Homemade Gift-Hot Cocoa Mix

Yesterday I asked for frugal, fun, and easy Christmas gifts and I got some great responses! Above is one sent in by Grace B!

This recipe makes a lot! It could probably easily fill four jars like the ones in the picture.
1 box (1 lb, 10 oz) nonfat dry powdered milk
4 cups sifted powdered sugar
16 ounces Amaretto flavored non-dairy creamer
11 ounces plain non-dairy creamer
1 box (1 lb) powdered chocolate milk mix
1/2 tsp salt
Stir all the ingredients together in a large bowl until well blended.
Store in airtight containers.
To serve: Mix 3 heaping tablespoons into 6 oz hot water (or milk, if you prefer)

DIY Santa Christmas Ornament

santa ornament

We love making and giving Christmas ornaments during the Holiday season!  Here is an easy DIY Santa Christmas Ornament that was super easy to make!

DIY Santa Christmas Ornament


Round Clear Plastic Ball Ornament
Red & Black Paint
Gold Glitter
Paint Brush


1.  Paint the entire ornament red to create your Santa suit.


2.  Have your child paint a black line all the way across the middle and allow to dry.


3.  Using glue, draw a square in the middle of the black “belt” and then cover in glitter.

4.  Shake off extra glitter and allow to dry.  It’s now ready for your tree or a gift box!

These ornaments are easily personalized-simply paint your message on the front or using a Sharpie marker write on the back.  We leave the back of our ornaments paint free if we are planning on using a Sharpie marker because the marker will take the paint off.

Christmas Crafts For Kids-Lots Of Ideas!

christmas crafts for kids

If you’re looking for Christmas Crafts for Kids, look no further than this list!


My friends and I have come up with a huge list of awesome Christmas crafts for kids this year!  Don’t forget you can find more crafts for kids under my Kids Frugal Fun page and if you’re looking for Elf ideas, check out my Elf on the Shelf Ideas page!


Paper Plate Santa

Christmas Mouse

Countdown to Christmas Bell and Chain

Christmas Handprint Wreath

Snowmen Handprint Ornament

DIY Snow

Snowman Lightbulb Ornament

candy cane ornament

Candy Cane Ornament

Homemade Gift Tags and Bags

Thumbprint Ornaments

Footprint Reindeer

santa toilet

Toilet Paper Santa and Rudolph

Mistle”Toes” on Canvas

Gingerbread Man Candy Dish

Twine Candy Cane Ornaments

Graham Cracker Santa Snack

DIY Snowman Shirt


More Christmas Fun:

Christmas Jokes for Kids

Christmas Traditions and Fun Ideas

Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas

The Mavens of Money group is comprised of 11 bloggers: MadameDeals | The Coupon Challenge | Mom On Dealz | Coupons are Great | This Mama Loves | A Frugal Chick | The Centsible Family | Stretching Your Budget | Penny Filled Pantry | Freebie Spot | Saving Toward Better Life

DIY Candy Cane Tapers

candy canes tapers

I love Christmas and decorating the house.  The kids love candy canes so I thought…”Why not create some candy cane tapers?”

Candy Cane Tapers



  • 2 Taper Candles ($ store)
  • 2 Candle holders ($ store)
  • Red Tape, Ribbon, or Paint ($ store)



1. Paint candle holders red.  Allow to dry.  You may need to paint several layers on the holders depending on the type of paint you use.  I used acrylic and one coat seemed fine.

2. Apply tape or ribbon to the taper in a striped pattern.  I used tape from the craft store (only 99 cents) but I recommend ribbon.  When we turned on the heat this week, the tape kept peeling off.

That’s it-easy peasy!   This craft cost me a total of $2.99 to create.  I already had the taper candles and paint on hand so I only had to buy the red tape and candle holders!

Be sure to check out my easy Thanksgiving Craft using the same idea!

*Note*  These candles are “looks” only.  I do not suggest burning a candle you’ve put any other material on or around!

Easy Thanksgiving Crafts-Thanksgiving Candles

thanksgiving candles

Looking for an Easy Thanksgiving Craft?  These Thanksgiving Candles are super easy and make beautiful Thanksgiving centerpieces!

Thanksgiving Candles:


  • Taper Candles
  • Orange Ribbon
  • Orange, Red, Brown Paint
  • Masking Tape & Scotch Tape



  1. For the ribbon candle, directions are very simple.  Wrap each candle with the ribbon and secure with scotch tape.
  2. For the painted candle, you’ll need to first cut and wrap thin pieces of masking tape around the candle.


3.  Using your 3 colors of paint, alternate painting the colors the entire length of the candle.

4.  Allow paint to dry.  This part is important.  I didn’t the first time and it was  a MESS that resulted in me having to redo the candle.

Good Temporary Hair Dye

hair dye

My friend Tracey posted this sort of “homemade hair dye recipe” on her Facebook page and I just had to share!  This is a good temporary hair dye if you have blond hair and very frugal also!


(preface)Only use washable markers. These cost $2 at Dollar General.

tracey 1


1.  Break open the chosen color and take out the inside color that is wrapped in a clear tube.

tracey 2

2.  Drop it inside of a spray bottle ($1 at Dollar General) filled with warm water about 1/2 way (the less water you are able to use the more concentrated the color will be).

tracey 3

3.  Shake and shake and shake until it turns the water a dark color of your marker.

4.  Sprayed where you want the color. Note the towel placed under the hair to protect clothing/skin.

5.  Blow dry.

6.  Done!

How To Make An Easy and Inexpensive Thanksgiving Wreath


turkey wreath


How To Make A Turkey Thanksgiving Wreath 


 Are you looking for a super easy and frugal Thanksgiving Wreath? This is IT!  This craft only cost me $4 and took me about 20 minutes to make! All materials were from the Dollar Tree except for the glue gun and tape that I already had around the house.



Foam Wreath Circle
Pilgrim Craft Kit
Fake Fall Leaves
Ribbon With Fall Theme
Hot Glue Gun
Brown Crayon and Black Marker


1. Wrap ribbon around the foam circle and secure in place with hot glue.
2.  Color the back of the ribbon label and create a turkey face.

turkey head process


3.  Attach the leaves from the craft kit to finish the turkey face.  Glue the  leaves on the face to create the turkey tail.
4. Attach the turkey to the wreath and it’s complete!

turkey wreath

Halloween Party Recipes: Halloween Dipped Pretzels

dipped pretzels

Everyone loves dipped pretzels but not many like the hassle of melting chocolate.  I have found a solution to this dilemma that everyone raves about.  In fact, I made these at the beginning of the school year last year and my son’s teacher requested them for every party for the remainder of the year!  The awesome thing about these Halloween Dipped Pretzels is that you can use this recipe for ANY holiday or occasion, just change the colors of the sprinkles and frosting!

Halloween Dipped Pretzels:

Pretzel Rods
Canned Frosting (your choice)
Sprinkles (to fit your holiday)

1.  Open frosting at room temperature (do NOT use refrigerated frosting, your pretzel will break).
2.  Dip pretzel in frosting and swirl until about half of it is covered.
3.  Cover frosting with sprinkles and enjoy!

How easy is that?  These literally take me less than 10 minutes to make an entire class set!

Love this? Check out my other other Halloween crafts and the Popcorn Jack-o-Lanterns!

Maybe you’re looking for an appetizer recipe?  You’ll love my Weight Watchers Appetizer Recipe:  Mozzarella Sticks


5 Ways To Make Extra Money From Home


With the economy still in its ever so comfortable rut, it has been gaining difficulty for families all across the country to build a savings or even make a sufficient household income. Due to this level of difficulty many have been bombarded with stress and worry in regards to their current financial standing as well as future finances. Luckily there is a little hope in this regard and many individuals and families all over have been slowly building back their finances with a little creativity and innovation. Here are 5 great ways to make extra money from the comfort of your own home!

Sales – From yard sales to the ability to sell your jewelry and everything in between, there is great money to be made from selling unwanted items and there is almost a buyer out there for everything. Places like eBay and Craigslist are also a great place to get rid of unwanted or unused items for a great price in return.

Freelancing – Also known as moonlight, freelancing has been gaining huge success for people everywhere. If you are trained in a specific skill, writing, computers, etc., there is almost always work available. What’s the best part? You can do it right from your own home!

Education Aid – Tutoring is still an extremely popular necessity amongst grade school aged individuals all the way up to college aged. If you have knowledge in math, language, or any other subject put a flyer up around a local school or campus and see what comes around.

Personal Services – It’s seems these days almost everyone needs a helping hand with something and if you have exceptional skills as a stylist, dog walker, organizer, nanny, etc. then there is someone out there looking for your help.

Food – That’s right food! If you love to cook and/or bake then why not put those skills to use! Place an ad in your local paper or school board and see what kind of requests come in. From birthday cupcakes to party appetizers, the possibilities and the profit are endless.

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post

Ways To Save During Government Shutdown/Furlough


We can pretty much all agree that things in Washington are a hot mess.  I don’t ever get political on the site, but things are really just ridiculous!  Living in a military community, I know far too many families being affected by the disgrace that is happening.  The only way I can think to help these families is to offer a few ways to save money during a government shutdown/furlough.

1.  Create A Budget On Your Reduced Income:  Budgets are not fun but they are necessary.  I have a few tips on my budgeting page that can help you get started.

2.  Cut/Trim the Budget:  This is the “no fun” part but also necessary.  Cut out any unneeded expense such as eating out, gym, cable, etc.  As sad as this can be, just remember this step does not need to be permanent. You can always add back these “luxury items” when income increases.

3.  Save on Groceries:  Use coupons and store matchups to save BIG money on groceries.  You can snag coupons here, here, here, and here.

4.  Menu Planning:  Create a menu and stick to it.  Use your stockpile, sale ads, and remember to include leftovers at least once a week! I’ve got an entire Menu Plan Monday series that can help you come up with easy and frugal recipes here.

5.  Make Extra Money: There are a variety of ways to make money at home. You can complete surveys, have yard sales, and even sell homemade items.  I have 2 friends that make a nice supplemental income from selling homemade items.  I’ve often considered selling my diaper cakes for a little extra cash.  Also, don’t forget about creating a change jar.  Spare change can really add up!

What are your favorite ways to save?

Halloween Crafts For Everyone!

halloween crafts

I’ve teamed up with a group of lovely ladies called The Mavens of Money and we have brought you a round-up of our best Halloween Crafts.  These are all awesome and a great way to have fun with kids or by yourself!

  1. How to Make a Rag Wreath by A Frugal Chick
  2. Frankenstein Monster Box by Coupons are Great
  3. DIY Halloween Marquee Letters by Madame Deals
  4. Toilet Paper Pumpkin Decor by Mom on Dealz
  5. Handprint Pumpkin Craft by Saving Toward a Better Life
  6. Spooky Sparkle Spiders by The Coupon Challenge
  7. DIY Glow in the Dark Skeleton Halloween Shirt by This Mama Loves

If you missed it, take a look at our Apple Round-up for more Fall ideas!

The Mavens of Money group is comprised of 11 bloggers: MadameDeals | The Coupon Challenge | Mom On Dealz | Coupons are Great | This Mama Loves | A Frugal Chick | The Centsible Family | Stretching Your Budget | Penny Filled Pantry | Freebie Spot | Saving Toward Better Life

Everything Apples: Get Recipes and Crafts All About Apples!


apple roundup


Get ready for a new Fall Series!

Together with my friends from Mavens of Money we bring you our hottest posts this fall. This week we’re sharing all about APPLES.

The Mavens of Money group is comprised of 11 bloggers: MadameDeals | The Coupon Challenge | Mom On Dealz | Coupons are Great | This Mama Loves | A Frugal Chick | The Centsible Family | Stretching Your Budget | Penny Filled Pantry | Freebie Spot | Saving Toward Better Life | [Read more…]

DIY Children’s Wall Art

space collage with text

What’s a frugal mom to do when she buys a quilt on clearance for her child and the wall art that goes with the quilt is all sold out?  Create DIY Children’s Wall art herself-with coupons of course!

We recently moved (see our moving story here) and one of the rooms in the new house was painted a very bright green.  While I planned on painting it a more neutral color, my 4 year old claimed the green room as his bedroom.  The problem with this is that his room had a Boston Red Sox theme prior to moving.  So this mommy had to find another plan.  Off to Target I went! On clearance was a space quilt and pillow that I knew would be perfect.  Then I searched and googled space wall art and found nothing my budget would approve.

Armed with coupons, I went to AC Moore.  I got a 2 pack of canvases and took pictures of space ships on his quilt and got to work!

the quilt

the quilt


I drew them in pencil first….Will thought it was  a bit fat.
pencil canvas

The Completed room

wills room

Looking for other Do-It-Yourself ideas?  Check these out!

How To Make A Fireplace Hearth Guard

How To Make A Tricycle Diaper Cake

How To Organize Puzzles

How To Make A Jewelry Holder

How To Make A Candy Bouquet

Homemade Diaper Rash Treatment

Home Depot & Lowe’s Kids Workshops-Register Now!

lowes build and grow

My kids absolutely LOVE the Home Depot & Lowes Workshops!  They are so much fun and a great bonding experience with their daddy.

Here are the future workshops you’ll want to register for-they fill up fast-and they are FREE!

Home Depot:

September 7th-Football Ring Toss from 9AM-Noon

October 5th-kids can build a Fire Rescue plane made out of Legos

November 2nd- Tabletop Ship


September 14th:  Classic Fire Truck (my kids made this last year and it’s pretty awesome!

Thanks, Hip2Save

How To Make A Tricycle Diaper Cake

bike collage with words


When Kristen from WGNT saw a diaper cake I made last year, she asked if I could come on and do a Parent’s Corner segment. Since I LOVE creating anything for babies, I jumped at the chance.

How To Make A Tricycle Diaper Cake


Diapers (about 22)
2 Baby Bibs
2 Baby Blankets
1 Paper Towel Roll
1 Toilet Paper Roll
Rubber Bands
Baby Bottle
2 Pipe Cleaners

1.  Roll 6 diapers up and wrap them in a rubber band.  Put a rubber band around a toilet paper roll and insert the rolled diapers in between the rubber band and roll.

bike front wheel

2.  Take 6 more diapers and cover the “wheel” with these diapers by inserting them unfolded in between the rubber band and rolled diapers.

3.  Repeat this process around each end of the paper towel.

bike wheels no ribbon

4.  Cover all 3 “wheels” with riboon of your choice.

bike wheels with ribbon

5.  Roll one baby blanket and insert it inside the toilet paper roll wheel and set aside.

bike front wheel with blanket

6.  Attach the 2 pipe cleaners together and insert them inside the back wheels.

bike back wheels

7.  Bring the blanket ends from the front wheel to the back wheels and attach using the pipe cleaners.

8.  Roll another blanket and insert inside the front wheel (yes this will be hard) and bring up to create the handlebars.

9. Lay one bib over the front wheel and place the bottle on top of it.  Take the rolled blanket and rubber band the two ends to come together over the bottle, holding it in place and making it look more like handlebars.

bike done

10.  Roll 2 more diapers and insert one into each end of the “back wheels” to make them more sturdy.

11. Roll 2 additional diapers to create the “seat”.  Cover with the remaining bib.

12. Add any embellishments.  I added skull socks to the handlebars and a bear with a skull bandana.