Wet and Wild Summer Fun

Splurging on a summer pass to the community pool may not be an affordable option for some families.  Fortunately, there are a number of ways to keep cool when the mercury soars without breaking the bank. The following simple projects prove that splashtastic fun can be had by kids of all ages with a simple garden hose and a few inexpensive household items: Water Balloon Piñata Materials: Package of water balloons String Garden hose Small plastic funnel Plastic baseball bat Directions: Fill up the water balloons using the funnel and hose.  Keep in mind that the more water you add … Continue reading

Turn Trash Into Treasure

You don’t have to be a dumpster diver to find cheap treasures; rather, with a little planning you can turn waste into wonderful works of art. The next time you’re about to toss an empty paper towel roll into the garbage; stop, and place it in your craft bin instead.  There are dozens of ways you can recycle the cardboard rolls, including the following projects that are so simple even your youngest children can get in on the fun. Napkin Rings Materials: Empty paper towel rolls Scissors Newspaper Paint Directions: Cut the empty paper towel roll into five equal pieces … Continue reading

Simple Sanity Savers

Believe it or not, summer vacation just started for students attending Chicago public schools.  Last fall’s highly publicized teacher strike, which affected nearly 400,000 students, forced kids to stay in school through the end of June. But, now they are free and can join the rest of their compadres in making the most of summer… or what’s left of it. If you are looking for ways to keep your kids busy during their break from school consider the following simple and affordable projects: FLOWER POWER Rather than letting fresh flowers go to waste after they’ve sat pretty in a summer … Continue reading

Have Fun Repurposing School Supplies

Forget about packing lunches; unpacking my kid’s backpack on the last day of school has got to me the worst mom job ever. The sheer volume of crud that is shoved into that Scooby bag is mind-boggling.  While I’d love to dump the contents of the entire bag into the trash, I am far too frugal to let even the smallest pencil stub enter the garbage if it can serve a purpose somewhere in our home. If you are looking to save money this summer, don’t give into the temptation to dump your child’s old school supplies.  Rather, sort through … Continue reading

Simple Summer Fun

After an extended school year, brought about by using too many snow days in the winter, classes are officially over for kids in my neck of the woods. And by woods, I mean fenced in backyards where parents can let their kids roam free before cabin fever sets in. If you are looking for simple projects to keep your kids entertained during the endless days of summer, consider the following: Fluorescent Slime Materials: Glow-in-the-dark paint Elmer’s glue gel Borax Hot water Directions: Combine one cup of hot water with a cup of Borax.  Stir until the Borax won’t dissolve anymore. … Continue reading

Make a Splash Without Spending a Ton of Cash

There’s no better way to cool off this Memorial Day weekend than hanging poolside with your friends and family.  Fortunately, you don’t have to drain your wallet to keep your clan entertained in the water.  If you are tight on cash, skip the fancy pool toys and try these splashtastic games instead: Fish, Fish, Whale:  This simple yet fun game puts a spin on the classic “Duck, Duck, Goose.”  To play, have kids stand in a circle in the shallow end of the pool.  Select one person to be “it.”  That player then goes around the circle and taps each … Continue reading

Affordable Snow Day Fun

  With yet another wicked winter storm readying to slam into several states from New Mexico to Illinois, millions of parents are gearing up for a snow day.  For kids, having a day off from school is a dream come true, but for many moms and dads the unexpected break is a true nightmare, especially if said children turn restless and cabin fever strikes. To preserve your sanity as Old Man Winter blasts into your neck of the woods, consider the following fun and affordable projects and games designed to keep your kids busy and out of trouble: DIY Decorative … Continue reading

Gearing Up for the Big Game

The biggest sporting event of the year is little over a week away. The countdown to Super Bowl XLVII between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers is on. Watching the game can be a fun event for the entire family.  In fact, millions of clans around the world gather together to cheer on their favorite team at huge Super Bowl parties, though hosting one can be quite challenging and expensive if you are not careful. One way to reduce the cost of hosting a viewing party is to make simple and affordable snacks.  Not only will the following … Continue reading

Inexpensive Indoor Fun

The weather outside is frightful. And by frightful I mean 15 degrees below zero without the windchill.  Schools in our area closed yesterday because it was simply too dangerous to have kids wait outside for the bus. Old Man Winter’s brutal cold slap is being felt across the nation.  The bone-chilling temperatures have most families cuddling up together as they wait for the spring thaw to arrive.  Of course, all that togetherness can be a bit too much for kids and adults to handle, especially if the weather pattern persists for multiple days. If you are looking to keep your blood pressure … Continue reading

Gaga for Gourds

Most u-pick pumpkin patches are closed for the season, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get your hands on gourds to decorate your home for Turkey Day. In fact, now is the time to stock up on the adorable little fruits. Mid-November is typically when grocery and discount retailers place gourds on sale. Stores that loaded up on mini pumpkins and whimsically-shaped gourds for the Halloween rush are now trying to unload whatever is left before Thanksgiving rolls around. If you are planning to have a bunch of kids over for Turkey Day, consider filling your cart up with plenty … Continue reading