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Category: Family, Fun & Holidays

Frugal Fun: Grocery Ad Playtime Menu (Guest Post)

Marie from shared this fun (and frugal!) idea for a way to recycle your old grocery ads into playtime menus for your children:

Grocery Ad Playtime Menu

Supplies for Grocery Ad Menus:

  • grocery ads – the kind that come in the mail
  • scissors, glue, color pencils, art paper

Menu Supplies

First, gather all your grocery ads. Let the kids look through and see what items might be good to have in their menu, then cut them out. If your child is ready to use scissors, go for it but with supervision if they're small. Or you can have them point to the items they want and you can cut them out.

Cut Grocery Ads

Next, fold a piece of art paper in half vertically. Glue the cut out food items onto the paper in a line. Now write in each price.

Write Menus

My son loved making up how much everything cost. He wanted to make the steak "1 Free" and the ice cream is $20 because it's sooo good. We even named our restaurant, LeBaron's Family Restaurant, with "Todays Special" as Shrimp, my son's favorite food. Have fun playing Restaurant!

Inside Kids Menu

Marie is a crafter, foodie, and mother of 3. She loves running, reading, and eating candy. Check out her blog for more Ideas and Crafty Tidbits for Home, Family, and Fun.

Frugal Fun at Our House: Pudding Finger Paint

Remember all those Kraft coupons which were available not too long ago? I used the $1/3 Jell-O pudding coupons at the Double Dollar coupon sale at our local grocery store to buy a number of boxes of pudding for pennies per box.

In addition to making some , I used the pudding last week for a creative homeschool project. We mixed up some of it, donned some of Daddy's old t-shirts, and used it as finger paint.


In addition to just letting them play and draw and have fun with the finger paint, we also practiced writing the letters we're currently working on.



And then, since the finger paint was edible, the girls got to make pudding mustaches, too!



It was a fun activity–and it only cost a few pennies! Who says fun can't be frugal?

*****More Ideas******

::If you don't have extra pudding on hand, you can also make finger paint with Kool-Aid (see instructions ) or corn syrup and food coloring (see instructions ) or corn starch, sugar, and food coloring (see instructions ).

::I'm hoping to try and soon. Do you have any other links to frugal, fun, and educational activities for toddlers?


Many of you have asked for more specifics about what we're using for homeschool curriculum. We're doing the this year for our homeschool lessons and we're thoroughly enjoying it. It combines the best of Charlotte Mason's philosophies of education and Classical education and teaches it all from a Biblical Worldview.

Not only have I found this curriculum to be academically strong, it's fun–as learning should be, especially when you are 2 and 4 years old. The girls are loving it and they often beg if we can please "start doing school" as soon as they get up in the morning. I hope they never lose their excitement!

In addition to My Father's World, we also add in lots of extra reading from and great classic read-alouds (we're reading through the Little House on the Prairie series right now) throughout our day because we just can't get enough of good books around here! We've found along with our local library to be excellent sources for very inexpensive or free books.

Romance on a Budget: Is it possible?

Couple Mulsanne
photo by

Danelle Ice from emailed me with a few thoughts on romance on a budget:

One of the most common topics in arguments between couples is money. Worrying about having enough money to care for your family’s needs can put a huge burden on your shoulders, and that financial burden leads to enormous stress.

Focusing on the stress of finances can oftentimes knock relationship priorities off the top of the list. We have to remember that our marriages are the cornerstone of our frugal families. If we fail to take care of our relationships, then all the frugalness in the world won’t matter anymore.

It makes sense then that frugal couples need to be mindful of the state of their marriages and the quality of their time together. Always make sure that time for romance and your relationship are a top priority, no matter what is going on in your budget!

You have the power to foster love and rekindle the romance in your marriage right now, and it doesn’t take a lot of money to make that happen. I believe that husband and wife date nights are a great way to stay connected. You can keep romance alive on a small budget, or even no budget, when you focus on the things that really make your spouse feel loved, valued, and appreciated.

Plan fun things to do together such as an indoor picnic or an at-home romantic dinner for two. Or what about taking an evening stroll holding hands and talking about your day?

If you have little ones and you can't seem to find the time to really talk but you also can't afford a babysitter, you might consider going on a romantic nighttime drive. This is a date even the kids will like (before they fall asleep, that is)! Have the kids get dressed in their jammies and bring their pillows and blankies into the car. Go for a nighttime drive (the kids will fall asleep) together to talk about non-kid topics. Load up your favorite romantic music or even “your song”, and drive to a scenic lookout point where you can see the city and stare out at the stars together.

You don’t need to have a special occasion to make plans for a romantic date with your husband or wife. Keeping regular free and cheap dates on your weekly schedule serves to strengthen your relationship and keep your intimacy strong in a fun way. Spending time together doesn't have to cost a lot, just use your imagination and you can keep your romance alive on a budget!

–Problogger Danelle Barbi Ice is the editor of an online Home and How-To magazine specializing in homemaking, frugal living, printable checklists, and more.

What are your ideas for keeping romance alive on a limited budget? I'd love to hear!

A Frugal Father’s Day: Share your links!

In honor of Sunday being Father's Day, I thought it would be appropriate to share some of our frugal ideas for making this a special day without breaking the bank. Reader, , emailed me with many of the great links below to get things started out.

::Perhaps you could consider surprising that man in your life with Breakfast in Bed? is a great recipe and it can be inexpensively made if you use day-old Italian bread and only one kind of berries. said she often makes it up the night before and then just pops it into the oven to bake. is another delicious option. Or there's always just some of your classic standbys.

::And what about making some homemade gifts? There's or . Or perhaps you could check your stockpile and see if you could come up with some items to put together a ? Looking for more creative and inexpensive ideas? Janet at The Money Jar has an extensive list .

Those are just a few ideas and links to get things started. I'm going to open up the floor and let you share you all celebrate a frugal Father's Day at your house. Either leave your ideas in the comments section or post your ideas on your blog and leave your link below. I'm anxious to hear what creative things you've come up with!

Swagbucks: Get 6 free bonus points for signing up this week! (fixed code)

I posted this earlier this morning but the code was not working correctly so many of you weren't getting your bonus points. It should now be working correctly. My apologies on that!

Have you signed up for yet? If not, you are definitely missing out on one of the easiest ways to earn free gift cards I've ever discovered.

I don't mean to sound like a broken record or anything, but it's been a few months since I've recommended  and I thought it was high time I mention it again. There are lots of scam programs out there promising all sorts of
things, but  is one of the few programs I've found that
really works.

If you're unfamiliar with ,
basically it's a search engine that randomly rewards you with points
just for doing online searches. Seriously, that's all there is to it.

earn between 1-3 points per day for searches and when you have
45 points, you can cash in for a $5 Amazon gift card. And there are
dozens of other great
prizes to choose from as well. I just received a $10 Starbucks gift
card in the mail yesterday–which I got for cashing in 130 points.

For those of you with blogs or who have lots of friends who use the
internet, you'll also want to check out their referral program. For
every person who signs up with your referral code, you can earn up to
100 matching ! I have had so much fun introducing many of my
friends to this fun program and seeing them earn prizes for doing what
most all of us do on a regular basis every day–searching online!

The brains behind 
are rolling out a bunch of great new features for this search engine
this week and because they are doing so, they asked if they could give
out six
free bonus points to any one who signs up through my blog.

To use this code and earn 6 free bonus points just for signing up, all you have to do is be a new registrant to  and use the code MSMCODE when you sign up .

get 3 points for signing up and 3 points for using the above code,
giving you 6 free points just for signing up. And you'll be well on
your way toward your first gift card!

This code is only good through June 16, 2009, so be sure you take advantage of it right away!

MyPoints: Earn free gift cards for reading emails and taking surveys

Back when my husband was in law school and we were living on our bare-bones beans-and-rice budget, we rarely ever had any extra cash to use for dates. However, I didn't let that deter me from coming up with creative ideas for fun dates. We'd take a picnic to the park, we'd go to the library and browse books, we'd take walks. If we could scrounge up a few dollars, we get a meal or two at a fast food restaurant with coupons or hit the $0.99 bowling night.

One of our favorite things to do was to head to a bookstore and get an iced coffee and just spend a few hours looking at books. We'd browse the shelves and then take a stack of books to a cozy corner and read for a while. We usually paid for our drinks with a gift card I'd earned from so the whole evening ended up costing us nothing out of pocket and would be a very relaxing and refreshing time for us to spend together away from the pressures and deadlines of law school life.

If you are strapped for cash but would love to also get to have a bookstore date on occasion, I'd definitely recommend . It's free to sign up for and you can earn points to cash in for gift cards by reading emails and taking surveys. It takes a bit of time to accumulate enough points to cash in for a gift card, but if you have more time than money right now, it's a great way to be able to enjoy a few free dates every year.

to sign up.