Couponing for the Rest of Us

Aldi Camping Deals: Lantern for $9.99, Tent or Camp Stove only $29.99!


Jamie here – and I’m revved up about taking the kids camping again this summer – but I’m still in need of a few things.  Once again, Aldi has some awesome deals on camping supplies coming up in this week’s ad!  This is great for Father’s Day gifting as well…

[Read more...]

Homemade Pudding Pops in Paper Cups


My kids are going through the frozen treats like crazy now that the weather is warm – so I thought I’d make some Homemade Pudding Pops with them!  WhenFlavor-Ices and smoothies start to lose their appeal, try these easy, cheap, and delicious pudding pops using paper cups and a spoon.

You only need 5 things for this recipe – and it’s pretty inexpensive to make!  You can also use lowfat milk for a healthier version. [Read more...]

Top 10 Neighborhood Games to Teach Your Kids: 4 Square, Kick the Can, Capture the Flag, More!

Remember all the great neighborhood games you used to play when you were a kid? 

I remember yelling “Red rover, Red rover”, slamming the ball into my brother’s 4-Square square,  sneaking around the corner of the house during hide & seek to head for base….  wow – there are so many happy memories that surface when I think of summertime and neighborhood games!

Every night after dinner, my brother & I would run down the street knocking on doors, getting kids together for flashlight tag or kickball.  And every night we would play until parents started flickering their porch lights for their kids to come home.  While those days are just memories – you can make new memories with your own kids using the same tried-and-true neighborhood games!

This summer, break out of the boredom cycle by teaching your kids how to play some of the great old games we grew up with.  Here are my Top 10 Neighborhood Games:  *NOTE: These are not full instructions, just what I can remember to help jog your memory :)

  1. Four Square

    Players take turns bouncing the ball into each other’s squares – starting with the “King” serving the ball (the king is in square 4).  The ball must bounce 1 time in someone else’s square before they hit it – and may not hit a line or go out of the lines.  If you miss hitting it or hit it out of bounds, you go back to square one (or the end of the line waiting their turn behind square 1) (There are lots of extra rules to 4-Square, check them out here)

  2. Freeze Tag

    Choose one person to be”It” and he/she chases the others until he tags them.  If tagged, the player freezes in one spot until another team member runs by and tags him – thereby unfreezing him to run again.  (We used to play another version where you have to crawl through the frozen player’s legs to unfreeze them – we called it Eiffel Tower tag or Chinese Tag)

  3. Hide & Seek

    Choose one person to be “It” and he counts (with eyes closed) while everyone else hides.  With a shout of “Ready or not, here I come!” they open their eyes and look for the hidden players.  The first person to get found is then “it” and (Optional!  This is just what we used to do :) ) yells “Olly-olly-oskin-free!” which announces that everyone else can come out.
  4. Red Rover, Red Rover

    Two opposing teams form lines facing one another, holding arms within their line to make a tight chain.  They chant “Red Rover Red Rover, we dare (someone from the opposite team) over!”  and the called member of the opposing team makes a run at their chain, trying to break through it.  If they succeed, they take a hostage back to join their team.  If they fail, they join the team.
  5. Sardines in a Can

    Basically Hide & Seek backwards.  There is only 1 hider, and everyone else is “It”.  When one of the “It” players finds the hidden sardine, he quietly hides with him.  This goes on until only one person has not found all the “sardines” packed into the same hiding place.

  6. Kick the Can

    Much like hide n seek but the “Base” is the can.  Kick it to be safe from the chaser!  Read more HERE

  7. Red Light, Green Light

    One person is the caller (or cop) and the other players stand behind a line facing him.  The cop yells “green light” and the players rush to reach him first.  When the cop yells “Red Light” they must freeze.  The first person to reach the cop wins.

  8. Mother May I?

    Much like “Red Light Green Light” – but the “Mother” calls out instructions to each player individually.  (i.e. Take 4 scissor steps!)  If the player forgets to ask “Mother May I?”, he must go back to the starting line.
  9. Simon Says…

    Much like “Mother May I” and “Red Light Green Light” – Simon calls out instructions to the entire group of players at the starting line.  (i.e. Simon Says – take 4 Jumps Forward!)  They advance towards him, but he then tries to occasionally trick them by calling out an order without begining it with “Simon Says…”  If they still move, they’re back at start.  (We always taunted them by yelling “Simon didn’t sa-ay!”)
  10. Capture the Flag

    This game is a little complicated in my mind – I must’ve been smaller when we played at Girl Scouts – but there’s a great write-up HERE.



Homemade Firestarters | Dryer Lint & Candle Wax!


I’m re-posting this tutorial I wrote previously on how to make homemade firestarters because camping season is HERE again!

This weekend I took my 4 boys out for our first ever family camping trip.  It was all I could’ve hoped for – they were thrilled to cook hotdogs over the campfire on sticks, make S’mores, tell silly ghost stories, and listen to mom play old John Denver songs on the guitar.   We swam in the lake until we were exhausted, and finally cuddled up in our tiny 4 person tent together while I lay awake hoping no critters would come looking for leftovers.

It was wonderful – memories they’ll have forever  – just like I do from when I went camping as a kid with my parents.  There was one thing, though, that I wished I had remembered to bring along – something to make the all-important campfire even easier to get going: My HomeMade Camp Fire Starters.

As some of you know, I was a girl scout for many years. But this particular trick I learned from my brother (an Eagle Scout) during his boy scout days. It’s a little recipe for homemade fire starters, useful for taking camping with you, or just for a little backyard bonfire when tinder and lighter fluid aren’t at hand.

Step 1: You’ll need a cardboard egg carton and some of your old candles.


Step 2: Break up the candles into smaller pieces and melt over low in your oldest, yuckiest skillet or pot.


Step 3: Get the dryer lint out of the lint trap, or if you’re like me, get the whole bag of dryer lint you’ve been saving for this specific purpose. :)   It’s very flammable, and smells nice to boot.


Step 4: Pack the dryer lint very tightly into each egg receptacle.


Step 5: Spoon the wax carefully over top the dryer lint, about 3 spoons per wad.


Step 6: Let cool completely, if I’m in a hurry I stick mine in the freezer for a bit, and then cut out your fire-starters.


Just toss one or two of these under your pile of firewood and light the cardboard.  It will stay burning long enough to get the wood to catch fire really well.

You can also make a “bunson burner” for heating up food/canned goods by cutting a 1″ wide strip of cardboard in a long length.  Roll it into an old tuna can until it’s made a tightly packed spiral.  Drip wax over the cardboard and you’re done!

Happy Camping!


FREE Educational Printables (Print Worksheets, Coloring Pages, Mazes)



FREE Printable Worksheets!

[Read more...]

New Years Eve Party: 7 Family Fun Ideas & Crafts!

Credit: Martha Stewart

I posted this a few days back – but in case you’re looking around for some quick and easy projects to make the night more fun – here are a few we like!

New Years Eve means party time – and even if you’re just staying home for a low-key family party, you can still have a great time with these 7 easy and FREE crafts and ideas!  Here are 7 FUN & FREE ways to celebrate New Years Eve and make sure that 2012 goes out with a BANG!

[Read more...]

New Years Eve Appetizers: Kid-Friendly Finger Foods (Sausage Balls & Smokies in a Blanket)


Jamie here, whether you’re throwing a little family New Years Eve party or a bigger gathering – you’ll always need to have some “Kid-friendly” finger foods on hand – here are my two favorite recipes for quick and easy party food that my kids love to eat (and me too!)

Sausage Balls:


Now let me start by saying that these are NOT the sausage balls that are super-greasy and brownish – but a more biscuity version that works well for parties or for an easy Christmas Morning finger-food breakfast!

[Read more...]

Christmas Shopping with Kids in Tow (How to Be Sneaky Like a Ninja)

[Read more...]