Vacation or Not – Ideas for the Small Budget

So, it’s officially summer and while the kids are out of school and you are off of work (or maybe not, if you’re like me) the question is “What are we Going to Do Now?”

At least that was my thoughts when my two children got out of school a month ago. Being a single mother of two children and one income, it’s hard to try and find outlets for not only yourself but for the kids to do during the summer on limited funds. Every camp sounded great, but was highly expensive; some were asking for more than $150.00 a week for only one child….YIKES!!!

And might I add, I started late this year in looking for summer camps for them to attend this summer (should’ve started in February), but there I was in May trying to get my kids in the local clubs around town along with a non-profit organizational camp, only to find out that they were already full and had a waiting list, that was as long as my grocery list (With having two kids, sometimes I feel as if I have to do two grocery list, one for them and one for me) long grocery list - helpeveryone knows that kids eat extremely more over the summer, especially if their just sitting at home with nothing else to do.

While my goal of getting them “active” this summer failed miserably, I had to come up with some common sense things that were fun and didn’t cost a lot of money for us to do together this summer. I don’t know about you, but I always want my kids to go back to school to talk about this “great” summer experience they had with their friends, I don’t want them to say “Well, I didn’t do anything this summer” because it’s the first thing people ask you, when you return either to school or to work whether from being off during the summer or taking a vacation – Everyone wants to know “How it Was” So, I set out to come up with economical ideas (a.k.a FREE) of things to do with the kids, so they’ll have a good story to tell their friends, it may not be the “I went to Disneyland or Six Flags themed story line” and that’s okay, because summer stories are all about having fun, no matter what your budget is or what you decide to do.

If your piggy bank is broken like mine, don’t fret – mend it up, because those pennies can and will come in handy or not. Listed below are the current things that I and my children are doing this summer – to make memories and maybe you’ll find either some humor or ideas for you and your little one’s or yourself in the mix. Let’s Go!!

INSIDE IDEAS

LET’S GET COOKING

Okay, so when I was younger my uncles, sisters and my aunt used to all get in the kitchen and make what we called “doughy cakes” we just took any ingredient that we could find in the cabinets and all tried to create the bPineapple drinkest tasting, I guess you could call them pancakes or flapjacks. We were in competition with each other to see who’s tasted the best. As I was growing up we didn’t have a lot of money and with Food Stamps only coming once a month – we didn’t have much food either to work with. So we became creative with what we had…needless to say, I never won those competitions but it was nice to just hang out with the family and create something special, even if it didn’t’ taste good. Maybe you can do this with your kids or yourself, find things to cook with minimal ingredients and cook it, I just made this wonderful drink with the help of my kids last week , I got the recipe from here – I just added mango in with the pineapple with the ice and Viola! We were instantly taken to the beach, it was also very delicious. This week we’re going to do the pineapple with blueberry and another with kiwi.

BOARD GAMES, ANYONE?

I can’t tell you how many board games we had growing up, from Chutes and Ladders, to Life, Monopoly, Jenga and the list goes on and on. Make time to have a game night one night with your family. I loved it when we would all gather around the table for a good game of Bingo and to sweeten the pot, my mom would go to the dollar store and pick up candy, in which she would reward to the winner if they won that round. She would put the prize in the middle of the table and if you won, you won that prize. It was fun and something I still cherish and remember today. So, dust off those games and get to playing.

NEED A HOME MAKEOVER?

While being inside can be a drab, it doesn’t have too – If you’re like me, I love changing my house around every season. I don’t go out and buy new things because I don’t have it like that, but moving a picture from one wall to the next and moving that couch around and re-arranging where everything is, can be exciting and refreshing. If you have kids, you can challenge them to change their room around and offer a prize to the best look or let them in on giving their opinion as to where and how the living room should look, you might be surprised at what they have to say or how creative they may be.

CHECK OUT THE COMMUNITY

While at home, you can hop on the internet or your phone and check out your community’s calendar and see what’s going on. Since it’s the summer time, you’ll be surprised at what things are happening just around the corner from you. And most of those things are “FREE” of charge (which is my type of language). I’m taking the kids to a free event in Raleigh, NC this weekend.

OUTSIDE IDEAS

GETTING WET

So, when I was a tween; we had the slip and slide. This was a long, yellow banana looking runner that when wet, you could run and just jump on it and slide down all the way to the end. We loved that thing, until we left it outside one summer and the neighbor told us he seen some kids running down the street with it. But that didn’t stop us, we would put on our bathing suits and just go outside and get wet, chasing each other down with the water hose. This was fun and exciting and may pose to be for you too. Give it a try…

LET’S TAKE A WALK – A TRAIL WALK

It wasn’t until this year that I got a chance to walk a walking trail and I loved it. It’s great to do by yourself or with the kids, walking through the woods or the veered path just made you feel one with nature. The kids loved it as they discovered funny looking rocks and turtles. It was also nice to sit on a log and look at the pond together. If they had their skates and/or bikes…you could make it a family event and walk or ride the trail together. It’s a great form of exercise as well as socialization, “no electronic devices allowed.” Try out a trail in your local community, you can even pack a lunch and sit and eat together.

A TRIP TO THE LIBRARY

I didn’t realize how many people actually go to the library. This is something that I love doing with my kids, in which is a good thing for them to do with being out of school to keep their reading going even during the summer, but the library has a lot to offer doing the summer such as book readings and other special projects and it’s all “FREE” of charge. Of course, my kids also like to go to use the Wi-Fi but it’s a great outing and while you’re there, you could find a book on something that you always wanted to do such as improving your business or making your life more simplified or your next great read – while the kids are doing their thing, you could be doing something for you too. Check out your local library and see what they have in store.

SAMPLE SHOPPING

Okay, so I hate to admit this but a lot of times me and the kids go to the store and look for samples to eat. (Don’t Judge Me). They love doing it and so do I, just recently we visited our local Publix Store in which just opened up and while I did want to look around the store, I was also checking out the samples. It’s just a little fun event that we do – we search for stores that have the best ones and off we go. No money required and you get a little treat. Can’t beat that…

There are also museum, aquariums and theme parks in which you can visit as well – Most are free to get in; there’s absolutely nothing wrong with looking and browsing. A little gas in the car and you can go anywhere you want, sometimes for FREE.

Whatever you decide to do, make the most of your family time. Enjoy the small things and don’t fret about the big ones. So, get out that phone and start taking pictures of the small events that you do with your family and make a scrap book labeled “Summer of 2017” – Looking back on those pictures will bring a smile to your face a year from now and create family bonds that will last a lifetime. Remember, it’s all about making memories and that doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you’re having fun with the ones you love the most. Now that’s #PRICELESS

For even more deals and Ideas, Check out the links below:

Free Eats for the Kids! – If you put where you live in, it will populate local eateries where the kiddies can eat for free. I found out that both my kids can eat free at Captain D’s everyday as long as I purchase an adult meal.

Still Bored? Check out this list for even more ideas to plan your summer story…

For Even more deals – Check out Groupon, it’s the BOMB DIGGITY BOMB! (Don’t know if people still say that, but it sounded good)

 

Roshonda N. BlackmonCreator of JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud & Love Hard!

** ** **

Feel free to comment or email us @ justsuminspiration@gmail.com

For Daily Inspiration, you can follow us on one or all of the social media sites below:

Facebook:   JustsumInspiration for the Mind, Body & Soul

Instagram: justsuminspiration2u

Twitter:      jus2inspireu

Advertisements

MUSHROOM NOSE…

If I literally hadMushroom Nose3 a penny for every-time someone said something to me or about me that brought my spirits down about how I look, what I wear, from my hair not being long, to my hair being extra short. To the moles on my body and my face, to my dark skinned tone, to not being skinny enough or being extremely too large. I would be a very rich woman. For the better part of my life, I’ve always been criticized for not looking like the average girl. I always wasn’t enough, no matter how much I tried to kill myself in the gym to lose weight, eat crazy to gain weight, bleach my skin, color my hair or take numerous amounts of supplements to make my hair grow long. And let’s not even speak of going in debt to make sure I dressed the part to look the part of whatever & for whoever….IT NEVER WAS ENOUGH!!

I always struggled with just being ME. Yes, I had the wonderful personality in which I always felt as if I had to parade around like I was in a circus to get people to notice. Growing up, my aunts would get jealous if they saw their boyfriends or someone they potentially liked; talking with me, in which I never understood why – they were the pretty ones, I was the one struggling to get noticed. What they didn’t understand is that I never wanted their guys, I was just delighted to have a guy talk with me without judging my appearance first. It took years upon top of years for me to become comfortable with looking at myself in the mirror, in which I avoided at all cost. I had been told I was UGLY so much until I believed it, it was so bad until I felt if I looked into a mirror it would surely shatter……I really did. I combed my hair by touch and feel. If it felt right, it must have looked right…

As I got older, I began to slowly take a good look in the mirror at myself. I mean a really good look and I noticed that I wasn’t bad looking at all. I had a beautiful smile and there were features aboutnose5.jpgt myself, such as my eyes and how they lit up when I smiled; almost in a flirtatious sense and my eyebrows – they were thin, but how easily they were to shape up and my hair, it wasn’t long but hey, many women are rocking short styles. Once I began to change my mindset about myself on the outside; my inside began to truly shine through as well. While my self-esteem and self-image were beginning to blossom, I took notice to something else about me that I didn’t particularly like and that was……MY NOSE!

I hated my nose, I loved my smile but I hated how my nose spread wide when I smiled – It looked like a big balloon had implanted itself right in the middle of my face. There was nothing that I could do to cover it up either. I literally felt like Rudolph, my nose wasn’t red but I felt his pain. Because I had now built up this new esteem about myself, I wasn’t going to let something as minor as my nose get the best of me but still found myself covering it up when I chatted or laughed with people. While it was a secret and I never told anyone about my nose dilemma….I felt like I was taken 50ft back when someone close to me, someone I loved – called me, mushroom nose. I suddenly felt like all the self-image issues that I had dealt with came rushing back at me – FULL FORCE!

What the individual didn’t know was that I had a complex about my nose. I had seriously thought about going to one of those plastic surgeon shows and having it fixed. It’s the main reason why I hate taking pictures today. While they laughed about it, I didn’t particularly think it was funny…..my mother had a wide nose and it’s the only thing I wish I had not inherited from her. They didn’t know how embarrassed my nose made me feel; they didn’t know the struggles I battled in my mind with accepting my mushroom nose and they caused that war to be re-lived in a matter of 2 seconds.

I felt like going into a corner and crying my eyes out – BUT I DIDN’T…

I had to go back to the mirror and take a good look at not only who I was but WHOM’S I was, the bible says that EVERYTHING, I MEAN EVERYTHING that God created was good and very good and that includes the creation of me and you (Genesis 1:31 & 1 Timothy 4:4). We’re all unique individuals; made, shaped and groomed into the image of our master creator. The enemy knows what it takes to get us down, make us stuck and he knows what tactics to throw our way to keep us buried. He desires to get us so down-trodden until we stay down, not having the strength to look up at the one who came to give us strength. Once he has you down, his intentions is to keep you down by constantly beating you over the back with regret, self-image, low self-esteem and uncomfortable issues that plague us daily.

You’re as handsome and pretty as you want to be, by keeping a mind of defeat you’re the one that’s keeping yourself in uncharted territory in which you were never meant to belong. I dare you today to embrace the GOOD LOOKING! person you are because God didn’t make junk nor trash when he made you. If you have something about yourself that you don’t like – figure out what it is and change it (please nothing crazy or silly like getting ridiculous surgery to obtain a bigger butt, boobs, pecks or flatter abs) you can get butt pads, padded bras and you can work on those abs and/or pecks at the gym or in the comfort of your own home.

Just don’t let anyone define who you are. I’m here to tell you that you are beautiful, I’m here to let you know that you are handsome. If this girl with the mushroom nose can change her mind about how she views herself, then SO CAN YOU

Mushroom Nose2

I Love My #MushroomNose! – Thank you Mama!

IT’S NOT WHAT YOU’RE CALLED – BUT WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO ANSWER TOO!

THE ONLY THING YOU SHOULD ANSWER TOO IS GREATNESS! BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT YOU ARE!!!! YOU WERE CREATED TO BE…

#Greater than your Enemies

#Greater than your Past

#Greater than your Hurt

#Greater than your Pain

#Greater than what your Think of Yourself

Remember, Jesus nailed all of your hurt, pain, habits and hang-ups on the cross a long time ago, so you have no excuse to not live and be Great!

What’s a Flaw that you have about yourself, that you now Embrace! Share Below by stating “I Love My #_______ with a hashtag of what you love about yourself.

 

Roshonda N. BlackmonCreator of JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud & Love Hard!

** ** **

Feel free to comment or email us @ justsuminspiration@gmail.com

For Daily Inspiration, you can follow us on one or all of the social media sites below:

Facebook:   JustsumInspiration for the Mind, Body & Soul

Instagram: justsuminspiration2u

Twitter:      jus2inspireu

Summer Is Officially HERE & July’s Topics Are Filled with GOOD VIBRATIONS!

Can you believe 6 months of the year is already outta here? Where has the year and the time gone. Well, July is here and with it comes the Summer; filled with hot weather, fun, friends and vacations. Since July is the official month of summer (at least for me it is) the topics this month are going to be filled with tips on how to get your summer fun on in our July Summer Series that’s sure to fill you with good vibrations.

Summer is the time in which everyone either heads to the beach, out of town or stay close to home and just relax. Whatever you decide to do this summer, we’re going to give you a few tips on places to visit or travel to and if you don’t have the money like that (in which I totally feel ya) we’re going to give you tips on low budget things you can do with your kids, family or yourself.

So let’s get this summer started, as these topics contain a little something for everyone!

Summer Fun

 

vacation-on-a-budget_orig

VACATION IDEAS FOR THE SMALL BUDGET

Not Everyone has the money to go to Disney World, Paris or some other exotic destination during the summer and money is very tight. Just because you’re not able to take a vacation or do something fun with the kids due to budgetary matters doesn’t mean that you have to spend your summer indoors and if you do, why not make it a fun experience. In this post I’ll be sharing a couple of tips you can do inside or outside the house this summer that will cost little to no money at all. So before you get the blues or throw out the piggy bank, just hold on ideas are on the way.

summer vacay destinations

PACK YOUR BAGS – THE SUMMER’S BEST ROAD TRIP DESTINATIONS

If you don’t like the indoors and just have to break out this summer and go somewhere; then you’ll want to stay tuned to this post. In it, I’ll share the best destinations to travel to within the United States. Some may be right around the corner from you or a little ways away…..So, grab the kids or your friends and get ready to go on a ROAD TRIP!!!!

checklist

CHECK IT OFF – SUMMER FUN BUCKET LIST 

If you’re having trouble trying to figure out what it is you want to do this summer or maybe have a desire to be spontaneous and do something a little different. In this post I’ll share a summer fun check list that will be sure to make your summer not only do-able but memorable.

Summer reading

GOOD SUMMER READS ARE HERE

Read any Good Books Lately? Well the summer is a great time to catch up on your favorite author or to just pick up a book and read something juicy, fanciful, mysterious or helpful. So, kiss the electronics good-bye for a moment and get entangled in a great novel. In this post I’ll share some a couple of good summer reads for adults as well as children. I’ll even share what I’m reading at the moment.

So, while you’re waiting on July’s Summer Series – you can relax to the sounds of the Beach Boys and get those Good Vibrations stirring up. See ya in the Post!!

 

Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud & Love Hard!

Feel free to comment or email us @ justsuminspiration@gmail.com

For Daily Inspiration, you can follow us on one or all of the social media sites below:

Facebook:   JustsumInspiration for the Mind, Body & Soul

Instagram: justsuminspiration2u

Twitter:      jus2inspireu

 

 

Let Me Tell Ya Bout “That Old Church Choir”

A friend of mine was telling me this last week about a couple of songs that she’d heard that were completely Awesome, so Awesome she wanted to share them with me. One was called “Hard Love ft. Andra Day” by a christian band called NEEDTOBREATHE it was a very cool and inspiring song and I really liked it. I came to find out that this same song was also featured on the soundtrack to the movie “The Shack” in which you’ll hear singer/songwriter and contemporary christian music artist Lauren Daigle‘s voice. But the one that really stood out to me was a song called “Old Church Choir” by Zach Williams.

I have always been a fan of traditional church choirs in which are not present anymore in churches today, the choir has been re-placed by background music and a couple of dancers. Don’t get me wrong, I have attended and been apart of churches whom have taken on that modern aspect and it’s cool, However; it’s nothing to be compared to the original church choir, whom actually song songs of joy, peace and restoration. There’s no feeling like that in the world.

So, to pay homage to those old church choirs, I wanted to let you listen to this positive and encouraging song “Old Church Choir” yourself. I pray it uplifts you today just as those old church choirs used to uplift us all back in the day. It has a certain twang to it that I think you’ll enjoy. Because I’m a BIG, HUGE word person, I also put the lyrics below.  No matter what this week holds, determine to let nothing – I mean nothing steal your JOY!!

Andra Day‘s Info can be found here

Old Church Choir Lyrics:

Oh cause there ain’t nothing there ain’t nothing gonna steal my joy

I got an Old Church Choir singing in my soul
I got a sweet salvation and it’s beautiful
I’ve got a heart overflowing cause I’ve been restored
there ain’t nothing gonna steal my joy
no there ain’t nothing gonna steel my joy

Clap your hands and stomp your feet
till you find that gospel beat
cause it’s all you’ll ever need
clap your hands and stomp your feet
till you find that gospel beat
cause it’s all you’ll ever need

I’ve got an old church choir, singing in my soul
I got a sweet salvation, and it’s beautiful

I got an Old Church Choir singing in my soul
I got a sweet salvation and it’s beautiful
I’ve got a heart overflowing cause I’ve been restored
there ain’t nothing gonna steal my joy
no there ain’t nothing gonna steal my joy
Oh there ain’t nothing gonna steal my joy

Songwriters: ZACH WILLIAMS, ETHAN HULSE, COLBY WEDGEWORTH
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
For non-commercial use only.
Data From: LyricFind

Roshonda N. BlackmonCreator of JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud & Love Hard!

** ** **

Feel free to comment or email us @ justsuminspiration@gmail.com

For Daily Inspiration, you can follow us on one or all of the social media sites below:

Facebook:   JustsumInspiration for the Mind, Body & Soul

Instagram: justsuminspiration2u

Twitter:      jus2inspireu

Lunch on a Budget for $20 or Less

You Feel Me??

I absolutely love to eat, but when it comes to having lunch, I don’t always have the money to go out and grab something at the local fast food chain. Sometimes, all I have is 10.00 for the whole week for lunch and you know (depending on where you go), you can spend that and then some in one sitting.

I am so guilty of that….Just look at my face. GUILTY!!!

I was making eating very expensive when it really didn’t have to be. If you’re anything like me then you’re on a budget and after taking care of the kids, the house, the bills, getting groceries and filling the tank with gas – I’d really only have just about $20.00 or less left over to have for lunch the rest of the week. What makes that whole scenario even worse is that I would go to work and spend half of it on lunch and it was just Monday. I had to get through the rest of the week on 10.00 or less….

Eating lunch used to be my most expensive meal of the day and to kick it up a notch, the food I purchased would make me sleepy and sluggish for the rest of the day. What was I doing to myself?, What was I doing to my pockets!

When I realized that I was spending way too much money on lunch, I decided that I had to come up with a plan where I could eat more for less as I was spending way more money on lunch than breakfast and dinner alone. Not only was eating out breaking my pocket each and every week, sometimes it left me hungry and money-less for the rest of the week without having any money to buy me anything to eat after Tuesday.

So, I came up with a plan that helped me save money and could help you too, Especially if you don’t want to eat the infamous PB&J everyday or Ramen Noodles, in which is nothing wrong if that’s what you choose but I love variety as I get bored with the same ole, same ole easily.

boredom3

Listed below are a couple of suggestions on  how you can not only save money but have a different variety to eat everyday of the week. At the end of the tips, I posted a short video of the things I look for when I go to the store. 

A FEW SUGGESTIONS FOR MY LUNCH CREW!!

 

We Have Leftovers?  sweet-icons-1840.png

I absolutely hate cooking and only do it because I have two kids and a kitchen (seriously)…but I noticed that when I would cook, I would never bring leftovers to work the next day. If I had money, I would just use that to pick me up something but why do that when you have leftovers. I know quite a few people may not like them as they have to have something freshly cooked everyday (I knew someone like that) but leftovers are a great way to save an extreme amount of money that could be used on something else, like dish soap to wash the dishes or other things. So, utilize and start to pack you up a lunch when dinner is over. Your pocket will thank you later..

Dollar Tree is My Best Friend hearts-486795_960_720

Okay, I love the dollar tree and it has really evolved since the 80’s and 90’s – do you know that now you can buy steak strips for a dollar at the dollar tree?, YES HONEY!!! STEAK!!! who would have thought. If you’re a big breakfast person that has to have something to stick to your bones then you can buy the pancake and sausage entree’s for a dollar. And they have a variety of other things that you can buy as well, from chicken and rib sandwiches to french fries. Why eat PB&J when you have the dollar tree. If you’ve been sleeping on the dollar store, then I would advise you to WAKE UP & SHOP! plus the food is actually delicious, trust me – it doesn’t taste like it’s only a dollar.

Wal-Mart is Cool Too Cool-clipart-2-image

You can find some great deals at your local Wal-Mart Store. As you’ll see in the video below, I shop for quantities that last me a whole week. I’m not a big breakfast person so yogurt, fruit and granola are fine with me. I usually find the better deals in the evenings when things have been marked down from the morning. I can get a sandwich, burrito, a salad, yogurt for the week, cheese sticks and nuts for snacks and let’s not forget those Michelina meals that are only $1.00 and if you catch them on the right day, they may even be marked down to $.88 cents. Buy you five of those and that’s your lunch for the week. As far as something to drink, I’m a big fan of the Sam’s Choice Sparkling waters, they come in so many different flavors (mine is Blackberry Lemonade and Orange Cream) plus they are cheap, $.60 for a 33.8 fl oz bottle. I checked my Wal-Mart last week and they were marked down to $.50 (guess it’s time to stock up).

Sometimes I even buy a case of water, in which is really cheap – You can get 32 bottles of the Wal-Mart Great Value brand for less than 5.00 and you can head on over to the dollar tree to buy you a box of 10 flavor packets for 1.00.

So as you can see, Lunch really doesn’t have to be expensive at all. It’s all about your mindset and how that mindset views saving. I wish I had took the time to really sit down and figure all this stuff out earlier, I could very well be on my way to Paris right now.

But we live and learn and as GI-JOE says; “And Knowing is Half the Battle”

How much money are you spending on lunch a week?

 

(Please forgive any errors, it’s my first live vlog video I’ve posted to the page so it’s as professional as my phone would allow) 

Roshonda N. Blackmon – Creator of JustsumInspiration, Author, Speaker & Encourager

Let’s Live Well, Laugh Loud & Love Hard!

Feel free to comment or email us @ justsuminspiration@gmail.com

For Daily Inspiration, you can follow us on one or all of the social media sites below:

Facebook:   JustsumInspiration for the Mind, Body & Soul

Instagram: justsuminspiration2u

Twitter:      jus2inspireu

 

P.S. I am not sponsored nor have I been paid by Dollar Tree or Wal-Mart – these are just my observances and opinions.