Crafts · For the kids · Free Fun · Holidays · Valentines Day

Yarn Hearts: An Easy Valentine Craft for Kids

“We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

A friend shared a brilliant idea with me the other day!  She said she uses a small Christmas tree for Valentines Day; instead of decorating it with Christmas ornaments she has a little box of Valentines decorations that she brings out every February and her kids get to decorate a Valentines Tree.

I thought this was such a cute and fun idea, I knew I needed to implement it in my own house!  I already had a small tree that I use for Christmas each year, the only problem is that I didn’t have any decorations for the tree….and I did NOT want to buy any.

I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to put together a few crafts with my kids.  First, we made a few hearts out of beads and pipe cleaners.  They were so easy, just stick beads on a pipe cleaner and shape it as a heart.  Done and done!

BD254F98-435B-4E4D-950C-BB364CEDE171

Next, we made this darling Pom-Pom Garland.  I loved it so much and I can’t wait to make more!  You can find the tutorial here.

B7210225-BD9B-45DC-90DD-CEBC3CC99790

And last, but not least, we put together these Yarn Heart Ornaments.  They were SO fun to make and easy enough for my 6 year old to join in.  I love the projects that all three kids can enjoy together!

3D1DEFCF-D6FF-4817-A26E-331B1D47BC96

First, you need some cardboard hearts.  I grabbed a box from my large stash of amazon boxes and cut out a few hearts.

069C2ECC-AFF1-4978-AB0A-2E6C1E1E4BF2

Choose your favorite yarn color.  Here is one of my favorite yarn brands.  Use a little bit of tape to attach the yarn to the cardboard heart.

6C21CA00-6ECD-4437-8B2A-BBD54A1EA200

Now for the fun part.  Just start wrapping your yarn around the heart.  Try to wrap it in different angles to make the design interesting.  It wasn’t easy to get all of the small nooks and crannies, but we kept working it and was able to get the entire heart covered.

 

When your cardboard heart is all covered and looks just right tie a small knot and cut off your excess yarn.  I tucked the knot underneath some yarn to try to hide it, which seemed to work well!  And guess what!  You are done!  That’s it!  We attached a few ornament hooks through the yarn and hung it up on our Valentines Day Tree.

I just love how these crafts and little tree turned out, and what’s even better….my kids love it!  They are so proud that they helped make all of the decorations; and seeing my kids happy faces is the best kind of valentine gift I could ever receive!

 

You might be interested in a few of my other Craft Projects:

Tissue Paper Pom-Pom Tutorial

The Easiest Halloween Pumpkin Tutorial

How to Make an Easy Nature Bookmark Tutorial

Easter Egg Sun Catcher

 

Advertisements
Affiliate · Amazon · Crafts · Family · Farmhouse · For the kids · Frugal Life · Frugal Living Challenge · Parenting · Valentines Day

How to Make Your Very Own Pom-Pom Garland

“We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

I recently discovered how to make Pom-Poms out of yarn.  These pom-poms turned out to be incredibly easy to make and so addicting!  My daughters and I spent all evening making pom poms and experimenting with different sizes and techniques.

We decided to turn these yarn pom poms into a cute garland for Valentines Day.  I love how it turned out and am already planning more garlands in other themes and colors!

B7210225-BD9B-45DC-90DD-CEBC3CC99790

These were so fun to make, I thought I would share an easy tutorial with all of you!  I was able to use items I already had at home and didn’t need to spend any money (yay!), but you can find some quality yarn for less than five dollars and it will make hundreds of pom-poms!  I linked one of my favorite yarn brands on Amazon here.

31B0491D-CC5B-45C9-9DC3-9E6D666808BF

 

Take a small string of yarn (the softer yarns seem to work best!) and begin wrapping it around two of your fingers.

787F17B7-55DB-425A-BABA-20F936CFF95D

Keep wrapping until the yarn looks a good size.  I just eyeballed it, but I probably twisted the yarn about 70-100 times.

FB3C4577-520F-4D63-9DAA-C7BF6919C5D1

When the pom-pom looks right, cut the yarn leaving about 6 inches of a tail.  You will then push the tail through your two fingers and pull it out the other side.

B0487C9C-2560-4EBC-8F39-820AA1009EB0                          226705A1-3321-4CC5-A3E5-C40991DAFB65

Bring the tail up on top of the yarn and push it through the top of your two fingers.  Pull it tight.

62D35C04-15E7-45D2-BFB1-F6DE5B6B9300

Now, gently slide the yarn off of your fingers, making sure to keep the yarn pulled tight and kept across the middle.

06138A2E-432E-4A7A-B58F-61C2726FA562

Knot the tail and wrap the remaining tail across the other middle, this will form a plus sign.  Pull it tight and knot it.  This will form four sections.  Tie another knot securing the yarn.

B657D5E4-A77B-40A2-805B-9C1B555F4D05    DDFDDA4A-7C04-4079-B4D1-A203E8D21CE4

Next, you will need to grab some sharp scissors.  I used my fabric scissors (aka:  “if anyone uses these for anything other than fabric they will be in HUGE trouble” scissors).  Begin cutting the loops apart in each section.  Make sure you do not cut the tied tail.  We only had this happened once, but it’s important to remember.

6A7BE7E4-5F0E-4158-BD62-ED4050310DF7

Continue cutting all of the loops.  Once finished, it will not look very good and you’ll wonder if you did it right!  You did.  The pom pom just needs some fluffing.  Shake it, separate the pieces and try to fluff it out as best as you can.

2B77CCAA-6CDA-4A74-BC5E-483ABA576D14

Once your little ball of yarn is all fluffed out it’s time for a haircut!  This is when you will see your pom pom begin to take shape.  Trim the yarn pieces until they are all even.  I also like to cut them fairly short, but not to short.  Play around with it a little bit and you will find the style you like.  My daughters kept theirs a little more long, it’s all personal preference.

7A4492B4-7EEB-4116-831D-5A81FCF40563

That’s it!  Your pom pom is done!  Isn’t it cute????  The first one takes the longest…..to be honest, I threw away my first five.  But, once I had a little practice I was able to whip them up much quicker.

82940853-C5C4-4D33-92FC-364B3DEE5536

Stick some googly eyes on those pom poms and make little monsters for your kids, OR you can string it together to form a cute garland.  I chose the garland.

DB445D23-E99B-4F5E-8A1F-830EF8EC16B0

After browsing through my house unable to find a string for my garland I resorted to the garage (I was refusing to spend money on this project!).  I found some string in mu husbands stash of “stuff” and it worked really well.  I have also heard that twine or even embroidery thread would work for garland.

Tie a knot at the end of your string and use the string to thread a needle.  You will then stick your needle right through the middle of your pom-pom, pull it along the string until it reaches the knot, and continue until your garland is at the desired length.

7735B99F-F64C-4797-9D09-69380884DCEC     6AE36CE7-3AC5-4929-9A7C-FAE9CCB50144

Knot off the end and you are done!  You can hang your yarn pom-pom garland around your house, but we came up with a different idea.

0A570304-8DD1-44C4-8B65-C4845613B97A

We decided to decorate one of our little Christmas Trees as a “valentine tree.”  We have been making little crafts for it all month and decided this garland would be the perfect addition!

7734BD5C-6D43-488B-A2C6-9B153F966176

Let me know if you make a pom pom garland!  I would love to hear how it went.

Affiliate · Amazon · Family · Finances · Frugal Living Challenge · Good Ideas · Groceries · Grocery Haul · Walmart Grocery Pickup

How to Slowly Restock Your Pantry after Completing a Pantry Challenge

“We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

I recently completed an intense Pantry Clean out Challenge.  The goal was to cut my regular monthly grocery budget ($400) in half.  By doing this we would focus on eating the items I already had stocked in my freezer and pantry.

I was fortunate to have had many friends on Instagram join me in this challenge.  I loved watching all of the progress and having a group to encourage each other and share all our frugal ideas.  To find more info about doing your own pantry challenge check out my article; What I Learned From the July Pantry Challenge.

What’s Next?

My most asked question about this challenge has been, “Will you spend a lot of money on groceries in February to restock the pantry?”  The answer is No.  That would defeat the whole purpose of the challenge.  Today’s article is going to explain how I will slowly restock my pantry while staying in budget!

ways to restock your pantry and stay in budget

Here are five ways I slowly restock my pantry:

1.  Budget for the Pantry

I have a weekly budget dedicated to pantry stock up.  This is $15 per week.  This pantry money is taken out of our $100 weekly grocery budget.  Because it has been budgeted and planned for, restocking doesn’t require any extra money or stress.

Some weeks the pantry budget is spent at local sales.  Other times it’s stashed away to save for another week.  It all depends on our current needs.

2.  Buy Multiples

It is very rare for me to buy just one can of soup or one bag of sugar.  The way I see it, if I’m going to buy one item, and I have a few extra dollars in my budget, than I might as well grab a few more.

I do 90% of my shopping using Walmart’s Free Grocery Pick (get $10 off your first order using this link).  I love this service for about 1 million reasons (really.), but a huge reason is the ability to watch my grocery total as I add and subtract items to my order.  Whenever I am below my budgeted $100/week, I will add on a few more pantry staples.  This helps my pantry to grow and keeps me in budget.

3.  Buy in Bulk

Watch for opportunities to buy grocery items in bulk.  Many groceries will be priced much lower if it is bought in bulk.

This could be done by shopping local grocery case lot sales.  To find a case lot sale near you be sure to talk to your local grocer.  In many areas these sales might be called different names or even unadvertised.  So, don’t give up easily, keep digging and talking to grocers!

Another way I love buying in bulk is through a meat co-op.  I have recently started buying my chicken from Savory Butcher.  Their chicken is priced right and are delicious high quality.  If you need some direction of what to do with your bulk chicken read my article; What to do with your bulk chicken; including 6 Freezer Chicken Recipes.

4.  Shop Sales

When you are trying to stock up a pantry, shopping the sales and deals will make this much more budget friendly.  Whenever I find a good deal on one of our many pantry staples, I stock up (even if it wasn’t on my grocery list!).  I do it within my “pantry budget,” and only on items I would normally pay full price for.

My favorite app to check for deals is the Flipp app.  It is completely free to download and extremely user friendly.  The app is updated weekly as the new grocery ads come available.  I browse it every week to find what the sales are and plan my menus/pantry stock up around those deals.  Many weeks I can’t find anything worth buying, but other times I find some really great deals worth buying.

5.  Take Advantage of Cashback

Always, ALWAYS take advantage of the cashback apps available!  These are not huge money savers, but every.single.little.penny adds up.  Whenever I see my husband throwing away a receipt without scanning it for cashback I ask him, “Would you throw 25 cents in the trash???”   Of course he wouldn’t.  But essentially you are losing out on free money if you toss a receipt without first scanning it into the apps.

A few of my favorite cashback apps for grocery shopping are:.

Ibotta:  This is my most used app.  Ibotta offers cashback on hundreds of items every time you scan your grocery receipt.  My favorite cashback offers are the “any brand” items.  These offers include items in the dairy, produce, and other grocery departments.  *If you sign up for Ibotta using my link you will receive an automatic $10!

Checkout 51:  Checkout 51 is similar to Ibotta, in that it gives cashback on participating items when you scan your receipt.  They don’t have as many offers as Ibotta, but it is still always worth checking.                                                                                                                        *If you sign up using this link you will receive $3 when you redeem your first offer.

Fetch Rewards:  Fetch is so easy!  This is by far the most user friendly app.  All you do is scan your receipt and you automatically earn points.  These points can be redeemed for gift cards to just about anywhere.  My favorites are Target and Amazon.  I really like Fetch because you can redeem your points at as low at $3.                                                          *Use the code: W1CTU for an automatic 2,000 points when signing up.

I will be using each of these 5 strategies as I restock my pantry AND stick to my normal budget.  I’m not perfect when it comes to a grocery budget, but I’m trying!  Just like I know we all are!

What do you do to stock your pantry AND stay in budget?  I would love to hear all about it in the comments!

Affiliate · Amazon · Christmas · Date Night · Family · For the kids · Frugal Life · Parenting

20 Family Friendly Board Games, all Under $20

“We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

If you know me, even at all, you know that I LOVE to play games.  I love the competition, I love the laughs, and I love spending an evening with my favorite people……while not having to spend any money.

Our little family has Family Game Night every Sunday evening.  I brought this tradition with me from my childhood and I have loved sharing it with my children.  I will usually pop some popcorn and cut up some fruit while my kids pick out a pile of fun games.  Everyone has their favorites and we try to play as many as we can.

I also love to get together with friends and family members for game nights.  The great things about games is that their is always something for everyone.  With hundreds and hundreds of games to choose from, every personality and preference can find a favorite.

Games are easy to share with others, making it so cheap for everyone involved.  Think about it!  If everyone bought just one game, and then gets together to share the games, you get to enjoy multiple games for the price of one!

Thrift stores are also loaded with games.  I can almost always find a high quality game for just a couple of bucks at my local thrift store.  They may not be the “new on the market” games, but they are always big favorites!

20

I wanted to share a few of my families favorites game so that you can start your own regular game nights.  Each of these games are under $20 and family friendly!

Strategy Games

Citadels

Citadels is a quick game to play and easy to learn.  It has the perfect mix of strategy and lightheartedness.

Citadels Classic

Sheriff of Nottingham

If you are a good bluffer you will probably be great at Sheriff of Nottingham.  I am personally not a good bluffer, so this game is a little stressful for me!  But, I do really enjoy playing it.  It requires some strategy, the ability to bluff, and a little bit of skill.

Arcane Wonders Sheriff of Nottingham

Bohnanza

Bohnanza is a great game for older kids/teens.  It is a game of trading “beans” to plant in your bean fields.  It takes a little practice to learn the game, but once understood it is very addicting and has a fun strategy involved.

Rio Grande Games Bohnanza

CodeNames

Codenames is a very popular game, and for good reason.  You play on teams and use word association to try to get your teammates to guess which words you are thinking of.  It feels a little complicated when you first open the box, but it is actually really easy to learn.

Forbidden Island

Forbidden Island is interesting because you do not compete against each other.  It’s a strategy game, but everyone is on the same team.  Together, as a team you try to “save” the island before it sinks.  It can get a little stressful, but I love when our little family is forced (encouraged???) to work together.

Forbidden Island Card Game

 

Party Games

Watch Ya Mouth

Watch Ya Mouth is such a fun party game.  It is impossible to play without laughing the entire time.  Promise.  It is probably one of the funniest games I have ever played.

Mad Gab

It’s easy for all ages to play Mad Gab.  The game play involves scrambled words that you sound out to try to guess the correct phrase.  It’s so funny to listen to your teammates trying to guess the phrase while they sound the words out over and over.

Apples to Apples

Apples to Apples Junior is one of our families very favorite games.  It’s so easy to play and the rounds go very quickly.  Even my 4 year old enjoyed playing his cards and trying to keep up with the game.  I love that it is a game for everyone, even people who don’t like games!

Catch Phrase

My favorite party game is Catch Phrase.  The game is played in teams and you use word association to try to get your team to guess the word on the game unit.  The game goes fast and is easy for all ages.  The cool little Catch Phrase Unit even keeps score for you!  Yay!

Pit is fast paced and interactive.  You try to convince others to trade crops with you while they are trying to convince others to trade with them.  It is a race to be the first to collect all of your crops.  My kids love playing this game and it’s a great way to bring others out of their shell.

Telestrations

Telestrations is a mix between Pictionary and Telephone.  Everyone draws a word, then passes their drawing to the next person who guesses what you drew, this continues through everyone.  It’s so funny to see what the end product is!

Easy to Play Games

Cover Your Assets

The game Cover your Assets is fast, easy to learn and seriously addicting.  I’ve always loved money games and the ability to feel like a “quick millionaire.”  This is a great game for families!

Anomia

Anomia is a fun group game and works well for all personalities, even those normally quiet will start shouting and laughing while playing.  You do need to be able to read, so it is more fit for older kids.  It is small and compact which makes it easy to carry around on trips or over to someones home.

Everest Toys Anomia Card Game

Bananagrams

I absolutely love Bananagrams, or as my family likes to call it, Speed Scrabble.  It has the same strategy as scrabble, use your letter tiles to connect a words together in a grid.  But, it is fast paced and has an extra element of stress (in a good way).  If you are a fan of word games, you will love bananagrams!

Bananagrams Party Edition

Farkle

Farkle, or The Dice Game as I grew up calling it, is a game of luck and risk. The more you risk, the more lucky you might get.  It’s very easy to play, just simple rolling the dice and keeping score.  Farkle can turn into a lengthy game or played as a quick time filler.

Spot It

There is really no game like Spot It!  It is easy for all ages to play, has many different game play options, and each round goes quickly.  My kids can seriously play Spot It for hours!  We absolutely love it and I recommend it to everyone!

Spot It!

Clue

Clue is a classic, and for good reason!  It’s a good old fashioned mystery game as you make guesses trying to guess who committed the crime.  My kids love getting to go from room to room and write their suspicious in their “clue notebook.”

Kids love Exploding Kittens!  It’s simple to learn and so much fun to play.  The idea behind the game is so unique and original.  There is a little bit of strategy involved, but not necessary to enjoy the game.

Sequence

I grew up playing Sequence and it’s been fun to introduce it to my kids again.  It’s a very simple strategy, easy enough for young kids to follow.

Sequence Game

For Sale

For Sale is a game of buying properties and then selling properties.  It requires a little bit of strategy and a little bit of luck.  It’s easy for kids to understand and fun enough for adults to enjoy.  This travel version is cheaper than the original version, and more compact!

For Sale - Travel Edition

 

I’m always looking for new games to play with my family.  Comment below with YOUR favorite games!

 

Frugal Life · Frugal Living Challenge · Good Ideas · Homemade · Recipes

Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe

My friend shared this whole wheat banana chocolate chip muffin recipe with me years ago and I have been hooked on them ever since!  We eat them for breakfast, for after school snacks and I add them in my kids’ school lunches.

whole wheat banana chocolate chips muffins

These muffins are quick and easy to make, fairly healthy thanks to the whole wheat.  They are also super easy to make a large batch to freeze for later….and my ENTIRE family LOVES them.  So, basically just a win all around!

I will usually double the recipe and put half of them in the freezer.  To freeze you simply place the baked muffins in a ziplock freezer bag and throw them (or I guess gently place them….either way works 😉 ) into the freezer.

When you are ready to eat the muffins, just take them out of the freezer and thaw on the counter.  You can even just pop them into the microwave for a minute if you don’t want to wait for them to thaw.  (this is my kids’ fave trick!)

whole wheat banana chocolate chips muffins (1)

Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

2 eggs

1/4 cup honey

3 ripe bananas mashed

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg together until smooth.

Add the eggs, honey and mashed bananas.  Beat well.

Next, mix in the flour and chocolate chips.

Fill greased muffin cups 3/4 full.

Bake for 23-28 minutes.

This recipes yields 12 regular sized muffins.

You might be interested in a few of my other recipes:

Light and Fluffy Pancake Recipe

Homemade Graham Cracker Recipe

Quick and Easy Overnight Oatmeal
Continue reading “Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe”

Family · For the kids · Frugal Life · Frugal Living Challenge · Homemade · Parenting · Recipes

Light and Fluffy Pancake Recipe

I love to make my kids pancakes for breakfast!  They are easy to whip up, VERY cheap to make, and always a huge hit with everyone in my family.  The only problem is that I am extremely picky about my pancakes!

I have spent YEARS (seriously.) trying dozens and dozens of different pancake recipes.  Some have been to sweet, others have ingredients I don’t commonly have in my house.  A few of the recipes had pancakes turn out way to flat.

I came across this recipe about 8 years ago…and we haven’t looked back since!  The pancakes are easy to make, ingredients are always stocked in my cupboards, and they turn out light and fluffy every single time!  It is a winner!

0c556cf7-1dc1-4b39-8a9f-e291c7e5b04c

Light and Fluffy Pancake Recipe

Ingredients

2 cups flour

2 Tbsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

4 tsp baking powder

2/3 cup oil

2 eggs

1 1/2 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk you can use milk, but I recommend buttermilk)

Instructions

In a large bowl stir all of the dry ingredients together.  In a separate bowl mix the oil, eggs and milk.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just until mixed.

Pour 1/4 cup batter on hot griddle.  Bake until bubbles appear.  turn.  Bake the other side until golden brown.

Enjoy!

These pancakes are also so easy to freeze!  Find out how here:  Stock Piling your Freezer: How to freeze Pancakes for a Quick Frugal Breakfast

You might also enjoy my overnight oats recipe:  Quick and Easy Overnight Oatmeal

 

Affiliate · Amazon · Frugal Life · Frugal Living Challenge · Good Ideas · Parenting · Recipes

Stock Piling your Freezer: How to freeze Pancakes for a Quick Frugal Breakfast

“We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

for all ages

I really think my mom was supermom.  Granted, I didn’t think that when I was growing up….but now that I have become a mom myself, I am able to look back and realize just how hard she worked for our family.

I feel fairly confident when I say that many of you are supermoms as well.  You wake up early, spend all day serving your family, and go to bed late worrying about your kids.  My goal is to be supermom!  I fail about everyday, but I continue to try!

One of the many “supermom” traits from my mom was her willingness to make us a hot breakfast every single morning before school.  I knew that when I walked upstairs after getting dressed the table would be set, and a fresh warm breakfast would be served.  I TRY to do the same with my kids….but I REALLY struggle some mornings to find the energy and motivation.

I’ve recently started batch cooking many breakfast items and stocking up my freezer for quick breakfasts for my kids before they head out the door for school.

Making large batches of pancakes not only saves me time in the morning…it is also a VERY frugal breakfast!  You can spend 30 minutes one afternoon each week making a large batch of pancakes for the freezer, or the next time you make pancakes for breakfast simply double the batch and freeze the extras!  Here’s how!

eb54918a-b7f3-4e59-af44-982890736515

Make your pancakes following your favorite pancake recipe.  You can find my fave recipe here!  Let them cool completely.

1885e48a-9155-476b-94c0-9f2bacba02a1

Place pancakes on a cookie sheet in a single layer making sure the sides aren’t touching.

4d1275d7-9625-4a4f-9e6a-8c58645f0d9a

While the pancakes are in the freezer you can prepare your freezer bags.  All this takes is writing what “pancakes” and the date on the bag.

7a55fa72-bb4e-4dbc-9a84-4636ffa46c2a

Put the cookie sheets in the freezer for 30 minutes.  Once frozen take the pancakes off of the cookie sheets and place them all in your freezer bag.  It can be full as large as you need to.  Because you pre-froze them, they should be easy to break apart when you need to use them.

8a16021f-93f3-4ae7-8fa4-7a7fd728f691

Stick the bag of pancakes in the freezer and you are done!  Yay!  Easy peasy!

When you are ready to use the pancakes, simply take out the number of pancakes you need and microwave them until they are warm.  I usually microwave them for about a minute.

These are also easy for the kids to get out of the freezer themselves!  If I’m busy getting ready in the morning I sometimes tell my oldest to get out a few pancakes for all of the kids.

You might be interested in my other INCREDIBLY easy and frugal breakfast recipe:  Quick and Easy Overnight Oatmeal.

 

 

 

Affiliate · Amazon · Family · for free · For the kids · Free Fun · Frugal Life · Good Ideas

25 Completely Free Family Winter Activities

 Sweet Frugal Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

I absolutely love the snow!  I love to snowmobile, sled, and snowboard.  I love waking up to a fresh blanket of new snow and the sparkle it makes in the sunlight.

The only negative about the snow is that it’s so cold!!  Unfortunately, I live in an area where it stays cold for many many months!  We all get a little stir crazy around here being cooped up for so long.   I’ve learned to get creative during these cold months to help us stay sane and stay in budget!

2019 Goals

Fun In the Snow

1.  Sledding

Try a few sledding hills around town.  See if you can find a new favorite.  Enjoy spending the day laughing with friends and family.

f25ea2c8-edf3-4860-8ce1-df60866f821e

2.  Snow Cave

Spend the day outside building a snow cave as a family.  You could even have a contest to see who can build the best.  Turn it into a castle, add some stairs or windows.  Get creative and have fun!

3.  Snow Candy

We fell in love with Snow Candy a few years ago after reading the Little House on the Prairie series. Simply place a bowl outside while it’s snowing.  When the bowl is full of fresh clean snow, immediately bring it in and pour pure maple syrup on top.  The syrup will harden to make a sweet treat!

4.  Winter Walk/Scavenger Hunt

Bundle up and go for a walk in the freshly fallen snow.  Make a game of it by putting together a list of different items to find; a pine cone, icicle, boot tracks, animal tracks, a snowman, etc.

5.  Snowball Fight

Have a family friendly snowball fight.  This is guaranteed to bring a lot of laughs and memories!

6.  Build a Snowman

Why build one snowman when you can build a family of snowmen???  Have everyone build the snowman that fits their unique personality!

7.  Snow Ice Cream

Search Pinterest to find hundreds of easy snow ice cream tutorials. It is a simple recipe using a few cheap ingredients.  This is a fun way to enjoy the snow…while staying indoors!

 

Fun at Home

8.  Movie Night

Snuggle up together, pop some popcorn and have a family movie night.  Watch a few old classics or try something new.  All that matters is that you are spending time together.

9.  Bake Bread

I love spending cold winter days in my kitchen baking something warm.  Try baking a loaf of homemade bread!  Lather it with homemade butter and eat it together as a family.

10.  Homemade Cocoa

It only takes a couple of minutes and a few ingredients to make a big batch homemade cocoa.  Make the hot chocolate together as a family and enjoy sipping it next to a warm cozy fire.

92963B27-A291-47C3-86FD-02838377C28E

11.  Family Slumber Party

Haul blankets, pillows and sleeping bags onto the living room floor.  Have a large family slumber party together.  Your kids will remember this forever!

12.  Read a Novel as a Family

My family loves to read a novel together every winter.  I usually pick a classic and read it to the kids for 20-30 minutes every evening.  A few favorites have been Little House on the Prairie, Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little.

13.  Paper Snowflakes

Spend an afternoon cutting out paper snowflakes and hanging them around your home.  We like to tape a few to the windows and use invisible thread to hang some from the ceiling.  You can find countless Youtube video tutorials.  This is such a fun, cheap and easy craft!

bccada96-fbbe-46ff-9994-b6cf48620827

14.  Play Dough

Make some homemade play dough at home!  Use it to build snowmen or other fun creations.  You can use my favorite recipe or search pinterest for other variations!

78667B0A-C489-487D-8588-7C2571715B1A

15.  Indoor Picnic

You don’t have to have warm weather for a picnic!  Spread a blanket out on the floor, bring a few of your favorite picnic foods and enjoy a picnic indoors!

16.  Make a Fort

Gather all the blankets and chairs in your house and build a gigantic blanket fort.  Play games, read stories and spend the day hiding out in the fort.

17.  Make a Sock Snowman

All it takes is a little creativity and a few random items found around the house to turn an ordinary sock into a snowman!

f7376ad8-2354-491a-99fe-fbc14a8cf04f

18. Board Games

We love board games in our family!  You can find some cheap ones at your local thrift store, but there are plenty of fun games played with just a deck of cards or dice.

19.  Make Friendship Bracelets

My kids love spending an afternoon making friendship bracelets!  You can do an easy braid or something fancier.  Be sure to make two bracelets!  One to give away and one to keep.

20.  Family Dance Party

Sometimes our family (or maybe just this tired mom! 😉 ) just needs a good old fashioned dance party!  We crank up a few of our fave dance tunes and dance the grumpy faces away!

 

Fun in Town

21. Visit the Library

The library offers a lot of free activities for everyone in the family.  Take advantage of all the many free programs and be sure to check out a book or movie while you are there!

9871e8f4-f745-46eb-9204-a60197ae13af

22.  Serve a Meal at a Homeless Shelter

There is nothing better for a child to learn than how to care for others.  Pick a day as a family to help serve a meal at the local homeless shelter.  This is such a humbling experience!

23.  Visit a Pet Store

It’s so simple, but so fun!  We love walking around the local pet store and visiting the cats, dogs, and birds.  My kids ask to go regularly and I never complain!

24.  Donate to a Thrift Store

As a family go through all of the toys, clutter, and household items.  Fill up a large box of items to donate to a thrift store.  It feels so good to start the new year fresh and clutter free!

25.  Visit a Neighbor

Do you have an elderly neighbor who might need a visit?  Or maybe someone new to the neighborhood?  As a family pay a special visit to someone needing company.  It’s a great way to brighten their day and get to know someone new!

 

What do you like to do with your family during the cold winter months????  Bonus points if it’s FREE!  Comment below with all your good ideas!

 

 

Family · Frugal Life

My 2019 New Years Goals

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of goals.  Goals keep me focused and motivated as I try to better myself.  With the new year right around the corner I decided to share a few of my new goals.

It’s fairly common for many of us to make goals….and then a few weeks later forget about them.  (please tell me that’s not just me!!)

Here are a few tricks I have started doing to make those goals actually happen.

  1.  Write the goals down
  2. Include Action Items (what steps will you take to meet these goals)
  3. Tell Someone (this keeps me accountable!)

2019 Goals

This year I decided to choose a word for each goal category.  The goal is that this word will be at the front of my mind and remind me of these resolutions.

Personal Goals

Personal 2019 Word of the Year:  Prioritize

It’s so easy to allow my priorities to slip.  This year I want to make time for the things that are truly important to me personally.  My health and daily scripture study are the two at the top of my list.

I have scheduled time each day for exercising.  I decided to do this in the evening because it just hasn’t been happening in the evenings!  I am hoping my husband keeps me accountable.  I have gotten into a habit of reading my scriptures daily, I am hoping to continue that into the new year with a focus on more STUDYING what I read.

Family Goals

Family 2019 Word of the Year:  TIME!

As much as I have tried to stop them, my kids continue to grow!!  ;( Every time I blink they seem to be a little older and a little more independent.  This year I want to focus on TIME, enjoying the time I have with my kids NOW, before that time is gone.

We have made a goal to go on a small family trip each year and have one planned not to far from home.  I am also going to work on spending more intentional time with each of my children.  I have made the goal to take them each out on monthly dates and to put my phone away when they are in the same room as me.

Business Goals

Business 2019 Words of the Year:  Organize and Monetize

My business gets two words this year!

Last year I launched my business Sweet Frugal Life on a complete whim.  I assumed nobody would care about my opinion and that I wouldn’t even enjoy it.  I have really enjoyed blogging and watching my business grow.  This year I am no longer growing it on a whim and instead want to organize it and be more professional and intentional with the time spent on it.

I would also like to learn how to turn this business into something that actually makes money!  I am learning everyday and have committed to learning what I need to do to make this business successful.

Financial Goals

Financial 2019 Word of the Year:  Growth

This is an obvious word!  We all want it! We have spent a lot of money the past few years (building a house is expensive!) and now I want to start seeing growth.

We are increasing our emergency savings by 6%, increasing retirement savings by 1% and trying to save $5,000 for a new vehicle.

 

What goals do you have for the new year?  Let me know below in the comments!

Affiliate · Amazon · Christmas · For the kids · Frugal Life · Holidays · Homemade · Recipes

Christmas Hard Candy Recipe

“We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

I was introduced to Christmas Hard Candy when I married my husband.  It is a Christmas staple in his family.  It’s also so easy to make, and even more fun to eat! 😉

9FE15BF4-8025-42F6-8B57-0F33179EFD4D

I made Cinnamon version.  But, you can also make a peppermint version (tinted green) which is equally as good!  It’s fun to make both and have both red and green candy to give to neighbors.

You will need cinnamon oil or peppermint oil.  These are not usually found at a grocery store.  I buy mine at a craft store in the cake decorating section.  I also found them for you on Amazon.  Do not use cinnamon or peppermint extract, it won’t turn out as good!  (I promise, I tried!)

Christmas Hard Candy Recipe

3 1/2 cup sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1 cup water

1/2 tsp cinnamon or peppermint oil

1 tsp red (for cinnamon) or green (for peppermint) food coloring

In a large heavy saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water.  Cook on medium to high heat until candy thermometer reads 300 degrees (hard crack stage), stirring occasionally.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in oil and food coloring, keeping face away from mixture as odor is very strong.  Immediately pour onto an oiled cookie sheet.  Cool and break into pieces.  Store in air tight container.

 

 

Let me know if you try it and like it!  It puts a big smile on my husbands face every year!

Check out my other Christmas Recipes:

Christmas Tree Cookie Recipe

Easy Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe