Thursday, December 30, 2010

Noah's Ark at Skirball

I have been trying to get free Thursday tickets to Noah's Ark; but I could never get enough for all of us to go. I did get some coupons when we were at the Grove one day when they had brought over a sample of Noah's Ark. I saved a little bit of money but not much since I had to order tickets online and pay the processing fee due to them selling out quickly.

It was a rainy day and turned out to be a good indoor place to go. The girls had fun playing with plastic as well as stuffed animals on the ark, sending animals up into the ark, building the ark, and climbing around in the ark. The girls had fun for a little under 2 hours and actually wanted to go home. It was a fun one time experience; but don't think I would pay for it again. I'll try to wait until I can manage to get free tickets if we decide to go again.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Pretend City

The girls were on Christmas vacation. We normally go on a mini vacation; but this year we decided to do a couple day trips instead. We actually splurged and spent some money to go to Pretend City in Irvine. I was a little skeptical about going from what the reviews had said. I'm so glad we went! The girls had so much fun here.

We got there when it opened at 10:00am and left at 4:30pm. Many reviewers said their kids only got about 2-3 hours tops here. We got 6 1/2 hours here! The girls played in the Curious George room and took a picture with him. Played in a miniature house complete with living room, kitchen, 2 bedrooms, and bathroom. They went to the beach and played in the sand. That didn't last too long because there were not enough shovels to go around. The girls could pretend to be a chef or a waitress at the Mexican restaurant. They got to pick apples, oranges, strawberries and plant carrots and lettuce at the farm. They could play doctor in the Dr.'s office; but they were not too interested in that area. Another favorite was the water table. They have boats you can race with wind machines, go fishing, play with rubber ducks, shark and my youngest daughter's favorite- the lobster. They have a post office, a construction site and a road that goes around the whole place to drive cars.

They even let you bring your own food in and eat at their designated eating areas. Luckily, we had packed lunches to save some money and ate there. We had to end the day when our youngest crankiness caught up with her from her lack of a nap. 1 tired out girl made a quiet drive home :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Winter Wonderland or Not

We decided to check out a free event in Castaic which they titled winter wonderland which consisted of games, crafts, snow, food and Santa. When we got there, there was no snow, no games and no food; unless you count the boxes of chocolate bars that were just sitting on the floor assuming you could take some. They did have Santa, which the girls sat on his lap and took a picture. Craft materials were on the tables to make a paper plate wreath, popsicle stick picture frame, and pipe cleaner candy canes. They also had face painting which there was no line for since there was not a lot of people. The girls had a good time making their projects. It was a rainy day; so it was nice to get out of the house and do something indoors.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Snow Day

I'm not a big fan of purchasing snow clothes that the kids will grow out of in a year or driving over an hour to find snow, then hear the kids say it's too cold after 5 min. of snow play. My alternative was to go to the local mall and participate in their man-made snow day.

We only drove about 15 min. and the weather was the warmest day in December - about 80 degrees. The girls had fun sledding down a small snow slope and making snowballs to throw at daddy. There was a sign as well as employees telling everyone not to throw the snow. What's the point of the snow if you can't throw snowballs? The mall also provided free treats to the 1st 500 kids which consisted of cookies, cotton candy, pretzel, popcorn or a churro. We stood in line for cotton candy. There were about 5 people in front of us before the machine stopped working. There was a bit of sulking; but the girls quickly chose something else to indulge themselves. We didn't bother waiting in the long lines for face paint or balloon animals that was provided. We spent about 2 hours playing in the patch of snow and headed off for our quick 15 min. drive home.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Thanksgiving at the Japanese American Museum

Target hosts free family Saturdays at the Japansese American Museum. We have gone before to the Easter activities and wanted to check out the Thanksgiving activities. The girls had fun making turkeys out of a platic cup and using contruction paper and traced their hand to make feathers. They also weaved placemats and made centerpeices with a paper plate, pinecones, plastic corn and silk leaves. They had a weaving class for my oldest daughter to go and learn to weave and they also got to make cookies that looked like corn wrapped in a fruit rollup husk. It was very cute and delicious!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Placerita Canyon-Nature Walk

Placerita Canyon is a nature center that has free Saturday family nature walks and animal presentations and hiking trails. We had never been on the nature walk and decided to go. It lasted about an hour and a half and we got to learn about the owls, a hawk, the Indians who used to live there, learn about different trees and plants, see where gold was first discovered and saw a house where a Indian family used to live. It was a very educational experience for the girls.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Haunted Jailhouse and Festival

I have heard about the Sheriff Station's Hunted Jailhouse; but never had gone; but decided to this year. They charged $1 admission and had various game booths, fire trucks, police cars, the maze, etc. We went to check out the maze; but when we got there they said they just closed for about an hour to let the volunteers have lunch. I didn't want to pay their prices for the games or bounce house. We decided to leave and go to a Halloween event at the Granada Hills Community Center. We went last year and the girls have fun.

The Community Center had a bounce house with free admission and low budget games that are very inexpensive to play. The kids get candy and win tickets to get cheap prizes. They also have face paint and a craft. After a couple hours, we headed back to Santa Clarita so we could go into the haunted jailhouse. We go there just in time because they had closed it off right after we got in line. The girls got a plastic ax to defeat a dragon and save the princess. It wasn't really worth going back to do that; but now we know for next year.

Later that night, the girls went trick or treating for a couple hours. My oldest wanted to re-used her Sleeping Beauty costume from the year before and my youngest re-used one of my other daughter's old Care Bear costume.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Event and Scaryface at IHOP

I came across a local Halloween event at the community center and decided to check it out. We were greeted with a free pumpkins to decorate. Inside they had tables of scraps the kids could use to decorate their pumpkin and enter them in a contest. They provided free hotdogs, chips and drinks. They had a costume parade a magic show and a haunted maze. My oldest was getting bored from waiting for the magic show to start and apprently was not interested in watching it; and my youngest woke up cranky from a nap. We were going to check out the maze; but the line was about 45min. long and we were not going to stand in the cold for that; so we left.

I had read a promotion where IHOP was giving away Scaryface pancakes to kids; so we took them to IHOP for dinner to eat their Scaryface pancake. I thought they got the ingredients to decorate themselves; but it came already decorated. The girls didn't care. They were just happy to eat it!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Sky City Bounce

My 1st grader had a day off from school today. We decided to take them to McDonalds for breakfast. They used some of their gift certificates that were given to them as gifts; so thier breakfast was free! After breakfast, we met up with a friend from school at the park where they played for a couple hours and then off to play at Sky City Bounce. I had promised I would take them there; so off we went. They had a special admission price of $5 on Fridays instead of the normal $10; so I took advantage. It kept them occupied for a couple hours on a cool day outside.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fright Fest -Magic Mountain

Magic Mountain gave free friend passes when you buy a season pass. I gave my friend pass to my husband so we could all go and check out Magic Mountain for halloween. We went with the girls during the late afternoon and just stayed in Bugs Bunny World where they had some halloween themed crafts to make such as masks, and jewerly. Then, at a certain time the kids can go trick or treating around the rides in that area. After about 5 min. the candy is gone and you can resume with your day.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Free Disneyland Tickets - or Not

My husband and I participated in the Give a Day, Get a Day program to get free Disneyland tickets. I volunteered to make tie blankets and my husband volunteered to speak at a career day for a school. We decided to go for my youngest daughter's birthday. We bought one of my daughter's ticket on e-bay and my 2 year old (turns 3 tomorrow) gets in free. So, off we go to the happiest place on earth; until, guest services cannot locate my name or address that I participated in the Disneyland program. She gave a number to call to find out how to get my ticket. I call the number and they are closed on Sundays. I go back in line and they make me buy a ticket. I was soooo upset, it was hard to enjoy the first part of the day. When we were about to leave, I went to guest relations and stood in that line for 30 min. to see if I could get a refund; but no, they couldn't find me in the system either.

I called the number they gave to me on Monday and said they could give me a refund because they looked me up with a phone number and found me :) They said we just need your receipt and a copy of the ticket. Great! Later, that day I ask my husband for the items. He found the receipt but no ticket. We are looking everywhere for the ticket and cannot find it. Of course, I'm soooo upset again! The next day I look some more and finally found it buried in CD's in the car. I finally got my refund and am a happy camper!
Thank you Disneyland for the opportunity to get rewarded for helping others; but No thanks for the hassle of getting the ticket!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Kids Day Carnival

We have been attending the kids day carnival for a few years. It's held at the Newhall Park and includes FREE bounce houses for the kids, local business booths where they have games and crafts at almost all the booths. We got coupons for free miniature golf, free family night ticket to Scooters Jungle, half off price for a gym class, and free bowling. The girls have a great time. They even have free hot dogs, drinks, cotton candy, popcorn, and snow cones! It was a very hot day; so everyone was eating snow cones. Free raffle tickets are also given away so kids can have a chance to win great prizes. We had to stay until the event was almost over to see if we would win the Littlest Petshop prizes. We didn't win and back to the car we walked with 2 disappointed girls.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Arrr! A Pirate's Life for Me

Arrr! It was that time of year when the pirates come around to Ventura Harbor Village. Pirates walk around the village, perform magic shows, sing, and put on small shows. One pirate had a couple parrots that my youngest loved. She was more excited when he put one on her arm! She also enjoyed a pirate sing along where kids formed a circle to listen and dance to pirate songs. She loves to dance; so it was a perfect opportunity for her to ham it up.

The girls went on a scavenger hunt to look for treasure. Holding a map in one hand and a compass in another; they searched for clues around the village that lead to where X marks the spot. They found the treasure which included stickers, tattoos, gum coins and bracelets.

We brought a picnic lunch to eat at the village to save money and the kids shared and devoured a cotton candy ice cream cone as they watched a sword fight pirate show. After the show, they rode on a carousel, played a game and happily left for home sucking on a lollipop they won with their game tickets.

The event is free as well as the shows; but they get you with the opportunity to buy tickets for rides, games, bouncers, pony rides and scavenger hunts. We ended up spending $12 for the day on 2 scavenger hunts, 1 ice cream cone, 2 carousel rides and 2 games which equaled 2 happy girls.
Ventura's 80 degree weather was also a nice escape from the 105 degree valley weather. A fun and cool pirate day!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Up turned into The Thief of Baghdad

We decided to go down to the outdoor venue in Pasadena again because they were showing UP. We thought the kids would enjoy watching a movie outside. We packed their fold up couch/bed, brought their blankets and packed the popcorn for a fun evening out. My husband took my daughter to the restroom and when he came out, the Thief of Baghdad was playing. I thought it was just going to be a short movie clip while they got ready to put UP on. But no, this was the movie that was going to be playing. We were really disappointed; but the girls didn't seem to care. They just like being outside watching anything on the screen and eating popcorn. We did leave after an hour. What was really disappointing is that they didn't even show a good substitute movie. If they couldn't show UP, then show another family movie. Anything would have been better than the Thief of Baghdad, even the Music Man was better and that's not saying much. This movie makes it to the top worst movies on my list. I think we are done with the free outdoor movies in Pasadena.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th!

Today, we are celebrating the 4th at the Ronald Regan Library for their free family event. We went there last year and the kids had a great time. If you don't get there early, you will have to park way down at the bottom of the hill. Of course, we did not get there early and parked at the bottom. Fortunately, they have a shuttle to take you up to the top. We got very lucky, because we just got out of the car ran to the shuttle a few cars down and off we went.
We get to the top and the 1st thing the girls see is a bounce house obstacle course. My 2 year old was a little small; so daddy had to do the obstacle with her. She had fun; but daddy got very tired after a couple times.
The girls did a couple crafts like making a flag with tissue paper and a USA beaded necklace. Their favorite activities were the games and then getting a small prize after each play. By the time they were done, I had quite a collection of patriotic pencils. We played a water balloon toss and then the girls played another game where you can collect as much candy as they could. Just what they need - more candy!
They also had free all you can eat watermelon. My youngest ate about 4 slices. She loves that stuff. My picky 5 year old had issues with a seedless watermelon because of the little white seeds. She insisted on picking those out which just took forever for her to eat.
We saved money on lunch by bringing our own and sat at their tables. We enjoyed listening to the band playing music while we ate. My youngest like it so much she started dancing and put on a show for the person next to us. She just added more entertainment and was quite comical.
This event really wears the kids out and they knocked out in the car on the way home. I knocked out at home. An hour later we had to be up and ready for a BBQ at my parents house. We stayed there for a little while, came home, bathed the kids and rushed off to see fireworks at the local mall. We always go to McDonalds for the $1 sundae to eat while we wait/watch for the fireworks. The line was out the door this year; so we decided to go after. Luckily,I bought some pop snaps for the kids to throw to keep them occupied while we waited. I also got them glow in the dark necklaces at the dollar store. I mad a note to try to sell these next year. People were asking where we got them and someone was actually selling the bracelets. After the show we made it to McDonalds. They barely let us in because they said they closed at 9:30. What kind of McDonalds closes at 9:30!? I think they just wanted to go home early. We did get our sundae but they eventually kicked us out to close their doors. All in all it was a fun 4th!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Dead Fish and the Music Man

We decided to check out a Japanese Festival because we didn't have much else planned and it was free to get it. I enjoy learning about a different culture and expose the kids as well.
They had a game where you can win a fish and the girls just had to play. My oldest has been wanting a fish; so here was her chance to win one. The game was really inexpensive; so they each won a goldfish for $3 worth of game play. Then, they played a couple other games, we looked at some bonsai trees, ate some homemade sugar donuts - I forgot what the Japanese call them; but they were good! We weren't there long enough to see any entertainment because my husband and I were on our way to see an outdoor movie of the Music Man at an outdoor venue in Pasadena.
Neither of us had seen it and it was free so we gave it a try. They showed the newer version and it was not very good. It probably doesn't make much of a difference if it was the old or new version because I didn't think it was a very good movie either way. We left after an hour to pick up the girls.
By this time, the goldfish were in jars and looked like they were hungry because they were blooping (when the fish open and close its mouth) according to my 5 year old. So, at 10:45pm we go to Vons to find fish food so the fish won't bloop anymore. It was the only thing we were buying and the cashier says "Oh, you're fish are hungry?" Because who goes out at almost 11:00pm to try to feed their goldfish.
We fed the fish, and about 3:00 in the morning I got up to tend to my youngest who needed a drink and found the fish floating. I hoped he might be sleeping and I was too tired to really check. I knew he wasn't sleeping when my oldest was crying about the dead fish in the morning. The 2nd fish died a day later. Winning a fish seems great at the time for the kids; but then you got to find somewhere to put it, get fish food, and take care of it, all so it can die in a day and leave your kids upset and crying.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Library Events

Our local libraries have a number of family events for free which we love attending.

Animal Scales and Musical Tales
Celebrate Read Across America with us as Ken Frawley presents a song and story-filled program for all ages.

Tue, March 1, 2011
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Valencia Library
23743 W. Valencia Blvd.
Santa Clarita, CA 91355

Phone: (661) 259-8942
(661) 259-8942

Volcanoes in Stories and Science
Richard Wade shows how volcanoes erupt and grow, tells myths and legends about them, and demonstrates the secret of eruptions! For children in Grades K-8.

Tue, March 22, 2011
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Valencia Library
23743 W. Valencia Blvd.
Santa Clarita, CA 91355

Phone: (661) 259-8942
(661) 259-8942

FebruaryCurrent Events at Newhall Library
The Magic of Tony DanielsCapers, conjuring & comedy: Tony Daniels is coming back to Newhall! For kids of all ages.
Tue, February 22, 2011
3:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Current Events at Valencia Library
Fire and Ice with Mad ScienceJoin Mad Science as they present a fun show for all ages! See fascinating science demonstrations with air pressure, fire, bubbling potions, and more.

Wed, February 23, 2011
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

They have a summer reading program where if you or your child reads books, they can earn small prizes. It's a great way to encourage reading over the summer.

The last event we saw there was a bubble show. My 5 year old had a bubble show birthday party and she enjoyed this show all over again. My 2 year old had fun watching it for the most part; but she did get upset when the bubbles didn't get close enough for her to pop.

We also go to the story times. They read stories, do sing alongs and make a craft. My 5 year old loves it; but my 2 year old can only sit through a couple stories and likes craft time.

The next events we are hoping to catch is a balloon show and a couple magic shows.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Stranded, Sun Burnt and Starving in Lake Arrowhead

To celebrate my birthday, we went to Lake Arrowhead. My parents have a place up there, so we saved some money by not having to pay to stay somewhere else. We also tried to save some money by packing our own lunch for a picnic at Lake Gregory. All I wanted was some chicken salad to make a chicken salad sandwich. They usually have it at the store I go to; but of course, not today. I ended up going to 3 different stores before I finally got it. We got to the lake and ate our lunch.

Then, we rented a peddle boat for an hour. Half of our time had past and decided to head back. The wind had picked up and the their were some white caps on the water. We were peddling and peddling but we were not moving anywhere. This went on for about 30 min. The kids were getting antsy and wanted to get off. We were just stuck in the lake until who knows how long. Finally, a rescue boat came and asked if we needed help. We gladly took it and they towed us to the calmer parts of the water. I was so tired, I barely made it back the little way to the dock.

Afterwards we went to the house in Arrowhead and took a nap. I discovered I was quite sun burnt and it hurt to move my legs. I had picked a place to eat dinner; but forgot it closed at 7:00pm. We had left at 6:30 hoping to make it within 5 min. But no, our GPS sent us to some house and we never did find the place. So, we decided to see what there is to eat in the village. Everything was closed by 5:30. The only option we had for my birthday dinner was McDonalds or a Mexican restaurant. We chose the restaurant. The food was not the greatest but at least we found food! The day was an adventure as usual; but I had a fun time.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Brentwood Summer Festival

I had noticed that Brentwood was doing a FREE family summer festival; so we decided to check it out. Shops had tables displayed with merchandise, vendor booths were scattered around; but the best part was the free food!
There was an Indian restaraunt (sorry didn't get the name) giving out free food to try. What could be better than a free lunch? Well, let me tell you... there was free cotton candy, which my girls loved! My youngest didn't get the concept of how to eat it though. She treated it like an icecream and licked it to death. After a while of licking, the wet cotton candy looked like it was ready to be tossed. After the cotton candy, my oldest wanted more delicious food. We stumbled onto a popcorn cart which was giving out free bags of popcorn. That kettle corn was the best! It tasted salty, sweet, sugary and buttery as my daughter described it.
They had a petting zoo where my youngest really enjoyed feeding the animals hay. My oldest was way too concerned about getting dirty and worried the animals would poop on her. We walked by to see a magic show, watch a dog on wheels (something was wrong with his back legs, and listen to a band play. They even had free pony rides! My oldest rode on one; but the youngest was too scared to get on. It was a fun day for all. Thanks Brentwood!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Regal Family Film Festival

I am planning to take the kids or atleast the older one to Regal Cinemas for their Free Film Festival. They show a choice of 2 movies every Tues. and Wed. starting June 15th. They show older movies; but it's great to sit in a cool theatre when the sun is blazing outside. They often get crowded, so get there a little early to get a seat. It's something to do in the summer for free with your kids, so why not take advantage.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Free Birthday Meals

Who wouldn't want FREE meals on their birthday! Here's some links to help get breakfast, lunch and dinner for FREE on your special day. Some items are FREE for just signing up!

El Torito - receive coupon for Free guacamole and Free entree on your birthday.

Acapulco - -receive coupon for Free guacamole and Free entree on your birthday.

Black Angus - - Free dessert and steak dinner

Coldstone Creamery - - Free Creation

Del Taco - - 2 Free tacos and premium milkshake

Hometown Buffet - - Free Meal

Krsipy Kreme - - Free half dozen glazed donuts and coffee mug filled with coffee or soda.

Marie Calendars - - Free offers on birthday and anniversary

Red Robin - -Free burger

Round Table Pizza - - Free personal pizza

Ruby Tuesday - - Free Burger

TGI Fridays - - Free appetizer and dessert

Friday, April 9, 2010

Screamin Daily Deals

If you want to save some money and get some Screamin deals from local businesses in your area, check out Screamin Coupons at

Most deals give at least 50% or more off their regular price! They will even give a percentage of the sale proceeds to a school of your choice. Sign up is free and there are no fees for anything. Just pay for the things you want to buy.

During Spring break, we checked out a local restaurant, La Salsa, while the kids got a lunch treat at McDonalds. My husband and I paid only $4 for each meal using our Screamin Coupons. The chicken taquitos are delish!
After lunch, we used another Screamin Coupon for Fins Glow, a glow in the dark miniature golf place. Their deal was half off unlimited golf. So, for just $5 ( my 2 year old was free), my 2 girls played 5 rounds of golf which lasted 2 hours. That's a Screamin Coupon deal!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Kidspace - FREE Family Night

My daughter is a few days into Spring Break and finding frugal things to do can be a challenge. Kidspace had saved the day with their FREE family night which is on the 1st Tues. of every month from 4-8.
The girls have so much fun there. My youngest daughter was very fascinated with the butterfly exhibit, painting the leaf and getting wet with their water fountains. They had a performance of Alice in Wonderland which the girls also enjoyed. The trick is to get there at 4:00 and leave before dinner time to avoid paying their high prices for food. Or bring snacks to hold the kids over a little longer before going home for a quick fix dinner.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fools!

I'm not that great at coming up with good April fool's day jokes; especially for 2 young girls. I did come up with something the whole family would enjoy - Breakfast for Dinner.

My girls LOVE pancakes and eggs; so I knew they would be excited to eat their surprise April Fools dinner. I made a egg and bacon pie/quiche for my husband and I to give breakfast a change from the ordinary. I called everyone for DESSERT. They were confused as to why dessert was being served. Where's dinner? 1 chocolate chip cookie sat on a plate at everyone's place setting. This was a bit odd for everyone; but nobody complained about having a dessert to start. After everyone was finished eating their cookie; I served them their dinner breakfast. The girls were so excited to see pancakes and eggs for dinner! My 5 year old, can't wait to have another April Fool's dinner again!

Breakfast items such as eggs and pancake mix are very low cost and can make for a great change of pace for dinner!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Easter Fun

Easter is almost here and many places offer Free or inexpensive family activities.

We decided check out the Granada Hills Rec. Center for their Easter activities. They had an Easter egg hunt, Bounce house, Face Paint and Pictures with the Easter bunny as well as a magic show. The kids were not too interested in the magic show; so we went to see the Easter Bunny. My oldest had no problems going up to sit on the bunny's lap; but the youngest didn't want to get near him. She had no problem saying by to him though. Normally, I try to get a picture even if they are crying; ( yes, I'm one of THOSE moms) but I just didn't want to deal with that. So, off we went with a picture of just 1 child and the bunny.

Next, was the Easter egg hunt. After ready, set, go, ran a hundred or so kids with their parents in the small roped off area. Plastic eggs just disappeared in about 2 minutes. My oldest was able to get a few eggs. My 2 year old still stood at the starting point. I think she was scared of the mob of people flying past her. The oldest was nice enough to let her have a couple of her eggs. After the 2 min. chaos; they traded their eggs for candy.

We then moved on to the Bounce house. The kids got about 5 min for $1 to bounce. Most of my 5 min. watching the girls was spent listening to a 6 year old chat my ear off. By the end, she knew my name, I knew her mom's name, the dance classes she took and a detailed version of the cake she was going to eat at home. I'm sure she mentioned more; but tuned her out after a couple minutes.

We had 1 ticket left to do face paint. The line was really long; so we didn't do it. I asked the girls if they wanted to go in the bouncer again; but they said they would rather play on the playground instead. Go figure. Overall, It was a fun 2 hour outing for only $5

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Travel Town

It was finally a nice day out, so we decided to go to Travel Town. The kids had not been there in probably a year. The $3 donation is well worth all the time the kids can spend there.

They had so much fun climbing up trains, pretending to be a conductor and playing in Holden's Corner. Holden's Corner is a small play area for kids. They have activities like coloring and stories for younger kids on the 2nd and 3rd Sundays of the month from 12-4. Our girls can't get enough play time at the train table. They only have a few toy train cars to play with; so if your kid gets one, they better hang on to it or it will get snatched once you let go. Some kids, including ours have learned that lesson the hard way.

They have a running train there; but we opted not spend the $10-$12 on that. Instead we got the girls an ice cream treat. They were equally happy with that and I think it lasted longer.

Then, they wanted to go in the gift shop. Oh no, not the gift shop! We hesitantly gave in. Then it started. Mommy, I want this and that and that. Finally, they saw another train table to keep them occupied for another 30 min. before it was time to go. Then, on the way out it was the familiar sounds of mommy, I want this and that and that. We did not give in and left the town being out of pocket $7 from our donation and ice cream treats.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Homemade Diaper Wipes

I have been making diaper wipes for 5 1/2 years since my oldest was a baby. Making wipes for 2 kids has saved quite a bit of money. I started making wipes when I heard that the alcohol in most diaper wipes was not good for newborn baby's skin. I used non alcoholic wipes before I came across how to make my own wipes. The recipe was so easy and inexpensive that I have never bought any wipes. So here's the recipe.

I roll of Bounty (this brand is the best)
Cut the roll in half. (An electric knife works great)
Take the cardboard out of rolls
Put rolls side by side in container. ( I use a salad spinner)
In a bowl, mix 2 1/4 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of baby shampoo, 1 tablespoon baby oil
Pour mixture over paper towel rolls so they are moist.
Rip apart each paper towel square and fold in half.
You can store make wipes in previously used diaper wipe containers.

The cost to make is about $1 for about 120 wipes.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Chinese Lantern Festival & McDonalds

Today was another gloomy, rainy day. The girls had a surprise visit from their uncle who brought a McDonalds breakfast for them. They were very excited and almost getting spoiled since this was their 2nd McDonalds breakfast ever within 2 weeks.

After their smorgasbord, we were debating on wheather to leave the house due to the rain. I did not want to be stuck inside the house all day. The weather in L.A. seemed to have better weather; so we ventured out to the Chinese Lantern Festival. We have been there a couple times during nice weather and it is pretty fun. When we got the general area, we made our usual rounds to find the cheapest parking price. After about 10 min. we settled on a $5 parking area. We walked a couple blocks to the event. The kids 1st discovery were bounce houses. I was not going to pay a ridiculous amount for them to jump and quickly lured them to the FREE crafts and entertainment the festival offered. My oldest was not very happy that she could not bounce; but after about 15 min of sulking she gave in to making a craft. The youngest was very excited to make a tiger puppet because it required using a glue stick. She also helped make a lantern by scribbling on the paper and me doing the rest of it. My oldest made a couple crafts and got her face painted. There was entertainment outside; but it was too cold to stay.

Was this event worth the drive, looking for cheap parking, walking in the cold, listening to my daughter sulk to make a couple crafts worth it? Probably not; but I got out of the house! As well as trying to do some frugal family fun.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss and Shoplifting

It always seems to be raining this month on my days off. On this rainy day, we went to Lakeshore Learning for a Dr. Seuss birthday celebration. Luckily, this event was inside and we were able to stay out of the rain. The best part, it was FREE! Lakeshore also has craft time every Saturday.

My oldest daughter, 5, was more excited to play with the toys on display than to participate in the crafts and story time. If that was what was going to make her happy, then so be it. She did make an aquarium craft (based on the story of one fish, 2 fish, red fish, blue fish) got her face painted with cat whiskers and ate cake. Besides being turned down from everything she wanted to buy, she had fun.

I didn't think my youngest daughter ,2, would participate in anything; but I was wrong. She was the one who wanted to make all the crafts. She really enjoyed using dot paint to make a hat and decorating her aquarium with fish stickers, shells, and sequins. She loves to put gobs of glue on the paper and just leave it. Thankfully, the glue bottle was almost empty so it was a little harder to use so much glue. She even got her 1st face paint with the cat whiskers! I didn't think she would even sit and let them do it. While I shopped, she got to play with toys and eat her share of cake.

On the way home, I noticed a tag on the recyclable Lakeshore bag we had. My husband was carrying it in the store to hold all the crafts; so I assumed it was a give away. In the car, I asked if it was a give away and he said "No, I thought you bought it". Yes, I accidentally shoplifted for the 1st time. And yes, while shoplifting is a way of being frugal; those are not the rules for this frugal fun challenge! Sorry, Lakeshore. Next time I'm in the area, I will return the bag to you or pay the $1.50.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Celebrating Valentine's Day

I had to work on Valentine's Day; so we celebrated on Saturday instead. I told the girls they could go to McDonalds as a special treat for lunch or dinner. My oldest said, How about breakfast? I agreed to breakfast. Both girls were so excited. It was like Christmas morning to them. I don't even remember the last time I went inside a McDonalds for breakfast. They received McDonalds gift cards; so their breakfast was free! The girls loved their pancakes and egg breakfast but were anxious to go to the play area.

For the frugal fun challenge outing, I chose to take them to the Japanese American Museum. They had a Valentine's event where kids got to decorate a cookie, make a tissue paper flower, create Valentine's Day cards, learn to make an oragami heart, listen to a Valentines' Day story and eat a delicious cupcake. Everything was free and the kids had a fun afternoon outing.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Homemade Peanut Butter

More time than normal was spent at home on Saturday due to the rain; so I decided to make some homemade peanut butter. I happened to have all the ingredients to make it; which was all of 3 ingredients - peanuts, vegetable oil and honey. I dug out the food processor, dumped in the ingredients and in less than 10 min. I got peanut butter! I didn't think it was that easy to make and wasn't sure how good it was going to taste. I asked my husband to try it and he was a little hesitant; but said "Hey, this tastes like Peanut Butter"!

The girls and I eat PB&J all the time; so this recipe will hopefully be used a lot. I have not tried it in the girls sandwiches; so I hope they like it.

Peanut Butter
2 1/2 cups peanuts
4 tablespoons oil ( Vegetable, Canola - NOT Olive)
2 tablespoons honey (For me this is optional)

Put peanuts in processor until they are well grounded.
Slowly add oil and mix well.
Add honey and mix again. The honey thickens it.
Pour into a container and refrigerate. If it becomes too thick, add more oil.

Home Depot

It was a rainy Saturday, so the challenge of finding indoor family entertainment was even more difficult. It happened to be the 1st Saturday of the month. On every 1st Saturday of the month Home Depot offers a FREE kids workshop. From 9-12pm your child can build something from one of their pre-fab kits.

We normally make it a family outing; but because of the rain I stayed home with the 2 year old while the oldest daughter and daddy had fun building a toy car display together. Toy cars are almost non existent with 2 girls; so she decided to make it more useful in her playmobil sets.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

One of my first products I made was homemade laundry detergent. I started making it because my daughter was constantly itchy in some areas and nothing I changed to seemed to help. I changed her bathing soap, stopped using bubble bath, lotions and nothing worked. I then thought that maybe the store bought detergent may be the cause. I found this laundry soap recipe and her itching had completely stopped. This not only helped my daughter; but it cleans our clothes, does not use harsh chemicals and it saves me a lot of money.

Heavy soiled clothes will need extra attention. Use the Fels Naptha bar and scrub clothing using water to make a lather, then wash. The process may need to be repeated if needed. Fels Naptha works great for removing stains. No need to buy stain removing agents which can save even more money.

This recipe is very easy and it only costs about $.05 per load compared to $.15-.30 a load using store bought detergent.

Powdered Laundry Soap

1/2 bar Fels Naptha soap
1 cup Washing Soda (Not Baking Soda)
1 cup Borax

Grate 1/2 bar (I use the small holes in my cheese grater)
Mix all ingredients
Use 1-2 tablespoons per load

Please note: You will not see any suds in your machine, so don't think you need to add more.
Makes about 40 loads

The Challenge

The frugality mostly started because I just wanted to save some extra pennies, cut down on the grocery bill while being a bit health conscious and go on inexpensive family outings.

I have always been a person who enjoys creating things; so I started discovering how I could make my own products. These products have helped save money and are healthier than store bought products. I am always looking to challenge myself to not buy 'that item' at the grocery store; but make it myself.

I am a mom of 2 young girls and entertaining them can be expensive. Staying at home all day on the weekends is not the norm at our house. I try to find at least one place to go to get out of the house. Finding FREE family outings have become my weekly challenge.

These challenges have changed how I live for the better. No matter what our income, I will hope to continue to be just as frugal as today.