Frugal Parenting Tips and Tricks

Here are some great ways I've learned to be a frugal parent over the years. Got more frugal parenting tips? Do share! :)

Making the Most of Virgin Mobile Custom Plans

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I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for Sprint. I received a device to facilitate my review.  All opinions and bad puns, however, are all my own.

I am frequently asked about the best phone plans out there.  And, to be perfectly honest, my husband works for a major phone company, so I don’t actively seek out this knowledge for my personal use.  Tiffany shared information with y’all about a mobile plan a while back Walmart was offering.  However, I was recently invited to an event with other local bloggers to learn more about Virgin Mobile’s Custom Plans, and was rather impressed by it all. [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Orkin Backyard Explorers Kit giveaway

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Summer is here and Orkin has some amazing “Bug Wisdom” to soak in and a “Backyard Explorers Kit” to keep the kids busy at home!  My kids are definitely “bug kids”, and love to watch and explore the world around them.  I love that they both enjoy exploring the world around them, and aren’t afraid to get their pudgy little hands dirty, in the name of exploration.  Of course, when you’ve got too many unwanted critters, you can take care of them.

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When life hands you dung, just roll with it.

Orkin’s new “Bug Wisdom” video series is a reminder that some of life’s biggest lessons come from small places. Bugs are smart, curious creatures – we humans can learn a lot from their ways.

Take the quiz below to discover your “Spirit Bug,” and check out all the GIFs to soak in every nugget of wisdom that these bugs have to offer!

The Orkin Man always knows what to look for when he shows up at your home. If you want to get exploration down to a science, be sure and enter to win Orkin’s Backyard Explorers Kit!  (details below)

Would you like to nurture your child’s natural curiosity about bugs?  I am pleased to be able to give away one Orkin Backyard Explorers Kit to one lucky reader!

The Orkin Backyard Explorers Kit includes:
– The Orkin 9-Page Activity Bug Book
– Orkin Bugview Bug Catching Tool and Magnifier
– Red/Black Summer Wayfarer Sunglasses

Orkin-Backyard-Explorers-Kit_giveaway

Giveaway open to the U.S.  It’s super easy to enter.  First,  take the “What’s YOUR Spirit Bug?” Quiz and comment below with your result and bug wisdom.  Next, scroll through all the GIFs and share your favorite bug wisdom as a comment below.  (Yep, you can leave two comments for seperate entries!)  Then, fill out the Giveaway Tools form below.  Come back daily to Tweet and Share on Facebook for additional entries!

Best of luck y’all!  🙂

 

 

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Spinach pancakes {Picky Tot Pleasers}

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This post originally appeared as a guest post on another site about two years ago, but that site is no longer around. :/ SO, I’m re-claiming it and adding it to my Picky-Tot Pleasers series.  Lemme know what’cha think!

Spinach pancakes

 

Call me Popeye.  What can I say?  I love to cook with spinach.  Up until recently, it’s been in just about any dish I made with chicken or ground turkey.  However, I crossed the line the other morning when I (deliberately) baked spinach in to my pancakes.  That’s right, my daughter and I made spinach pancakes.  On purpose. [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

5+ Other Ways To Play with a Water Table

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Other Uses for a Water Table

The holy grail of outdoor kids’ toys these days comes in the form of a water table.  There are many great ways for kids to enjoy the water table with …water.  And sand.  I think we all know that, right?

But if you’d like to REALLY get more bang for your buck with these tables, consider alternate uses for the water table.

5+ Ways to Play with a Water Table

  1. CARS!  Most water tables have slanted surfaces, with ramps and other road-like twists and turns.  Also, try trains, or any other wheeled hand-held toy.
  2. Make it a sensory table.  Fill it with a few cups of rice and beans one day, along with scoopers and small cups. Cotton balls and colored pom-poms the next day with kid-friendly tweezers, as well as big cups to transfer them in to.  For preschoolers ready for scissors, toss in some straws, scrap paper, and kid scissors and let them practice.
  3. Play dough.  Seriously, what a great surface to create and mold with little hands.  Toss in the play dough rollers, molders, and other fun toys, and let them go at it!  For a fun textural change, mix the play dough with a little sand and/or glitter.
  4. Noodles and rice make for another great sensory experience.  (Dried, of course!)  Grab scoopers, cups, and other toys you might use with your Play dough (see above) for a new sensation.
  5. PAINT it!  Water colors, some butcher paper or cardboard or just regular ol’ paper, some brushes, and -boom!- you’ve got a nice little, change-of-pace easel.  Or kids can paint right on the water table, especially if you have washable paints on hand.
  6. Mix it up: Fill it up with sand, or make your own “moon sand”, and toss in some cars, dinosaurs, scoopers.
  7. Water Gun Station.  Melissa from Stockpiling Moms suggested using the table as a water-gun filling station.
  8. Shaving Cream – My kids frequently get “shaving cream baths” or showers – but you can also let them use shaving cream on a water table too.  Bonus: the shaving cream acts as a cleaner!
  9. Ice, Ice, Baby – Yeah, I just went there.  Fill up some ice cube trays with small trinkets and freeze them.  Toss a few small toys in small to mid-size tupperware containers, cover with water, and freeze them, too.  Fill your table with the ice, and arm the kids with squirt bottles, and let them “rescue” the treasures inside!

Also, check out other ways to keep your kids cool this summer, free and frugal ways to beat the heat around Atlanta (splash pads around Atlanta, local water parks and aquatic centers, or indoor venues around Atlanta), great outdoor toys for tots, and outdoor toys for kids of all ages!

Frugal Ways to Keep Your Kids Cool

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Backyard Toys for Kids of All Ages

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Chalk Preschool – FREE Online Curriculum

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This is a sponsored campaign with Mums the Word Network and Chalk Preschool . However, all opinions are my very own.

Chalk Preschool collage

Now that school is out for the summer, I am constantly searching for ways to keep my kids actively entertained.  While we want to be outside as much as possible, we also need to take frequent breaks from the sun!  (Remember, I have two fair-skinned gingers!)  Since I want to maintain my rising daughter’s budding reading skills before she heads to Kindergarten in the fall, and DON’T want her to park her brain, I’m tapping in to FREE resources I/she can utilize at home.

Enter: Chalk Preschool

It’s super-easy: sign up for a FREE account here for each child.  Each day you have new lessons that are in video format and also printables that go with it. The lessons are simple and easy but are fun for kids too. Plus, did I mention, everything is FREE!

The premise behind Chalk Preschool comes from their brick and mortar schools in Chicago and in Los Angeles.

My 5-year-old daughter and I set up an account for her the first week after school was out, and she started watching the videos.  What I liked about the program is it completely reinforces concepts she learned last school year in pre-K, and does so in a fun manner.Chalk Preschool Orange Room Collage

I also created an account for my 2-year-old son, who LOVES “pwaying on da iPad”, so introducing him to the fun and games available to him through Chalk Preschool was an easy step.  And to sneak in learning was a bonus!  😉

For both kids, I was even able to differentiate the printable activity, which was the letter “f” this time.  For my 5-year-old daughter, who is a reader, we talked about words that begin with the /f/ sound.  Had I not just donated a handful of magazines, I would’ve had her cut and paste pictures representing the /f/ sound.  *sigh*

For my 2-year-old son, who can recognize letters and numbers, I had him identify the letter presented to him, trace it with his cute, pudgy fingers, then talked about how the letter “f” makes the /f/ sound.  He got to basically hear that when I discussed it with my daughter.  He got to color the letter “f”, and we followed up with finding frogs, fingers, and a football around the house.

Here’s what you’ll find with Chalk Preschool:

  • Preschool lessons align with Early Childhood Learning Standards
  • Hands-on activities
  • Integration of cooking, geography, and weather
  • Play-Based teaching methods
  • Both indoor and outdoor activities
  • References using real life visuals
  • Optional activities that continue the learning beyond the computer

As I’ve mentioned before, this is a great way to supplement what you’re already doing.  You cannot rely solely on one program or app or online program to teach your child, but Chalk Preschool is a great way to reinforce what you’re already doing, and to help maintain skills while on long-term school breaks.

To stay abreast on the lastest with Chalk Preschool, go “like” Chalk Preschool on Facebook – also check out the Chalk Preschool Blog, and the Chalk Preschool News Room.  And if you’re not sure where to start with the Chalk Preschool program with your child, check out the Parent Portal to help get you started.

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Fun & Frugal Ways to Keep Your Kids Cool This Summer

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Frugal Ways to Keep Your Kids CoolWelcome to summertime in the A-T-L, known specifically for its stifling hot, humid temps – and we’re already getting a good dose of this just within the past few days, with highs in the mid-to-upper 90s.  Sheesh.  For me, that means, I’ve got to get a bit creative in how I not only keep my 5- and 2-year-old entertained this summer, but also keep my fair-skinned gingers cool and protected from the sun.

Here’s a handful of fun and frugal ways to keep YOUR kids cool this summer – all kid-tested, and mother (mostly) approved.  Just don’t be afraid to get a little messy in the process.  😉 [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Explaining Death to Young Children

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Explaining Death to Young Children

Explaining death to young children is never a particularly desirable subject, I find, as we wish to preserve their innocence and shield them from anything that may burst their fragile bubble, believing all is always well in their world.  However, death is inevitable.  Some folks lose loved ones later in life, while others experience death of a loved one at a tender, young age.  Following is my story, explaining death to my five-year-old daughter, Carol.

My grandmother was fortunate enough to raise her five children, not only to see all eight of her grandchildren grow up, but also see her eight great-grandchildren, AND meet three great-great-grandchildren.  She lived for almost 18 years after my grandaddy passed away, and was the last of her twelve siblings to survive.  She lived through the great depression, and lost her own mother at a very young age.  She was, in every sense of the word, a good Southern woman.  She had the greenest thumb I’ve ever seen, able to revive even the limpest plant, and made the world’s best cornbread, biscuits, green beans, and fried apple pies.  Fond memories of sitting on the front porch, eating watermelon after a big Sunday lunch sit firmly in my memory, holding a very special place in my heart.

She was four days shy of her 95th birthday when she went Home. [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Alpha-Bits Snack Mix

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post from Post Alpha-Bits cereal and the Little Free Library.  I was given a form of compensation in exchange for this post.

Ever have one of those moments when you realize YOU are in charge of snack for your child’s class, and you only have an hour to throw something together?  Yeah, I’ve been there more times than I care to admit.  And the idea of plying my child and her classmates with junk food just because it was easier simply doesn’t sit well with me.

So when I found myself in this quandary about a week ago, I was lucky to have a good supply of pantry items I could mix together to make a snack mix.  Thanks to the good folks at Alpha-Bits, it was something the kids seemed to really enjoy, too!  Bonus: it’s so easy, even my five year old can make it, but not without sampling it as she goes.

This really is simple.  Like not even really recipe-worthy.  But I’m going to recipe it up for y’all anyway. 

Alpha-Bits Snack Mix

  • 1-2 part raisins
  • 2 parts pretzels of choice
  • 1-2 parts marshmallows (I used the very same ones I used for Peppermint Chocolate Popcorn)
  • 2 parts Alpha-Bits cereal

Alpha-Bits Snack Mix ingredients [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Alpha-Bits Spelling – Encouraging Emerging Readers

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post from Post Alpha-bits cereal and the Little Free Library.  I was given a form of compensation in exchange for this post.

Alpha-Bits Spelling

My freshly-five-year-old daughter is becoming an emerging reader, and thus an emerging speller these days.  (Yep, I’m gonna pat myself on the back just a little bit for that!)  We’ve practiced sight words to no end, but now that she’s interested in spelling, I decided it was time to start seeing what she could do with her writing/spelling skills.

Yesterday we had the perfect opportunity to play around with her spelling skills.  And snack a little too.  We used a little glue, cardstock, markers, sight word cards (for reference), and assorted Post Alpha-bits cereal pieces.  We dubbed it “Alpha-Bits Spelling”. [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

A Dozen Reasons to Read with Your Child

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reasons to read with your child

Do you really need reasons to read with your child???  Parents are told constantly to read to their children, or with their children – but perhaps having a little further explanation would help you understand WHY reading with your children is as essential as brushing your teeth twice a day.  This list is from the Georgia Preschool Association Newsletter.

Reasons to Read with Your Child

  1. Build a lifelong interest in reading.  “Getting children actively involved in the process of reading and having them interact with adults is key in a lifelong interest in reading,” said BeAnn Younker, principal at Battle Ground Middle School in Indiana.
  2. Children whose parents read to them tend to become better readers and perform better in school, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
  3. Reading to children helps them with language and speech development.
  4. Reading expands vocabulary and teachers pronunciation.
  5. Reading to toddlers prepares them for school, when they will need to listen to what is being said to them, similar to what is being read to.
  6. Reading to older children helps them understand grammar and sentence structure.
  7. Children and parents can use reading time as bonding time.  It’s an excellent opportunity for one-on-one communication, and it gives children the attention they crave.
  8. Being read to helps children learn how to express themselves clearly and confidently.
  9. Curiosity, creativity, and imagination are all developed while being read to.
  10. Being read to builds children’s attention spans and helps them hone their listening skills.
  11. Children learn appropriate behavior when they’re read to and are exposed to new situations, making them more prepared when they encounter these situations in real life.
  12. When read to, children are able to experience the rhythm and melody of language, even before they can understand the spoken or printed word.

Now that your motivation to continue reading with your child is renewed, check out these top 10 board books to read to your infant, as well as other  great books picks in my “Whatcha Reading” series.

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Atlanta's Frugal Mom is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. In other words, if you click through to Amazon from some of the books or products I recommend and make a purchase, I get a small percentage in exchange for your purchase. It's a small way you can support AFM.