Category Archives: Parenting

Naughty or Nice Sign – Great idea to keep those Kiddos behaving!

naughtynicesignlogoClick to Enlarge

$3 DIY Christmas Project, helping to keep those Kiddos in Line!
Well, probably a little late for this post. But, with keeping busy with Customizing Mugs, I haven’t had time to post a lot!
So, here’s a late Christmas Decor Post. Naughty or Nice Sign! Customized mini jars, one says Naughty, other Nice. If your child is Good, they pick from the Nice jar, treats. If a Child is Bad, they pick one from the Naughty jar, Chores they must complete (Crumbled Black Paper with Chores written on them, to look as if it’s COAL… Naughty kids get Coal!). As you can see I have: Sweep, Dishes, Kitchen, etc. (Written in Metallic Marker on Black Paper). You can have things OTHER than treats, as well. Like: Movie, Xtra 20minutes up late, etc… And, Lose 1 Toy, Lose TV for the day, etc. for the Coals. Cost me a whopping $3 to make. Wood was $1, Jars, $1 each. Paint, Twine, I had on hand. Kids LOVED it! Also, this is previous photo (I stained the Twine to match the Hanging Twine.).

Some Doggie DIYs

I thought I’d share some DEEOHHGEE tips I found useful since getting our Pup.

I’ve learned so much about Large Breeds, since getting our St. Bernard/Great Pyrenees Mix. They NEED Large Breed Puppy Food to help along the quick growing. Even the later Neutering to help with growth (Hormones).

Reading TONS and TONS of info online… I’ve come to the conclusion that DIAMOND Dog Food is for us. Yes, I’m aware of the Recalls! But, seeing as his parents and he was already on DIAMOND. Annnd, our recent Family Dog did wonders on DIAMOND (Only food he could eat! The Enzymes helped his Stomach)… We decided to stick with it.
One downfall I’ve read about DIAMOND was that: For the price comparison to others similar, it was LOWER in Protein.

So, keeping that in mind. I started with some Protein Treats to help make up for it.
A few of MANY things I do:
dehydratedsweetpotatoes
– Dehydrated Sweet Potato with Smidge of 100% Peanut Butter with No additives, not even added Oil.
Slice Sweet Potatoes. Soak in White Vinegar and Water. Some I also sprayed with Lemon Juice, some I didn’t. Place on Dehydrator trays. Dehydrate overnight. I have kids break up to pieces and spread a very lil PB on them. They feed him. Bonding and Deliciousness!

– Slight Sunny Side Up Egg mixed into his first cup of Pup Food for the Day.
Making Many options to keep him protein happy. And, never boring.

 – NOW, for the Toys. I paid only $4 for all the below! Getting idears online, with my own twists, using Old Socks (I save for Dust Rags, anyway). Old Victoria Secret Yoga Pants (Has the PERFECT Stretch and Material for it!). Dollar Store Toys. And, some Regular Tennis Balls. Many Options and types keeps him happily entertained!
diydogtoys1
1.) A few Dollar Store Items for him to Choose from.
2.) A Tennis Ball with a Small Slit or X shape cut. Stick Treats inside.
3.) A long strip of Victoria Secret Pants. Wrap around your hand til it’s all wrapped around. Take another strip, tie the Center, nice and tight. Making an 8 shape (As, my “Talented” drawing shows). Cut the ends of the 8. I also tied some of those strands together to create more of a ball.
diydogtoyexample
4.) Knot a sock nice and tight. Place into another sock. Knot it off. (Looks like tennis ball in it, it’s not. It’s another sock, knotted.)
5.) Knotted Sock Rope.
6.) Place small slits or Xs on opposite sides of Tennis Ball. Push (I used Pencil) Victoria Secret Yoga Pant LEG through holes. Knot off til ends.
diydogtoys2
This one uses two pant legs of Victoria Secret’s Yoga Pants. I had old Swing loop screw/bolt, screwed into tree stump. Tightly knotted one leg end to it. The other pants leg, I knotted all the way across it (Like #6 in last photo). Then, I tied the leg from tree to the center of the one similar to #6 (In last photo). I had to tie his favorite stick to it, to get him to realize it was HIS Toy and what it did… Which was Tug A War!

Please, help if you can. Even the Smallest of Donation is SOMETHING!

This past weekend as we were all going along with our business… Someone lost a Child. A Sudden and Unexpected Life Changing and Life Altering Moment that only contains Sadness and Heartbreak. Please… Anything to make this process easier would be EXTREMELY appreciated! A loss is always horrible… A loss of a child is unbearable. Please… Help, help them. I’m sorry this happened to such a “Bright Star” and such a great Mother…You, her friends, and your families are in our thoughts and Prayers.
Please, any donation… NO MATTER HOW SMALL… Is SOMETHING! And, very much appreciated:
Help a family with the sudden and unexpected costs of giving one’s own Child the Memorial ANY Parent would want for a Life Celebration and a Goodbye for their Precious Child.
https://www.gofundme.com/25hkqy4

Lazy Parent’s Kid Buffet

kiddotacobuffet

They have fun making them. You get the free time of making them! Win, win! I’ve, ALSO, noticed that the picky eaters ACTUALLY EAT IT, and MORE, when they MAKE THEM, THEMSELVES!!!

UPDATED Post: How We Do It on One Income!

More Savings! New: How your family could gain FREE ADMISSIONS to National and Federal Parks, Lands, and Water! Check Out How Here: CLICK HERE

DIY CHEAPIES – Travel Busy Keepers for Kiddos

With Vacations, we like to keep it cheap in areas that we can. Keeping kids busy is one of them. We usually go to Dollar Store and use Imagination… But, I think I can cut extra costs… Pfft… Cut cost at the dollar store… Now, that’s a Cheapskate! kidressuplogo

Here is an activity using everything we ALREADY HAD. Dress up the doll with felt on felt. Move pieces around to decorate her dress. Redesign over and over!
You’ll need :
Felt, many colors (You can’t see, but it’s Sparkly felt)
Glue (Glue works with felt)
Cardboard
Simple Quick Print Girl in Simple Dress
Beads, shapes, jewels, etc.

Print girl. Color. Cut out. Glue to cardboard. Cut out a variety of shapes of felt (Felt sticks to felt.).  I did lines, diamonds, etc. Glue jewels to felt. I used aspirin box and stapled to cardboard, for easier holding pieces to-be used. I stapled BACK of ziploc to cardboard, to hold pieces. NOTE: I glued jewels to longer pieces. The larger the pieces, the easier the felt sticks and holds to felt. Works pretty good, enough to keep my ladies happy on a drive.

Print Outs … They have MANY FREE prints available online. I print- Mad Libs, Word Finds, Find Difference, Mazes, Hang Man, Connect Dots Game, etc. 1 pk. per kid. I PREMADE a few below! Just Click and Print!
I try to fit 2 sideways per 8×11. I use back of pages for COLORING PAGES!
*** Quick Print Links: Activity 1, Activity 2 – More PRINTABLES Below
(Eccentric Coloring Pages, Would You Rather Game. Look for *** ).
If you CLICK ON PHOTOS, it will go into a gallery. There will be a VIEW FULL SIZE. If you click that, it will go to full size. You can save photo at full size for Easy Printing!

Other Printouts, I do Eccentric Coloring Pages on 8×11 paper. *** Click Here to Print BELOW Coloring Pages. These are detailed coloring pages to keep busy, and take longer than the basic coloring pages. They also have themed ones (My Little Pony, Pokemon, etc.). Below are for both boy/girl and for all ages.

Another Printout I do is the “Would You Rather…” Game. Prints 8 cards per 8×11 sheet. And the kids have fun playing. Now, I have a son. So, some of these are a bit gross… But, you should hear them laugh and laugh and laugh. Usually, I say, YOU GUYS THAT’S ENOUGH OF THAT TALK… So, it’s even more fun, they get the GO!  ***(Game Print HERE, just cut and throw ones you don’t want… I now realize 1 has a typo. Oh, well. The kiddos can enjoy the laugh at, the “Typo-ing adult”! Or, I’ll pull it off as “Educational”- A candy piece for each typo found! …Because, the adult MEANT to do that… Ha! Smart!):

*** Would You Rather Game PRINT HERE-CLICK 

Another activity is Funny Faces
I have a small magnetic board. I print an 8×11 with all our faces on them. I slide this print into a trapper keeper CLEAR sleeve. In a ziploc bag, I have cutouts with LIL magnets glued to back of facial features (Nose, Stache, Eyes, etc.) that I quick printed, colored, cutout, and glued magnets to back (Cutting up fridge magnets work! Make sure they’re strong).  Put clear sleeve with photos on top of magnet board. Now, they can make funny faces with our own family faces ANNNND use a dry erase marker to color on the clear sleeve. Wipe off, when done. I printed our faces first, then these (Below) in a few sizes to try to get an accurate ratio size. OR, you can just print out/draw Oval with Ears (Blank Face). They can make faces using the printed below (Which is easier). But, we find making Dad, Mom, or Sibling look silly, is A LOT Funnier!

pinthesillyface
(Photo above is one of the BDay Party Games we did with Bday Girl’s face. Pin the Face on the BDay Girl, SUPER EASY! 4-8×11 papers taped. How-To-Do on link. You can make a smaller version for traveling.)

Try our Wax Paper Sticker Book Idea:
waxpaperstickbooka

Got this idea from my daughter bursting into an emotional cry over her stickers being used up. Devastation of a 4yr. old! So, I made a book out of wax paper. She can now stick her stickers, take them off, move them around. Store them on the back page. Versus The Stick and Stuck. Sometimes you can get stickers cheap, but there’s those days in which those Puppy Eyes want the $4.99 pack of Frozen Stickers, that only contain 1 sheet, you later find out! In which gets used up in less than a minute. Not forgetting if 1 kid gets stickers, they all want them!
You can trace, with Perm. Marker, pictures for them to decorate. Or a teaching tool. With spelling, where kids fill in the blanks to complete words, using letter stickers (I used address labels for black letters, bought fun letter stickers for them to fill in.). So many things that can stem from this.
My daughter makes all sorts of stories and is able to move them around for more stories. That I get to hear about for the next few hours. Which is quite hilarious, with her imagination. This craft expands the life of sticker use. Thus saving us parents money and the 4yr. old’s devastating loss of sticker use.

DIY Kid Craft Wall Art
Try our EASY Art Project, HERE!

Also, I find a key to keeping occupied, are NEW things. For a long while, before a trip, I try not to let them play games, activities, etc. that I plan on bringing. This way, they aren’t already bored with it. So, no Mad Libs, Funny Face play, Doll Dress Up, PRE READING “Would you rather…” cards, etc. Until the trip. Works.  And, I have a fun Lunch Pack, which helps to avoid, “MCDONALDS, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE…” It’s a lunch, snacks, treats, SMALL drink, and a few dollar store toys (Usually, another activity). Beats the Kid’s Meal.

Bam! Done. You’re welcome…
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DIY Wall Art KID’S Craft

DIY Kid Craft Wall Art
Easy enough for the kiddos. Making beautiful artwork. My daughter made this! Got this idea from a gift she had gotten: A Pillow Project. I adapted it, so you can make beautiful wall art. You can do Letters (Names), Shapes (Heart, star, etc.), Numbers (Age, birthday, etc.), etc. You can fill it in, or make it as thick as you want. Or have the letter/shape one color, then fill the rest of the cardboard another color (No need to paint then!). Like this:
Kids Art Craft Wall ArtMy daughter just did a simple A, because it was for a How-To Presentation for class. You can get as detailed as you want. Looks Beautiful either way!
– Cardboard, sized to liking
– Paint cardboard (We used a glitter paint- They have glitter you can add to paint):
glitter paint
– Once dry… Draw a design. Ours was a simple single lined A.
– Poke holes along/on line.  (We used 3.5in nail)
– Use fabric, about 2in. x 2in. squares.
– Then using a small end object (Ours was kid’s paint brush -Cheap little one), press the CENTER of the fabric square THROUGH the holes, giving a flower like look.
– Glue 2 ribbons to back (One on each side). Tie into bow.
DIY Wall Art Kid Craft

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Effortlessly Remove Cradle Cap

Effortlessly Remove Cradle Cap
For Cradle Cap, I’ve tried baby oil, soaps, etc. I thought I’d share what worked for me, EASILY! Dawn Dish Soap, rag, a bowl of warm water (The more moist the rag, easier it works. Be careful not to drip into eyes. A workout headband helps).
Wet part of rag, add a dab of Dawn, rub to lather. LIGHTLY rub left to right, then up and down. For harder areas, rub Dawn onto affected area, to a small lather. ALLOW TO SIT, once you worked the entire area, go back to where you started, Re-Wet rag, add a little more Dawn, then rub back and forth, then up and down. It comes RIGHT UP!
DO NOT SCRUB or PRESS HARD!
BE CAREFUL when rinsing, to not get into eyes!
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– UPDATED! – How do you do it all, on 1 Income?

Money Savers
UPDATED-Again! We are asked about how we are able to manage our lifestyle with only one income. And do it with NO Reckless DEBT!
– First, the hub works so hard to provide us with the things we are fortunate to have.
– Secondly, we appreciate the value of a dollar. We usually have plans for each, usually each plan putting more money in our pockets in the long run. Most people make the mistake and have more plans for their dollar. Thinking, “Well, we can get this, and just cut here…”. But, never do the cutting. Thus, that dollar was spent twice… Creating a debt.
-We make life Fun, Cheap, and most importantly… Easy! You don’t need to spend fortunes to have great memories. Most people spend way too much money on “Fun”, only to spend their time running, exhausted, and broke for it. In the end, cheaper can be better. I’m not saying don’t splurge here and there, if ya have it. I’m just saying … It’s not needed. Or makes you a lesser of a person, if you don’t. Happy Homes can be made on Pennies!
Here are some Tips, we find Useful. Be sure to check out our added info- Senior/Student/Military Discounts, Kids Eat FREE list, & MORE… That you may not know about! (CLICK “CONTINUE READING”):
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Baby Taking Off Diaper/Jamas?

Backward PajamasPut the pajamas on BACKWARDS with zipper in the back. Problem solved! No more dirty diapers spread, pee everywhere, or cold baby. 

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Get Your Kids to Drink Water!

kidsdrinkwater


My kids usually love water. I was big on giving them water. Even watered down juices. But, my youngest is head strong against it.
So, I went to the dollar store. Had her help pick out SMALL items. I cut apart the Stickers/Tattoos. Separated Glitter Crayons (If you’re cheap, like me, cut the crayons in half- They fit better, too!)
Every so often I drew lines on a water bottle. With each line I taped an item on. With each line she drank to, she received that item. You can also do other versions of this, having rewards separate from the bottle.
-Also, I sometimes tape these facing in, to not ruin stickers. Also, she loves surprises. (Be sure your kiddo does, too, if taping face down! … Or, just dull the tape’s stickiness by sticking to your shirt, then taping sticker to bottle.)
Another Idea/Version:
YOU CAN EVEN get bracelets and they remove one with each line. (Or the last line, as final prize.)
Or have 8 on a cup and each night they put them away (Back onto the clean cup/bottle.). Then the next day they earn them back throughout the day. SO MANY IDEAS!

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Wax Paper Re-Usable Sticker Book

waxpaperstickbooka


Got this idea from my daughter bursting into an emotional cry over her stickers being used up. Devastation of a 4yr. old! So, I made a book out of wax paper. She can now stick her stickers, take them off, move them around. Store them on the back page. Versus The Stick and Stuck. Sometimes you can get stickers cheap, but there’s those days in which those Puppy Eyes want the $4.99 pack of Frozen Stickers, that only contain 1 sheet, you later find out! In which gets used up in less than a minute. Not forgetting if 1 kid gets stickers, they all want them!
You can trace, with Perm. Marker, pictures for them to decorate. Or a teaching tool. With spelling, where kids fill in the blanks to complete words, using letter stickers (I used address labels for black letters, bought fun letter stickers for them to fill in.). So many things that can stem from this.
My daughter makes all sorts of stories and is able to move them around for more stories. That I get to hear about for the next few hours. Which is quite hilarious, with her imagination. This craft expands the life of sticker use. Thus saving us parents money and the 4yr. old’s devastating loss of sticker use.

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Have the BEST BDAY PARTIES!

For the kiddos birthdays it’s fun to have a sleepover. It’s always a full house. I have a drop off of 4-6pm. Pickup next day by 10am-noon. There’s on average 10-13 kids. Our parties are the talk of the kiddos!

-I have constant snacks: Chips, Popcorn, Pretzels, Animal Crackers, Cookies. Pop (Caffeine free, duh!). Cake. Ice Cream. Pizza from Little Caesar’s ($5 each). FOOD IS KEY! But, watch it, don’t want lil Jr. getting an upset tummy.
Activities/ Games:
-We hook up 2 gaming sysytems. Wii and the Playstation. 1 on big t.v., other on smaller t.v.
MUSIC! We have a room specific for this. Loudish, I have a handy dandy Light Show to go with the beat of the music (Steal at yardsale-$3). In this room, the lights are always off, or black light bulbs in the fixture. Music is constantly on. They can come and go as they wish.
dancelights

-When it gets dark… Glow: Sticks, bracelets, and necklaces for all! Bday kid gets Wand.
bestpartiesglowsticks

-We have some games from Games List BELOW, kid favorites.
-We end the night, late, with a movie of BDAY kid’s choice. After all that dancing, they usually don’t last the entire movie!
movie
Face Painting! Luckily I’m not too shnabby at this. Washable tattoos work for the less artistic! I have a premade paper with options of some I can actually draw. (So they don’t say, “I’d like Mount Rushmore!”) They just pick the colors.

facepaint


kidsactivitybook


For my daughter’s birthday at school, we printed and cut out personalized books for her class. Took two glitter crayons and taped them together using printed address labels with my daughters photo on them. These make any kid’s day extra special, and ALL about them. With activities for everyone, too! Wordfind has the names of kids attending. Jokes were using kids’ names that attended, as well. I’ve done a Princess theme with visa card printouts and fake writable checks that were cut to size, stapled together, and perforated for easy ripping after they fill them out. I did play money with the kid’s faces, that were attending. Train passes for train theme. EVEN did a theme with “REWARD WANTED” pics with a photo of each kid that attended, and a silly reason they are wanted… Like, Booger Picking. Stinky Feet. Crazy Dancing. Etc. Have done play $ with each kid attending’s face. I’d staple and place these activities and funny pages into gift bags. Kids, and adults, had laughs. I also made bathroom signs and Take Your Shoes Off signs with their faces. Will post those photos some day.
Crayola has a picture upload to get personalized coloring pages, print and scan. Photo program using photocopy filter will work, too.
For $ printout: MONEY PRINT OUT

Option GAME LIST (Kid Favorites, Tons of Laughter):
*Game: Sock Toss. Like the musical game. Toss 2 of the birthday kid’s socks around (New ones, don’t tell them that!)… ONCE the music stops, the last 2 people who TOUCHED the sock have to open the socks. One will have a WINNER note. Other will have, “Wear this sock on your head and get a picture” note (Or just hold it up). Winner gets prize. I usually say BOTH people have to take pic with sock at end, but I trick them with one being the winner. But, they now know this.
diapertoss

*Game: Booty Shake. Tape tissue box to belt/rope (We used robe rope). They wear the belt and try to shake all the ping pong balls out of the box. Winner gets a prize.
shakeitgame

pinthesillyface
Game:
Pin the Silly Face on the Birthday Kiddo: Divide a photo of them (Large camera photo) into 4 (I used a photo program. They have free ones online). Print each 1/4th on 8×11 paper. Tape together. Print out noses, mustaches, have googly silly eyes, brows, etc. I have some on our site.Click: Printables. Color them. Place a dot on each facial feature and on the faces where each should sit (For winner measuring). Cover each kiddos eyes, spin them the number of years they are (Or, BDay kiddo’s age). They try to pin their facial feature nearest to it’s location. Measure to get closest. Closest is winner!

Game: Oreo challenge. They can’t use their hands/arms and have to STAY on their rumps. They try to get an Oreo from their forehead to their mouth. Winner gets prize.
Game 4: Sack Race. They wear a potato sack and have to jump around a track.
sackrace

*Game: Pin the… Except, you order a poster from walmart (7-11$) of your kid’s head/neck/shoulders You print up 2 funny looking ears, 1 funny looking nose, mustache, 2 eye brows, ear ring(s), freckles (How ever many kids attending). Then with pencil, slightly outline where each item belongs on the poster. Spin each person around number of years in age. Each person pins their items. Closest to their outline WINS. Looks funny at the end, too.
*Game: Dance off!
danceoff

*Game: Balloon pop!!! Night before, I place candy, bday gadgets (Mazes, bracelets, etc… Be careful which toys you pick, they will be stomping on these!!! Don’t want an OUCH!), and money into balloons. Blow them up with items inside (Takes a little stretching!). Play the Old School I WANT CANDY song. They pop the balloons and keep the contents. Make sure some have empty wrappers. Toilet paper roll. Pennies… Pranks.
balloonpopgame

We now do balloon pop when it’s dark and black light/strobe lights. Much more fun.
Game: Balloons filled with prizes. Taped/ pinned to pallet on it’s side. Plastic darts. If you pop it, prize is yours. Careful with younger ones. NOT as fun as balloon pop!
*Stars are the fun favorites.

dartgame
Game:
Great for older kids! Instead of Balloon Pop, we do Balloon Darts. Just take a cardboard box. Use a small nail to poke holes through. Fill each balloon with Treats, blow up, and tie off. Push the balloon knots through the holes. Once cardboard is full of balloons, hang up. Throw darts and get the treats.

beanpong copy
Game: Yes, this is like the Good Ol Beer Pong… But, Completely Kid Friendly!!! Have Solo Cups on each side (3, 2, 1, in triangle shape, as photo shows.) Count the number of players on each team, making 2 teams. GET BEAN BOOZLED Beans!!!! Needs to be Bean Boozled, for the gross effect!!! Place the same amount of beans, as players, into each cup. (Example: If there’s 3 players on each team, each cup gets 3 Beans). Each team takes turns shooting a ping pong ball into the opposing team’s cups. If they make it, EACH teammates, with the ball in their cups, has to take a bean (No cheating, just grab one). Then… They eat it. If you make the Pong Ball into the cup, that team gets to go again, until they miss. Then, the other team has a chance to go. Keep playing til one team empties the other team’s cups.

Tips:
-CUPS! Some kids may be too young to read their names. Simply use a permanent marker to draw images (Heart, smiley face, flower, etc.). This works pretty great. The youngins know which cup is there’s by the image. No confusions of who’s is which.
cups idea
-Don’t EVER list the games you will be doing. Sometimes, you don’t have time for them all, sometimes you have time to kill for MORE…
-I always buy extra prizes. In case more time for games or if there’s a tie, they each get one, or I have a roll of the dice.
-Tie Breakers roll dice. Highest wins the tie breaker. Let them know this before each game.
-Youngins: They can get wound up and over the line hyper. That’s okay. I have a Picture Find game. They sit down, and have to find the pictures before they come out. Calms them in a fun way. And I have a talk about appropriate behavior before they return to playing.
-Youngins: Try to pick games where everyone wins. Quick games, so attention span isn’t lost. Be energetic!
-Also, put things up! Hide the balls, hammers, glass, etc.
-No CAFFEINE! (Unless it’s before going home!)
-Try to have kids you are familiar with. Makes it easier. Nothing like finding out lil Jr. is mean and doesn’t like to share. And wants to call mommy every 10 minutes to tattle and go home. (Thankfully I haven’t had this at any party! Phhhheeeew!)
-Try to have separate areas. Gaming System (No running), Dance Area, Eating Area. So, no one’s stepping on toes. Have rules talked about ahead of time. Remember, these are kids. Have FUN!

ALSO CHECK OUT OUR POST for Cheap Camping. Some Great Fun Ideas!

 

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Pretty Pony Craft

ponypaintingcraft


Have a lil lady that wants to fashionize hair? Washable paint, so you can wash and reuse when that style is no longer in (Which I would know NOTHING about as a parent.). Let them do streaks, star and heart stamps, etc. Great babysitter for an hour! Then, longer while they play with them. Happy Parent. … Who am I kidding, I jump on in and paint, too. Works on Barbies, too.

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We’ve made it to OVER 55 Crock Pot Meals! With MORE to come… (UPDATE: 95+ MEALS)

50crockmeals1


Making life a little easier, and HEALTHIER, than most of the recipes out there.
Everything from tweeked everyday recipes to delicious Out of the Box recipes. Try something new!
Either click link: https://dinkingaround.wordpress.com/tag/crockpot/
Or CLICK on the Crock Pot TAGS on the right side of the page.
BE SURE TO Click “Older Posts” at the bottom left of the page, as it only loads a limited amount of posts/recipes at a time.
You can choose to cook ANY OF THESE RECIPES in the oven, or on stove top, as well. Your preference.

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My Vacation Easy Meals

7vacayfreezermeals
vacayfridgemeals


With a vacation full of fun and relax, we wanted to do just that. Also, save space for packing vs. packing many ingredients for meals. Especially, being gone a week and a family our size! We premade/preassembled meals, then froze them. And brought the Crock Pot. This technique SAVES SPACE! SAVES TIME. Food lasts longer. DOUBLED AS ICE FOR COOLER! And, it HELPS FINANCIALLY! Because, you can buy the meats when on sale, ahead of time, make and freeze as you go vs. all at once at full price.
(Also, check out our Recipe Gallery and our post Get the Most of Your Roast … Freezer Friendly Meals!)
Here’s the meals we did (ALSO, CHECK OUT OUR 2015 MEAL PLAN HERE!):

Frito Taco Salad
– Frito Taco Salads, a ritual for a while now.
1.5-2lb Beef (Turkey can be used)
2 GOOD Taco Season Pkt.
1/2c Water
1/2 can Diced Tomatoes, drained (Reserve juice)
3/4c Salsa
1/2can Refried Beans*
Little less than 1/2 can Black Beans w/Jalapenos* Optional
1 small onion, chopped (Added right before freezing)

Cook beef. Add in taco seasons, beans, salsa, tomatoes with juice, shakes of: Garlic Powder, Chili Powder, Onion Powder.
Allow to cool. Place in freezer bag (I double bag), lay flat. Day of eating, either thaw or just throw into crock. (I just threw in and kept on warm, flipping.) Serve with FRESH tomato, fritos, sour cream, shredd. cheese, lettuce, whatever other toppings of choice.
*(Rest of cans we used for tacos, the night I premade meals) These are also optional. Point is, just premake and freeze.

bbqlegstunasalad
– BBQ Legs with Tuna Salad
Frozen Legs
Favorite BBQ Season Pkt. (Marinade- Grill Mates Texas BBQ kind!)
Favorite BBQ Sauce

Add legs to ziploc bag, add in seasoning, allow to thaw- Mixing around. Grill legs. Close to being done, smoother with BBQ sauce, flip and repeat on other side. Allow each side to thicken. Serve.

– Tuna Salad:
Space Saver- I bought Miracle Whip. I kept a lil over 1/2 the jar. Rest I placed into separate container (For sandwiches). Then, I used Miracle Whip Jar to store the Tuna Salad SAUCE. In jar, I did:

I kept a lil more than 1/2 jar Miracle Whip (Leave in jar!)
1tsp TO 1+1/4tsp Lawry’s Seasonal Salt
1/4tsp Paprika
1/2tsp Dill Weed *SEE NOTES
2tsp Vinegar *SEE NOTES
1/8 tsp Onion Powder
  -MIX ABOVE INGREDIENTS IN Miracle Whip container.
-Then, add to jar, on top of Sauce (Don’t mix in):

1.5c Shredd. Cheddar Cheese
1c Frozen Peas
  -Place on lid.
-1 hour Prior to Serving:

About 2c uncooked Macaroni Noodles, cooked
2 cans Tuna, drained (1 hr. prior to eating. KEEP IN CANS TIL THEN!)

I premade sauce morning of trip. For leak reinforcement: I placed some plastic over top of Miracle Whip jar (I used ripped sandwich bag), twisted on top. Keep cold til serving.
About 1 hour prior to serving: Cook noodles. Mix sauce and canned tuna together. Add noodles into sauce, to consistency desired. Toss rest. I always have it a little saucy, as it’ll sit and absorb some. Keep cold til serving.
*NOTES: I didn’t have pickle juice from the jar, what we usually use. So, improvised with vinegar and dill. Try it with dill pickle juice! I always eyeball it. About 1T to 1.5T… About. Skip Vinegar and Dill, then.

campingburgerfoils
– Hamburger Foils
Frozen Burger Patties, 1 per foil
1 Potato per foil, diced
1 bag Baby Carrots, split up (1 bag lasted 6 foils)
Chopped Onions (We used 2 small for 4 people)
1 Onion Season Pkt. (A small sprinkle per foil. It goes a LONG way!)
1-2T Butter per packet, we forgot, and a smidge of Crisco worked well!

Dice potatoes, cut onions. Give each person foil. Kids love making their own! Add in desired vegis. Top with butter or crisco. Add one frozen burger to top. A small sprinkle of onion pkt. seasoning. Double or triple wrap. Add to hot fire pit coals. Ours cooked in about 45 minutes (Time varies). Rotate, we didn’t flip!
Rest of burgers we had for supper another night. We also ate leftover Tuna Salad with this meal.
Healthier Option: Turkey Burger, Butter Spray/Olive Oil/Coconut Oil

– Pepperoncini Roast Beef Sandwiches (Updated Recipe. PLUS, More Roast Recipes!):
In a freezer bag place:
UNcooked Roast
1 Pkt. Au Jus *Optional
1 Pkt. Good Ranch Season
1 Jar Pepperoncinis, whole, tips cut, and drained
1 small Onion, sliced
3 Beef Broth Cubes
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
Fresh Cracked Pepper
Add later:
3.5c Water (Add to crock when cooking! 3, if skipping Au Jus)
Provolone Cheese (I buy and FREEZE complete pkg. – SEPARATE from roast. Throw into fridge at vacation destination, to thaw, then use.)

Eating time, just throw everything into crock, except cheese. (Tip: Add water into bag to get excess seasons, add to crock). Cook on low til done. Near end, add Provolone Cheese to top. Serve on buns once Provolone’s melted.

– Zesty BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
Frozen Chicken
1 Zesty Italian Season Pkt.
1 bottle BBQ (We used Smoked Hickory. Your Pref.)
2T Worcestershire
1/4c Brown Sugar
1/4tsp TO 1/2tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1/4c Water
1 small Onion (Added right before freezing)

PREMAKE IN CROCK at home (On low, til chicken is done). Cool, add onion, then freeze, laying flat, in double freezer bags. Eating time throw into crock and warm til thawed, cook on low. Serve on buns.

– Sloppies
1.5lb Beef, cooked.
Season with few good shakes of: Basil, Oregano, Pepper, Garlic Powder
1 can Manwich Sloppy Sauce
1 can Stewed Tomatoes, drained
1 small Onion, chopped

Cook. Allow to cool completely. Double Freezer bag, lay flat. Freeze. Eating day, throw into crock. I did on warm til thawed, stirring. Serve on buns.

– Chicken Salad Burgers (Try this recipe, too)
1/4c White vinegar
Up to 1/4 tsp Sea Salt (I use 1/8+1/16tsp)
1/4 tsp Pepper
1c + 1/4c Mayo
1c Sour Cream
4 celery, cut small
1 bunch Green Onion
4-5 Chicken Breasts, cooked (Boiled in Water+1 Chicken Broth cube)
Optional* 1/8 tsp Sugar, or more to taste

Place frozen chicken into water with chicken broth cube. Turn on heat and cook til done. Drain and cut up. Mix all together. Pack in tightly concealed container. Keep refrigerated til serving. I premade morning of leaving. Ate for lunch within 3 days.

YOU CAN Pretty much make any of our recipes and prefreeze them for vacation meals. Then, just throw in Crock Pot and Forget About It! Check Out Our Soups, Roasts, Chili Recipes. Or, Our Crock Pot Recipes … Those are all GREAT to PrePrep/PreMake and Freeze… Making Easy Meals! Last year we did our Chillin Chili (Premade in crock, froze as flat as could in ziploc.). You can do this with any stew, roast, chili, even soups!
TIP: When Premaking Meals with Broth:
-If Pre-PREPping (Not cooking): I usually add the Broth Cubes to freezer meals, then, add water at time of cooking. Just Write on freezer bag how many cups of water needed for cooking!
-If Pre-COOKing: Add Water at time of cooking, of course.

Also, we had Lunch Meat Wiches with leftover Miracle Whip (I freeze Lunch Meat and thaw in fridge on arrival), Tuna+Pea Sandwiches, Easy Packable Breakfast (Cereal, Poptarts), Smores, Waffle Camping Cones: Waffle Cones, REPEAT layers with pieces: Chocolate, Bananas, Marshmallow. Wrap in foil 3 times. Place in small fire, or on coals, about 30sec. on 4 sides.

YOU CAN EVEN FREEZE Buns! Luckily we have a toaster where we go, for quick thaw/toasting. Or use foil in Fire Pit. Or, toast on Grill. Also, awesome if you see them ON SALE at the store! Be sure to keep frozen til use. Or, they will thaw and mold!!!

Tips I seen, and will try next year. Probably better if you’re scrambling eggs. Crack and add to mason jar, place plastic on top, twist on top. Pour out to use. Helps those pesky eggs from breaking in carts!
Premake pancake mix, add into cleaned out ketchup bottle. Shake and use.

Pack FREEZIES – Doubles as ice. Cheap Treat!

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Personalized Kid’s Activity Book

kidsactivitybook

For my daughter’s birthday at school, we printed and cut out personalized books for her class. Took two glitter crayons and taped them together using printed address labels with my daughters photo on them. These make any kid’s day extra special, and ALL about them. With activities for everyone, too! Wordfind has the names of kids attending. Jokes were using kids’ names that attended, as well. I’ve done a Princess theme with visa card printouts and fake writable checks that were cut to size, stapled together, and perforated for easy ripping after they fill them out. I did play money with the kid’s faces, that were attending. Train passes for train theme. EVEN did a theme with “REWARD WANTED” pics with a photo of each kid that attended, and a silly reason they are wanted… Like, Booger Picking. Stinky Feet. Crazy Dancing. Etc. I’d staple and place these activities and funny pages into gift bags. Kids, and adults, had laughs. I also made bathroom signs and Take Your Shoes Off signs with their faces. Will post those photos some day.
Crayola has a picture upload to get personalized coloring pages, print and scan. Photo program using photocopy filter will work, too.

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EarAche Gone in a DAY! 2 Kids Tested, Mom Approved!

earaches

I want to share a success story of recent ear probs in my daughters, 3 and 6 years of age. Also, myself.
Lately, I’ve been finding Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) to be a useful tool. My chickens get it, and have never gotten worms or sick. My Parakeet was sick and foaming from the mouth while not eating. I added some in it’s water and food. Within a day, there was a HUGE turn around. Also, boosts my energy. Among other things…
My darling 6yr old started badly crying of an earache. Knowing she loves to get ear infections, and get them bad, we thought, “Uh Oh! Docs here we come!“. But, first I wanted to try something. I’ve read mixed reviews about placing ACV into the ear. There were great turnouts with mixing ACV with water. In which some said, “NO! Putting fluid into the ear will push it back, or cause it to worsen“. Making up my mind, I mixed this with my momma’s old trick…

I place two socks (1stuck into the other) around rim of cup (For easy pouring of salt). I heat salt in a skillet til it smokes, or is hot (Careful it can pop at ya). I give salt a second, and pour into socks. Tie end. If hot, place into another sock (I like those soft knitted ones), or wrap in a rag. BE CAREFUL IT’S NOT TOO HOT! Keep checking it. It can get hotter as it sits.
I laid her down with bad ear facing up. I took a baby medicine syringe, placed about .625mL of straight up (Not diluted) ORGANIC BRAGGS Apple Cider Vinegar into the ear, I massaged around the outside by cheek bone and ear for about 10 seconds. I then had her sit up for about a minute. Then, I had her lay on her side, bad ear facing down, directly onto the heated salt sock. Throughout the day I reheated her salt sock to lay on it. I only did ACV (Followed with heated sock) with eldest’s ear twice, early & later that day.
Next day, there was tons of gunk in outer ear, and NOT another complaint of pain. It just disappeared! My youngest, 3yr old, then started to complain. I did the same thing, ACV only once (With heated sock). Next day, gunk. No complaints! No pumping of unneeded antibiotics… This time!
UPDATE: I have used this on myself, my son, and my daughters both complained about their opposite ear. Again, 1 day. Only one treatment of ACV this time around. And, a heated sock throughout the day. It worked!
Note: I’m not in any way a doctor. I’m just a mother sharing my experience with this. Every child is different, reacts different. You should always consult a doctor, and use your motherly/fatherly instincts.


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Lice Prevention

lice

In the BC years (Before Children), I only came into contact with lice once. My elementary years. Thanks lil sis! There’s 2 things that make me cringe and ITCH… Ants and lice talk. But, now, I have kids. Who are in several different classes and groups. We go to several play areas. So, lice prevention is even more of a concern for me.
When it happened, a few LICE notifications were sent home, that we never received (Found later in son’s room!). My son complained of a itchy head. It was hot out and my son was long due for a hair cut. We thought it was just the sweat and long hair. Come cutting time… LICE. Big lice (I always thought lice was needle head small!). The little I did hear of lice, were horror stories of cutting hair short, shaving for boys! Hard to get rid of. So, a rampage I was on. I went overboard! EVERYTHING in the home was bagged, thrown, or washed in hot water and dried on high. And still bagged for weeks. I even took curtains down! Kids slept on bed sheets on the floor that were changed several times a day! They still remember how horrible the bathing process was. With limited hot water to do it all! Then the tears of thinking of cutting my daughter’s THICK long gorgeous hair! We spent TONS OF MONEY on sprays, treatments (Which reddened their poor scalps), etc. And the embarrassment to have to tell people. Not until later I found out how common it was, people just don’t talk about it! Well, they should. Lice is not caused by dirtiness. It’s caused by getting it from people who are! haha I’M COMPLETELY JOKING!!! Kids will be kids. They share clothing, sit in close quarters, brush hair, they’re in several different public places encountering several kids, who themselves have encountered several others.

I came across our Regime from treating my scalp dandruff and itchiness (Not from lice). I started putting tea tree oil drops into my shampoo. Which worked wonders! Among reading the benefits, I read it prevented and killed lice! So, If it’s good for your scalp and prevents and kills lice, WHY NOT add some drops to the kid’s shampoo? Or even have a once a week bottle. Where they wash once a week. Seeing as lice hatches every 6days about. It’s easy. Add several drops (10-20, or so) into shampoo bottle. Lice treatment may need altering. Shake well before EACH use. Apply, getting into scalp. Let sit 5-10 minutes. Rinse. Condition. Done! A great preventative. Saves you $. My family has remained lice free since that incident, years. Or, just add a few drops into your hand and mix with the Shampoo you are using.
Good extra protection tip: I check bags immediately. If a note is present. I lightly spray their backpacks with, on hand, RID bed spray. They hop into shower (Bath for youngins). They use the tea tree shampoo for 5-10min. Rinse. They redress. I wash the one load. Done.
Click Here for list of other uses of Tea Tree Oil. With many uses, our small bottle went a LONG WAY!
Also, use with care. Not everything is for everyone. Never apply directly to skin, always dilute.

Get Your Kids to Do Their Chores! Simply.

kidschoressm

It was hard to keep my kids motivated or interested for long periods about doing chores. We did the star chart. We’ve tried weekly allowance, but kids seen a week as TOO long of a wait and lost hope. Me, well, failing to bring them to the store frequently enough to spend it. Not to mention my lack of organization- How much I already paid, how much I still owe who? BLAH! I did losing privileges which failed all together. With too many things lost, they thought “What’s the point?”. That did more displaying of bad consequences than good. Especially the younger ones. They like to see the rewards quickly to maintain interest.
SOOO…
I made a chore chart for each child. Laminate, or white board for easy check-off. I used pictures for the little ones. For each chore completed, I’d give them $1. (What?! You say. I’d be broke!!!). This is the best part…
Not real money! I edited a sheet of play money. Which I have link below for you to utilize! I added each child’s face to them (So, they wouldn’t steal. They also got super excited to see $ with their faces on it. Favorite characters, stickers, or paint and glitter their initial in the circle works, too.). Then, I printed on green paper. After each chore completed, they’d get $1. I also had extra credit chores that could be done IF their main chores were done. Like reading, reading to younger sibling, feeding the dog, etc. We’d give them a time frame. 1 hour before bedtime. If any main chores weren’t done, they owed me $1 for each. If they didn’t have any $, then it’s 15 minutes early to bed or they don’t get to shop at the store that night. Then, I’d open our Store each night (Crate of goodies) with a price tag on each. I’d separate a bag of suckers, making each $1 (Limit 1), tons of stickers/tattoo sheets of 100+, separated, $1 each. The better the toy the more the cost. I bought ALL these at the DOLLAR STORE! For the elders I also had a list that stated- Trip to ChuckECheese $200, Movie Night with Pizza $100, Sleepover $150, etc. Also, 1 hour before time limit, I’d announce “STORE OPENS IN 1 HOUR!”, then “STORE OPENS IN 30 MINUTES”. So, they aren’t caught off guard. When times up, I’d check and hand out cash accordingly.
This not only gets them to do their chores and saves us TONS of money, but teaches them the benefits of saving up, even math!
***Extra tip: For the small children (My 3 yr old), I’d help remind, and give chores 1 at a time, as to not overwhelm. I’ve learned you’ll have more success if a child is given details of what to do vs just hearing “Go clean your room”. Which can be overwhelming. For example I’d say- “Gather all book and put them on the shelf.” When completed I moved on “Fold all shirts”, then “Place blocks in their box”, etc. Sometimes extra motivation, like “I bet you can’t pick up 4 toys and place in toy box.”, “Fold 3 shirts.”, “How about 5 toys now?!”. I’d turn it into a game. Even pretending I was a monster that with each item picked up was an attack on me… But, if they failed… I’d get them. They get the hang of how to clean vs. seeing a huge mess and not knowing where to begin. Even as adults, we say to ourselves “Oh, Boy! Where do I even start…?”

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