July 20, 2009

Vacation Budget Planning

Family vacations are so much fun to plan. Where will you go, what hotel to stay at, what sites to see, etc...But for many families, the biggest concern is the question of how will this vacation be paid for. Our family has a specific "vacation fund" and every month, money is put into that account that will be used towards the family trip. For some families, especially in this economy, vacations seem out of reach. However, with careful planning and saving tips, you can have a great family vacation, making memories for years to come.

There are many resources available to help you budget a fun vacation. One such resource is Consolidated Credit services and they have a website with lots of great tips for saving and family vacation budgeting. They offer loads of tips for saving money, such as planning off-season travel and utilizing services that offer discounts, such as AAA, Costco Travel Club and Sam’s Travel Club. These clubs can often save you money on hotel stays, car rentals and complete vacations. They also talk about different lodging options to save money that aren't often thought of, such as home exchange vacationing, or staying at a National Park or hostel.

I was amazed at all the different ways to save money, enabling families with any size budget to have a great vacation. Besides budget tips, they also offer other services, such as debt consolidation, credit card debt help and credit counseling.

Please share any budget tips you have used when planning your family vacations!

July 16, 2009

Keeping Your Pool Safe

We have an above ground pool and it is one of our favorite places to hang out in the summer. Sunny summer days bring groups of neighborhood kids over to our yard for a fun afternoon of swimming and popsicles. We also host many summer barbecues/pool parties. You have to make the most of summer days since they go fast and before you know it, school will be starting again and the days get colder.

One thing that's been on my mind lately is pool safety. As a mom, I always put the safety of children as a top priority. Kids in my pool are directly supervised by me, lifeguard mom. Even if I have other moms over, I am always keeping my eye on them, especially the smaller ones who can't touch the bottom (they wear life jackets) and older ones who may not be the strongest swimmers.

It's also important to keep your family safe when not using the pool by making sure to use a pool cover. Not only do they protect your own children, but also every child who may happen into your yard. Every time I hear a story about a child drowning in a family pool, my heart breaks and I think how fast it could happen and how important it is to keep the pool covered when not in use. During the summer, you typically use a mesh net, but during the winter, you use a cover especially made for harsher weather. Above ground pools need to be winterized just as below ground ones, and it's important to take the time to do it correctly, so you can maximize the life of the pool. Yes, it's the middle of July and we're not quite ready to winterize yet, but if you plan ahead, you can save money. Pcpools.com is having a sale on their winter pool covers right now, you can save 33%. If this is your first year as a pool owner, or you need to replace your cover, definitely check them out.

July 13, 2009

Evian Roller Babies

Have you seen this video yet? This is a commercial for Evian featuring the "famous" roller skating babies! It cracks me up! It kind of reminds me of the Ally McBeal dancing baby from a few years back. Does anyone remember that one? Anyways, my daughter loves this too (even though we both find it hilarious yet a little creepy) and we found another video on youtube about the making of the video, bringing in all of the babies and trying to get different expressions out of them.

See, wasn't that cute? Although I've been seeing it everywhere so we'll probably be quite sick of it in a couple of weeks. Here is the other one, the making of the commercial:

So many adorable babies! Although I wish they would have explained the process a little more. I was trying to explain to my daughter how they used computers to animate it, but the babies' faces and expressions were real. Hope you enjoyed them as much as we did!

July 12, 2009

Tacori Jewelry

I love jewelry! I am a such a girlie girl and will always be a romantic at heart. When we go on vacation, usually I choose a piece of jewelry as a souvenir to remind me of the trip. I have collected jewelry from everywhere. I love finding beautiful pieces at antique stores or estate sales and always have my eye out for a beautiful piece. What is my favorite piece of jewelry? My wedding ring, of course!

I still remember my engagement and choosing out my ring as if it were yesterday and not 15 years ago. The giddiness, excitement and all the fun of choosing the ring you'll wear every day for the rest of your life is a big part of planning the perfect wedding. Even though I'm happily married and love my own beautiful ring, it's still so much fun to look at all the beautiful new designs out there. Tacori engagement rings are beautifully crafted rings. I really like this design:

If you are a single mom who is ring shopping or if you know someone who will be soon, Tacori rings are beautiful as well as being a great value. They have other beautiful pieces for us married ladies as well. You can find them at JR Dunn.

June 25, 2009

Save Our Summer Vacation and Win a $10,000 Getaway!

Summer is finally here! It is my favorite season, despite the heat. I feel so blessed to be able to stay home with my daughter and enjoy lazy days at the pool, bike rides to the park and popsicles on the porch. And every summer we take a family vacation somewhere, whether it's to visit relatives in another state, a camping trip or a family resort with all the amenities. However, it seems that in the times we are living in, people are working more hours and taking less vacation time. Wouldn't it be cool to have a summer day declared as "National Vacation Day"? HomeAway, a vacation rental marketplace, has started a movement to make that happen.

I invite you all to join the “Save Our Summer Vacation” movement by petitioning Congress to proclaim August 7 as a “National Vacation Day.” Follow the link and you can join the movement and sign the petition as well as check out HomeAway's contest to win a $10, 000 getaway to a vacation rental of your choice. All you have to do is submit a short text, video or photo entry explaining why you deserve to have your vacation saved by HomeAway. The contest ends July 2nd so get your entries in!

So where would you like to go for a $10,000 getaway? I'm sure those of you who know me would say mine would be a Disney vacation, I am a Disney addict! But I think it would be really cool to go to Hawaii and bring along some good friends and family along. I've been to Hawaii once and it was so stunningly beautiful and peaceful, I would love to go back! I think a relaxing trip to the beaches of Hawaii with the people I love most would be my ideal getaway. I'd love to hear what your ideal getaway would be, share it here and don't forget to enter the contest, wouldn't that be a fun one to win?

May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day from the Happy Mom Blog!

I hope all of you moms out there have a wonderful day!

March 3, 2009

Disney Shopping Deals

Well, since I am recently home from a Disney vacation and I love to shop online at the Disney Shop to remind me of my trip, I thought I'd share some great deals that I found there. They have some adorable kids t-shirts on sale, 3 for $20. They also have a $5 shipping deal on a shipment of $89 or more if you find other things you want to buy with code SHIPTODAY.

They have a lot of styles to choose from, here are a few examples:
This adorable Winnie the Pooh one is so sweet.

This cute Belle tee is one of MANY Princess t-shirts they have.

And for the boys, there are Cars, Power Rangers, Toy Story and Mickey t-shirts.

Go check it out, you can stock up on some cute shirts for summer or for an upcoming trip. They also are having a half-off sale on all of their beautiful snowglobes, so if you are a collector or a Disney fan, they are definitely worth checking out as well. Hope you have a great Disney Day! :)

February 23, 2009

I'm Back!

Thank you to those of you who have emailed me to make sure I'm ok. Our family went on an extended Disney vacation using this incredible deal that I posted about a few months ago (and it's still good, so if you're thinking about a Disney vacation, book it NOW) . When we got back, I caught this horrible flu bug that I would not wish on my worst enemy. I was weak and dehydrated and miserable. Thank goodness I didn't get it during the vacation because I can't remember the last time I was this sick. The good thing was it helped me lose the 10 pounds I put on during our vacation eating all that good food, but the bad news is it's taken me awhile to catch up on life-emails, work, phone messages, bills, laundry, etc...I have the best husband in the world and he is a wonderful nurse :), but even with his help, I still feel like I have so much to do.

But I wanted to let everyone know that I'm fine and will be updating The Happy Mom blog with more great deals and shopping finds soon! I have missed everyone and can't wait to catch up with all my blogging friends!

February 2, 2009

Happy Groundhog Day!

Happy Groundhog Day!

If you didn't like Phil's prediction this year, remember that historically he's only been correct 39% of the time. I, for one, am ready for spring!

If you'd like to look at a fun website with your kids, take a look at this one today, it's the Official Website of the Punxsutawny Groundhog club. Lots of fun stuff here, how the tradition got started, activities for kids and even a recipe for groundhog cookies!

January 22, 2009

Fun Valentine's Day Activities

The next holiday up is Valentine's Day and if you're looking for some fun crafts and activities to do with your kids, here are some great websites to get ideas and supplies from.

Do you have any great craft sites or something you do with your kids for Valentine's Day? I'd love to hear your ideas!