Is It Time to Let Your Child Have Their Own Phone?

What Age Should Kid Get Phone?


If your child doesn’t already have their own phone, and they’re at an age when their friends are getting smart phones, no doubt, you'll face endless nagging conversations in the days up to their birthday and the holidays. The peer pressure for kids to get a cellphone is high, and if your child doesn’t have a phone, they may worry about being excluded from their groups or missing out on events (#fomo.) So, is it time to bite the bullet and get your kid the phone they’ve been wanting? It depends, right?

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Average Age
We face this in our family. On the one hand, I don't want to buy an expensive phone that's going to get lost or misplaced. But on the other hand, it would make life easier with after school clubs and activities. Children mature at different rates, each parent has to make their own decisions based on their own child. However, many parents want to know whether their child is ‘too young’ to get a cellphone, or whether they’re being cruel by holding out on this big purchase. According to recent studies, the average age to get a first cellphone is 10.3 years old, which means, by the time kids hit middle school, many of their friends will already have phones. 

Following Rules
Most parenting experts agree, it’s not the age of the child that matters, but more the maturity level and the ability to follow rules around smartphone usage. Before you put the device into your child's hands, you need to set ground rules. Set daily phone usage limits, how much time kids can spend, whether they can take the phone to school, etc.

Did you know, many cellphones have apps that help you keep track of your child’s screen time and ensure they’re not visiting inappropriate websites, but when you give your child a phone, you should be able to trust that they aren't using the phone in a way that will put them in danger. You can use "Google Find My Phone" to keep track of the phone's whereabouts, this can be very helpful when your teen is supposed to be home.

Protecting the Device
Cost is also a big factor when it comes to deciding to buy a cellphone for your child. Unless they’re already at an age where they have a part-time job, it’s another monthly bill for you to cover. You’ll need to ensure you have insurance in case the phone is lost or stolen. It’s worth looking for BodyGuardz iPhone 7 Plus cases too, just in case of any drops or knocks, so you aren’t stuck with a big phone repair bill. 

Ensuring Screen-free Time
One problem with giving children cellphones is that it’s harder to enforce screen-free times if they have their own device. If your kids go to the park with friends or hang out in their room, they’ll likely be glued to their phone.
When it comes to homework, studies have shown that simply having a phone in the room ruins a child's concentration, so you may need to watch out for slipping grades too. Consider enforcing cellphone usage times, say between 8 am and 10 pm, so your kids aren’t up all night surfing the internet or watching YouTube. When it’s time to do homework or sit down for dinner, place all phones in a basket out of sight, so there’s no temptation to fiddle with the phone and ruin family time.

Getting your first cellphone is a rite of passage in the digital age, but as a parent, it’s up to you to decide when the time is right for your child, and whether they can understand the responsibilities that come with this pricey gift. 
No matter what you decide, you'll have to deal with teen angst that will surely stress you out. We're right there with you. Got questions? Leave a comment and we'll try to help!


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How to Throw a Birthday Party People Will Always Remember

Throw a Birthday Party Tips


Looking for the perfect gift to give a loved one for their next birthday? Research shows that experiences are much better remembered and received than tangible gifts. Throwing a big bash is the perfect way to celebrate a birthday milestone. With the right birthday party planning tips, you can even make the event more entertaining and memorable. 
 Hosting the party at a home gives you much more flexibility over the event date and other details, but read on for more ideas on where to host a birthday party in case your home isn't the best option. These tips on how to throw a memorable birthday party will help to impress everyone on your party guest list. 

This post contains Amazon and other affiliate links.

How to Throw a Birthday Party
Throw the perfect Birthday Party with these tips!

Pick the Perfect Theme

  • One of the key tips to plan a birthday party is to pick a theme that ties in all of the party elements. This includes party decor, games, menus, invites, favors, and other birthday party details.
  • Many adult party hosts even plan a signature cocktail around the theme of the party. You can do the same for a child's birthday party, think: goblin green punch, butterbeer, or a colorful layered  smoothie.
  • For adult birthday parties, popular party theme choices include: The Roaring 20's, Casino Night, Fiesta, Mystery Dinners, and Luaus. You can also plan the party around a special holiday, like St. Paddy's Day. A themed party encourages guests to dress up, so be sure to add dress attire requirements the party invitations.


Gamer's Theme Party Invitations.
Gamer's Theme Party Invitations.


Decorations are an important factor when learning how to throw a memorable birthday party with style. Be sure to order party supplies that fit the theme of the event. Top decor ideas include balloon arches, banners, table settings, and floral arrangements. 


https://www.kidscreativechaos.com/search?q=balloon
Decorate with Classy Balloons for an Adult's Birthday Party.

Set a Fun and Simple Location and Time

  • Picking the right venue and location is key for how to plan a birthday party for adults. Of course, it's best to finalize your guest list before choosing a location. This way you have a better idea of how large of a space you'll need. You don't want to end up with too small a space and there's no need to pay for a large space if not needed. 
  • Another venue option is to head to the beach or lake. Guests can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, beach volleyball games, and camping. Make sure you research the open container policy for these types of locations. You also want to ensure there's are restrooms and a nearby pavilion in case of bad weather. 
  • Pick a venue that offers fun activities. Try a bowling alley, trampoline park, or escape the room venue. Renting a private room in a restaurant is another simple way to provide a more intimate setting. 
  • A special tip is to keep the location easy enough for guests to attend. Meaning they won't need to take time off from work or make expensive travel arrangements to accommodate attending your birthday party. If you really want people to show up, choose a location that's familiar with locals and easy for out of towners to find.
  • Keep it casual with a simple backyard soiree. Host a barbecue with fun outdoor games and a firepit. Be sure to have a weather backup plan, like renting a tent in case of rain or making space in your garage.
  • Of course, it's best to have the event on a Saturday or Sunday to ensure the best availability of guests. Early afternoon is also ideal for event timing. Many families have sporting events on the weekend and others enjoying sleeping in, so an afternoon party gives them time to plan around personal and family obligations.

Create a Delicious Menu

  • An impressive and delicious party food menu makes birthday events even more memorable. Choose heavy appetizers or a buffet-style meal. Serving cocktails and light canapes is a popular choice for an afternoon birthday party for adults.
  • An always favorable idea is to grill hot dogs and hamburgers. Then, serve a few different salads and appetizers. Include favorites like a meat and cheese board, veggie tray, and chips and dips.
  • It's creative to try and tie your menu in with the party theme. For a fiesta-style event, have a make your own taco bar. Include chips, salsa, guacamole, and margaritas.
  • Decide ahead of time if you 're going to make all of the food, host a potluck party, or hire a caterer. Catering gives you more time and energy to enjoy the party. Yet, it's the more expensive option.
  • Make sure you have enough supplies, including: cups, cutlery, napkins, and dinnerware. You should also serve a variety of drink options, including: wine, beer, cocktails, non-alcoholic beverages, and water.
  • Don't forget some type of dessert for guests to enjoy. Maybe you create a themed custom-made cake, cupcakes, or a variety of bite-sized sweets.
  • Get a final guest count with RSVP's, so you know how much food to serve. It's smart to have extra drinks and snacks on hand in case the party runs late into the night. No one wants to leave the best birthday party ever!

Make Sure There's Good Entertainment

  • The best adult birthday party ideas should include unique entertainment. This keeps energy levels up and avoids guests from getting bored and leaving early.
  • When hosting a fun birthday party, music is a essential party element.  The right style of music will improve the mood of your guests and influence your guest's level of happiness.
  • Hire a local band or DJ to play music. A less-expensive option is to set up Spotify to play through a speaker system or Amazon Music through an Alexa device. Another fun idea, is to rent a karaoke machine so guests can provide their own entertainment.
  • Depending on the party theme,  you can also hire out entertainment including: Fortune tellers, magicians, makeup or henna tattoo artists.
  • Fun card games or activities can go a long way to keep your guests entertained. Ladder ball, cornhole, and beer pong are popular choices. Guests will also enjoy playing darts, foosball, or pool.

Set up the Party for Style, Convenience, and Comfort

  • A key tip is to give yourself enough time to set up the decor. Ask close friends and family members for help if you need it. Try to do as much as you can the day before to save on time.
  • It helps to create an organized timeline and checklist for any deliveries. This includes: furniture rentals, catering, and music equipment.
  • Set up tables for gifts, favors, food, and the dessert ahead of time. Be sure to provide plenty of seating for guests, both inside and outside of the venue. Some guests may want to step outside for fresh air, to talk on the phone, or take a smoke break.
  • Keep all of the bathrooms well-stocked with toiletry essentials. You may even want to consider renting a portable toilet for larger outdoor events.
  • Lighting is an important aspect of any adult birthday party. Lighting accents help to create the right ambiance for the party. Add bistro lights around any outdoor living spaces.
  • Always make sure there are plenty of trashcans and recycle bins placed around the event. This makes for a much easier clean-up when the party is over.

How to Throw a Birthday Party to Impress Your Guests

You'll want to be sure that all of your guest's needs are met and you have set the right party ambiance for the right crowd. And, if your party is outdoors, don't forget to come up with a backup plan in case of inclement weather. No one wants to go to all of the trouble planning a great party only to have it washed out.  Hopefully, these party tips will help you know how to throw a birthday party that wows your party guests. Remember, planning an unforgettable party involves picking the right theme, venue, menu, and entertainment.


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Valentine's Day Gifts for Her

Valentine Gift Guide


February is cold and dreary which makes it the perfect month to cuddle with your Valentine. Keep your Valentine in the cuddling mood with these Valentine's Day Gifts for her. This Valentine gift guide is full of fun, fashionable, and trendy gift ideas for your best girl. Don't get left out in the cold. Make a bold move and get her something special this year!

This post is a paid partnership with Nakturnal and  also contains Amazon affiliate links.


Valentine Gift Guide for women her girlfriend wife mom

Gift Guide for Women

Jewelry

If diamonds are a girl's best friend, gold is her lover. We all love a little bling! Something shiny in a box is sure to get a squeal. Gold Necklaces for women come in a wide variety. When giving a gold necklace as a gift for Valentine's Day, consider the receiver's personal style, Is she elegant requiring a statement piece or does she prefer simplicity? Thoughtfulness is truly the perfect way to show how much you care. It really is the thought that counts. 

Check out the beautiful simplicity of this gold pendant necklace from Au-Rate.  I've worn it 24-7 since it arrived at my door, it hasn't kinked or discolored. The length is perfect , not too tight around my neck. The best part, it goes with everything. Bling bling!


Gold Necklace for her for Valentine's Day Gift
Gold Necklace for her for Valentine's Day gift idea.


If you like to keep with the traditional Valentine's Day heart theme, heart gold earrings for women in 14k are a smart choice. We especially like the unique design of these gold earrings available from Amazon.



Valentine's day heart jewelry gold earrings
Gold Earrings for Valentine's Day gift.


Subscription Boxes

Everyone loves mail, especially your hardworking wife or girlfriend! When the doorbell rings to let her know a package has arrived, she'll feel like it's Christmas morning. So, give her a Valentine's Day gift that keeps giving with a subscription box designed especially for women. FabFitFun sends quarterly boxes to your door. 

Look at the awesome FULL SIZE items in my #fabfitfun winter box!! Follow @fabfitfun on Instagram. Save with my $10 off coupon code "LORA10" at fabfitfun.com


Valentine's Day Gifts for Her Subscription Box
FabFitFun Subscription Gift that keeps giving!


BumpBoxes are similar to FabFitFun boxes, but they're subscription boxes designed for expecting moms.  No matter if it's her first or her fourth baby, a subscription to BumpBoxes is the perfect Valentine's Day gift idea. You can choose the box based on trimester, expecting mom, newborn box, or even get a box for Daddy!


Valentine's Day Gifts for Her Subscription Box
Gift Idea: BumpBoxes for Newborn.



Chocolate

Forget the flowers. Flowers wilt, some women are allergic to them, and others feel that they're a waste of good money (She'd rather have the cash.) What's not a waste of hard earned cash? Food. Indulge her guilty pleasure with chocolate. Good Chocolate, not boxed chocolate in a variety of flavors, but good rich chocolate. 



Godiva Chocolate Ice Cream Valentines Day Gift Idea for Her



What's better than chocolate? Chocolate Ice Cream, of course! So, for the perfect Valentine's Day date, find a Godiva Boutique in your area, take her on a date for ice cream and surprise her with some bling! Indiana Residents will find a Godiva Boutique at the Fashion Mall in Keystone.



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Valentine's Day Gifts for Her Gift Guide



Throw a Backyard Party Tips and Ideas

Throwing a Child’s Party in Your Yard: A Guide 


Planning a birthday party? Are you tired of indoor bouncy play areas? How about mini golf or pizza arcades? Do you never want to see a ball pit ever again for as long as you live? If so, do something different for your child’s next birthday party. Throwing a backyard party is easier than you think! Here's a guide to help you prep for the best garden yard party ever!


This post contains affiliate links.


Throw a Backyard Party Tips and Ideas


Sure, you could invite your child’s friends over to a party inside your home, but that always results in a big mess to clean after the party. No doubt something will end up broken. Who wants to deal with all that after entertaining a house full of kids all day?

When you host an outdoor yard party for your child, you don’t have to worry about fingerprints on your door, dirt tracked in your kitchen, or things getting broken. Especially, if you rent a port-a potty! You can finally sit back, relax, and actually have a good time.

Just add a portable camping toilet. Get Pod tent on Amazon.

Always expect the unexpected! To ensure that your guests have a good time at the party, prepare in advance to avoid last minute hassles. Make sure the yard is safe place for the kiddos to run around. Things happen, these yard party tips and ideas will help you avoid mishaps and unhappy guests!


3 Things to Do to Host a Fun and Safe Child’s Backyard Party



Rid your Yard of Pests


Before throwing a party, most people don't consider all of the creatures that run a muck in their yard. The last thing you want at an outdoor yard party is a swarm of nasty wasps or an infestation of ants taking up residence and ruining the party. Most kids are afraid of insects and rodents, which is why you should rid your yard of pests before your guests arrive and the party starts.

When you take on the all-important challenge of banishing pests from your yard, it’s essential that you enlist the help of a professional pest service such as Moxie Pest Control. They'll have the tools, the all-important know-how, and the experience needed to ensure that your pest problem is dealt with in the most effective manner possible. 

Once the pests are under control, you can begin the fun tasks of setting up and decorating for the party.


Set up Food and Drink Stations


Want to be really fancy? If you’ve got plenty of space in your yard, consider setting up different food and drink stations. Galvanized buckets are perfect for serving up treats and even party games. This gives your birthday party guests something to pick at or indulge in while waiting for the cake. Nobody will get hungry, thirsty, or bored at your party. So it will reduce the number of fussy kids and party-goers.






Are you stuck for inspiration when it comes to deciding what food and drink stations to set up in the backyard? Consider the ideas below for party food and drink stations for a crowd.



galvanized bucket for food and drinks at party
A galvanized cart with wheels is perfect for toting
around beverages at a garden party.


For the kids:

Ice-cream stations
Candy stations, get bulk candy at OrientalTrading.
Smoothie stations


For the adults:

Espresso stations
Cheese stations
Pimms stations


Always Consider the Weather


Even if you plan your child’s yard party in the midst of the summer, you can never be quite sure that it won’t rain on the day of the party. To ensure that your shindig isn’t ruined by the weather, check your weather app often. Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best! Be sure to have a backup plan, such as, a wet weather tent on hand just in case the heavens do decide to open and rain on your party.

Follow the tips mentioned, and you’ll be sure to host a stress free backyard party for kids!



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Throwing a Child’s Garden Birthday Party in Your Yard: A Guide








Christmas Gift Ideas for Tweens: Gift Guide Review

Find the Best Christmas Gifts for Preteens (Tweens)


Searching for the best Christmas gift ideasChristmas gift ideas for tweens? Check out our gift guide for tween boys and girls aged 9-12 yrs. These Christmas gift ideas for tweens were tested by our staff's own children and have received a two thumbs up! 

This post contains Affiliate links.




Finding the right gift for preteens is tough, because they’re not little kids anymore, but they’re not quite teenagers yet. Most tweens are outgrowing their favorite toys and developing their own tastes. What they loved yesterday is old news! Tweens often like gifts that are related to their interest and seem cool and fun: Think Nifty

Because shopping for teens and tweens is difficult, it's tempting to take the easy way out and give them money or a gift card, but a great gift is much more memorable and lets them know that you really care. Below are some of our top picks for teen and tween Christmas gifts.


5 Top Picks for Tweens Gift Guide Review


  • Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Camera



holiday gift idea for preteen tween girl girls


Our tween girls love this camera! Nifty is its middle name. The Instant Camera is the perfect gift for tween girls. It’s stylish and it's an excellent value for the price. The Fuji camera comes in a range of funky colors and uses automatic exposure to help make it easy to use for beginners. All you have to do is turn the power on, adjust the dial, take the photo and wait for the film to develop. The tiny photos instantly pop out like old fashioned Polaroid pictures.

The camera is compact and lightweight so tweens can easily carry it around with them and even take photos one-handed. A highlight is the simplicity of the design because it doesn’t overwhelm kids with features and accessories they won’t use. Be sure to stock up on lots of film, kids love taking pictures of everyone during the holidays!

  • My Cinema Light Box

Last year, this was a hit with our preteens and tweens! A cinema light box is another nifty gift that helps tweens express their personality by showcasing a message they can personalize. Kids can share their own fun or inspiring messages to friends and family. Plus, there are lots of fun emojis included and plenty of room to add a range of messages that tweens will love. The light box has a cool color changing background with different settings that include fade, flash, and strobe to give a variety of effects. This is a truly unique gift for theater and other creative kids. Put their name in lights under the tree and brighten your preteen’s holidays.



  • Kanken Classic Backpack

The iconic Kanken backpack design is Retro which automatically translates to cool these days. Available in a wide range of colors, the large capacity storage space allows for plenty of room for school supplies and tablets. In addition to the main compartment, it has two side pockets and a front zippered pocket. The laptop pouch in the main compartment is perfect for a 13" Macbook Pro but won’t fit any larger laptops. Material is durable and water resistant, so if you're tweens are outdoorsy, it’s a great bag to take on hikes.





  • Electronic Drum Pad Set

Music lovers will have hours of fun with the electronic roll up drum pad set. Tweens can learn about the different sounds a drum kit makes and develop a sense of rhythm by playing a beat along to their favorite music. Use it with headphones to play at night and it won’t disturb your neighbors.

An electronic drum set pad is a great alternative to a full size drum set. Who has the room for a full-size drum set? It’s also easy to roll up and carry, so your kids can take it anywhere. We bought one of these for our tween boy last year. Pardon the pun, but it was a hit! We also bought this electric roll up piano for our musical tween daughter. She takes it with her everywhere she goes!





  • Crystal Growing Kit 

Crystal growing kits are a hit with 9 and 10 year-olds. If your preteen is into science or shows an interest in precious gems, the crystal growing kit is a perfect gift idea. Kids can grow red, blue, and white crystals and monitor their progress day by day as they transform into fully grown crystals. Once they’ve grown, add them to an LED display to show them off in their full glory. How cool is that?






These Christmas gift ideas for tweens are some of the best rated gifts for preteens on Amazon and have been proven hits with our own kids. If you didn’t find the perfect gift for your preteen, check out some more cool suggestions on Good Old Gifts. Hopefully, you'll find a gift suggestion that matches your preteen’s interests so you can give them something they’ll truly love this Christmas.



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Christmas Gift Ideas for Tweens: Gift Guide Review