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Why Your Kid Needs A Debit Card

Greenlight, the smart debit card for kids

I have to tell you about Greenlight, the smart debit card for kids that we have been using. It has been such an easy and convenient way to exchange cash with our kids! Gone are the days of making sure we always have enough cash on hand.

Greenlight card was made for children and built by parents. It is a smart debit card and has an easy-to-use app which gives parents a convenient way to stay informed on kids spending, communicate with them and load their cards.

Cash can only go so far and limits you when it comes to staying on top of what your kid is spending, when they are spending it, and where!

For younger kids, this debit card is great to control all of their spending. For older kids, like our teen girls, we use it along with their own cash for the sake of convenience and as a way to teach responsibility when it comes to money.

Greenlight, the smart debit card for kids

Why We Love Greenlight Debit Card for Kids

Here are a few reasons why we love it:

1. The Greenlight App is super intuitive and easy to use and setup.

2. The girls (especially my youngest), like having their own card! Kids feel so grown up!

3. It eliminates the pain of exchanging cash.

4. It keeps the girls from having too much cash lying around. A lost card is easy to replace. Lost cash cannot be replaced.

5. It is safe. If someone gets ahold of their card, we can immediately turn the card off from the app. They will not know the PIN in order to use it.

6. Helps us teach good spending habits in real life situations and prepares them to become financially responsible adults. It makes teaching fun!

7. Sends real-time notifications to parents and kids after a purchase.

8. Gives us gentle and flexible control of where their spending goes.

9. It gives them independence to spend their own money while we retain control over where their money is spent or how much they have to spend in certain stores or retailers.

10. It is fun and easy to communicate through the comments in the app.

Greenlight, the smart debit card for kids; parents dashboard

 

Here are a few examples from our family & how Greenlight debit card has made life so convenient:

~Our girls have earned allowance since they were young. My Todd wrote a few posts about it. We had a chart and chore system when they were younger and were paid a small allowance if they were responsible that week. Now that they are older they get an allowance just for being great and responsible teens! Todd has done a great job of making sure we have the cash to pay them each week, but it takes some thought and even trips to the bank at times. Now all he has to do is get out his phone and quickly send it to their debit card. It is as easy as sending them a text! Easier still–Greenlight card has a convenient automated allowance feature to ‘set it and forget it’ so your kids always receive their allowance on time.

~Our girls often babysit and are sometimes paid with a check.  We would have to cash their checks for them, then remember to get the money to them, hoping we have enough cash on hand. Now, all we have to do is deposit their checks with the rest of our deposits, and simply use the Greenlight app to send them the check total directly to their Greenlight debit card.

~We have 2 teen drivers. I will occasionally send them on errands or to the grocery store to pick up a few things. We used to have an exchange of cash, and often I would forget who I gave money to and for what. Sometimes I would wonder if I had paid them back at all! This was a problem when it came to doing the budget numbers, as I would need to know accurate numbers and what category in our budget those numbers came out of. Now they can bring us a receipt and I can immediately send them the money we owe them, right to their debit card, and then send myself a text as a reminder to which budget it came out of and how much.

Greenlight, the smart debit card for kids. Can specify certain stores!

~My Colsie loves a good deal and does an amazing job finding clothes at a good price. Sometimes she will be out with friends and stumbles upon a great deal, but realizes she does not have cash on her. Now she can send me a text and the Greenlight app has the option of letting me send her money that she can ONLY to spend at that specific store. I love that control. I want her to have the freedom to spend money on some good deals, but I also want to keep her from spending her whole paycheck at one store and keep her from being tempted at other stores. I can send her the exact amount that I think is reasonable that she can spend at that specific store, and the card will only allow her to spend that amount. Brilliant!

Greenlight Debit Card

~Todd is amazing at spoiling us when it comes to making sure our cars are all full of gas. I rarely have to pump my own! I know…I’m spoiled! He does it on Saturdays so faithfully. It is a great way that he shows love by serving us girls. If he was not so great at this, I could see us really using the ‘Gas’ option of the Greenlight cards, and we may still decide to use it to teach our girls the value and cost of gas. We could give them a set amount of gas that we agree to pay for each week, then they can be aware of how much they use and stay aim to stay within that gas budget. It will also get them used to getting their own gas, as they won’t be around for many more years for Dad to do it for them!

While writing this post, two more scenarios with Greenlight debit card happened:

~My Colsie is driving herself to get some tutoring after school. She needs to pay her tutor $20 and has her own cash on her, but we need to pay her back. I will use the Greenlight app to pay her back.

Greenlight, the smart debit card for kids. Can leave them comments.

~My Teagan got out of school early today and is out and about running errands with her boyfriend. I wanted to make sure she got some lunch so I sent her $15 with a note specifying what it is for. It took seconds and made her day!

Do you see what I mean by convenient? I love being able to pay my girls back the minute I think about it, instead of thinking about it later and wondering if I ever paid them back! I love treating my girls with a surprise deposit and telling them to enjoy it! I especially love when I get a real-time alert when they do spend it.

Do you want to try Greenlight card out for yourself?  Take advantage of the special 30-day trial to see if it is a good fit for your family and get a $20 deposit bonus when you sign up after the trial.

Greenlight is available for iOS and Android and costs $4.99/mo per family and includes cards for up to 5 children. It also offers zero-fee loading for parents transferring money into their Greenlight account.

Sign up for Greenlight before 10/30 and they’ll deposit a $20 bonus into your account after the 30-day free trial ends. *deposit bonus made approximately two weeks after the free trial ends.

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“This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Greenlight, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #GreenPMG  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

FAMILY/ Kids/Family/ Parenting

How to Encourage your Kids to Pursue Their Interests

Teens & Knowing Their Interests: Online Guitar Lessons

Thank you Fender for sponsoring this post. Learn guitar at home with Fender Play.

Todd and I work hard at really knowing our girls, encouraging their interests, and helping them embrace strengths and weakness in order to grow and learn through them. We are far from perfect parents, but, we are super purposeful in pursuing a relationship with them and I would say we know them quite well.

They are all 3 so different with different interests and ways of learning and doing things.

Example of Our Girl and Her Interests

Our Colsie is our middle child who is 16 and has several interests that make her unique. It is so fun to see her interests turn into pursuits as she gives her time to them. What a joy to see those pursuits become part of her story and to see how God uses them.

I think about the last few years and all that she has overcome, and my heart feels like it could burst. I’m so proud.  There is so much beauty in watching your children walk through what life brings them, the good and the bad, and see them thrive. Yes, there is even beauty in their hard. I’ve always been able to see God bring beauty from ashes out of my own life, but to trust Him to do the same in my girls’ life is a whole new level of trust. I am learning.

When I see hardship mold my girls’ interests into something good, the learning comes easier.

Teens & Knowing Their Interests: Online Guitar Lessons

Photography

Colsie took all of the guitar photos in this post. I love the eye she has for composition and her ability to edit photos is impressive. I have used this gift on the blog several times, and have even employed her Continue Reading…

FAMILY/ FUN/DIY/ Holidays/Parties/ Kids/Family/ Parenting

Creating Space For Teens & Their Friends In Your Home

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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!

 

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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!

 

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Expect Noise

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!

 

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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!

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

Don’t Blink

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.

FAMILY/ Kids/Family/ Parenting

Let Me Tell You About My Todd

amy-todd-winter

Let me tell you about my Todd.

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.

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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.

All is right in her world again.

FAMILY/ Kids/Family/ Parenting/ Spiritual

Saturday Morning Summer Musings

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It’s a slow Saturday morning. I’m sitting in our sunroom, crossed-legged on the hard porch swing with a fly buzzing around my head. It’s hot and muggy, but the cloud cover and breeze in the trees makes me hope for rain and a bit of respite from the heat.

I woke up thinking about the past week, how summer has me frustratingly busy and unable to find time to write a decent post for this blog. Photos need edited and social channels need updated and I love it all but find myself wanting to post like the old days. The days when I would just type my thoughts and put up a photo with dull lighting and finish feeling satisfied instead of relieved.

This blogging turned job thing is an amazing but interesting blessing. I love taking time to give my best, post with excellence and capture beauty through the lens to share it with you. There is something about working hard to produce good content, to push the publish button, share social content and meet deadlines. I love it and cannot believe I get to call it my job.

But I miss this. This just typing away, unedited blabbing, starting a post without an outline or idea of where it will go or end. How pushing publish can give the same therapeutic feeling I get after spending time with a good friend. I miss it so I’m doing it. Thanks for allowing me, my good friends. I plan to do it more often.

Appointments

There is so much to love about this summer! Comparing it to last summer, well, there really is no comparison. Last summer was filled with doctor appointments, tears, illness and fear. This summer is not perfect, but oh what a difference! Doctor appointments do not consist of issues dealing with life or death. There are still appointments, but they are normal and for my teens. Orthodontist for brace tightening. dermatologist to keep teenage acne at bay, dentist for cleanings and optometrist for replacing teen’s lost glasses for the THRID TIME (insert sigh and eye roll here.) Life is still busy and the calendar full, but it is a bearable busy and I’m grasping to hold on to all these fleeting, beautiful moments.

Teen Driver

This holding of moments is intensified because I now have a teen driver who is working all of the time! What a relief it has been for me to have a driver, and a responsible one at that. My Teagan walks out the door daily and I watch her back and wonder when my baby became a beauty that sprouted wings and is soaring. Her summer is spent watching and keeping others safe while lifeguarding in a red tank top with a cross on it, and nannying 3 littles on her ‘off’ days. She is scent of sunscreen, sun-kissed hair in a bun, whistle around her neck, Bible and journal in her bag –just in case she gets a few minutes of quiet. She is laughter with friends often bringing them home unexpectedly to entertain and kick us out of the basement mid-movie so that she can connect and socialize. My baby is beauty and I’m missing her already and she has not even flown away yet.

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Camp

My Middle went last week, took a friend and had a blast meeting more. My Youngest goes this coming week and I am excited for the fun she will have. I’m ready for the longing I will have for her to come home that creeps up about 2 days before she is due. With Oldest working all day and another at camp, I get focused time with the one left. This is a new blessing, a quieter house with just one to love on. I’m looking forward to the week and purposefully kept my calendar as empty as possible.

 

Construction

Everyone should have a Cory in the family. He is my hard-working brother-in-law who teaches during the school year and constructs during the summer. His work is seen all over our home, from the swings in our backyard, to our porch, porch railing, drywall in basement, a new kitchen–the list goes on. Last year he gutted our failing kitchen and created a new one that I smile at daily. I have yet to share it with you all but I will! This year he is tearing down old siding and putting up new. It is a gift to have him around. I learn from watching him, he teaches while constructing, showing by example what quality and hard work looks like. His hammering starts most mornings at 7:30, it is a familiar routine that brings a surprising comfort instead of intrusion.  I sit and have my coffee, toast and journaling/prayer time with the background music of a saw and hammer. It pushes me to start my day and continue on, working hard with a servant’s heart, just like Cory.

 

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Swimming

Grandpa and Grandma have a pool. The are amazingly generous and let the family use it. They have a pool house which is very convenient; we don’t have to intrude with our wet suits into their home. They set up a family google pool calendar which allows us to reserve it and share it with others. This has been going on since my 13-year-old was 3 and I still can’t get used to the gift that is. We’ve made so many memories there, and each summer more are created.

 

Flexibility

I am learning this. I love a schedule and predictability, which is probably why I find comfort in early summer morning sounds of tools. I love knowing what to expect. Summer is always a challenge for me to adjust from a schedule to none, especially now that I am a work-at-home Mom. I’m learning to let go of expectations and roll with the punches. I’m learning that parenting teens means being available when needed but letting go and letting wings spread at the same time. I’m learning there is little to no predictability when it comes to teens and summer.

Today I thought my Oldest would be life-guarding all day and my Middle would be with friends all day & I would have a full day at home to do whatever I want until a family wedding tonight. At the beginning of this post I wished for rain and it came and caused both of my girls plans to change. I stopped this post right in the middle of talking about the family swimming pool to rescue my girl from the farmer’s market crowds and rain. I drove with bedhead and in shorts and my Todd’s t-shirt, my slow morning became fast & off I went.  It might be uncomfortable at times to release my schedule, doing whatever I want, and babes who are becoming beauties, but really, is it? It all depends on my perspective. When I think of what could be and what is, I’m so very thankful. Thankful for life, for family, for summer days that bring sun or rain, and for you–my good friends who let me share about it.

FAMILY/ Featured/ Kids/Family/ Parenting

3 Reasons Why You Should Let Your Teenager Have A Messy Room

Messy-Teen-Room-1

I have 3 teenage girls, and I am super surprised that as a parent, I am at peace with all 3 of them having a messy room.  Does this mean their rooms are always messy? Well, honestly it depends on their personalities. They all 3 eventually get to a point where they can’t stand the mess anymore and give into choosing to pick it up. But that time frame differs for each of my girls, depending on how organized they like to be & how they are wired.  I have been shocked at times to see how long it can take for them to get to the point of picking up their room!

My pastor is the one who is responsible for the peace I have found in just shutting their doors and moving on. I am so glad I was there the Sunday he talked about parenting and gave some practical tips.  I don’t remember much from that sermon, accept the tip that surprised me the most, and that was to allow your teenager to have a messy room.

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3 Reasons Why It is OK For Teens To Have a Messy Room:

 

It Is A Place For Them To Just BE

This was the main reason he gave for letting your teen have a messy room, and the one that really hit home with me.  He said that in this day and age our teenagers are under immense pressure to perform, everywhere they go.  Social media has taken this to the extreme, where teens are constantly feeling the pressure to be ‘on’ & to present the best of themselves to the world. Presenting self authentically in such a public space is something I talk about often with my girls, recognizing it is a hard thing to grasp for adults, much less for a teenager.

I love this tip that my pastor gave, to give teens a space in this world that they can call theirs, where they can totally exhale and be who they are with no pressure to perform. What better place to do this than in their own bedrooms?

Continue Reading…

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