So, it’s not always the easiest thing in the world to make ends meet, or have enough money for everything that we would like when we have a family to provide and care for. There always seem to be something unexpected popping up like school trips, or the latest pair of trainer that the must have to be in fashion. But why should you have to struggle financially just because you have a family to care for? In fact, if you are clever about your money you really don’t have to. Just read on to find out more about this.
Now, most folks realize the sense of budgeting for their household, including food, bills, and mortgage or rent. But the key to budgeting properly is tracking your progress and always knowing exactly where you are. When you do this, there are no excuses for overspending, and you will hit your goals with ease.
To do this, you can use a pocket book, an app on your phone, or even a special section in your daily planner. Just make sure that you record every transaction, big or small, to give you a realistic view of where your finances are at any one time.
Cutting back the crap
How many of the thing that we buy in a week do we really, truly need? I’m talking about that coffee that you pick up on the way to work. Or, that magazine that you treat yourself to because it been a hard day. The same goes for the rest of the family. That is why it could well be time to cut the crap and stop buying the frivolous thing that you don’t need.
Now, this can be a difficult change for everyone, so it best not to try and go from zero to hero right away. Allow yourself and the kids a small budget to spend on the little luxuries. But ensure that you are cutting back on these things slowly and steadily, and putting the money to better use elsewhere.
Obviously, it can help no end if you have an emergency fund which you can dip into when unexpected cost some your way. But this has to be saved for each month until it gets to a certain level. Which is tough to do if you are already struggling to make ends meet.
Other options that can serve as a short-term emergency buffer include online short term loans, borrowing from friends, or adding particular things to your credit cards. Of course, using a credit card isn’t always practical for paying for things like school trips, because the card company will charge you extra just to withdraw the fund as cash.
That is why it important to capture all of the charges involved in the different type of borrowing before you plump for one option.
Saving for their future
Lastly, one of the major concerns of parents is saving for the child’s future while providing all that they need today. Yes, this can be a difficult balance, but it can be done. Especially if you are savvy with your money so consider investing over the long term for the best returns.
When summer is nearly in sight, you start thinking about spending more time outside. You don’t have to hide away from the cold, wrapped up as warm as possible. In fact, it’s a great time to start thinking about how you can improve your outdoor space so you can enjoy it as much as possible. A deck is one of the best things you can have when the sun is out and, even better, you can enjoy both the inside of your house and outdoors at the same time. Creating a blended indoor and outdoor area makes it easier to enjoy both spaces without too much of a barrier. Consider these ideas to make it work.
Many people choose some kind of French door or another glass door to open out onto their deck. Even when the door is closed, you can look outside and admire what’s out there. However, you might want to ensure that you have a low threshold for your door, so there’s no lip in the way of you getting outside. It can create more of a barrier to your deck if there’s a clear line between indoors and outdoors. Another thing you can do is use similar flooring indoors and outdoors on your deck or patio. That way, it can look like one space, with part of it outside and part inside.
Tech for Your Deck
Multi-room sound systems and TV setups have become very popular. They’re great for ensuring you can go into a different room and still hear your music, or for playing two different things in separate rooms. If you’re moving from indoors and outdoors a lot, it makes sense to also have your music or TV play outside too. You can enlist a company providing audio video services to create a custom setup that works for you. Put a screen or speakers outside so you can continue to enjoy your media while you’re out on the deck.
Cooking and Dining
Decks make fantastic dining areas, but you can’t usually have a full kitchen outside. When you’re not grilling (or even when you are), you might end up carrying things to and fro from the kitchen to the deck. There are a few things that could help, such as having a food preparation area outside. You could also have a separate place outside to keep anything you need for dining, such as plates and cutlery.
A lot of the time, you just want to use your deck to relax. Maybe you like to climb into a hammock or recline on a sofa. If you want to coordinate your outdoor area with indoors, consider using a similar style so your chosen furniture for your deck works well with what you have inside. If you can see both spaces thanks to an open door or large window, it will ensure that the two spaces don’t clash.
Creating a beautiful deck space for summer will help you make the most of the season. Consider the inside of your home to create a plan for outdoors.
There are certain events or situations which everyone has to go through, and for this reason they are often referred to as rites of passage. The truth is that your own children will be going through these as well, and when they do there might be a number of ways in which they need some help or assistance, or just some understanding from you. Helping with these issues is one of the primary roles of the parent, and yet so many struggle with them, not knowing exactly how to make sense of those rits on behalf of their children. Another common issue is that it is hard to find the balance between explaining things to them and allowing them to discover things on their own. Find it, however, and you will have done a great parenting job.
First Day Of School
Starting from when they are very young, we can see an early rite of passage in the first day of school. This can be extremely frightening for many children, and as a parent your natural urge will be to protect them from that fear and to help them along. This is a particularly interesting one in that it can actually be quite difficult for the parent as well as the child. You might surprise yourself at the level of emotions that arise during this time, and this can make it all the more difficult to deal with the situation favourably. However, it is important for your child that you do, and if you just take your time you will find that you know exactly what you need to say and what you need to do to make them feel better.
Learning To Drive
Fast forward a few years and we come to something that often marks the beginning of a sense of freedom for your child. Learning to drive is often an exciting time, but there is a natural tendency for the parent to be fearful of the thought of their child out on the roads. If you have this problem, just do everything you can to keep calm and remember that everyone has to go through it. If you really want to feel that your child is as safe as possible, consider a defensive driving traffic school online for your child. The more learning they have, the safer they will feel on the road, and the calmer you will feel too.
This has to be one of the very saddest moments in both your lives, but it is a vital one which you can’t ignore. When this happens, it is important to try and not be too upset, although of course it is perfectly natural to be. But the last thing you want to do is to make your child feel as though their leaving home is a personal slight against you! What you should try your best to do is to support their decision, to give them any advice you can on the nature of adult life and leaving home, and maybe even offer any financial support that you might be able to assist with.
Since I came to Korea, I have always urged my husband for us to go check South Korea’s Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). But he was just not interested.
When the DMZ train came into operation in 2014, my hopes were high again. I planned on going there with friends… whoever was willing. But the DMZ train schedule didn’t jive with my children’s school schedule. I can only do my ME time with friends when kids are in school and I have to be back home when my boys are back at home.
DMZ-bound on Spring Break
Luck has it that on the last day of Spring Break, hubby took the day off and got us tickets to ride on the Korail DMZ train. It was pretty easy and could be done by anyone. You can check this out if you want to do your own booking like we did: http://www.letskorail.com/ebizbf/EbizBfAboutDmz_Train.do. Our roundtrip tickets from Seoul Station-Dorasan-Seoul Station cost 17,800-won/adult and 12,400-won/child. But keep in mind that the Korail DMZ train will not bring you to the Panmunjeon Tour. The Panmunjeon Tour can only be done by an accredited Panmunjeon-bound tour company since this is already in the Joint Security Area.
We boarded the 3-cabin train. These 3 cabins represent 3 different themes: Peace, Love, and Harmony. It has round-trip schedule, as follows:
We took the 10:13am bus bound to Dorasan at the Seoul Station. It was a good 1hr and a half ride. Uneventful except for my children freely going around the train, taking videos for their youtube channel. With just a few of us occupying the train, I also went to the other car to try on the military suits available for photo op. These are hanged at the snack bar area and there is also a display of notes of encouragement written by tourists for the unity of the 2 Koreas.
My son and I on board the Korail Train to DMZ. My son taking his salute seriously:-)
Our train stopped at the Imjingang Station. This is where all the visitors go down from the train and brought inside the small station. We lined up in Immigration fashion to have our identification cards checked. We had our passports with us and it was scrutinized by the soldier.
Heads were counted inside the train, counted again when we went down the Imjingang Station, and another count after we passed the counter where our identification cards were checked and counted again when we boarded the train.
And yes, heads were counted again when we got down Dorasan Station. Needless to say, our numbers were checked again when we boarded the train from Dorasan to Seoul. Whew! It must be pretty hard on weekends when trains are fully occupied.
At last, we arrived at the Dorasan Station!
The railway is quite a dramatic sight. You can see the extension of the railway going northward but movement is blocked from this end. It represents the great divide. On the other hand, it also represents hope. Hope that it will finally be used to reconnect two Koreas.
We got inside Dorasan Station and from there, visitors need to choose their own tour package. There are only 2 options and the difference is only:
Third Tunnel with monorail
Third Tunnel without monorail
Hubby paid 30,000-won for the 4 of us without monorail. Going down the tunnel is pretty steep so, get the monorail if you think you can’t handle it. It was a good walk up and down if you think you’re fit enough to do it. But hey, I saw several groups of seniors doing just that.
Our first stop was the Dorasan Peace Park. There isn’t much to see and do. You may venture on your own or listen to the tour guide. There are photos lined up going to the Exhibition Hall with brief description. My boys only got excited when we got into the Exhibition Hall with 3d presentation.
There’s an art installation you can’t miss at the park! It has a small hanging bridge in the middle aptly titled “Bridging Peace”. My husband took a closer look and found that this was done by a Filipino artist named Roger Tibon. The art description says “It expresses mutual effort and sincere communication that put a bridge of peace and love between brothers.”
Bridging Peace at the Dorasan Peace Park by Roger Tibon
It was almost 1pm when we were done at the Peace Park. We were brought for lunch at a Korean buffet restaurant that costs 7,000-won for adults and 5,000-won for children. My older son loves spicy Korean food so it wasn’t a problem for us. My younger son got himself a lot of kim and rice and apple.
Our next stop was at the Third Tunnel. We deposited our things in the lockers provided. No cameras are allowed but you can bring your cellphone. The brief orientation and instructions was conducted by a Filipina staff. She had been working there for 7 years already. Interesting, eh?
There are helmets for visitors’ use before going down the tunnel. It is important that you wear one!
Helmets at the Third Tunnel
We had around 20 minutes left after coming out of the tunnel so we went around and took the usual tourist photos around the Third Tunnel grounds. We watched a brief video about the secret tunnels dug up by the North Koreans through the years. So far, there are only 4 tunnels discovered. Who knows if there are more? Or if they are secretly digging more. Amazing how South Korea has turned the Third Tunnel location into a tourist attraction, considering the danger it represents.
The Third Tunnel
Our last stop was the Dora Observatory. It was here where my sons got really excited. LeRuof kept on saying, “I see North Korea!” and DeFourth “Why is the North Korean flag bigger than the South Korean flag?” Indeed, from where we stood the North Korean flag stands on a taller and bigger pole. An important symbolism for the North Korean government to show its people that it is bigger and mightier?
Admittedly, for most of us we don’t have the choice between a big garden and a small garden. We get what comes with the house; few of us are able to choose our home based on the garden size alone! (And if you have been able to, then lucky you!)
However, whether you have a large or small garden, there are different options and features available to you when it comes to what you can do with it. Learning to appreciate your outdoor space is all about making the most of what you have. So rather than thinking that the grass is greener (or tidier…) on the other side of the fence, here are the advantages of each size.
The world is your oyster – or your garden is anyway. If you want to try ambitious projects, build a shed, or even go for a full-on breathtaking water feature, then you can do it. There’s a real luxury to space.
If you ever find yourself wondering what you’re going to do with all that space, then it can seem a little daunting rather than exciting. Thankfully, there are solutions for all of your concerns. Worried about how long it’s going to take you to push a lawnmower over all of that grass? The likes of http://www.lawnmowerlane.com/category/riding-mowers/ have got your back – literally, as in they can stop it from being agony! And if you’re stuck for ideas, there’s plenty of ideas for large gardens online with the likes of http://www.nicholsonsgb.com/designs-for-large-gardens – you don’t have to consult an expensive landscape designer.
You can have a large amount of variety and be able to experiment more with the things you plant. If you give over a section of your garden to a crop you’re not sure will work, then it’s fine if it doesn’t pan out – you have everything else in the garden to be satisfied with.
With less space, you are forced to be decisive about what you want to do with it. You can’t mess around with different ideas, pinging back and forth between choices because you can’t quite make up your mind. There’s a beauty to only having a limited number of options, so work with that and then you can progress at a speed you’re comfortable with.
Small gardens are great as pleasure spaces. It’s unlikely that you’re going to be able to create a full, working garden that can feed your family – and it’s probably inadvisable for you to try to do so anyway. So rather than having to constantly think about cycles of growth and how it impacts yield, you can more focus on growing a small amount of things purely because you fancy trying them.
It’s easier for you to make your entire garden look good. With a large garden you have to work step-by-step; small gardens don’t have that problem! It’ll be a lot easier for you to give your garden a makeover in a single summer; big gardens will take a lot longer than that for a full refresh.