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Posted by Monica Kavanaugh on 4/30/2019

Keeping preschool-aged children busy and engaged takes some creative thinking. Having an abundance of options on hand is a must. In addition to the blocks, pretend play, puzzles and picture books there is a place for arts and crafts. Recent studies have confirmed the importance of playing in the 0-5-year-old age range. Crafting can help not only with the development of fine and gross motor skills but also with creative problem solving and expressing and communicating their emotional health. Having some basics on hand at all times can help stave off boredom and reduce screen time during those critical first five years. 

Their Own Stuff

The crafting industry is vast and can be somewhat of a money pit for intense crafters. You may not want to share those supplies you have spent considerable money to purchase with your little one(s). In that case, you will need to stock up where you get the most for your money. For example, picking up holiday specific craft supplies when they go on clearance. Store them well marked and use them the next time that holiday comes around. Buy in bulk and split the cost with a friend. Many craft supply online stores offer bulk pricing. Host a craft supply exchange amongst other preschooler families, this can keep you supply fresh with variety. 

Just the Basics Maíam

If you are just starting your preschoolers crafting supply, keep in mind your preschoolerís skill level. Also, keep in mind some items need extra supervision due to a choking hazard. You can start your collection at your local dollar store for a few basics.

- Construction paper

- Large glue sticks

- Washable crayons/markers

- Round-tipped scissors

- Foam shapes stickers

- Craft sticks (popsicle sticks)

- Pipe cleaners

- Modeling clay

- Paper lunch bags

- White paper plates

You can also browse your favorite thrift store for over-sized t-shirts to use as art smocks and flat sheets to use drop cloths. You can also find other items to use as craft supplies like picture frames, clay pots or skeins of yarn. 

Now What?

There are endless websites and blogs to use for inspiration and ideas for craft time with your preschooler. You can choose to go with a theme like zoo animals or camping and focus all creative projects on that for a few days. Or decide to do crafts that reflect the season of the year you are currently experiencing. Really, any time you spend being creative with your preschooler can be fun and an opportunity to learn from creative play. 

Before the next rainy day forecast gather some supplies put them in a box and plan an arts and crafts time surprise for your preschooler.




Tags: budget   kids   how to  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Monica Kavanaugh on 5/29/2018

Many hopeful homebuyers seek to save money by buying a fixer-upper and doing most of the renovations themselves. This is a proven method for those who have a knack for home improvement and arenít afraid to get their hands dirty.

However, estimating the cost of a remodel can be difficult. There are many costs you may not be aware of, and others that are easy to go over budget on.

In this article, weíre going to talk about the cost of an average remodel, and some lesser-known costs that you might be forgetting to factor into your budget.

Average remodeling costs

As you might guess, the cost of a remodel can vary greatly. Things like the size of the home, the number of rooms youíre remodeling, and the type of repairs youíll be making all factor into the equation.

Some repairs can be quite costly. Septic system replacements can cost several thousands of dollars depending on the type of system you need. And, if youíre buying an old home, youíll need to look out for expensive fixes like asbestos removal and foundation damage.

According to one report, most Americans spent between $17,000 and $61,000 on their remodel, with the average renovation cost being around $37,000.

If youíre hiring a contractor for the bulk of your remodel, expect them to charge between 10% and 15% of the total cost.

Lesser known costs of a home renovation

Remodeling a home isnít as simple as looking up a contractor and telling them to give you the bill once itís finished, and thatís probably a good thing because odds are you would be shocked by the cost.

First, youíll pay a contractor to do a walkthrough and estimate costs. Next, youíll need to get any permits that are required for your renovations.

If you plan on doing the renovations yourself, there are a few costs youíll need to consider. First, understand that you likely wonít be able to take advantage of all of the discounts that contractors can, meaning your building materials may be more expensive than expected. Similarly, the cost of tools for the project adds up quickly. And, when you make mistakes--we all do, weíre only human--youíll be paying for it out of pocket.

Knowing your long term goals

An important consideration for a remodel is to look toward the future. Do you want to sell your home within the next few years? If so, you might consider going with less expensive materials--such as generic kitchen cabinets rather than custom-built--to save money while still increasing the value of the home.

However, if you plan on being in this home for decades or more, it may be worth the extra money now to make sure you are happy with your home for years to come.

Remodeling a home can be a memorable and rewarding endeavor. You get the chance to take a house that you see potential in and make it truly your own. Now that you know the costs, youíll be better prepared for planning your home renovation.




Tags: renovations   budget   Remodel  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Monica Kavanaugh on 3/20/2018

Home improvements are a vital part to keeping your home up-to-date with the times and also to ensure that it doesnít lose value when it comes time to sell.

To save money, many homeowners take the do-it-yourself route and use the tools at their disposal to upgrade their homes. Sites like YouTube have made it easier than ever to follow step-by-step tutorials that show you how to make substantial repairs and upgrades to your home without having to pay a professional.

The down side, however, is that when you choose to DIY, you take on the risk of going over budget by making mistakes. You also risk stretching out your project weeks or months longer than necessary due to a lack of time to work on it.

In todayís post, weíre going to talk about how you can stay on budget and on track to finish your home improvement project without bringing in the professionals.

Making a timeline

Letís start with the big picture for your home renovations. When deciding which improvements to make, itís important to know your limits in terms of the work you can do.

Set a reasonable number of hours you can work on your projects per week. Go easy on yourself. Most of us are already tired when we get home from work and probably wonít be able to start tackling big projects in the evenings. Rather, try to give yourself one weekend day to work on your projects and one weekend day to relax.

The most important aspect of creating your timeline is to try and keep your schedule open. So, write down the time you want to work on your home in your calendar, planner, or whichever app or tool you use to plan your time.

This will help you to avoid creating conflicting events and obligations, and help you stay on track to finishing your improvement projects.

If youíre looking for an evening activity related to your home improvement projects, itís a good idea to start watching some video tutorials of people doing the same renovations as you. This will help you avoid mistakes and look out for common obstacles that youíll face along the way.

Budgeting your improvement

Youíll want to save up for your project in advance, if possible, to avoid accumulating credit card debt. Your home improvement project should, in effect, gain you money by increasing the value of your home, not make you lose money on credit card interest payments.

Budgeting in itself is an art that few of us are taught in school. Fortunately, there are several free budgeting apps available. Or, you can simply draw one up yourself.

The key to creating a home improvement budget is to know how much of your monthly savings you can devote to this project without having to dip into other funds. To do this, youíll need a clear understanding of where your income goes.  

Once you have a budget and a timeline for your home improvement project, youíre ready to begin. Just make sure you check in on your timeline and your budget throughout the length of the project to make sure youíre meeting your goals and arenít overspending.




Categories: Uncategorized