You can also use Buzz Away Extreme Spray which is conveniently in a small spray bottle that can fit easily in a pocket so it can be taken out for use when needed. It stays active for four hours so you will be protected while hiking, fishing or performing other outdoor activities. Both can be ordered from BuzzAwayExtreme.com. Also pack a flashlight and a raincoat to give you protection in case it rains, and light that can send Morse code at far distances when needed.
Our family visited Chicago for the first time over the Memorial Holiday weekend last week. We had several different places we wanted to visit and see during our short stay in the windy city. Of course, on our list was visiting The Skydeck Experience on top of the world-famous Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower. My hubby is fascinated with skyscrapers and was so excited to be on top of the building that was the tallest building in the world for almost twenty-five years. We decided to go after dinner so we could see downtown Chicago and the surrounding area at nighttime.
Once we arrived at the top and entered the Skydeck, it was just amazing and breathtaking when we saw the incredible views from over 1400 feet for the first time. Our daughter really enjoyed the Skydeck Chicago because you can see the whole city and so many different buildings, along with Lake Michigan and a gorgeous sunset while we were there.
This was the highlight of our summer trip to Chicago, so we would highly recommend anyone visiting or living near Chicago to visit the Skydeck Experience on top of the Willis Tower. You can visit their website, TheSkydeck.com, for more details.
When you’re young, free and single, having an emergency fund to tide you over should you need to repair the car or buy a new washing machine doesn’t seem particularly important, especially when you could be spending your cash on designer handbags, beach vacations or fun nights out at the local bar. When you’re a parent, however, it’s a different matter completely.
When you have other people depending on you for their food, shelter, and safety, you really do need to get smart about your finances, and an emergency fund becomes an essential part of your budget. If you don’t already have an emergency fund, or if you have set one up, but it is looking pretty pathetic, here are some tips to help you grow your family’s emergency fund starting right now:
There is never a bad time to start a family emergency fund. In fact, do it right now, even if you only have 10 dollars to spare, go down to your bank and open up a new savings account, deposit that $10 and set up an automatic payment to add another $10 next month and the month after, if that’s all you can spare. It will soon add up, and your family will have more peace of mind in knowing that you are working towards building your savings.
Start with Small Goals
When you’re starting to build an emergency fund, you should start with a small goal, such as saving $1000. This will make the process more manageable, and because you won’t find it too unrealistic, you won’t give up before you’ve really got started. You might think that because finding fast loan shops is so easy, that you really don’t need any savings, but when it comes to your family’s finances, the more options you have, and the safer those options, the better for all of you. Loans have their place, but they shouldn’t be a total alternative to savings, so start small, keep building and your family will be more financially stable than ever before in no time at all.
Diversify Your Portfolio
If you already have an emergency fund in place, and you’re adding to it each month, you might want to think about growing your fund by diversifying your portfolio. I know it can be scary if you haven’t had much experience of dabbling with the stock market before, but if you stick to low-risk stocks, diversify your portfolio and take regular financial advice, your modest emergency fund will continue to grow and look after you as your kids grow up and eventually head off to college.
Create a Household Budget
A good way to divert more money to your emergency fund and any other savings you might have, is to take an honest in-depth look at your whole family’s incomings and outgoings each month and then to draw up a budget, which cuts out anything unnecessary (you can have a few treats) leaving you all with more money to play with at the end of the month. You can then use some of this ‘newly-found’ cash to build up your emergency fund so that you won’t have to worry about finding money to pay for the cat’s treatment or to ensure that you can keep your car running when it runs into problems.
Aim for at Least Seven Months’ Salary
It might seem daunting right now, but many financial experts believe that the average American family should try to build up an emergency fund which is equal to at least 7 months’ salary – that includes both you and your spouse’s salary if you’re both working – so that you have a good buffer should you find yourself with a serious financial emergency on your hands, such as being unexpectedly out of work.
Don’t Neglect Your Debts
Although building an emergency fund for your family is very important, you should not do so at the cost of paying off your debts. You also should not neglect to build up an emergency fund until you have dealt with your debts. What I would suggest is taking measures to minimize the amount of interest you have to pay, either by taking advantage of 0% balance transfer offers or consolidating your debts with a low-interest loan. Then, you can split any spare cash in your budget between paying off your debt and boosting your emergency fund.
Of course, if you have a high-interest debt, and there’s no way of changing that, diverting most of your money to paying that off would be sensible, but at least try to divert a little to your emergency fund because, if you don’t you could end up even more in debt, if an emergency does strike your family and you have no other way of covering it than to use credit.
Make it a Bill
When you’re trying to save money into your emergency fund every month, one of the things that really helps is to make it a bill and add it to your budget. If you treat it just like a phone bill and set up an automatic money transfer between your current account and your savings account, you won’t miss it so much, and you won’t end up not paying into your savings because you don’t feel like it or because you’ve been tempted by a new pair of shoes.
At least once every year, you should sit down and review your emergency fund to see how well it is performing. It might be that the account that was once giving you a great rate of interest isn’t performing so well, or that you could get bigger returns by diversifying your portfolio in another direction. It might also be that your budget is no longer the same, and you’re able to add more to your emergency fund, and knowing about this will help you to grow your fund more effectively.
Use it For Emergencies Only
It’s called an emergency fund for a reason, so don’t be tempted to dip into it to buy Christmas presents for the kids or to treat yourselves to a vacation. Sure, it’ll feel good in the moment, but when your fund is depleted, and the dog needs surgery, it won’t feel so great!
Does your family have an emergency fund? How do you ensure its growth over the months and years?
Photo from Pexels
The summer is almost upon us, which also means that it’s almost time for the summer vacation we’ve all been dreaming about since Thanksgiving! Woohoo! However, traveling with a family in tow can sometimes be akin to herding cats, and can need a strong approach to organization, entertainment, and patience. Here’s my quick guide to surviving a vacation without going completely bonkers!
Don’t let them pack their own backpack
It seems like it would be a good way to teach your children about what they need and what they don’t, but take it from me, you’ll likely get to your destination with a rucksack full of tutus, sticker books and cuddly toys rather than the essential junior swim shorts and warm layers. Allow them to have an input into what they would like to take, but it’s good to do an audit before walking out the door. Flying long-haul? Check out my guide for packing hand-luggage like a pro here.
Book ahead of time
Whether you are camping or staying in hotels, it pays to book ahead when traveling with a family. You may have played it by ear and chosen guest houses and hostels on a whim when you were backpacking in your early twenties, but things are different now, and spontaneity won’t seem so fun if you can’t find a pitch or a room and have to hit the road again with a screaming toddler in the backseat!
Give them a camera
Give a small person a robust and unbreakable camera, and you’ll be surprised by what they snap. By doing this, you will be encouraging your child(ren) to be observant about the world around them and give them an interest in colors, textures, faces and nature! Along with photos of feet and wheels, you may be surprised by what they spot from knee-height!
Use public transport
Children are fascinated by the world, and more often than not, traveling by train, bus or boat will be much more exciting than spending hours in the back of a hire car. Not only will the world rolling by outside be a fascinating thing to watch, but you will be able to enjoy the view with them, rather than concentrating on the road and directions.
Encourage them to keep a travel journal or scrapbook
Spend some time each day drawing, sketching or writing down what they saw, enjoyed, or even hated throughout the day. Talk to them about the food they have tried and get them to describe it – this exercise is a great way for kids to remember family vacations, as they will always have something to look back on. If they would rather, help them collect postcards, entry tickets and transport passes so that they can put them all into a scrapbook when they get home!
If you are going to be traveling through busy airports and transport stations, write your mobile number on their arm in pen, just in case they get lost. This way, whoever finds them will have an instant port of call to get them back in touch with you.
We decided to visit Chicago for our summer vacation this year. I have been wanting to go there for a long time since our family has never been there. There are so many places to see we were really excited to get there. While we were planning our visit, we decided to find a classy restaurant in downtown Chicago that the whole family would enjoy. After doing some research, The Texas de Brazil Steakhouse was exactly what we were looking for. They are a family dining restaurant that provided an incredible dining experience for our whole family. First, they have the best salad bar I have ever seen because they have such a great selection including sushi and salmon, two of my favorite foods. Everything tasted so good at the salad bar, we had to remind ourselves to save room for the main course and dessert. We really enjoyed the staff of carvers who visited our table with their impressive selection of meat items including filet mignon, basted beef ribs, leg of lamb, pork chops and other tasty and tender meats. The meat was cooked to our personal preference, for example, I like my meat medium-rare and my hubby prefers his cooked medium-well. Then, we ordered the chocolate mousse for our dessert and it tasted out-of-this-world. The entire staff at their Brazilian Steakhouse was first rate and could not have been better.
We experienced our best family dinner ever at the @texasdebrazil in downtown #Chicago. First we started with the amazing and incredible salad bar that has a huge selection including two of my favorite foods, #salmon and #sushi. Second was the meat carving staff that visited our table with an impressive selection of all types of meat including filet mignon, braised beef ribs and more. Lastly we ordered our dessert that was #chocolatemoussecake and I’m telling you it tasted out of this world!!! The wait staff provided impeccable service by providing us everything we needed. Thank you @texasdebrazil !!! #prochnowstravelingadventures #Chicago #blast #instagood #summer #travel #trip #dinner #dining #family #familydining #braziliansteakhouse #blogger #sponsored #prochnowtriptochicago
Our family agreed this was the most enjoyable family dinner we have ever experienced. To learn more about Texas de Brazil, you can visit their website TexasdeBrazil.com to learn more about what they have to offer and their other locations they have around the United States and in other countries. Our family gives them our highest recommendation when it comes to their outstanding and tasty food selection and the impeccable service their staff provides to their guests.
Last weekend was our first family trip to Chicago. We had so many places to see during our stay there for our summer vacation. So, the first place we wanted to see was the 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck located on top of the famous Hancock Tower. The ride to the top was quick and easy. After we arrived, we had to decide whether to look at the fantastic views from over 1000 feet above downtown Chicago or to experience their 360 Tilt ride that looked really interesting and a little scary for me since I’m afraid of heights. We decided to enjoy the ride before walking around to look at the different views and to take pictures.
We were so amazed with the magnificent views of #Chicago and #LakeMichigan when we visited @360chicago located on the top of the Hancock tower. Also we experienced the #360TILT! ride which was totally exhilarating and makes you feel like you can reach down and touch the other buildings. This is a must see destination for anyone who visits #Chicago. #prochnowstravelingadventures #Chicago #1500feet #summer #blast #travel #trip #family #adventure #blogger #sponsored #prochnowtriptochicago
When we get on the ride, we stood facing looking out and grabbed two bars on each side of the window. Then, as the ride started, the floor and window began to lean outwards so we were literally tilting down to the buildings and street below. It was really an amazing feeling because you feel like you can actually reach out and touch the buildings next to the Hancock Tower. My hubby and our daughter said they really enjoyed the ride as much as I did.After the ride, we walked to each side of the observation deck and took dozens of awesome pictures of downtown Chicago, the Lake Michigan beach and many other sites you can see for miles around. 360 Chicago is a much see visit because of the incredible views and the 360 Tilt ride that is like no other ride we have ever experienced. To learn more, I suggest to visit their website: 360Chicago.com!!!
Rarely it is that men receive chocolates. It should not be so though when I think about it. Men are people too and I’m sure they would appreciate the delicious taste of a Chocolate Gift Basket Premium even just once a year, for Fathers Day it would be a perfect gift. This special package contains 15 popular kinds of chocolates like French Truffles, Double Dipped Peanuts, Bittersweet Hazelnut, White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies, Dark Chocolate with Almonds, and several others. They’re not the usual pieces you just buy in your local grocery. Chances are, you have not tasted any of these quality and variety all at once. Make someone feel special and appreciated by gifting this set from GourmetGiftBaskets.com. There’s a reasonable chance you will want one for yourself, too.
This post was sponsored by BODYARMOR and I’m part of the Mom It Forward Influencer Network. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Most of our body aches and pains result from being dehydrated. The body is composed of 70% water. During active days that include a gym workout, running, cycling, swimming, hiking, etc., you flush out water faster not just through urine, but also perspiration. When your body goes dry, body functions perform less efficiently. Drinking a glass of water has become more difficult nowadays unless you are at home with easy access to the bathroom. Unless you make the conscious effort to remind yourself, and be actually excited to drink, you will not get far drinking when you should be.
Our solution is BODYARMOR LYTE, which contains electrolytes, coconut water and vitamins for super hydration. It also has less calories (20/cal per serving only). Also, this drink provides a natural sweetness due to the taste of coconut water, so I tend to drink it more when compared to water. I can now bring a bottle or two to the gym with me and make sure I have enough for a couple of hours. It is also ideal when I join a fun run. The problem with plain water during my gym workout or run, is that I tend to down all the water I have due to the thirst. With BODYARMOR LYTE, my thirst is quenched faster and my body recovers quicker, even with fewer gulps, mainly because of the ingredients that will make sure I stay hydrated.Dehydration is one of the main causes of many aches and pains. With proper hydration, the mind is clear, the body is well and our cells function they way they should. I make a tally sheet to see I have several glasses of water a day during inactive days. I just make sure to have a few gulps at a time, but more frequently so that the water is retained in my body. (That makes me urinate less.) During active days, I add BODYARMOR LYTE to make sure I stay hydrated naturally since nothing in their drink is artificial.