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Monday, June 30, 2008

Fun Ideas For Kids

Sometimes we get so caught up in the things we have to get done every day and we forget about taking the time to play with our kids and enjoy their childhood. These days will fly by and it won't be long before we look back and think "I wish I had...done more laundry or washed the windows"--I don't think so!! But we might wish we had taken more time to enjoy our kids. Here are a couple of ideas, just in case you have the energy to do a little something extra this week! This is what childhood memories are made of!

  • Fuss-Free Fingerpainting: Put pudding, applesauce, jelly, or chocolate syrup in a gallon ziploc baggie and tape shut. Child can "fingerpaint" on the bag without the mess. Keep in the fridge.
  • Let your kids play with their dessert! Put whip cream or pudding on a plate and let them spread it around and make designs before licking up the fun.
  • Make your own wrapping paper: Buy Christmas wrap after Christmas, flip over and let kids decorate the blank side to use for friend's birthdays.
  • There are lots of websites with free craft ideas, and many of them use materials you may have at home. In a search engine, type in "free children's crafts" or even the type of craft you are looking for. Ask me if you'd like some links.
  • Write a silly story together and draw some pictures to illustrate it.
  • When playing with playdoh, show your child how to make shaped beads. Punch a hole with a straw and let dry, then make into a necklace. Or use cookie cutters to cut out shapes, punch a hole in the top with a straw, let dry, then paint or color with markers to make ornaments.
  • Fill an under the bed tote with different types and colors of pasta or dried beans. Add measuring cups, plastic eggs, etc for hours of fun!
  • Make a scavenger hunt for your kids! It can be involved or really simple, like just make up a list of 5 things for them to find (something green, a toy car, a spoon, etc). Time them while they find the objects and then see if they can put them back even faster!
  • Go old school and build a fort with blankets and chairs!
  • Fill up the kitchen sink with soapy water and invite your child to help you wash their toys.
  • Make a batch of brownies or cookies together to surprise daddy for dessert!
  • Turn on the radio or a favorite CD, dress up in silly outfits and belt out some tunes together!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Dinner Tips

Here are a few ideas to help with dinner prep. It's not my favorite time of day, admittedly, but these can help during that crazy hour! Let me know your tips and ideas, too!

  • All Recipes Ingredient Search When you don't know what to make for dinner! Type in some ingredients you have (and don't have) and up comes a list for you of recipe ideas! I also love this site for when I'm in a rut and need a new recipe idea.
  • Buy hamburger in 3 lb or more packages (it's cheaper this way, too), then divide into 1 lb sections and cook up when you get home. Put it in labeled quart-size freezer bags and freeze for 2-3 months. Saves a lot of time when you have to make dinner!
  • Cover your casserole dishes or cookie sheets with foil before baking (spray with Pam if needed) to reduce clean-up.
  • Make two meals at once and freeze one for later (an extra lasagna, double batch of chili or other soups, meatloaf, etc.)
  • Lots of people swear by their crockpots (fix it and forget it!), though honestly I've never used mine! It's hard for me to think about dinner before 3:30 or 4pm! Therefore, I LOVE meals that can be made in 30 minutes or less!

Friday, June 27, 2008


We're all about stretching our dollar, as I'm sure most of you are too! I've always tried to be thrifty, looking for sales, buying on clearance, using coupons, but I've recently been learning from some friends that I'm not nearly as good at this as I could be! I'm still working on it, and I haven't visited all these websites yet, but I thought I would share with you what they have shared with me to see if it can save you some money, too!

  • Print off coupons at home from websites like,,,, and find out if your grocery store will double coupons

  • Email companies to ask if they have any coupons they can send you. On their website, click on "contact us" and type a short email saying something like "my family likes your product, can you send us some coupons?" They will all say to check the Sunday paper, but most of them will send you additional coupons. I have received coupons from the following companies so far: Quaker, Hunt's, General Mills (they also included coupons for Totinos, Progresso, Old El Paso, Green Giant, Jeno's, and Pillsbury), Malt-O-Meal (print off coupons on their website), Old Orchard, Sunsweet, Frito Lay, Campbell's, Brownberry, Pepperidge Farm, and Dannon. Other suggestions: Sobe, Butter Kernel, Apple & Eve Juice, Farmland. Please pass on if you get coupons from other companies this way!

  • Make the most of free after rebate offers, like at Walgreens. If you don't think you will use the product, consider buying it and donating it to a shelter.

  • Cut out coupons, save them, and keep them in a file in your car, just in case something goes on sale or has a rebate offer, then you can maximize your savings!

  • Check out these websites for money saving ideas and to help you match up your coupons to sales at Walgreens, CVS, and others: Money Saving Mom, Deal Seeking Mom, Freebies 4 Mom, and Coupon Mom.

  • When shopping online, do a search for the store name along with "coupon code".

  • I again have to make a plug for MyPoints. You earn points for printing off coupons from through their site and redeeming them. You also earn points by shopping online (click through the MyPoints site first, then the store site, THEN use a coupon code as above). You also earn points by taking surveys and reading your emails. The points add up fast and you redeem for gift cards. Ask me for a referral!!

If you have other tips and ideas on how you make your shopping dollar stretch, please leave a comment or email me!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Do It Now

I had wanted to post this for Father's Day, but obviously I am a little late...forgive me! Ted is a wonderful man, husband, and father, and I hope he knows how much we appreciate him as we try to tell him often! Here is a poem that I found and wanted to share to encourage us to tell our husbands and fathers more often how much we love them. Our society tends to devalue men's importance, especially as fathers, and most men desperately need to hear our encouragement.

Do It Now
If with pleasure you are viewing any work a man is doing,
If you like him or you love him, tell him now;
Don't withhold your approbation till the parson makes oration
And he lies with snowy lilies on his brow;
No matter how you shout it he won't really care about it;
He won't know how many teardrops you have shed;
If you think some praise is due him now's the time to slip it to him,
For he cannot read his tombstone when he's dead.
More than fame and more than money is the comment kind and sunny
And the hearty, warm approval of a friend.
For it gives to life a savor, and it makes you stronger, braver,
And it gives you heart and spirit to the end;
If he earns your praise-bestow it; if you like him let him know it;
Let the words of true encouragement be said;
Do not wait till life is over and he's underneath the clover;
For he cannot read his tombstone when he's dead.
---By Berton Braley

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Yikes! A month already?!?

Boy, it's been a whole month since I've posted anything. I warned you that I might not be able to keep up with this blogging thing! In my defense, it has been quite a busy month. M is another year older (as am I) and F joined our family! My parents came for an extended visit to help us out (and boy, was it ever a BIG help!), Ted's parents came for a visit, and his sister joined us for the Flag day parade.

Ted also made some home improvements before F arrived. He installed a new countertop and sink in our half bathroom (a great improvement over the orange counter with tan sink!). We also bought a chest freezer for the basement, which we put to immediate good use while my mom was here!

The big girls are all very loving and helpful with their new little sister. They always want to hold her and they rock her and sing to her when she is fussing. I dressed them in matching shirts because we went to a park date yesterday, my first official outing with all four of them by myself. I didn't lose anyone, so I guess it was a success!

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