Penny Pinching Peach


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Indoor Water Play

Indoor Water Play

Indoor Water Play- a great way to keep toddlers happy indoors!

My children are all little water babies.

Usually this tendency shows in them splashing water all over the bathroom when they are supposed to be washing their hands. Finding them lingering in there playing in the sink and flooding the floor is frustrating , but I do try to give them fun opportunities to satisfy this urge to splash and pour.

One thing they love to do, when they can’t go outside to play, is set them up with some indoor water play.

I get out my humongous pot and fill it about a third of the way with water. I’ll set it on a beach towel on the kitchen floor, then throw in some cups, toy boats, funnels or other small items that will be fun to play with in the water. They can easily stay at this simple activity for the better part of an hour, especially if I switch out the toys every 15-20 minutes or so.

Sometimes I give him toy cars and it’s a “car wash”. Other times he is giving his dinosaurs or doll a bath. Get creative!  That’s the whole point!

This activity works really well for my preschooler to do while I’m working with my oldest daughter on her school at the table. He’s usually very content and relatively quiet. It makes it easier for her to focus than if he’s running around being a wild child, even if she is working independently.

Do your children enjoy playing with water indoors? For more fun activities for the cold weather this winter, check out 10 preschool activities using household items!

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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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10 Preschool Activities Using Household Items

I am always on the look out for fun activities for my little ones that won’t cost me a fortune in extra items needed for doing them.

I decided to gather together a list of 10 great activities using items commonly found around any home. Some of these are mine, and some are from other bloggers who graciously gave me permission to share them. All of them pass the penny pinching test, as well as the fun for kiddos test. I hope y’all enjoy!

Cupcake Wrapper Flowers

Baby food jar vase

Baby food jar vase

5 Brain-Boosting Busy Boxes For Toddlers

5 Brain-Boosting Busy Boxes For Toddlers

5 Brain-Boosting Busy Boxes For Toddlers

Egg Carton Caterpillars

Egg Carton Caterpillars

Egg Carton Caterpillars

Quick and Easy DIY Watercolor Paint  Recipe For Toddlers

Quick and Easy DIY Watercolor Paint Recipe For Toddlers

Quick and Easy DIY Watercolor Paint Recipe For Toddlers

Edible Jewelry

Cheerio Bracelet

Cheerio Bracelet

Paper Plate Rainbow

Paper Plate Rainbow

Paper Plate Rainbow

Egg Carton Flowers

Egg carton flowers

Egg carton flowers

Living Room Fishing

Living Room Fishing

Living Room Fishing

Cloud Dough

So much fun!

So much fun!

Ninja Turtle Apples

Ninja Turtle Apples

Ninja Turtle Apples

There you go! 10 awesome activities for your little ones! Which would you like to try first? For more activities for your kids that are fun, cheap and educational, check out my blog posts Dollar store education: Color sorting blocks and Pompom Pickup!


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Make Your Own Attractive Topsy Turvy Planter

DIY Topsy Turvy Tomato

DIY Topsy Turvy Tomato

I know most of you are familiar with the fad of topsy turvy tomatoes. The bags they made for the purpose just didn’t appeal to us that much for using over & over, so we decided to make our own.

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There may be other affiliate links, which help my family while sharing deals with you! 

We loved them so much, we re-use them every year. They last much better for multiple uses than the bag style you can get at the store, like these  Upside down Tomato Planter (2 pack). The kind you can buy work fine, we just preferred choosing our colors, shapes and sizes and something that would last more than a season or two. We did try the popular kind, and they worked well, so if you want to take the lazy way out 😉 , order a set!

The best plant we have found to grow in these planters is cherry tomatoes.

Order non GMO seeds and supplies using the coupon code SAVE10NOW for 10% off at SeedsNow!

They do amazing grown this way, and hanging from our porch nearly to the ground and covered with sweet edible jewels. We much prefer this, since it looks nice and takes up no space we need, instead of taking of bakoodles of space in our fairly small garden plot! We tried regular tomatoes and various peppers, but they seem to do better when grown more conventionally than in the topsy turvy method.
We used some nice, but inexpensive, plastic pots. My husband drilled a small hole in each side and ran a wire through it to the length we wanted our pots to hang at. He then drilled a much larger hole in the bottom of the bottom for our tomato plant to come out of. We lined the bottom with coconut liner, and cut an x in the bottom if needed.

Situate your young plant carefully through the hole out the bottom, angling it slightly in the direction of where the sun will come from most while it is hanging. Fill around and above it with potting soil. Hang your plant and water thoroughly.

If you have a porch like we used to have, I love using this type of Hanging Plant Hook. If you want to put it in the yard, use something like this Standing Pole Plant Hook.
Once the plant starts flowering, I always go over the plant and pinch of the little “sucker stems” growing at the root of the main stems and add some crushed egg shells and a bit of plant food of some sort, like manure tea. This gives them an extra boost of nutrients at a crucial time.

DIY Topsy Turvy Tomato and Friends

DIY Topsy Turvy Tomato and Friends

If you notice the marigolds in the picture with my young tomato plants, that is not just for prettiness.

It’s tried and true companion planting. Many pests who like to chow down on tomatoes are repelled by marigolds, so they make a great garden partnership. My mom was planting marigolds and tomatoes together when I was little, and we’ve always had less pest than many who don’t plant that way.
Has anyone else grown plants topsy turvy style? What kind? How did it work out for you? If you haven’t tried it, are you planning to now? 🙂

Interested in food preservation? Read about my post about freezing peppers.

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My Kids’ Favorite Oatmeal

Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Oatmeal

Peanut Butter Chocolate Banana Oatmeal

If you are one of those moms who just wants to quickly throw something together to feed the ravenous hordes in your house, but would prefer that something be healthy as well as faster as a wink and kid approved….this is the post for you!

My five year old long ago declared that she hated oatmeal, it was disgusting and slimy, and she would never, ever like it, no matter what. Challenge me, do ya, kiddo? Alrighty then! Challenge accepted! 😉 Guess what? She likes oatmeal. “But only the good kind you make, Mommy, not that other stuff, so I still hate that!” The following concoctions are the few approved by my resident oatmeal snob and the rest of the family.

This is my kids’ favorite oatmeal- and one of their most requested breakfasts. It’s Mommy and Daddy approved, too! My husband has me pack the ingredients for him at the fire station sometimes, because it sticks with him pretty well.

Take 1-2 packs of plain instant oatmeal and prepare according to package. Chop

Strawberries and Cream

Strawberries and Cream

up 1-2 bananas, according to taste and the number of people eating (2 packs and 1 banana is okay for just me and my two small children). Mash it into the oatmeal, along with a generous dollop of peanut butter and a sprinkling of chocolate chips. Stir and serve. Delicious!! The bowl in the

photo was immediately prepared and dished out for my munchkins and I, who were quite annoyed when I paused to take a photo of their breakfast while I was making it. 🙂

Another winner is one I call strawberries and cream. You can use chopped strawberries with milk and strawberry jam or chopped strawberries with cream and honey or chopped strawberries and strawberry yogurt. All of them give a yummy effect, so use whatever works in that category. Just strawberries and milk wasn’t nearly sweet enough, and the same with the cream, so the jam and honey helped with that. If you can’t tell, I’m the queen of kitchen improvisation.

Lastly, we have another super simple selection that is kiddo approved. Simply mix in a scoop of peanut butter and a dash of cinnamon, with or without honey or a smattering of chocolate chips. Similar, but mentionably different, from the first flavor.

Simply Sweet

Simply Sweet

I love meals that can be made quickly, cheaply and healthily from ingredients I normally have hanging around the house, anyway. These definitely fit that description, so I hope y’all enjoy them, too.

Does your family like oatmeal? What are their favorite flavors? If not, do you think any of these could possibly convert your own personal oatmeal snobs? It’s worth a try! it worked on my little princess picky pants, so it might work on yours, too. 🙂

Want another great recipe using oatmeal? Try my family approved Completely Healthy Cookies for an easy peasy snack that is both healthy and delicious.


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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  took a risk and cut my own hair!

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I bought a pair of decent Hair Cutting Scissors 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 cut my own hair, 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 cut!

(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 winding up in a book like this one full of hilarious memes of the world’s worst hair cuts! to save a few 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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brmQhv6Uw1g

Has anyone else went out of their comfort zone recently, whether to save money or learn a new skill? Try my strange ways to save!

I’m a wee bit proud of myself for trying this, since it was wayyyyyy outside of my comfort zone, to say the least. 🙂