Penny Pinching Peach


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Paper Plate Pumpkin Masks

Paper Plate Pumpkin Masks

Paper Plate Pumpkin Masks

Need an inexpensive and easy fall craft for kids? Try my upcycled paper plate pumpkin masks!

I try to do a craft of some sort at least once or twice a week with my children, mostly using items we have on hand or that will cost me very little to get the supplies for. This was one of our recent projects, using only items I already had in my cabinets. These masks were pretty quick to pull together, as well as lots of fun for my little ones to help make and play with when they were finished. If you need a simple and cheap autumn craft for children, this is for you!

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Want to know how to make your own paper plate pumpkin mask? Keep reading!

Pumpkin Mask Supplies

Pumpkin Mask Supplies

First, gather your supplies. In case the photo isn’t enough explanation, here’s your crazy long list of things you need:

Yep, that’s it! Think you can handle that? 😉

Next, let your kiddos color the middle round part of the plate orange (or another color, if they’re feeling funky). Cut the round center part of the plate out.

Hold the cut out near your child’s face and put a dot on the plate where the eyes and mouth should go, then draw the shapes they want them to be. I scored the lines with my scissors and then went back over them with a knife to cut them the rest of the way out.

Poke a hole in each side of the pumpkin mask for the ribbon to go through. Have your child hold the mask up and then wrap the ribbon around from hole to hole to figure the length. You can do the strap one of two ways. Either two pieces of ribbon you tie on (my choice) or one solid piece they slide on and off their heads. I wrapped it behind and added enough length to tie through the holes as well as tying a bow in the back, which was a few extra inches. Cut and tie the ribbon through the holes.

Paper Plate Pumpkin Mask

Paper Plate Pumpkin Mask

Your child will be ready to go crazy as a walking jack o’lantern!

For a fun story time activity this fall and Halloween, check out The Teeny Tiny Ghost and the Monster! If you want a safe alternative to carving jack o’lanterns, try my No Carving Pumpkin Family!


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The Teeny Tiny Ghost and the Monster

Halloween book

Halloween book

We were given a few of the best Halloween books from my mother in law’s expansive collection of all things autumn.

Halloween was her favorite holiday, by far. We lost her recently, so even though I don’t generally go all out for this particular holiday, I decided to do a Halloween themed story time with my munchkins in her honor, complete with a craft, game and treat. She also loved all things crafty, and was a retired Head Start teacher, so I know that she would have enjoyed it.

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I chose the book  The Teeny Tiny Ghost and the Monster by Kay Winters for our fun Halloween themed activity time.

It’s quite the cute little book, and not the least bit scary. My little girl is strongly opposed to all things “creeeeepyyyyy”, as she says, so that was a must. 🙂 This book and activity would be fun any time of the year, but especially for fall and Halloween. I love that it fits the season without being too scary for little kids.

Pipe cleaner arms and legs

Pipe cleaner arms and legs

First on our agenda are ghost and monster puppets!

To make these, you just need craft sticks like Loew Cornell 1021254 Woodsies Craft Sticks, 1000-Piece (or popsicle sticks),  Crayola Construction Paper, Assorted Colors, 240 Sheet (99-3200)or cardstock, pipe cleaners like these Creativity Street Stetems/Pipe Cleaners 12″ X 4mm 100-Piece Assorted Colors, tape and something to color with. I sketched the requested outlines for their ghosts and monsters, but if you don’t have a knack for drawing, just print or trace the outlines. While I let my five and two year olds loose to decorate their respective puppets, I grabbed a couple of pipe cleaners and snipped them into four pieces each for the monsters’ legs and arms. You need one pipe cleaner per monster.  I just twisted loops at one end of each to make hands and feet. Once they were finished coloring, I cut out their creepy (bahaha!) creations and helped them tape the arms and legs on the monsters and the craft sticks on all of the puppets. See? Super simple, easy peasy!! As I mentioned, even my two year old could participate in this activity.

If you don’t want to bother making your own puppets, this set of teeny tiny finger puppets is super inexpensive and awfully cute  Monster Finger Puppets – Collect all 8!

Halloween Monster Back

Halloween Monster Back

Below you see my munchkins proudly displaying their one-of-a-kind ghosties and monsters. Quite the colorful creatures, aren’t they? 🙂 They get all the credit, since Mommy literally left them to it while she finished the legs and arms and worked on dishes.

Monster and Ghost Puppets

Monster and Ghost Puppets

Now for the next part of our freaky fall fun fest!! Halloween storytime, with a game!

I settled them down in our oversized chair, and instructed them to hold up their ghost puppets when they heard the word “ghost” and their monster puppets when they heard the word “monster”. As you can see, they had to concentrate to hear those key words, but they did really well and thought it was the neatest way to read a book together.

Halloween Game

Halloween Game

We weren’t ready to be finished with that, so the kiddos put on a Halloween puppet show for me using their new monster puppets.

While I won’t pretend that the script was riveting, they were pretty doggone cute in their attempts at a story line. My two year old really didn’t get it, and wound up watching his sister’s puppets more than doing anything with his own, but they had a blast, anyway. Puppet time is great for creative children!

Monster and Ghost Puppet Show

Monster and Ghost Puppet Show

For the grand finale, I brought out their trick or treat buckets from the fall festivals we attended the other day and let them both pick out a sweet treat. As you can see, they were quite pleased with that finish! 🙂

Do your little ones enjoy books and puppets? What are your favorite books for autumn? For a fun pumpkin activity to do with your little ones, try No Carving Pumpkin Family!

Story Time Trick or Treat

Story Time Trick or Treat


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Getting Artsy With D, E, and F

Tracing "D" With Pompoms

Tracing “D” With Pompoms

My newly turned five year old and I are continuing our fun journey into reviewing the

Tracing E With Pompoms
Tracing E With Pompoms

alphabet and adding in the phonics side of things as we go.

She looks at school time as one of her favorite games, since Mommy is playing it with her and she is actually learning. I’m lucky that my kiddo inherited my odd fascination with learning new things, so it makes homeschooling her (thus far) more of a joyful journey than a chore.

This lesson is one we did several weeks ago, and is all about the letters D, E, and F. We did all of the activities over the course of a couple of days, along with other things we were working on. My little peachy princess really enjoyed all of the things I came up with for these letters! 🙂 I’m not going to list these alphabetically as much as by activity, to keep it from being too befuddling.

Tracing F With Pompoms

Tracing F With Pompoms

My little girl loves colorful pompoms and art projects, so it was easy to dream up this first activity! I filled an empty wipe box with multi colored pompoms Pepperell Craft Making Assorted Pom Poms, Standard Colors, 750 Per Package and wrote the letters D, E, and F in large print on three pieces of paper. I had her trace each letter using the pompoms, talking about the sounds each letter made as she traced it. She was very pleased with the results, and wanted to glue them to show off later, but we didn’t have enough pompoms for all that. 🙂

D is for Dog and Disguise

D is for Dog and Disguise

Next, we talked about what words started with each sound. She was delighted to realize how

E is for Elephant

E is for Elephant

many words she could come up with beginning with each sound. From there I asked her to draw or color a picture of something she really liked starting with each letter sound. She chose to wear a “disguise” while coloring a picture of “dog” biscuits for the “D” sound, to draw a picture of an “elephant” for the “E” sound, and to draw a picture of her daddy, the firefighter, for the “F” sound. She was so proud of her artistic abilities, and learned to write some new words. 🙂

F is for Firefighter

F is for Firefighter

For some outdoor educational fun, we went on a hunt for flowers to go along with the “F” sound. Since we were still enjoying ourselves so much, we created a beautiful letter “F” on our back deck using some of our flower finds. My peachy princess was fascinated with her floral creation! 🙂

How have you been having fun with your alphabet lately? Here are some fun activities for ABCs!

F is for Flower

F is for Flower

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Egg Carton Flowers

Egg carton flowers

Egg carton flowers


I had a stack of egg cartons piling up, waiting on some inspiration, and my daughter brought them to me wanting to do a project. I came up with egg carton flowers. She was thrilled! Since my little princess enjoyed her new project, I thought I’d share it with other folks who might want something new to do to keep their munchkins happy. 🙂

We gathered together our supplies: An egg carton (of course! 🙂 ), then some scissors, markers, marker stampers and some stickers that aren’t pictured below.

Egg carton flower supplies

Egg carton flower supplies

First, I cut the top off of the egg carton, then cut between the cups. Next, I cut the cups into a smoother rounded shape around the top. Last, I went snippety snip around the cup to make the petals. The different stages of development in the picture should help fill in any confuzzlement left by my description. 🙂

From there, it was up to Princess Peachy to finish up. She smashed the petals flat with her little hand, then got to work decorating. She had a good ol’ time being creative with decorating them all sorts of different ways with the supplies we had on hand. When she was finished, we arranged them in a flower shape on a green piece of construction paper. You could glue them on, if you want, but my little one enjoyed rearranging them too much to let me glue them on.

What household item do you have overflowing, but don’t want to throw out because you think you can find some nifty way to upcycle it? Maybe I can come up with something. 🙂


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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.

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One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish is a favorite read at our house!

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! 🙂 If you want to get your own copy to do these fun activities with, just head on over here: One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish


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Cupcake Wrapper Flowers

Cupcake Wrapper Flowers

Cupcake Wrapper Flowers


Want a busy time activity for little ones? How about making cupcake wrapper flowers? I originally saw the idea on another blog somewhere, but adapted it to the materials we had on hand at our house and the way my daughter wanted to do it.

We used:

Cupcake wrappers
Twigs
Twisty ties (like come on loaf bread)
Buttons
Sweet smelling body spray

Feel free to make substitutions on any materials. Remember, we just used whatever we had on hand.

Stringing buttons

Stringing buttons

Stack the buttons in whatever pattern you want or even just use one button, stringing them on the twisty tie. Poke holes in the cupcake wrapper (I used an ink pen with a button as a template). String the twisty ties through the holes, attach the twig to the back and twist the ends around it firmly.

Smells yummy!

Smells yummy!

My daughter loved the next part. I let her pick out a sweet smelling body spray, and spritz all of her new pretty flowers. She loved smelling them, and had me reapply it every week or so to keep them smelling like delicious.

Tada!!

Tada!!

My daughter was so proud of her handiwork. She’d had so much fun gathering up twigs that were just the right size, selecting the perfect buttons, and helping me put it all together, she could hardly wait to show them off.

Baby food jar vase

Baby food jar vase

Of course, with such gorgeous blooms to display, I had to come up with a vase to showcase them in. What else would I use in a house with little ones other than an empty baby food jar? I let my daughter decorate the jar with sparkly jeweled sticker things, which she thought was just the right touch. She set her beautiful bouquet proudly on the shelf at the head of her bed, ready for sniffing and seeing at any time. 🙂

This is such a simple, sweet craft with materials most of us have around the house. It definitely works for both my penny pinching side and my creative side. What are some things you have lying around your house that you’d love to find a creative use for?