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

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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!

 

Affiliate · Amazon · Bargain Buys · Christmas · Family · For the kids · Free Fun · Frugal Life · Good Ideas · Holidays · Parenting · Recipes

Christmas Tree Cookie Recipe

“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.”

One of my favorite Christmas Traditions as a young girl was my mom making these delicious Christmas Tree Cookies!  I knew it was Christmastime when I came home to these delicious treats after school.

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My mom is no longer living, so I have continued on the tradition by making them for my kids.  They are SO easy and I love the hint of almond flavor!

One of the best parts of making Christmas Tree Cookies is getting to use this fun Wilton Cookie Press.  It’s really easy to use, and you can usually find one under $10!  It comes with a dozen different plates with fun shapes for cookies.  All you have to do is fill it with the cookie dough, turn it upside down and press the trigger!  Out comes a cute little tree.

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Christmas Tree Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp almond extract

1/4 tsp salt

2 1/4 cups flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

green food coloring

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream the butter and sugar together in mixer.

Beat in egg and almond extract.

Mix dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.  Gradually add to mixer.

Add a few drops of green food coloring.  Mix well.

Fill Cookie Press with dough and insert the tree plate.

Use Cookie Press to make cookies on ungreased cookie sheet.

Sprinkle with red sprinkles.

Bake in hot oven for 8 minutes.

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They are so easy!  Your kids will look forward to them every year, I promise!

Affiliate · Amazon · Bargain Buys · Birthday · Fabulous DEALS Friday · Family · For the kids · Frugal Life · Gift Ideas · Holidays · Parenting

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

“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.”

My goal for giving gifts is to find good quality gifts that will be loved for years, without spending very much money.  This is not always an easy task, but it is possible!

Today I researched gifts for 5-7 year old boys.  I was able to find 25 fun gifts, all under $25!

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Gifts for Reading

The Monster at the End of This Book is actually one of my favorite children’s books!  It is such a fun, interactive story that brings a laugh with every turn of the page.  It is a GREAT price at $4.44.

The Book With No Pictures is so much fun!  Each page is filled with silly words that “must” be read exactly as shown.  It’s impossible to read it without laughing!  It is worth the $13.99!

My son loves looking through the I Spy books.  With all the detail in every picture, it provides hours of entertainment.  It is a great price at $10.73.

Educational Gifts

I have heard so many positive things about this Snap Circuits set.  It is educational, fun, and has over 5,000 positive reviews.  This is actually the gift I bought my 6 year old.  It is currently priced at $20.99.

This Science Kit can provide hours of fun for you and your son to enjoy together.  It is educational, rewarding, and fun.  It;s currently on sale for $15.42.

I love this educational LEGO craft kit.  It involves building, planning, and experimenting.  It teaches you how to build 10 different moving machines with all pieces needed included.  This is a great toy for helping kids learn, while they are having fun!  It is only $14.89!

This How to Draw book is perfect for a child who is interested in drawing.  The shapes are all easy to draw and understand, making it perfect for a young beginner.  It is just $4.99!

Sport Gifts

Here is a fun Over the Door Basketball Hoop for a fun game of bball in the house.  It is $19.99 and includes a ball.

 

Do you have a soccer lover?  This Soccer Goal Net would be a fun gift to help them practice their newly learned skills and get them outside staying active.  It is currently on sale for just $19.99!

Gifts for Play

Remote control anything is always a sure bet with young boys.  This Remote Control Car is extra special with the flashing lights.  It is on a great sale right now at $24.95.

How fun would these Walkie Talkies be for your sweet boy?  The reviews are all fantastic and they are only $23.99.

Magformers is one of my favorite toys for kids.  It’s a great educational toy for kids to use their imagination and STEM knowledge.  But, at the same time, it’s also fun…..so they don’t even know they are learning!  This is a small beginner set and costs $16.97.

When it comes to boys, you can never go wrong with a LEGO set.  Honestly though, LEGOS are expensive.  I found this LEGO City set a few months ago and really felt like it was an excellent value at $23.99.

How cute is this Kids Tool Set?  My little boy just loves pulling out his toy tools and “helping” dad around the house.  This set costs $19.99.

My son received these Night Vision Goggles for Christmas last year and absolutely LOVED them!  He was so cute playing “spy” with them.  They are only $14.99!

This Nerf Gun has over 4,000 positive reviews and comes with 6 darts.  It could provide hours of fun for any little boy!  It is priced at $12.99.

Drones are so fun, but they can be expensive!  This Mini Drone is a good price and would make such a fun toy!  It is only $23.98!

This Flexible Race Track is a FAVORITE in our house.  The tracks are easy to snap together and fun to change the design over and over.  It is a good price at $24.95!

This Robo Shooter Robot looks so fun!  Not only does it walk and move, it also shoots frisbees!  I was happy to find it on sale for just $24.99.

I love these Boogie Boards.  They are similar to a white board and chalkboard, but easier to erase and so much less mess.  My kids absolutely love them!  We use them on car trips, during church, and for playing at home.  This Boogie Board is $21.97.

The Star Wars craze is back, and not going anywhere anytime soon.  This 2 Pack Light Sabers are perfect for a friendly duel.  You can also attach them together to make a dual saber!  So fun.  This two pack is $23.94.

This is a perfect beginner Transformer for young boys.  It is easy to transform from action figure to vehicle and is sure to be a big hit.  As far as transformers go, this one is an excellent price at $14.99.

Games

Our Family LOVES the game Spot It.  I was really excited to find a Spot It Jr. for our little one.  This game is so easy to learn and play, and so addicting!  It is only $7.99.

Spot It! JR. Animals

Connect 4 is a classic game, and for good reason!  It is fun to play and a great beginner game.  It is only $8.77.

I have heard SO many positive things about the game Exploding Kittens.  It sounds like a huge hit for young kids and I’ve been really wanting to try it out.  It sounds like a huge hit for boys especially.  It is only $19.99.

 

You might also be interested in my other gift guides:

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

Christmas Gift Ideas for Teen Girls under $25

10 Valentine Gifts for Her under $10

10 Valentines gifts for him under $10!

Crafts · Family · Farmhouse · Frugal Life · Get Away Today · Good Ideas · Halloween · Holidays · Homemade

The Easiest Halloween Pumpkin Tutorial

I pulled out all of our fall decorations the other day and had fun getting the house looking a little more festive.  I decided I wanted a few more small decor items, but didn’t want to spend very much money.

My friend showed me how to make these toilet paper pumpkins a few years ago, and I knew they would be the perfect addition to my house this fall.  The best part about these pumpkins is they cost less than $1 to make!  Yep, you read that right!

The only item I bought for these pumpkins was the fabric for 97 cents each.  If that’s not frugal, I don’t know what is!  Not only are these crazy cheap to make…..they are also one of the easiest crafts ever!  I spent less than an hour making all three of these darling Halloween Pumpkins.

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Halloween Pumpkin DIY

For each pumpkin you will need:

One roll of toilet paper

One square of fabric (I bought the fat quarter fabric from Walmart for $.97)

Hot glue gun

A twig for the stem

Lay the square of fabric right side down on the table.  Place your toilet paper in the middle.

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Now, tuck the ends of the fabric into the middle of the toilet paper.  I try to pull the fabric tight as I go, this helps makes some cute textures and creases for the pumpkin.  Keep stuffing the ends of the fabric into the toilet paper roll until all the ends of the fabric are hidden.

You are almost done!  For the stem, I simply went into my backyard (or you can try to search a park) and cut a piece of a twig to the size I wanted.  Hot glue a small amount of glue into the middle of your pumpkin.  Stick the twig into the hot glue, making sure it is sticking up correctly.

And you are done!  Easiest thing ever, right?!?!

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You can play around with the toilet paper to make different shapes and sizes.  For the polka dot pumpkin, I took off about 1/4 of the toilet paper to make a smaller pumpkin.  I also wrapped some toilet paper loosely around the entire roll.  This gives it a slightly more rounded look.

I wanted my other black pumpkin to be a little bit larger.  I added extra toilet paper to the roll, and tried to give it a rounded loose look.

I loved the way this one turned out!  There really are some many possibilities!  And for a whopping 97 cents…..you can make a dozen of these without breaking the bank!

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Have you ever made a toilet paper roll pumpkin before???  Let me know if you try it out, I would love to hear how they turned out.

Happy frugal crafting!

 

You might also like Rice Krispie Halloween Monsters Recipe and No Sew Trick or Treat Bag Tutorial.

Affiliate · Amazon · Crafts · Family · For the kids · Gift Ideas · Good Ideas · Halloween · Holidays

The Easiest No Sew Halloween Trick or Treat Bag

Disclosure:  “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.”

Halloween is just around the corner!  I love this time of year!  I love the pumpkins, the crisp cool air, the changing leaves, and the excitement in my children.  My kids love to dress up as anything they want and run around the neighborhood trick or treating.

I got the urge to craft the other day and decided it would be so fun to make my kids new bags for trick or treating.  I wanted to create something cute, but also simple and frugal (because that’s how I roll!).

I came up with the idea of a no sew trick or treat bag.  I’ll be honest with you….it was even EASIER than I originally had planned!  (win!)

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Trick or Treat Bag Tutorial

Supplies Needed:

– Canvas Craft Tote

– Scrap fabric

Wonder Under

– Iron/ironing board

– Pattern for tracing

Let’s Begin:

You will first need to find your pattern for tracing.  I asked my kids what picture they wanted on their bags and they requested a spider and a cat.

After a quick google search I was able to find a couple of good tracing patterns.  Print these off and then cut out the shape.

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Now, follow the directions found on your wonder under fusing.

I cut out a large square of wonder under (large enough to cover the entire shape), and ironed the rough side onto the wrong side of the fabric.

Use your tracing pattern to trace the shape onto the paper side of the wonder under.

Once the pattern is traced, cut the picture out (fabric and all).

Last, you will gently pull off the paper backing of the wonder under.  Center it on the bag, and then iron it.

I have found that holding the iron steady for 5-10 seconds over each section of the picture helps give the applique a nice firm hold.

That’s it!  You’re done!  See, I told you it would be easy!!  It probably took me a total of one hour to finish both bags!  Quick crafting, is my type of crafting!

There are so many fun possibilities for these bags!  Pumpkin, ghost, witch hat, bat, skeleton, or lettering would all make darling trick or treat bags!

I can’t wait to watch my kids go trick or treating with their new bags!

 

 

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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Fabulous DEALS Friday · Family · Frugal Life · Gift Ideas · Holidays

Fabulous DEALS Friday: Fathers Day Gifts all Under $15 Shipped!

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We have officially entered JUNE!  That means it’s time to start thinking about the perfect gift for all the fathers in our lives.

I don’t know about you, but I ALWAYS struggle trying to think of Fathers Day ideas.  A couple of years ago I started purchasing gifts for dads on Jane, and they have seemed to always be a hit.  A lot of them are easy to customize and personalize.  I started browsing today for my favorite (budget friendly!) gifts.  Here is what I found!

This personalized key chain is darling and would be the perfect gift for young kids to give to their dad.  It comes to only $13.58 shipped!

Gifts from the heart, that show meaning and love are ALWAYS my favorite gifts.  Which is exactly why I love this personalized memory book.  It comes with 45 blank pages for your child to personalize for dad with pictures and memories.  This is something as a parent I would treasure forever.  You can get it for just $8.48 shipped!

I love the look of this money clip.  What a sweet reminder for dad to carry around with him at all times.  It comes to only $13.49 after shipping.

This personalized fishing lure is the perfect gift for any dad who loves to fish!  There are 10 different saying options for you to choose the perfect one for your dad.  You can get the fishing lure for $10.99 shipped!

My husband would love this multi-tool bracelet.  This is a great option for the outdoors man in your life.  It includes several survival tools in case of an emergency, a few included are:  flint, knife, whistle, compass, and more!  You can choose your color and size that your man would want.  I just added this to my cart and it comes to $10.48 shipped!

Man Soap is perfect for all those men not wanting to smell like flowers after the shower.  😉  I like to keep a couple more “manly” scents in the shower so my husband doesn’t have to use my more “girly” scents.  These soaps have a variety of scents to choose from including “mechanics”, “mountain air”, and “sweet musk.”  It comes to just $7.48 shipped!

This is another gift I can see my husband loving.  If you have a handy man father/husband, this magnetic utility wristband looks perfect!  It comes to only $10.98 after shipping!

Let me know if you purchase anything!  I would love to hear what the fathers in your life are wanting this year!

 

for free · Frugal Life · Holidays

Mothers Day Gift Guide: 15 FREE Gift Ideas

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

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

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

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

Easter · For the kids · Holidays · Parenting

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

I love Easter!  I love remembering Christ’s resurrection and what that means for me everyday.  It is a beautiful time to celebrate new life and new beginnings.  Although I love Easter I have actually never really been a huge fan of the Easter bunny and the materialism that comes with Easter.  The whole idea of a giant rabbit giving my kids presents just has never really resonated with me.  Because of this we are constantly looking for new ways to help our kids focus less on a rabbit and more on Christ.  We have tried a few different things in the past and nothing has really seemed to feel right to me.  I came up with a new idea this year that I am really looking forward to implementing with my kids.  Hopefully it can become our new Easter tradition!

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I found 7 scriptures from the Bible that discussed the different events that led up to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I typed these scriptures up, printed them out and cut them into strips.

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I then numbered 7 Easter eggs and put the corresponding scripture in the right number of egg.  Starting on the Monday before Easter I will let my kids open up an egg each day and we will read the scripture that goes with it and talk about what was happening in that scripture.  On Sunday we will read about Christ appearing again and talk about what that means and how it blesses our lives each day.

I’m really excited for this activity.  I’m hoping it will help us keep our focus in the right place, yet also be a little fun for the kids as they open a new egg each day.

What traditions do you have for Easter?  Comment below with the ways you try to remember Christ during the Easter season?

For a fun Easter Egg Craft idea see this post:  Easter Egg Sun Catcher.