Thursday, September 21, 2017


Halloween is coming up just around the corner.  While, Halloween isn't really a holiday that we particularly celebrate, my husband and I do participate with our friends in a costume party.   Costumes can bust your budget for the month of October, especially as your family grows and those costumes only last a year.  Maybe you can get them to last through a few kids, but not always.

A friend told me of an idea that she had about a costume swap.  She does something different, but thought that maybe doing a costume swap would work as well too.  I have a great group of friends that we try to do things like this with.  Not, only costumes, but baby clothes in general, maternity clothes and so forth.

Get all your costumes that your kiddos have out grown together, have a little gathering with your friends and do a costume swap.  You can even make it a fun little party if you want, I mean what a great excuse to get together with your friends!

Another idea for cheaper costumes, make your own.  Get creative!  Here are some ideas that we've done in the past as a couple and haven't had to buy anything:

1. Mr. & Mrs. Smith: I don't have a photo for this, but we just dressed up a little, black dress pants and a buttoned down white shirt.  Then we took our pellet guns and eye cover and called it good.

2. Switched roles (My husband is a library director and at the time I taught art). These are clothes that we had in our closet, plus I borrowed one of the paint smocks from the school to have him wear, other than that we had the books, paint, and paintbrushes available to us. Nothing to buy!

Bear with the photos, I was a newbie :)

3. Star Wars (pictured at the top) The only thing we ended up buying for this, was my husband's shoes.  Other than that the clothes were items we had in our closet, a sheet for his cloak and we already had all of the light savers even the little one.

4. Color family (This one has been on my list for awhile, but we haven't been able to participate the last couple of years).  My husband would wear all blue, I would wear all red and our girls would wear all purple.  These colors worked for us, it's what we had.  you could easily change the color combo to match colors you already have and that make each other. (yellow + blue = green, red+ yellow = orange) 

Last year the girls wore clothes from their closets as well.  We ended up doing two different events, so they had a couple different costumes, but really we paid nothing extra for them, they were what we had.

     Miss cheerleader & Little Pop-Star                                             Little Dutch girl & Princess Sophia 
  (she even had a toy guitar at one point)                                     (who picked out her costume herself)   

So, find some friends and have a fun costume swap, or raid that closet and get creative with what you have, really it comes down to being creative!  

Any other ways you save at Halloween?  Or any other costume ideas?  We've expanded the family so are always looking for more ideas!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Toilet paper roll art

There are so many fun things you can make with toilet paper rolls. And the best part they're free, I mean you already buy the toilet paper, so the roll is just an added bonus of something to use for something fun!


toilet paper rolls, yarn, string or ribbon, scissors, stapler & hole punch. 

Here are some ways I've seen and tried and love:

1. Princess or Prince crowns:

Here are a few sites on how to's

Moon Frye
This one adds glitter, which is totally optional, but if you're making it for a party or something that would be fun.  I didn't try to add glitter, but it doesn't seem like it'd be much extra work.

Alina blog
This one uses washi tape to decorate with.

You can also go basic and just cut the crown shape and only add a ribbon or string.  The basic brown can be interesting too. 

2. Binoculars: 

One day my daughter wanted binoculars and so while I was cleaning the bathroom I thought I could use toilet paper rolls!

First: Staple the toilet paper rolls together. 

Second: Hole punch the sides and add your ribbon, yarn or string. 

3. Goggles: 

After we made binoculars, then the ball just started rolling, she wanted goggles and I thought I'm sure if I just make them smaller they could work, right?

First: Flatten the toilet paper roll tube. 

Second: Cut a small strip off.  You will need 2 total, so cut a second one as well. 

Third: Staple the two pieces together. 

Fourth: Hole punch the sides and add ribbon, yarn or string. 

4. Telescope:  

What's binoculars and goggles without a telescope.  I mean if you're a pirate, you have to have a telescope as well right?

First: Hole punch both sides of toilet paper roll. 

Second: Add ribbon, yarn or string.  You could also use a paper towel roll for this to make a longer telescope.  You also don't have to add string, my daughter just wanted string on the telescope like all the others. 

5. Toilet Paper Art: 

Finally, check out this craft we did at our family Christmas Creations: Toilet paper Art

Hope you enjoyed the different ways we make believe with toilet paper rolls!  What are some crafts you make, I'd love to hear. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Preschool: Letter Art

Last year I started working with my 4 year old on letter crafts.  Before that we just were learning letters, with a few crafts here and there.  However, last year I did more crafts and came up with a list of my favorite letter crafts all the way from A-Z.  I like to try and do crafts that take limited supplies, or that I can substitute what I have so I hope these help you with your letter crafts too.

Letter A is for Alligator: (No Time for Flashcards)

Letter B is for Bee: (No Time for Flashcards)
Here is how my 3 year old's B turned out:

Letter C is for Caterpillar: (Pinterest)
                   (Tie in with the very hungry caterpillar book)
Here is my 3 year old's C:

Letter D is for Duck: (From ABCs to ACTs)
Letter E is for Elmo: (School Time Snippets)

Letter F is for Frog: (Crystal and Co)
Here is my 3 year old's F:

Letter G is for Grapes: (From ABC to ACTs) / Giraffe (From ABCs to ACTs)
Letter H is for Horse: (Miss Maren's Monkeys)

Letter I is for Ice Cream: (Life as Mama)
Here is my 3 year old's I:

Letter J is for Jelly Fish (A Happily Ever Crafter)
Here's her J:

Letter K is for Kite (A Happily Ever Crafter)
Letter L is for Ladybug (The Iowa Farmer's Wife)
Letter M is for Mouse (The Measured Mom) 
Letter N is for Nest: (The Measured Mom)
Letter O is for Octopus: (No Time for Flashcards)

Letter P is for Penguin: (Rockabye Butterfly)
Here's her P:

Letter Q is for Quail (Rockabye Butterfly)
Letter R is for Rainbow (The measured Mom)

Letter S is for Snake: (I can teach my child)
Here's her S:

Letter T is for Tiger (Preschool Crafts) 

Letter U is for Umbrella (No Time for Flash Cards) 
Here's her U:

Letter V is for Vase (The Princess and the Tot) 
Letter W is for Watermelon The Princess and the Tot) 
Letter X is for Xylophone (Pinterest)
Letter Y is for Yarn: (East Coast Mommy Blog)
Letter Z is for Zebra: (Crystal & Co)

Some of them I follow exactly, while others I have to substitute things for items I don't have or want to buy.  Here are some of my substitute options.

Eyes --- construction paper circles
Stickers --- construction paper cut outs 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Smoothie 2.0

How to Stock-Up & Save on Spinach

Awhile back I posted about how to save on making smoothies, you can check out that post here. Well I also wanted to make them more healthy.  I started adding spinach to each one; however, even when having a smoothie every morning, I couldn't get through a bag before it'd go bad, I don't like spinach.  Then one day I was talking to my mother-in-love and she told me my sister-in-love had a great idea.  She blends up as much spinach as she can with some water and adds it to an ice cube tray.  Then she freezes it.  That way she has the spinach already to pop in the blender with the frozen fruit and other ingredients.

I took it a step further and started stocking up on spinach when it's on sale, and taking some time to blend it all up, pour in ice cube trays, freeze and pop in freezer bags so they're ready to go for my smoothies.  Plus I got the spinach on sale and was able to take advantage of that for my smoothies.

Here's my step by step: 

1.  Add spinach leaves to the blender or food processor, I don't start with the whole bag, maybe about 1/3. Then add a little of the water.  I use about 1 1/2 cups/ bag of spinach but only add a little at a time.  You don't want to use too much, but you need enough to help the spinach blend up. 

2. Blend, I use the chop button in the beginning. 

3. It can take many times to get it started to blend, but once it does then it goes pretty fast.  I keep adding a little water and stirring it as I go. 

4.  Once it is pretty chopped up I start using the puree button as well and that helps it to blend more.

5.  Then I start adding more of the spinach.  At this point I've pretty much added all my 1 1/2 cups of water, so it's just adding the rest of the spinach a little at a time.  Like I said, once it's been blended the rest blends in pretty easily. 

6.  This is what 1 bag of spinach looks like after it's been blended. 

7.  Finally pour into ice cubes trays and then once frozen, pop into freezer bags and you're ready to go.  You can have spinach for smoothies and not have to break the bank.  

This can also be done with kale or any other leafy veggie that you have in your fridge that's going to go bad before you use it.  Any extra leafy veggie to add to your smoothie is helpful and you save because you don't throw it out.

How are ways you save on making smoothies?

I had some cute little helpers, who also wanted to try the blended spinach.  I know, I could only think "Gross, really?" in my head.  But I let them.  It actually took 2 taste tests to be sure they didn't like it. :) But they are pretty cute!