30 Days – 30 Minutes of Movement


It didn’t take me too long as a parent to realize that you have to be careful what you tell kids you are going to do as they never seem to forget. “Tomorrow we are going to the park”….tomorrow comes and you get busy and they are all, “Um, I thought we were going to the park?!”

So I decided that the best way for me to get in daily fitness is to get them to encourage me by doing it together.

We came up with a plan. For 1 month, we’ll get in 30 minutes of “movement” a day and by movement, I mean some sort of fitness/exercise. And my promise to them? That along with all the benefits they’ll gain by staying healthy, I’ll also take them someplace to reward them for their efforts – one of those jumpy house places. What kid doesn’t love those, right?!


I printed off a blank July calendar and for each day that they get in their 30 minutes of movement, they get a gold star sticker. (Does that take you all back to elementary school or what?!) I picked up a pack with hundreds of those gold stars at the dollar store. Talk about a simple and inexpensive rewards chart! We also jot down what movement we got in that day.

The other day we walked along some trails for an hour so they each put 2 gold star stickers on their charts for that day. Great way to start us off!

I just wanted to share this with all of you in case you wanted to have a month of movement challenge yourself. You don’t need to wait until the first of any specific month. Just start and go 30 days from that point. The important thing is, that you start!

Here are a few Apps and products that I like that might help:


Map My Walk – I love this one! You can sign-up for Free. I downloaded the App to my phone. Whenever my kids and I start walking, I just click a button and it keeps track of our route, how far we went and how long it took us. The kids love checking out our stats when we are done.


My Fitness Pal – This is a good one for keeping a food journal and exercise log. I just started getting into the habit of logging my meals as I usually have my phone nearby and it only takes a few minutes. It’s so educational to see how calories can add up even when you think you are eating healthy. What I like about this one is your friends can join and you can cheer each other on to help reach your goals.


Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity + Sleep Wristband – I have heard really good things about this. It does have a higher price tag but if in the end it helps you stay healthier, it might just be worth it!


Thermos FUNtainer Bottle – These are so great for helping keep the kids (or even yourself!) hydrated. They sell these at places like Target, too. What I like about the newer generation ones is that they have a handle on them.


This is a great way to spend time with the kids and stay healthy. Here are a few ideas for “movement:”

~Game of Tag (Freeze Tag, Flashlight Tag)
~Jump Roping
~Soccer, Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Hockey, Tennis, Football, etc.
~Running – Train for a Kid’s Miler Race
~Kid’s Yoga
~Backyard Obstacle Course
~Animal Fun (Crab Walk, Bunny Hob, Frog Leaps)
~Riding Bikes/Scooters
~Red Light, Green Light
~Hula Hoops
~Game of Catch
~Tug of War
~Rope, Rock or Tree Climbing
~Video Games like Wii Fit, Zumba, Just Dance etc. (For rainy days!)
~Hiking – Turn it into a Nature Scavenger Hunt!
~Playing at the Park
~Canoeing, Paddleboats, etc.
~Rollerblading, Rollerskating, Skateboarding
~Karate/Martial Arts Moves
~Jumping Jacks, Toe Touches, Stair Climbs, etc.
~Yardwork – pulling weeds, mowing the lawn (if older)
~House-cleaning: Scrubbing floors, walls, vacuuming

There are so many ways to get movement without it costing you a lot of money. Summer is an especially great time to start this as the weather is nicer and you can get outside a lot more.

I’m hoping you and your family (and friends!) will challenge yourself to get in some extra movement even if it’s just a few days a week!

Great American Backyard Campout on 6/28/14


Saturday June 28, 2014 is the “Great American Backyard Campout” day. If you are looking for something fun to do with your family that weekend, why not make some new memories by camping under the stars? If you don’t have your own backyard, call up a friend that does and have your families camp together!

Every year since we thought the kids were old enough we’ve done a backyard camping day during the summer. The kids have such a great time and the best part is…if it starts to rain or the bugs get overwhelming, you just go back inside! (Not to mention, you still have the use of a clean toilet nearby!)


Here’s a list of few things to consider picking up for your backyard camping:

1) Tent
2) Sleeping Bags
3) Air Mattress
4) Lawn Chairs
5) Lantern and Flashlights
6) Cooler and Water Jug
7) S’mores
8) Mosquito Spray, Sunblock, First-Aid Kit, etc.
9) Games, Magazines, Books, etc.


We actually have a little firepit where we roast hot dogs and marshmallows. And if you want to make a special treat, pick up a “Pudgie Pie Maker” that you can use to make sandwiches or little pies. All you need is bread and a can of pie filling. We tried these for the first time last year and they tasted like a warm apple pie straight out of the oven! Check out some cool Pudgie Pie Recipes on Pinterest!

Here are a few ideas of some fun to have during your backyard camping outing:

1) Play a game of tag. Better yet, play a game of flashlight tag!

2) Try to catch some fireflies.

3) Do a little stargazing and try to find some constellations

4) Make S’Mores and “Pudgie Pies”

5) Have a good chit-chat in front of the fire.

6) Bring out a board game and have a boys vs. girls battle

And here are some money-saving coupons for items you may buy:

$1.00 off any OFF! Personal Insect Repellent

$1 Off OFF! Personal Insect Repellant Coupon

$1.50 off any OFF! Clip-On™ Mosquito Repellent

$1.50 Off OFF! Clip-On Mosquito Repellent Coupon


$1 Off Jet-Puffed, Honey Maid and Hershey’s Coupon

$2.00 off any AVEENO Sun Care product

$2 Off Aveeno Sun Care Product Coupon

$1.00 off Energizer Brand Batteries or Flashlight

$1 Off Energizer Battteries or Flashlight Coupon

$0.75 off ONE (1) Reynolds Wrap Product

$.75 Off Reynolds Wrap Product Coupon – you can take some meat/veggies, wrap them in foil and cook them over the fire. Just use caution when you open them!

Save $1.50 when you buy any TWO (2) cans of Lucky Leaf® Pie Filling..Expires 7/6/2014.Save $1.50.

Also, SavingStar has an eCoupon that will earn you $1.50 back wyb 2 Lucky Leaf Pie Fillings that will come in handy for making those pudgie pies. I highly recommend the apple!

While the first year may be a bit of an investment if you don’t own your own tent and camping gear, it is a very frugal outing going forward as you can reuse everything annually. I hope you’ll try this fun way to camp if you haven’t already. Happy Camping if you do!

Summer Jar of Memories


Several weeks ago, Zulily had an Apothecary Jar on sale so I decided to pick it up. My plans for it? To fill it full of summer memories.

Last night was the first of what I hope to be many additions to it. We went on a Full Moon Walk (which was AMAZING by the way) and the kids found some pine cones as we were out walking. They couldn’t wait to come back and add them to the jar.

We’ll see what fun gets added next.

I just wanted to share the idea in case you wanted to start one of your own!

You might be able to find a jar at The Salvation Army Thrift Store or some other second-hand place for not a lot out of pocket. Some dollar stores sell them, as well.

Amazon has this Glass Cookie/Candy Jar that might work.


And Zulily still has a few of a different jar – you’ll need to search by “Canary Jar & Lid” to find it. It’s $15.99 but not too many are left.

Full Moon Walk Tonight?


As I’ve mentioned in the past, we try to take a “Full Moon Walk” from time to time, especially in the summer. Well it looks like another Full Moon tonight–and on Friday the 13th at that! I’m kind of bummed that I missed the “Honey Moon” last night.


The idea of the Full Moon Walk comes from an older book called Walk When the Moon Is Full. It’s written by a Mother who shares the adventures her and family had each time the moon was full when they’d go on their “Full Moon Walks.”

I thought I’d share in case you were looking for something different to do for free tonight.

Here’s a few tips if you choose to go out:

*Flashlights – Even though you’ll be in well-lit areas, the kids think these are fun and you never know when you might need one. If you don’t have any, dollar bins usually carry some.

*Mosquito Repellent – You may want to use some on children that are old enough to wear it.

*Small snacks and water

*Small Blanket and/or spare jackets – You never know when a chill might creep up in the weather. Also, you might find a nice spot to just sit and stare at the moon and stars with the kids.

*Bag(s) for carrying found treasures

*Camera – Take lots of pictures for a memory book of each walk

Disclaimer: Use your best judgment and all safety requirements when walking outside. Only walk in safe neighborhoods, wear clothing that can be visible to others and even though you’ll be exploring, try to stay in well-lit areas.

Board Game Decathlon – Games #2 and #3


As I mentioned earlier, my family and I have been having fun this week and next doing a “Board Game Decathlon.” 10 games. Boys vs. Girls. Winning team gets $20 to have a fun day together.

Wednesday, we played Pop The Pig. Basically the game goes something like this: You roll the dice, you pick a hamburger and based on the number on the bottom you push down on the pig that many times. Meanwhile, the pig is getting bigger and bigger and the person to make his belt pop, is the “winner.”  We played best out of 3.

A game mostly for younger kids as it helps them learn how to count and color matching. My kids loved the anticipation of would the pig pop this time or next?

Boys won this one. A big defeat for the girls as we were now down 2-0.


Thursday, we played Big Cat Math. How this game works is that everyone gets a yarn ball card where there are 3 blank equations. You can fill in an addition or subtraction sign based on which game route you choose to go. Everyone chooses 3 numbers to put in the sum area of their card. Then you get to draw 2 cards from the cat. You work on making a valid equation such as 2+2=4. It’s all a game of luck and memory. For if the circle doesn’t work with your equations, you put it back and someone then has a chance to grab that number later if they remember where it was.

I loved how this game helped reinforce the learning of math problems and also helped the mind work backwards in some instances. *+2=6 and you had to figure out what * was.

Girls won this one. FINALLY!


Boys = 2 Girls = 1

So the girls are hanging in there. I was fearing a sweep!

Hope you are considering having your own Board Game Decathlon with your own family. Dust off those board games and have some frugal fun at home this week!!

The Board Game Decathlon Begins!


Last week I was going through my kids’ closets pulling out clothes that no longer fit and weeding through all their toys finding some I knew they didn’t play with any more so I could try to sell them at a garage sale. In the process, I realized that we had a lot of board games and we weren’t taking advantage of them as far as family entertainment. And when I say we have a lot, I mean a LOT! I let each kid “save” 10 board games and the rest went into a stack in our living room.

We decided we were going to do a board game decathlon. 10 games over the course of the month. To add to the fun, we made the decision to split into boys vs. girls teams. The winning team gets $20 for a day together to do whatever they want.  Each kid will also get to decide on their favorite game to “save” to be added into our permanent collection at the end of the decathlon.

Tonight was our first night in the board game decathlon. The kids picked Alphabug Soup Word Game as the game to kick off the event.

Who won?


BOYS = 1 and GIRLS = 0

Boo. I guess my daughter and I will have to work on our comeback.

I’ll be sharing the games we are playing and the winning outcome just so you can have a little fun along the way with us. And who knows, you might find a new family favorite as far as board game.

The question is….will you do one of your own board game decathlons at home, too? :)

Planning Ahead: Little Crafty Gift Ideas

It won’t be too long before the holidays are here and I wanted to share a few of the past crafty ideas I’ve posted in case you wanted to start planning ahead and making these with/for the kids. I’m posting these now, as well, as several stores have their school supplies on sale and you might be able to grab up some deals to make these:

Book Box – This was a big favorite with several of my readers. You’ll need to find a box, either holiday in theme or one you can wrap with holiday paper, and fill it with wrapped books. (Check your Michael’s Craft Store as they have boxes on sale for $2 through 9/22/12.) The kids get to unwrap a new book randomly throughout the year. It’s a gift that keeps on giving year-round!  See the post on it here.

Personalized Crayon Holders – These are made from empty, and cleaned, frosting containers. Pair this with a coloring book and maybe even some things you can find during school supplies clearance sales to make a cute gift set. Several of our stores have backpacks, pencils, notebooks, etc on clearance. A great way to put together an arts/crafts bookbag. Read the post on it here.

Bowling Pin Set – Save up some Coffee-Mate Creamer Jars and buy some colored electrical tape (most dollar stores sell it) and turn them into a bowling pin set for the kids. You may be able to find some summer items on clearance to find something to serve as the bowling ball. Or…..

…turn them into a cute snowman decoration. You can even fill them with hot chocolate mix and marshmallows and a mug for some hot cocoa! These might be cute sticking out of a stocking, especially if filled with holiday candies/treats!

Personalized Journal – You should be able to find the composition notebooks on clearance at places like Target right now. Turn one of them and some scrapbook paper into a cute personalized journal for someone. Also pick up some nice pens in the school clearance sales to pair with it. You can read the post on that here.

CD Case Photos – Hang onto an old CD case so you can turn it into a photo frame that might be nice for a parent’s office desk or a grandparent’s end table.

Seek-and-Find Containers: Save up a Parmesan Cheese Container and some odds-and-ends and turn it into a Seek-and-Find Container. My kids love theirs and play with it often. Add a little tape around the lid to secure it and you’ll have a nice game to distract them while traveling!

Photo Collage – Turn a Canvas Board, some fabric and pics into a cute photo collage for a family member. See the post on that here. Note: I’ve had mine for four years and it looks just as good as the day I made it!

Hot Chocolate Cones – Keep your eyes open for cone-shaped wrappers, sales on hot chocolate mix and mini chocolate chips to make these. Several of my readers have turned them into gifts for their kid’s classmates for the holidays.

Peek-a-Boo Board – This is great for young’uns that are still excited about peek-a-boo. Just be careful to use materials that are appropriate for their age. You can read the posting on it here.

If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from younger kids it’s this – gifts don’t have to be elaborate to be fabulous. With them, it’s all about the simplicity and fun of it!