Friday, April 18, 2014

Stuffing an Easter Basket without Breaking the Bank

Stuffing an Easter Basket without Breaking the Bank


Yesterday I asked a lot of my readers on Facebook the following question, "Am I the only one starting Easter Baskets late?" You wouldn't believe how many people still haven't finished. I thought it would be fun to share what I put in our Easter baskets. I spent about $20 on each basket but I could have spent less if I needed to. I will share what I did and what you can do to save money and still have an awesome basket! 


I picked up this basket for only 50 cents at a local thrift store. I highly recommend checking your thrift stores before buying a new one. 

In our baskets I put an empty Easter egg. This is meant to represent the empty grave and the real meaning of Easter. 

 I am not a big candy fan but I do love Orbit for Kids. It is perfect for the gum lover in your house! 

What's in R's Basket? 
  • Coloring Book - Wal Mart had Jumbo coloring books for $1. 
  • Bubbles - The bubble wands were 88 cents. 
  • Crayons - Wal Mart has a pack for 55 cents. 
  • Poster - Wal mart has posters for a few dollars. This is one R has wanted for a long time. 
  • Cups - The small themed cups are 87 cents each. 
  • Stuffed My Little Pony - This is the priciest item at $10 but it will bring a huge smile to her face. 
  • Gum - There was a 3 pack for only $2.87. I split this between the two kid's baskets. 
  • Candy - I grabbed a dollar pack of Robin eggs and a dollar pack of chocolate eggs and put them in plastic eggs. 
  • Plastic Eggs - I bought a pack of 6 large eggs for 88 cents. Each kid has 3. One is empty. 
  • Crafts - There were a few dollar crafts I picked up for R to have fun with. 
  • Go GO Squeeze - These portable fruit packs are a favorite of both kids. I grabbed a 4 pack for $2 and split them between the two baskets. 

What's in C's Basket? 

  • Coloring Book - Wal Mart had Jumbo coloring books for $1. 
  • Bubbles - The bubble wands were 88 cents. 
  • Crayons - Wal Mart has a pack for 55 cents. 
  • Poster - Wal mart has posters for a few dollars. I picked a Spiderman for C to keep the basket in one theme.  
  • Cups - The small themed cups are 87 cents each. 
  • SpiderMan Toy - This was $8 but it will make his day! 
  • Gum - There was a 3 pack for only $2.87. I split this between the two kid's baskets. 
  • Candy - I grabbed a dollar pack of Robin eggs and a dollar pack of chocolate eggs and put them in plastic eggs. 
  • Plastic Eggs - I bought a pack of 6 large eggs for 88 cents. Each kid has 3. One is empty. 
  • Go Go Squeeze - These portable fruit packs are a favorite of both kids. I grabbed a 4 pack for $2 and split them between the two baskets. 

5 Ways to Save on your basket 

  • Buy Bulk - There are party favor sets. You can buy these and split them between multiple baskets. 
  • Gift Closet - I have a gift closet where I put inexpensive toys I find throughout the year. Grab a toy from that to offset the cost of your basket. 
  • Thrift Stores - You can get like new baskets, books, toys, and crafts at your local thrift store for a fraction of the price. 
  • Skip the candy - Candy is gone quickly. Pick up some fun crafts or toys at the dollar store. Your child will have more fun and it will be healthier. 
  • Keep a theme - It's very easy to get carried away and pack a basket with everything you see. Pick a theme and only pick up things that fit the theme. Maybe you have a Spiderman fan or a My Little Pony fan. You child will love it more if it plays to their interests. 





































Thursday, April 17, 2014

Post Card Memory Books - A Fun Twist on the Homeschool Portfolio

Post Card Memory Books - A Fun Twist on the Homeschool Portfolio

I want to start my saying I can't take credit for this idea. I married the most amazing man in the world. He came up with the great idea. I just have to share it with you because I love it so much.

As you may know I have two children who love to learn hands on. Because of that we do a lot of field trips as part of our homeschool. As a money saver I can't handle the prices in the gift shops. My husband found a fun alternative that will cost only cents per trip. He put together post card memory books. Now we spend about 35 cents at each place we visit and we have a great keepsake.

How it works
Pick any memory book you want. My kids each picked the designs on theirs. Ours hold 4x6 images but the options are really endless.

The post card can fit vertically. We then add the date of our field trip as well as any friends who joined us.

On the back of your post card write at least one thing you learned at the place you visited. I let R write her own. I know there are spelling/grammar issues. However, she was very proud of this. If you want to proof errors it might help to pre-write before using the post card.

You may also want to make one for younger children. It's a great place to keepsake some of their funnier quotes.

How do you keep memories from field trips? 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

10 Things you can learn from a trip to Fort Jackson


While we were in Georgia we took some time to visit Fort Jackson. This had to be one of the best places we went on our trip!
 There was an incredible guide who invested some amazing time teaching everyone the history of the fort. He even managed to stay in character quite well. I thought it would be fun to share ten things you can learn at Fort Jackson.

1) A Proper Military Salute - C had so much fun with this and took it very serious. Who says 4 year olds can't love history?
2) Left/Right/About Face - That's right, if you join up with the company you will have to learn how to drill effectively. This includes learning a proper left, right, and about face. This component of the tour made it much more realistic.

3) Weapons and Carrying - The soldier spent  a while showing us the weaponry and everything that was carried by a soldier at this time.
4) Maps - The soldier also spent a bit of time explaining the location of the fort on the map. He explained the strategic side of the location.
5) Flagging - The soldier also discussed the importance of flagging to signal a coming attack. He even has the children flag a message and have us interpret it. (By the way, "The" is not spelled ZYA. Someone should tell the kids.)


6) Life and Lifestyle - You can tour the inside of the living areas and see what the soldiers of the times lived like. You will look at the weapons, jail, and barracks.

7) The tools for firing the canon - There is a long explanation about the different tools for firing the canon. This really stuck with my 4 year old. I asked him, "Why do they need the sponge for the canon?" He answered, "Because you want to get rid of sparks so it doesn't hurt someone."


8) How to fire the canon - The soldier actually fires the canon but before he does he will walk you thru everything it takes to fire the canon. When we were there he included the audience in the process.

9) What sand fleas are - If you have never encountered them you will at Fort Jackson. Those Sand Fleas are the devil! Maybe not, but they are everywhere and you will get multiple bites. Make sure to bring an insect repellent. You will thank me for it.

10) How to have fun with history - When I was a kid history bored me. It was a huge list of facts that I wasn't patient enough to memorize. Taking kids out to Fort Jackson and immersing them in the history makes it fun. It engages their imaginations and brings history to life.

Have you been to Fort Jackson? What did your family learn? 

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Wait a Week Principle!

The One Week Rule - Conquering Impulse Buys

I don't know about you but when I go the store I seem to walk away with things I never intended to buy. I find myself saying things like, "I will need it one day,  This could be useful for, I wanted to try that, This will motivate me to finish..." By the time I leave the store my cart is full and I have spent way too much.

As of late we have added a new rule to our shopping trips. We call it the One Week Rule. If the item is not on my list before I head into the store it goes on a one week wait. If I still want/need it in a week then I will purchase it. You would be surprised what you decide you don't need after a week. You will also be surprised how much money you can save by looking on Amazon before buying something.

Things that don't fall under the one week rule: 

  • Toiletries - Now I am not saying the $50 bulk buy version but get what you will need within your budget. 
  • Food - I want to clarify this one. If you are getting something for your menu plan please grab it. However, items like that tub of ice cream that looks so good are wait a week items. Your waist line will thank you. 
Things that should be part of the one week rule: 
  • Curriculum - Put down the pitchforks. Now look at your homeschool cabinet. How much of the stuff in there do you need/use? How much was bought on impulse? Sometimes waiting a week can give you time to think about whether you will actually use that item. 
  • Crafts/Supplies - Stores offer tons of deals on crafting items and supplies. Are you going to use it now? Do you have a project for it? If not, wait a week. You may not get it on sale but you may save yourself an overfilled craft cabinet. 
  • Electronics - Movies, games, gaming systems, and many other electronics can be a huge budget killer. Do you really need that movie now? Would renting it from the redbox to be sure you like it save you $20? Another great benefit of waiting on impulse for these items is the ability to check out reviews and make sure the product is worth your money. 
  • Anything over set dollar amount - Based on your budget decide what amount is your stop amount. If you want to buy anything that costs more than that wait a week. It will save you the buyer's guilt. 
What other things do you think should be a part of the one week rule?
How do you avoid impulse buys? 


Thursday, April 10, 2014

140 Return Address Labels - $4.99 Shipped!!


Right now you can get 140 address labels starting at only $4.99 shipped! I mentioned in the 10 Ways to Be Ready for Homeschool Convention that address labels are a great way to save time in the expo hall. Simply peel, stick, and go.


How to order: 
Go to VistaPrint
Pick your labels and design them.
At Checkout enter code STICKIT

Ends 4/10 so act fast! 

5 uses for your labels

  • Homeschool Convention
  • Labeling Jam Jars
  • Mailing Easter Cards
  • Post Birthday Thank you Cards
  • Business return address labels