Archives for May 2017

3 Great Ways To Space Save

The more children you have, the more expensive it gets. That’s the general rule. There are certain things that you can do which will definitely help you to be frugal on this journey through their lives, but it doesn’t mean that there won’t be some spending required. The biggest expense is generally having to move into a bigger house to accommodate for your growing family. We aren’t living in the years of previous generations where a two bedroom house would suit a family of five or more; we have grown to respect each other’s privacy, expect a certain amount of space and be able to have our own possessions without anybody else touching them. But what if you can’t afford to move or upgrade your house – how do you give your kids what they deserve?

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Don’t Grow Outwards – Grow Upwards!

 

There is a lot of space above our heads that we don’t necessarily utilise to its full capability. Things like wardrobes and cupboards don’t necessarily hit the ceiling, meaning that there is a gap that is left still to be used. If you can find an experienced carpenter nearby, it may be worth bringing them in to see if they can give you a quote on how much it would cost you for them to make a custom-built storage system. It may even add more to your property value, if you are thinking about selling in the future. Storage solutions which are built into the house can offer a lot more room for what you’ve got, as well as being able to fit in neatly. Another option is investing in bunk beds. If you have kids who are sharing a room together, it makes sense to stack the beds on top of one another so that there is more space. There are also three-tier bunk beds from Cuckooland available if you have the space available going up and more than two children to consider. This option may be good also if they have friends or young family members staying overnight quite often. Sometimes you have to think about more than just your direct family; if there are other people in the equation to consider, or if you host parties during the holiday season and need space for people to stay, you should definitely look into beds which can offer more space saving options for the room that you have got.

 

Side The Rooms

 

Although it may not seem like the most communal thing to do, don’t think of it as being a totally anti-social measure. Putting up a temporary screen between beds if your children share a room can be a good alternative to having to put up a wall to create two different bedrooms. This can be an especially creative way of giving them their own private spaces to be able to do what they wish – even getting dressed by themselves for some kids can be a thing that they want to do without others looking, even if they have grown up with them. As children get older, there is a definite need for privacy that they will begin to search for – but it’s not as easy as just being able to give them a room of their own if you haven’t got one there to provide. If there isn’t room for you to put up a barrier or a screen, you could consider decorating each side of the room to their own individual tastes; this is something that is fantastic if you have children who have extremely different interests. Giving them their own space to be able to show their creative flares and personalities is only a positive thing – it is something that will help their imagination and learning grow in the long run, giving them the chance to express themselves in other parts of their lives.

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Shelve It

 

As with the bunk beds and cupboards, shelves can be a much-needed addition for storage for any room, regardless of how many people are sleeping in there. There is a lot that you can put on display and also have there ready for easy access – books, DVDs, even clothes can go on. The more that you can get to the outside of the room, i.e. the walls, to make a space in the middle, the more room that there will appear to be to be utilized to its full extent. This can make sense to do in rooms like playrooms and the living room as well, as these are definitely spaces that will benefit from extra storage.

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Saving Your Dollars On DIY

Paint Diy Brush Painting

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Opting to go DIY as opposed to hiring handymen can already save you a lot of money. But you can save costs further by fixing up your DIY methods. Here are just a few cost-cutting tricks to help you complete your own handiwork on a budget.

 

Shop around for tools

 

Don’t just rely on your local hardware store to get tooled up. You may be able to find more reliable tools at a cheaper price by shopping around. Research online so that you know what you’re getting yourself into. Online guides such as this review on the best cordless impact wrench can help to fill you in on the facts. Be wary of saving money by going second-hand – an old used tool might be unreliable and hard to find parts for. Always check the condition first before buying. If buying second-hand online, always make sure the seller is reputable and has provided pictures.

 

Hire expensive specialist tools

 

When it comes to some pricy specialist machinery, hiring may be the better option, especially if you doubt you’ll ever use the tool again. You’ll find lots of tool hire companies online. Read reviews of their services so that you can ensure reliable equipment. Most tool hire companies are able to provide top of the range equipment and keep it well maintained, only charging a fraction of the price you’d expect when buying such equipment.

 

Time your purchases right

 

Certain times of the year can be cheaper for buying tools and materials. You may be able to find a promotion on tools and materials for gardening by stocking up in winter rather than summer. Similarly, insulation may be cheaper to buy in summer. On top of this, there are many annual deal periods to look out for such as Black Friday, Father’s Day and the January Sales.

 

Don’t be a material snob

 

Do you really need a granite kitchen countertop and mahogany flooring? You may find substitute materials that look like the real thing and have many of the same qualities for a much cheaper price. Formica is a plastic substitute to granite that looks and feels like stone but is much cheaper, plus you don’t need to seal it like granite. Lyptus meanwhile is a wood that looks like mahogany but is also much cheaper. Other information on substitute materials can be found online.

 

Know when to call in professionals

 

 

Saving money by going DIY isn’t always worth it with more complicated projects. Electrics and gas work generally require a license and making an error can be dangerous. Other work such as knocking down walls could result in huge costs to fix up if all goes wrong. Stick to projects that you know you can do. If you’re new to DIY, try tasks such as painting, installing floating flooring and basic landscaping before venturing into ambitious projects such as extensions and conversions. Whilst it’s easy nowadays to find video tutorials and guides online, know your limitations so that you don’t cause damage that then costs more to repair.

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DIY Did I Not Hire A Professional?!

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DIY is an awesome hobby, especially in the summer. The weather is warm, the sun is shining, and the feeling of achievement is high. The question is, why wouldn’t you get stuck into your DIY projects this summer? One answer is that you don’t have the skill or experience. Unfortunately, there are some tasks which non-specialists just can’t tackle alone because of inexperience. When these projects rear their heads, it’s vital that you call for help.

 

With that in mind, here are the summer DIY repairs you should always leave to the experts.

 

HVAC Repair

 

Hopefully, you have an air conditioner in your home because the weather is going to get hotter. However, as you know, not all units are reliable and that is a big problem in the summer time. Of course, it looks like an easy fix – a tweak here and a prod with a screwdriver there, but looks can be deceiving. AC replacement and repair jobs are always much more complicated on the inside than on the outside. The reason is that every wire or nut or bolt plays a part in the conditioner’s efficiency. Remove the wrong piece and the unit will go kaput. And, the last thing you want to do is spend your summer in a pool of sweat.

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House Painting

 

For starters, why oh why would you paint the exterior of the house? Well, the answer is simple: the paint can absorb or reflect heat. If the current colour is dark and matte, it is making the temperature inside hotter. Okay, so why would you hire a professional? Painting a house isn’t hard. That’s right, painting isn’t hard, but it’s energy sapping and time-consuming. Any reasonable person should want the job done as soon as possible for obvious reasons. By doing it yourself, the odds are high that the task will take a lot longer.

 

Tree Removal

 

Some people like trees in their gardens because they shade the property if they are big enough. However, lots of people hate them as they take up too much room and provide cover for burglars. If you’re one of the latter, you might decide that the tree has to go, and you want to be the person to chop it down a peg or two. Okay, it sure would cool to be a lumberjack for a day, but it isn’t wise. Felling trees is a very delicate and intricate art form that only professionals should engage in. Otherwise, your next project might be to call a builder!

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Landscaping

 

Gardening is the ultimate summer pastime. Still, planting flowers and mowing the lawn is easier than landscaping. So, just because you can cultivate a few flowers doesn’t mean you’re ready to move up to the next level. Landscaping involves structural work, as well as meticulous planning and hard labour. Quite simply, it’s best left to the people that choose to do it for a living. After all, you can sit back and organise traffic, which is much more fun.

The Internet Of Things And How It Can Help You Sell Your House

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If you were to think about the defining features of the zeitgeist, what would you say? The financial crash of 2008 was a massive event, and its effects are still being felt. The developments in politics around the world are also playing a large part in shaping society today. However, in the last twenty years or so, it could be argued that the single biggest change is the digital revolution. The internet was invented in the early nineties by a British scientist called Tim Berners-Lee who just wanted to make it easier to access documents wherever he was in the CERN complex in Switzerland. It now connects an estimated 3.7 billion people, or about 49.6% of the world’s population. Its impact can be seen in lots of different parts of life. For instance, the Arab Spring of 2010 was in large part facilitated and enabled by access to the internet, and social media sites in particular. On the other hand, Facebook is now cited in one-third of the divorces filed in the United States of America. The internet, like every other tool, is effective relative to the ways in which it is used.

 

If you are trying to sell your house at the moment, you may want to check up on the infrastructure of your property’s internet connection. 73% of households in the US have a broadband connection, so if your house does not, or it is slow, you should think about investing some money in improving it. The nature of real estate is such that you have to be able to appeal to the prospective buyers. That may mean having all the fundamentals in place that they expect from every property, but it also means setting yourself apart and proving that your property is the perfect one. One way to do this in the modern era is by embracing the ‘internet of things.’

 

This means getting tech that allows you to communicate with your house more effectively. A lot of the cool gadgets that you can get around the house are still reasonably new to the market and therefore sometimes quite expensive, but they can make your life so much easier. For instance, both Amazon and Google have launched products that respond to your voice and let you control your ‘smart home’. This may mean being able to dim the lights just by saying that you want them dimmed, or putting on a load of washing while you are still on your commute home from work. One innovation that is particularly good if you are trying to appeal to prospective buyers is the smart technology that allows you to protect your property. For example, you can now get security cameras that will stream a 24-hour high definition video to your phone or tablet. You can also get motion sensors for your doors and windows which will notify you on your smartphone as soon as it detects something that should not be there. Sometimes it is just going to be a cat, but if it is a cat burglar, that extra bit of time could be the difference between losing your stuff and keeping it. These sorts of measures will appeal to buyers and may help you sell your house quicker for a greater price.

Spider-man Bath Bombs Recipe Fun in the tub!! Easy!! DIY

I have three grandsons who all love Spiderman. They are also extremely active and have sinus issues, so I came up with an idea to make them “Spider-man Bath Bombs” and adding sinus and calming essential oils to help them at night time.

The reason we call them Spider-man bath bombs is simple, because they are red and blue like Spider-Man. I have found adding little mini toys inside them so they find them in the tub is a fun way for them to play while the essential oils do their job!

Most of the time you can find mini figures at Dollar Tree, or their own toy box, they don’t care!! But be careful if too small with your little ones, make sure they are age appropriate!

How To Make Your Own Bath Bombs:

Ingredients and Supplies:

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1/2 cup Epsom salts
  • 1/2 tsp. Corn Starch
  • 1 tsp. water
  • 2 tsp. essential oil
  • 3 tsp. oil (olive oil)
  • food coloring (any color you want)
  • bowl
  • whisk
  • cup
  • bath bomb mold

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl, then divide it in two if you want two different colors.

Mix all the wet ingredients together in a cup, if more than one color, I separate into more than one cup.

 

Pour the wet into the dry mix and stir until smooth.

Put into the mold and wait.

Usually about 5 minutes later, I remove the top.

After sitting out over night I bag or box them individually.

If they begin to swell then you have too much moisture in them, add a little more cornstarch.

If they begin to crack then add a few drops of water to the mixture.

Make Your Home A Secure One

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If you’re worried about the security of your home, there are many things that you can do to ensure a safe environment

 

 

Social media

If you’ve just bought a new expensive gadget or maybe you’re getting ready to go away on holiday – don’t tell the whole world!

The same goes for calendars, don’t put them somewhere that can be seen through the window. Otherwise, it’s just asking for trouble.

 

Remove flyers from your door

If thieves are having a look around the next potential target, the build up of flyers outside your home will give them the impression that you’re away on holiday, which is perfect if someone is looking to break in and steal any valuables you may have.

So if you actually are away, ask a trusted neighbor to remove them for you.

 

Pets

A lot of people think it’s a good idea to advertise the fact that you have a dog at home, but it could actually work to their advantage instead of yours. Not only can pets be bribed with food, but burglars will know that you are less likely to use an alarm if you have an animal at home.

 

Windows

Try not to leave your windows easy to look through, by doing this you will prevent thieves from seeing the layout of your room, and also stops them from seeing any possible valuables.

Always make sure that windows are locked and are visible. Thieves hate to break glass because it makes a lot of noise and can cause unwanted injuries.

 

The garden

Don’t leave any tools out in your garden as these can easily be used to help break into your home.

Burglars will go through your bins too, so make sure there is nothing of value there either, especially letter with your personal information on. And if you install some home security cameras, you will most likely scare people away without having to do anything else.

 

Doors

Make sure you have the best locks for all your different types of doors. If you’re dealing with a professional thief, they will most likely know all the techniques to breaking into a lock within a few seconds. But by having the protection for each door, you will be making it a lot harder for them to get in.

It’s also a very good idea to fit a letterbox cage to your door; this means they won’t be able to put anything through in order to open the door from the inside.

 

Valuables

With a number of valuables out there nowadays, it’s no longer about finding the largest item within your house. Little things can end up paying off, maybe, even more, the a tv would, such as phones, laptops, jewelry and any other gadgets you treat yourself to.

The best areas to put your special things are in the loft. Thieves will avoid places like this because there is no escape route.

Don’t leave anything out that you don’t want to be taken – it really is that simple.

Parenting The Post-Grad: Helping Your Son/Daughter Make That Next Transition

Even as your kids get older, they never stop being your little treasures. As a loving parent, you’ll want to provide as much as assistance as you physically can. That desire will still be strong when they approach the end of their undergraduate degree too.

 

Seeing your child collect their degree will feel you with immense pride, and it will also highlight that they are now an adult. Nevertheless, your help can still be extremely useful as they prepare to take the next steps in their life.

 

Here are just three ways you can continue to show your support.

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Help With Their Next Decision

 

Upon graduation, your son or daughter will be faced with a variety of potential pathways. While you should never force them into any decision, offering support throughout the selection process is key.

 

After years of studying, many will want to enter the working world, which is fine. Despite being an adult, they still have youth on their side. Continuing their academic progress is still an option. The John Monash Scholars 2017 show how it’s possible to complete a postgraduate degree while getting to see new parts of the world. If it encourages them to live their life while boosting long-term prospects, that has to be a positive step.

 

No two people are the same, and it’s up to your son or daughter to find what works for them. By providing them with the necessary support throughout the research stages, they’ll be set for far better decisions.

 

Teach Life Skills

 

The past three years have been a great opportunity for your child to start making the transition to adulthood. They’ve gained a greater sense of independence, and have started taking greater responsibility in their lives. However, those developments have been somewhat limited.

 

This might be their first chance to rent or even purchase a property of their own. Not a student flat, but a home that requires care and attention. These DIY skills should go a long way to helping your son or daughter create that homely environment on a budget. This is also the time for them to ditch the nutritionally substandard student meals for real cooking too.

 

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Money management will be another key skill, especially if they need to pay back student loans and other debts. Your child probably has a better understanding of the tech systems than you. But you can certainly have a positive impact on money-saving strategies.

 

Show Pride

 

This is one of the proudest stages of parenthood, so don’t be afraid to show it. Not only does it strengthen your bond, but it also breeds confidence for your child too.

 

As exciting as this time in their life is, it can be daunting. After all, even graduates face tougher employment challenges than ever before. Giving them that confidence to chase their dream job or advanced degree by standing out from the crowd could make all the difference. Missing out on those opportunities due to self-doubt would be a huge shame indeed.

 

You know that your son or daughter is capable of greatness. If your support can help them unlock that potential, you’d be a fool not to make the most of it.

 

Stubbs BBQ & Memorial Day Cookout! #stubbsbbq Recipes

 May is the official kickoff of grilling season with Memorial Day and National Burger Month. Stubb’s encourages all food lovers to try new traditions this summer, including boosting their favorite burgers with condiments that pack more flavor and great taste. 

We enjoyed our meat with Stubbs BBQ Sauce and Seasoning!! But you can do your anyway you like to!!

DIY sauce recipes: Kick the ketchup habit with some fun, easy and tasty DIY burger sauces that you can make with some items you might already have on hand.

§  Mustard + Original BBQ Sauce: ¼ cup mustard to every 1 cup of BBQ

§  Bang Bang Sauce: Mix together 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, 3/4 cup Stubb’s Original BBQ sauce, 1 heaping tablespoon of hot sauce and either a tablespoon of honey or some brown sugar depending on what I am cooking.

§  Spicy Mayo: ½ cup of mayonnaise and 3 tablespoons of Stubb’s Spicy BBQ sauce

§  Not Just Basic BBQ:

o    For a sweeter BBQ sauce – add 2 tablespoons brown sugar and 2 tablespoon honey to 1 cup of Original BBQ

o    To give your BBQ sauce a spicy kick – add habanero peppers to 1 cup of Original BBQ (add as many as you like depending on your level of spice)

Tips for Grilling your Meat:

·         Start with a clean grill so your burgers don’t stick and fall apart. My tip is to use an onion to clean your grill. Cut the onion in half, and while the grill is heating up, rub the onion across it. The juices from the onion clean the grill and get it ready for use.

·         Make a thumbprint in the middle of the patty before putting it on the grill. This will help the patty come our nice and flat (not puffy in the middle) and the meat will be cooked evenly throughout.

·         Avoid burning or charring your meat by flipping it every couple of minutes. It’s a myth that you shouldn’t flip your meat! The hotter the grill, the more often you should turn it.

Full Recipes:

1.     Toasted Pecan Burger:

·         Ingredients

–       1 pound ground chuck

–       ¼ cup chopped red onion

–       ¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted

–       1 tablespoon finely chopped green bell pepper

–       3 tablespoons Stubb’s Original BBQ Sauce

–       2 tablespoons Stubb’s BBQ Spice Rub

–       Lettuce, mayonnaise, and toasted buns, for serving

·         Instructions:

–       Mix together the chuck, onion, pecans, bell pepper, Stubb’s Original Bar-B-Q Sauce, and Stubb’s Bar-B-Q Spice Rub. Shape into 3 large or 4 average-size patties. (The burgers may be mixed and shaped earlier in the day; refrigerate until ready to use.)

–       Prepare a grill for direct cooking. For a charcoal grill, when the coals are ashed over, rake or spread them out in the bottom of the grill so the food can cook directly over the coals. (For a gas grill, fire up the burners so the food can cook directly over the heat.)

–       Grill the burgers over direct medium heat, first on one side then on the other, 7 to 10 minutes, until they reach your desired degree of doneness. (Medium burgers register an internal temperature of 160°F.) Serve with lettuce, mayonnaise and toasted buns.

2.     Stubb’s Fried Egg Burger with Spicy Mayo:

·         Ingredients

–       ½ cup mayonnaise

–       3 tablespoons Stubb’s Spicy BBQ Sauce

–       2 lbs. lean ground beef

–       1/3 cup Stubb’s Texas Steakhouse Marinade

–       2 tablespoons vegetable oil

–       6 eggs

–       6 hamburger buns

–       Tomato

–       Lettuce

–       Blue Cheese (optional)

 

·         Instructions:

–       In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise and Stubb’s Spicy BBQ sauce. Set aside.

Using your hands, mix the ground beef and marinade. Divide meat into six patties.

–       Prepare the grill for direct cooking. Cook the burgers for 6-7 minutes on each side for medium doneness.

–       Heat a large non-stick skillet on medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Crack eggs into skillet and cook until the whites are set but the yolk is still runny, approximately 3 minutes. If you prefer your eggs over easy, flip and cook for an additional 15-20 seconds.

–       Assemble the burger in the following order: bottom bun, lettuce, tomato, cooked burger, blue cheese (optional), then egg. Spread the spicy mayonnaise on the top bun and place on top of the egg.

 

3.     Stubb’s Stuffed Burger:

 

 

·         Ingredients

–       2 lbs. ground beef

–       3/4 cup Stubb’s Original BBQ Sauce

–       2 tablespoons Stubb’s Beef Marinade

–       2 tablespoons Stubb’s BBQ Spice Rub

–       7 oz. can of nacho sliced jalapenos

–       3/4 cup shredded cheese

·         Instructions

–       In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, Beef Marinade, and Bar-B-Q Spice Rub together with your hands.

–       Use about 1/3 cup of meat and press it into a thin patty with your hands. Top the patty with one tablespoon sliced jalapenos and two tablespoons shredded cheese, leaving at least a ¼” rim around the edge. You can adjust toppings per your taste.

–       Press out another thin patty. Place the second patty on top of the first patty and use your fingers to seal the two patties together well. Repeat another five times to make a total of six burgers.

–       Grill burgers over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes per side, flipping once during cooking. Baste with Stubb’s Original Bar-B-Q sauce during last 3 minutes of cooking.

–       Serve on a bun with your favorite toppings.

A Roof Over Your Head? Don’t Take It For Granted

One of the most important things is the home – or the idea of home. A home means comfort, wellbeing, family and safety and we all know in our own way just how important each of those aspects is to our own lives. We want comfort to relax and let the worries of life flow away. We want wellbeing to be healthy and live a fulfilling life. We want family so that we are surrounded by the people we care about most. We want safety so we don’t have to worry about the outside world, for one reason or another.

 

Now when we think of the idea of a home, a phrase comes to mind – does it not? Four walls and a roof, for that, is home the typical home is constructed in the physical world and within the mind. Four walls and a roof is all we need to call something a home, well – in the most basic form anyway. The perfect home is going to be different in its own way for everyone in this world – as everyone has different expectations of what a home should be. However, those four walls and roof? That’s exactly what we need to get started.

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So if you’re a homeowner, or a parent – or anyone living in a home with those four walls you need to avoid taking that for granted. But you also need to ensure that you’re looking after the roof – as without that – you’ve not got much of a home at all. The roof serves a number of important functions not least protecting the inhabitants of a home from the outside world and the weather.

 

The roof does a number of things for the home, and it needs to be on form during these tasks at all times. Being at 90% isn’t good enough, and the condition of a roof can deteriorate at any moment, and the condition can plummet fast.

 

The most basic check you can perform on a roof is a shingle check. A roof needs shingles to ensure that no wind or rain escapes into the confines of the home from the outside world. If your shingles are broken or missing – you might need to replace them with a like for like – or even an improvement like Wakefield Bridge Steel Shingles. Shingles are the first line of defense on the roof so if they are missing or broken, replace them.

 

The main job of the roof is to guard the home from the weather, but it also has another critical function, and that is to guard the foundation of a building from debris and water.

 

The roof does this with its shape, so that water falls away from the bottom of the building, but it also uses guttering to lead water towards drains. This is to prevent erosion. One of the easiest things you can do to help you roof is to clear the gutters or replace broken guttering.

 

A leaky roof means hell for the home. Don’t take it for granted. Fix any issues and keep it safe so it can keep your home safe.

6 Ways to get help with school supplies!! #helpchildren #schoolage

As a former teacher, I always found it difficult and sad for children on the first day of school who didn’t have the needed supplies. Usually, I would supplement what they didn’t have and try and ration what was brought. I began budgeting for those who didn’t have what they need as I am sure most teachers do.  Here is a list of ways parents can get help with those expensive supplies!

 

  1. Check out Local School Supply Stores
    Organizations across the country provide free supplies to teachers from qualifying schools.  Kids in Need Foundation, which helps support the nation’s teachers and students.
  2. Try an Online Group
    Join a Yahoo Group or a Google+ community and post a request for the supplies you need. You can even use this group to promote your school supply drives.
  3. Utilize Your Community
    Contact local churches, charities and nonprofit organizations, and research local distribution projects. The American Red Cross usually holds school supplies drives at their local chapters. (Our church will band together to help any child in need! As I am sure most do!!!)
  4. Seek Out Backpack Programs
    Backpack programs — such as the Office Depot Foundation’s National Backpack Program, Schools on Wheels and School Ready Supplies — donate supply-filled backpacks to students.
  5. Go Online
    Craigslist doesn’t just sell items, it gives them away for free! Under the “For Sale” category, click on “free” and search for whatever supplies your child needs. You can also search Freecycle.org, a grassroots movement that connects people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns.
  6. Check With Your School District
    Some states require public school districts to provide necessary school supplies to children. Certain districts are also required to provide books and school supplies for children whose parents cannot otherwise afford them.

I too was a single mother at one time and I know how hard it is making sure your child gets everything on that list. Don’t be ashamed to ask, your children only deserve the best!!!