In the midst of summer vacations and days at the pool it is hard to be thinking about purchasing back to school supplies. The truth is, though, that school will be back in session before we know it — and you don’t want to be caught off guard and blow your budget. School supplies can add up fast, especially if you’re buying for multiple children –so keep these tips in mind while you’re out and about.
Check Your Stash
Look around your house and see what school supplies you might have packed away in the closet or office somewhere. This includes those supplies from last year (or previous years) that are gently used and able to be used again. Rulers, backpacks, scissors and pencil boxes are all great examples of supplies that can be used over and over again.
Thrift Stores or Garage Sales
Thrift stores and garage sales are great places to find school supplies for cheap! Many times they will even be brand new.
Shop Discount Stores
Dollar Stores have a wide array of school supplies and organizational tools for a fraction of the cost of big box stores.
Don’t Forget Your Coupons!
Coupons are your best money saving friend for everything else, why not school supplies? This time of year coupons for school supplies are easily found.
Take Advantage of Sales
Retailers want your business, so they’re dropping their prices on school supplies competing for your business. Take advantage of these sales when they happen and stock up! Some stores may offer additional discounts when you purchase in bulk so don’t be afraid to ask.
Know Your Prices
Piggy backing on my previous point, it is important to know the different prices and sales that your stores are offering so you know what is a good deal is when you see it. The best way to do this is to create a Back To School Price Book, where you can write out your school lists and the prices of your stores. This will also help you to stay on track and not purchase school supplies that you do not need — as well as helping you out when it comes to price matching.
Zulily – Kids & Womens Apparel, Accessories, and Toys
My daughter loves to do art. Painting, gluing, drawing, coloring, it doesn’t matter, if it is a creative sort of activity she is all over it. The thing is, art supplies can get crazy expensive at the rate she blows throw them! If I were buying scrapbook and other art materials every week to replenish the supplies she uses, I’d be broke before any of our essential bills got deducted out of our bank account! Anyway, because of that I’ve taken to using things around the house that aren’t necessarily earmarked as traditional art supplies to keep our art cabinets well-stocked. Some of what we use are:
Toilet Paper Rolls. These can be turned into anything from binoculars to telescopes to wheels or even small animals. They can be painted, colored, cut up… the possibilities are endless!
Cereal boxes. Instead of banishing these to the recycle bin, we cut them up. The front and back make for a good sized canvas that’s stronger than paper, so it can hold up to gluing and paint better than plain scrap paper will.
Pasta. Macaroni and other shaped pasta has long been a standby in kid’s art. Large pasta with holes can be strung on yarn to make necklaces and bracelets. Older kids can glue colored pasta onto paper in patterns or pictures.
Old marker caps. Have a bunch of dried-up markers you’re about to throw away? My daughter picked through a pile destined for the trash when I wasn’t looking and started gluing the colorful caps onto her pictures. Since then I’ve saved the caps and tossed them in her “stuff to glue” art bins. I just make sure to keep them out of reach of her 1 year old brother, since they are a choking hazard to younger kids!
Fabric scraps. Are you a crafty person yourself? Do you have a bunch of fabric scraps sitting around? Cut some up into smaller bits and let your children use them in their art. It’s a fun way to add a little texture and color to other art supplies.
What else have your kids used in their masterpieces?
We just had another birthday around here. Last time we made a little lavender-colored cake in order to feature our very little Sofia the First doll. This time the cake would be a lot more rugged than Sofia. Since my now-three-year old loves all things related to construction, I decided that we’d make him a construction site birthday cake.
The best part about it was that I wouldn’t have to worry about getting any particular color just right. Chocolate is the color of dirt! Yay!
So, here’s what I did.
1. Make a two layer cake with your favorite chocolate cake recipe. I had a difficult time with one layer (on the right), but it was okay because of the kind of cake I was making.
2. Begin icing the middle layer as you normally would. Use your favorite icing. I used a simple recipe of coconut oil, raw cacao, vanilla extract and maple syrup. It was healthy and yummy!
3. Add the second layer. However, instead of icing it as you would, cut out a piece to create your mound of “dirt.” You’ll notice that I ended up cutting it in more than one piece. That was not the plan but, thanks to the wonders of icing, it didn’t matter.
4. Ice your site…I mean, cake.
5. Then, crush a bunch of Oreo’s or Oreo-like cookies for your dirt and rocks.
6. Now, put the finishing touches on your site. I sprinkled the cookie crumbs onto the hill and the hole. Then, I added a couple of his little bulldozers and cones.
It was an absolute hit…with the whole family! My daughter wanted to lick the icing and my son wanted to play with the cake!
How do you make birthdays for your children special?
A very special little girl turns 5 today! Five?! How did that happen so fast?! I wanted to make the day special while maintaining a reasonable budget. So, I came up with just a few easy and very cheap ways to make a child’s birthday a little sweeter.
My sister in law did this for my nephew last year. Mommy and Daddy got the balloons ready while the birthday boy slept. They put all the balloons in his room overnight. So that in the morning, he woke up to a balloon-filled room. Well, our daughter loves Sofia the First right now. So, purple has been the color of choice lately. I bought a bag of purple balloons. Just purple My husband got them ready last night. She’ll be waking up to a floor full of purple balloons this morning! I can’t wait!
Happy Birthday Banner
Just make your own. It’s so easy and cheap. Here’s ours. As I worked on it, I thought about how I could have made it nicer IF ONLY I had started working on all this stuff only a few days earlier! You know how that goes!
Since our little princess is turning five, I printed out a bunch of 5s on different colored construction paper and have placed them all over the house in honor of the big day!
We rarely have cereal around the house anymore. But, I made a point to pick up a box of her favorite cereal (which happens to be mom-approved) as a breakfast treat.
We’ll be going to a little restaurant she likes for pizza for lunch. Shhh…it’s a surprise. And, we will, of course, be having a homemade Sofia the First birthday cake.
The plan is also to hide a few of her presents around the house for her to find during the day. At various times throughout the day, she’ll get to select a hint from a special jar. The hint will lead her to the next present for her to open.
I hope she enjoys the day. I know I’m super excited about it.
What do you do to make your children’s birthdays special?
One of the main reasons we don’t go out to eat very much is that it can be very expensive. Things add up quickly, even with the little ones ordering from the Little People menu. It ends up feeling more expensive if they don’t eat what they ordered from their Little People menu. Yes, that happens. So, it just ends up being easier, less expensive and healthier to eat at home. However, that also means that it’s more work for…yours truly. So, the list below is one that I will be sure to pin onto a board over on Pinterest because I want to have this reference around at all times…especially on the weekends! I’m sure you will, too. Where your children can eat free. (Of course, be sure to check with your local restaurant to make sure that it’s not just a regional offer.)
Baja Fresh: Kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal and beverage.
Firehouse Subs: Kids 12 and under eat free from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. with each adult purchase.
Jason’s Deli: Kids eat free all day.
Maggiano’s: All day Sunday.
Souper! Salad!: Kids 4 and under eat free. Kids 5-12 eat for just $2.49.
Applebee’s: Kids eat free on Monday and Tuesday nights at select restaurants. One free child entree per visit; however, it’s only $1.00 for additional kids’ meals.
Chili’s: 2 children’s entrees per adult meal purchase.
Fuddruckers: Kids 12 and under can choose anything from the kids’ menu for just $.99 on Mondays and Tuesdays. Their meal includes a drink.
Golden Corral: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, kids under 10 eat free with adult meal purchase.
IHOP: 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., kids under 12 eat free with adult meal purchase.
Denny’s: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Texas Roadhouse: Kids 12 and under eat free.
Chevy’s Fresh Mex: Kids eat free with an adult meal purchase.
Chick-fil-A: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., get a free kid’s meal with each adult purchase.
Coco’s Restaurant & Bakery: After 4 p.m., kids 10 and under eat free.
Famous Dave’s: All day Tuesday.
Ikea: All day Tuesday and during special promotions.
Ruby’s Diner: After 4 p.m., kids 12 and under eat free.
Buffalo Wild Wings: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. kids 12 and under eat for $.99.
Islands: All day Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Rainforest Cafe: Kids eat for $1.99 in the evenings.
Qdoba Mexican Grill: All day Wednesday.
Marie Callender’s: One free kids’ meal with each adult purchase.
Shari’s Restaurant: Kids eat free from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Kids eat free every day
Cafe Rio: Free kids’ quesadilla when you dine in.
Ci Ci’s Pizza: Kids under 3 eat free.
Country Buffet: Kids eat free with adult meal purchase.
Culver’s: Children receive a free custard with their meal.
Hometown Buffet: Kids eat free with the purchase of an adult buffet ticket.
On the Border: Free sundae with kid’s meal purchase.
Tucanos Brazilian Grill: Free child’s entree with the purchase of an adult meal.
Quiznos: Free kid’s entree with the purchase of an adult meal.
Anyone else going out to eat with their children this weekend? 😉
It’s an issue I hear lots of parents talking about. How to get your children to eat vegetables. Broccoli, spinach, beets are on the forefront of my mind when I ask the question. We have some success with steamed broccoli and one of my children will eat beets in a salad I make. But, I have discovered the easiest way to feed them those green veggies…
This is the problem. How to eat these?
Step 1: Toss a bunch of fruit into a blender. I use frozen berries. Sometimes, I’ll have frozen mango or cherries. Add in a banana and milk or yogurt.
Step 2: Add your steamed green veggie. In this case, it’s broccoli. But, sometimes it’s spinach or beet greens (or some combination).
Step 3: Add in any other food that you want to sneak in. I like to add ground flax for a little Omega 3 in the mix. You may also need a little honey, depending on the sweetness of your fruit.
Step 4: Blend!
Step 5: Pour into an ice tray and add popsicle sticks. I have little helpers for this part 😉 (Please excuse the messy counter. Making coleslaw was next on my list.)
Step 6: Enjoy!!!
How do you get your children to eat veggies?
Create your own virtual world in this free download game Roblox. You can make the game whatever you want it to be…create buildings, planes to fly, boats to sail. With an imagination anything can come to life!
Your kids will love it!