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?

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Affiliate · Amazon · Finances · Frugal Life · Good Ideas · Money Educatioin

What we cut from our budget to save over $2500 a year

“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.”

I am not naturally a frugal person.  I was raised by two frugal parents, but I lean more towards wanting to shop and buy things.  It has been a huge learning process for me to become more frugal and to learn the value and beauty in cutting back and saving money.  This learning process has been over the course of years, and quite honestly, I’m still learning and trying to better myself.  Today though I started thinking about all the things we have cut from our lifestyle over the years, and they have all been slowly cut out, and I was blown away with the amount of money we are saving ourselves just by making a few different lifestyle choices!

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Pack that Lunch:  $1000

Packing a lunch for work, instead of eating out with coworkers, has been our biggest money saver.  Every night I pack a lunch for my husband to take to work.  The lunch mostly consists of some leftovers from dinner, occasionally he will bring a sandwich.  I was so surprised to find out this simple habit is saving us over $1000 a year!

Change your own oil:  $210

My husband taught himself how to change the oil in our two vehicles, all it took was watching a few you tube videos.  It takes him less than an hour to do and he claims it’s super easy.  He uses this oil drum to drain the oil.  You can deposit the oil for free at most auto parts stores.  This is not some natural talent he has, he had to get out of his comfort zone to learn this skill, however this simple task saves us $210 a year.

Cut the Cable:  $480

A few years ago we decided to get rid of our cable TV.  We were actually already on a fairly cheap rate, but we decided we could do without it.  We have saved $480 a year by doing this!  There are so many great options for cheap TV.  We use Netflix.  But I have friends who use Hulu, Roku, or Amazon Prime.

At Home Haircuts:  $200

I bought clippers 14 years ago for $20.  You can find a similar pair to ours here:  Wahl Complete Hair Cutting Kit.  I have been cutting my husbands and sons hair ever since.  This is a $200 annual savings.  If you know me, you know that hair is really NOT a talent of mine.  I have watched a few you tube tutorial videos and both my husband and son get very basic cuts.  I have made my some a few mistakes on both of them, but I keep learning and trying.  And luckily boys hair grows out fairly fast!  😉

Workout at Home:  $840

We have never had a gym membership and this decision saves us $70 a month.  We have learned to get a good workout in at home.  We go for a run or bike ride during the summer and find great you tube videos to follow during the winter.  I buy cheap weights and exercise equipment to use from the thrift store.  My favorite you tube channels to follow are fitness blender and yoga with Adrienne.

The Results:  $2730

Just by making these 5 adjustments to our lifestyle we save $2730 a year!  So in five years we have saved $13,650!  Ten years it will be $27,300!  Those little expenses don’t seem like a big deal, but over time they add up to be a very very BIG deal.

It really has not been hard to cut any of these things from our budget.  We have been living this way for years and honestly never seem to miss a gym membership or cable TV.  It has just become our way of life, and it’s a great life!  It can be hard to form new habits, but once you do those habits become your way of life and you often never really look back!

Take a look at your budget and lifestyle.  Can you find a few things that you could change in order to save money?  I promise the pay off is so worth it!

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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?

Finances · Good Ideas · Money Educatioin

The Envelope Money System: A Beginners Guide

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About a year ago I changed the way I was spending money.  I decided to quit using my debit card for purchases and try only using cash.  I’ll be honest, I did not think this change would make much of a difference.  I am a little bit prideful and a lot of stubborn and I really felt that I was strong enough to spend smartly with my debit card.  It only took one month of paying with cash to realize that I was wrong!  I couldn’t believe how quickly my wad of cash depleted.  It was a huge wake up call for me to watch that envelope empty so quickly.

Today I am sharing how I use the envelope system and a few of the tricks I have learned a long the way.

There are some things I buy with cash, and other things I buy with my credit card.  I rarely use my debit card.  To read about why I use a credit card for some purchases read my post The one idea I disagree with Dave Ramsey on.

My husband and I try to have a budget meeting at the end of every month.  Monthly is what we have found works for us.  I know others that budget weekly or bi-weekly.  We use these budget meetings to discuss how we did on our budget throughout the month, make a new budget for the next month and decide things we could do better or different.  At this time we decide how much both of us will need over the month for our daily spending.  These categories change monthly, the most common categories are:  clothing, house expenses, pet food, children’s extra curricular activities, groceries, fun and other.   We always have an “other” category for any extra expenses that come up throughout the month.  We have NEVER had a month go by without something coming up that we forgot to budget for.  Always make sure you have an “other” envelope.

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Once we have our budgeted amount I go to the bank, withdraw the amount of money we will need and start stuffing my envelopes.  You do not need anything fancy for your envelopes.  We use boring cheap white envelopes and just write the names of each category on them.  I then put the amount of money I need in each envelope.

 

This money has to last me all month.  Once it’s gone, it’s gone.  I leave these envelopes home at all times.  My husband doesn’t like the idea of me walking around with so much cash and I have found that I am to tempted to spend it if it’s with me.  When I need to buy something I simply take out the correct amount of cash from the envelope, no more and no less and go to the store.  I also leave home all debit and credit cards.  This is my way to get rid of all temptation and to prevent any impulse shopping.  The amount of cash I put in my wallet is ALL I have to spend for that shopping trip so I have to really pay close attention to what I’m putting in my shopping cart.

I am fairly loose with the envelopes and will occasionally switch some of the cash around in the envelopes mid-month.  It’s hard to always know exactly how much we will need for each category.  I never spend over the amount of monthly budgeted cash.  That large sum is non negotiable and we have to spend carefully throughout the month to make sure it lasts us all four weeks.

I recommend everyone at least TRYING doing most of their spending with cash each month and see how much less you spend.  It has really opened my eyes to my spending habits and is a great object lesson for everyone to try.

Amazon · Farmhouse · Frugal Life · Good Ideas

How to keep White Kitchen Cabinets White and my Honest Review of the Norwex knockoff the E-Cloth

“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.”

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We moved into a new house a few months ago and fell instantly in love with the beautiful white kitchen.  White cabinets, white subway tile, white quartz counter tops.  It was what my kitchen dreams were made of!  With three kids in the house it didn’t take long for those beautiful pure white cabinets to become covered in smudges and finger grease.

 

 

I knew that using cleaners on the cabinets was not good for the white paint.  I was constantly washing them with a wet dishcloth.  This method would take off some of the grease, but not all of it.  The other negative thing I found with the wet dishcloth is that it always left behind water streaks.  I was feeling frustrated and missing the clean cabinets I originally fell in love with.

I had a few friends recommend the Norwex cloth to me.  They all swore it was the best cleaner and promised it was worth every single penny.  My frugal mindset however, was having a hard time wanting to spend $20 on a cloth!  I convinced myself I could keep the cabinets clean with my plain dishcloth.

Well, I was WRONG!  No matter how hard I scrubbed and how often I cleaned.  I could not restore my cabinets to the pure white they once were.

I finally accepted that I needed something to help me, but I still felt like $20 was to much to spend on a cloth.  I started researching cheaper options and came across the e-cloth.  It had excellent reviews and for $11 I would get not just one but TWO cloths.  This was a much better value and I added it to my February budget.

The e-cloth arrived last week and I didn’t waste any time pulling it out and attacking cleaning my cabinets.  I’ll be honest with you, I was NOT expecting it to work any different then the plain old Walmart dish rag I had been using.  I was so so pleasantly surprised to be wrong!  I was so happy with it I knew I needed to share it with everyone I know.

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The e-cloth is similar to the Norwex Cloth that it has zero chemicals and is very eco friendly.  It came with easy to follow instructions and all I needed to do in order to get started was add a little bit of water to the cloth and it was ready for scrubbing!

 

 

The water streaks and grease came off instantly!  The smudges took a little bit more elbow grease, but with some scrubbing the smudges were gone as well.  I truly could not believe how quickly and easily the cloth was cleaning these stubborn stains.  I was worried at first that there would be water streaks left behind, but when I came back and looked closely after it dried I could not find a single streak!  Not one!  My cabinets felt as smooth and clean as they felt the day I moved in.  I was in heaven!

 

 

I decided that since the cabinet cleaning went over so well I needed to try the cloth out on my stainless steel refrigerator.  I usually clean my stainless steel appliances with this cleaner.  It works great, but I thought if I could use the e-cloth for my appliances as well as the cabinets I would really be getting my moneys worth.

The e-cloth worked just as great on the stainless steel fridge as it did on the cabinets.  All those fingerprints were instantly washed away.  Look at these before and after photos, they were taken within about a minute of each other.  It was honestly that quick and easy!

 

 

After two successes I went a little overboard cleaning every inch of my house.  I used the cloth on my counter top, my tile back splash, the microwave, and our doors, and trim.  It reminded me of a cloth form of Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, Original (8 Count)“>the magic eraser.  But, even better!  I even used the cloth dry to dust my wood furniture.  With so many uses the general purpose e-cloth is a fantastic value!  I am looking forward to enjoying this beautiful white and clean kitchen again!  Let me know if you try the e-cloth and if you love it as much as I did.

 

Frugal Life · Good Ideas

10 Ways using the Public Library will Save you Money

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Taking full advantage of our Public Library has been such a money saver for our family.  I think it’s fairly common to associate only books with the Public Library, (which as a book worm is already an awesome thing!), but the library can offer so so much more than beautiful books.  Everything to borrow is completely free.  They offer so many different services, it makes me sad when others don’t take realize the huge benefits of the library.

1.  Books, Books, Books!

We will start the list off with the most obvious thing to borrow from the library; and that is books.  Reading is one of my very favorite forms of entertainment, and if you borrow books from the library it is completely FREE!  (which also happens to be another one of my favorites!)  There really is no need to spend lots of money on books.  The library has just about any book you could imagine.  I often check out books about finance, parenting, biographies, self-help, they have fiction or non-fiction, you name it they have it.  My kids absolutely love going to the children’s selection and getting to choose their very own books to borrow for a couple of weeks.

2.  Movies and TV Shows

A few years ago our finances became unexpectedly very tight.  We cut out every unnecessary expense. This included cancelling all cable, Netflix, Hulu, etc.  This is when I really started taking advantage of the fantastic movie selection at our local library.  We began going once a week and the kids picked out a couple of TV shows or movies they wanted and I picked out a few for my husband and I.  I was pleasantly surprised at just how great of a selection they had.  If you’re wanting to cut out extras from our budget but are worried about the TV options, try checking a few movies out at your library, I bet you’ll find something you like.

3.  Classes and Clubs

I am always impressed with the variety of FREE classes my local library offers.  I recently completed an excellent Parenting class through the library.  I have also seen classes available about Healthy Eating and Finances.  Their are also fun clubs that are available to participate in.  My library has a knitting club, chess club, and book club.  All for adults…all for FREE!  I love the fantastic choices of classes and clubs for my kids to participate in as well.  They host family activities about once a month, activities on holidays, science club, coding club, and more.  It feels like every few weeks the librarian is introducing my kids to a new fun activity that they are welcome to be a part of.  I take advantage of these during the summer months when the kids might be feeling a little bored while out of school and need to stretch their minds a bit.

4.  Story Time

Story Time is our most used of all the kids activities offered.  This is the perfect FREE activity to take your little ones to during the long cold winter months.  We love getting out of the house and not having to spend any money.  We attend regularly and each of my kids have a favorite librarian they look forward to.  My local library puts out a list months in advance of what each weeks story times will be about.  We make sure to note the topics I know my kids would NOT want to miss and put it on the calendar.  My kids love being introduced to new books and songs and occasionally they will have a fun little craft to do together.  We LOVE story time!

5.  Audio Books

I know Audio Books are one of those either you love em or hate em type thing.  But, I happen to fall under the love em category!  I listen to them when I am doing housework or if we are on a road trip.  Not ALL audio books are created equal.  I’ve put in a few before and had to take them right back out a few minutes later.  It all depends on the reader.  The Public Library also has a giant selection of Audio Books for KIDS!  I always borrow one or two and we listen to them on the car.  I spend quite a bit of time in the car with my kids taking them to and from school and other activities.  If I put in an audio book they are MUCH less likely to complain and fight with each other.  Which is pretty important in our car.  🙂

6.  Wi-Fi

This is another library service that we discovered during a time of need.  A year ago we were transition between homes and found ourselves at a place that had no internet access.  We knew we were only going to be there for a few months and didn’t want to spend the money on set up fees for such a short amount of time.  Since SO many things are done online now a days I was so happy when I learned of the library’s free Wi-Fi.   I then became a regular at the library.  I tried to stop in once or twice a week with my laptop and a long list of things I needed to do on the internet.  I spent 30-45 minutes there getting stuff done and then continued on with my day.  I no longer have a need to use their Wi-Fi.  But, this is a great option for others who may not have internet access in their budget or perhaps might be in a similar situation we were in.

7.  Music CD’s

When I had my first baby many years ago I learned that she liked to listen to fun toddler/kids music while we were driving in the car.  I bought a couple of kids CD’s for us to listen to and to keep her entertained while driving.  When my youngest was a toddler I couldn’t find those CD’s anymore.  After searching I decided to check the library.  In the childrens section I found a giant selection of fun kids and Disney CD’s.  I’ve started letting my preschooler pick one to check out every time we go to the library.  He has found his few favorites and always looks forward to choosing one.  My oldest daughter threw a karaoke party for some friends a few weeks ago and I thought, instead of buying a bunch of karaoke songs let’s check the library first.  Sure enough!  I was able to borrow a few karaoke CD’s and her friends had a blast singing and dancing all night……and I didn’t spend any money.  WIN!

8.  Games and Puzzles

I couldn’t believe it when I learned that our Public Library offers a few puzzles, games and learning activities for children to check out.  This is such a great service!  There is no need to spend tons of money on this.  Kids get bored of these type of activities fairly quickly, so being able to borrow and return different ones helps to keep the kids entertained and the games fresh and new.  Look into seeing if your local library offers this, and if they do, take advantage!

9.  Reading Programs and Incentives

We always take part of the reading programs and incentives.  We just finished the winter program and will sign up for the summer one in just a few months.  I love these incentive programs for a couple of different reasons.  It keeps my kids motivated and reading, even when they might not want to.  AND, I love the free coupons they hand out.  We just got a free family pass to a local swimming pool for finishing the winter reading program.  Over the summer we get weekly coupons for kids meals and fun activities and kid places around town.  Using the coupons is a fun way to keep busy over the summer, and to stay within our budget.  I otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford to take the kids to as many as these activities.

10.  Magazines and Newspapers

If you love getting magazines or newspapers but just don’t want to spend money on the subscriptions anymore, check your library!  I have checked out some of my favorite magazines from the library.  I read them, return them, and then check out the next issue.  They have lots of topics to choose from; from automotive to wedding to home to parenting.  It’s all there.  Cancel your subscriptions and just start using the library!

If you don’t have a library card, go get one!  The library offers so much more than just books.  I believe we save hundreds every year by checking with our library first instead of going out and buying.  What is your favorite thing to borrow from your library?  Comment below and let me know if I missed anything!

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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!

 

Bargain Buys · Frugal Life · Good Ideas

How to save money when you shop at Walmart

I haven’t always been the biggest fan of Walmart.  Sure, I’ve shopped their regularly like all the rest of Americans, but it wasn’t ever my favorite go-to shopping place.  That is until I discovered TWO fabulous money saving tricks to Walmart shopping.

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1.  The first money saving trick I have found at Walmart is to use Savings Catcher. It is such a simple and easy way to earn a little extra cash (we could all use a little extra cash, right?!?!).  Just shop using your normal shopping list buying the items you need to buy for that day. After you are done shopping scan your receipt into the savings catcher app. Walmart will automatically search competitors ads. If they find any lower prices then the items you bought they will refund you the difference onto a gift card. It is so easy and hardly takes any extra time at all. All you need is the Walmart app on your phone. You can find the savings catcher in the services section.

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It is so so very easy.

2.  The second great way to save money at Walmart is through the grocery pickup program. I am obsessed with this program. Seriously. I had pretty low expectations before I started but they far exceeded my expectations.   When I order my groceries through the pick up program I stay in my grocery budget so much easier. If I notice my cart total go over my weekly grocery budget amount I simply edit my cart some more and delete a few items to stay in the budget.  It has also helped me to not impulse shop!  Ever since I have started using Walmart grocery pickup I have been able to stay in budget every single week. Hooray!!!  The best part about this service is it is completely FREE!!!!  And I have been told they are not allowed to accept tips, even though I think they totally deserve them. When you go to pick up your groceries you park in the designated parking spot, let them know through the app that you are there. Then the nicest employees bring out your groceries, load them into your car and wishes you are wonderful day. I love it!!!  If you want to give it a try Walmart will give you $10 off your first pickup if you sign up through my link. —->

Enjoy $10 off your first order from Walmart Grocery.
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Walmart Grocery Pickup has surprised me a few times with with goody bags full of samples and last week they handed me two coupons for my next two purchases.  It’s so great!

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There you have it, the two reasons why I have turned into a devoted Walmart shopper. Happy Frugal shopping friends!!!!

Good Ideas · Recipes

Quick and Easy Overnight Oatmeal

Getting my three kids ready for school in the morning is no easy task.  The mornings are always hectic and I am always on the search for ways to make it smoother and easier.   I was so happy a few years ago when I learned how to make overnight oats.  Not only is it EASY (check), and QUICK (check), it is also HEALTHY and BUDGET FRIENDLY (check and check!).  I will make a dozen or so of these every Monday and keep them in the fridge handy for quick breakfasts throughout the week.  The best part of overnight oats is that they are so easy to customize anyway your kiddos would like them best.

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I always make these in mason jars I have on hand in the house.  First, I add one cup of oatmeal.

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Now add one cup of milk.  I have done almond milk, regular cows milk, and water.  They have all turned out great!  I have heard of some people using yogurt.  Try what works best for you.

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Now comes the fun customizing part.  Add 1 Tablespoon of sweetener.  I have used honey, syrup, white sugar and brown sugar.  I prefer brown sugar, but all of them have turned out tasty.  I also add about a handful of fruit.  Our favorites are frozen blueberries or raspberries.  We have  tried diced apples and canned peaches as well.  Mix it up and try different combos to keep it interesting.

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Now put the lid back on the mason jar.  Shake it up real good.

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After you finish shaking put the jar in the refrigerator.  It will need to sit in there for at least 10 hours.  These will keep in the fridge for a few days.  I make a bunch of jars up on Monday and use them throughout the week.

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I hope you love these Quick and Easy Overnight Oats as much as we do!

For the kids · Frugal Life · Good Ideas · Parenting

How we begin saving in January to be Secret Santa in December.

Ahhhh January.  The month of new beginnings.  Fresh starts.  Resolution’s and goals.  A month where we clear out the clutter in our life, figuratively and literally, and decide what we can do to make our life a little better than it was before.

Which brings me to December.  The month of giving and sharing.  Where we try to focus more on others than ourselves and look for those who may be in need of charity and service. My family has a favorite family tradition in December.  We choose a family in need.  Either from the neighborhood, a local giving tree, or any other we may hear about who is down on their luck.  We then play the part of Secret Santa.  We go to the store, buy the gifts on this families want and need list.  We wrap the presents up in beautiful wrappings and bows and secretly deliver them to where they need to go.  We look forward to this tradition every year.  I love teaching my kids to serve others.  I love that through service they are humbled and learn how lucky (maybe even a little spoiled!) they are in comparison to others.  And I love the thought of bringing a smile to someones face come Christmas morning.  Did I mention I LOVE this tradition!?!

December also just so happens to be the month that is hard for us (maybe you too???) to stick to our monthly budget.  We try to plan ahead for it.  We try to cut down costs.  But, we still found ourselves struggling to afford all the fun festive activities and gift giving we wanted to participate in. As we discussed what we would cut out I refused to limit our Secret Santa tradition.

And so we came up with the beautiful idea of The Giving Jar.  I grabbed an old junky used mason jar from our basement, cut a small hole in the top and named it The Giving Jar.

As the fresh new month of January begins, our Giving Jar sits empty.  As the year goes on we as a family puts every single coin we receive into the jar. And when December comes a long our jar is full.  This is the money we use for our Secret Santa tradition.

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I love that old junky mason jar.  I love watching it fill up throughout the year.  I love when one of my kids tries to stuff some newly earned dollar bills inside.  And I love watching my kids as they proudly carry it into the store as we purchase gifts for others.

It’s pretty cool how something old and used could become something so beautiful and special and can do so much good for others…..including me.