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Creating Great Family Memories: How to Have the Perfect Low Budget Holidays

Creating Great Family Memories: How to Have the Perfect Low Budget Holidays

Great memories are made out of great experiences, not just great events.  When it comes to creating great family memories, the goal is not necessarily to overspend your budget paying for “name-brand” events; instead, you can create an unforgettable array of family experiences even while on a low budget.  Let us give you a few pointers and you will soon be making magical family memories of your own, no matter what the holiday, no matter what the budget.

 

Time Connecting

The Essence of Family

Every child intuitively knows what we often quickly forget in the hustle and bustle of growing up: family is the enjoyment of being together.  However, it really isn’t as complicated as marketing strategies would have us think.  It really doesn’t take an elaborate meal that was costly to your budget, not to mention the hours you spent in the kitchen nor does it mean that you have to fund Santa, Uncle Sam, or the Easter bunny several hundred dollars for each of their respective holidays.  Family starts with simply being together and enjoying those moments.

 

Time Remembering

The Essence of Tradition

Why do we enjoy tradition so much?  We think that tradition is not simply a way of doing things every holiday, but a way of remembering the best of who you are as a family and celebrating that.  And you have the freedom to create your own traditions according to the beauty you see in your family – and according to your budget, as needed.  Planning low-budget traditions does not have to mean that you value your family any less.  In fact, sometimes we work to simplify our traditions so that we can focus more on the enjoyment of family and love and laughter and remembering who we are and who we still want to become.

 

Time Well-Spent

Great Family Memories on a Low Budget

Ultimately, your goal for your family is to make time together to celebrate who you are together.  However, you may feel lost in coming up with some good starter ideas to do that, especially when you may also be overwhelmed with the pressure of costly commercial traditions.  So, here are a few ideas that we hope will spark your own creativity in making great family memories while on a low budget.

  • Every community generally has several free events over the holidays, such as parades, music events, fireworks displays, and other commemorative festivities.
  • Inexpensive crafts such as making paper snowflakes together, homemade Valentines, or carving pumpkins.
  • Thrift stores are usually overloaded with last year’s decoration or costume castoffs!
  • Affordable family events such as a potluck brunch on Easter, a picnic on the fourth of July with sparklers or a New Years neighborhood party with leftover holiday goodies.
  • Giving simple gifts with an elaborate treasure hunt or giving gifts of time and services.

These are just a few ideas that we hope will inspire you and always remember, enjoying time together is the key!

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5 Great Winter Activities for Your Kids

5 Great Winter Activities for Your Kids

Winter is still here, and it’s going to be a while before the cold season leaves! If your children are still cold and wondering when spring will come here are a couple of awesome activities your children can do. Have fun!

Hot Cocoa Station

After coming inside from a cold day of play, what’s better than having hot cocoa to warm you up? Set up a hot cocoa station for your kids to enjoy. They can have their own mugs and even add their own fixings. A few examples are different colored marshmallows, nutmeg, a candy cane to put in it, and even cinnamon. It’s hard to go wrong with this little winter treat.

Build (or make) a Snowman

In some parts of the country it’s still snowing! If there’s snow where you’re at why not build a snowman? You don’t have to build one, you could make a snow dog, dragon, or anything your heart desires! The possibilities are endless. If you don’t have snow you can make a snowman out of materials around the house. You can draw one, or make on a giant poster board and cut it out. After that, you can pin your new friend in the window or the wall to admire until warmer weather comes in.

Ice Skating

Maybe you want to get a little colder? It’s usually not hard to find an indoor ice skating rink. If your children are looking to do something a little different why not try this activity? The entire family can enjoy it, but it may be difficult to master for some younger children.

Cut out Snowflakes

Even if Christmas has passed, you can still have fun with the cold season. There are plenty of ways to have fun with paper indoors. Teach your child how to cut out paper snowflakes. The possibilities are endless, and they can even decorate them if they want to. After the snowflakes are made you can hang them around the house or on the wall for you and your children to admire. So a little bit of the Christmas spirit still lingers in the New Year.

Read a Book

Still want to stay cozy? Read a book with your child. There are many books that have Christmas themes, or take place in winter. So snuggle up on the couch and read them a couple if you want. Even if you don’t want to read books about snow, you more than free to read some other books.

Finding a way to keep your child entertained during the winter is tough. It can get boring pretty quickly since they can’t stay outside to long. On the other hand it gives your child a chance to try out new activities. During this winter season have fun with them and explore new possibilities. Find other ways to help keep them entertained without resorting to turning on the TV. We wish you a happy winter, and remember to stay warm!

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How to Make Christmas Cards on a Budget

Making Christmas Cards

Christmas cards are wonderful to receive at the holidays but can be really pricey if you’re trying to do Christmas on a budget.

So what can you do?

Pick up some card stock or even heavy construction paper and get the kids involved to make one-of-a-kind Christmas cards to send to friends and family.

Snowflake Card

Using black construction paper, take a snowflake stamp and some silver or gold ink for an elegant Christmas card.  Even easier, pick up some already purchased small snowflakes and glue them on the front of a black card.

Remember when signing the card to use a Sharpie with either gold or silver ink.  Have the kids get involved with choosing the kind and number of snowflakes for the front of the card.

Christmas Present Card

Choose a light colored stock or construction paper as the card itself.  If your kids are old enough, have them help you cut out small squares in different colored pieces of construction paper.  Glue the squares on the front of the card and add a bow to the top.

Then put your family holiday letter inside and send it off.

Photo Card

Take some light colored construction paper, cut out family photos and glue them to the front.

Button Cards

These cards can be done with construction paper and thread for another elegant handmade Christmas card.  You can use any color construction paper you want and find interesting buttons to sew on the front in the shape of a Christmas tree.

Your kids can help you with this by choosing the buttons to use and you can even shape the buttons in the form of a wreath and tie it with a bow.

Fresh Wreaths

This is a great idea that helps you use up some end of the season herbs in your garden.  You’ll want to use herbs like rosemary, sage or thyme because they are sturdier than basil or mint.  These can be shaped into mini wreaths and attached to the front of a card with some string.

Using Rubber Stamps

Rubber stamps and ink are another way to create fun Christmas cards on a budget.  This is also the perfect activity for younger kids who are just starting to be interested in creating handmade gifts.

Find some fun Christmas themed rubber stamps at a local arts store or even a store like Wal-Mart that has a crafts section.  Pick up some different colored ink pads and start designing your cards.

Fabric Strips

This card is more for an older child or teenager to help with because a sewing machine is the best way to do this.  Take some attractive material and cut it into strips.  From top to bottom, the top strip will be the shortest and the bottom strip will be the longest and what you’re doing is creating a Christmas tree.

You will sew the strips onto the front of the card with a sewing machine so that they stay in place.

Try some of the ideas above for cards that will be remembered for a lifetime.

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Let it Snow!!

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Snow days can be great fun for your family. With a little creativity and a few minutes of planning, your family can enjoy a cozy indoor day while winter rages outside. Here are a few ideas to help you jump start some fun, inexpensive family activities.

Paper Crafts

This is an easy activity, and with such a large selection of crafts to choose from there is sure to be something for every age group. Old magazines, printer paper, construction paper, tissue and tracing paper can all be put to good use, and often just the act of gathering the supplies in one place will give your family some great craft ideas. Most paper crafts require glue, but even if you don't have any in stock you can easily make a paste of white flour and water that will usually be sufficient for most activities. Collages and winter themed shoebox dioramas are easily created without guidance, and printable paper crafts as well as origami instructions abound on the internet. Some paper crafts to consider include:

Origami
Collage
Paper Dolls
Papier Mache
Snowflakes
Printable/Foldable Robots
Paper Puppets

Story + Puppets

This is a simplified version of a puppet show, utilizing your child's favorite story book characters. First, have or help your child create simple paper or felt puppets of at least one character in the book. Then, as you read the book aloud, your child can act out the character with the handmade puppets.

Movie Day

This can be great fun, especially if you go all out to create either a cozy indoor theater or sleepover setting. For a theater, place seating fairly close together in rows, set up a snack bar with popcorn and other treats and healthy snacks, and draw or print out a list of movies, showtimes, and “tickets” to each showing. Don't forget to close the drapes and dim the lights, and remember turn off all your other electronics! For a sleepover theme, bring out the pajamas, pillows, blankets, and stuffed animals, and turn your family or living room into a movie night sleepover complete with hot cocoa.

Camp In

Can't go outside? Then bring the fun indoors! Set up a tent and campsite in your house, complete with air mattresses, cooler and table. If you have battery-operated lighting, great! Otherwise, set up a lantern on a small table near the tent and call it a lantern. When day turns to night, make some s'mores for the whole family and sit in a cozy circle with flashlights while telling spooky stories.