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

Simple Summer Crafts

Simple crafts are the perfect remedy for cabin fever.  This summer, the following easy and affordable projects have been lifesavers when it’s been too hot or too wet for my 8-year-old to run amok outside.  An added bonus:  these kid-friendly activities require very little adult assistance.  This makes them ideal to include at a variety of summer events such as family reunions, church picnics or birthday parties. Homemade Suncatcher Materials: Colored tissue paper cut into small pieces of varying shapes and sizes Safety scissors Clear contact paper Two large paper plates Yellow craft paint Paint brush Yellow poster board Craft glue Hole … Continue reading

Beach Fun at Home

There’s nothing like a beach vacation to celebrate summer. Enjoying the sun, sand and surf is a rite of passage for many families, but like all good things, seasonal trips to the shore don’t last forever. If you struggle with vacation withdrawal, consider the following fun projects designed to battle the summer blues.  You will be amazed at how cheap and easy it is to turn all that extra sand you dragged home from the beach into amazing vacation souvenirs: Beach Candles Materials: Solid colored pillar candle Rubber cement Sand Shells Newspaper Directions: Dump some sand on newspaper that has … 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

Fun with Father’s Day Photos

No matter where you plan to spend Father’s Day, don’t forget to take your camera along to document the memories.  The photos you snap at the beach, park, pool or right in your backyard can be transformed into touching mementos of Dad’s special day. Take aim at Dad and the kids frolicking in the waves, burying each other in the sand or searching for bugs along a nature trail.  Shoot from unique angles rather than traditional ones and don’t be afraid to experiment with different exposures.  More importantly, ditch the posed shots of Dad standing static with Junior and Jane … Continue reading

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

Nothing says, “Happy Father’s Day!” quite like the smell of fried chicken… or any type of chicken that Dad didn’t have to cook himself. To honor the man of the house on Sunday, consider combining some of his favorite foods in one dish.  By incoporating a variety of Dad’s beloved ingredients you are sure to create a winning Father’s Day meal. The following recipes are not only affordable, but they’re also simple enough for even young children to help out with.  What’s more, because the ingredients are kid-friendly Dad won’t have to deal with a table full of whining offspring as he digs into dinner on … Continue reading

Simple Summer Sanity Savers

School’s out for some kids, while others are just a few weeks away from enjoying the freedom of summer vacation. For parents, the end of the academic year brings excitement and some trepidation.  After all, most moms and dads know it’s just a matter of time before seasonal boredom sets in. To preserve your sanity in the weeks to come, consider keeping your kids busy with the following summer-themed crafts: Sugar-Free Ice Cream Cone Not only is this adorable ice cream cone sugar-free, it’s also calorie-free and drip-free.  All you need to make this cute craft are a few sheets … Continue reading