The days are getting longer and the evenings are lighter, but not yet terribly warm. With the May holiday weekend on our doorstep, I know that many of us wonder what we can do in the evenings when we’ve put our kids to bed. Before my blogging days, I used to find the evenings quite frustrating, either spending them reading or watching TV, then suddenly, my evening became awash with new people and friends on the Internet and lots of things to occupy my time.
Having a reasonable Internet connection does make a difference to anything we do, and although ours is not good by today’s standards, it’s positively lightening in comparison to the dial up I had to suffer just a few years ago. Perhaps, one day, superfast will make it around here.
With kids, we usually end up stuck to the house, unless we can find good babysitters, or a willing relative or two, but it’s just not that easy to sort out, especially at short notice.
I’ve had a look around the Internet for things that look interesting and fun, as an alternative to reading and watching TV.
1 – Scrapbooking
I know some of my readers are well into scrapbooking and it’s something we’ve only just begun to do. For us, it’s more usually called an adoption story book, but it’s scrapbooking all the same, where we plan to end up with a pictoral trail of my kids journey through life, from birth and adoption, right through to adulthood. My boys aren’t exactly the most interested in preparing things, so I do plan to get all the pictures and information together so that they can decide for themselves how to put it into simple formats.
There are plenty of online websites dedicated to scrapbooking and tips to do it well, so it’s easy enough to find good information to get started. You don’t need to spend a fortune either, as images glued to sheets of paper put into a plastic wallet does fine on a budget.
2 – Start Your Own Blog
Have you ever fancied trying your hand at blogging? If you have, you’ve nothing to lose by giving it a go. We were all new at one point and we all started out with zero readers or followers. It takes time to build up an audience and most of my readers come through search engines these days, but I do have a nice group of loyal followers who’ve stuck with me over the years. I love having them around and as a busy sandwich carer of children and elders with dementia, it’s often a lifeline that has kept me sane.
If you want to blog, pick what your favourite thing is. You might be in the throws of parenting, you might like food, you might even get an interest in scrapbooking and take it further. Whatever you choose to start off with, make it something you enjoy, so that you can sustain it over the long term. Your blog will grow and evolve over time. There are free options on WordPress and Blogger, so you can start off on the cheap while you decide if blogging is for you. If you’re sure, and you want to fully own and control your content, then simply buy a domain and some webspace and install your chosen blogging software.
3 – Make Christmas Presents
Yes, I really did mention the C word so early in the year. To make your presents takes time, and you could always use make birthday presents too. We tend to make most of the presents we give to other people at Christmas time, especially for teachers as it saves me a fortune and they appreciate getting something made specifically for them.
The gifts might not be perfect, but they mean something to the people receiving them.
Last years presents were mainly jewellery for friends, family and teachers. We made them from resin and used leather and silver as chains for most pendants made for family, with cheaper options for teachers. You can find out how we made them here.
4 – Make Your Own Games or Crafts
The options are endless with this. We can make our own versions of most games, but some that I do quite like are the DIY instructions for nifty things on one of the bigger bingo sites.
Known as bingo crafts, these are really easy to do at home. With some glitter, glue and buttons, you can make some lovely items. They’re easy and fun to do, from Bingo Ball Jewellery, a Bingo Snow Globe, Personalised Bingo Cards, or even make a Bingo Hamper for picnics.
5 – Get Meal Planning
Seriously.. This is one activity that I really need to get to grips with. I know it can save money by not having waste food in the house and you have the benefit of knowing exactly what you want to order from the shops every week. We’d all like to spend less money at the tills, and planning is one of the few ways to do this sensibly.
Netmums have some great meal planning downloads, including a six week meal planner you can download and use at home. I’ve just finally downloaded mine, so I need to be moving with this. One of my goals this year is to reduce my monthly food spending by around £50. I am hoping that meal planning will see me though with it.
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