I Found A Neighborhood Hidden Gem: Gaines Park

Summertime is all about how to keep your kids occupied, still keep your sanity and your money.

I really wanted my children to take classes, but their ages range from 2 to 12 and I don’t have the time or the energy to run them to different places with possibly conflicting times. We decided that swim lessons would be a good start. We swam a little last year and I taught Bee to swim underwater, but nothing too complicated. Plus, she was too scared to go any significant distance. We went through our city’s Park and Recreation and found a class for them all.

Gaines Park is the closest park that offers swim lessons. For only $35 for 8 classes, you can’t beat it. I was excited to go as I was once on the swim team a long time ago. Because they are at different skill levels, each child has a different class, ranging from 5:30 to 7:20.

April and kids | Gaines Park Pool | AprilNoelle.com

Swim class is not news.

What’s NEWS:

  • You can swim while your kid is swimming
    • We practice with the other children while the one is in class.
    • At previous places, we had to sit in the hot sun and watch (still an option), but the water feels so much better.
  • There’s a baby pool
    • Butterfly really likes the baby pool instead of actually swimming. She’s pretty good in her class, she deserves a break. 🙂
  • There’s a small splash pad
  • The water is a comfortable temperature, I’m guessing between 75 and 80 degrees.
  • All of the above is FREE during swim class and only $2 (for adults) and $1 (for under 17) during the day.

I used to hate going to swim classes that I had to watch because of sheer boredom and now that we’re there for almost two hours, I was not looking forward to it.

Now, I sit, play, swim and teach.

Even better, the lifeguards see how I’m teaching my kids to swim and I get a little pat from the lifeguards from the good job that I’m doing.

 

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Learning to Save Money with #GrouponCoupons!

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine.

I am frugal. Really frugal. I can’t imagine paying full price for anything.

I search, research, get the best deal possible at every turn.

One of my favorite places to shop is Groupon. From the comforts of my bed, I can scroll and search for great items at the lowest cost.

Look at my recent take for my birthday shopping spree:

 

Groupon Goods (#Groupon) | AprilNoelle.com
Count them: 11 items for under $100 (with shipping and handling)!

So, when I heard that Groupon was starting to include coupons, I was so excited!

Groupon does it again. Another simple way to save money.

Groupon Coupons has taken the deals from online vendors to your backyard. You can shop at your favorite stores and get the great Groupon pricing. So far, this is the easiest way that I have found to get coupons from retailers such as:

With Groupon Coupons, you don’t have to wait until you get your weekly dose of coupons in the mail. You don’t have to go from site to site searching for the right coupon that works. Groupon Coupons does all of the work for you. Better yet, Groupon’s app allows you to do all of your coupon-searching from your phone.

Before you go shopping or when you’re in-store, you can still get the same great savings!

With Mother’s Day around the corner, don’t hesitate to get the greatest deal for the mother in your life.

 

Groupon Coupons (#GrouponCoupons) | AprilNoelle.com #spon

If you’re not sure what to get for Mother’s Day, Groupon Coupons has even made that easy… choose the Mother’s Day Deals tab to get something the mother in your life will LOVE.

What are you getting your Mother this Mother’s Day? Go ahead and brag a bit and let me know what great deals you found in the comments below!

Follow Groupon on Twitter and Facebook for the latest deals and updates.

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Reuse and Conserve for #EarthDay

5 Tips to Eco-Friendly Shopping | How to Shop at Thrift Stores | AprilNoelle.comOver the last month, I have taken full advantage of my new Amazon Prime account (2-day free shipping, amaaazing!) and loving not paying shipping fees. What I’m not loving is the amount of waste (the boxes, oh the boxes) with each of the products if they don’t come packaged together.

So, in honor of upcoming Earth Day, I would like to share my favorite tips on shopping the eco-friendly way!

Reuse!

I love a good thrift store. If you catch me in a store of any sort, it’s likely to be a thrift store. There are several around and each has a different benefit.

 

5 Tips for Shopping at Thrift Stores

Find stores that get Good Stuff

This tip may be self-evident, but all thrift stores are not created equal. A thrift store in a wealthier region is likely to have better, higher-end goods. Also, the goods that you do find probably have been treated with care.

Even though I live in West Palm Beach, I often travel to Jupiter (about 20 miles away), a more affluent area, to a few of their thrift stores because I can find better items.

12916334_10153363274901619_8748034095588339061_o (1)I found a beautiful desk for my son and file cabinet for the living room.

Be Flexible in your Idea

I always shop with the solution in mind, not the product itself. What problem am I looking to solve and will this product solve it? Some things just need a coat of paint. Other things need more imagination.

I bought: a candle holder to use as an earring holder

  • a candle holder to use as an earring holder;
  • a file cabinet to hold our Xbox and cable box;
  • a knife display box to display my necklaces;
  • an armoire became a craft closet;
  • a towel bar (repurposed, not purchased) to showcase my bracelets.

Set (and Keep) Your Budget

Most goods are discounted, but that doesn’t mean that they are great deals. Once I found a decanter, it cost $35! Quick research on my phone showed it new for $40! Nope, not for me. I can order any decanter online for over $30.

When I was looking for a dresser for my girls, I had a $40 budget. After a couple of trips to my favorite store, I found the perfect one for a young kid’s room, being larger on the bottom and smaller on the top, limiting the tipping danger. Final cost? $30.

Find the Specialty Store, then Look for the Extras

One store comes clearly to mind that focuses on furniture. But most people are lazy, so they want to donate everything to one place. This store takes most household goods. Since they want to get rid of the “extra” stuff, it’s heavily discounted. I purchased a set of four margarita glasses for a whopping $2 total and a set of four dinner plates for $1.

Never be Afraid to Negotiate

Thrift stores receive items every day. They don’t want to keep items unnecessarily. Ask for the promotion, a discount code or a coupon. When that fails, ask for a manager. Remember that decanter? I got it for $15.

I know a lot of people struggle with negotiating because in the US it’s a foreign concept to most. If you leave this post with one thing, remember: Always ask for the discount! If you didn’t ask, the answer is already no.

Sometimes the clerk has authority to give you a discount. Other times, there’s a code on their station that they’ll happily use. Then, often, to get the sale, a manager will grant one. I’ve saved anywhere between 25-50% on a shopping trip, just because I asked.

 

Are you a thrift store shopper? Do you have any tips?

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How to Repair Hardwood Floors Yourself

Once upon a time, my husband and I moved in to this gigantic house (for us) which was cheap, but had a lot of issues. Even though we were working long hours and exhausted, the flooring was in complete disrepair and something needed to be done. The wood was chipped, nails had become unhinged and the color was at best inconsistent.

Having a three year old with another on the way, my husband thought it would be a good idea for us to utilize more of the house by fixing the floors. He says it’s because of safety. I argue that it was for our sanity, since the bad flooring meant that our son spent every minute in the room with us.

When he suggested repairing the floors himself, I laughed. My husband is highly capable, but in general, I don’t think of him as the man that works with his hands. I have learned over the years that when he sets his mind to something, he gets it done. He managed to redo the living room to a gorgeous sparkle, well worth his time, and not heavy on our wallet.

How to Repair Hardwood Floors Yourself

Replacing an entire hardwood floor is a labor-intensive and expensive proposition. If your hardwood floor is only damaged in one or two spots, it’s much better to simply repair the damage. It’s surprisingly easy and relatively inexpensive to make these kinds of small repairs by replacing a board in the flooring. In addition to fixing dings and scratches, you can repair buckled areas of the floor as well.

In most cases, hardwood floors use tongue and groove construction that connects adjacent boards. While this design doesn’t make it easy to replace a single board, it is still possible. Start by looking for any nails in the board and use a nail set and a hammer to drive them through the wood. Once the nails are out of the way, you can start removing the damaged board or boards so you can install replacements. The following steps will show you how to do this:

hardwood floors

Step 1. If you’re removing the entire board, you can skip this step and go on to step 4. With a carpenter’s square, draw a line across the section you want to remove.

Step 2. Use an electric drill to drill a series of holes along the lines you drew.

Step 3. Split the board along the lines using a wood chisel. This makes removing the wood easier.

Step 4. Pry the damaged board out. If you use a pry bar to help get it out, place a piece of scrap wood on the surface you’re pressing against with the pry bar so you don’t damage another section of the floor.

If you have to cut and removed sections from multiple boards that are adjacent to each other, make sure that you draw the lines and cut them so that the joint ends don’t line up.

Step 5. Use the wood chisel to square up the ends of the cut boards. The ends have to be smooth and square to install the new flooring. Completely remove any exposed nails with a nail puller or use the nail set to drive them even further into the subfloor.

Step 6. Mark a replacement board so you can cut it to the same length as the one you just removed. Next, cut off the bottom of the groove on the board. Doing this makes it possible to put in one section of board between two others because you can insert the tongue on one side and lower the top groove into place on the other side.

Step 7. Test fit the board to ensure that it fits properly. If it doesn’t, remove it and recut it so it does.

Step 8. Before putting the board in place for the final time, make sure that you apply construction grade adhesive to the back. Then install it. Place a scrap piece of wood on the board and then gently tap it with a hammer to ensure the board underneath adheres.

 

The only thing left is the finish. While it may be very difficult to match the finish of your current floor, it’s a good idea to try this before refinishing the entire floor, which can be time consuming and labor intensive. Tape off the floor boards around the repair and try to match the stain by gradually darkening to match the other boards. Once you have found the color that matches (or is as close as you can get it), apply the finish coat and let dry. Now you have repaired your wood floor yourself and potentially saved yourself quite a lot of money!

 

This guest post is courtesy of MacDonald Hardwoods in Denver, CO. MacDonald Hardwoods features many different hardwood floor types, including bamboo, white oak, hickory, maple and many types of exotic hardwood flooring.

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Make a Rukkus on Saturday Night {$250 #Giveaway}

RukkusI sit in the glow of the television watching the season premiere of Suits. My back hurts and I’m in desperate need of a date night with my husband. What to do? Go see Maroon 5? Go laugh with Jerry Seinfeld? Head out to see the Cleveland Cavaliers play Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena?

There’s this new live entertainment search engine and marketplace, Rukkus, to get you to any concert, sports, or theater event of your choice for free. That’s right! FREE!

Rukkus accesses tickets from the largest ticketing vendors. By pulling tickets from Stubhub, Ticketmaster and Ticketfly among others, Rukkus does the digital legwork for its users. With the widest selection of tickets, you’ll always find the best deals available on the web. Their tickets can come with a 20% savings over other sites like StubHub.  Forbes and VentureBeat are already touting their great deals! I’m happy to partner with Rukkus to give you the best deal!

To get the word out, Rukkus is giving away $250 in credit to their site! Head on over now and get the details on how to win these FREE tickets here.

So, where do you think we should go on our date night?

 

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How to Save $$ on Your Children and Juicy Onion Burgers with Creative Style {5}

 

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Welcome to the Week 5 of the Creative Style Linkup! Thank you so much for yet another week of great linkups and the opportunity to connect with more bloggers last week! This week, apart from sharing your favorite blog posts with us you can grow your YouTube and Stumbleupon accounts. Did we mention that each week we will be selecting 3 favorite posts to pin to this Pinterest Board here? We’re excited to pin your posts to give you more exposure!

Your Stylish Co-Host:

 Butchered Hair 003Follow Tiki at Grow It Girl

 

Week 4 Results:

Most clicked:

Many of us struggle with making sure our hair grows healthy and long. Courtney at The Brown Girl with Long Hair shares her 5 Tips to Getting Longer Hair.

Our favorites:

6 ways to save money on things for children by Bev at Linkouture

6 Ways to Save $ on Children

Who doesn’t want to save money especially where the kids are concerned right? We’re so grateful to Bev for having shared this post with us.

There’s More to Her Than Her Hair by Julie at Don’t Lick Your Sister

Hair Have you ever been identified by the world by a specific physical trait? This has been something that has been happening to Julie’s beautiful daughter. Even if this hasn’t happened to you, we are certain you will enjoy reading her story.

Juicy Onion Burgers With Kale by Lori at Lor’s Culinary Creations

Juicy Onion BurgeresDid you ever think that eating a cheeseburger would mean no greens or perhaps needing to put them on the side if you were going to get them that meal? Well, Lori adds them onto the burger! It sounds so simple, yet delicious! Stop over and take a look at this yummy recipe.

Would you like to co-host the Creative Style Linkup with us? Email at spiritedlife@gmail.com and we’ll get you on the calendar!

Grab Our Button:

New Mama Diaries

 


Just a few guidelines:

 

  • Let us know you are new so we can visit you back.

 

  • Show us blog posts only. – No main pages, please.

 

 

  • Pay it forward by stopping by a few other blogs and show comment love.

 

 

Spread the word and Tweet about the link up! Sharing is caring!

In addition to your favorite posts, don’t forget to share your YouTube and Stumbleupon accounts this week. Follow and pin. Share the wealth! Without further ado, it’s time to linkup!

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Thanks so much for joining us in linking up this week! Be sure and stop back by next week for more sharing!

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