5 DIY Games for a Spooky and Silly Kids Halloween Party

kids in halloween costumesThere is nothing worse than hosting a Halloween party that’s a dud. But the best moms know you can be both thrifty and fun when it comes to having a blast with your kids on Halloween.

And while there are a bunch of family-friendly scary movies that might be perfect for both you and your little ones, it’s a lot more fun to play games on Halloween.

Kids Halloween party games are the difference between staring at the screen and lots of laughs for the whole party. You don’t need to break the bank either.

Here are 5 DIY games for a spooky and silly party:

1. Zombie Tag

A variation on the game “tag you’re it” involves all the kids making zombie faces. Without touching anyone, can the “it” person get another kid to smile or crack?

The next person to crack is “it.” For something so simple you’ll be surprised at the laughs.

2. Scavenger Hunts

One of the most fun parties you can have for kids includes Halloween Scavenger Hunts. You can do some searching for costume elements, candy, and even solve riddles along the way.

Sprinkle in some goblins and zombies, and the kids will be laughing up a storm.

You can even include hidden treats on the hunt! What about a stop at some delicious candy apples?

3. Balloon Pop

Have you ever jumped with fright at the sound of a balloon popping? Me too!

A way to have great fun and a lot of laughs is a Halloween Balloon Pop game with the kids at your party. A great way to prepare is to have both orange and black balloons at your party.

You can also use blue or purple– so long as there are two different colored balloons. Make two teams and start popping, using only body parts. No sharp objects allowed!

Watch the giggles erupt as the squishy balloons move and squirm around the room. Whichever color team pops the most balloons wins!

4. The Mummy’s Tomb

Break out the toilet paper and make two teams. Choose one person to be the mummy on each side. Which team can wrap the mummy faster?

It’s a mess of toilet paper and good fun!

5. Eyeball Hunt

Cook a huge spot of spaghetti and drop in a marble or two after the gooey pasta cools. While blindfolded, find out which kid can find “the eyeball” fastest in the pot of brains.

This one is popular, so you’ll want to make and cool a lot of pasta beforehand for the squishy fun.

Kids Halloween Party Costumes Add to the Fun

Just because you saved on the games doesn’t mean you need to overspend on the costumes. Your kids can look great, and you’ll save a bunch with my costume tips too!

Let all the other parents know too. They don’t have to throw money out the window to get their kids ready for a fun party at your house!

And you don’t have to sew either! Take a look at my frugal living no-sew Halloween costume tips for great ideas to wear at the party.

Enjoy Your Party

Get the camera ready for the fun and costumes! Kids Halloween party pics are some of our family’s favorite memories of the whole year.

Combine a few of these games and your party will be the best in town for kids.

 

 

 

5 Green Tips to Save Money on Home Heating

home heatingReady for cooler temps, but not quite ready for your power bill to increase? As your systems kick into full gear to heat your home, you may be dreading that inevitable spike in your monthly expenses.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that home heating and cooling accounts for almost half (48%) of your household’s total energy use. Yet, reducing that amount and lowering your bill might not be as difficult as you think — and you won’t have to forego your beloved heat for mounds of heavy blankets to do so.

In fact, there are many environmentally friendly ways you can save money on heating.

Ready to learn more? Keep reading!

1. Check Your Weather Stripping

When air leaks through your windows and doors, you can easily lose heat. In fact, experts estimate that 10% of a home’s heat loss is attributed to poorly sealed windows, and 11% from leaky doors.

If you’re constantly dialing up the thermostat to stay comfortable, consider checking the weather stripping around your entryways and windows. If it’s worn down or torn, replace it and fortify the seal with indoor caulk.

This simple step can help reduce drafts and conserve energy, saving you money on home heating and keeping you warmer.

2. Replace Old Windows

Though repairing your weather stripping will help conserve heat, the reality is that if your windows are outdated, they may not be optimized to prevent heat loss.

If your budget allows, consider making the switch to energy-efficient windows.

These are often multi-pane, with an insulating layer of air between the two panes. This design offers valuable heat and energy savings over traditional single-paned options.

Not ready to invest in new windows? Try covering your doors and windows with clear, transparent film. Available at home supply stores, this film allows you to better retain heat in your home and can easily be peeled off as required.

3. Better Insulate Your Attic

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates homeowners can save around 15% on their home heating and cooling costs just by sealing leaks and upgrading the insulation in their attic.

Evaluate if there are any areas in your attic that may require extra insulation. Often, though the space itself may be well-insulated, there may be heat loss around the access door.

If yours needs attention, fiberglass batt insulation affixed to the attic side of the door can make a huge difference.

4. Fine-Tune Your Home Heating Systems

What’s one of the easiest and most effective ways to maximize your home’s heat retention? Ensure your heating and air conditioning systems are clean and routinely maintained.

It takes more energy (and costs more money) to push air through a dirty system filled with debris. Sticking to a regular cleaning and upkeep schedule can keep yours working at an ideal setting.

Not sure where to start? A professional company skilled at boiler and heating system installation and repair, such as Diamond Gas & Heating, can provide the care your systems need.

5. Invest in a Smart Thermostat

You already know that keeping the temperature cooler in your home can save you money on your power bills. Yet, chances are you don’t want to be uncomfortable in your own home, buried under layers, all winter long.

As an alternative, consider investing in a smart, programmable thermostat. You can set these systems to automatically lower your home’s temperature by 10 to 15 degrees for around eight hours, ideally while you sleep or are away during the day.

This way, you’re not paying to heat your home to full capacity when there’s no one there, or when you’re not awake to enjoy it. Talk about smart savings!

Save Big and Live Bigger: Easy Ways to Start

Are you looking to cut costs without cutting corners? Are you interested in learning more household tips that can preserve your sanity while protecting your bank account?

If so, you’ve come to the right place!

From deals and freebies to tips on frugal living, I provide it all — helping you live easier and save smarter every day.

Feel free to contact me for more information and let’s talk thrifty!

5 Simple Ways to Make Money as a Stay at Home Mom

 stay at homeIf you’re a stay at home mom, you already have a full-time job.

So if you are looking to earn a little extra money, you need a job that offers the ability to work at home and on your own schedule.

Luckily, the Internet makes it easy for busy moms to make a small additional income without investing a ton of time. Some of these jobs/gigs require special skills. However, others can be done by anyone with a computer, tablet, or phone.

If you’re ready to start making some extra cash, check out these five simple ways for moms to make money from home.

1. Freelance Work

If you’re a great writer, editor, or graphic designer, you can cash in on a massive online market.

Businesses of all types of sizes are increasingly turning to freelancers to get work done. They save money by avoiding paying for benefits or full-time salaries.

You get the chance to use your skills to make big bucks, and you can set your own schedule.

2. Online Surveys

Online surveys are a great way for anyone to make a little extra money.

All you have to do is join an online survey site and start taking surveys. Opinion Outpost is a great site for surveys. They pay in Amazon gift cards starting in the amount of $5.00.

The surveys take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour. You could start earning gift cards after taking as few as five surveys.

3. Blogging

Moms and dads from around the world love to read blogs like proudmummy.com. They enjoy learning about the trials and triumphs that other moms and dads experience. They benefit from the tips and tricks that other parents have to offer.

If you enjoy reading parenting blogs, why not start your own? If done correctly, this can also be a great way to earn some extra money.

If you want to start a blog, you should learn from those who already have successful blogs. Learn what your first posts should be like and how to add advertisements.

You need to know how to create a consistent, polished blog that other parents will want to read.

4. Etsy Sales

If you love to take photos, knit, or create other handmade items, then becoming a seller on Etsy might be the perfect way to make some extra money.

With so much competition on the site, selling on Etsy can be tough.

However, if you can create a unique product, offer it at a reasonable price, and spread the word about your items on social media, you’ll be making money in no time!

5. Product Testing

Many companies outsource product testing of all sorts of products. You can cash in on this. All you have to do is sign up with a product testing website, like Product Testing USA.

While becoming a product tester won’t always earn you cash, it can be a great way to get products that you need for free. This will help you to save you money on your next grocery store visit.

Make Money As A Stay at Home Mom

Making money as a stay at home mom on your own schedule doesn’t have to be tough.

Any of these five options can be a great way to make some extra money. Yes, even when you’re juggling taking care of a house and kids.

Try one out today to see for yourself.

How to Get Your Kids to Love Green Superfood

boy eating vegetablesDo your kids run for the hills when they see fresh greens?

You can’t force kids to eat veggies, but you can certainly make it easier for them to love green superfood. A balanced diet with ample vegetables is crucial to your young one’s health, so it’s important to figure out how to get them to love their greens.

Here are the secrets to getting your kids to enjoy veggies!

Blending In Smoothly

Most kids will flee at the sight of raw spinach and other green superfoods like collards or kale. However, you can blend your greens with fresh fruits and other healthy foods to create incredible green smoothies and juices!

When trying to ease your children into the amazing world of green superfood smoothies, like those at The Real Thing Health, you need to involve them in the whole process. Get your kids to pick their favorite drinking cup and straw for their smoothies and talk to them about the importance of healthy eating.

There are tons of amazing green superfood smoothie recipes you can try. From simple blends of fresh greens with fruit to more exotic combinations of ingredients, you are sure to find something your kids will love!

Now We’re Cooking

Green superfood smoothies are a great way to introduce your kids to fresh greens. Ideally, you want your kids to enjoy vegetables in their food as well!

From tasty snacks that pack a healthy punch to delicious kid-friendly dishes, there are many ways to incorporate veggies into your daily cooking.

Good solutions include veggie dips, overnight oats supercharged with green goodness, pancakes with grass powder, purees and green pizza. As usual, ask your kids what they prefer, experiment and do your research.

There’s no excuse to serve plain vegetables to your kids, especially when cooking them doesn’t always reduce their dietary value! In fact, spinach is more nutritious boiled than raw!

Making Green Superfood Fun

Food doesn’t have to be boring!

In fact, with so many amazing ways to eat healthily, it’s almost criminal NOT to have fun with healthy eating.

When it comes to getting your kids to love superfoods, you should engage with them! Picking vegetables and cooking them into amazing smoothies and ultra-healthy snacks will do the trick!

It’s cool to enjoy your own green juice. If your kids don’t believe you, you can always show them videos and pictures of other children enjoying awesome green smoothies online.

Get Involved

However you choose to introduce veggies into your kids’ lives, they won’t learn to enjoy green superfood dishes if you don’t eat them yourself!

Check your own diet. Are you eating enough leafy greens? Are you supplementing your diet with enough green superfood? Children are extremely perceptive and will know if you are doing differently than you preach.

So remember, you need to follow your own advice when it comes to eating veggies! You can make cooking a family activity that will help you all live healthier while also strengthening your bonds.

Because nothing says “I love you” better than a delicious cup of thick green smoothie!

What Is Reverse Osmosis? 5 Benefits Of Having This Water Filter In Your Home

reverse osmosisEnvironmentalists make a big deal out of sustainability. As thrifty moms, though, we don’t always have the cash to live sustainably. For this reason, a reverse osmosis water filter sounds like something many of us don’t have the money to buy right now.

But is the cost really all that high? That is to say, do the benefits make up for the price?

As it turns out, they do. Find out why below.

1. It Uses Less Energy Than Other Systems

If you’re not currently filtering your water, there is a good reason to. Using a filter is like housekeeping for your water.

If you’re already using a filter, it’s likely not as energy efficient as reverse osmosis filters. Systems such as the well-known Filter Pure Everpure systems, for example, do a great job of saving energy while purifying your water.

And saving energy means saving money, which is something we all want.

2. Your Water Will Be Free of Contaminants

You and your family deserve to drink clean water. Without a filter, your household could be doing just the opposite.

From lead to other metals and particles, your unfiltered water is brimming with unpleasant chemicals. As some of you may know, high levels of lead can be particularly damaging, especially to children. Reverse osmosis filters help remove these nasties from your water and limit your family’s exposure to them.

3. You’ll Save Money

As stated above, reverse osmosis water filters save energy, and that means that they save your family some money. These filters can also save your family money in another meaningful way.

Take a look around your kitchen right now. Do you see any bottles of water sitting around? If so, purchasing a reverse osmosis filter could you save the trouble of buying those bottles of water.

As an added bonus, not buying bottled water would definitely help cut down on plastic waste, which means that your thriftiness would be a boon to the planet in this case.

4. Your Water (and Food) Will Taste Better

Those of you who are coffee fanatics or home chefs will be happy to hear that having a filter in your home will make just about everything you prepare with water from your faucet taste better. Whenever you cook pasta or make tea, the water you use contributes to the flavor of the finished product.

And if you’re using fresh, filtered water, you’ll notice a slight difference in the flavor.

5. They Play Well With Water Softners

Hard water is the enemy of most good hair days. The buildup that it can cause is a headache, so some invest in water softeners.

Of course, softened water doesn’t taste all that great to some people. Fortunately, you can pair a water softener with a water purifier and get the benefits of having both soft water and purified water.

This means that you get to keep your good hair days and have delicious water.

Osmosis Water Filters Are Good Investments

Osmosis water filters are pretty good investments, all things considered. They help save money, remove contaminants from your water, and remove any gross flavors from your water as well.

As usual, thrifty mommas, don’t be afraid to chime in below. What are your experiences with reverse osmosis water filters?

Road Trip Hacks: How to Travel With Kids and Keep Your Sanity

travel with kidsWhen you travel with kids, you could be setting yourself in for a stressful time. 6% of parents in one survey confessed to returning home early from a family holiday because it was just too much for them.

A road trip with kids should be simple right? Wrong. They’re tired, they’re fidgety, they start fighting in the back – we love our kids, but sometimes they can be little terrors!

Here’s how to keep your sanity on a long-haul road trip.

1. Distract Them with a Map

When you travel with kids, give them a map and let them trace a finger along to your destination.

This can help to keep them occupied, as well as manage their expectations of when you might arrive.

Plus, they might learn the names of a few states or cities – parents can live in the hope we’re providing a bit of education for the little ones!

2. Plan Regular Breaks

On a long drive, there’s no doubt all that pent up energy in the back seat is going to cause a fuss sooner or later. And you’ll need the bathroom.

Scope out gas stations along your route before you leave, and plan where to stop.

Find places where you can park up a while and head to a nearby play area. Let them run around until they’re tired – and hopefully, they’ll be a bit quieter when you continue driving.

While you’re pulled into a gas station, you might be interested to know about how to get free gas and keep the cost of your trip low. You might also want to check for coupons to grab free or discounted food.

If exercise doesn’t work, how about trying to teach them a ‘calm breathing routine‘? Turn it into a game if you must.

Anything that stops them asking “Are we there yet?” one more time.

3. Bring Some Entertainment and Food

Bring books or audio books along for the drive. If you have an iPad, consider giving them that to play with if they’re old enough. Or even DVDs if you’re lucky enough to have televisions in your car seats.

If you have more than one child, handing them a travel set of a game like checkers, with a magnetic board and pieces can work wonders to keep them quiet for a few hours. So long as it doesn’t cause a fight.

Snacks can help to keep them quiet too – but don’t overdo it on the sugar. The last thing you want is a five-year-old at the height of a sugar high in the car with you.

If it’s a long journey, don’t forget to bring a packed lunch for the family – or make use of those gas station stops to refuel yourselves too.

Travel with Kids – Are You Still Sane?

Hopefully, these tips help you to survive your road trip with your mental health completely intact.

We hope your trip goes well – and if you want to save some money while you’re out of town, be sure to check out these hot deals – you never know when your luck will be in!

5 Essential Last Minute Shopping Tips for Any Occasion

last minute shoppingWhile we all like to think we are collected and prepared, there will always be times where life gets ahead of you. You will find yourself staring down the barrel of a birthday or anniversary without any gift or plans for the day.

Don’t panic, we have your back with these five golden tips on how to become the master of last minute shopping for whatever occasion.

Looking for a Gift Last Minute is No Reason to Worry

With next day, or even same day delivery now an option for online shoppers everywhere, there really is no need to panic about gifts. If you take these five essential tips into consideration you will be able to call yourself a last minute ninja.

Always Stick to Your Budget

It can be easy to throw a budget out of the window. Whether it is because of the guilt you feel at forgetting the event, or because you don’t have the time to look around for the best price. However, that is a big mistake because it can cause more problems than it solves.

Set a budget per person, or per gift, and stick to it, no matter what.

Email Works Well For Christmas Cards

Christmas is here and you need to send your corporate cards out to customers. However, if you find yourself forgetting the final delivery dates, it doesn’t matter if you have cheap business Christmas cards or not, they need to arrive on time.

In times such as this, never forget that an email card is a great alternative in the modern corporate world.

A Gift Card is a Valid Gift Option Not Only When Last Minute Shopping

Gifting someone a voucher for a shop, or a chain of shops is a simple but great gift for you to give. It means that you are giving the person receiving the voucher the ability to choose their own gift.

Use your Credit Card Points for Extra Benefits

For many of us, the credit card is a dreaded necessity, however, it can be used to work to your advantage. Many companies have different schemes and plans that allow you to save or spend points linked to your credit card purchases. If you save these up they can give you an extra bonus when it looking for a last minute shopping gift.

Approach Your Shopping with a Plan

This applies to all instances of gift shopping, but it is especially important when you are last minute shopping because there are always a lot of distractions that are ready to pull you away from your goal.

If you hit the shops, either physical or virtual with a solid game plan, then you will be laden with all the right gifts before you know it.

Giving is About the Experience and the Thought Behind it

The important thing to remember with gifts is that it is the thought behind it that really counts. You can make people happy with a simple gift that really shows you know them as an individual.

Whether you are buying in advance, or last-minute, that fact does not change.

Happy shopping!