How to Geocache With Kids (an easy guide to getting started to Geocaching at home or on a road trip).Geocaching Intro - screenshot

Before our road trip a few weeks ago, I looked into starting Geocaching. I had heard of it, seen people do it but hadn’t participated in this activity. Since we have always been an outdoor family, it sounded perfect for us. I checked out Geocaching.com and found a wealth of information.

What is Geocaching and what exactly is a Geocache? Simply put, it’s like a treasure hunt. You are given coordinates and maybe even some clues to find it. Geocaching is great for anytime whether you are staying at home or on a road trip. We use the app whenever we have some down time and always seem to find caches close to where we are! When you find the Geocache, there is always at the very least a log inside. Log the date and your name or “team” name and put the cache back exactly where you find it. The fun caches include little trinkets for kids to trade. When Geocaching you also may find a “travel bug” which is a trackable tag that you take from one cache and place it in another so it can “travel”.

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Planning to Geocache while on a road trip is always fun. You can map them out before hand or look at your app as you go. On our recent road trip to California, we looked for Geocaches every time we stopped. It makes bathroom breaks that much more exciting! You can also do it from home, in our neighborhood alone there are at least 6!

What you’ll need:

GPS System or Geocaching app (found here)
Pen
Small little trinkets (see what we have, below)

Here’s the how to on Geocaching With Kids:

  • Open the app to find Geocaches near you.
  • Change your view on the map to “satellite”, this will give you a more accurate view of where to look for it.
  • Click on the closest location and see the description.
  • This is where you will see what it is and any description of what to look for.
  • Look high, low and maybe even buried under some rocks! The Geocaches are meant to be hidden so it may take you a few minutes to find it.
  • Log if you found it or not! Use a printable log (like the one below) and the app to track if you found the Geocache or not.

Want to start a Geocache? Check out these Geocache items on Amazon.com

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We found this one in Quartszite along the I-10, if you go it’s an easy find! Well, notice the camouflage doesn’t make it immediately noticeable but that’s part of the adventure!

Why Geocache?

  • It’s a FUN family activity!
  • It’s FREE! (unless you opt to pay the premium fee).
  • It allows kids to learn navigation skills.

Geocaches can be anything from a small container to a large box to a fake looking log. The picture below shares an Easter Egg that we found inside a light post!

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We keep a Geocache kit in the car with a pen and trinkets to trade. The trinkets are small enough to be traded in the smaller Geocaches as well as the bigger ones.

Geocache trinkets for kids to trade

Going on a road trip? Print this sheet out and Geocache along the way!

Geocache printable journal for kids. Print multiple pages to start a scrapbook of your geocaching adventures!

Get the printable Geocache Journal here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_4LRatnb7Umd3c3czdRVDZTYjA/edit 

Before you get started, what you should know:

  • Geocaching.com and the app are free. There is a premium fee for the app along with a premium membership fee.
  • The app on the phone works perfectly unless you may be out of “cell range”. Try the premium app fee to save an offline list.
  • If you are struggling to find a Geocache, check the hints in the app as well as the activity to see if there are any clues to help!
  • Beware of Muggles ~ people who are not familiar with the Geocaching world who may see you and get concerned or remove the Geocache.
  • The app is great however because your location is determined off of cell towers, you could be within 30 feet of the GPS location. I think the app is a great way to get started but as you continue, you may want to invest in an actual GPS system so you can start tracking off of coordinates directly.

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Looking for more fun things to do this Summer? Check out the Summer  Survival Series hosted by The Joys of Boys!

How to Purchase A Vehicle Cash From A Private Owner

I shared that we recently purchased a truck, cash. I wanted to share the journey we went though because in fact, it was not as easy as we thought. It all started a few years ago when I had a minivan with a car payment attached. A hail storm came through, took my vehicle out in a sense so the insurance paid it off. I was left wondering, do I purchase another vehicle or is there another option. My dad had a Jeep he wasn’t using so I opted to get out of payments for a while and drove the Jeep. My plan was to save money and eventually purchase a vehicle without a payment.

Fast forward a few years and we started saving for a car. I think the hardest thing for me was being diligent with the money we were saving. I drove a vehicle that was a little beat up but I didn’t have payments and it got me to where I needed to go. So by saving money by getting rid of a car payment and driving a vehicle without a payment, allowed us to save and buy a nicer vehicle. We finally were ready to take the plunge into buying another vehicle after saving the most recent tax return and combining it with other funds saved. As you can see above, we purchased a Chevy Avalanche as it was a perfect fit for our family.

A big shoutout goes to my brother. I actually wouldn’t have been able to get through the ordeal without him as he educated me on what to do and went with me to look at the vehicle. I was ready to give up on this guy we purchased from because I felt like it was a repeated run around from him but I learned how to navigate the situation.

How to purchase a vehicle with cash from a private owner (without getting ripped off):

  • Research your vehicle –  Find out which vehicle is best for you and find out any possible issues before purchasing a car.
    • We utilized these sites
      • http://www.kbb.com/ This site will let you know what the value is, what others are selling for in your area, the specs etc. This site also had a customer review tab. See what real people think about that vehicle before you purchase it.
      • http://www.fueleconomy.gov/ Find out what that vehicle gets in gas milage.
      • servicearizona.com Find out if the vehicle has a lien on it by purchasing  a lien motor vehicle check. This site is AZ specific so if you are not in Arizona, look for your state’s department of vehicles site.
      • Carfax.com This is an investment you need to make when purchasing a vehicle that has been pre-owned. This will allow you to check for any accidents, any services reported, vehicle sales etc. Basically it’s a fact checker. If you invest, purchase the unlimited license plate check. Download the app so you can check license plates & VIN #’s on the go.
  • Go to the DMV or 3rd Party to finish the transaction. The DMV is the only one who can clear that title to be sold and make sure there is nothing else wrong with it.
  • Questions to ask a seller before meeting with them:
    • When is the last time the car had maintenance? Do you have the paperwork?
      • This includes tires, oil changes etc.
    • Is the title open and notarized for sale? Are there any liens on the vehicle?
      • This is different than a clear title. What this means is there is no liens on it and they have gone to the DMV to open the title to allow it to be sold.
  • Inspecting the vehicle:
    • I would say one of the best things to do is bring someone who is knowledgable when you go to look at it. Have them do a thorough inspection and to take it on a test drive to see if anything appears to be wrong.

Red Flags:

  • Do NOT purchase a vehicle where they promise to pay the lien after you purchase it.
  • Check for recent work completed on a vehicle such as bondo or paint jobs.
  • Unwilling to meet at a DVM or third party service center.
  • Check engine or other warning lights are on. Even if they promise they took it in and said that XYZ was wrong, do not purchase a vehicle with a warning light on unless you are able to get a diagnostic.

How to negotiate a better price:

  • Before contacting the seller, have your highest price in mind that you wold pay for that vehicle.
  • Always let the seller start with their price.
  • Ask if they are firm on the price but don’t ask for a new amount just yet.
  • After inspecting the vehicle, look for any flaws that may help you negotiate a better price.
  • Start with a lower offer. Don’t start with the price you will pay, go lower and look for their reaction to gauge where they may be willing to go.
  • Take their price and your offer to find a price in the middle.

Other tips:

  • Best time to buy a car? Before the holidays when people are looking for extra cash or are looking to upgrade their vehicles to a newer model.
  • Take your time. Unless you are in an immediate need for a car, take your time to research them and to find the vehicle that best fits your family.
  • Have money saved up for maintenance. Consider having at least $1000 ready to be spent on any maintenance that needs to be done. We had to buy 2 new tires and a battery just within the first week of buying this truck.
  • Calculate how much the car will cost per month by calculating your gas mileage and insurance.
  • Educate yourself on the car you are about to purchase. What normally goes out on them for maintenance? Do you have someone to work on that vehicle if needed?

Saving $$

  • Have a plan. Put money towards your car fund each month with a desired goal amount/date.

There it is, how we purchased our new to us truck (with cash) from a private owner. I didn’t talk a lot about how we saved enough money because it was pretty simple. We just spent within our means and saved what we could so anyone could do it!

How To Buy a Car with Cash & How to Avoid Scams and Lemons

Having a Summer get together? Cool off with this delicious White Summer Sangria recipe. Looking for a red sangria? Check out my recipe here: http://cleverpinkpirate.com/2012/05/28/summersangriarecipe/

White Summer Sangria Recipe

What I like about sangria is that you can pretty much add whatever Summer fruits you have on hand and of course it’s a delicious drink to cool off with.

White Summer Sangria Recipe (Adult Only Version):

White Summer Sangria Recipe

  • 1/2 bottle of white wine (I like Moscato for it’s sweetness)
  • 4 cups of Sprite
  • 1 cup of white grape juice
  • Sliced lemons, limes and berries of your choice

Serve over ice! Here’s a tip, if you are looking at what time of wine to get, the cheaper wines work perfect for this. Walmart has a $3 bottle of wine that is a great fit for Sangria recipes!

White Summer Sangria Recipe

Looking for a kid friendly version? Take 4 cups of Sprite, 4 cups of white grape juice and add the fruit!

White Summer Sangria Recipe

White Summer Sangria Recipe (Kid Friendly recipe too)

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Capital One 360 Tracking Pixel


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This past year has been an emotional roller coaster and it’s all been centered around one thing. Money. Before I get into the nitty gritty of what I am about to share, I should let you know money has never been important to me or so I thought until I looked back on my life. I grew up in a modest household where we didn’t have a lot but we had enough. I grew up knowing that my family wouldn’t need a lot but I struggled with wanting the things I never had. New cars, college education and my own house were just a few things I knew I wanted. What I didn’t plan out was how I was going to get there.

We started young. I got married at 18 and by 20 I had my daughter and by 21 I had bought a house. I was proud that I was able to save money and start our path of growing up. What I didn’t plan on was how I was going to pave that path. Being young, I wanted more. I wanted the nice things everyone else had like the latest technology and trips. We weren’t financially ready for all of that, not one bit. Fast forward a few years and we are over $60K in debt NOT including our house. We were struggling and we couldn’t keep up. I had to revise my mind set and work towards feeling more financially stable.

This past year I have worked hard to pay off the debt I created and I am happy to say 90% of the debt (beyond school loans and home mortgage) is paid!

Here is just a glimpse of my path to financial freedom:

  • No more credit cards. I eliminated the many payments and unnecessary interest and moved to cash. I do have one credit card and that is a Capital One card. This card we use only for emergencies or purchases we know we can pay back to utilize the rewards.
  • Cash for everything. Cash is king they say and it is true. Anytime we are looking at a big purchase, we always ask if there is a cash discount. We paid for the Clever Teen’s braces cash up front and received a discount. We were able to purchase our truck for cash and was able to negotiate a lower price.
  • Living within our means. I know, sounds like common sense right? But even at times where I think it may be within our means, I thoroughly evaluate our income and the amount it will take away from to make sure we are making the right decision.
  • Pay all the debt. I started the year out by pulling our credit reports and making sure we were paying everything off. I started small and continued to work my way down the list for outdated debts.  We actually found errors in our reports as well so we were able to work with the companies to remove these to bring up the credit scores.20140617_065217
  • Being thrifty. It’s no secret that I like saving a penny where I can. I rarely buy anything new unless it’s needed. I scour sites like Craigslist or look at thrift stores if it’s something we need. I also eliminated unnecessary payments for luxuries like trading cable for Netflix. We also use coupons for things like eating out and activities. Making coffee at home has been a life changer as far as saving $$, I’ve brought down that obsession errrr, expense by 85%!20140701_084833
  • Making extra income where we can. While its not steady, we do often sell things on sites such as CL or Offer Up to make a little extra $$$. We use this money for things like vacations or the kids activities.

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I am not only declaring my financial independence to you (and my family of course), but I shared it in the Capital One 360 Financial Independence contest where they are giving away $1776 in cash every day! You can enter here too http://bank360.com/my360

What is your financial independence?

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Capital One 360.

 

 

Last Minute Easy and Quick 4th of July Recipes, Kids Crafts and Decor

4th of July weekend is here! Bring on the fireworks, BBQs and relaxation. If you haven’t planned anything yet but are looking for some last minute 4th of July ideas, you’ve come to the right place. These recipes, kids crafts and decor can be done on 4th of July! These kids activities are perfect to create during your 4th of July party.

4th of July Kids Activities:

Firework Confetti Sticks
http://apumpkinandaprincess.com/2014/05/how-to-make-firework-confetti-sticks.html

Fireworks Ring
http://www.fantasticfunandlearning.com/fireworks-ring-craft.html

Firecracker Straw Art
http://www.craftymorning.com/fireworks-craft-kids-using-straws/

Easy Firecracker Pinatas
http://myfrugaladventures.com/2014/06/easy-firecracker-pinatas-for-kids/

4th of July Paper Lanterns
http://thecraftingchicks.com/2011/06/paper-lantern-kids-craft4th-of-july-style.html

4th of July Scavenger Hunt
http://www.moritzfineblogdesigns.com/2014/06/4th-july-scavenger-hunt-kids

Quick and Easy 4th of July Foods:

4th of July Snack Mix
http://www.glorioustreats.com/2013/06/4th-of-july-snack-mix.html

Cranberry Poprocks Mocktail
http://seevanessacraft.com/2013/06/recipe-independence-day-cranberry-pop-rocks-mocktail/ 

4th of July Berry Trifle
http://www.recipegirl.com/2012/06/20/4th-of-july-fresh-berry-trifles/

Patriotic Ice Cream Sodas
http://www.mostlyhomemademom.com/2013/06/patriotic-ice-cream-soda.html#_a5y_p=1936175

Star Shaped Watermelon Treats
http://liagriffith.com/a-diy-vintage-fourth-of-july-celebration/

Last Minute 4th of July Chocolate Treats
http://laurenconrad.com/blog/2011/07/sweet-tooth-last-minute-4th-of-july-treats/

4th of July Pudding Pops
http://www.whatscookingwithruthie.com/2013/06/21/4th-of-july-pudding-pops/

Chocolate Dipped Banana Split
http://www.iheartnaptime.net/4th-of-july-desserts/

Quick and Easy 4th of July Decor

Flag Pole Skewers
http://asubtlerevelry.com/13-summer-party-hacks

Red White and Blue Flag Mason Jars
http://www.itallstartedwithpaint.com/red-white-blue-mason-jars/

Flag Tealight Mason Jars
http://thriftyvintagekitchen.blogspot.com/2011/08/im-back.html

Free 4th of July Printable
http://anightowlblog.com/2012/06/the-great-paper-mantel-challenge-my-4th-of-july-mantel-2.html

Flag Toothpick Wreath
http://oodlekadoodleprimitives.blogspot.com/2011/05/four-memorial-day-decorations-to-make.html

Sparkle Stir Sticks For Your Drinks
http://blog.hwtm.com/2011/06/easy-creative-4th-of-july-party-ideas/

Free 4th of July Cupcake Topper Printables
http://www.elli.com/blog/fourth-of-july-cupcake-flags/

I hope you enjoyed these last minute Fourth of July ideas! If you are looking for more, check out my Pinterest board below!
Follow Clever PinkPirate’s board 4th of July on Pinterest.

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