Date Night · Family · for free · Free Fun · Frugal Life · Good Ideas · Parenting · Valentines Day

10 Ideas for Date Night at Home

Date nights are so important to all relationships.  I’ve been married 14 years and life has HAPPENED.  Right now the majority of our time is spent taking care of our three kids, working our jobs, and maintaining our home (with our slightly to big yard!).

It’s been so easy to get consumed with all of these “to dos” and leave less time for my spouse.  We have learned that we MUST make date night a priority, or else it probably won’t happen.

I get it!  Dating can be expensive!  Just dinner and a movie could easily cost you a quick $50.  PLUS, when you have to hire a babysitter….those dates can add up fast.  I have BEEN there!

One thing my husband and I have learned to do is to have date night at home.  This saves us the added cost of hiring a babysitter and is almost ALWAYS cheaper than the dates we have outside of the home.  We plan a night each week, put the kids to bed, turn off the TV, put away all phones and other distractions and we spend time TOGETHER.  It has done wonders for our relationship!

I’ve made a list of a few of our favorite at home date night ideas.  Hopefully this will help you brainstorm a few that you and your significant other can enjoy.  For EVEN more FREE date night ideas check out my post, 20 FREE Valentine Date Ideas.

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Here are 10 of our Favorite At Home Date Night Ideas

1.  Candlelight Dinner

There’s no rule that says you have to go out to a fancy restaurant in order to enjoy a romantic dinner.  Cook a special dinner, put the kids to bed and enjoy a quiet dinner for two.  Set the mood by lighting some candles, dimming the lights, and adding a pretty tablecloth.

2.  Put Together a Puzzle

I am not usually a huge fan of puzzles (I lack patience!), however, my husband really enjoys them.  Through him I have learned to better appreciate puzzles.  Often when we do a puzzle together it has turned into sweet moments where we are able to just talk and laugh.  It’s fun to have a project/goal we can work towards together.  I have surprised myself by saying I enjoy puzzles…..as long as they are done with my husband!  😉

3.  Would you Rather

Ask each other “would you rather” questions to get to know each other a little better.  It’s such a fun way to learn more about each other.  You can ask serious questions, or be a little more lighthearted and fun.  I’m still surprised at all the random idiosyncrasies I keep learning about my husband!

4.  Food Tasting

Try some new foods together with a food tasting.  Look for new food at the grocery store that you normally wouldn’t buy.  Perhaps, some fancy cheeses and unique fruits.  You might even find a few new favorites!

5.  Personality Quizzes

I’m a bit of a nerd in the fact that I seriously love personality quizzes.  I’m betting there isn’t a personality quiz out there that I haven’t taken.  For a fun date night you could both take a personality quiz and then read each others results.  It’s such much easier to understand why someone is the way they are if you understand their personality better.

6.  Dream Board

Dream up your future together!  Set goals and put together a dream board of what the two of you hope to accomplish within the next 5, 10, 20 years.  The best way to achieve a dream, is to have a dream!

7.  Outdoor Picnic

If it’s warm outside, set up a little outdoor picnic.  Lay out a blanket to sit on, pack all your favorite finger foods, and enjoy time together in your own backyard.  Try to schedule it right before the sunset so you can enjoy dinner and a show.  Be sure to bring an extra blanket for snuggling.

8.  Ice Cream Sundaes

Who says ice cream is just for kids????  My husband and I have a serious deep love for ice cream.  It’s fairly common for one of us to buy a pint of ice cream as a sweet gesture to the other.  How about making gourmet ice cream sundaes, WITHOUT the kids around?  Pile it high with all your favorite toppings, finish it off with a cherry on top (of course!), and enjoy talking and spending time together while you eat your ice cream sundae!

9.  Play Name That Tune

Test each others music knowledge with a friendly game of name that tune.  Travel back in time and play some of the hits from when you were kids.  Turn it into a friendly competition with a small wager (maybe loser has to make the bed the next morning????).

10.  Learn a New Skill

Watch some youtube videos about a new skill you have both been wanting to learn.  These could be a few weeks worth of dates, as you continue to learn and improve your new skill.  Perhaps you will want to learn about photography, cooking, art, or a foreign language?  The options are endless!  Maybe you could each pick a new skill you would personally like to learn and you can take turns supporting and learning the others chosen skill together.

Date night has truly become a night I look forward to ALL week!  Sometimes us moms just need a little adult interaction, amiright?!?!?!

What are some of your favorite at home date night ideas???  Let me know in the comments!  The more ideas we share, the better for all of us!!

 

 

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Birthday · Family · for free · For the kids · Free Fun · Frugal Life · Uncategorized

Fun Birthday Traditions for Small Budgets

I love celebrating my kids birthdays every year.  It’s so fun to have one day just focused on helping them feel important and loved.  I try really hard to give them a special day to remember, WITHOUT spending very much money.  I truly believe that you do NOT need to spend money to help a child feel special.

12 No-fuss Birthday Cakes

Here are a few of our favorite frugal birthday traditions.

Decorate Bedroom

The night before a birthday birthdays, I sneak into their room after they fall asleep, and decorate.  I fill the floor with balloons and hang streamers from their doorway.  They know every night before they go to bed what will happen, but they still love it.  It’s so fun for them to wake up to a party!

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Birthday Breakfast

Birthday Pancakes are a staple at our home.  A birthday is always started with our traditional breakfast of birthday pancakes.  The only thing I do different, is add some sprinkles to the batter.  So easy, but the kids love it!  Sometimes, if I’m feeling real fancy, I’ll try to make a pancake in the shape of their initials….but let’s be real, I’m rarely fancy!  😉

Your-Choice Dinner

The birthday child always gets to choose what I make for dinner.  If they choose pizza, I make pizza!  If they want waffles, well then, I make waffles!  This isn’t a hard tradition by any means, but my kids think it’s fun to get to be in charge of all the dinner plans.

Red Birthday Plate

We have a special red plate at our house.  We only get it out on a birthday, and the birthday child gets to eat dinner on the red plate.  This is a tradition I grew up with and have enjoyed carrying the tradition on with my own children.  It’s so simple, yet for some reason, it brings so much joy to whoever gets to eat on the birthday plate.  Yes, it has a chip on it, but that is just part of the memories from this long loved plate!

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Birthday Love

While we are eating dinner we take turns going around the table and every family member shares something they love about the birthday child.  I love this time with my family.  I love focusing on all of the many wonderful qualities in each of my kids, and getting to hear them express these to each other.

Bedtime Stories

At bedtime I lay with the birthday child and share the story of their birth.  I try to go through all the details of their day years ago, including every up and down.  I always end with sharing how that day was one of the most special, important, beautiful days of my life and I talk about just how perfect my life has become because they were born.

 

These traditions do not cost much money.  I spend a few dollars on streamers and balloons and these usually last me a couple of years.  10 years ago I bought a red plate for $5, and it is still being used and loved.  It does NOT take a “pinterest worthy” birthday to celebrate a loved one.  All it takes is a little thought and a lot of love.

 

Crafts · for free · For the kids · Free Fun · Frugal Life · Good Ideas · Homemade · Parenting

How to Make an Easy Nature Bookmark Tutorial

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.  As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

I spent a wonderful week with my sister in the mountains.  We took walks, watched movies, played games, and enjoyed getting out of our daily routines.

My sister planned such a fun simple nature craft for the kids to do.  I loved it so much and felt like it would be perfect for camping or a nature study.

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Easy Nature Bookmark Tutorial Craft

First, you will need to collect flowers, leaves, and any other thing that catches your eye.  this made for a really fun nature walk.

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Once you gather your flowers you will need to press them.  We laid our flowers on a paper towel and put books on top to help press them.  We kept them under the books for about 6-7 hours.  I found that this wasn’t enough time for the flowers to dry fully.  I would recommend at least 24 hours.

Once your leaves and flowers are dried it’s time to start designing your bookmark.  My sister used Self Laminating Pouches to give the bookmarks a nice strong seal.

 

You will lay your flowers down on the non sticky part of the pouch.  This is the fun part!  The kids loved spending time getting their bookmarks to look just right!  We were able to get 2 bookmarks out of one pouch.

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Once you have your flowers laid you will put the sticky part of the pouch on top.  This part was tricky!  It is hard to redo any mistakes, so you will want to take your time and be exact.  Slowly peel off the backing as you place the sticky side on top of the flowers.  Be sure to press and seal as you are peeling it off.

Once you have it all laminated and sealed just right you can cut your bookmarks in half, punch a hole through the top and thread some ribbon through for a nice top.

We learned a lot doing this craft and I am excited to try it again seeing if we can fix some of our mistakes.  My kids have been so proud of these and excited to use them.

I hope that you and your littles will enjoy spending a little bit of time preserving nature.

 

 

 

 

Crafts · Family · for free · For the kids · Free Fun · Frugal Life · Holidays · Parenting

Easy Fourth of July Craft: Fireworks Stamping

Is their really any holiday better than the 4th of July????  Sunshine.  BBQS.  Parades.  Family.  Friends.  Fireworks.  I love this holiday.

We have started celebrating a few weeks early with a couple of fun and easy Fourth of July crafts.  A lot of our crafts revolve around toilet paper tubes….because you really can’t get any cheaper than toilet paper tubes, right?!?!  This craft is one that we do every year.  It is so simple and easy!

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You will need to collect a few toilet paper tubes.  I used three toilet paper tubes so that I could have one for each color of paint:  red, white and blue.

Once I dug the toilet paper tubes out of the trash collected three toilet paper tubes, we began to cut around the bottom.  We cut thin strips, about half way up all around the tube.  Once your strips are all cut, fan them out so the bottom is flat.

Dip each toilet paper tube in paint and begin stamping on your paper.

Once our sky was full of fireworks we decided to sprinkle glitter on the paint to give it a little extra sparkle.  I used what I had at home, blue and gold.  I really liked the way the glitter helped the firework stamps to stand out.

We have our firework stamps hung up on the fridge.  It is a fun reminder of the Independence Day we get to celebrate soon!

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Finances · for free · Frugal Life · Frugal Living Challenge · Good Ideas · Money Educatioin · Money Helps

Show Me the Money: 4 Ways to Earn CASHBACK on Purchases

I am a member of online affiliate programs.  I will receive compensation from clicks on my links.  All opinions are my own.  I guarantee to never share anything I haven’t already been using for years.

Who likes free money???  I LOVE free money!  And I’m betting you like free money too!

This post is all about how to earn cashback, just by shopping like you regularly shop!!

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Cashback with Discover Card

My FAVORITE way to earn cashback is by shopping with my Discover Card.  I talked in detail about why I love my Discover Card in my post The one idea I disagree with Dave Ramsey on.  In short, when I shop with my Discover Card I automatically earn cashback on all purchases.  They give you 1% cashback on EVERYTHING and 5% on different categories that are rotated monthly.  (Currently, I am receiving 5% on groceries).  You don’t have to do anything, just use your card and your cashback will grow.  I earn around $500 cashback with Discover a YEAR, and all I do is shop like normal!

Cashback with Ibotta

I love shopping with ibotta.  This is the very first app I check after completing my grocery shopping.  All you have to do is shop, check the app for rebates, scan your receipt, and the money is instantly put in your ibotta account.  Easy.  Peasy.  They have a wide selection of rebates, common items are milk, apples, pantry items, broccoli, beauty and household.  I can almost always find at LEAST one or two items to receive a rebate for.     If you don’t currently have an ibotta account you can get a FREE $10 just for signing up for one through my link.  (FREE money people!)  Once you have $20 in your account you can redeem your money as cash or a gift card.  I have earned over $100 by using ibotta!

Cashback with Checkout 51

Checkout 51 is very similar to ibotta.  It works as a rebate program.  You shop, scan your receipt and qualified purchases and you will get the rebated money instantly in your account.  Once you reach $20 in your account you can request your money, same as ibotta.  It only takes a few minutes to check for rebates and one minute to scan your receipt.  I have made over $50 cashback using Checkout 51!

Cashback with Ebates

It is so easy to earn cashback with Ebates.  If you like to shop online, you need to shop through the Ebates app.  If you shop through the ebates link you will earn cashback for every purchase.  They have a large variety of stores available to earn money with.  Everything from Kohls, Ebay, Zulily, Justice, Aerie, Lowes, Gap, Ulta, and so so many more.  Before I make ANY online purchase, I always check Ebates first to see if they offer cashback for that store.  All you do is click on the store link in the app, you will be taken to the store website, you do your shopping, and instantly earn money back.  SO SO easy!

 

If you are going to be shopping ANYWAYS, you might as well be earning a little cashback along the way, right???  RIGHT!

A quick word of caution however.  It can become easy to want to buy a product JUST because you see you can get a rebate for it through ibotta or Checkout 51.  Be careful to NOT to fall into this temptation.

I have found the best way for me is to do my shopping FIRST and then check the rebate apps to see if I bought anything eligible for a rebate.  (Except for with Ebates, you must check Ebates FIRST!)  This has helped me immensely to not buy things I really didn’t need in the first place.

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What cashback secret did I miss???  How do you like to earn cashback?  Share your successes in the comments!  I would love to hear all about them.

 

 

for free · For the kids · Free Fun · Frugal Life

“Painting” Baked Rocks

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If you have been reading for a while you know that I am all about simple and frugal activities for kids.  Mom life is HARD and BUSY and did I mention HARD.  So, if I can come up with fun activities for my kids that require very little prep, I am all for it!

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This activity of “painting” rocks is one of my favorites. It starts with an old fashioned rock hunt.  I encourage my kids to find a large and smooth rock, they usually just grab whichever one catches their eye first!  Either way totally works.  (See, simple right?!?!)

 

You will then need to “bake” the rock.  This is done exactly how it sounds.  Place the rock into a hot oven and let it “cook” in the oven until the rock gets hot.  I usually turn the oven on to about 400 degrees and bake them for about 15 minutes.  There really is no science here, you just want the rock hot.

 

Take it out of the oven carefully and place it on a paper plate, paper towel, newspaper, etc.  Now you can let your kids color on the hot rock with crayons.  It is fun to watch the colors melt on to the rock and look like paint.

 

After you are done “painting” let the rock cool and dry.  You will be left with a fun colored rock, we have a collection of these outside.  My kids are always eager to add a new rock to their loved collection.

 

 

for free · Frugal Life · Homemade

Homemade Outdoor Window Cleaner

We have been busy around here with Spring Cleaning.  I might be a little strange, but I honestly look forward to Spring Cleaning every year.  It is such a beautiful time of year with new growth and the perfect time for a fresh clean start.

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Every spring we deep clean the outside of all of the windows on our house.  It’s a family job and everyone helps.  I have been making my own window clean for years.  It does a great job getting off all those pesky  water spots.

Outdoor Window Cleaner Recipe

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All you need is:

8 cups water

2 cups vinegar

1/8 cups dish soap

Mix all ingredients together in a large bucket and you are ready to scrub those windows!

That is all!  Seriously so easy!

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Am I the only one who gets giddy over spring cleaning windows????

 

 

for free · For the kids · Free Fun · Frugal Life · Good Ideas · Parenting

50 FREE activities to do with your kids over the Summer Break

Summer break is just around the corner.  I have been looking forward to summer for weeks!  I love having my school aged kids home with me and I always look forward to a more relaxed schedule full of fun family activities.  I talked a little more about summer in my post:  Our Summer Plans: Keeping the kids Entertained and Mom Sane, this post includes how I plan on managing screen time and a couple of our favorite traditions.

Today I am sharing 50 ideas for a FREE and fun summer with your kids.  There are so many free activities to take part of during the summer months.  I love taking advantage of all of them!

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Outside

  1.  Picnic at Park
  2. Play Frisbee
  3. Run through the Sprinkler
  4. “Paint” with Water
  5. Go on a Walk
  6. Picnic in Backyard
  7. Play hopscotch/Sidewalk Chalk
  8. Draw on Sidewalk with ice cubes
  9. Go on a Bike ride
  10. Nature Scavenger Hunt
  11. Go on a hike
  12. Plant a garden
  13. Jump on the Trampoline with water balloons
  14. Play Catch
  15. Blow Bubbles
  16. Go Geocaching
  17. Play night games with flashlights
  18. Catch bugs
  19. Go Stargazing
  20. Make a Fairy Garden
  21. Wash the Car
  22. Learn to jump rope
  23. Make an obstacle course
  24. Set up a Lemonade Stand
  25. Make a Nature Journal

Indoors

  1.  Make Play dough
  2. Do a science experiment
  3. Bake cookies
  4. Make up a play
  5. Build a fort
  6. Make a dream catcher
  7. Make Slime
  8. Play Hide-and-Seek or Sardines
  9. Paint Rocks
  10. Write letters to friends or family
  11. Play board games or card games
  12. Make a summer scrapbook
  13. Play charades
  14. Make an indoor treasure hunt
  15. Go to the library
  16. Sing Karaoke (find free songs on you tube)
  17. Fold Origami
  18. Put on a puppet show
  19. Play Dress-Up
  20. Have a dance party
  21. Put together a puzzle
  22. Make homemade ice cream
  23. Dress Fancy and have a DIY photo shoot
  24. Learn a few magic tricks and put on a show
  25. Make paper airplanes

 

What are some of your favorite free activities for summer time with your kids?

Finances · for free · Frugal Life · Frugal Living Challenge

14 Day Frugal Living Challenge

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I have been working so hard on my 14 Day Frugal Living Challenge.  I wanted to create something that would encourage, inspire and help others to live a more frugal lifestyle.

I have put together 14 e-mails (one a day), each with a different frugal living topic.  Each e-mail includes tips and tricks from me and a daily challenge, all related to the topic.  There are links to other articles, free printable worksheets, and 15 of my favorite simple and frugal recipes.

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I am really excited for this project!  I hope others will find it useful, helpful and encouraging as they try to save money and live beneath their minds.  If you are interested in signing up you can do so at this page; Frugal Living Challenge Sign Up.

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Let me know if you sign up!  I would love to follow along as you participate in the challenge!

for free · Frugal Life · Holidays

Mothers Day Gift Guide: 15 FREE Gift Ideas

I love Mothers Day.  I love being showered by my kids and husband with thoughtful gifts and notes.  I love celebrating all moms out there for the love and work they do every day of their lives.  Being a mom is without a doubt the most difficult, yet most beautiful thing I have ever done.  It is my favorite title and the thing that brings me the absolute most joy into my life.  Gifts do not need to cost very much many, in fact some of the best gifts cost no money!  The only thing that matters is that it comes from the heart.  I brainstormed 15 free gift ideas to give your mom for mothers day.

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  1.  Write a sweet note.  My love language is words of affirmation and nothing means more to me than receiving a kind and genuine note.  Tell your mother what you love and appreciate about her.  Let her know the impact she has made on your life.
  2. A bouquet of fresh flowers.  Pick some flowers from your hard, or maybe some wild flowers.  Put them in a mason jar or tin can, make sure to add a pretty ribbon tied around it.
  3. Offer to make her dinner.  As a busy mom, I love getting a night off from cooking dinner., I bet your mom feels the same way!  Invite her over for dinner and cook a few of her favorite foods.
  4. Mom and daughter book club.  Check out two copies of the same book from your local public library.  Tell her you will both read the book and get together every week to discuss it.  You will have your own mini book club!
  5.  DIY hand sugar scrub.  There are a lot of great recipes for sugar scrubs on Pinterest.  I usually mix coconut oil with sugar and add a few drops of lavender essential oil.  I keep the scrub stored in a mason jar.  It works great!
  6. Make a Top Ten List.  List the Top Ten things you love about your mom.  Use some cute scrapbook paper or fancy fonts to give the list a little extra flare.
  7. Favorite memories e-mail.  Send mom an e-mail with a few pictures of the favorite memories you have together.  Explain to her why those moments are so special to you.  If you are tech savvy, put together a video montage with music of all of your special pictures.
  8. Weed her flowerbeds.  When spring comes, so do the weeds (unfortunately!).  Help mom out by weeding her flowerbeds.  She will love a break from all the work and will appreciate the thoughtful service.
  9. Homemade cookies.  Does your mom have a favorite cookie or treat?  Make mom her favorite dessert.  Wrap it in saran wrap and put a pretty bow on top.  Remembering what she likes will be a sweet gesture.
  10. Wash her car.  Surprise her with a free car wash.  You could even show a little extra love and detail the inside by dusting and vacuuming it out.
  11. Gift of time.  What better way to show your mom that you care than to spend time with her.  Ask her to spend quality time just the two of you.  This could be by going on a walk, playing a game, doing a craft, or attending a free community event.
  12. Give her a pedicure.  Bring your nail polish over to moms house and paint her toes and fingernails.  She will love having a little girl bonding time.
  13. Make a quote jar.  Cut out a bunch of your favorite motivational quotes and put them in a mason jar.  Tell her she can pull out a quote each day to help her feel loved and inspired.
  14. Crafty gift.  Do you like to craft?  Find an easy craft you could make for mom.  Challenge yourself to make it by only using supplies that you already have at home.
  15. Be there for her.  Take the entire day off from other commitments and just be there for your mom.  Spend the entire day with her.  Help her around the house, share inside jokes, and show her you care making her your priority for the entire day.

What are you giving mom for mothers day?  What are some of your favorite free gifts that have been gifted to you??  Share in the comments so we can all learn together!

If you would rather spend a little bit of money on mom check out my post Fabulous DEALS Friday: Mothers Day Gifts Under $15! to find some budget friendly, yet very cute gift ideas for mom!