DIY Watermelon Volcano for Kids of All Ages

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Just because it is summer, doesn’t mean you can’t add a little learning to your fun experiences! This simple DIY Watermelon Volcano experiment is the perfect activity to engage your kids. Plus, it is hands-on with easy cleanup. What is there not to love?

Materials: 

  • Small watermelon
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Dish soap

Directions: 

  1. Cut a small hole at the top of your clean watermelon. The hole should be at least five inches in diameter. Remove the top of the watermelon and place aside.
  2. Scoop out the fruit in your hole using a melon baller or spoon. Make sure you scoop out enough of the fruit to hold the eruption mixture without spilling out; a few inches deep is fine.
  3. Next, pour about half a cup of baking soda into the watermelon. You may need more, depending on your hole depth and size of the watermelon. Add a couple squirts of dish soap. Mix ingredients together.
  4. Lastly, pour the white vinegar straight into the hole and let the eruption begin *Quick tip: Complete the activity outside, if possible. Place a trap, towel, pan, etc. underneath the watermelon to catch the spillage. Another option is to let it explode in the grass.

Enjoy!

xoxo,

Megan

 

 

 

 

 

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DIY Citronella Candles

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Like me, many people love spending time outside in the summers, especially at night. Yet, one of the most annoying things about a summer night is the mosquitos. To conquer this challenge, it is common to use citronella candles. But, you have to be careful about what exactly is in the candle. After all, they are used to repel insects. Most of the brands are safe and use citronella oil, an essential oil, as the basis. However, you can never be too careful and sometimes it is best to make the candle yourself. Trust me, this DIY citronella candle is quick, easy, and you’ll enjoy it all summer long.

Materials:

  • 1 lime
  • 1 larger lemon
  • Spring of rosemary
  • Citronella essential oil
  • 1 floating candle
  • Water
  • Mason jar

Directions: 

  1. Cut the lemon and lime into slices, widthwise. Add 2 lemon slices to the bottom of the jar. The slices need to be tightly pushed together, otherwise, they will float to the top when water is added. Do the same process with 2 slices of lime.
  2. Next, vertically place a sprig of rosemary on the inside of the jar. It should almost reach the top.
  3. Fill three-fourths of the mason jar with water. If the fruit rises to the top, push it back down.
  4. Add a few drops of the citronella essential oil and a floating candle.

Enjoy!

xoxo,

Megan

 

 

 

 

Budget Bzzz: Sweet Summertime Savings

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As May is about to come to a close, many people start thinking about summertime. However, for some people, summertime is closely associated with the dollar sign and all the expenses the season involves. There are vacations, camps, air conditioning, and more that makes summer one of the more expensive seasons. According to the managing vice president of Capital One, Shane Holdaway, March is the most expensive month of the year. (Yes, I realize it is May and we are talking about March – but stay with me here.) In an article on Oprah.com, Holdaway states this is because March is an in-between month, between seasons, where people are getting cabin fever and thinking about their summer plans. And with the summer plans, people are spending money. So, now back to May, if you were one of these people, how do you recoup some of that money to put more back into your wallet this summer? Continue reading below to find out.

  • Assess the damage. It can be hard to admit you went on a spending spree and see how much you spent. However, it is necessary. Think about the expenses you have already made or are going to make during the summer and see where you can pare down. Maybe you purchased a suite at the beach and you really don’t need it. See if a friend or family member might be willing to pay you and use the suite for their vacation. Another option is to try to find another family that will go on a beach trip with you and would be willing to split the costs.
  • Get back on track with your budget. Unfortunately, there are just some expenses you won’t be able to recover. Factor them into your budget and rebuild from there. Sometimes it is best to start from scratch with your budgeting. First, write down all of your fixed expenses, such as car payments, utilities, insurance, etc., and then see how much of your income is left over. Stick to your new budget until you have regained what was lost.
  • Create a plan for paying off your debt and big expenses. Let’s face it – a vacation can be expensive. If you under-budgeted and over-spent, create a well-organized repayment plan. Think about the last trip, refigure your budget and see exactly how much money you have to spend. Paying off your debt or big expenses should become a fixed expense. Go on a spending diet and don’t spend money on anything unnecessary until that purchase is paid off.
  • Always, always, always track your spending. Whether you made the purchase months in advance or that day, write it down in whatever method you prefer. This will help prevent a downfall if you accidently forget an expense that was made in March, but the money wasn’t taken out until May.
  • Set a deadline to get back on track. Summer doesn’t have to be a time to lose money. It can be a time to gain it. For example, create a deadline and commit to it for reorganizing your spending and paying off summer expenses. This can be at the beginning, middle, or end of summer. Whatever works for you.
  • See what went wrong. To be honest, something went wrong somewhere in your budgeting method for some expenses to slip through. Determine how that happened. Maybe it was an impulse expense. There is nothing wrong making purchases ahead of time; just make sure you have budgeted them in and keep track of them.

Summertime can be a time to make memories with your loved ones. But, it can also be a time to save money and get back on track after the summer expenses have been made.

xoxo,

Megan

Planning a Summertime Party

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While the kids are out of school, and the days of summer are long, there is no better time to have a summer party with family and friends. Turn your backyard or house into a fun getaway, and party into the wee hours of the morning with these party ideas.

There are several themes for summer parties. Different ideas include beach/under the sea, patriotic, luau, ice cream social, backyard movie night, picnic, camping, fiesta, low country boil and, of course, the classic pool party. When it comes to choosing your theme, think about what type of party you want to have and where your guests will have the most fun. Some questions to consider — would you enjoy a fiesta or a low country boil? If camping isn’t your thing, don’t have a camping themed event. Remember, you are going to be spending time planning and hosting this party, so pick a theme you are excited about and enjoy. Another thing to keep in mind is the type of guests you are inviting. Are they all adults, or are both adults and kids invited?

After choosing the theme of the party, start thinking about the invitation, decorations, food, games/crafts and party favors. A good place to go for ideas is to look online, including your trustworthy friend, Pinterest. Some of my favorite party ideas are listed below and can be used for multiple summer party themes.

Decorations:

Decorations always set the mood of the party. Go all out, and turn your party area into the beach, under the sea, a backyard BBQ, etc. For some general summer ideas, use sand buckets for snacks and toy shovels for scooping. If your event is outside, keep the sun and bugs under control by filling a bucket with sunscreen and bug spray for guests to use. Get creative and decorate the bucket, and add a cute sign. Another party must is a photo booth. Add props related to your theme and a backdrop. Guests will love taking home a memento from the day. For nighttime parties, place glow sticks in a clear bowl, filled with ice and bottled/canned drinks. This decoration makes a festive and colorful addition to your party tables.

Food:

Along with salty, sweet and fruity snacks, be original with your food options. For drinks, serve the traditional summer beverages — lemonade, sweet tea, soft drinks and water, but add in Sunny D. This bright orange thirst quencher will be loved by kids of all ages and bring in a little bit more of the summer oasis. Want something different than the common party drink? Try this Pina Colada Sangria recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups Moscato
  • 20 oz can of pineapple juice (crushed pineapple may be added, as well)
  • 1 ½ cups coconut rum

Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients together in a pitcher. Refrigerate overnight, and serve chilled.

As always, summer parties call for s’mores. Turn this classic backyard treat into a party favorite with a s’mores bar. Set up the table with marshmallows, Hershey’s chocolate bars and graham crackers. Add in more flavors, and include bananas, strawberries, Reese’s peanut butter cups, Ritz crackers, Hershey’s cookies and cream candy bars and York peppermint patties.

Games and Crafts:

One of my favorite ideas for a party activity is creating a movie theater right in your own backyard. This activity works for all different types of parties because you can show a movie that matches your theme. First, you need a screen. Some options include showing the movie on the side of a house, tool shed or other flat surface or hanging a flat bed sheet between two objects. Next, you need a projector, laptop and sound system. Computer speakers, stereo amplifiers and a boom box are great options to get the sound louder.

If you are looking for guests to get in touch with their creative sides, add a craft or DIY project to the party. One option is decorating flip-flops which can be purchased at the Dollar Store. Also, buy different colors of paint, Sharpies, stickers, buttons and more. Your visitors will enjoy getting to put their own spin on something they can take home.

Don’t forget about party favors. Make goodie bags with items related to your theme. Include snack-items, games or something unique and special to remember the event.

xoxo,

Megan

Article first published in Forsyth Woman magazine: http://www.forsythwoman.com/good-times-summertime-parties/