Fab Ideas For A Fun Family Evening

The stresses and strains of parenting on a day-to-day basis is a rewarding chore – but a chore nonetheless. The beautiful creature you created is a gift to you as a well as an annoying pain in the backside! Whether it’s their behavior or their well-being, you can never switch off. After a long, hard stint of watching over them – whether they’re six or sixteen! – being freed from the struggle of guardianship sometimes feels like a huge weight removed.

But it doesn’t always have to be that way, you know! You may have forgotten amidst all of the chaos, but good old fun can be had with the whole family, and it’s always nice to cherish times together that can be almost exclusively joyful and anxiety-free! Here are a few suggestions that can boost your evenings together.

Movie Night

A movie night is a common pastime among families and friends. But that doesn’t stop it being a fantastic evening and a great idea for everyone. You could make a plan one night to surprise the kids and take them to the movie theatre. Nowadays a lot of streaming services make movie nights a lot easier. As long as you have a TV and an internet connection you’re pretty much good to go. Careful, though, you may want to test the speed of the connection – you don’t want it to get to the crux of the story and start buffering! It happens!

Games!

From silly activities like charades to video games. Getting a laugh and a smile on faces is a feeling like no other and stimulating the brain while enjoying yourself is one of the best ways!  

Cooking

Cooking is a beautiful hobby to take part in – especially one with the whole family. We all like food don’t we? Getting to enjoy a meal while learning how to make it is rewarding not only for the stomach but for the brain too!  

Arts And Crafts

Similar to cooking, it’s fun and simple to do. You can open someone’s creative side, and with kids at a young age taking things in like sponges, it can be super beneficial for them as they may grow up with an artistic side or a problem-solving side!

Build A Fort!

You have to be a real grumpy goose to not get on board with the idea of a fort in the living room! Similarly to before, it’s creative as well as a good laugh. Just make sure you plan for it all and are ready to clean up and get everything back in order!

Puzzles

Puzzles are another great way to get the whole family involved. If they’re super young, the kids can have a whale of a time working out what goes where in a small, cheap jigsaw. But they can also help out with big family projects that take a lot more time. Some take weeks and months so the whole family can spend some evenings getting these little projects completed – having fun and developing the brain in the process!  

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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20 Tips for Saving Money on Groceries

Trying to spend less this year? Cooking dinner for your family doesn’t have to wreak havoc on your wallet. Here are 20 tips on cutting costs while buying groceries:

 

  1. Avoid inner isles

Go straight to the shelves of essentials groceries. Stores place basics on opposite ends to trick you into buying more products.

 

  1. Use coupons

Coupons will save you money on groceries. Combine products that are on sale with coupons to save more.

 

  1. Forget toiletries

Toiletries are expensive at the supermarket. Instead, buy them at a cheaper price at the pharmacy.

 

  1. Avoid fad brands

Generic brands are cheaper than name-brand products, but they still are made up of the same ingredients. Don’t be fooled!

 

  1. Check out all the shelves

You first see products in your eye level. Stores often place pricier items on these shelves. Look for cheaper groceries on the shelves below or above your eye-level.

 

  1. Consider rain checks

Basic items sell out fast when placed on sale. Ask for rain check items; these products’ sale has been extended.

 

  1. Buy dried beans

Cooking dried beans is cheaper than buying canned beans. They have a superior taste, too. Beans make for a cheap and easy meal.

 

  1. Eat before shopping

Don’t shop on an empty belly. You will buy more groceries than you actually should.

 

  1. Avoid pre-cooked meals

Pre-cooked foods can be twice as expensive as the ingredients and are often not as tasty.

 

  1. Buy produce that is in season

Buy fresh produce that is in season. Out of season products aren’t as fresh and cost more.

 

  1. Check out international markets

Most exotic spices at your local store are expensive as they have been shipped from afar. Buy cheaper imported spices at an international market in your city so that you can create meals inspired by some of the most amazing places in the world!

 

  1. Rethink when buying bottled water

The bottled water industry is worth a billion dollars, with a 16oz bottle going for a dollar. The recommended four bottles will cost you $120 every month. Why not treat water at home?

 

  1. Go with a shopping list

A shopping list helps you stick to your budget for things you need while avoiding groceries you don’t need.

 

  1. Say no to children!

Your kids will only help you increase your expenditure with stuff you don’t need. Learn to say no to their requests for junk food and toys.

 

  1. Pre-washed groceries cost more

You will pay a price for the ready-to-cook groceries at the store. Purchase groceries that have not been pre-washed instead.

 

  1. Pre-packed fruit is expensive

The store hired someone to cut and pack their fruit, and you will pay for it too. Do not buy fruit that has already been packaged for you.

 

  1. Pick fresh herbs from your kitchen garden

If you aren’t gardening, you may be paying a small fortune for herbs at the grocery store. Consider using the space available to you on your kitchen or porch for a small herb garden.

 

  1. You’re paying for the convenience of grated cheese

Grate your cheese at home with a box grater. It is easy and will save you loads of dollars.

 

  1. Prepare your spice mix

Make your spice mix at home with easy to find seasonings and spices. This way, you aren’t paying extra for someone to mix and package it.

 

  1. Compare similar products

Products such as potatoes can be cheaper when bagged as opposed to loose ones. Check product prices and make big savings.

 

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The Essential Guide To Getting Kids Away From The Screens

With the dawn of tablets, laptops, smartphones and video consoles, it can seem more difficult than ever to tear our kids away from the screens. The lure of bright lights, nifty graphics and interactivity is addictive for adults and children alike. However, while we like to think of ourselves as sensible and responsible, and able to tear ourselves away to complete other tasks, little human beings are less likely to do so. Given half a chance your rabble will probably spend the entire weekend glued to their Xbox playing the latest shoot ‘em up with so called friends from halfway across the globe. Gaming, screens and being cooped up all day indoors is addictive.

It can be hard to break the screen time habit. Even when the sun is shining, the weather is hot, and the outdoors are screaming to be enjoyed, kids will very often choose to park themselves three feet away from a television screen. Instead, you need to be proactive and think of strategies that will promote a more active lifestyle for your little darlings. Take a look at this essential guide to help get your kids away from the screens and doing something more productive with their time.

Get Outdoors

Kids love getting attention from their parents. This can be true of positive and negative attention. Of course, you want to make the removal of screen time a positive experience, so you need to encourage your little ones to ditch the gaming for something more engaging. You want to promote quality family time so make sure that you are free at the weekends. The very fact that you are available to kick a ball around in the park with your offspring will fill your kids with joy. Whip out the bikes and head off for a ride around the local vicinity stopping off at the park. You might even want to take a picnic or head down with a disposable barbecue. This simple, free and more active way of living is just what your kids need – they simply need an adult to guide them.

Combine Some Tech With Outside

If a barbecue isn’t floating your kids’ boat, why not coax them outdoors with a smattering of tech? Hoverboards and drones are futuristic bits of kit that have become all the range. Check out the basic hoverboard price and pick up a couple for your cherubs. With any luck they will adore becoming an expert on them, learning tricks and racing one another around the park.

Alternatively, you could invest in a drone. These amazing flying hydrofoil quadcopters look like something out of a sci-fi film and are really a step up from the old school remote control car. With a lot of practice, your kids could be taking the drone for a spin and recording a birds eye view of the flight path. They can then head back indoors for some (controlled) screen time to see the images and video that they have captured.

Craft

While it’s great to head outside, sometimes it’s too wet, windy or cold to venture down to the park. Instead, you need an activity to excite your kids and get them away from their social media feeds. Get creative, but do it together. Being involved will instinctively interest your children. They want to spend time with dad and mom so invite them to cook with you, paint pictures or do some mosaic work. If there’s a party coming up, or you simply feel like a lovely dessert that evening, get baking. You can do this from scratch, or you can pick up plenty of packet mixes from the grocery store. With a little bit of creative flair, you could have a three tier carrot cake, or gateau whipped up in no time.

If your kids adore art and technology, get out the lego and set some challenges. Who can make the strongest bridge or the largest tower or the coolest looking spaceship? Lego has been around for decades, and everyone has a tub in their cupboard so get it out on a rainy day.

Board Games

There’s nothing better than getting out Monopoly or Snakes and Ladders and having a marathon board game session with the kids. Games like Twister can also be fun if you’re supple and don’t mind getting down on the floor! The TV is off, some music is playing, and there’s not a screen in sight; there’s just you, your kids, maybe the family pet and some quality family time to be enjoyed.

Ensure that you encourage good games manners and don’t cheat. Seeing how your kids play a board game or two can really tell you a lot about their attitude and temperament. Make it fun, have some snacks and chat. When everyone has their head in a smartphone, the art of family conversation is lost.

Draw Up A Charter

If you are expecting your kids to limit their screen time, then it’s only fair that you do the same. If you are telling your kids to get some fresh air and hot foot it to the park, but you are staying behind to watch your favorite movie, download some games or check your Facebook feed, this isn’t fair, and your kids will begin to resent you. Set up a formal contract and sign it and put it on the fridge. It shouldn’t be unrealistic but should set out some screen time ground rules, such as no screen time after 8 pm, homework always comes first, and smartphone usage is for one hour a day maximum. If you are all in it together, you can support one another in seeking out alternative forms of entertainment.

Being a parent isn’t an easy job, but it seems even more difficult since the emergence of technology and interconnectivity. Follow this guide and try to encourage your kids to venture outside of their screen cocooned comfort zones. With any luck, you will have enhanced quality family time because of your efforts.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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An Evening with the Cardinals

This one is a quick one but it is definitely worth the short notice!

Are you looking for ways to support charities based in St. Louis? Well, here is your chance.

The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS) will host its 7th annual An Evening with the Cardinals event on Saturday, January 26 at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel. This special event is a dinner and program focused on raising awareness for the NCCS’ work supporting families facing the reality of childhood cancer.

This year’s featured guests include Cardinals Hall of Famers Jim Edmonds and Chris Carpenter, along with emcee and voice of the Cardinals, Dan McLaughlin. You can join these esteemed players as they talk, laugh and reminisce about their careers with the Cardinals.

In the past six years, the event has raised more than $1.3 million for families battling childhood cancer. You can see highlights from last year’s event here.

Tickets are on sale NOW, so be sure to grab them while you can. If you can’t make it to the event but still would like to help out in some way, you can always send in a donation!

Donations will help the NCCS continue supporting families like Rhyan’s.

Soon after Rhyan started kindergarten, her parents noticed she had developed a small limp. And, this typically upbeat little girl was suddenly very moody. After several tests, Rhyan was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma.

After local treatment in Missouri, Rhyan needed her care transferred to a premier treatment facility in New York. The NCCS began assisting Rhyan’s family in June 2017 and has since funded 36 roundtrip flights and 18 cab rides, and will continue supporting Rhyan to ensure that she gets the best treatment possible – no matter what.

Now, Rhyan is 8 years old, in third grade and is her “loving, bubbly, sassy self,” says her mom, Jen.

About The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS): The National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS), headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, is a not-for-profit organization providing support to families making their way through the daunting world of childhood cancer and survivorship. With over 30 years of experience serving more than 43,000 children, the NCCS is able to take a “no matter what” approach to help families stay strong, stay positive and stay together. The NCCS has been recognized as a Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity and earned a GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency. For more information call 314-241-1600, visit theNCCS.org, or on Facebook and Twitter.

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