imagination to come up with your own free or nearly free stuff to do.
Change things around to fit the ages of the particular kids in
question. These work for Aunts and Uncles (even honorary ones) as well
as parents and guardians. You do not need to spend a lot of money in order to entertain and educate your children. Here are 6 ideas that are free or almost free, no expensive video games, special equipment, or preschool furniture are required.
1. Read together. Pick as
story and read a chapter or two every night. If your kids are reading
take turns reading a page and go back and forth. Have you read Harry
Potter, Warriors, The Secret Garden, Alice in Wonderland? These are all
some great books to read a little at a time.
2. Play a
game. I bet you have a stack of games in your house. Even a deck of
cards can be great - try Kings in the Corner for a good kid and adult
card game. My grandmother always used that one to get us warmed up for
bridge! (She always needed a fourth so she had to teach me.) The
classic kids games are classic for a reason. Little kids love Chutes
and Ladders, and CandyLand just like we did. Hisss is a favorite at our
house - a card game where you have snake heads, tails, and body parts
in different colors and try to see who can make more complete snakes. I
can't wait til my kids are older and I can teach them to play the
railroad building board game "Ticket to Ride."
bikes or take a walk around your neighborhood. If that's too boring
take a drive to a local park and walk the trails there. We have a local
linear trail called the Greenway and it's a lovely walk.
Arts and crafts project time! For little kids print free coloring
pages from the internet. I keep a craft basket with all sorts of
leftover pieces and parts of things. Add some cheap Elmer's Glue and
you can create a work of art. If you want to spend a few dollars take a
trip to the craft store like Michael's or Joann. Foam sticky dolls,
Shrinky Dinks, watercolor paints and a giant roll of paper... there are
endless possibilities. Don't discount the joy of making a bird feeder
out of pinecones and peanut butter.
5. Cook together.
Cooking is a great way to teach kids math concepts, chemical reactions,
and reading and following directions. Start with easy things like
baking cookies, and making individual pizzas. Then branch out into more
complex dishes and meals. Tip: kids are a lot more likely to eat
dinner if they had a hand in making it.
6. Have a movie
night. Play a family favorite, watch something that is on TV, or do Pay
Per View or movie rentals. Pop some popcorn, have the kids get their
pillows, blankets and stuffed animals, and camp out. Dim the lights and
I was just reading the April 2010 issue of Women's Day magazine, and there was a good page about the relationship between money and happiness. Some really good point they made are to consider if what you spend your money on fosters relationships with the people you care about. The quote they use is "experiences make us happier than stuff."
They also not that one of the most important things money can help buy is a sense of security. So when you are paying on your credit card debt, or contributing to your savings account you should remember that this will bring you future happiness and security.
Money can't buy happiness, but it can sure help give you a secure environment to work on the rest of what really does bring happiness - relationships, experiences, security, etc. And as they taught me in business school, cutting costs effects the bottom line the same as increasing sales. So when you go out and find a deal on discount auto insurance, it may just help make you happier.
I have concocted a lovely old fashioned humidifier. I boiled a huge pot of water on the stove. In it is a sliced lemon (old lemon was ready to be thrown out) cinnamon sticks, pickling spices, old vanilla bean, some old dried up bay leaves, and other lovely stuff from the spice rack.
I am going to get some moisture in the air and get the house smelling yummy at the same time. And I cleaned out the fridge and spice rack at the same time.
I didn't have to buy anything for this, worry about cleaning out a humidifier, or purchase any special fragrance or lighting fixtures. I just need to remember to keep adding water and turn off the stove when I am done with it.
This is the deal of the day for sure. Normally selling at $110.00, Amazon has this handy smaller size food processor on sale for $35.99 and that will automatically qualify for free super saver shipping. Great excuse to order some K-cups on sale while you are at it.
I read on Slickdeals.net that you can get a coupon for a free entree at Outback by signing up on their "Keep in Touch" page. The coupon gets mailed to you and is said to be a free entree with purchase of drink and another entree.
We love to go to Outback for a special treat so I went ahead and signed up. Outback is the one restaurant where I can expect my boys to behave like little gentlemen.
Here's an interesting deal - Amazon has Knorr "Sides Plus Veggies" vegetable fried rice for 49% off. (Free shipping for orders over $25.00) It comes in a bulk pack of 12 for $14.09. I use the pilaf mix they make and it is very good. I haven't had the fried rice yet. Since this comes out to $1.17 a package and they are a dried rice in a shelf stable package this seems like a pretty good way to stock up your pantry.
You could have fried rice every other week and have a good part of your meal planning all set for 3 months. And if you don't want 12 of the same thing --- here's an idea -- use half yourself and donate the other half to your local food bank.
This is one of those things that can be a side dish, or add some scrambled egg or meat to make it a main dish. Watch the sodium - sometimes prepared foods like this can have a lot.
That's why I liked that the place I used (see first link) had their rates published on their home page. They also give you an itemized list of each type of gold you sent in, weight, and price offered.
It looks like from the reviews that local pawn shops are actually pretty fair about prices too. Good to know. I've got more to sell and I am going to do the same thing I did before and go with gold-cash.com. I used the money I made from them to clean my gutters. But of course after sent the stuff in to them I found 4 more things to sell. My husband's way back ex-girlfriend (from like 15 years ago) left 2 ugly plain wedding bands with him before she dumped him. (Yes, her loss is my gain - thank you.) Also found 2 things I forgot to send in before a broken chain and a locket I picked up at Goodwill for $7.48 that may or may not be real gold but looks real to me.
Wow - this is a fantastic deal. Boston Market is having a special next weekend (Saturday 9/5 - Monday 9/7) where you get half off any Family meal or Market feast. You can feed your whole crew on the cheap this weekend. You can sure bet where I am going to be heading on Saturday! Are they still offering the extra whole chicken for $1.99 with a family meal purchase? I hope so.
Whenever I am shopping online, as soon as I see the field for entering coupon codes or promotional codes, I open up a web page and do a web search for "the name of the company coupon code" to see if I can find a deal. You can find percentage off coupon codes, free shipping codes, and more out there if you are lucky.
The Google approach is hit or miss, however, and can take up some time. Some of the sites are not easy to navigate, codes are expired, or they have the keyword in their page, but no actual code for the site you are looking for. I have found a site I can go to first - that is easy to navigate and doesn't waste your time. It's called Coupon Chief and it's at http://www.couponchief.com.
Coupon Chief also has an interesting feature where if you submit coupon codes to the site and people use them you can get a share of the sales. I assume this works when the shoppers click through the Coupon Chief site. They have an easy to use page for submitting codes as well. I get codes in the mail from retailers all the time, so I might try this feature. It's nice to share the information, even without making any money from it.