Affiliate · Bargain Buys · Budgeting · Easter · Family · For the kids · Frugal Life · Holidays · Parenting

Dollar Tree Easter Basket Ideas

I was compensated for this post. This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

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A common misconception is that the only way for kids to have a childhood full of memorable holidays and fun traditions is to spend a lot of money…..I’m here to tell you that is just.not.true.

This is one of the many reasons why I LOVE The Dollar Tree.  I love watching their season aisle.  It’s fun to see what they bring in every year.

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Every year I buy my kids Easter Basket Stuffers from The Dollar Tree spring section.  This year I spent a total of $6 per basket, making the grand total for 3 Easter Baskets only $18!  AND!  I know my kids will love them (yay!).

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The Baskets

Fortunately I didn’t need to buy baskets, grass filler or plastic eggs because I save each of these things to use year after year.  These current baskets have last me over 5 years and I’m sure they will last another 5!  This saves me a few bucks every year, but those few dollars add up to big savings!

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However, if you are needing new baskets or plastic eggs The Dollar Tree has you covered!  Their Easter aisle is packed full of eggs and grass in every imaginable color and Easter Baskets for every personality.

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Teen Girl Easter Basket

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My 13 year old daughter loves all things artsy, tendy and girly; and I found the PERFECT items for her basket that fit these categories.

I was so excited when I found these darling faux potted cactus’s at The Dollar Tree.  My daughter has a slight obsession with cactus’s at the moment (and tells me so do all of her friends….) so I knew this would be PERFECT in her basket.

I also found this fun Caligraphy book to help teach her pretty lettering, white nail polish, and a colorful kite.

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Tween Girl Easter Basket

Next up was my 10 year old daughters basket.  She is pure girl and loves using her hands in the kitchen or at the table crafting.

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I found a nice selection of hands on science kits at The Dollar Tree and ended up buying this Crystal Growing Kit.  We have tried to grow our own crystals at home and have failed every time!  I’m hoping to have much more success with this kit!

She’s also getting a kite, some chapstick (don’t you love those spring colors!) and a Spiral Art set.  Did you love Spiral Art as much as I did as a kid????  So fun!

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Boy Easter Basket

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Last, but certainly not least is my 6 year old sons Easter Basket.  He is all boy through and through and just wants to be busy and active all of the time.

I found a box of sidewalk chalk at The Dollar Tree and decided this would be the perfect way to get him outside during spring.

His basket is also filled with a kite, a cute robot on canvas to color and a slinky.  He has ALWAYS wanted his very own slinky (little bother problems, amiright???) and I can’t wait for him to see this one.

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The Candy

What’s Easter without some candy????  The Dollar Tree has you covered!  I’m serious.  I have a slight (ok, serious) addiction to Sweet Tarts Jelly Beans….have you ever tried them???  So good!  I was very proud of myself that I left the bag at the store, otherwise, the entire bag would have been gone before I even left the parking lot (only kinda kidding…).

I DID buy a few pieces of candy for the kids though.  Starburst Jelly Beans (also so good!) and chocolate bunnies to name a few.

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Do you love filling easter eggs with candy?  I totally do!  There is something so fulfilling about it!

 

My kids will wake up on Easter Sunday, anxiously walk into our living room area, run to their Easter Baskets and proclaim with excitement about what it’s inside.  They will laugh, they will smile, and they will remember their childhood with all the warm fuzzy memories we want them to have…..and all it cost was $6.  Thank you Dollar Tree.

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You Might Be Interested in my Other Easter Posts:

How we are going to help our kids remember the TRUE meaning of Easter

Easter Egg Sun Catcher

 

 

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Family · For the kids · Frugal Life · Good Ideas · Homemade · Parenting

A Month of School Lunchbox Ideas

After writing A Month of After School Snacks, I decided to start documenting our daily packed lunchboxes.  These are all very basic lunches, nothing fancy here. but this is our real life.  Real talk from a busy frugal mom who is trying her best to save money and raise great kids.

I am able to save roughly $350 per year simply by packing a lunchbox for my kids to bring to school.  It is one of the ways we cut unnecessary expenses from our monthly budget.

My parenting philosophy is always, “Keep it Simple.  Keep it Frugal.”  This article will not show you fancy ways to prepare your kids foods or creative new lunchbox ideas (those articles are fabulous, just not my talent); it WILL give you a small peek into what I pack inside my kids lunchboxes each day.

Full Disclosure:  I started writing this article in October, and then kind of forgot about it until February…..so this wasn’t one complete month, but a couple mashed together.  It IS a wonderful example of our regular lunches.

Tastytreats.com

Week 1

Day 1:  Bagel with cream cheese, goldfish crackers, orange, two peanut butter cookies

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Day 2:  Cut up pancake, syrup, oranges, gogurt

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Day 3:  PB&J Sandwich, pretzels, oranges

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Day 4:  Pear Butter Sandwich, oranges, goldfish crackers, granola bar

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Day 5:  Bagel with cream cheese, banana, granola bar

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Week 2

Day 1:  Cheese and lunch meat sandwich, applesauce, granola bar

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Day 2:  Two Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, granola bar, animal crackers, grapes

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Day 3:  PB&J sandwich, carrots, dried apples, cookie

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Day 4:  Crackers, pepperoni, lunch meat, applesauce, homemade graham cracker

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Day 5:  Pear butter sandwich, orange, gogurt

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Week 3

Day 1:  Tortilla wrap with lunch meat and mayo, roll, applesauce, peanut butter crackers

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Day 2:  PB&J sandwich, dried apples, carrots

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Day 3:  Turkey/Cheese on a Dinner Roll, Pretzels and Raisins, Orange slices

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Day 4:  Lunch meat and cheese sandwich, orange, applesauce, rice krispie monster

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Day 5:  Crackers, lunch meat, pepperoni, applesauce, grapes

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Week 4

Day 1:  Waffle Strips, syrup for dipping, orange, and a granola bar

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Day 2:  Peanut Butter & Honey Sandwich, Energy Bites, Orange

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Day 3:  Bagel with cream cheese, Crackers, Banana, Chocolate Dipped Valentine Cookie

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Day 4:  Frozen smoothie, cheerios, turkey/cheese roll

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Day 5:  Frozen Gogurt, Apple slices, Ritz Crackers, Pepperoni

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Affiliate · Amazon · Bargain Buys · Family · For the kids · Frugal Life · Good Ideas · Parenting · Valentines Day

A Frugal Family Valentines Day

“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’ve been following me on Instagram you’ve probably learned quickly that my philosophy on parenting (and basically life) revolves around easy and cheap!  Our Valentines Day Celebrations are no different.

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I read the other day that the average person spends just under $140 on Valentines Day.  This shocked me!  I understand that it’s fun to splurge a few times a year and I am a big fan of celebrating love and budgeting for joy.…but, I really believe this can be done without spending a lot of money.

Our Valentines Day is a celebration that includes my husband and I, and our three children.  I like to include my children because I love them too!  Valentines Day doesn’t have to only be about romantic love, it can be about all types of love!

Because we celebrate as a family my husband and I don’t usually have a typical Valentines date.  BUT!  For those of you who might prefer a date night out, I have some great free date night ideas just for YOU!  I’ll add the links below!

10 Ideas for Date Night at Home

20 FREE Valentine Date Ideas

Family Celebrations

Our Valentines Day may be frugal, but that doesn’t make it any less special.  This is a message I would love for everyone to embrace.  I spend very little money, but our day is just as lovely and fun as ever.  My 6 year old has actually been counting down to the day for weeks (not joking).

Mailbox Love

Technically our valentines day traditions begin a couple of weeks BEFORE February 14th.  Years ago I bought these darling tin mailboxes at the Target dollar spot (I love Target!).  I believe they were about $5 a piece, so not super frugal, but they have lasted us for years, and have been one of my favorite purchases ever (for reals).  I found a similar mailbox on Amazon here.

 

We use these mailboxes to “deliver” little love notes and handmade gifts to each other in the days leading up to Valentines Day.  It warms my heart every single time I watch one of my kids put a kind note into their siblings mailbox.  Real talk…..my kids fight a lot…..so these moments of kindness are just so so special to me.  I’ll usually give them a little pencil, eraser, or some type of treat and a few love notes.

Morning Love

Our Valentines breakfast is always heart shaped pancakes (click here for my fave pancake recipe).  This isn’t anything fancy, and my hearts are never perfectly shaped….but guess what!  My kids never care.  They love their heart pancakes, misshaped and all (kids are pretty awesome this way, aren’t they??).

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School lunchboxes are packed in the morning as usual, with the exception of a few extra goodies.  I throw in a 25 cent box of conversation hearts and a little love note from me.    Although, now that my oldest is 13 and in middle school I might just put her love note in her mailbox rather than the lunchbox….I have learned that teenagers aren’t the biggest fan of mom notes in their lunchboxes….go figure!  😉

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Dinner Love

Decorating is not my forte, but I try to set the dinner table a little fancier for this holiday.  I use our nicest tablecloth (which is really a cheap one I bought from Walmart 8 years ago), I light a few candles, and cut out some red paper hearts to place around the table.

 

I try to keep the dinner simple, yet fun.  One year we had a heart shaped pizza, this year I will be making a chicken pot pie with the top crust decorated as hearts.  The amount of money I spend on dinner is always in my regular weekly grocery budget, so no excess spending here!  Woo!

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Frugal Valentines Gifts

Every year on our dinner table I include a small gift for each of my kids, and something for my husband.  This year I bought them each a small box of chocolates from the Dollar Tree, my daughters both received a small necklace from Jane, and I bought my son a stuffed animal from the Dollar Tree.  My husband is getting a larger sized box of chocolates and a love letter.

 

These aren’t anything fancy and hardly cost me anymore, but the gesture means a lot to my kids and I have found them trying to follow my example.  The past few years my kids have been making their own little valentine gifts, and they secretly place these on the table before dinner.

If you are needing a more Valentines Day Gift ideas, I have a few guides listed below:

10 Valentine Gifts for Her under $10

10 Valentines gifts for him under $10!

Gift Ideas for Teen Girls under $25

25 Gift Ideas for Tween Girls; all under $25!

25 Gift Ideas for 5-7 year old boys under $25

Mothers Day Gift Guide: 15 FREE Gift Ideas

 

This is what Valentines is all about!  Not feeling sorry for yourself if you don’t have a special romance, not spending a fortune to prove your love to someone, it’s about spending time and thought to give service and love to someone you care about.

I was going to buy some strawberries and chocolate for an after dinner dessert and activity, but it honestly didn’t fit in this weeks grocery budget, so I didn’t.  I felt a little sad, because I knew the kids would’ve really enjoyed some chocolate dipped strawberries.  But, I ultimately decided they will have just as special of a day without that one activity.

What does Valentines look like at your house?  Share a few of your celebrations in the comments.  I would love to hear all about it!

 

 

 

You might be interested in a few of my other Valentines Posts:

Yarn Hearts: An Easy Valentine Craft for Kids

Chocolate Dipped Valentine Cookies Recipe

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!

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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.

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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!

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

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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.

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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

 

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!

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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!

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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!

 

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!

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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 · 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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

 

 

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

Christmas Hard Candy Recipe

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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! 😉

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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

Christmas · Family · For the kids · Free Fun · Frugal Life · Gift Ideas · Good Ideas · Holidays · Homemade · Recipes

Easy Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe

Hot cocoa is such a fun staple to have in your home during these cold winter months.  My kids will spend hours playing outside in the snow and the first thing they ask for when they come inside is some hot chocolate!

Back in my “spender” days I use to buy hot chocolate mix at the store like it was nobody’s business!  Once I started learning how to save and live a frugal life I learned how to make hot chocolate mix from scratch and I have never looked back!

Not only does making your own hot cocoa save you money, it is also so quick and easy to do.  It also tastes much better than what you will buy from the store!

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Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe

2 cups nonfat dry milk powder

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup cocoa

1/2 cup powdered creamer

1/8 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Store in a tightly covered container.

To make hot chocolate:  Stir 1/4 cup mix with 3/4 cup boiling water.  Enjoy!

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We usually make this mix for our family to enjoy all winter, but it would also be a really frugal christmas gift for friends and neighbors.  Whip up a large batch, portion it into cute jars and tie a bow around it. Done!