Friday, April 30, 2010

Cheap Thrills -- Inspired by Dandelions

For a fun time, have your kids collect dandelion seeds from the yard or park. This may sound easy in theory, but if your kids are like mine, they may get a bit distracted on their quest for seeds.

No, no, we're not blowing the seeds all over the ya--- Oops! Too late!!

That? That's an acorn cap, sweetie. No, no, we're looking for dandelion seeds... Keep looking!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Giveaway -- Laura Numeroff's New Book

I'm so excited about this fun giveaway from Laura Numeroff, author of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, who has partnered with Sleepy's and First Book to provide a free reading event for those who are lucky enough to live in the King of Prussia area! But you don't have to live near King of Prussia to be part of the excitement because one very lucky reader will win a copy of Laura Numeroff's new book, The Jellybeans and the Big Book Bonanza!! Laura is one of our family's favorite authors, so I am especially thrilled to be hosting this giveaway. In exchange for hosting the giveaway, our family will be given a copy of Laura's new book as well, and I cannot wait for it to arrive!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Repurposing Toys -- Peter and the Wolf Play Set

Last weekend, our family went to see Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf" (Thank you, Aunt Julia!) We all really enjoyed the ballet and music! So much so that Emily wanted a play set so she could re-enact the story. I thought that was a fabulous idea, so I sent her on a scavenger hunt to find toys she already had around the house to use for her play set! This kept her busy for a long time, but she was able to find everything she needed.

Without having to buy anything, she found two men dolls (one for Peter, and we added a white beard and cane to the other one to make him into the Grandfather), a small duck, a cat, a gate, a wolf, and even some hunters!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mother's Day Gifts Kids Can Make -- 2 Ideas for Laminate Samples

Here's another fun post for our series of Inexpensive Mother's Day Gifts Kids Can Make (using items found at the hardware store)!!

Mark doesn't know it yet, but I'm secretly plotting to have our kitchen countertops re-done. I picked up some samples, and a few price quotes the last time I was at the hardware store. These pretty bookmarks were made from leftover laminate samples, which makes them very sturdy. Added bonus -- they were so easy to make!

If you don't have laminate samples at home, they are available for free at any hardware store. I used old kitchen scissors to trim the sides of the sample, and I was surprised how easy it was to cut through the laminate!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Giveaway -- 100 Custom Brochures from

It's time for another fun giveaway from our very generous sponsor! offers complete printing solutions for brochures, business cards, post cards, labels and more!

One (1) very lucky reader will win:

100 Custom Brochures
Dimension: 8.5 x 11
Folding: Folding Choices: Half fold; Tri-fold/Letter fold; Z-fold; Accordion (4 panels) Roll Fold (4 Panels)
Printing: 4 color printing on both sides
Paper: 100 lb gloss text paper
Free UPS Ground Shipping

Giveaway is open to US residents, and must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

What a great way to promote your business, design custom flyers, or spread the word about your community organization!

To enter for your chance to win, leave a comment on this post and be sure to leave your email address in the comments field! Tweet/Facebook/Blog about this giveaway, and you're in for three more entries! Just be sure to come back and leave a comment that you tweeted/Facebooked/blogged about it.

Giveaway ends Wednesday, April 28th @ 6:30pm EST and winner will be chosen by

Giveaway is now closed! The winner is The Roberts' Report! Congratulations!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Crafting with Recyclables - Design a Robot Kit

In honor of Earth Day, I thought we would do another fun craft with recyclables -- a kit to design your own robot! Of course, we craft with recyclables year round, since it's better for the environment, plus I consider them to be free art supplies. Emily has been on a robot kick lately, as seen here, so this craft was a big hit at our house!

To make the robot, I used an empty potato chip bag, washed it thoroughly and allowed it to dry completely. Then, I turned the bag inside out, and cut several shapes for the front and back of the head, body, arms, and legs. I ran each piece through my sewing machine with a zig-zag stitch around the outline, and trimmed them with pinking shears.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

And the winner is...

Just a quick post to announce the winner of the Plasma Car and Toddler Bike Helmet Giveaway courtesy of is Christy from Superheroes and Princesses!! Christy is a regular commenter here on FFFB, and I was thrilled to see that chose her number! Congratulations, Christy!

Thank you to everyone for entering this fun giveaway!! Be sure to check back -- another great giveaway starts soon!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mother's Day Gifts Kids Can Make -- Recipe Journal

While Clara was napping, Emily and I made this very special recipe journal for Grandma. Emily thought this would be a particularly useful gift, and I had to agree! Added bonus -- We recycled some beautiful paper that was FREE!!

Not many people seem to know about this, but if you're looking for some gorgeous good-quality paper a great source is your local paint store. I went to our local Sherwin-Williams and asked if they had any wallpaper sample books that were discontinued. Many times they are more than happy to pass them along to someone who could use them instead of having them sent to a landfill. I got three HUGE books!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mother's Day Gifts Kids Can Make -- Ceramic Trivets

Another post in our fun series of Mother's Day Gifts Kids Can Make -- if you haven't already done so, send your husband over here, and maybe he'll take a hint. (wink, wink!) Most of these projects will feature very inexpensive items you can find at any hardware store, so manly men don't need to make another trip to the craft store.

The girls made these beautiful hand painted ceramic trivets this afternoon, and I thought they would make wonderful Mother's Day gifts! They were super-inexpensive, easy, and FUN to make!!

We used imprinted ceramic tiles from the hardware store ($2.64 each), and I let the girls have a go at painting them with acrylic paint. They had so much fun!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday Snapshot -- Look Who's into Sidewalk Chalk!

Wishing you a fun and frugal weekend!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Giveaway -- Plasma Car and Bike Helmet from CSN Stores

It's time for another super-FUN giveaway, this time from our generous sponsor CSN Stores! CSN Stores is made up of over 200 online shops, where you can find products ranging from toys and games, to patio furniture, to baby cribs. Their customer service is well-known for going above and beyond the call of duty.

For the giveaway, one very lucky reader will win a fantastic Spring/Summer prize package, courtesy of

1. A PlaSmart Plasma Car in Yellow -- A few of Emily's friends have these, and they are always a blast!! What a fun way to spend the Spring/Summer! I LOVE the bright yellow color on this one, and these cars are built to last!

2. A Cycle Force Group Toddler Bicycle Helmet in Light Blue -- Keep the kids safe on their new Plasma Car with this snazzy bike helmet to go along with it!

The total prize package is worth $85.87!! Woo hoo!!!

To enter for your chance to win, leave a comment on this post and be sure to leave your email address in the comments field.

For extra entries:
Follow Frugal Family Fun Blog on Twitter, or subscribe to our feed and you're in for three more entries! Add another comment that you follow/subscribe.

Blog/tweet/Facebook about this giveaway and you're in for three more entries!! Add a comment that you blogged/tweeted/Facebooked.

Giveaway ends Wednesday, April 21st @ 6pm EST. Winner will be chosen by and notified via email.

Good luck!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Mother's Day Gifts Kids Can Make -- Hand Painted Pendants

I thought it would be fun to do a little series on frugal Mother's Day gifts kids can make, so all you Dads out there... pay attention! (hint, hint)

We enjoyed some warm sunshine this afternoon along with some messy art to make these BEAUTIFUL hand-painted pendants!

You can find large washers like these at any hardware store, and they are super-inexpensive (about $0.20 each)! The girls painted theirs using make-up sponges and acrylic paint. Allow to dry, and then coat them with some clear nail polish.
Attach some matching satin ribbon, and you have a very unique gift for Mother's Day! The paint on Clara's was still a little wet when she flipped it over to paint the other side. I LOVE how it turned out!! It looks almost like flames!

Added Bonus -- Getting to see these adorable barefoot toes while she was busy crafting in her monkey pajamas!

Have fun!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

LIVE and in HD... It's FFFB!

I was interviewed for two segments LIVE this morning on 69 News at Sunrise to share some of my ideas for family fun on rainy days!

In case you missed today's show, here are the clips:

Next, Eve Tannery and I had LOTS of fun gettin' crafty!

Special thanks to Eve and the crew over at 69 News WFMZ for such a FUN morning!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Easy Hyacinth Paintings

The hyacinths are in full bloom at our house, and to celebrate, the girls made these fun paintings using a cork as a stamp!

I drew the stem and leaves, and the girls dipped the cork in some pink paint and stamped away!

This project combined two of their favorite activities -- painting and stamping!

Here's how Emily's turned out.

I can appreciate the "artistic license" Clara used to stamp hers.

Lots of fun!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Shop Update! Butterfly Play Set

Once upon a time, there was a little caterpillar who liked to eat lots of leaves.

When he was full, he spun a cocoon, and went inside.

He was in there for a long time!

Then, the cocoon started to move, and...... out came a beautiful butterfly!!

Emily had so much fun playing with this felt butterfly play set! If you would like one of your own, there is another set available for sale at our Etsy shop. [That was quick! Thank you, Marie!!] The proceeds from the sale go towards fundraising for the Walk Now for Autism Speaks event going on this weekend. While no one in our family is on the autism spectrum, Emily has several friends who are.

Included in the set are a butterfly, caterpillar, and a cocoon to store them in -- all made from felt and lovingly hand stitched by yours truly.

If you wish to make a donation toward the Walk Now for Autism Speaks event, please visit our team fundraising page. Thank you!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Fun Fossil Dig

Mark and I took the girls to a local park for a fun "fossil" dig! Since there are no beaches near us, we settled for the park's outdoor sand volleyball court. The girls love to dig in the sand!

Our "fossils" were made up of small toys (i.e. Happy Meal toys, game pieces, toys from the dentist, or from party goodie bags). We counted them to make sure we knew how many there were, then Mark and I buried them (partially exposed) for the girls to find. Clara was so excited to find her own treasures!

Emily used our old salad shaker to sift through the sand. That salad shaker was from when Mark and I started dating, and we would joke that we weren't quite ready for the "salad spinner" stage of our relationship.

There were LOTS of fossils to find!

When all the fossils were found, we all took a nice long walk through the park. What a wonderful (and frugal) way to spend the afternoon!

So much fun!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

12 Ways to Boost Happiness (for FREE!)

In need of a little pick-me-up? To help prove the old adage that the best things in life are free, here are a dozen quick and easy happiness boosters that our family has enjoyed -- and they won't cost a penny!

From Left to Right:
1. Make a card for someone you love using paint chips. Doing nice things for other people is a great way to boost your mood.
2. Play with bubble wrap. Bubble wrap is so much fun, and so hard to put down!
3. Volunteer. It doesn't cost a thing, and you'll feel better knowing you are serving your community.

From Left to Right:
4. Make story stones and sidewalk scenes. Not only is this free, but it's a fun imagination builder too!
5. Play a game of invisible basketball. Even those who aren't athletic can join in this sport.
6. Build a fun reading nook. Never underestimate the power of the indoor fort!

From Left to Right:
7. Create a family drawing night. Fun for the whole family!
8. Have a fun time with indoor ice skating. The kids can burn off some of that extra energy (and you can too). Be careful, it is slippery, but LOTS of fun!!
9. Start a tea ritual. A great way to unwind and focus on daily gratitude.

From Left to Right:
10. Jump on the bed. I highly recommend jumping on the bed for a quick mood lifter!
11. Visit with family and friends. Chat and get caught up with the people you love.
12. Go for a nature hike. Spend some quality time outdoors, and breathe in the fresh air.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cheap Thrills -- Mud Pie Edition

For a fun time, go outside and set up some sand or dirt on a table with some old baking tins. Add a pitcher of water, and some spoons. Make mud pies!!

I can remember spending entire afternoons making mud pies when I was a kid. I think mine were decorated with sticks for birthday candles. There's something about kids and dirt... they just go so well together, don't they?

Decorate your mud pies (or cupcakes, if you prefer) with flower icing!

Make batch after batch of mud pies, since they sell out so quickly at the mud bakery from such high demand! Phew! This is hard work!

Have fun!!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easy Kid-Made Stamp Wheels

Emily was so happy to make her own stamp wheel so she could create this fun rainy day picture! The stamp wheels were easy to make and made good use of recyclables.

We used some foam stickers we had on-hand, in this case, clouds and raindrops. Emily started by sticking the cloud stickers around an empty packaging tape tube. We try to find ways to recycle just about anything in our household!

Next, she used an ink pad on the stickers.

Then it was time to rock 'n ROLL -- all along the top edge of the paper! FUN!!

Repeat the process with the raindrop stickers to make another stamp wheel, and roll the raindrop stamps all over the paper. This rolling stamp thing -- it just never gets old!

Don't forget to sign your beautiful artwork!

Have fun!!

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Monday, April 5, 2010

Blossoming Cherry Tree

With just a bit of help from her big sister Emily, Clara was able to enjoy some crafting fun with this blossoming cherry tree craft! To make your own, you will need brown, white, and green paper (we recycled some leftover scrap paper), pink tissue paper (again, recycled from a gift bag), and some glue.

I cut a tree trunk shape from the brown paper, and helped Emily tear a strip of green paper for the grass. Then, Emily began by gluing the grass and tree trunk to the white background paper. Clara was very excited to see the glue!

Next, Emily took her job as "big sister" quite seriously, and put little dots of glue where the blossoms will go.

She showed Clara how to attach the blossoms (scrunched up bits of pink tissue paper). Clara said, "Oh! Wow!!".... and then.....

... Clara added LOTS of blossoms to the cherry tree! It was a cherry blossom explosion!

Allow the glue to dry completely and admire your beautiful cherry tree!

Added bonus -- This is one cherry tree that won't make me sneeze!
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