#Budgeting, #Healthy, #Literacy, Animal Facts, Boundaries, Clever Kids Corner, Cooking, E-Learning, EdTech, education, Exercising, Gardening, Grocery Shopping, Housing, Media Tools, Movies, Newborns, Newborns, Nighttime Routines, Outdoor Activities, Parenting, Personality Traits, Positive Home Environment, Preschool, Professional Development, RentAssistance, Self-Care, Sleep, Teachers, Technology, Thifting, Toddlers, Toddlers, Traveling, Virtual Learning, Weather

Educators! Win a Gift Card to Insomnia Cookies!

Educators! Click the link and take a quick survey to WIN a gift card to Insomnia Cookies!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QDK5SJW

#Budgeting

National Ice Cream Day- Freebies and Discounts

National Ice Cream Day is Sunday, July 18, 2021. Check out the deals and freebies being offered through nationwide and local ice cream shops and parlors.

Baskin Robbin

It’s the perfect time to try the new Creature Creations, a magical lineup that includes a Dolphin, Shark and Sea Turtle with their own unique personalities that come to life through a playful cup design, edible white chocolate topper and a colorful explosion of sprinkles. On Sunday, July 18 Baskin-Robbins will serve up a free Kinetic Sand Scented Ice Cream Cone container with any purchase of $10 or more, while supplies last. Customers will discover one of two delicious scents, Mint Chocolate or Strawberry Banana, inside the ice cream cone container that doubles as a mold.

Dairy Queen

For this one day only, participating DQ stores nationwide are offering fans $1 off any size Dipped Cone (excluding kid cones) with the DQ mobile app.

Insomnia Cookies

Insomnia Cookies is celebrating National Ice Cream Day all week long, which means you can get a free ice cream scoop with any purchase with promo code ICECREAMDAY. This offer is valid for local delivery and in store.

Godiva

BOGO 50% off on soft serve and sundaes at participating reopened locations.

Monkey Joe’s

Join them for National Ice Cream Day at Monkey Joe’s on July 18 for a sweet day of jumping, sliding and bouncing fun. Get out of the summer heat and visit any Monkey Joe’s location on Sunday, July 18 and get one free ice cream.

Burger King

BK is celebrating Ice Cream Month by giving away a free vanilla soft serve cup or cone with any purchase of $1 or more. All you have to do is sign up for their rewards program on the app.

Dreyer’s

Dreyer’s is having a giveaway on their Instagram for National Ice Cream Day for a pint of one of their new Rocky Road Collection.

7-Eleven

7-Eleven is offering a free slurpie for the month of July. Stop by to celebrate National Ice Cream Day.

Door Dash

Order from The Ice Cream Shop on DoorDash Sunday and get a free pint of ice cream on orders more than $20. To qualify, add any pint of ice cream to your grocery or convenience store order more than $20 and use promo code ICECREAM at checkout.

McDonalds

Check the fast-food chain’s app for coupons and freebies. And with the new rewards program after making your first purchase you will have enough points to get a free cone.

Pressed Juicery

Get a size 1 plant-based soft serve (freeze or mini-frozen) with up to three toppings for $2 Sunday. Limit of three per customer.

Wendy’s

Through July 31, the chain is offering a small Frosty-ccino or brewed coffee with a purchase and an exclusive in-app offer through its Wendy’s Rewards program. There also are other deals on the app.

Whole Foods

Through July 20, get 35% off all ice cream and frozen treats, plus Prime Members save an extra 10%.

Carvel

Visit Carvel on Sunday and try one of their new churro products, and you’ll get a treat next time you visit. Or use this coupon for $3 off their products at a grocery store. You can also enter for a chance to win free ice cream for a year.

Enlightened

The healthier frozen dessert option is offering 20% off all products on the EatEnlightened.com site from July 1 through July 18. This also covers non-ice cream dessert options, like dough bites and cheesecakes.

16 Handles

Get three free ounces of soft serve with toppings when you scan the 16 Handles app in-store.

#Budgeting, #Healthy, Exercising, Outdoor Activities, Self-Care, Traveling

10 Inexpensive Weekend and Daytrips from West, TN

Southern Living Experience

Living in the South brings its own perks. We have the opportunity to experience soul food and southern hospitality. The environments are always filled with a welcoming, laid back energy to all that are here to stay and those that roam. In fact, most natives of the southern states would not trade their experience for any other location in the United States. For those seeking a little adventure, living in the Mid-South has one perk in particular, it is literally driving distance or a day-trip from many landmarks and attractions. On this list, the hope is to gather new places to explore each weekend with your family.

Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati is a city in Ohio, located on the Ohio River. The Over-the-Rhine district is known for its 19th-century architecture. There are also well known locations such as the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Google Maps lists this trip to be under 8 hours, driving distance from Memphis, TN.

Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky

The longest cave system in the world, Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky offers cave tours based on skill level. These tours range from novice to expert. Google Maps lists this trip as approximately 4 hours and 40 minutes from Memphis, TN.

Orange Beach, Alabama

Orange Beach is a small city in Alabama. Spend the weekend skiing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Also, Orange Beach offers parasailing, dolphin cruises, fishing, and diving. Google Maps lists this trip as approximately 7 hours from Memphis, TN.

Hardy, Arkansas

The small town of Hardy, AR has three museums, summer musical shows, bed and breakfast inns and several festivals each year. Cherokee Village, the state’s first resort/retirement settlement, is just southwest of town, offering lake activities and two championship golf courses. For those interested in fishing year round, this is your place. Google Map lists this trip as approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes from Memphis, TN.

New Orleans, Louisiana

“The Big Easy” is situated along the Mississippi River and is known for its heavy cultural influence in the South. Nightlife includes vibrant live music, French cultured cuisine, and Mardi Gras related festivities. Google Maps lists this trip as approximately 6 hours from Memphis, TN.

Destin, Florida

Destin is known for its white beaches and emerald green waters. Originating as a small fishing village, it is now a popular tourist destination. Destin calls itself “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” as there are claims of this city having the largest fish in Florida. Google Maps lists this trip as approximately 8 hours from Memphis, TN.

Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee

Located in Northwest, TN, Reelfoot Lake is known for fishing, boating, and eagle viewing. Reelfoot lake is a flooded forest. Tourists can find beautiful greenery on the shorelines and eagles high above the Cypress trees. Google Maps lists this trip as 2 hours from Memphis, TN.

Tupelo, Mississippi

Tupelo is the birthplace of Elvis Presley. You can tour the Elvis Presley museum and reminisce at the statues of the late great performer. Tupelo also houses the Buffalo Park and Zoo where you can view bisons, zebras, and giraffes. Google Maps lists this trip as approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes from Memphis, TN.

Falls Creek Falls, Tennessee

Hike the trails to reach this magnificent waterfall in Tennessee. Fall Creek Falls is a 256-foot tall sheer-drop waterfall located in Fall Creek Falls State Park near Spencer, Tennessee. For those seeking to stay the weekend, this state park offers cabins and RV parking. Google Maps lists this trip as approximately 6 hours from Memphis, TN.

#Budgeting, Positive Home Environment, Traveling

Apartment Vs. House – Why You Should Live In An Apartment Instead of A House

Photo credit- Click here

Savings Account

Depending on the location of the apartment, this lifestyle can allow for an increase in savings on the renters side. Apartment renters have the option to save on monthly costs such as lawn care, maintenance and property taxes.

Maintenance

Who doesn’t love a good maintenance worker? Apartment living brings yet another benefit, on-site maintenance. Whether you experience a broken washing machine or a loose door knob, the apartment company will have maintenance fix this error with a simple request. This allows for peace of mind for apartment renters.

Flexibility

Apartment living brings its own flexibility including the option to move with short notice. In comparison to home ownership, apartment living allows renters the option to move without the hassle of putting a house on the market. Depending on the location of the apartment, some landlords will allow the tenant to move and sublet the unit to another renter.

Increased Safety

Many apartment complexes have gated communities, controlled access, security cameras, and extra fire protection. Apartment hunters should look for an apartment with increased safety measures to ensure their family is kept safe at all times. These measures include access cards, apartment alarms, smoke detectors and on-site security.

Amenities

One major benefit of apartment living is the included amenities. Before renting an apartment, check with the company to see exactly what amenities are included in the deal. Many times, these include a pool, onsite fitness center, basketball and sports gym, and walking trails. Some apartments also come with a built in dog park and clubhouse for renters.

Apartment Vs. House

Overall, owning a home isn’t a bad idea. However, many millennials have opted for apartment living for many of the listed reasons above. Whatever the case, make sure you make your apartment a home for your family.

#Budgeting, #Healthy, Cooking, Grocery Shopping, Parenting

What is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)?

What is SNAP? SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Needy Families. As a 90’s baby, I grew up calling this Food Stamps. However, SNAP is formal terminology.

SNAP provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of needy families so they can purchase healthy food and move towards self-sufficiency.

SNAP is a national program that is there for families in need of food. To receive SNAP benefits, you and your family must qualify in your state.

To learn how to grocery shop on a budget using your SNAP Benefits, click HERE.

USDA provides a breakdown of eligibility guidelines for families to follow. There is certain criteria to qualify including meeting income limits. SNAP benefits are updated yearly for recipients.

There are special rules for households with elderly or disabled family members. To learn more about these rules, click here.

SNAP Benefits in Tennessee can be used online at the following stores:

  • Aldi
  • Amazon
  • Walmart

To learn more about applying for SNAP in Tennessee, click HERE.

#Budgeting, #Healthy, Cooking, Grocery Shopping, Parenting

How To: Grocery Shopping On A $4 Daily Budget

There are many joys to raising one big happy family. But, let’s get real, feeding one big happy family is another story. Parent’s of one or multiples can relate to this blog post. There are many ways to maintain a daily, weekly, or monthly grocery shopping budget. We are going to explore some of these areas as a means of learning more options when it comes to grocery shopping for your family.

Meal Planning

One strategy is to meal plan. If you’re anything like me, your car wheels are spinning from sun up until sun down, most days. Meal planning eliminates the temptation of stopping at local fast food restaurants and provides a health meal alternative for you and your family. To successfully meal plan, it is suggested that the “planner” and “meal prepper” arrange all of the meal items on Sunday prior to the week.

Now let’s look at Meal Planning On A Budget. This simply involves the core components of a meal- the protein, vegetable, and carbohydrate. The simplest and cheapest way to accomplish this is by sticking to one protein (chicken, fish, broccoli-for vegan families), one choice of carb (rice, sweet potato), and mix up the vegetables throughout the week. Boring right?! You’re encouraged to get creative when fixing these items for your family. Change up the spices blends and cooking styles. Instead of grilling the chicken, place a few pieces in the oven or boil them.

Tips for Meal Planning On A Budget

  1. Create a menu in advance
  2. Purchase meals around sale items
  3. Plan one meatless meal a week
  4. Check your inventory at home, first
  5. Make a meal that your family loves
  6. Utilize those leftovers
  7. Integrate grains and veggies
  8. Make extras-when possible

Keeping Your Grocery Bill at $120 and Under

Living on a Cheap provides some very reasonable solutions to maintaining a $4 day grocery bill. This averages to about $120 a month. For larger families, the budget might need to be adjusted, however, the same concepts can be applied. These tips, along with my personal experience tips will be given:

  1. Eliminate Bottled Water- Purchase a water diffuser pitcher or faucet attachment one time versus constantly purchasing a $4 case of bottled water weekly.
  2. Eliminate Fruit Juices and Sodas- Fruit juices tend to cause dental health. Sodas are packed with sugar. Eliminating this item will help your pockets in more than one way.
  3. Eliminate Coffee- One cup of coffee at Starbucks ranges from $4-$6. Making coffee at home can add up as well. There is creamer, sugar, coffee grains, and filters. This one will be hard for coffee drinkers.
  4. Eliminate Alcoholic Beverages- Eliminate or save these items for a special occasion.
  5. Purchase Fresh or Frozen Fruits- Many times, the frozen fruit are much cheaper than fresh fruit. It may not be a first preference for most, however, it gets the job done.
  6. Purchase Fresh or Frozen Vegetables- The same concept applies to vegetables. However, frozen store brand vegetables are significantly cheaper. One bag of Great Value brand (Walmart) broccoli is $.99 compared to other $2.99 brands.
  7. Keep Snacks Simple- Snacks need to stay simple, plain and simple. At most homes, snacks go FAST. I suggest keeping these items simple when possible. Rather than purchasing an already made cheese and cracker for $3.29, purchase a $.99 cent box of crackers and $.99 cent cheese. This is just an example. All families have their own favorite snacks. See if you can re-create them cheaper!
  8. Purchase Beans and Grains in Bulk- I always, always, always have some sort of rice on hand. Rice is a simple go-to and easily purchased in bulk. The same for beans. When searching, purchase these items in larger bags and portion them out when cooking for the week.
  9. Purchase Raw Foods Over Already Prepared- This goes for chicken, fish, beef, steak, and even some vegetables and pastry’s. Kroger is currently selling a “Meal Kit” for a family of 4 for $19.99. This only feeds your family for one night versus purchasing raw items and portioning them out for much cheaper.
  10. Focus On Nutrition- Focusing on nutrition while shopping will eliminate MOST of the store items, trust me.
  11. Milk, Milk, Milk- I tend to find myself buying two gallons per week. That’s a lot of milk! When possible, replace the milk drinking with water.

Grocery Shopping Tips

  1. Shop On A Full Stomach- Yes, everything looks delicious when you’re hungry. Just don’t do it.
  2. Create a List and Be Prepared to Say No- Your children will go find the largest box (64 OZ) of cereal when you already have some at home. Just create a list and be prepared.
  3. Buy Non-Grocery Related Items at Dollar Store- This includes laundry detergent, washing powder, soap, and bleach, etc. These items are much cheaper outside of the grocery store.
  4. Shop Store Brands- Not all store brands are created equally, I know. Shop around. There are some really great buys in store brand.
  5. Don’t Fall for the 10 for 10- Only use this purchase, if you are truly going to use 10 items of the same thing. These sales are a quick way to rack up you total.
  6. Learn to Bake or Cook- When in doubt, just cook it at home. The frozen chicken alfredo lasts one night versus purchasing the items at and cooking 2 days worth.

#Budgeting, RentAssistance

Rent Assistance in West Tennessee

Did you know Tennessee offers rent assistance to families in need?

There is an online directory for families to utilize when in need of rental assistance in emergencies. The directory also offers guidance for utility payments.

To visit the site, click here.

What to Expect

When you visit the site, there is a list of cities to which provide this assistance through varying programs and non-profits. Some of the cities on the directory are listed below for reference:

West Tennessee Rent Assistance

Somerville, TN- Fayette Cares Inc.

Jackson, TN- Regional Interfaith Association

Memphis, TN- Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA)

Memphis, TN- Neighborhood Christian Center Rent Utility Assistance- North Center

Memphis, TN- Shelby County CSA

Cordova, TN- Society of St. Vincent DePaul

West Memphis- Good Neighbor Center West Memphis