My husband Todd is someone who has taught me many times what it looks like to live intentionally. He is a thinker, planner, and is very strategic in making decisions.
He is wise and intentional when it comes to our family decisions and how we spend our money, including what credit cards we use. Thanks to carefully saving up our credit card points for 2 (almost 3) years, we were able to pay off our recent family room basement makeover.
We use the MasterCard Citi Thank You Preferred Card and earn ‘thank you’ points when we do. We use the credit card for everything that we can. Todd is careful to pay it off, in full, each month. The points add up, allowing us to do extra things that we normally would not be able to do, like makeover our basement.
Our girls are 13, 16 & almost 18. We wanted to create not just a family space to enjoy the little time we have left with them, but also a space that they could bring their friends (and boyfriends) to hang out and be comfortable (but not TOO comfortable…boyfriends..ahem..) in.
We finished off our basement 10 years ago when we moved in, but it needed updating. The paint color needed to be changed, the couch was sad and sunken with so much wear and tear that holes were starting to form, and our TV was too small for the space. A bigger TV meant a larger TV console. We also wanted a table with 6 chairs for playing board/ card games and a ping-pong table.
Our Basement Family Room Makeover Wish List
large television for movies and video games
television console with storage
table + 6 chairs for board/card games
ping pong table
Thanks to the help of credit card rewards/points, our wishes came true.
We changed the bright orange paint to a warm blue. We found gray couches that were firm but cozy. The table and chairs were hard to find since we were adamant about having 6 chairs but the space we had to fit them in was pretty small. Todd’s intentionality came in handy when measuring the space and making sure the table and chairs would fit. We have made some great family memories around that table already!
We have so enjoyed our larger TV during family movie nights and the storage in the new console is amazing. It hides all our video games and controllers. The ping pong table is very popular when friends come over.
We have so enjoyed our new family room basement makeover and are very thankful for the credit card we use, the rewards we receive and how it is the perfect match for our lifestyle!
Finding The Perfect Credit Card
There are so many types of credit card reward programs out there. There are some reward programs that literally give you cash back, others give travel points, and some even give gift cards to your favorite stores. Some have an annual fee, some don’t.
It can be overwhelming to decide which card is best for your particular lifestyle, but it doesn’t have to be. Creditcards.com believes in empowering people to make smart choices around their credit cards, which means using the right card for you in the right way.
Their CardMatch tool helps you find the perfect credit card match. It is easy to use and securely matches you with offers in less than 60 seconds. Did you know that 10% of your credit score is determined by the number of inquiries you make to new credit cards? This is why the CardMatch tool is so amazing, you can get matched up with several cards in seconds without your credit score being impacted in any way.
Using a credit card responsibly can be a great way to make life easier, and being intentional in saving the rewards or making sure the benefits fit your lifestyle can add much value to your life. It sure has ours.
A basement makeover is great, but the memories we are making and continue to make with family and friends in that new space are amazing. Intentionality pays off!
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE CREDIT CARD? DO YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF REWARDS?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
I have a cat lover and her name is Colsie, and she has been in mourning lately because her Mom is allergic to cats. Poor Colsie! I’ve been brainstorming how I can make her grief more bearable, and I’m thinking a large, life-like cat mural on her wall just might be the answer!
Pixers Wall Murals
Did you know that it is a thing? Wall murals? I’ve spent some time on a website called Pixers where they have thousands of wall mural options, and I am blown away by all that one can do with just a plain wall! The wall murals of today are not what they used to be. They are art!
The Pixers site has thousands of images! They allow you to try their murals on a photo of your own room , or they show options of your selected mural in provided images of living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, etc. It helps so much to see how each one will look in a real room.
The above picture of the sleeping cat looked amazing as a full wall mural. It made the entire wall look like a warm, cozy, fuzzy blanket. My Colsie would LOVE this.
Right now, she has a cat post-it note holder on her new desk that she got for Christmas, a cat mug from a sweet friend that she keeps close to sip out of, and a little dish with a cat on it that I brought back from a trip, to hold all the little things. But a HUGE cat on her wall?! I would be mom-of-the-year.
One thing that does NOT make me mom-of-the-year in my teenagers eyes is talking too much about them here at New Nostalgia, even though I love to! This blog is like having a family diary of sorts, but now that I have teenagers, I must be careful about what I write in this ‘diary’ that the whole world can see! I now try to be selective with the tidbits I share for their desired privacy, but boy do I want to just blab to you all about my girls. I love them so.
Instead, I will just give you a glimpse into my Colsie’s room and world, and tell you about her obsession love for cats.
Her room is one of my favorites in our home. She has always been quite organized and neat, never letting it get too out of control. Just when I think she might need a reminder to clean up, she does it on her own. She spends a lot of time in her room, as most teenagers do. She has fun twinkle lights hanging from a window, photos of her close friends tacked up all around, and a pillow on her bed greeting all who enter, with the word “HELLO” on it.
Can you imagine the addition of fur-ball taking up an entire wall? It would be so cute on the wall behind Colsie’s bed.
The above cat mural is not so life-like, but makes me smile as I put it under one of my favorite photos of my Colsie and I. Do you see the resemblance?
This shows the mural in a room. How fun is that?
The simple, geometric mural below is what I would choose for a wall in my room. Funny how that happens, I find something for myself while shopping for my girl!
Does the idea of a wall mural intrigue you? There are amazing images of the sky and clouds and thousands of different pattern/image options in the Pixers gallery. If you can imagine it, they probably have it. They have full wall murals, wall decals, window decals, posters and more. All the photos of cats on this post are from Pixers. What would you choose? Visit the Pixers wall murals gallery to see more.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Pixers. The opinions and text are all mine.
It is crazy unbelievable how fast my girls have grown up. I am so thankful to be here to witness the growth! I think of these teen years, and I’m pleasantly surprised with how much fun we are having.
Don’t get me wrong, we have our share of dramatic moments, but we are growing as a family and learning how to love & accept each other even when it is hard. Sometimes this takes an exhaling of self and an inhaling of acceptance that we are all a bunch of imperfect humans learning to live closely with one another. I am Mom, learning and growing right along with my teens, and loving every moment of it!
Goodbye Littles, Hello Shopping For Teen Girls
Christmas with teen girls is so much fun. Gone are the days of shopping at Toys R Us during date night with my hubs. Gone are the days of shopping at the dollar store for stocking stuffers, tutu’s and plastic glittery heels & princess tiaras.
I still have my princesses, but they are now growing up at ages 17, 15 & 13.
Amazon Gift Ideas/Wish Lists
My teen girls now make Amazon wish lists, as requested by Mom & Dad, and send us a text to let us know when their lists are updated. Granted, they do not get everything on the list, but these wish lists sure makes “Santa’s” job by giving a heads up to what they would like, and even the reindeer get a break thanks to free shipping from Amazon Prime!
We have been very purposeful to create space and activities in our home for teens, so that our teens would invite their friends to hang out here. I vividly remember a conversation Todd and I had a few years ago about what we could do to make our home “teen friendly.” We made a list and got to work, and it has paid off.
Welcome Them In
I love seeing teens walk through our front door, and I make sure I make eye contact and welcome them in. I want every person who enters our home to feel cared for and this starts with a genuine greeting.
Create A Space Just For Them
Our basement is the designated space we have created for teens in our home. We finished our basement about 10 years ago when we first moved in, but just recently updated it to be a space where teens would thrive. We added a table for games, comfy couches, a TV for movies and video games, and a ping-pong table. We painted and added touches of decor that were simple, modern and would appeal to teens. I will feature our basement in an upcoming post.
Let Them Breathe
Yes, getting to know the teens in our home is important, but so is giving them space…lots of space! I know when I was a teen, I loved the presence of my friends parents in their homes, it made me feel safe, but I did not necessarily want them hanging out with us all of the time. Teens are all about learning how to live independently, and Todd and I work really hard at the balance of being present without being all up in their space!
Make Them a Snack
Teens palates are some of my favorite. I can make them popcorn or just set out chips and salsa, and they are happy. I like to keep ingredients for special sweet treats on hand for when a group shows up unexpected. I love using teens in my home as an excuse to make something sweet that we don’t normally have around.
These no bake Funky Fritos are an example and always a hit with teens and so simple to throw together.
Salty Sweet Peanut Butter Caramel Funky Fritos
1 cup white corn syrup
1 cup white sugar
1 cup peanut butter
1 10.5 ounce bag Fritos
M&M Chocolate Candies
Pour out the Fritos on a large shallow pan lined with greased parchment paper. Combine the corn syrup and sugar and bring to a boil (I use my microwave for this kind of chore – usually takes about 6-8 minutes for the sugar to be dissolved and you’re set!) Then stir in the PB until smooth. Pour the mixture over the chips, sprinkle with candies, and chill for about 30-60 minutes. Break apart and enjoy!
Teens are loud. They just are. They like music and laughter and talking over each other. Our home is older and their noise drifts up our vents and we find ourselves turning the volume up on our own upstairs television. We find ourselves chuckling when the laughter is continuous. It’s contagious!
Have A Variety Of Things For Them To Do
Like I said above, we have the typical options for teens, like movies and video games. Our ping-pong table is pretty popular, too. We also made sure we added a table that seats at least 6 to encourage interaction and board game playing. Healthy and fun interaction is key to getting teens into our home and having such a positive experience that they keep coming back.
A new game we have that is great for teens is called Escape Room: The Game. I’m sure you have heard of The Escape Room, and now the excitement can be had right in your own home!
There are various themes within the game –Prison Break, Nuclear Countdown, Virus, Temple of the Aztec. Players have 60 minutes to work together, find hidden clues and to solve puzzles to escape from one of the 4 included rooms. To make their escape, players must correctly enter a four key combination into the Chrono Decoder. They must think quick — the clock is ticking!
My nephews recently tested it out and had a fun time putting their heads together to figure out how to escape. I’m happy to report there were no knives involved in the “Prison Break” even though one of our guys is a young entrepreneur and creates high-quality knives!
The game is challenging and takes teamwork and logic. It is for ages 16 and up. Phones can be used in a positive way, as a flashlight, calculator, or for note-taking. You can enhance the game experience by downloading the free Escape Room app on iPhone or Android for thematic background music and to share a photo of their team. You can purchase your own Escape Room here.
Get To Know Them
My 3 teens all have very different personalities from each other. I love their differences, and the friends they invite over all have their own unique personalities, too. It has been so much fun for us to get to know their friends and I am very purposeful responding to each personality that comes into our home in a way that makes them feel most comfortable.
Keep It Simple
Teens are the most forgiving of guests. They don’t care if your house isn’t perfectly clean. They are just fine if you just serve them ice water or use paper plates. They don’t notice or care if you decide to get comfy and throw your sweats on even though you have guests. They can sit with a fun board game and make it extra exciting just because they are teens. Don’t have a ping pong table? Don’t worry…teens are great at entertaining themselves.
Todd and I are well aware of just how quickly time goes by. We cannot believe our 3 teens are now 13, 15 and 17! We are really proud of them, their cousins, & the friends they chose to hang out with–yes, we are even proud of our two oldest girls’ boyfriends! They are great young men. We are so glad we made the decision to create space in our home for teens. We are holding onto every memory made in our home and are trying not to blink!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Back-to-school shopping can be something that most Moms dread, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve learned some things throughout the years, so keep reading for some tips and a great deal on glasses from JCPenney. (60% OFF 1 PAIR! GOOD THROUGH 9/9)
Focus In On One
Something I have loved doing the last few years is to take each of my 3 girls back-to-school shopping separately. I take them to buy clothes, school supplies, glasses and shoes. This creates a lovely opportunity to spend quality time with them before school starts. It is so much easier for me to focus in on one of my girls, AND it keeps my sanity. I know they appreciate not having to listen to unsolicited opinions and advice on what to buy from each other. I make sure I have a good chunk of time to spend with each of them, and remind myself to slow down and take in the moments. We usually take a nice shopping break by going out for lunch, which really makes it feel special. Who knew that back to school shopping could end up being great memory-making with my girls?
Not Too Many New Clothes
I saw a Mom that I admire post on Instagram recently that her kids just get one new outfit for back-to-school. They have fresh new outfit for the first day of school, but don’t end up breaking the bank and going overboard with unneeded clothes. I love this idea! Our seasons change a month or so after school starts, so really my girls can continue wearing their summer clothes for a while, and then start to layer their clothes as fall hits. This would free up the budget to buy back- to- school items other than clothes.
Everyone in our family wears glasses, except my youngest, and I’m sure one of these days she will need them. Affordable glasses are a MUST for our family, and I use back-to-school time as a great time to evaluate and see who is ready for an exam or new pair of frames, including Mom! With teenage girls, their faces grow and change almost as much as their fashion tastes, and JCPenney Optical is a great place to keep up with it all. They have fashion forward eyewear at a great value. especially right now with their Labor Day sale going on! 60% off 1 pair, offer good through 9/9!
Do you have multiple people in your family wearing glasses? Not only do we have 4 different people wearing prescription glasses, but 3 of us love our prescription sunglasses, too. They used to be an adult-only thing in our home, but then my Teagan started driving, so it became a safety necessity to have prescription sunglasses. She was a lifeguard this summer so again, it was necessity for her to be able to see and save lives!
If you are a Mom of kids or teens who wear glasses,you can probably relate to finding pairs of glasses lying around the house. This used to stress me out and I often get into lecture mode. Not anymore. Now I designate one place in our home as the place for everyone to find their glasses (aka the place that Mom places them after picking up after everyone!) Gather them on a platter that is centrally located (ours is in our living room) where glasses are easy to grab on the way out the door.
We usually plan on getting each of my girls one new pair of PE shoes, especially my runner girl who runs cross-country. She wears out her running shoes within a few months with all of the miles she runs. We also get them one pair of fall boots. They fill in with summer sandals and flip-flops until the cool months hit, and then they pull out the boots.
I wrote a post about the containers we use to keep us from buying plastic baggies, which saves us quite a bit. My girls pack a lunch almost daily so we usually end up buying new lunch bags for them every school year. I make sure I have enough ice packs and a thermos for each girl, and stock up on napkins and disposable spoons for the days I send a thermos full of hot soup.
Lists are key here. I have each of my girls make a list, and then I am mindful of what we already might have sitting around here at home. Oftentimes I have notebooks, folders, erasers and extra pencils in our home office that I can distribute to my girls. I also shop for their school supplies at the same time I take them individually to shop for back- to- school clothes, shoes and glasses. It always feels so good to get home and know they have everything they need.
Back-to-school is a great time to get all trimmed & styled up, especially as school pictures are usually taken shortly after school resumes in the fall. I am a licensed cosmetologist, so I do all of the haircuts, trims & highlights in the family. We did not get this done before school started this year, and just this morning my oldest asked me if she could please, PLEASE get her hair trimmed. They usually think it is pretty handy that their Mom can do hair, but I’m sure waiting around until I have time can be a drag — or a lesson in patience!
My girls went back-to-school prepared for whatever the school year brings. I sigh with a bit of relief and a bit of sadness as I watch them go. Another year down! Now to figure out how to keep them from growing up any further!
What are your best back to school tips?
How many people in your family wear prescription glasses? How do you keep track of them all?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
I’ve had the privilege of calling this man my husband for 20 years.
I’ve watched him morph into uprightness, right before my eyes.
Don’t get me wrong, there has always been good and beauty in this man of mine. I’ve learned from him since day one.
Over the years, pain and struggle have entered our world and has softened and humbled him. He has chosen to see the beauty in the struggle and it has made him beautiful.
In my struggle with cancer and mental illness, he has come alongside. Not perfect, but persistent and ever-present, accepting what is and allowing me to heal and grow.
Right now he is in a season of hard work and problem-solving. He is working harder than I’ve known him to and that says a lot, for my guy has always given 100%.
Here is what I’ve noticed:
He’s working harder than ever at this problem solving, yet comes home with enough in him to solve our family’s everyday problems.
I witness this and I know where the goodness, gentleness, humbleness, and persistence comes from. I know his help is from the Lord.
He comes home long after dinner in this season and doesn’t miss a beat. Teenage girls go straight to their Dad with their everyday problems.
Problems that feel anything but every day to them, because everything is big when you are a teen and really, it is. He welcomes them and their words and struggle. They know they can always go to their dad.
I listen to father and daughter’s voices drifting up from our downstairs. Our daughter shares what is on her heart, hard decisions she needs to make, her voice young and shrill and a bit frantic.
His voice? It is the voice I fell in love with 20+ years ago, deep and gentle and calm. He is right where he shines, in problem-solving mode. He problem solves by listening, truly hearing, and possessing the wisdom to know what to say, when to say it and how.
He weighs the future and gives insight into moving forward with the best goals in mind. He does all of this without forcing, controlling or manipulating. He helps her sort out thoughts and come to her own conclusions.
His calm words of wisdom and acceptance calm her and I notice her voice gets quieter. After about 1/2 hour of processing with her Dad, her tears turn to laughter.
She has experienced the love of her Father through words of her father, given to him by his Father.