Saturday, December 27, 2014

Lower cost napkins for the kids

I have a 5, 3, and 1 year old.  My kids are notorious for making a mess of their faces and hands at every meal.  I don't have an exact count on how many paper napkins we'd go through but it would be a lot and I'd be buying them frequently.  Therefore, to not only save some money but also some trees, I purchased some kids' washcloths to use instead.  

You can pick them up at Target or TJMaxx, Ross, or Marshalls for fairly inexpensive (even better if you can find some with the red markdown sticker, because honestly, who cares if they are hot green or mud brown if you are going to wipe a dirty face with them?)  I can get them wet if I need to and add a little soap (Can paper napkins or paper towels do this WITHOUT falling apart or living paper traces?) or the kids can use them dry.  I throw them in with my towel laundry so its not like I have to do extra special loads to keep them clean.  I save the environment and my money :)  

See what I mean?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Craft Supplies on the Cheap

My kids like to do crafts.  I don't like to spend a ton of money on craft supplies though.  I've begun over the years (like before my oldest was born), to collect craft supplies when I find them super cheap somewhere (free, on clearance, given to me from a friend, recycled from other things I purchased, etc.).

Now, I don't go crazy and I'm not a pack rat by any stretch of the imagination.  I have one stacking bin with pull out drawers to fill.  I fill it with little things: paper, markers, crayons, stamps, pads, pipe cleaners, buttons, etc.  Whenever I happen to be somewhere and there's a really good deal on something, I pick them up and put them in the bin.

All the little things I picked up over the years are kept in that bin and now my kids help themselves to craft supplies and paper to make their masterpieces.  I encourage them to use their imaginations with what I have on hand instead of making trips to the craft store for specific things.


Sunday, May 4, 2014

Kitchen Creativity

We are getting ready to move out of state.  That means I need to start paring down my pantry and finish up all the stuff in my freezer.  I am finding that in order to clean them out and use everything in there I'm having to be very creative in the kitchen when it comes to meals.   This means that I'm also saving money but not being wasteful (i.e. trying to use absolutely everything up) and not going grocery shopping.

I got to thinking that this is not only a good tactic for when one is getting ready to move but living solely on what you have in your freezer, fridge and pantry can be a good exercise to save some money in any given month.  Inevitably, you stock up on stuff that's on sale some weeks so there's always something lying around that you can whip up in a creative dish.

Heck, you could make it a challenge and see what any given family member can come up with with only the ingredients on hand!  Whoever has the best sounding dish, gets their dish prepared for dinner that night…Better yet, make the winner prepare said dish!

Moral: Save money.  Be less wasteful.  Have some family fun on a boring Sunday evening.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Dinner Pancakes…My 4 year old loves 'em!

I usually feel like I have to pull teeth to get my 4 year old to eat any vegetables.  But if I make Dinner Pancakes, he just eats them up.  He knows there are vegetables in them, but he loves them anyway!  Here is my working recipe for Dinner Pancakes:

pancake mix (your favorite store bought or homemade)
some vegetables (I've used broccoli, mushrooms, onions, corn, carrots, and zucchini)
olive oil

I start by chopping up the vegetables into small pieces.  Then I sauté them until soft in a pan with some olive oil.  I mix up the pancake mix for however many pancakes I want.  Then I add the cooked veggies to the mix.  Then I just make the pancakes as usual in an olive oil coated pan.  Serve with some sour cream.  That's it!  Be creative and try new combinations.  You may discover one you really love.  I love adding corn to mine since it gives it a bit of a sweet taste.

This is a great way to use some veggies that need to be used in the fridge.  It also takes little time to throw together.  It's also frugal since its meatless.  It's a total win-win; I save money and my four year old eats veggies…

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Our Healthy and Frugal Ice Cream

My kids love ice cream (who doesn't?).  However, its not exactly cheap or completely healthy.  So my kids love to help me make Banana Swirl (which is what my kids call it after they saw it on an episode of Daniel Tiger's neighborhood).  

It starts with some frozen bananas.  Whenever I buy bananas at the store, they always manage to get a bit more ripe than my kids like for eating before we eat them all.  Those bananas that are starting to get lots of brown spots on the peel, I peel and throw in a container in the freezer.  When I want to make some banana swirl, I just pull out the container and throw them in the blender with a few more ingredients.  Below is our favorite recipe for Banana Swirl:

some frozen overripe bananas (as many as you would like)
about a 1/2 cup of milk (can be adjusted for the number of bananas and other ingredients you are using)
a few squirts of chocolate syrup

Add all the ingredients to the blender.  Blend until desired consistency is reached.  I usually end up with a consistency of a Wendy's frosty which is perfect!  Then enjoy!