About Ashley

Ashley is very happily married and the mother to a beautiful little girl and handsome little boy. She is the main voice behind Embracing Homemaking.

How to Curb Sensory Overload

When you’re faced with raising a child who has sensory issues, it’s no easy feat to avoid all meltdowns. With that being said, you can find ways to curb sensory overload by making small adjustments to your household and the daily routine for your child. Today I wanted to share a few tips on how to curb sensory overload so that you and your child can start to have more days without meltdowns.

How to Curb Sensory Overload

Understand Sensory Overload

This will take some hard work on the effort of parents and caretakers for a child who suffers from sensory sensitivities. Take time to understand, make a note and evaluate what puts your child into sensory overload. Once you understand what can put your child into a sensory overload meltdown, then you’ll be better equipped to adjust things in day to day life to accommodate your child’s needs.

Reduce Visual Stimulation

Sometimes too much movement or having too many things going on at once will put a child into sensory overload. Do your best to minimize visual stimulation around the home and other places that your child frequents. Consider lighting as a visual stimulation, make sure your home has softer lighting and isn’t too bright for your sensitive child.

Lower Noise Levels

Often time’s children who suffer from sensory overload are more apt to hear every noise around them. Learn to minimize and lower noise levels for your child. If you have to go to a grocery store, consider placing earphones on your child’s head to minimize the impact of a loud grocery store. You may also work to keep the household noises lower on a regular basis.

Be Compassionate

Children who suffer from sensory overload will often feel out of control and as if no one understands what they’re going through. As your child gets older, it’s important for them to feel like they have an ally in you and their friends. Learn to show compassion towards your child during a sensory overload event, be calm and speak in a low tone to help them during a sensory overload moment.

There you have it a few ways to curb sensory overload. In time, as your child gets older they will learn what works best for the person they are. Living with sensory overload isn’t easy but as your child gets older, and they start to learn some coping mechanisms of their own, you will smile with pride knowing that you helped them learn how to survive in the real world.

7 Ways to Make Tent Camping More Comfortable

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Tent Camping Comfortable

Whether driving the next town over or hours away tent camping is a fun and frugal way to enjoy nature with your family.  While kids love a night under the stars, for adults it might be a bit challenging. Many think that tent camping means you need to sleep on a hard surface and wake up with a backache, but the truth is there are plenty of ways to make your slumber a cozy one. Look below at 7 ways to make tent camping more comfortable, and see how easy it can be to tent camp and actually wake up refreshed.

1. Be sure to insulate the floor.
A dirt floor can be quite cold, and that can be an issue when you are trying to sleep. Lay some type of insulation down such as an area rug, some thin foam, or even a tarp. This will help provide some protection and insulation, keeping you warm and dry.

2. Consider an air mattress.
Your back will thank you! Take an air mattress with you, and don’t forget the pump. The extra support will help you sleep better and be easier on your joints. Be sure to check it for holes prior to going, so you don’t run into any issues when it comes time to inflate it. Don’t forget the repair patches as well.

3. Use your household linens.
You would be amazed at how use you get to your own household linens. Take your household sheets, blankets, and pillows so you can sleep well. Take more than you think you will need, since it is better to be safe than sorry. This includes sheets, a throw blanket, and multiple pillows and cases.

4. Lavender oil can help.
A few dabs of lavender oil in your tent can help you feel more relaxed and may be able to help keep bugs away too. Just add a few drops around your sleeping area and around the entrance of the the tent.

5. Check and double check the tent screens.
Before you head out, check the screens on your tent well. Nothing will ruin your sleep more than bugs. Check the screens and repair any rips ahead of time so bugs don’t have an easy way in. You will be glad you did!

6. Bring your sleepytime favorites.
This means your favorite book, a small nightlight, your cozy pajamas, silk pillowcase, fuzzy blanket and other items that you relate to bedtime. This way you can still enjoy the same bedtime routine and your brain will know when it is time to shut off.

7.Don’t forget the lights.
Stumbling around in a dark tent can be a pain. Be sure you have some battery operated or solar charged lights. This way you can have a little reassurance in the dark, which kids are going to love as well.

Are you ready to enjoy some tent camping with your family? Consider these 7 ways to make tent camping more comfortable, and see how easy it can be to actually enjoy your night in the great outdoors.

The Five Best Family Road Trip Hacks

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Road Trip Hacks

If a road trip is in your summer plans, you’re going to want to check out these family road trip hacks! Don’t just survive your road trip, enjoy it!

Now that the kids are out of school, it’s time to start focusing on family vacations. Some of you will be flying to your final destination but plenty of you will be hitting the open road.   If you have a family road trip in the works, you know that this particular kind of vacation requires preparation. Without preparation, you’re going to end up with cranky kiddos asking if you’re there yet every five minutes. Ok, that will probably happen anyway, but they will be less cranky when they ask if you have a magic toolkit of family road trip hacks that you can dig into. And that’s why we’re here today. I want you to have a memorable for all the right reasons, not all the wrong ones!

The Family Road Trip Hacks You Need

1. Leave in the wee hours so the kids sleep a good portion of the trip. We like to leave around 3:00 AM so we can sneak in at least a few hours of drive time before they wake up. When they wake up, you better have your game on!  This is the time to break out your activity books, craft projects, etc.

2. Evaluate what you’re going to pack. If you have a small car you’ll want to make sure you don’t over pack.  When you’re cramped you’re all more likely to be grumpy.

3. Anticipate their every need, meaning, you want drinks, snacks and boredom busting activities at the ready! I also always have plenty of motion sickness remedies on hand.

4. Take advantage of rest stops. Sure, you can use the restroom without having to take a detour, but did you know that many rest stops also have playgrounds? Stopping for an extra 10 minutes or so to let the kids run off all that extra energy is worth your sanity!

5. Journal your trip. It’s hard to make a mental note of all the best parts of your trip when you’re in the thick of it, so having a family journal that everyone can capture their favorite memories in takes the pressure off Mom.  Plus, it’s a great way to remember funny things that are said and create cute inside jokes for your family to share.

Now who’s ready to rev up the family vehicle? With these family road trip hacks you should have a relatively stress free road trip ahead of you! Make this the trip your family talks about for years to come because you had such a magical time, not because Sally fought with Jimmy for 12 hours straight.

Virginia Vacations for Families

This post is brought to you by Reedman Toll which is just a hop skip and a jump from Virginia.

Virginia Vacations

If you’re in family vacation planning mode, don’t discount the mother of all the states, Virginia.  There are plenty of family friendly places to visit in Virginia!

It’s summer vacation season and that means countless families will head out all over the country for their annual vacays. Some are planning beach trips, while some are mountain bound. There aren’t many states that offer both options, but Virginia is one! That’s right. You can head right from the mountains to the seashore if you’re so inclined.   Our readers have submitted their favorite Virginia vacation destinations and here are top three family friendly destinations to visit.  I hope you’ll comment below with your other great Virginia vacation recommendations!

Don’t Miss Family Friendly Places to Visit in Virginia

1. Colonial Williamsburg: Pay one visit to the world’s largest living history museum and your kids will likely be wanting to know the date of your next trip before you leave! With loads of hands on activities, you can’t blame little ones for wanting to come back! And you can even stay on property. Score!

2. Sandbridge Beach: A bit more off the beaten path than the highly trafficked Virginia Beach area is Sandbridge. Comprised of five miles of quiet coastline, this beach is perfect for the laid-back family time you crave, but it’s close enough to the action if you want to leave the relaxing community and head into town for some flavor.

3. Blue Ridge Parkway: If hiking is a family favorite activity, there are loads of opportunities to hit the trails on this scenic drive from Shenandoah National Park to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s the ultimate road trip! In fact, you can even found some mapped out day trips on their website.

As you can see, there is no shortage of family friendly places to visit in Virginia. There are all kinds places to see for all kinds of families to experience! I daresay there is certainly something that will appeal to your own family. So, let’s go! Virginia is waiting for you. Now you just have to decide what will take the top spot on your must see list!

7 Camping Hacks Every Family Should Know

This post is brought to you by MillersChryslerJeep.com.

Camping Hacks

Camping season is upon us, which means it is time to hit the open road, grab the old dusty tent, and enjoy a few nights under the stars! Camping doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive, in fact there are plenty of “hacks” out there that can make the experience an enjoyable and affordable one. Look below at 7 camping hacks every family should know, and see how you can hack your way to a better camp out!  It’s a great way to explore your local

1. Tin foil is your best friend.
Tin foil can be used in so many ways when it comes to camping. You can use it to cover leftovers, or use it to cover grill grids if they are rusty and dirty. Tin foil can also be used to cover items in a hurry to protect them if the rain starts.  You can even cook some things on the engine of your car!

2. Make your own cheap fire starters.
Stuff toilet paper tubes with shredded paper and dryer lint to achieve a roaring fire. These DIY fire starters a great way to get a roaring fire without spending a dime. For even more fire starting power, add the remnants of old candles inside as well.

3. Take a tarp.
A cheap tarp can help your items stay dry if the rain starts. You can also place a tarp underneath your bedding area to help keep the space warm and dry as well. Tarps do an amazing job protecting your firewood stash as well. Since rain can be unpredictable, having a tarp on hand is always a great idea.

4. Don’t forget the solar lights.
Take some basic solar lights with you and allow them to charge during the day. This is an easy way to keep your campsite lit up at night without having to worry about candles or even flashlights. You can even take them on evening walks with you.

5. Consider foil dinners.
One of the easiest ways to cook over a fire is to make foil dinners. Add chopped vegetables, seasonings, and a meat of your choice to the foil and close it up to create a packet. Then, just toss the packet onto the fire for a quick meal with easy clean up.

6. Keep bugs away naturally.
Burning white sage in your campfire is an easy way to keep biting bugs such as mosquitoes away. You can also use citronella oil and peppermint oil on your camping linens to help keep them at bay! They hate the scent, and will soon fly elsewhere.

7. Hit the dollar store before you go.
Your local dollar store will have so many supplies that you can use in creative ways when you camp. Take clothespins so you can easily hang linens to dry. Large freezer bags are excellent for storing dirty clothing. Inexpensive blow up rafts can offer extra support while you sleep, and the plastic storage containers are excellent for carrying shower toiletries to and from the bath house.

Are you ready for the best camping trip yet? Consider these 7 camping hacks every family should know and see how fun (and easy) a night under the stars can be!

Creating A Money Saving Plan For Buying a New Car

If you are thinking you might be in the market to buy a new car soon, you might need to create a money saving plan. Buying a new car can be a little pricey with all the extras that go along with your big purchase. So before you head out to go shopping make sure your finances are in order and you know that you can afford the car you want. Now if you have all cash that is great, but if not, buying a car can impact your budget greatly!  This post is brought to you by QuigleyMotors.net.

Buying a New Car

Again these are just things for you to keep in mind when you go to buy a new vehicle. It is a big deal to buy a new car, and it can be a little costly. Making sure you still have money left after you make your payments will make your everyday life a little easier, so you don’t feel so strapped.

Time Frame of Buying a Car: You need to make sure to sit down and plan when you want to buy a new car. You may think in a year I will be ready, or even a few months down the road. Regardless you will need to have a down payment most likely for your new vehicle. Some places offer no money down, so you need to consider if you don’t go to a dealership that offers no money down, you might need to put down a thousand or more.

Look at Cars Online: If you have an idea of a vehicle you are wanting, you can look online at dealerships in your area to get an idea of the price range. This will help you to see how much money a vehicle you are really wanting might cost.

Monthly Car Payments: When you get a loan for a vehicle it can vary a lot depending on the price of the vehicle. You could spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars up to a thousand. They do offer ways to figure what your payment would be online for a vehicle, or your dealership can tell you. This is a great way to get a rough estimate of how much your car payment would be each month. Just make sure you also factor in for insurance each month. Most states require full coverage on a vehicle that has a loan against it.

Car Tags and Insurance: Along with buying a car you have to factor in insurance premiums, and car tags and registering your new vehicle. If you have a type of vehicle you want, say a SUV you can talk to your insurance company and they can give you a rough estimate of what that type of car you want would cost each month. Some styles of vehicles (sports cars, etc) can cost a lot more than others.

This is a great way to ensure you can afford the vehicle you want. Sometimes people forget you have tags and insurance that go along with owning a car. You just need to make sure you have money in your budget and then you can sleep easier at night with your new car.

Related: How to Choose Well When Buying a Used Car

5 Tips for Buying a Used Car

 

Tips for Buying a Used Car

Every year around this time, people start taking advantage of the nice weather, new inventory, and subsequent sales, and shop for a great price on a used vehicle.  And why not?  Used cars are an amazing deal, and the weather makes for pleasant test drives!  But when you’re searching for a used car, how do you make sure you’re getting a reliable car, instead of a lemon?  Follow these 5 tips for buying a used car to make sure you get the deal without the hassle.  This post is brought to you by CueroDodgeChryslerJeepRam.com.

  • –  Check reviews, both online and word of mouth.  Ask your friends and family where they buy their vehicles and how they enjoyed the experience.  Then look online for reviews of the dealerships you are considering buying from.  If reviews are split, you can’t be sure you’ll get a good experience.  If you are able to find someplace consistently well reviewed, or where your friends all had great help and a smooth process, you’re bound to have success as well.  A reputable location won’t lose their good reputation just to make a quick buck off you!
  • –  Too good to be true? Probably.  You’ve heard this one before: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  If a car is priced significantly lower than others with similar features, age, and mileage, some red flags should be popping up.  Or maybe the car is listed at an average price, but lists “new tires, new radiator, new alternator, new AC, new starter…”  Practically a whole new engine!  Something happened.  Maybe it was an accident, or perhaps it was just someone restoring the car, only to move on to a different project.  Don’t run away from these red flags, but do approach them with caution.  Ask a lot of questions to learn the whole story behind the car.  If you aren’t completely comfortable with the situation, back out and keep looking.
  • –  Test cars out.  If you find a car you like, test another one similar to it.  It could be another used one in the area, or if it’s a recent model year you can test a new model.  This will give you an idea of how the car should drive as you notice little differences between them.  A seller won’t be able to tell you “oh that’s how this model year is… they all idle a little rough,” because you’ve already tested them out yourself.  Then test the car you want in multiple scenarios; drive slowly and test the brakes on an empty street, then through town for stop-and-go traffic, and make sure it doesn’t wobble or have trouble at high speeds by driving on the highway.
  • –  Check it out.  Talk to a trusted mechanic before you start looking at cars and ask if they’ll take a look at some used vehicles for you as you test them out.  When you decide on a car, bring it to the mechanic and have it checked out.  Many will do this for free, and it will give you peace of mind about a vehicle before buying.  Make sure to ask the seller if you can take their vehicle to your mechanic to have it checked out first – it’s their car, after all.  But if they refuse, it’s likely they have something they don’t want you to find.  Keep the list the mechanic gives you, so if you do purchase the car you know exactly what needs done.
  • –  Negotiate.  Most sellers, both dealerships and private, list at a higher price in hopes that you’ll pay it.  They expect some amount of negotiation, and that’s worked into the price.  Don’t be afraid to point out a similar vehicle at a lower price somewhere else, or to mention items your mechanic found as a reason to lower the price.  They have a price in mind that they’ll sell for, and it’s almost always lower than they initially listed.

Car Habits to Save You Money

How to Save Money

If you’re wanting or needing to save money here are nine tips to help you keep more pennies in your pocket.  This post is brought to you by ChryslerOfCulpeper.net.

1. Wash your own car.

Time IS money, but the cost of convenience might not be worth it all the time. Washing your own car can really save you money. If you decide to wash your car every month that can add. Plus, if you’re like me, the fast versions at the drive-through car washes don’t really ever satisfy me except for getting the dirt off. A good starter kit for your own car wash to get a spic-n-span, classy result can be bought on Amazon or you can DIY to your heart’s content to save even more money!

2. Detail it yourself.

I love having my car detailed because it’s so crazy clean! I once found a church group that detailed my car for $20 for a fundraiser. It was gorgeous on the inside. Later, I went to have my car detailed from a professional business and realized that my $20-detailing was truly a heavenly gift! The professionals wants three times that amount! If you can do this yourself, you’ll have a beaut of a car and bank account.

3. Change your own oil.

I’m pretty sure this step is something we all know, but you can save yourself $20 each time your want your oil replaced (depending on where you live and where you get the change done). This added up over the lifetime of a car, can help make the down payment on the next one!

4. Replace the windshield wipers.

If you have basic windshield wipers, then you can save the service fee by doing this at home. We’re not super-handy people. Sometimes we struggle doing our own car oil change, but this we can do. It’s one of the little things that add up. Also, you don’t have to replace the rods sometimes. Replace the squeegee part for even more savings. The squeegee may be only dirty too. Sometimes cleaning the rubber part of the wiper will save pennies too.

5. Shampoo your own carpets.

You can add life and value to your car by cleaning up the interior carpet. The most efficient way is a professional cleaning system, but you can get a good result from hand-washing the fabric. You need a couple of buckets, clean towels, a carpet brush, a wet vac, and an a fabric-safe, all-purpose cleaner. Follow the instructions for mixing the cleaner, vacuum the carpet, use a brush to clean the carpet using the cleaner mixture, and dry with the wet vac. Beauty and savings.

6. Determine which quality of gas is best.

Did you know that you might get better gas milage from higher quality gas? If you buy premium gas, it might actually save you money. Do a little test – try each of the levels of gas and see how many miles to the gallon you get for your car for each level.

7. Keep your RPMs low.

Surging your car above 3,000 RPMs will burn up gas. Anytime you can coast, do it. Anytime you can not accelerate (with safety in mind, of course) do it! This saves gas.

8. Pick and stick with a good repair shop.

We have had our fair share of experiences with good auto mechanics, but we have had one or two situations when we wouldn’t go back either. Your trustworthy mechanic  will help you save money by repairing your vehicle in a way that helps you, not his only his pocketbook. Look for good ratings and word of mouth by “car” people you know

9. Be picky about insurance.

If you have an older car, you don’t necessarily need a lot of coverage on the vehicle. You can simply get liability insurance and use the money you save on the car insurance to put into a savings car for your next ride!
How about you? How do you save money with and on your car?

Spring Maintenance Tips for Your Vehicle

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Tips for Spring Car Maintenance

Spring Maintenance Tips for Your Vehicle

Winter can be so brutal on your car. Some parts of the country you are faced with snow storms, below-zero temperatures and more. When they put the ice melt down on the streets that can be really harsh on your car, it can cause rust and more.

When spring arrives it is a great time to wash away the winter and freshen up your car! Below you will find some great spring maintenance tips for your car. If you are not able to do any of these car maintenance jobs yourself, take your car to a local mechanic shop and they will do it all for you!

Tips for Spring Maintenance on Your Vehicle

  • – A Good Wash: If you live where you get snow, it is very important to wash your car really well. When they put salt down on the streets it melts the ice but as you drive it gets all over your vehicle. It can cause a lot of damage to your car, so make sure to wash it really well. This includes the undercarriages where that salt if left over time could rust the metal.
  • – Oil and Fluid Check: It is recommended to change your car’s oil every 3,000-5,000 miles. So if you are close to needing an oil change do that and make sure to check your fluids. Sometimes we can forget to check power steering fluid, transmission fluid and so on. If you don’t know how to do this, stop in and let a mechanic do this for you.
    – Check Tires: Make sure to rotate your tires, check the pressure and make sure you have good tire thread. Your car’s tires are so important, it affects how your car rides, handles, and of course safety. It is recommended to rotate your tires every 5,000 miles to keep tread wear even!
    – Brakes: Make sure to have your brakes inspected. Sometimes the pads and rotors can get worn and go out. You need to make sure that you can stop safely and easily in case you need to when driving.
    – Alignment and Suspension: If you ever have been driving and notice that your car pulls to one side or the steering wheel vibrates, you might have a problem. Just driving alone can cause your alignment and suspension to get off, and it is important to make sure it is all where it needs to be. If you live where you have rough roads or pot holes that can be to blame for your car going out of alignment. This check is normally $20-$50 depending on where you live.

Clever Hacks for Cleaning Your Car

Car Cleaning Tips for Moms
Some people spend so much time in the car, you can find it looking pretty dirty! After a long commute or road trip, you can start to see things beginning to clutter in the back seat or a funky smell. Today, I will share some clever hacks for cleaning your car and getting it looking and smelling like new! These hacks will help your car look cleaner than ever!  This post is brought to you by ReedmanTollChryslerDodgeJeepRam.com.

Below you will find a lot of different way s to clean parts of your car you may not have known! They could really come in handy when you go to clean your car! From using silicone cupcake liners for your cup holders to toothpaste to clean your headlights, I got you covered!

Wash Car with Conditioner: Did you know that most hair conditioners contain lanolin, that is a type of wax! When you wash your car with the conditioner it will leave your car shining!
Clean Headlights: If you use a toothpaste that has baking soda in it, you can apply it to your headlights and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then buff it out, and it can help shine up your lights. After awhile they can get dull and lessen how much you can see at night, so keeping them clean allows them to shine brighter at night.
Remove Dead Bugs with Dryer Sheet: If your grille has dead bugs on it, you can use a dryer sheet to wipe away those bugs. It is gentle enough on the car it won’t hurt the paint.
Clean Air Vents: Take a cheap foam painting brush to clean in between the air vents The brush is small enough to fit right in and get the dust off. Or if you have a bottle of compressed air like to clean your keyboard with, this works great too. Just spray it in your ac vents and it will get the dust out as well.
Cleaning Wiper Blades: Use rubbing alcohol to clean your wiper blades. Just apply some rubbing alcohol to a cloth and wipe your wiper blades. This will help prevent smudges on your windshield!
Nooks and Crannies: Grab an old toothbrush for those nooks and crannies. It is stiff enough it works great at getting stuff pulled up and small enough it is easy to clean with. You can spray some cleaner down and watch it remove the mess.
Pet Hair: If you use a squeegee you can run that along your seats to pull up pet hair. If you can get it to come up with just that, spray a little water on seats then use the squeegee and it will come up even easier. Then grab what you can and vacuum the rest.
Wash Car Mats: If you have car mats that have carpet on them, wash them in the washing machine. Just use the gentle cycle, and they will look like new. Let them air dry and then put back in the car.
Cup Holders: You can use silicone cupcake holders to put inside of the cup holders. This way when it gets dirty just grab the liner and wash it real quick. This is a great way to save time cleaning.
Bumper Stickers: If you want to remove a bumper sticker, grab a can of WD-40! Spray some over the bumper sticker and let it sit for awhile and then work on peeling it off. It works great on getting that sticky glue off.

 

Related: Ways to Keep Your Car Safe