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

Fun Ways to Survive the Heat Wave

Sizzling temperatures, streaming sweat and screaming kids. Fun times. A mid-summer heat wave is blanketing the nation this week.  According to meteorologists, more than 50 million people will be affected by dangerously high temperatures which could last all the way through Saturday. Hitting the beach or heading to a local pool is a great way to beat the heat, but for some kids the splishing and splashing may get old after a few days.  With excessive heat warnings posted in dozens of cities, some parents may opt to remain indoors with their children.  If you choose to stay cool in the … Continue reading

High-Flying Fun

If you are looking for an easy and affordable way to keep your kids busy this summer, grab a kite and head outdoors.  Kite-flying is a breeze when you’ve got the entire family working together to bring your colorful flying machine to life.  Getting a kite to take flight also lends itself to a slew of educational opportunities.  Kids can get hands-on lessons in math, science, history and geography all while having fun.  What’s more, there’s something to be said about the sense of pride a child feels when she gets a kite to dance across the summer sky. Fortunately, … Continue reading

An Affordable Treasury of Fun

There’s no easier way for kids to explore new and exciting worlds than cuddling up with a favorite book.  Adventures await on each page and there’s no telling where your child’s imagination can take her once she peels back the front cover. And that’s just with one book.  Imagine the fun kids can have when they are gifted with a treasury of stories. If you are looking for an affordable way to keep your kids entertained this summer, consider investing in a box set of books.  My daughter adores her Little Critter Bedtime Stories set.  The colorful collection is a … Continue reading

When Mother Nature Rains on Your Summer Fun

Hundreds of towns and cities throughout the south are cancelling or postponing their Fourth of July festivities due to massive storms slamming into the region.  Torrential rains have turned the area into a soggy mess forcing parents to scramble to salvage their family’s mid-summer plans. If Mother Nature rains on your parade, cook-out, party or other outdoor activity this season, consider keeping your kids entertained inside with these summer-themed projects: Campfire Prints:  Have kids use crayons, markers or colored pencils to draw a large circle on a piece of paper.  Next, have them glue gemstones on the circle to mimic … Continue reading

Fourth of July Kid-Friendly Fun

Eye-popping fireworks shows may be the highlight of a Fourth of July gathering, but there’s plenty of time to kill before the aerial festivities blast off. To keep kids busy while they countdown to the glittery pyrotechnic display have them complete these fun Independence Day-inspired projects: Patriotic Pinwheels Cut-out a 4-inch by 4-inch square from cardstock or white construction paper.  Use crayons, markers or colored pencils to decorate the paper in patriotic colors.  Next, use a ruler to lightly draw diagonal lines from corner to corner.  When you are done, you should have an “X” drawn in the middle of … 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

Fourth of July Fun for Less

Celebrating America’s birthday doesn’t have to send you to the poorhouse.  By opting to party at your own home this holiday, you can save money and still have fun.  To cut down on food and beverage costs, consider having a potluck and asking each guest to bring along a favorite dish to pass. Edible American Eagles Ingredients: One package of Oreos 1/2 cup white chocolate One dozen large marshmallows One cup of finely shredded coconut 12 cashews Black icing Directions: Melt the white chocolate in a bowl in the microwave. Spread the shredded coconut in an even layer on wax … 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