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

How to Make an Easy Nature Bookmark Tutorial

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.

 

 

 

 

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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!

Fabulous DEALS Friday · for free · Free Fun · Frugal Life

34 Places that will give you FREE stuff on your Birthday!

Today just so happens to be my birthday!  Yay!  Happy Birthday to me!

I received my annual birthday coupon for an appetizer or dessert from Carrabba’s in my e-mail a few days ago and I started wondering about what other places I could sign up with to receive FREE stuff on my birthday.  (I loooove free!)  I did some research and because I am turning 34  I found 34 places that will give you FREE stuff just for having a birthday!  It’s great!  All you have to do is sign up for their e-mails (or some require a download of an app) and you’ll be eating free for your entire birthday week!  Check out all the great birthday freebies below!

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Free Meals

IHOP:  IHOP will give you a Free Meal just for signing up, on your birthday, AND on your sign-up anniversary!

Tucanos:  Earn points and rewards with Tucanos and a Free Birthday Meal!

Firehouse Sub:  Firehouse will gift you a Free Medium Sub every birthday.

Rainforest Cafe:  Sign up for Rainforest Cafe Club and receive a free $25 welcome gift AND a $25 gift on your birthday!

Black Bear Diner:  Black Bear Diner will send you a Free birthday meal.

bd’s Mongolian Grill:  Join bd’s Mongolian Grill and receive a free $5 off gift and a Free Meal on your birthday!

Ruby Tuesday:  Free burger or Garden Bar entree every birthday!

Benihana: Benihanas will e-mail you a $30 gift certificate for your birthday.

Dessert/Appetizzer

Marble Slab:  Earn points and rewards and $5 coupon on your birthday AND on your sign-up anniversary!

Dippin Dots:  Free Dippin Dots on your birthday!

Sprinkles Cupcakes:  Sprinkles will give you a Free Cupcake on your birthday!

A&W:  Free Root Beer Float at A&W!

Carrabbas Italian Grill:  Carrabbas will send you a birthday coupon for a Free dessert or Appetizzer!

On the Border:  Free Queso for signing up with On the Border AND on your birthday.

Rita’s Ice:  Free birthday treat from Rita’s Ice!

Red Mango:  Red Mango will give you a $5 reward every birthday.

Del Taco:  Get two free tacos for signing up with Del Taco AND a birthday milkshake.

Orange Leaf:  Join Orange Leaf to earn points and rewards and $3 off on your birthday!

Dunkin Donuts:  Free beverage for signing up and and your birthday.

Surprise Gift/Extra

Rodizio Grill:  Rodizio Grill will send you a surprise coupon on your birthday.

La Madeleine:  Free soup or salad for signing up and a surprise birthday treat.

Baja:  Sign up for Club Baja and you will receive a free taco and a birthday treat!

Marie Callenders:  Free gift for signing up Marie Callender’s E-Club and birthday coupons!

Famous Daves:  Free Birthday gift when you join Famous Nation.

The Melting Pot:  Melting Pot will send you coupons for your birthday.

Redbox:  Redbox will gift you a Free movie rental for your birthday AND your sign up anniversary!

Steak n Shake:  Special treat for your birthday and a special anniversary.

Applebees:  Sign up for Applebees and receive a free birthday special.

Texas De Brazil:  Free coupons on your birthday AND anniversary!

Pretzelmaker:  Pretzelmaker will send you a special treat for your birthday!

Red Lobster:  Join Red Lobster Rewards for points, rewards and a birthday surprise.

Cinnabon:  Birthday surprise from cinnabon AND a free cinnabon just for signing up.

Edible Arrangements:  Sign up with Edible Arrangements and receive a free birthday gift!

Perkins:  When you join with Perkins you will automatically receive 20% off, and then a special surprise on your birthdays.

It’s so fun receiving all these free coupons in your e-mail during your birthday week.  I signed up for a few more while I was researching and am looking forward to receiving them next birthday!  There’s nothing better than FREE!]

Do you have any other places that sends you free coupons on your birthday?  Share them in the comments to help us all benefit!

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for free · Frugal Life · Good Ideas · Recipes

Homemade Bathroom Cleaner

My least favorite room to clean in the house is the bathroom.  I’m sure I am not alone in this!  I always put this job off for days!  I would rather make this homemade bathroom cleaner than actually use it.  😉

I started making my homemade bathroom cleaner a few years ago and have not looked back!  Making your own bathroom cleaner is so easy and is a great way to save money!  Buying it in the store can get pricey.  For this recipe I always have the ingredients on hand and it only takes me a few minutes to put it all together.

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You will need a plastic spray bottle.  I recommend spending a few extra dollars rather than buying the cheapest bottle.  It will last much longer this way.

Ingredients:

2 tsp. baking soda

1 cup vinegar

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup dish soap

1 1/2 cups water

First, add the baking soda to the spray bottle and then add the vinegar.  I do this in the sink, and do it slowly because it will foam.

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Squeeze the foam out and then add the rest of the ingredients.  After all of the ingredients are added put the lid back on the bottle and shake it up really good.  That’s it!  You are ready to tackle the bathroom!  This lasts me about a year and I use it for every part of the bathroom; the toilet, sink, countertops, shower and bath.

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It does make cleaning the bathroom maybe SLIGHTLY more enjoyable if I know that I am saving money while doing it.  Right?!?!

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Do you make your own cleaners?  Have you noticed a savings when doing so?