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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Crafts · Family · For the kids · Free Fun · Frugal Life · Good Ideas · Homemade · Parenting · Recipes

Peanut Butter Play Dough Recipe

My kids LOVE making play dough, and it is something we do often.  But, when we make Peanut Butter Play Dough they REALLY REALLY love it.

Peanut Butter Play Dough is such a great sensory activity for kids.  They can touch, see, smell, and even taste it.  That is my kids favorite part!  They love that they actually get to EAT the play dough.

It is so so easy to make peanut butter play dough.  It only takes three ingredients and a few minutes of your time.

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Peanut Butter Play Dough Recipe

2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup honey

Mix all ingredients in bowl.  Stir well and knead until smooth.

That’s it!  So easy!  Let your kids play and enjoy!  We get out cookie cutters and knives and forks.  My kids can spend hours playing.

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 · 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?

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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Date Night · for free · Free Fun · Holidays · Valentines Day

20 FREE Valentine Date Ideas

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With Valentines Day just a couple weeks away my husband and I started brainstorming some free date night ideas.  Valentines Day does not always have to be celebrated with an expensive dinner and fancy date.  There is no price tag on quality time spent with the one you love very most.

If you are still looking for a budget friendly gift idea for your significant other check out my list of 10 gifts all under $10 for HIM here and my list of 10 gifts under $10 for HER here.

And now our list of 20 FREE Valentine Date Ideas.

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  1. Candlelight Picnic:  Set up a candlelight picnic dinner at home.  Put a blanket on the floor with a few candles set around the room.  Cook your loves favorite dinner and enjoy talking over candlelight.
  2. Night Drive and Star Gazing:  Go on a long drive just the two of you.  Drive to somewhere secluded and wrap up in a blanket together and enjoy some star gazing.
  3. Netflix and Chill:  Set up some blankets and pillows in front of the TV.  Snuggle together while watching your favorite Netflix shows.
  4. Game Night:  Pop some popcorn, get out your favorite snacks and crack open a few games.  Let your flirty and friendly banter come out and enjoy a fun game night together just the two of you.
  5. At Home Star Gazing:  String up come Christmas lights on your back porch, get out a few blankets and snuggle together outside watching the stars and catching up.
  6. Stroll through Memory Lane:  Get out old pictures and letters you may have written to each other.  Reminisce about your first dates and talk about how special your love story.
  7. Cook Dinner Together:  Turn on some music and enjoy each others company cooking dinner together.  Light some candles in the kitchen to help set the mood.
  8. Couple Questions:  Google a list of couple questions to ask each other.  See how well you already know each other and enjoy learning new details about your lover.
  9. Roast Smores at Home:  Roast marshmallows over the stove and make smores.  Add peanut butter or nutella to make a gourmet smore.
  10. Dessert Iron Chef:  Play an at home version of Iron Chef.  Pick a few “secret ingredients” that you both have to use in your dessert concoction.  Take turns judging each others desserts.
  11. Snowy Walk:  Bundle up and take a walk together in the snow.  Try to explore a new trail or area you have never been before and enjoy the winter beauty together.
  12. Comedy Night:  Have an at home comedy night.  Grab your favorite snacks and search you tube for funny videos or watch a comedian on Netflix, our favorite is always Jim Gaffigan.
  13. Window Shopping:  Go window shopping together.  Pick out funny items for each other to try on.  See who can find the funniest outfit.
  14. Photo Scavenger Hunt:  Find a photo scavenger hunt list on Pinterest.   Take selfies together around town while trying to complete your scavenger hunt.
  15. Fondue Night:  Have a fondue night at home by melting chocolate chips in the microwave.  Enjoy good conversation together while dipping fruit and marshmallows in the chocolate.
  16. Heads or Tails Drive:  Pack a picnic dinner.  Go for a drive using a coin to find your destination.  At every intersection flip the coin turn right if it’s heads and left if it’s tails.  Do this for 10-20 intersections and then enjoy eating the picnic together at whatever the destination ends up being.
  17. Paint Night:  Whip out the paints and a canvases.  Enjoy talking to each other while painting your individual masterpieces.
  18. Video Games:  Play a few Wii games together or pull out the old school Mario Bros.  Let your competitive sides show with friendly banter and laughs.
  19. Sledding and Hot Chocolate:  Let your inner child show and go sledding together.  End the night back home snuggling next to the fire while sipping hot chocolate.
  20. Health Night:  Do a couples yoga together.  Afterwards prepare a healthy dinner together and enjoy each others company while focusing on your health.

I hope that whatever you end up doing your valentines day will be shared with that special person in your life!

For the kids · Free Fun · Good Ideas · Parenting · Recipes

Our Favorite Play dough Recipe

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Making a batch of play dough with my kids is one of my favorite things.  It is a quick, and easy activity and the kids love getting to help make it.

I have tried a lot of play dough recipes over the years, and I mean A LOT!  My friend shared a recipe with me a few years ago and it instantly became my favorite.  I haven’t looked back since.  This recipe is so easy!  You probably already have all of the ingredients on hand and will be able to whip it together in 15 minutes.

First, mix 1 cup water, 2 TBSP oil and a few drops of food coloring together in a pot over medium heat.  My preschooler always gets to choose the color and today he chose green.  Picking the color is probably his favorite part!  🙂

 

Next, add 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt and 1 tsp cream of tartar.  Stir this continually while heating.

 

Keep stirring until the play dough begins to form a ball.

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It doesn’t look pretty right now, but I promise, it will!  Take it out of the pan and begin kneading with your hands.  It might be hot right at first, it cools down fairly fast.

 

It only takes a few minutes of kneading until it is ready for your kids to cut into!

 

All that’s left to do is pull out all your cookie cutters and silverware and enjoy a fun frugal afternoon playing with your sweet kids!

I usually store this in my fridge for a few weeks and it keeps great!