Penny Pinching Peach

A place for those of us without the time or inclination to be "extreme" to indulge in a love of couponing & cooking, family & frugality, creativity & craftiness.


Cloud Dough

So much fun!

So much fun!

Has anyone made their own play dough? I hadn’t, but I was looking for a new project for little miss creative when I saw a recipe for something they called “cloud dough”. It looked so easy, fun and super duper cheap to make, I had to give it a try.

The recipe? Two parts corn starch to one part hair conditioner of choice. I let my little one pick one that was pink and she liked the smell of. Mix until it’s all combined. It will be the roughly consistency of play dough, smell like conditioner, and have a soft fluffy feel to it ( hence the cloud part).

My daughter loves this stuff! She says it is even better than regular

Glittery Dough

Glittery Dough

playdough, because it’s soft and makes her hands smell yummy. We keep it in a Ziploc bag between playing. Our first batch kept for several weeks, then we made a second. It takes very little time or money, and scored high points for Mommy. It has kept her busy for hours, and I even let my little guy play with it some, if I am able to stay by them to watch closely.

A fun change up is one we just tried yesterday. I sprinkled a tiny bit of gold glitter on the table and let her roll the

dough in it, then she squished the glitter all up in it. Now she has sparkly cloud dough, which she calls her sparkly fairy dough. :)

Who wants to whip up a batch of this stuff?


Clip Your Own Layered Haircut.

Before I cut my own hair

Before I cut my own hair

So, my hair was looking pretty straggly, my hair has been getting so heavy it’s like a torture instrument during my migraines, and I also just plain wanted a change. I really wanted layers. However, penny pinching peach that I be, I also didn’t want to pay bakoodles for a stylist, wind up with shorter hair than I want to have or any other scary scenario that was running through my stringy haired head. I decided to research cutting my own hair into long layers. I did some research online and became entirely overwhelmed, so made an inquiry on a homesteading site about whether anyone there had cut their own hair. I got alot of great advice, and viewed a few videos they shared. I picked the one I’ll share below that I particularly liked due to the simplicity of the method, but adapted it to be softer by taking the advice given not to pull my hair too far forward or to cut at too sharp of angles or take off too much at once to start off.

I decided to just go for it. I bought a pair of decent hair cutting scissors at CVS while I was out running errands, then both of my munchkins miraculously took a nap at the same time after we got home. I went to work, washing and conditioning my hair and then following the basic techniques from the video until I was fairly satisfied with the results. It was actually pretty easy to do, to my surprise, even for someone who had never cut human hair before! I am rather happy with the results, too, since my hair is much lighter and has more “bounce” to it. :)

Here is the after photo of my new hair do. (Excuse the cruddy selfies, but noone over the age of 4 was around to take a before or for a few days to take a photo after.) What do you think?

After I cut my own layers

After I cut my own layers

Have you ever cut your own hair or someone else’s, without formal training? Would you like to try? It isn’t for everyone, so please don’t blame me if you try it and wind up looking like a hairless chihuahua with those craaaaaazzzzzy sprigs sprouting off the top of your noggin! :) I’m pretty artistic by nature, and can draw, cut and trim paper, fabric and other materials accurately with ease, so that made me a little more comfortable attempting my own hair cut. If I couldn’t draw a stick figure or cut in a straight line or curve at will, I would swallow my penny pinching tendencies and cough up the dough for a professional hair cut every single time. It’s not worth doing a royal hack job on my hair to save the bucks! :)

Also, please note that on my first attempt I didn’t do anything super drastic. Keep in mind that you can always cut more hair off if your hair isn’t quite the shape you want or as short as you’d like, but you can’t just tape those locks back on. :)

Here’s the video I used as a sort of guideline, if anyone wants to watch it themselves. I don’t know this person. Someone on Facebook shared the video with me, among others, and this one I liked because it was so easy to follow.

Has anyone else went out of their comfort zone recently, whether to save money or learn a new skill? I’m a wee bit proud of myself for trying this, since it was wayyyyyy outside of my comfort zone, to say the least. :)

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Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!


Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday on March 2, we decided to read his whimsical books in a nook with a look for ideas to cook up for activities to do that go along with the stories. Today we read “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish”. That is one of my munchkins ‘ favorites! I didn’t want to do a bunch of printing and searching activities yesterday, so I just free styled it. Maybe it will give someone else some inspiration.

One fish, two fish was simple. I drew a large one and a large two on each side of the picture with the word fish, and let her draw. She decided to go rogue on that one, so I’ll skip a picture, but she did understand the concept. LOL

Red fish, Blue fish

Red fish, Blue fish

For red fish, blue fish, it was pretty easy, too. I grabbed some red and blue markers, using the appropriate colors to title and illustrate a coloring page. My little artist colored them opposite colors, but she enjoyed herself. :)

So that it wasn’t just about the fish on the cover, I chose another of my daughter’s favorite parts of the book for the closing activity.

By the light of a star, by the light of the moon...

By the light of a star, by the light of the moon…

I drew a moon and star, sketched a rudimentary sheep, grabbed a bunch of cotton balls, rolled pieces of tape and stuck them to each, and turned my little princess loose. Glue would be easier, but we have issues with glue, curls and an independent streak. ;) My kiddo was pretty tickled with the results of her project!

Is anyone else doing any fun activities in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday? Am I the only lifelong fan of his books? I was actually excited to read them to my babies, since I enjoyed them so much growing up! :)

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Letter Search

Sailing with Pirate C

Sailing with Pirate C

Arrrr, mateys!! We’re working on the alphabet, and you’re welcome to sail along! My little girl was in a piratey kind of mood when her photo was taken with this particular preschool project, so I just floated with it. :)

I decided to let her do a letter C word search. I took a blank sheet of paper, made several bubble letter Cs, drew a few pieces of candy and a few cookies, then added a bunch of random swirls & stars to make it a bit tricky. I also made a box in the lower corner as her “code” to help her know how many letter Cs were hidden and how many of each of the sweet things that started with the letter C she needed to find.

Her orders were simple. Find all of the letter Cs and color them. When you find one in the picture, color one in your code so that you know when you find them all. Do the same thing with the pieces of candy and cookies, which are the words I was using to demonstrate the C sound for her that day.

This would work with any letter and any simple pictures you wanted to use with that letter, obviously. She had fun with this project, as you can see from her piratical expression, and I’m sure your little ones would too. :)


Home Flavored Yogurt

Pick Your Own Flavor

Pick Your Own Flavor

My family loves to eat yogurt, but I’ve ran into a couple of problems with the pre-flavored yogurts available at the store. First off, they are getting too stinkin’ expensive for my taste! Second, there is a ton of sugar, artificial dyes and extra junk I can’t even pronounce added into most of them, and I’m not too crazy about that when I’m trying to make a healthy choice by eating yogurt in the first place. So, being the penny pinching peach that I be :) , I decided to start experimenting with making my own flavored yogurt, starting with the big (and much cheaper!) tubs of plain yogurt.The first thing I tried was a recipe I fou

nd for chocolate chip cookie dough yogurt. It was just a couple of scoops of plain yogurt (Greek or regular works, although the recipe asked for Greek), a couple of scoops of creamy peanut butter, a sprinkling of vanilla extract and a small handful of chocolate chips. It was surprisingly good!

Next, I used some of my son’s baby food to flavor some of that same plain yogurt. Both of my children were crazy about it! It actually tasted very similar to the store bought fruit flavored yogurts, just slightly less sweet because there was no sugar added. This one is 100% healthy and sugar free, which is fantastic since too much sugar makes my munchkins act like they’ve been transformed into the Energizer bunny until all hours of the night. :) Banana baby food and a generous dollop of peanut butter mixed into yogurt was a definite hit, with both my daughter and myself! Some other baby food flavors I’d suggest: strawberry banana, apple blueberry (sounds weird, but my kids loved that one), peaches, banana, apricot & mixed fruit…pretty much anything fruity that sounds yummy to you will work.

My husband brought me a yogurt mix treat the other day, bringing with it more yogurt mix-in inspiration. Try almond slivers, dark chocolate shavings or chips and shredded coconut. Can we say delicious? Ooooo, yeahhh! ;)

A winning flavor is mashed banana and peanut butter mixed together and then mixed into your yogurt.

Cinnamon, honey and raisins makes for a different twist, with flavors reminiscent of rice pudding.

Does anyone else flavor their own yogurt? What’s your favorite?

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Newspaper ABCs

Hunting and Clipping

Hunting and Clipping

With the holiday season over, and the Christmas themed crafts no longer an anchor for our preschool activities, it’s back to ordinary projects for us. I decided to have my 4 year old review her alphabet a little differently, using random things from around the house, to make sure she really recognizes and can write each upper and lower case letter well.We’re a few letters in now, but I’m sharing what we did for the letter A, as well as what Baby Boy did for “baby school” while she was hard at work. :)

My hubby had brought home a newspaper with all those lovely coupon inserts, and there were some advertisements in there with large, classic block letters. I got out Princess Peach’s current preschool book and had her look at the letter A pages she had done previously. She then filled her dry erase board with as many upper and lower case (also known as mommy and baby) letter As as she could. After that, it was on to her fun project, with her book and dry erase board as her guide…

I gave her the advertisement page, and told her to find and cut out as many of the letter A as she could find. For every five letters, she would get a sticker. She had a blast hunting for and cutting out her letters and cashing them in for her stickers! :)

Of course, little brother wanted in on the fun as well, so Mommy pulled out some extra large animal flash cards for

Animal Identification and Sounds

Animal Identification and Sounds

him once sister was to the cutting stage. I set him up in the high chair next to her, gave him the flash cards and had him hold each one up and I’d tell him the animal and animal sound. He’d repeat them to me with interest, and sometimes tell me what sounds they made before he even held them up to show me. This kept him stimulated and happily learning with sister instead of trying to steal all of her letters. :)

All of this took place in our kitchen while I was doing dishes, by the way. I can’t get anything done if I can’t multi task at least part of the time! :)

Does anyone else use random household items for educational activities? It definitely appeals to the penny pinching, hate-to-waste-anything side of me, I have to admit! :)


Mom In Heaven

Mama and me

Mama and me

December 20th was the seventh anniversary of my mom’s passing. She was only 44 at the time. I had no idea how I was going to face life without my mom, because she was my best friend, mom and everything all rolled into one amazing woman. Life has gone on, but it will never be the same. I wrote a poem about her on the 20th, but was hesitant to share it here. It’s “off topic”, and not my best work. I decided to go ahead. Maybe it will touch someone else struggling with facing life and/or the holidays without a loved one they feel should be here to celebrate with them…

If you had asked when I was young

How long I thought my mom would live,

I’d have told you she’d outlive us all

And still have time to give.

If you had told me she’d be gone

When she was only 44,

I’d have called you crazy

And not listened anymore.

If I had known that she’d be gone

Before her time should be,

I’d have done all I could do

To keep her here with me

If I were given the chance

To see her once again,

I’d tell her how much I love her,.

Thank her for all she’d been.

She lived more in her short life

Than many who are old and gray

She was the best mom she could be,

And I miss her every day.

When she knew the end was nearing,

She had little left undone.

She just wished she’d see me married,

Get to hold the children of her daughter and son.

When I look at her grandbabies,

I see her sparkle and her smile,

I feel her love and laughter,

See her dancing silly and wild.

I know her love is with us,

And in our hearts, she’ll never die,

But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss her

Or in the darkness cry.

If I could give my mom a present

I’d fly all of us up to Heaven,

And spend a day with her in

The place she’s been for seven.

In Loving Memory of My Mom, Dorinda

Mom, Nana and me

Mom, Nana and me


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