Summer Vacation Means Summer Jobs for Kids

girl watering the flowers

It’s summer vacation. Don’t let your kids spend the summer on the couch watching TV. Encourage them to earn their own money and start saving today for things they want tomorrow. Here are six jobs that kids as young as age 10 can cut their teeth on and become young entrepreneurs. Some of them may require a little help and coaching from adults, but that’s part of the experience. Help kids get started with marketing – make and hang signs, go door-to-door, put flyers in mailboxes, post on neighborhood websites, or create ads for neighborhood newsletters.

Do Yard Work
If your kids are old enough to use a lawn mower, then mowing lawns is a great job from spring through fall. The beauty of lawn mowing is that kids can push the mower from house to house! If kids aren’t ready for lawn mowing yet there are lots of other jobs: rake leaves, plant seeds, pull weeds, water flowers, etc.

Open a Lemonade Stand 
Younger kids may enjoy setting up a lemonade stand. If the weather is right (hot!) a lot of passersby on their way home from work or out walking the family dog may be ready for a refreshing beverage. Make sure the table is set up on a safe corner that has some foot and car traffic and they can be in business. If you really want to make some money, sell dog treats for the pups that go by with their owners.

The next three jobs may require some adult supervision when kids first begin them.

Walk Dogs
Be a dog walker. Dogs love going for walks and people who work all day love knowing their four-legged friends are getting outside. This job may be easier to get if the kids have pets of their own that neighbors see them taking care of and tending to. Dogs need to be walked all year round, no matter the weather or the time of year, so this job can grown into a continuous business. And good dog walkers never forget to clean up after their pooches!

Watch Someone’s House
When neighbors go away on a vacation, they often need someone to either feed their pet, water their flowers or pick up their mail while they’re away. A good house sitter is hard to find! It has to be someone trusted. But when your child becomes a favored house sitter, like dog walking, this job can become year-round business.

Be a Mother’s Helper
When kids are too young to babysit, they can get some training and earn some money by being a “mother’s helper.” A mother’s helper makes life easier for moms when they are at home. out a mom with her young kids while she’s also at home. They may play with the kids and keep them entertained while their mom does other chores around the house. They may even be asked to help with simple chores themselves.

The earlier kids start working, the faster their savings and their work ethic will grow. And the good things about these jobs? They are close to home and if your kids get one or two good clients, they will keep getting more business!

Meet First-Time Homebuyers, Carlee and Kasey – Universal Lending #FirstMove

 

First-time homebuyers have a lot on their plate. They are entering a financial world that is unfamiliar to them, they are saving nickels, dimes and dollars everywhere they can, and they often feel overwhelmed by questions for which they don’t have answers.

Carlee and Kasey were no different, but they were lucky. They had Universal Lending loan officer Elizabeth Turra on their team. Check out their story and learn how:

  • they gained the confidence to consider buying a home in a challenging market;
  • they were educated about the process and the difficulties that may arise during the loan process;
  • how they moved ahead with their purchase even when they occasionally got cold feet;
  • and how they learned to trust they were making the right move.

At Universal Lending, we are people helping people achieve their dreams. We work hard to communicate and educate each homebuyer, so they know their first move and all the moves after are the right moves.

Unique Party Games for the 4th of July

Little patriots

We’re celebrating America’s independence in just a couple of weeks. Are you ready? If you’re hosting a barbecue, you may want some ways to have some fun.  Try some of these 4th of July games to spice up your party for children and adults. These games can be played outside or inside.

Red, White and Blue Balloon Pop
Get balloons for all of the kids at your party (adults, too!). Put notes in each balloon. Put them around the party area. When the kids pop the balloons, they get the prize that’s written on the note. Make sure you have enough prizes and balloons for each kid. And if you play this with adults and kids, make sure to separate the two balloon stomps so the prizes are age-appropriate.

Uncle Sam’s Hat
Set up a special table with craft supplies – safety scissors, glue, tape, stars, glitter, construction paper, cotton balls and any other Fourth of July themed craft supplies you’d like to include. Children, teens and adults can make their own Uncle Sam hat. Wear them all day or have a parade to show them off. If you’re looking for a photo for your social media to showcase your Fourth of July holiday, people in their hats will be picture perfect.

America History Trivia
Do you have a backyard full of trivia fans? Get some U.S. history facts and divide trivia buffs into teams or play as individuals. Players can use bells or buzzers to “ring in,” and answer the questions. One person can be a designated “question asker” and another can be the score keeper, or you can take turns.

Independence Day Scavenger Hunt
Get some small Fourth of July themed objects – Liberty Bell, a small Declaration of Independence, flags, mini Uncle Sams and whatever else you can think of. Hide these items inside or outside and create clues that help your guests find them. Let kids work in teams of two or three but hide these items well!

There’s a lot of time between grilling burgers and hot dogs before the fireworks start. Don’t miss a beat. Have fun from beginning to end on this special day. 

Visitors Checking In? Make Your Home Guest-Ready

I'd Like A Trim Please

You never know when a guest may be checking in to your home for a visit, so make sure your house is always guest-ready. It’s easy to be a welcoming host when the doorbell rings by taking a few simple steps today. 

Clear the clutter. For a lot of us our guest room was once our “spare room” or it is still our office. Clear the clutter from the guest room when you know you are going to have visitors. If the guest room doubles your office, put away your files and move your laptop. If you store items in the closet, buy some storage bins and put things in the bins to keep the closet organized and welcoming. Clear out at least half of the closet, and leave plenty of open hangers so your guests can hang their clothes and jackets . Make sure some of the dresser drawers are available, too. Guests are more comfortable when they have a place to store their clothes and other items so they aren’t tossed around in their room or stacked on top of their suitcase.

If you cannot empty any drawers or make room in the closet, get a couple of inexpensive luggage racks so your guests can put their luggage on those and not have to work from a suitcase on the floor. Put an inexpensive hook on the outside of the closet and dangle a few coat hangers on that so your guests have a place to hang up jackets and nice clothes.

Make a guest basket. Fill a basket with everything from travel-sized soaps to snacks to munch on after you’ve gone to bed. Include a few travel essentials: lip balm, lotion, sunscreen, a lint roller and little essentials they may not have brought. If you are feeling extra welcoming, put in some fun snacks, such as granola, bite-sized candy bars or fig newtons. Include a reusable water bottle or glasses so your guests can get water during the night without having to fumble around in the dark kitchen.

Create an online cheat sheet: Make their stay easy by creating a packet ahead of time with the information they’ll need, like your WiFi network name and password, so they can log on whenever they want.

Add soft, low-key lighting. Make sure your guest room has a lamp with soft lighting or a 3-way bulb they can adjust. Soft lighting makes it easier to read before dozing off and makes the room feel more cozy.

Use good sheets. Splurge a little on sheets and a soft blanket. If the mattress is your old one from your youth, it may be time to buy an inexpensive but new mattress that is a little less used. Make the bed look lovely with a throw blanket or pillows, but don’t go overboard on the decorations. Too many throw pillows and guests get flustered trying to make the bed the way you like it.

Put extra pillows and blankets in the closet or on a small table or chair in the corner so your guests can be as comfy as they want.

Provide a fan if the room gets warm, or make sure your guests know how to work the ceiling fan if there is one.

Clear some space on top of the dresser. Don’t clutter the space with family photos or knick-knacks. Leave the space clear so your guests can put their jewelry, books, phone, etc. in a place that’s easy to see. If you do want to put something on the dresser, nothing says “welcome” more than some fresh flowers.

Prep the bathroom, too!

Put out fresh towels, shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, cotton balls, cotton swabs. If your guests forget something, they’ll be glad you thought of it.

Make sure you leave extra toilet paper where they can see it or in the obvious cabinet. No one wants to ask for toilet paper.

Put out a box of tissues, as well, if you did not put one in the guest bedroom.

Are your guests early risers?

Put coffee and tea by the coffee maker or prep the coffee maker and set the timer so your guests can start their day early (or late if you’re up and out before them). Put out some fruit and muffins so guests aren’t forced to root through your cabinets if they are hungry.

Leave a note about some of your favorite early morning walking or jogging paths so they can get out into the fresh air.

It‘s all about your guests. The trick is to make them feel welcome and comfortable. By following a few simple tips, you’ll be able to make sure your guest and you have the visit of a lifetime.

Home Improvement Jobs for the Whole Family

Little girl painting her room

Are you looking for something to do with your kids when “there’s nothing to do,” here are some good home improvement jobs that are good for the whole family – spend time together, educate your kids, AND get jobs done!

What do kids learn from home improvement projects?
It’s more than just a project! It’s an education.

  • How to create budgets;
  • How to shop for what you need and navigate a home improvement store;
  • How to choose tools they need;
  • How to work with them safely.

Here are some fun jobs.

Paint! Paint walls or paint furniture. If the job isn’t super detail-oriented, kids can add to the fun and help you get walls painted sooner. The best thing about painting is that following behind and fixing mistakes is easy.

Garden! Kids love to get dirty, and when is it easier to get dirty than when you’re playing in actual dirt. Younger kids and older kids alike can be great helpers when it comes to pulling weeds, raking leaves or pine needles, or digging holes to plant flowers. They are also great helpers when it comes to watering flowers and other plants. Look around at your yard. This is a great place to bring in their help.

Go solar! Let your kids create a little solar light walkway in the yard. Kids can place these around sidewalks or garden beds and love to watch the lights go on as the sun goes down.

Build! If your child is old enough, he or she may be able to hammer some nails for you, as you work on a fence or deck. You can start the nail by knocking it into the wood and then let your child come by and finish the job. You can also be bold and build equipment storage, bird houses or other things.

Decorate! Are you hanging pictures or re-arranging a room? It’s easy to include them by letting them tell you “a little to the left” or by letting them move some unbreakable and light pieces like books or small paintings, etc.

Craft! Do you need a new bulletin board in the study? Let your kid decorate the border or a small place on the board. Looking for a new pencil holder? A clean can and some stickers can go a long way. Look around at places that a personal kids’ touch can be perfect and let them play.

Not sure where to start? Ask your kids if they have a project they would like to tackle. If it’s something they’re interested in, then getting the job done is easier!

It’s all in the family when it comes to making your house your home. 

10 Dog Hikes that Coloradans and their Best Friends Love

 


Hiker and Dog Sitting on a Rock at Ice LakeAre you and your 4-legged best friend ready to get into gear and get out into the great Colorado outdoors? Grab his leash, grab his water bottle (and yours, too), grab some plastic bags, and get going. Here are 10 of great Colorado hikes that will give you and your hiking companion a taste of what this great state has to offer. Some of these are easy, some are moderate and others strenuous, so make sure you pick the one that is right for you.

Dome Mountain Trail: A strenuous hike near Loveland that climbs to the summit of Sheep Mountain, high above the Big Thompson River and Canyon. The trail is well marked with informative signs that guide you through the plant life, erosions and interesting geology.

Rainbow Lakes Trail: A 2.5 miles out and back trail near Nederland. This hike features a lake and is recommended for hiking from June – October, and is accessible for all skill levels.

Forsythe Canyon to Waterfall and Gross Reservoir: This 2.2 mile out and back trail near Nederland features a lake and waterfall and is accessible for all skill levels. It’s shady, if you’re looking to escape the sun.

North Cheyenne Canon Park: This state park is near Colorado Springs and offers 56 miles of trails, from easy to moderate. Check out the website for a trail guide that can help you decide where to start.

Elk Meadow Park: In Evergreen, Elk Meadow Park is meets the expectations set by its name, providing a likely space to see elk. Your dogs must be leashed at all times for the safety of you, your dog, the elk and other park visitors. This park offers myriad options from easy to difficult.

Alderfer/Three Sister Park: Near Evergreen, you can hike through old stands of Ponderosa Pines, check out landmark rock formations, and view stunning vistas. This park boasts the most trails per acre of any foothills park, with over 15 miles on 1,127 acres.

Red Rocks Trail: The Red Rocks Trail outside Denver is great for a sunrise hike, if you and your dog are early risers. The park includes a cave carved into the sandstone and an interesting geological overlook.

Golden Gate Canyon State Park: Over 35 miles of trails provide something for everyone. Whether you want to spend just an hour or two or make a weekend out of it, you’re going to find stunning views and opportunities for much exercise.

Mount Falcon Park: Hike to an old castle, a lookout tower, and to a site that was intended to be the “Summer White House.” While you’re there, check out gorgeous views of Denver, Red Rocks and the mountains. Close to Denver, in Morrison, Mount Falcon offers this and more.

Three Mile Creek Trail: Be prepared to spend the day with your best friend. This hike, outside of Bailey, is 14-mile trail through a dense deciduous and conifer forest. You’ll cross over a shallow stream several times.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for all Colorado has to offer for hiking. This dog-friendly state makes it easy for you and your best friend to spend time together in the great outdoors. Check out more hikes here and read how to keep you and your dog safe. And have a favorite hike that you and your best friend take? Let us know!

Easy Ways to Save Money in the Kitchen

happy family funny kids bake cookies in kitchen
Trying to save some cash so you can buy a new couch? Start cutting costs in the kitchen! We all know we can save some dollars by skipping the $5 coffees, bringing our lunch to work or by eating in one more evening, but what else? Here are some simple money savers you can start with at home, in your own kitchen.

Put your fruits and vegetables where you see them.
The fruit and vegetable drawers that come standard in most refrigerators seem like a great idea, but rather than keeping your food fresh, they invite you to let your food go bad.Don’t keep the food that spoils fastest in a place where you don’t see it. Put the fruit and vegetables front and center. You’re more likely to eat the food when you see it and you’ll stop throwing spoiled fruit in the garbage.

(Healthful eating tip! Don’t store your apples and oranges in the refrigerator. Put them in a bowl on the counter where you see them and you’re more likely to make eating them a habit.)

Take inventory.
Before you go to the grocery store, see what you have in your pantry. Do you need more pasta? More chicken stock? Use what you have before you have a pantry full of canned peas that you bought because you might be out. Then, keep a list of things you use often and are running low on. Stick to your list when you shop to save time and money.

Grow your own fresh herbs.
Basil, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, oregano – it’s fun to cook with recipes that call for these fresh herbs. But buying them fresh at the grocery store can cost you precious pennies and dollars! Save your money by starting your own fresh herb garden. A few garden pots, some dirt and some plants and you are on your way to fresh goodness at little cost.
Feeling ambitious in the spring and summer? Grow your own vegetables when summer comes around.

Enjoy Meatless Monday AND Thursday.
Cleanse your body and save some money by going meatless two or even three days a week. This is a no-brainer in the kitchen as a money saver, with the cost of meat rising regularly. Your body and your budget will thank you.

Watch your waist by eating less.
You’ll eat less, lose weight and save money by making smaller portions. Why not give it a try? Slow down, enjoy your meal and simply eat less food. You’ll have another meal ready for another day. And you’ll get to watch your waist slim down and your budget beef up.

Practice food fusion.
Don’t go to the grocery store because the leftovers in your refrigerator don’t match. Pull out a pan and start sauteeting what you have. See what fun dishes you can create with your leftovers. This can be fun and tasty, and a money and time saver to boot.

Package food for take out.
Make sure all of your plastic containers have matching lids and keep them stored so you can easily pull a container and its matching lid. The easier it is to store your food, the more likely you are to preserve your leftovers. Plan ahead and pack the pasta you are going to take for lunch the next day in a to-go container. Make a little salad, too, and bring some dressing on the side. In the morning, just grab and go. You can use the same idea for freezing food. If you make soup, spaghetti sauce or the like and plan to freeze it, put it in several smaller containers rather than one large one, so you can thaw only what you want, when you want it.

Don’t grocery shop for one week.
Or grocery shop but only buy perishables or things you run out of, such as milk and vegetables. Otherwise, commit to one week of using what you have in the house to prepare your meals and clear out the pantry. Your creativity may surprise you, you may have some fun, and you’ll definitely save money.

You’re going to love your kitchen once you see the money savings it holds in store for you. You have a home with a kitchen so get cooking!