Boy Scout Camp & Disabilities

Last week the boys and I got to experience Boy Scout Camp at Camp Rockefeller for the first time together. It was enjoyable, yet hard.

VERY HARD.

But also very fun.

Boy Scout Camp - Camp Rockefeller - 2017

We started out at a camp site half a mile away from the activities which meant hauling Losh in his chair down a bumpy, slightly hilly, gravel road (basically around this lake pictured above). The gravel wasn’t packed tight and it felt like pushing him through sand. If you guys have ever pushed a stroller through rough terrain like sand then you can only imagine what it felt like.

Repeat a couple times a day and by day two my body was physically exhausted. Not only that, but they decided to do a hike on day two!

Camp Rockefeller - Camp Site
Our first camp site at Camp Rockefeller – Typical camp site found on the reservation

The camp director and a few other people ended up feeling sorry for us and invited us to move to a handicap accessible site. Not only was it closer to the activities and we didn’t have to hike half a mile to get there, it was also paved and even had an electrical outlet.

Hello, phone charger!

Reminder: Tell them ahead of time next year we need to be placed in this site!

Camp Rockefeller - Handicap Accessible Site
Camp Rockefeller – Handicap Accessible Site

While there, the boys participated in different activities to help them earn rank and merit badges. Kaia worked on the First Aid Merit Badge and also worked on Second Class and First Class rank requirements. He was supposed to do the Swimming Merit Badge, but had to work on passing the swim test first. He didn’t pass it until the final day.

Kaia - learning about First Aid
Kaia – learning about First Aid

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get many pictures of Kaia because I stayed with Losh nearly the entire time as his helper. Kaia had a blast and is looking forward to camp next year. Since it was our first time at Boy Scout camp, we learned a lot and know how to make it more enjoyable for him next year – like bringing a bicycle to make travel across the reservation easier.

Kaia - learning how to use tools
Kaia – learning how to use tools and make lashings

Losh worked on Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class requirements which included first aid. He tried swimming once, but didn’t enjoy it, and was really able to participate anyway. The night before we left for camp, he was in the ER and diagnosed with a UTI. Despite running fever those first couple of days and feeling miserable, he worked hard and didn’t want to sit out any other activities.

He ended up spending a lot of time going to the medic’s office because his Mickey button (feeding tube) started getting a yeast rash that spread down toward his waist band. The combination of heat, humidity, and antibiotics was not good for him.

Losh - learning how to tie knots
Losh.. not feeling well but learning how to tie knots

Losh had a great camp counsellor who didn’t let on to how nervous he actually was. He had never worked with a child like Losh before and was a little panicky and doubting his own abilities to teach Losh. He was also concerned about offending Losh or myself. He did an excellent job and Losh loved having him as a teacher.

Losh - learning about orienteering
Losh and his amazing camp counsellor learning about orienteering.

This is the third time I have accompanied one of my children to an event like this. Sometimes I feel a little awkward in these situations. I was there solely to help Losh, and didn’t want his counselor to think I was doubting his abilities to teach or anything like that. I just know that Losh requires extra help with certain things like fine motor skills and help pushing himself across rough terrain or long distances.

The other children tried to help push him a couple of times, but ended up getting the wheelchair stuck after only a few feet each time. There really is a trick to doing it right and since I’ve had lots of practice it is just easier for me to do it.

Fairy forest - Camp Rockefeller
One of the easy trails at camp. Many others are steep and rocky.

Losh also had a blast at Boy Scout camp and is already planning which activities and merit badges he wants to earn next year. As with Kaia, we learned a lot and know what to bring to camp next time to make it easier.

Overall, the scouting program does a great job of including people with disabilities and both of my boys enjoy being scouts. They are working their way to being Eagle Scouts. I highly recommend getting your boys involved in scouting, even if they have no desire to reach Eagle rank. The life skills and lessons they learn are worth it!

If you are interested in watching our vlog from that week, check it out on our YouTube Channel: Aduke Schulist

Do you know any Eagle Scouts?

Are your kids attending summer camp?

Laundry Room Reveal – DIY Makeover

Laundry Room Reveal

Has it really been four months since I started my laundry room makeover? Yikes! I had intended on having it done a long time ago, but I guess life happened.

The good news is I have been working my booty off these last couple weeks and finished not only the laundry room, but I re-did my bathroom as well.

Today, I’m sharing the laundry room reveal. The bathroom reveal will come later, so keep an eye out for that.

If you remember, my plan was to get some baskets, paint the wall, get some art work, add a mirror and hooks and figure out a new shoe storage system. While I’m not 100% finished, I am done enough to call it for now.

DIY Laundry Room Makeover

I still need to figure out a new shoe cubby system and paint the trim, but otherwise it’s finished!

The Before

Here’s a reminder of what it looked like before:

Laundry Room Before Makeover - Clutter

My laundry room just so happens to be the entry way to my house (or at least the one that EVERYBODY uses), so company seeing this when they first walked in was embarrassing. That is also the reason I wanted to do this room first.

Laundry Room Makeover - Before

It was a cluttered mess. There was no organization and a lot of things that just didn’t belong in there. The first step was to get rid of all the clutter and items that didn’t belong.

Messy Laundry Room - Before Makeover

I debated what color I wanted to paint it. I got the baskets first, so the color had to match the baskets. When I found the art work and hooks at Big Lots, the choice was made easier. I found the paint pre-tinted at Wal-mart.

The Cost

My budget was between $50-$75. The majority was to go towards obtaining baskets. I found those as Dollar Tree and purchased around 20.

Dollar Tree Baskets for Laundry Room

I found the hooks at Big Lots. They were $8 for a package of 3. I purchased two packages.

Anchor Hooks from Big Lots - Mud Room Entryway

The “Joy is Always Possible” sign also came from Big Lots and was around $10.

Joy is Always Possible - Laundry Room Artwork

The full budget breaks down as follows:

Baskets $20
Mirrors $10 ($5 each at Wal-Mart)
Hooks $16
Paint $20
Artwork $10

Total $76

I was slightly over budget, but that is okay because I used the extra paint to do the bathroom. I suppose you could technically take off half the cost of paint making me under budget.

The Laundry Room Reveal

I’m super pleased with how well it turned out. Remember, I still have to finish the trim, so imagine that done in white. I also want to find or build a new shoe cubby that is shorter than the current one. It will sit right under the mirrors and probably be painted white as well.

Laundry Room and Mud Room Combo DIY Makeover

The shelves are now organized and contain the essentials, as well as a few “extras”. My clutter is neatly contained and not falling out of every nook and cranny.

Laundry Room Reveal - DIY Makeover

I am ready for guests to arrive now and be greeted with this sight instead of the horror that was the before.

Organized and Decluttered Laundry Room Makeover

Does your laundry room look like my before or after? 

10 Free Money Management Printables

10 Free Money Management Printables

Raise your hand if you live debt-free…

Notice me over here in the corner with my hand hidden away behind my back. Yeah, that’s right. I have debt.

Student loans make up about 99% of my debt, but creditors don’t care. Debt is debt to them. Because I have plans for my future, I’ve been working on getting rid of my debt. I’ve paid off half of my non-student loan debt in the last year. I credit a majority of that to budgeting.

I use google sheets for my bill and expense tracking. It’s easy, convenient, and I can do it on the go, anywhere, anytime. Previously, I used a printable binder. Both have their advantages. I still store receipts and such in a binder, but as far as tracking expenses and managing bills, I do it online.

If online isn’t your thing, then you are in luck. Here are 10 free money management printables to add to your budget binder.

Free Money Management Printables to Help You Budget

1. Budget Binder Cover (+ more)

You need a binder, right? Abby from Just A Girl And Her Blog has a great budget binder cover (and some filler sheets too). There are plenty of other cover options available, but I’m a big fan of this one. Find one that you like to make using it fun.

2. Budget Binder

Kelli breaks her binder down a little differently, but has everything you need to get started budgeting. Kelli even has a few extra pages available such as Christmas Gift Planner worksheet and an Event Planner Budget worksheet.

3. Password and Transaction Trackers

Included in this family binder is a debt tracking worksheet. I highly recommend adding one of these to your budget binder. Jenn has also created some printables to track passwords, and automatic transaction schedules.

4. Budget Templates

Frugal Fanatic has her budget templates available in a digital format. She offers these in a monthly or yearly package. She also has a 2017 budget binder available with bill tracking, calendars, and everything you need to get your financial future in order starting today.

5. Savings Plan

If saving is a part of your budget, check out this 52 week saving plan. All you have to do it store the money away and tick off a box. It’s super simple, yet will help you reach your goals. When you finish this worksheet, you will have $1,378 dollars in savings.

6. Bill Pay Worksheet

This customizable bill pay worksheet allows you to input your bills before printing and helps you keep track of what has been paid. Just tick a box and never stress over whether or not you paid a bill.

7. Printable Cash Envelope

Queen of Free has a sweet bonus with her monthly budget and expenditure printables. She also offers a printable cash envelope. These envelopes have great quotes on them to inspire us to be better stewards of our money.

8. Debt Snowball

If you are just starting your debt snowball, this worksheet is a must. She also has a cute debt thermometer allowing you to see a visual of your debt being paid off. Simply color in the thermometer as you pay off more and more debt and watch as things start heating up.

9. Weekly Ledger

This one is one of my favorite budget binders. It’s beautifully designed, making budgeting less of a chore. I also like this one because Marie has included a weekly ledger which helped keep me on track with those impulse purchases.

10. Meal Planning Printable

Technically not a budget sheet, but without a meal plan, you will find yourself spending more than needed. I’ve been using a weekly or monthly menu plan for my family for years and it helps me cut a lot of costs in the kitchen. There is a monthly or weekly meal planning printable available to help make your dollars stretch.

What are some ways that you make budgeting fun? 

Day Out at the Outlets of Little Rock

 

This post has been made possible by the Outlets of Little Rock. Compensation has been provided for my time and social media influence. All opinions are my own.
Day Out at the Outlets of Little Rock

There are two things I love: Shopping and Starbucks! Luckily, the Outlets of Little Rock has both. They opened up in late 2015 with over 50 stores to choose from. Over 50 stores y’all! Today, I got to go shopping with some fellow bloggers and enjoy delicious treats from a variety of shops.

Outlets of Little Rock

We made our way around the stores, collecting goodies and filling our bellies as we went. I think I added about 5 million things to my Wishlist. This pair of shoes was one of them.

I would die for this shoe from Corkys Footwear

Others stops included Tommy Hilfiger, Corky’s Footwear, and Beef Jerky Outlet. I had no clue they even made Kangaroo jerky! We tasted different kinds of Jerky

Kangaroo Jerky from Beef Jerky Outlet

Sweetness Overload

One of my favorite stops was the Lindt store where we learned how to use our 5 senses to enhance our chocolate experience. I thought I already knew how to enjoy chocolate, but they helped me really enjoy it.

Lindt Five Senses Demonstration

Starbucks spoke my love language by providing drinks and samplings to the bloggers. I went with my typical Starbucks order of a Caramel Macchiato.

Caramel Macchiato

Giving Back

The Outlets are getting the community involved in different ways. In February, they hosted a Wish-A-Thon to raise money for Make A Wish children, and served Coffee with Cops in January. Coming up on April 22nd is a Food Truck Festival. This is a great way to get your grub on and support a cause. Some vendors are Black Hound BBQ, Eat at Eric’s, and Cypress Knee Food.

If you are shopping for a gift for somebody, the Outlets of Little Rock is the place to go. They seriously have something for everybody. I can’t wait to go back with the kids.

 

Best Reads Of 2016

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In 2016 I set a goal to read 60 books. I figured at 1-3 books per week it was totally doable.  I forgot the fact that I read somewhat fast. I completed 197% of my goal. That’s 118 books. Nearly double my goal. Oops!

Here are some of my best reads of 2016 in no particular order

Best Reads of 2016 by Aduke Schulist

Joe Pickett Series by C.J. Box

I judge books by their covers and when I picked up the third book in the Joe Pickett series by C.J. Box, I was intrigued. Joe Pickett is a game warden who lives in Wyoming with his family. This series follows him as he investigates different crimes that have been committed in his area. I ended up getting hooked on this series and read every single one that I could get my hands on. I hear there is a new one and I can’t wait to read it.

The Call by Peadar O’Guilin

When it is your turn to be called, will you be ready? Nessa, the protagonist of The Call trains along with her classmates for the inevitable; to be called. She only has 3 minutes to save her life and herself from the Sidhe. Will she survive? I can picture this book being made into a movie. I passed it onto Kaia when I was done, and he loved it.

The Nice Girl Syndrome by Beverly Engel

I tend to be a pushover, so this book spoke to me and what I wish to become. While I haven’t been in an abusive romantic relationship, I have been emotionally and mentally abused and I feel like I am constantly being manipulated. This book helped me find out why and learn more about myself in the process. I definitely learned some tips on how to stand up for myself.

The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brook

The Bunker Diary is another one I passed onto Kaia when completed. I have never been one to read the ending before I get there, and this book made me want to. Instead, I read non-stop and finished it in one-sitting. It was addicting! I was not expecting the ending. It’s one that you must read yourself.

13 Hours by Mitchell Zuckoff

Want to know what really happened during the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attack? Read this book! The inside knowledge and details given from those who were there answer so many questions surrounding the attack.

Five by Ursula Archer

This book has a treasure hunt with a twist. When a lady is found murdered with coordinates tattooed on her feet, Detective Beatrice Kaspary begins a mad rush trying to find all the body parts to complete the “cache” and find the killer. I liked that Five contained geocaching, but it was a little gruesome.

This completes my best reads of 2016. As you can see, I have a pretty eclectic taste in books. Have you read any from this list?

What were some of your favorite books from 2016?