Advent Calendar (Baby Food Jars)

This will be the third year we’ve used this Advent calendar and it’s one of our favorite Christmas pieces.  I had somehow collected a ton of baby food jars and came across a super cute idea on Nap Time Crafters. Each jar holds candy or an activity for each day of Advent.  In our family, we write a Christmas activity on a small piece of paper and place it each jar.  Activities range from decorating the Christmas tree and Cocoa Cruising (looking at Christmas lights) to helping others in need like adopting an angel or delivering food to the local food pantry…you get the idea.  The whole family looks forward to opening a jar each day to see what type of fun surprise we’ll be doing as a family!   We’ve found that it’s a great addition to our celebration of the Christmas season as we anticipate the coming of our Lord and Savior.

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Materials:
Baby food jars (25)
Assorted Christmas Scrapbook paper
Assorted number decals
Round Heavy Strength Magnets (50)
Hot glue gun
Metal Serving Tray (found mine at Hobby Lobby super cheap!)
Plate holder stand (sturdy enough to hold the tray)
Red tissue paper (enough to fill the inside of the jars)

Trace the top of your baby food jar onto the back of your scrapbook paper.  Once you have 25 traced, cut and hot glue the circles to the top of the lids. Add the assorted number decals to the lids and set them aside to dry.  Next, hot glue one magnet to the bottom of each jar so they will “stick” to the serving tray (Note:  if you find that your jars with magnets are not “sticking” to your serving tray, hot glue a second magnet to the tray itself and allow the magnets to stick together for added support).

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Next, stuff the insides of the jars with the red tissue paper and you’re ready to fill your advent jars with goodies or activities!

Merry Christmas and Happy Crafting!

Pumpkin Halloween String Garland

This was a super fun Halloween craft project, but I’ll have to say it was a bit messy.  We tried our first batch of pumpkins inside and decided to do the other batch outside.  It’s definitely a project for ages 7 and up!  Kinley enjoyed wrapping and is planning on doing more!  I found the idea on Spoonful.com they made Jack Skellington’s  but we are a bunch of wimps over here and made pumpkins instead.

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Orange cotton string

Black felt

Green Pipe Cleaner

Water Balloons

Liquid Fabric Starch (you can find this on the laundry isle next to the spray starch)

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1.  Blow up your water balloons so they are about 4 inches wide and tie off the ends.

2. Cut the orange cotton string into long lengths, about 5 feet long. You can always cut more.

3.  Cut out the eyes, nose, and mouth template and trace them onto the black felt. Cut out the pieces. You will need a pair of eyes, a nose, and a mouth for each pumpkin string ball you wish to make.

4.  Pour liquid starch into a bowl. Place your balloon into the bowl. Dip the ends of your 5 foot white string into the bowl and wrap the string around your balloon, soaking the string in the starch before you wrap. Add more lengths of orange string. Once the balloon resembles a very messy spider web, hang the balloon up to dry. Place newspaper or craft paper under the balloons as they will drip.  (We did our second batch outside).

5.  Cut a piece of string about a foot long and tie one end to the end of the balloon. (You will use this string to hang your balloon so it can dry).

6.  Once all the string balls are dry, pop the balloons and pull them out through a gap in the string.  (Make sure the string is completely dry or the sting will fall apart we waited to pop balloon until the next day) Glue on a pair of eyes, a mouth, and a nose and pipe cleaner for the stem to each string ball. Tie them to a long ribbon, yarn, or string garland, evenly spacing them. Cut off extra string after you have tied them into place.

Frugal Fun

Frugal living doesn’t mean having a life without fun.  In fact, you might be surprised how easy it is to trim your expenses with a little patience and planning.  My family has made a tradition of going to the Texas State fair every year since we moved to the Big D. This year was especially important because we wanted to see the new Big Tex. Depending on the day, you can save some serious cash if you plan it just right.  General admission is $17 and paying for parking costs another $15…this doesn’t include the yummy food and fun games/rides.  For a family of 5, you’re looking at a pretty expensive outing.   Instead of letting go of one of our favorite family traditions, I did a little research and came across some great savings.  Kroger had a can food drive on Wednesday which made admission only $3 for each visitor bringing 3 cans of food for area food banks. We ended up paying only $9 total for our whole family while also helping out a great cause.   We also saved a few bucks in parking and found some great free activities and shows the kiddos loved.  Being frugal does not mean that you can never spend money; it just means that you spend your money wisely instead of blindly. 

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Howdy Folks!

 

 

Re-fashioned T-Shirt

Every year, my daughter Kinley has college week at her school.  Each day involves a theme and one of the days she needed to wear her favorite college shirt.  Unfortunately we didn’t have one in her size but no worries… we found a way! My sister-in-law and I began researching “no-sew” fitted t-shirts and found this DIY project.  We took one of my husbands old college shirts (out of about 1,000) and found a simple and cute way to dress it up.  This project took about an hour total and cost me an old t-shirt = FREE.

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We went through Russell’s closet and selected this one for our Project.  We cut off the bottom so the edges would roll up. Then we cut the sides of the shirt all the way up the side and even the sleeve. Note: Make sure the cut is as straight as it can be, the only thing that should be still stuck together after this step is the neck of the shirt.

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Then we cut about one inch strips all the way up the side and even the sleeve.
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We tied the strips into knots, like you would tie a shoelace or string into a knot. (don’t pull too hard but make sure its tight enough so the knot won’t fall out). Do this step to both sides of the shirt.
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 Cut the neck as big as you wish and cut the end of the sleeves off of the shirt. we decided to tie knots all the way around the sleeves but you can design or make unique for your liking.
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The rest is yours to decorate how you would like.  We added a few bows and made a cute headband to match.
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Go Red Raiders!

DIY Bath Bombs

These bath bombs were a whole lot of fun to make and super easy.  You can customize it to your liking by choosing your preferred essential oil.   I decided to use lavender because I’ve read it’s a great therapeutic agent that is used to help with relaxing and getting a good night’s sleep.  This is definitely a great addition to the kiddos bedtime routine and they love watching them fizz as it releases it’s great aroma. 20130913-135606.jpg

Here’s what you need!

 makes 4 small bath bombs
2 TBS Baking Soda
1 TBS Cream of Tartar
Food Color or liquid Dye (you can find at any craft store)
½ teaspoon Essential Oil (lavender)
Spray Bottle of Water
Soap Mold or Ice Cube Tray

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Add 2 TBS Baking Soda to bowl. Then add 1 TBS Cream of Tartar and ½ teaspoon lavender or Essential Oil. Next, add your food color. (I would suggest that if using food coloring to color these, make sure you use non-toxic vegetable based color.  Safer for everyone, especially for children.  Stir it up and add a couple of sprays of water and keep stirring. You want to get it where it is just sticking together without adding too much water. NOTE: Only add a couple of sprays of water at a time or your bombs will lose their fizz. Put your bath bombs in a soap mold or ice tray, and leave over night to dry out. NOTE: The amount this recipe makes all depends on how big your molds are.  You can really make them as large or as small as you would like.  You can make them the size of a baseball or the size of your thumbnail.  you can double the recipe and make more than four at a time.  I decided to make one batch at a time and change the colors during each of the batches.

20130913-190251.jpgIn the morning your bath bombs will be ready to remove from the mold. When ready just drop your bomb in the bath you can watch it fizz as it releases its sent and colors your water! These bath bombs can stay good up to 1 year as long as they are stored in a dry, cool place that is out of the sun.  ENJOY!!

How to Save Money

There is definitely a sense of satisfaction from going to the store with nothing but a few dollars and a handful of coupons and coming home with a sack full of stuff:)   Sometimes I even have more coupons than groceries!  Playing the “coupon game” is a fun challenge with some great benefits.  For Russell and I it’s allowed us a little more freedom in our budget to do fun activities with the kiddos.  It’s also allowed us to share our savings and blessing with others.  We’ve been able to take some of our savings and donate to our local food bank.  The great thing about using the couponing technique is we can give so much more.  It’s a great feeling.  If your interested in learning how to save on your shopping experience, check out our links below and give it a try!   Who knows…you might look this excited the next time you grocery shop:) DSC_0168_edited-1

Kroger mega event savings
Budget strategies for saving meat
Amazon Prime is it worth it?
Grocery Sale Cycle
Shopping like a pro at Target
Frugal club bargains
How to save money when eating out
Bidding on Hotels and Priceline
Frugal Family Fun
How to Save 50% on Groceries
Photo Deals
Free Books!!!
Cheap Airfare
A Word about Thrift Shops
27 ways to make your Groceries last as long as possible
Remodeling on a Budget
Strategic Shopping
Diaper Deals
Online Coupon Codes
Groupon Deals and Savings
Kohl’s Rewards

Groupon Deals and Savings

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I LOVE saving money!  Who doesn’t right?  I also love to spend money where I know I’m getting a discount or bargain.  I recently signed up for Groupon which is a free service for anyone to join. If you’re not familiar with Groupon, it’s an on-line service for consumers to receive deal-of-the-day recommendations on services in your area.

A few months back, I found a great deal on a boat rental in our area and last week my family and I cashed in on the deal and spent the day on the lake.  It was so much fun and super reasonable when I purchased my deal through Groupon.   This is just one of a few purchases I’ve made using this great service!

Every 24 hours, Groupon broadcasts an electronic coupon for a restaurant or store in your city, recommending that local service while also offering you a 40% to 60% discount if you purchase that service.  Why does Groupon do this you might ask?  Groupon is a middleman service that promotes your city’s restaurants and stores. Groupon encourages people to try a different restaurant or store each day, and earns a commission whenever they successfully refer a customer.

Each day, Groupon will send an email announcement to its subscribers, describing the deal-of-the-day in that metro area.  If you like the deal-of deal-of-the-day, then you purchase an electronic coupon directly from Groupon using your credit card or PayPal account. You print that coupon, take it to the restaurant or store, and redeem it for commonly double the value you paid.

The great thing about this, if you don’t like the deal-of-the-day then you do nothing, and wait for the next day’s offer.  There is no obligation nor any cost for you to simply watch each day’s Groupon announcements.

If you’re interested in joining Groupon you simply go here and sign up.  All you need is your email address which you will check every day for discounts.  THAT’S ALL and enjoy your frugal adventure!

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