6 ways to celebrate Memorial Day with your family

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Memorial Day is a day of remembrance, but it’s also a day often spent with close friends and family.  If you are looking for something to do with your family this Memorial Day, check out the six suggestions below and pick one or two that work for you!

Six ways to celebrate Memorial Day with your family

6. Visit a military cemetery, memorial, or flag garden – Almost every town has one, and it would be a wonderful way to teach your children that there is more to Memorial Day than just hanging out and having fun.  Be sure to look up a brief history of Memorial Day if you don’t know it already, because your kids are sure to ask questions about the holiday.

5.  Go swimming – Most pools open right around Memorial Day, and it’s usually warm enough by then to really enjoy lounging in the cool, refreshing water.  Don’t have a pool nearby for the kids to play in?  Buy a small wading pool for them instead!  They’ll have a blast just splashing around, believe me.  If you want to get something big enough for you to splash around in too, you can get huge discounts on pools online this time of year.

4.  Share memories and photographs of loved ones – If you have a family member or friend that died while serving our country, take some time to share your fondest memories of them with your children.  If you have pictures, pull those out as well, so they can put a face to the name and really understand that you are talking about a real person that you once knew.

3.  Throw a red, white, and blue party – A party doesn’t have to have tons of guests, you can have a party for just your family!  Pick up some red, white, and blue decorations from a dollar store, classic Bomb Pops popsicles, some blueberries and strawberries, etc.  Get colorful and creative!  You could even let the kids invite their friends in the neighborhood!

2.  Attend a local celebration – Large tourist attractions typically have some sort of celebration, and your local city probably has something going on downtown too.  For those in the Atlanta area, Stone Mountain Park always has a huge celebration with amazing fireworks, and it’s FREE with the cost of parking!  Remember to bring blankets, camping chairs, and snacks or a picnic lunch with you!

1.  Say “Thank You” – Although Memorial Day is meant to honor those that died in service of our country, it’s also a great time to stop and thank those that are currently serving, or that have retired from the military.  If there is a nursing home or assisted living facility near your home, they almost always do something to honor their veteran residents, it would be wonderful to stop by and thank them as well.

What do you do for Memorial Day?  Does your family have any annual traditions?

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!**

Moms, Dads, and Grads Bonus Gift Card Offers

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Moms Dads GradsWith May winding down (sheesh, wasn’t it just August??!?), comes Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, and graduation from high school, colleges, and even preschool and kindergarten.  It’s time to give gifts for Moms, Dads and Grads. Here is a list of many Gift Card Bonus Offers.  Make sure to also check out my Mothers’ Day Deals and Freebies list, as well as these Fathers’ Day gift guides.

Moms, Dads, and Grads: Restaurant Bonus Gift Card Offers!

Applebee’s: receive a $10 bonus card when you buy $50 gift cards thru 7/2.

b.d’s Mongolian Grill: for every $25 in gift cards purchased, you will receive a $5 Go Mongo card + $100 n coupons. Only at participating locations, see store for details.

Bonefish Grill: receive $10 bonus gift card when you buy $50 in gift cards through 6/18. Bonus card redeemable 5/15 – 7/21/17.

Bravo:receive $10 bonus gift card when you buy $50 in gift cards by 6/18. Bonus card redeemable 6/19 –8/31/17.

Brio: receive $10 bonus gift card when you buy $50 in gift cards by 6/18. Bonus card redeemable 6/19 –8/31/17.

Carrabba’s: receive $10 bonus gift card when you buy $50 in gift cards through 6/18. Bonus card redeemable 5/15 – 7/21/17.

First Watch: receive $20 Bonus Bucks when you buy $100 in gift cards through 6/18. Bonus Bucks are valid 6/19-7/30/17.

Fleming’s: receive $20 in bonus gift cards when you buy $100 in gift cards through 6/18. Bonus card redeemable 5/15 – 7/21/17.

Noodles & Company: receive a $5 “Gift Giver Bonus Card” when you buy one $25 gift card 4/26- 6/20/17.

Outback Steakhouse: receive $10 bonus gift card when you buy $50 in gift cards through 6/18. Bonus card redeemable 5/15 – 7/21/17.

P.F. Chang’s : receive $10 bonus gift card when you buy $50 in gift cards through 6/18. Bonus Card valid 6/19 – 7/31/17.

Ruby Tuesday – receive $15 bonus gift card for every $50 spent. Bonus card redeemable 5/15 – 7/25/17.

Smokey Bones– receive $10 bonus gift card when you buy $50 in gift cards, see website for details.

Steak ‘n Shake: Free Double Steakburger, fries and drink on your next purchase when you buy $25 in gift cards. Offer valid thru 5/17/17, coupon valid thru 6/30/17

Retail Gift Card Offers!

Cheryl’s Cookies: get $10 bonus gift card when you buy the 6 cookie sampler for $6.99 (shipped).

DSW: receive a $10 bonus gift card when you buy $50-$99 in gift cards or $25 bonus gift card for $100+ gift car purchase in gift cards by 5/14/17. Bonus gift card valid on a $10+ purchase 5/21-6/11/17.

Half Price Books: receive a $5 bonus gift card when you buy $25 in gift cards, offer expires 5/14. Bonus gift card valid 5/15- 5/25/17.

Massage Envy: Buy a $125 gift certificate and get aFree 60-Min Facial Session or 30-Min Massage Upgrade April 24 – May 14. (available at select locations)

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!**

Mother’s Day Deals and Freebies 2017

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Mother's Day Deals and Freebies

Mother’s Day is rapidly approaching -like THIS Sunday, y’all!  If you’re looking for some ways to help pamper your mom check out these awesome Mother’s Day deals and freebies.  Also, be sure to explore all these great Mother’s Day gifts for under $50, as well as this extensive list of bonus gift cards for moms, dads, and grads.

Super special thanks to Mary from Mission: To Save for contributing to this list for national deals!

Atlanta Local Mothers’ Day Deals & Freebies:

Atlanta Braves GameEnjoy a special Girls Night Out event at SunTrust Park and Coca-Cola Roxy.  Pregame party with Electric Avenue before heading over to watch the game.

 

Chattahoochee Nature Center – Moms get in FREE with the purchase of a regular priced admission ticket.

Georgia Aquarium – Moms get special $20 tickets with purchase of one regular-priced ticket on May 14, 2017.  **If you purchase a City Pass, that is considered a “regular-priced ticket”, so with the City Pass, you can enjoy this special for a 1/2-priced ticket for yo’ mama.

Georgia Renaissance Festival – On Sunday, the first 100 Moms through the gate receive a free flower.

High Museum – FREE admission for all, as part of their Second Sunday Funday program.  You can pose for a portrait at 1pm, and then make a cute keepsake frame while you’re there.  Extra perks for members, of course, including Eric Carle story time, yoga classes for bigs and littles, and more.

Medieval Times, Atlanta – moms are free with the purchase of a full priced adult using the offer code MOM17. Mother’s Day package upgrade available for an additional $20 during checkout or at the door. Package includes Queen Bee tote bag, souvenir glass of champagne or mimosa (cider or non-alcoholic beverage will be served to minors), and a framed photo of Mom.

Zoo Atlanta – Moms get in FREE with purchase of child or adult ticket, or when accompanied by a Zoo Atlanta Member.

 

National Mothers’ Day  Deals & Freebies

Amazon – FREE one-day shipping

Beef O Brady’s – Free meal for Mom at Beef O Brady’s with purchase of equal or lesser value up to $10 at particpating locations (5/14 only)

First Watch– Mom’s receive a free box of chocolate with purchase while supplies last on 5/8.  You may recall, my son and I enjoyed our dining experience at First Watch in Dunwoody!

Kroger: Load Kroger digital coupons to save on gift card purchases plus load a 4X Fuel Points on the Weekends coupons too.

McCormick & Schimicks – Mom will receive a free chocolate covered strawberry with her meal. It is recommended you make reservations if you plan to dine here.

Shoneys – FREE Slice of Strawberry Pie for mom with purchase of a Buffet or Entree. Also, enter to win $100 Visa gift card.

Stevie B’s Pizza – Mom can enjoy a FREE buffet on May 11th. You will need to present your voucher in order to get this offer (available on their Facebook page).

Tony Romas – 3-course meal only $28 on Mother’s day; check with your local store for details

YouFit Health Clubs – free “BYOM (Bring Your Own Mom)” Zumba® classes at Youfit (including multiple Atlanta locations) for members and non-members from May 8-19.

This list will be updated as more offers are released, so make sure that you bookmark it and check back later!

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!**

8 Romantic, but Inexpensive Valentine’s Gift Ideas for Her

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Gift Ideas for HerDo you want to celebrate Valentine’s Day the right way, without going into debt?  Check out these 8 inexpensive, but still romantic gift ideas for her: [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!**

10+ Valentine’s Date Night Ideas

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Cheap Date Night Ideas Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be another occasion for which to go in debt.  On the contrary, there’s plenty of free, cheap, and frugal date night ideas around Atlanta -and anywhere – just put the leg work in to it ahead of time.  Here are a few great Atlanta date night ideas, but most can be date night ideas for just about anywhere.  And keep in mind, these date night ideas are great, not just for Valentine’s Day, but all year long!

Frugal Date Night Ideas around Atlanta (and Beyond!)

  1. Coffee Date.  No, don’t run through your local coffee kiosk for this one.  Actually scope out your semi-local coffee shops or coffee bars and take your special someone there.  Find a quiet table and enjoy the coffee and conversation.  I’m willing to bet that most of the time you share coffee, it’s when you are in a rush in the mornings.  This will be a nice change and therefore a great date.  Check Scoutmob for a local coffee shop near you!
  2. Dive Bar.  Going out for drinks doesn’t have to be expensive.  You can look for dive bar that offers cheap drinks and a unique atmosphere.  These bars are often provide just about the best people watching opportunities that exist.  Again, Scoutmob it, folks!  (I swear, this isn’t an ad for Scoutmob.  I just really like promoting free apps!)
  3. Hit the Trail.  Take your special someone on a romantic hike and a bring a picnic along with you.  Do an internet search for trails near year and their difficulty scale – or check out my list of free or cheap hikes around Atlanta.  Be sure to choose one that makes sense for your fitness level (they range from super easy, park like strolls to more strenuous ones).  Just be sure choose wisely so that you both have fun!
  4. Attend a Paint Night.  Are you and/or your sweetheart artistic?  Paint nights are very popular right now and many restaurants and local event centers are offering paint nights for a very reasonable rate.  I’ve personally been to All Fired Up and would recommend them, and have heard great things about Painting with a Twist, too.
  5. Dinner and movie (at home).  Dinner and movie at home can be very romantic!  Just make sure to mix it up a bit so it’s not the same thing as every other night.  Maybe the two of you can cook a meal together and enjoy each other’s company with a candlelit meal.  Follow that up by snuggling on the sofa watching a movie.  Or, if you’re near Studio Movie Grill, snag this great deal while it’s available!
  6. Take a YouTube lesson together.  Learning is sexy.  Lucky for those of us on a budget, there are lots of free classes available at our fingertips.  From cooking to musical instruments to singing and drawing, you can learn just about anything on YouTube.  Grab your honey, open up the laptop and learn a new skill together.
  7. Hit up happy hour.  Many restaurants now offer happy hour discounts where you can order select food and drink items for half price!  This is a great way to save and still go out!
  8. Play a game of miniature golf.  When was the last time you played mini golf? I didn’t realize how cheap it was!  And oh so fun too!  Check Groupon for a potential mini-golf deal near you.
  9. Group game night.  Valentine’s Day doesn’t always have to be just for two.  Why not invite a group of friends over for a group game night and enjoy everyone’s company?  It is free and fun, plus it will give you a chance to invite those friends that don’t h 73 answered questions ave a partner to spend the day with.  You can never go wrong with a classic game like Pictionary, Phase 10, or try something new like Watch Ya Mouth or even Pie Face.
  10. Find a local musical act playing or check out an open mic night and pay a small cover fee for live music and entertainment.  
  11. Explore Your City!  There are tons of free and cheap things to do in Atlanta.  You can also peruse sites like Groupon for restaurants and activities inspiration on the cheap, as well as Venue Kings and Goldstar for concerts, shows, and sporting events.

Got other cheap date night ideas not listed here?  I’d love to hear them!  Also, make sure you check out these great inexpensive Valentine’s gift ideas for her (also not limited to just Valentine’s!).

Cheap Date Night Ideas - Pin Me

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!**

Creative Ways to Recycle Christmas Cards

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recycle christmas cards

It’s inevitable for many families this time of year, the Christmas Cards will start arriving once we flip our calendars to December.  We keep ours in a basket available for all to see each year during the month of December.  However, once the holidays are over, I’m perpetually perplexed as to what to do with all those cards.  We get cards from family all across the country, and from friends equally spread out.  Each year, I look at these cards as a sweet, simple way to stay in touch with loved ones; but I honestly always felt a sense of dread and apprehension once the holidays passed and it was time to take down the Christmas decor.  I never knew quite what to do with all the cards.

 

recycling christmas cards

Thanks Jannessa from Bliss Mama Wellness for sharing your Christmas Card door!

So I reached out to my blogger friends AND posed the question on Privet, and got some awesome ideas and inspiration for upcycling and recycling Christmas cards.  Here are some ways to get more out of the Christmas cards you receive.  If you’ve got more ideas or inspirations, please let me know!

Creative Ideas for Recycling Christmas Cards

  • One family tapes them to their kitchen pantry cabinet, for the toddlers to look at year long of friends and family near and far.
  • Hang them in kitchen door frame as you receive them.  My friend Jennessa of Bliss Mama Wellness did so this year.  (see pic above)
  • Punch a hole in each one, and bind together with a binder ring.
  • Using your smartphone, take a photo of each card. Then assign that picture to the sender in your phone. Then when they call or text, you have a seasonal reminder of them all-year long!
  • If you only receive them from close friends and family, save them. Dedicate a special spot to them and watch how the kids grow.
  • Cut out the names from the cards and start a bowl full of them. Once or twice a week throughout the year, pull a name and pray for them – even the companies and businesses that send cards.
  • Lindsey from Redhead Baby Mama informed me that “if you cut off the fronts of basic or old-fashioned cards (no family photos) and give them to the VA, the vets do rehab crafts with them!”
  • Winona of Southern Family Fun has a great DIY craft turning Christmas cards into decorative coasters.

Got any more great ways to recycle Christmas Cards?  Please comment below with your ideas or contact me.  I’d love to hear your ideas!

recycle christmas cards

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!**

Frugal Teacher Gift Ideas

**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!**



Frugal Teacher Gift Ideas

As a teacher, I recieved gifts over the years -some obviously very thoughtful and others that left me scratching my head in wonder.  Regardless, the simple act of giving a gift meant the world to me, especially since I wasn’t always the “main” teacher.  (I taught special education, and even if I saw a child for most of the day, I wasn’t their “homeroom” teacher, and ….I digress…)  So, let me repeat, any gift you give a teacher will be much appreciated.  Period.  Truly, it IS the thought that counts.

If you’re looking for something simple, without breaking the bank, then take heed of these frugal teacher gift ideas.

Honestly, the gifts that meant the most to me were the personalized notes, you could have your child help create a picture for each teacher, and include a note of thanks -offering anything specific you can, even if it’s simply “you make my child smile”. Pull out the paint brush, water colors or tempera paint, and let your child express himself – regardless of his age.  Sometimes a picture of your child is helpful, too, because it will allow her teachers to continue to put a name to a face (because we’re all a little forgetful in our old age.)  I’ve helped my daughter create various cards over the years, using card stock, colorful tissue paper bits, and contact paper.  Or peruse Pinterest for a simple craft you think you and your child could create for all his teachers.

Frugal Teacher Gift ideas - Tissue Paper Window Cards

When I was in the classroom, the gift that (still) meant the most to me was from one of my 5th graders, whose learning disability made the simple task of writing very difficult.  That year, she hand wrote me a letter of thanks – specifying things I’d done for her/with her that year.  I know the time, effort, and thought that went in to that was great – and I thus still treasure it dearly.  She got me a few other small things along with that note, but the note is what I most recall.

If you want to include a little **something** along with the pictures and notes, the gesture of a $5 gift card, or even a little baggie of assorted chocolates can go a long way.  The dollar stores usually have those little mesh baggies in multiples; I snagged a bag of chocolates last year for free with some deal -likely at Publix- and allocated a few of them to each of my daughter’s teacher, using those baggies.  Also, you could create various baked goods with your child, and include with a personalized note.

Along those same lines, clip and root a piece of your favorite house plant, like a Christmas cactus; root it, then put it in a colorful pot.  Or, grab a ready-to-paint pot from a craft store or home improvement store, and  let your child create a design on the pot.  House plants can certainly be a lasting way of saying “thank you”.

Frugal Teacher Gift Ideas - Paintable Flower Pots

Another idea, depending on your child’s class and teachers, is to pool together with other parents, and go in together for one big class gift.  With a larger budget, the class could get the teachers personalized stationary from Vistaprint, or even a larger gift card or gift certificate to her favorite restaurant.  Or just cold hard cash.

This year, for the end of year gift, my daughter’s pre-K class is making a photo book for each teacher.  Since they’ve been taking pictures all year round, and uploading to Shutterfly, we have plenty of pictures of the kids and both teachers.  Each child will also create one picture for each teacher, and write a sentence or two about what they like the most about each teachers – scan them in: boom.  Sentimental, meaningful gift.

The bottom line is this: no matter what the gift is, simply let your child’s teachers know you appreciate them.  That act alone goes a long way, and stands out for years to come.

**Also, check out Tiffany (of RealMomTalk.com) for her take on the Top 5 Gift Ideas for Teachers:

Top 5 gift ideas for teachers

© Pilarin | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

Don’t forget to “pin” this post about Frugal Teacher Gift Ideas, so you can find it (and share it!) later!Frugal Teacher Gift Ideas

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!**

Coca-Cola’s Strong Military Commitment

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Coca-Colas Military Commitment - soldier

I recently spent the day at The Coca-Cola Company headquarters, helping to stuff care packages to send to the military.  This is a sponsored campaign for Coca-Cola; however, as always, all opinions and bad puns are 100% my own.

I never thought packing tubes of toothpaste would lead to such humbling, drop-to-my-knees revelations, and yet, that’s exactly what happened to me the other day.  I was invited to work alongside hundreds of Coca-Cola employees who volunteered to help stuff care packages for the USO to send to our troops.  It was an assembly-lined process, and in its seventh year, ran like a well-oiled machine.  I happened to be in front of the large bin of toothpaste tubes, at the front of the assembly line.  Next to me were packages of disposable razor blades, and a few bins down from there were bottles of eye drops.  Knowing the service members offered feedback and helped determine what items were NEEDED for these care bags made the eye drops all the more of a reality to me. [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!**

Veterans’ Day Freebies 2016

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Veterans Day Freebies 2016

November 11 is Veterans Day, so make sure you pass on this information to anyone you know who is a Veteran or Active Duty so they can snag a free deal and/or a free meal! All places require proof of military service, proof of service includes Military ID, Discharge Papers, DD214 and being in uniform. What proof of service required depends on the individual establishment.

Special thanks to Gimme Freebies for contributing to this list of Veterans Day Freebies 2016.

Veterans Day Freebies 2016

Center for Civil and Human RightsThe Center offers discounted admission to both active duty military members and veterans with a valid veteran ID or DD-214 form.  [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!**

13 Nights of Halloween Schedule

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13 Nights of Halloween

The white sweater and pink socks are her own personal touches.

This time last year, my (then) six-year-old daughter already picked out, and had been wearing, her Halloween costume for this year – since the beginning of September!  Perhaps, then, that means it’s ok to get the ball rolling WELL before October 31st, right?  ….even if the temperatures here in Atlanta still linger in the 90s.  sigh

Once again, ABC Family is hosting 13 Nights of Halloween, packed with great family-friendly movies for the whole family to enjoy.  If you’d like to get the festivities started BEFORE October 19th, or keep the Halloween spirit going year-round, you can snag these titles on Amazon.  (Links included below.)

ABC Family's 13 Nights of Halloween

Super special thanks to Drug Store Divas for sharing this list!

ABC Family’s 13 Nights Of Halloween Schedule 2016

Night One- Wednesday, October 19th
5:30pm — Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
7:00pm — R.L. Stine’s Monsterville: Cabinet of Souls (television premiere)
9:00pm — Hocus Pocus
12:00am — Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride [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!**

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.