Create a Frugal, Fun Family Night in Only 6 Steps

Are you searching for ways to have fun family nights without spending a fortune or even leaving the house?

I get it. This year’s pandemic has made it tough for my husband and I to keep our kids entertained. Let alone doing it while sticking to our yearly goals (which include sticking to our budget.)

However, we’ve gotten creative and designed fun family nights at home that our kids are totally loving. They’re asking for fun family nights every weekend.

Here’s what we do to have a frugal and fun family night in:

**This post may contain affiliate links. This means, in the event you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This will be at no extra cost to you.I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to AMAZON.COM and affiliated sites. Thank you for supporting my blog!**

1. Cook Outside

I’ll tell you upfront, our ideas did require a little bit of investment. However, we thought it wise to make these initial investments because we can use them time and again.

To begin our fun family night, we cook outside. We do this over our DIY fire pit.

If you aren’t super crafty, you can purchase a fire pit. But if you’re good with your hands, you can use our tutorial to build one.

Either way, it’s a wonderful investment that has given us fun times. During our fun family nights, we cook hot dogs over the fire and make s’mores.

We’ve also discovered some fun camping recipes. It’s a fun night and our kids love all the delicious food!

2. Camping in Our Yard

The next step to our fun and frugal family night is camping. We purchased a tent, some sleeping bags, and an air mattress (because my husband and I aren’t as spry as we once were.) 😉

Once we get our tent all set-up, the kids bring games outside and play in and around the tent.

Camping at home is great because even our family pet can be included. It’s a fun night for everyone and is exciting because it’s something different. Yet, it doesn’t cost much money after the initial investment in camping equipment.

3. Outdoor Movie

This part is simple but so fun! We bought a projector (which I use when teaching my co-op classes, too!), hooked it up to our laptop, found a movie on Netflix, we purchased a Bluetooth speaker, and projected the movie on a DIY screen we made.

Check out this bluetooth speaker and projector combo!

The screen is constructed from PVC pipes, zip ties, and a shower curtain. It works great, and the kids pull up their camping chairs to watch the movie outdoors.

For an added bit of fun, we pop popcorn over the fire. It’s a super fun night and costs us virtually nothing.

4. Making Homemade Ice Cream

My kids love homemade ice cream! Our family fun night usually starts in the late afternoon. Ice cream is one of the things we do while it’s still hot outside.

I make ice cream while the kids play. We usually eat dinner later, on these nights, so I let the kids have ice cream early enough that it won’t mess with their dinner.

We choose a delicious ice cream recipe, and they love this special treat on our fun family night!

5. Water Fun

If you have a pool, incorporate it into your family fun nights. We don’t have a pool…yet. We’ve been looking for one, but they seem to be sold out everywhere we look.

This is why my husband has decided to build an inexpensive DIY pool. (Yes, a tutorial will come as soon as we get it built.)

In the meantime, we’ve hooked up sprinklers around our trampoline. It’s a fun way for the kids to stay cool.

If you don’t have a trampoline, hook up the sprinklers and let your kids run through them. You could order a slip and slide as well.

You could even make a slip and slide with a tarp, the water hose, and some dish liquid. Water balloons are another fun way to let your kids have fun outside while staying cool.

6. Outdoor Games

The last thing we do on our fun family night is play outdoor games. This can be as simple as bringing board games or a game of Twister outside.

Or you can fancy things up a bit and create fun DIY outdoor games such as horseshoes, cornhole, or even play with bubbles.

I’ll give you a heads up, you’re going to be tired by the end of this night, but it’s worth it to see your kids have a great time at home with the family.

Even better, you don’t have to spend a fortune to make it happen. I hope you all enjoy this fun and frugal family night idea as much as we do.

Now, start planning your own frugal fun family night and enjoy spending time with your family. 

Need more family fun ideas to do at home? Check out these 32 fun summer activities!

Or if you simply must get away, learn how to take a family vacation without busting your budget!

37 Tasty Popsicle Recipes for Kids and Adults Too

Do your kids enjoy popsicles to cool off during the summer?

Popsicles are an easy (and frugal) treat. Plus, there are popsicle recipes for adults now! How fun is that?

If you’re searching for popsicle inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve found some of the internet’s best recipes and placed them in one convenient location.

Here are the recipes you should consider making this summer:

**This post may contain affiliate links. This means, in the event you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This will be at no extra cost to you.I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to AMAZON.COM and affiliated sites. Thank you for supporting my blog!**

1. 4 Ingredient Fruit and Yogurt Pops

You can have delicious yogurt pops with only four basic ingredients. If you have yogurt, honey, heavy cream, and fruit then you have DIY popsicles.

2. Strawberry Mango Popsicles

Do you enjoy the flavor combination of mangos and strawberries? If so, you’re going to love this popsicle recipe.

3. Dole Whip Popsicles

If you’ve ever been to DisneyLand or Disney World, you know they’re famous for their Dole Whips. You can now have it in popsicle form.

4. Root Beer Float Popsicles

This is so simple yet so delicious! You combine vanilla ice cream and root beer into popsicle molds. Once they freeze, you have a delicious root beer float in a popsicle.

5. Strawberry Cheesecake Pudding Pops

You can now have a delicious cheesecake in popsicle form, and it takes a ton less time to make. Place fresh strawberries and cheesecake pudding in a popsicle mold. Add finely crushed graham crackers to the top and let the ingredients freeze.

6. Lava Flow Popsicles

These are gorgeous popsicles with a delicious flavor to boot. The popsicles consist of pineapple, mango, coconut milk, strawberries, orange juice, and honey.

7. Nutella Cool Whip Popsicle

These popsicles are delicious and easy to make. Mix Nutella and Cool Whip together. Place the mixture in popsicle molds and freeze for a delicious treat!

8. Shirley Temple Popsicles

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Shirley Temple drinks are basically a cherry 7-Up. You can now have this flavor in a popsicle thanks to this recipe.

9. Gummy Bear Popsicles

Are gummy bears a favorite around your home? You can now have these delicious (and cute!) popsicles to share with your family thanks to this easy-to-follow recipe.

10. Strawberry Lemon Ice Pops

This recipe is easy to make. You blend strawberries, lemon juice, and sugar together. Pour the mixture into a popsicle mold and freeze.

11. Watermelon Raspberry Popsicles

The great thing about fresh popsicles is that they don’t require many ingredients. This recipe only calls for two ingredients to make a delicious homemade treat.

12. Homemade Peanut Butter Fudgesicle

Do you like fudgesicles? Then you’ll love this recipe for peanut butter fudgesicles that can be made in the comfort of your own home.

13. Strawberry Lemonade Vodka Pops

This one is for adults only, but if you’re having a pool party and want to have a special treat for adults, skip the mixed drinks. Instead, make an adult popsicle.

14. Orange Dreamsicles

Dreamsicles are a childhood favorite of mine. Consider making them at home with only three ingredients!

15. Funfetti Pudding Pops

Kids love treats that not only taste great but look cool. These popsicles have both of these qualities. They’re super easy to make because they consist of vanilla pudding, milk, and sprinkles.

16. 4- Ingredient Creamy Coconut Popsicles

Popsicles are a fun treat, they taste great, but they’re also super simple to make. This recipe is a prime example. You can have a coconut party in your mouth with only four basic ingredients.

17. 2- Ingredient Baby and Toddler Pops

We can’t leave the small kids out of this fun roundup! If you have little ones, make them healthy popsicles by blending yogurt and fruit together. Place in a popsicle mold, and you have a great treat!

18. Chocolate Dipped Mocha Iced Coffee Popsicles

Who says popsicles are only fruit and yogurt? You can have delicious non-alcoholic adult popsicles thanks to this recipe, and it’s so easy! Freeze store-bought iced coffee, and you’re halfway there!

19. Rainbow Popsicles

Do you want some beautiful yet retro looking popsicles? You’ve come to the right place. These are healthy popsicles made from fresh fruit and yogurt.

20. Strawberries and Cream Popsicles

Strawberries and cream are traditional flavors that most people love. If you want a traditional flavor in your homemade popsicles, give this recipe a try.

21. Chai Tea Latte Popsicles

Do you love the flavor of chai tea? Then you’ll love these delicious and easy-to-make homemade popsicles. They’re gorgeous too!

22. Lavender Moon Milk Popsicles

Moon milk? What is that exactly? This recipe consists of lavender, honey, vanilla bean, and coconut cream. It creates a dreamy treat you’ll want to make all summer long.

23. Healthy Peaches and Cream Smoothie Popsicles

The idea behind these popsicles is to make a healthy peach smoothie and freeze it in popsicle molds. This mixture consists of peaches, yogurt, and honey. It sounds delicious!

24. DIY Rosé Popsicles

If you enjoy a good bottle of Rosé from time to time, you’ll love these popsicles.

Check out this cute wine glass!

 They’re made with Rosé, lemonade, and gin.

Don’t forget your popsicle molds!

25. Creamy Avocado Fudge Popsicles

If you’re trying to avoid dairy, it can be hard to enjoy fudge popsicles. That is, until now. This recipe subs avocado in the place of milk. Add your chocolate, a few other ingredients, and freeze for a delicious (and cool) sweet treat.

26. Mimosa Popsicles (For Grown Ups)

Do you enjoy mimosas while sitting poolside and eating a late brunch? You can now enjoy mimosas in a different way. Freeze them and create adult popsicles perfect for any time of day.

27. Lemonade Popsicles

Most of us enjoy a glass of cold lemonade on a hot day. You may even enjoy frozen lemonades. Now, you can enjoy lemonade in popsicle form when the temperatures begin to rise.

28. 4- Ingredient Blueberry Yogurt Popsicles

These popsicles look like a great choice, especially if you grow your own blueberries. They consist of blueberries, yogurt, honey, and a splash of milk.

29. Cookies-n-Cream Popsicles

My kids love cookies-n-cream ice cream. If your kids like this flavor choice as well, consider making these popsicles. They’re filled with chocolate sandwich cookies, vanilla, whipped topping, and milk.

30. Jell-O Popsicles

Jell-O popsicles are super easy to make and affordable too! You mix the Jell-O packet with sugar and water. Finish the process by freezing in a popsicle mold.

31. Tiramisu Popsicles

If you’re looking for a decadent popsicle your whole family will love, give this popsicle recipe a try. It has a delicious coffee layer and a creamy mascarpone layer. As my step dad says, “It’ll make you wish your throat was a mile long!”

32. Mint Chocolate Yogurt Popsicles

Do you love mint chocolate chip ice cream? If so, you’ll want to check out these popsicles. It begins by making a mint chocolate chip base. The base gets dipped in chocolate before being frozen inside the popsicle mold.

33. Old-Fashioned Cherry Creamsicles

Creamsicles are usually thought to be an orange flavor. However, people used to make cherry creamsicles too. This recipe gives you a blast from the past with a delicious flavor!

34. Healthy and Creamy Key Lime Pie Popsicles

Are you a fan of key lime pie? Why not enjoy the same flavor in a popsicle? Thanks to this recipe, it can now be your favorite summertime treat!

35. Bahama Mama Rum Popsicles

We’re taking a trip by the bar one more time. Instead of going for the mixed drinks on a hot day, make an adult popsicle instead. If you like Bahama Mamas, you should try this recipe.

36. Banana Cream Pie Popsicles

Banana cream pie is probably one of my favorite desserts. If you love the creamy banana flavor in your desserts, you should try these popsicles.

37. Cake Batter Popsicles

This whole article has consisted of recipes that could be a party in your mouth. Our big finale will bring the cake to the party. It’s an actual cake mix with vanilla ice cream and sprinkles that are frozen into a popsicle. Delicious!

You now have 37 different popsicle recipes for staying cool this summer. Popsicles are easy-to-make, inexpensive, and so delicious.

What are you waiting for? Buy your popsicle molds, start making some amazing concoctions, and enjoy your summer!

Need more fun, DIY summer recipes? Check out DIY ice cream recipes here

Fun Memorial Day recipes here

And tasty 4th of July recipes here

7 Frugal Methods for Gardening on a Budget

Did you know some gardening methods are more expensive than others? Why not try gardening on a budget?

Some methods can cost you quite a bit to get started. Certain people garden out of enjoyment, but if you’re trying to do life on a budget, you may be gardening out of necessity.

 If you fit in the latter category, you’re in the right place. I’m going to bring you some frugal gardening methods.

You shouldn’t have to spend a small fortune to start gardening. Here are the frugal gardening methods that can help you become more self-sufficient through gardening without being a financial burden:

**This post may contain affiliate links. This means, in the event you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This will be at no extra cost to you.I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to AMAZON.COM and affiliated sites. Thank you for supporting my blog!**

1. Basic In Ground Gardening to Garden on a Budget

Photo by Markus Spiske on Pexels.com

If you’d like to garden without a ton of investment, plant a garden in the ground. You’ll need a way to till your garden area. 

Consider buying a tiller.

Once you get the soil to a workable point, you’re only out the cost of seeds and fertilizer.

Not everyone has great soil to grow in, but if you’re fortunate enough to have quality soil, this type of gardening is the most inexpensive.

2. Raised Bed Gardening is Great for Gardening on a Budget

Raised beds don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. In fact, you can utilize materials you have hanging around your property to build awesome raised beds.

If you have wooden slabs, old pieces of wood, pieces of metal, tires, or any other usable material, create a raised bed. Fill the beds with quality dirt, and you’re ready to start gardening.

If mobility is a concern, try this mobile raised planter box. 

3. Container Gardening is Helpful When Gardening on a Budget

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

People get all tripped out about container gardening. They assume you must spend a small fortune on gorgeous containers to grow a garden.

I’m here to tell you that you don’t. Instead, use old flower pots or buckets to raise a garden. Don’t be afraid to buy pots second hand either. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, especially when using frugal gardening methods.

4. Window Box Gardening

Do you use window boxes on your house during the warmer months to create gorgeous, natural décor? Why not use this space for gardening?

Buy or build inexpensive window boxes. Fill the boxes with quality soil and grow a small garden in each box. They’re wonderful for herbs, vegetables, and shallow rooted fruits.

5. Hanging Basket Garden

Can you seriously raise a garden in hanging baskets? Why, yes! Yes, you can. Again, purchase inexpensive hanging baskets and hang them in a sunny location once filled with quality soil.

You can grow strawberries in a hanging basket, certain varieties of tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and other smaller plants.

6. Hügelkultur

If you’ve never heard of this style of gardening, you’re in for a treat. The idea behind Hügelkultur gardening is to incorporate what you have.

For instance, if you have a fallen tree, don’t trash it. Instead, cover it with soil and compost until it forms a large mound. Then plant your garden in the mound. This will compost over the years giving you quality soil to grow in and will retain moisture.

You can utilize this style of gardening inside your raised beds by placing large chunks of wood in the bottom. Layer the rest of the bed with smaller pieces of wood, mulch, compost, and soil. Hügelkultur is a wonderful frugal gardening method.

7. Vertical Gardening

Photo by Juanjo Menta on Pexels.com

Last, but not least, is vertical gardening. Not everyone has room for large gardening spaces which is why many gardeners have started growing vertically instead of horizontally.

Vertical gardening doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be as simple as buying a shoe organizer, filling each pouch with soil, and raising shallow rooted plants in each pocket. Again, it’s inexpensive and compact which makes it a great method for those working with limited funds and space.

Consider this planter and gardening pouch!

If you hang around the internet on a regular basis, it’s easy to become discouraged by thinking you must invest a lot upfront to create a functional grow space.

In my mind, this defeats the entire purpose of gardening from a place of necessity. I hope these frugal gardening methods encourage you to grow your own food, save money on your grocery bill, and avoid busting your budget.

It can be done. I know because I’ve done it for years.

Now, friends, I encourage you to try it for yourself. Pick the frugal gardening method that will work best for you and try your hand at gardening.

It’s okay to fail. Consider it a lesson and continue to persevere as you gain valuable gardening experience while maintaining life on a budget.

13 Easy Crops to Grow for the Beginner Gardener

Are you under the impression that you can’t grow anything?

Have you tried gardening in the past with disastrous results? Oh, friends, don’t give up. I was once the exact same way.

When we first started gardening, I killed four gardens trying to get something to grow. That was almost ten years ago.

Over the years, I’ve learned a few tricks and discovered there are easy crops to grow. Are you interested?

Great! Here’s my list of easy crops to grow:

**This post may contain affiliate links. This means, in the event you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This will be at no extra cost to you.I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to AMAZON.COM and affiliated sites. Thank you for supporting my blog!**

1. Green Beans

Photo by Yulia Rozanova on Pexels.com

Green beans made the top of this list because they’re so simple to grow. There’s no starting of seeds or transplanting, in most cases.

Instead, green beans can be directly sown into the area you’d like to raise them. This makes life much easier for beginner gardeners.

You buy the seeds, place them in quality soil, provide adequate care (such as watering, weeding, and proper lighting), and watch them grow. Just be mindful of spacing and supporting the beans if you choose a type that runs.

2. Tomatoes

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Tomatoes are easy if you only raise a few plants. By reducing your numbers, it gives you an opportunity to gain experience and keep a close eye on each plant.

Place them in a container with quality dirt, water them, and fertilize as needed. You could grow them in a raised or in ground bed as well.

Be sure they have plenty of sunlight. The biggest problems people run into with tomatoes are pests, disease, and over watering.

I recommend container gardening as you learn to grow tomatoes because it helps beginner gardeners avoid many of the diseases and pests that are attracted to larger garden areas.

3. Squash

Photo by Angele J on Pexels.com

Squash is one of those plants that the first year you grow them you think, “Oh, wow! It’s growing!” Every year after you’re like, “Oh no, it’s growing!”

I say this because one plant produces a massive harvest. You don’t need many squash plants, but if you plant them in a mound of quality soil, they should grow with little extra effort on your part.

Check into companion planting to help avoid pests. Diseases and pests are squash plants’ biggest struggles.

4. Lettuce

Lettuce is another one of the easy crops to grow. Again, I recommend growing a leaf lettuce in a container to simplify things even more.

Leaf lettuce is resilient, you don’t have to worry about spacing when planting, and you control the soil when gardening in containers.

Be aware that lettuce does best in cooler temperatures. If you grow lettuce in warm weather, it may bolt (or go to seed) quickly.

5. Spinach

Spinach is the first crop I ever grew when my husband built me a greenhouse almost a decade ago. I chose spinach because of how easy it is to grow.

My greenhouse had beds in it. I sowed the seed directly and had a great harvest for a first-time greenhouse gardener.

If you want to grow spinach too, sow the seed directly into quality soil. When it sprouts, you may have to thin the plants out, but spinach is a durable plant that grows well in cooler temperatures.

6. Herbs

If you can’t grow a thing, buy some herbs! I’ve had great experiences growing herbs because they produce well with only minimal care.

Plus, many times, they’ll go to seed at the end of the year. This produces volunteer plants that will sprout the following year.

To grow herbs, I recommend starting with seedlings purchased from your local nursery or big box store. Plant them in quality soil with ample sunlight. They should produce if the weather is warm enough.

Some herbs are perennials, so they’ll come back year after year.  One herb to be mindful of is mint. Once rooted, it will take over the bed its growing in, and is nearly impossible to get rid of.

7. Corn

Golden ears of corn are a beautiful sight standing in your garden. They taste delicious, too! The best thing about corn is that it’s easy to grow.

The seeds usually come in a coating that is poisonous to animals which encourages squirrels to leave them alone while the seed is sprouting.

Once it has sprouted, you may need to thin the corn out. Other than that, keep it watered, fertilized, and monitor for pests.

It’s a good idea to plant the corn in a box formation, instead of rows, as this protects it from wind damage.

8. Greens

I love growing greens. Turnip greens to be exact. It’s a two-for-one crop that is simple to raise in your garden.

The seeds are tiny, so they should be direct sowed. Don’t dig individual holes. Instead, cast them out over quality, freshly tilled soil.

Once they sprout, thin them as needed. You can eat the greens while they’re tender and wait until the end of the season to harvest the turnips.

9. Peppers

Peppers are another crop I recommend starting with only a few plants. This allows you to learn to care for this type of plant and spot pests or problems easier.

You can raise pepper plants in an inground bed or a raised bed, but I recommend starting with container gardening because it’s easier to watch the soil and learn about watering properly.  

Pepper plants need plenty of sun. They should be watered regularly and fertilized approximately one time per month. Be sure to monitor for pests or signs of disease.

As the weather heats up, your pepper plants should begin producing a bountiful harvest.

10. Root Crops

I put root crops towards the end of this list because, in theory, they’re easy to grow. They don’t require vast amounts of sunlight or warm temperatures.

Radishes, carrots, and potatoes are easy root veggies to grow. The difficult part about growing root vegetables is the soil.

I usually recommend raising them in containers to begin with. If your soil isn’t loose enough it will hinder their growth.

11. Gourds

Gourds? Why would I possibly want to grow gourds? Well, because you can make a variety of crafts out of them, and you can even grow your own loofah sponges.

My husband and I accidentally found out how easy they are to grow when we planted some at our house for my mother-in-law. They were gorgeous, provided a ton of shade, and she had a ball crafting with them.

Be aware, you only need to grow a few seeds. They easily reseed and will most likely come back year after year.

12. Asparagus

Asparagus is a wonderful perennial crop to grow. It’s a good companion for a variety of other plants and doesn’t take up a ton of room.

Be sure to grow your asparagus where it has room to come back larger with each passing year.

It should also be out of the way to make sure it doesn’t get mowed down during yard work. Yes, I’m speaking from experience. 😊

13. Strawberries

The last item on our list of easy crops to grow is strawberries. Strawberries are delicious (especially in ice cream!)  and if planted in a permanent location, should come back every year.

You can grow them in hanging baskets, containers, window boxes, or in a bed. If you grow them in a bed, be prepared that they come back thicker each year.

Be sure to thin them when they come back to provide room to produce and breathe. Lack of airflow can make them susceptible to fungus.

If you’re new to gardening, I hope this list serves you well.   

Finding easy crops to grow isn’t difficult. Many times, you just have to garden differently in the beginning while you gain your footing.

Now, it’s time to put what you’ve learned into action. Go buy some seeds, quality soil, a few planters, and get busy gardening. Happy grow season, everyone! 

Homeschooling on a Budget: How We’re Homeschooling for Around $200 this Year

Are you considering homeschooling?

Many people are! I’m all about school choice, so I support anyone who thinks they might like to try a different approach to educating their children.

One of the things I hear most from new homeschool parents is, “I don’t know where to start. I’m not sure what to teach. I don’t even know if we can afford to homeschool.”

I was in the same boat. I knew public school wasn’t working for my kids, but I didn’t know where to start, what to teach, and I was definitely concerned about the added financial load from homeschooling.

Over the years I’ve found my way around the homeschool arena, and I’m going to share my latest discovery when homeschooling on a budget.

Here’s the method I’m using to homeschool the whole family for under $200 this year:

**This post may contain affiliate links. This means, in the event you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This will be at no extra cost to you .I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to AMAZON.COM and affiliated sites. Thank you for supporting my blog!**

What We’re Doing and Why

I’ve tried a variety of different homeschool curriculum over the years. We’ve used a free online curriculum, ordered from the homeschool catalogs, and piecemealed curriculum together as well.

The free curriculum worked well, but there wasn’t enough variety to keep my kids engaged on a long-term basis. Homeschool catalogs are easy, but they’re just so expensive. Piecemealing is what I’ve ended up doing for the past two years, but it takes a lot of extra time.

This year, I was browsing through social media and an ad popped up for Schoolhouseteachers.com. I had followed this site for a while because I enjoyed reading their articles and encouraging posts.

What caught my attention was the sale they’re currently running on their curriculum. I browsed the site, saw that there is a ton of variety in classes, and best of all, there is no piecing curriculum together.

It’s all laid out. They show you how to adapt the schedule they’ve designed for each course to work around your actual schedule. Did I mention the options?! Holy Moly, the options!

How Much Money?

Before we dive into money, let’s get the heavy stuff out of the way first…

Note: I will try to keep this post updated as much as I can, as sales (and other things) change on a website regularly. However, this is only meant to represent my experience thus far with this company. These are my actual opinions of the product. For any questions regarding their products or policies, please be sure to contact Schoolhouseteachers.com. Do your own research before purchasing any product. I am not liable in any way for your experience with this product or company. Thank you!

Shew…now, we can get back to the good stuff!

When you sign on for this program, you get one family log-in. Once logged in you can set up separate classes for each child.

The classes are easy to browse by grade or category. This gives you an idea of what each child’s options are per grade level.

However, if your child is more advanced or needs a little extra practice, you can choose different classes to accommodate.

They have resources for:

It’s amazing all the resources available to you.

You also get a quarterly subscription to their magazine, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Basically, there’s loads of help to those who are new to homeschooling, or even for seasoned homeschoolers, who may need help navigating curriculum or homeschooling in general.

So let’s get down to the dollars and cents. How much does this cost?

This is what got me hooked. Usually this curriculum is approximately $225 per year. Yes, you can actually homeschool your entire family for $225 FOR THE YEAR!

But this year, it was even better. I got in at their current sale price of only $139. Again, yes, I’m homeschooling my children for $139 this year!

What I’m Loving…And More

Let me break down why I’m already loving this curriculum. There’s a lot to it, and I know how hard choosing curriculum can be.

I want to share with you the things I’m loving about this curriculum and also a few things you should be aware of before deciding if this is the right curriculum for your family.

Here’s what you need to know about the School House Teachers curriculum:

1. Oh, The Options

I know I’ve mentioned this already, but this site has so many different options to choose from with classes.

The curriculum is for Pre-K through 12th grade. It has all the basics of reading, writing, math, science, and social studies.

But it also includes the arts and electives. Therefore, your children can take a variety of:

·       Art classes

·       Music classes

·       Drama classes

·       Architecture courses

·       Accounting courses

·       Courses on entrepreneurship and much more!

If your kids have a variety of interests, the options are vast with this curriculum.

2. Scope and Sequence

Some states are extremely strict on their homeschooling guidelines. If you must keep a portfolio with a scope and sequence for each child and course, this site has you covered.

There’s a detailed scope and sequence for each course. You simply print it out and file it away. This saves a ton of time.

3. Lesson Plans

This is my biggest hurdle. I try to lesson plan a year in advance so I’m not scurrying each week to figure out what we’ll do the next week.

However, this takes a lot of time. Things can also change throughout the year which can undo all the work that was put in over the summer months towards planning.

This is another reason I’m loving this curriculum. All the lesson plans are done and in printable form. You simply print them off each week, fill in the dates, and your kids are ready to roll.

If you need to prolong their plans, just add different dates next to the assignments. It’s flexible and easy.

4. Opportunities

I know I’ve mentioned the variety of classes available in this curriculum, but it gives your kids so many opportunities they may not have otherwise had available to them.

I’ll be honest, my kids don’t always get to do all the elective courses I know they’d enjoy because I can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars on elective curriculum each year.

We no longer have this problem. My kids will be taking art classes, architecture courses, PE courses, computer classes, and so much more!

There are so many classes that piqued their interest. I had to pace them because they wanted to take them all.

My middle child is interested in online jobs so when he learned there were courses available for podcasting and running online businesses, he was all over it.

There are even career readiness courses. This is important for older kids who need to know what jobs are out in the real world to help them map out their future steps.

5. Different Course Lengths

My children get bored easily. They like variety in what they’re learning which is why I love that some courses through Schoolhouseteachers.com last for 30+ weeks while others last for less time.

Some courses are 18 weeks, some only 8 weeks, and a variety of schedule options in between. This allows my kids to stagger out the courses they take.

Plus, the courses tell you how many days a week they’re supposed to be studied. For instance, my youngest son’s architecture course lasts for approximately 20 weeks, but we only do it one day per week.

But this leaves room for him to take Spanish and art on other days because they’re only taught 1-2 days each week.

This is the case with core classes as well. In Language Arts, my children will get variety because some courses last for less than 30 weeks. Therefore, we’ll cover literature kits for a portion of the year and take a writing workshop at another point in the year.

To ensure they get everything they need, there is daily grammar, spelling, and basic Language Arts practice provided as well.

You can take as many or few courses as you deem necessary for your children.  The staggered scheduling allows your kids to get what they need without working through a redundant curriculum all year.

6. Downloads

When I was telling one of my mom-friends what a great deal I’d found, her first question was, “Yeah, but how many books do you have to buy to go along with it?”

That’s a great question, and I was pleased to find that you don’t have to buy any.

There are some classes which do require books, but they come with a downloadable option. You can pay less than $100 and have access to lifetime downloads through the site the class provides.

 I’ll be honest, I wasn’t looking to pay anymore than what I did to sign-up, so I picked a different course which didn’t require extra books and skipped the need for downloads.

I’ve only found this on one course so far, but there are ways around having to download things.

We’re doing a literature kit course this year which I’ll need some of the books, but again, there are ways around having to purchase books.

You could sign-up with Audiobooks.com. You pay a monthly membership and can download a certain number of books per month.

But I prefer using the library (both in person and digital options) or using the free app, Best of Audiobooks. It has over 150 free audiobooks available.

If you’d prefer having books permanently on hand, you could always buy them on Amazon.com. Again, most classes give you the materials you need in a PDF form.

7. Attendance, Grades, Transcripts

With the sign-up option I chose, I got access to AppleCore. This is a wonderful site that allows me to digitally keep up with my children’s grades, attendance, and even create an on-going transcript.

Considering I have a high schooler this year, this saves me a ton of time.

Don’t get discouraged at the sound of having to keep records. It all depends upon what your state requires.

In my state, we’re only required to keep attendance, vaccine records, and take a yearly standardized test.

Most grades don’t really count until your kids get to high school, and you’ll only need a transcript once they’re in high school. This may vary by state so do your homework on these requirements.

If your state requires more, Applecore could simplify things for you.  

8. Not Solely Online

Some people may be turned off instantly by this curriculum, assuming it’s all done online. It is not. You’ll need:

You can do many of the assignments offline by printing the information. This also makes it easier for the kids to submit their work to you.

9. Variety of Ways to Learn

I love how this curriculum gives your children a variety of ways to learn. They can learn online with assignments that are graded by the computer. Your children can learn offline if you prefer. There are also options for curriculum that is video based.

Students need a variety of different ways to learn. I love that this site provides this opportunity to homeschooled children.

There’s a key at the top of the site that lets you know how each course is offered. Follow the key to decide which course options may be best for your children and their learning style.

10. Faith Based

This is a faith-based site. When I started homeschooling my kids this was a requirement for any curriculum I chose.

I don’t shy away from secular topics, but I make sure my children have the opportunity to learn the Biblical perspective to things as well.

Schoolhouseteachers.com provides a Biblical perspective to each subject, and they offer a variety of Bible curriculum based on age or grade level.

In my opinion, this is important to the spiritual growth of our children which is why it’s incorporated into our homeschool every year.

11. Lots of Helpful Options

If all of this sounds great but also overwhelming, welcome to the club! I was amazed to log-in to the site and see how many videos, online chat options, and written resources were available to help parents navigate the site.

It made getting our school year planned a piece of cake. If you hit a hiccup, there’s someone there to help! Having the right support makes homeschooling a lot easier.

12. An Afternoon of Planning

I’m happy to say that I was able to get our entire homeschool year planned out (for both of my kids) in a couple of hours.

I went through the classes, decided the ones we would use, bookmarked them to our dashboard, and figured out our calendar for the school year.

I was able to:

·       Figure out our class schedule (including the classes that don’t last all year)

·       Which subjects would be covered on a daily basis and which wouldn’t

·       Which days of the week we’d cover which subjects

·       I made a note of which classes had book requirements, so I’d know to make sure I had those books available when they were needed (i.e. the literature kit course)

Beyond that, our year was planned, and we’re ready to roll into the next school year!

13. Affordable

Affordability turns many people away from homeschooling because curriculum is expensive even if you buy it secondhand.

Schoolhouseteachers.com is currently having a sale on their curriculum. If you take this option, there are no refunds. You can also sign-up for monthly payments.

Your account will be set-up to auto renew every year, but you can cancel at any time.

They make things easy and affordable. Homeschool families need more of this in their lives!

14. Make a Commission

Our final stop on the “Things I Love” tour, is the affiliate program Schoolhouseteachers.com offers. If you try their product and love it, you’d pass on the information anyway, right?

Well, thanks to their affiliate program, you can make a commission for each person you sign-up. Think about that. You can help your friends save money, their kids get a quality education, simplify homeschooling for people who think, “I can’t homeschool”, and make a 25% commission.

This is just one final thing to love about this curriculum choice.

Conclusion

I realize this is a ton of information, but I had to share this good news with other homeschoolers. Homeschool curriculum weighs on me every year between the financial investment and the amount of time invested in planning.

This was truly a Godsend when this ad came across my social media account. I took a few days to view the site before I made the jump, but I’m so glad I did.

We’re excited about our upcoming homeschool year, and I’m ready for it after one afternoon! I still can’t believe it.

I hope this information will help you on your homeschool journey. Good luck to you in your upcoming school year!

If you’re worrying about missing the current sale, don’t! There’s a new one starting soon. Here are the details:

Vacation on a Budget with These 12 Tips

Do you need ideas for taking a vacation on a budget?

Does it seem like your family doesn’t travel as much as you’d like because money frequently gets in the way?

Don’t let your children’s childhood pass them by without making many fun memories. We’re a one-income family so I know how a budget can sometimes cramp your dreams.

But I’ve also learned how to do more with less because your kids are only little once, right? Here are a few tips for taking a family vacation on a budget:

**This post may contain affiliate links. This means, in the event you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This will be at no extra cost to you.I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to AMAZON.COM and affiliated sites. Thank you for supporting my blog!**

12 Tips for Taking a Vacation on a Budget

1. Camping is a Great Way to Vacation on a Budget

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on Pexels.com

Camping is a fun way to go to different places without spending a ton of money. You buy the equipment once, and as long as you take care of it, you can use it for years to come.

You’ll need:

·       A tent

·       Sleeping bags

·       Flashlights or lanterns

·       Camping cookware

·       Fun camping recipes

When you have these items, you can search for inexpensive campsites that your whole family will enjoy.

2. Vacation on a Budget at the Beach

Photo by Brady Knoll on Pexels.com

Choose wisely when going to the beach. If you go to more populated beaches, you’ll pay more money because it’s a hot spot for vacations.

However, there are many beautiful beaches that are less crowded. Therefore, they’re less expensive to stay at. Do your research and start discovering hidden gems.

The beach is an affordable vacation because it’s free entertainment, relaxing, and absolutely gorgeous scenery.

This is definitely one of the best options for taking a family vacation on a budget.

3. Stay with Family

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Do you have family that lives near a place you’d like to visit? Then have a family visit and a family vacation rolled into one trip.

You could stay with family much cheaper (or maybe even free) while still being able to see the sights.

If you have a family member that has a vacation home, maybe you could work out a discounted rate to make traveling more affordable.

4. Staycation

Who says you must go anywhere to have a vacation? We all have hidden gems close to where we live. The funny thing is, we don’t realize it.

Why? Because we’re so busy doing everyday life. Why not take some time off work and plan multiple day trips?

You can come home at night and not spend nearly as much money because you’re forgoing the hotel accommodations.

5. Shorter Trips

This is what we do to make sure our kids get to go everywhere they want but not go bankrupt in the process.

My children love going to Great Wolf Lodge, the beach, Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Camping Resort, and to the mountains.

We can’t afford to rent beach houses, condos, hotel rooms, or even campsites for a week at a time. Instead, I schedule trips that last anywhere from one to three nights.

This works out great for our farm (it’s hard to be gone for long periods of time), and it works wonderfully for our budget.

My kids get to go where they want, and usually by day three we’re ready to go home anyway.

I’m so thankful that I learned this trick early on with a growing family. It has allowed us to take many fun family vacations on a budget.

6. Eat In

We don’t normally stay in hotel rooms unless we’re somewhere like Great Wolf Lodge. The reason being is hotel rooms don’t come with everything you need to cook, and they’re such small spaces.

Instead, I try to find great deals on beach houses or condos. I may spend a little more for accommodations, but I save a ton on food.

Plus, we have enough room to hang out where we’re staying which saves on entertainment too.

I bring food from home, and we cook our meals in the fully stocked kitchen. This can be a huge money saver.

7. Eat Out

When we take trips to places like Great Wolf Lodge (where lodging and entertainment come as a packaged deal) your only option is a hotel room.

However, we choose to dine out when we stay here. The reason being is it’s more expensive (usually) to eat at the resort.

Therefore, we’ll take snacks and ingredients for quick lunches in our hotel room and play at the resort all day.

When it’s dinner time, we clean up, head out to eat, and come back to play some more.

8. Take Your Own Entertainment

If you must pay for entertainment on vacation, you’ll spend a ton of money. Bring your own instead.

We try to choose locations where the entertainment is either free (i.e. the beach) or included (i.e. Great Wolf Lodge.)

However, if you need additional entertainment take your bikes, pack movies, or even gaming systems to keep the kids entertained when you’re not out and about.

You could even bypass buying ice cream on vacation and pack your own ice cream machine. It’s delicious and still a fun treat!

9. Pick the Right Resort

We took our kids to Disney World a few years ago. My family had a timeshare, so we were able to stay at a nice resort and had to pay a minimal transfer fee.

This allowed us to go to Disney World during the day, eat at our condo, and the resort is what put everything over the top.

Our youngest was more excited about what the resort offered than Disney World. We joke about it now, saying we should’ve just skipped Disney World.

Choose a resort that offers many free amenities. The resort we stayed at offered a pool, a water park area, miniature golf, and much more.

Our family loved it, they were entertained the whole time, and it didn’t cost us a dime extra.

10. All-Inclusive Trips

All-inclusive trips are a wonderful way to take vacations while on a budget. We have friends who cruise a lot.

They do this because they schedule their trips when it’s the cheapest time to go. They’re able to pay for everything over the year and are out little extra money when vacationing.

Their food is included, all the entertainment, their accommodations, and they even incorporate their tips into their monthly vacation payments.

11. Special Occasions

Our family stopped doing birthday gifts a few years ago. Instead, we do experiences. This is a great way to ensure we take family trips but don’t break the bank.

Instead of paying for birthday parties, fancy cakes, or gifts, we schedule a trip our kids want to take. It makes it more affordable because we use the money, we once budgeted for their birthdays, to help pay for the trips.

Plus, when our family finds out where we’re going, they send money, gift cards, or gift certificates for the kids to enjoy special things while we’re there. This is in place of birthday gifts.  

For instance, my parents always send gift cards for the kids to use around Great Wolf Lodge when we go there. We may be able to eat at the resort one night because of the gift certificate, and the kids can purchase items from the gift shop.

If we go to the beach, my parents research what restaurants are nearby and get us gift cards. This allows us to eat out more while on vacation. The kids enjoy getting the mail prior to the trip, and it’s special to them when we get to use what they got.

12. Check for Discounts

Last but certainly not least, check for discounts wherever you’re planning your trip. I’ve mentioned Great Wolf Lodge a lot because we go there frequently.

The reason why is because of the discounts. My husband gets a discount through his work, and they occasionally offer a discount for homeschoolers.

We see which one gets us the larger price reduction on our room and we go. See if you are offered any discounts through your work, AAA, military discounts, or anything else that may qualify you for a reduced room rate.

I hope these 12 tips give you hope that you can take a family vacation on a budget, and it can still be awesome!

It may take a little more planning, and it may look a little different than how other people vacation, but it’s okay.

This is about doing life with your family and making as many memories as possible. So go make a ton of memories while still staying within budget.

32 Fun Family Summer Activities to Keep Everyone Happy When at Home

COVID-19 has us all going crazy!

Some days people are ready to bust out of their front doors and get their children out and about again.

Other days, I think everyone is on the verge of buying stock in Hazmat suits. Regardless of our feelings on the matter, if you have kids, you know summertime is approaching.

Kids go stir-crazy during the summer on a normal basis. This year is going to be particularly difficult because many things we’d normally do during the summer months won’t be available.

What can we do all summer long to keep our children entertained and safe?

Here are 32 ideas for fun family summer activities. Hopefully, they’ll keep your children happy, busy, and healthy while you’re spending more time at home this summer:

**This post may contain affiliate links. This means, in the event you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This will be at no extra cost to you.I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to AMAZON.COM and affiliated sites. Thank you for supporting my blog!**

1. Camping

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on Pexels.com

You’re probably thinking, “Wait! I thought you said we were staying home?”

Well, we are. You can buy a few camping supplies from Amazon.com, have it shipped straight to your door, and camp in your own yard.

You’ll need:

·       A tent

·       Sleeping bags

·       A flashlight or lantern

·       Some fun camping recipes

Once you have these items, you’re ready for a fun night at home!

2. Make Ice Cream

Photo by Key Notez on Pexels.com

Making ice cream at home is so fun! There are a ton of recipes to choose from. Grab your ingredients, make some ice cream, and sit outside together as a family.

You can wave at neighbors as they go by (if you have any.) If not, grab a few other ideas from this list and enjoy a lazy summer evening together.

3. DIY Popsicles

Photo by Leah Kelley on Pexels.com

Things don’t have to be super expensive or even that over the top when trying to entertain kids. They love just doing something different.

My children love making DIY popsicles. They like to be a part of the process, and they love enjoying a delicious treat they helped make! So beat the heat (and stay entertained) making fun DIY popsicles.

Try these awesome popsicle molds or these popsicle pouches for an easier (and fun!) experience.

4. Pool Time

If you have a yard, you could put up a pool. You can buy one or even make one.

If you have small children, you can do this extremely easily by purchasing a kiddie-pool.

However you decide to go about it, above ground pools aren’t a huge investment, and during a time when it’s encouraged to stay apart, it may be one of the best fun family summer activities you could invest in.

5. Sidewalk Chalk

I loved sidewalk chalk as a kid. Your kids might enjoy it too. They can create beautiful masterpieces time and again.

In my area, there’s a lot of gravel driveways so if you don’t live where you have a ton of concrete, consider letting your kids draw on the floor of the garage. It works great for us!

6. Backyard Games

Whether you’re super crafty or not, there are many DIY backyard games to choose from. Your kids will love them, and they don’t cost a fortune to make.

You can make your own tetherball set-up, yard twister, four-in-a-row, checkers, or a ring toss game.

7. Bubbles

Bubbles are fun for every age. You can buy bubbles fairly cheap or make your own. You can also purchase bubble wands.

If you’re interested in making bigger bubbles, consider making your own fun bubble set-up or make fun DIY bubble wands. The kids will love it!

8. Roast a Few Marshmallows

Kids love s’mores. You can make a variety of different types of s’mores to keep things from getting boring.

But most importantly, you can make your own DIY fire pit area. This will be a fun place around your home to hang out and make memories.

9. Take a Nature Walk

If you live in a subdivision, you can easily get out and take a walk around your neighborhood. On these walks you can collect stones or different types of plants.

However, if you live where you have more land, take a hike. We have five acres behind our home that we enjoy getting out and exploring on pretty days.

10. Grow a Garden

You don’t have to grow a huge garden, but you can grow a variety of crops. Kids like getting involved so let them.

Buy a few seeds, plant them, and let the kids watch them grow. They’ll enjoy taking care of them and harvesting the fruits of their labors.

11. Learn Yoga

There are a ton of fun kid-friendly yoga poses. Not only is yoga amazing for your mental health, but it helps your physical health too.

Plus, you can learn to do funny poses. It’ll allow everyone to get moving while having a good laugh too.

12. Face Painting

Is your family artistic? Let it shine! If you’ll be home, who cares what you look like? The world is a canvas…including your face.

Let your kids take turns painting each other’s faces. Be mindful if you have any skin allergies in your family, though.

13. Time to Read

I love to read! Seriously, if I don’t read every day my whole schedule is thrown off. Adults need to read and so do kids.

If your library is open take advantage of it. If not, many libraries have an online set-up where you can rent e-books. Utilize this resource.

Check out this awesome resource for age-appropriate reading lists.

14. Build a Fort

My kids love building forts. There’s something about draping blankets over tables and chairs. They love to climb under it and play games inside their fort all day.

Let your kids make a mess, use all the blankets in the house, and build a fun creation. They’ll remember it for a long time.

15. Stand Alone Treehouse

Do you have someone in your home who is a wonderful carpenter? If so, ask them to build the kids a stand-alone treehouse.

This is a treehouse that doesn’t have to be attached to a large tree. It’s a fun space for kids to hang out and enjoy their summer.

16. Get Chickens

If you’re going to be home more, why not get a pet? Not just any pet though…chickens! Chickens are easy to care for, they give you eggs, and they’re fun to watch.

Your kids would enjoy collecting the eggs every day, watching the chickens play, and you could even give them a chicken swing for extra entertainment!

17. DIY Slip and Slide

Making a slip and slide is so easy and inexpensive! Your kids will love it. All you need is a large tarp, a slight hill, and some dish soap.

Lay out the tarp, spray it with dish soap, and run the water hose down the tarp. It’s so easy yet so fun!

18. Old Fashioned Sprinklers

If you don’t have a good hill in your yard for a slip and slide, just pull out the water sprinklers.

Kids don’t need a large pool to play in. They just love running through water. It’s fun and a great way to cool off.

19. Biking

If your kids have bikes, let them ride them. They don’t have to go to special trails or on long trips. Let them ride their bikes around your home.

Our kids ride their bikes through our yard, up the driveway, and back. It’s great exercise and a fun way to spend the summer.

20. Roller Skates

Many people forget about roller skating. Many don’t even go to the roller rink anymore. Yet, if your kids have roller skates, they could be having a ton of fun at home!

If you have a paved driveway or a concrete slab in your garage, they could have a great place to skate for hours.

21. Take Free Classes

There are so many free classes offered online. Many are offered through YouTube. Your kids could take music lessons or art lessons this summer without leaving home.

If you have artistic children, this may be a great way for them to have an enjoyable summer (at home), learning new things, and for FREE.

22. Water Balloons

Water balloons are a blast. You can order them, have them shipped directly to your door, and let the fun begin.

All you need to do is fill them with water, tie them up, and have a water balloon war. It’s a great way to get cooled off and have a few laughs as a family.

23. Picnic Inside or Out

Picnics are fun no matter how old you are, and you don’t have to leave home to have one. If it’s raining, picnic in your living room.

On a pretty day, picnic outside and let the kids play. It’s so simple but still one of the more enjoyable fun family summer activities!

24. Virtual Library Activities

A year ago, this wouldn’t have even been a thing. With the way things are currently, libraries are taking their normal summer activities and making them available online.

Take advantage of it. Check with your local library and see what fun things they have planned virtually. It’s free and can be something for your kids to look forward to.

25. Outdoor Movie Theatre

Yes, the movie theaters are closed. This stinks because we always enjoy the free movies during the summer.

However, you can still have a fun movie experience this summer. Get a projector, hook it up to your computer, and project a movie on the side of your house to have a fun outdoor movie experience.

Check out this neat gadget that streams everything from one unique device! 

26. Learn to Cook

When you’re home with few places to go what better time to learn a new skill? Get your kids in the kitchen, order a fun cookbook, and work your way through it.

Don’t forget this super fun crockpot

Your kids will use these skills for years to come, you’ll get to try some new dishes, and it’ll create many great memories.

27. Preserve Your Garden Together

If you grow a garden, why not learn how to preserve it? If you don’t grow enough to preserve, buy produce in bulk.

This is a wonderful skill to learn, and again, you’ll create many wonderful memories. Plus, you’ll have food to enjoy all year long.

Let Balls Blue Book help you get started!

28. At Home Scavenger Hunt

Kids like to hunt for things. Whether it’s playing hide-and-go-seek or searching for Easter eggs, kids enjoy it.

Why not create a fun scavenger hunt for them? It doesn’t have to be complicated, and the prize can be a homemade baked good.

29. Catch Lightening Bugs

Summertime is magical. You can sit outside at night, listen to the birds, and watch lightening bugs come out.

Make fun lightening bug catchers and let your kids catch them at night. It’s a great time to slow down and enjoy nature as a family.

30. Create a Fairy Garden

Fairy gardens have become all the rage lately. They’re cute miniature gardens that add a little magic to your yard.

We created a fairy garden from an old tree stump in our yard, at one point. It was fun to make, and the kids liked to play with it when they were outside.

31. Puppet Show

Puppets are so easy to make. You can use old socks, googly eyes, and yarn for hair. Create a stage out of cardboard boxes or a chair with a blanket over the top.

Once your puppets are made, let your kids’ creativity flow. They can make fun plays and share it with the whole family.

32. Fly a Kite

Our last stop for fun family summer activities at home is to fly a kite. You can make a kite, which would be a fun experience all by itself.

Or you can purchase a kite and enjoy flying it in your yard. If you live in a subdivision, you may have a park nearby where you could fly it. If not, your yard should work fine.  

Well, this concludes our list of fun family summer activities at home. Hopefully this will inspire you to make new memories while at home with your kids this summer.

Nothing has to be expensive or over-the-top to keep everyone happy and entertained. You can take a step back in time and enjoy summer the way generations prior once enjoyed them.

Have a lovely summer, everyone!

18 Ways to Become Self Sufficient Right Where You Are

Are you interested in learning new ways of becoming self-sufficient right where you are?

Yes, you heard me correctly. You don’t need to move to a farm way out in the middle of nowhere (unless you really want to.)

Instead, you can learn a few new skills and start becoming self-sufficient in your current situation. I’m going to share with you a few ways to do exactly this.

Everyone may not be able to do everything on this list (or maybe you can), but hopefully you can find a solid place to start.

Here are ways to become self-sufficient in most settings:

**This post may contain affiliate links. This means, in the event you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This will be at no extra cost to you.I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to AMAZON.COM and affiliated sites. Thank you for supporting my blog!**

1. Grow, Baby, Grow

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Most people can grow some of their own food. Whether you live in a house with a small yard, in an apartment with a balcony, or on a farm, there is a way to grow some form of a crop.

You can practice in ground gardening, raised bed gardening, container gardening, hanging basket gardening, grow vegetables in your window boxes, or grow a vertical garden. Where there’s a will, there’s usually a way.

Begin looking for ways to grow even a few vegetables where you are now. Anything you grow is less you must buy.

2. Cheep, Cheep

Photo by Achim Bongard on Pexels.com

Raising livestock is a great way to become self-sufficient. I recommend starting with something easy, like chickens. You only need one hen per person in your household. They make an incredible meat and egg source.

If you have more room you could incorporate goats for meat or dairy, ducks for eggs and meat, bees for pollination and honey, pigs as a meat source, or even a cow.

This will all depend upon the amount of space you have and the level of commitment you’re bringing to the table. Either way, by raising some form of small (or large) livestock will help you to become more self-reliant.

3. Can It Up

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

If you live in a small area where you don’t have a ton of room to grow large quantities of crops, don’t give up hope about preserving your own food.

Instead, buy produce in bulk from produce stands, wholesale produce companies, or even local groceries. If an item is on sale, buy a large quantity to preserve.

However you get your produce, prepare to preserve it via canning, dehydrating, or freezing. By putting away your own food each year, you’re reducing your reliance on grocery stores.

4. Don’t Toss It

Look around your home. Do you see many items that you use regularly that are disposable? Now, stop and think about how much money you’re literally tossing in the garbage.

Try to find new ways to have what you need in a way that is reusable. For instance, instead of using disposable napkins, use cloth napkins.

Instead of using disposable cups, use travel mugs. Start using dish towels instead of disposable paper towels. By finding reusable items, you’re depending upon the store less.

5. Composting

Composting is a great way to utilize items you would otherwise toss, while also fueling your garden. The idea is to keep a compost pail. Toss any scraps you have in the pail and toss the scraps into either your chicken yard or compost barrel.

The barrel will give the compost a place to break down over time. If you have chickens, they’ll scratch their way through the compost turning it into a quality product.

From there, you can plant with the compost or use it to fertilize your crops.

6. Save the Seeds

When plants are done producing, they’ll go to seed. This means they produce seeds or seed pods at the end of their life.

As this happens, you should collect the seeds and place them in a dehydrator. You can also place them in the sun to dry.

Once they’re dry, place them in a freezer bag and pop them in the freezer until you need them.

7. Making It Like Grandma

If you’re going to be self-sufficient, you must know how to cook. You should also know how to cook from scratch.

Why? Because you can’t grow convenience foods. It’s a good idea to be able to take basic ingredients and be able to make a meal.

Plus, cooking from scratch is usually less expensive. Knowing your way around the kitchen is important when trying to be self-sufficient.

8. Grocery Shop in the Wild

Do you enjoy spending time in the outdoors? Great! You can get outdoors more when trying to be more self-sufficient.

If you enjoy hunting or fishing, this can benefit you greatly. This is free meat that’s all-natural and raised in the wild.

Be sure to follow all laws in regards to having proper licensing and only hunting during the proper times of the year. However, you could end up with venison, fish, turkey, squirrel, rabbit, and more.

9. When It Falls, Catch It

Being self-sufficient includes having your own water source. Some people have a well or even a body of water on their property.

However, it’s a great idea to catch rainwater. It’s free and can be easily caught with a barrel and gutter system.

Rainwater is great for watering your plants or livestock.

10. The “Old Way” of Doing Things

Our ancestors knew so many things that unfortunately we’ve lost over time. Consider learning some of the “old” skills.

For instance, try to learn how to wash your clothes by hand, line drying your clothes, sewing, knitting, crocheting, or even how to butcher your own meat.

Why? Again, because the more you know how to do the less you must depend upon others for that skillset.

11. DIY

Doing it yourself is a way of life for those who are trying to be self-sufficient. Consider learning how to DIY more things.

You can learn to make your own soap, candles, and many of your kitchen staples. This can save you a lot of money and also know more about the products you’re using.

Carpentry is another handy skill when being self-sufficient. Tap into resources around you by acquiring a mentor or utilizing resources on the internet.

12. Money, Money, Money

We all know that our economy can be uncertain. One day jobs are booming, and the next people are unemployed.

Try to avoid riding this wave by starting your own side business and creating your own income. This way, if the bottom falls out of your day job, you still have your side gig to turn to.

This can be anything from building items to sell, selling produce, selling homemade crafts, blogging, or freelance writing.

13. Dig Out

Debt ties you down. It’s difficult to be self-sufficient when you owe people money. Therefore, try to ditch the debt.

This all starts by taking control of your finances. Create a solid budget, try to stick to it, and pay down debt as quickly as possible.

I know this is hard, but over time, hopefully you can lower your debt in an effort to be more self-sufficient.

14. The Simple Life

The simpler you live, the easier it is to be self-sufficient. When living simply, you want less. This equates to less maintenance in your life.

All of this equals less money spent and hopefully less debt to take on.

By living the simple life, it gets your mindset in “self-sufficient mode.” This makes the whole process easier on you.

15. Find a New Purpose

Don’t toss anything unless you know that you can’t repurpose it for something else. This is hard for me because I hate clutter.

However, sometimes you can create some pretty neat items from things you’d otherwise toss in the garbage.

This saves you money and also stops the amount of waste you have in your life. Get creative before throwing anything away.

16. Foraging

Foraging can be as simple as heading out in the woods, identifying plants, and bringing the edible items home to eat.

This costs you nothing to do, is healthy, and is making you more self-sufficient.

However, you can make it even easier by looking out in your front yard for dandelions. They have a ton of purposes and can be an easy item to forage for.

17. Render Fat

Whether you process your own meat, or you happen to see fat at your local butcher shop, it’s a great way to become more self-sufficient.

Lard has many health benefits and is great for many things.

Before you begin buying oil at the grocery store, consider stocking up on lard and rendering it yourself. It’s a super easy process that can save you a great deal of money.

18. Forbidden Fruit

Consider raising your own fruit. Strawberries can be grown in hanging baskets if you’re short on space. You can replace ornamental plants with fruit.

Instead of growing typical bushes, plant blueberry bushes. Instead of planting ornamental trees, consider planting a fruit tree.

There are even patio versions of some blueberry and blackberry bushes which allows them to be easily grown in a pot.

You now have 18 ways to become self-sufficient right where you are. Every idea may not work for everyone.

However, I hope that everyone can find something on this list to start their own unique journey to self-sufficiency.

Remember, you may not need self-sufficiency skills tomorrow, but if the time comes you need them, you’ll never regret taking the time to develop them.

Good luck to you all! 

Grocery Shop: 10 Tips for Quarterly Grocery Hauls

Do you like the idea of spending less time at the grocery store? Would you like to save money while you grocery shop?

Consider quarterly grocery shopping. There are many benefits to it, but it also takes some planning on your part for it to work well.

If you’re unsure of how to coordinate a massive grocery haul, you’ve come to the right place. I’m going to walk you through the few steps it takes to efficiently and effectively coordinate a quarterly grocery trip.

Here’s what you need to know:

**This post may contain affiliate links. This means, in the event you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This will be at no extra cost to you.I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to AMAZON.COM and affiliated sites. Thank you for supporting my blog!**

1. The “Why” Matters

Like with everything else in life, if you don’t know why you are doing it, you probably won’t. This will be one of those ideas you pin to a Pinterest board and think, “I really need to do this!”

But never actually make it around to doing it.

Speaking of Pinterest, follow me!

For me, the “why” was getting a firm grip on our finances and freeing up time in my schedule. Anything that will save me time and money, I’m on board with…usually.

Why is it worth the effort to coordinate a 3-month grocery trip? Do you need to save money? Do you wish you had more time to do other things?

Figure it out and write it down. That way, when your mind begins to think, “This is just too much!” You can pull out your reminder and push forward.

2. The List Before Your Grocery Shop

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This is the step that can feel quite overwhelming. When you begin to notice all of the little things you use on a daily basis, it can feel as though you’ll never remember it all.

Take a walk through your house. Open every cabinet and see what it is that you use. Write the items down in an organizer or notebook.

Try a planner like this to keep your list organized.

You will need to consider items such as:

·       Toilet Paper

·       Laundry Detergent

·       Dishwasher Packets

·       Trash Bags

·       Pet Needs

·       Frozen Vegetables

·       Baking Needs

·       Canned Goods

·       Meat

·       Coffee

·       Tea

·       Other Beverages

·       Eggs

·       Paper Towels

·       Dryer Sheets

·       Sweeteners

·       Shampoo

·       Body Wash

·       Deodorant

·       Razors

These are just a few basic items that I know to incorporate on my own list. Your list may have additional items, or you may have fewer.

Be aware, your first trip will be one of your biggest hauls because it is all an estimate. You may buy too much of one item and not need to purchase it for a year (I did this with laundry detergent!)

However, you may buy too little and need to make an adjustment for your next trip. As time goes on, your items will begin to rotate which shrinks your trips.

3. Grocery Shop Around

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After you know what you must buy, it’s time to decide where to buy it. I take an hour or so to shop online to see where I can buy the bulk of my items for less money.

Sometimes I shop big box stores, other times I’ll buy more quantities at local grocery stores that offer pick-up, and I depend on Amazon as well.

Once I figure out the easiest (and most cost-effective way) to get my groceries, I place my order. This part takes the most time, but once you find the right place to order from, it’s all downhill from there.

I encourage you to shop online. If you go into the store, you’re more likely to buy items you don’t really need.

4. The Logistics of a Quarterly Grocery Shop

Some people may have a difficult time quarterly grocery shopping due to lack of storage space. Don’t get me wrong. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

You can store items in a pantry, closets, under beds, in a root cellar, in cabinets, and anywhere else you may have.

If you need a place to store paper products but are short on room in your house, purchase a trash can with a secure lid. Store the paper products in the cans with a secure lid outside.

No one will know what’s in it, and it will keep unwanted visitors out of your paper supply stash.

In my case, I have a large walk-in pantry in my basement where I store many items. We have multiple refrigerators and freezers. I also have a walk-in root cellar in my basement which helps with storage.

My children have a large walk-in closet as well that I’ll store other items that won’t fit in the pantry. However you choose to store your grocery haul, do plan it out in advance.

5. Dairy and Fresh Produce When You Quarterly Grocery Shop

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You may wonder how you can buy enough dairy and fresh produce to last you three months. In short, you can’t.

But I do have a solution to this problem. I use a lot of heavy whipping cream and butter for my bulletproof coffees.

I also have growing children, so milk is still a necessary item around our home. When I do my quarterly grocery haul, I buy only the dairy products we’ll need for the week. With the exception of butter because you can freeze it.

When it comes to fresh produce, I only buy what I need at the time. If I need these items throughout the following months, I place an online order and go pick-up these items only. This equates to less than $10 per week in our household because we grow much of our food.

You can do this too! If you have room for a large pot or a five-gallon bucket, you can raise your own lettuce, radishes, carrots, or even strawberries.

If you truly have no way (or no desire) to raise your own food, making these small, calculated trips will still help you get what you need and save money in the process.

Also, you can buy produce that holds up for longer periods. For instance, apples can last for a few weeks. If they begin to get soft, turn them into applesauce or use their cores to make your own apple cider vinegar.

You can also store potatoes in a cool, dark location to make them last longer. Cabbage is another item (if wrapped properly) that will store well in your refrigerator. Carrots will last a long time in your refrigerator as well.

Be sure to pick produce with a longer shelf-life when possible.

6. Consider Payment Method When You Quarterly Grocery Shop

Payment is a big thing when quarterly grocery shopping, and this is why it saves us so much money. First, I don’t charge it. If you charge quarterly groceries without paying it off immediately, it becomes a financial burden instead of offering relief.

Second, I use our 5th paychecks. I don’t normally push my husband to get overtime, but he knows when a 5th paycheck is coming to work as much as he can the week prior because the more money he brings home, the more I have to stock our shelves.

I use 5th paychecks because we have no bills that come out those weeks besides our giving (and we pay our house payment weekly to pay it down faster.) This means an entire check for stocking shelves.

You know your finances better than I do so you’ll have to look at your own financial situation and see if this method will work for you, or if there’s a better way for you to have a lump sum of cash that you can spend on quarterly groceries.

7. The Haul

Picking up your groceries is an event. I take a pick-up truck to pick up our items. It usually fills the entire bed and part of our backseat.

If you have a smaller vehicle, keep this in mind when ordering your groceries. Though one store may have your items cheaper and offer pick-up, you may have to go with a store that has a delivery option instead.

Either way, be sure to schedule your grocery pick-up or delivery on a day that you have some help to get everything home and in its place. It takes a little time to get it all organized but is worth the effort…in my opinion.

8. Proper Meal Planning

Once you have all the groceries at home and in place, you must meal plan. It defeats the whole purpose of having all the ingredients in the house if you don’t know what to do with them.

When quarterly grocery shopping, it’s best to cook what’s familiar. Only when you get to the end of the three months will it require some creativity.

But we’re fortunate to live in the days of Pinterest to help.

Get on a routine of sitting down one time a week and mapping out what your family will eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.

I use one night per week to make any items I’ll need ahead of time for breakfast, lunch, and snacks.

 As an example, in my house it’s common for my kids to eat oatmeal with cinnamon and brown sugar for breakfast. We have frozen fruit on hand to go with it.

For lunch, the kids eat sandwiches and homemade applesauce or frozen fruit. I have a bread machine which makes homemade bread a breeze and affordable!

I drink a bulletproof coffee for breakfast and will eat leftovers for lunch most days or a salad from my greenhouse.

Dinners usually consist of meat from the freezer, frozen or canned vegetables, and a homegrown salad (because I can grow lettuce year-round in a greenhouse in my planting zone.)

A little extra planning can help you to efficiently eat the food that you buy in a large grocery haul.

9. Cooking and Making Lifestyle Adjustments

The reality of it is, when you quarterly grocery shop you must cook. Your money won’t go as far if you buy a bunch of convenience foods.

This requires lifestyle changes. I personally love it because we’re getting healthier as a family.

However, it’s common to find me making more and more items from scratch. I’ve found that it doesn’t take much extra time to make your own bread (when using a bread machine), making your own salad dressings, or even your own mayonnaise.

Things taste better, it’s frugal, and easy. Be prepared to cook more and DIY a few more things when quarterly grocery shopping because it helps your money to go farther.

10. A Healthy Lifestyle

As I mentioned above, I love quarterly grocery shopping because it has led us down a path of healthier living as a family.

We don’t go to the grocery store all the time which means my kids don’t have the opportunity to pitch snack cakes in the cart on a weekly basis. I buy some of these items on the grocery haul, but they know when they’re gone, they’re gone.

Instead, we spend more time baking together in the kitchen. This is great because it’s easy to substitute items.

Plus, when you bake, you can control the batch size you want to make. I’ve found we’re working out more as a family, and my kids are more involved in helping around our farm.

When you get in the mindset to save money and to utilize the ingredients you purposefully bring in the house per quarter, it can lead to a healthier lifestyle which is an amazing added bonus in our household.

I hope these tips will help you to navigate the quarterly grocery shopping adventure. It can feel like a lot of work, but I’ve enjoyed the fact that I only have to worry about grocery shopping once per quarter instead of once per week.

It’s my hope that this will be a blessing to your family, help you save money, and create some breathing room in your schedule.

Good luck to you and happy grocery shopping! 

4 Reasons I Started Quarterly Grocery Shopping [Hint: It Saves Us A Lot of Money]

**This post may contain affiliate links. This means, in the event you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This will be at no extra cost to you.I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to AMAZON.COM and affiliated sites. Thank you for supporting my blog!**

Do you dread heading to the grocery store on a weekly basis?

I used to. It was one of the hardest things I had to tackle all week. Between trying to maintain a budget, wrangle kids, and not forget anything, it was quite the workout.

Quarterly grocery shopping began as a solution for a New Year’s resolution. I desired to get a firm grip on our spending and stop the chaos in my schedule.

I’m so happy with it and seriously wonder why I didn’t do it sooner. If you want to get away from weekly grocery trips (even with grocery pick-up), let me tell you why quarterly grocery shopping is a great thing:

1. Saves Money

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When I was heading to the grocery store every week, I could easily spend $100-$200 each week to feed our family of four.

By most people’s standards, I was doing great! But I wanted to spend even less.

With quarterly grocery shopping, I spend an average of $1,000 per quarter. This also includes all our pet food, cat litter, and laundry needs.

This averages out to approximately $330 per month. That saves us approximately $470 per month. I’ll take it!

2. Saves Time

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When you grocery shop one time per quarter, you no longer have to create a grocery list on a weekly basis. You don’t place a grocery order every week, and you certainly don’t head to the store every week.

This is a major time-saver. Instead, you create a list of all the items you use each month to create meals.

Try using an inexpensive organizer to keep your grocery list and meal plans in one convenient location!

For instance, you know you’ll need canned goods, frozen veggies, and meat. You add all the necessities to a list and once every three months, you begin shopping for these items in bulk or for the lowest price.

I use some grocery pick-up services when I place a quarterly grocery order, but I also rely on Amazon too.

When it’s time to create a quarterly grocery order, I spend approximately three hours deciding what we need, scanning our pantry for what we already have, and placing the order.

I have to pick-up some orders, but we turn this into a fun family outing. Other than that, I make a meal plan each week, and I am done.

3. Great for Emergencies

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When I began quarterly grocery shopping, I picked up my order, and the clerk at the grocery store asked me, “Are you all preppers?”

I laughed and said, “No. Just stocking up.” They looked confused, but I knew this was a good move to save us money and to make us prepared in case of storms, a power outage, or something else.

Months later the “something else” happened. A pandemic hit. People were flooding the grocery store looking for everything from canned goods to toilet paper.

My family and I didn’t panic. Why? Because we had everything we needed, including toilet paper! I have started scoping out items earlier this shopping trip because I know some items (i.e. toilet paper) will be harder to find.

Plus, some stores are limiting the amount of goods you can purchase. I’m navigating this trip a little differently.

However, it is still worth it, to know my family is taken care of for months at a time. I’m saving money, I’m saving time, I don’t have to tackle the grocery store on a weekly basis, and we are prepared in case of an unforeseen emergency.

4. Takes a Load Off

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Finally, quarterly grocery shopping is great because I feel like I can breathe. I don’t have days where I have to pay bills, order food, go to the grocery store, and meal plan.

Plus, I don’t have to worry about if we’ll be okay if the unforeseen happens. The first time I stocked our pantries to the gills for the following months, I took a deep breath and exhaled because I knew I didn’t have to worry.

Let me be clear, I’m not suggesting anyone hoards items. I’m suggesting you simply shop ahead for the quarter. You’ll realize some items you won’t need to buy every quarter. That’s great because you’ll leave it for others.

Quarterly grocery shopping may not work for everyone, but it has been a blessing to my family. I’m thrilled over the money saved. I love that my schedule has more breathing room. I was relieved that we were prepared when the stores were low on items due to COVID-19.

But most importantly, I like knowing that no matter what the storms of life may bring, our necessities are covered.

If this is of interest to you, check out my post on how to quarterly grocery shop efficiently!