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.

Affiliate · Amazon · Bargain Buys · For the kids · Frugal Life · Frugal Living Challenge · Money Helps · Parenting

15 Baby Items You Do NOT Need On Your Baby Gift Registry

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I have had 3 kids, my youngest is now 5.  I’ve spent the past couple of years sorting through baby supplies.  It’s taken me years because I have struggled with closing that baby chapter in my life.  I love the memories that come flooding back to me as I look through my boxes of baby items.

I have sold most of the items, gave away a few things, and saved a couple of special items to help remember my sweet babes.  As I’ve sorted and cleaned I’ve realized that so many of the items I thought were necessary, actually weren’t!

There are many articles out there telling you what to add to your baby registry, and a lot of them have some good advice…but I think so many of the things we THINK we need….we actually could do without!

I have come up with a list of 15 items you do NOT need to add to your baby registry.  I also added some alternative, more frugal options to consider.

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15 Baby Items You Really Don’t Need to Buy and their Frugal Alternative

1. Car seat cover

I really wanted a beautiful car seat cover with a fun design.  It’s all I saw while at the grocery store.  So, I bought one.  It was cute and trendy and looked good on the car seat.  And then…2 months later I took it off and it stayed in the closet for the next few years until I gave it away.

Frugal Option: A great alternative is just to put one of the many baby blankets over the handle.  Blankets are something you always have on hand and are just the right size to cover the car seat with.

2. Baby food maker

Baby food makers look pretty and claim to offer convenience and ease to all your baby food making.  While that might be true, it is not a necessary item.  You CAN make baby food without it.

Frugal Option: Baby food is very easy to prepare just by using a pot and a blender.  It only took me an hour or two to make large batches of baby food and I did it without a baby food maker.

3. Baby Shoes

Let’s face it, little tiny baby shoes are adorable!  So many colors and styles…and oh so itty bitty!  However, as darling as those little shoes are, babies don’t really need to wear shoes until they are walking.

Frugal Option:  Baby socks are necessary for those sweet little toes.  Instead of buying shoes, buy some cheaper socks.  Find some that have a cute style.  I love these socks that look like shoes.

4.  Baby nail clippers

I will agree that baby nail clippers were useful for trimming up those tiny baby nails.  However, when I threw mine away I realized I really could have done without them.

Frugal Option: Most people already own a pair of nail clippers.  These would work just as good for babies as they do for adults, you’ll just want to be extra careful not to clip any of that sensitive skin.

5.  Hooded Towels and Baby Washcloths

I was really excited to buy cute hooded towels and small baby washcloths for my babies.  But, I have come to learn they just aren’t necessary.

Frugal Option: Use a towel you already have at home!  They will work just as good and your little one will never even know the difference!

6.  Nursing Cover

If you are planning on nursing you probably will want something to help you cover up while in public, I know I did!  You really don’t need to buy a special cover for that though.

Frugal Option::  I found that a large light weight blanket worked just as good as a nursing cover, and I always had it in my diaper bag anyways.  One less thing to pack!

7.  Bathtub  

A baby bathtub was an item I thought was so important to buy when I had my first baby.  In hindsight, it was handy for a few months, but then the babies just grew out of it in a few short months and the tub was stuck sitting in my basement.

Frugal Option:  If I were to do it all again I would purchase this Bath Sponge instead of a fancy tub.  It is much cheaper at only $6.39 and it won’t take up as much space.  This would be a much more frugal option.

8.  Nursing Pillow

This is another one of those items that I thought I just HAD to have.  I ended up not using my boppy pillow as much as I thought I would have and I have since decided it really wasn’t worth the money.

Frugal Option: I found that I preferred nursing with a couple of small pillows under my arms instead of the nursing pillow.  I was able to smash them in a way that felt most comfortable and I didn’t have to worry about the bulky nursing pillow.

9. Changing Table

Changing tables are so pretty in all the magazine nursery pictures.  But, once your baby grows out of it, they really aren’t super functional.  Changing tables usually don’t have a lot of drawers or great organization.  I found I needed to buy a dresser later on to help supplement with space.

Frugal Option: Instead of buying a changing table AND later a dresser, how about just buying a dresser.  Try to find a short dresser so that it will be the perfect height to changing your baby on.

10.  Changing Pad

While we are discussing changing stations, let’s discuss the changing pad.  You’ll find all sorts of different changing pad shapes and sizes and all the darling patterns for a cover to go with it.  These are cute and fun to buy, but really not necessary.

Frugal Option:  A couple of soft towels (that you already own) folded up and placed on the baby dresser will work JUST as good for a changing pad.  They are easy to throw in the laundry and clean, and they are free (big win!)!

11.  Diaper Pail

You will find a diaper pail on almost every baby registry idea list.  I do believe they can be convenient and very useful.  But, they can also be really expensive, especially when you have to buy the pricey refills (which you will need to do….A LOT).

Frugal Option:  We had a cheap trash can next to the changing table (I should’ve chose a dresser!).  With all the late night diaper changes with newborns, it was very nice to have somewhere to put alllll those diapers.  I would change the bag daily and fortunately newborns messy diapers usually don’t smell bad!  After about 4-6 weeks, once baby starts sleeping a little longer at night, I just started taking the messy diapers out to the dumpster outside.  It only took a few minutes and felt good to get a little fresh air.

12.  Diaper Organizer

I’ve seen these fancy diaper organizers around for a long time.  They look really cute in a nursery and I can see the appeal for them.  I don’t however think they are must have.

Frugal Option:  How about use one of those top drawers of the dresser (aka changing table).  They will be within arms reach during diaper changes, and it didn’t cost you anything extra!  It’s also so nice to have them concealed away.

13.  Wipe Warmer

Baby wipes are cold and you might feel a little guilty wiping the baby with a cold wipe.  The problem is that you won’t always have a wipe warmer with you, so it would be good for the little one to get use to the cold wipe right from the beginning.

Frugal Option:  I unfortunately have no frugal alternative for a wipe warmer.  I’ve found that babies really do get use to a cold wet wipe.  So, just use them as is and save yourself some extra cash.

14.  Sound Machine

My babies slept much, MUCH better with a little white noise next to them.  You do NOT need a sound machine though to accomplish this.

Frugal Option:  You can download white noise apps for free on your phone or ipad and place them in babies room while they are sleeping.  Or, we just used a small cheap fan.  We placed it next to their bed and pointing it away from.  Our babies slept great this way!

15.  Bottle Drying Rack

I’ll start with a disclaimer…..I actually never fed my babies a single bottle….so you can take my advice on this one with a grain of salt.  I have seen the bottle drying racks in ads and have always assumed that even though they look super fun and handy, they just aren’t very frugal.

Frugal Option:  How about just placing your bottles upside down on a dish cloth and let them air dry.  A dish cloth should work just as well as a drying rack, but wouldn’t cost you a thing!

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What baby item did YOU buy that you wish you hadn’t????  Let me know in the comments all your Frugal Baby Alternatives!

 

Family · For the kids · Frugal Life · Parenting · Side Hustle

When FAMILY becomes more important than the SIDE HUSTLE

This week I walked away from a really great side hustle.

This was not an easy decision to make.  Not at all.

Did I enjoy it?  YES!

Did it earn me good money?  ABSOLUTELY!

Do we need the money? We can survive happily without it, but the money definitely HELPED!

Then WHY did I quit????

Let me back track for a bit.

Four years ago my husband lost his job.  It was a devastating, punch in the gut, slap in the face, completely unexpected thing to happen.  (This is a whole other story for a different day, but the experience shook me.)  I spiraled into a depression and struggled every day to get out of bed.  I was constantly worried.  Worried about our future and about our present.  Worried about how we were going to raise three kids on…..virtually nothing at the time.  This experience has shaped a lot of my views on money that I have today.

Long story short, after 7 long months my husband was able to find another job (and even a better job).  This released a huge burden from my shoulders, but I still felt guarded and uncertain.  (I even tried keeping good news from everyone I knew because I was worried about letting that guard down and didn’t want to celebrate).

I decided then and there that I was not going to leave our financial well being in the fate of someone elses hands.  I was going to begin actively contributing to the family finances.

I am a stay at home mom, and that has always been my first and most important job.  I take this job very seriously and knew I needed to keep it as a priority.

That was when I settled on teaching piano lessons out of my home.  Now, I KNOW that this little side hustle really wasn’t going to make a HUGE impact on our financial situation.  But, in my fragile worried little mind, it was calming to me to at least be doing SOMETHING to make a little money.

I started out small and only accepted a few students.  I found that I LOVED it!  I loved teaching and spending time with my students.  I also found that I loved earning money; the paycheck was small, but after over a decade of not earning money it felt really good to be having a little personal income.  I began accepting more students and grew my waiting list.

This went on for three years and I was ecstatic.  I was making money!  I was contributing to our family finances!  I had my own business!  YET, I was STILL doing what I loved most and being a SAHM.  It really felt like the perfect opportunity for me.

And it was perfect…until it just wasn’t anymore.

During my third and final year teaching piano I began to struggle finding the right balance between my job as a full time mom, and my side hustle as a piano teacher.  My kids were spending more and more time watching TV and arguing with each other (I would talk to my kids about this again and again, but it was difficult to enforce while I was with a student), and I began to feel myself slipping.  I didn’t like that I wasn’t giving 120% to my job as a SAHM anymore.  I didn’t like that I wasn’t being there for my kids in those moments I NEEDED to be there.  I knew at this point that I was going to have to give something up; I was going to have to learn to be okay with not being the mom I wanted to be, or I needed give up my piano teaching side hustle.

I chose to give up the side hustle.

Now, I am all for side hustles.  I am all for making more money.  I am all for teaching your kids responsibility and independence from you.  I just realized that the piano teaching wasn’t the right fit for ME personally.

We all have our own ideas of our lives and the type of person who we want to be….and neither way is right or wrong.  My kids spend a lot of time at school, and at friends houses and at extra curricular activities and I decided that during those few precious hours when they were at home and awake I wanted to be present for THEM.  I wanted to be able to drive them to the places they needed to be, referee their fighting, and spend quality time together.

This doesn’t mean I am giving up the side hustle.  I still feel very strongly that I would like to contribute to our family finances.  It really helps calm my anxiety to make a little bit of money.  I just need to find a better fit for me and for my family.  Something during the day hours when the kids are at school, or the night hours when they are asleep.

 

I talk a lot about saving money and making money and sacrificing to have more money.  And I agree with all of that 100%.  However, never lose focus on the things that matter MOST.  What matters most will be different to every person. Spend wisely.  Budget.  Side hustle.  Do what you need to do by all means.  But, never do it at the sacrifice of the relationships that are very most important to you.  Money comes and go.  Things wear out and break.  Relationships are what matters.  I will NEVER get back these years with my kids.  They are growing (to to fast!) and before I know it I will have all the time in the world to work as hard as I want.  But.  For now, for me.  I am choosing my kids and my family over the side hustle…..and I know I will never regret it.

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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?

Finances · For the kids · Frugal Life · Money Educatioin · Parenting

Money Lessons for Kids: The night we taught our kids the TRUTH about money

I have been wanting to give our kids a really good object lesson about how to handle money.  We talk about this topic constantly, and we give them chores to help them learn how to save and spend wisely, you can read all about that here:  Teaching Kids Smart Money Habits; but I just kept wanting to find something that would make a big impact on them and the real adult world.  I began brainstorming ideas and came up with a game plan that ended up having a greater impact than I ever could have imagined.

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We told the kids that we were having a family meeting and that they all needed to come join us.  We excitedly announced to the kids that we would be having a money lesson (cue groans.)  I ignored these sour face expressions and got started with our plan.

Phase 1:  The Marshmallow Bank

First, I gave each of the kids 5 marshmallows.  I told them that those marshmallows were theirs to do whatever they wanted with.    But, if they wanted to put the marshmallows in the marshmallow bank the marshmallows might grow.  My 12 year old and 9 year old decided to put all of their five marshmallows into the marshmallow bank.  My 5 year old decided to eat three of his marshmallows and put the other two into the bank.  I took the marshmallows away and put them into the “bank” (aka my closet).  We left those marshmallows alone to sit in the bank for a while and we moved onto Phase 2!

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Phase 2:    Real Life

For Phase 2 I really wanted to give my kids an understanding of exactly where mom and dad’s money goes each month and WHY we just can’t give them every.single.thing. they want all the time!  I also wanted to give them an understanding of what responsibilities they will need to expect when they become adults.

To prepare I got out enough cash to resemble how much money my husband earns in one month (I did this during the first of the month when I had a bunch of cash on hand from my cash envelopes).  We pretended that a quarter was $25, $1 was $100, $5 was $500, $10 was $1,000 and $20 was $2,000.  I then got three bowls filled with snacks.  The first bowl had cheerios in it and a $50 sign, the next bowl had fruit snacks with a $100 sign on it and the last bowl had a few mini candy bars in it with a $500 sign.

I gave the kids all of the “money” that our family has to live off of for one month.  I explained that after they paid all of their monthly bills than they could use whatever money is left to go shopping at our “store.”  At this point the kids were SO excited about their money.  All of those bills looked like a gigantic wad of sum to those three young kids.  They could not wait to buy out the entire store!

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Then the bills began…

We listed off every bill that we have to pay each month and how much that cost.  As we listed it off the kids had to pay us their “money” for those bills.  We included everything!  They had to pay for life insurance, car insurance, retirement savings, college savings, sports and piano lessons.  They paid for electricity, groceries, car repairs, and a few date nights.  We had them put money into their emergency savings account.  If it was on our real budget, the kids saved for it.  As the huge wad of cash slowly dwindled the looks on the kids faces kept dropping and dropping.

Once the bills were all done being paid my daughter exclaimed, “But where did all of our money go?!?!”  The kids had about $10 leftover, an equivalent of $1000.  Not enough to buy each of them one of the coveted candy bars.  They had to settle for a few fruits snacks and cheerios.

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Phase 3:  The Lesson

At first the kids were a little upset.  They were asking questions like, “So does this mean we don’t have any money?!?!”  and “I don’t understand where the money went.”  We then explained to them that we do have money.  We have enough to pay for everything in our budget, everything that they had to pay for.  We have enough for the soccer camp, the piano lessons, food on our tables, the necessary clothing and occasional fun family activity.  We talked about how we have enough money for those things.  But, we do not have enough money for ALL the things.  We talked about why and how we make a budget each month, how some months we might budget for a fun family activity and another month we will budget for new school clothes.

As the conversation continued I could see the understanding start to set in their eyes.  They began to realize the importance of a budget and why they are told no to some of the things they ask for.  They learned the importance of saving money each month and budgeting for the many bills that come with being an adult.

Phase 4:  Investments

Now it was time to check how our investments were doing in the “marshmallow bank.”  When I went to go get the marshmallows I tripled the amount of marshmallows each of the kids had in their bowl.  My 12 and 9 year old ended up with 15 marshmallows and my 5 year old had 6 marshmallows.  My 5 year old was a little disappointed when he saw how little marshmallows he had compared to his two older sisters.

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We then explained to the kids the importance of investing your money and how if you do it wisely your money will grow.  We demonstrated how the more money you invest, the more money you will earn in return.

I was so very happy with how this money lesson turned out.  My kids really seemed to understand and grasp what we were teaching them.  The conversations we had throughout the lesson were very real and mature and I am hoping this is something my kids will remember as they grow up and begin making their own personal money choices.  And once we were all done we totally let them have a few of the mini candy bars…..just because I try to be a nice mom.  Sometimes.  😉

 

 

 

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.

Parenting · Uncategorized

15 FREE Things to do with your Kids over Spring Break

In a couple of weeks my kids will have their annual one week Spring Break from school.  I always look forward to this break.  It’s so fun to have a break from the school routine and spend time together, but sometimes the kids can get a little stir crazy.  Where I live winter lasts well into April so Spring Break isn’t always “springy.”  🙂  I started brainstorming some things the kids and I can do together while on Spring Break, and as usual all of them are FREE!

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  1.  Board Games:  I love to buy board games at our local thrift store for a couple of dollars a piece.  I love playing games, and it is so fun to play them with my kids.  Some of their favorites are Clue, Sequence and Apples to Apples.  I have bought each of these in perfect condition used.
  2. ABC Day:  Have an ABC Day. Every once in a while I will tell my kids to choose a letter and we try to plan the day around that letter.  For the letter R we might eat Raisins and Red apples, play Ring around the Rosies or have a Race, and we would do an art project based around the letter R.  My kids have a lot of fun trying to come up with different ideas based around the letter.
  3. Picnic:  If it’s warm enough where you live go for a picnic at a park.  If it’s not warm enough just lay a blanket down on the living room floor and picnic at home.  Your kids will love getting to eat somewhere other than the kitchen.
  4. Crafts:  There are a lot of Spring related crafts on pinterest.  Find a fun one to do with your kids.
  5. Ice Cream in a Bag:  No need to go out for ice cream, you can make it at home with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry.  There are a lot of recipes on pinterest to look through.  My kids love getting to customize their own ice cream with chocolate and sprinkles.
  6. Family Movie Night:  Let your kids stay up late one night watching a movie together as a family.  Pop some popcorn and enjoy a few other treats.  Check out your local library for free movies you might not have seen yet.
  7. Library:  Whenever my kids have a day off from school we always end up at the Public Library.  They love getting to check out some books that they can’t always find at their school library.  Check out my blog post all about the great resources the library offers here:  10 Ways using the Public Library will Save you Money
  8. Bake:  My kids all love to help in the kitchen.  Find a new recipe you can all try out together.  Our favorite is ALWAYS cookies!
  9. Nature Walk:  If you are one of the lucky ones with a warm spring break go outside on a nature walk.  Bring a sack with you and collect different rocks, pine needles and pine cones.  Once you get back home admire everyone’s collections.
  10. Start your garden:  If you love to garden Spring Break is a great time to get those little seeds started indoors.  This is so fun to get the kids involved with.  Watching those little seeds sprout is so fun and exciting for the kids (and me!).
  11. Friend Day:  Plan a play date with a few of your kids friends.
  12. Spring Cleaning:  This might not be your kids most favorite activity, but we always have a few items of Spring Cleaning I try to get done during Spring Break and my kids are lucky enough to get to help me with that.  😉  😉  It is a good way to get them busy and occupied.
  13. Make Slime or Play Dough:  Slime is all the rage these days.  We tried it out for the first time a couple of weeks ago and loved how easy it was.  There are many tutorials for it on pinterest.  If your kids aren’t interested in slime, make some play dough.  You can find our favorite play dough recipe here:  Our Favorite Play dough Recipe.
  14. Paint Rocks:  Collect some rocks outside and bring them back home to paint them.  Paint a fun design on the rock, or paint an animal (we love turning ours into ladybugs).  So easy and fun!
  15. Science Experiment:  Do a fun science experiment with your kids.  Make a volcano with baking soda and vinegar or try out  our favorite Magic Toothpick Experiment.

It does not need to cost any money to make special memories with your kids.  All they want is time and love.  I hope you have a fun and frugal Spring Break!

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.