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!

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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.

Crafts · Easter · Holidays · Parenting

Easter Egg Sun Catcher

I made the cutest Easter Egg Sun Catcher with my son the other day.  We have it hanging up in our window right now and I love seeing the bright colors of it every day.  This project is so easy and I just used items I had around the house.  The colors of the egg can easily be customized using any of your favorite colors.  I did this craft with my preschooler, but it would also be great for a toddler!

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First, I gathered all of my supplies.  You will need:

  • Tissue Paper:  I just grabbed all my spring colors from the tissue paper I already had at home.
  • Contact Paper:  I buy this at Walmart.  A roll will last a long time and is fun for laminating things by hand or other fun little craft projects.
  • Scissors
  • Paper Hole Punch
  • String, yarn, whatever you have on hand to hang the egg on

 

Cut squares out of your tissue paper.  I didn’t use very much from each color, it will just depend on how many and how big you are making your egg.

 

After you have a nice pile of tissue paper squares it’s time to get your contact paper ready.  I cut two pieces of contact paper both large enough for our egg.  Set one of the contact pieces aside and pull off the backing of the other piece and lay it sticky side up on the counter top.  My son then started placing the tissue paper all over the contact paper, making sure to overlap and fill all the holes.

 

Once you have your contact paper covered with the tissue paper you will need pull off the backing of your second sheet of contact paper.  Carefully lay the two contact sheets together with both sticky side on the tissue paper.

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I printed an egg template off my computer just from clip art.  I traced the egg onto the contact paper and then cut along the tracing.  Once the egg is cut out you can use your hole punch to poke a hole in the top of the egg.  Loop your string through the hole and your Easter Egg sun chatcher is ready to hang in your window!

 

My son has a short attention span so he loves doing these quick and easy projects with me.  Now if only the snow would melt and then spring would really be here!

 

 

See my post How we are going to help our kids remember the TRUE meaning of Easter for a fun activity to help the kids learn about Christ’s Resurrection and the true meaning of Easter.

Crafts · For the kids · Holidays · Parenting

Easy St.Patrick’s Day Craft for Kids

This St.Patrick’s Day craft for kids is so easy, so simple, and oh so fun for preschoolers and toddlers.  I love finding fun crafts for kids that are actually helping their little bodies develop.  I am a fan of multi tasking BTW!  This craft is fantastic for helping the little ones develop their fine motor skills.  It requires a lot of tearing, or cutting, which will strengthen those little finger muscles….all while having a little fun!

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I gathered up all of my random green paper I could find around the house, most of it came from the scrap pile I keep from other other projects.  I printed out a shamrock by finding a clip art shamrock on Microsoft Word.  (yes, I am so fancy  🙂 )

Now let your sweet little get to work.  Encourage them to rip the papers into small pieces.  My son got a little tired of ripping and decided to get his scissors out and cut pieces.  Do whichever works for you and your littles.

Once you have a nice pile of green shredded paper have your child glue the pieces onto the shamrock.  We decided to turn this into a group effort, I glued and he stuck  the papers on.  It was fun to spend some time together crafting and discussing St.Patrick’s.

This was such a fun activity.  I love doing things these simple craft projects, especially when I already have all the supplies on hand.  How are you prepping for St.Patricks day with your kids?

Holidays · Recipes · Valentines Day

Chocolate Dipped Valentine Cookies Recipe

This is one of my favorite valentine traditions.  I love baking these for my kiddos and make them every February.   We usually hand some out to friends and neighbors as well. The cream cheese gives the cookie a delicious shortbread flavor and the peppermint extract gives the cookie the perfect amount of light flavor.

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Mix your flour, sugar, butter, cream cheese, egg and peppermint extract together in mixer.  I like this pure peppermint extract.  Beat until well mixed.

Add flour and beat until just mixed.

Divide dough in half. Roll each ball in saran wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours.

 

Roll dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4 inch thick and cut with heart shaped cookie cutters.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in oven for 7 minutes.

Let baked cookies cool completely.  Once cool make your glaze bymelting chocolate with butter in a saucepan over low heat.

Dip cooled cookies in chocolate glaze and place on wax paper or tin foil to harden.  Once hardened store in a covered container in refrigerator.

 

These are delicious!

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Chocolate Dipped Valentine Cookies

Cookie

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup softened butter

3 ounces softened cream cheese

1 egg

1 tsp peppermint extract

3 cups flour

Chocolate

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup butter

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix sugar, butter, cream cheese, egg and peppermint extract in mixer until light and fluffy.  Add flour and beat until well mixed.

Cut the dough into two half balls.  Wrap the balls in ceran wrap and place in fridge for a couple of hours to chill.

Roll out dough to a 1/4 inch thick.  Cut with heart shaped cookie cutters and place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 6-7 minutes.

Cool completely.

For the glaze melt butter and chocolate together in saucepan over low heat.  Once melted remove from heat.  Dip cookies into chocolate and let them sit on tin foil or waxed paper.

Store in refrigerator.

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!

Bargain Buys · Frugal Life · Holidays · Valentines Day

10 Valentine Gifts for Her under $10

After brainstorming gift ideas for the man in your life, (you can find that post here) I decided to take a look at some awesome yet budget friendly gift ideas for the woman in your life.  Or, if you’re like me you can try to find a sneaky way to drop these ideas as hints for what you WANT the man in your life to buy you.  🙂

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— I have been wanting to try this Facial Sponge with Activated Bamboo Charcoa for a while now.  It is all natural and the reviews sound amazing and claim it is really beneficial at clearing up skin.  I also really love that it is guaranteed, if you don’t like it you can return it for a full refund.

–Why not treat your special lady to a nice massage using this Lavender Essential Oil.  It is my favorite smell!  I love diffusing it in the evening to help me relax or putting a few drops in my bath.

–I love receiving perfume for gifts.  It’s a luxury I rarely buy for myself, but absolutely love when someone gifts me some.  Jovan White Musk Perfume is a nice light, clean and beautiful smell.  It’s hard to go wrong with this gift.

–This Black Sugar Mask Wash Off Exfoliator sounds so luxurious.  It has a lot of really positive reviews.  The girl in your life would feel so pampered to receive this fantastic mask.

–With over 4,000 reviews this 8 piece makeup set will surely impress your significant other.  The brushes are quality made and very soft and full.

–If your woman loves to read you must get her the book; Life of Pi.  It is so well written and one of my favorite books.  I could read it again and again.  You can get the paperback for under $10 and I consider that a steal!

–I have been wanting a phone grip for a while.  I seem to have a bad habit of dropping my phone, this phone grip helps you have a more secure hold on your phone.  They have a variety of great colors to choose from too!

–A good chunky beanie is really trendy right now.  I love the extra cute slouch touch that  the Slouchy Cable Knit Cuff Beanie has.

–This pack of four floral headband are darling!  We are all missing summer right about now, and these headbands are feminine and colorful and gives us all a little taste of the summer we have been missing.

–Farmhouse decor is all the rage right now.  I loved this little blue lantern.  It’s less than $5 and would be a cute addition to home.

I hope you found something your lady (or yourself!) will LOVE.  Finding great buys for a good price my favorite type of shopping!

If you still need some help planning a special date night for your Valentine take a look at my post 20 FREE Valentine Date Ideas for a little inspiration.