things – 

Every few months my mom friends and I get together for what we call a My Favorite Things party. We each bring 5 $6 items that we’ve dubbed as our favorite thing and we pass them out to each other (drawing names to choose who gets what). We eat and drink our favorite things too!

I love this type of event because it’s low maintenance and it’s a way to learn about things I might not have known about in daily conversations with my friends.  Our last Favorite Things party focused on our favorite kid items. And as you can imagine it was pretty hard to chose one item for $6 or less to share. But I was amazed again at the products that were shared and have fallen in love with a few new awesome things!

4. Playdates – 

Yes, I know. This technically is not getting away from the kids but my friends are awesome. And when we get together, we are able to mingle and chat while our kids play around us. Most of the time I’ll host playdates at my home and just rope the kids off into certain parts of the house and yard. That way the moms can sit in one central location and chat without having to worry about what trouble our kids are getting into.

This option does require a little bit of work but the reward is much worth it. Not only do we each get to sit and enjoy adult conversations, we also get to tire our kids out so that when we do go home they (hopefully) take nice, long naps. Win-win!

Now these adult conversations aren’t always just about us. Usually one way or another we end up talking about some pretty fun topics. Bladder control, birth, and a few other wonderful mommyhood moments having to do with poop usually come up.

5. Shopping – 

Whether it’s for groceries or for clothes… shopping alone is always considered a great way to get out in my book. Not only do I get to enjoy some peace and quiet, I get to participate in one of my favorite activities… spending money!

While I love time with my kids, I don’t love having to worry about my kids breaking everything within reach while we’re out and about. I’ve learned that I’m a lot less stressed when I can go to a store alone and actually consider it relaxing to shop knowing that my kids are elsewhere having fun and not asking if they can have every.single.thing they see at the store.

What do you do for your mom-time without the kids?

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by SD Mom’s Night out. I received two tickets for their SD Mom’s Night Out Anniversary event in exchange for this post. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 



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