Crafts · For the kids · Free Fun · Holidays · Valentines Day

Yarn Hearts: An Easy Valentine Craft for Kids

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A friend shared a brilliant idea with me the other day!  She said she uses a small Christmas tree for Valentines Day; instead of decorating it with Christmas ornaments she has a little box of Valentines decorations that she brings out every February and her kids get to decorate a Valentines Tree.

I thought this was such a cute and fun idea, I knew I needed to implement it in my own house!  I already had a small tree that I use for Christmas each year, the only problem is that I didn’t have any decorations for the tree….and I did NOT want to buy any.

I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to put together a few crafts with my kids.  First, we made a few hearts out of beads and pipe cleaners.  They were so easy, just stick beads on a pipe cleaner and shape it as a heart.  Done and done!

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Next, we made this darling Pom-Pom Garland.  I loved it so much and I can’t wait to make more!  You can find the tutorial here.

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And last, but not least, we put together these Yarn Heart Ornaments.  They were SO fun to make and easy enough for my 6 year old to join in.  I love the projects that all three kids can enjoy together!

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First, you need some cardboard hearts.  I grabbed a box from my large stash of amazon boxes and cut out a few hearts.

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Choose your favorite yarn color.  Here is one of my favorite yarn brands.  Use a little bit of tape to attach the yarn to the cardboard heart.

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Now for the fun part.  Just start wrapping your yarn around the heart.  Try to wrap it in different angles to make the design interesting.  It wasn’t easy to get all of the small nooks and crannies, but we kept working it and was able to get the entire heart covered.

 

When your cardboard heart is all covered and looks just right tie a small knot and cut off your excess yarn.  I tucked the knot underneath some yarn to try to hide it, which seemed to work well!  And guess what!  You are done!  That’s it!  We attached a few ornament hooks through the yarn and hung it up on our Valentines Day Tree.

I just love how these crafts and little tree turned out, and what’s even better….my kids love it!  They are so proud that they helped make all of the decorations; and seeing my kids happy faces is the best kind of valentine gift I could ever receive!

 

You might be interested in a few of my other Craft Projects:

Tissue Paper Pom-Pom Tutorial

The Easiest Halloween Pumpkin Tutorial

How to Make an Easy Nature Bookmark Tutorial

Easter Egg Sun Catcher

 

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

How to Make Homemade Butter

I had a container of heavy whipping cream sitting in my fridge for a few weeks.  I kept looking at it, knowing I needed to do something with it, but never knowing exactly what!  My sister finally suggested to me that I should use the cream to make butter with my kids.

This actually turned out to be the best idea ever!  Making butter was so so easy, cheap, and my kids absolutely LOVED it!

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My kids loved shaking their jars and checking every 5 minutes to see if the butter had formed.  My daughter even said, “Wow!  They use to have to work hard in the olden days!  I can’t imagine doing this every time we needed butter.”  This led into such a great discussion about the conveniences we have now and how hard our ancestors had to work in order to survive.

You can make your very own butter; all you need is a mason jar and heavy whipping cream.

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Pour some whipping cream into the jar.  I filled our jars about half full, but if you are doing this with your kids I would recommend only filling it about 1/4 full.  I think it would’ve been easier and quicker for the kids if the jar had less cream in it.

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Now, you shake it!  Shake, shake and shake!  This took us about 45 minutes of hard shaking.  If I had done less cream I’m sure it would’ve been much quicker.

We turned on some music and danced while shaking our jars.

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The cream will slowly become thicker.  You will eventually notice the butter separating from the cream. The butter will form together in a nice solid ball.  Once this happens, you are done!  See, so easy!

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Drain the leftover cream, rinse your butter, and then transfer it to a plate.  Wah-lah!  You have made butter!

Now is the fun part!  Enjoy your butter on some fresh bread or rolls.  It really is delicious!

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Birthday · Family · for free · For the kids · Free Fun · Frugal Life · Uncategorized

Fun Birthday Traditions for Small Budgets

I love celebrating my kids birthdays every year.  It’s so fun to have one day just focused on helping them feel important and loved.  I try really hard to give them a special day to remember, WITHOUT spending very much money.  I truly believe that you do NOT need to spend money to help a child feel special.

12 No-fuss Birthday Cakes

Here are a few of our favorite frugal birthday traditions.

Decorate Bedroom

The night before a birthday birthdays, I sneak into their room after they fall asleep, and decorate.  I fill the floor with balloons and hang streamers from their doorway.  They know every night before they go to bed what will happen, but they still love it.  It’s so fun for them to wake up to a party!

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Birthday Breakfast

Birthday Pancakes are a staple at our home.  A birthday is always started with our traditional breakfast of birthday pancakes.  The only thing I do different, is add some sprinkles to the batter.  So easy, but the kids love it!  Sometimes, if I’m feeling real fancy, I’ll try to make a pancake in the shape of their initials….but let’s be real, I’m rarely fancy!  😉

Your-Choice Dinner

The birthday child always gets to choose what I make for dinner.  If they choose pizza, I make pizza!  If they want waffles, well then, I make waffles!  This isn’t a hard tradition by any means, but my kids think it’s fun to get to be in charge of all the dinner plans.

Red Birthday Plate

We have a special red plate at our house.  We only get it out on a birthday, and the birthday child gets to eat dinner on the red plate.  This is a tradition I grew up with and have enjoyed carrying the tradition on with my own children.  It’s so simple, yet for some reason, it brings so much joy to whoever gets to eat on the birthday plate.  Yes, it has a chip on it, but that is just part of the memories from this long loved plate!

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Birthday Love

While we are eating dinner we take turns going around the table and every family member shares something they love about the birthday child.  I love this time with my family.  I love focusing on all of the many wonderful qualities in each of my kids, and getting to hear them express these to each other.

Bedtime Stories

At bedtime I lay with the birthday child and share the story of their birth.  I try to go through all the details of their day years ago, including every up and down.  I always end with sharing how that day was one of the most special, important, beautiful days of my life and I talk about just how perfect my life has become because they were born.

 

These traditions do not cost much money.  I spend a few dollars on streamers and balloons and these usually last me a couple of years.  10 years ago I bought a red plate for $5, and it is still being used and loved.  It does NOT take a “pinterest worthy” birthday to celebrate a loved one.  All it takes is a little thought and a lot of love.

 

Affiliate · Amazon · Family · For the kids · Free Fun · Frugal Life · Homemade · Parenting · Recipes

How to Make Ice Cream in a Bag

Sweet Frugal Life is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.  As an amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

I’ve always said that I was born in the wrong decade!  I truly yearn for the simple life of the early 1900s.  I think that’s partly why I love being frugal.  I get so much satisfaction from growing and making my own food; and living a simpler, less materialistic life.

When we make our own ice cream it reminds me of simpler times.  It’s a way for the entire family to make our very own ice cream, no need to go to an ice cream parlor or the grocery store.  We can do it on our own!

We always have ice cream in a bag on our summer bucket list.  It’s easy (the kids can do it themselves!).  It’s cheap.  It’s fun.  I almost always have all of the ingredients on hand.  And, who doesn’t love ice cream on a hot summers day????  I know we do!

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Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag Recipe

1 cup Half and Half (I usually just use plain milk and it works just as good!)

2 TBSP Sugar

Favorite Mix-Ins:  any combination of the following

1 TBSP vanilla

1 TBSP cocoa

Chocolate Syrup

Fruit

Mix half and half, sugar and one or more mix ins (we used cocoa) in a quart size Ziploc freezer bag.

In a gallon size Ziploc freezer bag dump in a lot of ice and about 1/2 cup ice cream salt (I never measure this, I just kind of guess).

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Take the quart size bag with the ice cream ingredients and get out all the air and seal it shut.  Make sure the bag is sealed tight so no salt will get inside.  Place the quart size bag inside of the gallon size bag.

Now for the fun part.  You shake it!  This takes about 5-10 minutes of HARD shaking. It’s important to be shaking it constantly. I will usually help my little kids to make sure it gets nice and frozen.

Once the milk mixture looks frozen, take the quart size bag out and rinse it under cold water.  This helps to wash off any excess salt.

Pour it into your bowl, top with sprinkles if you’d like, and ENJOY!  I love the simplicity of this activity, and the excitement the kids get out of making their very own personal ice cream!

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do!  It’s fun to try to make different flavors!  My daughter had the idea to use a little mint extract and chocolate chips in our next batch for our own chocolate mint flavor!  There is really no right or wrong combo!

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

Peanut Butter Play Dough Recipe

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

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

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

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Peanut Butter Play Dough Recipe

2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup honey

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

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

for free · For the kids · Free Fun · Frugal Life

“Painting” Baked Rocks

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If you have been reading for a while you know that I am all about simple and frugal activities for kids.  Mom life is HARD and BUSY and did I mention HARD.  So, if I can come up with fun activities for my kids that require very little prep, I am all for it!

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This activity of “painting” rocks is one of my favorites. It starts with an old fashioned rock hunt.  I encourage my kids to find a large and smooth rock, they usually just grab whichever one catches their eye first!  Either way totally works.  (See, simple right?!?!)

 

You will then need to “bake” the rock.  This is done exactly how it sounds.  Place the rock into a hot oven and let it “cook” in the oven until the rock gets hot.  I usually turn the oven on to about 400 degrees and bake them for about 15 minutes.  There really is no science here, you just want the rock hot.

 

Take it out of the oven carefully and place it on a paper plate, paper towel, newspaper, etc.  Now you can let your kids color on the hot rock with crayons.  It is fun to watch the colors melt on to the rock and look like paint.

 

After you are done “painting” let the rock cool and dry.  You will be left with a fun colored rock, we have a collection of these outside.  My kids are always eager to add a new rock to their loved collection.

 

 

For the kids · Parenting

Magic toothpick science experiment

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This science experiment is a really fun way to entertain kids at home.  I always have the ingredients on hand and my kids love that it is hands on.  It only takes a few minutes to have the experiment ready.  Kids love to help get it all out and choose the colors.

Pour some milk in a bowl.  I like to use a wide shallow container.  A pie tin would work great or anything you happen to have on hand.  Pour enough milk in to cover the bottom.

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Now choose a few colors of food coloring.  Today my son chose red green and blue.  My kids love this neon food coloring.  The bright colors are really fun.  Drop a few drops of food coloring into the milk.

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Now comes the fun “magic toothpick” part!  Pour a small amount of dish soap into a small bowl.  Get out a toothpick and dip it into the dish soap.  With the dish soap on the toothpick the science experiment is ready!

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Lightly touch the toothpick to the drops of food coloring.  The colors will spread and make beautiful designs.  Your children will be sure it’s magic happening right before their eyes!

 

 

Reasons to hike on your birthday

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.  Sometimes we will make this more “traditional” play dough recipe, and other times we make Peanut Butter Play Dough (another fun fave!).

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.

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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!

play dough recipe