This week we journey to Falmouth for our Hidden Freebie, to a magical place called Spohr Gardens! Lately I have steered ALOT of Cape Cod Moms to this fabulous spot as a free fun way to kill time! But first a brief history..... Margaret and Charles D. Spohr began creating this wondrous setting around their home, located on the back of Oyster Pond, in the 1950s. As the legend of the gardens' uniqueness and beauty grew, they generously welcomed the ever-growing number of visitors. After Charles Spohr died in 1997 and Margaret Spohr in 2001, the gardens were left to the Margaret K. Spohr and Charles D. Spohr Charitable Trust. Under the terms of the trust the property is to be open to the public every day of the year from 8am to 8pm. No admission may be charged but tax deductible donations are accepted.
The following two questions were submitted to Cape Cod Mommies Advisor: Gary DellaPosta,
Gary, I have a few questions regarding Bloggers and taxes:
What is the difference between business/hobby for blogging? How does one determine that? How does a blogger claim review items that were received in exchange for a post? I know that it is bartering, but what are the official rules? Should quarterly taxes be filed? Should I register as a DBA at my local town hall? Also, how can a blogger claim the dependent care deduction if s/he doesn't receive a 1099? ~Emily
The business versus hobby rules can be complex. However, if the business shows a profit in 3 of 5 years, it cannot be classified as a hobby. If the IRS classifies a business as a hobby, then any losses cannot be deducted.
The items you receive in exchange for blogging are considered bartering. The fair market value
of the item is the amount of income you must claim. If the item sells for $19.95 online or in a store, then $19.95 is the amount of income you have to report.
Filing quarterly taxes would depend upon your overall tax situation. You are only required to register as a DBA if you are doing business under a fictitious name (ie.: The Green Grocer).
If you have net income (after all expenses) from your business, you will be qualified to claim the dependent care credit.
Gary, How can I teach my kids good financial skills? ~ Leslie
Once they reach school age, children should start learning rudimentary financial skills.
You might start to teach your kids in the following areas:
Their Allowance. Give your kids control over their own money (their allowance and whatever monies you give them that are not earmarked for some particular purpose). You can make suggestions to them about what they should do with it, but allow them the final say on what happens to the money. Let them see the consequences of both wise and foolish behavior with regard to money. A child who spends all of his money on the first day of the week is more likely to learn budgeting if he is not provided with extras to tide him over.
Savings And Investment. Beyond the basics of budgeting and saving, you'll want to get your child involved in saving and investing. The easiest way to do this is to have the child open his or her own passbook savings account. If you want your child to get familiar with investing, there are various child-friendly mutual funds and individual stocks available.
Taxes And Credit. Kids can start using credit cards at an early age with parental counsel and involvement. They can learn the concepts of incurring and paying off debts both from credit card use and from small loans that parents make them. If children have to file tax returns-as they would with an IRA--allow them to participate in the process; this will get them used to the idea of yearly tax payments.
For more information please contact our office 508-540-3683 or email us at email@example.com
This past Sunday, a fellow Cape Cod Mom and I decided to brave a lengthy drive from isolated Falmouth up to Yarmouth Port to checking out Hawk's Wing Organic Farm! We were intrigued by the promise of fresh strawberry picking at prices better than local markets! Most local farms usually have you pay a membership fee to belong and then you have to stand in line when you go to get your bracelet or some other method before you can pick and buy your own produce, but not this farm! Although they are a CSA, which you can pay to belong to, they also allow anyone to come by for FREE and pick their own items. So even if you don't belong as a member, you can still enjoy the farm and animals!
Hawk’s Wing Farm is a local family-owned Cape Cod CSA farm and orchard, located on 4 acres and nestled in a pocket surrounded by 300 acres of Yarmouth conservation land, that seeks member-supported contributions to support the farms efforts to raise naturally grown, organic fruit and vegetables. They have planted 1,000 apple trees, 8 varieties, and peach, pear, and cherry trees. There is a 96’ greenhouse and another 90’ hoop house so they can grow organic produce year round!
We decided the long drive would be worth carpooling together so we could tag team the napless toddlers who were testing their exhausted mothers. So we plugged the address into our GPS and off we went. The GPS did bring us there however it was deceiving to find since it is actually located in a neighborhood called Hawk Wing Estates. We drove past a few times because we didn't think that it was back in the nieghborhood. After driving up the dirt driveway and being waved on by owner and farmer, Billy Snowden, we were enthusiastically greeted by farm dog Buddy!
Overall this trip was a great learning experience, a fun free outdoor activity for the kids, and we were able to get our own strawberries and produce that are chemical free! Everything about this farm is a learning and tactile experience, sure to please any child! To be able to go into the pen and pet he goats and experience the chickens first hand was a great experience. It was also fun to expose the kids to the farm experience it was reassuring to know they could pick fruit and pop it right into their mouths without fear of outside substances on it
So if you are looking for something to do, take the drive and visit Farmer Billy, Buddy the dog and the farm. I recommend wearing comfy sneakers and long pants (incase you want to kneel while picking), and bringing a friend. The prices are definitely comparable, only $4.50 for a pint of strawberries, which you get more of since they are smaller in size. Farmer Billy also recommended making our own spread with the bruised and less desirable ones sincethey are just as sweet. Last night I whipped up a little spread myself and this morning, my son and I enjoyed some jam toast with our eggs and blueberries! It was amazing! If you want to know more about this hidden freebie, check out their website at: http://hawkswingorganicfarm.com/ or visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/hawkswingorganicfarm And please make sure you tell Farmer Billy that you heard about his farm from Cape Cod Mommies!
If you know of ahidden freebie on Cape Cod that you want Cape Cod Mommies to visit, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
All children take great comfort in predictability; it helps them make sense of their world and regulate their states of being. The bedtime routine is a wonderful opportunity to incorporate soothing rituals into our children’s daily lives, while improving sleep habits at the same time.
As adults, we have learned how to relax ourselves in preparation for sleep. We bathe, dim the lights, read in bed, beg our partner for a foot rub, listen to mellow music. Likewise, our children, including babies and school-age kids, benefit from calming, predictable rituals before going to bed. Activities should all be comforting and quiet. Save the wrestling, tickling, scary stories and tv shows, and anything else that’s potentially stimulating for another time of day.
Here are activities that work well as part of a bedtime routine. Pick 3 or 4 based on your child’s age and preferences.
· Put on pajamas
· Brush teeth
· Go potty
· Read books
· Swaddle or sleep sack
· Sing a (short) lullaby
· Tell a story
· Share 3 things about your day
· Play a quiet game
· Listen to quiet music
· Small cup of water with books
· Bottle or nursing
· Prayers, blessings, or send love/kisses/wishes to others
· Plenty of hugs and kisses
Encourage buy-in. If your child is asserting his independence these days, empower him to participate actively in the routine. He can pick out his pajamas, choose the book, say goodnight to his special dolls, and turn off the light.
Anticipate your child’s reactions. If there is one part of the routine that your child resists (perhaps brushing his teeth or combing his hair), get that part over first, before he settles into his snuggly mode.
Think about timing. Your routine could be anywhere from 15 minutes (for a baby) to an hour, depending on your child’s age and temperament. Some need more time to switch gears than others. Keep an eye on the clock though – if your child’s natural bedtime is 7:30, remember to start the routine early enough so he has plenty of time to fall asleep.
Follow at naptime too.The naptime routine can be an abbreviated version of bedtime, 1-2 calming activities in your child’s room.
Let him get himself to sleep. Your routine should be relaxing, but not enough to put them to sleep. We want them doing that part themselves. So if your baby keeps conking out reading or nursing, move that activity up in the routine. If it still happens, consider shifting your routine earlier.
(Some excerpts from The Good Night Sleep Tight Workbook ©2010 Kim West LCSW-C, The Sleep Lady ®)
How much fun are these Touch-a-Truck events happening all over Cape Cod????? Here is some info for another one this weekend: Touch-a-Truck event at Mashpee Commons on Saturday June 9 from 12-2 pm!
With the costs of a college education rising every year, the keys to funding your child's education are to plan early and invest shrewdly. However, there are steps you can take if you get a late start. Moreover, there are a number of effective techniques for increasing financial aid opportunities and reducing taxes.
Savings And Investment Strategies
According to the College board, over the most recent decade, the largest one-year increases in average published tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities were 11% beyond inflation in 2003-04, and 9.3% beyond inflation in 2009-10. The inflation-adjusted increase was under 1% in 2008-09, and is 4.5% in 2011-12. However, proper planning can lessen the financial squeeze considerably, especially if you start when your child is young. It should also be noted that in 2010-11 the average amount of aid for a full-time undergraduate student was about $12,455, including more than $6,500 in grants that don’t have to be repaid.
Here are some guidelines--geared to parents whose children are no older than elementary school age--for funding your child's education.
Start Saving Early
We cannot emphasize enough that getting an early start is basic to funding your child's education. The earlier you start, the more you'll benefit from the compounding of interest.
Planning Aid: For an estimate of the amount of money you would have at the time your child enters college if you begin saving now, see the Financial Calculator: College Savings Calculator.
When should you start saving? This depends on how much you think your children's education will cost. The best way is to start saving before they are born. The sooner you begin, the less money you will have to put away each year.
Example: Suppose you have one child, age six months, and you estimate that you'll need $120,000 to finance his college education 18 years from now. If you start putting away money immediately, you'll need to save $3,500 per year
for 18 years (assuming an after-tax return of 7%). On the other hand, if you put off saving until the child is six years old, you'll have to save almost double that amount every year for twelve years.
Another advantage of starting early is that you'll have more flexibility when it comes to the type of investment you'll use. You'll be able to put at least part of your money in equities, which, although riskier in the short-run, are better able to outpace inflation than other investments after time.
Find Out How Much You'll Need To Save
How much will your child's education cost? It depends on whether your child attends a private or state school. In the 2010-2011 school year, the total expenses--tuition, fees, board, personal expenses, and books and supplies--for the average private college are about $35,636 per year and about $15,213 per year for the average public college. However, these amounts are averages: the tuition, fees, and board for some private colleges can cost more than $55,000 per year, whereas the costs for a state school can be kept under $10,000 per year.
Planning Aid: To find and select the best colleges for your child from a database of over 3,200 two-and four-year colleges, see College Search.
Don't forget to add the costs of graduate or professional school to the amount your child will need.
Planning Aid: If you're trying to estimate future costs, you can estimate that school costs will grow by about two percentage points above the inflation rate. To be on the safe side, we suggest you assume costs will grow by at least 7% per year. For the most recent increases, refer to 2011 Trends in College Pricing.
Choose Your Investments
As with any investment, you should choose those that will provide you with a good return and that meet your level of risk tolerance. The ones you choose should depend on when you start your savings plan-the mix of investments if you
start when your child is a toddler should be different from those used if you start when your child is age 12.
Related Financial Guide: For a general overview of investing principles, please see the Financial Guide on our website: www.dellapostacpa.com :INVESTMENT BASICS: What You Should Know.
The following are often recommended as investments suitable for education funds:
Series EE Bonds are extremely safe investments. For tax treatment of redemption proceeds used for college, please see the Financial Guide: HIGHER EDUCATION COSTS: How To Get The Best Tax Treatment.
U.S. Government Bonds are also safe investments that offer a relatively higher return. If you use zero-coupon bonds, you can time the receipt of the proceeds to fall in the year when you need the money. A drawback of such bonds is that a sale before their maturity date could result in a loss on the investment. Further, the accrued interest is taxable even though you don't receive it until maturity.
CDs are safe, but usually provide a lower return than the rate of inflation. The interest is taxable.
Municipal Bonds, if they are highly rated, can provide an acceptable return from the tax-free interest if you're in the higher income tax brackets. Zero-coupon municipals can be timed to fall due when you need the funds and are useful if you begin saving later in the child's life.
Tip: Be sure to convert the tax-free return quoted by sellers of such bonds into an equivalent taxable return. Otherwise, the quoted return may be misleading. The formula for converting tax-free returns into taxable returns is as follows: Divide the tax-free return by 1.00 minus your top tax rate to determine the taxable-return equivalent. For example, if the return on municipal bonds is 5% and you are in the 30% tax bracket, the equivalent taxable return is 7.1% (5% divided by 70%).
Stocks contained in an appropriate mutual fund or portfolio can provide you with a higher yield at an acceptable risk level. Stock mutual funds can provide superior returns over the long term. Income and balanced funds can meet the investment needs of those who begin saving when the child is older.
Deferred Annuities provide you with tax deferral, but the yield may not be acceptable because of the relatively high cost of these investments. Further, amounts withdrawn before you reach age 59-1/2 may be subject to a 10% premature withdrawal penalty.
Related Financial Guide: For further information on investing in annuities, please see the Financial Guide: ANNUITIES: How They Work And When You Should Use Them.
If you have any further questions, please give our office a call: 508-540-3683 or email us at email@example.com
Wow, today's prompt is a doozy! Well if time and money were no object, then I would jump into researching my family ancestry more. I am fascinated by my roots and where our family has come from. The only way to know where you are going in the future is to truly understand where you have been in your past. I've actually done a decent amount of research by I have been stuck at my great-great-great grandparents. I have discovered that none of our family on any side ever came through Ellis Island in fact our family came through Miami, New Bedford and Nova Scotia. I always wondered why no family name appeared at Ellis Island when I visited it as a kid. Truth be told I felt a little cheated during that field trip, still being too young to understand the complexity of immigration. Ideally I would love to research and find family we have no idea about in other parts of the world... how fascinating that would be.... to discover something new that you can pass on to your own children one day.
What is something you'd like to jump into if you had more time/money?
What what NaBloPoMo is all about? NaBloPoMo was created by the brilliants minds at BlogHer and is a month long blogging challenge to encourage you to write daily about a specific prompt. Today’s prompt was “What is something you'd like to jump into if you had more time/money?
Projects.... mmmmm the very thought brings to mind grade school days filled with crayons, construction paper, markers, paint and any other odds and ends. Now as an adult, I love to brainstorm ideas for new projects! You see I secretly love making lists of things to do, projects I have been inspired to do, etc. Visit my Pinterest site and you will find boards upon boards of crafty or creative things I want to try but somehow never quite manage to complete and some even start.
Some people have a little black dating book but I have a little black project book! and then crossing a nice crisp line through them. I find that as I make lists and start projects that I am often inspired to start another project. This is actually how I started blogging! I happened to be working on a literacy project for my old alma mater.... Bridgewater State University, when I became inspired to blog about various "mom" or family related topics. It has since grown to involve other Moms and professionals of Cape Cod as well as opportunities to review products and classes! So while my little black project book may never get all the items crossed off, it certainly inspired me to grow in new directions to places I never thought possible!
Do you like starting new projects? Are you able to stay on track and complete them?
What what NaBloPoMo is all about? NaBloPoMo was created by the brilliants minds at BlogHer and is a month long blogging challenge to encourage you to write daily about a specific prompt. Today’s prompt was “How do you feel about
starting new projects?” If you’re a blogger and want to participate, sign ups close today!
Cape Cod Mommies is excited to be co-sponsoring June's Giveaway with Bum Boosa Bamboo Products ! Bumboosa ws founded by fellow Cape Cod Mom, Sonja Sheasley. A few years ago, Sonja took classes at the Sandwich Village Herb Shop (now closed) in an effort to make natural lotions for her children due to their sensitive skin.
As many of you may know, baby wipes and the majority of mainstream baby products contain harmful chemicals. Many times these same products profess to be for "sensitive skin" or say they will clear up diaper rash. I have found those products to be very misleading, often times finding that those products actually further aggravated sensitive skin. I can usually be found on the weekend at local Farmer's Markets trying to track down homemade calendula oil or lotion to treat my son's excema and rashes. So I was thrilled when I had the amazing opportunity to try out the Bum Boosa products! Bum Boosa Products are eco-friendly anod not filled with ANY harsh chemicals! They get their bamboo from China but are made right here in the U.S.A. and I always think it is nice to support local business, especially a Cape Cod business!
Right off the bat, I was drawn to the fabulous smelling wipes! A baby wipe that actually smells good even after it has wiped an atomic size mess up is a winner in my book. The smell of lavender and citrus is beyond pleasing. In fact, at a recent family cookout, I kept receiving compliments over my scent: "Wow, you smell fantastic! Is that lavender?" Imagine their surprise when I informed them it was actually my sons' baby wipes! I even gave a wipe to my son to play with and he was super excited by it. He kept smelling it in true yogi style saying, "Mama, ahhhhh".
When I first opened the package of wipes, I thought it was smaller than a standard wipe, but I realized it was just folded and shaped differently. Oh Happy Day! Bum Boosa wipes still have the same surface area as standard wipes do! And I managed to make 2 packs of 80 ct wipes last me 3 weeks! Now that is bang for your buck!
I am also totally in love with Bum Boosa diaper cream! It is 100% natural and made from bamboo powder, oils and herbs! It is completely free of any preservatives, synthetic fragrances and dyes! This is a win-win and a little goes a long way! My son is so sensitive to so many products and foods that he often gets a diaper rash especially after citrus or tomatos. Since we started using a little bit of this cream, we have been rash free and smell fantastic!!!
To celebrate Summer, Bum Boosa has generously donated a swag bag for a Giveaway to go to ONE lucky Cape Cod Mom! The Eco Baby Gift Bag comes with (3) packages of their bamboo baby wipes, a 4 ounce bamboo diaper rash ointment, and a 10 ml bottle of pure grade lavender essential oil with suggested uses and safety information. This is valued at $39.99 and will be delivered free of charge to the winner. Bum Boosa will also be participating in the upcoming debut of the Cape Cod Mommies Discount Club (stay tuned for how you can save on Bum Boosa Products!) There are lots of ways to enter and you can enter multiple days! Goodluck and Happy Wiping!
Thanks to Cape Cod Mommies, Amy Sellers will be running a summer session of Mother Goose on the Loose at the West Falmouth Library. The session will start the Wednesday after July 4th, so July 11th and will take place from 4-4:30pm in order to let working parents and others attend this fantastic program. The session will meet in the downstairs room. This is an extremely limited seating session. You have to sign up on a weekly basis. Today is the first day to sign up for WEEK 1 ONLY! Pease call 508-548-4709 or stop in at the library. You will have to resign up each week and if you do not make the cut then a lottery will be held for those on the waiting list. This is a trial program so please support MGOL and West Falmouth Library by making a small donation so programs like this can continue in the fall to reach a wider audience! Thanks and happy reading!!!
Cape Cod Moms