Lunch for school can get expensive, especially if your child is paying for it in the cafeteria. Sometimes you need to think outside the [lunch]box to keep your kids interested in bringing their lunch to school rather than buying it. This list of blogs and websites offer a treasure trove of creative ideas that take you far beyond plain old PB&J.
Fun, handmade toys with a personal touch are easier to pull off than you might think. Our magic ingredient? Cardboard. Even if you're not crafty, all you need is a large box to make a cardboard car your kid will love!
Luis, one of our sons' best friends, has decided he wants to be a guitar player. Unfortunately, he refuses to practice! "He knows the basic how-tos," his mom Lupe told me, "but I feel like I'm throwing money away to pay for lessons, when getting him to practice is always a fight." This got me wondering about low-cost alternatives to expensive music lessons. (Of course, if your child does practice, there's no substitute for a good teacher!)
If, like Luis, your guitar student already knows the basics, then turn to the internet for free videos on intermediate guitar skills. One of our favorite video sites, Howcast.com, has an entire list of videos about playing the guitar (with a few "air guitar" and "Guitar Hero" lessons thrown in). Over on the website for Gibson brand guitars, you can search by beginning, intermediate, and advanced lessons, and they also have videos for drums, banjo, piano, and more."Learn to Play the Guitar: A Step-by-Step Guide," which contains a book and DVD. It's currently being sold for the ridiculously low price of $8.95 on bn.com! (Buy it when you have a bunch of stuff to get at the site, because if you spend $25 you won't have to pay shipping.)
Most musicians I know first took up the instrument so they could play their favorite songs. Finding out how to play well-known tunes is pretty easy, as long as you're familiar with the rhythm of the song already. Look online to find tablature--a list of the chords in a particular song. You can go directly to sites like Guitaretab.com or Guitartabs.cc, or visit google and search for the name of the song or artist and the phrase "guitar tab". If your guitarist get caught up on some of the chords, click here to get a free guitar chords e-book when you subscribe to a guitar-playing newsletter.
Hope that helps, Lupe! With so many cheap options, I'm beginning to think I should take up the guitar myself! ;)