Thursday, April 27, 2023

How to serve your community for free!

    One thing I've been trying to do more this year is to help teach my girls how to serve our community.  While I've wanted to serve our community, I wanted to also teach that we don't need to spend a ton to do so.  Here are a few of our favorite items to do so far + one I'm hoping to attempt soon.   

1. Collect cans for our Food Pantry: 
    We usually do this during December as part of our Advent activity.  But, I've been wanting to donate another time throughout the year as well.  So we started collecting in the Spring too.  We collect for about 1 month and then take the 30-31 items to our local food bank.  This is one that does cost money; however, I already teach my girls how to purchase items on sale and stock up, so therefore, we are able to give more.  

2. Visit the local Retirement Community to play games: 
    We recently did this a few months ago.  Unfortunately we haven't been able to go back yet, just have been busier than I planned.  But, this was so fun! It was a great learning experience for my young kiddos.  Playing games with retied men and women is a great way for kids to learn how to interact with a generation they may not normally interact with besides in their family.  

3. Visit the local Nursing Home to read to the residents: 
A great way to help your kiddo practice their reading and to see a different style of nursing care.  When my oldest was born her great-grandpa was placed in a nursing home.  For her that was how she knew him.   However; while we visited him we had to walk down a long hallway where we passed many other residents.  So for her and somewhat my 2nd kiddo it was normal to see residents in a nursing home.  If you've ever been to a nursing home you know how different it is.  Taking time to go and visit one with your kiddos and read with the residents is a great way to expose them to something different.  Plus, it's great for the residents to interact with kiddos as well.  This is a great way to help serve your community. 

4. Happy mail: 
Everyone enjoys getting mail, that is if it's not a bill.  If your kiddos are like mine, they enjoy coloring, drawing, & making pictures.  This is an easy way to serve people in your community.  Someone who just had surgery, someone who just had a baby, someone who maybe lives on their own.  Taking the time to reach out to someone you know and having your kids help bless them.  

5. Inviting someone to supper: 
We've only done this once or twice, again life gets busy.  But, it is something that we talk about with our girls and try to set aside some time to do so.  We've started with neighbors, but have talked about inviting people outside of our neighborhood as well.  Sitting down to supper with a guest teaches your kiddos so much.  It really is fun to see them interact at their dining room table with someone who isn't normally in our home.  

Well, there you have it, 5 ways you can serve your community with your kiddos without having to spend a lot.  What are ways you serve your community? 



Thursday, April 20, 2023

Teacher Appreciation gift ideas


    Teacher Appreciation week is almost here! What a great time to show your kiddos' teachers that they are important.  I've gathered our family's favorite gift ideas that also won't break the bank.  Check them out: 

1. Print-out paper

A couple years ago I found this print-out paper on Pinterest.  It was really fun to do with my kiddos for their teacher.  It helped to make the gift be more from my kiddo than from me.  I wanted it to be more meaningful for my child as well.  This was a great option from The Suburban Mom. 

2. Bouquet of flowers 


        Have you heard of the old-fashioned gift of flowers on the last day of school? Well, the last day of school has changed quite a bit since then, so what better week than Teacher Appreciation week!  These can be hand-picked from your local garden or you can purchase them.  If you purchase them, you can always buy a medium bouquet and spilt it up between your kiddos; the bouquet doesn't have to be big.  

3. A card 

Similar to the first option, you can make a card and have your kiddo write a thank you in it as well.  

4. Their favorite candy 

What a simple gift, but a great way to say thank-you.  This doesn't have to be huge, but a simple candy bar saying thanks.  If you're good with puns you could include one as well. 

5. A book for their classroom 

In our school we have the option to purchase a book for our kids' teachers at conferences from the Book Fair.  The teachers each pick a few books they'd like for their classroom and then parents can buy them in honor of their child.  However, teachers can't have enough books; especially at the elementary level.  Picking out a book from heir classroom is great end of the year gift.  

Hope this helps inspire some ideas! Have a great week, until next time



Thursday, April 13, 2023

Newspaper Trashbags

A couple weeks ago I posted some life hacks.  One of the life hacks I talked about was making trash bags out of newspapers, from the blog Improvised Life.  If you missed it you can check it out here.  I wanted to take it a step further and try what Improvised Life does, only make it for my larger trash can in my girls' bathroom.   

These trash can liners are easy to make and are a great way to help out the environment. Instead of buying more plastic, you are reusing what you have.  So I figured if I can make it work for a small can, why not try a larger one?  

In order to do this, you will need 4 sheets of newspaper instead of just the 1 sheet. After that the process is merely the same, you just need to connect the 4 pieces.  

This post includes affiliate links, which means if you click on the link I get a portion of any sales at NO COST to you.  See my disclosure page for more details. 

Step 1: 

First take 2 sheets and staple the edges together.  To do this you need to first fold about an inch on each edge, then you can staple the edges together.  Staples break down, which is why I chose to use them.  Make sure to staple close together so you don't have gaps in your bag later. 

Step 2: 

Second, take the other two pieces of newspaper and do the same. 

Step 3:

Then, you will do the same with your two larger pieces of newspaper and connect them together. This can get a bit tricky as the edges have staples, so just watch as you fold. 

Step 4: 

Flip it all over.  Before you start the fold, you want to have the folded staple parts on the bottom.  

Step 5:

Start the folding process.  It is the same process as the smaller folding process.  It really does fold better than you think even though it's so much bigger.  Don't worry about making the lines crease tightly.  You can watch the video from Improvised Life here or you can follow along below with a step-by-step tutorial: 

Step 1: Place newspaper at a diagonal, then fold in half. 
Step 2: Fold the newspaper in half 
Step 3: Take the right corner and fold it over to the left side.  Make sure the bottom has a flat edge. 
Step 4: Flip over the newspaper and repeat step 3, just fold over the other left side to the right side. 
Step 5: Then take the flap and fold it into the pocket. 
Step 6: Flip over and repeat on the other side. 

One extra step for the larger newspaper bag that I've learned is to staple the sides together.  Where the corner kind of sticks out a bit, on the larger bag it's a lot more and so I just staple it to the side.  

That's it! Remember you can check out the youtube video posted on the Improvised Life post for a visual.


So far, I've been happy with this as a trash bag in my girls' bathroom.  But, if you want to help the environment by switching from plastic and don't want to make a newspaper trash bag, check out the Amazon link at the bottom for another option.  I use these green bags for  my kitchen trash.  I'll be honest, I tried the larger newspaper bags for the kitchen trashcan and let me just say, they don't work well for large amounts of mess.  But, I really like these green bags for the kitchen, they work great!  If you can buy them in bulk, it makes the cost a lot less and closer to the plastic you already get! Plus, you can split the bigger bulk size with a friend & it helps the cost! 

I hope you were inspired to find a way to be a little more environmental.

~ Blessings 

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Indoor Garden Savings


    Starting your summer garden indoors can add up fast. But, did you know there are many ways to start it without having to buy a lot of extra supplies? There are so many items around your house or as you go out and about that you can use to start your indoor garden, without having to buy specific items.  

Let's talk the containers.  Instead of buying the seedling pod packs, there are so many things you can use instead: 

1.  Coffee Cups: 

Start by saving those coffee cups.  You can use either plastic or the paper.  The paper will break-down so you can plant it right in the ground, the plastic ones you'd need to replant the plant in the ground.  


2. Egg cartons

Egg cartons make the perfect seed starter.  They also are able to break-down so all you have to do is just replant them into the ground.  One tip for these is, I would mist the cartons when you are ready to plant them in your garden, that way they tear apart easily. Also, depending on what you start in the egg cartons and how soon you start them; you may need to replant them into something bigger before you plant in your garden.  But, with the egg carton you can just place in larger container as it will break down.  

3. Milk jugs: 

Last year I used a couple milk jugs for lettuce.  I ended up starting them inside too soon, but it worked out as I had a big enough container for the lettuce to mature inside! 

4. Coffee Canisters: 

Coffee canisters make great pots for plants, but you can also use them for seed starting as well.  The plants would need to be re-potted when you place in your garden.  

5. Toilet paper rolls 

Did you know you can use toilet paper or paper towel rolls to start seeds?  Check out this post by Pam's Greenhouses for more of a how-to! 

Finally, make sure to keep those seeds moist, a great way to do this is to place a container over them to help keep the moisture in.  Any of those plastic oven bake covers you get with the tin foil baskets work great! Or anything else in your recycling! 

There you have it! Rather than buying containers for your seeds you have a few ways to try and save instead.  Good luck! Please share your photos too! 

Have a great week!