20 Thrifty Ways To Spend Quality Time With Your Child

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I love spending time with my children. Sometimes one on one and sometimes all together. Quality time together helps me get to know the unique individuals that I am blessed to call my children.

20 thrifty ways to spend quality time with your child making memories doesn't have to cost much

Spending quality time with your children does not have to be expensive, it can even be free.

20 Thrifty Ways To Spend Quality Time With Your Child

15 of these 20 ideas are 100% free if you either already have the supplies needed (like bikes to ride) or can borrow them (like a tent from a neighbor).

1. Go for a bike ride

I love riding bikes with my children. When they were young they rode and I walked, now that they are older we ride together and have even taking over night trips on bikes together.

2. Take a walk

When children are little going for a walk  is like going on a  treasure hunt. There are rocks to find, and twigs to pick up. Bugs to poke with those twigs and puddles to jump in. When they become teenagers it often isn’t as easy to get them to agree to a walk,but when you can get them out great conversations get going.

10 ways to save money on children's art supplies (med)

3. Raid the recycle bin

So much of my children’s best artwork has come from items fished out of the recycling bin. On a  horrible weather day, keep you and the kids entertained by dragging out the recycling bin along with scissors, tape, crayons and glue to the dinning room table and spend the afternoon creating together.

4. Enjoy happy hour (the ice-cream and shakes type not the other)

Many different restaurants have happy hours in the afternoon where they cut their prices for dessert items and drinks to 1/2 price. This can make for an relatively inexpensive treat depending on the choices and the size of your family. Swagbucks has gift cards to a lot of the restaurants that offer happy hours so you could even earn the gift cards for these events with just a few minutes of online work each day.

5. Bake together

Every year my children and I decorate sugar cookies together. My daughter will help me throughout the year with other baking as well and it always lends itself to great conversation.

how to purchase board games for less (small)

6. Play a board game

Board games played together in our family can get loud ! We get very competitive but we have a lot of fun.

7. Hold a movie night

At home movie nights can be free when DVDs are borrowed from the local library or purchased using free redbox codes.  You can even cash in your Swagbucks for a Redbox gift card that you can use to fund your movie nights.

Our family enjoys movie night with a big bowl of caramel crunch popcorn mix and a jug of  frugal lemonade.

10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Camping (med)

8. Go camping in the backyard

Backyard camping is so much fun when children are little. They get to experience sleeping outside yet all they need in case things don’t go right are very near by.

9. Attend library events together

Our library brings in performers throughout the year that do anything from puppet shows to science shows. These are great events for the whole family. Checkout your local library and see if they offer such events.

5 sources of free or nearly free books (med)

10. Get lost in a book together

Choose a book the whole family will love, curl up on the couch together, and read a few chapters a day. If the children are older and can read well, have them take turns reading.

11. Attend free community events

Parades, classic car shows, festivals in the park, and other community events are often free and can be enjoyed by the whole family.

12. Play a fun iPad App

My kids and I have been known to battle it out on the iPad in the games connect4, fingle and rumble blob. I found most of these apps for free though the app of the day app.

13.  Keep an eye out for Groupon specials for local activities

Right now I recently purchased  a Groupon for sky zone and another one for ice skating in a near by larger center so that we could enjoy some fun family time together bouncing and skating.

It isn’t uncommon for deals like these to come up in daily deal sites like Groupon and they are normally at a savings of as much as 50%.

14. Do a dollar store craft together

Dollar stores are great resources for inexpensive craft materials. In the winter time my daughter and I will often head out to Dollar Tree and spend perhaps $5 and come home with enough materials to make several crafts.

15. Enjoy the weather

Splash in the puddles when it is raining. Go sleighing when it is snowing. Fly a kite when it is windy. Go for a picnic when it is sunny.

how to catch up on your photos without breaking the bank (med)

16. Break out the photo albums

It never ceases to amaze me that no matter how old my children get they still love hearing stories about when they were little and looking at photos of mom and dad in their youth.

17. Blow bubbles

Whether it be a bubble gum bubble blowing contest or a quest to make the biggest soap bubble possible in your back yard, blowing bubbles is fun and  extremely low cost.  (here is a simple inexpensive recipe for bubble solution: mix 1 cup white granulated sugar into 4 cups warm water until sugar is fully dissolved, then add in 1/2 cup dishwashing liquid, store in airtight container).

18. Build paper airplanes

Spend a bit of time researching  how to make the best paper airplane online together, or at the library  and then have everyone build their own and hold a contest to see whose flies the farthest.

19. Sculpt together

Admit it there is just something about play dough that makes it fun for all ages. It can be made so inexpensively to0. Pinterest is full of recipes for homemade play dough. Take turns sculpting and having the others guessing what the individual is making, the winner gets a candy. Work together to build a play dough town.  Put an object in the middle of the table and have everyone try to sculpt it.

20. Break routine

Sometimes the best memory making quality time spent with children is a simple break in routine. For instance in our house several times a year we have backwards dinner night and eat dessert before main course. It is such a simple thing but my kids love it just as much as I loved it when my mom did this for me and my sister as children.

Looking for money saving tips? Follow my Saving Money Tips board on Pinterest.

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4 Thrifty Reasons To Use Brad’s Deals

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Brad’s Deals isn’t a daily deal site but instead it is a hub for great deals, sales, printable coupons, coupon codes and even freebie listings.

4 Thrifty Reasons to use Brad's Deals An online hub for great deals

 4 Thrifty Reasons To Use Brad’s Deals

1. You can get the best deals delivered right to your inbox every day

I love getting Brad’s Deals emails, called Brad’s Pick,  in my inbox  especially as the Christmas season approaches. The emails always contain great deals on brand name fashions, home decor, appliances, electronics and more. They are the day’s top deals but you will find even more deals on the Brad’s Deals website and can easily click through the email to do so.

These deals are found by Brad’s Deals all over the web, they do the searching for you. They come from stores such as Target, Kohls, Home Depot, Vera Bradley and many, many more.

2. You can find printable coupons and online coupon codes on the Brad’s Deals site

Click through your daily email  from Brad’s Deals to the site, or simple go directly to Brad’s Deals and you will find a coupon tab, click on it and you will see 100’s of coupons for  both your online and brick and mortar shopping.

3.  Freebie listing

Also found on the Brad’s Deals site is a “blog” tab, click on it, scroll down and you will find the most recent addition of “Brad’s Favorite Freebies” both online and in store.

4. You can personalize the site

Once you sign up for a Brad’s Deals email subscription and complete your profile you can then start personalizing the site by liking your favorite stores and bookmarking your favorite deals. This allows you to go back to the site and purchase the deal later in the day when you have more time (but don’t wait too long the deal could sell out) as well as check your favorite stores for new deals.

To bookmark a deal click the bookmark icon at the bottom of the deal.

To favorite a store click the “store” tab at the top of the site and click through to “Browse all 3800+ stores” then all the stores will appear in boxes with heart icons in the top corner that you can click to favorite.

Oh and I almost forgot the most important part: Brad’s Deals is of course, FREE to use.

Haven’t signed up for Brad’s Deals yet? Sign up here today!

Looking for more money saving tips? Follow my Saving Money Tips board on Pinterest.

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Thrifty Weekend Reads

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Remember prices could change at any time so make sure that you look at the price before purchasing.

Thrifty Weekend Reads 6 kindle titles from .99 cents to $3.99Welcome to Thrifty Weekend Reads 6 kindle titles for .99 cents to 3.99. These are full length books.

All Right Here: by Carre Armstrong Gardner $2.99

I read this book not too long ago and  I am anxiously awaiting for the second in the series to come out. I LOVED it. Such an amazing story of adopting older kids and of transforming a marriage.

Have A New Husband By Friday:  by Dr. Kevin Leman $1.99

Smart Women Know When To Say No: by Dr. Keven Leman $3.99

A Promise To Remember: by Kathreen Cushman $3.99

I read this title about a year or so ago and it really got to my heart. One of those books that makes you realize there is more than one side to a story and we need to know them all before we can truly understand.

100 Ways To Love Your Husband: by Lisa Jacobson $3.99

Speak Love: Making Your Words Matter : by Annie F. Downs $1.99

Speak love is aimed at teenage girls but I being 40 years old read it and was reminded of just how powerful the words of our mouth are. Great read for all ages.

A Little Bit Country: by Debbie Macomber  $1.99

I read this book years ago and found it a good carefree weekend read. If you like clean romance then this is a title I think you will like.

Love books? Check out my Books board on Pinterest.

thrifty bookworms and swagbucks the perfect romance (smallest)Love books! Want to learn how to support your habit? Read my Thrifty Bookworms & Swagbucks The Perfect Romance to find out how to earn $25 in Amazon or Barnes & Nobles gift cards each and every month and how to make those gift cards go as far as possible so you can keep your bookworm habit fully supplied.

Weekly Thrifty Coupon Round Up

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Remember the availability of these coupons could change at anytime.

A Weekly Listing Of The Best Printable Coupons Around The Web

A Weekly Listing Of The Best Printable Coupons Around The Web. The weekly thrifty coupon round up includes 12 printable coupons worth $1. Don’t forget to check out my coupon area for a complete listing of what coupons are available from Redplum, Hopster, Savings.com, and Smartsource.

Because America runs on Dunkin’ Yum!

$2.00 off Dunkin' Donuts coffee & coffee creamer
Toys To Stash For Christmas

$5.00 off any one MARVEL SUPER HERO ADVENTURES toy
$3.00 off Laugh & Learn Smart Stages™ Vacuum
$3.00 off Laugh & Learn Smart Stages™ Mower
$5.00 off Laugh & Learn Stages™ Crawl Around™ Car
$5.00 off Laugh & Learn Puppy's Smart Stages Train
$5.00 off (1) Playskool Sesame Street Elmo
Buy One (1) LITTLEST PET SHOP Toy, get 1 Free
$5.00 off one (1) NERF BOW or RAPID RED blaster
$1.00 off any (1) one PLAY-DOH Compound

$1.00 off ONE Crest Sensi-Relief 3.5oz or larger
$1.00 off any Colgate Toothpaste
$1.00 off ONE Crest BE Toothpaste 4.5 oz

Wanting to decrease your grocery budget? I have been listening to Grocery University recently and have been very impressed. This course contains over 2 hours of audio files and goes way beyond saving money on groceries with coupons. I am sure even the most frugal of shoppers could pick up a tip or two through this course that would more than pay for their $9.97 investment .

Peach Pear Crisp

Peach pear crisp was created one early Sunday morning when I realized that we were suppose to bring something to Sunday school with us for breakfast for ourselves and our classmates.

peach pear crisp great for dessert and breakfast too

I quickly rustled though the cupboards and found all the makings for my mom’s apple crisp recipe but we had no apples, but we did have a huge can of peaches and a huge can of pears.

I quickly dumped the canned fruit in a 9 by 12 pan minus their juices. I then had a brilliant idea if I tripled the recipe for apple crisp topping the dish would have more of a baked oatmeal appeal.

And so that morning peach pear crisp was born. It was an instant hit, we didn’t even get to take a crumb home with us.

straining the juice from the peaches and pearsTo start grab 3 15.25 oz cans of pears, and 3 15.25 oz cans of peaches (you can use other sizes of cans if you wish just make sure you have enough fruit to cover bottom of 9 by 12 pan). If you want to make the dish heavy on fruit go ahead and add in an extra can of either fruit.

Strain the juice from the canned fruit and put to the side. I made mine into popsicles.

peaches and pears in a 9 by 12 for crispMix the pears and peaches together and distribute them evenly on the bottom of a 9 by 12 pan.

melt butterGet 1 cup of butter (2 sticks) melting on the stove.

toppings for peach pear crispWhile the butter is melting go ahead and measure out the rest of the ingredients for the topping.  When butter is melted stir it into the topping until well combined.

Pour butter into the other dry ingredients and stir until well combined.

spooning topping of peach pear crispSpoon topping evenly across the top of the fruit and then place in the oven at 375 for 30 minutes or until the edges are slightly brown.

peach pear crisp a great dessert or breakfastLinked to Weekend Potluck,

Peach Pear Crisp


  • 3 15 oz cans pears
  • 3 15 oz can peaches
  • (you can use different sizes of cans you just need enough fruit to cover bottom of 9 by 12 pan)
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 3 cups rolled oats


  1. drain and then pour the fruit into the bottom of a 9 by 12 inch pan
  2. melt the butter on the stove or in the microwave
  3. mix together the flour, brown sugar, salt, and oats in a bowl
  4. pour the butter into the mixed dry ingredients to complete the topping
  5. spoon the topping evenly on top of the fruit and then press down gently
  6. place in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees
  7. bake for 30 minutes or until the edges are just slightly golden brown
  8. allow to cool before eating (can be eaten just slightly warm or cold)
  9. top with vanilla ice cream of whipping cream if you desire.
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10 Ways Thrifty People Use Things Up To The Last Drop

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Tuesdays I share a picture from our week that inspired me to write a post.

10 ways thrifty people use things to the last drop

I was making popsicles this week out of the juice from cans of peaches and pears that I used in making peach pear crisp, when I began thinking about all the different ways my family uses things right down to the last drop.

 10 Ways Thrifty People Use Things To  The Last Drop

Homemade popsicles made from the juice of canned fruit1.  Thrifty people use the  fruit juice from canned fruit to make popsicles or flavor their sweet tea

How To Get The Rest Of The BBQ Sauce Out Of The Jar

2. Thrifty people use the last of the BBQ sauce  from the bottle with a vinegar swish and then add it to crock pot BBQ boneless chicken wings.

using the last drop of peanut butter even when it is dry

3. Thrifty people use the last of the natural peanut butter by mixing it with honey and dipping fruit in it.

How to use coconut oil to the last drop

4. Thrifty people use the last of the coconut oil as body lotion.

how to get the very last of drop of lotion out of a container like this (med)

5. Thrifty people cut open thick lotion bottles like those for suntan lotion to make it last one or two more applications.

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6. Thrifty people get creative with leftovers from holiday dinners.

Strawberry Watermelon lemonade slushy (small)

7. Thrifty people use mushy  watermelon to make slushies.

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8. Thrifty people use a spatula to get just one more muffins worth of batter out of the batter bowl.

9. Thrifty people use the  last of the detergent from the detergent bottle by turning it upside down with the lid on tight for a few hours.

10. Thrifty people use the last of the shampoo by putting some water in the bottle and giving it a swish then dumping it out on their wet head.

How does your thrifty family use things to that last drop?

Linked to Saver Tips Tuesday,Thrifty Thursdays, Frugal Friday Link Up Party,

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God Doesn’t Drop Stitches

If you are heading into  this  new week feeling awkward, like you just don’t fit in anywhere , I want you to know God doesn’t drop stitches.

God doesn't drop stitches

Psalm 139:13 says “For You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb”

God took time to knit together stitch by stitch the pattern that is uniquely you. You are His loving creation created for His glory.

I never forget the day I took this verse to heart. I was feeling like I usually do like a bright flower on the edge of a sea of green grass. I felt like I stood out and I didn’t belong. I didn’t want to be who I was, I wanted to be normal, at least what I thought was normal.

That night I was knitting a dishcloth and  Psalm 139:13 went through my head. Suddenly I could see my savior knitting me together, with his own hands, putting love into each stitch.

God doesn’t drop stitches, every part of you and your personality was part of the pattern in He created to knit you into who you are. Embrace it and use it to meet the needs of others in some way, that will bring God glory, and that will bring you joy.

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6 Types Of Childcare You Can Run Out Of Your Home

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When I first became a stay at home mom, I started a licensed family daycare. I ran it out of our home until my first child reached school age and I felt the need to close it down so I could put more energy into homeschooling.

6 types of childcare businesses you can run out of your homeSome days I think about opening up another childcare business again as I truly do miss loving on other peoples children. In my current stage of life though running  a daycare business  would not be a good fit. So that part of me that misses having toddlers around is being filled by helping out in the 2 year old room at our church.

Providing childcare is so much more than having a friend who works outside the home ask you, an  at home mom, to watch their child during the day. Although for many moms in the family childcare field that is exactly how it started and for others they are content to  stay caring for one families children at a time and that is fine too.

But if  you know that you have a genuine love of all children both related and not related you, you are willing to learn more about caring for children, and  you are willing to invest time and money into creating a space that meets governing authorities standards in your area then licensed family daycare might just be for you.

I won’t get into all the legal stuff that goes behind opening up a licensed family daycare as they differ from country to country and state to state or province to province, instead I am going to concentrate on different types of childcare you might want to offer from your home.

6 types of childcare you can offer from your home

1. Traditional family daycare

Traditional family daycare is what most people think of when they hear the words” I offer childcare out of my home”. Generally  traditional family daycare consists of taking in several families children of various ages and stages and caring for their needs in their various ages and stages. It might mean you have fewer children during the day while older siblings are at school and a very busy few hours once the school children arrive at your home.

Family daycare hours are typically Monday through Friday and included all year care, including school holidays. Days are usually long, I had my first children arrive at 6 a.m. and the last children left at 6:30 p.m. .

You are essentially jumping into caring for a large family, except that family members can change from time to time. It is a lot of fun but requires lots of energy and planning.  You are  working full time hours inside your own home, which can make it hard sometimes because you see the undone chores around you house, and yet you have to remember people are paying you to interact and care for their children not to ignore them while you quickly finish just one more chore.

2. Infant & Toddler care

Specializing in this one age group, such as toddler and infants  will allow you to create an environment that centers around their development needs at that stage of life.

You can adapt your play space 100% to their needs, and not have to think about how to keep them away from the school age children’s little piece toy sets. Nap time isn’t interrupted by children coming home full of energy and wanting to talk.

The draw back is you loose a bit of the family feel of the family daycare. There is nothing like watching a school age child, help a toddler with his shoes, or a preschooler pass the baby a toy and then try and make them smile.

3. After School Care

Specializing in just the after school care age is once again going to cost you the family feel of family daycare but it does come with one big benefit of shorter hours.

Typically the work day of an after school family childcare worker is around 4 hours long. If you love school age children , need part time income, and want to be at home after school childcare could be a good fit for you.

You can decide whether you are going to provide care during school vacations.

4. Mom’s Day Out

If you love the toddler and preschool age children and you just really want a part time at home job you might want to consider doing a Mom’s day out program.  Most mom’s day out programs typically  run from 9 to 11:30 or 12 so that moms can take their little ones home for lunch and nap time.

You could offer this once a week,  twice a week ,or more depending on how often you want to work and how great the need is for such a program in your area.

5. Date Night

Another variation of mom’s day out that I haven’t seen done yet but I think would be a hit is mom and dad’s night out.  I would go with Saturday night from 5 to 8 so that the parents can grab an early meal and a bit of time to chat before the children need to be getting home to bed.

Make the time for the kids fun, have a special kid friendly meal planned and a few activities and I think this could be a hit, especially in bigger urban areas.

6. Summer Care

As noted above not all after school programs whether a small family run one or a large corporately ran center offer summer care.

If you have a love of school age children and are willing taking a few extra children in over the summer months ,  it could mean friendship time for your kids, and peace of mind for families of parents who work outside the home, plus a bit of extra income for your family.

I met one mom at the water park one summer who told me she takes in one or two school age children each summer of similar ages to her own children so that her children have a summer playmate and she has the money to allow them to enjoy activities together ,both her kids and her daycare kids,  like the water park, or ice-cream out or a day at the zoo: truly a win win for both families.

With all these 6 types of in home daycare you can provide you need to remember one more thing, your day does not begin when the children arrive and end when they leave, there is also planning, cleaning, and learning ,so you can improve your childcare skills, involved.  Make sure you leave room in your schedule and work expense budget for those things too.

Have you offered daycare in your home before? If so what advice would you add to a parent wanting to offer in home childcare

 10 work at home jobs with little to no start up fees (small)

Looking for work at home ideas? Here are 10 with little to no start up fees. 

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Thrifty Weekend Reads

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Remember prices could change at any time so make sure that you look at the price before purchasing.

Thrifty Weekend Reads 6 kindle titles from .99 cents to $3.99Welcome to Thrifty Weekend Reads 6 kindle titles for .99 cents to 3.99. These are full length books.

A Lamp Unto My Feet by Elisabeth Elliot: $1.99 (I have a friend who raves about this devotion)

Moms’ Night Out by Tricia Goyer: .99 cents (read the book that became a movie)

Destination Unknown by Amy Clipston :.99 cents

My Big Bottom Blessing by Test Cannon: .99 cents

Modern Parents, Vintage Values: .99 cents

Like Dandelion Dust by Karen Kingsbury: $1.99 (I have read this title and trust me you will need tissues handy)

Love books? Check out my Books board on Pinterest.

thrifty bookworms and swagbucks the perfect romance (smallest)

Love books! Want to learn how to support your habit? Read my Thrifty Bookworms & Swagbucks The Perfect Romance to find out how to earn $25 in Amazon or Barnes & Nobles gift cards each and every month and how to make those gift cards go as far as possible so you can keep your bookworm habit fully supplied.

Jawbone Up Activity Tracker 50% off At Zulily

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jawbone UpThe Jawbone Up activity tracker is on sale today at one of my favorite daily deal sites Zulily for $59.99 (link takes you to home page enter jawbone into search box at top). That is the lowest I have ever seen the Up activity tracker priced at. Shipping is $5.95

The Jawbone Up activity tracker can be linked to the UP app on your smart phone so that you can track your activity, and sleep cycles. You can also keep track of your calories inside the app. It has up to 10 days of battery life. You can track your activity either in steps and calories burned. It can also keep track of distance covered and time spent idle verses time spent active.

It even has an alarm to wake you out of your slumber and when you use the smart alarm feature it picks the best time to wake you so that you feel refreshed.

You won’t be able to sit still too long with the idle alert in the UP reminding you to get up and move.

Now if it could just remind me to water the plants! LOL

It is available for a limited time on Zulily for just $59.99 in various colors and shipping is $5.95 ((link takes you to home page enter jawbone into search box at top and they will show up)

Thursdays are full of thrift at Snail Pace Transformations, make sure to check out my weekly thrifty  coupon round up and later my thrifty weekend reads.