5 Ways to Save Money on Car Repairs

5 Ways to Save Money on Car Repairs

We all know that car repairs can be expensive. Whether it’s something major like an engine repair or something minor like a flat tire, car repairs can take a serious toll on our wallets. But what if I told you there are ways to save money on car repairs? Here are 5 tips you can use to keep more money in your pocket next time your car needs some work.

Check to see if it’s covered by insurance or your extended warranty

Car repairs are never fun, but they can be especially frustrating when they come unexpectedly and start to eat into your savings. One way to help ease the financial burden of car repairs is to check to see if the repair is covered by insurance or your extended warranty.

Many car insurance policies include coverage for mechanical repairs, and extended warranty companies often cover major repairs as well. If either of these applies to your situation, be sure to take advantage of it and save yourself some money.

Do it Yourself

One of the best ways to save money on car repairs is to do the work yourself. If you’re handy and have some basic knowledge of cars, you can save a ton of money by doing the repairs yourself. There are plenty of resources available online and in libraries to help you troubleshoot and fix common car problems.

Here’s a few tips on how to get started:

1. Do your research:

Before you start taking anything apart, it’s important to do your research and figure out what exactly needs to be fixed. A quick internet search can often provide you with detailed instructions on how to fix common car problems. However, if you’re unsure about something, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and consult a professional.

2. Gather your tools:

Once you know what needs to be done, it’s time to gather the necessary tools. For basic repairs, you’ll likely just need a screwdriver, a wrench, and a few other household tools. However, more complex repairs may require specialized tools that you don’t have lying around the house. In these cases, it’s usually best to leave it to the professionals.

3. Take your time:

Even if you’re confident in your abilities, it’s important to take your time when doing car repairs. Rushing things can often lead to mistakes, which can end up costing you more in the long run. So take a deep breath, relax, and take your time fixing those pesky car problems.

2. Compare Prices

Car repairs can be expensive, but there are ways to get the best deal. One way to save money is to compare prices from different mechanics. By calling around or checking online, you can get a sense of how much the repair will cost. You may also want to ask for a discount if you have more than one car that needs to be repaired.

3. Negotiate

Don’t be afraid to negotiate with your mechanic on the price of parts and labor. Remember, they’re running a business too and they want your repeat business. If you feel like you’re being overcharged, politely explain your concerns and see if they’re willing to lower the price.

Many mechanics are willing to work with customers on the cost of repairs, so it’s always worth asking. You may be surprised at how much you can save by simply negotiating with your mechanic.

DIY Oil Changes

One of the most common (and expensive) services mechanics provide is an oil change. But did you know that you can easily do this yourself? With a little bit of time and effort, you can change your own oil for a fraction of the cost of taking it to a shop. Plus, it’s not as difficult as it sounds- there are plenty of helpful guides available online that can walk you through the process step by step.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to changing your oil in your automobile:

First, you’ll need to gather the necessary supplies. You’ll need fresh oil, an oil filter, a wrench, and a clean funnel. Once you have everything you need, locate the oil drain plug under your car. Place a clean pan under the drain plug to catch the old oil. Use the wrench to loosen the drain plug and allow the old oil to drain out completely.

Next, remove the old oil filter and replace it with a new one. Be sure to use fresh oil when refilling your car’s engine. Once you’ve replaced the old oil with fresh oil, reattach the drain plug and tighten it securely. That’s it! You’ve successfully changed your car’s oil.

Next time your car needs some work, don’t reach for your wallet right away – try one of these 5 tips first and see how much money you can save! From doing it yourself to using coupons, there are plenty of ways to keep more money in your pocket when it comes time for car repairs.

Custom Paint by Number for Adults and Kids

Custom Paint by Number for Adults and Kids

I’m nostalgic to a fault so whenever I see a paint by number kit, I’m immediately transported back to my childhood. Paint by number kits were everything to me as a kid!

I’m definitely not an artistic person when it comes to drawing/painting, so I think I appreciated (And still appreciate) paint by number kits because it allows me to feel accomplished in a way that regular painting usually doesn’t.

Plus, Don’t get me started on how wonderfully it brings about a period of hyperfocus!

What is a Paint by Number kit?

Paint by number kits include a printed outline of what’s to be painted and typically (ideally!) include a brush and little pots of numbered paint. Most paint by number kits are acrylic and oil paints, however I have seen some that use watercolors. Acrylic paints are definitely my preference as they dry quickly and are great for beginners!

Is Paint by Number cheating?

When I brought up these kits to a friend, she mentioned that they always left her feeling like she was cheating. To which I said – HA! While I’m all about celebrating our unique skills and talents, it’s also okay to take a step back and relax. It’s like those paint night parties – is it cheating since everyone is painting the exact same thing, following step-by-step? Of course not!

Our paint by number kids good for kids?

Not only do I still enjoy paint by number kits myself, but they’re actually also really great for kids. Especially right now as the kids are home for summer and need extra activities!

What are the benefits to paint by number kits for kids?

  • Improves hand-eye coordination
  • Builds fine motor skills
  • Encourages creativity
  • Stimulates visualization of abstract concepts
  • Nurtures ability to count and color coordinate
  • Keeps them happy and busy
  • Allows them to feel proud of what they accomplish

Benefits of Paint by Number for adults

Even if your kids aren’t into the activity, that doesn’t mean to toss the notion altogether! Personally, I find paint by number kits to be meditative and help with reducing my stress levels. I find that painting in this way allows me to take the focus off “what am I making” and more toward relaxing.

So the other day when I found out that you could buy a custom paint by number, I knew I had to have it!

Custom Paint by Number kits

The company I went with not only has dozens of pre-made paint by numbers to choose from, but you can order a custom paint by number! I absolutely love the idea of taking a family photo and turning it into a paint by number. I imagine my kids would also very much enjoy a paint by number of their own faces, which would make for a great birthday or holiday gift.

If you do a paint by number, I’m curious – do you start numerically, beginning at one and working up, or do you go by the colors? I’d love it if you would comment below and let me know!

The Most Fun Outdoor Activities in Little Rock

If you are a fan of spending time in the great outdoors, there is so much for you to do in Little Rock, Arkansas. Outdoor recreation can run the gamut from a relaxing picnic with family to adrenaline pumping runs or bike rides.

If you like to relax outside, get your blood pumping, or even just enjoy some quality time outdoors with your family, there are so many options for you in Little Rock. The following outdoor activities in Little Rock will give you and your family or friends lots of fun times to remember fondly:

Pinnacle Mountain State Park

Little Rock is known for outdoor activities, partly because of its location near rivers and mountains, including Pinnacle Mountain. At Pinnacle Mountain State Park, if you are feeling ambitious and adventurous, you can climb to the summit of the mountain itself.

For those who prefer not to literally climb a mountain, they can enjoy hiking, biking, and kayaking at Pinnacle Mountain State Park. If you are looking for an outdoor activity for the whole family, Pinnacle Mountain State Park also has a playground for the kids. Little Rock is unique in being the state’s capital and most populous city but also having a state park right on the edge of the city itself.

Moss Mountain Farm

If you are looking for something different to do outside, consider a tour of Moss Mountain Farm, which consists of the home and gardens of famous horticulturist P. Allen Smith. The gardens are done in the English style, and bring a gorgeous change to the typical Arkansas countryside.

There are occasional tours where the owner himself speaks. In addition, lunch is offered, but you do need to book in advance as spaces fill fast. This is certainly a unique experience at lovely gardens that focus on sustainability.

Parks, Parks, Parks

Little Rock is also known for its number of parks. If you want to spend some quality time outside, there is no shortage of parks in Little Rock to enjoy. At Riverfront Park, kids can enjoy playgrounds, and there is also a sculpture garden, plus the actual “little rock” that gave the city its name.

At Two Rivers Park, you can enjoy flat, paved hiking and biking trails, wildflower meadows, and amazing views of Pinnacle Mountain. At Wildwood Park for the Arts, you can enjoy strolling through the manicured gardens to Swan Lake. There are also dozens of other parks in the city to visit, and if you find that you want to relocate to fully enjoy all of the parks that the city has to offer, there are plenty of Little Rock houses for sale.

If you love the outdoors, Little Rock, Arkansas is the city for you. From adrenaline-pumping mountain climbing to relaxing strolls through gardens or along park trails, there is some outdoor activity for everyone. Plan to enjoy some of the natural beauty that Little Rock has to offer on your next visit, or even plan to stay.

Best Banana Bread Recipe

Best Banana Bread Recipe

I’m not one to spend much time in the kitchen, but I will not hesitate to tell you that I have figured out the world’s best banana bread recipe. Through much trial-and-error, I’ve finally created a banana bread recipe that will without fail result in the most moist, delectable, can’t-stop-eating-it banana bread you’ve ever had. In fact, I’m inhaling an incredible slice as I write this and thinking thank goodness I know how to get paid to lose weight, because I literally can’t stop eating this banana bread.

Best Banana Bread Recipe

This banana bread recipe calls for some pretty specific steps. Toy with them if you must, but if you want the best banana bread, you need to follow this recipe closely. I set out my eggs and butter the night before if plan on baking in the morning. This recipe calls for three mixing bowls, beaters, a sifter, measuring cup, tsp/TBS measuring, and a loaf pan.


  • 3 ripe bananas + pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs (room temperature because we don’t bake with cold ingredients!)
  • 1 stick of butter (again – room temperature)
  • 2 tsp Penzey’s Cake Spice – I’m not affiliated with Penzey’s, but believe me when I say this spice is an absolute MUST! Don’t try just doing cinnamon if you want the BEST banana bread.
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 TBS almond milk (regular milk is fine, too)
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Sugar topping (if desired)

  • 2 TBS brown sugar
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 1 TBS water

Preheat over to 325. Mash your bananas in a bowl with the Penzey’s cake spice and a pinch of salt. I like to use my beaters to mix this up well. Let this sit for 5-10 minutes. I usually do this and then get the rest of my ingredients measured out and ready.

In a separate bowl, cream together your sugar and butter until smooth. Save your butter wrapper to butter your loaf pan. Add in your 2 eggs and mix until combined. Add in your splash of vanilla and give it a quick mix. Add in bananas and your tablespoon of milk. Mix until combined.

In another separate bowl, mix together your 2 cups of flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp salt.

Add wet to dry and mix until combined. I recommend using a rubber spatula to really get in there, as the flour tends to hide in pockets sometimes.

Butter your loaf pan well and pour in the batter. Bake 65-70 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool (if you can!) before cutting into it.

Banana Bread Topping

I also really like making a sugar drizzle to go on top. You can do this quickly by melting 2 TBS butter in a microwave safe mug then stirring in 2 TBS of brown sugar and drizzling over. If you prefer to do it on your stove top, I like to add in a tablespoon of water at the end for an easier drizzle.

It’s hard to say whether this or my overnight french toast is my family’s favorite, but for me? This is truly the best banana bread recipe and if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to grab another slice.

World's Best Banana Bread Recipe

Best Spooky Bedtime Books For Kids Who Love Scary Stories

Best Spooky Bedtime Books For Kids Who Love Scary Stories

My kids absolutely love scary stories, even at bedtime! They’re in first and second grade, so while we’re still very mindful about what’s read to them before bed, they love spooky books. Both my husband and I grew up with the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books. If you’ve been on my site at all, you’ll quickly realize we love Halloween just a wee bit. While our kids love spooky books too, we didn’t want to traumatize them with the Scary Stories series, as it’s for far older kids.

Best Spooky Bedtime Books For Kids Who Love Scary Stories

We always make it a priority to read to the kids before bed, and so we’ve accumulated quite a few kids’ horror books. Scouring both Amazon and the Scholastic book order for frightening fare is just second nature.

The following are our favorite spooky bedtime books for kids who love scary stories but who are too young for actual scary stories. These are the books that are on constant repeat at bedtime, with the worn covers and dog-eared pages. I’m certain your own children will enjoy these spooky bedtime books.

Disclaimer: I’m an Amazon affiliate and the following links may be affiliate links through which I can earn commission should you make a purchase.

Scary books for younger kids

When Halloween starts to creep around, our nighttime book schedule changes to a spooky theme. Some of our favorites from when the kids were younger are still in rotation today. These are fun books with just a tinge of spookiness, that even littles can enjoy.

The Scary Book by Joanna Cole

There is another book out there also called “The Scary Book” but it’s not this one. Admittedly, this is an older title that doesn’t appear to have any newer printings, but you can still find it online.

The stories are not significantly scary – many are cute actually, and these are classics you probably read as a kid. Regardless, they still hold up and your kids will love them, too.

See on Amazon

We’re Going on a Ghost Hunt

Who doesn’t love a ghost hunt? Structured like the classic “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” book (and others like it), this is a fun, atmospheric Halloween story. The pictures are big, beautiful, and equally fun for kids in preschool into middle school.

The repetitive nature of the sentence structure is really good for early readers, too. My daughter loved this book when she was in kindergarten, as it gave her a fun way to practice her reading.

See on Amazon

Ghosts in the House!

With big, cute pictures and bright black-and-orange coloring, this was a favorite when our kids were younger. A young witch has a ghost problem and, instead of being scared, solves it herself. It’s perfectly Halloween-themed, cute, and quite a bit of fun.

See on Amazon

The Little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid Of Anything

This one is a classic – if you’re around my age, it was probably a library favorite. I remember having a copy that had the hardcover hanging off, but I still made it work. I feel certain that your children will love it as much as mine do (and as much as I did, too!) She swallowed a fly, and some coal, and a ton of other things, so it should be obvious that this little old lady isn’t afraid of anything. In this book, she proves it by taking a spooky walk through the autumn woods. A great addition to any “Little Old Lady” collection, but perfect for the spookiest time of year as well.

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Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

We love this book because it’s perfect for two seasons – we read it as Halloween approaches and again during Hanukkah and Christmas. It’s got the perfect mix of a compelling story and, well, goblins! The illustrations are some of my daughter’s favorites, as they’re not the cartoony type that you normally see in children’s books.

See on Amazon

Scary books for reading along

If you’re looking for creepy books for first graders, or those who are learning to follow along, what follows should be perfect. They’re spooky but not so, and they match early reading development perfectly. Some of these were my kids’ first stories they read by themselves (we’re a spooky family, what can I say?)

Short Scary Stories To Read Together

These stories are just perfectly creepy and designed to be read with mom or dad. They’re wonderfully illustrated as well, and encourage recognition of words and sounds for early readers. Older kids, they’ll be able to read these stories with little difficulty and without scaring themselves too much (just a bit!)

See on Amazon

Bone Soup

I love the illustrations on this one, probably because I grew up with Nightmare Before Christmas. The story is cute and extremely atmospheric for Halloween; my kids love it. Finnegan the skeleton travels across the land with his spoon and bowl, always looking for something new and delicious to eat, which leads him to a new place for a Halloween feast. You and your kids will love this spooky but sweet story.

See on Amazon

Creepy Pair of Underwear

Want to spook your six and seven-year-olds and make them laugh? Read a book about creepy, glow-in-the-dark undies. They’re going to have a great time with the Halloween fun and underwear-centric jokes in this classic. If you’re looking for a book with humor, Halloween spirit, and bunnies (with creepy undies), this is a perfect choice.

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Ten Timid Ghosts

Like other classic children’s books, this one follows a numeric formula that makes it an easier read for kids. As the witch takes over the ghosts’ house, she gets increasingly crafty trying to scare them away. But after a while, they realize it’s up to them to save Halloween and their home. It’s fun, cute, and your kids will have a blast noticing all the small, hidden details in every picture.

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Room on the Broom

This is probably my daughter’s favorite book of all time and close to one of mine! If you’ve not read this book, it’s an ABSOLUTE MUST BUY…like right now. Stop reading and just get it. While it’s not strictly a Halloween book, it’s got some spooky-season themes that are a ton of fun. The rhyming scheme is easy to learn and helps foster reading ability as well and the illustrations are timelessly wonderful. It’s a truly fun book that’s sure to become a family favorite.

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Big Pumpkin

Last Halloween, the witch planted a pumpkin to make a pumpkin pie, but now it’s enormous and she can’t move it. My son loves how this story builds on the input of each spooky character trying to help the witch resolve her pumpkin problem. The illustrations and story are both classics and I love this book just as much now as I did when I was a child. I also really love the theme of teamwork throughout!

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Scary stories for second graders

These books are getting into more frightening territory. The happy witches and smiling pumpkins are gone, replaced by actual horror and longer stories. Some of these you might remember from your childhood, and others are newer ones we’ve discovered recently. Regardless, these scary books are perfect for second graders and older kids who are reading on their own.

Of course, they might want to read them with you, too, though they may not admit it.

In a Dark, Dark Room

One of the best spooky story anthologies that exist, In a Dark, Dark Room was one of my favorites as a kid. You probably remember the story of the girl with the green ribbon around her neck; it’s classic kid reading material. That story along with many others sits in this book to tingle your spine and make you shiver. Be sure to come back next Halloween, as I’m definitely planning the green ribbon costume to fit my frugal Halloween needs.

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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

You surely thought these stories were going to be on this list, didn’t you? The illustrations alone are enough to evoke nightmares in even the bravest of souls. The boxed set comes with all three spine-chilling books, which is great because once you finish one, you’ll want to go to the next immediately. These books are the foundation of scary childhood literature.

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Took: A Ghost Story

This is easily one of the best children’s books I’ve ever read; it’s atmospheric and the story builds tension masterfully. My second grader can read it quite easily on his own, too, which makes it a great read-alone book that won’t freak them out too much. If your child loves scary stories and is good at reading alone, Took is a great choice.

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Haunted Kids: True Ghost Stories

I have to preface this entry by saying this suggestion comes from my husband, who said this book terrified him as a child. The fact that the stories are “true” adds a layer of “this could happen to me” which makes things even spookier. Since it’s told from the point of view of the kids who experienced the hauntings, it makes them relatable and perhaps more believable.

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Out to Get You

I love these story collections but unfortunately, a lot of the ones in the last 10 years or so try too hard to be Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Not so, with this one; Out to Get You has unique, wonderful spooky stories that thrill. I highly recommend this scary book for middle-schoolers to read by themselves, but it’s also fun to read along with your kids.

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Scary stories are a childhood favorite

Everyone loves to be scared – it’s a wonderful little thrill. Kids, in particular, seem to relish being spooked, when they know they’re safe. These are some of my favorite scary stories for kids, and while it’s not an exhaustive list, I think you and your children will be pleasantly surprised and scared.

Do you have a favorite spooky bedtime book that you love that I missed? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!