Category Archives: frugal ideas

no tv summer





This Summer we decided to remove tv and video games from our daily life.  I thought it was an awesome idea and my kids thought a nuclear bomb was going off on their social life!  The plan was to completely remove the Wii, which happened and has not re-appeared…yet.  The next step was to remove the television….well, I had nowhere to store the tv so I decided to use self-control instead.  Here’s my what/why/when of how this came about…

WHO:  MY KIDS AND ME.  I realized my kids were watching too much television and the responsibility fell square on my shoulders!  For me it was becoming an easy fix for not needing to think, plan, or interact with my kids (SO sad but true!).  So this summer plan was just as much for my heart as it was for my kids.

WHAT: NO TV, NO VIDEO GAMES….with the exception that on very few occasions I would let them watch one show in the morning (initiated by me and not them) or we would have a movie night about once a week.  It has become more like the cherry on top instead of the whole cake and frosting to our week.


WHEN:  THE WHOLE SUMMER…and honestly this plan may be slightly adjusted and adopted into our lives permanently!  The results don’t lie.  We are only half-way through the summer and based on how it’s gone so far I don’t want to ever go back to the way it was.  In the fall I will probably allow a little more tv, but school, play and art will take up more of their time.

WHY:  There were things happening in my kids and I that I realized were detrimental to our interactions with one another and more so affecting the spiritual tone and love in our home.  There was a lot of fighting, toys were collecting dust, and I was leaning heavily on the tv-crutch.  My creativity switch was turned off (except when it was turned on for very rare occasions) and my interactions with my children didn’t venture much outside the realm of discipline, outings, bedtime stories and meal times.  And my kids were not playing “pretend” except for when friends were over.

There are 4 things that have happened since the beginning of summer.

1. My kids have been enjoying themselves immensely!  Right now, as I am typing, they are playing “Rockets to space” with a box and a pile of random toys that are slowly taking over the living room. (which is a good thing!)

2.  It’s harder on me than it is on them.  Parenting your kids in a way that is consistent and engaging is harder than plopping your kids down in front of an electronic babysitter.  I’ve found myself more tempted to turn the tv on than my kids!  But, it has gotten easier over time and I’ve also learned that the goal is not perfection…but a desire to keep trying.  And I remind myself that hard work is a good thing…just working hard at keeping my house clean isn’t good enough- more importantly my work should include quality time with my kids!

3.  Creativity and summer activities have abounded much!  I am enjoying my kids more and thinking outside the box.  Here are a few things we’ve done because our brains weren’t turned off:

a. went to the park, splash pad, and zoo many times

b. went for slushies and walks

c. I joined my kids playing in a massive puddle

d. we’ve had family craft time and played Yahtzee all together

e. reading lots of books and enjoying the reading program at the library

f. playing squirt guns on the patio and digging for worms

g. writing encouragement notes and making little gifts for our friends

4. We’ve had more time for the Lord!  The kids and I are memorizing the ABC’s of the bible.  (bible verses-one each that starts with each of the letters of the alphabet)  We’ve been singing more together and talking more about God in the milieu of life.  I find myself more in tune to discipline opportunities too, which means more time for talking about the gospel.

Because we don’t want to be push-overs and seen as just our kid’s best friend OR we don’t want to be the parent who disciplines inconsistently OR the mom who doesn’t get her stuff done; we throw the baby out with the bathwater (figuratively)!

There should be time for slushies that run all over our faces, laying on the floor and building the gigantuist tower ever, jumping through a massive puddle that’s going to soak our clothes…building smiling faces out of our lunches, reading books that have “too many words”, doing activities that are a lot of work for us- but so enjoyable for the kids…

I don’t want to be my kids’ best friend. I don’t want to be the cool mom who lets them get away with whatever they want.  BUT- I want to be the engaged mom who pays attention, interacts, listens, plays, helps, and encourages creativity and learning.  I want to show mercy, grace and treat them the way I want to be treated (within the bounds of biblical parent/child relations).  I want to give my kids a home where they will grow, flourish and see Jesus Christ…and for us right now that means less tv and more togetherness.


8 Must see tutorials on youtube

8 Must see tutorials on youtube



Youtube can be great and it can also be a time waster when you either get caught up in funny videos or can’t find just what you are looking for.  I want to help by giving you some links to tutorials I find helpful!  If you are anything like me, watching someone do it is much better than just reading instructions!  Please feel free to share any good ones you have found and I will add them to my list.

1.  How to put fondant on a cake

2. How to make a hair-bow

3. DIY cleaning products (glass cleaner, stain remover, disinfectant, degreaser/soap scum remover, all-purpose cleaner)

4. How to tie a tie (double windsor)

5. Day time eye makeup for brown eyes

Day time eye makeup for blue eyes

6. A few quick organizational tips for a small kitchen

7. good buys and bad buys at the dollar store (best items-storage items and party supplies)

8. How to decorate a focal table for a party (cheap diy)



The gift of giving


Here are a few ideas that will hopefully help your creative juices when it comes to gifting…especially with Christmas just around the corner!

First I will share some general ideas and then I will list specific occasions with ideas below them. Some may overlap or could be applied to different occasions. Enjoy!

1. Don’t underestimate the dollar store!

For kids- coloring books, crayons, toys, crafting, books, play-dough. Make a gift basket (which you can buy a basket for a dollar while you are there!) with a theme: coloring book with colors and stickers etc. or a color theme based on the kid’s favorite color. Pick out 5 things and including the basket you have a $6 gift!

For Women- Spa package with soaps, candles and loofah or Crafty Basket with all crafting supplies and paper, notepads, pens and more. Kitchen gift set- towels, dishes, cups, glassware, etc. Gardener Gift Basket: pots, gloves, seeds.

For Men- Handy Man basket with tape measure, rope, hardware, pliers. Car Kit: cleaning supplies, towels, air fresheners etc.


2. Shop thrift stores!

I have purchased items new with tags at thrift stores that were perfect gifts. Watch for a thrift store in town that sells overstock or unsold products from a local store.

Buy something and re-purpose it! Picture frame into a hair-clip holder, old tea cups into candles, sheets into pillow beds, t-shirts into bags…find some diy ideas on pinterest and then head to the thrift store.


3. Have your extended family try something different this year: Pick names, have a gag-gift exchange, have a thrift store- bag exchange. (each person picks a name and has to spend $10 or less on their person and everything they buy within their budget has to fit into a paper bag.)


4. Shop 3-4 months before the occasion and shop the clearance racks. Target for example has great clearance items 70-90% off. Certain times of year you can find great deals especially on toys! I often buy clothes for my kids 2 seasons ahead because they will be on major clearance. Right now at Kohl’s for example shorts in my son’s size are $2!


5. Re-gift. Don’t cringe! I bet if we all took 20 minutes and went around our houses and grabbed out anything that looked new or was new that we aren’t using we’d all have a box full or more! Try it…go through your beauty stuff, clothes, toys, closets, kitchen gadgets and cupboards, decorations and make a pile. Also, look in your wallet- is there a gift card you got that you just haven’t used or probably won’t use- give it!


6. Bake! I don’t even really care for baking. But a good friend + a fun recipe = a good time and great gifts! For example: Popsicle brownies, Oreo snowmen, lady bug pretzels, cake balls, mixes in a jar. Buy some cute plates from the thrift-store and give yummy treats on them. Or you can buy little holiday bags for cheap and you can give goodies away in them. I saw a dear friend one time give stockings full of treats!


7. Crafting….have your kids make hand-print pictures for the family or another kid-friendly memorable thing to make. (a hand-print apron, ornaments, decorated photo frame with picture in it) Even if you don’t think you are a crafty person there are things you can make that are inexpensive and easy! (photos on wood, glass magnets, personalized notebooks, candles, framed scripture, chalk mugs)

go to websites like this :


8. The gift of time – Here are some ideas for giving the gift of your time to your friends and loved ones (just print a certificate using an internet template)

-dessert of the month for 1 year (meal of the month, bread of the month…salad… you get the idea!) give them a certificate that entitles them to one delicious dessert the first week of every month. You can drop it by or have them over for it!

-day out with ________. (mom, grandma, sister, aunt….) take the person out on a day with you- pick places that you have coupons for or are free (i.e. the park)

-photo shoot- take your regular camera or borrow a nice one from a friend and take the person out for a fun-filled photo shoot full of clothes changes and beautiful or silly locations

-movie night in- buy them a movie and watch it with them that night- provide treats and popcorn and maybe even have a dress-up or pajama theme.

-offer of services (free babysitting for X amount of times, massage, painting, cleaning service) I don’t have a degree but am qualified to do house-cleaning so I could give a certificate for 2 hours of house cleaning a month for a year.

-Silly Crazy Fun Night- pay for a night out bowling in prom dresses, dessert at a restaurant dressed in 80’s clothes…etc. Be creative!


9. Gift cards with coupons– give a gift card of a lesser amount with a coupon for buy one get one free meal or $10 off a $25 purchase.


10. discount website certificates (groupon, living social, deal chicken) You can get meal, massage, adventure, hotel and more for 50%-90% off the normal price. They even have an option for printing as a gift!

I hope this has been a help or encouragement to you! Enjoy making or shopping for gifts and don’t make it a burden on you or your budget! Be a blessing to others in how and what you give.

Treasuring my home and giving!