Sunday, November 30, 2008

Disclosure Policy

This policy is valid from 30 November 2008

This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation.

The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content.

The owner(s) of this blog is compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner(s) of this blog receives compensation for our posts or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers' own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.

Frugal Gift Idea -- Homemade Bath Salts

There is nothing more relaxing than a nice warm bath with scented bath salts, and I thought bath salts would make a great holiday gift.  That is, until I saw how much they cost.  Have you seen the outrageous prices of bath salts recently??  

This prompted me to come up with a homemade version for gift giving.  This is a great gift and very frugal.  You could add a bath sponge to make a nice gift set.  

Here is the recipe for Homemade Lavender Bath Salts:

1 cup Epsom Salts
1 cup dead sea salt
1 drop red food coloring
1 drop blue food coloring
1 drop lavender essential oil
1 tsp. dried lavender (optional)

Mix in a large bowl for at least 2 minutes or until ingredients are very well blended.  Using a funnel, pour into bottles or jars.  You can decorate your jar with labels, gift tags, or ribbon.  

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Online Shopping -- Getting a Good Deal

If you are looking for some great websites to help you save money while shopping online, MSN's Money Central has an article with 8 top sites for online shopping that can be very helpful.  

I like to combine orders with Amazon and get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.  If you use Coinstar and convert $40 worth of change into an Amazon gift card, you can get an extra $10 gift card for free!  Offer is good now until December 7th.  Details can be found here.

Also, has great discounts on gift certificates for various restaurants, and if you order through uPromise, you will get an added percentage towards college savings.  Use promotional code THANKS to get 70% off.  Offer is good until tomorrow.

Friday, November 28, 2008

More on Thanksgiving Leftovers

Getting tired of turkey yet?  Give your leftovers some fresh appeal with these great recipes:
  1. Paula's Home Cooking -- Includes recipes for Pumpkin Bars and Turkey Pot Pie.
  2. Leftover Cranberry Sauce -- Mix with Cream Cheese for a great bagel spread.
  3. CD Kitchen -- Easy recipes for leftover turkey.
  4. Turkey Casserole Recipe -- Uses leftover turkey and stuffing.
  5. Leftover Sweet Potato Cake -- Use up those leftover sweet potatoes and make a delicious dessert.
  6. Sweet Potato Biscuits -- Another creative way to use up those leftover sweet potatoes.
Hope everyone had a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!  If you have a great leftover recipe to share, leave a comment and tell us about it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! Don't forget to get your entry in for our coupon giveaway, and be sure to check out my recipe for Turkey Chili to use up those leftovers.

Have a great Thanksgiving money-saving tip to share?  Leave a comment and tell us about it.  You will automatically be entered for the coupon giveaway too!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Frugal Fall Craft -- Autumn Tree

Here is a frugal fall craft I did with Emily (4).  You will need construction paper in fall colors, a sheet of cardstock (for the background), and some glue.  For younger children, pre-cut the tree trunk and leaves for them.  The older kids can do this by themselves.  Put down lots of glue, and let your child arrange the leaves on the tree.  Emily also wants me to add that there are leaves on the ground as well, so your child can add some to the ground if they wish.  She enjoyed this fall craft very much!

Make sure you don't miss any great money-saving tips, and become a follower of this blog by clicking here!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Coupon Giveaway

I am doing my very first giveaway this week!  I am a huge fan of coupons because the savings really do add up.  Last month I saved a couple hundred dollars using coupons. 

For this drawing, I thought it would be appropriate to give away 50 free coupons (many are for organic items)!  The coupons are already clipped for you and ready to take to the grocery store to help save your hard-earned money.

To enter this giveaway:
  1. Become a follower of this blog.  Do this by clicking here.  Becoming a follower will put you in for three entries.  Those of you who are already followers will automatically be entered three times as well.
  2. Leave a comment on the Frugal Family Fun Blog, and tell me about some of your family's favorite frugal activities, or what it is you love the most about this blog.  Your comment can be on this post, or any other post dated from November 25-December 5th.
This giveaway ends Friday, December 5th @ 6pm EST.  Winner will be chosen by, and contacted via email for mailing address information.

Good luck!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Making the most of your Thanksgiving leftovers can save you money, and there is no reason why leftovers should be boring.  

Here is my all-time favorite turkey chili recipe.  It's so easy!  Make a batch of corn bread to go with it, and you have a fabulous post-Thanksgiving meal to use up that leftover turkey!

Turkey Chipotle Chili
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
2 cups cooked turkey, diced
2 cups chicken or turkey stock
2 chipotles in adobo, finely chopped
1 can kidney beans
1 can navy beans

In large pot or dutch over over medium/high heat, add olive oil and saute onion and pepper.  Add tomatoes, stock, beans, chipotles, and tomato paste.  Season with salt, pepper, oregano, and cumin to taste.  Let simmer for 20 minutes.  Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

More Fun with the Fireplace

We have been taking advantage of our fireplace during this cold time of year.  Last night we roasted hot dogs over the fire.  We had hot dogs w/buns, and baked beans for dinner.  Then we read The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog.  This is one of Emily's favorite books, and we enjoy the other Pigeon books as well.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Frugal Family Activities -- Lehigh Valley

If you are lucky enough to live in the Lehigh Valley, here are some frugal indoor family activities you can enjoy for $5 or less!
  1. Allentown Art Museum -- On Sundays admission is free to the Allentown Art Museum, and the kids can enjoy Artventures.
  2. Lowe's/Home Depot Workshops --  The first Saturday of the month is Home Depot's Kids Workshops, and Lowe's features kids clinics every other week.  The kids get a little apron, and a small wooden project to put together, and a certificate of completion.  It's free!
  3. Bounce U -- Purchase a Bounce Pass for $25 and it is good for 5 bounce sessions.  Just $5 per session. 
  4. Emmaus Movie Theatre -- A second-run movie theatre in downtown Emmaus.  Matinees are just $3.00.
  5. Farmers Market --  The Allentown Fairgrounds Farmer's Market is an Allentown favorite.
  6. Roller Skating --  Try Skateaway Roller Rink in Bethlehem.  Admission is just $5 for Saturday or Sunday night.
  7. Bowling --  In general, bowling is very affordable.  Try the Emmaus Bowling Center.
  8. Coffee at the Perk --  You can enjoy some terrific coffee at The Perk on Main in Emmaus, and treat the kids to some tasty desserts.
  9. Hershey's Chocolate World --  Take a day trip to Hershey and experience Hershey's Chocolate World.  Admission is free, and you get a free chocolate bar at the end of the tour.
  10. Lower Macungie Community Center -- Upcoming events include Pictures with Santa (2 photos for $10), free movie night, free open gym, and free drop-by storytime. 
  11. Promenade Shops in Saucon Valley -- One of our favorite things to do is to stop in for storytime at Barnes & Noble.  The kids usually do a small coloring or craft project afterwards.  Instead of going to the cafe at the bookstore, we head over to Fresh Market where Emily gets a free cookie at the bakery section, and I get a free sample of coffee!
Do you have a frugal indoor activity that I forgot to mention?  Leave a comment and tell us about it!

Frugal Gift Idea -- Jar Mix Recipes

Looking for some easy, inexpensive homemade gifts for the holidays this year?  Try jar gift mixes!  Purchase some inexpensive 1 or 2 quart mason jars to get started.  Get the kids involved and you have a great frugal holiday activity the entire family can enjoy.  Here are some great resources to help you add a homemade touch to your holiday gift list.  
  1. Soup Mix in Jar Recipes:  Recipes include Minestrone Soup Mix, Vegetarian Black Bean Chili Mix, and more!
  2. Cookie Mix in a Jar Recipes:  I plan to try the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookie Mix... yum!
  3. Quick Muffin Mix in a Jar Recipe:  Includes instructions to make blueberry muffins.
  4. Brownies in a Jar:  Makes a full 9" x 13" pan.  Delicious and easy to make!
  5. Spiced Tea Mix in a Jar:  Well-received by the tea-lover on your list.
  6. Lighted Potpourri Holiday Jars:  These are decorative and easy to make.
Be sure to decorate your jar and include a gift tag with instructions to make the recipe.  Know a good jar mix recipe that I did not add?  Leave a comment and tell us about it!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Saving Money on Thanksgiving

Since the cost of food as risen, Thanksgiving dinner could cost you 6% more this year than previous years.  Here are some of my favorite ways to save money on Thanksgiving, while having a festive dinner the entire family will enjoy.

  1. Kid Art -- Try not to spend money on decorations for your holiday table.  Instead, get the kids busy with some easy craft projects to help decorate.  This year, we are having Emily stamp a solid tablecloth with leaf stamps using fabric paint and fabric markers.  Kids can also make centerpieces, and place cards.  They can even make Thanksgiving Wreaths.  Get creative!
  2. Planning  -- This is probably the most important aspect of having a Thanksgiving on a budget.  As with most of the frugal life, planning is crucial to getting the best deals at the best possible time.  Plan your side dish menu around items that are on sale and that can be combined with a coupon for maximum savings. can be a great resource for planning your Thanksgiving menu.
  3. Potluck -- Consider hosting a potluck Thanksgiving dinner this year.  Ask your guests to bring a side dish, bottle of wine, or dessert to share.  This helps foster a sense of community, and helps lighten the load for the host.
  4. Frugal Recipes -- For more money saving tips and great Thanksgiving recipes, visit  She includes recipes for Orange Ginger Cranberry Sauce, Pumpkin Dinner Rolls, and more!
  5. Buy What You Need -- Try not to go overboard buying too much food.  If you need help with this, see Estimating Food Quantities for a Party.
  6. Volunteer -- Your entire family can help out at a food kitchen.  Not only will your Thanksgiving dinner be free, but you will also cultivate a better sense of what Thanksgiving is all about.
Have a good Thanksgiving money-saving tip to share?  Leave a comment!

Frugal Friday Challenge

Today's Frugal Friday Challenge is to stay home and have a family game night!  Pick out a board game, and afterwards make a dessert together.   We are planning a cherry-themed family fun night. We will play Hi-Ho-Cherry-O with Emily (4), and afterwards we will be making cherry mountain pies.

To make cherry mountain pies, you will need 1 can cherry pie filling, white bread, and a pie iron. Start a fire in the fireplace, and when the fire is good and hot, start loading up the pie iron. You basically make a cherry pie filling sandwich with the white bread, close up the pie iron, and stick the whole thing in the fire. Cook to desired doneness, and serve warm.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Make Your Own Organic Cleaning Supplies

In honor of Cleaning Day at the Deneen Household, here is a fantastic video demonstrating how to make your own organic cleaning supplies.  I will be trying several of these out today.  Making  your own cleaning supplies is better for the environment (no harsh chemicals), and will save you money!

Cleaning Day

Today is cleaning day in our house.  I am planning to attack the clutter that has taken over the dining room table, but sometimes I lack the motivation to clean and I keep procrastinating.  There is never any end to the cleaning, and I can come up with about a million excuses not to clean.  When the house is not neat, I tend to get grouchy because I cannot find things, or I avoid having company over because the house is too cluttered.  

When I find myself putting off the cleaning, I go to for some inspiration.  Her approach to keeping your house neat and tidy is brilliant.  You start with baby steps.  First, you keep your kitchen sink shining.  Then you work on  your morning routine, and one zone of the house. 

From the site:
Are YOU living in CHAOS?
(Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome)

Do you feel overwhelmed, overextended, and overdrawn?
Hopeless and you don't know where to start?
Don't worry friend, we've been there, too.
I have found FLYLady to be a terrific resource, and I hope you do too!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Alternatives to Buying New Books

Do you have a bunch of old books collecting dust on the shelf?  Want some new books?  Try one of these great swapping sites!  

Many of these sites feature printable postage, so you can mail right from your home -- very convenient AND frugal.  

Here are some terrific alternatives to buying new books:
  1. Your Local Library --  Nothing beats your local public library.  It is free and convenient.  If they do not have what you are looking for, ask a librarian for an inter-library loan.
  2. -- Mail a book, get a book.  No late fees, or hidden charges.  Any book you request is yours to keep, share, or swap.
  3. -- Swap video games, CDs, DVDs, and used books.
  4. -- Trade books, CDs, DVDs, and video games.
  5. -- Sell. Buy. Swap.
  6. -- Swap books for free.
  7. -- Any book or DVD for 4.49 postage.
  8. -- College students can buy or sell used textbooks.
  9. Trade books using a simple point system.
  10. -- Sell old books.  They pay shipping!  They will pay for used books 3 days after receiving them.
See one I missed?  Leave a comment and tell us about it!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Easy, Homemade Holiday Food Gifts

Good Housekeeping is featuring a great article on homemade holiday food gifts that anyone can make. Get the kids involved and make it a family activity. They are fast, frugal, and festive!

Save Money on Airfare and Travel

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the year, and it is rapidly approaching.  Traveling does not have to be a huge expense with these money saving tips. You can enjoy a relaxing vacation, even while on a budget. 

Here are some great ways to travel without breaking the bank.
  1. When to Book -- The best time to book your airfare is Wednesday from midnight to 1a.m. in the time zone of the airline's headquarters. For example, United is headquartered in Chicago, and Delta is headquartered in Atlanta. This happens to be the time when the computer systems of most airlines purge the records of the reserved but unbooked lower fare reservations. Take advantage of these low rates immediately after this occurs and you will save big bucks.
  2. When to Travel -- Traveling during the off-peak season can have many perks. Not only do off-peak seasons offer considerably cheaper hotel stays, they also offer fewer crowds, less traffic, and shorter lines.
  3. Coupons -- Consider purchasing an Entertainment coupon book for the city you will be visiting. These books are usually around $25, and can save you a considerable ammount of money on hotels, car rentals, restaurants, shopping and more. The Entertainment Book is also a great resource for ideas of things to do, and places to go.
  4. Vacation with Friends -- One of the most memorable vacation experiences can be those shared with other family or friends. Split the bill for a large beach house, or a cabin in the woods. If there is a kitchen available, and you cook your own food, you will save even more money.
  5. Food & Dining -- Again, the Entertainment Book can be a great resource for dining or eating out. All-you-can-eat buffets usually offer great deals. Also, filling up with a big brunch, skipping lunch, and going someplace nice for an early dinner can save you money while traveling. Find out if any restaurants near your destination offer an early-bird dinner special.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Frugal Gift Idea -- Learn to Knit

My MOMS Club recently got together at a local cafe for a knitting class, and we had tons of fun.  The kids played and watched some television while we learned how to knit.  It actually got me thinking about homemade Christmas gifts.  

A great way to save money on gifts this year is to make some yourself.  Here is a video tutorial to teach you how to knit.  (It's easy!)  Not only will you learn a new skill, but you will also be able to make gifts such as: scarves, dish clothes, place mats, etc.

Happy knitting! 

Make Your Own: Peppermint Hot Cocoa Mix

The weather is getting colder, and it feels like one of those days to snuggle in and make a nice warm cup of hot chocolate.  The kids can help make the mix, and the entire family can enjoy this sweet treat -- without breaking the budget.  Here is one of my favorite recipes for inexpensive hot chocolate mix:

Peppermint Hot Cocoa Mix

20 Crushed Peppermint Candies
1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
1 1/2 Cups Powdered Coffee Creamer
1 Cup + 2 Tbsp. Powdered Baking Cocoa

Store in air-tight container.  To mix, add 3 heaping tablespoons of mix to 1 cup of hot water.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Get Ready to Read Skill-Building Activity Cards

Get your FREE set of skill-building activity cards here.  These are filled with great ideas to bring literacy skills into your home and daily routine.  They are free and easy to print out, and all 36 activity cards are available in Spanish or English.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Kids not doing their chores? Try Handipoints!

Are you having a tough time motivating your child to do chores?  Looking for a way to organize weekly allowances, or rewards for your child's hard work?  If so, try Handipoints.  From the site:

Handipoints is a free service to help parents and kids manage their chores and allowance. Easily create your own printable Chore Charts for all your child’s tasks. Set fun goals to motivate your kids. Shop for all kinds of rewards or create your own. Handipoints puts you in control.
I think this is a great resource for older kids, but for now my four year old is happy doing her chores "because I said so" and I am not about to mess with that!  How about you?  Have trouble getting the kids to do their fair share around the house?

Free Online Learning Games for Kids

If you are looking for ways to keep your child busy this winter, why not try some online learning games?  My daughter Emily (4) is a trained professional high-tech toddler.  Here are some of her favorite sites that offer free online learning games that your child is sure to enjoy.  
  1. PBS --  This is Emily's all-time favorite site.  Games feature Clifford, Sesame Street, Teletubbies, Curious George, and more.
  2. BBC CBeebies --  Similar to PBS Kids, but with different games.
  3. Discovery Kids --  Teach your child about animals, history, and science.
  4. Ready Set Learn --  This is worthy of bookmarking.  The penguin is really cute!
  5. Nick Jr. --  If you have a Dora the Explorer, Blues Clues, or Ni Hao Kai-Lan fan, this is the site to check out.
  6. myNoggin --  Although this is not free, they do have a free 7 day trial period that is worth considering.
  7. FisherPrice Online Games --  Games for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.
  8. --  Lots of free online educational games for kids grades K-middle school.
  9. Kaboose FunSchool --  Fun games including "Michael, Michael, Go Recycle".  
  10. National Geographic Kids -- Has videos, games, activities, and stories.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Frugal Friday Challenge

Today's Frugal Friday Challenge is to find free or cheap entertainment for the weekend.  You can start by looking in your local newspaper or Craigslist for ideas.  Perhaps try a second run movie theater, go roller skating, or bowling.  You might have a community center that offers free movies or an open gym.  A huge component to living the frugal lifestyle is being aware of your local resources, so do some research!  Then come back and tell us what you did.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cutting Expenses

During an economic downturn it is important to go through the family budget line-by-line to determine if there are ways to cut back on spending.  Here are some of the ways our family cut expenses and saved hundreds of dollars each month:

  1. Cut the Cable -- Mark installed an antennae and now we get our T.V. for free.  For movies, we borrow DVDs from the library.  If there is a show we do not get over the air, we watch it on Savings: $40/month or $480/year
  2. Adjust the Cell Phone Plan --  My cell phone contract had expired, so instead of renewing it, I switched to a TracFone for a pay-as-you-go plan.  I get the convenience of a cell phone when I am away from home, or for an emergency, but without the high bills.  Savings: $60/month or $720/year
  3. Drive Less --  Now we group errands together to improve our gas mileage, and have less frequent trips to the store.  Savings: $100/month or $1200/year
  4. Slash the Grocery Bill --  I started clipping coupons, and matching coupons to sale ads to maximize our savings.  Savings: $300/month or $3600/year
  5. Adjust Insurance Deductible --  Keep in mind car and home insurance is to cover financial disaster only.  It is not to cover "inconvenience" bills or small repairs.  We increased the deductible on our home and car insurance.  Savings: $50/year
  6. Save Electricity --  We adjust a programmable thermostat to 65 degrees in the winter to reduce our electric heating bill.  Also, we replaced all light bulbs with CFLs and line-dry clothes instead of running the clothes dryer.  Savings: $50/month or $600/year
  7. No More Paper Towels or Paper Napkins --  We replaced these with reusable cloth kitchen towels and cloth napkins instead.  Savings: $10/month or $120/year
Total Savings = $564/month or $6,670/year!!

Cooking with Clara

Here is the sweetest little old lady demonstrating meals made during the Depression.  I find it hard to believe she is 91 years old.  Watch how she dices those potatoes!  You will love her!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Free Photo Book

In case you missed Oprah today, Snapfish is giving away a free 8 x 11 custom cover photo book to help viewers organize their kids' craft projects.  Click here for more information.

From the show:
Overwhelmed by what to do with growing piles of your child's art projects? Peter has a great solution! "Take digital photos of their artwork, upload them to, and they will send you back a beautiful, bound book of the kids' artwork. So, over time, you can build a library of your children's artwork—let the pieces go, but keep them in this form forever."
Get your free book here.  Hurry, this offer is only good until Friday at 11:59pm PST! 

Free Family Activities

Finding free family activities for this time of year can be challenging.  Here are some ideas to keep your family busy, and avoid hearing the dreaded "I'm bored" whine.  Keep these ideas on hand and you won't be tempted to spend money on activities.  

  1. Free Movies --  Your local library may have DVDs to borrow, or you can rent movies from RedBox for free on Mondays.  Click here for more information.
  2. Museums -- Many museums offer a free day either every week, or once a month.  Contact some of your local museums for more information.
  3. Free Class at Gymboree --  Sign up for a free class at Gymboree and your little one can enjoy lots of great indoor playtime.
  4. Free Story Time at Barnes & Noble --  Foster a love of reading and take your child to story time at Barnes & Noble.
  5. Free Craft Workshops at A.C.Moore or Michael's --  Your local  A.C.Moore or Michael's may have free workshops for kids to create craft projects.
  6. Free Workshops at Home Depot or Lowe's --  Your local Home Depot or Lowe's offers free kids workshops.  Kids get an apron, certificate of achievement, and make a small wooden project.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Holiday Giveaway

4 Hats and Frugal is having a holiday giveaway and one lucky person will win a Little Touch Leap Pad.  Click here to learn more.

Frugal Ways to Introduce Your Child to a Foreign Language

One of the most effective ways to enhance your child's brain development is by introducing a foreign language.  The younger your child is, the easier it will be to learn a foreign language.  Even if your child cannot speak in a foreign language just yet, simply exposing him or her to the sounds of a different language will make it easier for your child to speak without a foreign acccent.  Private lessons can be expensive, so here are some free or low-cost ideas to introduce your child to the world of languages.

  1. Books, CDs or DVDs -- Your local library can be a great resource for learning a foreign language at any age, and may even have material geared specifically for children.  Talk to your librarian about books, audio CDs or DVDs you can borrow for free.
  2. Try Muzzy -- Muzzy is produced by the BBC and is an award-winning course for children.  It is available in several languages including Spanish, French, Chinese, German and more!  You can sign up here to try Muzzy in your home for free for 30 days.
  3. BBC Languages -- Another terrific resource, BBC Languages is available online for free.  It includes useful phrases, quizzes, videos, and audio files.   
  4. Television -- If you have cable, browse your line up to see if any foreign language channels are included.  These may feature children's programming such as Plaza Sesamo (The Spanish version of Sesame Street.)  Set your VCR or DVR to record these programs so your child can watch them whenever your busy schedule will allow.
  5. Free Online Courses -- provides a list of free online language courses for several different languages.
  6. Book Sales at Libraries or Churches -- Here you may find inexpensive language workbooks, audio CDs, textbooks, or movies.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Free and Low-Cost Blog Templates

Looking for some great templates for your blog?  Visit Split Decisionz for some fabulous budget-friendly templates (some are even free).  Give your blog a face-lift!

My Favorite Finds -- Top 5

Don't have the time to find the best online frugal resources?  No problem, here are a few of my favorite frugal internet finds filled with tips to save you money and time.  

  1. No Time for Flashcards:  If you have a preschooler at home, this is one of the best resources for keeping your child busy without spending a lot of money.  Your child will learn and create some great projects.  
  2. Money Saving Mom:  This blog has some of the best tips for saving time and money by sharing incredible deals at Walgreens, CVS, Wal-mart, and more.  
  3. Frugal Mom Living:  Subscribe to this yahoo group and you will learn so much about frugal living.  This was one of the first steps towards saving our family hundreds of dollars a month!
  4. Budget 101:  Find valuable information for frugal entertaining, crafts, coupons, and other money matters.
  5. Frugal Living:  Erin shares great money saving tips on this site.  Ideas for bargain shopping, Do-It-Yourself projects, and cutting down on holiday spending can be found here.
Have any good favorites to share? 

Friday, November 7, 2008

Frugal Family Activities -- Winter

Are your kids starting to suffer from cabin fever?  Are you looking for some inexpensive ways to keep the kids occupied this winter?  Here are some great ideas you and the kids are sure to love!

Snow Painting -- Go outside and let the kids build snow sculptures.  Then paint them with spray bottles filled with water and a little food

Indoor Ice Skating --  Make boots for each child with sheets of wax paper and use rubber bands around the ankles.  Play waltz music on the stereo, and let your child "skate" on the carpet.  Careful, it is slippery, but also a lot of fun!

Make a Bird Feeder -- Have your child spread peanut butter all over a pine cone and cover it with bird seed.  Hang to a tree branch with
ribbon or string.

Make a Rain Stick from Recyclables -- This is a great way to use those
left over cardboard rolls from wrapping paper.  Use corn, pistachio shells, sesame seeds, or rice to fill.  Poke holes in the tube and insert nails or toothpicks to make a neat sound.  Have lot of fun decorating/painting it.

Cinnamon Holiday Ornaments --  Here is a great recipe for these.
You and your child can make them and deliver to a senior living facility.

Ball Pit --  With an inflatable pool, fill with ball pit balls... Tons of fun!

Indoor "Sand" Box --  Fill a large box or Rubbermaid bin... or inflatable pool, with oatmeal, or rice.  Supply lots of funnels, shovels, and cups for the kids to play with.

Bring a Slide Indoors --  If you have a plastic slide that is usually outdoors, clean it off and bring it inside for a day or two.  This is a huge hit!

Paint a Mural --  With rolls of craft paper, you can have lots of fun painting huge murals.  Use a basement or garage if you can.  This is messy, but it is a lot of fun.

Paper Snowflakes -- A winter classic.  Hang them from the ceiling, or decorate them with silver glitter.

Sledding/Tubing --  Bundle the kids up and take them sledding/tubing at the park.  Afterwards warm up with a cup of hot chocolate.

Ice Candles -- Place an empty tin can in the center of a bucket of water. Place the bucket outside and allow it to freeze completely.
Once it is frozen, carefully remove the ice from the bucket and tin can.  Insert a candle where the can was, and you have an ice candle!

Bake Bread --  A great way to kill time and get the kids involved in the kitchen.  Having the oven on and help heat up the house too.

Make Wrapping Paper -- Another great thing to do with a roll of craft paper.  Use red and green ink pads and holiday stamps to decorate sheets of the paper and use as wrapping paper for the holidays.

Build a Fort --  Blankets, chairs, and couch cushions can all be use to build a great indoor fort.

Indoor Beach Party --  Play tropical music on the stereo, wear grass skirts, and teach your kids how to hula!

Paint a Winter Scene --  Mix the white paint with salt for a neat snowy effect.

Visit an Indoor Pool --  Swim in Zone or the Rodale Aquatic Center are
some of the area favorites.

Winter Movie Marathon -- Happy Feet, Polar Express, Elf, etc. Make a big bowl of popcorn to share and snuggle in for the day.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Advanced Coupon Strategies

Are you looking for ways to save even more money at the grocery store? Have you used coupons in the past? Would you like to learn how to maximize your savings? Learn how to save tons of money using these advanced coupon strategies.

Sunday Paper -- One of the best ways to accumulate a nice stash of coupons is to purchase more than one copy of the Sunday paper. When an item that has a long shelf life goes on sale and you have more than one coupon for it, stock up. This way you are buying groceries at the best possible price.

Size Matters -- When you come across a coupon that does not specify the size of the product, always purchase the smallest possible size to maximize your savings and pay the least out of pocket. Try going to the trial size section of the store and matching coupons there to get some great products for free!

Match the Sales Flyer -- Do not use your coupons too soon. Most stores place the items on sale about 4-5 weeks after the coupon has been published in the Sunday paper. Match the sales flyer with a coupon and you can save big.

Buy one Get one Free -- These are some of my favorite ways to use coupons. Find out the exact B1G1 policy for your local grocery store. For some stores you must purchase one item to get one free, and others have the item at 50% off. If you must purchase one to get one free, you can use 2 coupons. Matching coupons for B1G1 free items means you are saving more than 50%!

Internet Coupons -- Check with your local grocery store. Most stores now accept internet coupons and these can be great ways to save a ton of money. As an added bonus, you can print more than one copy. If you do not want to print coupons out on your home printer, some stores such as Target will let you print store coupons from the gift registry kiosk. Visit for more information.

eCoupons -- If you do not have the time to clip coupons, or you sometimes forget to bring coupons with you to the store, consider using eCoupons. Many grocery stores now accept these, but check with your local store to find out the exact policy. These can be as simple as linking a coupon to your store club card to automatically save you money, or you can download coupon codes to your cell phone. Visit for more information on eCoupons.

uPromise -- If you would like to add to your child's college education fund, consider signing up for a free account at uPromise. By linking with your credit card or store club card, merchants will automatically credit your child's college savings account for purchases made in store or from the uPromise website-- and the savings add up quickly! You can ask grandparents, aunts and uncles to contribute as well.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Hello, my name is Valerie and I am the author of Frugal Family Fun Blog. This is where I blog daily about my obsessions with inexpensive craft and activity ideas, money saving tips, and all around good times on a budget! I love sewing, digital photography, organic tea, dark chocolate, gardening, clipping coupons, bourbon, knitting, graphic design, and cooking. I am a graduate of Bucknell University, a former senior software engineer, and now a stay-at-home mom. Oprah is not kidding when she says this is the hardest job on Earth.

My husband, Mark, frequently impresses readers with his witty comments on my posts. Our two girls - Clara (1 year) and Emily (6) years, have taught us that the most cherished moments in childhood can come from the most simplest of pleasures. Playing in an empty cardboard box, painting the sidewalk, or blowing bubbles on a beautiful summer day can provide hours of creative entertainment. If you are a parent, grandparent, or caregiver for a young child, no doubt you have had a glimpse of this magical world. You will find many activities on this blog that will help you to nurture your child’s creativity without breaking your family’s budget, since many activities featured here are either very low-cost or absolutely free.

My greatest hope for this blog is that you will discover the joy that comes from simple pleasures, that creative energy will be experienced throughout your entire family, and that this optimism will continue to grow and spread to others your family comes into contact with for years to come.

If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to our feed or become a follower, thanks!

You can reach me by leaving a comment here, or drop me a line at valerie(at)frugalfamilyfunblog(dot)com! :-) I would love to hear from you!

About Emily

Emily (age 6) enjoys painting, gardening, drawing, writing, sewing, and has an endless obsession with China. She will never eat potatoes or corn, but prefers broccoli and olives instead. Since age 2, she has had her own computer, and by age 3 was successfully able to troubleshoot our at-home network. Do not be fooled by her cuteness, as she aspires to take over the world and rule with an iron fist.

About Clara

Clara (age 2) was only a few months old when Frugal Family Fun Blog launched. Now she is eager to keep up with her older sister and join in the crafts and activities as much as possible.
She likes curling up on the couch with a good book, and prefers "fist bumps" to giving high fives, since those were soooooo yesterday.

About Mark

If you are a frequent reader of this blog, no doubt you have met Mark through his witty and charming comments. In college, I shamelessly seduced him and then later tricked him into marrying me. Clearly, I got the better half of the deal. He works as a senior software engineer, and enjoys tinkering with computers, craft-brewed beer, jalepeno poppers, car maintenance, ice cold Wild Cherry Pepsi, and cooking on the grill. You can drop him a line at mark (at) frugalfamilyfunblog (dot) com

Related Posts with Thumbnails